P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dethrone Amarinder, save Punjab: Brar loyalists
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Senior Congress leaders, loyal to Mr Jagmeet Brar, special invitee, Congress Working Committee (CWC), today declared that they would leave no stone unturned to oust Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh from power to save Punjab.

Mr Manjeet Singh Jhalbuti, Member, All India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Kulbir Sidhu, former chairman, Punjab Communication Limited (PCL), Dr Tara Singh Sandhu, spokesman, Parliamentary Farmers Forum (Congress organisation), and former president, District Congress Committee, Moga and Mr Harinder Pal Singh Mann, former president, District Congress Committee, Patiala, alleged that anti-Punjab and anti-farmer stance of Capt Amarinder Singh was exposed as he (Chief Minister) had decided to give 68000 acres of land belonging to farmers at a throwaway price to Reliance India Limited (RIL) in lieu of “money”.

To oust Capt Amarinder Singh from power, the leader said, they would go to people at grass-roots level to educate them about the nefarious designs of the Chief Minister by organising function in every Assembly segment in connection with the 75th anniversary of martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Apart from it, they would also organise a series of press conferences in nook and corner of Punjab to make people aware of the fact that Punjab was in danger.

“Time has come when Capt Amarinder Singh, who has been following feudal and imperialistic policies should be dethroned. It has become a prime duty of every Punjabi to make efforts to the Chief Minister’s ouster failing which Punjab will be doomed,” said the leaders while addressing a press conference in the hometown of Chief Minister adding that they would meet party high command for saving Punjab.

Mr Brar’s loyalists have come out openly against the Chief Minister today after a section of Punjab ministers sought action against Mr Brar for levelling allegations against Chief Minister on the issue connected with the granting a land to RIL yesterday. They would also honour Prof Jagmohan Singh, a close kin of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, and Sewa Singh Thikriwala, a Parja Mandal movement leader, who was allegedly murdered in Patiala Jail during dynastic rule on May 27.

Making a scathing attack on Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress leaders said that the Chief Minister had been wearing the mask of sympathiser of farmers but in reality, he was number one enemy of poor peasantry as he was snatching their holdings and handing over to these business tycoons.

During the past four years under his rule, agriculture land to the tune of 23000 acres had been going into the hands of private entrepreneurs every year under the garb of development of mega projects, new townships and industries. They alleged that Chief Minister had been doing so by violating the decision of apex court in a case in which it had held that farmers, whose land was acquired by government, should be rehabilitated by giving an alternative piece of land.

They alleged that the Chief Minister had decided to give thousands of acres of prime land in Amritsar district to a private company. About 1600 acres of land was being given at a throwaway price for setting up an airport in Ludhiana district.

A big scandal had been taking place in Punjab under the garb of mega projects. The Chief Minister had been giving approval to business houses for setting up industries by giving them huge concession. Instead of setting up industries, these business houses had been developing residential colonies on the same land.

Capt Amarinder Singh was not concerned about giving relief to the farmers of Punjab, whose 65 per cent population was under huge debt and 36.9 per cent had expressed desire to leave the profession of agriculture. This situation had developed during the four year “misrule” of “Maharaja Patiala” in Punjab, they said.

They pointed out that growth rate in Punjab was 5.5 in 1970 when India as a country had growth rate of 3.5. Now the growth rate of India had touched 8.2 but the growth rate of Punjab had nosedived to 2 or 3. Punjab had come down to fifth position in per capita income from the first position.

They disclosed that a function in connection with 75th anniversary of martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sikhdev would be organised in this town on May 27 where Mr Jagmeet Brar would be the key speaker.


Dhindsa supports Brar against CM
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 15
Secretary General of the Akali Dal and MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said today that their party would oppose the office of profit Bill to be tabled tomorrow before the Lok Sabha. He said the Supreme Court had dismissed actress Jaya Bachchan’s petition challenging her disqualification as Rajya Sabha member by President APJ Abdul Kalam on the recommendation of the Election Commission, for holding an office of profit. Our party too believed that any MP, MLA or Rajya Sabha member had no right to hold the office of profit.

Mr Dhindsa was here to attend function in Parivar Bichhora gurdwara to honour patron of the Akali Dal, Sant Baba Ajit Singh.

Mr Dhindsa said senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar was right in his allegation against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that he had decided to sell land to Reliance at throw-away prices. We will take legal action against the CM to prevent him from hand over the land to Reliance.


Soaring mercury worsens water problem
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
With mercury soaring high, water crisis has worsened for the residents of Deep Singh Nagar and Balraj Nagar. The Municipal Corporation is supplying potable water to these localities through water tankers, as supply line is yet to be laid in both the residential areas.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Lachman Das, a resident of the area, said they were being supplied drinking water through tankers for the last couple of years as ground water was unfit for human consumption. He lamented that while their daily requirement was 10 tankers of water they were receiving 2 to 3 tankers per day on an average.

“At times, we don’t get single drop of water for 2 to 3 days, which is followed by supply of 5 to 6 tankers on the next day,” said Usha Rani, another resident.

Taking a dig at the MC authorities, Mr Gurjant Singh said: “Here we cry for drinking water for days and on the other hand water is callously sprinkled on roads prior to a VIP’s visit to the city.” He said each household in both the localities needed 30-50 litres water a day, while they were getting merely 15 litres daily.

Sunita Rani, another resident, said people throng water tankers with 20-litre cans, which often led to scuffle among women. She said despite repeated calls to the MC authorities, they didn’t get enough water to meet their demand. “We ask our guests twice before offering water to them,” she added.

The residents said they had also taken up the matter with the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, who had assured them to increase water supply.

However, Mr Sneh Bansal, the contractor having water supply contract, said they supply water as per the requirement of localities, but at times unavailability of tankers hampered supply to a locality.

On the other hand, the MC EO, Mr Kamal Kant, said though, supply was adequate to these localities, he would look into the matter. He said the work to lay pipelines in these localities was on and would be over in the next four months.


Resentment against hike in water charges
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 15
Out of total 21 Municipal Councillors (MCs) of the local Municipal Council (MC), as many as 13 MCs today submitted a memorandum to the Executive Officer (EO) of the local MC against the hike in the water and sewerage charges for the local residents.

The MCs, who submitted memorandum, were Mr Jatinder Kalra, Ms Bhagwanti, Mr Surinder Singh Pappu, all of the BJP; Mr Sajjan Ram, Shiromani Akali Dal; Ms Simrat Rana Punia, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, Mr Amarjit Singh Titu, Ms Parminder Kaur, Mr Jaswinder Singh Prince, all Independents; Mr Harbans Singh Garcha, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Moti Lal and Mr Jagdev Singh Kaku, all belonging to the Congress.

The EO of the local MC had reportedly increased the water and sewerage charges about 10 days ago on the plea that the state government had already issued orders to implement the notification, dated May 2, 2003, related to the increase.

After the implementation of the notification by the EO, the above 13 MCs started opposing the hike. Later they decided to submit a memorandum to the EO and other higher authorities of the Punjab Government in the interest of the local residents, to whom they represented.

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, Mr Jatinder Kalra, a Municipal Councillor, said that the notification had earlier been presented in the House of the local Municipal Council for four times for implementing the same, but the House every time unanimously rejected it.

He said as per the Municipal Act, the EO had no power to implement the notification on his own, it was the House which had the power to implement it. So in this context, the EO had “wrongfully” implemented the notification, he added.

Mr Kalra said with the implementation of this notification, the residents would now have to pay Rs 65 per month up to five marla houses as sewerage charges against the existing charges of Rs 15 only for unlimited area. Likewise, water charges had been increased from Rs 30 to Rs 70 per month per connection up to five marla houses. While the rates had been increased in a big way for other categories of the residents, who had more than five marla houses.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that following the submission of memorandum to him by the 13 MCs, the EO today decided not to go ahead with his orders regarding hike in the water and sewerage charges.


Punjab to take tough stand on 65,000 hectares under preservation Act
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Aiming to free more than 65,000 hectares listed under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, the Punjab Government is set to take a tough posture and tell the Central Government that it has "no right" to impose restrictions on freeing the lands as the PLPA is a state-administered Act.

First, to comply with the directions of the Government of India that has sought details of the listed lands, the state government has shot off letters to the Deputy Commissioners of Mohali, Ropar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur. They have to provide details of the lands under the PLPA and the status of the land use — cultivation or habitation — before the cut-off date in Decmeber,1996. Owing a technical error the lands had been listed as forest areas, leading to several problems for farmers.

To ward off any undue interference, the state government has sought legal advice on the kind of restrictions which can be imposed by the Government of India on freeing the 65,000 hectares falling under the PLPA from being listed as forest areas. Demands to get the lands freed have been made in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on several occasions.

In March this year, the Government of India, while agreeing in principle to grant exemption, had imposed conditions. It had said that the Punjab Government should ensure that no commercial activity was permitted on such de-listed lands and the lands should be used only for agriculture and sustaining the livelihood of the owners of the lands.

Now the state government is of the opinion that there should be no need to stand guarantee for the restrictions being imposed by Union Government. The state government was not even the owner of the lands. The PLPA was a state-administered Act and its aims and objects were not akin to those of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The Forest Advisory Committee has accepted that "the areas in question are listed as forest lands only on account of a technicality as these are included in the administrative reports of the Forest Department as forest areas".

Official sources in the state government confirmed the development saying the lands under the PLPA lay in the kandi belt and the areas were "locked" to check soil erosion and for the conservation of sub-soil water. There is forest cover, and hence these areas should not be counted as part of forest areas. This are agricultural lands and the same would show up in the records that had been asked for from the DCs, said the sources.


Jagmeet: it’s my duty to keep party high command informed
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
"As a conscientious Congress worker, it is my duty to keep the party high command informed of developments in the field", says Mr Jagmeet Brar, denying that he has been summoned to the Union Capital to explain his outburst against the proposed allotment of land to Reliance India Limited (RIL) by the Punjab Government.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone, Mr Brar said that he reached the Union Capital this morning to seek an appointment with both the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the party’s general secretary for Punjab affairs, Mr Janardhan Dwivedi.

“I am duty bound to inform the party high command as well as the Congress President of the adverse reaction this land proposal has evoked from various sections of society. If we have to encourage agro-industry or industry to come to Punjab, we should come out with a policy and offer a level playfield to all players,” said Mr Brar, revealing that he had already written a letter to Mrs Gandhi on the issue.

“In case the party high command has to summon anyone on the Reliance issue, it will not be me alone. Then the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, will also be called,” asserted Mr Brar.

Mr Brar said that till now no one from the party high command or any senior leader had conveyed “any displeasure” to him over his public stand on the RIL issue.

“I am not against any individual. But my objection is that it should be transparent and in accordance with a policy which should be open to everyone interested in setting up agro or food- processing industry or centres in Punjab.

“In a democracy, everything has to be done in a transparent and judicious way,” said Mr Brar, wondering how one could wish to give away public land to a corporate house free of cost. He was referring to some recent statements made by senior functionaries of the Punjab Government.

“As a Congressman and a Punjabi, it is my duty and responsibility to work for safeguarding the interests of the state as well as its people,” he added.


Doctor held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
The Vigilance Bureau has nabbed a doctor posted at the Civil Hospital while here he was accepting bribe from a Kaliawali resident for treating his wife. Vigilance SSP Amrik Singh Waraich said complainant, Kartar Singh’s wife was admitted to the Civil Hospital on May 5. Dr Deepak Rai performed an operation on her and reportedly demanded a bribe of Rs 3,000 for providing treatment to her and allegedly asked the complainant to get his wife discharged in case he didn’t want to his palms. However, the deal was struck in at Rs 2,000.

A Vigilance team headed by DSP Anil Kumar laid a trap and today caught the doctor while he was accepting of Rs 2,000 from the complainant.

The amount was seized from his possession.

A case has been registered against him under Sections 7, 13(2)88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Badal’s wife mobilises cadre on Capt’s turf
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, today resurfaced in the political arena after laying low for some years.

Ms Badal here attended a meeting, held at party leader Amarjit Singh Sidhu’s residence, convened for party MLAs, MPs, former MLAs and MPs, members of organisational setup and former and present SGPC members.

She urged party workers to mobilise women for the Shiromani Istri Akali Dal conference to be held on June 14 at Tarn Taran in connection with the 400th anniversary of martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev.

Ms Badal, who became active in politics some years ago when Mr Badal was jailed and campaigned for cooperative societies elections, while addressing mediapersons after the meeting said she would fight for more rights to women.



Doctors’ protest continues
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
Indefinite strike by resident doctors and medical students under the banner of the Medical Students Association of Government Medical College entered in the second day today. They were protesting against lathi charge by the police on medical students at Mumbai and Delhi who were agitating against the quota proposed by Union Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh.

They organised a dharna outside the OPD of Guru Nanak Dev hospital and other government hospitals. Strike paralysed the health services in the hospitals and patients had to face hardships due to this.

Mr Gagandeep Sharma, president of the association, addressing the dharna alleged that the government instead of giving heed to their genuine demands was trying to scuttle them. He said the government was testing their patience and if the government caused any delay, the emergency services would be closed all over the country. A large number of students from the Junior Doctors Association, Ramdas Dental College, Government Dental College and resident doctors participated in the dharna.

Meanwhile, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, State BJP vice-president, termed the lathi charge at medical students and doctors as blot on the central government. She said on one Union Minister was urging the intelligent and literate people not to leave the country for monetary gains while on other hand the government was ‘showering’ lathis on doctors.


Dental college students block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 15
In support of the strike by students of medical and dental colleges throughout the country, interns, house surgeons and students of the Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute, Sunam, 13 km from here, organised a protest rally today. The institute’s OPD was kept closed and the protesters did not attend classes in protest against the proposed increase in the quota for the OBCs in the higher educational institutions. However, they allowed the functioning of the emergency services.

The protesters took out a march and raised slogans against the proposed increase in reservation for OBCs. They also blocked traffic for more than an hour on the Bathinda-Patiala highway. They also threatened the government that they would go on a hunger strike if it accepted the proposed increase in the quota for OBCs in Parliament.

They also expressed their solidarity with the agitating doctors and students of Delhi and Mumbai, who had been mercilessly beaten up by the police.


Medical students block traffic
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Students of Government Medical College, Ayurvedic College and Government Dental College blocked traffic on the busy Patiala-Sangrur road in front of the main gate of Rajindra Hospital in protest against the caste-based reservation policy of Central Government.

Before blocking the traffic by forming a human chain, the students held a protest rally in front of the OPD complex of the hospital which remained closed for the entire day today. Senior doctors and other faculty members also joined the protest.

Later, the students sat on a dharna in front of the emergency block of the hospital though the emergency services remained exempted from the ongoing strike. The student leaders described the caste-based reservation policy as a politically motivated. They said the government was adopting a policy of divide and rule which was neither in the interest of the medical profession nor nation. They added that by compromising on merit, the poor quality turnout of doctors could wreak havoc on the patients.

Meanwhile, the PCMS Association's patron, Dr M.S. Randhawa, while addressing the protesting students, urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to intervene and sort out the complex issue at the earliest. Dr Randhawa demanded that the PM should also apologies for `brutal treatment' meted out to peacefully agitating junior doctors who were mercilessly `kicked and beaten up' in Mumbai and in other cities of the country. 


Protest against octroi contractors
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 15
Traders of Pathankot today disrupted traffic on the Dalhouise road for about six hours to protest against the alleged high-handedness of octroi contractors.

The tiff between the octroi contractors and traders started today morning. The truck carrying material of a local furniture store entered the town after paying the octroi. While the labourers were unloading the material at the store, the octroi contractor reached the spot with eight to 10 persons. He alleged that less octroi had been paid for the material brought in the town.

However, the furniture store owner alleged that he has paid octroi for the entire material. The henchmen of octroi contractor tried to reload the material in the truck. The trader, however, contacted members of the local trader association who gathered at the spot and prevented the octroi contractor from taking away the material.

The agitated traders then parked the truck in the middle of the Dalhousie road and blocked the traffic at about 7.30 am. They raised slogans against the Punjab government and local municipal council. The traders alleged that the government was making false promises on abolition of octroi in the state.

The private octroi contractors were harassing the traders. They use henchmen and despite being shown the bills force the traders to unload the material at the octroi posts. This damages their material and caused unnecessary harassment to them, they alleged.

As per the rules, octroi contractors should limit their activities to the octroi posts. However, they alleged that the henchmen of contractors patrol the town on private vehicles as if they were controlling law of the land. The traders demanded that the work of octroi collection should handled by government officials.


Passing-out parade of DSPs
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 15
The passing-out parade of probationery DSPs of Uttaranchal Pardesh Police trained at Punjab Police Academy here was held in the academy today in which the Uttaranchal DGP, Mrs Kanchan Chaudhry Bhatacharaya took the salute. Academy Director Mr R.S. Gill, Dy Directors GS Sandhu,Dr DJ Singh and Joint Director SS Chauhan were also present on the occassion.

Mrs Bhatacharaya highlighted the importance of having all round knowledge and strong value system for police officers in order to face tough challenges effectively. She said devotion to duty coupled with sincere hard work and impartial approach is the basic trait of a successful police officer. Quality and standards of police training being imparted at the academy is no way inferior to the best police training institutions worldwide.

Academy Director RS Gill presided over the function and gave details of the functioning of the academy.Mrs Bhatacharaya gave away the prizes to the winners of various fields. They are: All Round: 1 P/DSP Navneet Singh, 2 P/DSP Mamta S. Vohra,

Outdoor-P/DSP Navneet Singh, Indoor: 1 P/DSP Shweta Chobey. Firing Events:- 1 Revolver/Pistol Firing — P/DSP Navneet Singh, Rifle Firing: 1 P/DSP Harish Verma. Best conduct—P/DSP Kamlesh Upadhayaya.


Suvidha centre inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 15
A Suvidha centre was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Alok Sekhar at the secretariat today to provide a platform to submit applications for passport, arms licence and attested documents, besides revenue records.

The fully computerised centre would help the public to get their work done sooner, he said. To ensure timely delivery, people should approach the centre and file the application. The receipt-cum- token number, which specified the date of delivery of service, would be issued to each applicant.


Gas booking through SMS

Patiala, May 15
The SMS service was introduced today by four Indane LPG distributorship agencies to book cylinders. The service was inaugurated by Mr Vikas Gupta, Area Manager, Indane.

According to a press note, the customer should type B followed by the consumer number and send it at the following mobile numbers: 9888420346 (Rajindera Gas Service), 9855966099 (Leo Gas Service), 9855206542 (Surendra Gas Service and 9814357496 (Sharan Gas Service). — TNS


high court
Take decision on Rent Act, govt told
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 15
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Punjab Government to take a decision within six months on issuing a formal notification regarding the Punjab Rent Act, 1995.

The Act, which was passed by the legislature and received the President of India’s assent in March, 1998, has till date not been notified by the Punjab Government. Because of this reason, the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949, still remains in force in Punjab.

Disposing of the PIL filed by Mr Charanjit Singh of Ludhiana and others in 2000, seeking directions to the respondents to issue notification regarding the Punjab Rent Act, 1995, a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa told the government to take whatever decision it wanted to take on the issue but within six months.

In their PIL, Mr Charanjit Singh and others had stated that due to the indifferent attitude of the successive governments in Punjab, the new Act had not come into force and instead the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949, which had become outdated continued to be operational.

The PIL had seen the government taking different stands at different occasion, making its amply clear that it was dithering on the issue.

In fact, a senior IAS officer had even been issued show cause notice for contempt of court during pendency of this writ. The proceedings against him were later dropped after he filed an affidavit.

In April 2002, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, the then Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, had informed the court that the new legislation would replace the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949, and the proposed amendment would be tabled in the Vidhan Sabha. But, till date, nothing has been done.

One of the major reasons behind the apathetic attitude of the government is the fact that a Cabinet subcommittee, which had been constituted to study it, had taken the view that the new Act, framed on the pattern of the Centre’s model rent control legislation, was inappropriate.

The subcommittee had suggested that the 1949 Act should be suitably amended without notifying the new Act.


A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed the petition filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Rattan Singh and some SAD MLAs, seeking directions to the government to get cases registered against some senior Congress leaders, who had been indicted by the previous Lok Pal, Punjab.

In their petition, the Akali leaders had stated that despite the report of the Lok Pal, no action has been taken against these leaders.

The four Congress leaders, one present and three former ministers, had been indicted by the then Lok Pal, Justice D.V. Sehgal. They include Power and Irrigation Minister Lal Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Shamsher Singh Dullo, who was a minister in the Beant Singh Government, and former ministers Balmukund Sharma and Lakhbir Singh Randhawa.

However, during hearing, the government had taken the stand that since the report had been sent to the Vidhan Sabha, it could not do anything in the matter.

Sometime back, the High Court had directed the Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to tell it as to what action had been taken on the report.

Today, the Division Bench headed by Mr Justice Amar Dutt dismissed the petition, saying that the court could not interfere in such matters that are pending before the Legislature.


8 promoted to rank of DIG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Punjab Government today promoted eight Indian Police Service officers of the Punjab cadre to the rank of Deputy Inspector-General.

With this, the entire 1992 batch of officers stands promoted. Those promoted were Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Mr Gaurav Yadav, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Arun Kumar Oraon, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, Mr Rajinderpal Singh Brar and Mr Kultar Singh.

Mr Yadav, who is on deputation with the Chandigarh Administration till September this year, has been given "proforma promotion". Mr Chauhan, who is the seniormost in the 1992 batch, had been promoted a few weeks earlier.


Patients attacked in hospital
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 15
Some persons, including a sarpanch, Rajesh Kumar Bhati belonging to the Congress, allegedly attacked patients in the emergency ward of the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here today.

According to sources, Nand Ram and Devi Lal Meghwal, sons of Mam Raj Meghwal of Amarpura village, near here, had been admitted to the ward for treatment following an attack. Some persons forced their way into the ward and attacked them.

The paramedics and patients cried for help but the policemen on duty were not found in their picket as they were sleeping in the Meera Ward, opposite the emergency ward, at that time. The hospital authorities then requisitioned police force from the city.

The assailants shattered the glass of the cabin where a doctor, P. Ram, was examining a patient. It allegedly happened in the presence of over 10 policemen.

The miscreants also attacked and injured Mam Raj.

The Meghwal brothers alleged that their family had backed an SAD candidate in the last panchayat elections. However, the winner, Rajesh Kumar Bhati, who belonged to the Congress, developed grudge against them.

Yesterday, some women of the Bazigar community allegedly attacked the Meghwal family with sharp-edged weapon.

The sarpanch and his supporters chased them to the hospital to prevent the issuance of a medico-legal report, Nand Ram alleged.

However, Balwant Rai and his mother Guddi, under treatment in the same ward, said they clashed with the Meghwal family over differences among children of the two sides.

The PCMS Association and the Indian Medical Association have expressed concern over the violence in the hospital.

SSP Arpit Shukla said stern action would be taken against the culprits.


3 pilgrims die in accident
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 15
Three pilgrims from Maharashtra, including two women, were killed, seven injured as the jeep by which they were traveling collided head on with a truck on the national highway 15 yesterday.

The police said 10 residents of Badgaon subdivision in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra were going to Vaishno Devi shrine by a jeep (MH 28 C 3623). A truck (RJ 07 G 2511) hit the jeep near Baramsar village on the NH 15 killing Leela Bai, Tulsi Devi and Gajanand on the spot. Those injured included Uma Devi, Mukta, Ram Dass Dhole, Samaban and driver Ricchpal Singh.

The police took the injured to the civil hospital at Ravatsar. The condition of the driver is stated to be serious. Bodies of the victims and those injured, except the driver, have been sent to their native village by another vehicle, sources said today. The police has booked the driver of the truck.


Former Congress MLA’s son held

Barnala, May 15
The local police has arrested son of former MLA and Congress leader Bachan Singh Pakho for offering bribe to SHO Mahal Kalan.

Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, Barnala said Jaspal Singh, a son of Bachan Singh Pakho went to Mehal Kalan police station on Sunday. He offered Rs 50,000 as bribe to Mr Kamikkar Singh, SHO Mehal Kalan. Mr Jaspal demanded a favour for Beant Singh of Mehal Kalan Khurd.

The two parties had a dispute over land at Mahal kalan village. Mr Jaspal want to side with Beant Singh. For that purpose he tried to impress upon the SHO on duty. At that time Harvinder Singh and Kuldip Singh were also present. Mr Jaspal Singh was arrested under section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. — OC


Lack of autonomy leaves PAU short on funds
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 15
Punjab Agricultural University campus witnessed agitation by its teaching and non-teaching staff last week thanks to the Audit Department of the Punjab Government. The university lacks financial autonomy despite the fact that the Supreme Court has given a ruling that the university is an autonomous body.

As per information, the university authorities submitted salary bills to the Audit Department in April so that teachers and employees could get the salary on May 1.

But the department allegedly made some objections, as a result of which employees did not get the salary on May 1.

There was resentment against the delay in payment of salary and employees resorted to dharna on the campus.

The authorities had to seek the intervention of officials in the Punjab Government to get the bills passed and receive the payment. They got the salary only on May 10.

The university receives all grants through nodal agriculture and veterinary departments. This is so because it is a state-funded university.

But with the establishment of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University, the grant for the veterinary sector now goes to the new university.

The state government has been providing Rs 90 crore per annum to the PAU for the past three years, including Rs 10 crore for veterinary schemes.

However, this amount was being used to meet the salary of employees. Moreover, the university had to spend around Rs 5 crore from its own resources to meet the salary needs.

The authorities had submitted a plan for raising corpus fund of Rs 100 crore to the state government to enable it to earn interest to undertake research projects.

The state Planning Board recently sanctioned a grant of Rs 10 crore to the university. But the amount was given to the state Agriculture Department.

Now, the Research and Development Board of the state would decided how the amount would be utilised.

The Union Finance Minister provided a sum of Rs 100 crore in the Central Budget for research and development projects to the PAU.

But the university had not received the amount so far.

Last month, Punjab Chief Secretary K.R. Lakhanpal summoned a meeting to formulate modalities for the utilisation of the amount. He set up a committee headed by Dr G.S. Kalkat to finalise the modalities. The committee has since submitted its report to the state government.


AISSF to be re-formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A group within the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) today claimed that it was set to re-form the AISSF. It would now have two wings — one would be for students and the other would be a political front.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Sarbjit Singh Sohal and Dr Bhagwan Singh said a name for the political party would be formalised and announced by September 20. Efforts were on to bring all factions of the AISSF on a common platform.

A meeting of the Advisory Committee had been convened on May 20 to iron out differences among various factions. A few of them might not join us, Mr Sohal admitted.

Dr Bhagwan Singh said the goal of the party would be to seek the right of "self-determination" for Sikhs.

They were non-committal when asked if they would contest the coming Assembly elections. They said it would depend upon what kind of shape was possible for the re-formed AISSF.

A few AISSF leaders had contested the Lok Sabha poll in Punjab in 1989 and 1991.

Mr Sohal said a Sehajdhari could be a member of the AISSF but not its President. He said the student wing of the AISSF would be purely for students with an upper limit of three years after finishing studies.

He criticised the chief of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for promoting the sons of Akali leaders in state politics.


Prof Neki invited to Pakistan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Prof (Dr) N.S. Neki, Professor, Medicine, Government Medical college and Rajindera Hospital, has been invited to chair the scientific session of the annual conference of the International Medical Sciences Academy to be held in Lahore from November 3.

Dr Neki, is also a life fellow of the academy and has recently been nominated as member of National Advisory Board of the journal-JIMSA-published by the International Medical Sciences Academy. Dr Neki will also be presenting two papers of the subjects of clinical efficacy and safety profile of fixed dose combination of bisoprolol and profile of anaemia in elderly.

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