Sunday, May 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Police team deputed to arrest Bihar MP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 17
The Patiala police today deputed a team led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) to arrest BJP MP from Motihari Radhe Mohan and present him in a local court in connection with a case involving the abduction of a minor girl in which he has also been named as an accused.

The police has apparently taken this step because a local court has issued a non-bailable warrant against the MP and ordered that he be presented in court on May 19. The MP’s name had been added later in the FIR registered against a few suspects who had allegedly abducted the minor girl and taken her to Bihar. The MP had been booked under Section 120(b) for allegedly conspiring in the crime.

Police sources said Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajinderpal Singh Anand had been deputed by district police chief Paramraj Singh Umaranangal to go to the Motihari constituency to ensure the appearance of the MP in a local court on May 19. The DSP has been given adequate force which will accompany him.

The sources said a DSP had been deputed to go to Bihar as a Sub-Inspector, who had earlier visited Motihari in connection with the case, could not do anything in the case. According to a police report made in this connection, which has also been submitted to the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the police team was insulted and had to return empty handed. The report had claimed that the suspect, Chunnu, was being shielded by the MP and that the team had been told that it would have to release a close relative of the suspect who was at present in police custody if it wanted to get the girl released. The report had also claimed that a maternal uncle of the minor girl, Satpal, who had gone to Chakia in the Motihari constituency in connection with the release of the girl had also been kept in illegal confinement by supporters of the MP before being released.

The sources said it was earlier expected that the matter would be amicably solved with the return of the minor girl to her parents in Patiala. This was expected because the matter had been taken up by the Patiala MP, Ms Preneet Kaur, and also by Capt Amarinder Singh with Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi. The MP had himself been quoted as having said that he had nothing to do with the case and that the girl had left her parental house with Chunnu of her own accord so that she could marry him.

However, the district police has been forced to take this step because the MP has not surrendered before the local court in connection with the case. 


PCS examinees may move court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
A section of candidates, who appeared for Punjab Civil Services examination held on April 27, are not satisfied with the explanation given by the Chairman of the Punjab Service Commission (PPSC) with regard to the negative marking. They are planning to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The commission, which declared the results of the examination on May 1, has stated that there was no provision for the negative marking while evaluating the answersheets and instructions have been sent to candidates concerned in this connection.

However, the candidates say that in the PPSC advertisement, that appeared in various newspapers of February 23, 2003, the commission had stated that information brochure-cum-application form of 1998 would be applicable for the re-examination without any change and a copy of syllabus could be obtained at commission's office in Patiala for Rs 50.

On the first page of the syllabus, it was stated: “One-fourth of a mark will be deducted for every wrong answer in the objective-type question papers”.

The candidates said they were to believe what was written in the syllabus and not the instructions which the commission authorities claim to have sent to the candidates. In the syllabus, there was no mention regarding that there would be “no negative marking” and it was also not announced in the examination halls.

Had the commission asked the invigilators to announce in the examination halls that there would be no negative marking, several examinees would have been benefited. The examinees could have answer even those questions about which they had a slight doubt.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who had revamped the commission with a lot of fanfare and made tall claims about holding the examination in a most impeccable manner, has not made any comment with regard to the confusion created by the commission in the examination. There were a number of glaring mistakes in the question paper, the candidates said.

The candidates say they have been consulting legal experts to move the court.


Decision on Akali unity likely on May 25
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 17
The formal announcement regarding the unconditional unity between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra respectively, is likely to be made on May 25. All modalities in this connection have been finalised.

This was stated by Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, former Agriculture Minister and senior vice-president of the SAD, at his residence here. Reiterating his party’s decision to bring all Panthic forces on one platform, he said the dialogue with other Akali factions was also under way. Mr Badal who was allegedly involved in various corruption cases and recently on bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, criticised the ruling Congress government for registering “false cases” against Akali leaders and ministers. False cases had also been registered against him and other members of his family, alleged Mr Badal.

He said the low of jungle was prevailing in Punjab and all sections were feeling sore over the indifferent attitude of the state government. He criticised the government for sidelining leaders of the Opposition while preparing schemes for the state. He praised the senior Congress leaders, Mr Hans Raj Sharma, Chaudhari Rattan Singh and Mr Umrao Singh, who laid stress on discussing all issues with the Opposition at the Punjab Legislative Assembly golden jubilee celebrations in Chandigarh.


Pak delegation to submit report to Jamali
Tribune Reporters

Wagah (Amritsar), May 17
The parliamentarians and senators from Pakistan who returned to their country after a nine-day visit to India would meet Prime Minister Mir Zaffarula Khan Jamali at Lahore and give him a detailed account of their impressions about the visit.

Talking to TNS, Mr M.P. Bhandara, a parliamentarian from Rawalpindi, said that Mr Jamali had personally requested to meet him for initiating some positive move to create a thaw in the relations between the two countries. Mr Bhandara said that he would suggest Mr Jamali to hold a summit with his Indian counterpart, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for the de-escalation of tension in the region. This would set a roadmap for improving the frosty relations which have dogged the two nations during the past 55 years.

He said there was a model of Indo-China talks to be followed, which had put to hold the contentious border issues. He said the ticklish issues, including the Kashmir one, should be left to future talks. For easing the tension, it was imperative to implement the confidence-building measures announced by both countries. He said that talks on the settlement of the Kashmir issue should be held in a neutral country like Finland or Norway, where representatives of both countries along with Kashmiri pandits and the All-Party Hurriyat Conference should be invited to resolve the matter amicably without the media glare.

He said provocative statements by hardliners in both countries provide enough leverage to terrorist groups, which leads to sabotaging the peace initiatives. Such elements ought to be isolated on both sides.

Mr Bhandara said he would suggest to the Prime Minister, Mr Jamali, that the line of actual control should be made a “soft border” with the opening of road links so that common people could easily have access on either side, which would promote tourism and trade.

The Pakistani delegation advocated joint patrolling along the LoC to check cross-border terrorism, smuggling of arms and narcotics.

Though the parliamentarians from Pakistan expressed their satisfaction and happiness over the overwhelming hospitality, love and affection received during their stay in India, they were disappointed with the BJP. Mr Bhandara said that except for the BJP, representatives of all political parties had interacted with them and advocated smoothening of relations between the two countries.

Mr Ishaq Khan Khakwani, leader of the delegation, in his parting message before crossing over to his country, said that all artificial boundaries should come down and there should be a new beginning in our relationship.

Addressing mediapersons at the Guru Nanak Dev University guest house, he said the masses on both sides were awaiting peace to descend on the sub-continent.


Pak MPs visit GND varsity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 17
Members of Pakistan’s Parliament on way to Lahore visited Guru Nanak Dev University here today and interacted with vice-chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, pro-vice-chancellor Dr Satinder Singh and other senior faculty members. During stay at the University campus, the delegation members led by Mr Ishaq Khan Khakwani discussed education system especially higher education in both countries.

Mr Khakwani said the main objective of the delegation was to create goodwill between the two countries and they had received an overwhelming response from the People of India.

The vice-chancellor apprised the delegation of the achievements of the University. He honoured Mr Khakwani by presenting him a memento and a set of university publications to all members of the delegation.


Mann, Badal differ on PHRC appointments
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, a member of Parliament and President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) differs with a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the issue of appointments of members to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

In a communication, the copy of which is with The Tribune, sent to Justice R.L. Anand, a member of the commission, Mr Mann has stated that “ I would also like to say that we do not endorse the reported stand of Mr Badal and other leaders, who have taken a public stand that Sikh members have not been appointed to the Commission. Our party is clear that all Sikh-Hindu-Muslim-Christian Punjabis or Punjabis of any other denomination have an equal right to be members of the Commission or any other public body. As such you are doubly welcome”.

The communication, in fact, reflects a marked change in the political stand of Mr Mann, who at one stage was known for rigid views on issues pertaining to the Sikhs and used to be criticised by liberal politicians for his pro-Khalistan stand. Mr Mann, it seems, is steadily preparing himself to be politically acceptable to all streams of people in the state as well as at the national level.

Mr Badal, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and as per rules also member of the panel that appoints members to the Commission, had made an observation on the relevant file that the Punjab Government had ignored Sikhs, Dalits and women while making the appointments of members to the Commission. He, however, did not reject the names of the members proposed on the file by the State Government. He has urged members to bring up for discussion and debate many international conventions and treaties pertaining to human rights that had not been signed and ratified by the Union Government. He has stated that India has not signed 1948 convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, 1950 convention relating to the status of refugees and 1954 convention relating to the status of stateless persons and many others.

He has asked the members of the Commission that India’s reputation would be greatly enhanced if it implements above international human rights and humanitarian laws and treaties. He has also suggested to the Members to use their moral authority. The state has been vocal about sidetracking law of the land and publically stating that it would help the criminally guilty police officers who committed great human rights violations.


30 IAS officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
In a major administrative reshuffle, the Punjab Government today ordered transfer of 30 IAS and 28 PCS officers, including eight Deputy Commissioners and 18 Subdivisional Magistrates. The Commissioners of municipal corporations of Patiala, Bathinda and Amritsar were also changed. Amritsar, Bathinda, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Ludhiana, Mansa and Nawanshahr will have new Deputy Commissioners.

The following postings and transfers have been ordered: Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj becomes Financial Commissioner, Appeals-I and Principal Secretary, Transport; Mr A.K. Dubey is the Principal Secretary, Local Government Housing, Urban Development, Printing and Stationery; Mr D.S. Guru becomes Director, Local Government; Mr D.S. Bains is the Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development, Sports and Youth Services and Commissioner, NRIs and Industrial Liaison; Mr R.C. Nayyar will be the Secretary, Lokpal and in addition Commissioner, Appeals, Jalandhar and Patiala; Mr Sarvesh Kaushal becomes Commissioner, Surplus Pool; Mr Suresh Kumar goes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and becomes the Chief Administrator, PUDA and ex-officio Secretary to the government, and Administrator, Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority; Mr Mandeep Singh Sandhu will be the new Managing Director, Punjab Financial Corporation; Mr D.P. Reddy becomes Excise and Taxation Commissioner; Mr Sanjay Kumar goes to Patiala as Commissioner, Municipal Corporation; Mrs Anjali Bhawra will be the Managing Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation and Chief Executive, PEDA; Mr Anurag Aggarwal becomes goes as Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda; Mr K.S. Kang becomes Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Amritsar; Mr Kanwal Bir Singh Sidhu becomes Director, Cultural Affairs, Archives, Archaeology and Museums; Mr S.K. Ahluwalia becomes Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr A. Venu Prasad is Special Secretary, Agriculture; Mr S.S. Sandhu becomes Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr; Mr B.R. Banga will be the new Secretary, State Election Commission; Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu goes as Managing Director, PRTC; Mr Jaspal Singh will be the Labour Commissioner and Director of Employment; Mr Raminder Singh becomes Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar; Mr Anurag Verma becomes Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana; Mr Vikas Partap will be the new Deputy Commissioner,

Ferozepore; Mr D.K. Tiwari becomes Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Bathinda; Mr Hussan Lal is the New Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot; Mr Vivek Pratap Singh has been posted as Additional Secretary, Power; Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhuri becomes Deputy Commissioner, Mansa; Mrs Bhawna Garg will be the new Secretary, PPSC, Patiala; Mrs Neelkanth S. Avthad becomes ADC (General), Amritsar; Mr Ajoy Sharma will be ACA, PUDA, Patiala; Mr Khushi Ram will be the Additional Secretary, Excise and Taxation, and Deputy Director, Colonisation; Mr Satwant Singh will be the Secretary (Examination), PPSC, Patiala; Mr Ajeet Singh Pannu will be the Additional Secretary-cum-Additional Director, Local Government; Mr Jaswant Singh becomes Additional Secretary, Cooperation; Mr H.S. Pabla goes as Additional Secretary, Irrigation; Mr O.P. Popli becomes Joint Secretary, Personnel; Mr S.S. Khara has been posted as Joint Secretary, Secretariat, Administration.

The following postings and transfers of PCS officers were also ordered today: Mr Rahul Tiwari becomes SDM, Amritsar-II; Mr Balwinder Singh is ADC, Jalandhar; Mr Desh Deepak becomes SDM, Barnala; Mr P.S. Gill is SDM, Dhar Kalan; Mr Bhupinder Singh is SDM, Amritsar-I; Mr N.S. Walia becomes SDM, Dera Baba Nanak; Mr Chander Gaind becomes the DTO, Jalandhar; Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu is SDM, Dera Bassi; Mr Jai Pal Singh becomes SDM, Moonak; Mr Nirbhai Singh goes as SDM, Garhshankar; Mr Sukhmander Singh becomes ADC (Development), Ferozepore; Mrs Indu Malhotra, becomes SDM, Baghapurana; Mr Ashwani Kumar becomes SDM, Jaitu; Mr M.S. Jaggi becomes SDM, Ludhiana (West); Mrs Babita goes as SDM, Shahkot; Mr Birpal Singh has been shifted as SDM, Kapurthala; Mr Bakhtawar Singh becomes SDM, Tarn Taran; Mr Navtaj Singh will be the SDM, Sunam; Mr G.P.S. Sahota has been posted as SDM, Mansa and in addition SDM, Sardulgarh; Mr T.K. Goyal becomes SDM, Dhuri; and Mr T.P.S. Phoolka will be the new SDM, Patiala.


Seven of a family cremated in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
Bodies of all those who perished in the fire that broke out in the three compartments of the Frontier Mail on Thursday have been identified. After three days of hectic investigations and post-mortem examination of the badly mutilated bodies, railway officials have put the number of dead at 36. While in most cases, relatives of the dead preferred to take the bodies to their native places, seven members of a family from Hyderabad, who were identified today, were cremated here today.

“Since all the bodies have been identified, the last rites were performed by their relatives. The railway authorities and the district administration, however, made all necessary arrangements”, a senior railway official said.

Issuing a clarification about the number of dead, Dr D.K. Dass, Chief Medical Director (Northern Railway), said 36 persons died. (Earlier, it was reported that 38 died). This was revealed during the post-mortem examination.

Dr Dass said post-mortem reports and the findings had been forwarded to the inquiry committee headed by the Commissioner, Railway Security, Mr Bhupinder Singh. “The findings could not be revealed at this stage,” he said.

Heart-rendering scenes were witnessed at the Gau Shala cremation ground where seven family members were cremated as per Hindu rites in the presence of relatives. The Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr S.S. Gujjar, and the SDM (West), Mr Ajay Sharma, represented the district administration, while the Railway Scouts presented a guard of honour. RSS volunteers helped the family to carry the bodies from the Civil Hospital mortuary to the cremation ground. A few of their relatives have arrived from Hyderabad.

The bodies that were cremated here were of D. Girja Devi, Radha Rani, D. Raj Lakshmi, T. Sri Nivasan, D. Anuradha, D. Venkat Ramana and D. Rajeshwari. All were on a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple.

The other bodies have been accounted for and handed over to relatives, said Mr H.C Punia, Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepore. He said: “Proper verification has been done and addresses and telephone numbers of the relatives claiming the bodies have been counter checked so that no one could falsely claim any body for the purpose of receiving exgratia”. He advised the kin of the victims to file their claims for full compensation before the Regional Compensation Tribunals in the respective areas.

Meanwhile, the inquiry team headed by the Commissioner, Railway Security, spent the day today examining the remaining bogies of the train at Amritsar. One of the compartments S-2 (no 00207AB) was got detached from the train and brought back here for further investigation. The committee will hold a court of enquiry at the Railway Guest House here on Sunday and Monday and has invited eyewitnesses and others who may have any information about the cause of the fire.

While, Mr Punia said all those railway officials found guilty by the committee of negligence of duty would be punished, it is learnt that three ticket collectors, who were supposed to travel with the S-3, S-4 and S-5 coaches, have been suspended. When asked senior railway officials’ they refused to confirm or deny the suspension of the ticket collectors. The guard of the train, it is learnt, has been summoned to make a fresh statement before the commissioner tomorrow.

As per the Indian Railway Act, Mr Punia said, it is the duty of the railway staff accompanying the train to ensure that the exit and entry gates of the compartments are not blocked. Most of the passengers in the train were trapped inside because the gates were blocked with heavy luggage.


Teachers not paid salaries for months
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 17
The teachers of about 500 government-aided schools and some teachers of the state-run schools have not been paid their salaries since February this year, allegedly due to the non-allocation of the budget by the state government.

Sources said that about 10,000 teachers of the government-aided schools had been working without salaries and a section of schools had paid the salaries to these teachers from their own budgets and funds. Sources said these aided schools received a grant of about 95 per cent of their salary bills and the remaining part was borne by the school management.

The sources said that last year, the state government had not released the budget for the salaries of their teachers but after much persuasion the budget for the salaries till January was released. The sources said that now the teachers would be paid the salaries of February and March from the new budgetary allocation, which was yet to be made and this would cause further pruning of the their current budget.

A section of teachers said that they had been facing great financial hardships, as much of their earnings had been locked in annual savings to save tax. Some teachers claimed that they had to raise money to pay the annual admission, books and other charges for their wards. The teachers said that due to lengthy procedure adopted for the claim of their salaries and a long chain of command, the payment of their salaries often gets delayed.

Interestingly, teachers working under the “ Operation Blackboard” scheme at the various state-run schools in Punjab also alleged that they had not been paid their salaries for the past three months. They claimed that a few months ago their salaries were paid after drawing the same against some vacant posts of other schemes from various schools.

They pointed out that the teachers working on vacant posts that were created at the schools upgraded last year had also not been paid their salaries.

One of the teachers working under a post of “plan scheme”, created during the SAD-BJP government, said that last year they were paid their salaries after obtaining a temporary sanction for continuing their posts from the District Education Officer (DEO). She added that under rules, the DEOs were competent to grant a temporary sanction for continuing the posts of plan schemes (under the Punjab Financial Rules 7, 11) and claimed that the same had been granted by the DEO this year also. “The treasury officials have raised an unjustified objection to the said sanctions, even as the same were being honoured in the past”, she rued.

Major Basant Kumar, District Secretary, Democratic Teachers Front, said the government was spending money on non-productive areas, while the teachers were being denied their salaries. He urged the authorities concerned to initiate steps for the early release of funds for disbursing the salaries of the teachers.


Teachers oppose policy of rationalisation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 17
Various teachers’ unions have resented the move of the District Education Department to transfer those teachers to far-flung areas, who do not have “links with high-ups”. It is being alleged that those having links with high-ups are posted near their home towns under the so-called rationalisation policy.

The District Education Officer(S) while implementing the new policy of rationalisation in the district, shifted the surplus staff in the schools as well as the science and commerce groups as per norms to those schools where these teachers and groups are needed. With the implementation of these orders there is no surplus teacher in any of the school.

The teachers’ unions have alleged that the teachers have been sent to far-flung areas without their consent and without considering their cases sympathetically, where as all science and commerce lecturers have been adjusted with post nearer to the stations which suits them. They alleged that all science and commerce groups from the remote rural areas of the district have been shifted to the GSSS Badali Ala Singh, and the GSSS Kotla Bajwara, both on the Sirhind-Chandigarh Road to adjust those lecturers, who commute from SAS Nagar and Chandigarh daily.

They alleged that some of these lecturers enjoy close relations with politicians and one of them is related to the DPI(E). They further alleged that the science groups had been shifted to those schools, where there is no room for the separate group what to talk of science laboratory. Moreover within the area of 10 km, all four senior secondary schools have been given the science and commerce group by shifting from remote areas.

These four schools GSSS, Badali Ala Singh, GSSS, Balahri Kalan, GSSS, Kotla Bajwara, and GSSS, Rupal Heri, are within 10 km range and had hardly 50 villages to cover.

The union alleged that shifting of science and commerce groups had been done with an ulterior motive. They said a delegation of the union would meet the DPI and the Education Minister to apprise them of the situation and would demand an enquiry.

There were many schools in the district where five lecturers and three SLA’s were posted and the number of students in the commerce group is not more than five and in the science group not more than 10, whereas the government has fixed the norms that to run these groups, the strength of the students should not be less than 20. Interestingly, the DEO(S) through new policy shifted the science and commerce groups nearer to those schools, where already the number of students are below norms.

The DEO(S) was not available for comments. The Deputy DEO(S) said the new policy would definitely benefit the students. Regarding the shifting of groups nearby to those schools, where already the students are below norms, he said that this had been done on trial basis.

The science and commerce groups have been shifted from GSS School, Manali Dhanola, to GSSS, Kotla Bajwara, with posts, Commerce group of GSSC, Manali Dhanola, has been shifted to GSSS, Badali Ala Singh, science group of GSSS, Kheri Naudh Singh, has been shifted to GSSS, Badali Ala Singh, commerce group of GSSS, Mandi Gobindgarh, has been shifted to GSSS Bhari, science group of GSSS, Nand Pur Kalour, has been closed and the lecturer has been shifted to DIET, Fatehgarh Sahib.


BJP workers protest against leaders
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 17
Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president, Punjab BJP, here today faced an embarrassing situation when about 100 local BJP workers led by Mr Bhagwant Kishore, district general secretary, Mr Shiv Sud, city president, Mr Gian Bansal, district president of the Beopar Cell, Mr Sat Pal Sareen, former president, municipal council and Mr Mohan Lal, a BJP leader, demonstrated and shouted slogans against Mr Hans Raj Nakra, district president, for his “dictatorial attitude” towards party office-bearers and leaders.

The protesting partymen said no account had been given to the district executive regarding the money collected from public from time to time and for not making payment of bills to various shopkeepers for party functions. Mr Rinwa was going to the district office of the BJP at Shastri Market at 11 am to address a press conference there. He was accompanied by Mr Hans Raj Nakra. Both were not allowed to go to the office. It was only after assurances by Mr Rinwa to the agitated workers that he would listen to them that he was allowed to go to the office.

When Mr Rinwa, Mr Hans Raj Nakra and Col Partap Singh (retd), general secretary, BJP Ex-Servicemen Cell, Punjab, occupied their seats, the leaders along with their supporters did not allow Mr Rinwa to start the press conference. They levelled various charges, including misappropriation of party funds, ignoring of leaders and running the party single-handedly, against them. They alleged that Mr Nakra never informed them about the holding of party meetings and about programmes on the coming of state or national-level party leaders.

Shouting slogans against Mr Rinwa, Mr Tikshan Sud, MLA, and Mr Hans Raj Nakra, they demanded the removal of Mr Nakra and Mr Sanjiv Talwar from the presidentship of the district BJP and the District Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, payment of all bills pending with the district unit for various programmes organised from time to time and functioning of the party according to its constitution.

Expressing his regret over the unruly incident, Mr Rinwa said indiscipline within the party would not be tolerated. Criticising the state government, he said that on account of its negligence, the Union Government-funded “Sarab Shiksha Abhiyan” was caught in a whirlpool. The Union Government had approved 2010 posts of teacher for Punjab under this scheme, releasing Rs 9.78 crore to the state government for the payment of their salaries. Financial share to the tune of 15 per cent in the scheme was to be contributed by the state government but the state Finance Department did not give its approval, due to which the scheme lapsed.

He said that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government was imposing a large number of taxes on the people. Even poor students were not spared. Referring to the proposed abolition of octroi, he said there was a total annual income of Rs 550 crore from the octroi in the state. But the government had now proposed to impose 2 per cent local area development fund, which would generate an income of Rs 750 crore from the public. This was a cruel joke with the people of the state in the name of abolishing octroi.

Replying to a question, Mr Rinwa said that the government should ascertain the development works to be taken out during the current financial year in Punjab. He said that corruption had increased manifold in Punjab. Law and order situation was also going from bad to worse as looting and dacoity incidents had increased.

He said the BJP-SAD would jointly contest the panchayat elections. After the press conference, the leaders and workers did not allow Mr Rinwa to come out from the office and compelled him to listen to their grievances. They levelled many serious charges against Mr Hans Raj Nakra and his supporters, for which Mr Rinwa had no reply.


Rinwa dissolves youth wing unit

Chandigarh, May 17
The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, today dissolved the Hoshiarpur district unit of the youth wing of the BJP. Mandal units of the youth wing in that district have also been disbanded. Mr Avinash Jaiswal, General Secretary of the BJP, said here today that this step had been taken in the wake of reports of indiscipline in the Hoshiarpur unit for the last few months. Mr Sanjiv Talwar has been appointed the new President of the Youth wing of Hoshiarpur district and he had been empowered to nominate other officer bearers. Mr Jaiswal said Mr Rinwa had suspended Mr Bhagwant Kishore, district general secretary of the Hoshiarpur district unit of the BJP. TNS


Kanwaljit admits to mistakes during rule
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 17
The Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today said that the party leadership had committed some mistakes during its rule in the state, and that these should be rectified.

Speaking at a two-day party programme at Bahadurgarh Gurdwara near here, the Akali leader said youngsters should get a more important role in the party. He said the youth had not been able to get due respect in the party during its rule in the state due to which they had got distanced from the party. He said the party should aim to rise above caste and creed politics, besides the politics of money.

When questioned about the mistakes committed during the Akali-BJP rule in the state, he said the bureaucracy had an upper hand during the Akali-BJP regime. He said the party organisation was also not given the required importance due to which it suffered.

Speaking on the question of the Akali unity, he said some misgivings were being created by statements from second-rung leaders of both factions of the Akali Dal. He said both factions should give complete authority to their leaders alone to speak on the issue. When asked about his views, he said he felt that Akali unity would be better for the “Panth”.


Pawar to lead MPs’ delegation
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 17
Mr Sharad Pawar, President, National Congress Party (NCP), will lead a delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) of India to Pakistan shortly to reciprocate gesture of Pakistan MPs who visited India recently.

In a press note here today, Mr Amrit Pal Sidhu State general secretary and spokesman of the NCP, said that Mr Pawar was taking a delegation of MPs to Pakistan to strengthen peace initiate taken of the Vajpayee government as NCP had always supported the Vajpayee-led NDA government in the matters of national concern.

He added that the delegation of MPs led by Mr Pawar would not be an official delegation and it would go to Pakistan on the initiative taken by the NCP several MPs of different parties would be in the delegation.

He disclosed that former prime minister, Chander Shekhar and Mr Pawar had been working together for the past many months to bring a Third Front into existence before the next Lok Sabha elections. Secular forces would form part of that Third Front for which a number of meetings had been held by Mr Pawar with prominent leaders of different parties. The Congress party would be kept away from Third Front.

Mr Sidhu terming that the Trishul Diksha programme, of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) would encourage communalism in the country, alleged that the VHP was pursuing this agenda with an eye on votes of majority communities in four states where Assembly elections were due this year.


SAD meeting
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 17
The district unit of the SAD today said that the party would adopt legal course if the Congress tried to win coming panchayat elections through unfair means.

Office-bearers of the unit said at a meeting held here that they would not allow the Congress to misuse state machinery in panchayat elections, like they had allegedly done in the municipal council, zila parishad and block samiti elections.

They said the residents of the state were dissatisfied with the performance of the Congress government. The meeting convened to prepare a strategy for the panchayat elections.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Mr Chiranji Lal Garg a former minister, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, both MLAs, Dr Om Parkash and Mr Sikander Singh, both office-bearers of the district unit.


Doc told to pay Rs 4 lakh compensation
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 17
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab, has directed two doctors of private hospital here to pay Rs 4 lakh compensation following deficiency in service to Janak Raj’s son who died.

Mr Janak Raj had complained to the commission on October, 22, 1998 night that Ashwani Mahajan (33) his son met with an accident and received injuries on left elbow and head. The victim was taken to a private hospital here.

He alleged that his son was examined by Dr Suresh Sharma and dressed the head wound and got x-ray examination done of the elbow injury.

The doctor advised admission of the victim to hospital for treatment and surgery.

Complainant stated that no x-ray, or scan, ECG or even MRI was got done for the assessment of the head injury of the victim.

Rupees 10,000 was taken in advance for surgery on October 23, 1998 by the doctor and October, 27 was fixed for surgery.

The complainant stated that his nephew Mr Naresh Mahajan who was staying in the hospital observed that the victim’s ‘pre-anaesthesia check up’ was not done and doctor V.K. Mahajan who administered the anaesthesia had only seen the victim for the first time in the operating theatre.

The complainant alleged that the blood group of the victim was not determined to meet requirement of blood for surgery.

On October 27, 1998 morning the victim walked to the operating theatre while relatives were waiting outside the theatre. At 10 am the relatives noticed unusual activities in the operating theatre.

At 10-30 am the victim was brought out of the theatre on a trolly to the room, which was 20 feet from the operating theatre. The complainant and relatives noticed that the victim was not breathing. Doctor Suresh Sharma started mouth-to-mouth respiration.

The complainant was shocked over the death of his child.

The complainant claimed Rs 17 lakh compensation from the doctors for causing the death of his son.

The commission headed by Justice H.S. Brar, Mr Jasbir Singh and Mrs D.K. Bhamrah, members held deficiency on the part of doctors stood proved and ordered payment of Rs 4 lakh compensation and Rs 5000/- as costs.


Dalit committee stages protest
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 17
Members of the Dalit Action Committee here today staged a protest by showing black flags outside the venue of the divisional meeting of senior police and civil officials being chaired by the Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, against the failure of the state government to resolve the issue pertaining to the alleged boycott of Dalits of Talhan village by members of the Jat community about four months ago.

Even as the District Administrative Complex, the venue of the meeting, was cordoned with heavy deployment of police machinery, about 30 members of the Dalit Action Committee managed to sneak into the complex at about 6.30 pm while the meeting was in progress.

The agitators, led by the state Vice-President of the BJP, Mr Vijay Sampla, and president of the Dalit Action Committee, Mr Chanan Ram, reached outside the conference hall and started raising anti-government slogans. They raised black flags to protest against the failure of the state government to initiate action against those who were booked for atrocities on Dalits and had given a call to boycott the Dalit community of Talhan village, owing to a dispute over the management of a shrine about four months ago.

The police swung into action and tried to pacify the protesters, who continued to raise slogans against the government for about 20 minutes, before the police could manage to push them outside the complex.

Talking to reporters, Mr Sampla alleged that the Congress Government was trying to hush up the matter by sleeping over the recommendations of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which had already instructed the state government to comply with its orders. “The anti-Dalit policies of the present regime will be exposed at every public platform. The government’s announcement with regard to an accountable and transparent administration is nothing but a joke as it had failed to redress the issue during the past four months,” Mr Sampla added.

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr Kashyap said that he was not aware of the matter. “I will certainly look into the issue and steps will be taken to maintain peace and harmony among the communities in the interests of people of the state,” he said, adding that the administration would be instructed to expedite is efforts to resolve the matter amicably.


Water supply scheme inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 17
All ministers and MLAs of the Congress will work with dedication for the overall development of the rural sector and the villages will be provided new look under the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) within few years. Mr Birdevinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said this while addressing a public gathering at Chunni Khurad village last evening after inaugurating the water supply scheme costing Rs 31 lakh having capacity of 1.5 lakh litres. He appealed to the MLAs of other parties to give active support in public interest.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said it would give him pleasure if the rural people come to initiate development project in their area. He said Chunni Khurad village had been adopted under the IRDP and Chunni Kallan would be adopted under the scheme during the next financial year. He said facilities given in cities would be provided under this scheme which include brick pavement of streets, sewerage disposal system, bio-gas plant, photovoltaic biomass and windmills in an integrated grid system manner would be used to ensure 24-hour electricity supply.

Besides this, development of parks, duckweed technology would also be introduced in these villages for the treatment of sewerage water and pond cleaning.


Bid to grab Khalsa College land
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 17
Intervention by the Khalsa College management committee thwarted the attempt by a group of armed men to grab the college land on the Ram Tirath road.

The honorary secretary of the college Mr Gunbir Singh, told The Tribune this evening that a group of persons armed with kirpans and hockey sticks tried to stop the construction of boundary walls in their bid to grab the college land which had been in the possession of the college for the past over 100 years.

Mr Gunbir Singh said a formal complaint had been lodged with the police to register an FIR against the group trying to usurp the land forcibly. He alleged that the group had tried to disrupt the construction under the protection of the police and it was only after their arrival at the scene that the police claimed that it had come to prevent the clash.

The honorary secretary alleged that the armed group in the presence of the police broke the wall and injured some labourers employed for the construction of the wall. He said the police did not prevent the group armed with swords and sticks.

However, Dr S.K. Kalia, SP (Headquarters) claimed that they were verifying the veracity of documents produced by the property dealers and had referred the case to DA legal. He said a police party had been sent to prevent any clash and also to allow the college to complete the construction of the boundary walls.

Mr Gunbir Singh, however alleged in spite of their protest, the police failed to arrest the culprits and allowed to situation to aggravate.


Rival groups stage dharnas
Death of Mehma Sawai village youth
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 17
Tension prevailed near the local district courts today as two groups of villagers staged dharna there against each other.

On group led by the Dalit Sena, an association which claims to protect the rights of the Dalits, alleged that the sarpanch of Mehma Sawai village was behind the murder of Baljit Singh, a resident of the same village on the night of April 2.

The other group, including panchayat members and other residents of Mehma Sawai village, alleged that the office-bearers of the Dalit Sena were making an issue out of nothing. It said the Dalit Sena wanted to falsely implicate the sarpanch of the village, Mr Gurnam Singh, in the case for personal gains.

The group alleged that Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri state president of the Dalit Sena, was misguiding the Dalits, adding that he wanted to benefit by the death of Baljit Singh.

While the Dalit Sena shouted slogans against the sarpanch and other residents for allegedly protecting the accused, the other group shouted slogans against Mr Gehri.

Both groups had erected tents and levelled allegations against each other through the public address system.

Baljit Singh, a district level office-bearer of the Delhi Sena, had died under mysterious circumstances in April. The Dalit Sena claimed that he was murdered and some influential persons of the village, including the sarpanch and the nambardar, were behind the murder.

On the other hand, the sarpanch, the nambardar and other residents of the village said Baljit Singh was killed in an accident.

The villagers claimed that Baljit Singh was an adopted son of Mr Gurnam Singh as the latter did not have any child. However, they said no legal formality was completed in this regard.

Mr Gurnam Singh, while talking to this correspondent today, said Baljit Singh had drunk a lot on the day of the incident and after that he had left for a nearby village, Akalia, on a scooter to drop a person there. He said after dropping the person at Akalia village, Baljit Singh drove towards Mehma Sawai village. He died in an accident as his two-wheeler skidded on his way back home, he added.

A case under Sections 302, 120B, 148 and 149, IPC was registered on April 3 against Kulwant Singh Nambardar, Major Singh and his sons Nebu Singh, Bittu Singh, Neeta Singh and Kulwant Singh on the complaint of Amandeep Kaur, wife of Baljit Singh.


Baradari walkers symbols of changing Patiala
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 17
Residents of this garden city, particularly womenfolk, seem to have finally shrugged off the cloak of conservatism and the donned the mantle of modernity if the rush of revellers and walkers in morning and evening at the Baradari gardens any indicator.

This is particularly true of residents of the walled city, who make up nearly 60 per cent of the city’s population, and who till a couple of years ago seldom ventured out of their houses. Now, the same persons have taken to walking and jogging amid the serenity of the sprawling Baradari gardens, and that too, in a big way.

Nothing here is chaotic or noisy. Rather, there is a spiritual sublimity to everything here which has made the place an ideal abode for walkers, irrespective of age.

Tourists have been enamoured by the natural beauty of the place and no debate on the city is complete without reference to the gardens.

This phenomenon of the locals coming out in the open to have a brisk walk, with the fragrance of the fresh morning air wafting across, is relatively new as earlier they were content to do a little bit of calisthenics on their rooftops or in the narrow and congested streets that symbolise of the walled city.

With the advent of crass commercialisation, green spots, not to speak of small parks, are available at a premium. This has left residents with little option, but to make a beeline towards the gardens that have been spruced up recently. Piped music and other innovations, particularly for children, are an added attraction and the ambience for joggers is near perfect.

The other place having a lot of green cover is the National Institute of Sports (NIS). However, the authorities here are wary that the schedule of various national camps held there regularly may get disturbed by walkers. The catch is to use the “pay and play” scheme, in which, walkers have to spend some money if they want to enjoy the environs of the institute.

The question is what has made the women of the walled city, who so far, had the reputation of being highly introvert, change their attitude. Says a senior psychologist: “Social isolation is one of the primary reasons why womenfolk are keen to come out of their homes. This type of isolation tends to create high stress levels, which can raise blood pressure and lead to premature ageing. This takes a toll on the immune system of the body, making it imperative for these women to be extrovert.”

Another reason why these women have shed their inhibitions is that they are secure in the knowledge that talking a walk is the simplest of all exercises which most doctors prescribe to knock off those extra kilos.


Voters’ lists as per rules: Registrar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
Responding to the ongoing controversy regarding the elections of the Punjab Medical Council, the Registrar of the Council, Dr A.S. Padda, said today that the voter lists had been prepared as per rules. He said at present there were 7468 doctors on the electoral rolls of the council while the number of registered doctors since 1947 was 34179 till the end of last calendar year.

However, the council has no record about the doctors expired since then (1947) or about those who have settled abroad. Names of only those doctors, who have been responding to the communications of the council figure on the latest electoral rolls, he added.

He said that a notice was published in the press on October 3,2001 requesting all the registered doctors to get in touch with the council to submit latest information with regard to their updated qualification, change in address etc. The names of the doctors, who responded to that notice, were put on the voter list, he added.

Dr Padda said that 15 nominations were received to elect three members of the council and after the withdrawal of the names and scrutiny of papers, only 10 candidates were left in the field. The postal ballots had been sent to all voters, who had been asked to send these back to the Returning officer through registered post by May 21. The counting would be held next day. 


Murder case of NRI: Khehra surrenders
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 17
Mr Bikramjit Singh Khehra, president of the Punjab Janata Yuva Dal, a prime accused in the murder case of an NRI, Mohan Singh, today surrendered in the court of Mrs Navjot Kaur Sohal, Sub-Judge, Junior Division here. The NRI was murdered here on February 23 and four persons had been arrested in this connection so far. Mr Khehra had been evading arrest.

Twentynine years old UK-based NRI Mohan Singh of Raipur Rasulpur village had come to attend the wedding of Jaswinder Singh of Reru village on February 23 at the local Windsor Palace. Some guests accompanying the groom were firing from rifles in celebration. A bullet hit Mohan Singh who died on way to a Jalandhar hospital. It was given out earlier that the death was due to accidental firing. It was later found that the bullet was fired from the gun of Mr Khehra. Mohan Singh’s wife and relatives did not cremate the body for one week to force the police to add Section 302, IPC, to the case and arrest the killers.

The police had earlier arrested four persons, including Mr Avtar Singh, father of the groom. Earlier, a case was registered under Section 304, IPC, i.e. culpable homicide not amounting to murder but later Section 302, IPC, was added to the case after which the body of Mohan Singh was cremated.


IG’s ex-PSO declared proclaimed offender
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 17
A court here today declared Gurdyal Ram, DSP and former personal security officer to the then Inspector-General of Police (border range), Mr Rajan Gupta, a proclaimed offender.

Mr Gurdyal Ram has been at large since the Special Investigation Team (SIT) found his involvement in the multi-crore kidney sale racket.

Earlier, advocate George, Dr Bhushan Aggarwal, Hardyal Mehta, manager of the Kakkar Hospital were declared proclaimed offenders. The SIT had information that Gurdyal Ram had been shielding the accused doctors involved in the kidney scam and would save the middlemen too. The SIT had indicted Gurdyal Ram on the basis of the mobile call details.


Pay claim for damaged car, company told
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 17
The District Consumer Forum has directed the Oriental Insurance Company to pay compensation to Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Ludhiana.

The complainant had alleged that she had got her car insured with the insurance company for Rs 1.5 lakh. The insurance was valid up to July 19, 2000.

The car met with an accident with a Punjab Roadways bus on January 6, 2000, near Sahora village on the Ropar-Kharar road. The car was totally damaged. An FIR was registered at the Kharar police station. The company, however, declined to pay the claim. The complainant, besides the claim, demanded Rs 10,000 as compensation for deficiency in service.

The forum comprising President JP Gupta and member SK Bhatia, held that there was deficiencies in service on the part of the insurance company. It was directed to pay Rs 1,27,500 to the complainant within a month after which the amount would carry an interest of 9 per cent per annum.


Orders reserved in SGJC case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, today reserved orders on petitions pertaining to the functioning of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

In one such matter, directions were sought for restraining SGJC members from functioning. It was submitted that a notification dated July 5 last year, whereby another notification dated January 12, 1999, was rescinded for restoring the earlier Judicial Commission, was liable to be stayed.

It was added that the stay orders were liable to be passed in view of the judgement pronounced by the Special Bench on September 13 last year, holding that the term of a Judicial member was co-tenuous or co-terminus with that of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). It was asserted that the SGJC, constituted by a notification dated January 12, 1991, was liable to continue with the same members as long as fresh elections to the SGPC were not held and the new board was not duly constituted by a notification issued by the government.

Directions sought

In a petition filed before the high court, Ludhiana's Danga Perrat Welfare Society sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for quashing an advertisement issued by the Punjab Urban Development Authority for allotting plots earmarked for 1984 riot victims.

Challenging the advertisement issued on April 15, society members also sought directions for implementing a decision taken during a meeting for alloting the plots to them so that the victims were not forced to "suffer endlessly and run from pillar to post for getting the promised relief". The case will come up for hearing before the high court on May 27.

Member’s suspension

Acting on a petition filed by Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission member Dara Singh challenging the orders of his suspension, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the high court fixed May 21 as the next date of hearing.

In his petition against Punjab Chief Minister, besides the SGJC Chairman and other respondents, Dara Singh had contended that the suspension orders, besides the charge-sheet, had been issued without jurisdiction. Giving details, he had contended that there was no power with the state government to suspend a judicial member.


Medicine, astrology complement each other’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 17
What type of illnesses are you prone to? What will be the nature of the disease and its duration? How does one go about diagnosing a particular disease — do we take into account physical symptoms only? Some of these questions that have perturbed mankind for ages find ready answers in the science of astrology, says Dr Dinesh Sharma.

Dr Sharma, who was given the Dhanwantri Award instituted by the All-India Integrated Medical Association (AIIMA) of Punjab today, teaches in Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College and Hospital of Amloh (Mandi Gobindgarh). He is working towards the fusion of the basic tenets of ayurveda, astrology and Vaastu for treatment of patients.

These sciences complement each other and trace their roots to the Vedas. He says that it is possible to determine the day, time and season through astrology when certain persons would be prone to certain illnesses. It’s also possible to suggest preventive measures against a particular illness.

Medicinal astrology, as this branch is popularly known, when further assisted by Vaastu, can create a conducive environment for treatment. If, for example, the patient’s heed is facing south, operations are more likely to succeed. X-ray machines and other electric/electronic equipments, when placed towards south-east, promise greater accuracy in diagnosis.

According to Dr Sharma, ayurvedic therapy combined with medicinal astrology has yielded good results, as his own experience of nearly two decades has shown.

Dr Sharma has been trying to spread awareness in this regard through seminars and debates in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi. He has also been given the Jyotish Shromani, Jyotish Bhaskar, and Jyotish Maharishi awards among many other honours.


TV channel for Gurbani : SGPC to spend Rs 20 cr
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 17
The SGPC will spend Rs 20 crore on a television channel for relaying Gurbani from the Golden Temple. President of the SGPC Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar stated this here last evening. We had already allocated Rs 14 crore for it in SGPC budget for it, he informed.

The “maryada” of the Golden Temple while commissioning the TV channel, would be borne in mind said Prof Badungar. The prayer was getting delayed due to lack of expertise, said Badungar. At present a private channel relays Gurbani from the Golden Temple in the morning and evening daily. With the launching of the SGPC’s own channel, relay of Gurbani would be done round the clock, he added.


Gurdev Singh is truck union president
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, May 17
Even as Mr Gurdev Singh, father of a close confidant of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, was unanimously elected president of the local truck union at a function here today, a section of truck operators boycotted the function to lodge their protest that no election was held for electing the executive of the union.

They said that the president of the truck union should have been made after holding the elections for the same so that each member of the union could cast his vote. They, added, that at today’s function, the president had been “imposed” on the truck union.

Meanwhile, Mr Devinder Attri, Station House Officer (SHO), local police station when contacted, said that Mr Gurdev Singh of Gill Kalan village was made the president only after about 600 truck operators passed a resolution in this connection and the same was recorded in the proceedings book. He added that heavy security arrangements were made on the truck union premises to prevent any untoward incident.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the name of Mr Gurdev Singh for the post of presidentship proposed by a former president of the truck union, Mr Basant Singh, an accused in the TDS scam, who was booked in a criminal case by the police in the recent past. When the name of Mr Gurdev Singh was proposed, a section of truck operators boycotted the function, demanding that voting should be held for the same.

Interestingly, Mr Malkeet Singh, son of accused Basant Singh, was made vice-president of the truck union. About 11 truck operators were taken into the executive body of the union.

Meanwhile, the truck operators, who boycotted today’s function are contemplating to meet the AICC President, Sonia Gandhi regarding the matter.


1.10 cr recovery effected at Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 17
At the Special Lok Adalat held here 451 cases were listed for settlement of cases of Co- operative development banks, Co-operative housing societies Abohar, Zira, Fazilka and Ferozepore.

Under direction of Mr M.S. Bedi District and Sessions Judge, five Lok Adalats were constituted of the total 451 cases taken up for settlement, 245 cases were settled resulting in the recovery of Rs 1.10 crore.

Mr Bedi said the settlement of dues of co-operative banks, a policy has been framed on the interest to be charged on the outstanding loan.

Mr Bedi added that settlement of cases would have been more had Managers of the Co-operative Societies, banks and other institutions been given powers to waive the interest and penal interest.


15 complaints disposed of
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, May 17
Fifteen of the 35 complaints taken up at a meeting of the District Grievances Committee here yesterday were disposed of and the remaining sent to the officials concerned for necessary action.

The meeting was chaired by Deputy Commissioner Usha R. Sharma.

Ms Sharma ordered that no government employee would leave his station of posting without prior permission of the official concerned. She added that a special lok adalat dealing with complaints of the Revenue Department would be held on May 21 and Mr Amarjit Singh Samra would inaugurate the same.


Five Delhi-based pilgrims injured

Phagwara, May 17
Five new Delhi-based pilgrims, including two women and a child, were injured when their car rammed into a tree near Jamalpur village on the National Highway this afternoon. The injured were admitted to Gandhi Hospital here. They were identified as Naveen, his wife, Paramjit, Parminder, his wife, Sonia, and their six-year-old child. They belong to the Punjabi Bagh area. UNI


15 pilgrims injured

Moga, May 17
At least 15 pilgrims were injured when the bus in which they were returning after paying obesiance at Nanaksar Gurdwara overturned near Ajitwal village on the Moga-Ludhiana road last night, the police said today.

Four of the injured were rushed to a village hospital and 11 were taken to the Moga Civil Hospital last night.

According to the hospital authorities at Ajitwal , all injured were discharged after first aid. PTI


Youth rescued
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 17
A youth today reportedly made an attempt to commit suicide by jumping into the canal on the outskirts of the city today.

Some onlookers rescued the youth. He was admitted to a hospital, where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

The youth aged about 25 years could not be identified immediately.


RI for opium smuggling

Bathinda, May 17
Ms Karnail Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, today sentenced Tara Ram of Sultan village in Jhunjhunu district to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, besides imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh for possessing 3 kg of opium. OC


Punctuality in offices priority of govt: CS
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 17
The Punjab Government has decided to strictly enforce punctuality and attendance in all government offices and for any lapse in this regard, the Deputy Commissioners and the respective Heads of Departments would be held responsible.

The government has also decided to revamp the education and health sectors, apart from modernising the administration with the application of IT and science and technology.

Stating this after attending a conference of the deputy commissioners and SSPs of Jalandhar Division, Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chief Secretary, said ensuring punctuality among government officials was priority for the state government. “In case of any lapse on this account, the heads of departments would be held responsible. The DCs have been directed to ensure close monitoring of work of various departments,” said Mr Kashyap, who was accompanied by Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, ADGP (Law and Order), Jalandhar Division Commissioner R.S. Sandhu, Mr S.K. Sharma, IG Zonal, and Mr Rohit Chaudhary DIG, Jalandhar Range.

Mr Kashyap further said the sub-division-level officials would be accountable to the SDMs, while the DCs would have the overall responsibility of development and monitoring effective delivery of public services.

Mr Kashyap said the state-level committee headed by the DGP was reviewing the withdrawal of “ornamental” security attached with bureaucrats and others. He said to ensure redress of grievances at the people’s doorstep, the SSPs and DCs had been asked to undertake monthly joint tours of their respective districts. Similarly, the DSPs and SDMs had been asked to undertake a similar exercise once a week. “The state government’s effort is to reduce the need for people to come to Chandigarh for redress of their grievances. The evaluation of the DCs and SSPs would be made on the basis of number of people of their respective areas visiting Chandigarh,” said Mr Kashyap and Mr Bhullar.

Laying stress on the modernisation of the administration with the application of IT and science and technology, Mr Kashyap disclosed that it had been decided to provide video-conferencing facility to all DCs for ensuring a close touch with the state headquarters.

Mr Kashyap said he would go to Hyderabad soon to study the use of IT and science and technology for effective governance. “The Chief Minister would also address all DCs and the public through this facility,” he added.


Husband held for wife’s murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 17
Iqbal Singh, a resident of Bath village, along with his brother Jaspal Singh and father Veer Singh were today arrested by the Nathana police for their alleged involvement in the murder of his wife, Kuldeep Kaur.

Police sources said that Kuldeep Kaur was allegedly burnt to death by the accused. A case was registered on the statement of Kuldeep Kaur, who alleged that her husband and his other kin had set her on fire. A case in this connection had been registered under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC at the Nathana police station.

In another case, the police arrested Kuldeep Singh and his two associates for their alleged involvement in the murder of his father Karnail Singh, which took place at Bahini village on May 11.


EO held in graft case
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 17
The District Vigilance Department yesterday arrested Mr Surinder Kumar, former Executive Officer of the Sirhind Municipal Council, presently posted as the EO of the Mahalpur Municipal Council for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from Balbir Singh of Attewali village for passing the plan of his proposed school building.

According to a press note issued by Mr Paramjit Singh Khaira, DSP, Vigilance, Fatehgarh Sahib, Balbir Singh had lodged a complaint with the Vigilance Department against the executive officer. Even after taking the bribe, he did not passed the plan. The complaint was probed by the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, and the SP, Vigilance, was directed to register a case against the accused.

Meanwhile, several former councillors of the Sirhind Municipal Corporation have welcomed his arrest. Ms Anita Takyar, former Vice-President of the Sirhind MC, Mr Ajit Kumar Manga, Councillor, and Mr H.P. Pathak, former Councillor, have demanded that the inquiries made earlier should also be probed by the state Vigilance Bureau as at that time he had managed inquiries in his favour. Meanwhile, Mr Surinder Kumar was today remanded in the police custody up to May 19 by Ms Neelam Arora, Senior Sub Judge here.


Head injury led to death of prisoner
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 17
The post-mortem examination of the 35-year-old Central Jail prisoner who died in the jail yesterday after he was reportedly beaten up by fellow inmates revealed today that his death had occurred following coma from the head injury.

A three-member Medical Board of the Government Rajindra Hos-pital, including Dr S.S. Oberoi, Dr D.S. Bhullar and Dr Vishal Garg conducted the post-mortem examination on the body of Devinder Singh of Rani Majra near Chandi-garh, who was in jail under the Narcotics Act.

Hospital sources disclosed that the team had also found injuries on the forehead of the prisoner and that he had also incurred a black eye. Besides this, there were abrasions on other parts of his body, particularly the back of his elbow.

Devinder Singh had been found dead in his barrack yesterday morning. Earlier, he had reportedly been inflicted injuries by fellow inmates who had hit him with steel glasses. Following this, he was taken to the dispensary in the jail, where he was stitched up rather than being taken to Government Rajindra Hospital which is the referral hospital in case of any emergency. He was reportedly mentally unstable and had got into a fight with other inmates. Earlier, he had been constantly complaining why he was not being allowed to be free for a certain period as permissable according to jail norms.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against a jail inmate Hazari Ram by the Civil Lines Police in this regard. According to the FIR registered under Section 304 of the IPC, Hazari Ram had hit Devinder Singh with a steel glass following a fight. The Tripri police is investigating the case further, according to sources.


Cong leader booked

Amritsar, May 17
Harsaran Singh Malla, sarpanch of Sohal village in the Atari constituency and former president of the Block Congress Committee, Gandiwind, was booked for attempt to murder and possessing arms under the Arms Act after Akali nambardar Kulwant Singh Sohal was seriously injured when he was shot at by the former, over a land dispute. OC


Prize distribution function held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 17
Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar has welcomed the peace initiative of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to normalise relations between India and Pakistan. He made the remark while presiding over the prize distribution function of Khalsa College here today.

Expressing satisfaction over the offer of talks by Mr Vajpayee, he said he himself was a votary of peace between the two countries which had been in the grip of tension for the past 55 years. He said time had come for both countries to resolve their differences through dialogue.

Earlier, Nayyar distributed prizes to the toppers of the college. He also announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the college. Later the Principal Dr M.S. Dhillon, thanked Nayyar and presented a report on the college activities.


GND varsity results by June 30
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 17
Guru Nanak Dev University would declare results of all examinations held in April last before June 30. Results of BA part I, II and III examinations would be declared on June 4, June 6 and June 10 respectively and the results could also be available on Internet. Vice-Chancellor of the university Dr S.P. Singh stated this while addressing a meeting of the Syndicate held on the university campus here today.

The Vice-Chancellor informed that the university had introduced a new course of BA (honours) in social sciences from this academic session for weaker sections of the society. The course would be useful for those aspirants compete for competitive examinations.

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