P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



44 Pak prisoners unlikely to be repatriated soon
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
All 44 Pakistani prisoners detained in high security Central jail here are unlikely to be repatriated to their country in near future, since Pakistan is unlikely to establish their identity immediately.

Meanwhile, Mumtaz, a Pakistani national, who already was released on bail, hopes to meet her three children, still in the central jail. However the Jail authorities said they had not received any order to release the Pakistani nationals so far.

Mumtaz and her three children were arrested on January 23 for entering India without valid passports and visa while they were trying to cross into Pakistan. Her husband Ibrahim, a Bangladeshi national, allegedly deserted them and left for Dubai where he got job in a hotel. Being a Pakistan national, Mumtaz came to India from Bangladesh to go to Pakistan, they said.

Mumtaz who wanted to marry Gora will have to fight yet another legal battle. Social worker, S.K.Gupta who has been providing her legal help free of charge said that it would take long time for India and Pakistan governments to establish whether Mumtaz was Bangladeshi national or Pakistani since she married a Bangladeshi. It would be difficult for the police here to keep surveillance after their release from jail because Pakistan would take a long time to establish their credentials.

Mumtaz who has been living with one Gora, a Hindu of Bihari origin after her release from the jail said that they would decide their future plan (of marriage) only after the release of children Suhail (8), Aisha (6) and Aamna (10). In case, they are repatriated to Pakistan, then it would be impossible for them to marry.

Technically, all Pakistanis who had completed their sentence in various jails of the state, are in the ‘camp’, established within four walls of the jail because they could not be kept in the open though their sentence had been completed.

Earlier, an eight-year-old Pakistani boy and his two sisters, who remained separately in Faridkot and Jalandhar were reunited with their mother in Amritsar jail following Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order. However, following the release of Mumtaz on bail, the children were separated again from their mother.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday ordered immediate release of 46 prisoners hailing from Pakistan, including three minor children of Mumtaz.

It would be difficult to work out the compensation of Rs 10,000 each since they are already considered burden on the state’s exchequer.

Referring to the plight of minor children of Mumtaz, who had been booked under various clauses, the bench, ordered quashing of the FIRs registered against them, observing that no FIR should have been registered against the three minor children in the first place.


Indo-Pak talks: tourism also to be on agenda
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Wagah, April 27
Group tourism will figure at the forthcoming third round of talks between India and Pakistan to be held on June 1. Ms Ambika Soni Union Tourism Minister stated this to reporters here today on her return from Pakistan at Wagah joint check post.

Ms Soni said she had held discussions with Speaker of the National Assembly and Chief Minister Punjab (Pakistan) Chaudhary Parvez Elahi and had agreed to take up the matter at the forthcoming talks between the two neighbouring countries. She said her ministry had decided to identify tour operators in Punjab and assign them to procure visa and other facilities for tourists to promote tourism.

She said the two sides had also agreed for the exchange of Punjabi films, to boost film industry in two Punjabs. They had also agreed on the exchange of technological advancements made in the film industry in India, she added.

The Tourism Minister, who had gone to Pakistan to participate in the premier show of ‘Taj Mahal’ said she was impressed by the response to ‘Taj Mahal’ and K. Asif’s ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, which was released in Pakistan after 41 years and received overwhelming response. She said efforts should be made by film producers of the two countries to screen films on reciprocal basis.

She said she had met historians, film producers, artistes, scholars, who demanded easing of the visa restrictions on both sides so that they could meet more frequently. She said every month 20,000 to 25,000 persons applied for visa in Pakistan, but only 10,000 persons could be issued visa. She said during current year Indian embassy in Pakistan had agreed to issue 1.3 lakh visas.

On the release of prisoners and prisoners of war she said the dialogues were being held on the issue between the two countries and there was need to solve the issue to strengthen bilateral relations for increasing people to people contact between two countries.


Shortage of water: traffic blocked for four hours
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 27
Residents of Bungal-Badhani village today blocked traffic on the Pathankot-Dalhousie road for four hours to protest against shortage of water. The residents did not get water for three days.

Today they got water for half an hour. As water taps went dry today residents came onto roads raising slogans against the government and local administration.

They blocked the traffic on the said road at 11 am. They kept sitting on the road despite heat for four hours disrupting the traffic. It was after four hours that the district administration rose from its slumber. The local tehsildar came to the spot and assured villagers to restore the water supply to the village.

The protesting villagers also alleged that they were facing long power cuts even before the paddy season. They have faced unscheduled power cuts ranging up to 13 hours.

With summer setting in residents of the Dhar sub-division comprising mostly hilly areas are likely to face acute water shortage. Already under the existing water supply schemes there are provisions to supply drinking water for two to three hours to Dhar. The natural sources of water in the hilly areas like bauli’s (places where water seeps through hills) dry up. People have to depend on the government for water supply.

Deep tubewells have been dug by the department in the bed of Chaki river from where the water is pumped to the hills. However, discharge from most of the wells has decreased as water table in region is falling rapidly due to indiscriminate illegal mining.

The Department of Public Health has written to the government that drinking water schemes implemented in the area using crores are likely to be rendered useless in case illegal mining by stone crusher owners was not checked.

Unscheduled power cuts are another problem. The sources in the department of Public Health said that it would take at least two hours of pumping to create pressure to supply water to remote areas of the hills. In between if the power is lost the entire exercise has to be repeated.

Unscheduled power cuts are major problem due to which regular water supply cannot be maintained to hill areas.

The water supply schemes should be given hotline connections to maintain water supply in hill areas, they demanded.


Major power cuts in state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Punjab today faced major power cuts all over, while the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) continued to buy power from outside to meet the ever-rising shortfall of power.

Sources in the power sector said the state faced long power cuts in some rural segments. Power supply in villages was off from six hours to 10 hours. Even urban areas faced cuts.

With an average shortfall of 150 lakh units everyday, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities were making arrangements to purchase power from outside, including National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Today the purchases were 350 lakh units, which were 125 lakh units more than the last week, sources said. The PSEB was in the process of signing more agreements. However, at present there was no scope of carrying any more power through the grid.


Power reform programme gets Rs 11.5 crore
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 27
The Centre has sanctioned Rs 11.50 crore under the Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (APDRP) for improving power supply in this area. The board plans to change outdated transmission wires, defective transformers, besides improving supply conditions in the slum areas.

Stating this Mr Malkiat Singh Sidhu, Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), said Rs 5 crore was likely to be utilised for upgrading the 132 kv power sub station to 220 kv. The proposal had been processed initially and consent in writing was expected soon, he added.

Mr Sidhu took over as the Executive Engineer on Tuesday. On problems faced by the consumers, Mr Sidhu told mediapersons yesterday that there was no paucity of funds. The PSEB was short of staff for the development projects, the technical staff was available for maintenance only.

The town was out of the ring main system and the relay frequency was 43 instead of 50, this was prime reason for series of breakdowns, besides the unscheduled cuts. He however, assured that all efforts to streamline the functioning with sources in hand would be made.

The board had directed that power supply would be suspended for half an hour at 7 am, 2 pm to 5 pm and 8 pm to 9 pm in the third phase.


Pardon to two cops: can’t produce records, govt to HC
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 27
The Punjab Government today expressed its inability to produce the records pertaining to the grant of pardon by it to two police officials convicted for abducting and murdering two persons.

The Bench of Acting Chief Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa was informed that since the records were of a highly confidential nature, these could not be produced in court.

The two officers, DSP Jaspal Singh and former DSP Sawaran Dass, both of whom had been convicted for the crime and sentenced to imprisonment, had been granted pardon by the Governor, Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), on the recommendation of the Home Department.

Public interest litigation challenging the pardon is pending in the High Court.

The petitioner, the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) through its president Amar Singh Chahal, has questioned the pardon to Jaspal Singh and Dass.

Jaspal Singh, who was on bail when the pardon was granted, had been sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for kidnapping and causing the death of Amrik Singh. At that time, Jaspal Singh was posted as SHO, Police Station, Patra, and Amrik Singh was allegedly harbouring terrorists. A Patiala court, in 2001, had awarded him the sentence.

As for Dass, he was given life imprisonment after being found guilty of abducting and murdering a brother of an alleged terrorist. At the time of the incident, Dass was posted as Inspector with the CIA Staff, Hoshiarpur.

The petitioner has prayed that the action of the government in granting pardon to the two persons should be declared illegal and the government restrained from considering any more such cases for the grant of pardon. It has also said that the grant of pardon was not in the public interest and was highly arbitrary and irregular.

Some time ago, the High Court had directed the government to produce the entire records pertaining to the pardon.

Today, when the court was informed about the government stand, the counsel for the petitioner sought time from the court to apply for the records under the Right to Information Act, after which the Bench adjourned the hearing to July 27.


Badal objects to minority panel’s proposal
Management of Sikh shrines in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to intervene and put an end to the controversy of the constitution of a separate committee to manage Sikh shrines in Haryana. Mr Badal has written to the Prime Minister in this regard.

Strongly objecting to the recommendation made by Mr Harcharan Singh Josh, Member, National Commission of Minorities, regarding the setting up of a separate committee to manage Sikh shrines in Haryana, Mr Badal has written: “This move by a member of the Minority Commission is undesired, mischievous and politically motivated and is aimed at dividing the Sikh community. It has caused widespread resentment and anger among Sikhs. This dangerous move of the commission is also aimed at depriving the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee of its legitimate control over Sikh shrines in Haryana.”

“Strict action should be taken against Mr Harcharan Singh Josh for this irresponsible behaviour. From his earlier utterances against the Sikh community and from his recent actions, it has become clear that he is not fit to represent the Sikh community. So he should be sacked from this post without any delay,” added Mr Badal.

Mr Badal reiterated his earlier stand that the move to set up a separate body for the management of the Sikh shrines in Haryana was fundamentally flawed not only from religion and political point of view but also from the angle of law, precedent and practice. This was a clear cut violation of the time-honoured pact between Master Tara Singh and late Mr Jawahar Lal Nehru , the late Prime Minister, signed on April 8, 1959.

Quoting clause three of the Nehru-Tara Singh pact, Mr Badal informed the Prime Minister that as per this act any amendment in the Gurdwara Act should only be undertaken after obtaining the approval of the general committee (House) of the SGPC. A convention may be established that such approval may be by two-thirds majority of the SGPC.


Ribeiro fighting corrupt administration
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

The former Ambassador to Romania, Mr Ribero, expressed his surprise that one of the assailants, who had attacked him in Bucharest in year 1991, was killed in Belgium. "Two of the assailants had been gunned down after they attacked me while the others were arrested. Which one of them has been killed?," he asked. Recalling the events, he said he had, in fact, wanted to meet the militants in the Romanian Jail, but these militants had refused to meet him. "I had forgiven them long ago, they had nothing personal against me. We just had different ideologies," he said.

Chandigarh, April 27
He may no longer be fighting militants, as during his tenure as Director-General of Police, Punjab, during the hey days of militancy in the 80s. But Mr Julio Francis Ribeiro's "fight", albeit of a different kind, rages on.

The former DGP, Punjab, Mr Ribeiro, who was accompanying a delegation of Indian music industry here, said he was now fighting a battle for the people at the grassroots level, against the social evils of corruption and communalism.

"It has been a role reversal for me... from fighting militants to fighting the corrupt administration. Over the years, I was offered several assignments, including that of a Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. But I had left the past behind me. Fighting with guns was no longer my cup of tea; and I wanted to work for the people of my city, Mumbai. I wanted to be useful to lower socio-economic classes, and thus decided to work at the grass roots level," he said, while talking to The Tribune.

It was thus that he formed the Mohalla Committee Movement Trust, an NGO involved in spreading communal harmony. "Alongwith Mr Satish Sahni, the former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, I formed this NGO, which spreads the message of communal harmony. The riots in Mumbai had torn apart the cosmopolitan fabric of the city, and we had to repair the damage," he said.

Mr Ribeiro, who is also a former Ambassador of India to Romania, has taken up multi-farious social causes. Three years ago, he joined hands with former Cabinet Secretary, B G Deshmukh and Director of Jaslok Hospital, Dr R K Anand, and formed another NGO called the Public Concern for Governance Trust. This NGO is involved in fighting corruption in the administration. "The lower socio-economic classes are the worst sufferers at the hands of the corrupt administration. We are now going to use the Right to Information Act, in order to nail the corrupt," he said.

Besides, he has also taken the cudgels against those involved in piracy of Indian music. " I have been visiting all states with representatives of the Indian music industry, to spread awareness against piracy, which is detrimental to the interests of the music industry. Music industry in Pakistan and Bangladesh have been wiped out because of this, and we have to act now to save our music industry," he said.


Differences among Akali leaders come to the fore
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 27
Difference among two senior SAD leaders surfaced today when they gathered at Batha Sahib Gurdwara to honour Sant Baba Ajit Singh, who was appointed patron of the party yesterday, to discuss their state-level rally to be held at Barnala
on May 3.

Tension arose when former SGPC member Jarnail Singh Aulakh wanted to address the gathering.

Stage secretary and SGPC member Gurinder Singh Gogi, however, expressed unwillingness to make an announcement and call him to the stage to address the gathering.

Finally, when district SAD president Pritam Singh Salomajra invited Mr Aulakh to the stage, some Akali workers raised slogans to prevent him from making his speech.

Consequently, supporters of Mr Aulakh also came forward in his support. Baba Ajit Singh advised the two factions to sort out the differences after the programme. Thereafter, Mr Aulakh did not address the gathering.

Earlier, former state minister and party’s district unit observer Ajit Singh Kohar, MLA Chamkaur Sahib Satwant Kaur Sandhu, former MLA Tara Singh Ladal addressed the gathering.

The opposing workers were of the view that as senior leaders had already addressed the gathering, it was not appropriate for Mr Aulakh to make a speech after them.

Later, Mr Kohar said there were no differences in the party. He said they had gathered to make preparations for the state-level rally against the state government for forcibly acquiring land of farmers in Barnala.

Similarly, Mr Gogi and Mr Aulakh denied any such differences.


Another setback for rival Akali faction
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
The move to form a confederation by the rival Akali leaders today received yet another setback when Mr Rajdev Singh Khalsa, former MP and former acting chief of the Parliamentary Board of the SAD, today supported the decision of Sant Ajit Singh Parivar Vichhora, former chairman of the Parliamentary Board of the SAD, to join the SAD, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

With this, the SAD (B) has once again shattered the dreams of rival Akali factions to form formidable third front against Badal faction.

It may be mentioned that earlier, Sant Parivar Vichhora had agreed to head the proposed confederation to challenge the Congress and the SAD (B) in the Assembly elections to be held in February next year.

It was a brainchild of Mr Khalsa to form the confederation of Sikh organisations. Mr Khalsa had predicted that the proposed confederation might come into existence in a couple of months after drawing up a common minimum programme.

In a volte-face, Mr Khalsa said Sant Parivar Vichhora had taken a wise decision to join the SAD (B). He said he was loyal to Sant Parivar Vichhora and hence, would continue to support all decisions taken by him throughout his life.

Initiative to form the confederation was started in November last year by Mr Khalsa and it bore fruit when Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president, SAD (Longowal), Mr Khalsa and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, an SGPC member met Sant Parivar Vichhora to request him to lead the confederation.

Mr Khalsa, however, appreciated the efforts of Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra to form the confederation though it could not see the light of the day. The SAD (B) is now trying to rope in other leaders of the rival Akali factions.


Chandumajra opposes sale of sugarmills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal( Longowal) today said that it would not allow the Punjab Government to sell cooperative sugarmills.

The president of the party, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor today opposing the sale of the sugarmills, said the government had decided to sell nine sugarmills. He claimed that the decision regarding the sale of sugarmills would be taken up at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Senior leaders of the party, including former minister, Mr Baldev Singh Mann and Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, accompanied Mr Chandumajra to hand over memorandum to the Governor.

He said this move of the state government was totally against its policy of “reforms with human face”. He said the state government should explain to people that where would hundreds of employees, who would become jobless after the proposed sale of sugarmills, would go?

Mr Chandumajra said the government had no right to sell these mills because people were share holders in such mills. No approval from shareholders had been taken to sell mills, he added. He said faulty policies of the state government were responsible for declining financial health of sugarmills.

He said molasses was being sold to distilleries at a heavily reduced price. The government, which was earning a huge revenue from the sale of liquor, was not compensating to sugarmills for providing molasses at highly subsidised rates to distilleries.

Already, the sugar prices had gone up to Rs 22 per kg. And by the end of this year, the price was expected to be in the range of Rs 27 per kg, he added.


Traders hoarding wheat: BSP
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 27
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has alleged that big farmers and traders were indulging in large-scale hoarding of wheat in Punjab with the connivance of leaders of the ruling party.

The Punjab unit of the party has also accused Capt Amarinder Singh-led government of “appeasing” some moneyed people by providing them with ample opportunities to acquire mega projects, big pieces of land and control of some government organisatons in the name of privatisation.

Mr Pawan Kumar Tinu and Mr Amarjit Sidhu, general-secretaries of the Punjab unit of the BSP, today lamented that state of common people, particularly Dalits, had become miserable due to anti-people policies followed by the ruling Congress Party.

The “Congress has always been working against the interests of Dalits and the poor. Even now it is helping big landlords and traders in more than one way, while farmers and poor people are suffering under 10 to 15-hour-long power cuts. We are going to hold a dharna in Jalandhar on May 22 to expose the anti-people policies of the Congress,” Mr Tinu said.

The BSP leaders alleged that certain landlords and traders were busy hoarding wheat under the patronage of some influential Congress leaders and had even started selling it at a price which was much higher than what was prevailing in the market.


MC cancels auction as no buyers turn up
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 27
The local Municipal Council, which enjoys “A” grading on the basis of its annual budget, suffered a major jolt on Wednesday when the much-publicised open auction of 19 commercial plots had to be cancelled, as there was no buyer. The Regional Deputy Director, Local Bodies, who had reached here specially to monitor the auction returned to Ferozepore in the evening after giving a lesson on environment and sanitation about which the council was least concerned, the sources said.

According to information the council wanted to earn money by selling a part of the highly neglected Nehru Stadium. Nineteen commercial plots opposite the telephone complex were earmarked in the hope that enough money would be earned by open auction. But only a Sarpanch of a village, who had put high stakes in the auction of semi-government property earlier also, deposited the earnest money and that too for one plot only. No one else turned up and the auction had to be cancelled.

According to sources fixing a high reserve price for the plots had kept prospective buyers away, some said the citizens had poor experience of such auctions in the past also. Those who deposited the earnest money were given brief receipts on blank papers during the last auction held in the town hall.

The associations of sportsmen had expressed resentment over the sale of land belonging to the stadium in a phased manner.

Firstly, the track lost the size prescribed by the Sports Authority of India as the council transferred 100-ft wide portion to the Bus Stand. Interestingly, the same was being used for running an illegal taxi stand. This prompted the Directorate of Sports, Punjab to abandon the idea of opening a sports sub center at the stadium. Again the council created a market behind the stands used for accommodating the viewers on the backside of the stadium opposite the main post office here.

The stadium was deprived of another site by the council due to the creation of garbage dump centre adjacent to the stands opposite the Abohar Club.

The aborted auction of commercial plots opposite the Telephone Exchange was yet another assault on the stadium, the sportsmen said.

Interestingly, the council had not spent even a single rupee on improving the infrastructure.

According to sources in the council date for fresh auction will be fixed soon.


Jathedars piqued over posers in USA
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
The Jathedar of Akal Takht and two other Sikh high priests from Takht Patna Sahib and Takht Kesgarh Sahib faced an unsavoury situation in a Sikh shrine in the USA when a youth posed ‘‘difficult’’ questions in the presence of Sikh Sangat. Jathedar Vedanti, who returned from the USA today said Akal Takht might initiate action against such youths.

Jathedar Vedanti admitted that he and two other jathedaras had visited certain gurdwaras which did not follow the ‘‘maryada’’ of Akal Takht. He, however, added that personal visits were the only way to salvage the situation. He admitted that he had visited gurdwara Nanaksar in Fresno during his visit to the USA and asked them to follow the maryada prescribed by Akal Takht and the SGPC.

A section of Sikh sangat in the USA rued that the jathedars of three takhts along with the SGPC secretary, and Darbar Sahib manager, had become part of a controversy when they visited institutions that did not follow the hukamnamas barring tables and chairs from langar halls.

Jathedar Vedanti, claimed that the organisers of the function had apologised to him for giving time to one Prabhsharndeep Singh who had openly criticised them and SGPC functionaries, thereby creating a ruckus in a function. However, Mr Dalmegh Singh, Secretary, SGPC and Mr Roop Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib, came to the rescue of the jathedars.

Bhajneet Singh, Prabhsharandeep Singh, Amardeep Singh and others raised questions like why Baba Daljit Singh of Chicago had been let off so easily and had not been instructed to retake Amrit? Why hasn’t Jathedar Vedanti taken any action against Badal’s wife for visiting Ashutosh? Why are the jathedars attending 3HO functions, and addressing Yogi Bhajan Singh with the ‘‘Sri Singh Sahib’’ title?


SGPC chief seeks PM’s intervention over parallel panel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC), in a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has drawn his attention towards the resentment and anger in the Sikh community over the increasing government interference in the religious affairs of the community.

Mr Makkar, in his letter to the Prime Minister, stated that the move to set up a separate body for the management of gurdwaras in Haryana was fundamentally flawed and in defiance of the pact between Master Tara Singh and late Jawahar Lal Nehru signed in April 1959.

He said the pact clearly indicated that any amendments in the Gurdwara Act should be undertaken after obtaining the approval of the General Committee (House) by two-third majority of the SGPC.


Special cell to curb crime against women
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 27
Keeping in view numerous cases of dowry-related disputes, the city will soon have a women cell of the Punjab Police, said Mr Harjinder Singh, SP (H), here, today.

She said SSP Arpit Shukla had decided to create a special cell keeping in view the rise in dowry-related cases, besides other complaints of exploitation and harassment of women in the subdivision.

Mr Shukla desired that the cell should be assisted in sorting the disputes by retired female educationists and non-controversial social activists. The cell should prefer persuasive measures than using a stick, he added.

Stating that some police officers and junior employees having a longer stay at a particular place of posting had been reshuffled during the past 24 hours, Mr Harjinder Singh said the SSP had ordered revamping the CIA staff as well.


Punjab asked to enact laws against music piracy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Indian Music Industry and Phonographic Performance Limited is now considering to take action against those buying pirated audio- video CDs.

This was stated by the President of The Indian Music Industry ( IMI) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Mr V J Lazarus, during a visit to the city here today. The pirated music is causing an annual loss of Rs 650 crore to the industry, and enforced deterrence could help nip the evil in the bud, he said. “In 1998, the Indian music industry was worth Rs 1200 crore, it is now worth just Rs 600 crore,” he said.

“We understand that India is a price sensitive market, but people’s mindset has to be changed for the music industry to survive,” he said. Mr Lazarus today met the Director-General of Police, Punjab, along with other delegates of IMI and PPL (a consortium of 100 music companies), and urged him to create a special cell of police to deal with the piracy cases.

“We have had excellent results in dealing with piracy cases in Tamil Nadu. A legislation has been enacted in Tamil Nadu to deal with these cases. The states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, too, are enacting these laws. Since we aim to make Punjab a zero tolerance state to piracy, we will urge the Punjab Chief Minister to enact a similar law here,” he said.

He said Punjab was a big market for music industry. The music market in the state accounts for 10 per cent of the music market in the country.

“The market is worth Rs 65 crore, and a similar amount is lost to piracy. We will also request the CM to reduce VAT on music products from 12. 5 per cent to 4 per cent,” he said.


Order to maintain status quo on heritage site
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that status quo should be maintained at a heritage site at Aasron village in Nawanshahar district. The site is closely associated with Maharaja Ranjit Singh and it is said that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had hoisted his flag and established an artillery post at the site in 1831 before meeting Lord William Bentick on October 26, 1831 on the other side of the Sutlej river.

In its petition, the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation through its president, Prof Gurbax Singh Shergill, has challenged the move to demolish the historic site. The petition says that a place under a peepal tree, where the Maharaja and the Britisher held a meeting, was being maintained as a historical site.

It has been stated that after the acquisition of the Swaraj Mazda-owned factory, which is located close to the historic site, the local administration has begun to bulldoze the site in order to extend the boundary of the factory which would result in the destruction of the historical hill.

Saying that it has been developing the site area as Maharaja Ranjit Singh Memorial National Historical Hill Park for which former union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Punjab minister Jagmohan Singh Kang have made donations, the petitioner has stated that this showed the recognition being granted to its efforts in preserving the heritage site.

Today a Division Bench, while directing the government to file its reply, told the petitioner to meet the Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, on May 12 to discuss the issue work out a settlement.

The Bench adjourned the matter to July 11.

Dispensaries: govt seeks more time

The Punjab Government on Thursday sought some more time from the high court to file its reply to the petitions , challenging its decision to entrust the job of managing rural dispensaries in the state to doctors to run these on contractual basis.

During the hearing of the petitions filed by Dr Harpreet Singh Sekhon, Dr Surinder Singh Grewal, Dr Kamaljit Singh and others, the Bench was requested to grant some more time to the government to file its reply.

The petitions have stated that the government proposal as publicised through an advertisement dated March 5 would lead to deterioration in the quality of health service in the rural areas.

They have also stated that no proper plan has been formulated for the thousands of doctors and paramedical staff that would be rendered workless if the plan is implemented.

In their petition, the doctors have stated that under the new scheme, MBBS doctors would be given contracts to manage the rural dispensaries. These doctors would work between 9 am to 3 pm only, thereby forcing the poor patients in rural areas to go to cities or other towns to get privately treated after the working hours of these dispensaries.

The court adjourned the hearing to July 17.

Notice of motion in Mann's case

The high court on Thursday issued notice of motion for May 4 on a petition filed by former MP Simranjit Singh Mann, seeking the grant of anticipatory bail in a case of sedition.

Mr Mann had been booked for delivering an inflammatory speech at a rally at Nakodar in February. A case has been registered at police station, Nakodar.

Some days ago, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Jalandhar, had rejected his plea for grant of anticipatory bail.

Today, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal issued notice of motion for May 4 on the petition.


Court order on publishing notice against Capt, MLAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Civil Judge, Mr R.K. Mehta, today passed instructions to publish a public notice in an English daily directing Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and all other Congress MLAs to appear in person or through their counsel in the court.

The instructions were passed in connection with a civil suit filed by Akali leader Gurmeet Singh Matharu against the Chief Minister and other MLAs for disobeying their election manifesto during the 2002 Assembly elections.

The complainant has been asked to give the notice within a week. The orders were passed after the defendants failed to receive the summons of the court.

In the election manifesto, the MLAs had announced to declare their assets at the time of taking oath.


Police remand for two arrested with smack
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 27
A local court has sent two persons, including a village sarpanch, arrested with 500 gm of smack to police remand till Friday. Both of them were arrested yesterday.

Sources said the police received a tip-off that the accused were on their way to the town with a big consignment of smack. The police set up a checkpost on the Santpura road and started checking vehicles passing through the area.

After some time, the police rounded up Amar Singh, a resident of Bir Talab, and Gurjeet Singh, a resident of Multania road, on suspicion. The police got a breakthrough and succeeded in seizing 500 gm of smack from their possession.

Their interrogation revealed that while Amar Singh was the sarpanch of Bir Talab, Gurjeet Singh owned 17 acres of land. They used to bring smack from Singhpura village in Haryana and supply it to their customers. They would strike deals of smack on the phone before heading to bring in the consignment.


Rs 6 crore distributed among 35 farmers

Batala, April 27
Cheques for Rs 6 crore were distributed among 35 farmers of Batala subdivision here today by Dr Nirmal Singh, District Food Supply Officer, Batala.

He said as per the instructions of the Punjab Government the payment would be made within 24 hours to the farmers who brought their produce to the mandi for selling. — OC


Jagtar Hawara’s associate held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 27
Gurinder Singh alias Vicky of Roorkee Hira, under Chamkaur Sahib, police station an associate of Jagtar Singh Hawara of the Babbar Khalsa international was arrested here today. Gurinder Singh the police claimed had escaped from Chandigarh police’s custody on July 16, 2005 while his two associates Kamaljeet Singh and Paramjit Singh were arrested. The Chandigarh police had registered a case under Sections 121, 121A, 153 of IPC and Sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act, and Sections 4,5,6 of the explosive’s Act at Chandigarh’s Sector 36 police station. The police claimed Gurinder Singh used to harbour Jagtar Singh Hawara.

In preliminary investigation Gurinder Singh disclosed about his links with Hawara during school days. Gurinder Singh started living in Indore in 1993 and owned transport business and a year later returned to his village and met Hawara in Katana Sahib gurdwara where from he brought Hawara to his in-law’s house at Kanech (Sahnewal).

The police claimed Gurinder disclosed that Hawara left his bag of arms at Gurinder’s tubewell and later collected it.

Gurinder Singh was arrested today while he was to board a bus for Nanaksar the police claimed. The police here informed the Chandigarh police about the arrest of Gurinder Singh.


Arhtiya kidnapped
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
Mr Balraj (40), an arhtiya from Khanauri village in this district, was kidnapped from Andana village, near Khanauri, by some persons last night. However, whereabouts of the kidnapped arhtiya were still not known.

Giving this information on the phone today, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, said the police had identified the kidnappers who belonged to Haryana. He further said police parties had been sent to various places to locate the kidnapped arhtiya and nab the kidnappers.

Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, SP (D), said the arhtiya had three shops at Andana, Khanauri and Kaithal (Haryana). He further said the police had learnt from its own sources that the kidnappers had demanded a ransom from the family, but the family of the arhtiya was not ready to give any detail about the kidnap or the ransom amount.

Mr Grewal said the police had identified four kidnappers so far. He said it had also come to know that the said kidnappers had earlier kidnapped a person from Kaithal in March, but when the family of the kidnapped person could not fulfil the demand of the kidnappers, they killed him.


Engineer caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today claimed to have nabbed an Executive Engineer of the Public Health Department, a college lecturer and a patwari while they were allegedly accepting bribes in separate cases.

Executive Engineer Sudhir Kumar Bhatia, posted at Faridkot, was caught by a team of the bureau while he was accepting a bribe of  Rs 10,000 from a complainant of Bhanna village in Faridkot district.

The Executive Engineer was accepting bribe for clearing the complainant's payment.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against him, a spokesman said here.

In another case, a lecturer of National College, Bhikhi in Mansa, Mr Pritpal Singh, was caught while he was allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1500 from a student for letting him go scotfree in a cheating case.

The student had been caught for cheating during an examination at Government Physical College, Patiala.

Similarly, a patwari, Bhagat Singh of revenue area of Guru Har Sahai in Ferozepur, has been arrested during a raid while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000.


Recovery agents shot at
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
A five-member team of recovery agents of a Swaraj Mazda tractor agency was allegedly shot at by a farmer’s family at Suparipur village in Majitha police district here today. Two persons were seriously injured in the incident. They were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

According to information, the police has registered a case under the relevant Sections of the IPC at Majitha police station against a farmer, Sarabjit Singh, and his accomplices, including women.

The police said the accused fraudulently took two new tractors from the agency and failed to repay the instalments. They reportedly had taken several persons into custody in the case. Mr Balraj Singh, DSP, Majitha, visited the spot.


Satta racket busted,16 arrested
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 27
As part of its ongoing drive against anti-social elements, the local police has nabbed 16 persons involved in satta and acts of duping and cheating. As many as 10 separate cases have been registered against the accused.

Disclosing this here today, SSP S.K. Asthana said a police team headed by DSP Devinder Singh and Inspectors Baljit Singh, SHO Kotwali police station, and Swaran Singh Khanna, in charge CIA police, had unearthed a satta racket involving 16 persons.

Mr Asthana revealed that in the guise of government lottery the accused were indulged in satta and duped several persons by misleading them. Booking these persons in 10 different cases under Sections 420 and 294A of the IPC and 13A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act, the police seized 12 computer sets and Rs 93,060 from their possession.

Those arrested included Jit Singh, Mithu Singh, Sukhvinder Singh, Jatinder Kumar, Panna Singh, Bhola Ram, Baljinder Singh, Jagraj Singh, Balbir Chand, Sonu Garg, Raj Kumar, Rajinder Kumar, Gopal Mohan, Rajinder, alias Kaka Singh (all local residents), and Pankaj Singla of Tapa and Iqbal Singh of Sandhu Patti Dhilwan.


2 arrested with intoxicants
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
Acting on secret information, the Majitha police arrested two persons, Vinod Kumar and Vikramjit, both residents of Chawinda Devi, for allegedly possessing a huge quantity of intoxicants. Both run a merchandise shop in the village.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, said a case under Sections 21/61/85 of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered at Kathunangal police station.


Steno in DC’s office booked for fraud

Barnala, April 27
A steno in the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner’s office and a woman have been booked in a case of cheating and fraud.

Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, Barnala, police district, said yesterday that Mr Gurdarshan Singh, a steno in the DC’s office in collusion with Sukhwinder Kaur set up a fake training centre in villages and duped innocent girls of Rs 1,000, promising them that they would be offered Rs 2,000 per month as salary and a government certificate and would be insured for Rs 1.5 lakh each.

The SSP said following a complaint by Paramjit Kaur of Manal village and Baljit Kaur of Maangewal village, the police booked the two. — OC


School awaits construction
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
Even after the laying of the foundation stone by the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in May last year the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has “failed” to construct the building of Government Girls Senior Secondary School here , reasons best known to the authorities concerned.

On the day of the laying of the foundation stone, it was officially stated that the school building would be completed by the PUDA in just nine months. Despite the proposed completion of the school building in just nine months, not even a single brick has been laid at the proposedsite as yet.

Sources said the PUDA had taken the possession of the local Baghi Khaana site in December 2004 for the construction of the building of the school while the charge of the old buildings of the Civil Surgeon Office and the PWD Office was handed over to the PUDA in April 2005 for the school building.

The sources said the Senior Architect, PUDA, Mohali, had presented the architectural design and model of the proposed school at a meeting of the Layout Plan Approval Committee, on June 14, 2005, under the chairmanship of Chief Administrator, PUDA, at Mohali. During the meeting, the committee accorded the ex post facto approval for the architectural design of the school.

When The Tribune contacted Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, in his office here, he said he had taken up the matter with the PUDA authorities to start the construction of the school building. He had convened a meeting of the PUDA officials to expedite the work, related to the construction of the building.


GND varsity Dean to scrutinise decisions
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, GND varsity, who was seriously injured by about 12 unidentified youths equipped with hockey and baseball sticks, today said that he would recollect the decisions he had taken during his stint as Dean.

He said it might give some clues that who could have probably hired the accused and wanted him to be hospitalised so that his officiating dean could take decisions in their favour.

Meanwhile, Prof H.S. Walia and Dr Jaswant Singh, president and general secretary of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Association, respectively, condemned the attack. They demanded a high-level inquiry and immediate arrest of the accused persons involved in the deadly attack.

Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (City-II), said he had met Dr Gurnam Singh and he had given some names of persons who he suspected might have hired the attackers. He said he would soon take all the accused persons in custody and would held a thorough inquiry. The police has registered a case in this regard.

The Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association threatened to launch a protest if the police failed to take any action in this regard.

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