P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder rubbishes Badal claim on Dyal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today clarified that he had presented a memento to Gen R. S. Dyal (retd) in Mumbai in recognition of his work as the Chairman of the Institute of Tourism and Future Management (ITFT), an organisation which has been assisting ex-servicemen in their rehabilitation.

Capt Amarinder Singh further said General Dyal was neither declared a “tankhaya” nor ever a call was given against him for his social boycott.

In a statement issued here today, the Chief Minister not only ridiculed the allegations made by the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, but also reiterated that he “resigned from Parliament and later as a minister in the Barnala government to protest against Operation Buestar and later against Operation Black Thunder. Those questioning my credentials on this subject are either ill-informed or are simply lying. The whole of Punjab is aware of these actions of mine.”

“It is, in fact, the Akalis who need to clarify why Mr Badal, when Chief Minister, took Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, as his Principal Secretary, when he knew that Mr Singh as Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, at the time of Operation Bluestar, had signed the order permitting the Army into the Darbar Sahib complex to aid the civil power. He also signed the order for detaining hundreds in the Darbar Sahib. Mr Ramesh Inder Singh received the Padma Shri for services rendered during Operation Bluestar and was also given permanent cadre transfer to Punjab from West Bengal. Later, Mr Badal appointed him his Principal Secretary. Mr Badal may like to clarify the convenient lapse of memory,” the Chief Minister added.

It may be pertinent to mention that yesterday Mr Badal in a statement held that by honouring General Dyal (retd) , Capt Amarinder Singh had put his stamp of approval on Operation Bluestar. Mr Badal said by his action, the Chief Minister had not only re-opened old emotional scars of the Sikh masses, but also rubbed salt into their wounds by trying to justify the honour bestowed on General Dyal. The action had yet again proved that Amarinder’s resignation from the Congress in the wake of the Army assault was totally insincere and a political stunt meant to mislead the Sikhs at the behest of the Gandhi family. “Capt Amarinder Singh had himself ordered the police to storm the Harmandar Sahib complex during the 2002 SGPC poll. As such, by honouring General Dyal, Capt Amarinder Singh was merely honouring a fellow sinner.”

Mr Badal held that the report of the Chief Minister honouring General Dyal had come as no surprise to him as it had merely removed the cover of hypocrisy from Capt Amarinder Singh’s feigned opposition to the tragic Army operation on the holiest Sikh shrine. “The development must be seen in the context of reports that Capt Amarinder Singh was one the chief planners of the tragic Army action at the holiest shrine of the Sikhs and that he was among the handful of Sikh Congressmen who had advised late Indira Gandhi in favour of Operation Bluestar. His stage-managed and politically crafted resignation from the Congress in the wake of strong emotional storm caused by the Army assault was also a part of the Gandhi family’s designs to plant a secret spy agent in the SAD in order to sabotage the party’s peaceful and democratic movement against repression and injustice against Punjab,” said Mr Badal.


Government fails to make headway in UBDC scam
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 30
The Congress came into power in the state riding the wave of corruption allegations against the previous government. An anti-corruption drive was also launched and cases were registered against the leaders of the Opposition.

However, after about four years of rule the anti-corruption drive seems to have subsided. One of the biggest scam in the state, the UBDC scam, is given a quite burial. Even after four years the challan has not been presented in the court by the Pathankot police.

Inquiry into the multi-crore scam has been blowing hot and cold indicating the non-seriousness of the Punjab Government in pursuing the case.

The FIR in the UBDC scam was registered in July 2003. Initially, the government pursued the case with much vigour with the hope that it would be able to corner former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal in the case. However, with about 170 irrigation officials getting involved in case the pressure was built by a prominent Congress leader of the area and the case was put in the cold storage.

The charges on the officials have been watered down from 30 to 5 on the directions of the government. With this, the number of officials against whom the criminal action would be taken has also been reduced from about 170 to just about 10. Against rest of the officials the action would be taken at the department level which too remained a hush-up operation.

The five charges that were forwarded to the Gurdaspur police for investigation were gravest in nature. Interestingly, four out of these pertain to officials of the Bathinda canal division who were specially posted here to execute the UBD canal remodelling work near Tibri in Gurdaspur.

It has been alleged that M/s Oasis Contractors was awarded the work for the supply of material that generally comprised of earth and gravel in Tibri. The entire payment of Rs 40 lakh was made to the contractor within one day after the contract was awarded.

It has been alleged that it is physically impossible to supply material worth Rs 40 lakh in a single day for any establishment. Officials of the department of irrigation ranging from executive engineer to junior engineers who were ever posted at the Bathinda canal division have been accused on account of the above said charges.

The second charge was that the officials who were entrusted with the work made excess payment worth Rs 18.32 lakh to the contractors without any sanction from the authority. Besides the officials of the engineering wing, the finance department officials have also been accused on the said charge.

The rate for dewatering an area in the UBDC canal was fixed at Rs 9 per hour. However, the officials concerned made payment at the rate of Rs 70 per hour. In addition to that instead of the sanctioned 21,000 hours, payment for 93,000 hours was made to the contractors.

Sanction was given for the purchase of 783 kg epoxy material used in pucca lining of the canal. However, instead of that 2,000 kg of material was purchased by the officials.

Besides all this, one offence committed in Amritsar has been earmarked for criminal proceeding. The officials who got the remodelling of canal work done in Thehpur area in Amritsar have been accused of tempering with the records to favour certain contractors.

Despite serious charges, the government as yet has neither taken departmental nor criminal action against the accused officials.


Mumtaz’s kids ex-students of Amritsar school
Cops in spot as it shows their illegal stay for 3 years
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
The district police is in a tight spot again as all three children (currently in local Central Jail) of Mumtaz, a Pakistani national, have been found to be former students of the local Government Kanya Primary School, Kot Baba Deep Singh. This shows that all of them have been living here illegally for about three years.

What is more interesting is that the father’s name of the children — Suhail, Aisha and Aamna — has been mentioned as Gora, a Bihari Hindu, in the school leaving certificates though Mumtaz and Gora had not been married yet. This may land Gora in trouble since he had not completed the legal formalities to adopt the children of the Pakistan national.

This shows the negligence of the district police, intelligence agencies and school authorities as well. How Gora mentioned his name as the father of the three children without legally adopting them is intriguing. It is learnt that these children can read and write the Urdu, Gurmukhi and Hindi languages which further establishes their longer stay in Amritsar.The school leaving certificates were required for applying for bail of the children.

As per the certificates of Government Elementary School, Kot Baba Deep Singh, Suhail Aisha and Aamna were admitted on July 4, 2005, in the first standard. Out of the required 446 days, Suhail had regularly attended 300 days while Aisha attended 296 days. Aamna attended the school for 294 days out of the required 446 days. The school leaving certificates of all children was issued on April 18, 2006, following a written application by Mumtaz on April 17. The certificates have been issued by the Head Mistress of the School, Ms Harjeet Kaur.

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

Earlier, in a major decision last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the immediate release of 46 prisoners hailing from Pakistan, including three minor children. The PIL had been filed by the World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.

Referring to the plight of the minor children of Mumtaz, who had been booked under various clauses, the high court Bench, while ordering the quashing of the FIRs registered against them, observed that no FIR should have been registered against the three minor children in the first place.

Left with no option, Mumtaz and her children managed to reach Amritsar, where they were staying, waiting for an opportunity to cross over to Pakistan. Before they were caught in January and booked them under the Foreigners’ Act for staying in India without permission.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the local jail authorities had not yet received orders from court to release the Pakistani nationals.


Beating by employer costs youth eyesight
P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 30
A 25-year-old lost his eyesight completely when his employer Makhan Singh of Shakri transport beat him severely when he demanded salary from him. The police allegedly failed to take any action against the accused even as the hospital authorities refused him admission for treatment.

Aman (25), a resident of Jhando Ke Sarhali Khurd, Tarn Taran who was working with the transport company situated in the Ram Talai area for the past four months, alleged that his employer hit him with some blunt object after which he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he was unable to see anything.

The incident which occurred on Thursday came to light when Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP state vice-president, took up the matter with the district police chief and hospital authorities here today.

Aman is a conductor with the transport company. He alleged that during his four months of service he was never paid salary even though he asked for it a number of times. He said he was thrown out on the road by the employer.

He said he did not know who called his family in Tarn Taran and brought him to hospital.

The police has now registered a case under Section 323 of the IPC against Makhan Singh of Shakri Transport. Mr Nirlep Singh, SHO, said further action would be taken after getting medical and X-ray reports. However, he added that the police had not arrested the accused as it was a non-cognisable offence.

Ms Chawla said the ‘snatching’ the eyesight of a young person was worse than murder. She demanded proper treatment of Aman besides appropriate action against the accused. 


Drunk cops kill poppy smuggler
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 30
Death of Satnam Singh Satti, of Jandiala village in police firing on Saturday night, created a controversy as the Jalandhar police claimed the deceased was ferrying poppy husk had speeded up his contraband loaded vehicle after having been signalled by a police party and a section of residents of the area terming it as a ‘concocted story’.

Meanwhile, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has ordered a magisterial probe into the matter and entrusted it to Nakodar SDM Gurpreet Singh Khehra on the basis of a plea made by Jalandhar SSP Ishwar Singh.

On the other hand, residents of Jandiala Manjki village attacked the Nakodar police station, resulting in minor damage and held a dharna there to protest against the “police high handedness”. Relatives of Satnam Singh Satti and protesting residents alleged that there was no fault on the part of Satti and he was a simple man.

According to them Satti, along with, his borther Parminder Singh alias Binder who, was driving the Tempo Traveller, was returning to the village, when, “drunken” police officials, who, were manning a naka near Cheema Kalan village at 12.30 a.m, fired some shots from their AK-47 rifles, hit Satti in his head from behind, leading to his death on the spot. “Five bags of poppy husk was planted on Satti by the police in order to save its skin,” alleged Kulbir Singh.

The police party, according to protesting residents, was led by Noormahal police station based ASI Kailash Sharma, and shots were fired Head Constable Loveleen Singh.

When contacted, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, alleged that both deceased and his brother Parminder Singh alias Binder had smuggled five bags of poppy husk from Rajasthan and they were trying to smuggle the contraband into the area in their vehicle. “They were stopped by the police party, but, they sped away the vehicle. The police officials on the naka chased them and in order to stop them, they might have fired some shots into the air and one of the shots could have hit Satti in the process. It was not intentional. Had it been intentional, would Satti have received the bullet in the back of his head. The vehicle had crossed the Shambhu interstate barrier. Moreover, Parminder Singh in his statement before the SDM, Nakodar, said that they were smuggling poppy husk in their vehicle,” said Mr Ishwar Singh.

Meanwhile, residents blocked the Nakodar Jalandhar highway. A number of local leaders held a meeting with police officials after which, Parminder Singh was released along with his vehicle. The SDM will give his report within two days. Body of the deceased was cremated in Jandiala after post-mortem examination in the afternoon.


Tribune Special
Punjab plan on whistle-blowers faces rough road
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
In a move which, if finalised, could invite criticism from many quarters and raise serious questions of propriety, the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Government has been considering giving incentives to official whistle-blowers. Simply put, the move is aimed at rewarding government servants who blow the whistle on their corrupt bosses and colleagues.

However, the very first attempt of the government to reward a prominent whistle-blower for his role in helping the law enforcing agencies net a very high-profile functionary, who was alleged to be indulging in corruption, has met with stiff resistance from the law officers of the government.

The officer in question, whom the government intended to reward, was Excise and Taxation Inspector Bhupjit Singh, who was instrumental in the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, catching the then chairperson of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu. Sidhu, it may be recalled, had been allegedly caught red-handed while accepted a hefty bribe from Bhupjit for clearing the latter's induction into the Punjab Civil Service (Executive).

Bhupjit is the star prosecution witness in the case along with a couple of independent witnesses.

According to sources, the government was considering rewarding Bhupjit by inducting him into the PCS.

But, the office of the Advocate-General (AG), Punjab, when asked to give its opinion on the proposal, refused to clear it, informing the government that the same would be construed as encouraging government officials to blow the whistle on their colleagues for personal gains.

The office of the AG is also learnt to have told the government that Ravi Sidhu's legal team might also take advantage if any favour was extended to Bhupjit at this stage.

The trial of Sidhu, who is currently out on bail, is being held in a special court at Ropar. While the charges have been framed, evidence is being recorded in the matter. Sidhu was the first major cache of the present government, which had come to power riding on the promise of ridding the state of corrupt officials.

That Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh himself is personally interested in finalising the scheme to reward whistle-blowers is borne out from the fact that he had desired to hold a meeting of serious officers to discuss the proposal. Scheduled twice, the meeting has not been able to materialise due to his "busy schedule".

Sources also say that the government was also keen on introducing a Bill in the Vidhan Sabha on the issue of eradication of corruption and whistle-blowing. The Bill was also aimed at providing safeguards to informers as well as rewarding them.


Rally brings Cong fissures to the fore
Tribune News service

Patiala, April 30
The newly established Patiala Vikas Manch today gave a call to oust Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh out of power alleging that the CM was pursuing anti-people, anti-Dalit and anti-trader policies.

Addressing an impressive awareness rally at the Anardana Chowk here, a number of leaders of various social, political, trader and religious organisations, including Congressmen, urged people not to be afraid of Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Preneet Kaur, Member of Parliament (MP) and CM's wife.

Dr Paramjit Singh, chairman, Patiala Vikas Manch, while claiming that the organisation would make arrangements for giving pension to the old people, said almost all organisations had come forward to support the cause for which they had been fighting.

Senior Congressman, Mr Parkash Chand Mittal, Mr Jagmohan Singh Saini, advocates from Punjab and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court and various state-level and local organisations participated in the rally.

The leaders alleged that both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Preneet Kaur had caused a great loss to the Congress.

The leaders pointed out that situation had come to such a point where a senior Congress worker was forced to immolate himself in full public view as he was harassed by a section of government functionaries.

They alleged that state Congress government had also done great damage to traders by implicating them in false criminal cases and time had come to get rid of the government.

Not only this, the state Congress government had shown its anti-Dalit face by withdrawing all facilities which were being given to them before the Congress came to power in Punjab.

They added that under the present rule, only those who had been indulging in corruption and nepotism or who were running land mafia, were being looked after well.

Contrary to it, the Congressmen, who had sacrificed everything for the party, were being ignored and insulted.


24 health workers hurt in police lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 30
More than 24 members of the Health Services Bachao Sangharsh Committee comprising various organisations of para-medical staff and nurses of Punjab were injured today when the police lathicharged the agitating health employees while they were trying to march towards the residence of Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, located at Nai Abadi from the venue of their rally at Shaheed Udham Singh Park. All injured persons were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

About 2,000 employees of various wings of the Health Department from Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Hoshiarpur led by their convener, Mr Randhir Singh, Mr Inderjit Singh Virdi and Mr Raj Devi held a rally at Shaheed Udham Singh Park in protest against the proposed privatisation of some of the health institutions, and non fulfilment of promises made by Capt Amarinder Singh’s government, during the last state Assembly elections. They criticised the former SAD-BJP government and the Congress government for not fulfilling their genuine demands. They said Capt Amarinder Singh had installed big hoardings on various roads about the prosperity of Punjab, while in reality people were badly suffering.

After the rally, they tried to march towards the residence of Mr Dogra to stage a demonstration there and gherao him. However, they were stopped by the police. When they forcibly tried to move, the police led by Mr Tarlochan Singh, DSP, and the Tehsildar, Hoshiarpur, lathi charged them causing injuries to more than 24 health employees, including six women.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said the deputed police staff requested the agitated employees not to move towards the residence of the Health Minister as he was not present in his house. But the protesters did not pay heed to their requests. When the protesters jostled with the police to move forward, the police resorted to a mild lathi charge. Some of them pelted the police with stones injuring four constables.

He said the agitated employees later dispersed from the park.

Meanwhile, Mr Tiskan Sud, Mr Des Raj Dhugga, both MLAs, and Mr Kamal Chaudhry, national secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party, reached the Civil Hospital to inquire about the injured persons. They condemned the lathi charge.

Dr Sukhwinder Singh, president, PCMS (I) Association, Jalandhar, condemned the lathi charge and demanded stern action against those police officials responsible for it.


Congress workers protest against newspaper report
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 30
Congress workers held a protest rally at Gandhi Chowk here today under the leadership of Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, against a news item published in an English daily (not The Tribune) on Saturday.

The said news item relates to the electricity bills of the various units belonging to Mr Sekhri and the amount of the bills being mentioned in that news item was surprisingly low - as against the sanctioned load capacity of the units.

The party workers, including Mr Kasturi Lal Seth, president, City Congress Committee, Batala, and other local leaders, protested against the local correspondent of the newspaper by burning his effigy. They also burnt copies of the newspaper and blocked traffic on the GT Road for more than five hours.

Mr Sekhri condemned the publication of the news. He showed the original bills relating to his units mentioned in the news. The bills showed he had been paying on an average more than Rs10, 000 against each bill of two months period having a sanctioned load capacity of 4 KW. He further disclosed that his monthly electricity bills relating to various units amounted to on an average Rs 22 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. Surprisingly, he also showed the bill of one of the units being mentioned in the news, and it was in the name of Mr Viswa Mittar, a tea vendor on the GT Road. Incidentally, the name of Mr Ashwani Sekhri’s father also happens to be Mr Vishwa Mittar Sekhri. And the said bill was that of the tea vendor and not that of Mr Sekhri’s father. 


Parshuram Jayanti celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 30
Bhagwan Parshuram Jayanti was celebrated with fervour by the Brahmin Sabha, Sirhind, at Sirhind today. Hundreds of Brahmin families from the town attended the function. Havan and bhog of the Ramayana were performed at Dashnami Akhara, Sirhind city.

Kirtan, speeches and lectures were delivered on the life and history of Bhagwan Parshuram. Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, member of the SGPC, was the guest of honour. Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, and senior-most member of the sabha, presided over the function.

The children belonging to Brahmin families who excelled in various fields were honoured.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Bhatti and Vaid Hari Krishan called upon the people to follow the teachings of great saints and Gurus, as it would be a true tribute to them.

Mr R.N. Sharma, patron of the sabha, in his address, thanked the Punjab Chief Minister for declaring Parshuram Jayanti a gazetted holiday.

He thanked Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, for extending help to the community.

Mr Sanjeev Sharma, president of the Brahmin Sabha, Sirhind, highlighted the various projects initiated by the sabha for the welfare of the community.

Mr Varinder Rattan, secretary of the sabha, read the annual report of the sabha and spoke about the projects to be undertaken by the sabha.

Earlier, a sobha yatra was taken out in the town in which people from every walk of life participated.


Mass marriage ceremony
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
As many as 13 girls of economically weaker sections were yesterday married off at a mass marriage function, organised by the Sahara Youth Club, Moonak, at Aggarwal Dharamshala in Moonak village, about 60 km from here.

One among the 13 girls had already lost her parents while two had no mothers. Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, a judge of the Supreme Court of India, who belongs to Moonak, blessed the newly married couples.

The marriages of all couples were performed as per the Hindu rituals. All girls belong to eight villages of the Moonak area. The names of the villages are Makror Sahib, Banga, Gularr, Moonak, Dehla, Kalia, Maniana and Bhathuan.

The function was held on the occasion of 18th death anniversary of Babu Brish Bhan, a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of the erstwhile PEPSU. On the occasion, a blood donation camp was also organised by the organisers.

The organisers provided domestic articles to each newly married couple. The organisers have reportedly spent an amount of Rs 4 lakh on the marriages. The entire amount was collected by the organisers through donations from people of various walks of life.

Mr Jai Pal Saini, president of the Sahara Youth Club, Moonak, while talking to The Tribune today, said this was their second effort of solemnising mass marriages. Last year, they had solemnised marriages of six girls by collecting donations from donors of the area, he added.

He also said the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, had announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the Ambulance of the Sahara Youth Club.


Home Guard jawans seek hike in wages
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
A state-level meeting of the Punjab Home Guards Welfare Association held at the Baradari Gardens here today. The association urged the Punjab Government to accept their long pending demands, including enhancement of daily wages from Rs 150 to Rs 300, and provision of free bus service facility.

In a press note, the state president of the association, Mr Salam Din, said the association also urged the government to provide free medical facility, pay scale according to rank to the jawans, deduction of General Provident Fund (GPF) and benefits of loan.

Mr Din said the association had demanded free residential accommodation for the jawans on the pattern of Punjab Police personnel. The association also urged the government to provide Rs 5 lakh and jobs on compassionate grounds to the kin of jawans who had laid down their lives during duty.


Ban books, demands Billa
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, on Friday served a notice on the Secretary, Dharam Prachar Committee, SGPC, to ban two books published by it.

In a press note, Mr Billa said the books, “Sarvotam Dharam Granth Aadi Sri Guru Granth Sahib” and “Sarvotam Dharam Khalsa”, written by Swami Ram Tirath Dandi Sanyasi and translated by Prof Sham Lal, were not as per Hindu mythology.


Bus fire victims cremated
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 30
The mortal remains of Assistant Sub-Inspector of Punjab police Ram Pal Singh and his wife, Sukhwinder Rani, who were killed in bus fire at Jalandhar on April 28, were consigned to the flames at their village, Taggran, about 25 km from here, this afternoon. Sarabjit Singh, elder son of Ram Pal Singh, lit the pyres.

Ram Pal and his wife are survived by their three sons.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, the Subdivisional Magistrate, Hoshiarpur, and thousands of people of nearby villages participated in the funeral.


Quota hike proposal condemned
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 30
Mr Surinder Saini, president, General Category Welfare Association, has criticised the proposal of the Central Government to hike reservation in higher educational institutions.

Calling HRD Minister Arjun Singh a pro-reservation activist, he remarked that Mr Singh was playing the reservation card in view of the Assembly elections in some states.


Verma elected District Bar Assn chief
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 30
Mr Amrit Lal Verma won the election to the post of the president of the District Bar Association (DBA) by defeating his rival Udam Singh in a close contest here today. The election results were announced by the Returning Officer, Mr Surinder Singh, about 5 pm here. Mr Verma was polled 118 votes while Udam Singh 107 votes out of 251 DBA members.

Gagandeep Sharma was elected vice-president by defeating Jaswinder Singh. Mr Sharma polled 120 votes while Jaswinder Singh 105 votes.

The contest between Mr Verma and Udam Singh was seen as direct fight between the Congress and the BJP-Akali Dal to prove their strength. While Mr Verma was backed by the Congress MLA and Parliamentary Secretary (Industry and Commerce), Mr K.P.S Rana. Mr Rana is also a member of the DBA here.

While Mr Udam Singh was backed by the BJP leader and former state minister in the Akali government, Mr Maddan Mohan Mittal, who is also a member of the DBA here. Besides it, the Akali faction also supported Mr Udam Singh. However both candidates did not come up openly with their affiliation during the campaigning.


Water shortage forces farmers
to abandon orchard farming
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, April 30
Farmers in the border belt of the Amritsar district were forced to abandon orchard farming due to the receding water table and non-supply of canal water.

Charantjit Singh of Fatehabad village near here, who owns a 50-acre orchard of mango, peach, litchi and other ornamental trees, said he was forced to uproot mango and other trees planted 100 years ago as he was not getting canal water from the Goindwal minor distributory for the past three months.

He said the branches of the trees were getting hardened up which resulted in the falling of unripe mangoes. Due to paucity of water the trees of peaches got infected. He said the only other option was that of tubewell water but due to the shortage of electricity it could not function for more that two hours a day, which was not sufficient.

The farmer further said the market was flooded with guava, but there were no takers for the fruit in the market. He said the government had announced that it would compensate farmers who would go in for orchard farming but he had not received any compensation.

He said he had gone for mustard crop this season as the government had advised the farmers for the diversification of the crops. But they could not sell the crop, as there was no buyer in the market, he rued.


BKU honours 100 farmers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
After their release from the Sangrur, Bathinda and Patiala jails recently, 100 farmers were honoured by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) at a function at Gandhuan village yesterday.

These farmers had reportedly spent 28 days in the jail for opposing acquisition of 376 acres of farmers’ land in three villages, Dhaula, Sangherra and Fatehgarh Chhanna near Barnala for the Trident Group of Industries. All the honoured farmers were from various villages of Sunam block.

The BKU (Ugrahan) honoured the farmers by presenting them certificates, mentioning details of their jail period. The certificates were distributed among farmers by Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan); Mr Dalbara Singh Chhajla, district vice-president of the union, and other leaders of the union.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan said they would continue their agitation till the scrapping of the notification, related to the acquisition of 376 acres by the state government. He said they would not allow the Trident Group of Industries to set up its industrial units on the land, acquired forcibly by the government. He said the farmers were united against the acquisition of land.

Besides hundreds of farmers, the function was also attended by Mr Jasbir Singh Maidewas, Mr Jaswant Singh Tolawal, Mr Dilbag Singh Harigarh and Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, all leaders of the BKU (Ugrahan).


Inside Babudom
More IPS officers needed, demands Punjab Police
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The top brass of the Punjab Police has sent in a demand that the state needs at least three directly recruited Indian Police Services (IPS) officers every year. Since 1998, the Union Government has been infrequent in its annual allocation of IPS officers to the Punjab cadre. At times just one officer is allocated to Punjab and on one occasion nobody was allocated.

The allocations are done following the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

A formal request has been made to the state Home Department. The Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk, confirmed this development to The Tribune. The Home Department is to forward its demand to the Union Government, he said.

Due to the scaled-down allocation of directly recruited IPS officers, the state presently has 14 vacancies for IPS officers who are recruited through the UPSC. The state has a sanctioned strength of 144 IPS officers and 33 per cent of these posts are for officers who are promoted into the IPS from the state police cadre. The rest of the posts are for directly recruited IPS officers through the UPSC.

Sources explained that during the last days of militancy in the early 1990s, the allocation to Punjab increased manifold. The 1992 batch had five direct IPS officers while the 1993 batch had seven officers, the 1994 batch had eight officers while the 1995 batch also had seven direct IPS officers. This inflow was scaled down to just four officers in the 1998 batch. Since that year only a total of six IPS officers have been taken in directly into the Punjab cadre of the IPS. The average is less than one officer every year. Only Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, Mr Dinesh Pratap Singh, Mr Kaustubh Sharma, Mr Sukhchain Singh and Mr B.L. Meena have been allocated to the Punjab cadre. One more 2005 batch IPS officer is under training and this takes the total to six IPS officers from the 1999 batch onwards .

The Punjab Police has suggested to the Home Department that first of all the induction of seven or eight officers in one year is not good and the sudden reduction has also not helped matters. The police, after doing a thorough scan of its officers and their scheduled retirement, has arrived at the requirement of having three officers from directly recruited IPS officers. Or else the supply would not match the requirement.

It may be mentioned that the reduction in IPS officers was brought about in 1998 after a cadre review that the Punjab Police was getting "top heavy" and there was no need for so many officers. The then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had okayed this scaling down of inflow. Officials explained this was part of the cadre management and it was a constantly evolving process. At a later date the demand may come down or go up.

It may be mentioned that a few days ago additional posts of DIG were created to allow the promotion of a few officers who had attained the required seniority.


One killed, Rs 5,000 looted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 30
Three unidentified persons looted Rs 5000 after killing Charanjit Singh (36), a farmer at Bhathal Sejha Singh village, 20 km from here, last night. The Sarhali police has registered a case under Section 460, IPC.

The case has been registered on the complaint of Sarabjit Kaur, wife of the deceased, who said that the looters armed with rifles and sharpedged weapons entered their farm house situated on the out skirts of the village. She informed the police that the looters on gunpoint tied her and went to room where her husband was sleeping. She said the looters took Rs 5,000 from her before leaving the spot. The looters warned her not to raise the alarm.

She further said that after some time she got herself freed from the rope, went to the room where her husband was sleeping and found him killed with a sharp-edged weapon.


Man kills brother

Amritsar, April 30
Pal Singh of Haler village in the Ramdass area in Majitha police district killed his brother, Harpal Singh, over minor dispute. The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC.

According to information, Harpal Singh wanted to participate in the “bhog” of the mother-in-law of his sister, while Pal Singh did not allow for this. When Harpal tried to go against the wishes of his brother, Pal Singh attacked him with “datar” killing him on the spot. — OC


Lecturer faces allegations of
concealment of facts to PU
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 30
A Ludhiana-based lecturer selected to the post of the deputy registrar at Panjab University faces allegations of misrepresentation and concealment of facts to the university to secure the job.

While the issue was highlighted by certain senators during the last meeting held on March 26 when the lecturers' selection came up for approval, a signed fax received by the Vice-Chancellor's office recently points towards the possibility of the lecturer having taken two universities for a ride by pursuing separate degrees simultaneously from Panjab University and Guru Nanak Dev University.

Stating that he was seized of the matter, PU Vice-Chancellor Prof K.N. Pathak added that a decision on the matter was likely to be taken soon.

The lecturer in his bio-data claims to have completed his M. Phil from Panjab University in July, 1985, after which he enrolled with Guru Nanak Dev University in 1987 for a regular MBA programme which he completed in 1989 and then enrolled for an LLB degree from the same university in 1990 and which he completed in 1993. All this he managed to do while regularly teaching evening classes at a college in Ludhiana,

However, according to the fax sent to the PU Vice-Chancellor, the lecturer actually completed his MPhil from PU in 1991. In 1985, the lecturer had just cleared the first semester examination of MPhil. The II semester results were declared in 1986 as "result late", which was finally declared in 1991, states the fax. The university gazette notification too shows that the result of the lecture was declared by the university in March, 1991.

It is alleged since the lecturer was registered with PU till 1991, he could not have registered with another university during this period.

Denying the allegations, the lecturer, however, stands by the facts given by him in his bio-data in which he had stated that he had passed his MPhil in July, 1985, following which he submitted his thesis. And it was after the submission of his thesis and completion of MPhil in 1986 that he migrated to Guru Nanak Dev University and registered for an MBA programme in 1987. He adds that a migration certificate from PU to Guru Nanak Dev University was submitted before admission to the MBA programme.

Sources add that according to the records available at PU, the lecturer was issued a migration certificate for Guru Nanak Dev University in 1991 and not before it.

It has been further alleged that as claimed by the lecturer, it is not possible for a person to simultaneously teach evening classes at a college in Ludhiana and also attend evening classes (5pm to 8pm) of the LLB programme at Guru Nanak Dev University's regional centre at Jalandhar.

The lecturer, however, explains that the LLB classes at the regional centre in Jalndhar were not evening classes but afternoon classes from which he would be free by 4.30pm every 
day and return in time for taking classes in the college by 6 pm.

The lecturer had also showed in the application form that he did a regular MBA degree from Guru Nanak Dev University in the morning while teaching at Ludhiana in the evening.

"There is a daily train from Amritsar each day for Ludhiana and I managed to do the degree. Instead of appreciating the hard work that I have put in, I am being harassed because of certain persons who are jealous of me and are trying to ruin my career. I have given all the correct facts in my bio-data and I have full faith in the PU's system of scrutiny of application forms. My degrees are attached in the application form and these have been cross-checked," he said, adding that the Vice-Chancellor should instead take action against the person who has sent a frivolous complaint to him levelling baseless allegations. 


Good communication skills a must, say linguists
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
A function to mark the distribution of diploma certificates among successful teacher trainees was organised at the Northern Regional Language Centre (NRLC), Department of Ministry of Human Resource Development, at Punjabi University here today.

The proceedings were presided over by renowned Hindi scholar Prof Rajpal. A distinguished scholar of linguistics, Professor S.S. Joshi, was the chief guest.

Dr Surjeet Singh Lee and Deputy Director, Central Institute of Languages, Professor Rajesh Sachdeva were the guests of honour.

In his inaugural address, Mr Ghazanfar Ali, Principal, Northern Regional Language Centre, Patiala, briefly introduced the guests.

Representing fellow teacher trainees, Mr Mohd Ali, a teacher trainee of Urdu language, expressed his views and said the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, and NRLC, Patiala, had been kind enough for providing them an opportunity to undergo a 10-month language-training programme.

A faculty member, Mr Jawahar Lal Raina, explained the purpose of the programme.

Professor Joshi stressed that a teacher should go to the class only when he or she was fully prepared. Dr. Surjeet Singh Lee emphasised that steps should be taken to enlighten the masses through education.

Professor Rajesh Sachdeva said teachers should be familiar with moral values.

While delivering the vote of thanks, Principal Ghazanfar Ali stressed on the need to learn languages correctly and added that good communication skills were necessary to make a person's character impressive.


World Dance Day celebrated at Punjabi University
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
The World Dance Day, celebrated by the Punjabi University Dance Department, was marked by an innovative performance representing a “dialogue between ghungroo and tabla” by a noted dancer and disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Dr Madhukar Anand, at the University’s Charlotte Auditorium here today.

Dr Madhukar, widely acknowledged to be the cultural ambassador of India in kathak during the Festival of India held in California, is at present a professor in the dance department. Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, who was the chief guest said the department had been established with the main objective of nursing and nurturing the unique culture and heritage of India in general and that of Punjab in particular.

Dr Madhukar started his performance with Ganesh stuti “ Gaiye Ganapati Jaya Jagavandana” composed by Goswami Tulsidas, showing various forms of Ganapati, followed by kathak in Lucknow gharana style showing thaat, amad, upaj and tehaiyan.

Another experimental performace in which Dr Madhukar performed scenes about sacrifice by the youth and freedom fighters showcasing “Bharat Mata Paran” and “Mahatma Gandhi Paran” got repeated rounds of applause. The horse-running sound produced through his footwork in “Gend ki Tehai” was an invitation to the audience to rock in style. The second round of performance by Dr Madhukar included Paran, Ladhi and Thumri composed by Maharaj Bindadin. He concluded his day with a swashbuckling performance of “Laykaris”, along with his disciples Deepak Bhatt and Namrata Rai. Deepak and Namarata came up with their best while presenting Krishan Geet, composed by Pandit Birju Maharaj.

Pandit Subash Nirman on tabla, Bharivai Sharma on sitar and Ustad Mujtaba Hussain on flute rendered impressive performances during the show.


Placement exercise at institute
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 30
In yet another massive placement exercise in the region, over 2500 students from 30 colleges yesterday reported at the Chitkara Institute of Engineering and Technology (CIET) for a joint placement programme of Birlasoft Limited at Jhansla, near here.

Mr Amulya Sah, Manager (Human Resources), said driven by “our vision to be a $ 250-million IT company by 2008, we are recruiting 2000 technology professionals from all over India for our three new development centres in the next 12 months”. This would entail an investment of $ 20 million, Mr Sah added.


Farewell given to M.Com students
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 30
The outgoing batch of M.Com was given a warm send-off by M.Com first year students at Mata Gujri College on Friday. College Principal Gurmohan Singh Walia was the chief guest in the function. Summerjit Kaur welcomed the chief guest, staff members and senior outgoing students. Cultural programme was presented on this occasion.

Harjeet Kaur was declared Miss Commerce, Sahil Ghai Mr Commerce, Balwinder Kaur Miss Farewell and Satnam Singh Mr Farewell. Harjeet Kaur presented vote of thanks on behalf of the outgoing batch.


Lecture on Prophet Mohammad
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 30
The Punjab circle of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind organised a lecture on the life of Prophet Mohammad on the occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi in the complex of Prem Sabha Shishu Niketan High School here today. Mr Gurtej Singh, SDM, was the chief guest.

Maulana Mohammad Farooq Khan, a scholar from Delhi, delivered the lecture on “Mohammad — the benefactor of humanity”.


Industrialists protest erratic power supply
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 30
Local industrialists under the banner of the Northern India Engineering Association hold a rally here on Friday in protest against the erratic power supply. The industrialists led their procession from Simble Chowk to Gandhi Chowk where they sit on dharna for about an hour and blocked the traffic.

The industrialists alleged indifferent attitude of the officials of the PSEB. They alleged that the Punjab Government was giving regular power supply to the industries located on the Batala-Amritsar Road from old Khalsa Foundry towards Amritsar side but those who had their units beyond Khalsa Foundry towards Gurdaspur side had to face 7-9 hours daily power cut.

They said power cuts had also been imposed in the areas of Simble Chowk, Kahnuwan Road, Model Town, Old Industrial Estate, Dera Road, Circular Road and interior parts of the city.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |