Saturday, February 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt instructions ‘violated’
Appointment of Naib Tehsildars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
It is confirmed. Government instructions were violated in the appointment of at least eight naib tehsildars, as per preliminary inquiry conducted by Punjab’s former Financial Commissioner K.S. Janjua into the irregularities committed by IAS officer S.K. Sinha, Commissioner of Patiala Division from 1990 to 1995. The application of at least one candidate was recommended by the then Punjab Chief Minister.

The five-page report says: “In the case of Jaspal Kaur (II), Jaswinder Singh, Moti Lal Sharma, Pardeep Singh, Gurmander Singh, Prem Lala, Mandeep Singh and Sukhjinder Singh, the government instructions were violated. In addition to this irregularity, no posts was available at the relevant time”.

A copy of the report has been handed over to Sector 10 resident Major Harmohinder Singh in compliance with Punjab and Haryana High Court directions. He had filed a petition seeking independent probe preferably by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged irregular in the appointments of naib tehsildars during the tenure of Mr Sinha — now Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister.

The report adds: “The case of Gurmukh Singh was according to the government instructions, but the post was not available.... The cases of Charan Dev Singh Mann, Harsimran Singh and Jaspal Kaur (I) were clear and no irregularities were made”.

Giving details, Mr Janjua, in his report, asserts “Jaspal Kaur (II) was enlisted on February 18, 1993, due to the death of her husband Amarjit Singh... she was to be appointed in Class III at the last rung of the post, but was enlisted as naib tehsildar.... So the appointment was against the instructions as they existed then”.

He adds: “Jaswinder Singh was enlisted on May 3, 1993. According to government instructions, his application was required to be forwarded by the Animal Husbandry Department for consideration, but he was given appointment without complying with these instructions.... Moti Lal Sharma was enlisted as naib tehsildar candidate on May 26, 1993.... His appointment was against instructions dated July 18, 1991 and December 2, 1992 and no posts was available at the time. Moti Lal Sharma was already holding a post in government and should not have been appointed again”.

Regarding Pardeep Singh’s case, Mr Janjua says: “He was enlisted on June 1, 1993. His application was recommended by the then Punjab Chief Minster.... His appointment was also against the government instructions as he was required to be appointed at the lowest rung of Class III post. Moreover, no post was available”.

He further says: “Gurmander Singh was also to be given the post in the lowest rung.... No post was available at the time so the appointment was made against government policy and without a post being available”. In Prem Lata’s matter, “the then Financial Commissioner Revenue had considered her case and rejected her candidature.... No post was available at that time”. Mandeep Singh and Sukhjinder Singh were “also required to be posted at the lowest rung of Class III post as provided in the government instructions. Further, no post was available”.

In his petition filed “in public interest”, Major Singh had alleged that the appointments, as per the inquiry report, had been made in violation of the government norms. He had added that the Mr Sinha, as reported in the media, “had been indicted for the irregular appointments during his tenure as Patiala Commissioner”.

Quoting newspaper reports, he had added that “an inquiry was ordered in the matter to be conducted by then Punjab Financial Commissioner K.S. Janjua. He had “found that serious irregularities had been committed by Mr Sinha in the appointments of naib tehsildars”. The report, he had asserted, was submitted to the Chief Secretary way back in 1997, but no action has been taken against him till date. 


PCS re-examination soon: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Dakala (Patiala), January 31
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said the re-examination of sacked PCS officers would be held soon and that the process to hold the examination had been initiated.

Addressing a gathering after releasing the first dose of semen of Jersey HF breeds, imported from New Zealand, at a state-level function here, the Chief Minister said all candidates who had appeared for the examination earlier would be allowed to appear for the examination. He said his government was committed to making merit the only criterion for selection in the state services and this process was being repeated for this purpose alone.

The Chief Minister also announced that his government was committed to power reforms. He said the government wanted to make the PSEB a vibrant organisation, both in financial and operational terms. He said a survey after he took over revealed that 47 per cent of the power went wasted.

Seeing this state of affairs, the government had formed the Haldea Committee to make a plan to reform the board and the recommendations of the committee would make a positive change in the board besides making it financially independent in the long run, he added.

He also announced that the Union Government had given positive response to the Rs 1280-crore diversification package submitted to it. He said his government had already launched multi-crop multi-year contract farming on three lakh acres as an alternative to wheat and paddy by identifying crops like spring maize sun flower, basmati, barley and caster. He said once the Centre cleared the Rs 1280-crore scheme, the government hoped to extend the diversification to 20 lakh hectares in the state.

Speaking about the quality semen which was formally released today, he said with the use of imported semen, the milk yield in the state was likely to increase by 5,000 kg per lactation. This, he said, was almost double the earlier average yield of 2,500 kg per lactation in cross breeds available in the state.

He said the state government had chalked out a programme to further boost milk productivity. He said under the programme, one village from each block would be developed as an “adarsh gram” with the objective to provide 100 per cent veterinary services in the village. He said the main emphasis of the scheme would be to improve the productivity and quality of milk and milk products besides increasing the awareness level of dairy farming.

Finance Minister Lal Singh, while speaking on the occasion, said due to the economic measures of the state government, the revenue of the state was likely to increase by Rs 1000 crore at the end of the current financial year. Earlier, the Chief Minister also announced a plan to develop Dakala as a model town by creating civic amenities at par with urban cities in the town. He also announced grants for creation of a stadium, dharamshala and cremation ground. The Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Mr D.S. Jaspal, was also present on the occasion. 


CM announces relief for farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced a package of relief measures for farmers. These include release of Rs 20 crore for the disbursement to cane growers, payment of bonus on paddy (Rs 20 per quintal) announced by the Centre and compensation to farmers in border districts, whose crops were damaged due to Army operations.

Addressing a meeting of six different kisan unions, he said the state was seized of the problems faced by the farmers and assured them full support.

Capt Amarinder Singh pointed out that the Asian Development Bank had agreed to provide adequate seed money to the state to implement its “contract-farming” scheme under the diversification of agriculture. NABARD has also agreed, in principle, to sanction a scheme of Rs 100 crore for potable water in the villages.

He asserted that the state government had already issued detailed instructions to all Deputy Commissioners not to be harsh to any farmer for the recovery of agricultural loans due to them.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, Bharti Kisan Union, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, president, Bharti Kisan Union (Mann), Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, president, Kirti Kisan Union, Mr Kulwant Singh, president, Kisan Sabha, Mr Pashora Singh Sidhu, president, Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta group), Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Maghar Singh, Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Manjit Singh, all union leaders.


Sareen, others summoned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 31
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ms Harpreet Kaur, today served summons on two doctors, including Dr P.K. Sareen, prime accused in the kidney scam, and his alleged accomplices, Dr Harsharn Kaur and Dr Varinder Gupta of New Delhi, to appear in the court on February 11 in connection with a decade old case of a kidney transplant. In this case, the recipient had contracted HIV infection after the transplant of kidney of an AIDS patient.

In the early nineties, Dr Sareen and his accomplices had operated upon Balwinder, a resident of Kalsian village. The recipient of the kidney was found to be HIV positive, which was alleged to be due to the negligence of the doctors. The patient died a few days after the transplant.

An inquiry was held by the then Public Grievances Officer, Capt P.S. Shergill. In his report, Captain Shergill had indicted doctors of Kakkar Hospital for transplanting the kidney of an AIDS patient which ultimately resulted in the death of the recipient. The case was registered at the Civil Lines police station on the basis of the inquiry report, in 1995.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the district court to settle the case of November 30, 2001. However, the case could not be decided upon by the deadline fixed by the High Court.

A medical board today asked the Superintendent, Central Jail, to send Dr O.P. Mahajan, suspended Principal, Government Medical College, to the PGI, Chandigarh, immediately.

Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, said the board, comprising four senior professors, had recommended that Mr Mahajan required constant hospitalisation as he was suffering from different ailments.

This was why the board recommended that Dr Mahajan should not be produced in the court today in connection with the kidney racket, he said.

However, Dr Parveen Kumar Sareen, prime accused, appeared in the court under medical supervision. Ms Ranjit Kaur, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) extended the judicial remand of Dr Sareen till February 13. Dr Sareen, earlier admitted in the ICU, has now been shifted to the medical ward of Guru Nanak Hospital.

Dr Gill, however, said Dr Mahajan and Dr Sareen were not being given any preferential treatment. “They are being treated strictly as per human needs and medical ethics,” he said. The record of the hospital was transparent and could be checked by anybody, he added. 


Khanna gets additional charge
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 31
Dr Manmohan Singh Khanna, Professor and Head, Anaesthesia Department, has been given additional charge of the Principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar, and Director-cum-Principal, Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences.

Dr Khanna succeeded Dr O.P. Mahajan who was placed under suspension following busting of infamous multi-crore kidney scam. Dr Khanna is the seniormost professor of the college. 


Sikhs have distinct identity: SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 31
Terming the statement of RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan as uncalled for Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, announced that Sikhs had distinct separate identity.

Addressing a press conference here today Professor Badungar said Mr Sudarshan should have refrained from issuing “misleading statements” that Sikhs were part of the Hindus. He said the rituals and ceremonies of the Sikhs were different from that of the Hindus and these provide them separate identity. He said the dream of the RSS to bring out ‘complete Hindu rashtra’ could not become a reality. He also alleged the apprehensions that implementation of Nanakshahi calendar would create any divide between the Hindus and the Sikhs. Sikh would accept the new calendar which was the need of the hour, he added.

On the Dasam Granth, Professor Badungar said Guru Gobind Singh himself had directed to the Sikhs to bestow the status of “Guruship” to Guru Granth Sahib. He said the Sikhs were following the directives of the Guru and, hence, Guru Granth Sahib was supreme. He had claimed that ‘Dasam Granth’ has shown that Sikhs were part of Hinduism.

Earlier, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, had stated that Sikhs did not need any certificate from the RSS that they had separate distinct identity. He said the five Sikh priests had already given their decision on the issue and nobody should have any doubt over this now.

Sikh organisations today criticised the RSS chief for his statement on Sikhs being part of Hinduism. Organisation like the Khalra Mission Committee demanded the arrest of the RSS chief for hurting sentiments of Sikhs. If that was the case, then anti-Sikh riots in 1984 would not have taken place”, added Mr Balwinder Singh Chabbal, general secretary of the committee.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) demanded the Damdami Taksal and others like Jasbir Singh Rode, former Jathedar, Akal Takht, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, President, Sant Samaj, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, to clarify their stands to Sikh sangat on their secret meetings with the RSS.

Mr Balbir Singh Sodhi, district president of the party, asked if the recent statements of the RSS chief were outcome of these secret meetings. Their silence on the RSS was being suspected, he added.

Meanwhile, the Khalra Mission Committee under Mr Balwinder Singh Chabal, general secretary, defended the Damdami Taksal as the organisation, which gave the first call of Sikh’s separate identity.


Fight ‘Hinduvad’, Mann’s call to Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Mastuana Sahib (Sangrur), January 31
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP from Sangrur and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today called upon Sikhs to elect his party’s candidates to the SGPC general house elections to enable it to preach Sikhism in a big way.

Mr Mann also asked the Sikhs to fight ‘Hinduvad’ as Sant Baba Attar Singhji Maharaj Mastuana Sahib and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale had done. He said fighting ‘Hinduvad’ would be true tribute to Sant Baba Attar Singh whose 76th death anniversary was being observed here.

Mr Mann was addressing people in the Gursagar Mastuana Sahib complex on the second day of three-day annual Jor Mela, held in memory of Sant Attar Singhji Maharaj. He also paid tributes to Sant Attar Singh.

Earlier, the gathering was also addressed by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertiliser. He also paid tributes to Sant Baba Attar Singhji Maharaj.

Mr Mann alleged that courts did not provide justice to the Sikhs and minorities. He mentioned three cases — capital punishment to Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar; acquittal of Mr Sajjan Kumar, a Congress leader, in anti-Sikh riots case; and late Gurdev Singh Kaonke’s case — in support of his claim.

He also criticised Mr K.S. Sudarshan, RSS chief, for his statements on the Sikhs at Amritsar. He also criticise Sikh leaders for showing weakness in protecting Sikhs and their religion. He criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, for not raising the case of Devinder Pal Bhullar, awarded death punishment, during his meeting with the Prime Minister the previous day.

Later, Mr Mann also said the Congress statement that Mr Badal had gone to Delhi to get his son inducted in the Union Cabinet was false. He also said Mr Badal had been telling a “lie” that Mr Vajpayee had promised that the Bathinda refinery would not be closed. Mr Mann said neither Mr Vajpayee nor the Union Petroleum Minister had made any commitment in this regard so far.


Sikh clergy to meet on RSS propaganda
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 31
The jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, is likely to convene meeting of Sikh high priests to counter the “propaganda” of the RSS which has stated that the Sikhs are a part of Hindus.

Many radical Sikh organisations have also taken serious note of the assertions of RSS chief K. S. Sudarshan who had claimed that the Sikhs are a part of Hindus. The leaders of these organisations said that the statement by the RSS chief had hurt the sentiments of the members of the community as Akal Takht has already declared that Sikhs have a distinct separate identity. Moreover, Akal Takht has also given a nod to the separate calendar for the Sikh community, the Nanakshahi calendar.

Mr Jaswinder Singh advocate and member of the SGPC, ridiculed the honouring of RSS activists for saving ‘Darbar Sahib’ from ‘Muslim goons’ a few days before Partition. He wondered why the RSS forgotten these “brave people” in the past more than half a century. He asked why these activists had failed to protect the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar in June, 1984. Instead, RSS activists distributed ladoos after the operation, the SGPC member alleged


Thandal’s house raided
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 31
An eight-member team, including two women constables of the Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, led by DSP Tarsem Singh raided the house of Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, former State Minister for Civil Supplies and SAD MLA, at Thandal village, near Mahilpur, today.

Ms Balbir Kaur, wife of Mr Thandal, who is also Sarpanch of the village told this correspondent on telephone that the team came to her house at 10 a.m. and searched the house for more than four hours.

The team seized an FDR for Rs 30,000.

She alleged that her husband had been implicated in a false corruption case by Congress leaders to take revenge following their failure to capture block samitis of Mahilpur and Garhshankar. The Congress leaders got the elections of these samitis postponed on January 28 when they realised that their defeat was sure, she alleged. 


Vigilance Bureau raids 10 rice mills
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 31
Vigilance Bureau sleuths, led by DIG B.K. Uppal, today raided 10 rice mills, here as part of a special offensive launched against rice millers amidst the complaints of large-scale bunglings against them.

According to the information, 10 teams of the bureau, including four SPs and six DSPs raided rice mills in and around Ferozepore.

The raids were conducted at Ashish Rice Mills, Jai Shiv Bhole Rice Mills,Ganesh Rice Mills, Rajendra and Co, Radhe Sham and Sons, Thind Agro Industries, Bihari Lal Paras Ram and sons, Guru Nanak Rice Mills, Guru Ram Dass Rice Mills, and Jwala Rice Mills.

Sources said there were reports indicating that the rice millers in connivance with various procuring agencies, were bungling paddy belonging to the government, this resulting in losses worth crores of rupees to the exchequer.

Ironically, of the 10 rice mills raided today, some had already been blacklisted by the Food and Supplies Department. Despite this, these had been allotted government paddy for custom milling. The sources said these mills belonged to influential persons.

DIG Uppal said amidst the reports of appropriation of government paddy, the raids had been conducted on the mills initially shortlisted. He said the operation could be extended to some other rice mills also.

Ms Anita Punj, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore, who supervised the operations at Jawala Rice Mill, said the Vigilance Bureau was carrying out the physical verification of the paddy stocked in various rice mills. She said that only after a thorough investigation and counter-check of records maintained by the Food and Supplies Department, a conclusion could be arrived at.

Investigations reveal that the modus operandi was that the rice millers, without going in for an actual purchase, would show a specific quantity purchase on papers, in connivance with commission agents and officials. The rice millers would purchase cheap and poor quality paddy and pass it to the FCI. In this process, the rice millers were pocketing handsome profit.

Till the time of filing of the news, investigations were still going on in the premises of the rice mills. Mr Uppal said he would comment on the issue after the investigations were complete.

It may be mentioned that the local police had seized government paddy worth more than Rs 1.5 crore from two rice mills of Guruharsahai, last month. Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP, said this was just the tip of the iceberg and more such recoveries could be made soon.


Sohal’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
A local court today granted a further two-day police remand to former PSEB chairman G.S. Sohal even as Mr Ashok Khanna, who was the purchase officer when electronic meters were purchased by the board, was given bail in the case.

The Vigilance Department pleaded that it wanted to get more record in the case for which it needed to question Mr Sohal further. The defence lawyer pleaded that Mr Sohal was a sick man and he did not have anything to do with the purchase of the meters for which a committee had been constituted.

The department in an FIR registered against Mr Sohal and other senior officers of the board, has claimed that Mr Sohal and others gave an order for purchase of around three lakh meters to their favourites. The officers have been accused of causing a loss of Rs 40 lakh to the board through the purchase. Meanwhile, the department clarified that a case had been registered against Mr Kirpal Singh, a former member of the board, and not Mr Kirpal Singh Gill, who had also served in the board earlier. Meanwhile, another local court awarded bail to Ashok Khanna who had been remanded in judicial custody in the case.


Engineer puts PSEB to litmus test
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Mr Padamjit Singh, the Chief Engineer, who had recently refused to buckle under pressure to clear a power purchase agreement with a private firm, has put the management of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to another litmus test.

Highly placed sources in the PSEB told The Tribune today that Mr Padamjit Singh, who was transferred by the board management from the System Operations to the Enforcement Wing following purchase agreement controversy, has sent a list of about 10 officers asking the management to transfer them out from the Enforcement Wing. He has, according to sources, cited reasons for seeking transfer. One of the main reasons enlisted by him is that these officers have a “ poor reputation” as far as their official functioning is concerned.

Sources say Mr Padamjit Singh has urged the management that as the Enforcement Wing was supposed to deal with very sensitive cases involving power theft worth several crores, the officials posted in it should be of high integrity, honesty and proven record of efficiency. No one should be able to raise an accused figure against those posted in the Enforcement Wing as the nature of their job is such.

The sources said Mr Padamjit Singh, who enjoys a high respect among all echelons of employees because of his simplicity, competency and, above all, honesty, has sent a list of officers, whom he wanted to be posted in the Enforcement Wing.

In fact, he has been raising his voice for the past several years that “black sheep” indulging in corruption and conniving with big power thieves should be “ removed” from the PSEB by taking bold steps. It has been estimated that influential industrialists and other consumers resort to power theft worth Rs 500 crore per annum. Mostly, it is done with connivance of officials having weakness for “ money”.

Sources said that the PSEB Management had not responded to Mr Padamjit Singh’s request yet. When contacted, Mr Padamjit Singh refused to talk on this issue saying that it was an internal administrative matter of his organisation.

Meanwhile, engineers and other employees are feeling agitated as the management has not extended them “ adequate” support in certain cases of power theft. Even the PSEB Engineers Association has openly stated that the whole hearted administrative support has not been extended to the officers, who had detected major power theft in Ludhiana and Dera Bassi. In certain cases the management buckled under pressure and transferred the officers, who detected theft.

A senior office-bearer of the association said certain officers, who detected a power theft case at Ludhiana, had been terrorised to the extent by the influential factory owner that they ( officers) were reluctant to appear before the dispute settlement committee of the PSEB as witnesses. Officers were stopped three times from entering the premises to check the power meter which in the fourth attempt was found tampered and had to be replaced with an electronic meter.

The factory owner not only got the FIR cancelled against him but manipulated to proceed against officers under Section 182 of the Cr.P.C. However, on the request of the association, the SSP at Ludhiana has agreed to review the cancellation of the FIR. In another case, a counter FIR was got registered against the team of officers that raided the premises to check power theft.


PSEB privatisation opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Strongly opposing the privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), its engineers association has started meeting MLAs, MPs and ministers to educate them about how the privatisation or partial privatisation of the boards in several other states has failed to deliver goods.

The association says most of the MLAs, ministers and MPs are unaware about the proposed power reforms such as privatisation or corporatisation of the PSEB. Elected representatives say the matter has not been discussed with them at any level.

It has submitted a detailed document to Punjab Chief Secretary, Y.S. Ratra enlisting the steps required to be taken for functional reforms in the Board.

In the action plan submitted to the Chief Secretary, the association has demanded that the PSEB should be governed by the Electricity (Supply ) Act, 1948, and not by the Companies Act as has been proposed.

The members and Chairman of the PSEB should be selected by an independent agency and have service conditions exactly on a par with the Punjab Public Service Commission. The post of the Member ( Transmission) should be filled immediately.


New guidelines for trust properties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
To check speculation and profiteering in Imprisonment Trust (IT) properties in Punjab new guidelines have been framed by the department of the local Government.

This step has been taken because property dealers and land mafia would corner a large number of Improvement Trust plots only for the propose of long-term speculation and profits. This had halted genuine construction activity. The problem was further compounded by either grant of indiscriminate waiver of non-construction fee and penalties or authorities satisfying themselves only with 25 per cent construction level, instead of completion for years altogether. No wonder IT colonies today present a “dilapidated and deserted” look on account of state’s open-ended policies, says Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal.

These open-ended policies have been to the disadvantage of needy persons requiring shelter and other utilities.

Now the department has issued the following guidelines:

— It has been decided to grant one-time opportunity to all defaulters, who could not construct the dwelling units\buildings etc on the plots in the stipulated period for completing a minimum of 50 per cent of construction within one year from the date on which they pay 50 per cent of the payable non-construction fee and penalty as on January 31, 2003, provided the said payment is made by them latest before the expiry of a period of three months from today.

Such persons will move applications with Executive Officers of concerned Improvement Trusts for calculating non- construction fee and penalty. After calculating the fee and penalty, the trust will certify that they have deposited their dues before the prescribed dead-line and the said one time extension up to one year i.e. 30.4.2004 will be given to these defaulters waiving off the balance 50 per cent of the non-construction fee and penalty.

— The cases of Defence and Paramilitary Personnel who served at far-off places and do not get adequate leave to complete the construction and also those applicants who have lost their families bread winners immediately after the allocation of plot or have in their close family any person having been afflicted with a terminal disease, after the allotment of the plot in question shall only be considered for relaxation from charging non-construction fee by the government and no one else. These cases shall be referred by the trusts to the government for relaxation with recommendations.

— The earlier delegation of powers given to the Administrators for waiving of the non-construction fee and other penalties at their own level in individual cases is hereby withdrawn.

— The non-construction fee, however, shall not be changed from such allottees who raised a minimum of 50 per cent of the construction within the stipulated period of one year as stated above.

In future, for the purpose of calculating non-construction fee and penalty etc the cut off date will be May 1 of the year.


Punish ‘erring’ Cong samiti members
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 31
Even as the panchayat samiti elections to the posts of chairman and vice-chairman in this district have brought severe differences in Congress workers to the fore, a senior Congress leader and former minister, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to expel those office-bearers of the district Congress Committee and other functionaries of the party, who had opposed official candidates in the elections.

Mr Jassi alleged that some of the members of panchayat samitis, who were elected on Congress ticket, voted in favour of candidates of other parties with the connivance of a section of district Congress leaders, who had also made efforts to create groupism in the party. He said an inquiry should be instituted in this regard.

Owing to severe factionalism in the party rank and file, chairman and vice-chairman of 8 samitis were elected while the elections of other samitis had to be postponed as quorum was not complete.

In the five Assembly segments in this district Congress could register win in one segment of Bathinda. In other three segments — Nathana, Rampura Phul and Talwandi Sabo — the Congress was defeated due to factionalism. Even the factionalism and groupism in the party has reached at such a level that two offices of the party have been functional in Talwandi Sabo.

A cross-section of Congress leaders said on the condition of anonymity that they were disappointed over the fact that affairs of party and the state government were being not managed in a proper manner. 


Public money ‘wasted’ on sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 31
Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, local Government minister Punjab today inaugurated sewerage of the town on the G.T. Road here. He also laid foundation stone of water supply scheme in Prem Nagar here today.

Later a public meeting was held in Nehru Park. It was presided over by Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister, Punjab and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh was the chief guest. Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader was also to attend the meeting could not come. Mr Gurbachan Singh Babbehali, president DCC and Mr Raman Bahl former president, Municipal Committee, Gurdaspur also attended the meeting.

Mr Jagjit Singh said that powers of panchayats, panchayat samitis, Zila Parishads and Municipal Committees would be raised.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh criticised the previous SAD-BJP government for wasting public money in sangat darshan programmes. Public money was distributed among the Panchayats and Municipal Committee so that the SAD and BJP leadership could eat up major portion of the grants through commissions he added.

Mr Chaudhary also appealed to the people to vote the Congress to power in the Municipal Committee for development.

The minister said that SAD leadership was hindering development as Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD had an understanding with the Centre and the central government made it a point to give Mr Badal credit for release of every grant for development.

Mr Bahl said that the Chief Engineer Water Supply and Sewerage Board had been directed to put up estimates of various works relating to water supply and sewerage of the town.


Ex-MLA denies criticising Preneet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Mr Balbir Singh Bartana, former Punjab MLA, today denied press reports quoting him as having criticised Ms Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala.

In a statement issued here, he also denied that Ms Preneet Kaur was pressurising him to secure the withdrawal of the candidature of Mr Bhader Singh Dharmari for the post of chairman of the Block Samiti, Dera Bassi.


Fresh probe into bashing of ASI
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Thathi (Tarn Taran), January 31
Terror still grips this village even after five days of the bashing of an ASI by womenfolk.

The houses of Dharm Singh and Karam Singh, both brothers, have been locked since the Republic Day as their families have left the village due to fear of the police.

ASI Arjun Singh was allegedly attacked by the womenfolk when he alongwith his party forcibly entered a house to arrest Dharam Singh in connection with a land dispute. Villagers alleged that the police went berserk after the bashing incident and forcibly took Darshan Kaur, wife of Karam Singh to the police station and kept her in ‘illegal custody’ before she was got released by some villagers by giving personal surety.

Karam Singh who was also picked up by the police on the same evening and kept in the ‘illegal custody’ was shown in the records arrested later. However, Mr Nainder Bhargav, SSP, Tarn Taran, denied that the police indulged in high-handedness and any member of the two families was kept in illegal custody.

The district police chief, however, admitted that the ASI had ‘mishandled’ the situation and he had sought his explanation. He, however, said the police acted ‘rationally’ and booked those who had attacked the police party. When told that the police had booked some of women members of both the families, he said he had ordered a fresh probe into the incident and Mr Ashok Bath, SP, had been asked to conduct the inquiry at the earliest.

He assured that the names of those found ‘innocent’during the inquiry would be deleted from the FIR. Mr Bhargav said he was ‘shocked’ over the media hype given to the incident in which a criminal was involved. He said Dharm Singh was a ‘notorious’ person who had been wanted in different cases.

Meanwhile, Mr Balwinder Singh Jhabal, a leader of the Khalra Mission Committee, alleged that Dharm Singh did not earn good reputation in the area.

Mr Gurjit Singh, Sarpanch of the village, claimed that he was an eyewitness to the incident and it was Dharm Singh and members of his family who had attacked the police party along with their relatives. He, however, admitted that the police had forcibly picked up the wife of Karam Singh even without the help of the woman police.


Hearing on Hardeep’s plea on Feb 4
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A petition seeking the grant of bail filed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer-on-special-duty Hardeep Singh will come up for further hearing on February 4.

It may be recalled that Hardeep Singh had earlier accused the Congress government of adopting a revengeful attitude towards political opponents. He had asserted that the Chief Minister had openly declared that Badal and his men would be taught a lesson and as such he was being targeted. His counsel had added that a false and a baseless case had been registered against the petitioner by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and his house was raided even though nothing incriminating was recovered.


Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee President Kirpal Singh Badhungar’s petition seeking directions to the state of Punjab, the Chief Minister, the Director-General of Police and Amritsar’s Deputy Commissioner against the alleged indiscriminate arrest of SAD (Badal) workers was today withdrawn.

Bhadungar, in the petition, had claimed that the members were being arrested in an attempt to weaken, even wipe out, the SAD (Badal). Quoting press reports, he added that as many as 1222 persons had been arrested. Majority of them, he submitted, were SAD workers.


Sandhu denied pre-arrest bail
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 31
The Special Judge, Ropar, Mr A.S. Kathuria, yesterday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former Chairman of the Subordinate Services Selection Board (SSSB) Tajinder Pal Singh Sandhu.

Mr Sandhu was booked by the Vigilance Bureau on charges of corruption in July last year. Mr Sandhu was declared a proclaimed offender by a Kharar trial court after he failed to turn up in the court. The high court had directed Mr Sandhu to present himself in the trial court by January 31.

The Counsel for Mr Sandhu maintained that his bail had been extended by the high court till February 12.


Akali leader held for fraud
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 31
Tajinder Singh Zaildar, an Akali leader automobile dealer has been arrested allegedly for defrauding a Delhi bank of more than Rs 1 crore on the basis of fake deed of land here.

Tajinder Singh along with certain other persons was booked recently under Sections 467, 468, 419, 420, 471 and 120-B of the IPC. He borrowed crores from the bank by pledging the fake sale deed of a plot.

The irregularity came to light when auction notice of the plot pledged with the bank for loan was published in newspapers and original owner of the land noticed it. The original owner complained to the police for action.

Mr Dilbhajan Singh another accused in the case was arrested earlier, represented to he police that he had been framed by the police and Tajinder Singh Zaildar was behind it. He has demanded justice.


Social activist Bajaj commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 31
Eminent social activist Ramesh Bajaj (57) allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his licensed pistol here last night.

ASP Rakesh Aggarwal said the police received the information on phone at 9 p.m. The SHOs’ city police station, rushed to a commercial establishment of the Bajaj family in the new grain market where he found body of Ramesh Bajaj lying on the first floor of the shop. The pistol was still in his hand. No suicide note was found at the site. A post-mortem examination of the body was done this noon. Hundreds of relatives and friends crowded the hospital complex. Mr Bajaj was prominent RSS activist. Though he never directly entered politics, he was regarded as a “kingmaker” in BJP circles. He was pioneer of the mass marriage campaign for poor girls of the region. He had been, the state president of the Bharat Vikas Parishad and the president of the Commission Agents Association.

Prof, B.L. Rinwa, state BJP president, and Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, said his untimely demise had created a vacuum in the social circle. Scores of religious, social, educational organisations have mourned the death of Ramesh Bajaj. A large number of commercial establishments remained closed as mark of respect to the departed soul.


Police leads in drug de-addiction campaign
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Gidderbaha, January 31
In a unique experiment, the local civil police, health authorities and NGOs have launched a de-addiction campaign under the Multi-Agency Programme and identified 225 addicts, who are being given treatment at the Civil Hospital. The drug addicts were identified during a camp held here five weeks ago and are being treated at the hospital in batches of 10 each. So far four batches of addicts have been given treatment while the fifth batch is undergoing treatment.

The hospital authorities say persons belonging to a particular batch are admitted to a ward specially prepared for them for one week, during which they are treated for the de-addiction. After they are discharged from the hospital, a follow-up programme is taken up so that the former addicts should not start taking drugs again. The Punjab Police Apex Committee has taken the lead in the launch of the programme. The SDM, SMO, DSP and SHO are its members, besides industrialists, commission agents, journalists, advocates, religious preachers and representatives of NGOs. Mr Parveen Bansal, District Coordinator of the committee, said local commission agents and industrialists had donated money for purchasing medicines for the treatment of the drug addicts.


Mobile police centres in Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 31
For quick disposal of complaints, involving panchayat and independent witnesses and to get correct assessment of the problem, mobile police centres have been set up in the Jalandhar police range.

This was stated by Mr Rohit Chaudhary, DIG, Jalandhar Police Range, in a press note issued here yesterday. He said all officers were encouraged to take complaints with them for disposal during their visit to the area.

Out of 3,860 complaints received by the Jalandhar Police, 1642 were handled on the spot, he added.


Proposal to set up special courts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 31
To settle cases registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act it is proposed to set up two special courts in Punjab. This was stated by Mr A.P. Pandey, Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, while talking to mediapersons today.

He said the state government had requested the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up the courts which would speed up cases registered by the bureau against the former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, former ministers and high officers. He said many cases were lying pending in various courts of Punjab.

Mr Pandey said in the first phase it was proposed to set up special courts at Jalandhar and Patiala. Setting up such courts in other districts would also be considered later on. The special courts would listen cases of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


12 APM mines recovered
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 31
The BSF thwarted yet another attempt of the ISI to inflict loss of lives on the Indian side of the international border.

According to highly placed sources in the BSF, troops recovered anti-personnel mines (APM), placed by the Pakistani agency inside the Indian territory to cause damage to BSF troops. The sources said around 12 APM mines had already been recovered by the BSF troops and there was a likelihood of more such recoveries. The sources said these mines were found near a border outpost of Muthianwali in the Khemkaran sector. Unconfirmed reports said one of the mines exploded while a BSF party was patrolling in the area. 


Six bodies’ plea on harmony
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 31
“Learning a lesson from Partition, no organisation with narrow thinking should be allowed to play with communal harmony”, this statement was made in a joint press note by six social and cultural organisations while reacting to a statement of the RSS and its sister organisations.

The Folklore Research Academy, the Punjab Jagriti Manch, the Jamhuri Adhikar Sabha Punjab, the Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, the Azadi Sangramiye Manch and the Punjab Pharmacist Association stated that Punjab, which experienced bloodshed and massive displacement during the Partition, should not be made another field for such activity.


Withdraw letter, say pensioners
Our Correspondent

Moga, January 31
The Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association and the Punjab Police Welfare Association in a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, have demanded the withdrawal of a letter of the Finance Department in which treasuries in the state have been bound to pay the pensions salaries to the pensioners and employees only from the first day to 10th day of a month and the arrears from the 11th day to the 20th day.

The associations said this was nothing but harassment of all concerned. This had caused great resentment among the pensioners and the employees of the state.


MLA’s plan on relief
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 31
Sunil Jakhar MLA, on Thursday submitted a comprehensive plan to the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, to give relief to farmers of more than 20 villages located at the tail-end of sub canals in the subdivision. Mr Jakhar reportedly told the Chief Minister that residents of certain villages, including Shergarh, Wariamkhera, Rukanpura Khuikhera, Dhinganwali, Panjawa, Deewankhera and Gidderanwali had been facing acute shortage of canal water for even drinking purposes.


Bhullar: appeal to Amnesty
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 31
International Sikh organisations today appealed to Amnesty International to use its influence and appeal to the President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, to save the life of Devinder Singh Bhullar, awarded death in a bomb blast case.


Kin of dead farmers await compensation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 31
Kin of farmers who died in accidents while working in their fields have been finding it hard to get compensation awarded to them by the government due to procedural “faults”.

Sources said the kin of farmers who had died due to farm accidents were awarded compensation by the government. After the death of the farmers, the police completed its formalities under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CrPC). One of the conditions, that is to get the post-mortem examination of the deceased done, was relaxed by the state government a few years ago.

However, four new formalities, that is, getting the death of the farmers verified by the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), police authorities, Market Committee and District Mandi Officer, were added.

The tragedy-struck families, often illiterate, have been finding it hard to keep themselves aware of the rules and laws drafted by the government, and the newly added four provisions have added to their woes.

According to the new guidelines, if the families did not want to get the post-mortem of the deceased conducted, necessary permission should be obtained from the district police authorities, who had been empowered for the same. But a large number of the affected families had been failing on this condition and consequently their compensation cases had been hanging fire.

The pending cases include cases filed by the kin of deceased Bikkar Singh, Ubbha village, Bhola Singh, Mandi Khurd village, and one case from Dhann Singh Khana village.

Officials of the Market Committee said this problem could be sorted out if the panchayats of the villages were authorised to attest the ‘reason of death’ certificates of the deceased. They said rather than four verification reports, the certificate given by the pancyayats should be deemed sufficient for the purpose.


Contract farming launched
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 31
The Punjab Government has launched Contract Farming Scheme in the district. The scheme is aimed at motivating farmers for growing commercial crops in place of wheat and rice.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, gave this information in press note issued here today.

The Deputy Commissioner said in the forthcoming season, 1000 acres in the district would be brought under maize cultivation as a part of the scheme. The farmers would be given an assured price of Rs 500 per quintal for their produce. If the market price of maize, at the time of sale, was more, an additional amount would be given as a bonus. However, if the market price was less, the farmers would still be paid Rs 500 per quintal, she said.


Punjab transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The following postings transfers were ordered in Punjab today.

Mr C.S. Talwar, is now Executive Director, Backfinco vice Mr K.S. Kang, Mr Jaipal Singh is SDM, Sardulgarh, vice Mr J.C. Sabharwal, who goes to Muktsar and Mr A.P.S. Virk is Administrator-cum-Additional Controller, Government Press, Patiala, says a government note.


Romance on phone lands man into jail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 31
Romantic conversation with his ‘beloved’ on the telephone has landed Gian Chand Nath into police custody and it has managed to trace out a blind murder of Mahant Ram Sukh Dass Tiyagi, which took place on the night of December 24 at Dera Baba Sandhya Dass, Ballianwali village of this district.

After killing Tiyagi with a sharp-edged weapon with the motive to steal a fixed deposit receipt (FDR) worth Rs 10,000 and other valuables, the accused threw the body into a nearby well. However, he had committed the mistake by using the phone of the victim to have conversation with his ‘beloved’. Subsequently, the police got the clue from the victim’s phone and managed to arrest him.

Mr Balbir Singh Khaira, DSP, Rampura Phul, said the accused informed his ‘beloved’ on the telephone on January 25 regarding the crime. He said after sometime the police arrested the accused, who had confessed his crime.


PAP employee in Vigilance net
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 31
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested an employee with PAP Lines here for amassing assets, running into lakhs of rupees, disproportionate to his known sources of income.

According to bureau sources, following complaints of embezzlement of funds by Mr Amrit Lal Jain, Senior Assistant at PAP Lines here, the bureau conducted an inquiry and found that he had amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered and Amrit Lal arrested.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the accused had been found involved in financial irregularities during his posting at PAP Lines. 


MLA’s son held under Excise Act

Moga, January 31
The police today arrested Kulwant Singh, alias Kanta, son of Mr Malkiat Singh Kittu, MLA, Barnala, under the Excise Act and allegedly seized 120 bottles of countrymade liquor from his vehicle the police said.

Kulwant Singh was produced in the court of Tarsem Mangla, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Moga, who remanded him in police custody for a day.

On August 16, 2000, Mr Kittu, MLA, and his brother Gurdeep Singh were arrested under the Excise Act after the police allegedly seized more than 15 lakh ml of countrymade liquor and 1.26 lakh ml of wine. PTI


Three booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 31
The police has booked three persons for allegedly extorting money from persons on the pretext of sending them to Italy.

Mr Varinder Kumar, S.S.P, said here today that the accused had been identified as Bajinder Singh and Sukhjinder Singh, both residents of Kahnuwan, and their brother-in-law, Satpal.

Mr Balbir Singh of Kahnuwan complained that two years ago the accused took Rs 4.5 lakh from him, but they neither refunded the money nor sent him abroad. A case under Sections 420 and 506, IPC, has been registered.

Meanwhile, the police has busted a racket indulging in immoral trafficking. Mr Varinder Kumar said Narinder Kaur and her husband, Swaran Singh, of Gurdaspur and Urmila and her husband, Satish Kumar, of Tiber village, had been arrested.


2 held for murder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 31
The police arrested two persons in a murder case of a resident of New Dashmesh Avenue here.

Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SP (City II), said Surjit Singh and Pardeep Grover were arrested on a tip-off.


Teachers to get arrears in cash
Issue of grants referred to panel
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 31
A long-pending problem of non- government colleges has been solved much to the satisfaction of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union.

The Punjab Government has relaxed Rule 9 of 1998 Civil Service (Revised Scales) Rules for allowing teachers to get in cash entire arrears of revised pay scales, authoritative sources said here today. Earlier, 50 per cent of these arrears were to be invested either in NSCs , Kisan Vikas Patras or some other long-term schemes.

The Finance Ministry, in its January 24 decision, allowed the Education Department to let the teachers have this 50 per cent portion in cash as well. The arrears relate to the period of January 1, 1996, to March 31, 2000.

Meanwhile, the issues of cut in grants and pension-cum-gratuity of non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh has reportedly been referred to the Fiscal Reforms, Resource Mobilisation and Financial Management Committee headed by Mr Surinder Singla, well-placed sources said.

The decision to refer these issues to the committee was taken at a meeting held by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday with the Minister of Higher Education, officials of the department concerned and the Finance Secretary, they added.

In view of the development, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union has decided to go ahead with its protest dharna in front of the residence of the Chief Minister in Patiala on February 4. Sources said the union would keep its options open regarding the March 5 mass rally and demonstrations in Patiala.

The sources said in case the Chief Minister was to refer these issues to the committee, he would have done this in November when he had met the Union Government representatives. The PCCTU General Secretary, Dr V.K. Tewari, had written a fresh letter asking for a meeting with the Chief Minister. After meeting the Union once in November, the Chief Minister had postponed meetings fixed by him thrice.


VC lays stones of hostels
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 31
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr S.S Boparai, laid the foundation stones of two hostels (one each for boys and girls) meant for the SC/ST students at the university complex here today.

The Executive Engineer of the University, Mr Amarjit Singh Sandhu, said the 100-room hostel meant for girls would be constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 1.62 crore, of which 45 per cent amount had been sanctioned by the Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment, while the rest of the amount would be spent by the Punjab Government and the university.

The projects are scheduled to be completed within 18 months. The boys hostel will be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.86 crore, of which 45 per cent amount has been sanctioned by the Union Government.

Dr R.N Pal, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr U.C Singh, Dean (academic affairs), Dr T.A. Sarma, Dean (research) and Dr R.K.Sehgal, Finance Officer, were present on the occasion.

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