Thursday, September 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Anti-corruption drive hollow, says Badal
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Shahkot (Jalandhar), September 17
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today alleged that the Congress government’s much hyped slogans and drive against corruption were hollow and virtually held no water as some of its own leaders, including the state Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, had started criticising the government on this account.

Referring to the yesterday’s Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting at Chandigarh, Mr Badal said the Congress government had come down under its own weight and for its follies and this was clear by the reported adverse remarks of Mr Hanspal on the issue of corruption in the state.

Addressing the first constituency-wise rally of the SAD in Punjab against the Congress government here today, Mr Badal said though Mr Hanspal had reportedly criticised the working of the government, but it was not enough and he should come out and expose people who were part of the government and who were “indulging” in corruption.

“We won’t try to throw the Congress away as we know this would be done by people who were fed up with the “anti-people” policies of the government. Moreover, resentment has started brewing up among Congress ministers and MLAs. The Congress has already accepted its defeat as one of its leaders has stated that there would be tough fight between the SAD and Congress during the forthcoming elections,” said Mr Badal. Criticising the government policy on the disinvestment of PSUs, Mr Badal alleged that some profit-making PSUs were also being sold out to benefit some selected private companies.

He said even the student community was not spared by the government and “repression” let loose against the students of Punjabi University, Patiala, was an example of it. “They are being framed in false cases and were being threatened by the police,” Mr Badal said.

Mr Badal alleged that the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to take up the issues of farmers with the Central Government due to which farmers were suffering on many fronts. “He just criticises the Central Government on one or the other pretext. None of farmers’ issues were taken up effectively,” Mr Badal allegedly. Mr Badal reiterated that certain officers who were hand in glove with the Congress government and were responsible for framing SAD-BJP leaders would face the music as and when the SAD-BJP combine came to power. “Such people would receive a befitting reply,” he asserted.

The SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said the SAD was going to sweep the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll as the Congress government had failed to come up to the expectations of people.


Punjab and WTO — a perspective
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Experts’ Committee on agriculture vis-a-vis WTO-compatible policies has submitted its final draft report to the Punjab Government. It is, almost on the pattern of what Dr S.S. Johl had suggested in his report on crop diversification.

Prof Y.K. Alagh, who chaired the committee, has suggested a three-pronged diversification strategy — production of commodities of mass demand, namely milk, pulses, oilseeds and forestry; production of moderately high-value commodities, vegetables, fruits, onion, basmati, cotton and sugarcane in earmarked agro-climatic zones to avoid glut and price crash; and production of high-value commodities, floriculture and exotic vegetables.

The state has to bear a heavy responsibility while taking area out of rice and wheat. It must first develop an efficient marketing infrastructure for the new crops, educate and train farmers to produce market-based products, shift the focus of research and development to the new crops and develop new institutions that are WTO compatible. The diversification must be accompanied by a financial and organisational mechanism. This programme will need Rs 550 crore approximately, spread over three years.

There should also be commodity boards and insurance cover institutional systems to counter fluctuations in the world prices of farm products.

The committee recommends that though agriculture is a state subject, the Centre must consult the state governments before introducing domestic reforms and signing of international agreements related to agriculture.

Punjab should set up a high-level agricultural adjustment board (AAB) of experts. Punjab should provide equity endowment of Rs 300 crore to the board and ask for a matching contribution from the Planning Commission.

This is similar to what Dr Johl had demanded from the Centre to implement his suggestions on diversification.

Prof Alagh’s thesis is that the AAB should frame long and short-term strategies specific to agro-climatic zones to ensure success of the diversification programme. It should facilitate the formation of farmers’ or producers’ co-operatives, which should, in turn, enter into strategic alliances with the corporate sector for contract farming.

It will be job of the AAB to build markets, develop information systems of available economic opportunities, provide finances for processing, standardisation, quality upgradation and trade. The AAB would also ensure that farmers got market-supplied inputs at internationally competitive prices and did not suffer simply because of inefficiency and high protection enjoyed by domestic suppliers of these inputs.

The report takes cognizance of the price that Punjab has paid for feeding the nation and for its contribution to food security and stocks. The price paid is in terms of environmental degradation, salinity and waterlogging, dwindling ground water resources, weed infestation, pest and disease outbreaks and human health hazards. The report also identifies the problems that beset Punjab and its agriculture.

The focus of the report is on crop adjustment strategy, organisational and financial aspects of proposed diversification and increasing severity of the national and international constraints after the East Asia meltdown and the WTO Doha declaration. The report notes that in Punjab, the present regime of farm subsidies is not compatible with the WTO agreement. Subsidies to farmers are in the form of lower prices of power, irrigation and fertilisers compared to the economic cost of these inputs.

These subsidies fall in the “non-exempt” category as these are not WTO compatible. These subsidies have to be withdrawn gradually.


Cancun meeting a success, says BKU
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 17
The Bharti Kissan Union (BKU) has expressed its satisfaction over the stand taken by 71 countries, including India, against the stand of the USA and other developed countries at the WTO meeting held in Mexico (Cancun).

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, BKU president, expressed these views at a conference held today at Khadoor Sahib on the second day of the three-day annual mela regarding Gur Gaddi Divas of Guru Angad Dev.

He asked the Punjab Government to release the pending amount of Rs 126 crore on sugarcane else the union would launch an agitation.

Meanwhile, the police has made elaborate security arrangements for the mela during which political at conferences will be held by major political parties of the state.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, said an SP rank officer had been deputed to supervise the security arrangements.

Ms Hardip Kaur, Sarpanch of Khadoor Sahib gram panchayat said a memorandum would be submitted to Ms Sushma Swaraj Union Health Minister, tomorrow on the occasion of the SAD conference. There is a demand for a regional diagnostic centre at Khadoor Sahib.


4 girls, mothers denied entry into varsity, stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 17
Four girls and their mothers today staged a dharna at the Punjabi University main gate after they were not allowed into the campus even as the situation in the varsity was normal with classes being held without a break.

Four girls, who had actively participated in the student agitation, were stopped from entering the varsity when they reached the main gate along with their mothers in the morning. University authorities said the girls and their mothers refused to state the purpose of their visit when questioned by the security staff. The authorities said when the girls and their mothers sat down on the road in front of the main gate, the Dean, Students, reached the spot and asked them to come to his office.

The authorities said at the Dean’s, office the parents of the girl students were asked to give an undertaking that they would not hold the university responsible for the misconduct of the girls concerned. They said since the parents refused to give any such undertaking, they were told that the university would not take the responsibility of the girls.

The girls and their mothers said they were stopped from entering the university under a conspiracy even though the security staff and the other officials knew that the girls were regular students.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Students Confederation today claimed that it had made preparations for a statewide stir tomorrow. The confederation said students and their supporters would march to the residence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in this connection. The students have appealed to the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), to intervene in the matter.

But there does not seem to be any hope of a quick settlement of the crisis with Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh saying that the government had changed its mind and strategy and would no longer hold talks with the students. He said the government would only hold negotiations with the students if they distance themselves from political parties. He said there was no question of any further roll back on fee. He added that the students would have to apologise for their misconduct during the agitation.


J&K children deprived of education, says
Mufti Sayeed
Tribune News Service

Beas, September 17
The education infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir has been destroyed because of militancy and as a result it is children who have suffered the most. Stating this here today, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said a majority of children in the state remained isolated, which affected their education and psyche. He was here to attend a function organised at Army Public School to mark the admission of 101 students from Jammu and Kashmir, who had lost their parents to militancy.

Mufti Sayeed, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter, said because of the situation in the state, children could not see the human face of the country. “A good beginning has been made by the Army,” he said. “A small step matters as it gives vision and a ray of hope,” he added. The Chief Minister said the challenge now was to catch them young and provide good education to those who had been deprived of it. Complimenting the Army for taking up the project of providing free education to children from affected families, he said such projects would go a long way in providing a healing touch to the people who were suffering. Stating that a very clear road map for peace in the state had been drawn up, he said his government was determined to ensure that peace returned to Jammu and Kashmir.


J&K students come to Punjab for studies
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 17
Due to militancy and lack of educational facilities in Jammu and Kashmir, about 100 Kashmiri students have taken admission in various management and technical institutes of Punjab.

These students were selected by Jammu and Kashmir universities and were subsequently allowed to take admission in various technical and management institutes in Punjab by Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar. The whole exercise was aimed at providing brilliant students of the valley educational facilities away from the troubled atmosphere and it was carried out following a recent meeting between the Punjab Chief Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, in which the latter sought admission in various courses for students of his state in Punjab.

Though the PTU had allotted 626 seats to students of the valley in anticipation of heavy influx of students, but Kashmir University and Jammu University could send only about a 100 students for admission in different courses like BBA, BCA and MBA in various Punjab institutes.

Talking to The Tribune, about 25 students, who have been admitted to the Saint Soldier Management and Technical Institute, maintained that the main factor which forced them to come to Punjab was better educational facilities here and the fear psychosis due to prolonged disturbance and bloodshed in the state. “There is a sea of difference between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab as far as educational facilities are concerned. There are very few seats in Kashmir University for such professional courses and, moreover, the state does not have good transport facility for students. My dream is to get good education and see the Kashmiri youth doing the same in future,” said Sammiullah, 23-year-old students of the BCA.

Sayed Ahmed Shah, BBA student, said he decided to come to Punjab for healthy educational atmosphere here. “Away from disturbance, I am sure that I would get the degree and settle abroad after completing my education,” he said.

Shah Zaheer, a student from Baramula, lamented that the absence of educational facilities in Kashmir led him to come to Jalandhar. “The government there do not care for educational facilities and even books are not available. There are no jobs, if these are, these are for terrorist victims only,” he rued.

Elaborating the factors responsible for her migration to Punjab, Tusha Pandoh, the lone female student in the institute, said her aim to do the MCA drove her to Punjab. “People here are good and I like the ambience which is very healthy especially if one wants to pursue higher education,” she said.

Mr Anil Chopra, Chairman of the Saint Soldier Management and Technical Institute, said all 25 Kashmiri students were very happy and got mingled with local students within no time. “We would welcome if more such students come to our institute from the valley,” said Mr Chopra.

Enquiries with the PTU revealed that apart from admission of 25 students in the Saint Soldier School, 10 Kashmiri students have also been admitted to Jalandhar’s CT Institute of Management and Information Technology.


Political conferences fail to draw crowds
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 17
Political conferences organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the All-India Lok Bhalai Party on the eve of the Jor Mela at Guru Ki Dhab near Jaito in this district today failed to draw crowds compared to earlier years. Visitors enjoyed the mela more than hearing political leaders. Senior SAD leaders like Mr Parkash Singh Badal, party chief Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SGPC, and Capt Kanwaljit Singh general secretary of the party were not at the conference. Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Tota Singh, both former ministers, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, a general secretary of the party, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA Gidderbaha, Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Mantar Singh Brar MLAs of Faridkot and Kotkapura and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, former president SGPC attended the conference. All leaders devoted most of the time in criticising the Punjab Congress government and raised issues like harassment to Akali leaders.

In the absence of any senior representative of the Lok Bhalai Party the local leadership also failed to announce any programme at the conference. Later Mr Manpreet Singh Badal told reporters that the party would bring an adjournment motion on corruption issue during the two-day Assembly session starting from September 24.

Lashing out at the Punjab government for selling off the public sector units like Punjab Alkalies, Tourism, Punwire, Puncom and the PSEB to private companies they alleged that it would render hundreds of Punjabis with jobs.

He also accused the government of refusal to set up oil refinery at Bathinda under one pretext or the other. It also failed to get any increase in the minimum support price for wheat or paddy in its two years’ rule causing hardship to farmers. Mr Manpreet Badal claimed that due to the wrong policies of the present regime all sections, including doctors, teachers, students, businessmen wanted a change in the government.


Punjab Police to revert 500 promotees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Punjab Police has decided in principle to order the reversion of nearly 500-odd officials, who were given out-of-turn promotions by former Director-General of Police M.S. Bhullar. However, exemption will be given to 300-odd eminent sportspersons, who had brought laurels to the state and the country at the national and international levels.

Sources in the police said a policy was being worked out to make one-time exception in the case of 313 sportspersons posted in the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), who were given promotions in recognition of their outstanding achievements in sports activities. This was confirmed by an official of the Home Department among those to be reverted were officials promoted as DSPs.

Sources disclose that such promotions are maximum in PAP, with the number now swelling to 850.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier ordered the reversal of 350 promotions ordered earlier in the PAP by the then ADGP (PAP), Mr M.S. Bhullar, in violation of the rules, but the order was not implemented. On the contrary, the promotions were justified, saying that the promotees had been adjusted against vacant slots.

A large number of officials in the ranks of constable to Inspector were given accelerated promotions under their own-rank-and-pay scheme. Interestingly, the Home Department on scrutiny found that a majority of those promoted either had unsatisfactory service record or did not fulfil the eligibility criteria.


SC rejects plea on posts of Soil Conservation Officer
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In less than four months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the posts which could be affected by a circular imposing a ban on fresh recruitment were the vacant ones and not the ones for which appointment letters had already been issued, the Supreme Court of India has dismissed a special leave petition filed by the state of Punjab and another petitioner in the matter. The orders were passed by Mr Justice Brijesh Kumar and Mr Justice Arun Kumar of the Supreme Court. The state had earlier challenged the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed in a petition filed by Ludhiana resident Paramvir Singh and three others.

They were seeking directions to the state and another respondent to issue appointment letters for the posts of Soil Conservation Officer. The petitioners had contended that the appointment letters were issued to 39 candidates on April 2 last year. They too were entitled for appointment as four candidates had not joined and they were next on the merit list.

The respondents, on the other hand, had submitted that the letters could not be issued as a ban on the recruitment was imposed by the government on May 10 last year.

Taking up the case, the High Court Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, had ruled: “It is clear that there is hardly any controversy with regard to the facts giving rise to the present petition. The only question that arises for consideration before us is whether the respondents were justified in denying appointment to the petitioners on the pretext of imposition of ban on recruitment.... We are of the considered view that the approach of the respondent authority in denying consideration of the petitioners is nothing but arbitrary”.

The Bench had further ruled: “The circular which, according to the respondents, created a ban on fresh appointment, was issued on May 10, 2002.... The posts which could be affected by the circular were the vacant ones and not the posts for which appointments had already been issued and the candidates required to join the posts. The intention of the ban was not to frustrate a due selection which had culminated into the issuance of the letter of appointment.”

The Judges had also directed the respondents to consider the case of four candidates and “issue them letters of appointment for the posts of Soil Conservation Officer in accordance with the rules”.


BJP MLA inaugurates district complex
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 17
Mr Tikshan Sud, former Punjab Minister and BJP MLA, inaugurated District Administrative Complex, constructed at a cost of Rs 35 crore by PUDA, on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road here today. Mr Sud along with a local BJP leader Mr Vijay Aggarwal, Mr Bhagwant Kishore Gupta, Mr R.P. Dhir, Mr Satpal Sareen and Mr Shiv Sud and hundreds of his supporters went in 40 to 50 cars and jeeps etc. to the complex this morning before leaving to Mukerian to participate in the state level rally of BJP. Mr Sud gave Rs 500 to women ragpicker as shagun for the inauguration. The district administration was ignorant about the inauguration.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister of Punjab had laid down the foundation stone of this project and it was completed during his tenure. All government offices in different localities of the city would now be shifted in it.

With this inauguration a controversy has started between the BJP and Congress leaders of Punjab.


President’s rule likely, says Vinod Khanna

Gurdaspur, September 17
Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state as it was supplying nuclear material to other countries, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna said today.

There is an indication that Pakistan had been supplying nuclear material to Iran and North Korea, Mr Khanna said, adding “this is enough to declare Pakistan as terrorist state.”

The United States America concedes that all cross-border terrorism in India is going on at the behest of Pakistan, but “America has its own axe to grind by waging a war against Taliban in Afghanistan”, he said.

Claiming that law and order situation in Punjab was “volatile”, Mr Khanna said that an NDA team was likely to visit the state to study the “ground situation” in regard to the demand for imposition of President’s rule.

Mr Khanna was here on way to addressing a BJP rally at Mukerian, which is part of his Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, in adjoining Hoshiarpur district. — Agencies


Kamlesh elected

Kharar, September 17
Mr Vikas Garg, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, has declared Mr Kamlesh Sharma elected from zone No. 11, Gharuan, Kharar tehsil, Zila Parishad, Ropar.

A copy of the orders in this regard were received today. Mr Kamlesh Sharma, the defeated candidate, had filed a petition against the then declared candidate, Mr Hukam Chand. The court had ordered the recounting of votes. OC


Nursing home violated MTP Act: Civil Surgeon
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 17
At a special meeting of the District Advisory Committee, PNDT Act, held here today under the chairmanship of the Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr Inderjeet Kaur Walia, it was clarified that Dhanetha Nursing Home, Samana, had been found to be violating the MTP Act and not the PNDT Act, 1994, and that the committee disagreed with the police version which had "erroneously implemented" the PNDT Act in booking the institution.

Dr D.S. Bhullar, Co-Chairman, PNDT, IMA, Punjab and the Civil Surgeon in a joint press note said Dr Bhojinder Singh, owner of Dhanetha Nursing Home, had not been booked by the committee under the PNDT Act nor had the raiding party at any stage recommended action against the doctor under the aforesaid Act. They demanded that the district police authorities should immediately cancel the FIR registered against Dr Bhojinder Singh .

The committee states that the nursing home and its doctors are not registered under the MTP Act and hence are ineligible to perform any MTP by themselves or in their institutions.

However the committee maintains that injections seized by the bedside of the patient Suniari Devi are generally used for termination of pregnancy.


New technique for gall bladder surgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
‘Hand port surgery’ was suggested as the best alternative to tackle difficult gall bladder cases at the Sixth Asia Pacific Congress of Endoscopic Surgery held in Kuala Lumpur from September 10 to 13.

Dr Kuldip Singh, a laparoscopic surgeon of Punjab who was invited as a guest faculty at the meet, said here today that ‘‘In this technique, a hand or fingers are put through the port, along with the laparoscope to have the feeling of difficult situations and it gives advantage of open surgery by manipulating by one hand and operating through the laparoscope. This method gives both the advantages of open and laparoscopic surgery. This technique has been successful in some other surgeries of the abdomen as well".

He said in the beginning of laparoscopic surgery in 1990, difficult cases of gallbladder stone disease like infections, pus in the gallbladder, cirrhosis of the liver, pregnancy with gallstones and some other difficult problems were not recommended for laparoscopic surgery. This was mainly because it was a new technique and surgeons were not experienced in this.

There were lot of complications of bileduct injuries during surgery and more and more cases were converted to open surgery because of the difficulty in dealing with such cases. In the past few years, surgeons gaining expertise in this technology had succeeded in dealing with a majority of difficult gallbladder stone cases by laparoscopic method, he added

At Kuala Lumpur, Dr Kuldip Singh delivered lectures on ‘Dymposia on laparoscopic cholecystectomy gallbladder surgery in difficult situations like acute and gangrenous gallbladder’ and ‘How to avoid bileduct Injuries during difficult gallbladder surgery’.


90,000 oxytocin injections seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Banned oxytocin injections have been in use to prepare illicit liquor in Punjab. This came to light following the seizure of a big stock of such injections in Gurdaspur district.

Sources said those involved in trading such banned injections have confessed that they have been selling this material to certain liquor contractors.

Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health and Family Welfare, confirmed that such injections were used to prepare liquor in the state.

Mr Sandhu said today that over 90,000 banned injections were seized by Drug Inspector Bhag Singh from an unlicensed godown in Gurdaspur district yesterday. These injections were also used by addicts as these gave an instant “kick”, Mr Sandhu added.

Actually, these injections are meant for milch cattle. But these have been banned following reports of adverse effects on milch cattle. However, must dairy farmers continue using these injections.

Even a section of the veterinary experts has concluded that these injections are by and large responsible for wiping out vultures from various parts of the country. It has been proved that the process of procreation is affected among the vultures which feed on dead milch cattle subjected to constant administering of oxytocin injections.

Dr Sandhu said as drug addiction was on the rise in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts, a special campaign had been started to check the menace in the area.

During raids at Amritsar, 69586 tablets and capsules, 5395 injections and cough syrups, which were sold without proper bills, had been seized. Cases had been filed against nine chemists in this connection.


Special counter opened for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 17
Nearly one lakh ex-servicemen and their wards of Jalandhar district will no longer face the inconvenience of standing in long queues at the District Transport Office (DTO) for getting their new driving licences made or for their renewal, thanks to an extension counter opened by the DTO in the District Sainik Welfare office complex. The extension counter will make new driving licences, renew them and also make the registration certificates of new vehicles.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, who inaugurated the office today, said DTO officials would come to the District Sainik Welfare office complex on every Friday and would sit there between 2 and 5 am to process the documents relating to the issuance of fresh learning and other licences, renewal of old licences and registration certificates of vehicles.

Appreciating the efforts of the District Sainik Welfare office and Lt-Col Manmohan Singh (retd), the Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, Jalandhar, Mr Gupta, assured the ex-servicemen that their concerns were always at his top priority and he would do everything possible to mitigate their problems.

He said for ensuring efficient service to ex-servicemen and their families, the functioning of the extension counter would be monitored on a regular basis.

Col Manmohan Singh, said the long-standing effort to set up the extension counter acquired practical shape only after the Deputy Commissioner approved the idea and the DTO, Mr Chander Gaind, extended his active support towards the venture. He said the ambitious projects of setting up of Sainik Bhavans at Shahkot and at the local State War Memorial, which had come to a halt, were all set to take off after the recent release of a grant of Rs. 5.25 lakh, arranged and released by the Deputy Commissioner.


Leasing octroi: traders observe bandh
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 17
On call of the Beopar Mandal, Fazilka, a complete bandh was observed in Fazilka town today in protest against the leasing of octroi on contract here. All shopkeepers, hoteliers, vegetable vendors, sweet sellers kept their shops closed. Members of the local Bar Association, also abstained from the courts to express their support to the striking traders. Doctors and chemists, however, kept their establishments open.

Hundreds of traders held a procession in main town bazars under the leadership of Ashok Gulbadhar and Satish Kumar Dhingra, president and secretary, respectively, of the Beopar Mandal. The traders raised slogans against the Punjab Government and Congress Municipal Councillors who had passed resolution to privatise the octroi, last week. The procession ended at Malout-Ferozepore Chowk where traders staged a dharna and blocked traffic for one hour. Dozens of vehicles were seen stranded on different roads. The police had made elaborate security arrangements. One police officer also tried to threaten the office-bearers of the Beopar Mandal but the dharna passed off peacefully.

The traders later presented a memorandum of demands to the SDM, to be sent to the Chief Minister of Punjab. It has been demanded in the memorandum that the decision of leasing octroi on contract should immediately be withdrawn. The Beopar Mandal leaders suggested that instead of giving octroi on contract the council staff should try to check octroi evasion effectively and the traders would extend their support to them. To lease octroi on contract was a failure on the part of the government because they were not able to run the government effectively, added Satish Kumar Dhingra.


Singla suffers heart attack, in ICU
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 17
Punjab Fiscal Reforms Committee Chairman Surinder Singla today suffered a major heart attack while returning from New Delhi near Rajpura and has been admitted to a local heart institute.

Patiala Heart Institute Managing Director Gurpreet Singh Sidhu said the Congress leader suffered a heart attack near Rajpura got down for emergency aid.

A cornonary angiography had been conducted on Mr Singla and it was revealed that he was suffering from heart disease. An artery was found blocked during examination.

Mr Singla is in ICU and his condition is stated to be stable. According to sources, Mr Singla had been complaining of heart pain since the past few days. He had got himself checked up in New Delhi and had been told that he was okay.


Suspension of doc demanded
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 17
Several organisations held a dharna for nearly one and a half hours at Bhandari briege demanding the suspension of a ‘tainted’district TB officer, Dr Miterpal Devgan.

Protesters belonging to the All-India Youth Association, headed by Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind shouted slogans and held banners and placards pressing the government for the immediate suspension of the doctor who had been remanded in judicial custody for 10 days and was attending his duties after his release.

The doctor had been accused of holding two government posts simultaneously and tampering with the documents pertaining to his services besides being held guilty on other counts too.


Author honoured for book on population
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 17
A function was organised here yesterday on the premises of Summer Field Secondary School to mark the foundation day of Check Population Movement (Abaadi Roko Andolan). Presiding over the function, Dr P.D. Sharma, Civil Surgeon, Mansa, said that the Abadi Roko Andolan activists had been promoting family planning programmes at the grass-root level. Mr Ashok Sadiora, Convener, Abadi Roko Andolan, had also released an audio cassette containing Punjabi songs on population issue. A book ‘Abadi Barbadi’ by Surinder Sagar and sponsored by the Abadi Roko Andolan has also been distributed free of cost to the people.

Mr Sadiora further said the andolan had also instituted an annual award for Rs 50,000 and a citation for promoting the cause. This year’s award will be given to Rahul Singh, son of columnist Khushwant Singh. Surinder Sagar was honoured today for his book on population issue. Sagar and Rosy also presented songs on the population theme.


Residents block traffic
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 17
Hundreds of residents, including Municipal Councillors, Dr Harmesh Kumar Puri, Mr Rajinder Chopra (Rano), Mr Vinod Kumar Pinka led by Mr Lalit Mohan Pathak (Ballu), President Municipal Council, today blocked traffic for an hour here at Ambedkar Chowk, to protest against the alleged harassment by the DTO, Mr Manmohan Luthra,

The traffic blocked was held abruptly as Mr Luthra challaned a nephew of Mr Rajinder Chopra (Rano), Municipal Councillor and he refused to relent even after intervention of another Municipal Councillor, Mr Vinod Pinka.

A trader in the vegetable market was also challaned by the DTO then. The trader alleged that the DTO had challaned him ‘illegally’ as he did not even properly checked his registration papers despite requests. Then, Mr Ballu rushed to the site, after getting the information.

The DTO left the site after an altercation with Mr Ballu. Some more persons having complaints against the alleged arbitrary attitude of the DTO gathered there.


Ministerial staff to hold rallies today
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 17
Members of the State Ministerial Services Union has decided to hold zonal-level rallies in Jalandhar tomorrow, Patiala on September 24, and Pathankot on October 9 in support of their demands. A state-level rally will be held on October 16 in Chandigarh.

Mr Raj Kumar Arora, state Chairman of the union, today said that if the government did not accept their demands, they would go on mass casual leave on October 22.


Assembly to honour freedom fighters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The Punjab Assembly will honour the freedom fighters, who had remained members of the House, on September 23.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will be the chief guest at the function, according to a press note issued here today.



HC directive to PUDA on floodwater project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Acting on a petition filed by city advocate Tejinder Singh Sudan and 14 other residents of Phase V in SAS Nagar seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for completing the proposed project for draining out floodwater from their sector, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today expressed displeasure in the matter.

The Bench, headed by Chief Justice B.K. Roy, also directed the Chief Administrator of the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA), besides President of the SAS Nagar Municipal Council to approach Punjab Chief Secretary for resolving the issue.

The Bench also directed that the report should be submitted in the matter within a week. The case will now come up for further hearing on September 24. The Bench had earlier directed the authorities concerned to “immediately prepare a plan and execute the same”.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, had directed “PUDA Chief Administrator and MC President, besides their subordinate officers, to immediately prepare a plan and execute the same for controlling floods in Phase V”.

In their petition, the residents had earlier claimed that the completion of the project was necessary to save their lives and property. Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had contended that they had been experiencing flood-like situation during the rainy season for several years now, but it had assumed alarming proportions during the past few years “due to environmental degradation and non-availability of any outlet for rainwater”.

Giving details, they had submitted that the “residents were spending sleepless nights as the overflowing water was entering their residences and destroying the household goods, adversely affecting their daily routine”. Counsel for the petitioners had further submitted that “the whole area was getting filled with knee-deep water”. Moreover, overflowing sewage water from the toilets was resulting in unbearable stench.

State should be ready with arguments

It is the solemn duty of the state to be ready with the arguments — Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday held in a significant judgement.

Taking up an anticipatory bail plea, Mr Justice Goel further ruled that “attitude on behalf of the state that papers were not available can be termed as callous which cannot be approved of”.

The Judge added that the court expected assistance as and when the cases were taken up. Merely saying that state counsel could only issue teleprinter messages and no responsibility could be taken by state counsel beyond that could not be approved by the court. The Judge concluded: “Let the Punjab Chief Secretary and Advocate-General ensure such pleas are not taken in the court”.


Deputy Speaker finds six docs absent
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 17
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today visited the ESI dispensary on the Kharar-Ropar national highway at 1.45 pm and found as many as six of the 17 doctors and other employees absent. Moreover, the dispensary was not found to be clean.

While talking to mediapersons at the dispensary he said the employees here were working in two shifts.

He further said when he inspected the dispensary Dr Rupinder Walia (medical officer), Mr Yogesh Kumar (clerk), Ms Kiran Lata (ANM), Mr Ram Gopal (sweeper), Mr Gulzar Singh (sewadar) and Mr Gurmaiz Masih (lab technician) were found absent.

He added that Ms Ram Piari (lady health visitor) and Ms Paramjit Kaur (pharmacist) had taken one hour and two hours’ sanctioned leave, respectively.

When asked about the staff’s absence Dr Chaman Lal, in charge of the ESI dispensary, told the Deputy Speaker that Dr Walia and two others had gone to the ESI hospital, Mohali, in connection with an operation of a patient.

But the ESI hospital informed the Deputy Speaker that the staff concerned had not come there.

Mr Bir Devinder further said Dr Chaman Lal, who was supposed to come at 12 noon, arrived at 1.45 pm.

He said the dispensary was not very clean.

He was told that the government had given the contract for cleanliness and maintenance to Uttar Pradesh Rajkiye Nigam Ltd. The employees of which never visited the dispensary despite reminders. He asked the government to cancel the contract.

He asked the SDM, Kharar, Mr S.S. Gill, to take into custody all record of the dispensary.

He has called the Secretary, Health, Punjab, and Director, ESI, to his office tomorrow in this regard.


4 killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 17
Four persons, including a minor boy, died while one person was injured critically in a road mishap near Kot Budda village, 14 km from Patti in Tarn Taran police district here last evening. The victims were returning to their village from Baba Shah Kamal fair when the incident took place.

According to information, the incident happened at 10.30 p.m. last night when a jeep (CHA-3685) driven by Raj Singh of same area went out of control and collided with two scooters on which the victims were coming.

The four persons who died on the spot include Balsher Singh (32) a resident of Jijowali village, Gurpreet Singh (18) and Gurjant Singh (15), both brothers and residents of Sito Chigian village and Bhupinder Singh (35) of Dostpur (Gurdaspur). Niranjan Singh, father of Gurpreet and Gurjant was injured critically and was admitted to a hospital here.

The driver of the jeep absconded. A case under Sections 304-A, 279, 337, 338, 427, of the IPC has been registered at Sadar police station in Tarn Taran police district.


Power board staff robbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 17
Two scooter-borne persons shot at a PSEB employee outside a bank on the GT Road in Moga, before escaping with a bag containing over Rs 5.5 lakh. Kulwant Singh, a driver with the PSEB has been shifted to Dayanand Medical College here in a critical state.

According to Dr K.B. Kansal, Executive Engineer, North State Division of the board, the accused were waiting outside the bank at around 11.30 am, when cashier Surinder Kaur and Kulwant Singh arrived there to deposit cash. The assailants fired upon the driver and snatched the bag.

The driver and the cashier tried to prevent them from fleeing but they escaped.

According to Mr Pal Singh, a union leader, Kulwant Singh received thre bullet injuries. Mr Kansal said, “Neither do we have any security guard who can accompany employees to banks nor has the police provided us with security.”


College clerks booked for embezzlement
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 17
On the complaint of Dr Janmit Singh, Principal of the local DAV College, the Sadar police has registered a case under Section 408 of the IPC against college clerks Vijay Kumar and his wife Minakshi Sharma for embezzling Rs 25.10 lakh of the college funds.

In his complaint, Dr Janmit Singh alleged that both the clerks collected Rs 25.20 lakh as fee from students but did not deposit the same in the college. The SP(D) made the investigation into the case and an FIR has been registered.

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 |