Sunday, February 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder is non-serious CM: Dayal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said today that Capt Amarinder Singh was a “non- serious” Chief Minister.

Speaking to mediapersons after a two-day meeting of the state council, Dr Dayal said that the Chief Minister had called two all-party meetings — one on the drought issue and other on the SYL canal issue. But the Chief Minister had not implemented any decision.

In the second all-party meeting, the Chief Minister had given a word to convene a special session of the state assembly to discuss the SYL canal issue, but promise was not fulfilled. Even the state government dithered on the distribution of drought relief to the affected sections of society.

The CPI would start a ‘jan-jagran’ movement against the government on April 25. Before that a meeting of the Khet Majdoor Sabha would be held on March 15 and it would be followed by a kisan rally at Nihalsinghwala on March 20, he added.

“The present government was being run by a few bureaucrats, police officers and a number of OSDs and not by elected representatives of the people,” he commented when asked about the functioning of the state government. Even ministers had no say in the affairs of the state”, he added.

The number of suicide by farmers had gone up in the state. As many as 17,000 farmers had been given notices by the government authorities to auction their properties to recover loans. Because of the state government’s indifferent attitude, the minimum support price of wheat and other main crops had been freezed by the Central Government. About 60 to 70 per cent small and medium-scale industries had been closed because of economic recession.

Punjab, which was earlier known for its prosperity, was now known for all wrong reasons such as sex scandals involving big political and bureaucratic guns, rapes in police stations, deaths in police custody and so on, he said. There was no serious effort to end corruption. He said that the Punjab Government was the only one in the country which was pursuing the course of disinvestment in public sector undertakings vigorously.


Akali workers burn CM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 22
More than 250 persons led by Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, former Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats and Dr Jodh Singh, member, SGPC, held a demonstration today near historic gurdwara at Dera Baba Nanak to protest the alleged involvement of two Congress ministers in Gujarat sex scandal.

They demanded resignation of the ministers and of the Chief Minister on moral grounds.

The demonstrators were carrying an effigy of the CM. Large contingent of the police deployed on the occasion made it known that the demonstrators would not be allowed to burn the effigy. Sensing trouble, Akali workers sneaked into the main Bazar of Dera Baba Nanak and burnt the effigy.

Meanwhile, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD and B&R Minister and district president of the Shromani Akali Dal in a press note issued here today said the party has postponed proposed demonstrations to be held in the district till March 9 in view of the coming municipal elections.

The programme of demonstrations would be chalked out after the declaration of the results of the MC elections in the district.


Badal criticises CM over wheat MSP 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 22
The former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, today said the state government had failed to ensure a favourable MSP of wheat for paddy that would result in far reaching negative ramifications on the farmers as the condition of the agriculture sector was already pathetic in Punjab.

Speaking at a function here, Mr Badal alleged that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had failed to take any substantial step to improve the financial condition of the farmers and added that every time the Akali Dal (Badal) approached the Central Government with regards to the demands of the agricultural sector, the present state government subjected them to criticism. He further stated that his party was ready to support the state government and approach the Central Government over any farmer-friendly decision of the state government.

Criticising the state government’s reported decision to privatise sugar mills, the former Chief Minister stated that the step would result in further deterioration of farmers’ conditions besides large-scale unemployment. He also criticised the government’s reported decision to privatise electricity board and said it would not yield any positive result.

Demanding immediate resignation of the Congress ministers alleged to be involved in the sex scandal in Gujarat, Mr Badal demanded an immediate inquiry into the case.

The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who was also present on the occasion said the wheat and sugar stock lying in the godowns of Punjab would soon be moved to other states for sale and denied charges that the Central Government was discriminating against the Punjab Government over sale of food grains. 



Scindia foresees pension fund scam
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
"The Congress would not waver from its path of secularism come what may. It fully understands the game plan of the BJP and its various offshoots and is determined to defeat such forces of negativism," said Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia, one of the youngest Congress members of Parliament and son of late Mr Madhavrao Scindia.

Before leaving for the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh, Mr Scindia said in an interview here today that secularism was about 5,000-year-old tradition of the country and no one could be allowed to tamper with it. This country, besides Hinduism, had seen a number of other religions taking birth and flourishing in the past few centuries. Prominent among these are Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Moreover, Hinduism was not the monopoly of any particular group or party. It belonged to a huge chunk of populace," he added.

"It is true that the country was stuck in various religious controversies which are being deliberately raised by certain vested interests, especially the BJP and its sister organisations, but it seems to a temporary phase. The country is to march ahead and for this, peace and harmony were the most important factors.''

The Congress was trying its best to free the country from the atmosphere of communalism that was being spread by certain forces, said Mr Scindia, who had a brief halt at the residence of Mr Surinder Singla, a Congress MLA from Bathinda, before proceeding for the hill state. He also had a brief visit here to the residence of Mr Randeep Singh, MLA from Nabha.

Mr Scindia, who turned politician from an investment banker, learnt his managerial skills at Harvard and Stanford. He has worked with renowned financial institutions abroad. However, he was pushed into politics following the untimely death of his father. He was elected from his late father's Guna parliamentary constituency with an unprecedented margin of over 4,50,000 votes in February, 2002.

Making a smart remark, Mr Scindia said: "Our family is not in the politics to do politics. It was wedded to serve people for the past several decades. The politics is a medium that has been chosen by the family to serve people. I am against the petty politics of running down the political rivals. A political contest should be based on political issues, public service and not only cheap allegations and defamatory statements. Filthy issues are often raised to confuse the people and divert their attention from the real issues", he said when asked about the growing political degeneration in the country. "The Congress would form government in the hill state," he predicted.

The Congress would try its best to give a new turn to the politics in the country. It would pull the countrymen out of the destructive political culture being promoted by certain political groups, he added.

India had the capacity to become a big economic power. However, the BJP had not tried to put the country on the path of economic development. It had sunk the country deep in a communal whirlpool, obviously to cover up its failures on various fronts.

The country was facing economic slowdown in almost every sphere of activity such as industry, agriculture, etc. The growth on the agricultural front was now minus 2 per cent whereas it had touched 16 per cent during Mr Rajiv Gandhi's rule. The percentage of economic growth had not gone beyond 5, though it was supposed to be 8 as per the claims of the BJP-led government at the Centre. The industry, by and large, was in peril, said Mr Scindia, whose forte is economy and financial matters. Scandals and mismanagement of financial institutions by the BJP government at the Centre had devastated the small investors. "Believe me, another big scandal of financial mismanagement pertaining to pension funds worth Rs 3,00,000 crore was around," he added.

When asked about his priorities, Mr Scindia said: "My first priory was youth who were facing an uncertain future because of negative growth of employment. There are millions and millions of well-qualified youth in the country who had nothing to do," he added. "No one was speaking for them, though their number was almost 70 per cent of the total population," he rued.

"My second priority is development of my constituency. I have chalked out a specific plan for it to ensure best education, health, drinking water, etc. to the people of my area," he added.


Samra, Bajwa file suit against Modi
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 22
The two Punjab ministers, Mr A.S. Samra and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, today filed two separate libel suits for damages on account of defamation of Rs 50 crore each in the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) here against the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narinder Modi and the Gujarat Home Minister, Mr Amit Shah. The suits have been entrusted to the court of Mr A.S. Grewal, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division).

When contacted, the counsel for the ministers, Mr Sukhdip Singh Brar, said that the case was listed for February 24 but he refused to divulge details whether requisite court fee for the libel suits was deposited in the court concerned or not?

Meanwhile, the lawyers and witnesses of both the ministers in the case pertaining to criminal complaint case against the Gujarat Chief Minister presented themselves before the Duty Magistrate, Ms Harreet Kaur, who accepted the application of the ministers seeking exemption from their personal appearance in the court. The court adjourned the case for recording of evidences of February 24.

Mr Bajwa and Mr Samra had filed separate criminal complaints against Mr Narinder Modi and Mr Amit Shah in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A.S. Grewal, on February 18 and the statements of witnesses in the case were earlier scheduled to be recorded today.


29 new AC buses for Punjab soon
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 22
The Punjab Transport Department has issued 29 permits for air-conditioned buses, which will link the state capital with all district headquarters and major cities, except Kapurthala.

At present only five air-conditioned buses are plying between Chandigarh and different cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur and Abohar, even as about three years back, the previous government had issued 10 permits for air-conditioned buses, which however, had found only a few takers due to “non-viability” of most of the routes offered by the department.

So much so, that after running their vehicles for some time, some of the transporters had withdrawn their buses and the case of Ferozepore-Chandigarh route had led to a piquant situation as this route had failed to be operational even for a single day as there was no taker for it. Similarly, the Ludhiana-Chandigarh route had failed to find any favour among transporters for its short distance and people’s comparative preference for use of their own vehicles, the fate of the Bathinda-Chandigarh route was almost the same as Bathinda city was also covered by the Abohar-Chandigarh route, leaving it to be financially “non-lucrative” for operators.

The new routes envisaged linking of the state capital with all major cities and and town-ships of Punjab. The proposed number of air-conditioned buses plying between the state capital and various cities would be as following — Amritsar-Chandigarh (6 buses), Batala-Chandigarh (two buses), Gurdaspur-Chandigarh (two buses), Pathankot-Chandigarh (two buses), Jalandhar-Chandigarh (two buses) and Ferozepore-Chandigarh, Moga-Chandigarh, Mansa-Chandigarh and Abohar-Chandigarh (one each).

While the State Transport Commissioner has already issued orders pertaining to grant of 29 new permits, the formal announcement pertaining to this was likely to be made by the Chief Minister during next week. The transporters, who have been granted permits, have been given three months time for enabling them to purchase new vehicles and get these buses fitted with air-conditioning facility and other equipment.

“The new facility has been envisaged in such a manner so as to encourage people to shun use of their private vehicles and use public transport system, which would lead to lessen some pressure on the roads,” said an official of the department.

The only stumbling block in the proper implementation of the ambitious plan was likely to be the ongoing tiff between the Punjab Government on one hand, and the Chandigarh administration and different Chandigarh transport employees’ associations on the other over the issue of mileage sharing. Due to this reason, the existing air-conditioned buses were not being allowed entry into Chandigarh and were forced to take off for Punjab from SAS Nagar.


Candidates boycott MC poll
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 22
All candidates in six out of 11 wards of Sangat Mandi Municipal Council today withdrew nomination papers for the civic body elections to be held on March 2 in protest against lack of civic amenities and development in their wards.

As many as 52 candidates had filed nomination papers for these six wards and all of them withdrew their papers today on the last day of withdrawal of papers.

It is learnt that the candidates have boycotted the MC election to protest against the non-development of their wards, falling in old Sangat Kalan village area. They said that when their area was under a Panchayat, they were enjoying better facilities. They alleged that after their area was brought under Sangat Mandi Municipal Council in 1995 financial burden on the residents increased, but facilities denied.

They said that after the formation of the Municipal Council Octroi was imposed in the area, which increased rates of various domestic and other goods sold in the area. They alleged that expenditure on development works in their areas was not in proportion to the income generated from the their area.

The candidates who have withdrawn nomination papers said that they had respected the sentiments of the residents of their wards. They said that the residents felt that the formation of Municipal Council in place of a panchayat did not bring change in the facilities enjoyed by them earlier. The residents even urged that their wards be brought again under a panchayat.

After the withdrawal of nomination papers by these candidates 14 candidates are left in fray for the rest of five wards.

Mr G.K. Singh, Administrator Improvement Trust and Returning Officer confirmed that the nomination papers had been withdrawn by all candidates in six wards adding that he had informed the Senior Officials at Chandigarh about it. He said that election symbols were allotted to the candidates contesting elections from the rest of five wards.

Meanwhile, 39 candidates are left in fray for election to nine out of 11 wards of Bhucho Mandi Municipal Council as 14 candidates have withdrawn their nomination papers today, while two candidates have been elected unopposed. The election would be held on March 2. The unopposed candidates are Teja Singh from ward no. 1 and Mr Makhan Lal from ward no. 9.


MC poll: 2 elected unopposed
Our Correspondent

Samana, February 22
Ms Surinder Kaur Bhan, a Congress candidate from ward No. 2 (a reserve constituency for SC woman) and Mr Gian Chand, an Independent candidate from ward No. 6, were elected unopposed to the MC today, on the last day of the withdrawal of nomination papers. Now 96 candidates are in fray for the remaining 15 seats. The nomination papers of two candidates were rejected by the Returning Officer. The symbols have been allotted and the elections will be held on March 2. 


Kainth rules out truck with BSP
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 22
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, former MP and president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM), today ruled out every possibility of having any political alliance or merger with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) by the BSM in the near future as the BSP was “rejecting” the ideology of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, continuously.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Kainth also criticised the Amarinder government for not fulfilling any promise made with the Dalits in the election manifesto by the Congress during the Assembly elections.

Mr Kainth announced that the BSM would start its enrolment drive from April 14 which would end on December 6. He said after the completion of the membership drive, the Punjab unit of the party would be reorganised.

The BSM Supremo also stated that his party had started a campaign to save the ideology of Dr Ambedkar under the banner “Dr Ambedkar Lehar Bachao”. He said as part of this campaign, the BSP was going to organise five workers’ conventions in different parts of the state. The first convention would be held on March 22 at Faridkot while the remaining conventions would be held at Ludhiana on March 29, Fatehgarh Sahib on March 30, Amritsar on April 5 and at Phagwara on April 6, he added.


SAD candidates for MC poll
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 22
Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, President, District Unit of Hoshiarpur Shiromani Akali Dal (B), released a list of SAD candidates for 11 wards for the forthcoming elections to Municipal Council today. In a press release, Mr Bajwa said SAD would field its candidates in 11 wards of Hoshiarpur city and would leave 20 wards for BJP — its ally. Following is the list of SAD candidates in ward No. 5 (Reserve for woman SC) Bibi Manjit Kaur, ward No. 6 (General) Mr Prem Singh Piplanwala, ward No 8 (Reserve for woman SC) Ms Raj Rani, Tiba Sahib, ward No. 9 (Reserve for SC) Dr Harbilas Rai, ward No. 10 (General) Bibi Baljit Kaur Saini, ward No 17 (Reserve for woman of General category) Ms Surinder Kaur, Bhagat Singh Nagar, ward No. 18 (Reserve for SC) Mr Baldev Singh, Gokal Nagar, ward No. 19 (Reserve for BC) Mr Avtar Singh Bhavra, ward No. 21 (General) Khairati Lal Katna and ward No. 23, Ms Parveen Kaur.


‘Mishandling’ of rape case led to row
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
It was ‘mishandling’ of the infamous rape case by the Sikh clergy which snowballed into a major controversy today. The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) had brought out a brochure which had alleged that the Sikh clergy had been ‘hushing up’ the cases pertaining to Sikh panth after taking ‘bribes’ on this issue. The Sikh high priests had summoned the members of the SKP at Akal Takht to submit proofs of corruption.

The SKP had agreed to submit the evidence on the condition that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar Keshgarh Sahib, should not sit in the meeting of the Sikh clergy, being a party to the case. However, the ‘proofs’ were submitted to the SGPC Chief. It was alleged that Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, the then Personal Assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, had taken a bribe of Rs 70,000 for giving favour to Baba Dhanwant Singh, who was accused of raping a girl of his own ‘dera’. Though Mr Sandhu, who is also a close relative of Jathedar Vedanti, was removed as personal assistant to Jathedar Akal Takht, Mr Budungar had given a ‘clean chit’ to the Sikh priests.

A series of secret meetings were held between Prof Manjit Singh and the SKP to sort out the matter but in vain. Later Baba Dhanwant Singh was booked by the Nawanshahr Shehr Police on charges of raping the girl. Ultimately the SKP took the decision to launch an agitation for removal of Jathedar Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh.


Consumer forums to get more powers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 22
The compensation awarding power of the state and district consumer forums would increase substantially after the Union Government effects the recently proposed amendment in the Consumer Act. After the implementation of the said amendment, the compensation awarding power of the district consumer forum would increase from the present limit of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, of the state consumer commission from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore and the National Consumer Commission to any amount beyond Rs 1 crore.

The president of the State Consumer Forum of Punjab, Mr H.S. Brar, gave this information while talking to mediapersons at Ropar yesterday. He was at Ropar to inspect the working of the District Consumer Forum. Mr Brar further said that the National Consumer Commission has written to the Punjab Government to constitute district and state consumer councils. While all other states have formed the said councils for spreading awareness regarding the consumer rights, no such council has been formed in Punjab.

He informed that till date, 11,610 cases have been taken up by the district and state consumer forums in Punjab. Out of them 8,879 have been settled and 2,700 were pending.


Ropar court summons Dhumal
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 22
The CJM Ropar, Mr Ravinder Singh, today directed the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, to present himself in his court on March 27.

Earlier, on February 14, the CJM Ropar, in a defamation case filed by Mr Bal Bhushan, a member of the PPCC, had directed the Himachal Chief Minister to present before his court today. Mr Dhumal, however, had secured exemption from personal appearance in the court of the CJM from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The counsel for Mr Dhumal, Mr Satya Pal Jain, today presented the exemption orders issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the court of the CJM following which the later gave March 27 as the next date of hearing.

Earlier, in a case moved before the court of the CJM, Mr Bal Bhushan had alleged that Mr Dhumal had used derogatory statements against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the AICC spokesperson, Mr Anand Sharma, which published in Urdu daily, Hind Samachar, on February 7.


Conference hall for farmers
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

PATHANKOT: The Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) plans to construct a conference hall here to facilitate the farming community. The hall will be equipped with a computerised library and have internet facilities to provide knowledge about the latest scientific techniques to farmers to boost production.

According to Mr Harinder Singh Bains, Agriculture Development Officer, the farmers will be able to get information about high quality seeds, insecticides and other farming problems, besides crop sowing timings under one roof. The project will cost about Rs 3 lakh involving construction activities in the initial stages which could go up with the execution of development works, including providing hightech facilities in the conference hall.

Under the project the farmers will be provided with books on animal husbandry, poultry, dairy and fish farming, fodder cultivation and bee farming to help them become self employed by adopting agro-based and agro-related profession. This will help make them financially strong, he added.

* * *

The Punjab Government has decided to encourage sericulture in the state. Stating this at a farmer symposium at the sericulture farm at Niari Bhatwan village, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, said farmers engaged in sericulture would be provided with all types of facilities including financial assistance. The sericulturists participating in the symposium apprised the Deputy Commissioner about the problems and difficulties faced by them.

Mr R. L. Bakshi, Deputy Director, Sericulture Research Centre, Jammu, said with the implementation of WTO norms, the cost of Chinese or Japanese silk would go up by Rs 400 to Rs 500 per kg following which the silk produced indigenously would attract the world market because of the quality produce available at cheaper rates.

* * *

More than two dozen villages in Dhar block face scarcity of pure drinking water in the absence of a fool-proof water supply system.

Teeka Chalaata is one of the villages where people have been facing potable water problems for the past eight months as there is no water in the reservoirs getting water through the Chadol water supply scheme.

Mr Dharan Singh, Numbardar of the village, told this correspondent that in the absence of a water supply scheme in the village, women folk have to bring water for domestic and drinking purposes from the ponds around the village or the falls on the lower hills which can be used only after it is boiled.

He urged the Chief Minister to direct the authorities concerned to make arrangements for the supply of pure drinking water as the problem could become more serious with the ponds turning dry in the coming days.

* * *

Mr Kamal Kumar Tarnach got the national youth award comprising a gold medal' citation and a cheque worth Rs 20,000. The award was presented to him by the Union Minister, Mr A. Kumar, at a function held on the occasion of the eighth National Youth Festival at Trivanthapuram, Kerala.

* * *

Mr Davinder Singh Chahal has been elected President of the Punjab Roadways Workshop Union at a meeting held here to elect office-bearers of the state body. Mr Bansi was elected General Secretary. The 10-member advisory committee comprises Ravinder Kumar Tiwari (Pathankot), Sukhdev Singh (Ludhiana), Pritam Bhagat (Nawanshahar), Gurcharan Singh (Batala), Vinod Kumar (Hoshiarpur), Shiv Kumar (Jalandhar), Rachhpal Singh (Chandigarh), Gurdial Singh (Amritsar), Jasbir Singh Jeti (Tarn Taran) and Kirpal Singh (Nangal).

* * *

Mr Kuldip Singh Saini and Mr Arun Kumar, President and General Secretary, respectively, of the Employees Welfare Federation (local unit), have said they would support any agitation launched in protest against the privatisation of any government service. The leaders alleged that instead of filling the vacant posts running into thousands, the government was mooting plans to hand over certain public utility services to private entrepreneurs.

They warned the state government against any move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board. They said the move would not only cause heavy revenue loss to the board but would also increase the supply cost for which the consumers would have to pay four to five times more.


Woman dies after ‘illegal’ abortion
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 22
Shanti Devi, who had been battling for life for the past three weeks after undergoing an ‘illegal’ abortion allegedly performed in the house of a nurse posted in the local Civil Hospital yesterday died at Government Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

After the death of Shanti Devi, a team of the Civil Hospital authorities yesterday raided the house of the nurse here, who was suspected to have performed the ‘illegal’ abortion. Some equipment used in inserting copper-T was recovered from her house. The raid was conducted by a team headed by the Assistant Civil Surgeon, Dr H.S. Dhillon.

Dr Dhillon, while talking to TNS, said that no equipment required to perform a abortion was recovered from the nurse who was suspected to be involved in the incident. During a statement recorded by Dr Dhillon, the nurse had denied the charge that she had performed the abortion. He, however, said that team would continue its search. The police authorities had already been informed about the alleged illegal abortion by the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.K. Goyal.

According to sources, Shanti Devi underwent an illegal abortion on January 30. After some time, her condition started deteriorating and she was admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

When her condition failed to improve, she was referred to the Government Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, on February 1. After getting treatment for about 20 days at Patiala, she died yesterday.

Dr S.K. Goyal, when contacted, said that a comprehensive inquiry was being conducted to know that who had performed the abortion on Shanti Devi and whether the abortion was performed to commit female foeticide or not. He added that anybody found involved in this case would not be spared.


150 women undergo tubectomy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 22
The Civil Hospital here organised family planning camp. The United Welfare Society, and Shri Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society, both NGOs, had organised a family planning camp but the three men who reported at the hospital, later refused to undergo vasectomy. Sources said that the motivators were trying hard to persuade men to undergo this operation but the response from the male members was discouraging as misconceptions related to the ‘manliness’ after the vasectomy were hard to weed out, lamented the sources.

Mrs Darshan Kaur, Mrs Gulabo Devi (names changed on request) and some other patients who underwent tubectomy said that they had been motivated by volunteers of the NGO and poor economic conditions also made them to plan their families. They added that spread of education in the village also made them aware of problems of raising a big family. Some of them said that while the decision to limit the family was taken by them jointly with their husbands, their husbands had refused to undergo vasectomy.

The sources said that most of the patients undergoing operations today belonged to the city and nearby villages of the district while one woman from Bhalaiana village in Muktsar district also underwent tobectomy.

Dr Jagjit Singh, district Family Planning and Welfare Office, said that a team of surgeons assisted by paramedical staff operated on 150 patients. He said the department had been making steady efforts to educate people in limiting family. He praised the role of the NGOs in this connection.

Mr Vijay Bhatt, president, United Welfare Society, said that in addition to holding medical and blood donation camps, they had started spreading awareness about AIDS, HIV and family planning.


Forest Corpn ex-chief gets bail
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 22
Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, a former Chairman of the Forest Corporation and a relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, arrested on charges of amassing huge property five months ago was released from the Central Jail on bail here today.

Mr Kang was released on bail on the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court. He paid his obeisance at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht along with his followers after his release.


Bank staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 22
Employees of all branches of Bank of Baroda, here, yesterday observed strike to protest against the decision of the bank management to change retirement rules without consulting the employees.

Addressing a gathering outside the Civil Lines branch, Mr Amrit Lal, general secretary of North Zone Chapter of Bank of Baroda Employees Union, alleged that bank was following anti-employees policies, having decided to change the date of retirement of an employee from the last day of the year in which he or she attains 60 years of age to the last day of the month.

The reports here revealed that work in 46 branches of Bank of Baroda in Punjab was hit even as cheques amounting Rs one crore could not be cleared in Jalandhar alone causing inconvenience to customers.


96 cases settled at Lok Adalats
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, February 22
As many as 96-cases were settled at Lok Adalats organised here today, informed Mr Zora Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge.

The cases settled at Lok Adalats include road accident claims, cases under the Hindu Marriage Act, and motor accidents claim cases. A compensation amounting to Rs 23.83 lakh was awarded.

Mr Zora Singh, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, both Additional District and Sessions Judge, and Mr S.S. Dhaliwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, presided over the three Lok Adalats.

Mr Ashok Kumar Sabharwal, president of the District Bar Association, Mr Sumandeep Singh, general secretary of association, Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, Mr Harcharan Singh, Ms Shanta Kapoor and Ms Santosh Sharma attended theLok Adalats as members.

Lok Adalat settles cooperative loan cases
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 22
For the settlement of old Cooperative Loan cases first Lok Adalat was held in the Sessions Court Complex here today. Three benches were constituted for hearing these cases.

Mr C.D. Gupta, Mr R.P. Nagrath, Additional District and Sessions Judges and Mrs Harveen Bhardwaj, Civil Judge, Hoshiarpur, presided over the benches. Mr Harbans Singh, Gurnam Singh, Ranbir Singh, Deputy Registrars of the Cooperative Department and Dr D.B. Kapoor, Mr Karam Chand Saini and Mrs Asha Chowdhry, Social Workers, were other members in the Benches.

At the Lok Adalat 360 loan cases of Cooperative Department, amount to Rs 46,26,903 were taken up and Rs 18,57,718 worth settled by compromise in 270 cases.


Don’t harass doctors: Goyal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Mr Brij Lal Goyal, vice-president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, here today urged the authorities that they should not harass doctors unnecessarily. While performing their duty, sometimes unintentional mistakes were committed by doctors.

He said only those doctors who intentionally harm patients and play mischief should be taken to task after getting their conduct examined from medical experts. He said the " harassment to doctors" in the past days had caused a scare among them. Atmosphere of fear among the doctor fraternity had affected the medical services in the state.


Registrar removed

SAS Nagar, February 22
The Director Health Service, Punjab, today removed Ms Aruna Chabra as Registrar, Punjab Nurses Registration Council. This action of the DHS follows a show-cause notice that was given to Ms Chabra fortnight back. 

Ms Chabra has been asked to give reasons why discrepancies had been found in the preparation of the result of the nursing exam. She was holding the additional charge as Registrar of the council. TNS


2 dead, 25 injured in road mishap

Kapurthala, February 22
Two persons were killed and 25 others injured, four of them seriously, in a collision between a bus and a truck near Dayalpur village on the Jalandhar-Amritsar national highway this morning, the police said. The deceased have been identified as Mehanga Ram (60) and Pritam Kaur (55), both residents of Pandori Nijjran village near Adampur.

The injured were taken to a hospital at Beas and the seriously injured have been identified as Giano, Vidaya, Resha Kaur and Rupinder Kaur, all residents of Pandori Nijjren. The victims were going to Dera Beas to attend a religious congregation when the mishap occurred, the police said. PTI


ITO killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 22
Mr Rajesh Mittal (34) an Income Tax Officer (ITO) was killed on the spot when the car he was driving hit a tree near Balluana village, near here today.

Sources said that the deceased was posted at Abohar town in Ferozepore district and a post-mortem examination of his body was done at the civil hospital here.

In a separate incident at Puhla, village Maingal Singh was killed on the spot when Darshan Singh hit him. Sources said that a clash minor dispute turned into a violent clash and Darshan Singh kicked him resulting into his death. The Nathana police has registered a case in this connection.

Prabhpreet Singh, resident of Nathpura village, who was injured in an accident in Bhuchu Mandi town of this district, succumbed to his injuries. One of the three persons involved in the case, Gursharan Singh, resident of Phuli village was killed on the spot and Nikka Singh, a resident of Bhuchu Khurd has been shifted to Ludhiana for treatment. 


Associate of Netaji dies

Moga, February 22
Veteran freedom fighter and an associate of Netaji Subhas Chandar Bose, Lieut Sadhu Singh died at Faridkot yesterday.

He was 85. He leaves behind three sons and three daughters. The freedom fighter was cremated with full state honours later in the day.

Subdivisional Magistrate Davinder Singh placed wreaths on the body of the freedom fighter on behalf of the state government. Wreaths were also placed on behalf of the Freedom Fighters Organisation.

The Punjab State Freedom Fighters Organisation at a meeting here today mourned the death. UNI


Making of polythene bags banned
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 22
Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, District Magistrate, Hoshiarpur, has prohibited manufacturing and use of polythene bags which are made of fresh recycled polythene have thickness of less than 20 microns. He has ordered shopkeepers not to sell or use polythene bags having thickness less than 20 microns.

The order will remain in force up to April 19, 2003.


7-year jail for two in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 22
Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge has here convicted Krishna Devi wife of Ram Chand and her son Balkar Singh of Sanghowal village under Section 304 B of the IPC and sentenced them seven years each. The Mukerian Police registered a case on the complaint of Rakesh Kumar on August 2, 2001. Rakesh Kumar stated that his sister Suresh married Balkar Singh one and a half year ago. After marriage Balkar Singh and his family members demanded motorcycle in dowry. Due to torturing by the in-laws Suresh died in Civil Hospital Mukerian.


Three booked under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 22
The police has booked three persons under the NDPS Act and has seized drugs from their possession. Thirtynine capsules of some drug were seized from Harjit Singh, a resident of Bath village by the Verowal police and a case under Sections 22, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act was registered.

The Valtoha police also seized 780 tablets of an intoxicant substance from the possession of Partap Singh, a resident of Vernala village. A case has been registered. The Patti police recovered 2 kg of poppy husk from Baldev Singh, a resident of Nandpur village and a case has been registered.


Businessman held for abducting farmer
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 22
The police today arrested a local businessman Mohit, alias Tinku, for his alleged involvement in kidnapping a farmer of Siriawala village, Mr Baldev Singh Namardar, of this district and subsequently getting his (Baldev Singh) thumb impression on the promissory notes.

Police sources said Mohit, along with other businessmen Rakesh Kumar, Suresh Kumar and Ramesh Kumar, first detained Mr Baldev Singh in this city on February 16. After that they kidnapped him and forced him to put his thumb impression on the promissory notes.

After getting a complaint in this connection from the victim, Mr Baldev Singh, case under Sections 365, 467, 468, 341, 342 and 34 of the IPC was registered in the city police station.

The sources added that in an investigation done by the police it was found that a senior leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was also involved in the crime, but he had not been nominated in the case yet. The efforts were on to arrest other accused.


2 proclaimed offenders held
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 22
The police here has nabbed two proclaimed offenders who were hiding for years. Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, police district here, told newsmen in a press note yesterday that the accused Joginder Singh of Patti town who was sentenced in a case registered against him on May 6, 1982, for keeping 4 kg of opium and whose bail plea was rejected. He did not attend court. He was living at Fazilka by changing his address.

The second accused identified as Joginder Singh of Thathi Jaimal Singh village was arrested with 19 kg opium on November 19, 1983. He was also sentenced by the court and had failed to produced himself before the court. Both accused have been sent to the Central Jail, Amritsar, the SSP added.


Rs 10 cr for books to SC students
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 22
The Punjab Government will spend Rs 10 crore to provide books free of cost to 14 lakh SC students which will be distributed from April 1, said Mr Hans Raj Gangar, Director S.C., and BC Welfare Department, while presiding over a meeting of officials of the Welfare and Education Department at Ambedkar Bhavan, here today.

He said the books distribution process would be completed before commencing of holidays. The Director also urged the officials of the Treasury Department to clear all the bills regarding this, on priority.

Mr Gangar further informed that the department would spend another Rs 10 crore to provide plots to 4,000 homeless SC families.

The department would give priority to the villages having maximum population of SC persons or on the recommendations of the village/sub division/district-level committees under this scheme, he added.

The Director further said it had come to the notice of the department that some people, particularly in Mansa, Ludhiana and Sangrur districts, were misguiding beneficiaries of the above said scheme and took bribe up to Rs 3000. He asked the people to approach Welfare and Social Security Minister whenever the benefit under this scheme was provided through the District Planning and Development Boards.

He also appealed to the people of this category to inform immediately to the Deputy Commissioner, SSP or officials of the Welfare Department if they found any person misguiding them, so that such cheaters, were punished. Mr P.S. Gill, District Welfare Officer, DEO (S) and DEO (P) were also persent on the occasion.

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