Tuesday, October 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Major reshuffle in Punjab Government
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Besides transferring 10 top IAS officers, the Punjab Government today shifted the Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, to the Irrigation Department.

He replaces Ms Kusumjit Sidhu, who goes to the Power Department relieving Mrs Vini Mahajan of the additional charge.

The speculations regarding the transfer of Mr Lakhanpal had been in the air for the past two months following controversies regarding the withdrawal of the non-practising allowance (NPA) of PCMS doctors and imposing of tax on certain items purchased by defence personnel from defence canteens. The government had to later defer the decision regarding the NPA. It also withdrew tax on CSD items.

However, as Mr Lakhanpal’s name has been cleared for the post of Additional Secretary in the Union Government, he is likely to proceed to the Centre as soon as he gets posting there. There have been strong indications that Mr Jivtesh Singh Maini, presently a Resident Commissioner in Delhi, will replace Mr Lakhanpal but the government has named Mr B.R. Bajaj as the new Principal Secretary (Finance).

Another significant change is of Mr P.K. Verma, who has been shifted to the Food and Civil Supplies Department as Principal Secretary. In his place, Dr B.C. Gupta becomes the new Finance Commissioner (Development). The Department of Cooperation goes to Mr J.S. Kesar, who was earlier Principal Secretary (Planning).

Meanwhile, Dr Barjendra Singh has been given the additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs, Pensions and Public Grievances. The Principal Secretary, Mr D.S. Jaspal, has been relieved of the Department of Family Welfare which goes to Mr D.S. Guru, as Secretary. Dr Manmohan Singh becomes Secretary, Higher Education, and Mr G. Vajralingam gets the additional charge of Secretary, Department of Planning.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, has been given the charge of the Wildlife Department in addition to his present assignments. He has relieved Mr P. Ram of the additional charge of the Wildlife Department. 


Vigilance summons Sukhbir Badal on Oct 9
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Taking a tough stand against Rajya Sabha MP, Sukhbir Badal, who did not appear before the Vigilance Bureau today for the second time for questioning in the disproportionate assets case, the bureau has now served the third and final notice asking him to appear in the bureau office here at 11 am on October 9, according to sources.

Sukhbir had earlier not presented himself before the investigating officer on October 3. Even today, he did not keep his date with the bureau.

Sources in the bureau disclosed that a separate notice had also been issued to Ms Surinder Kaur, wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, to take cognizance of the notices served upon her earlier and intimate the date, time and place of appointment by October 13 failing which she might not be given another opportunity to do so.

In a strongly worded notice sent to Mr Sukhbir Badal, Vigilance officials have snubbed the junior Badal for dictating terms and conditions in response to the first notice Sukhbir had pleaded that he would make himself available for questioning along with his father at the latter’s official residence in Sector 2 on October 8 and the second time he had desired to be questioned at Delhi. Both his pleas were, however, turned down.

Turning down Sukhbir’s plea for being questioned at his residence in Delhi, the ADGP-cum-Director of the Vigilance Bureau, Mr A. P Pandey, said “he has no right to plead that he may be questioned at a place of his choice for he happens to be an accused in this case. This right is only with the witness.” His plea that he had not received the earlier two notices was also baseless. Mr Pandey said that a DSP had been sent to Sukhbir’s Delhi residence for serving the second notice. And when persons posted at his residence refused to accept the same saying that Mr Sukhbir was out of station, the same was pasted outside his residence so that he could see the same upon his return, Mr Pandey added.

The notice further observes that the rulings cited by in the Wimpy’s International case were not applicable to him for he was neither an accused, who was below 15 years of age, nor a woman. Even the pronouncements of High Courts regarding Section 160, Cr PC, were applicable to certain witnesses. In fact, the style and attitude of Sukhbir towards the case only indicates that he was trying to hamper the investigations by not co-operating with the authorities concerned, the notice adds.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance is seeking legal opinion on the future course of action to be taken if Sukhbir once again does not appear for questioning. They are even contemplating moving the court before finally presenting the challan. They can even seek permission for issuance of non-bailable warrants against him, it is learnt.

A senior official said Sukhbir final questioning would take place on October 9, and he would be given a fair chance to present his version in black and white.

Another notice has been served on Mr Parkash Singh Badal for not collecting activists of his party on the day of his questioning for it would only create law and order problems.


Badal’s petrol pump manager remanded
Our Correspondent & PTI

Kharar, October 6
In connection with a case registered on June 24 against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Vigilance Bureau today produced Harbans Lal, a manager of a petrol pump at Killianwala village in Muktsar, in the court of Kharar Judicial Magistrate, Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, who sent him to police remand till October 9.

Mr Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, Public Prosecutor, and Mr Malkit Singh, DSP, Vigilance, pleaded for a 10-day police remand. They stated that Harbans Lal had amassed assets worth crores of rupees during the tenure of Mr Badal. They stated that Mr Badal had purchased properties in the names of his close associates.

The magistrate ordered to produce the accused again before the court here on Thursday.

Besides allowing defence counsels to meet the accused during police custody daily for an hour from 7 to 8 in the morning and evening as well, the court also directed the prosecution to provide adequate living facilities to the accused during the police custody.

Harbans Lal, who was working at Mr Badal’s petrol pump for over four decades, was arrested on Sunday.

The prosecution submitted that the Badal family had amassed benami assets worth Rs 9 crore on the name of Harbans Lal and his son Anil Kumar, which included a cold store at Rampura Phool in Bathinda district costing Rs 1.5 crore, a cottonseed factory named Malwa Cottonseed Factory at Doomwali village in Bathinda district costing Rs 64.5 lakh; a rice mill named Anil Rice Mills costing Rs 70 lakh; five shops on one kanal prime land on the GT Road in Dabwali costing Rs 18 lakh; and a palatial house in Mandi Killianwali on 900 yards of prime land costing Rs 80 lakh.

The prosecution submitted that the relevant documents, copies of income tax returns, bank accounts, FDRs possessed by the accused were yet to be recovered and verified.

Harbans Lal was also accused of collecting huge amounts from innocent people as bribe and handing them over to the Badal family after keeping with him his share for arranging undue favours.

Defence counsels strongly opposed the prosecution’s plea and argued that the accused had been in alleged illegal custody to the bureau since October 3, when he was summoned after serving him a summon under Section 160 of the CrPC in connection with the Badal’s case.


Mother, son killed while asleep
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 6
The wife of an NRI and his son were killed by unidentified persons in their house in Saintpur village on the night of Sunday.

The deceased have been identified as Manjit Kaur and her son Gurpreet Singh (15).

Bodies of both deceased bore sharp weapon injuries. The murder came to notice of the residents of the village when a class-mate of Gurpreet Singh who was Class IX student came to house of deceased to call him and when entered the house he found mother and son dead in the room.

Hardeep Singh, husband of Manjit Kaur has been residing in Italy for the last more than 10 years. Mother and son were residing in the house.

Dr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police who visited the site told that it was not a case of dacoity as the intruders did not take away anything from the house.

However, the residents of the village suspected the incident was a case of dacoity.

The police suspects that the intruders entered the house either by scaling the walls by using the staircase and murdered them while they were asleep.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.


Helpline to curb child abuse
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The childhelpline, 1098 launched on October 1 by Nawanshahr police chief V. Neerja has added a new dimension to the concept of “safeguarding childhood”. This cause is also dear to the Punjab Human Rights Commission, which, has been collaborating on child rights and protection with the British Council and the Police Academy, Phillaur.

Children in Punjab are as much under stress — physical, psychological and emotional, as elsewhere — making them vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and abuse. Says Ms Neerja: “The helpline is open 24 hours and is toll-free. Each call received is reported to me, just as in the case of a complaint received at the separate helpline for women in our domestic violence solving cell”.

The presence of a woman officer, as head of the district police makes a world of difference in tackling crime against women and children. In Punjab, there are women SSP at Hoshiarpur, Majitha, Moga and Nawanshahr.

Ms Neerja said that the helpline was for children who had been deprived of their rights and were in need of care.

A pamphlet brought out by the Nawanshahr police has listed 14 types of child abuse and crime against children. The helpline, Ms Neerja said, was for such children, who were “vagabonds, engaged in child labour or domestic help, physically, mentally and psychologically challenged, victims of child prostitution or sodomy or family conflicts or domestic violence, victims of natural calamities, etc”.

Ms Neerja, who was part of a police delegation that visited the UK last month, has brought British literature on crime against women and children. She said making women and children aware and educating them about their rights and laws that protected them formed an integral part of community policing in England.

She endeavours to replicate such a culture here. There are number of laws applicable to women and children. But the observance of these laws is missing when it comes to stopping or checking child abuse, she adds.

Though children constitute nearly 40 per cent of the country’s total population, their voice is not heard anywhere. Even the media has been unfair to them. One hardly finds any journalists specialising in reporting on child abuse or crime against children. Even the proposed National Children Commission has not been constituted so far while the draft Children Code Bill, 2000, awaits certain radical changes. It too, has been forgotten and lost.

On several occasions, the Supreme Court had taken cognizance of incidents of child abuse and crime against children or infringement of their right to safe childhood and protection. It has also issued directions to various states on these incidents. Yet comprehensive legislation is missing. For instance, one of the directions of the apex court is amendments to the service rules, banning domestic help rendered by children at least in the homes of government servants. Providing education to deprived children at their work places is also desired.

Inquiries have revealed that Ludhiana is the “crime capital” of Punjab. As to the variety of crime against child, name it and every district has it — rape, molestation, kidnapping, forced or bonded labour, prostitution etc. It is a telling comment on Punjabi society. In such matters, Punjab ranks 16 in the National Crime Report Bureau. It is learnt that rape is the major crime against children in the state. 


Selloff reviewed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Punjab’s disinvestment process has been bogged down due to lack of interest by various private companies. Except Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL), the disinvestment, in fact, is on the standstill in other four government undertakings.

According to sources, upset over the poor response, the government authorities concerned wanted to re-assess the entire disinvestment process to “put it on the right course”. The state government authorities have admitted that the process has gone” little astray” and it required to be put back on the rails.

In the first phase, the Punjab Government had selected five public sector undertakings for disinvestment. These are Punjab Tractors Limited, Puncom, Punjab Alkalies, Conware and Punjab Tourism Development Corporation. For Puncom (Punjab Communications) only one bid was received. And it has been rejected because it was found below expectations. In case of Punjab Alkalies, a technical problem of power has become a stumbling block.

There is some legal problem for Punjab Alkalies to have an access to power from some cheaper source. No bid has been received for Conware. Bids were received for five tourist complexes of the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation. But these bids were also found inadequate and hence rejected. Though the bid of a foreign company in Punjab Tractors Limited has been approved, yet a lot of hue and cry has been raised in the political circles questioning the disinvesment in this profit-making company.

A senior official of the Punjab Government said there were many pitfalls involved in the disinvestment process.

In today’s meeting which was attended by top officials of the Punjab Government, the entire disinvestment process was reviewed. A report of the review would be presented to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on disinvestment soon. The strategy to be adopted regarding disinvestment would be operative part of the report to be submitted to the committee.

“It is time to look beyond the four companies, the disinvestment process of which has been moving at a snail’s pace”, said one of the officers, who participated in the meeting. “It was time to reopen the report given by the Disinvestment Committee headed by Mr P.H. Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary”, he added. “We would go through the recommendations made by Mr Vaishnav and see what further could be done in case of those PSUs which had become a liability for the state exchequer,” he added.


Punjab plans heritage festivals
Parveen Sultana to grace first festival in Kapurthala
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
As a sequel to last year’s heritage festivals organised to lift the sagging tourism potential of the state, the Punjab Government has planned another series of cultural celebrations this year. The objective of the festivals, to be organised in the districts of Kapurthala, Amritsar and Patiala, is to bring alive the cultural vivaciousness of the state and place it on the international tourist map.

Where last year, Punjab saw two main heritage festivals being organised in Patiala and Kapurthala, this time a three-phased celebration is on the anvil. The first festival will be held in Kapurthala district, followed by Amritsar and Patiala, which have eminent heritage buildings. The Kapurthala event, which has been named Baba Jassa Singh Festival, will be organised from October 17 to 19.

With many heritage sites, including the Royal Palace and the world-renowned Moorish Mosque, Kapurthala was a natural choice for the best site to throw the series of cultural celebrations open in Punjab. With the objective of reflecting the artistic, cultural and tourism potential of the state, the Chief Minister had constituted a committee two years back.

A member of the committee, Ms Anita Singh, currently Director of Indian Music Society in Delhi, informed The Tribune today that the celebrations would be organised in collaboration with INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art, Culture and Heritage). She added that the fiesta was meant to boost tourism strength of the state which had a number of historically and culturally significant sites. “The Kapurthala festival is being timed with the birth anniversary of the founder of Kapurthala, Baba Jassa Singh, who was born on October 20,” she said, adding, “all the festivals will be held at sites of historical importance to share with the world the finer elements of Punjab’s history and culture. The participating vocalists have been requested to present khayal bandish in Punjabi. It is a matter of prides that after Brijbhasha, Punjabi is the only language in which khayal bandish has ever been composed. Not many people know this.”

Ms Singh, in charge of cultural celebrations, informed that the Kapurthala show would open with the “natya qawwali” presentation by Naseer Ahmad Warsi, who has a lineage in the realm of qawwali singing. Natya qawwali will be followed by a delightful sufiana session by the Wadali brothers.

On October 18, Rajan-Sajan Mishra will present their vocal recital, also doling out Punjabi bandish in khayal gayaki. The second presentation on October 18 will be Punjabi opera, “Wichle Paani”, which will reflect the progression of musical traditions of the state. The final day will have celebrated musicians holding the fort. Pt Debu Choudhray and his son, Prateek, will have a juganbandhi session with Fateh Singh Gangani on the pakhawaj.

The festival will conclude with Parveen Sultana’s musical offerings.After Kapurthala, heritage festivals will be held in Amritsar (between December 3 and 7) and Patiala (between February 14 and 23). While the one in Amritsar will be held in the elegant building of Khalsa College, the Patiala show will be organised in Qila Mubarak. 


Sikh bodies to move Takht against Prof Manjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
The former Jathedar of Takht Keshgarh Sahib has embroiled himself in another controversy allegedly by participating in the ‘Vishawa Dharma Prachar Yatra’, organised by the Vishwa Parvasi Bharatiya Forum (VPBF) yesterday at Auckland. The Sikh Society of Auckland and the Dal Khalsa unit of New Zealand have decided to lodge a petition to Akal Takht in this regard.

The Sikh bodies have urged Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to summon prof Manjit Singh at Takht for allegedly violating the ‘Sikh Maryada’. Mr Daljit Singh president, Sikh Society Auckland, and Mr Gurinder Singh Chahal, in charge Dal Khalsa unit (New Zealand) said that they would take up the matter with the Dharam Prachar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

They alleged that the VPBF was overseas wing of the Vishav Hindu Parishad and it was clear from its website. Mr Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary of the Dal Khalsa said that he had received a fax message from Auckland that Prof Manjit Singh had participated in the yatra in violation of the Sikh code.

While family members of Prof Manjit Singh claimed that he had gone to Auckland for participating in the inter-faith religious yatra, yet the Sikh Society alleged that the very aim of the function was to promote Hindu faith. He said the participation of such religious personalities lent credence to the “anti-Panthic” forces.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh said that Prof Manjit Singh who was removed Jathedar following serious charges should be punished as per 'Sikh maryada.


Punjab matric exam forms

SAS Nagar, October 6
The Punjab School Education Board has announced that admission forms and other related material relating to the annual matriculation and 10+2 examinations to be held in March, 2004, will be available at its various textbooks sales depots in all districts from October 8, 2004. A Board spokesman said today that the heads of schools and colleges could collect the same from the depots concerned. — TNS


Job in fake certificate: SGPC Secy fails to depose
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Mr Harbeant Singh, Secretary SGPC who has been facing charges of getting job on the basis of ‘fake matriculation certificate’ today refused to appear before the three-member medical board which met at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here.

In a letter to the SGPC chief, Mr Harbeant Singh alleged that he had no faith in the three-member board as they (the member doctors) themselves were responsible for discharging him under ‘pressure’ from the two government run hospitals. He urged the SGPC chief to grant him two months leave so that he could get treatment from outside. He said the official letters being written by the office had been causing him tension. The SGPC had constituted a three-member inquiry committee to look into the allegations that Mr Harbeant Singh had obtained job on the basis of ‘fake certificate’. However, he (Mr Harbeant Singh) could not depose before the inquiry committee on the pretext that he was suffering from cardiological problems. However, after the treatment he was discharged from the civil hospital and Guru Nanak Dev hospitals.

The inquiry committee has fixed October 8 for final hearing. In case the SGPC secretary fails to appear before the sub-committee it could recommend strict action against him (Mr Harbeant Singh). Then the case could be taken up in the forthcoming meeting of the SGPC executive committee scheduled to be held at Fatehgarh Sahib on October 10. Sources in the SGPC pointed out that Mr Harbeant Singh could be suspended allegedly for defying the orders of the sub-committee.


Seminar dedicated to Guru Angad Dev
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 6
On the concluding day of the two-day seminar organised at Khadoor Sahib by Baba Daljit Singh, founder, Guru Nanak Sikh Mission of America and head of the Gurdwara Gurjot Parkash Sahib Chicago (America) with the help of Baba Sewa Singh, head, kar sewa sect Khadoor Sahib, yesterday, and four more Sikh scholars presented their papers on the life of Guru Angad Dev.

The scholars who read their papers yesterday included Dr Harpreet Kaur, Dr Gurnam Singh, Dr Malkiat Singh and Mr Roop Singh.

The seminar was presided over by Jathedar Balwant Singh, Jathedar Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and Giani Tarlochan Singh Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. Mr Tarlochan Singh, MP, and Charanjit Singh Atwal, former Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, too attended the seminar.


Withdraw cases, demand arhtiyas; threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
The arhtiyas of Punjab would observe a complete bandh all over the state soon if the authorities concerned did not withdraw the false criminal cases registered against arhtiyas about forcing the farmers to commit suicide. They also demanded legal action against the representatives of so-called farmer unions, which had allegedly been blackmailing the administration and them.

The arhtiyas also urged the Punjab Government to institute an inquiry into the assets acquired by a few representatives of farmer organisations in the past few years allegedly by looting the innocent and unsuspecting farmers and other sections of business community.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, joint secretary, Punjab Arhtiya Association and president, District Arhtiya Association, Bathinda, talking to mediapersons today said that they would meet the Chief Minister and the DGP, Punjab in connection with the acceptance of their demands after the paddy procurement was over. He said that a memorandum in this connection had already been submitted to the Chief Minister and the DGP.

He said if the authorities concerned did not accept the demands of association then it would observe Bathinda bandh first and then a Punjab bandh. The association would not allow the state government to encourage those disgruntled elements, which were taking law into their own hands.

“We have come to know that the district administration, after bowing before the farmer unions, has been trying to withdraw cases registered against the farmers’ representatives for their alleged involvement in violence at Bhai Bakhtaur railway level crossing and in the local Civil Hospital, Bathinda, on October 1. If the cases against these people can be withdrawn then why the false cases registered against arhtiyas can-not be withdrawn”, he pointed out.

He said that arhtiyas had no objection if the district administration withdrew the cases registered against the representatives of farmers’ union but it would have to follow the same yardstick in matter pertaining to the cases registered against arhtiyas. He said that the association had also demanded that background of these representatives should also be taken into consideration.

He said the association had also urged the state government to insure all arhtiyas against losses, which they had been suffering on account of refusal by the farmers to repay the loans advanced to them. They added that a handful of so-called unionists had been trying to create a wedge among the innocent farmers and arhtiyas for their vested interests. He said the association had instructed all members not to advance more than Rs 10,000 per acre to any farmer henceforth.

He said the association was also disappointed over the fact that the DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, had not constituted district-level committees to screen the complaints of farmers in connection with the suicides before registering a case against any arhtiyas. He said that though the manner of procurement of foodgrain by government agencies was satisfactory, the Congress government was treating the arhtiyas in a similar manner in which the arhtiyas had been treated during the previous SAD-BJP combine government of Punjab. He said the arhtiyas were only persuading the farmers to recover their loan amounts and not resorting to any other method.


Dullo condemns lathicharge on farmers, linemen
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 6
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP, yesterday condemned the lathicharge on farmers and protesting linemen and assured that those responsible would be dealt with strongly.

While regretting the use of force on peaceful agitators he said such events could malign the image of the ruling party.

He was here in connection with the inauguration of 28th All-India S. Gurdarshan Singh Football Tournament.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh had always stood for the cause of farmers. So, neither he nor any one from his ministry could have ordered the use of force to curb the peaceful agitation.

Answering a question he said though he was in favour of providing jobs to unemployed linemen but it depends on the state exchequer, which was daily facing a loss of Rs 10 crore because of the repayment of debts taken by the Akali government.

He was full of praise for the Amarinder government for its wholehearted efforts for the overall development of Punjab.


Mann’s men to meet Kalam
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 6
A delegation of SAD (A) would call on the President of India and the speaker of Lok Sabha, next week and submit a memorandum to them against the violation of the privileges of the Member of Parliament by the Phagwara police here on October 4. It would demand suitable action against traffic police constable Kulwinder Singh, who had hit the official vehicle of SAD (A) president and Lok Sabha member from Sangrur, Simranjit Singh Mann, SHO City Police Station Phagwara, Harpreet Singh Benipal and SP Harmanbir Singh Gill for misbehaving with Mr Mann, a charge denied by the constable and two police officers.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Dr Harjinder Jakhu, general secretaries, SAD (A), and Mr Balvinder Singh Bains, national president of the youth wing of the party, said that the delegation would also meet and submit memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities and the Commission for SC/ST. It would also meet Punjab Governor and appeal to all the Members of Parliament from Punjab to support its demands.

They said they would also seek intervention of Punjab Chief Minister in this regard.

The leaders accused the SP, Phagwara of whipping up feelings of casteism and hurting sentiments of other castes by asserting that he was a ‘jat da putt’ and as such would not apologise even in a dream. They claimed that the SP had uttered these words in front of party general secretary Anoop Singh Minhas and in the presence of Mr Mann inside the police station on the night of October 4. The issue would be taken to the commission for SC/ST, they asserted.

The SP has already denied having used such objectionable language.

They said by making Mann sit for five hours inside police station, the police had violated his human rights and his privileges as an MP and hence the Privilege Committee of Parliament should take cognisance of it. However, the police authorities said that Mr Mann had sat inside police station on his own. SAD (A) leaders also condemned as irresponsible the statement of the Kapurthala SSP that traffic police wielded no sticks.

The party meeting held yesterday at Tallanian, with Mr Mann in chair, took a serious view of the Phagwara incident, claimed Mr Lohara and Dr Jakhu.

A case against four persons, including the staff and a supporter of Mr Mann, had been registered on charges of wrongful confinement and obstructing a public servant from discharge of his duties.


Kharar-Banur road to be upgraded
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 6
Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, today laid the foundation stone of the upgradation, widening and strengthening of the Kharar-Banur road with an estimated cost of Rs 2.20 crore.

However, the rift between two factions of the Congress came to the fore when the function was boycotted by the ruling Congress party group in the Municipal Council and panchayat samiti, Kharar.

While talking to mediamen before laying the foundation stone, Mr Bajwa said that the total length of the road of this project is 22.40 km. He said that the Landran Chowk on this road was being upgraded to 4-laning at an additional cost of Rs 60 lakh. He said that after completion of this project the distance to Delhi for heavy traffic which presently has to pass through Chandigarh would decrease by 20 km, as now trucks can reach Ambala via Kharar-Banur-Tepla road.

He said that this project would be completed within six months. The approval about the 4-laning of Desu Majra to the Khanpur segment of the National Highway No. 21 was yet to be given by the Union Ministry of Surface Transport, he said.

He said that the Punjab Government had selected 18 corridor roads which would be constructed on the BoT basis.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and MLA, Kharar, said that all link roads in his constituency would be repaired shortly.

As the Minister was going to address the press conference, Mr Charanjit Singh, president, MC, Kharar, along with other 7 councillors thanked Mr Bajwa for this project and said that the longstanding demand of the people of the area had been met. He, however, felt sorry that in spite of the fact that all arrangements made by the MC, the office of the PWD had totally ignored the elected councillors and the members of the panchayat samiti. He said that in the invitation cards and on the foundation stone, there was no mention of the Municipal Council and the panchayat samiti. 



CITU to launch stir from Oct 15

Jalandhar, October 6
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) today announced to launch state-wide agitation from October 15 to protest against the alleged anti-worker labour policies of Punjab and the Central Governments.

Addressing a rally here today, state general secretary Chander Shekhar alleged that the BJP-led Central Government and Amarinder Singh government in Punjab were following anti-labour policies under the influence of international leading agencies.

“Rapidly increasing industrial sickness is causing havoc on workers even as the state government is least concerned to generate job opportunities for unemployed youth as promised during the last Assembly election,” he said.

The rally unanimously passed a resolution to condemn the Congress government for selling profit-making public sector undertakings (PSUs) to benefit certain multinational companies. — PTI


Postal staff duping govt
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 6
Employees of the local post office are making money by duping the government in the name of deposits in small saving schemes.

The government has appointed agents to make the public aware about the small saving schemes and to mobilise people to deposit their savings in post offices. The government pays commission to the agents. Whenever a person goes directly to the post office to deposit an amount officials, instead of allowing the government benefit in lieu of the commission, call agents who are their friend or relatives and get the amount deposit through them.

The agent concerned is paid only a meagre amount while the lion’s share, which may be up to 95 per cent of the commission is retained by the officials.

These agents can be seen working from the premises of the local post office. The officials are duping the government of crores every year.

In some post offices, officials get their work done from agents by exploiting them and the public.

The branch Sub-Post Master said he had no means to ensure whether the agent had mobilised the customer or the customer had come on his own to deposit the amount.


Civil Hospital ward closed due to staff shortage
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 6
The surgical ward of the local Civil Hospital has been closed down due to the shortage of the paramedical staff, specially staff nurses.

Mr Mohinder Singh Prince, former president of the local citizen council, today said here that the Health Department, keeping in view the work of this 50-bed tehsil-level hospital had deputed here three staff nurses on deputation. But the department had recently shifted all three staff nurses here on deputation. He said that due to this shortage the surgical ward of the hospital had been closed down and the patients of this ward have been shifted to the medical ward.

Mr Prince said that in the area at certain community health centres such as Mianwind, Sarhali, Khemkaran, Ghiara and at others where only five to six patients were admitted there the number of the staff nurses was the same as here in hospital.


Governor to inaugurate ‘Sharad utsav’
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 6, 2003
The Punjab Governor, Justice (retd.) O.P. Verma, will inaugurate second Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav to be organised from October 17 to October 19 at Jagatjit Palace, said the Deputy Commissioner today in a press release.

The DC further said that ‘Sharad utsav’ was part of heritage festivals to be organised at Patiala, Kapurthala and Amritsar. These heritage festivals would be annual events.

The DC added that Kapurthala Heritage Society had recently met under the chairmanship Brig. (retd.) Sukhjit Singh and finalised various arrangements for organising the festival in collaboration with INTACH.


Motivate kids to play games, parents urged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 6
Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Faridkot Division, today urged the parents to encourage their children to take part in sports for inculcating discipline and competitiveness among them.

Mr Sarkar, was addressing a function at the opening ceremony of the Inter-District Punjab School Games here.

Mrs Surinder Kataria, District Education Officer, (Elementary), said that in these school games girls and boys under 14 and 17 years would take part in kho-kho and Basketball events.

Mr Lachhman Singh Brar, D.E.O. (Secondary) welcomed the chief guest. He said Dr Roop Rani, Deputy Director (physical education), would be the chief guest on October 10, the concluding day events.



Notice to Punjab on disputed dera land
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 6
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr M.M.S. Bedi, today issued notice to the state of Punjab to produce the entire records of the case pertaining to the disputed land of Dera Sekhwan on October 27, in which Mr Manpreet Badal and his relatives have been booked by the local police. On October 1, in response to an anticipatory bail application moved by Mr Manpreet Badal, Mr Bedi had issued summons to the local police to produce the entire records related to the disputed land of the dera on October 6. However, the police told the court today that the records were in the custody of the Crime Department and hence could not be produced in the court. The judge then issued directions to the state to produce the records on October 27.

However, on the application for stay of arrest moved by Mr Manpreet’s counsel, the judge said since the petitioner had already been granted bail by the court, there was no need to put a stay on the arrest. The court had earlier instructed the police to serve a seven-day notice on Mr Manpreet Badal before arresting him. Mr Bedi said the petitioner should apply for the bail only after the police serves him a written notice in the case.

The police has registered a case under Sections 13(1) D, 13(2) 88 of the Prevention fo Corruption Act, 420, 427, 447, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against Mr Manpreet Badal, his brother-in-law, Mr Jaijeet Singh Jojo, Mr 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, who had accused Mr Manpreet Badal of accepting Rs 13 lakh to facilitate the settlement of a dispute regarding land ownership of the dera situated in Sekhwan village of Zira tehsil.


Gunny bag shortage man made, say farmers

Moga, October 6
Although the district administration had assured the farmers that there would be no shortage of gunny bags for filling paddy but farmers claimed that the shortage in markets was man-made. Stating this here today, the former president of the state unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Mr Kuldip Singh Sandhu, said that there was no shortage of gunny bags but these bags were supplied to only those farmers who were ready to ‘bribe’ the officials concerned

Talking to mediapersons here he said the district administration should make proper arrangements for supplying gunny bags to the farmers. — OC


Kisan mela held
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
A one-day kisan mela was held at Rakhra under the aegis of the Young Farmers’ Association, Punjab, which was inaugurated by State Public Health and Panchayat and Rural Development Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, here today.

On the occasion the foundation stone of a water management demonstration project to be extended by the Young Farmers’ Association in collaboration with the Nandaan Irrigation System, Israel, and the Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust was laid by the chief guest.

The Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, who was to inaugurate, could not reach the venue as he was indisposed. More than 2000 bags of the high yielding variety of wheat (HD 2687, HD 2643 and HD 2733) were distributed among the farmers. 



Criminal complaint against Finance Minister
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
A local Congress leader has filed a criminal complaint against Finance Minister Lal Singh and four others in the court of the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) here today.

Mr Ajay Thapar has filed the criminal defamation under Sections 499, 500 and 12-B, IPC, against Mr Lal Singh, District Congress Committee (Rural) President Hardial Singh Kamboj, Patiala police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal, Inspector of Bhadson police post Didar Singh and Chandigarh-based Regional Passport Officer Arvind Kumar.

Mr Thapar has claimed that the above-mentioned persons were involved in hatching a criminal conspiracy against him. He also claimed that Mr Lal Singh was involved in using government machinery against him.

The court has fixed October 20 as the next date for submitting preliminary evidence.


7 held on charge of robbery
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 6
The police here today claimed having arrested seven persons, including a former militant of Khalistan Commando Force (Zaffarwal) and seized four Hero Honda motorcycles, a Ford tractor, a gypsy, three .30 bore mausers, a .315 bore pistol along with cartridges, and a .30 bore spring field rifle with cartridges from their possession.

The arrested were identified as Pargat Singh, a former militant of the KCF (Zaffarwal), Randhir Singh, Balwinder Singh, Jagar Singh, Sahib Singh, Balwinder Singh Balial and Nazar Singh.

Mr A.S. Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sangrur, at a press conference here today said all seven were arrested by the Bhawanigarh police in past few days. He said they robbed their victims at pistol point.

The SSP said Pargat Singh, alias Pagga, a former militant of the KCF (Zaffarwal), led the gang. He said Pargat Singh was a hardened criminal.

Mr Rai said Pargat Singh surrendered before the police in 1992, but continued his activities. Later in 1995, the Amritsar police seized one AK 47 rifle, a .30 bore pistol, a .32 bore pistol, a hand grenade, and 10 kg of smack from Pargat Singh. In this case, Pargat Singh was sentenced to 10 years jail and fined Rs 1 lakh. Whenever, Pargat Singh came on parole from the jail, he committed crimes, he added.

The SSP said now also Pargat Singh was on six-week parole up to October 8, the day he had to present himself in the Sangrur district jail. He said during the parole, Pargat Singh this time also committed crime, but was arrested by the Bhawanigarh police.

To a question, the SSP said the police would recommend to the appropriate authorities not to release him on parole in future as he committed crime while on parole.


12 booked for attack on cops
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 6
The Noormahl police has booked 12 persons allegedly for attacking a police team and freeing one of their accomplices, who had indulged in eve-teasing on the Dasehra day.

Sonu, a resident of Noormahl, was being taken to the police station by constables Sushil Kumar and Kulwant Singh, after he allegedly indulged in eve-teasing at the Dasehra grounds. On the way, his eight or nine friends attacked the two constables, and got him freed from custody and fled the scene.


2 die, 6 hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 6
Two persons were killed and six others injured when a jeep, carrying 12 persons, and a tractor-trailer loaded with bricks, collided near Channo village on the Sangrur-Patiala road this morning. The dead and injured persons were occupants of the jeep. However, four children, occupants of the jeep, escaped unhurt in this accident.

The police said here today Sat Pal, driver of the jeep, died on the spot, while Shakuntala Devi dead on the way to hospital. The occupants of the jeep had been returning to Rama Mandi after immersing ashes of Shakuntala Devi’s father at Hardwar.

The police said the injured persons did not have serious injured. The police added it had arrested Gopi Khan, the driver of the tractor-trailer and impounded the vehicle. The police has also registered a case against the driver in this regard.


One injured in shootout outside varsity campus
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 6
Two groups today exchanged fire in front of the examination centre of Guru Nanak Dev University here in which Arun Rana was injured. At least 15 rounds were fired. An old enmity is said to be the cause of the clash.

According to Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, a private student Manoj Kumar, alias Rana, had come to the university along with his group to take his compartment paper. His opponent group, led by Navdip Singh, alias Sabhi, followed him. Both the groups had earlier clashed outside the university gate in June.

Security officer of the university S.S. China has lodged a complaint with the Sadar Police under Sections 307, 148, 149 of the IPC against Manoj Kumar and Arun Rana of one group and Sandip Singh and Navdip Singh of the other. However, nobody has been arrested so far.


Man killed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 6
Baldev Singh, a resident of Professor Colony, Tilak Nagar was allegedly killed by his brother-in-law Jaspal Singh of Sudarshan Nagar area here late last evening. However, his body was found near Shivala Bhaian area here today. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC at Civil Lines police station here.

According to the police, the deceased went with his brother-in-law last evening to celebrate Dasehra. However, he did not return. His body was found in his car in the morning today.


Varsity releases Pro-VC’s salary
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 6
After much controversy, the Punjabi University authorities released the salary of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, after he met with the Governor and Chancellor of the university, Justice O.P. Verma (retd).

According to the sources, the Chancellor had ordered the university authorities to release Dr Pal’s salary for three month, which was allegedly stopped by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, on the plea that the Pro-VC had not adhered to the norms while proceeding on leave.

During the meeting with Justice Verma some days ago, the Pro-VC had apprised him of various issues relating to the university.

A section of senior officials of the university maintained that the salary of the Pro-VC was stopped due to non-clearance of some bills. However, others opined that the salary of a senior official could not be stopped by the management.

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