Friday, February 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Squall: CM distributes cheques
To approach Central Government for relief
Chander Parkash and Praful Nagpal

Capt Amarinder Singh on his visit to Jandwala Meerasangla village on Thursday. 
— Tribune Photo by Kulbir Beera

Jandwala Meerasangla (Ferozepore), February 20
The Punjab Government will approach the Centre for releasing funds from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for giving compensation to next of kin of those killed and those badly affected due to the squall which hit some areas of the state on Tuesday.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who toured the affected villages in the district and gave cheques for Rs 50,000 each to families of those killed, said today that the Centre would be approached if the quantum of loss, which was being assessed, was huge. He added that the Deputy Commissioners of the affected areas had been directed to submit the report in this connection within two days.

The Chief Minister, who ordered a special girdawri for assessing crop loss, pointed out that the Rs 50,000 relief had been given from the National Calamity Fund. He said Rs 1 lakh more would be given from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. He added that the distribution of compensation for the losses in terms of cattle, crop and houses would be started after four days.

As many as four persons were killed in Abohar and Fazilka subdivisions of Ferozepore district due to the squall.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced that Rs 1 crore would be given to the village under the IRDP scheme to make it a model village. He added that about 100 policemen of the district would be deployed to help the people in the reconstruction of their houses for which the help would be extended by the state government. “I have never witnessed such a huge destruction in a single village and I promise that the state government would do everything to lessen the sufferings of the affected villagers,” he added.

The state government and the Red Cross Society have been providing treatment to the injured free of cost. Apart from it, the government could waive the electricity bills of those who belonged to the economically backward sections. He added that priority would be given for power connections for tubewells in the area.

He said he had taken up the matter pertaining to the compensation to those farmers of border areas whose fields had been mined with the Defence Minister. A letter in this connection had also been written to the minister.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Mr Mohinder Singh Rinwa and Mr Hans Raj Joshan, both MLAs.

Drought-hit, now hit by squall
Our Correspondent

Khairpur (Abohar), February 20
Muslim shepherds, who had migrated from drought-hit areas of Falaudi and Pali in Rajasthan, last year, have lost scores of their cattlehead in the squall that hit the village located on the Rajasthan-Punjab border, 25 km from here. The families from the Bishnoi community, dominate the village population of 250 houses. Nearly 85 per cent of the houses have been damaged.

Khairpur is the worst hit among six villages in the Seetogunno belt of the Hindi speaking population. Other villages are Rampura, Narainpura, Sukhchain, Dutaranwali, Bishhanpura and Kular. All of these fall in the wildlife sanctuary area. The fate of the black bucks and other animals was yet to be ascertained, people said. Crop on 2,000 acres and 300 houses were damaged and more than 150 cattle head perished at Khairpur village.

Shakir Khan lost 25 of the 250 cattle head. Most of the cattle died when trees uprooted by the squall, fell on their sheds. A female resident of a nearby farmhouse located across the inter-state border, died after the squall destroyed her house.

A large number of residents were rendered homeless. The authorities today supplied some tents but the residents were not satisfied with the quality of the relief material. They regretted that the market committee today sent only one water tanker for them. Supply of drinking water, electricity and telecom links remained disrupted for the third day today.

Meanwhile, the Bharti Kisan Union today submitted a memorandum to the authorities seeking immediate relief for the people of the affected areas. It said relief camps should be opened immediately in this connection.


Hanspal to meet Sonia again
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The President of the All-India Congress Committee, Ms Sonia Gandhi, seems to be upset following a political attack on her by the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, asking her to break her silence over the alleged involvement of two Punjab Ministers in a “sex scandal” in Gujarat.

Ms Sonia Gandhi, who held a lengthy meeting in this connection yesterday with the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, in Parliament House in New Delhi, has asked him to meet her next week. Mr Hanspal is expected to go to New Delhi on February 26 to meet her again in this connection.

Ms Sonia Gandhi will be busy for the next few days with the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh. She will reach the hill state tomorrow . Mr Hanspal will also address certain election rallies with her in the Mandi region where population of Namdharis is quite substantial as well as influential.

Mr Modi, who campaigned for his party in Himachal for two days, addressing a press conference had posed questions to Ms Sonia Gandhi that what sort of political culture she wanted to promote in the country. Why had she not reacted to the reports of the scandal involving two ministers from Punjab yet? Mr Modi has a tentative programme of returning to Himachal again on February 24 to address election rallies. He returned to Gujarat last evening. Sources said Mr Modi, if came to Himachal on February 24, would release more information with regard to the sex scandal.

The sources said Ms Sonia Gandhi had asked Mr Hanspal to give her a complete assessment with regard to the functioning of the Punjab Government, its ministers and also detailed account of what happened in Gujarat. The sources said in yesterday’s meeting, Mr Hanspal told her in detail about the government’s functioning in Punjab and other related matters. However, what exactly Mr Hanspal told her, it is not known yet. As she has asked him to come again to New Delhi for more interaction in this connection, it is obvious that she wanted to have more information about her party’s government in Punjab and other related matters.

Meanwhile, the sources said Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also held a meeting with Mr Hanspal at Bhaini Sahib, the headquarters of Namdhari Darbar, near Ludhiana, late this afternoon. Though she had gone there, according to the sources, to discuss the issue of chairmanship of a Zila Parishad, she also reportedly held a separate meeting with Mr Hanspal. Obviously, they must have discussed the latest political development in the state pertaining to the Congressmen.

Ms Ambika Soni, a senior leader of the Congress, who was here today to attend a social function, when asked to comment with regard to the Gujarat incident, said the charges against Punjab ministers were political motivated and there was no substance in these. She said Mr Modi was habitual of raising unnecessary controversies. He had earlier tried to vitiate the atmosphere by launching his political campaign on communal lines in the Gujarat Assembly elections.

She said election campaign should be based to issues concerning people and it should not be allowed to degenerate into petty allegations.When asked whether Ms Sonia Gandhi had taken any notice of what had been said by Mr Modi with regard to two Punjab Ministers, Ms Soni said as allegations against Punjab ministers were baseless, there was no need to comment on such issues.

When asked that the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee has also issued certain advertisements to newspapers which are said to be in bad taste, Ms Soni said that she was not directly involved in the election campaign of Himachal and had not seen the advertisements.

But these must had been released with the consent of all senior leaders of the Congress in Himachal and Delhi. It must have not been done on the direction of any particular individual, she added. “As far I know, our party had tried to made corruption by the BJP government in Himachal an election issue”, she added.


Bajwa, Samra should appear before Takht, says KMC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) has demanded that two Punjab ministers Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and Mr Amarjit Singh Samra whose names figured in the Ahmedabad sex racket should resign and appear before Akal Takht to tell the truth.

Mr Virsa Singh, Mr Harmandeep Singh and other KMC members stated that Sikhism had been undermined by accusations against the ministers.

Corruption charges against Mr Parkash Singh Badal former Chief Minister and sexual misconduct charges against Congress ministers were worrying devout Sikhs.

Attacking the “Hindutva forces”, for decimating the Punjabi language, the KMC said the decisions taken by Punjabi University were an attempt to undermine the language.

They decried the recent distribution of 1100 trishuls by Togadia in Jaipur as a gimmick to resurrect a wave of intolerance in the country.


Panthic bodies’ plea on protests
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 20
Even as the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) is determined to stage a dharna on February 22 here in the SGPC complex for removal of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Kesgarh Sahib who are facing corruption charges, various Panthic organisations, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Dal Khalsa and Sikh Students Federation today appealed to the Khalsa Panchayat and two NRI Sikh women to desist from any form of protest within the Golden Temple complex.

Talking to TNS, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, Khalsa Panchayat, said that the SKP would continue its peaceful agitation till Jathedar Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh were removed. He alleged that after Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Vedanti had indulged in ‘human smuggling’. He alleged Jathedar Vedanti had taken a son of his previous personal assistant and close relative to England had left him there. The son of his PA, Mr Sandhu, had been staying illegally in England though his visa had expired. He alleged that earlier Prof Manjit Singh used to charge a huge amount of money for ferrying ‘illegal immigrants’.

In separate press releases, both the groups had appealed to the Khalsa Panchayat and two NRI Sikh women who were denied participation in ‘seva’ at the Golden Temple to restrain from any kind of protest activity within the premises of the complex.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the SAD (Amritsar), expressed concern over the proposed protest dharnas by the Khalsa Panchayat and two Sikh women on February 22 and March 6, respectively. He feared that such a trend would set a wrong precedent.

He said that since the five Jathedars had already issued a directive to the SGPC allowing ‘seva’ by women in the Golden Temple complex five years back, it should be implemented in toto without delay. He appealed to the SGPC to stop dilly-dallying on all religious and political issues facing the Panth today and make serious time-bound attempts to resolve them.

Expressing similar views, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, spokesperson of Dal Khalsa said the Golden Temple was not the right place to stage protests. He also admonished the SGPC for using politically-motivated delaying tactics. He said the SGPC would never be able to absolve itself of the blame for denying justice to the Sikh women.

Khalsa Panchayat dharna tomorrow

Chandigarh, February 20
The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat would stage a dharna in front of the head office of the SGPC at Amritsar on February 22 to demand removal of two jathedars of the holy Takhts.The convener of the panchayat, Mr Rajinder Singh, said today that activists from Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi would participate. TNS

‘Assaulted’ women reject SGPC findings
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
UK-based women Mejinder Kaur and Lakhbir Kaur said here today that they did not accept the findings of the SGPC that they had threatened sevadars who had prevented them from participating in seva at the Golden Temple.

They said the allegations against them were made merely to distract attention from the main issue of the right of women to do seva. They announced their resolve to campaign on the issue in Chandigarh.


No inter-board migration
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 20
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will not allow any inter board migration of students in Classes X and XII.

This decision of the Board’s Academic Council was okayed at the meeting of the the members of the Board held recently.

The decision will come in force from the next academic session.

The decision has been taken in the wake of the rising instances of students from other boards shifting to the PSEB for their secondary and senior secondary classes.

Disallowing any such migration, the Board has also decided that in case migration is asked for, it will be allowed only in Class IX or Class XI but not after December 31 of that academic session.

The Board has fixed a specific fee structure for migrations to these classes depending on the time of the year the migrations is sought in.

The fee structure ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 500 in case of migration to Class IX and Rs 200 to Rs 1000 in case of migration to Class XII.

Migrations to these classes will not be allowed after December 31 till a special permission for the same giving valid reasons is sought from the Chairman of the Board.

Sources in the Board have pointed out that in the last few years the trend of Class X students shifting from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in the last months of the academic sessions had gone up considerably.

‘‘The students who realised that they are not going to pass with good marks in the CBSE examination in Class X and Class XII start applying to PSEB for admission just before the final examinations.

Once in the PSEB, they would all pass because there is a considerable difference in the standard of education being provided by CBSE and PSEB.

But it would bring down the overall result of PSEB students while the CBSE results would register a rise.’’


Surfeit of law officers in Punjab to cost govt dear
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The office of the Punjab Advocate-General is today humming with nearly 92-odd law officers. The latest to join this constitutional office are one additional advocate-general (legal cell) in New Delhi and one deputy advocate-general and one assistant advocate-general in Chandigarh. Also, three others have been re-designated — one as senior additional advocate-general and two as deputy advocates-general. For these two separate notifications were issued on February 19.

Each law officer costs the state exchequer approximately Rs 25,000 per month. The special public prosecutors or those hired from New Delhi, Jalandhar and other places are yet to submit their bills. But only about 40 of them are ‘’actively’’ engaged in work, while several of them either do not even attend office or have not been assigned any work, say informed sources.

The same Congress, when in opposition, had charged the previous SAD-BJP government with ‘’profligacy’’ and criticised it for having appointed nearly 55 law officers in the office of the Advocate-General. But now it has itself appointed 92 law officers.

It is reliably learnt that a majority of these appointments have been virtually thrust upon the Advocate-General who is not even consulted before the Department of Home Affairs and Justice makes appointments of law officers. Informed sources also say that at least one-third of 92 law officers are well connected to either politicians or bureaucrats of Punjab, Haryana or Chandigarh. The over-crowding has created even seating problem in the AG’s office.

Barring the Advocate-General, no law officer is senior designated advocate. Most of them are even raw hands with barely two years work experience.

On top of it, the state has engaged special public prosecutors for several cases. In fact, in all key cases, like the Punjab Public Service Commission job-on-cash scam or 70-odd cases pertaining to the PCS, judicial, executive and allied services, advocates have been hired from outside Punjab. Likewise, to oppose anticipatory bail and contest other vigilance cases, including criminal/corruption, involving politicians are being handled by hired advocates and not the law officers.

Sources point out that even the New Delhi outfit of the Advocate-General’s office is ‘’overstaffed’’. That office, besides three advocates on record, has one senior additional advocate-general, three additional advocates-general and two deputies. It is reported that their work performance is ‘’not satisfactory’’. Seldom do these law officers attend office.

Meanwhile, sources in the Department of Home Affairs and Justice also say that in view of adverse attention the AG office is getting, a fact report on performance of the law officers is being sought.


Cabinet expansion after HP poll
Tribune News Service

Jandwala Meerasangla (Ferozepore), February 20
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said that the state Cabinet would be expanded and the Chairmen of various public sector undertakings appointed immediately after the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.

He said the criteria for inducting more MLAs into the Cabinet and making Congress functionaries the chairmen of various corporations and boards were being worked out in consultation with the party high command. He added that senior MLAs were likely to get berths in the Cabinet. So far, it had not been decided how many MLAs would be made ministers.

He said the chairmen of only those PSUs would be appointed which were functioning properly and were economically sound. He added that the size of the Cabinet would not be large. More areas of the state would get representation in it.

When asked about various features of the state Budget for the next financial year, he said he could not disclose these. He, however, hoped there would be no fresh taxes in the Budget and that it would be people-oriented.

He said that though the Punjab Government had proofs in connection with the “misdeeds” of various BJP leaders, it would not make these public.


6 Akali men held for burning CM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
The district police today arrested six Youth Akali Dal workers while Mr Gurpartap Singh Tikka, district president of the party, managed to flee for burning the effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh and violating 144 CrPC imposed by the Deputy Commissioner. A case has been registered against them under various sections of the IPC at Kotwali police station here.

A large number of the workers blocked the traffic at busy Hall Gate for about half an hour today and raised slogans against the Chief Minister for allegedly shielding his party ministers and MLAs in cases of sexual misconduct.

The police press note issued in this regard stated that the activists were arrested for allegedly holding banners carrying objectionable remarks hurting the sentiments of the person concerned.

MOGA: The Shiromani Akali Dal activists here on Thursday burnt the effigies of two Punjab ministers Partap Singh Bajwa and Amarjit Singh Samra, recently named by the Gujarat Home Minister as involved in a sex scandal. The activists, led by Baghapurana MLA Sadhu Singh Rajiana, also sought the resignation of the two ministers.


110 nomination papers filed
Our Correspondent

Samana, February 20
As many as 110 nomination papers were filed for the municipal elections here today. It was the last day for filing nominations. A total 157 nominations have been filed. Elections to 17 wards of the Municipal Council here will be held on March 2.

PHILLAUR: Seventyfour candidates, including 15 of the Congress, have filed their nomination papers till Thursday. The SDM-cum-returning officer, Phillaur, Mr Sandeep Hans, said scrutiny of papers would be conducted tomorrow and candidates could withdraw their nomination papers till February 22. Besides the Congress, there were 59 Independent candidates in the fray.


ADGP report raises eyebrows
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, February 20
“Clean chit” to persons involved in the alleged embezzlement of ‘quake funds’ collected by students of Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College in report of the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Crime, Chandigarh, has raised many an eyebrow.

Allegations of misappropriation of more than Rs 10,000 had been made by students during a two-month strike in the college. Students were asked to contribute Gujarat quake fund through a notice issued in February, 2001, by the Acting Principal, Dr D.C. Pandey. However, the students had alleged that the fund never reached the Registrar, Baba Farid University, through when it was supposed to be sent to the authorities concerned.

Subsequently, Mr Satya Pal Dang, a C.P.I. leader, took up the issue with the Chief Minister. An inquiry report by the ADGP released on February 17 on the investigations done by the SSP, Amritsar, reads: “The money was collected by students and since no contribution had been made in the fund by teaching and non-teaching staff of the college the money was deposited with a student Suresh Reha. It was decided that collected money would be used for “welcome or freshers parties.” Hence no misappropriation or illegality was found. The fund is at present with the same student, and will be used for a joint function.”

The college notice had called upon all staff members of college and hospital to contribute generously. The teaching staff was required to contribute Rs 200 while non-teaching staff and students were asked to donate Rs 100 each. Hospital staff was requested to contribute Rs 50 each.

Mr Dang alleged that the fund embezzlement was “hushed up”.


Two transfused wrong blood
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
The lives of two patients were endangered after they were given wrong blood in separate private clinics here in the past two days.

However, the timely intervention of in charge of blood bank of the local Civil Hospital and doctors attending on them saved their lives.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Civil Hospital, terminated the services of Mr Sunil Mehta, a technician with the blood bank, who had issued the wrong blood to the attendant of patient — Mr Chattar Singh. He was operated upon for a bone defect in the clinic.

Dr Goyal said action would be taken against the person concerned who had given wrong blood to the attendant of a patient in another private clinic as he had received a report in this connection from Dr Indu Bhushan, in charge of the blood bank.

As per the information, the blood group of Mr Chattar Singh was O positive. Mr Sunil Mehta, technician of the blood bank, gave his attendant blood of B group. when this blood was transfused into the patient on Tuesday, his condition started deteriorating.

In another case, Ms Gurdev Kaur, was given AB positive blood unit whereas her blood group was B. In this case, the technician of the blood bank had reportedly issued a unit of group B blood but the paramedical staff of the private clinic allegedly transfused AB positive blood.

Dr Bhushan said all units of blood issued by the blood bank and used by private clinics had been taken into possession.


Decision on 'gutka' sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
In reply on a public interest litigation seeking directions for taking immediate steps to ban the manufacture, distribution and sale of gutka, along with other chewable tobacco products, the state of Punjab today sought two months time for taking a decision.

In their petition against the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union of India and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Ludhiana-based organisation, Guru Gobind Study Circle, had also sought directions for the adoption of measures to prevent irreparable damage to the health of the “future generation”, including students.

Directions for the removal of vends near educational and religious institutes, besides pulling down of boards advertising the products on the buses and walls, were also sought. Seeking directions for maintaining a minimum distance of 2 km between the outlets, counsel for the petitioner had added on behalf of the organisation that the products were freely available in provision stores, even at tea stalls and STD booths.


Consumer forum fines advocate
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, February 20
The local district consumers forum has fined an advocate for deficiency in services and has ordered him to pay Rs 40,000 as compensation to the affected persons within one month of the receipt of the orders.

A press release issued by the Public Relations Department here today said that two complainants, Mrs Gurmail Kaur and Ms Amarjit Kaur, both residents of Sarai Naga village, Faridkot, had filed a complaint with the consumer forum that Mr Satish Kumar Chawla, whom they had hired for legal services had failed to provide them with satisfactory service. They said that they had hired the advocate at Rs 2,000 per case, for a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. They said that they had filed a case when their services were terminated by the Health Department after completing 89 days in service. They said the advocate took his fees but did not appear before the court on the day of the hearing as a result their petitions were dismissed by the court. They said that due to the negligence of the advocate they had lost their cases and had suffered mental agony and financial losses.

The consumer forum then fined the advocate and ordered him to pay Rs 40,000 to each of these complainants.


BKU lifts dharna
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 20
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) lifted its six-day-old gherao of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here after a fax message of the Punjab Government was received stating that Rs 47 crore, in addition to Rs 28 crore, released earlier was sent to the managing directors of the cooperative sugar mills today.

Earlier, the BKU had blocked the G.T. Road opposite police station Dinanagar for eleven days before it shifted to gherao of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on January 15 here.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, thanking the Punjab Government for release of payments against sugarcane supplies to cooperative mills, said that the step taken by the government though correct but had been quite delayed. He assured the Chief Minister, the BKU was prepared to support the Congress Government for any stir to be launched in this connection for the release of sugar by the Central Government.


Punjab directed to release money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Taking up a petition filed against the state of Punjab and other respondents by lecturers in technical colleges seeking the payment of revised pay scales with effect from January 1, 1996, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Special Secretary of Technical Education to release the amount by February 28.

Issuing the directions, the High Court also fixed March 3 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In their petition, Mr Chawla and others had earlier sought revised pay scales in view of the settlement reached between the Government of India and the state government.

As per the settlement, if the state government agreed to pay the revised pay scales of lecturers in the technical colleges withe effect from January 1, 1996, till March 2000, the central government would bear 80 per cent of the expenditure.

Bail plea

Taking up a petition filed by Punjab’s former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha seeking the grant of bail in a cheating and corruption case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday fixed February 27 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Garcha was earlier booked in a case registered under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Seeking the grant of bail, his counsel had contended that a false case had been registered against him. He had further submitted that the Congress government was framing cases against its political opponents. The allegations that the employees recruited by Punjab Technical University were from his constituency were also baseless, counsel had added.


Top cops of states to ‘exchange views’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 20
To make the working of the police more effective regularising traffic and controlling, crime in the country, top police officers of various states are exchanging their views regarding the working of their respective provinces under the modernisation scheme of the Central Government. This was stated by Dr P.S. Pasricha, Additional Director-General (Administration) of the Maharashtra police while talking to media persons here yesterday.

Dr Pasricha who is known for traffic management in the country said he had recently met the police chiefs of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and discussed various issues, including security, traffic and modernisation of the police with them. After exchanging the views, effective and positive working of a state police was being opted by each other, which would not only improve the functioning but would also make the relations among the police officials of various states cordial.

Replying to a question he said the extradition of Abu Salem was being executed by the CBI through Interpol’. He said that more than 45 per cent population of Maharashtra was in the urban areas. However, the law and order was under control there.

Dr Pasricha was here on a private visit.


Slaughter houses ‘not being monitored’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 20
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), yesterday alleged that slaughter houses in Punjab were not being monitored.

Talking to this correspondent on the phone, Mr Mann said such slaughter houses besides being a threat to life of the common man were also a threat to environment pollution.

Mr Mann said an inquiry should be held into the matter. He also said Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Chemical and Fertilisers Minister, should take steps to control the pollution in the Sutlej allegedly by NFL units in the state.

Mr Mann further alleged that poaching was going on blatantly in Ropar district. In many cases prominent personalities were indulging in illegal hunting. However, it was unfortunate that till date no influential person had been booked by wildlife officials for poaching.


Powers withdrawn from Addl Civil Judge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 20
On the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the powers of Ms Ramesh Kumari, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Phagwara, have been withdrawn, it was learnt this evening.

The order was passed on to the judge concerned by the Districts and Session Judge, Kapurthala, Mr Gurdev Singh. On being contacted, Mr Gurdev Singh confirmed the news but refused to say anything more on the subject.

The powers had been now transferred to Ms Navjot Kaur Sohal, Civil Judge, Junior Division, Phagwara. The local Bar Association, headed by Advocate S.N. Aggarwal, has also been informed about it. However, the reason behind the withdrawal of powers could not be known.


Man dies of cold

With a renewed spell of cold wave due to squalls and hailstorms, a rickshaw puller Gurjit Singh, alias Mahana, died of cold in the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday in New Satnampura mohalla. The deceased was in his late twenties.

A hailstorm hit nearby village Bahua-Behram belt on Wednesday night and played havoc with fodder, vegetables and plants. OC


Anything for love

Phagwara, February 20
Blind in love, a college girl allegedly drugged her parents and two brothers and ran away with her lover. The family became unconscious after taking the drugged coffee, the police said today.

A case has been registered against the youth for abducting the girl after her father lodged a complaint.

The daughter also took away her gold jewellery, some cash and clothes.

She locked the gate and threw the key inside before running away with her lover. PTI


DC in favour of colonies for poor
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) and the Improvement Trust should ensure that all shops or houses of earlier projects are sold, before developing any commercial centres or residential colonies in cities. This was stated by Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, high powered Finance Committee, here today.

Mr Singla inaugurated a trust building on the Goniana road. He said it was observed that many shops or houses in colonies developed by the PUDA or the trust remained sold, resulting in losses to the authorities.

In place of ‘wasting’ money on development of such commercial centres or residential colonies, the same could be used in development of infrastructure in other areas, he said.

He alleged that the colonies developed by private contractors lacked basic facilities.

Mr Singla said with the formation of the Municipal Corporation, the city would see an over-all development. After the city formally became a corporation in April, the authorities would get more financial powers, he added.

To provide sewerage in trans railway colonies, a project worth Rs 30 crore would be started soon.

The trusts had started taking profit into account before developing residential colonies which was against the basic idea behind their constitution.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said the district administration would talk to the PUDA regarding the development of colonies for the poor. 


Two arrested for sodomising boy
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 20
A six-year-old boy of Jindawala village was allegedly sodomised by two boys of the village falling under harike police station yesterday.

The boy was admitted to hospital in a serious condition.

According to information, the boy had gone to the school playground with other children from where the suspects lured the boy, took him to the nearby cane fields and sodomised him.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, while confirming the report said that the suspects had been arrested and a case under Section 377, 34 had been registered at Harike police station. 

Youth killed in dispute
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 20
A youth was killed in a minor dispute between two groups at a wedding at the local Jandiala Road yesterday.

The deceased was identified as Gindi (23) of the local Gokalpur locality who was murdered by Charna and his two sons Amrika and Bittu.

A case under Section 302, 34 of the IPC has been registered by the local city police.

A minor dispute is said to be the cause of the murder. The deceased and the killers are said to be members of the same family.

A sharp-edged weapon was used to kill Gindi. The suspects have not been arrested yet.


Youth stabbed to death, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
The district police today claimed to have solved a murder case in which a 22-year-old youth was stabbed to death, in broad day light yesterday, by the arrest of the main accused.

Surjan Singh, a resident of Chamrang Road, was allegedly stabbed by some unidentified person yesterday. The injured Surjan fled from the spot and fell near Handa Market, where he died.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, district police chief, said the police had found some clues about the murder which pointed towards Jai of Ekta Nagar, an old accomplice of the deceased. Both the persons had many criminal cases registered against them at various police stations in the city. A minor dispute led to the enmity between the two, which resulted in the murder of Surjan. The police has recovered the sharp-edged weapon with which the murder was committed.


Varsity to start new courses
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
Guru Nanak Dev University will introduce courses in MCA (three years), MBA (two years), B.Ed. (tow years) and M.Ed. under distance education scheme soon, subject to the approval of the NCTE. A courses in BA (Honours) in social sciences will also be started from the next academic session. These decisions were taken at a meeting of the Academic Council of the university here today.

The meeting also approved that students of government colleges affiliated to the university could use the computer infrastructure and faculty available with the affiliated private colleges under the agreement approved by the university. The council also allowed regular students of degree courses at its affiliated colleges to go in for any diploma/certificate evening course.

The council decided to create visual and performing arts faculty on the recommendations of the planning board.

In another significant decision it decided to award only one post-graduate diploma in computer applications.


5.80 cr subsidy for new SSI units
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
The Punjab Khadi and Village Industrial Board (PKVIB) will provide subsidies of Rs 5.80 crore every year to the rural unemployed youths to promote small scale industries in the villages. The subsidies will be provided on the loans, to be given by the banks for setting up of small scale industries in the rural areas.

This was stated by Mr G.S. Raju, Member-Secretary of the PKVIB, while delivering his address at a Bankers workshop held under the presidentship of Mr Kuldip Singh Chandi, ADC (D) here yesterday.

Mr Raju also urged the officers of the banks to issue loans without any delay to the unemployed youths of the rural areas to help stand on their own feet. He said the loans should be released only in genuine cases for setting up of small scale industries in rural areas. Mr Chandi, also asked the bank officers to provide loans on priority basis to the unemployed rural youths to strengthen the economy of the state. He also said the banks had played a vital role in the successful implementation of various government schemes.

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