30122018-JTR-01.qxd 12/30/2018 1:28 AM Page 1 c m y b SUNDAY | 30 DECEMBER 2018 | JALANDHAR JALANDHAR TRIBUNE Stone of ICCC laid New Year Eve Spoiling Godchildren MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh lays stone of Integrated Command and Control Centre at Police Lines. P2 Chandigarh is all set to usher in the New Year with gusto and celebration. P3 Jennifer Aniston says she loves spoiling her godchildren with candies and lots of love. P4 FORECAST MAINLY CLEAR SKY | MAX 18°C MIN 2°C | YESTERDAY MAX 17°C MIN 1°C | SUNSET SUNDAY 5.33 PM SUNRISE MONDAY 7.13 AM This time, voters will go for educated, dedicated leaders Teachers on duty raise apprehensions Say performing 12K personnel deployed in dist duty in panchayat Around 12,000 employees of the police and civil administration have been deployed at the 1,200 polling booths in the district to poll toughest ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of the elections for the 675 Ajay Joshi Aakanksha N Bhardwaj Tribune News Service Tribune News Service Jalandhar, December 29 With only a few hours left for the panchayat elections, candidates contesting for the posts of sarpanch and panch are not in a state to judge the mood of voters. This time voters not only want development of their villages but also want educated leaders who could put forth their issues in an effective manner. Besides, there are some residents who do not want to give their vote to any of the contestants. A total number of 7,84,456 voters would decide the fate of the candidates contesting the panchayat elections in which development, old age pension, education and unemployment emerged out to be the core issues. Apparently, tired of the same promises and allurements offered by leaders, the residents have arrived at a conclusion that no matter, if the nominee is experienced or not, the head of the village would only be chosen based on his educational qualification and sheer dedication to work for the growth of the village. Kashmir Singh, a farmer, said after the Congress government came into power, it had not done anything for the development of villages and farmers as problems still Jalandhar, December 29 A day before the panchayat elections, teachers and other polling staff again raised apprehensions while talking to The Tribune regarding the counting process on the same day of the elections. They raised suspicion and said there were many chances of violence during the poll. The teachers among other staff members, who had come at 10 in the morning, waited for hours for the election material (ballot paper) to get dispatched to various polling booths. gram panchayats. Officers said for the elections, around 7,188 employees had been deputed from the civil administration while 4,531 have been deployed by the Police Department. Most of the staff members said they had performed their duties in every election be it Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha, block samiti or panchayat elections, but to perform the duty in the panchayat elections was the toughest. They said if there was a close competition between two parties and if one exceeds another by a few votes, then, both parties come and indulge in arguements, which get ignited suddenly. The teachers said the chances of indulging into dis- pute and quarrels during such elections were common. “This has remained our issue that unlike other elections, the counting happens on the same day during the panchayat poll. “Hence, in this case, the candidates, who are in the fray for the posts, usually come and demand to again count the votes and such a situation often leads to an altercation,” said a teacher. The teacher also recalled instances where they had wit- nessed such cases. A teacher recalled that when one of his friends had got indulged in a heated argument with party members after the latter had raised an objection on the counting process. “It becomes tough to handle such situations. When we involve in the counting process sitting at the same polling booths, we do not have enough security guards to protect us, which is scary,” said the teacher. Another teacher who was on duty in the Lohian block, said: “I think the counting process must happen the next day and only one centre must be made for it. When we individually do the counting at different booths, candidates usually turn up to us and then it becomes difficult to control them.” Poliing staff leave for election duty ahead of the panchayat poll in Jalandhar on Saturday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MALKIAT SINGH PANCHAYAT POLLS seem unresolved. Instead, it had taken away the grant offered by the previous government for the development of villages. He added that he would prefer to vote for a social worker instead of any political leader. In addition, as the campaigning period was over for the elections, the jittered candidates remained perplexed over what should be offered to entice the voters. Ravneet Kaur (29), contesting from Kotkhurd village, Jalandhar east, for the post of sarpanch, said: “She was contesting for the first time and had sought guidance from previous sarpanches to woo the voters. However, this time, the votes could not be garnered just by wooing the voters, therefore, she met people of every age group and from every background and asked them about their preferences. Narrating the enthusiasm of voters, she said, two of the girls who got married day before yesterday to far-away districts also showed interest in coming to the village and register their vote.” Another, voter Rohit Leer (28) from Jogi Ram Village, Bambianwali, which is considered as the village belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families said, gone are the days when people used to vote for money, liquor and family ties. Now, we want a sarpanch who could work as a prime minister for his village. Our vote would definitely go for the person who would make concrete roads for the village, provide proper sewerage connections and jobs for unemployed youth and spread awareness against drugs. Toss to decide candidates’ fate in case of tie Aakanksha N Bhardwaj Tribune News Service Jalandhar, December 29 In an interesting turn of events, if tomorrow, on the day of panchayat elections, if voters in any area fail to choose the winner, i.e. if there will be case of a tie, a toss will decide the fate of the candidate. As per information, ROs and the polling staff have been given the instructions that in case of a tie-like situation, where two parties get equal number of votes, a coin will be flipped and the winner will be declared accordingly. Returning officer of the Adampur (5) block Arun Katyal confirmed that a coin would be flipped and the toss would decide the winner. The Adampur (5) block includes Pandori Nijjeran, Bhel, Nakja, Sarobad, Daudpur, Mahadipur, Kotli Araiyan, Dhudial and Saffipur gram panchayats. Besides, some ROs also said a draw system would be held in case of a tie. “The names will be written on two chits and later, either a child or some independent person will be asked to select a chit and then the name of the candidate that will appear on the chit will be declared as the winner,” said Phillaur SDM Varinder Pal Singh Bajwa. Some of the officers said there was a rare chance that such situation arises. “However, we have seen such a situation coming up sometimes, in that case such alternatives are used,” an officer said. As many as 7,84,456 voters would select the sarpanches and panches for the 882 gram panchayats in the district during the polling on Sunday. Of these voters, 4,08,300 are male and 3,76,150 voters are female and six belong to the third gender. During the inspection today, officers minutely looked into all arrangements involving the election process. They asked polling staff to ensure that people were able to exercise their franchise in a fair manner. Meanwhile, renewing their pledge to ensure free, fair and transparent polls, the officers said no one would be allowed to disturb the poll process. continued on page 2 Arrangement not ‘up to the mark’ 1,100 sacks of wheat looted from Pungrain godown Tribune News Service Jalandhar, December 29 Polling staff who were on the duty in remote areas of the district today expressed that the arrangements at many places were not up to the mark. Residents in most of the areas made every arrangement for the polling staff. From some of the blocks, reports of not having up to the mark arrangements came in which the teachers said toilets were not clean and rooms where they were supposed to stay were not cleaned in a proper manner. Lights were also not installed at some of the schools and the process for the same started after the teachers reached late in the evening. Strict vigil Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner while checking the preparations said the district administration had evolved a foolproof mechanism for keeping a strict vigil during the panchayat polls. He said adequate security arrangements would be made at polling booths to ensure that elections were conducted in a hassle-free and peaceful manner. The polling and counting of votes would be ensured in a transparent manner and no one would be allowed to take the law in their hands. “Every officer/official is duty-bound to ensure that the entire exercise is held as per the stipulated rules and norms,” he added. Nearly 25 robbers held watchmen captive before committing crime Tribune News Service Jalandhar, December 29 As many as 1,100 sacks of wheat were looted by around 25 robbers after holding watchmen at a Pungrain godown captive at Mehma village of Talwandi in Kapurthala. The miscreants loaded two trucks in two hours and fled the spot. Miscreants captured on CCTV footage As per Kashmiri Lal, footage of the robbers entering and leaving the godown had been captured on CCTV cameras at a nearby petrol pump. Sadar police station SHO Gurdyal Singh said investigations in the matter were on. The incident occurred at 2.30 am on Saturday. The Sadar police had lodged an FIR against the suspects. While the police have not clearly ruled it out as an incident of loot yet, they said the picture would become clearer after an investigation was conducted in the mat- ter after the panchayat elections. Food Supply Officer Kashmiri Lal, in a statement to the Sadar police, said at a Pungrain open godown at Mehma village, Sukhwinder Singh, Dalbir Singh, Lakshman Singh and Gurmej Singh, who were deputed as chowkidars, were attacked in the wee hours of Saturday by a group of men. He said around 20-25 robbers came in with sharp weapons and snatched the mobile phones of the watchmen and held them captive. The official said the miscreants then loaded 55 metric tonnes of wheat (1,100 sacks) on trucks and fled the spot. He said the phones of the watchmen were left on the spot after the robbers pulled off the wheat heist. Tied up, chowkidar Sukhwinder Singh somehow freed himself and succeeded in informing his brother Talvinder Singh who is also a chowkidar deployed at another godown. Talvinder subsequently informed inspector Sukhchain Singh who reached the spot and found the wheat sacks missing from the godown. As per Kashmiri Lal, footage of the robbers entering and leaving the godown had been captured on CCTV cameras at a nearby petrol pump. Sadar police station SHO Gurdyal Singh said investigations in the matter were on. Anti-drug crusader contests from Dayalpur again 274 polling stations sensitive, 26 Aparna Banerji Tribune News Service Jalandhar, December 29 With an agenda for ‘elections without drugs’, Dayalpur village in Jalandhar readies itself for the panchayat elections tomorrow with a drugfree village being the primary poll plank. Previously having been the sarpanch of the village from 1998 to 2003, Harjinder Singh Raja, who has been grabbing headlines for running an aggressive campaign against drugs in the village, is again contesting the panchayat elections from the village after two decades. While the neighbouring villages as well as the local police are well versed with the antidrug campaign at the village, Raja was almost the tacit sarpanch of the village – referred by many as sarpanch ji – due to his campaign to ensure de-addiction for many youths of the village. Having gone to England in 2005, Raja returned in 2016 and since then took hundreds of youths of the village to the nearest OATS centre. While he claims many peddlers ran away or went under- Harjinder Singh Raja with residents of Dayalpur village in Jalandhar. TRIBUNE PHOTO Contesting after two decades Previously having been the sarpanch of the village from 1998 to 2003, Harjinder Singh Raja, who has been grabbing headlines for running an aggressive campaign against drugs in the village, is again contesting the panchayat elections from the village after two decades. ground after the recent Tandarust Punjab mission, he says drugs were now back and freely available which was also a threat to his own campaign as well. “That is the reason we have started the campaign. We are independently nabbing peddlers, we are policing them and doing the work of the police. We have no police support. The very reason I am campaigning is that we want to root out drugs completely. That will be my only aim if I become the sarpanch. We are the only village in the region where we are not allowing any drugs or liquor to flow during the panchayat elections,” he said. While woman panch Kamaljit Kaur was also chosen unanimously by the village with Raja’s support as well sometime ago, when asked why the village did not go unanimous on the post of the sarpanch, Raja says, “We did not plan that deliberate- c m y b ly as some corrupt elements were trying to become panch. However, the village consensus will quieten them.” He has planned other things also for the village. “We will encourage sports in the village. While kirtan classes have already been started at the local gurdwara, we also plan to open a weaving centre for girls and completely root out drugs,” he said. The village common area, cremation ground and other hubs — earlier frequented by addicts until recently — became free of the menace with Raja’s campaign. Residents, under his initiative, also set up a gym on the village common land, which is now being frequented by many reformed addicts. NRI supporters of the movement also began funding the drug de-addiction treatment and transportation for the daily visit of local addicts to the Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) centre, which is 25 km away, after Raja’s campaign. Earlier, bills of addicts’ de-addiction transportation and treatment were also being paid by Harjinder himself. highly sensitive in Hoshiarpur Staff members collect polling material in Hoshiarpur. TRIBUNE PHOTO Hoshiarpur, December 29 As many as 1,683 polling stations have been set up for the elections of 1,106 gram panchayats of the 10 blocks in the district. All preparations related to the gram panchayat polls, to be held in the district tomorrow, have been completed. This was stated by Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer Isha Kalia. She said this time, 9,78,184 voters of the district would cast their votes in the elections for sarpanches and panches. There are 274 sensitive and 26 highly sensitive polling stations in the district. Special security arrangements have been made at the polling stations. She said on December 30, the polling would be held from 8 am to 4 pm and on the same day, the counting of votes will be conducted and results will be declared after the counting. She said about 8,000 electoral staffs had been deployed at all polling stations. Today, they had been given election material and sent to polling stations. SSP J Elanchezhian said 4,000 police personnel had been deployed to ensure peaceful voting in the district. Of which, 3,505 personnel had been deployed at polling booths and 211 personnel had been deployed on patrolling. Besides, 44 personnel had been deployed for checking at bridges, 50 employees had been deployed for the security of storage centres. — OC
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