Wednesday, October 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal wants complaint against CM probed
Tells Vigilance to meet him on Oct 8
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has put the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in a bind by saying that his reply to the questionnaire in a corruption case registered against him be treated as a complaint against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Badal, who has offered to make himself available to the investigating officers at his Sector 2 residence on October 8, said the allegations made by him against the Chief Minister on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha during its two-day session last week, should be investigated on the same lines as was being done in the case registered against him on a complaint filed by a Congressman a few days after his appointment as a Director of the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation.

A Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) of the Economic Offences Wing had sent a letter to Mr Badal on September 25 saying that his “version was required to be taken regarding various allegations made against him” in a case registered on June 24.

Mr Badal was asked to “intimate immediately date, time and place of your convenience for examination by the investigating authorities”.

“I will make myself available for any examination as permitted by the law on October 8 at my official residence. Though I was keen to make myself available even earlier, but because of my pressing engagements this is the earliest that I have been able to manage,” wrote Mr Badal in his 17-page letter to the Superintendent of Police copies of which have been endorsed to the Chief Minister and the Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau.

“I do not know what information you are seeking through this notice because the fate of the investigation is already known. It has been already decreed by the Chief Minister. He will decide the contents of the charge sheet. Perhaps your job is only to append your signatures and complete the formality,” wrote Mr Badal.

“During the Vidhan Sabha session, I had with all sense of responsibility raised the issue of corruption in the Amarinder Singh Government. I talked about the payment of bank loans and customs duty rebates availed of by the Chief Minister to start an export-oriented unit of mushrooms at Dochi in Himachal Pradesh. I had also questioned the source of income of the Chief Minister who had spent over Rs 3 crore on renovation of his Moti Bagh palace. I had also questioned the squandering away of state funds to the tune of Rs 9.91 crore by converting the loans of Brahma Styer — a company owned by Mr Ravi Inder Singh — into equity. I had also raised the issue of sale of Punjab Tractors and pointedly alleged that its shares have been sold at a throwaway price by the government. Each of these issues is a scandal of grave provocation worthy of investigations at the hands of the hyper-sensitive Vigilance Department and I request you that you investigate the same with the same vigour and interest as you show in investigations into cases involving the political opponents of the Chief Minister. I am sure you are aware of the law laid down by the Supreme Court that every reasonable accusation about the commission of a cognizable offence is required to be registered and investigated,” Mr Badal said.

Mr Badal said the institutions of Lokpal, the Commissions of Enquiry Act, which provide an unbiased and independent forum to investigate the allegations of corruption are being bypassed in favour of investigations at the hands of a totally captive Vigilance Bureau which is staffed with officers who are yes men of the Chief Minister and go to any extent, including fabricating false evidence, to satisfy his wishes.

Talking about the cases registered against SAD leaders and workers by the Vigilance Bureau, Mr Badal said “in a travesty of all cannons of justice, most of the cases are registered by the same officer on the basis of information from undisclosed reliable sources and the investigation is also done by the same officer showing predetermination to prosecute and harass. The Vigilance is being used as an instrument of political vendetta at the behest of the Chief Minister.

“The hurried manner in which the present case was registered against me, my wife and son and others has its own tale to tell being the recent link in this chain of motivated and mala fide exercise of power.

“It is pertinent to note that a copy of the application or complaint was received on June 24 and immediately the Chief Director of Vigilance ordered the registration of a case and the same was done in half an hour. The timing of the filing of the FIR is interesting. The bail applications of employees of Wimpy International as also of Narottam Singh Dhillon were to come up for hearing on June 25 and hence this FIR was lodged in a great hurry to forestall their release,” Mr Badal said in his letter.


SAD not to seek govt’s dismissal, says Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 30
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, today said Punjab was facing a time worst than the Emergency of 1976, yet his party would not demand the dismissal of the Amarinder government. He was talking to newsmen at the house of Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh, a former minister, at Piplanwala.

He alleged that the law and order situation was bad and the state government was not fulfilling its election promises. He criticized the hike in the power, sewerage and water supply tariffs and enhanced bus fares.

He said election manifesto was not merely a document and the SAD had implemented all its programmes declared in the election manifesto of 1997.

He said the Amarinder government had withdrawn all benefits that the SAD government had extended to the farmers, Dalits and senior citizens. The Amarinder government had a single-point programme of crushing the Opposition leaders by implicating them in false cases, he said.

“The government has not started procurement of paddy yet forcing farmers to sell it for upto Rs 50 below the fixed support price. The CM has not taken up the case with the Centre,” Mr Badal said.

Replying to a question, he said the SAD had no plan to launch any agitation against the Congress government and there was no panic among the SAD leaders regarding their implication in false cases.


UT rejects Punjab’s plea in Bhattal case
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 30
The UT Administration today withdrew its notification appointing a member of Rajya Sabha and Supreme Court advocate, Mr R.K Anand, as Special Public Prosecutor to appear on behalf of the Punjab government in the case registered against Punjab Panchayat Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Now Mr Vijay Singla, being Special Public Prosecutor, will represent the Punjab Government against Mrs Bhattal in the case which will come up for hearing in the UT Special Court of Mr R.S Baswana on October 7.

Sources said the order was passed by the UT Home Secretary while rejecting the request of the Punjab government to appoint Mr Anand as “Pleader Gratis” instead of Special Public Prosecutor late this evening.

The UT Administration in its order said Mr Anand could not be appointed as “Pleader Gratis" and the notification issued by it on September 17 appointing him as Special Public Prosecutor was withdrawn.

Well placed sources in the Punjab Government revealed that being a member of the Rajya Sabha Anand could not appear as Special Public Prosecutor on the behalf of the Punjab government in Bhattal case. Therefore, Mr Anand after his appointment as Special Public Prosecutor had informed the Punjab Government that he could only plead this case as “Pleader Gratis”. Following Anand’s advice, the Punjab government had moved a letter in this connection to the UT Administration on September 23.


Rights panel orders probe into police harassment case
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 30
Taking notice of allegations levelled against senior police officials of Patiala by a woman, who complained that she and her son were beaten up by Punjab police personnel, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today directed the Additional DGP (Crime) to probe the matter and submit a report before the commission.

“The SSP, DIG, Inspector and other police officials concerned have also been issued interim directions to ensure the protection of life, liberty and property of the complainant and her family members” said the PSHRC while passing the order.

The complainant, Surinder Sharma, a resident of Pooja Street, Patiala, stated in the complaint that her son, Ankur, was running a cable network business in Patiala and a rival group, in connivance with the police, was bent upon harming her son’s business. She alleged that applications had been given to the authorities concerned but nothing had been done in the matter.

The complainant alleged that Ankur was picked up by police personnel from his house on September 24 at the instigation of his business rivals. Thereafter, she and her son were beaten up by policemen.

She further alleged that her son was illegally detained by the police. She moved a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the release of Ankur. When the police came to knew about it, the police official concerned registered a false case against her, she said.

While passing an order on the complaint, PSHRC Member R.L. Anand said, “An inquiry is ordered to be conducted against the 12 persons. It will be conducted by the Additional DGP (Crime)”.

Mr Anand further said in the order, “It has been so ordered keeping in view the fact that serious allegations have been levelled against the SSP, Patiala, and the DIG Patiala. The Additional DGP, if during the course of inquiry, comes to the conclusion that a cognisable offence has been committed by the 12 persons or anyone of them, he should order for the registration of a case”.

“The report of the inquiry officer should be submitted to the commission through the IGP, Litigation. The Principal Secretary to the Punjab Government and the Department of Home Affairs and Justice should also be informed,” Mr Anand said in the order.


Congress holds rallies against Centre’s policies
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, September 30
The Congress today alleged that the BJP-led NDA government had failed not only to guard national interests but also to preserve the secular structure of the country. At a party dharna in front of the Regional Passport Office here, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, said corruption was rampant during the NDA rule and the coffin deal was its worst example. That the NDA government had also failed to protect the secular fibre of the country was clear from the Gujarat riots.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Atwal, a Punjab minister, alleged that the prices of essential commodities had skyrocketed during the NDA regime. The others who spoke included Mr Tejinder Bittu, president of the district unit (urban) of the Congress; Ms Harsimarjit Kaur, member of the Punjab Women’s Welfare Board; Mr Sanjay Sehgal and Mr Rajinder Singh Johal, president of the District Congress Committee (rural).

GURDASPUR: Workers of the Congress led by Mr Gurbachan Singh Babehali, president, District Congress Committee, today sat in a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here against the Vajpayee government.

Besides Mr Babehali, Mr Ashok Sharma (MLA), Mr Balwinder Singh Laddi (Chairman, Zila Parishad), Mr Ajay Verma (Member, PPCC), Mr Raman Bahl and Mr Jarnail Singh Mahal (presidents of the municipal committees of Gurdaspur and Dinanagar, respectively) also addressed the gathering. Later, they gave a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

HOSHIARPUR: Workers of the District Congress Committee led by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, today sat in a dharna in front of the Income Tax Office here in protest against the policies of the NDA government. Many other local leaders also addressed the gathering.

SANGRUR: Hundreds of activists of the Congress led by Mr Subhash Grover, president of the district unit of the party, today marched through the town raising slogans against the NDA government. Earlier, they held a rally at Labour Chowk outside Nabha Gate here and later submitted a memorandum to Mr R.P. Singhal, Deputy General Manager, BSNL, Sangrur.

AMRITSAR: The District Congress Committee (rural and urban units) sought suspension of the NDA government for its “failure to control the disturbances in several states. Mr Yoginder Dhingra and Mr Inderjit Singh Basarke, presidents, DCC Urban and DCC Rural, respectively, accused the NDA of giving sops to appease the people. Later, they gave a memorandum for the President to the Deputy Commissioner.


Congress opposes NDA policies
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, September 30
Workers and leaders of the district unit of the Congress today held a rally against the Union Government whom they accused of discriminating against Punjab.

The congress workers, who were led by Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, district president, Congress Committee; Mr Surinder Kapoor, a former Punjab Cabinet minister; and some other senior leaders, alleged that more than 20 major cases of corruption had rocked the country since the BJP-led NDA government had taken over.

They alleged that the BJP was fanning religious begotry and playing into the hands of communal forces.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggrawal, general secretary, District Congress Committee, said the statement of the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, that he would file a case of sedition against Ms Sonia Gandhi was uncalled for. He claimed that the charges of money having exchanged hands in the coffin-scam were based on facts.

Mr Aggrawal alleged that the image of the country all over the world had been tarnished by the communal activities of the BJP.

The workers carrying banners raised slogans against the Union Government and later submitted a memorandum for the President to the income tax commissioner.

MANSA: Workers of the District Congress Committee led by Mr Kewal Singh, a former Member of Parliament and president, DCC, submitted a memorandum to the Station Superintendent of Northern Railway, Mansa, for the President. The party has sought dismissal of the NDA government at the Centre for “failing” to protect the country’s security and communal harmony.

“The NDA government has failed to maintain the secular character of the educational system and check unemployment menace. It has failed to curb the sufferings of farmers and honour the directions of the Supreme Court by shielding the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat,” said Mr Kewal Singh.

FEROZEPORE: The Congress today organised a massive dharna outside the office of the Divisional Railways Manager against the policies of the NDA government. Later, its leaders handed over a memorandum for the Prime Minister to the DRM.

All legislators, former ministers and office-bearers of the DCC along with hundreds of party workers took part in the protest rally.

Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, MLA, said: While Gujarat was burning, the Centre was busy shielding the Modi government.” Rana Gurmit Sodhi, MLA and chief whip, CLP, said the NDA government was jeopardising the country’s defence.


Congress demands ouster of NDA govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) today sought immediate dismissal of the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre for misrule and failure on all fronts.

The memorandum was submitted to the Governor, Justice O.P Verma, by a delegation of the Punjab Congress led by PPCC President H.S. Hanspal for onward submission to President APJ Abdul Kalam against the “failures of the Centre Government under the leadership of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

A jatha of Nihangs also expressed solidarity with the delegation when it came to Raj Bhawan to submit the memorandum.

The Gujarat riots, the Tehelka expose, the Kargil war, the December 13 attack on Parliament and the handling of the ‘Best Bakery’ case were some of the incidents highlighted as the alleged failures of the BJP and its allies in the NDA.

“The Central Government has miserably failed to protect the life, property and honour of the people during its rule and had no right to remain in power,’’ said the memorandum, adding that the “unity and integrity of the country has been facing a continuous threat from the proxy war waged by Pakistan from outside.’’

The memoranda also charged the government with jeopardising the country’s defences, weakening national security and making adjustments with forces threatening the social and democratic fibre of the country. The NDA Government was wrecking social harmony and subverting the secular character of the education system. The government had also failed to honour the Supreme Court directions by shielding the Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat.

Earlier, Congress leaders held a protest rally at the Sector 15 Punjab Congress Bhavan. Addressing the rally, Punjab Agriculture Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said the step-motherly treatment of the Central Government to the farmers in the state was responsible for the prevailing widespread resentment.

Similarly, Punjab had sought a package on the lines of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, but it was not given. As a result, industry had started shifting to neighbouring states.

Finance Minister Lal Singh said the state was passing through a financial crisis due to the Centre’s hostile policy towards the Amarinder Singh Government.

Talking to newspersons after submitting the memorandum, the PPCC President said party activists were working towards the ouster of the government. The future course of action would be decided following a reply to this memorandum, he added.


Cong dharna against fuel price rise
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 30
The District Congress Committee (DCC) today organised a dharna in front of the Sirhind railway station in protest against “anti-people decisions and policies of the NDA-led Central Government”. Hundreds of Congress workers, led by Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, sat on the dharna and raised slogans against the government.

Addressing the workers, Mr Brij Lal Goyal, vice-president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, lashed out at the NDA government for the hike in petrol and diesel prices which, he said, would affect farmers, traders and the common man.

He said the NDA government had failed in increasing the MSP for farmers of the state. He claimed that in the coming general elections the Congress would win all seats in the state and Ms Sonia Gandhi would become the Prime Minister as every section of society was unhappy with the BJP.

Speaking on the occasion. Dr Harbans Lal MLA, lashed out at the NDA government as well as the SAD. He demanded a roll back in the hike of petrol and diesel prices. Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, criticised the Union Minister of State for Homes for giving provocative statements and threats” to the state government. He said the Central Government should make it clear whether it wanted to support or oppose the corrupt. Vaid Hari Krishan, president DCC, said dharnas were being organised at district and sub-division levels to highlight anti-people policies of the NDA government.

Mr Pardeep Malhotra, Secretary, PPCC, Mr Jagmeet Singh Sahota, Mr R.N. Sharma, Mr Subhash Sood, Mr Samsher Singh, Mr Sadhu Ram and Mr Joginder Singh Maini also addressed the workers.


Docs’ repatriation to be reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Punjab Government has decided to review the repatriation case of over 100 PCMS doctors serving in various medical colleges of the state. This was stated by Ch Santokh Singh, Minister of Medical Education and Research, who will take up the cases of their repatriation to their parent department of Health and Family Welfare with the authorities concerned.

The minister said a delegation of PCMS doctors led by Dr Hardeep Singh, which met him at Punjab Bhavan today urged him to cancel the repatriation orders of these medical officers.

Dr Hardeep Singh, in a statement issued today, claimed that the minister had cancelled the repatriation orders of these medical officers serving in the medical colleges.


Suspected dengue patient dead
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 30
Jit Lal (18), son of Piara Ram of the Local Mohalla Bassi Khawaju, suspected to be a patient of dengue died at the local Civil Hospital yesterday.

Dr Yogesh Chander Markan, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, while talking to mediapersons said that Jit Lal was admitted to the Civil Hospital on September 23. This platelet count was 70,000. After a unit of blood was transfused to him, the platelet count rose to 1.20 lakh. He was advised to shift to DMC Ludhiana, as facilities for confirming dengue were not available in the Civil Hospital.

But he and his attendant refused to go to Ludhiana on account of lack of funds.

His body was handed over to his attendant.

He said that another suspected dengue case had earlier been reported in Modern Hospital here. The patient was identified as Chander Shekhar of the Mohalla Balmiki who was referred to DMC, Ludhiana.

Dr Marken condemned the local Municipal Council for the poor sanitary conditions prevailing in the city. He said that heaps of garbage were lying at every nook and corner of the city, emitting foul smell and had become a fertile place for breeding of mosquitoes and flies. Drains were chocked with garbage, causing overflow of sewage.

He said that he had written five times to the municipal authorities in this regard and cautioned them about every likehood for spreading epidemic of dengue and gastroenteritis- like diseases in the city. But they paid no heed to his advice. He has now written to the Deputy Commissioner Hoshiarpur about the negative attitude of the municipal authorities. He said out of the 13 samples of drinking water taken from various water supply sources of the Municipal Council, four samples were found unfit for human consumption.

He advised to the general public not to allow collection of water outside their houses, old tyres, rooftops, coolers etc and cover all the parts of body while sleeping and consult the Civil Hospital in case of high grade fever.

He said he had instructed all private practitioners to immediately report to the district health authorities in case of any suspected dengue patient. A fever survey in the city was being done. A separate Dengue ward had been set up in the local Civil Hospital for suspected dengue patients. He said an adequate quantity of blood of all groups was available in the hospital and the health department was fully prepared to face any challenge.


One more case of dengue reported
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 30
One more case of dengue fever has been reported in Civil Hospital here today. The suspected dengue patient was identified as Shiv Parshad son of Kangli of Guru Nanak Nagar Mohalla here.

According to Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, the platelet count of the dengue patient was 76000 and haemoglobin was 6 gm, when he was admitted in the hospital today. He was having high fever for the past 15 days. One unit of blood was transfused to him due to which the platelet count had risen. Other tests were being done to ascertain dengue fever, he added.

Earlier one suspected Dengue patient Jit Ram died in the hospital yesterday. One case of suspected dengue had already been referred to DMC Ludhiana by a local private hospital.


Need to redefine sciences, says Dr Bambah
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 30
Former Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.P. Bambah, today said that there was need to redefine sciences as real science was holistic in nature and a combination of all disciplines.

Speaking at a panel discussion on “Status of basic sciences in higher education” organised on the Punjabi University campus here, Dr Bambah said division between subjects was for convenience and that real achievements could be made if these barriers were transcended. He highlighted the relationship between mathematics and physics in this regard, besides advocating for the necessity of ethical element in sciences. “Science devoid of ethics could do more harm to society than good”, he said.

He also emphasised the need for flexibility in the system to ensure the development of minds that could contribute to the future of the nation. Dr Bambah stressed the need for interaction between the youth and those who were creating ideas. He advocated the need for quality recruitment for teaching assignments at the university level.

Talking about the historical and philosophical approach to sciences, Dr K.N Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said the basic sciences had enriched the mind to understand logic which in return had provided economic and social security. He said true scientific understanding was a mix of rational and irrational and the training of scientists should be planned according to it.

He said the pursuit for employment-oriented courses and increased avenues in these areas had resulted in a decline in basic sciences courses. He stressed upon the need to check this trend at the national level.

Prof P.K Khosla, former Vice-Chancellor, of HP Agricultural University, Palampur, termed biology as the mother of all sciences. He spoke on the relationship between different sciences. Prof Ramesh Chander, Vice-Chancellor, Bundhelkhand University, Jhansi, called for the identification of young students who were interested in basic sciences so that they could be trained further.

Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, was concerned over brain drain but held the system responsible for it.


Shifting of CPDOs’ offices ordered
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 30
The Punjab Government has embarked on a scheme to draft the master plan of the urban and rural segments so that the funds released for these developmental works are utilised in an appropriate manner through district-level planning boards.

This was stated by Mr Khushal Behal, Education Minister of Punjab while presiding over a meeting of the District Planning Board. The meeting was attended by Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Dr Mohinder Rinwa, Mr Hans Raj Jossan, all parliamentary secretaries, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, MLA and chief whip of the Congress Legislative Party, Mr Prakash Bhatti, Mr Sukhpal Singh, both MLAs, Mr Vikas Pratap, DC, and Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP.

On the demand of the local MLAs, Mr Behal ordered the shifting of the offices of the CPDOs to the BDPO offices in various blocks of the district so that pensioners and other beneficiaries of various schemes did not face any problem. Mr Behal instructed the officials to utilise the grants released to them judiciously and submit the utilisation certificates in time. He instructed the Deputy Commissioner to review the developmental works every month.

Mr Behal instructed the SDMs to inspect the works undertaken during the SAD-BJP regime and inquire whether the grants sanctioned during the sangat darshan programmes had been spent for the desired purpose. He told them to submit their report in the next meeting of the board.

He approved various proposals for the works to be executed under the Border Area Development Programme for which a special grant of Rs 449.45 lakh had been released by the Union Government. He said that this special grant would be spent on six blocks adjoining the international Indo-Pakistan border.

Mr Behal said the state government had sanctioned Rs 1149 lakh for the various welfare schemes. He instructed the District Social Security Officer to make available a list of all the pension beneficiaries of the respective Assembly constituencies to the MLAs concerned.


Punjabi pop singer to be honoured in Toronto
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 30
Punjabi pop singer Shankar Shahney has been selected for the Best Pop Singer award for his latest album "Kede Yaar Nu". He will be awarded at the annual award ceremony which is being organised by Vatnodoor Channel of Vision TV at Woodbine Hall, Rexdale, Toronto on October 3.

The album "Kede Yaar Nu" which represent: Punjabi folk with all its vigour and energy has already brought many laurels to Shankar, including the Singer of the Nation award by B4U Music Channel. Released by T - series, the title song has been directed by Bobby Khan and choreographed by Remo.

Shankar's latest venture has taken him to the silver screen where he will be acting in a Punjabi film titled "Ishq" opposite Ayesha Julka.


Air show attracts a huge crowd
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 30
A dazzling air show and static display of aircraft and helicopters was organised today at the Air Force Station here as a part of the 71st anniversary celebrations of the Air Force. This being a first ever show of its kind here, a large number of persons witnessed the show. Local military and civil dignitaries were also present.

Students cheered the Surya Kiran team as it flew past performing many aerobatic feats. The static display of various aircraft, missiles and other Air Force equipment was also impressive.

The 15 aircraft that participated in the static display included Mi-35, Chetak, MiG-21 and Kiran. A breathtaking display by the Surya Kiran team was followed by a spectacular sky-diving display by the Akash Ganga team of the IAF.


500 cr to be spent under Rajiv Gandhi Yojana
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 30
“Free latrines will be constructed in the houses of 10 lakh families of the Schedule Castes or those living below the poverty line. A sum of Rs 500 crore will be spent under the Rajiv Gandhi Yojana. Under the scheme villages with dense population of Schedule Castes or villages having Schedule Caste sarpanches, freedom fighters or those belonging to the person of the national or international fame will be adopted on priority basis.”

This was stated by Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Public Health Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Punjab.


Major killed in landmine blast

Gurdaspur, September 30
An Army Major was killed and three jawans were injured when a landmine detonated during the demining operations along the Indo-Pak border in Panjgrahian village of the Dera Baba Nanak sector in this district today.

Major Harpal Singh died on the spot following the blast, while the three injured soldiers were hospitalised in Amritsar. The Major, who hailed from Bharath village in this district, was cremated at his native village in the evening. — UNI


District Courts
Police remand

Kharar, September 30
Ranjan Khuller Judicial Magistrate today remanded a retired DSP of the Punjab police, Hans Raj, who was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau, till October.

Mr Charanjeev Arora, Public Prosecutor, appeared in the court and pleaded for the police remand of the accused. He said the accused had been arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on the charge of amassing wealth more than his known source of income during his tenure from 1992 to 1998. The defence counsel refuted the charges of the prosecution. — TNS


SAD seeks special girdawri in 12 villages
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 30
Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, spokesperson for the SAD and MLA, Gidderbaha, today said the Punjab Government should hold a special girdawri of 12 villages of Gidderbaha subdivision of Muktsar district where heavy rains and hailstorm had damaged standing paddy and cotton crops in the past two days.

In a press note, he said a special gidrawri should be ordered in some parts of Bathinda district where the paddy and cotton crops had suffered huge damage.

He said the state government was “indifferent” to the plight of farmers as the district administration had asked them to write to the Centre for compensation.

He alleged that the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was trying to run the state administration by harassing his political opponents by implicating them in false criminal cases. He said the government should pay adequate compensation to rain-affected farmers.


Clear dues, depts told
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 30
Various government departments including the Punjab Police, Health and PSTC Departments are defaulters of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Mr K.K. Puri, Chief Accountant, Revenue Department, PSEB, talking to The Tribune, after a meeting with Revenue superintendents to provide better services to the customers, said here yesterday that the PSEB has approached to state government in this regard.

He said the government had directed the secretaries of respective departments to pay the pending dues to the boards. The recovery process might start any time, he said.

The Chief Accountant said the board’s revenue had increased by five per cent to 10 per cent as compared to the last year and showed an increase of Rs 450-500 crore due to the increase in the tariff.

Mr Puri said the board had found some discrepancies in the cash amounts in border areas. He said disciplinary action had been initiated against the officials and suspension orders of certain officials issued.


Inter-state gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, September 30
The police has busted an inter-state gang of robbers engaged in looting foreigners who visited the Golden Temple, Amritsar, to pay their obeisance. Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said that six members of the gang had been identified as Rinku and Kuldeep Singh, both residents of Suchetgarh under the Dhariwal police station, and Rajinder, Dharminder, Lal Chand and Suresh, all residents of Shekhpur Sathwal in Uttar Pradesh.

The police has seized one .303 country-made rifle, two cartridges, one datar, one iron rod and two blunt weapons from them. Four of their accomplices, Karnail Singh, Heera, Kalu and Preet, all residents of Suchetgarh, are still absconding. A sum of £ 42 was also seized from the arrested accused.

It was on Sunday that the Dhariwal police, led by Inspector Gajinder Singh, SHO, Dhariwal police station, on a tip-off conducted a raid and arrested the accused along with currency and arms.

During preliminary interrogation, the accused disclosed that they stole the cash of foreigners who visited the Golden Temple. They also confessed to have committed robberies at remote farm houses in villages in the Amritsar area.

The investigation in the case is continuing and the police is raiding the possible hideouts of the other members of the gang who have not been arrested so far, the SSP said.


Undertrial drugs cops, escapes
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 30
An undertrial lodged in the Central Jail, Ferozepore, escaped when he was being taken for a court hearing in Fazilka. Rakesh Kumar of Fazilka facing charges in more than 17 cases of theft gave the slip to two policemen who were taking him to Fazilka at the Ferozepore bus stand.

The policemen — Head Constable Kulwant Singh and constable Ram Magan — were drugged by the prisoner. A case has been registered against the policemen and a hunt for the fugitive is on.


Chaos at counselling for NRI seats
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 30
Chaos prevailed for over five hours during counselling at the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College today as students had arrived for admission to MBBS and BDS courses under the NRI quota. More than 300 BDS students of various dental colleges had been directed by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, to appear for recounselling to adjust NRI seats following the recent decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court had announced its decision on September 25 while university advertised it in newspapers today, the students alleged.

The counselling which was to take place at 11 a.m. was held after 3 p.m. under tight security. A five-member committee completed the process. Against the 31 seats under the NRI quota, 16 candidates were selected.


New teachers’ union in Pbi varsity

Patiala, September 30
As many as 22 teachers of Punjabi University joined a new teachers body, Democratic Teachers Council (DTC), here yesterday. The council was formed at a meeting of varsity teachers, held under the leadership of Dr Bhupinder Singh Khaira on the campus. — OC

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