P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder warns Akalis against using muscle power
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 10
Accusing Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal of “importing” a large number of musclemen and arranging their stay in seven marriage palaces to disturb Assembly poll in Kapurthala, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today warned Mr Badal and his party that the government would not allow any interference in the poll process and would “set the trouble-makers right within two minutes.”

The Chief Minister also clarified that no charges have been framed against him in the Ropar court and the defamation case filed against him by Sukhbir Badal was a ‘summons case’ and not a ‘trial case’.

Interacting with mediapersons here today, Capt Amarinder Singh warned the Akalis that any person found disturbing the poll process would be dealt sternly and the “goonda” elements would be made to learn the lesson with “danda”. “Their strategy is to terrorise urban voters to lower the polling percentage in the urban areas. For this, the Akalis, according to our information, have brought hundreds of musclemen from outside the state. But, I make it clear that anyone found terrorising voters will face serious consequences as our forces are ready to take on such elements,” said Capt Amarinder Singh.

Rubbishing the allegations that liquor was being distributed by the Congress in Kapurthala, the Chief Minister said Badals took personal benefits from Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala and his father Devi Lal. “I repeat once again that I am not running away from the allegations made by me earlier. Badals took the costly Orbit Resort land worth Rs 7-8 crore from Devi Lal for just Rs 12-15 lakh. Then they managed to get an exclusive canal dedicated to their Balasar farm.

Badal did not defend the Punjab’s river water case properly with an intention to save Chautala from embarrassment. When Badal is in Opposition, he plays some new drama. It was he who had torn copies of the Constitution and when he came to power he became a nationalist overnight and shook hands with the BJP. Everybody remembers that he was a member of a delegation who had given memorandum to UN Secretary General Boutrus Ghali demanding Khalistan,” said the Chief Minister.

Asserting that he was ready to face the cases, Capt Amarinder Singh said it were Badals who were “running away”. “I am ready for a day to day hearing in all cases. Are they ready for that?” questioned Captain Amarinder Singh adding that the documents of the Badal case have been handed over to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and DRI authorities were investigating the matter.


CM offers ‘every possible help’ to Kapurthala voters
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 10
Starting with “sadak”, “bijli” and “pani”, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh promised “every possible help” to the voters of the Kapurthala assembly segment if they supported the party candidate, Ms Sukhjinder Rana.

Addressing a massive rally at Shalimar Bagh here today, the Chief Minister said that he would ensure that the assembly segment does not face any hurdles for approval of developmental projects that would be planned here. He said he would also ensure that more industries come up in the district and youth get sufficient employment opportunities in their hometown.

Dwelling on the SYL issue, the CM said that the Akalis did not do anything to safeguard the waters of the state. He alleged that they probably did not take any step in this direction, as Mr Om Prakash Chautala was friendly with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and he helped the latter in getting the possession of Orbit Resorts.

Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that Mr Badal was ready to put as many as 16 lakh farmers and their families from Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar and Mansa into trouble so as to amass more and more wealth for his son and grandchildren.

He said that to ensure a good yield for the farmers, he was making all out efforts to ensure at least eight-hour power supply to the agricultural sector. He said he was doing so even at a loss of Rs 8 to 9 crore daily by getting power supply from Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan at the rate of Rs 4 to 5 per unit. He said in 2002 when the state was reeling under severe drought, he had ensured that tubewells kept working, and as a result, the state was able to produce 10 lakh tonnes yield more than the average produced annually.

The CM said the biggest problem that the party faced after it came power in the state was bankruptcy.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, also took the opportunity to express his grudge against Mr Badal. He said the latter did not even invite him during the 400 year celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at Amritsar recently. He said Mr Badal acted like a “pope” during the entire ceremonies.

Mr Gurjit Singh Rana, MP, promised the voters that he would ensure a grant of Rs 6 to 6.5 lakh for the development of Kapurthala. Several other Punjab ministers, including Mr Lall Singh, Mr Avtar Henry and Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, MPs and MLAs, were also present on the occasion.


2 BJP leaders’ arrest may affect party’s poll prospects
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 10
The arrest of two senior Hoshiarpur-based BJP leaders in connection with the alleged “Kargil fund” embezzlement case on the basis of a complaint lodged by none but a BJP leader has not only brought to the fore the “infighting” in the Hoshiarpur unit of the BJP, but it may also cast its shadow on the poll prospects of the BJP candidate in Garhshankar.

Hans Raj Nakra, former president of the Hoshiarpur district unit of the BJP, and Satpal Sarin, former chief of the Hoshiarpur civic body, were arrested by the Hoshiarpur police on Friday in connection with a case registered in the light of an investigative report of the Vigilance Bureau. A complaint had been lodged in this connection by former Hoshiarpur BJP treasurer Gian Bansal.

Mr Bansal had alleged that a committee of Hoshiarpur BJP leaders, Nakra, Sarin and Suresh Bhatia, which was formed in 1999 for collection of funds for Kargil martyrs’ families, had collected Rs 3.28 lakh. Out of it, only Rs 1,23, 165 had been deposited in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

While Nakra and Sarin were considered close to the state BJP chief, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, Mr Bansal was said to be associated with the “rival” group, led by former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader Tikshan Sood. While the BJP leaders were mum over the party infighting, party sources attributed the development to the inner-party rivalry, which was said to be simmering for quite some time.

On the other hand, poll observers maintained that the arrest of the two BJP leaders could have an adverse impact on the poll campaign of the BJP and on the poll prospects of the BJP candidate as the rival Congress could try to turn the tide in its favour by projecting the BJP in a la “coffin scam” manner. This could prove decisive in a constituency like Garhshankar where ex-servicemen votes counted for about 5,000-6,000.

While Mr Khanna has been dubbing the incident as an “outcome of frustration” of the Congress in view of its “weak position” in Garhshankar, senior Congress leader and Punjab Forest Minister Hans Raj Josan and Mr Parminder Singh, general secretary, have already dubbed the incident as “betrayal” of the country by the BJP. “Earlier, it was the alleged coffin scam and now it is the Kargil fund scam. What more can people expect from the BJP,” questioned Mr Josan.

Meanwhile, it was learnt, the BJP, the workers of which held a dharna at Hoshiarpur under the leadership of Mr Khanna on Friday to protest against the arrest of its two leaders, was busy in a “damage control” exercise to save itself from stigma at such a juncture and at the same time to evolve a strategy to fight the Congress.

“It is all politically motivated to demoralise the BJP workers. But they are in high spirits. The police worked under political pressure. Otherwise, how is it fair to pick such senior people from their homes at 3.30 am. Our workers are not demoralised. We will fight it out,” said Mr Khanna.


Govt hell bent on rigging elections, says Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 10
Countering the allegations levelled by the Congress that the Akalis were going to create trouble in the elections, Senior Akali leader Sukhbir Badal, has alleged that to achieve their goal of booth capturing, the Congress government was going to avail the “services” of the Punjab police commandos and that country made weapons and “goons” have already been arranged from Bihar.

At the same time, fearing that a free and fair poll might not be held in Kapurthala, Mr Sukhbir Badal has urged the Chief Election Commissioner to deploy paramilitary forces in Kapurthala constituency.

“We have information that four SSPs have been instructed to arrange for Punjab police commandos for terrorising voters and for rigging the poll. We fear that it might not be a free and fair poll in case paramilitary forces are not deployed in the constituency. But at our end, we would not allow this to happen and for defusing their strategy we have already deployed 5,000 Youth Akali Dal workers to oversee the elections. At the same time, we have instructed our workers not to do anything illegal,” said Mr Sukhbir Badal.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, who was accompanied by the senior Youth Akali Dal leader Bubby Badal, alleged that the CM was trying to “terrorise” the SAD workers. “I don’t know who has made him the CM and I think he hardly knows the duties of a CM? His duty is to ensure free and fair elections, but he is trying to terrify our workers by using threatening language. He has instructed police officials to not allow our meeting at Kala Sanghian,” alleged Mr Sukhbir Badal.

Mr Bubby Badal said Mr Sukhbir Badal had been camping in Kapurthala for past one week so as to observe the activities of the Congress and was creating awareness among voters as to how to exercise their right to vote without coming under any pressure or succumbing to fear.


Kapurthala byelection
People prefer parties over issues
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 10
Sharply focussed and candid leanings of people towards different political parties have virtually pushed the basic and real issues under the carpet in the Kapurthala Assembly segment. A large number of people from diverse backgrounds with whom The Tribune interacted, either did not bother to give any importance to issues affecting their day-to-day life or they simply refused to concede that it was an “issue-based” political battle.

“The battle is going to be between parties and we would vote for a party on the basis of its performance” is the catchline here.

“What issues have to do with this poll? This time it is a direct fight between the Congress and the SAD-BJP. We have good roads and have all facilities. So we don’t have any grudge,” says Kuldip Singh of Kokulpur village. However, at the personal level he gives vent to his feelings and rather preferences very reluctantly. “We weighed SAD candidate Raghbir Singh with coins thrice, but he never looked back towards us and has not visited the village after his earlier victory.”

Another person who sits next to him and identifies himself as Kewal Krishan disrupts the chat to say,” We were Akalis earlier, but this time we would see which way to go. I have already made up my mind.”

For Sohan Singh, an employee at Kanjli village, though the broken streets and neglected road connecting the village to the main road hold some importance, it is not everything from elections point of view.”

But these are not bigger issues for me or for that matter for most of the people of our village. We will go for a party and not after these kind of ‘frivolous’ issues.

My grudge is that the former MLA has never visited our village.” Didar Singh, a farmer, echoes similar sentiments and he is not even reluctant to reveal his choice of a party.

Residents of Bhilla village held almost similar views about their possible choice between the local issues and political parties.” What is there in the issues. We have no issues. The only problem we had a broken patch of 1 km connecting road to our village and this too was solved as the road was relaid,” feels Pritam Singh, a former sarpanch, and a group of villagers.

Though Bhupinder Singh, a farmer of Nawan Pind, outlined a number of serious problems faced by farmers, including power shortage, withdrawal of power freebees and pensions, non-payment of paddy bonus by the government, he pointed out that in byelection choice of the people is different than those during General Election.


Akali MLA seeks action against board chiefs
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 10
Akali Dal MLA Manpreet Singh Badal today objected to the participation of various chairpersons of various boards and corporations in the election campaign in Kapurthala.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal said all chairpersons, who are either elected or nominated hold an office of profit under the government could not participate in any political activity.

He expressed surprise that virtually all chairpersons were participating in the election campaign of Ms Sukhjinder Kaur, Congress candidate from Kapurthala. He said this amounted to a serious offence under the law.

He demanded immediate action against the erring chairpersons and said they should be sacked immediately. He appealed to the Election Commission to take cognizance of this misdemeanour on the part of the Congress.


Left united front on the cards
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 10
Punjab will soon witness the formation of a left united front as efforts for its formation have been initiated by a veteran communist leader, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, general secretary of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI).

Four groups of the leftists, the Mangat Ram Pasla group, the MCPI, the Punjab unit of the All-India Forward Block and the CPI(ML) Liberation, a naxalite group, are likely to form the left group and more Naxalite groups are expected to join in the proposed left front.

Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, once a close associate of Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Mr Jyoti Basu, told The Tribune in an exclusive interview that in 1964, there were 12 Communist leaders, including Mr A.K. Gopalan, Mr EMS Namboodripad, Mr P Sundriyya, Mr Surjeet, Mr Jyoti Basu and himself, who opposed, the line of Mr SA Dange who was for supporting the Congress’ socialism and was of the view that the country would have socialism through peaceful means through parliamentary democracy.

This led to a vertical split in the Communist Party of India and the CPM came into being. Today there only three leaders, Mr Surjeet, Mr Jyoti Basu and himself, who were living while all others were dead.

Mr Lyallpuri charged that the present CPM leadership was following in the footsteps of Mr Dange and was rather going ahead of him in supporting the Congress and globalisation, including the FDI.

Mr Lyallpuri alleged that the present leadership of the CPM had betrayed the heritage of Gopalan, Sundriyya and others who stood against the line of Dange. “Many comrades in Punjab are revolting against the leadership of the CPM and a big chunk of the CPM cadres has quit the party led by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla.”

The veteran communist leader said, “We are trying to unite the left forces in Punjab who are opposed to globalisation and the governments, whether led by the Congress or the BJP, who are enforcing globalisation.

We are confident that very soon we will have the old united CPM in Punjab.” He said like Punjab, comrades in many other states were rising in revolt against the present CPM leadership.


Sikh leaders flay Modi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 10
Several prominent Sikhs have condemned the alleged derogatory remarks made by Mr Narinder Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, against the Sikhs.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, SAD (Delhi) and former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), condemned the comments of Mr Modi, allegedly made by him at a public rally in Dharampur on October 5. He appealed to the SAD (B) President Parkash Singh Badal to snap all ties with its coalition partner the BJP.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, member, SGPC, while taking strong objection to the comments, said these smacked of anti-nationalism and were not in the interests of nation building.

Prof Harmohinder Singh, general secretary, SAD (D), gave a call to the BJP leadership to immediately remove Mr Modi from the post of Chief Minister.

At a meeting of the Akal Purukh di Fauj, presided over by Mr Jaswinder Singh today, the organisation demanded a written apology to the community.


No charges framed against CM, claims counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Mr ML Saggar, a counsel for the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, reiterated today that no charges were framed against the Chief Minister by a local court in a defamation case filed by a senior Akali leader, Mr Sukhbir Badal.

In a written statement issued here, Mr Saggar claimed that the complaint regarding defamation was filed only by an aggrieved person and it was not an offence against society like other crimes. Section 199 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, provides that the complaint shall contain the necessary facts and particulars to give notice to the party accused in the offence, he added.

Moreover, Section 251 of the Code provides that a notice of accusations shall be given and it shall not be necessary to frame a formal charge, he claimed.

Meanwhile, the statement said a similar complaint had been filed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal against the Chief Minister. The complaint is fixed for evidence and Mr Badal had failed to produce any evidence on the last two dates and the case had been adjourned.

Similarly, Mr Badal has also failed to appear for cross-examination in another civil suit against the Chief Minister, the statement added.


Justice Harbans Singh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Justice Harbans Singh, a former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, died here this evening after a brief illness.

He was 90. He also remained Chief Commissioner of the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission.

He is survived by three sons — Mr Kulbir Singh, Mr Satinder Singh and Mr Lakhinder Singh — and a daughter, Lilly.

A topper in the Bar-At-Law Examination (1936) of Lincoln’s Inn, London, he won all five prizes. He joined the Bar of the Lahore High Court in 1936 where he practiced for 11 years before being selected as Additional District Judge.

After Partition, he served as Deputy Custodian of evacuee property at Jalandhar.

He also remained posted as the District and Sessions Judge in different districts of Punjab and in Delhi before his elevation as a Judge of the Punjab High Court in 1958.

Then he shifted to Chandigarh.

In 1970, he became the Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court and retired in 1974.

Subsequently, he remained the President of the Sikh Gurdwara Tribunal on a salary of Rs 1 per mensem for about 10 years.

He also supervised the conduct of the elections of the SGPC as Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, on two occasions.


Patiala’s kabari market to make way for parking lot
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 10
The city is set to have a parking facility on the Bahera road, replacing the “kabari” market, as the state Cabinet has decided to shift the market to the Transport Nagar on the outskirts of the city.

While the Cabinet decision has been conveyed to the Local Bodies Department, the local Improvement Trust is awaiting directions in this regard.

Improvement Trust Chairman K.K. Sharma is keen on ensuring the shifting of the market to its new site before Divali.

“This will be a Divali gift” to the people of the city that has been facing traffic congestion on the Bahera road, say trust sources.

Preparations are being made to ensure a swift shift once the direction is received. Junk dealers have been taken into confidence on the issue.

The “kabari” market was established after partition with a few shops being opened in a low-lying area — “Toba Baba Dhyana” — by the Sikhs settlers from the North-West Frontier Province.

The market developed into one of the major junk markets for tractors in the region with the advent of Green Revolution.

However, the burgeoning market also resulted in traffic congestion in the area, creating problems for shoppers to the inner city.

Demands to shift the market have been made for over two decades, with money also being taken for grant of alternative plots from junk dealers, but with no avail.

Now with the Cabinet approving the shifting and giving plots at subsidised rates to junk dealers, the shift is likely to become a reality.

The Improvement Trust is set to give shops to junk dealers on the Bahera road, ending years of conflict over cut-off dates and dealers eligible for grant of shops in the new market.

The trust already has 154 shops in Transport Nagar and it has recently decided to construct 22 more shops in the market to adjust the junk dealers.

Though the trust had earlier moved a proposal to charge junk dealers at the rate of Rs 2,800 per square yard, sources said the decision has been modified after junk dealers refused to buy the new shops at what they called the “market rate”.

In a plea to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, junk dealers had said that the state government had provided plots at concessional rates to junk dealers in Amritsar in lieu of shifting the market there, and that a similar concession had also been given to junk dealers in Delhi.

Following this, sources said, it was decided to offer them the new shops at Rs 1,100 per square yard.

With the shifting process set to begin soon, the Municipal Corporation has chalked out a plan to create a spacious parking facility at the site of the market besides extensive landscaping.

Mayor Vishnu Sharma said a blueprint was being prepared and that a plan to create a park and an underground parking was in the offing.


Punjab unit of Rajput sabha dissolved
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 10
Dr S.P. Singh, national general secretary of the All India Kshatriya Maha Sabha, today announced the dissolution of the state unit of the Punjab Rajput Maha Sabha headed by Col K. Mohinder Singh.

In a press note issued here today, Dr S.P. Singh said that this decision was taken by Maharaja Bhanu Prakash Singh of Narsingarh, national president of the All India Kshatriya Maha Sabha. He said that the decision to dissolve the state unit was taken due to non-implementation of the decision to constitute district units through membership and then to elect the state body. Col Mohinder Singh failed to perform his constitutional responsibility, thereby creating a crisis for the entire Rajput community in Punjab. He said that a state-level conference was held at Mukerian on September 24 under the chairmanship of Rana K.P. Singh, MLA. Unfortunately no election could be conducted at this conference.

The Punjab Rajput Maha Sabha was formed on August 31, 2003 at a meeting held at Hoshiarpur. It was decided in that meeting to conduct membership at district level and then elect a constitutional body on August 31, 2004. But Rana K. P. Singh and Col Mohinder Singh failed to fulfil their responsibilities, he added. Dr S.P. Singh also condemned the statement of Col. Mohinder Singh to extend the support of the Punjab Rajput Maha Sabha to the BJP candidate in the Garhshanker byelection.

He said that as per the directions of the national president of the sabha, Rajputs had been asked to vote for Congress candidates in Garhshanker and Kapurthala. He said that an 11-member committee would be formed soon to look after the affairs of the Punjab Rajput Maha Sabha till a formal body was constituted.


Seminar delves on legal rights of mentally challenged
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 10
Aiming to educate the people on the legal rights of the mentally challenged persons in general and children in particular, and to drive home the need to adopt a proactive stance to help them, a seminar was organised at the district bar room by the Free Legal Services Authority to mark the World Mental health Day.

Ms Sabina, District and Sessions Judge cum Chairperson Legal Services Authority, presided over the function. Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner and Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, were the key speakers.

The seminar was attended, amongst others, by school teachers, panchayat leaders, village headmen,

municipal councillors, advocates and representatives of social organisations. Ms Sabina enlightened the audience on the legal aspects relating to the protection of the rights of mentally challenged children.

She said all such children would be provided free legal aid and their legal rights would be protected at every cost.

She added that it was important in itself that at World Mental Health Day was being celebrated for the protection of their rights.

She made an appeal to help such mentally challenged persons and said if any such case came into light, the Free Legal Services Authority should be informed. She said the mental health authorities had been formed at National level as well as state level.

Addressing the seminar, Mr S.K.Ahluwalia said everyone had joined the race to amass wealth and this race had made us imbalanced mentally.

He said that though we were celebrating the World Mental Health Day, first of all we all had to mend ourselves mentally and try to live a simple, true and social life. He said it was a matter of great concern that we had adopted negative approach and everyone was suffering not only due to his miseries but due to the intolerance of the happiness of others.

He called upon the social organisations to come forward to help such section of society and added that it was unfortunate that all the benefits being given to the handicapped and SC sections

of society were being usurped by the powerful and rich persons.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said the society was not giving proper recognition to such children. He called upon the people and particularly the social organisations that if any such child came to their knowledge, they should inform the SHO concerned, who would present such children before the area Magistrate.

The SHO was supposed to protect the rights of such children and the police in the district would work for the well being of such children, he added.

Dr Adarsh Kohli, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, PGI, in her address gave in detail the causes for becoming mentally challenged and how to deal with them.

Mr S.S.Panesar, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Amloh, Mr D.S.Johal, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Subhash Jhanjhi, secy, bar association, also addressed the seminar.


Camp for mentally retarded held
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 10
Under the national programme to commemorate World Mental Health Day, the District Legal Services Authorities, in collaboration with the local Lions Club, organised a seminar-cum-camp for the mentally retarded and disabled children of different age groups and their parents and guardians here today to make them aware of their civil and other rights in society.

In his presidential address, Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the Legal Services Authorities, laid stress on exploring their hidden qualities for proper rehablitation in society. He also quoted many instances in this regard.

However, due to indisciplined conditions and unhealthy atmosphere they were suffering a lot which was posing more problems for them to lead a comfortable life, he added.

Expressing his views about the protection of their civil rights, he said the government had framed many laws in this connection and it was the moral duty of the parents, guardians and representatives of other social organisations to avail the opportunity.

Describing the steps being taken by the District Legal Services Authorities in this connection, the judicial officer said that seminars were being organised twice a month, particularly in the rural areas to make the needy aware of the services like free legal aid and other facilities being provided to them on regular basis to protect their rights.

Mr Sunil Chawla, president of the Lions Club, promised to take up the matter with the Lions International for adopting the project for the welfare of the mentally disorderly persons.

Earlier inaugurating the function, Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner, said that the Central government had set up a national trust for the betterment of the mentally ill persons in the country.


Mentally challenged hope to return home
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 10
Now the mentally-challenged persons, who have fully recovered from their illness, could hope to go back soon.

The Legal Services Authority will nominate two members, who will regularly visit to the government-run Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital every month, and take up the issue of fully-cured patients. The members will ensure that such patients return to their homes. This was stated by Mr Varinder Agarwal, Civil Judge, Senior Division-cum-Secretary, District Legal Authority while presiding over a legal assistance camp organised at the government-run mental hospital on the occasion of the Mental Health Day here today.

Mr Agarwal said the members would also guarantee that there was no violation of the fundamental rights of these mentally-ill patients. The legal authority has demanded a list of such patients from the Director of the mental hospital, to ascertain their mental health and their ability to return home.

It is pertinent to mention here that there were about 25-30 patients who had fully recovered and were awaiting to be united with their dear ones. However, they were forced to live in the mental hospital as their families refused to take them back.

Mr Aggarwal said legal proceedings would be initiated against such families which deliberately avoided taking back their family members admitted to the hospital. He said that the authority would ask the families either to take such patients back or give their share of property to them.

Dr B.L. Goel, Director, while talking to this correspondent, said that he would constitute a board consisting of psychiatrists and ask them to prepare a list of such patients. The list would be given to the State Legal Services Authority, he added. He said on behalf of such patients, the hospital would forward their cases to the authority.

Meanwhile, the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr M.S. Randhawa, today assured during a seminar held at Pingalwara, here that the cases of mentally-ill persons would be taken up in lok adalats for expeditious trials. He also assured the Pingalwara of free legal aid to Bangladeshi woman.


No polio case since last year, says Director Health
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 10
The Director, Punjab Health and Family Welfare, Dr G.L. Goyal, inaugurated the Pulse Polio Campaign in the state by administering polio drops to children at the Dudhan Sadan Primary Health Centre, near here, today.

Appreciating the work being done by NGOs, Anganwadi workers, teachers and staff of the Health Department, Dr Goyal said 36.5 lakh children would be given polio drops from October 10 to 12 in the state.

He said 16,000 polio booths had been established in the state and 70,000 employees had been put on duty to ensure efficient administration of polio vaccine.

Dr Goyal said not a single case of polio had been detected in Punjab since last year, which spoke of the qualitative manner in which the vaccine had been administered in the state.

He said as per initial reports, more than 80 per cent children below five years would be given polio drops in the state.

He said health teams would make door-to-door visits on October 11 and 12 to complete the target.

Speaking on the occasion, the Civil Surgeon, Dr Hardev Singh, said 1,037 polio booths had been set up in the state along with 74 mobile, 55 transit and 1,037 stationary teams.

He said 217 supervisors had been posted to lead the teams and 4,344 employees put on duty for the purpose.

While commenting on the outbreak of gastroenteritis at Rajpura last month, Dr Hardev Singh said the situation was under control.

He added that no fresh case had been reported thereafter.

The District Health Officer, Dr V.S. Mohi, along with the Assistant Civil Surgeon, Dr S.P. Sharma, were also present.

At a separate function, students of Bhai Gurdas General Nursing Institute here administered pulse polio vaccine in coordination with the district health staff.

The director of the institute, Prof B.S. Balluana, said polio drops were administered by students at Harinder Nagar, Hargobind colony, Yadvindra colony, bus stand and Rajpura colony with more than 2,000 children being vaccinated during the day.

The Rotaract Club, Central Patiala, in association with the city branch dispensary organised pulse polio camps at city branch dispensary, Lakkar Mandi, Tejbagh colony, Rai Marja, Dal Dalia chowk, Dooma Wali Gali, Jourian Bhathian and Markal colony.

Dr Anu Chopra, president of club, inaugurated the camps.


Nearly 33,000 infants given polio drops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 10
More than 17,000 children, in the age group 0-5, were administered polio drops in this district today under the Pulse Polio campaign organised by the state health authorities.

Volunteers of different social and religious organisations and state government employees not only set up booths, but also went house to house to administer the polio drops.

Dr Jagjit Singh, District Immunisation Officer, Bathinda, in a press note issued here, said that at many booths the polio drops were administered by different civil and police officials, including, Mr D.K. Tiwari, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.

BARNALA: Nearly 8,500 children were administered polio drops at various Pulse Polio camps organised by the Civil Hospital here today. Thirty camps had been organised in and around Barnala to administer polio drops to the infants.

Dr Suresh Singhal, Nodal Officer, Civil Hospital, said Pulse Polio teams would visit various localities in the next two days for door-to- door administration of polio drops to children who could not make it to the Pulse Polio camps.

FAZILKA: About 7,200 children were administered polio vaccine here. According to Dr D.P. Godara, senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, 35 booths and two mobile teams were set up for the purpose.

A door-to-door campaign to immunise the remaining children will be carried out on October 11 and 12. Overall about 12,000 children will be given the polio vaccine.


1.78 lakh children get anti-polio drops
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, October 10
Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated a campaign of Pulse-Polio programme in the district by administering anti-polio drops to the children in the Vishavkarma School complex here today.

Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, said this evening that out of a total of 2.75 lakh children, up to five years of age, anti-polio drops were administered today to about 1.78 lakh children as per the reports received from all over the district.

BATALA: To eradicate Pulse Polio from the nation, camps were held here today. Doctors as well as NGOs like Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP), Rotary Club, Lions Club, Inner Wheel Club and Lion Club (Smile) held camps at various places in the town.


Polio drop were given to
2,465 in Kharar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 10
As many as 2,465 children were given polio drops in the Kharar and Mundi Kharar areas, under the Pulse Polio Campaign, today.

The Nodal Officer concerned for the campaign, Dr H.S. Oberoi, said 12 booths were set up and a total of 50 employees had been deployed for the work.

The campaign was inaugurated at the Civil Hospital.

He said the children who could not be given polio drops today would be covered in a door-to-door survey tomorrow.


11,633 in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 10
As many as 11,633 children were given polio drops by the officials of the Health Department under the Pulse Polio campaign here today.

Dr Raju Dhir, Nodal Officer (Mohali Urban) for the campaign, said 68 booths had been set up for the purpose apart from the three transit booths and four mobile booths.

He said a door-to-door survey would be carried out tomorrow to identify children who had not been covered.

Dr S.P. Singla, SMO, in charge of the local Civil Hospital, said the response to the campaign was about 15 per cent less as compared to the last year due to bad weather. However, as the weather improved in the evening, more people came out with their children.

Dr Singla said the town had been divided into 13 zones which were covered by 71 medical teams, each comprising four staff members. The representatives of the WHO also visited the town. The medical teams focussed on the slum areas.


Fire at Punsup godown
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 10
A Punsup godown caught fire here yesterday though no major loss was reported. Six fire engines from Bathinda and Kotkapura reached the spot and it took four hours for them to control the fire.

ASI Sukhdev Singh, who was the first to reach the site, told that the watchmen on duty at the godown, Rajinderpal and Pritpal Singh, informed them about the incident.

Punsup inspector Karnail Singh said that C-class sacks, which were kept in the godown, were gutted. Firemen ruled out any short-circuit as all electric wires inside the godown were connected.


CITU to start dharna from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Punjab State Committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) will start an indefinite dharna in front of the office of the Labour Commissioner, Punjab here from tomorrow.

CITU state general secretary Chander Shekhar said today the dharna was being organised to demand enhancement of minimum wages to Rs 5,000 a month, the withdrawal of a notification to mix fly ash in bricks, reopening closed mills, raising the rate of EPF interest, linking pension with the price index, and the implementation of the 1996 Act for construction workers.

Mr Shekhar termed the formation of a committee to study the affect of fly-ash mixing in moulding of bricks a fraud.

He appealed to workers to continue their struggle to force the government to accept their genuine demands.


Lok Adalat settles 35 cases
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 10
As many as 97 cases were taken up and 35 cases were disposed of by the four Benches and an amount of Rs 13,72,749 was awarded to the parties in the quarterly Lok Adalat, organised at the District Courts Complex, Fatehgarh Sahib, today.

The Lok Adalat was organised under the directions of the Punjab Legal Services Authority and was presided over by Ms Sabina, District & Sessions Judge-cum-Chairperson District Free Legal 
Aid Society, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Ms Sabina said the main object of the Lok Adalat was to settle the disputes between the parties, amicably. She said a person seeking redressal of his dispute through the Lok Adalat can contact any court in the district.

In the Lok Adalat, all types of cases were taken up, including civil cases, rent cases, matrimonial cases, banks cases, insurance cases etc.

Mr Dilbagh Singh Johal, Civil Judge, Fatehgarh Sahib and secretary, District Free Legal Aid, appealed to the people to solve their disputes amicably through the Lok Adalats.


2 sent to police custody on scam charges
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 10
Two assistants working in the office of the Director, Research and Medical Education, who were allegedly involved in a scam relating to the supply of cotton and surgical items to medical colleges, were remanded in one-day police custody here today.

They were produced in the court of the Duty Magistrate, Mr Ranjan Khullar.

The vigilance officials had registered a case in this connection in July last year. The assistants were arrested from Chandigarh by a team led by the DSP (Vigilance).


Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 10
The Gurdaspur police has busted a gang responsible for many robberies in the district. The SSP of Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said Manjinder Singh, a resident of Barjowal Nawan village in Shri Hargobindpur area of the district, Dalbir Singh, a resident of Villa Bajju village and Balkar Masih, a resident of Chor Sidhwan village, were arrested after a brief exchange of fire.

On a tip-off, the police raised a naka near Hyatpur village. When the police signalled the members of the gang who were travelling on a scooter, to stop, they ran towards fields and fired at the police party. After a brief exchange of fire they were arrested.

The accused have confessed to robbing Baljit Singh, a resident of Bhulle Chak village of Rs 2.10 lakh at gunpoint near Gurdaspur while he was returning home after withdrawing the money from the bank.

They also tried to rob a liquor vend near Gurdaspur. In a scuffle at vend, they shot at Balwinder Singh, a vender. They have also admitted to a robbery at liquor vend in Hyatpur village.

The SSP said a .38-bore countrymade revolver with 10 cartridges and .12-bore countrymade pistol with five cartridges were seized.

The accused used to keep a watch outside banks or other vulnerable points and target two wheelers.

A case under Sections 307/34 of the IPC and 25/54/50 of the Arms Act has been registered against them.


5 more youths land in Pak jails
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 10
Lured by travel agents, five Punjabi youths, who had gone to Europe in search of greener pastures, have landed in Pakistan jails, said Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the Vishav Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society. Mr Bhullar said the youths Darbari Lal of Yamunanagar, Mahinderpal of Jagadari, Seva Singh of Rajpura, Joginder Singh of Nawanshahr and Pritam Singh of Phagwara — were nabbed in Turkey while illegally entering in to the country.

He said 31 Indian youths were lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail, 22 in the Machh jail in Baluchistan, 14 youths in the Kota jail and one in the Rawalpindi jail. He said all of them had served their jail term and a meeting of their parents would be called soon.


4 booked in ‘abduction’ case
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 10
Four persons have been booked in a case in which a girl was allegedly abducted from her relative's home at Rajeana village.

According to the complainant, Swaranjit Kaur, four persons barged into her house on Friday afternoon and took away her niece, Ramandeep Kaur, with them. When she resisted their move the accused fired gunshots in the air.

She said that Ramandeep was staying at her house for the past few days.

The police has registered a case against Jaswant Singh, Kulwant Singh, Kuldip Singh and an unidentified person under Sections 452, 336, 507, 323, 148, and 149 of the IPC.


School principal accused of keeping hostellers hungry
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura (Faridkot), October 10
While reports of teachers beating up students for not completing homework or for some mischief are common, a case of the school principal keeping her girl hostellers hungry has come to light.

The girl hostellers of the local Chanda Singh Marwah Senior Secondary School have alleged that Principal Surinder Kaur kept them without food the whole day and threatened with dire consequences just because they had protested against the recently imposed hike in hostel fee.

They said that the school charged them Rs 750 per month that included hostel fee, but the principal has “suddenly” raised this fee by Rs 250 per month taking the total to Rs 1,000.

They said that they informed their parents about the fee hike and gave a complaint to the District Education Officer (Secondary) in this connection.

Parents of these hostellers alleged that a few days back the principal took the girls on a tour without informing them and higher officials of the department about the same. She reportedly charged these girls Rs 300 each for the tour.

Confirming the incident, the DEO, Ms Sukhmandar Kaur Brar, said that she had taken serious notice of the complaint and she herself had been investigating the matter.

The DEO said that she would visit the hostel on Monday and record the hostellers’ statement. The school principal could not be contacted for her comments.


Youth for sanitation programme
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 10
Volunteers of the NSS unit of the local SSD Girls College spread the message of “Youth for sanitation”, apart from taking other activities during its 10-day camp which concluded here today.

The volunteers, who actively participated in the Pulse Polio programme by setting up booths at different places in this city, also participated in the paper reading, poetry, painting, mehndi application and fancy dress competitions organised during the past 10 days. The volunteers also took out a rally in connection with the Pulse Polio campaign.

Under the “youth for sanitation” programme, volunteers carried out a cleanliness operation on the college campus. They also educated the people about the importance of cleanliness and its benefits.

Ms Usha Sharma, programme officer, NSS unit, in a press note issued here, said that volunteers were given lectures on “disaster management, selection of career, causes and prevention of fire incidents and service manners.”

They were given training in first aid, dental care and national integration by eminent personalities, including Prof D. R. Vij, former Dean, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Mrs Raj Gupta, Principal, Swami Vivekanand Girls College.

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