P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Major hike in pensions of gallantry award winners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Government today announced a major hike in the pensions of gallantry award winners in recognition of their service to the nation.

Addressing a press conference after a Cabinet meeting the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the government had also ended the difference between the pension amounts paid to pre-Independence and post-Independence award winners. The increase would put a burden of Rs 3 crore annually on the state exchequer.

The monthly pension of Param Vir Chakra awardees had been hiked to Rs 10,000 from the present Rs 350. The awardees would also get other pension benefits amounting to Rs 2,500, taking the total to Rs 12,500 per month.

The pension of Ashok Chakra winners had been increased from Rs 325 to Rs 10,000, Mahavir Chakra winners from Rs 275 to Rs 7,500, Kirti Chakra winners from Rs 250 to Rs 7,500, Vir Chakra winners from Rs 200 to Rs 3,500 and Shaurya Chakra winners from Rs 175 to Rs 3,500.

He said the pension of Sena, Nau Sena and Vayu Sena Medal awardees — if conferred for gallantry — had been increased to Rs 2,000 from Rs 100. In the case of Mention-in-Despatch awardees, it had been increased to Rs 1,000 from Rs 100.

The pension of Victoria Cross and Military Cross awardees had been hiked to Rs 10,000 and Rs 7,500 from Rs 500 and Rs 100 per month, respectively. The awardees of the Military Medal, the Indian Order of Merit, the Conspicuous Gallantry Award, the Indian Order of Merit Class-2 and the Indian Distinguished Service Medal would get Rs 3,500, Rs 2,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,000 against the present amounts of Rs 45, Rs 175, Rs 100, Rs 100 and Rs 35, respectively.

On the demise of a gallantry awardee, the widow would get a monthly allowance of Rs 7,500 in the case of PVC awardees, Rs 5,750 in the case of MVC winners and Rs 3,750 in the case of Victoria Cross winners. In the case of other awardees it would be 50 per cent of the monthly allowance as authorised to the respective awardees.


Descendants of 40 ‘muktas’ feel ignored
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 3
While the SGPC and the state government are busy scoring a point over each other on the martyrdom tercentenary of 40 ‘muktas’, it seems nobody is interested in finding out about the descendants of 40 ‘muktas’.

According to the chairman of Guru Kashi Sabhyacharak Itihasak Vichar Kendar, Mr Harvinder Singh Khalsa, he had met the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, on April 22, and had told her that he had the record of the descendants of 40 ‘muktas’, but she didn’t show any interest. He said if the SGPC had extended some help they would have traced the descendants of 40 ‘muktas’. He claimed that the district administration had also called him in this regard.

Residents of Mai Bhago’s Jhabal village are also disappointed that nobody invited them to Muktsar for the historic event. The secretary of gurdwara Mahi Bhago’s management committee, Mr Parminderjit Singh, said the name of their village was not even mentioned in the advertisements. He said the committee chief had gone to Muktsar on his own. The villagers also called a meeting in this regard on Friday and took notice of the SGPC turning blind eye to them.

Similarly, a family from the lineage of Bhai Maha Singh is residing at Kauli village in Patiala. Mahinder Kaur, a member of the family, said nobody told them about the programmes at Muktsar. Bhai Daan Singh’s descendants are also disappointed. An elderly descendant of Bhai Daan Singh, Arjan Singh, said he had been awaiting invitation from the SGPC for the past few days. The ex-sarpanch of Daansinghwala village, Jaspal Kaur, said nobody cared for people of Bhai Daan Singh’s village at his martyrdom tercentenary.

Balwant Singh Kotha of Itihas Kendar, Bathinda, said it was a golden opportunity to trace the descendants of 40 ‘muktas’ and felicitate them.


Mai Bhago Seva Dal planned
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 3
While the SGPC organised a women’s conference on the third day of the martyrdom tercentenary of 40 ‘muktas’, the state government held a nagar kirtan to commemorate their sacrifice.

However, the nagar kirtan had to return without paying obeisance at Gurdwara Tutti Gandi Sahib owing to traffic problems, which irked a section of devotees.

A large number of women attended the women’s conference held at the SGPC venue on Malout road. The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, asked women to join hands to fight social evils like dowry and female foeticide.

She announced the formation of Mai Bhago Sewa Dal. The Bibi said the aim of the organisation would be to spread Sikhism, check atrocities on women and curb the drug menace.

She said office-bearers of the organisation would not bid for political posts. Units of the organisation would be formed at the village level.

SAD president Parkash Singh Badal said the overwhelming response to the conference proved that women were ready to lead the community.

At the state government’s largely attended nagar kirtan, Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang and Revenue Minister Amarjit Singh Samra participated in a procession that started from Minar-e-Mukta. ‘Panj Pyare’ led the procession, which culminated at Gurdwara Tutti Gandi Sahib after passing through the main areas of the city.

Guru Gobind Singh’s belongings, including a robe, a bowl, a shield and a pair of shoes were displayed for “sangat darshan”. Mr Kang inaugurated rural games that started with a kabaddi match between Punjab and Haryana girls. A martial arts team from Shaheed Deep Singh Akhara, Chandigarh, displayed ‘gatka’ skills.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Dalip Kumar, said the nagar kirtan did stop in front of Gurdwara Tutti Gandi for about 20 minutes so that devotees could pay obeisance there. It was likely that many devotees could not do so due to the rush.

Meanwhile, the Khalsa Chetna March that started from Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, passed through Bathinda today. Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh took part in the march.

A mini bus (PB03 1127) in the march met with an accident near NFL, injuring 16 persons, two of them seriously. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda.


Punjab may also challenge Rajasthan’s claim on waters
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has not ruled out the possibility of challenging the claim of Rajasthan on Punjab river waters.

Replying to a specific question asked in this connection by TNS today, Capt Amarinder Singh said: “We will go the whole hog to deal with this issue and all aspects related to the river waters vis-a-vis Rajasthan will be examined while filing the special leave petition in the Supreme Court”.

He said that already the government had taken a decision to challenge Sections 78, 79 and 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act. Sections 78 deal with the rights and liabilities of the Punjab and Haryana in the Bhakra and Beas projects. Section 79 and 80 deal with the control of the headworks of the Bhakra and Beas projects, respectively.

“Our legal experts are on the job to file the SLP”, said Capt Amarinder Singh. He said that there were several issues which were raised while filing the reply by the Punjab Government in the Rajasthan High Court in the case regarding the control of the headworks, but unfortunately the High Court did not take due notice of those issues. “We will take up all those issues in the SLP to be filed to challenge the Rajasthan High Court’s verdict”.

River water experts of Punjab say that as Rajasthan is a non-riparian state, its claim on the river waters should be challenged in the Supreme Court. Rajasthan had been drawing 112 lakh acre feet of water from Punjab rivers. The experts say that while Punjab has been fighting against Haryana, which is demanding 19 lakh acre feet more water from Punjab rivers through the SYL canal, it (Punjab) has not raised its voice with the same vigour against Rajasthan.

Haryana was allocated 35 lakh acre feet of water by Indira Gandhi while playing an arbiter among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on December 31, 1981. Out of that 35 lakh acre feet, Haryana has already started drawing 16 lakh feet acre through the Bhakra canal. For carrying the remaining 19 lakh acre feet, the construction of the SYL canal was started.

In fact, during the Emergency when the Haryana leader, Mr Bansi Lal, as Defence Minister, was a powerful man at the Centre, the Union Government had issued a notification on March 24, 1976, to allocate 35 lakh acre feet to Haryana out of the 72 lakh acre feet of water which was given to Punjab and Pepsu from 158.5 lakh acre feet of water distributed among Punjab, Pepsu, Rajasthan and J and K in the 50s. Of the 158.5 lakh acre feet, 80 lakh acre feet was given to Rajasthan, 59 lakh acre feet to Punjab, 13 lakh acre feet to Pepsu and 0.65 lakh acre feet to Jammu and Kashmir. Haryana at that time was not on the map of the country.

However, with the merger of Punjab and Pepsu, the total quantum of water of both states became 72 lakh acre feet. With the carving out of Haryana as a new state from Punjab, the former sought share from 72 lakh acre feet of water. But that issue is hanging fire.

The notification issued by the Union Government during the Emergency was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Akali leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who became the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1978 after the lifting of Emergency in the country and the holding of fresh elections at the national level and in states. But as Darbara Singh, a Congress leader, became the Punjab Chief Minister in 1980, he withdrew the case from the Supreme Court on the directions of Indira Gandhi, who gave 35 lakh acre feet to Haryana, the same quantum to Punjab and the remaining 2 lakh acre feet to Delhi from 72 lakh acre feet of water.

Later, Punjab’s share was raised by 7 lakh acre feet, taking the plea that the total quantum of water had increased in rivers. Rajasthan’s share was also raised by 6 lakh acre feet. However, Haryana’s share remained the same (35 lakh acre feet).


Ex-Dy Speaker’s gunman disappears
Missing, says relative; murder, says Bir Devinder
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nabipur (Fatehgarh Sahib), May 3
A gunman of former Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh is suspected to have committed suicide by jumping into the Narwana Branch canal at this village near Sirhind last night. The scooter belonging to the gunman Nawab Singh was recovered from near the canal along with a photograph, which shows the Deputy Speaker pinning a stripe on the gunman.

The Fatehgarh Sahib police denied having recovered any suicide note from the spot even though people, who reached the spot before the police arrive, claimed a suicide note was found from the scooter. They claimed that the district police took the suicide note into its possession.

The Fatehgarh Sahib police has registered a case in the matter on a complaint by Dalip Singh, a relative of the gunman. Dalip Singh claimed that the gunman had gone missing. The complaint said Nawab Singh last made contact with his family before returning back from Patiala. He was supposed to go to Chandigarh last night.

The Deputy Speaker, when questioned in this regard, said there was something “fishy” about the matter and demanded the issue should be probed in a proper manner. He said “There seemed to be something behind it and it could be possible that Nawab Singh had been murdered. He said it was strange that a photograph had been recovered from the boot of the scooter, which showed him pinning a stripe on the gunman. “What can be Nawab’s interest in carrying such a photograph in the boot of his scooter while travelling at night”, he said.

Mr Bir Devinder also claimed that Nawab had not been working in his security detail since February 18 this year. He said when the gunman did not come back on duty for some time he had informed his battalion and also sent a note to the ADGP, Security on April 14 asking that a replacement should be sent in his place. “Another police personnel joined duty replacing Nawab”, he added.

The legislator said he had good relations with the family of Nawab and that he had taken on Nawab in his security detail following the recommendation of Dalip Singh of Bibipur village who was Nawab’s relative and known to him (Bir Devinder). He said he did not have any quarrel with Nawab before February 18 and could not think of any reason why the gunman could have committed suicide. “I in fact recommended his case for promotion twice to the ADGP, PAP, when I was Deputy Speaker and he was promoted on my recommendation”.

When asked about the suicide note, which is alleged, to have been found on the spot, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said, “I do not know about any suicide note” and went on to ask, “Have you read any note found on the spot?”. 


Double murder case solved, tantrik arrested
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 3
The district police has managed to crack a double murder case. Sarita, wife of an NRI, and her daughter Mehak were found dead in their rented accommodation in the Shastri Nagar area in March. The bodies were found in a decomposed state.

The bodies remained untraced as the house was locked from outside. It was only after the stench of the bodies spread in the entire area that somebody reported the matter to the police. The police later recovered the bodies.

The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Ishwar Singh, said a “tantrik”, Mintu Kumar, and his associate Kanta, both residents of Kot village in Junjune district of Rajasthan, had been arrested in connection with the case.

It had been found that Sarita allegedly had illicit relations with somebody. She contacted the tantrik to control her paramour through witchcraft. The tantrik told her to arrange about Rs 4 lakh for the ritual. She mortgaged her land for the money.

The tantrik reportedly came to her house at night along with Sunny, Sunil and Happy. They told her to lie passively so that witchcraft could be performed on her. However, the accused along with his associates overpowered her and raped her. The struggle put up by Sarita drew the attention of her daughter who was sleeping in an adjoining room. As soon as her daughter entered the room, ‘the accused overpowered her also. Later, they strangulated both mother and daughter and left the house early in the morning after locking it from outside. They also took with them Rs 4 lakh.

They also took away the mobile set of Sarita, which finally led the police to them. The SSP said the tantrik threw away the chip of Sarita’s mobile and put a new chip in it. He used the mobile to ring up someone in Rajasthan after about an hour of the crime. The record of the mobile usage by the tantrik was recovered from the mobile phone company concerned.

The other accused were still absconding. A case under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered against them.


Youth booked for fraud, rape
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 3
The police today booked a youth, Binder, of Mai Majra village under Sections 420 and 376, IPC, on the charges of fraud and rape of his cousin.

It was learnt today that a 21-year-old girl of Sangatpur village and Binder had met at Lakhpur village on the marriage of the daughter of a common relative, Mrs Nikko. They developed an affair and decided to marry each other.

The youth called the girl from Sangatpur to Phagwara on April 3. He told her that he would take her to Chandigarh for getting married. He took her in a Tata Sumo vehicle to Nawanshahr. From there, he took her to a village on the Nawanshahr-Chandigarh road instead of Chandigarh. He kept her in that village till April 7.

However, he did not marry her. She was raped during these days. On April 7, the youth dropped her at the bus stand and went away. She came back to her village home.

Her family called the youth to the panchayat. He promised to marry the girl on May 1. But he did not turn up. At this, a complaint was lodged with the Rawalpindi police post and a case was registered. However, the youth is yet to be arrested.


Woman dies awaiting treatment, doctor held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 3
The death of a woman, allegedly due to the negligence of a doctor, led to her relatives thrashing the doctor and damaging his clinic at Goniana Mandi, near here, today.

According to sources, Harjeet Kaur fell sick last night and was admitted to the Sidhu Hospital on Mall Road. Members of her family called Dr Gurtej Singh from his home. He returned soon after administering some injections to her.

But, her condition started deteriorating after about an hour. When the doctor was contacted, he said he would be there after getting ready.

He reached the hospital after the patient had breathed her last.

Soon her relatives converged on the clinic and thrashed the doctor, besides breaking windowpanes of the clinic.

DSP Sukhdev Singh Chahal reached the spot and arrested the doctor. The victim’s body was sent to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

A case under Section 304 of the IPC has been registered against the doctor and his compounder.


Promote tourism in Kapurthala, says Tikka Shatrujit
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3
A great grandson of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kapurthala, Tikka Shatrujit, is upset over the way the dynasty of princely state of Kapurthala is being sidelined.

“The historical buildings are crumbling and the administration has hardly done anything to protect them. There are so many monuments in the town, but nothing has been done to promote tourism in Kapurthala,” the descendent of the family of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh said this during his visit here today.

The onset of a peace process between India and Pakistan should be a motivation for the government to step up ways to promote tourism in the town, he said. “Kapurthala is not very far off from the border and Pakistanis have often showed their keenness in taking a round of the princely town. Tourism will not only usher in maintaining the various structures but it will also help the state earn revenue,” he added.

“Many a time we have proposed to the government to shift the Sainik School from Jagatjit Palace to some other place and vacate it for setting up of a museum. We have been hearing that it might be shifted to Dashmesh Academy in Anandpur Sahib, but nothing has been done so far,” he said, adding that a Rs 1.01-crore grant released by the Ministry of Defence for the upkeep of the palace was too meagre to renovate the huge palace.

Tikka Shatrujit is also keen on facilitating religious tourism to Sultanpur Lodhi, the holy town that houses a constellation of gurdwaras where Guru Nanak Dev had spent nearly 13 years of his life.

The descendent of the royal family is also touched by the treatment being given to Kali Bein. “The sewer waste of the town is being discharged into the rivulet, in the waters of which Guru Nanak Dev is believed to have attained enlightment,” he said, adding a word of praise for Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal who has been carrying out a campaign for its cleanliness.

“Similarly, Shalimar Garden, Panch Mandir, Moorish Mosque, Kanjli wetland, Durbar Hall and Nihal Palace at Jallowkhana of all need a regular upkeep or else they would not last for the coming generations to see and understand the historical value of the place”, he said.


Youth Congress camp at Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
A three-day youth leadership camp of the Indian Youth Congress will be organised at Amritsar from May 15 onwards. The ‘North Zone Leadership Camp’ at Guru Nanak Dev University was announced by Mr Ashok Tanwar, president of the Indian Youth Congress, while addressing a press conference here today.

The camp will witness participation of nearly 450 Youth Congress leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh. Chief Ministers from all the participating states are expected to visit the camp. Also on the list of expected guests are senior party leaders besides invitees from the intelligentsia.

Those accompanying the President of the Youth Congress at the press conference included Mr Raminder Awla, president of the Punjab unit, Mr Vikram Malhotra, vice president of the Jammu and Kashmir unit, Mr H.S. Lucky, president of the local unit and Mr Kamleshwar Patel, observer.

Mr Tanwar said “we have not tried to get Mrs Sonia Gandhi. We are instead trying to get Mr Rahul Gandhi, who is a symbol of youthful future.”

He said that the camp would explore different questions facing the youth of the day. Some important issues include: threat of communal forces, casteism, unemployment, social awareness on issues like AIDS, and need for increase in knowledge bank on self employment.

The President of the Youth Congress said “the party was making a conscious effort to infuse more youth in its leadership programmes. At one time the youth leaders were generally more than 40 years old. The trend has changed for a healthy future”, he said.

Mr Tanwar said he agreed to the fact that the party leadership at the senior level needed a relook. Tainted leaders if found guilty would not be spared by the youth.


Licences of seven commission agents cancelled
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 3
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr B.C. Thakur, has cancelled licences of seven commission agents in this border district following reports of some alleged irregularities during the procurement process. Out of these commission agents, two each belong to Ferozepore cantonment and Jalalabad and one each from Mudki, Zira and Talwandi Bhai.

After a whirlwind tour of various grain markets of Zira, Talwandi Bhai, Abohar, Fazilka, Jalalabad and Ferozepore, Mr Thakur told mediapersons here today that till date 9,61,837 lakh tonne of wheat had been procured in the district and total payments to the tune of Rs 513.62 lakh had been made to farmers.

He said out of the total procurement till date, Pungrain had purchased 1,42,745 lakh tonne, Markfed 2,82,665, PUNSUP 1,86,990, Punjab Warehousing Corporation 91,383 lakh, and FCI 1,16,848 lakh tonnes of wheat.

He said the procurement of wheat was almost on the verge of completion in the district as more than 80 per cent of the total wheat produce had already been purchased.

He said 7,87,385 lakh tonnes of wheat had been lifted from grain markets and the rest of the stock would be lifted shortly.

He said Mr Tarvinder Singh, District Manager, Pungrain, had been appointed nodal officer for various procurement agencies in the district.


Deputy Director pulls up council officials
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 3
The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mrs Sarojini Gautam Sharda, today pulled up officials of the local municipal council for not maintaining proper office records.

The Deputy Director gave one month’s time to council officials to update the record and remove other shortcomings in the functioning of the civic body. She said that she would review the developments again after a month and strict action would be taken against them if the work was not found to be satisfactory.

Mrs Sharda, who had come to the town in connection with a complaint made by a resident, also inspected office records and found many shortcomings.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, the Deputy Director said that no entry of any case of octroi evasion had been made in the relevant register since August last year. “Even if the work of octroi collection had been given on contract, it did not mean that people had stopped indulging in octroi evasion. One cannot be complacent”, she added.

She said that the road history register was also not found complete. She said that she had received a complaint regarding the non-construction of a road. Even though she had asked for comments of the official concerned in this regard, she thought of visiting the site personally before sending the report to the government. She said that she had asked for some record which would also be inspected.

The Deputy Director said that she had also visited the municipal council at Samrala today and took into her possession the record of the civic body.


Cops plan strategy to fight drug menace
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 3
A high-level meeting of senior police officials of the border range was held to take stock of the law and order situation and plan a strategy for eradicating the drug menace.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary for Home, Justice and PWD (B&R). The senior police officials included Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG, and all district police chiefs of the border range, including those from Amritsar, Majitha, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Batala.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Dharamsot said the government and the police department would not leave any stone unturned to eradicate the deadly menace, which had already crippled the youth in the rural and urban areas. He said people should also come forward and help the department in this regard. He said without the active help of people this menace could not be controlled. He urged the people to fight this menace.

He said the police force network would be strengthened to wage a fight against drug menace, adding that any political patronage to such anti-social elements would not be tolerated and such persons would be publicly exposed. He envisaged better coordination between the police and the Border Security Force in keeping a close watch on smuggling activities from across the border.

Commenting upon the budgetary constraints for the police department, Mr Dharamsot said he would take it up with the Chief Minister. He added he would request raising the allocation in view of the increase in petrol and diesel charges.


Cops force contractor’s men to lift naka
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, May 3
The police has forced the henchmen of liquor contractors to lift their illegal naka put up near Nangal Bhoor village on the Mukerian-Pathankot road. The police acted against the henchmen of liquor contractors after the matter was highlighted in these columns.

SHO Mukerian told The Tribune that the illegal tent that the liquor contractor’s men had put up along the national highway had been uprooted. The liquor contractors had also been directed against stopping any vehicle on the main road.

Only police officials or Excise Inspectors would now check vehicles to controll the smuggling of liquor, the SHO said. As reported in The Tribune henchmen of the liquor contractor had started checking commuters on the said national highway.


‘Poor response’ to Army technical posts in Punjab
Tribune News Service

The Deputy Director-General, Recruitment (Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir), Brig D.V.S Rathee, inspects a recruitment rally in Ropar
The Deputy Director-General, Recruitment (Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir), Brig D.V.S Rathee, inspects a recruitment rally in Ropar on Tuesday. — Photo by Kiran Deep

Ropar, May 3
“We have not been getting high merit list of candidates in Army recruitment rallies in Punjab for the past sometimes. Earlier we used to have a choice to select best candidates. But now there is a substantial decline in the candidates who have been making it to the merit list from the state. Besides, Punjabi youths are least interested in technical posts,” the Deputy Director-General, Recruitment (Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir), Brig D.V.S. Rathee, said here today.

He was here to inspect the ongoing recruitment rally for the youths of Ropar and Ludhiana. Giving details in a press conference, he said earlier if there were 50 vacancies, there would be over 100 candidates in the merit list and the best could be selected.

“We are also getting poor response for technical posts from Punjab as very few candidates opt for these posts,” he said.

Taking serious note of the role of touts, he said it had come to his notice that some persons were defaming the Army and charging handsome amount from youths to get them selected. “Army officers inform the youths at the beginning of every recruitment rally to stay away from touts. The youths have to work hard to clear all the tests,” he said.


Army job seekers lack awareness of basics
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 3
The ongoing Army recruitment rally in the Nehru Stadium here for the youths of Ropar and Ludhiana district revealed that many of the candidates who were rejected were not aware of even basic physical tests and documents required. This happened despite the fact that the state has been running two institutes in the region to help the youths by providing free coaching to them.

Total 7,000 youths who came in the recruitment rally here lacked awareness of the basic documents required and other requirements to appear in the tests. About 3,500 candidates were disqualified and only 3,500 were issued tokens to appear in the physical tests. The rally will continue till May 10.

The state has been running institutes at Lalru in Patiala and also at Nabha in Ludhiana for free training for the youths of Ropar, Patiala and Ludhana to appear in Army recruitment rallies. Besides providing physical training they also gave them coaching to appear in the test.

An interaction with youths from far-flung areas of the Ropar and Ludhiana revealed their ignorance about the facilities being available for them in the state run institutes. Due to lack of awareness about the training center for the youths, many of them were feeling helpless to make it to the Army. Out of 3,500 candidates who appeared in the physical tests only 256 candidates got training in the state run institute free of costs in Lalru and Nabha.

During the inspection of the recruitment rally by the Deputy Director General Recruitment Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, Brig D.V.S Rathee, today met candidates who failed to qualify the test. They admitted that they did prepare for the physical tests but had no idea about such tests. Brig Rathee advised them to work hard and do regular practice to appear in the tests.

The problems did not end here for those who belong to rural areas even if they cleared physical test. Many of them faced hard time to clear written tests. The senior Army official involved in the recruitment here told The Tribune that in many recruitment rallies held in the past it is learnt that many of the candidates who were found physically fit did not perform in the written tests. The candidates belonging to rural areas required proper guidance to appear in the tests.

“The institute too required campaign to spread awareness in the rural areas about state run institutes in several places, which are being set-up in various places to provide free training to help the youths to get selected,” he added.

The officials of the training centres of Lalru and Nabha who have set-up camps outside the recruitment rally stadium on the conditions of anonymity said that they have been organising rallies every month to select the youths for providing coaching to them to appear in the recruitment rally in the Army. The state has been providing free accommodation and food to the candidates who were found fit to appear in the tests.


MC chief stalling works, says MLA
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 3
Factionalism in the local Congress once again came to the fore with the local MLA and Chairman of the PTDC, Mr Ashok Sharma, today accusing the Pathankot Municipal Council President, Mr Sarwan Kumar, of stalling development works.

The president also belongs to the Congress.

Addressing a press conference here, the MLA said a sum of Rs 15 lakh was given from the MP Local Area Development Fund (MPLAD) by Rajya Sabha member Ashwani Kumar for construction of an auditorium here.

The amount was lying as deposit money at the disposal of the municipal council. But the President of the Municipal Council at the “behest” of the BJP councillors, was creating hurdles in the execution of development works in the town.

Mr Sharma alleged that he had managed grants for development from the discretionary quota of various ministers. However, the president of the civic body was not allowing the works to proceed. Some wards represented by Congress councillors had not been allotted money for development in the past two years, he said.


MC employees hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3
Employees of the local Municipal corporation organised a dharna here today to lodge their protest against the recent attack on octroi supervisor Ravi Handa by some unscrupulous persons.

Ravi Handa was allegedly abducted and was thrashed by some persons, said to be members of the liquor mafia, about four days ago. Handa was injured seriously.

MC employees gathered at PNB Chowk and blocked traffic for about two hours and alleged that the MC was not doing anything to bring culprits to book.


Work gets easier with 63 depts under one roof
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 3
As many as 63 departments relating to driving licence, passport, arm licences, birth and death certificates, licences for fertilisers and pesticides and other departments relating to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, transport and agriculture have been brought under one roof in a computerised hall to process application on a single window.

The “Suwidha Centre” is situated near the Deputy Commissioner’s office. To protect the applicants from touts, every application form is attached with a checklist for the required documents and a sample of affidavits wherever necessary to remove confusion.

There will be help at the reception and a Duty Magistrate has been deputed to attest the affidavits there itself. To avoid rush on counters, the applicants will be allotted a token number. Till one’s turn comes, one can view TVs and have tea or coffee.


Asthma most common malady among kids
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3
One in 10 children suffer from asthma and contrary to common belief, disappearance of asthma in about 30-50 per cent children by puberty is only a temporary phenomenon as it reappears later in adult life.

This was disclosed by Dr H.J. Singh, noted chest expert, during a chat with The Tribune in connection with the World Asthma Day.

According to him, over two crore Indians suffer from asthma and it has been observed that asthma is the most common disease in childhood as one in every 10 children suffer from it.

The malady strikes male children more than their female counterparts.

“With an about 40 per cent increase in vehicular traffic, the number of asthmatic children has doubled during the past five years and more than 50 per cent of asthma cases begin before three years of age,” said Dr H.J Singh, who has been treating asthama patients for the past about 20 years.

Dr. H.J Singh said though the doctor often reassured parents that their child would grow out of asthma, studies showed that it were only 20-30 per cent cases of children who show symptoms of recovery by puberty.

“But in those 20-30 per cent cases, too, chances are that the malady may resurface. So childhood asthma should never be ignored in the hope that a child will ressurect himself or herself out of it with passage of time. Treat the moment malady is detected is a must,” said Dr H.J. Singh.

Talking about early symptoms of the disease, he said if a child had recurrent episodes of cough, wheezing especially during night time, during exercise, on change of season or exposure to dust, pollen and other allergens, asthama could be the a culprit.

Since asthma was linked with genes, the malady could not be cured completely. At the same time, medicines could make the victim lead a trouble-free life.

Though the inhalation therapy was best suited to tackle the disease, a very small number of adults and about 15-20 per cent of children used it.

“With use of inhalers many people, including Indira Gandhi, and John F Kennedy achieved success. If they could do it, why can the others not,” he asked.


Rodrigues mourns Aurora’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen. S.F. Rodrigues (retd) expressed profound grief over the death of Lt.-Gen-Jagjit Singh Aurora (retd), a hero of Bangladesh Liberation Action and a former member of the Rajya Sabha.

Describing Lt. Gen. Aurora as a true patriot, nationalist to the core and a distinguished soldier, General Rodrigues said he had set healthy traditions to emulate. He said the leadership qualities of General Aurora and his role in winning the greatest military triumph in the Indo-Pak 1971 war will always be remembered.


Wheat production to fall short of target
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Government today said the wheat production in the state would fall by 10 lakh tonnes. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the total arrival of wheat in the markets was likely to be around 90 lakh tonnes whereas the state had estimated an arrival of 100 lakh tonnes by the end of the procurement season this year.

Last year’s procurement figure was 95 lakh tonnes.


Bir Devinder to head Estimates Committee
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 3
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, has been appointed Chairman of the Estimates Committee for the year 2005-06.

The Punjab Assembly Speaker has made this appointment vide a notification issued by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat. Twelve other members have been nominated to the committee.

Other members of the Estimate Committee are Mr Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, Ms Aruna Chaudhary, Mr Balbir Singh Bath, Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Mr Jeetmohinder Singh Sidhu, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, Mr Sucha Singh Chootepur, Mr Swinder Singh and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa.


Sant Garibdasi shobha yatra held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 3
A shobha yatra was organised today by members of the Trust Sant Garibdasi sant Bhuriwale in which a large number of devotees took part.

According to Mr Gaurav Gaur, media in charge, the shobha yatra started from Sant Bhuriwale Ashram, Mullanpur Garibdas, and culminated at Mandir Mata Singhan Devi, Nadha Karoran. Granth Sahib, written by Acharya Shri Garibdas, was carried to the mandir.

Nearly 35 tractor-trailers, rath drawn by horses, camels and hundreds of devotees participated in the yatra apart from religious leaders from Mathura, Kashi, Ayodhya, Amritsar and Jalandhar.

He said that a five-day religious congregation would start from tomorrow.


Fire damages car
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 3
A car which was being run on a gas cylinder was completely burnt after a blast took place in it following the leakage of the gas and windows of several shops in the main market near Nangal chowk here were also damaged in this evening. The car which was coming from Chandigarh stopped near Nangal Chowk by a driver after he came to know about the leakage of the gas but before he could do anything, the fire caught the car, informed the sources.

The eyewitness informed that a driver of the car who was in police uniform ran away from the spot. Till the filing of the report the identity of the driver could not be revealed.


20 hurt in bus-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 3
Twenty persons were injured, three of them seriously, when a bus in which they were travelling from Katra to New Delhi collided with a truck head-on about 7 km from here near Beroa village.

Three seriously injured, Vijay Dhawan, of Delhi, Janu Khan of Rajasthan and truck driver Satpal Singh of Patiala, were referred to the PGI. Most of the injured belong to New Delhi were discharged after giving first-aid in the Civil Hospital, Ropar.

The police has registered a case against the truck driver. Other injured include Leena Dhawan, Dhiraj Dhawan, Vidya Devi, Alka, Ashwani Kumar, Arti, Sudhir, Sandeep, Yogita all from New Delhi, Sunita from Panipat and Roshan from Ropar.


Factory management cooks up murder story
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3
The Jalandhar police has succeeded in solving a murder mystery with the arrest of five persons, including a complainant on whose complaint a case had been registered.

Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, said a case was registered in Police Division No 1 on the statement of Ritu Raj, supervisor of the Focal Point-based Broadway Overseas Private Limited, wherein, it was alleged that two labourers, Rohit Kumar, and Sandip Kumar had fought on May 2 and Sandip had killed Rohit.

Investigation revealed that both Sandip and Rohit were, infact, taken to the Civil Hospital where Rohit was declared as brought dead, while Sandip was treated for his injuries.

Mr Asthana further said the management of the factory suspected that Rohit and Sandip had stolen some goods and they were rounded up and were tortured by Ritu Raj, Tarsem Lal, Subhash Basra, Sudarshan Kumar, Dev Raj Virdi and Naval Kishore, all employees. This led to the death of Rohit Kumar and the management of the factory tried to cover it up by cooking up a false story and roping in Sandip who corroborated the management story.


6,000 bags of stolen wheat recovered
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 3
The Batala police has succeeded in busting a gang involved in the theft of 6,000 bags of wheat, each weighing 50 kg, and worth Rs 20 lakh from the government godown at Qadian, 20 km from here.

The police recovered the bags of wheat within eight hours of the incident.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, SSP, Mr Jatinder Singh, Technical Officer, got information on telephone yesterday about a theft having been committed at warehouse godown no. 9 during on the intervening night of May 1 and 2.

Mr Jatinder Singh immediately informed the police who registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC at Qadian police station.

Six persons involved in the theft had been arrested by the police. Some important documents have also been seized. Tampering of records made by certain brokers had been detected by the police and a case registered under Sections 411, 420, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Further investigations are on under the supervision of the DSP, Qadian, and the DSP, City, Batala.


Bakery owner shoots self
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3
The Jalandhar police has arrested a local bakery owner for shooting himself in his bid to make his rival accused in the shooting case.

Migrant bakery owner Ram Nivas, who has been running his bakery in the Bhargo Nagar area, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital for treatment. He had told the police that he was shot at in his legs by somebody while he was asleep in his bakery.

But investigation revealed that Ram Nivas had, infact, enacted the drama to implicate his two competitors in a false case. For this, he had shot himself in one of legs with a .315-bore country made revolver.


Fifth injured member of family dies
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 3
Twelve-year-old Varun Luthra, a member of a Batala-based family that had lost four persons in a car-bus collision at Dhilwan on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road yesterday, died here this morning.

The body of the boy was brought to the Civil Hospital here today. He had been admitted to a hospital in Beas in a critical condition yesterday. He had bled a lot and had deep injuries on his forehead.

Ashwini Luthra, his father, Santosh Rani, his mother, Rohit Luthra, newly-wed brother, and Pooja, sister-in-law, had died on the spot. The family was on its way to their home in Batala after attending a function at Jalandhar when their car hit a private bus in a head-on collision. A case had been registered under Section 304-A of the IPC.


Kidnapped boy traced, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 3
The Barnala district police has traced a 12-year-old boy Amrik Singh, who was kidnapped 10 months ago from Shehna village, 15 km from here.

The police arrested Surjit Singh, living in the guise of a nihang, responsible for kidnapping the boy with the help of two accomplices — Nachhattar Singh and Gurdev Singh. Mr Amit Prasad, SSP, Barnala, said here today that Surjit Singh, along with his two accomplices, took the boy away on the pretext of giving him training in “gatka” as well as playing tabla.

Mr Amit Prasad said the accused had confessed to sodomising the boy.

The Shehna police had registered a case under Sections 365 and 34 of the IPC following a complaint by Mr Chamkaur Singh, father of the kidnapped boy.

Amrik Singh told mediapersons that Surjit Singh would often threaten to kill him if he did not do as told

The SSP said on a tip off, the Shehna police found the boy and the accused in Khamano town in Fatehgarh Sahib yesterday.


Woman driven to suicide, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 3
The Sadar police today arrested three members of a family for driving Santosh Rani to suicide.

Jagtar of Dodewala village here had lodged a complaint with the police, stating that his daughter, Santosh had been married to Raj Pal son of Ram Swarup at Alipura village early last year. Despite adequate dowry her in-laws had been torturing her on one pretext or the other. On Sunday they had learnt that she had died of poisoning.

After preliminary investigation, the police today arrested Raj Pal, his father Ram Swarup and mother Janki Devi under Section 306 of the IPC. They were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody.


Three arrested for double murder
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 3
The police has arrested three accused in the case of double murder that took place over a land dispute at Jagatgarh Bander village a few days back.

Police sources said Bhura Singh and Kapoor Singh had some dispute over two kanals of land and the Naib Tehsildar was to take a final decision on April 26. Bhura Singh had reached the spot with his two sons, Jagpal Singh and Kewal Singh, while Kapoor Singh was also accompanied by his two sons, Balwinder Singh and Bikar Singh.

Later, an altercation broke out between the two parties, following which Jagpal Singh shot Balwinder and Bikar dead with his .12-bore rifle.

Bhura Singh, along with his two sons, had absconded. However, the police arrested them yesterday.


Institutes at loggerheads over student’s success
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 3
Two local coaching centres have claimed that Harsh Mittal, who got the third position in the PSEB examination of Class XII (non-medical), took coaching from their respective centres.

According to the pamphlets released by the Harbhajan’s Institute of Competitions (HIC), Mittal took coaching from their institute while a similar claim has also been made by the Career Point institute through its advertisement that appeared in the leading dailies.

Mr Kanwar Ishwar Singh, Director, Career Point, said Harsh had been taking regular coaching from their institute for the past about two years. On the other hand, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Director, HIC, said three teachers of Hash— Mr Rahul Shrivastav (physics), Mr Amit Shukla (mathematics) and Mr Upadhay (chemistry) — who had taught at Career Point had now joined his institute. Moreover, Harsh was preparing for the mains of the IIT at their institute and he had also authorised them to use his photograph on the pamphlets. Ms Shakuntala Devi, mother of Harsh, said her son took all his coaching from Career Point only. When asked about the HIC’s claim, she said Mr Rahul Shrivastav, who had been with Career Point, had joined this year.


Students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 3
Protesting against the privatisation of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), the students of local ITI blocked the busy Rajpura-Patiala highway for over two hours besides raising anti-government slogans, here today.

The students, including girls of the ITI, Rajpura, raised condemned the government’s move for giving their institute in the hands of a Chandigarh-based company. A letter received by the institute management this morning made the students irate following which they assembled and organised a protest march to the ITI Chowk.

The protesting students claimed that the government has offered Winsome Foundation, a Chandigarh Sector 9 based company, to adopt the institute that was acceptable for them.

The students also protested against abolishing three trades — photography, molding and painting — from the institute.

Mr Ravinder Singh Dhaliwal, state joint secretary of Students Federation of India, threatened to organise protests at every district head quarter and tehsil levels on May 11 and 12 to press their demands.

Vehicular traffic on the highway was also disrupted thus putting hundreds of motorists and commuters to a great hardship.


Two students hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 3
Two students of Guru Gobind Singh College of Modern Technology were injured in a group clash here today.

The injured students_ Gagandeep Singh and Mondeep Singh were taken to the local Civil Hospital.

It is reported that a group of students abused and attacked Gagandeep Singh with rods. When Mandeep Singh tried to intervene he was also beaten up.

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