Thursday, January 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kidney racket: IMA seeks impartial probe
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, January 15
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to ensure the arrest of all persons involved in the multi-crore kidney racket and that the investigations into the case are impartial.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Surinder Singla, state secretary of the IMA, said resentment prevailed among doctors over the arrest of the doctors in the case while as per reports, several politicians, middlemen and government officials were also involved in the scam. Dr Singla said the IMA was of the view that if the persons from other categories were not arrested without any delay, it might adversely affect their profession. He demanded that the government should give proof of impartial investigation in the scam by arresting the other guilty persons.

JALANDHAR: While criticising the police for arresting two doctors in the kidney scam, the state chapter of IMA has demanded that the state government should order a CBI probe into the whole issue to unveil the involvement of government officials and politicians in the scam. Addressing a joint press conference here today, the chairman of the legal cell of the state IMA, Dr O.P.S. Kande, and its senior vice-president, Dr Yash Sharma, said the arrest of Dr P.K. Sareen and Dr O.P. Mahajan in kidney scam had adversely affected the morale of the medical fraternity.

HOSHIARPUR: The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has decided to launch a statewide awareness campaign on “voluntary organ donation” in collaboration with various voluntary organisations and social activists. This was stated in a press note issued here by Dr Hardeep Singh, president and Dr Ajay Bagga, publicity secretary of the association.

PATHANKOT: The local unit of the IMA has deplored the Punjab Government for arresting Dr P.K. Sareen and Dr O.P. Mahajan in the kidney scam and demanded the release of the doctors and withdrawal of the cases registered against them. This was stated by Dr Jasbir Oberoi, president of the local unit of the association.

PHAGWARA: The Medical Laboratory Technicians Association (Medical and Health Department), Punjab, will stay away from the agitation to save the culprits in the multi-crore kidney racket. Mr Jhirmal Singh Bhinder, spokesman for the association, has urged the organisations which had started agitation to let the law take its course and guilty face the punishment.


Sikh group opposes NCERT references
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The NCERT syllabus book “Medieval India” prescribed for class XI mentions that Guru Nanak “renounced” the world contrary to the Sikh philosophy and Guru Gobind Singh is described as “a devotee of Goddess Chandi” despite the faith accepting no “avtar” between God and humanity.

These facts were brought to light by the Sikh Core Group member, Dr M.S. Rahi, before the group in a meeting held here yesterday.

Dr Rahi said, on page 175 of the book on the Sikh revolt against the Mughals there was a reference that says “The fact that these were all non-Islamic communities naturally raises the question whether these can be described as Hindu resistance movements.”

He said the implication that all the non-Islamic communities were Hindus was an anti-thesis of independent Sikh identity.

He said the mention of renunciation about Guru Nanak on page 125 was alien to the Sikh theological thought. Dr Rahi said the reference to Guru Gobind Singh on page 178 also goes against Sikhism which does not accept any intermediary between God and man.

Members of the group urged the SGPC President to take up the matter of distortion of the Sikh history and doctrine and take a lead in countering the recurring attempts allegedly being engineered through the NCERT books to subvert the fundamental teachings of Sikhism.

The group asked the SGPC to constitute a standing committee of scholars to monitor publications for ensuring authentic output.

It recommended that the committee should screen all textbooks prescribed in educational institutions and elsewhere and suggest rectification, if any.

The group has also sought a statement from the SGPC President against the distortion of history. The group supported the Punjab Government for filing a petition in the Supreme Court on the issues recommended by the group.

Appreciating efforts of the Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti for the publication of the Nanakshahi calendar, it urged Jathedar Vedanti to introduce the calendar soon.


Dosanjh asks Indians to check corruption
Varinder Singh & Ashok Kaura
Tribune Reporters

Phillaur, January 15
Holding corrupt system responsible for all ills, former British Columbia premier Ujjal Dosanjh today suggested that if people of India wanted foreign investment and all-round development of their country, they should create a congenial atmosphere by individually resolving on Republic Day that they would neither give or take bribe in future.

Mr Dosanjh, accompanied by senior Congress leader Umrao Singh, was speaking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Parliamentary Secretary, Cooperation. He said NRIs and foreigners were eager to invest in India, but what generally prevented them was the “corruption-ridden” system. “All of us should resolve to make the country free of corruption. What all of us need is to adopt a positive approach and develop national spirit,” said Mr Dosanjh.

Expressing his satisfaction over India’s achievement in the field of information technology and science, Mr Dosanjh said the country’s development in the field was encouraging but at the same time vices such as corruption, pollution, unemployment, lack of drinking water and education had increased manifold and were putting hurdles in the way of all-round development.

He said to make India a corruption-free country, the biggest need of the hour was to launch a mass movement of the stature of the freedom struggle. “Mere blame on the system cannot bring the change. What we need is to change ourselves. For this, another mass struggle is needed,” observed Mr Dosanjh.


Dual citizenship announcement hailed

Fatehgarh Sahib, January15
Mr Gurdev Singh Mann, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) from Canada, today welcomed Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s announcement of dual citizenship for the persons of Indian origin.

Speaking to mediapersons at the residence of Jagmeet Singh Bawa, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee Member (PPCC), in Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Mann, who had participated in the first “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas” function, where the inaugural address was delivered by the PM, said the long-standing demand of NRIs and People of Indian Origin (PIOs) for the grant of dual citizenship had been fructified by the Indian government.

Mr Mann, who had gone to Canada in 1970 from Chowkiman village of Ludhiana district, said the Indian government’s step would boost the NRIs to invest more in their motherland. He said NRIs wanted to invest in India and earn profit, which would provide employment to Indians and raise their standard of living.

Mr Mann informed that at the “Pravasi Bhartiya Divas” function around 50 per cent participants had connections with Punjab. He said 109 NRIs from Canada had come to India for participation in the function, where 1,700 NRIs from the various countries of world had reached.

He said in his delegation besides him L M Sabbharwal, Narinder Bhullar, Harpal Singh and S S Sekhon had come to India on the invitation of the Indian government.

Mr Mann, who has manufacturing business in Canada, said at a recent conference of NRIs held in New Delhi, Punjab could not present its case appropriately.

He said like Andhra Pardesh, Punjab, too, should present its case before the NRIs strongly and attract them for investment. He said in the absence of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Cabinet minister Avtar Henry was present there.

Mr Mann, who is also president of North York Sikh Temple, Toronto, said most Sikhs abroad were of the opinion that the SGPC was not only a religious body but it had also become political as political interference in its matters had increased.

He said compared to India, the message of Sikhism is spreading in foreign countries in a strong manner. People are invited to gurdwaras abroad for talking about humanity but not about political matters. He said gurdwaras, which are controlled by Pro-Khalistan ideologues, are mostly talking about politics and had forgotten the real message of Guru Nanak Dev.

Mr Mann said there was a lot of difference in the election process of India and Canada, as local population elected its leaders there, not like India where political parties are authorised for candidature of any candidate.

He said there is real democracy in Canada and candidates are elected according to the will of people. UNI


Politicking hurdle in report follow-up: Johl
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 15
An Adviser to the Panel constituted by the State government on agriculture, Dr S.S. Johl, today said the Centre was not implementing his report on crop diversification in Punjab due to political reasons.

Talking to newsmen here after attending the ninth International Punjabi Development Conference at Punjabi University here, Dr Johl said he was at a loss as to why the report was not being implemented as the Union Agriculture, Food and Planning ministries were fully in agreement with the measures submitted by him.

Dr Johl said he suspected that the report may be implemented in some other state due to political reasons. He, however, said this would not have any relevance as he had submitted the report with Punjab in mind as the State needed to get out of the wheat - paddy crop rotation. He said the cooperation of the Central agencies was necessary for this to happen.

The agricultural expert said in Punjab there was an urgent need to cultivate pulses and oil seeds. He said the state government was presently spending nearly Rs 5,000 crore in procurement and storage of wheat and paddy. He said farmers going in for pulses could be given security at a fraction of Rs 5,000 crore. He said besides this the state could go in for ‘basmati’ rice variety, maize, mustard and vegetable cultivation in different pockets where these were most suited. He said he was not in favour of sugarcane cultivation because it reduced the ground water supply tremendously.

He said as far as cultivation of citrus fruit was concerned, he favoured entering into an arrangement with Pepsi under which it could supply grown up plants which it had kept in its nursery for four years to farmers. He said side by side there was a need to come up with agro-processing units to make the whole process economically viable.

Earlier, while addressing the seminar on “ Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture — Global Context”, Dr Johl said it was unfortunate that the state had not been able to devise a language policy even after 37 years of its reorganisation. He said different proposals had been bandied about since years with there still being confusion on when English should be introduced in schools. Former Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor Dr J .S. Grewal while speaking on the occasion said Punjabi language expanded in the17th century through the “Vars” of Bhai Gurdas in which the social and cultural life of the region were reflected. He said a new form of Punjabi literature took shape in the 17th century - the Janamsakhi. 


Irrigation scam: probe officer changed
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 15
The Punjab Government has changed the officer inquiring into the multi-crore irrigation and drainage scam three weeks after the registration of a case against eight officials of the department at Gidderbaha police station and the handing over of the investigation to Mr H.S. Sidhu, SP (Crime), Chandigarh.

Official sources said the DIG (Ferozepore Range), Mr R.P. Meena had now been appointed the inquiry officer. Mr Meena had given the task of pursuing the investigation to Mr Munish Chawla, a SP-rank officer of Ferozepore district.

Though the exact reason for changing the inquiry officer could not be known, sources revealed that the Punjab Government was examining the role of certain politicians of the then SAD-BJP combine government into the scam. Mr A.A. Siddiqi, Officer on Special Duty (Law and Order), had issued the order for changing the investigating officer.

A criminal case was registered against at least eight senior officials of the Irrigation and Drainage Department under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act at Gidderbaha police station on December 14 for their alleged involvement in siphoning off of crores of rupees while executing various projects pertaining to the eradication of waterlogging in Muktsar and other districts during SAD-BJP rule.

Though no formal arrest had been made so far, those against whom cases had been registered included Mr Chanan Singh Kahlon, retired Chief Engineer, Drainage, Mr B.S. Virdi, Superintending Engineer, Gidderbaha drainage circle and drawing branch, Mr Gursharan Singh Wasan, Executive Engineer (Floods), Mr A.K. Batta, Executive Engineer, Mr Rajinder Singh, Sub-divisional Officer, Mr V.K. Mittal, and two junior engineers. One Chief Engineer of the drawing branch of the Drainage and Irrigation Department had also been booked.

The case under Sections 409, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 13 (D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against them at the local police station after they were found guilty in the inquiry conducted by Mr R.K. Arora, Chief Engineer (Vigilance and Quality Control), Irrigation Department, Punjab. Mr Arora conducted the inquiry a few years ago during the SAD-BJP combine’s government in Punjab.

However, the sources pointed out that though the investigation had been handed over to a senior police official, it could not make any progress as most of the accused had secured stay orders against their arrest from a local court. A section of the politicians belonging to the previous SAD-BJP combine government had been making efforts to save the accused from police remands as they feared that it could embarrass them.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that though the inquiry indicted a number of senior officials of the Irrigation and Drainage Department for bunglings worth crores of rupees in various works executed from 1997 to 1999, they were never taken to task allegedly due to their “connections” with their then political masters. Instead of registering criminal cases against them, the then government retained them on important posts and every time they managed to get the matter hushed up.

According to the documents in possession of The Tribune, these officials had been found guilty of indulging in making exaggerated estimates, committing irregularities, using substandard material, making overpayments to the contractors and allowing them to defraud the state exchequer to the tune of crores of rupees while executing the work pertaining to the installation of deep tubewells along side the Sirhind feeder, the construction of an aqueduct at the Abul Khurana drain and an aqueduct at the Wahabwala drain.

The officials concerned had also extended undue benefits to the tune of about Rs 1 crore to the contractor who executed the project. Even the qualification of the contractors for this job was not ascertained, tenders were not given wide publicity and they were given payment of earth ramps worth more than Rs 1 crore which was not mentioned in the tenders floated for the same job.

Mr Meena, when contacted, while declining to comment on the progress of investigation into the scam, pointed out that so far no arrest had been made in this connection.


29 Punjab IAS, PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The following 29 IAS/PCS officers were given fresh postings/transfers orders in Punjab today:

Mrs Geetika Kalha is now Secretary, Defence Services Welfare; Dr Swarn Singh is Secretary, Planning; Mr Satish Chandra is Director, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in place of Dr G.Vajralingam, who is appointed as Director, Treasuries and Accounts, vice Mr S.K. Sandhu, who becomes Director, Industries.

Mr Sukh Pal Singh Gill is Special Secretary, Health and Family Welfare; Mr R.L. Kalsia is Managing Director, Sugarfed; Mr Jagjit Puri is Managing Director, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, and Mr R.L. Kapoor is Director, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration.

Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal goes as Special Secretary, Medical Education and Research; Mr Neelkanth S. Avhad is SDM, Amritsar-II, vice Mr Manpreet Singh posted as SDM, Sangrur. Mr Arvinder Singh Bains is Director, Land Records, Settlement and Consolidation and Land Acquisition, Jalandhar; Mr Darshan Singh is ADC, Ferozepore; Mr Mohinder Singh is Additional Director (Admn), Information and Public Relations and also Chairman-cum-MD, Punjab Film and News Corporation.

Mr Pirthi Chand, on return from deputation to the UT Administration, is now posted Additional Secretary, Vigilance; Mr Gopal Krishan is ADC, Kapurthala; Mr Vinod Kumar Bhalla is Additional Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice; Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu is SDM, Garhshankar.

Mr Surinder Kumar Sharma is Assistant Commissioner (Grievances and General), Kapurthala; Mr Sukhvinder Singh is SDM, Rampura Phul; Mr Jai Pal Singh is SDM, Dera Baba Nanak and Mr A.P.S. Virk is Secretary, Examination, PPSC; Mr Jaspal Mittal is SDM, Khanna; Mr G.P.S. Sahota is SDM, Mansa; Mr Ravinder Kumar is SDM, Khamanon, while Mr Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa is Assistant Commissioner (General and Grievances), Sangrur.

Mr Dharminder Pal, under transfer, is directed to join his new place of posting immediately, says the transfer orders issued by the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra.


Girl’s father manhandles teacher
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 15
The alleged sexual harassment case of a Physical Education college students today took a new turn with the father of another student, who had also in a fresh complaint accused the teacher of sexual harassment, turning up at the college and manhandling the accused teacher.

A girl student of M.A. Physical Education (second year) had accused a college teacher of sexual harassment some days back. Following this the state DPI, (Colleges), had formed a committee headed by the Deputy Director, Colleges, and consisting of Principals of three other leading colleges of the city, to inquire into the incident.

It was during the visit of this committee that another girl student had submitted a similar application against the college teacher accusing him of the same offence.

Today even as the students observed a strike, the situation became surcharged when the father of the second girl came to the college premises with his daughter. Sources said the teacher who had been charged with sexual harassment tried to go out of the college in his car but was stopped from doing so. Following this the teacher was dragged out of his car and manhandled by the father of the student, sources add.

When contacted the teacher told TNS that he had brought the matter to the notice of the college Principal, Ms Indu Sarwal, and that the police had also visited the college, He, however, denied that he had submitted an application against the father of the girl student who had manhandled him even though sources said he had done so.

The teacher has all along being claiming that factionalism in the college was responsible for the complaints lodged against him by the girl students.

Meanwhile, the students of the college have decided to further intensify their agitation under the banner of the Punjab Students Union. Union Secretary Dharmender Singh Patran said besides boycotting the classes today, the students of the college would hold a three-day dharna from tomorrow.

He demanded that the teacher concerned should be suspended immediately.

College Principal Indu Sarwal when contacted said she was not aware of the incident. She said the four-member committee had investigated into both the complaints of sexual harassment and that a report in this context had been prepared. However, she, however, said she did not know any details of the report which was to be submitted to the DPI, Colleges.



Call to end PSEB’s monopoly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Representatives of industrial associations and farmers’ organisations of Punjab, who had gathered at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today for a round table meeting with Mr Gajendra Haldea, Chairman of the expert group on power sector reforms constituted by the Punjab Government, advocated ending the PSEB’s monopoly over the power sector. They were also in agreement with Mr Haldea about allowing private parties in the power sector to encourage competition so that the consumer got quality power at a reasonable rate.

“It was expected that the industry would welcome the power sector reforms but I am thrilled that farmers have also welcomed the move,” Mr Haldea told TNS later. While welcoming the move to open up the power sector to private parties, participants, however, cautioned against increasing the tariff beyond the paying capacity of consumers.

Mr Manjit Singh Mehrauli, president of a sarpanch Association from Ropar district, said while determining the tariff, distinction should be made between small and big farmers. Farmers having less than 10 acres of land should be considered small farmers and the agricultural tariff should be kept low for them while no such concession should be offered for farmers.

Mr B.S. Mann, leader of the BKU and a former MP, while welcoming competition in the power sector, said the government should continue subsidising electricity supplied to the farm sector. Subsidies being offered to the sector was being blown out of proportions by various quarters, he said, adding that at a meeting of the WTO, the Government of India had itself admitted that the farmers of India were actually victims of negative subsidy. Similar admissions were also made by Mr Narasimha Rao in Parliament when he was the Prime Minister, Mr Mann said. He added that power lost due to line losses and thefts was passed on as agricultural consumption by the PSEB staff.

Speaking on behalf of the industry, Mr Satish K. Dhanda of the Engineering Export Promotion Council, said the PSEB should be held accountable for the additional tariff imposed on the consumers to cover up the deficits resulting from line losses. The EEPC had decided to file a PIL to recover the tariff passed on to the consumers by the PSEB illegally, he said.

Mr S.K. Bijlani of the CII said in view of the liberalisation of the economy, power tariff should also be made internationally competitive. His opinion was also echoed by other members of the industry who said as the tariff in China and Taiwan was much lower than the existing tariff in India. Indian goods would not be able to compete with goods coming from these countries unless it was brought down.

The participants, be they from the farming side or from the industry, were also without exception critical about alleged corruption by the PSEB staff and their lack of willingness to work. The farmers were also vocal about lack of adequate supply of power to the agricultural sector.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to get the feedback from consumers and incorporate their suggestions in the report which will be submitted by the expert group to the state government by month-end, Ms Vini Mahajan, MD, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, said. She said while the employees unions of the PSEB were opposing reforms, the consumers were found to be in favour of a change and now it would be up to the state government to weigh its options.

Earlier, Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Power and Irrigation, laid down the parameters for discussions at the meeting. He said that reforms were being initiated to ensure quality power, more power generation and the like. Mr Sudhir Mittal, Chairman of the PSEB, and Mr Pradeep Singh, a member of the expert group, also participated in the discussions.

Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director of CRRID, read out the welcome address and also intervened in the discussions on the issue of capacity addition.


Pollution board orders closure of defaulting units
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 15
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided to come down hard on industries who have failed to instal Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) and Air Pollution Control Devices (APCDs) despite the long time given them to do so and has ordered closure of 34 rice shellers, 11 saila plants and 63 brick kilns.

The Pollution Control Board had given time till September last year to large scale industries, till November to small scale industries and till December 31 to the rest of the industry to comply with pollution norms.

A recent survey by the Board revealed that many rice shellers, saila plants and brick kilns had not complied with the norms and it has been decided to take action against them. Board Chairman Satish Chandra disclosed that among those shellers who had applied for installation of APCDs the rules had been simplified so that they could go in for installation of the machinery required from a panel of 23 companies instead of the earlier system of earmarking only one company for the purpose.

Mr Chandra this step had been taken on the request of the Punjab Rice Millers Association whose President Tarsem Saini had submitted a representation in this regard.

He said the rate of installation of the machinery had also come down from Rs 85,000 earlier to Rs 50,000.

Meanwhile action is also being taken against 11 Saila plants who process wet rice. As far as brick kilns are concerned, as many as 63 of them have still to instal APCDs.

Mr Chandra said as far as solid waste management was concerned, a survey had revealed that as many as twelve Minicipal Committees did not have land on which sold waste could be deposited. He said as many as 60 other Municipal Committees did have land but it was not adequate for the purpose.

He said as far as the 25 Nagar Panchayats in the State were concerned, they were presently throwing garbage along roadsides or along canals.

He said the Secretary, Local Government would be approached to assign land to both the Municipal Committees and Nagar Panchayats to ensure proper management of solid waste.


PSEB files case against ADGP
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 15
The PSEB has filed a case before the DGP, Punjab, to recover the amount incurred by the former ADGP (Vigilance), PSEB, Mr S.C. Jain, on his official vehicle during his four-month stint in the board. Sources told the correspondent that the current ADGP (Vigilance), PSEB, Mr Lalit Bhatia, has written to the DGP with regard to the recovery of about Rs 50,000 from Mr Jain, who is now posted as ADGP, Railway Police. The amount was allegedly withdrawn by Mr Jain against petroleum expenses for his official Gypsy beyond the prescribed limit of the Finance Department.

As per the direction of the Finance Department, Punjab, issued on September 22, 1999, to all heads of departments in the state no officer was entitled to spend more than Rs 7,000 per month on petrol for his official vehicle. The direction clearly states that any officer exceeding the prescribed limit would be held responsible for the increased expenditure. However, in gross violation of the above said regulations the former ADGP, allegedly spent about Rs 70,000 on petrol for his official Gypsy.

The present ADGP Mr Lalit Bhatia, who has prepared a report on the anomaly, has alleged that the former ADGP had moved the Gypsy many times without the approved tour programmes. According to a log book, the ADGP made many trips to the Bathinda and Ropar Thermal Plants but no approved programme could be located for the same. In addition to this the Gypsy and the car, which were attached with the former ADGP, were shown to have moved in different directions at the same time.

The ADGP, Mr Bhatia, was not available for comments. When contacted on telephone the attendants at his office said he had gone out of station. The Secretary, PSEB, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, when contacted on telephone, however, admitted that the case in this connection had been filed by Mr Bhatia.


Punjab has ‘no surplus water’
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 15
Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, a former Union Minister and senior Congress leader, has said Punjab had no surplus water, hence the construction of the SYL canal should not be taken up. She was addressing mediapersons at the prize-distribution function of a local school.

Ms Bhinder criticised SAD President Parkash Singh Badal for allegedly misguiding the people of Punjab regarding the construction of the canal.

She alleged that Mr Badal had a secret alliance with the late Devi Lal and accepted Rs 100 crore from him for the construction of the SYL canal.

She said Mr Badal spoke about the interests of Punjab only when in the opposition and forgot the same when in power.

Regarding the failure of the Punjab Government to fulfil electoral promises, Ms Bhinder, who was the chairperson of the party’s manifesto committee, said the Congress government had been given the mandate for five years to fulfil those promises. She said the state government would observe the next financial year as year of development.


BJP supports govt on SYL

Ropar, January 15
The Punjab unit of the BJP today supported the Congress government on the SYL issue in the suit filed in the Supreme Court earlier this week.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Avinash Jaiswal said the state BJP would extend its full cooperation to the government on this issue for getting justice for the state.

He criticised the government for late filing of the case in the Supreme Court.

In reply to the a question, Mr Jaiswal opposed the construction of the SYL in Punjab as the state had no surplus water.

The Punjab Government had pleaded before the apex court that it could not complete the canal.

Mr Jaiswal offered mediation to resolve the SYL issue by arranging a meeting of Punjab and Haryana Chief Ministers with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. PTI


CM’s poll case hearing on Jan 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Initiating the arguments on the issue of maintainability of a petition challenging the elections of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, from the Patiala Assembly constituency, his counsel today claimed that the plea did not disclose any cause of action.

Arguing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, counsel added that the petitioner had failed to state how the Chief Minister had used the services of Class I gazetted officer Bharat Inder Singh Chahal.

Refuting the allegations that the Chief Minister’s wife had sought help of certain officers, counsel argued that she was not an election agent. After hearing the arguments for almost an hour, the High Court asked the counsel for the parties to define the term “agent”. The case will now come up for further hearing on January 22.

It may be recalled that Harkirat Singh — a voter from Patiala — had earlier alleged that the Chief Minister had used the services of Mr Chahal and the documentary evidence, appended along with the petition, proved his role beyond any shadow of doubt.

He had further alleged that his role during the elections included extending hospitality to electronic and print media after contacting the journalists. The petitioner had added that Mr Chahal was, subsequently, awarded by the respondent for the services he had rendered.

He had also claimed that the Chief Minister had used a helicopter during his election campaign, but the expenses incurred in the process had not been specified. Claiming the use of the helicopter for visiting his constituency and for dropping hand bills, the petitioner had added that an expenditure of approximately Rs 3,70,000 was incurred in the process.

Secretaries’ hearing on Jan 29

Taking up a bunch of petitions filed by Panchayat Secretaries sought to be terminated by the Punjab Government, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court fixed January 29 as the next date of hearing in the case after the state of Punjab sought time to file additional affidavit to the replication by the petitioners.

The Secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of total 909 Secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners had added that the same was illegal and arbitrary. Giving details, counsel had further added on the petitioners’ behalf that the Secretaries were appointed in the department concerned by a duly constituted Departmental Selection Committee.


Police party attacked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 15
A police party headed by Head Constable Pargat Singh, of Chhehrata police station was allegedly attacked by Bhupinder Singh, alias Mintu, a resident of Bhalla colony, here last evening.

According to a complaint lodged at Chheharta police station here, Mr Pargat Singh alleged that he was attacked by Mintu along with his brother Davinder Singh and two women and injured SPO Balwinder Singh. He said they went there on the complaint of Daljit Singh of Kartar Nagar who had some dispute with the accused. The police has registered the case against four persons, including the two women. While Davinder Singh has been arrested Mintu was still absconding. Meanwhile, an unidentified passenger of an auto-rickshaw was crushed to death when a speeding tractor-trailer at Atari road. 


Red & White Bravery Awards for 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Nine persons from Punjab and Haryana were honoured by Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Punjab PWD Minister, at the 11th Red and White Bravery Awards ceremony held here today.

The Red and White Bravery Awards, instituted by Godfrey Phillips India Ltd in 1990, honour those unique men and women, who emerge stronger under adversity and give for themselves selflessly, thus setting up example for others to follow. The awards are presented in two categories — physical bravery and social acts of courage. In each category winners are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals along with cash awards and certificates.

The proud recipients of the awards in Punjab this year are Mr Amar Nath and Mr Ishvinder Singh for physical bravery and Mrs Kavita Singh, Mr B. Bedi and Mr Sat Paul Bansal for social acts of courage.

For Haryana, the proud recipients of the awards are Dr jagdeep Agarwal, and Late Mr Dharambir Singh for physical bravery and mr hans Khadi of Gram Udyog Samiti and Mrs Sheela Devi for social acts of courage.

According to Mr Ram Poddar, CEO, Godfrey Phillips (I) Ltd, “The Red and White Bravery Awards are part of Godfrey Phillips India Ltd’s good corporate citizen initiative to build a braver and more social responsible Indian society. 


Locker of Pherurai’s kin found empty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 15
A team of the Jagraon police today broke open a locker hired by close relatives of former SSP, Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, at Oriental Bank of Commerce branch in Bassian village. They found it empty.

The locker taken jointly in the name of Lal Singh, Gurtej Singh and Gurmail Singh, father, and brothers respectively of the former cop was broken in the presence of Pherurai’s advocate and an officer of the manufacturing company of the locker besides the bank officials.

Interestingly, the bank records stated that the locker was last operated on September 12, but the year was not mentioned. Before this date, the locker was operated on October 15, 1999. Meanwhile, a Jagraon court today extended the judicial remand of Gurcharan Singh Pherurai to January 29.


3-day course for PPSC members
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 15
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) today announced that as part of the revamping of the selection system, it was conducting a three-day capsule course to update its members on the latest interviewing techniques.

However, one of the members of the Commission, Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla when contacted said no training was to be given to any member during a visit by a team of experts from the Services Selection Centre (East) and that only discussions were scheduled to be held with them.

A PPSC press note said a four-member team of the Services Selection Centre would hold the capsule course from January 21 to 23.


Demand to end caste-based quota
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 15
Mr Suresh Goyal, organiser of the General Samaj Party, in a press note issued here today said the caste-based reservations should be discontinued as they have failed to fulfil their purpose.

Mr Goyal said the successive governments had been cheating people by extending caste-based quota. He said the present reservation policy ignored merit and compromised on quality to promote the interests of a section of people.

Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, who had unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections from the Bathinda seat and had been placed at the sixth place, said the party was floated to raise the voice of the people who had been affected by the discriminatory rerservation policy.

He said even as the party was launched barely one month before the Punjab Assembly elections held in last February, it got enough votes.


42 train passengers fined
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 15
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) today conducted surprise checks in different trains here and apprehended 42 passengers for travelling in the coaches reserved for women and for smoking in trains.

A RPF team, led by the Assistant Security Commissioner, Ms Kamaljot Brar, conducted checks in the Barouni Express, Deluxe Express and Dehra Dun Express here this afternoon and apprehended 39 passengers for travelling in coaches reserved for women, two for smoking in trains and one for travelling on a foot board of a train. They were later produced before the magistrate, who fined them Rs 100 each.


Batala power supply erratic
Our Correspondent

Batala, January 15
Residents of Mohalla, Khanda, Khola, Kapoori Gate, Mian Mohalla and other areas of Punjab State Electricity Board’s south subdivision area at Batala have been facing erratic power supply for the last 10 days.

The residents say power supply remains cut for 14 to 16 hours.


Councillors come to blows
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 15
Two municipal councillors came to blows during a meeting chaired by municipal council president Pawan Kumar Matti here today.

Out of the 21 councillors 18 attended the meeting. The two councillors, exchanged blows when the resolution on stray pig menace and cleanliness contract, was being discussed. After the meeting, both councillors again exchanged blows in fron of the office of the municipal council. The issue was not reported to the police.


Cold claims 10th life in city
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 15
A beggar died due to cold on Railway Road in the city last night. The deceased, who was nearly 60 years old, was physically challenged could not be identified.

A post-mortem examination of the deceased was conducted at the Civil Hospital. The Kotwali police, after completing the legal formalities, handed over the body to a local NGO, Sahara Jan Seva, which cremated the body.

The beggar was the 10th person who died due to cold in the city during the past two weeks.


184 voters’ names to be struck off
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 15
The Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab has directed the Returning Officer here to delete 184 names from the revised electoral rolls.

The action has reportedly been taken on a report submitted by Mr Sanjay Kumar, Labour Commissioner, who was appointed Observer to examine complaints regarding fresh additions or alterations in the rolls for the municipal elections.

Sources said 120 names had been deleted in Ward No. 30 only. Besides, 150 claims in Ward 8, which had been rejected earlier, have now been accepted under directions from the Chief Electoral Officer. The issue had led to violence among different political groups, including that of BJP Councillor Satish Narang. BJP workers had allegedly assaulted a Congress worker during the scrutiny of the claims on December 10.


Civic bodies to get surplus cars
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 15
The Local Bodies Department has decided to re-allocate surplus cars and other vehicles lying idle with improvement trusts in the state to the various civic bodies.

The department, in a recent communique, issued to all improvement trusts, had asked the latter to submit details of surplus vehicles. Keeping in view the fact that most of the senior PCS officers, who were given additional charge of administrators of trusts, have been provided with official cars. The government has decided to reallocate about 24 cars of the various civic bodies.


2 kidnapped over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 15
Two persons were injured and kidnapped by four persons in a land dispute at Rasulpur Kalan village in Majitha police district late last night.

The police has registered a case of attempt to murder and kidnapping but till the filing of the report it was unable to nab the culprits.

According to the police, Dara Singh and his friend had a dispute with assailants, Amanpreet Singh, Gurpartap Singh, Balwinder Singh and Harshpreet Singh.

The four accused attacked Dara Singh and his friend with a double-barrel gun injuring them. Then they kidnapped them and could not be traced as yet.


Rice mill MD booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 15
The district police has booked the managing director of a rice mill for allegedly defrauding the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation here last evening.

According to a complaint lodged at the Sultanwind police station, the manager of the corporation alleged that the rice mill had signed an agreement for the milling of paddy in 2000. He said the mill had not made supplies worth more than Rs 4 crore to the corporation.


8 booked for raising illegal colonies
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 15
The Kharar police has registered cases against eight persons under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, in connection with the unauthorised colonies in this area.

According to information, the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA had sent three complaints to the SSP, Ropar, against unauthorised colonies. He has written in his complaint that Kulbir Singh and Narinder Singh, both residents of Patiala, have constructed a colony on 25 kanal and 4 marla of land without permission.

Similarly, Surinder Singh, Ajit Singh and Balwinder Singh, residents of Mundi Kharar village, and Kirpal Singh, Harjeet Singh and Rajinder residents of Jhungian, village, near here, have constructed unauthorised colonies. 

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