Friday, July 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



All properties open to scrutiny: Badal family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Badal family today said its all properties were open to the media scrutiny. Mr Bubby Badal, a close relative of former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said the Badal family had nothing to hide and anybody from the public could come to check the prosperities.

He said the properties were legal and accounted for in income tax returns. Mediapersons were today invited by Mr Bubby Badal to see Mr Sukbir Badal’s house No 256 in Sector 9 here. However, its keys could not be located. The keys were with a women attendant in the house, who was away to some other place. Mediapersons would be again invited to have a look in the interior parts of the house.

Mediapersons went around the building today. A number of Akali workers and also its youth wing workers led by Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon are camping in the House to maintain round-the-clock vigil. Most of the workers come from Nangal and Anandpur Sahib today.

Mr Bubby Badal said the house was on lease with the Dabwali Transport , owned by the Badals, since 1991. The furniture in the house had been taken on rent and air-conditioners on the lease. He said members of the Badal family come to stay in this house rarely. Most of the time in the year, Mr Sukhbir Badal stays in Delhi, his mother, Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal in the native Badal village and Mr Parkash Singh Badal stays in the official house, that has been given to him by the state government for being a leader of the Opposition, in Sector 2 here.

He said there was no dance floor in the house and all reports in this regard were baseless and motivated. No one in Badal family was found of throwing “ leisure and pleasure” parties, he added.

There were hundreds of houses which were more opulent, luxurious than this house of the Badal family in the city, he added.

The Vigilance Bureau should also tell mediapersons that how many air-conditioners were installed at the official and private residences of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh, Patiala and Delhi. Mr Bubby Badal said the value of the house of the Badal family was not even equal to one room of the Capt Amarinder Singh’s palace in Patiala.

SAD not to seek help from Centre
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 3
Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior vice-president of SAD, made it clear today that his party would not seek help from the Central Government to check the “terror” unleashed by the Punjab Government on senior Akali leaders, including party chief Parkash Singh Badal and his family members.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani had been apprised of the matter, he said.


Vigilance to grill Sukhbir soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau may question Sukhbir Singh Badal in the June 24 case registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, members of his family and others for possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

An indication to this effect was given by the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey, at a press conference saying that investigations to assess the property owned by the Badals were in progress and nothing firm could be said as yet.

Defending the action of the bureau in registering a case before holding an inquiry or investigation, he said the law of the land was being followed. When asked whether the same procedure would be followed in case a similar complaint supported by an affidavit was received against any Congress minister, he said the bureau would follow the law.

He denied that any complaint had been registered against any of former BJP ministers or present Congress ministers. “If any complaint had been made to the bureau, action must have been initiated on it,” he added.” We register a case if genuineness of complaint and credibility of the complainant is satisfactory,” he said, adding that investigations were yet to establish whether all investments in the property of the Badals came via graft money or other sources.

When his attention was drawn to a statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, criticising the manner in which cases against the Badals were pursued, he said he was not “competent enough to comment on that”.

“I have been discharging duties of a police officer fearlessly and honestly,” he said. Warrants to search property, including government houses of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal, were obtained to assess and evaluate the same.

Mr Pandey said Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and his mother had floated several companies whose capital was subsequently transferred to Orbit Resorts and all shares were issued in the name of Mr Sukhbir Badal. “We are investigating these transactions. In one case, the share money of a company was invested in Orbit Resorts and later shares were issued in the name of Mr Sukhbir Badal. Only a few of these companies did some active business,” he added.

Mr Pandey maintained that Mr Sukhbir Badal had rebuilt the Sector 9 house. In his Income tax return he had shown a loan of Rs 31 lakh from banks, withdrawal of Rs 45 lakh from his other accounts in a total expenditure of Rs 93 lakh. The Badals acquired or renovated some property after 1997, he added.

He said Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon was wanted in the USA in criminal and narcotics cases.


Troops to Iraq: Paswan to move motion
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 3
Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, former Union Minister and President of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), will move a privilege motion against the NDA government in the next session. The motion will be moved against the proposal of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to create a consensus for sending troops to Iraq.

Mr Paswan stated this while talking to newspersons here yesterday. He was here to address a state-level function of the youth wing of the party.

He said the Prime Minister had met the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to create a consensus for sending the troops to Iraq. This was a violation of the resolution passed earlier by Parliament, condemning the US attack on Iraq and demanding that the USA should pull out of Iraq.

The move to create a consensus on the issue was eyewash, he said. Through the privilege motion, Opposition parties would oppose government “designs” on sending the troops to Iraq, he said.

Asked about the possible alliance of his party in the coming Assembly elections, Mr Paswan said the Congress should form a parallel alliance to the NDA to oust the BJP adding that the Congress should strike an alliance with secular parties. He said the party would organise a rally on July 30 at Talkatora Stadium for making right to work a fundamental right.

Government self-employment schemes had failed to achieve the objective, he said.

Mr Paswan also condemned the Talhan incident.


Punjab MP objects to troops for Iraq
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Mr Ashwani Kumar, Congress member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab, has objected to the deployment of Indian troops in Iraq on the ground that hostilities had not ceased and the occupying forces were facing continued armed resistance by the Iraqis.

In a statement issued on his return from the USA, Mr Kumar pointed out that India had scrupulously refrained from deploying its troops in third-country conflicts except upon a clear and specific invitation to do so by a friendly nation.

Secondly, deployment of Indian troops in Iraq at this juncture when there was active Iraqi resistance to the occupying forces, may be construed by the people of Iraq as an act against them. This might have an adverse effect on the relationship between the two countries.

During his visit to the USA, Mr Kumar held meetings with Congressmen Joe Wilson and Joseph Crowley, co-chairmen of the Indian Caucas in the US House of Representatives, and also with Senators Edward Kennedy and Steve Solarz. He also met Dr Henry Kissinger.

While supporting closer Indo-US relationship based on mutuality of interests and shared perspectives between the two countries, he has called for greater appreciation on the part of the US administration of the sensitivities of the people of India as reflected in the resolution passed by Parliament. Mr Kumar has appealed to the Vajpayee government not to compromise on the basic principles of its foreign policy.

Best bakery case

In a separate statement, Mr Kumar, who is also a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, has criticised the verdict of the Vadodara Court in the Best Bakery case.

The acquittal of all 21 accused in the case had exposed the Modi Government in Gujarat, which had failed to take action against those responsible for crimes against humanity in the state. “It is indeed a sad commentary on the criminal justice system in operation, that despite 44 days of trial and production of 73 witnesses, not a single conviction was secured by the prosecution,” he added.


Progress reports sought from states
Empowerment of panchayats
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
As most state governments are dilly -dallying in empowering panchayati raj institutions, the Union Government has directed them to submit in writing as to what they have done so far on this front.

The Union Government has convened a meeting of the states for July 19 to review the decentralisation of powers by the states to these institutions. The Union Government has reached the conclusion that even after 10 years of the 73rd amendment to the Constitution, most states have not given powers to the panchayati raj institutions.

Punjab is one of the states which has done little so far in this connection. However, Punjab has implemented administrative decisions such as the setting up of the Punjab State Election Commission, district planning committees, ect.

In fact, the process to empower the panchayats was started during the Beant Singh Government. But that did nothing practically. Then the SAD-BJP Government during its five-year rule continued to study the issue but failed to give any powers to the panchayati raj institutions. Even though the Amarinder Government has made several announcements to decentralise powers, it has done nothing.

Sources said a meeting on the empowerment of panchayats was held today. The government wanted that in the first phase, the panchayati raj institutions should be given the powers to run schools, public health services at the village level, manage dispensaries, and various welfare schemes pertaining to the Scheduled Castes, backward classes, destitute women etc.

Another meeting would be held on July 9 to prepare the final roadmap for powers to be given to the panchayats. The issue would then be discussed at the July 11 meeting of the Cabinet subcommittee before it was put up before the Council of Ministers for final approval and implementation.

The problem being faced by the authorities concerned is that no department is ready to dilute its authority by handing over powers to the panchayats. Officials feel that their departments might be closed once powers were handed over to the panchayats. If pension cases are to be decided at the level of panchayats, what was the need for the Department of the Social Security, they reason. Similar examples are being cited in the case of other departments.

However, there is strong pressure from Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress, to give powers to the panchayats. It was Rajiv Gandhi’s brain child to empower the panchayats. In fact, Karnataka had empowered the panchayats much before the 73rd amendment. There is no alternative but to empower the panchayati raj institutions in Punjab. 


Women sarpanches to work for better village life
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Women in rural Punjab have secured more than their rightful 33 per cent share in the grassroot democratic institution of gram panchayats by heading more than 4,200 of the 12,446 panchayats.

Though those elected are a mixed group, both illiterate and educated, they mostly have a common minimum programme — to work for upliftment of the weaker sections of society. Adult literacy, pension for the aged and poor, better educational and healthcare facilities and overall development of villages is all they want to achieve in their five-year term.

Many of them promise to do it on their own, with the support of fellow panches, while some others, inexperienced and introvert, will depend upon either their husbands or educated sons to help them discharge their responsibilities. In some cases, even experience of in-laws is promised to be utilised in running day-to-day affairs of the panchayat.

Though the exact number of women sarpanches elected in Punjab were still not known the 74th amendment to the Constitution guarantees that one third of the 12,446 panchayats that went to the polls on June 29 elected women sarpanches. In addition, the panchayats reserved for the Scheduled Castes also have reservation for women.

The State Election Commission is still compiling data on election results while the Department of Rural Department and Panchayats is awaiting repolling to be held in 33 gram panchayats on July 13.

Ms Prem Lata Sharma (45), the newly elected Sarpanch of Naushehra village (Verka block), wants her husband, who had been the village sarpanch for the past about 25 years, to be on her side. She is a typical example of the cases where husbands will run the show on behalf of their sarpanch wives. Prem Lata is a matriculate.

Overall development of the village will be ensured, with top priority to the bricklining of streets and lanes, she says.

Ms Parmjit Kaur (40), sarpanch of Nikka Loharka village in Verka block, also admits that her husband and villagers (voters) would be the guiding force. Her father-in-law, Mr Ajaib Singh, remained the sarpanch for two terms during terrorism.

Mrs Harwinder Kaur, sarpanch of Beer Behman in Bathinda, will work hard for arranging old age and widow pension of the deserving candidates, besides ensuring better education facilities. A matriculate, Mrs Kaur plans to take up on priority the metalling of a section of the link roads of her village. Her husband, Mr Satnam Singh, also remained the sarpanch, for one and a half years.

Mrs Ranjeet Kaur, sarpanch of Jodhpur Romana, would work hard to get various grants from different agencies for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the poor sections of society. Though illiterate, she wants women to be given preference in education, besides economic and social development. Participation of women in grassroot politics would help in improving their lot. She would take her own decisions.

“Now is the time I can work for the issues closer to my heart like helping women in distress and those who are victims of marital discord. Women of the village have reposed faith in my capabilities since they feel that a woman is better equipped to understand and deal with the problems confronting them,” says Manjit Kaur, the newly elected sarpanch of Hargobindpura, also known as Mini Chapaar. At 25 she is the youngest woman sarpanch in Ludhiana district. A diploma holder and working as a draftsperson in her village, Manjit Kaur was married five years ago. Mother of a four-year-old son, she has decided to shoulder the responsibility imposed on her. She will be an active village head. Her husband is a former panch who feels that she already has enough exposure since many villagers come to her for getting their blueprints prepared.

In contrast is Tarsem Kaur of Kaalas Kalan, near Mattewara. Illiterate and a mother of six children, she was handpicked by a former sarpanch of the village. “What is wrong if my husband works on my behalf?” she asks.

Young Paramjit Kaur, who has been elected sarpanch of Chhauni Kalan village in Hoshiarpur, is a mother of two children and a graduate. Her husband, Nek Ram, is a Head Constable in the Punjab Police. Paramjit (31) said her foremost priority was to solve varied problems encountered by aged, illiterate women. “Their biggest problem or handicap is that they cannot even sign or read. My agenda is to make them literate. I have planned to create awareness among them about their rights and duties. I shall be handling my affairs single-handedly. I will take the help of my colleague panches and take them along,” said Paramjit.

Ms Varinder Kaur (39), whose family dominated the Dhariwal panchayat of Jalandhar district for over 40 years, has a different and independent outlook when it comes to working as a sarpanch. She says she would not allow her husband to interfere in her working. A graduate with a diploma in computers, she is the daughter-in-law of Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Punjab Minister for Local Bodies. Her husband, Chaudhary Surinder Singh, is Chairman of the Zila Parishad. Varinder Kaur is a social worker.

Ms Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, sarpanch of Sidhwan Dona village of Kapurthala district, plans to convert her village in the backward belt of the district into a developed village.

Born in 1958, Jaswinder Kaur is a matriculate and the wife of Mr Joginder Singh, Chairman of the Block Samiti, Kapurthala. She says: “I want to contribute in the literacy movement by converting all uneducated residents into literate citizens so that they can contribute to development of the village.”

Ajmero (60), a Scheduled Caste and the new sarpanch of Mallomajra in Patiala, does not know anything about the panchayati raj system. She says she does not want to know anything about it because her son, a matriculate, will run the “sarpanchi”. “I am illiterate and have never gone to any government office in my life. How can I run the affairs of the panchayat,” says Ajmero. Her husband, Ram Asra, apparently calls the shots at least when their sons are not around. Ajmero has six sons, two of them employed.

“My endeavour would be to work for overall development of the village and see it come up as a model village,” says Balwinder Kaur (30), sarpanch of Mullanpur Garibdass village (Ropar). The first and foremost task will be laying proper sewerage and drainage, besides providing proper toilet facilities for women. Emphasis will also be on making the village lanes ‘pucca’ and providing adequate streetlighting facilities. She will also strive to get the Notified Area Committee (NAC) status for the village. Balwinder attributes her success to her father-in-law, Mr Naib Singh Dhaliwal, a former sarpanch of this village, and goodwill of the family in the village. A widow, she has been staying with her in-laws. “Though I will continue to have the support of my family, I would try and take independent decisions and come up to the expectations of those who have reposed confidence in my abilities,’’ says Balwinder.

With inputs from Varinder Walia (Amritsar), Varinder Singh (Jalandhar), Amarjit Thind (Ludhiana), Chander Parkash (Bathinda) and Jangveer Singh (Patiala).

Rashtriya Raksha Dal scores in Panchayat poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal has claimed that 10 of its candidates have been elected as Sarpanches and 48 as panches in Narot Mehra, Dina Nagar, Sujan Pur, Dhariwal, Kanuwan and Gurdaspur blocks in the recently concluded panchayat elections in Punjab.

In a statement today, Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu ( Retd), President of the Dal, said it was the first time that the Dal had put up its candidates at the grassroot level elections. He said Col J.S. Bal (Retd) and Col Dharam Singh (Retd) moved from village to village to campaign in support of the Dal’s candidates.

He said the Dal would draw a development plan for the village where its representatives had been elected Sarpanches.

Vet remanded

Moga, July 3
A veterinary doctor and presiding officer in panchayat polls, who was arrested for accepting illegal gratification of Rs 15,000 for helping one of the candidates by polling fake votes on June 29, was today remanded in judicial custody till July 14.

The accused, Vinod Kumar, was produced in a local court by police on the expiry of his police remand. The court, however, refused to extend his police remand and sent him in judicial custody.

Vinod Kumar was presiding officer in Gagra village during panchyat polling when he was arrested by police. The bribe and counterfoil of ballot papers were recovered from his possession. — UNI


Ballot papers found in toilets, re-poll sought
Our Correspondent

Malout, July 3
A number of residents of Janda Walla village complained to the state Election Commission today that they had found some ballot papers from the toilets of the building where polling for panchayat elections had been held.

The residents alleged that the elections at zone 3, booths 85 and 86, falling under the Malout block, had not been held in a free and fair manner. They alleged that they had found ballot papers bearing serial number 227, 005, 671, 424, 498, 659, 445 and 661. The residents also alleged that some ballot papers were found to be without signatures of the presiding officers during counting. They demanded that polling should be held again.

The residents, including Mr Major Singh Dhillon and Mr Veer Singh, alleged that after the first counting, Ms Nasib Kaur was declared elected by a margin of three votes. After the second counting, she was declared the winner by five votes, but after the third counting, Ms Sukhjit Kaur was declared elected with a margin of 24 votes. They alleged that this had been done under political pressure.

Other residents alleged that the polling staff had failed to explain the meaning of the word 'general' used during the framing of the results.

Alleging that senior officials had given vague replies, they claimed that this had resulted in confusion about the declaration of results.


Pro VC-Registrar rift widens
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 3
The Punjabi University Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, has taken the university Registrar to task for writing a letter to him asking him to give the letter of permission whereby he had become a member of various academic bodies in the country.

The Pro VC had earlier in a letter to the university Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, claimed that he was a member of various academic bodies in the country and that he be allowed permission to attend their meetings, whenever required. The Pro VC had routed the application to the Chancellor when the university authorities had earlier told him that the Vice-Chancellor was the executive head of the university and that the Pro VC should take permission from him before proceeding on leave.

The Pro VC in a confidential letter sent to the Registrar yesterday has said:” as a senior colleague in the faculty and presently holding a constitutional post, I would advise you to confine yourself to your statutory powers under the calendar and try to maintain the dignity and decorum of the office”.

The letter was written in response to a recent missive to the Pro VC from the Registrar asking him to give the letter of permission he had received from the VC to become a member of various academic bodies. The letter written to the Pro VC by the Registrar informed him that the university had received the letter written by him to the Chancellor for comments. It said every university official and employee needed to take permission before becoming a member of any organisation. The letter said “the Vice-Chancellor has ordered” that you send photostat copies of the relevant permissions taken from him for becoming a member of various academic bodies.

The Registrar had written in the letter that this information was necessary so that the university could send an appropriate reply to the Chancellor. Earlier, it had mentioned that it had received information on his behalf that he was a member of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Grant-in-Aid Committee (Ministry of Human Resource Development), University Grants Commission, Centre for Policy Research, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh, and the Senate, Banaras Hindu University.

The Registrar, Dr Param Bakshish Singh was not available for comments. The university spokesman, Dr B.S. Sandhu, when contacted, said the Registrar was out of station. He, however, maintained that the Registrar was the guardian of the university rules and regulations and could write to anyone regarding university procedures. The spokesman said the rules, regulations and statutes of the university could be brought to the notice of the Pro VC. He said this was enshrined in the university calendar and that the Registrar was within his rights to correspond with the Pro VC. 


Voter lists for SGPC poll ready
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 3
The voter lists of all 17 constituencies of the SGPC have been prepared under the Sikh Gurdwara Board Election Rules, 1959.

The preparation of the lists indicate that the general election of the SGPC could be held by the end of this year.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-district election officer Raminder Singh, in a press note, here yesterday, said the lists had been kept in the tehsil, patwar khanas, offices of returning officers concerned and notified Sikh gurdwaras municipal committee offices for information of the public. The lists could be seen by August 22.


PSEB staff burn govt’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 3
Members of the Technical Services Union (TSU) of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today burnt an effigy of Punjab Government in the city for dismantling the board.

The members of the TSU raised slogans against the Punjab Government and alleged that the government was not paying any heed towards their demands. They alleged that while taking a decision about forming corporations in place of board, the authorities did not consider the views of the employees.

Mr Karora Singh, president of the city unit of the TSU, said that the formation of corporations in place of PSEB was a step towards privatisation of the board. He alleged that the government was planning to privatise all boards and corporations in the state under pressure of world powers.

Mr Randhir Singh, joint secretary of the city unit of TSU, said they would launch an agitation with the support of unions of farmers and labourers against privatisation of PSEB.

He said that after the privatisation of the board the electricity would become very expensive and would be out of reach of poor people and small farmers.

He said that not only the employees but also the consumers of PSEB were dissatisfied with the decision of the government about privatising the board. He claimed that the experiments of privatising the generation and distribution of power had failed elsewhere, then how would it be successful in Punjab.


Buta Mandi firing
Cops fail to meet inquiry officer
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 3
Punjab Police officials, who had been asked to join the ongoing inquiry into Buta Mandi firing case wherein a Dalit youth Vijay Kumar was allegedly killed in police firing on June 5, today failed to appear before the inquiry officer here despite clear instructions issued to them in this regard.

Mr Balwinder Singh Multani, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA-cum-inquiry officer, said that none of the police officials, who had been told to get their statements recorded on the issue, had joined the probe so far.

Some of the senior police officials, who were on duty on June 5 when the firing at Buta Mandi area took place, had been asked to join the inquiry on July 2 and July 3.

“The next date of recording of statements of police officials have been fixed on July 7 and 8 as no police officials today turned up to get their versions recorded to help probe into the circumstances, which forced the police to open fire,” Mr Multani added.

The state government had appointed Mr Multani as inquiry officer to probe into the circumstances which had forced the police to resort to firing on agitating mob in the aftermath of caste clashes between Dalit and Jat communities at Talhan village on June 5 afternoon.

The inquiry officer was earlier told to submit his report within a period of 15 days, which was later extended further as statements of police officials were yet to be recorded. The statements of injured in police firing had already been recorded by the inquiry officer.


Bhog ceremony of Bir burning performed 
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 3
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, while talking to The Tribune here today said the SGPC had succeeded in persuading the Centre to restart the work of the beautification of Darbar Sahib by initiating immediate work on the fourth and fifth phases of the “Galiara scheme”. He said that Mr L.K. Advani, Union Home Minister had called the meeting on July 7 in his office to take stock of the beautification process. Besides the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the SGPC president, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and the Union Minister of Finance, Housing Development and Cultural Affairs have also been invited.

The SGPC president said that last week a delegation of the SGPC had met Mr Jagmohan, Union Minister for Tourism, and demanded that a sum of Rs 53 crore be sanctioned for this project.

Mr Badungar had come here to participate in the bhog ceremony of the Akhand path performed at the Gurdwara in Bajidpur village where six Birs had got burnt allegedly due to short circuit of electricity.

Expressing deep concern and sorrow over the increasing rate of such unfortunate incidents, Mr Badungar said that managing committee of gurdwara, where incidents of Bir burning are reported should be summoned at Akal Takht. He said five Singh Sahibs had already taken the decision in this regard. He said that he did not agree with the version of the villagers and district administration that the fire was caused due to fluctuation in the electricity.

Later, addressing an impressive gathering on the occasion of bhog ceremony, Mr Badungar said that it was the responsibility of the local managing committee of the gurdwaras to look after the institutions properly.

Giani Jaswinder Singh, Jathedar Darbar Sahib, Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar, Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Mr Iman Singh Mann son of Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Mr R.S. Cheema former minister, Mr Jaswant Singh member SGPC, and various other speakers also addressed the ceremony and condemned the unfortunate incident.


Galiara issue: team to meet Advani
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
A high-level delegation, including Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee President Kirpal Singh Badungar, will meet Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on July 7 to seek the early completion of the galiara beautification scheme.

A delegation under the chairmanship of Prof Badungar had earlier met Urban Development Minister Jagmohan. Shortage of funds had then been cited as the main reason for the delay.


Pilgrims assaulted: SGPC writes to Uttaranchal Govt
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Expressing concern over the unprecedented attack on Sikh pilgrims at Gobindghat en route to Hemkunt Sahib by some shopkeepers, the secretary of the SGPC, Mr Harbeant Singh, has written to the Uttranchal Government to take action against the accused.

He appealed to the state government to ensure the safety of Sikh pilgrims. 


Without power for 3 nights
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 3
A technical snag in a unit of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant on Monday has led to power cuts at night in some trans-railway colonies here. The residents of these areas have been put on rationed power supply and some areas have got no power supply for the last three nights.

Mr Rajneesh Bhardwaj of Paras Ram Nagar said there had been no power supply on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. He said power inverters had failed and they had been getting rationed power supply. He said power was supplied from 12 noon to 4.30 p.m. today.

The residents of some trans-railway areas took to the streets on Tuesday night and demanded the restoration of power supply. They gathered at the PSEB complaint office in the area and started raising slogans against the inefficiency of the authorities. The protesters, including women and children, also raised slogans against the Punjab State Electricity Board and local Congress leaders.

Women complained that due to high humidity and power failure, their children were not feeling well and the food items stored in their refrigerators had been spoiled. They said they were contemplating to buy power from the owners of tent houses.

Mr Vijay Sharma, a former municipal councillor, alleged that the area had been dubbed as the stronghold of the BJP-SAD combine and stepmotherly treatment was being meted out to the residents. Other residents also alleged that Congress leaders had not bothered to visit their areas and listen to their grievances.

Sources in the PSEB said the technical fault had been corrected, but some parts, which were to be brought from other states, had not been delivered. They said the rationing of power had been done to provide some relief to the residents of these areas. The sources admitted that some areas had been without power for nearly 20 hours a day.

In a press note, Mr J.S. Ghai, district secretary, CPI, alleged that the residents were facing ‘historic’ power cuts. He said it was shameful for the PSEB that the residents had been without electricity for four days and some were getting power supply for three or four hours a day.

Drainage had been affected as pumps were not being run. Drinking water supply in some areas had also been affected.


Punjab markets flooded with spurious ghee
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
Beware! The ‘desi ghee’ in your food may be spurious. This spurious ‘desi ghee’ manufactured in Rajasthan has flooded the markets in Punjab.

The unearthing of a spurious ghee factory at Sriganganagar in Rajasthan yesterday has established that the manufacturing and sale of spurious desi ghee has been going on for a long time.

The Sriganganagar police has arrested two men — Babu Lal and Raj Kumar bringing the spurious ‘desi ghee’ into various parts of Punjab, including Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Mansa, Muktsar and Moga districts. However, the owner of the factory could not be caught.

Mr Jai Narian, Additional Superintendent of Police at Sriganganagar, when contacted, said investigation was on in this case and the extent of the racket was also being found. He said, in the past, similar cases had been detected in Bikaner district of Rajasthan.

From the two accused, 61 metal boxes containing spurious ‘desi ghee’ were seized. The jeep in which they were transporting the boxes was also impounded. During the search of the factory, a huge quantity of vegetable oil, gas cylinders, furnace, essence of ‘desi ghee’, boiler and packing material were seized. A case in this connection had also been registered.

Various districts of Punjab close to Rajasthan have become major markets for the unscrupulous elements to dump the spurious ‘desi ghee’. The manufacturers and traders had been marketing this product under popular brandnames and even otherwise. While big manufacturers had been supplying it in bulk to retailers in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, the small-time manufacturers had been confining their illegal business to Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan.

About two years ago, the Sales Tax Department of Bikaner had busted an inter-state synthetic ‘desi ghee’ racket when it seized empty containers of the “Verka” brand manufactured in Punjab. The containers were being taken to a factory, where these would have been filled with spurious desi ghee and dumped in markets of various states. In July 2001, the Sriganganagar police seized about 900 kg of adulterated ‘desi ghee’ and arrested some persons in this case.

The Punjab police had also seized spurious ‘desi ghee’ from Budhlada in Mansa district and Maur Mandi in this district in the past two-three years. Five years ago, spurious desi ghee was being sold under the brandname of “Veerjee” with tins having logo and design similar to that of Verka, which the casual buyer could not detect easily.


Congress leader’s grouse against cops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
Mrs Paramjit Kaur Peerjada, Director, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), and a Congress leader, has warned the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Congress high command that the party would face an uphill task in the elections if officials in the police, particularly at the lower level, were not “disciplined”.

Mrs Peerjada, member of the zila parishad, who has complained to the Congress leadership and state government functionaries in connection with the alleged partisan role of a section of police officials during the panchayat elections, has urged the Chief Minister to look into the matter.

She alleged that during the elections, some low-ranking police officials connived with the Akali candidate from Peerjada village, from where her son Gurlal Singh was elected sarpanch, to create fear among voters. She said the police made her family deposit firearms on June 21 while the Akali candidates deposited their weapons on June 28 and that too when the matter was brought to the notice of the district police chief.

She alleged that Mr Harbhajan Singh, SP (H) abused her son on the day of the polling and the police openly supported the Akali candidate. Congress workers and supporters were booked in false criminal cases, she alleged.

Mr Harbhajan Singh, SP (H), when contacted, said the allegations were baseless. He said he went to the village on the day of the polling and found that family members of Mrs Peerjada were threatening a section of the electorate. He asked them not to do so. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of the SSP.


Rape of Dalit flayed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 3
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, president, Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) has condemned the alleged rape of a Dalit woman of Hussainpur village by two youths of the same village on June 29, 2003. He demanded immediate arrest of both the accused.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Kainth said if the accused were not arrested, workers of the BSM would launch a district-level agitation.

He criticised the recent enhancement in fee, power tariff and bus fares and said the BSM workers would launch a state-wide agitation in protest against these hikes. A meeting of the executive body of the BSM would be held next week at Jalandhar to finalise the action programme in this connection.

Mr Kainth criticised Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, for recently making mass appointments of Congress men as chairmen of various boards and corporations. He said on the one side the state government was facing an acute financial crisis, while on the other side it was recruiting chairmen of boards and corporations.

Referring to the registration of cases by the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his family members, he said the cases were politically motivated. These cases should be withdrawn to save the impartial image of state government, he added. 


Vocational camps go without funds
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Theh Kanjala (Kapurthala), July 3
Having enabled over 30,000 youth attain self-employment after a vocational and occupational training and planting over 70,000 saplings, the flagship camp of the Centre for Training and Employment of Punjab Youth has to virtually take goods on credit following the failure of the state government to release funds.

The flagship camp, having a cluster of four camps, was set up in 1990 after the visit of the then Prime Minister, Mr V.P. Singh, to Lopoke. He had ordered the setting up of vocational and occupational training camps in the state. The first and the biggest cluster of such camps was established here with the involvement of Brig Sukhjit Singh (retd), scion of the Kapurthala royal family. As many as 700 youth who underwent a crash course here were able to get jobs.

The training centre also started such camps at Nabha, Lalru, Faridkot and Ludhiana with the enrolment of about 49,000 persons. More than 32,000 of them had got enrolled here till April this year and almost all of them had got employment in the Army, para-military forces, industry and private sector concerns.

Despite its contributions the training centre camps are facing paucity of funds even after the clearance of the annual Rs 4 crore budget by the state government in April. The centre has reportedly not got money for the past four months and officials have to borrow to meet the daily requirements of the students.

We have not got any money this year. Our 60 staff members have not got salary. Under such circumstances, we have been left with no alternative but to borrow ration for our about 500 students,” Lt. Col Joginder (retd), commandant of the camps, said.

Sources in the centre said students had not been getting their monthly stipend of Rs 400 for about two years.

He said apart from running a plant nursery that supplied saplings to farmers free of cost, the centre was running three fish ponds, a piggery and an apiary, which generated an annual income of about Rs 7 lakh.


Sarna ready to quit as DSGMC chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 3
Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna has announced that he will step down as president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) if Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra asks him to.

Talking to TNS on phone, he said he would follow Mr Tohra’s directives.

Earlier, Mr Sarna had refused to disband the SAD (New Delhi) after unity was forged between the SAD and the SHSAD.

On his return from New Delhi, he has constituted a five-member inquiry committee comprising Mr Harminder Singh Gatka Master (vice-president), Mr Surjit Singh (general secretary), and Mr Balbir Singh Sabbarwal and Mr Avtar Singh Kalka, members of the DSGMC, to go into the details of 175 promotions approved by the senior vice-president in his absence.


Jathedar not to appear before Takht
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 3
Even as Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib, has clarified that he will not attend the meeting of Akal Takht, scheduled for July 10 here, a meeting of the management committee of the Gurdwara Patna Sahib has been called to discuss the directive of Sikh high priests who had sought the removal of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana as president of the committee.

Talking to TNS on phone, Giani Iqbal Singh said the meeting of the management would be held within 15 days as per the directives of the Sikh high priests of Takht Patna Sahib to discuss the issue of Mr Romana.

However, he said he would attend the meetings of Akal Takht in future if he was invited by the Jathedar of the Takht to discuss any Panthic issue other than Mr Romana’s case.


Former VC granted bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Issuing notice of motion on a petition filed by Punjabi University’s former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed his arrest.

Pronouncing the directions in the open Court, the Judge also asked him to join the investigation as and when required. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 8.

The former Vice-Chancellor was apprehending arrest in an alleged cheating and corruption case registered at Mansa under Sections 420, 465, 468, 471, 175, 176 and 177 of the Indian Penal Code on November 4, 1999. According to the prosecution, the case, pertaining to BDS seats, was registered on the complaint of an IAS officer, Suresh Kumar Sharma.

Claiming to be innocent, the petitioner had earlier contended that he was being implicated in the case due to political rivalry. Giving details, the former Vice-Chancellor had asserted that he was appointed by the Akali government. His counsel had added that the petitioner had not been named in the first information report.

Bhattal case

Disposing of an application seeking expeditious conclusion of a trial against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the High Court today directed the trial court to frame charges if there was a prima facie case for it.

Issuing the directions, Mr Justice Gupta also asked the trial court to dispose of the case expeditiously, if possible within six months of framing charges. In his application, complainant in the case Balwant Singh Dhillon had earlier alleged that even though the challan was submitted on January 29, the case was adjourned from time to time for framing charges.

The complainant had added that the Presiding Officer was treating the case as “petty” as even though the matter was sensitive. He had added that the accused, in connivance with the prosecuting agency, had also tried her level best to delay the proceedings in one way or the other.

Bhattal was earlier accused of misappropriating Rs 20 lakh after withdrawing it from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund following which a case under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act was registered.


10,000 saplings for police stations
Our Correspondent

Sunam, July 3
The Sangrur police with the support of the district administration and the Forest Department organised a function at Longowal village, 16 km from here, to celebrate Vanmahotsava Day.

Addressing to gathering Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Sangrur, said around 80 acres were occupied by various police stations and the land could be properly utilised by undertaking a plantation drive.

Mr Dharminder Sharma, DFO, said the plantation plan had been drawn up in-keeping with the soil condition and availability of water. Mr Sharma said nearly 40 police personnel had been trained in basic gardening skills.

He said the government would provide Rs 5 crore to Sangrur district in this regard.

Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said in the next two months, over 10,000 saplings would be planted in various police stations and funds for the project had been mobilised through the District Forest Development Agency.


New IMA body installed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 3
In the annual state council meeting held at Amritsar on Tuesday, Dr Kuldip Singh of Hoshiarpur was installed as president of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab, for 2003-2004.

Dr J.S. Virk, Dr G.S. Gill and Dr Amrik Singh Arora took over as senior vice-president, vice-president and hon’y state secretary, respectively. The council also authorised the team to select rest of the office-bearers.

In his presidential address, Dr Kuldip Singh said frequent incidents of charging doctors of rash and negligent acts were adversely affecting the doctors. A resolution was also passed to make the National Human Rights Commission aware of the violation of human rights of doctors by the police and anti-social elements.


Freedom fighter alleges police inaction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Alleging police inaction, an old freedom fighter and NRI has threatened to go on a hunger strike in front of the SSP’s office if the police failed to take action, against a former Akali leader who forcibly tried to grab his property.

Mr Surinder Singh (74), a freedom fighter and secretary of the All-India Goa Swatantarta Sangram Sainik Sangh, alleged that Pardeep Singh Walia, a former district president of the SAD, along with Gurvinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh of Kot Baba Deep Singh and 60-odd other people, forcibly entered and ransacked his house on June 14. He alleged that they demolished a newly constructed wall of his house, damaged his car and injured him, his sister and labourers.

He alleged that though a case was registered against the accused on June 14 under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, 148 and 149 of the IPC at the Civil Lines police station, yet no action had been taken as far.

He said earlier in a similar attempt, he was attacked by the accused on June 16, 2001.

He said he had a property dispute with the accused. He alleged that he had purchased kothi No-B from Satwant Kaur, a resident of Hukum Singh Road. He said Mohinder Kaur, sister-in-law of Satwant Kaur and resident of Kothi No.-A, frauduently sold a part of his kothi to Pardeep Singh Singh Walia, who further sold it to Gurvinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh.


BJP leader among 4 killed in mishaps

Sangrur, July 3
Punjab BJP executive committee member Balkishan Hero was among four persons killed in separate road mishaps in this district since yesterday.

Police sources said that BJP leader was killed while his jeep driver was seriously injured when his vehicle was involved in a head-on collision with a truck near Mastuana Sahib on Sangrur-Barnala road last night. The driver has been admitted to a hospital.

Mr Hero, who hailed from Khanauri in this district, was cremated today in the presence of large number of local people and BJP leaders.

The three others killed were identified as Malkiat Singh, Sher Singh and Punjab State Electricity Board employee Lakhi Ram. Malkit Singh (21) died when the truck he was repairing unjacked and crushed him on the spot near Rohira village. Scooterists Sher Singh fell victim to two bulls fighting on the road near Khadial village. Lakhi Ram was crushed to death in a hit and run case by a truck. The police, however, after a hot chase caught hold of truck driver Amandeep Singh. — UNI


MC to lay sewer pipes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, has laid stress on laying of sewer pipes in areas deprived of the facility. He said the holy city would be equipped with solar streetlights to save the expenditure on power.

Mr Kang was addressing a press conference along with the Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, and the Additional Commissioner, Mr Kirpal Singh, here yesterday. The Commissioner said birth and death certificates would now be available in computerised form.

The Commissoner said a target of Rs 6 to 8 crore had been fixed for house tax collection. He said the corporation had launched a drive in this regard. The waste management scheme was also at an advance stage and final talks for a waste management plant, which would produce electricity from garbage, were being held with a Derbyshire company.

He clarified that the pending payments to contractors for works completed would be cleared by mid-July. A sum of Rs 2.60 crore was to be paid to the contractors. Mr Kang said the target for octroi collection had been fixed at Rs 50 crore per annum from the earlier Rs 45 crore.


PUDA cuts interest rate
Tribune News Service

SAS nagar, July 3
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to reduce the rate of interest from 15 per cent to 12 per cent being charged from allottees on half-yearly/yearly instalments.

According to a press note the relief is applicable to the allottees of residential plots, commercial sites, built-up booths and institutional sites. However, the benefit of reduced rate of interest will be allowed to those allottees who pay these instalments regularly.

The decision to reduce the rate of interest was taken at a finance and accounts committee meeting in the wake of global recession in interest rates. The existing rate of interest was prevailing since December, 1996, and the new rate of interest shall be applicable to prospectively due instalments of the allottees.


Kamboj installed as PHSC chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today installed Lt Col. C.D. Singh Kamboj, as the Chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporations (PHSC) at his residence here.

According to a press note issued here today, the Chief Minister described Mr Kamboj as a sincere, innovative and committed person and said his appointment would help further improve the working of the PHSC.


Man murdered by 'friends'
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 3
Rachhpal Singh (28), a resident of Ludhiana district, was allegedly murdered by his friends in the wee hours in the city today.

As per information, Rachhpal Singh, a native of Talwandi Raikot village in Ludhiana district, was murdered with sharp-edged weapons at his rented house in the local Civil Lines area, allegedly by his friends who were his guests last night.

The police has arrested Bhupinder Singh and his wife Manjit Kaur in this connection. Police sources said a possible cause of the murder could have been an altercation between Rachhpal Singh and Bhupinder Singh and Manjit Kaur, who were with him at his rented house last night.

The sources said all three were allegedly involved in smuggling narcotics. They developed differences lately and last night Bhupinder and Manjit Kaur had come to the residence of Rachhpal Singh to settle accounts of their "business". During night they may have entered into a scuffle that led to the murder.

The police claimed that it had nabbed the suspects (Bhupinder Singh and Manjit Kaur) within hours after the crime.

However, another theory doing the rounds is that Bhupinder Singh had seen his wife Manjit in a compromising position with Rachhpal and out of rage he killed Rachhpal. After murdering Rachhpal, Bhupinder Singh reportedly surrendered in a police station.

This is the second murder in the city in the past two days. An ice cream seller, Suresh Kumar of Rajasthan, was murdered by two unidentified persons near the local sports stadium on Tuesday night.


Court orders probe in cheating case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
An 80-year-old resident of Jassowal, Jagir Singh, heaved a sigh of relief when a local court ordered the S.H.O., Dehlon, to conduct an enquiry into the allegations of cheating and misappropriating Rs 3.50 lakh by the son and daughter-in-law of the complainant and to submit the report on July 19. The old man was running from pillar to post to get justice.

Narrating his tale of woe, the complainant stated before the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr J.S.Chauhan, that with a view to making his both ends meet, he mortgaged his land measuring 3-1/2 killas with one Balwant Singh alias Ballo of his own village in March, 2000, for a sum of Rs 3.50 lakh, out of his 6/1-2 killas of land.

He received the entire money in Dehlon tehsil office where the mortgage deed was executed. At that time his son, Parminder Singh alias Kaka and his wife, Sarabjit Kaur, were present there. His daughter-in-law, Sarabjit Kaur, took the said amount of Rs 3.50 lakh from him with the excuse that she would count it properly.

In good faith, he handed over the amount to her for the purpose of counting because he was having weak eyesight. When he asked them that he wanted to deposit the entire amount in his saving bank account with the Bank of India at Quila Raipur for his livelihood, they said that they will give him the money when reached the bank.

Thereafter, they boarded the bus and when it reached the bus stop at Qila Raipur, he demanded back the entire amount. They said the money would be given to him on reaching the village. But they did not return the same to him. He demanded the money several times from them but they refused to return the same on one pretext or the other.

In this way the duo robbed him of Rs 3.50 lakh. The circumstances show that they had intention to cheat him from the very beginning, added the complainant. As he was upset over all this, he narrated the entire story to villagers who took up the matter with accused persons, but they declined to return the money.

The complainant further alleged that he was turned out of the home and presently residing in the gurdwara of Dullay village. He moved a number of complainants in the Sadar police station and before the higher police officials but all in vain.

The complainant had prayed before the court that the police be directed to register an F.I.R against his son and daughter-in-law and his amount be got recovered from them. After taking the cognizance of the complaint, the court preferred to direct the police to conduct the enquiry to know the facts.


Bogus ration cards detected
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 3
Taking a serious note of making bogus votes, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, has written to the SSP to register a case against four residents of Talwara village allegedly for casting their votes by presenting bogus ration cards. The Deputy Commissioner has also directed to identify those officials who had recommended registering these persons as voters and prepared the voters’ list.

According to information, when the polling for the panchayat election was in progress, the Deputy Commissioner visited the most sensitive declared polling booth at Talwara village in the district. He interacted with the voters standing in a queue to cast their votes. He noticed that certain voters with ration cards in their hands were also in the queue. He took their ration cards and found them to be fake.

Though he allowed the voters to cast their votes, he took the ration cards in his custody. He handed over these ration cards to Mr Sardara Singh, AFSO, for preliminary enquiry to know their validity. To the surprise of the DC, the AFSO in his report mentioned that these are bogus ration cards prepared to just cast votes. After getting the report, the DC wrote to the SSP to register a case against Pritam Singh, Rabinder Kaur, Ram Chand and Darbara Singh, all residents of Talwara village, for possessing bogus ration cards.


ASI booked on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 3
The Bhikhi police has registered a case against ASI Darshan Singh, head constable Balwant Singh and three persons, including a woman, under sections 302 and 34, IPC, in connection with the murder of Gurtej Singh of Gurne Kalan village of the district.

According to an FIR lodged by the father of the deceased, on June 25, his son had gone outside and after about half hour, he returned with Teja Singh and collapsed. He told his father that four men and a woman had got off a jeep and one of them caught him and forced him to consume some poisonous substance. They also tried to drag him to the jeep but he escaped. The victim told his father that two persons were wearing police uniforms. Gurtej Singh died on the next day at the Civil Hospital. No arrest has been made so far.


12,000 teachers may be recruited
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 3
Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh today said that the government was proposing to give panchayats the power to recruit 12,000 teachers on contract basis in the state.

Talking to mediapersons here after attending a function at the local Circuit House, Mr Lal Singh said there was shortage of 12,000 teachers in rural areas in the state. He said the government desired to give power over several departments to panchayats, as envisaged in the Panchayati Raj Act.

He said panchayats could not be given powers as envisaged due to a number of reasons. He said a five-member committee had been formed to look into ways to transfer power over 29 departments, including Rural Water Supply, Health and Education, to panchayats. 


New engineering college approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The All-India Council for Technical Education has approved an engineering and an architecture college at Abhipur, in Ropar, near Chandigarh.

The colleges are located beyond the PGI, off the Mullanpur-Kurali road. These are being set up by the Indo-Global Education Foundation. Its Chairman, Mr Sukhdev Kumar, said admissions to both colleges for B.Tech and B.Arch would commence from the academic session 2003-04.

While the College of Architecture is the first ‘’unaided’’ private institution in Punjab, the College of Engineering will offer courses in electronics and communications, computer sciences, mechanical and civil branches of engineering. 


Operators resent taxes on minibuses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 3
Resentment prevails among minibus operators due to the increase in taxes on minibuses.

Mr Baltej Singh, president, of the district unit of the Minibus Operators Union, said in a press note issued here today that the imposition of new taxes was uncalled for. He said that the minibuses were running into losses.

He added that they were planning to meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to apprise him of the poor economic condition of minibus operators.

Mr Baltej Singh said their business would come to a virtual halt after the imposition of taxes.

He alleged that their scheduled meeting with Capt Amarinder Singh had been postponed thrice. The union would hold a meeting at its local office on July 6 to chalk out its future programme.

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