P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Delays: panel on agriculture grills bureaucrats
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Upset over the delay in the implementation of various schemes, the Standing Committee on Agriculture of Parliament at its two-day meeting which concluded last evening summoned the Union Finance Secretary, Expenditure, and the Secretary, Planning, to seek an explanation regarding the delay in the clearance of various schemes.

The schemes relate to dry- land farming, insurance for farmers and their crops, the buffalo improvement programme and poultry.

The dry-land farming scheme was announced in the Budget last year. However, it has not moved beyond the office tables of babus in Delhi yet. Dry-land farming is an important scheme for several states which have meagre resources for irrigation. Likewise, other schemes such as insurance for farmers and their crops are still stuck in the Planning Department. In fact, this department has serious reservations with regard to certain aspects of the scheme.

Obviously, the summoning of the Finance Secretary, Expenditure, and the Secretary, Planning, was a path-breaking step taken by the Standing Committee, which normally calls the Secretary of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and others concerned to ask about the implementation of various schemes.

Sources said that both Secretaries were grilled at the meeting.They were asked to explain the delay in the clearance of the schemes which were announced last year.

The sources said that though the allocation of funds was made in the Budget for various schemes, their implementation lingered on for years because of the indifferent attitude of the bureaucracy at the approval and clearance stages. Both the Secretary, Planning, and the Secretary, Expenditure, turned up at the meeting with their supporting staff. Even the Commerce Secretary was called.

"The Standing Committee on Agriculture has given a clear message to the Secretary, Planning, and the Secretary, Expenditure.It will transform the existing system and the clearance of various schemes will be quickened.The members of the Standing Committee have told the bureaucrats concerned that they will report against those bureaucrats who are found delaying the clearance and implementation of various schemes unnecessarily", said a senior officer of the Agriculture Ministry.

The Agriculture Ministry official said that " in fact one member of the Standing Committee, Dr M.S.Gill, is well aware of the procedures and also knows about the functioning of the bureaucracy because he has himself served as an IAS officer for a long time. Dr Gill was the brain behind the decision of summoning the Secretary, Expenditure,and the Secretary,Planning.

Henceforth, various schemes are likely to be cleared quickly because those involved in the financial and other clearances for the schemes have now also become answerable to the all-important Standing Committee on Agriculture of Parliament," he added. 


80-foot minar dedicated to 40 Muktas
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 4
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today declared that his party would fight the Assembly poll on the offensive mode while flaying the decision of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal for boycotting the historic dedication ceremony of the Minar-e-Mutka on the occasion of the 301 years of the martyrdom of 40 Muktas (liberated ones).

Addressing a mammoth shrandhanjali samaroh after the ceremony here today, the CM today asked the people of Punjab to seek an explanation from the former Chief Minister about the latter’s absence on one of the most sacred occasions in Sikh history and accused him of adopting ‘double standards’ for claiming himself to be 
the protagonist of the 
Sikh Panth.

He also charged Mr Badal and the SGPC with embezzlement of Rs 50 crore released by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the construction of Khalsa Heritage Complex at Sri Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of 300th anniversary of Khalsa Panth.

Captain Singh said the Akalis had only spent Rs 43 crore while the balance Rs 7 crore was still unaccounted. He said that the total cost of the project was Rs 221 crore and it was likely to be completed by April 2007.

He said it was a unique endeavour of the state government to showcase the different facets of 500 years of Sikh history for the future generations.

He also revealed that Guru Gobind Singh Marg from Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, would be extended to Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded, by 2008. The blueprint of this project had been conceptualised and the modalities were being worked out with the state governments of Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to execute this project.

Interacting with the media later, the CM said he had taken up the issue of rural indebtedness with the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance separately to formulate a long-term policy to bail out the beleaguered Punjabi farmer who was badly entangled in the debt trap that pushed him to abruptly end his life by way of committing suicides.

He said that there was a total debt liability of Rs 24000 crore whereas the annual income from the farming sector was Rs 7200 crore.

Giving the break-up of debt, he said out of total Rs 24000 crore, Rs 12000 crore had been advanced by local commission agents (arhtiayas), Rs 7000 crore by cooperative banks and Rs 5000 crore by nationalized bank etc.

In reply to a query he said that performance would be the sole criteria for the selection of candidates during next Assembly elections, including himself.

President of the PPCC Shamsher Singh Dullo said the Congress had made progress in every sphere and people’s massive participation and support had steered Punjab as No.1 state from the 19th position earlier.

Earlier, the CM paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum of Gurdwara Sri Tuti Gandi Sahib and Jathedar Giani Kulwant Singh, Granthi of the gurdwara, presented a siropa to him.

He also dedicated the 81-foot Minar –e Muktas in the memory of 40 muktas – the tallest Khanda in the world. The Minar had been constructed using 150 tonnes of concrete and 13 tonnes of stainless steel, girdled with 40 ringlets, symbolising as many martyrs.

He also inaugurated the Rs.2.5 crore Guru Gobind Singh Stadium with a seating capacity of 15000.

Conceding the local demands of the area put forth by local MLA Sukhdarshan Singh Marar, Capt. Singh announced a grant of Rs 2 crore for the sewerage, water supply and permanent lining of water courses in Muktsar district, besides Rs 1 crore for the construction of the new block in the local Government College. 


CM casting aspersions on CBI, says PIL
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 4
The statement of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, questioning the logic behind the CBI raids on the residences two top IAS officers in the Forest Hill case, has been dubbed as sitting in judgement on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A PIL filed by advocate Ujjal Singh Sahni has also questioned the controversial clean-chit issued by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to his blue-eyed bureaucrats. The PIL also prays that directions be issued to the CBI to submit a status report on the progress made by it so far.

Mr Sahni has alleged that the CBI was dragging its feet in the matter and pointed out that the agency was given six months’ period to complete the probe but had not been able to do so despite the passage of over one and a half years.

A few days back, teams of the CBI had raided the residences of the officers in connection with the probe into the Forest Hill Golf and Country Club case. A Division Bench of the High Court headed by the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, had ordered a probe by the CBI into the alleged irregularities in the construction of the club.

Today, when the PIL came up before the Division Bench headed by the Acting Chief Justice, Mr Justice H.S. Bedi ordered that the same be put up before another Bench.


Power crisis deepens: Centre calls meeting
on May 6

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
While the Union Government has convened a meeting of Chief Secretaries of all state on May 6 to discuss the power crisis that has turned grave, the Punjab State Electricity Board( PSEB) will go by the recommendation of the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, as far as the supplying of power for eight hours to the farm sector is concerned.

Informed sources in the PSEB said today that the farm sector would be given supply of power for eight hours daily to operate tubewells from June 10, the date recommended by the PAU for the transplantation of paddy in the state.

Sources said the board had consulted PAU on the issue of the transplantation of paddy and supply of power to the farm sector.

The transplantation of paddy in May is neither in the interest of farmers nor in the interest of the state. In fact, early transplantation is harmful for the state. Experts are pressing hard to farmers to transplant paddy according to the date recommended by PAU.


Dalit widow, daughter compelled to live in bunker
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
A Dalit widow, her unmarried daughter and other members of family have been compelled to take shelter in an Army bunker for the past five months after their house was razed by unscrupulous persons on the Defence Drain, 3 km from Khem Karan.

The civilians, who are not used to Army life are seen sweating profusely in the ‘living bunker’, which can’t accommodate more than eight persons.

This is just peanuts of what normally happens to Dalit members of the border belt who were mercilessly beaten up to take possession of the land which they had been cultivating for the past four decades.

Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front president Col G.S. Sandhu (Retd), who produced the affected family before mediapersons here yesterday alleged that influential persons of the ruling Congress party were involved in the alleged crime . He alleged Dalit widow Harbans Kaur, her unmarried daughter and son had to shift to the Army bunker when their three-room set and a cattle shed were razed.

Col Sandhu alleged the widow was beaten up brutally and dragged in full public view.

The family was “illegally and forcibly” displaced from three acres of land they had been cultivating for over four decades.

The police registered a case against 10 persons for minor offences on November 30, 2005. Col Sandhu alleged that a weak case was made compared to the serious crime apparently to help the offenders.

The family had levelled the land to make it cultivable and had even sunk a tube well. The land is in the name of family and it also possesses PSEB receipts for temporary power connection.

Col Sandhu expressed surprise how the tehsildar, Khem Karan fudged and changed revenue records, without any verification.



Tribune Impact
NRIs give new lease of life to kidney patient
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 4
A miracle of sorts has happened for Sanjay, who has got new lease of life after renal transplantation with the help two non-resident Indians (NRIs) as he had been battling for life after kidneys failed at a very young age.

Penniless and reeling under heavy debt Sanjay, who tried to arrange enough money to go for the renal transplantation after his father Shadi Ram, a labourer, offered his kidney, had lost all hope and started taking life as it came after he failed in his efforts.

His family lost the hope when an appeal made by them on the local TV channel failed to move people and the state government. Though a few persons came forward to extend him financial help, he could manage to collect few thousands rupees, which were too little to carry out dialysis for a month.

However, a news story carried out in the columns of The Tribune under the title “Kidney patient awaits good Samaritan” with the help of Mr Man Mohan Singh, Information Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was a turning point in his life and changed his fortunes.

Two Canada-based NRIs Sanjiv Alhuwalia and Bharpur Singh, who are linked with their motherland though thousands of miles away from it and have been running a voluntary organisation, Helping Hands, came to the help of Sanjay and gave about Rs 1.50 lakh for his treatment.

After the money reached Sangeet Alhuwalia, brother of Sanjiv Alhuwalia, who is working as Inspector in the Municipal Council, Rajpura, both Mr Alhuwalia and Mr Man Mohan Singh started making rounds of the PGI, Chandigarh, to get Sanjay treated at the earliest as his frequent dialysis was not possible for him due to resource crunch.

A surgery was done on Sanjay in January 2006 and after getting postoperative care, he has started moving out. But it will take about a year before he can start his tailoring job again. Sanjay, father of two sons, his father, who is bed ridden after he donated his kidney for him, his mother and wife are being given all kinds of help by Mr Alhuwalia and Dr Bharpur Singh.

Talking to TNS today Sanjay and his mother Vimla said: “For them, the God lives on this earth. These people have given a fresh lease of life not only to Sanjay but also to the entire family.”

Talking to TNS Mr Man Mohan Singh and Mr Alhuwalia said they got huge cooperation for all quarters. The PGI management helped them a lot. Even the chemist shop owners gave huge discounts on the medicines purchased for Sanjay. They said that they hoped that this noble job done by Mr Alhuwalia and Dr Bharpur Singh would motivate others to come forward to help the needy to mitigate their sufferings.

Mr Alhuwalia said another patient identified as Ram Kilawan, a migratory labourer, was given financial aid of Rs 10,000 for the removal of stones from his kidneys by Mr Alhuwalia and Dr Bharpur Singh.


SAD must drop Akali from its name: Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 4
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Akal Takht Jathedar, has asked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to drop the word Akali from its name as it has given an undertaking to the Election Commission that the party is secular.

In an interview published in the recent issue of the magazine ‘Sant Sipahi’, he has said the SAD has been formed under the patronage of Akal Takht and should address aspirations of the Sikh Panth.

If the SAD cannot maintain its Panthic image or identity, it must drop the word Akali, he said.

He said the saffron colour referred to ‘sanyas’ while xanthia was symbol of ‘chardi kala’ and considered auspicious for Sikhs.

When contacted, Jathedar Vedanti said he stood by the interview given to the magazine. He also said the colour of the ‘Miri-Piri’ emblem and other Sikh flags had to be changed from saffron to xanthia.

He said the SGPC and other Sikh organisations were unaware of the difference between both colours.


Mann likely to head panthic front
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann is likely to head the panthic front being constituted by the splinter Akali groups. The first meeting in this process was held at the residence of Mr Mann at Qilla Harnam Singh, Fatehgarh Sahib, today between Mr Mann and All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) president Jaswant Singh Mann.

Sources disclosed that while the SAD (A) was represented by Mr Mann, Mr Harjinder Jakhu and Mr Daljeet Singh Cheema, the AISAD was represented by Mr Jaswant Mann and Mr Gurtej Singh.

It is learnt that the meeting discussed two possibilities —either merging all the splinter groups into the SAD(A) or constituting a new panthic front to be led by Mr Mann. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) and Mr Ravi Inder Singh of the Shiromani Akali Dal (1920) are also likely to join the front.

The second meeting in this regard is scheduled to be held at Chandigarh on May 6 between the leaders of the SAD (A) and the AISAD. Mr Chandumajra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh have also been invited to the meeting.

The panthic front is understood to unite and consolidate all “anti-Badal” forces among the Akalis and later lay the foundation for the third front in Punjab for the forthcoming Assembly elections scheduled to be held in February, 2007.


Embezzlement of Durgiana funds: probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 4
Mr S.S. Srivastav, district police chief, has marked an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of funds by Mr Surinder Arjun, deposed president of the Durgiana management committee.

A delegation of new managing committee, led by Mr Harnam Dass Arora, met the SSP in this regard. They urged the SSP to have a high-level inquiry into the various acts of omission and commission by the former president. He urged the district police chief to register cases for embezzlement and tampering with the records of the august body.

Mr Arora in the complaint alleged that Mr Surinder Arjun broke the locks of the toshakhana, put by the Executive Magistrate, on March 23 and took away FDRs, jewellery and Vikas Patars worth over Rs 5 crore, besides cash amounting to Rs 4 lakh.

The managing committee also alleged that the former president opened several bank accounts in his name and under different posts.

Mr Arjun, when contacted, denied the allegations and said the committee had no locus standi to prosecute him through the media. He would present his case before the inquiry officer.


Probe ordered into SDM farewell party
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 4
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has initiated a probe into funds allegedly collected for Gurdas Mann Night held on March 27 this year, on the retirement party of Mr Bhupinder Singh Saharan, SDM, Fazilka. Mr Ashok Kumar, DSP, Vigilance, Ferozepore, has begun an inquiry on the directive of the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh.

On being contacted Mr Kumar said he had been asked to complete the inquiry with in two months.

The farewell party of the SDM had created a controversy as the Gurdas Mann Night was arranged at a hefty expenditure. 


Pingalwara Society to reunite woman with family after 8 years
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 4
Ms Kamaljit Kaur of Gidderbaha, a mental patient will be reunited with her family after eight years due to the efforts of the All-India Pingalwara Society. At present she is residing in Bunyan in Chennai where she landed after a mental disorder and is now cured fully.

During a chance visit to a programme of Bunyan, a Chennai-based NGO for destitute and mentally ill women, last week Dr Inderjit Kaur, chairperson, All-India Pingalwara Society, a home for destitute and old persons, volunteered to reunite her with her family. Dr Inderjit Kaur has informed the family of Kamaljit which has decided to go to Chennai to bring her home.

According to details, Kamaljit by mistake had boarded a train to Chennai in an abnormal mental condition. There she was taken to Bunyan.

Meanwhile, Dr Inderjit Kaur at a press conference here yesterday after her return from the trip to various parts of the country said that NGOs’ working for the welfare of destitute and their rehabilitation need to come on one platform to sensitise people and the government on the problems faced by the disabled.

She said that a lot of good work had been rendered in rehabilitating handicapped persons in south India and Pingalwara had sought their help to set up similar centres here to make them self-reliant. She said a number of organisations like Ability India and Banyan, both based in Chennai, had offered to cooperate with Pingalwara to offer help for setting up a similar rehabilitation centre at Amritsar.

Dr Inderjit Kaur said that Ability India would organise a workshop on disability in holy city on August 2 and 3 this year to impart training to handicapped to in various arts and crafts for their rehabilitation.

Another Chennai-based NGO “Developer’s India” organised a special commemorative function to honour Dr Inderjit Kaur with ‘Vibrant Indian Award’. During her visits to Chennai, Calcutta and Guwahati she received donation of more than Rs 2.75 lakh for the Pingalwara.


‘Book Durgiana panel members’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 4
Activists of Sarv Dharam Vikas Society (SDVS) and residents of Hindustan Basti demanding registration of a case against certain members of the Durgiana committee staged a dharna in front of the police chowki located in the temple complex here yesterday.

They were protesting against the cremation of an unidentified body on a plot, located adjacent to Shiv Puri, after forcibly breaking its wall on Tuesday. They also blocked traffic for hours. However, after an assurance from police officers and political leaders they lifted the blockade. Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, president of SDVS, said the plot was meant for constructing a community hall for residents of Basti, majority of whom belong to economically weaker sections.

When contacted, Mr Harnam Das Arora, president of the committee, said, the area of cremation ground had not increased since it was constructed but the population had increased manifold. He said Mr Sunil Dutti, Mayor, had promised to hand over the land to the temple committee.


‘Badal colluded with Indira for Bluestar’

Amritsar, May 4
The Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) have blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, for his clandestine understanding with the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the infamous Operation Bluestar.

Mr Harmandip Singh Sarhali, president, PHRO and Mr Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains, Chairman, PHRO, in a joint press note issued here yesterday also furnished a copy of the letter of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, the then dictator of the Dharam Yudh Morcha, written to Mr R.K Dhawan, Personal Secretary to Indira Gandhi, in 1984. — OC


Municipal poll held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 4
The elections to the post of senior vice-president and vice-president of the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib were held unanimously.

All 18 members including Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary attended the meeting.

Mr Ram Lubhaya Puri was elected senior vice-president and Mr Devinder Bhatt vice-president.

According to Mr Charanjit Singh, Executive Officer of the council the meeting was presided over by officiating SDM, Ms Hargunjeet Kaur and all 17 councillors and Dr Harbans Lal MLA attended the meeting.

The name of Mr Puri was proposed by Mr Gulshan Rai Puri and the name of Mr Devinder Bhatt by proposed by Mr Sher Singh and all members supported them.


Mayor charged with bribing Rae Bareli voters
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 4
The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Ludhiana, Mr K.S. Cheema, has issued a notice to the Mayor of Ludhiana, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, for May 30, in a complaint filed against him by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, Mr Ashok Gupta, relating to the election of Ms Sonia Gandhi.

The Mayor has been charged with indulging in inducement amounting to bribe migrant labourers of Rai Bareli residing, here for voting in favour of a particular candidate.

It has been submitted that Mr Gill lured the migrant labourer families belonging to the Rae Bareli constituency of Uttar Pradesh with free transport from Ludhiana to Rae Bareli and back, along with cash compensation for working days lost by such labourers.

The complainant had submitted a DVD of a TV channel report and newspaper clippings.

Mr R. Ramakrishana, convener of the election cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party, had complained againt Mr Gill to the Election Commission.


Selection of Baba Farid varsity Registrar challenged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 4
The recent appointment of Mr P.L. Garg as Registrar of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, has been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The petitioner, Mr Jagdeep Singh, has claimed that the appointment was against the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Act and hence, should be set aside.

In his petition, Mr Jagdeep Singh has said Mr Garg, a retired associate professor of Government Medical College, Patiala, should not have been appointed to the post of Registrar as he did not fulfil the eligibility criteria as per the Act.

He has stated that under the Act, the post can be filled by a professor-rank academician whose has a background in the field of health sciences or an Additional Secretary-rank officer of the government.

He has stated that Mr Garg, retired on March 31 from the post of Associate Professor, Government Medical College, Patiala, and took over as Registrar, BFUHS, on April 11.

Today, after hearing the counsel for the petitioner, the high court issued a notice of motion for July 13.

Journalist’s complaint

The high court has directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Faridkot, to look into the complaint of a photo-journalist against former Union Minister of State Sukhbir Singh Badal and others and in case a cognizable offence was made out, directed him to register a case.

The court also ordered that in the event of the case being registered, investigation must be conducted in accordance with law.

Disposing of the petition filed by Ajay Verma, the then photographer of Punjabi daily, Desh Sewak, in connection with an incident which happened at Kotkapura on September 5, 1999, wherein Sukhbir Badal and some of his associates allegedly repeatedly slapped Verma for refusing to refrain from clicking pictures of a car damaged during the Lok Sabha voting, Mr Justice M.M. Aggarwal ordered that the needful be done within three months.

Sukhbir Badal, a son of the then Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Prakash Singh Badal, was a candidate from the Faridkot Parliamentary seat and Kotkapura was one of the Assembly segments of the constituency.

Ajay and the then editor of the newspaper, Dr Prem Singh, had approached the court for intervention as the police had failed to respond to their repeated requests to register a case against Sukhbir Badal, the then Chairman of Markfed, Mr Jagdish Singh Walia and a BJP leader, Raj Kumar Bansal.

Ex-minister’s plea dismissed

The high court on Thursday dismissed the plea of former Punjab minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, challenging the order of the Special Judge, Gurdaspur, by which the Judge had dismissed his plea for staying the framing of charges against him in a corruption case.

Mr Sekhwan, who was Revenue Minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government, had been booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act on December 16, 2002.

His plea that the special court was not competent to frame charges against him was dismissed by the Special Judge on September 22, 2005, following which he moved the high court.

Kanjhla’s election

Mr Justice M.M. Kumar has stayed for a period of one month the operation of his order of April 28 vide which he had declared the election of former Punjab minister Gobind Singh Kanjhla from the Sherpur (Reserved) constituency in Sangrur district as null and void.

The MLA had been unseated for committing corrupt practices to further his poll prospects in the February 2002 Assembly elections.

In his application, Mr Kanjhla, while seeking the stay, had stated that he was awaiting a certified copy of the court order for filing an appeal in the Supreme Court.


Sabha against ‘looting’ of farmers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 4
Punjab Kisan Sabha general secretary Bhupinder Singh Sambar on Tuesday said farmer organisations would not tolerate the “looting” of farmers at the hands of the state government and industrialists in the name of industrial development.

He said industries should not be set up in the state by making farmers landless.

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Sambar said the nine farmer organisations — Punjab Kisan Sabha (Sambar), Punjab Kisan Sabha (Taggar), BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Ekta-Sidhupur), Punjab Kisan Union, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha and Zamin Bachao Sangharsh Committee, Barnala — would spread a movement in villages of the state against forcible acquisition of farmers’ land for industrial development.

He said they were not against the setting up of industries in the state. They rather wanted new industries to replace sick industrial units to save fertile land of farmers.

He said it was a matter of shame for the government that it was grabbing the land from hundreds of farmers for a song to benefit certain industrialists.

Mr Sambar hailed the decision of the SAD to fight for farmers of Dhaula, Sangherra and Fatehgarh Chhanna, whose 376 acres had been forcibly acquired by the state government for Trident Group of Industries.

He also asked the Akalis to help farmer organisations at other places in the state where the government was making plans to grab the land.

Mr Sambar also said as part of their call to block roads on May 12 from12 noon to 2 pm throughout the state to get the notification, related to acquisition of 376 acres of three villages, near Barnala, scrapped, activists of the nine organisations would block traffic at seven places in Sangrur district.

Mr Sambar claimed that at least 50,000 farmers from all parts of the state would take part in a “Zamin Bachao” rally to be held at Barnala on May 23.


FIR against marriage bureaus for duping people
Our Correspondent

Raikot, May 4
The police has registered an FIR under Sections 420, 406, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against those running marriage bureaus in the town and its surrounding areas for allegedly duping innocent persons on the pretext of sending them abroad after marrying them with girls of their choice.

While records of certain bureaus have been seized, officials of others have reportedly fled after locking their offices.

Meanwhile, the Circle Police Officer has called upon social leaders to bring cases of victimisation by such bureaus to the notice of the police so that action could be taken against the culprits.

According to Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP, the police had booked owners and managers of certain marriage bureaus, including the Grewal Marriage Bureau and USA Marriage Bureau, for allegedly duping innocent people.

The police had acted on the information received from Mr Avtar Singh Mullapuri, working president of the Lok Bhalai Party.

Mr Mullanpuri said owners of certain marriage bureaus had been luring people by giving advertisements in various newspapers.

“Preliminary investigations by an SIT have revealed that the majority of the bureaus, if not all, had been indulging in illegal practice of extorting money by misguiding with fake and alluring advertisements and threatening of dire consequences in case the victims demanded their money back,” said Mr Aulakh.

Three of the accused have been identified as Surinder Singh Grewal, Rupinder Singh and Ujjagar Singh. Their records have since been seized.


One held for rape, murder
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 4
The police has claimed to have solved the murder case that had sparked an agitation here. According to the police, Mam Raj, alias Mamu (19), has been arrested while his brother Sonu (21) is absconding.

The police recovered the mutilated body of a 14-year-old girl from a gorge near the Panjpeer Mazaar, near the Dharam Nagari locality, on the morning of April 17.

Her father had stated that she visited a shop around 9 pm and was abducted on her way back. Preliminary investigations had indicated that she was raped and murdered.

Sniffer dogs had led the investigating team to the house of Mam Raj and Sonu.

A warrant officer from the Punjab and Haryana High Court reportedly found Sonu at the city police station on April 20.

The SHO had then explained that Sonu was called for questioning on a tipoff and was allowed to go.

Investigations had confirmed that Mamu and Sonu took the girl to a deserted place adjacent to the Dharam Nagari locality under some pretext.


Woman, stepbrother, held for killing mother
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 4
The Majitha police has arrested Sahil and Priya, stepbrother and sister, in connection with the murder of their Kiran Bala. Kiran Bala was the real mother of the accused girl.

Both were produced in the court and sent to police custody. During interrogation they revealed that they first intoxicated Kiran Bala by giving her some tablets and then strangulated her.

Mr Gautam Cheema, district police chief, Majitha, said Mr Raj Kumar, father of Sahil, married Kiran Bala after the death of his first wife. The accused developed illicit relations to which their parents objected. On the fateful day, Mr Raj Kumar had gone out of station when both accused killed their mother and ran away with Rs 1 lakh in cash.


4 held for cheating
Tribune News service

Patiala, May 4
The district police has arrested four persons, who were allegedly involved in cheating a local resident Mr Amarinder Singh after they took Rs 10 lakh from him by selling him off a brass brick instead of a gold brick.

Mr Parmod Ban, SSP, while addressing a press conference here yesterday, said efforts put by Mr Mandeep Singh Sidhu, SP (City) yielded desired results and the accused were arrested within a week after they committed the crime on April 26.

He said that on April 26, the five accused managed to sell a brass brick to unsuspecting buyer Amarinder Singh by claiming that it was a gold brick and was found when one of the accused identified as Wahid Khan was digging his house. Wahid Khan also convinced the buyer that the brick was of gold.

He said that on the complaint of Amarinder Singh, a case was registered and a number of police parties were constituted to trace out the crime.

Those arrested have been identified as Wahid Khan, Santosh Kumar, Sadhu Singh and Nau Rattan. The fifth accused identified as Ashok Kumar is yet to be arrested.

A case has been registered.


Man held with poppy husk

Ropar, May 4
During a special drive, the Ropar police has arrested Gurpeet Singh, a resident of Machhiwara and recovered over 4 quintals of poppy husk.

Giving details, the SSP, Ropar, Mr Kapil Dev, said on a tip off, a team headed by the DSP, Sukhwant Singh Gill, held a naka at Chamkaur Sahib subdivision of the district and arrested Gurpreet when he was carrying poppy husk in his Tata Sumo. A case has been registered. TNS


Body found from railway track
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 4
The body of Vinod Kumar, a resident of Bint village in Kurukshetra district, was found from the railway tracks, near here, today.

According to sources,the local police was informed about the body by the driver of a train passing through the area. The body was found between the Ghaggar and Dapper railway stations.


Private colleges allowed to conduct ETT course
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The Punjab Government has decided that all private colleges in the state that are running B.Ed courses be allowed to offer the two years Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) course. Till now, the conduct of the ETT course was the domain of the government.

A decision in this regard has been taken at a high-level meeting headed by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, official sources confirmed this today.

The decisions means that all government and private educational institutions imparting B.Ed course can now offer the ETT course.

A formal order issued by Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary Education, stipulates that the eligibility criteria for making admissions, curriculum, quality of educational inputs to the trainees, requirement of teaching staff and their qualifications, infrastructure, instructional facilities, terms and conditions of service of the staff, tuition fees etc. must conform to the guidelines laid down by the National Council for Teacher Education.

This will be subject to the prior statutory approvals from the competent authorities, including the Department of School Education in the Punjab Government.

It has been further ordered that the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) shall be the nodal agency for conducting common entrance test for making admissions to the ETT course.


Schools have commerce lecturers but no students
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 4
In several government secondary schools a number of lecturers, of commerce and science, have been getting thousands per month as salary for the past three years without teaching student of the secondary classes as there was no student of science or commerce in these schools in the past three years.

Due to a number of surplus lecturers on account of no student or less number of students in the arts, commerce and science groups in the government secondary schools, there is a need of rationalisation/ adjustment of the posts of lecturer of different subjects in schools.

According to sources, in the record of the Education Department nearly 30 government secondary schools of the Sangrur district have commerce groups. Out of these 30 schools, 11 are such schools from where commerce groups may be withdrawn as there has been no student for the past two to three years there, though out of these 11 schools nine have one to two lecturers to teach the students while two schools at Moonak (boys schools) and Moom villages have no lecturer. It is learnt that the Education Department wants to close commerce groups in these 11 schools.

Sources said in the government secondary schools of Dirba, Lehragaga (boys school), Bhadaur (girls school), Moonak (boys school), Sherpur, Gwara, Mullowal, Kanganwal, Moom, Chhapa and Dhanaula (girls school) the commerce groups can be closed, as out of these 11 secondary schools 10 had no student of commerce group for the past three years while the Kangalwal school had no student for the past two years.

Likewise commerce groups, 38 government secondary schools in the Sangrur district have science groups, of which the Education Department reportedly wants to withdraw the science group from 12 schools as out of these 12 schools 11 have no student for the past three years but have either no lecturer or one to three lecturers while only one school of Mehlan village, which has three lecturers, had less than 10 number of students every year in past three years in 2003, 2004 and 2005. All these 12 schools are located in Bhalwan, Moom, Kankwal, Dhanaula, Saron, Sehna, Mehal Kalan, Gharachon, Mehlan, Thulliwal, Mullowal, Sukhpur villages.

In arts groups, it is learnt the students in the villages prefer political science, history, economics and physical education subjects but they avoid mathematics subject, due to which the mathematics lecturers in some schools have no work. On the other hand, the posts of mathematics lecturer have been vacant in some those schools, which have science groups.

A school lecturer told The Tribune here today that school lecturers, especially of commerce group, who have no work in the schools in the absence of students, could be shifted to the Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan while the lecturers, especially of science group, can be shifted from Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan to the schools to run the science groups in the schools properly. He also said the government could also adjust those lecturers of different subjects, who have no work in their schools, in those schools where the groups of their subjects were in progress and required lecturers.

Sources in the Education Department told The Tribune that the Sangrur District Education Officer (Secondary) had sent a proposal to the DPI (S), Punjab, about those secondary schools of the district where the lecturers were available but no student was available for the past three years. In the proposal the DEO reportedly had suggested the DPI (S) to shift the lecturers from their schools to those schools where they were required.


Meeting to decide issue of residential area schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The Punjab Council of Ministers meets tomorrow to decide the issue of 17,000 private schools running in residential areas of the state.

The state had decided to seek more time from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to implement its directions. Closing such a large number of schools would not be prudent as the infrastructure of government schools is inadequate.

An ordinance to extend the date of retirement of school teachers is also to be brought in and the Cabinet is expected to give its approval.

The Council will also give approval to recruit nearly 2000 police personnel at various levels. The matter of constructing the Shahpur Kandi dam in Gurdaspur is also slated to be discussed. The matter of merging 50 per cent of the dearness allowance into the basic salary of teachers in aided-schools in Punjab shall also come up before the Council of Ministers. 


B.Com (I) results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 4
The results of the B.Com (part-I) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University will be declared tomorrow. It will be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org.


Elders hold annual function
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 4
The Elders’ Welfare Society celebrated its annual function at S.R. Arya Senior Secondary school here today.

The impressive function was presided over by Ms S.K. Rana, a renowned social activist while Mr Pradeep Bansal, Principal of the school, where the function was held was the guest of honour.

Mr R.K. Katraia, president of the society was awarded the life long achievement award while Mr J.M.L. Puri and Mr C.P. Sharma were honoured on their platinum jubilee.

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 |