Wednesday, July 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vigilance drops raid at Badal’s official residence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The official residence of Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal in Sector 2 was left untouched as the extended deadline for the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to complete the search and assessment of all 13 properties belonging to or used by the Badals ended today.

Sources said a vigilance team was expected to conduct the search at the residence this morning. Ruckus in the Rajya Sabha by NDA, members over searches of 12 properties of the Badals was perhaps the reason for the cancellation of the last search. Nothing incriminating was found in the earlier searches.

The searches were permitted a day after a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 13 (1)(d)(e) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against Mr Badal and others on a complaint filed by Mr Balwant Singh, a newly appointed Director of the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation of Mansa district.


Khalra case key witness held for rape
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
The police here has arrested human rights activist Kirpal Singh Randhawa, prime witness in the case of disappearance of Amritsar-based activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, on the charge of raping a 28-year-old woman.

According to the FIR against Mr Randhawa yesterday, he had called the woman to Dukhniwaran gurdwara yesterday evening.

Following this Mr Randhawa went to the house of the mother of the woman in Guru Tegh Bahadur Colony on the Sirhind road soon afterwards.

The accused then took the woman into a room, and raped her. Following this the FIR says that the woman contacted a well-wisher who got a case registered in this regard at the Sadar Police Station.

The case was registered under Sections 376, 342 and 506 of the IPC. The police claimed that Mr Randhawa was arrested subsequently from the gurdwara.

However, Mr Randhawa’s advocate and human right activist Brijinder Singh Sodhi in a court here claimed that Mr Randhawa had been framed because he was prime witness to the kidnapping of Mr Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was his neighbour. Mr Sodhi claimed it was done to prevent Mr Randhawa from giving statement about the kidnapping in the court adding that Mr Randhawa had not testified till now as he had been demanding security as he feared he would be eliminated.

Mr Sodhi argued that his client was picked up yesterday by the police and severely tortured. The advocate showed legs of Mr Randhawa to the judge claiming that a medical examination of his be got done by a team of senior doctors under direct supervision of the Medical Superintendent immediately. This was agreed to by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa and remanded Mr Randhawa in police custody for one day.

The advocate claimed that the woman had earlier approached him at Amritsar claiming she had been cheated of her property of Rs 1.5 crore by a very senior police officer and wanted the help of Mr Randhawa in this regard.

The advocate said Mr Randhawa came to Dukhniwaran gurdwara from Chandigarh yesterday where the woman met him.

He said following this the woman took Mr Randhawa to her house where he was given a cold drink laced with intoxicant. The advocate added the accused started feeling intoxicated and asked that an autorickshaw be called for so that he could go back to the gurdwara. The advocate said however the police arrived at the spot immediately and nabbed Mr Randhawa.

Earlier the police claimed that it wanted a police remand of the accused because it had to recover the undergarments of the accused. The police claimed it had got the woman examined medically but the report was to be received.

Meanwhile, Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of Mr Randhawa, speaking from her residence in Kabir Park in Amritsar, claimed that her husband had been framed in the case. He said the woman had come to their house at Amritsar also several times claiming she had been cheated by a very senior police official.


Tohra against political vendetta
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 29
The government should not adopt the path of confrontation, repression and vendetta to finish its political opponents rather it should work for the welfare of every section of the society. But unfortunately by adopting such methods the government was making its political opponents “heroes”. If anyone had indulged in corruption and misdeeds let the court decide as Mr V.P. Singh, a former Prime Minister, did with Mr Narasimha Rao and Mr Buta Singh, said Jathedar G.S. Tohra, President of the SGPC, while talking exclusively to The Tribune during his maiden visit to the district after assuming the charge of the SGPC Chief. Jathedar Tohra had come here to address the staff of the SGPC-run educational institutions in the area. He was accorded a warm welcome by the staff, students, his supporters and SAD workers.

He said it was a matter of great concern that the politicians of the state have lost interest in the public welfare and the bureaucracy was running the state. They were making dangerous rules and promoting the privatisation in every field, including education and health. He said if the bureaucracy continued to dominate, it would create a war like situation in state. He said at present every section of the society was annoyed with the functioning and policies of the government. He urged the state government not to follow the path of the Central Government in privatisation but act on its own. He also urged the state government to reconsider its decision to withdraw the facility of NRI quota in educational institutions being run by private managing committees, whereas all other states were providing the facility to its privately managed educational institutions, which were of great financial help to the managing committees. He said without the help of NRIs the private managing committees couldn’t run the vocational and professional institutions on its own.

He said the Reliance group was making all out efforts to control the economy and trade of the state and alleged that it was creating hurdles in the installation of an oil refinery in the state, which was got sanctioned by the SAD. He said it was unfortunate that the present state had also started dancing to their tune.

When asked that Jathedar Talwandi had alleged that appointing Jathedar Tohra as the SGPC Chief, Mr Badal had proved that his writ prevails in the committee and the SAD Jathedar Tohra refused to comment.

Latter addressing the staff and students of the institutions, Jathedar Tohra said due to the wrong educational policies of the state government the professional and vocational institutions of the state would collapse and the students of the state would have to depend on other states.

He said it was a matter of concern that the universities of the other states had started fleecing the students by opening their centres in the state. He urged the Central Government to extend the hands of the friendship with the neigbouring country so that the huge amount of money being spent on defence could be diverted for educational purpose. He also called upon the staff to get ready to make sacrifices for the cause of education, as due to the increasing deficit the committees would not be able to pay as per their desire. He also advised them not to move courts just on petty issues.

Earlier in his welcome address Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, highlighted the role of Jathedar Tohra in providing the top class educational facilities in the area by opening Engineering College, professional and vocational institutions. He gave details of the problem being faced by these institutions and called upon the teachers to get ready for the competition as under the WTO agreement all world class universities were going to open their centres in India from 2005 onwards. He said if we want to compete with them we would have to become self-disciplined, hard working and improve our educational standard.

Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, a former Minister, Mr Dilbagh Singh Hira, Principal, BBSB Engineering College, Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, Secretary of the College Managing Committee, also addressed the gathering.


Upset SGPC official goes on leave in protest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29
Agitated over the “attitude” of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Raghbir Singh, SGPC Additional Secretary proceeded on leave in protest today.

After taking over as SGPC chief, the first order, issued by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was to remove Mr Raghbir Singh from the post of PA to the SGPC chief and shift him to the Dharam Parchar Committee. Mr Ranbir Singh, a confidant of Mr Tohra was appointed as his personal assistant replacing Mr Raghbir Singh. The SGPC immediately sanctioned 10 days leave of Mr Raghbir Singh.

In his letter, Mr Raghbir Singh stated that he was upset over the attitude of Mr Tohra against him.

It is learnt that major reshuffle is likely to take place after the SGPC executive committee meeting, being held here on August 5. Apart from the induction of Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur into the executive committee. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta may be appointed chief secretary of the SGPC.


Bureaucrats misled govt, say PCMS doctors 
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, July 29
Responding to the call given by the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association, doctors of the district observed a dharna led by state unit President, Dr Hardeep Singh ,at Civil Surgeon’s Office here. They were protesting against the orders of the Punjab Government to abolish non- practising allowance, compelling them to practise privately.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Hardeep Singh, state unit President, said the government was misled by the bureaucrats about the basics of NPA and figures had been miscalculated. Without any forethought, the state government had decided to implement the decision from August 1.

“The association has always opposed the corrupt practises and absenteeism among the doctors, but the laxity on the part of the bureaucracy encouraged these elements. This could be judged from the departmental inquiries against such elements. The government was wrongly guided and all innocent doctors were being punished.” he said.

Dr Balwinder Kumar, General Secretary of the district unit of the association, told that doctors were compelled to practise privately to collect money from the pocket of the common man, in which government was going to become one- thirds shareholder. He said doctors of the district would participate in the state-level dharna at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on August 5.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: The local unit of the PCMS Association, on Tuesday organised a protest rally against the decision of the Punjab Government regarding NPA.

Dr Balwinder Singh, district unit president of the association and convener of the Joint Action Committee, said the association would continue its agitation till the decision was withdrawn.

He urged the Chief Minister ,Capt. Amarinder Singh ,to call the doctors for talks as early as possible to discuss the consequences of allowing private practise to government doctors. He said the move was anti- people and a brainchild of the bureaucracy which had an anti-doctor attitude.


Rajindra Hospital doctor resigns
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
An Assistant Professor in the Department of ENT at Government Rajindra Hospital, Dr K.K. Garg, put in his papers today even as government doctors, medical and dental teachers, junior doctors and medical students organised a joint protest rally against the Punjab Government decision to withdraw the non-practising allowance (NPA).

Dr D.S. Bhullar and Dr Jasvinder Singh, leaders of the PCMS association, said more doctors were expected to follow suit in case the government did not take back its decision.

Addressing the rally, Dr Bhullar urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to call representatives of government doctors on the negotiating table as early as possible to discuss the long-term consequences of allowing private practice to government doctors. He said allowing private practice would be an anti-people, anti-poor and anti-patient step.

The Punjab Medical and Dental Teachers Association president, Dr B.S. Sohal urged the Chief Minister to check the state bureaucracy for misleading the government by projecting wrong figures to end NPA to doctors.

Meanwhile, the PCMS general secretary, Dr Yadvinder Singh Banga, said PCMS doctors from all over the state would assemble in Chandigarh on August 5 to hold a protest rally.


Docs protest against NPA withdrawal
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, July 29
Members of the PCMS Association, Bathinda, and Rampura today held a rally and wore black badges to protest against the decision of the state government to withdraw non-practising allowance (NPA) from their salaries.

In a separate press notes issued by the association, their spokespersons claimed that NPA was a misnomer as it was not given in lieu of not doing private practice, but for performing duties at odd hours.

The members, who raised slogans against the state government, urged the authorities concerned to reconsider the decision of withdrawing NPA and reintroduce a ban on private practice by government doctors.

HOSHIARPUR: Senior Medical Officers, Medical Officers and dentists organised a rally in protest against the decision of the Punjab Government to withdraw non-practising allowance (NPA) at the local Civil Hospital on Tuesday. Members of the Punjab Civil Medical Services present at the rally demanded suspension of senior functionaries of the Finance Department for misleading the government on the issue of NPA, according to a press note.

SANGRUR: PCMS doctors of the local Civil Hospital held a rally on the hospital premises here on Tuesday in protest against the withdrawal of non-practising allowance (NPA) by the state government. They also wore black badges to express their resentment.

The rally was attended by family members, relatives and friends of patients, who were briefed by PCMS leaders. The protesters raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the Punjab bureaucracy.

AMRITSAR: Condemning the withdrawal of non-practising allowance (NPA), the joint state-level struggle committee of dentists urged the Chief Minister on Tuesday to review the decision and to restore NPA. Dental doctors working in the state Health Department and dental colleges said the decision would encourage private practice, causing a setback to health services and medical education.


Hanspal justifies step on doctors’ allowance
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 29
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, tonight justified the decision of the government on the withdrawal of the non-practising allowance (NPA) of doctors. He said earlier they were getting the allowance but were including in private practice secretly. And now they could do it openly.

Mr Hanspal was speaking to news persons at the residence of a party leader, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, here.

When asked whether doctors would now try to attract patients coming to government hospitals to their private clinics, he replied in the negative, saying that most of the patients coming to the hospitals were from the poor section of society. Moreover, doctors belonged to a noble profession and the government did not expect them to indulge in such activity.

The PPCC President admitted the block-level party presidents were inactive. He said the block and district units were being reorganised. The heads of these units would have proper offices where notices would be put up indicating the time when they would be available to the public.


Couple seek quashing of FIR
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
You would have dismissed it as just another script fit for a soap opera. A Muslim boy falls in love with an Arya Samajist girl. The two even tie the knot. But a social worker, unhappy with the match, misuses some documents to file a complaint before the Human Rights Commission alleging marriage with a minor. Soon after, the police registers a rape case. But if allegations in a writ petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, then fact is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

In their petition seeking the quashing of a first information report (FIR) registered against them and other relatives, the bride and the groom, along with other relatives, have claimed that the marriage was solemnised with the consent of their families.

This was not all. The couple, belonging to Jagraon in Ludhiana district, had no grievances. Still a social worker, living in the neighbourhood, misused some documents, after conniving with the members of a community, to lodge a complaint against them.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had submitted that their marriage had taken place on August 5 last year. They were living happily till a social worker submitted a false complaint to the Punjab Human Rights Commission.

The same was later forwarded for investigation following which the FIR alleging kidnapping and rape was registered under Sections 366, 366-A and 376 of the Indian Penal Code. The bride, according to the prosecution, was just 16 or 17 years old.

Seeking the quashing of the FIR, the petitioners had asserted that the offence of rape was not made out against the husband. Giving details, counsel for the petitioners had asserted that since a girl of 16 or above was capable of giving consent for physical relationship, the alleged offence could not be termed as rape.

Taking up the petition, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the high court today adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday. Counsel for the petitioners would then place before the court judgements and documents to support their case.


Varsity don charged with sexual harassment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 29
The Department of Physical Education, Guru Nanak Dev University, once again has come under a cloud due to a tussle between Department’s head Dr Daljinder Singh Kahlon and Ms Anita Tamarkar, a lecturer.

Dr Kahlon who earlier had supported Ms Anita’s charge of sexual harassment against former head Dr Kawaljit Singh, faces similar allegation by the lecturer against himself.

In a complaint to the Vice-Chancellor Dr S.P. Singh and Dean Guru Nanak Dev University, she alleged that Board of Control (BOC) members along with Chairman Dr Kahlon had not been maintaining “decorum” of house meetings and exchange indecent gestures and language creating embarrassment for her. Dr Kahlon in another letter to the VC termed the accusations against himself and BOC members as false. He alleged misconduct, insubordination and indiscipline against her. He demanded a probe and security in the department and in the field in the evening to prevent anyone from making false accusations. Ms Anita earlier had charged Dr Kawaljit Singh with allegations of sexual harassment, Dr Kawaljit had refuted the allegations.


Anti-corruption drive to defame Akalis: Badal
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 29
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief and the former Chief Minister, Punjab, has called the anti-corruption drive of the Punjab Government an act to defame the SAD and to take advantage of this fact in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He said all cases registered against him, his family members and other Akali leaders were false.

He called the people to be ready to teach the government a lesson in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He said the unity among the Akalis had paved way for the SAD to perform better in the coming elections.

Mr Badal was addressing a gathering at Manji Sahib Dewan Hall of the Darbar Sahib on the monthly ‘amavas’ mela here today. Lashing out at the functioning of the Punjab Government, Mr Badal said that Capt Amarinder Singh had nothing else to do except registering false cases against Akali leaders while the development in the state had come to a standstill. Mr Badal said that the facilities given to public during his tenure had been withdrawn by this government.


Badal calls SAD panel meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Shiromani Akali Dal President, Parkash Singh Badal, has convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party at Chandigarh on August 4.

A meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal Legislature Party will follow the PAC meeting.


SAD alleges messing up of economy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal today accused the Congress government of mismanaging the economy of the state claiming that agriculture and industry — mainstay of the economy — were showing negative growth. Even sales tax and excise collections had fallen.

Former Finance Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) general secretary Captain Kanwaljit Singh disclosed here today that the Congress government had shown bankruptcy in fiscal management. He said despite a heavy dose of taxation the fiscal position had failed to stabilise and the government was unable to provide funds available for development and welfare activities.

The Akali leader also criticised the government’s over dependence on the World Bank team which is presently visiting the state. He said a loan from the World Bank would be a short-sighted policy and give only temporary relief to the state.

Capt Kanwaljit said the only way to bring about stabilisation of the fiscal position was to ensure that sectors contributing to the economy grew. He said however reverse was happening with agriculture — the mainstay of the economy — recording a negative growth. He said industry, the second pillar of the economy, was also being ignored with no fresh investment coming in to the state.

On tax collection Capt Kanwaljit said when he had assumed the change of the Ministry the state’s Sales Tax Collection was Rs 1450 crore. He said when he demitted office it was Rs 3200 crore. He said similarly the non-tax revenue, including small savings, had risen from Rs 950 crore to Rs 3200 crore in the five-year Akali - BJP rule. He said Sales Tax collection under the present government could at best be described as “tardy’’. 


Mann flays Badal for writing letters
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 29
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann , President of the SAD (A), has criticised the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal , for writing letters to the MPs. In a press note issued here today Mr Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, spokesman of the party , alleged that Mr Badal was doing all this to divert the attention of the people as well as of the government from alleged corruption cases and misdeeds committed by him and his family members.

Mr Mann said," Mr Badal has made a mockery of himself by comparing the present situation in the state with Operation Bluestar and the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs ". He said the letter had been written with an ulterior motive to get the sympathy of the NDA leaders. He alleged that whenever Mr Badal came to power, he forgot the drawbacks and atrocities of his government and indulged in corruption and when he lost power he accused the government and involved the Sikh community in his personal affairs.

Mr Mann alleged that Mr Badal wanted to exploit the sentiments of various communities, which were living peacefully in the state, for personal reasons. He added that the SAD(A) would no allow anyone to disturb the hard- earned peace of state and protect the minorities.


Cong has failed Punjab: CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
In a review of the performance of the Congress Government the Punjab state council of the CPI today pronounced that the state had abdicated its basic responsibility of providing social and economic services to the people.

State CPI Secretary Joginder Dayal said “anti-people” policies of the government were a clear indication of complete sellout of the state to the monopolists and multinational companies as the Amarinder Singh Government was under the influence of the WTO.

The government had failed to provide quality services, employment, education and healthcare. Industrialisation had come to a halt and people were faced with an acute shortage of basic amenities, including clean drinking water. The state had failed to mitigate problems of the poverty-stricken.

He announced a statewide programme to focus on government failures. Beginning September 15, CPI workers would march across the state for a month to ‘’awaken’’ the people about the government’s non-performance. He also regretted that the state had failed to effect the recovery of loans due from big defaulters of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and the Punjab Financial Corporation.


Akal Takht calls meeting on Romana’s removal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29
Taking exception to the removal of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana as president, Gurdwara Management Committee Takht Patna Sahib in violation of Akal Takht directive, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has convened an emergency meeting here on August 5.

Jathedar Vedanti indicated that strong action was likely to be taken for the violation of the edict issued by the Sikh clerics from here for not taking any action against Mr Romana as the case was pending with Akal Takht.

Though Mr Romana was declared ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) by the Sikh high priests of Takht Patna Sahib, Akal Takht had overruled the decision saying declaring any Sikh tankhaiya was the prerogative of Akal Takht. 


Sub-Inspector beaten up by DSP, SHO
Gurbax Puri

Tarn Taran, July 29
Ms Balwinder Kaur, wife of Mr Jasbir Singh, a Sub-Inspector posted at Goindwal police station, in letter to the Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), has sought legal action against the DSP and the SHO who allegedly beat up her husband.

Ms Balwinder Kaur in her letter alleged that her husband, who was on duty last night at Goindwal, was beaten up by Mr Jaswinder Singh Sodhi and Mr Hardip Singh, DSP and SHO, Goindwal, respectively, along with their police parties for no reason.

She alleged that the doctors were pressurised to give a false report that Jasbir Singh was drunk at the time of the incident.

While talking to The Tribune today Ms Balwinder Kaur added that people gathered at the Civil Hospital got her husband released from the “illegal” custody of SHO Hardip Singh.

On the other hand, Mr Kewal Kumar, SP (Headquarters) has said Jasbir Singh was found drinking while on duty and was not ready to get himself medically examined at the hospital.

The SP stated that the SI (Jasbir) had been put under suspension with immediate effect.


Attack on priest; SHO sent to police lines
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 29
Sita Ram, a priest and five others — Devinder Singh, Bhajan Singh, Devinder Singh, Mohinder Singh and Balbir Singh— were seriously injured when a group of about 40 persons led by Chatter Bhuj, a former priest of the village temple, assaulted them at Baba Dhian Dass temple at Binjon village near Kot Fathui ( Mahilpur ) yesterday. The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Mr Devinder Singh, numberdar who was also injured in the assault, told this correspondent that the services of Chatter Bhuj, who was serving in the above temple, had been terminated by the management in April. Sita Ram was appointed the priest. He alleged that Chatter Bhuj with the help of his supporters attacked them to take revenge.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, told mediapersons in the evening that following the assault Sukhwinder Singh, SHO, Mahilpur, had been sent to Police Lines. In charge Paramjit Singh and Head Constable Shiv Kumar of Kot Fathui had been suspended for negligence of duty. She said Chatter Bhuj and two of his accomplices had been arrested.


Streetlights missing due to admn’s ‘indifference’
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 29
More than a dozen sodium vapour lamps, which were installed along the G.T. Road from octroi post number 7 to the Faridkot Road chowk during 2000 are reportedly missing, allegedly due to lack of concern on part of the district authorities.

These lamps, installed by the efforts of the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, had been missing for quite some time now. No government money was used for the purchase and installation of these lamps. The entire amount on installation of these lights was funded by various NGOs through efforts of Mr Sidhu.

Various glow signboards installed at all entry and exit points in this town were also made available due to generous funding by some local businessmen and organisations. The main roundabouts of the town had also been spruced up but things were back to square one, due to the apathy of the administration. The dilapidated condition of the Flame Chowk, the Fountain Chowk, the Rotary Chowk showed the lack of interest taken by authorities.

Most of the decorative lights installed by the district authorities had been damaged beyond repair. The only silver lining had been the beatification of the mazar of Baba Sher Shah Wali Peer situated adjacent to the police house on the G.T. Road.

When contacted, Mr Parshotam Lal, CEO, Cantonment Board, expressed ignorance on the matter. He said that since the lamps were installed by the state government, so it was responsible for the maintenance of the same.


Board members take oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed members of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSSB).

The members, who were administered the oath included Mr Naresh Kataria, Mr N.S. Sahota, Mr Joginder Nath (former MLA), Mr Harinder Singh Jaurkian, Dr Harbans Kaur, Mr Anil Mehta, Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, Mr K.S. Sehgal, Mr Kamal Bakshi and Mr Kanwaljit Singh.

The Chief Minister called upon the members to discharge their duties diligently and live up to the expectations of the people.


CM meets Gehlot, Jakhar today
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 29
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh are expected to discuss some important issues of common interest during their visit to Ferozepore tomorrow. They will be joined meeting by Mr Balram Jakhar, former Lok Sabha Speaker and chairman of the farmers and labour wing of the AICC.

The Chief Ministers are likely to discuss the party’s campaign for Assembly elections in Rajasthan, scheduled for the year-end. Bikaner is the largest Lok Sabha constituency in the state and Mr Jakhar enjoys considerable influence in the districts in this division. 


Widow with damaged kidney appeals for help
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
A poor widow and nowhere to go, 40-year-old Manjit Kaur has now appealed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to come to her aid. Manjit, who has a damaged kidney, claims she has no money for the dialysis treatment and for the subsequent kidney transplant, if she is ever to live a full life again.

Presently she is living with her elder brother who is a daily wager and is living on rent in Guru Nanak Nagar locality in the city. Recently she was admitted to a private clinic for dialysis for which she had no money. Though her treatment was done because of a grant of Rs 6,000 by the Red Cross and supply of blood and medicines by the Patiala Social Welfare Society, more money is needed if Manjit is to ever recover from her ailment.

The woman is slated for another dialysis treatment soon. Following this she will need money if she is to get a kidney transplant for which doctors have referred her to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Relating her tale of woes Manjit said her husband died in a road accident in 2002. Following this she came into conflict with her in-laws who according to her wanted to deny her any share of the land which was in her husband’s name. She said after a protracted battle she was able to sell her share of the land for Rs 80,000 which she got in three instalments.

The woman said because she had started keeping indifferent health and later her condition also deteriorated, she had to spend most of this money on her medication. She said she remained admitted in Government Rajindra Hospital a long time.

She said, however, as dialysis treatment was not available at the Rajindra Hospital, she was forced to go to a private clinic for the treatment.

Manjit has three children, including two daughters and a son. She said because of her severe illness, she could not provide education to her children and that it was difficult for any of her relatives also to look after them.

The woman appealed to the Chief Minister to come to her aid saying if this was not done, there was no hope of her getting a successful transplant which was neccessary to save her life.


Disowned old man’s body lies unclaimed
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 29
The body of an old man remained unclaimed for more than six hours at the checkpost of the market committee here today. Ants had started damaging the body by the time the police arrived.

Sources said relatives and family members of Kashmir Singh (70) had deserted him. He worked as shepherd for a farmer living near the New Grain Market. He had been using the checkpost as shelter.

Shopkeepers claimed that they had informed the staff of the committee about Kashmir Singh’s death in the morning, but nobody cared. Two employees reportedly visited the checkpost, but could not stand the foul smell emanating from the body. The police said the municipal council would cremate the body.


Woman hit by train, dies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 29
An unidentified woman died after she was hit by a train on the Bathinda-Ferozepore rail section late last night.

She was immediately taken to the local Civil Hospital by volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa, where she was declared brought dead by doctors. Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Sewa, in a press note issued here today, said the woman was cremated by volunteers after a post-mortem.

He said in another case, a migratory labourer, who suffered a heart attack six days ago, died today in the local Civil Hospital. He was also cremated by the volunteers today.


High Court
Order stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
In a petition filed before the high court, Private Secretary to Punjabi University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Pankaj Jain today alleged that he was being victimised. He claimed that due to the dispute between the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor, he was asked to appear in a matric level Punjabi test to be conducted by the Language Department even though he had already cleared the same through the Punjab School Education Board.

Issuing notice of motion on his petition for August 28, Mr Justice V.M. Jain and Mr Justice S.S. Saron stayed the operation of the order asking him to appear for the examination.


Police remand for MLA
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 29
Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate, today remanded Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, SAD MLA from Joga and former Chairman of Milkfed, who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau yesterday, in police remand till July 31.

Mr Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, police prosecutor, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Kahlon, DSP (Vigilance), appeared in the court and pleaded for 14-day police remand for the accused. They said the accused had been arrested under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

They said he was the Chairman of Milkfed during the regime of the previous government and forged records to become a member of the Milk Producers Cooperative Society, Dhadda. They said he got the membership by making entries in previous dates. The membership fee was deposited in a wrong way.

They alleged that the accused became chairman of this society on August 21, 1999, in connivance with the secretary of the society and others. Then he became the Director and Chairman of Milkfed.

They alleged that during his chairmanship, he took bribe to appoint and transfer employees.

The defense counsel refuted the allegations and said vague charges had been levelled and surprisingly the police was the complainant in the FIR. They alleged that their client was being pressured to make statements against a former Chief Minister and his son.


Pesticides exempted from sales tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Punjab Council of Ministers today exempted pesticides from sales tax.

An official statement said that the Council of Ministers, which met today, approved the reduction of sales tax on pesticides from existing 4 per cent to nil.

The government has also decided to dispense with the “notorious” 67-A Section of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act-1961. Under this defaulter farmers used to be arrested and put behind bars by the Cooperative Department Officials deputed to recover loans. The government said that an ordinance would be promulgated soon to remove the Section in the Act. Farmers had been seeking the removal of this section for long.

The council also decided to reduce the term of the Board of Directors and managing committees of various cooperative institutions from the existing five years to three. However, the condition of maximum two terms for such members would be deleted.

The council has approved the draft of the new legislation, known as the Punjab Self Supporting Cooperative Societies Bill-2003. The Bill would be introduced in the next session of the Vidhan Sabha. The self-supporting societies would be freed from all sorts of administrative controls to manage their affairs independently. The government has decided to omit Section 30-AA of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act,1948, with effect from December 7 last year by issuing an ordinance.

The council has approved to charge 12 per cent interest per annum and penal interest 3 per cent per annum on deficient amount of stamp duty from the date of registration of document till the date of the deposit of the enhanced amount by the vendor or the seller.

The council has approved to lease out 5 acres of farm land of the State Agricultural Department at Shamsher Nagar (near Sirhind) to the Punjab National Bank Farmers Welfare Trust for 30 years at the rate of Re 1 per acre per year to set up a farmer’s training college.


BJP leader hurt in robbery
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 29
BJP leader and former Vice-President, Nagar Council, Phagwara, Ram Saroop Arora was seriously injured after he was attacked by robbers at his Model Town residence in the wee hours today. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the local Gandhi Hospital and was struggling for life. Valuables were looted although the exact amount was not known.

According to the wife of Mr Arora, Mrs Subdharani Arora, two robbers scaled the wall and the gate of their multistoreyed house around 2.45 am. They entered the house by uprooting a grill. Mr Arora was repeatedly hit by a screw driver and a log of wood and a stick. Due to the severe head injury, he slumped on his bed. She said she raised an alarm but the robbers told her to remain quiet. Later they sprayed something in the room after which she felt dizzy, she told newsmen. They then tied her hands and covered her face with a sheet, she added.

The doors of the rooms in which three brothers and sons of Mr Arora were sleeping upstairs were locked from outside.

The robbers also made a bid to loot another house in the locality.

Meanwhile, residents of local Pehchan Nagar, where mostly bazigars live, held a dharna and blocked traffic near Satnampura police post on the Phagwara - Nakodar road. The dharna was in protest against detention of 12 persons of their basti in wake of the dacoity at the New Model Town residence of Mr Arora. The blockade was lifted after about one hour after a police official and a councillor, Ms Tripata Dhir, intervened. The detained persons were released after questioning. Over 24 persons had been detained for questioning in connection with the dacoity in Mr Arora’s house.

The police has registered a case under Section 459 and 34, IPC.


3 undertrials escape, cops suspended
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 29
Three undertrials lodged in the Central Jail here in different cases of theft, escaped after breaking bars of the judicial bashikhana, the room where the prisoners are kept during the court hearings.

Three undertrials, Browny, son of Gulam Masih, Roshan Lal, son of Pyare Lal, and Hira Lal, son of Balbir Singh, who were taken to the Sessions Court for the hearing, escorted by the police, escaped from the bakshikhana, where they were lodged. The undertrials broke the grills and ran away while the police personnel, sitting outside were unaware of what was going on inside.

Meanwhile, three police personnel, including Assistant Sub Inspector Vidhi Chand have been placed under suspension for dereliction of duty. Police teams have been sent in different directions to nab the fugitive undertrials.


Students’ union demands action against cop
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 29
Condemning the thrashing up of students of R.S.D. College, Ferozepore City, by Mr Satnam Singh, SHO, City Police Station, Ferozepore, the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) today demanded the dismissal of the SHO and the registration of a case against him for violation of human rights.

Mr Amarjit Singh Raaju and Mr Bahaal Singh, president and treasurer, respectively, of PRSU, in a press note, regretted that there was police rule in Punjab instead of the rule of the law. They demanded that the unlawful thrashing up of persons at public places and police stations by the police be stopped.

They criticised the statement of Mr Vinod Kumar Bhandari, Principal of the college, in which he had termed the students as outside elements. Supporting the students’ struggle, they said the agitation in protest against the police action should continue and expressed their solidarity with the agitating students.


Varsity teachers seek action against Pro-VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
The Teachers United Front (TUF) of Punjabi University today appealed to the varsity Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), to take action against the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, for “holding a political meeting and press conference of BJP state president Brij Pal Rinwa” at his official residence. The front is an umbrella organisation for the Democratic Teachers Front (DTF), the Progressive Teachers Council (PTF), the Centre for University Teachers (CUT) and the Free Thinkers Forum.

Prof B.S. Khaira and Dr Balwinder Singh, convener and co-convener of the front, respectively, said Dr Pal was vitiating the atmosphere in the university through anti-teacher and non-academic activities. They said the teachers were outraged by the blatant misuse of authority by the Pro-VC, who, they claimed, had invited BJP workers and leaders at a personal function in which the state BJP president castigated the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai.

They said this was for the first time that such an act had been committed by such a senior official of the varsity. They also urged the BJP leadership, including Mr Rinwa, not to support Dr Pal.

The organisation also claimed that Dr Pal had committed many acts of omission which were being investigated into. It said such a behavior did not behove such a senior functionary of the varsity who was holding the position of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.


Non-teaching staff reinstated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Department of School Education, Punjab, has reinstated members of the non-teaching staff of Government Senior Secondary School, Rattewal, Nawanshahr, who had been suspended along with the teaching staff for the alleged “absence from duty” on a day when the school was closed.

Those who have been reinstated are Senior laboratory Assistants — Mr Tejinder Singh and Mr Salinder Kumar, Ms Paramjit Kaur ( clerk), Mr Jagan Nath (Class II worker), Mr Parkash Chand (sweeper) and Mr Chanderpal (waterman). The suspension orders of 11 teachers of the school were revoked earlier this month.

The Principal Secretary, Department of School Education, Ms Tejinder Kaur, has in the orders observed that their period of suspension would be treated as duty period for all purposes.

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