Thursday, October 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Arrest warrants against 2 in Badal case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 15
In connection with the FIR dated June 24 registered against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the court of the Kharar Judicial Magistrate, Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, has issued arrest warrants for October 29 against Anil Kumar, son of Mr Harbans Lal, manager of the Killianwala petrol pump of Mr Badal, and another suspect Bhagwan Das Gupta.

Meanwhile, in connection with the same case, Mr Satrinder Singh Kohli, a chartered accountant of Mr Badal, and the Chandigarh police SI, Mr Nirabhjeet Singh, today moved an application before the same court opposing the Vigilance Bureau plea for the issuance of arrest warrants against them. The court has fixed October 29 as the date of hearing for the application of the VB as well as the suspects.

Mr Kohli has written in his application that he was shocked to read a report in The Tribune that the prosecution has moved an application seeking issuance of arrest warrants against him. He has written that his firm is the statutory auditor of some of the companies promoted by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and his family. He has stated that he has no connection with the cases that have been registered against the Badal family and he was not even handling the personal tax returns and personal accounts of Mr Sukhbir Badal. He has already been questioned by VB officials about the various companies promoted by the Badal family. He has written that the state government was acting in a malafide manner and was indulging in naked abuse of political power and authority.

Similarly, Mr Nirabhjeet Singh has written that he also came to know about the application moved by the VB from a report in The Tribune. He has written that he has no connection with the cases registered against Mr Badal and his family. Both have pleaded that the application moved by the prosecution should be dismissed.


Hoardings adorn Patiala roads
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
This home town of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is Punjab’s Karnal. Huge hoardings, almost the same size as in Haryana, adorn every important traffic intersection on all important roads, including National Highway 64, passing through the city.

The only difference is that while in Haryana, various public sector undertakings (PSUs), Cooperative societies, local bodies and other organisations have sponsored the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Government hoardings, here the sponsors are either not indicated or are unknown.

The only exception is the bridge over “Baddi Nadi” where Markfed undertook beautification of the central verge by putting up huge metallic statues of polo players facing vehicular traffic from either side and displayed pictures of its marketable products on the four reinforced concrete frames in violation of the Apex Court orders.

Another hoarding at Mukat chowk, carrying pictures of both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Parneet Kaur, the local MP, is by Rajpura Municipal Council, while another one fixed on traffic lights at the same intersection does not mention the sponsor.

Another important difference is that in Punjab, most of the overhead highway neon signages, indicating distances to towns and cities ahead , have been partially or completely hijacked for highlighting the “hopes of Punjabis under the Congress rule”.

The common slogan on overhead hoardings in Punjab is: “Only hope for Punjab : Diversification of Agriculture and Industrialisation” with pictures of both Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh. A few others are about the state’s first “transparent and responsible government”.

Hoardings erected at intersections, side roads and other strategic locations talk about achievements of the Congress government in different areas, including housing and urban development.

If Haryana hoardings and neon signboards carry pictures of Ch Devi Lal, Ch Om Prakash Chautala, Mr Ajay Chautala and Mr Abhay Chautala, Punjab hoardings carry pictures of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh. Only a handful of hoardings in Punjab carry pictures of local Congressmen appointed to key positions in different local bodies or cooperative societies.

Interestingly, when the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed a series of directions, endorsing the Apex Court’s directives on hoardings, neon signboards and signages on highways, side roads and other roads, Punjab had launched a massive campaign to remove all such commercial and other hoardings from the roadside. Except for the latest Congress government hoardings and signages, the state has remained free from such “hazardous” display of claims or advertisements. In Kharar, for example, a number of massive hoardings and their supporting steel structures were removed in a swift operation.

One is greeted with an overhead neon signage with pictures of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh at Zirakpur. Similar signages appear all along National Highway 64. At Rajpura intersection, where National Highway 1 and National Highway 64 cross each other, there are two 15’x10’ hoardings at the intersection.

Do we need to be reminded of achievements or hopes of our government every time we are on the roads ? Are they more important than human life ? Punjab and Haryana lose about 4,500 to 5,000 human lives in road accidents every year. This is the reason the Apex Court considered these as “hazardous and disturbance to safe traffic movement”.


Punjab to try again for China trip
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Hurt by the nonclearance of its delegation to China by the Union Government, the Punjab Government has decided to make another bid to send the delegation to that country. However, now the state government wants to send the delegation to China in December or January to sign an MoU with one of the Chinese provinces.

Informed sources told The Tribune that the Union External Affairs Ministry today formally convenyed to the Punjab Government about the non-clearance of its delegation to China. In a brief two-line letter sent to the state government, the Union Government has, according to sources, stated “Reference your visit to China, we advise against taking the delegation under the leadership of a minister”.

Because of the refusal of the Union Government, Punjab’s delegation was unable to proceed to China to participate in the India-China week to be celebrated there till October 19.

Source said Punjab’s industrialists, who had suffered a big jolt in the eyes of their counterparts in China because of their failure to report in China as per the promise, had also decided to seek clearance from the Union Government for sending an independent delegation to that country in November-December. Most of the state Industrialists, who were to accompany the state government’s delegation, have their visa to China valid till January.

“Though we are certain that our delegation has been stopped from going to China for political reasons, but we want to re-test the Union Government in this connection”, said a senior Minister of Punjab. The Union Government in the past had cleared all delegations led by Chief Ministers or senior State Ministers from other states. However, Punjab had been clearly discriminated against by not clearing its delegation’s visit to China, he added.

In fact, the Punjab Government has been in direct confrontation with the Union Minister, Mr Venod Khanna, because he was not allowed to inaugurate a bridge over Naushahra Pattan in Gurdaspur district a few months ago by the State Government. His supporters were beaten up and arrested by the Punjab Police at the time of the inauguration of the bridge.

“Mr Khanna, who seems to be a very powerful minister played the main role in getting our delegation’s visit China scuttled. Moreover Mr Khanna has a political tussle with Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, who was to lead the Punjab delegation to China”, said the Punjab Minister.

However, senior Akali and BJP leaders say the state government had been openly humiliating even senior Union Ministers by using insulting language against them. “And it was now paying the price for taking confrontation with every body”, said a senior Akali leader.

He said because of the hostile attitude of Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab had started suffering.

However, a Congress Minister said it would be Punjab that would suffer ultimately because of the Centre’s indifferent attitude towards the state.


SDM’s vehicle found carrying fake
registration number

Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, October 15
The official vehicle of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Zira, has reportedly been found carrying a fake registration number. The fact came to light during a surprise checking conducted by the Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, Mr B. Sarkar.

Mr Sarkar, during the course of inspection of the SDM office, asked for the vehicle registration register from the clerk concerned but he was unable to produce the same. The register was later found from the SDM residence, which itself is unlawful.

When the Commissioner checked the register, he found that the registration number of the SDM’s vehicle-PB-47A-7777 — was fake. Mr Sarkar said the Gypsy was purchased in January, 2003 and on verbal orders of the then SDM, Mrs Alka Nanda Dayal, the registration number 7777 was put on it. The number had already been allotted to Mr Gurwaryam Singh of Zira in January, 2002. In order to obey the instructions of the then SDM, a number-plate bearing fake registration number PB-47A-7777 was put on the Gypsy without actual registration of the vehicle.

After the transfer of Mrs Dayal to Faridkot, the SDM’s Gypsy — now being used by present incumbent Davinder Singh — continued to carry the same number illegally. Ironically, the SDM, who himself is the registration authority for motor vehicles has been found using the vehicle without proper registration.

Mr Sarkar has ordered the removal of the fake number-plate from SDM’s Gypsy. He told that he would write to the Personnel Department for taking disciplinary action against the SDM Zira, Mr Davinder Singh and his predecessor, Mrs Alka Nanda Dayal.

Mr Sarkar also checked several other government offices, schools and hospitals of the Zira subdivision and found Mr Darshan Singh, BDPO, Mr Baldev Singh, Clerk, Mr Jaswant Singh, Junior Engineer, Ms Ritu Bala of Government Primary School, Jalekha, and Mr Sarabjit Singh, Panchayat Officer at BDPO office, Kot Isekhan, absent from their duties. He also ordered the suspension of Mr Pal Singh, Centre Head Teacher of a government school.


Statement of witness worth only if he is cross-examined
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The statement of a witness cannot be considered if his examination-in-chief has been recorded but he has not been cross-examined — the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled in a significant judgement.

In a ruling, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the High Court held the statement of a Vigilance Inspector could not be considered in a corruption case because his examination-in-chief had been recorded, but his cross-examination could not be recorded as he had died in the meantime.

The judge further held: “Since his statement is incomplete and no opportunity was given to the appellant in the case to cross-examine the witness, his statement cannot be taken into consideration for any purpose.”

The verdict was passed on an appeal filed by government employee Gurmukh Singh, challenging the orders of his conviction and sentence in a corruption case. The trial court, after holding him guilty in the case, had sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 18 years. A fine of Rs 500 was also imposed on the employee.

The accused, when confronted with incriminating evidence against him, had denied the allegations. Claiming to be innocent, he had alleged false implication in the matter and had demanded a trial. In an attempt to prove the allegations levelled against the accused beyond any shadow of doubt, the prosecution had examined as many as nine witnesses during the trial.

Among the prosecution witnesses was Inspector Amar Singh of the Vigilance Bureau at Ropar. He was approached by the complainant in the case before a trap was laid to allegedly nab the accused in the act.

Inspector Amar Singh was also a part of the team involved in the apprehension of the accused on allegations of accepting bribe. Upon receiving a signal from another witness, the Inspector and his team had caught the accused. The Inspector’s examination-in-chief was recorded by the trial court, but he died before his cross-examination could be conducted.

After hearing arguments in the case and going through the documents placed on record, Mr Justice Gupta ruled that Amar Singh’s statement could not be considered. Moreover, it had not been proved on file that the appellant had demanded money and had accepted the same as illegal gratification for getting “a work done”.

Acquitting the appellant of the charges framed against him, the judge had concluded: “From the mere recovery of the amount, the offence cannot be said to have been proved....”


Salary bills of gurdwaras exceed “golak”
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
Salary bills of many historic gurdwaras is more than the monthly “golak” (offerings), affecting the “dharam parchar” being carried out by the SGPC. At least Rs 1 crore is being paid to the surplus staff in the form of salary.

After the removal of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra as SGPC chief in 1999, his successors, except Akali leader Jagdev Singh Talwandi, undertook “whole scale recruitment”, especially of unskilled low-ranking employees’ in various SGPC-run institutes.

Against the monthly offerings Rs 2.26 lakh of Gurdwara Takht Damdama Sahib, excluding Rs 1.13 lakh which the gurdwara pays to the SGPC as per bylaws, the salary bill of the shrine is Rs 4.27 lakh. The amount excludes the huge amount spent on langar, electricity bills and other expenses. Whatever is offered by devotees goes towards the payment of employees and the management has to arrange funds to meet the gap. Several Sikh gurdwaras have not been able to clear dues running into crores to the SGPC.

The salary bill of Gurdwara Kandh Sahib (Batala) is Rs 1.39 lakh against the total “golak” of Rs 1.20 lakh, excluding Rs 70,000 given to the SGPC every month. The salary bill of Gurdwara Guru Ka Bagh is Rs 1.20 lakh while the “golak is only Rs 1 lakh. Similar is the condition of Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak where the monthly salary of employees is Rs 1.26 lakh while the “golak” is Rs 93,000 only. The budget of Darbar Sahib, Muktsar, Gurdwara Sukchain Sahib (Phagwara), Darbar Sahib Tarn Taran, Gurdwara Guru Tegh Bahadur, Baba Bakala, is no better.

After taking over as the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur had recruited 489 employees whose services were terminated by her successor Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi on the directions of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission. A provision committee was constituted to recruit employees as per requirement. The committee had ruled in 2002 that no employee should be recruited without any provision. However, the rules framed by the sub-committee were blatantly violated and hundreds of employees were recruited without any provision. Jathedar Alwinder Paul Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president who officiated for six days as SGPC president after the resignation of Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar, recruited about 120 low-ranking employees, mostly from his constituency.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary of the SGPC, said the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 was clear that the Shiromani committee or institutes being run by it could not be treated as an industry, corporation or a business house where persons could be recruited at the will of chairpersons. The employees who were recruited got salary for the “seva” they rendered to gurdwaras or SGPC-run institutes. He justified the retrenchment of 282 employees who were recruited without any provision.

He said with the recruitment of surplus staff, little funds were available for “dharam parchar”. He said the Shiromani committee would take more austerity measures.

He said it was a matter of concern that the SGPC could not recruit professionals. The Shiromani committee did not have a stenographer of English to address queries received by it everyday from all over the world. The computer section was also in a pitiable state.


Panchayat poll on October 29
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 15
Elections to the Panchayat of Vir Nagar , village Sarpanch of village Ranipur Rajputan village and some panches of Balolan, Chiheru, Dhaddey, Guru Nanak Nagri, Jagatpur Jattan, Lakhpur, Mauli, Nasirabad, Nawin Abadi Narangshahpur, Nihalgarh, Prempur, Randirgarh, Sapror, Sham, Nagar, Gobindpur, would be held on October 29 election duties were allotted yesterday at a meeting by SDM cum returning officer here Pritam Singh.

Nominations for these posts can be filed from October 15 to October 18 in the office of BDPO here from 11 am to 3 pm. Scrutiny of papers will be done on October 20 and withdrawals, would take place on October 21. Polling on October 29 would be conducted from 8 am to 4 pm.

Nobody filed nomination papers from the Vir Nagar Panchayat during regular panchayat polls a few months back. Sarpanch of village Ranipur Rajputan village died a few days after winning the elections.


Mann’s party to contest 4 seats
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will contest four parliamentary segments viz Sangrur, Bathinda, Ropar and Phillaur in the forthcoming elections of the Lok Sabha. This was disclosed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of SAD (A), while talking to mediapersons here today. He said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, had never discussed any issue with the MPs from the state for taking up state-related issues with the Centre. Mr Ram Naik, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, was still interested in setting up a refinery at Bathinda. But Capt Amarinder Singh did not bother to even meet him in this regard.


Govt policies anti-people, says Tandon
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 15
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was strengthening and helping the SAD-BJP combine by following anti-people policies and we would win all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. This was declared here yesterday by former Punjab Local Bodies Minister and BJP leader Balramji Das Tandon.

Mr Tandon termed the Amarinder Singh government as a government of gimmicks. It had raised taxes and tariffs but the revenue so generated was spent not on the development for people but on self development of the ruling party by hiking perks and payments, he alleged. Fees and funds of students had been hiked manifold, he continued.


British Sikhs offer help for Pak shrines
Our Correspondent

Wagah, October 15
Most historic gurdwaras in Pakistan do not have ‘parkash’ of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and many of them are in a dilapidated condition. A 14-member jatha of UK-based Sikh pilgrims said this on arrival here today.

The leader of the jatha, Mr Harjinder Singh Sami, told newsmen that they visited Sikh shrines at Hasan Abdal, Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, Sacha Sauda, Bhai Lalo Khuhi etc.

The jatha pleaded for establishing an independent agency to undertake the renovation of the shrines in Pakistan. He felt the SGPC and the PSGPC were unable to maintain most of these gurdwaras. Barring Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib more than hundred Sikh places were in bad shape.

The leader said that a large number of Sikhs settled abroad can also contribute substantial sum to protect these gurdwaras in Pakistan. The jatha met Bhai Sham Singh and others who were maintaining the gurdwaras and offered their services to renovate the shrines.

During their stay in Pakistan the jatha did not notice any anti-India activities at these religious places.


Homoeopaths from Pak arrive
Our Correspondent

Wagah, October 15
A 22-member delegation of homoeopathic doctors from Pakistan arrived here today.

The delegation, led by Dr Sheikh Azhar Intesar, president of the Pakistan chapter of Homoeopathic Doctors, has come to attend a three- day 14th International Homoeopathic Congress 2003, scheduled to be held from October 17 at the Air Force auditorium, New Delhi. The delegation has come on the invitation of Asian Homoeopathic Medical League.

While talking to newsmen Dr Sheikh Intesar said that there was not any doctorate of homoeopathic system such as MD and higher degrees in Pakistan as compared to India. The homoeopathic mode of treatment was becoming popular in urban areas and spreading in villagers. He expressed his disappointment that the government was not doing enough to spread homoeopathy in the countryside.

The leader of the delegation felt that India and Pakistani doctors should have regular interaction to update each other of the latest development in this system.


Canadian PM to ink pacts on trade, IT
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
The Canadian Minister for Industry, Mr Allen Rock, today stressed the need for increasing trade and economic ties with India.

Talking to newsmen after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, Mr Rock said he was going to explore a number of areas, including information technology, communication, agriculture and infrastructure, where Canada and India can work together and help the economic ties grow at a faster pace.

Mr Rock said the Candian Prime Minister during his visit to India next week, would sign a number of agreements on trade, IT, communication, tourism and aviation with the Indian Government. He said some Canadian airlines had already offered to start direct flights connecting New Delhi with Toronto.

The Minister of Industries will interact with Indian businessmen during his stay in Delhi. He would address a meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries and meet senior government officers to finalise the trade agreements between both nations to be signed by the Canadian Prime Minister.

Mr Rock said the Canadian Premier would visit the Golden Temple to pay obeisance on October 25 before returning to Canada after a brief visit to Chandigarh on that day. Mr Rock was accompanied by Member of Parliament Raymond Symond and senior officers of the Canadian commissions.

The honorary chief secretary of the SGPC, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta presented a siropa to the minister.


Solution to Kala Afghana issue favoured
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
Consensus prevails among Sikh intellectuals and leaders to find an amicable solution to the controversy arising out of the convening of the World Sikh Conference on October 26 at Chandigarh on the Kala Afghana issue. A seminar was held at the Chief Khalsa Diwan to deal with the situation arising out of Mr Kala Afghana challenging the edict issued against him.

However, leaders of some factions of the Sikh Students Federation sounded a word of caution about organisations supporting the Kala Afghana controversy.

While many Sikh intellectuals and leaders, including Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, Mr Suba Singh, Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, Dr Gursharan Singh and Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, favoured resolving the contentious issue by holding discussions with Mr Afghana, Mr Joginder Singh, editor of a magazine, “ Spokesman”, and Mr Gurtej Singh and others announced that they would give a “befitting reply” to those who have challenged the supremacy of Akal Takht.


Cancellation of octroi auction raises doubts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 15
Cancellation of the auction, for the contract of octroi collection of Municipal Council here has created controversy. Contract was finalised for Rs 8.51 crore and then its cancellation has left people guessing.

The Local Bodies Department Punjab organised the auction at Shri Guru Gobind Singh Stadium Jalandhar on Monday in which several contractors from Hoshiarpur participated.

Mr Harjeet Singh, Deputy Director Local Bodies Jalandhar, Ms Gurvinder Goindi Randhawa, Executive Officer and Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi, president, Municipal Council Hoshiarpur and two Municipal Councillors and Mr Bhupinder Kumar, Tehsilder Hoshiarpur on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner were present at the auction.

The rate of the annual auction for octroi collection was fixed at Rs 7.61 crore and the final bid was Rs 8.51 crore by a local contractor. Twelve bidders deposited Rs 5 lakh each in cash as earnest money for bidding process, while two of the contractors deposited bank draft of Rs 5 lakh each for this purpose. A video film of the auction was prepared.

When the bid was finalised, successful contractor managed to get back two bank drafts of Rs 10 lakh of the earnest money and slipped away from the venue and later the auction was cancelled.

The Executive Officer Municipal Council Hoshiarpur was not available in her office.

Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi, President Municipal Council said that due to a dispute among the contractors over the bidding the auction was cancelled. He said that fresh auction would be held very soon.


Of inflated phone bills and harassed subscribers
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 15
Subscribers having telephone connections from the main and new telephone exchange are a harassed lot due to excessive billing for the current month. There are complaints that bills received are four times compared to previous bi-monthly bills.

When subscribers complained to the authorities in this regard and demanded correction of the bills, the authorities threatened disconnections of phones. The subscribers have to deposit the bills.

The telephone authorities maintain that the tariff has been increased and the enhanced bills are due to this. If it were so, the bills would have been one and a half times. The subscribers demand an inquiry into this.

Subscribers allege that the hard disc of the new telephone exchange has been damaged and the authorities have issued bills taking in account zero reading, which is being denied by the authorities.

Many telephone subscribers may prefer disconnection of their telephone to paying fat bills.

There are complaints that subscribers who deposit bills in telegraph office on the Jail road here face inconvenience due to lack of proper co-ordination between the staff of the telegraph office and accounts department of the telephone department. Normally the subscribers depositing telephone bills often receive call from the Telephone Department to show receipts if they had deposited the bill, otherwise are directed to deposit the same with fine. Situation becomes difficult when subscribers misplace receipts.

Some subscribers are thinking of moving the consumer court for the redressal of complaints.


Punjab to modify lottery schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The The Punjab State Lotteries is modifying its future bumper lottery schemes so as to attract maximum response.

This was stated by Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab, today while giving away prizes to the winners of Punjab State Rakhi Bumper, 2003. The draft of first prize was received by Mr Jaspal Singh of Phagwara.

To make schemes more acceptable to the public, he said he had instructed the department to add prizes in kind. The schemes were to be launched after the draw of Maa Laxmi Diwali Pooja Bumper on October 28. He gave two reasons for the popularity of Punjab State Lotteries — transparency in the draws conducted in the presence of the public on the announced dates and the practice of giving the drawn from sold tickets alone.

He said the department had earned a profit of Rs 37 crore during the first half year as against Rs 31 crore during the first half of the previous year. This would be utilised towards developmental works of the state.


Fast by unemployed linemen continues
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
The indefinite fast being observed by the Unemployed Linemen Union, Punjab, in support of their long-pending demand of filling thousands of technical posts lying vacant in the Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala entered its 28th day today.

While the condition of those fasting, Kuldeep Patiala, Sukhwinder Lalehri, Paramjit Naulakha and Janak Singh Mansa is reported to be serious, supporters of Mr Kuldeep Patiala have vowed to continue the fast till their last breath.

In a press note issued here today, the union president, Mr Mandeep Singh Sanour, has said Capt Amarinder Singh had not given any positive indication with regard to their demands. This is despite the assurance given by senior Congress leaders, who visited the persons sitting on the fast. Even Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had said that she would take up their demand of filling up these vacancies in the board with the Chief Minister.

Addressing a protest rally in Patiala, the chief adviser of the union, Mr Ram Singh has appealed to the government to accept their demands. He criticised the government for not keeping its promises made during the Vidhan Sabha elections. Union leaders who addressed the rally, threatened to intensify the agitation if their demands were not met. Meanwhile, Mr Sanour has appealed to all political parties, unions, employees bodies, farmers and students bodies to take part in the fast to be observed tomorrow.


Fest to showcase heritage
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 15
Preparations for the Heritage Festival at Kapurthala are in full swing. Part of the Punjab Government’s plan to promote heritage and boost tourism, the festival will provide a platform to showcase the heritage of Kapurthala. The heritage building housing the Jagatjit Club has been illuminated. A three-day exhibition is being put up by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Renowned artistes will perform during the three-day festival. On October 17, Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi, qawwal, and his troupe from Hyderabad and Wadali Brothers will perform. On October 18, Rajan and Sajan Mishra, acclaimed vocalists, will render Punjabi bandishes. “Wichhre Paani”, a Punjabi opera directed by Madan Bala Sandhu, will also be presented. On October 19, Padma Bhushan Pt Debu Choudhury, a sitar maestro, and Prateek Choudhury will perform. Celebrated vocalist Padma Shri Parveen Sultana will also perform on the last day of the festival.


Madan Mohan nite on Oct 19
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
Efforts would be made to recapture the magic of melodies of the late music maestro Madan Mohan and other great musicians during the annual Madan Mohan Nite to be organised by the Sangeetkar Madan Mohan Yaadgar Sabha on October 19 at the local Gymkhana Club.

Mr S.S. Ajimal, Chairman of the sabha, said a number of singers, Kirti Rajput, Rinku Sharma, Richa Sharma, Arshpreet Kajol Panju, Geeta Dutta, Naresh Dhiman, Arvind Dadwal, Gulshan Tandon and Mangal Singh, would mesmerise the audience.


Ambedkar mela organised
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
Ambedkar sabhiyacharak mela was held at the local Ambedkar Bhavan today by the Ambedkar Mission Society.

Mr Chanan Ram Chahal, president of the Federation of Ambedkarites Buddhist Organisation, England, said narrow thinking and communalism had put the country in a perilous situation.

Prof Kewal Singh Parwana, president of the Ambedkar Mission Society, said Dr Ambedkar’s principles should be followed. He said Dr Ambedkar had embraced Buddhism on October 14, 1956.


Lab technicians defer rally
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 15
The Medical Laboratory Technicians Association, Punjab had deferred its state-level rally and protest march of October 19 outside the ancestral house of Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services, Punjab.

Mr Jhirmal Singh Bhinder, a leader of the Association, said here yesterday evening that the decision of deferring the protest following a meeting of association with Dr Sandhu at Chandigarh yesterday.


Dharna against hike in water tariff
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 15
Hundreds of women, led by Ms Pushpa Sharma, general secretary the Punjab Mahila Morcha of the BJP, staged a dharna at the local Clock Tower today in protest against the recent increase in the tariff of water and sewerage by the Hoshiarpur Municipal Council. The traffic at the Clock Tower remained disrupted for hours on end. They shouted slogans against the President and councillors of the municipal council for this “unwarranted” increase and demanded immediate withdrawal of the enhanced rates. Later they went in a procession to the office of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Paramjit, and presented him a memorandum in this regard.


SMO writes to CM, seeks promotion
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
Dr Manjit Kaur, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), working in Civil Hospital Nathana, has alleged that she was denied promotion allegedly by replacing her Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) in the office of the Director, Health Services, Punjab.

She has urged Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh to get her service record scrutinised and given promotion. She alleged that doctors junior to her had been promoted Chief Medical Officers.


Holiday on Oct 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab Government has declared a holiday on October 16 to mark “parkash utsav” of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, according to an official spokesman.


Pace of paddy procurement more than expected
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
Paddy purchase by traders this year has surprised farmers too. In Sangrur district, traders purchased 2,23,941 metric tonnes (MTs) of paddy till last evening of the total 10,43,644 MTs of procured paddy by government agencies and the traders meaning the traders purchased more than 21 per cent till October 14 this year compared to 2.8 per cent (only 22,241 MTs out of 7,83,442 MTs of procured paddy) last year.

Sangrur district topped in paddy procurement in the state in 2002 by procuring 21.44 lakh metric tonnes of paddy, of which only 1,37,971 MTs (6.4 per cent) had been purchased by traders.

With 200 new rice shellers this year in the district, owners of the rice-shellers did not want to take any risk in the matter of paddy for milling.

Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said nearly 190 new rice-shellers with 200 tonnes of capacity had been installed this year by the rice millers increasing rice-milling. from 600 tonnes to 800 tonnes in the district. Arrival of fine quality paddy has also attracted the traders.

Ms Gurmeet Kaur Sidhu, District Food and Supply Controller (DFSC), Sangrur, said the district had 733 rice-shellers this as compared to 541 last year.


Markfed ‘delays’ paddy payments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
A large number of commission agents have complained about delayed payments for paddy procured by Markfed. Commission agents from Khanna Mandi say that Markfed made the first payment for paddy after 11 days. Till date, Markfed has cleared the payments for paddy procured till October 4 in the Khanna mandi.

Commission agents assert that they have no problem with other procurement agencies which are prompt in clearing the dues. This belies the government claim that the payments were made within 72 hours of the procurement of paddy.


DCC office-bearers announced
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 15
The District Congress Committee today released the much-awaited list of office-bearers. Vaid Hari Krishan, President, DCC, addressing a press conference here today said every one, who had worked for the party had been adjusted and it had been ensured that representatives of MLAs, MPs and other senior leaders were adjusted. He claimed that there was no factionalism in the party. Answering a query about the heavily constituted DCC, he said representation had been given to every section of society.

As per list released, there are 16 vice-presidents, 11 general secretaries, 11 executive members, 13 permanent invitees, 14 secretaries, 11 organising secretaries and one treasurer and one media secretary.

The following are the office-bearers. The vice-presidents are Pt. Naresh Sharma, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Gurdaman Singh, Mrs Karamjit Kaur, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Ranjeet Singh Ghola, Mr Harinder Singh Bhambri, Mr Bhupinder Singh Jaggi, Mr Satish Kumar Gupta, Mr Harpreet Singh Prince, Mr Om Prakash Tangri, Mr Gursatinder Singh Jallah, Mr Gurdev Singh Kahanayan, Mr Charanjiv Sharma, Mrs Rekha Mehta and Mr Surinder Singh.

The general secretaries are Mr R.N. Sharma, Mr Lakhbir Singh, Mr Subash Sood, Mr Hemant Pajni, Dr Mohan Lal Salempur, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Harinder Singh Marwa and Mr Ranjit Singh Tarkhan Majra. The treasurer is Mr Devinder Kumar Makhan and the media secretary is Mr Kulidp Singh Shatran.


MC, police at loggerheads over posts’ construction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
The police and the municipal corporation (MC) are reportedly at loggerheads over the construction of police posts in the city.

Even as applications for approval and payment of advertisement tax and land rent are pending with the corporation, the work on the police posts is almost complete. Advertisements have also been displayed on them.

Mr Brij Bedi, president of the Citizens’ Forum, who raised the issue said earlier the corporation had constructed steel structures to mount advertisements in violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling banning advertisements, including billboards, banners and posters, and now the police was violating the same.

As many as 21 Gypsy shelters, 10 beat boxes and 25 traffic umbrellas have been constructed by a private advertising company, a national advertising concern, in lieu of advertising rights on public land, including main roads, footpaths and crossings.

Mr Manjinder Singh of the company said the application for the construction had already been submitted to the corporation.

The company had also presented 12 motor cycles to the police.

Mr Vijay Partap Singh, SP (City-1), said the corporation had given its approval for the same. He said the police could not afford to construct these with meager funds hence it had been entrusted to a company on contract. He said the construction was not in violation of the court ruling, as police information regarding phone numbers of control room help lines would also be advertised.

However, the Commissioner of the corporation, Mr K.S. Kang, said the advertising company’s application had not been passed. He said a single company was given the contract without following the norms of advertising and public notices about the contract. He said he had written to the SSP, Mr Kultar Singh, about this. He said atleast two other companies were in the fray for the construction but the procedure had not been followed. On HC orders, he said in due course guidelines had been framed to allow advertisements which did not distract a driver.


PSEB move to recover 16.7 cr arrears
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
To recover arrears of Rs 16.72 crore owed by the Punjab Police, health and other departments to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in the north zone alone, the Board has decided to take up the matter with the Director General of Police and the Punjab Chief Secretary to spend up the payment process.

This was stated by Mr Raman Bhalla, Administrative Member of the PSEB, who was here to participate in a pension adalat, organised by the PSEB (north zone) authorities. Discussing the state of affairs in the north zone (Doaba region), he said the Punjab Police and department like health owed crores of rupees as arrears to the PSEB.

Mr Bhalla said in the north zone alone power worth Rs 10.90 crore was stolen during last year, while the PSEB authorities had recovered Rs 8.72 lakh.

He said corruption would not be tolerated in the Board and the ongoing anti-corruption drive had led to the arrest of six senior official and their cases were being investigated.

Taking about the pension adalat, Mr Bhalla said one of its aims was to provide retirement dues to an employee on the day of his retirement. He said of the 113 pending pension cases, 73 had been disposed of.

He distributed cheques for Rs 1.75 crore to 125 pensioners.


Homeless SCs to get 1.8 cr
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
The district administration will disburse an amount of Rs 1.8 crore soon among 900 homeless scheduled caste persons, living below the poverty line in the district, for the construction of houses.

Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said this while addressing a meeting of the District Development Committee here on Monday evening .

The Deputy Commissioner further said the administration had identified a total of 1,029 homeless scheduled caste persons, living below the poverty line, from 106 villages of the district for providing them a grant of Rs 20,000 each for the construction of houses.


Official suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Dr Lal Singh Momi, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Faridkot, was today placed under suspension for dereliction of duty.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry Minister, had recommended his suspension, according to a press note.


PSEB employee acquitted in bribery case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
In a complete reversal of events, a Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employee accused of accepting Rs 100 for issuing a duplicate copy of a demand notice, was acquitted of the charges framed against him.

The accused, a Ropar resident, was earlier booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act after a prosecution witness alleged he had demanded money.

Going into the background of the case, the complainant had claimed that he wanted a connection for installing an electric motor on his land.

For acquiring a duplicate copy of the demand notice, he had approached the PSEB on February 18, 1986, but money was demanded. The employee was, subsequently, convicted and sentenced to one-and-a-half-year rigorous imprisonment in the case on July 14, 1992.

After hearing the arguments in the case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled: “It has not been proved on the file that the appellant had demanded Rs 100 for supplying duplicate copy of the demand notice....”


Mardana society chief booked
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, October 15
The Ferozepore police has booked Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Society, on the charge of getting a passport of a girl prepared on the basis of a fake ration card. The girl, Mandip Kaur, a resident of Nawanshahr, was later married to an NRI, Garry Gill, of the USA.

Mandip Kaur belonged to Nawanshahr district and had given an address in Ferozepore, which was attested by Mr Bhullar. According to Mr Parveen Sinha, district police chief, a case has been registered against Mr Bhullar on the basis of legal opinion sought from the District Attorney under Sections 65, 71, 465, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Mr Sinha said the wrong address given in the ration card was also mentioned in the passport. Earlier, the DSP (Detective), Mr Baljinder Singh, had indicated Mr Bhullar for helping the girl to get a ration card on the basis of a wrong address.

Mr Manish Chawla, SP, said even the photographs of the parents of the girl were manipulated, which was a serious crime.

However, Mr Bhullar said he had no intention to give a wrong address of the girl.

Giving details of the case, Mr Chawla said the case was registered following a complaint lodged by Pritam Singh. The complainant had alleged that Buta Singh, a resident of Nawanshahr, got the passport of his daughter prepared on the basis of a wrong address.

It is learnt that the military intelligence had also sent an adverse report against Mr Bhullar, who is a frequent visitor to Pakistan. Senior police officers said Mr Bhullar had been under observation.


MC clerk suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
Mr Gurvail Singh, a clerk in the local municipal corporation, has been suspended while four others have been booked by the police for allegedly trying to hide records and attacking Mr Balwinder Singh, a resident of Sharifpura, on September 30. A case was registered against them under Sections 341, 506 and 323 of the IPC at the Kotwali police station here today.

The suspects are Mr Tarsem Singh, Head Clerk, Mr Narinder Singh, Mr Harjinder Singh, Mr Gurvail Singh, all clerks, and Mr Manoj Kumar, a peon. The complainant stated that he was a rickshaw contractor and used to give rickshaws on rent. He said he used to submit licence fee to the suspects, who allegedly took more money than prescribed. He said Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, on a complaint, demanded the record pertaining to the licence fees, which they suspects tried to hide. However, he succeeded in tracing the record, on the basis of which Mr Kirpal Singh suspended Mr Gurvail Singh. In a fit of rage, the suspects attacked and threatened to kill him.


Five hurt in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 15
Five persons are reported to have injured in two different road accidents. According to information, two brothers, Sukhwant Singh (23) and Nanak Singh (21), who were coming on their scooter from Hauz Khas village to Fazilka this morning to attend an Army recruitment rally, collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction and got injured.

In another incident which took place on Tuesday night, three persons, Joginder Singh (25), Avtar Singh (52) and Raj Kumar (26), were coming in a truck to Fazilka. The truck driver lost control of the vehicle all of a sudden and collided with a tree resulting in injuries to all three persons.

All the five injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital and are stated to be out of danger.


60 kg poppy husk seized from cop
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
The police allegedly seized 60 kg of poppy husk from a head constable of the Punjab police, Darbara Singh, posted at Nabha, from his house at Kherri Gillan village, near Bhawanigarh, on Monday night.

The police said it had also seized 60 kg of poppy husk from the vehicle of Sukhdev Singh of Moga district and Jagjit Singh of Ferozepore.

All three have been arrested and a case has been registered.


Schoolgirl raped by acquaintance
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 15
A 16-year-old student of Class IX was allegedly raped by a middle-aged person, Nirmal Singh, alias Nimma, of Kotdatta village under Harike police station. The accused is a family acquaintance of the victim.

The accused picked the victim from her school on the pretext that her mother was seriously ill. On the way to home, Nimma allegedly raped her. The accused is at large while the police has registered a case under Section 376 of the IPC.


80-year-old murdered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
Vidya Rani, 80-year-old widow, was allegedly stabbed to death by some unidentified people at her house here yesterday morning.

It is suspected that the woman was stabbed to death by suspected robbers who may have barged into her house between 9 am to 1 pm.

The crime was detected in the afternoon when one of her relative came to provide her with lunch as usual.


Poppy husk seized

Abohar, October 15
Poppy husk weighting 350 kg and packed in eight bags was seized during a search of a Tata Sumo vehicle here. Official sources said today that the vehicle had arrived from Sriganganagar (Rajasthan) where poppy husk is sold to permit holders through vends on the recommendation of medical specialists. Two occupants of the vehicle escaped on seeing the police while Devinder Singh of Shahkot (Jalandhar) was arrested under the NDPS Act. — OC


Media commercialised, says former VC
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
Observing that media has been making a considerable contribution towards the ever-evolving process of society, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, yesterday exhorted journalists to serve society with a missionary zeal.

Dr S.P. Singh, who was speaking at a seminar “Media and Social Change”, organised jointly by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the GND University, the Punjab Bhasha Academy and the Punjab Academy of Social Sciences, Literature and Culture on the varsity’s Regional Campus at Ladhewall near here, said the journalism of yesteryears was a bit different from the modern journalism. “Media has become powerful and media people have been doing good things for society, but at the same time commercialism has creeped in which makes it different from journalism of yore when people worked with untiring enthusiasm,” said Dr S.P. Singh.

While lauding the positive role of the media, Dr J.S. Puar, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, however, shared a different view. He said media was not as free as it was being projected. “Strings are sometimes pulled from elsewhere. Media depends upon advertisements which influence its Independence,” said Dr Puar.

Mr Davinder Singh Chhina, a journalist and media researcher, Guru Jambeshwar University, Hisar, talked about the role of the media in the field of human rights. “Media can change society and play a vital role by making people aware about their human rights and by highlighting rights violations,” said Mr Chinna.

Mr Satnam Singh Manak from the daily Ajit described the role of media during the 1984 and Godhra riots.

Later, about 25 old students of the Department of Journalism of the GND University held a meeting and formed a club.


PTU plan to set up digital libraries
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
Punjab Technical University (PTU) is planning to set up digital libraries for reducing journals and accelerating research and development programmes. This was stated by Dr S.K. Salwan, an eminent scientist and Senior Adviser to PTU, while delivering a special lecture on ‘New initiatives by PTU in research and development in science and technology at Baba Kumar Ji Engineering College at Gursar Satlani, near here, recently, according to a press note issued by the college here yesterday.

Dr Salwan said the university was taking initiative to issue ‘smart cards’ for the effective management of learning process and record keeping. He said the university was working on various new plans for building highly trained and motivated core faculty for advanced teaching and research in various disciplines of modern technology.

Dr Salwan said stress would be laid on entrepreneurship, manufacturing technology, advanced electronic energy and information technology, for which the work had already started. He said the university was setting up regional centres where postgraduate and doctoral programmes would be offered to engineering teachers for faculty development and accelerated research and development.

On the occasion, Dr Salwan was honoured by the Director Principal of the college, Dr S.S. Bhatti, and a robe of honour was presented to him by the Chairman of the college.


Hearing aids given to 71 students
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
Mrs Sunil Aggrawal, chairperson of the hospital welfare section of the District Red Cross Society, today said that the latest equipment, including hearing aids, were being provided to deaf and dumb students of Mahant Gurbanta Dass School for Deaf, Dumb and Blind.

Presenting hearing aids to 71 students, she said despite the handicap the students were doing well. She said 152 students were on the rolls of the school and hearing aids had been provided to all of them. She said the district administration had been helping the school and residents of the city too were contributing in cash and kind.

Mrs Maninder Kaur Bhalla, Principal of the school, said the students had won first and second prizes at a competition held by the Bharat Vikas Parishad at Jaito town of Faridkot district.


Abolition of teachers’ post hits schools
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 15
Instead of filling the large number of vacancies, the Education Department, Punjab has decided to abolish these posts. According to this decision 3,242 posts of teacher of different categories and other staff in primary and secondary schools of the state have been abolished. This has adversely affected the functioning of the schools and the studies of thousands of students have been hit hard.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesman for the Government Secondary Teachers Union, Punjab, while giving details said that of the abolished vacancies, 1,762 are at the secondary level and 1,480 at the primary wing level. The Director, Public Instructions (Secondary), vide circular dated September 23, has stated that in May 2001, the government had sanctioned 2,511 posts out of 4,273 posts in the middle, high and senior secondary schools under the plan scheme (Temporary) in 1,404 upgraded schools.

Of these, there were 468 posts of Principal but surprisingly 433 of these posts remained vacant. Similarly, 374 posts of lecturer out of 1,404, 272 out of 1,465 posts of cadre master, 245 out of 468 posts of clerk and 438 out of 468 posts of class IV employees remained vacant. All these posts have now been abolished.


VC releases book
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 15
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai released a book “Mera Desh Mere Lok” on the campus here today. This book is the Punjabi translation of the best seller ‘Wise and Otherwise: A Salute to life” written in English by Ms Sudha Murti, a renowned Kannadaga writer.

Appreciating the writer of the book, Mr Boparai emphasised that her work had the capacity to inspire a compassion and honesty in one’s character. He appealed to students to adopt strong values and truthfulness in their approach.

Mr Sudha Murti, writer of the book said she had tried to bring before the reader real life incidents. Dr N.S. Kapoor of the Journalism Department, who translated the book into Punjabi while terming it as a very enlightened work said the book divided into 52 chapters dealt with two opposite situations of human life.


70 students donate blood
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
As many as 70 members of three NSS units of the local Rajindra Government College donated blood in a camp organised by the college authorities here today.

Mrs Gurmeet Kaur Bhattal, Principal of the college, in a press note issued today said a list of 300 students with their contact numbers had been prepared for emergency.

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