Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Takht chief ‘getting threats’ on calendar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Kirpal Singh Badungar today said that an attempt was being made to stall the release of Nanakshahi calendar by threatening Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti if he took this decision.

Addressing a press conference here, the SGPC President said a threatening call was made to the residence of Akal Takht Jathedar yesterday. He said the Jathedar's wife picked up the phone following which the caller said he was speaking from Jalandhar and wanted to convey that the Jathedar would face a severe reprisal if he went ahead with his programme to release Nanakshahi calendar.

Condemning the incident, Mr Badungar said there had been a longstanding demand from the Sikh Sangat to adopt the Nanakshahi calender. He said the SGPC would not let such threats come in the way of the introduction of the calendar.

Mr Badungar disclosed that the SGPC had filed 10 revision petitions on behalf of women who had been widowed during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984. He said the revision petitions had been filed against Congress politician Sajjan Kumar and others adding the SGPC would bear all costs of the case. He said the SGPC had also filed a separate application submitting that it should be made party in the case as it was a representative body of the Sikhs made target of attack during riots following the assassination of Prime Indira Gandhi.

The SGPC President announced that the organisation would organise a protest march in Delhi on along with 24 other organisations to plead clemency for Devinder Singh Bhullar sentenced to death. He said the SGPC would also initiate an awareness campaign on the issue to project Bhullar's case at the national-level adding that other programmes could also be initiated to save Bhullar from the gallows.

When questioned on the ''Sikhi prachar" programme initiated by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Management in Punjab, Mr Badungar made it clear that he was not happy with the programme of the DSGMC, saying it could pay more attention to Delhi affairs. He also felt that the DSGMC President Paramjit Singh Sarna could have coordinated with the SGPC before starting such programme. He said Mr Sarna and the DSGMC could have expended energies in a more useful was by taking up the case of the widows of the anti-Sikh riots who had to take refuge in Akal Takht or other issues, including that of Bhullar. He said the DSGMC had been found wanting in these issues.


SAD allowed to move motion
Violence in municipal elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Punjab Speaker Kewal Krishan has allowed the SAD MLAs to move a substantive motion on the issue of violence in the municipal elections. Making a special reference to yesterday’s incident in Zirakpur where allegedly a number of pro-Akali Municipal Councillors were allegedly assaulted at the time of the election of the officer-bearers, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a SAD MLA, raised this issue in the House today.

However, the Speaker asked him to sit down as his party would get a chance to speak on the issue while participating in the debate on the Budget. But Mr Manpreet Singh insisted on raising it supported by other SAD MLAs. When the Speaker again told them to take their seats, they started raising slogans. They first decided to walk out but changed the decision instantly and marched into the well of the House, raising slogans. The Speaker again told them to resume their seats and asked Mr Manpreet Singh to speak. Mr Manpreet Singh requested the Speaker that his party should be allowed to move a substantive motion to discuss the issue in the House. The Speaker agreed to do so.

Meanwhile, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra announced in the House that the government had ordered a special girdavari of the crops damaged by a heavy rainfall last month in Dasuya, Tanda, Gardhiwala, Bholath, Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi etc. A call-attention notice on this issue was given by Mr Balbir Singh Miani and Bibi Jagir Kaur, both Akali MLAs.

Replying to another call-attention notice given by Mrs Satwant Kaur with regard to the cutting of power supply to tubwells installed by the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation in Ropar district, Finance Minister Lal Singh said the power supply had since been restored to these tubewells as the department had cleared the outstanding power bills.

Members of the Treasury Benches as well as from the opposition expressed serious concern over the growing menace of stray animals, especially dogs, pigs, cows etc. Among those who spoke on this issue were Prof Darbari Lal, Mr Hari Singh Zira, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Mr Tota Singh, Mr Manpreet Badal, and Mr Jugal Kishore.

All members gave valuable suggestions and requested the government to come out with a concrete policy in this connection. 


Cong wins top MC posts
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 25
The Congress today captured the posts of president and vice-president in the municipal committee poll of Gurdaspur and Dhariwal. The election was presided over by Mr Amarjit, Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

Mr Raman Bahl and Rajnish Kaushal of the Congress were elected president and senior vice-president of the Gurdaspur municipal committee by raising of hands. Eleven councillors, including Mr Khushhal Bahl, Education Minister of Punjab, who represents the Gurdaspur assembly constituency and has vote for elections of the committee for the respective posts, raised their hands in favour of Mr Bahl, whereas the BJP nominee, Mr Jatinder Pardesi, of the SAD-BJP alliance was defeated by one vote. Mr Rajnish Kaushal of the Congress was favoured by 11 councillors against Dashminder Noni, who was supported by 10. Mr Rajnish Kaushal was declared elected senior vice-president while Mr Noni of the BJP junior vice-president.

The municipal committee has 21 municipal commissioners, out of which 11 belonged to the Congress and 10 to the BJP. Mr Bahl, who represents the Gurdaspur assembly constituency, has also a vote. Out of the 22 councillors entitled to vote, 21 attended the election meeting. Mr Parshotam Kumar, who was declared elected Municipal Commissioner on the Congress ticket, could not attend the meeting. He said the elections to the post of president and vice-president had been autocratic, against which he would try all legal measures to get justice.

In the elections of the Dhariwal municipal committee, Darbari Lal and Vijay Kumar, both belonging to the Congress were declared elected president and vice-president, respectively. They were elected unopposed as four group walked out of the meeting.

TARN TARAN: The Congress here on Tuesday won the local municipal council poll after eight independent councillors joined the Congress.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Sood was declared elected president, while Mr Nirmal Singh was elected senior vice-president and Mr Amarjit Singh Rajpoot vice-president.

Meanwhile, the election for the Patti municipal council was postponed for the third time today when two groups of councillors had a scuffle at a meeting on Tuesday.

PATHANKOT: The ongoing differences among various factions of the local Congress came to the fore on Tuesday during the meeting convened for electing the president of the local municipal council. During the course of the meeting, chaired by Mr Puneet Goyal, SDM-cum-Returning Officer, the Congress leadership could not decide on a unanimous choice for the post of president.

Mr Goyal later adjourned the house sine die.

BARNALA: Mr Nahar Singh was elected president of the municipal council of Bhadaur, 25 km from here. Mr Tarsem Lal was elected vice-president by a margin of two votes only.

Cong candidates elected MC chiefs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
Mr Suresh Bahia, former leader of SAD and former president of Municipal Council, Rampuraphul, was again elected president of the council again today but as a Congress candidate.

Similarly, Mr Hartej Singh, who has been president of the municipal council, Kotfatha, as SAD (B) candidate, today again managed became its chief as Congress candidate as he joined this party with the support of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Mr Kewal Singh, an Independent municipal councillor, was elected president of Municipal Council, Raman Mandi, Ms Krishna Bai, another Independent, became the vice-president.

In the Maur Mandi municipal council, Mr Kulwant Singh (Congress) was elected president while Mr Ruldu Singh, Independent councillor, was elected vice-president.


Case registered against Bhunder
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 25
A case under Sections 353, 186 and 506 of the IPC has been registered at Sardulgarh against Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MLA and general secretary of the SAD, on a complaint of Sukhchain Singh, a Sub Inspector, who was posted at the civic poll duty on March 9.

According to the FIR while Sukhchain Singh tried to stop Mr Bhinder from entering a polling booth forcibly, he used abusive language against him.

A daily dairy report in this regard was entered the same day at Sardulgarh police station.

No arrest has yet been made.


Woman raped; husband, brothers-in-law booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 25
In a sensational incident, a woman was allegedly raped about 12 days ago by her husband and his two brothers at gun-point. The police booked five persons, including two women, on the orders of the Duty Magistrate here late last evening. The woman was allegedly raped by the accused thrice.

Mamta, the victim, in her complaint at the C-division police station, alleged that her husband Pawan Kumar and brothers-in-law Ashok Kumar and Ravi Kumar along with her mother-in-law and Manju, wife of Ravi Kumar, forcibly entered her room. She alleged that her husband and brothers-in-law raped her at gun-point. She also alleged that in January and February, 2002, also the accused had raped her. The police said on the Duty Magistrate’s orders, a medical examination confirmed that the woman had been raped and was pregnant. A case has been registered under Sections 376 and 342 of the IPC and Sections 54, 57 and 59 of the Arms Act.


Two quacks held for making youths addicts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
Beware! The next time you go to doctor, make sure that the person is a qualified doctor and the medicines prescribed by him are for treating the ailment and not for intoxication.

Any laxity on your part could end up in you being a drug addict.

For the past many years, a number of “unqualified” doctors in this town have been initiating unsuspecting patients into the world of addiction.

These quacks have also become a major source of health hazard for the residents of urban and rural areas as they have been spreading infections by using used syringes.

The police arrested two unqualified doctors in this town today for supplying innocent patients intoxicants under the garb of medicines for the treatment of ailments. The two accused have been supplying intoxicants to the people from drug stores being run by themselves.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said the accused had also been minting money by selling medicines at rates higher than the selling price. He added that the accused had been targeting youths in large numbers.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that for the past many years, quacks had been propelling the people belonging to not well off section of society towards drug addiction by selling them intoxicants under the garb of pills for increasing their “vitality”.

The SSP said that a case under Section 420 of the IPC, Section 7 of the EC Act and Section 18 of the Drug and Cosmetic Act had been registered against the accused separately.

More than 200 capsules and tablets were seized from them. Besides, four cases under the NDPS Act have been registered against eight accused and more than 76 kg of poppy husk recovered from them.


Kurali prone to diseases
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Kurali, March 25
Kurali may have escaped the spread of jaundice with no casualties, but it is prone to many more diseases, with the town not having a sewerage system and adequate garbage bins.

A total of 147 cases of jaundice have so far been reported in the panic-stricken town this month. Medical officials have claimed that all patients are at the recovery stage.

Situated on the Chandigarh-Amritsar national highway, at a distance of 20 km from Chandigarh, there are at least 5,000 unplanned residential dwellings at Kurali. Lower and middle class people from rural background primarily dominate the town.

Open drains, dumping of garbage at public places and at least 4,000 soak-pits in dwellings add to the woes of the residents. One can glance at the open drain and garbage dumped along the rivulet adjoining the Kurali-Morinda road, in front of the street to Ward 11, the most affected by jaundice.

The executive officer of the local municipal council, Mr V.K. Jain, says the open drain in the area is one of the biggest problems and probably there is no solution in the near future. “The municipal council has no funds for the management of open drains. The state government has no scheme on the problems of open drains,” he says.

A few shopkeepers have encroached upon another open drain passing through the centre of the town, reportedly due to political influence. An open drain covered with concrete slabs has shops built on it, making it almost impossible for the municipal council staff to clean it. The municipal council has so far never looked into the problem to remove these encroachments on its land.

There are at least 4,000 soak-pits in dwellings, polluting upper layers of underground water. These soak-pits have been dug 30 to 50 feet deep. Most of the handpumps in the houses are close to these soak-pits, with the possibility of polluted water being pumped out. No detailed survey has been conducted into this problem. Mr Jain says a handpumps should be at a distance of at least 150 feet from a soak-pit to avoid underground water pollution.

Meanwhile, three more samples of water taken from different points of the town have failed quality tests. Two water samples have been taken from shallow handpumps in Ward 6 and on the Kurali-Morinda road while the third has been taken from a house in Ward 6.

“With summer almost around the corner, the Punjab Government should look into the problem and take all possible steps to avoid spread of epidemics in the near future,” says Mr Ajay Kumar of Ward 11.

Although the municipal council has ordered the collection of garbage twice a day from different points in the town, residents say the problem persists. On the other hand, municipal council officials say they have only two tractor-trolleys to collect the garbage and 12 bins are in working condition as against the requirement of at least 25.


Witch-hunt charges in land grab case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
The registration of a criminal case, pertaining to the grabbing of a piece of land worth crores of rupees here against a close kin of a Congress leader, Mr Tehal Singh Sandhu, member, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), by the city police yesterday seems to have started snowballing into a major controversy.

Mr Sandhu has alleged that his kin was booked, as a senior police official wanted to settle score with him even as the police had also been examining the role of Mr Sandhu in this incident.

Police sources said a criminal case against more than 12 persons, including Mr Pargat Singh, nephew of Mr Sandhu, was registered under Sections 447, 452, 148 and 149 of the IPC in the city police station for their alleged involvement in the matter.

After the registration of the case, a number of accused, including Mr Pargat Singh, were arrested.

Sources said that when the accused were allegedly erecting a wall around the piece of land some people residing in the nearby areas informed the police. Acting on this information, a number of persons were taken into custody on the spot.

Though the police authorities claimed that Mr Pargat Singh was also taken into custody from the spot, Mr Sandhu claimed that his kin was picked up from his house.

The police sources said that video-filming of the investigation of the accused had been done, and it was found that unsuccessful attempts to grab the land were made after making a plan. They added that the plan was made at the shop being run by Mr Pargat Singh.

Besides, the accused, some of whom were brought from nearby Bir Talab village, reportedly consumed liquor at that shop before proceeding towards the spot for taking possession of the same. Mr Pargat Singh also hired a Tata Sumo vehicle for taking the “goons” to the land which was to be grabbed.

Mr Sandhu, on the other hand, alleged that his kin was implicated and subsequently arrested by the police, as a senior police official had been harbouring a grudge against him due to the fact that he had raised his voice against that officer a number of times.

He added that he had taken up the matter with former Union Home Minister Buta Singh, who had promised him that he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister and Director General of Police, Punjab. 


Kashmir carnage condemned
Our Correspondents

Kapurthala, March 25
Members of the local District Bar Association today abstained from work in the judicial courts to protest against the killing of 24 Hindus in Kashmir by militants.

In a resolution passed at a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Ashok Kumar Sabharwal, president of the association, the members condemned the killing of innocent persons.

Mr Daljit Parshad, a senior advocate and president of the Brahmin Sabha, also condemned the killing of 24 Pandits by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

PHAGWARA: Muslims here have flayed as “unislamic” the killing of 24 Kashmiri Pandits at Nadimarg village in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Syed Nazir Ahmed, president, Anjuman-e-Dawtey Islamia, Punjab, said on Tuesday that there was no place in Islam for the killers of innocent people. It was barbaric and beastly to mow down defenceless children and women and Islam did not allow such inhuman and shameful acts, asserted the Syed. Such criminals must be brought to book, he demanded.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) and Bajrang Dal leaders, including Mr Pawan Parbhakar, state Sena vice-president, Mr Inderjit Karwal, president of the local unit of the Sena, and Mr Chhavi Bhaskar, district convener of the Bajrang Dal, flayed the carnage of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and demanded dismissal of the Mufti government, clamping of Presidential rule, free hand to the Army to curb transborder ISI-sponsored terrorism and provision of foolproof security and protection to Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir.

AMRITSAR: The Anti-Terrorism People’s Voice has condemned the brutal massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits by militants in Jammu and Kashmir. The members paid homage to those who died in the carnage. Later, addressing of the organisation, Mr D.S. Rajput, advocate and national president of the organisation and Mr Jageer Singh, general secretary, blamed the state and Central governments for the incident, a press statement issued here on Tuesday said.


Dental college told to refund money
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 25
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mansa, has ordered Mr Naginder Singh Harika, managing director, Khalsa Rural Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan, in the district to refund Rs 1 lakh, along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum, each to Ms Reetu Khullar and Ms Kamaldeep Kaur, both of Moga, and Ms Cherry Singla and Ms Jaswinder Kaur, both of Ludhiana, all students of the dental college.

The forum has also awarded cost of Rs 2,000 to each of the above four students. According to the copies of the order received today from Mr SP Gupta, Advocate of the students, the amount of Rs 1 lakh each was taken from the above students by the above managing director as security, as the students got admission in the dental college on the basis of the PMET result against paid seats. All students later migrated to government dental colleges in Patiala and Amritsar as decided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Even after the completion of migration process of students, the managing director of the dental college failed to refund the security amount of the students, which led to the filing of the complaints.

Similarly, the managing director of the above dental college who is also the managing director of Khalsa Rural Nursing Training Institute and Hospital, Nangal Kalan, in the district has been ordered by the forum to refund Rs 20,000 along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum to Ms Kiran Rani of Dhaula in Sangrur district, who was admitted to the institute for the ANM course which never started. Similarly, the forum ordered the said managing director to refund Rs 30,000 along with 18 per cent interest to Ms Honey Sharma of Ludhiana, who was admitted to B.Sc (physiotherapy) in the institute, for which the institute was never authorised. The forum also ordered to refund Rs 12,000 along with interest to Ms Babaljit Kaur of Mahilan Chowk in Sangrur district, who was admitted to general nursing and midwifery (GN&M) course in the institute. 


Student’s plea allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Allowing a petition filed by a student claiming that eligibility certificate was not required for taking admission against the NRI seats in case of students passing their 10 plus two examinations from PSEB, CBSE and ICSE boards, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and its Vice-Chancellor to issue eligibility certificate for enabling him to seek admission.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Sukhraj Sekhon had earlier sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to consider him for admission to the BDS course under the NRI sponsored category.

Arguing before the Court, Mr Paramjeet Singh Dhaliwal had contended on the petitioner’s behalf that he was not issued the eligibility certificate even though he had deposited the requisite amount for the issuance of the same. He had added that due to the non-issuance of the certificate, he had been deprived of consideration for the seat in the government medical colleges of the state under the NRI category.


A petition challenging the delimitation of Khanna Municipal Council wards was on Tuesday dismissed by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Mr Vijay Kumar had earlier claimed that a notification under the provisions of the Delimitation of wards of Municipalities Rules had not been issued. He had further contended that opportunity of personal hearing was not granted to him while the objections were being considered.

Appearing on behalf of the state, Mr Dharamvir Sharma had, on the other hand, contended that the notification was published in Punjab government gazette on January 31.

He had added that the objections were considered and speaking orders were passed. Moreover, personal hearing was not required under the provisions of the law.


Taking up a petition alleging that the counting of votes for ward number 12 of Abohar Municipal Council was stopped after the Congress candidate “foresaw” defeat, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday fixed April 1 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In his petition taken uo by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Mr Ashwani Setia and another petitioner had earlier sought directions to the State Election Commissioner and other respondents for counting the ward votes. Giving details, he had asserted that the candidate, with the help of the local MLA, managed to stall the counting process on the ground that unused ballot papers had been torn.


Chemists observe strike against VAT
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, March 25
A large number of chemists here today observed a one-day strike against the proposed implementation of the value added tax (VAT) on medicines.

Mr R.D. Gupta, president, Punjab Chemists Association, said that medicines should be kept away from all kinds of tax to help the sick and needy.

He urged the authorities to reconsider the proposed decision to keep medicines under the 12.5 per cent VAT and added that the sale of fake and counterfeit medicines should also be checked.

He said that if their demands were not met, they would start an indefinite strike.

HOSHIARPUR: All shops of chemists here remained closed on Tuesday in protest against the proposed implementation of VAT. Dr Dharmbir Kapur, president, District Chemists Association, and member of the Punjab Action Committee, said the Government of India was proposing a slab of 16 per cent on medicines under VAT. This would raise the prices of all patent and non-patent medicines by 8 per cent.

A rally was held at Bassikhawaju Market and a procession was taken to the office of Assistant Commissioner (Excise & Taxation), and a memorandum submitted to Ms Neelam Choudhary, Assistant Commissioner. Mr Inderjit Sharma, general secretary, Mr Ravi Bhardwaj, president, WCA, also addressed the rally. Dr Dharmbir Kapur said all serious patients were supplied medicines in emergencies at Civil Hospital area. Chemists in Tanda, Dasuya, Mukerian, Bhullowal, Nangal also observed strike.

SAMANA: Members of the Local Chemists Association here on Tuesday closed their shops in response to the Bharat bandh call given by the All-India Chemists Association against VAT. The president of the association, Mr Ashok Goyal, condemned the introduction of VAT and handed over a memorandum to the SDM in this regard.

SANGRUR: Members of the District Chemists and Druggists Association on Tuesday observed a strike against the proposed implementation of VAT by the Punjab Government. Led by Mr Narinder Gupta, acting president of the association, the chemists took out a protest march through the town by wearing black badges. The chemists later submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner. 


Fast observed against VAT
Our Correspondents

Phagwara, March 25
About 500 representatives of 25 trade, industrial and business organisations held a protest march here today and observed a three-hour fast in front of the local sales tax office at Hargobindnagar against the “indecent haste” of the government in implementing VAT without any modification.

The protesters were led by Lala Balwant Rai Gupta, president of the Laghu Udyog Bharati, Punjab.

The local unit of the body, led by Mr Ashok Gupta, in cooperation with other organisations, had organised the protest.

Besides Lala Balwant Rai Gupta and Mr Ashok Gupta, Mr Sudesh Sharma, president of the Federation of Small Industries, Mr Subodh Sobti, secretary of the local unit of the Laghu Udyog Bharati and Mr T.D. Chawla, an exporter, were among those who addressed the protesters and termed VAT as complicated, punitive and anti-trade industries.

It would lead to further bureaucratisation of the tax system and breed corruption, they said. We are not against VAT; we only want its modification and deferment, they said.

A call for bazar-level dharnas on March 29, Phagwara bandh on March 31 and April 1 and massive participation in the April 8 rally outside Parliament in New Delhi was given at the rally.

AMRITSAR: The trading and industrial activity in the city came to a grinding halt on Tuesday in view of a call for a bandh against the implementation of value added tax given by the commercial and industrial associations of the city.

A spokesman for the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, which has been in the forefront to oppose VAT being introduced by various states, including Punjab, said the mandal had warned the government that the imposition of VAT would create a number of problems for the trade while the government would lose revenue.


Bhagat Singh’s statue to be installed in Parliament
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 25
Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP, while talking to mediapersons today criticised the attack on Iraq without United Nations approval.

Mr Brar also visited the National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala, to pay floral tributes to the heroes of the freedom struggle. He said the Parliamentary Memorial Committee had resolved to install a life-size statue of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh in Parliament House. He said he and a freedom fighter from Ferozepore, Mr Satya Pal Baghi, would present sacred soil from the martyrs’ memorial to Mr Manohar Joshi, Speaker, Lok Sabha, on April 7 in Parliament.


Anti-drug march flagged off
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 25
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner here, has said that for eradicating the menace of drugs, the social and religious institutions and the residents cooperate with the government departments concerned and help in the success of various anti-drug canpaigns launched by them.

Mr Verma was speaking at a function while flagging off an anti-drug march held in the city by an NGO, Sankalp, to educate people, particularly the youths, against the use of drugs. He said the government could not achieve the target of a drug-free society until people came forward to help in the campaign. 

The march started from the Dhobi bazar passed through various areas of the city before concluding at Hanuman Chowk.


Directory’ released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 25
The Sirhind branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad at a function held here yesterday released a public utility directory dedicated to a renowned social worker of the area, the late Jagdish Mittar. Mrs Om Kanta Mittar, wife of the deceased social worker, presided over the function and performed the releasing ceremony.

Addressing the gathering Mr Sanjeev Sharma, president of the parishad, highlighted various achievements of the organisation and the public welfare projects initiated by it. He lauded the social service of late Jagdish Mittar towards society.

On this occasion the parishad also organised a family get-together in which the school children presented their skills and cultural programme. One-minute games were the main attraction.


Trucker’s death: probe ordered 

Kharar, March 25
Ropar Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death of a truck owner in SAS Nagar following alleged harassment by the police last week and entrusted the inquiry proceedings to SAS Nagar Sub-Divisional Magistrate Darshan Singh.

“The inquiry officer has been asked to look into the reasons forcing a 26-year-old truck owner to end his life and submit me a detailed report within 10 days,’’ the Deputy Commissioner here said.

She assured that after receipt of the inquiry report appropriate action would be taken accordingly against all those found guilty in the case.

As per media reports, the victim, survived by mother and sister, was allegedly forced to ferry horses from Amritsar to Anandpur Sahib for Hola Mohalla celebrations. UNI


Car with bomb found

Amritsar, March 25
An old car with a crude bomb planted inside it was found by the police during routine patrolling on the Tarn Taran road in the city here today.

Preliminary police reports said the car was parked on the roadside near the old octroi post between the chowk near Gurdwara Shaheedan and the canal on the busy road leading to the subdivisional town of Tarn Taran. The police became suspicious as the car had been parked at the same spot for over two to thre hours.

Police sources said on search of the car, a live crude bomb assembled by using RDX was discovered. Army defusing squads reached the spot. UNI


MC involved in clash

Samana, March 25
An octroi contractor, Mr Wazir Chand, and his servants last evening allegedly clashed with Mr Gian Chand, Municipal Councillor who also deals in electrical goods, over a sale deal and payment of octroi.

Mr Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, DSP, Samana, told mediapersons that a case under Section 307, IPC, had been registered against seven persons.

Today, supporters of Mr Gian Chand allegedly got some shops closed forcibly. OC


DIC, ITI buildings attached
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 25
A court notice announcing that the buildings of the District Industries Centre and the ITI in the city be auctioned on April 19, was pasted on the said buildings today. These buildings were attached as the Department of Industries could not pay compensation for the land acquired to set up Industrial Growth Centre on the Bathinda-Mansa road.

Mr D.S. Malvai, Additional District Judge ordered attachment of these buildings last month, as the Department concerned failed to pay Rs 28.73 lakh to the panchayat, Rs 60 lakh to Ms Chand Kaur and others, Rs 24 lakh to Ms Balbir Kaur of Jassi Pauwali village, whose land was acquired. 


BKU (E) to block traffic today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 25
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) has decided to stop traffic in at least 10 districts of Punjab tomorrow in protest against the privatisation of state-owned corporations, health and education system.

The state general secretary of the union, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, said here yesterday that the BKU (E) had decided to block traffic on one of the main roads of about 10 districts. He alleged that vested interests had hijacked the privatisation and selling off movement of the state-owned corporations and the already hard-pressed farmers would be hit worse.

He said that while the cost of living and that of agricultural inputs had increased with the time, the income of the farmers had been declining steadily. He alleged that political and bureaucratic forces had been imposing anti-national policies on the farmers was under debt. He demanded the restoration of free power supply to farmers, rollback in price hikes of diesel, continuation of MSP and announcing MSP of crops before the sowing season.


Kisan mela a big draw
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 25
More than 10000 farmers from border districts of Gurdaspur and Amritsar participated in Kisan Mela organised by Punjab Agricutural University here today. Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of the varsity was the chief guest and Mr K. A.P. Sinha Deputy Commissioner, presided over mela.

Dr Aulakh said that basmati rice has great potential for export and this belt of Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts was most suitable for its production.

Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, Punjab Agricultural University said that the university had released new variety of super Basmati and P.B. 118 of rice, SML 668 and ML 848 of moong.


Superintendent’s suspension sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
A section of the students who have been appearing in the annual matriculation examination being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board yesterday demanded the suspension of the superintendent of the centre in the Goniana area of the district for the alleged involvement in facilitating copying in the examination.

In a press note issued here today, the students alleged that when the superintendent was asked as to why he had been helping a particular student in copying, he said he would continue to do so and was not bothered about complaints against him to the higher authorities in this connection.

The students urged the District Education Officer to take strict action against the centre superintendent and hold examination for his favourite afresh.

They threatened that if no action was taken against the superintendent by the authorities concerned, they would stage a dharna and observe a fast in front of the office of District Education Officer.


Teachers’ stir from March 28
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 25
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union today expressed shock at the 20 per cent cut imposed on the grants for non-government colleges in the Budget yesterday and declared to launch a sadtyagraha from March 28.

Disclosing this here today, Prof S.S. Hundal, president and Dr V.K. Tewari, general secretary, PCCTU, said that all teachers would proceed on mass casual leave on March 28 and hold a massive rally at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh. A batch of 21 union leaders would also court arrest that day.

Teachers would not report for theory and practical examination duty of the Universities and Punjab School Education Board from March 28 onwards, they said. Those on practical examination duty had been directed to hand over the charge to local controllers on March 27 and join the rally in Chandigarh on March 28, they informed. On March 29, 11 union leaders from Amritsar district would court arrest, followed by other districts daily.


Medical teachers’ posts to be filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Worried over the increasing number of medical and dental teachers seeking voluntary retirement Medical Education and Research Minister Santokh Singh today directed the officers concerned to find ways to retain them.

The government, he said, would fill vacant posts in medical and dental colleges soon. The minister said the notification should be issued soon to redesignate medical and dental teachers.


Slogans mar college function
Tribune News Service

Bardwal (Dhuri), March 25
Protesting against the alleged “disgraceful behaviour” of the authorities of the local Desh Bhagat college at the annual prize distribution function of the college here today, some Dhuri municipal councillors, including Mr Ram Nath and Mr Darshan Kumar, newly elected president and vice-president, respectively, shouted slogans against the college.

Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), Governor, Punjab, was the chief guest at this function.

The irked councillors alleged that Mr Ram Nath had not been given due honour at the function as he belonged to the Scheduled Caste community, while Mr Bhim Sain Jindal, former president of the council, had been given full honour and recognition.

However, Mr Sanjiv Kalia, Principal of the college, refuted the allegations and said the college had given full regard to them at the function. He said the MCs should not make a hue and cry with regard to Mr Jindal as he was a member of the college trust.


726 Mohindra College students get degrees
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
As many as 726 degrees, including 119 postgraduate, 61 B.Sc and 521 BA besides others, were awarded at the annual convocation of Government Mohindra College here today.

Speaking at the convocation, Principal Secretary, Higher Education and Languages, N.S. Rattan, grew nostalgic about his Alma Mater. He had passed out from the college as a gold medallist in MA History, in 1964.

Mr Rattan said Buddha, Guru Gobind Singh and Osho had led the people into asking right questions and seek answers from within.

Principal Dr Raj Kumar Sharma read the annual report. The Old Boys Association of the college also honoured Mr Rattan. He was presented with a memento and a citation besides the title “Mohindra Gaurav”. 

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