Thursday, May 10, 2001,
 Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



NRI Sikhs for general amnesty, claims Tohra
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, who has returned to India after a 26-day tour of England, USA and Canada, said NRI Sikhs have demanded general amnesty for militants who had shifted to other countries.

Talking to the Press at the information office of the SGPC here today, Mr Tohra claimed that the NRI Sikhs were annoyed with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his government for having failed to release Sikh detenues who were languishing in various jails of the country.

Without any reference to Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, a self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, who was arrested by the Majitha police, Mr Tohra said foreign-based militants were of the view that if the “fountain head of militancy” could be given VIP treatment the other who followed the foot steps of their leaders should not be denied general amnesty.

He also said the NRI Sikhs had expressed serious concern over the failure of the Badal government to grant them dual citizenship.

Mr Tohra said he would consider the invitation of the Jathedar, Akal Takht, after its receipt for attending the proposed Sikh conclave to be held at Akal Takht on May 12. He, however, appreciated the announcement of 10 Sikh radical outfits for declaring Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale martyr. He said a hukamnama issued by the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, in 1998 for maintaining a status quo on Akali unity was still relevant. He said on the basis of this hukamnama Mr Badal and other Akali leaders who had allegedly violated the edict could be summoned at Akal Takht any time.


PSEB to compensate farmers’ losses: CM
Rashmi Talwar

Kathunangal (Amritsar), May 9
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh, Badal, has declared that compensation for wheat crops destroyed in the recent fires will be paid within 15 days. The compensation will be paid by the PSEB as the crops caught fire in the absence of insulation against live wires passing through the fields.

The Chief Minister said this at a sangat darshan programme here, 22 km from Amritsar, today.

More than 600 acres of standing wheat crop were destroyed in the fires due to short-circuits, destroying more than 12,000 quintals of wheat.

He evaded queries on the “displeasure” of the BJP over the financial “largesses” being doled out in the rural sectors while completely ignoring the BJP vote bank in the urban areas.

On the plan of radical organisations to celebrate “ghallughara day” at Akal Takht on June 6, he said he would not interfere in religious matters but if there was a threat to peace, preventive measures could be taken.

Regarding elections to the SGPC, Mr Badal said “We are prepared for the SGPC elections.” Reports, however, say these could be postponed on account of incomplete voters’ list.

Nearly 50 panchayats were proposed to be given approximately Rs 3.5 crore, however, only 17 panchayats were granted Rs 60.6 lakh as the Chief Minister had to leave for his native village Badal, after being informed that his wife was not well.

Our Correspondent adds from Tarn Taran: Seven employees, including three junior engineers (JEs) and an SSO of the PSEB have been suspended for negligence in maintenance work which caused fires in fields with standing wheat crop.

Mr R.K. Salwan, Deputy Chief Engineer-cum-Superintending Engineer of the local PSEB circle, said this here on Wednesday.

He said 33 cases of fire incidents had been reported in the area. Twelve of them were due to the fault of the PSEB.


PhD row to defame SAD-BJP: teachers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 9
The Teachers United Front (TUF) at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Prof U.C.Singh, took serious note of the controversy between Punjabi University Vice Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia and Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education relating to the ministers Ph.D. registration.

Members of the TUF were of the view that the relaxation in rules and regulations for the VIP, based on ‘communal consideration’ was in violation of the Article 14 of the Constitution which ensured equality before law and equal protection of law. They said two sets of rules in a democratic society were not permitted and it smacked of the Medievalism. 

To set the record straight the TUF pointed out that the synopsis for Ph. D registration was prepared by the candidate under the guidance of a supervisor. They said once it was approved by the supervisor, it was his moral and legal obligation to defend his genuineness and originality in all the fora. However, if the supervisor was not member of Board of Postgraduate Studies and Research, he was made a special invitee to the board meeting to defend the synopsis.

The TUF alleged that by raising an issue of ghost writer of the synopsis after the minister instituted an inquiry on the PUTA Memorandum, it amount to blackmailing the minister and defaming the BJP-SAD alliance Government. They said Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor was not a teacher and thus as per the Ph.D. rules, he was not eligible to be a Ph.D. supervisor.

The front alleged that a faculty member, who was initially associated as a co-supervisor and was eligible and competent to guide the minister for the Ph.D. degree was dropped at the meeting of the research board chaired by the Vice Chancellor himself, for reasons best known to him.

The front was of view that Punjabi was not the language of a particular community but the language of the region. As per the 1991 census, 92.22 per cent of the population of Punjab had been recorded as Punjabi-speaking whereas the population of the Sikhs was only 62.95 per cent. The front alleged that Vice-Chancellor’s effort to link Punjabi language and research in Punjabi to a particular community was aimed at communalising the whole issue.

The front described the raking up of the controversy on Ph.D registration as speaking against the university and tarnishing its image at a time when NAAC was around to evaluate the academic status of the university to determine the level of grants to be given by the UGC 


‘Poorna Vijay’ now in Punjab
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Nagrota (Jammu), May 9
India’s biggest wargame, “Poorna Vijay” (complete victory), which was started in the Rajasthan sector, has been extended to the Punjab sector.

Tanks, armoured cars, long-range guns, fighter planes and other heavy war machines along with several thousand troops in battle dress have moved to vast areas between Dasuya and Mukerian in the Jalandhar sector for carrying out massive military exercises.

Troops and war machines from the Jammu sector too have been associated with the wargames to test the capability of troops to meet any challenge.

An indication to this effect was given during a chat with newspersons by Maj-Gen H.S. Kanwar, GOC/Chief of Staff, 16 Corps, here today.

General Kanwar ruled out the possibility of holding these exercises in the Jammu sector on the plea that suitable area was needed for the wargames. He said the area between Dasuya and Mukerian had been selected after a survey. When it was found the harvest season was over and the area was fit for heavy tanks and armoured cars to move a green light was given to start “Poorna Vijay” exercise.

Asked whether the war game had resulted in extraordinary military movement across the border, General Kanwar said there was no alarming movement across the LoC because Pakistan had been informed in advance about the exercise.

Others at corps headquarters revealed the exercise was meant to test “our defence capability” and if Islamabad was wise enough it should abandon the path of launching proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.

General Kanwar made it clear that Pakistan knew it well that it would face defeat in case of open war and hence Islamabad had opted for a proxy war, adding that it “suits” Pakistan.


Doctor gets notice in organ sale case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
Special Judge Birender Singh has issued notice to Dr O.P. Aggarwal who has been accused by the Vigilance Department of selling human limbs in a revision petition filed by the department for May 10 to hear arguments in the case.

The department had caught Dr Aggarwal allegedly redhanded while accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 to conduct a post-mortem recently. It pleaded in a revision petition that the doctor, who is at present in judicial custody, should be remanded in police custody as he had been selling human organs of bodies brought to the mortuary for post-mortem.

The arguments on the bail plea of Dr Aggarwal will also be heard on May 10. Dr Aggarwal, an Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine, had been booked by the Vigilance Department on a complaint of Zora Singh of Chuharpur village. He had alleged that the doctor demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 to conduct the post-mortem of two of his relatives who had been killed in a clash between two rival groups.


SCs want Dalit PPCC president
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 9
Members of the Scheduled Castes have urged the Congress high command that the next president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) should belong to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

Mr Jeet Singh Romana, President, Punjab Pradesh SC/ST Welfare Association, in a press note issued here today said the president of the PPCC was always selected from the “landlord” community.

Most of the time, they were not aware of the problems of the weaker sections of society, he said.

The present PPCC president had never visited the homes of Dalits to enquire about their problems, he alleged, adding that he also did not attend functions organised by the Dalits.

He said if the Congress wanted to gain power in Punjab it should replace its leader in the state and appoint a Dalit leader.

Mr Romana alleged that in the past when the Congress had entered a poll alliance, it had left the reserved seats to its partner for keeping the Dalits out.


Kohar-Phillaur row: Badal sets up panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
President of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD), Parkash Singh Badal, has constituted a committee to inquire into the verbal duel between two Akali Ministers — Mr Ajit Singh Kohar and Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur — during a meeting at Jalandhar, last week.

Mr Badal has directed Mr Tota Singh and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, both members the Committee, to submit a report to him within seven days. The secretary of the Party, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, in a statement issued in this connection said, that Mr Badal had made it clear that he would take strict action against the party leaders involved in any activity that tarnished image of the party.


For cinemas it’s vulgarity all the way
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, May 9
Examinations are over in Punjab and the entrance test mania is yet to start, but the cinema owners here are trying to cash in on this by showing adult films at more than half of the cinemas.

A visit by the correspondent to various parts of the region revealed that the trend of porno films had reached alarming proportions. Not only in big cities like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, but even in small and not so "happening” cities cinemas had started showing adult movies on a regular basis. In Amritsar alone of the total 13 cinemas as many as six screen adult movies, indicating the huge ‘demand’ for the stuff.

The trend is not difficult to explain and sources in the trade reveal that from May to July very few new films are released and the thrust is on adult movies.

Due to the summers in the northern India very few people and families go to the cinemas and the young generation being free after the exams is an easy target. Also an adult film costs a few thousands of rupees in terms of weekly rental, whereas the masala films sometimes cost several lakhs and the earning potential of the adult films is manyfold, the sources reveal.

With the increasing availability of pornographic material on the Internet its demand has increased. Almost all pornographic sites on the Internet have turned into paid sites.

Although all cinemas have installed hoardings claiming that a ticket for an adult movie will not be issued to minors the facts are the other way round.

Not only schoolchildren but college-goers can be seen evading the public eye after the show is over and look for alternative routes of exit from the cinemas. The migratory labourers form the other major portion of the audience.

Of the six cinemas of the city at least two of them show porno movies at one point of time or the other.

A leading psychologist of the city while commenting on the phenomenon said the trend was not healthy. “Lack of sex education and awareness coupled with hushing up of healthy questions of adolescent minds lead to such “sickness”. The trend has reached alarming proportions and needs to be checked,” he added.


Incarcerated for a year for no fault
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 9
Nirbhey Narain, a migrant labourer, heaved a sigh of relief on April 27 when he was acquitted by Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, Judge, Special Court, Bathinda, in a case related to the smuggling of narcotics for which he remained behind bars for more than a year.

Mr Sidhu announced his judgement on April 27. A copy of the judgement was procured by The Tribune today in which he held that the poor person had to stay in prison for committing any offence. He also directed the prosecution to take suitable action against those police officers who failed to appear in the court more than once despite the fact that their repeated absence was causing loss to accused.

Nirbhey was arrested on December 26, 1999, from the local railway station for allegedly possessing 6 kg of poppy husk without any valid permit or licence. He arrested by ASI Bachan Singh.

It was alleged the accused was carrying the poppy husk in a bag. The police had said he was apprehended on suspicion in the presence of Jhanda Singh, a co-passenger, of the accused.

The judge also observed that the prosecutor failed to produce even a single witness on four occasions which were set for hearing the case. He said the failure on part of the prosecution delayed the release of the innocent person.

The judge held it was a serious lapse on the part of the police officer to have kept the poor person, who was unable to furnish the requisite bail bonds even after release orders on bail issued on August 22, 2000, for a year.

Nirbhey Narain was put in custody on December 26, 1999, for the alleged recovery of 6 kg of poppy husk and remained there till the announcement of the judgement.

Mr Sidhu said the accused was given the benefit of doubt because the prosecution was not able to prove the case against him beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.


Work begins on Kandi dam
Ravinder Sud

Following efforts by the Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Engineer, Kandi Area Development, funds for the construction of the Patiarian dam in the district have now been made available by NABARD and work has started on the project.

NABARD has given the first instalment of Rs 10 crore for the Rs 18.04 crore dam. It will be the 11th in a chain of dams to be constructed in the kandi areas of Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts.

The Punjab Government had conceived the building of a series of low dams on choes to check flood damage and develop the irrigation facilities in the kandi tract.

Mr T.L. Bangay, Superintending Engineer, Dholbaha Dam Construction Circle, Hoshiarpur, said 36 sites for dams had been identified in this connection. Six dams had already been constructed in Hoshiarpur district and four in Ropar district. Preliminary work in connection with the building of the Nara, Thanna, Arniala and Ram Tatwali dams in Hoshiarpur district and the Hazipur dam in Ropar district had been done.

The site of the dam for which funds have been given by NABARD is in the Patiari khud and is 5 km upstream of Kharkan village. It is around 25 km from Hoshiarpur city on the Hoshiarpur-Una road.

Owing to the rugged topography of the area, Mr Bangay said, the conveyance of water over an open surface was not feasible and as such it was proposed to lay a carrier channel (underground ACC pipe.) Besides, it was planned to have the water course in the form of underground PVC pipes. This system of buried pipes had certain advantages over open channel water courses. It had been used in the Perch, Saleran, Mirzapur and Siswan dam command areas and had proved effective.

He said the distribution system, which would be spread over a command area of 730 hectares and have a total length of 23 km, would cover Dalewal, Patiari, Kharkan and Mehlanwali. The command area lay mainly on both sides of the Patiari khud. He said the dam would improve the economic condition of residents of the backward kandi area.


Save Lahori Gate, urges ‘cyber sangat’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
An international “cyber sangat”, has sent a petition to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal requesting him to save the historic Lahori Gate monument in Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur district.

Reacting to news items published in The Tribune and quoting an editorial published in the paper, the 700-strong cyber sangat of the Sikh diaspora, who have made homes in countries like the USA, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong, Fiji, New Zealand, has urged the Chief Minister not to “rob the Sikhs of what we have inherited from our Gurus.”

The petitioners say that they have learnt from the Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative of New Delhi and Tribune editorial “Preserving Punjab’s Heritage”, that the existence of Lahori Gate of Sri Hargobindpur faces threat.

The four shops housed within the Lahori Gate are slated to be sold by its present owners, the municipal committee. With the transferring of the ownership from public domain to private hands the fate of the 17th century monument will be sealed. Under present law buildings older than 100 years cannot be demolished or altered. But, once the property passes into private hands there are no means to insure its preservation.

Meanwhile, informed official sources said here today that the Punjab Government had sought details about Lahori Gate from the authorities concerned in the Local Bodies Department. The direction has also been given to preserve the historic monument and not to sell it to private parties, it is learnt. 


Maharaja’s “lines of misery”
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 9
What has been disturbing the scion of the royal family of Kapurthala, Maharaja Sukhjit Singh, these days? It is not the question as to how he and his family will get their $ 4 million fabulous treasure, which had sunk in the Mediterranean Sea in 1916 while being ferried to India, but the three telephone lines, which become active once in a blue moon at his residence on the banks of the Kanjili Lake here.

What is more disturbing for the Mahajara, who is a Mahavir Chakra (MVC) winner, is the dilly-dallying attitude of the Telecom Department in the installation of the fourth telephone connection which has already been allotted to him from the reserved quota meant for gallantry award winners. “Fed up with the three faulty telephones, we had applied for a fourth one and had even deposited the security amount with the department about four months ago, but we have yet to hear from the department”, alleged the Maharaja’s aide, Mr Pritpal Singh Moli.

The Maharaja said it was his telephone which had been a source of repeated headaches for him, particularly, because of the locations of his residence, which is faraway from the city. “I don’t dare to use my Internet for I don’t know as to when the phone line will get disconnected abruptly,” the Maharaja, who leads a simple life, maintained during this correspondent’s visit to his sprawling residence.

Interestingly, when the correspondent visited the residence of Mr Moli to know about the royal family’s reaction towards the treasure news, he said in a satirical manner that he knew nothing about the treasure. “What has taken all of our attention these days and what has been discomforting the Maharaja are the telephone lines, which have been out of order for three months”, he said, adding that “our repeated complaints have failed to elicit any response from the telecom authorities. We have been paying the rent all through these months though as per the provisions of the Telecom Act, we need not pay the rent in case the phone lines are out of order”. He said the main problem was due to the breaking of overhead wires by overloaded trucks”. We have been asking the department to replace overhead wires with underground ones, but to no avail. Do you think that the Maharaja, who has been a distinguished soldier, deserve such a treatment?” Mr Moli questioned.


3-month jail for proprietor
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 9
Mr H.P. Handa, President, Dr S.K. Narad and Mrs Manjit Walia, both members of the District Consumer Forum, here have sentenced Manjit Singh proprietor, M/s Manjit Electronics, Mata Rani Road, Ludhiana, to simple imprisonment for three months and fined him Rs 2,000 under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, for non-compliance of the order of the forum.

The forum has directed the SSP Ludhiana to take immediate action regarding the execution of the arrest warrants against Manjit Singh. The forum has also directed the Superintendent of the district jail here to keep Manjit Singh in the district jail for three months in compliance with the order of the forum.

According to the members of the forum here today, Mr Kirpal Singh of Hoshiarpur had filed an affidavit against M/s Manjit Electronics, on June 28, 2000, in which he had stated that he purchased a CD player, Universal audio model, from the said firm, which developed defects. He approached the proprietor to remove the defects but he did not oblige him.

On August 17, 2000, the forum ordered that “as the case is being proceeded ex-parte, therefore, we rely upon the affidavit of the complainant and are of the view that there are defects in the working of the CD player as alleged by the complainant and the opposite party did not remove these defects, when approached. Therefore, we allow the complainant and order the opposite party to remove the defects, referred to above, within one month of this order.

The forum said the opposite party had failed to comply with the order and was thus guilty of non-compliance of the aforesaid order.


BSNL ordered to pay compensation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 9
The District Consumer Forum has directed the BSNL authorities to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to a complainant for harassing him by raising old outstanding bills and disconnecting his telephone without a proper hearing.

In a complaint before the forum the complainant Mr Jaswinder Singh of Kharar alleged that he had been paying telephone bills regularly since its installation on May 9, 1997. However, in a bill payable on May 15, 2000, an amount of Rs 5,070 was added being outstanding for the period between April 16, 1997, and June 15, 1997.

The complainant alleged that the outstanding amount was added illegally as it was being charged for a month before the installation of the telephone. He also alleged that his telephone was disconnected without any proper hearing. However, the connection was restored only after he deposited the outstanding amount under protest.

The council for the Telephone Department, however, maintained that the bill in question was sent correctly. The department had infact taken a lenient view in the case and given a rebate of 3,700 calls to the complainant. In this manner even the grievance of the complainant had been redressed, it asserted.

The forum headed by President J.P. Gupta, in its judgement stated that the case illustrated the sorry state of affairs in the Telecom Department. Since the department was not able to prove that the outstanding amount charged from the customer was justified, it amounted to deficiency in service and negligence of duty on its part. The department was directed to pay the excess amount charged from the customer with interest at the rate of 18 per cent from the date of deposit of amount. It was also directed to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to the customer within thirty days, failing which the amount would carry an interest of 18 per cent per annum. 


Fire destroys 40 houses
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 9
More than 40 houses in Hussainpur Dulowal village, falling under the Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision, destroyed in a fire which spread from the fields because of high-velocity winds on Monday night, according to a delayed report.

Farmers of the area lit the fire to clear their fields for sowing the next crop, but because of high-velocity winds, the fire spread in about a dozen villages. The flames engulfed Hussainpur Dulowal and caused the extensive damage to cattle sheds and houses in the village. However, no loss of human life or animal was reported from any of the villages affected by the fire.

The villages most affected were Hussainpur Dulowal, Ahlikalan, Bussowal, Farid Sarai, Chak Balu Bahadur, Kabirpur, Wattanwali, Pithorahal, Qazipur, Jabewal, Mirzapur and Mangopur.

Fire tenders from the town and adjoining cities were requisitioned to extinguish the fire as there was no fire tender in the Sultanpur Lodhi Municipal Council.

The Punjab Urban Development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr V.K. Singh, visited the fire-affected villages today to know about the damage and met the affected villagers. The district administration was assessing the exact loss caused to the properties in the villages. It assured the affected people full financial help from the state government.


Plea to DC for removal of depot
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 9
The Gramin Vikas Parishad today presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, at the PWD rest house.

Representatives from Mamoon, Pathankot, Lamini, Siunti and other villages demanded removal of ammunition depot to ensure safety of people.

The action committee of the parishad appealed to the government for immediate shifting of ammunition depot on the grounds that it was surrounded by settlements at Mamoon, Lamini, Siunti, Manwal, Kuther and part of Pathankot where more than 60,000 people resided.

Adjoining the ammunition depot, there were three residential schools, 12 public schools, 15 government schools, a postgraduate college and a pharmacy college, said the representatives.

Sarpanches Avatar Singh, Hardeep Singh and Sushma Mehta, said the depot came into exstence in 1965, whereas the villages surrounding it had existed for centuries.

Mr Hardeep Singh, Sarpanch of Lamini, said none of the villages had expanded towards the depot whereas the depot had grown three times its size.

The Army acquired a part of Mamoon in the process of expansion and got constructed quarters for their families on the village land.

The Sarpanch said keeping in view the location of the civil and Army residential areas and educational institutions, the depot should be removed.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr B. Vikram, assured the parishad that he would take up the matter with the Army.


School reopens gate, breaks law
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 9
NSD Senior Secondary Public School on the Mall road here has reopened the entrance onto municipal land, which had been closed by the authorities concerned some time ago.

The school, which has its main entrance from the Mall road side, has its boundary touching the area of an abandoned tubewell of the municipal council. Some time ago the school authorities had built an entrance facing the tubewell to facilitate the students.

The municipal authorities taking notice of the infringement ordered to the closure of the entrance, which the school authorities did. Some of the residents had objected to the opening of the gate and had given reasons that even if the land was not used by the municipal council but the action of the school authorities could start a trend and more such incidents of encroachment could take place.

The objection of the residents was that when the school had two entrances than what was the need of making another. The apprehensions of the residents were that the school authorities would first build an entrance on the government land and later on they would use the land as part of the school.

The Principal of the school, when contacted, said there was no wrong intention behind the opening of the entrance. He said the municipal authorities had ordered the closure of the entrance, which they had obeyed but he was not able to give any reason for reopening of the entrance. The Principal said one of the municipal councillors had helped the school authorities in getting the job done, but declined to reveal the name.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, president of the municipal council, when contacted said he was not aware of the incident. But he said the opening up of the entrance and later on the orders of the civic body to close it were in his knowledge. He said a team of the municipal council would be immediately sent to the spot and necessary action would be taken.


Disband police districts: Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today demanded that all six police districts — Barnala, Khanna, Tarn Taran, Batala, Jagraon, and Majitha should be disbanded.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (A), said disbanding of the police districts was necessary as militancy had ended. He said these police districts were a burden on the state exchequer. He also demanded abolition of some top posts in the police department.

Mr Mann also criticised the Punjab police for the deterioration in the law and order situation.

He urged the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the state government to resolve the issue of chambers for lawyers in the newly built judicial complex here.

Mr Mann appreciated Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, for mooting a proposal to form a pressure group of Sikh MPs in Parliament.

He accused the Chief Minister of getting young persons recruited in the police from the Assembly constituencies of Lambi and Gidderbaha. He alleged a team of senior police officers had been imparting training to youth at Lambi. He alleged that even domestic help of Mr Badal were being recruited in the police.


Cop denied bail in theft case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 9
The Judicial Magistrate, Mr Avtar Singh, today declined bail to Budh Singh, a Punjab police official, in a case registered against him at Thermal police station in connection with theft and intimidation.

Budh Singh, was arrested by the Bathinda police a few days ago. He had been evading arrest for the past couple of years despite the fact that a number of criminal cases were registered against him in Bathinda and Mansa districts due to his political ‘connections’.

Budh Singh, has been lodged in the Central Jail, Bathinda. Four days ago, he was thrashed by other inmates when he allegedly abused them.

Police sources said Budh Singh, was involved in a number of cases, including the possession of illegal arms, corruption, torture and stripping of a Dalit woman in the local police station.


Accused gets bail in drugs case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
If allegations in a petition submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, frontline workers of opposition parties in Punjab are being implicated in false cases for going against candidates of the ruling party.

In his petition, Jagsir Singh of Malout, accused of possessing 1 kg of opium, today alleged that he was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act on August 16 last year after he supported Congress candidate Jagmeet Singh Brar against the Punjab Chief Minister’s son during the Lok Sabha elections.

Granting bail to the accused, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the High Court observed: “I am, prima facie, satisfied that in the present case false implication cannot be ruled out”.

Earlier during the proceedings, member of Parliament Jagmeet Singh Brar, in a certificate issued on February 24, stated that the petitioner had done his best for ensuring his victory against the Chief Minister’s son. He added that the frontline workers were being harassed and implicated in criminal case after the defeat of the ruling party candidate.

In another certificate, the representative of the local gram panchayat also asserted that the case registered against the accused was false and he was being implicated for supporting the Congress Party during the Lok Sabha elections.

Today, counsel for the petitioner, describing Jagsir Singh as a “victim of the ruling party”, asserted that the accused was arrested earlier also but was released due to the MP’s presence in the area. He added that the MP was willing to stand surety for the petitioner.

After hearing the arguments, Mr Justice Nijjar directed that bail was being granted to the accused to the satisfaction of Muktsar’s Chief Judicial Magistrate. In his detailed order, the Judge observed: “Keeping the facts in view, I am satisfied that a case is made out for grant of bail”.


Yoga catches people’s attention
Gayatri Rai

Bathinda, May 9
Mr Inder Kumar Chopra, who was suffering from hernia, was not willing to undergo an operation to cure it as he felt that at the age of 85, the operation would not prove effective.

However, within two months of joining Yoga classes at a local Yoga centre on the advice of a friend, Mr Chopra started feeling better and his problem due to hernia, disappeared.

Mr H.S. Brar, a businessman, who was hooked to pain killers for the past five months to get some relief from joint pains, has stopped taking the pills after he joined the Yoga classes to overcome his problem.

Similarly, a minor girl who spoke on condition of anonymity, has succeeded in overcoming her heart problem by enrolling herself at the Yoga centre.

For the past many years, the centre has been witnessing a rush of people who have either been trying to overcome physical and mental problems or keep their physique fit and remain healthy.

The centre being run by the Punjab Yoga Sabha is catering to the needs of about 75 persons at present. They belong to all age groups and include 15 women also. Some of them have been frequenting the centre regularly for the past 10 years.

Mr Yograj, instructor of Yoga classes, said Yoga was a way of life and an age-old method to overcome all physical and mental problems. He further said that the method varied from person to person depending on their age, stamina, needs and problems.

The Yoga classes are held in the morning from 5.30 a.m. up to 8.30 a.m. There is a separate arrangement for women. After completing exercises, all persons attend a 30-minute class of meditation. People attending the classes are instructed to strictly follow the rules of the centre.

A number of students who have been attending Yoga classes at the centre for the past few months said they were feeling burdened due to excessive tension of studies and making a career. Yoga classes proved beneficial to them to be mentally relaxed, they said. The centre has organised Yoga training camps at various schools and colleges and other institutions. It has also held a camp for police personnel and jail inmates.

Mr Yograj said the centre had been serving society for the past 14 years. 


Controversy over debris clearance
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 9
Even as the vehicular traffic on the Bathinda-Malout national highway has come to standstill since yesterday after a bridge over the Behman distributary collapsed, a controversy has arisen between the Irrigation Department and the Public Works Department over the clearance of debris from the distributary.

Though the bridge collapsed yesterday, the operation to clear the debris could not be started with both Irrigation Department and the PWD authorities claiming that it was not their job.

Due to the non-clearance of the debris, the Army was requested to make a temporary bridge.

Mr J.R. Garg, Xen, Irrigation Department, said the clearance of debris was the job of the PWD as the bridge collapsed due to the uprooting of a central pier which belonged to that department.

However, Mr J.S. Sikand, Xen, PWD, said the bridge was constructed by the Irrigation Department and it was liable to clear the debris. He said the Union Ministry of Transport, when informed about the collapse, asked the PWD authorities to clear the debris.

He said the Central Government had sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the construction of a new bridge.

Meanwhile, Mr K.K. Singla, SDO, Irrigation Department, said farmers owing about 27,000 acres which were being irrigated by the Behman distributary were being affected as the water flow had stopped.


Pharmacists to hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 9
The Punjab Pharmacists’ Association, has decided that pharmacists from all over the state will stage a dharna in front of the residence of the Health Minister, Punjab, on May 13, and hold a protest march for non-implementation of their demands which have already been accepted.

This was stated in a press note issued by Mr Surinder Ghai, secretary of the association, here today.

He said that on the assurance of Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister, the proposed demonstrations in September 2000 and in January 2001 were suspended.

Dr Chawla had also announced their genuine demands would be accepted. But none of the accepted demands had been implemented, he said.

He threatened a massive demonstration on June 10 in Lambi in case their demands were not met.


Mystery shrouds youth’s death
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 9
Surinder Jit Singh, son of a retired Punjab Excise and Sales Tax official, today died under mysterious circumstances.

Sources in the Civil Hospital said the youth was brought to the hospital in serious condition. The youth, who was living in a rented accommodation at Power House road had reportedly consumed poison. The body of the youth was handed over to his kin after post mortem.

The viscera has been sent for chemical examination. 


Rs 6.60 lakh given for Gujarat relief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Officers and other employees of the Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab, today donated one day’s salary for the Punjab Chief Minister’s Gujarat Relief Fund. A cheque for Rs 6.60 lakh was presented by the Financial Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Mr Y.S. Ratra, to the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, here.


Red Cross Day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 9
The Red Cross Society has granted Rs 4.25 lakh for the welfare of the poor and needy. The society distributed 234 tricycles, 71 hearing aids and 196 clippers.

This was stated by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, during the function held to celebrate the World Red Cross Day at the Red Cross Hall here yesterday.

He added that an amount of Rs 3.75 lakh had been contributed by the society for the poor and handicapped. 


Robbery bid foiled, 4 arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 9
The local police on a tip-off has raided an abandoned factory near Fazilka and arrested four persons along with weapons.

According to Mr Ajay Maluja, DSP, Fazilka, the arrested persons, who have been identified as Dharamvir Singh, Harjinder Singh, Gurbinder Singh and Arun Kumar, were planning to commit a robbery at Fazilka. One of their accomplices, however, managed to escape.

A .32 bore revolver, a 12 bore gun along with ammunition and two sharp-edged weapons were also seized from them.

In another incident, the police has seized two trucks carrying 232 and 218 bags, respectively, of stolen wheat and arrested a person Veeru in this connection. His other accomplices, however, managed to escape.

According to Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, Veeru had revealed that he was working for a gang headed by Lakhwinder Singh, alias Baba, and the wheat was stolen from the godowns of Markfed near Makhu and Talwandi Bhai.


‘Doc’s arrest reveals tip of lceberg’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
The Patiala district unit of the Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) has expressed concern over the manner in which bodies were being treated in the morturay of Rajindra Hospital and also said that the arrest in a corruption case of Associate Professor Dr O.P Aggarwal was just a tip of the iceberg as far as the sale of human organs was concerned.

In a press release, the president of the association, Prof Sucha Singh Gill, has urged the district police to pursue the matter in right earnest and also examine all aspects of corruption related to the sale of human organs. 

The association has appealed to conscientious doctors and paramedical staff to check corruption in the sale of human organs and suggested to involve medical teachers’ associations, para-medical staff of the District Red Cross society in the creation of some mechanism whereby human organs and unclaimed bodies could be used as per existing rules and laws.


Couple, daughter killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 9
A couple and their minor daughter died on the spot while their minor son was injured when their scooter was hit by a Tata Sumo yesterday near Jhakolari, 26 km from here.

The deceased have been identified as Kuldip Singh, his wife Paramjit Kaur and daughter Priti.

They were residents of Kalanaur in the district and had gone to attend a marriage at Pathankot. On their way back the mishap occurred.

The driver of the Sumo had fled.

The bodies after a post-mortem examination were handed over to the guardians of the deceased. A case has been registered.


4 looters held, 2 pistols seized
Tribune News Service

Fazilka, May 9
The local police has arrested four members of a gang of looters who were allegedly planning to commit a dacoity in the area. Two pistols with live cartridges and sharp-edged weapons have been seized from them.

Police sources said during patrolling a police party came to know that certain suspicious persons had been roaming in the area. A police party raided premises located near Shatirwala village and arrested four persons while one of their associates managed to escape.

The arrested persons have been identified as Dharambir, Harjinder Singh, Gurvinder Singh and Arun Kumar. The fifth accused, who managed to escape has been identified as Paramjit Singh, alias Pammi.

Mr Ajay Maluja, DSP, said a campaign against the criminals had been launched in the area under directions from the district police chief, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu. He added that a case against the accused had been registered under the Arms Act and the IPC in the sadar police station.


1400 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 9
The district police has exposed a racket of narcotic smuggling with the seizure of 1,400 kg of poppy husk worth Rs 7 lakh in Nurmahal subdivision.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said here today the police, on a tip-off yesterday that some persons had smuggled a truckload of poppy husk from Kishangarh in Rajasthan and parked the truck near a tubewell near Lakhanpal village, impounded the truck along with the poppy husk. However, the culprits fled the scene.

Mr Yadav further said the poppy husk was stashed in 40 sacks weighing 35 kg each. The racket was flourishing with the help of narcotic smugglers based in Rajasthan, he added.

The culprits have been identified as Roshan Lal of Lakhanpal village in Nurmahal, Iqbal Singh of Garshankar, Nirmal Singh of Mahilpur, Krishna of Langrowal village in Nawanshahr.


Clash over disputed land, 8 hurt

Amritsar, May 9
Eight persons sustained bullet injuries following a group clash at Varpal village in the district today.

A police report said the two parties involved in the clash were those of present Sarpanch Jaimal Singh and former Sarpanch Lalli. The cause of the clash was a dispute over land in the village, it said. The injured were admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here and other hospitals. The police has registered a case. UNI


MSc students get three wrong question papers in a row
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
Students of MSc food and nutrition have had to counter as many as three incomplete question papers during the course of their examinations recently and have now appealed to Punjabi University to ensure they are given justice in the matter.

The students, all of whom are in the first year of the course and are studying in the Government College for Girls here, said their troubles started on April 21 when they received an incomplete paper of Biochemistry of their course. They said they only received on single question paper which was typed on both sides and the second paper, which should have contained five more objective type questions, was missing. They said even though they had complained against the anomaly, no action was taken in the matter.

They said to their surprise, the next paper on food and microbiology, held on April 26, contained five objective type questions of the earlier paper but some other objective type questions of the microbiology subject, which should have been in it, were missing. They said the anomaly could be clearly seen from the fact that while the questions of microbiology, which were to be carried on to the next page were in numbered form, the questions on the second page received by the students had questions in alphabetical form which belonged to the earlier paper.

The girls, including Sandeep, Ramnik, Manglita and Harpreet, said the third paper of human physiology held on April 30 had an entire section of 31 marks missing from the question paper. They said when they protested against this negligence they were told by the college authorities that the complete question paper would be brought from Punjabi University. They said the missing section was received by them towards the end of the paper but they had problems attempting it as the section was poorly xeroxed and the questions were practically illegible.

The girls said this was not all. The question papers had a lot of spelling mistakes, due to which the entire meaning of the questions was changed. The students have complained to the authorities and asked for grace marks.


B.Ed entrance test
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 9
The entrance test for admission to the B.Ed courses for the session 2001-2002 for all colleges of Punjab would be conducted by the Punjabi University on July 1. The Department of Education of Punjab Government had assigned the responsibility of conducting the entrance test to Punjabi University.

Dr B.S. Bhatia has been appointed as the co-ordinator for the entrance test. He said that the test would be provisionally open to candidates who had appeared for the qualifying examination and whose results were awaited, but these candidates would have to satisfy the eligibility conditions to qualify for admission by the date of interview.

Dr Bhatia added that the prospectus and forms would be available at all education colleges with effect from May 21.


Alcohol sale near school worries parents
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 9
Parents of the wards studying in Sun Flower Model High School, Tripuri, appeared worried because of the excessive use of alcoholic drinks being sold openly in the area. They fear their wards were falling prey to drinking at a tender age.

The parents contacted the management of the school regarding the increasing sale of the product and found the management to be equally worried about the problem. They have asked the Government to take congisance of the situation immediately so that necessary steps were taken.


Educationist dead
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 9
An educationist and social activist Niranjan Singh Mann (70) died here in the small hours today. He was cremated later in the afternoon.

Mr Mann was the president of the local gurdwara committee and an executive member of the governing council of the local Guru Nanak College.

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