Tuesday, March 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India

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SAD-BJP MLAs stage walkout
Discussion on Governor’s Address
Chandigarh, March 17
Even before the Punjab Vidhan Sabha formally began discussion on the Governor’s Address, the SAD-BJP opposition today staged a walkout. The two had also boycotted the Governor’s Address on March 14.

SGPC undecided on siropa to Kalam
Amritsar, March 17
The SGPC still in a dilemma whether a siropa should be presented to Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President, during his proposed visit to the Golden Temple on March 23 as this practice was discontinued about two years ago.

Hola Mohalla celebrations begin
Anandpur Sahib, March 17
The annual Hola Mohalla began with fervour at Anandpur Sahib today with thousands of pilgrims attending the celebrations. The pilgrims paid obeisance at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib and took dip in the sarovar. All approaches to Anandpur Sahib were clogged with vehicles carrying pilgrims. The pilgrims had set up langars on tractor trailers at various places in Anandpur Sahib and at roads leading to the town.

Widows exempted from house tax
Municipal council budget passed
Bathinda, March 17
The widows, physically challenged persons with 60 per cent disability, terrorist victims and victims of 1984 riots residing in the city will not have to pay house tax if their annual income is up to Rs 24,000. These residents have been given special benefit in the budget of the local municipal council passed today.



Anandpur Sahib


Civic staff thrive on illegal construction
Jalandhar, March 17
More than 200 commercial complexes, hotels, restaurants, schools are coming up in Jalandhar in stark violation of the building bylaws and the Punjab Municipal Act, thanks to the supervisory staff of the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation who turn a blind eye towards the ongoing illegal construction with a view to minting money or for the political and bureaucratic clout of violators.

UPSC to be revamped within 3 years: Hota
Kapurthala, March 17
Mr P.C. Hota, Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, has said that the working of the UPSC would be revamped within three years as per recommendations submitted by Mr Y.K. Alagh.


Repoll result vindicates Cong stand: Josan
Fazilka, March 17
“The victory of the Congress candidate, Mr Mohinderjit Singh Madaan, from Ward No 9 in the Jalalabad civic body repoll with a convincing margin after the deployment of the CRPF and special observers has shown once again that the elections were fair,” said Mr Hans Raj Josan, Jalalabad MLA, at a press conference after the declaration of the result late on Sunday. Mr Madaan defeated his nearest rival, Mr Prem Valecha of the Bharatiya Janata Party, by 404 votes.

Suicides by farmers on the rise: CPI
Mansa, March 17
Mr Shemin Faizee, secretary of the National Council of the Communist Party of India, Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab State Council of the CPI, and Mr Hardev Arshi, a former Budhlada MLA and member of the state secretariat of the CPI, after their two-day tour of the Mansa, Sangrur and Patiala villages worst hit by cotton-crop failure, said at a press conference here today that farmers were being forced to sell their produce and equipment at throwaway prices to repay loans.

Dhindsa honours SAD councillors
Sangrur, March 17
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and Secretary-General of the SAD, honoured SAD councillors, recently elected to the Bhawanigarh Municipal Council, at a function in Bhawanigarh yesterday.

RRD political conference
Chandigarh, March 17
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD) has decided to organise a political conference at Anandpur Sahib tomorrow on the occasion of Hola Mohalla, Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu, President of the dal, announced here today.


FBI quizzing hijack accused; counsel
Patiala, March 17
The defence counsel of Dalip Kumar Bhujel and Bhupai Man Damai, both facing trial for their involvement in the hijacking of IC - 814 from Nepal to Kandahar, filed an application in the anti-hijacking Designated Court here today claiming that his clients were being interrogated by FBI investigators in the local central jail.

A girl displays her skills on a rope during a 'malkhamb' competition in Amritsar on Sunday. — PTI photo

Interim bail

Chandigarh, March 17
Mr Justice S.K. Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked Punjab MLA Sohan Singh Thundal to apply for interim bail before the trial court for attending the on-going Vidhan Sabha session.

32 buses leave for Afghanistan
Wagha (Attari), March 17
The sixth convoy of 32 buses today left for Afghanistan via Wagha joint checkpoint here. Mr Shaifula Rehman, Director, Audit Department, Ministry of Transport, Afghanistan, accompanied the convoy. Mr Mohammed Samim Hamraz, Second Secretary, Embassy of Afghanistan, Islamabad, received the buses on the Pakistani side.

Bishops deny conversions
Amritsar, March 17
Mr Pradip Kumar Samantroy, Bishop Diocese of the Amritsar Church of North India, said he had written to the Chairman of the National Minority Commission (NMC) and president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to probe the allegations of conversion of Dalit Sikhs to Christianity.

Conversions blamed on Badal
Chandigarh, March 17
Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann today blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, for the conversions from Sikhism to Christianity.

Liquor contractors cry foul over auction
Patiala, March 17
The Excise and Taxation Department allegedly facilitated the allotment of the Patiala and the Sirhind-Khamanon circles to Amrik Singh (Congress legislator) and Ponty Chadha group, besides ensuring that in other cases the hammer fell in favour of other favoured bidders at prices just above the rates reserved by the government. 

NAPM leaders to visit Chandigarh on March 23
Phagwara, March 17
Leaders of the National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM) will visit Chandigarh on March 23 for a drive against communalism and globalisation.

Four ultrasound units sealed
Sangrur, March 17
The health authorities raided four ultrasound units accused of violating the PNDT Act and seized some USG machines from there today. One machine was seized at Bhawanigarh and three at Sangrur.

Engineers for power reforms
Patiala, March 17
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association today claimed that it was not against reforms in or the power sector competition with the private sector. They pointed out that they had been constantly calling for internal reforms in the form of energy audit and hundred per cent metering, besides other steps. 

War widows honoured
Sangrur, March 17
A rally of ex-servicemen of Sangrur district was held at the local military station yesterday. In the rally, about 2,000 ex-servicemen and war widows participated.

House-full show of ‘Daaire’ at Nabha
Chandigarh, March 17
The Civil Hospital, Nabha, in collaboration with the Rotary International, Nabha, organised Dr Satish Kumar Verma’s Punjabi musical play ‘Daaire’, directed by theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal at a full-house auditorium of Punjab Public School, Nabha.

Govt to set up polyclinics
Faridkot, March 17
The Punjab Government in collaboration with the Union Government plans to set up polyclinics at Muktsar, Mansa, Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Hoshiarpur to provide free medicare to the ex-servicemen and their wards. Under the plan 50 per cent of the total expenditure will be borne by the Central Government and the remaining by the state government. 

Honest gesture by driver, conductor
Bathinda, March 17
In a case worth mentioning a bus conductor and a driver returned a hand bag of a woman passenger containing cash and gold, which she had forgotten in the bus.


Two travel agents held for cheating
Jalandhar, March 17
The district police has arrested two travel agents on charges of cheating and breach of promise, while five others were booked on the same charges. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Kishan Singh of Herian village in Adamapur, in his complaint, alleged that one Chanan Singh, Gurmit Singh and Manjit Kaur, who were running a travel agency in Hoshiarpur, had assured the former that his son Satnam Singh would be sent to Germany by arranging a valid visa for which a sum of Rs 2 lakh was taken in 1995.

Man held for wife’s death
Pathankot, March 17
The post-mortem report of the dowry death victim, Anju Devi of Kharkara Thothowal village has pointed out that her in-laws tried to mislead the investigative agency.

Couple assaulted
Rampuraphul, March 17
Mr Vijay Kumar, a local businessman and his wife Mrs Raj Rani, were admitted to the local civil hospital after they suffered multiple injuries when they were allegedly attacked by another resident Mr Satpal and his other kin.


Students awarded at college function
Patiala, March 17
As many as 389 prizes, including rolls of honour, college colours, medals, scholarships in academics, sports, NCC co-curricular activities and social work, were awarded to outstanding students at the annual prize distribution function of Mohindra College here yesterday. Punjab Minister for Public Works Partap Singh Bajwa gave away the prizes.


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