P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Police doesn’t rule out mafia’s hand in kidnapping
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 9
Even as the police has prepared computer sketches of the suspected kidnappers of the son of a local rice-sheller owner, the possibility of involvement of a Dubai-based mafia in the crime is not being ruled out. The family of the kidnapped boy is engaged in import-export business with Dubai-based companies.

Meanwhile, the students of DAV Public School today held peace march in the city and arranged havan and prayers in the school for early and safe release of Prabir Singh. A meeting of the principals of various schools urged the parents not to give luxury cars to their wards.

The border police is trying to engage the state chopper to locate the car in which Prabir Singh, alias Guddu, was kidnapped.

The kidnapping seems to have become an election issue as the Ajnala assembly segment is part of Amritsar district. Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today demanded convening of a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to discuss what he described as the “explosive law and order situation” in the state. After visiting the house of Guddu, Mr Badal alleged that there was no safety and security of life and property in the state.

In his hard-hitting statement, Mr Badal alleged that the situation was the consequence of the heavy and brazen politicisation of the police force and criminalsation of politics. He expressed grave concern over the twin menace of lawlessness and state repression, adding, “People of the state were bearing the brunt of the failure of political leadership to inspire the police force to mount pressure on lawless and anti-social elements in the state. He said that incidents like this and the one at Goraya in which a four-year-old child, Amandeep, was abducted and subsequently killed, were merely symptomatic of the overall deterioration in the law and order situation. He also referred to the kidnapping of the son of a DSP and said that this incident was a proof of the audacity of the lawless elements in the state.”

However, (Capt Amarinder Singh hoped that the boy would return home safe and sound within two days. He said the police had been directed to ensure the safe release of the boy.

The DIG, Border Range, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, said that the records of recently release hardcore criminals were being scrutinised. The entire border belt had been divided into different sectors. The houses of former criminals, dismissed SPOs or policemen were being raided. The border police had been coordinating with the police of adjoining states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Haryana, etc. 

Ex-DSP’s son missing
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 9
Even as more than 12 days have passed since the son of a retired DSP of the Punjab Police went missing, the district police has swung into action as police teams have been sent to Agra and Hyderabad to find his whereabouts.

Kamalpreet Singh, class VII student of Christ King Convent School and son of Mr Puran Singh Purewal, had gone missing since the morning of January 29.

The former DSP claims that his son has been kidnapped by some terrorist groups to take the revenge of his tough acts during militancy in the state.

Mr Shammi Kumar, SP, said the police teams had been sent to Agra and Hyderabad as HDFC bank officials had disclosed that Rs 16,000 had been withdrawn by using Kamalpreet's debit card at Agra, Hyderabad and even Coimbatore.



Rajbir Singh back in Cong, joins poll campaign
Neeraj Bagga

Ajnala, February 9
The Congress today received a shot in the arm when Major Rajbir Singh (retd), Chairman, Punjab State Livestock Development Board (PSLDB), joined the election campaign in favour of his younger brother, Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala.

Capt Amarinder Singh visited the residence of Major Rajbir Singh in the morning to persuade him to join the election campaign. Subsequently, they participated in a series of election rallies held at various border villages of the constituency, including Lango Mahal, Gaggo Mahal, Ghonewal and Ramdas.

It may be recalled that earlier peeved over the denial of the Congress ticket for the forthcoming Ajnala byelection scheduled to be held on February 23, Major Rajbir Singh had declared to contest the byelection as rebel candidate.

However, later Major Rajbir Singh changed his decision after the intervention of senior Congress leaders and decided not to contest the byelection. He had set a term to campaign for the Congress that Capt Amarinder Singh should visit his house and persuade his supporters.

Though Major Rajbir Singh was sitting beside the Chief Minister at Community Hall of Gaggo Mahal to support the Congress, he seemed gloomy. He was given the first opportunity to address the electorate. In his speech, he described Mr Harpratap Singh and Mr Amarpal Singh Bonny of the SAD as “mohras” and added that the real fight was between Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD.

Capt. Amarinder Singh, while talking to mediapersons, said he could accept the challenge of Mr Badal describing the Ajnala byelection as referendum of the people on the performance of his government only when if Mr Badal agreed to abandon politics in case the SAD got defeated. He said earlier his party had won two byelections of Garhshankar and Kapurthala.

Hitting out at Mr Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that the SAD chief was following the politics of opportunism and said he could not befool the people anymore by stirring their sentiments to achieve his ulterior motive.

The Chief Minister said the welfare of farmers had always been on the top of their agenda. He informed that the government had already submitted a proposal to the Central Government to fix the MSP of wheat at Rs. 780.


SAD writes to Election Commission

Amritsar, February 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday demanded the transferring of Mr Gurmit Singh, Deputy registrar (cooperative) and Mr Surjit Singh Bhullar, district manager, Central Cooperative Bank, for allegedly helping the Congress candidate, Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala.

Mr Amarpal Singh Bony, SAD candidate from Ajnala, in a faxed complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner alleged that the two officers after taking leave from their offices were supporting and helping the Congress candidate. He alleged both were pressurising people to vote for Harpartap Singh. He alleged that Gurmit Singh was a brother of Darshan Singh Isapur who is a leader of the Panthic Morcha and supporting the Congress.


Translation of Granth Sahib not acceptable: Bibi
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The SGPC today opened a new front against the organisations and individuals engaged in the translation of Guru Granth Sahib in other languages such as Telugu, Urdu, Kannad, Tamil and Hindi.

Giving a clear warning in this regard to the organisations and individuals concerned, the president of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, said that certain organisations were engaged in the translation of Guru Granth Sahib. "It was not acceptable and nothing should be done in this regard without the SGPC's permission", she added. Books could be published about the meaning of Gurbani in Guru Granth Sahib, its significance and message.

"Guru Granth Sahib could not be translated or published in its original form in any other language nor the ' Parkash' of the translated work could be held anywhere", she added. After the meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC, she said that strict action would be taken against those resorting to the translation of the holy Granth.

When asked that the Institute of Sikh Studies recently honoured a scholar who had translated Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi, with the award instituted in memory of the late SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, she said that she would look into the matter. Several eminent scholars have been engaged in the translation of Guru Granth Sahib. She also warned those who tried to change the phonetics of Gurbani by distorting its original text.

She had no clear answer when asked that Mr Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanula,who is very close of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, had started a big project to translate Guru Granth Sahib in nine different languages." I am not aware of this", she said. Asked about this, Mr Dhanula said that the SGPC had itself recognised about five other such works of Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi and English and ''I have taken the translation project on the basis of those works.''

Talking about the heritage status of Harmandar Sahib, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that neither UNESCO nor any other government or non-government organisation would be allowed to have either direct or indirect control over the holy Sikh institution.

Acting upon the issues raised by Mr Hardip Singh, an SGPC member, Bibi Jagir Kaur has set up a five-member committee to examine the contents of the dossier submitted to UNESCO for seeking heritage status. Any one who had any objection with regard to the contents of dossier could approach the committee to make suggestions.

A memorial would be raised a Kup Rahira village, near Malerkotla, to perpetuate the memory of 35,000 Sikhs who died in " Vada Ghallugara" (holocaust). From May 1 to May 4 a shaheedi divas of 40 muktas would be observed at Muktsar. A "dharm parchar "campaign would be launched by Sikh high priests from February 21 in various parts of the country. Asked about the demand of a separate SGPC in Haryana, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that it was a mischief being played by certain political forces to divide the Sikhs. Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur said there was no ban on wearing jeans by girls in the Sikh religion.

Replying to another question related to Sikh maryada, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that the ceremony of the “Anand Karj” could be performed after 12 o’clock in the day. It was not mandatory to perform this ceremony before noon, she added.

The SGPC executive also approved approved Rs 1 crore for the tsunami-affected Sikhs living at Campbell Bay in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 


SGPC objects to gold-studded covers for Guru Granth Sahib
our correspondent

Amritsar February 9
Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC president, yesterday took strong objection to the presentation of gold or gem studded covers of Guru Granth Sahib to the Golden Temple. The SGPC president was perturbed when Baba Karnail Singh presented a gold bound Guru Granth Sahib.

In a statement on Tuesday the SGPC president said the ethos and contents of the holy Granth was not dependant on expensive covers. And that people like Karnail Singh were propagating "gurudom' and 'deradom'. She further added that Karnail was associated with a dera that preaches against the teachings of the Gurus . She issued strict instructions not to present any gold bound or covers studded with diamonds , gems or precious stones to the Golden Temple by anyone .

Earlier too a similar attempt was made during the tenure of Gurcharan Singh Tohra which was also objected to, she added.


Heritage status: SGPC member seeks clarification
Our Correspondent

Amritsar February 9
Even as former SGPC general secretary, Ms Kiranjot Kaur, says that the inclusion of the Golden Temple in the world heritage list of UNESCO will not in any way compromise the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, an SGPC member has charged the former general secretary with spreading “misinformation” to the Sikhs.

In a statement here SGPC member, Mr Hardeep Singh Mohali, sought clarification on certain contents of the dossier on the Golden Temple presented to UNESCO by Ms Kiranjot who was the project director.

Citing page 166-168 of vol-II of the dossier, he claimed that it was mentioned that the Golden Temple Heritage Committee would consist of only two persons from the SGPC, one nominated by the SGPC and the other would be the manager of Darbar Sahib.

He further said that on page 161 of vol-I of the dossier on the Golden Temple presented to UNESCO clearly stated that stakeholders to the Sri Darbar Sahib Complex, including Akal Takht (precinct zone) would include the SGPC, the Punjab Goernment, the Central Government, donors and UNESCO.

Ms Kiranjot had earlier stated that the registration unit of UNESCO World Heritage Committee had expressly stated that it had noted in particular the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, that provides for government’s non-interference in the Gurdwara management, thus the SGPC had complete autonomy to act.

However, Mr Mohali in the poser said the SGPC should make public the cost on the dossier besides elaborating on those who contributed towards the preparation of it (dossier). He further asked why the word “mandir” was used in place of Darbar Sahib. Apart from this, words such as temple, temple complex had been used where it could have been replaced by the Darbar Sahib complex, Manager Darbar Sahib etc. He asked her to clarify on how Sikhism incorporate ideas from Islam and Hinduism as projected in the dossier.


Sachkhand Express catches fire, driver averts tragedy
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kartarpur, February 9
Hundreds of passengers had a miraculous escape when a coach of the Nanded-bound Sachkhand Express, which caught fire on the Amritsar-Jalandhar track at 6.40 am, was immediately separated by the train driver at Dayalpur village near Hamira, after being alerted by 20 to 25 passengers.

The coach and some freight, including two motor cycles, got completely damaged, while there was no loss of life reported. A major accident was averted as the coach was adjacent to the engine and there was possibility of fire spreading to other coaches. There were about 100 passengers, mostly devotees, on board the train.

About 20 to 25 passengers, including Mr Baljinder Singh, a resident of Cheema Bath village in Amritsar district, Mr Mohan Sharma and Mr Vipin Arora,who were sitting in a coach next to the engine, noticed the smoke billowing out from near the lamp situated on the entrance and started crying. Their shrieks and signals of a spare guard and assitant driver, Amarjit Singh, was noticed by driver, Jaswant Singh, who responded immediately. Meanwhile, passengers also pulled the chains.

As terror-struck passengers were being shifted in a huff to other coaches, Jaswant Singh, engine driver, and other officials managed to separate the burning coach and the engine from rest of the train and sped towards Kartarpur railway station. In Kartarpur waiting fire tenders and railway officials separated the coach from the engine and doused the flame. “It was burning like a fireball and I got out of my slumber and found it heading towards the station,” said Gian Chand, a constable posted at Kartarpur railway station.

According to Mr Surinder Singh, SP, GRP, Jalandhar, the call was received at 7.05 am and immediately steps were taken to control and prevent any loss of life. Mr Bahadur Singh, DSP of the GRP, and Mr Lakha Singh, Inspector, also rushed to the spot. They, however, had an altercation with journalists as initially; they refused to give any details about the incident. But the matter was resolved amicably.

Officials of the RPF and the Northern Railways also reached the spot and started investigation. Prima facie the fire seems to have been caused by a short circuit. The fire could have been more devastating had there been petrol in two motor cycles lying inside the compartment.

Unconfirmed reports said the driver of the Sachkhand Express, which left Amritsar at 5.35 am was informed about the fire over a walkie-talkie by the driver of another passing train. But, this could not be confirmed. The Amritsar-Jalandhar section remained closed for the rail traffic for about two hours as rest of coaches remained stationed near Dyalpur village. Later, these coaches were removed with the help of the same engine.


Sukhi, Pammi to scale Mt Everest without oxygen
Rajbir Sekhon

Muktsar, February 9
Ms Sukhi and Ms Pammi, the local duo, who have done the country proud by achieving rare distinctions in adventurous expeditions by repeatedly risking their lives, have again taken a decision to conquer Mount Everest without oxygen by May, 2005.

Belonging to middle-class families, the two girls have taken this decision to dedicate their achievement to the tercentenary occasion of supreme sacrifice made by 40 Muktas during the last battle of Guru Gobind Singh with Mughals here, which falls in May, 2005.

Though penniless these girls have already accomplished the task of cycling and motorcycling from this town to Khardungla pass, the world’s highest motorable road, successfully and this achievement was dedicated to 400th anniversary of the installation of Adi Granth at the Golden Temple.

The duo, which has faced disappointment earlier as they were not given government jobs as promised by the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, after they achieved rare distinctions, have been apprehending that they would not be able to start their next mission due to paucity of funds.

Sukhi and Pammi said that each of them had to pay $ 29,000 to the travelling agency of Nepal by March 4 in order to be members of the team which would leave in March, 2005, to scale Mount Everest.

Though the girls are not having a single penny, they have been working hard to make their mission a success by contacting people belonging to different walks of life to collect enough money to meet their liabilities.

Pammi said that a five-member committee, which had been formed by their well-wishers, was their only hope so far as this committee had been working hard to arrange money for them.

She added that they would accompany a team from Nepal that would start scaling Mount Everest on March 26 this year and if they succeed in their mission, they would become the first Indian women to conquer Mount Everest without carrying oxygen cylinders with them.


2 Guru Nanak College girls commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 9
Two girls of Guru Nanak College, Killianwali, allegedly committed suicide under mysterious circumstances by consuming some poisonous substance yesterday.

Police sources said one of the girls, identified as Shivani, belonged to Dabwali town. The other girl has been identified as Gagandeep Kaur. Gagandeep died at DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, where she was shifted for treatment after her family came to know that she had consumed poison.

Mr L.K. Yadav, SSP, Muktsar, said the time being a case, in connection with the death of Gagandeep Kaur, under abnormal circumstances had been registered under Section 174 of Cr. P.C. He said he had asked the Malout DSP, to look into the matter and find out if these girls were forced to commit suicide.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that both Shivani, a student of B.A. III and Gagandeep Kaur, a student of B. Com II, were friends and used to visit each other’s houses frequently.

Yesterday both were at the house of Gagandeep Kaur, located in Killianwali village, and consumed some poisonous substance. Shivani, whose condition deteriorated first, was taken to a Dabwali hospital where she died after some time. Her body was handed over to her family.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom has descended in the Killianwali town. The college also remained closed today.


Hundreds of cops to lose out-of-way promotions
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
The Punjab police has set in process an exercise termed as poetic justice for reverting a number of cops on the basis of bad work after they were given out-of-way promotions for good work.

Over 170 cops enjoying out-of- way promotions are all set to lose them for being involved in criminal activities or who were censured more than five times by the department for their demerits.

This number is of Ludhiana range only while the number of such cops all over the state is likely to swell into several hundreds, senior police sources said.

The Ludhiana range comprising of Ludhiana, Khanna Jagraon and Ropar police districts has become the first range to issue show-cause notices to nearly 50 Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors for reverting their out-of-way promotion ranks.

The ranks include Own Rank and Pay , Ad hoc Rank, Local Rank, C-II, D-II and E-II.

It was found that a number of cops had got out-of-way promotions on the basis of some good work but then they were indulging in criminal activities, indiscipline or abuse of power.

Mr Parag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana, told The Tribune that a committee headed by Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP Jagraon, had identified the cops on the basis of a criterion.


Kainth revives BSM
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 9
After a long cold war with the BSP’s present leadership the Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM), which was merged with the BSP after a closed door meeting between the morcha’s national president, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth and the BSP supremo on January 20,2004, now again had been revived by Mr Kainth. He was expelled from the party on June 14, 2004.

When contacted, Mr Kainth said the final announcement would be made at the national-level meeting of the morcha to be held on the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedeker (April 14) in Jalandhar.

Mr Kainth floated his party in 1998 and forged poll alliance with the SAD. He was then elected Lok Sabha MP from the local parliamentary constituency, but the declining image of the BSP forced its leadership to join hands with Mr Kainth. Ms Mayawati summoned him at her Delhi residence on January 20,2004. Mr Kainth announced the BSM-BSP merger on January 23,2004, but tuning between him and some state leaders of the BSP could not be meterialised. 


SMO shielded 2 ultrasound centres?
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 9
Has the Subdivision Appropriate Authority for implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic (PNDT) Act-cum-SMO, Civil Hospital, Sunam, shielded two ultrasound centres of Sunam by misusing his powers in a case of violation of the provisions of the Act by these centres?.

It seems true as it is evident from a letter to the Sangrur Civil Surgeon by the Director, Health Services and Family Welfare, Punjab, seeking a clarification from the SMO, Sunam.

Sources said a few months ago, a team of senior health officers as part of a state-level inspection of the ultrasound centres had visited Singla Ultrasound, Sunam, and Happy Nursing Home, Sunam, to check whether the provisions of the PNDT Act were being followed. During checking, the team found gross discrepancies at these two ultrasound centres in the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Sources said the Director had written to the Sangrur Civil Surgeon on July 1, 2004, that some forms had been sent to you by the Patiala Civil Surgeon with regard to the discrepancies found in both ultrasound centres at Sunam, but you (Sangrur Civil Surgeon) had informed to the Director’s office through a letter on December 6 last that the discrepancies had been removed at these ultrasound centres”.

Sources further added that the Director, Health Services and Family Welfare, Punjab, in the letter had also asked the Sangrur Civil Surgeon to seek a clarification from the Appropriate Authority-cum-SMO, Sunam, that why he had not taken action against the ultrasound centres even after the finding of discrepancies at the centres during a state-level inspection. The Director had also asked the Civil Surgeon to send the reply of the Sunam SMO to him.

The Director also mentioned in his letter that the Subdivision Appropriate Authority-cum-SMO, Sunam, had misused his powers and had not taken action against the ultrasound centres intentionally, despite the orders issued by his office in this regard.

When The Tribune contacted the Sangrur Civil Surgeon, Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, yesterday, she said she had sent the letter of the Director to the Sunam SMO for clarification on the issue. As and when she would get a reply from the Sunam SMO, she would send the same with her comments to the Director, she added.


Govt moots toll on heavy vehicles over Mukerian bridge
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur February 9
The Punjab government is planning to levy toll on heavy vehicles moving over the new bridge over the Beas on the Mukerian-Gurdaspur road. The recent surveys have indicated that after the construction of the Mukerian bridge the maximum heavy traffic of the Mukerian-Pathankot road has shifted to the Mukerian-Gurdaspur-Jammu road.

A survey conducted recently revealed that the newly laid Mukerian-Gurdaspur road is getting damaged due to heavy traffic. Due to it a toll is being proposed on heavy vehicles to maintain the road.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, said this while talking to The Tribune here today.

While responding to a query, Mr Bajwa declined the early possibility of the four-laning of the Amritsar-Pathankot National Highway. He alleged that the former Union Minister for Surface Transport, Major-Gen Khanduri along with the MPs of the SAD and the BJP misled Punjab people on the issue of four-laning of major roads in Punjab. The former Union Minister had laid the foundation stones for the four-laning of Amritsar-Pathankot, Jalandhar-Amritsar and Chandigarh-Ambala national highways just before the Lok Sabha elections.

However, now when the Punjab Government pursued the matter with the Union Government it had been found that no provision had been made for these projects.

He also said that the World Bank had sanctioned a loan of Rs 800 crore for state highways in Punjab.

The first installment of the loan would be received by the end of this year and the entire amount would be spent for strengthening and widening of state highways in the next two years.

Besides, the work for the Kathlore bridge that was the major demand of the area since Independence had started. The construction of the bridge would be completed in a record time of about 18 months.

The bridge would open up a route from Gurdaspur to Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir and would prove to be a boost to the economy of the area, he said.


Water scarcity hits power production
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, February 9
The power generation at two hydel plants in Nakkiyan and Ganguwal of 67 MW capacity each in Anandpur Sahib town today again came to a halt due to non-supply of the water from Bhakra Dam in Nangal. The hydel plants had become operational only two weeks ago.

Sources informed that power generation at the two plants at Nakkiyan and Ganguwal stopped in the morning when water supply to the Anandpur Hydel channel was stopped due to paucity of the water in Bhakra Dam reservoir.

The water level at Bhakra Dam was today 51.87 feet down as compared to last year. The water level of Bhakra was recorded 1533.09 feet in the morning while last year it was 1584.96. While total of 10238 cusec water was released from the Bhakra Dam today. Last year 16,000 cusec water had been released.

Sources informed that the shortage of water in Govind Sagar reservoir has also affected the power production at Bhakra. The Bhakra plants has generated 63.61 lakh units while last year the generation was 118.53 lakhs unit.

Earlier the power generation at Ganguwal and Nakkiyan plants was stopped when a fire that broke out there had burnt the underground cable galleries in December 30. The hydel power plants had become operational in the mid of January

Officials of the hydel plants an Anandpur Sahib maintained that to run all the four units of total 134 MW, 10150 cusecs of water supply was required to Anandpur Sahib Hydel channel from Bhakra Dam. But the hydel plants were getting only 2500 to 3000 cusecs of water. Therefore only two plants of 33.5 MW capacities were functioning and producing only 17 MW power.

However, officials of the BBMB said the water supply was stopped taking note of the decrease in demand of electricity these days. 


Holland team leaves for TN
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 9
After five-day wait, the 14-member team of Holland-based NGO, Motherhood, today left for Tamil Nadu with relief material for tsunami victims.

Their five members, who had gone to arrange travel documents in Islamabad, crossed over to India from Wagah joint check post in the morning.

The customs officials said there was no provision for exemption of duty for a foreign national and only an Indian NGO can claim for this. 


Patiala’s historic gates to be lit up
Effort to stop vandalism
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 9
Most of the historic gates of Patiala are set to come under the spotlight literally for the first time in decades with the Patiala Heritage Society deciding to light these gates. The gates, when lighted up, would join the list of heritage buildings which have been lighted up by the society, including the Sheesh Mahal, the Mohindra College, the Yadavindra Public School, the Punjab State Electricity Board and the Quila Mubarak.

While the lighted gates are expected to provide grandeur to the monuments, this move is also being pushed through to prevent vandalism. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh said at present the gates were used freely for advertisement purposes with people putting up boards and even iron spikes to serve as carriers for electricity, cable and telephone wires.

Mr Tejveer Singh said the Heritage Society had decided to take up the restoration of all the historic gates, including the Samania Gate, Sunami Gate, Sirhindi Gate and the Top Khana Gate last year. He said it was proposed to request corporate and industry houses besides other establishments to sponsor the maintenance of these gates. He said the society did not get any response in this regard.

Meanwhile, one of the two massive wooden doors of the Samania Gate had given way in September last year. This gate was taken up for repairs by the society and the work was entrusted to INTACH. Mr Tejveer Singh said the wooden door had been put back into place by the INTACH team which had also conducted a strengthening exercise of the entire gate besides beautifying its exteriors according to the original design.

“We have nearly restored part of the original look of the Samania Gate at a cost of Rs 6.5 lakh and this initiative has been well received by the people of the area,” Mr Tejveer said, adding a request had already been received from people living near the Sirhindi Gate that it be refurbished also. “We plan to look into this,” he added.

Meanwhile, even though the Heritage Society has been able to conduct restoration work on the Samania Gate, people of the city felt the society had missed the bus as far as restoration of the other gates was concerned. Amarjeet Singh of Sheranwala Gate said he did not want the Sunami Gate to meet the fate of the Sheranwala Gate which was literally pulled down by shopkeepers of the area after it started to crumble. “The Sunami Gate has developed cracks and requires urgent restoration but nothing is being done to save it,” he said.

Other citizens, including Manmeet S.P. Singh of Lal Bagh, felt that the attempt to preserve and maintain the historic gates should be done all year round and that a simple cleaning up during the run up to the festival would not save these monuments.


Deport Chohan to UK, says Bitta
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 9
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president, All India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF), today sought the immediate deportation of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a separatist leader, to England for insulting the National Flag on a Republic Day function here.

Talking to The Tribune, here today, Mr Bitta said that Dr Chohan had hoisted a ‘saffron flag’ and made inflammatory speeches on January 26, which amounted to secession. He demanded a high-level probe against senior politicians and bureaucrats of the country who had facilitated the entry of Dr Chohan into the country.

He said though Dr Chohan had never enjoyed mass following yet his speeches in favour of Khalistan had resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent people in the past.

He had adopted the same modus operandi to incite Sikh youths for his ulterior motives.

The AIATF chief said that he would shortly hold a meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, to demand the deportation of Dr Chohan. He alleged that Dr Chohan was a ‘paid agent’ of Pakistan’s notorious ISI.

Mr Bitta demanded the setting up of special anti-terrorist courts to try persons like Dr Chohan. On the normalisation of relations with Pakistan, Mr Bitta said that the Government of India should not hold any talks with the neighbouring country unless prisoners of war languishing in various jails of Pakistan were released.

Meanwhile, Mr Bitta expressed serious concern over the rise of criminal activities, including kidnappings, in the state . He said that the sensational kidnapping of a teenaged boy was unheard even during the hey days of terrorism. He urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to ensure the safe return of the boy.


Waterlogging renders Moga roads in bad shape
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Serbvice

Moga, February 9
Intermittent rains for the past three to four days has turned the city into a “living hell” in the absence of proper sewerage and roads. Water is logged in front of almost every shop on the GT Road, while sewers are choking in a majority of residential areas.

One of the worst affected roads is the Zira Road where about a kilometre-long stretch has deep potholes with loads of slush all over it. An unofficial garbage dumping site by the side of this road has worsened the situation. Commuters, especially those riding bicycles and two-wheelers, are bearing the brunt of the royal ignore that this road has received from the authorities concerned.

Many instances of two-wheeler riders getting stuck in the middle of waterlogged stretch of this road have been witnessed in the last couple of days. A few of them also had a narrow escape, as the surface of the road was too slippery.

The Tribune had carried a story on the bad shape of this road a few months back. The Municipal Council had swung into action the very next day and garbage was lifted from the road. But now the situation is back to square one. There were also reports that Rs 10 lakh had been sanctioned for the construction of road, but the present state of affairs showed that not a single penny had been spent on it till now.

Last year some residents of Dhaleke village, situated on this road had put in about a week’s effort to repair this road on their own, but that too failed to wake up the authorities from its deep slumber. If the authorities had reconstructed the road immediately after the repair work it would have saved them a lot of time, money and effort, but the recent spell of shower lent the road its earlier shape and now the carpeting of road needed to be kicked off from blank.

Sudden rain has also spelt trouble for the business community, as shopkeepers lament lack of parking space in front of their shops due to waterlogging.

They say that despite their repeated pleas to the Municipal Council nothing has been done to put a proper sewerage in place. Sources said that Rs 15.73-crore sewerage project began in 2000, but things went haywire and it was yet to achieve desired results.

The Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, could not be contacted for his comments.


Scheme to build roads
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 9
The state government has formulated a special scheme for the construction of roads which would be carried out with the help of Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojna, the Mandi Board, and NABARD. The secretary of PWD (B&R), Mr R.S. Sandhu, stated this while interacting with mediapersons here today.

He said NABARD had already sanctioned Rs 300 crore and the construction of roads would start soon. He said NABARD had allotted Rs 21 crore for roadwork in Moga.

The work on link roads would be handed over the Mandi Board.

Earlier, Sandhu held a meeting with officials concerned of the five districts, in which he reviewed road work being carried out in the Malwa region.


Team formed to get released prisoners in Pak
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 9
To get released Indian prisoners languishing in Pakistan jails for the past so many years, a committee headed by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and state BJP chief, has been constituted.

Stating this in a press statement issued here today, Mr Sanjiv Talwar, vice-president, Punjab Bharti Janta Yuva Morcha, said other members of the committee include Mr Satpal Lahoria, Mr Sanjiv Talwar, Mr Gian Singh Mehta, Mr Madhu Sudan and Mr Harbans Singh.

Mr Khanna met officials of the Union Home Ministry who claimed that an inquiry was under way for the release of 46 prisoners. The officials said the cause of delay in inquiry was due to incomplete addresses of the persons imprisoned in Pakistan.

Mr Khanna said he had also written to the state government to take appropriate steps in this direction. 


Bhattal discloses criterion for Assembly delimitation
Tribune News Service

Khanauri (Sangrur), February 9
The delimitation of the Assembly constituencies in the state will be done on the basis of a criterion, according to which adjoining Patwar circles, tehsils and continuity of the area within district will be the main factors in the formation of an Assembly constituency. In the case of delimitation of the Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, it will be kept in mind that a Lok Sabha constituency will not spread in four to five districts. However, one or two adjoining districts may form a Lok Sabha constituency.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, said at Bhullan village that the exercise of delimitation of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies had already begun and was now at the preliminary stage. She further said the number of reserved Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies might increase on the basis of population.

Ms Bhattal was at Bhullan village in connection with a sports tournament organised by the Baba Braham Giri Sports Club today. She also presided over the sports function and distributed development grants worth Rs 25 lakh among panchayats of various villages.

Regarding cancellation of the ETT entrance test, Ms Bhattal said it was a state-level matter and would be discussed at the government level, so at present she could not make any statement on this issue.

With regard to non-release of compensation to farmers of 26 villages, whose standing crops were damaged due to floods in the Ghaggar in July/August last year, Ms Bhattal said the compensation was yet to be released to the Punjab Government by the Central Government.

Thus it would be distributed among flood-hit farmers as soon as it is received. She said she expected that the compensation grant would be kept in the ensuing Budget by the government for this purpose.



Camp to promote vasectomy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 9
To promote vasectomy in this region, the district health authorities have decided to organise a special five-day camp from February 14 to February 18 in the local civil hospital. The patients who will undergo this operation will be given two blankets by the District Red Cross Society.

Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, in a press note issued here today, pointed out that over the years it had been found that number of vasectomy cases were less as compared to the tubectomy cases.

He said that in 2001-2002 out of the total 109,964 sterilizations done in Punjab, only 1,127 were vasectomy cases and remaining 108,837 cases were of tubectomy. In 2002-2003, out of the total 101,738 sterilizations done, only 1,200 cases were of vasectomy while the remaining 100,538 cases were of tubectomy.

Similarly, in 2003-2004, out of the total 97,558 sterilizations, only 1,638 cases were of vasectomy while the remaining 95,960 cases were of tubectomy.

He said that Bathinda district had also been witnessing a small number of vasectomy operations as compared to tubectomy operations every year. He added that a special camp was being organised with the aim to promote and popularise vasectomy so that number of sterilizations could be increased to make population control programme a success.


Hailstorm uproots trees, electric poles
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, February 9
The hailstorm which lashed this region in the afternoon today left a trail of destruction after it flattened standing wheat and sarson crops in hundreds of acres of area apart from killing hundreds of birds, including sparrows and parrots.

Apart from it, many trees and electric poles were also uprooted which led to disruption in the power supply and smooth flow of traffic on various roads in this subdivision.

Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, who has been touring the affected villages, said so far there was no report of loss of human lives. There was no report of any breach so far in any canal or distributary passing in this region, he added.

Hailstorm caused heavy destruction in Singo, Jaga Ram Tirath, Laleana, Gurusar Jaga, Lehiri, Lalleana and Nawa pind villages.A bus was caught in the slush on the Talwandi-Rori road causing traffic jam. Large number policemen, residents of surrounding villages and passengers had been trying to get out the bus from the slush.


Punjabi programmes Satti’s main focus

Ropar, February 9
“I am satisfied with the respect and love I have received from people in a short span of four years,” said Satinder Satti, an anchor, who was here for the shooting of a series, “Xcuse Me”, at Kidzee School here.

Satinder who is known for her unique style in programmes on Punjab channels says she wants to experiment with her style and wants to concentrate on Punjabi programmes.

“I have have had interest in theatre since my university days. After LLB, I joined Doordarshan as anchor. Fortunately, I have got enough assignments and acceptance of the people.” “I have signed two Punjabi films and will soon be coming up with an audio album,” she adds. TNS


Row over Commissioner’s verdict
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, February 9
Even though a probe has been ordered into the corruption charges levelled against him, it seems that controversies are not leaving the Faridkot and Ferozepore division Commissioner, Mr B. Sarkar. He has again hit the headlines with the Deputy Commissioner declining to promote a peon despite his orders.

According to sources, the Deputy Commissioner through an order dated March 28, 2003, had reverted Darshan Lal, who was promoted as clerk following a representation to the Commissioner, to the post of a peon as he failed to pass the typing test. Darshan filed an appeal in the Commissioner’s court in this regard.

The Commissioner, in his order (No RA11/2004/5302-03) dated August 13, 2004, stated that Darshan Lal was eligible for the job as per norms. He ordered that Darshan be reappointed as clerk and his dues be paid. But the Deputy Commissioner issued a notice asking him why not ‘no-work-no-salary’ principle be applied on him, as he didn’t work for a few months.

The Deputy Commissioner also reportedly stopped his two increments. When Darshan Lal approached the Commissioner and alleged that the Deputy Commissioner had dishonoured the upper court by not obeying his order, the Commissioner disposed of his application without passing any order.

Meanwhile, Darshan Lal has sought the intervention of the Home Department and the Human Rights Commission in the matter. He had alleged that the Deputy Commissioner was forcing him to continue as a peon despite the Commissioner’s order to promote him.

When contacted, the Commissioner, Mr B. Sarkar, said the correspondence was on in this connection. Last month, the state government had asked the Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supply, Mr B.C. Gupta, to probe into the corruption charges against the Commissioner. Earlier, the local Bar Association on October 14 had in a resolution charged Commissioner and his reader with corruption.


Farmer dies under mysterious circumstances
Tribune News Service

Chathhewala (Bathinda), February 9
Kala Singh, a marginal farmer of this village, died under mysterious circumstances today. Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that though Kala Singh had died of suspected poisoning, his kin had not reported the matter to the police. Even his kin had requested the Bathinda-based doctor, to whose clinic he was taken, not to report the matter to the police.

Information revealed that the body of Kala Singh was cremated by his kin without getting his post mortem done.

Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Talwandi Sabo, said that so far the police had not received any complaint in this connection. He added that whenever any complaint was received, an action would be taken accordingly. 


Lohian incident: SHO suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Taking a serious view of Lohian resident’s torture, the Punjab Police has placed the Station House Officer (SHO) concerned under suspension. A criminal case of murder has also been registered and further investigations have been entrusted to Jalandhar’s Superintendent of Police (Operations).

The Senior Superintendent of Police concerned has been directed to arrest the police officials at the earliest. Disclosing this, a Punjab Police spokesman said Satpal, suspected in a theft case, was picked up by the police party on February 5. Following intervention of certain respectable residents and Municipal Councillors, he was let off by the police the next morning.

After reaching home, Satpal complained of a severe pain in his stomach and started vomitting. He was taken to a local hospital by his family. However, he died at about 2 pm the same day.

It was established after preliminary enquiry that the case was of police torture.


2 migrants stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Mithapur (Jalandhar), February 9
Two Bihari migrants were brutally stabbed to death by some unidentified armed assailants in Mithapur village in the wee hours today. Mohammad, a Bihari migrant, and his two unidentified acquaintances were allegedly attacked by assailants with sharp-edged weapons when they were asleep in their single room rented accommodation on the outskirts of the village. 

While Mohammed and one of his acquaintances were killed on the spot, the third migrant was injured seriously in the attack.

Partap Singh, a dairy-farmer, who owned the five-room premises where the incident occurred, could not identify the three inmates and said they were made to stay in the room without his permission. Partap Singh and other villagers came to know about the incident when a woman came to enquire that why Mohammed had not come to pick her child for school as he worked as a rickshaw-puller for a private school.

Mr Partap Singh said he gave a room on rent to Mohammed and his son three months back and he was unaware as to when Mohammed had further rented out the accommodation. The third migrant, who has been admitted to the hospital, had said that his name was Shambu, but he failed to furnish any further details about himself.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the victims might have been attacked by their acquaintances or room-mates. The police has registered a case. The landlord has also been booked for not furnishing information about his tenants to the area police.


Muskan was poisoned: viscera report
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 9
The Punjab State Chemical Laboratory has submitted its report on the viscera examination of Muskan, alias Ravinder Kaur, who was found murdered in Hotel Shivalikview on December 11, 2004, to the Chandigarh police.

The State Chemical Examiner, Dr D.C. Sharma, said the report on the viscera as well as eatables sent to the laboratory by the Chandigarh police were handed over to an official of the Sector 17 police station early last week.

Sources in the laboratory said the report stated that Muskaf had died after consuming an organo-phosphorous compound, a pesticide used on crops.

The report has, however, not found anything poisonous in the empty tea cup, coffee pouches and a few other eatables found in the hotel room.

The laboratory held pesticide poisoning as responsible for the death. It ruled out asphyxiation as the sole reason for the death.

Asphyxiation and drowning could have been committed after the woman was poisoned, the sources said.


Scooterist attacked for not giving way
Tribune Reporters

Kharar, February 9
A scooterist was seriously injured when he was allegedly attacked by a Tempo driver, near Badala village, here today. The scooterist, Haripal, has been admitted to Civil Hospital, Kharar. According to the police, Haripal was coming from his village Chohlata to Kharar. A tempo loaded with milk cans was behind him on the road.

Haripal told the police that the tempo driver started honking horn at him. But Haripal could not give him the way. In a fit of anger the tempo driver stopped his vehicle, took out a kirpan and hit Haripal on the face, injuring him.

Couple booked: The Kharar police has booked a couple residing in Mundi Kharar village here on charges of cheating another resident of the village of Rs 65 lakh. According to the police, the accused Amarjit Singh and his wife had allegedly taken this amount from Haranjit Singh and some others promising to send them abroad. The police added that the accused had now reportedly sold their house in the village and had absconded with the money.

Booked: The Kharar police has booked a resident of Balber village, Patiala district on charges of cheating a resident of Khanpur village here. The complainant, Mr Mohammad Iqbal of Iqbal Motors, told the police that the accused Hakam Singh had bought a tractor from him. Hakam Singh reportedly sold this tractor to another unknown person but no payment for the tractor was given to Mohammad Iqbal. A case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC has been registered against Hakam Singh.

Killed: Sher Singh, a resident of Gharuan village was killed in a road accident on Monday. He was walking when he was hit by a Scorpio car near the Gharuan bus stop. The police said Sher Singh died on the spot. The police has booked the unknown driver of the car under various Sections of the IPC on a complaint by Gruminder Singh, Sher Singh’s brother.

Theft: Ms Jaswant Kaur a resident of Ganda Chowk, Anandpur Sahib, complained to the police that Harminder Kaur, Kala and Tota, all residents of Nangal township, stole gold, cash and other household items worth about Rs 1.50 lakh from her house. It is learnt that some dispute over property was going on between them. The police has registered a case under Sections 192, 380, 457 and 34 of the IPC.


Head Constable declared proclaimed offender
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 9
Mukhtiar Singh, a head constable of the Punjab Police, and five others were declared proclaimed offenders by a judicial court yesterday. The city police had booked the Head Constable along with his wife Pushpa, a staff nurse at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here, under different Sections of the IPC for allegedly abetting Deepmala in committing suicide by consuming insecticide on October 24, 2004. She had left behind a handwritten suicide note blaming the family of the staff nurse and the Head Constable for intimidation and humiliation to force her father to depose in a criminal case.

The accused had allegedly dragged Deepmala by her hair to their quarter in the hospital a day before the tragedy and beaten her up.

The police had to register a case against the Head Constable, his wife, brother-in-law, mother-in-law and others as a number of trade unions resorted to demonstrations and a protest march and the accused had been evading arrest. They had failed to get pre-arrest bail despite repeated attempts in different courts.

The trial court here had earlier got notices pasted in the hospital complex and other places to complete the legal process for declaring the accused as proclaimed offenders, sources said.


Man held for duping ex-serviceman

Hoshiarpur, February 9
The Mahilpur police yesterday arrested Rajinderpal, an accomplice of a travel agent, Jaswinder Singh of Chandigarh, allegedly for cheating a retired Air Force employee, Mr Joga Singh of Sarhala Khurd village. — OC


School board clarifies on pre-board exams
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
The Punjab School Education Board has clarified that it was in no way associated with the pre-board plus two examinations conducted by the science supervisors in their respective districts.

The board was responding to yesterday’s report titled “Pre-board maths paper available in the market”. The district science supervisors work under the aegis of the State Education Department.

Officials of the department say the exams are held in consultation with the science teachers to ensure uniformity of the syllabus covered across the government schools in the district.

The exams also test the preparedness level of the students, especially in those schools which don’t have regular science and mathematics teachers. According to officials the question papers are set by the local teachers and paper setters are changed every year.

The tests being conducted in the government senior secondary schools are in no way concerned with the board’s examination process.

The district science authorities get the question papers printed and schools are asked to conduct monthly papers in all science subjects and maths with a conclusive test from the entire syllabus just before the annual board exam.

The question papers are prepared by teachers. Since a private press prints these papers, secrecy of the same was not possible and authorities don’t insist for it. The question papers are got printed only to fetch uniformity at the level of district and their evaluation will not affect the final results of the candidate, the officials added.


Teachers’ union meets CABE Chairman
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 9
To discuss the issues pertaining to autonomy of higher education institutions, the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO) held a meeting with the Chairman of the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) yesterday.

Stating this in a press note, Dr V.K. Tewari, national secretary, said that the members of the teachers’ union proposed that the public-funded education system be strengthened and commitment of 6 per cent allocation of a GDP for education be fulfilled this year.

The members demanded total transparency in matters of admissions, fee funded structure, expenditure and allied matters for all institutions.

They also added that stake-holders’ involvement in management decisions would help everyone, especially the students.

The teachers also proposed imposition of a common syllabus, a common university (state) act for universities.

Dr Tewari said that the members also demanded that the law regarding minority institutions must be re-examined to stop the possibility of emergence of exploitative trends in the name of “minority”. 


Dashmesh Academy Principal quits
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, February 9
The Principal and Director of the prestigious educational institute here, the Dashmesh Academy, Mr Nicholas Gomes, has submitted his resignation reportedly over the state government’s failure to provide financial aid to the institution.

The resignation was accepted by the management committee of the academy, informed sources. Mr Gomes has been told to continue till the end of this session.

When contacted Mr Gomes confirmed that the management had accepted the resignation but refused to divulge the reason behind his resignation.


Markfed set to earn profit of Rs 20.10 crore
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Punjab's agricultural marketing company Markfed is all set to earn a profit of Rs 20.10 crore for the year ending March, 2005. This is expected to be about Rs 6.45 crore more than last year's profit of Rs 13.64 crore. Out of this Markfed announced an increase in dividend to its member societies at its annual general body meeting today.

This means societies of farmers will get a collective dividend in this year from Markfed. The proposal was to have 10 per cent dividend out of the profit in today's AGM. The general body meeting was attended by about 1,500 people at the Markfed office in Sector 35 here today.

Managing Director of Markfed S.S. Channy said the AGM was also informed that the sale of fertilisers like urea and DAP has been up to the mark. For the ongoing Rabi crop, Markfed had a share of supplying 1.04 lakh metric tonnes and had managed 1.31 lakh metric tonnes. The supply of excess demand has been carried out by having a private arrangement with a leading fertiliser company.

Attributing the rise in profits of Markfed to the increased movement of stored wheat from Punjab to other states, Mr Channy said better management of wheat and paddy stocks had also helped. This year there had been a huge control on theft of paddy crop, claimed Mr Channy. In total Markfed will be doing business of Rs 10,000 crore in this year.

Also, the societies were informed today that their godowns which are on rent for several years with Markfed will continue to be so. The societies have been asked to refurbish the godowns which are used to store wheat or urea. Also, Markfed will get Rs 4 crore from the National Cooperative Development Council to refurbish its own godowns which have a collective capacity to hold 50 lakh tonnes of grains.

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