Wednesday, April 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhindranwale’s death anniversary may kick up row
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Bathinda, April 15
The mention of June 6 as the day for observing death anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Nanakshahi calendar issued by the SGPC on the occasion of Baisakhi yesterday may generate another controversy as the Damdami Taksal repeatedly has been claiming that Sant Bhindranwale was alive and in “high spirits”.

Though Bhai Mohkam Singh, a spokesman of the Damdami Taksal while talking to The Tribune said that the Damdami Taksal did not want to make any comment on the issue pertaining to the observance of death anniversary of Sant Bhindranwale on June 6 as Akal Takht was involved in the preparation of Nanakshahi calendar, a member of the Taksal alleged that the calendar had been prepared by the SGPC on the directives of the BJP which had passed to it through SAD (B) President Parkash Singh Badal.

The member of the Taksal, who refused to disclose his name and position in the Taksal, said that if the SGPC could claim that Sant Bhindranwale had attained martrydom then why it did not declare it in the past 19 years after the Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple.

Sources close to the Damdami Taksal revealed that though the SGPC consulted the Taksal while preparing Nanakshahi calendar and the Taksal had asked the SGPC to hold thorough discussion on the issue of Nanakshahi calendar before implementing it but this opportunity was denied to the Taksal.

After the Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple complex, different Sikh organisations had been holding different opinions in the connection with the death of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. A section of Sikh organisations had been claiming that he is alive. The other section is of the opinion that he had attained martyrdom. A section of radical Sikh organisations had held Bhog ceremonies in connection with death of Sant Bhindranwale.

Even the SGPC has not clarified whether Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was alive or had attained martyrdom before releasing Nanakshahi calendar yesterday after 19 years of Operation Bluestar despite the fact that Jathedar of Akal Takht had given it directions to clear this issue to bring the Sikh Quam out of this dilemma.

However, a few SGPC members had said that the wife of Sant Bhindranwale had been honoured for the sacrifices made during Operation Bluestar but they never came out with a statement that Sant Bhindranwale had attained martyrdom.


SAD (A) objects to temple’s gilding
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today objected to the ongoing ‘kar seva’ of gilding of the Golden Temple at a time when the temple was likely to be declared World Heritage site 2005. Hence there was dire need to preserve the heritage.

Addressing a press conference here today Bhai Ram Singh general secretary of the Akali Dal said that he had written a letter to the SGPC chief and lodged protest in this regard. He said that his party was opposed to the unscientific ‘kar seva’ (renovation work) being carried out in the Golden Temple, which is an exquisite specimen of Sikh architecture and heritage of Punjab.

Bhai Ram Singh urged the President of the SGPC to take advice of government and non-governmental agencies like the Archaeological Survey of India, the Town and Central Planning Department, the Architecture Department and the Departments preserving of Art, Culture and Environment before starting any ‘kar seva’ of religious buildings of historical importance.

He also appealed to the Nishkam Sewa Jatha, Barmingham to consult experts before ‘kar sewa’ of gold plating at the Golden Temple.

Bhai Ram Singh, however, hailed decision on the implementation of ‘Nanakshahi calendar’.


1,200 to be baptised at Nanakiana Sahib
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 15
Under a special religious campaign by the SGPC, more than 1200 persons will be baptised at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib near here. The ceremony will be performed by the Panj Singh Sahibans, including jathedars of various Takhts, in the afternoon. A kirtan darbar and a dhadhi darbar will be held in the morning.

A meeting of representatives of the SGPC and the SAD for the preparations of the May 11 religious function was held at the gurdwara today. Prominent among those who participated included Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD; Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, SAD MLA from Dhanaula, Giani Raghbir Singh, an executive member of the SGPC, Mr Joga Singh Phaguwala, Mr Sita Singh Munshiwala, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan and Mr Udhey Singh, all SGPC members, and circle presidents of the SAD.


Water scarcity
Civic body comes under fire from Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 15
Scarcity of potable water in the city has caused resentment among residents. A number of Congress leaders, including a minister, an MLA and councillors have criticised the functioning of the Congress-controlled municipal corporation.

The localities that have been hit hard include Dhobi Mohalla, Mohindru Mohalla, parts of the plush Model Town area, Kishanpura, J.P. Nagar, Arjan Nagar, Mithapur, Santhoshi Nagar, Dada Colony, Basti Guzan, Garha, Basti Sheikh, Tahli Wali Gali, Bhargo Camp and the Islamabad areas as most of tubewells in these areas have been functional for the past over one year for want of repair and for alleged “indifference” of the civic body towards inconvenience being faced by people. The worst sufferers are people living on first, second or third floor houses or flats as they hardly get sufficient water to meet their daily requirement.

The situation has not only caused inconvenience to people, but it has also created bad blood within the ruling Congress Party as a number of its seniors leaders have openly voiced their anger over the “failure” of the civic body authority to deal with the problem and to get the faulty tubewells repaired. “The tubewell in the Mithapur locality has been lying non-functional for over a year, but no visible effort has been made to rectify the fault. So much so, that though people have failed to get water from this tubewell, they have received water bills, which has created a peculiar situation for them” said Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Punjab Technical Education Minister while talking to The Tribune. He said a number of other tubewells had also been lying non-functional for a long time.

Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, a veteran Congress leader and MLA, said the civic body was not paying attention to the problems of people. “A large number of tubewells have been crying for repair in my constituency, but nothing has been done by the civic body authorities. “Even the elected representatives seems to have no time for people”, said a visibly disturbed Mr Gupta, adding that going by the problems of people, top priority should have been given to the repair of the tubewells.

“Actually, the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation has become a den of corruption. Nobody is ready to listen to the genuine grievances of people. We have been raising the issue at various meetings, but to no avail. Faulty tubewells have even created water scarcity in certain pockets of the plush Model Town area,” lamented Mr Manoj Arora, a senior Congress leader and a member of the District Planning Board. He said though the 18 tubewells were not working, diesel reserved for generator sets, meant for running these tubewells, was shown as consumed.

Similarly, Mr Balbir Singh Chauhan, a Congress councillor, alleged that the Planning Board money meant for undertaking jobs like the repair of faulty tubewells was not being spent properly.

When contacted, the Mayor Mr Surinder Mahey, admitted that 18 tubewells had been lying idle for over a year. “Actually, these have been lying in that state since the rule of previous SAD-BJP government.” He, however, assured that the faulty tubewells would be repaired soon. “We are inviting bids for their repair soon”, he said.


Punjab plans Bill on reservation policy
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 15
The Punjab Government has decided to bring legislation on the implementation of reservation policy and filling of backlog in government offices during the next assembly session.

This was revealed by the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, while addressing a gathering at a function to mark the 112th birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at Red Cross Bhavan here yesterday.

The minister said that though Dr Ambedkar had incorporated various provisions regarding reservation for the Scheduled Castes and other Dalit categories, but there was need to ensure strict implementation of the reservation laws. “The Congress government has decided to bring a bill in the next assembly session to enact a law in this regard. Besides, another bill regarding filling of backlog in government offices will also be tabled in the next session,” he added.

The minister further said that the government would construct toilets in villages free of cost to improve the living standard of Dalits.

The Medical Education and Research Minister, Choudhary Santokh Singh, said that there was need to provide education opportunities to Dalits who were being denied their rights even after 56 years of Independence due to ignorance. “The education level of Dalits needs to be improved by ensuring the latest education facilities at their doorstep,” he added.

The president of district unit of the Punjab Congress, Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, and Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, MLA also spoke on the occasion.


Federation holds anti-quota rally
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), April 15
For the first time after the protests against the Mandal Commission during the early nineties, those belonging to the General Categories were seen up in arms against the much-debated caste-based reservation policy, which the successive governments had been patronising, to ensure that their vote banks stay intact.

Mr Shyam Lal Sharma, state president of the federation, while addressing the rally, said here today that the successive governments had failed to muster enough courage to put an end to this system. He lamented that the political parties had been using it as a handy tool to “milk” innocent Dalits.

Mr Sharma said bad blood was being created due to the caste-based reservation policy and the plight of the students affected due to reservations could not be described in words. He said the present system had been promoting castes at the cost of efficiency and crores of rupees of public were being sent down the drains to pay the employees who had been recruited not because of their ment or efficiency, but because of their castes.

Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president, said the present set of promoting certain castes should be ended as it had failed to uplift the dalits. He said in the present set up wards of ministers, IAS, IPS and other officials “misused” Dalit status. He said if Dalits had not been ‘uplifted’ by giving lucrative government jobs, or by giving Cabinet berths, it was proof enough that the present system had failed to work and should be done away with.

He said the caste-based reservations for the ward of employees of all ranks should be done away with, as they were by no means downtrodden or underprivileged. He alleged that the members of the SC/ST communities had started using the SC/ST (prevention or atrocities) Act to blackmail the employees of the General Categories.

Mr Laxman Tiwari, president, Swaran Samaj Party, Madhya Pardesh, said the political parties had been cashing in on the caste-based reservations to keep the government with them. He alleged that those who entered the government service on poorest merit get promoted to the highest ranks by getting accelerated promotions. “Out of turn promotions, that too, based on castes had been costing the government departments dear in terms of increased corruption, resentment and decreased efficiency” he added.

Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, general secretary, General Samaj Party, said the presently ruling political parties had turned the caste-based politics into a goose, which had been laying golden eggs for them. He said when the political leaders had got their ticket and Cabinet berths on caste basis, it was suicidal to expect that they would oppose the present setup.

Mr Nirmal Singh, state general secretary of the federation, said atleast one member of each family should become a member of the federation if the pressure was to be mounted on the government for putting an end to the caste-based quota.

Mr Hari Harpal Singh Batth, Chief Editor, General Samaj, a quarterly magazine of the federation, said senior editorial staff of various newspapers, including Mr Hari Jai Singh, Former Editor, The Tribune, Mr Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, former Editor, Punjabi Tribune, had been sharing their views on caste-based reservation with the magazine.

The gathering passed many resolutions unanimously which included, ending caste-based reservation and starting reservation on economic basis, scrapping 85th Constitutional Amendment and reservations in Panchayats and Zila Parishads given under 74th Amendment. The gathering condemned the overruling of various judgments of the High Court and the Supreme Court by political parties to gain Dalit votes. Many leaders of the federation and other bodies, including the activists of the Rashtriya Samanata Manch, addressed the rally.


Politicians exploiting Dalits: Kainth
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 15
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, national president, Bahujan Samaj Morcha, and a former MP, today alleged that all political parties had exploited the Dalit for furthering their cause. He was addressing the party’s regional conference of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts of the Doaba region to commemorate the 112 birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar at Guru Hargobind Nagar here.

Talking the central leadership of Bahujan Samaj Party to task, Mr Kainth alleged that its experimentation had led to disillusionment among the Dalit samaj. The BSP leadership was busy settling scores in Punjab and would not allow any leader to emerge in the state as its sole objective was just to garner 5 per cent votes for keeping intact the party as a national party, he continued. The welfare of the deprived, the downtrodden and the Dalits was not on the agenda of the BSP, he alleged.

On the issue of conversions Mr Kainth said it was for the Hindus and the other upper castes to ponder as to what had gone wrong.

However, he refused to comment on the introduction of the Nanakshahi calendar.

Senior morcha leaders, including Ram Chand Talwandi, Jaswinder Talwan, Harmesh Choge, Arjan Dev, Amjad Beg, Harbhajan Khalwara, Narinder Lekh, Kashmir Bhullarai, Tulsi Ram also addressed the rally.


Dalits threaten dharna outside Sonia’s house
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 15
Perturbed over the failure of the state government to initiate action on the report of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes pertaining to alleged social boycott of Dalits by the Jat community at Talhan village about three months back, the Dalit Action Committee has decided to stage a dharna outside the residence of AICC President Sonia Gandhi on April 25.

The president of the Dalit Action Committee, Mr Chanan Ram Paul, and the vice-president of the state unit of the BJP, Mr Vijay Sampla, stated here yesterday that though the commission, in its communique to the Punjab Government, had recommended strict action against the erring officials and those behind the social boycott of Dalits, nothing had been moved so far despite giving assurances to them. “So much so even after registration of a case under Sections 295-A, IPC, and 3,9,10 and 14 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention) of Atrocities Act against members of the Jat community of Talhan village, no arrest has been made so far, causing disillusionment among Dalits,” Mr Sampla added. Mr Sampla said that those who had inflicted social boycott on Dalits should be arrested immediately. “Infact, the Congress government is trying to shield the culprits by not complying with the report of the commission even as the allegations of imposing social boycott had been proved,” he alleged.

Mr Chanan Ram Paul said that it had been decided to stage a dharna outside the residence of Ms Sonia Gandhi on April 25 and members of the Dalit Action Committee would observe fast till their demands were accepted.


Farmers block rail traffic

Patiala, April 15
As many as 200 farmers owing allegiance to the BKU (Rajewal) group in Punjab today blocked rail traffic for about three hours at Rajpura in protest against the Centre’s decision of freezing the minimum support price (MSP).

The farmers, under the leadership of Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, laid siege to the Delhi-Amritsar mainline as part of it’s “rail roko” agitation, BKU sources said here. However, according to official sources, the railway authorities had already rescheduled certain trains in view of the farmers’ agitation. PTI


Octroi contractors harass farmers, says BKU
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 15
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) today alleged that the octroi contractors at various mandis in the district were harassing farmers besides overcharging them. The district president of the BKU, Mr Nek Singh said several farmers had complained that the octroi contractors showed reluctance to give them any information about the rates of octroi according to the weight of the produce.

He appealed to the state government and the district administration to direct octroi contractors to clearly display the octroi rates for the convenience of farmers.


PSEB seeks to buy power worth 2350 cr
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The delay in pronouncing the power tariff revision order by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has prevented the PSEB authorities from finalising power purchase agreements with government and private sources for the current financial year, especially for the peak summer season due to begin in May-end. Through the order, the PSERC is also to approve the rate for and the quantum of power to be purchased by the PSEB.

The tie-up for purchase has to be made well in advance, say in March and April, before the beginning of the peak season when paddy transplantation starts in the state. However, as the quantum of power to be purchased by the PSEB has not yet been approved by the commission, the board authorities are worried. The PSERC order is not expected before the second week of May as the government is yet to make its presentation to the commission regarding the revision of power tariff.

A senior PSEB officer said: The commission last year approved power purchase worth Rs 1319 crore against the proposal for Rs 1556 crore in the board’s first application. The commission, in fact, had objected to the purchase of power from the Rajasthan atomic power plant at a high rate.

The PSEB filed a revised petition last year seeking approval for the purchase of power worth Rs 1853 crore keeping in view the additional demand because of prolonged drought. However, the revised proposal has not yet been approved by the commission.

For the current financial year, the PSEB had sought approval for purchase of 11,292 million units worth Rs 2350 crore the senior officer said. However, the board authorities say that as the PSERC order has been delayed, “we have started making tentatives arrangements for buying power from Uttaranchal, J&K, Himachal and eastern states, besides the Rajasthan atomic power plant.” 


Baisakhi festival ends on colourful note
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, April 15
The Baisakhi festival concluded here today with the traditional gatka (Sikh martial art), horse riding, prabhat-pheri and other ceremonies.

The Nihangs performed gatka and their horse riding feats left the spectators spell bound. It was a show of strength as thousands of Nihangs had descended on the place. Besides horses, a section of pilgrims had also come on camels.

A large number of devotees had a dip in the sarovar of the takht and performed ‘seva’ at the langar (community kitchen), ‘jora-ghar’ (place where shoes of devotees are stored) and the sanctum sanctorum of the takht. Sources said the three-day turnout of devotees was in lakhs but the number of foreigners visiting the Baisakhi mela was less this year.

The district administration had divided the town into six zones, each under the supervision of a Block Development and Panchayat Officer. Security had also been beefed up and no heavy vehicle was allowed to move near the mela area. No untoward was reported, police sources claimed.


Chandigarh-Patiala rail link ruled out
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 15
Citing low percentage of commuters between Chandigarh and Patiala, the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala division, Mr Keshav Chandra, said there was no plan to start rail services between the two cities in the near future. He was here to participate in the 150th anniversary celebration of the Indian Railways. He said around 100 km of the old railway track in the division would be replaced in the current year.

He said the Railways had commissioned a survey to assess the feasibility of joining Patiala and Chandigarh, but the results of the survey disclosed that the number of passengers commuting between the two cities were far too less. People of Patiala and those of adjoining areas, who commute daily to Chandigarh, had been persistently urging for a rail link between the two cities. The DRM said the services of the Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabdi were also stopped due to the same reason.

He, however, assured that the Railways was deliberating on the proposal to start a Jan Shatabdi on the Bathinda-New Delhi route.

Mr Chandra said the Patiala railway station had earned a revenue of around Rs 100 crore last year, the highest among stations under the Ambala division. He said there was a proposal to start a diesel multiple unit (DMU) on the Patiala track. He admitted that out of 650 level crossings in the division, 300 were unmanned.


Police to provide arms to villagers
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 15
The police has launched a special drive to check the crime in and around city.

Mr Manminder Singh, SP (City) said today that the police had decided to provide weapons like .12 bore guns to gram panchayats for dealing with criminals. The SP said that village panchayats and village elders had been persuaded to constitute defence committees for patrolling and night vigil to check crime. He said such committees would also be formed in the city’s colonies to face the robbers who usually strike in the wee hours. He denied the involvement and even the existence of kale kachhewale gang in looting and attacking a doctor, a Municipal employee and a petrol station owner.

He said that more police force had been deployed in villages for security of villagers. The check points had been set up; at more than 50 entry points in the city and villages.

Meanwhile, residents of several colonies of Pathankot and Sujanpur have started installing sirens for help in the hour of need.


Rajasthan to promote dairy farming
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 15
After having faced drought for four consecutive years, the Rajasthan Government has decided to promote dairy farming in the state to improve the economic conditions of affected farmers.

Under the District Poverty Initiative (DPIP), a World Bank scheme, about Rs 150 crore would be spent to create dairy infrastructure in the state so that cooperative dairy farming could reached a large section of the populace.

A special scheme has been formulated for nine districts for introducing the culture of milk production on a commercial scale. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has cleared projects in this regard in three districts, namely Bharatpur, Bikaner and Sikar, while six other districts would be brought under this programme.

Mr G.S. Sandhu, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation, talking to TNS here today, said in the nine districts, new milk societies would be set up and these would be provided with required equipment for milk production. After that, milk routes would be opened. The federation has been processing 10 lakh litres of milk daily in its 10 processing plants. The processing capacity would be enhanced to 12.5 lakh litres daily by investing Rs 100 crore in this segment.

Mr Sandhu said the federation’s share in milk procurement was 16 per cent while in marketing of milk and its products, it was 20 per cent. At least nine milk products, including flavoured milk, plain curd, misty curd of brown colour and cheese, have been launched in the past three months.

The federation has been exporting Bikaneri cheese to foreign countries through a France-based company under the brand name of Debon. However, the federation will start exporting it under its own brand name of Saras. He said the federation had appointed its distributor in Delhi and many states in the North-East for the sale of its products. Mr Sandhu said a distributor would be appointed in Punjab also.

Mr Sandhu said Milkfed of Punjab had been contacted for setting up a cattle feed plant in Rajasthan as a joint venture with the federation.


Senior doctor issued show-cause notice
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 15
The power of collecting samples has been withdrawn from the district health officer. There were complaints against the said officer of his allegedly malpractices.

A show cause notice has also allegedly been issued to Dr Pervez Taneja at present assistant civil surgeon in the Civil Hospital here. A complaint was pending against the said officer when he was working Senior Medical Officer, primary health centre Narot Jaimal Singh. He said doctor was found absent from duty at Narot Jaimal Singh last year alongwith Mr Ramaal Chand MLA of the area.

The villagers had pointed out lack of interest among the health authorities and the local MLA had found the doctor absent. The doctor’s absence was reported to the health secretary who served a show cause notice to the doctor.


Lightning kills 2 sisters
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 15
Two sisters were killed and five others were injured when lightning struck them in their fields at Kolian Wali village yesterday.

They have been identified as Bhajan Kaur (40) and her sister Binder Kaur.

The injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to the police the victims who were harvesting the wheat crop took shelter under a tree to avoid rain but the lightning struck them resulting in the death of two women and injuries to five others.


Mansa development priority: minister
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 15
“Mansa district was created by the Congress government led by my father, the late Beant Singh, and the present government will pay special attention for its all-round development,” said Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today at a luncheon hosted by the Punjab Mini Bus Operators Association. The minister was here to preside over a cultural programme at Sardulgarh organised by the district administration in connection with the 11th anniversary of the district.

He said so far no decision to abolish the Budhlada depot of the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) in the district had been taken. He said the issue would come up at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the PRTC.


MLA annoyed as dept heads skip meeting
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 15
The MLA, Nangal, Mr K.P.S. Rana, at a press conference held at Nangal, rued the absence of departmental heads from the meeting held today to review the progress of various development projects going on in the Nangal Assembly constituency.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, had called the meeting at the committee room of the local council.

Mr Rana said but for the DDPO and zila parishad officials, no other departmental head attended the meeting despite being asked to do so.

The Deputy Commissioner said action would be recommended against the absentee officers. She said the meeting proposed that the work to check the stray animal menace in the Nangal town should be given on contract.


9 SMOs made Deputy Directors
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 15
The Punjab Government has promoted nine Senior Medical Officers as Deputy Directors in the Health Department of the state. Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab stated this here today. He added that further promotions in the department were being made to fill all vacant posts in the state. Mr Dogra said that no employee would be disturbed during transfers and no employee would be allowed to work on any of the post of deputation.

Employees would work only at the places where they were getting their salaries from. To a question on the recruitment of doctors for filling all vacant posts, he said that he would soon take up this case with the cabinet meeting for a decision in this regard.

The Health Minister said that he had directed the Health authorities to survey specialised health services in all Civil Hospitals in the state. In case specialised services in any of the hospital was not available, these may be shifted there from where the number of specialised doctors of a particular speciality was surplus, so that people could get specialised services in all Civil Hospitals in the state.


DC suspends Marketing Board official
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 15
Deputy Commissioner has suspended Raminder Singh, Mr Vinod Kumar, Auction Recorder, Punjab Mandi Board for dereliction of duty. The DC who along with District Food and Supplies Controller Amarjit Singh Doad, District Marketing Officer, DMs of various procurement agencies inspected procurement centres at Sandhe Hasham, Lohgarh, Bharana, Sodhi Nagar, Khosa Dalsingh, Sher Khan and found the Mandi Board official absent from duty.

He ordered installing of two hand pumps at Bharana and proper electric supply at Khosa Dalsingh centre. The DC also met Commission agents and farmer representatives. He also checked arrangement of tarpaulins and power cleaners made by the commission agents.

The DC advised the farmers not to use combine harvesters for harvesting after 6 p.m. Earlier, a case was registered against a combine harvester owner in Jalalabad for disobeying the DM’s order who has banned the use of combines harvesters after 6 p.m.

The DC said that till date 41,608 tonnes wheat had been procured by various agencies. He told that Markfed purchased 9698 tonnes, Punsup-5850 tonnes, the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) 2200 tonnes, Punjab Agro 7900 tonnes and the FCI has purchased 10,410 tonnes of wheat in Ferozepore district.


Thieves arrested, goods recovered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 15
The police said today that stolen foodgrains — 65 bags of rice and three bags of wheat worth Rs 4 lakh, a jeep and a Tata mobile vehicle had been recovered from a gang of thieves active in stealing foodgrains from godowns in the region.

In a press note issued here, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said while three members of the gang had been arrested earlier, three other — Ram Karan, Gatru, and Sonu — had succeeded to escape and had now been arrested. He said a case against the suspects had been registered under Sections 457, 380 and 411 of the IPC. He said two of the suspects arrested earlier, Rohtash and Moti Ram, were also wanted by the Malout police in separate cases.


3 booked for fraud

Jalandhar, April 15
The police here has booked three persons for fraud with a bank by flouting terms of the loan agreement.

SSP Varinder Kumar said here today that an FIR was registered in police division No. 6 yesterday against three persons — Pritam Singh Chawla, Bhupinder Singh Chawla and Gurmit Kaur Chawla on the complaint of the Chief Manager of the State Bank of India that the three had been advanced house building loan but failed to pay the instalments and instead flouted the terms and conditions loan agreement.

The SSP added that three more cases of cheating the persons aspiring to go abroad against travel agent Gagan Kumar Bakshi, who recently was arrested has been registered.

With the registration of these three cases, the total number of cases, registered against Bakshi had reached 86, the SSP added. PTI


Minor raped
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 15
A 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by Mohd Shejad at her residence inside Sirhandi Gate. The culprit was caught red handed by the parents of the girl while he was committing the crime.

The father of the girl, in a complaint to the SSP, Sangrur, alleged that on the night of December 8, 2002, while the accused was committing the crime, he caught him but his neighbours prevailed upon him not to complain to the police and in a written agreement the parents of the accused, admitted that their son would merry the girl. But they had gone back on their word.

A case under Sections 376, 120B of the IPC has been registered against Mohd Shejad, his father Fazal Mohd, his mother Jameela and his sister Hussana. The accused have absconded. 


Three held for robbery

Jalandhar, April 15
The police here today claimed having arrested three persons for robbery and recovered three countrymade firearms.

SSP Varinder Kumar stated here today that on a tip-off received yesterday by the Goraya police that a few persons at a scheduled place in Dhuleta village were armed with lethal weapons. The police raided the spot and arrested three persons. Two of their accomplices escaped, he added.

The arrested persons were identified as Balkar Singh, Darbara Singh and Zail Singh and those who escaped were identified as Malkiat Singh alias Toni and Balbir Singh, the SSP said adding that two .303 countrymade pistols and one airgun pistol had been recovered from their possession. The arrested persons revealed that Malkiat Singh was leader of the gang, which committed several crimes in the district of Jalandhar, Phagwara, Phillaur, Nawanshahr, Mr Kumar added.

A case has been registered against the accused in the Goraya police station, efforts were on nab the remaining accused, he said. PTI


Exam cancellation annoys PTU students
Sukant Deepak

Patiala, April 15
The Punjab Technical University’s decision to cancel the papers of various courses under its distance education programme due to reports of leakage of some papers in Bathinda and Chandigarh regions has annoyed most of its students in Patiala district, especially those who plan to appear in different competition examinations, including PCS, IAS, Bank PO, SSC, MBA and NDA. Fearing that the rescheduled dates of PTU examinations could clash with those of competitive ones, the students said the decision of the PTU had severely disturbed their studying schedule.

Sarabjinder Singh, a student of PTU’s distance learning programme, who plans to take entrance examinations for different MBA institutes stated that even if the dates of the rescheduled examinations did not clash with those of competitive examinations, the students would still be under burden as they would have to prepare for both PTU and competitive examinations.

The students said according to the inquiry conducted, the papers were leaked at Bathinda and further e-mailed to Chandigarh. So the papers should have been cancelled only at Bathinda and Chandigarh centres and not at Patiala centre.

Expressing their displeasure with PTU authorities, students studying at various PTU study centres here alleged that they were already frustrated with the “sub-standard books and under-qualified faculty” at the study centres in the district. Stressing that despite repeated requests to the authorities concerned regarding their problems, nobody had bothered to take corrective measures. Ritu Garg, one of the students, said the some of the PTU study centres lacked even the most basic facilities, including drinking water and toilets.

Stressing that PTU authorities, instead of cancelling papers at all centres, should have thought of some other alternative. The students said leaking of papers at some centres and the consequent cancellation of papers had led to the harassment of innocent students Some of the students said they would meet the PTU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Y.S. Rajan, in connection with the cancellation of papers at all centres and other problems they faced at different PTU centres in the district.


Students threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 15
Condemning the reported decision of the state government to do upward revision of the fee structure of institutes of higher learning, members of the students Federation of India (SFI) held a meeting here today and threatened to launch an agitation if the same was done.

The state secretary of the SFI, Mr Swaranjit Singh, stated that the said decision had caused much resentment among the students. He said students from rural areas and those having a weak financial background would be adversely affected by the decision.

Alleging that the Congress government in the state had failed to address the problems plaguing the educational sector in the state, SFI members said the state government was trying to turn institutes of higher learning into profit-making enterprises. The members further said the students would be forced to launch an agitation if the government implemented the said decision.


Manch decries fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 15
The Shahed Pirthipal Singh Randhawa Manch has condemned the decision of the state government to increase the fee of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and has urged the authorities concerned to consider a rollback.

Mr Sudeep Singh, convener of the manch, said the fee had been hiked at a time when the students were busy taking their annual exams.

He said the defence put forward by Congress ministers that the fee hike would increase the fund collection, which would improve the situation of the colleges, was hard to accept. He said if the funds collected earlier were used logically, the situation of the state-run institutes would have been better.

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