Friday, June 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal’s arrest on court’s orders: CM
Congress government can’t be trusted, says SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
While Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh said here today that the Shiromani Akali Dal President and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would be arrested only on the court’s direction as the investigation being conducted by the Vigilance Bureau against him has reached the “conclusive stage”, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) finalised its action plan, including a two-day “rasta roko” agitation, in the event of arrest of any member of the Badal family.

“We want to present before the court a foolproof case so that charges made against Parkash Singh Badal are proved before any court of the country, including the apex court. We will not arrest him on our own but will go by the verdict of the court,” the Chief Minister told a press conference this afternoon.

A few hours later SAD leaders retorted back at a press conference, alleging that in none of the cases registered against any Akali leader or worker, the police or the vigilance had gone to the court with the charge sheet before making the “arrest”. “How can this Congress government be trusted? It has failed on all fronts and as a diversionary measure wanted to arrest Mr Parkash Singh Badal and members of his family to demoralise the party workers. We will not sit quietly in case any member of the family is arrested,” Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a SAD general Secretary, told newsmen.

The Chief Minister maintained that “the law of the land will prevail as we are going to present irrefutable evidence against him. We already have collected plenty of evidence against him. He was thoroughly corrupt and will have to face the law for all his actions,” The Akalis, on the other hand, held that after repeated failures on every front and exposure of its inefficiency in handling any major scam during the past 16 months, the government wanted to “divert public attention”.

Captain Amarinder Singh held that instead of taking Mr Badal into custody, the government would present the charge sheet against him in the court “as we do not want to be accused of acting against him out of “political vendetta” or to victimise him politically. The investigations have already reached the conclusive stage. Many ‘clever brains’ have been working for him as a cover-up for his actions.”

The Chief Minister said there was no substance in the threats being given by the SAD that people would come on the streets in case Parkash Singh Badal was arrested. “I do not think anyone is going to support him for his corruption,” the Chief Minister said.

Talking to newsmen, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal held that in case any member of the Badal family was arrested there would be a “chakka jam” at all subdivisional headquarters in the state for two days. From the third day onwards, there would be protests and dharnas outside the offices of the Subdivisional Magistrates throughout the state.

They held that they were for law of the land to prevail but the government’s actions smacked of “political vendetta and victimisation,” besides being baseless. The only agenda of the government, they said, was to harass SAD leaders and workers so as to demoralise the party.

Mr Dhindsa said yesterday he apprised both Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union Defence Minister George Fernandes of the developments in Punjab, including the decisions taken by the SAD Political Affairs Committee on June 9 and the state’s intention of apprehending Mr Parkash Singh Badal and members of his family. Mr Fernandes promised Mr Dhindsa that the NDA would not sit “quietly in case Mr Badal was arrested”.

Bibi Jagir Kaur held that “women of Punjab would not sit quietly in case any action was taken against Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal. We have convened a meeting of women workers at Jalandhar for June 16 to take stock of the situation. Women activists would participate in the ‘chakka jam’ and other agitations”, she added.


Badal kin’s arrest: plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
In less than a day after Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s nephew, Mr Narottam Singh, was shown as arrested, Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed as infructuous a habeas corpus petition seeking his production.

Claiming to have been illegally detained, Mr Narottam Singh’s nephew, Mr Parminder Singh, had earlier claimed that the detainee was being kept for “mala fide reasons” with sole motive to wrongly involve Mr Badal and his family in some false case.” The entire exercise of picking up Mr Badal’s nephew, he had added, was “carried out with mala fide motive having strong political overtones”.

Giving details, he had asserted that “ever since the present government came to power in Punjab, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had been openly stating that he was going to arrest Mr Badal on one charge or the other. The Chief Minister was also holding a grudge against Mr Badal and his family as criminal cases filed by them, were pending against him in different courts of law.

Counsel for the petitioner had added that the detainee had never been involved in any criminal case. Moreover, apart from his relationship with Mr Badal, the detainee was not involved in any political activity.

Taking up the case, the high court on Wednesday had appointed a warrant officer. Mr Justice Grewal had also directed the production of the alleged detainee in the court today if he was found in illegal custody.


SAD (Amritsar) not to support Badal if arrested
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, June 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today while accusing the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of using his party cadre for personal interests said the SAD (Amritsar) would not extend any support to Mr Badal if he (Mr Badal) was arrested by the Punjab police or the Vigilance Department in a corruption or any other case registered against him.

“Mr Badal has been using the party cadre by directing them to storm the streets of state if he is arrested by the Punjab police. It is immoral on the part of Mr Badal. Mr Badal should have made such directions to his party cadre only in case of any issue pertaining to public, Sikh Panth, Sikh religion and the Punjab state and not for his safety from the law”, pointed out Mr Mann.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Mann said it was shameful on the part of Mr Badal that he was trying to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of state by instigating his party workers instead of remaining as law-abiding citizen as he remained the Chief Minister of Punjab thrice. He added that everybody knew that Mr Badal and his colleagues had looted the state like any thing and now they were trying to outsmart the government machinery to escape legal action against them.

He alleged that Mr Badal did not do anything for Punjab during his chief ministership for five years. He could not get the oil refinery project completed; He remained silent on the SYL canal issue, he could not bring investment in the industrial sector and he could not generate employment. What he did only was that he diverted the state’s money to his own men under the garb of funds allocated for ‘sangat darshan’ programmes held by him.

While praising the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for removing some of the Union Ministers, against whom there were charges from the Cabinet, Mr Mann urged the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, to do the same by dropping those ministers, who had been indicted by the Lok Pal. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had been following double standards in his anti-corruption drive.

Mr Mann also urged the Prime Minister to take necessary action against the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the Union Minister, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, as they had been chargesheeted by the CBI in the Babri Masjid demolition case. He wondered that how Mr Advani could go abroad when he had been chargesheeted by the CBI in a criminal case against him.

SANGRUR: Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP from Sangrur and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), on Thursday termed the unity move between the SAD and the SHSAD as a “conspiracy”, allegedly hatched out by Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, and Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, to put Mr Parkash Singh Badal behind bars and make Jathedar Tohra President of the SAD.

At a press conference at the PWD Rest House here, Mr Mann alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh did not have guts to arrest Mr Badal in connection with corruption charges levelled against Mr Badal by him. He even stated that Capt Amarinder Singh was afraid of arresting Mr Badal.

Mr Mann said hue and cry over the impending arrest of Mr Badal by the SAD was meaningless as Mr Badal would not be arrested on political grounds by the government. He alleged that during his regime, Mr Badal had “looted” the state by adopting “corrupt” measures, so the SAD should not protect Mr Badal.

Mr Mann held the communal and casteist forces responsible for the Talhan incident. He said these forces wanted to divide the Sikhs on the basis of religion and caste. He said his party would oppose such forces in a big way. He also demanded that all gurdwaras, facing disputes, should be brought under the control of the SGPC to end controversies.

Mr Mann appreciated the Sangrur district administration for ending confrontation between Jats and Dalits of Hasanpur village, near Dhuri, in this district. He also offered his party’s full support and cooperation to the district administration. He also opposed the setting up of separate gurdwaras for Dalits and Jats in the villages by saying that this trend would prove dangerous for the Sikhs in future.

Mr Mann also said the Talhan incident was a failure of the Sikhs as other castes could interfere in their affairs. He said the government had also failed in taking timely action.


Names deleted from Sikh jatha list
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
The Ministry of External Affairs reportedly deleted the names of certain persons with doubtful character from the list of 200 persons, sent by the SGPC.

The SGPC sources said the names of certain repeaters who had been frequenting to Pakistan in the past few years had been deleted following the ‘feed-back’ provided by Indian Embassy in Pakistan. It is learnt that the Indian embassy in its ‘top secret’ report had recommended to the Ministry of External Affairs that the ‘activities’ of such persons were found to be ‘doubtful’ during their previous visits to Pakistan.

It is felt that many ‘repeaters’ had been paying visit to Pakistan for the purposes other than paying obeisance at gurdwaras in Pakistan. Some persons, on the pretext of paying visit to Sikh shrines do busimess in Pakistan. Such persons go to Pakistan at the cost of genuine pilgrims. It is learnt that the Government of India wants that the genuine pilgrims should be given the opportunity which could be possible if ‘repeaters’ are stopped from visiting Pakistan again and again by using their influence.

Meanwhile, a press note issued here today asked the pilgrims to collect their passports from the SGPC office tomorrow so that they could go with the jatha. The press note said that the jatha would leave from Wagah joint check post, led by Mr Swinder Singh Sabharwal. The jatha would return on June 22. Mr Balwant Singh Patti, assistant secretary SGPC would be the coordinator.

On the other hand, Embassy of Pakistan may also refuse visas to at least 25 pilgrims due to variety of reasons. In case the scrutiny of the passports take more time, the departure of jatha may be delayed for a day. 


Land dispute between Jats, Dalits settled
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, June 12
The ongoing tension between the Jat and Dalit communities over shamlat (village common land) at Hassanpur village near here, was defused today by the district administration.

Confirming this over telephone, Mr N.S. Walia, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said that under the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, he along with Mandeep Singh, SP (H) and other officials visited the village today to deliver the land to the Dalit community as per an agreement between representatives of the two communities, which was signed in Sangrur on June 10 under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur.

Mr Walia claimed that one-and-a -half bigha of shamlat for “rooris” and four biswas of “shamlat” for the construction of a Balmiki temple had been delivered to the Dalit community of the village.

Bandh observed in Phillaur
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 12
On a call given by different Dalits organisations a bandh was observed in the town today in protest against the alleged police excesses, during the Talhan episode.

Shopkeepers had downed their shutters. A protest rally was also organised in which Dalits leaders condemned the mishandling of the situation by civil administration. Dalits leaders demanded high-level inquiry and adequate compensation to the victim of a Talhan violence.


Forum imposes fine on PSEB
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 12
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, here has imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 on the Punjab State Electricity Board for delaying the implementation of the verdict given in favour of a consumer. The board has been directed to recover the amount from the officers responsible for the delay.

According to a copy of the award, made available today, Mr Daya Ram of Lakhewali Dhab village , had lodged a complaint in 2000 to the forum stating that the PSEB was not releasing connection for tube well though seniority list had matured. The Forum passed an award in favour of the consumer that was conveyed to the Chairman of the PSEB and the SDO PSEB Khuikhera on January 23, 2001.

Daya Ram again approached the forum by filing another complaint on July 2, 2002 alleging that the PSEB had not so far given the connection. The complaint was filed under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act 1986. The connection was installed on January 17, 2003, nearly two years after the award that too on filing of another complaint.

Protest by PSEB staff
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 12
Technical employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today blocked the entrance to the subdivision number 2, here in protest against their transfer to other subdivisions. They shouted slogans against the Board management and flayed local officials for relieving the employees “forcibly”.

Earlier, the employees gheraoed other senior officials in their offices for many hours. The officials had approached a local court and got stay against some leaders of the Technical Services Union, restraining them from indulging in gherao or demonstration within 50m of their offices, sources said.

The PSEB officers today alleged that the leaders had violated the stay orders. However, the unionists said that they had put up the “shamiana” at a reasonable distance.

PSEB staff found absent
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 12
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidha Sabha, on Tuesday made a surprise visit to the sub-office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at Gharuan village in tehsil Kharar and checked the attendance of employees. Of the total 43 employees, only eight were found present at 9.10 am.

The employees, who were found absent included Mr Surinder Mohan, Additional Assistant Engineer and in charge of the office, Mr Balwant Singh and Mr Naranjan Singh, both Junior Engineers.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh had kept the raid secret. He along with Mr Sukhwinder Singh, SDM, Mr Rakesh Sahi, Executive Engineer of the PSEB and this correspondent reached Gharuan around 9.10 am and remained there till 11.45 am. The Deputy Speaker inspected the attendance register and the movement register and found that there was no entry in the movement register after June 5 morning. Some employees were found waiting for the concerned Junior Engineer to send them to attend to the complaints of the people. Absentees also included 12 linemen and 14 assistant linemen.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh talked to Mr Surinder Pal, Superintending Engineer, and Mr N.K. Dharmani, Chief Engineer of the PSEB, about the situation. He told them that the AAE was reportedly not staying in the village during night and was allegedly leaving the station without permission. He said while villagers were not getting regular supply of electricity, officers of the board were being negligent.

The Deputy Speaker was shocked to see a calendar having cartoons of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh in the office of the AAE. He asked the SDM to take it into custody and report the matter to the Punjab Government.

As the news of the raid spread, a large number of people assembled there. Many persons levelled allegations of corruption against a Junior Engineer in the presence of the Executive Engineer and the mediamen. Mr Bir Devinder Singh ordered the Gharuan police post in charge to record the statements of the complainants and register a case of corruption against the Junior Engineer concerned.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh told Mr Dharmani to take action against the guilty employees. He asked the Chief Engineer to ensure that all employees were present in the office by 9 am and entry should be made in the movement register when they go out.


Illegal detention by cops alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
Another person, Narinder Singh Soni, a resident of the Chowk Chabutra area here has alleged his illegal detention by the same CIA staff officials who had been booked by the police on same charges. This time the complainant has also named an inspector of the CIA staff.

At a press conference here today, Mr Soni said that he was taken into illegal custody by the accused CIA staff officials Inderjit Singh, Gurwinder Singh and Gurbaksh Singh, an SI, ASI and constable, respectively, on May 22 morning. He alleged when his family members went to the inspector he demanded Rs 15,000 to release him.

Earlier, one Mr Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Deviwali street near Joura Pipal area alleged that the same SI and ASI had kept him in illegal custody. He had also alleged that the accused officials had tortured him during his detention on May 7.

On his writ petition, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed to the police for the registration of a criminal case against the accused officials.

Mr Vaneet Mahajan, vice-president of the All-India Anti-Corruption Morcha has demanded a high level inquiry from the Chief Minister in this regard.


Residents cry for drinking water
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
While the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib has made little arrangements to provide drinking water in Sirhind, it has also failed to initiate the required repair work of the waterworks and a water pump ever since it went out of order seven days ago. Due to this residents of the town are facing acute shortage of drinking water.

Instructions by the Deputy Commissioner to get the the water pump repaired and to restore the water supply have fallen on deaf ears, as the repair work on the tubewell and water pump has not started so for. A council employee posted at the waterworks said though officials had visited the tubewell, no work had been initiated. He said new bore had to be drilled and it would take at least five days to complete the work.

Residents of the town have to content themselves with half an hour supply of water in the morning, which is generally at very low pressure and people residing on upper stories have to face inconvenience.

It is learnt that after the publication of a news item in Ludhiana Tribune regarding water supply disruption in the town, the Deputy Commissioner had directed the Executive Officer to streamline the supply and the EO had assured the DC that it would be restored in a day. But surprisingly the repair work has not started yet.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, residents alleged that the council had failed to provide basic amenities. They said it should have made prior arrangements for a spare water motor so that it could be used during emergency. They demanded that proper arrangements should be made for the smooth supply of drinking water and more waterworks should be set up as two were not sufficient to cater to the needs of the entire town.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said he had directed the EO to restore the water supply. He said he had asked the council to prepare a detailed draft and estimate for new water pumps. 


Old-age home starts functioning
Sushil Goyal

Tribune News Service

SANGRUR: With the admission of Mr Ujjagar Singh (78), a resident of Achharwal village in Ludhiana district, to the Birdh Ghar (old-age home), constructed at the local Pingalwara branch of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Amritsar, the home has started functioning to serve the old persons who have either been abandoned by their children or have no one to look after them.

Birdh Ghar, built at a cost of about 30 lakh, was inaugurated by Mr Sunder Lal Bahuguna, founder of Chipko Andolan, on March 29, 2003. Birdh Ghar can accommodate 34 persons. There are 14 single-bed rooms and 10 double-bed rooms. The single-bed rooms have a common kitchen and common bathrooms, while each double-bed room has attached kitchen and bathroom. Rooms with double beds have been made to accommodate couples.

Chairs and tables have been provided in each room. There are also two recreation rooms and two dining rooms in the home.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Cheema, chief administrator of the local Pingalwara branch, said the recreation rooms would have the facilities like TV sets, indoor games and newspapers.

Mr Cheema said that no money would be charged from inmates for staying here.

Mr Rajesh Kumar, in charge of wards of Pingalwara, said free food and laundry services would be provided to the old persons from the Pingalwara funds. Medical services would also be provided to them as Pingalwara had its own dispensary with para-medical staff and visiting doctors.

The setting up of the Pingalwara branch here is a great contribution to Sangrur town by Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Amritsar. The foundation stone of the branch was laid in March, 1997, while it was inaugurated in March, 2001. Just after two years, Birdh Ghar has started functioning. At present, 133 physically and mentally challenged men, women and children are staying at the local Pingalwara. Besides, 10 schoolchildren are also residing in Pingalwara.


Being ‘harassed’ for taking up sister’s cause
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
A Nabha resident today claimed that proceeding against the family of the man who had allegedly murdered his sister had proved costly for him and his family members, with criminal cases being registered against them in various districts of Punjab as well as Chandigarh.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ramesh Bhardwaj said his sister, Renu Bala, had been married in August, 1989, to a resident of Amargarh in Sangrur district who was working as a junior Engineer in the SYL project in Chandigarh. He claimed that a case was registered against the Amargarh resident and other members of his family on charges of killing his sister in June,1996. He said the accused was convicted in the case under Section 498-A (dowry) in March, 2002, but an appeal in the case was pending.

Mr Bhardwaj claimed that the accused started falsely implicating him and his family members immediately after he got bail in the case in 1996. He said a rape case was filed against two of his relatives in Amritsar. He said following this in 1997 an attempt-to-murder case was filed against him and his two brothers Subhash and Vicky, besides his daughter Ritu and sister-in-law Meenakshi.

The complainant said in 2001 another attempt-to-murder case was registered against him,his brothers and his son Amit with the Amargarh police. He said such a case was registered against him and other family members in the same police station earlier also, and another one against his entire family at the police station, Division Number 5, Ludhiana in 2001.

Mr Bhardwaj said a murder case was registered against the whole family in 2001 at the instance of Sharmila Rani, a close relative of the accused. 



Panel on riot-hit holds meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The three-member committee appointed by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the allotment of houses to the 1984 riot- affected families held discussions, met here today.

The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Housing Minister, Punjab, assured riot-affected families of sympathetic considerations on the allotment of housing units to the eligible beneficiaries. A detailed report containing the demands and grievances of riot-hit families would be prepared and submitted to the Chief Minister at the earliest.


Councillors resent use of car
Our Correspondent

Nabha, June 12
A Maruti car that has been hired by a Municipal Council official here for octroi flying squad has caused controversy in the House.

The council has to reportedly pay Rs 600 every day for the car. Interestingly, the market value of the car is not more than Rs 80,000, whereas the MC pays Rs 18,000 per month as rent for the vehicle, which belongs to a councillor.

At a recently held council meeting, the issue was brushed aside, causing widespread resentment among many councillors.

Meanwhile, councillor Harikishan, who is chairman of the House Tax Committee, said there was no coordination between the council staff and elected representatives. There were many anomalies in the fixation of taxes, he added.


Revenue stamps ‘being sold in black’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
Severe shortage of revenue stamps here has rendered all financial transactions “illegal”, for the past one month, the government treasury too has been losing lakh daily due to the short supply of these stamps.

Transactions above Rs 500 are required to have revenue stamp for ‘legal authenticity’. However, even the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) was issuing receipts on payments received, without revenue stamps. Mr Rakesh, a businessman said he had received a receipt from LIC dated June 5 without revenue stamps.

The fact was also admitted by Mr M.K. Gupta, senior divisional manager, LIC here, he said, LIC was facing shortage of revenue stamps in the entire belt comprising 17 branches. While six of their branches were located in the city one each was in Tarn Taran, Abohar, Fazilka, Rayya, Gurdaspur, Zira, Ferozepur. “LIC staff was hence required to maintain a separate record of transactions whereas only accounts needed to be maintained in normal circumstances”, he revealed. The Treasury Office and the Post Office have been informed of the bulk requirement by the department, but the demand has not been met, he added.

It was learnt that these stamps could be procured on the black market at a premium after paying double or tripling their actual value. The alleged “rate” had gone up in the recent week as supply had decreased, revealed a source.

The unstamped documents with provisional signatures in lieu of revenue stamps have also become source of tension for the salaried class from government and private firms who lose all legal authenticity of pay cheques, paid leave, bonus etc in the absence of revenue stamps.

Mr Mantram Malani, senior Postmaster admitted shortage from almost three weeks and said despite a indent to Ludhiana depot which supplies these stamps, the supply has not been resumed. He said he had sent a letter twice to Ludhiana but to no avail.

Mr S.C. Sayal District Treasury Officer, when contacted in Chandigarh, admitted the lapse in supply of the stamps. He blamed the Ludhiana depot, a nodal agency for supplying of stamps for being lax in printing. He said he was aware of the serious problem. Meanwhile this legal drawback has left the business and trading community upset over government transactions as well as private. Not only is harassment apprehended at the hands of his/her auditors, the Income Tax Officer (ITO) too may use the excuse to show his ‘expenditure’ as his ‘profit’ to harass in the absence of revenue stamps.


MC to take over trust buildings
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 12
The Municipal Corporation has decided to take up the responsibility of maintenance of various buildings developed by the Improvement Trust in the city.

Disclosing this here today, Mayor Vishnu Sharma said a number of buildings in the city, which were constructed by the Improvement Trust years back, were still to be officially handed over to the corporation.

He said due to this there were complaints that the buildings and complexes were not being maintained properly.

He said the buildings were situated at Chhoti Baradari, Sai Market, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran, Sewa Singh Thikriwala Nagar and Transport Nagar. The Mayor said the move would entail a financial burden of Rs 3 crore annually.

The Mayor said, besides this, the corporation was also taking concrete steps to shift the Kabari market out of the city from the Bahera road within three months.

He said negotiations had been held with junk dealers in this regard and it had been decided to allot plots to them in the Transport Nagar.

He said following shifting of the market the area was expected to be decongested with the corporation planning to develop a parking lot, besides other public facilities, at the site.

The Mayor also claimed an increase in the revenue of the local Municipal Corporation and added that once the Rs 126-crore National Capital Region (NCR) project was completed the entire township would get safe drinking water and proper sewerage. He asserted that there was an increase of Rs 2.31 crore in octroi and Rs 28 lakh each in house tax and water supply collections.

He said the corporation also wanted to shift the dairies as well as the vegetable market outside the city.

He said sites had been surveyed for both purposes. He said the land was expected to be acquired for the vegetable market on the Sanour road.

Mr Sharma came down heavily on people who had encroached upon the corporation’s land said that notices would be served on these encroachers. 



Two buried alive
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
Two masons were buried alive today at Khemuana village, 24 km from here when a heavy mound of sand caved in at the well which they were digging. Two other masons were saved by villagers who reached the spot.

Though the mishap took place at about 8 a.m., it took more than seven hours to take out the bodies. The deceased were identified as Pappu Singh and Gurbhej Singh (Nikka Singh). The two who were saved identified as Baljeet Singh and Mela Singh. Baljeet Singh was brother of Pappu Singh. Baljit Singh and Mela Singh were being treated at government Hospital in Jeeda village.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the four masons were on job to make the tubewell situated between two adjacent houses deep by a few feet to reach the groundwater level. The tubewell was brick-lined up to 30 feet from the level of earth. The masons started digging the well at its bottom and kept on digging till they reached 35 feet deep.

The mound of sand along with a portion of already brick-lined well collapsed and caved in. All four masons came under debris.

Meanwhile, sources said that the owner of the field, who had engaged the masons for deepening the well, had not taken permission from the district administration for doing the same. 


Man found dead in fields
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
As many as three persons, including a woman, were killed in separate incidents in the district today while one person died due to sunstroke.

Gurmail Singh (23) died at Chathewale in the district today. According to the family members of the deceased, Gurmail Singh had gone to the field early in the morning. He did not return for a long time, He was found dead in the fields.

Family members suspected that Gurmail Singh was either bitten by a snake or some other poisonous creature as his body had turned bluish. The body was handed over to his family members after post-mortem examination. His viscera have been sent to medical college, Patiala.

Another man died when he was hit by a train near the Maur Mandi railway station today. The person was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The deceased has been identified as Kulwant Singh of Shekhpura village in the district.

A woman was killed on the spot when a vehicle hit the scooter she was sitting on, near Goniana Mandi, about 15 km from here, this afternoon. Her husband who was driving the scooter also received minor injuries. The body of the deceased, identified as Sarabjit Kaur (25), has been brought to Civil Hospital, where a post-mortem examination will be held.

Meanwhile, Mr Ajay Goyal, President of the Sahara Jan Sewa, an NGO in a press note said a local resident died due to sun stroke. The deceased, Raj Kumar (40), fell unconscious near the local Kamal cinema on railway road this morning. He was taken to the hospital by volunteers of NGO, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Volunteers of the NGO also got admitted Ramesh Kumar, a local resident, who was found in an unconscious state from near the Arya Samaj Chowk of the city to a hospital.

The volunteers said he was running high fever and it seemed that he fell ill due to excessive heat.


Rally against demolitions held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
Residents of Dhobiana Basti, whose dwellings were demolished by PUDA on June 7 as these were allegedly encroachments on government land, today held a rally near the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The residents, including a large number of women, raised slogans against the Punjab Government, the PUDA authorities and a local leader. They alleged that the leader who claimed to be close to the local MLA had done nothing to save their dwellings although he was present when the buildings were being demolished.

“If the leader wanted to remove encroachments from the city, why he did not ask the authorities concerned to demolish the posh houses and business establishments, which were constructed in violation of the rules of the municipal council?”, they asked. They alleged that while he was shielding big encroachers, he favoured the demolition of dwellings of poor people. The resident said that they were not issued any notice before the demolition. Mr Waryam Singh, Mr Sibji Singh, Mr Kartar Singh, Mr Makhan Singh ‘all residents’ said after every few months the authorities demolish some of the houses in the colony. They alleged that the land on which they had constructed the houses did not belong to PUDA. They also gave a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal, urging him to make sure that their dwellings were not demolished till some alternative arrangement was not made for them.


Debarred club member accuses management of irregularities
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
A member of Rajindra Gymkhana and Mahendra Club who was recently debarred from the club for one week has filed an application against the executive of the club accusing it of spending money received from persons applying for permanent membership on various development projects before even admitting the persons into the club.

The member, Priya Brat Kehar, was allegedly debarred from the club premesis on June 9 with the order issued by the club management stating that the debarment would be effective till June 13.

In an application submitted in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here today, Mr Kehar said the executive had collected Rs 28 lakh from persons applying for permanent membership, but had not enrolled the members so far. It said this amount had been spent on various development projects.

Mr Kehar’s advocate H.V. Rai submitted an annexure, including Article 20, Clause 5 of the club rules, which reads that “amount received from a person as admission fee will be kept in a separate account. The amount will be utilised for club purposes only after the member is admitted. Any office-bearer utilising the amount in contravention to this will be personally liable to the club along with disqualification of membership”.

The applicant has also claimed that the club management has not judiciously used a grant of Rs 5 lakh which was given to the club by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, recently. He said the Chief Minister had given the money from his discretionary fund to maintain the heritage of the building of the club. He alleged that the money was spent on whitewashing and paint work, besides landscaping the children plaza and purchasing new crockery instead of the purpose it was meant for.

Mr Kehar has also accused the club management of chopping of trees on its premises, adding photographs in this regard were also being submitted. He alleged that the executive disposed of the forest property for its own use. He alleged that despite complaints made to the police, no action had been taken in the matter because the executive members were influential people. He appealed to the court to register a criminal case against the entire executive and to get the matter investiagated from an investigating agency.



Cultural activities to get boost
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
To boost cultural activities in Fatehgarh Sahib district, the district cultural society would be revived and three cultural programmes would be ensured every month. This was announced by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib at Bachat Bhavan here yesterday while presiding over the meeting of District Cultural Society.

He said the society was formed in 1995 and it remained operational till one year after its formation. He said the society would be activated and prominent writers, artistes could register their names and they could also become life members through paying Rs 100. He further said that the society would also create awareness among people about social evils like dowry, female foeticide etc through cultural programmes, dramas etc. A special ‘kavi darbar’ would also be organised by the society during “Savan” would also be organised by the society, added Mr Ahluwalia.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, Prof Sawinder Singh and Prof Kashmir Singh assured full co-operation in this regard to the Deputy Commissioner.

Dr Harchand Singh Sirhindi famous Punjabi writer presented a book on Baba Zorawar Singh Fateh Singh and Banda Bahadur to the Deputy Commissioner. Raghvir Kaur Khehra, District Transport Officer, Rakha Singh Jangu, SDM, Bassi Pathana, Amarjeet Singh Sahi, SDM Amloh, and Darshan Singh, SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib were also present at the function.


Citizen’s Club gets ambulance
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
To provide adequate help to the needy, down-trodden, handicapped, old and destitutes, the activities of the District Red Cross Society would be further intensified, so that the required results reach grassroots level and the main aim of the service towards society is achieved, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing the members of Citizen’s club, Bassi Pathana, after handing over a new ambulance to the club. The ambulance was donated by the District Red Cross Society to the club.

He said the area of operation of the Red Cross Society would be further increased and its involvement in all social works would be ensured. He said the society had already been directed to arrange clean drinking water at bus stand in all towns of the district and also to make arrangements to provide medicines particularly to the poor in hospitals of the district. He said that the activities of the Red Cross would be taken to grass roots level and even workers from villages would be involved in the activities of the Red Cross.

Mr Kuldeep Malhotra, president of the club highlighted the projects initiated by the club. He also highlighted the problems being faced by the residents of the town. He assured the Deputy Commissioner that the club would continue to serve the society and extend all help to the district administration.

Later the Deputy Commissioner also visited the subjail at Bassi Pathana.


Liquor shops to be shifted out
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
Mr Barinder Singh Mann, District President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (A) today said that the district Excise and Taxation Department had shifted two liquor shops from Talwandi Sabo, and had agreed to shift other shops also in a few days.

Mr Mann claimed this here today to this correspondent on the phone. He said that the party had brought it to the notice of the authorities concerned that opening of liquor shops in Talwandi Sabo had affected the sanctity of that town where the fifth Takht of Sikhs was situated.

The SAD (A) leader claimed that it was a victory of the party. He said that the sentiments of the Sikhs were hurt when the government decided to open the liquor shops in Talwandi Sabo, a holy city.


Wheat husk for Rajasthan
Our Correspondent

Malout, June 12
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development, yesterday flagged off 40 trucks loaded with wheat husk for drought-hit Rajasthan, from Killianwali village near here.

Mr Kang said today’s consignment would be sent for the Choru area in Rajasthan. He said a rack of wheat husk each would be sent later to the Udaipur, Banswara, Jaisalmer, Dungaarpur, Bikaner, Sirohi, Barmer and Paali areas of Rajasthan. These racks would be sent by special trains from Jaitu in Faridkot district and Malerkotla in Sangrur district. He said the wheat husk would be sent there by June 25.


2 foreigners held, heroin seized
Tribune Reporters

Gharinda (Attari), June 12
Two foreign nationals, one Kenyan and one Nigerian, were arrested separately at the Wagha joint-check post for allegedly possessing heroin worth crores last evening.

While the Kenyan is under the custody of the police, the Nigerian is under the custody of Customs officials. Both were arrested from the check post within a gap of 15 minutes as they entered Indian territory.

Fiftyone capsules containing heroin were brought out from the stomach of the Kenyan and 28 from the Nigerian, Linus Emexa Nweke.

The Kenyan, Kanady Banarad Ugru Madra, was first arrested by immigration officials for possessing fake passport. The immigration officials handed him to the police where a case under Sections 468 and 471 of the IPC was registered.

During investigations they were found to be possessing heroin in their bodies duly packed and concealed in big capsules, each of which measuring about two inches and weighing about 40-50 grams, said Mr P.N. Dogra, a senior BSF official. He said more recovery was expected.

Mr Darbara Singh, officiating DIG, Customs, said due to unavailability of X-ray machines it was impossible to check such smuggling.


Sarpanch, Secretary booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
The Vigilance Bureau yesterday booked Sukhdeep Kaur, sarpanch of Ajit Gill village in Faridkot district and Jagsir Singh, panchayat secretary posted in that district allegedly for embezzling government funds of the order of Rs 4.28 lakh. Jagsir Singh was arrested last evening.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP (Vigilance), Bathinda Range, stated in a press note here today that Sukhdeep Kaur could not be arrested as the court had given directions to issue seven-day notice before arresting her.

He added that a police party visited the resident of Sukhdeep Kaur yesterday, but she was not there. Her husband has been informed of the case.

Ms Sukhdeep Kaur had allegedly connived with Jagsir Singh for siphoning off part of the government funds meant for development of village Ajit Gill.

The government had given Rs 10.55 lakh for the development works in that village during 2001-02.

The sarpanch allegedly used poor quality material of less than specified quantity for the works.

The technical team of the Vigilance Bureau conducted an inquiry into the matter and assessed that only Rs 6.27 lakh were used, while the rest of the amount was allegedly embezzled by the sarpanch.

It was also found that the panchayat secretary was posted between April 2001 to August 2001 in Marak, Ramgarh and Kasam Bhatti villages in Faridkot district, but he made the entries in the cashbook of village Ajit Gill himself for which he was not authorised.

The panchayat secretary allegedly helped the sarpanch in embezzlement.

A case against Sukhdeep Kaur and Jagsir Singh was registered on June 11 under Section 406 of the IPC and 13 (1), 13 (2) 88 and PC Act at Bathinda police station vigilance.


Pak national arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 12
Troops of the 124 battalion of the BSF have captured a Pakistani national trying to sneak into the Indian side. According to the information, jawans of the BSF during routine patrolling spotted a person coming towards the Indian side of the international border near the border outpost of Jalloke in the Mamdot sector. The troops challenged him. He was later arrested and sent to police custody after preliminary investigations.

BSF sources said the intruder, Mohammed Sardar, aged around 18 years, was a resident of Behari village in Kahnnawala district of Pakistan. The BSF troops recovered Pakistani currency worth Rs.660 from his possession BSF officials after initial investigations said it seemed that he was not aware of the topographical location of the border and inadvertently treaded into the Indian side.


Lecturers seek VC’s intervention
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
A section of lecturers of SSD Girls College here has sought the intervention of Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, as they alleged that the college management was violating university’s rules by appointing a junior lecturer as officiating Principal.

In a letter written to Dr Boparai, seven teachers, including Ms P. Bakshi Head, Department of Punjabi, Ms Veena Sharma, Head Department of Political Science, and Ms Darshan Bansal, Head, Department of Economics, alleged that ever since the Principal of the college retired in January 2000, the management had been making no serious efforts to fill the post.

They alleged that to appoint its favourite as officiating Principal, the management had sent two lecturers on “forced” leave. Even the management had cancelled the interviews for the post of Principal a number of times. They pointed that once again the management had appointed a junior lecturer as officiating Principal by denying the right of a senior lecturer.

They urged Dr Boparai to make on-the-spot assessment of the situation and take necessary steps.

A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chancellor, Punjabi University, the DPI (Colleges), the Dean, Academic Affairs, Punjabi University, and the Secretary, Department of Education.

The President of the college management while denying all the allegations pointed out that the interview was got cancelled twice by a lecturer by using her influence, while the interview on June 5 was cancelled as Mr Amar Nath Goyal, Secretary of the college, was busy in a function. He said a new date for the interview would be fixed shortly.

He claimed that no rules had been violated and the college functioning was going on in smooth manner. He alleged that he along with some other members of the management had been receiving threatening calls by some vested interests to make their ‘favourite’ as Principal and the police was informed about it. 


Students’ march, rally against fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
Students of various educational institutes here and from nearby villages today marched in the city and held a rally near the office of the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the hike in college fee and withdrawal of concession in bus passes and other facilities to the students.

The students carrying placards and banners with slogans decrying the anti-student policy of government written on these first held a march in the city. The march started from local Teachers Home passed through the bus stand road, court road, dhobi bazaar, hospital bazaar and concluded near the office of the Deputy Commissioner, where the students held a rally.

The students alleged that the recent hike in fee of college students was aimed at keeping wards of poor and middle class families illiterate. They added that the education was already very costly and hike in fee had added to financial burden on students.

The students also submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Anurag Agarwal for passing it on to the Punjab Government. The students demanded that the hike in fee be withdrawn, the free of cost education to girls in college be restored, the trades discontinued at ITIs restarted, students’ concessional bus pass facility should be extended to all type of buses. Students can not travel in minibuses and km-scheme buses using the concessional passes.

Earlier, the students formed a 14-member coordination committee to bring different students’ associations at one platform at its meeting at teachers home. The committee would also decide about the future course of action.

Mr Manpreet Singh, a postgraduate student of local Government Rajindra College and convener of the committee, said the government had timed hike in fee when the students were busy in annual examination, as it feared agitation by students.

He said although many of the colleges were closed after the annual examination was over, but the students were ready to participate in any agitation against the fee hike. He said they were making efforts to mobilise students for a massive agitation.

Mr Kulwinder Singh, a student of local ITI and treasurer of the committee said that they would contact student leaders in other districts for launching a state-level agitation. He added that in their visit in villages many of the students who had passed plus two examination said that they would not prosecute their study, as their parents could not pay the fee of college education. He said that they urged such students not to sit at home rather fight for their rights.

Mr Harpreet Singh, student of the local DAV College and a member of the committee, said the agitation would continue till the government did not withdraw the fee hike.


Suspended teacher appeals to women’s panel
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
The suspended Punjabi University Fine Arts Department Reader, Dr Saroj Rani, has accused the university authorities of harassing her and urged the National Commission for Women to intervene in the matter immediately.

In a letter to the National Commission for Women, Dr Rani claimed that Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai suspended her last month at the instigation of a “male egoist coterie which thrived on pressure tactics rather than academic achievements”. She has claimed in her letter that she was suspended in hurry on grounds that charges had been framed against her in a criminal case.

Dr Rani said she had earlier been falsely implicated in a case in which a Fine Arts student, Saru Rana, had accused the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, of attempting to rape her. She said she had been suspended after the registration of the case following which she was reinstated by the university Syndicate in June, 2002, subject to the final order in the case.

The teacher said despite the fact that the Syndicate had reinstated her, the authorities decided to suspend her for the second time in the same case. She alleged that the decision was taken because she would have been eligible for professorship after completion of eight years of service as Reader last month.

The teacher said framing of charges was not the final order of the court and the innocence of the accused remained intact till the final order culminating in acquittal or conviction was passed. She said hundreds of top bureaucrats, ministers and other high-ranking government servants were facing trial for serious offences in the courts of the country after charges had been framed against them. She said the accused had, however, not been suspended because framing of charges was no ground for suspension.

Dr Rani said in spite of the constitutional guarantee of equality of opportunity irrespective of sex and constitutional protection of women under Article 15, the action of the university was an example in the mental harassment of a woman who had excelled in her field. She said the action of the university had affected her family also with her husband, Dr Chaman Lal, who is the head of the Hindi Department, suffering a retinal detachment and her daughter undergoing mental trauma. She urged the commission to intervene.



DC’s directive to govt teachers

Ropar, June 12
Teachers serving in the government schools in Ropar district have been directed to report for duty on June 16 and 17.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, said teachers would be informed about their duties during the forthcoming panchayat elections on these days. OC

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