Friday, September 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Students marching to CM’s house lathi-charged
VC not to be removed, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
Agitating students who managed to sneak in close to the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today in spite of a massive police bandobast were lathi-charged and beaten up by the local police.

The students managed to collect in a bylane in a residential colony opposite the residence of the Chief Minister by reaching there through link roads in ones and twos. After around 150 students had collected at the spot, they started marching towards the main road but were stopped from doing so by the police. The students sat in a dharna for around half an hour following which they were lathi-charged.

Local police personnel as well as commandos cornered the students as they started to flee after the lathi charge and started beating them up. The police did not even spare two reporters covering the lathi charge. DSP G S Bedi snatched the video camera from a Zee Television cameraman damaging it in the process. When a Zee Television reporter started protesting against this, two lathi blows were delivered on his back and he was shoved aside. A photographer, who was trying to film the lathi charge on his digital camera, saw his camera being broken by a lathi blow. Later, the video camera was returned to the journalist after the ‘damaging’ clips were exposed.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, when questioned on this issue when he came to enquire about the health of a legislator, Mr Surinder Singla, who is admitted to a local hospital, said he had asked the Deputy Commissioner Mr Tejveer Singh, to inquire into the breakage of the video camera. The Chief Minister, however, denied that any lathi charge had taken place saying students were only removed from the scene. When questioned on the situation in Punjabi University, he said maintaining discipline was necessary. He also said that there was no question of removing the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai.

Earlier in the morning, around 20 students tried to enforce a strike on the Punjabi University campus but failed to do so. The students marched in the corridors on the campus urging other students to join the strike but their appeal did not have any effect. Later they sat in a dharna in front of the office of the Dean, Students. The dharna was lifted after two hours with the police making them board a vehicle and taking them to the Julkan police station from where they were released later. The university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu said a few students put some newspapers on fire in front of the branch office of the State Bank of Patiala in the city, adding that the fire was immediately doused by university officials.

Students of the local colleges in the city also enforced a strike in their institutes to support the call by the Punjabi University Students Confederation. Students of Mohindra College and Khalsa College collected at the Fountain chowk from where they were arrested and taken away in buses. Students of Khalsa College were not allowed to come out of their institution in the afternoon as the Chief Minister was slated to visit the Patiala Heart Institute nearby.

Sources said around 200 students had been arrested in the city today during the course of the agitation. The Punjabi University Students Confederation spokesman, Mr Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, said 25 to 30 students had been injured in the lathi charge. He said the confederation would announce its next course of action tomorrow following an interaction with the other student bodies. 


Effigies of Punjabi varsity VC burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
Effigies of Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai were today burnt at Sangrur, Sunam and Mastuana Sahib in front of colleges by the Sanjha Vidyarthi Front, constituting Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), Punjab Students Federation (PSU) and Students Federation of India (SFI), in protest against the Vice-Chancellor’s alleged “anti- students” policies and attitude.

The agitating students were protesting against the suspension of seven student leaders by the Punjabi University and registration of criminal cases against them by the Punjab police.

The agitating students of the local Government Ranbir College boycotted their classes and raised slogans against the Vice-Chancellor. They also held a rally before burning an effigy of the Vice-Chancellor.

The students also blocked traffic for about 15 minutes on the Sangrur-Barnala road in front of Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, and held a rally. They also burnt an effigy of Vice-Chancellor.

Bahal Singh, state cashier of the PRSU, said the agitating students also burnt an effigy of the Vice-Chancellor in front of Shaheed Udham Singh College at Sunam and held a rally there. 


Strike in support of Punjabi varsity students
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 18
Four student organisations, the Punjab Radical Students Union, the Students Federation of India, the All-India Democratic Students Organisation and the All-India Students Association, observed a strike here today at the Government Nehru Memorial Post-graduate College in support of the agitation of the students of Punjabi University, Patiala.

Students raised slogans against the state government, the Punjab police and the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University and demonstrated on the roads of the city.

Earlier the students assembled on the college campus and blocked the road traffic for one hour. They also burnt an effigy of the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, near the statue of Sewa Singh Thikhiwala at the local bus stand.

Meanwhile, leaders of various organisations have condemned the lathi charge on the agitating students at Patiala today. The leaders said the agitating students were lathi-charged by the Punjab police today for organising a gate rally at Patiala. They also criticised the Punjab police for not allowing the students to reach the university campus. They sought immediate intervention of the Punjab Governor, Mr O.P. Verma, who is also the Chancellor of the university, to restore normalcy on the campus.

They said the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university should be removed because the situation had worsened after a confrontation between the two. They also urged the state government to withdraw the police from the university campus.


Sinha holds talks on Punjabi varsity issue
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr S.K. Sinha, who holds the charge the the Home Department, today visited Patiala to apprise himself of the student agitation being conducted by the Punjabi University Students Confederation and even directed officials to work towards an early solution to the crisis.

Mr Sinha, who had come to the city with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, stayed back in the afternoon to hold a meeting with officials of the district administration. During the course of the meeting the district officials apprised Mr Sinha of the efforts made earlier to work out a compromise between the Punjabi University authorities and the students.

According to sources, the District Police Chief rung up one of the student leaders to send feelers for further negotiations. However, the sources said no clear answer could be received from the students who said they needed time to discuss the offer with their colleagues.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh when questioned on the issue, said the district administration was hopeful that a solution would be worked out through further negotiations. He said appeals would be made to both parties to come to the negotiating table. He said he believed that a solution could be found to the problem through mutual goodwill and give and take. 

Varsity teachers ready to sink differences
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, September 18
Two main factions of the teaching fraternity of Punjabi University, that have been at loggerheads over nearly every issue concerning the university in the past, have decided to forget their differences in a bid to help end the ongoing agitation by students. This became evident at a meeting of various teaching and non-teaching employees of the university held today.

Teachers belonging to the Teachers United Front (TUF) and United Teachers Front (UTF),who have been bitterly opposed to each other especially during the controversial tenure of the former Vice-Chancellor, Mr J.S Ahluwalia, came together today on a common platform to discuss ways to come out of the present crisis.

Surprisingly, it was the non-teaching staff that took the initiative of bringing the teachers together. The discussion, though inconclusive, will be resumed tomorrow by the parties concerned.

The teachers, after discussing in detail the conditions prevailing in the university following a deadlock between the authorities and the students, were of the opinion that they should plead with the Vice-Chancellor to take the proceedings in his own hands and commence direct negotiations with the agitating students.

The teachers will meet the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S Boparai, to convey their feelings to him. The time of the meeting will be decided in another meeting of the teaching and non-teaching staff here tomorrow.

The teaching community has been alarmed by the prolonged agitation on the campus which is now threatening to snowball into a major controversy. Some of the departments to which most student leaders spearheading the agitation belong, have not been opened till date even as most of the other departments of the university have been opened in a phased manner after the closure of the university following the gurdwara incident.

Even as the students and the Vice-Chancellor stick to their stand, teaching is suffering a major setback in the departments which have not been reopened. The teachers are also worried as to whether or not they would be able to complete the syllabus.

Though with the suspension of some student leaders the venue of the agitation has shifted to outside the university, hostile undercurrents are still prevailing on the campus as one or the other students’ group tries to organise protests everyday.

Sources said the teachers could not come to an understanding about the course of action to be taken regarding the issue of reinstatement of two suspended teachers of the university. However, talks would be resumed tomorrow to amicably solve this issue.



Rally against Boparai, government
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 18
Hundreds of students taking held a rally against the alleged framing of students of Punjabi University and burnt an effigy of the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai. The march started from the ITI for Girls and ended at Udham Singh Chowk after crossing Delhi Gate. Veerpal Kaur, a Punjab Students Union leader said Mr Boparai was acting at the behest of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab.

The district President of the PSU, Amandeep Singh said if the cases against the students were not withdrawn, students would launch a statewide agitation. Later, the students raised slogans against the VC and the CM.


Students observe strike
Our Correspondent

Samana, September 18
Students of Public College observed a strike here today and staged demonstration in the bazar to express their resentment against the Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala and the Punjab Government.

They raised slogans in front of the office of SDM Samana and they presented a charter of demands to the S.D.M, demanding the immediate transfer of Vice Chancellor and the withdrawal in the hike of the fee. They also burnt the effigy of the Vice Chancellor in front of the SDM office. They demanded the immediate withdrawal of false cases framed against students by the Patiala police at the instance of the Punjab Government.


400 out-of-turn promotee cops submit bio-datas
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 18
Nearly 400 Punjab police personnel, most of them from the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), Jalandhar, including nine Arjuna awardees, who had been allegedly promoted by the then DGP, Mr M.S. Bhullar, under sports quota in violation of the prescribed norms, today thronged the PAP complex to submit their bio-datas to the authorities concerned here.

Meanwhile, the affected police personnel today sought the intervention of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, into the issue and demanded that the state government should bring a Bill in the forthcoming Assembly session to regularise such promotion cases since they had contributed a lot to bring laurels to the state and country.

According to fresh guidelines issued by the Home department, these police personnel were asked to submit their complete bio-datas to the authorities concerned for overall review of their promotion cases under sports quota. The sources maintained that most of such players were allegedly promoted out of turn for their excellent performance in national and international events by Mr Bhullar during his tenure as the DGP.

The prominent players, whose names have figured in the list include Arjuna awardees Baljeet Singh and Ramandeep Singh (hockey), Inspector Parminder Singh, (basketball), DSP Narinder Singh (Judo), DSP Kuljeet (Football) and DSP Sukhdev Singh (volleyball). They were allegedly given promotion against the rules. According to sources, a player could be given promotion under 10 per cent sports quota once in a life time, a rule, which had allegedly been relaxed in some cases to benefit them.

As a case challenging such promotions was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Punjab police has started scrutinising these cases and has asked the beneficiaries to submit their complete bio-datas.

“The recent exercise will seriously hit the morale of the players, who are facing stress due to this unsavoury controversy. Most of them, presently undergoing rigorous training schedule to prepare for forthcoming sport events, are making rounds of the department concerned to get their names cleared,” a former hockey Olympian said seeking anonymity.

“We shall not be treated like this as we have never demanded any promotion on our own. It is solely a major exercise initiated by Mr Bhullar, who is the man behind promoting sports in the Punjab police following the end of terrorism era in the state,” the affected police personnel said. 


War waging capability of Pak reviewed
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Beas, September 18
To counter emerging threats in an environment of fast-changing geo-political alignments and drastic shifts in the concepts of conducting operations of war, the armed forces have undertaken a holistic review of the war waging capability of Pakistan, taking into account numerous factors which have never been considered before, it is learnt.

Disclosing this, a top Army officer told The Tribune that the review had gone much beyond analysing the armed forces and the economy, which have been the traditional factors of gauging a nation’s ability to sustain its war effort.

The just concluded review was undertaken by the recently formed Integrated Defence Staff, an inter-service establishment presently headed by Lieut-Gen P.S. Joshi, which forms an integral part of the Ministry of Defence.

“The study takes a comprehensive view of all those factors which have a direct or indirect bearing on a nation’s security,” sources said. “Today it is not just the might of the armed forces or the economic strength, but other factors such as the internal security situation, underlying social trends and pressure groups which have to be considered seriously,” they add.

Of particular importance on the Pakistani front is the country’s reported involvement with narco-terrorism, its association with global terrorist outfits such as the Taliban and its support to terrorist activities in India. “It is important to consider how it will utilise this element of unconventional warfare during hostilities,” an officer said.

What is interesting is that the Defence Ministry has incorporated a new system called Net Assessment for war gaming and operational planning. “We can use this system for building various scenarios and work out strategies accordingly,” an officer said. According to reports, only the USA has such a system.


News Analysis
Will CLP meeting have positive fallout?
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Will the “constructive criticism” of their own government by ministers and MLAs at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting here on Tuesday make any material difference in either the style of functioning of the Chief Minister or the bureaucracy?

One should expect a discernible change in the functioning of the political executive and the bureaucracy after the diatribe against the Chief Minister.

However, experience shows that the political executive and the bureaucracy may continue to be more solicitous of protecting the most indefensible in their folds rather than protecting the state’s interests. Therefore, there is scepticism if any material change will take pace.

Notably, it were mostly “young” Congressmen — owing allegiance to Ms Ambika Soni — who complained against the “coterie” around the Chief Minister which had rigged the politico-administrative system. In fact, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) had rendered redundant the Chief Secretary’s office, they asserted.

These MLAs said the Chief Minister had a vision about Punjab. Yet, there was something amiss that gave the government a bad name. “Despite the change of name of the party that governs the state, the tools of administration remain the same. It will serve no purpose finding fault with the tools alone. The fault-lines are within the organisational and legislative wings, as well”.

Even on the tirade against corruption, these MLAs said targeting the Badals and other Akalis was one thing and ignoring rampant corruption down the line quite another.

The CLP, meeting also focused on the way even ministers MLAs were treated at the cutting-edge of the administration. Even when they articulated the genuine grievances and aspirations of the people, it was construed as ‘political interference’. On the other hand, small groups of MLAs and ministers often “coerce” the Chief Minister, have their way and yet indulge in his back-biting.

The real worry of the ministers and MLAs was on socio-economic services provided by the government. With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, there was concern about the outcome, if the government did not change its track.

No one questioned the levy of user-charges on these services to meet the operation and maintenance cost. But attention was drawn towards the harassment caused to the beneficiaries of old-age and widow pension. For a paltry sum of Rs 200 per month, these people had to go from pillar to post.

Congressmen are divided into small groups who have access to the high command and promptly report on what goes in Chandigarh.

Some MLAs said the high command either did not have any choice or there was no alternative to Capt Amarinder Singh.


Directions to govt on Commandant’s plea
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Punjab police officers wai ting promotion to the Indian Police Services (IPS) will soon get an opportunity to join the ranks of the coveted service. Acting on an application filed by Commandant Harinder Pal Singh of the Punjab Armed Police, the Central Administrative Tribunal has directed the Union of India, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and other respondents to ensure that the selection committee’s meeting is convened within three months.

Pronouncing the order, the vice-chairman, Justice O.P. Garg, and a member, Mr S.K. Malhotra, ruled: “We find that the prayer of the applicant for convening the meeting early is bona fide and genuine. The respondents cannot put off the holding of the meeting on one excuse or the other”.

The tribunal further ruled: “The original application is disposed of finally with a direction to the Union of India, the UPSC and the state of Punjab to ensure that a meeting of the selection committee, as contemplated in the Promotion Regulations of 1995, is convened for promotion to the IPS from among the state police officers, in accordance with law, within a period of three months....”

In the detailed order, the tribunal observed: “There is no dispute about the fact that the selection committee’s meeting was convened to select the state police officers for appointment on promotion to the IPS on December 27, 2002. The meeting was postponed on account of an interim order dated October 24, 2002, passed by a High Court Division Bench. An application was moved before the High Court for vacating the order.”

By a subsequent order on April 25, the High Court modified its interim order and directed that the same “shall not operate as a hindrance” while considering the cases of the eligible persons for promotion to the IPS, the tribunal further observed.

“Counsel for the respondents has accepted the position that after the order dated April 25 passed by the High Court, there was no legal impediment in convening the selection committee meeting,” the tribunal added.

In his application, the Commandant had earlier urged that even though the respondents were duty-bound to convene a meeting, they were not taking any steps in the direction. Arguing before the tribunal, counsel for the applicant had asserted that the Commandant would cross the age of 54 in case the meeting was not held shortly.

Refuting the contentions, counsel for the respondents had asserted that the Commandant would not be out of the consideration zone even after crossing the age of 54. Moreover, the state of Punjab was taking appropriate steps for requesting the Ministry of Home Affairs and the UPSC to convene the meeting. The process would, however, take some time as certain documents were to be collected.


A day of political rallies
Tribune Reporters

Khadoor Sahib (Amritsar), September 18
Even as the SAD today dismissed the idea of dismissing the state government by evoking Article 356, its chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal said the days of the Amarinder government were numbered.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, however, declared that like other former Akali ministers, Mr Badal was unlikely to be arrested as part of the anti-corruption campaign without a valid reason. However, he said the battle against Mr Badal would be fought in court as the government had prepared a “foolproof case of corruption” against him.

Addressing a public meeting, Mr Badal said the government would fall under its own weight as several Congress leaders were annoyed with the “aristocratic style” of the Chief Minister.

The political conferences were organised here to mark the Gurgaddi Divas of Guru Angad Dev. Using the traditional turf of the Akalis, the Chief Minister announced that the government would celebrate the 500th year of Parkash Utsav and the fourth centenary of Sathapna Divas of Guru Granth Sahib and the third centenary of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh on a grand scale next year. As part of these celebrations, Khadoor Sahib would be given a facelift.

The Congress virtually tried to hijack the “religious agenda” of the SAD as the SGPC had already announced to celebrate the occasions listed by the Congress at a grand scale.

Capt Amarinder Singh also announced to give a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the de-addiction campaign launched by the Tarn Taran police.

The SAD (Amritsar) reiterated that the Sikhs had a distinct identity. Its president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, was not present on the occasion. In a resolution, the party announced that the party would continue to fight for the autonomy of the state. Bhai Ram Singh, general secretary of the party, said the party would launch the second Sikh gurdwara reform movement from today.


Cong govt blamed for financial mess in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 18
Terming the Congress government’s performance on economic management front a big failure for lack of vision and managerial skills, a former Finance Minister and general secretary of the SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, yesterday demanded that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should resign owning moral responsibility for his inability to bring back the derailed economy on rails.

Addressing a press conference here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said though the state government had imposed direct and indirect taxes to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore during its over one year rule, it had failed to manage fiscal deficit so far. Besides, the Congress government had failed to initiate development process in the state, causing, disillusionment among the people of the state, he said.

“You see, the state is on the brink of bankruptcy due to financial mismanagement as is evident from the fact that it has availed overdraft twice last month from the Reserve Bank of India to meet its expenses”, the former minister said.

“We have decided to raise this issue during the forthcoming session of the state Assembly and will seek an explanation from the Treasury Benches in this regard. Despite injecting heavy dose of taxes to the people of the state, the financial position is still very grim due to wrong policies of the Congress government”, he said.

He further alleged that crores of rupees were being spent per month as establishment charges on ministers, chairmen of various boards and corporations, while hundreds of employees were not being paid salaries for the past more than six months.

“We will expose the misdeeds of the government before the people of the state by organising constituency wise party rallies”, he added.


Cases against Tohra, Ghuman dismissed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
After reaching “secret” understanding” the supporters of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president Shiromani Akali Dal and SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra have stopped pursuing cases filed against each other in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) which led to ‘dismissing of significant petitions’ in default.

Today two petitions which were filed against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra SGPC chief and Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, a former executive member of SGPC were dismissed in default as the petitioners failed to pursue their respective cases. On September 16, a case filed against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar the then SGPC Chief was dismissed in default on similar grounds.

These petitioners were filed when Mr Tohra and Mr Badal were at logger-heads with each other. The first petition which was dismissed in default was against Mr Sucha Singh Langah, a former Akali Minister. This petition was filed by Mr Harminder Singh Gill, President all-India Sikh Students Federation which had pleaded before the commission to dismiss Mr Langah as SGPC member for arranging 501 pathas of the Ramayana in violation of the Sikh tenets.

The two petitions dismissed in default today pertained to the misuse of SGPC vehicle by Mr Ghuman while the petitions against Mr Tohra and Mr Badungar were regarding the alleged violation of SGPC rules while recruiting their near and dear ones.


SAD discloses Kang’s property
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 18
In the series of allegations and counter-allegations being levelled against each other by Congress and Akali leaders, Mr Gurmeet Singh Mitharu, SAD leader, in a press conference held here today disclosed the list of property acquired in Ropar district allegedly by the Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, in the name of his kin and close friends.

Mr Mitharu in the list of property released to mediapersons here today alleged that in March 20, 1993, Mr Gurnam Singh, a cousin of Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, bought 64 kanal of custodian land at Dewari village in Ropar at a cost of Rs 31,000 against the reserve price of Rs 28,000. On March 29, 1993, Mr Satpal Singh, a close friend of Mr Kang, bought 77 kanal and 15 marla of custodian land in the same village at a cost of Rs 40,000.

Both sold these lands to Mr Jagjit Singh Kang, brother of Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, at a cost of Rs 30,000 and Rs 36,000, respectively, on November 21, 1994 and December 20, 1994.

On April 6, 1993, 24 bigha of custodian land in Bardar village of Ropar was bought by Mr Pritpal Singh, a cousin of Mr Kang, at a cost of Rs 18,000 against the reserve price of Rs 17,500. On the same date and in the same village 33 bigha and 11 biswa of custodian land was bought by Mr Gursevak Singh, 47 bigha and 16 biswa by Mr Satpal Singh, 48 bigha by Mr Madan Lal, 26 bigha and 9 biswa by Mr Harminder Singh and 20 bigha and 1 biswa by Mr Darshan Singh at prices a fraction above the reserve price. The whereabouts of all these buyers were not known, Mr Mitharu alleged.

He alleged that in Siswan village Mr Jagjit Singh Kang bought 33 bigha at a cost of Rs 1.85 lakh. From June 23, 1995 to 1996, 19 bigha 5 biswa of land was acquired by kin of Mr Kang in Garibdass village.

In Rattanpur village of Ropar on March 10, 1993, 40 kanal of custodian land was bought by Ms Inderjit Kaur for Rs 1,03,000 against the government reserve price of Rs 1 lakh, 43 kanal and 4 marla by Ms Balwinder Kaur for Rs 1,10,000 against the reserve price of Rs 1,05,000 and 40 kanal and 7 marla by Mr Bahadur Singh for Rs 1,01,000 against the reserve price of Rs 1,02,000. All these deals were benami as the above said buyers did not exist.

Mr Mitharu alleged that 21 acres of land was bought by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang through benami transactions in 1993. The land was further sold for crores of rupees. The Tehsildar who effected the mutation of the land of Mr Kang was promoted to the PCS cadre soon after.


Tohra confidant joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, suffered a setback as his close confidant, Mr Rajinder Singh Tohra, along with his supporters, today joined the Congress party.

Mr Rajinder Singh has been welcomed to the Congress fold by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and President of the Punjab Congress, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and ministers such as Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar and political secretary to the CM, Mr Harchand Singh Barsat.

A press note claimed that Mr Archain Singh, Mr Naresh Singh, Mr Pritpal Singh, Mr Mukhtiar Singh and Mr Makhan Singh of Tohra village panchayat have also joined the Congress along with Mr Rajinder Singh.

Mr Rajinder Singh had developed differences with the SGPC chief over the panchayat elections at Tohra village recently.


BJP to set up units in 600 villages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
The district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will set up its units in more than 600 villages of the district. About 100 villages have already BJP units in the district.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday the newly elected Sangrur district president of the BJP Mr Satwant Singh Punia, who is also president of the Kisan Morcha of the Punjab BJP, said he would set up party units in all 735 villages of the district in a year.

Mr Satwant Singh said BJP activists would highlight achievements of the Vajpayee Government at the village level and expose the “failures” of Capt Amarinder Singh’s government in Punjab on various fronts.

Mr Satwant Singh said he would constitute the executive committee of the district unit by the October-end. With this, district units of the Yuva BJP Morcha, the Kisan Morcha, the Mahila Morcha and the Dalit Morcha would also be constituted in October.


SGPC decries police stopping vehicle
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
After the ‘thorough probe’, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) has found its entire record intact and decided to lodge a complaint with the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court against certain vested interests who had allegedly launched ‘vilification campaign” that some of its (SGJC) files were being taken to Chandigarh in the SGPC’s vehicle in a secret way.

The SGPC on the other hand described the stopping of its vehicle and harassing the employee by the Ropar police as an attempt to destabilise the Shiromani Committee. Taking a serious note of the alleged police action, Mr Dalmegh Singh, officiating secretary, dubbed the claims that police grab vital SGPC files at Ropar’ as baseless, misleading and aimed at defaming the Sikh institute.

Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, president of the SGJC said that he was shocked to read the news about the ‘missing record, he said such an action was aimed at interfering in the judicial work.

The SGJC and the SGPC have decided to write to the Press Council of India for publishing the news without seeking the version of Shiromani Committee.


Nothing objectionable in SGPC vehicle, says SSP
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 18
The local police today washed its hand off a detained SGPC vehicle with the SSP here maintaining that nothing was recovered from the vehicle.

The police late last evening detained an SGPC vehicle carrying documents allegedly pertaining to the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

Sources said the police stopped the vehicle on a tip-off that some controversial documents regarding the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission were being carried in it.

The documents in the SGPC vehicle were suspected to be related to the important hearing of the case of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta before the commission today.


SAD to honour Arun Jaitley
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Happy over the collapse of the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at Cancun in Mexico, the Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to honour Union Commerce Minister, Arun Jaitley, who led the Indian delegation at the conference.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, General Secretary of the SAD, said today that the SAD would invite Mr Jaitley to Chandigarh soon to honour him. “If the US-EU combine had succeeded in getting more marketing access in the developing countries, it would have ruined the farming sector in most countries,” Mr Chandumajra added. The firm stand taken by Mr Jaitley at the conference had saved crores of farmers in the country.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the handling of the student agitation at Patiala, Mr Chandumajra said a delegation of party leaders would meet the Punjab Governor, who is Chancellor of Punjabi University, on September 23 to seek removal of the Vice-Chancellor.


Plan to provide better food to 6.50 lakh kids
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 18
The Punjab Government has formulated a comprehensive plan to provide better food and nutrition to needy children of 0-6 age group in the state during the current financial year. Under the scheme 6.50 lakh children will benefit in more than 14,000 aanganwadis, said Mr Som Parkash, Director, Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab, while speaking at a district-level food and nutrition week function here today. It has been launched by the Union Government at the national level.

Rs 22 crore had already been released by the government implement the programme effectively. Besides, Rs 6.67 crore would be spent to give special food to improve the health of weaker children under the Prime Minister’s Gram Scheme, said the Director.

He said nearly74 per cent newly born babies and 50 per cent women fell prey of anaemia during delivery and needed care. Laying stress on the need to check various social evils, particularly pre-natal sex determination, he regretted that the ratio of women had come down to 750 against 1,000 males.


Agitators hold up train
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, September 18
The police today lathi-charged the agitating apprentices who had detained the Ahmedabad-Jammu Tawi train for more than an hour at the Rail Coach Factory Hussainpur, halt, 6 km from here, in support of their demands.

The agitating apprentices were demanding jobs in the RCF for more than 600 unemployed apprentices. A number of unemployed youths suffered minor injuries in the lathi charge. The apprentices sat in dharna in the middle of the railway track at the halting point in front of the engine this afternoon and did not allow the train to proceed.

A spokesman for the management of the RCF said there was no provision to give employment to these youths though they had got training at the RCF as apprentices.


Driver assaulted, traffic blocked
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 18
Local BJP workers and inhabitants of areas near Prabhat Chowk blocked traffic for more than an hour at Prabhat Chowk on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road here this afternoon in protest against the beating up of Mr Prem Singh, driver of a truck (PBO-7B-0637).

The truck was going from Nasrala village to Hamirpur when at Prabhat Chowk on the way, it developed some snag. The driver was forced to park it at the chowk. A traffic police constable asked him to remove the truck from there, but he said he was helpless. On this the constable started beating up.

Later, when Mr Sud, a traffic police Inspector and the SHO, Model Town, intervened, The constable apologised and the blockade was lifted.


PPSC member honoured
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
Dr Ajaib Singh, member of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), was honoured by the Pragtisheel Lok Manch at a function here last evening. Mr Harjit Singh Sohi, member (finance) of the PSEB presided over the function.

Talking to mediapersons, he said there was transparency in the PPSC.


Punjab seeks 4 weeks to file reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The state of Punjab today sought four weeks’ time to file a reply on a petition filed by 26 head constables seeking directions for the reversion of assistant sub-inspectors working on ad hoc basis to make place for them.

The petition assumes significance as approximately 868 employees, including 350 sportspersons, are likely to be affected by the outcome of the case pending before Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The judges, after considering the request for four weeks’ time made by Additional Advocate-General Sukhjinder Singh Behl, fixed October 21 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Claiming to have passed the “intermediate school course”, Head Constable Kuldip Singh and others had earlier contended that they had so far not been promoted though the vacancies were being filled through ad hoc promotions.

The petitioners had added that ad hoc appointments were being made at the cost of qualified persons awaiting their turn for promotion despite qualifying the required courses for promotion.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had earlier submitted that a Division Bench of the High Court had directed the state to comply with the provisions of the Punjab Police Rules. The judges had added that exemption from passing the courses should not exceed 10 per cent as provided under the rules. The judges had further ruled that ad hoc promotees had no right to cling to the posts and, if required, they be reverted to make place for regular promotees.

Giving details, the petitioners had asserted that as per the details available with them, the Punjab Armed Police authorities were making ad hoc appointments. They were also exempting ineligible persons from undergoing promotional courses against the rules after ignoring the eligible persons.

Bail for Nakai

Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the High Court granted bail to Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, MLA, in an alleged cheating and forgery case. He 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, Mr Nakai, with a view to becoming chairman of Milkfed, had prepared bogus documents. It was added that Mr 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.

Widow’s plea

Taking up a petition filed by the widow of an alleged custodial death victim, the High Court issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab.

In her petition for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Ms Prem Lata of Ropar district had earlier contended that her husband, Devinder Singh, was allegedly picked up by the police at the instance of a wine contractor who was stopping the alleged victim from bringing liquor from outside their circle. The victim, she had contended, was beaten up by the police. He was later remanded in judicial custody, but died on May 15 in the jail.



8 granted bail in murder case

Barnala, September 18
A court here has granted bail to eight persons facing murder charges for the murder which never took place.

The “deceased” had appeared in the court in the last hearing of the case.

The court yesterday granted bail to eight persons, including Boota Singh, Jagtar Singh, Gurdev Singh, Makhan Singh, Jodh Singh, Devinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Chamkaur Singh, while Basant Singh and Jarnail Singh have already secured anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Bhadaur police station had registered a case under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC against 10 persons on August 15 this year for allegedly murdering Gurdev Singh, who is alive and lives with his family in Talwandi village. — UNI


Lift irrigation scheme non-functional for 5 yrs
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar) September 18
It is like living on a river bank and experience drought. Farmers of 20 villages of the Nangal area are without water for irrigation though residing on the bank of the Nangal hydel canal that irrigates areas up to Rajasthan.

This is due to the non-functional lift irrigation scheme of the Punjab government in the area. The scheme has been non-functional for want of repairs. The scheme was launched in the area in the 1995 by the then Congress government.

The government spent crores to raise buildings and instal machinery for lift irrigation. However, after one year the scheme became non functional allegedly due to the un-availability of funds for repair.

Presently even the five persons deputed at the scheme have not been paid salary for the past six months. The sources in the Irrigation Department said the department had also not been able to pay electricity bills of the irrigation scheme. With penalties powers arrears of the scheme have risen to Rs 23 lakh. Recently the PSEB authorities cut the powers connection to the scheme. Due to lack of planning and un-availability of funds, now lakhs would have to be spent on the repair of motors and other infrastructure to make the scheme functional. Even the pipes laid for carrying water from the scheme to fields have become non-functional due to disuse, the sources said.

The affected villagers also told that they had petitioned every authority from the Irrigation Department, district administration and the chief minister for getting the lift irrigation scheme functional. However, the petitions failed to evoke any response from the authorities.

The sources also told that now the irrigation authorities have even written off the lift irrigation scheme from the priority list and no funds are likely to be allotted for project in the near future. 


253 centres to procure paddy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
The district administration has set up 253 procurement centres in the district to purchase paddy.

Presiding over a meeting, held here to review the arrangements of paddy procurement in the district, Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said the paddy to be procured by government agencies, would be stored in the rice-shellers, allotted for the purpose. He said the paddy to be procured by the FCI, would be kept at the plinths of 800 tonne of capacity. Thus, there would be no problem in the district for the storage of paddy.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the farmers to bring their grievances and complaints, regarding paddy purchase, to his notice.


Commissioner unhappy with sanitation
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 18
Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Ferozepore division, conducted raids in different government offices here today to check the presence of the staff. He checked the BDPO, tehsil, treasury and municipal council offices. All officers and other officials, except those who were away on official duty, were found present.

Mr Sarkar came on foot from the level crossing to the tehsil office where, in the absence of the tehsildar, other staff members could not recognise him. After coming to know of the presence of the Commissioner in the town, officials of other government departments got alerted.

After a visit to the offices, Mr Sarkar along with the executive officer and the president ofthe municipal council inspected the sanitary conditions in the town. He visited the cycle bazar, the Gaushala road, the Mehtab Ganj road, the Old Abohar road, the Bathinda road and the Raja Cinema road.

Later talking to mediapersons at Canal Rest House, he expressed dissatisfaction over the insanitary conditions in the town. He said the garbage dumping station at Shastri Chowk, Bathinda road and Railway Station road were in a bad condition. He said out of a total of 166 sweepers entrusted with the job of cleaning the town, he saw only six sweepers working in different areas. The Commissioner was annoyed to see a large number of stray animals in the town.

He directed the executive officer to launch a regular cleanliness drive and arrange garbage containers for dumping stations. He directed the executive officer and the President of the municipal council to visit the town daily for an hour to monitor cleanliness in the different localities. He ordered that stray animals be driven out of the town by sweepers daily in the evening. In reply to a question, Mr Sarkar, who holds the charge of Ferozepore and Faridkot divisions, said he did not find the cleanliness up to the mark in any of the towns of both divisions.


Admn wakes up to growing traffic chaos
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 18
The district administration has decided to tackle the growing traffic problem in the city. A meeting in this regard was held here recently to sort out the problem. The meeting presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, was attended by multi departmental representatives, including ADC, Mr Neelkanth, SP City I & II, Kunwar Vijay Partap and Mr Shiv Verma respectively, the Additional Commissioner Corporation Mr Kirpal Singh, the DTO, Mr A.S. Prabhakar, SDMs Mr Bhupinder Singh, and Mr Pardeep Sabarwal and others.

Aspects about the root causes of the traffic problem were discussed, including any encroachments like shop extensions, pull carts, building material etc; ineffective traffic regulation, unavailability or non-setting up of parking spaces etc.

However sources revealed that the major problem of the violation of building byelaws and thus contributing significantly to traffic hazard by way of non-existent parking, extended house lines, encroaching footpaths were reportedly ignored.

Another source revealed that the administration was probably taking a guarded stand in this regard due to the recent government offer of “onetime settlement plan for building violations”.


Youth Cong leader, contractor robbed
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 18
Two robberies took place on the outskirts of Phagwara last night. Five car-borne men first injured a Youth Congress leader and robbed him of valuables and motor cycle near the Hoshiarpur Road Chowk on the Phagwara bypass and later robbed a private contractor laying telephone cables of Rs 3,000 near the Palahi road crossing on the bypass.

Mr Gurjit Walia, a former District Youth Congress Vice-President, was coming on his motor cycle (PB-06-8586) when stopped by these five men in a white Esteem car with no number plate at about 10.30 pm yesterday.

When he resisted, the armed men hit him on the head and took away his motor cycle, Rs 500 in cash, a gold chain and a cellphone.

Mr Walia, who was hospitalised, was today discharged. The Social Welfare Minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, today visited him at his house. The police has registered a case.

The robbers later targeted the private telecom contractor and robbed him of Rs 3,000.


Special chance for B. Tech students
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 18
The Punjab Technical University (PTU) has finally decided to give a one time chance to as many as 633 affected students of different engineering colleges of the state to attend the classes of the fifth semester. They had earlier failed to clear the mandatory first semester examination.

The decision was announced by the Registrar of the university, Mr S.K.Bhatia, following acceptance of interim report of a high powered five- member committee headed by Dr S.C.Saxena, Director, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology. The committee was constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Y.S.Rajan, to look comprehensively into all reappear cases of B.Tech courses.

The affected students were observing a relay fast for the past more than 20 days and were demanding that they should be allowed to attend the classes of the fifth semester according to the credit system instead of the pass marks system they said they would pass the first semester examination within stipulated time frame.

The committee in its report suggested that those students, who had achieved 24 credits should be allowed to attend the classes of the fifth semester. According to sources, 42 students will fail to qualify according to the credit system and will have to clear the mandatory exam in a time. 


Engineering students donate blood
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
Seventysix units of blood were donated by students of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, at a camp organised by the SLIET authorities yesterday.

About 110 students of SLIET school were also examined for various ailments. The eyes of about 125 students were also examined at the camp.

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