Friday, August 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM may face kin in poll
Mahesh Inder attends Cong meeting
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Lambi (Muktsar), August 30
Will Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal face Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Badal, his close kin, in the coming Assembly elections from this home constituency?

The answer to this question might be in the affirmative. Mr Mahesh Inder Singh, son of the late Teja Singh Badal, who initiated Mr Parkash Singh Badal into politics four decade ago and was instrumental in making him Chief Minister twice, attended a Congress workers’ meeting here yesterday.

The meeting was convened by member of Parliament Jagmeet Singh Brar in connection with preparations for the conference to be held at Malout on September 11.

Mr Mahesh Inder Singh, a cousin of Mr Badal, is known for his humanitarianism and humility. He addressed the workers’ meeting for the first time. It was his first appearance at the Congress party’s programme.

Though Mr Gurnam Singh Abulkhurana, a former minister, who was defeated by Mr Badal in the last Assembly elections from this segment was present at the meeting, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh was projected as a prospective candidate of the party from the segment.

Sources close to Mr Mahesh Inder Singh told TNS that he might join the Congress if ensured of the party ticket for the elections.

The presence of Mr Mahesh Inder Singh yesterday, at the Congress workers’ meeting has become a cause of worry for the party high command and the state leadership since Mr Abdul Khrana enjoys considerable influence in this segment.

This will not be for the first time that Mr Badal faces opposition from his kin. In the last panchayat elections, the candidate fielded by Mr Badal, Mr Joginder Singh Gaggi, was defeated by Mr Sanjam Singh Dhillon.

In the 1995 Gidderbaha byelection, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, nephew of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and SAD candidate, faced challenge from Mr Lalli Badal, another kin of Mr Badal, who also contested the poll.

In case Mr Mahesh Inder Singh enters the election arena as the Congress candidate, it will become difficult for Mr Parkash Singh to spare time to campaign for party candidates in other Assembly segments.


Beant memorial gasps for breath
Punjab Govt holds back commitment of Rs 6 cr

Today is the ‘’martyrdom day’’ of Beant Singh. Once again, his contribution to bring home peace to Punjab will be recalled. Glowing tributes will be paid. His supreme ‘’sacrifice’’ will be remembered.

The Congressmen alone, several of them, with flowers in hand, will visit his ‘’Samadhi’’ in Sector 42, as a mark of respect to their leader. Morning rituals over, the man will be forgotten till August 31, next.

Meanwhile, the under construction memorial in his name continues to gasp for breath having been denied financial support by the Punjab government. The Chandigarh Administration is looking for alternative sources as well as proposals to make best use of the building and the land space available. The project cost is estimated at Rs 20 crore. Punjab has held back Rs 6 crore of the committed Rs 8 crore.

The echo of the ‘’Human Bomb’’ that blew Beant Singh into smithereens at the door of the seat of power on August 31, 1995, still reverberates. But the memorial is looked upon as a liability. Will the Centre pitch-in? Whose baby will the memorial be ultimately?

How change of political guard at the Civil Secretariat makes a world of difference in respect of ‘’heroes’’, ‘’martyrs’’ and ‘’leaders’’ is seen the way they are remembered and who does so. Human psyche is unpredictable! This ‘’Barsi’’ will also quietly slip into History.

The manner in which Beant Singh shaped the PPCC, resuscitating its organisational set-up and taking electoral battles right into the citadel of the Akalis (villages) did the party proud making the Akalis run for every vote. The Congress in Punjab has never been the same again since August 31. It is yet to recover from the after-effects of the bomb-tremors that has created horizontal and vertical splits and left the party in splinters.

Beant Singh, born on February 19, 1922, in Bilaspur, near Ludhiana, was a grass-root politician, who, from a village panchayat rose to become PPCC President and Chief Minister. He had carved a niche for himself in the higher echelons of the AICC. He was a member of the party’s Working Committee.

His sharp barbs against the Akalis, his earthy wit and juicy language often made the party-workers and the Akalis squirm.

Having done his Matriculation from Okra, now in Pakistan, he started his political career as a social worker in 1945; after he had left the Army. His long journey through the labyrinth of politics is one of hard work, patience and perseverance. He contested elections to every conceivable institution giving him an insight into the functioning of democracy from a village panchayat, zila parishad and cooperative bank to parliament.

He first made it to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Payal in 1969 as an Independent with Congress support. He went on to get re-elected in 1972, 1977, 1980. He became PPCC President in March, 1986. He made it to the office of Chief Minister in 1992.

Punjab today owes much to Beant Singh for the peace, howsoever fragile, that prevails.
— PPS Gill 



Bring nomadic Sikhs into mainstream: Bibi
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 30
Former SGPC President and Akali MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur today demanded that 11 crore “Sikligar and Wanjara” Sikhs belonging to nomadic society in 22 states of country should be brought into Sikh mainstream and a Sikh mission set up for them. These Sikhs lived outside Punjab, particularly in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and other southern states and followed Sikh tenets, claimed Bibi who recently was given the title of “Wanjara Mother” by these Sikhs at a national-level function held near Nagpur. Punjab has many apostate (patit) Sikhs but there is no“ patitupuna” among the Sikligars and Wanjara Sikh tribes, she asserted.

However, she was non-commital over the issue of voting right to Sehajdhari Sikhs in SGPC elections. When asked whether or not Sehajdhari Sikhs be given voting right in SGPC polls, Bibi said those who believed in Gurbani, holy Granth Sahib and philosophy of Guru Nanak were Sikhs. However she said she was opposed to “patitpuna”, (apostasy), she said. When told that her successor i.e. Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi had threatened to move the Supreme Court if Sehajdhari Sikhs were given voting right, Bibi again sounded vague and quipped that it was the headache of the SGPC to move court or get the SGPC Act of 1925 amended by Parliament.

On the Union Government’s move to grant amnesty to police personnel guilty of excesses during militancy, Bibi said those who had committed mistakes should face law, which should take its own course. However those who did no wrong should not be wronged, she quipped. I favour or oppose nobody over the issue, she said tersely. Bibi was in the town to attend a social function.


Sehajdharis flay SGPC on voting rights
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
For the first time Sehajdhari Sikhs have reacted to their proposed disenfranchisement by the SGPC. According to Dr P.S. Ranu, national president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, if the political parties and the Akalis are so rigid and unhappy at the decision of the Gurdwara Election Commission for voting rights to the Sehajdharis, they should not expect votes from them in the Assembly elections.

Reacting to the statement of the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, that the SGPC will fight for debarring Sehajdharis in the Supreme Court, Dr Ranu said that the SSF accepted this challenge and would defend its rights in the court.

Commenting on the statement of the Punjab Finance Minister, the SSF chief said Sehajdharis were an integral part of the Sikh religion. He claimed that a majority of the total population of the Sikhs in the world was ‘Sehajdharis’. He said there was no doctrinal difference between Amritdhari Sikhs and Sehajdharis. The former were baptised and as a result they observed the five ‘K’s; Sehajdharis appeared to be indifferent to these forms but all were Sikhs in that they believed in the 10 Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib and accepted no other religion.

The federation has advised them to submit their duly filled forms to the DC office only or to officebearers of the SSF.


Operation ‘kill sundi’ in cotton belt
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
Cotton growers of the region have announced a cash reward for destroying the ‘sundi’ (American bollworm) which has been causing huge damage to standing crops for the past two months.

The cotton growers, who never had it so bad, have also been engaging extra hands to destroy “sundi” on payment basis. They have made every efforts to check the American bollworm by spraying different kinds of insecticides and pesticides without taking care of the recommendations of agriculture scientists.

Against the recommended norms of pesticides spray the growers have started spraying the pesticides on the infested cotton plants on alternate days. Some have borrowed money for purchasing these , on a high rate of interest from the market.

Mr Paramjit Singh Dhunike, former sarpanch of Dhunike village while talking to TNS said growers had been paying 25 paise to Re 1 for killing a “sundi”.

He added that though the growers had engaged local labour for eliminating the ‘mighty’ Amercian bollworm, labour from other states was also being procured in those pockets where the infestation was severe and had crossed the alarming points.

Mr Krishan Singh, sarpanch, Chak Attarsinghwala, pointed out that after the growers failed to arrest the menace they started resorting to kill the ‘sundi’ physically about three weeks ago. He added that the results had been better, and more and more growers had been resorting to same method.

The operation “kill sundi” had been going on presently in a major section of cotton belt of Punjab comprising seven districts.

The labourer kill ‘sundi’ with both hands. It is then placed in a box containing kerosene oil or diesel. In the evening, they charge the money by counting the total causalties.

Before this growers approached the fortune tellers and “Babas” to take magic water from them for controlling the American bollworm.

Still a great rush of cotton growers, who have been facing tough time, could be seen in various ‘deras’ dotting this region to collect the magic water.

Nathu Singh, a labourer, while talking to TNS, said huge infestation of cotton plants, had become a blessing in disguise for him as his entire family was now engaged in the task of killing ‘sundi’. He added that on an average, each member of his family killed 1000 to 2000 ‘sundi’ in a day.

Jaswant Singh, a farmer of the region, pointed out that they were cursed as they opted to sow cotton instead of paddy this season as their ‘sangat’ block had been facing acute shortage of water for irrigation. But the things had turned other way as due to heavy rains in the past, the paddy growers were expecting better yield.

Mr Paramjit Singh alleged that so far no official of Agriculture Department visited the village to guide the growers to how to control the menace.

Bollworm menace claims farmer’s life
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
Jagir Singh, a cotton grower of Jodhpur Romana village in the district, today committed suicide allegedly after getting frustrated over the failure of his crop due to heavy infestation of the American bollworm. Civil Hospital sources said he today went to his fields in the morning and found that almost the entire cotton crop had been eaten up by the American bollworm.

Jagir Singh, who failed to overcome the depression, allegedly consumed the pesticide which was lying in the fields. He was brought to the Civil Hospital here at about 11 am. Whether he died on the way or at the hospital could not be ascertained, the sources added.


Punjab to cut area under wheat
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Punjab is to cut the area under wheat by over one lakh hectares this year. A policy decision has been taken in this connection by the state government in consultation with experts of Punjab Agricultural University. However, the production target will be 155.65 lakh tonnes, almost the same as last year.

The area under wheat last year was 34.08 lakh hectares. And this year’s target is 33 lakh hectares. According to indications available at the national level, the area under wheat is expected to go down in all traditional wheat-growing states. It is expected to be diverted to other rabi crops. The sowing of wheat in the state will be in full swing in the last week of October and the first fortnight of September.

The state is facing the problem of plenty on the wheat front. It is also grappling with the problem of wheat storage. The Union Government is laying stress on diversification from wheat to other crops because of the huge buffer stock in the Central pool for the past two years or so. The movement of wheat from Punjab to other states has become almost negligible. Hence, the decision to cut the area under wheat.

The area spared from the wheat crop will be diverted to gram, barley and oilseeds. Official sources said that there was a plan to increase the area under gram from 8,000 hectares to 18,000 hectares and in the case of barley from 33,000 hectares to 1.12 lakh hectares.

But what is causing concern to the farming community at the moment is the availability of good quality wheat seed. Last year, it rained heavily when the wheat crop was harvested in April and May. Consequently, wheat stocks got wet. Experts have advised farmers to get the seed tested before going in for sowing.

Quality seed is not available in the open market because of the rain factor last year.

Mr S.S. Bains, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had sanctioned Rs 5 crore for buying good quality seed from various government sources like the National Seed Corporation and the State Farms Corporation of India. Punseed had been given this task.

With Rs 5 crore, Punseed will buy about 50,000 quintals of certified seed. It has already 35,000 quintals of certified seed in stock. However, the requirement is 90,000 quintals. For the PBW 343 variety of wheat the best sowing season is before November 15. PAU has recommended the PDW 274 variety for those interested in sowing durum wheat.


PUTA comes to VC’s rescue
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The new office-bearers of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) has set the ball in motion for the withdrawal of memorandums submitted against the VC by the last body by deciding to take up the issue at the meeting of the Association’s executive committee.

According to information available, members of the United Teachers Front which swept PUTA poll held two days ago also called on to the Chief Minister at Chandigarh yesterday to apprise him of their victory. According to faction members, the Chief Minister expressed happiness at their victory and told them to ensure that the atmosphere remained congenial for academic excellence.

Talking to The Tribune, PUTA Vice President Manjit Singh said while the UTF would take the matter for taking back the memorandums submitted against the VC from the Chief Minister and the varsity Chancellor to the Executive Committee, he was of the opinion that there was no need for an inquiry into the allegations levelled against the VC by the former PUTA office bearers.

He said the allegations were baseless as the erstwhile PUTA leadership had gone in for a needless confrontation with the VC. He said he was also of the view that no University Act or statute had been violated as claimed by the former PUTA leaership.

However, members of the Teachers United Front did not oblige the UTF members to go to pay “courtesy” visit to the Chief Minister. TUF member and PUTA Secretary Dr N S Atri when contacted said his alliance was clear on the issue of memorandums submitted by them to the Chief Minister and the Chancellor and there was no question of backtracking on that.

Dr Atri while appealing for consensus on the matter considering the fractured verdict, said teachers had voted for redressing of their grievances the most important of which was the issue of promotions. He said this issue should get top priority. As regards the issue of violation of the Varsity Act and statute he said this issue should be left to the courts. He welcomed the statement of the VC appealing for a new beginning.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia will expect relatively comfortable last six months stay as VC of the varsity after having bested the Teachers United Front which dominated the PUTA last year. According to sources the peripheral 27 votes of teachers of the Regional Centre at Talwandi Sabo, the B.Ed College and the Computer Institutes at Jaito and Mohali tilted the balance in favour of the pro-VC group. According to sources this group voted for the UTF group.

The promotions made by the VC in the run up to the election and those done on the eve of the election as well as the informal schedule framed for rapid promotions once the election was over also stood the UTF in good stead. Sources said it was now to be seen whether the VC would succeed in getting the memorandums against him withdrawn by the UTF dominated group or not as the TUF members, though in a minority, could still insist on taking the matter to the General House.


Couple stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Sitalpur (Jalandhar), August 30
A middle-aged couple was stabbed to death allegedly by a group of unidentified Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in the wee hours today. The incident has terrified residents of this small village near Bhogpur township.

Telltale signs at the scene of the murder indicated that the assailants were seemingly acquainted with the victims — Jaswinder Singh (52) and his wife Joginder Kaur (48).

The couple was murdered in front of Surjit Kaur, mother of Joginder Singh, by a group of three migrant labourers which barged into her house at around 1.30 a.m. The assailants brushed aside all her pleas to spare the couple. “After securing entry into our house, the Hindi-speaking migrant labourers pushed me aside and dragged my son and daughter-in-law to a room and tied their hands and feet. My son offered them to take away whatever they wanted and urged them not to harm him and his wife. But they ignored his plea and stabbed the couple in front of me,” said a sobbing Surjit Kaur. The assailants then fled under the cover of darkness. The bodies of the victims have been sent for a post-mortem to the Civil Hospital at Jalandhar.

What is confusing the police is that the assailants have not taken anything along with them. “We have found a gold bangle of Jaswinder Singh lying near his body and preliminary investigation has revealed that they had not come with the intention of dacoity,” said Mr Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, DSP.

The family of the victims and villagers informed the police at around six in the morning after which the police reached the spot. Mr Ghuman said the police was working on the theory that the assailants were known to the victims and that the murder could be an outcome of some personal enmity. “We are also examining the labourers who were engaged by Jaswinder Singh for the construction of his bungalow,” he said.


SAD woos Hindu voters
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 30
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has started holding “nukkad” meetings to woo Hindu voters all over the state. The lone Hindu Akali Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, has been assigned this ‘special task’.

As part of this campaign, Mr Garg held meetings of the Aggarwal Sabha here today. He claimed that more than 100 Hindus, especially from the Aggarwal community, joined the ruling Akali Dal.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab Government has already taken a number of steps to please Aggarwal voters. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, took personal interest to declare October 17 as gazetted holiday to mark the “Agrasen jayanti”. The Chief Minister promptly accepted the demand of Aggarwal community to unite two blocks of aggar nagars at Ludhiana by clearing the Rs 88 lakh project to construct a sub-way there.

However, Mr Badal has not yet accepted the demand of Akali Hindus to float the Hindu Akali Dal. Talking to Tribune News Service, Mr Garg said that a state-level function was being organised by the all-India Aggarwal Sabha on November 17 at Ludhiana to mark the “Agrasen jayanti” where Mr Badal would be the chief guest.

Earlier too, Mr Garg was entrusted with the task of wooing Hindu voters during the crucial byelections of Sunam, Nawanshahr and Majitha.

Mr Garg claimed that more than 1000 prominent persons from his community had joined SAD. He further claimed that during the national-level function of the all-India Aggarwal Sabha held in April at Ludhiana 501 Aggarwals had joined the ruling Akali Dal. Mr Garg was inducted in the 11-member advisory board of the community after that function.

At a function held at the Aggarwal Dharamshala near Jallianwala Bagh, Mr Garg told his community members that the Badal government was committed to accept most of the genuine demands of the Hindus. He said national leaders of the Aggarwal Sabha were treated as state guest by the Punjab Government which was a rare honour give by the state to any community.

Mr Garg said that there were more than one lakh Aggarwals in Amritsar alone.

However, sources say Mr Badal is disturbed over the dwindling of vote bank of the Akali Dal and the BJP in the urban areas as the government has failed to accept most of the genuine demands of the urban population.

Though the common minimum programme announced by the SAD-BJP combine before the elections had promised to abolish octroi but it could not be done during four and a half-year tenure of the state government.

Though the state government had fulfilled the promise to give free power to farmers, yet the demand of abolishing the octroi could not be fulfilled. As a result, the Akali Dal has been concentrating on wooing the Hindu votes by holding meetings in various parts of the state. 


Warring AISSF factions unite
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 30
All three major warring factions of the All-India Sikh Students Federation formally announced the formation of the new All-India Sikh Students Federation (United) here today.

The factions headed by Mr Karnail Singh Pirmohammed, Mr Manjit Singh Bhoma and Mr Avtaar Singh Boparai dissolved their units at Chandigarh yesterday. Mr Boparai has been made the patron of the new organisation while Mr Pirmohammed and Mr Bhoma have been nominated as Convener and spokesperson, respectively.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Boparai and Mr Bhoma said the 57 anniversary of the organisation would be celebrated at Makhu in Ferozepore district during which election for the post of president would be held. A meeting would be held at Amritsar on September 8.They said if the Chandigarh Administration failed to reconstruct a demolished portion of Gurdwara Charan Kanwal in Chandigarh’s Sector 49 before September 2, the federation would launch an agitation against it.


Crucial SAD meeting on September 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A crucial meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will be held on September 3 under the chairmanship of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the party. The meeting has been called to assess the political situation in the state vis-a-vis the coming Assembly elections.

Informed sources said that various committees to deal with election work would be set up at the meeting. There is a proposal to set up a manifesto committee, a campaign committee, a media committee, a strategy committee and a coordination committee for the two coalition partners — the SAD and the BJP.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee set up such committees long ago. The Congress is expected to announce its election manifesto shortly.


Trees near shrines impaled
Lalit Mohan

It is the urge to tell that they were the first to accomplish this feat, which motivates thousands of pilgrims coming to various shrines in areas adjoining Ropar, to crucify roadside trees.

The pilgrims who come to the Naina Devi shrine especially during the monsoon mela, bring with them steel plates on which the name and place of the group or individual is engraved or painted. These plates are fixed with about six-inch-long iron nails, to trees planted on the road to leave an imprint of the journey.

The practice of nailing the mementos, generally in the form of steel plates, on roads has grown over the years. Many of the trees on the Ropar-Nangal road have been pierced to such an extent that it threatens their very survival. A cluster of trees near Bharatgarh has become a favourite haunt for pilgrims seeking to nail their mementos. Almost all trees in the area have been pierced to such an extent that even their bark is not visible.

Environmentalists have expressed concern over this growing practice among pilgrims. They allege that the iron nails, which the pilgrims use to fix their mementos, damages the tissue of the trees. The tissue, xylem, helps the tree absorb water and other important nutrients from the soil. Damage to this vital tissue would ultimately lead to the death of the trees, they allege.

They have demanded that the pilgrims should made aware of the damage they are inflicting on the trees through a publicity campaign to thwart the practice. Moreover, the Forest Department, which owns the trees, should also remove the mementos fixed on the trees for saving these from dying.

Many of the indigenous trees such as various varieties of acacia are also drying up. The Forest Department should investigate the causes leading to the unnatural death of the such trees, they said.


Two-hour bandh for bypass
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 30
Members of the Bypass Marg Sangharsh Committee today observed a two-hour bandh in protest against the delay in the construction of the Ropar bypass. The members also sat on a dharna in the town and later submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Krishan Kumar, to press for their demand.

In the memorandum, a copy of which was released to newspersons, the committee members alleged that heavy traffic, including trucks and buses destined for Ludhiana and other areas en route, pass through Ropar town. Over the years, the traffic on this route has increased enormously because it saves about 15 to 20 km distance from Ropar to Ludhiana. However, this has proved to be a bane for local residents.

The residents alleged that trucks, including those carrying cement from the Ropar-based plant of Ambuja, and private buses lead to a high-level of dust in the air, which was detrimental to the health of the residents. The heavy traffic also lead to noise pollution which gave sleepless nights to the residents of the areas adjoining the road, they said.

The district administration had acquired land for the construction of the bypass in 1995-96. However, due to the non-availability of funds the scheme has remained unimplemented. Hopes for construction of the bypass were revived when the Chief Minister, at a political conference, had announced a grant for the construction of the bypass. The announcement has not materialised as yet. Later, members of the committee, including the patron, Mr Kanwal and the president, Mr Kulwant Singh, while talking to the newspersons resolved to continue their agitation till the government yielded to their demands. The ADC, Mr Krishan Kumar, said to solve the traffic problem a three-member committee, comprising the respective SDM, DSP and Executive Officer of the councils, was being formed to identify the problematic areas and forward suggestions .


Concern over theft of police vehicles
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The rise in the cases of theft of official vehicles of the Punjab police has become a major cause of concern and embarrassment for the department.

The department has now ordered inquiry into such cases. At least two such cases were reported in the past three months. In both cases, the vehicles were stolen from Panchkula.

In a case of its own kind, the official vehicle of a serving Deputy Inspector-General of Police in Punjab was stolen from Panchkula in May. A couple of weeks prior to this incident, the official vehicle of a Deputy Superintendent of the Punjab police was stolen.

According to sources in the department, a large number of cases relating to lifting of official vehicles of the Punjab police personnel have been reported from different parts of the state. Sources say that such cases have been increasing for the past three years, with five to six cases being reported on an average each year. It is learnt that the department will now conduct an inquiry into the two recent cases of theft.

Also, the escort vehicle of the Patiala range DIG was stolen from Panchkula. The DIG’s white gypsy was reportedly stolen from the Sector 5 and 4 dividing road in Panchkula in the wee hours of May 22.

The FIR registered at the Sector 5 police station in Panchkula under Section 379 of the IPC says that the gypsy was stolen after the driver was forced to abandon it because he ran out of fuel. At the time of the incident, the driver was taking the vehicle for refuelling.

It was alleged that the driver left the vehicle (CH-01-G-470) on the road in order to get help from his colleagues. It was when he came back that he found that the vehicle had been stolen.

It is alleged that as against the service rules, the DIG had failed to inform the provisioning wing of the Punjab police for quite some time after the vehicle was stolen. However, a senior official of the department, on condition of anonymity, refuted the charges and said that the department had been informed by the officer concerned. He also said that as was the norm, an inquiry into the incident would be conducted.

It is also learnt that almost a fortnight prior to this incident, a gypsy of a DSP in the Punjab police presently posted in Chandigarh, was also stolen by a group of youths, including a mechanic, for a joyride. The accused were later arrested by the police.


Parents, rehabilitation home elude 8-yr-old Jugnu
Boy still being kept among mentally challenged
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
Jugnu doesn't need the dark to shine. His eyes sparkle with mischief even in the day. The child is happy living with mentally challenged inmates of a private mental asylum, near here, little knowing the effect such proximity would have on him in the long run.

Jugnu, a boy with a normal disposition, has been living among mentally challenged men and women, some of whom even have violent tendencies, for nearly one year since he was handed over to the All-India Pingla Ashram authorities by the local police after it found him wondering about aimlessly in the city.

Jugnu finds solace even among the mentally challenged and the ashram staff who dote on him because he has had a traumatic life. He was apparently beaten up by his father in Delhi which forced him to run away from home. Jugnu, who hardly says anything at all, continously repeats “papa — thapad” before TNS at the ashram near Sanuar, 4 km from here.

Sources said Jugnu was not always like this and that he was better at communicating ideas earlier. They said, however, the stay at the ashram had changed him and made him an introvert and that he hardly spoke anything much. They said he was very cooperative with the staff of the asylum and always had a pleasing disposition and was even able to mix with the mentally challenged inmates.

Asylum head Baba Balbir Singh said Jugnu did not want to leave the asylum now and had never talked about his parents who apparently lived in Delhi. He said, however, the district administration had taken his snaps some time back which it hoped to advertise in an attempt to locate his parents.

Though the district administration had taken this step when the plight of Jugnu was highlighted in this paper, the eight-year-old boy is still a long way away from his home as well as a proper rehabilitation home. According to sources, attempts had been made to shift the boy to the SOS village in Rajpura but nothing came of it. They said this idea had been framed after no information was received from his parents or relatives even after the news of his plight was projected by the print media.

Social worker Manmeet Singh said Jugnu should be rehabilitated properly in a home for orphans for some other such facility where his faculties of understanding after living with normal human beings could be redeveloped. He said great injustice was being done to the child by keeping him among mentally challenged persons and that prolonged exposure to such kind of atmosphere could also make him nuerotic and that he would be unable to face the atmosphere of the outside world again.


Of mentally challenged and chains
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
Branches of small shrubs and the harsh sky will continue to be the companions of chained mentally challenged men in the care of a private mental asylum as the Amritsar Medical College has refused to take them and the local Government Rajindra Hospital does not have facilities to take care of them on a long-term basis.

Eight mentally challenged men and a few women are kept in chains at the All-India Pingla Ashram at Sanaur near here. Plight of these persons — the men who have to spend the day under small shrubs or trees without even any seating arrangement, and women who are kept locked in rooms — drew the attention of the district administration which decided to moot a proposal to shift the violent persons to the Mental Hospital at Amritsar.

According to a communication the Civil Surgeon had talked to the Director of the Mental Hospital at Amritsar and asked him to admit eight patients who had violent tendencies. However, the Amritsar hospital head said he could not accept more patients as part of the hospital was under demolition.

Following this the Civil Surgeon wrote to Dr Kuldeep Sharma, Professor and Head of the Mental Department of the Government Rajindra Hospital requesting the eight patients, who needed immediate medical attention be admitted there. The Civil Surgeon said Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir was also of the same view and that medicines not available at the hospital would be provided by the District Red Cross Society.

Dr Kuldeep Sharma when contacted said the Rajindra Hospital could be used for a short stay only by the mentally challenged patients. He said required security for the stay of the patients was not possible in the hospital and that facilities were also not in place to admit all of them. He said it had, accordingly, been decided that two patients each be admitted in batches to the hospital and that “sewadars’’ of the ashram could be deputed for their security.

Meanwhile a visit to the ahsram revealed that it still did not have requisite facilities to house mentally challenged people with violent tendencies. Ashram head Baba Balbir Singh said the ashram was still in its formative stage and that facilities, set up through donations, were still to be in place. He said State Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh had laid the foundation stone of an emergency wing and dispensary for which Rs one lakh was announced but yet to be received by the ashram. He said the ashram was likely to start construction of the building which would cost around Rs 14 lakh soon with more government funds expected.

Giving details of the violent inmates chained in the premises, he said the ashram authorities did not have any other option but to chain them or else the entire atmosphere of the ashram would be disturbed. “It is very difficult to tackle the problematic inmates and we chain them only to curb their violent activities’’, he said.

The ashram head said while the Rajindra Hospital authorities had offered to admit two inmates in batches for treatment, they had said they did not have any facility to give free of cost treatment and that the treatment cost would have to be borne by the ashram. He said it would be very difficult to provide medical aid to the patients if this was the case adding lack of proper facilities was the main reason why an official committee set up by the Deputy Commissioner had recommended shifting of eight violent inmates to the Amritsar Mental Hospital.

Meanwhile 153 patients, including 57 women and six children, continue to suffer for want of adequate care with no social or voluntary organisation coming forward to help them.


PSEB working to be improved: Maluka
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The Punjab Government hopes to bring in some improvements in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) after the removal of its Chairman G.S. Sohal who has proceeded on long leave and feels that the board cannot be given so much autonomy that it is no longer answerable to the people.

Disclosing this here today while talking to newsmen, Power Minister Sikander Singh Maluka said the Chief Minister had taken the right step by asking Mr Sohal to proceed on leave adding that he was personally not satisfied with the working of the Chairman since the last six to seven months. He said 40 legislators, including ministers, had also approached him to convey their dissatisfaction over the style of functioning of the Chairman.

Mr Maluka said quick decisions were needed to run an organisation, adding that Mr Sohal was in the habit of taking meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. which often proved inconclusive with no action being taken. He said he had problems with the Chairman on the issue of his style of functioning adding there had been other matters also, including issue of corruption.

Speaking on the issue of autonomy, specially in the light of withdrawal of powers of posting and transfer from the board management, he said all boards and corporations in the state were independent but they were also equally responsible to the government.

He said it had also been brought to the notice of the government that the board was going in for needless transfers which defied logic due to which the government was forced to take action.

The minister said besides this the board in the past had failed to even fulfil the promises made by it. He said the Chairman was party to the agreement made with industrialists at Ludhiana but failed to implement it. Similarly, even employees who had been granted various concessions were not able to get those because the board did not take any action in the matter for three months forcing the employees to agitate against it.

The minister disclosed that Mr Sudhir Mittal, who had been given the additional charge of Chairman of the board, would hold this position as a temporary measure only as he already had two other charges. He said the government may go in for a technocrat again as Chairman of the Board. He said he could not say who was more suitable for the job — a technocrat or a bureaucrat — adding it depended on person to person.

He also disclosed that the Chief Minister had called a meeting of the full board at Chandigarh on September 3 to take some decisions. He said the issue of rural electrification would be taken up in the meeting saying that the Board in the past had failed to rise up to the expectations of the people.

He said 5,500 villages had been given 24-hour-power supply under the scheme and that another 4,000 villages would be covered under the scheme this year. He said following this only 3,000 villages would be left to cover who would be taken up in the next year.


Assurance to IMA on cases of negligence
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
No case of criminal negligence under Sections 304 and 304-A of the IPC will be registered by the police against doctors in case of deaths in hospital unless the negligence is proved by a panel of experts after investigation.

This was disclosed by Health and Family Welfare Minister Baldev Raj Chawla, Punjab during a meeting with a deputation of the Indian Medical Association led by Dr O.P.S. Kande which met the minister in Chandigarh yesterday, according to members of the deputationists.

Dr D.S. Bhullar a spokesman for the Punjab’s State IMA unit said the Health Minister had directed the Director, Health and Family Welfare Dr G.S. Preet, who was present at the meeting, to issue a circular in detail to all private hospitals run by allopathic doctors disclosing that they could admit and treat all accident and poison cases and prepare medico-legal reports for the investigation agencies.

Dr Bhullar said during the meeting the DHS disclosed that Section 304-A of the IPC was not applicable to hospital deaths. He said the minister also directed the Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, to get the instructions implemented through the State Home Department.

He said the IMA had also taken a serious notice of growing incidents of assaults and ransacking of hospitals by the public in recent months and subsequent registration of criminal negligence cases against the doctors and hospital staff by the police officials under pressure without investigations by experts.

Dr Bhullar said this had led to a feeling of insecurity among the medical professionals dealing with patient care. The IMA also appealed to the higher police authorities of the State to issue directions to the investigating police officials to take appropriate action against the persons, who tried to ransack and damage hospitals or disrupt the functioning of the doctors and hospital staff with immediate effect.


Punjab gets Rs 35 cr for border areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Presiding over the meeting of the Border Area Advisory Council, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said here today that the Central Government had provided special funds of about Rs 35 crore for strengthening infrastructure in the border belt.

He said Rs 125 crore had been given by the Central Government to provide round-the-clock power supply in the rural areas. The PSEB authorities had been directed to evolve a new system to deposit power bills in the border belt.

Mr Badal said the NABARD had cleared irrigation projects worth Rs 38 crore to improve the irrigation facilities in the border belt. The Central Government was also expected to clear the Amritsar “shukky nala” project worth Rs 155 crore soon. The UBDC project of Rs 180 crore had also been cleared to restructure the canal network in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and adjacent areas by the Central Government.

Mr Badal said 568 deep tubewells had been installed in the Kandi area and 100 more such tubewells would be installed in coming months.

The Chief Minister has also ordered to fill 300 vacant posts of doctors in the border belt on contract basis within a month.

Responding to the demand of certain MLAs to give compensation to farmers whose vegetable and fruit crops were damaged due to the rains, Mr Badal said such crops would be included in the list of the crops for which the government gives compensation. The amount of compensation would be increased to Rs 3,000 per acre from existing Rs 2,000. He said Rs 3 crore had been sanctioned for each Assembly constituency to carry out development works.

For improving the bus service in border belt, state transport authorities had been directed to visit each border district. Mr Badal has also taken up with BSF problems faced by the people while working in their fields near the Indo- Pakistan border.


Where pigs rule supreme
Padmini Jain

The town of Rajpura does not have a zoo but the children here are quite familiar with at least one animal and that is the pig.

Poor garbage disposal has led to every vacant spot being turned into a waste dump. These vacant spots, piled with all kinds of trash, have become an ideal habitat of pigs. There being no sewerage system in the town, open drains carry the sullage away from the houses. Several house-owners have blocked these drains to prevent the sullage from flowing in front of their houses. The result is that dirty water collects in low-lying areas which become cesspools with no outlet. The pigs are attracted to these pools of dirty water to wallow in. Apart from this they form an ideal breeding ground of mosquitoes.

Ironically, the authorities have turned a deaf ear to all the pleas of the residents to do something to clean these dirty pools.

Meanwhile hordes of pigs, most of them with piglets in tow, roam the streets. They do not even hesitate to enter houses if they find the doors open. Almost everyday one hears about accidents caused by pigs. “I was going on my scooter when a pig came running almost from nowhere. As I tried to avoid the animal, I lost control, fell down and fractured my leg,” says Ms Gurmeet Sodhi, a doctor. Such instances are common in Rajpura.

Mrs Manju Saini, a housewife, complains: “We have to be extra cautious to keep our gate closes. The other day, one of these dirty animals even came into my room.”

Mr Pradeep Barua has a different problem. His house is near the colony park with a narrow Kutcha path, on which grows congress grass in abundance. He says: “These weeds are a favourite place of the pigs. They sit here day and night and keep grunting. My window opens into the park. But I have to keep it closed. Every time I open it, I get a view of a pigs’ colony.

The people here are tired of requesting the Municipal Council to do something to solve the pig problem. First of all, the environment of the town that has become so pig-friendly, has to be altered. There have to be proper trash bins to throw the garbage. Those who have blocked the drains also need to be handled. If the city becomes clean, the pig problem will also vanish. The residents and the authorities need to join hands to keep the city clean.


Rajindra tank begins to rot

Tribune News Service

Only two years ago, Rajindra tank was filled with water after remaining dry for decades. It developed into a tourist attraction with paddle boats and a small amusement park. Today, it has slipped back into a state of neglect. It has become a garbage dumping ground for hotel owners, slaughter houses and even the residents of the area. Polythene bags float in the water along the Mall Road. Some jhuggies have also come up on one side and the jhuggi-dwellers and others use the tank for defecation.

The foul smelling water has dampened the interest of boating enthusiasts. The fancy lights stand broken and in some cases even the fittings have disappeared.


The Butterfly Inn in the Deer Park stands as an example of a good experiment gone wrong. This Inn was established in 1987 under the aegis of the Environment Society of Patiala with encouragement from then the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sinha. However, the technical specifications were not followed and the only expert associated with the project, Dr Narinder Singh Narang, withdrew himself from the project even before it was completed. The Inn started with certain deficiencies, including the lack of a transparent roof because of which the wire mesh of the room containing host plants got rusted. Besides, host plants of various species of butterflies could not be planted.

Today the Inn lies abandoned with wild growth inside it. There may still be hope for the Inn as Dr Narang, despite his advanced age, remains enthusiastic about the project and is willing to assist in its revival.


Children of Blossoms School in Patiala have taken the initiative to teach under-privileged children living near the city. The project is in its second year. Students of Class IX and X have adopted Chhoti Rauni village for this purpose and have established a “Balwari” in the village. The project has been started by a trust named after Dr Sant Kaur, who is the mother of the principal of Blossoms School, Mr Ravi Singh. The Trust has also appointed a teacher who conducts regular classes. Each student associated with the project pays personal attention to one child whose progress is charted over the year.

Last week a function was held to distribute uniforms among these children by a grandson of Dr Sant Kaur, who was here on a visit from the United States.



24 Pak nationals to be repatriated today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 30
As many as 24 Pakistan nationals who were lodged in the local high security camp jail for foreign nationals would be repatriated through the Wagha checkpost tomorrow.

Earlier, the repatriation of these persons was stalled on the request of the Government of Pakistan. The Pakistan High Commission had requested its Indian counterpart to postpone the repatriation as verification to ascertain their credentials could not be completed in time.

It may be mentioned here that most of the time the repatriation gets delayed due to non-cooperation of the Government of Pakistan.


Probe security cover withdrawal: Bitta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, Chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, today demanded an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the circumstances under which his security cover was withdrawn just a day before a bomb attack on him in Delhi on September 11,1993.

Mr Bitta survived the attack but 12 persons were killed and hundreds injured outside the office of the Indian Youth Congress at 5 Raisina Road, New Delhi.

Addressing a press conference here, he alleged that certain officials of the Union Home Ministry, a few politicians and certain terrorists were hand in glove in organising the attack on him and only an impartial inquiry could unearth the conspiracy.

Despite repeated questioning by newsmen, Mr Bitta declined to identify the politicians he suspected but released to the Press a letter dated September 6, 1993, written by the then Commandant of the ITBP, Mr V.S.P. Verma, to the then Additional SP of the Delhi police, Mr R.P. Singh, informing him that the “guards deployed with Mr Maninderjit Singh, President, Indian Youth Congress, will be withdrawn on 8.9.93.”

He alleged that certain prominent politicians had influenced Home Ministry officials to withdraw his security cover to settle their own political scores.

He also referred to the conviction of one of the accused, Devender Pal Singh, in the bomb attack case by the Sessions Judge of Delhi, Mr V.K. Jain. He wanted that the acquittal of the co-accused, Daya Singh Lahoria, and others in this case should be challenged by the police and the Union Government in the high court. Mr Bitta said that the acquittal of Daya Singh and other co-accused in this case would pose a serious threat to his life and could give a new fillip to terrorism in Punjab. He wanted his security cover to be beefed up.

Mr Bitta also said that if the government or the police did not approach the high court to appeal against the acquittal, he would himself wage a legal battle in this regard. The front would also wage a legal battle against the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh.

He favoured the establishment of special anti-terrorist courts to speed up the trial of such cases. Mr Bitta also said that he was writing a book on his experiences during the days of terrorism in Punjab and the role played by politicians in incidents of violence.


Deputation of riot-hit meets CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A deputation of the Danga Pirat Welfare Society led by Mr Surjit Singh today called on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and apprised him of the hardships faced by riot-affected families of 1984.

The Chief Minister listened to their grievances and demands, including allotment of shops, flats, booths and industrial plots by PUDA and issuance of red

Identity cards to the riot-affected persons on priority.

Mr Badal gave an assurance and directed all concerned to promptly redress their grievances.

The deputation expressed its gratitude for the sympathetic attitude of the Chief Minister.

Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, and Mr B.K. Srivastava, Secretary, Relief and Resettlement , were also present at the meeting.


Forum seeks check on pollution
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 30
The thermal plant authorities are apathetic towards increasing air pollution which is a great nuisance to residents of the city.

This was stated by Mr M.M. Behl and Mr C.S. Brar, secretary and president, respectively, of the Punjab Law Forum, in a press note here today.

Mr Behl said a letter in this connection had been written to the Chief Engineer of the plant demanding that appropriate steps should be taken to reduce the pollution. The pollution was deteriorating the health of residents of the city and was a violation of the Article-21 of the Constitution, which guaranteed qualitative life, he added.


Freedom fighter seeks revival of pension
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 30
Mr Ram Rach Pal of Goniana Mandi in the district has been running from pillar to post to get his freedom fighter pension revived after it was stopped by the Union Government.

Mr Pal in a written statement said he was awarded a ‘Tamra Patra’ by the government and was getting pension from the Punjab Government.

The Punjab Government forwarded his case to the Union Government for starting the pension, but the case was returned by the Union Government with remarks that the period of imprisonment and the date had been tampered with.

The state Government cross-checked the case and found the records in order and again recommended the case to the Union Government, but it was returned again.

The former Governor of Punjab, Mr Varinder Verma, had recommended the pension case to the state government and the pension was started by the state government.

When the Union government did not pass the case even after the second recommendation the state government also stopped the pension, he added.

In a letter written to the state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he demanded that his pension should be revived and the case be sent to the Union Government again for reconsideration.


Taps without water for one month
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 30
Residents of the Lakhi Ram street here have been awaiting water in their taps for more than past one month and repeated complaints to the municipal authorities have fallen on deaf ears.

Mr Chander Mohan Ruby, a resident of the area, alleged that though the water supply had been affected for the past four-five months, they had complained to the Municipal Council on July 17. Officials of the council had visited the site and had said the water supply pipe had been choked and a new one would have to be installed. They had assured the residents that the new pipe would be installed at the earliest.

As the underground water had been declared unfit for human consumption the residents had been forced to buy mineral water of various brands, he added.

Mr Shiv Kumar Mittal, Executive Officer of the council, when contacted, said the complaint had been forwarded to the Punjab Water and Supplies Board and if it was still pending it would be reminded of it again.


SC families to get Rs 20000 for building houses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 30
In addition to five marla plots to be given free of cost to families belonging to Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections of society each, the Punjab government would also give Rs 20,000 each to these families for the construction of houses on these plots.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, Punjab while handing over possession of plots to 40 families at Buladewala village in the district yesterday, said that the families eligible for plots have been identified.

He said that the decision to give monetary help for the construction of houses was taken when it was brought to the notice of the government that even if the plots were given free of cost to the dalits they would not be able to avail themselves of the benefit as they would not have any money to build houses.

Mr Garg said that if the panchayat of any village did not have extra land for distribution among the dalits, the state government would purchase land in such villages. He added that for this purpose Rs 82 crore would be spent.

He said that for providing drinking water in rural areas in the district a Rs 77 crore plan had been drawn up. He said that work on the first phase of the scheme had been started. 


CM stays recovery of border allowance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has stayed the recovery of border area compensatory allowance from employees posted in the border belt. Allowance was paid to employees in violation of the orders of the State Government. The authorities concerned had ordered its recovery. Justifying the stay of recovery, Mr Badal said this had been done keeping in view the arduous nature of duties of employees posted in the border belt.



State-level body for citrus estates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Punjab Government has constituted a state-level governing body under the chairmanship of the Financial Commissioner (Development) to monitor the functioning of the governing bodies of the five citrus estates set up by the state government with a view to increasing the production of kinnows and improving the quality of this major crop.

While presiding over a joint meeting of horticultural experts of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, and progressive kinnow growers here last evening, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, said that three members from each estate would be included in the state-level Governing Body. The Chief Minister approved the setting up of three Leaf Analysis Laboratories at Chhauni Kalan (Hoshiarpur), Gobindgarh (Abohar) and Bathinda for the control of plant diseases and giving suitable recommendations on the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

Mr Badal gave an assurance that all posts of Horticulture Development Officer lying vacant in the department would soon be filled on priority so that kinnow growers could benefit from their technical expertise.

The Chief Minister also approved the proposal for the setting up of four modern nurseries at Khiala Bulanda, Chhauni Kalan, Gobindgarh and the Fruit Research Centre, Abohar, at a cost of Rs 8 lakh each. Subscription to books, magazines and journals of interest to kinnow growers and access to the Internet would be made available at the Hoshiarpur, Abohar and Badal centres.

Mr Badal further said that to encourage the use of the sprinkler/micro sprinkler/drip irrigation system in kinnow orchards, 50 per cent subsidy on the construction of 100 water storage tanks would be provided. Besides, Rs 50 lakh would be allocated under the Central Government’s scheme for the installation of the sprinkler/micro sprinkler/drip irrigation system in kinnow orchards.

He said that solar energy pumps would be provided on priority by the Punjab Energy Development Agency to those farmers who had already installed the sprinkler/micro sprinkler/drip irrigation system in their orchards.

Mr Badal also informed the meeting that kinnow growers in the state had been provided with the latest horticulture tools on subsidy.

A 10-member committee of kinnow growers was also constituted at the meeting which will submit a detailed report within a fortnight for the growth of horticulture.



New Addl DC for Bathinda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Punjab Government ordered the following transfers and postings today:
Mr Darshan Singh has been posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, while Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda becomes the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) at Bathinda. Mr Chander Gaind will be the Land Acquisition Officer, PWD (B& R) at Jalandhar.

Mr Ajmer Singh has been appointed Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Bathinda, while Mr Gurnam Singh Gill will be the new Subdivisional Magistrate, Dhuri. The new Subdivisional Magistrate of Munak will be Mr Rajesh Dhiman.


6 channels banned
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 30
In an order issued to all SDMs of Ferozepore district, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladher, has restricted the relay of all obscene channels being relayed on cable, which are not fit for viewing of children. He specifically mentioned the banning of six channels — Fashion TV, HBO, TV6, MGM, Star World and Hallmark.


Minister’s guard gets 3 years’ RI
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 30
A bodyguard of the Minister for Printing and Stationery, Punjab, Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu, has been sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment for forgery by the local Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Ravinder Singh.

Jasbir Singh, constable No 970, was accused of forging his matriculation certificate at the time of his recruitment. It was alleged by the prosecution that Jasbir Singh was recruited as constable in 1990. At the time of his recruitment he produced a matriculation certificate of 1988 showing his roll number as 676187 and the date of birth as 23/3/1970.

The police authorities sent the certificate for verification to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). The PSEB authorities, said no certificate bearing similar roll number was issued in 1988. On further investigation it was found that the accused had actually passed Class X from PSEB in 1986 and his date of birth was 12/1/1968.

Since the accused was overage for the recruitment against the post of constable, he allegedly in connivance with three others, including Gurnam Singh, Manjit Singh and Sardev Singh, produced a forged matriculation certificate. All alleged conspirators in the case were booked under Section 420, 467, 468, 465 and 120-B of the IPC.

On the basis of evidence, the Judge sentenced Jasbir Singh under Section 471 of the IPC to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000, under Section 468 of the IPC to three years’ imprisonment and Rs 1,000 as fine and under Section 420 two years’ imprisonment and Rs 1,000 as fine. In default of each fine he would have to undergo an additional imprisonment of two months. All sentences would run concurrently. The other accused in the case were, however, acquitted due to lack of evidence against them.


Ten booked for demanding dowry
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 30
As many as 14 persons were booked in the past 24 hours in three cases of dowry and criminal intimidation.

According to sources, Ms Davinder Kaur of Thakar Sandhu village had lodged a complaint before the SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Sukhdev Singh, stating that she got married to Jaswinder singh on December 14, 1993. She said her father had given sufficient dowry at the time of marriage but her husband along with Tirth Kaur, her mother-in-law, Kashmir Singh, father-in-law, and Manjit Kaur, sister-in-law demanded a Maruti car from her.

She stated that on August 18, 2001, her in-laws tried to kill her. The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 498-A, 406, 506 and 34 of the IPC against all four accused in the complaint.

In another case, Ms Kuldeep Kumari of Jamma Kalari village stated before the Judicial Magistrate here that she was married to Sardari Lal in November, 1996. She stated that soon after the marriage her husband along with Som Raj, her father-in-law, Raj Rani, mother-in-law, Kalu and Tusli, brothers-in-law and Suman, sister-in-law, all residents of Khojepur village allegedly stated torturing and maltreating her. On many occasions they caused physical atrocities and mental torture to her demanding more dowry.

She alleged that in November, 2000, she was turned out of her house after being given severe beating by her in-laws. The magistrate, after recording the evidence, summoned all six accused under different sections of the IPC.

In another case, the Sadar police on a complaint of Mr Tarsem Lal of Pinjore village booked Ashok Kumar, Sohan Lal, Lovely and Ravi Kumar on the charge of criminal intimidation. A case under Sections 506 and 34 of the IPC was registered against the four.


Gang of car thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 30
The district police claims to have busted a gang of car thieves with the arrest of two of its members.

Stating this in a press note today, Mrs Gurpreet Deo, Senior Superintendent of Police, said the gang had a strength of 14. It had been operating in Delhi, Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Mukerian and Chandigarh.

The gang members sold the stolen cars at a price ranging from Rs 60,000 to Rs 75,000 after preparing fake papers.

She identified the arrested persons as Rinku Kumar, alias Sunil Kumar, of Amritsar and Mohet Aslam of Delhi. Rinku was the kingpin of the gang.

The other members were Vinay, Sanju, Bunty, Chikar, all from Jammu, Shokat Sadam of Srinagar, Rajesh, Rinku and Puran from Amritsar, Javed Allam and Peter from Delhi.

The police had traced three Zen cars, a 800 cc Maruti car and one Santro car, the SSP said. 


Youth jumps into lake, ends life
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 30
A young boy committed suicide by jumping into lake number two of the local thermal plant today.

Mr Vijay Goyal, president Sahara Jan Sewa, in a press note said according to the information collected from his relatives he was a narcotics addict. He had a scuffle with his family members which might be the cause of his death.

Volunteers of the organisation took out the body from the lake and brought it to the local civil hospital. The body was handed over to the relatives after the post-mortem examination. He was identified as Deepak Kumar.

In another incident a 90-year-old woman died when she was hit by a train. Rukki Devi, a city resident, was hard of hearing therefore not able to hear the whistle of the train while crossing the rail track.


Drunkard kills two women
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 30
A drunk member of a marriage party, to Rorianwali village of this district today killed two women of the village by running his jeep over them.

Police sources said that the drunk member of the marriage party, yet to be identified, came to attend the marriage of the son of Mr Balbir Singh today. He “enjoyed” the cultural programme organised on the occasion.

After some time he started driving his jeep and abruptly accelerated the vehicle and crushed to death two women under it. The deceased have been identified as Guddi and Chand Kaur.

After killing the women, the accused again accelerated the vehicle and hit a tractor-trailer. Ho also received serious injuries and was admitted into the local hospital.


Rs 2500 cr education plan for Punjab
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 30
Under the “Sarb Shiksha Abhiyan” of the Central Government, an ambitious elementary education plan, worth crores of rupees, for all children including drop-outs will be implemented in nine districts of the state after it is cleared by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in September this year.

Talking to newsmen here today, Mr R.S. Sandhu, Education Secretary, Punjab, said under the elementary education plan, admission of all children in the primary schools would be ensured by 2003 while primary education would be imparted to them by 2007. Besides, education up to eighth class would be provided to them by 2010, he added.

Mr Sandhu said the Punjab Education Department had already prepared project reports of the nine districts at Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Patiala, Muktsar and Amritsar for implementing elementary education plan. The reports had been submitted to the Union Ministry.

While disclosing that the Union Ministry of the HRD had also given its sanction to implement the elementary education plan in the remaining eight districts of the state, Mr Sandhu said a five-member central team arrived in Chandigarh this morning to study the project reports of the nine districts and hold discussions on the issue.

Mr Sandhu, who was here to preside over a state-level science seminar on “Biotechnological revolution: benefits and concerns”, organised by the State Institute of Science Education, Punjab, further said at the initial stage, the Union Government would contribute 85 per cent of the total expenditure while 15 per cent would be contributed by the state government.

Informed sources also disclosed that this elementary education plan was a project worth Rs 2500 crore. At least Rs 60 to 70 crore would be spent in each district while the big districts would have lion’s share like Patiala would get Rs 160 crore. Under the plan, infrastructure including, buildings, furniture and other articles would be made available. Besides, sufficient number of teachers would also be available in every school to be covered under the plan.

On this occasion, a deputation of women teachers of Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Dhanaula, met the Punjab Education Secretary and demanded the immediate transfer of a male lecturer in commerce from their school. The male lecturer had allegedly used indecent words against the women staff. A spokesperson of the deputation said the Education Secretary had asked the DEO (Secondary), Sangrur, to send his inquiry report in a week to him over this issue.

Mr Sohan Lal, Director, SCERT, Punjab, Mr Ajit Singh Pannu, Additional Secretary of Education, Punjab, Ms Surinder Kaur Dhingra, Director, State Institute of Science Education, Punjab, and Mr Dev Singh, District Education Officer (Secondary), Sangrur also addressed the seminar.


Randhawa group sweeps poll
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 30
The Democratic Employees Front led by Mr Sukhminder Singh Randhawa today swept all five office-bearers’ and 10 executive posts of Guru Nanak Dev University Non-teaching Employees Association poll here.

Four groups of the non-teaching employees were in the election fray, including the University Employees Democratic Front, led by Mr Rabinder Singh Baath, the Rapid Employees Front (led by Mr A.C. Sood) and newly floated ‘University Karmchari Sanjha Morcha’.

The office-bearers of the Randhawa group won the election with convincing margins.


AITUC rally
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 30
AITUC activists held a rally in the Putlighar area here today in protest against the anti-labour policies of the NDA government.

Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary of the Punjab AITUC, said the government’s policies had resulted in the closure of small business establishments.

employees hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Employees of the Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board(PKVIB) today held demonstration against the Punjab Government for not releasing salary of the staff for the past three months. They also wore black badges in support of their protest.

Mr Raghbir Singh Dhaliwal, president of the union, said the employees had not been paid salary since June due to the failure of the release of grant-in-aid. The rally was addressed among others by Ms Sina Devi, vice-chairman, and Mr Amrik Singh and Mr M.S. Rattan, joint secretaries of the union, according to the press note of the union.


Plea for octroi abolition
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 30
Various business organisations of Kharar at a meeting held here yesterday urged the Punjab Government to immediately abolish octroi in the state as promised by the SAD-BJP in their election manifesto.


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