P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bibi Jagir Kaur fails to deposit Rs 3 crore
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 21
Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, who was directed by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) to deposit Rs 3 crore from her own pocket by 4 p.m. today in a local bank, failed to meet the onerous condition.

The condition was imposed by the SGJC today in wake of the application, moved by the lawyer of the SGPC chief, in which he had sought stay on the execution of the ‘unprecedented’ order pronounced on July 19 to disqualify Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC chief for five years for having failed to recover Rs 2.55 crore outstanding against the candidates of MBBS who had got admission under NRI quota in the SGPC-run medical college.

The order, issued by a panel of SGJC, comprising Mr Kashmir Singh Patti (president), Mr Ajwant Singh Mann and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa, both members, reads, “Keeping in view of the post of the respondent and decree for the heavy amount , we order that operation of order dated July 19 is stayed upto July 26 subject to her fixed deposit Rs 3 crores from her own pocket, neither from the gurdwara funds or accounts nor from the SGPC account, in State Bank of India, Amritsar Cantonment branch . The FDRs should be produced in the court on July 21 (today) upto 4 p.m. along with affidavit to the effect that amount of the FDRs will not be withdrawn without the permission of the commission”.

Though the SGJC claims that Bibi Jagir Kaur cease to be the president of the SGPC immediately after the order issued on July 19, yet sources close to her said she would continue to occupy the seat till the orders were implemented by a civil court. She spent most of her time meeting her lawyers and supporters, mostly SGPC members and Akali leaders, at Chandigarh today. Undeterred by the SGJC order she continued to clear the files of the SGPC and held interview for recruiting staff in the Shiromani Committee-run educational institutes yesterday.

It is for the first time that the Shiromani Akali Dal president and SGPC had openly criticised the SGJC’s working, though it enjoys the judicial powers. Mr Patti is reportedly contemplating to initiate ‘contempt of court’ against those who are levelling serious charges against the Gurdwara Commission. Today, SGPC issued an official press note, quoting many Akali and SGPC leaders criticising the working of the SGJC.

Meanwhile, there will be holiday in SGJC tomorrow and court will open on Monday.

Earlier, Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal had described the decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission against SGPC president as mere continuation of the adventurist political recklessness of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. They alleged that it was desperation of the Chief Minister to use every possible forum to gain illegitimate control of Sikh shrines. “The old Congress conspiracy is unfolding in a new garb.”


2 more pleas filed against Jagir Kaur, others
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, July 21
Two more petitions were filed before the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) against Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC President, and others here today.

In one of the petitions, Mr Joginder Singh of Tarn Taran alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Waryam Singh and Mr Arwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, secretary and member, SGPC, respectively, had made unauthorised expenditures to the tune of Rs 38 lakh from the Dharam Parchar Committee (DPC) funds. They further accused the respondents of wrongful gain to themselves and the appointees, loss to SGPC, abuse of powers and also levelled allegations of malfeasance and misfeasance of gurdwara funds.

Submitting a detailed list of expenditure incurred by the SGPC on this account, the complainants highlighted a case wherein the managing director of SBPS Khalsa Senior Secondary School and Sant Prem Singh School was given an “illegal” grant of Rs 10 lakh. They stated that the SGPC President was a patron of both schools as also the local MLA of the area (Begowal), while the managing director, Yuvraj Bhupinder Singh was the son -in-law- of the SGPC president.

The complainants pointed out that out of a total of Rs 38 lakh, a grant of Rs 19 lakh was given “illegally” with the express purpose of influencing voters in the Ajnala byelection. As many as 80 villages were simultaneously granted funds to coincide with the elections. They alleged that a resolution to this effect was passed through the DPC for distributing money while it was not originally on its agenda.

The complainants urged the SGJC to recover the said amount jointly from all the respondents along with an interest of 18 per cent, their disqualification for five years from holding any office in the SGPC and recovery of damages of Rs 10 lakh. They further demanded that in case the amount was not recovered, they may be restrained from working on their respective posts.

In another petition against the SGPC President, Mr Dilmegh Singh, Mr Harbeant Singh, both secretaries, SGPC, by the petitioner, Mr Manjinder Singh of Hoshiarpur, the issue of reinstatement of Mr Harbeant Singh as SGPC secretary has been taken up.

The complainant stated that Mr Harbeant Singh was “dismissed” from service for failing to provide the matriculation certificate. The complainant alleged that the secretary rejoined on the same post and caused monetary as well as loss of reputation to the SGPC in “connivance” with the respondents. They demanded that the appointment of Mr Harbeant Singh be set aside and the respondents be disqualified for five years.

They also demanded refund of all pay given to the secretary and Rs 5 lakh in damages. Both petitions will be heard on July 25.


SGJC dismisses petition

Amritsar, July 21
The SGJC today dismissed the petition of Bibi Jagir Kaur for seeking time to deposit Rs 2.55 crore, outstanding dues of Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences on the NRI admission quota account.

SGJC chairman Kashmir Singh Patti rejected the petition after the expiry of the deadline for payment by 4 p.m. today. — UNI


With poll drawing near, it’s time
to praise party workers

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
As the Assembly elections in Punjab draw near, the ruling Congress has started focussing on its workers. At yesterday’s function, top leaders of the Congress did not forget to make a laudatory mention of the workers and their role in the formation of the government.

“Immediately after winning the elections, political leaders of all hues forget party workers and start promoting their wards, sons-in-law and other close relatives,” said a Congress activist who attended yesterday’s function. “ And when the elections are near, they start talking about the party workers, who otherwise remain ignored,” he added. “Only a few ordinary workers make it to the top in political parties on which powerful persons have tight control,” he said.

Requesting not be quoted by name, he said that it was not only the Congress which had started talking about its workers now. Even the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was doing the same. The top leadership of the SAD had been holding dharnas at various district headquarters to establish contact with workers with the objective of mobilising them for the Assembly elections to be held in the next 17 months. He was not the only worker to say so. TNS spoke to several workers in this connection to know their views.

“Obviously, they need our services now to win the elections and that is why they have started praising us,” they say. But at the time of the distribution of the party ticket these leaders will again lobby hard to ensure that their kin get the party ticket, they add.

“Have you ever seen any ordinary worker, irrespective of his or her immense popularity, getting the party ticket in any of the main political parties in recent years?” they ask. “Political leaders with a large amount of money and their close relations manage to get the party ticket because they have the capacity to manipulate the top leaders who matter in this regard,” said a Congress worker from Ludhiana. “Look at the political scene in Punjab and you will find sons and sons-in-law of various political leaders dominating everywhere,” he added. Even at the time of the appointment of chairpersons of various organisations, most of the political workers are ignored and close relations accommodated.

However, many Congress workers had a word of praise for Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, new president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.


Dullo satisfied with govt’s work
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 21
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, has sought to indicate that he was a “no-nonsense” party chief, and would give utmost importance to the performance of the government, and would keep apprising the party high command about it regularly in the days to come.

Meanwhile, to enthuse party workers for Assembly elections, Mr Dullo, today clearly said that no state officer would be able to afford to ignore Congress workers particularly, their genuine works and that deserving youth and veteran party workers would be given due responsibility in the “restructuring” of the party. Mr Dullo, also added that he was satisfied with the performance of the Captain Amarinder Singh government, but, was also aware that certain works, like waiving of octroi, could not be materilised for financial constraints.

Talking to The Tribune at the residence of Punjab Youth Congress general secretary Bobby Sehgal here today, Mr Dullo, said that his priority would be to get the agenda of the UPA government and, particularly, the manifesto of the congress party, which, was drafted under the guidance of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, implemented in toto. He could not say anything concrete that if the Congress was so serious in implementing its poll promises and manifesto, then, why octroi had not been waived for over three crores and a half years. after the Assembly polls. “Actually, Punjab is facing a financial and the state was under debt of Rs 54000 crore, so, we have to find alternative to octroi, to generate annual revenue of about Rs 750 crore. Otherwise the system will fail. Overall, I am satisfied with the performance. See farmers. have not been facing any problems as far as sale of their produce was concerned. But, I would like to admit that there were certain shortcomings,the main reason of which, was lack of funds,” said Mr Dullo.

He was accompanied by senior Congress leader D.P. Sehgal, and a large number of the PPCC and youth Congress leaders., including, Mr Gurkirat Singh, Mr. Manoj Arora, general secretary PPCC, Mr Monty Sehgal, General Secretary, Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Maninderjit Singh Sikka, chief organizer of Congress Sewa Dal, Mr Tejinder Bittu, Chairman Improvement Trust and General Surjit Singh (retd.), former chief of the Punjab Public Service Commission.


Snag in plane leaves 268 passengers stranded
Pawan Kumar and Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, July 21
Inept handling of a snag by the fire fighting staff at Rajasansi International Airport proved a bitter experience for 268 passengers of Air-India’s Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight at Rajasansi International Airport here.

According to information a tyre of Air India’s Boeing, 777 caught fire when the aeroplane landed at the international airport. The situation was aggravated owing to the untrained fire brigade staff. Airport authorities termed it a minor incident.

Ironically, the local Hotel industry proved ‘not well equipped’ to accommodate sudden rush of international passengers following the technical snag in the flight as it was evident from yesterday’s stranding of 268 passengers Air India’s flight. Majority of passengers were accommodated in hotels.

Mr V S Mulekar, Director, Rajasansi Airport, declined to comment and asked to contact authorities of Air India concerned . Mr Avinash Arora, District Station Manager of Air India, said that it was a minor incident but inept handling by fire-fighting staff of Airport authorities that used water to douse fire, which resulted in the jamming of axles of tyre. He said instead of water, carbon dioxide should have been used for cooling the tyres. Mr Arora informed that tyres and brakes got heated up due to high speed and friction with ground during landing. For this reason excessive heat generated and tyres became red and smoke was seen which was taken be fire-fighting staff as fire.

He informed that the matter had been brought to the notice of Director General, Civil Aviation (DGCA) and added that no enquiry has been ordered in this regard.

Meanwhile, passengers were sent to their destinations in a special flight which took off at 6.00 a.m. today. This is the only direct flight to Birmingham-Toronto from here, which was recently inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel.

The passengers who were to board the flight felt harassed when they came to know about the incident. Some passengers were shifted to several hotels with arrangements of transportations while the passengers of nearby areas were facilitated to home after making transportation arrangements.

Mr A P S Chatha, secretary Amritsar Hotels and Restaurant Association said that there were 450 rooms were available in local hotels to accommodate international tourists. It was not feasible for hotel industry to have all passengers at a sudden time. He informed that the city had two four-star hotels, a three-star and four hotels of a good standard for international passengers.

He said every year stranding of national and international flights occurred at international airport the tourists were taken to Jalandhar to provide lodging facility as the local hotels were packed to its capacity.


Punjab needs Rs 3,000 cr for
potable water, sewerage

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Punjab, already facing a major challenge in coping with rapid urbanisation, needs a whopping Rs 3,000 crore just to provide clean drinking water and sewerage in the urban areas. Also, the state is one of the most urbanised states growing at 3 per cent annually and will grow faster.

These enormous modern-day problems emerged at a seminar on “Sustainable urban development through public-private partnership,” organised by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mrs Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, said: “Governance has become important. Education and health along with roads are core issues.” Mrs Ahluwalia said the board would give a concrete report within the next four to six months on what needed to be done in Punjab to allow the state economy to take off from here. What the board would have to say would not be unrealistic to achieve, she added.

She expressed her concern over rapid urbanisation and slums, saying the development of infrastructure had to keep pace. Over the past few years the dependence of people on agriculture had decreased. This had put a lot of pressure on our cities and we have to take concrete steps to overcome this challenge otherwise the impatience amongst the youth would grow, Mrs Ahluwalia added.

The Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr B.R. Bajaj, set the ball rolling for planners when he said the government needed huge sums to provide the infrastructure but could not levy user charges to provide this due to various reasons. He asked the planners to come up with solutions which were practical.

Expressing concern over slums in overcrowded cities, especially Ludhiana and Mohali, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance and Planning Minister, Punjab, said Mohali would face more pressure with TCS, Infosys, Satyam and Oracle, among others, setting up their units there.

In his theme address, Mr Harpal Singh, Vice-Chairman, CII (Punjab State Council), said urbanisation was considered to be inevitably related to economic change and a prerequisite to development. He emphasised that public-private partnership was one of the most attractive tools being used to help address the urban environmental crisis. Some of the key areas in Punjab could include water management, slum management, building of institutions, housing and housing finance, municipal finance, disaster management and waste management.

Over 80 participants, including the mayors of Jalandhar and Chandigarh, councillors from various districts of Punjab, senior state government officials, members of municipal corporations, town planners, architects and private developers, besides representatives of industry, attended the seminar.


Malta boat tragedy probe panel flays govt
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 21
At a meeting held here today under the presidentship of Mr Balwant Singh Khera, members of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission condemned the state government for not releasing the list of 170 youths of Punjab who were killed in the tragedy on December 25, 1996. They also criticised the state government for not supplying the death certificates of the deceased to their relatives so far.

Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman of the mission, said the Prime Minister and the Governor, Punjab, had already issued directions to the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police of the state in this connection about five months ago, but nothing had materialised so far.

Mr Khera criticised Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, for not providing financial help to the families of the victims of the boat tragedy. Rs 50,000 each had been given to only 44 families of the deceased. Mr Khera said the mission had prepared a list of 141 victims of the tragedy through its own sources. But it could not locate the whereabouts of 29 others. According to the CBI findings, out of 300 youths who were killed in the tragedy, 170 were Indians.

According to the list released by the mission, 39 youths from Jalandhar, 35 from Kapurthala, 22 from Hoshiarpur, nine from Nawanshahr, 10 from Ropar, five from Fatehgarh Sahib, three from Ludhiana, two each from Amritsar and Gurdaspur, one from Sangrur and one each from the Union Territory of Chandigarh and Haryana were killed in the tragedy.


Scam of lakhs unearthed in Weavco
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 21
A scandal involving lakhs in the sale of bedsheets and blankets has come to light in Weavco, a cooperative marketing concern funded jointly by the state and the Centre. The Vigilance Bureau has started a probe into the matter.

According to sources, some officials of this loss-making concern reportedly bought substandard stuff and made lakhs. The material purchased could not be sold on proper rates at Weavco’s showrooms and it had to suffer losses. Sources said salesmen of Weavco recovered full payment in lieu of the material sold to the government departments, but fudged figures in accounts.

The Punjab State Cooperative Handloom Federation (Weavco) has 20 showrooms in Punjab and other states. Sources said Weavco would make purchase of handloom items and sell them further in the market.

All purchases were made by a purchase committee and material was often sold to government bodies. Sources said half of Weavco’s showrooms were running in losses. The Vigilance also found anomalies in the closed showrooms of Weavco during initial probe.

Sources said officials of its Bathinda showroom purchased material worth Rs 13 lakh, but it could not be sold due to its poor quality. A salesman had informed the department about it and a committee was also formed. Later, the same material was sold at Rs 4.6 lakh resulting in a loss of Rs 8.4 lakh in Bathinda only. Sources said despite having no sale some showrooms were dispatched more material due to which stuff worth Rs 4.6 lakh had to be returned.

Weavco sold bedsheets worth Rs 18,000 to Civil Hospital, Mansa, and full payment was made to it. But, less payment was entered in records. An assistant salesman lodged a complaint in this regard.

Former Weavco Chairman, Sukhraj Singh Nat, said there were many anomalies in the concern. He said though the purchase committee was making purchases the image of Weavco was not good. He said Weavco was running in losses and many of its showrooms were on the verge of closure.

He said the Vigilance should probe into all aspects of the case. However, Vigilance SSP, Amrik Singh Waraich, denied making any comment on the issue. The Weavco MD could not be contacted.


Former Cong minister joins SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
A former Minister during Congress rule in Punjab between 1992 and 1997, Mr Hamir Singh Ghagga, joined the SAD along with his supporters at the residence of the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here today.

Mr Ghagga, was elected MLA twice on the Congress ticket from Shatrana in Patiala district.

Announcing his decision in the presence of Mr Badal and the party general secretary, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Ghagga said: “The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s arrogance coupled with his total indifference to the problems of the people at large and Dalits in particular forced me to quit the Congress.”

Welcoming Mr Ghagga to the party fold, Mr Badal said there was a groundswell of anger and resentment against the Chief Minister in all sections of society in Punjab. He claimed: “Punjab is now witnessing an anti-Congress and anti-Amarinder wave.”

Capt Kanwaljit Singh claimed that “more Congressmen” would join the SAD in the days to come.


One killed, 9 injured in two mishaps
Bipin Bhardwaj

Rajpura, July 21
One person was killed and nine were injured in two separate accidents involving a car, a bus and two trucks on the GT road on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Patiala highway in the past 24 hours.

Mr Balwinder Singh of Patehri village died and his companion, Mr Kashmir Singh of the same village, was critically injured when the car (PB-11Y-0643) in they were going rammed into a truck (PB-12C-1246) from the rear at an octroi post on the GT road late last night. Both vehicles were heading towards Rajpura from Ambala when the accident occurred.

According to eyewitnesses, the truck was taking a turn when the car following it rammed into from behind, leaving Mr Balwinder Singh dead. The body of the deceased was handed over to the family members after postmortem, this afternoon. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the truck driver and the vehicles have been impounded.

In another major accident, over 12 passengers of a Punjab Roadways bus were seriously injured when it had a head-on collision with a truck approaching from the opposite direction in Karala village near Banur this evening. The truck driver, his helper and another person travelling in the truck sustained critical injuries.

According to the police, the bus (PB-11K-2454) with over 40 passengers on board was headed towards Chandigarh when it had a head-on collision with the truck (PB-11Y-2683) loaded with tin sheets.

Hearing a loud thud, shopkeepers of the locality assembled at the spot and extricated the injured out of the damaged vehicles. The injured were rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, by shopkeepers and owner of a poultry farm nearby. The highway police patrolling vehicle was used in carrying the injured to the hospital.

The injured have been identified as Mr Prem Chand of Thuhi village, Mr Manjit Singh of Badal Colony in Zirakpur, Mr Ashok Kumar of Zirakpur, Ms Jeeto of Haripur Kalan village, Mr Mangal Singh of Babrali village in Gurdaspur, Mr Harpreet Singh of Jansua in Rajpura, Mr Sonu Kumar of Behru village in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, and Mr Jeet Singh. Traffic on the highway was disrupted for a long time. The police has impounded the vehicles and started investigating the case.


Police made him human bomb, say parents
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 21
Parents of Jaswant Singh, alias Kala, today termed the police action as an injustice and said their son was not a human bomb, but the police made him one.

Addressing mediapersons at Sohnewala village, Jaswant’s father Gurbinder Singh and mother Kashmir Kaur said they had some family dispute with the village sarpanch, Dayal Singh, and on June 18 Muktsar DSP Gurmit Singh asked them to send Jaswant to his office for recording statement. Kashmir Kaur said they sent him along with Manjit Singh, Kewal Singh, Resham Singh and Gurvinder Singh to the DSP’s office. Later, the police took him to the SSP’s office where police officials had a discussion for about half an hour. They then sent others back saying they would leave Jaswant at night after completing the formalities.

His parents said after June 21 the police had carried out a search operation around their house, but didn’t find anything. They alleged that neither the police sent Jaswant back after June 18 nor allowed them to meet him despite repeated efforts. They said they were stunned to know that the police had made him a human bomb. They said Jaswant had no relation with Sukhmandar Singh Khara as projected by the police.

Villagers present at the press conference expressed surprise that the police didn’t call any of them while recovering ammunition near the village. They said Jaswant had dairy work in the village for the past eight years and they had received no complaint about him.


Major Vinayak 10th officer-martyr
from Jalandhar since Operation Vijay

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 21
When Major Kapil Vinayak lost his life in Srinagar blast last morning, he was the tenth Army officer from Jalandhar who became a victim of an enemy attack, the highest number in the country, since Operation Vijay.

The 30-year-old officer was a student of St Joseph Convent School and Apeejay School here. After schooling, he did B.Com from DAV College and joined the Army after clearing the CDS examination. A bright student throughout his studies, he was determined to join the force like his father, Dr S.N. Vinayak, a retired honorary Captain. He was initially posted at Kargil, then Siachen and last of all in Srinagar where he died.

Major Vinayak’s house in Gurjaipal Nagar here remained locked today as his father and sister have gone to Srinagar for the cremation of the martyr. Major Vinayak was living with his wife, Ms Kiran, and four-year-old son, Harshit. His mother, Ms Prem Vinayak, was with them in Srinagar.

Officers from the Sainik Welfare Department and Vajra Corps here went to his house for condolence this morning but only to find the house locked. Lt-Col Manmohan Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, Jalandhar, said it had been the 10th officer casualty from the city since 1999, Lucknow reporting the second highest with six casualties. Major Vinayak is said to be the fourth Major from the city losing his life in an enemy attack.

Recalling details of other martyrs, he said Major Raman Dada, who too hailed from Jalandhar, was a Kirti Chakra awardee while Capt Satnam Singh was the winner of Sena Medal. “There were others, including Lieut Sachin and Capt Joga Singh who died in Siachen. Capt Garcha, Capt Chahal, Major Kamal Gulzar Singh, Capt Mandeep Singh and Major R.N Sharma too have been the victims of the enemy attack during Operation Vijay, Operation Rakshak and thereafter. Capt Satnam Singh died in 2002 when he became the victim of an enemy shell”, the Sainik Welfare Officer recollected.

Officers in the department said they would do the utmost to bring relief to the Major’s family. They said his family was likely to get full pension along with some financial aid and a job for his wife.

Meanwhile, the staff of DAV College held a condolence meeting recalling Major Vinayak’s feats during his days spent in the college. The Principal, Mr M.L. Aeri, and teachers who taught him, including Mr C.B. Gaur, said he was a brilliant student who knew his goals right from the beginning.


Massive rally to support members of
Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Panel

Sushil Goyal & Prem Sharma
Tribune News Service

Barnala, July 21
More than 7,000 protesters were stunned today when the SDM, Mr Zora Singh Thind, returned without receiving a memorandum from members of the Sangharsh Committee, Punjab. The committee was staging a rally at Grain Market here to get the life imprisonment awarded to Manjit Singh Dhaner, Prem Kumar and Narayan Dutt, all members of the Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee, cancelled. The trio were convicted for the murder of Dalip Singh, a relative of the accused involved in the Kiranjit rape and murder case.

The SDM came to the rally on the demand of organisers. He asked the organisers to hand over the memorandum to him, but the organisers insisted that he should come in front of the dais to receive it. Even one of the leaders asked him to address the gathering. On this, the SDM went back in a huff.

The rally was organised by 18 farmer, employee, labourer and student organisations.

Mr Kanwaljit Khanna, convener, Sangharsh Committee, condemned the SDM for not receiving the memorandum and demanded his transfer. He said the next action programme would be announced at Mehal Kalan village on the occasion of death anniversary of Kiranjit Kaur on August 12.

Among others who addressed the rally were Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan); Mr Bhagwant Singh, convener, Mehal Kalan Kand Action Committee; Mr Balkar Singh Dakonda, general secretary, BKU (Sidhupur); Mr Karorra Singh of the Technical Services Union of the PSEB; Mr Datar Singh, state president, Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab; Mr Rulda Singh Mansa, vice-president, BKU (Sidhupur); Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, convener, Joint Platform of Mass Organisations; Mr Gursharan Singh, a playwright; and Mr Sukhdarshan Natt, general secretary, Democratic Employees Front.


Civil Surgeon’s office inundated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 21
Work in the office of the Civil Surgeon was paralysed as it was inundated with water after the short stint of rain here this morning.

The fate of the vaccine storage plant and the vaccines worth crores meant for the entire district hangs in fire as the rain and sewage water entered the building where essential vaccines of pulse polio and other diseases are stored. Moreover, the roof of the building is leaking and there is danger to the plant and vaccines.

The water entered the rooms and the staff could be seen moving the records of the office to safety. The employees said that this was not for the first time that they had to do this. Earlier too, they had to face the same problem and had brought this to the knowledge of the authorities. But nothing had been done so far.

The adjoining orthopaedics hospital was also inundated due to the rain. Many OPD patients could be seen crossing the knee-deep water at the entrance to the hospital.

Dr Karamjit Singh, Assistant Civil Surgeon, while talking to the Tribune, said that last year they had written to the Deputy Commissioner for the repair of the sewerage which had got blocked, but the authorities failed to take any initiative due to paucity of funds.


DC directs shifting of high-tension wires
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 21
Taking notice of news item published in The Tribune last week, Mr Sameer Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, directed the Executive Engineer, PSEB, Kapurthala, to shift the high tension wires passing over the newly constructed grain market of Sultanpur Lodhi as soon as possible. Mr Sameer Kumar issued the instructions while presiding over a meeting of Grievances Committee here today.

To expedite the working process in the administration regarding the redressal of people’s grievances, the Deputy Commissioner has introduced a novel way in the shape of releasing the instructions with the remarks “DC Express Reply Correspondence” on pads in two colours, red and saffron. While the instructions on the red pad will have to be adhered to within three days, the instructions on the saffron pad need to be complied with within a week by the departments concerned.

The repair work on all roads of district would be completed by September 30, claimed the Deputy Commissioner.


Do not create terrorism scare, CM tells SSPs
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 21
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, hauled up police officers for creating an unnecessary scare among people by creating a hype regarding terrorist related cases, detections and recoveries, especially of so-called “human bombs”.

Reviewing the law and order situation in the state at a meeting here today, the Chief Minister’s cautioned the police officers “not to harass and intimidate anybody”. He also asked all SSPs that proper investigation be conducted before any case, related to terrorist activity, was registered.

The Chief Minister also told the SSPs that they should regularly participate in the ‘suvidha camps’ being organised at the sub-divisional level by the Deputy Commissioners.

He called upon the police officers to be accessible to the general public.


Plea to screen Punjab Police
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 21
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee general secretary Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur has demanded a thorough screening of Punjab police and said it was necessary due to arrest of Tarn Taran SHO Narang Singh,from whom a large quantity of ammunition, weapons and RDX along with material of the Khalistan Commando Force was recovered.

Talking to newsmen here yesterday, Mr Bhaur said the arrested SHO had confessed and disclosed that almost every police officer had weapons like him. Mr Bhaur alleged that the police was creating an atmosphere of panic, and terror by arresting innocent youths after Hawara’s arrest.


Sugar mill staff to protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 21
Employees of sugar mills in Punjab will start a relay fast in front of the residence of the Congress President and UPA Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, at 10 Janpath Road, New Delhi, on July 27 at 11 a.m to protest against the policies of the Punjab Government regarding sugar mills in the state.

This was decided at a meeting of the Sugar Mills Workers Joint Action Committee, Punjab, held at the Rakhra sugar mill, according to a press note issued by the committee. Mr Harpal Singh Sran, Mr Karnail Singh Lakhmipur, Mr Tejinder Singh Nanni and Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhangu, besides others, were present at the meeting.

Mr Lakhmipur said employees of the Rakhra sugar mill had not been paid wages for the past 13 months, while employees of the sugar mills at Zira and Jagraon had been without wages for the past five months. He said the protest had the support of all employees unions and farmers unions of the state.


Overturned tanker disrupts traffic
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 21
Traffic on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway moved at a snail’s pace after a oil tanker overturned near here this noon.

Scores of passengers and motorists headed towards Ambala and Delhi were put to great hardship due to the traffic jam for over two hours.

Traffic on the highway was restored after the tanker was removed with the help of a crane in the afternoon.


Correction on stamp duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Stamp duty in Punjab is 9 per cent on the sale of urban property and 6 per cent on rural property, said a spokesperson of the Punjab Government here today.

In today’s edition of the Tribune, it was erroneously mentioned that the stamp duty was 9.9 per cent and 6.6 per cent for the urban and rural areas, respectively.


high court
Kidney scam
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 21
The High Court on Thursday admitted a bunch of petitions seeking reinvestigation of the infamous kidney scam. The Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal also ordered that the case would be heard within six months.

In their separate petitions, BJP leader Luxmi Kanta Chawla, Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) and B. Singh have sought reinvestigation of the case, alleging that the police had adopted a very callous and lackadaisical attitude while investigating the case.


Traffic awareness week begins
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 21
The district Transport Department in collaboration with the district administration and the district police has started traffic awareness-cum-road safety week programme in the district to meet the challenges of increasing accidents. Everybody should take responsibility and obey the traffic rules. Only then road accidents can be controlled, said Mr Rajesh Tripathi, District Transport Officer, and Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, DSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Road Safety Week.

They stressed the need that parents must stop their children from driving below the age of 18.

Mr Tripathi said traffic awareness camps were being organised at the sub-division and block levels with the help of social organisations and truck unions where people would be educated about traffic rules.


MC serves demolition notices
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 21
The Bathinda Municipal Corporation has issued notices to four persons for the demolition of illegal structures that they had raised in Afimwali Gali here.

The Executive Officer of the corporation, Mr Kamal Kant, said the notices were issued to Shimla Bansal, Renu Bansal, Kiran Bansal, and Madhusudan, all belonging to one family. As per corporation records, their construction plan for a commercial property was rejected by the then Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tewari, as the street was blind. No commercial building was approved by the corporation in this street.


32 held for damaging power feeder
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 21
The police has so far arrested 32 persons for allegedly damaging a feeder of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on Tuesday night at Chimnewala village, sources said today.

Those who had been locked in a room by residents of the village and handed over to the police included Massa Singh, Jahangir Singh, Jaswant Singh, Satpal Singh, Bahal Singh, Vinod Kumar, Inderpal Singh, Chanan Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Atma Ram, Ranjit Singh, Malkit Singh, Surjit Singh, Ramesh Singh, Kuldip Sigh, Surinder Singh, Joginder Singh, Satnam Singh and Kulwinder Singh.

Sources said consumers at Gandhar, Ahalbodla and Jhokdipulana village were unhappy with unscheduled power supply cuts imposed by the employees on duty at the Chimnewala feeder. None of the official reportedly responded in positive manner when complaints about erratic supply were lodged. Hundreds of consumers in tractor-trailers thronged the feeder on Tuesday night.

A junior engineer of the PSEB and his friends rushed to the spot and allegedly hurled lathies and bricks to disperse the mob. The consumers were making queries from the employees on duty when the JE and his friends, who had arrived in a private car, allegedly attacked them.

Witnesses said the JE then went to the village gurdwara and made announcement through public address system that some outsiders were damaging the electricity feeder. Residents of Chimnewala village rushed to the feeder site carrying lathies in their hands and attacked consumers who had arrived from other villages. Their tractor-trailers were also damaged.

Malkit Singh, Harjit Singh, Ranjit Singh and Jetha Ram of Gandhar village told newsmen at Civil Hospital that the local residents had made some of the outsiders captive in a room and later handed them over to the police.


Taini, 2 others held for robbing people
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 21
The police today arrested Harjinder Singh Taini, of Kotkapura along with his two aides, for planning a robbery and seized sharp-edged weapons from their possession. Police sources said Taini had nine cases registered against him under 25-30 sections of the IPC at three different police stations of the district.

They said Taini’s brother, Jasvinder Singh, had already been arrested under Section 395 of the IPC 10 days back. The police said Taini used to threaten people and snatch cash and valuables. According to the police, he would brandish weapons in colleges where he moved with 20-30 youths and would also harass girls.

The police said he had robbed Rs 3,500 from a financer a couple of days back. Taini reportedly had political connections. Weapons recovered from him included a big ‘khanda’ and other such sharp-edged weapons. A case has been registered against them under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC. Nearly 12-15 aides of Taini are absconding.

DSP (D), Bakhsish Singh, said Taini had formed a gang of 30 youths and he was arrested only once in the past. He continued to operate from jail and came out, he added.


SDO, clerk nabbed for graft
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 21
An SDO and a clerk of the Punjab State Electricity Board have been arrested by the Jalandahar Vigilance Bureau for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Dilbagh Singh, a farmer of Kandiala village, for helping him instal of a new motor connection.

Dilbagh Singh had alleged that when he went to Apra village-based PSEB office, clerk Harinder Singh demanded Rs 25,000 saying the major part of the booty would go to SDO Kulwinder Singh. But the deal was clicked for Rs 10,000 and the SDO was arrested while he was allegedly accepting the bribe from the complainant. The bribe amount has been recovered by the VB officials.


Seven booked under dowry Act

Tarn Taran, July 21
Seven persons, including four women, from two families, have been booked for seeking dowry in two different cases.

The city police registered a case under Section 498A against Mr Tarlok Singh and his mother, Mrs Surinder Kaur, for seeking dowry. The case has been registered on a complaint by Ms Jaswinder Kaur, resident of Kajikot village. The complainant alleged that her daughter, Ranjit Kaur, was married to Tarlok Singh four years back, who with the help of his mother, used to harass her daughter for dowry. — OC


3 injured in group clash
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, July 21
Three persons sustained injuries in a clash that took place here late night.

According to a report, Charanjit (17) of Chukhakim village, was on his way back home at around 8 p.m. when more than 12 youths beat him up.

When his brother, Deepa, and a relative, Dharamvir, came to know of the incident, they reached the spot. The youths thrashed the duo also and injured them seriously.

All the injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital in serious condition.


Bid to rape mentally challenged

Bathinda, July 20
Three youths working with a scrap dealer last night tried to rape a mentally challenged girl, but timely help from people forced them to flee.

According to sources, residents of Kheta Singh Basti, these youths took the girl to a deserted place with the intention to rape her.

When local people got wind of it they attempted to nab them. Two of them fled away from the spot, while the third jumped into a nearby lake. People following them tried to save him, but failed. — TNS


55-yr-old picked up by police
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 21
The Morinda police picked up a 55-year-old Avtar Singh from the Ropar District Courts this afternoon. He was taken in a red Maruti car to Morinda by four police personnel at about 2 pm, said an eyewitness.

Avtar Singh of Chatamblna village in a letter to the Gram Panchayat had alleged that he and his family members feared threat to their lives as the police wanted Waqf Board land in his possession to be vacated.

He further alleged that the police took the step under the pressure of a senior Punjab police officer who was interested in the Waqf Board land.

When contacted the SHO (Morinda), Mr Balwant Singh Majitha, said Avtar Singh was picked up from the local bus stand as he had threatened to kill Ravinder Singh of his village following a land dispute.

He denied involvement of any senior official to grab Waqf Board land.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 21
The district police has busted a gang of vehicle thieves with the arrest of two members of the gang and recovered three motor cycles from by them. The gang operated in the Fatehgarh Sahib and Ludhiana areas.

The arrested gang members were identified as Gurjant Singh, alias Janta, resident of Ludhiana district, and Sukhwinder Singh, alias Billu, resident of Nasrali Mandi Gobindgarh. OC


Neighbourhood campus boon for dropouts
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 21
They had lost their parents, and poverty forced them to abandon their studies midway. However, a number of such students from rural areas have now got a fresh lease of life with the opening up of neighbourhood campus of Punjabi University in Rampura Phul, as philanthropists associated with the campus have come forward to help them continue with their studies.

Beant Kaur of Bhai Rupa village is a good athlete. Her wish to fly high was grounded with death of her father. Her relatives grabbed their land and the shock was enough to mentally upset her mother. She also has the responsibility of her younger brother. When the Principal of the campus, Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti, visited the village for encouraging girls to study, Beant narrated her tale to him. Prof Chhinderpal Singh immediately decided to bear the expenses of her studies. Similarly, Raj Kumari’s father committed suicide owing to rising debt five years back leaving behind his four daughters. The campus staff is now searching for a philanthropist who can extend a helping hand to her. Two sisters, Khushwinder Kaur and Rajinder Kaur of Balliawali village could not believe their ears when the village Sarpanch talked to them about free education. Their father had died and their mother was managing the affairs with one acre. When the campus offered them free education they did not even have money for buying the prospectus. Maninder Kaur of Jethuke village did not imagine that she would get a chance to realize her dreams after the death of her father.

Her mother took to sewing clothes, which was just enough for two square meals a day. She would now be continuing her studies at the campus. Kiranpal Kaur, a Dalit girl from Sadhana village, has got a job of Rs 500 per month to look after her family. She cleans up a school in the daytime and takes tuitions in the evening. A villager, Mr Purshottam Singh, has agreed to bear all expenses of her studies.

All this seems amazing in the wake of the fact that TPD Malwa College, which has now taken the shape of neighbourhood campus, once had only 12 girl students. Today, the college has 1,100 students of which 600 are girls. Principal Dr Bhatti persuaded villagers to send their daughters to the campus. He said till now he had found philanthropists for 60 students.

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