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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B A T H I N D A    E D I T I O N

Gadkari parries query on Bhullarís mercy petition
Bihar CM, BJP chief condole Surinder Kaur Badalís death
Badal (Muktsar), June 1

President of the BJP Nitin Gadkari today skipped queries of media persons on thorny issues of rejection of the mercy petition of former militant Devinderpal Singh Bhullar by the President and indiscipline in the BJP in the three Northern states.

Anniversary of Operation Blue Star
Sikh hardliners hold conclave at Qila Mubarak
Bathinda, June 1
To mark the anniversary of the Operation Blue Star, a number of radical Sikhs, heading different organisations, held a conclave at the Gurdwara Quila Mubarik Sahib here late this evening.

A conclave to mark the anniversary of the Operation Blue Star underway at Gurdwara Qila Mubarak Sahib in Bathinda

A conclave to mark the anniversary of the Operation Blue Star underway at Gurdwara Qila Mubarak Sahib in Bathinda late on Wednesday evening. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma






EARLIER STORIES


Untimely rains hit cotton crop
Abohar, June 1
Untimely rains seem to have left a large number of cotton growers triply cursed. Due to rains, which hit the region last night and today, some farmers who have sown the cotton crop again after it damaged due to squall accompanied by rains and hail storms on May 21, have again suffered huge losses as their recently sown cotton crop suffered irrevocable damages again.

Advocate, three women held for committing fraud
Mansa, June 1
Nazar Singh Baggi, a senior advocate of the local Bar Association, his wife and two other women were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in committing a fraud with Jaspreet Singh on the pretext of facilitating his recruitment as constable in the Punjab Police.

Assembly polls
BJP yet to decide on constituencies it will contest
Local bodies minister Tikshan sood (extreme right) interacts with media persons in Bathinda Bathinda, June 1
The Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is actively considering the issue of Assembly seats that whether it should change any constituency during the next Assembly elections out of the 23 constituencies that the party contested during the previous elections. But the party has not taken any decision in this regard.

Local bodies minister Tikshan sood (extreme right) interacts with media persons in Bathinda on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Farmers, labourers seek waiver of power bills
Bathinda, June 1
On the call of 17 farmer and labourer organisations, hundreds of activists today began a three-day dharna outside the Mini-secretariat here in support of their demands. The protesters also raised slogans against the state and Centre governmentsí alleged anti-people policies.

Plan to recruit 1300 docs underway
Bathinda, June 1
Grappling with acute shortage of doctors/specialists at the government hospitals and health centres in the state, the Punjab Health Department has sent a proposal of recruiting 1,300 doctors, to the Chief Minister for approval.

Fazilka traders urge govt to introduce annual sales tax policy
Fazilka, June 1
ďThe government should introduce an annual sales tax policy in the state as the random changes throughout the year in the sale tax on different commodities confuse the traders and sales tax officials,Ē demanded the traders of Fazilka.

Lightning claims manís life in Ferozepur
Ferozepur, June 1
A person died after being struck by lightning while he was at work in the fields today.





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Gadkari parries query on Bhullarís mercy petition
Bihar CM, BJP chief condole Surinder Kaur Badalís death
SP Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP president Nitin Gadkari coming out of the Badalsí mansion after paying their condolences over the demise of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badalís wife Surinder Kaur Badal, at Badal village
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP president Nitin Gadkari coming out of the Badalsí mansion after paying their condolences over the demise of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badalís wife Surinder Kaur Badal, at Badal village on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Badal (Muktsar), June 1
President of the BJP Nitin Gadkari today skipped queries of media persons on thorny issues of rejection of the mercy petition of former militant Devinderpal Singh Bhullar by the President and indiscipline in the BJP in the three Northern states.

Gadkari, who along with other BJP leaders and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had come here to share grief with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the death of his wife Surinder Kaur Badal, refused to reply to questions of media persons on these controversial issues. He said the BJP holds Badal in high esteem and he had come here only to share his sorrow.

Gadkari refused to comment when it was brought to his notice that the top BJP leadership in Punjab wanted the law to take its course without any special consideration in the case of Bhullar.

The BJP chief also maintained silence when asked about expulsion of a veteran party leader of Jammu and Kashmir Chaman Lal Gupta from the BJP.

Gadkari said Nitish Kumar had to catch the flight for Patna from New Delhi and as such, he was short of time to reply to these queries.

Others who accompanied Gadkari were Arun Jaitley, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Anant Kumar. Congress MPs Munish Tiwari and Ravneet Singh Bittu also called on Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal to offer condolences.

Meanwhile, besides top BJP leader LK Advani, Gujarat CM Narendera Modi is also arriving here tomorrow to participate in the bhog of Surinder Kaur Badal.

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Anniversary of Operation Blue Star
Sikh hardliners hold conclave at Qila Mubarak
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
To mark the anniversary of the Operation Blue Star, a number of radical Sikhs, heading different organisations, held a conclave at the Gurdwara Quila Mubarik Sahib here late this evening.

On the occasion, the Sikh hardliners honoured the kin of those convicted for killing the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale's son Ishar Singh and Tarlochan Singh, son of Amrik Singh, a confidante of Sant Bhindranwale, were among those honoured.

Former Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode, Bhai Sukhchain Singh of Sant Samaj, Bhai Mohkam Singh of Khalsa Action Committee, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad of AISSF, Tarsem Singh Moranwali and Bhai Gian Chand of Samaj Bachao were the prominent among those present.

Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhunder and district president of SAD (B) Sikander Singh Maluka also marked their presence but left immediately after paying their obeisance.

As the event was primarily a religious one, Diwan Sahib was held on the gurdwara complex where various Ragi Jathas recited Gurbani and held kirtan.

Addressing the gathering, the hardliners condemned the attack on Darbar Sahib. They urged Sikhs to keep united for the cause of Panth and said the Operation Blue Star gave them the courage to fight against the suppression.

"Paying tributes to all Sikhs killed during the Dharam Yudh Morcha and the Operation Blue Star, we declare here today that the fight (Dharam Yudh Morcha) is neither won nor lost. We are not going to leave it mid way," they said.

Meanwhile, the leaders demanded the release of various Sikhs lodged in different jails. The radicals chanted slogans related to Sant Bhindranwale, which were answered by the gathering.

Due to a large number of radicals' presence, the administration remained on toes during the event. Though the police did not prevent anyone from entering the gurdwara, several cops, including CID sleuths (in civil dresses), kept a vigil in and around the Fort.

Due to differences with the organisers of the event, Sant Baljeet Singh Daduwal has scheduled his separate function, which would take place at the gurdwara on June 4.

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Untimely rains hit cotton crop
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Abohar, June 1
Untimely rains seem to have left a large number of cotton growers triply cursed. Due to rains, which hit the region last night and today, some farmers who have sown the cotton crop again after it damaged due to squall accompanied by rains and hail storms on May 21, have again suffered huge losses as their recently sown cotton crop suffered irrevocable damages again.

A number of farmers of this region were forced to sow the cotton crop again after its plants started wilting away due to unprecedented rise in mercury in the second and third week of May.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that rains lashed Abohar area of Ferozepur, Bhucho area of Bathinda and some pockets of Barnala and Sangrur districts in the past 24 hours. The recently sown cotton crop has suffered colossal damages on this account.

Chief Agriculture Officer, Ferozepur, BS Chahal said the rain, which hit various pockets of this district last night and today, had caused damage to the cotton crop in 15000 acres of land as per the preliminary reports. Information gathered by the TNS revealed that loss to cotton crop was being assessed in other districts of Punjab by the field staff of the Department of Agriculture.

BS Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said he had asked the field staff to send him reports in connection with the damages suffered by the cotton crop in their respective areas due to the latest rains.

He added that he would write to the authorities concerned for arranging compensation for the affected farmers. He feared that a significant number of farmers, who had suffered damages twice, would not go for cotton cultivation now.

Interestingly, the Punjab government was yet to get report of special girdawari, which was ordered by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after the cotton crop in more than two lakh acres of land suffered varied degree of damages due to squall, which hit Bathinda, Ferozepur, Mansa and Muktsar districts on May 21.

Jasvir Singh Bains, Deputy Director, cotton, Punjab, said about 5.75 lakh hectares of area was expected to come under cotton crop this season as compared to 4.83 lakh hectares of area, which was under cotton crop last year.

However, he poited out that despite of inclement weather conditions, it was hoped that the area under cotton crop would see a significant jump as compared to last year.

n Due to rains, which hit the region last night and today, some farmers who have sown the cotton crop again after it damaged due to squall accompanied by rains and hail storms on May 21, have again suffered huge losses as their recently sown cotton crop suffered irrevocable damages again.
n Farmers of this region were forced to sow cotton crop again after its plants started wilting away due to unprecedented rise in the mercury in the second and third week of May.
n Rains lashed Abohar area of Ferozepur, Bhuchho area of Bathinda and some pockets of Barnala and Sangrur districts in the past 24 hours. The recently-sown cotton crop suffered damages on this account.

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Advocate, three women held for committing fraud
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 1
Nazar Singh Baggi, a senior advocate of the local Bar Association, his wife and two other women were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in committing a fraud with Jaspreet Singh on the pretext of facilitating his recruitment as constable in the Punjab Police.

Immediately after the arrest of Nazar Singh, the members of the local Bar Association went on strike and decided to convene a meeting tomorrow to decide the future course of action. Baggi, who remained a senior functionary of Janata Dal, contested different kinds of elections in Punjab a number of times.

Vijay Kumar Singla, president, Bar Association, Mansa, said before arresting Baggi, the police authorities should have informed the Bar Association.

He further added that the case against Baggi should have been registered after investigating the matter properly. A police team led by DSP, Kesar Singh arrested Nazar Singh and three other women from a petrol pump station, located at Fatta Malo Ke village on the Mansa-Sardulgarh road today. The police team also recovered Rs 1 lakh from the possession of the accused.

Mansa SSP HS Mann said the accused identified as Baggi, his wife Harjeet Kaur, Jagjit Kaur and Jaskiran Kaur (sister and niece of Harjeet Kaur, respectively) had promised to get Jaspreet Singh recruited as constable in lieu of Rs 4 lakh.

The accused had taken Rs 1.5 lakh from Amrik Singh, grand-uncle of Jaspreet Singh, a resident of Burj Dhilwan village of this district, as advance money for the task. Out of that Rs 1.5 lakh, which was taken as advance amount from Jaspreet Singh by the accused, Rs 1 lakh was recovered today, he added.

He said after the complaint was lodged against the accused, an inquiry was held by Raghubir Singh, SP (D). A case in this connection was registered against the accused under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC at Jhunir police station.

He said further investigation in the case was going on. Information gathered by the TNS revealed that Baggi along with his wife Harjeet and sister-in-law Jagjit had been remanded into judicial custody till June 14 when they were presented before the judicial magistrate concerned today.

Jaskiran Kaur, another accused in the case, had been granted bail by the judicial magistrate concerned. 

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Assembly polls
BJP yet to decide on constituencies it will contest
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
The Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is actively considering the issue of Assembly seats that whether it should change any constituency during the next Assembly elections out of the 23 constituencies that the party contested during the previous elections. But the party has not taken any decision in this regard.

This was stated by a senior leader of the party and Punjab Local Bodies Minister Tikshan Sood in reply to a question here this evening.

The minister said the entire Punjab BJP was in an election mode nowadays. It was going to complete its booth-level work by June 10. Later, block-level and district-level work would be completed. Then workersí sammellans would be held to mobilise the workers on a grand scale, he added.

With regard to death sentence to Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, the minister said the BJPís national leadership had already clarified its stand over the terror-related cases that the law should take its own course. He also said the Congress had been dilly-dallying on the death sentence of Afzal Guru, which had been encouraging terror activities in the country.

About corruption charges on the BJP leaders in Punjab, Sood said the Congress was playing negative politics to defame the BJP leaders, as its (Congress) leaders at the Centre had been facing huge corruption charges.

Regarding Baba Ramdevís proposed agitation from June 4 against corruption and in favour of bringing back black money from the foreign banks to India, Sood said the BJP had already raised these issues during the previous Lok Sabha elections.

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Farmers, labourers seek waiver of power bills
Sit on 3-day dharna outside Mini-secretariat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
On the call of 17 farmer and labourer organisations, hundreds of activists today began a three-day dharna outside the Mini-secretariat here in support of their demands. The protesters also raised slogans against the state and Centre governmentsí alleged anti-people policies.

The protesters were demanding waiving of electricity bills of rural and urban labourers, issuance of notification for waiving the electricity bills of tube-well motors, a grant of Rs 10 lakh and a government job each to the families of farmers who had committed suicides due to debt, and allotment of plots to the houseless labourers etc.

Among others who were present or addressed the dharna included state working committee member of Dehati Mazdoor Sabha Mahipal, district president of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Harwinder Singh Sema, district president of BKU (Krantikari) Surmukh Singh Selbrah, district president of BKU (Dakonda) Baldev Singh Bhai Roopa, district secretary of BKU (Ugrahan) Jagjit Singh Bhunder and district secretary of Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union Sukhpal Singh Khyaliwala. 

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Plan to recruit 1300 docs underway
Health Dept sends proposal to Chief Minister for approval
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
Grappling with acute shortage of doctors/specialists at the government hospitals and health centres in the state, the Punjab Health Department has sent a proposal of recruiting 1,300 doctors, to the Chief Minister for approval.

Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, today said that in view of the shortage of doctors, the department had sent a proposal to CM Parkash Singh Badal for recruiting 750 MBBS doctors and 550 specialists.

He said the recruitment process would begin as and when the approval was received from the CM.

He said the department required hundreds of doctors as 35 community health centres (CHCs) and eight sub-division-level hospitals were being constructed in the state. He said a CHC required seven doctors while a hospital at sub-division level needed 15 doctors.

When asked about the specialists (doctors) performing duties of the EMOs (emergency medical officers) in the emergency wings of the hospitals, he said the practice would end soon as the department had already planned to recruit doctors.

Satish Chandra along with managing director (MD) of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Punjab, Krishan Kumar met the local Civil Hospital authorities and took a round of the newly-constructed OPD block on the premises of the hospital here today. On the occasion, Bathinda Civil Surgeon Dr Neelam Bajaj and other district health officials accompanied them.

When his attention was drawn towards a long delay in the inauguration of the new OPD block here, which the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) had handed over to the Civil Hospital authorities over four months ago, Satish Chandra said they would seek time from the CM for its inauguration.

While taking the round of the new OPD block, the Principal Secretary instructed the officials to construct a separate over-head water tank and arrange a separate power generator for the block.

He also asked them to connect the block with the emergency wing by constructing a corridor. Satish Chandra asked the authorities of the PHSC to repair and construct the roads on the premises of the Civil Hospital.

The Principal Secretary also emphasised on expanding the parking area for the vehicles near the OPD block.

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Fazilka traders urge govt to introduce annual sales tax policy
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 1
ďThe government should introduce an annual sales tax policy in the state as the random changes throughout the year in the sale tax on different commodities confuse the traders and sales tax officials,Ē demanded the traders of Fazilka.

A liaison meeting between the sales tax officials and members of the Beopar Mandal was held at the local Aaha Restaurant presided over by Assistant Sales and Taxation Commissioner, Ferozepur, PS Randhwa.

Randhawa informed the traders that the department has decided to increase the target of tax collection to 30 per cent for Fazilka.

He appealed to the traders to deposit their due tax honestly. Beopar Mandal president Ashok Gulbadhar, patron, Dina Nath Sachdeva, cotton trader, Mohan Swaroop Bidani, Karyana Association, president, Harbans Lal Kamra has expressed resentment that the department has been carrying out a large number of scrutiny and assessment cases of traders causing mental harassment to them. They have demanded that the number of scrutiny and assessment cases should be slashed.

Gulbadhar opposed the government decision for enhancing the target of tax collection and said the traders are already striving for survival in their business during the global meltdown.

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Lightning claims manís life in Ferozepur
Our Correspondent

Ferozepur, June 1
A person died after being struck by lightning while he was at work in the fields today.

As per the information available, the deceased identified as Beeru (30), son of Baggar, a resident of village Killi under Mamdot block, had gone to work in the fields at around 9. 15 am today when the incident took place. Heavy rains along with high velocity winds lashed the entire area on Wednesday.

After the incident, the victim was brought to a private hospital in Ferozepur. However, he was declared brought dead by the doctors who attended on him. The deceased is survived by his wife and two sons.

When contacted, the police officials at Mamdot police station said they had no information about the incident.

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