Sunday, August 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Doctors invite Punjab CM for public debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The PCMS Association has challenged the Punjab Chief Minister for a live public debate on his decision to withdraw NPA given to doctors.

The moot question is whether the decision is in public interest or not? The office-bearers of the association have even offered to quit if they lose the debate, but have set no pre-condition for the Chief Minister who is free to quit on moral grounds or continue in the office even after losing in the debate. In a joint statement issued here today, Dr M.S Randhawa, Dr D.S Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, patron, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, have said since the Chief Minister has taken full responsibility for the decision, he should himself answer the public queries on the subject.

A delegation of the association, which met the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill and Principal Secretary, Health, Mr D.S. Jaspal, yesterday demanded a review of the decision. They wanted an indepth study on the adverse impact on patient care in government hospitals in those states which allowed private practice to doctors by withdrawing the NPA.

On the sixth day of their agitation, doctors continued to work in protest by wearing black badges, and held protest rallies and meetings with patients and public representatives to highlight the “anti-people” decisions of the state government.

Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Surinder Singla, president and general secretary of the other faction of the PCMS Association, respectively, have also contested the claims of the state government that there would be a relief of Rs 80 crore per year in the Budget after the NPA cut by pointing out that Rs 88 crore is the total amount that was being paid to the PCMS doctors.

Threatening to intensify the agitation if the decision was not taken back, they plan to launch the second phase of their agitation with a dharna at the Matka Chowk in Sector 17 here.

They have claimed that the total amount paid as the NPA to the PCMS doctors is only Rs 10.9 crore per year and Rs 3.2 crore of this were deposited back in the form of income tax.

A memorandum containing details of the post-NPA scenario has also been submitted by a deputation to the Punjab Pradesh Congress chief, Mr H.S Hanspal, the new Chief Secretary, Mr Gill and all senior Cabinet Ministers for an early action.


Amarinder should apologise for boy’s death, says Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
Punjab Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh today said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should apologise to the family of the boy who was killed by two cops yesterday even as he decried the ‘insensitivity’ of the district administration in handling the situation after the incident.

The Deputy Speaker, who visited the family of the boy Gurmeet ( not Gurpreet as mentioned in yesterday’s report) at their residence near Mohindra College today afternoon, said that Capt Amarinder Singh should apologise to the family of the victim in his capacity as Home Minister of the state. He said the Chief Minister should also visit the family to condole the boy’s death.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said it was unfortunate that the young boy was killed near the residence of the Chief Minister by drunken cops who on patrolling duty in the area on a day when the Chief Minister was in town and attending a function on the outskirts of the city. ‘‘This is the state of the security apparatus in the city,’’ he said adding ‘‘the public needed to be told how the security system has been compromised to such an extent’’.

The Congress leader also claimed that such incidents would ‘negate’ the gains of development in the town. He said it was also unfortunate that the district administration had shown ‘insensitivity’ despite the gruesome nature of the incident. He said no money had been given to the family to perform the last rites of the boy or bear other expenditure even though the parents of the boy were daily wage workers. ‘‘It is surprising that no one thought of giving them even a small amount of money,’’ he added.

Mr Bir Devinder also urged the administration to make arrangements for providing education to the two sisters of the deceased and said the police department should recruit Gurmeet’s mother in its school on compassionate grounds. He also urged schoolchildren in the city to donate Re 1 each to raise money for the family and appealed to the citizens to contribute money for the family. He said that he would form a trust to help the family.

The Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr T P S Phulka, said that the Red Cross would bear the expense incurred by the family on the last rites of Gurmeet. District police personnel has also decided to handover one day’s pay to the family of Gurmeet which would amount to around Rs 1.25 lakh, according to Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has announced ex gratia of Rs 50, 000 for the family of the deceased. He also expressed condolences to the family.


Policemen booked under Arms Act
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 2
The Patiala police has registered a case under the Arms Act against the two policemen who were involved in the killing of Gurmeet, alias Kaka, yesterday.

Head Constables Ranjit Singh and Balwinder Singh were arrested yesterday. Departmental action would also taken against the two policemen, who, according to the doctors’ report, were found to be under the influence of liquor.

Meanwhile the body of Gurmeet was cremated today. Senior police officials, including the SSP, were also present.


Police to be people-friendly: DGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab Police will bring about transparency, accountability, efficiency and service in its functioning so as to meet the aspirations of a common man, says Mr A. A. Siddiqui, its new Director-General.

Talking to newsmen here today he said that the main thrust of his action plan would be to modernise the force by reinforcing its community policing and grievances redressal cells besides concentrating on gender representation and reforms. A new Punjab Police Act would be enacted to redefine the police role, duties and responsibilities, he added.

To effectively control crime and maintain order in the state, the Additional Director-General of Police (Operations & Law & Order), Punjab, would be given wider jurisdiction. Efforts would be made for the separation of law and order and detective duties at the police station level to improve the quality of investigation. Action would be initiated for creation and integration of criminal database to ensure effective surveillance and apprehension of criminals, he added.

Mr Siddiqui said there was an urgent need to improve the service conditions of constabulary which accounted for 80 per cent of the strength of the force. Weekly rest or off-day for the constabulary would be introduced. Holding of B-1 test for promotion to the rank of head constable and allotment of special seats for the lower school course for constables posted in the districts would be revived. He emphasised for increased thrust on police housing to achieve the national average of 36 per cent from the existing 16.34 per cent in Punjab.

A special 10 per cent quota in promotions to the rank of head constable for constables with conspicuous acts of gallantry, public service or outstanding performance in sports would be provided. New police lines in the newly created revenue districts would be constructed. New police posts and police stations would be created to improve accessibility by the public. A new Punjab Police integrated transit accommodation complex would be set up in Chandigarh, said Mr Siddiqui.

The working of the police force would be modernised by extensive computerisation and networking of all the police stations in the state. A greater emphasis would be laid on scientific aids to investigation, for which kits are being provided to all the I.Os. at the Police Station level.

Mr Siddiqui held that the community policing would be the main thrust area. Police personnel would be assigned community oriented tasks as part of their regular duties. A state level community affairs divisions (CAD) would be structured to oversee and monitor community Police Resource Centres. As a pilot project, it has been executed in eight districts and would be extended to all within a year. These centres would facilitate grievance redressal, act as a nodal place for community oriented schemes like combating domestic violence, drug abuse, legal aid etc. and also act as an information centre and provide single window services. Victim and women hotlines will be made functional in these centres. Also, special efforts would be put in to deal with crime against women and atrocities against the under-privileged sections of society and senior citizens.

Mr Siddqui also talked about manpower audit and grievances redressal to get the necessary attention. Special training courses would be started in respect of skill in investigation, cyber crime and computer training. An R&D cell would be created under the Training Wing. He further said that a proposal would be made before the State Government to consider enhancing the strength of the women cadre up to 10 per cent of the total strength in the districts.

A need was being felt to provide appropriate powers to meet the present day changes to internal security, meaningfully and effectively, making the police setup along with its functioning highly motivated, professionally skilled and thoroughly trained in various segments. It was why a new Punjab Police Act – 2003 was proposed to be enacted.


SP ‘beats up’ constable
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
Mr Sukhjit Singh, a constable posted in the SSP's office here, was admitted to the Civil Hospital after he was allegedly beaten up by the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), Mr Harbhajan Singh, in his office today.

" I was slapped repeatedly by Mr Harbhajan Singh when I went to his office. The SP abused me and used derogatory remarks against my mother and sister. He then called a cop and asked him to throw me out of his office", alleged Mr Sukhjit Singh. He said he fell unconscious after coming out of the SP's office.

He pointed out that he moved an application for one-day leave yesterday as his brother had suffered a heart attack. The SP while not sanctioning the leave, remarked on the application that he should be marked absent.

Mr Harbhajan Singh, while denying the allegations said Mr Sukhjit Singh had taken the leave by misrepresenting the facts. When he (Harbhajan Singh) came to know about it, he called the constable in his office and asked him to explain in this regard.

Doctors said the constable was admitted to the emergency ward in an unconscious state. The ECG and other clinical tests were normal. Mr Sukhjit Singh was found suffering from anxiety.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, when contacted, said as per preliminary inquiry conducted by him, the constable was not beaten up by the SP. He added that so far the constable had not lodged any complaint to him against the SP.


Unity in lower Akali ranks still a distant dream
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Though unity between the SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the President of the Shiormani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has been clinched, yet both these leaders will have to travel a long way to unite Akali ranks down the line.

Akali activists are still divided between Tohra and Badal factions, at the lower level. Even there seems “disunity” among the second line leaders of both the camps. Its evidence was available at a function organised by the Sikh Educational Society at Guru Gobind Singh College here today.

All present on the occasion were from Mr Tohra’s camp. There was not a single leader worth naming from the Badal side. The function was organised to honour Mr Tohra on his taking over as President of the SGPC.

The society, which runs about half a dozen educational institutions in this region, is all packed with Mr Tohra’s loyalists. Earlier, when Mr Badal and Mr Tohra fell apart, the former had made an unsuccessful attempt through Mr Sucha Singh Langah to wrest the control of the society from Mr Tohra’s men.

At today’s function, Mr Tohra spoke briefly. He did not touch any political topic and also stayed away from making any reference to the Akali unity. He highlighted the problems faced by private colleges in the absence of any adequate financial support from the government. He said that the day would come when “ private colleges would have to be sold by private managements”.

Mr Tohra said that he would take at least one month more to be fully fit to discharge his religious and political responsibilities. There is an important meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of SAD on August 4. It is expected that Mr Tohra’s men would be inducted in the PAC. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, both Tohra’s loyalists who played a major role in unity, are front-runners. Of course, Mr Tohra will himself be member of PAC, which, of late, has emerged as the most powerful body of SAD to take important policy decisions.

When asked, Mr Tohra said he was not aware of the PAC meeting. “I have not received any information in this connection,” he said.

On media persons persistence, Mr Tohra answered two questions. When asked about the appointment of the working President of the SGPC, Mr Tohra said that he would consult Mr Badal in this connection. He indicated that the general house of the SGPC would be called about a month earlier, say in October, to elect the President for next one year and also to appoint acting President.


Supporters of Kala Afghana may face action
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
The Sikh high priests are contemplating action against supporters of the cop-turned-Sikh scholar, Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana, who was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for allegedly distorting Sikh history. While excommunicating Mr Kala Afghana, the Sikh clergy had warned the Sikh sangat not to have any social relations with him as he had failed to appear before Akal Takht despite repeated reminders.

Sources close to the Sikh high priests revealed that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had taken exception to a press conference held here today. Supporters of Mr Kala Afghana had announced to convene an international meet in Chandigarh to seek the excommunication of Jathedar Vedanti. The press conference, convened by the Akal Sahai Society at the behest of Mr Inderbir Singh and Mr Amandip Singh, both grandsons of Mr Kala Afghana, announced that the proposed international convention would seek the excommunication of Jathedar Vedanti from the Sikh Panth as in the case of Mr Kala Afghana for editing the book “Gurbilas Patshahi 6”, which has distorted Sikh history.

Interestingly, the book was published by the SGPC in 1998 to coincide with the 400th birth anniversary of the sixth Sikh master, Guru Hargobind.

Jathedar Vedanti claimed that the book was not banned by the SGPC, but its sale was stopped for some time on his directions following a controversy over the issue. He said the book was earlier published by the Punjab Languages Department and nobody raised any issue over it at that time. He said he had admitted in the foreword of the book that there might be certain discrepancies or distortions in the text. “Being a primary source on the life of Guru Hargobind, it was my duty to edit the book.”

Interestingly, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh, the then jathedars of Akal Takht, Takht Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively, and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC chief, Mr Joginder Singh Talwara, a member of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Giani Sant Singh Maskeen and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta had praised the ‘painstaking efforts’ of the editors of the book.


Liquor licence valid, claims Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 2
Former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu said in court today that he had valid licence by the UT Excise and Taxation Department to keep foreign liquor.

“I am not the only one who had been issued permit for keeping foreign liquor but several senior IAS officers and judges too have similar permits”, he said.

His counsel stated that the Excise and Taxation department had already submitted a record in the court that Sidhu had a valid permit and hence the case registered against him under the Excise Act should be disposed off. After hearing the arguments, the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class) adjourned the case for August 5.

The UT Excise and Taxation Department had submitted documents saying that Sidhu had been issued a life-time licence for keeping IMFL, beer and wine in 1998. The department also stated that a total of 50 licences (for purpose transport and possession of foreign liquor exceeding the limit of retail sale and private possession) had been issued by the office.

Sidhu was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Department on March 26, allegedly while accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh.

Thereafter, the UT police had registered two cases under the Excise Act and the Arms Act against him on the complaint by the Vigilance that it had seized 14 bottles of foreign liquor, 250 rounds of .12 bore gun and 225 rounds of Springfield rifle from his house.


Lovers consume poison in temple, boy dies
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 2
Apprehension of failure in love following objections over their long-standing affair by their parents and their inability to withstand familial pressures forced two young lovers to consume poison in the Basti Bawa Khel Shiva temple here today.

While 16-year-old girl Gurdev (not her real name), a student of class XII, was admitted to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital the boy, Gaurav (22) died at around 2.45 p.m. Both were neighbours in the Kishanpura locality.

Gurdev and Gaurav had reportedly been in love for a long time and were trying hard to persuade their parents to allow them to tie the nuptial knot. However, following opposition from the families, which asked them not to meet each other they decided to end their lives.

Gurdev and Gaurav went to the Shiva temple and offered prayers before consuming poison, which was allegedly brought by Gaurav. After consuming the poison, Gaurav rang up a neighbour and narrated the incident before falling unconscious on the temple premises.

Gurdev, who was stated to be out of danger, was in tears and was hardly able to speak. She told The Tribune that their only fault was that they wanted to get married.

The mother of Gurdev said neither her daughter nor Gaurav had told them about their wish to get married. “We would have agreed if they had told us,” she said.

The parents of the boy and the girl were involved in a verbal duel at the emergency ward main gate. The situation was brought under control by security personnel.


BJP flayed for raising foreign origin issue
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 2
Mr Ashwani Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader, has criticised the BJP for raising the issue of foreign origin of the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said by raising the Sonia’s issue the BJP wanted to divert the attention of the people from its failures.

Mr Kumar said the Shimla conclave would help in strengthening the organisation at grass-roots level.

The MP announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of emergency ward of a local hospital from the Local Area Development fund.


SAD man elected Patti council chief
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 2
Mr Jasbir Singh Shahid, a SAD member was today elected president of the Municipal Council, Patti, while Ms Sudesh Rani was elected Senior Vice-President, the election of which was pending since March 10 after the general election of the council.

Of the total 15 members seven each belonged to the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal along with an Independent. Due to this the election of the office-bearers had been put on hold.


Punjab to go green
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
Dr Harbans Lal, sacked minister, presided over a sapling plantation campaign launched by the District Congress Committee in collaboration with the District Environment Society today.

Mr Jasmer Singh, DFO, said the Chief Minister had launched a scheme to make the state green and the municipal councils and corporations had been directed to spend 1 per cent of their budget on planting saplings.

In Fatehgarh Sahib, all councils, except that of Bassi Pathanan had started planting saplings.

Vaid Hari Krishan, DCC president said the DCC would plant saplings in schools and religious places.

Mr Pardeep Malhotra, PPCC secretary, Mr R.N. Sharma, president of the Citizens’ Welfare Council Sirhind, Mr Samsher Singh, Chairman of the District Environment Society, Mr Nakesh Jindal, social worker, and Mr Charanjeev Channa, president of the MC Sirhind also spoke.


Medical services paralysed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 2
The medical services remained paralysed for two hours at Rajindra Hospital and Government Medical and Dental College here today following a call given by the PCMS Association.

However, emergency services were not disrupted. A rally was also organised by medical and dental teachers and PCMS doctors in protest against the state government’s decision to withdraw the NPA.

The doctors said the privatisation of health services was a western concept and could not be applied in India where a large section of the population lived below the poverty line.

They also demanded the dismissal of the Finance Secretary, Punjab, for “misleading” the state government .


Dalits yet to get freedom, says body
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 2
“ The state government is silent over the Dalel Singh Wala village episode related to bonded labour in the district. The present landlords were slaves of the erstwhile feudal lords. However, now they claim to be landlords due to the Praja Mandal movement in the area,” said Jai Singh Phillaur, national coordinator of the Dalit Dastan Virodhi Andolan, while talking to mediapersons here today. Mr Phillaur said the landlords were exploiting the downtrodden by burdening them with debt through loans.

He said the district administration had assured their deputation to conduct a magisterial inquiry within four days into a case of outrage of modesty of a Dalit, Manjit Kaur (38) of Dalel Singh Wala village, by landlord, but so far nothing had been done even though 15 days had passed. Mr Phillaur said Dalit had lost faith in the district administration.

He said the organisation would urge the President to delete Articles 14, 17, 21 and 23 from the Constitution, as Dalits had not got freedom even after 56 years of freedom of the country.

Mr Phillaur said the organisation would start a cycle rally on August 16, which will pass through important cities of Punjab and Haryana and will reach New Delhi on September 15 with large number of Dalits and would submit a memorandum to the President.


Part of building collapses, 1 dies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
Jasmel Kaur died on the spot while Mrs Tej Kaur, suffered multiple injuries when a part of an old residential building on the Bathinda-Multania road, in which they were residing, collapsed due to heavy rain which lashed the region today.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that a part of the old building came down suddenly when heavy rain lashed the city. Both Mrs Jasmel Kaur and Mrs Tej Kaur got buried under debris. People residing nearby started the rescue work. While Mrs Jasmel Kaur was found dead, Mrs Tej Kaur was taken to the local Civil Hospital.

This is the third incident of house collapse in the town ever since the monsoon started. Earlier, two children were killed and four others injured when the roofs of two houses in Janata Nagar and Singh Sabha area collapsed.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has affected life. The traffic on the Bathinda-Goniana main road came to halt as the road was submerged under knee-deep water while certain roads in the city became inaccessible for residents.


Rs 4 cr released for development works
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 2
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Sports and Chairman, Planning Board, Muktsar, yesterday sanctioned the release of more than Rs 4 crore for carrying out development works in the rural areas and for meeting expenditure on various welfare schemes for the people.

In a press note issued here yesterday, the district Public Relations Officer said the total amount for various plans in the district, which had been approved by the Planning Board, was Rs 9.56 crore.


Suspend Kathunangal SHO, say unions
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
Demanding suspension of the SHO of the Kathunangal police station, the Akhil Hind Mazdoor Union and the Netaji Azad Trade Union today threatened to launch an agitation.

At a meeting held here today, the unions alleged that SHO Sarbjit Singh in connivance with the sarpanch of Hedaitpura village, Balwinder Singh, panch Sukhdev Kaur and Joga Singh had falsely registered a case against Ranjit Singh, Jasveer Singh, Surjit Singh, Sardool Singh and thee others for using derogatory remarks against the sarpanch and the panch.

Mr Chaturbhuj Joshi, president, Akhil Hind Mazdoor Union, urged the Chief Minister to sack the sarpanch.

However, Mr Sarbjit Singh refuted the allegations and said a probe in this regard was already going on.


SHO shifted for misbehaviour
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 2
The SSP, Mr RPS Brar, has shifted Sub Inspector Sanjiv Kumar, Station House Officer, police station Pathankot, division No 2, Civil Lines here for his alleged misconduct with public men.

A deputation comprising Municipal Commissioner of Municipal Committee Pathankot, and sarpanches and panches of surrounding villages of Pathankot, under the leadership of Mr Sarwan Kumar, president, Municipal Committee, Pathankot, met the SSP here and complained against the alleged misbehaviour of the Station House Officer.

Mr Sarwan Kumar, quoting a particular incident, said the SHO kept four persons in illegal custody.

During interrogation the said officer stripped them off their clothes and beat them up.

Later, the detainees were allegedly taken out to a road and asked to slap themselves 100 times.

Mr Brar deputed Mr Maninder Singh, SP, to hold an inquiry into the complaint lodged against the SHO by residents of Pathankot sub-division.

The inquiry report held the SHO guilty of misconduct resulting in his shifting.


Dalits’ boycott on, says sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 2
Ms Charan Kaur, sarpanch, Mr Gian Chand, former sarpanch, Mr Gurmukh Singh and Mr Bishan Dass, panches of Pandori Khazoor village of Hoshiarpur district stated that the Jats of the village were still continuing to boycott Dalits.

They condemned the statement of Mr Ram Lubhaya, local MLA, in which he had claimed that the Jats had lifted the boycott and there was harmony between the two communities in the village.

They alleged that instead of lifting the boycott the Jats had instigated members of their community from adjoining villages to join them. They urged the district administration to get the boycott lifted.

It may be recalled that due to the defeat of a Jat woman candidate for the post of Sarpanch in the recent panchayat elections by a Dalit woman the Jat community started the boycott of Dalits.


Sham-e-Ghazal organised
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
The District Cultural Society organised a cultural programme “Sham-e-ghazal” at Mandi Gobindgarh town in the district last night. Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, the chairman of the Banas group of educational institutions, inaugurated the programme by lighting a candle while Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function. Shamim Iqbal and his troupe presented “suphia kalaam”, quawwalis and ghazals.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ahluwalia, who is also the chairman of the society, said this society had been formed to revive the cultural activities in the district and it would organise cultural programmes every month at different subdivisions. He said the youth would be involved in cultural activities to utilise their energy in a positive manner. He added that the membership of the society was open to all. Any one having interest in cultural activities could become a member of the society by paying Rs 100.

Mr Bansal, chief guest in his address appreciated the efforts of the Deputy Commissioner in forming the society. Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, the organising secretary of the society, gave details of various projects to be initiated by the society.

Cobwebs greet visitors at bird gallery
Monica Ahluwalia

Patiala, August 2
The animal and bird gallery at the Sheesh Mahal Museum here, set up over five decades ago, is in a bad shape.

Employees of the gallery hold the state government responsible for it and say that even the basic infrastructure to showcase various species is not available. The late Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had got the gallery, constructed by an English artist. Built in a western style, it has two floors with the animal gallery situated on the ground floor. The bird gallery housing stuffed birds is located on the first floor. Most of the birds and animals belong to the Himalayan region.

Two employees have been recruited by the government to take care of the gallery, but due to lack of funds it is in a poor shape. The floods which ravaged the city in 1988 and 1993 destroyed most of the stuffed birds and animals in the gallery.

An employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the last time that the gallery was renovated was in 1995. He said no effort had been made since then to either maintenance the gallery or to preserve the birds and animals. The maintenance of the gallery is under the jurisdiction of the PWD Department. However, due to lack of funds, nothing has been done to maintain it.

A source said a taxidermist had been employed but the required chemicals and materials were not available. The gallery has not been painted for the past several years and huge cobwebs are visible.

The government has decided to go in for the renovation of the gallery on a contract basis.


Mann lays stone of ‘gaushala’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 2
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, local MP and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today laid the foundation stone of a “gaushala” at Dhadrian village near Longowal. It will be constructed on 48 kanals by the Sati Mai Goran Devi Gau Welfare Society, Dhadrian, with assistance from Dhadrian, Dialgarh, Ratonke, Togowal, Takipur, Sahoke and Mander Khurd villages.

Mr Mann urged the Prime Minister to set up district gaushala welfare boards throughout the country. He added that he had also asked the Prime Minister to make arrangements for providing special funds for the “gaushalas” to the MPs.


Rinwa bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Mr Madan Gopal (75), father of Dr. Mohinder Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Science & Technology, Horticulture & Environment, Punjab, died here yesterday after a prolonged illness. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Members of the Council of Ministers of Punjab, including Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and Mr Tej Parkash Singh besides Dr Kewal Krishan and Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, respectively, condoled the death of Mr Madan Gopal.


Raj Babbar visits Shaheed Udham Singh’s house
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 2
Film actor Raj Babbar, who had made “Shaheed Udham Singh” a few years ago, yesterday visited the ancestral house of Shaheed Udham Singh at Sunam, about 13 km from here, to pay tributes.

He remained there for about 30 minutes. He met the family of Shaheed Udham Singh and assured them of financial aid.


Stir threatened against sales tax on CSD items
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
The Indian Ex-Servicemen League, Punjab and Chandigarh, has decided to launch an agitation over the imposition of sales tax on CSD items, according to a resolution. Col J.S. Mand (retd), general secretary of the league, in a press statement issued here today said the agitation would start in all districts of Punjab from August 5.

Colonel Mand said the league had resolved to continue the agitation till the government withdraws the “wrong” decision.


Farmers to hold rally in Chandigarh

Moga, August 2
Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Punjab Unit of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) (Lakhowal) today expressed concern over the failure of sugar mills to pay arrears amounting to more than Rs 150 crore to the sugarcane growers. The union decided to hold a farmers’ rally at Chandigarh on September 12 to press upon the state government clear the arrears pending for the past three years.

Mr Lakhowal said here this evening that the sugar mills had failed to release the price of sugarcane to the farmers for cane supplied to the mills last year.

He warned that if the state government failed to arrange the clearance of the sugarcane arrears the farmers’ rally of September 12 would announce the mode of agitation for the early recovery of arrears.

The September 12 farmers’ rally would also give warning to the Centre to lift the freezing of minimum support prices of wheat and paddy for the next three years as desired by the Agriculture Price Commission recommendations. Mr Lakhowal demanded Rs 143 per quintal as MSP of sugarcane. — PTI


Girl crushed by police bus
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 2
Irked over death of a 13-year-old schoolgirl, who was allegedly crushed to death by a speeding India Reserve Battalion (IRB) bus, a large number of residents of the Baba Budha Ji Nagar locality near the Rama Mandi area blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana highway for about two hours here today.

The bus (PB-08-0090), belonging to the fourth battalion of the IRB and driven by Sukhdip Singh, allegedly hit the bicycle of Neetu, daughter of Mr Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Rama Mandi, and a student of the Kendriya Vidyalya No. 1, while she was heading towards her school along with her sister Bitti when she reached the Rama Mandi chowk. The victim died on the spot after she was dragged by the bus along with her cycle to a few metres. The driver of the bus escaped immediately after the accident.

As soon as the word spread that a speeding police bus had crushed a girl, residents of the area and residents of the Rama Mandi locality, started converging on the Rama Mandi chowk and blocked the traffic on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana highway. Vehicular traffic on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road was also affected. Motorists had to adopt the alternative Lama Pind chowk route.

The protesting residents, led by councillor Jagdish Kumar Gagg and Mr Vijay Kumar Dakoha, raised anti-Punjab Police slogans. They did not allow police officials to remove the body of the victim from the accident site for about two hours. They were demanding that the erring driver should be presented before them and be arrested immediately.

Heavy deployment was made by the police authorities to prevent any untoward incident and to control the agitating residents.

Later, the dharna was lifted by residents and traffic was restored when Mr Rajpal Sandhu, SP city, reached the spot and assured the agitators that the driver of the bus would be arrested soon.

Meanwhile, a press note issued by the SSP’s office said that according to a complaint lodged by Mr Gurnam Singh, a resident of Baba Budha Ji Nagar near Rama Mandi, the accident took place due to the fault of the driver who was ‘overspeeding’ his vehicle and could not control it while negotiating the chowk. The complainant, who was an eye-witness as well, said that the left side of the bus hit the cycle of the victim who was crushed under the front tyre of the vehicle.

A case under Section 304-A has been registered.


Four injured in clash
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 2
Four persons were injured when two armed persons attacked them with sharp-edged weapons at their residence in the Balmiki Gate area this afternoon.

According to the police, the injured — Gobind Ram, Garib Dass, Rocky Gill and Rishi Dass — were admitted to local Civil Hospital.

Gobind Dass said they were allegedly attacked by Deepak and his brother. A case has been registered.


Spurious diesel seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
The police has booked Jagjit Singh of Attari here and owner of J.S. Oil Traders for allegedly manufacturing and selling spurious diesel. The accused has absconded since the registration of case. Two persons have been arrested from their godown at the New Golden Avenue here today.


College panel issues letter against president
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 2
Eleven members of the DAV College managing committee, Hoshiarpur, have asked heads of educational institutions being governed by Mr Kamal Chaudhary, former MP, not to comply with his orders relating to finance and administrative matters.

In a letter to all heads of educational institutions, they have stated that as per the constitution of the managing committee, its office-bearers, including the president, are elected for one year only.

The term of the present office-bearers has already expired on March 25 and since then no election meeting to elect the new office-bearers has been convened.

The reason could be that the president does not enjoy support of a majority of the members of the management.

They added that already the Punjab Vigilance Bureau was conducting a probe into the financial matters of the college.

The 11 members who signed the letter are Mr Kishan Kumar Saini, Mr Rajinder Pal Mehta, Mr Pran Nath Sharma, Mr Kailash Chander, Mr Ram Parsad, Mr Des Raj Khanna, Mr Diwan Chand, Mr D.M. Sharma, Mr Sukhdev Sharma, Mr Pawan Kumar Malhotra and Mr Vaishno Dass Mahajan.

The DAV College managing committee is governing 12 colleges and schools at various places in Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Gurdaspur districts.

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