Thursday, August 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal plays Operation Bluestar card
Bid to mobilise workers for show of strength
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Nathana (Bathinda), August 14
To regain the lost ground in the state, the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today raised the issue of Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots while addressing a gathering of workers in the local historical gurdwara in connection with the mobilisation of people for the 17th death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on August 20 as a show of strength.

Mr Badal while whipping the Congress for its anti-Punjab, anti-Punjabi and anti-Sikh attitude urged the workers to reach Longowal village in large number so that message could be conveyed to the quarters concerned that where the SAD (Badal) stood in the period of crises when the state government and police authorities had unleashed a reign of terror at party leaders and other functionaries.

He said a meeting of political affairs committee (PAC) of the party would be held to work out a strategy to fight against the Congress Government sponsored atrocities on Akali workers.

He said he had met the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani and other central leaders already in connection with the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab. Mr Advani and other Union Ministers and central leaders would attend the function.

He demanded the setting up of a commission headed by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to probe into the allegations being levelled against the Akali ministers and leaders before registering a case.

Holding former president of the SGPC, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, responsible for police atrocities on SAD workers and leaders, Mr Badal urged workers to get united to fight two battles, one against the Congress government and second against Mr Tohra.

He said that he would meet central leaders to secure Rs 100 as compensation to the drought affected paddy farmers and to urge them to link the minimum support price of food grain items with the price index. About 30 per cent of total paddy crop had been damaged while the cost of inputs had been hiked due to more consumption of diesel.

Later addressing a press conference, Mr Badal said the law and order situation in Punjab had deteriorated to a point that DGP, Punjab police and other senior police functionaries had expressed their apprehension about the same.

Regarding the SYL issue, Mr Badal said had the late Congress Chief Minister, Darbara Singh not withdrawn the petition filed by him (Mr Badal) in connection with the division of river water among Punjab and Haryana according to riparian principles, the things would have been settled by now.

Mr Badal also addressed a meeting of workers at Haji Rattan Gurdwara at Bathinda in the evening.


I burnt copy of Article 25: Badal
Tribune News Service

Nathana (Bathinda), August 14
The President of the SAD and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today disclosed that he burnt a copy of Article 25 of the Constitution in Delhi “under pressure” from the then President of the SAD, the late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Addressing a workers’ meeting at the local gurdwara, Mr Badal said, about 18 years after the incident took place, he was not in favour of burning the copy but he was forced to do so by Sant Longowal to implement a decision taken by a five-member committee. He added that the other four members got themselves arrested at Chandigarh to save themselves while he carried out the orders of Sant Longowal.

Mr Badal along with hundreds of Akali workers burnt a copy of a clause of Article 25 of the Constitution outside the historic Bangla Sahib gurdwara in Delhi on February 27, 1984, to press the then Union Government to amend the same to give a separate identity to the Sikhs in the Constitution. After this incident, he was arrested.

Mr Badal said he reached Delhi from Punjab after concealing his identity by changing his complexion to implement the orders of Sant Longowal. He added that former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who was also to reach Delhi, got himself arrested at Chandigarh.

He said the late President of India, Giani Zail Singh, phoned him and advised him not to take the step. He added that he told Giani Zail Singh that he (Giani Zail Singh) should talk to Sant Longowal. Only then he (Mr Badal) could drop his programme of burning the copy. He said he was a true follower of Sant Longowal, who was a great martyr.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a senior functionary of the Dal Khalsa, while talking to TNS condemned Mr Badal for his disclosure. He pointed out that if Mr Badal burnt the copy under pressure then he was not fit to lead any party. He alleged that Mr Badal always indulged in politics of opportunism and fell in the category of those leaders who never practised in their lives what they professed to others.


Kohar gets 14-day judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 14
Rejecting the plea of the public prosecutor to extend the police remand of former Akali minister Ajit Singh Kohar for four days, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr A.S. Grewal, today sent the accused to judicial custody for 14 days.

Kohar, who was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau here on Friday for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, had remained police custody for four days.

The public prosecutor demanded that the police remand should be extended since the lockers of the former minister and his son Naib Singh at Shahkot were yet to be opened in the presence of the accused. The defence counsel, however, said the keys of the lockers had already been given to bureau officials.

The defence counsel said the passport of his client had already been submitted to the vigilance urging the Magistrate not to extend the police remand.

Meanwhile, fearing arrest, some of Kohar’s relatives and friends have reportedly gone underground during the past two days. “The Congress government is using the Vigilance as a tool to settle political scores. We have no option but to go underground for fear of arrest since the Akali Dal had lost its faith in the government and the police machinery,” an Akali worker of Shahkot said on condition of anonymity.

Kohar had said in the court this afternoon that he had purchased 90 acres at Morar Koni village in Faridkot after selling a prime piece of land at Shahkot at higher rates and there was no “benami” transaction.

It is learnt that the Vigilance was trying to motivate some associates of Kohar to turn approver in the case. The SP (Vigilance Bureau), Mr Loknath, however, denied it.


KZF chief in India?
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 14
Has Pakistan-based Ranjit Singh Neeta, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) who figures among the list of India’s 20 most-wanted militants entered to target Independence Day celebrations?

Though Intelligence sources have a different opinion about the infiltration of Neeta, the Gurdaspur police has claimed that he was spotted in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gurdaspur police has launched a manhunt to nab the militant along with the police of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

India’s 20 most-wanted persons includes five Sikhs. They are Neeta, Wadhawa Singh, Chief of the Babbar Khalsa, Gajinder Singh chairman of the Dal Khalsa International, Lakhmir Singh Rode, chief of the International Sikh Youth Federation, and Parmjit Singh Panjwar, chief of the Khalistan Commando Force.

The district police chief, Mr Varinder Kumar, claimed that there was specific information that Neeta had crossed over to India to disrupt Independence Day celebrations. He further claimed that Neeta had taken shelter in Kathua and Doda districts of J&K.

Mr Varinder Kumar said that on the direction of the ISI, a meeting was held in Lahore by Major Tariq which selected Neeta to head a group of about 33 militants who would disturb the August 15 celebrations.

The ISI-trained militants who have been camping on the Shakkargarh border might infiltrate into India with an aim to explode bombs in Delhi, J&K and some metropolitan cities of the country.

The police achieved a major success to thwart the attempt of the KZF by recovering 9 kg RDX, six timer pencils, six detonators and three grenades concealed near the International Border under RS Pura police station of Jammu and Kashmir.

On getting information, a police party was dispatched to Abdula village, (RS Pura police station). It dug out the earth from the specified place and found a bag containing the above mentioned explosives enough to kill hundreds of persons.


Gurdwara poll: Takht to send observers
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 14
Akal Takht has decided to send observers to check distribution of liquor, drugs and money during the gurdwara poll.

Taking a serious view of the violation of the direction of Akal Takht in this regard by leaders of various Akali factions during the recently held Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, said he would ensure drug/liquor-free gurdwara poll in future.

He was talking to TNS at his residence here today.

Earlier, Mr Tarlochan Singh, vice-chairman, Minority Commission, in a fax message to Jathedar, Akal Takht, had expressed concern in this regard. However, Jathedar Vedanti, who had already warned the candidates during the DSGMC poll against the use of liquor/money, etc, said he had received a letter from Mr Tarlochan Singh after the DSGMC poll.

Jathedar Vedanti said he would call a meeting of the heads of various Akali factions at Akal Takht to seek a pledge in this connection for the forthcoming SGPC elections.

Interestingly, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, former president, DSGMC, during his recent visit to Amritsar had admitted that his faction had distributed liquor like other Akali factions.


Ban activities of Ashutosh: SGPC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 14
The activities of Ashutosh should be immediately banned in the state to avoid communal tension as these are anti-Gurus and Sikhs and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should act now. Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president, SGPC, stated this while talking to The Tribune after inaugurating the new Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Library and administrative complex building at Mata Gujri College here today.

Interestingly, SAD leaders and workers of the area boycotted the function, alleging that he was promoting a Tohra loyalist and ignoring SAD leaders and workers.

Mr Badungar said the SGPC had submitted all documents relating to the speeches, including the video cassette, to the committee headed by Mr R.S. Rattan to probe the role of Ashutosh. He said a video cassette had also been sent to the CM in this regard.

Earlier, while addressing a gathering at Mata Gujri College he declared that a separate directorate in the SGPC would be constituted and it would deal with educational problems only. He added that a sports directorate would also be constituted, which would conduct sports meet of SGPC colleges and schools.

He said Mata Gujri College would be developed as a deemed university and the SGPC had taken up the case with Punjabi University. He added that a new research wing for information technology at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore had been approved by the SGPC for the college.

Prof Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal of the college, in his address gave a detailed achievement report of the college.

Mr R.S. Cheema, former minister Kirpal Singh Sethi, and Professor Sandhu also addressed the function.


Punjab, J&K get lion’s share of police medals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The police chiefs of Punjab and Chandigarh figure in the list of 34 police officers chosen for the award of President’s Police medal for both meritorious and distinguished services.

While Mr M.S. Bhullar, Director-General of Police, Punjab, and Mr Ajay Kashyap, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh, have been chosen for President’s Police medal for meritorious services, Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, Additional Director-General of Police, PAP, Jalandhar, and Mr Bhim Sain Bassi, Inspector-General of Police, Chandigarh, figure in the list of those awarded President’s Police Medal for distinguished services.

The following are the recipients of President’s Police Medal for Distinguished service from the region:

Mr Om Parkash Kadian, SP, Hisar — Haryana.

Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, ADGP, PAP, Jalandhar — Punjab.

Mr J.A. Makhdoomi, DIGP, CID Headquarters, Jammu & Kashmir; and Mr S.S. Mankotia, SP (Ops), Pulwama — J & K.

Mr B.S. Bassi, IGP, Chandigarh.

The following are the recipients of President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Services:

Mr K.C. Sadyal, DIG, NR, Dharamsala; Mr Sanjay Kumar, DIG, SR, Shimla — Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Baljit Singh Sandhu, DIG, Panchkula; Mr Kulwinder Singh, DSP, CID, Chandigarh; and Mr Mohinder Singh Malik, DSP, Vigilance, Chandigarh — Haryana.

Mr A.R. Khan, DIG, Udhampur Range; Mr Raja Ajaz Ali Khan, DIG, Security; Mr A.B. Subhan Lone, SSP, Crime; Mr S.A. Sayeed, SSP, CID SB; Mr S.C. Raina, SP, PCR; Mr B.A. Tameel, DSP, STC, Sheeri; Mr M.B. Choudhary, DSP, Crime Branch; Mr B.A. Khan, DSP, SSG & K — Jammu & Kashmir.

Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP; Mr H.K. Sharma, SP, Majitha; Mr Jagtar Singh, Inspector, PPA, Phillaur; Mr Niram pal, SI, Sangrur; Mr Harjit Singh, SI, Jalandhar; Mr Swaran Singh ASI, Jalandhar; Mr Sanam Singh, ASI, Ludhiana; Mr Harpal Singh, ASI, Mansa; Mr Kulwant Singh, HC, Patiala; Mr Sukhdev Singh, HC, Kapurthala; Mr Surinder Singh, HC, Hoshiarpur; Mr Gurjit Singh, Constable, Jalandhar; Mr Darshan Singh, Constable, Jagraon; and Mr Om Parkash, Constable Jalandhar.


Punjab issued notice in PSSSB chief case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 14
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today issued notice to the State of Punjab through Mr Jatinder Jit Singh Punn Public Prosecutor, for August 17 on an application moved by counsel of Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, former Chairman of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, for the cancellation of warrants of arrest issued against him by the same court.

The Punjab Vigilance had registered an FIR against the accused and former members of the PSSSB on July 12 at SAS Nagar under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Some members of the PSSB have been arrested.

Mr Sandhu who is at present in the USA, has moved an application through his counsel stating that he had left to attend social functions in Canada and the USA on June 12. At present, he was suffering from apnea episodes and cervical lumber radioclopathy and had been confined to bed at Milwaukee in the USA and was unable to move and travel. Counsel has attached the requisite medical certificate.

He has written that he would return to India and join the investigation as soon as the doctor permitted him to travel.

He has pleaded that the non-bailable warrants of arrest should be cancelled.


Bags of wheat found underweight
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 14
The Chamkaur Sahib-based godown of Markfed from where 440 bags were stolen recently has once again come into news with bags of wheat stored here found underweight. The bags were detected during a recent verification conducted as part of the state-level checking to identify the status of the foodgrains lying in various godowns.

During the recent checking conducted by a team led by the SDM, Mr Daljit Singh, the bags of wheat were selected on a random basis and were found underweight. Bags which should weigh 75 kg weighed just 68 kg, while a 95 kg bag weighed just 77.5 kg. The bags were found underweight despite the fact that wheat gains weight in storage after absorbing moisture.

Another starling fact that came to light during the checking was that despite the fact that 440 bags were stolen from the godown the stocks exceeded the records. The physical verification found 110 extra bags of wheat in the godown. The SDM lamented the poor quality of foodgrains stored in the godown.

The former supervisor of the said godown, Jasbir Singh, was caught red-handed by the police while trying to steal 440 bags. Since his arrest none of the officials of Markfed has come forward to take charge of the godown apprehending large-scale misappropriation. Besides, the paddy stocks of Punsup stored in various rice mills in Kharar subdivision were also found missing. The millers told the investigating officers that they had milled the paddy and transported the rice to the FCI.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, admitted that misappropriation had been detected in the Chamkaur Sahib godown of Markfed. A recommendation had been sent to the state government to get the stocks lying in the godown verified thoroughly. She said the assertion of millers that they had transported the milled rice to the FCI would also be verified soon.


Curbs on ACs, streetlights go
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 14
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today lifted the ban on Airconditioners imposed on commercial establishments besides removing restrictions on streetlights as well as industrial consumers using arc and induction furnaces.

A official press note here said this decision had been taken after a review of the power supply position in the state. It said the power demand had reduced on account of widespread rains in the state, besides an increase in hydro availability. The Board was now also in a position to withdraw additional surplus supply from the Northern Grid.

The board, however, decided to continue with the weekly off restrictions and extended nine hour peak load restrictions on industrial and NRS consumers.

Power cuts would be applied only in case of a shortage.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has increased electricity duty on power, making it 5 per cent per unit, which is likely to net it an additional Rs 50 crore annually.

A notification in this regard has been received by the board here. Earlier, the government was charging electricity duty at the rate of 9 paise per unit for domestic supply and 11 paise per unit for non-residential and industrial supply.

Board sources said with the revision in electricity duty, non-residential supply consumers, including those who had set up commercial enterprises, would be the most effected. As this category of consumers was paying a basic minimum charge of Rs 3.61 per paisa, they would be charged a duty of 18 paise per unit, according to the new norms. The industrial sector would be charged between 13 paise and 15 paise per unit. Domestic consumers would not be much effected as they are required to pay only 1 paisa more than their earlier charge of Rs 1.60 per unit.


Akali leader allowed to attend  mother’s cremation

Faridkot, August 14
A local court, accepting the request of Youth Akali Dal leader Nadharak Singh Brar, ordered his release for eight hours to enable him to participate in the last rites of his mother Sukhdeep Kaur who died in a road accident on Sunday.

Brar moved an application on Monday to grant him bail for three days so that he could attend the religious ceremonies of his mother.

The court of Sessions Judge A.N. Jindal, taking sympathetic consideration on the request, ordered the Moga sub-jail authorities to escort Brar with adequate security. PTI

Sidhu’s judicial remand extended
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 14
Former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu was further remanded in judicial custody for 14-days today by a local court under the Excise Act. The case against Sidhu was registered under the Excise Act after recovery of 14 bottles of foreign liquor and under the Arms act after recovery of 250 rounds of .12-bore gun from his house in Sector 39.


Sidhu’s conduit gets bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 14
Mr A. S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here today granted bail to G. S. Manchanda, alleged havala conduit of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

In his order, the Special Judge ordered that Manchanda was ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing bail bonds of Rs 50,000 and with a surety in the like amount.


Police tortures shopkeeper
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, August 14
Sukhdeep Singh (30) is lying in the surgical ward of the local civil hospital after torture by the Mamdot police, while the accused police officials are at large. The victim has alleged that senior officials of the police are trying to hush up the matter to protect the accused police officials instead of registering a criminal case on the basis of the MLR.

Narrating his tale of police torture, Sukhdeep Singh told The Tribune in the civil hospital here, today that he was picked up from his shop of electrical goods in Vahkea village (Mamdot) on August 8 at 7 a.m. by Baldev Singh SI and Mukhtiar Singh ASI suspecting his involvement in a bank robbery at Halwara, near Ludhiana. The police officials said that his photograph had been published in a newspaper along with the accused.

“Although I pleaded that I have been working on my shop for the past many years and is a respectable resident of the area and I have nothing to do with the robbery but no one listened to my plea”, said the victim. He was taken immediately to the Mamdot police station and tortured for hours together.

Terrified, he asked SHO Gopal Chand Bhandari to verify his character from Jaswinder Singh Patwari of Mamdot, who was also his close relative. Instead of talking about his release, the SHO picked up Patwari also and demanded Rs 50,000/- for his release. But he refused to pay the amount.

Angered at refusal, the SHO Bhandari, Baldev Singh SI, Mukhtiar Singh ASI, Balwinder Singh Head Constable and two others again started beating Sukhdeep Singh repeatedly demanding Rs 50,000 for his release.

Patwari was released on August 9 evening asking him to bring money for Sukhdeep’s release. Realising that Patwari will not return, all these officials again tortured him at night all drunk. Next morning he was taken to Gurusar Sudhar police station (Ludhiana) for physical identification by the bank employees. The bank employees said that the detained person was not at all involved in the robbery.

Then he was released in the presence of the panchayat of his Lakhoke Behram village. Later he was admitted in the civil hospital for treatment.

According to the medical report one toe of his left feet was found fractured in X-Ray report besides number of scars of severe beating with canes, rods. A scar of 3 cm/1 cm has been identified on the joint above the left eyebrow. Others include a scar of 2 cm/.75 cm on back and upper part of right forearm with multiple scars on upper part of the thighs. The doctors have written in the MLR that the wounds have been infected due to non-treatment for more than three days. Diffused swelling of toes on distal part has also been reported by the doctors.

Mr Praveen Kumar Sinha, SSP, Ferozepore said that he had marked an inquiry into this case of alleged police torture to Mr Darshan Singh, DSP (Sadar). The DSP said that the investigation was on. It is premature to comment till the investigation was over, added the DSP.

However, an official of the Mamdot police station revealed that, so far, no criminal case had been registered in this regard. Meanwhile, SHO Gopal Chand Bhandari has been transferred from Mamdot, in a routine manner.


‘Quash FIR against Parmeshwar’
Tribune News Service

Mr Parmeshwar Singh Sidhu, who was released on bail yesterday, reported for duty today. However, he was served with suspension orders when he reached his office, it is learnt.

These orders presumably have been issued because Mr Sidhu had remained in the police lock-up for more than 48 hours and is, therefore, deemed to be suspended. These orders have caused ripples in the cooperative bureaucracy, particularly the apex body, because the suspension orders have been issued for the allegations for which Mr Sidhu already stands punished.

It may be added that Mr Sidhu was punished following an inquiry by Mr V.K. Janjua into all loans for which the Vigilance Bureau booked him, and his four cumulative increments of pay were stopped.

The cooperative bureaucracy asks “Can suspension after punishment of an official be sustained in the eyes of the law”? There is discernible disquiet in the Cooperation Department.

Chandigarh, August 14
The Board of Directors of Punjab state co-operative banks, the apex body of all cooperatives in the state, has warned that credit dispersal to farmers could be adversely affected if the FIR by the Vigilance Bureau against Additional Registrar Parmeshwar Singh Sidhu, who has now been granted bail, is not quashed.

At a special meeting of the board here yesterday, the members condemned such a step and said fear psychosis that now persists in the cooperative credit institutions could lead to credit squeeze. The board said if the Vigilance Bureau suspected the “connivance’’ of Mr Sidhu with seven firms that obtained loans (Three of them belonging to Congress leaders how come no one from those defaulter firms had been booked by the Vigilance?

If one of the three firms is of Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker, another is of Congress MLA Randeep Singh from Nabha and the third of Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Sodhi from Kapurthala.

While Mr Sidhu, the then Managing Director of the bank, was booked and jailed, how come the defaulters, who owed money to the bank, were roaming freely in Mercedes? asked a bank spokesperson while briefing TNS on the meeting, which passed several resolutions.

The board directed the bank managers that if the seven defaulters were not booked, cases be got registered against them with the Chandigarh police and ensure that they too were arrested.

The board appealed to the Chief Minister to direct the Vigilance Bureau to withdraw the case, which was ostensibly registered at the instance of some ‘’agencies’’ and dismissed employees of the bank, who spread falsehood. The action against Mr Sidhu by the Vigilance also smacked of a conspiracy.

Cooperatives, a resolution said, played an important role in agriculture. Sore about the treatment meted out to a senior officer, the board considered returning all trophies the banks had been awarded by the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for outstanding work in the past five years.


Move to dismantle Nangal plant
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), August 14
The heavy water plant here today completed 40 years of smooth functioning after it was installed on August 14, 1962. On the same date today, the high-powered committee headed by Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, decided to stop production and dismantle the plant.

A high-powered committee which besides Dr Kakodkar included Mr SC Hiremath, Chief Executive, Heavy Water Board, Dr DC Gami, former CMD of the Gujarat State Fertiliser Corporation, Mr KS Bimbhat, and Mr PG Deshpande, former Additional Chief Executives, Heavy Water Board, and Mr MP Mahajan, Director (Operation), Heavy Water Board, today visited the heavy water plant here and held a final meeting regarding the future of the plant with the NFL authorities. After the meeting, the committee decided to stop production in the plant by the end of this month.

Dr Kakodkar after holding the meeting told newsmen at the NFL guest house that the committee had decided to stop production at the heavy water plant. The heavy water produced in the plant was proving to be expensive. Earlier the BBMB used to supply power at the rate of 2 paise per unit for the plant. However, the rates had now been increased to Rs 2.2 per unit.

When asked if the disinvestment of the company was the main factor for stopping production in the plant, Mr PS Grewal, CMD of the NFL who was accompanying Dr Kakodkar, said it was also one of the factors. The process of disinvestment in the NFL was likely to be completed in another four to six months. About the earlier press statements of the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, that Kribhco would take over the NFL, Mr Grewal said till date Kribhco had not shown any interest in the company.

About the future of the NFL workers deputed in the plant, Mr Grewal said they would be accommodated in other departments of the company.


Three children die of gastroenteritis

Phagwara, August 14
Three children reportedly died of gastroenteritis in the town in the last few days though no gastroenteritis patient was admitted to the local civil hospital, according to Senior Medical Officer Dr Subhash Sharma.

The SMO said a letter had been sent to the executive officer of the nagar council for making necessary sanitation arrangements and cholorinisation of water.

Dr Sharma said a two-member ‘rapid response team’ had been directed to visit the spot for study.

Dr Sharma alleged that the nagar council had failed to ensure proper sanitation on the area affected especially slum areas of the town. UNI


India, Pak citizens’ meeting not allowed
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 14
The Sadaqqi check post in this sector on the Indo-Pak border, 12 km from here, is the site of the border meeting of citizens of India and Pakistan who were separated at the time of partition of the country. The tradition had been continuing for several years, but was discontinued at the time of the Kargil conflict in 1999. Since then, the separated family members and relations of the two neighbouring countries were deprived from the conventional cross-border meeting on August 14 and 15.

Earlier hundreds of people, from both sides thronged the barricades along zero line to meet their kin. The visitors come from far-off places of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Uttar Pradesh to have a glimpse of their nearest and dearest. Until a few years they were allowed to interact with one an other.

However, later on the meetings took place only from distance. Due to the prevailing tension and laying of landmines in the border belt, this year, too, the meeting was not allowed. Apprehending a ban on the meeting, turnout of the visitors was poor.


NGO treats poor kids to feast on Independence eve
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 14
On the eve of Independence Day, as many as 60 poor children were treated to a feast by Shakti, an NGO.

The children were given the Tricolour to put atop their houses, besides eatables and notebooks.

Tarn, an eight-year-old ragpicker, said they had not known the significance of Independence Day before this.

Children present at the residence of Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader, said their father, would often drink and beat them up but they wanted to lead a better life by educating themselves which was true independence for them.

Satish (13), a shoeshine boy, says he likes to be in time for school.


Misuse of Gramudyog funds: probe begins
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 14
A team of senior officials of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) led by Mr Mehnga Singh has started checking accounts of the Bathinda Khadi Gramudyog Karyakarta Sangh, a registered society, after certain members alleged bunglings in the accounts.

Mr Mehnga Singh when contacted said they would be checking stocks and accounts at all outlets of the commission. He said the inquiry was started after the infighting in the local unit came to the notice of the KVIC and claimed that no written complaint had been received so far.

When asked that Mr Satnam Singh, one of the senior members of the district unit, had complained about the alleged bunglings he said he had received no such complaint.

A certain members of the district unit of the sangh had approached the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for holding an independent probe into the alleged bunglings committed by a member in its records and financial dealings. They had alleged that the records and financial statements of the sangh were being tampered with and a senior functionary was claiming fictitious bills causing losses to the state exchequer.

Mr Satnam Singh, and some other members of the sangh had alleged that one of the senior employees of the sangh had claimed false bills of the house rent allowance and TA/DA bills for the about three years. They alleged that after the said employee shifted his residence from Mansa to Bathinda in December 1999, and was paid shifting charges (Rs 700, C. No. 594-145 C) he was claiming travelling allowance also.


Scam in forest project, 1 suspended
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 14
The Punjab Forest Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, today alleged that a scam in the Japan-aided afforestation project had come to light and an inquiry had revealed the involvement of a political bigwig of the previous SAD-BJP alliance.

Addressing a gathering at a Van- mahotsava function, he said a senior Forest Department official had been placed under suspension for his alleged involvement in the scam.

An inquiry was being conducted and it would be completed soon, he said, adding that the case would be handed over to the Vigilance Bureau.

The minister said the government would adopt a favourable attitude towards the kin of those employees who had lost their lives while protecting the forest.

The government had sought Rs 300 crore as aid from Japan to set up new plant nurseries and strengthen the existing ones. As many as six crore saplings would be planted in the state with this aid.


Youth shot dead by father

Ferozepore, August 14
A class XII student was shot dead by his drunk father at Mallunwala village in the district last night, reports said here today.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC, and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against Dalbir Singh for killing his son and running away with the gun.

The FIR was registered following a complaint by Galpreet Kaur, Dalbir’s wife, who said he came out of his room with the gun and shot dead his son who had been objecting to his drinking habit. UNI


Pak boy killed in infiltration bid
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 14
A minor Pakistani national was killed by the 19 Battalion of the BSF while trying to cross over to the Indian territory last evening.

In an FIR registered at Gharinda police station, near the border, Mr K. S. Bisht, Company Inspector, 19 Battalion said a minor boy from Pakistan tried to infiltrate into the Indian side at 11.45 p.m. The BSF jawans at a naka tried to stop him. When he did not stop, the jawans opened fire and killed him.


Teenager dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 14
A class VIII student was killed while two Class IX students were injured when the scooter they were riding collided with a multi-utility vehicle on the Fazilka-Abohar road here this evening.

Fourteen-year-old Parmpreet Singh died on the spot while Varun (15) received multiple fractures and Kanwaljit Singh (14) suffered a head injury.

Mr Karnail Singh, the driver of the vehicle, claimed that he tried to avert the accident, but a tea vendor’s rehri came in the way. The police impounded the vehicle, owned by Darshan and Radha Krishan, residents of Radha Swami Colony. The driver was taken into custody.


7 get life term

Sangrur, August 14
A court here today sentenced seven undertrials accused of murder to life imprisonment.

Mr Sudarshana Modi, chairperson of the fast track court, conducted the hearing.

Nirmal Singh, Pargat Singh, Nikka Singh, Janak Raj, Suresh Kumar, Bhola Singh and Amarjit Kaur were arrested for murdering Doly Singh of Dodian village. UNI


2 held for murder
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 14
The police on Monday arrested Joga Singh and Kashmir Singh for the alleged murder of Jaspreet Kaur (11) of Mandali village. Jaspreet Kaur was killed on June 11, 2001. Their accomplices Nazar and Bachittar are still at large. 


Youths take away taxi
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur August 14
Four unidentified youths took away the taxi of Dilawar Khan son of Sadhu Khan, a resident of Garhi Mansowal near Garhshanker yesterday. It is reported that youths hired taxi for Birampur at Adda Jhuggian. On the way they threw the driver Dilawar Khan from the taxi and escaped.

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