Thursday, October 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Farmers allow trains to move
Our Correspondent

Rampura Phul, October 30
The Ugrahan group of the BKU (E) ended its dharna on the railway track near a level crossing on the Bathinda-Barnala road on the outskirts of Bathinda this afternoon after the state president of the union, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, was reportedly released by the police. Mr Ugrahan was arrested last evening along with a number of activists of the union from Chhajli in Sangrur while they were sitting on a dharna.

Although the police authorities of Sangrur could not be contacted despite repeated efforts, a police official of the city said they had received reports that Mr Ugrahan had been released. The union ended its dharna around 4 pm when reports of Mr Ugrahan being released reached here.

Earlier, the activists agreed not to sit on the railway track, so that the rail traffic on the route could be resumed. The rail traffic on the Bathinda-Ambala route was disrupted since yesterday due to the dharna.

A senior Railway official said the trains which has been cancelled yesterday would resume today. He said yesterday, some trains on the Bathinda-Ambala route through Rampura were cancelled, while the trains on the Bathinda-Jakhal route were diverted from Sirsa.

Earlier, Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president of the union, said they had decided not to sit on the rail track after an assurance by the police that Mr Ugrahan and other activists would be released.

The Ugrahan group of the BKU (E) was one of the seven farmers’ unions which had sponsored the yesterday’s Punjab bandh. Although the other six unions ended their agitation yesterday as per the schedule, the Ugrahan group started its 24-hour dharna. Mr Jethuke, while addressing the gathering, said the government was harassing the agitating farmers in the state. He said that they would continue their protest till their demands were accepted.

MANSA: No passenger of goods train has been able to run on the Jakhal-Bathinda section since Tuesday due to a dharna by activists of various farmers’ unions between Mansa and Sada Singhwala railway stations near Khokhar Kalan village.

The BKU workers on Tuesday sat on a dharna at the railway yard here from 12 noon to 2 pm and at Khokhar Kalan village railway track from 2 pm on Tuesday to 1 pm on Wednesday.

The railway traffic resumed after the dharna was lifted by the agitators who are protesting against the withdrawal of free water and power supply facilities to farmers by the government.


Labour scam: SSP asks for list of guilty officials
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 30
In another twist in the contract labour scam, the SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, has now written to the General Manager of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) to provide the list of officers who passed allegedly forged bills of the labour contactors, which resulted in the EPF scam. In a letter to the General Manager, the SSP has stated that the list of the officials who passed the bills be provided so that appropriate action can be taken them.

The PSEB has already indicted 28 officials of the thermal plant in the EPF scam. The vigilance has recommended major penalty against 16 engineers and four accounts officers and minor penalty against six engineers and two accounts officers.

The police started probing into the role of the GGSSTP officials in the scam after registration of a case against the major labour contractor in the plant, M/S Sodhi Erectors on October 18. The role of GGSSTP officials was also being probed in another FIR registered in the scam two years ago against M/S Calcutta Construction Company, the former labour contractor in the plant.

The SSP while talking to this correspondent said the local police had been on the job since the registration of the first FIR on February 19, 2000. The FIR was registered against the M/S Calcutta Construction Company on the complaint of EPF authorities.

After the registration of the case, the police acquired the copies of the contract agreement and work orders from the GGSSTP authorities. The police also arrested Deepak Chada, the proprietor of the M/S Calcutta Construction Company on March 4, 2000. The accused was kept in police and judicial custody before being released on bail by Sessions Judge, Ropar.

Duging interrogation, Deepak Chada, told the police that he used to pick up stamped vouchers from the bank. The stamp on these vouchers was transferred through xeros to his vouchers. The xeros copies of his vouchers. The xerox copies of these vouchers were given to the thermal plant authorities for the clearance of bills.

The police through forensic verification has established the handwriting of Deepak Chada on the forged vouchers. The certification form the bank authoritries that no EPF amount was deposited by the accused during the period of April 1999 and December 2000 was also collected by the police.

The accused was granted the bail on a guarantee submitted by him that he would deposit the swindled amount within the stipulated time. He, however, instead of depositing the amount challenged the Session’s Court order in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which stayed his arrest.

The police would soon file a challan in the case, once the list of the guilty officials was received from the GGSSTP management, the SSP added.


PCS officer’s bail plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 30
Mr L.R. Roojam, Sessions Judge, has dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Mr Arvinder Pal Singh, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Mansa, in a case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B, IPC, and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The FIR was registered in connection with the issuance of duplicate arms licences when the PCS officer was posted as the Assistant Commissioner (General) at Amritsar from June 1997 to May 1999.


Case against CM adjourned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 30
The civil suit filed against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress MLAs and Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) by the propaganda secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Ropar district, Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, was today adjourned till November 27 by the UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S Bhardwaj. Mr Matharu today filed a reply in the case through his counsel, Mr N.S. Minhas, and submitted an authority letter of the High Command of SAD for filing the suit.

Hearing adjourned

The hearing in the case filed against the Punjab Public Service Commission’s (PPSC) former Chairman, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, under Arms Act and the Excise Act was today adjourned for November 11 by a local court. 



Punjab shifts 5 IPS officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Punjab Government tonight transferred five Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and 17 Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers in the state with immediate effect, an official spokesman said here.

Mr R.S. Chalia, ADPG (Administration), Punjab, Chandigarh, has been transferred as ADGP (Prisons), Punjab, Chandigarh. Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam, ADGP (Prisons), Punjab, goes as ADGP (Administration), Punjab, Chandigarh. Mr Gurmit Singh, SP (Headquarters), Hoshiarpur, who has been under transfer as Commandant, 2nd Cdo. Bn, Bhadurgarh, will continue as SP (Headquarters), Hoshiarpur, as his tranfer orders have been cancelled.

Mr Darshan Singh, SP (Detective), Hoshiarpur goes as SP (Crime), Punjab, Chandigarh. Mr Darshanjit Singh Dhindsa, SP (Detective), Gurdaspur, has been transferred as SP (Operation) Jalandhar. Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP (Operation), Jalandhar, goes as SP City-I, Jalandhar. Mr Rajiv Ahir, SP, City-I, Jalandhar, goes as Commandant, 7th Bn Punjab Armed Police.

Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, SP, (Operation), Ferozepore, has been transferred as SP (Vigilance Bureau), Punjab, Chandigarh. Mr Surinder Pal Singh Parmar, SP (Crime), Punjab, goes as SP, (Detective), Fatehgarh Sahib. Mr Pritpal Singh, SP, (Detective), Fatehgarh Sahib, has been transferred to the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, Chandigarh.

Mr Shamsher Jang Bahadur, AC, 2nd IR Bn, Ladda Kothi, goes as SP Headquarter, Amritsar Mr Surinder Kumar Kalia, SP (Headquarters) Amritsar, goes as SP, Detective, Gurdaspur. Ms Harpreet Kaur, AIG, goes as AIG (Transport), Punjab, Chandigarh. Mr Kultar Singh, Commandant 82nd Bn, PAP, has been transferred as SP (Crime Wing), Punjab, Chandigarh.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, Deputy Director (Operation), PPA, Phillaur, goes as Commandant 82nd Bn, PAP, Chandigarh. Mr Davinder Singh, Commandant 7th Bn, PAP, Jalandhar goes as Commandant, 2nd Commando Bn Bahadurgarh. Mr Ramji Lal, SP (Headquarters), Nawanshahr, has been transferred as Commandant, 2nd IR Bn, Ladda Kothi.

Mr Kanwarjit Singh, Commandant, 2nd IR Bn, Ladda Kothi, goes as SP, Vigilance Bureau Ludhiana. Mr Gursharan Singh Sandhu, SP, VB, Ludhiana, has been transferred as SP Crime Wing, Punjab, Chandigarh.

Mr Harbaj Singh, SP (Crime Wing) Punjab, Chandigarh, goes as SP (Detective), Bathinda. Mr Rajinder Singh Darbanga, SP (Detective), Bathinda, has been transferred as SP (Operation) Ferozepore. Mr Kashmir Singh Gill, on promotion as SP has been transferred as SP (Security Wing), Punjab, Chandigarh.


Press Club, college at loggerheads
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, October 30
The local Press Club and the management of SMDRSD College are at loggerheads on account of yesterday’s incident in which a scribe was allegedly manhandled by the college authorities.

The trouble started when a TV channel reporter along with his colleague went to the college and took a video recording of the classes in which students were taking tuitions.

According to Amit Vasudeva, reporter of Punjab Today TV channel, he learnt that the management of the college had been charging Rs 125 as tuition fee.

The matter was reported by parents of some students to the Director, Public Instructions (DPI). It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab Government has banned private tuitions.

The complainant stated that peeved at the video recording, the college authorities allegedly closed the room and broke his camera, took away his cassette and also manhandled him and threatened him with dire consequences.

According to the management of the college, at 7.20 am yesterday two reporters entered the college campus without the permission and knowledge of the Principal and started video shooting the students attending PMT/CET classes. On seeing them, the students ran helter skelter which caused total chaos on the campus. The management further revealed that some girls students got injured in the melee.

The Principal of the college said today that the authorities of the college had lodged a complaint with the SSP, Gurdaspur, with copies sent to the SP, Pathankot, the SMO, Division No. 2, and the SDM, Pathankot, for legal action.

According to sources, the local police is trying hard to get the matter compromised.

Meanwhile, the college authorities today met the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, and other senior officials in this regard. A meeting of the local Press Club was convened today at Forest Rest House which was chaired by Anil Khurana, president of the club. Mr Khurana demanded stern legal action against the college authorities who had taken the law in their own hands.


Shopkeepers block traffic
Protest against anti-encroachment drive
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
Shopkeepers of the Raina Bazar in the Sharifpura locality here today blocked traffic and shouted slogans against the Municipal Corporation when MC workers tried to remove encroachments.

They damaged the bulldozer which was being used to raze platforms and stalls in front of the shops. As many as 100 policemen were called immediately to avert any untoward incident.

While blaming the Opposition party for the incident, Mr Ramesh Kumar, a BJP councillor, alleged that the anti-encroachment drive was being carried out at the behest of the Congress.

He said the corporation had not issued any notice to the shopkeepers before starting the campaign.

The demolition drive, which started at 12.30 p.m. today lasted for about half-an-hour. However, the corporation workers fled when the shopkeepers started agitating and become rowdy.

They damaged the bulldozer and blocked traffic for about half-an-hour.

Dr Kuldeep Kumar, secretary of the Ward, alleged that the corporation was harassing them.

As Divali was approaching near, the shopkeepers had put up stalls in front of their shops. He said if the corporation wanted to remove the stalls it should serve notice to the shopkeepers and contact the local councillor.

The corporation workers forcibly took away the belongings of the shopkeepers.

Meanwhile, Mr Ramesh Kumar claimed that the corporation workers had agreed to return the seized material.

The Additional Commissioner, Mr Kirpal Singh, said the drive was carried out on a complaint regarding the encroachments in the area. For the removal of temporary encroachments there was no need to serve notice.


Spare our shops, plead shopkeepers
Pawan Kumar

The government's plan of beautification of the area near the Golden Temple under the Galiara project is likely to adversely affect shopkeepers of the Chowk Ghanta Ghar market, who depend entirely on the devotees visiting the temple for the sale of their goods.

The new market built by the Improvement Trust in front of Harmandar Sahib after Operation Bluestar comes under the fourth and fifth phase of the Galiara project under which their shops are likely to be acquired for the beautification plan.

More than 40 shopkeepers allege that these plans are unreasonable as the area can easily be widened for beautification without taking the extreme step of “uprooting” them and demolishing their shops.

Many shopkeepers, who have been here for years, said the removal of encroachments by shopkeepers and ensuring of systematic parking in the area which covers more than half the road at present could easily make land available for the widening of the road without demolishing their shops.

The project includes beautification of the main side of the Golden Temple, which includes the widening of the road leading to the temple, construction of an underground parking lot, besides the shifting of the Ghanta Ghar market near Akhara Sangalwala. The scheme also includes the plantation of saplings and installation of fountains to attract more foreign tourists.

Mr Nand Kumar, President of the Ghanta Ghar Shopkeepers' Union, said perhaps it was easy for government officials to demolish a structure or shift or rebuild it. But it takes decades to earn goodwill in the market. Before this the Improvement Trust had demolished shops in Sodhian Bazar for the Galiara project. Mr Nand Kumar said the shops had been allotted to them after the Supreme Court’s orders in 1972. But in 1987 after Operation Bluestar at least 16 shops of the market came under the Galiara project which were denotified later as the market was made persuant to the Supreme Court's orders.

The union president said in 1995 when a similar situation arose, the Ghanta Ghar Shopkeepers Union had given representations to the Local Bodies Minister, the Deputy Commissioner, the Improvement Trust and the Galiara project in charge.

The union demanded that all encroachments in the bazar from Jallianwala Bagh to the Golden Temple should be removed, which was certainly a better option to demolishing an entire market for a government project. 


86-year-long wait for justice
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kala Sanghian (Kapurthala), October 30
He was a great revolutionary and a close associate of Kartar Singh Sarabha. But this proved to be a bane for his family, which is still struggling to get back its 15 acres confiscated by the British government in 1916 following Baba Harnam Singh’s refusal to help arrest Sarabha and Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, who often visited him.

Baba Harnam Singh’s family members had been promised by the Indira Gandhi, Inder Kumar Gujral and Partap Singh Kairon that their land would be returned or they would be compensated adequately. However, nothing has come through yet. The only reward Baba Harnam Singh and his family got was a Tamara Patra conferred upon Baba Harnam Singh in 1972 by the then President, V.V. Giri.

The “indifference” and “disrespect”, shown towards the sacrifices of Baba Harnam Singh by the successive governments has hurt his family which is in penury and is making both ends meet by running a furniture shop in the village. The family still has a fascination for the Ghadar movement, of which Baba Harnam was an important part. The shop has been named Ghadri Baba Furniture House.

Baba Harnam Singh has joined Punjab Infantry in 1909 and was posted at Kohat until the regiment shifted to Hong Kong in 1912 and later to Ferozepore in 1914 after jawans flouted the British ban on religious congregations at a Hong Kong gurdwara. It was at the Ferozepore cantonment that revolutionaries like Kartar Singh Sarabha, Vishnu Ganesh Pingle and Banta Singh Sanghwal used to meet Baba Harnam Singh and his close associate Kirpa Singh. The British government offered Rs 12,000 to Baba Harnam Singh, besides a large piece of land, if he got the revolutionaries arrested. When he refused to do so, he was threatened with dire consequences and was discharged from the army in 1915. Later, he was implicated in the Lahore Conspiracy Case and was first sent to the Andamans followed by other jails of India, where he spent 20 years of his life. He was released in 1935 following orders of the then Viceroy. Meanwhile, his 15 acre and household goods were confiscated by the Maharaja of Kapurthala in 1916. Master Teja Singh, one of his four sons, was shot dead by the police during the Naxal movement in 1973.

“We have lost hope,” says Mr Surinder Singh, son of Baba Harnam Singh, adding that “instead of Tamara Patra, they should have returned our land for we are suffering much.” Mr Surinder Singh, who owns 1.2 acres and was sent to jail during Emergency, said he was assured during the golden jubilee celebrations of independence that the land would be returned to them. We might not be given the land but at least they should have honoured the family which has made so many sacrifices for the nation,” Mr Bhupinder Singh and Mr Pavittar Singh grandsons of Baba Harnam Singh, said.


Badal absent from SAD function
Tribune News Service

Badiala (Bathinda), October 30
Former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal did not attend a function organised by his party here today to mark the 30th death anniversary of Sant Fateh Singh, main architect of the Punjabi Suba Morcha.

Several Akali leaders, including few MLAs, who were present on the occasion alleged that the Congress government was committing atrocities on SAD workers.

The government had started pressurising SGPC members to cast their votes in favour of its “agent” they alleged. Mr Jagdeep Singh, Nakai, Mr Gobind Longowal and Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, all MLAs attended the function.


Petition for free power dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition filed by the Kisan wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) seeking the quashing of an announcement issued by the Punjab Government for denying free power for tubewells belonging to the farmers in the state.

In their petition, taken up by the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr B.K. Roy and Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, the wing members had also sought directions for quashing the announcement regarding the imposition of cess on water.

Terming the alleged action as “unconstitutional, unethical, illegal, unjust and without any authority”, the wing members had also sought directions to the Punjab State Electricity Board and another respondent against implementing the announcement. Arguing on their behalf, counsel for the wing had asserted that the announcement was against the proclaimed policy of the Congress party as declared in its manifesto issued prior to the assembly elections.

CM files reply

In his reply to a petition filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee President Kirpal Singh Badungar against three members of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, besides the state of Punjab and other respondents, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday denied having political relationship with former SGPC chief G.S. Tohra.

The CM claimed that Tohra, President of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, had fielded his own candidates during the assembly elections and was working in the interest of his own party, while he was working for promoting the interest of the state.

He added that the notification dated January 12, 1999, was rescinded by the government as it was perceived that the same was illegal and void, issued with mala fide intentions of removing the rightly appointed judicial functionaries in order to plant former CM Parkash Singh Badal’s own men.

In his petition, Badungar had earlier stated that the members “restored to the Judicial Commission” were giving special attention to cases in which political opponents of former SGPC chief G.S. Tohra were involved. He had added that a case seeking his removal as SGPC executive member was also pending before the Commission and was being taken up for hearing on almost day-to-day basis. The President had added that he was apprehending that the Commission may pass an order without even waiting for the High Court verdict in the matter.

Budangar had also sought the quashing of a notification whereby the previously constituted Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission was ordered to be restored. He had also sought the quashing of another notification rescinding an earlier notification vide which Manmohan Singh Brar, Ajwant Singh Mann and Amrik Singh were appointed as Judicial Commission members on its reconstitution.


Vigilance Bureau clears zoo authorities
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), October 30
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has failed to come across any instance of irregularities committed by the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park authorities in permitting the villagers to encroach upon forest land and lifting of soil.

Certain residents of Rampur Kalan village had complained to the Bureau alleging that certain contractors were lifting sand and soil adjacent to Ghaggar river in connivance with the village sarpanch and the zoo authorities.

They had also alleged that the land had been given to the farmers for farming on contract basis.

Taking serious note of the allegations the bureau with the help of the revenue authorities had started demarcation of the forest land — allegedly being encroached upon by the farmers — adjacent to the zoo premises on October 24.

In less than a week after the Bureau started demarcation of the said forest land, officials of the Bureau failed to find any evidence of irregularities committed by the zoo authorities as per the allegations levelled.

Moreover, the officials found that portions of land belonging to some farmers was in the possession of the Forest Department while some of the forest land was occupied by the farmers of the nearby villages.

Talking to the Tribune Mr Jai Pal Singh, DSP of the Bureau, said: ‘‘No evidence was found during the demarcation and enquiries till date’’. He said there were no marks of lifting of sand and soil from forest land. As per their routine, some farmers were ploughing certain portions of the forest land and now they were claiming their possession over it.

Things took a serious turn today when some villagers pulled down the temporary marks (burjis) erected by the Vigilance Bureau with the help of the revenue authorities.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, Sarpanch of Chhat village, said: ‘‘Their claim over the land of the farmers is wrong. Moreover the Forest Department has encroached upon the land of the villagers by sinking a tubewell there’’.

The sarpanch, however, denied pulling down of the burjis by the villagers.

Mr Pratap Singh, a resident of Chhat villages, alleged that the villagers were not issued prior notices about the demarcation of their land. The Vigilance Bureau and the forest department authorities even ruined their crop during the demarcation of their cultivated fields. Meanwhile, the zoo authorities have sought police protection in taking possession of the land that is likely to be evacuated.


Fazilka MC meeting held in open
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 30
Owing to prevailing row between the President and the Executive Officer of the local Municipal Council for the past about six months, a meeting of the civic body was held in the open for the first time last evening. It was attended by 13 of the 16 BJP municipal councillors while five Congress councillors stayed away from the meeting.

Mr Mohinder Partap Dhingra, explaining reason for the absence of three BJP councillors, said two of them were out of station while the third one could not turn up due to some reason. He alleged that at the behest of the Executive Officer, they were not provided with sufficient chairs hence the meeting was held on the municipal council lawn. They were also not provided with the proceedings register despite the meeting was held on the agenda of the previous meeting which was postponed on August 29, 2002, he said.

During the last meeting, Mr Dhingra had made serious allegations against the Executive Officer, Mr Diwan Chand Verma. These pertained to alleged dictatorial attitude of Mr Verma causing financial loses to the civic body and the misuse of the official residence for anti-social acts. Besides, it had been alleged that Mr Verma had been posted in the ‘A’ grade Municipal Council of Fazilka whereas according to the norms he should be posted in the ‘C’ grade civic body.

The President of the council couldn’t summon the meeting due to the non-cooperative attitude of Mr Verma, alleged Mr Dhingra.

On the other hand Mr Verma said the meeting had been called in an unauthorised manner by the municipal president. He said in his absence, the President directed Mohan Lal Goklani, Superintendent, to issue agenda for the meeting. But, Mr Goklani refused to do so on the plea that he was not authorised for the purpose. Mr Verma maintained that the meeting held by Mr Dhingra was unauthorised hence he did not accord recognition to it and had informed senior officers about this.

Mr Verma said he had filed a defamation suit against the President for making false allegations against him.

He has charged Mr Dhingra with misusing the council fund. Mr Dhingra has also filed a defamation suit against the Executive Officer.


Little care for AIDS patients
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 30
Though there has been an increase in the number of HIV-positive cases in the district, the health authorities have not yet geared to check the spread of AIDS. Dr S.K. Sharma, District Health Officer, told this correspondent today that 74 HIV patients had been indentified in the district to date, of which 10 had died. He said that the Elisa test of these patients was yet to be done to confirm whether they were suffering from AIDS. However, sources said the actual number of HIV cases was much higher than the official figures.

Due to the fear of social stigma, lack of proper awareness and costly and lengthy treatment procedure, many persons do not get themselves screened for the detection of HIV infection, though screening facility for HIV is available at all civil hospitals and many private laboratories.

Mr Balkar Singh of a private laboratory, said those who were found positive for HIV infection were advised to get their family members screened but they did not usually come back. More than 12 HIV-positive cases had been identified at the laboratory during the current year, he added.

Dr G.P.S. Bedi, Senior Medical Officer at the Civil Hospital, said the facility for only the Tridot test was available at the hospital for which a sum of Rs 100 was being charged. The hospital authorities, however, did not disclose the result to the patients. For confirmation, the patients were being referred to the PGI at Chandigarh. He said no doctor had been appointed as the Physician Responsible for AIDS Management (PRAM) for referring the cases to the PGI, where it was being done free of cost.

Dr Inderjit Aggarwal, a leading dermatologist, said there was no need for the segregation of the sufferer from his family. Medicines were available in the market and with their regular use the disease could be kept under control.


Move for tax-free theatre shows
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 30
Mr S.S. Gill, Director, Punjab Department of Cultural Affairs, agreed to initiate a case for exempting ticketed theatre performances by genuine registered theatre groups of Punjab from entertainment tax and bringing Punjab’s cultural policy at par with that of Delhi state in this regard.

Theatre activists and art patrons, including Pran Sabharwal, Director, National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, and Mr Karnail Singh, Chairman, Bhai Sahib S Gurbux Singh Memorial Trust auditorium, Majri Akalian, Patiala, discussed the problems coming in the way of Punjabi theatre movement with Mr Gill in his office. The Director was apprised that about 25 active theatre groups of Punjab, previously enjoying the patronage of the Cultural Affairs Department, were silent for the past five years for want of grants. The tax-free shows could enable theatre groups meet the show expenses and keep the theatre movement alive in the state.

The Director also promised revival of the scheme of financial assistance for art projects and sponsoring theatre shows to preserve and promote arts and Punjabi theatre movement in the state. The Director also promised to pursue the case of providing relief\compensation to the kin of three young artists who died in a road accident with theatre personality Harpal Tiwana in road accident near Dehra Gopipur (H.P). 


Protest against PUDA scheme
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 30
The Anti-Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority Action Committee, Barnala, affected residents and plot holders of 270.24 acres of land colony acquired by PUDA, Patiala, staged a protest demonstration here today against the PUDA move to develop an urban estate in the area.

They demanded the scrapping of the PUDA scheme in the developed colony.

The demonstrators burnt an effigy of Mr Husan Lal, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Patiala.

Prominent among those who flayed the PUDA move included Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala, Mr Paramjit Singh Khalsa, general secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, leader of the Internationalist Democratic Party, and Mr Harvinder Singh Mithu, local municipal councillor.


Ban on sale of drugs without prescription
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 30
The District Magistrate, Mr Rakesh Verma, has issued orders under Section 144, CrPC, that no chemist or drug store should sell medicines misused as intoxicants without a prescription from a qualified doctor. He has further directed them to maintain complete record of their stock, sales, purchases, date of expiry of these medicines, available for inspection to all executive magistrates, gazetted police officers and any other person specially authorised in this regard by him.

The list of medicines included in the order are: Syp. Phensedryl, Corex Syrup Codeine containing cough syrups, Tab. Lomotil and other tablets containing Diphenoxylate, Tab. Sudhinol, Cap. Proxyvon and Buta Proxyvon, Cap parvon, Tab. Carbutyl, Inj. Norphine and other injections containing Buprenorphine, Inj. Morphine, Inj. Pethidine, Inj. Fortwin, Inj. Pentawin, Inj. Calmpose and other Injection containing Diazepam, Tab. Carisoma compound and other medicines containing carisoprodol, Tab. Alex and other medicines containing Dextro methorphan salt, all medicines containing Dextropropoxyphene, all medicines containing “Pentazocine”.


Aujala, wife get anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 30
Mr R.L. Roojam, Sessions Judge, Ropar, today granted anticipatory bail to Mr Dharam Singh Aujala. Additional Secretary in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and his wife Gurnam Kaur in a case registered against them under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on October 23 at SAS Nagar. The case was got registered by their daughter-in-law Cheeru Aujala, who is married to their son Varinder Aujala, who lives in Canada, for allegedly torturing her and demanding dowry from her parents.

The anticipatory bail application was filed by Mr Dharam Singh Aujala and his wife in the court of the Sessions Judge on October 26.


Spy ring busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 30
The police has busted a gang allegedly indulging in espionage activities and smuggling of narcotics from Pakistan.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note today said Gurphen Masih, resident of Dadwan village under Dhariwal police station, had been arrested and maps of important installations and 500 gram smack seized from him.

The other members of the gang — Armik Singh, alias Meeka, Lawrence, alias Mongi, alias Billa and Sunil Masih, all residents of Dadwan, and Toshi of Mill quarters, Dhariwal, — are still at large. A case has been registered against the accused in Dhariwal.


Recruitment rally from Nov 11

Jalandhar, October 30
The Punjab Regimental Centre will organise a recruitment rally from November 11 for Sikh, Dogra and other communities for soldiers general duty and tradesmen at Katoch stadium, Jalandhar Cantt. The recruitment would be carried out for Sikh candidates (except Majhbi and Ramdasia) for soldiers general duty belonging to states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, North and North West Rajasthan and West Uttar Pradesh from November 11 to 12, an official press note stated.

For Dogra candidates belonging to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, a rally would be organised from November 13 to 14 and other community candidates belonging to Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, UP, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh would be on November 16, the note added. Written test would be held on November 24 at the same venue. PTI


Two injured as Congress, Akali workers clash
Our Correspondent

Malout, October 30
In a clash between activists of the Congress and the SAD this morning, one leader of each side received injuries.

As per information received here, the clash erupted over claims by both parties for making efforts in the laying of concrete flooring in a street of Ward No 1.

Mr Chhabil Singh, an SAD municipal councillor, and Mr Jagdish Khera, a Congress leader and husband of a municipal councillor, Ms Poonam Khera, received injuries.

They were admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where the police recorded their statements.

Mr Gurjant Singh Sekhon, in charge of the hospital, confirmed that Mr Chhabil and Mr Khera were admitted to the hospital.

Mr Khera claimed that the development work in a particular ward was going on due to his efforts, while Mr Chhabil said the funds for the purpose were sanctioned by the previous SAD government.

Activists of both parties thronged the Civil Hospital, but no untoward incident was reported. A DSP was present at the hospital to control the situation.

The activists of both parties staged separate dharnas near the entrance of the hospital for some time. The police said a case would be registered after recording statements of the injured.


Two faint after consuming ‘prashad’
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 30
Mr Jai Gopal Kakkar (65), an arhtiya in the local grain market, and his servant, Ramu (18), today fell unconscious allegedly after consuming ‘prashad’ which was offered to them by an unidentified person in the market, near Gurdwara Bhatha Sahib, here. They were admitted to the local Civil Hospital where doctors referred them to the PGI at Chandigarh.

Mr Rajesh Kumar Sehgal, a close relative of Mr Kakkar, said the latter was now out of danger and was under treatment at a private hospital at SAS Nagar while Ramu was being treated at the PGI and his condition was still serious.


New Central Excise Division in Phagwara
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 30
A new Central Excise Division will be functional at Hargobind Nagar here from November 1.

The jurisdiction of the division comprises districts of Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and parts of Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts, according to information sent by Ms F.M. Jaswal, Commissioner, Central Excise Commissionerate Chandigarh-II, to Mr Ashwani Kohli, member of the regional advisory committee of the department, here this evening. The Pathankot division will be relocated at Phagwara.

Consequent to the restructuring of the Customs and Central Excise Department, Chandigarh-II, Central Excise Commissionerate will henceforth be known as Jalandhar Central Excise Commissionerate with its Headquarters at Chandigarh with effect from November 1, said an official press note. At present the jurisdiction of Chandigarh-II Central Excise Commissionerate comprises Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Firozepore, Muktsar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Gurdaspur districts of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

As part of restructuring a new central excise commissionerate at Ludhiana had been created. Sangrur Central Excise division comprising Mansa, Moga, Muktsar, Faridkot, Firozepore, Bathinda and Sangrur districts have been taken out of the jurisdiction of Chandigarh-II commissionerate and included in the newly formed Ludhiana Central Excise Commissionerate.

After the restructuring, the following Central Excise divisions will form part of the Jalandhar Central Excise Commissionerate with its headquarters at Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Jalandhar II, Phagwara, Jammu and Srinagar.

The office of the Jalandhar-II division will be in Model Town here and its jurisdiction will comprise parts of Kapurthala, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar districts.


Mid-day meal scheme launched
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 30
Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, launched the midday meal scheme for the Faridkot block at Government Primary School, Sadiq, 15 km from here, today. He said the scheme would cover 37 primary schools.

The Punjab Government has selected one block in each district for a project. Expressing concern over the high rate of illiteracy among women in the area, he appealed to the residents to educate their children between six and 14 years of age through the “Sarv Shiksha Aabhiyan”, a centrally sponsored scheme.

The Deputy Commissioner said a grant of about Rs 90 lakh had been disbursed to provide better infrastructure to the education in this connection. Mr Prasad sought cooperation of the NGOs and teachers to make the programme a success.


SAD worker booked in rape case
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, October 30
Mr Surinder Kamboj, SAD worker and chairman of the local PADB Bank, along with his two accomplices, was booked in a rape case on a complaint of Lalo Bai (18) of Lallewala Basti here.

According to the FIR, Lalo Bai was passing through a street when Mr Kamboj along with his two accomplices allegedly took her inside a house by force. She was gagged before being raped by all the three. She said two unidentified persons were standing outside the house at the time of the crime. Mr Kamboj threatened her with dire consequences, in case she informed anybody about the incident, she said.

According to the SHO (City), her parents came to the police station along with her to record her statement.  

As there was no lady doctor available at the local Civil Hospital, she was got medically examined at the Civil Hospital, Ferozepore.  

Mr Kamboj has refuted the allegation and said the story is fabricated by his political rivals.


FCI inspector held for graft
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 30
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested Laxmi Narain, Inspector, Food Corporation of India (FCI), on charge of corruption and registered a case against him.

In a press note issued here today, the bureau said Mr Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Bangi Deepa village, had alleged that he was trying to sell his paddy for the past 15-20 days. But the inspector demanded Rs 3,000 to procure his paddy, he alleged.

Mr Baljit Singh, DSP (VB), recorded the statement of Mr Jaswinder Singh and registered a case under Sections 7, 13 (2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The statement added that the accused had purchased the paddy of Jaswinder Singh after getting a bribe of Rs 3000.


50 sleepers stolen, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 30
The Ropar police has arrested Jagtar Singh, resident of Pinjore in Haryana, and Pat Ram, resident of Shimla district. As many as 50 wooden sleepers were seized from their possession. These were allegedly stolen by them.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, today said the local police on a tip-off intercepted a canter near the Ropar head works. On searching the canter, the police seized 50 sleepers, amounting to Rs 1.50 lakh. He said a case against the accused had been registered under Sections 420, 379, 411 and 487 of the IPC.


Murdered boy identified
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 30
The body of a 12-year-old boy in school uniform recovered outside an Army area here has been identified. He was kidnapped and then murdered in a case of personal enmity.

According to the details available from the police, Ranjit Singh of Cholah Saheb village was kidnapped yesterday when he was going to a local school. An FIR had been registered at Sarhali police station in this connection. The body was recovered the same day.

The police has registered a case of murder in this connection. The police said the boy was brutally murdered with a sharpedged weapon. He was gagged before murdering. A sharpedged weapon was also recovered from the site. The body was today handed over to the parents.


Intoxicants seized from medical store
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 30
Dr P.D. Sharma, Civil Surgeon, Mr Davinder Singh, SDM, Dr Rajinder Singh DHO, Mr Dinesh Gupta, Drug Inspector, and Mr Des Raj Bhatia, DSP, along with other police officials, conducted a raid on a leading medical store here today and seized a huge quantity of intoxicants. Later they raided the house of the owner of the store.

Earlier, a meeting of the senior officials of the Health Department, representatives of various NGOs and members of the district unit of the Indian Medical Association was held at the office of Deputy Commissioner in this regard.

Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, who presided over the meeting, directed the officials of the Health Department to check the medical stores and report to him. Mr Prasad said the intoxicants seized were worth about Rs 5 lakh. He said an anti-drug brigade had been constituted. 


Parents want teacher back
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 30
Parents of students and members of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of Government Senior Secondary School at Ghuman Kalan village have resented the conversion of post of social studies (SS) master into that of mathematics master and then shifting it to a nearby school.

Master Kheta Ram, president of the School Development Committee, said as per norms, three more posts of SS master were needed in the school.

The parents said while five SS masters were needed in the school, one of them had been shifted to another school.


Two injured as students clash
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
A group of outsiders along with some students of the Law Department of Guru Nanak Dev University clashed with students belonging to the opposition group seriously injuring Harmeet Singh, president of the Students Welfare Council and Jatinderpal Singh around 1 p.m. today after they came out of the office of the Dean, students’ Welfare, Dr Rakesh Bedi, on the varsity campus.

Harmeet sustained multiple injuries and has been admitted to the Civil Hospital. Vinod Kumar, Harmeet’s brother, said his brother was hit with kirpans while his classmate Nevtej said a tussel over fund collection led to the clash.

Harmeet was reportedly organising a function to collect funds for cancer patients, while the opposition party accused him of misusing funds for the function of Punjab singer Pammi Bai to be held on November 2. The two factions also clashed last night in which a student Rajiv was injured. However, today supporters of the opposition party along with some outsiders attacked Harmeet and Jatinderpal.


Praneet opens rice mill at Bela
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 30
Mrs Praneet Kaur, MP from Patiala and wife of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said the state was passing through a financial crisis, but the Congress government had made several efforts to strengthen the economy of the state during the past eight months.

She was speaking at a function after inaugurating a rice mill at Bela village, 14 km from here. She also called upon the gathering to work with sincerity and honesty to strengthen the state’s economy.

The gathering was also addressed among others by Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Political Secretary to the Punjab CM, Mr Bhupinder Singh Raja, Chairman of Human Rights Cell of the PPCC, Mr Bhag Singh, former MLA, Mr Bhupesh Sharma, former President of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Harbans Singh Kandhola, a close confidant of Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Saini, and Mr Harminder Singh Saini, district President of the Congress party.

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