Sunday, July 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Chohan attacks Badal, Cong
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 7
Khalistan proponent Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan today launched a scathing attack on the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Congress.

He, however, quickly added ‘‘violence was by no means to achieve the goal and clarified I have no political ambition to join any party or to contest elections.’’ Badal had no positive work to show, Dr Chohan said.

The killings carried out in the past were an anti-thesis to the spirit of Khalsa which had been formed from amongst the Hindus. Violence has historically never solved any problem, said Dr Chohan, as he sat in the lobby of a private hospital here to address a press conference this morning.

Dr Chohan justified the killing of Harchand Singh Longowal, Indira Gandhi and Beant Singh.

He was quick to blame the Congress saying the party was behind all killings in Punjab. The Congress started the killings when it suited them and stopped it when they desired. He, however, absolved the Akalis of any wrong doing during the turbulent period. He chided Mr M.S. Bitta’s anti terrorist front saying why did he not have the guts to form such an organisation when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab.

Punjab was facing a crisis as it had been engulfed in ‘‘jatwad’’, he said. Describing the Jat mentality, he said ‘‘they were selfish and sided with the strong’’.

Flanked by his lawyer Mr Ranjan Lakhanpal and Swami B Chaitanya Maharaj, Chairman of the Hare Krishna Mission, Dr Chohan ducked most of the controversial questions. Each time he would remind newspersons that he had been away from the country since May 15, 1980.

He excused himself by saying ‘‘I was out of the country’’, when asked if he supported the killings carried out at the behest of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale. Harchand Singh Longowal had betrayed the cause of the Khalsa, declared Dr Chohan when he was asked why the moderate Longowal was made a target. Lala Jagat Narain, owner of the Punjab Kesari group of newspapers was a friend, Dr Chohan claimed when asked if he knew why he was killed?

Dr Chohan claimed, ‘‘Personally I do not know any of the boys except Wassan Singh Zaffarwal.’’ He denied that he had ever visited Pakistan, while adding that peace between these countries was important.

While justifying the killing of Indira Gandhi he said it was inevitable as she had ordered the army to attack the Golden Temple.


BJP to demand eight seats
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
To affirm its presence and base in each district, the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would demand from its senior alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal, at least one Assembly seat in each of the eight unrepresented districts of the State.

The National Executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was scheduled to be held at Amritsar from July 18 to 20, has been postponed and will now be held from August 3 to 5, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, Punjab BJP President, said here on Saturday.

The venue of the meeting would remain unchanged. A political rally to be addressed by top national leadership is now scheduled for August 4, the second day of the executive meeting.

All top leaders of the party, including the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, besides the BJP chief, Mr Jana Krishnamurthy, would attend the meeting.

These eight seats would be in addition to 23 seats the party had contested in the 1997 Assembly elections.

“The basis of this demand,” says Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP,” is not only to induce a sense of belongingness among party workers but also secure Hindu-vote for the Shiromani Akali Dal candidates in the remaining constituencies in these districts.”

The eight districts are Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Moga, Nawanshahr and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The election of Ms Gurcharan Kaur as MP, says Professor Rinwa, has given a fillip to the BJP campaign in the Malwa belt where its political rally held at Budhlada yesterday got an overwhelming response.

In these eight districts, the BJP would press for only one seat which it would consider a winning seat. These seats would otherwise go to our Opposition parties, including the Congress, CPI and others.

“By fielding BJP candidates , our workers in these unrepresented districts would get an impetus to work hard for the success of not only the lone party candidate but also redouble their efforts to ensure success of SAD candidates in the remaining constituencies. This would intensify our campaign and improve our performance,” asserts Professor Rinwa.

The BJP has chalked out a comprehensive programme to organise Sammelans in each of the 23 Assembly seats it contested last time. To give a clear message to party workers , these Jan Sammelans would be addressed among others by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Ms Gurcharan Kaur, Mr Lajpat Rai, besides Professor Rinwa. Efforts would be made to rope in Mr Vinod Khanna for these meetings also.

Before organising Sammelans, the party has decided to set up five-member committees in each of these 23 Assembly constituencies. These committees will comprise the MLA or the candidate concerned, district president, mandal president, a constituency representative and a member of the state political affairs committee. This five-member Committee would go to each party worker and would bring back even those who had been unhappy or not active for one reason or the other. This five-member committee would then constitute a 50-member committee of activists to work untiringly for the party candidate in the Assembly elections, says Mr Avinash Jaiswal, a senior functionary of the party.

Prof Brij Lal Rinwa said that the elections would be held on schedule in February next year. “We do not foresee any problem in procurement of paddy. Efforts would be made to ensure that there are no problems on account of MSP, lifting, storage and movement of food grains.”

Professor Rinwa said that he would take up the case of new Kisan Ekta Unions which have become active in the Malwa belt and which were trying to create a wedge between urban and rural people. “A number of deputations of traders and commission agents met me in Bathinda and Mansa during the past few days maintaining that activists of these unions had been blackmailing traders by alleging that they were responsible for one suicide or the other by farmers. This is a dangerous game plan. We want the Chief Minister to order an independent investigation and check this dangerous game.”

Talking about Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Professor Rinwa said that it was needless to say that the BJP had always opposed terrorism and made supreme sacrifices in fighting terrorism in the country. “As such there is no question of facilitating or allowing entry of one terrorist or secessionist into the country”. 


Punjab to spread Maharaja’s philosophy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 7
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday said his government would make earnest efforts to propagate the philosophy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to every corner of the world.

Presiding over a meeting of the state-level concept committee set up to organise the bicentenary coronation celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit, the Chief Minister said the Punjab Government had already launched the celebrations in a big way which would culminate with a function at Amritsar on November 13.

He urged the admirers of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to organise functions in all countries. He said the national committee set up for the celebrations had already initiated steps to organise functions in Delhi, the UK, France and Lahore.

Mr Badal expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for granting approval to set up a panorama, a unique visual project at Amritsar, on the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on the pattern of a project in Kurukshetra. He said a committee of experts comprising the Principal Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Punjab, vice-chancellors of Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University and other eminent historians had already begun work on this unique project. He announced the Centre’s decision to release a commemorative stamp on the life and works of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

He said Ram Bagh, Amritsar, which is associated with the memory of the Maharaja, was being further beautified and remodelled with excellent landscaping and repair.

The Chief Minister said the process of installing three bronze statues of the Maharaja riding a horse had been started and these would be installed in Parliament House in Delhi, Ropar and the Ranjit Sagar Dam which had been dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister on March 4 this year. He said work on a serial on the life and times of the Maharaja was in progress.

Mr Badal said the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Chair set up in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, as part of these celebrations, had become functional from July 1 to carry out research on various facets of the Maharaja’s life. He said the project for publication of the Punjabi version of seven Persian books relating to the Maharaja and a bibliography of various books on the Maharaja had been undertaken by Punjabi University, Patiala.

The Chief Minister said the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology would soon start functioning in Punjabi University. Besides, a Maharaja Ranjit Singh Kala Bhavan was being built on the university campus.

Mr Badal said a polo tournament would also be organised in Punjab and the UK. He said the Education Department of the state government had decided to include chapters on the life of the Maharaja in the language and history books for the students. He said a Maharaja Ranjit fund would also be set up to sponsor the visit of Punjabi students abroad.


Two members of gang held for killing cop
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 7
Two more members of a Delhi-based gang of killers have been arrested. The gang had eliminated a Delhi-based importer in 1998 for Rs 50 lakh.

Interrogation of the alleged chief of the gang Harpal Shantu who was living in Jalandhar posing as liquor contractor for the past two years and was arrested by the Jalandhar police last week, along with his two accomplices Amrik Singh Vicky of Preet Nagar and Joginder Singh Pakora revealed that they had murdered a constable and injured seriously another on June 27 at Ghaziabad for securing the release of another gang member Amanpreet Singh Raju of Amritsar. It is tale of two youths yearning to go abroad in search of greener pastures but landed up in the hands of gangster-cum-travel agent Balwinder Singh who allured them into kidnapping and “Supari” killings in the Capital and surrounding areas for money Balwinder Singh, who had become notorious in Delhi and had a feud with another gang led by Brahm Parkash, who allegedly got the former eliminated in September last year and himself was killed by the Delhi Police in an encounter last month.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP said Harpal alias Shantu was the brain behind the conspiracy to get Amanpreet Raju released from jail and had motivated Vicky and Pakora, his henchmen in liquor business to commit murder of policemen escorting Amanpreet Raju while he was being taken to Ghaziabad from the Tis Hazari Courts on June 27. Amanpreet Raju was arrested by the Noida police for a bid on life of Anil Gupta, a Deputy Director of Customs and Excise along with Shantu, who was later was released on bail.

Shantu left Jalandhar on June 26 evening in his Zen car (PB-5666) along with the Vicky and Pakora and two revolvers and the three reached Tis Hazari Court premises next morning, where Raju was to be produced by constables Mehar Singh and Tyagi. As per the plan, Pakora introduced to constables as a friend of Raju, and persuaded them to travel with him up to Ghaziabad in his Maruti being driven by Vicky and trailed by Shantu. When the car neared Ghaziabad jail, it was stopped at an isolated location where Vicky took out his revolver and shot dead one of the constables from point blank range and injured the other. Both police officials were thrown out by Vicky and Pakora, who later were joined by Shantu.

Shantu and Raju, according to top police officials had taken to crime in 1996-97, when the two had contacted Balwinder Singh, a Delhi based travel agent-cum gangster and had paid him Rs 5 lakh for sending them abroad. Balwinder, however, motivated them to stay back and join the mafia ranks. The Balwinder gang then planned a big operation and killed a Delhi-based importer Balli after taking “supari” of Rs 50 lakh from his partner Gurmeet Sehgal. All gang members including Balwinder, Shantu, Raju and Gurmeet Sehgal were arrested by the Delhi police, however, Shantu was released and he returned to Jalandhar in 1999, where he invested the money earned from the supari business in liquor trade.

Earlier, when Anil Gupta, who was working in the Revenue Intelligence at that time, tried to build up a case against Gurmeet Sehgal, the latter hatched a conspiracy to get him eliminated at the hands of Balwinder. But when Balwinder was killed, he persuaded Shantu to execute the job and the latter allegedly attacked and shot Anil Gupta, who however escaped with bullet injuries. It is interesting Gurmeet Sehgal was allegedly shot dead by the Brahm Parkash group in June and days after Brahm Parkash himself was shot dead by the police, thus partly putting an end to gang wars in streets of the capital.

Mr Yadav said Ghaziabad police has been informed about the arrest of gangsters. He said one .32 bore revolver with two cartridges and three empties one double-barrelled gun and four kg of opium have been recovered drom Pakora and Vicky.


50 pc medical college posts vacant
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 7
About 50 per cent posts of teacher in government medical colleges are lying vacant, causing an immense loss to the students. The posts could not be filled due to the new system of writing annual confidential reports, by the state government.

However, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Minister, Medical Education and Research, has assured that the posts would be filled shortly. He has also assured that government would appoint a senior principal of a medical college as Director, Medical Education and Research, in place of Mr Rakesh Ahir, a PCS officer. The appointment of a PCS officer had led to protests by professionals.

Out of the total 110 posts of professors associate professors etc, 54 posts have been lying vacant for a long time as the new formula evolved by the state government has made most of the senior medical teachers “ineligible” for the next promotions.

As per the information, 11 posts of professor, one post of associate professor, 11 of assistant professor, 14 of senior lecturer and 16 of lecturers could not be filled.

Dr Bhola Singh Sidhu and Dr Karan Sharma, president and general secretary of the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association, respectively, also presented a memorandum to Mr Kalia, urging him to change the criteria for writing annual confidential reports. As per the new rules framed by the state government, only a medical teacher whose five consecutive annual confidential reports are “very good” could be eligible for the next promotion.

The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association in its memorandum, submitted to the visiting minister said that if the state government failed to fill posts of medical teachers, all three medical colleges of the state could be derecognised. Apart from this, the MBBS degree and post-graduate degrees could be derecognised.

Talking to TNS, Mr Kalia said that 16 more NRI seats would be allocated to medical colleges so that the money so generated could be spent on the medical facilities for the public. He said four diagnostic centres were being set up in Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Faridkot at a cost of Rs 16 crores. He said private practice by the government doctors was banned and strict action initiated against those who violated the government rules.

As a part of decentralisation, principal of medical colleges had been empowered to spend up to Rs 1 lakh the financial power of director medical education and research had been enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.


SHSAD promises graft-free regime
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 7
Jathedar G.S. Tohra, President, SHSAD, today virtually launched the election campaign of his party by organising a political conference at the same venue where the SAD organised its meeting which was addressed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, interestingly, the crowd at the Tohra rally was as big as that of the Badal recently.

The leaders of SHSAD claimed that the people had come at their own in their vehicles and not brought by government officials in vehicle provided by the DTO.

Addressing the conference, Jathedar Tohra called upon the Punjabis to get ready for a fight with anti-panthic forces as well as anti-national forces. He urged the people to strenthen the panthic Morcha and promised a corruption-free and people-friendly regime if voted to power. He said facilities to every section of society would be provided without any consideration of caste or creed and loans of farmers waived.

Lashing out at Mr Badal, he said Mr Badal had violated all principles of Sikhism and denigrated Akal Takht for political ends and to prop up his son. He said he had humiliated the people, particularly Sikhs and “dared to do what the Congress had not. He said it was the duty of every Sikh to avenge humiliation and defeat the SAD and the BJP in the coming Assembly elections.

Reacting to allegations by Mr Badal that he had always “lusted for Chief Ministership, Mr Tohra said had that been the case, I could have become an MLA 30 years ago and the CM several times”.

Even today if Mr Badal apologises at Akal Takht and recognises Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takhat, I am ready to retire from politics”, He said Mr Badal couldn’t purchase the Punjabis by distributing grants at “sangat darshan” programmes. He asked traders, industrialists, farmers, employees, pensioners, the aged and labourers if they had received even a single benefit from the Badal regime.

Criticising the Congress, he said Sikhs could not forget the atrocities it had committed on them during Operation Bluestar and the 1984 riots.

Expressing resentment towards the media, he said certain vested interests had tried to malign his image by terming him as communal.


Top Cong leaders meet Sonia
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
All the three senior leaders of the Congress from Punjab — Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo and Mr Balbir Singh — held separate meetings with the President of the AICC, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, this morning, according to reports reaching here.

Though none of them was ready to disclose what transpired at the meeting, but informed sources said that they conveyed their view on party affairs in the State and the strategy to be adopted to wipe out the SAD-BJP combine in the ensuing Assembly elections in the State.

Mr Brar represents Faridkot and Mr Dullo represents Ropar. Mr Balbir Singh was elected from Jalandhar in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, the Congress is inclined to announce the names of the candidates for 40 to 50 Vidhan Sabha constituencies well before the ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab.

The matter came up for discussion at the meeting of the party’s coordination committee held under the chairmanship of Mr Moti Lal Vora at Delhi yesterday. Informed sources said that Mr R.L. Bhatia, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar and certain other members of the Committee were of the view at the meeting that party’s nominees for the elections should be given enough time to streamline their election campaign.

They pointed out usually names of the party nominees were cleared by the high command only a day before the last day of filing of nominations. Because of this reason, party nominees got a very little time to put together their election campaign, the duration of which has been considerably shortened by the Election Commission of India.

Whereas other party’s announce their nominees several weeks before the filing of nominations giving enough time to them to streamline the election campaign and to do other ground work.

One of the members of the coordination committee suggested that with the approval of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC and the members of the committee, the party’s MLAs should be told to be ready to recontest the elections in their respective constituencies. If the party high command or the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) wanted to replace one or two sitting MLAs such a decision could be taken before the filing of the nomination papers. The party has the tradition to renominate its sitting MLAs, except in rare cases.

It was also proposed that the names of 40 to 50 party candidates, who are acceptable to all factions within the party in Punjab, should be announced shortly after seeking the approval of Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

The issue of the expansion of the coordination committee also came up at the meeting. At present four sitting MPs from Punjab are members of the committee. It was suggested that four remaining MPs from the state should also be taken on the committee. However, the move was rejected following one of the members of the committee said that then all the sitting MLAs should also be taken on the Committee. More representation for Scheduled Caste party leaders was also sought in the executive and other office-bearers of the PPCC. Sources said that the party high command was prepared to accommodate certain more leaders as office-bearers and members of the executive of the PPCC. The announcing of the names of the heads of various party cells in Punjab also came up for discussion at the meeting.


Steps to reduce road mishaps
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 7
The district police to reduce the number of road accidents has initiated various projects, including launching of Highway Integrated Traffic Enforcement Cell (HITEC) at five accident-prone areas of the district, educating school children on traffic rules and safety demarcation of parking lines and inscribing the zebra crossings on the roads.

In year 2000, a total of 150 road accidents claimed 67 lives and left 178 injured. Most of these accidents took place on the Bathinda-Barnala, the Bathinda-Mansa roads of the district. Minor accidents, which often involve no casualties often go unreported but rough estimates put their number at 500 per year.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said that to control increasing number of road accidents, temporary road dividers had been set up at various key points. The zebra crossings, stop lines for vehicles, parking lines, traffic flow information boards and boards giving information about the traffic signs have been put up at various places in the city. Entry of heavy vehicles into the main bazaars of the city has been banned from 10 a.m. till 8 p.m. in the evening to facilitate smooth flow of traffic. Traffic policemen have been deployed at all main entry and exit points of the city and also at the lanes and by-lanes of the city. The traffic police men have been regulating not only the flow of traffic but educating public to follow traffic rules, asserted Dr Jain.

One Assistant Sub-Inspector, one hawaldar and one constable have been deputed by the authorities to educate school children about traffic rules. A traffic training park has been established at the Municipal Rose Garden to give practical training to school children.

Dr Jain said that traffic police personnel have been provided with night jackets, torches with reflectors, wireless sets and anti-pollution masks. The tractor trailers have been installed with reflectors. Traffic police men have been deployed permanently at the traffic lights near the bus stand.

The district police managed to get two hi-tech centres opened one at Muktsar-Malout crossing and the other at Jassi Bagh Wali of the district. Three others would be constructed very soon and the foundation stones of the same have been laid at Bathinda-Bhuchhu road, the Bathinda-Goniana road and Kot Shamir village. These centres have been equipped with ambulances, first-aid boxes, oxygen cylinders, toilets, wireless, motor cycles, emergency telephone number (102) eatables and STD-PCO facilities.

Dr Jain said that the hi-tech post set up at the Muktsar-Malout crossing has managed to save 19 lives since its inauguration on April 23 this year. The personnel deployed at the hi-tech centres have been given training in first aid and disaster management.

Not only this, to curb the menace of drunken driving the police had procured two alco-meters. These instruments manufactured in Australia come with the facility of an inbuilt printer which helps to record the name of the driver, driving licence number, registration number of the vehicle and other important details in printed format instantly. One more alco-meter had been procured from America, added Dr Jain.


Alcometers to tackle Bacchus lovers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 7
Taking one for the road may not be safe any longer in the city from next Monday as the city cops have brought in two alcometers to prevent Bachhus lovers from creating mayhem in the town.

The city police has imported two alcometers from Australia which are likely to phase out the breath analysers which were used earlier by traffic cops in certain towns of the state. Disclosing this Superintendent of Police (City) Gautam Cheema said the testimony of the breath analysers did not hold in court, due to which those mixing drinks with driving invariably got away scot-free. The city police is also going in for the alcometers as a deterrant as instances of accidents while in an inebriated state have been on the increase in the city, particularly at night.

The new machine which will be used to discourage people from consuming liquor before driving is very sophisticated. According to the police officer, the machine can record the test levels of 6,500 persons which record could be downloaded through computer to get a print out. The print out can also be provided to the accused on the spot ensuring complete fair play in the system.

The police officer said the alcometer was not only accurate in its reading of the liquor content consumed by a person but was also very fast. He said the machine could tell within 30 seconds whether a person had consumed liquor or not. He said police officials would be provided training on use of the alcometers in the Phillaur Police Training School.

Another feature of the alcometer is that samples do not get contaminated at all as sometimes happened in the case of the breath analyser. Mr Cheema said the machines were being procured at the district level at a cost of Rs 1 lakh each.

Bachhus lovers do have time to quit their habit of drinking and driving. The S P ( City) said the traffic police would only warn those found to have consumed liquor for the first ten days of the drive. He said challans of defaulters would start following the 10-day grace period. According to the police, a person can have a limit of 30 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millimeter of blood. Anyone recorded to have more than this amount of alcohol in their system will be booked for violating traffic rules.

The Patiala traffic police is also going to open a traffic park for children in the city to acquaint them with traffic rules. The police feels this is necessary as traffic sense becomes ingrained in an individual if it is inculcated early.

Meanwhile, Mr Cheema said the traffic police in the city lacked amenities because of problems of funds. He proposed that the departments should be given 50 per cent of the challan amount to improve its working and increase efficiency.


Cooperative bank election today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 7
A neck and neck competition is expected between candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the SHSAD for the election of directors of the Bathinda Primary Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank to be held tomorrow.

The election will have far-reaching affect in the rural areas.

Workers of both parties have launched the election campaign on a large scale. Senior Akali leaders of the ruling party have been camping at various villages from the day the nomination papers were filed.

Workers of the SHSAD have set their eyes on the Assembly elections as it is the general opinion that the party who wins this election will have an upper hand in the Assembly elections.

There are six zones and zone director will be elected from each zone. The zones are Goniana, Kotshamir, Bathinda city, Bandi, Jhumbe and Mehma Sarja.

Voters will be loanees of the bank. Defaulters are not allowed to vote.

In each zone there are approximately 15 villages and number of voters in each zone is nearly 2,500.


Spinning mill closed down
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 7
The Punjab Spinning and Weaving Mill on the Bathinda-Dabwali road has closed down as per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued on July 5 on the petition of the mill owners.

Mr Nirmal Singh, Vice-President (Administration) of the mill, said in a written statement that the court had ordered that the official liquidator attached to the Punjab and Haryana High Court should be handed over the assets of the company forthwith.

He said the company had filed a petition in the court which was at serial number 34 of 2001 and the court had taken the decision on that.

Various political and labour union leaders have been protesting against the closure of the mill. Workers of the mill had organised dharnas, rallies and demonstrations at the gate of the mill.

The CPI will hold a dharna in front of the mill tomorrow to press for their demands. In a press note issued here today Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, President of AITUC, Bathinda and district secretary of the CPI, said the arrears of the workers had not been paid. He said the mill was closed due to the wrong policies of the management and the owners.

He said that an inquiry should be held into the “scams” of the mill by the CBI and the guilty should be punished. He said workers had to suffer due to the wrong doings of the owners of the mill. 


Kill rabid dogs to avoid rabies: Ajnala
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 7
Rabies can be prevented only by slaughtering rabid animals, especially dog. But for this, first political, social and religious dimensions need to be tackled, said Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, while inaugurating the third national two-day conference on rabies organised by the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI) in collaboration with Government Medical College here yesterday.

He put the casualty figures in India from rabies to 35,000 annually and added that in 80 per cent of the cases, rabies was contracted from stray dogs.

Stressing on the use of vaccine to prevent rabies, Dr A.S. Padda and Dr Ashok Goel, chairman and organising secretary of the APCRI, called upon the government to reduce cost of manufacturing modern rabies vaccine also called the “cell culture vaccine”.

Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal, medical college, lemented that animal welfare organisations opposed the move to eliminate stray dogs.

Dr M.K. Sudarshan, all-India president of the APCRI presented a picture of violent and painful death caused by rabies. In a pointer towards the government policy, he said”, While dogs are given modern vaccines, humans are still being provided outdated nerve tissue vaccines by our government”.

Dr Anil Datta, founder-member of the APCRI, said that the death toll in China by rabies was 30 times less than India. Even countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines had started using the modern vaccines which gives cent per cent prevention even after exposer to the disease.

However, Dr Francois Xavier Maslin, chief of zoonotic diseases, World Health Organisation (WHO), and Dr Deborah J. Brigge, Professor in Kansas State University and Director, Rabies Laboratory, talking to this correspondent said blind elimination of dogs was not the solution to preventing rabies. A better way would be to manage garbage dumps and give shelter and vaccination to stray dogs.


Councillor’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Capt Amarinder Singh, has expressed his grief and shock over the death of Mr Vijay Kumar Paplu, a Congress Councillor, in Central Jail, Jalandhar, yesterday.

The PPCC spokesman, Mr Sant Ram Singla, said that the death of Congress Councillor has raised many doubts about the treatment meted out to inmates of various jails in the State. It was the fourth case of custodial death in few months in Jalandhar, Mr Singla said.

He demanded registration of a case under Section 302 of the IPC against those responsible for the death of Mr Vijay Kumar and a judicial probe into the circumstances that led to his death.


SAD workers want SHO retransferred
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 7
The Akali Dal workers of around 24 village panchayats of the district have warned that they would join opposition party if the government did not withdraw the transfer of the in charge of Baghapurana Police Station, Mr Gurdev Singh Sekhon.

They stated that Mr Gurdev Singh had been recently transferred and Mr Ravinder Singh had replaced him there. 


Cloth merchants seek compensation
Our Correspondent

Rampura Phul, July 7
The cloth merchants of the town have urged the authorities concerned to pay them suitable compensation for the damage caused to cloth stored in their shops due to the rain water. Mr Tarsem Kumar, president, Cloth Merchants Association, said in a press note issued here on Friday that due to heavy rain on Tuesday water entered their shops situated in the New Market, Gill Bazaar, Court Bazaar area. A large quantity of cloth stored in the shops was damaged.

An estimated loss of Rs 25 lakh occurred to shopkeepers of these areas who deal in cloth. 


Technician missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Mr Dinesh Kumar, a young lab technician in DMC here, has been reported missing since Wednesday. The disappearance took a curious turn today when his scooter
 (PB 10 Z 1131) was found abandoned on a road in the Dugri area.

Apprehending that he had been murdered, his brother, Mr Jagdish Joshi, lodged a complaint with the Haibowal police. He said his brother had been murdered by an unknown person living in Dugri. He alleged his brother had left his house on Wednesday evening, saying that he was going to recover a loan given to a person.


Power shutdown in Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 7
The power supply will remain suspended due to some necessary repair in the following areas of the city — Civil Line, Model Town, court complex, Bhagu Road, Civil Hospital, TV station, Railway station, water works, Sewerage Board, grain market, Power House Road, Poojan Wala Mohalla, Sirki Bazar, Hazi Ratan, Mohina Chowk and old bus stand.


‘Restore reservations’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 7
The Dr Ambedkar Social Welfare Society has said that reservation for students of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be restored in medical colleges of the state.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Kabir Das, head of the society, said it was wrong for the Medical Council of India (MCI) to discontinue reservations for SC-ST students in postgraduate courses in medical colleges of the state. He said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also upheld the view of the MCI.


Postings and transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Punjab Government has ordered the following postings and transfers today: Mr Jagpal Singh will be the Secretary, Jails and Judicial Department of Home Affairs and Justice. Ms Vini Mahajan, Special Secretary (Expenditure), will also look after the work of Chief Executive Officer, Anandpur Sahib Development Authority, to relieve Mr KBS Sidhu of the additional charge.


Police claims solving financier’s murder case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 7
Mr Sukhdev Singh SSP at a press conference, yesterday, claimed to have solved financier Balwant’s murder case. Sushil Kumar, Parmodh Kumar and Shilpa, residents of Bharoli Kalan village, Pathankot had been arrested, he said.

According to the police chief, mutilated body of the financier was recovered from the Dhar area, 20 km from here, on March 21.

A Maruti Zen car, the (PB-10AF-7732), was recovered from the Mission Road area on March 21, behind hotel Alishan, the SSP said.

The accused with the intention of looting him, called him through Shilpa, took, him to the Dhar area and killed him there.

The police has also recovered, from the possession of the accused, a mobile phone a stereo, a gold ring and a watch, belonging to the victim.

The police chief said the accused used to stay in a hotel at Jasoor (Himachal) where they reportedly planned the murder the victim.


Arms licences issued on fake documents
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, July 7
The issuance of firearm licences on the basis of fake documents has cast a shadow over functioning of department involved in the process. The racket was unearthed following an inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister when it was found that 31 arm licences had been issued by the competent authorities here. Out of these 23 licences were issued in Zira, six in Jalalabad and two in Abohar.

It is surprising how people residing outside the state were able to procure the licences from Ferozepore.

In a recent murder at Bahadurgarh following gang rivalry, one of them allegedly owing allegiance to the Dawood Ibrahim group, it was found that the weapons used belonged to an arm licence holder of this district and had fake address.

The police recently conducted a raid in Abohar and Jalalabad and nabbed municipal councillors who allegedly attested the fake documents of those involved in the shoot-out. According to information, two councillors had already been indicted in this connection.

The police has sought records of 31 persons on the basis of suspicion who may have been able to procure licences by giving fake addresses and documents.

Sources revealed that there were several agents working for arms dealers and take care of all documents including medical report, police verification and attestation by councillor. They generally charged several hundreds of rupees for the purpose.

According to information, these persons were generally hand in glove with officials. As many as 2,143 licences were issued in January and February while only 140 were issued during the remainder months. This has raised many eyebrow.

Deputy Commissioner S.R. Lathar confirmed that he had received a request from the police to procure the detail records of 31 persons.

The sources revealed that there were hundreds of such cases.

Earlier also, the district administration was under strain following the arrest of criminals in Delhi and Rajasthan who had been able to secure arm licences from here.

According to Mr H.S. Sidhu, SSP, the police is investigating the cases pertaining to the issuance of such licences during the past couple of years.


4 booked for death of jailed councillor
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 7
Even as the body of cantonment councillor Vijay Kumar Paplu, who had died under mysterious circumstances in the Central Jail here last evening, was cremated today amid tension, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has demanded the resignation of the Punjab Jail Minister, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, on moral grounds.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against four people, including jail DSP Surinder Singh Saini, jail inmate Karnail Singh, and two NRIs — Major Singh and Avtaar Singh — under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC, for hatching a conspiracy against Mr Paplu.

Agitated Congress workers led by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president, Mr Avtar Henry, an MLA, Mr Amarjit Samra, and the PPCC secretary, Tejinder Bittu, threatened that the party would launch a state-wide stir if the police authorities failed to nab the culprits.

The PPCC has also demanded a CBI probe in to the incident. The Congress leaders have alleged that Paplu had been murdered under a deep-rooted conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Human Rights Department chairman and former minister Umrao Singh and secretary Manish Sehgal have demanded an inquiry into the incident by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


11 proclaimed offenders held
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 7
In a special campaign launched in the district for arresting proclaimed offenders, the district police has arrested 11 of them wanted in various criminal cases, according to Ms Gurpreet Deo, district police chief.

Ms Deo identified the arrested persons as Malook Singh, Gokul Chand, Dharminder Singh, Joginder Singh, Malwinder Singh, Mangal Singh, Gurbhej Singh, Mangat Ram, Nachatar Singh, Parkash Singh and Balkar Singh.


Hardwork, grandpa’s help did it
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 7
She is on cloud nine after securing the top slot in the class X examination of the Punjab School Education Board by securing 617 out of 650 marks, but what elevates her to a higher platform is that she attributes her success to her grandfather and holds him in highest esteem for what he has been doing for her for years together.

Visibly elated Sonam Gupta, of the Phase II of the Urban Estate here, who has topped the 10th class examination declares proudly that what she has achieved is due to the caring nature of her grandfather Piare Lal Gupta, who not only had been encouraging her but also taking care of her daily needs since her parents were working and could spare some time for her and her studies. She, however, does not forget to give due credit to her parents and teachers as well.

Taking to The Tribune, Sonam, who was cornered by her friends, phone calls and reporters, said she used to study without creating a burden on her mind and had been putting in lot of hard work to achieve her goal. “I have been hearing that hard work brings its reward and followed this religiously and the result is before you, says a smiling Sonam. “My parents and my teachers did a lot for me, but I would not have achieved this slot had my caring grandpa was not around me. He has been helping me understand subjects of Mathematics and English,” said Sonam, a student of local Sain Dass A.S. Girls High School in the Vikrampura locality.

Her aim is different for she wants to become a lecturer either in Physics or Mathematics, preferably in the local HMV College even as she already has got admission in this college run by the DAV Management Committee.

She said what stirred her innerself, was her inability to top in the middle class examination. “The day the result of my middle class examination was declared, I had resolved to do something in next examination. And I also believe in luck for that matter,” said Sonam whose hobbies include indoor games, reading good books, collection of photographs of cine star Kajol, watching TV serials and eating chocolates and ice creams and of course the traditional “curryrice”.


Repair of school demanded
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 7
The building of government school and dalit dharamshala at Jaimalwala village in the district are in dilapidated condition. This was stated here by a deputation of the village while talking to newspersons yesterday.

They said the building might collapse and could lead to loss of life. Certain villagers alleged that no repairs had been undertaken as the sarpanch of the village belonged to the Congress party.

They urged the government to initiate repair work in these buildings.


Law graduates seek re-evaluation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 7
Guru Nanak Dev University LL.B graduates named Harlavleen Kaur, Maninder Kaur Chahal, Chetan Majitha and Nirmal Devi have demanded re-evaluation of the LL.M entrance test sheets.

In a representation to the Vice-Chancellor these law graduates complained about not issuing of the result cards of the entrance test. Law Students Association also insisted upon the re-evaluation of answer sheets of LL.M entrance test from some other university.

The copy of the application has been refereed to the Chancellor, the Registrar and the Dean, Academic Affairs, of the university and also to the UGC Chairman.


Light goes off at PMT centre
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
As many as 2,000 candidates appearing for the pre-medical entrance test at the Government College of Ludhiana centre faced an unprecedented situation after light went off at around 12 p.m. while they were taking the test. The light remained off for 40 minutes.

Several parents approached The Tribune office this evening and wanted that the paper should be held again as the students could not perform properly in the absence of light. Father of one of the candidates said there was no alternative arrangement for the light. Moreover, due to cloudy weather there was also no adequate natural light.

The paper was for a duration of 90 minutes and the electricity remained off for 40 minutes. Since there was no provision for grace time, the students had to submit answer sheets on time.

He demanded that the paper should be cancelled and held again for this centre. 


PCCTU enters second phase of stir
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 7
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union today completed its first phase of agitation and declared to make a common cause with other bodies for “saving” higher education.

Prof Jaspal Singh Randhawa, general secretary, PCCTU said here the teachers showed their resentment by wearing black badges during the week against the “negative” attitude of the Punjab Government towards the problems of non-government colleges.

In the next phase, teachers will educate students on the policies of the government. A demonstration would be held at Jalandhar on July 30 and the Chief Minister’s constituency, Muktsar, on August 1 and the Finance Minister’s constituency at Patiala on August 3.

Prof Randhawa said since the managing committee of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepore had not reinstated Prof Harbans Kaur, who was suspended on flimsy grounds. The teachers would observe a stay-in on July 10.


ETT students hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 7
Activists of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, district unit held a rally here today to lodge their protest against the state government’s decision to consider those candidates who had B.Ed degrees for employment against the vacancies of ETT.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Mehma, president, district unit of the union alleged that the state government was not serious in its efforts to give jobs to those who had passed ETT course. The decision of the state government to hold common interviews for the B.Ed and ETT candidates was not in the interest of the ETT candidates. The SAD-BJP government had failed on all fronts and not only farmers, employees, businessmen but even students have been denied their rights. Activists of the union raised slogans against the state government and supported the dharna of ETT students at Chandigarh.


PAU criticised for CET cancellation
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 7
Resentment prevails among successful candidates in the Common Entrance Test (CET) held on June 26 for admission to B.Sc Agriculture (Honours) and DV.Sc and AH at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana. The university authorities cancelled the test on the plea of mistakes in the evaluation of the answer sheets. The candidates have been directed to appear for the test again on July 16.

Mr Parwinder Singh Kahlon, Advocate, whose son was ranked 55 in the merit list criticise the action of the university and demanded revocation of the cancellation decision.

Mr K.K. Singla, another parent of a candidate from Mansa, said the candidates after taking their test on June 26, were preparing for other tests and the decision of the PAU to call the students again for the same test had put extra burden on the candidates and the parents. Mr Singla demanded a CBI probe into the malpractice which apparently took place in the evaluation of the answer sheets.


PAU entrance test to be held afresh
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 7
Strange are the ways of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana. The university is penalising students for its mistakes.

The PAU authorities admitted that the result of the entrance test or admission to the Bachelor of Science Agriculture (Honours) and Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (B.V.Sc. & A.H.) had been cancelled due to some “mistakes in the evaluation process” and that the test would be held again.

In an advertisement issued by PAU on July 6, it was stated that the entrance test and the result of the test stood cancelled and a ‘new’ entrance test would be conducted on July 15.

The ‘original’ entrance was conducted by the PAU on June 26 and the result of the same declared on July 1.

The counselling was scheduled for July 16 and most of the candidates had submitted the requisite documents to the PAU.

This has created another problem for the students. The new date of the entrance test — July 15 — clashes with the medical entrance of the Manipal University.

Most of the students questioned the rationale of the cancellation of the entrance test when the university authorities had admitted that the ‘mistake’ was in the evaluation process and not in the conduct of the entrance test.

Mr Bagga Singh, President, Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) said that the entrance test was conducted as per the guidelines of the PAU and now the cancellation of the same would amount to breach of trust.

The Registrar of PAU could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.


Science teachers supervise PMT
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 7
Parents of candidates for the PMT who took the test in Mahindra College here today, protested against the posting of science teachers as invigilators.

The also alleged that some such invigilators had even helped some candidates. Ms Manjit Kaur of Sangrur said her daughter had told her that a science teacher had helped out a few candidates in her room. Parents said the college should not have posted science teachers as invigilators for an examination that was a multiple-choice one.

The college Principal, Dr Vidwan Singh Soni, when contacted, said there were only six science teachers among 40 invigilator. He said only those science teachers had been chosen for the job who did not hold coaching classes.

Dr Soni said he had received no complaint of any irregularity in the conduct of the test. He said he had personally supervised the examination, for which, the secretary of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Mr Pritpal Singh, was an observer.

He said no invigilator had been in a position to help any candidate because no invigilator had been allowed to stand near any candidate.

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