Friday, June 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vigilance confirms case against Badal
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today dared Capt Amarinder Singh to stake his political career on the outcome of a case registered against him (Mr Badal) and others as the state Vigilance Bureau confirmed that an FIR had been lodged at SAS Nagar.

“It is an act of vendetta born out of sheer political frustration of a ruler driven blind by hatred and revenge,” reacted Mr Badal, holding that if the Congress government was able to prove that he owned an inch of property overseas, he would quit public life on his own.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 read with Section 120-B, IPC, and Sections 13 (1) (d) (e) read with 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against Mr Badal and others for owning moveable and immovable assets, both nami and benami, worth crores of rupees, the Vigilance Bureau said.

The registration of the case brought to an end speculations as whether the present government would go ahead and “prosecute the Badal family for possessing assets, both moveable and immovable, worth Rs 3,500 crore” or just keep the sword hanging over the head of the leader of the Opposition and his family.

Though the case was registered on Tuesday, official confirmation came today.

The registration of the case also follows a series of cases of criminal defamation filed by both Mr Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal against Capt Amarinder Singh to prove charges that they had amassed properties worth Rs 3500 crore and also about Orbit Resorts. Interestingly, a part of the FIR deals with the same cases.

The Chief Minister has been repeatedly saying that the police (Vigilance) would not arrest the Badal until the court directed it to do so. “We will have conclusive evidence against him and the courts will have no choice but to order his arrest,” Capt Amarinder Singh held.

While the Chief Minister felt that “there would be no adverse public reaction as no one can support corruption”, Dal workers from various parts of Punjab have threatened to hold protests if “any member of the Badal family is arrested.”

The Vigilance Bureau claimed that “money received from illegal and unknown sources of income was used for creating various firms in the name of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. In many cases this money was subsequently transferred to other companies like Orbit Resorts Ltd.

“The money laundering tactics were adopted by him to transfer black money in various accounts. The money worth Rs 9 crore was channelised through various countries, using hawala channels in connivance with Mr Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu. The bogus investments were also made by showing receipt of loans from relations like Mr Narotam Singh Dhillon,” the spokesman for the Vigilance Bureau said, holding that further investigations were on.

Mr Badal, who is in New Delhi, said he was “willing to stake his political career on the outcome of this case. The Vigilance men need not enact any ‘tamasha’ to get me. I will walk down to any place at a time fixed by them, even if I learn it through media.”


SAD to launch morcha if Badal arrested
Our Correspondents

Amritsar, June 26
Senior Akali leaders today threatened to launch a morcha in case the Punjab government arrests the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Addressing a joint press conference, former senior Akali ministers and MLAs expressed their strong resentment against Capt Amarinder Singh for launching a “malicious campaign” against Mr Badal and his family.

The Akali leaders said that the government had started a misinformation campaign against their leaders and former ministers by targeting them through the Vigilance Bureau and other agencies to defame them. The government had gone to the extent of framing false cases against them based on frivolous charges, they added.

The entire rank and file of the SAD would organise strikes, dharnas and agitations from tehsil, block and district levels if Mr Badal was arrested. The party would follow the decision of the high command in this regard.

Regarding the absence of senior Akali leaders from the Tohra faction and from the BJP, Dr Ratan Singh, former minister, said that they would all join the agitation. He clarified that they could not join the conference as the decision to hold the same was taken at a short notice.

Among those who addressed the conference included former ministers Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, Mr Dalbir Singh, Mr Veer Singh Lopoke and Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta.

JALANDHAR: Terming the registration of a case against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members as politically motivated, former Akali ministers and senior Akali leaders of the Doaba region on Thursday threatened to disrupt rail and road traffic at Phillaur in case the Badal family was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in a fake case.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of the District Akali jatha attended by former Akali ministers Mr Sarwan Singh Phillour, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar and former Chairman of Jalandhar Improvement Trust Sarabjit Singh Makkar.

Mr Phillour and Mr Makkar alleged that the Congress government was trying to disturb peace in the state by implicating the Badal family in a false case under the garb of its anti-corruption drive even as no action was initiated against four Congress ministers who had been indicted by Punjab Lokpal for indulging in corruption during the Beant Singh regime.


Cong flayed for booking Badal
Our Correspondents

Bathinda, June 26
The district unit of the SAD has condemned the registration of a “false” case against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members at SAS Nagar.

The office-bearers of the district unit of the party during a meeting held here today alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wanted to divert the attention of the people of Punjab, therefore he was getting false cases registered against Mr Badal and his family.

They said the registration of a false case against Mr Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, and his nephew Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA, had shown that Capt Amarinder Singh feared his defeat in the panchayat elections, therefore he was using unfair means to keep Mr Badal away from the elections. They said whatever tactics Capt Amarinder Singh might use, people of Punjab, in general, and activists of the party, in particular, were with Mr Badal and his family members.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former Punjab minister said the behaviour of the Congress government in the state was humiliating towards Mr Badal and his family. He said the tactics of the government to lower the popularity of Mr Badal in Punjab would not be successful.

Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, MLA, said the registration of false cases against Mr Badal and his family members would have far-reaching consequences in the state. He added that the people would rise in revolt against the Congress government, if Capt Amarinder Singh did not mend his ways.

Mr Tungwali said the activities of the party in villages had been advised to do their best for securing the victory of the SAD candidates in June 29 panchayat elections, so that Capt Amarinder Singh should learn that elections could not be won by using unfair means.

The others who addressed the meeting included Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, MLA, Mr Sikander Singh and Dr Om Parkash Sharma, president and press secretary, respectively, of the district unit of the party.

FARIDKOT: Mr Mantar Singh Brar and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, both SAD MLAs from Kot Kapura and Faridkot, respectively, have assailed the Punjab Government for registering a “false” case under the Corruption Act against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal at SAS Nagar yesterday.

In a press statement here today both MLAs alleged that the ruling Congress government after coming into power made one-point programme to unnecessary harass senior Akali leaders by registering false cases against them to defame the party on one pretext or the other.

They alleged that it was a clear murder of democracy which could not be tolerated at all. They made it clear if the state government failed to mend its ways, the party would be compelled to launch a statewide stir and the government would be responsible for its consequences.

They disclosed that a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party would be held within a day or so to finalise the strategy in this connection.


Action against Randhawa on cards
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, a ruling party MLA from Fatehgarh Churian, seems to have landed himself in “ trouble” by declining to accept the offer of Chairmanship of Punsup, one of the best state government organisations. He had not only declined the offer but also written a detailed letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, justifying his “act”.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee’s (PPCC) disciplinary committee headed by Mr Nasib Singh Gill, has not liked the manner in which Mr Randhawa declined to join as Chairperson of Punsup. The dominant view is that it should start suo-motu proceedings against Mr Randhawa under the charge of putting the ruling party as well as the government in an awkward position and creating a sort of “ moral crisis” for it.

It has been perceived in the PPCC as well as in a section of the Council of Ministers and other government circles that the “contents” of the letter, that was” leaked” to the print media, have caused a “ big damage” to the party and its government in the state.

Mr Randhawa had stated that he had not accepted the offer because the state was not in a good financial health and owing to it the ruling party had not been able to implement several financial programmes of public welfare promised in the election manifesto. He had talked about free power to farmers, revival of the “shagun” scheme for Dalit girls, stopping of free education to girls etc.

In fact, certain members of the disciplinary committee have discussed the issue informally with the President of the PPCC, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and also intend to do the same with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, after his return from Delhi.

Asked in this connection, Mr Gill confirmed that certain members of the committee had taken up the issue with the PPCC President but he refused to give any detail saying that it was an internal matter of the party that could not be discussed in the media. Even a member of the committee had conveyed to Mr Hanspal that if Mr Randhawa was so worried about the state’s financial position, he should forgo all perks and allowances worth Rs 50,000 given to him as an MLA.

Meanwhile, informed sources said the disciplinary committee had issued a show-cause notice to certain party leaders for violating the party discipline and for acting against its interest. Ms Geeta Sharma, president of the Municipal Committee of Sunam, had been given a show-cause notice for taking the help of Akali Municipal Commissioners to become president.

Likewise, Mr Rajinder Singh, Chairman of a Panchayati Raj institution at Mansa, has been given a show-cause notice for taking the help of non-Congress members to become Chairman by defeating the official ruling party candidate. Mr Naresh Thakur, a former minister from Hoshiarpur, will be given a show-cause notice for allegedly hobnobbing with the BJP to defeat the official party candidate in the election of the president of the Municipal Committee there.

The case of Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, against whom complaints have been submitted by senior Congress leaders from Faridkot, has been deferred for a while though all concerned have been heard with regard to the complaints.

Mr Raj Khurana, a Congress MLA from Rajpura, will be asked to clarify his stand with regard to certain complaints against him submitted to the disciplinary committee by certain senior leaders of Patiala District Congress Committee. Allegations against Mr Khurana are that in the municipal elections he put up parallel candidates under the banner of the Rajpura Vikas Manch against official candidates of the ruling party.

The disciplinary committee has asked Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and Mr Romesh Dutt Sharma, both Punjab ministers, for clarification with regard to certain statements in the print media allegedly made by them against the Ropar District Congress President, Mr Amarjit Singh Saini.

The next meeting of the disciplinary committee will be held on July 9 where replies of the show-cause notices, clarifications etc will be discussed.


Romana desires to appear before Takht
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 26
Even as Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib, has threatened to excommunicate Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the Gurdwara Management Committee (Patna Sahib), if he failed to appear before Takht Patna Sahib before June 30 as directed by the five Sikh high priests, the latter has desired to appear at Akal Takht instead.

Since both, Jathedar, Patna Sahib, and Mr Romana, stick to their respective stands, the trouble between the Sikh clergy and management of Takht Patna Sahib is likely to take volatile turn in the coming days.

In a communication, faxed to the Akal Takht secretariat, Mr Romana pleaded that he was declared ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) by the Sikh clergy of Takht Patna Sahib against the established “maryada” (Sikh traditions). He, however, said he wanted to clarify his position before Akal Takht and was ready to undergo any religious punishment if he had willingly or unwillingly committed any mistake.

Since Mr Romana, in his letter, mentioned Giani Iqbal Singh as ‘so called Jathedar’, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has reportedly asked him (Mr Romana) to rewrite the same by using proper language so that nobody should feel hurt in anyway.

Talking to TNS, Mr Romana said he had written to Jathedar Vedanti that Akal Takht was supreme as it was established by the sixth Guru himself while other four Takhts were established later. Hence Akal Takht had the sole authority to declare any Sikh ‘tankhaiya’. Mr Romana, who was operated upon in the USA and is convalescing at his home in Faridkot, said he would not appear before the Sikh clergy at Patna sahib as there was no such practice in the past.

Giani Iqbal Singh said the crucial meeting of the Sikh clergy had been convened at Takht Patna Sahib on June 30 to discuss the issue. He said Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, had talked to him on telephone last week and told him that Mr Romana should be given time because he underwent a major surgery recently.

He said the Sikh clergy could consider the case of Mr Romana sympathetically in case he sent application. Instead of complying with the directives, Mr Romana wanted to get the case transferred to Akal Takht, which was unacceptable. He claimed that all Takhts were competent to pronounce edicts.

“If Mr Romana failed to comply with the directives of the Sikh clergy he could face excommunication from the Sikh panth”, he said. On the other hand, Mr Romana claimed that he had not received any letter from the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib so far.

Mr Romana, however, reiterated that the “Dasam Granth” or any other granth could not be equated with Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Romana was declared “tankhaiya” for using derogatory words against the ‘Dasam Granth’, the “bani” of which is recited at Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib everyday.

Mr Romana, however, said he had uttered the above words in the presence of Jathedar Vedanti and Giani Tarlochan Singh (acting Jathedar, Kesgarh Sahib) which were appreciated by the Sikh sangat in Chicago (USA) recently. He alleged that Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, former president of the management committee of Takht Patna Sahib, and Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, leader of the Lok Bhalai Manch, were behind the move of declaring him “tankhaiya”.


Shaurya Chakra family threatens to return awards
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 26
A family which has the rare distinction of having been awarded four Shaurya Chakras having repulsed as many as 200 terrorist attacks on it has threatened to return the awards as the government had failed to provide adequate security to it.

Ms Jagdish Kaur, a Shaurya Chakra awardee and wife of Mr Balwinder Singh Dodhala, assistant secretary CPI also holder of this coveted award, said at a press conference here today that the police had falsely implicated her husband and a gunman in the Bhikhiwind incident that occurred on June 21.

She said a total of 29 persons were booked in the case.

Relating the events of that day she said, “It was the last day of the finalisation of nomination papers for panchayat elections and the officer in charge deliberately kept the crowd at the centre waiting till 1 a.m. about the final candidates.

To pacify the crowd, her husband offered to go and find out the result. When a policeman stopped him, an altercation followed and the police resorted to a lathicharge.

The police, she alleged, booked her husband and their gunmen on charges of firing and causing injury.

The Tarn Taran police chief had, however, reported that Balwinder Singh barged into the office of the Block Development Officer to take away the records, which led to a fierce clash.

More than 12 cops and villagers had sustained injuries in the pre- poll incident .

Ms Jagdish said that a Congress minister of the area was behind the report.

She added that about 25-30 police personnel entered her house at midnight and took away their gunmen Jaswinder Singh of the IRB, while the other gunman, including three of the IRB and three more, had left them fearing false cases and arrest by the police.

She said that her family and her husband besides her brother-in-law Ranjit Singh and sister-in-law Balraj Kaur all were Shaurya Chakra awardees.

They were under constant threat by the dreaded Babbar Khalsa and Khalistan Commando Force terrorist outfits.

She said that they had fought bravely during terrorism and 18 FIRs were lodged about various attacks on them at Bhikhiwind.

She said the Congress has started resorting to methods of suppression and urged for a fair inquiry into the incident in which her husband was reported to have absconded.


Row over floating of tenders
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 26
Tenders floated by the Municipal Council, Sirhind Fatehgarh Sahib, amounting to over Rs 1 crore for various development works have become a bone of contention for the council as certain social workers, contractors and outgoing councillors are opposed to the floating of tenders terming it illegal and violative of orders of Secretary Local Government. Even one of the contractor has filed a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner that he had not been issued a tender form to fill the tenders held on June 25.

Apprehending my offerings of quotations at competitive less rates rather allotted the works to their favourites contractors. The Executive Officer of the council however denied that the council had violated any rule floating while the tenders.

Mrs Anita Takyan, former acting president of council and Sunil Kumar, a social worker, released the copies of complaint to mediapersons today, which were addressed to the Chief Minister and various other officials alleging that the Under Secretary Local Government vide his memo dated December 31,2002 addressed to all Commissioners of corporations and all the Regional Deputy Directors, Local Bodies had directed that as per the instructions of Secretary, Local Government, the council should not to take up new development projects without making adequate financial arrangements as the Government was facing unavoidable litigation on account of unpaid liabilities pertaining to various civic bodies and it should be ensured that previous liabilities was cleared on top most priority and new projects should he undertaken only if the council had sufficient funds.

They further alleged that the Municipal Council, Sirhind, had invited tenders for 23 development works worth Rs 42.28 lakh for June 25, 2003, and another tenders worth Rs 45 lakh for June 27, 2003 in a section of the Press, violating the clear instructions of the Secretary, Local Government.

When contacted the EO, said they did not have any copy of such instructions issued by the Secretary, Local Government. He said they had floated the tenders for the development works and the payment would be made at the earliest.


Panchayat elections: more petitions filed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
If allegations in a bunch of writ petitions before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, the nomination papers for panchayat elections filed by certain candidates belonging to the Akali Dal were rejected by the returning officers in Bhikiwind, Valtoha and Patti blocks. The elections are scheduled to be held on June 29.

Taking up the petitions, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the High Court today ruled that the elections would be subject to the final decision of the writ petitions. Mr Dutt also ruled that the petitions would come up on July 1 for further hearing.

Seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for allowing them to contest the elections, the petitioners had earlier contended that the reasons behind the rejection of their nomination papers were not communicated to them.

Arguing before the Court, Mr Dalbir Singh Pheruman had asserted on behalf of the petitioners that till date the copies of the orders rejecting their nomination papers had not been handed over to them.

He had added that at some places certain candidates were declared elected even though the petitioners were not even allowed to enter the office to file their nomination papers.

It may be recalled that the High Court had already ruled that ad-interim stay in the matter could not be granted in view of the fact that the election process had already started in the state.

The ruling was issued on a bunch of petitions also challenging the rejection of nomination papers. Political considerations were cited as the reason behind the rejection of the documents in the cases.

In one such petition, Karamjit Kaur of Chaswal village in Patiala district had submitted that her papers were rejected at the behest of a former sarpanch.


In less than 24 hours before the commencement of the first year bachelor of dental surgery professional examinations, a Ludhiana student studying at Amritsar was today permitted to take the tests.

Taking up her case, the High Court also fixed July 3 as the next date of hearing. In her petition, Gaganpreet had earlier submitted that she was eligible to appear for the examinations.


Border with Haryana, Rajasthan sealed
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 26
To prevent any untoward incident and maintain law and order during the panchayat elections to be held on June 29, the district police authorities have sealed all points on the Punjab border touching Haryana and Rajasthan in the district.

The district police authorities have also launched a campaign to get the licensed weapons of the residents into custody so that firearms could not be used in the elections by anyone to frighten voters or those on poll duty.

It may be recalled that during the last Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections, the district had witnessed large-scale violence and booth-capturing in Gidderbaha and Lambi segments.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Muktsar, said that so far 1200 firearms had been taken into custody and the Station House Officers of all police stations in the district had been directed to get more arms into custody.

Out of a total of 265 polling stations, 93 had been identified as most sensitive. For these stations, additional forces would be deployed. A DSP- rank officer would supervise security arrangements of four blocks of the district. A team of the CID wing had also been deployed in the district.


Factories to remain closed on June 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Punjab Government today said all factories within the jurisdiction of gram panchayats covered under the Factories Act, 1948, will observe a closed day on June 29 to enable factory workers to cast their votes in the panchayat elections.


Cong leaders oppose NDA team’s Punjab visit
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 26
Senior Congress leaders in Faridkot district have appealed to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC and leader of the Opposition party to raise party’s voice in Parliament against the proposal of the Central government to send NDA team as demanded by former Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal. They said the Punjab government had launched a drive to check corruption in the state and needed help from the party’s central leadership for the success of the programme. They added that the issue of corruption cost the BJP heavily in Himachal.

In a joint press statement here yesterday they criticised the BJP-led NDA government and alleged that the union government which promised clean and neat administration to the people but encouraged corruption and failed to take action against leaders involved in scams like UTI and coffins in the past. They regretted that even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee a senior parliamentarian forgot to perform his duty in this regard and provided shelter to corrupt politicians in Punjab.

In another statement they have also appealed Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh not to allow the BSP to hold rally on July 7. They said that some vested interests were out to destabilise unity and the peace of the state which had been achieved after a long struggle. Among the prominent Congress leaders who made the statement include Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar, Mr Pawan Goel and Mr Satish Baghi President, Senior Vice-President and Press Secretary DCC respectively, Mr S.K. Gupta, Chairman Local Improvement Trust and associate of former president Giani Zail Singh, Mrs Veena Sharma Vice-President, Women Cell Punjab, Mr Ruldu Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Dhillon both members, PPCC.


Another Sikh jatha leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Wagah, June 26
The SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, today announced that the jatha leaders of the Shiromani Committee won’t present a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) to Mr Sham Singh, co-chairman, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, or other officials in Pakistan during their 10-day pilgrimage.

This was stated by Mr Badungar while flagging off the 164 member jatha from Teja Singh Samundari Hall in the SGPC complex here which left for Pakistan through the Wagah check point today. He said the SGPC could not give recognition to the PSGPC as it was the prerogative of the SGPC to manage all Sikh shrines in Pakistan as per the ‘Nehru-Master Tara Sigh pact’. He said it was the SGPC which could ensure proper ‘maryada’ in gurdwaras of Pakistan. Mr Badungar lamented that the huge properties in the name of gurdwaras were being usurped by the Government of Pakistan and land mafia.

Though Mr Sawinder Singh Sabharwal, leader of the SGPC jatha, which returned from Pakistan after observing the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev had accepted the ‘siropa’ from Mr Sham Singh, yet Mr Badungar claimed that the SGPC leader had received the same from the granthi of the gurdwara.

This time, the jatha was led by Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura, a close confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Tohra and the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, headed by Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna (also a close confidant of Mr Tohra) had been exchanging ‘siropas’ with the PSGPC.

The jatha would return on July 5 after observing the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 29 and paying obeisance at gurdwaras in Lahore, Aminabad, Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib.

Sikh pilgrims crossed over to Pakistan from the joint check point here to commemorate the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Dera Sahib Lahore.

Sikh pilgrims after crossing over the border by foot were taken to Gurdwara Sacha Sauda at Lahore by bus where they would stay till June 29.


Anti-Drugs Day observed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 26
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said today that narcotics were being used in abundance in Punjab as the state had boundaries with those countries which were the producers of opium and other narcotics and the same were smuggled on a large scale in the country.

The SSP, while speaking at a seminar organised in connection with International Anti-Drugs Day at the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant today, said the youths of the state and particularly of Malwa region had fallen prey to narcotics.

The SSP was of the opinion that although the youths who could not find employment fell a prey to drugs, but there were some other reasons also which were responsible for increasing number of drug addicts.

He said due to stressful and busy life, the parents did not find time to be with their children, due to which children fell in bad company. He said the parents should take care of their wards and should listen to their problems.

Mr Ishwar Singh said, the other reason was that the youths were not paying attention towards sports activities. He added that if the youths were involved in sports they would drift away from drugs.

Mr Sharat Chander Mahajan, General Manager of the thermal plant said people belonging to different professions should devote time to tackle the menace of drugs. He said the school students should be educated against use of drugs.

Earlier Mr Ishwar Singh flagged off a procession from the Fire Brigade chowk in connection with Anti-Drugs Day. The procession was taken out in the city by volunteers of an NGO, Sahara Jan Seva, in cooperation with the police department.

A child wearing a garland, symbolic of intoxicant capsules, injections and tablets, was portrayed as a trader of intoxicants selling “death”. Another youth was shown as dead while he was holding intoxicants in his hand.

Besides, hundreds of volunteers of the NGO were riding scooters holding banners against the use of drugs. Students of Police Public School also participated in the procession.

An exhibition of books and paintings was held at the Red Cross de-addiction centre of the city. Dr Mehboob Singh Saran, in charge of the centre, delivered a lecture to addicts and their attendants about the ill effects of drugs.

FARIDKOT: To observe Anti-Drugs Day more than 1,000 members of different voluntary organisations, including trainees of the nursing institute, in the district carrying banners against drug abuse took out a procession through the main streets of the town here today to make people aware of the bad effects of intoxicants.

Earlier, flagging off the procession which was jointly organised by the police and the Health Department, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, district police chief, said the police had achieved success in persuading over 100 youths to leave the use of intoxicants by holding seminars and rallies during the past six months in different parts of the district.


Students converge on streets against drugs
Tribune Reporters

HOSHIARPUR: A function was organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle at the Ass Kiran Deaddiction Centre on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking on Thursday. It was presided over by Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Social Welfare Minister Punjab.

Mr Mann announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the centre.

Dr Manmohanjit Singh, project in charge said the centre had treated 282 patients. Besides this 25 awareness camps and 59 exhibitions had been organised by it.

ROPAR: The Lions Club, Nangal, organised a seminar to spread the awareness about the menace of drug addiction. Dr D.P. Singh and Dr Kakkar delivered the lectures. The president of the Nangal Municipal Council, Mr R.S. Saini presided over the seminar.

GURDASPUR: Employees of the Health Department from all over the district including doctors participated in a function held here on Thursday to observe the drug deaddiction day. Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services was the chief guest. Dr Niranjan Singh Suman, Civil surgeon, was also present.

Earlier, Dr Sandhu met the chemists and advised them not to sell the drugs without the prescription of authorised medical practitioners.

The district Red Cross also organised function in the local Panchayat Bhavan which was attended by a large number of people.


Drive to identify drug addicts
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 26
“Owing to lack of awareness among the masses, the people, particularly the youth, are becoming drug addicts and the state is fastly marching towards becoming a state of drug addicts. We the society as a whole, have miserably failed in our moral duty to educate people about the consequences of drugs abuse. Now the district administration has launched a campaign to identify drug addicts in the district. After the completion of this process, they will be kept in a de-addiction centre that will start functioning from July 1,” said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a seminar organised by the district police in Red Cross Bhavan here today to mark International Day against Drug Abuse.

He said it was unfortunate that 72 per cent people use drugs like opium, poppy husk, ganja and charas. About 15 per cent people indulge in smacking. “Society seems to have given recognition to alcohol consumption and now it is openly served at functions,” he said. About 3000 people die every day due to the use of tobacco. The district administration is fully aware about the growing menace and all people involved in the sale of drugs will be nabbed,” he added. He said he had issued orders to the Health Department, particularly to drug inspectors, to conduct regular checks at chemist shops and book those indulging in sale of intoxicants. He said the administration had also issued orders listing specific medicines that would be sold only on prescription by doctors. He said the administration had identified certain chemists, who were carrying out illegal sale of drugs just for their monetary gains and spoiling the lives of people. He said action would be taken against all such persons. He appreciated the steps taken by the police in controlling the menace of drug abuse.

Addressing the seminar, Mr Mohinder Pal Gupta, District and Sessions Judge, called upon the administration and society to first identify the cause due to which the trade of drugs was flourishing in the region. He said opium, charas etc. were smuggled in the country through Pakistan and Afghanistan. These intoxicants were available for anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 per kg in those countries. After smuggling, these were sold at a premium rate of around Rs 20 to 30 lakh per kg in India. The same quantity was sold for crores in America. He said if any trade would give so much of profit, anti-social elements were bound to be attracted towards that ‘business’.

Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, called upon the people to inform the police about the illegal sale of drugs and intoxicants in their respective areas. He said the police was committed to make Fatehgarh Sahib a drug-free district. He said the police would raid all those chemist shops where illegal sale of drugs was going on. He urged social organisations to come forward and extend help to the police in its campaign against drug abuse.

Dr Balbir Chand gave detailed information about the effects of drugs. Dr P.L. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Dr Balwinder Singh, Dr Bhushan Gupta and Dr R.S. Bawa also addressed the seminar.


Sell prescribed medicines: DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 26
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of chemists here yesterday urged them to sell only prescribed medicines. He said the district administration would notify certain medicines, which would be sold only on prescription.

He said the administration would launch a campaign to arrest those chemists who were selling medicines without prescription. He said Drug Inspector would be asked to check the chemist shops regularly.

Addressing the chemists, Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, said the police was making all-out efforts to make this district intoxicant free. He said the chemists could play a vital role in making the mission of the police a success. He said the police had identified 25 chemists, who were selling drugs illegally. He said that this meeting had been called just to warn them and to urge them to stop this practice.

He said the police would make surprise raids to catch “fake” customers. Anyone found indulging in this malpractice would not be spared. He said during the past six months, the police had seized 45,000 intoxicant tablets, 2,000 capsules, 250 syrup bottles and 300 injections.

Dr P.L. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, gave detailed information about the new rules and clauses of the Drug Act. Mr Krishan Kumar Verma, president, District Chemist Association, urged the administration to nab the RMPs and quacks.


Police burns narcotics
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 26
The district police burnt 76 quintals of poppy husk, worth about Rs 40 lakh, and about 5,000 narcotics tablets and injections at a function here today. The narcotics had been seized by the district police from smugglers and other persons. Dr G.D. Pandey, IG (Crime), Punjab, lit the bags of poppy husk and narcotics.

The poppy husk and narcotics had been set ablaze by the police after getting permission from a court. After burning the poppy husk, tablets and injections, the police would now send 20 kg of opium to a opium factory at Gazipur for disposing of the same.

Dr G.D. Pandey distributed bank cheques, ranging between Rs 25,000 and Rs 40,000 each among members of 14 families who had been repeatedly indulging in the poppy husk trade. The cheques were given to them so that they could adopt alternative means of earning for their livelihood. Later, Dr G.D. Pandey inaugurated a women counselling centre at the local Police Lines.


PSHRC takes suo motu notice of news report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has taken suo motu notice of a report, ‘Wooing voters with liquor, poppy husk’ published in these columns on June 24.

The complainant, advocate Charanjit Singh Bakshi, in his complaint, had drawn the attention of the commission towards this report. The report had highlighted how illicit liquor and drugs were being supplied by candidates contesting the panchayat elections in the districts of Bathinda and Amritsar.

Taking suo motu notice of the complaint, Mr N.K. Arora, a member of the commission, in his order, observed that since Mr Bakshi had no legal standing to file this complaint, he would assist the commission with the proceedings in this case. Copies of the order were forwarded to the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Bathinda for necessary action.


Mandi Board chief felicitated
Tribune New Service

Samana, June 26
The newly elected Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board Mr Sant Ram Singla was given a warm welcome today on his first visit to the town after being appointed to the post.

Addressing two functions organised by the Municipal Corporation and the Arhatiya Association, Mr Singla said he would ensure that all Mandi Board roads in the area get repaired on a priority basis. Besides he would ensure to starting again the canteen in the Market Committee. The possession of a guest house of the Market Committee which had been taken over by the Punjab Police would also be taken back, he added.

Addressing two functions, Mr Singla said that Samana was the only “B” type town in the state which had been taken in the ambit of a scheme under which aid would be provided for the development of medium and small towns.


Employees’ plea on GPF
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 26
Punjab employees working with the BBMB have demanded the transfer of their general provident fund (GPF) accounts from the office of the Chief Engineer (Irrigation), BBMB.

In a letter to the Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab, a copy of which is with this reporter, the president of the Punjab and Haryana Employees Joint Action Committee of the BBMB, Mr Ashok Rana, stated that at present the GPF accounts of the Punjab irrigation employees working with the BBMB were being maintained by the Chief Engineer (Irrigation) based at Chandigarh.

The Punjab irrigation employees working with the board are stationed at distant places like Nangal, Sundernagar, Talwara and Dehar. They have to go to the office of the Chief Engineer (Irrigation) at Chandigarh even if they want a petty loan from their GPF accounts.

The employees are never supplied their GPF statements on time. The Punjab Government has transferred the GPF accounts of all government employees to their respective drawing and dispersing officers (DDOs). However, in case of the state employees working in the BBMB, their accounts are still being maintained at Chandigarh.

Even the board has now written to the Punjab Government expressing its willingness to maintain the GPF accounts of the state employees working in the organisation. The employees have requested the Principal Secretary to intervene and get their GPF accounts shifted to their respective DDOs to save them from harassment.


Pigeon episode: Socialist Front to move court
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 26
The Socialist Front of Punjab today decided to move the court in connection with the pigeon episode of April 13, 2001, in which human trafficking was done in the garb of the religion.

Mr Kesar Singh, president of the front, said in a press conference here today that the front had demanded that the culprits should be summoned at Akal Takht and ex-communicated from the Sikh panth.

He also urged the Union Government to order a CBI probe into the case. A deputation would go to Akal Takht next month to raise the issue, he added. We had already met the Jathedar of the Takht Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib in this regard, he added.

Mr Kesar Singh alleged that former CM Parkash Singh Badal, former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur and Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti were responsible for this episode.


Two hurt in explosion
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 26
Two scavengers were injured, one seriously, in an explosion while they were reportedly removing copper material from a ‘bomb’ like object at the Dhapai road area under Islamabad police station here today. The victims have been admitted to a private hospital.

The four fingers of the left hand of Ayodhya Parshad (32), son of Ramdin Parshad of Bihar, were blown off besides other minor injuries when he was removing copper from the shell. He used to work as rag picker along with his cousin, Vajinder Yadav, who also suffered minor injuries. Panic gripped the locality after the loud explosion was heard. The people were shocked when they saw the injured Ayodhya Parshad being taken to the hospital.

Ayodhya while talking to The Tribune said the incident happened when he was planning along with his cousin to go to their native village tomorrow. He said he brought the copper like material from the Chheharta side. Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, Amritsar, said the explosion material was a splinter which was usually used by the Army during practice. It seemed that the explosives was misfired and later picked up by the two scavengers. However, it exploded when the victim tried to remove its copper shell, he added.


Ban ‘Bhoot’: society

Bathinda, June 26
The Taraksheel Society, Punjab, has urged the state government to impose a ban on the screening of Hindi film “Bhoot” as it has been having an adverse effect on the viewers. In a press note here, Mr Harinder Kumar, member of the society, pointed out that in a counselling centre it was noticed that several people had been adversely affected by the film. — TNS


Dulo is forest corporation Chairperson
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Ms Harbans Kaur Dulo today took over as the Chairperson of the Punjab State Forest Development Corporation, says a press note.


Robbers in police uniform loot 6 farmhouses
Tribune News Service

Kotli than Singh, (Jalandhar), June 26
Terror struck about 12 villages as a group of seven to eight armed robbers — most of whom were donning police uniforms struck at six farm houses, beat up and abused women and children, and decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees in the wee hour of today.

Robbers most of them in police uniforms knocked at the doors of their targets and raised an alarm that they had come to search the houses and were on the lookout for somebody who had resorted to a shootout in the village.

The chain of robberies started from a “dera” of Gujjars at Buhana village. But they left the “dera” immediately after its owner Billa reportedly recognised some of them. Before leaving the “dera” along with 10 tolas of gold and Rs 10,000 in cash they injured Billa with sharp-edged weapons, Later, he was shifted to a Phagwara hospital.

Robbers then moved to the house of one Baksho, a widow, and used the same trick to call her out of the house. As soon as she opened the door, they barged into the house and two of them took her and two children as hostage on pistol point and looted some gold ornaments and Rs 12,000 in cash. When the widow tried to resist they mercilessly beat up her children. They also robbed Baksho’s relative Kuldip Singh and decamped with three tolas gold and cash worth Rs 15,000. They also beat up his 17-year-old daughter, Rajwinder Kaur. Interestingly, after locking the family members in a room, they drank liquor in the house for an hour and a half. Robbers, however, left an axe and a big knife in Baksho’s house.

After this they forced their entry into a religious “dera” of Baba Lal Singh near the village and demanded Rs 2 lakh from its “sewadar” Hardev Singh, a 74- year -old retired Lieutenant. When he refused to bow to their demand, two of robber first tried to scare him with a pistol and then tied him up with his clothes and thrashed him. Before leaving the place, they searched the “golak” of the dera. They also attacked a nearby farm of Sukhdev Singh, locked three servants in a room and left the place along with Rs 500 and some household goods.

The last target of robbers was the farm house of Harbhajan Singh. They forced Harbhajan’s wife, Dalbir, to hand over her gold ornaments and decamped with Rs. 20,000, said Kamaljit Singh, son of Harbhajan Singh.

The police, according to villagers, reached the place at 3.30 a.m. after being informed by Kamaljit Singh. They rounded up 12 youngsters of Madhopur village after Billa suspected that some of robbers could be from the village.


Valuables worth Rs 60,000 looted
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 26
A Gujjar, Babu Din, was robbed of valuables worth Rs 60,000 by eight or 10 dacoits at Bohani village last night. He and his son Teg Ali were beaten up by the dacoits.

The dacoits threatened to molest Babu Din’s daughters if he raised an alarm or refused to part with the cash and jewellery. They decamped with Rs 15,000, a mobile telephone and golden and silver ornaments. 


Retired teacher awaiting dues for 13 yrs
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 26
Thirteen years after his retirement, Mr Krishan Parkash is still to get his dues. Mr Parkash has been trying without any success to get his promotional increment for all these years.

Showing letters written to the Director of Public Instruction (DPI), Schools, Mr Parkash said he had met the DPI (S), Punjab, in February this year and also submitted a letter regarding the dues. However, he was still to get any reply from the authority concerned.

Mr Parkash, who claimed that he was suffering from a number of ailments, alleged that he has been drawing pension for the past 13 years in the old grade of B.Ed although he had been promoted as lecturer during his services.

Mr Parkash said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had already ordered that the employees of aided schools of Punjab were entitled to the same benefits of promotional increments as their counterparts in government schools.

He said though in similar cases, some persons had been able to get their promotional increments, he had been denied his dues.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |