Friday, September 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong regime threat to peace: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the Congress regime in Punjab was a serious threat to peace and the rule of law and was an open incitement to lumpens and anti-social and lawless elements in the state.

Thanking the people of Punjab for their overwhelming response to the statewide protest demonstrations organised by his party yesterday, the SAD chief said: “September 11 will go down as the defining moment in current history of Punjab as the people of the state yesterday formally declared a war on an insensitive, inefficient and vengeful caucus whose idea of administration was worse than that of dictators of some obscure kingdoms. From this point onwards, the countdown had started for the exit of a coterie that came to power on the basis of outrageous lies and false promises.”

Reacting to reports of VIP treatment being given to Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a proclaimed offender involved in serious offences, Mr Badal said that the incident was a mere continuation of the conduct of the ruling junta showing utter contempt to the judicial processes and institutions. It also was further proof that two sets of laws operated in Punjab — one for the criminal elements within the ruling party and the other for the innocent workers and leaders of the Opposition implicated in false cases by the police at the behest of the ruling party.

Referring to the case of Mr Dimpa wherein the law-enforcing agencies had not only been flouting the directives of the judiciary but also actually throwing insults at it by lionising a wanted man, Mr Badal said the open defiance of the judiciary was nothing surprising as the present government had been running in sharp contradiction to the judicial institutions and processes in every possible case.

Mr Badal cited the example of Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar who had been booked for complicity in the murder of Akali leader Gurdial Singh in broadday light. Even as his name figured in the FIR, the Chief Minister issued “not guilty” verdict in Chandigarh, giving a clear signal to the police to protect the accused. The Akali leader said be it the case of transfer of intelligence officials like Mr A.P. Bhatnagar or the shabby treatment given to the Jalandhar Commissioner, the Amarinder Singh government had always been found to be running contrary to the requirement of justice and the will of the judiciary.


SAD’s volte-face on free power
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal which is now raising a voice against the withdrawal of the free power facility for tubewell operations by holding statewide dharnas, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Government when in power, alongwith the BJP, committing itself to the formation of a state electricity regulatory commission.

The government had also signed a resolution passed at the conference of Chief Ministers in March, last year, which stated that it was necessary to move away from the regime of providing free power and a minimum agricultural tariff should be imposed.

According to a copy of the memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Power and the Punjab Government signed by the then Principal Secretary, Power, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, the state government had committed itself to power sector reforms the state government had made a commitment that it would establish a functional state electricity regulatory commission and send recommendations to the Union Government in this regard by June 30, 2001.

Besides, the state government also committed itself to file tariff petitions by August 30 last year and promised that it would implement the tariff orders issued by the commission unless they were stayed or set aside by the courts. The government had also made a commitment that it would ensure timely payment of subsidies, if required by it, following the announcement of the tariff.

But the then SAD-BJP government did not stick to the bargain. The commission could not be set up in time and even after the appointment of former Chief Secretary R.S. Mann as its Chairman, the other members were not inducted for quite some time. This also meant that the Punjab State Electricity Board could not ensure the filing of tariff petitions till the completion of the Assembly elections in the state in February.

Besides this, the state government also committed itself in principle to move away from the regime of providing free power to any section of society, particularly the agricultural segment. It was also agreed at the conference that an earlier decision of the Chief Ministers calling for a minimum charge of 50 paisa per unit on the agricultural sector be implemented immediately.

But the Akali Government , did not take any step in this regard due to political compulsions.

Sources said even in talks with the Centre and international bodies, the SAD-BJP government gave the impression that it was veering around to doing away with the facility but did nothing concrete.


Dal (Amritsar) threatens to move HC
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 12
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) has threatened to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, if the Congress government in the state accepts the recommendations of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission with regard to the imposition of tariff on power used by farmers of the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, the senior vice-president of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and former MP, Mr Dyan Singh Mand, alleged that the Congress government had backtracked from its poll promise to continue free power to the farming sector.

Mr Mand said his party had decided to present a memorandum against the withdrawal of free power to farmers to the Punjab Governor on September 17.


Evening curbs on load go
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 12
The PSEB today withdrew the evening peak load hour restrictions on medium supply consumers having a sanctioned load of 70 KW and above with effect from tomorrow.


Plant staff caught up in loan scam
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, September 12
Middlemen, allegedly in connivance with certain bank officials have duped some employees of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant while giving bank loans.

The matter came to fore when the authorities of the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank wrote to the authorities of the plant for the authenticity of the employers’ undertaking submitted against the loans raised from the bank by certain employees of the thermal plant. Drawing and disbursing officers of the plant were taken aback when they found their forged signatures on the employees’ undertakings.

One of the employees, Mr Ram Murti, who is a skilled worker in the plant and raised a loan of Rs 3,5000 from the bank, when asked by his officer concerned about forged signatures, feigned ignorance about the matter.

Later, in an undertaking submitted to the officer, Mr Ram Murti said a self-styled agent of the bank approached him with an offer of loan. He was told that his loan amount would be Rs 30,000 out of which Rs 6,000 would be deducted as commission.

Mr Ram Murti signed the papers given by the agent, but was not told about any undertaking by his officer concerned. He was paid Rs 24,000 as loan. Though he was regularly paying the loan instalment, he was not aware that he had to return Rs 35,000 to the bank. The agents and bank officials “ate up” the missing amount.

The sources told this correspondent that plant officers have detected over 100 cases in which allegedly forged undertakings of the employees were given to different banks. There is an alleged nexus between agents and certain bank officials who duped illiterate or needy employees by taking advantage of loans granted under the new schemes.

The authorities of the thermal plant have written to the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain and the authorities of the Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank for an inquiry into the case.

The Assistant Manager of the bank, Mr Anil Sharma, said an inquiry into the matter was also being conducted by the head office.


Examiner’s arrest stayed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
The District and Sessions Court today stayed the arrest of Kurukshetra University Punjabi Professor, Dr Amarjit Singh Kang, who has been accused of tampering with answersheets of candidates appearing for various examinations conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission till September 19.

The District and Sessions judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, while staying the arrest of the professor, however, directed him to join investigations in the case. He also served notice for September 19 to the state through public prosecutor Vijay Kumar Markan.

Earlier today, the Punjab and Haryana High Court turned down the anticipatory bail application of Professor Kang saying that it did not deserve to be entertained as the petitioner had not approached the Sessions Court in the case. The court had allowed the petitioner to approach the Sessions Court in the case which he did today itself.

Prof Kang had approached the high court today as he had been served the notice of arrest by the state Vigilance Department for September 13. The notice had been served by the Vigilance Department keeping in view the directions of the high court on August 14 to the department to give the petitioner three-day notice in case it wanted to arrest him in the case.


JEs’ selection: Lokpal orders inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Taking cognizance of six complaints, the Punjab Lokpal, Justice D.V. Sehgal, has ordered a regular inquiry into the selection of junior engineers made by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board against the reserved as well as general categories.

The selections in the reserved category have been challenged before the commission by Mr Dilpreet Singh and in the general category by Mr Hatinder Kumar, Mr Parvinder Pal Singh and Sanjeev Kumar and three others.

The Lokpal has directed that the Chairman of the board, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, and one Member, Mr Jarnail Singh Wahad, who made the selections, should be issued notices and also supplied with copies of the complaints. They have been directed to file their defence in the form of affidavits on October 10, the next date of hearing.

After a preliminary inquiry the Lokpal has come to the conclusion that the selection of junior engineers should be subjected to a regular inquiry because there seems to be a lot of bungling. While candidates with poor academic records have been awarded above 20 marks out of 25 in the interview, those having good records were given below 10 marks with a view to denying them selection.‘


2 miscarriages by law
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 12
In a gruesome incident, three pregnant women, two of them in advanced stages of pregnancy, were beaten up by the police so mercilessly that two of them miscarried, while the fate of the third remains uncertain as she is struggling in a hospital.

The police also allegedly took away Rs 5,000 from the family to let it off the charges of child abduction.

According to Sunita Rani, her nephew had come from Kurukshetra to stay with her. However, the police suspected that she had abducted the child and was planning to sell him. She said, on August 24, six policemen descended on her jhuggi while she was sitting along with her three daughters who had come in connection with raksha bandhan.

All pleas and protestations of the family fell on deaf ears as the police refused to believe that the child was related to them. The policemen took seven members of the family to the police station and detained them for six days. During this time, they were beaten up mercilessly.

Sunita Rani said the policemen did not spare her pregnant daughters Suman, nine months pregnant, Puja seven months pregnant and Rajni four months pregnant. They had all come to their parents’ home on raksha bandhan. As Suman fell unconscious, Puja rushed to the PCO to call up her brother-in-law (Suman’s husband). She was also beaten up and allegedly dragged on the road.

A few days back, Suman delivered a dead baby girl. The doctors told her that the baby had died after being hit from outside.

Similarly, Puja, who is now into the eighth month of her pregnancy has been told that the foetus was not breathing and probably it may have also died.

Rajni is reportedly admitted at a hospital in Kurukshetra.

The family is horror struck. Sunita Rani, whose husband plies a horse cart had to mortgage his cart to arrange money to be paid to the police. He reportedly paid Rs 5,000 to the police for being let off. Only after they paid Rs 5,000 in advance were they released.

The family has been moving from pillar to post to get justice. Having mortgaged their horse cart, it has no source of income for survival. It has virtually been reduced to penury.

Narrating the tale of horror let loose on the family, Puja alleged that she was dragged by her hair by the policemen when they saw her making a phone call. While her sister fell unconscious, Puja and Rajni were taken to the police station along with Sunita Rani, her husband and mother-in-law Sangeeta Rani. Sunita Rani claimed that her husband had not returned home since then.

The family has filed a petition before the Punjab Human Rights Commission also and has been demanding stern action against the police officials. “They should be thrashed and humiliated publicly for what they did with us,” said Sunita Rani while pleading for justice.

On other hand, the Khanna SHO, Mr B. S. Brar, denied the allegations, saying that these were false and baseless. He admitted that they had summoned Sunita Rani. But she was released when everything was found in order.


Son spurns father’s hug
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
You would have dismissed it as just another script fit for a soap opera. A father claiming that his child, taken away by his sister and brother-in-law after the death of his wife, was being treated as a domestic help instead of being educated. Taking up his case, the court summons the child, who tells the Judge that his father had tried to kill him and adds that his mother too had been murdered by him.

It all began with a letter written by Sukhdev Singh to the high court Chief Justice seeking the recovery of his child Jagwinder Singh. In his letter Sukhdev had claimed that 13-year-old Jagwinder Singh was being forced to work as bonded labour.

Soon after, the court ordered the boy to be produced. Deposing before the court, he, however, accused his father of trying to kill him. Jagwinder Singh also claimed that at present he was happily settled at a dera in Hoshiarpur district.

Taking a serious view of the controversy, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana Court, ruled that it was necessary to have the entire matter investigated as the welfare of the child was involved. Issuing the directions, Mr Justice Nijjar added: “Before taking any action, it would be necessary to have the statements of the parties concerned recorded before a Judicial Magistrate. After recording the statements of the persons concerned, Amritsar's Judicial Magistrate (First Class) is directed to send the same to the Court under a sealed cover”.

The Judge also directed the complainant, his sister and brother-in-law to appear before the Magistrate on September 16.


Badal expels four youth leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal has removed four youth leaders, who had formed a parallel 11-member committee of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD), from the primary membership of the party as well as of the Youth Akali Dal. They are: Balwinder Singh Nabha, Mr Hardev Singh Bajechak, Mr Gurnam Singh Thekedar and Mr Harcharan Singh Sibian.

Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana, Secretary of the SAD, said in a statement that these leaders had been removed for creating indiscipline in the party. Rejecting the appointment of Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon as President of the Youth Akali Dal, Mr Balwinder Singh and his associates had announced a parallel organisational setup.


PVC awardee may get Rs 25 lakh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 12
Good news for the Army personnel who would get gallantry awards in future. The Parm Veer Chakra (PVC) awardees would now get Rs 25 lakhs while MVC and VC awardees to get Rs 20 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively, subject to the clearance of the case by the Finance Department of the state government in the near future.

This was revealed by Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd), Director, Sainik Welfare Department, while talking to TNS, here today.

Significantly, the state governments is likely to enhance the pension of the veterans of the World War II on the recommendation of the Governor, Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob.

He said more than 11,000 veterans of the World War II had been living in penury as they had been getting Rs 300 per month. What was worse, the veterans were not getting the pension regularly.

Brig Kahlon was here to attend the 35th death anniversary of Shaheed Harbhajan Singh at Bathe Bhaini, village near Patti.

He said out of the total 13 per cent reservation for ex-servicemen only 3 per cent was being implemented and 10 per cent backlog could not be cleared for variety of reasons.

He said his department had constituted a cell to monitor the backlong so that it should be cleared well in time. He said the state government had widened the scope for getting job for the dependants of the ex-servicemen. Now the daughters, widows could also avail the facilities in this category.

To a question, Brig Kahlon said there were more than six lakh ex-servicemen in the state while the number of widows of ex-servicemen were about 40,000.

Brig Kahlon said a number of ex-servicemen had approached him for poll duty in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the government might utilise the services of ex-servicemen.


Couple awaits son’s restoration
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
On July 20, when a Jagraon court ordered the restoration of their 15-year-old son to them, the joy of 45-year-old Gurdev Singh Gill and his wife, Charanjit Kaur, knew no bounds. But the happiness of getting their son — Harpreet Singh —back after 65 months of his "kidnapping" vanquished a few hours later when he was snatched back from them.

"But for a brief moment of July 20, we have been moving from pillar to post to get our son back. Not only we but everyone in the Moga police knows where Harpreet Singh is. Still no one is ready to help us," rues the young couple who appeared in person before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission on Tuesday.

Moved by their tale of woes, Mr N.K. Arora, Chairman of the Commission, has directed the police to register a case, saying that "the allegations of interference in a civil matter by the police do call for taking cognizance of the matter". The commission decided to send a copy of the complaint to the Inspector-General of Police, Litigation, so that "the report of the state is submitted before the next hearing in the case" fixed for January 7, 2003.

Mr Gurdev Singh Gill, who comes from a lower middle class family, runs a cloth shop at Ghar Charrik village in Moga. He is also Secretary of the Moga unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

It was on February 20, 1997, that their then 10-year-old son, Harpreet Singh, did not return home from Guru Nanak Model School, Charrik, where he was a student of fifth standard. He was allegedly kidnapped by his own uncle, Naib Singh, an influential man.

"He is my brother-in-law and wields a lot of influence in the area. When I went to the police to complain about the kidnapping of my son, no action was taken. Instead, the police , at the instance of Naib Singh, filed a civil case against me in the Moga civil court. It was decided in my favour. Naib Singh then went to appeal in the court of the District and Sessions Judge where again the verdict was in my favour.”

"When the case was decided in my favour, I filed a petition in a Moga court for the custody of my son. The Magistrate, Mr K.K. Bansal, ordered the restoration of my son. As soon as we came out of the court, my son was snatched from us. We went back to the police. My repeated pleas to the police, the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner, the Deputy Inspector-General and the SSP have been of no consequence.”

“I have been waging a lone battle for my son for the past five year. Do we have lost right our own son and cannot get him back ?," he asks His wife, too, appears to be shaken by the developments, especially after the July 20 incident.

"We came to meet the Chief Minister today but were told that he is unwell. We will try and meet other police officers to seek justice. But so far, we have been denied justice. The police, instead of helping us, has been taking sides," alleges Mr Gill.


Reforms scheme fails
Lack of information alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 12
A programme organised at Nathana village in the district today to generate awareness about the Sector Reform Scheme aimed at providing pure and sufficient drinking water for the rural people reportedly failed to make an impact as representatives of various youth clubs, social organisations and some other prominent people were not informed about the programme.

Resentment prevailed among many residents of the villages near Nathana as they were not informed that such a programme was being organised. A number of office-bearers of youth clubs and social service organisations alleged that the programme was merely a formality.

Block-level leaders of various political parties and former sarpanches and panches of the Nathana area alleged that they were ignored while inviting the panchayats. Even some of those who attended the programme alleged that adequate information was not given about it.

The Deputy Commissioner deputed the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) to preside over the function as he was busy with some other engagement. The Deputy Commissioner generally presides over such programes.

Even the Block Development and Panchayat Officer concerned was not present though he was responsible for making arrangements for the function.

As full information did not reach the villagers, some of them thought it was a meeting convened to listen to the grievances of the residents. Some of the residents came to attend the programme with their problems related to old-age pension or other grievances. When they were told that the function was about the Sector Reform Scheme, they lost interest in it.

Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, MLA from Nathana, was also conspicuous by his absence. However, he alleged that he was not informed about the programme. He said he would talk to the officials concerned about it.

The officials told about the schemes to those who were present. They said as per the guidelines of the scheme, the residents were to deposit 10 per cent of the total expenditure of the water supply schemes while the rest would be given by the government. The officials also apprised them about other formalities to be completed for availing of the benefits of scheme.

Mr DPS Kharbanda, ADC (Development), denied the allegations that there was discrimination in inviting the panchayats for the meeting. He said the meeting was convened for creating awareness about the scheme among the villagers. However, he added, only the panchayats and other prominent persons were invited.

He added that during the programme, the panchayats were apprised about the salient features of the scheme and they were asked to motivate the residents of their respective villages to avail of the facility. He said grievances of people were not heard as the programme was organised solely for informing them about the scheme.

He further said as the Deputy Commissioner had to attend some other function, he deputed him (ADC) to preside over the function. He added that as the BDPO concerned was on leave, he could not attend the function. Other senior officials of the department were present on the occasion.

Mr Kharbanda said Mr Tungwali was apprised about the scheme after the programme. He added that without the participation of the elected representatives, the scheme could not be utilised.


Doctor told to pay 1.25 lakh for negligence
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
The Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has given a compensation of Rs 1.25 lakh to a Nabha resident who had claimed that a Dhuri-based doctor had committed negligence which had resulted in the death of his wife.

According to copies of the order given recently, the forum found that the victim, Babita Rani, was suffering from diabetes with severe anaemia with also an intestinal blockage. It revealed that Dr K.N. Sharma of Sharma Nursing Home in Dhuri had administered about 10 bottles of glucose to Babita in eight hours without insulin.

The forum in its order said even at the time of departure from the hospital on February 2, 1999, the victim was put on glucose in the car which, however, stopped midway. It said the test reports later made it clear that Babita was in a state of coma which was due to high sugar level as well as urea and serum. It said administering glucose to a known case of diabetic, causes the irreparable damage leading to the death of Babita.

In another glaring irregularity, the forum noted that one bottle of blood was administered to Babita which had been taken out from the freezer section of the refrigerator and that it was brought to room temperature by putting it in hot water before being administered to Babita. It said immediately after the blood was administered to Babita, her health deteriorated. It said immediately after the blood transfusion, the patient was again put on glucose to check further deterioration. A report was also received from the Sangrur Civil Surgeon which said a private nursing home could not transfuse blood to any patient without license from a blood bank and that human blood can get destroyed on being freezed and heated.

The forum in its order also said there was nothing on record to establish that the blood was tested by an authorised person being administered to the patient. It said, moreover, the entries in the bed head ticket were not written in the natural sequence of events and was a made up document. It said the proper record of the patient was not neither prepared nor maintained in continous process of treatment. It said, moreover, the patient was shifted from the nursing home in Dhuri in a critical condition.

The petitioner, Satish Kumar, husband of Babita, had claimed that he had taken his wife to the nursing home of Dr K.N. Sharma after she complained of pain in the abdomen. He had submitted that after being admitted, she lost consciousness when Dr Sharma administered her some injections and that glucose was also administered on her despite the fact that brothers of Babita had informed the doctor that the patient was a diabetic.

Dr Sharma in his reply while maintaining that he had been told that the patient was a diabetic, had told the party to take the patient to Government Rajindra Hospital at Patiala but that they had insisted on taking treatment at his nursing home. He said appropriate treatment suitable for diabetic patients was given to Babita and that she had recovered partly on the third day. The doctor further said he had helped in the transfer of the patient to Rajindra Hospital but that the relatives took her to another nursing home in Sangrur which was only 15 km from his nursing home. He also claimed that blood transfusion was not responsible for the death of the patient.


Anaesthesia conference from Oct 26
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
The third North Zone Anaesthesia Conference-2002 will be held at Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital on October 26 and 27 here.

The conference will be organised by the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Unit and the local branch of the ISA.

Dr Jasbir Kaur, Professor Department of Anaesthesiology and organising secretary of the conference, said the conference was being held in Patiala after a period of 21 years.

Delegates from all over the country and abroad would participate in the conference. Recent concepts in the field of anaesthesiology and intensive/critical care would be discussed by the speakers.


4 special trains for Beas
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 12
The Railway will run four “Mela Special Trains” for pilgrims visiting dera of Radha Soamis at Beas these days. Railways sources said here today, that one mela special left Raipur today morning, and will reach Beas on Friday, this train will halt at Tilda, Bhatra, Bilaspur, Anup Shahar, and Burhar. It will leave Beas on September 24 at 3 p.m. on return journey.

Second mela special had started from Riwa for Beas, and will leave Beas on September 22 at 4 p.m., on return journey. It will halt at Satna, Mahar, Katni, Damoh, Sagar, and Khurai. Third mela special will leave Nizammudin on September 13 at 7.45 and return on September 15 at 7.20 p.m. Sources said, fourth mela special train will leave Saharanpur on September 19 at 9.20 p.m. and reach Beas the next day. The train will return on September 22 at 9.20 p.m. for Saharanpur.


Supply of sand still suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 12
The supply of sand to the city continues to be suspended for the past 15 days due to differences between transporters and a contractor. The situation was further aggravated after the auction near the Upper Bari Doab Canal was suspended two years ago.

About 50 transporters of Amritsar and Pathankot have decided not to supply sand to the city. Several transporters, held a press conference today where Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala son of former MLA from Ajnala, alleged that the said contractor had expressed his inability to provide them with sand on the plea that the area which he had taken on contract did not contain sand. Mining Officer Surjit Singh denied that he was supporting the contractor. He said the contractor as a “royalty collector” was authorised to demand money for sand quarried from nine areas that he got the contract for. He admitted that the contractor had failed to pay instalments of Rs 8 lakh to the government for the contract.

The contractor could not be contacted despite several attempts.


Poor facilities at ESI hospitals irk CITU
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 12
The CITU has criticised the state health authorities for their alleged failure to provide better medical facilities to labourers at ESI hospitals and dispensaries throughout the state.

In a Press statement issued here yesterday, the general secretary of the state unit of the CITU, Mr Chander Shekhar, alleged that patients undergoing treatment at these hospitals were often asked to purchase medicines while the medicine stock purchased by the department was sold to private chemist shops. The state government should conduct a probe into the matter, he demanded.

In a unanimous resolution adopted by the state unit of the CITU here, the union threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the health authorities continued to “harass” the labourers.


Trees felled for widening road
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 12
Hundreds of trees have been felled by the Public Works Department (B&R) for the four-laning of the Amritsar-Rajasansi road which leads to the Rajasansi international airport. Most of the trees were more than 20 years old.

The project for the four-laning of the road was inaugurated by the Prime Minister about two years ago.

However, Mr Basant Raj Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), said the department had given the go-ahead to the PWD after getting permission from the Central Government. He claimed that due procedure had been followed before felling the trees. Though the PWD had deposited Rs 13.5 lakh for planting saplings in lieu of the felled trees with the Forest Department yet the PWD has failed to deposit the money for planting of saplings of ornamental trees along with tree guards so far.


Panama govt’s gesture to Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 12
The government of Panama has exempted Sikhs settled in Latin American country from affixing their photographs without turbans on their identity cards and driving licences. Mr Tara Singh, Indian High Commissioner to Panama, Nicaragua and EI Salvador disclosed this here tonight. He was talking to reporters in the office of Paramjit Singh Sethi, MD, Indian Autos Industries.

The President of Panama last month allowed Sikhs to affix their photograph with turbans on these documents, disclosed the High Commissioner. The practice of affixing photographs sans turbans was prevalent in that country for the past over two decades, said Mr Tara Singh. The exemption assumes significance as the decision of the French government asking Sikhs to affix photographs without turbans on their ration cards, driving licences and passports had created a controversy.


Baba Daduwal allowed bail
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 12
A court here today granted bail to Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, head of Daduwal Sahib gurdwara in a case registered against him and his seven disciples on the complaint made on September 8, by Mr Jagsir Singh, a former disciple of the Baba.

The Baba was in judicial custody along with seven of his disciples. They were arrested on September 8 after a case was registered against them. A case against the Baba and his followers was registered under Sections 341, 365, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.

The case was alleged to be registered under political pressure after Jagsir Singh complained to the police that the Baba and his disciples chased him to kill him.

The Baba alleged that the case was registered at the instance of people who incite people against the Sikh religion, the police denied that the case was registered under pressure.


Tributes paid to Saragarhi martyrs
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 12
Paying tributes to 21 martyrs of 36 Sikh Regiment now 4 Sikh Regiment, who died rather than surrender in the historic battle of Saragarhi on September 12, 1897, Mr Dharam Veer, Commissioner, said Punjabis had always fought valiantly for the country. He was addressing a rally of ex-servicemen on the eve of Saragarhi day on the premises of Saragarhi Gurdwara here this morning.

However, family members of Saragarhi martyrs were not present. Thirteen out of the 21 martyrs belonged to this district. Family members of Gurmukh Singh managed to attend the function with last year’s invitation.

During the Saragarhi celebrations in 2000, the district administration had announced in the presence of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the then Finance Minister, that it would find out the native villages of the martyrs and construct memorials. However, nothing has been done so far.

The Commissioner gave a cheque of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of three martyrs, besides Rs 5,000 each to 21 poor families for the marriage of their daughters.


State CPI plans agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab CPI, said today that his party would start a struggle against the levying of power tariff on the agricultural sector soon. Other issues to be taken up during the struggle would be the government’s failure to provide relief to drought-hit farmers and distress sale of paddy. During the past two months, the state government, he alleged had done nothing to extend any financial or other support to drought-affected farmers.


Fire in Connect office
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 12
A fire broke out in the office of Connect telephones here this evening. The fire was caused by a spark from power meter installed in the office. The fire engines of the city were pressed into service to douse the fire.

No major loss of property was reported. No one was injured in the incident.


Kisan Sabha vows to oppose WTO policies
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 12
The two-day 34th delegate session of the Punjab Kisan Sabha concluded today at Anandpur Sahib with decision to strengthen and continue struggle for farmers’ causes.

The sabha resolved to continue the struggle for getting loans of farmers waived. It would also build mass movement against the WTO’s policies of privatisation, globalisation and liberalisation.

The sabha will also continue campaign for the purchase of foodgrains at the MSP and strengthen the public distribution system.

The sabha decided to oppose the move on withdrawal of free power supply to poor farmers to fight corruption and police excesses.

The sabha criticised the “anti-farmer” policies of the Punjab Government and discussed deteriorating economic condition of the farmers.

The delegates elected Rachhpal Singh and Mr Leahimber Singh Taggar president and general secretary respectively of the Punjab Kisan Sabha.

The Sabha urged the farmers to participate in the flag marches to be taken out by the CPM from September 15 to September 30 in villages and take part in the dharna to be held on October 22 at Chandigarh.

Comrade Vasdev Jamsher, state general secretary of the Khet Mazdoor Union; comrade Raghu Nath Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Unit of CITU; Mr Pishora Singh Sidhu, senior leader of the BKU (Ekta; and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, leader of the Democratic youth Federation of India (DYFI) addressed the conference. The session inaugurated by Comrade Mehdood Zahidi, MP and senior leader of the All India Kisan Sabha.


Shops closed after farmers attack trader
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, September 12
A majority of traders downed their shutters when a group of farmers led by Mr Sukhdev Singh, a BKU activist, allegedly attacked Mr Khirati Lal, president, Local Beopar Mandal.

The SHO local police station, when contacted, said he had received a complaint and sent police officials to the spot.

Mr Khirati Lal, when contacted, said as many as 25 farmers sat in front of his shop located in Phool Mandi. Later they started abusing him and tried to attack him. However, the was saved by other traders.

He said Sukhdev Singh had already lodged a complaint against him with the SDM in connection with the failure of the maize crop for which he had purchased seeds from his (Mr Khirati Lal) shop.


DHO transferred
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 12
Taking action on the news item published in The Tribune regarding the appointment of an allegedly corrupt SMO of the local Civil Hospital as District Health Officer (DHO), Fatehgarh Sahib, the Principal Secretary, Health, vide letter No. 2/71/2002/20369 has transferred the DHO and posted him as SMO, Civil Hospital, Jallalabad, Ferozepore district.

Dr Narinder Mehta, an ophthalmologist, had also written to the Chief Minister and the ADGP (Vigilance) against the officer.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizen Welfare Council, has hailed the transfer.


Encroachments demolished
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 12
A team of the Goraya Nagar Panchayat, led by senior Local Bodies officials, has demolished several encroachments on the government land on the Goraya-Rurrka road. Several kiosks and other encroachments were demolished by the team. Though many shopkeepers resisted and alleged “high-handedness” on part of the municipal staff, the municipal officials claimed that they had given sufficient time and issued notices to the parties concerned, to remove the encroachments.


Four travel agents booked
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 12
Four travel agents here have been booked for duping Mr Sandip Bansal of Rs 8 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. Those booked include Amarjit, Manohar Lal, alias Ghug, Piara Lal and Ashwani Sharma, it was learnt today.

The complainant, Mohinder Pal alleged that this son, Mr Bansal, was promised by these agents that he would be sent to the USA. As per the deal made in January last year Rs 2 lakh were given to the travel agents as advance with an understanding that the remaining Rs 6 lakh would be paid after reaching the USA.

Mr Bansal was taken to Thailand and was made to ring up his parents to pay the remaining amount as the job had been done.” However, after the amount was paid, Mr Bansal was brought back to Delhi instead of being sent to the USA, alleged the complainant. On persistent demand, the travel agents returned Rs 1 lakh but not the remaining Rs 7 lakh. This made Mr Mohinder Pal lodge a complaint with the police.


Case registered against ASI, Head Constable
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 12
A case under Sections 295-A, 342, 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against ASI, Paramjit Singh and Head Constable, Gursewak Singh at Joga police station for their alleged involvement in beating and hurting the religious sentiments of a baptised Sikh and circle president of the Backward Classes Cell of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Bhola Singh.

Police sources said apart from beating up Mr Bhola Singh, the accused police official also kept him in illegal confinement. The officials are yet to be arrested though the case was registered against them yesterday.

Paramjit Singh, ASI, posted at Joga police station was placed under suspension on August 31 after activists of the Akali Dal Amritsar led by its district president, Mr Gursewak Singh Jawaharke gheraoed the police station following the beating up and illegal confinement of Mr Bhola Singh.

Mr Bhola Singh, who suffered internal injuries was subsequently hospitalised in the local Civil Hospital. He was allegedly dragged by the accused police official by holding him by his hair. His hands were tied, he was beaten up and kept in illegal confinement on August 31.

ASI Paramjit Singh was suspended the same day after he was found guilty of committing atrocities in the preliminary inquiry held by DSP Mukhtiar Singh while other policemen involved in the case, were sent to the Police Lines.

Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP, when contacted, confirmed that a case had been registered against ASI, Paramjit Singh and Head Constable, Gursewak Singh.


Two married women commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 12
Two married women committed suicide at two different places in the area during the last 24 hours. The deceased have been identified as Kulwant Kaur (33) of Chheena Bidhi Chand village falling under Chabal police station and Bachan Kaur, wife of Baldev Singh, of Alipur village in Harike police station. Both women consumed sulphos tablets.

Suhel Singh and Chanan Kaur, husband and mother-in-law, respectively, of Kulwant Kaur have been booked under Section 306 and 34, IPC. While the younger brother-in-law Paramjit Singh of Bachan Kaur has been booked under Section 306, IPC, for harassing her to get him married to one of her close relative.


ASI sentenced to life

Sangrur, September 12
A court here has sentenced an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) to life on the charge of kidnapping a person and for keeping him in wrongful confinement.

In his 15-page judgement today, Sessions Judge Jagroop Singh sentenced ASI Sanjid Ali to life and fined him Rs 2000.

The accused was also sentenced to five years and fined Rs 1000 under Section 365 for abducting Sonu alias Pinderjit Singh with intent to confine him.

The accused was further sentenced to one year for wrongfully fonfining Sonu. All sentences would run concurrently, the court observed. PTI


Patwari sentenced in corruption case
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 12
Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, Special Judge, sentenced Navraj Singh, patwari of the Naura circle, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and pay a fine of Rs 4,000 in a case registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The patwari was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from the complainant, Mr Dalbir Singh, for issuing him a copy of jamabandi, an official press note said here today.


1 killed, 3 hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 12
A taxi driver was killed on the spot while three members of a group sustained injuries following a clash over land at Khera village, 6 km from Tarn Taran today.

According to Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, Tarn Taran, driver Jagjit Singh was killed in a stray bullet firing opened by the Mukhtiar Singh group.

The three injured have been identified as Jagjit Singh, Rasal Singh and Lakhbir Singh of the rival Hardip Singh group. Mr Bhargav said the police had booked seven members of the Mukhtiar Singh group under Sections 302, 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Thieves murder watchman
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 12
Surya Bahadur, a migrant labourer, employed by shopkeepers and residents of the Ajit road area as a watchman was allegedly murdered by thieves after they burgled a shop and the watchman saw them.

The body of Bahadur was found lying on a heap of garbage today by residents of the area. The body was covered with branches of a tree.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (city) visited the place where murder was committed and asked officials to launch search operations. A case under Section 460 of the IPC has been registered.


Absentee teachers to face action: DC
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 12
Departmental disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against 20 teachers who were found absent from duty during the surprise checking of about 200 schools by 25 special teams, headed by principals and headmasters, a few days ago.

Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, said here today that show-cause notices had been issued to all 20 teachers seeking explanations for their unauthorised absence from the schools. She said action would be taken against those found guilty.

The Deputy Commissioner also stated that annual inspection of schools would also be done on the same pattern in the near future. For this, special teams would be formed to know the efficiency of the schools as a whole. 


New Bengal cotton arrives in mandis

Bathinda, September 12
The New Bengal desi cotton has started arriving in different Punjab mandis and nearly 400 bales of cotton are arriving daily in these markets, Mr Fateh Chand Sharma, vice-president of the Northern India Cotton association, said today.

The Narma variety would also start arriving in the next week he said, adding that rich crop of the Narma and Bengali desi cotton was ready in the state.

He said 7.50 lakh cotton bales were expected in Punjab this year as compared to 9.10 lakh bales last year. PTI

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