Monday, July 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sukhbir’s house video-filmed
Tribune News Service

Akali activists raise slogans against the Congress government.
Akali activists raise slogans against the Congress government. — Tribune photo Pankaj Sharma

Video-filming being done of the insides of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal's house in Chandigarh.

Chandigarh, July 6
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau said today that it would summon Rajya Sabha member Sukhbir Singh Badal soon and serve a questionnaire on him to get his version about the money spent on the renovation of the Sector 9 house.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SP (Vigilance) supervised the video-filming of Mr Sukhbir Badal’s house in Sector 9 and of the partially built Sector 5 house of Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s son-in-law, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, and his daughter, Parneet.

The SP alleged that even the building bylaws had been violated by the family while undertaking fresh construction. The Estate Office had neither received any application nor approved any map in this connection. Costly fixtures, including wood from Germany, Italian marble and gold-plated handles and knobs, sleek washbasins from Paris had been used in the house, he claimed.

Rebutting these claims, SAD General Secretary Sukhbir Badal said the revised building plans submitted in 1977 were approved. Only changes were made in the recent renovations. He said costly fittings had been procured from Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana and the so-called “Italian marble” was also bought from Makrana and Rajnagar in Rajasthan. Details of the expenditure incurred were available with the Income Tax Department, he claimed.

Around 2 pm, the vigilance team descended on Mr Badals’ son-in-law Adesh Pratap Singh’s house (H No: 31, Sector 5) to video-film the property. While Mr Adesh and his wife, Parneet, were not present, his close friend, Mr Rajwinder Singh Bains, resisted the search.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh said the nine-canal house had been bought by Mr Parkash Singh Badal for his daughter, Parneet Kaur, for Rs 2.75 crore and was registered in her name. Justifying the measurements, he said the “question is not of any recovery but to make the evaluation of all goods and collect evidence.”

Mr Adesh Pratap Singh said “the house stands registered in his name and that he had taken a loan of Rs 1 crore from the HDFC bank in 1999. The house still stands pledged to the bank. The property had already been evaluated by the office of the Commissioner, Income Tax, Delhi, before it was purchased.

Mr Kairon ruled out any monetary transactions with his father-in-law ever since he married Parneet Kaur 18 years ago. So, the question of the house having been given to her did not arise. The place, along with the annexe, built sometime in 1962, was purchased as such and, besides minor renovations, no major changes have been made till date.

A huge posse of commandos and Punjab police personnel accompanied the vigilance team comprising 2 SPs, 3 DSPs, XENs, SDOs and architects from the Engineering and PWD Departments. 


Capt has benami property in Ropar: Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
Setting all speculations to rest, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today declared that in spite of pressure from party workers, the SAD wouldn’t part company with the BJP as the poll alliance of both parties was ‘permanent’.

When asked as to why had the BJP not come to the rescue of the Akali leadership in the beginning when Capt Amarinder Singh launched a ‘political witchhunt’ against them, Mr Badal quipped “this question should be addressed to the BJP leadership”, regarding the demand of the state unit of the BJP seeking imposition of the President’s rule in the state, Mr Badal said the Central Government should act according to the law of the land.

Firing a salvo against Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal alleged that the Chief Minister had ‘benami property’ in Ropar and other parts of the country and said he owed an explanation to the general public about the amount being spent on renovation on his palaces after he become the Chief Minister of the state. Capt Amarinder Singh must give an explanation about the huge debt which had come after the formation of his government. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had ‘benami share’ in the property of his OSD, Capt Bikramjit Singh, who had established ‘Indo-global education city’ for architecture and engineering in Abhipur village in Ropar district. He said the OSD had already spent Rs 6 crore in the Rs 12 crore projects.

Coming down heavily on the additional Director General and Director, State Vigilance, Mr A.P. Pandey, Mr Badal said a high-level inquiry should be ordered to probe into the allegations that he (Mr Pandey) had got property in Ropar district. Ministers Mr Harbans Lal and Mr Ramesh Dutt should be immediately booked, as they allegedly facing corruption charges. “If Capt Amarinder Singh is serious about eradication of corruption, he must start from his own party”.

Replying to a question, Mr Badal said any change of guard in the SGPC would be effected only after the decision of the party, taken in a democratic way.

He also sought a CBI inquiry against Mr S.K. Sinha, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, who was indicted in the scam regarding ‘recruitment of Naib Tehsildars.

Ridiculing the allegations levelled by Capt Amarinder Singh that he (Mr Badal) had huge properties in foreign countries, Mr Badal said if the allegations were true than the state government should have mentioned them in the FIR. He said he would quit politics if these allegations were proved to be true.

Earlier, Mr Badal was received at Beas (on his way to Amritsar) by drum-beating youths, led by Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, a former Chairman of the forest corporation. A large convoy of vehicles followed of Mr Badal, which was aimed at a show of strength’.

Later, while addressing the meeting of the district unit of the SAD, Mr Badal said party activists should be ready to give a befitting reply to the ‘excesses’ of Capt Amarinder Singh government. He alleged that Mrs Sonia Gandhi was behind the ‘high-level’ dramatics of Capt Amarinder Singh.


Capt asked to quit
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 6
Mr Tikshan Sud, BJP MLA and a former state minister, demanded the resignation of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, following the indictment of the Forest Minister of his Cabinet in a multi-crore tree-felling scam in Ropar district.

PHILLAUR: Meanwhile BJP leader Prof Lakshmi Kanta Chawla has strongly opposed the restoration of the bus and rail service between India and Pakistan and the attempts to revive diplomatic relations between the two countries, till Pakistan stopped cross-border terrorism.



Punjab CM not to meet Advani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
“I have no plans to meet the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, tomorrow or in near future,” says Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, setting at rest speculations in a section of the media that the latter may call on the former in the union Capital on Monday.

“Why should I go and meet him? There is nothing of this sort,” the Punjab Chief Minister told The Tribune this evening, maintaining that he was on his way to Shimla to attend the three-day Congress summit there.

“I do not know what is the basis of this news report,” he said, revealing that his meeting with the Punjab Governor at Raj Bhavan yesterday was a “routine meeting, where some administrative issues were discussed. The Badal issue did not come up at all at the meeting with Justice Verma.”

Mr Advani had issued a strongly worded statement against the Punjab Government and its Vigilance Bureau for the cases registered against Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and other members of his family. The Punjab Governor, Justice Om Parkash Verma, called on Mr Advani yesterday.

Tremendous significance was attached to the Governor-Chief Minister meeting as both the SAD and the BJP had submitted separate memoranda to Justice Verma about the vigilance cases against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family.

“I call on the Governor once a week,” Capt Amarinder Singh said, maintaining that there was no special agenda for yesterday’s meeting.

He said the immediate important issue for him was the party summit in Shimla. The registration of cases and subsequent investigations against Mr Badal and other members of his family was a routine law and order issue which required no special mention at a meeting with the Governor, he added.

Mr Advani is scheduled to visit Chandigarh on July 11. Meanwhile, the SAD has clarified that NDA leaders are coming to Amritsar on July 16 to attend the bhog ceremony of a special “akhand path” being organised to mark unity in the dal and not to look into the “political victimisation of senior dal leaders, Mr Badal.” 


Ravi Inder asks govt to arrest Badal
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 6
Former Punjab Assembly Speaker, Ravi Inder Singh today alleged that the Punjab Government was going slow while dealing with corruption charges against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and demanded immediate arrest of him.

While addressing a press conference here this noon, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said the government was giving VIP treatment to Mr Badal. He alleged that while the commonman was arrested to investigate the charges against them, the government was collecting “enough” proof to arrest Mr Badal. He said what the state agencies had started doing now (conducting raids), should have been done 16 months ago.

He alleged that Mr Badal was a corrupt man and had reduced the Shiromani Akali Dal to “Badal Dal” and followed non-democratic principles. He said a new Akali Dal, which would be founded by them, would fight for the rights and identity of the Sikhs all over the world.

He said the guidelines for the formation and principles of the new party were being discussed. He said the principles of the formation and character of the new Akali Dal would be guided by the 1920 resolutions of the formation of the Akali Dal.

Giving details of their discussions about the new Akali Dal, he said the formal announcement in this connection would be made at Jalandhar on July 19 and Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, convener, Panthic Morcha, would announce the same. Replying to a question, he said the party would stick to one man, one post principle and the president, vice-president and general secretary of the party would not be allowed to contest any election during their term of office.

Pointing a finger at Mr Badal again he said as against Mr Badal’s party, the presidentship of their party would be changed after every two years and it was being discussed whether the outgoing president would be eligible for re-election or not.

He alleged that during his five-year tenure, Mr Badal never called upon the Prime Minister or the Home Minister to seek more industries and funds for the development of Punjab, but he was trying to save his “28 AC kothi” with their (the Home Minister’s) help. He accused Mr Badal of promoting the political future of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal by bartering away the interests of Punjab.

At a meeting of the party workers and senior party leaders, many resolutions were passed which included expressing dissatisfaction over the performance of the present Congress government. The meeting was attended by senior Panthic leaders, including, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Jasbir Singh Rode, Mr Mall Singh Ghuman and Mr Gurdeep Singh Brar.


Advani ‘weakening’ federal structure
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Sant Ram Singla has accused Deputy Home Minister L.K. Advani of weakening the federal structure of the country by trying to politicise a legal issue which concerned the corruption done by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

In a statement here yesterday, Mr Singla accused Mr Advani of passing an improper and hasty judgement under political pressure while saying that the Leader of the Opposition should not be victimised. He said this had lowered the dignity of the august office of the Home Minister and would result in weakning the federal structure of the country. He claimed that Mr Advani would be held responsible for confrontation in Centre-state relations.

Mr Singla said the basic postulate of democracy was rule of law. This, he said, meant that everybody was equal before law regardless of his status. He said state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s anti-corruption drive was not against any individual or party and was not guided by political vendetta or revenge but by the constitution, laws of the land and natural justice.

Mr Singla said the Congress government had been voted to power on the issue of fighting corruption and ensuring development and thus enjoyed the mandate of the people of the state. He said it was the duty of the government to remove corruption which he claimed had surpassed all previous records during the tenure of Mr Badal.

He said during the one-and-a-half-year rule of the Congress government, the people of the state had time and again reiterated their faith in the policies and programmes of the Punjab Government under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh by voting the Congress into power in all local body elections held so far.

He said in a democracy the will of the people was supreme, adding that the Opposition had an important role to play but it could not disturb the peace and tranquility of the state in the name of victimisation.

Mr Singla said Capt Amarinder Singh was discharging his constitutional duty in a lawful manner by taking requisite steps to collect foolproof evidence against Mr Badal. He said Mr Advani should not be guided by his narrow political interests with an eye on the Sikh vote in four states going to the polls but should let the law take its own course. He said the drive against corruption would go on and that he hoped good sense would prevail on Mr Advani to see reason and not burn his fingers in his attempt to shield Mr Badal.


Advani shielding Badal: Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Six Congress MLAs of Punjab have criticised Deputy Prime Minister, L.K Advani for ``shielding’’ former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his ``corrupt colleagues.’’

They charged Mr Advani with trying to scuttle the vigilance probe by politicising the whole issue.

In a joint statement issued today, MLAs Hans Raj Josar, Mohinder Rinwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Swinder Singh Kathunangal, Ravinder Singh Sandhu and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa charged Mr Advani with negating his own stance against corruption. 


Remark on raids unfortunate: Cong
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 6
Mr Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Minister of State for Transport, and Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Congress MLA from Fatehgarh Churian, in a press note issued here today, said the recent statement of Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, condemning the raids of the Punjab Vigilance Department on the premises of the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was unfortunate and an attempt to pressure the state government to give up its crusade against corrupt political leaders.

The leaders said previous Akali ministers, including Mr Badal, indulged in large scale corruption and if they were brought to book it would send a right signal around the country. They said the crusade against corruption by Capt Amarinder Singh had paid dividends and the public was appreciating it.


Teachers’ body demands probe into transfers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
The Democratic Teachers Front (DTF), Bathinda district unit, has demanded an inquiry into the transfers of government schools teachers under the rationalisation policy by the District Education Officer (DEO), Secondary, recently.

In a press note issued here today, Major Basant Kumar, secretary, DTF, alleged that a number of violations under the rationalisation policy had been made by the DEO (S), Mr Lachhman Singh. So, the DTF had decided to get it probed through the vigilance wing of the State Education Department. To strengthen their demand, activists of the DTF would stage a dharna in front of the offices of the DEO, Primary and Secondary on July 10, he added.

He alleged that according to the information collected by the DTF, the teachers posted in senior secondary girls’ school, who had a longer stay there had been transferred to local schools while teachers, who had a shorter stay period had been transferred to far away places, against the norms of rationalisation policy.

In another case, in single section government middle schools, two or three posts of social study masters and PTE teachers had been created against the policy. The post of a mathematics teacher in government school, Bhagu village, was removed and shifted to a government school, Bathinda without any requirement while government school, Gidder village, had been demanding the post of a mathematics teacher for many years. By shifting the post of the mathematics teacher from government school, Bhagu, the only school in this district teaching non-medical subjects, the DEO had stopped the teaching of mathematics in that school.

Major Basant Kumar pointed out that the DEO shifted the posts of science teachers from government school, Multania village, to Chuge Kalan village and then in the same list of transfers, he shifted the post of science teacher from government school, Chuge Kalan, to Bathinda town. Two posts of science teacher from Government Girls’ School, Bathinda, were shifted to other schools in this district while one science teacher was posted in this school by shifting a post from another school, outside of this town.

He pointed out that as per the policy laid down by the state education authorities for the senior secondary schools, whenever a group of subjects had to be shifted from one school to other, all the teachers of that group posted in that school would also be shifted to same school where the group had been shifted. However, in one case commerce group of the Mehma Sarja village school was shifted to a Bathinda school but one of the lecturer of that group was shifted to Bathinda while the other lecturer of same group was shifted to another school, located about 30 km away.

He pointed out that members of the DTF had already met DPI (Schools), Punjab, in this connection and it was brought in his notice that the rationalisation policy had been violated by the authorities concerned. He said other objectives of the DTF were to secure reinstatement of the suspended teachers when schools were raided by the sleuths of the vigilance department, to get rid of duties given to teachers under ‘Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan’ and the duties assigned to them from time to time which were not related with teaching, adjustment of teachers as per the policy and to get the Punjab Education Policy-2002 cancelled.

Mr Lachhman Singh, DEO (S), when contacted, denied all allegations levelled against him by the DTF and claimed that all transfers were made according to the rationalisation policy. He said the DTF had been raising a hue and cry unnecessarily as some of its members wanted to get some teachers transferred according to their own convenience, which he had not done.

He said he was not authorised to transfer any teacher as all the transfers were made by at the DPI (Schools) level. His only job was to prepare a list of teachers, who were to be transferred according to the rationalisation policy.


Act against corrupt Congressmen: NCP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
The Punjab Nationalist Congress Party President, Mr Swaran Singh, today said the anti-corruption drive launched by the Congress government in the state should not be limited to Akali leaders only and should encompass the “corrupt” ministers of the Beant Singh government also.

Talking to newspersons here after releasing a list of the district office-bearers of the party, Mr Swaran Singh said it was unfortunate that “proven corrupt” Congressmen had been given a pride of place in the present Congress government. He said Congress leaders who had misused their positions during the Beant Singh government should also be held accountable for their “misdeeds” so as restore confidence of the people in the Congress regime.

The NCP leader also claimed that Dalits were being sidelined by the Congress government which was not doing anything to amoleorate their lot. He said the NCP had made two committees to suggest ways and means to economically help the Dalit community in the state. 


Lok Bhalai Party to start awareness drive
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 6
The Lok Bhalai Party will launch an awareness campaign to restore peoples’ faith in country’s political system, which is fast losing creditability among the electorate for failure of the politicians to redress latter’s grievances as being promised from time to time.

Talking to reporters here today, President of Lok Bhalai Party, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, said that it was a matter of great concern that people of the state had been losing faith in the politicians, who were virtually busy in settling scores through blame games while the public issues were not being redressed properly.

“We have decided to adopt transparency in our speech, action and approach while supporting any public cause as is the case with our campaign against NRI husbands, who are harassing their wives on one pretext or the other and the issue pertaining to problems faced by truckers and taxi drivers.” He said, adding that both the Congress and SAD had miserably failed to touch public issues and were busy in mud-slinging for petty political gains.

Regarding the reported SAD threat to launch a morcha in the state if the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested, Mr Ramoowalia said it was shameful that none of the senior Akali Dal leaders had ever dared to launch morcha over public issues like hike in college and school fees of the students and withdrawal of free power for agriculture consumers.

“In fact, Mr Badal should face trial in the court and should not be afraid as law will take its own course. Why is he (Badal) making hue and cry over registration of case”, said Mr Ramoowalia.


MC fails to check encroachments
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 6
The Executive Officer of the local Municipal Council appears to be helpless in checking the encroachments on the municipal land by the District Red Cross Society which is undertaking the construction of 26 shops outside P.W.D. Rest House on the busy court road.

Mr Diwan Chand Verma, Executive Officer, has in a reminder letter No. 345 again urged the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, to initiate steps to stop the construction of shops on the municipal land. The Executive Officer in his earlier letter dated June 20 also pointed out that the Red Cross Society had started the construction of 26 shops each measuring 10 x 7 feet. The copies of both letters had been sent to the Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Ferozepore, the SDM and the Tehsildar.

Mr Verma stated that the SDM in response to his letter stated vide his letter dated June 24 that the land in question where the shops were being constructed was mentioned as ‘Abadi De Rakba Bashindgan’. Experts interpret it as property encroached upon by those residing there. However, the Executive Officer maintains that it was an open municipal road where street lights had been laid by the council.

Despite these letters the construction of the shops is going on the war footing. The roof has been laid and the construction is likely to be completed soon. The site plan of the under construction shops has not been approved till now. The civil administration appears to have turned a deaf ear towards the encroachment pointed out by the Executive Officer. None of them is ready to comment on the issue.

The political forces interested in continuing construction work seem to be headstrong that an agreement for the allocation of the shops has been reportedly entered into on Saturday. The entire allocation affair seems to be fishy as no open applications have been invited neither open auction of the shops on rent, lease nor sale has been conducted. The most of the beneficiaries appear to be the blue eyed boys to the Congress regime.

The construction of the shops tell a tale of compulsions, a cover up attempt of omissions and yet another effort to benefit the associates of the ruling party. Initially the society had constructed 33 shops about 2 months ago outside the court complex for allotting these to kioska owners and vendors there. However, 11 of them were not allotted the shops due to alleged political considerations. These aggrieved persons staged a dharna and took the matter to the local court. The court granted an interim stay on the allotment of 18 of these shops. Due to this reason a strategy was worked out to construct another 26 shops of the same dimension opposite to the 33 shops to pacify the 11 aggrieved applicants and benefit 15 more supporters. This raised another conroversy.

The objection on encroachments was twice pointed by none other than the Executive Officer who is otherwise considered to be responsible for checking encroachment on the municipal land. However, the senior officer of the civil administration seem to be less worried about the objection raised by the Executive Officer.

On the other hand Sub-Divisional Engineer, P.W.D. (B and R), Fazilka, has also through an office letter addressed to the SDM, Fazilka, objected to the construction of the shops adjacent to the boundary wall of the rest house. It has been stated in the letter that in the event of construction of another suite in the rest house complex the necessity of having another entry gate might arise which would not be possible upon the construction of the shops. This letter, too, appears to be buried in the government files.


District status for Tarn Taran sought
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, July 6
Residents of this police district today sought special treatment for eradication of poverty, unemployment and the menace of drugs which had assumed alarming proportions in the border belt. They criticised authorities concerned for ignoring this historical city and its border villages.

The plight of the border belt was highlighted by the readers of the ‘Punjabi Tribune’ at a function, organised by the Tribune Trust, here today.

The residents said the state government should accept the long-pending demand of the area to make Tarn Taran a district headquarter. Mr Surinder Singh Bajwa, who had been a reader of the Punjabi Tribune for the past 25 years said it was strange that while creating the post of Additional Deputy Commissioner. Amritsar was his headquarter.

Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, state president, vikas manch highlighted the pitiable condition of historical town of khadoor sahib which is without basic infrastructure.

The ITI, which was constructed with a huge amount of money has not been inaugurated in the past nine years. Mr Charnjit Singh, state leader of the BKU talked about the lack of facilities in Fatehabad town. Mr Pargat Singh, state leader of Naujwan Sabha said problems of the border belt were different from the rest of the state hence they should be redressed differently.

Among those who addressed the meeting were Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, Mr Bakhtawar Singh Shergil, SDM, Mr Jatinder Sood, President local municipal committee, Mr Arjun Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib, Mr Surinder Singh Ghariala, Bhai Ram Singh, secretary general SAD (Amritsar), Col Amarjit Singh, Principal D.K. Mahia, Mr S.S.Kang, Mr Parshotam Singh, Master Ajit Singh, Mr Sumit Singh, Mr Harjit Gill and Mr Major Singh Uboke, a former MP.

Mr Shingara Singh Bhullar and Mr Sham Singh, Editor and News Editor of the Punjabi Tribune thanked the audience for their valuable suggestions to streamline the paper in its silver jubilee year.


Badungar denies change of guard
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, today described the speculative reports about any possible change of guard in the Shiromani committee as ‘baseless’.

In a press release issued here today, Mr Badungar said that the SGPC was running in accordance with the Sikh Gurdwara Act and that he would continue to serve the panth with great honesty.

He, however, said that he was ready to accept any directive of the party. In an oblique reference to his rivals who wanted to dislodge him from the coveted post, Mr Badungar said that it (post of SGPC chief) was given to him by the Sikh Panth.

50,000 devotees attend mela
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 6
An estimated 50,000 devotees from across the state today paid obeisance at historical gurdwara Maon Sahib, near Phillaur, as a two-day mela to mark marriage anniversary of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev, concluded with much fanfare and fervour.

Political parties, except the Lok Bhalai Party, opted not to put up stages during the mela as had been the case for the past three decades.


Bhaur for new ways to propagate Sikhism
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 6
Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, a former acting SGPC president and an Akali stalwart, today underlined the need for new methods for propagation of Sikhism to usher in a renaissance in the Sikh religion and to bring back those who had got weaned away from the faith. He was addressing the 86th “Jor Mela” at nearby historic Palahi village on the concluding day. The three day “Jor Mela” was held to observe the fifth battle fought by the sixth Guru Hargobind, against the Mughal rulers at Palahi village in 1634.

Jathedar Bhaur told the congregation that he was not satisfied with the traditional ways of propagation of Sikhism, confined to the gurdwara.

The emergence of godmen like Baba Ashutosh and Piara Singh Bhaniara, the episode at Talhan, the distribution of trishuls and lathis were stagemanaged to erode Sikhism, which championed the cause of humanity, he said. He also held that the satellite channels responsible for diluting spiritual values. He attributed the present plight of Sikhism to the penchant for taking religious preachings casually.

The Punjab Social Welfare Minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, while addressing the congregation, eulogised Guru Hargobind as the author of the concept of saint-soldier. Sikhism stood for the well-being of one and all, added Mr Mann. Both Jathedar Bhaur and Mr Mann were honoured with siropas. Noted ‘Dhadi’ singers included Swaran Singh Maheru, Jawala Singh Patanga, Jaswant Singh Josh and Ram Singh Raftar. 


2 hurt as roof of house falls
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 6
Manpreet, a teenaged girl, and her mother Gurmeet Kaur, were injured late last night when the roof of the room in their house collapsed while they were watching television. The house is situated near Bathinda Fort. Both were admitted to private hospital. The old house needed repairs and the roof was constructed with wooden planks. The roof of the house gave in due to downpour.

The injured, in their statements to the police, said they had started repairing their house a few days ago, but officials of the Archaelogocial Survey of India (ASI) stopped the repair works. They said the ASI officials had asked them to stop the repair on the ground that their house fell within the restricted area of Bathinda Fort that had been declared a protected monument.


Hazardous waste a threat to Ropar
Our Correspondent

Nangal, July 6
Ropar district that is amongst the greenest areas in Punjab also has the highest amount of hazardous waste in the state. As much as 5360 ton hazardous waste, containing harmful chemicals and heavy metals is produced and dumped annually in the district in an unsafe manner, posing a serious threat to the public health. Ludhiana is the second largest producer of hazardous waste, followed by Sangrur and Patiala.

Mr KPS Rana, Chairman Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), gave this information while talking to the mediapersons at Nangal yesterday. Most rivers in Punjab were polluted due to the discharge of untreated waste in them. The implementation of pollution laws in the state was dismal and only two municipal councils, Nangal and Phillaur, had sewerage treatment plants. No other municipal council or corporation had treatment plants, due to which sewerage of the state was being released untreated into the rivers.

The PPCB would soon issue a directive to the erring municipal councils and corporation urging them to install the sewerage treatment plants. Besides this, a site has also being identified where hazardous waste could be dumped safely, he said.

Mr Rana alleged that the previous government had not paid implemented the pollution laws in the state due to which the environment in the state has been adversely effected. As per the directive of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the working of the PPCB would now be made transparent.


Mayor inaugurates sewerage scheme
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
Mayor Vishnu Sharma today inaugurated a Rs 3-crore sewerage and water supply scheme in Ward No. 39 which is expected to provide both facilities to people of outer colonies in the city.

Speaking on the occasion, the Mayor disclosed that the centre had cleared a Rs 126-crore scheme to provide sewerage and water supply facilities in the city.

He said under this scheme mainly the outer colonies were being targeted for augmentation of the sewerage facility. He said a time bound-programme had been chalked out for all sewerage works.

Speaking about the water supply augmentation being done in the city, the Mayor said the corporation had sunk as many as 19 new tubewells recently, most of which had been commissioned.

He said the problem of water shortage in the inner city as well as areas around Quila Mubarak had been solved by this measure.

He said earlier residents living in the inner city as well as adjoining the Quila faced water shortage during summer months because the tubewell in the Quila had stopped pumping water for years.

Ward councillor Niranjan Das said till now no attempt had been made by any government to provide sewerage facility in the outer colonies of the city which were not being developed in any way.

He said now a blueprint had been prepared for the development of outer colonies. 



Rotary Club installation ceremony held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
Social organisations, particularly the Rotary family, have a great role to play in serving society as people are losing faith in politicians, said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, during the installation ceremony of Rotary Club, Sirhind, here last night. Mr Bhupinder Singh Jaggi, president of the club, and his team were installed for the 2003-2004 session.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said it was unfortunate that moral and ethical values had eroded in politics. He said people trusted social organisations rather than politicians and they should come forward to redress the grievances of the down-trodden.

Appreciating the slogan of Rotary International, “Lend A Hand”, he urged the members of Rotary Club to include women and the youth in their mission to serve society. He announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the club.

Addressing the gathering, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said social service should be the main aim of social organisations.

He urged social organisations to lend a helping hand to the district administration in its campaign against social evils and encroachments. He assured full cooperation to the club from the district administration. He also urged them to launch a vigorous campaign against environmental pollution, female foeticide and drug addiction.

Mr Dinesh Verma, outgoing president of the club, read the annual report and listed the projects undertaken during his tenure. Schoolchildren presented a cultural programme and Tarsem Khullar, a singer, regaled the audience with his songs. Mr R.N. Sharma, a senior Rotarian, welcomed the guests.


Punseed chief takes over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Mr Rumal Chand, MLA from Narot Mehra in Gurdaspur district, on Friday took over as Chairman of Punseed. Senior Congress leaders were present on the occasion. 


Cops booked for beating Cong man
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 6
An Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and two other police personnel were booked today for allegedly beating up Mr Happy Sidhu, a Congress leader and close confidant of Mr Surinder Singla, local MLA and Chairman, High-Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, in Kotwali police station on June 29.

Besides the three police personnel, two other residents of the city, who are related to a senior Congress leader, were also booked for allegedly beating up Mr Sidhu. Mr Sidhu, who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in the city after suffering injuries, alleged that five persons, including the three policemen beat him up in the Kotwali police station on June 29.

He said two police personnel had come to his residence at around 8 pm on that day and told him that an Inspector wanted to talk to him in connection with some case. He said he also took with him his three-year-old son, as he was not suspecting about the bad intentions of the police personnel.

Mr Sidhu alleged that on reaching Kotwali police-station, the police personnel namely Mr Mahinder Singh, ASI, Mr Joginder Singh, Head Constable and Mr Rupinder Singh constable/driver, and two residents of the city, Mr Buta Shah and Mr Manu Shah, started beating him up. He alleged that they even slapped his son.

On his complaint the police registered a case under Section 323 and 325 of the IPC against the five.

Mr Sidhu said Congress leaders and workers did not have to face such humiliation even during the SAD rule. He said he would convey all that what had happened to him to Mr Singla and Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. 


Poppy husk seized

Moga, July 6
The police in a raid recovered 16 quintals of poppy husk kept at a place near Munawan village yesterday while the alleged smugglers escaped, said Senior Superintendent of Police Anita Punj here yesterday. She said that Kotisekhan police party went to Munawan village and recovered 42 bags (16 quintals) of poppy husk in a raid yesterday.

Besides, Moga CIA staff also recovered 1.5 quintals of poppy husk from the house of Hardyal Singh of the Daulewal village. The police also arrested one woman for carrying narcotics in the same village. — UNI


SAD leader Gurdyal commits suicide

Moga, July 6
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Gurdyal Singh allegedly committed suicide today by shooting himself with his revolver, the police said.

Gurdyal Singh, 75, a former sarpanch of Baghapurana, was suffering from cancer, according to his granddaughter Navdeep Kaur.

For the past one week he was in deep depression, and today at about noon he bolted his room and killed himself, Navdeep said.

She informed the police, who after registering an FIR, sent the body for a post-mortem.

Several Akali leaders, including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, have expressed condolences over Gurdyal’s death. — PTI


4 booked for forging letters to get jobs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
On the complaint of Mr Sukhdev Singh Chhina, Security Officer, Guru Nanak Dev University, the district police today booked four persons on the charge of cheating for allegedly attempting to get jobs as data operators in Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s office. The Security Officer alleged that the accused forged appointment letters having signature of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of GNDU, Dr Satinder Singh.

Those booked are Nirmal Singh, a resident of Khaparkhera, Gurpreet Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Daljit Singh of the Chheharta area here.


Pakistani intruder shot dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
An unidentified Pakistani intruder was shot dead by the BSF while he was trying to cross over to the Indian side late last evening.

The Gharinda police has registered a case on the statement of Mr Harbajan Singh, Company Commander of 19 Bn. Mr Harbajan in a complaint stated that the accused was trying to sneak into the Indian territory at about 10 pm last evening at Rohrawala Khurd village under Kathunangal police chowki. On being challenged the accused tried to escape. He said the jawans opened fire in which he(intruder) died on spot.


Banda Bahadur college to start M.Tech course
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
As per the decision of the BoG of Punjab Technical University (PTU) in which it was decided to start M.Tech courses in its regional centers being established in the affiliated colleges from the session 2003-04, the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College has been chosen as one of the regional centres. This regional centre will start M.Tech course in electronics engineering and mechanical engineering from the current academic session.

There will be 20 seats in each course for the faculty members from affiliated engineering colleges and additional five seats are for outside/open candidates.

The admission to the various courses shall be made through centralised counselling by the PTU.

Welcoming the decision of PTU to start M.Tech courses Dr D.S. Hira, Principal, BBSBEC, said the decision would give fillip to technical education in the state. He said earlier faculty member of various engineering colleges had to go to other states for higher education . He further said that only with the help of postgraduate classes a college could develop research & development activity in the college.

Dr Hira said interested student could get forms from the admission cell of the PTU from July 8.

The last date for the receipt of completed forms for M.Tech course is July 28.


Samana school gets back science stream
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6
Two months after the start of the rationalisation scheme in Punjab under which class XII science and commerce groups were reallocated to schools, where students opted for these streams, the Education Department has reversed its decision of shifting a class XII group of a school in Samana town, near here, which had scant admissions to the science stream for seven years in a row.

The Education Department has reversed its decision to shift the class XII science stream from Samana Senior Secondary School to Patran Senior Secondary School. The decision has been taken even as the admission procedure had started at the Patran school where several students had even bought application forms for admission.

Ironically, the government has decided to shift the class XII science stream back to Samana from Patran despite the fact that there is no senior secondary school offering the science stream at the class XII level at Patran. In contrast Samana already has a college offering the stream and students from the town also have the option of studying at colleges in Patiala due to its proximity.

The Education Department has gone ahead with the move even though the class XII stream was shifted out of the Samana school after several objections raised by the audit wing. The audit wing had noted that two mathematics lecturers were posted at the Samana school from January 1999 to November 2001 even though there was no mathematics student in Class XII in the school. It noted that Rs 9.5 lakh had been paid as salary to the teachers without any gainful work.

The audit wing also noted that Rs 24.84 lakh was paid to three science lecturers and two Commerce Lecturers, besides three senior laboratory attendants during the same period even though there were a few students in both the streams in the school. It noted that in the 1998-99 session only one student was admitted to the class XI science group and only two students in class XII. It said in the 1999-2000 session five and six students were admitted to class XI and class XII in the science group, respectively, in the school. It said in the 2000-2001 session only one student was admitted to class XI and four students to class XII in the two groups, respectively. While in the 2001-2002 session only one student was admitted to class XI and none to class XII.

The Audit Department had also noted that surplus staff was deployed in the Samana school due to which its teachers were taking less classes than those prescribed by the government. It said a salary payment of Rs 5.75 lakh could have been avoided had the excess staff been shifted to some other school.

Meanwhile, Samana school Principal Sohan Lal Gupta said the government should let the science group remain in the Patran school as it had fewer admissions to the group because of the presence of a college in the town. Asked about the issue, Office Superintendent Ram Singh said former District Education Officer (Secondary) Bhupinder Kaur Rana had processed the file following a recommendation from a senior officer of the Education Department.


Supplementary examination
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 6
The Punjab School Education Board will be conducting the Class XII supplementary examinations for compartment candidates in the science and commerce groups on July 20. The supplementary examinations for compartment candidates in the humanities and vocational groups will be held on September 5. All those candidates who want to appear in an additional subject or improve their division can also appear in these examinations.


District Beopar Mandal meets DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
The tenders allotted by the Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, have been given on very less rates, saving the MC Rs 10 lakh, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said while addressing a tenders’ meeting at Sirhind today. The meeting was organised by the district Beopar Mandal to interact with the Deputy Commissioner to remove the misunderstanding between the Municipal Council, Sirhind, and the traders over the removal of encroachments and to apprise him of the problems being faced by them.

Earlier, Mr Varinder Rattan, president of the district Beopar Mandal highlighted the problems being faced by traders and the high-handedness of the municipal officials while removing the encroachments. He assured full cooperation to the DC in his campaign against the removal of encroachments. They demanded that the council should provide basic civic amenities.

Vaid Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizens Welfare Council, Sirhind, Prof Balraj Sood Mandal, president, BJP, Mr Kharati Lal, RSS chief, Mr Subhash Sood, former President, MC and Mr Bachan Lal Akali leader, also addressed the meeting.

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