Friday, October 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Online lottery goes offline
Sarabjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Punjab Cabinet Sub-Committee on Finance, which met here today under the chairmanship of Capt Amarinder Singh, has decided to terminate the online lottery contract worth Rs 9,300 crore that was allotted to a Mumbai-based consortium comprising four partners.

Four companies had made the bids for the online lottery floated by the state government.

Punjab wants UT police to investigate the online lottery case. Meanwhile, informed sources said the CBI has told the state government that if it wanted that the online lottery case should be investigated by it then it should send the required reference under Section-6,Delhi Police Act. The Punjab Government had got registered a fraud case against the consortium with the UT police in Chandigarh about two months ago. The UT police suomotu forwarded the case to the CBI for investigation. The sources said as the state government had got the case registered with the UT police, there was no need to send the said reference to the CBI under the Delhi Police Act.

Informed sources said the state government had also decided to initiate legal proceedings against the consortium to recover Rs 55 crore that was to be paid by it for the current financial year as part of the agreement.

The state government also decided to move an application before the liquidator of the Western Cooperation Bank, Mumbai, to recover Rs 5 crore guarantee money. The bank had offered the guarantee to the state government on behalf of the consortium. However, the state government later came to know from the RBI that the bank was under liquidation and could not offer guarantee to any party. However, the Cooperative Bank on being asked by the Punjab Government had confirmed that it would stand guarantee to the consortium and it had followed a proper procedure while doing this.

Sources said as per the laid down procedure the state government would now offer the contract to the second highest bidder with a condition to match the first bid. If the second highest bidder agreed to pay Rs 9,300 crore ( that was offered by first highest bidder) then the contract would be allotted to him. Otherwise fresh tenders would be floated to re-invite the bids.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Sub- Committee has also decided to take further precautionary measures to check the antecedents and financial position of the parties offering the bids. For this purpose, the total turn over of such parties would be examined before the finalisation of the contract.


Farmers seek assured price, market
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The major concern of Punjab farmer is sustainability of agriculture, which is unremunerative due to high input costs, low returns and progressively declining profitability from the wheat-paddy system that has adversely affected the economy, ecology, small/marginal farmers and the khet mazdoor.

There is strong apprehension that the prevalent problems in agriculture will aggravate after the removal of quantitative restrictions under the WTO regime and also due to emerging consciousness about the quality of farm produce in the domestic/ international market.

These concerns were vociferously voiced by their farmers’ representatives at an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here yesterday. Their concerns about the state of agriculture, the mainstay of the state’s economy, are neither misplaced nor unknown. These knowledgeable farmers spoke as much from their heart as from the experience of problems that beset agriculture, articulated their problems with conviction, leaving no doubt in the minds of political parties that they would not permit “politicking” or “politicising” of agriculture and that the kisan was not a “pawn” in their hands.

The common issues that emerged are as follows: 1). framing a national/state policy on agriculture, 2). establishing a chamber of farmers on the lines of business/trade/industry/corporate houses, 3). announcing the minimum support price before the sowing of the rabi/kharif crops, 4). diversification based on value addition, not just replacement of say the wheat/paddy system by another, 5). assured price/market for the suggested/changed cropping system, 6). check on spurious plant protection chemicals/fertilisers, 7). review of the production-oriented agricultural policy that ushered in the Green Revolution in the sixties, replacing it with a new market/demand-driven policy that will not put to disadvantage agriculturally advanced states or small/marginal farmers, 8). a separate ministry for the small-scale sector to encourage small agro-based industry, 9). review of the norms for assessment of crop damage due to natural calamities and disbursement of relief and introducing crop insurance, 10). economy-driven policies by doing away with negative subsidies and giving direct subsidies to farmers, 11). ways to meet challenges/opportunities under the WTO regime covering industry/agriculture; and 12). debt commission to review co-operative crop/other loans, effecting recoveries by rescheduling or waiving of repayments or one-time settlement, as in the case of the corporate sector.

If the SAD (Mann) wanted the meeting to take an “overview” of agriculture and not just the MSP for paddy, the SAD (Panthic) charged that the state had not taken adequate steps on the kharif prices. If the BKU (Ekta) wanted de-silting of irrigation canals, promotion of agro-based industry and check on police-ahrtiya nexus to effect recoveries from farmers, the Lok Bhalai spokesperson talked of multi-faceted problems that best agriculture and small/marginal farmers and warned politicians against playing gimmicks with farmers.

If BKU factions saw input prices rising and output prices falling in the past 20 years or so, it also called for dispelling the erroneous impression in New Delhi that the Punjab farmer is “well off” whereas he is actually “drowned in debt”. If farmers demanded compensation for paddy, there were voices from the CPI demanding the same treatment for cotton farmers, who have suffered heavy losses and sugarcane growers, who are yet to be paid their dues. (Capt Amarinder Singh disclosed that Punjab owe Rs 80 crore to sugarcane growers and there was an unsold sugar stock of 3.37 lakh tonnes).

If BSP factions harped on taking equally good care of “khet mazdoor, dalit and seeri”, who work shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers, the CPM was deeply concerned about the non-availability of drinking water, declining water table, rising costs of installing new tubewells. If the Punjab Kisan Sabha reminded that it was the oldest organisation (formed in 1936) and knew problems of the kisan and the khet mazdoor pretty well and that agriculture staff connived with firms dealing in spurious inputs, the Samata Party said the kisan should not be at the mercy of politicians.

Cutting across faction lines, these farmers hoped the political parties would not backout on any agitational programme. While some wanted to intensify “sangarsh”, some suggested “Punjab bandh”, some proposed “dharnas” and a few advocated it was imperative to constitute an “effective, dynamic forum” from where farmers could voice their problems and needs effectively rather than resorting to agitations.

Prior to reluctantly succumbing to pressure to disburse the promised Rs 30 per quintal bonus on paddy in three instalments, the Chief Minister explained at length the acute financial crisis in Punjab. This poll promise of the Congress will cost the state Rs 350 crore.

Farmers have suspended agitations and returned home. Competitive politics has completed yet another round with fresh political fissures. How will the Centre respond? How will the state follow up? Will the kisan be put through the paces at the time of the next rabi kharif season for the MSP/date for procurement? Meanwhile, all agreed that Punjab had to get rid of paddy to save its ecology, economy and sustain agriculture, small/marginal farmer and the khet mazdoor.


OSD to VC arrested

Chandigarh, October 3
The Officer on Special Duty to the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot, was today arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with the alleged irregularities in selection of 134 clerks in the Punjab School Education Board.

OSD Teerath Singh was arrested in connection with the case registered at Mohali following the detection of alleged irregularities during a vigilance probe, a Vigilance Bureau spokesman said here today.

Terath Singh had been arrested under various sections of the IPC relating to cheating and conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The spokesman said the OSD was a member of a five-member committee which recruited 134 clerks in the education board.

He had been appointed OSD to the Vice-Chancellor after his retirement as Registrar of Punjabi University, Patiala. PTI


Candidates’ arrest stay extended
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 3
A local court today extended the stay on the arrest orders of six tainted candidates in the PPSC scam till October 19.

Those whose arrest stay has been extended are Mr Anil Kumar, Ms Monica Sethi, Mr Manjinder Singh, Mr Ram Sharan, Mr Mandeep Singh and Ms Navdeep Kaur.

Graft case against SGPC member

Gurdaspur, October 3
The Vigilance Bureau has registered a corruption case against Dharambir Singh Cheema, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandik Committee (SGPC) member.

According to information received here today, the case was registered at Mohali under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC. A resident of Kala Nangal village, Cheema was charged with having taken money for jobs during the SAD-BJP regime.

Cheema is a member of the SGPC from Gurdaspur district and also a member of the SAD. UNI


ETT students burn Behl’s effigy
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, October 3
Registration of cases against eight of their leaders notwithstanding, ETT students today held a march in the city and burnt an effigy of the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, near the office of the Deputy Commissioner here.

The ETT students while alleging that the government was using pressure tactics by registering cases against their leaders, closing the DIET institutions and cancelling their admissions to quell their agitation, said they would continue the stir until all their demands were accepted.

The students held a dharna near the office of the Deputy Commissioner before burning the effigy of Mr Behl. They also “mourned” the “death” of the minister.

The student leaders while addressing the dharna said the government was jeopardising their careers. They said there was no need of implementing the new education policy as it was anti-students. The girl students, too, participated in the agitation.

Earlier the students held a meeting at the local Teachers Home. The police had made elaborate security arrangements. The situation became tense when the students were reportedly not allowed to go out of the premises of Teachers Home to hold the march in the city. However, the police authorities denied that they prevented the students from holding a peaceful agitation.

A large number of police personnel, including policewomen, were present near Teachers Home. The police personnel accompanying the students when they marched from Teachers Home towards the office of the Deputy Commissioner reportedly told them that force could be used if they tried to disrupt traffic.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, district general secretary of the ETT Students’ Union, said they would not call off the agitation till their demands were met. He said they would not move the court against the cancellation of admissions. Rather they would force the government to withdraw the decision through agitation.

FARIDKOT: A meeting of over 200 parents and guardians of ETT students from different parts of the state, held here today, expressed apprehensions about the new education policy of the Punjab Government.

Earlier students of the local DIET institution held a rally to intensify their stir.

MANSA: On a call given by Mr Bir Inder Singh Kehra, president of the DIET Students Welfare Association (DSWA), Punjab, ETT students of the district staged a dharna at the district courts here on Thursday and held a procession through the main bazars of the city.

ROPAR: Despite the closure of local effigy the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) by the state government for an indefinite period, a large number of DIET students, including girls, sat in dharna and held a rally in front of the main gate of the DIET here on Thursday. Parents of the students were also present at the dharna.

JALANDHAR: The DIET Students Welfare Association has convened an emergency meeting at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here on Friday to decide the action plan in the aftermath of cancellation of admission of 3,400 ETT students by the state government. In a rally held here, leaders of the association unanimously passed a resolution criticising the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.


Students at receiving end
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 3
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has computerised the preparation certificates.

Despite this glaring mistakes in the certificates issued to the students who passed matriculation this year, continue to upset them.

A mistake was detected in the certificates recently issued to Mukesh Kumar, a student of the Sukhsal government High School who did not appear in any of the examinations was shown to have appeared in the Punjabi paper. The board authorities have awarded him 43 marks in the paper for which he never sat for examination. On the other hand Ram Kumar, a student of the same school who appeared in all papers had been shown absent in Hindi paper.

The school authorities now have written to the PSEB for corrections in their office records. Other serious mistakes which have crept in the matriculation certificates recently issued the dates of birth of students written in words did not match with that written in figures.

Jagjit Kaur a student of Sukhsal government high school near Nangal was issued matriculation certificate in June 2002. In the certificate, her date of birth in words has been written February 19, 1986, while in digits it is written as 19.2.1987. In the matriculation certificate of Saweta Rani another student of the same school her date of birth in words was February 4, 1987, while in digits it is 4.1.1987.

In the matriculation certificate of Chanchala Devi her date of birth in words was February 19, 1985, in digits it is 13.2.1987, in the certificate of Pooja Devi in words it is February 6, 1986, in digits 6.2.1987, in the certificate of Sukhdeep Kaur in words the date of birth is April 5, 1985, in digits 5.4.1987, Ranjit Kaur in words January 21, 1986, in digits, 21.1.1987, Daulat Ram in words January 13, 1985, in digits 13.1.1987, Mukesh Kumar, in words June 3, 1985, in digits 3.6.1987. It is strange that the above said matriculation certificates issued by the PSEB also do not bear signature of Tulnakarta the authority responsible for checking the correctness of total marks in certificates) and the Partalkarta (the evaluator). The certificates bear signatures of the Secretary of the Board, who also did not care to check the glaring mistakes thereon.


Trip ends in tragedy
2 Patiala students killed
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/ Fatehgarh Sahib, October 3
Two students of Arya Girls College, Patiala, were killed while two others, including a teacher of the college, were seriously injured when the bus in which they were travelling overturned on the National Highway, near Sirhind, as the driver tried to save a stray cattle on the road.

The deceased and the injured were part of a four-day college trip to Manali and Manikaran. They were returning to Patiala and were scheduled to reach there by tonight. Another 10 persons were injured in the accident. The deceased have been identified as Deepa, a student of Class XI and Veena, of BA (II). Both died on the spot.

Among the seriously injured are Sukhwinder Kaur, who has been referred to the PGI while Ms Mona, a teacher in the college, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vikas Pratap, and the SSP, Mr B. Chandrasekhar, also reached the spot. Several voluntary bodies and social organisations stepped forward to help the victims.

The president of the College Managing Committee, Dr Rajesh, was also travelling in the ill-fated bus. The group comprised 26 students and six teachers.

The parents of the students have been informed about the accident and arrangements made for the stay of the students in Fatehgarh Sahib till their guardians or parents come to pick them up.


No post-poll pact with Cong: CPI
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 3
Dr Joginder Dayal, state Secretary, CPI, said here yesterday that his party had no post-poll alliance with Congress and was not a party to its acts of ‘commission and omission’.

Talking to newspersons Dr Dayal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, who was once in the SAD had been pursuing anti people and anti-farmer policies with a view to helping the Akalis. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh should know the ground realities and the problems being faced by common people. He said nobody could expect good governance by the state government till Capt Amarinder Singh was the Chief Minister.

On the distress sale of paddy, Dr Dayal alleged that farmers had already sold much of their produce at low rates price and the minimum support price announced would hardly benefit them. He said the distress sale of paddy had benefited commission agents and owners of rice mills.


Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi on brink of closure
Prem Kumar Sharma

Barnala, October 3
The Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabdi, which was flagged off with a lot of fanfare by Mr Nitish Kumar, Railway Minister, on August 16 in Bathinda, is on the brink of closure.

The train, which halts at Barnala, Dhuri, Patiala and Ambala, was launched to mark 150 years of the existence of the Railways.

Mr Ramesh Chander Batra, Station Superintendent, Barnala, told this correspondent that there were two yardsticks to make a new train being run on trial a permanent feature. One, the passenger response in terms of the daily sale of tickets, which should be at least 50 per cent of the total seat capacity of any train. He said the average was either calculated on a monthly basis or after three months. He said the economic viability of a train was an important factor.

The second factor was the utility of the train. Mr Batra disclosed that the daily passenger response to this train averaged around 65 a day, which was far below the required 245 mark since the train had a total capacity of 490 seats. So far, the maximum passenger response to this train on a given day was 120, he added.

Mr Rajinder Singh, a senior booking clerk at the Barnala railway station, said from September 1 to 30 only Rs 34,575 were collected at the station in lieu of tickets and the total number of those who had booked tickets was 66, which worked out to be around two passengers a day.

Mr Batra said the wrong timings of the train and costly fare were the two main reasons for the poor response to the train. The inter-city (4731) Bathinda-New Delhi train leaves the Barnala station a few minutes after this train.

The Shatabdi fare from Barnala to New Delhi is Rs 540 whereas the fare of an AC coach of the inter-city (Bathinda-New Delhi) train is Rs 342.

According to reliable sources, the Railways is not making any bookings for the Shatabdi after October 13, giving indications that the train might be stopped.


SSP told to probe dera funds’ misuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Acting on a petition alleging embezzlement of funds belonging to a Nawanshahr-based dera, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed a Senior Superintendent of Police to look into their application seeking the registration of a case against the accused and act in accordance with the law.

In their application, Secretary of Noor Vishav Roohani Charitable Trust Japan Singh had alleged that a Nawanshehr resident, along with two others, including a property dealer, had forged documents and cheated the trust of over Rs 30 lakh.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had submitted that two of the accused were deputed to purchase land for the dera. They, however, hatched a conspiracy with a property dealer. Giving details, the petitioner added that Rs 30 lakh was paid to an accused even though he was not the land owner. Counsel for the petitioners had submitted on their behalf that case was not lodged despite their representations.

SGPC members for pre-arrest bail

Taking up two petitions seeking the grant of anticipatory bail filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee members Devinder Singh Cheema and Kashmir Singh, Mr Justice R.C. Kathuria of the High Court today issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab.

In their petitions, the two members had stated that they should be granted anticipatory bail in any FIR registered against them or they should be given 15-day notice if they were required in any case.

Mr Cheema, in his petition, had claimed that he was being harassed and threatened with implication in serious cases by the Vigilance Department as he owed allegiance to Shiromani Akali Dal headed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Seeking grant of anticipatory bail, his counsel had stated that the Vigilance department had no jurisdiction over him as he was not a government servant.

He had also contended that the Congress Government had adopted a vindictive attitude towards its opponents and as such they were being implicated in cases. The present Chief Minister had repeatedly declared that the Akalis would be taught a lesson, counsel had asserted.


Akali leader in judicial custody

Amritsar, October 3
Former Chairman of the Punjab Forest Development Corporation and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjinder Singh Kang was today remanded in judicial custody till October 17.

Kang, a relative of SAD chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested by the state Vigilance Bureau on charges of corruption on September 28. He was charged with misusing his position in the SAD-BJP government and accumulating wealth which was disproportionate to his ancestral or other family assets that he possessed before assuming charge of the corporation three years ago.

Though the Vigilance Bureau through its counsel demanded an extension of the police remand, that was turned down by the duty magistrate. UNI


Rural funds case: Deputy Dir appears in court
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 3
Mr J.P. Singla, Deputy Director, Rural Development, Punjab, and an accused in the case registered against Nirmal Singh Kahlon, former Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, and him on June 14 by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, today appeared in the court of Special Judge here.

He had been summoned to appear in the court today. He was summoned on September 19 court when challan was presented by the Vigilance Bureau against him and Nirmal Singh Kahlon in the case relating the appointment of clerks, JEs in Rural Development Depar and anganwari workers, acquiring assets disproportionate to known sources of income, and misuse of power and panchayat funds, during the SAD-BJP regime.

As the special Judge was on leave today the case now will come up on October 24 for further proceedings.


PSEB ‘losing 3.30 cr per day’
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 3
The non-implementation of tariff order of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) is causing a loss of Rs 3.30 crore per day to the PSEB.

A spokesperson for the PSEB Engineers Association yesterday regretted that although 26 days had already passed the PSEB authorities had not taken any step to implement the orders of the PSERC. The orders of the PSERC were binding and mandatory. Besides, only the high court had power to amend the order, he added.

The spokesperson of the association said while deciding a civil writ petition, the Punjab and Haryana High Court in December 2001, had given a six months’ time to the PSEB to ensure the compliance of Section 59 of the Electricity Supply Act, 1948, which stipulate 3 per cent rate of return on equity of the PSEB.


PSEB to take strict measures against defaulters
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 3
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) management today directed its field officers to intimate the revenue authorities concerned of the state government, including SDMs and Tehsildars, regarding the pending defaulting amount of electricity consumers falling under their jurisdiction, whose connections have been disconnected due to the non-payment of dues.

The PSEB spokesperson said that this had been done to ensure that the defaulters do not sell their property/premises without intimation to the PSEB as the chances of recovery of dues becomes difficult in such cases.

He said with the implementation of this order, the revenue authorities would be in a position to recover the outstanding amount due to the PSEB at the time of sale or purchase of properties of the defaulters.

It was also informed that the senior field officers of the PSEB had been instructed to monitor strict compliance with the instructions. In case it was found that the sub-divisional officials failed to inform the revenue authorities, resulting in non-recovery of dues after sale/purchase of such properties, the amount would be recovered from the officer responsible for not intimating the revenue authorities.


Insurance cover for the poor
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 3
The Life Insurance Corporation has launched a new scheme, Jan Shri Beema Yojna, in the district to provide the poor with economic and incidental protection. Mr Vikas Partap, DC, said this at a meeting here today. Mr Partap said the scheme offered many benefits just by paying an annual premium of Rs 200, out of which, a member would have to pay only Rs 100. The rest would be paid by a nodal agency or the state government. Persons between 18 and 60 were eligible for taking this insurance cover.

In case of natural death of a member, Rs 20,000 would be given to his or her nominees. In case of accidental death, they would get Rs 50,000. If a member became permanently disabled in any accident, he or she would get Rs 50,000, so that, he or she could become economically independent.

If a member is rendered partially disabled in an accident, he or she would get Rs 25,000. Under the Education Assistance Scheme, children of the members, studying in Classes IX, X, XI and XII, would get Rs 100 every month to pay for their education.


2 ultrasound centres lose licences
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 3
The licences of two ultrasound centres, namely, Preet Nursing Home in the city, and Sidhu Hospital, Goniana Mandi, were cancelled following detection of some irregularities in the record of patients, whose ultrasound tests were done here.

This was stated in an official press note issued by the Civil Surgeon. The district authorities had received complaints against these centres and subsequently an inquiry was held.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr S.K. Goyal, asked the District Family Welfare Officer, Dr Jagjit Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the matter. After the inquiry it was found that the particular cases, for which complaints were made, were not of foeticide, the foetus had some abnormalities. However, it was found that the record of the ultrasound tests done at the centres was not properly maintained. The licences were cancelled on the advise of the advisory committee.

It would not be ascertained whether their licences were cancelled for good or there were provisions that the centres could obtain them again after fulfilling the required formalities.


Jassa Singh utsav from October 19
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 3
The Deputy Commissioner here, Mr Rakesh Verma, who is also the president of the Kapurthala Heritage Society, has stated that the society in collaboration with the Punjab Government and district administration is organising the first Nawab Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav from October 19 to 21 at Shalimar Garden. It will be a festival of traditional and classical music to mark the barsi of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, founder of the state of Kapurthala.

The festival is being organised as part of the recommendations of the State Advisory Board on Culture, Heritage and Tourism to hold such a festival at Kapurthala, added Mr Verma.

Dr Anita Singh, Director, Indian Music Society, Delhi, and connected with the royal family of Kapurthala, was recently here and according to her, Kapurthala, which was once known as Paris of the Orient, has a legacy of classical music as well. It emerged as an important centre for classical music under the patronage of Kanwar Bikrama Singh and Raja Sir Daljit Singh. Ata Mohammad, Bhai Lal and Ghulam Hussain Shaggan were well-known exponents of the Kapurthala gharana. Mir Nasir Ahmad, a descendant of Mia Tansen and endowed with the musical wealth of the Senia Beenkar gharana, was saved by Kanwar Bikrama Singh of Kapurthala from being sent into exile from the Mughal court and was brought to Kapurthala. He lived at Kapurthala for rest of his life and he and his sons contributed a great deal to the tradition of classical music of Kapurthala.

Mr Verma said the idea of organising such a festival was to promote and create awareness about the traditional and classical music amongst the public. He said several renowned artistes of national and international fame would participate in the festival. He said the first evening of the festival on October 19 would be devoted to Sufiana and qawali forms and artistes like Barkat Sidhu and Iqbal Afzal Sabari would participate. On October 20, Shujaat Khan (sitar), Pt Laxman Krishnarao Pandit (vocalist) and Meeta Pandit (vocalist) of the Gwaliar gharana would perform whereas on October 21, Hari Prasad Chaurasia (flute) and Manjari Asnare (vocalist) would perform.


Urs of Sher Shah dargah held
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 3
On the annual Urs of Baba Sher Shah Wali Dargah today, Mr Praveen Kumar Sinha, local SSP, on behalf of the Baba Sher Shah Wali Trust, distributed 23 tricycles to the handicapped, eight hearing machines to the hearing-impaired, artificial limbs to the lame and clothes to the poor.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Sinha highlighted the social work and other activities being done under the patronage of the trust.

He said Rs 35 lakh had been spent on the construction of a divider on the main GT Road by the trust. He said the trust was also sponsoring a hockey academy which had produced players of international repute.


4 pilgrims killed in bus mishap

Pathankot, October 3
Four pilgrims were killed and 25 injured when a bus (PB-05-F-9741) rammed into a tree near Nangal Bhur, 25 km from here, on the Pathankot-Jalandhar National Highway, yesterday.

The tourist bus was going from Delhi to Vaishno Devi. The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital here. The driver of the bus lost control of the steering following which the mishap occurred.

The dead had been identified as Sanjay Kumar, Shilagam, Naresh Singh and Manjit Singh.


Anticipatory bail for MLA
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 3
Mr Dharam Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mansa, today granted anticipatory bail to Sardulgarh MLA and general secretary of SAD Balwinder Singh Bhunder and his brother Bhag Singh.

Both were booked by the Sardulgarh police under the Arms Act following the recovery of one carbine rifle, one 30 spring field rifle and some cartridges by the Vigilance Bureau.


FCI men gheraoed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
Hundreds of farmers at a purchase centre in Krarwala village of district today gheraoed FCI officials, including the District Manager, Mr Sandeep Deora, in protest against non-procurement of their paddy crop. Information gathered by TNS reveals that senior civil and police officials accompanied by a heavy police force had rushed to the spot to secure the release of the FCI officials.


Flour mill owner held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
A flourmill owner in Bhucho Mandi, Sanjeev Kumar, has been arrested by the police in a case involving illegal sale of wheat meant for people below the poverty line. The police is searching for two of his accomplices who were allegedly diverting the grain stock.

According to the police, Sanjeev Kumar was arrested after a raid on his business premises. Officials of the District Food and Civil Supplies Department also accompanied the police team. The raiding team recovered 48 quintals of wheat from the premises.

Sanjeev Kumar was allegedly receiving wheat from two fair price shop owners, whose responsibility was to sell wheat to people below the poverty line at highly subsidised rates as approved by the government. One of them has been identified by the police as Baljit Singh, a resident of Lehra Mohabbat. The other is a resident of Lehra Dhulkot. Both are missing.

The suspects used to sell wheat to the miller at Rs 535 per quintal. The same wheat was to be sold to the poor at Rs 200 per quintal.

A case has been registered under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 471 of the IPC.


2 held for smuggling poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 3
The police claimed to have recovered 240 kg of poppy husk and arrested two persons, two others are at large.

Mr Major Singh Dhillon, SSP in a press note, claimed today that a gang of smugglers Balwinder Singh and Chand Singh and Mangal Singh of Kothe Amargarh Mallan and Resham Singh of Ablu Kotli village was busted in the Gidderbaha police.

He said Balwinder Singh and Chand Singh were arrested other two are missing and police parties had been named to nab them.

They have been booked under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act.


Dhindsa opens technical fest
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, October 3
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa, inaugurated the fifth national annual convention of the Indian Society for Technical Education and a national-level technical festival at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, in Sangrur district today.

Prof R.S. Nirjar, president, Indian Society for Technical Education, and member secretary, AICTE, New Delhi, presided over the inaugural function. More than 500 students from engineering colleges all over India, along with prominent academics, industrialists and dignitaries from reputed organisations, attended the function.

The Minister of State for Industries and Tourism, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, inaugurated an industry exhibition. Mr O.P. Munjal, Chairman, Hero Cycles, Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association, and Mr Sewak Singh, CEO, Arihant Spinning Mills, Malerkotla, also presented their views on the occasion.

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