P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CPI withdraws from Garhshankar, decides not to back Cong
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Though the CPI today withdrew its candidate, Mr Manjit Singh Lali, from the contest for the Garhshankar Assembly byelection, it has decided not to extend any support to the Congress candidate in that constituency.

“ We are very clear in this regard. The Congress was responsible for giving a big jolt to the secular front in Punjab and the CPI would not extend support to the Congress candidate in any manner in Garhshankar constituency”, said Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI while talking to TNS on the phone. The CPI had asked the Congress to support its candidate in Garhshankar. In the last Assembly election, the Congress had allocated this constituency to the CPI.

Though the Congress and the CPI were not on good terms for the past few months, today’s developments indicate a complete breach of trust between the two parties. Earlier, the CPI used to take only critical view of the ruling Congress policies in Punjab but now it (CPI) has started making a sharp attack on the ruling party. Congress relations with the CPM have gone sour in Punjab. The CPM candidate is pitted against the Congress candidate in Garhshankar.

The CPI has three options for extending support in Garhshankar. The CPM has put up Mr Mahan Singh Rori as candidate. The BSP has put Mr Rachhpal Singh and one former MLA, Mr Shingara Ram Sahungara. Dr Dayal said that the party would pick up on of these three candidates to extend support.

The natural choice for the CPI to extend support should be the CPM’s candidate, Mr Mahan Singh Rori. There is a lot of pressure being built by the CPM high command over the CPI’s top brass in Delhi to ask the Punjab unit of the CPI to announce support for Mr Mahan Singh. However, the Punjab unit of the CPI is bit annoyed with the CPM leadership also. The CPI says that the CPM did not take it into confidence before naming the candidate for the Garhshankar constituency.

On the other hand, the CPM says that its candidate had last time got more votes than the CPI candidate and because of this factor the CPM opted first to put up its candidate in that constituency.

The CPI is inclined towards the BSP candidate at present. Dr Dayal said that the Congress was playing negative politics in Punjab. Anti people policies pursued by the ruling Congress were responsible for the amazing political revival of the SAD-BJP combine in the state. “ If the Congress had followed pro people policies, the SAD-BJP combine would have been politically wiped out completely by now”, said Dr Dayal.

It is expected the CPI would not extend support to the Congress candidate even in the Kapurthala constituency. Dr Dayal said that as far as Kapurthala was concerned, the party had not taken any decision in this connection yet.

But a major section of the CPI is for making an appeal to voters in Kapurthala constituency asking them to vote for the candidate whom they consider as honest, clean and pro-people. “ The way bogus votes have been detected and other foul means are being used in that constituency, one can imagine what sort of byelection would be held in Kapurthala”, said a senior CPI leader. In Kapurthala constituency, the main fight will be between the SAD-BJP and the Congress candidate, though a number of other candidates are also in the fray.


A multi-party contest in Garhshankar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
A multi-party contest is all set to be held in Garhshankar. Last time the contest was more or less direct between the Congress-supported CPI (M) candidate and SAD-supported BJP contestant.

But in 2004 the contest is between the Congress, the BJP and the CPI (M) candidates. Also in the race are CPI, BSP and Lok Jan Shakti Party candidates. In fact, this time the ruling party is finding itself isolated.

The BJP had won the elections in 2002. The seat fell vacant after party candidate Avinash Khanna was elected during the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

In all as many as 14 candidates, including nine Independents, are so far in the field. Despite all the hype about “women empowerment” and other related issues, no women candidate is contesting the polls. At least two women candidates had filed papers initially, but the same were rejected.

Giving details, the authorities claim that the nomination papers of at least five candidates were rejected. Contestant Jai Pal Singh had filed two sets of papers — one as the Congress candidate and the other as Independent. His nomination as Congress candidate was turned down, while his papers as Independent were accepted.

Nomination papers of BSP candidate Bimla Devi, Raghunath Singh of CPI (M), Renu Bala of Congress and Tarsem Singh of CPI were also rejected as their names were not proposed by 10 electors each.

The officers say that a total of 1,19,133 voters are eligible to cast their votes during the elections scheduled to be held on October 13. The figure includes 61749 men and 57584 women. As far as service votes are concerned, the total number is 271. As many as 185 men and 86 women are eligible to exercise their franchise. The symbols are scheduled to be allotted on September 25.

The candidates are Maha Singh of the CPI (M), Mohinder Pal Mann of the BJP, Manjit Singh of the CPI, Rashpal Singh of the BSP, Lov Kumar of the INC and Gurdev Ram of the Lok Jan Shakti Party. The independents include Onkar Singh, Amritpal Singh, Surinder Pal Singh, Som Nath, Shingara Ram, Jai Pal Singh, Nachhattar Singh and Parveen Kumar.


22 left in fray for two seats in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Twentytwo candidates were left in the fray for two Assembly constituencies in Punjab where byelections are scheduled to take place on October 13. Three candidates withdrew from Garhshankar Assembly constituency, leaving 11 in fray. No withdrawals took place from the Kapurthala Assembly seat, where the same number of candidates are in the fray.

The CPM and the CPI, will be pitted against the Congress at Garhshankar in Hoshiarpur district even though during the 2002 elections, the three had contested as allies.

The key contestants include Mohinder Pal Singh Mann (BJP-SAD alliance), Luv Kumar Goldy (Congress), Maha Singh Rouri (CPM), Rachhpal Singh Raju (BSP) and former BSP MLA Shingara Ram, who has entered the fray as an Independent.

The main contestants at Kapurthala are former Transport Minister Raghbir Singh (SAD-BJP alliance), Sukhjinder Kaur Sandhu (Congress), Tarsem Thapar (BSP) and Jagir Singh Wadala (Panthic Morcha).

The Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly seats had fallen vacant following the election of Rana Gurjit Singh, whose sister-in-law Sukhjinder is trying to take his place, and Punjab BJP President Avinash Rai Khanna to the Lok Sabha recently.


I will win next LS poll, claims Arvind Khanna
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 25
“I have been doing clean politics and will continue to do so in future.” This was asserted by Mr Arvind Khanna, MLA, Sangrur, while thanking people of Barnala Assembly constituency at Shanti Hall here today. Mr Khanna, who had contested from Sangrur Lok Sabha Constituency as Congress nominee, was beaten by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Union Fertilisers Minister in the Lok Sabha poll earlier this year.

While addressing the gathering, he admitted that factionalism in the district unit of the party during the poll led to his defeat. However, Mr Khanna said he had started preparing for the next Lok Sabha poll and would emerge victorious. He said he would try to rectify his previous mistakes.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, former Chairman, Punjab Warehousing Corporation, in his address flayed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, and his party leaders for compromising with the progress and demands of the state to serve their vested interests.

He regretted that Mr Badal, during the NDA government rule at the Centre, did not press demands of the state and instead remained busy bargaining for a ministerial berth for his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Prominent among those who were present at the function were Mr Zora Singh Thind, SDM Barnala, Mr Makhan Sharma, president of the Municipal Council, Mr Kuldip Sharma, DSP, Mr Charanjit Singh Khattra, president, Truck Operators’ Union, and Ms Amita Bhathal, former Municipal Councillor, Barnala.


Rs 7.43 lakh, not Rs 7.43 cr, says candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur, Congress candidate for the Kapurthala Assembly constituency, where byelection will be held on October 13, in a signed statement said here today that the gold and diamond assets stated by her in the nomination papers filed before the Returning Officer concerned are worth Rs 7.43 lakh and not Rs 7.43 crore as reported by The Tribune. She further said that the total worth of assets of her husband Rana Ranjit Singh was Rs 19.87 crore and not Rs 27.22 crore as reported. 


Funds for roads diverted: Bajwa
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Quadian (Gurdaspur) September 25
The reason for the delay in the construction and repair of roads in Punjab is out. The Department of Finance has been diverting Nabard loans meant for the construction of roads.

In the past eight to nine months, Rs 60 to Rs 70 crore meant for roads have been diverted for other purposes.

Similarly, the Centre road funds, meant specifically for the laying and strengthening of the roads, are being diverted for the payment of salaries and pensions.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD, Punjab, admitted here today that the department had been diverting the funds. While the Department of PWD had been drawing flak from the public for the poor condition of the roads, it was the Department of Finance that had diverted the funds. The funds, however, were now being released in parts, he said.

He lamented that the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) had also been delaying vital road projects, including the Morinda bypass and the Phagwara road which are being delayed due to the non-construction of railway overbridges.

“I recently told the Chief Minister that the Department of Finance should handle queries regarding the PIDB in the Assembly as the PWD Department was not responsible for the delay,” Mr Bajwa said.

About the controversy in which the Chief Minister conferred power for tendering corridor projects to the PIDB, Mr Bajwa said he had requested the Chief Minister to do so. The PIDB was controlling the finances coming from the cess imposed on petrol in the state.

Had the PWD been given the power to allot the works, PIDB officials would have delayed the project, he said.

He said the PIDB had been constituted to help the PWD by generating finance but it actually encroaching upon the work of the department. In this process, the public money was being wasted. The PIDB had hired an agency for consultancy and the agency was being paid Rs 8 lakh per month. The amount could have been saved had the work been done by PWD engineers who were competent, he said.

Earlier, he inaugurated a bridge on the UBDC drain, besides a platoon bridge on a canal.

Addressing a public gathering, he said Rs 1.5 crore had been sanctioned for a 30-bedded-hospital announced by the Chief Minister in the Bet area of his constituency.

Tenders for the construction of the Kathlore bridge were also being floated, he said.


Vajpayee’s faux pas

Amritsar, September 25
A string of faux pas by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a public rally here today to mark the conclusion of BJP leader Uma Bharti’s Tiranga Yatra left many puzzled.

As Vajpayee began his address, he referred to local MP and cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was present on the occasion, as ‘Navtej Singh’.

Then referring to Bharti’s Tiranga Yatra, he said former Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani had handed over a National Flag to the firebrand BJP leader in Bangalore in Karnataka at the start of the yatra. Actually, it had happened in Hubli.

But the piece de resistance came when Vajpayee talked about the massacre of hundreds of unarmed people in the Jallianwala Bagh by British soldiers in 1919.

He said “no one gave the order for firing. No one was present to give the order to fire. But, there was indiscriminate firing and hundreds were killed.” It is a historic fact that Brigadier General Reginald Dyer gave the firing orders.

He further said, “We would like that the Jallianwala Bagh remains beautiful, but people who come from other parts of the country should be allowed to see this sacred place.” But local people said anybody could freely enter the Jallianwala Bagh. — PTI


SAD (A) using ‘Khalistan’ to make money, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
The SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced that if voted to power, the SAD-BJP government in the state and the NDA at the Centre would order a high-level probe against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (Amritsar), for allegedly amassing huge sums of money from foreign countries in the name of “Khalistan”.

Addressing a rally to mark the culmination of the “Tiranga yatra” here in the presence of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Badal alleged that the SAD (A) had also collected money by giving fake certificates to youths to ensure their political asylum in foreign countries.

Bhai Ram Singh, general secretary of the SAD (A), while refuting the charges, said the activities of the party were an open book and the party was ready for any inquiry.

BJP vice-president Laxmi Kanta said while Ms Uma Bharti had culminated the yatra at Jallianwala Bagh to the great grandfather of Mr Mann had honoured General O’ Dywer at Akal Takht after the 1919 massacre.


Christians protest against Tiranga Yatra
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
Protesting against the “Tiranga Yatra”, the Punjab Christian Movement held a demonstration outside the Circuit House today.

Members of the movement held black flags as they raised slogans against Ms Uma Bharti, former Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh.

Later Ms Bharti went to Kapurthala where she addressed a rally near the District Courts complex in support of the SAD (Badal) candidate, Mr Raghbir Singh.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, and Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC.


He ruined her life, she played his saviour
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ranjit Singh, who is serving life term in the Makens’ murder case, and Sarbjot Kaur after their marriage at a Ludhiana gurdwara.
Ranjit Singh, who is serving life term in the Makens’ murder case, and Sarbjot Kaur after their marriage at a Ludhiana gurdwara. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, September 25
Ranjit Singh Gill, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering Lalit Maken and his wife about 20 years ago, today tied the nuptial knot with a Jagraon girl, Sarbjot Kaur.

The transition of the rebel has not been instant. Ranjit is trying hard to put it all behind him.

Currently on parole, Ranjit told The Tribune, “I want to put the past behind me and start life afresh and live like any other citizen of the country.” Ranjit has already served 17 years in jail for a crime that evokes a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Ironically a lot of credit for Ranjit’s transition goes to Avantika Maken, daughter of the slain couple. Avantika seems to have “understood and forgiven” Ranjit and wants to see him as a free person. She believes Ranjit got carried away by emotions and fell victim to politics.

Although she was keen to see that Ranjit turned anew leaf in life, she was not present at the marriage as she was busy campaigning for byelections in Delhi as an Independent candidate. But she did manage to take out some time to call up the couple and greet them.

Avantika met Ranjit here in May. They became friends after all misunderstandings and suspicions were cleared. Ranjit also wants to reciprocate the noble gesture and plans to help Avantika in her election campaign.

Ranjit’s appeal for release from jail is pending in the Delhi High Court. He has been maintaining that he has already spent 17 years in jail, 13 in a New York prison and four in Tihar Jail, Delhi. A similar plea for release is also pending before the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms Sheila Dikshit. This appeal is being pursued by Avantika herself.

Avantika was only five when her parents Lalit and Gitanjali Maken were assassinated in New Delhi. Ranjit, who was named among the suspects in the case, was arrested in the USA in 1987 and remained in prison ever since before being brought to India in 2001.

Ranjit’s wife Sarbjot Kaur (31), currently doing her PhD in Punjabi, said the best wedding gift she expected was her husband’s release. She is confident that Ranjit’s release will not only pave the way for many others to join the mainstream, but help Ranjit serve society in a constructive manner.

Ranjit is the son of Dr Khem Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and a Padma Bhushan recipient.


Chinese in love with Punjabi
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Wanying Wang
Wanying Wang

Patiala, September 25
From Beijing to India and then to Patiala in search of wisdom and Punjabi, Wanying Wang has travelled a long way.

The 32-year-old journalist is not only learning Punjabi at his new home at Punjabi University’s Department of Linguistic Studies but has also earned the affectionate title of “Sher Singh”.

The literal translation of his name in English is "King Tiger." Says Department head Dr Joga Singh, “Once we came to know this, we told him the Punjabi equivalent of his name and also joked that we had rechristened him according to Punjabi tradition and culture."

Wang is, however, far removed from being a 'Tiger'. He comes across as a dimunitive man who says he has reduced some weight with the heat not agreeing with him. Wang, however, has not let that interfere with his thirst for ‘wisdom’ which, he says, drew him to India and ultimately to Patiala and got him to start learning the Punjabi language through a diploma course offered by the university.

“I came to know about India through a novel “Razor’s Edge” in which the hero Larry travels to the country.

It was given to me by a teacher when I was a student in a Beijing college 12 years ago. I read the book in one go and later developed an affinity with the hero. My teacher also told me that he felt that I was searching for the meaning of life like Larry.

I forgot about all this as I later became busy taking up book publishing and even becoming a journalist.

However when I flew to India recently I remembered Larry and felt like him, visiting to search for the meaning of life and also gain wisdom in the process”.

Wang surfed the net and came to know about the Linguistic Department at the university. “I e-mailed to the Vice-Chancellor and after getting a positive response, I landed here”, he says.

The Chinese says he is doing a diploma course in the Punjabi language as a prelude to a postgraduate degree in Linguistics which he wants to pursue after his Chinese degrees are ratified by the All-India Universities Organisation.

“It is a choice which I have exercised”, he says, when asked how he will benefit from this course.. There is no material benefit but then I feel it does not really have to be so”.

The China man is comfortable studying Punjabi and shows off his note book as proof of his progress.

“He has already completed study of the alphabet and is now working on word formation and simple short sentences”, says his teacher Dr Devinder Singh.

The teacher said Wang was also trying to comprehend the meaning of Punjabi words by comparing them with their English and Chinese equivalents.

“Wang can pronounce Punjabi words better than others to take up study of a second language”, says the Linguistics teacher. . “While Punjabi has three tones, Chinese has five, so using a word on contrasting ways through different sounds is no problem for him”, he adds.

Department head Dr Joga Singh feels that more Indian-Chinese interaction is essential both in cultural as well as commercial terms. He said teaching Wang Punjabi was the starting point for the department as it would like to use Wang’s knowledge of Chinese for the benefit of its students and researchers.


Inter-state narcotics smuggler arrested
Police acted after taking permission from Governor
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 25
In a significant move, the police today arrested an inter-state smuggler, Rajinder Puri, from this city today, under a detention order issued by the Governor, Punjab, about three months ago.

Earlier, the Rampura police had arrested Raj Moddar under the National Security Act in June 2004 after an order in this connection was issued by the Additional Secretary, Department of Home, Punjab after taking permission from the Governor.

Rajinder Puri and Raj Moddar, who have allegedly been smuggling narcotics in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pardesh and Delhi, were arrested for their involvement in opium smuggling. A case had been registered against them in the Sangat police station.

Raj Moddar was arrested about four years ago by the Bathinda police in connection with a smuggling case. A heavy quantity of opium was seized from his accomplices.

Police sources said Raj Moddar, who had been running a tea stall, became rich in a short span by smuggling narcotics by changing his names. Once his arrest was reportedly stalled under political pressure.

The sources said Rajinder Puri and Raj Moddar were allegedly getting support from politicians of different states. After his arrest, Raj Moddar got bail and Rajinder Puri had managed to evade arrest until today. The district police authorities had already launched proceedings to forfeit his property.

The sources said Raj Moddar was arrested on October 8, 2002, and he had got bail from the high court in 2003. Due to pressure, the police could not extract much information from him in connection with politicians and government officials who had been supporting him.

Two kin of Raj Moddar had been arrested a few months ago by the Moga police for their alleged involvement in the large-scale smuggling of narcotics.

The sources said Rajinder Puri had been sent to the local central jail after he was arrested.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said Rajinder Puri was a notorious criminal and he had been sent to jail under preventive arrest.


Police involved in sale of illicit liquor
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Bootan (Kapurthala), September 25
While campaigning for the forthcoming Kapurthala Assembly byelection is yet to gain momentum, manufacturers of illicit liquor in villages near Subhanpur have already increased production. The entire illicit liquor business in the area is allegedly being run under the patronage of the district police for the past several years.

Alleged police inaction has raised many eyebrows over the elections scheduled for October 13 being held in a fair way. No officer has reportedly taken a round of the area ever since the polling process has begun.

Even members of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal are keeping mum over the issue. However, an Independent candidate on the condition of anonymity, said there were aspersions that the elections this time were being fought on the basis of money and muscle power and there were no doubts that the parties were trying to woo the voters, especially Dalits and ruralites, by offering them bottles of liquor.

During a tour of Bootan village by The Tribune team it was seen that men were working overtime in almost every house to meet the enhanced demand of countrymade liquor for the elections.

While the stills used for the production are usually lighted only after dusk and before dawn, the manufacturers have even hired labourers in this regard. Surprisingly, even women and children were engaged in the practice. A middle-aged woman at the village said since men were usually away for work during the day it became mandatory for them to join hands with their husbands.

Another manufacturer of illicit liquor said he was expecting big orders this time as workers from political groups had already started approaching him. He said in routine it was not a very profitable business as they were forced to pay a good proportion of their margin to police officials for carrying on with the business. “How can the police stop us as we have been paying bribe for the past several years”, claimed the manufacturer, who supplies liquor to adjoining villages, including Nizampur, Noorpur Lubana, Dyalpur, Hamira, Theekrewal, Roopanpur Bazule and Kokalpur. “While the cost of production per bottle is Rs 13, we charge Rs 40 per bottle from a customer”, he added.

Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, confirmed the fact by saying that this year the police had made a record recovery of illicit liquor, charas, poppy and opium in the area.


Tohra loyalists decry unilateral election of SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
The appointment of Bibi Jagir Kaur has not gelled well with Tohra loyalists who took the opportunity of commemorating Tohra’s birth anniversary yesterday by making a veiled criticism of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal for starting a tradition of announcing SGPC presidents unilaterally.

Tohra loyalist Manjit Singh Calcutta even went on to say that the SGPC had gone to the dogs since the death of Tohra. Referring to Bibi Jagir Kaur without naming her, he said the forces which the Sikh community had fought to contain were now in the forefront. He was apparently referring to dera worship as Jagir Kaur is from one such group.

The former minister was talking at a function organised by Patiala Brotherhood to mark the birth anniversary of the former SGPC president. The function was attended by Tohra supporters, including the late leader’s son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra.

Making a veiled reference to Mr Badal, he said the Sikh community should have the right to nominate the SGPC president and not any one person.


Arif, Jagsir’s media interaction leaves Army annoyed
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Kotbhai, September 25
Concerned over undue media exposure, the Army authorities have asked Lance Naik Jagsir Singh to avoid media interaction and to conduct himself as per norms during his stay in his native village here.

Information revealed that the Army authorities had conveyed to him that media interaction could create bottlenecks in his career.

The Army was forced to bar Jagsir Singh and Sapper Mohammad Arif, who spent about five years in Pakistani jails as prisoners of war, from interacting with the media after their marital status became a subject of discussion among people.

The authorities were of the opinion that stories connected with their private lives and marital status were in bad taste.

While Gudia, wife of Arif, re-married, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, wife of Jagsir Singh, left the house of her in-laws after she got to know that her husband had gone missing. Gudia and Jaswinder Kaur were conspicuous by their absence when their husbands were given a hero's welcome.

The authorities were also perturbed over how the jawans had been attending functions being organised for their felicitation in different parts of the country and have been giving interviews to the media without taking the permission of the authorities concerned.

The authorities have conveyed to Jagsir Singh that he was free to move anywhere during his one-month leave but he was not permitted to go to the press on any issue which required prior permission.

Jagsir Singh could not be contacted for comments.


SGPC to set up World Sikh university
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 25
The SGPC has decided to set up Shri Guru Granth Sahib World Sikh University in Fatehgarh Sahib. The foundation stone of the university would be laid during the annual Sahidi Jor Mela. The university would start functioning by 2008. This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, while addressing a function organised by staff and students of the local Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib. The function was organised to commemorate the 81st birth anniversary of the Late Jathedar G.S. Tohra.

He said Gurmat Sidhant Kendra would also set up at Fatehgarh Sahib, where Dhadhis and ragis would be given training in all languages to spread the message of Sikhism all over the world. He added that the SGPC would also set up five public schools in the state.

On the occasion a blood donation camp was organised. Mr Badal also laid the foundation stone of girls’ hostel. Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, Harmel Singh Tohra, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, principal also addressed the gathering.


SSF condemns Dr Ahluwalia’s appointment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
The Sikh Student Federation today said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had fallen to a new low by appointing former Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, as Education Adviser to the Sikh body.

In a statement here, federation general secretary Jaspal Singh Manjhpur said his organisation would launch a protest on the issue and also join hands with other Sikh bodies to prevent, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, from doing any work towards establishment of the proposed Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Manjhpur said it was unfortunate that the new SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur had chosen someone who was accused of indecency with a girl student of the university besides being accused of being responsible for an attack on a teacher of the Punjabi University. He said the federation would take direct action on the issue next month to force the SGPC to take back this decision.


National integration camp at Seona village
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
Regional Director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre Begum Raka Rashid today urged for intensive interaction between people of different South-East Asian countries. She was speaking at a seven-day National Integration Camp organised by the Progressive Youth Forum in association with the Ministry of Youth Affairs at Seona village.

She said it was essential to have such camps in rural areas so that youngsters could imbibe the culture and traditions of the place they visit.

State Bank of Patiala Assistant General Manager J.S. Aneja while speaking on the occasion said such camps could help in doing away with the inter-state squabbles. Progressive Youth Forum President Major Singh Sekhon and General Secretary Rawail Singh Bhinder talked about the work done by the forum in the backward areas of the Malwa region. As many as 130 volunteers from eight states participated in the camp.

Yesterday the camp was inaugurated by Principal Secretary Food and Supplies B.C. Gupta. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gupta said there was need to hold more such camps in rural areas.


1800-yr-old play back on stage
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 25
The 1800-year-old play, “Bhagwatajjukam”, cast its magic spell on the audience at Urvi Auditorium of BBK DAV College for Girls last evening.

Written by Bodhayan in second century AD, the play was directed by Sushil Bounthiyal with his Lucknow-based group, ‘Manchkriti’.

It starts with the appearance of a monk teaching his naughty pupil, Shandilya.

They enter a garden where Ganika along with her two friends has come to meet her lover, Ramilak.

But “yamdoot” takes the life of Ganika. On seeing her dead, Shandilya challenges his guru to bring her back to life.

Accepting the challenge, the guru puts his own soul into the dead. On reviving, Ganika starts behaving like the guru.

The “yamdoot” had taken the life of Ganika mistakenly, so he returns and is surprised to see the turn of events.

He puts Ganika’s soul into the body of the guru, on which the guru starts behaving like Ganika.

Finally, the messenger comes and restores the souls to their respective bodies.


Khet mazdoors’ ultimatum to govt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 25
The All-India Khet Mazdoor Union today served a six-month ultimatum on the Amarinder government to accept the demands of khet mazdoors otherwise a state-level agitation would be launched.

This was stated by Mr Sunit Chopra, joint secretary of the union, while talking to madiapersons here today after a rally.

He said the government should restore 100 units free power facility for khet mazdoors, besides waiving loans up to Rs 5,000. Earlier, a large number of khet mazdoors took out a protest march through the town. 


Warm welcome for girls on bikes
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, September 25
Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi and Ms Paramjit Kaur Pammi, who have brought laurels to the state by driving to Khardung La on a motor cycle, were given warm welcome at the local Guru Nanak College by residents, accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr B. R. Banga, here today.

The duo had earlier brought laurels to the town by making achievements in various adventurous missions.

On this occasion, Mr Banga appreciated the efforts of the two young girls and also congratulated them at their success. He announced a grant of Rs 10,000 for each and promised a job for one in his office.

Sharing their experiences with mediapersons, both Sukhi and Pammi said their visit was full of adventure and struggle.

They further said they were the first Punjabi girls to cross the Khardung La on Bullet motor cycle.


Camp held for renewing arms licences
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 25
The district licensing authorities organised a special camp at the DC office complex here today in which around 4,000 firearm licences were renewed.

The camp was the first of its kind in the district, especially after the firearms licence scandal rocked the district two years back.

The entire work of the LPC branch had virtually come to a standstill and licence holders were facing difficulty in getting these renewed.

The administration renewed licences in 15 days and barring those which are in the custody of the CBI.

Mr Rahul Tiwari, ADC, who monitored the entire process of renewal said once a licence holder was allotted a computer identification number ( CIN), he would face no problem in future for any work pertaining to his licence.

He said the licence holder would have to report to “Suvidha” centre just once for getting his job done.

Mr Tiwari stated that the only those arms licences made during the period starting from September 1, 1998, to February 28, 2001, were not being renewed as all these were under scrutiny of the CBI.


Henry heads panel on fly ash

Chandigarh, September 25
The Punjab Government has set up a 7 member committee under the chairmanship of Mr Avtar Henry, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, to find ways and means to use fly ash in the manufacturing of bricks, tiles, blocks etc. He has been asked to interact with brick-kiln owners, who have been directed by the Union Environment Ministry to use fly ash for manufacturing bricks etc. Brick-kiln owners are opposing this directive of the Union Ministry.

The committee has been asked to submit its report in a month. — TNS


Court wants powers to remain with ADGP Kant
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In less than 48 hours after a report appeared in these columns regarding withdrawal of charge for issuing permission to use red beacon lights from an officer, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today observed that the retention of power with the officer was in interest of justice.

Taking serious view of the news report, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar of the High Court had yesterday asked Punjab’s Assistant Advocate-General B.S. Chahal to apprise the court about the matter.

Appearing before the Judge, Mr Chahal today informed the court that the charge had, indeed, been taken away from Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Shashi Kant.

After hearing Mr Chahal, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar observed that it was brought to the court’s notice that power regarding permission to use red lights atop vehicle, given to an ADGP had been withdrawn and given to an Inspector-General of Police. This, Mr Justice Kumar added, was not permissible.

The Judge asserted that it would be in the interest of justice as well as implementation of the court directions to retain the power with the officer, specially as he had been attending proceedings pertaining to the matter.

The Judge also directed the state counsel to seek instructions in the matter and inform the court about the stand of the government in the matter on September 29 — the next date of hearing.

The report had earlier stated that the cop who angered several bureaucrats and police officers by regulating the use of beacon lights, was no more in the driver’s seat following the withdrawal of charge.

The report had mentioned that Inspector-General of Police S.K. Sharma had been asked to take care of the red light issue instead of ADGP Kant — in charge of security. The orders had taken the police officers by surprise as the authority to issue permission for the use of red lights and black films has always remained with the ADGP (Security).

The ADGP had earlier directed all government officers — except Additional and Principal Secretaries — to remove red blinkers from atop their vehicles. The permission to use the lights granted to them was also cancelled. All ADGPs were asked to follow suit.


Paddy procurement from Sept 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Following the green signal from the Union Government, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has announced that the procurement of paddy by various government agencies will start from September 27 instead October 1. It has been advanced by four days because of heavy arrivals of paddy in various grain markets, especially in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that about 40 per cent paddy had already arrived in markets in the Amritsar region. The crop seemingly matured early because of the drought factor. He said that he had taken up the matter of procurement of paddy with the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, who okayed the move.

He asserted that there was no distress sale of paddy in any part of the state. In fact, in certain markets, it was fetching prices around Rs 690. Private traders were buying paddy at a fast pace. He said that the FCI would enter the grain markets on September 27.


Inside Babudom
Failure to send officers on deputation leads to pruning
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The posting of IPS officers on ex-cadre posts and failure of senior Punjab Police authorities to send officers on deputation to the Centre apparently led to pruning of force.

The change of cadre by several officers to remain in the state, and top heavy structure, also contributed towards the passing of orders. Some of the posts had been existing for over 10 years.

The orders passed by Punjab's Department of Home Affairs and Justice reveals that all the posts redesignated, abolished, or to be abolished, are ex-cadre. The relevant rules clearly say that cadre or IPS officers cannot be posted on such posts.

Before the pruning orders were passed by the government, there were 12 posts of Additional Directors-General of Police (ADGPs). As many as six were ex-cadre.

Though the sanctioned strength of Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs) was 13, there were 17 officers — four occupying ex-cadre.

As of now, there are four Directors-General of Police (DGPs) in Punjab. Interestingly, just one post is cadre. Rest are ex-cadre posts.

The problem of surplus was worsened by the fact that the officers were not being sent to the Centre on deputation.

The rules make it mandatory for the state to send at least 31 police officers on deputation with the Centre. But the Punjab Police has been sending far less number of officers. At present, there are just seven officers on deputation.

Following the pruning orders, out of six ex-cadre posts of ADGPs, three have been abolished. Another two have been downgraded.

In case of IGPs, three out of the four ex-cadre posts have been abolished.

The sources in the Punjab Home Department say that the government as of now has decided not prune any more posts and wait for the officers to retire upon attaining the age of superannuation.


2 non-PCS officers in IAS cadre

Chandigarh, September 25
The Union Government has issued a notification appointing two Punjab non-PCS officers, Mr V.K. Sharma and Mr D.S. Grewal, to the IAS cadre. They have been selected to the IAS cadre by the UPSC on the basis of their interview held in April, 2004.

Mr V.K. Sharma, who has joined his duty as IAS officer in Punjab, was earlier posted as examiner, Local Fund Accounts. Mr D.S. Grewal, who has also joined as IAS officer, was earlier posted as Managing Director of Punjab State Cooperative Bank. — TNS


5 killed, 1 injured in road accident
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
Five persons were killed on the spot and a woman was seriously injured when a truck over ran them while they were standing on the G.T. Road near Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib. According to sources, the accident took place at the Madhopur chowk on the GT Road.

The van, which belonged to the religious sect of Baba Sheesha Singh of Hazoor Sahib, was travelling from Cheeka, Haryana, to Amritsar. The truck was coming from Rajpura.

The sources said the truck driver seemed to be under intoxication as he literally swept away all six persons, standing on one side of the van close to the main road. The speed of the truck was such that many of them were carried along with it for a distance.

Only the mangled remains of the victims could be retrieved. The truck driver was taken into police custody.

The deceased were identified as Mahinder Singh of Kakrala village, Nishan Singh of Govindpura near Jalandhar, Joga Singh from Kaithal district in Haryana, Daler Singh of Kharkara village and Sukha Singh of Thaska village.

Sukha Singh was the driver of the ill-fated van. The injured woman was admitted to a hospital in Fatehgarh Sahib. 


Cops deployed in Khalsa College
Our Correspondent

Amritsar September 25
The gates of Khalsa College were closed on the striking students today even as it was a working day.

The strikers, under the banner of the Students Welfare Union, raised slogans against the Principal, Mr J.S. Dhillon. Reportedly a DSP and an ASI were deputed on the college premises along with five police personnel.

Mr Tejwinder Singh, Mr Gursharan Chhina and other office-bearers of union demanded an immediate and time bound inquiry into the allegations levelled against the college Principal.

The allegations included the misappropriation of students’ funds, including purchase of a vehicle and the construction of the residence for the Principal.

The students alleged that the Principal was encouraging groupism and had hiked the fee on the pretext of building a college auditorium. They also complained about insufficient staff in the Physiotherapy Department.

The strike entered the fourth day today.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |