Tuesday, March 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kalam for rivers’ linking
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, March 24
Endorsing the 2020 vision paper of the country, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, emphasised the need to double the growth rate from the current GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 4.5 to 9 per cent to eradicate poverty and illiteracy. He made these remarks while inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the local DAV College last night. He asked the younger generation to accept this challenge and transform the country from a developing economy to a fully developed one.

Enumerating the five important aspects, Dr Kalam said if the country was to achieve 9 per cent growth there was a need to take up the major project for linking rivers, diversifying agriculture, set up modern food processing, improve education and healthcare, invest in communication and information technology infrastructure and to become self-reliant in the field of science and technology so that India could join the group of developed nations as envisaged in the 2020 vision paper.

Elaborating on overcoming the shortage of water in the country, Dr Kalam advocated that India must undertake a project to connect rivers. He said surplus water must flow to deficit areas for encouraging higher growth rate of economy. He said the road map for growth as planned would uplift 260 million people presently living below the poverty line and he hoped that the country would follow the vision paper 2020 in true letter and in spirit.

Talking to the students, Dr Kalam said: “Learning leads to creativity. Creativity leads to thought while thought leads to knowledge and knowledge makes one great.” He asked the students to imbibe this message which would ignite their minds to help build great and strong nation.

The President talked about his own vision of the country and said he had launched his own website: www.presidentofindia.nic.in on his 70th birthday in 2001. He had asked young students below the age of 20 to respond to “sing a song of India”, explaining that children must develop a positive attitude to make the country a developed nation. Striking an instant rapport with the young audience, he sought their answers as to how to make the country powerful.

The President felt that the younger generation had the capacity and the resilience to create a new vibrant nation through knowledge, wisdom blended with modern science and technology.

Lauding the role of the DAV institutions in the country, the President said he bowed his head to the founder of the DAV Educational Movement Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Mahatma Hans Raj who had laid a strong foundation of value-based education steeped in Indian tradition and culture.

He exhorted students to follow their teachers as they were their role models and become leaders. He hoped that the younger generation would live up to the reputation of great freedom fighters, scientists, academicians and the untiring soldiers who had given their best to the nation.

The President also honoured the alumni of the college, including the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Jaspal Bhatti, Dr Raghbir Singh, a retired General Director of Electronics Department, Government of India and presently heading Pushpa Gujral Science University in Kapurthala and Mr V.N. Sharma, a philanthropist from Canada.

Earlier, the Chairman of the DAV College Managing Committee, Mr G.P. Chopra, extended a warm welcome while the Principal, Mr M.L. Aeri, presented a brief report on the achievements of the past 50 years.

Assurance on Sikh books
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 24
The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, yesterday assured the SGPC that he would get back all rare books of Sikh reference library which were taken away by the Army at the time of Operation Bluestar.

This was revealed in a written press release issued by the SGPC. The press release said that Dr Kalam had asked the SGPC to send him details so that the books could be returned at the earliest.


Kalam served dishes of his choice
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 24
Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, was served south Indian dishes of his choice like “Rasam with papad”. A chef was flown in from South India at the formal silver service lunch hosted by Punjab government at the Kapurthala’s Royal Palace on Sunday.

The Punjab government had been apprised of the President’s choice beforehand, and dishes were prepared according to the style these were cooked in the President’s ancestral place in the south. Preparations for it started five days in advance. Apart from “Rasam with papad” “Palak Kotu”, “Rasam Avial”, “Bhendi Porial” and “Aloo coconut masala”, were prepared by a five-star hotel here engaged by the Punjab government to organise lunch arrangements.

“We had flown in a chef from the President’s native area in the south to make dishes according to his taste,” said the hotel owner. The Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, his ministerial colleagues, and civil servants like Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra and Mr R.S. Sandhu, Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner, also had lunch with the President.


ST concession to Golden Temple: SGPC sceptic
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 24
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC, doubted Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s statement on Sales Tax on items supplied to the Golden Temple complex

He was talking to newsmen at Jand Sahib gurdwara near Ropar, here today. He said the claims were nothing more of a rhetoric.

He said after the recent Budget the Petroleum Ministry had increased the price of LPG cylinders supplied for preparing langar in the Golden Temple.

Before Budget the government used to charge domestic rate on the LPG cylinders supplied for langar.

After the Budget the government started charging commercial rate on LPG cylinders. This would put burden of crores on the SGPC.

He along with Mr Badal and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa met the Prime Minister and the Petroleum Minister to lobby against the increased cost of LPG cylinders used in the Golden Temple.

But officials of the Petroleum Ministry said similar benefit to all other religious institutions in the country would have to be extended which would put financial burden on oil companies.

If Capt Amarinder Singh to waives Sales Tax on items supplied to the Golden Temple other religious institutions would also demand the similar facility. If the Chief Minister waives Sales Tax on items supplied to the Golden Temple as he claimed the SGPC would welcome the step, he added.

The SGPC had not received any communication from the government on the claims of the Chief Minister regarding sops to the SGPC, Mr Badungar added. 


Vedanti warns granthis
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 24
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti today maintained that Akal Takht could intervene for effecting Panthic unity only after the parties concerned approached it. He was answering to a query about the unity move between the SAD handed by the Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the SHSAD headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The Akal Takht Jathedar warned “granthis” and others on the issue of “chandoa” (cloth canopy) Palki (planquin) was a mere carrier or container of the holy Granth Sahib and a full-fledged “chandoa” must be placed over Guru Granth Sahib, he asserted. The scripture should normally be placed out of the “palki” in its “parkash” but in case the “parkash” was done inside the palki then a big chandoa must be fixed over head and the violators of this religious maryada would proceeded against, he warned.

On the issue of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan chief Ashutosh of the Noormehlia sect, Jathedar Vedanti informed that the Sikh panel on it had given 15 more days to the sect for presenting its case. The panel was to earlier decide on the issue on March 20. After viewing the cassettes, movies and reading literature and the report of the panel, even a dialogue could be held with the sect he remarked. But in case the sect did not present its case and satisfy the panel, then ex-parte decision and action would be taken.

On the Nanakshahi calendar row the Jathedar disclosed that the panel of Sikh experts would meet on March 28 to clinch the issue.

He took strong exception to the conversion of Dalit Sikhs into Christianity. It was a very grave matter and should be taken seriously, he said.

On the demand of the Khalsa Panchayat for his resignation in the wake of charges of corruption, Jathedar Vedanti asserted that the truth would come out soon. However, he refused to comment on the dismissal of Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Prof Manjit Singh. Mr Vedanti had come here to address a congregation at Bir Puad village.


Development allocation slashed
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, March 24
The local municipal corporation’s budget for 2003-2004 has projected a top heavy allocation for the third consecutive year. Hence, a major part of its income, which is a whopping 63 per cent, will be utilised for maintenance and the staff salaries, 21 per cent for exigencies and merely 16 per cent for development.

Although previous guidelines had entailed 35 per cent, 10 per cent and 55 per cent of the funds for maintenance, exigencies and development, respectively, this time development allocation has been axed heavily in the proposed budget.

A copy of the budget, procured exclusively by The Tribune, projects Rs 80.50 crore as the total budget for 2003-2004. The budget preface blames the high salary bills of the employees, an increase in electricity tariff and other exigencies for leaving as little as about Rs 12 crore for development this year. A major chunk of more than Rs 50 crore is proposed to be spent on the corporation’s own maintenance and salaries and a little more than Rs 16 crore on the exigency expenses due to an increase in power tariff.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Commissioner, municipal corporation, said this time the corporation had sought to project a “realistic budget” as compared to inflated projections of previous years. Only about Rs 66 crore was the real recovery for a budget of Rs 100 crore projected last year. Similar was the condition of the budget for 2001 with a projection of Rs 111 crore and a dismal recovery.

Incidentally, this is for the first time that the annual MC budget has fallen below the Rs 100 crore mark.


Punjab revives subsidy on farm tools, gypsum
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 24
The Punjab government has introduced several schemes of subsidy on agriculture and allied activities to encourage diversification of agriculture and and bring the farmers out of the wheat-paddy cycle.

Official sources said that under the macro management programme the Punjab Agriculture Department had decided to give subsidy on various agriculture-related activities to encourage them to adopt diversification of crops. The Agriculture Department would give subsidy for purchasing modern agriculture implements, for the improvement of soil fertility for bee-keeping and for the reclamation of ‘kallar’ land.

The State Agriculture Department had not been giving subsidy to the farmers on these activities for the past three to four years though the Centre had been contributing 90 per cent of the total amount of it and state government was to contribute the rest 10 per cent of it. The successive state governments failed to contribute its share of 10 per cent, which made the Centre stop its contribution also. The money given by the Centre government had been unused.

Senior Agriculture Department officials said as the government had started contributing its share, it would become a regular feature to help farmers diversify also. The figures with The Tribune reveal that Rs 3.52 crore had been sanctioned for reclaiming kallar land using gypsum, which would be given to the farmers on subsidised rates. When reclamation of Kallar land was started in Punjab 6.98 lakh hectares of area was kallar affected. It came down to 1.55 lakh hectares four years ago. Work of reclamation of Kallar land had to be stopped four years ago as the state government stopped subsidy on the purchase of gypsum to the farmers.

A considerable chunk of reclaimed land again turned into kallar as the farmers concerned could not use gypsum continuously. Now the agriculture department has made it a point to reclaim kallar land in Punjab.

Apart from it, Rs 97 lakh had been sanctioned for subsidy to the farmers for the purchase of agriculture implements which included wheat reaper, straw reaper, aero-blast spray pump, zero till drill, stripe drill, sprinkler sets and sugar cane cutter-cum-planter. The government had stopped subsidy on the purchase of farm implements four years ago.

Official sources said that crores of rupees had been sanctioned to give subsidy to the farmers to encourage them to adopt bee-keeping and other activities in a big way apart from improving the fertility of the soil.


Discussion on Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Parliament of World’s Religions (Chicago) has decided to devote full one day to Sri Guru Granth Sahib at its next International Conclave in Barcelona (Spain). This decision has been taken in response to the call by the World Congress of Faiths (UK) given on January 30, 2002, at its special conclave hosted by Punjabi University, Patiala.

According to Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, now that two major international inter-faith organisations have resolved to globally celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first installation (first Prakash) of Sri Adi Granth in Sri Harimandir Sahib by Guru Arjun, it becomes all the more essential that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha should in its current session pass a resolution unanimously, stressing upon the government of India to approach the United Nations for UNESCO-sponsored celebration of this historic event.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib, though revered as the Sikh scripture, apart from holy hymns of seven Sikh Gurus, contains sacred compositions of 27 Hindu saints and Muslim sufis.

As such the celebrational thrust should be on inter-religious dialogue for inter-community understanding. Another thrust-point should be spirituality and ecology; spiritual bond between man and nature — as stressed right in the beginning of Sri Guru Granth (Japji Sahib) — is being stressed by scientists, as much as by religious leaders, for overcoming the deepening ecological crisis that is threatening the very existence of life on earth.

He said that emphasis on these two thrust-points should be incorporated in the proposed Vidhan Sabha resolution, as that would give the right kind of orientation to the Adi Granth fourth centenary celebrations, without letting it assume the character of a denominational ceremony confined to a particular community.


Fissures in Cong lead to defeat of nominee
Tribune Reporters

Faridkot, March 24
The Congress today got a major jolt when five of its 14 municipal councillors namely Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Harvinder Pal Singh, Ms Amarjeet Kaur and Ms Sukhdeep Kaur disobeyed the high command orders, resulting in defeat of the official persidential nominee for the local nagar council.

According to information, the high command recommended the names of Mr Tulsi Ram and Ms Amritbir Kaur for the posts of president and vice-president, respectively.

However, during the election process Mr Gill proposed the name of Mr Gurcharan Singh for the president’s post which was seconded by Mr Harinder Pal Singh, an SAD-supported Independent councillor. Mr Tulsi Ram’s name was proposed by Mr Baljit Singh Gora and seconded by Mr Mohinder Singh Bhandari, both Congress councillors. During the polling Mr Gurcharan Singh was declared elected president by a margin of four votes against the official nominee. The winner got the support of Mr Gill, Mr Jagir Singh, Ms Surinder Kaur, Ms Balwinder Kaur, Ms Sukhdeep Kaur, Ms Amarjit Kaur, Mr Harinder Singh, Mr Amar Kumar Binu, Mr Narender Pal Singh, Ms Manjit Kaur and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, SAD MLA, Faridkot. The official candidate was supported by Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Zoban Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh Khera, Ms Amritbir Kaur, Ms Sonia Bansal, Ms Uma Grover, Mr Baljit Singh Gora, Mr Mohinder Singh Bhandari and Ms Jasbir Kaur.

However, Ms Amritbir Kaur, Congress councillor and sister of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, was unanimously elected vice-president.

Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Faridkot, later administered the oath of office to all councillors.

Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, while categorically denying his action for violating the party discipline, said he had adopted the democratic way. He made it clear that he was a loyal party worker and always follow the policies of the government led by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Gill has joined the Congress in the last Assembly elections when he was denied the SAD ticket for contesting the election from this constituency.

Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon said his party councillors and Independents had supported the rebel Congress nominee for the president’s post who could play better role in the development of the area.

Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, vice-president, PPCC, who was also present there, said he had already been informed by the nine councillors in detail and he had discussed the issue with the PPCC President and the Chief Minister.

HOSHIARPUR: Infighting among various factions in the District Congress Committee was witnessed in the president’s election of the local Municipal Council on Monday. Hectic activities were going on for the past two days in the presence of Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, and Mr Ishwar Singh, General Secretary, PPCC, to make consensus for the candidate.

The Congress has 19 councillors in the house of 31. Mr Mohan Lal, who was elected as Independent also joined the Congress. The BJP has seven, the SAD three and one is Independent.

At the election meeting councillors belonged to Mr Charanjit Singh Channi and Mr Naresh Thakur proposed the name of Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi for the post of president. The name of Mr Brij Mohan Batra was proposed by the group of Mr Romesh Chander Dogra and Mr Kuldip Nanda, while the SAD-BJP proposed the name of Mr Gopi Chand. Congress leaders tried their best to withdrew the name of one of the Congress candidates but failed.

The group of Mr Channi and Mr Thakur had understanding with the SAD-BJP to get their support. But on seeing divided Congress and keeping in view their majority in the House, the SAD-BJP put its candidate. On realising the sure defeat of the Congress candidate, Congress leaders succeeded in getting postponed the election.

Later, councillors of the SAD-BJP led by Mr Tikshan Sud, BJP MLA, Hoshiarpur, demonstrated and raised slogans against Mr Harminder Singh, Returning Officer, for postponing the election.

NAWANSHAHR: Mr Lalit Mohan Pathak, a Youth Congress leader, has been unanimously elected president of the local Municipal Council on Monday. Mr Chet Ram Rattan of the Congress was elected senior vice-president; Ms Sumitra Rani elected as vice-president.

Though in the House of 15 members, as many as 10 councillors have been elected on the Congress ticket, they were divided over the issue of presidentship. Mr Sita Ram Taneja, a former council’s president, Mr Harmesh Kumar Puri and Mr Rajinder Chopra, who have been elected councillors for the third time, were involved in hectic lobbying for the post of the president. As the consensus eludes among senior Congress councillors, the local MLA, Mr Parkash Singh, has reportedly taken the ‘resignations’ from all 10 Congress councillors and decided in favour of Mr Pathak.

BANGA: Mr Malkiat Singh and Ms Usha Rani of the Congress have been elected president and senior vice-president of the Banga Municipal Council.

Both Mr Dogar Ram Munim, a former council’s president, and Mr Bedi Baldev of the Congress were ‘lobbying’ for the post. But the consensus candidate was elected president also. As many as five councillors belonging to the Banga Vikas Manch staged a walkout.

RAHON: The elections to the posts of the president and vice-president could not be held for the Rahon Municipal Council on Monday due to lack of quorum.

TARN TARAN: The election to the posts of the office-bearers of the local Municipal Council has been postponed due to ill health of the Returning Officer. According to a notification issued on Monday the election will be held on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

SAMANA: Mr Yash Pal Singla, councillor from ward No 16, was on Monday unanimously elected president of the local Municipal Council. He was also president of the council from 1992 to 1997. Ms Shashi Bala Bansal was elected senior vice-president and Ms Surinder Kaur Bhan elected junior vice-president. They were elected at a meeting presided over by Mr Gurpal Singh Chahal, SDM, Samana. Mr Malvinder Singh, brother of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, was also present.

BATALA: Mr Jarnail Singh from ward No. 6 was elected president of the Quadian Municipal Council at a meeting held here on Monday. Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, who supervised the election process, said Mr Jarnail Singh had been elected unanimously, while Mr Charan Dass from ward No. 15 had been elected vice-president.

All 15 councillors were elected as Independent candidates. Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, State Minister for Transport, was also present.


Jalalabad, Abohar MC poll stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
In less than 24 hours before polling for electing the President of Jalalabad and Abohar Municipal Council were scheduled to be held, along with that of Lohian Nagar Panchayat, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the same. The orders were passed by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, on a bunch of writ petitions filed in the matter by Mr Prithivi Raj and others.

Appearing before the Bench, counsel for the petitioners stated that they would be deprived of their right to vote in case the elections were held tomorrow. After hearing the arguments in the case, the Judges directed that the elections would not be held till further orders and fixed April 1 as the next date of hearing in the case.


Cabinet panel to oversee liquor auctions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
A three-member Cabinet subcommittee, headed by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, was today constituted to oversee the auction of pending liquor shops in Punjab.

The process of auction ran into rough weather because of conflict among bidders claiming to have suffered losses in previous years and resulted in the postponement of auctions in Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Banga circle of Nawanshahr.

Besides Capt Amarinder Singh, the subcommittee has Minister of Finance Lal Singh and Minister of Excise and Taxation Sardul Singh as its members. It is slated to meet late tonight to decide upon the fresh dates of auction.

Sources said the committee would also decide on the modifications, if any, required in the excise policy, 2003-04, and to suggest appropriate and necessary measures to “safeguard” the excise revenue interests.


Charges framed against Sidhu

Patiala, March 24
District Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal today framed charges against former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu and eight others, who have been accused in the much publicised cash-for-job scam in the PPSC.

The accused had been booked under Sections 120B, 409, 465 and 471 of the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The others charged in the case include Sidhu’s mother Pritpal Kaur, PPSC former secretary Pritpal Singh, Prof Jagdish Kalra, Paramjit Pammi, Prof Gurdial Singh, Purshottam Sodhi, Jaspal Singh and Prof Amarjeet Singh Kang. UNI


Kidney case: bail plea of two doctors rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
In just over two months after the great kidney conspiracy was unearthed, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today confirmed the bail granted to advocate Pardeep Saini and another accused in the case. Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court also rejected the bail application of two doctors in the case.

The advocate and the other accused were apprehending arrest in a first information report registered on September 21 last year under the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, besides under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 371 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel for the advocate had contended that the police was trying to falsely implicate him. He was not named in the first information report. Moreover, he had no role in the preparation of any document or identifying any person before any Magistrate regarding the sale or purchase of kidney.

He had further added that none of the documents, including the affidavits, had his signatures. The petitioner would surrender in case the state was able to show even a single document signed by the petitioner. If the state was able to show even once such document, he would “face any charges framed against him”.

Counsel for the doctors had, meanwhile, submitted that the police had no jurisdiction to register a criminal case. The police, he had added, was trying to snatch power from the appropriate authority appointed by the state government which was to inspect the hospitals, besides the nursing homes, and in case of complaint look into the matter before filing complaint before the Magistrate if there was any violation.

Notice issued

Taking up a petition filed by 1120 serving and retired technicians alleging that the state of Punjab had created a class among the same category by not granting the pay scale given to petitioners in another case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notice of motion.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, Mr Sikandar Singh of Mansa district and others had earlier contended that they had not been granted the same scale despite he fact that all of them were working on the same posts, performing the same duties. The case will now come up for further hearing before a Division Bench of the High Court on April 25.


Stones of contention removed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 24
Controversy relating to foundation stones in Banda Bahadur Park here came to an end when the district administration removed all stones in the park on the directions of the Chief Secretary yesterday. Three stones, two in the names of the then Deputy Commissioner and one in the name of Municipal Committee, Gurdaspur were installed in the park.

Funds for the development of the park were spent from MP’s area fund and Rs 2 lakh was contributed by the local municipality also. The D C, in spite of objections by the then Municipal Committee president, installed two stones in his name and also allowed the committee to install one stone on its name.

Mr Vinod Khanna, Union Minister of State of External Affairs, had objected to the installation of stones because he had contributed for the development of a fish park and not Banda Bahadur park. He raised his question in Parliament which directed the Punjab Government to hold an inquiry and act in the matter. The then Chief Secretary directed the DC to probe the matter. The inquiry found that stones were in violation of rules. 


Monitor anti-TB drugs: expert
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, March 24
On the occasion of World TB Day today, the state secretary of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Surinder Singla, who is also a TB and chest diseases specialist, has urged the government to strictly and regularly monitor the quality of anti-tuberculosis drugs and issue licences to manufacture and market anti-TB drugs only to those pharmaceautical companies which maintain the highest standards.

Dr Singla further said substandard medicines were not only useless but also very dangerous, especially in causing multi-drug resistant TB. He said the companies producing substandard TB drugs should be dealt with an iron hand by making the production of substandard drugs a non-bailable offence and banning such companies.

He said there should also be a strict ban on the sale of anti-TB drugs by chemists without the prescription of a qualified doctor.

Meanwhile, the district health authorities today organised a TB awareness rally in which more than 300 students took part. The rally was flagged off by Dr J.R. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, at the District TB Centre here.

The participants carried placards with regard to creating awareness among the common man.

At the rally, Dr Om Parkash Khangwal, District TB Officer, said 20 microscopy centres for sputum examination of TB were being set up in the district. Besides, four TB treatment centres had also been set up in the district in which medicines were being provided free of cost to TB patients.

AMRITSAR: World TB Day was observed here on Monday with the theme of ‘People with TB’. The World Health Organisation has started a Directly Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS), under which a TB patient receives treatment under the observation of a health worker, said the Director Health and Development Initiative-India, Dr Dinesh Kumar.

The two key elements of the strategy are that entire course of medicines is supplied to the patient free of cost and the disease is diagnosed by testing the sputum of patient, a cost effective and reliable method. DOTS facilities are available in seven districts of Punjab.


147 jaundice cases in Kurali
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Potable water should be extracted from at least a depth of 200 feet through hand-pumps.
  • Soak-pits should be at least 150 feet away from the hand-pumps.
  • Drinking of water from over-head tanks should be avoided.
  • Chlorinate water in over-head tanks.
  • Avoid eating gol-gappas, extra ripened & cut-fruit from open markets.
  • Avoid drinking cane-juice.
  • Report leakage of potable water to the Municipal Committee.
  • Visit your nearest government hospital on being suspicious of jaundice. 

Kurali, March 24
As many as 4734 houses have been surveyed in the panic-stricken Kurali to detect cases of jaundice after 147 residents tested positive. However, no new cases of jaundice have been detected during the survey conducted last week.

The Deputy Medical Commissioner (DMC) of Ropar district, Dr. Ashok Khullar said that there were a total of 296 suspected cases whose blood tests were conducted at the local government hospital free of cost.

He denied the reports that one patient admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector-32, Chandigarh died of jaundice. He said the patient had died of renal failure. The patient was suffering from sorosis of liver for the past seven years and was in a critical condition when admitted to the hospital two months back. Moreover, jaundice spread in March, this year, therefore, there was no possibility of patient having died of jaundice.

He further said that the blood samples of positive cases have been sent to the PGI, Chandigarh. The virus had not been identified during tests conducted at the Government Hospital, Kurali. "There is a possibility of hepatitis A or E virus resulting into the epidemic,”.

Dr CL Bhatia Senior Medical Officer, Kurali, said that 40,000 tablets of chlorine were distributed free among the residents in Kurali, last week. The laboratory tests of Hepatitis virus were being conducted free of cost. A 3-day free medical camp was also organised in which 600 patients were examined. Claiming that the medical officers were vigilant on the spread of epidemic in a particular area, he said that all the holidays, even on Sundays of medical and para-medical staff of the Government Hospital, Kurali have been cancelled till further orders.

The Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Kurali Mr VK Jain said that 25 samples of water were taken for laboratory tests. Out of the 12 results received so far, two samples of water were found unfit for drinking. One of them was from a private hand-pump and the other from an over-head tank of a local resident.

"The MC has uprooted the hand-pump and has advised the people not to use water stored in the over-head tanks for drinking purpose", said the EO. He also clarified that the sample of water collected from the water tank had less chlorine content as the chemical had got deposited at the bottom of the tank. Therefore, the sample could not be termed as failed", he added.

He said that the main water pipes and water tanks through which the potable water was being supplied were cleaned properly. And no pipe was found leaking. He said that the water supply in this township was centralised. Water supplied to the most affected Ward No. 11, on the way, passes through other wards, where from not even a single case of jaundice was found. He claimed that the hepatitis virus had not spread through the potable water supply line of MC.

The preliminary investigations had revealed that most of the patients suffering from jaundice had gol-gappas and cane-juice. He claimed that the patients had also revealed that they consumed other food items also during the MC election campaign.


Sensitising masses about rights
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 24
The Public Awarness Council, Hoshiarpur, has welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court declaring the amended poll reforms law as unconstitutional. The council has resolved to sensitise the masses about their rights.

To launch this tirade, the council organised a chetnamarch in the city today. Doctors, advocates, engineers, teachers, ex-servicemen and other citizens marched through the streets of Hoshiarpur holding banners and placards to highlight the issue. 


Clemency sought for Bhullar
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 24
A section of Sikh religious leaders and organisations, led by Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh Acting Jathedar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo today organised a rally to demand clemency for Davinder Singh Bhullar, sentenced to death. 

The religious bodies, in a memorandum to the President of India though the local Deputy Commissioner pleaded that Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar did not have criminal background and belonged to a respectable family. 


Drug store, nursing home raided
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 24
The district health authorities recovered 24,000 tablets, some capsules and 2,000 injections containing banned narcotics substances worth over Rs 25,000 from Love Medical Store at Majitha here today.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, said the raids were conducted on information that the drug at Majitha was selling sedatives and other drugs without any authorisation. He said the owner of the shop Narinder Pal was not present at the time of the raid. The raiding team seized the record and recommended to the state drug authorities to cancel the drug store’s licence.

The Civil Surgeon said that in view of lax drug Act, manufacturers and distributors of such drugs managed to go scot-free. He admitted that two local companies were indulging in the manufacture of these illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, the drug inspector, Mr Gurbinder Singh, pointed out that they had recommended large number of cases to the state health authorities for the cancellation of licence of drug stores selling illegal medicines but no action had been taken.

The Civil Surgeon said that in another case, their team raided nursing home on the Mehta road for allegedly not maintaining proper records of female sex-determination tests under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test Act. The raiding party seized incomplete registers documents, which were required to be properly maintained by the management of the scan centre.


Fire breaks out in shop
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 24
Panic gripped the shopkeepers on the Bathinda-Goniana road near Ganesha Basti this afternoon when a fire broke out at a shop dealing in paints used for motor vehicles. No casualties were reported.

The fire that broke out due to short circuit engulfed the shop, Shiva Auto Paints, in a few minutes as the containers of paints, thinners and turpentine oil inflamed.

Three fire engines had to struggle for more than an hour to control the fire.

Although the fire was very fierce but fortunately none of the persons present in the shop received injuries.

The owners of the shop were shocked and unable to tell the loss of property immediately.


2 crushed to death by trains

Jalandhar, March 24
Two unidentified persons were crushed to death by trains in two separate accidents here today.

According to sources, one person was crushed to death at platform number one of city Railway station while the other one was killed at Railway line of Domoria Pul on the Jalandhar-Amritsar Railway section.

The police sent both bodies for a post-mortem examination to the civil hospital. The identity of both is yet to be established. UNI 


Ziledar caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 24
Mr Balwinder Singh, Ziledar, was today allegedly caught redhanded while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,500 from Mr Iqbal Singh of Kot Bhai village for fixing the turn of canal water for irrigation of his 6.25 acres of land.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Baljinder Singh, SP (Vigilance), Bathinda, said the Deputy Collector, Faridkot, had ordered Mr Balwinder Singh to fix the turn of canal water for the irrigation of land of Mr Iqbal Singh. The same work was lying pending with him for the past many months as Mr Balwinder Singh was demanding Rs 5,000 as bribe.

He added that today, a deal was struck between Mr Balwinder Singh and Mr Iqbal Singh in which Mr Balwinder Singh agreed to do that work in lieu of Rs 2,500 as bribe money and was caught redhanded.

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