Monday, April 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



10 lakh likely to visit Damdama Sahib
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 13
About 10 lakh devotees are expected to pay obeisance at Takht Damdama Sahib — the land where the Guru Gobind Singh compiled the Adi Granth and later accorded it the status of Guru at Takht Shri Hazur Sahib, located in Maharashtra, on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Known as Guru-ki-Kashi (seat of learning), Talwandi Sabo — housing the Takht Damdama Sahib — is the last departure point of Guru Gobind Singh from Punjab. After leaving Talwandi Sabo, which is located on the southern tip of Thar desert, Guru Gobind Singh never visited Punjab again. For its religious importance, Damdama Sahib was accorded the status of the fifth Takht of the Sikhs. It has also been declared a holy city by the Punjab Government.

The management Takht Damdama Sahib will display weapons and other items used by Guru Gobind Singh during his over nine months’ stay here for the devotees to have a glimpse of same from April 13 to April 15. These items include a sword, the stamp, which Guru Gobind Singh used to put on the hukamnamas issued by him, a mirror and a rifle, which Guru Gobind Singh tested on his two disciples Bhai Bir Singh and Bhai Dhir Singh and the “tega” (big sword) of Baba Deep Singh.

The Talwandi Sabo, was visited by Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur before Guru Gobind Singh stayed here.

Mr Bharpur Singh, manager Takht Damdama Sahib, told TNS that about 10 lakh devotees, including NRIs, were expected to visit the town. He added that the SGPC had made arrangements for the accommodation of devotees in various rest houses and education institutions.

He said that thousands of Sikhs would be baptised by the Panj Piaras on Baisakhi. Amrit sanchar would be organised April 15. The recitation of “Akhand Path” had been started and the bhog ceremony would be held tomorrow.

He said so far the Congress, the SAD the Lok Bhalai Party, the CPI, the General Samaj Party and five Independent MLAs had confirmed that they would organise their respective conferences. Apart from it, religious divans would be held and dhadhi jathas would also enthrall devotees. Nihangs would play “gatka” on the concluding day of the Baisakhi Mela.


Baisakhi celebrations begin
Our Correspondent and PTI

Ropar, April 13
The three-day Baisakhi celebrations today commenced at the birth place of Khalsa, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, with traditional gaiety and fervour. A large number of devotees thronged the Takht and other historic gurdwaras, specially decorated for the occasion.

The SGPC has also chalked out various religious programmes, including kirtan darbars, religious diwans and “amrit sanchar” and kavi darbar programmes to celebrate Baisakhi and 304th anniversary of Khalsa. A nagar kirtan was also taken out from Gurdwara Bhabour Sahib, Nangal, to Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib in connection with Baisakhi celebration.

AMRITSAR: The Amar Shaheed Yadgari Committee organised a “yadgari mela” on Baisakhi here on Sunday. Mr Vijay Mishra, convener of the committee lead headed rally that started from Jallianwala Bagh and concluded at Guru Nanak Bhavan. Members of the Anti-Terrorist Front resolved to intensify their fight against terrorism in all forms at Jallianwala Memorial on the occasion.

A wrestling competition was also organised in the evening at Gol Bagh Wrestling Stadium here. The socio-economic development programme of the diocese of Amritsar organised a peace procession in connection with “Palm Sunday” today.


Kin of slain militants honoured
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 13
Even as the silver jubilee function of the Sikh-Nirankari clash renewed the controversy over the death of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, his son Ishar Singh today honoured the family members of slain militants and hijackers of an Indian Airlines flight on behalf of Damdami Taksal (Jatha Bhinderan).

Mr Isher Singh, who remained in oblivion and preferred to lead a peaceful life after Operation Bluestar, today appeared in public. He, however, refrained from delivering any speech on the occasion.

While Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, a Khalistani ideologue, said Sant Jarnail Singh was no more, Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman for Damdami Taksal, was quick to claim that he (Sant Bhinderanwale) was in “high spirits”. Bhai Mohkam Singh claimed that Baba Thakur Singh, acting Jathedar of Damdami Taksal, had reiterated that Sant Bhinderanwale was alive.

In a resolution passed on the occasion, Damdami Taksal gave call for a “social boycott” of the “living gurus” and resolved to launch a relentless movement against them.

Apart from the family members of 13 persons killed in the Sikh-Nirankari clash on April 3, 1978, Damdami Taksal also honoured Bapu Harnam Singh, Kabul Singh Mal Katora, Bhai Bhupinder Singh Mann, Bibi Pritam Kaur, Bibi Gurnam Kaur, Bibi Parmjjit Kaur Khalra and Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, who had hijacked the Indian Airlines plane to Pakistan against the arrest of Sant Bhinderanwale, for their contribution in the “Sikh struggle”. The family members of the 13 slain Sikhs were honoured with a citation, a “siropa” (robe of honour) and Rs 51,000 each.

Damdami Taksal announced that Sikhs had a distinct identity and they would not hesitate from making any sacrifice to maintain the same. It announced that the “living gurus” would be ousted from the state.

Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Manjit Singh, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president all-India Sikh Students Federation, Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta, an SAD leader, Bhai Ram Singh, Bhai Sarchand Singh and Mr Surat Singh said they were ready to pursue any struggle proposed to be launched by the Taksal against the menace of drugs.


Row over Vishal Panthic Conference
3 MLAs announce boycott
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 13
Three Independent MLAs have refused to attend the Vishal Panthic Conference at Talwandi Sabo on Baisakhi tomorrow.

The MLAs — Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar of Rampura Phul, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar of Muktsar and Mr Harmeet Singh of Tarn Taran — told the TNS today that some persons with vested interests had sabotaged their plan to hold a conference of Independent MLAs to draw the attention of the government towards the problems in their constituencies.

They alleged that the conference of Independent MLAs had been converted into a Vishal Panthic Conference by persons trying to settle personal scores.

They said, at a recent meeting in Chandigarh, five Independent MLAs had decided to hold an “aazad” conference on Baisakhi and let no one else use this stage for achieving his or her political goals.

However, an advertisement in a leading Punjabi daily in connection with tomorrow’s conference said the gathering at the conference would be addressed by leaders like Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Mr Ravi Inder Singh and a former chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman.

They alleged that it had been done deliberately to hijack the agenda of the Independent MLAs for the Baisakhi conference and give some persons an opportunity to settle personal scores with the other Akali leaders.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar said that he would never share stage with leaders, without a mass base who were to attend conference being organised by the Independent MLA from Talwandi Sabo, Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu. He alleged that Mr Talwandi and Mr Ghuman had always tried to create differences among the Akalis.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Mr Harmeet Singh said they had learnt about the conversion of their “aazad” conference to the Vishal Panthic Conference only after seeing the advertisement in the Punjabi daily. They said the proposed conference of Independent MLAs had lost its relevance, so, they would not attend it.

However, Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, who is organising the conference on behalf of all five Independent MLAs, when contacted, said the event was being organised as per the decision taken by these MLAs at the Chandigarh meeting. He also said, besides Mr Kangar, Mr Mrar, Mr Harmeet Singh and himself, Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur was also present at the meeting.

He said invitation had been sent to like-minded persons to attend the conference and if any participant made an attack on Mr Badal or Mr Tohra, the gathering would endorse it.


Blatant violations of Minimum Wages Act
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April13
As per the minimum wages notified by the Punjab Government, even a simple labourer is entitled to a pay of at least Rs 2,000 per month or Rs 76.95 per day. However, in spite of the directions issued by the Deputy Commissioner to various departments in this regard, even the minimum wage of Rs 2,000 per month fixed for the labourers is not being given to many graduates and postgraduates working in various organisations in the district.

So blatant is the violation of the minimum-wages rule that even some persons working in the Ropar Mini Secretariat are not getting the minimum wages fixed by the government.

A librarian appointed by the local Bar Association in the district Bar library in Mini Secretariat is being paid just Rs 900 per month. However, as per the notification of the Deputy Commissioner, the librarian has to be paid a minimum monthly salary of Rs 2,193. A peon in the Free Legal Services Department is getting just Rs 500 per month against the minimum wage of Rs 2,000 fixed for him.

Teachers in private schools of the district are the worst victims of the violation of the Minimum Wages Act by school managements. Most graduates and postgraduates teaching in private schools of the district are being paid only between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per month, though the minimum wage for even a graduate clerk is Rs 2,636.

The educated are exploited more in this regard than the illiterate. Labourers are generally organised and have unions to fight for their rights, due to which, they are paid the minimum wages at least in the organised sector. However, educated youth, who are fewer and not as organised are rarely paid the minimum wages.

Some employers, on the condition of anonymity, said: “Why should we pay the minimum wages to workers when many of them are willing to work for less.”

The Labour Department officials say that it is often difficult for them to ascertain the wages being paid by employers in small private organisations. These organisations do not maintain a proper record of their employees, whenever a raid is conducted in this regard, they claim that most of their workers have been hired on daily wages. The workers, for the fear of loosing their jobs, rarely complain against their employers.

The Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, when asked about the non-payment of the minimum wages in the district, said she would get the matter probed. Since the government had notified the minimum wages, it was the duty of the district administration to get these implemented, she said.


Virtual courtroom in law school
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 13
With a view to augmenting its “clinical” approach towards the legal studies and imparting practical training to students about the court environment, a “virtual courtroom” has been set-up by the School of Legal Studies being run here by Guru Nanak Dev University at its Ladhewali Road regional centre.

The school has become the second educational institution in the country after the National Law College of Bangalore to have its own courtroom.

The “virtual courtroom” will help law students have multiple experiences — as Judge, lawyer, accused and witness — in mock courts held by students. “The virtual courtroom would be functional from April 20 and every student would get his or her chance to be a judge, a lawyer, a witness and an accused. The emphasis will be on making them aware of every aspect of law and its practical applications, so that, students may have no difficulty in adjusting to the profession after the completion of studies,” said Dr Daljit Singh, Director of the school and the brain behind the project.

The virtual courtroom, according to Dr Daljit Singh, will have the usual witness boxes, the podium with a proper chair for the “Judge” and space for his staff. “Students, in rotation, will be asked to don various mantles and present arguments in various cases. This will make them learn not only the proper way of taking up a case, but also courtroom etiquettes, that most freshers are not familiar with when they join the profession,” said Dr Daljit Singh.

When asked what made the university go in for the “virtual courtroom”, Dr Daljit Singh, who was also a member of the Punjab State Legal Services Authority, said it was an outcome of an observation that most law students failed to settle down in the profession due to a lack of practical training during their studies. We have been making students visit the District Courts and two of our students were taken on a panel of Judges for a Lok Adalat,” said Dr Daljit Singh.

Students also give lectures on what is taught to them that day. Students have had a chance to interact legal luminaries like former Chief Justices of India.


Longer Assembly session good: Bir Devinder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 13
“The Vidhan Sabha is a temple of democracy and its privilege, sanctity and traditions should be maintained at any cost,” said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, at a press conference here today. He was here to attend a civic reception given in his honour by citizens of Sirhind town.

He said the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature were important wings of the system of governance and, if any wing of the system backed out, it would lead to disaster. He also said debates in the Vidhan Sabha should be of high standard and it was the duty of the ruling party as well as the Opposition to facilitate constructive debate instead of mud-slinging.

He praised Capt Amarinder Singh, Leader of the Assembly, for ensuring a longer Assembly session this time.

He said it was not a question of whether he was satisfied with this post, but whether the MLAs were satisfied with his role.

He said members of the Punjab Assembly were the most disciplined, who had always performed their roles within the rules of the Assembly, whereas, in other state Assemblies, infighting, clashes and abusing were routine.

Later, at the civic reception, Mr Bir Devinder Singh assured the gathering that he would continue to serve the people of his present constituency, Kharar, and his earlier constituency, Sirhind. He thanked the Chief Minister for sanctioning special projects for the Kharar constituency.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president of the citizens’ Welfare Council of Sirhind, praised Mr Bir Devinder for the role played by him in the development of the district.

Mr Surjit Singh Sahi, president of the Arthias Association; Mr Harinder Bhambri, president of the District Youth Congress; Mr Vaid Hari Krishan, Mr Sadhu Ram, Mr Kulwant Mehta and Mr Shamsher Singh, all senior Congress leaders; Mr Harinder Billa, a former president of the SAS Nagar, civic body; Mr B.S. Baidwan, president of the Mohali Industry Association; and Pt Om Parkash, a former president of the Municipal Committee of Kharar, also addressed the gathering.

Mr Sham Singh and Mr Varinder Rattan, president and secretary respectively, of the Sirhind Truck and Bus-body Builders Association, said they would honour Mr Bir Devinder Singh on April 18.


Fearing molestation, woman jumps from bus
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 13
Kuljeet Kaur (name changed), along with another girl, boarded a bus at Pakka Kalan village to reach their native village, Chak Heera Singhwala, 4 km from there, on April 9. Both work at a machine-loom centre at Pakka Kalan village. Kuljeet wanted to reach her home earlier than the usual time as her-in-laws, were not at home, but she did not know what the fate had in store for her.

When Kuljeet and her colleague boarded the bus of a private company at Pakka Kalan, there was no other passenger in it. The driver allegedly turned the bus towards Phallar village instead of going towards Chak Heera Singhwala village, which was the usual route. He allegedly did not stop the bus for other passengers standing at another bus stop of the village.

Kuljeet Kaur, who is undergoing treatment at the local Civil Hospital, said when the conductor started rolling down the windowpanes of the bus, she got suspicious. When she asked the conductor that why they were not going towards Chak Heera Singhwala village, he said they were going to get diesel.

Kuljeet said it seemed unlikely and she and her colleague requested the driver to stop the bus and let them alight there, but their request was not accepted.

Fearing that the driver and the conductor had bad intentions, Kuljeet jumped from the running bus after which she fell unconscious. On this, the driver stopped the bus, let the other girl alight and fled from the scene.

Kuljeet, a widow and mother of two minor daughters, had started working at the machine loom centre being run by the government after the death of her husband about two and a half years ago.

The parents-in-law of Kuljeet could not arrange money for her treatment. The following day, villagers collected money and admitted Kuljeet to the Civil Hospital at Raman. She was shifted to the local Civil Hospital last evening as different tests to gauge the seriousness of head injury were to be conducted. Mr Baldev Singh, father-in-law of Kuljeet, said on April 11, while she was undergoing treatment at Raman, the owner of the bus asked them for a compromise. He said that some police personnel and the owner of the bus told them that legal action would be initiated against the driver and the conductor.

Mr Baldev Singh said as they did not have any grudge against the owner of the bus he, along with the father of Kuljeet, Mr Darshan Singh, gave their thumb impressions on the agreement written by the owner.

He alleged that later, they learnt that the agreement said Kuljeet and her family members did not have any complaint against the driver and conductor of the bus. Kuljeet has now written an application to the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, and urged him to register a case against the driver and the conductor of the bus.

Mr Ishwar Singh, when contacted, said suitable action would be taken after he received the application. He, however, refuted the allegations that the police was instrumental in brining out a compromise between Kuljeet and the owner of the bus.


Langah sees no development
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 13
Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD minister, while talking to newspersons at Dhariwal today said the Congress government in the state could be described as a government sans performance. There was not a single development project which the state government could boast of having pursued during its present regime.

Mr Langah accused the government of having imposed a burden of Rs 800 crore on the people of Punjab by way of withdrawing free electricity to tubewells and the economically weaker sections of society. He said instead of providing relief to the people, the government had hiked user charges of power, water and educational fees and imposed many taxes.

Mr Langah said the government decision to provide tubewell connections to farmers on the condition that they would themselves purchase necessary material for the connection was anti-farmers. He said if the coming panchayat elections were held in a free and fair manner the SAD-BJP alliance was likely to emerge victorious.


BKU ‘rail roko’ on April 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
BKU General Secretary Balbir Singh Rajewal today announced a “rail roko” programme at Rajpura on April 15 in protest against the low minimum support price for wheat while farm input costs have gone up by 70 per cent.

In a press statement, the BKU leader said the Centre was discriminating against Punjab and the huge foodgrains stock in the country had an adverse effect on the state’s economy.


Pensioners sore over hike in MLAs’ salary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
There has been a sharp reaction to ministers and MLAs raising their own salary and perks from pensioners and non-government aided college teaching and non-teaching staff.

The Government Pensioners’ Association’s Additional General Secretary, Mr Yash Paul Ghai, today told TNS about the resentment brewing among the pensioners. He doubted if the charge of the ruling Congress that the Akali-BJP Government had left behind empty coffers was true. Otherwise, how come there was enough money for ministers and MLAs and not for others?

While former MLAs had been allowed ‘’old age allowance’’ at the rate of 5 per cent, 10 per cent and 15 per cent of their basic pension on attaining the age of 65, 75 and 80 years, respectively, the pensioners were given this benefit only at two ages, 65 and 75 years. Even the Third Pay Commission had recommended a third stage. He termed as unfair the government decision to reward its own MLAs.

The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) has been demanding pension-cum-gratuity for the past several years. But the successive governments after agreeing to this demand refused to implement it despite there being several notifications and also an Act. A PCCTU activist, Mr Charanjit Chawla, says this issue has been pending since 1995. For the past one year, the PCCTU has been taken for a ride by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who repeatedly cancelled his meeting with Union leaders at the last moment.

Senior Akali and BJP leaders —Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Balramji Das Tandon — are critical of the enhanced salary and allowances, while Capt Kanwaljit Singh has said that his party MLAs may not accept the new salary and allowances, Mr Tandon has written to the Governor not to give his assent to the Bills passed in this connection.

Meanwhile, SAD spokesperson, Manpreet Singh Badal in a press statement today criticised the government for effecting a hike in the admission and tuition fees and discontinuing free education for girls up to the graduation level. ‘’This retrograde step will affect students in rural colleges. There is apprehension that several rural colleges may even shut down”, he said.


Truckers’ nationwide stir begins today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The movement of trucks across the country will come to a halt from 6 a.m. tomorrow as a stir call was given by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) today. The AIMTC announced an indefinite nationwide stir by truck operators in protest against the “anti-trucker policies being pursued by the Centre as well as state governments.”

Thousands of truck operators affiliated to various state and regional unions will stop their operations from 6 a.m. on April 14.

A local trucker, Mr Manmohan Singh, said the transporters would not accept the government’s decision to replace vehicles older than 15 years.

He said if the government was keen on replacing vehicles, it should first come up with a national policy announcing concession in excise duty, sales tax and interest-free loans for purchase of new vehicles.


After 40 years, Kali Bein has fresh water

Kapurthala, April 13
It was a moment of joy for residents of Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi and Bholath areas to see fresh water flowing in the Kali Bein after a gap of nearly 40 years following the release of 62 cusecs of fresh water from the Mukerian Hydel channel at the Terkiana barrage two days ago.

A Press party from Kapurthala and Jalandhar, accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma, Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh, Chief Executive Engineer (Drainage) Ram Lal and other officials, visited the Tarkiana barrage last evening to see the discharge of fresh water into the Kali Bein, a sacred rivulet attached with the early life of Guru Nanak Dev.

The rivulet, which had a continuous flow of water from Beas river near Budhu Barkat, was disrupted following the silting of the Beas and the construction of Pong Dam in the 60s. Kali Bein, which originates from Dhanoa village and traverses a distance of 160 km in Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala, ultimately falls into the Beas.

It is proposed to develop the entire rivulet, along with wetlands and associated eco-system to promote it as a tourist destination, Mr Verma said, adding that fresh flow of water would also help in the development of Kanjali tourist spot near Kapurthala. PTI


Call for boycotting US goods
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 13
Many organisations, including the Lok Morcha, Punjab, the Association for Democratic Rights, the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Rationalist Society Bharat, led by political analyst Prof Harish K. Puri, gave a call for the boycott of goods produced by the US companies. At a rally near Jallianwala Bagh here, Prof Puri said the organisations would try to persuade others to join the protest and hit the commercial interests of the USA. The speakers included Mr Jagtar Singh, president of the BKU and Mr Talwinder Singh, president of the Janwadi Lekhak Sabha.


Avail of ‘swajaldhara’ scheme: minister
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 13
Mr Vinod Khanna Minister of State for External Affairs, in a press note released to sarpanches of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency asked them to avail of the ‘swajaldhara’ scheme to cover the village for the supply of potable water.

According to the scheme, the entire cost for providing potable water to panchayats and schools would be partly met by the Centre and partly by the institutions applying to be covered under the scheme. Mr Khanna said those panchayats or schools which had no income or resources at their disposal could write to them so that he could contribute the percentage of 5 or 10 per cent from his MP LAD Fund.

Mr Khanna said the applications to be covered under the scheme would have to be sent to Rural Development Ministry, at the Centre through the state government.


16 exhibitions inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 13
Mr Narinder Singh Baath, SDM, Talwandi Sabo, today inaugurated 16 exhibitions at the Baisakhi mela.

He said that the photo exhibition put up by the Public Relations Department was a source of attraction and various photographs displayed spokes volumes of the religious, historical and cultural background of Punjab. Mr Hem Raj Kalia, Joint Director, Exhibitions, said photographs depicting new projects being initiated by the state government would also be highlighted.


Farmers prefer manual harvesting
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 13
A large number of farmers of this region have started preferring manual harvesting of wheat as against mechanised harvesting last year to save on wheat husk. This has also led to a significant increase in daily wages of the labourers.

A cross-section of farmers contacted by The Tribune said that last year the prices of wheat husk had touched Rs 275 per quintal, even as they had been burning a large portion of their wheat straws from which the husk is produced. They said that the trend of increasing wheat husk prices had forced them to use other options available for harvesting of wheat, which also conserved wheat husk.

Mr Nachhattar Singh, a farmer, said that husk could be produced from the straw left by the harvester-combines also, but the dairy animals did not like it as it contained some dust also. He said last-year they had paid Rs 450 per acre for mechanical harvesting of their wheat and then had to pay Rs 350 per acre to get their wheat straws converted into husk, which was of poor quality. He said that the yield of wheat husk from this method was about 8 quintals per acre.

A section of farmers said that the mechanised harvesting of wheat was still preferred by those who planned to sell the wheat husk rather than use it for their own livestock. They said that now a large number of contractors had been approaching them for harvesting their wheat by paying them in lieu of getting the wheat husk produced in their fields. They said that the husk generated by the special machines after manually harvesting the wheat was sold at marginally higher prices as the machines have the provision of a fan, which separates the dust from the husk. Interestingly, the District Magistrate had banned the burning of wheat husk last year but this ban had failed to check it. The District Magistrate has also imposed similar ban this year to check environmental pollution being caused by the large scale burning of wheat husk. The farmers on the other hand, said that they had been burning the wheat straw to save time and energy as the mechanical instruments needed to plough the straw were costly and the land needed heavy tilling after the same to be readied for the next crop.


Excise Dept warns hoteliers
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 13
The excise wing of the state Excise and Taxation Department has warned hotel and restaurant owners against the practice of serving liquor on their premises without valid licences.

Speaking to owner of hotels, restaurants and marriage palaces at a specially convened meeting here yesterday, Mr Baldev Singh, Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) and a spokesman for the excise wing, said the erring persons running bars at their establishments without a valid licence would be fined at the rate of Rs 250 per day.

Mr Baldev Singh also warned persons against serving liquor at their tea stalls.

He claimed that in order to check smuggling of liquor from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh areas, a special drive had been launched and more liquor shops had been opened at the entry points of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to minimise smuggling and check illicit distillation with a view to raising more revenues.


Joshi to get ‘unrecorded’ warning

Decks have been cleared to post back Mr Mukul Joshi as Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, NRIs and Industrial Liaison. The Government has reportedly decided to give him an “unrecorded” warning — warning that will not be entered in his confidential record — for the January 20 Panchkula episode a detailed report about which was submitted by Mr Bhagat Singh, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), last month.


Cop booked for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 13
A scam of selling wheat meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) residents in open market is going on in the district, allegedly in connivance with police personnel. Yesterday, a depot holder, Shambu Ram son of Bhan Chand of Burj Harika village in the district, was arrested by the CIA staff of the local police and was produced before the Duty Magistrate Ms Jatinder Kaur, along with a tractor-trailer full of wheat meant for BPL residents. The depot holder was talking the wheat to sell it in open market.

Interestingly a Head Constable, Gurparnam Dass, posted in the district, had arrested the depot holder along with the wheat a day earlier. But allegedly after taking a bribe, he allowed him to go.

The police has registered a criminal case under various Sections of IPC, including Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, against the Head Constable as well as the depot holder and driver of the tractor-trailer. Further investigation is going on.

When contacted, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr S.S. Srivastva, said he would not allow the guilty, including police officials, to go scot-free.


Scooter thieves arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 13
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here today said that the police had arrested Mohan Lal and Mira Rani, both residents of Mandi Dabwali, Haryana, for stealing a scooter.

He said that Mr Rajinder Singh, a resident of the city, had lodged an FIR alleging that his scooter was stolen by some un-identified persons from the Delhi railway crossing, where he had parked it. He said that the stolen scooter had been recovered from the arrested accused.

In a separate case Mr Ashish Kumar, a resident of Rampura Town, had lodged an FIR that his kiryana shop had been burgled and some items of daily use had been stolen. He said that after investigation the stolen items had been recovered and two persons Raj Kumar and Parveen Kumar, both residents of Rampura Town, had been arrested.

The SSP said that in 13 cases registered in connection with various crimes, 15 persons had been arrested. The police recovered 8.5 kg of poppy husk, one illegal distillery, 36 litres of illicit liquor, 74 litres of countrymade liquor and 245 kg of lahan from the accused. Besides this one .315 bore gun, three live cartridges and Rs 2,700 had also been recovered from these accused.


Rs 30,000 looted from petrol station
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 13
Three car-borne unidentified persons looted an amount of Rs 30,000 from a petrol station at Bundala village, near Goraya, last night.

Three robbers struck at a service station around 8 p.m. and looted Rs 30,000 from the manager at gun-point and fled the scene after committing the crime, police sources have said.


CMC urged to change entrance test date
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 13
Students who will take the Pre-Medical Entrance Test of Karnataka have urged the Christian Medical College authorities at Ludhiana to change the date of its entrance examination.

The students said that the date of the Karnataka test had been announced before the CMC had announced its date.

While the Karnataka PMET would be held on May 30 and 31 and the entrance examination of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on June 1, CMC entrance test would be held on June 1. The students said a large number of them would be taking the Karnataka PMET as well as the AIIMS test at Bangalore examination centres. The CMC has been urged to either change the date of its entrance test to June 2 or add Bangalore as an examination centre.


Notices to Secy, Chairman of education board
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 13
Ms Preeti Sahni, Additional Civil Judge, has issued notices for April 16 to the Chairman and the Secretary of he Punjab School Education Board and Ms Rajinder Chohan, Project Officer of the Board, in a suit filed by Dr Gurmeet Singh.

He has submitted that he has been working as Junior Assistant with the board and there are no adverse remarks in his service book. He has done degrees in M.A. (Punjabi), MA (Political Science) B.Ed and PhD and is having two years’ experience as assistant editor of Children Magazines being published by the board.

Although he applied for the post of Project Officer (Punjabi) through a proper channel, he did not receive any interview call.

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