Wednesday, January 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD plans 'rasta roko' agitation on Jan 10
Badungar leaves for Delhi to meet lawyers
Tribune Reporters

Moga, December 31
The Shiromani Akali Dal has prepared its “rasta roko” agitation programme for three hours on January 10 when traffic will be “jammed throughout the State and if the State government attempted to prevent them the Akali workers would not hesitate to court arrests”.

This was announced by SAD President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while talking to reporters at Sangatpura village near Baghapurana in this district today.

The “Rasta Roko” programme was aimed at “protesting against the policies of Congress government as it has failed to fulfil any of the promises it made in its manifesto”.

The government has even undone the good work done by the SAD-BJP government, he claimed.

Mr Badal was critical of the recommendation to impose Income Tax on agriculture by the Kelkar Task Fore and made it clear that the “SAD will never accept the report” and his party would not even hesitate to oppose in Parliament.

Reacting to Mr Amarinder Singh’s statement at Amritsar on December 28 that Mr Badal would be arrested soon on charges of corruption during his tenure, Mr Badal said that he was always ready for his arrest if the government had any specific charges against him.

“Chief Minister Amarinder Singh even before Punjab election this year said my family has illegal property valued at Rs 3500 crore, but so far has failed to prove even a single charge”, he said.

Regarding the Chief Minister’s assertion that the Centre had not waived Rs 8500 crore loan given by the Centre to Punjab to fight against terrorism, Mr Badal said that it was “waived” by the then Prime Minister I.K. Gujral and in this respect special thanks giving function was held at Jalandhar where congress leaders were also invited, he said. Later Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also clarified that it had been waived, he claimed.

FARIDKOT: Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar President, SGPC will go to New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the matter with the Sikhs of the area regarding the acquittal of senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar by a court of involvement in the killing of Sikhs during the riots in 1984 at New Delhi. It was a judicial matter and needed proper attention before taking any step. This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal here today. Mr Badal arrived here to honour the SGPC members of Faridkot district who supported the party’s candidate in the last SGPC elections held at Amritsar last month. He said the party was also very serious to start action against those SGPC members who opposed the party candidate. Mr Badal said under the riparian law no state had the right to have water from Punjab. He said that his party would move Supreme Court opposing the construction of SYL canal.

He admitted that due to technical reasons the Union Government was unable to take any step against the Punjab government for excesses against senior Akali leaders and other innocent people. However Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister had assured him to resolve the issue at the earliest said Mr Badal. Later he honoured Mr Makhan Singh Nangal, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, Mr Jagjit Singh Brar and Mr Nazar Singh Sarawan all SGPC members of this district by visiting their houses.

PHAGWARA: Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, today consulted legal experts at Delhi and gave them necessary instructions for filing an appeal against the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar. It was stated tonight that Prof Badungar also tried to meet the Union Home Minister in this regard but could not do so because the latter was out of Delhi. Prof Badungar will meet him next week to press him to file an appeal too.


A bad year for people of Punjab: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said here today that in Punjab year 2002 would be remembered for “politics of unseemly and dangerous confrontation, neglected development, rollback of welfare and people-friendly schemes, heavy taxation, brazen governmental interference in the religious affairs, vendetta against political rivals, a leadership made famous for scandals and inaccessibility and introduction of a ‘leisure-and-pleasure culture” among the rulers.

“It will also be known for the imposition of Rs 3,000 crore fresh taxes, introduction of ‘supari’ and cyber crime and for governance coming to a screeching halt with various wings of administration being at war with one another.

“It was also a year which saw moral and political values plummet to shocking depths because of the unethical conduct of those in government. It was also a year in which the Head of State indulged in blatant lies about commitments made by international financial organisations”, said Mr Badal in a written statement.

The Congress Government headed by Captain Amarinder Singh took just days to go back on all commitments made to the people during the February poll. People-friendly policies of the previous government such as free power to the farm sector were scrapped.

Mr Badal said even 10 months after the installation of the new government in Punjab, the state’s case on river waters and the SYL canal remained undefined and un-represented. This was despite the fact all necessary groundwork had already been done by river water experts and legal luminaries during the tenure of the SAD-BJP Government.

The SAD chief regretted that the administration in Punjab had become not only utterly unresponsive but also inaccessible, with the Chief Minister making himself supremely unavailable to the people or even to his colleagues. The Chief Minister had cancelled at least 35 public engagements in 10 months, Mr Badal claimed.

The former Chief Minister further said that every section of society, except power-brokers, self-seekers and hangers — on was completely disenchanted with the present set-up.

The Akali Dal Chief described 2002 as a “bad year for democracy” in Punjab with the government openly misusing its machinery to influence the poll outcome in Malout and subsequently in the elections to the Zila Parishad and panchayat samitis. “But now finding even its bureaucracy demoralised after the SGPC poll fiasco and the massive response to the SAD’s “jail bharo” agitation, the government has virtually run away from the civic elections,” he added.

Mr Badal assured the people of Punjab that the SAD would continue to raise its voice against the “anti-farmer, anti-employee, anti-Dalit and anti-trader” policies of the present government. “We reiterate our commitment to striving for a better 2003 for the people of Punjab.”


West Kali Bein to have Mukerian channel water
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 31
The Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, has approved a plan to discharge water from the Mukerian Hydel Channel into West Kali Bein. This was stated here today by the Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Mr Rakesh Verma.

He said that a number of prominent people, including Balbir Singh, Jalandhar MP, Rana Gurjit Singh, local MLA, had drawn the attention of the Chief Minister to the lack of water in the West Kali Bein. The Chief Minister had accordingly directed the Principal Secretary, Irrigation and Power, Mr Rajan Kashyap, to frame suitable proposals for discharging water into West Kali Bein.

Mr Verma stated that Mr Kashyap held a high-level meeting with officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board officials of the Drainage Department, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala and Brigadier (Rtd) Sukhjit Singh, Maharaja of Kapurthala. A number of recommendations were made which have been approved by the Chief Minister.

The first recommendation was that keeping in view the religious, ecological and economic importance of the Bein Kanjli wetland and Sultanpur Lodhi 100 cusec water from the Mukerian Hydel Channel (MHC) should be released into the Bein.

Second, the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) should be asked to explore the possibility of commissioning suitable micro hydel projects at Kanjli to compensate for the loss of power. Third, the PSEB should provide a regulator of 350 RD of the proposed MHC — phase II for drawing 100 cusec of water into the Bein.

Fourth, pending commissioning of the regulator, the Drainage Department would draw water through siphon action at 36115 RD (super passage) of MHC - phase I. Initially only 50 cusec water may be drawn and after the construction of the regulator the flow would be increased to 100 cusec. The Drainage Department would also carry out the most essential works for carrying the water into Bein as per the latest survey and report.

Fifth, the government would also prepare a comprehensive strategy to exploit tourism potential of Kanjli wetland, science city, heritage buildings of Kapurthala linking it with a bigger pilgrimage circuit of the Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal, Tarn Taran and Amritsar. Hharike wetlands may also be included in the circuit.


Recruitment of ASIs: bending of rules alleged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 31
The previous SAD-BJP government recruited Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASIs) in the Punjab police those who allegedly had fake degrees, were overaged, former militants and were related to members of the selection committee.

Sources said an advertisement for the recruitment of ASIs was placed by the then SAD-BJP government in 1998 but the number of posts to be filled was not mentioned in it. After holding the “formalities” of a written test, the Departmental Selection Committee, set up for the purpose, recommended selection of 140 candidates. Sources added of the 140 candidates several were recruited by flouting rules and FIRs against at least 15 of them have been registered under various sections of the IPC including Section 420 (cheating/forgery). One of those selected for the post had been a militant and surrendered before the then Governor of Punjab. His photographs had been circulated in police stations for nabbing him. He also allegedly stole record from the office of the ADGP (Intelligence) and a case against him is pending. He was issued a good moral character certificate.

No waiting list for BC category was given while for other categories it was given. In the BC category the last candidate to be selected had 72 marks but candidates of this category, with 71.50 marks were there and their names were not mentioned in the waiting list. It was not prepared. A son of a senior functionary of the SGPC, who also secured 72 marks was recommended in the BC category. He did not fulfil even physical requirements.

The Tribune has with it documents relating to six candidates who did not even possess minimum qualification (graduation) required for the post. They were recruited allegedly on the basis of fake degrees. Cases have been registered against them under Sections 420, 465, 466, 467, 468 and other sections of the IPC. Documents reveal that at least two of the candidates were overaged. Rules disallow a person facing criminal case to join government service. At least seven candidates against whom FIRs had been registered before they joined government service were allowed to join duty allegedly due to political pressure. The ASIs joined service in early 1999 and FIRs against five of them were registered before their joining. Medical fitness, police and CID verification in respect of antecedents of government servants was “got conducted” by police officers just in one day to benefit some candidates and the list of selected candidates was not made public. Instead selected candidates were asked to report to the SSPs concerned.

Sources said that son-in-law of a cook of a senior SAD leader was also figured in the same list. He did not fulfil physical conditions. Members of the selection committee had informed the government in writing that no close relative of theirs had been selected. Sources pointed out that at least three close relatives of the then SP of Jalandhar and a nephew of the chairman of the selection committee had been selected.

One of the candidates who had failed to make it to the selection list in the BC category as he fell short of half a mark and had no patron (waiting list for this category was not prepared) alleged that despite these irregularities the government initiated neither departmental action not proceedings to sack the ‘tainted’ employees. He said they had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection.


Pherurai’s PCS kin suspended
K.K. Goyal

Mansa, December 31
The Punjab Government has suspended PCS officer Arvinderpaul Singh Sandhu, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Mansa, and son-in-law of Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, jailed former Senior Superintendent of Police of Ferozepore, for remaining in police custody for more than 48 hours.

Sandhu had surrendered in the court of Mr Roshal Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Kharar.

His headquarters has been shifted from Mansa to Chandigarh.

On December 26, Sandhu submitted his joining report to the district administration after a gap of 104 days as he was absenting from duty since September 13.

Earlier, the application for leave submitted by Sandhu was sent to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, by the then Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, Mr Alok Shekhar.

The Judicial Magistrate had issued proclamation against absconding PCS officer Sandhu for December 18 in a case of corruption, forgery, criminal conspiracy and accumulation of disproportionate assets registered against him and two other PCS officers. The case pertains to the scam involving issuance of alleged fake arms licences to hundreds of undeserving persons many of whom were suspected to be criminals in Amritsar district.

While PCS officer Jagir Singh, at present suspended from the post of Malout SDM, has already been arrested, retired PCS officer L.D. Hans is still evading arrest.


IAS officer denies allegations
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), December 31
A team of revenue officials of Malout subdivision today descended on this town to gather facts in connection with the alleged encroachment of a piece of land belonging to “Jumla Mushtarka Malkana” category by a kin of an IAS officer posted in Madhya Pradesh.

Mr Charandev Singh Mann, Tehsildar, Malout, pointed out that he had not received any complaint that the kin of an IAS officer had encroached upon the land belonging to ‘Jumla Mushtarka Malkana’ category. The record was being examined following a newsitem in a Punjabi daily. He added that all the facts collected by the revenue officials would be put before Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, Mrs Usha R. Sharma.

As per the report, the kin of Mr Vivek Aggarwal, an IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh, has allegedly encroached upon a piece of land on the Delhi-Malout highway and constructed shops. Mr Vivek Aggarwal had also served in Punjab on deputation during the previous SAD-BJP combine government.

Apart from it, the kin of Mr Aggarwal did not take permission from authorities concerned for constructing the shops on that piece of land. The matter of encroachment came to light when an attempt allegedly made by them to encroach upon more land was resisted by a resident of the village.

Mr Vivek Aggarwal, when contacted at Indore in Madhya Pradesh, pointed out that the land belonged to him for the past 40 years and shops had been constructed on that piece of land. He added that no encroachment had been made on any land. He added that shops were constructed after the revenue officials demarcated that piece of land, which was owned by him in presence of panchayat members and other residents of the village.

While denying the fact that it was a “shamlat” land, he pointed out that his family had got its due share in the ‘Jumla Mushtarka Malkana’ land. He added that a resident also approached the civil court at Gidderbaha to stop him from constructing the shops on that piece of land, but the court denied him any relief and now the regular civil suit was pending in that court. He added that an independent inquiry could establish all the facts.

Meanwhile, Mr Mann pointed out that Mr Aggarwal should have constructed the shops after establishing the ownership on a particular piece of land belonging to the ‘Jumla Mushtarka Malkana’ category. He added that Mr Aggarwal had committed no offence if the shops were constructed on that piece of land, which belonged to his family. He added that another dispute had arisen there when another resident allegedly changed the alignment of water course running behind those shops.


Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi may be discontinued
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 31
The Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi Express, flagged off by Union Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar on August 16 this year with fanfare, may come to a halt forever from January 16 as it has been losing lakhs of rupees daily on account of shortage of travellers since day one.

Sources said that though no date for stopping the train between Bathinda and Delhi had been announced, it would stop from January 16, six months after it was started.

Mr R.K. Singh, General Manager, Northern Railway, who visited Bathinda on December 27 pointed out that Shatabdi Express would be discontinued and it would be converted into Inter-City Express. Sources said no new train would be introduced in place of Shatabdi Express.

At the flagging off ceremony of the train Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP, Union Minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora MP and Bibi Gurcharan Kaur MP were present and almost all of them tried to send across messages that the train had been introduced with efforts of their parties.

Mr K.L. Meena, Station Superintendent said that on an average, the train received 40 passengers daily against the capacity of 750. He added the train would stop forever shortly.

Official sources said that the Railways had been incurring losses on account of manpower operational and maintenance costs, fuel and wear and tear of equipments.

Meanwhile, many traders of Bathinda, Mansa and other towns situated on the Bathinda-Jakhal-Delhi sections pointed out that if the route of the train was diverted on to this line from the present route of Bathinda-Ambala-Delhi, the train would become viable. They added that travel to Delhi from Bathinda via Ambala and vice versa was longer and time-consuming while the same journey via Jakhal saved time.


Rights panel direction in bribe case
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, December 31
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission today directed the Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, to ensure that Darshan Singh of Hathoa near here is provided with necessary medical treatment, preferably at the Civil Hospital, Dhuri, within 24 hours and an action taken report submitted within two days.

In an affidavit, Mr Darshan Singh had alleged that he had been forcibly discharged from the Civil Hospital, Malerkotla, and the bribe money of Rs 7,000, given to a doctor of the hospital, had been returned to him.

The commission also directed the SSP, Sangrur, to personally ensure the life, liberty and safety of the complainant in the light of allegations of false implication and the Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, has been directed to have an inquiry by an SP-rank officer and submit the report before March 5, 2003.


Scam accused remanded

Jalandhar, December 31
Nardev Kumar, accused of the “salary scam” of the Municipal Corporation, has been remanded in police custody till tomorrow.

During the interrogation, the accused revealed that he had acquired properties, cash and other valuables worth about Rs 60 lakh from ill-gotten money.

A case was registered in this connection on December 18 under Sections 461, 468, 471 and 420 of the IPC. UNI


Durgiana panel flays PM’s trip
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 31
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s trip to Goa on the occasion of New Year’s Day came for criticism by the Shri Durgiana Committee here. The Prime Minister was following the western culture which has its roots in Christianity, it alleged.

Mr Surinder Arjun, administrator and adviser of the committee, in a written statement said the concept of New Year was against Hindu tenets.


Register case against Manager: DC
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 31
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today directed the police to register an FIR against Mr Sukhdev Singh Sra, manager and Mr Baltej Singh, field officer, PADB, Mansa, in a cheating case.

Mr Verma, in a press note issued here today said that the said employees had cheated Mr Sukhwant Singh, a resident of village Ghuman Kalan, in a loan case. He said that Mr Sukhwant Singh had been sanctioned a loan of Rs 75,000 for purchasing buffaloes, but he was actually given only Rs 42,000 by the said employees. He said that the employees of the bank kept harassing Mr Sukhwant Singh even as he had repayed Rs 63,000 to the bank. Mr Sukhwant Singh made a complaint to the Punjab Chief Minister. On the directions of the CM’s office the deputy commissioner ordered an inquiry.

The inquiry found that in the bank record it had been shown that Mr Sukhwant Singh was paid second installment of Rs 28,800 for purchasing a buffalo. On deeper probe it was found that out of this Rs 14,400 was given to Mr Prem Chand, a bank employee, for purchasing a buffalo from him. Mr Prem Chand admitted before the inquiry officer that he did not knew Mr Sukhwant Singh and that he had not sold any buffalo to him. The inquiry revealed that Prem Chand had encashed the cheque and given the money to Mr Sukhdev Singh Sra, the manager of the bank.

Another payment of Rs 14,400 was shown to be made to Mr Pawan Kumar, who also admitted before the inquiry officer that he had also not sold any buffalo to Sukhwant Singh and had also given the money back to the manager of the bank. It has been recommended that a case under Sections 408, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC be registered against the said employees the Deputy commissioner said.


26 Junior Engineers reverted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 31
As many as 26 junior engineers of municipal corporations in the state were reverted yesterday. The reversion orders were issued by Mr B.R. Banga, Special Secretary-cum-Director, Local Government, last evening.

The majority of them did not fulfil the requisite experience of 12 years at their earlier posts. These employees were promoted from posts of work mistries, work supervisors, surveyors, junior assistants, head mistri, mate, road inspectors and others. As many as 19 of the reverted JEs are from the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar. They included work mistries, work supervisors, surveyor and a mate.

Two of the JEs are from the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, while five are from the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar.

Some of the promotees had merely put in three years at the earlier post. While one work mistry was promoted after two years in 1998. Only one promotion of JE was done in 1997, the year when the Akali-BJP combine came into power.

As many as seven were promoted as JE in year 1999, five in 1998, four in 1996, three in 1995 and five in 1994.


Customs seizes yarn worth Rs 46 cr
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 31
The Customs Commissionerate at Amritsar today achieved a breakthrough in busting a major racket by seizing polyester yarn worth Rs 46.72 crore from the godown of a leading transporter at Ludhiana.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.J.S. Kahlon, told newsmen here that working on specific information, the anti-smuggling branch of the commissionerate raided the premises of a transporter firm, Delhi Punjab Goods Carrier Pvt Ltd, and seized 38,930 kg of imported polyester yarn from its godowns.

Mr Kahlon said on investigation it was revealed that the transport company produced goods receipts without any proof of the same being that of legally imported yarn, was booked from Surat on fake invoices in the name of Saheli Vastra Udhyog Ltd, Karanj in Surat district. It was found that the company had closed down in 1999.

The Customs Department found that B.B. Gupta, a yarn broker, had allegedly booked the said yarn from Surat and used the name of various non-existing firms as consigners or consignees for the smooth transport of the imported goods. He said the yarn was actually diverted from two companies based at Surat, of which one was 100 per cent export oriented and the other one had the imported yarn without payment of customs duty under the advance licensing scheme.

The department has taken action under the Customs Act, 1962, and is trying to nab the persons involved in the racket of evading customs duty.


Year of controversies
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 31
Year 2002, which started with the ouster of Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia from the Vice-Chancellorship of Punjabi University following a sustained campaign by a joint action committee (JAC) formed by varsity teachers, turned a full circle with the new incumbent in the chair unceremoniously replacing a prominent JAC member from Registrarship with his own relative.

The oust Ahluwalia campaign, which had picked up momentum in the beginning of the year, was put on fast forward mode after the swearing in of the new Congress Government in February. Earlier the JAC, had launched the campaign to demand Mr Ahluwalia’s ouster following a complaint by varsity Fine Arts student Saru Rana that Mr Ahluwalia had attempted to rape her.

Even though a police case was registered against him, Mr Ahluwalia declined to quit his post on his own and went underground rendering the varsity headless. A few months after he was sworn in, state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh recommended the sack of Mr Ahluwalia to the Governor, who gave his assent to the move. Following this, bureaucrat N.S. Rattan was appointed interim Vice-Chancellor.

Mr Rattan’s period started with the JAC and anti-Ahluwalia members being “rewarded” with plum posts. JAC convener Prof U.C. Singh was made Dean, Academics, while another prominent member Dr K.S. Sidhu was made Registrar. Besides other teachers belonging to the anti-Ahluwalia lobby were given key posts. In the meantime the government constituted a Search Committee to recommend a new Vice-Chancellor.

Mr Swaran Singh Boparai was appointed as the regular Vice-Chancellor. Immediately on taking over he announced that his endeavour would be to set international standards in the varsity, besides working in a non-partisan manner. Dr Boparai had first to deal with a huge number of files which needed to be cleared due to the earlier interim arrangement. This consumed a lot of his initial time of working of the Vice-Chancellor.

Though Mr Boparai had all along averred that he was functioning in a non-partisan manner the appointment of Dr Sidhu as Registrar came in for criticism from teachers, particularly belonging the rival United Teachers Front (UTF) group. The VC removed the Registrar without serving him any notice in December following a demand for the same by the UTF, which alleged that he was acting in a partisan manner and was only moving cases of his own group — Teachers United Front (TUF). The Vice-Chancellor replaced Dr Sidhu with his own relative — Dr Param Bakshish Singh.

Other major issues in the varsity this year included a raging controversy over the fate of information technology institutes opened by former VC J.S. Ahluwalia. While Mr Rattan had at one time said these institutes would have to go, protests by students studying in the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology saw the varsity adopting a softer attitude towards them. The students were told that they would be allowed to continue their studies. However, the varsity was still to decide on what would be the final fate of the institute and whether the students would be absorbed in varsity departments as envisaged earlier.

On the academic front, the year was quite dull with no major seminar or other academic activity being conducted in a varsity. The highlights included a seminar on national integration which was attended by the UPSC Chairman. This was a major let down from the flurry of academic activity witnessed in the past few years. The top level administration was still to be finetuned with a few people holding a number of responsibilities.


PNB widens retail segment operations
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 31
Punjab National Bank has decided to widen the range of offerings under the retail segment under the PNB - Fin basket scheme under which housing and personal segment loans will be disbursed through simplified procedures. which would include softer interest rates, lower margins and insignificant processing fee irrespective of the loan amount.

Addressing a press conference here after presiding over a function in which the Bhadson branch of the bank was declared its best branch, General Manager U S Bhargava said various concessions had been offered under the scheme, including free housing insurance, waiver of upfront fee and documentation fee besides rebate interest under certain conditions.

Mr Bhargava said the bank was quite near to achieving complete computerisation figures with 460 out its 487 branches in Punjab being computerised. He said in Chandigarh - B region, all the bank branches had been computerised.

Referring to the bank’s Centralised Banking Solutions (CBS) project, Mr Bhargava informed that the bank had planned to interconnect 28 branches, including seven in Amritsar, seven in Jalandhar, 10 in Ludhiana, one in Phagwara and three in Chandigarh by the end of the current financial year. He said this project had already been implemented in nine branches, including seven pilot projects and was expected to be implemented in 200 more branches during this financial year.

Mr Bhargava while disclosing the net profit of the bank, said for the half year ending 30-9-2002 it was Rs 218 crore as compared to Rs 151 crore during the corresponding period last year.

Earlier the bank General Manager awarded trophies to Bhadson branch Manager Rajeev Puri and all the staff members of the bank.

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