Tuesday, January 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PM writes to SGPC
To take up issue of care of gurdwaras abroad
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, January 6
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, has told the SGPC that diplomatic channels would be opened with Pakistan so that the SGPC could take care of gurdwaras in that country.

Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the SGPC, stating this here today, said, “Mr Vajpayee has written to the SGPC that diplomatic steps would be taken, so that the SGPC could get permission for looking after gurdwaras in Pakistan.” Mr Badungar was here in connection with the installation ceremony of Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh as Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib.

About the gurdwaras in Afghanistan, he said the Prime Minister was of the view that the situation was not conducive in that country and the issue of taking control of gurdwaras in that country should be postponed. When the situation in that country become normal, the Indian Government would take steps to stake claim for looking after the gurdwaras by the SGPC in Afghanistan.

Mr Badungar said that a team had been set by the SGPC sent to Bangladesh to take stock of the condition of gurdwaras there.

He said the SGPC should have become party in the case registered about the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, so that it could have been pursued properly. He said that the SGPC would appeal to the higher court to make it party in the case, when the victims of 1984 riots filed an appeal against the decision of lower court in the higher court.

When asked why Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was not called to Akal Takht as he was responsible for sending the police to the Golden Temple complex, although a resolution to that effect was passed by the SGPC, Mr Badungar said that it was up to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akali Takht, to take action in the matter.

Mr Vedanti, who was also present here, said in an informal talk with some mediapersons that the matter was under consideration. He said the issue of adoption of the Nanakshahi calendar was also under consideration.

Mr Vedanti said there should be unity among all Akali Dal factions for the betterment of the Sikh Panth. He said that condition for unity laid down by the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister, should be called to Akal Takht, was baseless as Mr Badal had not violated any Sikh tradition or hukamnama of Akal Takht.


Nandgarh installed Jathedar
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, January 6
Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh was installed as the ninth Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib here today at a function attended by former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, Bhai Puran Singh and many leaders and workers of SAD, SGPC members and representatives of various religious organisations.

After the akhand path bhog at Takht Damdama Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Head Granthi of the takht, performed the ardas. Jathedar Vedanti read the order of SGPC passed on January 3 in this connection.

Later, the newly appointed Jathedar was given siropas by takht heads, politicians and representatives of religious organisations.

Prominent among others who presented siropas to Mr Nandgarh were Jathedar Vedanti, Mr Mann Singh, Head Granthi, Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Badal, Mr Udai Singh from Budha Dal and representatives of Tikana Bhai Jagta ji, Kar Seva, Akhand Kirtani jatha and many other organisations.

A brother of Mr Nandgarh, who is facing criminal charges, also presented a siropa to him.

When Mr Badal left the venue for most of the politicians also left, although Mr Nandgarh was still receiving siropas. Some of them did not even bothered to take the customary parsad. Some members of a religious organisation said it was more of a political function than a religious one.

Mr Nandgarh, while addressing the Sikh sangat, said he would follow the Sikh rules and traditions. He said he would launch a war against female foeticide and drug abuse.


Reconsider move on Nanakshahi calendar’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a well-known Sikh intellectual and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, today cautioned the SGPC against any hasty move to adopt the Nanakshahi calendar.

A statement issued here, he said this matter needed to be considered from logical, and not sentimental, angle. “Certain Sikh circles are obsessed with a sentimental impression that history started only in 1469 (CE), the birth year of Guru Nanak; for them retention of anything relating to pre- 1469 times, for that very reason, would erode Sikh identity.

This seems to be the rationale behind the Nanakshahi calendar which has “Sikhised” Gregorian calendar (CE) according to its drafter, Dr H.S. Dilgeer. The argument behind Nanakshahi calendar is that sacred, historical events of Sikh history should every year fall on fixed dates in solar (Gregorian) calendar and should not vary from year to year relative to the lunar Bikrami calendar.”

In the proposed Nanakshahi calendar, 365 days of solar calendar have been distributed over 12 Bikrami months, with Chet 1 falling on March 14. Nanakshahi calendar is a hotchpotch of solar (Gregorian), lunar (Bikrami) and lunisolar (Hindu) calendars. That is how in the new calendar, the birth of Guru Nanak Dev has been kept as Katik Poornamashi in accordance with the Bikrami calendar and would, as such vary from year to year contrary to the intention of the new calendar maker, that the Gurpurab dates should be fixed relative to the Gregorian calendar. Again Hola Mohalla and Divali have been retained relative to lunisolar calendar, while Maghi and Baisakhi have been kept as per solar calendar.

There is no explanation as to why Nanakshahi calendar should start on the day of the accession of Guru Har Rai and not any event concerning Guru Nanak. In fact Dr H.S. Dilgeer had suggested the adoption of Gregorian calendar with the names of Gregorian months (January to October) being replaced by the names of ten Gurus, with November as Granth month and December as Panth month. He had even suggested the Sikhs names for the days of week.

“If we stretch such logic of “Sikhisation” then the pre-existing ragas and dhunis in which the Gurus composed bani should also be “Sikhised” and the bani should be dovetailed into the “Sikhised” ragas and dhunis. Would that be acceptable to anyone.! Not at all.! Further, in case we adopt the proposed Nanakshahi calendar then the Sikh history will have to be re-dated relative to the new calendar. And would the adoption of Nanakshahi calendar enjoin upon the Sikhs to observe the new calendar in respect of births, deaths, marriages and business transactions”, he said.


Politician ‘involved’ in kidney racket
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, January 6
CPI leader Satya Pal Dang has alleged that the name of a senior state politician has figured in the illegal kidney trade racket.

Mr Dang, in a letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, which was released to the Press yesterday welcomed the transfer of the IG stationed here for his alleged attempt to protect the main culprits involved in the racket. He said ADGP A.A. Siddiqui, who had been asked to probe the case should also look into the role of persons working closely with the transferred IG.

He urged the Chief Minister to ensure transparency in the investigations into the case and lift restrictions imposed on the Press to report on the ongoing investigations by the district police chief.

Meanwhile, Mr Dang had drawn the attention of the Chief Minister to the issue of old-age and widow pensions, which are to resume from this month.

In another letter to the Chief Minister, he pointed out that many persons had not received pensions since January last, and it was not clear when the pension arrears would be disbursed.

In some other cases, pensions already sanctioned two years ago had failed to reach beneficiaries. Special instructions needed to be issued in this regard, he said.

Mr Dang also pointed out lacunae in processing pension applications, which had been kept pending for the past more than a year and had thus not been verified and sanctioned.


MC declares 14 pvt colonies illegal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 6
Taking action against private colonisation in the city, the Municipal Corporation today put up notices at 14 places where colonisers have sold plots without sanction from either the Municipal Corporation or the Punjab Urban and Planning Development Authority (PUDA), warning people that building plans would not be sanctioned in the areas.

The notices warn the people that anyone buying plots in the colonies would face the prospect of not having their building maps sanctioned by the corporation.

This is the first major step taken by the corporation against private colonisers who have cut plots in various parts of the city without getting the scheme passed. The corporation has taken this step because the colonies do not have either the required open spaces, nor enough space for construction of broad roads. Besides this there is the problem of providing streetlights and sewerage to the colonies, which the colonisers do not provide.

Municipal Corporation Mayor Vishnu Sharma told TNS that the notice boards had been put up in the colonies which had been declared illegal under Section 5 of the Punjab Apartments and Property Act, 1995. He said, according to the Act, none could cut a plot beyond 1,000 square feet and sell it without getting the scheme passed from the corporation.

He said, according to a survey conducted by the corporation, it had been found that private colonisers had cut small plots and were selling these to the public without informing any authority. Accordingly, as many as three notices had been put up at Ablowal, one on the Seona road, one on the Jhill road, one on the Sirhind road near Lehal Nursery and one near Aman Nagar.

Mr Sharma said the colonisers had been given a seven days to submit their applications for getting their colonies approved.

He said submission of the applications would not mean that their cases would be accepted, adding the applications would be decided on merit.


Victims of revenue officials’ apathy
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Their Bhaike (Gidderbaha), January 6
A section of farmers of the village have become victims of the callousness of revenue officials who have illegally, reduced the amount of compensation being given to them by the state government on account of waterlogging of their land holdings.

The revenue officials have allegedly tampered with the official records and thus caused them huge monetary losses.

Official sources said Mr Gurmail Singh Dhade, naib tehsildar, Gidderbaha, had written to the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Usha R. Sharma, to register a criminal case against a revenue official concerned, who had tampered with the revenue records and had thus caused huge losses to the farmers whose holdings were waterlogged.

Mr Dhade while talking to TNS pointed out that a revenue official, who had been identified and had been facing a number of charges, had tampered with the official revenue records and changed the ownership of various holdings apart from reducing the amount of compensation to be given to the affected farmers by making wrong entries in the revenue records.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mrs Rajbans Kaur who owned more than 6 acres which was waterlogged, was likely to get Rs 9000 as compensation instead of Rs 30000 which she was legally entitled to get. However, the revenue official had made wrong entries in the revenue records to deny her genuine compensation.

Mrs Rajbans Kaur alleged that the revenue official first showed that her entire land holding was waterlogged from 1990 to 1999 in the revenue records. In the year 2000 in the kharif season, the revenue official deliberately did not mention that the land was waterlogged in the revenue records while in the rabi season of same year, the revenue official again mentioned that the land was waterlogged. Again, the revenue official mentioned that in the year 2002 kharif season, the land was waterlogged.

Information revealed that another farmer, Mr Makhan Singh, had also been making rounds of the office of the naib tehsildar to get the record pertaining to his land holding rectified as the same revenue official had tampered with the same and reduced the amount of compensation which was to be paid to him by the state government.

Mr Dhade said he had been trying to set things right by getting right entries made in the revenue records, which were tampered with by the revenue official. He added that about 100 farmers had been suffering losses due to the tampering of the revenue records of their respective holdings by the official.

Meanwhile, Mrs Rajbans Kaur demanded that no payment of compensation should be made to anyone till the records were rectified and due compensation of every affected person was worked out. 


Sacked panchayat secys contest govt claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Newly constituted Panchayat Secretary Union, Punjab, has taken serious note of an advertisement published by the Punjab Government in various newspapers today. The advertisement has claimed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the dismissal of panchayat secretaries. Rather, claimed the union, the court had demanded a report on the action taken against the erring officials, whose names had been enlisted in the inquiry report by the state government.

Mr Baljinder Singh, press secretary of the union, said no one had ever challenged the written test, and there was no logic in taking the test for the second time. In a press note issued here today, he said, during the hearing in the court, the state government had earlier decided to put up the inquiry regarding selection to the CBI but after submitting an affidavit in this regard, it had withdrawn it. The case is now coming up for hearing tomorrow.

Against the government’s claim that 909 appointments were made against 700 posts, he said, the government had advertised 1,063 posts in different newspapers. As per the rules and regulations, he said, if there were posts lying vacant and these were more than the advertised posts, the government was at liberty to appoint more persons than the advertised posts within the limitations.

He said the selection was made on the state level and it was wrong on the part of the state government to claim that the selection in a few districts had been made at the cost of other ones. The decision to take the nominees of the Social Welfare Department, ex-servicemen and the Sports Department was also not justified. Because as per rules, he said, nominees from SC/ST cell had already been taken by the department. It was government’s duty to give the proof of fee collection, and not their fault.

Explaining the entry of 25 candidates out-side the age limit, the union has further claimed that two candidates had already taken stay order from the court, and eight had filed proof of their age while 15 had already been sacked by the Akali-BJP government. Regarding missing of documents in the case of 63 candidates, the union said, it was the government’s duty to keep the documents in safe custody and they should not be penalised for this.

Mr Baljinder Singh said the marks given to the candidates were according to the selection norms of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board and the high court had already dismissed the plea and a department selection committee was ordered to make selections as per norms.

He lamented that after hearing the case, the court had extended the date of hearing, but in the meantime the government had suspended all panchayat secretaries without bothering to give one month’s notice. The government has suspended them only to favour its favourites, he claimed.


2 held for changing babies
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 6
The police here has launched a massive manhunt to arrest Surinder Kaur, a resident of Goraya, who has been selling new born babies against hefty amounts.

Ramesh Rani, a mid-wife, who had changed a male baby with a female baby after delivery at a private hospital and Parmjit Kaur, at whose behest she had done so, have been arrested.

According to sources, she told the police that the newly born babies were being supplied by Surinder Kaur.

It may be mentioned here that a couple, Mrs Parveen Kumari and Mr Charanjit Singh, residents of Ram Tirath, had lodged a complaint with the Kotwali police that their male baby had been changed with a female baby after delivery.

Parveen Kumari was admitted to a nursing home at Toba Bhai Salo for delivery. The relatives and her husband got suspicious when they found a 22-day-old female baby lying next to her. The mid-wife had reportedly added some sedative in the tea of Parveen before she took away her new-born male child.

According to sources, Surinder Kaur has been doing so against a payment of Rs 10,000 each.

The police is yet to verify the source from where she was arranging the “supply of new born babies”.


Two arrested for extorting money
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 6
The police has busted a gang involved in extorting money from people on the pretext of getting them recruited in the Army.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Anokh Singh, resident of Amritsar, and Piara Masih, resident of Wadde Khuman, have been arrested in this regard. A case under Sections 420/34 IPC and 13(2) Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered.

Darshan Singh complained to the police that the accused had demanded Rs 25000 from him for getting his relative recruited in the Army during a recruitment rally being held here today. He had paid Rs 5000 in advance to the accused. The police party on specific information conducted a raid and recovered the advance money from the accused and arrested them.

During preliminary interrogation they disclosed that Anokh Singh used to impersonate himself as Commanding Officer in the Army whereas he is labour in charge in the MES at Amritsar. Piara Masih used to lure the gullible persons.

The accused came in contact with each other in 1982 when Anokh Singh got recruited a brother of Piara Masih in the Army after taking an amount to the tune of Rs 3000 from him. In 1989 the accused got two boys recruited in the Army through Major Sinha who later was court-martialled by the Army authorities.

The accused took Rs 22,000 from Raman Kumar and Pawan Kumar, Walker Masih, all residents of Nadala, Rs 18,000 from Sarabjit Singh, resident of Bhagwanpur, Rs 20,000 from Sanjiv Kumar, resident of Dalerpur, Rs 20,000 from Harbans Lal, resident of Wadde K Ghuman, Rs 7500 from Kamaljit Singh, resident of Kullian Dera and Rs 20,000 from Pappi, resident of Gadrian in this district on the promise of getting them recruited in the Army but failed to do so. They also refused to refund the money, the SSP added.


Jaundice threat ‘still remains’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 6
The Civil Surgeon, Dr K.K. Sharma, has stated that threat of jaundice will continue in affected areas as long as the cleaning of contaminated water and sewerage pipes is not undertaken which was the root cause of jaundice.

Dr K.K. Sharma, while talking to the mediapersons at a press conference here today, said the root cause of jaundice in the area was the contaminated water and untill clean water was not provided it would be difficult to check it. However, he said there were several other reasons of jaundice. A comprehensive report about the causes of deaths and health conditions of the jaundice affected areas, including Kot Mit Singh and other adjoining areas on the Tarn Taran road would be sent to the higher authorities in a couple of days.

He said the department had taken 39 samples of water out of which 12 samples failed the test. He said from failed samples 10 were of corporation water and two samples of hand pumps. He said the Health Department had established a medical team station at a gurdwara in Kot Mit Singh and had distributed medicines in the area.

Meanwhile, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Commissioner of the corporation, said the area lacked basic amenities. The residents had dug pits 20 to 30 feet deep while the hand pumps were 60 feet deep and was likely to be contaminated. He said the hand pumps should be bored at about 150 feet deep for safe water.

Besides it, Mr Bir said people had not adopted safe measures, to get corporation water connections. They have connected the pipes directly with main chambers, which were also the main cause of contamination. The corporation had disconnected at least 20 such connections.


Rare surgery gives man hand back
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 6
The team of doctors led by Dr Pankaj Sharma, Orthopaedic Surgeon of Civil Hospital, Mansa, has performed a rare operation on the forearm of Parma Singh (30), son of Nek Singh of Kharak Singh Wala village in the district. The bones, tendons, vessels and nerves of his arm had been completely damaged.

Dr (Capt) Hardev Singh, Deputy Medical Commissioner (DMC), Mansa, told The Tribune that the hand was hanging just by a tag of skin. The services of a vascular surgeon were required its repair. This specialist was not available in the district and the patient was not rich enough to afford outside treatment. So, he was compelled to agree to amputation. But Dr Pankaj Sharma, anaesthetist, Dr Sat Paul Bansal, and other members of the team came to his rescue. They preserved the hand in an ice packet and the next morning re-implanted the hand.

The five-hour surgery involved repairing of bones by Infra-medullary nails. Vascular repair of radial artery, ulnar artery and three veins was done using the operating microscope. After that exterior tendons were repaired.

In the second sitting, the repair of both the nerves (median and ulnar) and flexor tendons was done. Now, Parma Singh’s hand is in a working condition.

The doctors have made a rare achievement with meagre resources and infrastructure available in the hospital, the DMC added.


Swati engine for Cessna aircraft sought
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 6
The old Indian war horse, Swati, at present grounded all over the country, may come to the rescue of flying clubs in Punjab if the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) allows installing engines of the Swati aircraft in the Cessna aircraft used by the clubs.

The management of the Patiala Flying Club here and the Northern India Flying Club has sought the DGCA’s permission to utilise Swati engines in two Cessna aircraft in Patiala. It has requested that one Swati engine be allotted to it immediately for use in a Cessna aircraft out of commission since three months hitting flying in the Patiala Flying Club.

The use of Swati engines was considered as the club was unable to service Cessna aircraft sent to the Indian Steel and Wire Products in Chandigarh three months ago. Patiala Flying Club Manager Lakhbir Singh said though the engines could have been overhauled during this time, work was at a standstill because some spares were needed for which the club did not have money.

He said a case had been made for the use of Swati engines, two of which were lying in Amritsar. He said this experiment was tried earlier and the Swati engine could be used in the Cessna aircraft. Use of the Swati engines had been sought as the Swati aircraft could not be air-borne due to a defect in construction. He said engines of the aircraft were in good condition and could be fitted in Cessna. Patiala Flying Club which had 15 trainees on rolls at a time last year, now has only one person attached to it. This was because the club had only one functional plane a Pushpak. Students are not attracted to the plane which is of 1962 vintage.

The sources said the Cessna was the standard plane for training students and that in case the club did not regain Cessna, students would not be attracted to it. Number of students opting training in Punjab had decreased over the years as the subsidy coupled with steep rise in price of aviation fuel has made flying cost Rs 2,500 per hour.

Patiala Flying Club employees are also unhappy with the management. The employees claim regular employees have not been paid salary for past four months, while daily-wage staff have not been paid for seven months. Association President Baljinder Kumar also alleged that the management had failed to ensure overhaul of the Cessna aircraft which led to the present problems.

Club Manager Lakhbir Singh denying this, said that arrears due to employees were being paid in a phased manner according to the funds available. He said he had being cautioning that two flying clubs could not function at one place and that the Jalandhar Flying Club, also known as the Northern India Flying Club, be shifted to Jalandhar again if the Patiala Flying Club was to become a viable venture. He said flying presently was going on in the Northern India Flying Club and it was recording 200 hours to 250 hours of flying every month.


Water problem in district headquarters town
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 6
For the past 15 days the main water tubewell of the district headquarters town Sirhind is out of order and the residents are facing an acute shortage of drinking water. The residents alleged that it has become a routine that after some days the one or the other water tubwell remained out of order causing great inconvenience to those who were dependent on the municipal water supply. They alleged that presently the drinking water was supplied for a few minutes and that too at a low pressure, causing great difficulty to those residing on first-floor houses. They also alleged that the water supplied was not fit for human consumption.

Though the town has two water pumps to supply the drinking water, one of them occasionally remains out of order and the water supply to the entire town is made only from that. The residents alleged that repeated complaints and requests to the municipal authorities have fallen on the deaf ear and no one has cared to improve the water supply.

When contacted the water pump operator at the mainwater works, he told that the water pump has been out of order for some days and the officers have sent the water machine for repair and whenever it would come only then they would be able to supply water. He said that now he was ensuring water supply from a single water pump to the town.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizen's Welfare Council, Sirhind, has alleged that the council has miserably failed in providing basic amenities. He said that the council was wasting money on unnecessary projects for reasons best known to them, but it has failed to purchase a new water machine for providing an alternative. He demanded that water supply should be improved, otherwise the council would be forced to take next course of action.


Paucity of funds ails Ayurvedic Hospital
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 6
The 106-bed Ayurvedic hospital located in the city, the only one of its kind in the state, seems to have been completely abandoned by the sick looking for a herbal cure with the institution having virtually no patients on its premises.

On a visit to the hospital by Chandigarh Tribune team, today, the notice board read that 15 patients were admitted to the hospital and 29 patients had visited its OPD facility yesterday. A round of the hospital wards revealed only four patients occupying their beds. Sources said patients visiting the OPD of the hospital were also negligible.

The hospital has nearly hundred persons on its staff. These include 11 doctors, including a Superintendent, five Ayurvedic medical officers, two resident physicians and four assistant resident physicians. There are also 13 nursing staff members, 15 class IV employees, more than 10 administrative staff members and even a full fledged “tailor’’ besides others. It has two three-storey buildings on its sprawling campus in the heart of the city.

The lone doctor on duty when asked about the discrepancy in the number of patients mentioned on the notice-board and those present in the wards, said few of them were sitting in the sun, while some had gone outside the hospital to have tea.

“We have stopped serving tea and food in the hospital till we get some donations, the doctor added. He said earlier all patients used to get 450 ml of milk every-day besides food including “daal and roti” made in “desi ghee”. He said the facility, which had been in force for nearly 35 years, had been stopped last year due to lack of funds adding that it was the main reason why poor patients, who generally frequented the hospital, did not come to it any longer.

Besides food, the fact that the hospital virtually has no medicines in its stores is also responsible for patients not getting themselves admitted to the hospital any longer as well as availing themselves of the OPD facility. The doctor admitted that the hospital did not have any “useful” medicines. He said most of the patients coming to the hospital had complaints of arthritis or asthma, adding that the hospital did not have medicines for both the diseases.

Lack of medicines has also affected the OPD turnout. The doctors attending to patients in the OPD in the morning prescribe medicines to the patients. This, sources said, proved counter-productive for poor patients who could not afford the costly Ayurvedic medicines made by private companies nor could they afford to spend money on milk or honey with which the medicines were to be taken. A doctor said many times the patient needed only small amount of medicine but was forced to buy full packings of medicine.

Earlier, medicines were provided free of cost in the hospital wards as well as the OPD. The supply of medicines to the hospital has trickled down to almost nothing over the past four to five years. This is mainly because of the fact that the Ayurvedic Pharmacy, which is also situated in the same compound and is also the only one of its kind in the state, has not been manufacturing medicines for few the past years due to lack of funds. Sources said even the budget of Ayurvedic Hospital and Ayurvedic Pharmacy could not be released for one year. Though the hospital Superintendent Dr B.K. Kaushik, could not be contacted, sources said the hospital might start receiving regular medicine supply after a few months, since the Ayurvedic Pharmacy was in the process of starting manufacturing of Ayurvedic drugs again.

Meanwhile, no one is taking the chance of getting admitted to the hospital, with the few patients admitted there being very old and feeble and seem to have been left there so that they can be given rudimentary medical attention in their last days.


Punjab to focus on rural uplift
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 6
The Punjab Government has planned development of state villages under which all basic amenities and infrastructure would be provided. This was stated by Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi MLA, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister here today. He said that to start with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would inaugurate a Rs 34 crore water supply project in Jalalabad on January 29.

Rana Sodhi denied recommending the name of Pashupati Rice Mill to any procurement agency. He added that infrastructure development, food processing and power were top most on the agenda of the government.

He said that Akalis have indulged in wasteful expenditure. He added that agriculture had been the mainstay of Punjab economy, and there was a need for diversification of crops for which the government had formed a committee of experts in the field of agriculture, to prepare diversification plan.

He reiterated the resolve to root out corruption from the state and provide clean, transparent and responsible government to the people.


SAD welcomes decision on dual citizenship
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, January 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal today welcomed the clearing of the proposal on dual citizenship for people of Indian origin (POI).

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief and former Punjab Chief Minister, said here that his party had always advocated the giving of dual citizenship to POI. He said it would be of great help to NRIs.

Mr Badal said the proposal of the Punjab Government to effect disinvestment in the case of certain profit earning public sector undertakings was not justified. Mr Badal, while holding the Congress responsible for the SYL dispute, said that the SAD would not allow the completion of the canal.


Smugglers’ properties to be forfeited
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 6
For the first time in the state, the district police authorities have initiated steps to forfeit properties acquired by smugglers from the smuggling of narcotics.

The move to forfeit the properties has been initiated to uproot the evil of smuggling and drug addiction from this region.

Official sources said that case for forfeiting the property of Sadhu Singh Ragi, member, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), who was arrested by the police in May 2002 for his alleged involvement in smuggling narcotics, had been prepared and sent to the Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Finance, for approval.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Bathinda, said the step had been initiated as per the provisions incorporated in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

He added that the other smugglers in police net included Raj Moddar, Rajinder Puri and Punjab police inspector Jagdish Bhola.

Meanwhile, the Mansa district police, where Jagdish Bhola was posted, has initiated the process of dismissing him from service. A notice in this regard was issued to him sometime ago and the reply of same had been received.

Sources revealed that over the past few years, smugglers had acquired movable and immovable assets, which were disproportionate to their known sources of income.

What had been hampering the operation of police against smuggling of narcotics was the fact that some smugglers based in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan wielded a considerable influence and had been carrying out their illegal activities without any check as they were also out of reach of the Punjab police authorities. A smuggler declared proclaimed offender (PO) by the Bathinda police had been indulging in narcotics business in Haryana without any check.

Another inter-state smuggler, Raj Moddar fell into the police net only after the police authorities started the process of attaching his property through court.


Cardiac OPDs at Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Fortis Heart Institute and Multi-Speciality Hospital will hold cardiac OPDs at Jalandahr and Hoshiarpur. Well known cardiologist, Dr Sudheer Saxena, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Heart Institute, will provide consultancy on various heart ailments. Fortis is holding this cardiac OPD in association with Dr Anurag Arora of Astha Neuro Research & Rehabilitation Centre, 654 Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar, Jalandhar, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on January 7, and at Hoshiarpur in association with Dr S.K. Narad at Gali Number-8, Krishna Nagar from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on January 7. Fortis will hold such cardiac OPDs at Jalandhar every week and at Hoshiarpur every fortnight.


Tributes paid to Indira’s assassins
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 6
Bhog ceremony was held and Ardas performed for Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, assassins of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Akal Takht here today. In a press note, Mr Daljit Singh Bedi, publicity in charge, SGPC, informed that tributes were paid to both by Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh, Giani Mal Singh, Giani Jaswant Singh, all granthis of Harmandar Sahib, Mr Ajaib Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib, and others.


Awareness camp for truck drivers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 6
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said today that, according to rough estimates, as many as 70,000 persons were killed in road accidents every year and a large number of these could be prevented.

Mr Verma, while speaking at an awareness-cum-education camp for truck drivers, said a large number of accidents took place due to negligence. He said with rise in population the number of vehicles on the roads were also increasing necessitating strict adherence to traffic rules.

Mr Kishan Chand Chaudhary, District Transport Officer, while addressing the drivers at the week-long awareness camp, stressed the need of proper maintenance of vehicles. Mr Verma inaugurated the camp.


Road Safety Week by police
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 6
The Patiala Traffic Police launched its 14th Road Safety Week by organising a rally in which school children and various social organisations took pair here today. The week is being observed with a view to creating awareness among general public especially school children and rickshaw-pullers regarding traffic rules and their significance.

The senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramraj Umaranangal, while inaugurating the week said drivers of heavy-duty vehicles, students and teachers will especially be targeted during the week and special briefings on traffic regulations will be held. The SSP added that to make the week more interesting, painting competitions and traffic demonstrations would also be held. The Road Safety Week will conclude on January 12 with the distribution of printed information regarding safe driving among the public.


Cable operators at loggerheads
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 6
Warring factions of cable operators have been at loggerheads resulting in criminal cases being registered against each other.

The chairman of the Amritsar City Cable Operators Association, Mr Sarabjit Singh Raju, has alleged that the other faction had threatened them with dire consequences in case. Siti Cable Network snapped the signal.

The association also alleged that the other faction, which has disassociated itself from the main association, has not been paying them the monthly charges and since then the signals have been disconnected.

He also alleged that they were illegally running the channel.


Man kills daughter over Rs 10 theft
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 6
Buta Singh, a resident of Nanowal Jinder, under police station Kahnuwan here has reportedly killed his daughter Jyoti (9) with a sharp-edged weapon.

According to eyewitnesses, Mr Nirmal Singh, uncle of the deceased complained to Buta Singh on January 3 that Jyoti had stolen Rs 10 from his pocket. This enraged Buta Singh who beat his daughter up with a sharp edged weapon, seriously injuring her. He instead of taking Jyoti for treatment kept her in house, resulting in her death on January 4.

Buta Singh alongwith his family members and friends took the body to the village cremation ground, on January 4. But somebody informed the police which took the body into custody. It was later handed over to the family after completion of legal formalities.

A case under Sections 304 and 201, IPC, has been registered against Buta Singh, who is still at large.


2 cops held for looting 3.2 lakh
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 6
Two constables of Punjab Police posted here have been arrested for looting Rs 3.20 lakh from Mr Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Kubari Nagar, Basti Yodhe Wala, Ludhaina, near Feroza Sangowal village on January 1.

In a press note issued today, Dr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, said Mr Rajesh Kumar in a complaint to the police had alleged that he was stopped by two persons, one of them wearing a police uniform, at Feroze Sangowal village on January 1 for frisking. When Mr Rajesh resisted frisking they beat him up and snatched Rs 3.20 lakh from him. They took him on his motor cycle and dropped him at Tanda in Hoshiarpur district.

Following investigations constable Nunihal Singh and constable Jasbir Singh were arrested and Rs 2.99 lakh was recovered from their possession. Dr Dhoke said both constables had been placed under suspension and a departmental inquiry had also been ordered against them. 


Robbers posing as cops loot cash
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 6
At least 10 unidentified robbers posing as policemen reportedly looted Rs 1 lakh cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 3 lakh from the residence of a farmer at Parasrampur village near here in the wee hours today.

According to the police, a gang of at least 12 robbers barged into the house of Tarsem Singh at about 1 a.m. and forcibly kept the family members, including his wife Harbhajan Kaur and daughter Roopa in a room on the pretext that they were policemen and were searching in for illegal weapons in their house.

They were armed with sharp-edged weapons and reportedly decamped with Rs 1 lakh cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 3 lakh from the residence. According to Tarsem Singh, the robbers were talking in Punjabi and most of them were in the age group of 30 to 40 years.


Photographer set afire
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 6
An attempt to set a photographer afire was made today near Wahdan village, 15 km from here. Twenty-six-year-old Baljit Singh, who runs Gagan Studio at Baddon village, Hoshiarpur district, was booked by Kulbir Singh five days ago for a function in Amritsar. He was also given Rs 500 in advance.

He was taken in a car for reaching the venue.

When their Indica car reached Wahdan village, Kulbir Singh on the pretext that the car had got punctured stopped it. However, when Baljit Singh got down he was attacked with hockey sticks. Kulbir Singh then poured petrol on him and set him afire.


Imposter posing as Army officer held

Gurdaspur, January 6
An imposter claiming to be an Army officer and his accomplice were arrested today from a hotel near the city bus stand when they were accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a villager for getting his relative recruited into the Army.

A press note from the SSP office said the imposter, Anokh Singh, who claimed to be a commanding officer in the Army, and his accomplice Piara Masih were taken into custody by a police party.

They were caught red-handed while accepting the bribe from Darshan Singh of Daboorji village for getting his relative recruited into the Army. UNI


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Batala, January 6
The police busted a three-member inter-district gang of vehicle thieves here today. Those arrested were Bhupinder Singh, Sikander Singh and Gurmeet Singh. Dr Naresh Kumar, SSP, here said two motor cycles and one scooter were recovered from them.

Bhupinder, who was the kingpin of the gang, was arrested during a naka for not being able to produce relevant documents with regard to the vehicle. They have been booked under Sections 379 and 411, IPC, at Dera Baba Nanak police station.


6 held for cruelty to animals

Gurdaspur, January 6
Six persons were arrested under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and 18 buffaloes and six falcons rescued by the police while the animals were being transported to New Delhi.

A police press note here today said Dhariwal policemen were on routine patrol duty last night when they intercepted three trucks carrying buffaloes and falcons. The animals and birds had been tied up cruelly.

Prabh Masih, Johan Masih, Paramjit Singh, Mukhtiar Masih, Abhishek and Balwinder Singh — have been taken into custody by the cops. UNI


School timings changed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 6
Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, today ordered a change in the timings of all schools in the district, including private schools. From January 7 the schools would open at 10 a.m.

Mr Verma added that the orders had been issued due to fog and the cold wave in the region. He added that the closing time of the schools would not be changed.


New school timings

Amritsar, January 6
Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, District Magistrate, has ordered to change the time schedule of all schools, including privates ones in the district from January 4 to 14 from 10.30 am to 3 pm.

The decision was taken keeping in view of the foggy condition for the past several days. OC

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