Tuesday, September 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt not soft on BJP, says CM
Tribune News Service

Jallowal (Jalandhar), September 22
Terming certain top state BJP leaders as more “clever” than their alliance partner SAD leaders, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today asserted that his government had no soft spot for BJP leaders and former ministers as in matter of corruption.

Replying to questions as to why his government had not booked any BJP leader or former minister as was done in the case of certain SAD leaders, the Punjab Chief Minister said his government was not going to spare any such former minister or leader who was found involved in corruption. He, however, said no chargesheet had been filed against any of the former BJP ministers so far. “Actually, they are more clever than Akalis, but, we are not going soft to them,” he said adding probe was going on against certain former BJP ministers and some more Akali leaders.

Referring to BJP General Secretary, Mr Pramod Mahajan’s reported piece of “advice” to him that he should behave like a Chief Minister and not as a “Thanedar”, Captain Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by minister Joginder Singh Mann and Adampur MLA Kanwaljit Laali said,” “In fact, they (SAD-BJP) need a Thanedar like me,”. “This is my fifth or sixth press meet today,” said the Chief Minister.

On the issue of reversion of a number of sportspersons, Capt Amarinder Singh, who inaugurated a state of the art Pepsico-Pagrexco citrus green house here today, said the matter was being looked into by the DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui. He said he could understand the apprehensions of sportspersons but the matter would be dealt with in the light of court directions.

Referring to the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll, he said the Congress was looking for candidates for those seats which were not represented by Congress MPs.

Cops harass people at CM’s function
Tribune News Service

Jallowal (Jalandhar), September 22
Certain politicians, reporters, and a woman employee of a private public relations company faced inconvenience due to the behaviour of a Head Constable, a constable and other security staff at the venue for the Chief Minister’s function here this afternoon.

Even after examining her identity cards and thoroughly frisking her at the main gate, Head Constable Balwinder Singh and constable Dilbagh Singh (no. 1679) kept harrassing the woman who was handing out press notes to reporters. The policemen repeatedly asked her to show her identity card, which she did for a number of times. Pleas by an official accompanying went unheard. Earlier, the Head Constable had tried to prevent some reporters from reaching the venue.

Another security person “ordered” the Punjab Youth Congress president, Mr Davinder Babbu, and a senior Congress leader, Mr Pawan Dewan, to get up from their seats, which they said were “reserved” for the CM’s staff. The securityman persisted even as the two politely told him who they were. Certain mediapersons were frequently asked to change their seats, which finally led them to leave the venue.


CM outsmarts Akali leaders
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has again outsmarted senior Akali leaders who are engaged in the elections of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee ( DSGMC).

The annual elections of the President and other office-bearers of the committee will be held in Delhi on September 24. On the same day, Capt Amarinder Singh, has called the session of the Punjab Assembly. Obviously, the Chief Minister has done so to ensure that the attention of senior Akali leaders should remain divided between committee elections and the session.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President of the DSGMC, who was elected last time with the support of Mr Tohra, has refused to merge his party with Mr Badal’s Shiromani Akali Dal. In fact, Mr Sarna has decided to put up his candidate for the Presidentship against the Badal’s in the elections.

Mr Badal, who has been camping in Delhi to follow the developments of the elections, will have to return to Chandigarh tomorrow. He has called a meeting of the legislature wing of the party tomorrow here to chalk out the strategy of the party vis-a-vis the Assembly session. There has been a debate going on among Akali leaders that whether a no-confidence motion should be moved against the government in the session.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarna, told The Tribune today, that he had called a meeting of his party’s members of the DSGMC for tomorrow. At the meeting, name of the candidate for the post of President would be decided. There are 51 members of the committee.

Former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, has five members with him in the Delhi Gurdwara Committee. In fact, he holds the key to elect the President.

From Mr Badal’s party, four contenders are in the race for the post of President. The front runner is Mr Avtar Singh Hit, who was replaced last year by Mr Sarna. Mr Hit is a close associate of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister. Other strong contender is Mr Manmohan Singh Sachdeva, an affluent businessman.

Mr Manjit Singh and Headmaster Suchha Singh are also vying for the office of the President.

It is a political necessity of Mr Badal to win the election. Shortly after that election, the general election of Delhi Assembly is due to be held. Mr Badal would not be in a position to have any political give and take with the BJP in Delhi, if his party lost the election.


Ravi Inder, Sarna Cong agents, claims Badal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today alleged that Akali Dal President Ravi Inder Singh and DSGPC chief Paramjit Singh Sarna were agents of the Congress.

Mr Badal, who was addressing a public gathering at Rajpura, near here, on the occasion of ‘Shaheedi Divas’ of Bhai Sukha Singh, said the Akali Dal did not have identity of its own nor did it have any support of people. He said the party had been formed solely to damage the SAD so that the Congress could be benefited in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He said Mr Sarna was also acting like a “stooge” of the Congress.

He said district-level meetings of party workers would be held to ensure unity among party workers all over the state.

Mr Badal also criticised the state government for not working for the speedy completion of the Rs 16000-crore Bathinda refinery project. The SAD chief alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was resorting to a personal fight instead of fighting a political battle. 


Amarinder for harmony between politicians, bureaucrats
Our Correspondent

Punjab Chief Minster Amrinder Singh releases a souvenir in Faridkot on Monday.
— Photo by Kulbir Beera  

Faridkot, September 22
More than 20,000 persons visited the state-level rural mela organised by the District Cultural Society in Nehru Stadium here today in connection with the celebrations of aagman purab of Sufi saint Baba Sheikh Farid that are on since September 15.

Various sports and fun events were held on the occasion. After inaugurating these events, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, lauded the Punjabis for their role in maintaining old traditions and sport. He said he hoped that the Punjab sportsmen would maintain their high standards in the forthcoming meets at Hyderabad.

The Chief Minister said such melas strengthened community relations. The teachings of Baba Farid, he said, could bring communities closer.

He announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the District Cultural Society and a grant of Rs 35 lakh for the construction of a circular road, purchase of a CT-scan machine for Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here and the Billewala minor project at Arainwala village in this district.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP and senior Congress leader, who was accompanying the Chief Minister, announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary quota for improving the condition of the local government medical college. Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, also spoke.

Earlier, after laying the foundation stone of a school for special children near the old-age home on the Kot Kapura road, the Chief Minister praised the district Red Cross Society for working for such children and announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the project.

He also met a number of senior citizens at the old-age home and listened to their problems. He inaugurated a Red Cross Mela and an exhibition at Government Balbir Senior Secondary School here. The Congress MP and he visited the Tilla of Baba Sheikh Farid and paid obeisance to the Sufi saint.

UNI adds from Faridkot that the Punjab Chief Minister also said a healthy partnership between the bureaucracy and the political leadership was necessary for good governance and clean administration. He said a harmonious relationship between bureaucrats and politicians was a sine-qua-non for responsive and result-oriented administration.


CM promises probe into Kang’s assets
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 22
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said here today that the state government received no funds for giving monetary benefit to the farmers during procurement of paddy and also demand to fix Rs 790 as Minimum Support Price of paddy was also not met. He met Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Union Agriculture Minister twice on the issue of MSP in the recent past. But it made no effect upon them, added the Chief Minister.

Talking to this reporter at the residence of Mr Uppinder Sharma, General Secretary, PPCC, and former minister here today said the Chief Minister who arrived to preside over the state-level rural sports mela organised by the District Cultural Society on the eve of the nine-day Aagman Purb celebrations of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid since September 15 he lashed out at the BJP led NDA government for not resolving Punjab’s problems.

He made it clear that Mr Badal would be arrested after providing proofs to the Judiciary.

Denying differences with PPCC president H.S. Hanspal or any other state Congress leader, he (Capt Amarinder Singh) clarified that Mr Natwar Singh, a senior Congress leader who is also related with him, met the state Chief Minister at Patiala on Friday last to discuss things of mutual interests and not party matters.

Later addressing a press conference, he assailed the senior SAD leaders, including Mr Badal and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, for criticising the Punjab Government for not giving cooperation in the construction of Oil Refinery at Bathinda, Capt Amarinder Singh said that the state was passing through a serious financial crisis due to policies of the previous SAD-BJP government. He said that the state government was already meeting the expenses of Rs 30 crore to run the state against the sources of Rs 20 crore daily.

To a question on the dispute among students and the Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University, Patiala, the Chief Minister clarified that the universities were autonomous bodies and the state governments could not interfere in their functioning. However, Mr Birdevinder Singh and Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Deputy Speaker and Public Health and Rural Development Minister were working to settle the matter shortly.

Refuting the media reports regarding the shifting of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences from here, he promised to allocate funds for the construction of its complex after the improvement of the state economic condition.

He also promised to probe the matter regarding the purchase of benami properties by the state minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and his relatives and the lapses of the Bathinda district administration failing to take care of the safety of those historical foundation and inauguration stones which were laid by the late senior Congress leaders Dr K.N.Katju and Mr Brish Bhan in 1956.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the state government supplied river water, fodder and wheat straw to Rajasthan government last year on compassionate grounds keeping in view the drought -like conditions there. The state was also now helping the states of Karnataka and Kerala which had also sought the cooperation from Punjab under the same conditions. Mr Jagmeet Singh, Congress MP, was also present on the occasion.


PSEB Chief Engineer to get Baba Farid Award
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 22
The Management Committees of Baba Farid and Godri Sahib Gurdwaras will honour Mr Padamjit Singh, Chief Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (Operation) with Baba Farid Award for honesty. A sum of Rs 50,000 in cash along with a citation will be given to him during a congregation at Godri Sahib Gurdwara here tomorrow the last day of the nine-day ‘agman purab’ celebrations of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid being organised by the District Cultural Society since September 15.

Bhagat Puran Singh Award for service of humanity will be conferred on Dr Harbhag Singh, a nueorologist at Government Rajindra Hospital on the same day. In addition to these two awards comprising Baba Farid Gold Medals and a cash award of Rs 20,000 each will be given to Mr A. Venu Parsad, Secretary, Punjab Mandikaran Board, and Mr Akattar Singh, retired Senior Superintendent of Jails. This was stated by Mr Inderjit Singh Khalsa, president of the committee.


Punjabi varsity students call off stir
Fee hike, cases against student leaders to be withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The Punjabi University Students Confederation today called off its agitation following the intervention of Punjab Home Secretary S.K. Sinha, who prevailed upon the university to effect a complete rollback of the fee hike, besides agreeing to the revocation of the suspension of student leaders and reopening of all closed departments.

The Home Secretary also instructed the police to withdraw cases registered against student leaders. Besides, it has also been decided to hold extra classes to ensure that students who have missed classes do not fall short on attendance.

It has also been decided to take up the issue of restructuring of the fee of professional courses by a committee of Vice-Chancellors of the state. Experts in the education field and student representatives will also be associated with the committee.

The Punjabi University authorities today gave a free hand to the Home Secretary to end the agitation launched by various student organisations of the university. University spokesman Baldev Singh Sandhu said Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai made it clear to the government representative that the institution would abide by whatever decision was taken by him following talks with student leaders.

Mr Sinha arrived in the guest house of the Punjab State Electricity Board this morning to hold talks with the student leaders. The talks started at around 11 am and continued till around 4 pm following which Mr Sinha left for Punjabi University to talk to the Vice-Chancellor alongwith officers of the district administration.

According to the terms of the agreement it was decided that since the Punjab Government had withdrawn the hike in college fee, the university should also maintain conformity and withdraw the fee hike in non-professional courses. To compensate the university for the loss of revenue, the Punjab Government assured to give a one-time grant of Rs 2.18 crore which, it said, would include Rs 1.25 crore announced earlier.

The students, during the negotiations, stressed that the fee for professional courses should be restructured as students from families of the middle and lower classes could not afford to opt for these courses. The government representatives took the view that this was a genuine social problem which needed to be addressed afresh. Following this it was decided that since the issue concerned all universities of the state, a committee of the Vice-Chancellors would deliberate on this issue. It was decided that the committee would have the issue examined by experts, if necessary, and would also listen to all student bodies and teacher associations before giving its advice on the issue. It was decided that the committee would keep in mind the social implications of the fee structure of professional courses while making their recommendations.

It was also decided to convey to the Vice-Chancellor that the students felt “remorse” at whatever had taken place and if they had hurt anyone’s feelings. The agreement said though the students had wanted to meet the Vice-Chancellor and convey their feelings to him personally, the VC conveyed that he would not stand on formalities and that since they were already conscious of their actions, he would take all suspended students back into the university fold.

Student confederation spokesman Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal said the confederation would appeal to fellow students in all colleges of the state not to protest further and to maintain a calm and peaceful atmosphere.


Punjabi varsity accedes to students’ demands
Jangveer Singh
Tribune news Service

Patiala, September 22
The Punjabi University authorities today capitulated before all the demands of agitating students following pressure from the state government, which did not want the agitation to become a political issue especially in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The university authorities allowed the government representative, Principal Secretary to the State Chief Minister, Mr S.K. Sinha, who also holds charge of the Home Department, to reach an agreement with the Punjabi University Students Confederation by agreeing to all the demands of the student leaders. The authorities agreed to the demands without putting any preconditions.

The authorities did not even insist that the agitating students “apologise” or even “regret” heckling the Vice-Chancellor besides forcing him to walk barefoot to the university guest house from the gurdwara on the university campus. During an earlier round of talks with the government nominee, Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh, the university authorities had insisted that the students “apologise” in writing to the Vice-Chancellor. The talks had broken down as the students agreed only to “regret” the incident in writing and were averse to using the word “apologise”.

This time around the government chose the word “remorse” with the student leaders signing an agreement stating they were “filled with remorse at whatever had taken place”.

By using such language the agreement skirts around the contentious issue of whether the students had resorted to misconduct in the university gurdwara. This had been the main issue of the authorities, which had stated that the student leaders must apologise for the conduct in the gurdwara even if they were averse to apologising to the Vice-Chancellor.

According to sources, the Vice-Chancellor was determined to stick to the demand of maintaining discipline on the campus. However, they said, as most of the students studying on the campus belonged to the parlimentary constituency of Preneet Kaur, wife of the Chief Minister, she felt obliged to address their grievances in a sympathetic manner. The sources said besides this Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa, who is the legislator from the Ghanaur Assembly seat in which the university falls, also wanted that an amicable solution be found to the problem.

It was because of this that the local police did not move against the students despite repeated appeals from the university authorities. The local police did not take any action against students violating an order banning their admission into the university and holding a sit-in in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office. The police did register cases against prominent student leaders but that was only when the second round of talks being initiated by Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh broke down. Sources said despite registering cases against the main leaders, no action was taken because the government was interested in bringing the students to the negotiating table.

The sources said Mr S.K. Sinha had been magnanimous in arriving at an agreement with the student leaders because the government wanted to ensure that the fledgling student movement that had arisen in the state was not allowed to prosper further. 



Army remembers heroes of Dograi
Our Correspondent

Khasa (Amritsar), September 22
On Dograi Day today, the Army paid tributes to its men who laid down their lives during the battle for the Dograi post during the 1965 war with Pakistan. The top brass, including the General Officer Commanding, Panther Division, laid wreaths on the Dograi memorial.

The GOC told newsmen how the battle for Dograi, a town 7 km from the border and close to Lahore, had been fought on the night of September 22, 1965, on the Amritsar-Lahore axis. The Indian Army captured this town along the Ichogill canal. “Had the ceasefire not been declared, the road to Lahore lay clear for us to advance,” he said.

The battle had the highest number of casualities in a single action. A crushing defeat to the enemy resulted in a complete disintegration of his 16 Punjab regiment which had been holding Dograi on the eastern bank of the Ichogill canal.

Pakistani commanding officier Lt Col J.F. Golewala, Battery Commander Major Beg and 106 troops, including four JCOs, were captured alive and 372 enemy soldiers, including two officers, were killed. The Indian Army also captured all supporting weapons, which included recoilless anti-tank guns, of 11 Frontier Force, their divisional reconnaissance and support battalion. Their mortars, four tanks of 23 Pakistan Cavalry, a large quantity of small arms and light vehicles were also captured, while seven tanks were destroyed.

The GOC said: “This battle was a glorious example of cooperation between the civil administration and the Army. The Army received full cooperation from the civil agencies, especially hospitals, dispensaries and doctors. 3 Jat played a major role in clinching the victory, though 70 of its men were killed and 147 wounded.

As jawans reversed arms on Monday, veterans of this battle observe a sombre silence.


Army keen to take over Dashmesh Academy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Army is keen to take over the Dashmesh Academy and the Dashmesh Academy of Martial Arts in Anandpur Sahib as there is a plan to establish a cantonment in the township.

An official statement said today that this was conveyed at a meeting between Punjab’s Minister for Sports and Youth Service, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, and the General Officer Commanding, 11 Corps, Lieut-Gen Patta Bhiraman.


BJP workers hold rallies
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, September 22
The district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Mr Satwant Singh Punia, district president, today marched through the town and held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here against the Punjab Government for registering alleged ‘false’ cases against the BJP and the SAD workers, including state BJP chief, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, on August 20 near Naushera Pattan bridge between Gurdaspur and Mukerian.

The rally was addressed among others by Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary, Punjab BJP, Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, vice- president, Punjab BJP, Mr Satwant Singh Punia, district BJP chief, Mr K.K.Mudgli, a BJP leader, Mr Jatinder Kalra, a local BJP Municipal Councillor, Thakur Jagdish Rai, former district BJP chief, and Mr Malwinder, state media adviser of Punjab BJP.

All speakers criticised the Punjab Government for its alleged ‘anti-people’ policies and registration of alleged ‘false’ cases against the SAD and the BJP leaders and workers. They demanded withdrawal of cases registered against the BJP and the SAD leaders and workers in connection with Naushera Pattan incident and action against the “erring” police officers.

A deputation of BJP leaders also submitted a memorandum to the ADC, Sangrur, Mr N.S.Walia.

Gurdaspur: SAD-BJP workers following a call given by the state action committee of the BJP held a dharna and a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here on Monday. Among those who addressed the gathering included Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, former BJP president, Punjab, Mr Krishna Manhas, president of the Punjab Mahila Morcha, Mr Bal Krishan Mittal, president of the district unit of the BJP, and Mr Kartar Singh Pahra, former MLA.

The protesters burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister.

Mr Mittal warned Capt Amarinder Singh that if he did not stop harassing opposition members he would be isolated.

The protesters submitted a memorandum listing their demands that included withdrawal of the case registered against SAD-BJP workers at a rally held at Naussrhra Ferry on August 20, and action against police officials who resorted to a lathi charge.

Meanwhile, the dharna observed by the SAD-BJP workers in support of their demands entered its 12th day today.


PPCC organising secretary
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
Mr Rajbir Singh has been appointed organising secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) by Mr H.S. Hanspal, PPCC president.



Cong MLAs told to be present in House
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief whip of the Punjab Congress Legislature Party, today issued a three-line whip asking the party MLAs to remain present in the House during the two-day session of the Punjab Assembly from September 24. All party MLAs should be present till all official and legislative business was over, the whip added.



Out-of-turn promotions: DGP favours sportsmen
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 22
Director-General of Police Punjab, A.A. Siddiqui today said that it had been decided, in principle, to support the cause of 400 Punjab Police officials, fighting a case in Punjab and Haryana High Court for being promoted out of turn under sports quota. The Punjab Police would move the Supreme Court, in case the high court verdict went against the interests of the affected sportspersons.

Mr Siddiqui earlier had stated that the Punjab Police would abide by the verdict of the high court and revert such policemen to their original ranks, in case the court decided to go against them.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Siddiqui said that keeping in view the contribution of the affected sportspersons in national and international sports events, it had been decided to support their cases in the court.

“We are going to submit a proposal to the state government aimed at avoiding embarrassment to the players and at the same time the directions of the court can be implemented. In case, the high court decides against the sports quota police personnel, we will certainly file an appeal in the Apex court,” He said, adding that the Punjab Police was committed to save the self-respect of the bright sportspersons.

The court already directed the state government to submit an affidavit by October 21 after reviewing the out of turn promotion cases of Punjab Police officials including 400 sports quota promotees. “The senior legal experts are being consulted to formulate a comprehensive plan in this regard,” He said.

When asked about the appointment of Mr Iqbal Singh, a brother of an Inspector-General of Police (Security), as an Inspector under terrorist-affected quota in violation of the prescribed norms, the DGP said that he was not aware of about the matter and brushed aside any possibilities of reviewing former’s appointment case.

The DGP also refused to comment on the reported moves to introduce Police Commissioner system in the state. Regarding the alleged failure of the police authorities to streamline the traffic, he said that specific instructions had been issued to the district police chiefs to implement the traffic rules in their areas. 


Punjab Govt employees  hold rally
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 22
On a call given by the Punjab Mulazam Shangharsh Committee, thousands of Punjab Government employees from all over the state held a rally here to reject the ‘anti-employees policies’ of the Centre and state governments and for settlement of their long pending demands. Police sources said it was one of the biggest employee rallies held here in the recent times.

The leaders who addressed the gathering criticised the new economic policies of the governments. The leaders accused both the Central and state governments of acting under dictates of the WTO and international financial organisations.

A six-member presidium comprising Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari, Mr Ranbir Dhillon, Mr Mahan Singh Rori, Mr Charnjit Singh Walia, Mr Hari Singh Tohra and Mr Dattar Singh, all conveners, presided over the rally.

The decision of the Punjab Government to hand over seven departments — elementary education, health centres, rural water supply, veterinary dispensaries, social welfare and pension schemes, welfare of Scheduled Castes and backward classes and rural housing to Panchayati Raj institutions, came under attack and the committee demanded that the decision should be withdrawn.

The leaders also asked the government to withdraw decision regarding contributory pension scheme, reducing encashment of leave days and the proposed formula of commutation of pension. It was demanded that the government should lift ban on new recruitment and withdraw the May 2002 order regarding the abolition of posts in various government departments. Speakers alleged that Punjab Chief Minister has backed out from his commitments, which he had made on the eve of the February 2002 Assembly elections.

Employee leaders alleged that the government was running from its commitments regarding free education, medical care, water supply, aid to weaker sections, aged and widows.

The committee will meet on October 5 in Patiala to chalk out its future action plan. The committee has threatened to start an agitation from October 15 if their demands are not met.

Other leaders who addressed the gathering included Mr Ved Parkash, Mr Rajinder Pal Soni, Mr Nirmal Singh Gill, Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, Mr Harbhajan Singh Johal, Mr Kuldip Singh Ogani, Mr Tejvir Singh, Mr Swaranjit Singh and Mr Suresh Sharma.

Later, the committee submitted a memorandum and also took out a march from the rally venue (Bridge Market, Sector 17) to Matka Chowk.



90 gurdwara workers face sack
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
More than 90 employees of four gurdwaras face termination from the SGPC. According to reports the employees working in gurdwara ‘ guru ka bagh’ Ajnala; Gurdwara Achal Sahib, Batala; Gurdwara Villah, Gurdaspur; Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Dera Baba Nanak.

All these gurdwaras along with nine more gurdwaras were recently taken over by the SGPC. Mr Talwinder Singh, heading the ousted employees, said they would file a petition in the high court against the said termination.


Cross-examination of Bhupjit over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
In just over a year after the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) recruitment scam rocked the state with its startling revelations, the cross-examination of complainant Bhupjit Singh concluded in the “trap case” before Ropar’s Special Judge for Vigilance cases S.K. Goel.

The complainant, cross-examined in the case for about six days, has reportedly supported the prosecution story. His statement, along with the cross-examination, runs into about 50 pages.

The state was represented by Additional Public Prosecutor for Vigilance cases Pardeep Mehta. The case will now come up for further hearing on October 6.

PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu was earlier booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau after conducting raids at his residence in Sector 39 here.


Counselling week for unemployed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 22
To motivate and to create awareness among the youths for self employment opportunities, a special guidance and counselling week is being observed from Sept.23 in the district, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the meeting of education and employment officials here on Saturday.

He said during this week various camps would be organised to provide information to students and their parents about the job opportunities in defence studies, information technology and about various competitive examination.

He said voluntary organisations and parent teachers’ associations would also be involved in these camps.

Besides this, self-employment schemes were also being encouraged in the district and a 15-day training camp on dairy development was being organised for all persons, who had studied only up to fifth class so thay they may set up their own units. Such trained persons would be given help to get loans from the banks. He said under this scheme loan amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh to 14 lakh for the purchase of five to 50 buffalos was being provided and government also gave 15 per cent subsidy on such loans. He said 313 such units had already been set up.

Seminar on national security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Defence Minister George Fernandes will inaugurate a two-day seminar on “Integrated Management of National Security’’ in Chandigarh on September 27 and 28 under the auspices of the Forum on Integrated National Security.

The convener of the forum, Mr P.C. Dogra, said the Governors of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, Mr V.S. Kokje and Babu Parmanand, Union Minister of State for Home I.D. Swami and Swami Chinmyanandji would attend the seminar.

Among the speakers would be Centre’s Interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir, Mr N.N. Vohra; former Army Chief V.N. Sharma; former Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak; former Vice-Admiral P.S. Das and former diplomat G. Parthasarthy. Representatives of various political parties had also been invited.



Rs 1.83 cr aid for development of Ghanaur
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 22
The Minister for Public Health, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, on Saturday said the NDA government at the Centre was responsible for the “poor” economic condition of farmers in the state.

Addressing farmers on the premises of the Farmers Training Camp, Ghanaur, near here, he said the NDA government at the Centre was biased towards Punjab and alleged that due to wrong policies of the government the farmers were suffering from heavy debts.

He said in the absence of assured marketing and remunerative prices, it would not be possible to divert 10 lakh hectares from paddy-wheat rotation to these crops. To bring the farmers out of the current economic crisis and also to save the natural resources the farmers should go in for “contract farming”, he added.

Mr Randhawa also distributed cheques worth Rs 1.83 crore for the overall development of Ghanaur and areas adjoining it. Besides, he also distributed a cheque worth Rs 28 lakh on behalf of the welfare department for providing housing facilities to people living below the poverty line.

Speaking on the occasion, the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Rawinder singh Sandhu gave a call to the farmers to adopt precision farming in order to minimise the cost of production and improve quality of farm produce.

The Director, Agriculture Department, Punjab, Dr Ajmar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, and ADC, Mr Jaswant Singh Brar, were also present.



Workers’ rights under threat, says INTUC
Our Correspondent

Nangal, September 22
“The Union Government is trying to curtail the rights of workers. In a country like India where the demand and supply ratio of workers is lopsided, the government move to curtail their rights will lead to their exploitation,” said Mr G. Sanjeeva Reddy, national president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), at a press conference here today.

Mr Reddy was here to address regional convention of the Uttar Railway Mazdoor Union.


Academy holds conference
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
As many as 200 delegates attended the annual conference of the Folklore Research Academy, Chandigarh, a state-level organisation here today.

The conference presided over by Dr Tara Singh Sandhu, president, decided to constitute a 151-member state executive committee. The meeting adopted a resolution to urge Chief Ministers of border states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal to make efforts to press for free trade with Pakistan from Wagah border here. The academy drew up plans to hold annual Raja Porus Hind Pak Punjabi Mittrata Mela at Wagah Border in November.


Plea to end caste-based reservations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab, has sought an end to caste-based reservations, thereby demanding that the benefit of reservation should be given on the basis of economic considerations. 

Mr Shyam Lal Sharma and Mr Prabhjit Singh, president and vice-president, respectively, of the federation, said that employees belonging to the general category would stage a symbolic protest march in Sector 17 tomorrow, wearing black cloaks in protest against the 85th Constitutional Amendment, which provides the benefit of accelerated seniority to the Scheduled Caste employees. 

Mr Sharma pointed out that the Supreme Court in its judgement given in the Ajit Singh Janjua case on March 1, 1996, had clarified that the benefit of seniority should be given from the date of joining service for otherwise the chances of promotions of the general category employees get marred. 

Members of the general category, which constituted 72 per cent of the Indian population, had been denied their fundamental rights in education, services and the election process of Indian democracy. 

Leaders of the federation demanded that the benefit of reservation should be given only on the basis of economic considerations.


Youths injure boy, school owner
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 22
Car-borne youths injured a schoolboy and the owner of Shastri Model School here today.

The youths, who were passing in front of the institution in their car in Phase I, when the school closed, hit and injured a student of Class I.

They stopped the vehicle at a little distance away from the school. 

The owner of the school, Mr Ram Lal Sewak, rushed to the car and tried to admonish them for not driving carefully. This annoyed the youth, who was driving the vehicle. He sped the car injuring Mr Sewak.


40 quintals of poppy husk burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
Forty quintals of poppy husk was burnt by the police here today. The poppy husk had been confiscated over the past three months.

Earlier this year, the police had burnt about 76 quintals of poppy husk.

Mr I.P.S. Sahota, DIG, Patiala Range, who was present on the occasion, said the other districts of the range should follow the example.

He said officers from other districts would be sent to Sangrur to learn about the pre-trial destruction of narcotic substances.

Mr A.S.Rai, SSP, said a drive to clear case property in police stations was already on.



Punjab told to decide on unauthorised constructions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Residents putting up in the periphery of Chandigarh can heave a sigh of relief — at least for the time being. Taking up a bunch of petitions, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state of Punjab to take appropriate decision on regularisation of unauthorised constructions in the periphery within two months of receiving recommendations of a committee earlier constituted.

As far as the electricity connections were concerned, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, ruled that the petitioners may apply to the authorities concerned for the release of temporary connections.

The authorities, on the other hand, would sanction the release of temporary connections in favour of the applicants within seven days from completion of all formalities. Within the next 15 days, electricity should be provided, the Bench added.

The judges further clarified that the temporary connections would not create any right in favour of the petitioners. If the state government finally decided against regularising the constructions, then the petitioners would not be entitled to claim continuity in power supply. The benefit of the judgement would be available to other similarly situated persons even if they had not filed a petition.

In their petition, Gian Chand and others had sought quashing of a decision by the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA) against issuing no-objection certificates to residents who had raised constructions in the periphery.

Bhaniara’s petition

A Division Bench of the High Court admitted a petition filed by Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to inform the court how Bhavsagar Samunder Amrit Vani Granth was hurting the religious sentiments of any community.

In his petition, the Baba had claimed that the "illegal and unconstitutional" ban imposed on the granth was politically motivated. He had added that the members of the then ruling party had earlier approached him seeking his support in the forthcoming elections. They became furious after he refused to oblige them, his counsel had claimed. He had further added that the granth was subsequently burnt by certain religo-political leaders with the intention of maligning the petitioner's reputation. The birs of Guru Granth Sahib were set on fire and the petitioner was blamed for it, counsel had concluded.



Narottam Dhillon’s remand extended
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 22
The judicial remand of Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, cousin of Mr Sukhbir Badal, was today extended till October 6 by the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, in a case of corruption registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.


17,000 tonne of fertiliser stock reserved
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 22
IFFCO has reserved a stock of 17,000 tonne of DAP fertiliser to meet the shortage for the next crop season. This was stated by the area Manager, Mr Nahar Singh Mavi, at a training camp for cooperators of the Lambi, Malout and Gidderbaha development blocks. Mr M.P. Sharma, Block Agriculture Officer, presided.

Mr Chanchal Mehboob Singh, Assistant Registrar Cooperative Societies, distributed cheques against 20 per cent dividend to shareholders of IFFCO on the occasion. He said investment in other saving schemes was now less beneficial than buying shares of IFFCO.

Mr Mavi said IFFCO with a record production of 60 lakh tonnes of fertilisers had become the top cooperative fertiliser manufacturing organisation in the world. It had provided free of cost accidental cover to farmers. 


Panel on paddy procurement grievances
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 22
The district administration has made all arrangements for the smooth procurement of paddy in the district, said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the meeting of procurement staff here on Saturday.

He said 394692 mt of paddy was procured last year but due to bumper crop of paddy this year approximately 4.5 lakh mt of paddy was expected to arrive in the mandis of the district.

He said 32 purchase centres were being made operational, where all procurement agencies like Markfed, Punsup, Pungrain, Ware House, Punjab Agro and FCI would make the purchase. He said committees to redress the grievances of the farmers regarding procurement of paddy would be set up. He said procurement staff indulging in malpractices or causing unnecessary harassment to farmers would be dealt sternly.

He urged farmers to bring clean paddy having moisture less than 17 per cent to avoid harassment.

He said they should avoid harvesting paddy during the night, so that they can get the full cost of their produce. He also urged the farmers not to burn the remains of harvested paddy as it caused pollution.

He told farmers to immediately bring to his notice, if any procurement staff or commission agent demanded bribe for the purchase of paddy.

He said it would be ensured that the payment to the farmers was made on time.

He said market committees had been directed to make all arrangements for the comfortable stay of farmers.

He said flying squad teams to check the malpractices and unnecessary harassment to farmers would be formed under the supervision of respective SDM’s.

He said to monitor the day to day procurement progress, daily meetings of all district magistrates of all agencies would be held at the district level. 



3 IAS, 5 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Punjab Government today posted three IAS and five PCS officers.

Mr K.K. Bhatnagar has been posted as Principal Secretary, Department of Printing and Stationery. Mr S.S. Rajput has been transferred as Special Secretary (Personnel) with additional charge as the Chief Executive, PEDA. Mr Nilkanth Singh Avhad has been shifted as ADC, Moga.

Mr D.S. Saroya has been posted as Deputy Director (Enforcement), Excise and Taxation Department.

Three PCS officers have been posted as SDMs. Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal has been transferred as SDM (Dhuri); Mr Mohinder Pal as SDM, Jalandhar II; and Mr Gurpreet Singh Khera as SDM, Nakodar.

Mr Preetdev Singh Shergill has been posted as Joint Secretary, Department of Education (Schools).

The orders about the posting of an officer as an ADC Amritsar, will be issued shortly.

Meanwhile, Mrs S.K. Sandhu, Secretary, Department of Revenue, has also been given the additional charge as Secretary, Revenue (Rules).


SDM order prompts land acquisition by MC
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 22
As per instructions of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kharar, the local municipal council took over the possession of 114, kanal and 18 marla land, worth more than Rs 10 crore, situated along the National Highway No. 21, near the local bus stand, here today.

Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Girish Verma, President Executive Officer of the municipal council, respectively, said Mr Kuldeep Singh, Tehsildar and Mr R.S. Bal, Naib Tehsildar, took the possession of the land and handed it over to the municipal council.

Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, said an appeal in connection with the possession of said land was filed in the court and it was decided in favour of the Punjab Government. Further action for taking possession of land was to be taken by the SDM, Kharar, she said.

The SDM, Kharar, wrote a letter to the Executive Officer of the council on September 18 in this regard. As the land was situated in the municipal limits of Kharar, it was the first right of the municipal council, Kharar, to take over this land.

Meanwhile, Mr Charanjit Singh, MC President, said the council had taken the possession of the land. He said the council proposed to construct a bus stand, a school, a community park, and a stadium here. He said the plan to develop this land would be formulated after consultations with residents and members of the council.

The council has deposited an amount of Rs 1.25 lakh with the Tehsildar as compensation for standing crop on the land.



National conference at Thapar Institute
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 22
A two-day national conference on “Materials and Related Technologies” was organised by the School of Physics and Materials Science and the USIC at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technologies (TIET) here. Five talks and 54 papers on the subject were presented at the conference.

The conference was inaugurated by Prof G.N. Mathur, Director, Defence Materials Research and Development Establishment, Kanpur. Dr Mathur emphasised the role of materials in general and biomaterials and nanomaterials in particular in the development of new technologies.

Dr S.C. Saxena, Director TIET, in his address stated that the study of materials had a great scope as it involved a comprehensive inter disciplinary interaction between scientists and engineers.

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