P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Gujral makes Jalandhar development his poll plank
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR: Hoping to get maximum support from youth, Mr Naresh Gujral, a son of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and a candidate of the SAD-BJP combine, has made “all-around development” of Jalandhar as his main poll plank. He has also made a promise that he will follow the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu model of politics for ensuring development.

At the same time, the junior Gujral minced no words about the “Pakistan style politics”, being “followed” by the Congress-led state government and its “letting loose enforcement agencies” against the Badals which, according to him was nothing but a “big mistake”. “In politics, there could be differences, but, at the same time the very spirit of democracy demands that there should be no place for a sense of animosity. Today, if Badals are being targeted tomorrow, it could be somebody else.”

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr Naresh Gujral said his stress would be on an “all-around” development of Jalandhar which has been nurtured by his family, particularly, his father I.K. Gujral for long in more than one ways.

“What people want today is development and they are very eager for it. If I fail to deliver goods, they would not spare me. The youth which roughly constitute about 55 per cent of the total population of Jalandhar segment are more particular about it and my effort would be to address to their concerns like unemployment or under-employment,” maintained Mr Naresh Gujral.

“We need a dynamic state government, which can act as a catalyst and bring more and more central government projects and the private sector here. This needs a good deal of follow-up which I think would be able to do.

Moreover, we have full availability of human resources in the state and in Jalandhar itself. But no effort is in sight to highlight its availability. The jobs nowadays are in the knowledge industry like call centres. Jalandhar has a large number of educational and other institutes and a more easy accessibility. It is sad to note that the state government has not been able to do the needful. If Naidu or Karnataka CM S.M. Krishna can do it, why not us?” questioned Mr Gujral, who is a successful businessman and a chartered accountant.

Elaborating his agenda, Mr Naresh Gujral said since the Pushpa Gujral Science City project, which was one of major projects brought by his father during his tenure as the PM, had the potential to convert Jalandhar into one of major tourist spots. He said his immediate priority would be to fetch another Rs 10-12 crore for completion of its first phase and to ensure that there was no hurdle in the ongoing flow of funds for the construction of Domoria bridge in the city. ”Rs 38 crore have already come for the science city and my effort would be to get Rs 10-12 crore of the remaining amount of Rs 34 crore to see an early completion of the first phase. As per my estimate, the Science City would attract about 3000-4000 tourists daily. My other aim is to speed up the ongoing work at the local medical institute and hospital. I had met the Union Surface Transport Minister, Mr B.C. Khanduri, through the good offices of my father, and it has resulted in initiation of relaying of the Nakodar-Jalandhar road. Soon work on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road would start,” said Mr Gujral.

Expressing concern at the “neglect” of holy city of Sultanpur Lodhi township, also falling in the Jalandhar parliamentary segment, Mr Gujral said going by its historical importance, it could attract a large number of people from all over the country and abroad.

Mr Gujral also resolved not to indulge in petty gimmicks for any poll benefit and that he would not further anybody’s business interests. “I will work for the people of Jalandhar”.

Talking about the state government’s “tirade” against corruption, Mr Naresh Gujral said, “If they thought there was corruption, they would have set up a judicial commission as has been done in the case of the Chief Minister’s son. But the way things have happened is not healthy for democracy.”

“I am not an astrologer but, I can say that the SAD-BJP combine will sweep the poll with the support of the people, hoped Mr Gujral.


Manmohan Singh not to contest from Jalandhar

Patiala, February 20
Punjab Pradesh Congress president H.S. Hanspal said here today that former Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh would not contest the Jalandhar parliamentary seat due to health reasons. — TNS


Last-minute sops to woo voters
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
There are reports of hectic behind-the-scene activities in Punjab as a formal announcement on the Lok Sabha elections is expected any time. Efforts are to get quick financial sanctions and release money, particularly for social and economic services, infrastructure and projects, as the model code of conduct will become operative simultaneously with the poll announcement.

The government has decided to step in effectively in the religious domain as well. The government has not only constituted committees for all centenary celebrations of the Panth but also declared Khadoor Sahib as a holy city.

Already, the non-practising allowance has been restored to doctors, EXIM forms withdrawn and sales tax rates on many items either reduced or withdrawn. This concession is worth Rs 250 crore. For employees several recommendations of the Fourth State Pay Commission in respect of medical allowances and reimbursements have been implemented, over 50 posts of Senior Assistant revived and 909 Panchayat Secretaries appointed on a “contract” basis.

The issue of enhancing the retiring age from 56 years to 60 has, however, been shelved.

Besides, the government has now shelled out Rs 60 crore (first instalment) for old-age and widow pension. The government has also decided to recruit 2,000 teachers on a contract basis through these panchayats under the “Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan”.

If Rs 87 crore has now been made available for the completion of water supply and sewerage projects in 20 municipal towns, the Municipal Councils would be given Rs 9.50 crore to improve civic amenities in urban slums.

Sources say the instructions to all Deputy Commissioners are that money to be given to the panchayati raj institutions and municipalities must have concurrence of the sitting Congress MLAs and also those who had lost the Assembly elections in February, 2002. This will cover all Assembly segments that fall in parliamentary constituency in their respective districts. The ministers have been left out of this scheme.

It is in this backdrop that one has to see the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections. In the dissolved House, the Congress had eight MPs, two of the SAD and one each of the BJP, the CPI and the Mann Akali Dal.

In 1999, the Congress had polled 38.44 per cent votes, the SAD 28.59 per cent votes while the BJP got only 9.16 per cent votes. It will be interesting to watch how government sops help the Congress this time.


Akalis, BJP protest ‘Punjab shining’ ads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Akalis and the BJP have lodged a protest against certain advertisements that have appeared in the print media in the past few days. The protest has been lodged with the state Chief Electoral Officer.

The Akalis and the BJP have taken exception to the ad campaign using the public exchequer and objected to printing a photograph of Ms Sonia Gandhi on all ads.


Forensic experts examine blast site
Huge quantity of explosives stored in malkhana
Tribune News Service

A member of the Forensic Department, Chandigarh, displays live cartridges of an AK-47 rifle
A member of the Forensic Department, Chandigarh, displays live cartridges of an AK-47 rifle found from the blast site at the Amritsar District Courts complex on Friday. — PTI photo

Amritsar, February 20
While the Army and forensic experts were called to the site of the twin explosions in the judicial complex here, efforts are afoot to shift huge quantities of highly powerful explosives including PNET and RDX, and arms and ammunition to a safer place from the dilapidated pre-partition building of the ‘malkhana’.

Meanwhile, Dilbagh Singh, an Assistant Sub-Inspector, in charge, malkhana, has been placed under suspension and transferred to Police Lines. A case under Sections 337,338,427 of the IPC and 3/4/5 of the Explosive Act has been registered against him. The Deputy Commissioner has ordered a magisterial inquiry by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulwant Singh. an official press note asked the public to provide clues to the inquiry officer. The identity of the person would be kept secret, it said.

Highly placed sources said the explosives which were seized during the militancy and the Operation Blue Star were enough to blow up the entire city.

In a first step to make the inventory of detonators, explosives and ammunition, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, DIG (Border Range) today held a meeting of senior police officials. He directed the officials to give him details of the arms and ammunition, kept in the malkhana’ as case properties, to dispose of the ‘explosive material’ of the decided cases under the supervision of bomb disposal squad of the Army and forensic experts.

Talking to TNS, Mr Gill said preliminary inquiry confirmed that the blast was result of burning of the waste material which led to detonation of PNET explosives.

According to sources a number of weapons, including rocket launchers, assault rifles, grenades and AK-47s had been stacked in hazardous manner. The explosives were also kept in the open outside the malkhana. Alcohol and other inflammable material, including crude oil, was dumped there.

It is reliably learnt that the authorities had been taking up the matter for shifting the malkhana to a safer place, but to no avail. The Bar Association, led by Mr R.S. Sandhu, and senior lawyers Mr Lakhbir Singh Sehmi and Mr Varinder Singh Bhatia urged the administration to shift the malkhana building immediately. No efforts have been made to auction the vehicles of the ‘decided cases’.

The site of the blast has been cordoned off.


Restraint on approval of octroi contract bid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Acting on a petition for quashing an order of the Punjab Principal Secretary, Local Self Government, reducing the minimum reserve price for auctioning the octroi collection contract of the Mohali Municipal Council, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today restrained the approval of the bid.

In case of approval, the bid would not come in operation, the Bench added.

In his petition against the state of Punjab, the Municipal Council and other respondents, Mohali resident Ghansham Bansal had asserted that the petition was being filed in public interest for quashing the action reducing the minimum reserve price from Rs 19,09,00000 — fixed after adding 15 per cent to last year’s receipts — to Rs 16,90,00000 which was even less than last year's collection of Rs 17,52,16,730, “causing a loss to the council in connivance with the main authority”.

The petitioner further asserted that a probe by an independent agency into octroi collection bid by the contractor would show “how public had been cheated and fleeced due to the failure of the government and municipal machinery despite protests lodged by Municipal Council members, the general public and the press from time to time”.

Going into the background, the petitioner contended that an advertisement was issued on January 29 for handing over octroi collection work on a contractual basis for one year with a reserve price of Rs 16,90,00000.

He added that during the auction held on February 12 only two parties participated. Balwinder Singh and Company did not bid. As such the auction was finalised in City Associate's favour — an unknown, unregistered party, the petitioner alleged.

After hearing the arguments, Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant Sharma directed: “Having regards to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, we restrain either the approval of the bid, or if approved, not to come in operation, especially when the collection last year was Rs 17,52,16,730, whereas without having any bid, the settlement was made in favour of City Associates for Rs 16,91,00000 violating all settled norms of bids”.

The Bench also directed the issuance of notices to the Municipal Council and City Associates for March 22. Copies were also handed over to Punjab's Senior Deputy Advocate-General Charu Tuli.


CII concern over debt burden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
To radically improve the fiscal situation, the Punjab Government must brace itself for bold measures, including full engagement in the debt swap programme with the Central Government, implementation of VAT from April 1, 2004, besides rationalisation of stamp duty and discontinuation of fiscal concessions or subsidies to attract investment.

This was recommended by the CII in its Pre-Budget Memorandum for the year 2004-05 to the state government. The memorandum was formally presented to Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, and Mrs Ravneet Kaur, Secretary, Finance, Punjab, at the interactive session on pre-budget held yesterday in Chandigarh.

Commenting on the fiscal situation of Punjab, the memorandum states that increasing debt burden is a concern. Total debt as percentage of GSDP increased from 45.35 per cent in 2001-02 to 47.85 per cent in 2003-04. In the 2002-03 revised estimates, nearly 23 per cent of revenue expenditure was being spent on interest payments.

After the payment for interest on debt and debt servicing, revenue expenditures exceed revenue receipts marginally during the period 2000 to 2003. In other words, capital receipts are being utilised to cover some part of revenue expenditure, leaving meager resources for investment in other areas. Within the developmental expenditures (revenue), economic services have grown slower than social services.

The expenditure on economic services decreased marginally from 18 per cent in 1999-2000 to 15.6 per cent in 2002-03, whereas the expenditure on social services went down from 26.6 per cent to 24.4 per cent during the same period.


5-day function to celebrate Guru’s anniversary
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 20
The Punjab Government has decided to organise a five-day state-level function to celebrate the birth anniversary of second Sikh Guru Angad Dev at his birth place at Sarai Naga village in Muktsar district from April 14.

During the celebrations various types of religious and sports activities will be held. To mark the occasion national-level wrestling competitions will be organised by the district police.

On the last day of the programme a “nagar kirtan” will be taken out from Muktsar which will later culminate at Sarai Naga village covering a distance of over 12 km.

A special approach road of 1 km to the village on the Muktsar Kot Kapura road is being constructed by the state government from the next week at a cost of Rs 20 lakh.

Two persons of the village, Mr Gurdayal Singh and Mr Buta Singh, and the family of the late Mr Sukhdev Singh had already donated the required land for the completion of the project before the start of the celebrations, said Mr B.R. Banga, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, in a press note yesterday.

He disclosed that a decision had been taken by the SGPC to construct a special gate at a cost of Rs 25 lakh at the entry point of the road.

Meanwhile, hailing the decision of the state government for holding such function, Baba Surinder Hari Singh, head granthi of the village gurdwara, has appealed to the government to initiate more steps for the development of the historic village like other historic towns in the state.


Protesters seek DSP’s arrest for custodial death
Tribune Reporters

Barnala, February 20
Hundreds of men and women demonstrated in front of the office of the SSP here today as the Ravinder Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee rejected the police inquiry into the death of Ravinder Singh (25), a resident of Kala Bula village, near Sherpur, allegedly in the custody of Sherpur police on January 18. The committee also demanded a judicial inquiry into the custodial death and immediate arrest of DSP Gurjit Singh, holding him responsible for Ravinder’s death.

Protesters raised slogans against the Punjab Police and Punjab Government. Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, convener of the action committee, said the inquiry should be conducted by a retired or serving judge. He further alleged that Ravinder Singh had been “murdered” in police custody. Ravinder had been beaten up mercilessly by the police.

He said the action committee had submitted a memorandum to Mr Mohinder Singh Teji, SP (Headquarters) to forward the same to the DGP, Punjab, demanding immediate arrest of the DSP. He also claimed that the SP had assured them the DSP would be arrested within 10 days. Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur, Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu, SAD MLA from Barnala, Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA and state secretariat member of the CPM (Pasla group), Achhra Singh Guara, former MLA of the CPI, Mr Jaspal Singh, block president of the BKU (Ekta); and Malkeet Singh Wazidke also addressed the protesters. Master Harbans Singh Sherpur, national president of Rashtriya Mulazam Dal, Mr Jagdhir Singh Katron, an SGPC member, Mr Surjit Singh, sarpanch of Kala Bula village, and Mr Zora Singh Cheema, a BSP leader, were also present.

The Barnala police has arrested SHO Kulwinder Singh of the Sherpur police station and Constable Sohan Singh.


DGP inaugurates community centre
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
The Punjab Police has made plans with regard to security arrangements for the coming parliament elections. It has demanded 140 companies of paramilitary forces from the Central Government. This was stated by Mr A.A. Saddiqui, DGP, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here.

He had come to inaugurate the community police resource centre. Later, he also flagged off five motor cycles fitted with latest gadgets donated by industrialists of Mandi Gobindgarh to provide mobile service and security to the people round the clock.

He said Punjab Police would post all those sportsmen on the same ranks who had been demoted on court orders. He said these sportsmen had been recruited again and orders in this regard would be issued soon. He said the Punjab Police had not written about the extradition of any terrorist from Pakistan or any other country. He said a new look is being given to the police in the state to make it people friendly. The above said centre is the fifteenth in the state and by April all districts would have such centres, the DGP added.

Mr Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, DIG, Partial Range, highlighted various public-oriented schemes initiated by the police.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, in his address said as per the directions of the state government the district police had initiated steps to strengthen the police- public relations.


Ex-Services League holds rally
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, February 20
The Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today organised a rally at JSFH Khalsa High School in protest against the injustice being done with ex-servicemen and their widows by the successive government at the Centre since Independence. A large number of ex-servicemen and their widows attend the rally.

Brig Manjit Singh, Col J.S. Mand, patron and president, respectively, of the League, Cdr G.S. Sahota, district president, Capt Ram Dass, Subedar Chain Singh, Hav Shamsher Singh, while addressing the rally lamented that during the British regime ex-servicemen and their widows were honoured as patriots but the promises made by the successive governments at the Centre since Independence merely proved hollow. The pensions of the civil employees were revised in 1953 but that of Army personnel in 1959. Gratuity for civilian staff was implemented in 1950 but for the Army personnel, it was implemented in 1964.


Pensioners stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 20
On a call given by the Punjab State Aided School Pensioners Cell, hundreds of pensioners from different state government aided schools today staged a dharna outside the Nehru Garden Park to register their protest against the recent decision of the government to discontinue the pension scheme.

The state government had earlier decided that aided school employees, who retired after May 31, 2003, would not be covered under the pension scheme.

Addressing the gathering, the state president of the pensioners cell, Mr K.K. Tandon, alleged that the state government was pursuing anti-employees policies. He condemned the decision of the government to withdraw the scheme, which was enforced in February 1987.


Foundation stone of health centre laid
Our Correspondent

Sujanpur (Pathankot), February 20
The Punjab Health Minister, Mr Romesh Dogra, laid the foundation stone of a community health centre here today. Later, while addressing a rally, he said that 650 vacant posts for doctors would be filled soon.

The function was attended by Mr Harjit Singh, DC, Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, Mr Puneet Goyal, SDM, Mr Manminder Singh SP, Mr Anil Bhawra, Director Punjab Health System Corporation, Mr Naresh Puri, president, Sujanpur municipal council, besides others.

Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, the Punjab Housing and Urban Minister also inaugurated a Rs 62 lakh community health centre.


Stray dog menace in locality
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 20
Stray dogs are is creating panic among residents of the Jammu Basti locality near the police complex here on the Abohar-Malout road. At least four minor residents of the area had been attacked by a dozen stray dogs recently.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the Naujwan Sabha of the locality yesterday. Those who addressed the meeting included Mr Rajinder Singh vice-president and Mr Charan Singh, secretary, respectively of the organisation. They criticised the municipal authorities for not taking any action against the persons who had created an illegal dumping centre for dead animals near a dharamshala in Jammu Basti.

The sabha told the authorities that stray dogs around the dumping grounds had attacked at least six persons, including two minor children and an aged person, in different incidents around Alamgarh, Killianwali and Khuyiansarwer villages during the past few months.

The sabha, by another resolution, criticised the councillor of the ward, alleging that he had not been able to keep his promise on development. Sanitation and streetlight arrangement had virtually collapsed.


Jail inmate dies in hospital
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
Jeewan Kumar, an inmate of the local Central Jail, died today within a few minutes after he was admitted to the Civil Hospital following complaint of chest pain.

Jeewan Kumar was arrested along with his wife Nirmala Devi on January 31 on charges of dealing in intoxicants.


Simple yet meaningful, ‘Charan Das Chor’
delights viewers
Gurvinder Kaur

Artistes of Chattisgarh stage the play 'Charan Das Chor'
Artistes of Chattisgarh stage the play 'Charan Das Chor' produced by Habib Tanveer during the Patiala Heritage Festival. — PTI photo

Patiala, February 20
Amazingly simple yet explicitly meaningful. That’s Habib Tanvir for you. The man who introduced the irrepressible folk singer Teejan Bai to the world was here to present his masterpiece ‘Charan Das Chor’ at the ongoing Heritage Festival. Based on the Nacha theatre tradition of Chattisgarh region in Madhya Pradesh, the play is unique in both form and content.

With a bit of Brecht and a little of Moliere woven into its basic structure, Habib’s play is as relevant today if not more as it was 30 years ago when staged for the first time in Delhi. Using a small tree signifying a rural setting as the single prop for the play Habib’s folk artistes use traditional Chattisgarhi theatre form involving much song and dance to address evils plaguing the society at large. The man who has transformed the Chattisgarhi dialect into an international theatre language is convinced that socially meaningful theatre is possible only if you work within the confines of your cultural context and tradition.

Habib emphasises “ it is not mere folk theatre , mind you , it is contemporary theatre which uses folk form and artistes to convey a message that is of immediate interest and value to the Indian audience. There is a lot of elitist theatre going on nowadays which is entirely detached from the problems of the common man. Then there is the ‘devastation’ of our ethnic heritage by the television, in such a context indigenous theatre has become all the more relevant as it still has the vitality to encompass the common man and his problems.”
Tug of war at the rural sports event
Tug of war at the
rural sports event of the Patiala Heritage Festival on Friday. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar.

The performers in his play are all rural artistes who return to their respective professions as a cobbler or an ironsmith after the screening of the play. Says Habib, “ Giving grants to few established groups or artistes cannot promote or secure your cultural heritage. We need to tap the creative possibilities inherent in traditional forms”. Talking about Charan Das Chor he says” this anti establishment play is a rollicking comedy that ends unexpectedly in tragedy”.

The story is based upon a Rajasthani folktale that revolves around the five vows taken by Charan Das who is a thief at the behest of his guru. While refusing to give up thieving he agrees to abstain from five different things, including telling a lie. The story progresses and we see a reflection of the corruption and weakened moral fibre which pervades modern day society in the system that surrounds our central character — the thief.

The poignancy of the play lies in the climax where all characters around Charan Das, including, the policeman, the politician and even his Guru is ensnared within a web of deceit whereas he being a thief sticks to his commitment to the truth once he pledges to do so. Though constantly outwitting the forces of law and order Charan Das cannot bring himself to renounce his vows. The unexpected tragic twist comes at the end when the thief is put to death for his insistence upon telling the truth.

There is a liberal splattering of folk music and dance in the play. Specially interesting is the Barapanthi Nritya presented by Budhram and party wherein the drummer dances atop the human pyramid made by the artistes.


High Court
Notice of motion issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Taking up a petition filed by an Amritsar district resident, Dr Nirmal Singh, seeking the quashing of orders vide which his claim for appointment in PCS (executive branch) in Balmiki and Mazbhi Sikh, besides ex-servicemen, category, was rejected, a Division Bench of the high court issued notice of motion for March 19.

In his petition, taken up by Bench, headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar, Dr Singh had claimed that the same was illegal, arbitrary and in violation of the rules.


Grewal gets bail in Badal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to Mr Gurpinder Singh Grewal in an alleged corruption case registered against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others. The orders were passed by Mr Justice M. M. Kumar.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel for the petitioner had asserted that Mr Grewal was being implicated. There were no allegations against him.


Strict vigil at railway station to check sales tax evasion
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 20
In order to thwart the attempts of tax evaders, officials of the Sales Tax Department with the help of the police here today sealed all exit points of parcel booking and delivery sections at the railway station.

Due to strict vigil at check-posts on road, tax evaders bring their goods through trains to hoodwink the Sale Tax Department, causing loss to the tune of crores to the state exchequer every year. Mr D.P. Reddy, Excise and Sales Tax Commissioner, however, alleged that the railways authorities were not cooperating by providing information about the “nexus”. He said the state government would now take up the matter with the Railways Board. He said nakas were also put up at Jalandhar, Ludhiana and other stations.

Meanwhile, huge quantity of goods was off loaded from goods trains, which was not allowed to be taken to their destination due to the sealing of exit points today.

Traders in connivance with road transport operators and certain railways officials have been using goods trains as conduits due to loopholes in the system. The railways department does not reportedly insist on proper documents for booking goods which could be taken to their respective destinations by bypassing the sales tax barriers.

Mr Reddy said he had reliable information that a big chunk of goods which was off loaded here had already been sent back due to the sealing of the exit points of the station. However, the railways authorities were not ready to provide any clue in this regard, he alleged.

According to sources, transporters were allowed to take delivery on the basis of “self railway receipts” from “out booking agencies” operated by private persons in different parts of the city as per the law of the land.


Building violations to be compounded
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
The Punjab Government has issued a notification to provide one-time settlement for building violations made in respect of those constructed in the areas falling in municipal councils and corporations.

Disclosing this here today, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, said four-member committee was constituted under his chairmanship for the purpose. The other members of the committee included the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, the SDM Bathinda, and the Divisional Town Planner.

Mr Sinha said the area falling under the prime zone category and other categories had been decided by the committee. The area for which the market rate had been fixed at more than Rs 2,000 per sq feet by the Deputy Commissioner would fall in the prime area and those below Rs 2,000 would fall in the other area category. Similarly the area having market rate of Rs 1,000 and above had been fixed for prime area falling under Goniana Mandi, Bhuchu Mandi, Rampura, Maur and Raman Mandi and less than Rs 1000 under other areas.

For Sangat and Kot Fatta the area having rate of Rs 500 and above for the prime area land and less than that would be classified as other area category. Mr Sinha said for prime land Rs 500 per sq feet would be charged for area covered under the non-compoundable violation while Rs 200 per sq feet would be charged for other areas. In slum areas and Scheduled Castes areas where minimum 50 per cent population belonged to Scheduled Castes Rs 100 per sq feet would be charged to regularise the area covered the non compoundable violation.

He added that this ordinance would apply to those buildings which had been constructed on or before September 11, 2003. He said within a period of three months from the date of coming into force of this ordinance, any owner of the building who had committed a non-compoundable violation could disclose such violations voluntarily and apply on specific forms. These application forms are available with the executive officers, concerned, he added.


CM launches social security scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today launched Janashree Bima Yojana, a Social Security Scheme of the Life Insurance Corporation of India, here today. It will cover 3,00,000 working people in the lower income group in the state during 2003-2004. The scheme offers a substantial cover of Rs 50,000 in case of permanent disability or death due to accident as also Rs 25,000 in case of partial disability. It provides a sum of Rs 20,000 in case of natural death.

The state government has decided to share equally the premium of this scheme by providing Rs 3 crore for 2003-2004. A cheque for Rs 1 crore was presented by the Chief Minister to Mr Som Prakash, Director, Social Security and Women and Child Development.

The scheme carries an add-on benefit in the form of Shiksha Sahayog Yojana, a central government-sponsored scheme, which extends educational assistance to children of poor families studying in Classes 9 to 12.


Voter’s list prepared
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 20
Mr Hussan Lal, Returning Officer, Faridkot parliamentary constituency, comprising nine assembly segments in Faridkot, Moga and Muktsar districts, has prepared a list of 4,50,341 voters besides 1,137 service voters in the three Assembly segments of Kot- kapura, Panjgrain and Faridkot. There will be 415 polling stations during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

As many as 3,11,402 voters had been issued identity cards by the Election Commission. However, the others will also be allowed to vote after presenting their ration cards or other identification papers according to the norms being framed by the commission.

Presiding over a meeting, Mr Hussan Lal, who is also the Deputy Commissioner, directed his officers to ensure proper verification of strongrooms and the counting centres to preserve electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Mr Hussan Lal said he had already written to the Deputy Commissioners of Moga and Muktsar districts to furnish him details of the voters, assistant returning officers, polling stations and other related material in six Assembly segments of Moga. Bagha Purana, Muktsar, Malout, Lambi and Gidderbaha.


DC suspends six employees
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 20
Six employees of various state government departments who were found absent from their duties during the visit of the Commissioner, Faridkot division, Mr B. Sarkar, were placed under suspension by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary.

In a press note issued here today, the Public Relation Officer said those who were placed under suspension included Mr Pardeep Kumar, clerk in the SDM office, Sardulgarh, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Junior Engineer BDPO office, Mr Gurnam Singh, peon in the Tehsildar office, Mr Manmohan Singh, sweeper, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, peon, and Mr Baldev Singh, sweeper, in offices located in Sardulgarh town of the district.


CM to open admn complex today
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 20
The District Administrative Complex, which was built by PUDA at the cost of Rs 19 crore, will be formally inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, tomorrow.

Situated on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore main road, the four-storeyed complex has been housing 45 offices of various departments. Three more storeys will be constructed.

According to the District Public Relations Officer, the four blocks of the complex has been named after the five rivers of Punjab.


Trust earns 37.50 lakh from auction

Pathankot, February 20
The local Improvement Trust has earned Rs 37.50 lakh from the auction of seven shops constructed by it on the Patel Chowk road here.

Mr Ram Murti Mahajan, a member of the trust, said yesterday that the trust had decided to auction about 10 shops and 13 residential plots situated in Sailli Colony on the truck stand road. — OC


Hunt on to nab liquor baron’s killers
Tribune News Service

Rampura, February 20
A number of police parties headed by senior officials have started conducing raids in the state to arrest Prabhjinder Singh, alias Dimpy, and his associates, who allegedly had a hand in the killing of known liquor contractor of the region Darshan Bajakhana yesterday.

Raids are also being conducted on the suspected hideouts of Dimpy in Haryana and a reward has been announced for anybody providing any clue regarding the identity of the four unidentified assailants.

Darshan Bajakhana was shot dead by four car-borne assailants, suspected to be hired by Dimpy, a Delhi-based liquor contractor, Inderjit Singh Bhatia and his associates.


11 medical students leave institute
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 20
Eleven girl students of Indian Medical Institute and Charitable Hospital here have left the premises alleging harassment at the hands of its Director and the Principal while maintaining that the institute was not recognised by any university.

These students today met the SP (Operations), Mr Gurmeet Singh, and lodged a complaint about harassment and for being allegedly fleeced by the institute’s authorities by charging hefty fees from them.

“I got myself admitted to 3 years diploma course in the General Nursing and Midwifery course on July last year and deposited Rs 45,300 as the fee. But, I was shocked to know that the institute was not recognised by any university. Besides, the institute did not have any hospital, which is mandatory for conducting such courses as per the guidelines of the Indian Nursing Council,” alleged Ms Ravinder Kaur of Uttal village in Nawanshahr.

Similarly, Simaranjit Kaur of Fatehgarh Korotana village in Moga said, “We have been told time and again that a hospital is being constructed by the institute authorities for practical sessions, but, actually we are being misled as no such hospital exists on the ground.”

The students alleged that the Director Mr Kulbhushan Jain, and the Principal, Mr Manav Jain, of the institute started harassing them on one pretext or the other when the former raised their voice. “We have been forced to leave the institute even as our original certificates are allegedly being kept by the officials,” they said.

The Principal, Mr Manav Jain, refuted the allegations levelled by the students and said their institute was recognised by the Andhra Pradesh Nursing Council, affiliated to the Indian Nursing Council.

“These students were dully registered with the Indian Nursing Council after they passed the mandatory preliminary examination and their original certificates had been sent to the council for registration as per the guidelines. We are ready to return the certificates after getting a formal request from them,” he said adding that the students were weak in studies and were levelling baseless allegations.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, however, maintained that an inquiry had been entrusted to DSP, Mr Charanjit Singh, and a case would be registered after verifying the facts in this regard.


Chinese delegation visits Guru Nanak Dev varsity
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, February 20
A five-member Chinese delegation led by Mr Ge Gaolin Deputy Director-General of Jiagsu Provincial Department of Education (JPDE) visited Guru Nanak Dev University here last evening.

Addressing faculty members of the varsity Mr Ge Gaolin said main purpose of their visit to Punjab was to study the basic and higher education systems and reach an agreement with various universities and Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).

Under this exchange programme the students and teachers of both countries would benefit. Other members of the delegation, include Mr Yin Tiaran, Director of Division for Basic Education, Mrs Cao Meizhen, Director of School Affairs Committee of Nanjing Teachers College affiliated middle school, Mrs Zouping Principal of Wuxi Shibei middle school and Ms Shi Yunyu projector coordinator of division for International cooperation exchange, interpreter JPDE, Mr Mohinder Bir Singh, secretary PSEB also accompanied the delegation.

JALANDHAR: The delegation visited Kanya Maha Vidyalaya here yesterday. Mr Tianran further maintained, “We feel our students can do better of the international level, if they are imparted proper schooling in English. It, in principle, has been decided to promote English through private schools in the first phase.”

Principal of Kanya Maha Vidyalaya Dr Rita Bawa welcomed the visitors.


Workshop on ‘practical commerce’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
A one-day workshop on “Practical Commerce”, organised by the Department of Commerce, Mata Gujri College, was inaugurated here today. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries.

Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Head, Department of Commerce, discussed the aim of the workshop. Dr J.S. Pasricha, Professor and Head, Department of Commerce, Punjabi University, Patiala, delivered his talk on “Recent Trends in Banking”. He said privatisation in banking sector had led to competition, as a result of which public sector banks had been compelled to improve their quality of service. He said customers could now avail of ultramodern services in banks.

Mr D.P. Singh, Chief Manager, Staff Training College, Punjab and Sind Bank, Chandigarh, and Mr J.I.S. Dhillon from the same college discussed the operational aspects of banking. They made the students aware about the various loan schemes.

Mr Vijay Gupta, a chartered accountant, delivered a lecture on practical accounting and auditing. He emphasised the need for compulsory practical training for students along with theory. Mr Ashok Bansal, also a chartered accountant, gave tips on practical income tax.

Prof Bikramjit Singh, Prof Ramanjit Kaur and Prof Ipinder Kaur introduced the resource persons.


Phase II of digital library project opened
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia yesterday inaugurated the second phase of scanning religious books under the Universal Digital Library Project run by Punjab Technical University at the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here.

Speaking to mediapersons, he said the district administration would extend full help providing rare manuscripts and literature related to Sikhism and history of Sirhind, to make this project more successful in putting Sikhism books on the global library.

The college principal, Dr DS Hira, said the college had already scanned books of the archive Department, Punjab/Language Department. Now It was in the process of signing an MoU with the SGPC to scan holy granths and handwritten manuscripts so that these could be preserved for ever after digitisation. The college was in the process of setting up a virtual learning concept in the college in which study material, question banks, notes and articles on emerging technology were put on the college central server. Prof Gurpal Singh, Head, Department of Computer Science, demonstrated the scanning unit of the global library.

Prof APS Atwal, Prof Raj Bahadur Singh and Dr DS Seehra also expressed their views.

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