R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S


Cong leader flays BJP
: Congress legislator Sunil Jakhar criticised local leadership of the BJP for allegedly patronising land mafia in the sub-division. He also expressed concern over the murder of three brothers in Usmankhera village last month by the land mafia for a small piece of agricultural land. Jakhar alleged that the real culprits were roaming freely as they held positions in the saffron party. The MLA visited village Sappanwali and small hamlets, namely Dhaani Karnail Singh, Dhaani Birbal, Dhaani Latkan and Dhaani Maseet, among others. 

Dal Khalsa call
: Referring to the recent killings of three Sikhs by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and the alleged support to dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by the Centre and Haryana governments, the Dal Khalsa has called upon Sikhs to observe August 15 as black day. Organisation president H.S. Dhami claimed on Thursday that the Sikhs were not happy with the state as they had to face discrimination at all levels. 

Institute to teach driving
: The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), in collaboration with the state government and Tata Motors, will launch a state-of-the-art driving-cum-training institute in Mahuana village of Muktsar district, the first of its kind in Punjab. With investment of Rs 14 crore, the institution, spread over 18 acres, will have seven trades of the ITI. 

Check-up camp: District health department organizsd various health check-up camps for schoolchildren in all sub-divisions of the district on Thursday. Schoolchildren were also administered polio and tetanus injections on the occasion. 

Seminar held: A seminar on drug de-addiction was organised at Polytenic College here on Thursday with the help of Dr Jatinder Jain, D.I.G Faridkot range, and principal Yadwinder Singh. A film was also shown to the students to sensitise them of the side-effects of drugs. 

Fancy dress: Kids Care, Birla Mill Colony, organised a fancy dress competition on the occasion of Independence Day in the school campus on Thursday. Schoolchildren enacted a play paying rich tributes to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the struggle of India's Independence. The tiny-tots also celebrated Raksha Bandhan. 

School selected: Delhi Public School, Bathinda, has been selected for the National Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) science exhibition. Out of 161 schools that participated at the regional level exhibition held at Police DAV School, Jalandhar, only 13 schools were selected. The project was based on water management titled hydroelectricity-cum-water purification. Adnan, Ashman and Khushkaran were the students that brought laurels for the school. 

Rally held: MES Workers Union, Bathinda, held a rally here on Thursday. Mahinder Pal Singh, union general secretary, demanded that the government should implement the sixth pay commission from January, 2006 and interest on GPF be increased from 8 per cent to 12 per cent. He also urged the workers to participate in the state-wide agitation to be held on August 20. 

Appeal to J&K parties
: Punjab BJP Investor Cell chief Sukhwinderpal Singh Grewal has warned the All-Party Hurriyat Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party not to aggravate the crisis or face rout by people of Jammu and Kashmir. Grewal said separatist forces were misleading people of Jammu and Kashmir in the name of economic blockade, but the national highway was open and the Army was ensuring movement of vehicles. He also demanded the Congress-led UPA government should relinquish transfer of land to the SASB and ensure re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits rendered as refugees in their own country. 

Drugs seized
: Acting on specific information, the health authorities on Thursday confiscated thousands of spurious drugs and medicines from a chemist shop in Fazilka. Giving details here, civil surgeon Balbir Singh informed that a team of doctors raided the Naman Medical Agency situated in Radha Soami colony and seized spurious drugs worth Rs 3,21,000. He added that 42,200 capsules of Parvon Spas and Parvodex, around one lakh tablets of Alprazolam, 5600 injections of Pentazocine and 900 bottles of Coderine syrup were confiscated during the raid. 

Rakhis for BSF jawans: On the eve of the Independence Day, the NSS volunteers of DAV College for Women visited the India-Pakistan joint check-post (JCP), Hussainiwala, where they tied ‘Rakhis’ (sacred thread) on the hands of the BSF sentinels guarding the border. Earlier, BSF deputy commandant Pardeep Kumar Shah welcomed the principal Mohinder Sangeeta and the students to the JCP. The students also paid tributes to Shahid Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, Hussainiwala. 

Teachers’ stir
: Teachers of recognised private schools in Punjab will launch an agitation by month-end in protest against the non-implementation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order in a public interest litigation (PIL) in May. Teachers will hold a state-level meeting under the banner of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) at Jalandhar on August 24 to work out the modalities of the agitation and file a contempt of court petition in the high court for not implementing its order. 

Body decries move on PU
: The Dal Khalsa has criticised the bid to hand over Panjab University to the Union government, “as it would jeopardise careers of students of colleges affiliated to it”. In a communique to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Dal president Harcharanjit Singh Dhami said the campaign in this regard had been masterminded by a section of the teaching staff under the pretext that the Union government offered retirement age of 65 for teachers. He pointed out that barring a few university teachers, none of the non-teaching staff of the university was interested in the Central university status. 

Youth murdered
: Mohd Wasim (22) was allegedly murdered by two persons near the local city police station here late on Wednesday night. According to the FIR lodged by Tanvir Ahmed, brother of the victim, Adrish, alias Machu, son of Abdul Wahid, resident of Inside Delhi Gate, and Mohd Sharif, a lottery shop owner, murdered Wasim with a knife after a quarrel. A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against them. 



Folk artistes to be honoured
: The Himotkarsh Parishad Chamba unit has decided to honour the traditional folk artistes and artisans who have contributed towards preserving and propagating traditional folk music, traditional dishes of royal times and small wood-craft items. Parishad president Yugal Puri said six meritorious girls from here were selected for Mangat Ram memorial rewards for the year 2008. 

Tibetans to fast on Aug 30
: Tibetans have decided to hold 12-hour fast and mass prayers on August 30 to highlight their plight. The fast would be organised at all destinations across the world where exiled Tibetans have their settlements. Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche has appealed to Tibetans to participate in proposed protests. “I personally request you and your organisations to kindly participate in the fast and prayers and encourage others to join the effort. I believe you will cooperate us in this non-violent action,” he has said.

Toilets at tourist spots
: The Department of Tourism has decided to launch mobile toilets at Rohtang Pass and construct 12 toilets, each costing Rs 8 lakh, at the tourist spots in the district. Kumud Singh, district tourism officer, stated this at a media conference here on Wednesday. She said the scheme was sponsored under the Union government’s pilot project and the works were allocated to Sulab International. Singh said these toilets would be ready by next summer. The department had also decided to start a three-day-long ‘Apple Festival’ at Manali from August 30, she added. 

DA instalment sought
: The State Non-Gazetted Services Federation has urged Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal to announce the release of dearness allowance as an Independence Day gift to the employees. Surinder Mankotia, general secretary of the federation, said the salaried class was reeling under inflation and it needed immediate relief. The instalment of dearness allowance was due since January. He also urged him to implement the demand for increments after 4, 9 and 14 years of service instead of 8, 16 and 24 years of service on the pattern of the Punjab government. 



Muslim body for peace
: The Muslim Federation Jammu (MJF) on Thursday appealed to different communities of the state to maintain peace and communal harmony. Addressing a press conference, president, MJF, Abdul Majeed said the agitation should not be communalised. “People of both the regions should not pay heed to rumours”, he said. Majeed said intellectuals in Rajouri, Poonch, Doda and Kishtwar, should work to strengthen bonds between the people. He said a team of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Jammu, would visit Kishtwar to assess the losses and ask the government to compensate the victims. Majeed also appealed to the government to find an amicable solution to the contentious issue. 

3 Army porters hurt: Three Army porters were wounded in a mine explosion near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district on Thursday. The incident occurred when a porter with the 2/8 Gorkha Rifles accidentally stepped on a mine at Krishna Ghati (KG) area near the LoC this morning, sources said. At least three porters, whose identity could not be revealed, were injured in the blast, the source said. Meanwhile, the Army authorities were not available for comments. 

Shell explosion: 5 hurt
: Five labourers were injured when a shell exploded in the Field Ordnance Depot at Khundroo in Anantnag district on Wednesday. The injured have been identified as Mohd Ishaq Khan and Mohammad Shafi Mir from Gopalpora village, Mohammad Shafi Bhat, Mohammad Ashraf Khanday and Abdul Rashid Bhat from Pahloo village in the area. They have been shifted to the hospital, the police said. 

Supplies reach valley: As many as 359 trucks and tankers arrived in the valley from Jammu on Thursday. Of these, 34 tankers were loaded with diesel, 26 with kerosene oil, 18 with petrol, 26 with LPG, 32 with sheep, 15 with rice, one with chicken, 7 with fruits and 200 with other essential commodities. An official spokesman said during the same period, 177 trucks and tankers departed from the valley for Jammu and onwards. Of these, 64 trucks contained fruits, 7 vegetables and 19 contained other commodities. 

PDP stages dharna: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today staged a dharna along with senior party leaders outside Raj Bhawan here in protest against the alleged police and security forces excesses in Kashmir during the past three days. She also threatened to launch ‘jail bharo tehreek (movement)’ in case there was not an end to the ongoing brutality. Mehbooba Mufti also blamed the administration for adopting “double standards” in the two regions of Kashmir and Jammu claiming that about 40 persons were killed at the hands of the police and the CRPF in Kashmir since Monday last. 

IED defused: Security forces on Thursday averted a major tragedy when they detected a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) planted by militants to target security forces in the frontier district of Kupwara. Official sources said a road opening party (ROP) of security forces detected the IED planted on the road side at Nawabazar Khumriyal in Kupwara district. The area was sealed and the IED was defused by the bomb disposal squad (BDS) without causing any damage. 

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