Tuesday, August 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Spurious seed, fertilisers, pesticides flood markets
Claims kisan leader
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 25
Mr Satnam Singh Bheru, president, kisan wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that markets of Punjab had been flooded with spurious seeds, fertilisers and pesticides and their sale was going on unchecked with the active patronage of a section of Agriculture Department officials.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said that a number of farmers had suffered huge losses after they had unknowingly used fake seeds, fertilisers and pesticides in their agriculture operations. He added that though the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had been claiming that he was committed to provide a corruption-free rule, he had failed to check it in the agriculture department of state.

He said that the unscrupulous traders had been playing havoc with the farmers, the state economy and the state government.

The government should protect the interests of farmers, make stringent laws and at least death penalty should be provided for such traders jeopardising the future of farmers.

He said it was very unfortunate that various government agencies, which were involved in the supply of pesticides and fertilisers to the farmers, had been selling these at rates which were much higher than the prevailing market prices. He said that this trend should be checked. He said that his party would launch an agitation soon to protect the interests of farmers.

He condemned Capt Amarinder Singh for withdrawing the facility of free power and water from the farmers. He added the Chief Minister had failed to implement the promises made to various representatives of farmers organisations at a meeting held by him about few months ago. He said that his party would not allow even a single drop of water to flow to Haryana through SYL canal and would also oppose the implementation of the Rajiv-Longowal accord.


HC raps police for not registering murder case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The police simply registered an abetment to suicide case against a mother after her son’s death even though the daughter-in-law had alleged that she was administered poison.

The son, Amrik Singh, and his wife Daljit Kaur had died an “unnatural death” on October 3, last year. The first information report in the matter was registered the next day on the complaint of Daljit’s brother. Amrik Singh had come back to the country from Germany.

As per the prosecution story, Daljit used to tell her parents that her mother-in-law and other relatives were not giving the due share of properly to Amrik Singh ever since he had returned. They had also kept his money and belongings. As such, they used to remain depressed.

The prosecution had added that Daljit, in her dying declaration before her relatives, had told her brother Sandeep Singh and his companion that her mother-in-law Harbhajan Kaur and two other relatives had forcibly made her consume poison.

Still, a case of abetment to suicide under Sections 306 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code was registered at Adampur police station in Jalandhar district. The offence of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code was added only on August 11 this year. Arguing before the Court, even Punjab’s Deputy Advocate-General Mansur Ali had asserted that it was a case of both murder and abetment.

Coming down heavily on the police for not registering a case of murder, Mr Justice Virinder Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed, “I am refraining myself from commenting on the merits of the matter lest it may prejudice the case of either sides at the relevant stage, but I cannot show any restrain in expressing my anguish over the shoddy investigation done by the prosecution agency in the case.”

Giving details, the Judge added, “The allegations contained in the FIR itself did reflect a case under Section 302 of the IPC. The prosecution agency should have registered a case under the Section at the first instance, along with Section 306. The contents of the FIR segregate the case of the prosecution in two parts, viz Section 306 so far as the death of Amrik Singh is concerned and Section 302 qua the death of Daljit Kaur.”

The Judge also dismissed Harbhajan Kaur’s pre-arrest bail plea. In his detailed order, the Judge observed that Mr Ali vehemently contends that the petitioner does not deserve concession of anticipatory bail. “After hearing the rival contentions, I am of the view that she does not deserve the concession.... Consequently, the present petition is dismissed being devoid of merit.”


Excommunicate Lal Singh, says Sukhbir Badal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 25
The former Union Minister and General Secretary, SAD (Badal), Mr Sukhbir Badal, today accused successive Congress governments at the Centre and in the state of hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs. He urged Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to excommunicate the Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Lal Singh, from the Sikh Panth for making derogatory remarks against Guru Gobind Singh.

Talking to TNS here today, he said that Mr Lal Singh had remarked that Nehru-Gandhi family was at par with family of Guru Gobind Singh. He added that Mr Lal Singh even went to the extent of saying the sacrifices made by Nehru-Gandhi family were more than the sacrifices made by family of Guru Gobind Singh while he was addressing a party function recently.

Mr Badal said that as Mr Lal Singh had made this blasphemous speech in presence of state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, hence the Chief Minister should also be summoned to Akal Takht and asked to explain why he kept silent when Mr Lal Singh made derogatory remarks against Guru Gobind Singh. He added that if Capt Amarinder Singh failed to explain the things, he should be dealt according to the religious conventions.

Mr Sukhbir Badal had started meeting party workers in the state to evolve strategies to deal with the anti Akali agenda of the Congress government.

He said that various Congress governments had played mischief with the mandate of people when these had toppled the duly elected Akali governments in Punjab a number of times. He said that the Congress leadership had always tried to drive political mileage by hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs. During the election of the SGPC executive last year, the Congress government had sent police into the Golden Temple.

The former minister claimed that from the actions of Congress leadership in the past few weeks, it was very clear that it had got frustrated after finding its mass base eroding fast due to its anti-people and anti-Punjab policies. He added that it was also and indication that days of the Congress government in Punjab were numbered.


Rs 26 cr Domoria overbridge still a distant dream
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 25
The much-publicised Rs 26 crore Domoria Railway Overbridge, which was envisaged about five years back with the objective of ensuring a smooth and unobstructed flow of traffic around the year, is likely to remain a distant dream for residents of the city because of prolonged bureaucratic wranglings and for delay in issuance of requisite funds.

Keeping in view the long pending demand of residents and their difficulties arising out of flooding of old Domoria bridge during the monsoon for days together, the prestigious Domoria Railway Overbridge project was finally envisaged and sanctioned in 1996-97 when Mr Inder Kumar Gujral was the Prime Minister of the country. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Mr B.C. Khanduri, Union Minister, on December 23, 2001.

But, ironically, the project is yet to take off for one or the other reason, thus, further compounding the problems of about one lakh residents of the city, particularly, those putting up in about 20 localities situated on both sides of the existing old low-lying Domoria Bridge. They have no other option but to tread an extra eight kilometres through the alternative Pathankot bypass road to reach the other part of the city during the monsoon.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that the bridge project had been getting delayed for one or the other factor after the Ministry of Road & Surface Transport (MORST) gave its nod for its construction on December 12, 2001, at a cost of Rs. 26.11 crore and with a condition that there would not be any cost escalation and that the project would be completed within two years.

Subsequently, the MC authorities, initiated the tender process and even started appointing the supervisory staff. But the MC efforts got a jolt, when the Railways, which was to bear an expenditure share of Rs 5.33 crore for construction of part of the bridge in its jurisdiction, allegedly refused to hand over the piece of land to the MC on the plea that the land price, which was fixed at Rs 4.23 crore, was not acceptable to it as the market price of the land was Rs 16 crore.

As enough time had lapsed for the project in crossing the bureaucratic hurdles, a UP construction company, which had bagged the tenders refused to undertake the project on the plea that it could not undertake the work unless time was extended. The Railways finally agreed to accept Rs 4.23 crore as price of its land in December, 2002, after the price re-fixation process was completed by a committee headed by the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad. If this was not enough, the MC, according to sources, got another shock, when in response to one of its recent queries regarding funds needed for the construction of the bridge, the Ministry clarified that after making it a part of its last year’s budget (2002), it had already extended an amount of Rs eight crore as first installment towards the project through the PWD (B&R), which was the nodal agency for the state. The funds were, however, not allegedly passed on to the MC by the PWD authorities for the past one year on the plea that the usage of the amount sent by MORST was not specified.

When contacted Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor, admitted that the first installment was extended to the PWD by MORST last year had not reached the MC as yet. “We are going to take up the matter with the PWD authorities. I will also meet the Chief Minister and the PWD Minister next week to facilitate release of funds to the MC. The work on the bridge is likely to take off in September,” said the Mayor.

He said the tender process was being started afresh. Ironically, tenders invited by the MC for the second time and which were opened in the first week of August revealed that there was only one bidder, the offer of which could not be accepted as norms specified that there should be more than one bidder.


Rs 7.44 cr for development of Fatehgarh Sahib
To be made model district
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 25
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Rural Development and Chairperson of the District Planning Board, while presiding over the very first meeting of the board here today, ordered the suspension of Mr Santosh Singh, Executive Engineer (XEN), Construction Division No.2, SAS Nagar, taking a serious note of the issues raised by the Deputy Commissioner regarding raising the level of the newly constructed Bassi road in spite of public opposition.

The activity involved the digging of the main road with the help of a JCB machine at Bassi Pathana. It had been causing inconvenience to the public for the past two months. The Chairperson wanted an explanation from the XEN, but he was not present in the meeting. She immediately ordered his suspension, giving a clear signal to other officials to work honestly.

She also announced that the Punjab Mandi Board would construct a rest house at Sirhind at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.

She said the state government would spend Rs 7.44 crore on the development of the district. Out of this amount, Rs 2.31 crore would be spent on pension payments. She said under the ‘Unnat Gram Scheme”, Rs 3.84 crore would be spent on the construction of streets and drains. Overall development of villages would be also be initiated. She said for constructing toilets for the SC\BC category in villages, Rs 1 crore had been earmarked. She said houses would be constructed for the 335 Scheduled Caste homeless people. The project would cost Rs 16 lakh. During the current year, Rs 54.76 lakh would be spent on giving scholarships to primary students and sportsmen belonging to the SC category. Similarly, Rs 4.17 lakh would be spent on providing diet to inmates of Anganwari centers.

She directed the officials to utilise the sanctioned amount honestly and to supervise the work personally. She also directed them to complete the allotted work in time and to submit the fund utilisation certificates in time. She said surprise checking of the progress of various development projects would be done and if the work was found below specification, the official concerned would not be spared.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, highlighted various ongoing development projects in the district. He said anti-encroachment, cleanliness and tree plantation drives were in full swing. He assured the Chairperson of the board that it would be ensured that the sanctioned amount was properly utilised. He said punctuality was being ensured and surprise raids were being conducted to curb the menace of absenteeism among employees.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Sirhind, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Amloh, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, MLA, Samrala, and Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, MLA, Khanna, raised various issues relating to their constituencies and demanded more funds for construction of roads and drains, improvement in health facilities, power supply, water supply and sullage disposal system.

Vaid Hari Krishan, president of the DCC, Mr M.P. Arora, ADC, Mr B.S. Shergill, ADC(D), Mr Pakhar Singh Salana, Chairman, Zila Parishad, all SDMs and officials of the district also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Fatehgarh Sahib will be developed as a model district of the state as a mark of respect to the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh to commemorate the 300 years completion of their bricking alive here. The Chief Minister has called a meeting of higher officials of the various departments next week to initiate various development projects in the district, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner.

He said that as announced by the Chief Minister the works on the four memorial gates would start soon. He said that these four gates would be constructed on all the four different entry points of the district and their site plans along with designing work had been sent to PUDA. He said that all these four gates would be dedicated to four great personalities, who had contributed for the cause of humanity. He said that as part of the celebrations various other projects had already been started and others are in the pipeline. He said that the works on the widening and strengthening of the roads is going on a war-footing in the entire district.

Besides this, the district administration has already launched cleanliness and removal of illegal encroachment drives for the beautification of the district. He said that for the beautification of the surroundings of the historical Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, a master plan is being developed. A tree plantation drive is in full swing in the district and more than 2 lakh trees have been planted. All educational, social and religious bodies, and even District Congress committee have come forward for this noble cause.

The Deputy Commissioner said that to make the historical town Sirhind beautiful and decorative, various steps are being taken.

All shopkeepers of the town have been directed to remove temporary sheds from their shops and permanently designed sheds have been approved for them.

Yellow lines would be drawn in the main bazars of the towns of the district and no parking would be allowed out of these lines. No shopkeeper would be allowed to display goods outside his shop.


Punjab to recruit doctors on contract
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 25
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said today that emergency staff, including doctors and medical teachers would be recruited on contract in the State to fill these vacancies.

Addressing faculty members of the local Government Medical College, the Chief Minister said the recruitment on contract would be made due to the ban on normal recruitment. He took serious note of growing of absenteeism amongst the nursing staff who had gone abroad for better prospects and had not resumed duties despite reminders. The Chief Minister directed the authorities to be tough with the erring.

Capt Amarinder Singh said if need be fresh recruitments be made in place of the nursing staff gone abroad. He also directed rationalising of postings and transfers of nursing staff to make up shortage at Patiala. He said this should be done through redeployment as there was a shortage of more than 40 per cent due to excessive deployment at Amritsar.

The Chief Minister also indicated that steps be taken to modernise the infrastructure in the Medical Colleges of the State. He said special steps be taken to improve infrastructure at the local Medical College before the 50th anniversary of the institution founded by Maharaja Yadavindra Singh. Major demands of the College presented by Principal and accepted by the Chief Minister, included a package of Rs 2.75 crore. Under this package new infrastructure is likely to come up at the hospital including modernisation of the emergency wing of the hospital.

Dr Kiranjit Kaur said Rajindra hospital being a referral hospital should be endowed with contemporary medical and diagnostic equipment. She said some of the diagnostic tools were not available or grossly outdated. She said that funds be allowed from budgetary allocation and through user charges to enable purchase of articles and medicines.

Later referring to the demand of Dr Vinod Kapur, Professor and Head, Local Government Dental College, the Chief Minister assured that needed teaching and paramedical staff would be recruited soon to save the institution from derecognition. The Chief Minister directed the College authorities to send a report in this regard to the government stipulating demand for Rs five crore for modernisation and upgradation of the College.

Medical Education and Research Minister Santokh Singh also spoke on the occasion.


Bahujan morcha to hold state-level rally
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 25
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) will hold a state level rally at Phagwara on September 24 to review the social, economic and other problems of the Dalits and other weaker sections of the society in Punjab.

More than 50,000 workers and senior leaders of the morcha would attend the rally.

This was stated by Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, state president of the body, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday.

Assailing the Congress government for its adamant attitude towards the lower castes, Mr Kainth, who was on a state tour to mobilise the party workers for making the rally a success, alleged that the government had bitterly failed to uplift the downtrodden people in the field of education, health and economy.

Alleging it to have failed to fulfil its commitments made to the poor in its poll manifesto in the last Assembly elections, he also charged the government with framing all developing policies keeping in view the rich and ignoring the rights of Dalits and other sections of the society.

Ridiculing the decision of the state government to construct 20,000 toilets in different district in the Dalits colonies, the BSM chief urged the Chief Minister to implement the Mandal commission report and the pact signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar on September 24, 1932 at Poona for promoting education, health facilities and generating better sources of income for their (Dalits) proper rehabilitation.

Mr Kainth also criticised the UP Chief Minister Mayawati for using the people of the weaker section to meet her political ends and also regretted the attitude of 14 MPs of BSP for failing to raise their voice in Parliament to protect the interest of the poor.

He also impressed upon Mr Kanshi Ram, chief of BSP, to analyse his weaknesses and to protect the interest of weaker section rather to work for grabbing political power. He claimed that over 70 per cent BSP members had expressed desire to join his party and the results in this regard would be known in the next 15 days.


Bridge row: BJP for judicial probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Punjab BJP leadership has demanded a judicial inquiry into the police “excessess” at the Naushehra Pattan bridge’s inauguration on August 20. It has also decided to hold a rally at Gurdaspur on September 2 when MP and Union Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Vinod Khanna and state BJP President Brij Lal Rinwa will court arrest there.

This was stated by state BJP Secretary Rajinder Bhandari here today in the presence of senior BJP leaders, Mr Balramji Das Tandon and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal.

The BJP has asked the government to transfer the Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner and the SSP before September 2 and take action against the “guilty” police officers for the August 20 incidents. The other demand is that all arrested BJP and Akali workers should be released and false cases against them withdrawn.

The BJP has constituted a committee comprising Mr Tikshan Sud, Master Mohan Lal, Mr B.K. Saini and others to prepare a factual report on the happenings of August 20. The report will be presented at the Gurdaspur rally on September 2.


BJP’s front organisations clash, 5 hurt
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 25
Five workers of the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena were injured in a clash here last night. The injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital and have been identified as Mr Naresh Pandit, vice-president of the Punjab Bajrang Dal, and his brother Hardip and nephew Gaurav of the Bajrang Dal. The other injured — Mr Mangal Das and Mr Deepak — belong to the Shiv Sena.

Old enmity between Mr Pandit and Mr Mangal Das is said to be the reason for the clash.

Mr Pandit said he was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon on the Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi road near the new grain market.

Mr Deepak alleged that he along with four other workers had been attacked by the workers of the Bajrang Dal.


Encroachments galore in Muktsar
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 25
The city has been facing problems on account of apathetic attitude of the authorities towards its development.

An acute shortage of pipe water supply coupled with underground water unfit for human consumption has forced most of the people of the city to buy mineral water. Some residents have been getting their supply of water from the local historical gurdwara.

The residents of the town have been facing numerous other problems due to bad and broken roads, traffic bottlenecks and insanitation. A major part of the city is still not having pipe water supply and sewerage facilities.

A new problem, which the residents have started facing in the past few months, is of unauthorised construction and encroachments coming up in the city without any resistance from government agencies. Even markets have come up on the encroached land.

Mr Sham Lal Goyal, president of the National Consumer Awareness Group, Muktsar district, in a press note alleged that there was not a single street or road in the city where there was no encroachment. He added that in some portions, the width of the roads had been reduced by the encroachers and it created hurdles for the smooth flow of traffic.

He said due to encroachments, small open drains running along both sides of the roads had been closed and it had created another problem of stagnation of water on the roads during rainy season. Apart from it, almost all footpaths of the city had been encroached upon and pedestrians found it difficult to walk on them

He alleged that the authorities never bothered to check the unauthorised construction and encroachments when these were coming up. After the unauthorised construction and encroachments were over, the authorities would swung into action and by that time, the encroachers had taken stay from the court of law. He added that even the civil suits pending in the court against the encroachers were not dealt with properly by the authorities.

He said the National Consumer Awareness Group had demanded that the authorities should make arrangements to remove the encroachments and take action against those who indulged in the encroachments and the officials, who had facilitated the same.


Ministerial staff begin stir
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 25
On a call of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, the ministerial staff today started a state-level agitation by wearing black badges against the alleged “anti-employee” policies of the government and in favour of their demands.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Raj Kumar Arora, chiarman of the union, said as the government had “failed” to fulfil the long-pending demands of the ministerial staff, the employees had been forced to adopt the agitational path. He said the ministerial staff would wear black badges for a week in protest.

The ministerial staff also held a rally at Banasar Garden here today to get their demands fulfilled, which include the implementation of the stenography norms, jobs on compassionate grounds to the kin of deceased employees without any conditions and abolition of annual confidential reports for granting higher scales and promotional scale after four, nine and 14 years of service.

The rally was addressed among others by Mr Raj Kumar Arora, Mr Hardeep Singh, Mr Jaswinder Pal Singh (DIET), Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon (B&R), Mr Surinder Kumar Balian (Mandi Board) and Mr Nathu Lal Dhingra (Cooperative), all leaders of the union.

Mr Arora said in case their demands were not met by the end of August, the union would intensify its agitation.


Eye donors decry PGI’s ‘lukewarm’ response
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 25
Resentment prevails among residents of the district, who had filled forms with the PGI, Chandigarh, to donate their eyes after death. According to the them, the response of officials concerned is lukewarm. Though the PGI is organising fortnight-long programme to motivate the people to donate their eyes after death, it does not have proper facilities and manpower to collect the eyes of donors, they allege.

Mr Ashok Bansal, a charted accountant in Sirhind, told The Tribune today that mother of Dr Lavinder Sharma Om Wati had volunteered to donate her eyes.

When she died her family members made a call to the PGI to collect her eyes at 7.25 a.m. Dr Gaurav who was present in the department, did not give them a satisfactory reply. They made a call again at 8.03 a.m. This time, Dr Amarjit responded and told them to contact after sometime. The third time they made a call was at 8.15 a.m., when someone on the other end told them that they did not have sufficient staff to collect the eyes and put the receiver of the telephone on hold.

Later, members of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Sirhind, contacted Dr Sanjeev in mandi Gobindgarh, who called Dr Bansal of the Bansal Eye Hospital, Patiala, to do the needful.


Attempt to grab MC land
Tribune News Service

Bhucho Mandi, August 25
Even as a local shopkeeper made an attempt to encroach upon a piece of land belonging to the local municipal council by demolishing the corridor of its shopping complex late last night, the authorities concerned failed to move so far to check the same.

Mr Ram Kumar Garg, president of the local municipal council, while admitting that a part of the corridor of the municipal council’s shopping complex was demolished by a shopkeeper in an attempt to encroach upon that piece of land, said as the Executive Officer (EO) was not available today, so no application could be moved to the police authorities for taking action against the shopkeeper.

On the other hand, Mr Vinod Kumar, another shopkeeper of that shopping complex, pointed out that he had informed the local police that a shopkeeper was trying to encroach upon a piece of land of the shopping complex by demolishing the corridor and stairs but nothing positive came out of it as the shopkeeper demolished one of the pillars of the corridor late last night.

Mr Rajinder Kumar, in charge of Bhucho Mandi, police chowki when contacted, said legal action against the shopkeeper could be taken only on an application by the municipal council authorities. He said so far he had not received any application from the council.

He said he had made all arrangements to frustrate any attempt if made by the shopkeeper to encroach upon the council land by raising any structure.


Dhanaks seek SC, ST status
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 25
Members of the Dhanak community of Punjab have urged the state government to give them the status of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe or put them in the reservation category as done by the Haryana Government.

The members of the Dhanak Samaj also passed a resolution in this regard here last evening. As many as 800 delegates participated.

In a press note, Mr Makhan Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Pardesh Dhanak Samaj, said the other demands raised during the session included permanent jobs for the Dhanak Samaj members who were working as labourers in grain markets and the setting up Sant Kabir ashrams in all district headquarters.

A resolution against dowry was also passed. Mr Sham Lal, a member of the Dhanak Samaj, was honoured on the occasion.


Khatri Sabha wants quota on economic criterion
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 25
The Khatri Sabha has opposed caste-based reservations in admissions, employment and promotions.

In a resolution adopted unanimously at the first “parivar milan samagam” here yesterday, the sabha said it was not opposed to reservation for Dalits, but it should be on the economic criterion.

Mr B.L. Sikka, president of the sabha, said reservation upto 75 per cent in Orissa, and other state governments were in a race to strengthen their vote-bank among Dalits by providing them reservation. If this was allowed children of the “upper castes” may be completely deprived of admissions in the professional colleges at the end of present decade. Political parties should not play with the future of next generation in the upper castes, he said. He exhorted the community to fight the menace of drugs.


Stone of mandi yard laid at Makhu
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 25
Former MP and Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board Sant Ram Singla has disclosed that the board will spend Rs 228 crore on the repair and maintenance of 5,137 km-long link roads which were constructed up to 1994-95.

He has said an additional amount of Rs 40 crore will be spent on repairing patches on various roads during the current financial year.

He has said in Ferozepore district along, 212 km of link roads will be repaired at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore and another 310 km of link roads will be repaired next year.

Mr Singla has been addressing commission agents after laying the foundation stone of a mandi yard spread in 8.5 acre at Makhu, which will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore.

He said the construction work on the same would be completed before the coming rabi season. He said Rs 4.18 crore would be spent on the construction of “Pucca” auction platforms in newly developed mandis like Talwandi Bhai, Madot, Guruharsahai and Mallanwala.

Mr Singla said most of the long-pending demands of commission agents had been accepted by the board, which include relief to the small traders who collect market fee up to Rs 10,000 yearly. They would not need to submit the accounts for checking to the market committee. He said now onwards, the agents would require only single licence in one notified area, where as, earlier, separate licences were required for every mandi.

Mr Singla said an ultramodern fruit and vegetable market would be set up in Ludhiana at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore and rice export zone would be established in Amritsar very soon. He assured that the government was taking necessary steps to waive the market fees of maize. He said the Punjab Agriculture Produce Markets Act was being translated into Punjabi from English so that farmers, traders and labourers could easily understand it.


Dates changed for SGPC poll rolls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Gurdwara Election Commission has revised the dates for the publication of electoral rolls for the SGPC elections and for filing claims and objections.

Mr Gurdev Singh, secretary of the commission, said today the preliminary publication of the rolls would be till September 15. The claims and objections could be filed till October 20. The claims and objections would be disposed of by November 24.


Appointment of minister’s son stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Admitting a petition seeking the quashing of a letter recruiting a Punjab minister’s son as an inspector, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the appointment.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, against Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh, the state of Punjab, the Director General of Police and another respondent, petitioner Surjit Singh of Hassanpur village in Patiala district also sought directions for restraining Inspector Tejinder Pal Singh from functioning.

Claiming to be “committed to the cause of social service”, the petitioner earlier contended that highly-placed persons, including politicians and senior officers, were using undue influence to grab for their wards the benefits meant for the dependents of terrorist affected families.

He added that even the Secretary, Relief and Rehabilitation, had also confirmed that the appointment of Tejinder Pal Singh was not “correct”. The Secretary, the petitioner had further claimed, had also admitted that the son of a sitting minister could not be given a job in the police department under the terrorist victim category.

Bail sought in cheating case

In a petition filed before the high court, MLA Jagdeep Singh Nakai today sought the grant of bail in a cheating and forgery case. Taking up his petition, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall today fixed August 29 as the next date of hearing.

Nakai was booked on July 28 for cheating, forgery and other offences under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the Provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, Nakai, with a view to becoming Chairman of Milkfed, had prepared bogus documents. It was added that Nakai had also misused his official position to make illegal transfers. Claiming to have been implicated, the petitioner had, on the other hand, asserted that he was being framed in a false case.


Rajindra Hospital to get Rs 2.75 cr
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 25
The Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, one of the oldest referral institutes in the state, currently in the dumps due to the non-functioning of life-saving machines and with practically no supply of medicines, is in for a bonanza with the state government agreeing to provide Rs 2.75 crore for improvement in infrastructure.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today directed the Finance Department to immediately release Rs 2.75 crore to undertake repair and renovation of the college and its hostels, besides upgrading the Emergency Wing of the hospital.

The government has also taken other steps which are likely to galvanise the functioning of the hospital. These include allowing the college Principal to spend up to Rs 1 lakh at his discretion. Earlier, the limit was Rs 10,000. The purchase policy of the hospital is also likely to be changed.

The government has decided to cut short red tape involved in the purchase of medicines. The State Health Department has been asked to shortlist pharmaceutical companies of international repute and put these on the panel for purchase of drugs and medicines for the hospital. This is likely to give more leverage to referral hospitals to purchase medicines as per their requirement, besides making the process more speedy.

The government will have to do a lot to transform the hospital from a decaying unit into a dynamic one replete with modern infrastructure and equipment. At present, the position is such that the hospital building has not been whitewashed for years. Besides, the electrical connections are a big hazard because these have not been changed since long. A number of machines have been lying non-functional for the past few years due to a variety of reasons. These includes lack of funds to carry out simple repairs. X-ray machines, dialysis machine and even the radiotherapy machine has been out of order for a long time.

The hospital even does not have stock of basic medicines. Patients have to get their own syringes, cotton and bandages. The Departments of Cardiology, Paediatric Surgery and Neurology have only one doctor each. Some other departments are also severely understaffed.

Dr Kiranjit Kaur, Principal of the institute, said the hospital should be equipped with modern equipment as it was a referral hospital. She said a number of modern diagnostic tools were not available in the hospital or were outdated. She said there was an urgent need to make funds available for regular purchase of medicines, besides meeting other expenditure.

Dr Kiranjit said steps were being taken to augment the facilities at the hospital and that the alumni association of the college was also being involved in the task. She said old students of the college settled abroad would be invited to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the college to be held in December. They would be invited to contribute their bit for improving the lot of their alma mater, she said.


Money released for terminal dues

Chandigarh, August 25
The Punjab Government has finally released Rs 59.51 crore to clear pension and other dues like gratuity etc of about 2,500 employees, who retired from government-aided schools.

The government has also intimated the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection. Pensioners had moved the court to get their dues cleared.

Mr K.K. Tandon, Mr M.L. Chopra, Mr K.K. Rudra and Mr Sukhwant Singh, leaders of the Punjab Aided School Employees Union, today met Mrs Tejinder Kaur, Secretary, Higher Education, and requested her to direct the authorities concerned to expedite the payment of dues to the retired employees. — TNS


1.27 cr released for rural development
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 25
Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, and Chairman of the District Planning Board, Mansa, released Rs 1.27 crore for rural development, particularly the disposal of sewage and construction of drains. A sum of Rs 16 lakh has been released for urban development. He was presiding over a meeting of the District Planning Board today.


Caught taking bribe from student

Jalandhar, August 25
The Vigilance Bureau today caught an employee of the DAV Institute of Physiotherapy here while allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 7,500 from a student for altering the result of final year exams in his favour.

Sleuths of the Bureau acted on a complaint of Devdeep Singh, a final-year student of Physiotherapy in the institute, who alleged that a Superintendent of the institute, Shyam Sunder, had demanded a sum of Rs 7,500 from him for altering his result in his favour, Mr Pushkar Sandal, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, told reporters here today.

The Vigilance sleuths raided the spot and arrested the Superintendent. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against him, he said. — PTI


3 held for murder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 25
Three persons have been arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old rickshaw-puller Raju. The arrested include Alais Masih, alias Hero of Guru Nanak Nagar, and two other rickshaw-pullers from the Navi Abaadi area, Ajay Singh, alias Tout and Hisal Masih, Alias Goldy.

The SSP, Mr Kultar Singh said Balwinder Singh of Bharat Nagar, father of the deceased, had filed a complaint on July 20 that his son Raju, a rickshaw-puller, had been murdered by his son-in-law Kala and his brothers Punna and Raja, sons of Chanan Singh of Ghanupur Kale.

However, investigation revealed that Alais Masih, alias Hero, and two other rickshaw-pullers murdered Raju as he (Raju) had teased his wife who had come to see him from Batala. The three had then fled on a scooter after killing Raju, the SSP added.


4 held for harassment
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 25
The district police has arrested four persons, including two women, on the charge of harassing a woman for bringing less dowry. According to the police, Jagroop Kaur, in her complaint alleged that she was being harassed by her husband and other family members for bringing inadequate dowry.

She was married to Shamsher Singh of Faridkot on November 18, 2001. She was even thrown out of her home for not meeting the demand of bringing Rs 10 lakh.

A case was registered and four persons — Nirmal Kaur, her husband Kamaljit Singh and Sarwanjit Kaur and her husband Rajinder Singh — all residents of Ludhiana, were arrested. Shamsher Singh is still at large.


Row over B.Ed admissions
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 25
The ongoing tussle over counselling for B.Ed. admissions has snowballed into major controversy between Guru Nanak Dev University and union territory of Chandigarh even as the process (admission) was completed today. The controversy had already delayed the commencement of current academic session by three weeks.

Even as more than 1200 candidates from the UT succeeded in getting admission (B.Ed.), both in Chandigarh-based colleges and as well as in Punjab, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, had urged the state government to de-link their admission process as was done in the case of engineering and medical colleges. With the candidates from UT taking the major share of seats in the admission process for the first time, the students from Punjab had raised a hue and cry over the ‘manipulation’ of rules at the behest of top bureaucrats. The coordinator for the B.Ed. counselling, Dr Gurnam Singh, had already resigned in protest over depriving the Punjab domiciles their right to admission in B.Ed. colleges thereby raising storm in the academic circles.

Fifteen days before the commencement of the counselling of over 42,000 candidates, a meeting of all principals of Punjab and Chandigarh was held on July 13 to discuss the issues relating to the admission. The meeting had announced that, “No change in subject group, reservation category or residence shall be allowed at the time of the counselling. In case of any dispute, information provided by the candidate in a form shall be taken as a final”. The meeting of principals had also pointed out that if a candidate was not eligible for residence for which he/she had claimed in the form, then their candidature would be cancelled..

However, confusion prevailed when candidates opted for simultaneous admissions in colleges at Chandigarh and Punjab by giving domiciles from both the places. Though such a step was bound to cancel their admissions as per prospectus of the university, yet no action was initiated.

With a view to resolving the matter, the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Mr N.S. Rattan, held a meeting with Mr R.S. Gujral, Home Secretary, Union Territory, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Mr Dalip Kumar, DPI (Colleges) UT, and Mr Kulwant Singh, DPI (Colleges) Punjab. The joint meeting had taken a decision to hold fresh counselling for 85 per cent UT pool.

When contacted Mr Rattan claimed that certain irritants during the course of counselling between UT and Punjab had been sorted out. However, he dismissed the idea put forth by the Vice-Chancellor to de-link the admission process between candidates of UT and Punjab. He said such a step could be taken during the commencement of next admission process not now when the admission process was already over.


School board to revive interest in rural games
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
In a significant move targeted at reviving the waning interest of schoolchildren in rural and folk games of the state, the Punjab School Education Board has effected major changes in the structure and content of its educational competition scheme.

Apart from adding folk games to the list of educational competitions which it holds every year, the school board will hold quiz contests to encourage students to keep abreast with the latest happenings in the world. The rural games that have entered the board’s scheme include the traditionally-rich “rasa kashi” (tug-of-war) for both boys and girls, “stapoo” for girls and “pithu” for boys, among others.

Where earlier the focus was on the routine contests like poetry recitation, declamation, debate and drawing, now an equal emphasis will be placed on rural sports, so that the children awaken to their rich heritage. The board at a meeting held recently also decided to make the system of comprehensive continuous evaluation of students more transparent. The board has decided to segregate the 160 marks under several heads.

So, evaluation will be done for 32 marks under the educational contest section, 16 for regular school attendance, 16 marks for social activities, including teaching physically challenged children and adults, participating in NCC and Red Cross activities and tree plantation, 32 marks for performance in the three-term examination. With this system of evaluation coming into practice, every child will know his level of performance in the class.


National unity camp for youth begins
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 25
Nearly 200 students of various universities and colleges from 16 states have laid stress on holding national integration camps on a regular basis for the youth. The students are here to take part in a week-long national integration camp sponsored by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports that began at Government Brijindra College today.

Dr Suneha Pandey, programme officer of the NSS from Government Girls College Dausa in Rajasthan, said their NSS unit had adopted Hungdaya village in the area.

Mr H.S. Punia, Principal of the host college and director of the camp, emphasised on the need for promoting nationalism among the youth and maintaining unity.

Mr Gopal, deputy programme adviser of the Central Government said a six-member national youth commission from different states had been constituted to collect data regarding the problems of the youth, besides preparing a 20-year action plan.

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