P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Singla to meet Sonia, seeks expulsion of Brar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
War of words between senior Congress leaders has intensified with Punjab Finance Minister and a senior minister, Mr Surinder Singla, dubbing Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, a former MP and a member of the All- India Congress Committee, as a Khalistani and demanding his immediate expulsion from the party.

Talking to mediapersons here this afternoon, Mr Singla said he would be shortly meeting the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, as he had sought time from her to apprise her at length about Jagmeet's anti-party activities and his public outbursts against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. ``The Congress high command should not take a second to decide on his expulsion as his past activities justify this disciplinary action, he added.

Mr Brar had raised fingers at the Chief Minister, while addressing a press conference at Bathinda on Friday, and had alleged that he had been a signatory to a draft sent to the United Nations in which the Akalis had demanded Khalistan over a decade back. Capt Amarinder Singh was in the Akali Dal then.

Countering this, Mr Singla said Mr Brar had been a staunch supporter of Khalistan during his entire span of political career, particularly during the militancy days. From burning of the national flag to engraving ` Khalistan Zindabad' on his arm or contesting elections as a panthic candidate, he did everything possible to support the cause of Khalistan, he added.

Since the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Mr H.S Hanspal, had failed to restrain Mr Brar from indulging in activities which not only harmed the party but the state at large, he was now taking up the issue with the Congress President.

He also criticised Mr Brar and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann for not raising their voice in Parliament when territorial concessions were given to the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal, in terms of excise concessions for promoting industrial growth in these states.

Even on the issue of Bathinda refinery, no answers were sought from the then Badal government.

He also lambasted Mr Brar for criticising the Chief Minister for widespread violence during the recent Ajnala byelection and gave figures of the high voting turnout and heavy polling.

Whatever violence happened, it happened outside the polling booths and that too it was planned, said Mr Singla.

He even accused him of cheating all those leaders whose supporter he has been at some point of time or the other -be it the Akalis or the Congress.

Answering a question on the forthcoming Punjab Budget, he said `` It would be a development-oriented budget with lot of focus on the villages of Punjab. An effort would be made to bridge the gap between the rural and urban areas in terms of infrastructure.


Bajwa questions Brar’s right to criticise Cong
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
Punjab Public Work Minister Partap Singh Bajwa, who himself was a power centre in the Punjab Congress, has came out in support of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, by questioning mp Jagmeet Singh Brar's right to openly criticise the party for the clashes which erupted in the Ajnala byelection on the polling day.

Mr Bajwa, who was here last night in connection with a function held to announce establishment of a multi-crore wedding mall, said if Mr Brar was unhappy with the functioning of the Congress in the state, he should voice his concern to the high command. “Making comments about party functioning publicly does not serve any purpose,” he added.

The minister said Mr Brar's habit of openly expressing his unhappiness on several occasions could harm the interests of the party. “Mr Brar could have voiced his misgivings directly to the party President or Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who is the in charge of the party affairs in Punjab,” he added.

When himself questioned about the violence which had erupted in Ajnala on polling day, he said it was unfortunate and should not have taken place. He said clashes between Congress and Akali workers had taken place earlier also but had never taken such turns. “Workers of both parties should have practised restraint,” he said, adding the senior leadership of the party was not concerned with the incidents as they involved workers.

Mr Bajwa said action taken by the Chandigarh police to stop Akali workers from marching to Raj Bhavan was also not right. He said the Congress was, however, not linked with the action as it did not have any role in the administration of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.


Cong groups fight over piece of land
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, February 27
Congress groups here are fighting over a piece of land in the town.

An illegal colony is coming up near the Patel crossing area here under the aegis of an influential minister. However, local municipal councillors owing allegiance to an MLA also got interested in the land.

Recently, a group of local Congress municipal councillors lodged a complaint with the SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Ishwar Singh, regarding the land dispute. They alleged that an agreement to sell the piece of land was initially struck with a local Congress municipal councillor. However, the land owner, allegedly under political pressure, sold the land to the group supported by the minister.

The municipal councillors have also lodged a complaint in the division No. 1 police station here that they were receiving life threats for opposing the illegal colony. 


Ajnala byelection: repoll in 14 booths
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 27
The Chief Election Commission (CEC) today ordered repolling in 14, out of 143, booths of Ajnala constituency on the basis of a report submitted by three-member inquiry panel that visited certain villages and scrutinised the poll material.

The CEC had deputed special observers to inquire into the allegations of widespread violence and complaints of poll rigging during Ajnala byelection. The inquiry panel had verified the record of presiding officers to cross-check any malpractice on the poll day.

The repolling will be held on March 1, while counting of the votes will take place on March 2. The repolling will be held for 15,220 voters. Earlier, the Shiromani Akali Dal had demanded countermanding of the election.

However, it is not yet clear what action the observers of the CEC had suggested on the basis of the video clipping of Mr Amarpal Singh Bonny, SAD candidate, who was seen encouraging his supporters inside a polling booth to “cast bogus votes,” as alleged by the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal. The PPCC had given a copy of the video clipping to the CEC observers.

The villages where repolling has been ordered included Madhu Chhanga (847 votes), Kamalpura (1,344 votes), Qyampura (1,450), Ajnala (901), Gagomahal (1,471), Bal Labe Darya ( 675), Chakk Bala ( 573), Tera Rajputan (1,219), Dalla Rajputan (929), Ballarwal (1,250), Jaffarkot (988), Awan Dasau (1,158), Bohlian (1,229) and Bagga (1,186).


CM to lay stone of thermal plant’s stage-II today
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Lehra Mohabbat (Bathinda), February 27
After a considerable delay, the foundation stone of the stage-II of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) will finally be laid by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here tomorrow. The district aims to become highest thermal power producing district in the state by March, 2007.

Former Chief Minister Beant Singh had laid the foundation stone of stage-I of the plant on March 3, 1994.

Though the stage-II was to be started immediately after the completion of stage-I, comprising two units of 210 MW each, lack of funds, repeated change in the policies of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and change of leadership and governments in the state delayed the start of its execution.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that the first thermal plant of Punjab — Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) — comprising four units of 110 MW each, was set up in Bathinda and its foundation stone was laid on the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November, 1969.

Though the proposal to set up two more units of thermal plant in the district was submitted to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) in 1976 and approval for investment was given by the Planning Commission in July, 1993, the foundation stone of the stage-I could only be laid on March 3, 1994.

After the commissioning of both units of the plant, the state government and PSEB started making efforts to execute its stage-II to meet the ever-growing demand of power in the state.

However, its implementation was delayed due to various reasons despite the fact that state had to purchase power worth hundreds of crores every year from other states and central pool.

Successive state governments and PSEB authorities kept “toying” with various plans to start the stage-II. The PSEB once decided to execute the project on its own by arranging funds and also planned to take $450 million as loan from a UK-based firm. The PSEB also floated the idea of levying cess — power development cess — on consumers to generate funds for the purpose.

Official sources said now Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) would execute the stage-II and around Rs 1,800 crore would be spent on it.

The first unit of the stage would be commissioned in December, 2006 and second in March, 2007. Both these units are expected to generate 300 crore units annually and function at plant load factor (PLF) of 68.5 per cent.


4 PSEB employees suspended for ‘forgery’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 27
The local Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have suspended four employees, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Harbhajan Singh, both linemen with PSEB Suburban Subdivision, Sangrur; Mr Pritpal Singh, assistant lineman, PSEB Suburban Subdivision, Sangrur; and Mr Harcharan Singh, lower division clerk-cum-cashier, PSEB City Subdivision, Sangrur. These employees were suspended for allegedly preparing “fake documents” in connection with procuring a loan from a finance company.

Mr DPS Grewal, Senior Executive Engineer, Distribution Division, PSEB, Sangrur, said here yesterday that Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Pritpal Singh wanted to get loan from a Jalandhar-based finance company. For this purpose, Mr Harcharan Singh and Mr Harbhajan Singh were to give guarantee as guarantors of the loan, while he (Grewal) in the capacity of Senior Executive Engineer, had to sign these affidavits as a surety. But he had refused to sign the affidavits as surety, Mr Grewal added. Mr Grewal further said after that Mr Pritpal Singh then got prepared a rubber stamp of the designation of Senior Executive Engineer from a local bookseller and put it on both affidavits while Mr Mohinder Singh put his (Grewal’s) forged signatures on the rubber stamp of the Senior Executive Engineer. He then sent both affidavits to the Jalandhar-based finance company to secure the loan.

Mr Grewal said this matter came to his notice on Friday when a lawyer of the Jalandhar-based finance company came to his office for verification of the affidavits. When the lawyer showed him the affidavits, regarding giving surety, he told the lawyer that his signatures were fake on the affidavits, Mr Grewal added.

Mr Grewal further said after that he called the four employees, who admitted their “mistake” and gave in writing to him about this, seeking pardon. He further said on the basis of this document, all these four employees had been suspended.

He added the PSEB authorities had also written to the Sangrur SSP to register a case against these four employees under Section 420 of the IPC.

Besides, this case had also been sent to Mr Lalit Bhatia, ADGP, Vigilance, PSEB, for further investigations, he added.


2 cops get jail for journalist’s disappearance
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
A local court yesterday awarded three-year imprisonment to two police personnel on charges of causing the disappearance of Aj Di Awaz journalist Sukhpal Singh Palli in 1994.

Palli had disappeared after he was nabbed from the residence of his in-laws at Chular village in Moonak. Both police personnel —ASI Massa Singh and Havaldar Baljit Singh — who were awarded punishment by the court had been held responsible for taking him away from the village.

The Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Surinder Gupta, however, acquitted the then Sangrur Senior Superintendent of Police Jasminder Singh, at present Inspector General, Computers and Wireless, in Chandigarh, Deputy Superintendent of Police Surjit Singh, presently SP, Moga, ASI Harminder Singh, Havildar Malkit Singh and Home Guards Ram Chand and Sukhwinder Singh.

According to the prosecution, Palli, who was reporting for the Punjabi daily from Moonak, had been picked up from his home at Sekhuwas village under Lehra Ghagga police station 15 days before he eventually disappeared. He was released at the instance of the village panchayat. The prosecution had charged that the journalist was later picked up from his in-laws’ residence by personnel belonging to the Sunam CIA staff after which nothing was heard about him ever again.

The family of Palli had filed a writ petition regarding his disappearance in the Supreme Court with the help of Human Rights activist Inderjit Singh Jaijee and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.


Five killed, 20 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 27
Five persons were killed and more than 20 others injured in a head-on collision between a mini bus and a tempo traveller near Thathian Mahantan village, 18 km from here, today.

The deceased have been identified as Dharampal (35), driver of the tempo, Sukhwinder Singh (20), Jaswinder Singh (20) and Manju Singh (18). The fifth, a woman, has not been identified.

A case under relevant sections of the IPC has been registered against Jaswant Singh, driver of the mini bus.

Four of the dead were occupants of the tempo where as the woman, around 35 years old, was travelling in the mini bus.

Nine of the injured — Kewal Singh, Swarn Singh, Wimmi, Sukhwinder Singh, Raj Singh, Lakha Singh, Baljinder Singh, Ravinderpal Singh and Prabhjinder Singh — who were admitted to the local Civil Hospital were later referred to the Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar.

Four of the five who died were members of a troupe of Punjabi singer Jaswinder Brar of Bathinda. Eleven persons were travelling in the tempo at the time of collision.

Dharampal and Sukhwinder Singh died on the spot, while the others died on their way to the hospital.

The tempo traveller (PB-29D 9949) was coming from Bathinda and the singer was to present a cultural programme in a marriage function here.

The vehicle was hit by the Chamba-bound bus (PB-02 AG 9735) and its driver fled the scene after the mishap.

SSP Paramjit Singh Grewal said a police party headed SP (D) Ashok Bath visited the scene of the accident.


SAD rejected by Sikh voters, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 27
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, had failed in protecting the rights of the Sikhs.

Besides, the SAD leadership had also confused the Sikh voters by giving up the Anandpur Sahib resolution and demands of the Sikhs and Punjab. This was the main reason that the Sikh voters had rejected the SAD by casting their votes in favour of the Congress in the Garhshankar, Kapurthala, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and now in Haryana elections.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Mann criticised the SAD leaders by saying that they did not raise their voice in the assembly and Parliament in favour of the Sikhs and Punjab. Instead they preferred to boycott the Parliament and assembly sessions.


4 water samples fail in Pathankot
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 27
The Department of Health has declared the water samples from four tube wells, supplying water in the Pathankot town, unfit for drinking. The district health authorities had collected the samples after the media reports regarding the outbreak of jaundice in many areas of Pathankot.

Mr Niranjan Singh Suman, Civil Surgeon, when contacted admitted that four out of five samples, taken from various water sources in Pathankot last month, failed the test. Instructions were issued to the principal authorities to take remedial measures in this regard, he said.

After the outbreak of jaundice, the district health authorities had stopped the municipal water supply of many areas of Pathankot. The water was being supplied in these areas through tankers. Chlorine tablets were supplied to residents for self-treatment of drinking water.

Residents had blamed the local municipal council authorities for the poor supply of water. They had alleged that poor-quality water pipes were laid in many areas of the town. The water supply pipes had eroded in many parts of the town due to which the water got contaminated. They also alleged that the sewerage and water pipes have been laid unscientifically and near to each other in many parts of the town. Due to it the drinking water gets contaminated by sewerage.

The municipal council authorities blamed the poor quality of drinking water on the old pipes and illegal connections. They alleged that the illegal connections cause leakage and further contamination of drinking water. However, they failed to clarify as to why the illegal connections were not checked in time.

Moreover, 70 per cent of the tube wells in Pathankot were supplying untreated water to resident.


No honour killings in Pak, says senior woman cop
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 27
The highest-ranking woman police officer in Pakistan cum a celebrated writer, Neelma Naheed Durrani, today blamed the western world for projecting killings due to property and other disputes as honour killing of women which painted her country in a bad light.

The SSP-rank officer who is the Principal of Police Training School in Lahore said that the women in Pakistan were completely free to pursue any career and it was mere propaganda by vested interests that the fairer sex lived in shackles in Pakistan. “There are no honour killing cases in Pakistan,” she asserted.

She was in the city today to participate in a literary seminar at Punjabi Bhavan and later at an Indo-Pak Mushaira at Punjabi Bhavan. In an exclusive interview to The Tribune she revealed that journalism was her first choice of a profession. “I always wanted to be a crime reporter but became a police officer just by chance.”

She has been in police service for the last 25 years and is the first woman officer who had attained the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) rank.

While stressing that more women are taking to the police career she does not want that a woman officer should head a police district as the SSP rank officers do in India.

“I think women should not take jobs demanding 24 hours of their attention. They have to cater to the needs of the family,” she said when asked if she rued not heading a police district.

Women are becoming pilots and pursuing all sort of careers hitherto thought of being for males only in Pakistan,” she added.

However, one would find many women wearing jeans or Western dresses as women did not view wearing such dresses as a sign of female liberation.

She revealed that though the ratio of women to men police personnel in Pakistan was nothing in comparison to India but it was improving.

It was not easy for her to become a police officer, “When I had joined the service 25 years ago everybody was skeptical.

People told me to become a teacher or pursue any other ‘soft’ career but I was adamant. Later, everybody rallied behind me and are now proud of me”.

Her passion for writing, however, remained undiminished. She has penned several books based on her travelogues to India and Japan. Her poems have also been published and got rave reviews.


SGPC’s no to descendents of Mian Mir

Amritsar, February 27
The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has refused to give permission to Nasin Maqdoom Sayeed Chan Pir Quadri, a descendant of Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir of Pakistan, to perform religious hymns in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple here.

Quadri, the 19th descendant of Hazrat Mia, who is believed to have laid the foundation stone of the temple in 1589 on the request of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev, had arrived here from Pakistan two days ago through the Wagah route with the desire to perform kirtans (hymns) at the Golden Temple.

“We don’t have any problem with their religion but the SGPC and Sikh religion have certain set criteria for anybody who wants to sing kirtans inside the Golden Temple which is lacking in the team lead by Quadri,” SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur told reporters here today.

“As per Sikh religion norms, only those people can perform kirtan inside the temple who adopt Sikh religion in letter and spirit. One should be well-versed to sing kirtan as per Sikh rituals for which one has to go through the mandatory training imparted by the SGPC and other Sikh religious and spiritual institutes,” she said. — PTI


Magic show to help tsunami victims
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 27
Much to a bemused and bewitched audience here, renowned magician Samrat Shankar on Friday handcuffed Kapurthala SSP Arun Pal Singh!

Samrat Shankar was performing a charity show at the local Elite Cinema for tsunami victims. The Rotary Club (South East Phagwara) had orgaised the show. Mr Arun Pal Singh inaugurated and presided over it while Mr Paramjit Singh Sethi, managing director, Indian Autos Industries, was the guest of honour.

Samrat Shankar performed many mesmerising tricks. These included suspending a girl in the air. The girl was selected at random from among the audience and hypnotised. Other tricks included cutting a girl into two, making a Maruti car disappear and illusions etc.

The magician invited SSP Arun Pal Singh to unlock his handcuffs with the key that was with the SSP. Hardly had the SSP unlocked one hand of Samrat Shankar when the unlocked portion of the handcuff flew onto the wrist of the SSP, handcuffing his one hand. The audience lustily cheered at this truck.

Samrat Shankar has performed 18,000 shows in and outside the country in the past 25 years. Out of these, 12,000 shows have been for charity, including shows for the rehabilitation of the families of Kargil martyrs. Last night, it was his 12,001 charity magic show.

The magician declared to set up a national magic academy to promote the art of magic.


DSP found with woman, transferred
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 27
Residents of the Subji Mandi area here allegedly caught Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, with a woman from a house late last night. Later they were taken to the local police station.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, while confirming the incident, said as Mr Jaspal Singh was not caught indulging in an unbecoming conduct with the woman identified as Manjeet Kaur of Sangrur district no criminal case was registered against him.

However, he had written to the DGP, Vigilance Bureau, and the DGP, Punjab Police, in this connection so that administrative action could be taken against Mr Jaspal Singh. He had also called the wife of Mr Jaspal Singh and kin of Manjeet Kaur, he added. He said the woman would be handed over to her kin and the wife of Mr Jaspal Singh would be made aware of the activities of her husband.

Official sources said the state Vigilance Bureau authorities taking a prompt action on the report of Mr Cheema had transferred Mr Jaspal Singh to the headquarters in Chandigarh and had given the additional charge of this district to Mr Ashutosh Kaushal, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda.

Mr Cheema pointed out that as per his information Mr Jaspal Singh came in contact with Manjeet Kaur when he (Mr Jaspal Singh) was posted in Sangrur district. He said while people alleged that Mr Jaspal Singh and Manjeet Kaur were indulging in immoral activities, Manjeet Kaur claimed that she had come to Mr Jaspal Singh for seeking his help in a land dispute case.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Mr Jaspal Singh was thrashed by the area residents. A senior police official reached the spot after getting information. Mr Jaspal Singh and Manjeet Kaur were taken to the local police station. Mr Jaspal Singh was kept in the police station for the whole night.

Information revealed that two associates of Mr Jaspal Singh, who allegedly brought Manjeet Kaur to that house, managed to escape. Two residents of this town had allegedly brought that woman to Mr Jaspal Singh as they wanted his help in getting a licence for opening a driving school in one of the towns of this district.

The residents, who were agitated over the fact that no case was registered against Mr Jaspal Singh, demanded that the associates of Mr Jaspal Singh should also be arrested and legal action should be taken against them. A large number of Mr Jaspal’s kin had also reached this town to help him. Mr Jaspal Singh could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Water scarcity in city
Rajbir Sekhon

Bathinda, February 27
Even as this town has been expanding at fast pace, its residents have been feeling the pinch of absence of basic amenities despite the fact that this town was accorded status of district headquarter more than 50 years ago.

Though the town boasts of having Asia’s biggest cantonment, fertiliser plant, state’s first thermal plant, educational institutions, its development over the past five decades could be judged from the fact that a few residents still had been covering a considerable distance to fetch a few buckets of potable water as so far the entire town could not be covered with the piped water supply by the authorities concerned.

Though there is an acute shortage of potable water during the summers, residents of some of the localities have started regarding themselves unlucky after they started facing the water scarcity in winters also despite the fact that demand of water comes down drastically during this season.

“As far as potable water is concerned, we feel that we are still living in a remote village, which has been ignored by the state government as the authorities concerned have failed to lay underground pipes for water supply in our area despite the fact that residence of the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, is located nearby, said residents of the Lal Singh basti area.

An official source said about 30 per cent of the population was without water as underground water pipelines were yet to be laid. The localities in which pipelines had not been laid were Lal Singh basti, Sanguana basti, Deep Singh Nagar, Balraj Nagar, Deep Singh Nagar, Amarpura basti and a few localities of trans- railway area.

Mr Kamal Kant Goyal, Executive Officer, Municipal Corporation, when contacted, said they had been supplying 70 million gallons everyday. It meets the demands of the areas fully. He added in the coming two years, the entire town would be covered with underground pipelines and potable water would be provided to all residents.


125 CRPF personnel HIV positive
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 27
As many as 125 of 2.5 lakh CRPF personnel are HIV positive.

Figures, according to Dr S.K. Dhillon, Chief Medical Officer of the CRPF, Jalandhar, show that HIV cases in the CRPF were 6 cases per 1,000 which was “too low” as compared to 11.24 cases per 1,000 in India.

“But Mr J.K. Sinha, Director General of the CRPF, has directed all CRPF establishments to hold seminars, audio-visual presentations training workshops on AIDS awareness.


Mian Mir’s descendant attends kirtan darbar
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 27
The 13th International Bhai Mardana Kirtan Darbar started amidst religious fervour here yesterday. The highlight of the samagam was undoubtedly the glimpse of the priceless relics and historical belongings of the Sikh Gurus brought here to India by Makhdoom Syed Chan Pir Qadri, 19th descendant of Mia Mir, who had laid the foundation stone of Golden Temple and Zahoor Ahmed Khan, a direct descendant of Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan.

Syed Qadri along with others has come here from Pakistan with some of the priceless possessions, including a rosary of Guru Arjun Dev and a necklace of Mata Ganga, mother of Guru Hargobind Singh. He is accompanied by his wife Saeda Naila Geelani, Makhdoom Ali Raza and Makhdoom Jesan Geelani, both sons, Saeda Farheen, daughter, and brother Makhdoom Arshad Geelani.


Senior cops take part in ‘shram daan’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
Senior police officials of Patiala, led by Zonal Inspector-General of Police Rajinder Singh, took up spades to level the proposed playground for the upcoming Police DAV Public School at Dadhera village, near here, today.

The police officials reached the school site in the morning with both Range DIG Sahota and SSP Amarjit Singh Rai wearing “patkas”.

SSP A. S. Rai disclosed that more than 200 police personnel joined in the “shram daan” besides the staff of the Police DAV School which was at present housed in the Civil Lines. He said the purpose of the “shram daan” was to level the playground.

This was necessitated because earlier a drain passed through this area. The drain was shifted recently to an alternative site by the Drainage Department resulting in mounds of loose mud everywhere.

The exercise was also aimed at creating awareness about the school among the police personnel of the district. The school would offer special concession to children of Dadhera village where it was being established besides children of police officials who were martyred during the fight against militancy.

Children of Class IV employees of the Police Department would also be entitled to a special concession.

Meanwhile, Mr Rai said 16 classrooms had already come up at Dadhera village as part of the school complex and that the classes which were at present being held at the Police Lines would be shifted to the new complex in June.

He said besides the classrooms, an administrative block and other facilities would be set up in phased manner. 


Conference on disabled persons concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 27
The three-day All-India Disabled Conference concluded here today. Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, presided over the concluding session of the conference.

Mr Kashmir Singh Sanawa, convener of the conference, put before the house certain resolutions, which it unanimously passed. The resolutions urged the Central Government to implement the PWD ACT 1995 to form the National Policy for Employment, Education, Rehabilitation, Social Equality and representation in all democratic institutions for handicapped, to ensure the implementation of reservation for handicapped in the government departments. They also demanded amendments in certain sections like 57 and 60 of the Act.

Mr Libra, said it is the duty of the government to enact and implement the Acts made for the welfare of the public.

Mr Balwant Singh Dardi, state president of the Physically Handicapped Association, said they became handicapped due to the cruelty of the God but they don’t want mercy from anyone. They want that they should not be insulted and mocked. He warned that if the government did nothing for them, they would come on roads and force the government to listen them.


Cultural programme at Craft Mela
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) Patiala presented its Punjabi Haas Raag Rang, a programme of humour, music, dance and drama, directed by Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal during the concluding session of third Annual Patiala Craft Mela at the NZCC here today.

Patang Baz, a humourous one-act show, had everyone laughing. Dharminder Sandhu, Harpal Azeez, Jagdish Kumar, Swati Malhotra, Gurpreet Kaur and Vijay Sharma were the actors. Besides, folk dances by Jagdish, Sukhwinder Ram Sukha and Kulwinder, classical and cassette dances by Shruti Sachdeva and Charu Singla, Hindi, Punjabi songs by Maina Modgil, skits by Sumant Modgil, Shivam Malhotra and Harpal were much appreciated.

Mr R.T. Jindal, Director, North Zone Cultural Centre, was the chief guest, while Mr Shyam Lal Gupta Navyug, presided over the function and gave away prizes to 20 artistes.


Principal gets 2-year RI
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 27
The Additional Sessions Judge, (ad-hoc), local Fast Track Court, Mr Jaspal Singh Chugh, yesterday awarded two years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) to Harvir Singh, Principal of a private school at Bharthla Randhawa village in Ludhiana district and resident of Jabo Majra village (Amargarh) in Sangrur district for trying to outrage the modesty of a minor girl student of Class IV.

A fine of Rs 50,000 has also been imposed on the accused while in default of the payment of fine the accused will further undergo RI for six months. The amount of the fine will be given to the victim.


Revenue clerk shifted for committing fraud
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 27
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr B.C. Thakur, yesterday ordered a revenue clerk working at Jalalabad West to be transferred to Fazilka following an inquiry that she committed fraud while depositing users charges during the past two years.

The Deputy Commissioner has also recommended departmental proceedings against tehsildars in his report sent to Mr Roopan Deol, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab.

According to information Ms Deol had asked the Deputy Commissioner to inquire into the matter. Complaints received at the state headquarters indicated that Rs 8.68 lakh had been collected as users charges on property sale deeds from February 2, 2004, to January 15, 2005, Jalalabad West subdivision but only 6.84 lakh were deposited in the bank account at Guruharsahai.

The state government had enhanced charges on each registration deed from Rs 100 to 150 with effect from March 3, 2004. Initially the local officials had turned down the complaint claiming that user charges were to be recovered on computerised sale deeds and not on manual transactions.

Mr Thakur had asked Mr Rahul Tiwari, Additional Deputy Commissioner, on February 18 to rush to Jalalabad West for inquiring into the complaint. Mr Tiwari found that Rs 2.01 lakh were short in deposit and submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner. The employee concerned deposited Rs 1.62 lakh in the bank account after the inquiry report indicted her. It was still short of Rs 39,000.

The authorities were convinced that at least two senior officers posted at Jalalabad West, were aware of the fraud. Meanwhile, the government would likely handover the case to the Vigilance Department.


Mob beats thief to death
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
An unidentified thieve was beaten to death by the mob at Dhoot Kalan village in this district early this morning.

According to the police, as many as four thieves entered the house of Rajwinder Kaur at Dhoot Kalan village at about 6 a.m. Rajwinder Kaur raised the alarm for rescue. People of the locality came to her rescue. Other thieves escaped under the cover of darkness.


Young Scientist award for Dr J.P. Singh
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 27
Dr Jatinder Pal Singh, lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Baring Union Christian College, Batala, has been given the Young Scientist award by Bioved Research Society, Allahabad, recognised by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.

The Vice-Chancellor of Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut, Dr R.P. Singh, presented the award to Dr Jatinder Pal Singh during the seventh Indian Agricultural Scientists and Farmers Congress held at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, on Sunday for his contributions in the field of parasitology.

Dr Singh also presented his research paper on “Environmental deterioration and human health crisis” at the national conference held in Meerut, in which about 300 scientists from various universities and research institutes of the country participated.


School board sets up control room
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 27
The Punjab School Education Board has set up a control room to deal with various problems being faced by students and others on duty in connection with matriculation and class XII examinations commencing on March 2.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, said the control room had started functioning. It functioned from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and would remain open even on holidays till the examinations were over. Students who had not received roll numbers could collect those from the control room after presenting a proof of the examination form sent, fee deposited and an attested photograph of the candidate. The duplicate roll number would be issued on a payment of Rs 20. Problems like non-receipt of question papers by the heads of examination centres etc could also be brought to the notice of the control room.

Ms Saroya said roll numbers of some students appearing through the Open School had not been sent as discrepancies had been found in the examination forms.


Dashmesh staff approach K.P.S. Rana
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, February 27
Aggrieved at the decision to shut down Shri Dashmesh Academy here, employees of the academy have approached the Parliamentary Secretary (Industry and Commerce), Mr K.P.S. Rana, to take up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Rana told The Tribune that he had assured the employees that he would discuss their request for a proper management of the academy with the Chief Minister. The employees also handed over the request letter for the CM to Mr Rana.

The president of the academy’s employees union, Mr Jinder Singh, listed major reasons for financial crisis in the academy. These are: fall in the roll from 600 to 80 in the past eight years; a steep hike in tuition fee, no increase in the endowment fund of Rs 1.70 crore in the past 25 years and the loss of Rs 40 lakh invested in Punwire.


SGPC takes over Batala college
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 27
Residents of the town and surrounding areas are happy over the taking over of the local Guru Nanak College by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The college was being managed by the Gurdwara Kandh Sahib Society and had been facing acute financial problems for a long time. Teaching and non-teaching staff of the college had not been paid salaries for months together. The strength of college had been steadily falling over the years and the college was on the verge of closure.

Prof Ashwani Kansra, general secretary of the College Teachers Union, Batala, said here today that the SGPC had rendered a great service to the cause of education in the area by taking over the management of the institution.

Principal of the college Kewal Singh Parwana thanked Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC for taking interest in the college. He lauded the efforts of Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Mr Gurvinder Singh Shampura and Mr Gurinder Pal Singh Gora. 


Student gets admit card with different photo
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Gujjar (Faridkot), February 27
As if goof-ups in question papers of board exams were not enough, the Punjab School Education Board has committed another blunder in the test admit card issued to a Class X student hailing from this village. Gurvinder Singh, a student of Saint Soldier School, Sadik, has got the admit card with the picture of a Hindu boy pasted on it.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Gurvinder Singh said he had received the test admit card at his address a few days back. His role number is 182950, while his examination centre was Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Faridkot, having centre code 16422.

Gurvinder said his and his father’s name was written correctly, but the admit card didn’t have his photograph.

Surprisingly, the photograph pasted on his card belonged to none of the students of his school. He had submitted it to the school authorities who had promised to take up the matter.

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