Thursday, April 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



‘No more funds’ for Galiara scheme
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, April 9
The Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, today categorically declined to fund the last two phases (IV and V) of the ‘Galiara scheme’ for the beautification of the surroundings of the Golden Temple.

The Galiara scheme was envisaged by the Central Government after the operation Bluestar and Rs 120 crore had already been spent on the completion of the first three phases of the ambitious project.

Addressing a press conference after his day-long visit to the holy city, Mr Jagmohan said the state government and the local municipal corporation had sought additional funds for completing the last two phases, including for the payment of compensation for acquiring buildings and land for the construction of a parking lot and a commercial complex in the periphery of the Golden Temple under the scheme. Mr Jagmohan said he had suggested to them to generate resources for completing the project. He added that the Central Government had earlier provided Rs 120 crore for the total project and since the whole amount had already been exhausted till phase-III, the government had no plan to meet the additional demand for financial help. However, Mr Jagmohan announced a grant of Rs 1 crore for creating a parking lot out of Government Senior Secondary School near the corporation office for pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple.

The minister said Amritsar had already been declared a tourist site and it would be developed as a major tourist hub in the country. He said his ministry would allocate additional funds, if required, for creating more facilities. He advocated a joint and unified approach with help from the state government and the local corporation to make the city a major tourist attraction.

Answering questions about the dossier for declaring the Golden Temple as a world heritage site, Mr Jagmohan said the government had given top priority to this project and forwarded the same to UNESCO ahead of two other similar projects for early declaration of the heritage status. He refuted the allegations that the Central Government had delayed the submission of the dossier to UNESCO and hoped that the heritage status would be granted within next two years.

The minister gave the go-ahead to the National Science Museum Society of Kolkata for the Rs 5.5 crore Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama project to be constructed at the historical Ram Bagh Gardens. Presiding over the meeting of the panorama project, Mr Jagmohan ordered to start the construction of the panorama as the possession of the land had already been handed over to the officials concerned. He said the project would be completed within next two years.

Answering questions about the neglect of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, the minister said he had moved a major amendment to the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust Act in the current Parliament session and hoped that substantial funds would be allocated for the beautification and maintenance of the memorial very soon. He assured that the memorial would have a sound and light programme and the landscape would be improved.

The minister also sanctioned special funds of Rs 1 crore for renovating the deori (entrance) connected with the great General Hari Singh Nalva of Maharaja Ranjit Singh army under the supervision of the Archaeological Society of India in the periphery of the Ram Bagh Gardens.

The minister also sanctioned Rs 1 crore for landscaping of the Ram Bagh Gardens. He advocated that the three clubs at present occupying a large chunk of the gardens be vacated.

He assured the managements of Durgiana Temple and the historic Ram Tirath that his ministry would provide funds for their development projects.


Golden Temple gilding sparks row
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 9
The gilding of the interiors of the Golden Temple by the UK-based Nishkam Sevak Jatha has kicked off a controversy even as Ms Kiranjot Kaur, former General Secretary, SGPC, has sought the stoppage of the work.

In a letter to the Secretary of the SPGC, Ms Kiranjot Kaur has alleged that the ongoing restoration work without seeking consent of experts could play havoc if it was allowed to continue. She said the work was in violation of the decision of the SGPC Executive which had constituted a subcommittee for the purpose.

Meanwhile, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, has also asked for the work to be stopped.


Ironsmith seeks return of SHO
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, April 9
People commonly attend functions in which the Chief Minister or senior state police officers are present to complain against some police atrocity.

However, yesterday at the Police Academy in Phillaur, a man was seen trying to meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to plead for the cancellation of the transfer orders of the SHO of Phillaur police station.

Inderjit Singh, an ironsmith, was however, not allowed to met the CM or senior officers. He had to go home all harassed and fatigued.

The gist of his representation is that his family had won a 12-year legal battle over the possession of their land and it was only Sub-Inspector Jaswinderpal Singh, former SHO Phillaur, who withstood all kind of pressures and got him his due.

However, due to alleged political and other pressures, the SHO was transferred elsewhere. Ever since the petitioner was being allegedly harassed by the other claimants of the land and also by the local police after the change of guard.

The SSP, Jalandhar, Mr Varinder Kumar, who was present in Phillaur yesterday, said he was not aware that he was trying to meet the Chief Minister or the senior officers.

He said the police official was shifted on administrative ground and it had nothing to do with this case. Police sources disclosed to TNS that the SHO had “angered” his seniors who accused him of “overstepping his limits in the case”.

SI Jaswinderpal Singh is incidentally credited with improving the general law and order situation in Phillaur especially the crackdown on the call girl racket.

He had earned the wrath of some hotel owners whose premises he had raided regularly to check prostitution. 


Undertrials cram state jails
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 9
Punjab jails are chock-a-block with more undertrials than these can handle, with undertrials forming as much as 65 per cent of the total strength.

Jail officials disclosed this at the passing-out parade of a batch of 56 women and 41 men of the jail department after a three-month course in the local Punjab Jail Training School. All police personnel will perform duty as wardens and matrons at Tihar Jail in Delhi.

The officials said the strength of undertrials in the Punjab jails was much more than the national average of 46 per cent. They said of the total 12, 000 prisoners in the Punjab jails, as many as 7,000 were undertrials. The situation in the local Central Jail was no better, with 1,100 undertrials against a total strength of 2,000 prisoners.

The sources said most of the seven central jails, 11 sub-jails, five district jails and the lone Juvenile Home were housed in old buildings, which had not been renovated properly for a long time. They said due to this many barracks in most of the jails were virtually unlivable. They said besides resulting in cramming of prisoners in relatively newly constructed barracks, it also led to “competition” among them for good quarters, which was sometimes taken advantage of by the jail staff.

Tihar Jail Director-General of Police (Prisons) Ajay Aggarwal, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said undertrials had resulted in cramming in the jail complex. He said even though the jail was built to accommodate 3,650 prisoners, more than 12,000 prisoners were presently housed in it.

The Jail Training School Principal, Capt S.P. Singh (retd), said police personnel had been given a three-month training in jail administration. He said emphasis had been laid on training women officials on how to ensure proper security at all times for women prisoners. He said psychological training on how to handle pressures was also given to the officials.

Meanwhile, the DGP (Prisons) awarded trophies to Platoon Commanders Vijay Kumar, Vipan Pal, Seema Vaidya and Pinki Sharma. Parade Commander Rachna Saxena was also honoured on the occasion.


City gets corporation status today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 9
This city, known as the heartland of the Malwa region in Punjab, will add another feather to its cap tomorrow when it will be accorded the status of municipal corporation by the state government and will become the fifth city of Punjab after Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala to enjoy this status.

As per official information, the city, which boasts of having the biggest military station of Asia, a fertiliser plant, the oldest thermal plant of the state, a number of professional and technical education institutes and the biggest railway junction of northern India, will witness the beginning of a new era of development after it is given the status of municipal corporation.

Official sources said for according the status to this city, the state government had already declared the existing area falling within the limits of the municipal council as larger area for the purpose of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act. Tomorrow Punjab Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh would formally declare the city as a municipal corporation at a function to be organised adjacent to the official complex of the municipal council. A massive facelift had been given to the city for the function.

Official sources said Mr Jagjit Singh would also announce various schemes for providing basic amenities to residents apart from developing green belts. Special funds would be given for providing a large part of the city with sewerage and potable water facilities.

Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the high-powered Finance Committee, Punjab, who was instrumental in securing the municipal corporation status for the city, while talking to TNS, pointed out that a number of projects for the town were already in the pipeline. He added that the paucity of funds would not be a problem for equipping the city with latest facilities in the fields of education, transport and health.

Besides, Mr Jagjit Singh would lay the foundation stone of Transport Nagar and dairy complex on the Bathinda-Goniana road for decongesting the city on one hand and providing those, who were concerned with these trades, with better facilities on the other hand. The Transport Nagar and dairy complex was being developed by the Improvement Trust authorities. Earlier, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was to lay its foundation stone during his visit to this town about a month ago, but he did not do so due to some technical problems.

However, a section of politicians, while talking to TNS, alleged that by according the status of municipal corporation to the local municipal council the state government had denied an opportunity to the Dalit women to become its president.

Meanwhile, the local municipal council authorities had been observing undeclared holidays, since yesterday under the garb of making preparations for tomorrow’s function.


Punish policeman for torturing farmer’
Tribune News Service

Bahiniwal (Mansa) April 9
Activists of different political parties, including the SAD, SAD (A) and the BKU (Ekta) along with residents of this and surrounding villages today staged a dharna in front of the local police station to lodge a protest against a police official, who had allegedly tortured a farmer, Mr Gurtej Singh of Banawala village a few days ago.

The activists raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the police authorities for being lenient towards the guilty cop. Residents of this and surrounding villages gave details of other acts of omission and commission of the police official.

Mr Gurtej Singh who was tortured on March 29, had also lodged a complaint against the police official and his associates for hurting his religious sentiments.

The police official and others kept on torturing him for days together and he was released on the intervention of village panchayat. His body bore injury marks. He also alleged that the official had forcibly taken his thumb impression on blank papers before releasing him.

A number of leaders of different political parties, including former MLA Sukhwinder Singh SAD(A) president, Mansa district, Gursewak Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Youth Akali Dal, and Ruldu Singh BKU (E) addressed the gathering outside the police station.

Mr Gursewak Singh while talking to TNS alleged that the police authorities instead of sending the guilty cop to the police lines, had posted him at another station. He added that the police authorities had been trying to save him by hushing up the case.

Mr S.S. Srivastava, SSP, when contacted said the SP(D), Mr Lakhwinder Singh, had been asked to conduct an inquiry into this incident. He said the authorities would not shield any one. 


Akali unity move a farce, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
Terming the ongoing Akali unity moves as a futile exercise, the president of SAD (Amritsar) and MP, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann today said the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, was trying to work out a compromise between the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the former SGPC chief Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

In a press statement issued here today, Mr Mann said the BJP high command was instrumental in striking a compromise between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, who were least concerned about the interests of the state.

He said Mr Tohra was in the habit of deceiving his party colleagues, which was evident from the fact that he (Tohra) had disassociated himself from Amritsar Declaration to join ranks with SAD (Badal)-BJP coalition at the time of Assembly elections in February 1997. Later, Mr Tohra formed the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) following his differences with Mr Badal to join ranks with the Panthik Morcha.


MP’s remarks: YC backs DCC head
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 9
Members of the District Youth Congress in a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Vishva Nath Banti here last evening condemned the statement of Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress MP, for demanding the expulsion of Mr Kuldip Nanda, president of the District Congress Committee, Hoshiarpur, from party and levelling charges of corruption against him.

Mr Vishva Nath Banti said the charges levelled against Mr Nanda were baseless. He said during the last state Assembly election, Mr Channi had opposed officials nominees of the Congress due to which the party’s candidates had lost the elections in Tanda, Garhdiwala, Hoshiarpur, Mahilpur and Garhshankar segments. Audio cassettes in which Mr Channi’s conversation with some of his supporters had been recorded for opposing Congress candidates, were handed over to party high command. He said Mr Channi was aware of the allotment of congress tickets in the recent Municipal elections of Hoshiarpur and Hariana councils. Mr Nanda had allotted party tickets only with the consent of the local Congress leaders in these elections.

Youth Congress leaders urged Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Ms Mohsina Kidwai and Mr H.S. Hanspal to provide relief to the District Congress Committee from Mr Charanjit Singh Channi who had created groupism in the party.

Presidents of various Block Congress Committee from Mr Charanjit Singh Channi who had created groupism in the party.

President of various Block Committees, including Garhshankar, Mahilpur, Hoshiarpur City, Bhunga, Dasuya and Hoshiarpur Block Block-II also supported Mr Kuldip Nanda and stated that under his leadership the party had won the elections of Zila Parishad, Block Samities and Municipal Councils in the district. They reposed complete faith in the leadership of Mr Nanda.

Meanwhile, municipal councillors, who were recently expelled from the Congress for opposing official nominee of the party in the election for President of the Municipal Council, Hoshiarpur, stated in a joint press statement here yesterday that they were loyal soldiers of the party. They stated that the Congress always believed in democracy and according to its constitution first of all show-cause notice had to be served and explanation was sought. In case of unsatisfactory reply only then next step was taken.

Mr Ram Pal Dhaipai and Mr Ishwer Singh, both general secretaries of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee had announced in a press conference here on April 5, that after obtaining permission from Mr H.S. Hanspal, President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, the aforesaid Municipal Councillors were expelled from the Congress for six years for opposing party nominee in the election for the President of Municipal Council, Hoshiarpur.


102 cr for potable water in villages
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
The state government has earmarked Rs 102 crore for providing drinking water supply in the rural areas during the current financial year.

This was revealed by Punjab Technical Education and Industrial Training Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, after inaugurating a Rs 24 lakh potable water supply project at Dhanal village near here yesterday.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Kaypee said 7700 out of a total of 12,402 villages of the state had already been provided water supply, while projects were being completed to ensure drinking water supply in 2118 villages during the current financial year.

Elaborating further about plans to improve living conditions in villages, the minister said the state government had already submitted a project report of “Water Reserves Management project” to the World Bank authorities for sanctioning loan to carry out development works in the rural areas. Mr Kaypee announced that it was decided to grant Rs 50,000 each to 12 identified families of Dhanal Kalan, Dhanal Khurd and Phoolpur villages for the construction of “pucca” houses. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of additional rooms at Government Primary School, Dhanal.


SARS: medical team at Raja Sansi airport
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 9
The Raja Sansi International Airport authorities here yesterday took preventive steps to counter the entry of killer pneumonia into India.

A team of five doctors, nursing staff, medical attendants has been formed to prevent the deadly infection of the suspected SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) finding its way here.

An alert has been sounded to the staff of all three agencies that interact with passengers from abroad, namely, immigration, customs and airlines by the airport authorities here following instructions from the Union Ministry of Health here.

Mr V.S. Mulekar, Airport Director, told ‘The Tribune’ that orders had been placed for the purchase of masks for the crew as well as the staff of these agencies. The medical team would be present during the arrival of flights from today.

Incoming passengers would be screened before they reach the immigration counters. A stock of about a 100 spare masks would be kept as a precautionary measure.

Mr Mulekar, however, said the passengers on departure flights would be given “health clearance” by the health authorities before proceeding on the flights. 


Former SSP gets bail in fake currency case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Former Senior Superintendent of Punjab Police Gurcharan Singh Pherurai was granted bail in a fake currency case by Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

Seeking the grant of regular bail in a the case, the former SSP had earlier contended that he was being implicated in a false case. Claiming to be innocent, counsel for the petitioner had added on his behalf that the alleged recovery had been planted on him in an attempt to frame him.

Pherurai, in an earlier petition, had submitted that he had been implicated due to political reasons. His counsel had added that the government was prejudiced against Pherurai as he was considered to be close to Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Bail plea

In the alleged kidney conspiracy case, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed that the anticipatory bail petition filed by Dr Jagdish Gargi, head of the Forensic Medicine Department at Amritsar Government Medical College, would come up for orders on April 10.

In a separate order, Ms Justice Lall also directed that two other petitions filed by Dr P.K. Sareen and Dr Bhupinder Singh in the matter would be listed before a Division Bench of the High Court.

Dr Gargi was apprehending arrest in a first information reports registered by the police. Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Dr Gargi, in his petition, had contended that he was member of the authorisation committee for Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts.


The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday allowed an application filed by an Ambala-based gutka manufacturer for impleading as a party in a public interest litigation seeking directions for taking immediate steps to ban the manufacture, distribution and sale of gutka, along with other chewable tobacco products.

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

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


The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday fixed May 29 as the next date of hearing on an application seeking the cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur in a case pertaining to the death of her daughter Harpreet Kaur.

In his application, Harpreet Kaur’s “husband” Kamaljit Singh had stated that Bibi’s nephew, arrested by the police, had revealed that he had gone to kill him on three different occasions, but could not succeed because of the security. It was further alleged in the petition that the Bibi was threatening the witnesses. Kusam, a key witness, had turned hostile during the cross examination though she had fully supported the prosecution case during the examination-in-chief.

Poll petition

Continuing with the arguments on the issue of maintainability of a petition challenging the elections of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh from the Patiala assembly constituency, counsel for the petitioner on Wednesday claimed that the CM had taken contradictory pleas in his written statement.

Arguing before Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, counsel Satya Pal Jain contended that the CM had stated that class-I gazetted officer Bharat Inder Singh Chahal was not noticed by him. He had also claimed that Chahal was not present during the press conference. The CM had further submitted that the conference had not been organised in his capacity of a candidate.

Harkirat Singh — a voter from Patiala — had earlier alleged that the Chief Minister had used the services of Mr Chahal and the documentary evidence, appended along with the petition, proved his role beyond any shadow of doubt. The petitioner had added that Mr Chahal was, subsequently, awarded by the respondent for the services he rendered.


Tributes paid to 13 Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 9
A Sikh gathering paid tributes to 13 Sikhs killed on Baisakhi in 1978 at Amritsar, at village Pheruman, 40 km from here, yesterday. The function was ogranised to mark the 304th birth anniversary of the Khalsa.

Addressing the gathering Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti said the formation of the Khalsa was a unique and unparallel event in history .

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, spokesperson for the Dal Khalsa said Bhai Fauja Singh and his associates sacrificed their lives fighting against the so-called gurudom. But, ironically, even after struggling for 25 years the Sikhs had failed to check the mushrooming of deras and gurudom.


Hospital inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 9
Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, Minister of State for Removal of Grievances, today inaugurated a public hospital at Chunni, 15 km from here.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion, he said private health institutions could serve the patients from weaker sections of society by providing health facilities at concessional rates. He said the newly constructed hospital would obviate the need of local people to rush to the PGI, Chandigarh, or the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib, for treatment.

Dr Harbans Lal, Minister of State for Forests and Cooperatives, said the government would make every effort for the development of rural areas in the state.

Dr A.R. Khan said the hospital presently had a capacity of 20 beds, which could be extended up to 50 beds in future. He said they would provide health services at concessional rates to patients from weaker sections of society.


Justice Sud inspects Ropar sub-jail
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 9
Mr Justice N.K. Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today visited the sub-jail of the district and inquired about the state of the jail inmates.

On the occasion he also presented a color television and a water cooler to the jail authorities which was donated by the district Red Cross for the prisoners lodge in sub jail. Justice Sud also checked the quality of the food being provided to the inmates.

He was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain and the SSP Mr GPS Bhullar. He also visited the district jail complex being constructed near here. The Deputy Commissioner informed Justice Sud that the Punjab Government had approved a fund of Rs 37.50 lakh for the completion of the jail complex.

The construction of the jail complex had been pending since long due to the non-availability of funds. Now that the fund had been sanctioned by the government Justice Sud directed the authorities concerned to take up the construction of the jail on priority basis.


Insurance staff flay transfer rule
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
On a call given by the All-India Insurance Employees Association, employees of insurance companies held a demonstration here to protest against the unilateral imposition of the compulsory transfer policy for Classes III and IV employees.

Addressing the gathering, the secretary of the district unit of the General Insurance Employees Union, Mr Anil Chopra, alleged that the compulsory transfer policy had been devised to harass employees. He said that the management was unnecessarily delaying negotiations over wage revision.


Contractors indulge in hooliganism
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 9
Contractors indulged in hooligans at a meeting organised at the Bhakra Main Line (BML) office near Tripri here today to award contracts for repair of the BML canal and other civil works.

Sources disclosed that Executive Engineer Baljit Singh Dhillon called the police after some contractors created a ruckus and abused some officials of the BML department. Contractors also fought between themselves over the award of the contract.

According to sources the BML office had asked contractors to take part in a meeting being organised to award tenders today. Some contractors reached at the venue and alleged that they had not been given notice for the same. Following this, the meeting was postponed for the evening so that all the contractors could take part in it.

Some contractors of Sangrur wanted that they should be given contractors for their area. This resulted in arguments between some of the contractors as well as officials. Subsequently the police was called at the spot. However, it could not be confirmed whether a case had been registered against contractors or not.

The contracts were to be awarded for repair of a section of the BML canal on the Sangrur road. The sources said the contracts were for an amount of Rs 70 lakh, including repair of a gate of the BML canal. 



Asst town planner held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 9
in a midnight swoop, the Vigilance Bureau arrested an assistant town planner (ATP), Bankey Bihari, in connection with a multi-storey shopping complex (Central Mall) on the Mall here.

The state Vigilance Department, Chandigarh, ordered his arrest in a case related to the clearing of a Rs 6 crore multi-storey shopping complex.

The Central Mall was in the eye of a storm when it was to be inaugurated by Capt Amarinder Singh in October, last year. A day before the scheduled inauguration it came to light that the building was allegedly constructed in violation of the prescribed building bylaws.

Mr T.P.S. Sandhu, SP, vigilance, and Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Commissioner, MC, confirmed the arrest of the ATP.

Earlier, Bankey Bihari was suspended in the same case when it came to light that he was instrumental in getting the building plans passed. Mr Bir said the former was also responsible for ignoring the violations.

Two others, who have also been named in the FIR registered by the vigilance, include assistant town planner Iqbal Preet Randhawa and building inspector Madan Gopal. All have been booked under Sections 420, 120 IPC and 13-1(d) read with 13(2) under PC Act, 1988.

The corporation officials had a cleared 32,990 feet for a shopping complex. However, the building when built covered 57,330 sq feet.

Two storeys of the building, fifth and sixth storey were constructed without even their plan being sanctioned by the MC, claimed Mr Jagir Singh, DSP, Vigilance.

However, Mr Jaswinder Pal Singh, one of the owners, had refuted the charges and claimed that the building was got sanctioned after paying due charges and thereafter they were issued completion certificates.

A penalty of Rs 2.24 lakh was reportedly imposed by the then MC Commissioner, Mr B.R. Banga.


Protest against B&R Dept restructuring
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 9
Employees of the Public Health, Building and Roads, Sewerage Board, Irrigation Departments and PUDA held a dharna yesterday in front of the PWD head office here in protest against the restructuring of the Building and Roads Department, besides other anti-employee steps being taken by the state government.

The dharna, which was held under the presidentship of the chief of the Coordination Committee, Mr Hari Singh Tohra, submitted a memorandum to the Commissioner for forwarding the same to the government.

Mr Tohra said daily wagers in various departments, who had completed 17 years of service, should be regularised immediately. He said the employees who had cleared the test for promotion as Junior Engineers should be promoted to the new scale. He also called for the initiation of the pension scheme for employees of the Water Supply and Sewerage Boards. He said the committee would also start an agitation for regularising the services of contractual employees. He said a number of employees were working on a contract basis in the Sewerage Board (148), PUDA (146) and Public Health (4,025).

On the restructuring of the Building and Roads Department by dissolving its sub-divisions other speakers said the move would result in further disorientation of employees.


Rehri owners observe strike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
Activists of the Hath-Rehri Union including roadside vendors, today observed a strike to protest against the eviction of the spots being used by them.

The activists of the union, some women, marched through the main bazaars of the city and gathered near the office of the Deputy Commissioner. They said the administration had launched a cleanliness drive and a lot of parking spots had been created for cars. They rued that no space had been provided to them to ‘park’ their rehris.

Mr Ram Ditta Mal, president of the union, in a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner urged him to provide some space to rehri and road-side vendors. The union also assured the Deputy Commissioner that their rehris won’t block the traffic. The activists were raising slogans against the local MLA.


New format proposed for NSCs, KVPs
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 9
On the pattern of the format used by banks for issuing bank drafts/fixed deposit receipts, the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications, is planning to introduce a single printed denominationless format for the sale of National Savings Certificates (NSCs) and Kisan Vikas Patras (KVPs) in place of the printed NSCs and KVPs of different denominations in which they are presently available.

Sources in the Postal Department said the department, through the office of the Chief Postmaster-General, Punjab circle, Chandigarh, had sought suggestions from senior superintendents/ Superintendents of post offices regarding the sale of denominationless NSCs and KVPs.

The Postal and Small Savings authorities are of the view that with the new format, the problem of scarcity of NSCs and KVPs will end. This would also benefit the agents of small savings.


Dharna against truckers begins
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 9
Members of the Sangrur District Industrial Chamber (SDIC) and workers of its industrial units today started an indefinite dharna in front of the local police station, demanding the immediate arrest of Mr Balwinder Singh, president of the local Truck Union, Mr Gurpal Singh, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Singla, all munshis of the union, and about 25 truck drivers.

Mr Vijay Gupta, president of the SDIC, alleged that the local truck union president, munshis and drivers had last night beaten up and injured three drivers of trucks engaged from Ludhiana by the local Trishul Food Company to carry paddy from its rice-sheller to Karnal. He said the Ludhiana truck drivers were attacked because they were carrying paddy from Sangrur to Karnal and the local truck union did not like truck drivers from outside to be engaged. He described this as goondaism.

Mr Gupta said during the attack three drivers — Mohinder Singh, Ashok Kumar and Zafar Iqbal suffered injuries and had been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


Recruitment rally

Doraha, April 9
The Army will organise a rally for recruiting Soldier (General Duty), Soldier (Technical) and Soldier (Clerk) for aspiring candidates of Ludhiana, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur and Moga districts of Punjab from April 13 at Doraha. OC


Rs 40 lakh subsidy on spray pumps
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 9
Dr R.K. Rampal, Director, Agriculture, said here today that schemes related to agriculture which had been shelved for the past four years were being revived to enhance compatibility of agriculture to meet global challenge in view of implementation of GATT and WTO. He said the government had decided to spend Rs 2.5 crore for the distribution of gypsum among farmers for the reclamation of kallar land. As much as 25 per cent subsidy will be given in this regard.

Dr Rampal said the government had earmarked Rs 40 lakh to be distributed as subsidy among the farmers at the rate of Rs 25 per cent for the purchase of spray pumps. As many as 20,000 pumps would be distributed among the farmers to get rid of insecticides. Weedicides in this regard would also be provided to a farmer on 25 per cent subsidy.

Dr Rampal said the emphasis of the Agriculture Department was on diversification and bee-keeping had been chosen to be developed in the state so that farmers could augment their income. An amount of Rs 30 lakh had been earmarked to boost bee-keeping in the state, and 25 per cent would be give as subsidy in this regard.

Dr Rampal said fertility of soil had been decreasing in the state. The government proposed to hold 68 demonstrations in the state with minimum two demonstrations per district. For holding a demonstration the organisation would be given a grant of Rs 25,000 per demonstration. The government also proposed to impress upon the farmers to minimise the use of chemical fertilisers to increase the strength of the soil. The Punjab Government had earmarked Rs 80 lakh to be spent in this regard during current year, he added.

Meanwhile more than 2,000 farmers from all over the district participated in a district level training camp held here on Wednesday.

Dr Rampal told farmers that area under the cultivation of paddy in the coming season would be reduced to 22.75 lakh hactares as compared to 25.44 lakh hectares last year in the state. This decrease in the area would be compensated by increasing the area under the cultivation of maize, sugarcane, cotton, oil seeds and pulses.

Dr Rampal said area under the cultivation of maize would be increased to 2.2 lakh hectares this year as compared to 1.52 lakh hectares last year. Similarly, area under the cultivation of sugarcane would be increased from 1.54 lakh hectares to 1.70 lakh hectares, cotton from 4.5 lakh hectares to 6.4 lakh hectares, oilseeds from 18,000 hectares to 43,000 hectares and pulses from 27,000 hectares to 70,000 hectares.

Dr Rampal said certified seed of paddy to the tune of 85,000 quintals had been arranged.


Farmers to get certified seeds
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, April 9
Mr Kulwant Singh, Joint Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said today that farmers would be provided with certified seeds of paddy, maize cotton and groundnut.

Mr Kulwant Singh, who was here in connection with a training camp for farmers, said keeping in view the changing realities of the agriculture market, farmers should diversify their crop patterns and adopt economically viable crops. He said the government would provide 12300 quintals of certified seeds of paddy, 17765 quintals of maize, 8,798 quintals of cotton, 145 quintals of groundnut and 1476 quintals seeds of pulses for the coming season.

He advised farmers to reduce the use of insecticides and pay heed to the directions of experts. He pointed out that excessive use of chemicals to kill insects had played havoc with the delicate environmental balance.

Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, ADC, said the state government had planned to reduce the area under wheat and rice, and the farmers should take advantage of various incentives and schemes launched by the government. He said to facilitate diversification, the area under paddy would be reduced by 2.5 lakh heactares.


3,969 tonnes of wheat procured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 9
Wheat has started trickling in steadily in all grain markets of the district with 3,969 metric tonnes being procured till yesterday in the whole district.

Informing this while inspecting the procurement process in the local grain market here, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon said 258 tonnes of wheat had been procured in the local grain market till today.

Mr Dhillon said Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab Agro and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) were procuring wheat in the district. As per the initial estimates as much as 8.72 lakh tonnes of wheat was expected to the procured in the district this year against 8.48 tonnes last year, he added. District Food and Supply Officer H S Mokha said arrangements of gunny bags and speedy lifting of procured wheat had been done in all grain markets.



Jalandhar, Nawanshahr have new DCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Punjab Government today shifted the Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, Mr Ashok Gupta, to Jalandhar in place of Mr K. Siva Prasad, who goes on deputation as the Senior Regional Manager, FCI, Punjab.

Mr Hussan Lal is the new Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshehar. He is currently the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, at Patiala according to a government press note.


Extension for Ratra unlikely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Though the Punjab Government has sent the case of its Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, for another three-month extension in service to the Union Government, he has no chance of getting the extension. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the government had forwarded Mr Ratra’s case to the Union Government.

However, sources in New Delhi said there was no precedent of giving service extension of six months to an IAS officer after he or she had attained the age of superannuation. Mr Ratra was to retire on January 31, but he was granted a three-month extension on the pattern of a Delhi Government Chief Secretary.

Mr Ratra is due to retire on April 30 after the extension period of three months. He is likely to be appointed chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board or any other important government organisation after retirement.

Sources said that the race for the post of the Chief Secretary had already started. However, a number of senior officials of the state bureaucracy are posted in New Delhi. Except a few, the others are not interested in returning to the state.


Prescription must for drug sale
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 9
To prevent youth and those belonging to the economically weaker sections of society from falling prey to the menace of narcotics and drugs, the District Magistrate, Mr K. Siva Prasad, has ordered that no chemist in the district would sell drugs without a valid prescription.

Chemists would maintain current sale and stock registers for inspection by Executive Magistrates and police officers of the rank of the DSP and above.


Flesh trade racket unearthed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 9
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a statement issued here today said the district police had arrested Bimla Saini, a resident of Nai Basti, Street No. 1, for allegedly running a brothel from her house under the guise of a beauty parlour.

The SSP said the accused had been running the ‘Kapila beauty parlour’ from her house and used to lure innocent girls into the flesh trade. He said her customers were from this and nearby districts. Besides the kingpin (Bimla Saini) two other girls had also been arrested from the spot, he added.

The SSP said two customers of these prostitutes, one from Kotkapura (Faridkot district) and another, a resident of Paras Ram Nagar of the city, had also been arrested. This was the second flesh trade racket unearthed by the district police as yesterday also five girls and two of their customers were arrested from the Paras Ram Nagar area of the city. Separate cases under Sections 3,4,5 of the Suppression of Immoral Trafficking (Girls and Women) Act had been registered against the accused.

He said besides this seven accused had been arrested in five cases registered under the NDPS Act and 400 gram of opium and 55 kg of poppy husk seized from them. Meanwhile, the police sources said four culprits had been arrested under Section 420 of the IPC for cheating the people in the lottery market.


Robbers’ gang busted, 5 held

Amritsar, April 9
The Majitha police claims to have apprehended five members of a robbers’ gang and recovered weapons.

In a press release issued here yesterday the S.S.P. Ms. Shashi Prabha Dwivedi said the accused were identified as Sonu, Harima, Sukha, Makka and Ghoti, all residents of Mohalla Shakhupur, Jandiala Guru. Two .12 bore double-barrelled guns, one .12 bore country-made pistol and some sharp-edged weapons were recovered. A case under Sections 399, 401, 402 and 34 of the IPC has been registered. OC


Patwari caught

Bathinda, April 9
The patwari of Bambiha village, Gurnam Singh, has been arrested under Sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act for taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a resident of the same village, who wanted to get the girdawri of his land registered in his name, Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP, Vigilance Bureau, said here today. OC


SLIET Director’s powers curtailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The Board of Governors of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) has curtailed the financial and recruitment powers of the Director of the institute. The institute is being run by a society jointly promoted by the Punjab and Union Government.

Official sources said the Director was earlier empowered to make purchases up to Rs 50 lakh for a scheme or project approved by the society or the managing committee of the institute. This limit has now been lowered to Rs 10 lakh. For purchases exceeding this limit, the approval of the Chairman of the Finance Committee would be mandatory.

With regard to the purchase of steel furniture, office equipment, machinery required for the institute, the Director was earlier enjoying unlimited powers but the limit now has been fixed at Rs 5 lakh. The power to sanction expenditure on legal matters has been pegged at Rs 50,000 per annum while earlier he had unlimited power. He can now spend Rs 50,000 per annum on printing and binding work while there was no fixed limit earlier.

In the case of making recruitment to the B, C and D category of employees, the Director will now have to take approval of the Chairman of the standing executive committee of the institute before issuing any advertisement for direct recruitment. Earlier, he could fill such vacancies on his own. In the case of group “A” posts, the Director had all the powers to make the recruitment which were subsequently put up to the Board of Governors for approval. However, now the powers to fill such posts have been vested in the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the institute. To fill over such posts on a contract or deputation basis, the powers have been given to the Chairman. All these cases will have to be put up to the Board of Governors for approval.

The Director has been authorised to appoint the contingent staff with the approval of the Chairman of the standing executive committee. Earlier, the Director was allowed to make a limited number of appointments of labourers on an emergency basis of course such cases were required to be submitted at the next meeting of the Finance Committee for information only.

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