Sunday, June 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal’s arrest will be suicidal for Cong: SAD
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 14
Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today gave a call to the party rank and file to gear up for any sacrifice for the party in the wake of the possible arrest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing a huge congregation of Akali workers at Gurdwara Jamnisahib, Vajidpur, 10 km from district headquarters, former Irrigation Minister and district president of the SAD, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, called upon the party workers to be mentally prepared for any sacrifice for the party. He said the arrest of Mr Badal would prove suicidal for the Congress leadership as hundreds of Akali workers would take to the streets and the law and order situation would aggravate.

While lashing out at the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, he said the Akalis would give a befitting reply to the political vendetta unleashed by him. He said Punjab was reeling under autocracy and repression.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, said the days of the Congress government were numbered in Punjab and the countdown would begin after the panchayat elections in the state. Talking of the Talhan episode, Mr Mann said the prevailing atmosphere in Punjab today was worse than that during the time of militancy. He said the Congress was once again toeing its age-old policy of “divide and rule” in Punjab.

Other prominent leaders who addressed the party workers included Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Sher Singh, former MLAs, and Mr Satpal Singh, member, SGPC.


Dhindsa threatens stir on Badal’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 14
If the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal or any of his family members was arrested by the Punjab Government, workers of the party would resort to “chaka jam” (traffic blockade) in all subdivisions in the state on the same day. Only the vehicles as the ambulances would be allowed to pass through the traffic blockades that would continue till the Congress government was ousted from power.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Fertilizer and Chemicals stated this to newsmen at Bhatta Sahib here today. He was here to attend the state-level conference of the All India Youth Akali Dal. When asked if the court ordered the arrest of Mr Badal, Mr Dhindsa said that if the government adopted proper legal procedure for arresting any Akali worker, the party had no objection. However, till date the acts of the government have proved otherwise. The government had used the Vigilance Department to register false and fabricated cases against the Akali leaders to harass them. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has been levelling false charges of possessing Rs 3500 crore property against Mr Badal. However, he hasn’t been able to establish any of the charges as yet, initially. The government to probe charges against Mr Badal formed a judicial commission. Later it was abolished when the person heading it himself became the center of controversy. The SAD would still welcome if a commission headed by a sitting judge of the High Court was formed by the government to probe the charges against Mr Badal.

The NDA convener Mr George Fernandes, has also assured the SAD that a high-level inquiry committee would soon be formed to probe atrocities being committed by the Congress government against the SAD leaders.

The SAD has now decided to resort to agitation if any other important leader of the SAD was booked in a false case by the Congress government.

About the participation of the BJP in their agitation, he said that the decision regarding it rested with the party leadership. The SAD would not force the BJP to join its agitation. About the participation of workers of the SHSAD Mr Dhindsa said that SHSAD had now been dissolved and all its workers were part of the SAD.


Akali leaders camp at Narottam’s house
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), June 14
This “very important” village of Punjab now has been witnessing a change as certain residents have started organising “thikri pehra” to thwart any attempt by the police to plant explosives, narcotics, arms and counterfeit currency on Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Mr Sukhbir Badal, against whom a case has been registered by the Lambi police station apart from his arrest, under a case of corruption.

Villagers have set up pickets on roof tops of their houses while others patrol the streets during day and night to keep a close watch on the movements of the police personnel who may raid the house of Mr Dhillon any time to effect recovery of incriminating documents, arms, explosives, narcotics and counterfeit currency.

Apart from it, former Akali Ministers and MLAs and other senior leaders, including Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Mr Gurtej Singh, Mr Sukhdeep Bhinder, Mr Sukhdev Bahia, Mr Kattar Singh Jeeda, Mr Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Mr Manpreet Badal and Mr Bobby Badal have been camping at the house of Mr Dhillon to resist any illegal move of the police to fix him. Most of these leaders slept in the courtyard of Mr Dhillon’s house last night.

Along with a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act by the Vigilance Bureau police station at Mohali, another case against Mr Dhillon was registered in Lambi police station under various acts, which included possessing and using of counterfeit currency, possessing and dealing in narcotics, possessing and dealing in explosives and possessing and dealing in arms. He has also been accused of supplying arms, explosives, ammunition and drugs to anti-national elements for the past more than eight years.

In the FIR registered against Mr Dhillon in Lambi police station on the secret information given to the police official by a “special informer”, Mr Dhillon was shown as anti-national element and he has also been accused of having links with the ISI agency of Pakistan and terrorists.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg and other Akali leaders while condemning the registration of false case against Mr Dhillon under sections pertaining to heinous crime expressed apprehension that the police would plant arms, explosives, narcotics and counterfeit currency to effect the recovery of same during the raid to be conducted by them any time and it was main reason that they were here to resist the same.

They alleged that a team of the Vigilance Bureau, which came to Mr Dhillon’s house for carrying out a search yesterday, did not do the same deliberately despite the fact that it was not locked and his kin offered assistance in the search as the police wanted to plant some illegal things on Mr Dhillon.

A number of villagers alleged that Congress Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, had brought a bad name to this village by branding Mr Dhillon as anti-national element despite the fact that Mr Dhillon belonged to a rich family and had nationalistic leanings. They added that the Congress government was doing all this as it wanted to implicate Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family members in a false criminal case by “extracting” confession from Mr Dhillon.


Police remand extended till June 16
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 14
Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate here, today remanded Mr Narottam Singh, nephew of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister of Punjab, in police custody till June 16. Mr Narottam Singh was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with a corruption and disproportionate assets case registered against Mr Badal’s former OSD, Mr Hardeep Singh Bhamra, at SAS Nagar on August 28.

Mr Charanjeev Arora, public prosecutor, pleaded for 10 days’ police remand of the accused. He said the accused was arrested on June 12 and remanded in police custody till today. The court had also given permission to search his houses in New Delhi, Badal and Shimla. He said that while Mr Narottam Singh’s house in New Delhi was searched but searches could not be conducted at Badal and Shimla.

Mr Arora pleaded that the accused was a close relative of Mr Badal and he converted the black money of the latter’s OSD, Mr Bahmra, through entries in his NRI account. Later on, this money was given to the family of Mr Badal. He said the accused during his interrogation had accepted that he had kept all documents relating to these transactions in his house at Shimla. He said that information about the accounts and lockers of the accused was yet to be collected. He said he was not disclosing the facts.

The defence counsel, on the other hand, refuted the charges of the prosecution saying that Mr Narottam Singh had been falsely implicated in this case just to harass Mr Badal. He said another case had been registered against the accused at Lambi police station on June 11 under Sections 409 and 489A, IPC, and the NDPS Act.


Farooq doubts success of Indo-Pak talks
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 14
“Let go to hell Pakistan on Kashmir and LOC should be made an International Border”, said the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah. He was addressing a gathering organised by Rotary Club Civil Lines here last night Dr Abdullah reiterated that India would have to fight the Pakistan’s sponsored crossborder terrorism to save the country from the proxy war unleashed by the Pakistan and terrorists.

Dr Abdullah said that India could not trust Pakistan which had unleashed low-key war in Kashmir for the past 50 years. He said that India should not fall into the bait of peace talks with Pakistan as they continued to send armed trained terrorists to target innocent Kashmiris and security forces. Dr Abdullah said that India had suffered many times for taking Pakistan lightly.

The former Chief Minister said that immediately after Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore during his famous bus ride in February 1999 Pakistan launched its Kargil campaign, which was authored by Gen Pervez Musharraf while our Prime Minister was talking with his counterpart in Pakistan to set an agenda of peace. Dr Abdullah said that India had to repulse Pakistan’s military action after paying a very heavy price both in terms of human lives and property.

He felt that Pakistan needed to be tackled through strong means and not through negotiations. Hinting that India may have to go to war to resolve once for all the vexed problem of Kashmir as all other solutions may not prove to be decisive as we have seen in past 50 years. He said that the Pakistan had no right over Kashmir as it was an integral part of India.

He ridiculed the suggestions by some so-called intellectuals that the issue of Kashmir should be kept on the sidelines while the other issues including trade, economic ties, cultural visits should be given preference as has been done in the case with China. He felt that Pakistan would never commit to such a package as it would never suit their “national psyche and obsession with Kashmir”.

He also decried the politics of Mandir, Masjid, Church and Gurdwara presently pursued by the political parties of the country. He suggested that India should come out of the vicious circle of politics of vote and project as a tolerant nation and not to divide the nation on the basis of caste, religion, language and creed.

On the healing touch being pursued by the present Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government in Kashmir, Dr Abdullah replied that nothing could be worse than this as he felt that dealing terrorism with kid gloves could prove to be detrimental to the interests of the nation. The former Chief Minister revealed that he had literally cried when the present NDA government had forced him to release three terrorists from jail in Kashmir in December 1999 for the release of Indian passengers kept as hostages during Kandhar hijacking. He recalled that how the most wanted terrorists were released in exchange for the release of the daughter of the present Jammu and Kashmir CM Mr. Mufti in 1985. He stood by the Article 370 which provides special status to J&K but however hastened to add that anyone can get the property on lease from the government. 


Hand over’ Talhan gurdwara to SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14
The Dal Khalsa today asked the state government to handover the management of the Talhan gurdwara either to local committee headed by Mr Kewal Singh or to the SGPC.

Addressing a public meeting at Jabbowal, about 20 km from here, the Dal Khalsa secretary, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh, said instead of arresting the BJP vice-president, Mr Vijay Kumar Sampla, and the BSP leader, Mr Pawan Kumar Tinoo, allegedly behind the week-long violent clashes, the administration arrested five members each from the Dalit and Sikh communities. He further said imposition of 145, 146 CrPC and appointment of a receiver tantamount to interference in religious matters of the Sikhs. The occasion was 14the death anniversary of slain militant Sukhjinder Singh Brar at his native village.

Contesting the claims of both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, he said the unity had not been done keeping in view the sentiments of the Sikh community. 


Taksal leader’s remand extended

Amritsar, June 14
A court here today extended the judicial remand of Damdami Taksal leader and ‘Khalsa Khande Dhar’ magazine chief editor Baba Mohkam Singh for two days. He was produced before the Sub Divisional Magistrate who extended his judicial custody till June 16.

Baba Mokham Singh was picked up from his residence in Pratap Nagar locality around midnight on June 9 “for disruption of peace”. Baba Mokham Singh, whose visit to curfew bound Talhan village on June 8 was said to be one of the factors which led to the revamp of the Jalandhar police and civil administration three days ago, belong to the radical Sikh seminary, once headed by slain militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Baba Mokham Singh was arrested in view of tension between Jat Sikhs and Dalits over the management of the Samadh-cum-Gurdwara at Talhan in Jalandhar district. UNI


Police takes away kin in absence of accused
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
The kotwali police gave an example of its functioning by taking away four members of a family, including an 82-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl, at 9 p.m. last night. It also kept them at the police station and showed they had been arrested at noon today while presenting them in the court.

The persons were taken away from their residence, 36/3, Opposite T.B. hospital, here following registration of a dowry case against them. Since the main accused in the case, Amarinder Singh, husband of the alleged victim in the case, was not at home, the police chose to take away all members of his family present in the house.

According to neighbours, the police arrived at the residence of Mr Amarinder Singh at around 9 p.m. and asked all family members to accompany them to the police station. Mr Jasbir Singh, a neighbour, said that he had asked the police personnel not to take Jagjit Singh (82), grandfather of Amarinder and his sister (18) to the police station but to no avail. Mr Jasbir Singh said he had also cited a law in this regard but the police did not listen to him.

Mr Jasbir Singh said he had also gone to the house of local municipal councillor Harvinder Singh Nippy to request him to intervene in the matter. Mr Nippy said he had come to know of the incident when neighbours of Amarinder approached him. He said he had requested the kotwali SHO and other police officers not to keep the girl at the police station at night. He said he had also requested the police that he would present Amarinder if the girl was let off. Even as Amarinder’s neighbours claim that members of his family were taken to the kotwali police station last night, investigating officer Malkiat Singh says they had been arrested at 11.30 a.m. today and denied that they had been kept at the police station.

All accused were presented in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate M.P.S. Pahwa this afternoon. Jagjit Singh, who could barely walk without support, and his granddaughter Harneet were given bail while parents of Amarinder Harminder Singh and Kamalbir Kaur were remanded in police custody for two days.

The police had earlier registered a case against Amarinder and his family members under Sections 406 and 498 of the dowry act. The complaint filed by the alleged victim, Ravneet Kaur, says her in-laws have demanded Rs 2 lakh as dowry from her parents. She has also claimed that earlier her parents had given around 60 tolas of gold, Rs 60,000 in cash and household goods to her in-laws. Meanwhile, Amarinder’s lawyer Gurpreet Singh claimed that no dowry had been given at the time of marriage and that some of the household goods, claimed to have been given as dowry, were in fact bought on instalments after the marriage.


PUDA demolition drive faces resistance
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 14
As part of the ongoing demolition drive, officials of the Punjab Urban and Planning Development Authority (PUDA) today demolished a house in the Dhobiana basti area of the city clearing the way for a sewerage project that was hanging fire for the past six years.

Even though only one house was to be demolished by the authorities today, senior officials, including the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggrawal, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mrs K.P. Brar, the SDM, Mr Upjit Singh Brar, Tehsildar, Mr Satinder Khera, SP (City), Mr Nilabh Kishore, DSP (Detective), Mr Jaspal Singh, SHO (City), Mr Barjinder Sharma and PUDA officials, were present to tackle any eventuality.

The demolition drive has been facing some resistance from the residents of the area and a section of the Dalit leaders have been trying to get mileage out of it. They have demanded free residential flats in lieu of the demolished houses, which had been built on encroached land. Some of the residents of the basti alleged that they had been staying in the area for decades and had been provided with metered power connections and water supply. They had also been registered as voters. They alleged that huge sums had exchanged hands when they were provided with these facilities.

They asserted that PUDA had no authority to demolish their houses and that they had not been served with any notice to vacate their houses. Some of them admitted that they were not the owners of the land but claimed that even PUDA did not own the land.

The Deputy Commissioner said only a single house, which had been obstructing the construction of sewerage, had been demolished and the department concerned had been asked to complete the work within one month. He said that no stay order had been issued by any court for not demolishing these illegal structures. He said the land had been acquired by PUDA after paying the required compensation to the landowner and some persons had later on encroached upon it.

The Deputy Commissioner said the Ring Road project had also been hanging fire for the past few years due to encroachments that would be removed soon.


Front may be formed for LS poll: Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 14
Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has claimed that the Congress will sweep the panchayat elections in the state but announced that it would not contest the elections on the party symbol.

Talking to newsmen here today, Mr Hanspal announced that a front might be formed in Punjab with secular and democratic parties to fight the Lok Sabha elections in the state, but the ultimate decision in this regard would be taken by the central Congress leadership.


Akali unity hailed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 14
The district unit of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) while welcoming the formal announcement of unity between the SAD (B) and the SHSAD said that it would open a new chapter in Punjab.

Mr Ishatpal Singh Khialiwala, District Unit President of the SHSAD said in a press note here yesterday that Akali workers were very happy on unity between the Akali factions. He said that the unity between the Akali Dals was welcome. Dr Om Parkash Sharma, District Press Secretary of the SAD (B) also welcomed the merger.


Economists to meet Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
A number of renowned economists from India and abroad will assemble in the city on July 2 to discuss with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the economic reforms initiative in the state and to determine a plan for implementing these in a time-bound manner.

Disclosing this here today, an official spokesman said the meeting would follow a two-day conference on Indian Economic Policy Reforms which was conducted at University of Stanford, California, USA, from June 5 to 7. Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chief Secretary, and Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab had made a presentation at the conference.

Impressed with the far-reaching initiatives of the state government during the past year, the economists agreed to follow up the deliberations in the conference with a time-bound action plan that would link external investments with the reform process.

In his presentation, Mr Kashyap had invited the forum to partner Punjab in its ambitious march toward economic resurgence. 


Hospital staff put on poll duty
Our Correspondent

Malout, June 14
With all four doctors, three pharmacists and two laboratory technicians of the local Civil Hospital assigned duties for the coming panchayat elections, it seems that patients of the hospital would have to make their own arrangements for getting treatment.

Sources said here today that the doctors — Dr Gurjant Singh Sekhon, Dr Gurdeep Singh Bhullar, Dr S.S. Malhi and Dr Sunil Bansal — had been assigned duties for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29. The three pharmacists of the hospital, Mr Gurdeep Singh, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Aneesh Monga, and two laboratory technicians — Mr Joginder Pal and Mr Kuljit Singh — have also been assigned duties by the authorities concerned.

With these staffers of the hospital on poll duty, no medical or technical official would be available to look after the patients. According to information, about 25 patients were admitted to the hospital, while nearly 400 patients were being attended to at the out patient department (OPD) by the doctors. The doctors and the allied staff would have to skip the hospital duties for four days to attend two compulsory rehearsals and to collect ballot boxes and other materials a day before the polling and on the day of polling.

Sources said that appeals to the district authorities for cancelling the polling duties of these officials had fallen on deaf ears. The hospital caters to nearly one lakh residents of the town and 100 villages falling under the Malout and Lambi police stations.


Book doctors for negligence after proper probe: IMA
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 14
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) yesterday demanded that following the death of a patient, doctors should not be booked under Section 304-A of the IPC (causing death by negligence), merely on the complaint of relatives of the deceased patient. It said in such cases, the doctors should be booked only after a proper probe by a high-level committee.

Dr Surinder Singla, secretary of the Punjab, IMA, said the Punjab Health Minister also wrote to the Home Department in this regard in June 2002 but so far no directions seemed to have been issued to the police with regard to the registration of cases against doctors after a probe and not merely on the complaint of relatives of the deceased. To get this demand accepted, the Punjab IMA has decided to organise rallies at the district headquarters. First such rally would be held at Muktsar on June 15, he added.

Dr Singla said the Punjab IMA also appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to withdraw the case, registered against Dr Vikramjit, Secretary Muktsar IMA branch, who had been booked under Section 304-A of the IPC on the complaint of husband of the deceased Paramjit Kaur that the Surgeon (Dr Vikramjit) during surgery had forgotten plastic bottle and plastic pipe etc in the abdomen of the deceased.

The plastic items (bottle and pipe) had been allegedly found by the relatives while collecting ashes of the deceased. Dr Singla said these plastic items could not withstand the high temperature, produced during the funeral of deceased, so the complaint was “baseless” against the doctor in this case.


Conquerer of many virgin peaks
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Mohinder Singh, a retired ITBP Commandant, was the leader of the first 1996 Indian expedition to conquer Mount Everest from China. Eight mountaineers landed on the Everest that year. Satellite communication was established between Mount Everest and the rest of the world for the first time that year. However, Mohinder Singh has not scaled Mount Everest himself. According to tradition, the team leader does not go to the top. Like the 1953 expedition comprising Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who scaled the peak on May 29 the same year, was led by John Hunt.

Mohinder Singh has been a mountaineer all his life. Mohinder Singh has scaled many peaks some of which had remained unconquered before. In 1973 he was the first person to scale Saser Kangeri (25170 feet) in the Karakoram ranges. He has climbed several other peaks like Trishul (1970), Nilkanth (1974) and a few others.

Mohinder Singh claims that he has remained in the Himalayas for about 25 years moving from one peak to another and organising expeditions. His greatest moment came in 1996 when he was chosen leader of an Indian expedition, which started in March and returned in June after conquering the Everest.

A civil engineer by profession, Mohinder Singh was born on March 12,1944, in Rajpur Bhayan village (Hoshiarpur) in the Shivalik foothills. He has done extensive trekking in the Himalayas for 25 years. He has also climbed the Alps in Europe. He was also honoured with the highest title — ‘Khangrid’ — by the Mongolian Government. Besides, he has been decorated with the Indian Police Medal and the Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Award by the Punjab Government.

He has authored two books on mountaineering — Indo-Mongolian Joanli expedition in the year 2000 and Everest, which is scheduled to be released soon. Mohinder Singh has been invited as a special invitee by the Government of Nepal for the celebrations marking the golden jubilee of the conquering of Mount Everest currently going on there.


Non-Sikh pronounces ‘tankha'

Amritsar, June 14
Partners of the publishing house — publishing religious books ‘Chattar Singh Jiwan Singh’ today underwent “tankha” (punishment for religious misconduct) and cleaned five pairs of shoes and five utensils of the Sangat at Ram Tirath Temple 10 km from here, to atone for the wrongs done by them to the Valmiki community. This tradition of ‘tankha’ is prevalent only in the Sikh religion as punishment for sins. Besides this the publishers gave a written affidavit aplogising for the “objectionable portions” in the book on Bhagwan Valmiki objected to by the community.

The religious punishment was pronounced on three partners of the publishing house namely Prabjit Singh, Mahinder Singh, Harbhajan Singh by Baba of Dhuna Sahib, Sant Malkiat Nath.

This is perhaps the first instance of a non-Sikh pronouncing religious punishment on Sikhs according to Sikh religious ‘parampara’.

The Valmiki community approached the district administration with the objectionable portions in the book “katha sarovar” written by a “Teja Singh Sodhi” (now dead), and published by proprietors. The matter was finally resolved with a compromise in the presence of Mr Raminder Singh Deputy Commissioner, SDM-I Mr Bhupinder Singh, SDM Ajnala, Mr Inder Yash Bhatti besides police officials. A compromise was reached due to the lessons learnt from recent communal flare-up in Talhan village of Jalandhar.

A copy of the affidavit of apology with The Tribune reads that the said publishers, apologise to the entire Valmiki community for hurting their sentiments in the 13th edition of book “katha sarovar”.

Mr Vijay Danav, Punjab convener of the Valmiki Dharma Samaj, Mr Om Parkash Gabbar Senior Deputy Mayor cum Chairman of Dhuna Sahib society were also present. Mr Darshan Kumar executive member of the samaj said they did not want any tension among communities. TNS


Sex scam accused to be produced in CBI court
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 14
Rejecting the bail pleas of Sarabjit Singh Raju, the alleged kingpin and MD, Amritsar Communication Network Private Limited franchise of Siti Cable Network, an associate of Zee TV, in the multi-crore Siti Cable sleaze, murder and extortion scam along with three other accused, Parvin Chadda, Sandeep Khanna and and Sandip Sippi, here today, Ms Harpreet Kaur Randhawa, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) issued transitional warrants of all accused for being produced in the special court of the CBI at Patiala tomorrow.

The court reportedly rejected the bails of the accused on the basis of the threat to girls and apprehensions expressed by the girls, who were allegedly exploited and forced into immoral trafficking by the accused. The girls had been receiving threatening calls on phone regularly. The statements of the girls have been recorded under the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court, both at the high court complex and at the Sessions Court here.


PSEB extends date to regularise powerload
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 14
On the persistent demand of the farmers and their associations and unions, the Punjab State Electricity Board has decided to extend the last date of regularisation of the unauthorised agricultural power loads. 

Agricultural consumers can now get their unauthorised agricultural power loads regularised till June 30 under the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme of the PSEB.


Red Cross to open diagnostic centre
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 14
Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, said today that the district Red Cross Society would open a diagnostic centre in the city for the poor.

In a press note issued here today Mr Agarwal, who presided over a meeting of senior officials, said the society would be strengthened to provide adequate help to the needy, deaf and dumb students, old people and the poor.

He said private entrepreneurs would be provided with the land by the society for setting up a diagnostic centre. He said the facilities like CT Scan, ECG, ultra sound, X-Ray and other clinical tests would be done the rates charged by the private centres.

Mr Agarwal said an orphanage would also be opened in the near future for which he invited suggestions from NGOs and other members of the committee and urged the people to donate liberally for the deaf and dumb school being run by the Red Cross. It was also decided in the meeting that good mementos would be provided to blood donors instead of books in the future and opening up of a health centre to look after terminally ill patients.

Others who attended the meeting were Ms K.P. Brar, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurtej Singh, General Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Narinder Singh Bath, SDM, Talwandi Sabo and Brig Bant Singh.


Rs 57 lakh to be spent on road repairs
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 14
The local Council has formulated a comprehensive plan for the repair of the roads of the town before the end of the current financial year. Initially, the work will be taken up on the Circular Road, Arra Market road, Old Jail Road, Fountain Chowk to Hukki Chowk, Naniana Gate to Astable Gate, Bazar Sarafan to Jatinder Chowk, Balbir Basti Main road, a part of the Dogar Basti road and Amar Ashram road.

In addition to it premix will also be laid on various streets in the town. The project is likely to be cost about 57 lakh, said Mrs Amritbir Kaur, vice chairperson, and Mr Harbajan Singh, executive officer of the council, here today. Tenders in this connection had already been invited and likely to be finalised on June 20. The work on the project was expected to start before the end of this month and a grant of Rs 57 lakh had also been received from the Punjab Government, according to the officials.

The representatives of the nagar council further stated that a plan was also under consideration to set up parking place at Qila Chowk and Old Grain Market to check the entry of the vehicles in the main bazar to ease the situation for the pedestrians. Moreover, a process was also under review to remove all all types of encroachments, particularly on the Mall Road and Old Sabzi Mandi the rehriwalas there would be given same other suitable place.


Four dead, 7 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 14
Four persons were killed and seven others were wounded including three girls and a woman in two different road accidents in Hoshiarpur district last night and early this morning.

Three persons were killed on the spot and one was wounded when their Indica car (DL-3C-U-1200) in which they were travelling by hit a truck (PG-08-0355) parked on the roadside near Kulian village 22 km from here on the Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road at 11.30 p.m. last night. The deceased were identified as Surinder Kumar, Ravi Kumar and truck driver Nirmal Singh. Dinesh who was seriously wounded was first admitted to Civil Hospital Hoshiarpur in critical condition from where he was referred to Dayanand Medical College Ludhiana.

In another accident Rajesh Chawla son of Gurcharan Dass of Krishan Puri Jalandhar died on the spot and his brother Rakesh Chawla, wife Anju and daughter Sheveta, Manu daughter of Rakesh Chawla, Manu daughter of Gopi and Sudesh wife of Gurcharan Dass of Jalandhar were hurt when their Maruti car (PB-02Q-8586) rolled into a gorge near Mangowal 20 km from here on the Hoshiarpur-Dharamsala road at 5.15 a.m. this morning. All injured were admitted in Hoshiarpur Civil Hospital where condition of Rakesh Kumar and Sudesh was stated to be serious. They were going to the holy shrine of Goddess Chintpurni to pay obeisance there.


Two killed

Bathinda, June 14
Two youths of the city died in a road accident which took place at the Bathinda-Goniana road near Radha Swami dera, when a speeding car collided head on with their motor-cycle yesterday afternoon. 

One of the youth, Happy, son of Mr Vijay Verma, Press Reporter, Jagwani died on the spot while another youth identified as Binny, died in a local hospital. A case had been registered. TNS


Farmers continue dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 14
The indefinite dharna started by the activists of BKU (Ekta) yesterday in protest against the arrests of the farmers for not being able to repay the loans taken by them continued for second day today.

In a press note issued here today Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, President, BKU (Ekta), Bathinda said that state-level dharna started by the farmers would continue till the authorities concerned accepted demands. He said more and more farmers, including women were participating in dharna started by the farmers near the branch office of Punjab Agriculture Development Bank (PADB), Nathana, 35 km from here.

He said that demands of the BKU (Ekta), included the release of arrested farmers and free power and water supply. 


Arrangements for poll in order: DC
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, June 14
Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, yesterday said that all arrangements for the forthcoming panchayat elections to be held on June 29 had been completed and added that 4, 17, 206 voters of the district were eligible to exercise franchise.

In a press note here she said yesterday that a meeting of the officials concerned was convened where preparations for the implementation of the measures to be taken in the coming panchayat elections were monitored.

She said that 488 polling booths have been set up for electing 265 panchayats in the district. She said 149 polling booths had been made in Muktsar block, 112 in Malout, 124 in Gidderbaha and 103 in Lambi block. She said that all panchayats of district had been divided into 21 cricles in which one Returning officer and one Assistant Returning officer each would be deployed.

She said 500 presiding officers and more than 2000 polling officers would be deployed for the smooth functioning of the polling process and no woman employee would be deployed for poll duty. She said that two rehearsals for the training would also be conducted for the employees.

Ms Sharma said that the candidates could submit their forms from June 16 to June 19 and scrutiny of the same would be held on June 20. The candidates could withdraw their nominations on June 21.

Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Mr Gurdeep Singh, District Development and Panchayat Officer who were also present in the meeting urged the Returning officers and the Assistant Returning officers to do their duties as per directions.


Two women held for kidnapping infant
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 14
The Faridkot police has nabbed Manjit Kaur, a resident of Sadhanwala village, along with Ms Kanta Rani, a trained midwife of Sadiq village in this district, the charge of kidnapping a seven-month-old male child, Arsh, from the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital on June 11.

Addressing a press conference here today Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, district police chief, said the child, whose father was admitted in the hospital, was playing alone on the premises of the hospital when he was kidnapped.

Manjit Kaur allegedly kidnapped the child and took him to her village. After some time when the mother of the child found her son missing, she lodged a complaint with the police. Three raiding police parties headed by Mr Gurmit Singh, DSP and Mr Hardevinder Singh, Inspector City Police Station, swung into action and recovered the missing child from Manjit Kaur’s house after two days of search.

During investigation Manjit Kaur revealed that after the death of her first husband, Hardip Singh, a resident of Mukandwala village, she had married Amarjit Singh. But due to her tubectomy operation she was unable to give birth and had contacted Kanta Rani in this regard. Kanta Rani had assured her that she would ‘get’ a child for Manjit. Both of them reached the hospital and took the child, said the SSP. He also claimed that another child, identified as one of the twin daughters of Preet Kaur, a resident of local Balbir Basti was also recovered from Manjit Kaur. A case under Section 363 has been registered against both the women.


Pakistani remanded in police custody

Ferozepore, June 14
A Pakistani youth from Khanewal district, who intruded into the Indian territory in the Mamdot sector of this border district on June 11, has been remanded in police custody till June 16.

Caught by the BSF personnel in the Jalloke border outpost area, Mohammad Sardar, 19, was handed over to the Mamdot police which produced him in the court of Judicial Magistrate M.K. Bedi here yesterday. UNI


Prisoner escapes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 14
Gurpal Singh a prisoner lodged in the Central Jail escaped from the court premises while he was being produced before the court of Mr S.K. Garg, Additional Sessions Judge here today.

According to information, during his production in the court his handcuffs were opened. As soon as he was brought out of the court he fled away. A case has been registered in the local civil line police station.


3.50 lakh looted from contractor’s staff
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 14
Three employees of Messers Chaddha-Wadia Wine Contractors of this circle were allegedly attacked, injured and robbed of Rs 3.50 lakh on the Banga road area by 6 armed robbers last night. The three employees Sandip Singh, Baljit Singh and Ranjit Singh had been hospitalised. They were returning after collecting the revenue of the day from their liquor vends on a Jeep. The robbers followed them on a motorcycle and a scooter.

They were attacked with swords and other sharp-edged weapons by the robbers who fled after looting them. They were admitted to the Civil Hospital with multiple injuries. The police has registered a case and investigations were on.


Rs 5 lakh grant for govt college
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 14
Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, local MP, after laying the foundation stone of the arts block of the local Government Rajindra College today, announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of the college.

Mr Bhora said the role of teachers in building a good society should be appreciated. He said all efforts to privatise education and universities should be condemned. He also criticised the government for not caring for the educational institutes in the state and alleged that the senior officials were misusing the funds for the Sarb Shikhya Abhiyan.

He said he had been advocating the cause of the college with the authorities concerned and expressed his concern over the frequent transfer of Principals of the college.

Dr P.S. Bhatti, Principal of the college, said as many as 20 different development plans had been initiated by him in the college, including the construction of hostel for boys, auditorium, renovation of science laboratories and white wash of the campus.

He read the college report and added that their students had bagged the first three positions in the Punjab CET conducted by the PTU, Jalandhar.

Dr Bhatti would be relieved from this college tomorrow as he had been transferred to Government College Jagraon, near Ludhiana. After Mr S.D. Bhagat, who remained the Principal of the college for a decade, five Principals have been posted here. Members of the Old Students Association, who attended the simple function, also resented the frequent transfers of the Principals. Even Dr Bhatti had been transferred within three months of his posting here. He was posted at the college on April 2, 2003.


Council passes engineering college proposal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
The Punjabi University Academic Council today passed a proposal for setting up an engineering college on the campus from the current academic session after rejecting the advice of its ex-officio member and Punjab DPI (Colleges) Dr Nisha Sharad to defer the issue.

According to sources, Dr Nisha Sharad handed over a letter to the Vice-Chancellor at the start of the meeting and also claimed that she had been directed by the state government to ask for the deferment of the issue as an agenda item in the academic council meeting. Following this, the Vice-Chancellor read out the letter and also another letter written by him to Education Secretary N.S. Rattan on the issue.

The Vice-Chancellor, in a hard-hitting speech on the occasion, also claimed that the varsity was well within its rights to establish a college on it own. He said it was wrong to suggest that the university had not informed the state government regarding the proposed opening of the college. He said that at the last meeting of the Syndicate, the proposal was discussed and approved in the presence of the government representative and that other officials of the state government had been duly informed regarding the discussions and decisions.

The Vice-Chancellor also explained in detail the background and the necessity for opening an engineering college on the university campus. He said the College would prove to be a centre of excellence for the educationally backward and deprived people of the Malwa region. After Mr Boparai’s speech, the majority of the academic council expressed support for the move and urged the proposal to be passed. However, Ms Sharad said her dissent should be recorded on behalf of the government, which was done.

Meanwhile, the Academic Council also approved the introduction of the semester system in all courses at the university and passed and adopted the state government proposals regarding the new fee structure for colleges.

The academic council also approved the proposal for establishing the Gurmat Sangeet Chair with outside funding. The Correspondence Courses Department will start diploma in insurance business and certificate Courses in French and German. 


Suspension orders of 12 passed

Mansa, June 14
Mr B. Sarkar, Secretary, Education, Punjab, has issued directions to Mr Palwinder Singh, District Education Officer, (Primary), Mansa, to place under suspension the following officials of the education department — Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Avtar Singh, both teachers of Government Elementary School (GES), Behniwal; Mr Labh Singh of GES, Raipur; Ms Bimla Devi, Mr Inder Paul, Ms Santosh Rani, Mr Kaur Singh, Mr Netarpaul Singh, all from Government Senior Secondary School (GSSS) Mansa; Mr Inderjit, Principal, GSSS, Hero Kalan, Mr Mihan Singh, Peon, GSSS, Khiwa, Mr Ruldu Khan, GSSS, Budhlada; and Mr Kewal Krishan, GSSS Behniwal, who were found absent from duty during the raids conducted by the officials of the Vigilance Department on May 2, 2003. The DEO(P) had placed under suspension yesterday Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Avtar Singh, both teachers of Government Elementary School (GES), Behniwal, and Mr Labh Singh of GES, Raipur, and has sent the list of remaining nine employees to Mr Avtar Singh, DEO (Secondary), Mansa, for further action. OC

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