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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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TOP STORIES

CM: Services of rural docs to be regularised soon
Bathinda, December 28
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has reportedly given an assurance to rural medical officers (RMOs), working under zila parishads in rural dispensaries on contractual basis in the state, that steps are being taken to regularise their services.

Indo-Pak trade to be back on track soon
Visas of 7 Indian drivers renewed
Amritsar, December 28
The trade between India and Pakistan via rail route, which was derailed due to delay by Pakistan authorities in renewal of Indian drivers’ visas, is likely to resume in the next couple of days.

200 signalmen deployed on main rail routes
Speed of trains reduced
Ferozepur, December 28
To avoid any mishap during the foggy season when the visibility comes down to nil, the Ferozepur Railway Division authorities have imitated a number of safety measures, including deployment of 200 signalmen on main rail routes, reduction of speed of trains on branch rail routes and cancellation of a few trains.



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EARLIER STORIES



 BKU seeks Badal’s help in resolving fiscal issues
Jalandhar, December 28
The BKU (Rajewal) today sought the intervention of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the fiscal and revenue issues regarding state farmers. The BKU also sought the distribution of Rs 300 crore which the Centre had given to compensate farmers who had to spend additional money on diesel to save their crops owing to drought-like conditions last year.






COMMUNITY

Urea hoarding on the rise in Patiala
Patiala, December 28
Fertiliser dealers, along with some co-operative societies, have started storing urea in their godowns, in order to create artificial scarcity of urea. An inquiry has been initiated in this regard.

Punjab CM’s plea to Centre
Chandigarh December 28
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, MK Alagiri, to immediately direct the Department of Fertilisers, to allocate the balance quantities of urea from manufacturers away from Rajasthan in the wake of disrupted rail movement there due to the ongoing Gujjar agitation.

70 Pak prisoners repatriated
Pakistani prisoners wave as they are on the way to their country after being released by the Indian authorities at the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost, on Tuesday.Amritsar, December 28
As many as 70 Pakistani prisoners, including 58 fishermen and two women, were repatriated to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost here today after they were released from various Indian jails.

Pakistani prisoners wave as they are on the way to their country after being released by the Indian authorities at the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost, on Tuesday. — PTI

Cong condemns ‘false’ case against cable operator
Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Congress today condemned the “false”case registered against Gurdev Singh Bhullar, a private cable operator in Amritsar. The party maintains that it is a clear case of political intimidation, as the operator did not toe the Akali-BJP line.

3-day Jor Mela concludes
Nihangs perform during nagar kirtan at Fathehgarh Sahib on Tuesday. Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
The three days’ Jor Mela concluded here today after a religious prayer by Sikh high priests at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup. A nagar kirtan was taken out from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup wherein lakhs of devotees participated and paid obeisance to the younger sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh.


Nihangs perform during nagar kirtan at Fathehgarh Sahib on Tuesday. — PTI

Jor Mela causes chaos on Sirhind-Patiala road
Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
Heavy rush of devotees during the Jor Mela led to traffic jam on the Sirhind-Patiala road here today.

RTE Act
Notification issued to admit students
Jalandhar, December 28
The Punjab Government has issued a notification laying guidelines to admit students under the Right to Education Act, 2009.

While people were enjoying a sound sleep on Monday night, this faithful dog seems to be guarding his master's house by braving the chill in Ludhiana.
His Master’s Street: While people were enjoying a sound sleep on Monday night, this faithful dog seems to be guarding his master's house by braving the chill in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanhsu Mahajan

Grand gateways for holy city soon
Amritsar, December 28
Aiming to beautify the main entrance roads to the holy city in sync with its character, the state government today unfolded a plan for constructing four entrance gateways with golden-shade dome atop them at a cost of around Rs 1.75 crore each.

Ultrasound centre’s licence suspended
Bathinda, December 28
The ultrasound machine of a local ultrasound centre was sealed by the district health authorities here last evening.

Ropar district awaits division status
Ropar, December 28
Ropar district’s wait for promised division status will remain the highlight of activities in 2011. With the Assembly elections pending in 2012, the issue is expected to gain momentum and remain debatable.

Ex-Servicemen to hold protest
Patiala, December 28
A meeting of the Ex-Servicemen associations from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi was held here on Sunday.

CRIME

Murder of two brothers in US
3 years on, family awaits justice 
Family members of late Paramjit Singh Kalsi and Ravinder Singh Kalsi at their residence in Patiala on Tuesday.Patiala, December 28
On December 27, 2007, the Kalsi family, living in their Model Town house, was planning a religious function for a prosperous New Year ahead and to pray for the safety of their sons. But destiny played a cruel joke and the same night they got the news that their two sons have been shot dead in USA.


Family members of late Paramjit Singh Kalsi and Ravinder Singh Kalsi at their residence in Patiala on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Rajesh Sachar

Youth ‘murdered’ by girl’s kin
Moga, December 28
Relatives of a 17-year-old girl allegedly beat up a teenage youth to death. The deceased has been identified as Kuldip Singh.

Two women held for possessing tiger skins
Amritsar, December 28
Acting on a tip-off, forest officials today arrested two Karnataka women and seized skins of two tigers from their possession. The police also seized fake rudrakshs from them.

70 activists of ETT teachers’ body sent to jail
Zira, December 28
Nearly 70 activists of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Organisation, who were arrested by teams of different police stations of this subdivision yesterday, were sent to jail after registering a case under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC against them.

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CM: Services of rural docs to be regularised soon
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 28
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has reportedly given an assurance to rural medical officers (RMOs), working under zila parishads in rural dispensaries on contractual basis in the state, that steps are being taken to regularise their services.

Talking to The Tribune, state president of the Rural Medical Services Association, Punjab, Aslam Parvez said today that some days ago a deputation of RMOs had met the Chief Minister in Badal village in connection with regularising their services.

He claimed that the Chief Minister had told the deputation that he had sympathy with them and agreed to their demand, so their services would be regularised by strengthening the panchayati raj system soon.

He said as per the indications, their services would be regularised in the Rural Development and Panchayats Department.

He claimed that earlier they had met Badal in the mid of November and at that time the latter had also assured them that their demand would be met in a week, but due to certain reasons the matter had been delayed.

Dr Aslam said after the assurance to RMOs by the Chief Minister that their services would be regularised, some doctors, who had earlier left the job of the RMO in Punjab and had joined regular jobs in Haryana, had again joined as RMOs on contract in Punjab by quitting their regular services in Haryana.

Dr Aslam further said RMOs, whose starting salary was more than PCMS doctors in 2006, were now getting less salary (Rs 27,500 per month) than a newly appointed PCMS doctor even after four-year service as an RMO, whereas a newly appointed PCMS doctor was getting Rs 41,000 per month.

He said their salary would remain the same till 2013 while the salary of PCMS doctors would be doubled till then.

He urged the Chief Minister to implement the assurance given to RMOs, in letter and in spirit at the earliest.

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Indo-Pak trade to be back on track soon
Visas of 7 Indian drivers renewed
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 28
The trade between India and Pakistan via rail route, which was derailed due to delay by Pakistan authorities in renewal of Indian drivers’ visas, is likely to resume in the next couple of days.

Talking to The Tribune, MS Sandhu, Assistant Traffic Manager, Northern Railway, said, “Pakistan has renewed visas of seven of our drivers, while the remaining, too, will get their visas soon. The movement of goods train between the two countries in all likelihood will start in next two or three days.” Sources at the Attari railway station also confirmed the development, but said that among those who have got their visas renewed include some assistant drivers.

The train service had come to a grinding halt on December 22 after the visas of all the Indian drivers had expired. The Railways had then approached the Union Ministry of External Affairs which had taken up the matter with Pakistan. Though there is no fixed schedule for cross-border movement of the goods train, on an average one rake plies every day from either side, depending on the cargo availability. Train drivers of the two countries ply the train by turn for six months. At present, it is the turn of the Indian Railways that will continue till February.

The stoppage of service had triggered panic among the traders on both the sides as they apprehended huge losses on account of delay in getting the supply of goods. The importers here have been awaiting the supply of goods, mainly cement, dry dates and rock salt, from Pakistan for almost a week now. The scenario is similar on the other side of the border. However, with Pak renewing visas, the trade between the two neighbours is expected to return to the normal this week. 

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200 signalmen deployed on main rail routes
Speed of trains reduced
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, December 28
To avoid any mishap during the foggy season when the visibility comes down to nil, the Ferozepur Railway Division authorities have imitated a number of safety measures, including deployment of 200 signalmen on main rail routes, reduction of speed of trains on branch rail routes and cancellation of a few trains.

The Ferozepur railway division, which handles about 250 trains daily, have also told drivers and guards of each train to ensure that they must observe safety norms while running trains.

Official sources said about three trains, including the Ferozepur-Delhi passenger and Jaipur-Amritsar express train, had been cancelled till the end of the foggy season.

A few trains had been cancelled due to the blocking of rail track by members of the Gujjar community in Rajasthan and other states.

The sources added that the speed of trains running on branch rail routes, including Ferozepur-Jalandhar, Amritsar-Khemkaran, Amritsar-Pathankot and Ferozepur-Bathinda, had been brought down to 45 km per hours. Drivers of the trains running on these sections had been allowed to run train on normal speed when there was no fog.

On main rail routes like Ludhiana-Amritsar and Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Jammu Tawi, 200 signalmen had been deployed fix detonators on rail track, which burst when train passed over the same and gave indication to driver that train had been approaching to a signal.

It enabled the driver to control the speed of the train as per requirement.

Neeraj Sahai, senior divisional operating manager, Ferozepur Railway Division, said every officer had been carrying out footplate inspection and station inspection to check the alertness of drivers, guards, station masters, signalmen and other staff members.

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BKU seeks Badal’s help in resolving fiscal issues
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS

Jalandhar, December 28
The BKU (Rajewal) today sought the intervention of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the fiscal and revenue issues regarding state farmers. The BKU also sought the distribution of Rs 300 crore which the Centre had given to compensate farmers who had to spend additional money on diesel to save their crops owing to drought-like conditions last year.

BKU president Balbir Singh Rajewal, who along with other leaders of his organisation held a meeting with the CM in Chandigarh today, said of the Rs 300 crore, Rs 150 crore were to be distributed in October-November. However, it had not been done so far. For each quintal of paddy procured last year, farmers would be given Rs 9.13 now and an equal amount after six months from now.

Rajewal said the CM today directed procurement agencies, which were withholding the amount, to make the payment to the farmers concerned in 10 days. He said besides it, the CM was urged to refund the amount paid to the Punjab State Power Corporation against power bills by farmers.

On the recommendation of the Sukhbir-Kalia committee, the state government had given an assurance to refund power bills in form of productivity bonus to farmers. He said Rs 90 crore was to be refunded to farmers. Even cheques were issued to many farmers in this regard but its clearing was withheld at the last moment.

Rajewal said the Chief Minister had directed to refund the money in a few weeks. The CM had also directed the power corporation to transfer power connections free of cost in the name of legal successors in those cases in which the actual owner passed away.

The corporation has also been told to open voluntary load disclosure scheme till March 30 and allow connections of power-motors up to 25 BHP under the agriculture scheme. Chief Secretary SC Aggarwal and all other senior officials were also present at the meeting.

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Urea hoarding on the rise in Patiala
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 28
Fertiliser dealers, along with some co-operative societies, have started storing urea in their godowns, in order to create artificial scarcity of urea. An inquiry has been initiated in this regard.

Confirming this, Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Dipinder Singh said he had sought a detailed report from Markfed, the Agriculture Department and the Department of Cooperation, so that suitable action could be initiated against the dealers and those responsible.

Dipinder said demand of urea in the Patiala district was estimated to be 50,000 MT by December 31. “According to the information, already 65,000 MT Urea has reached Patiala. Still farmers are facing difficulty in getting urea on account of indulgence of some cooperative societies in sale of urea to private firms. Also, some fertiliser dealers have started hoarding urea to make profits, which detrimental for the farming community.”

Dipinder said some trucks of urea, which had arrived in Patiala for the cooperative society, were being unloaded at private godowns. This would cause scarcity of urea in some parts of the Patiala district. Dipinder said all those responsible would not be spared.

“This is a serious matter and an inquiry will be conducted to ascertain the truth and strict action. If any irregularities are found, will registrater an FIR against the guilty,” he told The Tribune.

He said 30,000 MT urea stock would be made available to the farmers in Patiala district in the month of January and hence farmers to purchase urea as per their requirement only.

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Punjab CM’s plea to Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh December 28
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, MK Alagiri, to immediately direct the Department of Fertilisers, to allocate the balance quantities of urea from manufacturers away from Rajasthan in the wake of disrupted rail movement there due to the ongoing Gujjar agitation.

He also impressed upon Alagiri to plan the supply of urea in such a manner so as to ensure uninterrupted supply of 3 lakh MT of urea during January to the state in the interest of the national food security.

In a letter to Alagiri, the Chief Minster pointed out that wheat was a major Rabi crop in Punjab and was sown over an area of approximately 3.5 million hectares. The total requirement of urea for sowing of the Rabi crop was approximately 12.50 lakh MT.

Badal also mentioned that since urea was an essential input for ensuring optimum production of wheat, its second dose was being applied now along with the first irrigation to the crop.

The Chief Minister said since the application of second dose of urea was limited to a small period from mid- December to the third week of January, it was necessary to ensure the availability of urea in different parts of the state during this period to avoid any shortage and panic buying by the farmers.

Showing deep concern being felt in the state about the likely shortfall of this crucial input during the current Rabi season, Badal said state agencies were in touch with major suppliers, but the supplies were not being received as per supply plans due to the agitation affecting the rail movement in Rajasthan.

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70 Pak prisoners repatriated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 28
As many as 70 Pakistani prisoners, including 58 fishermen and two women, were repatriated to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost here today after they were released from various Indian jails.

Mohammad Abdullah, a Pakistani terrorist, was caught from Srinagar about 11 years ago for his involvement in terrorist activities. He was brought amidst tight security from Tihar Jail. He said that he was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, whereas he was released after the completion of four years of his term.

Ajra and Garima, two Pakistani women, said they had come to meet their relatives in Gujarat. However, the authorities of the Immigration Department caught them due to alleged tampering in their passports. Now, they were returning to their country after being released from jails.

The prisoners were released from Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, West Bangal, Jammu and Kashmir, Amritsar, Jamnagar and  Gujarat jails.

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Cong condemns ‘false’ case against cable operator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Congress today condemned the “false”case registered against Gurdev Singh Bhullar, a private cable operator in Amritsar. The party maintains that it is a clear case of political intimidation, as the operator did not toe the Akali-BJP line.

Condemning the incident, senior party leader and former minister Lal Singh said the party had taken a serious note of the incident whereby some goons supported by the police barged into the office of Bhullar and took away all the equipment, including the transmitters, modulators, computers and other things worth lakhs of rupees.

The Congress leader said in case the police really had any complaints against Bhullar, these should have been duly investigated. “The police supported the goons of a private cable network patronised by the government to ransack the office,” he pointed out, while warning that these acts of police high-handedness at the behest of the Akalis were being seriously noted and recorded.

The former minister asked the police not to act at the behest of the ruling Akali-BJP alliance and not to victimise those who are not toeing their line. “We have made it abundantly clear that we will not tolerate any such act,” he asserted, saying the police officials responsible for any high-handedness would be held accountable and duly brought to justice.

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3-day Jor Mela concludes
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
The three days’ Jor Mela concluded here today after a religious prayer by Sikh high priests at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup. A nagar kirtan was taken out from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup wherein lakhs of devotees participated and paid obeisance to the younger sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh. The Palki Sahib in the nagar kirtan was followed by five panj piyaras. The ardas was performed by the Jathedar of Anandpur Sahib, Giani Tirlochan Singh.

Sikh high priests from Amritsar and Patna had came to participate in the function.

Despite chilling weather, the devotees walked up to 2 km barefoot. Students from various SGPC educational institutes, clad in traditional dresses, participated in the religious procession besides hymn singers who gripped the attention of the audience with their religious hymns.

Students highlighted various social evils and urged the masses to take a pledge to come forward for eradication of all the evils.

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Jor Mela causes chaos on Sirhind-Patiala road
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
Heavy rush of devotees during the Jor Mela led to traffic jam on the Sirhind-Patiala road here today.

Several vehicles, including buses, cars and trucks were seen stranded on the road. Three ambulances were also stranded in the traffic for more than two hours.

“The traffic has not moved for past two hours due to the roadside langar organised by the devotees,” said Shankar Das, a resident of Patiala.

Despite the fact that the mela is organised every year the police authorities hardly pay any attention towards the traffic problem.

The commuters said it took them more than three hours to reach Patiala from Sirhind, which is otherwise not more than a 40-minute stretch.

Three ambulances, including two government ambulances, were also caught in the jam near Kharora village on the Patiala-Sirhind road. Commuters were hassled with the traffic snarls caused by the roadside langar and rash driving by hundreds of tractor-trolley drivers.

Relatives of patients in the ambulance were seen pleading before the villagers to resume the traffic.

Only two policemen were navigating the entire traffic between Kharora and Sirhind village.

SHO Sirhind Sukhdev Singh said the traffic problem was due to the rise in number of vehicles, especially the tractor-trolleys during these days.

“The problem is in the width of roads and driving sense of people and not with the number of policemen. We have tried our best to keep the vehicular traffic going,” he added.

 

 

Tools for tattoo- making confiscated

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 28
The District Health Department confiscated equipments of five tattoo makers who were using the same needle to prick every customer.

District Health Officer Dr Ramneek Kaur said,“Since using the same needle can lead to spread in communicable diseases like Hepatitis C these tattoo makers have been directed to stop their operation.”Fifteen bhang sellers were also ousted from the stalls put up during Jor Mela.

Dr Kaur said the bhang sellers were banned from selling the intoxicant during the mela. “These sellers have been operating without any permission,” she said. — TNS

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RTE Act
Notification issued to admit students
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 28
The Punjab Government has issued a notification laying guidelines to admit students under the Right to Education Act, 2009.

Under the guidelines, all the private schools will have to admit 25 per cent students of disadvantaged and poor sections of society. The fee of such students will be paid by the state government. Separate rules and guidelines will be framed regarding the payment of fee to the schools concerned.

The state government has fixed the percentage for admitting students belonging to disadvantaged and poor sections of society.

The schools concerned will have to admit 12.5 per cent from poor sections, 5 per cent from the Scheduled Castes, 5 per cent from backward and other backward classes (OBCs), 1.25 per cent of war widows and 1.25 per cent ward of physically challenged parents.

Wards of non-income tax paying parents will also be covered under poor sections of society.

Under the disadvantaged category, wards of SCs, backward and OBCs will be covered. However, wards of the creamy layer of backward and OBCs may not be covered under the disadvantaged sections category.

There are nearly 10,000 private schools in the state. Of these, 7,500 are unrecognised.

Among the private ones, there are public or convent schools, mostly in big cities and towns such as Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala, Ludhiana, Phagwara, Mansa, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Mukatsar, Nawanshahr, Ropar, Khanna, Samrala, Sangrur, Moga and Barnala. All such schools will be covered under the notification.

Asked about the implementation of the notification, Krishan Kumar, Director-General of Schools, said admissions under the RTE Act would be made from the next academic session.

He said rules regarding the criteria to be adopted for admission and other related issues had been framed and sent to the authorities concerned for necessary action.

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Grand gateways for holy city soon
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

A perspective view of the entrance gateway to Amritsar.
A perspective view of the entrance gateway to Amritsar.

Amritsar, December 28
Aiming to beautify the main entrance roads to the holy city in sync with its character, the state government today unfolded a plan for constructing four entrance gateways with golden-shade dome atop them at a cost of around Rs 1.75 crore each.

Talking to The Tribune, Deputy Commissioner KS Pannu said the gates had been designed by Dr Sarabjot Behl of the Department of Architecture, GNDU, while the PWD would undertake their construction work. The project had been approved by a high-power committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. He said these gates would come up on Airport road, Attari road, Jalandhar road and Tarn Taran road. On the genesis of the idea, he said, “Amritsar is an important tourist destination and a major religious centre of the country. Though we have an entrance gate on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, it does not go well with the historical and commercial significance of the city. We wanted to have a unique structure with a dash of modernity to it and hence these gates.” He said the work on the project would begin in February next year and it would take around six months to construct these gates. He said the first phase of the project would see construction of gates on the Airport road, Attari road and Jalandhar road, while the gate on the Tarn Taran road would be built in the second phase.

According to Rawal Singh of the Department of Architecture, GND University, these gates will be designed in tubular steel sections and their design will be somewhat similar to that of the central dome of Sri Harmandar Sahib. However, he clarified that unlike the Golden Temple, the ribs would be missing in the dome to keep an abstraction in the design. “We don’t want to exactly copy the design from the sanctum sanctorum.” He said there would be 16 over lutes (the round part) on the dome.

He said the span (width) of each of these gates would vary with each road. He said the side buttresses of these gates would be designed in concrete structure after which a skeletal steel structure would be placed over it. “We are using steel to keep the structure light weight. The idea is to ensure that the structure is easily put in place, without causing any traffic obstruction on these roads.” After placement of this steel structure, it would be superimposed with the central dome made of aluminum composite panels which would be screwed to the structure at the back.

Rawal said to add to the beauty of these gates, a special designer would be hired for making special lighting arrangements which would compliment their design at night. Also beautification on a stretch of 50 to 100 metres on either side of the road as well as the road divider would be carried out which would see plantation of decorative plants and flowers besides carving out of topiaries.

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Ultrasound centre’s licence suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 28
The ultrasound machine of a local ultrasound centre was sealed by the district health authorities here last evening.

The Assistant Civil Surgeon (ACS), Dr Charanjit Garg, said here today that on the orders of the Civil Surgeon, he and the District School Health Medical Officer, Dr Kundan Pal, inspected the ultrasound centre of Wadi Nursing Home, situated on the Bathinda-Goniana road here, last evening.

The ACS said that during inspection, they found some discrepancies in the records of the ultrasound centre under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act. So the licence of the ultrasound centre was suspended for 15 days. Besides, the machine of the centre had also been sealed for the same period, he added. 

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Ropar district awaits division status
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 28
Ropar district’s wait for promised division status will remain the highlight of activities in 2011. With the Assembly elections pending in 2012, the issue is expected to gain momentum and remain debatable.

The demand for division status has started growing. Recently, the lawyers observed a two-day strike, while the Congress has also been demanding the division status at all congregations.

The most prestigious project, the Khalsa Heritage Project, is expected to be complete soon. For the last four years the SAD-BJP Government has been promising to dedicate this project to Punjab every Baisakhi, but the dedication is postponed every year.

“We can expect the project to be completed as the SAD-BJP has to contest elections and will demand votes in the name of project,” pointed out area residents.

This year the Sirhind canal bridge is also incomplete, despite the fact that its foundation stone was laid two years ago. Work on laying the Ropar bypass has failed to take off.

MLA Nangal Rana KP Singh said apart from the bridge over Sirhind canal, the newly-constructed bridge at Saran Ke Pattan is complete but dysfunctional. “Just because the bridge has not been inaugurated, it has not been opened for common man,” he said.

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Ex-Servicemen to hold protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 28
A meeting of the Ex-Servicemen associations from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi was held here on Sunday.

President of the State Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (SEWA) OF Punjab, Col Kuldip Singh Grewal (Retd), said, “The aim of the meeting was to build unity among the Ex-Servicemen associations of the northern states. We also plan to chalk out new strategy to force the government to accept our long pending demands.”

Col Kuldip said robust soldiers were medically boarded out of service, for the diseases contracted during active service. 

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Murder of two brothers in US
3 years on, family awaits justice 
Aman Sood
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 28
On December 27, 2007, the Kalsi family, living in their Model Town house, was planning a religious function for a prosperous New Year ahead and to pray for the safety of their sons. But destiny played a cruel joke and the same night they got the news that their two sons have been shot dead in USA. Three years after the tragic incident, the family still awaits justice as the killers of Kalsi brothers are still at large.

According to the family members, the Richmond police is yet to identify the unidentified assailants that shot dead the two brothers. The family demanded that the case should be handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the local cops are still groping in the dark.

The news about the death of the deceased, Paramjit Singh Kalsi (42), and his younger brother, Ravinder Singh Kalsi (30), left the entire Kalsi family in a state of shock and disbelief. Even the mother of the deceased, Gurbachan Kaur, died of the shock in February 2008, a month after the bodies of the two brothers arrived at their house.

Sister of the victims, Khushdeep Kaur, weeps at the mention of her dead brothers. She said their entire family was ruined and they were transformed into mere “living dead bodies”. “The Indian Government has done nothing till date, our only demand is that the US authorities should be to pressurised to hand over the case to the FBI,” she said.

According to the relatives of the victims, the two brothers had shifted to the USA in 1997 and in 2002 had bought the Sahib Indian Restaurant in South Richmond. The deceased were also in the trade of real estate and were unmarried.

As per the Richmond police, the two suspects entered the restaurant and shot Ravinder. The suspects then chased Paramjit, into the rear of the restaurant and shot him before fleeing.

“My mother died of shock after the incident and no government official or politician has stepped forward for support. Our fight against the accused in the USA is difficult and we seek the support of the government,” claimed Harinder Singh Kalsi, brother of the victims.

“I personally went to the USA to pursue the case many times, but despite rounding up an accused in the case initially, nothing has been done,” said Singh. 

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Youth ‘murdered’ by girl’s kin
Kulwinder Sandhu/TNS

Moga, December 28
Relatives of a 17-year-old girl allegedly beat up a teenage youth to death. The deceased has been identified as Kuldip Singh.

As per details, Kuldip, along with his cousin Iqbal Singh, had gone to meet his girlfriend in Dhurkot Ransinh village of Moga district on Saturday evening. However, the girl’s cousins and two unknown persons came to know about it and allegedly beat up the boy and his cousin with sticks.

When he fell unconscious, Iqbal Singh reported the matter to members of his family, who along with the panchayat of Gill village, reached Dhurkot Ransinh village on Sunday morning and rescued the youth from the clutches of the girl’s kin. But the youth succumbed to injuries on his way to a hospital.

Panic-stricken members of the youth’s family cremated him without reporting the matter to the police. On Monday, some members of the panchayat informed the police following which an FIR under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC was registered against Darshan Singh, Raji, Sewak Singh, Kala Singh and two unknown persons.

Kikkar Singh, SHO of the Nihal Singh Wala police station, said no arrest had been made so.

Meanwhile, the girl had denied having any relation with the youth. On the other hand, Gamdoor Singh, the deceased’s brother, claimed that his brother had an affair with the girl for the past many months and also showed some photographs of both.

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Two women held for possessing tiger skins
PK Jaiswar/TNS

Officials of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Preservation inspect tiger skins at a press conference in Amritsar on Tuesday.
Officials of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Preservation inspect tiger skins at a press conference in Amritsar on Tuesday. — AFP

Amritsar, December 28
Acting on a tip-off, forest officials today arrested two Karnataka women and seized skins of two tigers from their possession. The police also seized fake rudrakshs from them.

The accused, Geeta and Taka, had brought the skin from Karnataka to sell it in Punjab. Sewa Singh, divisional forest officer, said they had information that a gang involved in the smuggling of rare animal skin was in the city.

They constituted a four-member team led by Deputy DFO, who zeroed in on the two women. They were caught near the Hathi Gate area where they were trying to sell the skin, nails and tooth of two tigers.

A forest official, posing as a trader, met the accused who demanded Rs 65,000 and Rs 35,000 for the two skins. Sewa Singh said a case has been registered under the Wildlife Act against them and they were sent to judicial remand. 

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70 activists of ETT teachers’ body sent to jail
Chander Parkash/TNS

Zira, December 28
Nearly 70 activists of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Organisation, who were arrested by teams of different police stations of this subdivision yesterday, were sent to jail after registering a case under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC against them.

The police allegedly resorted to lathicharge on hundreds of unemployed ETT teachers, who had blocked traffic on the common road and a rail bridge near Gidder Pindi village on the Ferozepur-Jalandhar route yesterday. Some protesters even suffered injuries in the lathicharge.

They were protesting against the non-acceptance of their demands by the state government. Some of the girls, who were also arrested, were, however, released on personal bonds by the Subdivisional Magistrate concerned.

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