Thursday, May 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PPSC scam: Dheera suspended
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 1
The Markfed authorities have suspended Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dheera, senior branch officer, who is posted in Ludhiana as District Officer. A Markfed statement said that Mr Randhir Singh had been suspended with effect from April 28, the day he was arrested by the state Vigilance Bureau in connection with the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam.

In a separate case, the Punjab Mandi Board has suspended Mr Ujjal Didar Singh Ghuman, General Manager (Accounts). Mr Ghuman was arrested on April 23 by the Ropar police in connection with a criminal case, according to information available here.

AMRITSAR: Sleuths of the Vigilance Department today conducted a search at the palatial house of Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dheera, one of the touts of the tainted Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman, Ravi Sidhu, at Tarn Taran, 27 km from here.

After coming close to Sidhu, the beleaguered PPSC Chairman, Dheera was able to build a palatial house in Kirpal Singhwali Gali at Tarn Taran. Interestingly, Dheera had named the lane after his father, Kirpal Singh.

The native village of Dheera is Shahabpur near Tarn Taran. However, the family has huge property in Tarn Taran also. The house was reportedly constructed at a cost of over Rs 1 crore which has been confirmed from the municipal records also.

According to sources, the Vigilance Department seized a huge quantity of currency notes and other valuables from the house of Dheera.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, 84 tolas of gold were seized on Wednesday from a bank locker of Randhir Singh, alias Dheera. A Vigilance Bureau party, led by SP R.P.S. Bajwa, on Wednesday opened the locker at Ludhiana and seized 84 tolas of gold, official sources said here.

Records of six bank accounts of Dheera in different banks of Ludhiana City with deposits worth about Rs 6 lakh were also seized, they said.

Meanwhile, raids were being carried out by the Vigilance Bureau at various places in the state in search of two suspects wanted in the scam, Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) Jaskaran Singh told PTI here.

The search was on for alleged tout Shamshir Singh, a veterinarian based at Panchkula, and an alleged hawala operator G.S. Manchanda.

Besides Sidhu and Dheera, four other suspects have been arrested so far in the case. The others arrested are Jagman Singh, Paramjit Singh Gill, alias Pammi, a senator of Punjab University, Prem Sagar, owner of a petrol filling station at Moga, and Surinder Kaur Manchanda, wife of alleged hawala operator G.S. Manchanda.


Former PPSC member defends son’s merit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
Former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Member T.C. Gupta today came out with a statement on the academic qualifications of his son Rahul Gupta to set the record straight regarding allegations that he had influenced the selection of his son to the PCS (Executive) in 1998.

Randhir Singh Dheera, who has been arrested in the scandal involving the PPSC has been quoted as having claimed that Mr Gupta had raised a hue and cry and even withheld his signatures to certain documents in order to force PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu to select his son.

In a statement here, Mr Gupta said even before the notification of the PCS and allied services examination he had notified the Chairman and the Secretary of the Commission that his son proposed to sit in the examination and that no paper or document having any bearing directly or indirectly on the selection process should be brought to his notice. He also claimed that he was not associated with the selection process at any stage and had also not participated in the interview of candidates.

Mr Gupta, who also claimed that the result of the examination was declared after he ceased to be a Member of the Commission, said his son’s academic and professional record spoke for itself. He said Rahul Gupta had scored an aggregate of 88 per cent in the plus two examination, capping it with 97 per cent in physics. He said following this Rahul secured a first class honours degree in Electronics from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. He then did MBA from Panjab University.

Mr Gupta said in 1998 when Rahul took the PCS examination he also appeared in the IAS competition and cleared the preliminary and mains examination in the first attempt and was amongst the 700 candidates called by the UPSC for the final interview. In the interview Rahul scored 68 per cent marks which were almost equal to the marks secured by the candidate who topped the examination. But for the drastic curtailment in the number of vacancies due to extension in age of retirement from 58 to 60 years Rahul would have made it to the central services, he added.


Decision to scrap recommendations hailed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Part-time Lecturers Association has hailed the government decision to cancel the recommendations of lecturers made by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) against advertisements published in 1999 and 2001.

In a statement here, association president Gurjinder Singh Chahal said the decision was necessary for generating public faith in the functioning of the commission. Mr Chahal said all powers of the commission had been usurped by the Chairman by making changes in its functioning.

Mr Chahal also alleged that some candidates had been successful in getting recommended by submitting fake reservation certificates which had not been verified by the commission. They said the commission was caught in a paradoxical situation as it had complained against the Chairman to the Governor and other higher authorities regarding his manner of conducting interviews for the posts of DSP, BDPO and PCS (Executive) without their participation but surrendered before the same “illegal” procedure and accepted the offer of the Chairman to conduct interviews for less lucrative posts.

Meanwhile, former PSEB chairman Zora Singh Brar welcomed the appointment of a one-man inquiry commission headed by former Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice A.S. Garg to probe the “irregularities and corrupt practices” of the previous government headed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He said Justice Garg had announced that the commission would not record any findings against anyone without giving them an opportunity of hearing.


Probe sought into teachers’ selections
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 1
Unemployed B.Ed. candidates have demanded a probe into the appointment of teachers during the SAD-BJP regime. They alleged that the seats were sold by the then Punjab Education Minister. Most of the candidates got the appointment on the basis of bogus B.Ed. degrees obtained from other states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, false and bogus experience certificates and sports certificates.

They have urged the state government that the authenticity of the certificates furnished by the candidates be got checked by the Vigilance Department, Punjab. They further said that candidates who could not pay the price to get appointments were ignored. They have demanded action against the scamsters i.e. members of state-level departmental selection committees and district-level selection committees which were entrusted the job of holding interviews and checking the authenticity of the documents produced by the candidates.

Talking to this correspondent here yesterday, Ms Vaneeta Rani, an unemployed B.Ed. candidate said that she was in the merit list of Punjabi University, Patiala, in all three years and a topper in the district during her graduation. She also got the top position in her arts group during in B.Ed. from Government College of Education, Patiala, she added. She further said that she appeared in the interview conducted by District Education Officer (Secondary) at Moga for social study teacher (roll number 0614-007277) and at Faridkot for Hindi teacher (roll number 0616-009871) on November 13 and 20 last year, respectively, as she was eligible for both posts. As per the academic record, she stood on the 99th and 88th position, respectively, but was not selected in both the categories as she failed to fulfil the “requirements” of Badal government to arrange money for them through their touts.


Coop Department suspends Chhina
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
The Cooperative Department today placed Surinderpal Singh Chhina, Managing Director, Central Cooperative Bank, under suspension, till further orders following his arrest by the Vigilance Bureau.

The official orders, issued by Mr Baldev Singh Pawar, Joint Registrar, Cooperative Societies, read that it was imperative to suspend Mr Chhina due to his arrest by the Vigilance Department and his judicial remand.

The Vigilance Department has already detected movable and immovable property worth crores in the name of Chhina and his relatives. The Vigilance Department is also investigating the alleged links of Chhina with Parmjit Singh Panjwar, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Commando Force.

It may be mentioned here that the Vigilance Bureau has already opened lockers in the name of Chhina and found gold and currency in them. The Income Tax Department has also sought details of the seizures made by the Vigilance Bureau.


Order on Ahluwalia’s bail plea reserved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Reserving orders on the anticipatory bail petition moved by Punjabi University’s former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia in the Saru Rana case, Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that the interim orders against his arrest would continue till further directions.

The VC was apprehending arrest in the case registered on February 19 initially under Sections 341, 294, 354, 506 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC were, subsequently, added to the first information report. In her complaint, post graduate student Saru Rana had alleged that “wrong things” were happening in the Department of Fine Arts. She had added that the VC, instead of taking action, had forced her to keep her mouth shut.

Seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to release him on bail in the event of his arrest, counsel for the petitioner had contended that the VC was being implicated in the case. He had added that there was nothing in the complaint except the allegation that the VC was behind “all this” and was making wrong gestures at the complainant during university functions.

The VC, it may be recalled, in another petition had sought the quashing of the FIR. In his 123-page petition, the VC had also sought directions to the state against passing any order on the basis of the allegations in the FIR, besides staying further investigations. Counsel for the petitioner had stated on the VC’s behalf that the FIR was liable to be quashed as the allegations were vague, aimed at implicating the fine arts faculty. He had added that the SSP had ordered prompt registration of the FIR as he was annoyed with certain things.


Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi of the High Court on Wednesday showed no inclination to accept the unconditional apology rendered by Punjab’s Advocate-General regarding the alleged failure of the Vigilance Department to produce Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu in the High Court on time in a habeas corpus petition.

Though no formal orders were passed, Mr Justice Singhvi verbally told the Advocate-General that he would first go through the matter. The Judge, however, directed that Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance) A.P. Pandey, besides Director General of Police (Homeguard) Mr S.V. Singh, were not required to remain present in the Court on the next date of hearing. The Judge observed that their presence was neither sought for nor required for the adjudication of the issue.

Appearing before the Court, Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh admitted that there was a lapse on the part of the authorities and that they would be careful in future.

Sidhu, booked by Punjab Vigilance Bureau after conducting raids at his residence in Sector 39 in Chandigarh, was not produced before the High Court on March 26 despite directions by Mr Justice Singhvi. Taking a serious view of the matter, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar of the High Court had directed that the matter, with the approval of the High Court Chief Justice, should be placed before Mr Justice Singhvi as his orders had not been complied with. The authorities concerned, including Punjab’s Director-General of Police, were, nevertheless, granted liberty to file further affidavits within three weeks.


In yet another petition filed before the High Court, two voters from Abohar tehsil in Ferozepore district on Wednesday sought directions for setting aside the election of Mr Parkash Singh Bhatti from the Balluana (SC) assembly constituency.

Mr Koor Singh and another petitioner alleged that the nomination papers of the returned candidate had been illegally accepted. Giving details, the two stated that after going through newspaper reports they came to know that Mr Bhatti was initially employed with the Punjab State Electricity Board and was holding an office of profit under the state government. Regarding the delay in filing the election petition, they added that being “ordinary citizens”, they were not aware of the illegal acceptance of the nomination papers. 


‘Declare Pbi varsity VC persona non grata’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 1
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR), at its meeting held here yesterday, felt that in view of criminal cases filed against the ousted Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, he should be declared persona non grata and that his entry to Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Chandigarh, should be immediately banned.

The forum appealed to members of the foundation, including the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who is the founder member of the foundation, to convene a meeting for the removal of Dr Ahluwalia as president of the foundation as well as from the “Trust of Properties”.

The forum also appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to take serious view of the activities of Dr Ahluwalia heading various Sikh institutions and that the process of his ex-communication should also be initiated.


Octroi : Punjab undecided on moving SC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab Government has not decided on the filing of a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s judgement on octroi. The court quashed the state government’s order on the abolition of octroi on Monday.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the government officials concerned were studying the judgement. All legal aspects would have to be examined before taking a decision, he added.

Asked about the controversy regarding the Chairman of the Inquiry Commission, Justice A.S. Garg, he said he would also examine this issue after going through the reports which appeared in the print media.


Is Vigilance Bureau ‘soft’ on bureaucrats?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab bureaucracy’s opposition to the registration of a case by the state Vigilance Bureau against an IAS officer, Mr R. Venkatratnam, without the permission of the three-member committee set up in this connection, is likely to blunt the campaign launched against corruption by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Punjab’s top bureaucratic set-up has not liked the way the bureau has booked Mr Venkatratnam without bringing the matter to its notice. It has conveyed its anguish at the official level to the officials concerned in the bureau.

When questioned in this regard, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that he had got the matter amicably resolved by holding a meeting with all concerned. He said among those who attended the meeting were the Chief Secretary and the top brass of the bureau and the Punjab police.

The case against Mr Venkatratnam and six other persons has been registered by the bureau in connection with the filling of nine posts of junior engineer against the reserved handicapped category in the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department.

The bureau has already arrested Chief Engineer Baldev Singh and District Development and Panchayati Raj Officer Kuldeep Singh. The charge against them is that they selected Kamalpreet Singh, a close relation of the former Rural Development Minister, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon. It has been alleged by the bureau that Kamalpreet Singh was not a handicapped person. Certain other selected persons had “not even applied” for the posts.

A senior officer of the bureau told TNS that Mr Venkatratnam had recorded part of the proceedings with regard to the selection of junior engineers in his own handwriting. Moreover, he was a part of the committee set up to fill the posts.

There are no legal provisions in place which disallow the registration of a case against an IAS officer. The committee, whose permission has to be sought before registering the case against any IAS officer, had been set up during the tenure of the previous government. It had no legal sanction or authority.

It was just an internal arrangement made by the bureaucracy. It issued various guidelines to the Vigilance Bureau immediately after it came into being. The officers who were behind the setting up of the committee had stated that the step had been taken to “streamline” the functioning of the bureau and protect officers from unnecessary harassment.

There are several IAS officers whose names figure in various other scams. If they are not to be arrested or interrogated, it will be very difficult for Capt Amarinder Singh to live up to his claim that “he has directed the officers concerned to get to the bottom of all scams”.

If a Chief Engineer and a DDPO can be arrested, why can’t an IAS officer be arrested or interrogated. In the past years, the campaign against corruption has remained confined to officials like clerks, junior engineers, revenue officials, etc. No one has dared to touch bureaucrats except the CBI in certain cases which were referred to it because of “internal politics” of the bureaucracy.

When a person such as PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, who holds a constitutional post, can be arrested by the bureau, why can’t others be arrested. Moreover corruption cannot be eliminated by arresting small fry and sparing big wigs.

It has been seen in the past days that the Vigilance Bureau has been very quick in arresting ordinary persons in connection with the Punjab Public Service Commission scandal and juniors officials. However, it has “soft-pedalled” in the case of officers who are part of the state machinery. Take the case of Mr Pritpal Singh, a former secretary of the PPSC. The bureau has been “very soft” as far as his interrogation is concerned. It has been alleged by members of the PPSC that Mr Pritpal Singh was privy to all activities of Mr Sidhu.

Likewise, the name of senior PCS officer has figured as an “agent” of Mr Sidhu but nothing about his arrest has been heard from the Vigilance Bureau yet.


Afghan Hindus, Sikhs invited to return
SGPC to send jathas to Afghanistan
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 1
The Hamid Karzai government will return the property of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs, which had been freezed by the Taliban regime and offer protection and support to them on their return to Afghanistan.

The Hamid Karzai-led interim government has also expressed its desire to invite the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for the repair of historical gurdwaras and other Sikh shrines which were partly destroyed during the decade-long internal strife in Afghanistan and due to the indifferent attitude of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the SGPC has welcomed the gesture of the Afghanistan Government and had decided to send jathas to Afghanistan for the reconstruction of gurdwaras.

Mr Sayed Sadi Mutafaqir Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Transport, while talking to The Tribune during his one-day official visit to the city said the interim government had decided to grant full protection to Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, who had fled from the country following the policies of the Taliban. Most of these Afghan Hindus and Sikhs had migrated to Pakistan and India.

“I invite them to come back to their country and assure them that we will take care of their problems. I also assure them that their properties, either usurped by the Taliban or those which were seized by the previous regime will be returned to them,” said Mr Mutafaqir.

The minister further said to instil confidence among the Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, Mr Hamid Karzai and his Cabinet had celebrated Baisakhi in one of the gurdwaras in Afghanistan. Mr Mutafaqir said his government would provide assistance to the SGPC if it desired to reconstruct gurdwaras there.

The SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has welcomed the initiative of Afghanistan and said the organisation would strive to initiate the reconstruction of the shrines at the earliest.

The minister was here to inspect a fleet of 50 buses, which had been given to Afghanistan by the Indian Government as part of aid for rebuilding would leave Amritsar for Afghanistan through the Wagah border tomorrow. The aid includes buses and one lakh tonnes of wheat.

Mr Mutafaqir said India had contributed a lot in the development of his country. He said normalcy had returned to Afghanistan and the priority of the new government would be to establish links with different countries. “As part of this move, we have decided to reconstruct airstrips and have identified new air routes to be opened soon,” he said.


50 buses for Kabul, with love from India
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 1
A fleet of 25 buses, 12 of which arrived here late last night, will be the first of the $ 100 million aid promised to Afghanistan for its reconstruction by the Indian Government.

The fleet will set off rolling on Friday from Amritsar to the Wagah border check post amid tight security by the Punjab police. The buses will be taken to Afghanistan via Pakistan and accompanied by the first Deputy Transport Minister of Afghanistan, Mr Saaid Sadi Mutafaqir, who has arrived here.

In an exclusive interview with ‘The Tribune’, Mr Mutafaquir welcomed India’s gesture of providing buses to war-torn Afghanistan and helping it revive its social and economic conditions. “About 25 more buses are expected in 45 days, as announced by Mr Jaswant Singh, Foreign Minister, bringing the total number of buses donated by India to 50,” he added.

As many as 25 drivers and three mechanics from Afghanistan, will accompany the buses.

About the conditions prevailing in Afghanistan, he said factories producing plastics, shoes, garments and jackets were being renovated and the raw material was flowing from Tajakistan, Iran and Pakistan for them. The dry fruit business which had come to a standstill with most of the gardens being destroyed, was being rejuvenated.

Similarly roads, bridges irrigation channels and renovation and reconstruction of government and institutional buildings was being carried on, “Freedom is in the air. This can be gauged from the 15 cinema halls going full house, showing American, Indian and Iranian movies. Women are slowly throwing off the burqa and returning to studies,” he added.


In search of ‘captive’ daughter
Afghan couple camping in Amritsar for months
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 1
A desperate Afghan couple has been moving heaven and earth for a glimpse for their beautiful daughter Mooska. Nida Mohammed Kakar her father, has been camping in a city hotel for the past many months.

Talking to The Tribune he alleged that Mooska had suddenly left Australia last September after having been allured by Jaidev Singh, an illegal immigrant who is reported to have landed at his native Dhagana village, near Patti, since then.

Mr Kakar has made many attempts and pleaded with senior police officers of Tarn Taran to arrange a meeting with his daughter. He said barely out of her teens Mooska was married to an Afghan national, Mir Aziz-ud-Din, a 20-year boy from Bangesh Colony, Pirwadhai, Rawalpindi, on April 20, 2001, at Rawalpindi. He shows a marriage certificate to this effect.

Since the family of Kakars had migrated to Australia in the thick of Afghan war, Mooska had gone visiting them there after marriage. While waiting for her husband to take her back to Afghanistan, Mooska was pursuing her studies in Melbourne. But one fateful day in September last year, they found to their shock that she had left Australia with Jaidev Singh for India, without informing the family.

Mr Kakar a former officer in the Afghan army, alleged that his daughter had been kept in captivity by the family of Jaidev Singh in their village and she was not allowed to meet him.

He alleged foul play in the goings-on. He alleged that since Jaidev Singh was deported by the Australian immigration authorities, he was trying to use Mooska, an Australian national, to return to that country by marrying her.

He had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had directed the District and Sessions Judge to arrange his meeting with Mooska in his chamber. But to no avail. He has also made appeals to the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, the former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to allow his daughter to meet him so that she could be released from the clutches of Jaidev.

As Mooska is married to Aziz-ud-Din, she could not marry another person till she is divorced, wailed Mr Kakar and his wife. More than six months have lapsed since they started looking for their daughter, but they have not lost hope. Attempts to contact Jaidev yielded no result.


Murder bid case against Mukhmailpur
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The police here today registered a case of attempt to murder against former Shiromani Akali Dal Minister Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur and six others, including his brother, for attacking a member of Panchayat Bahadurgarh near his house opposite Punjabi University.

Police sources said that Mukhmailpur was booked under the conspiracy heading (Section 120 (b) ) with the complainant — a woman sarpanch claiming that her husband Darshan Kumar was going on a scooter when five to six persons came out from Mukhmailpur’s residence in a car and stopped him near the petrol station near his residence. The complainant alleged that her husband was beaten up with sticks and also attacked with kirpans subsequently.

The complainant has also alleged that five Congress members were suspended recently by the new government due to which the former Minister had been threatening her and had instigated the attack against her husband. A case has been registered under Sections 307, 324, 323, 341, 504, 148, 120 (b) of the IPC against Mukhmailpur, his brother Faujinder Singh and five others. No arrests has been made.

Today’s incident appears to be the result of a clash between two opposing groups of Bahadurgarh. During a clash two days ago a supporter of the former Minister — Basant Singh was attacked with kirpans by the other group and he had to be hospitalised. The victim had named Darshan Kumar as the attacker. Mukhmailpur had visited the victim in hospital and even had said the SAD would start an agitation in the area if an attempt to murder case was not registered against Darshan Kumar.


SGPC meeting to frame rules postponed
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
Even as the SGPC has postponed the meeting of the Dharam Parchar Committee scheduled for tomorrow to frame rules for the appointment and removal of Sikh High Priests, indefinitely, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha has taken a serious view of authorising Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC to select Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib.

It is pertinent to mention here that day after his installation as Jathedar, Akal Takht on March 29 last year, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had directed the SGPC to frame rules for the appointment and removal of the Sikh clergy. However, after a lapse of more than a year.

Much to the embarrassment of SGPC chief, the office-bearers of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Giani Joginder Singh Talwara and Mr Satnam Singh said the SGPC should not take any decision on the selection of Jathedar of any Takht before the framing of rules. They said authorising Mr Badungar to select Jathedar Damadama Sahib would set a wrong precedent as such a selection would not be considered on merit. They said while Jathedar Akal Takht had already issued directions to the SGPC to frame rules and regulations for the appointment and removal of the Jathedars, no selections should be made in an arbitrary manner.

The Akhand Kirtani Jatha also took a serious note of the ‘studied silence’ of Akal Takht and the SGPC on certain significant issues pertaining to the Sikh Panth. Neither the SGPC nor Akal Takht could take any stand on the alleged derogatory remarks of the then SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, against the Sikh clergy or the present SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The SGPC and Akal Takht also failed to take any clear stand on the tussle between Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, the Golden Temple and the rest of Sikh High Priests who had been on logger-heads over the issuance of ‘hukamnamas’ (edicts). The Akhand Kirtani Jatha office-bearers said the two institutions (Akal Takht and the SGPC) must clarify whether the edicts issued by Giani Puran Singh in his capacity as Jathedar Akal Takht, wherein he had excommunicated the then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and three Sikh High Priests from the Sikh Panth were right or rescinding of the controversial edicts of Giani Puran Singh was a right step? These questions are being asked by the Sikh Panth. The hot words exchanged between Giani Puran Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib had sent a wrong message among the Sikhs, apart from this the then SGPC chief had described Mr Badungar as a ‘follower’ of the excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhanjara in the general house of the SGPC while he (Mr Badungar) was given a clean chit by Akal Takht on this issue. The Akhand Kirtani Jatha flayed leaders of the SAD Dal, the SGPC and even the Sikh clergy for not taking a firm stand on the significant Sikh matters which resulted in unsavoury controversies.


Panel to review labour laws
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 1
The state government, in its bid to ensure speedy disposal of cases related to problems of labourers, has decided to set up a committee of experts to review the existing labour laws.

This was revealed by the Punjab Minister for Labour and Employment, Choudhary Jagjit Singh, during a function organised by INTUC to mark Labour Day at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today.

Showing concern about the increase in cases pertaining to bonded and child labour, the minister said the committee would be comprised of eminent experts and representatives of labour unions of the state.

He said the department had recently conducted a survey in different parts of the state to identify the cases of bonded and child labour and it was found that most of the affected persons were not even aware about their rights. “The Congress government is committed to get free the affected children below the age of 14 years from the clutches of their employers. Besides, it will make necessary arrangements for their education so that they can live a respectable life in the society,” he claimed.

The minister said the state government would soon set up a special labour court in Jalandhar for speedy disposal of labour cases.

He assured that the functioning of the ESI hospital and dispensaries would be improved for providing better healthcare facilities to the labourers.

He said the state government would leave no stone unturned to eradicate the menace of corruption from the government offices. He appealed to people to come forward with specific complaints of corruption to help the administration in its campaign against corruption.

The minister declared that the new industrial policy, keeping in view the interests of unemployed youths, would be announced soon . Others who spoke on the occasion included local MLA Raj Kumar Gupta, president of the district unit of the Congress Tajinder Singh Bittu and president of the state INTUC Dr Subash Sharma.

Earlier, the gathering observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to the Chicago martyrs.


Workers seek better deal on May Day
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, May 1
The Punjab State Karamchari Dal, in a resolution today asked the Punjab Government to regularise the services of all daily wage earners working in different departments, abolish contract labour system, hike medical allowance of the employees, and release of bonus on central pattern.

The resolution was adopted at a state-level function, organised by the Punjab State Karamchari Dal on the occasion of “May Day” at the Khalsa High School ground here. The function was presided over by Mr Hari Singh Tohra state president of the dal. A large number of members of the dal from different parts of the state participated in the function.

PHAGWARA: A May Day function was held here on Wednesday and tributes were paid to the Chicago martyrs of 1886. The function was organised by the Richshaw Pullers Union outside the local bus stand along the GT Road.

The local Congress MLA Mr Joginder Singh Mann, union Chairman KC Azad and many other trade union leaders addressed the function.

BATALA: May Day was observed on Wednesday here behind the main bus stand. Many labourers including industry workers, and daily wage earners, participated on the occasion. Leaders of INTUC, CPM and the CPI addressed the gathering. The leaders urged the Punjab and Central governments not to make anti-people policies.

AMRITSAR: Employees of private and public sectors, Banks, Telecom and Postal departments, Railways and various other organisations besides members of AICTU and CITU observed May Day here. After hosting red flags at various places the workers held a rally at the Putlighar chowk. The rally was addressed by the leaders of various unions. Meanwhile, the Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab and the Neta Ji Azad Trade Union also held rallies on the occasion.

SAMANA: May Day was observed by the Trade Union Council, at the Aggarwal Dharmshala here on Wednesday. A rally was also held on the occasion and leaders of the council addressed the gathering.

GURDASPUR: May Day was observed by workers owing allegiance to various trade unions here. Members of the CPM and CPI held meeting at the Nehru Park here on the occasion.

Mr Makhan Singh Kuhar, president Government Teachers Union, Amritsar district criticised the state and Central governments for adopting anti-worker policies.

BATHINDA: Employees of different departments here held rallies at different places in the city to observe May Day.

Members of the Technical Services Union of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Employees Federation, Municipal Employees Union, CITU, PWD Workers Coordination Struggle Committee and the National Union of Postal Employees held rallies and paid homage to Chicago martyrs on the occasion.

FEROZEPORE: The Uttariya Railway Mazdoor Union in coordination with the Punjab Subordinate Service Federation held a rally in front of the local DRM office to mark May Day. Tributes were paid to martyrs of Chicago. The speakers criticised the anti worker policies of the Union Government.

PATIALA: The Punjab State Services Federation on May Day decided to hold a state-level dharna in Chandigarh during the Budget session in June in case the government did not accept its demands, including promotional scales after 4, 9, 14 years of service and 15 per cent house rent allowance for Patiala-based employees besides other demands.

Stating this here on Wednesday, Secretary-General of the federation Harpal Singh said May Day was observed as the Bhai Lalo Divas by the federation, PSEB Employees Federation and the Punjab Kirti Dal here. The function was presided over by federation’s state president Charanjit SinghWalia.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Teachers Union also organised a function on the occasion which was presided over by the Chief Minister’s Political Secretary, Mr Harchand Singh Barsat. A rally was organised by the Post and Telecom employees in front of the Head Post Office to pay homage to Chicago martyrs.


Medical reps hold May Day rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
Members of the Punjab Medical Representatives Association today held a rally in the city in connection with May Day and to show resentment against the non-fulfillment of their demands by the authorities concerned.

The speakers at the rally said due to the wrong policies of the government the number of unemployed persons were increasing in the country and the anti-labour policies would have an adverse affect on the labour community.

Mr Ranjit Madan, president of the district unit of the union, said they had been urging the authorities of the pharmaceutical companies to give some benefits to the medical representatives. He said spurious and fake drugs were flooding the market.

He said some of the pharmaceutical companies were cheating them as well as people. He said the companies were harassing them and they were not given benefits given to employees. He said they had been holding rallies for their demands to be accepted but without any gain.


PSEB to buy power from Kol Dam
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today signed a power purchase agreement with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for purchase of power from the 800 mw Kol Dam Hydroelectric Project.

The Kol Dam is located on the Sutlej 8 km upstream of the Dehar Power House of the BBMB in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. The construction work of the dam was transferred to NTPC by an agreement in 2000 between the Himachal Government and NTPC. As per the agreement Himachal Pradesh was to get 12 per cent free power and 15 per cent as share from the dam while the balance 73 per cent of power was to be allocated by the Union Government to other states of the northern region.

PSEB sources said the agreement was signed by member, transmission Suresh Gupta on behalf of the board. They said as per the existing norms PSEB’s allocation from the dam was 111 mw but the Board had expressed its willingness to take 250 mw or more from the project. Under the agreement the transmission of power was to be entrusted to the Powergrid Corporation of India through 400 kv lines.

The board officials said PSEB would get around 400 million units per year from the project while the exact allocation would be notified to the Union government. They said the tariff for the project would be notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The sources said the Kol Dam being located on the Sutlej, upstream of the Bhakra would give a double benefit to the BBMB. They said it would reduce silting of the Bhakra Dam and also the flook risk to the dam during the monsoon.


Too busy to unveil statue
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
In the twilight of her life, the mother of a 1965 Indo-Pak war martyr, is looking towards 18th Cavalry Regiment of the Indian Army and the Punjab Government for the past about four months to unveil the statue of her only son erected by her at her native Latala village in this district.

The 81-year-old city-based Surinder Kaur awaits the arrival of the Army officials as she wants only the authorities of the 18th Cavalry Regiment to unveil the statue with full military honours as her son, Capt Ravinder Singh, was serving this regiment when he achieved martyrdom. She looks towards the Punjab Government for intervention in the matter as the Regiment officials, despite their willingness to fulfil her wish, claim they could not come due to their posting at some sensitive place, somewhere in the Western Sector.

As the woman waits, the statue of the brave soldier on the Latala-Ahmedgarh road presents an unusual picture. It lies covered with a cloth, awaiting formal inauguration.

The woman is angry with the local administration and politicians for ignoring her plight. She said when the Ludhiana Tribune published a report on the statue two months ago, she expected someone from the district administration, Army or political leaders to come to her aid, but no one came.‘‘No one even offered help’’, she lamented.

Her tale of woe does not end here. She was promised 10 acres of land in 1965 by the Punjab Government to compensate her loss. She is still awaiting the piece of land. Her husband, a retired military engineer died in 1996, with the wish unfulfilled. The villagers had also mooted a proposal to the government that the village school be named after her son. Mr M S Randhawa, Deputy Director, District Sainik Welfare Board, said school could not be done as the school was already named in some person’s memory.

The woman proudly shows a letter written by the then President of the country offering his condolences for her son’s demise. ‘‘ Those were the days, when sacrifices seemed to matter. Now the picture is different,’’ she bemoans.


Cleanliness drive a sham?
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s move to sweep away corruption may have met with success, but his act of actually picking up the broom to clean up his city and encourage his partymen to do likewise has been a damp squib. Congress politicians have made the ongoing cleanliness drive in the city a sham, leaving school children to sweat it out in the heat for the ‘cleaning’ part.

The cleanliness drive was launched in the city on April 22. Capt Amarinder Singh and his wife cleaned the area around the Baba B.R. Ambedkar statue opposite the bus stand to initiate the drive. Cleaning part of the street presented problems then too, as local Congressmen virtually mobbed the Chief Minister to be seen using the broom by his side.

It was hoped that Congressmen would participate in the drive seriously, with the Municipal Corporation elections around the corner. The party had also written letters to former Councillors to take an active part in the 15-day cleanliness drive, suggesting that their participation in the drive would also determine their chances for a ticket.

However, Congressmen have preferred to avail of the photo opportunities everyday, instead of going in for any serious cleaning. Local leaders are seen cleaning squeak clean streets, perhaps for the benefit of photographers or local television cameras. Once the photo opportunity is over the vanish.

The administration’s move to divide the city into zones and place one officer alongwith a Corporation official as in charge of the area, has also come a cropper. Most of the officers made in charge of their respective zones have been unable to maintain the tempo of the drive.

On the other hand, school children are being made to sweat it out. They have turned out to be the only conscientious workers under the drive. The administration had divided the responsibility of cleaning the city among different schools according to the area in which they were situated. However, even in this case, the results are better where officers from the administration oversee the drive. In other cases, school children are seen marching through the area under their supervision with placards proclaiming the need to clean the city and raising slogans.

The ordinary citizen seems to have been unmoved by the drive. This is mainly because of the failure of the local Congress leaders to lead from the front, according to Anjana Devi a resident of Achar Bazar. She said as it is the drive was being considered a ‘Congress show’ as leaders associated with the Akali-BJP alliance had stayed away from it. She said there was a difference in the Congress and Akali culture. Former legislator Sardara Singh Kohli had started cleaning the drains of the city himself during a strike by teachers, which had led to others taking up the job. ‘’Congress leaders on the other hand, come to take part in the drive in spotless kurta pyjamas not wanting to get dirty’’, she added.

Residents also feel that a more effective waste disposal system needs to be created if the city was to be kept clean for some time to come. ‘’Even in the present drive, garbage which is picked up from a colony on one day, resurfaces after some time’’, said Charanjit Singh a resident of Sherwanwala Gate. He said the city lacked permanent waste disposal bins or metal canisters in each locality and the general trend was to throw garbage in any vacant plot or public place.

He said once such permanent facilities were provided and the Corporation started picking up the waste regularly, Patiala would really become clean. Others felt the Corporation, instead of laying stress on vacuum-cleaning the Mall road should pay more attention to trouble spots in the city, like dairies, the vegetable market and the kabari market.


Man seeks protection
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Mr Dalbir Singh, a resident of Goindwal Sahib, has appealed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to ensure protection to his life following threats by eight persons to eliminate him.

In his representation, he has pointed out that his relatives had lodged a false FIR against him. He alleged that a former minister and a former MLA were involved in the land-grab case of his paper mill at Goindwal Sahib.

He said the police, Punjab Financial Corporation officials and the two politicians were involved with his relatives to deprive him of his mill. He said the Chief Secretary was asked to look into the case by the Chief Minister after he met him a month ago.

However, the police officials who were handling the case were the same who had initially connived with his relatives to get a FIR registered against him, he said.

In letters to the Chief Secretary, DGP, IG, SSP, Tarn Taran and Amritsar, he stated that he apprehended threat to his life over the property worth Rs 50 lakh.


BSNL to give phones on demand
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 1
BSNL today announced that it would provide telephone connections on demand basis to subscribers falling under 29 rural telephone exchanges of the Jalandhar telecom circle comprising Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts, in which they had already achieved zero-pendancy target during the last financial year.

BSNL have also decided to allot 70,000 new telephone connections in the circle during the current financial year.

Mr K.C. Jindal, General Manager (Telecom), said there was no waiting list for telephone connections in 23 exchanges in Jalandhar, four in Kapurthala and two in Nawanshahr in the rural areas. The exchanges with zero pendancy in Jalandhar include Jandusingha, Hilram, Hazaran, Dyalpur, Channia, Chitti, Bhatija, Kang Jagir, Kangkhurd, Kartarpur,Kot Ranjha, Kular, Lallian, Lambra, Lassara, Pandori Khas, Parjian, Patara, Pattar Kalan, Punnian, Sangatpur, Udhopur and Ughi.

The Sarhal Kazian and Garcha exchanges in Nawanshahr district, while Rampur Sunarran, Rihanazattan, Lakhan-Ke-Padda and Balerkhanpur telephone exchanges in Kapurthala district had achieved the zero pendancy, target Mr Jindal said, adding that special emphasis was been laid on providing best telecom services in the rural sector.


Entertainment complex for Punjab mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Peter Sutharland, today called on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at his residence.

A letter of intent to invest more than Rs 400 crore for developing tourism and setting up of a leisure entertainment complex in Punjab was also signed by Mr Atam Uppal, Canadian NRI and Mrs Geetika Kalha, Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It had been estimated that the project would create approximately 6,000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

The Chief Minister said the government was committed to make Punjab an “investment friendly” state.

The High Commissioner assured Capt Amarinder Singh that he would make efforts to propel investments to the state.


Driving schools function sans instructors
K.K. Goyal

Mansa, May 1
A large number of driving schools are being only on papers in the district and have no vehicle or instructor available for training.

These schools have only offices just to issue certificates and maintain false attendance records and charge fee from the public. This has led to increase in accidents.

Officials of the Transport Department are virtually adopting an indifferent attitude for reasons best known to them.

Sources reveal that a licence was issued to one such school on March 9, 2000, by the local DTO to give training for only light vehicles but the proprietor of the said school issued many certificates of heavy vehicles too, and such certificates were issued on May 27, 2001.

When the DTO, Mr Jasbir Singh Toor, was informed of such schools, he issued a notice to the said school on March 28 and demanded reply within a week, but so far no reply has been given by the proprietor of the school.

When contacted Mr Toor said on receipt of a complaint he had issued a notice to the school and admitted that only light vehicle licence was issued to the proprietor of the said school. He added that the proprietor of the school got added the word “heavy” in his licence allegedly in connivance with an employee of the department, which was ratified later on. When contacted, the proprietor, who is also a stamp vendor, said he had a licence to run the training school for light and heavy vehicles.


Doctor’s 16-year wait for justice
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
A doctor with 16 years of service is allegedly being denied the right of regularisation even after promotion.

In a letter to Principal Secretary, Research and Medical Education, and Secretary Punjab Public Services Commission Dr Swami Sharan Sharma, Assistant Professor, Blood Bank, here said he was promoted on ad-hoc basis on May 13, 1999, against a vacant post. However, the promotion letter did not mention if the promotion was against the reserved post or a post of direct recruitment through PPSC. In addition it was not mentioned “you will be reverted back to your previous post as and when a candidate selected the PPSC joins” the letter states.

Dr Swami said he had come through PPSC as Lecturer, Blood Bank, and his probation period was cleared ahead of two other doctors. He should have rightfully be given seniority ahead of these two persons as per rules. But this was denied to him despite a number of representations to the authorities concerned. He urged that his promotion be regularised according to the rules.


Ex-servicemen for CSD facility for car
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 1
The Ex-Services League Punjab and Chandigarh District Ropar, in a letter written to the Chief of Army Staff, has demanded CSD (I) facilities to ex-servicemen of all ranks for the purchase of car.

Captain Dharam Pal, president of the association, has written in his letter that presently the facility of purchasing car through CSD canteen is available to officers rank only, and JCOs and ORs are not allowed this facility.

According to the letter issued today, the socio-economic conditions have undergone a sea change, and ORs and JCOs can also afford to have cars. He demanded that this facility should be given to ranks below officers also.


1 killed, 7 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 1
The driver of a car was killed on the spot while seven other occupants, including two women, and a child, were seriously injured when their car collided head-on with a tractor-trailer near Kottra village situated on the Patiala-Mansa road in the district.

All persons travelling in the car were members of one family belonging to Giddarbaha in Muktsar district and were returning from Sunam in the Sangrur district after attending a marriage.

The driver has been identified as Ajaib Singh (40) and the injured are Mr Yadwinder (23), Mr Rajwinder (25), Ms Simran (22), Mr Gurtej (60), Mr Ashok (40), Ms Pardeep (40), Ms Rachna (12).


Arrest of doctor condemned
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
The district unit of PCMS has today condemned the implication of Dr Harbhajan Singh Hayer an eye specialist posted at Talwandi Sabo hospital, by the Vigilance Bureau for allegedly accepting bribe.

Dr Narinder Kumar, president of the association said in a press note here today that Dr Hayer, was falsely implicated in the case. He said that they would launch an agitation against the implication of Dr Hayer.

Members of the PCMS would hold rally at Talwandi Sabo tomorrow in protest against the move of the Vigilance Bureau. Dr Narinder Kumar said they would continue their agitation throughout the district till they got justice.


Fire in cotton mill
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 1
A fire broke out in a cotton mill on the Amritsar road here today.

The fire which broke out at 2 p.m., was brought under control by 4.30 p.m., after fire engines from Municipal Council, Batala, and Municipal Council, Gurdaspur, were pressed into service. A short circuit is stated to be the cause of the fire.


Rotary drive to eradicate polio
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
Mr Vijay Gupta, district governor, Rotary Club, who was here on a tour said the club was fighting to eliminate diseases from the world. Polio, which could be easily prevented would be the next disease to be eradicated.

Mr Gupta said their club was working at international level, in association with various state governments for the eradication of polio.

The diseases which could be prevented easily would be tackled first and many vaccination drives had been launched for the same.


Farmers cautioned against Bt cotton sowing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab government today cautioned farmers against sowing of Bt cotton as no variety of the seed had been approved for the state yet. Vested interests have been inducing farmers into sowing Bt cotton in various parts of the state.

It was a very dangerous move on the part of farmers to sow Bt cotton in the state. And all this could end in a disaster, said the Punjab Chief Minister. Reports have appeared in print media that an unspecified number of farmers in Punjab had brought Bt cotton seed from Gujarat and other southern states.

He said the government had imposed a ban on the sale of Bt cotton seed to check fleecing of farmers by unscrupulous seed sellers.

The experiments to find suitable Bt cotton variety for sowing are on. Next year, it would be possible to release a suitable variety of Bt cotton seed for farmers in the state, he added.

The Punjab Public Relations Department has been told to launch a campaign in the cotton belt to educate farmers on the disadvantages of sowing of unapproved varieties of Bt cotton in Punjab.


MC staff to get salary for March
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
A cheque for Rs 4.95 crore for the payment of salary to municipal corporation employees today brought cheer to them. The salaries for March will be paid tomorrow. However, Mayor Brij Mohan Kapoor said the corporation had demanded more than Rs 5 crore to meet the corporation expenses in addition to salaries.

Asked about octroi revenue increasing the income of the corporation, the Mayor said it would not happen till May and as such the salaries for April were still pending. Meanwhile, high spirits were evident in the Congress camp after the decision of demarcation and delimitation was announced bringing speculations of the postponement of the civil poll to rest. The polls would be held as per schedule on May 19.


Travel agent held for duping woman
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 1
The Bholath police today arrested Gurmej Singh, a travel agent on the charge of duping Mrs Kamaljit Kaur, a resident of Rajpur village in Jalandhar district of Rs 2.25 lakh for sending her son to Italy.

A press note issued today Mr R.N. Dhoker SSP said Mrs Kamaljit Kaur in the complaint to the police alleged that father-in-law of Gurmej Singh, a resident of Lamme village, told her that his son-in-law was settled in Germany and I was sending youths to the countries of their choice directly. He offered his services to send her son Sukhbir Singh to Italy through Gurmej Singh and for this he demanded Rs 3,25,000. It was also settled that she would at first give Rs 1 lakh and the passport and the rest of the money would be paid after the flight of the boy.

She alleged that she gave Rs 1 lakh and the passport to Gurmej Singh and his father Harbans Singh and thereafter they took her son to Delhi. After three days Gurmej Singh took Rs 1,25,000 from her on the pretext that her son had been sent to Australia.

She alleged that she received a letter from Protector of Immigration, Chandigarh, informing that her son had been arrested in Drakaine in Russia. She alleged that the travel agents did not make any efforts to get her son released from jail in Russia nor returned her money. Mr Dhoke told that her application was got probed by official of Anti-Fraud Cell of the CIA staff and the allegations were found correct and upon this the police had registered a case under Sections 420, 406 of the IPC and Section 24 of the Immigration Act against Gurmej Singh and Harbans Singh.


Car thief held, 12 vehicles recovered
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 1
A four-member interstate gang of car thieves was busted with the arrest of one member of the gang. As many as 12 vehicles, worth Rs 50 lakh, were recovered from him. The members of the gang have been identified as Gurcharan Signh, alias Charna, and Ajit Singh, both residents of Madoke under Nihal Singh Wala police station, in Moga district, and Manoj and Kala, alias Mukesh, of Delhi.

Addressing a press conference at the local police lines today, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, said a police party on patrolling duty on April 19 signalled a car on the Faridkot-Kotkapura road to stop. However, Manoj, who was driving the car, ran away and his other accomplice, Gurcharan Singh, was nabbed by the police.

During interrogation, Gurcharan Singh confessed that the gang had been working in different parts of the country for the past many years. Their modus operandi was that they steal vehicles and change all documents with fake ones and sold the car in car bazars at different stations in Punjab. As many as 12 vehicles which were kept at different places were recovered from him.

He further admitted that the gang would get blank registration copies and stamps of district transport officers of different district headquarters to prepare the documents, said Mr Chahal.

Mr Vijay Sharma, SP, Headquarters, Faridkot, who was also present, said three police parties, headed by Assistant Sub-Inspectors of the district, had been sent to different states to arrest the other three accused. With their arrest more then 100 vehicles were expected to be recovered.


Sarpanch booked on assault charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
The police today booked Thana Singh, sarpanch of Mohallan village, for allegedly making an attempt on the life of sarpanch and other residents of Dhunike village when she objected to interference by the former while the voters’ lists were being corrected at Dhunike.

Ms Paramjeet Kaur, Sarpanch, Dhunike, and others who received injuries were admitted to the local Civil Hospital yesterday. The condition of Mohinder Singh was stated to be serious.

The husband of Paramjeet Kaur, Mr Gursewak Singh said that Thana Singh came to the Dhunike village yesterday at around 11.30 a.m. and asked officials who were correcting voters’ lists to delete some names from it. He said Thana Singh was interfering in the working of the officials.

Mr Gursewak Singh said that when Paramjeet Kaur and others objected to the alleged deletion of names of genuine voters, his supporters started beating them (Paramjeet and others) up.

The injured included Seema Rani, Gurcharan Singh, Mahinder Singh, Buta Singh, Kanta Singh and Baljeet Kaur.

Gursewak Singh alleged that Tana Singh was a Congress leader and was getting the names of SAD supporters deleted from the voters’ list.

Police sources said some of the residents of Dhunike village who had supported Paramjeet Kaur could also be booked. The sources said some supporters of Thana Singh also received injuries and were getting treatment in the village.

Thana Singh and others have been booked under Sections 307, 324, 323, 427, 148 of the IPC.


Gang of cheats busted; 1 held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
The police has busted a gang of cheats by arresting one of its members. The gang members used to cheat people by promising them that they would double their money.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said in a press note issued here yesterday that one of the three members of the gang Jaspal Singh, had been arrested. He said the other two members, Prabhu Deva alias Prabhu, and Amjad Ali alias Bhupi, were at large.

All of them were the residents of Surewala in Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan. They came to Punjab and worked here as ice cream sellers to dodge the police, he said.

The police got specific information about the activities of gang. The modus operandi of the gang members was that while selling ice cream they looked for their prey. When they found that making false promise could befool a person they asked him to give them some money and promised that the amount would be doubled. They used to fled after getting the money.

The police had registered a case under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC against them on April 23 and started a search for the culprits.

The gang had asked Harinder Kumar, a resident of Bassian in Ludhiana district, to bring Rs 8,000 and told him that it would be doubled. They asked Harinder to come to the local Rose Garden on April 24 to give them the money.

While the “deal” was being made, the police raided the place and arrested Jaspal Singh while the other two member fled from the spot. During interrogation, Jaspal Singh told the police that they had cheated Harinder Kumar of Rs 3.17 lakh last year also in the same manner. 


Two nabbed for killing labourer
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 1
Killers of a brick-kiln labourer, who was found murdered on the roadside in Rajpura on April 22, have been nabbed by the Rajpura police.

According to information given by Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, DSP, the labourer, Shamim, was killed by Talim and Naushad when they struck him with bricks. Acting on a tip-off, a police party succeeded in not only identifying the killers but also nabbing the duo.

According to the police, Shamim had allegedly developed illicit relations with a sister of Naushad. To take revenge, Naushad connived with Talim to do Shamim to death.


No more dissection of live animals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
A decision that will be hailed by animal lovers, the Punjab School Education Board has decided to omit dissection of animals in the syllabus of science in schools. According to information available here, the Additional Secretary, Education, Punjab, Mr S.S. Johal, has communicated this to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (Animal Welfare Division), Government of India.

Dr Sandeep Jain, Executive Member of the Animal Board of India, disclosed here today that earlier the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation (Animal Welfare Division), Mrs Maneka Gandhi, had issued directions to do away the with dissection of animals and prefer other options like dissection on computer/models etc.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has already offered the students of secondary schools, to opt for substitutes of dissection.

Millions of animals like frogs, earthworm and others that are helpful to farmers and in preserving the environment are killed every year for this purpose, and resources of educational institutions wasted for the procurement and upkeep of these animals.

Now, alternatives like compufrog, compurabbit, compuworm etc are available, apart from multi-dimensional models etc, which can impart education in a more humane way.


US company invites GND varsity teacher
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Dr P.K. Sehajpal, Reader and Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University, has been invited by the research committee of Harbour Medical Associates Inc, California, USA, to join their prestigious group as Director of Research.

He has been offered this position following his extensive research experience in the field of biomedical sciences. For the past eight years, he has been conducting research on early detection of tuberculosis and AIDS at the department and has won national honours. What attracted the attention of the scientific community, is the technique developed by Dr Sehajpal with Dr Alka Dwivedi, a Ph.D student, for determining mycobacterial load in clinical specimens. The technique allows the early detection of multiple drug resistance cases and can help in better management of TB patients.

Dr Sehajpal is a recipient of Ranbaxy Research Award and international awards for his contribution in understanding immunobiology of T-cells.


Beopar Mandal urges for relief
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 1
The Punjab Beopar Mandal has appealed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take some measures to give economic relief to the business community after the quashing of the decision of the previous SAD-BJP government by the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the abolition of octroi in the state.

Talking to this correspondent here yesterday, Mr Madan Lal Kapoor and Mr Bimal Gupta, president and patron, respectively, of the mandal, alleged that the traders suffered a lot at the hands of the previous regime of the SAD-BJP combine failed to resolve their problems, besides fulfilling its promises made during the Assembly elections in 1997, particularly that of proper reforms in the excise and taxation policy to ease the situation.

They alleged that the previous state government implemented the abolition of octroi system at the last moment near the Assembly election to get political benefit.

They said a state-level meeting of the trading community was likely to be held at Ludhiana next week to find out some suitable measures for the benefit of the traders and later be conveyed to the Chief Minister for taking necessary action.

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