P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kultaran’s family wants death penalty for killer
Judgement within 10 days
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
“Are all residents of a country equal before the law ?” This was the thrust of the arguments before the trial of Majid Jahanshahi (49), a Muslim in the Kultaran Singh Anand (51) murder case, that was held in Teheran Criminal Court yesterday where the five-member jury was told about mobilisation of international support in favour of justice to the victims’ family.

Produced before the jury was a clipping of The Tribune of December 13 through which Ms Damanpal Kaur, widow of the victim, had expressed her apprehension that justice may not be done in the case as the victim was a Sikh and the perpetrator of the crime, a Muslim. The court got The Tribune clipping on record and got it translated into Persian after Mr Ghassemian, prosecution counsel, informed the jury that the trial was being watched worldwide not only by the India diaspora but also by human rights organisations.

The jury, after hearing the arguments of both sides, reserved the verdict which it said would be pronounced within 10 days. The jury comprised five Judges — Mr Yaverzadeh, Mr Sabzevari, Mr Kamari, Mr Rahimi and Mr Bagheri. The court room was packed like sardines by members of the Indian community, including representatives of the Gurdawara Teheran Committee and of the Guru Nanak Charitable Trust, besides honorary delegates of the India-Iran Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Mr Mohanan, First Secretary of the Indian Embassy in Iran. It is for the first time that any member of the Indian diplomatic corps joined proceedings in the case to ensure the bereaved family a fair trial.

Another important issue raised during the trial was the religion and belief of the victim who was born and brought up in Iran but still held Indian citizenship. The Judge wanted to know whether the victim was a Buddhist or belonged to some other religion. Mr Pervinder Singh, a social worker present in the court, explained Sikhism and held that there were several commonalities between Sikhism and Islam, including belief in one God. He further said that Holy Guru Granth Sahib recognised Allah in the scripts and the contribution of Muslim peers in Gurbani, which is daily recited by Sikhs. He appealed that the justice for Sikhs should be done as is being done in case of Muslims. The Judge recorded that Kultaran Singh was a Sikh and Sikhs believe in one God.

Yesterday, all prominent Iranian dailies covered the murder trial giving minute details of the proceedings of the trial by focussing on issues like “Sikh resident”, “Qesas”, “Justice like Muslim,” following the global focus on the case as the bereaved family sought help and support form the Sikh diaspora as well as human rights activists, including the Nobel Laureate from Iran. Various Iranian newspapers also quoted profusely from The Tribune story.

The accused, Majid Jahanshahi, along with his family and lawyers, was seated in the front row followed by widow of the victim, Mrs Damanpal Kaur Anand, and her elder son, Jaspreet Singh (20), besides other relatives and family friends.

Both the defence and the prosecution gave their arguments after the man accused accepted that he had killed Mr Kultaran Singh, his friend, in a rage of anger and pleaded mercy before the family of the victim.

The victim’s family, however, demanded that exemplary punishment, including death sentence, be awarded to the accused for he not only betrayed friendship but also denied the victim medical attention after he had been fatally stabbed. The accused had even put the victim’s mobile out of his reach to deny him access to any outside help.

The Judge asked Jaspreet Singh what justice he wanted for the murder of his father. “Death penalty”, he said. Thereafter, the lawyer of the family, Mr Mohammed Reza Ghassemian, appealed to the court to award exemplary punishment on basis of “Qesas” and explained about the articles of law for justice and its applications and silence of the law on certain important issues and requested the ratification of same.

He told the Judge that the media in India had shown solidarity with the family seeking justice. He presented in the court clips of The Tribune which were acknowledged and taken on record. 


Chandumajra wants PM, Kalam to stay away
Stone laying of Sikh varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and President. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to stay away from the foundation laying ceremony of the World Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

The SGPC has invited both.

Mr Chandumajra said the SGPC had set up a private trust for the management of the university, which was not acceptable to most Akali leaders. He said the SGPC should set up an academic council for managing the affairs of the proposed university and other educational institutions.

Eminent educationists including former Vice-Chancellors, should be taken on the Council.

Mr Chandumajra said his party was opposed to the handing over the control of SGPC educational institutions to trusts headed by semi-literate or illiterate persons.

He said the President of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had handed over some institutions to trusts headed by non educationists. “ We would launch an agitation to save Sikh institutions”, he said. When told the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra had also set up such trusts, Mr Chandumajra said: “Such trusts set up during Mr Tohra’s time should also be disbanded”.

He said the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal should have taken the initiative for holding a joint congregations to pay tributes to the Sahibzadas during the Jor mela. “The SGPC is working as a political off-shoot of Badal’s party and it is not bothered about other Akali factions or Panthic organisations”, he alleged.


Funds for heritage project within week: govt
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, December 17
The Punjab Government will release the funds for further development of the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex project at Anandpur Sahib within a week. It has decided to give the requisite guarantee for Rs 100 crore loan to the PNB-led consortium of banks. The consortium of five banks in March 2004 had sanctioned Rs 100-crore loan to the government but it could not be released in the absence of the requisite government guarantee.

The work was stopped due to the paucity of fund from the state and Central Governments. The Tribune had carried the story on December 17 with headline “Work at Khalsa Heritage complex at standstill”.

Dr D.S.Jaspal, Chief Executive Officer of the Anandpur Foundation, said within a week the required money would be released by the government and added that the Finance Ministry had cleared the file.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to Union Ministry of Cultural Affair and Tourism, Ms Neena Ranjan, today visited the project site. She will file a report within a month for releasing the money. The Central Government, which was to bear one third of the expenses, has also delayed the release of money due to the inability of the Punjab Government in arranging its share.


Canadian PM to pay obeisance at Darbar Sahib
on Jan 15

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Accompanied by Canadian Punjabi Members of Parliament (MPs), Mr Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple on January 15, a day after the Maghi festival. He will be the second Canadian Prime Minister to visit the Golden Temple. Earlier, Prime Minister, Jean Chretien had also paid obeisance at the Darbar Sahib.

Cheema may head Canadian consulate in Chandigarh 

Mr Paul Martin is expected to announce the appointment of Dr Gulzar Singh Cheema as Consul-General of the Canadian Consulate in Chandigarh. Earlier, Mr Bhupinder Singh Lidhra was appointed but he could not take over charge here because of certain technical reasons. Sources said that the office of the Canadian Prime Minister had approved the name of Dr Cheema for posting at Chandigarh but no official announcement has been made yet. Dr Cheema belongs to Bariah village in Gurdaspur and is an active politician in Canada for the past some years. He is an MBBS doctor by profession.

Informed sources said that Mr Martin, who would be heading nearly a 100-member delegation, including industrialists, businessmen, academicians and journalists, will also hold a meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Delhi. The Canadian Government is interested in a tie-up in agricultural and other sectors with the Punjab Government through The Union Government, it is learnt.

Mr Martin, who would stay in India for five days, would also visit China, Japan and Hong Kong. But he would be mainly concentrating on India and spending maximum time in this country of his 9-day tour of four countries, said a senior member of his entourage.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from Canada, the member said that Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, Mr Ujjal Dosanj, Dr Ruby Dhala, Mr Navdeep Bains, all Punjabi Members of the Canadian Parliament, would be accompanying Mr Martin to India.

However, two other Punjabi MPs, Mr Gurwant Grewal and his wife Mrs Neena Grewal, who belonged the opposition party, have not been included in the delegation. Mr Martin, who became the Prime Minister in December, 2003, has close relations with Punjabis, who have significant presence in his home constituency. In fact, his two family members have close relatives in Sikh families and one of them belongs to the City Beautiful.

Sources said that Mr Martin is expected to make some significant announcements such as allowing Sikhs to wear five Sikh symbols, including kara and kirpan, at their workplaces in his country. In fact, there is a clear political motive behind Mr Martin’s visit to India. By visiting Darbar Sahib he wanted to win over the Punjabis settled in Canada, where elections for the House of Commons are expected to be held next year. Martin’s minority government can fall any time next year because it is facing political problems.


Misuse of herbicides damaging wheat crop
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 17
Thousands of acres of wheat crop in Punjab is getting damaged due to misuse of certain herbicides by farmers following wrong advice by self-styled farm experts or pesticide sellers, who, recommend mixing certain amounts of herbicides with Isoproturon, a selective herbicide recommended by the Punjab Agriculture Department. 

More than 50 per cent farmers of Punjab, where the estimated area under wheat is about 32.50 lakh hectares, mix metribuzone with Isoproturon under the apprehension that herbicides like phlarisminor, wild oat and other broad-leaved weeds, had developed resistance to Isoproturon.

“Since the mixture is neither required nor effective as per desire, the farmers were not only wasting their hard earned money on non-prescribed weedicides and herbicides, but their wheat crop was also getting afflicted with maladies such as wilting of leaves and even loss of yield. Use of non-recommended weedicides was also leading to decrease in grain size,” said Mr. Baldev Singh Kahlon and Mr. Naresh Gulati, the Chief Agriculture Officer and Agriculture Development Officer, Jalandhar.

“Not only this, in certain cases leaves of wheat plants start paling and even the plants suffer damage,” said Mr. Naresh Gulati.

The Agriculture Department, Punjab, according to Mr Kahlon and Mr Gulati, had already recommended use of weedicides as sulphosulphuron in case they required to break the resistance of certain weeds to Isoproturon.

“The misuse and mixing of non prescribed weedicides was also occurring due to farmers’ over dependence and reliance on spray workers and certain pesticide sellers. They should only go in for prescribed weedicides,” said Mr Surjeet Singh Sekhon, a member of the district agriculture production committee and a progressive farmer based at Bhogpur.


Living on the edge of a tinderbox
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

(Surra Pind) Jalandhar, December 17
Living just on the edge of an ammunition depot here, their life is in jeopardy day and night. As many as 40 persons have their houses at Surra Pind just across the boundary wall erected by the Army.

The Army officials claim that these families were residing before the legislation disallowing persons to construct or renovate houses 1,200 yards from the periphery came into existence last year, and thus they could not be vacated from the area. The residents, on the other hand, have said that they were most willing to have the place, but only if the Army pays them the price of the land they were living on.

The families light their hearths and cook food just 10 to 20 yards away from the depot boundary; even the Army has imposed a ban on burning of material 500 meters in its vicinity.

Most men work in the fields and raise animals that are tied by the boundary of the ammunition depot. There are others who work in factories and workshops in the surrounding areas. The women do the household as their children play in the area the whole day.

But these 40 persons seem to have lived with it. “It has been three years that we have been living like that. There has been no mishap since then and we hope that nothing of the sort will ever happen. The Army men keep telling us to vacate the place, but we will do that only if they pay us the price of the land we are living on,” said a woman as she cooked food in a tiny kitchen of her house.

These Army men always keep vigil on us. A man standing on the tower in front of our home knows everything about our visitors and even our daily activities. Even if we add a single brick in our house, they would come up and stop us from doing any renovation,” said a 35-year-old resident, who did not wish to give her name.

It is just not these 40 persons, there are a few other houses as well that lie very close to the depot, albeit the Army officials claim that these were built before the law was implemented. A glucose factory also falls in the same village, just at a stone’s throw from the depot.

Besides Surra Pind, several other villages, including Hira Pind and Nandpur, that fall along the boundary, have well-developed colonies. Many other colonies have also started developing about 3 km behind the ammunition depot. 


Bir Devinder moots new district
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 17
The Kharar MLA has proposed the creation of a new district Ajitgarh Sahib, that would comprise the Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi townships and 500 villages from these areas.

In a detailed proposal sent to the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today the MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, requested that an announcement to this effect be made at Chamkaur Sahib as part of the events being organised to mark the 300 years of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said the proposed district would include the three subdivisions- Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi. While both Mohali and Kharar fall in Ropar district, Dera Bassi falls in Patiala district. Other than the three subdivisions, Banur quanungo circle in Rajpura and Chunni quanungo circle in Fatehgarh Sahib have been proposed to be included as part of the district.

“The new district would include 508 villages and is expected to be a compact administrative unit, easier to manage than the current divisions. Residents of these areas would not need to travel beyond 25 to 30 km for all administrative and judicial works,” he said.

The MLA pointed out in the proposal that Mohali was becoming the hub of major commercial, industrial and residential activities. A large number of multi-national companies were investing in Mohali and Dera Bassi and these townships were expanding with each passing day. He said it would be wise to follow the Panchkula example and regulate this expansion by converting the area into a distinct administrative unit.

He added that since Mohali was the focus of IT companies for setting up of their units, it was also the need of the hour to provide these companies with basic administrative and judicial services. The status of a district would also lead to better higher and technical educational facilities than what these towns were providing.

As many as 81 villages of Mohali, 201 villages falling in Kharar, 151 villages of Dera Bassi, 31 villages of Rajpura and 44 villages of Chunni would form a part of the proposed district.

Stating that it would be the most befitting tribute to the Sahibzadas Mr Bir Devinder Singh pointed out that the government should announce the creation of Ajitgarh Sahib at Chamkaur Sahib. Following which a high powered committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister should be constituted to set into motion the process of creation of the new district. The Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary, the Commissioner, Patiala division, the Deputy Commissioners of Patiala, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib would also form a part of the proposed committee along with the local MLAs.

The MLA suggested that the entire process be completed by April 2005 and on the Baisakhi day the formal creation of the district be announced by the Chief Minister. He added that Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority should be asked to provide for a secretariat building and judicial complex at the earliest in Mohali.



Shaheedi procession flagged off
Tribune News Service

Paonta Sahib, December 17
An impressive shaheedi procession was flagged off from the historic Gurdwara Paonta Sahib here this morning by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti.

Several senior Sikh leaders, including several religious leaders, were present when the procession started. Baba Nihal Singh Harian Belanwale, Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, Mr Raghujit Singh Virk and Mr Baldev Singh, all members of the SGPC, and others led the procession.

The procession will move through various towns to touch historic gurdwaras. It reached Gurdwara Nadha Sahib, in Panchkula, tonight from where it would head for Chamkaur Sahib, where two of the four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh attained martyrdom in battlefield.


Bansal elected Sangrur IMA chief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 17
For the first time in the history of Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), elections of a local branch of the association had been conducted by the state unit of the IMA, which otherwise used to be conducted at the branch level.

The elections of the Sangrur branch were conducted through secret ballot by the Punjab IMA a couple of days ago to put an end to the on-going controversy arising after the elections of the local branch in July this year, allegedly by two factions of the Sangrur branch of the IMA, separately. 

The president of the Punjab IMA, Dr O.P.S. Kande, said the results of the elections of the Sangrur unit of the IMA had been declared by the Election Commission, Punjab IMA, the previous day. Dr L.C. Bansal had been elected president of the Sangrur unit of the IMA. Dr (Ms) G.K. Raikhy and Dr Makhan Singh had been declared elected as vice-presidents, while Dr Parmod Kumar and Dr P.S. Klair had been elected honorary secretary and honorary finance secretary, respectively, of the unit.


Stone laid for sports stadium
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 17
General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Member Parliament Sukhbir Singh Badal today laid the foundation stone for a sports stadium at Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib. Member Secretary of the college trust Kirpal Singh Libra presided over the stone-laying ceremony .

Mr Badal also presided over the light and sound programe dedicated to martydom of Sahibzadas in Gaini Ditt Singh auditorium.

Students of the Dasmesh Academy, Ropar, presented this show.

Mr Badal said the youth of the country must develop their interest in sports and shun drugs. He said drug abuse among the youth in the Malwa region was on the rise and colleges must develop the interest of students in sports.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra said with the laying of foundation stone of the college sports stadium, the sports infrastructure would be the best in the region among the engineering colleges in the state. Mr Libra said the swimming pool of the college was under construction and would be completed by the end of the April.

The college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, said the sports stadium would be constructed at the cost of Rs 50 lakh and Rs 70 lakh more would be spent on the college swimming pool. 


Pensioners’ bhavan at Fatehgarh Sahib

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 17
The state government has formed a high-powered committee for the welfare of senior citizens under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister and members of the committee have been taken from all districts of the state, said Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Pensioners, while addressing a state-level gathering on the eve of pensioners day celebration at Bachat Bhavan today.

He said all problems of the pensioners would be sorted out on a priority basis and they would be given representation in district grievances committees. He said a pensioners bhavan would be constructed at Fatehgarh Sahib and he gave a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to the Pensioners Association for this bhavan and promised more funds for the completion of Bhavan. OC


Steps to boost milk production
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Punjab Government’s Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Department is making efforts to further boost milk production from 3,000 litres per lactation to 5,000 litres per lactation by cross-breeding inter-bred varieties of cows and buffalos.

Pure-bred cows and buffaloes produce just about 800 litres per lactation. The lactation period is spread over 305 days. Compared to the cross-bred variety, the pure-bred animals not only yield less milk, but are also less resistant to diseases.

The move to further improve the production by cross-breeding the inter-bred animals is significant as Punjab has the highest per capita availability of milk in the country. This is not all. The state is producing the maximum with the minimum.

The livestock population in the state is 85 lakh, including sheep and other animals. Yet the state contributes 11 per cent to the country’s total milk production. Even Amul Co-operative has demanded milk from Punjab.

Animal Husbandry Department officials say that as of now there are approximately 20 lakh cross-bred animals in the state, out of which nine lakh to 11 lakh produce milk.

The government has also decided to market semen of “elite” cows and buffalo bulls to other states, along with “progressive farmers”, to improve overall milk production.

The decision in this regard was taken during a meeting between the Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang and the department officers.


Bhakra project gets ISO 9001 certification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Bhakra Nangal project of the Bhakra Beas Management Board has been granted licence by the Bureau of Indian Standards under ISO 9001: 2000 for quality assurance.

BBMB’s 5 major substations and transmission lines have also been approved by BIS for grant of ISO 9001 quality systems certification. All the projects of BBMB are in the process of obtaining ISO 9001 BIS certification for quality and ISO 14001 certification for environment.

About 8000 mandays of training was provided to BBMB employees under this programme. ISO 9001 certification gives opportunity to increase value to the activities of the organistion and to improve its performance continually.

The standards place great emphasis on business results, including satisfaction of the customers and other interested parties. ISO 14001 certification lays emphasis on environmental management systems which helps in conservation and upgradation of the environment.


Support for Markfed staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Employees of at least two cooperatives today extended their support to Markfed staff agitating against the “step-motherly treatment” of Punjab Government since last three days.

According to a press release, the cooperatives include Punjab Cooperative Bank and Punjab Agriculture Development Bank. The employees claimed that bonus and exgratia was released before Divali earlier, but this time the matter was being delayed by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and the government for one reason or another.


Low sex ratio, poverty lead to rise in bachelors’ number
Tribune News Service

Makha (Mansa), December 17
"Marriage is settled in heaven and performed on earth". It seems this adage holds no truth for a significant number of residents of Makha village of Mansa district who have been waiting for that lucky moment when they will get married.

The perpetual poverty, less land holding and falling sex ratio seems to have cursed the "youths" of this village as more than 120 "youths" are still hoping that they will find a suitable life partner even after crossing the age of 50.

A number of residents have become chronic bachelors, as they could not get married due to their bad economic condition.

Though a large number of residents of Makha have remained unmarried due to different reasons, the residents of the village seem to have failed to learn any lesson as the male female sex ratio in the village was alarmingly low at 1000:747.

Mewa Singh (name changed), a resident of this village said though they were three brothers, only one of them was married. He added that only two offers in connection with his marriage alliance came but he refused due to his poor economic condition. Now, he had been waiting for the same for the past many years but without any success.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that while most of the bachelors, who had crossed 40 years to 50 years of age, had started giving up hope of getting married, the bachelors, who were still young, had been trying to find jobs in nearby areas so that they could earn enough to be eligible for marriage.

A section of aged bachelors pointed out that they had been facing various problems on account of the fact that they could not get married. They added that they were rarely invited to social functions held in the village and its surrounding areas. The women of the village also did not respect them.


Prashar group sweeps City Club poll
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 17
The Prashar group today made a clean sweep in the City Club polls by winning three posts out of four posts and six seats in the nine-member executive of the premier club. Out of total 333 votes, as many as 306 members cast their votes. One vote was declared cancelled. Phagwara BDPO Mr Harbilas was the Returning Officer while Mrs Seema Singh, Naib-Tehsildar, was the Duty Magistrate for the polls.

While the group leader, Mr Ashok Prashar, won the prestigious office of the vice-president of the club, Mr Mohinder Sharma won as honorary secretary, Mukesh Goel was elected cashier.

The Khurana group had to be content with lone office of joint secretary with Mr Amrik Singh Khurana getting elected to that post.

Out of nine Executive members, six of Prashar group and three of Khurana group won. They included Mr Sunil Gaba, Mr Pawan Kumar Somra, Mr Satnam Singh Sembhi, Mr Sanjiv Gupta, Mr Ashwani Tewari, Mr Sham Sinder Indu, Mr Harish Gupta, Mr Sanjay Jalota, Mr Ranjit Singh Khurana.


Sweepers ransack MC office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
Safai karamcharis of the Municipal Corporation today staged a dharna outside its office to press for early clearance of pending department cases. Sanjay Khosla led the dharna.

However, things turned ugly when about 10 persons entered the office of Dr Subhash Sharma, Health Officer on the Town Hall premises and hit the desk glass.

The matter was reported to the Additional Commissioner, Mr Kulwant Singh in the absence of the Commissioner. Dr Subhash said cases related to salaries and death certificates but he had assured them that they had been forwarded.

He said he would take up the case with the Commissioner soon after his return.


Fresh probe into appointment of lab technicians
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 17
In a new twist to appointment of lab technicians in the TB Hospital on the basis of fake certificates, a fresh enquiry has been marked to Mr Munish Kumar, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) by the authorities concerned.

Earlier an inquiry in the case was conducted by Mr Gian Singh Bal, Deputy Director Local Bodies, who had submitted his report to Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of the District TB Control Society. The Deputy Commissioner had ordered an enquiry this year following a complaint by Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president, All-India Youth Association.

In the complaint to DC it was alleged that Dr Mittarpal Devgan, District T B Officer (DTBO) recruited six incompetent persons against the post of laboratory technician even when he was not authorised to do so. While the posts were to be given only to persons who possessed the diploma or degrees of institutes recognised by the state government, these were given to persons who did not possess the same.


Notice to Punjab on reauction of liquor vends
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the Punjab Government for March 21, 2005, on a petition challenging the reauction of liquor vends of Jalandhar-1 and II, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr on November 5.

The petitioner, Sanjeev Bhandari, has claimed that just a day prior to the reauction, he was threatened and told not to participate in the same or else his family would be eliminated.

Mr Mohan Jain, counsel for the petitioner, alleged that the reauction was against the letter and spirit of the judgment of the High Court, the law settled by the Supreme Court, the Punjab Excise Act and liquor licence rules.

“The reauction was started at a price below the ‘sarkari boli’ fixed by the department causing a loss to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 17.79 crore. The procedure adopted was against the norms followed by the department in liquor auctions by ignoring the minimum license fee norms,” he asserted.

The petitioner has claimed that the Government now wants to recover the loss by forfeiting the security deposit of Rs 6.07 crore.


Accused in acid-throwing case held
Our Correspondent

Batala, December 17
The police has arrested Davinder Singh, an accused in an acid-throwing incident, in  which five persons had suffered burn injuries. A case under Sections 307/323 of the IPC has been registered against him at Batala police station yesterday.

In the incident, Mr Daljit Singh had suffered burn injuries on his face and arms, while the other four escaped with minor injuries.


Raped minor girl gives birth to child
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 17
A minor girl, who is deaf and dumb, gave birth to a child at the Civil Hospital, Barnala, on Wednesday. The girl had been repeatedly raped.

The girl, a student of the local Deaf and Dumb school, was admitted to the hospital on September 5 when she fell unconscious. The doctors proclaimed her to be pregnant.

After investigating the matter the police registered a case against her neighbour Harvinder and his family.

Harvinder, his sister and parents were arrested but his brother, Narinder, is absconding.


CD on engg college released
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 17
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today released a CD depicting various aspects and academic activities of the Yadvindra College of Engineering, set up by the university at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.

Officials of the university, including Dr S.P.S. Virdi, Dean Academic Affairs; Dr Param Bakhshish Singh, Registrar; Dr R.S.Ghuman, Dean College Development Council; and Dr Gurdip Singh, director of the college, were also present.

A documentary on the establishment, aims and objectives of the college prepared by Dr Yogesh Ghambir, Dr Gurcharan Singh and Dr Sunita Dhir was also shown.

Addressing the officials, the Vice-Chancellor said the step would help fill the widening gap between the privileged and the underprivileged by imparting technical education to brighter students from the rural areas.

Mr Boparai hoped that it would prove a milestone in spreading technical education in educationally backward rural areas and ultimately setting up rural university in the Malwa belt.

Investigators who made numerous visits to the rural areas of various districts of the state shared their views on the general impression held by the rural people in connection with the aims and objectives of the institution.

They included Prof Buta Singh Brar, Dr Monika, Dr P.D. Aggarwal, Dr Satnam Singh, Mr Amandeep Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh Josan, Mr Gian Chand Mittal, Mr N.S. Walia, Mr H.S. Gurm, Mr A.S. Sandhu, Dr Dhaliwal and Dr Balwinder Singh (USA). They also announced scholarship for students of the institution.

Mr Boparai honoured the donors with mementos and souvenirs.


Stir gives new twist to tussle for HoD’s post
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, December 17
The tussle between the present Head of Department (HoD) of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy at Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Jaspal Singh, and his probable successor. Dr G.S. Kang, today took a new turn when the students of the department took out protest march to the office of the Vice-Chancellor of the university.

The students holding banners and wearing black badges, expressed resentment over the elevation of Dr Kang as Head of the Department as he was alleged to be not qualified for the post. The tenure of Dr Jaspal Singh would end on December 31 this year.

Meanwhile, the GNDU Teachers Association has condemned the ‘pressure tactics’ of Dr Jaspal Singh to block the chance of Dr Kang who is likely to succeed him from January 1, 2005.

They wrote a letter to the Governor and Chancellor of the university alleging that Dr G.S. Kang did not have any basic qualification in psychology, which he was teaching in the department. They claimed that he was not eligible to teach as per the UGC norms and his elevation as HoD would ruin their careers.

However, Dr Kang, who would take over as the Head of Department, said his selection was as per the UGC and university norms. He said the students were being provoked and misled by some teachers who had vested interests, to protest against his appointment as HoD. He said they had approached the Supreme Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court, which gave a verdict in his favour, he claimed.

Dr Devinder Singh, president of the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association said the students did not indulge in such politics as headship of the department was decided as per university statute and UGC norms. He said if the students had any grievance or problems about their degree or syllabus then they should complain to the board of control of the Vice-Chancellor of the university. He said the board of control was responsible for careers, examinations, syllabus and interviews of students and not the Head of Department.

He said the association had criticised the state government for interfering in the university matters. The university had earlier constituted a five-member committee in this regard after the intervention of a senior minister of the ruling government.


Book released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh today released a book — Bharatiya Sangeet ke Anmol Mani Dr Lalmani Mishar — written by Dr Gurpreet Kaur in Hindi.

Speaking on this occasion, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh said it was a commendable effort made by Dr Gurpreet Kaur on the life and work of Dr Mishar.

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