P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder justifies demand for new water tribunal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The flow of water in various rivers, including the Ravi and the Beas, has gone down significantly. Because of this reason, there is need to reassess the quantum of water in the rivers which feed Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and other states in this region.

While talking to a group of mediapersons in this connection, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that because of the decline in the flow of water in the rivers over the past few years, he had put forward a demand before the Union Home Minister to set up a new river waters tribunal to reassess the situation.

He said that in 1985, the flow of water in the rivers, which met the needs of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, was assessed at 17.17 MAF. However, it had come down to 14.37 MAF now, he added. So, there was need to set up the tribunal to verify the latest position in this regard,
he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that as far as he was concerned, the issue of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal was over. He said that Punjab had already abrogated the agreements with regard to the river waters. Because of this reason, there was no need to construct the SYL canal. Moreover, Punjab had no surplus water to give to another state.

However, the Haryana Government has opposed the setting up of a new tribunal, taking the plea that there is no need to reassess the flow of water. The distribution of water among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan had been done three decades ago. Punjab should immediately give the remaining share of water to Haryana through the SYL canal by completing it at the earliest, the Haryana Government says.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that reports regarding the giving of additional water to Rajasthan were without any basis. The government had taken no such decision.

While Capt Amarinder Singh has sought the setting up of a new tribunal, leaders of other political parties in Punjab have strongly opposed the demand. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal( Amritsar), says that water is a state subject and the Union Government has no power to set up a tribunal in this connection. He also says that the Union Government has no power to allocate Punjab river waters to another state.


Bigamy case: Bajwa assures justice to protesters
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur October 28
The protesters demanding the registration of a case against the former SHO of Kalanaur police station today got a shot in the arm when the Minister for PWD, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwas, extended support to them. Mr Bajwa today went to Kalanaur and met those injured in police lathicharge.

The protester told him that police women were not called by the authorities. The men cops did not even spare women. One of the women protesters received multiple fractures due to police lathicharge. The cops kept beating the protester even after she became unconscious, they alleged.

The protester also accused local independent MLA Sucha Singh Chhottepur of protecting the police officials involve in lathicharging the protesters. They alleged that lathicharge on protesters had the tacit consent of the local MLA. Had it not been for Parliamentary Secretary Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa who came to the spot the police would continued beating up the protesters.

Mr Bajwa assured the injured protesters action against the guilty cops. He said that he would take up the matter with the higher police authorities and the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He also assured justice to Rajbir whose husband married for the second time which led to the protest and subsequent lathicharge.

The protesters a few days ago were holding a rally in Kalanaur demanding the arrest of the mother-in-law of a Rajbir, a government school teacher in Agwan village. Rajbir had caught her husband marrying for the second time red-handed. The protesters had alleged that the mother-in-law of the teacher was also party to the crime as she was involved in the second marriage of her son.

The protesters lathicharged by the police in larger number including women and children were injured. The protesters also resorted to stone throwing in which three policemen were injured.

The Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, and the SSP, Mr Pramod Ban, reached the spot and suspended the SHO to pacify the protesters.


Children in Central Jail move Selja
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 28
The innocent eyes of Narinderjit Singh (3) and his sister Kawaljit Kaur (4) light up to see an apple. Behind the bars, in the Central Jail here for no fault of theirs, the sweet bite is all their little hands extend for as they hide behind their mother.

Four-month-old Florence gurgles away without knowing her behind-the-bars status while one-year-old Khushdeep, who was born here, has to pass many years in the jail with his mother Jasbir, serving 20-year jail sentence.

The plight of nine such children among women jail inmates took the limelight and became a major issue of concern during the visit of Kumari Selja, Union Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, to the jail today.

She assured the officials concerned that a short-stay home for minor girls would be set up on the premises of the jail that is spread over 45 acres.

The issue of the security of daughters of the convicts left with their families and the need for setting up a family counselling centre on the premises was raised by Ms Ratna Chairperson state Social Welfare board.

Capt S. P. Singh, Jail Superintendent, expressed concern over overcrowding of the jail. As many as 2,200 prisoners have been kept in a space meant for 1,650 persons. Of 109 inmates, 47 are under trials.

While seven women wardens have been deputed in the jail, the need for a close-circuit camera is felt for security reasons.

There are two Pakistani women Huma Parveen (36) and Izrat Begum (55), who have been convicted under the NDPC Act. Huma teaches stitching to women jail inmates.

Meanwhile, at a press conference Ms Selja said the holy city, besides Ludhiana and Chandigarh, is likely to benefit in rejuvenation of their developmental infrastructure under the National Urban Renewal Mission Bill that was awaiting nod from the Union Cabinet.

She said the state and municipal corporations should jointly take action in cases of blatant encroachments.


Rs 8-cr loan for Batala’s growth
Tribune News Service

Batala, October 28
The Union Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Ms Selja, announced a loan of Rs 8 crore for the Batala Municipal Council at large rally held here today.

She said the Batala council had been selected for the loan from Hudco.

The loan was being given under the scheme by the Centre for improving the infrastructure of urban areas. She also handed over the loan’s first installment of Rs 1.75 crore to Mr Ashwani Sekri.

Batala was the first town in the state to receive such a huge loan from a central financing agency. She lauded Mr Ashwani Sekri, Parliamentary Secretary and local MLA, for his efforts to get the loan sanctioned from Hudco.

Under the Integrated Development Scheme, Ludhiana and Amritsar have been selected by the Union Government for overall development, she said.

Mr Ashwani Sekri said the loan would be used to improve infrastructure in the Batala municipal area. The state government would also give a matching grant of Rs 1 crore to the Batala council for development.

The funds would be utilised for providing water and sewerage facilities in all areas of Batala. Almost all basic problems like drinking water, sewerage, streets and lights would be redressed with the loan, he said.

The critics, however, maintained that such a huge loan would push the council into deep debt. They alleged that the entire property of the Batala Municipal Council has been mortgaged for a loan. The council did not have adequate earnings to return such a huge loan.

Ultimately, the Batala council would end up giving just the loan installments in its meager earning and the future development would come to a stand still. Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Punjab, lauded the UPA government for carrying out systematic development.

Punjab had been a major beneficiary under the UPA government. Many big infrastructure projects were being given to the state by the Union Government, he said.

He also gave cheques worth about Rs 2 crore for the development of the Batala area.

Earlier, Ms Selja presided over annual convocation in the VMS College of Education and Law. She also inaugurated a library named after the late Prime Minister, Mr Rajiv Gandhi, in the college.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, was also present at the function.


DIG orders probe into owner-tenant drama
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 28
Mr H.S. Randhawa, DIG, Border Range, today marked an inquiry to Mr Sudesh Agnihotri, SP (D), Majitha Police district, to look into the forcible eviction of tenants by their landlord.

Mr Randhawa ordered the inquiry after Maninder Singh, owner of the house, threatened to commit suicide along with his family alleging harassment by their tenants Gurinderpal Singh and his family.

He alleged that his tenants were making excuses to grab his house situated in the posh locality of Ranjit Avenue.

Maninder Singh alleged that even senior police officials of the district were helping the opposite party and were adamant to give the possession of house to Gurinderpal.

Maninder Singh, after the alleged threats from officials, arranged cans full of diesel and threatened to immolate himself along with his family if the police tried to give the possession to tenants.

It may be mentioned here that Ramesh Pal Kaur, a government teacher and wife of Gurinderpal Singh, had alleged that despite the stay orders by the Sessions Court, Maninder Singh threw the household goods out of the house. She alleged that Maninder Singh had filed a false case against her husband who was later arrested by police.


Students turn unruly, youth fest venue shifted
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 28
The venue for the Panjab University Zonal Youth Festival for the Muktsar zone colleges was shifted to DAV College today as some students of the host college, Gurunanak Khalsa College, reportedly created a nuisance by preventing the DAV College team from taking the first prize in the bhangra competition last night. They also refused to accept the second prize. The police had to be summoned to control the situation.

Some of the spectators said more than 20 students of the host college blamed the panel of judges for unjust decision and started shouting slogans. They allegedly damaged the pandal and decorations.

Dr B.C. Josan, Principal, DAV College, and a member of the PU Senate, besides some teachers escorted the participants to safe places.

The judges claimed that they had placed the host college team on second position, strictly adhering to technical specifications laid down for folk dances.

The Youth Services Department of Panjab University decided to shift the rest of the competitions to the local DAV College today.

Though the decision to shift the venue was taken late at night, the staff and students of DAV College had made all arrangement for the final show today.


Pre-Harappan site identified in Ropar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Making a significant claim, the Punjab Department of Archaeology said here today that a pre-Harappan site had been identified in Ropar district by a team of experts engaged by the department.

In a signed statement sent to The Tribune, Mr Jagjit Puri, Director, Archaeology, said the department had commissioned Dr Claire Gaillard and Dr Anne Dambricourt Malasse, both French scientists of the Department of Prehistory and National Museums of Natural History, Paris, to conduct the study. Prof S.N.Chopra, former Head of the Ancient History Department of Panjab University, led this team. The team has specialisation in South Asian archaeology.

Mr Puri said the team submitted its report to him today.

In the report, the team stated that " the importance of the region lies in the fact that prehistoric populations settled here right from the lower paleolithic ( more than half million years ago) to the Harappan Civilisation. Prehistoric implements such as Acheulian hand axes and cleavers, early Soanian choppers on cobbles and flakes and late Soanian tools come in plenty on river terraces or on the surface of the Shivalik frontal range".

The team said the " rich availability of artefacts and the original habitats indicate that elements of human evolution are likely to be traced in future if a systematic probe is carried out".


Re-write Sikh history, Takht chief to scholars
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
Akal Takht Jathedar, Joginder Singh Vedanti today called upon the Sikh Intellectuals to re-write Sikh history, which is ‘full of distortions’ so that Sikhism could be projected in a proper manner.

Speaking at the 103th Foundation Day of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, here today, Mr Vedanti said major portion of the Sikh history was written by ‘anti-Sikh’ forces, which need to be corrected.

Mr Vedanti himself was in midst of controversy when he had edited, ‘ Gurbilas Patshahi 6’ which later was banned by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parabandhak Committee.

It is learnt that Mr Vedanti had also write to the SGPC to do the needful to remove distortions, which had crept in Sikh history at the behest of anti-Sikh forces.

Meanwhile, Mr Charnjit Singh Chadha, President, Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), said that necessary steps would be taken to impart higher education to the inmates of Khalsa Orphanage, run by the CKD. He said it would be endeavour of the CKD to see the orphan children as IAS, IPS, PCS officers, doctors or engineers also.

He said funds won’t matter regarding higher education to the orphans. He, however, said that it was matter of pleasure that the CKD had produced renowned raagis, preachers who had been serving the community all over the world.

Earlier, the foundation day programmes started with Bhog of Akhand Path. 


Police remand for Hawara aide
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 28
Gurdeep Singh, a close aide of the main accused of the Beant Singh assassination case, was yesterday produced in Anandpur Sahib court and was remanded in one day police custody in connection with bomb blast case of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarewala of Nurpurbedi. He was earlier in the custody of the Kharar police.

Police sources said that accused Gurdeep Singh, along with Hawara and Bota, had planted a timebomb in the ashram of Bhaniarewala on this January but it had exploded without it’s actual time causing any damages. Besides it, the police had alleged that Gurdeep Singh, along with Hawara, had also made two other attempts to eliminate Bhanairewala.


Gurdeep handed over to Patiala police

Ropar, October 28
Gurdeep Singh, an accomplice of the main accused in Beant Singh assassination case, was handed over to the Patiala police today in connection with his involvement in Rs 22 lakh dacoity. — TNS


Mann to defy High Court order
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 28
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), reacting to a letter of the Punjab and Haryana High Court asking him to submit a signed affidavit proclaiming not to indulge in three activities, including anti-national for getting his passport back, said that he would not follow it and instead would knock at the doors of the Supreme Court.

Addressing media persons here today, Mr Mann said he would write to Amnesty International, the governments of the USA and European countries about it. He alleged that the authorities were curtailing his freedom.


Sugarcane MSP up by Rs 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Punjab Government today raised the procurement price for early sown varieties of sugarcane by Rs 15 per quintal. A decision in this connection was taken at a meeting of the Sugarcane Control Board.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who presided over the meeting here, said the farmers would get Rs 115 per quintal for the early sown varieties from November 1 , when the sugarcane crushing period would start in the state.

The sugarcane price has been revised after a gap of five years when it was pegged at Rs 100 per quintal. For the varieties sown in mid-season the price would be Rs 113 per quintal and for the late varieties Rs 111 per quintal.

With the hike in the price, the benefit to farmers would be about Rs 60.50 crore.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the increase in the price had been ordered to encourage farmers to bring more area under this crop next year. At present only 90,000 hectares is under the crop whereas to feed sugarcane to 18 cooperative and private sugarmills in the state, the area should be around 3 lakh hectares. Because of the shortage of sugarcane, most of the cooperative sugarmills operate for only a few weeks during the cane crushing period.


Pensioners given cheques
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 28
Deputy Commissioner Sameer Kumar and Mrs Baljinder Kaur Mann, wife of the local MLA-cum-Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, distributed cheques amounting to Rs 35,72,400 among 5,954 rural area pension beneficiaries at a function in local Rest House today.

An official press note said that the cheques were handed over to village sarpanches for beneficiaries of old -age, widow and physically challenged persons.

The DC asked the sarpanches to submit the cheques in banks for clearance so that the beneficiaries got the pending pension amount before Divali. Banks had also been asked to clear these cheques within 24 hours, declared DC. 


Mother killed, son hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 28
Reshma Devi (57) was killed and her son Naresh Kumar Wadhwa was injured as the jeep they were travelling in overturned on interception by the excise staff on the state highway last night. Four grandchildren of Reshma Devi and the driver of the jeep were safe, sources said.

According to information, Reshma Devi, wife of Mr Prabh Dayal, a resident of Dodewala had gone to Bhagsar village along with other members of the family to present sweets to one of the married daughters on the eve of Divali. As they were returning at 7.40 p.m, a team of the Excise Department came out of the bushes on the state highway and signalled the jeep to stop for search. The driver of the jeep applied brakes but the vehicle went out of control. It moved towards the bridge on the Achadiki- Bhagsar road and overturned before felling into a 25-foot deep khud.

Reshma Devi died on the spot and Naresh Wadhwa was injured.

The excise staff later rushed Wadhwa to a private hospital with the help of villagers. Doctors said on the telephone that Wadhwa was being shifted to New Delhi as his condition continued to be serious. 


Couple commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 28
An unmarried couple allegedly committed suicide by consuming poisonous substance at their home in the Bhuleriawala locality here last night.

According to sources, Banti, alias Harvinder Singh, who was a driver and Dimple, who worked with an orchestra, fell in love sometime ago. They had left their spouses to live together at a rented accommodation in the Bhuleriawala locality.

In their suicide note, they have stated that they were disgusted with comments people passed on them daily and none of their relatives was responsible for their act.

They breathed their last at the local Civil Hospital. While Banti’s body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination, nobody came to receive Dimple’s body. It was given to volunteers of Sahara for performing her last rites. 


Commission agent robbed of Rs 4 lakh

Pathankot, October 28
A Pathankot based commission agent Raman Sharma was today robbed of Rs 4 lakh. The agent withdrew Rs 4 lakh from the Dhangu road branch of the Hindu Cooperative Bank in the morning to make payment to farmers at Narangpur Mandi.

The robbers who allegedly were present near bank branch noticed him withdrawing the amount. They followed him from the bank on a motor cycle. When he reached a secluded patch of road of 7 km from Pathankot they forced him to stop.

At gun-point they forced him to part with the money. They also took away his mobile and petrol pipe of his motor cycle. The shopkeepers then informed the police. — TNS


Message of Gurbani binds humanity: seminar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 28
The national seminar on Guru Granth Sahib organised by Guru Nanak Dev University and sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Government of India concluded here today. The valedictory session was chaired by Prof Amrik Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala.

More than 48 research papers on various aspects of Guru Granth Sahib presented by scholars of various disciplines viewed message of Gurbani was humanistic and endeavours to bind together the whole humanity. They were of the view that the Guru Granth Sahib referred to social and political system, time, concept of death, Hukam, rampant corruption, exploitation, lawlessness, disorder and the situation of women etc. Hence it becomes an authentic source for the masses.

They pleaded that teachings of Guru Granth Sahib should be preached at world-level by bringing out ‘Tikas’ in various languages and making authentic translation of Guru Granth Sahib. They opined that it should be done by experts of various universities and other institutions of the area concerned. They also appreciated the involvement of the Jathedar of Akal Takht and said that it would yield more constructive results.

They emphasised that Gurbani sought to bring people together rather than dividing them. Thus efforts should be directed to close the schism between Sikhism and traditional Indian streams. They also recommended that the CD’s of Gurbani sung in ragas should be recorded and distributed.

The last session was devoted exclusively to the socio-cultural aspect of Guru Granth Sahib, which was presided over by Dr H.S. Gill, Professor Emeritus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. In the valedictory session, Dr N. Muthu Mohan, Chairman Guru Nanak Dev Chair in Madurai University, Madurai and Dr Jatinderpal Singh Jolly of Guru Nanak Dev University presented political appreciation on the seminar.


DAV College students hold protest march
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 28
Protesting against the alleged over-charging of fee, DAV College students today blocked traffic in front of the college and held a protest march to the Mini-Secretariat. They handed over a charter of demands to the Bathinda SDM.

Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) leaders Manpreet Singh and Sukhwinder Singh alleged that the college management had planned to foil their protest march and said the student leaders from the college were not even allowed to enter the college premises.

They alleged that security personnel were deployed at the college gate and students were prevented from venturing out and those who managed to sneak out were threatened with suspension.

Condemning the “undemocratic attitude” of the college management, they said the union would organise a series of rallies and meetings to expose the management in coming days.

A couple of days back the college had expelled the union’s president of the college unit Rinku Bansal and general secretary Daljeet Singh stating that both these students had violated discipline and misbehaved with the college staff on October 24.

Students from Rajindra College, Regional Centre, ITI, and Neighbourhood Campus, Rampura Phul, also participated in the protest. 


Science fest

Barnala, October 28
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, today inaugurated the Science Festival-2005 — jointly organised by Y.S. School, Barnala and Y.S.Public School, Handiaya, at Y.S.Public School, Handiaya Campus.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, accompanied by Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala and Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA Bhadaur, inspected various projects, models and experiments pertaining to science and mathematics in the laboratories. — OC


Principals’ promotion: teachers seek probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Government Secondary School Teachers Union has sought a high- level inquiry into the promotion of 24 principals by the Punjab School Education Department.

The union leaders, in coordination with the Primary School Teachers Union and the Vocational Workshop Attendants Union, organised a demonstration here today in support of their demands. They said while on the one hand hundreds of posts of principal and headmaster had been vacant for some years in the absence of a meeting of the departmental promotion committee (DPC), on the other 24 teachers had been promoted to the post of principal without calling a meeting of the DPC.

The union leaders alleged that it was a scandal and an inquiry should be conducted into it by a senior officer of the Punjab Government or by the CBI. Mr Sital Singh, spokesman of the union, said a probe should be also held into alleged irregularities committed during the rationalisation of posts.

Mr Sital Singh said that as most of the teachers had been put on duty for revising the electoral rolls, the functioning of schools had been badly hit.

He demanded the filling of all vacant posts of teacher, principal, headmaster and school centre head.


Suwinderjit group wins elections
Our Correspondent

Amritsar October 28
The group led Mr Suwinderjit Singh made a hat-trick of winning the Guru Nanak Dev University Non-Teaching Employees elections here. The group won 14 of the 15 seats of office-bearers.

The rival group, led by Mr S.S. Randhawa, could manage only one seat of executive member.

Mr Suwinderjit Singh retained the post of president. The other elected office-bearers are Mr Bhagwant Singh (vice-president), Mr Surjit Singh Cholia (secretary), Mr Hardeep Singh Nagra (joint secretary) and Mr Surjit Singh (treasurer).


Bibi leaves medicos’ parents waiting

Amritsar, October 28
Parents of MBBS students of 2003 batch of the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Medical College, Wallah, were left in lurch as Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, failed to turn up yesterday despite having given them appointment.

As many as 38 students of the batch have been demanding adjustment of the excess fee charged from them in 2003. Parents were asked to meet the President at noon at the college. However, after three hours wait they were told to come at 4 p.m at the President’s office, located inside Golden Temple complex. But till six in the evening there was no information about Bibi Jagir Kaur. — OC


Petroleum dealers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Amritsar October 28
The Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association led by Mr J.P. Khanna expressing concern over the looting and shooting incident at Doda petrol station, Abohar, threatened to observe strike if the police failed to nab the culprits.

Giving a 48-hour ultimatum here today, Mr Khanna said if the culprits were not apprehended within the stipulated period, the Ferozepore petrol stations would launch a strike to be followed by dealers in the entire Punjab.

The association also wrote to the DGP urging him for intensive patrolling at all retail outlets in the state as harvesting season was on.

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