Tuesday, July 3, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kin of Akali leader held for murder
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 2
The district police has arrested Gurjinder Singh in connection with the murder of Sandeep Singh of Chak Zanimar village today following a complaint made by the non-resident Indian (NRI) parents of the deceased to Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Ghal Khurd village during his sangat darshan programme yesterday.

Police sources said Gurjinder Singh, who is a distant relative of ruling Akali leader, tried to cover up his crime by complaining to the police that he along with the victim was attacked by Harcharan Singh Patwari.

He added that while Sandeep Singh died on the spot he managed to save himself.

Mr Badal ordered the suspension of SHO Sadar, police station, Jalalabad, Mr Harbans Singh Riar, after listening to the complaint of the parents of the deceased yesterday. Mr Ajit Singh and Mrs Kuldip Kaur, who came from Canada after the murder of their son, alleged that the police was deliberately shielding the accused.

The police sources said after killing Sandeep Singh Gurjinder Singh fired two shots at himself one in the leg and one in the arm, to mislead the police. The weapon used by him in the crime was yet to be recovered.

Sandeep Singh was murdered on June 9 following a dispute over some money matter. After killing Sandeep Singh, the accused went to the police chowki, Ladhuwala, and narrated his concocted story.

The police working on the statement of Gurjinder Singh started searching for Harcharan Singh Patwari. When the police authorities came to know that Gurjinder Singh was the real culprit, Patwari’s name was dropped.

The sources added that a case in this connection had been registered under Section 302 of the IPC.


Will Punjab poll be advanced?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Will the poll precede paddy procurement in Punjab? The oft-repeated answer of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance leadership that the elections will be held on schedule may not be relevant any more today in view of the changing political scenario within and outside the state.

Developments in the recent past, including concerted efforts by the All-India Congress Committee for unity in the rank and file of the Punjab unit, have probably generated a new line of thinking in the ruling alliance to go in for the poll before the main Opposition can stabilise.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has gone to the extent of saying that he is ready to give an affidavit that the elections will be held on schedule and his government will become the first alliance government in the history of the state to complete a full term in office.

These assertions apart, the rapid developments during the past few weeks have probably set in motion serious thinking in the Shiromani Akali Dal for advancing the date of the elections.

The Chief Minister, who is going to the USA for an eye surgery on the night of July 6, has his agenda set for the next six to eight weeks. His programme of political rallies culminates with a major rally in his Muktsar assembly constituency on July 15. This rally, the last in the series of the first phase, may be postponed by a few days depending upon his surgery and subsequent return from the USA.

Mr Badal has also completed a massive exercise of “sangat darshan” throughout the length and breadth of the state. Of late, it is learnt, Mr Badal has been toying with the idea of holding the elections early. However, the issue is yet to be debated in the Political Affairs Committee of the Dal or at any other party forum.

Tomorrow, he will hold a Cabinet meeting in the evening besides presiding over a meeting of the Project Approval Board.

The main item on his incomplete agenda is the minimum support price for paddy. Though the proposal of the Union Agriculture Ministry for fixing the MSP of only the coarse variety of paddy has been shelved for the time being, Mr Badal will make efforts to get the MSP announced before leaving for the USA on July 6. On that issue he is expected to meet the Prime Minister.

According to political speculation, on his return from the USA, Mr Badal may spring a surprise by recommending fresh elections.

In fact, the Congress leadership in the state has been maintaining that Mr Badal will advance the assembly elections to catch the “Opposition unawares”. The logic given by the Congress leadership has been that the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance cannot continue at the same pace with its “sangat darshan” programme till January-end or the beginning of February. The SAD has also been organising political rallies. Today such a rally was held at Alamgir in Ludhiana.

Once the Punjab Government is able to get a good MSP for paddy, it may not wait for the procurement of paddy to end before going in for the poll on schedule.

Paddy procurement, experts maintain, may not be as easy as is being made out. An acute shortage of bags and storage space and the slow movement of wheat stocks are going to be major impediments. In that case the state government will prefer to seek a fresh mandate before the procurement but after assuring the farmers of a remunerative price for their produce.


Badal invites schoolchildren to his village
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 2
The Vice-Chancellors of the universities in Punjab and Chandigarh have been instructed to ensure 10 per cent reservation of seats in various courses for meritorious students belonging to economically backward classes of society.

This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, while presiding over the annual day celebrations of the local DC Model Senior Secondary School yesterday.

Mr Badal praised the students for the cultural programme presented by them. He invited students of the school who participated in the function to his village Badal. The Chief Minister said he would issue a letter of appreciation in favour of the school management. He announced a grant of 5 lakh for the development of the school. The Irrigation Minister, Punjab, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, and Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, also addressed the gathering in the open-air theatre of the school.

The Chief Minister honoured all students who excelled in academics and sports. Harsimran Singh, Priyanka Khatri and Isihima Budhwar were honoured for their performance in AIIMS, AFMC and CMC medical entrance examinations. Rupinder Deep Kaur and Labinder Sethi, awarded the Best Scientist of Punjab Award by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, were also felicitated.

Mr Badal also honoured Rajwinder Singh, who has been selected in the under-14 Indian cricket team. Mr Hardeep Dhillon, DIG, Mr S.R. Ladhar, DC, Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Brig A.K. Khosla and Brig D.S. Yadav were also present on the occasion. Mr Badal was honoured by Mrs Kanta Gupta, Principal of the school, on behalf of the school management.


Students tear up papers, disrupt exam
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 2
An unsavoury incident took place in Guru Nanak Dev University today when some students entered the examination hall where the entrance test of masters in sports, medicine and physiotherapy were being conducted and tore up some papers.

The police was subsequently called in the campus which was led by Mr Surinder Singh, SHO.

Dr Kanwaljit Singh, head physical education, opposed the entry of the police and termed it as interference in the autonomy of the university. However, Dr Jaspal Singh, Head, Department of Sports and Medicine, denied that he had called the police on the university campus.

According to eyewitnesses, certain students of physical education who were protesting against the decision of Dr Jaspal Singh for not allowing them to take the test disrupted the test which had to be postponed to evening. More than 60 students who had come from various states, including Chennai, Moodbidri, Coimbatore, Andhra Pradesh, Baroda, Delhi and Rajasthan, were panicky following the incident.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said the university had ordered an inquiry into the incident. He said he had sought a detailed report from the Dean, Academic Affairs, so that guilty could be punished.

Dr Bawa said being an autonomous body, the police could not enter the campus without prior permission. Dr Bawa, however, admitted that the examination was disrupted. However, when the entrance test for masters in sports, medicine and physiotherapy was taken again in the evening many students could not appear in the test.


IG Birdi blames red tape for fake licences
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 2
The police organised Traffic Literacy Camp here yesterday to which the members of the Jalandhar Rickshaw Pullers Union were also invited. Mr Vinni, president of Rickshaw Pullers Union highlighted problems faced by rickshaw wallahs at the hands of traffic policemen.

Mr Vinni requested that rickshaw wallahs should not be challaned or harrassed if their vehicles were without bells or horns.

Several senior officers including IGP J.P. Birdi, Deputy Commissioner, Shiva Prasad and SSP Gurdev Yadav were present at the camp. Mr Vinni pleaded that it was not possible to maintain bells and horns on rickshaws as these get stolen and sold as scrap at night when they were asleep in colonies and slums.

Mr J.P. Birdi addressing the auto and cycle rickshaw wallahs said, “We don’t mind if you carry eight-ten persons, but don’t try to convert you small vehicles into buses and load 30-35 people in them.” Perhaps Mr Birdi was not aware of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions on the number of passengers an autorickshaw should carry, the maximum being three. Mr Birdi also criticised the licensing authority and District Transport Office officials by saying that red-tape there normally compelled people to procure driving licences from agents. “When a busy person thinks of wasting time at the DTO office, he instead procures a licence made from Madhya Pradesh for Rs 40 and don’t mind leaving it with police officials in case of a challan,” said Mr Birdi. He said that a traffic park would be built in Jalandhar to enable people to learn driving of vehicles.

Inspector Sewa Ram of the Traffic Police who allegedly was caught red-handed accepting bribe from a truck driver by SP M.F. Farooqi two months ago figured among those rewarded by Mr Birdi with commendation for their “best services” to society and for maintaining traffic in the city. It is interesting suspension of Mr Sewa Ram was revoked in a mysterious manner in one week.

Mr Pritam Singh, president of the Jalandhar Autorickshaw Pullers Union, listed problems of the auto-rickshaw wallahs in the city. He demanded that auto-rickshaw-wallahs were harassed by the police over petty issues even when they were in possession of documents and driving licences.

Mr Sham Sunder Juneja, a traffic expert, stressed for better traffic management and education. He said 70,000 persons die in road accidents in India every year and Rs 500 crore went waste due to lack of awareness about fuel conservation among people.


Bajwa decries Badal’s stand on radicals
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 2
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today accused Mr Parkash Singh Badal for adopting double standards on the ‘safe entry’ of radical Sikh leaders, including Khalistani ideologue, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan.

Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, vice-president PPCC, said Mr Badal was responsible for the Sikh-Nirankari clash in 1978 which was the root cause of military in the state. At that time Mr Badal was the Chief Minister, he alleged. Mr Badal was responsible for the entry of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Chohan. He ridiculed the statement of Mr Badal that both the radical leaders were agents of the Congress. Mr Bajwa alleged that Mr Badal had got the support of Zaffarwal during the Majitha byelection. Mr Bajwa said that his party would submit a memorandum to President K.R. Narayanan tomorrow against the alleged attempts of revival of terrorism in Punjab.

Mr Badal was responsible for tearing of Article 25 (1-B) of the Constitution when he was out of power. However, after coming into power, Mr Badal had forgotten the demands of Punjab and Punjabis. After becoming the Chief Minister, Mr Badal appointed Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha (who was involved in a number of criminal cases) as a member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Board and Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla member of the Punjab Public Services Commission. Both Mr Valtoha and Mr Chawla were known for their secessionist activities Mr Bajwa said.

Mr Bajwa expressed surprise over the silence of the BJP leadership over the entry of radical leaders in Punjab, instead of opposing the ‘goodwill gesture’ of Mr Badal towards radicals, the BJP leadership should have condemned the action.


BJP executive to meet on July 18
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 2
The BJP’s three-day national executive comprising of 175 members will hold its first ever meet in the holy city which opens here on July 18. Briefing newsmen here today, the General Secretary of the BJP, Mr O.P. Kohli announced that the BJP’s highest decision making body have decided to hold its three-day session to deliberate on the national political and economic issues.

Mr Kohli asserted that the meeting would prepare the party’s strategy on the forthcoming elections to be held in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab as the state units would present their comprehensive reports to the national executive.

The meeting would be attended by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, the Minister of Human Resources Development Mr Murli Mahohar Joshi, the BJP President, Mr J. Krishnamurthy, the Chief Ministers of the BJP ruled states, senior ministers, members of the BJP high command, state presidents, BJP leaders of the opposition parties legislative in the states and other important functionaries and special invitees.

Mr Kohli said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would give a detailed account of his summit with President Pervez Musharraf to the national executive. The Prime Minister will address a big public rally on July 19 where all top leaders of the party would participate.


AISSF (Gill) unit joins SAD (B) AISSF
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 2
The district unit of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (Gill) of the SHSAD, led by Mr Dilraj Singh Raja, yesterday joined the AISSF (Pir Mohamad Group) of the SAD (B), at a function in Bassi Pathana market committee. The function was organised by a former minister, Mr R.S. Cheema.

Speaking at the function, Mr Pir Mohamad said the SHSAD and other so called federations had no policy and programme for the youth, whereas Mr Badal had always cared for the youth and given it due representation in every field. He said a 52 member entire unit had joined by then and be also assured them that due representation and respect would be given to them in his organisation.

Later, the Finance Minister Punjab Capt Kanwaljit Singh, welcomed their joining the AISSF Pir Mohamad group and blessed all workers.

A former minister Mr R.S. Cheema Chairman Market Committee Bassi Pathana, senior Akali leader Mr Jagdeep Cheema, and Mr Kirpal Singh Sethi also addressed the gathering.


AIDS spreads among drug addicts
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 2
Ranjit Singh and Ajmer Singh (name changed) who bail from a village near Tapa town of Sangrur district have been fighting it hard to keep alive after they were detected HIV positive recently.

These two who are real brothers and had been sharing needles to take drugs were referred to the local Red Cross De-addiction Centre for treatment and were detected positive for HIV. The two brothers had been sharing the needles with their friends also to have ‘kick’ and had been addicted to for the past three years.

The patients who have been sent back to their native village told The Tribune that they were initiated into taking the same by one of their neighbourers. Earlier the neighbour used to give them the injections free but later they had to purchase the same from the medical shops, where they were freely available. “Just after one week I became an expert in using the intra-venous injections and shared my needles with my elder brother. Most of our friends of the village also shared the needles. My brother who works as a labourer was hooked to the injections after he experimented with these at Sangrur,” said one of them.

Sources in the de-addiction centre revealed that the quacks operating in villages of the state have been playing havoc with the health of the people. The quacks have been found to be the single largest cause of the spread of drug addiction, HIV and hepatitis-B. The recent examples of the recycling of syringes in Chauke village, leading to the spread of hepatitis-B, have failed to move the authorities, the sources said.

In a majority of the cases, addicts had been sharing the needles with a large number of people and were married also, thereby indicating the gravity of the situation. As the incubation period of the HIV was long, not every HIV positive case was reported, even the carriers of the virus (HIV) were not aware that they were spreading the disease, the sources added.

At least four cases of drug addicts who had caught the HIV infections had been reported in the centre, since January this year. Even the quacks had been getting hooked to the drugs and many such cases had come to the centre. Religious places such as gurdwaras in villages could be used to spread awareness about the ill-effect of drugs, the source said.

Dr Mehboob Singh Sran, Project Director, Red Cross de-addiction centre, said despite publicity about ill-effects of drugs the number of patients had been rising. Whenever a case of IV drug abuse was reported, the patient was first checked for HIV and if found positive the case history was reported to higher authority. Reporting of HIV positive cases amongst the IV drug abusers was a very serious matter. The Civil Surgeon, Sangrur had been informed about the matter, Dr Sran said.


Residential care unit to come up for retarded children
Anita Tayal

Patiala, July 2
Mentally retarded children and orphans in the state will finally have a permanent home, with a residential care centre for such children being constructed at Sular village, near here.

The centre, named Sadhu Basant Residential Care Centre is the first of its kind in the state. The focus at the centre would be to mitigate human sufferings and undertake activities that would help in tackling social problems and meeting different challenges prevailing in society.

The centre is being built to serve as a permanent residence and also aims at providing facilities for persons with mild and moderate mental retardation.

Sadhu Basant Trust is a voluntary organisation which lays emphasis on ways to encourage the special children to lead a healthy and respectable life.

The centre, constructed on a land of 1 acre has been provided by the village Sarpanch, Ms Satwant Kaur. An estimated Rs 70 lakh has already been spent on the construction. The chairman of the centre, Mr N.S. Sodhi, who is also a retired head of the Department of Social Work, Punjabi University, said the construction work is expected to be completed within the next three months. Another Rs 15 lakh would be spent on equipments. He added that a sum of Rs 80 lakh had been taken from the corpus fund for the maintainance of the institution.


Rights panel pulls up state for girl’s suicide
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, July 2
All lovers who are harassed by policemen found a friend in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission today. The body issued a notice to Punjab through the Home Secretary of the state to file a reply in the case of an alleged suicide by a Nabha girl after the police had caught her with her beau.

It is alleged that the girl, who was a student of BCA in a Patiala college, committed suicide by consuming poison after the police humiliated her and took her to the Kotwali police station at Nabha. The Punjab police had caught her with her friend on May 26 after raiding a house. Misbehavior by policemen allegedly led her to end her life two days after the incident.

According to a complaint, the information that girl was with her lover at the house opposite Pan Mandir near the bank street was passed on to the police on telephone by a municipal councillor. The lovers were arrested in full view of a large number of persons who had gathered in the street for a religious procession that was being taken out that evening. They were taken to the police station on two-wheelers.

The raid was conducted at 6.30 pm and the girl was allowed to go home at 8 pm, two hours before her friend was released. The girl consumed poison on reaching home and died in the hospital on May 28.

Lawyers of the Human Rights International, later, filed a complaint through the organisation’s General Secretary, Mr Navkiran Singh, in this regard, after a detailed study of the case. A team of the organisation visited Nabha district to investigate further.

The organisation sought an inquiry into the case by a senior women police official who was not below the rank of a Superintendent of Police. It also sought that a case of abetment to suicide be registered under Section 306 of IPC against the policemen who had conducted the raid. It also demanded that they be prosecuted.

The organisation alleged that these policemen had misbehaved with the girl, Neha, which had made her commit suicide. The lawyers said this was a case of violation of human rights of two adults by the police. They alleged that the policemen had not bothered to take a women police official with themselves to the house, though they had been aware before the raid that they might have to take a girl into custody.

“The lovers were adults and were not violating any law by being in the same room. The police had no right to take them into custody because what they were doing was not a cognizable offence,” said the lawyers.


IMA seminar on TB
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

The local unit of the Indian Medical Association organised a seminar on “Management of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB” here for doctors of Sangrur, Patiala, Mansa, Bathinda and Ludhiana districts. The seminar was addressed by Dr A.K. Janmeja, Head, Chest and TB Department, Government Medical College, Chandigarh.

In his address Dr Janmeja said improper drug regimens, inadequate dosage of drugs and incomplete duration of treatment in TB cases led to emergence of multi-drug resistant TB. He said the treatment of MDR TB was very expensive and difficult with the cure rate very low and the death rate between 35 and 50 per cent. So the doctors should advise the right drug in right dosage for the complete duration of treatment.

The IMA unit has organised seminars on diseases of heart respiratory system, endocrine glands, digestive system, renal system. Seminars were also conducted on AIDS, surgical updates, malaria and other fevers, family welfare, psychiatric problems, management of old age diseases, and tobacoo de-addiction.

The seminars are organised for government as well as private doctors of the district. These are addressed by eminent doctors of the region.

Among those who have addressed the seminars include Dr P.Lal (Apolo Hospital, Delhi), Dr T.S. Kler (Escorts Hospital, Delhi), Dr T.M. Jaison (CMC, Ludhiana), Dr V.M. Kohli (DMC, Ludhiana), Dr A.K. Janmeja (Government Medical College, Chandigarh), Dr Ajmer Singh (Patiala) and Dr Rajan Issacs (CMC, Ludhiana).

The local IMA unit was awarded the Best Overall Performance Award in 1999 at the 75th All India Medical Conference in Pune. Besides, the secretary of the local IMA unit, Dr Surinder Singla, was also presented with the IMA National President Appreciation Award in December, 1999, and December, 2000.

Dr B.L. Jindal and Dr Nirpal Singh, patron and president, respectively, of the local IMA unit, said the efforts of the IMA would go a long way in achieving “health for all”.


Baba wants WB Govt to apologise
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 2
The special train — “Guru Manyo Granth” which was attacked by a mob in West Bengal today reached Amritsar with 856 devotees on board.

Baba Sukhdev Singh of Nanaksar Kaleran, addressing the Sikh “sangat” at the railway platform, urged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to ask the Central Government to seek an unconditional apology from the West Bengal Chief Minister for the incident.

He alleged the West Bengal Government had failed to protect Sikh passengers. Baba Kulwant Singh Khurmaniwale alleged that the mob hurled abuses at the Sikhs during the scuffle.

Baba Sukhdev Singh, however, said despite opposition by some Sikh organisations, Nanaksar Kaleranwale would continue to carry copies of Guru Granth Sahib on special trains for free distribution among the Sikh “sangat” in far-flung areas of the country.

He said though the SGPC had charged money the Nanaksar Dere had distributed these free of cost.

Baba Sukhdev Singh sought a high-level probe into the whole sordid incident.

Interestingly, not a single SGPC member or senior Akali leader except Mr Pardeep Singh Walia was there to receive the passengers.


Return of Chohan ‘threat to peace’
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 2
Mr Ashwani Kumar, chairman of the AICC intellectuals’ cell, addressing a rally of Congress workers, at Sujanpur, 7 km from here, said the return of ‘Khalistan’ ideologue Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan was a threat to the peace and harmony in the state.

He said Dr Chohan and Wassan Singh Jaffarwal had been brought back as part of the understanding to use them in the forthcoming elections. Mr Rajbir Singh, secretary PPCC, called upon the democratic and progressive forces to defeat the SAD-BJP alliance in the state.


Mill workers denied wages, hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 2
Workers of the Punjab Spinning and Weaving Mills Limited today staged a dharna in front of the residence of the local MLA and Science and Technology Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg. The mill workers raised slogans against the state government and the minister as they were seeking the release of their wages by the mill.

The mill had been closed down recently and the mill workers have been already denied their wages. The mill workers were led by Mr Vijay Kumar, Secretary, Textile Labourers Ekta Committee and were supported by the activists of the Punjab Lok Morcha. Owing to heavy debt and financial losses the mill was closed down last week and the labourers have been rendered jobless.

The labourers alleged that the electricity supply to their colony has been cut and they were being pressurised to vacate the houses of the colony. Mr Kumar alleged that the mill had been closed down but the gratuity, payments for leave encashment, dearness allowance etc. had not been paid. Even the forms for the withdrawl of provident fund were not being attested by the authorities, he alleged.

He alleged that the private management of the mill had embezzled the Rs 50 crore relief package given by the state government and the matter should be inquired into.

The mill workers submitted a memorandum to the minister at his residence.

Mr N.K. Jit, President, Lok Morcha Punjab, who led the deputation to the ministers’ residence claimed that they were given appointment by the ministers’ son but the minister had departed before the scheduled time at 10. a.m.

The activists were “able” to submit the memorandum to the minister after about 7 hours.

The mill was established in 1979 at a cost of Rs 640 lakh and the Punjab State Industrial Development Board had invested about Rs 240 lakh. The mill continued to earn profits uptill 1983 and was transferred to the Mittal Group in the same year.

After the mill started accumulating losses it was again taken over by the PSIDC and was subsequently transferred to the Trident Group by selling 51 per cent shares.

Sources said the mill was declared sick in 1995 and sops worth crores of rupees were given to revive it on February 19 this year, the Board of Industrial Finance and Rehabilitation (BIFR) also recommended the closure of the mill.

The production in the mill was closed on June 28 this year and after its closure about 1000 mill workers had been rendered jobless. The workers will take out a procession on July 5 if their demands were not accepted by them.


Stay on holding of rallies by BKU (E)
Our Correspondent

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), July 2
The Maur Mandi police has received a stay order on the holding of rallies, dharnas, demonstrations, raising slogans, gheraoing officials etc within a radius of 50 metres of the local police station, Civil Hospital, bus stand and grain market by BKU (E) activists till July 12.

The stay would have far-reaching effects in the wake of the proposed rally by the BKU (E) here on Wednesday.

Activists of the union have been staging demonstrations in the town for quite some time to press the authorities concerned to register a case against those responsible for the alleged suicide committed by a farmer of Sandoha village in the district.

BKU leaders staged a dharna in the town on June 18 for getting their demand fulfilled. The situation became tense when arhtiyas of the town started a parallel dharna. The police had a tough time preventing any clash between the two parties.

Sources said the purpose of the stay order received by the police was to avoid any untoward incident on Wednesday. Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president of the union, said the union would stage a dharna in the town as per schedule. He said he was not aware of any proposed dharna by the Arhtiyas on the same day. He said the union would not revoke its decision of holding rallies and dharnas in the town.

Meanwhile, Mr Ramkaran Singh Sidhu, district president of the BKU (Lakhowal) said in a press note issued here today that the police was harassing farmers without any reason. He said the farmers had no option but to stage demonstrations for getting justice.

He said his union had held a rally today in front of the police station at Sangat to show their resentment against police “atrocities”. He claimed that farmers from the region had taken part in large numbers in the rally. Mr Sidhu said his union would intensify its stir if its demands were not fulfilled.


Ropar circle to have IVRS
Our Correspondent

Ropar July 2
The BSNL authorities have decided to launch the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) services in the Ropar telecom circle.

Mr J.S. Sahota, telecom district manager, Ropar, told this correspondent that the services were being started here due to the persistent complaints of customers and the Telecom Advisory Committee (TAC), that the telephone complaints were not registered and attended on time.

In this new system there would be 24-hour automatic registration of complaints. The system doesn’t allow tampering with complaints. Complaints would be attended on the first come first served basis. The system would also provide the 24-hour inquiry facility.

Initially the IVRS facility would be available to customers of Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, Morinda, Nangal and Kurali circles, he said. Mr Sahota said the Ropar SSA has a staff of just 5.6 persons per 1000 connections, the lowest in the state. However, very soon 27 personnels were being recruited. He also told the members of the local TAC that in the current financial year 13 new exchanges would be commissioned in the district.


Firm fined Rs 1 cr for stealing power
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 2
The anti-power theft drive launched by the Punjab State Electricity Board yielded results when officials of the flying squad team found an induction furnace unit stealing power with the help of remote control device.

According to information, a special flying squad team led by the Chief Engineer, Enforcement, Patiala and Director, Enforcement, Ludhiana, raided an induction furnace unit, situated at the Ludhiana byepass road, which is running through 66 KVA connection here. The firm was found guilty of power theft and unsanctioned load.

The authorities fined the firm of Rs 1 crore and 83 thousand. According to the PSEB sources, the firm was stealing power with the help of remote control device.


Dist out of bounds for woman running brothel
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 2
The District Magistrate, Mr S.R. Ladhar, here has issued a notice to a woman resident of Zira town, who has allegedly been running a brothel in her house, banning her stay in her house and in the district.

Mr Ladhar has asked the woman to give reply to the notice by July 10 and in case she failed to do so action would be taken against her. The notice has been issued under Section 20 of the Suppression of Immoral Trafficking Act, 1956.

Official sources said Mr Ladhar issued such notice on the reports submitted by the SHO, DSP and the SDM in connection with the running of the brothel.

The sources added that residents of Zira town had been agitating against the running of the brothel in the locality and police “inaction”.

They said when the police failed to take action the SDM, Mr Bakhtawar Singh, took suo motu notice of it after reports in this connection appeared in some newspapers.

The SDM later asked the DSP, Zira, why the woman had not been booked under a relevant law.

Residents of the locality allege that whenever, they tried to stop her from doing so, she would threaten them and would move false applications against them. A “Panchayatnama” had also been submitted to the District Magistrate against the woman.


Villages face water shortage
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 2
A large number of villages in the district have been facing an acute shortage of drinking water for the past several months. The department concerned has not bothered to repair water works installed in the villages. The villages include Gajansinghwala SU, Bhaloor, Sukhanand, Bambihabhai and others. The villagers told the mediapersons here today that they forced to bring water from remote places in summer. If no urgent and proper arrangements were made they threatened an agitation.

They added as the ground water level had fallen from 40 feet to 150 feet, it was, not even possible to draw water through hands pumps. A number of residents of the Sukhanand village said despite of their repeated complaints, the water works had not been repaired for several years.

Residents of the Bambihabhai village also complained about a similar problem. They said if the department failed to redress their grievances, they would die of thirst. They demanded proper arrangement for the supply of drinking water.


Pak releases Indian youth
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 2
Gurdip Singh, a resident of border village of Noor Mohammad, in Fazilka sector, who allegedly had been kidnapped by Pakistan Rangers on June 26 was released by the Pakistan Rangers today in the presence of BSF Commandants, Prem Mohan Dass and Harminder Pal Singh, at the Sadiqqi check-post in Fazilka sector. He was released following long parleys between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers.

Talking to mediapersons Gurdip Singh said he had gone to collect firewood on a tractor trailer with his cousin Karnail Singh and inadvertently strayed into the Pakistan territory. Soon he was overpowered by the Pakistan Rangers and taken to an undisclosed destination, where he was confined and questioned.


Panel: sub-jail overcrowded

Moga, July 2
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has asked the state government to shift the local sub jail and construct a new jail at the earliest due to “overcrowding” in jail. Commission member Justice Jai Singh Sekhon, who visited the sub jail here, today expressed concern over the overcrowding and said there are 127 jail inmates instead of sanctioned capacity of 43. PTI


Night train from Fazilka to Kot Kapura
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 2
A night train from Fazilka to Kot Kapura was flagged off yesterday.

According to Mr Vakil Chand Dawra, member, Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee, Ferozepore Division, the train bound for Kot Kapura would reach Muktsar at 9.45 p.m. and passengers at Fazilka, Muktsar and adjoining areas shall be able to catch Punjab Mail which leaves Kot Kapura at 10.30 p.m. On its return journey the train would leave Kot Kapura at 4.15 a.m. and reach Fazilka at 6 a.m.


State-level meeting of Yuva Morcha today
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 2
The president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Punjab, Mr Sukhminder Paul Singh Grewal, has summoned a state-level meeting tomorrow at Chandigarh.

Stating this here today, the vice-president of the morcha, Mr Arun Khosla, told news persons that the national president of the morcha, Mr Shiv Chauhan, would attend the meeting. Latest political situation, besides organisational matters, would be discussed in the meeting, he added.


Man held for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 2
A seven-year-old girl of Bungal Badhani village was allegedly raped by Jit Ram of the same village.

According to police sources, the father of the girl complained to the police that the accused, a tenant in his house, called her daughter to his room and committed the crime. When the victim raised an alarm she was rescued. Jit Ram is reportedly working with the Army Education core. A case under Section 376 of the IPC has been registered and Jit Ram arrested.

Ranji Devi, a local resident, was injured when she was allegedly attacked by Rajan Gupta of Dhangu road locality recently.

According to police sources Bindu Devi, sister of the victim, told the police that she along with Rajni was going to Shiv Mandir, Puran Nagar, where Rajan Gupta and his accomplice attacked the victim with a sword. According to sources, the accused had been accosting the victim with regard to marriage and on refusal he attacked Ranji Devi.

A case has been registered under various Sections of the IPC.


Club chowkidar stabbed to death, Rs 2,500 looted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 2
A Nepali chowkidar working for the Aga Heritage Club, located on the G.R. Sethi Marg, was stabbed to death early today. The administrator of the club, Col M.M. Nanda, told this correspondent here today that the incident happened around 3.45 a.m. and he got a call half an hour later.

He said Bhoomi Bahadur, a Nepali, had been employed with the club for the past over three years as chowkidar. While on duty outside the main entrance of the club, he was reportedly attacked by at least three persons with sharp-edged weapon and left bleeding profusely. He latter succumbed to his injuries.

According information, another chowkidar, who was on duty on the other side of the club, heard his shouts but allegedly hid himself under the staircase.

Colonel Nanda said that after attacking the chowkidar, the assailants broke open the door of the office and the almirah and decamped with Rs 2,500.

The body of the chowkidar was sent for a post-mortem examination. The cremation will take place tomorrow as Club officials are awaiting the arrival of his family members from Nepal.


2 killed for eve-teasing

Moga, July 2
An incident of eve teasing resulted in a shootout on the Kotkapura-Bathinda road near here last evening which caused the death of two persons and injured another.

According to the SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh, the shootout took place last evening when some women complained of having been teased while returning home after watching the film ‘Gadar’.

Thereafter, Mohinder Singh, their relative, rushed towards the cinema, along with another person, and had arguments with the eve-teasers.

He, later, fired from his licensed revolver which killed Lakhbir Singh and Rajesh and injured another who is reported to be out of danger. UNI


Transparent transfer policy sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 2
Mr Jaipal Singh, president, Punjab Government College Teachers’ Association (PGCTA), in a press note issued here yesterday alleged that the recent transfers of the teachers were contrary to the policy of the state government.

Mr Jaipal Singh said the state government had recently transferred nearly 100 college lecturers in a clear cut violation of the guidelines and policies.

In some cases, where couples working as teachers were about to retire, cancer patients and even those who had applied against vacant posts were given a step motherly treatment. Earlier the government had a policy to transfer the couple working as teachers to the same station.

Due care was also taken to transfer the teachers, who had applied against vacant posts. But now despite repeated assurances by the Minister for Higher Education, Mr Mohan Lal, the situation had not improved, he alleged.

Mr Jaipal Singh demanded that all transfers should be cancelled and the state government should draft a transparent and comprehensive transfer policy. Mr Balwinder Singh, general secretary of the association, demanded an inquiry into the matter.

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