P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD backed expulsion of MPs, says Dhindsa
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Removing confusion regarding the stand taken by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on the motion moved in Parliament yesterday for the expulsion of 11 MPs in the cash-for- questions scandal, a senior leader of the party, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today said the party had fully supported the motion.

Mr Dhindsa, who is the leader of the SAD Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha, said he had spoken in favour of the motion in the House and it was on record. “ We fully supported the expulsion of the MPs from the House”, he added. There should be no confusion in anybody’s mind in this connection. “Those MPs, who were involved in the scandal, had brought shame not only to Parliament but also caused huge damage to the overall image of the elected members. So, in such circumstances, there was no reason to oppose the motion”, he added.

Mr Dhindsa said that while supporting the motion in the House, he had also urged that some procedure should be laid down to decide such issues. He said “the power to expel members could be misused, especially in state Assemblies where political rivalries are more pronounced”. Keeping in view this factor, some procedures should be evolved to deal with cases involving MPs and MLAs, he added. For instance, tomorrow someone could complain about MPs who had rented out their official residences. “Then what action will be taken in such cases?” he asked.

As the BJP had walked out of the House at the time of voice vote on motion, there was confusion with regard to the stand taken by the SAD on this issue.

Asked about the expulsion of the MPs, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the SAD, who is also a Member of the Lok Sabha, said he supported the action taken by Parliament. “Though I was not present in the House as I was busy elsewhere, I fully endorse the action against the MPs”, he added. All MPs involved in the scandal were given an opportunity to present their case before the committee set up by the House. However, they failed to satisfy the committee, he added.


Bungling of funds in afforestation scheme
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mehengrowal, December 24
The misappropriation in afforestation carried under the Japan bank-aided scheme in the state is not limited to the Pathankot forest range. The Tribune team visited the Mehengrowal forest range falling under the Hoshiarpur division.

Large areas in the range were brought under the Japan bank-aided afforestation scheme. The schemes were named as per the measurement of the land in which they were executed. The schemes comprised of 26 acre, 36 acre and 50 acre forest areas falling under the Mehangrowal and other villages.

As per the norms about 5,00 sampling were planted per hectare in the said scheme. Under these parameters about 25,000 sampling were planted under 50 acre scheme, 18,300 in 36 acre schemes and 13,300 under 26 acre scheme.

However, few hundred plants were visible in the most of the schemes against thousands shown in papers. The condition was worse deep inside the forests. Deep inside the forests hardly any sampling had survived. Besides areas in which the plantations were carried the path leading to areas was also infested by lantana. In some of the area the sapling were lying on the ground packed in plastic bags. The labourers employed had just thrown them on the ground rather sowing and taking care.

Most of the areas brought under the afforestation scheme in Mehengrowal range were fenced with cement pillars and wires to protect the saplings from animal. However, only two inch pillar stood at the spot. The wiring was missing.

Labourers employed by the Department of Forests to take care of plantation said that most of the sampling planted had perished due lack of maintenance. Nobody goes deep inside the forests to maintain the fresh sampling. So, whatever plantations were carried out, have perished due wild growth of lantana and other shrubs.

Interestingly, the Department of Forests was supposed to take care of the plantations for five years. Budget of lakhs is spent every year for the maintenance of plantations carried out under the scheme.

The department claims the success rate of its plantations at above 90 per cent. However, the areas located deep in the forest not even 10 per cent of the plantations have survived.

Mr Gunraj Singh and Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, former honorary wildlife wardens, provided information regarding misappropriation in plantations carried at the Mehengrowal forest range. They demanded a CBI inquiry into the plantations carried under the scheme in the state. We are willing to give affidavits regarding the misappropriation under the scheme and willing to assist any independent agency carrying out investigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Chief Wild Warden, has started an inquiry into the afforestation scam in Pathankot division. When contacted Mr Kuldeep Singh said he would submit his report within 15 days.

When asked about the clearance being carried out in the forest, he said that was a regular exercise. The plantations are cannot be visible if the lantana was not cleared.

However, the question remains that why were the lantana not cleared earlier to save to plantations.

Mr R.R. Kakkar, DFO, Hoshiarpur, was not available for comments. He did not pick up his mobile phone despite repeated calls.


21 yrs on, no relief for riot-hit
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
The brutal killing of fresh recruit Sukhwinderjit Singh (18) by a frenzied mob on November 1, 1984, in Morean district of Madhya Pradesh following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not dampen the spirit of his family, hailing from the border village Pahuwind (Amritsar), to send its members into the Army.

It was the desire of Havildar Kabul Singh to see his son in uniform. That is why he had approached Capt Joginder Singh and Major Partap Inder Singh Phulka (who retired as Colonel) to get his son Sukhwinder Singh into the Army. As fate would have it, his son was killed by the mob after he had proceeded on casual leave. However, Kabul Singh sent his other son Mukhpal Singh to join the Army. He said he was committed to continuing this family tradition of serving the Army.

However, the worst part of the tragic story is that the kin of the deceased have not been given any compensation either by the Army or the state/central governments even after 21 years of his killing. Even the body of Sukhwinderjit could not be handed over to the family after the anti-Sikh riots.

Colonel Phulka, secretary-general, Ex-servicemen Association, said it was a matter of great concern that the government had failed to give compensation to the kin of about 50 Army men who were killed in uniform during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

He said his association had received the details of six Army men who were killed in uniform during the anti-Sikh riots and efforts were being made to collect information about the rest. Lamenting the alleged indifferent attitude of the Central and state governments, Colonel Phulka said it was sad that the kin of deceased Army personnel were not given compensation.

The family is disappointed that successive governments at the Centre have failed to give them a proper answer as to why the body of the Army recruit was not given to it after his killing.

Lt-Col Ajit Singh Valtoha (retd), district president, Ex-servicemen Association, Amritsar, said those who were killed in uniform should be given the status of martyr. He said a campaign would be launched to get compensation for their kin on a par with those killed during the Kargil conflict.


Kanshi missed at mother’s cremation
Tribune News Service

Bunga Sahib (Ropar), December 24
It was a tragic end for her. Bishan Kaur, the mother of senior BSP leader Kanshi Ram, was cremated today when his kin lost all hope of Kanshi Ram’s arrival to attend the funeral.

The mortal remains of Bishan Kaur were consigned to flames at 2.30 pm along the Sutlej river near Bunga Sahib village by her daughter Sawarn Kaur.

Bishan Kaur was cremated three days after her death as members of Kanshi Ram’s family were earlier adamant that only Kanshi Ram could perform the funeral rites being an elder son. And also because despite her best efforts, she could not meet Kanshi Ram during her last days.

The kin of Kanshi Ram took the decision yesterday evening to cremate her when they learnt that the Apex Court had adjourned the hearing of their plea to bring Kanshi Ram here for January 2 and the condition of body had been deteriorating day by day.

The villagers and Kanshi Ram’s supporters, who gathered in the parental village of Bishan Kaur, raised slogans against Mayawati when her body was being taken to the cremation ground.

“It is painful to perform funeral rites when your elder brother is alive. But we are helpless. All our efforts to bring Kanshi Ram here have gone futile. Mayawati kept him in isolation and did not allow us to meet him whenever we visited her house in Delhi,” said Sawarn Kaur, a sister of Kanshi Ram.

“We will continue our struggle to set my brother free from the custody of Mayawati,” said Dalwara Singh, a brother of Kanshi Ram.

A large number of political leaders of various political parties, including Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Attwal, the president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, attended the funeral.

Mr Attwal took up the matter with Home Minister Shivraj Patil on the phone before the funeral to make arrangements to bring Kanshi Ram here to attend his mother’s ‘bhog’ on January 8.


A rousing start to Jor Mela
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 24
The three-day Shahidi Jor Mela, to commemorate the martyrdom of younger sahibjadas and Mata Gujri ji, began amidst religious fervour and ceremonies with “ arambh of akhand path of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup Sahib”.

Giani Harbhajan Singh performed the ardas. On the very first day of the Jor Mela, unexpected sea of devotees thronged Fatehgarh Sahib and long queues of devotees were witnessed at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib and Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup Sahib.

Devotees were coming as nagar kirtan groups reciting Gurbani. More than 25 lakh devotees are expected to pay obeisance. at the gurdwara. Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues, in his message, called upon the people to remember and emulate the unique example of young sahibjadas and Mata Gujri ji, who laid their lives for the sake of mankind and to preserve human and secular values.

The Jor Mela started in a purely religious manner. As decided by the administration, no shops, stalls or community kitchens were allowed along roads.

Loudspeakers, swings, circus, skill games, amusement games, gambling stalls and sale of intoxicants were also not allowed and only Gurbani was being relayed from Gurudwara Sahib.

The high-profile exhibition organised by the district administration, depicting the achievements of various government departments and other agencies were made open to public but these would be formally inaugurated by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, tomorrow.

Hundreds of langer stalls have been put up by all sections of society to serve langar to the devotees.

Free mini bus service has been provided to carry the ladies, senior citizens and handicaped from all entry points to the Gurudwara Sahib.

Free parking has also been provided by the district administration to the devotees.

The main attraction of the Shahidi Jor Mela would be a new programme “Sirhind Di Diwar,” by Harpal Tiwana Foundation, which will be staged at Aam Khas Bagh. instead of the earlier light and sound programme ‘Sirhind Ki Dastan’ to be organised by the public relation department.

The second day of the Jor Mel will be marked by political conferences. SAD(B) would organise its political conference in front of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr P.S. Badal, president, SAD(B), along with other top leaders, would address the conference. The political conference of the Congress would be held in front of the District Administration Complex.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr S.S. Dullo, president PPCC, and other leaders would address the conference. The political Conference of SAD(A) would be held near the railway crossing. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and other leaders would address it. The political conference of SAD (Longowal) would be held near SAD(A) site and would be addressed by Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.

The district police and administration has made elaborate arrangements and police personnel have been deployed in large number.


It’s musical nirvana at Harballabh
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 24
Music blurred all boundaries on the first day of the 130th Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan at the historic Shri Devi Talab Mandir premises today.

The array of music maestros at the sammelan too defied all boundaries as Sattar Khan Tari from Pakistan and music maestros like Pandit A. Pohankar and Pandit Ullhas Bapat gave music enthusiasts a treat both rare and divine.

The audiences from all over the region were mesmerised by the magic of the evening as the maestros held them in trance with their voices reverberating in the air.

The instrument of (shehnai), traditionally associated for bringing out the moods of joy at occasions like the wedding in our society, held the audiences spell bound as Shailesh Bhagwat weaved magic through his instrument to begin the evening.

Bhagwat began with ‘Rag Puria Dhanashri’, in ‘Vilambit ek taal and dhrut teen taal’.

Ustad Bismillah Khan’s student brought alive the style of his guru as he played ‘thumari’ in ‘rag Pillu’ next. He also brought alive the beauty of the eastern Hindi belt in his ‘thumaris’ as well as played the Punjabi folk songs on his shehnai. He summed up shehnai with the ‘Rag Hans’.

Next on stage was the master of ‘Dhrupad’ style of singing, Pandit Dev Shanker Dwivedi from Kolkata. The much-awaited artist presented the magic of his vocal chords through his singing in ‘Dhamaal’ tradition.

Noted classical music maestro Pandit Ajay Pohankar came next on stage to sing ‘Sakhi Ri Man’ in Raag Bhageshwari, and several classical devotional renditions, much to the delight of the audiences as the historic ramparts of the ancient temple were the inspiration for the artist.

Last came the guest artist from across the border, Sattar Khan Tari, but his music was not foreign as he played the ‘Punjab Gharana’ of Tabla. His fingers danced as he played the ‘Jhap Taal’, ‘Kayde Ka Tukda’, ‘Tihayian’ and ‘Chakkardar Tihaiyyan’.

The chief guests on the first day of the festival were the Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, with his son Sukhbir Badal.


81 Congress leaders, activists join SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Shiromani Akali Dal got a shot in the arm as a significant number of Congress leaders and workers from Ropar district joined the party today.

They were welcomed to the party fold by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the SAD, at a function held at Kalgidhar Nivas here. Prominent among those who joined the SAD were Mr Harbhag Singh Desumajra, former Chairman of the Block Samiti, Kharar, Mr Amarjit Singh Walia, former Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Ropar, Mr Satwant Singh Gill, Mr Ranbir Singh, former President of the District Cooperative Society, Ropar and and Mr Darshan Singh Bhagi, former president of the Block Congress Committee, Anandpur Sahib.

Mr Gurvinder Singh, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Pran Nath, Mr Bakhshish Singh, all members of the District Congress Committee, also joined the party, said Mr Badal. He said in all 81 Congress activists, including sarpanches, panches and former sarpanches, joined the SAD quitting the Congress.

Mr Badal claimed that with the joining of the SAD by these leaders, the backbone of the Congress in Ropar district had been broken.

He claimed that there were 15 or 20 MLAs of the Congress who wanted to join the SAD in Punjab. “ We will not disclose their names at this stage”, he added. There were several also other senior leaders of the Congress who were keen on joining the SAD.

Asked about the defeat of his party in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections, Mr Badal said the Paramjit Singh Sarna group won the poll with the help of the Punjab Police, which was sent by Capt Amarinder Singh.

He alleged that an IG rank officer of the Punjab police along with 300 policemen in plain clothes camped in a gurdwara in Delhi for a week to help Mr Sarna. He said the IG had got locked all offices of the Delhi committee a day before the elections.

The next Punjab Assembly elections would be contested by the SAD under the leadership of, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. “ I will stay in Parliament”, he added.


Hospital staff call off stir
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 24
Over 300 class III and IV employees of the local Govt Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital suspended their nearly four-week old agitation today following a meeting convened by Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Medical Research and Education, on December 27 at Chandigarh to lend a sympathetic ear to their demands.

She took this decision due to the intervention of Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president, PPCC, who earlier held long discussions with the agitators to bring them at the dialogue table.

He also addressed their rally here today. The employees had launched their stir on November 29 against the decision of the state govt to hand over the reigns of the college and hospital to the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot.

In a press statement here today in this connection, Mr Chitranjan Sharma, convenor of the joint action committee of the protesters, said the agitators were not opposing the handing over of the institution to the university but were demanding that proper rules and regulations be clarified before that as the university itself had failed to formulate the norms for its employees since its inception in the year 1998.

He made it clear that the agitators would not allow any body to play with the careers of hundreds of employees who had been serving the institution since long.

Moreover, the committee had also sought the intervention of the Chief Minister to resolve the issue in a cordial manner by writing a letter to him through the good offices of the Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot.

Mr Sharma further stated if no fruitful or desired results emerged in the meeting with the concerned Minister, the agitators would be compelled to launch their stir in a more strong manner.

Yesterday, the agitators had taken out a protest march through the main streets of the town in support of their various demands. Contrary to it, while hailing the decision of the state govt, the citizen forum had also adopted a confrontational behaviour towards the agitators.


Plea to include more names in foundation stone of hospital
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 24
The panchayat of Peerjain village, where the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, will lay the foundation stone of a mother-child superspecialty hospital tomorrow, has condemned the state government for not including the name of the village panchayat and Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Ms Jaspreet Talwar with whose efforts the site for the hospital materialised.

Mr Jaspal Singh, husband of sarpanch Kuldeep Kaur, along with other panchayat members said the Punjab Health System Corporation had included the names of Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra, Begum Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary and Lt-Col Charanjit Singh Kamboj, Chairman of the corporation, but the names of the representative of the area Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, who worked for the setting up of the hospital and of village panchyat which provided land for the hospital had not been mentioned on the foundation stone, to be laid by the Chief Minister.

He said the village panchayat would lodge a protest with the Chief Minister in this regard and would demand to include all these names. He said the village panchayat would also present a charter of demands to the Chief Minister. Mr Gurinderjit Singh Peerjain, state president of the Old Students Union, has also demanded that these names should also be included so that the people may know that with their efforts, this hospital was built.


FLASHBACK 2005: GND varsity
Heritage village failed to come up
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR: Guru Nanak Dev University that played pivotal role in bridging the gap between the two Punjab (East and West) — by awarding honoris causa to Mr Parvez Elahi, Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab and Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, failed to complete the heritage village of pre-partition era to project the composite culture of both Punjabs.

The foundation stone of the village was laid amid much fanfare but the project which was the brainchild of Vice-Chancellor, S.P. Singh, proved to be a damp squib. Dr Gurmit Singh, a Senior Reader of the School of Punjabi Studies, had resigned as director of the project but the authorities failed to appoint his successor.

The declining interest shown by students in courses like MA (Punjabi), Punjabi honours, sociology, Sanskrit, political science and diploma in translation came as a shock to all concerned. One of the reasons for the current state of affairs is the irrational allocation of traditional courses to various colleges/academies under the Distance Education Programme.

A UGC research project, undertaken in view of the circular of the Association of Indian University, to work out the unit cost of education, concluded that the university’s budget lacked transparency and “conceals more than what it reveals”.

The news of indictment of eight senior professors by the apex court for the 2005 PMET entrance test rocked the university. Experts blamed the university for making them scapegoats in the ongoing controversy regarding the re-evaluation of answer sheets. They also charged the university with shielding the actual culprits who were the paper-setters. Though the university took the matter to the Syndicate, it was being considered as a virtual contempt of court”. The regional satellite channel for the university is in the offing.

The university created history in the cultural field at the national level by lifting the over All India, Inter-Varsity National Youth Festival trophy for the fifth year in succession. The university also bagged Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trophy for securing the maximum first positions in this festival.

The 20 computers purchased under the UGC special assistance programme had been dumped in a store of the school of Punjabi Studies even as the warranty period had already expired.


FLASHBACK 2005: Punjab law & order
Mixed year for police
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
It was a mixed year for the Punjab Police. Even as the force faced embarrassment in having failed to check terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara’s free run in Punjab, it cracked some sensational case of murder and robbery. Phone tapping and call tracing came to its aid in critical and high-profile cases.

It was in June that the Delhi Police managed to nab Hawara — one of the alleged assassins of former Chief Minister Beant Singh — from Patiala. The media focus shifted to the role of the Punjab Police and the failure of its men in tracing Hawara. The terrorist was living a normal life without changing on his appearance near Samrala and had even got married. His accomplices, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara, are still on the run. The Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, is hopeful of nabbing them.

For a period of two months, after Hawara’s arrest, the police made “recoveries” of explosives like RDX and even claimed that several persons had been motivated to become “suicide bombers”. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, realised the adverse impact and told senior police officers that “no more tracing out of ‘human bombs’ should be claimed before the media”.

Last month, the scars of the days of terrorism came back to haunt the police. Six personnel, including a DSP, were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Jaswant Singh Khalra disappearance case.

The police also got involved in a controversy related to the Nayagaon rape case. Senior officials accused the chief of the Special Investigating Team, Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, of acting in haste while arresting a few persons in the case. Mr Saini quit the SIT, saying he would not compromise on his stand. Separately, in the same case, two officials were also dismissed from service under Article 311 of the Constitution.

Apart from facing embarrassment in these cases, there have been sensational cases that were creditably solved. A Pathankot contractor was kidnapped in September and a ransom of Rs 30 lakh demanded. His kidnappers were shot dead by the police and the contractor freed.

Phone tapping and call tracing helped the police solve two high-profile murder cases. The first case was that of a judge of a labour court, Vijay Singh, in Patiala. SMS messages in his mobile and calls made to him were traced to a woman doctor in Patiala. In Mohali, Sukhvinderjit Singh, an engineer with Quark, was killed. In this case also the police scanned the call records of his wife. She had been in touch with her alleged paramour who was then arrested on a charge of murder within days of the crime.

Sensational dacoity cases were also solved. An armed gang looted Rs 65 lakh from a branch of UCO Bank in Jalandhar. A shirt was left by the culprits on the scene. This led the police to Batala as the shirt bore a tag of a tailor from the town. It was found that a man earning his livelihood as a milkman was the leader of the gang.

Also in Jalandhar was a Rs 30 lakh dacoity at Chauhan Jewellers. The case was also solved.

A new dimension of crime was revealed when an international gang of Punjabi youths kidnapped a Mohali youth in South Africa. Ransom was demanded in India. The killing of a UK-based NRI, Mohan Singh, created a sensation with British MPs demanding action. Once again shameful cases relating to the desertion of NRI brides were reported.

Timely action by the police could have saved 12-year-old Gurbhajan Singh, a resident of Patti. He was kidnapped and killed by his cousin. The DGP, Mr Virk, in a talk with The Tribune agreed that at least two kidnapped persons could have been saved by timely action. He also said the Punjab Police had a long way to go in crime prevention.


Chetna march against drug addiction
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 24
Activists of the Social Democratic Party of India led by their president, Mr Jai Gopal Dhiman, along with students of DM Senior School and Senior Secondary School held chetna march and a rally in protest against the menace of intoxication and drug abuse at Kot Fatuhi, 34 km from here, yesterday.

Mr Dhiman, Dr Jagtar Singh, Mr Jagtar Singh, and Mr Harinder Kumar, while addressing the rally, showed their deep concern over the younger generation taking to drugs. They said that some anti-social elements were involving the younger generation in drug addiction for their petty gains.

They appealed to the parents to check their wards to avoid their involvement in drug addiction. They urged to NGOs to come forward for creating awareness among the youth about the ill-effects of intoxication.


Shaheed Udham Singh remembered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 24
The activists the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front commemorated the birth anniversary of Shaheed Udham Singh at Jallianwala Bagh today.

Mr Mahinder Singh Sidhu, senior vice-president of the front, was the chief guest. 


2 killed, 11 hurt in fog-related mishap

Patiala, December 24
A woman and her six-year-old daughter were killed, while her husband received serious injuries when their vehicle was hit from rear in the stranded queue of veh cles at Madhopur Chowk on the GT Road near Sirhind this morning. The accident is believed to have occurred due to thick fog. Twelve other vehicles also collided with each other on the same spot in which 10 other persons received injures. — PTI


5 depose against SAD ex-minister
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur December 24
In a major development in the corruption case registered against the former SAD minister, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, five prime witnesses today deposed in the court of Mr J.P. Mehmi, Additional Sessions cum Special Judge Gurdaspur.

The witnesses who deposed of against Mr Sekhwan include Dr Uppinder Singh, Dr Chetna and Dr Jatinder Singh who were then posted at the Government Civil Hospital Kanuwan.

The doctors in their statement before the court have admitted that they were ordered to serve in Jathedar Ujjagar Singh Memorial Hospital while their official posting was at Kanuwan Civil Hospital.

The said hospital was allegedly owned by the trust dominated by the family of former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan. The other two witnesses who deposed of in the court today include Mr Harsh Kumar personal assistant to the then Civil Surgeon, Gurdaspur, and Mr Balraj Chand, the registry clerk.

The personal assistant to Civil Surgeon also admitted before the court that the government doctors were serving in the private hospital.

The registry clerk deposed against the wife of the minister of the charges of evading the stamp duty in the registry of the hospital land.

A case of corruption was registered against Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan by the Punjab Vigilance in 2002. The next date of hearing on the case has been fixed on January 1.


Xen charged with flouting rules
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
The Amritsar Cooperative Labour and Construction Union Ltd (ACLCUL) has charged the Executive Engineer (XEN), Jandiala Mandal, Amritsar, for flouting the rules framed by the Punjab Government for allotting work at higher rates than the estimated cost thus leaving the state’s exchequer poorer by Rs 25 lakh.

The contractors of the cooperative union have written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Irrigation Minister, Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Surinder Singla, and the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Bureau, to investigate the matter and issue instructions to the XEN for the work of remodelling of Rattoke Minor/Jodh Singh Wala feeder.

Mr Ram Sharan Pal, Director, ACLCUL, while talking to The Tribune here today, alleged that the tenders were allotted on December 20 to sevem outside contractors for Rs 25 lakh each at 8 per cent higher rate than the estimated cost and moreover they didn’t fulfil the requisite conditions. He said the tenders were to be opened at 5 pm, but the XEN had extended the time to favour his own parties for allotting the work.

He alleged that the XEN was himself interested in doing the job for which tenders were being issued and wanted to grab the funds by allotting the work to his own parties. He said the local contractors were ready to work at 10 per cent less than the estimated cost. He said the XEN was not ready to allot work to the local contractor who fulfilled the requisite conditions thus leaving the state’s exchequer poorer by Rs 25 lakh.

When contacted, Mr S.K. Singhal, XEN, said he has not favoured any party and the works had been allotted to the contractors according to rules and after following the required procedure.


Deranged man kills three
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 24
A mentally-challenged person hailing from Kheri Fakarsar village, near Gidderbaha, yesterday killed three villagers. The accused was allegedly in an inebriated state at the time of crime.

Sources said accused, Charna Singh, first targeted Rood Singh, a junk dealer having his shop in the outskirts of the village. He murdered the latter with a spade before setting his body ablaze. On returning to the village, he reportedly attacked 35-year-old Sukhdev Kaur with the spade killing her on the spot.

Though the villagers rushed to control him, but before that he pounced on 60-year-old Beera Singh, who also died in the attack. Though a case had been registered against Charna Singh, the police could neither ascertain motive nor relationship between the accused and his victims. 


2 held in NRI murder case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 24
The police today arrested two suspects in the NRI Mohan Singh murder case. They are Sukhwinder Singh, alias Reeta, and Gurdeep Singh, alias Ghanti, both residents of Moranwali village in the district.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, told this correspondent that seven persons were suspected to be involved in the murder of NRI Mohan Singh of Hardo Purala village in Jalandhar district, who was killed near a dhaba on the Phagwara-Ludhiana road on August 18.

The duo had been arrested, while the five others, including Jasbir Singh, alias Jassa, of Moranwali were still at large. The police had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on Jasbir Singh, he said.


Gang of mobile snatchers busted, 6 held

Amritsar, December 24
The Civil Lines police today claimed to have busted a gang of mobile and chain snatchers with the arrest of six persons here. One of their accomplice managed to give a slip to the police.

The arrested include Amritpal, Manjit Singh, Malkiat Singh, Jagjit Singh, Sunny Luthra and Jagbit Singh. However, Maninder Singh managed to escape.

The police has seized five cellphones and three motor cycles from the accused besides recovering sharp-edged weapons. A case under Section 399, 402, 148 149 of the IPC has been registered in this regard. — OC


Woman raped by father-in-law

Phagwara December 24
A 20-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her father-in-law while she was alone in their house in Nawanshahr district, the police said today.

In a complaint to the police, the woman said her father-in-law sexually assaulted her on finding her alone in the house.

She was married to Lakhwinder of Veerowal village in Nawanshahr district about 6 months ago.

After the incident, she went to her parents’ house and informed them. She was admitted to hospital and a medical examination was being conducted. The police has registered a case.


3.42 quintal poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 24
Following a tip-off, the police has seized 3.42 qtls of poppy husk from a truck and a car with the fake number plates in Handiaya area and arrested three persons in this connection.

Mr G. Nageshwara Rao, SSP, today said that the Sadar police searched a truck number (PB-10 AJ 4107) and a Maruti car (HR-51F-5488) when these vehicles were plying in the Handiaya area. The police seized 3.42 qtls of poppy husk from the vehicles. Raghubir Singh, alias Jagga, Jaswant Singh, alias Jassa, and Bhalinder Singh were arrested whereas their fourth accomplice, Manjit Singh, alias Billu, escaped. A case under Sections 15/61/85 of the NDPS Act and, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC has been registered.


Contractor’s men rounded up for scrap theft

Ropar, December 24
The police yesterday rounded up some employees working with the contractor at the thermal plant here for their alleged involvement in the theft of metal scrap. The incident came to light when a security guard deployed at the entrance gate caught two persons carrying aluminium scrap. As he raised the alarm, the two escaped but left their motorcycle and scooter, police sources said.

In another complaint to the police, the SE (headquarters), Ropar thermal plant, alleged that some employees working with the contractor had misbehaved with the SE (Civil) when he asked them to vacate the huts constructed on the plant premises. The police is investigating the case. — TNS


ASI held for graft
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 24
Intensifying its drive against corruption, the Vigilance Bureau nabbed an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) while he was allegedly accepting bribe here today.

The VB seems to be on an overdrive in nabbing government officials indulging in corruption as it has already arrested nine officials, including two holding gazetted ranks, in the past 20 days.

According to SSP G.S. Bhullar, a team led by DSP Banarsi Dass caught ASI Vidyasagar red-handed when he was accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from one Dilip Singh Bikker. The ASI had negotiated the deal with Bikker to help the latter in a case registered against him at the Sadar police station on November 22.

The vigilance sleuths arrested the ASI, who was posted at the Urban Estate police post, in the presence of two witnesses — SDO (Irrigation) Subash Chand and JE Kirpal Singh — and recovered the bribe amount from his possession.


Copying in exam: school board to act tough
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 24
The Punjab School Education Board is planning strict measures to check copying in the examination beginning early next year.

Students will be shifted to other schools for appearing in examination instead of giving the examination in the same institution where they are studying.

In rural areas, the supervisory staff during the examination will be deputed from another schools as it is not possible to shift students to other schools located in far flung areas.

The question papers will be kept under a double lock system and both controller of the examination centre and centre superintendent will have a key to the lock,

Students appearing privately and through the open school system will sit in the examination only in government aided schools and not in private or affiliated schools.

Practicals for various examinations will be held in February.

Duties assigned to the supervisory staff and centre superintendents will be compulsory as in the case of election duty. The government will also issue orders for the proper implementation of Section 144 of the CrPC near examination centres.


Punjab inks MoU with S. Africa province
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and Premier of the Province of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa) Sibusiso Ndebele today signed a memorandum of understanding MoU for co-operation in art and culture, agriculture, small and medium enterprises, science and technology.

Talking part in the deliberations here at Hotel Taj, Capt Singh said the Punjab Government would be happy to share with the province its expertise and experience in promoting agricultural, specially small-scale farming operations.

He said Mr Ndebele and his delegation had seen the research and development work being done at Punjab Agriculture University in Ludhiana and scientists developers high-yielding hybrid varieties of wheat and rice to suit local climatic and soil conditions.

Some farmers from Punjab could be sent to teach and impart training to Kwazulu-Natal farmers in this field.

Small tractors, machinery, equipment and agricultural implements for this purpose manufactured in Punjab could be sourced from here, the Chief Minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ndebele said Kwazulu-Natal had expertise in processed food industry, sugar production and an efficient infrastructure created for exporting fresh fruit, vegetables and processed food items. “Our rich experience in the field of agro-processing would boost the agrarian economy of Punjab, thereby providing the technical know how and value addition to Punjab farmers,” said Mr Ndebel.

He invited businessman and experts from Punjab to visit Kwazulu-Natal to consider setting up joint ventures.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Local Government Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Rural Development & Irrigation Minister Lal Singh, Finance Minister Surinder Singla, Parliamentary Secretary, (Industries) Rana K.P. Singh, Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill, Financial Commissioner (Development) P.K. Verma, Principal Secretary (Home) A.K. Dubey and Principal Secretary (Finance) K.R. Lakhanpal.

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