Thursday, October 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pressed to marry 80-yr-old, teenager contempt suicide
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
A student of Class XII of Phulhi village today jumped into the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) lake here to commit suicide following pressure from her kin forcing her to marry a man of her grandfather’s age.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that she took this extreme step after she failed to cope with the pressure by the sister of her mother, Jasbir Kaur, who wanted her to marry an 80-year-old man, resident of the Maur Mandi.

Narrating her tale, the girl, who is under treatment in the local Civil Hospital, said she was brought by Dost Welfare Society Volunteers after they rescued her. She said that her mother’s sister (massi) was forcing her to marry an 80-year-old man, whose name she did not know, to inherit his land.

She added that Jasbir Kaur told her that after her marriage to old man, he would be killed and the land belonging to him would pass on to her.

She said that she was taken to a place of worship a few days ago where the old man with whom her marriage was to be solemnised, was present. When she refused to marry the old man, Jasbir Kaur and Seeto, residents of Gobindpura, started torturing her.

The girl added that she could not escape the torture as her father was of unsound mind and mother a patient of arthritis.

Family matters were decided by Jasbir Kaur, she added. The husband of Jasbir Kaur was in the local central jail in a case of smuggling of narcotics.

She said she was undergoing training as a health worker in a local private hospital but her kin forced her to leave the training also. She said her 22-year-old elder sister was also facing harassment at the hands of Jasbir Kaur.

She said her elder sister was also forced to marry the old man as elder sister had received a few burns when she (elder sister) was 13 and scars thereof were on her body. Jasbir Kaur used to tell her that as her body had scars of burns, nobody would marry her.

Civil Hospital sources said the victim (the girl) was out of danger and had been responding to the treatment. Kin of victim had been informed.

Mr Balwinder Singh, ASI, who present in the Civil Hospital to record the statement of the victim was at first reluctant to record the same under the pretext that he had taken the comments of the doctor in writing that the victim was unfit for making the statement. However, when Dr Jugraj Singh Sandhu, SMO, Civil Hospital, came to know that the girl was fit for making a statement, he directed the ASI to record the same.

The case would be registered after the recording of the statement of the girl.


Reply to Sidhu’s plea filed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 9
The prosecution today filed reply in a court today to the application of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, former Chairman of the PPSC, vide which Sidhu had sought his discharge for want of valid sanction by the competent authority — the President of India to prosecute him in the disproportionate assets cases.

Punjab Vigilance Bureau, SAS Nagar, on March 25 last had registered a case against Sidhu under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Vigilance had caught Sidhu while he allegedly was accepting bribe of Rs 5 lakh from Mr Bhupjit Singh, Excise Inspector, part of Rs 40 lakh bribe by for selection a PCS officer.

The prosecution in its reply on the application of Sidhu had stated that in view of the Cr. P.C. and the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions, valid sanction had already been accorded by the President of India after due application of mind. So there was no illegality or irregularity in according sanction to prosecute Sidhu.

The court adjourned the case to October 17 for hearing arguments on the point of valid sanction and framing of charges against Sidhu and other accused.

On September 28, the court dismissed the application filed by Sidhu with regard to his discharge for want of territorial jurisdiction.


MC scam: 10 sanitary officials arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 9
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested 10 officials of the Sanitary Department, including an assistant commissioner of the local Municipal Corporation, for allegedly duping the civic body of Rs 9.5 lakh by making fake payments.

The arrest of the 10 officials has created panic among the employees of the civic body.

But the Vigilance Bureau is yet to take action against those officials of the Town Planning Department, who allegedly in connivance with several influential builders, have caused a loss of about Rs 100 crore by allowing the construction of huge buildings, including hotels, educational institutions and market complexes, without any sanctioned building plans in violation of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

In a raid on the MC complex late in the afternoon, the Vigilance sleuths arrested nine officials — Ashok Kumar, Janak Raj and Sharan Dass Bhagat (all sanitary inspectors), Daljit Singh Bhullar (SDO), Ranjit Singh and Gurdeep Singh (chief sanitary inspectors), Ajit Pal Joshi (junior assistant) and Rakesh Kumar and Mangat Ram (drivers).

The Assistant Commissioner, Ved Vyas, who is at present posted at the Patiala Municipal Corporation, was asked to join the investigation at the Vigilance Bureau office here this afternoon and was subsequently arrested for his alleged involvement in the Rs 9.5-lakh fogging machine scam.

The Vigilance Bureau, after receiving a complaint in July 2001, about the embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rs 10 lakh by the Sanitary Department officials, conducted an inquiry. It revealed that it was shown in the official record that 10 drums of malathene, an insecticide used to kill mosquitoes, were purchased from Indian Oil Corporation along with a huge quantity of diesel for spray in residential colonies of the city after the rainy season. “Actually, only five drums of malathene were purchased at a cost of about Rs 2.25 lakh and the officials concerned released the payment for 10 drums on fake bills. Interestingly, the spray of insecticide was never conducted as the fogging machines of the civic body were non-functional at that time,” a senior VB official said.

The officials had also duped the MC by releasing fake payments to the tune of about Rs 2 lakh for the consumption of diesel and petrol to run jeeps, which were shown as being used for spray of insecticide.

A case has been registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 409, and 120-B, IPC, and 13 (1) D read with 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The VB sources maintained that the Rs 9.5-lakh fogging machine scam was carried out with the involvement of Indian Oil Corporation officials, who have gone underground for fear of arrest. “Special teams have been despatched to arrest the IOC officials, who are still at large,” a VB official said.


Rs 60 cr for Patiala under NCR programme
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Union Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation has approved Rs 60 crore under the National Capital Region programme for the first phase of water supply and sewerage project in Patiala. The decision of the Ministry’s NCR Planning Board has been conveyed to Punjab.

According to the Secretary, Local Government, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, the project is to be completed by 2005 and the approval letter gives year-wise allocation of funds that totals to Rs 5,993.23 lakh.

Patiala, he recounted, is one of the five counter-magnet cities selected by the NCR in 1985. The concept, basically, envisages to de-congest Delhi to ensure balanced and harmonious development of the entire region by undertaking economic activities in selected sectors. Situated away from the national capital, such cities are intended to be economically independent.

Mr Kaushal told Tribune News Service of the social, physical and cultural plans to improve infrastructure of Patiala, which has potential for quality education and sports. It is also to be developed as a tourist destination, besides developing it as a centre of information technology and economic resurgence.

To achieve what has been envisaged, the government has already established the Patiala Urban Planning and Development Authority. Priority of this authority is providing adequate basic civic amenities. Taken together, all projects are to be completed in a period of six years in the first phase, which means between 2002-03 and 2006-07. Against Rs 60 crore in the first phase, provision is for Rs 66.42 crore in the second phase. The projects include water supply, main sewerage, sewerage treatment plant, solid-waste management and conservation of city’s ‘ganda nullah’.

The state water supply and sewerage board has submitted the first phase projects to the National Capital Region Planning Board. The financing pattern is 75 per cent loan from the board and 25 per cent share of the state as margin money. Loan is repayable in 10 years at 10 per cent rate of interest.

On the completion of the first phase, according to Mr Kaushal, the entire balance population of 1.10 lakh will have access to pipe-water and existing water supply for the entire 3.30 lakh will be augmented. Similarly, the entire balance population of 1.50 lakh will have a dependable sewerage system.

A local implementation committee has been constituted by the government to oversee implementation of the project. The Deputy Commissioner will be its chairperson. Other members will include Commissioner of the corporation, Superintending Engineer of the water supply and sewerage board and Additional Chief Administrator of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority.


Atwal denies meeting Tohra

Jalandhar, October 9
Former Punjab Assembly Speaker and senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Charanjit Singh Atwal today denied that he had met Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) president Gurcharan Singh Tohra at Ludhiana recently.

Mr Atwal, a confidant of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, issued this denial before mediapersons here.

A leading English daily had yesterday reported that Mr Atwal and Mr Tohra had held a close-door meeting at Ludhiana Circuit House and discussed political issues, including the presidential elections of the SGPC, due next month.

Mr Atwal said the reported news item was intended to defame him and cause confusion amongst political circles. “I have not met Mr Tohra in the past six months’’, he said.

He further said that though he had respect for Mr Tohra, that was at a personal level and not political. UNI


SAD-BJP meeting today
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 9
A meeting of the SAD and the BJP will be held at the residence of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal tomorrow in Chandigarh.

Stating this, Punjab BJP organisational general secretary Avinash Jaiswal, said today that the final strategy regarding the participation in the special session of the Assembly on October 11 would be discussed.

Prof Brij Lal Rinwa and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, leader of the BJP Legislative Party, Punjab, besides Capt Kanwaljit Singh would attend the meeting.

He said both parties would raise the issues relating to the whereabouts of the money seized from the bank lockers of former PPSC Chairman and a white paper for the Rs 102 crore received from the Centre for distribution to farmers.

Prof Rinwa, meanwhile, has appointed Mr Ram Kumar Goyal president of the Patiala (Urban) unit of the BJP.

The following have been appointed members of the working committee of the party. Amritsar district vice-presidents Mr Madan Lal Aneja, Mr Harish Shah, Mr Harish Taneja and Mr Arun Kapur. Moga district vice-presidents — Mr Tirlochan Singh Gill, Mr Jitender Paul Joshi and Mr Chaman Lal Goyal.


BJP recasts two district units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Punjab BJP President Brij Lal Rinwa today recast the party’s Amritsar (Urban) and Moga district units on the recommendation of the respective presidents, Col Amrik Singh (retd.) and Mr Ramesh Beri.

This was announced at a news conference by Mr Rinwa here today. The names of office-bearers the working committee members etc. were also released.

Mr Rinwa has accepted the resignation of Patiala (urban) district unit president and has also dissolved its mandal committees. He has appointed Mr Ram Kumar Goyal as new President and asked him to submit the list of office-bearers and working committee members in consultation with Mr Anil Sareen and Mr Rulda Singh.

BJP and Akali leaders would meet here tomorrow to draw up a strategy for the Friday special session of the Vidhan Sabha on the issue of paddy pricing, relief and bonus and procurement vis-a-vis role of the Centre and its constituent, the SAD.

Mr Rinwa said he conveyed his sentiments on the functioning of the government to Capt. Amarinder Singh at the Airport this morning while waiting for Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani. ‘’I told him that I could not even congratulate him on becoming Chief Minister as his staff would not put my call through to him. I told him that his campaign against corruption is appreciable but it will be much better if the state is to proceed against the four Congress ministers as well, who have been indicted by the Lokpal’’.


Police pressure on SGPC men: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), October 9
Former Union Minister Sukhbir Badal today alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had directed senior police functionaries to put pressure on SGPC members to dissociate themselves from the SAD in the coming election to the post of SGPC President.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he alleged that the SGPC members affiliated with the SAD were under threat and some of them were actually hiding.

Mr Sukhbir Badal claimed that he had definite information that one of the senior functionaries of the police had ordered the field force to “bring” SGPC members residing in their respective areas to him during a meeting.

Capt Amarinder Singh was trying to consolidate his position by interfering in the religious matters of Hindus and Sikhs, he said.


Badal, 7 SGPC men hold meeting

Moga, October 9
Former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal today held a closed-door meeting here with seven Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members from this district.

The meeting, which lasted for about an hour, was later joined by four former ministers in the previous Badal’s Cabinet.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Badal said the Punjab police was coercing SGPC members loyal to his party to change loyalty at the behest of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

He warned the Chief Minister and police officials to refrain from threatening the SGPC members or face consequences.

Mr Badal claimed his party would sweep the poll. PTI


Flesh trade: panel’s clean chit to hotels
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
The flesh trade racket case, which was busted by the Amritsar police in May, took a new turn today, with a high-powered committee giving a clean chit to the government-run hotels here.

The Public Undertaking Committee comprising MLAs from all political parties and headed by Mr Hans Raj Jason, MLA, Jalalabad, after an on-the-spot inspection alleged that it was a conspiracy hatched by private hotels in connivance with the police to defame government hotels being run by the Punjab Corporation.

Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP, City-I, who had busted the racket, refused to comment on the plea that the matter was in court. The police had arrested seven couples from the government-run Amritsar International Hotel here after a raid.

Mr Jason said the committee would summon the DGP, Mr Mahal Singh Bhullar, the SSP, Amritsar, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, and the inquiry officer to bring the truth forward so that appropriate action could be taken against the real culprits. The committee alleged that following the raids the earnings of government hotels had come down, resulting in huge losses. He said the committee would recommend to the government to provide funds to public undertaking institutions such as the improvement trust and the corporation for the maintenance and renovation of the hotels. He said the improvement trust and corporation officials, who had met the committee, assured them to make the approach road to the hotel and the surroundings of the hotel beautiful within 15 days.

Dr Rajkumar, MLA, Verka, and one of the committee members, said the government would take all possible steps to promote tourism in the holy city.

The other committee members include Mr Bhag Singh Malla, Jagraon , Mr Parwinder Singh Dhindsa, Sunam, Mr Mantar Singh Brar, Kot Kapura, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Rampura Phul, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Jalandhar Cantonment, and Mr Harmit Singh Sandhu, Tarn Taran.


Check sewage discharge to curb pollution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Taking a serious view of pollution being caused due to discharge of sewage from an falling area under the Khanna Municipal Council, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has suggested that a comprehensive programme should be drawn up for the generation of revenue and implementation of projects for reducing pollution.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice, Mr G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, has further suggested that a meeting of department heads should be convened for examining the problem in different parts of the state. The Judges added: “A report prepared on the basis of deliberations made by the committee of department heads should be placed before the court on December 2”.

In their detailed order, the Judges observed: “Principal Secretary in the Department of Public Health Gurbinder Kaur Chahal, Principal Secretary in the Department of Irrigation Rajesh Chhabra and Additional Secretary in the Department of Local Bodies Khushi Ram are present in person. After hearing counsel for the parties, we have impressed upon them that the state government must try to find a solution to the problem caused due to discharge of sewage from the area under Khanna MC”.

They concluded: “We have also suggested that a meeting of department heads, including that of the Finance Department, should be convened for examining the problem of pollution caused due to the discharge of sewage and effluents in different parts of the state and a comprehensive programme should be drawn up”.

Notice on MLA’s bail plea

Taking up a petition filed by Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, MLA, seeking the grant of anticipatory bail or else 15 days’ notice in case a first information report was registered against him, Mr Justice R.C. Kathuria of the High Court today issued notice of motion.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, the MLA had expressed apprehension that he had either been, or would be, implicated in a case as the government wanted to tarnish his image due to political reasons. The MLA had added that the government had adopted a vindictive attitude towards its opponents and members of the Akali Dal and might to arrest them in false cases.

His counsel had added that the tactics were being used against him for demoralising the supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal so as to help Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal during the forthcoming elections to the SGPC Executive Committee.


Conference on Guru Granth Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
Guru Nanak Dev University in collaboration with the Academy of Guru Granth Studies, USA, will organise an international conference on inner dynamics of Sri Guru Granth Sahib for the celebration of the 400th year of its compilation from October 17 to 19 here.

Dr Jogh Singh, eminent Sikh scholar and director of the conference, in a press note issued here today, said S. Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, would inaugurate the conference while Justice Kuldip Singh, a former judge of the Supreme Court, would preside over.

Scholars from all over the world, especially the USA, Canada and the UK, besides scholars from Indian universities would also participate in the conference.


Takht honours Jinda’s mother
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 9
The Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today honoured Bibi Gurnam Kaur, mother of Harjinder Singh Jinda— one of the assassins of Gen A.S. Vaidya at Akal Takht after the bhog ceremony, here today. Tributes were paid to the assassins of General Vaidya — Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha.

Ardas was also performed in memory of Sukha and Jinda by Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht. However, SGPC leaders were conspicuous by their absence.

Later, another function was held in memory of the assassins at Gaddi village. Former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and leaders of the All- India Sikh Student Federation and Dal Khalsa paid tributes at that function.


No funds for nutrition scheme
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 9
While the Punjab Government from time to time has been introducing various schemes for the benefit of weaker sections of society, it fails to providing the required funds regularly to continue these schemes. As a result, these are either dropped or discontinued.

Under one such scheme — the Special Nutrition Programme — nutritious diet like mashed food of wheat or rice was being given to children, pregnant women and nursing mothers of weaker sections anganwaries. Re 1 each was being provided to a child and Rs 1.15 each to a pregnant/nursing mother daily for this purpose.

But on account of paucity of funds, this programme has been suspended for the past three years. According to official sources, this facility has to be given to the beneficiaries for 300 days a year. The discontinuation of this scheme has hit the health check-up and health education, immunisation, school education and referral services programmes being carried out by anganwaries.

There are 1,177 Anganwaries in Hoshiarpur district where 29,381children, 2,857 pregnant mothers and 2,835 nursing mothers were getting nutritious diet. These beneficiaries are a disappointed lot today.


Garbage dumping poses problem
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 9
Garbage in this town has not been removed for the past about a month. Heaps of filth are everywhere and no steps are being taken to remove garbage.

The municipal council has failed to mark the site for dumping garbage.

There are more than 500 heaps of garbage and dust in the town and nearby 10 tonnes of garbage is collected daily, a resident said.

The civil administration has earmarked five sites for dumping garbage.

It is learnt that due to on going tussle between the BJP and the Congress, this problem has not been solved for the past couple of months.

The worst-affected areas are the main bus stand and land opposite the Ramlila grounds.

Mr Jagir Singh Thind, Executive Officer of the municipal council, admitted that garbage and dust dumps had collected at various places, adding that these would be lifted soon.


Commissioner cancels order on councillors
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 9
The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation here today withdrew the “un-constitutional” letter issued by his Assistant Commissioner, Kirpal Singh, a PCS officer, aimed at curbing the elected representatives of the House.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bir, said that he was disturbed after to knowing that the letter was issued by Mr Kirpal Singh on his behalf when he was on leave. He denied that he had issued instructions to Mr Kirpal Singh to issue such a letter as Section 64 of the Municipal Corporation Act 1976, gave absolute rights to the councillors to ask questions on any subject or issue at the general house meeting. He said the Commissioner was duty-bound to reply to the queries to their satisfaction of behalf of all officers. He, however, said that only the mayor had the prerogative to disallow any question.

The controversial letter raised hackles at all councillor belonging to all political parties and independents and the decided to oppose the letter. Mayor, Sunil Datti said that the letter aimed at encroaching up on the rights of the elected representatives and silence the voice of democracy. He said he had received the complaints of ‘rampant’ corruption being indulged into by certain officials of the Town Planning Department. He said he would submit detail of 22 buildings constructed in violation of building bylaws. Mr Datti said though he had given instructions to the officials, no action was taken against those who violated the rules. He said he was meeting the Chief Minister tomorrow to apprise him of the controversy with regard to the letter for accelerating the pace of development.

The controversial letter had stated that the councillors could face legal action in case they caste aspersions on the integrity of the officers of the Corporations.


Residents resent power cuts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
The annoying din of power generators accompanied by diesel fumes has once again become the bane of city residents. After the power situation remained stable for a few weeks, the crisis has returned, bringing in its wake unannounced cuts.

Residents point out that over the past week or so, a series of power cuts are being imposed across the city. This, they add, is being done without any prior notice or warning, thereby upsetting their work schedules and business activities.

After the harvest of paddy crop began in September, the situation had somewhat eased with the residents being spared the woes of prolonged power cuts. Only need based, short duration cuts were imposed to rectify any faults in the distribution system or carry out maintenance work.

During the paddy season, when the drought was prevailing and the power crisis in the state was at its peak, cuts ranging up to 10 hours were imposed to make power available to the farmers to run diesel pump sets.

The residents point out that at present there is no heavy demand from the agriculture sector and the power load has been reduced on account of the changing season as the use of air conditioners and coolers has come down. This, they add, leads one to believe that there are serious problems in electricity generation despite the relatively low demand.

Electricity generation by the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant here had sharply dropped in September owing to a series of technical problems. At present one unit had been shut down for long-term repair and maintenance works and was likely to become functional only after October 30.

The residents said cuts were being imposed several times a day, usually for an hour or so. Localities were particularly sore about cuts in the morning, generally around 8 a.m., and in the evening, around 7 and 8 p.m.

Bathinda is reportedly the only district in the country where two power generation plants are located. The other is situated at Lehra Mohabbat, about 30 km from here. Besides this the city has also been declared a “no power cut city” as a compensation for heavy environmental pollution caused by the thermal plant. Despite this the city is once again facing power shortage.


Charges traded over temple funds row
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
Allegations were traded by two factions having support of the BJP and the Congress over the alleged embezzlement of Durgiana temple funds.

The Congress-backed committee which got the control of the ancient temple on Sunday alleged that some precious items including gold-plated ones were missing from the ‘toshahana’.

Mr Surinder Arjun, new administrator of the Management Committee said that the new committee would hold thorough probe in respect of allegations regarding the misappropriation of funds.

Crores of rupees along with gold offerings were collected during ‘kar seva’ (voluntary service) organised by the former committee which had backing of the BJP.

However, the office-bearers of the previous management committee had refuted all allegations of the Congress-backed committee.

The temple row has been going the SGPC way with the change of guard. Earlier, the BJP-supported management committee had upstaged the Congress committee in 1997 when the SAD-BJP combine was in power in the state.


Bitta: make Gill Gujarat Governor

Amritsar, October 9
All-India Anti-Terrorists Front Chairman M.S. Bitta today attributed the terrorist strike on Akshardham Temple in Gujarat to the sequel to the riots following the utterances by VHP president Ashok Singal.

Talking to mediapersons here he said, the inciting statements by Ashok Singal and Tangrie aggravated the crisis.

“Aroused by these statements, unemployed Pakistani youths at the instance of the ISI crossed over to India to carry out the nefarious designs of the ISI by targeting Akshardham Temple,” he said.

Suggesting measures for restoring normalcy and instilling security among the Muslims, he favoured the appointment of K.P.S. Gill as Governor of Gujarat.

On the Jammu and Kashmir elections, he said ballot triumphed over bullets with the masses participating in the poll process notwithstanding the terrorist threat.

On December 13, a national-level programme would be organised at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi where the Vice-President of the country, families of commandos recently killed in the J and K elections and Akshardham Temple operation would be honoured, he said. PTI


Medallions: orders worth Rs 1 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation’s concept of issuing commemorative gold and silver medallions to mark the 2600 years of the birth of Lord Mahavira in Madhya Pradesh has turned out to be a success.

These medallions were released in Bhopal on October 6. The ceremony was attended by Punjab Minister of Industries and Commerce Avtar Henry and PSIEC Managing Director P.S. Aujla. Mr Aujla said besides the spot booking of 500 gold and 500 silver medallions, there was a demand for medallions worth Rs 1 crore as per a message received from the appointed bank in Indore.

The booking is open till October 17. Meanwhile, to meet the demand of the local Jain community, the corporation today placed an order for Switzerland gold worth Rs 50 lakh.


Hearing on Langah’s bail plea adjourned
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 9
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, today adjourned the hearing on the bail application of Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD Minister to October 12.

The hearing was adjourned due to non-production of police record of the case in the court by the prosecution today.

The prosecution supplied copies of the documents, attached with the challan, to all accused, including Langah. The challan presented in the court by the Vigilance on September 17.

The Special Judge fixed October 16 as the next date of hearing/for consideration of a charge against Langah and others. 


DTO issues notice to truckers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 9
The ongoing rift between the Bir Bhola Truck Union of the city and the District Transport Officer, Faridkot, may snowball into a major controversy as the DTO has issued a notice to the office-bearers of the union, asking them to apologise for their allegedly false, derogatory and defamatory remarks.

Mr Manmohan Luthra, DTO, Faridkot, in his notice sent to Mr Darshan Singh Walia, president of the truck union, claimed that the union was indulging in false propaganda. He said the members of the union has misbehaved with him and a Patiala resident who was in the office at the time for some work.

He said that Mr Walia had exchanged heated words with the Patiala resident and later the matter was reported to the district police chief, Faridkot and one of his (Mr Luthra’s) gunmen had gone with them.

Mr Luthra said that Mr Walia had paid the compounding fees of the challans of his trucks after the incident, which meant that he had admitted committing the offence.

Mr Luthra said that after getting the challan compounded, Mr Walia had filed a complaint with the higher authorities and sent a copy of the complaint to the press persons.

Mr Luthra warned the office-bearers of the union to apologise for their false statements within 15 days, else he would be ‘forced’ to file a case of defamation.

However, Mr Walia said the allegations levelled against the DTO were true and added that they were ready for a probe into the matter.


Students protest against bus operators
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 9
Students of Chauke and other villages of this district who were reportedly not allowed to travel free of cost in some buses although they had concessional passes, today held a meeting with a kisan union and some panchayats. The students want villagers to help them. The students are protesting against the behaviour of some bus operators.

The bus operators, however said the passes issued to the students were not valid in mini-buses.

They said on the pretext of being students, several villagers used to travel daily, although they did not have any valid document.

The students held a meeting with the panchayats of five villages and office-bearers of the BKU at Chauke village. They had reportedly gheraoed at least seven mini-buses.

The students said due to the non-plying of Punjab Roadways and PRTC buses between these villages they had to depend on private buses.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president of the BKU(E), said they would support the agitation of the students.


Panel to look into groundwater pollution
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, October 9
Punjab Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa said today special committee had been constituted to look into the groundwater pollution caused by industries in Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot and Sangrur districts.

Speaking to newspersons after laying the foundation stones of drinking water schemes at Jandgoli and Lachhrukalan villages, near here, the minister said the team would consist of representatives of the Public Health Department, Health Department and Punjab Pollution Control Board. He said the government would spend Rs 400 crore in the next two years to provide drinking water facilities in the state.


Undertrial dies in custody

Sangrur, October 9
An undertrial facing murder charge in Sangrur jail died under mysterious circumstances while on way back after attending the court of the Additional Sessions Judge here.

Birbal Singh was rushed to the Civil Hospital last night where he was declared brought dead, the police said today. He belonged to Saron village in the district.

The SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said the two cops under whose custody he was returning after attending the court had been suspended for dereliction of duty.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, has ordered a magisterial probe. PTI


Bombs seized
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 9
The police has arrested the kingpin of a five-member gang of robbers and seized three crude bombs, a pistol, five cartridges and a knife from his possession. The DSP, Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, said today that Satinder Rai had been nabbed under Section 25 of the Arms Act and Sections 4/5 of Explosives Act.


Mr M.P. Pandove
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Mr M.P. Pandove will take oath as a Member of the Punjab Public Service Commission tomorrow at 11.45 a.m., according to information available here.


Martyr cremated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
Constable Jaspal Singh (21), a resident of Jahangir Nagar here, was cremated with full police and state honours at his village here today. He sacrificed his life while fighting militants in Baramula in Jammu and Kashmir on October 7.


Elaborate security for mela

Bathinda, October 9
The police has made elaborate security arrangements for the annual mela to be held at Maiserkhana village between October 10 and October 12, to control the crowds and avoid untowards incident.

One SP, three DSPs, four Inspectors, 43 NGOs, 63 havildars, 252 constables 176 SPOs/Home Guards and 22 women police personnel have been deployed for the mela beginning tomorrow. OC


Licences of 5 arhtiyas suspended
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 9
Mr A. Venu Prasad Deputy Commissioner here has suspended the licences of five arhtiyas for irregularities in the purchase of paddy in the district. They are G.M. Trading Company, Sadiq, M/S Joginder Singh and Sons, Deep Singh Wala, M/S Rajeev and Company, Jand Sahib, M/S Kartar Singh Brar and Company, Mehmuana and M/S Veer Traders, Machaki Kalan Purchasing Centres.

Meanwhile, 2.85 lakh metric tonnes of paddy against the target of 3.66 lakh tonnes has been procured by different government agencies including the FCI till 2 pm today. Of the total purchase, 50 per cent has been lifted from the centres claimed the Deputy Commissioner here today. He added that payment of Rs 13 crore had also been made to the farmers. Earlier the Deputy Commissioner held a meeting with the senior officials of the agencies to review procurement.


Govt bans hunting

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 9
The Punjab Government has banned hunting in forest areas. This was informed by Punjab Minister of State for Forests Harbans Lal while addressing a function here on the concluding day of the wildlife protection week today.

He quoted the decrease in the vulture population as the reason for increasing pollution in environment, pointing out that the vultures cleaned the environment.

The minister said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had fulfilled the promise made by him in the manifesto to farmers of the state to give them Rs 30 bonus per quintal on the procurement of paddy made during the previous season. For this purpose, he said, Rs 321 crore would be given to the farmers in three equal instalments. UNI


Newsprint exempt from entry tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, today exempted newsprint from paying entry tax of 8 per cent. A spokesman for the Excise and Taxation Department said here today that the state government had issued a notification to 8 per cent on all kinds of paper.


Gang of car thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 9
The police has busted an inter-state gang, led by an active member of the Bhindrawala Tiger Force, which used to snatch cars and gypsies in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh at gun point in the guise of policemen.

Disclosing this here today, district police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal said four members of the gang had been arrested and as many as 15 vehicles, including three gypsies, seven cars, one tractor and four motor cycles have been receovered from them.

The SSP said the police expected to make more recoveries after the gang leader Gurinder Singh alias Kaka, who used to masquerade as an ASI during the snatching operations, was arrested.

He said the police was already acting upon some leads and police parties had been despatched to various places.

He said the gang was effectively posing as policemen as Gurinder Singh had obtained a fake arms license from Ferozepore after showing a wrong address in his papers which had enabled him to buy a double barreled gun and a revolver. He said the dare devilry of the gang could be gauged from the fact that it did not spare police vehicles also.

He said the gang members, who had been arrested, had been identified as Nishan Singh, a resident of Amarpur near here, Raju of Mohalla Daru Kutia, Jagjit Singh of Kartarpur, Rupinder Singh alias Laddi of Bahil Khanpur village in Fatehgarh Sahib and Surinderpal Singh alias Kaka of Sanaur.

He said one revolver, one rifle and some documents had been siezed from the accused.

The SSP said a case had been registered in this regard under Sections 379, 411, 171, 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.


Schoolgirl dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 9
Himani (5) of UKG class died on the spot and 15 other students of GDR Day Boarding Public School were injured, five of them seriously, when their tempo was hit by a truck in the local industrial area this morning.

Two of the critically injured boys, Vishal and Gurpreet, have been referred to DMC, Ludhiana. Two others, who had thigh bone fractures, were sent for a CT scan, said Dr Subhash Sharma, SMO of the local Civil Hospital. While Vishali, Vivek and Vinayak Bahadur were admitted to ESI hospital, Vishal Sood, Baljit Kaur, Jasmit Kaur, Bittu Kumar, Niha Mann, Arti Kalucha and Karamjit Singh were admitted in Civil Hospital. Three students were discharged after first aid. The injured students are in their early teens. The police has arrested truck driver Radhe Sham and impounded the truck.


Deras attacked, baba killed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
In a gruesome incident, two deras located at Chakk Sikander and Nizampur villages were looted by armed persons. One baba was killed and six persons were injured in the incident today.

According to information, the attackers first attacked Dera Baba Mohar Singh at Chakk Sikander, killing 80-year-old baba on the spot and injuring other members of his family, including his wife Dalip Kaur, son Gurdip Singh and daughter-in-law Sarbjit Kaur.

The assailants then attacked Nizampur dera at Nizampur, injuring Gulzar Singh, and his sons Gurmeet Singh and Satnam Singh. The accused decamped with gold jewellery and other valuables.

The police has registered a case under Section 466, IPC.


4 killed in road accident
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, October 9
Four persons were killed and eight others injured in a road accident, 10 km from here, today.

According to the police, a Tata Sumo carrying 12 passengers from Fazilka to Abohar collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction at about 1.00 a.m. leaving three persons dead on the spot while another one died on way to a hospital of the eight injured, the condition of five is stated to be serious.

The deceased have been identified as Kanwalpreet Singh (driver), Sukhchain Singh, Ashok Kumar and Kiran Kumar.

The police said the driver of the Tata Sumo lost control over the vehicle, resulting in the collision.


Man arrested with pistol
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 9
The police has arrested Arvinder Singh Brar, a resident of Chandigarh, and seized a .32-bore pistol and five cartridges from him. He was arrested on the Kurali-Sisan road.

In a press note issued here today, the police said during interrogation Avinder Singh disclosed that the pistol and cartridges had been given to him by Narinder Singh, Alias Nindi, a resident of Mani Majra, who was already in judicial lock-up. Nindi had got the pistol from Kulwant Singh who was posted in the judicial courts, malkhana, Amritsar.


Rs 2.3 cr for Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 9
The government has sanctioned Rs 2.34 crore for the district under the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and the State Education Department.

This was stated by Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering of teachers and villagers at a function organised at Gidderbaha. today. She also gave away cheques for 14.35 lakh for the development of 41 primary schools of the region.

Mrs Sharma said education development committees had been established in all 304 primary schools in the district. She said Rs 5,000 each had been given to 296 primary schools for purchasing sports goods and for maintenance of the school buildings.

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