Wednesday, February 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




CEC played negative role: PPCC chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 20
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today accused the Chief Election Commissioner of India of playing a negative role in more ways than one and pushing democracy down the drain during the Majitha byelection.

Exercising a bit of restraint in his criticism of the CEC, which reflected from the comment of the PPCC chief, Captain Amarinder Singh, who said, “I can’t say the CEC, Mr Manohar Singh Gill, was hand in glove with the ruling SAD-BJP combine,” the former however expressed the hope that his party had been able to give a tough fight to the SAD-BJP combine in a united manner and would win provided the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had not been “fudged” by the government with the help of officials.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who came to the city this afternoon after having spent about a fortnight in Majitha alleged that the ruling combine had spared no efforts to misuse the official machinery and to allure voters by using every means, but unlike Nawanshahr and Sunam, people of Majitha did not respond to the baits offered by the SAD-BJP. “We have won among masses, no matter what the result will be,” said Captain Amarinder, who was accompanied by senior Congress leader Rana Gurjit Singh and the PPCC Secretary, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu.

The PPCC chief said unlike Adampur, the CEC failed to play a fair role this time, and remained mute spectator to the violations of code of conduct by the SAD BJP leaders. “Mr Gill, though assured to look into the matter a number of times, but he did not do anything in practice and remained silent despite the fact that we had filed a number of complaints pertaining to violations like use of muscle power, misuse of public places like schools by the combine in a big way,” said Captain Amarinder Singh. “If the Election Commission is not willing to listen to people what is point in keeping such a commission,” quipped an angry looking Captain Amarinder Singh, adding that despite a number of objections filed by his party against the use of EVMs, the commission preferred to use EVMs, which had been lying in the custody of the state government officials since the Sunam byelections. “We had checked the EVMs, but what can you do if the chip inside and EVM had been changed of tutored. I had requested Mr Gill to send EVMs from Delhi for use at all 137 polling booths, but he did not pay a heed to our request. So much so that the EC did not allow us to get the machines examined from our expert, and subsequently challenge the use of EVMs in the Supreme Court where we need to establish first that the machine had the potential of being fudged”, he said. It is interesting, Captain Amarinder Singh revealed that the ruling combine had utilised the services of a Mumbai-based computer engineer to fudge the EVMs used in Nawanshahr and Sunam, but he could not name the person for so many reasons. “We know what amount of money exchanged hands for that and who did that but we won’t like to reveal it at this juncture,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, who otherwise looked to be in a cheerful mood. He alleged that the silence on the part of the EC as an institution was nothing but mockery of democracy. He, however, said it was his high command to decide the way how to protest against the use of EVMs in future, since their use had already been discarded in a number of advanced European countries.

“Actually, for challenging it in the court, we need to have a machine first and then to show it to the court that its chip could be tutored, but none of the three manufacturers of the machine in India or the EC was ready to give us the machine, in spite of a number of requests and pleas by us,” he added saying “what can we do beyond that if none is ready to listen to us." The PPCC chief, however, said he was not sure whether the EVMs’ chips were tutored or not. “One thing was there that our people did not allow them to bully at polling booths, except in few cases, where groups of people were led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab Ministers Sucha Singh Langah and Charanji Lal Garg tried to create problem in Kathunangal, Mattewal and Chawinda Devi. “People even got disturbed when the SAD-BJP tried to play the Operation Bluestar card to arouse their passions. So, much so that the wife of top terrorist Wassan Singh Zaffarwal was pitched in to campaign for the Akali candidate,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, who said he will take up this matter with the SAD’s coalition partner the BJP and its chief Brij Lal Rinwa.

“People were in the know of their gimmicks and supported us fully well and I am satisfied over it, particularly when all of our leaders fought this battle unitedly. Though Mr Jagmeet Brar gave us a few hours for he was out of country, Ms Bhattal spared five days for us,” said the PPCC chief.


Badal poser to Rinwa on corruption
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has asked the Punjab BJP chief, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, to bring into his notice the allegation which was levelled by Mr Rinwa in press conference at Chandigarh in which Mr Rinwa has alleged that administrative and political corruption was increasing in the rule of the present government.

Talking to newspersons in the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, this evening, Mr Badal said either Mr Rinwa should bring these to his notice or he should give it to the press. When asked whether Mr Rinwa’s allegations were indication of cracks in the SAD-BJP alliance, Mr Badal quipped and said this alliance was as strong as a rock and it was based on principle and not on selfish motive.

He claimed victory in Majitha byelection but declined to comment upon the margin. When asked whether he would issue any whip as SAD President to vote in favour of Sukhbir Badal, candidate of the SAD for Rajya Sabha seat which had been lying vacant since the resignation of Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Mr Badal said he remained busy in Majitha and would look into the matter tomorrow at Chandigarh. It might be recalled that Manjit Singh Khera, Akali stalwart, had filed his nomination paper for this seat. However, Mr Badal said he need not to issue any whip as all Akalis knew discipline of the SAD.

When asked about introduction of Commissionerate system in the police in all important districts, Mr Badal said it was not under consideration at all at this time.

Replying to a question about the Voluntary Retirement Scheme for government employees in spite of acute financial crisis, the Chief Minister claimed that there was no financial crisis in the state.


Badal’s bid to consolidate hold over MLA
Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
With the ballots for the Majitha assembly byelection sealed, another battle of the ballot this time for a Rajya Sabha seat, starts here tomorrow. This is between the SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, and Mr Manjit Singh Khaira, an Independent.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, has convened a meeting of the MLAs of the alliance tomorrow at Punjab Bhavan to ensure that they vote in favour of his son — Mr Sukhbir Singh. On the other hand, Mr Khaira, supported as he is despite his Independent candidature by MLAs owing allegiance to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, has created a flutter by making the junior Badal’s election a contest.

Though the agenda of tomorrow’s meeting is said to be a discussion on various issues to be taken up in the Budget session starting on March 1, insiders told TNS that this was only a “camouflage” and the meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. would be followed by dinner. “Pardhanji (Mr Badal) takes every election from panchayat to Parliament seriously,” remarked a Minister.

Obviously, Mr Badal has convened the meeting to consolidate his hold over the MLAs. Though the alliance has a comfortable majority in the Vidhan Sabha and Mr Sukhbir Singh’s victory seems to be certain, Mr Badal believes in leaving nothing to chance.

Mr Khaira, a senior Akali leader, at one stage of his political career was said to be close to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, at present Governor of Uttaranchal.

But what has surprised all is the studied silence of Mr Tohra with regard to the candidature of Mr Khaira. Though certain MLAs belonging to Mr Tohra’s party had signed the nomination papers of Mr Khaira, Mr Tohra has not come out openly in his support so far.

In fact, Mr Harmel Singh, son-in-law of Mr Tohra, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, who are understood be close to the former SGPC chief, neither signed Mr Khaira’s nomination papers nor accompanied him to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for presenting these to the authorities concerned. In view of these developments, there is speculation in political circles that efforts are going on again for a patch-up between Mr Tohra and Mr Badal with assembly elections scheduled for early next year. And for this reason, both camps are maintaining a truce for a while.

Meanwhile, only a few Ministers turned up today in the Punjab Civil Secretariat. It was expected that most of the Ministers would be in their offices here after a prolonged stay in the Majitha constituency. As all Ministers had an exhausting schedule in the constituency, perhaps it will take them a day or so to overcome fatigue, remarked a Minister, who made it a point to attend his office today.

Mr Badal was expected to return here from Ludhiana this evening.

It is not certain when normal governance will start from the state headquarters as Ministers and MLAs will be busy for some more days in the Rajya Sabha election. However, some of the officers, who had been on a long paid holiday in the absence of Ministers and the Chief Minister from the Secretariat, were seen in their offices today.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers will be held on February 22. It will have a lengthy agenda before it pertaining to the Budget proposals and other important items. For some weeks, such a meeting could not be held as all concerned were busy in Majitha.

The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, is expected to visit Punjab on March 4 to inaugurate the Ranjit Sagar Dam project. Unofficially power generation had started at the project a few months ago. Official sources said the PMO had given March 4 as the tentative date for the inauguration. Its confirmation is awaited by the authorities.

The Chief Minister has called the General Manager of the project, Mr J.S. Randhawa, for a meeting tomorrow here for making preparations for Mr Vajpayee’s visit, it is learnt.


Sutlej pollution by Pak discussed
Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 20
Continued pollution of the Sutlej river here by effluents from Pakistani industrial units is understood to have figured at a recent meeting of the Border Security Force and the Pakistani held at Wagah.

Highly placed sources revealed that the matter figured at the meeting, where the Indian delegation was headed by the Ferozepore sector BSF DIG, Mr K.S. Walia. Although the outcome of the discussions is not known, the source said the matter was discussed briefly between the two sides.

It is for the irrigation authorities on either side of the Indo-Pakistan border to decide the future course of action. It is suspected that the Kasur-based letter units across the Hussainiwala border, near here, occasionally pollute the Sutlej waters.

Although there is no official word on this from the Punjab Irrigation Department, insiders admit that the Pakistani leather factories discharge their effluents into the darns that flow into the Hussainiwala headworks.

While the irrigation authorities of the Ferozepore circle and initiated a detailed examination of the problem, the fate of the exercise remains unknown.

Enquires from villages near Hussainiwala revealed that the problem has been persisting for several years and the leather units occasionally discharged their effluents into the Sutlej. This has also prevented the local farmers from fishing in the polluted drains leading to the river.

Significantly, Kasur is famous for manufacturing leather “juttis” (traditional Punjabi footwear).

As the Sutlej keeps changing its course, it bifurcates in Pakistan to come back to the Hussainiwala headworks from at least two points — Kassoke and Mohammdiwala. In all probability, the effluents from the leather units fall into the Sutlej through these two channels, according to drainage authorities.

To substantiate their charge against the Pakistani leather industry, the irrigations officials pointed out that the Sutlej river gets discoloured and stinks only after it travels back into Indian territory.

The issue had earlier figured during a discussion between the irrigation authorities and their Pakistan counterpart, who visited India last year to take stock of the developments near the sites falling under the Indus basin.


Punjab policemen not to be sent to J&K
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab police has decided against sending its force to Jammu and Kashmir for the ensuing panchayat elections in the trouble-torn state.

Jammu and Kashmir had sought the deployment of 20 companies of the Punjab police for the peaceful conduct of the panchayat elections. The Punjab police contingents were required to report today to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Baramula, for deployment.

According to sources, the last- minute change in the decision of the Punjab police not to send its force was necessitated because of the failure of the Jammu and Kashmir Government to give an undertaking that it would pay for the services taken.

Though verbal consent was given by the Jammu and Kashmir Government, no formal communication accepting deployment of the Punjab police on a payment basis had been received until yesterday. As such, the Punjab police decided not to send its force to Baramula as originally agreed.

The Punjab police had also received a request from the Gujarat government for the deployment of one of its battalions in the quake-ravaged areas. This request was politely turned down on the plea of heavy commitments of the state police, both in and outside the state.

The Punjab police had initially responded positively to the Jammu and Kashmir Government’s request because of its zonal commitments. Initially, 10 companies of its force were to go to the valley this month while others were to follow later. The 20 companies were to stay in the valley till the completion of the election process there.

A decision was taken at the last meeting of the police chiefs of the northern zone to make available surplus force to any state in the zone for election or emergency duties.

Late last year, the Uttar Pradesh Government requested the Punjab Government to send 10 companies of its police to Allahabad for almost two months for deployment during the Kumbh Mela.

These 10 companies, which reached Allahabad in the first week of New Year, are expected to return to Jalandhar later this month.

Sources point that besides the payment issue, another important factor that influenced the last-minute decision of the Punjab police was the recent spate of killing of Sikhs in the valley. An impression was given that deployment of the Punjab police in the valley would make its men and officers a “continuous target” of the militants. 


Left unhappy with BJP favours to RSS schools
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 20
The issue of grants to the RSS run Sarvhitkari schools by the BJP Ministers in Punjab is likely to be raised by the CPI in the coming state Assembly session. Disclosing this to The Tribune the CPI legislator, Mr Hardev Arshi said that his party would ask the government to furnish the account of such grants announced by the BJP Ministers in the state during the Budget session.

His reaction follows the publication of a Tribune story on how the BJP Ministers had favoured two RSS run schools in Zira by announcing grants from their discretationary quota of funds. Mr Arshi said that more than 170 such schools were functioning in Punjab and his party would ask the government to furnish the details of grants sanctioned to all of them.

He alleged, “The RSS schools are poisoning the minds of children by propagating fascist ideology.” The member of the CPI State Council, Mr Randhir Singh Gill also expressed concern at how the BJP Ministers were favouring the RSS schools at the cost of government schools which continued to suffer due to paucity of funds. 


Sukhbir fails to turn up for panel discussion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The local Forum for Democracy today organised a debate on issues pertaining to Punjab. Both, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Manjit Singh Khaira, candidates for the Rajya Sabha seat from Punjab, had been invited for participation. But the former did not turn up.

Mr Khaira said he was prepared to discuss the Anandpur Sahib resolution and river waters issue. He said Mr Sukhbir Singh had no knowledge of such issues.

He claimed the memorandum presented to the Sarkaria Commission was prepared by him.


PSEB will have to buy power this summer
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 20
With no money in hand, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is faced with the prospect of drawing power from its quota in various central projects this summer by paying in cash.

The board has been pushed against the wall due to low water reserves in both the Bhakra and the Pong dams following scanty winter rain and snow this year. This is likely to result in reduced power generation from both dams which has forced the board to take a decision to draw from its quota in central projects this summer.

The board authorities have now decided to withdraw quota wherever available. It is writing to both the nuclear plants of Narora in Uttar Pradesh and Kota in Rajasthan in this regard immediately.

However, arranging finances for buying the power needed would be a major problem for the board which is already mired in debts. Not in a position to generate revenue by increasing tariff as the Akali-BJP government is against the proposal with the assembly elections approaching, the board has no option but to ask the government to give it some grant to buy the needed power.

Sources said only an immediate spell of heavy rainfall in the region could augment the water reserves in the Bhakra and Pong dams which were as of today 30 and 33 feet lesser than the level prevailing at the same time last year. With such a drop in the water level in both dams, sources said, there would be no recourse but to buy power in summer as the consumption during the summer months went up by around 30 per cent.

The PSEB Chairman, Mr G.S. Sohal, disclosed the board had decided to buy power to offset the expected shortfall as it could not increase its thermal generation. He said all three thermal plants at Lehra Mohabbat, Bathinda and Ropar were running to capacity and power generation from them could not be increased. He said the board had been reluctant to buy power from the nuclear plants at Narora and Kota last year as at Rs 3.15 per unit it was many times the cost of Bhakra power and even more than thermal power. He said the board would be asking the government for a grant to meet this expenditure.

He said the board was also making efforts to generate more revenue by metering power supply everywhere in the state.

He said at a recent meeting of the zonal heads it had been decided to do away with unmetered supply completely. He said the plan to supply sophisticated meters to consumers which would be tamper-proof was also part of this scheme.

The board has also decided to stop the misuse of agricultural power supply. Mr Sohal disclosed a recent survey had revealed that nearly 18 per cent of rural connections released for agricultural purposes were now being used for commercial ventures. He said people were running brick-kilns, flour mills and other businesses on agricultural connections. 


More outlay for health care sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the Union Government to declare health care a priority sector to improve the health care delivery system in the country. It has also asked the government to extend concessions and facilities to the health sector on the pattern of infrastructure sector like power industry and telecommunications industry.

Dr Surinder Singla, Secretary, press and public relations of the association, in a press note issued here today, also asked the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister to give utmost care to the health care delivery system in the annual budget for the year 2001-2002 as it had been totally ignored by various successive Union Governments in the past.

Dr Singla added despite researches by our scientists in the field of medicine, many persons lost their lives annually even in the cases of preventable diseases like TB due to lack of political will, bureaucratic apathy, insufficient budget for health and improper implementation of various health programmes.

Dr Singla said presently the country was spending about two per cent of its GDP on healthcare against the World Health Organisation’s stipulation of six per cent of the GDP. On the other hand, the USA spent 12.5 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, he added.

Dr Singla also stated it was a matter of concern that in the past about 10 successive budgets of the Union Government, nothing had been mentioned on the need to develop the healthcare infrastructure in the country.


Panchayat chief’s election quashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Quashing the election of Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Sukhjinder Singh Chawla as president of Raja Sansi Nagar Panchayat, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today held that the conduct of the returning officer — Ajnala Sub-Divisional Magistrate Harcharan Singh Sandhu — was “not above board”.

Directing the state of Punjab to expeditiously conduct fresh elections, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Amar Bir Singh Gill and Mr Justice V.S. Aggarwal, held that a public servant was expected to perform his duties faithfully and any deviation from the same could lead to chaos and people’s distrust in the system.

Seeking the quashing of Mr Chawla’s election, Mr Tejinder Singh and seven other MC Councillors contended that the respondent was elected due to the returning officer’s misconduct.

Giving details, the petitioners had alleged that the returning officer, in order to help the respondent, had intentionally marked the ballot of illiterate councillors against their wishes in favour of Mr Chawla. Arguing before the Bench, their counsel contended that the returning officer had also cancelled the petitioner’s vote.

Going into the background, counsel had stated that the petitioners, elected on Congress symbol, were in majority, being eight in number out of 12. He had added that Mr Tejinder Singh’s name was proposed for the office of the President while Mr Chawla’s name was proposed by members of the Akali party.

Registrar’s order quashed

Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court today quashed an order passed by Punjab’s Registrar of Cooperative Societies vide which directions for attaching the land belonging to a Hoshiarpur district resident were set aside.

Challenging the order, Rajpur Bhain Cooperative Agriculture Service Society limited had earlier stated that the land was ordered to be attached after Chander Shekhar, appointed as a cashier by them, allegedly embezzled Rs 4, 80, 776. Balwant Singh had stood surety for the accused, the petitioners added.

Counsel for the society had stated that the Registrar, taking up Balwant Singh’s petition, had set aside the order of attachment and had held that he was liable to pay a surety of Rs. 10,000 only.

Mr Justice Gill held that the petition filed before the Registrar “could not be taken as an appeal or revision filed before the appropriate authority”. He added that the society was “well within its rights to proceed against the respondents as per the law”.


Increase in atrocities on women
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 20
There has been an alarming rise in crime against women in Pathankot and adjoining areas. An unprecedent spurt in cases relating to dowry and atrocities on women have been reported of late. According to information, about 200 cases pertaining to atrocities on women by their husbands or other males have been reported.

In one of the cases, Kuljeet Kaur, whose marriage had been solemnised hardly five months ago to Jagtinder Singh of Khanpur area, was allegedly murdered by her husband and sister-in-law Narinder Kaur and a case under Section 302/34 of the IPC registered by the Sadar police station.

In another case, Pammi has filed a complaint alleging outraging of her modesty by Mr Mohinder Singh, former S.P. Pathankot.

Similarly, Jiwan Bala lodged an FIR against Mr Dharamjot Singh, former D.S.P., here for allegedly misbehaving with her. Geeta Rani has lodged a complaint against Harbhajan Singh, Excise Inspector, and two others for allegedly raping her in which case the court finding substance in the complaint, has ordered the accused to be summoned in the said case pending in the Court. Another victim of rape, Sunita Devi moved the court for taking appropriate legal action against Bachan Singh, a local resident, for allegedly raping her.

According to sources, it is learnt that a majority of the cases are never reported either because of the fear of losing reputation or because of the social status of the women in our country which disassociate them from approaching the authorities.

In another case, the victim of police atrocities Raj Rani approached the State Human Rights Commission and filed a complaint against the said officials wherein the Commission directed the erring officials to pay Rs 1000 as fine for causing harassment to the victims.

In a majority of cases, the victims who came to the court complained of inaction on the part of the police whom they approached first and as a result of said behaviour they approached the court.


Residents seek shifting of factory
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 20
The residents of seven colonies situated at Maqsoodan on the GT Road here, who have been demanding shifting of a pipe fitting factory from the residential area due to pollution caused by it, have submitting a memorandum to the Joint Commissioner of the local municipal corporation reiterating their demand.

The residents of Naunirman Janta Colony, Janta Colony, Issa Nagar, Anand Nagar, New Anand Nagar and Mahajan Colony have been fighting for the removal of the factory for the past five years.

They had earlier submitted several complaints at the local office of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, but the board officials have not initiated any action against the factory so far.

Mr B.S. Pannu, president of the Naunirman Janta Colony House Building Society, has claimed that Mr Krishan Kumar, Joint Commissioner, assured them that action would be taken against the owner of the factory within a week.


Need to revamp police force: IG
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, IGP, Zone-1, Patiala has said the state police needs extensive restructuring and remodelling to increase efficiency. Some wings of the police which are overstaffed need to be balanced he said addressing a press conference here today. Mr Gill was here to inspect police offices and councilling and rehabilitation centres. The traffic police was one wing which was understaffed and needed more personnel as traffic had increased. The proposal to restructure the police was with the government, he said.

Mr Gill said the police was not well-equipped and trained to deal with cyber crime which had shown an increase in recent times. The police academy at Phillaur had started a course on cyber crime awareness.

Speaking on the web-based propaganda of some militant organisations, he said though it was harmful for the nation, it was under the preview of the External Affairs Ministry and that he was not competent to speak on it.

Referring to the rising narcotics smuggling in the region Mr Gill said the district shared its border with Rajasthan and Haryana and due to poor road links, it was difficult to check smuggling. The southern districts were prone to smuggling as poppy husk and opium was smuggled from Rajasthan.

Also, there were very few drug inspectors and some times, there was only one in five-six districts.

In Patiala and Bathinda the district police had closed 12 chemist shops and two factories allegedly selling and manufacturing spurious drugs, he said.

Mr Gill said conviction under the NDPS Act was low and suggested that huge penality should be imposed on the culprits.

Commenting on the financial crunch faced by the police, he said there was a shortage of funds in certain heads like vehicles and telephones.

Mr Gill refuted the charge that there had been an increase in custodial deaths in the state. There were eight custodial deaths in 10 districts during the past four years, he said.

Mr Rajpal Meena, DIG, Faridkot Range, said the crime scene had changed and there were reports a brother marrying his sister for money. Psychologists and sociologist had been consulted on the new trend.

Mr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said out of the 87 proclaimed offenders of this district, 35 had been arrested.


Raid on hospital alleged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
Dr Vineeta Gupta, general secretary, Insaaf International, today alleged a police party led by the DSP (Vigilance) today raided the premises of hospital being run by her brother, Dr Vitul Gupta, without any valid grounds.

In a press note issued here today, she alleged she was being intimidated as she had decided to file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the shifting of the children’s hospital from its present location to the civil hospital.

She added the police party comprising at least 25 personnel started taking photographs of the hospital without showing the order of a search from the competent authorities. The patients who were under treatment in the hospital were terrified.

She said she had brought the matter to the notice of the Inspector-General of Police (Zonal), Patiala, Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, who was here today in connection with the inspection of various wings of the district police.

She added she had also sent telegrams to the DGP, Punjab, the National Human Rights Commission, the state human rights commission and the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab.


Jawans saved 40 quake victims
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
A team of Army personnel sent from Bathinda military station to Bhuj, the most earth quake affected area of Gujarat, for relief operation and saved 40 persons who were under debris.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Bharat Prakash, Lt Col, GSG 1, Bathinda Military Station, said that a team of engineers, medical personnel, Army dogs, and engineering equipment were sent to Bhuj from Bhisiana Air Force Station for the rescue operation.

He added that the team had rescued 40 persons from the collapsed buildings, recovered 306 bodies, repaired large segments of road to facilitate move or transport, erected rehabilitation centres and established temporary camps for the victims with provision of food and water.

He pointed out that the engineers also recovered documents, lockers and currency vaults of Union Bank of India, Syndicate Bank and Kutch Gram Bank and handed them over these to the bank and civil administration officials.

He said that an operating theatre with X-Ray machine and tented wards was set up and made functional.

He added that about 1800 casualties had been attended to and many others were saved from critical conditions.

He added that Bathinda military station was one of the first Army garrisons which provided manpower and special equipment for the relief operations in Gujarat.


SGPC not to open more colleges
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), said that the increasing use of drugs and narcotics by the youth should be checked. He was speaking at a function organised here today at the Khalsa school.

Mr Talwandi said that drugs and liquor were bad not only for the person who consumed the same but for the family also. He also stated that in future no new college would be opened by the SGPC and that the Khalsa college at Amritsar was running into losses. The new schools to be opened by the SGPC would be located near the Gurdwaras so that the students were inspired to follow religious teachings.

Mr Daljit Singh Daduwal, head of Daduwal Gurdwara at Sirsa, said that the drugs not only spoiled the body but the mind as well. The teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib were enough to steer the man out of the problems of this world and that these teachings should be given in a simple and straightforward manner so that young minds could be inspired to explore the teachings themselves, he added.

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, Punjab, said that frustration was the most important cause of addiction and that family support was a must to help the addict shun addiction. Mr Singh said that support from the people was needed to curb the smuggling on drugs and that the police alone could not help. He appealed to all to follow the teachings of Gurus.


17 police personnel get degrees
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, February 20
What a Constable, a Head Constable, an Assistant Sub Inspector, a district police chief , an international shooter and an Inspector-General of Police had in common today at the third annual convocation of the Punjab Police Academy here was a postgraduate degree in police administration.

Seventeen of them today received their degrees from the Director of the Academy, Mr A.A. Siddique, in the presence of the State Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal; the Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, and the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr H.S. Soch.

So impressed was Mr Badal by the performance of the five non-gazetted officers of the force, who rubbed shoulders with their seniors in the profession to complete the postgraduation in style, that he impromptu ordered a cash award of Rs 5,000 to each of them besides issuing a personal commendation letter to all 17.

Those who got their degrees were Mr Tejinder Singh Dhillon, an international shooter and a Deputy Director of the Academy; Mr M.S. Teji, an Assistant Commandant of the PAP; Mr Bipin Bihari Chaudhary (An Assistant Commissioner of Police, New Delhi); Ms Gurpreet Kaur Deo, Superintendent of Police; Mr A.P. Pandey, Inspector-General of Police, Border Range; Mr K.B. Singh, Superintendent of Police attached with the Governor of Punjab; Mr Gaurav Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police Jalandhar; Mr M.K. Tewari, Assistant Director of the Academy; Mr Sukhjit Singh, a Constable; Mr Arpit Shukla, Superintendent of Police; Mrs Anita Punjab, Deputy Director of the Academy; Mr P.K. Sinha, Deputy Director of the Academy; Mr Chander Shekhar, Inspector-General of Police; Mr Narinder Kumar, Mr Rahul Kaushal and Mr Tejinder Pal Singh (all ASIs) and Mr Akash P. Gautam, a Head Constable.

After today’s convocation, those who have completed their M.A. or M.Phil from the Punjab Police Academy now number 51. Only one officer, Dr G.S. Aujla, has completed a doctorate, while 10 others are registered for the doctorate at the Academy. Incidentally, the DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, is also registered for M.A. in Police Administration.

The growing awareness for excellence in academics is reflected in the persistent demand to declare this premier police training institution as a deemed university. The Deputy Director and Dean of the Academy Cell of the university, Dr D.J. Singh, Mr A.A. Siddique, and Mr Sarabjit Singh all advocated declaring the Police Academy as a deemed university.

The GNDU Vice-Chancellor, Prof H.S. Soch, who delivered the convocation address, suggested that the best course for the Academy would be to become an autonomous college. This, he said, would need clearance from the state government. Once this was done, it would be easier for the GNDU to recommend its case to the University Grants Commission for declaring it a deemed university for running courses in Police Administration and for doctoral work.

Mr Badal offered to help by speaking to the Prime Minister during his ensuing visit to the state on March 4, when he would formally inaugurate the Thein Dam. In a comment made in a lighter vein he wished that the next convocation of the Academy should be as a deemed university.

He also presented a roll of honour and awards to outstanding postgraduates for their excellence in different subjects and courses. Mr Tejinder Singh Dhillon was adjudged the best all-rounder and presented a gold medal.

Others felicitated were Mr Gaurav Yadav , Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr A.P. Pandey, Mrs Anita Punj , Mr P.K. Sinha and Mr K.B. Singh.

Mr Siddique in his welcome address said that efforts were being made to encourage research and the enhancement of educational standards among the police personnel.

Responding to a suggestion from Professor Soch, the Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, said that Information Technology would soon be included in the curriculum for police administration courses at the Academy.

Mr Badal said that the image of a state government depends upon its police force. Decrying the diminishing level of honesty in public life, he said that both the politicians and the administrators were responsible for it.

“We have to be honest to ourselves. Corruption was like a termite which was eating the body from inside,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that the state government has taken a decision to end stagnation in the state constabulary by promoting all those Constables who had completed 16 or more years of service in the state. Earlier, students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana, presented a shabad, while Harinder Kaur and Ms Mamta Mehra presented a song and a ghazal.


PAC team reviews levelling of sand dunes
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, February 20
As many as five members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by an MLA, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, today visited various villages of this assembly segment to make an on-the-spot examination of work executed by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) for levelling of sand dunes and subsequent plantation of saplings on the flattened land by the state Forest Department authorities.

The members — Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Hardev Arshi, Mr Kartar Singh Phara and Mr Jassi — talked with the residents of the villages where the send-dune project, sponsored by the Central Government, has been executed by the DRDA.

The members, accompanied by senior officials of the states government noted down the shortcomings in the execution of the projects and made enquiries from the officials concerned.

The Tribune team also visited the villages of Jagaram Tirath, Tehiri, Kanakwal and Phulokhari in Talwandi Sabo assembly segment, along with the PAC members.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, the PAC members came to these villages to ascertain whether the plantation of saplings on the levelled sand dunes had been done properly.

Official sources said that out of about six lakh saplings which were planted on land levelled under the project, only 1,8000 survived. The state Forest Department authorities suffered a loss of about Rs 9 lakh on this account.

There were also allegations that money given to the DRDA under this project by the Central Government had been diverted to other areas of Bathinda district, violating the guidelines issued for the project by the Centre.

As per the guidelines money given for levelling of sand dunes for a particular area should be used in the same area and not be diverted to other areas.

In Lehiri village, some of the villagers alleged that government officials, who were told to level the sand dunes, had made huge bunglings. They alleged that these officials had shown the levelling of a 10-acres stretch of sand dunes in their record, while in reality they had carried out the levelling of one acre of sand dunes.

The PAC members took notice of the alleged bunglings when it was brought to their notice that some villages of Talwandi Sabo dotted with big sand dunes, had been excluded from the project and the funds meant for the area had been diverted to those places which were represented by ruling party MLAs.

The members also visited the Chak Fateh Singh Wala village, where in-laws of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been putting up, as though this village fell in Nathana assembly segment it had been included under the scheme, allegedly in violation of norms.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, former chairman of the market committee, Rama Mandi, who is residing in Kanakwal village, alleged that the work of levelling sand-dunes by the authorities concerned had been left midway and funds had been diverted to other areas.

On the other hand, a senior official, on condition of anonymity, alleged that Mr Jassi had undertaken this exercise to gain political mileage in this area, which was represented by him in the Vidhan Sabha. He added that if money was left after levelling of sand dunes in one particular pocket, then there was no harm in spending the remaining funds in other areas.


J&K students visit Fatehgarh Sahib
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
Thirty students and five teachers from Kashmir yesterday visited Fatehgarh Sahib district under the leadership of Major Manpreet Singh of Victor Force Headquarters, Jammu & Kashmir.

This tour is organised by the Army under Jyoti Project to develop confidence among the children During their visit they were taken to Rouza Sharief, Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurdwara Jyoti Sarup Sahib and a Muslim shrine at Baras village.

Mr B.S. Sudan, Deputy Commissioner, said that this tour would be a big learning experience for the students. He said this was an ideal opportunity for them to integrate and identify themselves with the children of different states.

During interaction Mr Azaz Ahmed of Pehalgam district said the love which people had showered on them in Punjab, could not be forgotten. Mr Javed Ahmed of Anantnag district said that he liked Chandigarh and that he wanted to live there. He said he liked Kashmir also but they could not move freely over there. Ghulam Mohindin said that this tour had cleared their minds about the Army’s bad impression.


Flying time comes down in aviation club
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, Feb 20 
Already down in the dumps with employees not getting their salaries for months altogether, the Patiala Flying Club has reached new lows with the average flying time also being reduced considerably.

The club, which had failed to pay salary equivalent to 20 months pay to its employees, presently has an average flying of around two hours everyday. Sources said the main reason for this was the steep hike in aviation fuel prices around two years back. The fuel price, which has jumped from around Rs 18 two years back to Rs 60 now, has resulted in making flying more expensive. Due to this flying is being conducted as and when students pay for the fuel needed for the job.

The sources said while nearly 30 to 35 students were enrolled in the club earlier, now only seven to eight students were flying. They said these students included those who were at the end of their courses and had no recourse but to finish them. They said while flying a Pushpak plane cost Rs 1,800 an hour, the fee for flying a Cessna aircraft was Rs 2,400 an hour.

The sources said even with such kind of fee structure the flying clubs could not generate revenues as the oil average in case of a Pushpak was around 20 litres per hour and that of a Cessna around 25 litres an hour. They said if the cost of maintenance of the aircrafts was coupled with this there were no profits for the club. Though the sources said a hike in the flying charges to Rs 3,000 per hour were needed, it was not possible as students felt they were already paying exorbitant prices.

The sources said it was difficult to maintain the three aircraft in its fleet as the Pushpak plane was no longer being produced. The club manager said spares for the Pushpak had to be scavenged from other planes which was a time consuming expensive proposition.

On the salary front, the Patiala Aviation Club Workers Union president, Mr Balinder Singh, said the employees had not been paid salary for the month of December 1996. January to October 1997, April to July 1998 and October to January 2001. They said besides this other constituents due to them, including bonus, had also not been paid to them. Mr Balinder Singh said employees who had retired from service in the past few years had also not yet received the benefits due to them.

The leader said though hopes of the revival of the flying clubs, including the local one, the Jalandhar club, which was also housed in Patiala presently, and the Jalandhar and Amritsar clubs, had become bright after the government announced the formation of the Punjab Civil Aviation Authority few years back. He said the situation was similar in the other flying clubs of the state and that the government should immediately introduce time frame and cadre promotions. He said workers of the flying club should also be given representation in the new authority.

The manager while speaking on the issue of accumulated salaries of the employees, said efforts were being made to give the employees the accumulated salaries in instalments. He said recently due salary of one and a half months had been given to the employees. He said the government was working towards the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority and most of the problems of the employees would be redressed once new aircraft were included in the fleet of flying clubs in the state.


CM mourns CPI leader’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh February 20
Various political organisations today mourned the death of a former Home Minister, Mr Indrajit Gupta, a veteran CPI leader. The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the country had lost a seasoned politician, trade union leader and eminent legal luminary.

The Punjab CPI leader, Dr Joginder Dayal said Mr Gupta was a politician with a mission. All his life he fought for the downtrodden and the poor. He played active role in getting the Rs 8500 crore loan against Punjab waived.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, also expressed shock over his demise. In a message he said the nation had lost an able parliamentarian and veteran trade union leader.


Massive decline in millet cultivation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
In the early fifties, when there was an acute shortage of irrigation facilities in Punjab, farmers took to cultivating crops with a mean requirement of water in a big way. Millet (bajra) was one of the most important crops of the kharif season.

However, with the gradual increase in the irrigation facilities in the state, the area under millet cultivation has declined. Now millet cultivation has been stopped in about two-thirds area of the state.

Not only Bathinda, but Mansa, Muktsar, Faridkot, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar have also shown a marked decline in the area under millet cultivation. In the areas where millet is cultivated, the produce is used as cattle feed and for an occasional feast at home.

As the production is low, the produce is not brought to the mandis and is usually consumed in the villages where it is grown.

The figures collected from the Department of Agriculture reveal that in 1950-51, the area under millet cultivation was 5.40 lakh acres. Now it has been reduced to about 10,000 acres only. The area under millet during 1960-61 was 3.10 lakh acres and it increased to 5.15 lakh acres during 1970-71. However, it declined to 1.80 lakh acres in 1980-81 and has been declining since then.

Agriculturists cite another reason for the decline in the millet cultivation also. In 1967-68, the crop was attacked by a deadly disease (Argot bagh), which made the grains turn black and gave them a bitter taste. Since during that period, millet was used as cattle feed, milch animals were attacked by diseases and many died.

The increase in irrigation facilities also led to a decline in the interest in millet farming. Cotton caught the fancy of the farmers and it replaced millet gradually. The marketing of millet was also a big problem. During 1980-81, the area under millet cultivation in the district was about 70,000 acres and its production about 28,000 metric tonnes.

A decade later (90-91), the area under millet was reduced to 2,500 acres and it was not more than 1,000 acres in the current year. This total produce is not even sufficient to meet the household requirements of the villagers.

An old farmer of the area said that at one time millet was considered the best feed for the cattle and was an occasional delicacy for the villagers too.

But the younger generation today was not aware of its use, he lamented. “If the conditions remained the same, the time was not far away when millet cultivation would be wiped out from the state,” he added


Lotus farming replaces wheat
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Randhirpur (Sultanpur Lodhi), February 20
Even as the Punjab Government has been trying to find a substitute for the unviable wheat-paddy cycle, a few landless Rajput families of the Mand area of the Beas have started lotus farming in the low-lying areas, considered useless by farmers due to waterlogging.

These families, about 50 in number, settled in villages along the Beas are known as Mahigirs for their ancestors used to sell fish. They have spread in the entire Mand area of Kapurthala district. As fishing has lost its viability, they have switched over to lotus farming. Though it has not made them prosperous enough to buy land for themselves, their per acre earnings are more than those who follow the wheat-paddy cycle.

According to the Mahigirs, lotus farming does not require costly inputs. Also lotus seeds can be got free of cost from areas where lotus grows naturally.

However, it faces a number of problems, especially those related to marketing. “The only outlets for us are marriage palaces and hotels where lotus root (“bhein”) is used as a vegetable,” said Amar Nath, a lotus farmer, adding that a kilogram of the vegetable could fetch anything between Rs 10 and Rs 30.

Besides, this, they also sell the seed of lotus (kaul doda) which has medicinal value.

“The biggest problem is that although it is not as perishable as other vegetables and can be stored in room temperatures for four-five days, people prefer fresh roots for crispy preparations”, said Shiv Dayal. He said since people normally did not use the low-lying pieces of land for farming, they handed over these pieces of land on yearly contracts and charge low amount in comparison to other lands. “If an acre of average land is available for Rs 8,000, low-lying land of same measurement is available in the Mand area between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000,” said another farmer.

According to an estimate of Shiv Dayal, an acre of crop, if not damaged by attacks of insects, can fetch the grower anything between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000. “You can get two crops in a year. Moreover, the return is much more in comparison to paddy or wheat”, he said, adding that the crop could be a substitute for wheat and paddy in some areas of Punjab, especially the ones where land had more water-holding capacity or where water-logging had created problems. However, marketing facilities and the required infrastructure should be provided by the government.


Grain market cries for care
Pushpesh Kumar

The grain market of the district, known as the cotton-belt and which has a major share in the production of paddy and wheat, cries for care. It presents a dirty face of the kind of care the administration gives to the “feeders of the nation”.

Heaps of garbage and animal dung greet farmers and officers of the various departments concerned who have to deal with the produce, including the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and a host of other agencies.

Poorly lit, without any proper arrangement of water drainage, stray animals, no toilets and boundary wall, these are some of the problems the local grain market faces.

The market was opened on May 21, 1969, but the development of the market is still on paper only.

The market caters to 31 villages of Bathinda district and an equal number of villages from the surrounding districts, like Faridkot and Mansa etc.

The poor condition of the grain market shows lack of co-ordination among different wings of the market committee.

The committee earns huge amount by way of revenue from the market fee.

There is no proper sewerage in the area and thus the rain water and water from sewerage often stagnates in the area, creating unhygienic conditions. The stray animals roam freely in the area since there is no boundary wall. They often destroy farm produce. The sheds leak, as a result rainwater spoils the produce.

There are more than a hundred shops in the grain market and about 72 shops of arhtiyas in the market. Almost all shopkeepers have one complaint or the other.

We are not even provided basic facilities in the market, says one of the shopkeepers.

Mr Sat Pal Goyal, vice-president, Arhtiya Association, Bathinda, said the problems they were facing were not new.

He lamented that political interference in the functioning of the market committee office had rendered it useless.

The committee earns huge amount of fees and revenue yet there was no development, he said.

Mr Hardev Singh Baho, chairman, Market Committee, Bathinda, on the other hand maintained that things had improved a lot during his tenure.

The condition of the market had improved. There was a plan to construct a boundary wall and gates for the market.

The revenue had been increasing and the committee earned a revenue of Rs 1.52,65 crore during 1999-2000.

The target for 2000-2001 had been fixed at approximately Rs 2 crore, he added.

Officers of all procurement agencies work here round the year, but no one seems concerned about the condition of the market, which is deteriorating day by day and which seeks urgent attention.


Rice millers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
Members of the Rice Millers Association of Bhuchu today staged a dharna in front of the residence of the Deputy Commissioner against the alleged misbehaviour by the members of the Truck Operators Union.

In a letter written to the Deputy Commissioner, the rice millers stated that they were not allowed to lift paddy from the depot of the Food Corporation of India. In the letter they alleged that the truck operators had parked their trucks in front of the godowns of the FCI for restricting their entry there.


Crop rotation and diversity stressed
From Our Correspondent

Patiala, Feb 20 
The need of the hour is to understand the environment we are living in and to devise new methods to increase soil fertility.

This was stated by Dr Walter Leimgruber, a Professor in human geography from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, who attended a two-day seminar and delivered a lecture to the students of the Department of Geography in Punjabi University on ‘Feeding the hungry’ and ‘Marginality and diversity’ here today.

The emphasis of the seminar was to renounce the use of pesticides and other chemical substances. Instead, the efforts should be to use more of organic fertilisers and to re-introduce the rotation scheme on a wider scale, that is, to change the crop after a few years so that the soil can regain its lost nutrients.

Dr Leimgruber said that there was a need to strengthen the prey-predator cycle. DDT was invented in 1947 and by now insects have become immune to it. He said intercropping was must for the protection of vegetables. Agreeing with him, Mr Mehar Singh Gill, Head of the Department of Geography, said that accepting alone the figures given by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) was not sufficient, but attention should also be paid to other overlooked areas such as food habits and the wastage of food.


PUDA licences for 8 colonisers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
With a view to facilitating private sector participation in the housing sector, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to issue licences to eight colonisers, with a gross area of 68.86 acres, in the state. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting chaired by the Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, here today.

Giving details, an official spokesman stated that the procedural steps for the issue of a licence were being further simplified. Reports from the technical departments were called for and discussed at a composite meeting, face to face with the promoters, so that minor adjustments and amendments could be suggested and adopted on the spot. It was also decided that the demarcation plan would not be insisted on at the stage of the issue of the letter of intent and it might be submitted at any time before the issue of the licence. The only documents required as a condition precedent to the issue of the revised letter of intent were: amended layout plan, services plan, along with broad specifications and rough cost estimates accompanied by an explanatory note/project report.

It was decided to issue licences for the setting up of Greater Kailash at Phagwara (4.01 acres), Swastik Vihar at Dasuya (6.67 acres), Vasant Vihar in Jawadi village, Ludhiana (11.38 acres), G.K. Estate in Ludhiana (7.22 acres), South City Extension X and XI, Ludhiana (17.10 acres), and Sun City, Ropar (17.41 acres). It was also agreed, in principle, to issue the letter of intent in respect of the Mini Township on the Ajnala road in Amritsar (5.07 acres). The spokesman said that so far 72 licences, involving an area of 1231 acres, had been issued so far.

The spokesman said it had been decided that once the internal development works were complete in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence, the completion certificate would be issued, without waiting for the formal registered sale deeds.

The spokesman further said that the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, would hold a meeting with all licensed colonisers of the state on February 26 with a view to hearing their suggestions and obtaining first- hand feedback. 


Punjab transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of two IAS and two PCS officers.

Mr Ashok Kumar Goel has been posted as Special Secretary, Department of Public Works, vice Mr Amrit Lal Garg, who has been posted as Joint Secretary in the Department of Animal Husbandry. Mr Krishan Kumar has been posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner, Moga, in place of Mr Harjit Singh, who has been shifted to the Department of Local Bodies to be posted as Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar.


Undertrial escapes from jail
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 20
Sonu, an undertrial in three criminal cases, escaped from the sub-jail located here on the night of February 18 after cutting the iron rod of the cell in which he was locked up.

Police sources said after cutting the iron rod, Sonu, who had been facing trials in three cases, including one relating to the smuggling of opium and two relating to theft, left the sub-jail without facing any resistance.

Sources said the district police had registered a case under Sections 223, 224 and 225 of the IPC in this connection and the SSP, Mr Kultar Singh, had deputed the DSP, Mr Gurdev Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

Sources said the DIG (Prisons), Mr P.Dutta, who rushed to the sub-jail here after he was informed about the incident, also held an inquiry and recorded the statements of jail inmates and those employees who were on duty at the time when Sonu escaped.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, said there was some negligence on the part of the jail staff in this incident. He added the main thing which was to be proved was how Sonu managed to take the equipment required for cutting iron rod inside the jail.

He added that the connivance of jail staff members could not be ruled out in this incident at the moment. He added that the inquiry of the DSP would bring the truth to light.

Police sources said Sonu also used some other material to scale the wall of the sub-jail. The police was informed about the incident by the Deputy Superintendent, Jails (DSJ), Mr Raj Mohinder Singh.

The police had also been recording the statements of all those employees who were on night duty when Sonu escaped from the sub-jail.

However, there was no information about whether any official of the sub-jail had been placed under suspension or not. Mr Raj Mohinder Singh, DSJ, could not be contacted for his comments.


Jassi case: charges framed against 11
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
Additional Sessions Judge, Sangrur Mr R.P. Nagrath, today framed charges against 11 accused under Sections 302, 307, 364 and 120-B of the IPC in the Canadian girl, Jaswinder Kaur Jassi, murder case. February 24 has been fixed by the court to hear the bail application of Joginder Singh Head Constable (HC) an accused in this case. April 18 has been fixed for medical evidence in the case.

All 11 accused against whom charges were framed are Joginder Singh, HC, Gurwinder Singh, Darshan Singh, Hardev Singh, Gursharan Singh, Anil Kumar, Ravinder Singh, Ashwani Kumar, Jaswant Singh, Kamaljit Singh, and Gurnek Singh. While one of the accused, Pritpal Singh, was discharged by the court yesterday as the prosecution could not produce by incriminating evidence against him.

Another two accused in this case, Malkiat Kaur, mother of Jassi, and Surjit Singh, maternal uncle of Jassi, could not be challaned by the police so far as they have been living abroad. It is learnt that extradition proceedings are in progress to bring them to India and arrest them.

Jaswinder Kaur, alias Jassi (25) was a resident of Mapleridge, Surrey, Canada. She fell in love with Sukhwinder Singh, alias Mithu, a boy from her native village, Kaonke near Jagraon. Later, they got married in a court against the wishes of Jassi’s family including Malkiat Kaur and Surjit Singh, mother and maternal uncle of Jassi, respectively.

It is alleged that mother and maternal uncle of Jassi hatched a “conspiracy” in connivance with certain persons to kill Jassi. Later they allegedly got her killed while her husband was injured seriously in the attack. A case was registered at Amargarh police station on June 9 last year under Section 302, 307, 364, 326, 148, 149, 120-B of the IPC in this connection.


Insurance official held for graft
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 20
Development officer of the Oriental Insurance Company, posted at Anandpur Sahib was arrested for graft by Vigilance Bureau officials, yesterday evening. Giving the information about the case DSP Vigilance Ropar, Malvinder Singh told this correspondent that the accused was nabbed on the complaint of Kulbir Singh of Rajgiri village in Anandpur Sahib. Kulbir Singh had started dairy at his village after raising a loan from Primary Agriculture Development Bank. He had got his cows insured with the said company. However, two of his cows died and he filed a claim with the company. Though the claim of one cow was given to him, the money of the second was held up allegedly by the accused officer.

Kulbir Singh told the Vigilance Bureau officers that his claim was settled by the company on December 19, 2000. The accused development officer, however, upheld the claim demanding bribe. On the complaint of Kulbir Singh the Vigilance officials laid a trap for Sunil Kumar.

When the complainant informed the accused that he was ready to give bribe to him, he called him at Mittal Motors in Anandpur Sahib. The complainant reached the place along with the vigilance officials. He handed over the money to the accused who inturn gave him his claim cheque. After receiving the money from the complainant the accused handed it over to his accomplice Ravi Dutt, the supervisor at Mittal Motors.


3 killed as car, truck collide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 20
Three persons, including a seven-year-old child, was killed and four others injured when a car in which they were travelling collided with a truck coming from opposite direction near Kartarpur today.

According to the police, Parvesh Sharma (45) and Vinod Sharma, both residents of the local Dilbagh Nagar Colony died on the spot. However Gaurav Sharma (7), who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, succumbed to his injuries in the evening.

Others who were injured have been identified as Mrs Rama Sharma (37), Mrs Indu Sharma (40), Amit (4) and Preeti (16).

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |