P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Punjab sets up farm panel
To implement crop diversification
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

The Planning Commission has been approached for allowing a horticulture produce processing infrastructure spread across 50 acres in Chandigarh. All produce from Punjab will be brought to Chandigarh for further exports, grading and marketing purposes.

Chandigarh, May 5
Aimed at marketing Punjab’s produce and also implementing crop diversification, the Punjab Government today formed the Punjab State Farmers Commission. The immediate task work of the commission will be to bring down the area under rice cultivation and promote potatoes, cauliflower and okra (bhindi), which have been marked for export.

Dr G.S. Kalkat
Dr G.S. Kalkat

A target of 1.50 lakhs tonnes of potato, and the same quantity of cauliflower and bhindi, has been fixed for export from Punjab during the next winter season and farmers and relevant organisations have been identified.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University Dr G.S. Kalkat, who was today appointed chairman of the commission, says the commission will have a support price system for buying the produce. This will encourage the farmers to move away from rice. Other things on the cards are pulses and soya bean.

The formation of the commission has come about following a paper on “Agri crisis” in Punjab presented by Dr Kalkat himself. This says the crop diversification programme launched in 2002 has not been able to achieve the desired objective. Talking to The Tribune, Dr Kalkat says he will aim to bring down the area under rice cultivation from the present 65 lakh acres to 45 lakh acres. The idea is to reduce the area in phases as rice was guzzling up huge amounts of water.

Punjab faced a shortfall in water supply to the tune of 1.25 million hectare metres. The demand was 4.38 million hectare metres while the supply was 3.13 million hectare metres. The shortfall is met through over-exploitation of underground water. If rice cultivation is brought down to 45 lakh acres Punjab can manage within the existing water availability.

Work to export seed potato is on. A crucial certification is required and this has to be as per EUREGAP standards. Most nations importing potatoes want that certification. For this the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has been roped in also the Central Potato Research Institute, Kufri.

Also the state has been identified by the Asian Development Bank as one of the five states in India for its agri business support mission.

Meanwhile the Punjab Government will give Dr Kalkat the freedom to choose his team. Dr Kalkat said he would be looking to have a top class economist, a leading horticulturist and a person from the field of animal husbandry. These experts could even be from outside the state.

Even as the detailed terms of reference of the commission will be announced on May 12, sources said it would have powers to decide on the nature of agricultural produce and diversification.


Govt asked to take final decision on riot victims' resettlement
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has given directions to the Punjab Government to take a policy decision on resettlement of riot victims of 1984 expeditiously by taking it to the Council of Ministers.

The directions. given by the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Mr D.K. Jain, Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, wanted that the Cabinet should take a final decision in the matter expeditiously as practicable and not later than two weeks from May 2.

Hundreds of riot victims have been agitating as final allotment of 328 booths and 1,000 houses of both low and middle income category to them was stayed by the Secretary, Relief and Resettlement, in 2002. These booths and houses were to be allotted to riot victims of 1984 on concessional rates under the Resettlement Scheme of 1985.

The names of beneficiaries were cleared by the screening committees headed by the Deputy Commissioner of a district concerned during the previous Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the State.

But before the final allotment letters could be issued, the new government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh assumed office and the then Secretary, Relief and Resettlement , wrote a letter to Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) asking for an estimate with the break-up of the subsidy to be provided for the implementation of the 1985 policy for allotment of booths and flats to 1984 riot victims for their resettlement.

The State Counsel informed the court since the new government wanted to review the whole scheme so as to give more additional relief measures to the riot and terrorist victims and constituted a high-powered committee comprising Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri and Mr Gurchet Bhullar. As such the allotments were withheld though beneficiaries were found eligible for the scheme.

Counsel, however, maintained that she was not aware of what final decision was taken by the Cabinet on the recommendations of the committee.

Counsel for the petitioners, however, argued that the decision to allot these booths and flats was taken by the previous government headed by the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and a Secretary could not reverse that decision without taking it to the Council of Ministers. It was further stated that the beneficiaries came to know about the last minute stay on their allotments when PUDA advertised schemes for allotment of the earmarked booths and flats to general public.

The Bench wanted to have on record the final stand of the government on the scheme and subsequent decisions taken at various meetings of the senior officers under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister. The Bench directed that the Council of Ministers must take a final policy decision within a fortnight.

Now the case will come up on May 19.


Father beats infant to death
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
An 11-month-old infant was beaten to death by his father at Dhotian village in Tarn Taran police district, about 30 km from here, last evening.

The father, a constable in the Army and posted in Assam, was arrested by the Sarhali police under Section 302 of the IPC, today.

The accused, Jaswinder Singh, had married Amandip Kaur of Batala in 2003 following the death of his first wife. The Army man suspected his son, Arashdip Singh, was the outcome of illicit relations that his second wife allegedly had with another man. He claimed the pregnancy of his wife did not synchronise with his leave as he was on duty at that time. He insisted on an abortion but Amandip Kaur did not oblige him.

The Army man has three children from his first wife, who died five years ago. Amandip Kaur alleged prior to the marriage her husband had lied to her, telling her he had only one child from the previous marriage.

The infant was beaten by his father on his cheeks. The Army man tried to tear off the legs of the little one and later threw the body on floor repeatedly till life was snuffed out of his tiny frame. The merciless killing has sent shock waves in the region.

The accused was to leave for Assam on May 6.

It is alleged that the accused tried to take away on Wednesday but Amandip Kaur resisted. Later, he administered some intoxicant to remove any hurdle in the way of committing the heinous crime. The accused allegedly intimidated Amandip Kaur and threatened her with dire consequences in case she reported the matter to the police.

The post-mortem examination showed brutal injury marks inflicted by the father.


Warm welcome to Pak Bar Council delegates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 5
A six-member delegation of the Bar Council of Pakistan arrived in India from the Wagah joint check post here today to interact with judges and advocates of the Supreme Court of India and various high courts.

Mr Hamid Khan, leader of the Pakistani delegation and Chairman, Executive and Legal Education Committee, Pak Bar Council, said during their fortnight-long stay they would visit Bar Councils of Punjab and Haryana, Himachal, Delhi, Rajasthan and Goa.

Mr Hamid Khan said the purpose of the visit was to have a better understanding of the working of judiciary and atmosphere of Bar Councils in India.

The other members of the delegation are Mr Muhammad Kazim Khan, Mr Muhammad Yousuf Leghari, Mr Qazi Muhammad Anwar, Mr Mian Abdul Qaddous and Mr Muhammad Arshed.

They were accorded warm welcome at Guru Nanak Dev University by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S. P. Singh and teachers and students of the Law Department. Dr S.P. Singh apprised them about the various academic programmes especially the law courses being run by the university. The Vice-Chancellor presented mementos and sets of university publications to Pak delegates.


26 posts of PCS (Judicial) officer to be created
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
For reducing the number of cases pending before courts all over the state, the Punjab Government has decided to create 26 additional posts of PCS (Judicial) officer. Besides, the government has decided to fill 37 vacancies.

The decisions were taken during a Cabinet meeting held earlier this week.

Sources in the Punjab Government claim that some of the vacancies have been in existence for almost three years. Giving details, they say that some of the vacancies were created due to the removal of PCS officers after the unearthing of the recruitment scam in the state. Although 51 such vacancies up to 2001 were filled by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, posts after that are still vacant.

As far as the additional posts are concerned, these are being created in lieu of the ones lying vacant due to officers proceeding on leave or on deputation. The cadre strength of PCS (Judicial) officers is 213, the sources add.

In Punjab and Haryana, an average of 3,000 cases are pending before each subordinate court due to the inadequate number of judges. This is in sharp contrast to the recommendations of the Law Commission. Its report says that there should not be more than 400 to 500 cases pending before a court at any given point of time.

The sources add that the shortage of judges has been adversely commented upon by different institutions and bodies, including the Law Commission and the Standing Committee of Parliament. The Law Commission recommended that there should be at least 50 judges per 10 lakh people.

In this regard, the Supreme Court has observed: “We are of the opinion that the time has now come for protecting one of the pillars of the Constitution, namely the judicial system, by directing an increase, in the first instance, in the judge strength from the existing ratio of 10.5 or 13 per 10 lakh people to 50 judges per 10 lakh people.”

Quoting the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s judgement in Ved Pal Gupta’s case decided in 1997, the sources say that the court had directed the states concerned to create more posts and fill these at the earliest.

The high court, the sources say, made all efforts to get the existing posts filled. But when the states took no steps, the high court of its own motion in 1998, instituted a writ petition in the public interest.

After hearing the two states, the high court directed them to advertise the posts each year in September and complete the selection process before December 31 each year. But yearly selections and appointments are not being made, the sources say.


Hanspal holds meeting on delimitation of constituencies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
While the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC) today started gearing up its organisational elections, its President Mr H.S. Hanspal had started consulting the party MLAs to prepare for the Delimitation Commission meeting scheduled to be held on May 9.

Sources said there were diverse opinions among Congress MLAs over the delimitation and reservation of various constituencies. The major controversy was regarding the reserved seats. The sources said it had been seen after examining the proposed list of Assembly constituencies that the commission had mostly reserved the rural constituencies. “Though the Commission had gone by the population formula while proposing reserved constituencies but most of the reserved constituencies have by and large rural character”, a senior leader said.

He said all main Assembly constituencies in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana, did not figure in the reserved category of the proposed list. He said though the urban population in the state was nearly 40 per cent, but non reservation of urban seats appeared to be unjustified. “ The commission should spare its thought about this factor and should try to maintain balance”, he added.

The senior leaders of the PPCC today held in house discussion on the issue of delimitation of various constituencies. Among those who met to discuss this issue were Mr Hanspal, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Romesh Dutt Sharma, Rana K.P. Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar and Mr Sardool Singh.

Meanwhile, Ms Usha Thakkar, a senior congress leader from Gujarat, has arrived here to conduct the organisational elections of the PPCC. She has been appointed as returning officer by the All-India Congress Committee. She said the election process would be completed by May 25. There would be 209 Punjab Congress Committee delegates to elect state President of the Congress and then there would be 1,254 district delegates to elect district presidents.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has already made his preference known as far as PPCC President is concerned. He wants Mr Hanspal to continue. However, there are many lobbies who want change in the PPCC leadership.

The scheduled caste lobby was some Dalit Congress leader as President of the PPCC. Since Dalit voters are backbone of the party Congress leaders wanted that they should be given top PPCC post. And then, Mr Manish Tiwari, who is said to be close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, is trying hard to become PPCC President. He had contested from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat last year and lost the election. 


Kiln labourers protest against denial of minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 5
Brick-kiln labourers today held a march through the town leveling serious charges against the local labour inspector. The labourers alleged that the labour inspector was in connivance with the owners of the kilns.

The labourers working in the kilns were not being given the minimum wages fixed by the Punjab Government. They were being paid just Rs 1,000 per month against the minimum wage of Rs 2,000 fixed by the government. All complaints against denial of the minimum wages have fallen on deaf ears of the Labour Department.

A memorandum regarding the demand was given to the Labour and Conciliation Officer, Gurdaspur, on April 11. The officer had called meetings of kiln owners and the labour union on April 26 and 29. However, on both the occasions the kiln owners failed to turn up, they alleged.

They demanded immediate transfer of the Pathankot labour inspector who allegedly had failed in his duty.

The labourers also demanded an inquiry into the death of Dinesh Kumar, a labourer, who used to work at a brick-kiln owned by Mr Vishwa Mahajan at Narot Mehra.

They alleged that the death of the labourer was shrouded in mystery. Moreover, no compensation has been paid to the kin of the deceased labourer either by the government or the kiln owner.

After carrying a march through the town, the labourers submitted a memorandum of their demands to the SDM, Pathankot.

The labourers threatened to intensify the agitation in case their demand for minimum wages was not implemented by the kiln owners.


Disparity in excise duty leads to shifting of drug units
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 5
Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, today cautioned the Union Finance Minister that disparity in levying of excise duty on drug units situated in different states could create a political controversy as the same had been forcing drugs units located in Punjab to shift to other states.

Ms Preneet Kaur, who raised this issue in the Lok Sabha also, said due to disparity in the excise duty being levied on the drug manufacturing units located in Punjab and Haryana on the one hand and those located in Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the other migration of such units from Punjab to Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir had been taking place. She said this would cause disaffection as it had been causing problems pertaining to the loss of jobs and loss of revenue to the state.

Due to exemption from excise duty and income tax extended to Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the tax burden on drugs manufacturing small-scale units (SSI) in Punjab had increased by 30 per cent and thus made them completely. This had been forcing them either to close down or to relocate in the tax exempted states.

She added that though the Finance Bill, 2005, had made laudable efforts towards the rationalisation of taxes and duties, it could not carry out the rationalisation of taxes and duties in connection with the drugs units located in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir. 


Sikh scholar honoured
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 5
Sikh scholar Raghbir Singh Bains, who has been selected by the British Columbia Government for the “Order of British Columbia-2005” award, was honoured by Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta and representatives of a number of social and literary organisations at a function here today.

Addressing the function, Mr Gupta said Punjabis had honoured their motherland Punjab by achieving unparalleled heights in various fields and Dr Bains was one of them as he had accomplished the difficult task of authoring the “Sikh Encyclopaedia”.

“Not only this, Dr Bains has been serving humanity by waging a war against drug addiction all over the world. He has been telling the West about ill-affects of drugs and has been rescuing youth from clutches of drugs.”

Dr Bains said he was happy to get tremendous love from Punjabis. He said drugs had led to families falling apart and as a result younger generation was at the crossroads, he said.

Mr S. S. Bains and Mr Mohinder Singh Kainth, both additional deputy commissioners, also spoke.


Unclean water being supplied to villagers
Kiran Deep

Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 5
The rural areas of the district continue to be neglected. Thousands of villagers of the four major subdivisions of the district are not getting clean drinking water. The fact surfaced from the district Health Department report which revealed that the water samples taken in the month of April from water supplying sources to 47 villagers of the Nangal, Anandpur Sahib, Nurpur Bedi and Ropar were found to be contaminated.

The villagers of these towns often get affected by water-borne disease as they have been getting supply of untreated water from the Public Health Department rural water supply sources. Recently, some cases of jaundice have also come to light from Nurpur Bedi subdivision. The situation has also been further aggravated following poor health services in these subdivisions.

As per report out of 400 samples taken from rural water supply sources to the four subdivision, a total of 141 were found unfit for the human consumption. The reason for the supply of unclean water is attributed to lack of chlorination and dirty water tanks.

The villages in rural areas of Ropar city, which have been getting unclean water, include Kherabad, Mianpur, Gurdala, Sirsa, Dangauli, Dauri, Kotla Nihan, Majri Bindrakhiya, Madhpur, Solankhiya, Singh Bhagwantpura Khri, Balabgarh and Kishanpura.

In Anandpur Sahib the villages include Massewal Chikna, Agampur, Mehnali and Ganguwal.

In Nangal subdivision the villages include Dher, Bassowall, Jandwari, Canal Bassi and Jawaharlal Market, Dukali Medhpur Bassi Vibhor Sahib, Kalsora.

When contacted the Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, said that the report of the water sample has been sent to the Deputy Commissioner. Besides, notices have also been served officials of the water supplying sources to improve conditions to supply clean water to villages. 


Anganwadi workers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 5
Hundreds of anganwadi workers under the banner of the Anganwadi Employees Union today staged a protest outside the mini-secretariat against a false case registered against their Bathinda block chief Harbans Kaur.

Sources said a case was registered against Harbans Kaur following a complaint from the Bathinda CDPO, Ms Jagtar Kaur. Union leader Hargobind Kaur alleged that the police had registered a case without investigating the matter. She alleged that the CDPO used to demand bribe in lieu of granting leave to anganwadi workers and when they denied her the same she got a false case registered against Harbans Kaur.

The union demanded a fresh probe into the matter and suspension of the CDPO. The union warned that it would intensify its agitation if the administration didn’t withdraw this case.

Representatives of a number of other unions, including the PWD Field Workshop Union, the Brick Kiln Labour Union and the Technical Mechanical Workers Union, also participated in the protest.


Suspended CDPOs face new charges
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 5
A controversy over the recruitment of Anganwari workers has come to the surface. The Additional Deputy Commissioner (D), who is in charge of the inquiry of the fungus infested food supply to Anganwari children, which led to the suspension of the Child Development and Project officers (CDPOs) of Sirhind and Bassi Pathana, in his report has alleged that recruitment made by the two is illegal and not as per merit.

The CDPO, Bassi Pathana, told The Tribune that the ADC (D) was biased and unnecessarily harassing them by raising the issue of recruitment of Anganwari workers. She said she had selected the Anganwari candidate as per guidelines.

Mr D.P.S. Walia, ADC (D), denied the allegation and said on the complaint of certain candidates, the Deputy Commissioner marked an inquiry to him to check the record of the selections made by both CDPOs. After verifying the facts he had submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr. S. K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said one Ms Paramjit Kaur, a resident of Bhamarsi and Ms Amarjit Kaur, a resident of Mustafabad, had alleged biased selections of Anganwari workers by the CDPOs of Sirhind and Bassi Pathana.

He said after finding irregularities in the selection procedure, he asked the Director, Social Security Child and Women Development, to quash the earlier selections and also to take action against them. 


Water samples from 5 schools fail test
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 5
Students of various government schools are consuming contaminated drinking water in Hoshiarpur district. The District Health Department had taken water samples from eight schools and sent these for testing to the State Public Health Laboratory, Chandigarh. Of these samples, 5 were declared unfit for human consumption.

Dr S. K. Sharma District Health Officer, Hoshiarpur, said here today that he had instructed headmasters of these schools to ensure chlorination of water on their premises.

He said 28 samples were taken from various government departments and sent for testing. Results of 20 samples had been received so far of which two samples were found unfit for human consumption.

The District Health Officer said instructions had been issued to all municipal councils of the district to ensure chlorinisation of drinking water at all their supply sources to avoid water borne diseases. He said instructions had also been issued to municipal councils to improve sanitary conditions in their respective towns.


Move to privatise coop sugar mills opposed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 5
Members of the Joint Action Committee of Cooperative Sugar Mill Workers Unions of Punjab yesterday held a rally here against the government’s move to privatise cooperative sugar mills. Kisan unions, share holders of cooperative sugar mills, electricity board employees supported the agitation.

The agitators said if the government allowed the cooperative sugar mills to sell molasses at the market rate, then there would be no problem in sharing the cane arrears for the year-2002-2003.

They said that the government had been favouring the private sector. The state government had not been allowing the cooperative sugar mills and distilleries to function for the past six or seven years by not granting them licences.


Status report of police probe submitted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The Punjab Government today submitted in Punjab and Haryana High Court the status report in the police investigation into the alleged vandalisation of the grave of Father Mark Barnes, a Jalandhar-based Christian priest, who died recently.

According to the report filed by Amritsar Deputy Superintendent of Police A. Kapoor, so far five persons have been arrested in the matter. While four persons were arrested in one raid, the fifth person was held in a separate raid.

On the last hearing, the Bench of the High Court headed by Mr Justice N.K. Sud had directed the government to file the status report

The Bench had also directed that the FIR as also the inquiry report, which resulted in the registration of the case, be produced in the court.

Ms Anne Wakeling, sister of the deceased, has moved the HC, seeking handing over of his body for re-interment in an appropriate manner at the place where he was buried earlier according to the Christian rites.

Alleging that the body was putrefied, the petitioner has also sought action against those involved in vandalising the grave and illegal act of exhumation of the body. She also prayed for a comprehensive inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.

Meanwhile, the Jalandhar Diocese has filed a fresh writ in the High Court seeking handing over the body of late priest Father Mark for proper burial in the cemetery set apart for priests of the Diocese.

The petition names former Punjab Home Secretary S.K. Sinha, former SS Board Member Kamal Bakshi and Ms Anne Wakeling, sister of the deceased, as respondents.

It also seeks action against the respondents for having allegedly buried Father Mark’s body in the compound of the Saint Mary’s School. The petitioner has also prayed that directions be issued to the respondents to stop interferring in the affairs of the Diocese of Jalandhar.

The hearing will now resume on May 7.

Mann’s PIL

The High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for May 26 on the PIL filed by Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann seeking quashing of appointment of Mr S.S. Virk as DGP, Punjab.

Mr Mann has challenged the appointment of the Maharashtra cadre IPS officer to the top post in the Punjab Police on the ground that the same was “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Sometime back, the High Court had directed the Union of India to furnish all relevant record pertaining to processing of extension of deputation period of Punjab DGP S.S. Virk to the court. The record to be produced included the officer’s request for change of cadre to Punjab and the status of the case.

Today, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta issued notice and adjourned the case to May 26.


HC tells DSP to take action against cop
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the DSP, Civil Lines, here to take action against Inspector and Jarnail Singh, in charge of the Vijay Nagar police station, for allegedly beating up and keeping a BJP leader in illegal custody.

Mr Ram Singh Panwar, president, Verka Zone unit of the party, had alleged that he was beaten up by Jarnail Singh and taken in illegal custody while he was returning to his home after closing his medicine shop on March 21.


Sugarfed told to clear farmers’ arrears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Punjab Government has directed Sugarfed to clear sugarcane arrears due towards the cooperative sugar mills up to September 30, or even earlier.

The Excise and Taxation department has given clearance to Sugarfed to sell 2 lakh quintals of molasses in the open market. This will help clear the dues of the cane-growers within the stipulated period.

It was due to the intervention of the Punjab Government that the release of the sugar quota was increased from 1.75 lakh quintals to 3 lakh quintals per month.


Seminar on organic manure
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 5
The Global College of Pharmacy in Nurpur Bedi town here is organising a one-day seminar tomorrow to encourage the farmers and local people to adopt vermin composting for converting solid waste into organic fertiliser, organic farming of medicinal plants, for crop diversification and use of herbal pesticides.


Girl student murdered
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Dhina (Jalandhar) May 5
A girl student was murdered just a day before her 17th birthday in her house here last night. She was alone in the house as her father, a Head Constable at Kapurthala, and other members of the family were away to Dhanal Kalan village, near Lambra, to see an NRI relative.

The police is working on various theories, including the one that the murder could be the outcome of a failed rape attempt, probably by some acquaintance or a person known to the family who knew that the girl was alone in the house.

Meanwhile, the girl was cremated after three lady doctors conducted a post-mortem examination of the body.

The murder came to light when Baldev Singh, father of the girl, returned to the house along with other members of the family at around 10 pm.

He found the mutilated body of his 17-year-old daughter Karambir Kaur lying on the floor.

Baldev Singh said, “We had persuaded Karamvir to accompany us, but, she insisted that she did not want to go as she wanted to study. We left for Dhanal Kalan at about 6.30 pm leaving her at home. But we were not aware that we were loosing her forever.” He said some valuables were also missing from the house.

Karambir’s body bore 17 injury marks.

While SSP S. K. Asthana claimed that the murder mystery would be solved and headway would be made within a day or two, Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP, maintained that the police was working on varied theories.

The police quizzed four persons of the village in connection with the murder. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered.


4 arrested for smuggling fake currency, narcotics
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 5
The district police today claimed to have busted a gang of smugglers that used to smuggle fake currency and narcotics from Pakistan.

The police has arrested four persons of the gang and seized fake currency worth Rs 45,000 and about 100 gm smack from them.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief, in a press note issued here today said the CIA staff had got a tip-off that some members of the gang were coming towards Amritsar in a black jeep from Lopoke village. A naka was laid near Baba Darshan Singh in Chheharta area. On seeing the police, the accused tried to run away. However, they were arrested.

The accused have been identified as Sukhdev Singh Dhillon of Dawaiawala Chowk, his two sons, Prabhjit Singh Dhillon and Gurmeet Singh Dhillon, and one Ram Gopal of Harike. The police seized fake currency worth Rs 45,000 comprising Rs 500 denomination.

A case under Sections 489-A, 489-B and 489-C of the IPC and Sections 22/61/85 and 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered at the Chheharta police station.

Preliminary investigations indicated that Gurpreet Singh, another son of the Sukhdev Singh, was also a member of the gang. The SSP said they had formed a gang with Palwinder Singh of Takian village, Davinder Singh and Harchand Singh of Dhuna village and Kuldeep Singh of Marhana village. The gang used to smuggle fake currency from Pakistan.

The police authorities said Sukhdev Singh was a dairy owner and he owned dairies in other cities also. The absconding accused brought fake currency for him. He circulated it among his customers. The police had been keeping a close watch on the accused ever since it got secret information against him.


Four arrested in vigilance raid on grain market
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 5
Sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau conducted raids at the Jalalabad grain market and arrested four officials of different procurement agencies after they found that sacks being used to stock the procured wheat were of inferior quality.

Sources in the Vigilance Bureau revealed that the raids were conducted by a team comprising one SP and four Deputy SP’s who were sent from the office of Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, following reports regarding the use of old and inferior quality gunny bags to stock the procured wheat in various grain markets of the district.

The vigilance team found that the weight of the sacks being used was 400 gm as against the specified 650 gms.

Sources said some commission agents in connivance with officials of the various procurement agencies were using old gunny bags which were not carrying information like date and year of procurement, and name of the procurement agency.

According to the information, the commission agents had allegedly purchased old sacks at a rate of Rs 7 or Rs 8 per bag from the traders, where as the cost of the new gunny bags provided was around Rs 14 per bag, which was in return sold to the millers and other traders. In this manner, Rs 6 to Rs 8 per bag were being siphoned off and in this district only, it is estimated more than 10 lakh new sacks were provided during the current procurement season. The vigilance team also found other irregularities during the surprise raid conducted yesterday. Some agencies were found using sacks bearing FCI stamps and others showed last year’s registration.

The officials who were arrested included Mr VK Garg, Technical Assistant, Punjab Warehousing Corporation, Makhan Singh, Inspector, PUNSUP, Jagdish Singh Field Officer, Markfed, and Shivram Singh, Inspector, Punjab Agro Corporation. All these officials were posted at the Grain Market, Jalalabad.

Mr Inderjit Randhawa, SSP, Vigilance, Ferozepore range, said the raids were conducted following complaints regarding the use of old sacks and some other cases of bungling during the ongoing procurement process.

A case has been registered in this regard by the vigilance team at Mohali.


Teacher held for producing fake degree
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 5
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested a government schoolteacher for availing promotion on the basis of a fake degree.

According to a release, the accused, Mr Darshan Singh, had been working as a teacher in a government school since 1976. He had done MSc (math) from Varanasi University in 1990. On the basis of this degree, the Director, Education Department, promoted him to the post of lecturer in September, 1991. He joined his duties at Government Senior Secondary School, Daroli Bhai, in Moga. However, when the department contacted the varsity authorities to verify his degree, it turned out to be a forged one.

A Vigilance team raided his residence and the Vigilance DSP, Mr Baldev Singh, seized the original copy of his fake degree. A case has been registered against him under Sections 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Watchman shoots thief
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 5
Jangir Singh (28) was allegedly shot dead by a Markfed watchman when he along with his accomplices were trying to steal wheat from a godown on the outskirts of the town on Ganjuana Hasta road in the wee hours of today.

According to an FIR lodged with the Sadar police, Fazilka, by Dharam Chand, watchman of Markfed, a gang of thieves barged into the godown around 3 a.m. today. He (Dharam Chand) along with three other watchman challenged them upon which members of the gang hurled stones at them. Dharam Chand then fired from his licensed weapon, resulting in the death of Jangir.

Eight accomplices of Jangir identified as Mohinder Singh, Pala Singh, Surjit Singh, Ranga Singh, Hansa Singh, Khan Singh, Ramesh Singh, all residents of Hasta Kalan village and Sarvan Singh of Shajrana village have been booked under Sections 307, 323, 353, 186 and 148, IPC.

On the other hand Mohinder Singh, brother of Jangir, has stated that his brother was returning from the grain market and was shot dead by the watchman, who presumed him to be a thief.


One held on charge of theft
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 5
The police has arrested one person on charges of theft, criminal trespass, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

According to the police, Rajnish Kumar and Harbans Lal had made a complaint that they had employed Amrik Singh to look after their land falling in Mundi Kharar. Amrik Singh was given a room to stay in it. After some time the employers asked Amrik Singh to leave as he was unable to give satisfactory performance. Instead of leaving Amrik Singh started claiming that he was the owner of the room on the basis of some forged documents. It is allegedly that Amrik Singh also stole wheat belonging to his employer.

The police has registered a case under Sections 379, 447, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC in this regard.


Person posing as doctor held
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 5
A person posing as a doctor entered the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital here and started examining patients last night. He was later caught and handed over to the police.

It is learnt that one person, who was reportedly wearing a doctor’s coat, entered the emergency ward and started questioning patients. When a patient expressed doubts about him he ran from the ward and jumped from the first floor building. The SMO informed the police about the incident and handed over the person to the police.

The SHO in charge of the city police station, Mr Harjinder Singh, said that the person was mentally retarded.


12 GND varsity students get scholarships
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 5
The Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF) has awarded scholarships to 12 students of Guru Nanak Dev University for the academic session 2004-05.

According to an e-mail communication to Dr S. P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, by the foundation Secretary-General, Mr Gajinder Singh Ahuja, 11 students will get an amount of Rs 18,000 each, while one would get Rs 15,600.

A three-week refresher course in economics for university and college teachers on “India’s External Sector Reforms: Progress, Problems and Prospects” started at the Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The course was organised by the university under the aegis of Punjab School of Economics.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs of the university, while inaugurating the refresher course lamented the unequal treatment being meted out to developing countries by the developed countries in the sphere of global trade. He said the developed nations were giving high subsidies to its manufactures and agriculturists which render exports from developing countries uncompetitive.

Dr Gian Kaur, Professor of Economics of School of Economics, gave the vote of thanks.


Admission schedule for BSc (Agri)
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 5
Guru Nanak Dev University has announced the admission schedule for B.Sc./M.Sc. Agriculture (Hons) and Food Science and Technology courses for the session 2005-06.

Admission to B.Sc./M.Sc. Agriculture (Hons.) and Food Science and Technology courses at the Agriculture Department, Khalsa College, Amritsar, would start from August 31.

With a late fee of Rs 50 and with the permission of the college Principal, admission can be done till September 11.

The candidates could also take admission with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor with a late fee of Rs. 100 till September 29 and with a late fee of Rs 1,000 till October 29.


Foundation Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 5
Budha Dal Public School, Samana celebrated its 16th Foundation Day today. The school authorities said that students participated in a three-km cross country race which was flagged off by the President of the school Managing Committee, Baba Uday Singh.

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