P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Human trafficking: case study ordered
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
In less than a month after the allegations of human trafficking involving singers and theatre artists rocked the state of Punjab, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that a “case study has to be undertaken by the government to identify the dimensions of the crime”.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by an alleged travel agent seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, Mr Justice Kumar further ruled that the study was to be carried with “the object of finalising preventive measures required to effectively control the menace of crime” in such cases.

The Judge also issued notice to the state of Punjab through the Secretary in the Department of Home and Justice, besides Punjab’s Director General of Police through the Advocate-General.

In his detailed order, the Judge ruled: “While dealing with numerous cases on the criminal side, I have come across a large number of cases of this nature where the gullible public was deprived of their hard earned money on the pretext of sending them abroad by showing them green pastures”.

The Judge further ruled: “This trend is decernible and more pronounced in the Doaba area of Punjab. Some cases have also been received from other areas. In order to protect the innocent public from illegal designs and onslaught of unscrupulous travel agents who are in some cases not even authorised to deal with prospective contenders who wish to go abroad, it has become necessary to issue directions to the state of Punjab”. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 25.

The High Court had earlier also expressed the desire for getting a study conducted in the matter. Taking a serious note of the cases, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had ruled: “It is expected that a case study will be carried out after collecting the necessary data in such a manner as may appear to be necessary.... The studies already carried out will also be taken into consideration”.

The directions are significant as several cases of human trafficking, some allegedly involving theatre and film artists, even pop stars, had recently surfaced. On Thursday also, the Delhi High Court had granted interim anticipatory bail to Daler Mehndi in a similar case.


Improvement Trust’s wings clipped
Debarred from enhancing price of auctioned plots
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, November 14
In a significant judgement the District Consumer Forum, Ropar, has denied the local Improvement Trust the right to enhance the price of property sold in open auction.

In a complaint before the forum Mr Kasturi Lal Verma, a local resident, had alleged that he purchased a plot SCF No. 83 in Beant Singh Aman Nagar from the Improvement Trust in the open auction, for Rs 1,83,500. As per the terms and conditions of the auction he deposited even the extra amount of 91,750 towards the cost of corridor of the plot. The sale deed of the plot was executed on January 18, 2002.

On February 18, 2003, he applied for sewerage and water connections from the Trust. However, the Trust authorities instead of sanctioning the connections demanded additional Rs 50,875 on the plea that the court had enhanced the cost of the acquired land.

The complainant alleged that due to the delay in giving sewerage and water connections his son and daughter-in-law were not able to start business there. On account of alleged harassment faced at the hands of the Improvement Trust authorities the complainant demanded a compensation of Rs 1 lakh.

The Trust authorities in their reply filed before the forum maintained the clause stating that in case the court or the tribunal increased the cost of the acquired land, the enhanced cost would be charged from the customer, was mentioned in the sale deed. In accordance with the clause, the enhanced amount was demanded from the complainant.

The forum comprising president J.P. Gupta and member S.K. Bhatia in their judgement, however, held that the Improvement Trust had no right to charge the enhanced amount on the property sold in the open auction.

The Trust authorities were directed not to demand Rs 50,875 from the complainant and pay a compensation of Rs 15,000 to him, besides the litigation cost of Rs 2,500. The Trust authorities were also directed to issue sewerage and water connections to the complainant. The order is to be complied within 30 days after which the amount awarded would carry an interest of 9 per cent annum.


One more statement recorded in Badal case
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 14
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today got one more statement recorded under Section 164 of the Cr PC in disproportionate assets’ case against the Badals.

The statement of Ajit Singh (50), a relative of the DIG from Sangrur district, was recorded in-camera in the court of Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia today evening.

According to a senior official of the bureau, Ajit Singh reportedly corroborated the statement of Punjab Police DIG, Mr Gurinder Pal Singh Grewal, who had deposed before the same court under the same sections yesterday. In his testimony, he stated that he had only paid the money on behalf of the DIG for seeking undue favours to the powers-that-be in the previous government.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, while talking to TNS from New Delhi denied knowing any of the persons who had deposed against him in the courts here and said the entire evidence was ‘completely fabricated.’ 


Family goes soft on Sodhi’s killer
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 14
The family of Balbir Singh Sodhi, an Arizona-based NRI, originally hailing from Passiawal village in Kapurthala district, who was killed by Frank Silva in the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, has demanded the dilution of capital punishment to Frank Silva as they, “the pronouncement of death in itself has served the purpose.”

An Arizona court had pronounced death sentence for Frank Siliva on October 9 on the basis of a jury observation. The family of Balbir Singh Sodhi had welcomed the decision by dubbing it “timely and epitome of justice, which would act as a deterrent in future against hate crime.”

“The objective has been achieved and a majority of people have come to know that Sikhs were not the culprits and now they should know that Sikhs are more liberal also. The judgement has changed the entire scenario as people have come to know as to who the Sikhs are and that they don’t believe in violence,” said Mr Jagjit Singh Sodhi, a brother of Balbir Singh Sodhi, who was running the Masa Gas Station, where he was shot dead allegedly by Frank and his accomplices.

When asked what could be the possible alternative to the capital punishment, Mr Jagjit Singh said it was up to the court or the jury. “It can be anything like life imprisonment but it is they who have to decide, not us. If they ask us, we will give our opinion,” said Jagjit Singh.

“We have lost our Balbir and have suffered the intense pain of losing him. Now we realise that the same would be the case with family of Frank, which, we don’t want. What is the crime of his family?” questioned Mr Jagjit Singh.

Similarly, Jaswant Singh, father and Ms Inderjit Kaur, mother of Balbir Singh, maintained that the dilution of sentence of Frank would send the right message, which would help Sikhs in the long run.

“It is a decision of our family, we hope, would be conceded to by the Arizona court,” said Mr Jagjit Singh.


Contests, rallies mark Children’s Day
Tribune Reporters

Barnala, November 14
Cycle rallies for health and environment and fancy dress contest marked Bal Divas celebrations in Barnala today. The Lions Club Harmony and Lions Club Supreme, Barnala, organised a joint cycle rally which started from NMSD, Girls School, Barnala. The local Lions Club, also organised a cycle rally which began from Baba Gandha Singh Public School, here.

Mr Mohinder Singh Teji, SP (Headquarters), Barnala Police District, flagged off the cycle rally of NMSD Girls’ School. Mahant Piara Singh of Dera Baba Gandha Singh flagged off cycle rally of Baba Gandha Singh Public School students from the school.

The cyclists passed through Sadar Bazar, Handiaya Bazar and Pharwahi Bazar. They carried placards and banners appealing to the residents of the city to keep it clean.

Lions Club, Barnala also a children fancy dress competition for children. Mr Jora Singh Thind, SDM, Barnala, who was the chief guest gave away prizes to the winners of the contest.

Similarly, a function was organised in NMSD Girls School to pay tributes to Pandit Nehru. It was presided over by Mr Prem Chand Aggarwal, Chairman Improvement Trust. Three students of the school — Joyti, Harpreet, and Aarti — won three lucky draw prizes of cycle, a wrist watch and a wall clock were given prizes of the lucky draw contest by Mr Prem Chand Aggarwal and Prof Gurkirpal Singh.

FEROZEPORE: The Lions Club Ferozepore Sutlej organised a cycle rally of school students to celebrate the Children’s Day, which was flagged off by Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner. More than 400 school children participated in the rally. They were carrying banners and posters depicting the theme of the rally, “Peace and Health for all”. The rally culminated at the local D C Model Senior School, where the students presented a colourful cultural programme. Mr Vikas Pratap exhorted the schoolchildren to follow in the footsteps of Jawahar Lal Nehru. He distributed prizes to the children who had excelled in various fields. The Police Control Room Motorcycles led the rally, which passed through various areas of the town. Mr Gagan Ajit Singh, Indian hockey forward and members of the Lions Club and various NGOs also participated in the rally.

KAPURTHALA: The Child Rights Unit was set up in the local MGN Public School on Friday. It is the first unit of its kind.

Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, and lead trainer of Indo-British Project on child rights and protection inaugurated the unit.

The unit was set up with the aim to take up the issues of child protection prevention of child abuse, child labour issues of girl child psychological development of child counselling guidance to children and parents.

Another function was organised by Kapurthala Intellectual Forum in connection with the Children’s Day celebration at Jagatjit Club here.

On this occasion Rana Gurjit Singh local MLA inaugurated the project of distribution of birth certificates to children below the age of 10 years.

Students of Central School, RCF, Hussainpur, also celebrated the Children’s Day by taking out a rally.

AMRITSAR: A district level Children’s Day celebrations was held at Guru Nanak Stadium where over 15,000 students from 100 schools participated in various cultural and sports events. The Minister of State for Education, Prof Darbari Lal, exhorted the children to excel in their studies and in co-curricular activities. Prizes were distributed among the children who won various competitions held on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the ladies club of Guru Nanak Dev University organised a sports-cum-cultural programme on the university campus. Teachers entertained the students with a cultural programme at Alexandra School to mark the Children’s Day. Members of the Lion’s Club Golden Temple distributed sweets, gifts to the children admitted in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital. The Army School in the Cantt organised track and field events for students. The teachers of the school presented a cultural show.

More than 400 schoolchildren participated in an “on-the-spot” painting competition at Indian Academy of Fine Arts here.

PHAGWARA: The Punjab Social Welfare, Security, Children and Women Welfare Minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, today launched the Child’s Rights Week during the Children’s Day function held at Model Town here. The Minister also handed over a few free birth certificates to those born after January 1, 1994.

JALANDHAR: Students and teachers of Kendriya Vidyalya, Rail Coach Factory, Hussainpur, celebrated the ‘Bal Divas’ by paying floral tributes to Jawahar Lal Nehru. Students led by the Principal, Mr Hargopal, and Mr T.P. Singh, Chief Personnel Officer, RCF, offered flowers at the portrait of “Chacha Nehru”, while the Lions Club Kapurthala organised a peace poster competition for them, followed by a cultural programme.

Meanwhile, Mr Amarjit Kumar, a teacher of the school, led a rally of students taken out to create awareness about dengue and its prevention.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: The ‘Bal Divas’ was celebrated with great enthusiasm by the District Red Cross Society at Aam Khas Bagh here. Bhagwant Mann, a renowned comedian and his associate Rana Ranbir regaled the audience with their comedies particularly with their satire on teachers, students and functioning of Government schools competitions in various sports, cultural, painting, rangoli, reciting of shabads, fancy dress, choreography, solo songs, solo dances, bhangra, gidha and other events in senior and junior sections were organised. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, honoured Bhagwant Mann and his team. Earlier Mr Ahluwalia at Bal Divas function at Municipal Council, Sirhind, inaugurated the distribution of birth certificates to all those children, who had attained the age of 10 years under the National Birth Certificate Distribution Programme by presenting birth certificates to the parents of newly-born children. The programme is part of the special week celebrations on the directions of the Central Government to educate the children about their rights.

PATIALA: The local Blossoms School, organised a fancy- dress competition. Children from Nursery to Class X participated enthusiastically, dressed up in various costumes.

The function was started with a speech by Principal Ravi Singh. In Group A, Gavesh, Rishabh and Ria bagged first, second and third positions, respectively. In Group B, Jasmine Chahal, Rachin and Vagish Verma stood first, second and third, respectively. In Group C, Ridhima, Amandeep Kaur and Gaganjot won the first, second and third, positions, respectively. In Group D Gurjot Binder, Navneet, Manjot bagged first, second and third positions. In Group E, Jaspreet Kaur, Anshika and Manvir stood first, second and third, respectively.

Government Senior Secondary School, Lachkani (Patiala), celebrated Children’s Day with great pomp and show. The Principal of the school, Ms Veena Balial, was the chief guest on the occasion. A cultural programme and a quiz contest based on the life history of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were presented.

Students of Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, organised a cultural programme. The Chairman Improvement Trust Mr K.K Sharma, was the chief guest Central Model School, Patiala organised an exhibition on various aspects of the life of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. The Director, Punjab Finance Corporation, Mr Amrik Singh, inaugurated the exhibition.

Students of local St. Mark Senior Model School organised a cultural programme. The Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, was the chief guest. The Chairman PRTC, Mr Ved Parkesh Gupta, and Senior Deputy Mayor Karbir Das were guest of honour.


Birth certificates handed over
Tribune Reporters

Batala, November 14
The local unit of the Congress organised various camps here today to mark the birth anniversary of first Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru at Vishwa Mitter Sekhri Stadium.

Health and Employment Minister, Punjab, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, presided over the function that was attended by Mr R.L. Bhatia, Member Parliament.

Driving licences were given to as many as 1,000 persons on the spot. Children born between October 1 to November 5 were given birth certificates on the occasion. Sweaters were also given to the needy .

HOSHIARPUR: Children’s Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm here on Friday. A state-level function was organised by the National Children Fund State Committee, Punjab, at the local J.R. Govt. Polytechnic. Thousands of school going children participated in it. Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha was the chief guest.

A special campaign was launched on this occasion to issue birth certificates to the children below the age of 10 years in the state.

Mr Som Parkash, Director, Social Security Punjab, said there were about 46 lakh children below the age of 10 years in state out of which birth certificates had been issued to about 6 lakh children only. Birth certificates to 25 lakh children below the age of 10 years would be provided from November 14 to 20, 2003, in the first phase of this campaign in state. The remaining children would be covered in the second phase.

Students, who secured first position in Class VIII, X and Plus 2 were honoured on this occasion.

Schoolchildren staged cultural programmes.

NAWANSHAHR: Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the ‘National Campaign — 2003 for issuing birth certificates to children’ in the district, by distributing birth certificates to children here on Friday at the office of Municipal Council, to mark ‘Children’s Day’. He said as many as 83,950 birth certificates had been prepared in the district, which would be distributed door-to-door.

Functions were also organised at the local Government Senior Secondary School, Shivalik Public School, Dr Asa Nand Arya Model Senior Secondary School. Speeches, skits and poems were presented to highlight the life and philosophy of Jawahar Lal Nehru. The Kirpal Sagar Academy, about 15 km, from here, organised a function to celebrate ‘Children’s Day as well as its Raising Day’.

SANGRUR: The Children’s Day was celebrated with enthusiasm by students of General Gurnam Singh Public School, Prem Sabha Senior Secondary School, and Osho Youth Club, here on Friday.

A cultural programme, including bhangra performance, fancy dress contest and Hindi play, was presented by students of the General Gurnam Singh Public School on the occasion. An exhibition of art and craft models was also organised. At a function held at Prem Sabha Senior Secondary School students were honoured for their achievements in the fields of education and sports.

ABOHAR: The Abohar Journalists Association celebrated birth anniversary of Jawahar Lal Nehru by organising a function at RSD Girls High School here. Mr Dinesh Sharma and Mr Anil Malviya spoke about the first Prime Minister of India. The journalists remembered the great leader by offering rose petals and garlands on his portrait. A cultural programme was presented by students. Prizes were given to the participants by Mr Shyam Sunder Sachdeva, State Secretary of the All-India Small Newspapers Association, and Mr R.L. Goyal.

JALALABAD: Children’s Day was celebrated here with fervor and gaiety by students of various schools and members of social organisations. Cultural shows were organised at the local Shivalik Public School and LIDG D.A.V. Centenary School. Sweets and candies were also distributed among students.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Harbans Lal Jasuja, Principal of Shivalik Public School, said parents should take full interest and co-operate as school alone could not shape the personality of a student.


Pak theatre group brings play on Bulle Shah
Our Correspondent

Wagah, November 14
A group of 27 theatre artistes from the Lahore-based theatre group ‘Ajoka’ crossed over to India today. The group will give seven performances in Punjab for the first time after Punjab was declared a disturbed state during the days of militancy.

Leader of the group Madeeha Gauhar said they were going to perform a play “Bullah” on the life and times of great Sufi poet Baba Bulle Shah who represents the composite Punjabi culture of tolerance and love.

She said Bulle Shah (1680-1758) lived in the times of downfall of Mughal Empire when the civilisation was in the period of transition. It was a period when politicians preached bigotism and hatred among the different religions.

She said the play would be performed at Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, Faridkot, Ludhiana, Dhudike and Chandigarh during their fortnight-long stay.

Talking to mediapersons, Maheeda said no boundaries could break the strong and vibrant Punjabi culture of tolerance based on secularism.

Earlier, they were accorded a warm welcome by the Servants of People Society, Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi and number of artistes.


Lure of money landed him in Malaysian jail
Pawan Kumar

Verka (Amritsar), November 14
Lure of money took Davinder Singh (23) of Verka township to Malaysia. But he returned on November 10 after having nightmarish experiences in Malaysia where he along with some other Punjabis landed in jail and had to live in camps.

He had gone to Malaysia on May 13 and was able to return only when his family arranged tickets with the help of another person living there. Davinder was fleeced by a travel agent, Gurmit Singh and his father Surinder Singh, both of the same area, who had promised him a lucrative job abroad.

While narrating his experiences to The Tribune here today he said Gurmit Singh took him and his friend Ranjit Singh of the same locality to ‘Kolkata from where they went to Thailand by air along with Surinder Singh on a tourist visa, which got expired on August 5. He said in Thailand eight more Punjabi youths were waiting for them. He added that Surinder Singh took their money on the pretext of converting it into the Malaysia currency.

Davinder further said after keeping us in a hotel in Thailand, where a Bangladeshi national kept watch on them, for about 20 days Surinder Singh asked them to cross the Thailand-Malaysia border through a dense forest to enter Malaysia. He said his men would be waiting for them in a car across the border and gave them a telephone number and returned.

He said in Malaysia they were taken to a small wooden cabin by Jobanjit Singh, a relative of Gurmit Singh. Davinder said they were not allowed even to talk to each other. Later from a conversations between Jobanjit and Gurmit he came to know that Gurmit had not given the promised money to Jobanjit, who was threatening to hand them to the police.

Jobanjit got them the job of a labourer at Chinese electronic factory, but used to take their salaries forcibly.

Davinder said on August 28 they were nabbed from a hotel along with 12 other persons by the Malaysia police after Jobanjit gave them the information. He said Jobanjit informed Gurmit Singh about their arrest on phone and demanded Rs 35,000 for their release.

Davinder said his family somehow contacted the relatives of Raghubir Singh, a citizen of Malaysia who got them released and bought them return tickets. Meanwhile, the family of Davinder stated that even after repeated complaints the police did not take any action against Gurmit Singh and Surinder Singh.


Cong unable to help Bhattal: Hanspal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 14
Mr H.S. Hanspal, chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, today said the party was unable to extend any help to the Punjab Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in her ongoing case as any such move could provide an opportunity to the Opposition to criticise the Congress government.

Mr Hanspal, who was here to flag off a rally organised by the St. Soldier Educational Society on Children’s Day, said the government was unable to take back the case against Ms Bhattal as such a step could have an adverse impact on the anti-corruption drive launched by it.

Maintaining that it was the Badal government that registered a case against Ms Bhattal, Mr Hanspal said whatever help was sought by her was provided to her by the party.

On the delay in presenting a challan in the case against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Hanspal said it was the job of the Vigilance Bureau. “As far as I know, sufficient evidence against mr Badal had been collected,” he added.


Pakistan boy repatriated
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 14
Seven Pakistani boys all under 16 years of age, who were lodged at the local jurenile jail, have to get repatriation. But Dinesh Kumar, another pakistani Hindu boy was released from the jail today by the district authorities and taken to Wagah border to hand him over to the Pakistani officials. With tears in their eyes and surprised over the situation they said though they were detained under the Passort Act, their own government had failed to take a lenient view towards them despite the fact that the Indian government had released all of them without any condition.

They further said they were interviewed by Dr Rashid, first secretary to the Pakistani High Commission, at the Punjab Bhavan, New Delhi, on October 3 in this regard but the clearance documents were issued only for one boy.

The seven Pakistani boys, Sagar Ali, Nasser Ali, Sabar Ali, Altaf Shah, Amjad Khan, Babar Ali and Asif Ali have appealed to the Pakistan government to take steps for their repatriation. In a joint letter sent through Dinesh Kumar to their parents they have asked them (parents) to contact the higher authorities in Pakistan to initiate steps for their release.

The Department of home, Punjab government, had sent a fax message to the district police authorities here yesterday in this connection.

Pak national repatriated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 14
Mohammad Shahin, a Pakistan national, was repatriated to his country from the Wagah joint checkpost here today. He was apprehended at Connaught Place in New Delhi about four years ago on the charges of spying. During this time he used to live at Tilak Nagar.


Plea to develop Amritsar as cargo centre
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Dr S.S. SidhuChandigarh, November 14
“Northern India has tremendous potential for growth in civil aviation and tourism. This can be best achieved by developing Amritsar as a cargo centre, upgrading Chandigarh as an international airport and introducing a regional airline to provide affordable air transport,” says Dr S.S. Sidhu, founder President of the Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism (FAST).

Dr Sidhu, who became the first and only Indian, Asian and first one from the developing nations to be the Chief Executive of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation(ICAO) for a ful three-year term, has been perhaps one of the most experienced civil aviation administrator in the subcontinent today.

“Civil aviation and tourism are harbingers of growth as together they constitute a major component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any economy,” says Dr Sidhu.

“Unfortunately, the growth of both civil aviation and tourism in India has not kept pace with the rest of the world. Recent announcement made by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at ASEAN summit opening Indian skies is a welcome step,” says Dr Sidhu.

Dr Sidhu, who belonged to the 1952 batch of the IAS and held various key positions in Union Government as Secretary, Health and family Welfare; Adviser to Governors of Punjab and Tamil Nadu; and Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation, had been after retiring from ICAO in 1991, heading FAST, a non-government , autonomous and not-for-profit research organisation, which has 14 countries as its members.

Talking about civil aviation scenario, he said that the traditional concept of sanctity of national flag carriers was fast disappearing. Instead, low fare and no-frill airlines were giving bigger players in the industry run for their money.

“Unfortunately, both Air-India and Indian Airlines have been unable to add new aircraft for a long time. Similarly, there has been no infrastructure upgradation.

“Instead of growth, the share of Air-India in air passengers fell from 40 per cent in 70s to 16 per cent in 2000. Uncertain future and frequent changes may be the contributory reasons. Of 110 bilateral signed, Air India is utilising only 35.

‘Even otherwise, civil aviation is using only 23 per cent of air space. There is a need for rationalisation. For example, extending civil enclaves of air strips controlled by defence is one. If Chandigarh is increasingly used, initially for civilian charters and also for international flights, it can be developed into a major international civil aviation hub,” feels Dr Sidhu.

Rationalisation of tax on aviation fuel, improvements in existing air strips by giving their control to local bodies and rationalisation of international airport tax are the areas which can accelerate the growth of aviation industry.

Talking about Amritsar, Dr Sidhu says that since it does not attract many passenger flights, the best would be to use it as a cargo base on the lines on which Sharjah international airport was developed. “I have suggested that in case they can develop a centre, say 40-50 km from the airport, which should process cargo, besides custom and other clearances, before it is transported on dedicated roads to the airport, it would contribute immensely to socio-economic growth of the region. Gradually more and more airlines will bring flights. “It will help agriculture, floriculture and horticulture not only of Punjab but also of catchment areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. In addition Haryana can also benefit from upgradation of Chandigarh as an international airport.

“Then, they must introduce a regional airline, on the lines of Deccan Airways, to promote cheap and no-frill air transport. Civil aviation is becoming highly competitive and fastest growing industry,” adds Dr Sidhu.


She enriched several lives

Mrs Jaswant Kaur LyallpuriLudhiana: Mrs Jaswant Kaur Lyallpuri, who died in Ludhiana early this month, belonged to a rare breed of dedicated teachers who remained actively associated with the communist movement in north India.

Born in Latala village in 1917, she went to the famous Kinnaird Christian College, Lahore, after matriculation from a Ludhiana school. When she completed her training as a teacher, World War II was on.

An activist in the freedom struggle, she joined the All-India Students Federation and later the Communist Party of India. It was her association with the Communist movement that brought her in close contact with Comrade Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, whom she married in February, 1945.

She witnessed difficult times as the CPI was declared “illegal” in 1948 and many members of the party were detained under the Defence of India Rules (DIR). Her husband went underground. She was arrested under the DIR for six months. Her two minor children, aged three and one, were also detained. She was, perhaps, the first woman leader to be detained under the DIR.

In 1959 during the anti-betterment levy movement by Punjab peasants, the family property was attached to punish her husband for his role. In 1961, she again faced a similar threat.

Mrs Jaswant Kaur was a renowned educationist. She worked as Headmistress of Government Model Middle School, Model Town, Ludhiana, for 20 years. In fact, the school was named after her.

Many students of this school occupy high positions both in the government and private sectors. She leaves behind her husband Comrade Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, three sons and a brother, all highly educated professionals. Her youngest son, Dr Navdeep Singh Khaira, is a renowned nephorologist.

A special condolence meeting will be held at the Indian Medical Association Complex near the Sarabha Nagar police station in Ludhiana on November 16 from 12 noon to 2.30 p.m. to pay tributes to her.

— Prabhjot Singh


Dalit-landlord compromise eases tension
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 14
Dalits and landlords of Hasanpur village, near Dhuri, today reached a compromise. This eased the tension that had gripped the village since November 11 following a clash between the Dalits and landlords over a disputed piece of shamlat (common land) in the village. As many as 20 persons from both sides and three policemen were injured in the clash.

Both the parties reached a compromise in the presence of the SSP, Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, in his office. Both parties were called by the SSP to his office to resolve the issue.

Speaking on behalf of both groups the SSP said with the compromise both sides had become one now and caste-based division had also ended. He said “boycott” of Dalits by landlords had also ended from today.

The SSP further said both sides would accept and implement the decisions taken by the administration in this case. Members of both sides supported the statement of the SSP. Mr Dhillon said both sides had assured the administration that they would set an example of unity and brotherhood for the whole of Punjab by proving that there was no confrontation between them.

Mr Dhillon said as per the compromise, the Dalits would use 1.5 bigha land for dumping garbage and four bisvas for the temple. Besides, they would also use a 15-foot wide path going towards the Dalits’ houses. He said the landlords would also pay Rs 65 as wages for one day to the Dalits.

The SSP also announced that after a fortnight, both sides would organise a community kitchen in the village school and would sit together there to have food to prove that the dispute had resolved fully.

Regarding the registration of a criminal case against 18 members of the ‘Zamindar’ community, including Mr Kesar Singh, Sarpanch of the village, the SSP said the SP(D) would investigate the case and proceedings would be initiated on the basis of facts. He clarified that the FIR issue had no link with today’s compromise.

The SSP said the police force would camp in the village for another 15 days to watch the situation. He said the police would also make efforts to solve petty issues of both sides during this period.

Representatives of Dalits and landlords hugged each other in the office of the SSP.

Meanwhile, Mr Narinder Nindi today announced the withdrawal of the call for blockade of roads at Dhuri on November 15.


Female foeticide
Dogra promises probe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 14
Punjab Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra while claiming that the state government was committed to check the menace of female foeticide, promised that an impartial probe would be conducted into all complaints registered in different courts against private medical practitioners and others by the PNDT Cell, Bathinda, for their alleged involvement in the facilitation of female foeticide.

This assurance was given by Mr Dogra to Dr Kuldip Singh, president, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, when a delegation of doctors met him to convey the fact that resentment has been prevailing among medical practitioners of Bathinda district after complaints have been filed against a section of them under the IPC and the PNDT Act by the PNDT Cell without verifying the facts and without giving them an opportunity to present their case.

“The Punjab Government will not allow anybody to harass medical practitioners or anybody else. I will study the memorandum submitted and steps will be taken to ensure that the justice is done to all,” said Mr Dogra while addressing the delegation of the IMA. He, however, added that the Punjab Government would not spare any one, who was found involved in the facilitation of female foeticide.

Mr Kuldip Singh said the IMA had decided to launch defamation proceedings against those, who had filed false complaints against the doctors of Bathinda without verifying the facts and without taking opinion from medical experts.

Mr Dogra, who was here to preside over the annual function of local DAV College, said matter pertaining to female foeticide was worrisome and the government was making all efforts to check the falling sex ratio.


Trust opens special counter for NRIs
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 14
Nearly one lakh ex-servicemen and NRIs of Jalandhar district will no longer face the inconvenience of standing in long queues at the Jalandhar Improvement Trust office for getting allotment letters, registration and transfer deeds and no-objection certificates, thanks to a special ex-servicemen and NRIs counter opened in the trust office here today.

The fully computerised counter will be responsible for disposal of all applications of ex-servicemen and NRIs within a period of 15 days after its receipt. Mr Balbir Singh, MP, inaugurated the counter in the presence of Sub Area Commander, Brig R.S. Sidhu, and Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, today.

Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu said the special counter would be headed by a superintendent rank official and would maintain computerised record of all applications submitted by the beneficiaries.

Mr Bittu further said that they had engaged a private security providers company to avoid encroachments on the residential plots and flats allotted to the NRIs and defence personnel. Besides, the special counter will be keeping watch on the functioning of the private security personnel.



Death sentence upheld
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
In just over seven years after a Fathehgarh Sahib resident was accused of being involved in a triple murder case, Mr Justice V.M. Jain and Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today upheld the death sentence awarded to him.

The convict — Jagjit Singh alias Jagga — was initially booked by the police after Sahu, Rabi Singh and Jamila alias Guddo were hammered to death. Jagga, when confronted with the incriminating evidence against him, had denied the allegations. Claiming to be innocent, Jagga had asserted that he was being framed in the case and had asked for a trial.

The prosecution, in an attempt to prove the allegations beyond any shadow of doubt, had examined several witnesses during the trial, including a seven-year-old girl, Billo.

After hearing the arguments and going through the record, Fathegarh Sahib’s District and Sessions Judge had convicted him under Sector 302 of the Indian Penal Code, along with other Sections, before sentencing him to death in March, 2002.

Arguing before the High Court, Jagga’s counsel had asserted that death penalty was to be awarded only in rarest of rare cases. Moreover, Billo’s statement could not be relied upon by the prosecution to prove its case.

The Judges, after examining the evidence, confirmed the sentence. Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Dutt ruled that the Bench was of the view that Billo’s testimony had not been tutored. Moreover, the action was cruel and carried out with devilish precision.

Human trafficking

Taking a serious note of human trafficking cases in the state of Punjab, the High Court today expressed the hope that serious efforts would be made by the police to apprehend travel agents involved in such cases.

In a significant judgement, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the High Court added that their apprehension was necessary so as to protect innocents intending to proceed abroad.

The Judge also dismissed a petition seeking the grant of bail filed by a travel agent, accused of duping innocents after promising them settlement in foreign lands. Opposing the plea, counsel for the state had argued that 89 cases had been registered against the petitioner in Jalandhar alone.



3 Moga Bar members expelled

Moga, November 14
The executive of the Moga District Bar Association has expelled three members for non-obeyance of a recent resolution of the Bar regarding the boycotting of the president of Moga District Dispute Redressal Forum.

According to a copy of the resolution of the Bar committee provided by its general secretary, Ramesh Grover, all three have been expelled from the Bar membership for one year. The executive at its meeting here yesterday also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of the three. — PTI



Cops acquitted in minor’s death case
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 14
District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal today acquitted all three police personnel accused in the brutal killing of a minor, Chetan, in police custody early this year in the absence of evidence.

Earlier, during the recording of witnesses, Bhola his grandmother Jaswanti who were key witnesses in the case, turned hostile and failed to identify the accused.

On January 21 two unconscious children were thrown out of Maruti car on the Ladowali road. While 10-year-old Chetan was declared brought dead by the Civil Hospital authorities, his friend Bhola was admitted in a critical condition.

Later, the then SSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, had conducted a probe and found that Chetan and Bhola were handed over to the Bhargo camp police by Dr Sikandar Lal of Model House after they were caught stealing at a marriage party. Both were allegedly beaten up by the then police post in charge, Sub-Inspector Ravi Kumar, constable Jarnail Singh and SPO Resham Singh.

It was alleged that the police personnel had thrown both from the car to hush up the matter.

A case had been registered against the police personnel and they were arrested. Subsequently, Dr Lal and his son were also arrested in this regard.



Principal gets judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, November 14
The local police today seized official records of the local Shri Dashmesh Senior Secondary Public School, while its Principal, Mrs Harsimran Kaur Lamba, who was arrested two days ago, was remanded in judicial custody by the Judicial Magistrate, Mr Kurnesh Kumar Kakkar.

Mrs Lamba was arrested following a case registered against her. She was found guilty of committing irregularities in the management of school funds in an inquiry conducted by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Mr Narinder Singh Bath.

The school receives aid from the Defence Security Fund, Punjab. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, had placed her under suspension.

According to sources, after suspension, Mrs Lamba had taken some of the school records with her. She was also accused of opening a separate account for school funds without permission from the authorities concerned. She allegedly embezzled Rs 70,000.


Pact on contract farming of brown onions
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 14
The 50th anniversary of the All-India Cooperative Week was celebrated with the signing of an agreement for contract farming of brown onions between farmers and Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, State Minister for Cooperation, Pension and Transport, at a state-level function organised at the Markfed cannerles here today.

Addressing the gathering, the minister said in its endeavour to promote contract farming of onions Markfed had entered into an agreement with a German company for the export of brown onions from the state and good quality seeds were being distributed after importing these from Holland. He said the seeds were being provided to farmers for Rs 4,000 per kg and for Rs 7,000 per kg to nurseries along with the extension services through the National Horticulture Research Development Foundation. He said Markfed was also setting up a demonstration farm for imparting training in packaging and it would purchase graded and cured onions from farmer collection centres at a price of Rs 250 per quintal.

While distributing dividend cheques for Rs 57 lakh to Markfed’s 3,027 member societies, Mr R.D. Sharma said the Cooperative Amendment Bill would be tabled in the next Vidhan Sabha session and the Bill envisaged more economic powers and liberty to cooperative organisations.

Mr S.S. Channy, Managing Director of Markfed, said the cooperative had been playing a major role in the socio-economic development of the state for the past 50 years. He said Markfed had exported 22.25 lakh tonnes of wheat and 1.31 lakh tonnes on non-basmati rice till September. Mr Channy added that the Punjab Government had sought the Centre’s permission to export wheat to Pakistan.

He further said the state government had sent a letter to the Centre in this regard after Pakistan had shown interest in the purchase of Indian wheat.

Mr J.S. Kesar, Financial Commissioner (Cooperation), said. “There is, however, a need to make it a mass movement and to make the people aware in this regard to propogate the socio-economic activities of cooperative institutions”.


Rs 12-cr dues for cane growers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced the release of a balance payment of Rs 12 crore due to cane growers associated with Sugarfed. He has also ordered that payments be made within seven days, says a press note.


14 SPs, 59 DSPs transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November14
In yet another reshuffle in the Police Department, the Punjab Government today ordered the transfers of 73 officers, including 14 SPs and 59 DSPs.

Mr Harmanbir Singh has been posted as SP (Operations), Ludhiana; Mr Darshanjit Singh Dhindsa as SP (Headquarters), Gurdaspur; Mr Rakesh Aggrawal as SP (Headquarters) Hoshiarpur; Mr Jaskaran Singh as SP/ISTC, Jalandhar; Mr Ashok Bath as SP (Detective), Tarn Taran; Mr Baljit Singh Randhawa as SP (Headquarters), Majitha; Mr Darshan Singh Mann as SP (D) Bathinda.

Among other transferred officers are Mr Dharam Singh as Assistant Commandant, 9th battallion, PAP Amritsar; Mr Harbaj Singh as SP, Crime Wing, Chandigarh; Mr Sohinder Pal Singh Bawa as SP, Crime Wing, Chandigarh. Mr Baljit Singh, who has been promoted as officiating SP has been posted as SP ( Vigilance Bureau) and Mr Gurmail Singh as SP (D), Barnala.

In case of the transfers of 59 DSPs, certain orders issued earlier have been modified.

Meanwhile, the government has directed all new appointees to take over by tomorrow noon and report compliance of orders to the Director-General of Police, instead of the IGP ( Headquarters) in case of the previous orders.

The government had yesterday ordered the transfers of three officers as SP, CM Security, including Mr Gautam Cheema, Mr Amit Prasad and Mr Kuldip Singh. 


Reinstated despite indictmemt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
The Punjab government today reinstated Mr Karnesh Sharma, who was suspended sometime back on charges of alleged corruption.

A Deputy Director in the Department of Food, Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Mr Sharma was posted at Jalandhar, when he was suspended and a fact finding enquiry was instituted against him. Despite his indictment by the enquiry officer, Special Secretary Samir Kumar, who submitted the final report on November 12, Mr Sharma has been reinstated and posted at Patiala, it is reliably learnt.

In the interim report, it was mentioned that Mr Sharma was guilty on two charges, one, he had allocated paddy to defaulting rice mills and two, he had enhanced the storing capacity of some of the rice mills.

The reinstatement by the government, which swears by its anti-corruption campaign, was the hot topic of discussion in the corridors of power today.


2 prisoners escape from hospital
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 14
Two inmates of Gurdaspur jail who were under treatment at government ENT Hospital here escaped late last night.

The police after getting the information about the disappearance of prisoners — Harbhajan Singh of Chavinda village and Sukhdev Singh of Kotla Sarai Amanat Khan, village raided a number of places in the city while the Gurdaspur police, which was alerted to track the criminals, have failed to nab them till the filing of the report. The Gurdaspur police chief has suspended all seven policemen who were on guard duty.

According to information, both were arrested for smuggling narcotics and were in jail for the past two years. They were admitted to the hospital about 15 days back.


2 hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 14
Mr Nitish Setia and Ms Shammi Kapur, both students of the local Regional College of Management and Technology, were seriously injured when their scooter was hit by a private bus on the Bathinda-Malout road near Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant here yesterday.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that both students, who suffered multiple injuries, were first brought to the local Civil Hospital in an unconscious state and were later shifted to a Ludhiana-based hospital.

Information revealed that the accident took place when the bus hit the scooter while they were turning. The driver of the bus failed to apply brakes and hit the scooter.

Police sources said a case in this connection had been registered.

In another case Kamlesh Rani, a resident of Janata Nagar locality of the town, was admitted to the Civil Hospital here today after she received burn injuries late last night. Her condition was stated to be stable.


Tech Utsav concludes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 14
The local DAV College stood first in the competition of logic development while the Regional College of Management and Technology, Bathinda, stood first in the competition of web designing at the Tech Utsav-2003, which concluded at DAV College late last evening.

In a press note issued here today, Mr J.S. Anand, lecturer, DAV College, said the festival, first of its kind, was conceived by the Department of Computer Science of the college. A number of colleges and technical institutes participated in the function.


Lecturers’ interviews from December 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
The interviews for the posts of Lecturer ( college cadre) for the 1999 and 2001, batches will be held from December 8 to 12.

The interview letters have already been posted, says a press note of the Punjab Public Service Commission.

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