P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badals accused of not accepting summons
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal will appear before the Special Court in Ropar on December 1 to answer charges levelled against him in a case of disproportionate assets registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on June 25 this year.

Mr Badal claimed that though no summons had been served on him so far, he took the decision to appear in court in person to uphold the independence and supremacy of the judiciary of the country.

On the other hand, the bureau accused Mr Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur and son Sukhbir Singh, co-accused in the case, for running away from the process of law by refusing to accept summons issued by Special Court.

While Mr Badal has been campaigning in Rajasthan in support of the Indian National Lok Dal- Shiromani Akali Dal candidates, he denied that any summons were served on him describing the Vigilance claim as a “bundle of lies. When I am ready to appear and have already said so, why should I refuse to take service of summons. Doors of my house always remain open for Vigilance men to come and question me. They did question me. When I have already filed a criminal defamation against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to prove the same charges which the Vigilance has been investigating, why should I give them an opportunity to accuse me of non-cooperation,” said Mr Badal.

The Vigilance, on the other hand, claimed that a Deputy Superintendent, Mr Sukhwant Singh Gill, met Mr Badal at Gurdwara Nanaksar Thath in Sriganganagar on November 26 at 4.30 p.m. and he refused to “note down the summons”. Mr Badal, the Vigilance claimed, told the DSP that “this thing is already in my notice”. The DSP got a Daily Diary Report recorded at Karanpur Police Station on the same day.

Similarly, the Vigilance claimed that summons could not be served either on Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal or Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. Instead photo copies were pasted outside the main gates of their residences in Badal village and in New Delhi in the presence of their respective domestic helps and security guards.

Though appearance of Mr Badal in Ropar court on December 1 looks certain, it will be the discretion of the court whether to accept his bail application or not. A cross section of legal experts hold that in such cases when the leader of the main Opposition party has been chargesheeted and he has made himself available during investigations, grant of bail should be a foregone conclusion. This view point is supported by none other than Mr Harish Salve and Mr Hira Lal Sibal. They also refer to neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh where a similar battle is on between the present and former Chief Minister on the issue of corruption. But others hold that the court can issue notice to the State and in the meanwhile remand Mr Badal to judicial custody.

At the same time, appearance of Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in the court along with Mr Parkash Singh Badal on December 1 is not certain. At the time of investigation, they all had joined together.


Ropar police gears up for Badal’s visit
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 28
The Ropar police has made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward incident on December 1 when former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has to appear in the special court in Ropar in a corruption case filed against him by the Punjab police.

Barricades have been shifted from various roads in district to the Bachat Chowk area near the Ropar Judicial Court Complex. These barricades are likely to be put to use to stop the supporters of Mr Badal from moving towards the judicial complex.

Two fire tenders, one from Mandi Gobindgarh and the other from Nawanshahr, have also been summoned. Additional police force is also being summoned from other parts of the state.

Security has been tightened around the residence of the special judge, Ropar, who is to hear the case of Mr Badal. Special pickets have been set up around the residence of the judge and additional security personnel have been posted, there.

The police had earlier booked 21 Akali leaders of the district by name and another 60 to 70 unidentified person for disrupting traffic on November 24. However, none of the booked Akali leaders has been arrested so far.

According to sources the Ropar police had booked them in orders to discourage them from organising a show of strength on December 1. The police is likely to arrest the SAD and BJP leaders and other booked workers of district on December 1 or a day or two earlier in a case registered against them.

The Deputy Magistrate, in orders issued just a week ago, had also invoked Section 144 in and around Ropar mini secretariat and judicial court complex banning the gathering of more than four or five persons in the area.

The District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, has restricted the entry of people in the judicial court complex. The court officials have been directed to allow only those persons inside the complex who are directly related to the cases.

Meanwhile, leaders of the opposition parties are clandestinely planning a show of strength on December 1. Final decision in this regard is likely to be taken on November 30 when Mr Badal is likely to visit Padiala village near Kurali to attend the ‘barsi’ for former MLA Vachittar Singh.

The SSP, Ropar was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him at his office.


Badal fears arrest, says Cong leader
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 28
Mr Lakhwant Singh, member of the Pradesh Congress Committee, today ridiculed former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for taking indirect help from the PAC of the SAD to seek bail from the Judicial Court, Ropar, on December 1 in connection with a challan filed against him by the Punjab Government in a disproportionate assets case.

He said the statements of Mr Badal that he would not seek bail at any cost were only political tactics to get the sympathy of the people.

He alleged that even the meeting of the SAD Political Affairs Committee, presided over by SGPC president and SAD leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra, was held at the behest of Mr Badal in Chandigarh on Wednesday to find out a way out for Mr Badal and to muster people’s support to build pressure on the judiciary.

In a statement issued here, the PPCC member urged Mr Badal not to disturb the peace in the state for political gains.


CPM leader assails Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Secretary of the Punjab state unit of the Communist Party of India ( Marxist), Mr Balwant Singh, has ridiculed the histrionics being enacted by a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his supporters, to try and project the corruption case registered against him and his family members as an attack on all Sikhs and Punjabis.

In a statement issued here today, he has termed his histrionics to be a bundle of lies and falsehood and has appealed to all hard-working people of the state to decry the same. He has alleged that majority of the actions and decisions of Mr Badal, both as President of SAD and Chief Minister of Punjab, had been detrimental to the interest of the people, the state and the poor common workers of the party.

In fact, following the presenting of challan in the corruption case, Mr Badal stood exposed and people would not be fooled by his meaningless public utterances, he added.


Police seeks arrest warrant against Nihang chief
Our Correspondent

Poohla (Tarn Taran), November 28
The Bhikhiwind police has sought arrest warrant against Nihang chief Baba Ajit Singh Poohla against whom a case under Sections 323, 341, 427 and 506 had been registered. He had allegedly attacked a mason, Anand Kishore Sharma, living in Poohla village and his other assistants.

Baba Ajit Singh, chief of Tarna Dal, who has Z security cover has been ruling the roost in the village for the past more than two decades as he had “good relations” with the then DGP, Punjab, Mr K.P. Singh Gill, and other police officials.

Residents of Poohla village have been fighting against the “atrocities” of the Nihang chief. The villagers alleged that he had been harvesting the crops of poor farmers.

A case under Sections 341, 427, 506 and 34, IPC, has also been registered against four of his followers for detaining migrant labourers at the village. Capt Sukhdev Singh and Mr Balbir Singh, former member panchayat, told this correspondent today that the villagers had decided to fight against the atrocities of the Nihang chief.

The police has decided to come to the rescue of the villagers. Mr Surinder Singh, DSP of Bhikhiwind, told mediapersons today that the police had given weapons to the villagers to fight against the Nihang chief and his followers. The police has also set up a police post in the village under the supervision of an ASI.

Mr Surinder Singh said the police had sent police parties to arrest the Nihang chief. He, however, failed to give the exact number of security personnel provided to the Baba and also failed the tell with whose permission he had been given the security cover.

Capt Sukhdev Singh said the Baba had been occupying the gurdwara though it was under the control of the SGPC. The Nihang chief was also forcibly occupying land belonging to the gurdwara and 25 acres belonging to the village panchayat.

Residents of the village, situated at a distance of eight kilometres from the Indo-Pak border, are living under the constant fear of Baba Poohla.


News Analysis
SC ruling on liquor fee cheers up Punjab
by P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department could not have asked for more. Upholding of its decision to levy import fee on beer by the Supreme Court on Thursday means a saving of at least Rs 50 crore.

Had Punjab lost the case, the state would have had to pay to manufacturers not only the import fee collected since 1996, when they had filed a writ but also additional 15 per cent interest, thereon. This was a commitment the state had given to the apex court, when it had granted stay on the High Court judgment in 1998.

The import fee was levied on April 1, 1992. A Jammu-based Devans Modern Breweries had challenged that in April, 1996. The breweries has large business of its product which are imported to Punjab from Jammu. After the High Court had quashed the Notification of March 27, 1996, the state had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The High Court had struck down the Notification on levying of the import fee on the ground that there was no specific provision to impose such a levy in the Punjab Excise Act, 1914. The state had imposed the import fee under the provisions which enabled it to charge any fee, considered appropriate, since the state excise laws, including the law of J and K and Karnataka have specific provision to levy the import fee.

Knowledgeable sources said the petitioner had tried to take the benefit of the situation jeopardising the state revenue, which has not been agreed to by the Supreme Court because the Act empowers the state to regulate liquor trade in manner which is in its best revenue interests.

Punjab had opted for the import fee because other states were levying similar fee. In the event of not doing so, the local manufacturers of beer would have been put to a disadvantage. This is why import fee was prescribed and a level-playing field provided, since Punjab breweries were paying such fee on their exports.

What clinched the issue is believed to be the detailed submission on behalf of the state by Dr A.M. Singhvi, senior advocate in the Supreme Court. The split judgment of the five-member Constitutional Bench has brought a sigh of relief and cheers to the department.

In the meantime, the submission stated, the petitioners continued to pay the import fee, right up to 2003. All these years, they had acted under the statutes, rules, regulations, terms and conditions, all of which were known to everyone and constituted a contract with the Excise Department. Obviously, the petitioners enjoyed the benefits flowing from their trade and later wanted to wriggle out of the contract.

Dr Singhvi’s April, 2003, submission also reveals that after 1996, the quantity imported by the manufacturers into Punjab had increased dramatically — from 3.34 lakh bulk litres in 1996-97 to 18.74 lakh bulk litres in 2002-03 till mid-April; an increase of approximately 6 times — despite the import fee.

The Excise officials say that most of the beer is imported from Jammu, Rajasthan and Haryana in addition to local manufacturing by the United Breweries and Shivalik Breweries. Besides beer, the premium and de-luxe brands of IMFL — Indian Made Foreign Liquor — are also subjected to import fee. This liquor flows from various parts of the country, including Bangalore and Maharashtra.

The import fee is Rs 5 per bulk litres beer and Rs 5 per proof litres on IMFL. Punjab had imported 50 lakh bulk litres beer in 2000-01, earning a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore. This quantity rose to 52 lakh bulk litres in 2001-02 and dropped to 30 lakh bulk litres the following year. Consequently, the revenue slipped to Rs 1.5 crore. The same amount is expected in the current year, 2003-04.

In respect of 70 lakh proof litres IMFL in 2000-01, import fee revenue was Rs 3.5 crore. There has been a drop in IMFL: 65 lakh proof litres in 2001-02 to 40 lakh proof litres each in 2002-03 and 2003-04. The corresponding revenue was Rs 3.25 crore and Rs 2 crore each, respectively.


Milk plant staff told to sell products on quota basis
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda November 28
In a significant order Mr Narinder Singh, General Manager, Bathinda District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, has directed all employees of its local milk plant to sell its milk products on a monthly quota basis.

As per a copy of the order procured by TNS, monthly quotas for selling milk products have been set for different categories of employees including clerks, accountants, technical staff and unskilled workers.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that though it was not mentioned in the order that the salaries of those employees would be cut who would not be able to sell their monthly quota of milk products, the milk plant authorities would adjust an amount equal to the value of milk products, which would be supplied to every employee per month, from their salaries.

A section of employees of the milk plant are planning to observe strike tomorrow to protest against this.

We are not salesmen and we were not recruited as salesmen by the authorities concerned. How the milk plant authorities can do this and how can we force any body to purchase milk products of the local milk plant,” asked a section of the employees.

As per the order, all employees who have been drawing their salaries as per the Rs 3,120 and above pay scales will have to sell two cases of mono carton of pure oil (24 kg) and one tray of tetra of pure oil (5.4 kg) in one month. Those employees, who have been drawing their salaries as per the payscale below Rs 3,120 will have to sell one mono carton of pure oil (12 kg) and one tray of tetra pack (5.4 kg) per month.

The employees will be given 6 per cent commission on this and Rs 1.50 per tetra pack. They will also be given prizes after every month and annually also.

Mr Narinder Singh said the scheme was being implemented on the basis of the report given by the task force comprising higher officials of Milkfed, Punjab, general managers and officials of NDDB on November 14 in connection with the improvement of the financial position of the local milk plant. He said the scheme had been introduced on November 15, and was being constantly monitored.

He further the scheme had been introduced in those milk plants of Milkfed which were running into losses for the past many years.

When asked whether there would be a cut in the salaries of those employees who would fail to exhaust their monthly quota of milk products, he said he was of the opinion that all employees would be able to exhaust their monthly quotas.

When asked about the strike, he said he was not aware of this as the representative of employees union has do far not conveyed him anything in this connection.


Voters’ Punjabi kin in demand
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
Residents of Punjab, particularly of the Malwa belt, having relatives in Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Churu districts of Rajasthan and New Delhi are in demand. Candidates of various parties have started talking their services to woo voters.

As the campaigning reaches its feverish pitch, campaign managers have started transporting residents from here in order to secure the votes of their kin settled in various Assembly segments of these two states.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that every day hundreds of residents from Bathinda, Moga, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar and Patiala districts were being taken to New Delhi and Rajasthan by supporters and campaign managers.

Taking into consideration the fact that a sizeable population of Punjabis living in these states has the capacity to influence the outcome of the poll, almost all contestants had made special arrangements for using the services of the Punjabis.

Mr Sat Dev, a resident of Bathinda, has already spent three days for securing votes for a BJP candidates and Mr Subash Aggarwal, a resident of Ferozepore district, has visited Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts to ask his relatives to vote for Congress candidates.

Apart from it, the campaign managers have hired four-wheelers from Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot, Ferozepore and Muktsar districts for transporting supporters.

Mr Narinder Kumar, a transporter whose vehicles were hired, said it was for the first time that vehicles of Punjab were being used in the elections of others states.

Meanwhile, the assembly elections in Rajasthan and Delhi have caught the fancy of punters of this region.


Kalam to launch entrepreneurs’ school
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
Gyan Jyoti School of Total Quality Management & Entrepreneurship — North India’s first school aimed at sharpening the skills of entrepreneurs and working professionals — would be launched by President A.P.J. Kalam on December 1.

The school to be located at Mohali will be targeting entrepreneurs and professionals of one lakh small scale industrial units and 168 medium scale industries, whose skills would be strengthened with the help of short duration courses in such a manner that they would effectively meet the challenges posed to the industrial sector by the increasing globalisation.

“The President is very keen about this project. He wants Punjab to be able to provide more entrepreneurs, but at the same time he is of view that the quality of Punjabi entrepreneurs should be improved with the help of an organisation,” said Dr Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor of PTU, during an exclusive interview with The Tribune.

He said the Gyan Jyoti Trust had offered a separate 2.5 acre fully constructed place at Mohali worth Rs 10 crore for setting up the institute. Though it would be a joint PTU-Gyan Jyoti Trust Society, the land would not be transferred to the PTU. The Rs 1 crore grant to be given by the Punjab Government would be utilised for starting initial work and for engaging faculty.

Dr Rajan said the short duration courses would be framed for a duration of up to 12 weeks to one year. “Our focus would be professionals and entrepreneurs from agriculture, insurance, healthcare, house building, garments, automobile sectors to start with,” he added.

He said apart from the regular courses, the school would develop new distance learning, life time learning and refresher courses, training, and other innovative means and technologies to further its objectives.

MOHALI: Mr J.S. Bedi, Director of the Gyan Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology stated that the brief ceremony of signing of the agreement with PTU will take place in the presence of the President, Mr A.P.J. Kalam, at the airport in Chandigarh on December 1 immediately after his arrival.


Plan for new water storage tanks approved
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 28
The local Municipal Council has resolved to abandon water storage tanks located in the old water works here. The council resolved to purchase 22 acres of land near Malookpura distributary on the bypass for creating new tanks in technical consultation with the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

The project was earlier approved at a meeting of the officials concerned, Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, presided over the meeting.

Briefing mediapersons this afternoon Mr Tulsi Ram Dhaulia, president of the council, said 25 acres around the sewage water channel would be disposed off to arrange funds for constructing new water tanks. The tanks in the old water works had been damaged due to seepage of ground water.

Residents were worried that mixing of the seepage water with the canal water would lead to health hazards. The project was aimed at ensuring regular supply of potable water to each corner of the town.

The council agreed to pay approximately Rs 1 crore to the PWSSB as annual maintenance charges for running sewerage and water supply systems here.

The PWSSB had found during a survey that hundreds of illegal sewerage and drinking water connections existed in different localities. The council resolved to permit the consumers to get the connections regularised before December 31, 2003 as per rules. After that the offenders will have to pay heavy penalties. The council resolved to initiate legal proceedings under the Punjab Public Premises Act against a number of shopkeepers who had defaulted in the payment of rent in the markets located behind the bus stand, State Bank of India building and outside the police stations here.


BSF steps up vigil on border
Tribune News Service

Rania (Amritsar), November 28
The ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir does not apply to the Punjab border with Pakistan. The BSF jawans will not hesitate in opening fire on those trying to infiltrate into India.

This was stated by Inspector-General, BSF, G.S. Gill, and DIG G.S. Sandhu while talking to the Press here today.

To check infiltration from other areas due to fog or growth of wild grass, the BSF had increased its vigil in sensitive areas. Moreover, the wild grass is being cut on a war footing in this connection.

In view of the sensitivity of the Rania border outpost, the BSF has been resorting to ‘boat nakas’.

The IG said some of the battalions of the BSF had been deputed in Jammu and Kashmir, which would be withdrawn after improvement in situation there. He added that the BSF would install thermal imagers on the border.


SSP to visit Delhi in Daler case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai will go to Delhi next week to check details of persons, if any, taken abroad by Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi under the alleged human-trafficking racket regarding which a case had been registered by the Patiala police.

Earlier, the Patiala district police had claimed that the pop singer had taken four Gujarati girls as members of his troupe and had left them abroad. The police had then claimed that other persons had also been taken abroad and left there by the singer. The Patiala police is now going to verify these claims in the light of Daler Mehndi’s statement that he had never taken any resident of Punjab abroad as a member of his troupe.


Hospital gifted eye equipment
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 28
Sight Savers International (UK) and British Gas (UK) have gifted eye equipment worth Rs 75 lakh to the Ophthalmology Department of the local Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital. The State Minister for Medical Education and Research, Mr Santokh Singh, inaugurated the equipment here today.

The equipment includes two operating microscopes, three slit lamps, YAG laser, A&B ultrasound scan and Humphey’s visual field analyzer.

Mr Santokh Singh thanked the Chairman of Sight Savers International, Sir John Coles, and the Chief Executive of BG Group, Mr Frank Chapman, for the donation. He added that these efforts would go a long way in eradicating blindness in the region. Speaking on the occasion, MP Preneet Kaur said the people of Punjab would remain indebted for this valuable gift.

The Head of the department, Dr M.S. Bhatia, said this equipment would help in cataract, glaucoma and other microsurgeries and improve screening, follow-up and management of glaucoma cases. 


Kharar civic body okays widening of roads
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, November 28
The Municipal Committee at its meeting today decided to widen five roads in the town to help solve the problem of traffic congestion.

The general house of the committee, which met here in the morning, also cleared a proposal to construct public toilets in the town. The locations for these will be identified by the committee staff concerned and councillors. Estimates for the project are to be presented at the next meeting of the committee.

The committee cleared the proposal to widen the road leading the Ram Bagh at a cost of Rs 3 lakh. It is learnt that the road is only about 11-ft wide and had heavy traffic on it. A school is also situated on this road. The civic body will be widening the road by about 2 ft on either side. The other roads to be widened are the Badala road, Hospital road, Randhawa road and Jhungian road. The widening of the last four roads was presented as a table item at the meeting and the estimates were not immediately available.

The House also cleared the proposal to construct the pucca darwaja according to the new plan after dismantling part of the old structure and building a boundary wall of a rest house. Mr Om Parkash and Mr Jai Bhagwan objected to the construction of the boundary wall on the ground that it was a PWD Rest House and the responsibility of carrying out construction activity lay with that department. A sum of Rs 3.37 lakh would be spent on the construction of the wall. However, finally the item was passed unanimously.

Regarding an item related to a clerk who had been suspended and issued a charge sheet for allegedly indulging in financial irregularities, the president of the civic body, Mr Charanjit Singh, said the clerk should be given another 15 days to present his views in this regard failing which the committee would take disciplinary action against him. The charge sheet had been issued to Mr Pardeep Kumar on October 21 asking him to file a reply within 15 days. But till today he had not submitted his reply.

The House decided to withhold the payment which the committee owed to the octroi contractor after the expiry of the contract on August 14 as inquiries into the alleged issuance of fake ‘rahdari’ slips by him were going on. When complaints in this regard were received by the civic body an inquiry was conducted into the allegation by the Kharar SDM. Thereafter, an inquiry was conducted by the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Local Government, Punjab, and now the matter was being investigated by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. The payment would be made to contractor only after inquiry reports were received by the committee.

Among other items cleared at the meeting were the purchase of a machine for pumping out sewer and rain water, repair of pubic toilets in front of a primary school at Khanpur village, the provision of directional boards at the bus stand and in every sector and taking over of a tubewell from the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board sunk in the Ram Bagh area.


A road prone to mishaps
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
The Jalandhar-Kartarpur road has virtually turned into a “killer” road, with a large number of accidents taking place on it.

During the past few months, this stretch of road has witnessed about 40 accidents, resulting in death of 13 persons and injuries to about 250 persons. Statistics have revealed that on an average, a major accident has been taking place on this road on every third day between Bidhipur railway crossing and Kahlwan, apart from a large number of small accidents, which often go unreported. Eight accidents— leading to injuries to about 90 people—were reported on this stretch in the first fortnight on November.

Earlier, on November 10, a truck, in which devotees were travelling, over-turned all of sudden and about 50 passengers were injured.

Earlier with the police officials pointed out that the occurrence of such a large number of accidents could be due to careless driving on a road which was awfully busy or due to the stretch turning slippery following slightest downpour. Mot of accidents had taken place dur to reported failure of brakes or loosing control of the vehicle by the driver.

In October there were accidents, in which over 20 person had received injuries. In this month goo, a large number of devotees were victims. In September, the number of accidents dipped to five and 16 were injured. On the other hand, August saw 10 major accidents, leading to death of four people and injuries to 75 of them. In July, over 60 persons were injured and eight dead in six accidents.


3,000 female dogs to be sterilised
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Captured by Municipal Corporation teams, female dogs await sterilisation in cages at the Urban Estate Civil Veterinary Hospital in Jalandhar
Captured by Municipal Corporation teams, female dogs await sterilisation in cages at the Urban Estate Civil Veterinary Hospital in Jalandhar. — A Tribune photo

Jalandhar, November 28
In their effort to check the ever-increasing population of stray dogs, the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation and the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department have planned to sterilise about 3,000 female dogs in the city in a phased manner under the Animal Birth Control Programme.

The pilot project of the programme, which took off at the Urban Estate Phase I Civil Veterinary Hospital recently, envisaged sterilisation of about 1,200 dogs in a year and it will be completed within a period of three years.

“Initially, 75 female dogs will be spayed and released in their natural habitats. After this, the MC and the Animal Husbandry Department teams will be operating on about 100 dogs every month. The total expenses for the three-year programme are estimated to be around Rs 10-12 lakh,” maintained Ms Sarojini Gautam Sharda, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and Dr G.S. Sandha, Deputy Director of the department.

For the pilot project, an amount of Rs 45,900 has already been released and about 20 cages have been purchased. The MC and the department have formed different teams for catching of stray female dogs from various parts of the city.

A team of veterinary doctors led by Dr Amar Iqbal Singh will perform spaying of female stray dogs, that will also be dewormed and vaccinated against the dreaded rabies before their release. The three-member team will include Dr Gopal Sharma and Dr G.S. Bedi as its members, said Dr Sandha.

The MC, according to Ms Sharda, was planning to release an annual amount of Rs 4.7 lakh towards the programme.

“After catching of a female dog, it will be brought to the veterinary hospital, operated on for ovario hystectomy and kept at the place for 7-10 days for post-operative care. Afterwards, the dog will be handed over to the Municipal Corporation for release in the same area from where it had been captured,” Dr Amar Iqbal Singh explained.


Gurdwara poll panel extends last date
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The Gurdwara Election Commission has extended the last date for submitting applications for registration to contest the forthcoming general elections of the SGPC to December 15.

In a press note issued here today, the Secretary of the commission, Mr Gurdev Singh, has asked the interested parties to submit their applications to the commission giving details about the nomenclature, addresses, particulars of the office-bearers of the parties and also the choice of three symbols in order of preference out of the symbols specified.

Earlier, the last date for submitting the applications was November 25, 2003.

Meanwhile, parties which were registered at the time of last elections to the SGPC in 1996, should also apply afresh.


Pak rights activists reach India
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
A seven-member team of the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan, headed by Ms Asma Jehangir, today reached India by a Delhi-Lahore bus.

The members have come at the invitation of Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, a former Prime Minister, to participate in a three-day international seminar on unemployment, human rights and illiteracy being held in Delhi.

Talking to the Press at the Wagah checkpost, Ms Jehangir said that she had come to India to strengthen ties between the peoples of the two neighbouring countries.

She said the ceasefire on the Line of Control had been widely welcomed in Pakistan. All problems should be solved bilaterally without the intervention of a third party, she added.


Probe ordered into beating up of ex-sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 28
Mr S.K. Asthana, Senior Superintendent of Police, today ordered an enquiry into the beating up of Mr Resham Singh, former sarpanch of Biharipur village and some other villagers by Charanjit Singh, an Assistant Sub-Inspector, and head constable Rattan Singh, police post, Hussainpur.

The enquiry was ordered when a deputation of residents of Biharipur and Saido Bhulana villages led by leaders of the Kirti Kisan Union and the Pendu Mazdoor Union met Mr Asthana in this regard.

Mr Shammi Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), has been deputed to enquire into the incident and submit the report within a week.

The villagers alleged that these police officials had mercilessly beaten up Resham Singh, Shinda of Saidowal village and his young daughter and Manjit Singh of Biharipur village.


Probe demanded into flesh trade
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
The BJP has demanded a probe into the flesh racket in which Neelam, a senior vice-president of the Congress Mahila wing, was alleged to be involved.

In a press note issued here today, BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla said the public had the right to know what their leaders were up to.

She urged the Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, to order a probe by an officer of the rank of IG to get to the bottom of the issue in which big names were alleged to be involved.

The police has reportedly seized photographs of prominent persons and diary containing names and phone numbers in a raid on the residence of Neelam in the Chheharata area.


Three children killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 28
Three children were killed on the spot while seven persons, including four children, were injured in two separate road accidents in this district early this morning.

According to police sources, three children were killed and three injured when a car collided with their rickshaw-rehra at Davida Ahrana village 15 km from here, on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road. The injured were admitted in the local Civil Hospital. The car owner fled after the accident.

The dead were identified as Maya(6), Gian (3) and Chetan (7), all residents of Davida Ahrana village. The injured children were identified as Parvesh, Subash and Rajiv, also of the same village.



Jasbir murder suspects remanded
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, November 28
The suspects in Jasbir murder case, who was hacked to death allegedly by four Rajputs of Jahankhelan village on November 25, had been making plans in this regard for the past one month.

Meanwhile, three of the four suspects Naresh Kumar, Sukhchain and Subhash Chandl, all residents of Jahankhelan village, who were arrested by the Hoshiarpur police yesterday, were produced in the court of Duty Magistrate K.C. Gupta, who remanded them in police custody for one day. The police would also obtain arrest warrants of the fourth suspect Parbhat Singh Pappy, who was still at large.

The interrogation of the three arrested revealed that they had been planning to kill Jasbir since October 26 — the day when they had a verbal duel with him during which they had objected to his marriage with Rajput girl Geeta of the same village.

The police also recovered two swords and a sickle used in the murder.

Police records have revealed that Jasbir was also having a criminal background and as many as six cases of assault had been registered against him since 1988. "The four suspects have stated that they were also apprehending that Jasbir could harm them physically, particularly, when they were opposing his marriage to Geeta," said Mr O.S. Ghuman, SP, Hoshiarpur.



Ex-DEO gets judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 28
The local Additional Sessions Judge, Mr A.S. Grewal, has remanded Ms Malti Batra, former District Education Officer (DEO), Primary, in judicial custody till December 12.

Ms Batra was arrested last evening from her residence here by a Vigilance team from Ludhiana on charges of misappropriating Rs 1.5 lakh from the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan funds placed under her jurisdiction during her stint as DEO.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471-A of the IPC and Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against her. Being the drawing and dispersing officer of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, she allegedly used the funds of the scheme without taking any official concerned into confidence. She also recruited about 700 volunteers on her own for the scheme in violation of norms.

After the issue was highlighted in The Tribune, the volunteers recruited by her were dismissed and she was placed under suspension.

Ms Batra, however, had rebutted the allegations at a press conference and accused senior officials of the Education Department of misappropriating Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan funds.

She was later reinstated by the Punjab and Haryana High court. However, the department transferred her to the Service Teachers Training Institute here.

At one stage the high court also ordered a medical probe into the mental state of Ms Batra following her claim that she was employed with the Union Home Ministry, which the Union Home Secretary confirmed she was not.



Five-year jail for tea seller

Moga, November 28
Mr Sukhdev Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Moga has convicted and sentenced Bhushan Kumar, a tea stall owner of Moga to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 50,000.

According to prosecution the accused Bhushan Kumar a tea stall owner in the Taptej Singh Market was arrested by the police following the alleged recovery of 500 gm of smack in the first week of June 1999.

The accused pleaded in the court that he was impleaded as he failed to supply milk to the police officer. — PTI


BKU to launch agitation
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 28
The Bharatiya Kisan Union BKU has convened meeting on December 2 at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Morinda, to drawup a strategy for an agitation against the non-payment of dues to farmers for the sale of sugarcane last year.

Stating this here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the BKU state unit, said the union had issued an ultimatum to the state government on November 10 for the payment of dues to cane growers within 15 days. The union had reiterated this demand at the opening of the crushing season at the Cooperative Sugar Mills, Bodiwala Peetha, on November 21, but it was unfortunate that instead of responding positively, the Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, used derogatory language with reference to the BKU, he added.

The BKU leader said the state government was spending millions of rupees on diversification, but could not get the price of sugarcane increased for the past three years. Mr Lakhowal and other union leaders agreed that the NDA was equally to be blamed for this “anti-farmer attitude”. It was regrettable that while most farmers had completed the sowing of wheat, the Union Government had still not finalised the minimum support price for the next crop.

Farmers from different states would assemble on December 23 in New Delhi to organise a protest rally against the government.

The BKU urged the Chief Minister to ensure that the payment of dues to the cane growers were made without indulging in corrupt practices at any cooperative sugar mill.


Vikas Partap shifted again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Modifying three earlier orders, the Punjab Chief Secretary, today passed yet another order, whereby, Mr Vikas Partap, now stands shifted as Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore. He has been posted Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA.

In his place goes Mr Ranjit Singh, who was Director, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Corporation. He joined there today.

Sources say that the Chief Minister was under pressure from two warring factions of Congress MLAs of Ferozepore. On the asking of one group, he shifted Mr Vikas Partap. When cajoled by the other group, he was retained. There was again counter pressure and finally, Mr Ranjit Singh was asked to take over.


Kalsia takes over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Mr R.L. Kalsia, who was earlier the Additional Chief Administration, PUDA, yesterday took over as Director, Local Government.

Mr Kalsia had earlier been Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, where he did commendable work. He had also been Managing Director of Punjab Tourism.


2 held for duping migration aspirants
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 28
Mr M.H. Farooqi, SSP, in a press meeting said here today that the police had unearthed a case of emigration fraud and arrested Major Singh and his wife Harvinder, residents of Ludhiana.

They had allegedly duped Harpal Singh, a resident of Aur village, of Rs 5.30 lakh, Nachhatar Pal of Charh Mazra village of Rs 4 lakh, Naresh Kumar from Chakli Sujatpur of Rs 1.08 lakh and Hari Singh, a resident of Jatpur village, of Rs 1 lakh on the pretext of taking them to the UK on the basis of marriage with their niece Jaswinder Kaur, a UK-based NRI.

Jaswinder Kaur and their other accomplices, Naresh Kumari, daughter of Major Singh, Neelam Rani and his brother Gurdev Ram, residents of Punia village, were still at large.

A case had been registered against them at Rahon police station under Sections 406, 420, 494, 379 and 120-B of the IPC on Wednesday on the basis of a complaint by Mr Harpal Singh.

In his complaint, he told the police that he, along with his sister Paramjit Kaur, had gone to the residence of Major Singh, maternal uncle of Jaswinder Kaur, in Ludhiana on February 2, where his marriage with Jaswinder Kaur was finalised. The ring ceremony was held on February 10 in Ludhiana and the marriage was solemnised in Jalandhar on April 14.

After the marriage, Jaswinder Kaur took Rs 5.30 lakh, gold ornaments and his passport from him for making arrangements to take him to the UK. However, later he discovered that Jaswinder Kaur was already married to one Harwant Singh of Skohpur village.

During investigations, the police also received complaints from Nachhatar Singh, Naresh Kumar and his relative Hari Singh that they had also been duped by Jaswinder Kaur and her accomplices, the SSP said.


85 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 28
The district police has arrested six persons and seized 84,000 ml of illicit liquor and 85 kg of poppy husk from their possession.

In a press note issued here today, a police spokesman said that five persons were arrested for smuggling illicit liquor in as many separate cases. They were identified as Satish Kumar and Subash of basti Guzan, Karnail Singh of Basti Mithu, Baljinder Singh and Major of Shahkot.


Court official held for bribe

Bathinda, November 28
A team of the Vigilance Bureau today caught Mr Baljit Singh, Ahlmad (court official) of the local Labour Court, red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 150 from Mr Jaspal Singh, a resident of Ganga village for a favour in a case pending in the court.

Mr Rajiv Malhotra, Chief Judicial Magistrate, remanded Mr Baljit Singh in police custody till tomorrow. — TNS


Their faith saw them through
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Faith in God and the support extended by parents and his wife helped Mr Rajesh Tripathi in bouncing back after being sacked following the scrapping of the 1998 PCS examination by the Congress government.

Mr Tripathi says his faith in the Almighty and trust that he would get just rewards for his labour helped him. “My parents and my wife continued to encourage me to excel and I got into a positive frame of mind”, he says.

Excelling in the examination this time was a challenge with a number of candidates from the science stream qualifying in the main examination. He had chosen management, economics and military studies as his subjects.

Meanwhile, Mr Hargunjit Kaur says her family was under strain during the past over a year after she was relieved from her service as a PCS officer. Her father, Prof Narinder Singh Kapoor, said she could secure a position in the PCS (Executive) through sheer labour, adding that “she worked four times more hard to qualify.”

Mr Jasdeep Singh of the city is a fresh entrant into the PCS (Executive). An Assistant Executive Engineer in the PSEB, he had earlier acquired an engineering degree from the Thapar Institute of Engineering. He said he owed his success to his mother who instilled the values of hard work, courage and honesty in him.

He felt his one-year-old daughter had brought him luck, adding that he had taken physics, statistics and history as options. He said not being successful in 1998 had been painful to him and he was happy to clear the examination now in a transparent manner.


Fresh probe ordered against suspended varsity teacher
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Punjabi University, which had recently suspended a senior teacher, Dr K.S. Sidhu, who has worked as its Registrar, has now instituted another inquiry against him by appointing a three-member committee to investigate allegations that he might have wrongly issued a certificate to a former teacher of his department.

Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has appointed a three-member committee comprising the Dean, Academics, Prof U.C. Singh, the Dean, Colleges, Dr S.P.S. Virdi and the Professor In charge, Finance, Dr R.K. Sehgal, to hold an inquiry into the matter and submit a report to him.

The university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, said the action was being taken because the Establishment Branch had duly notified that no head of department should issue an experience certificate to any teacher. He said there was a due procedure for issuing such certificates with the applicant submitting a written request which was forwarded by the Head of Department to the Registrar. He said the certificate was then issued by the Establishment Branch.

The university has taken the action on an appeal made by Honorary Director of the Centre for Defence and National Security Studies at Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr T.R. Sharma. He has asked the university Vice-Chancellor to verify the authenticity of a certificate issued by Dr Sidhu to a teacher of the centre in his capacity as head of the department of the Defence and Strategic Studies Department.

The communication of Dr Sharma states that Dr Rakesh Dutta, to whom Dr Sidhu had issued a certificate, was earlier teaching in Punjabi University and joined the Panjab University’s Defence Centre in January, 2002. Dr Datta’s confirmation, which was due in January, 2003, was still pending because of certain “deficiencies” in his work and conduct.

It said some months ago the Panjab University authorities had asked Dr Datta to submit a certificate about his past service which was issued by the Registrar of the Punjabi University on August 19, 2003. It said the certificate was submitted to the university by Dr Datta a few days later on August 21. It said along with this certificate, Dr Datta submitted another certificate signed by Dr Sidhu on the letter head of the Department of Defence Studies. It said this certificate did not bear any number or date and that Dr Sidhu had affixed the date only below his name.

Dr Sharma has claimed that his centre could not ascertain whether the certificate was issued on January 3 this year when Dr Sidhu was Head of the Department of Defence Studies in Punjabi University or at a later stage when he no longer remained head. Meanwhile, Dr K.S. Sidhu said he did not feel there was anything wrong in giving a certificate to a colleague who had worked under him. “I have only verified his antecedents and stand by what I have written.” He said, moreover, he could not be held responsible if the candidate had used the certificate seven months later.


DIET students cry foul over results
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
A large number of students of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) today expressed surprise and unhappiness over their second semester results.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that in the second semester 24 students were passed by giving grace marks, 33 were put in the re-appear category and 31 failed.

The students said the results surprised them and claimed that they had done well in the exams. They met the Principal and asked the DIET authorities to show the marks scored by them in internal assessments.

The DIET authorities claimed that they had failed no student in internal assessment and that the State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT) had placed them in the failed category.

A section of students alleged that the marks awarded to them in the theory part were not reliable. Others added that their results had been declared after eight months and they doubted the entire process.

The affected students demanded a re-evaluation of their papers. They claimed that they were admitted to the ETT course after passing a competitive test and they could not fail in the written exams. They urged the authorities concerned to review the results.


Agitation against tuitions planned
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 28
A newly set up organisation, Sanklap, has decided to launch an agitation against those government teachers who give private tuitions.

Mr Darshan Singh Gill, convener of the organisation, in a press note released here yesterday, said the government teachers were violating service rules, evading income tax and also doing “injustice” to unemployed teachers.


Board clerks on indefinite dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
Mr Sukhbir Singh, press secretary, Terminated Education Board Clerks Union, in a press note issued here today said their activists had been sitting on an indefinite dharna in front of the office of the all-India Congress Committee, New Delhi, to press for their reinstatement.

He claimed that Mr Oscar Fernandez, Mr Buta Singh, and Mrs Mohsina Kidwai had met the activists and heard their grievances. He claimed that Punjab Cabinet Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had given them an appointment for December.

He claimed that the union had decided to continue their dharna at the AICC office till the state government restored their services.


Entrepreneurs oppose maintenance charges

Nawanshahr, November 28
Small industrialists here are sore over the decision of the Board of Directors of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) to levy maintenance charges to the tune of Rs 6 per square yard on allottees of industrial plots in Focal Points.

Members of the Nawanshahr Industrial Focal Point Association, terming the decision as totally unjustified, said the PSIEC had been intimated that the no member was willing to pay or take responsibility for collection of maintenance charges as the Industrial Focal Point here, set up in 1978, was struggling for survival. About 80 per cent plots were vacant.

Some 20 small industrialists who had dared to set up industrial units were somehow managing to ‘pull on’ in the absence of any incentive from the state government and the PSIEC.

The levying of maintenance charges would further burden the sick units. It would be difficult to collect funds from holders of industrial plots lying vacant, said the association.

The total area of the local Industrial Focal Point is 2,42,000 square yards and the area under industrial plots 1,46,233 square yards.

The PSIEC had leased out its commercial area to local Sugar Mills and Markfed rice mills situated nearby for parking of tractor-trailers and trucks. It was charging water bills from inhabitants of the Sugar Mills Colony. Despite this, the PSIEC had not undertaken the repair of roads since 1992 and out of 59 street-lights, only 18 were working.

Though, the Focal Point was in a pathetic condition, the PSIEC had deployed a heavy staff of 20 here, whose monthly salary bill was Rs 65,000.

The PSIEC, instead of further burdening the small industrialists here, should take immediate effective steps to motivate plot holders and entrepreneurs to start their industrial units, said the association.

It said Punjab and the PSIEC should provide facilities to small industrialists on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh. — OC


Move to unite Beopar Mandals
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 28
Efforts have been initiated to unite the different Beopar Mandals in Punjab to protect the interests of the traders. The initiative in this regard has been taken by Mr Tulsidas Jaitwani, president of the Punjab Beopar Mandal.

There are four Beopar Mandals in the state. They are headed by Mr Madan Lal Kapoor (Bathinda), Mr Amrit Lal Jain (Amritsar), Mr Jagmohan Sharma and Mr Tulsidas Jaitwani. Mr Jagmohan Sharma has since been appointed president of the District Congress Committee (urban), Ludhiana. Mr Jaitwani, who is also the senior vice-president of the Akhil Bhartiya Udyog Beopar Mandal (All-India Maha Beopar Mandal) has set up an 11-member committee to persuade Beopar Mandal leaders to come on one platform.

Mr Jaitwani claims to represent the Beopar Mandal founded by Mr Bihari Lal Chanana before Partition. This Beopar Mandal had launched an agitation against the Sikandar Hayat Government in Punjab. Mr Jaitwani says that he was the second dictator of the morcha launched by Mr Chanana against the imposition of sales tax in 1945. There was complete hartal for 46 days then. Mr Jaitwani told this reporter that the traders of Punjab faced many problems following the introduction of exim form. There was a plan to introduce VAT from April, 2004.

He said the state government had promised to abolish octroi at the time of the Vidhan Sabha elections.

The neighbouring states, said Mr Jaitwani, had already abolished octroi. These states are: Haryana Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. As a result of the abolition of octroi in these states, the trading activity had shifted from Punjab to Delhi.

Mr Jaitwani said the All-India Maha Beopar Mandal had already rejected VAT.

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