Thursday, October 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM assailed for anti-farmer stance
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today accused the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of pursuing the path of confrontation with the farmers, warning that this could have disastrous consequences not only for the government and the ruling party but also for the entire state.

“Capt Amarinder Singh is pushing the whole state into a needless, yet dangerous, bloodshed. He has chosen to deal with every section of Punjabi society with the arrogant might of the state machinery at his call. This policy of confrontation is certain to end in utter humiliation for him personally and for the government he heads but more importantly, it can ruin the hard-earned atmosphere of peace and conciliation in the state,” said Mr Badal in a statement here.

Mr Badal also demanded full compensation for the total loss of crops due to inclement weather, especially in the districts of Bathinda and Muktsar. The loss was caused at a time when the crop had already matured and was ready for harvest. Therefore, no ordinary girdawari could fully assess the extent of damage caused to the farmers. The only reasonable course open to the government was payment of full compensation after evaluating the value of the crops.

He came down heavily on the administration for its shocking failure to coordinate with the Railway authorities during yesterday’s agitation by farmers. This had resulted in the death of one farmer and serious injuries to several others.

The Akali leader asked the Chief Minister to explain how he could face the farmers of the state after having gone back on all promises he had made to them, including those pertaining to the continuation of the free power facility, payment of bonus on paddy and no taxes on river water irrigation.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued here today, the state president of the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, blamed the Central and state governments and the Railway authorities for yesterday’s incident at Bhai Bakhtaur in Bathinda. While a farmer, Gurdev Singh, lost his life, four others suffered injuries when they were hit by a goods train coming from Delhi.

He demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the deceased farmer and Rs 2 lakh each for the injured, as the relief announced by the government was inadequate. Seeking a judicial inquiry into the incident, he demanded the registration of a murder case against the guilty.


CPI for judicial probe into farmer’s death
Tribune News Service

Bhai Bakhtaur (Bathinda), October 1
The state leadership of the CPI, while condemning the incident of death of an activist of one of the farmers’ organisations here yesterday and the lathi charge on other activists today by the police, demanded a judicial probe into the incidents.

Addressing a joint press conference here today, Mr Joginder Dyal, state secretary, CPI, and Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, a former MLA, said only a judicial probe could reveal the role of the Punjab Government, the Railway authorities and the district civil and police administration in the incidents, which claimed the life of a farmer and left a number of others severely injured.

While dubbing the lathi charge on the peacefully protesting farmers as an unjustified action, they said when the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could stage a dharna in Delhi to lodge his protest against the BJP-led NDA government, why the poor farmers could not stage a dharna for getting their genuine demands accepted. The incidents, which took place in these two days, had exhibited the anti-farmer mindset of Capt Amarinder Singh, they added.

They alleged that it had happened because the Chief Minister had failed to implement the promises made in the manifesto of the Congress during the last Assembly elections. The promises of the facility of free electricity supply for agriculture use and Rs 30 as bonus on paddy, had not been fulfilled yet.

The leaders said it was shameful that police personnel did not allow anyone to meet Gurdev Singh, who was seriously injured and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) after being hit by a goods train at the local level crossing, while he along with others was sitting on a dharna during the rail and rasta roko agitation. Gurdev Singh later succumbed to his injuries. They demanded that all officials of Punjab and Centre governments, who were found responsible for these incidents, should be taken to task.

They demanded that Rs 5 lakh as compensation should be given to the kin of deceased, Gurdev Singh, and Rs 1 lakh each to all injured. Besides, criminal cases should be registered against officials responsible for the incident. They would hold protest rallies in support of the cause of farmers, they added.

They said all farmers, arrested today should be released immediately.

TARN TARAN : Several farmer and other organisations have condemned the death of Gurdev Singh.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu convenor of the Kisan Sangarsh Committee, Mr Rattan Singh Randhwa of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Mr Parshotam Singh Cheema of the Kirti Kisan Union and Mr Pargat Singh Jamarai, state general secretary of the Shahid Bhagat Singh Naujawan Sabha, in different press notes issued here today condemned the killing of the farmer.


SGPC Secy says he was discharged forcibly
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 1
The SGPC Secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh who has been facing charges for getting a job on the basis of “fake” certificate of matriculation, today alleged that he had been “forcibly” discharged from two government hospitals under political pressure.

Though the three-member inquiry committee, constituted to probe the allegations, had fixed tomorrow for seeking the version of Mr Harbeant Singh, he applied for two months of medical leave today.

In a letter addressed to the SGPC president, he said he was suffering from serious heart and urology problems and hence could not attend the office. Earlier too, he had failed to appear before the inquiry committee comprising Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Jagjit Singh and Mr Partap Singh.

However, Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, refuted the charges of Mr Harbeant Singh that he was discharged under “government pressure”.

Mr Harbeant Singh had rushed to the Civil Hospital when a fact-finding report of the SGPC had indicted him for getting job in the Shiromani committee on the basis of a fake certificate. Without mentioning any doctor, Mr Harbeant Singh alleged that he was forcibly discharged from the hospital. Later, he got himself admitted to government-run Guru Nanak Dev Hospital where instead of giving him proper treatment the doctor discharged him, he alleged.

Mr Harbeant Singh did not reveal the name of any person who was putting pressure on the doctors. He said he would have to get himself treated outside the state. He said he would try to submit a duplicate certificate after his recovery. He said he could not apply for the certificate as he was not well since September 13. However, he refuted the charges that the certificate was bogus. He said the certificates of SGPC employees were checked in 1989 and nobody had raised objection over this. He said he did not have an original copy of the certificate as it was attached with the application when he was employed by the SGPC.


Revoke repatriation of doctors, says minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The Punjab Minister for Medical Education and Research, Chaudhry Santokh Singh, has recommended to the government that the repatriation orders of 78 PCMS doctors serving in the medical colleges of Amritsar and Patiala be revoked at the earliest.

The minister, who held a lengthy meeting with the Secretary Medical Education and Research, Mr Satish Chandra, and the Director, Medical Education and Research, Mr Vijay Sharma , has forwarded the case of these doctors to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Sources maintain that the minister along with senior officials of the department have urged him to allow them to continue working in their present assignments and withdraw the repatriation orders issued earlier. It was observed that the mid-term transfers would not be in the interest of the doctors as well as the students.

As per the orders of the government issued earlier, 47 doctors from Amritsar medical college and 31 from Government Medical College and Rajendra Hospital, Patiala, were reverted to their parent department of the Health and Family Welfare. This decision was taken keeping in view the audit objections regarding the salaries of surplus doctors serving in these colleges over and above the sanctioned posts. Some of them had not received salaries for a period of three months.

A delegation of the PCMS Association, which met Chaudhry Santokh Singh and Ms Parneet Kaur, yesterday apprised them of the fall out of these reversions. It could even mean derecognition of these colleges by the Medical Council of India ( MCI), as these medical officers had been working against a large number of vacant posts of professors, assistant professors and lecturers, they added.

While the PCMS doctors claim that more than 50 per cent of their cadre is eligible for the vacant posts of lecturers and assistant professors, the government has a different stance. But the president of one faction of the PCMS Association, Dr Hardeep Singh, has alleged that despite repeated advertisements, the posts are being deliberately kept vacant even as some of these doctors are eligible for these posts. The government is yet to take a decision on filling the vacant posts, it is learnt.


Doctors, nurses not paid for three months
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 1
Doctors, members of paramedical staff and others working in the postpartum unit of civil hospital here and other government hospitals of district have not been paid salary for the past three months.

Earlier also doctors and paramedical staff were not paid salary. They are yet to get the salary from September 2002 to February 2003 (six months). They received salary of March 2003 and again did not get for April 2003.

Officials sources said that the Punjab government paid them for the months of May and June 2003 and failed to pay them till date.

Several employees pointed out that though the Punjab government had allocated Rs 13 lakh the district treasury for the payment of salary by the postpartum units of various hospitals of the district, the district treasury had been denying payment as the Punjab government had not intimated that these posts were sanctioned.

An employee of the wing pointed out that they had not received salary for 10 months so far. He added that senior officials had been getting salary regularly. The Punjab government has paid salary to the employees of postpartum units in other districts too.

“We could not celebrate Divali last year. We have been finding it difficult to pay tuition fee of our wards,” said another employee.

Mr Des Raj Bansal, Treasury Officer, Mansa admitted that Rs 13 lakhs had been allocated to his office for the payment of salary to employees of postpartum unit of the government hospital but the government had not intimated him that these posts had been sanctioned and hence he was not able to make any payment to the employees.

The employees pointed out that if conditions continued to prevail they would be forced to take the extreme step.


Sukhbir intimates Vigilance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Though Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Rajya Sabha MP and son of former Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, has received information about his being summoned by the Vigilance Bureau for interrogation on October 3 from media reports, but in a communication sent to the bureau today he has made no commitment to appear before it on October 3.

He has intimidated the bureau that he will be available at the official residence of his father in Sector 2 here on October 8, the day the bureau is scheduled to question Mr Parkash Singh Badal in a case of disproportionate assets.

But, the bureau wanted Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal to come to its Economic Offences Wing office for interrogation. The bureau has not extended him any special courtesy of interrogation at home, unlike his mother and father. He has stated that on October 3, senior Akali leaders will be appearing before the National Human Rights Commission and hence he would not be available.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal has addressed his letter to the Superintendent of Police (Vigilance), Eco-nomic Offences wing. He has not made any reference in the letter regarding the receipt of summons asking him to appear before the bureau on October 3. He has stated that he has got the information from media reports that he has been called to appear before the Bureau.


PTU to regularise 90 clerks and 40 attendants
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 1
The Punjab Technical University (PTU) has initiated the process for the regularisation of services of 90 clerks and 40 attendants recruited by the university authorities without adopting established procedure in past five six years.

These employees, were employed from time to time in the past five-six years, allegedly due to fancies of the Technical Education Ministers and Vice Chancellors of the PTU. The recruitment of such a large number of employees by the university authorities ignoring norms invited criticism from different quarters.

While 45 of the clerks were recruited allegedly during and after Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha took over Punjab Technical Education Minister in 2001, nearly same number of clerks were recruited before his tenure by the university authorities without adopting any procedure.

A number of clerks and attendants were even working with the PTU for more than five years without having been regularised their recruitment was not done in accordance with the university’s recruitment procedure, revealed sources in the PTU.

“We are going to regularise them in the light of a Punjab and High Court direction, which says that their case be disposed of within a period of three months,” said Mr S.K. Bhatia, Registrar of the PTU.

The PTU authorities, under the newly initiated regularisation process, were likely to regularise 65 clerks and 24 attendants after making existing employees undergo written test and on the basis of an interview which would be conducted by a special high-powered committee headed by Mr R.S. Khandpur, Chairman of the Science City, Kapurthala.

The written test in case of clerks would be held on October 31, which would be followed by an interview by the committee on November 6 and November 7, while the written test in case of attendants would be held on October 30, followed by an interview the very next day.

Of total 100 marks fixed by the university authorities, the maximum written test marks were 40, while maximum marks of interview would be 30. The seniority and General Knowledge test would carry weightage of 20 and 10 marks respectively.

Though the initiation of regularisation process by way of written test, interview and the curtailed number of posts, has generated unrest among a section of employees, the PTU authorities, which were concerned about the future of its employees, might try to absorb all clerks and attendants keeping in view of their long service, maintained sources.


Body thrown on rail track after rape, murder
Lalit Mohan

Nangal, October 1
A gruesome case of suspected rape and murder came to light today after the recovery of a body of a woman from railway line near Kalitran village, about 8 km from Nangal.

The body cut into two by passing trains, was first noticed this morning by some villagers, who informed the police. Blood and pieces of flesh were also recovered from a temporary hut located at a short distance from the railway line. The investigating officials said from circumstantial evidence it seemed that the woman was first raped and then killed in the hut. Her naked body was then thrown on the railway track.

However, deceased, whose age seemed to be between 30-35 years, could not be identified. “Sanju” was tattooed on her right hand. A suicide note was also found on the body, which stated that the name of the deceased was Kamla and she was taking her life on her own.

However, the investigating officials were of the view that the suicide note was doctored to misguide the police. The way the blood had been noticed in the hut and the body found on the track, it seemed to be a case of rape and murder.


Cong candidate elected councillor
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 1
The Election Tribunal Mansa today declared Mr Sanjeev Kumar of the Congress as elected councillor from ward No. 12 of the Municipal Council of Budhlada in the district by three votes by upsetting the election of Mr Ajay Kumar, vice-president of the council, after recounting.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar secured 340 votes, Mr Ajay Kumar 337 votes, the third candidate, Mr Darshan Kumar, 336 votes and the fourth candidate, Mr Jaina Ram, 166 votes.

The recounting was done under the supervision of Mr Mohan Lal, District Transport Officer, Mansa.


Bank elections: 19 file papers
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 1
As many as 19 candidates filed their candidatures for six posts of Director in the ensuing elections of Dera Bassi Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank amid protests and slogans here on the last day of filing nominations.

Tension prevailed when Capt Kanwaljit Singh, sitting MLA of the constituency, reached the venue to help aspirants belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in filing their nomination papers this afternoon. At this, workers belonging to the Congress and other parties objected and started raising slogans.

SAD workers also raised slogans in retaliation.

The elections are scheduled to be held on October 9. For the purpose the subdivision has been divided into six zones that include Dera Bassi, Amlala, Samgoli, Lalru, Tiwana and Handesra.

According to Mr Daljit Singh, Returning Officer, who is also the Assistant Registrar of the bank, objection could be filed by tomorrow evening and October 3 had been fixed for the scrutiny of nomination papers, withdrawal of candidature and issuance of election symbols to the candidates.


PUDA to acquire land for urban estates
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 1
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today decided to acquire over 2,000 acres of land to be used for the establishment of nine new urban estates in the state. Besides these, another 800 acres will be acquired in SAS Nagar for its extension by adding three new sectors to the satellite township.

The location of these sites and SAS Nagar extension were approved at the fourth meeting of the project approval committee of PUDA held under the chairmanship of the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri.

In the first phase of land acquisition at SAS Nagar, 800 acres would be acquired for developing Sectors 81, 88 and 89. As provided in the approved master plan of the township, Sector 81 is proposed to be put to institutional use, while Sectors 88 and 89 will be used to meet the demand for built-up flats for which the authority had received over 9,000 applications in response to the PUDA demand survey, 2003. The construction of these multi-storeyed flats will be taken up by foreign developers.

The sites for nine urban estates in Punjab were also approved today. The urban estate in Zirakpur will come up on the link road to Nangla, in Jalandhar, on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road, in Nawanshahr, on the Chandigarh-Nawanshahar road, in Khanna, on the GT Road between Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh, in Sujanpur, on the Pathakot-Jammu national highway, in Fatehgarh Sahib near the Jyoti Swaroop Gurdwara, in Gurdaspur on the Amritsar-Pathankot national highway and in Amritsar, on the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road.

While 530 acres of land will be acquired in the villages of Ramgarh, Singhpura and Nagla in Zirakpur; 375 acres in Ladhewali, Dhilwan, Nangal Shaman, Bhagowal, Chohak and Johali villages in Jalandhar; 2,212 acres in Barnala Kalan in Nawanshahr; 22 acres in Bullepur village in Khanna; 175 acres in Attewali, Mandofal and Sirhind villages for the Urban Estate at Fatehgarh Sahib; 305 acres in Nabipur village for the urban estate at Gurdaspur; and 500 acres will be acquired in the villages of Sultanwind, Bhagatpura and Zitte Kalan for the urban estate at Amritsar.


Civic chiefs want review of octroi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 1
The Municipal Council chiefs of Punjab today demanded that the government review its decision to abolish octroi as it was the only major source of income for the municipal bodies.

This and a large number of other issues were discussed at a meeting of the panel of municipal presidents from the A-class townships held at the PCA stadium here.

According to sources, the presidents voiced their disappointment with the various senior officers of the Local Government Department, who had allegedly failed to consider their earlier demands seriously. Stating that a five-member committee constituted during the last meeting of the panel held on July 25 had met senior officers in the Local Government Department on August 9, making them aware of their problems. But despite assurances, no action had been taken to even consider these demands, they pointed out.

Reiterating that octroi was the only source of income to most of the municipal bodies, the presidents appealed to the Chief Minister that octroi should not be abolished. They also demanded that additional excise tax due to them pending with the government for years be also released forthwith to bail out the municipal bodies which were facing an acute financial crunch.

It was also demanded that the financial powers of the presidents of the councils and corporations be enhanced and they should be given special powers to spend larger sums of money for development on their own. ‘‘Grass root democracy means to decentralise both powers and authority to local representative bodies. The government is considering augmenting the powers of the village panchayats. Similarly, more powers should be given to the municipal bodies,’’ said Mr Kulwant Singh, president, Municipal Council, SAS Nagar.

A demand to increase the expenditure limit of the council without tenders from the current Rs 400 to Rs 2,000 and the limit to call tenders from Rs 4,000 to Rs 20,000 was also put forward. The presidents also demanded that the government should review the hike in the water tariff and also consider an increase in the honorarium being paid to the councillors.

It was decided that a proposal be sent to the government that the Punjab State Electricity Board should charge the municipal bodies domestic rates for street lighting and not commercial rates. They also demanded that municipal bodies should be freed from the control of the Punjab State Sewerage and Water Supply Board for laying of water supply and sewerage pipes as the board was charging them 14 per cent as departmental charges for every work.


Develop knack of writing, urges Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh today exhorted the youth to develop the knack of writing to express their ideas and thoughts in a lucid manner.

Speaking at a function organised by the Department of State Youth Services to honour students who had participated in the state-level essay writing competition on “Rajiv Gandhi and his vision of India”, Mr Amarinder Singh said participation in debates, declamations, essay writing competitions and quiz contests helped youth exhibit their hidden talents.

Nearly 10,000 students from colleges and schools had participated in the contest. Girls once again outshone the boys as out of 18 selected, 14 are girls and remaining four are boys.

Earlier, the sports and Youth Services Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, sought funds from the Chief Minister for the department, which was undertaking several activities to tap the potential of the youth.

The Chief Minister also released a book in Hindi, Punjabi and English, a compilation of selected essays of students who were honoured today.


Rajindra Hospital blood bank creates record
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 1
The Department of Transfusion Medicine at the local Rajindra Hospital has created a record by collecting more than 1,000 units of blood from voluntary donors in a month.

The Head of the Department, Dr Kulbir Kaur, said it was for the first time in the history of voluntary blood donation in the state when a blood bank in the government sector had collected such a large numbers of units in a short span of time. She added that in the past month, 14 voluntary blood donation camps had been organised.

Giving credit to the collective efforts by the department, in association with the District Red Cross Society and various social organisations Dr Kulbir Kaur said voluntary blood collection was increasing in the city. She said till the October 1 last year, 2,614 voluntary blood units were collected from 50 camps, but this year 3,408 blood units had been collected from 55 camps.

As compared to the annual 14 per cent voluntary collection of the state’s blood bank, the department collection was more than 40 per cent touching nearly 45 per cent.

Dr Kulbir Kaur said to streamline blood donation in the district, two workshops had been conducted by the department. The department had also prepared four motivational films with the help of Bhagwant Mann and two with the help of cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu. For the first time in the state, a blood bank had taken an initiative to involve celebrities for this cause, said Dr Kulbir Kaur.

She said for the rational use of the blood, component separation units had also been installed.


Special operations group being set up
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 1
A special operation group with the DIG, Police (Operations), is being set up to curb crime in Punjab very shortly. Eradication of social evils and crime is very essential for the all-round development of the state.

These views were expressed by Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of Police (DGP), Punjab, after inaugurating the 14th Community Police Resource Centre in Punjab, first of its kind built with public support in the police district office complex of the SSP, Barnala, today. He also planted saplings in the De-addiction Centre, Barnala.

Addressing a press conference at the new Community Police Resource Centre here Mr Siddiqui made it clear that he was not interested in reshuffle in the department at present. He said the reshuffle would be done when it would be necessary. Asked by this reporter if there were any differences between him and Mr S.K. Sinha, Principal Secretary, Home, Punjab, over the reshuffle of police personnel in Punjab, he said he had no differences with anyone.

In reply to another question that crime in the state was on the rise and what steps were being initiated by the Punjab Police to curb it, Mr Siddiqui admitted that crime was on the rise as economic condition of the people was not good and the youth was frustrated due to unemployment. That was why extortion cases were especially on the rise, he added.


Former bootleggers allege police harassment
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, October 1
Former bootleggers, who want to live respectable and peaceful lives, say that they are implicated in false cases even though they had given up the illegal activity years ago. They said owners of a transport company and wine contractors, in connivance with the police, were responsible for their harassment.

Some of the members of the aggrieved families, while talking to a few mediapersons, alleged that the owners of the transport company along with a large number of their employees used to kidnap their kin who had given up smuggling of illicit liquor. They thrashed their victims and took them to police stations where they were implicated in false cases under the NDPS Act, they added.

Manjit Kaur, mother of Devinder Singh Dhillon, admitted that her son had been involved in the smuggling of illicit liquor. However, she claimed that her son had given up bootlegging and was running a sweet meats shop. She said on August 3, her son had gone with a friend, Raj Kumar, alias Babba, to a restaurant in Amritsar cantonment when some wine contractors kidnapped them. Later, she alleged, it was found that the police had registered a false case against her son for possessing 1.50 kg opium while Raj Kumar was booked for possessing 2 kg of opium. She alleged that after a couple of days of his son’s bail, police officials again took him from his shop to the Ram Bagh police station. They falsely booked him again for possessing 3 kg of opium.

Similarly, family members of Tarlok Singh alleged that he was picked up by the employees of the transport company and a wine contractor. They beat him up and forcibly took him to the Rajasansi police station where he was booked for possessing 1.75 kg of opium.

The others who were allegedly implicated in such false cases by the police in connivance with the accused include Gursharan Singh of Guru Ki Wadali, Jagir Singh, Kartar Singh of Anngarh, Satish Kumar Baggar and Jattu of Katra Baggian.

However, Mr Kultar Singh, district chief refuted all allegations. He said if any such case was found true, he would take action against the defaulting police officials.


Faridkot dist to include more areas
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 1
The Punjab Government has decided in principle to extend the boundaries of Faridkot district, the second smallest district in the country. The government feels that after its trifurcation into Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot districts in 1993, no attention was paid to maintain its past glory.

More than 100 villages falling in Bathinda, Ferozepore and Moga districts which are nearer to Faridkot are likely to be merged with Faridkot shortly.

Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar, a senior advocate and former president of the District Bar Association and president, District Congress Committee (DCC), apprised Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh about the issue when he visited the town to participate in the nine-day “Aagman purab” celebrations of Sufi saint Baba Sheikh.

Panchayats of Mudki, Bhagta and surroundings area of Bathinda, Ferozepore and Moga districts had passed resolutions and sent the same through the district administration to the state government more than five years ago, demanding their merger with this district.

Deputations of leading citizens and representatives of different political, social and religious organisations had also drawn the attention of the government towards the problem. Mr Brar said the district had been trifurcated due to political rivalry among senior state Congress leaders in 1993, causing a major setback to its economy.

A proposal was prepared during the Harcharan Singh Brar regime to set up an oil refinery here. An announcement was made in this regard during the “Aagman purab” celebrations nine years ago, but thereafter nothing had been done.

The Chief Minister has reportedly asked Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Faridkot division to send copies of the panchayat resolutions to him.

The Chief Minister has also promised funds for proper development of the district.


Nostalgic visit for Pak Punjab Advocate-General
Monica Ahluwalia

Patiala, October 1
Syed Saver Raza Rizvi, Advocate-General of Punjab (Pakistan), today visited Samana which turned out to be an emotional journey for him. He is a member of the Pakistani delegation on a visit to India.

Mr Rizvi said though he was not born in India, he was eager to trace his roots back in Punjab. In a voice choked with emotion, he said it was his childhood dream to visit his ancestral house in Samana.

Mr Rizvi said he was attracted to the culture and heritage of India. He said his grandfather practised law in Patiala. With eyes filled with tears, he said he could not forget this nostalgic visit to Punjab. He said in Pakistan, there was not much government interference in matters pertaining to the judiciary. In Pakistan the Advocate-General was appointed by the Governor of the state on the advice of the Chief Minister said the Advocate-General in Pakistan was also the Chairman of the Bar Council.

He said in Pakistan, the general public wanted peace with India. He said there was need to spread the message of peace and harmony among people of both countries. The people back home wanted to end cross-border terrorism, he said, appreciating the Indian Government’s decision to free Pakistani children languishing in Indian jails. Mr Rizvi was honoured at the Samana Municipal Council by social and other organisations.


Hindu jatha may visit Pak shrines
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 1
A jatha of about 50 Hindus may visit Pakistan for pilgrimage from October 6.

The applications of these people have reportedly been cleared by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), but a final nod from the Pakistan authorities was awaited. This visit of the Hindu jatha will be the first in the past four years. The last jatha went in 1999 after which no such jatha was allowed in to Pakistan for security reasons despite the fact that several Sikh jathas given permission for pilgrimage.

Mr Surinder Kumar, Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, said the Hindu jatha would be held by Dr Bhishan Lal, head of the Shadani Darbar Hazrat Pitahi, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, the sister organisation of which is located in Sind, Pakistan.

Mr Billa said even as about 40 applications were pending with the MEA, including his own, the authorities had informed about the clearance given to 50 applications. He said visas were still to be received by those granted clearance by the MEA.

The jatha had applied for pilgrimage to Pakistan to celebrate the 296the birth anniversary of Sant Baba Ram Sahib from October 6 to 15, he said following the Rajiv Gandhi-Benazir Bhutto agreement a jatha of 400 Hindu pilgrims were permitted annually to visit their holy shrines in Pakistan.

The jatha, that was likely to leave by the Wagah road route, was scheduled to visit Sadhu Billa in Sind.


‘Bride and Prejudice’ crew in town
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 1
English cocktail dresses, stilettos and hats shared racks with Punjabi salwar kameezes, juttis, parandis and bangles while colourful costumes, from “tamba-kurta” to beach wear adorned the walls of the office of Eduardo Castro. He is a designer from Mexico hired for the Indo-British film production of “Bride and Prejudice” written by Jane Austen.

Talking to The Tribune here today he was reluctant, as were the crew members, to reveal the venue for shootings for security reasons. Eduardo has created costumes for 22 main characters in the film.

According to sources, the main character, Aishwarya Rai, will be seen in Indian and western costumes. Liaquat Ali, a famous tailor from Delhi, is giving last minute touch to salwar kameezes of the 1950 — 60s era for the Bakshi family around which the film revolves.

The shooting site here is an old British style colonial house complete with a porch and arches have been flown from London to add the touch of yore.

Mr Nick Ellis, production designer from London, said the setting of the house with its subdued bay windows, British architecture and arched main door was a prefect exterior for a house in the film which portrays the grand Bakshi family with an address that reads “Bakshi Villa, 7, Udham Singh Road, Amritsar” that has fallen on bad days.

Meanwhile, shooting took place at Rajasansi Airport where a large crowd gathered. According to reports, actors, Naveen Andrews, Martin Henderson and Indira Verma shot for the scenes at the airport today.

The police controlled the crowd that turned curious as about 20 production vans arrived at the busy hall bazaar area.

Gurinder Chadda and other female characters were whisked away from the venue due to security reasons. According to the district administration, the film crew has paid nearly Rs 10-12 lakh for security. Aishwarya Rai may cancel her visit due to security reasons. A double might be used for her.


1.4 cr released for 4 villages
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 1
A sum of Rs 1.4 crore has been released for development of four villages under the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) in Talwandi Sabo subdivision of this district. This was stated by Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Chairman, Markfed, Punjab, after laying foundation stones for various development work at Ghasoh Khana, Bhai Bakhtor, Kanakwal and Gattwali villages yesterday. Mr Jassi said Rs 35 lakh would be spent on each village for the construction of stadiums and gram sabha halls.

He said in order to reduce the cost of farming, regular power supply, better irrigation facilities and cheaper inputs would be made available to farmers. He assured the farmers that their produce would be procured without any delay and payments would be released on time. Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, distributed cheques to sarpanches.


Raid tax officials’ houses, say traders
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 1
A dharna against the alleged “anti-trader”policies of the state government under the presidentship of Mr Sat Pal Satyam, state vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, was held in front of the office of Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) here today. The protesters were demanding the abolition of octroi, an end to the “rule” of inspectors, and a review of the exim form.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Satyam asked the state government to raid the houses of taxation officers along with the premises of the traders to find who was more “corrupt” or “accused of tax evasion”.

He said the traders were collecting the lists of “corrupt” officers to send it to the “anti-corruption” wing of the Beopar Mandal for initiating further proceedings.


4 more suspected dengue cases
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 1
According to different sources, more than 500 persons in Hoshiarpur city are in the grip of fever. On account of the recent suspected dangue cases and the death of one of them in the local Civil Hospital, panic prevails among the patients.

Dr Yogesh Chander Markan, Civil Surgeon of Hoshiarpur, said here today that a fever survey was being carried out by the Health Department in the city to ascertain the number of patients. It was being advised to all patients to report the government hospitals and dispensaries.

Dr Markan disclosed that four more patients of dengue — Neelam Rai of Kamalpur, Sheela Devi of Mehlanwali village, Ritu and Bonney, both of the local Balmiki Mohalla, had been reported in the Civil Hospital today.

With this, the number of suspected dengue patients has increased to seven in the city.


3 cops, 5 civilians honoured for catching robbers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 1
Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector General of Police, Border Range, today honoured three policemen and five others who had overpowered those who had tried to rob the Punjab State Electricity Board employees here yesterday. These employees were coming out of the bank after withdrawing the staff salaries.

Ashok Kumar, Mahesh Kumar, Suresh Anand, Vijay Kumar and Ajay Kumar — all salesmen — who were near the spot, ran after the armed looters and caught them. The policemen who were honoured were Mr Kuleep Singh, Sub Inspector; Head Constable Amrik Chand and constable Suresh Kumar. All heroes were presented with a certificate and Rs 1,100 in cash each.

The IGP said this was a small effort which would go a long way in eradicating crime from society. He said as long as the people did not cooperate with the police, crime could not be controlled.


Tributes paid to martyr
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 1
Tributes were today paid to Subedar Ajit Singh at his native Kot Dharam Chand Khurd village, 8 km from here. He laid down his life while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides Mr Bakhtawar Singh, SDM, Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, MP, and Mr Harmeet Singh Sandhu, MLA, a large number of sarpanches and panches and representatives of various political, religious and social organisations paid tributes to the martyr.

The SDM assured family members of the martyr the early release of dues as per the policy of the government and said a memorial would soon be constructed in the village.


Judge seeks dera land record in Manpreet case
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 1
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr M.M.S. Bedi, in response to the anticipatory bail application moved by Mr Manpreet Badal through his counsel today issued summons to the local police to produce the entire record related to the case pertaining to the land of Dera Sekhwan on October 6.

On the application of the stay of arrest moved by Manpreet’s counsel, the Sessions Judge said that since the petitioner had already been granted blanket bail by the court, there was no need to stay the arrest. The court had earlier instructed the police to serve a seven-day notice to Mr Badal before arresting him in the case related to the land of Dera Sekhwan. Since no such notice in writing had been received by the petitioner, he did not need to apply for a stay on his arrest, said Mr Bedi.

The local police had registered a case under Sections 1(1) D, 13(2) 88 of the PC Act, 420, 427, 447, 506 and 120-B of IPC against Mr Manpreet Badal, his brother-in-law Jaijeet Singh Jojo, Darshan Singh Mandheer and others on charges of cheating, forgery, corruption, criminal intimidation and conspiracy on a complaint of Mr Harjinder Singh, son of Mahant Labh Singh of Dera Sekhwan. The complainant had accused Mr Badal of accepting Rs 13 lakh to facilitate settlement of dispute regarding land ownership of the dera.

The local police had summoned Mr Badal to explain his position on the charges levelled against him by Mahant Harjinder Singh. The complainant told the police that Manpreet Badal had allegedly demanded Rs 20 lakh to get settled the case related to a land dispute in his favour and that Rs 13 lakh was paid to him in presence of Darshan Singh and two others in 1999, but still their work was not done.

Meanwhile, Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, while talking to mediapersons here said that the Congress government was trying to fabricate false cases against the members of the Badal family.



Human rights activist gets bail in rape case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 1
A local court on Monday granted bail to Punjab Human Rights Organisation general secretary Kirpal Singh Randhawa, who is accused of raping a woman of a colony on the Sirhind road, even as the Sadar police today booked one of the main witnesses in the case who had taken the victim to the police station.

Additional Session Judge G.K.Dhir granted bail to Mr Randhawa on a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties. The court also directed him to surrender his passport.

Mr Randhawa had been arrested when he was on a visit to the city. The victim had alleged that she had told Mr Randhawa that she wanted to give him information about some case, following which he called her to Dukhniwaran Gurdwara. She claimed that Mr Randhawa had later come to her home in an inebriated condition and committed the crime.

The human right activist’s advocate Barjinder Singh Sodhi in the court claimed that the woman was in the habit of getting false cases registered.

Meanwhile, the Sadar police has registered a case against Mr Parveen Komal, who brings out a weekly paper in the city, and another person.

The FIR registered against Mr Komal stated that he and the other person had thrashed a rehrawallah, Raj Kumar of the local Sukhram Colony.

According to the complainant, Mr Komal and his confidant were travelling in a car when it hit the rehra. The victim said he was severely thrashed by them and one of them even told him that his name was Parveen Komal and he could complain against him to anyone if he wanted.

A case under various sections of the IPC has been registered.


Markfed to make direct purchase of paddy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Markfed will make direct purchase of paddy and pay 1.5 per cent higher than the minimum support price.

This facility is limited to Markfed’s six Korean rice mill premises at Goniana, Jaitu, Gidderbaha, Batala, Naushehra Pannuan and Chuslewar and also the four modern rice mills at Rajpura, Machhiwara, Nawanshahr and Baghapurana, which have been designated as purchase centres by the Mandi Board. Markfed is to procure nearly 19 per cent of the paddy.

According to the Markfed Managing Director, Mr S.S. Channy, a farmer would get at least Rs 87 per tonne or Rs 9 approximately over and above the minimum support price besides, the intermediaries, commission agents or arhtiyas will be eliminated.

While this move will enable Markfed to save 1 per cent out of 2.5 per cent commission it otherwise would have paid to the arhtiyas, the farmers would also benefit because they would not have to pay ‘’unloading and cleaning or dressing’’ charges on the produce they would have paid had they sold paddy directly in the mandis.

There is, however, a glitch in the policy shift. This will bring down the cost of procurement for Markfed, which will pocket 1 per cent commission that it saves after paying a 1.5 per cent higher rate to farmers. The Government of India reimburses only the actual incidentals incurred by an agency on procuring foodgrains on its behalf. Since the expenses incurred by Markfed on procurement will be lower in the designated mandis mentioned above, New Delhi can later create problems on reimbursement, say sources.


Paddy procurement begins
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 1
Various government agencies today started the procurement of paddy at 22 purchase centers in the district. The procurement process in the district was inaugurated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, at the Chunni Kalan grain market by performing ardas on the bhog ceremony of akhandpath, organised by the Arthia Association, Chuni.

Addressing a gathering of farmers, commission agents and officers of various departments, he said it was a matter of great concern for the state that initiative was missing among the government officials. He said due to this attitude, the state had shifted to the sixth position in the country from top position. He said now Punjab was being compared with state like Bihar. He said to make the state prosperous and disciplined, a work culture had to be developed.

He lashed out at the Secretary, Market Committee, Kharar, for not making adequate arrangements in the purchase center for farmers. He said if officers continued to behave in this manner, there would be chaos in the state.

Addressing the gathering Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, assured the farmers that the smooth procurement of paddy would be ensured in the district.

He urged the farmers to bring the paddy as per specification adding if they faced any problem they should immediately contact his office. He also urged them not to bribe any one for the purchase of paddy and bring such cases to his notice.

Bumper paddy crop expected, says CM
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 1
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the state was expecting a bumper paddy crop this year.

After inaugurating the paddy procurement season at the new Grain Market here today, he said there was no shortage of funds and added that there would be an increase of about seven lakh tonnes of paddy in the state as compared to the corresponding period last year.

He said that he had directed the Deputy Commissioners of Ferozepore and Bathinda to complete the girdawari of the crop which was destroyed in a recent hailstorm soon so that the government could promptly compensate the affected farmers.

On the ensuing general election, the Chief Minister said he was in favour of giving tickets to all eight sitting Congress MPs.

Regarding paddy procurement for Patiala district, he said a grievances cell had been opened to help the farmers.


One dead, 4 hurt in group clash

Hoshiarpur, October 1
One person was killed and four others were injured in a clash between two groups at Alhar village in this district, the police said today.

Mr Jagjit Singh Lali was killed while Jaswinder Singh, his father Gurnam Singh and mother Jagdish Kaur and Inderpal Kaur, all residents of Alhar Pind, and Harpreet Singh of Gondpur were wounded when a clash took place in which firearms and sharp-edged weapons were allegedly freely used between two groups last evening.

Harpreet Singh, Jagdish Kaur, Inderpal Kaur received bullet injuries while Jaswinder Singh and Gurnam Singh were allegedly injured by sharp-edged weapons.

Harpreet Singh, Jagdish Kaur and Jaswinder Singh were admitted in Civil Hospital here from where Jaswinder Singh was later referred to a hospital in Ludhiana in a serious condition, hospital sources said.

An old enmity between two families of the village was the main reason for the clash. — PTI


3 robbers held, pistols seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 1
The police has arrested three members of a gang of robbers and seized two pistols, four cartridges, a motorcycle and a tractor from their possession. Two other members of the gang, however, escaped.

Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, in a press note yesterday stated that those arrested had been identified as Randhir Singh, Pargat Singh and Balwinder Singh. Their two accomplices — Balwinder Singh and Jagar Singh managed to escape.

The SSP said the Bhawanigarh SHO had got information that five persons were planning to loot a bank or a liquor shop. The police raided the spot and arrested three of them.

A case has been registered under Sections 399 and 402, IPC.


Suicide bid by undertrial
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 1
An undertrial, Sewa Singh, allegedly tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a sharp spoon and hit his head on a door here last evening. He was shifted to the local Civil Hospital in a serious condition where he was operated upon and the spoon was removed from his abdomen.

Dr G.P.S. Bedi, Senior Medical Officer, said the condition of Sewa Singh was still serious.

Mr Baljinder Singh Gill, Officiating Superintendent, District Jail, said Sewa Singh of Teja Kalan in Gurdaspur district was arrested under Section 363, 366 and 120-IPC, for a rape bid. He was brought to the jail and he was under depression. He said he might had stolen the spoon from the kitchen and sharpened it.


Cop’s daughter untraceable
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 1
The police is conducting raids to trace a 23-year-old daughter of an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) posted at the PAP complex, who was allegedly abducted on Monday by two youths of Johlan village.

Even as the police has registered a case under Section 366, 506 and 34 of the IPC, against the accused, it is clueless about the whereabouts of the girl. The girl went missing after she reportedly told one of her relatives that she was going to the bathroom. The parents of the girl, however, said in their complaint that the accused had taken her away in their Maruti car.


2 held in murder case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 1
With the arrest of two persons, the district police, Majitha, today claimed to have solved a four-month old murder case.

Ms Shashi Prabha Dwedi, SSP, Majitha police, said here today Rajesh Kumar, a resident of New Delhi, was found murdered on June 3 at Talwandi Rai Dadu village in Ajnala here. He was allegedly strangled to death. She said the police had arrested Sukha Singh, a resident of Talwandi Rai Dadu village and Sukhdev Singh of Teda Kalan in the case. Both had confessed to their involvement in the crime, she added.


Case registered

HOSHIARPUR: The district police has registered a case under Section 188 of the IPC against Naresh Kumar of Saila Khurd. According to police sources, Naresh Kumar was allegedly selling intoxicated medicines without the prescription of any doctor. — OC


15 nursing institutes blacklisted
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 1
The Punjab Nursing Council (PNC) has warned nursing candidates against seeking admission to 15 nursing institutes of the state. These include Khalsa Rural Hospital and Nursing Institute, Nangal Kalan, Manoj Nursing Training Institute and Hospital, Pathankot, Khalsa Rural Hospital and Nursing Institute, Nangal Kalan Mansa, Punjab Medical Institute and Training Institute, Jalandhar, Guru Nanak Nursing Training Institute and Hospital Jalandhar, Nursing Training Institute and Hospital, Garah, Jalandhar, New Gobind School of Nursing, Amritsar, GTB School of Nursing Jandiala, Mac Robert Hospital Dhariwal, Gurdaspur, Batala Institute of Medical Sciences, Batala, Aggarwal School of Nursing, Guru Harsahay Paramedical Education School of Nursing, Guru Harsahay, Baba Farid School of Nursing, Kotkapura, Faridkot, Guru Amardas School of Nursing, Amritsar and Guru Gobind Singh Nursing Training Institute, Amritsar.

Sources revealed that several aspirants had taken admission to the above institutions, ignoring the letter issued by the council in 2002. Some of the institutions had admitted students more than the sanctioned seats.

The PNC had informed nursing institutions that those institutions that failed to get inspection done from the Indian Nursing Council and obtain no-objection certificates, would not be allowed to admit the students from the current session.


College students donate blood
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, October 1
The District Health & Ayurvedic Departments in collaboration with Khalsa College, Mahilpur, organised a seminar on “Make voluntary blood donation a regular feature of life” on the occasion of National Voluntary Blood Donation Day at Meghowal village, about 34 km from here today.

Addressing the seminar, Dr Ajay Bagga, in charge of the School Programme said in view of the increase in road accidents, 90 to 100 lakh unit of blood donation was required against the supply of 40 lakh units.

He appealed to the younger generation to donate blood regularly to save the dying persons.

A seminar on blood donation was also organised at the local J.R. Polytechnic today. Prof Bahadur Singh Sunet, In charge of the NSS unit, stressed on the need of voluntary blood donation.

JALANDHAR: The Journalism and Mass Communication of Guru Nanak Dev University and the Rotary Club (Midtown) organised a blood grouping camp on the university regional campus at Ladhewall village, near here on Wednesday.

Mr Satish Gupta, the president of the club, said the motive was to prepare a group of blood donors to help the needy patients in time.

Students of the department vowed to donate blood.

NAWANSHAHR: The local Blood Donors Council in collaboration with the local branch of ICICI Bank organised a blood donation camp here in which 101 units of blood were collected.

SAMANA: At the blood donation camp organised by the NSS unit of the local Public College organised today, 90 students donated blood and more than 200 students got their blood groups tested. The foundation stone of the squash court was also laid in the college.

TARN TARAN: The local unit of the Indian Medical Association organised a meeting today on blood donation under the presidentship of Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal.

The meeting emphasised the need of educating the community regarding voluntary blood donation by removing apprehensions and superstitions of the people on the issue.


Book exhibition

AMRITSAR : A three-day book exhibition organised by Oxford University Press, a department of Oxford University, started at DAV School here on Monday. Disclosing this in a press statement issued here, Mr Rajeev Trehan and Mr Praveen Bhardwaj from the Education Department representing the Oxford Press, New Delhi, said the exhibition contained books for schoolchildren, resource books for teachers, general reading material and reference books for libraries. — OC

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