Monday, September 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



NDA destabilising Cong govts, says CM
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Payal (Ludhiana), August 31
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today accused the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre of attempting to destabilise Congress governments all over the country. He said it had succeeded in Arunachal Pradesh and was trying it in Assam. However, he added, “They (the NDA partners) will not be able to succeed in Punjab”.

Addressing a state-level function organised to commemorate the eighth death anniversary of Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, here today, the Chief Minister alleged that since the NDA partners had failed to defeat the Congress by fair means, they were trying to employ foul means.

Later, at a press conference when asked whether any of his MLAs had been offerred to defect, he clarified, “None of our MLAs is vulnerable enough to walk into the NDA trap”. The Chief Minister said, notwithstanding “threats by the Centre and Mr Parkash Singh Badal”, the anti-corruption drive of his government would continue. He said 340 officers of all ranks including IAS, IPS, PPS and PCS were facing trial. He added that the chargesheet against Mr Badal would be completed by November.

The Chief Minister emphasised that the focus of his government would be development. He claimed that his government had created an investment-friendly atmosphere in the state and the investors were willing to come to Punjab. He disclosed that the computer giant, Quark, was planning a massive expansion in Punjab. It would set up an information technology park in Ropar district in addition to its unit at Mohali. He revealed that about one lakh jobs would be provided by Quark alone, while the other companies which would come along, would provide extra jobs.

On the issue of efforts of the Congress government to get Bharat Ratna conferred on Beant Singh, he said his government would press for the demand. 


Tributes paid to Beant Singh
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, August 31
It was more of politics and less of Beant Singh at the state-level function organised here to commemorate the eighth death anniversary of the late Chief Minister. Seeing the massive crowd gathered at the function to pay homage to Beant Singh, senior Congress leaders including general secretaries Mohsina Kidwai and Ambika Soni, Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, Pradesh Congress Committee president H.S. Hanspal and others, focussed on the achievements of the Amarinder government. However, they did recall the great sacrifice of Mr Beant Singh, describing him as “shaheed-e-azam”.

Ms Ambika Soni said Beant Singh had laid down his life fighting terrorism.

She said like Beant Singh, Capt Amarinder Singh had taken the state on a path of development and was providing a corruption-free administration. It was for the first time in the country that a chief minister had staged a dharna in front of the Prime Minister’s residence and courted arrest to get the minimum support price of paddy raised, she added.

Ms Kidwai said Beant Singh’s sacrifice would be remembered by the future generations. The Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, made an appeal for conferring the Bharat Ratna on the late Beant Singh.

The Chief Minister clarified that the change of name of the Kotli village to Beant Singh Wala and the name of the road connecting the national highway with Payal after him was pending with the Centre.

He presented a Rs 2-lakh cheque to the family members of the late Karnail Singh Isru. He also handed over cheques for Rs 30 lakh to Mr Tej Prakash for the Payal Assembly segment, from the Local Area Development Fund of Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib.

KAPURTHALA: A function was organised in the office of the District Congress Committee today in connection with the martyrdom day of Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab.

Mr Navtej Singh Cheema president of the DCC, presided over the function.

Rich tributes were paid to the late Beant Singh by Mr Cheema, Mr Arun Jalota, senior vice-president of the DCC, and Mr Sudesh Kumar Sharma.

AMRITSAR: The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front headed by Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu, general secretary of the front, paid tributes to former Chief Minister Beant Singh at a function organised in Jallianwala Bagh, here.

Front activists along with schoolchildren were holding candles and shouting slogans in memory of the former Chief Minister. They also paid homage to the victims of the Mumbai bomb blast and the Iraq war.

PHAGWARA: Three functions were held here today to observe the death anniversary of Beant Singh.

Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann paid tributes to Beant Singh at the function organised by the Block Congress Committee (Rural), Block Youth Congress Committee (Urban) and SC/BC Cell of the district Congress.

Another function was organised and addressed by Ms Kusum Sharma, Congress Councillor and Organising Secretary, PPCC. The Block Congress Committee (Urban), headed by Mr Manmohan Sharma, organised a sarb dharam sammelan this afternoon to mark the barsi.


Family of Beant’s aide sore with govt
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 31
A family of Majra village, which lost its member during Beant Singh’s, assassination is sore with the Congress government for not inviting it to the death anniversary functions organised after 1995.

Ms Jarnail Kaur said it was sad that Congress leaders had forgotten the sacrifices of Ranjodh Singh, her father-in-law, and Pyara Singh, her husband who were killed by extremists due to their proximity with the late Beant Singh.

She said: “My father-in-law and Mr Beant Singh were close friends and they remained together during their political career. Though we apprehended danger to his life (Ranjodh Singh), they did not part till their last breath.”

Ms Jarnail Kaur said his husband Pyara Singh, who was a Mandi Board employee, was killed by extremists on March 3, 1995, five months prior to the death of Ranjodh Singh. Though Kamaldeep, her son got the job of a clerk in the Mandi Board on compassionate grounds, the family received no other assistance, except Rs 1 lakh given by Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Chief Minister.

Ms Jarnail Kaur said: “It took more than seven years to procure a death certificate of my father-in-law from the Chandigarh Administration.


Centre not recognising Beant’s sacrifice: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today sought to expose the duplicity of the Centre in recognising those who sacrificed their lives fighting terrorism. The Centre has not yet given Bharat Ratna to Beant Singh who sacrificed his life fighting terrorism.

“We had recommended the name of Sardar Beant Singh for Bharat Ratna for making supreme sacrifice. I will again write to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in this regard,” the Punjab Chief Minister told reporters after a state-level Sarv Dharm Sabha at the site of Beant Singh Memorial here to observe the death anniversary of the martyr.

Captain Amarinder Singh said his Cabinet had passed a resolution 11 months ago to name Kotli Village, the birth place of Beant Singh, after the leader who was assassinated by militants.

The Punjab Chief Minister said the Cabinet decision had been sent to the Central Government but it had not yet approved the proposal of the state government in connection with renaming the village.

The Punjab Chief Minister said his government had allocated Rs 2 crore for the memorial last year and was ready to give whatever amount was required to complete it.

The Chief Minister also said the government was getting examined a proposal to set up a co-education college in Payal, the constituency which Beant Singh represented.

All-India Congress Committee General Secretary Ambika Soni, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee President H. S. Hanspal, several ministers of Punjab, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President B. B. Bahl and local MP Pawan Bansal were also present.



Punjab Ratan Award for Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
The All-India Conference of Intellectuals today conferred the Punjab Ratan award on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and State Intellectual Honour on 13 leading personalities of the state.

Among others, Mr R.L. Bhatia, Member, Parliament from Amritsar ( Parliamentary category), Mr Hira Lal Sibal, Senior Advocate and former AG Punjab and Haryana( legal luminary category), Mr Har Bhagwan Singh, Advocate General Punjab (legal category), Mr Jawahar Lal Oswal, CMD Nahar Group of Industries, Ludhiana ( industry category), Mr Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University and Adviser to CM, Punjab (technical education category), Mr S.K. Sharma, Director, PGI (medical experts category), Prof R.P. Bambah, former Vice-Chancellor Panjab University, (mathematician category) and Prof S.S. Dhillon, Consultant Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (environmentalist category) were honoured with State Intellectuals Award.

Mr Suman Jolly, CMD Recorders and Medicare System, Chandigarh ( electrical engineering category), Ms Maniki Deep, Art and Culture Specialist (social category), Dr M.J. Zarabi, CMD, Semi Conductor Conflex Ltd (scientist category) and Mr D. Singh, DGM State Bank of India, Meerut, ( bankers category) were also honoured with State Intellectuals' Honour awards.

Subedar Major Joga Singh (retd) of Lumra village, Hoshiarpur district, was honoured with "Great Agriculturist of Punjab" award.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Governor, Justice O.P Verma(retd), called upon the intellectuals to check the infirmities that had crept into the society. He said though Punjab had shown path to the nation as far as development in agriculture sector was concerned as it had been contributing 60 per cent wheat and 40 per cent rice to the Central pool. He said the state government should have a holistic approach to make Punjab the most developed state of the country.

Listing out the infirmities, which were keeping Punjab behind in the field of development, Justice Verma said dowry system and resultant bride burning were a blot on the face of Punjab. Similarly female foeticide and infanticide had disturbed the male-female ratio in the State.

Drug Addiction was rampant in certain parts of the state. Similarly child labour was also a problem in the state. Justice Verma said in the area of family planning also intellectuals could play an important role in educating the masses.

Justice Verma called upon the intellectuals to identify areas in which they can contribute and work individually and collectively to make the Punjab number one state in the country.

He said the people should pay more attention to fundamental duties rather than fundamental rights. He said the focus on fundamental duties would encourage the citizens to participate actively in the development of the society and the state.

On this occasion, Justice B.K Roy, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Dr Bhishm Narain Singh, Dr Suraj Bhan, Dr A.R. Kidwai, former Governors, Mr T.N. Bajpai, Chemical Technocrat, Saudi Arabia, also spoke on the occasion.



Punjab slips on reforms path
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Punjab is deflecting from its own reforms path.

A perusal of the decisions taken by the Amarinder Singh Government in the past 20 months reveals that there is not even a symbolic gesture of austerity on the part of the political executive or the bureaucracy despite fiscal stress. This makes the initiative on fiscal reforms loose their edge.

The government documents reveal that there was either lack of clarity in decision-making or decisions were taken in political vacuum. Rollbacks have been announced even before the ink had dried on certain decisions. The college fee and funds have been rolled back, abolition of the non-practising allowance to doctors has been put on the back-burner and the sales tax on CSD items has been withdrawn.

The government is yet to evolve new recruitment and pension policies. No rules have been framed yet for the surplus pool staff.

While the abolition of all police districts has been kept in abeyance, there are indications that the new commutation of pension scheme may also be rolled back.

The proposed tax or rent on telephones is yet to be introduced. The proposed disinvestment in public sector undertakings remains a low-key affair. Even the move to cap the loss-making boards and corporations has been shelved.

The government’s oscillating stand on the sales tax withdrawal or reduction on farm inputs, fertilisers, pesticides, diesel etc. may cost the exchequer dear in terms of revenue loss.

Besides, these decisions, it also emerges that the police and the Vigilance Bureau are being used to administer other departments and spy on the bureaucracy.

With three Chief Secretaries and two Directors-General of Police in these 20 months or so, there was no team work. Even in key areas like education, medical education, health and family welfare and transport, at least three to four changes were made at the level of administrative. Secretaries affecting cohesiveness. “In fact, there is too much of government and very little governance”, remarked a senior bureaucrat.

The Planning Commission has conveyed its “displeasure” to the state. Likewise, the Congress high command’s committee on implementation of the election manifesto and its coordination committee has expressed dismay over the government’s performance. In this backdrop, Punjab has no soft options.


Regional cooperation lacking, says CRRID report
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 31
The Punjab Development Report complied by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development and presented to the Planning Commission of India through its core committee was put up for broad discussions with eminent academicians and experts of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Talking exclusively to The Tribune, Mr Rashpal Malhotra, leader of the group that had prepared the report, said it had recommended that to harness the potential of Punjab and its neighbouring states, there should be cooperation among them in view of the shared natural resources in the region. Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh should work in the common interest of the people and politics should not be allowed to jeopardise planning.

The process of development would get derailed without its benefits reaching the common man. Mr Malhotra said the report would be a strong basis for initiating broad-based planning involving the people of the region. Mr Malhotra said Himachal Pradesh had the potential for generating hydropower and all its neighbouring states could benefit from this great source of energy.

The report has provided technocrats, experts, academicians and representatives of trade and industry with a chance to discuss all issues raised by CRRID and offer suggestions for the implementation of planning and development schemes. The report had been comprehensively prepared with latest statistics for proper planning.

Mr Rashpal Malhotra said this report could be used for working out planned development which had been lacking due to an absence of proper and analytical inputs.

Earlier, experts discussed at length the issues of agriculture development and unemployment and why Punjab had not been able to reap the benefit from its vast agriculture and human resource.

Dr Satinder Singh, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university, said there was an urgent need to promote agro-processing industry to make the farm and industry sectors economically more viable. The government should invest in rural infrastructure and strengthen marketing. Commercial and cooperative banks should rescue beleaguered farmers from the clutches of unscrupulous commission agents.

The educated unemployed had not acquired proper training and skills to meet the needs of the industry. Speakers stressed the need for improving the education standards, especially in the rural areas.


Solar energy may power Punjab
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has started talks with the SASADA International, a US-based company to set up magnetic energy plants in Punjab to generate power at cheaper rates and strengthen solar energy network in the state.

Mr Ripjit Singh Brar, Chairman, Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), at a press conference here today said PEDA had also decided to set up energy parks in each district in buildings of archaeological, historical and social importance. About 150 sites had been also been identified to set up micro hydel projects of one MW to 25 MW.

He said, under the energy park project, the buildings would run on solar power. A water-heating plant of 2,000 litre capacity would also be installed, besides solar cookers and solar invertors in each building.

Mr Brar said SASADA had made an offer to PEDA to set up magnetic energy plants in Punjab and said it would produce 2.5 GW power through such plants. The completion of 152 micro hydel power projects would generate considerable power.

These projects would enable the state government to save nearly 3.3 billon US dollars per annum, which were being spent on the production of power through other modes. The power produced by magnetic energy plants of SASADA would cost only 30 paise per unit. This was the main reason why PEDA had been considering the proposal of SASADA seriously and it would be discussed with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

There would be no voltage fluctuation in Punjab after these projects were executed. Moreover, PEDA would be able to sell surplus power to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) under its power purchase agreement (PPA) at a rate of Rs 3.19 per unit or less than that.

Micro hydel projects would be set up through government as well as private agencies. Already eight such projects were running successfully in Punjab. 


Bir Devinder to mediate to end varsity impasse
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
Punjab Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh said today that he had been appointed as a mediator by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to resolve the impasse following the refusal of students to leave the Punjabi University campus despite suspension of teaching work and locking up of the hostels.

The students, who include around 250 boys and girls, had slept in the open last night in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office. A delegation of the students also met MP Preneet Kaur, who assured them that she would request the varsity authorities to consider their demands sympathetically. She also said she would approach the government and appeal to it to consider the university’s case for additional financial assistance. The students, led by Raminder Singh Patiala and Gurnam Singh Virk, told the MP that most of them in the university belonged to poor rural families of the Malwa region and that she should use her good offices to request the varsity authorities to end the impasse.

Meanwhile, varsity Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai rushed to Chandigarh today to meet Punjab Governor and varsity Chancellor Justice O.P. Verma. The varsity Spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, said Mr Boparai had apprised the Chancellor of the situation in the varsity, besides the steps taken to maintain law and order.

Bir Devinder Singh while talking to TNS, said he had been instructed by the Chief Minister to see that the impasse in the university ended. He said he would be taking feedback about the situation from the district administration. He said he would visit the university tomorrow and hold separate meetings with the Vice-Chancellor and the students. “The Chief Minister is keen to evolve an amicable solution and does not want the situation to aggravate further”, he added.

Meanwhile, the students continued to remain in the university despite the closure of all seven hostels of the varsity. Around 300 students slept in the open last night. Today morning some of the girl students left the campus after the varsity authorities called their parents to the campus. However, around 70 to 80 girl students were still in the university.

The varsity spokesman said the girl students had been asked to sleep in the varsity guest house. He claimed that some of the girl students, who had left the varsity today, had alleged that they had been compelled to stay at the campus under duress. However, this had been refuted by student leaders.

The varsity spokesman also claimed that all student leaders, who had been suspended from the varsity for indulging in disruptive activities and whose entry had been banned, were still roaming in the campus and controlling the agitation. He said though the Senior Superintendent of Police had claimed yesterday that the local police had detained 12 students for questioning, the entry of none of them had been banned by the varsity.

Meanwhile, the varsity spokesman also said that the varsity welcomed any move by the Chief Minister. He said Mr Boparai had already made it clear that he would withdraw the fee hike completely in case the government was ready to offset the loss thus incurred to the varsity. He said the university had suffered a loss of Rs 1 crore by partly reducing the fee hike imposed in the present academic session.


BJP vows to oust Amarinder govt
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 31
Daring the Congress government to arrest him and Union Minister Vinod Khanna in an alleged false case registered against them by the Gurdaspur police on August 20, the Punjab BJP chief, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, today announced to wage a battle to oust the state government from power by holding a massive protest rally at Naushera Pattan on Tuesday against its “repressive” policies.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Rinwa, while equating the Congress regime with the British rule, offered to get himself arrested in a case registered by the Gurdaspur police for their alleged involvement in violence on August 20.

“The Union Minister, Mr Vinod Khanna, and other party leaders are ready to volunteer arrest. We will test the courage of the government to do so on September 2 by holding a protest rally at the same place in Purana Shala village near the Naushera Pattan bridge, where Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh addressed the public on August 21. We will launch a decisive battle to oust the anti-people Amarinder government from power,” he said.

He further said that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and other former ministers of both the alliance partners would also attend the rally.

“We had given a three-point ultimatum to the state government regarding the withdrawal of false cases, action against the erring police officials who opened fire on the gathering and immediate transfer of senior district administration officers, including the SSP and the Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur. But since nothing has moved forward in this direction so far, it had forced us to resort to the agitation,” he added.

Reiterating his demand for a judicial probe into the violence at the time of the inauguration ceremony of the Naushera Pattan bridge by Mr Vinod Khanna, Mr Rinwa alleged that the state government had registered false cases against the BJP leaders and ordered firing and canecharge on the party workers attending a peaceful function.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, confirmed that Punjab BJP had requested the SDM concerned for grant of permission for a rally.

“As far as a peaceful rally is concerned, we have no objection, but if there is any threat to the peace of the area, appropriate action will be taken”.


BJP disagrees with survey

Jalandhar, August 31
The Punjab BJP has disagreed with a recent magazine survey which adjudged the Punjab Chef Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, as the second most popular Chief Minister in the country.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the State BJP, said the survey was “totally manipulated” and his party did not agree with it.

He said it was the same survey which had forecast the Congress winning 90 seats on the eve of the previous Assembly elections in Punjab and it was proved wrong.

The survey by an English weekly magazine had adjudged Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as the most popular Chief Minister followed by the Punjab Chief Minister. — UNI


Lok Bhalai Party to contest 6 seats

Moga, August 31
The Lok Bhalai Party will contest six Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, including Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur, Faridkot, Bathinda and Tarn Taran, party president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia has said.

The party will emerge as third alternative in the state as the people had “bitter experience” of both the SAD-BJP and the Congress government, the former Union Minister told newsmen here. —PTI 


Akal Takht to take up Kaunke case
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 31
The Sikh clergy has decided to discuss the case of ‘elimination’ of Bhai Gurdev Singh Kaunke, former Jathedar of Akal Takht, at its forthcoming meeting to be held here on September 4.

Talking to the press here today, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, said the Sikh clergy would discuss the case with lawyers and Sikh intellectuals to get public the Tiwari report on the disappearance of Jathedar Kaunke. He said the public had the right to know what had happened to the former Jathedar. The silence of all concerned over this issue was unfortunate and sent a wrong signal to the Sikh community, he added.

After the rejection of appeals by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), had sent a memorandum to Jathedar, Akal Takht, for taking up the case. Mr Mann alleged that the SAD (Badal) which had sufficient members in Parliament had failed to take up the case in Lok Sabha.


Alert in Pathankot after Delhi arms haul
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 31
The Pathankot police today tightened security in and around the town following recovery of a huge cache of arms from a truck by the Delhi police and increased activities of Jaish-e-Mohammad in various parts of the country.

Pathankot figures prominently on the tourist map of India for being the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir as well as Himachal Pardesh. According to the Gurdaspur district police chief, Mr R.P.S. Brar, security has been beefed up at Ranjit Sagar Dam, railway station and other vulnerable areas of the town.

According to the Railway Police sources, security has been increased along the tracks and all nearby stations.

Restaurants, guesthouses and other suspected hideouts of militants are being searched. The district police has been directed to strengthen night patrolling.

Barricades have been erected at Madhapur, the entry point of Jammu and Kashmir, where policemen have been searching all vehicles.


Govt land sold for a song
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 31
The Irrigation and Revenue Department here are under cloud for allegedly flouting rules and regulations laid down for the sale of land belonging to the irrigation Department.

In the past few years a number of cases have been reported where the authorities have flouted rules to help politicians, their supporters or higher officials.

A nexus between the alleged beneficiaries and the authorities is so strong, that the violators, in most of the cases, managed favourable reports after inquiries were held.

A member of the land mafia, at Madhopur, who allegedly enjoys the patronage of politicians, officials of the Irrigation and Revenue Department purchased 55 marlas of agricultural land belonging to the Irrigation Department for Rs 2.50 lakh, in public auction in 1998.

At the time of auction the land which was shown to the buyers was a piece of agricultural land. Later the member of the mafia reportedly hatched a conspiracy to defraud the department and occupied a prime piece of commercial land worth more than Rs 30 lakh, in connivance with the revenue officials and officials of the Irrigation Department the record pertaining to the auction land was allegedly tampered with.

After a hue and cry by the public the matter was ordered to be inquired by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Mr T.P. Singh SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Amritsar, told this reporter that the inquiry had been marked to Mr Bakshish Singh, DSP, Vigilance Bureau. The Vigilance Bureau had recorded the statement of the patwari, jiledar (clerk), Xen of the Irrigation Department, the then SDM, Naib Tehsildar, concerned and others in this connection.

When contacted Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur pleaded ignorance about the matter.

According to reports a special investigation team has been formed to probe into the matter.


Youth tell leaders to shun cheap politics
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 31
A week-long national integration camp organised by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports concluded here yesterday. As many as 190 students and NSS volunteers of various universities and colleges from 16 states participated. During the camp, they presented cultural programmes of their respective states, visited different historical places like the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir and Wagah border at Amritsar and also held delebrations on many socio-economic problems of the country. Appreciating the hospitality shown by the ruralites during their (campers) visit to different villages, including Sandwan, an ancestral village of former President Giani Zail Singh in this district, they regretted the failure of any Central or state leader besides senior district officer to attend the concluding function to give blessings to them. Talking to this reporter before leaving the camp, most of the participants appealed to the political leaders to work for strengthening the democratic set-up in the country. Constitutional amendment should also be made to bring the working conditions for the political bosses at par with the other Government employees in the country to avail the capabilities of the younger generation to further strengthen the roots of democracy.

Expressing his view Mr Rajesh Sharma from Rajasthan underlined the need for the teaching of Hindi as a national language, English as a link language and regional language in the states which would prove more useful in maintaining national integration. Reservation should be made on an economic basis, he added. Miss Marngam Kamsi from Arunachal Pradesh impressed upon the youth to go in for self-employment. In this connection she emphasised the need for opening job-oriented training centres in each college in the country. Mr H.S. Punia, Director of the camp urged for providing right direction to the youth and for the proper channelisation of their energy which was the need of hour. Mr Gopal Ji, Deputy Programme Adviser, said the Central Government had already launched the Jawahar Rozgar Yojna and the Prime Minister Rozgar Yojna for the uplift of the youth in the country.


12,500 villages to get uninterrupted power supply
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 31
The Punjab Government has embarked upon a Rs 100 crore scheme to provide uninterrupted power supply to 12,500 villages of the state.

This was stated by Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, MLA, Guruharsahai and Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, while talking to the mediapersons here yesterday.

He disclosed that out of 12,500 villages, around 6,500 villages had already been provided with the round-the-clock power supply. He said of the Rs 100 crore earmarked for the purpose the Chief Minister had released Rs 50 crore and the rest of the money would be released by September 15.

He said work on the Rs 500 crore scheme mooted by Capt Amarinder Singh on the birth anniversary of Late Rajiv Gandhi to provide toilets to the Dalit families would start soon. He said in addition Rs 20,000 and five marla land scheme for Dalits was also being envisaged for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden.

Mr Sodhi said the state government had released the pending payment of Rs 80 crore for the cane growers. He said that Mr Sharad Yadav, Union Minister, after hectic efforts of the Punjab Chief Minister, had released an additional grant of Rs 34 crore for the welfare of the farmers.

Answering a query, Mr Sodhi asserted that the Congress government would fulfil all promises made in its election manifesto. He said Capt Amarinder Singh was determined to provide a stable, clean and honest government. He said effort was on to bring transparency in the working of various government departments. He said that the decision of the Punjab Government to provide more rights to gram panchayats, was another step towards providing efficient and responsive governance and implement the policies of the state at the grassroots level.


Honesty award for Chief Engineer
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 31
The management committee of Gurdwara Godri Sahib and Baba Farid Society, Faridkot, has decided to give the Baba Farid Award for honesty this year to Mr Padamjit Singh, Chief Engineer (System Operation), Punjab State Electricity Board, for his efforts in improving power supply in the state.

Dr Harbhag Singh, DM Neurologist, Government Rajindra College, Patiala, has been chosen to receive the Bhagat Puran Singh Honesty Award. The awards entail Rs 50,000 in cash, a citation and a shawl each.

Besides, Rs 21,000 in cash along with the Baba Farid Gold Medal will be given to Mr A. Venu Prasad and Mr Akattar Singh, secretary, Punjab Mandikaran Board, and retired superintendent of jail, respectively, in recognition of their services in different fields.

"The awards will be given on the eve of the Aagman Purab of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid here on September 23," said Mr Inderjit Singh Khalsa, chairman of the society. He said the award given earlier for work in the field of judiciary would no longer be given, but the society had taken up a project to introduce law classes here from the next academic session.


Romana sues Giani Iqbal Singh for defamation
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 31
Veteran Akali Leader Mohinder Singh Romana today said he continued to be president of the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee and nobody had the right to remove him before the completion of his term.

Mr Romana said he had already filed a defamation case against Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar of the takht, for declaring him ‘tankhaiya’ since Akal Takht was the sole authority to take such a decision. He said he had not given even a single derogatory remark against the Sikh clergy as claimed by Giani Iqbal Singh. Baba Daljit Singh had already sent an audio tape to Akal Takht to prove this, he said.


22 names struck off ‘black list’ of Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 31
The Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJP leader, Ms Gurcharan Kaur, today said the Union Home Ministry had reviewed the ‘black list’ of Sikhs living abroad made during the days of terrorism in the state.

“We took up the issue with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani recently, who struck the names of 22 Sikhs off the list after conducting an investigation”, she told reporters here today. As peace prevailed in the state now, these persons were not a danger to the peace of the state, she added. The list was prepared soon after Operation Bluestar in 1984 during the tenure of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.


Murder probe slow, laments mother
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 31
Mrs Shanti Devi, mother of Naresh Mahajan, a Manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, who was murdered in mysterious circumstances in 1998, has requested the Director of the CBI to appoint one investigating officer (IO) to probe the case.

In a fax letter to Mr P.C. Sharma, Director, CBI, has pleaded that as many as 13 IOs had been changed in the case which had “hampered” investigation. She said it had lingered for nearly two years with the CBI. She stated that her 90-year-old husband died recently, waiting for justice for their son.

She reminded that despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions in July, 2001, that the investigations in the case be completed within four months from date of receipt of directions, the progress had been unsatisfactory.


Aggarwal Sabha convention on Sept 21
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
The Aggarwal Sabha, Punjab, has decided to hold its state-level convention at Goniana Mandi in the district on September 21.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, president of the sabha, said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the sabha at Goniana.

Mr Perm Garg, general secretary, of the sabha and Mr. Gobind Ram,former president of the Goniana civic body also addressed the meeting.


Youth ‘freed’ from police custody
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 31
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr H.C. Malik, Warrant Officer, raided the city police station here late last night and reportedly got Mohammad Aslam released from there.

The raid was conducted on a complaint of Aslam’s father, Mohammad Sharif, who had alleged that the local police had kept Aslam in illegal custody and was torturing his son, along with four other youths, without registering any case against them.

These youths were allegedly picked up in connection with a rape case but the police had not registered any case in this regard.

Seeing the critical condition of Aslam, he was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where a panel of three doctors, Dr Gurwinder Singh, Dr Jameel Bhati and Dr Sanjeev Goyal, examined him.

However, local DSP Rachpal Singh and SHO Harvinder Singh Cheema said the youth was found outside the police station and the police had nothing to do with it.

Talking to mediapersons, Mohammad Sharif claimed that his son was got released last night by the Warrant Officer from the local police station.

He claimed that his son had been in illegal custody of the police since August 14. He alleged that the condition of four other youths was also critical, though the police was not disclosing their whereabouts.



Watchman gets 10-year jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 31
Mr A.S. Kathuria, the judge of fast track court, has sentenced a watchman, Karan Bahadur, to undergo 10 years’ imprisonment on the charge of causing death of Man Bhadur in November, 2001. Besides, a fine of Rs 5,000 was also imposed upon the accused. According to prosecution, the accused inflicted head injury with a stone, which proved fatal. On the next day, Man Bahadur died due to the injury in a hospital. 


Kisan Mela on Sept 19
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
A Regional Kisan Mela will be organised by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) at its Regional Station in Bathinda on September 19. Quality seed of different varieties of Rabi crop and vegetables will be distributed among farmers at the mela,” Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, Director of the Regional Station, said here.

An exhibition by various departments of the university on agro-based industries and pesticides etc. would also be held on the occasion. Experts from Punjab Agricultural University would train farmers in different aspects of farming. They would also answer their individual queries. 


BKU threatens stir on cane arrears
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 31
The Bharti Kisan Union, Punjab, today demanded that the government should ensure that the payment of sugarcane arrears was made to farmers by sugar mills before September 8.

Mr Manjit Singh Qadian, general secretary, BKU, said in a press note if the government did not succeed in getting the sugarcane arrears of Rs 120 crore released by that date, the union would launch an agitation.


Couple charged with supplying fake passports
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 31
The Bholath police has registered a case of fraud under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC against Paramjit Singh Sandhu and his wife, Harbhajan Kaur, travel agents of Maqsoodan Mohalla in Jalandhar.

They have been charged with depriving Ms Jasveer Kaur of Naurangpur village of Rs 11.5 lakh on the pretext of sending her daughter, Satwinder Kaur, and two grandchildren, Manpreet Kaur and Arashdeep Singh, to the USA to join Balwinder Singh, husband of Satwinder.

The charge is that Paramjit Singh and Harbhajan Kaur demanded Rs 28 lakh for the purpose, of which Rs 11.5 lakh were paid in January, 2003, as advance.

Satwinder and her two children were first taken to Delhi and from there to Mumbai by air. A contact of Sandhu took Satwinder to the airport at Mumbai and affixed her photograph on the passport of another person.

The airport authorities found out and sent Satwinder and her children back to their village.

Jasveer Kaur went to the police when the travel agents refused to return the money.

The complaint was probed by the Anti-fraud Cell against the travel agents and found the complaint correct. Upon this, the Superintendent of Police ordered the registration of a case.

While the police has arrested Harbhajan Kaur, Paramjit Singh is still at large.


Husband arrested in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 31
The police has arrested the husband and the mother-in-law of Paramjit Kaur, who was allegedly forced to commit suicide.

According to the police, the arrested were identified as Manjit Singh and his mother Rajinder Kaur. It was alleged in a complaint that both of them harassed Paramjit Kaur of Prithvi Nagar here for bringing inadequate dowry, which ultimately forced her to take extreme step on June 10.

The arrested were produced in a local court, which sent them in judicial custody for 14 days.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against a woman and her son for abduction of a minor girl. In a complaint to the police, Puran Kaur, mother of the missing girl, alleged that her neighbourer Surinder and his mother Beant Kaur hatched a conspiracy to abduct the girl. Her daughter went missing on Saturday.


Ex-head constable, wife found murdered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 31
Retired head constable Mohinder Singh and his wife Dalip Kaur, both in their sixties, were found murdered in their house today.

The couple stayed separately some distance away from the house of their son Gurpreet and his family in the Devi Nagar colony, Fatehgarh Churian road.

According to DSP Ashwani Kapoor, both had head injuries inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon. There were found dead by Gurpreet’s wife who went to their house today.

According to her, household goods were lying scattered and the main door was open.

A case under Sections 302 and 460 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at Sadar police station.


5 arrested for immoral activities

Kapurthala, August 31
The CIA police on Friday arrested three women and two young men from their hideout near Dhaliwal octroi post on the Kapurthala-Jalandhar road on the charge of their involvement in immoral activities.

Mr L.K. Yadav, Superintendent of Police (Headquarters identified the arrested persons as Sachin Grover, son of Mr Brij Mohan of Kaimpura Mohalla, Bharat Bhushan Sharma, son of Mr Dharam Paul of Kasahan mohalla, Kiran, daughter of Mr Kulwant Singh of Ucha Dhoura mohalla, and Rittu, alias Rimpi, of the Gandhi camp locality in Jalandhar, and Balwinder, wife of Gulam Mohammad of Jalandhar road area in Kapurthala. In a press note issued today, Mr Yadav said a raid was conducted on the hideout of Balwinder on a tip off that she was using the place for flesh trade. In the raid, two women, two men and Balwinder were arrested.

The police has registered a case under Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act against them. — OC


Nephew booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 31
The Bholath police has registered a case of fraud against Jaswinder Singh of Ramgarh village for mortgaging the share of land of his uncle Raj Kanwar Singh with a bank.

In a complaint to the police, Mr Raj Kanwar Singh alleged that his nephew Jaswinder Singh could mortgage only his one half share of the land, but he had mortgaged the whole land and thus committed a fraud.


8 robbers arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 31
The police has arrested eight robbers, including their kingpin Satnam Singh. A presssnote by SP Harmanbir Singh Gill last night gave the names of those arrested as Satnam Singh, Davinder Singh of Mansa Devi Nagar, Hardeep Singh, alias Sodhi, alias Harjit Singh of Raipur Pharala, Akshay Kumar, Gurmel Ram, alias Gela, Sheetal, Ajit Giri, alias Rocha, all of Mansa Devi Nagar, and Nishan Singh of Bahua village. They were nabbed from the cremation ground of Hadiabad where they were hatching a conspiracy to commit a dacoity and create terror in the area, claimed Mr Gill.

One .12 bore pistol, three live catridges, two toy pistols and one “datur” were recovered, said pressnote. The dacoits during preliminary investigations confessed to having committed about half a dozen inter-district dacoities, including at Raipur village Pharala, Satnampura, Mastnagar, Dhyan Singh colony, Kot Rani.


Vedanti urged to unite Sikh students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 31
The All-India Sikh Students Federation, led by Mr Manjit Singh Bhoma, has appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to give a call for unity to all Sikh students’ bodies. In a letter, the federation chief stated that after the unity between the Badal and Tohra factions of the Akali Dal, efforts should be made to bring the Sikh students' federations together.

He informed the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, that all factions of the AISSF were propagating rivalry and were divided. He said in the present scenario, Akal Takht could play a key role in bringing them together.

The federation promised that any direction given by Akal Takht would be welcomed by the federation in the larger interest of Sikh youth.


Students apprised of Army jobs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 31
As many as 50 students of the Modern College for Women, Dhuri, were briefed by Capt Rashmi Choudhry about the opportunities in the Army for women and the qualifications and other requirements for the jobs. She also explained the benefits and perks attached with the Army jobs.

The students who were on a one-day visit here today visited the Wagah border. They were addressed by the Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Association.


Recruitment of teachers in September
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 31
Mr Kaushal Bahl, Education Minister, while talking to this correspondent today said 2,010 ETT Teachers would be recruited in September. He said that 170 classical and vernacular teachers, 1,600 JBT teachers and 94 lecturers would be promoted to the senior scale, master cadre and headmaster cadre, respectively.

He said the departmental promotion committee would meet on September 3 to decide the pending cases of promotion in schools. All vacant posts of headmaster and principal would be filled in September.

To improve the academic atmosphere, the government had decided to open block resource centres. An amount of Rs 6 lakh each had been provided for the construction of buildings to run these centres in 117 blocks in the state. These centres will provide refreshment courses to the teachers to update their knowledge.

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