Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to witness spate of rallies, dharnas
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The political situation in Punjab has started turning hot as various political and other organisations have announced their agitational programmes against the Amarinder Singh Government in Punjab.

The BJP leadership today converged at Tarn Taran where the party will hold an “anti-state government rally “ tomorrow. It will be addressed by Mr Vankaiah Naidu, National President of the party, who is visiting Punjab for the first time after taking over as party chief. The BJP says that the State Government has failed to perform on all fronts and its only agenda of governance was to hit hard against political opponents such as the SAD and the BJP.

The SAD has already been fighting a pitched battle against the government on various issues, including the SGPC elections which culminated in the win of its candidate, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, today. However, the SAD has also announced a bigger battle against the government in the form of a prolonged morcha from November 27.

The CPI as well as the CPM is also up in arms against the government on various issues such as power tariff and corruption. The CPM has set up counters in the state to receive complaints against corrupt officers.

The CPI has extended its support to the rally to be held at Jalandhar on November 15 against growing unemployment and the State Government’s policy to freeze all sorts of jobs and declaration of the government employees as surplus by holding a review of all departments through bureaucrats. The CPI is strongly opposed to the disinvestment policy.

Six farmer organisations, who have formed a joint front on farming issues, will hold dharnas against the state government at all district headquarters from November 13 to 20. These farmer oranisations have the support of certain Left parties, including the CPI.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, General Secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, said here today that his organisation had started a dialogue with other factions of the BKU to start a united agitation against the government on power tariff, payment of drought relief, clearance of dues of sugarcane supplied to mills last year, payment of relief on paddy announced by the Union Government, waiving of interest of cooperative loans and exemption of sales tax on pesticides, diesel, fertilisers and other farm inputs.

Mr Rajewal has alleged that the Vigilance Bureau was not holding an inquiry in a scandal pertaining to Milkfed. He said that BKU leaders had recorded their statements before Bureau officers concerned on May 8 regarding the scandal.

However, till date, there was no information whether the inquiry had been initiated or not. He said in fact , Bureau officials concerned had been pleading the case of officials involved in the scandal instead of starting the probe.

“We also met the Chief Minister in this connection but there was no progress on this front.” Levelling very serious allegations of corruption, Mr Rajewal said that the Punjab Government should order a CBI inquiry into the affairs of the Bureau.

He said that there was no serious attempt to stop the corruption in government offices because of which commoners had to face a lot of problem in the field.


Badal ‘undisputed leader of Sikhs’
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, November 12
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said today that the victory of Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SAD candidate for the SGPC elections, had reaffirmed the grip of Mr Parkash Singh Badal on Akali politics. He added that Mr Badal had emerged as the undisputed leader of the Sikh masses who had backed him to the hilt in a tense situation when the Congress government in the state had unleashed a reign of terror to pressurise Akali leaders and SGPC members to vote for the Congress-sponsored Tohra’s nominee.

Mr Dhindsa said the SAD was collecting evidence of corruption against Congress ministers and their henchmen, who were blatantly misusing their official position to grant favours for a consideration.

He said the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, against Akali ministers was only a cover to indulge in widespread corruption. He said his party would bring all facts of their “misdeeds and maladministration” in front of the public.

The Union Minister, however, admitted that corruption charges against certain Akali ministers were a setback to the party. He said the way the Chief Minister meddled in the religious affairs of the Sikh community during the run-up to the SGPC elections had once again given a boost to the sagging morale of the party cadre.

Mr Dhindsa said the NDA government at the Centre had initially decided not to interfere in the state in view of the “harassment” of Akali workers, but by sending a team of observers, including a Cabinet Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, along with three members of Parliament, had fulfilled its constitutional obligation.

FARIDKOT: Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Mantar Singh Brar, SAD MLAs from Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively, have demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on moral grounds following the victory of their party candidate, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, in the SGPC elections.

In a statement here, they alleged that the Chief Minister had deployed the entire state machinery in violation of democratic norms to oust the SAD, but had failed in his mission. “Even intimidation of SGPC members, arrest of Akali leaders and workers on a mass scale and the entry of the police into the Golden Temple complex could not help Capt Amarinder Singh.

Criticising Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and his coterie for “betraying” Sikhs by their evil designs to wrest power in the SGPC, the SAD MLAs said it was better for Mr Tohra to leave Sikh politics for the betterment of the community.


Akalis, devotees break barriers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 12
Akali workers and other devotees broke barricades outside SGPC serai area at about8.30 am today. The SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, took the matter with Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, following which some of them were allowed to go near Teja Singh Samundari Hall where voting was taking place for the SGPC elections. The Golden Temple complex wore a deserted look after 11 am.

Even as names of candidates were announced at 1.10 pm and the voting started about half an hour later, the road leading to the election hall swarmed with plain clothes men drawn from the police force and various intelligence agencies. A truck bearing the words “riot control” was parked in front of Guru Arjun Dev Serai. The premises were surrounded by commandoes and personnel from the PAP and the IRB. However, the strength of deployment was lower today. Residents attributed this to Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s instructions to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in this regard.

While Mr Mahesh Inder Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Kohli, SHSAD leaders, asserted that no devotee was being stopped from visiting Darbar Sahib, this correspondent met several who had been prevented from going beyond Ghanta Ghar Chowk. Mr Harpal Singh, a devotee, was detained for 15 minutes by the police even though he pleaded that the rest of his family had been allowed to go to the temple. All vehicles, including two-wheelers and rickshaws were banned from going beyond the Dharm Singh market area. While all commercial establishments remained closed, a branch of the Bank of Punjab remained open in the shopping area of the Golden Temple despite a ban.


Akalis celebrate Badungar’s victory
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 12
Akali activists broke into impromptu ‘bhangra’ and distributed sweets to celebrate the victory of Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar in the SGPC presidential poll today. 

Led by Mr Gurmukh Singh, circle president of SAD (B), Akalis demanded the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on moral grounds as the Congress-sponsored Tohra men had lost the poll despite all “repression” let loose by the Punjab government on pro-Badal SGPC members and Akali activists. Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhagatpura, Satnam Singh Arshi and Sukhbir Singh Kinra were among the Akalis who joined the celebrations.


BJP demands CM’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab BJP has demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from Tarn Taran, the President of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, said today that Capt Amarinder Singh blatantly interfered in the SGPC elections and directed the police to commit various sort of excesses and atrocities on pro- Badal SGPC members and their families to press them for changing their political loyalties.



SGPC to take part in ‘jail bharo’ stir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
After a convincing victory, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar announced that the SGPC would participate in the proposed “jail bharo andolan” being launched by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) from November 27.

Talking to the press, Mr Badungar said the Congress had been playing dangerous game by interfering in the internal matters of the Sikhs. He called upon the countrymen to unite against the “repressive” measures adopted against the minorities.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, described the defeat of the Sarb Hind Akali Dal supported candidate as victory of the “panth” against Congress.

He said it was virtually a battle between the Panth and the Congress. Without naming Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Badal said that ‘our friends who fought the annual election of the SGPC Executive must learn lesson that Sikh masses turn against those leaders who shake hands with the Congress. He alleged that by sending the police into the Darbar Sahib complex the state government had surpassed the repression of Mughals.


Police entry: NCM seeks report
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 12
Taking a serious view of the developments in Punjab, particularly the entry of the police into the Golden Temple complex, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has sought a detailed report from the Punjab Chief Secretary.

Interestingly, though the NCM headquarters had faxed a letter to the Chief Secretary yesterday, the latter’s office allegedly failed to submit the report, forcing the commission to send a reminder today.

The NCM action came after the manager of the Golden Temple complex sent a telegram to the NCM chairman, Mr Tirlochan Singh, and sought his intervention in the matter as the police had virtually laid “siege” to the complex, besides “humiliating” the devotees. “We felt that the matter was serious. So, we have sought a detailed report from the Chief Secretary. The commission is yet to receive the report and has sent a reminder so that the matter could be expedited,” said Mr Tirlochan Singh while talking to TNS over the telephone from Delhi.

He said the commission would decide its future course of action after obtaining the Chief Secretary’s report.


Punjab denies stopping visitors to Temple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition, registered on the basis of a telegram, alleging that the devotees were being stopped from visiting the Golden Temple, after Punjab’s Advocate-General denied the allegations, claiming that the security arrangements had been made in and around the election venue only.

On a related petition filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee President Kirpal Singh Badungar seeking directions to the state of Punjab, the Chief Minister, the Director-General of Police and Amritsar’s Deputy Commissioner against the alleged indiscriminate arrest of SAD (Badal) workers, the High Court fixed November 26 as the next date of hearing.

In the telegram, taken up by the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr B.K. Roy and Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, it was earlier alleged that the visitors were not being allowed to stay in the inns. It was further alleged that even school children from Surat in Gujarat and Ponta Sahib had been asked to leave the inns.

Appearing before the Bench, Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh stated that Inspector General (Security) Rajinder Singh had informed him that security measures had been taken only at the election venue and the adjacent areas. After recording the statement, the Judges dismissed the petition.

Badungar, in the petition, meanwhile, claimed that the members were being arrested in an attempt to weaken, even wipe out, the SAD (Badal). Quoting press reports, he added that as many as 1222 persons had been arrested. Majority of them, he submitted, were SAD workers.

Referring to an order, he added that no person was allowed to stay in the inns, hotels and guest houses within 500 metres of the Golden Temple for two days from November 11. This, he added, had forced a number of devotees to leave the place even though they were to perform Akhand Path.

Explanation sought

Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police to be present in the Court for explaining why he was not replying to the letters written by state counsel.

Pronouncing the orders, the Judge observed: “State counsel submits that in spite of demi-official letters, the ADGP was not responding. Let Izhar Aalam be present in the Court in person to explain why he was not caring for letters written by state counsel”. The case will now come up for hearing on December 2.


In just over 10 years after three Batala district residents were allegedly abducted by the police, Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the payment of Rs 3 lakh compensation each to relatives of the victims.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice Garewal ruled: “The petition is accepted and sum of Rs 3 lakh each is hereby awarded to the petitioner and the heir. The amount shall be paid by the state of Punjab through the Chief Secretary. It shall be paid within two months from today”.

The Court had earlier directed the holding of an inquiry by Gurdaspur’s Sessions Judge into the disappearance of Balwinder Singh, Gurbachan Singh and Palwinder Singh. The Judge, in his report, had submitted that from evidence it appeared that the three had been abducted by the police. The inquiry was, subsequently, handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. 


Bhattal fails to appear in court
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 12
Even as former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who has been facing trial in the court of the special judge here in a case pertaining to corruption and embazzlement, failed to appear in court today. The special judge, Mr Jaspal Singh, directed her counsel to ensure her appearance on November 26 and adjourned the hearing.

The special judge was to decide whether the charges of corruption and embezzlement from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in 1996 against Mrs Bhattal be framed or not, Mrs Bhattal did not appear in the court on the pretext that Section 144 of the CrPC had been imposed and there was a tense atmosphere in Punjab in the wake of SGPC elections.

Mr Nand Lal Garg, counsel for Mrs Bhattal, when contacted, said an application was moved in the court of the special judge, in which exemption from personal appearance was sought for Mrs Bhattal on the ground that she was not able to appear today as Section 144 of the Cr PC had been imposed in Punjab.

She did not appear in the court earlier on October 29 on the pretext that intelligence agencies had advised her against proceeding towards Bathinda from Chandigarh as farmers’ organisations and some political groups had given a Punjab bandh call and they had organised a dharna on the way.

A case under Section 409 of the IPC and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against Mrs Bhattal by the Vigilance Bureau at Ferozepore on the direction of the special judge, acting on the complaint of Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, president, Amateur Boxing Association, Bathinda, in May last year.

Mr Dhillon had alleged that Mrs Bhattal had embezzled Rs 20 lakh after withdrawing it from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in 1996, when she was the Chief Minister.

Mrs Bhattal found herself in more trouble when non-bailable warrants were issued against her and a police officer of the rank of SP was directed to execute the warrants by the special judge.

She secured bail from the court of the special judge after approaching the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a direction was issued to the special judge.

Initially, Mrs Bhattal alleged that the corruption case had been registered as part of a conspiracy by a senior official of the Public Relations Department. 


Bank told to pay relief
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 12
The local District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the local branch of the Indian Overseas Bank to pay Rs 2000 as compensation and Rs 1,000 cost. The forum also directed the bank to pay interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum from the date of deposit of the cheque till the compliance of the order.

A local firm Manoj Agricultural Works had filed a complaint against the bank that a cheque of Rs 31,680 was deposited in the bank on May 9, 2001, for collection. The cheque was drawn on the Bank of Punjab, Jaipur in Rajasthan.

The bank neither returned the unpaid cheque nor credited the cheque amount in the account of the complainant firm. The complainant visited the local branch as well as the Jaipur branch of the Indian Overseas Bank and the Bank of Punjab but got no positive response. After waiting for nearly six months, the complainant moved the forum and the bank took the plea that the cheque was dihonoured by the Bank of Punjab, Jaipur, and the same was sent by the Jaipur branch to the local branch through ordinary post which did not reach Mansa.

The fourm held the bank deficient in service and said the bank should have supplied the complainant with a memo and a copy of the cheque, along with the non-payment certificate from the Bank of Punjab, Jaipur. The forum also ordered the bank to pay interest to the complainant at the above rate till the documents were not given to the complainant.


Punjab announces literary awards
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
The Punjab State Languages Department today announced the Sarvottam Sahitik Puraskars on the eve of Language Week celebrations with the Bhai Veer Singh award going to Dr Gurcharan Singh Aulkah for his book “Inqalabi Shaheed Udham Singh”.

A Languages Department release here said the Attar Singh award for Criticism had been awarded to Karanjit Singh for his book Lokman - Chetan - Avchetan, the Nanak Singh award for Novel to Sukhwant Kaur Mann for her book Chaadar Hetla Banda, the Gurmukh Singh Musafir award for Poetry to Darshan Buttar for his collection Khadavan, the Gurbaksh Singh Preet Lari award for Nibandh to S. Soz for his book Shurtarian, the S.S. Randhawa award for Giani Sahit to Nahar Singh for his book Maa Suhagan Shagan kare, the Sri Guru Harkrishan Puraskar for Children Literature to Darshan Singh Asth for his book Chun Mun di Vapsi and the Ishwar Chander Nanda award for Drama to Preet Mohinder Singh Sekhon for Dhol Sipahi.

Meanwhile Languages Department Director Dr M L Hasija said the State Languages Department week would be inaugurated by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at a function to be organised in the department headquarters here. He said a special issue of Jan Sahit magazine would also be released on the occasion. I will include the works of modern Punjabi short-story writers. He said a seven-day-long book fair would also be held at the Languages Department headquarter here to commemorate the week in which publishers from neighbouring states would also participate.

Dr Hasija said a special poetry recitation competition for students would also be organised as part of the week at the Punjabi Bhavan auditorium in Ludhiana. He said the competition would be open to winners of similar district-level competitions held earlier.

He said on November 16 a Kavi Darbar will be organised at the Kala Kendra in Gurdaspur where 25 noted poets of the state would participate.


Police remand for Pherurai
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
A local court today remanded former Ferozepore SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai in police custody till November 15 following the filing of an application in this regard by the Vigilance Bureau.

The bureau, which had earlier secured his production warrant with regard to another FIR registered against him, submitted an application yesterday in court to secure his police remand.

Pherurai has been accused of bribing former PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu to get his son and daughter selected as Deputy Superintendent of Police and PCS officer, respectively.


2 killed, 4 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Sunam, November 12
Two persons were killed and four others were seriously injured when a Tata Sumo (PB-31-C/4496) and a Maruti car (DDD-8793) collided with an Army vehicle last night on the Bathinda road here.

Mr Rupinder Bhardwaj, SHO city police, here said the Tata Sumo which was going from Sunam to the Bathinda side collided with a vehicle of military cavalcade from the front side. When drivers of the military vehicles tried to stop their vehicles a Maruti car coming from the Bathinda side rammed into military vehicles.

Among the three injured occupants of the Maruti car Mr Jagdev Singh died on the spot while the other two seriously injured — Mr Gurmeet Singh Arora and Mr Sheo, were referred to the DMC Hospital, Ludhiana.

While other seriously injured occupants of Tata Sumo identified as Mr Gulab Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh were referred to Rajindera Hospital, Patiala after giving first aid. It is reported that Mr Gulab Singh succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital.

The police has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279, 427, 337 and 338 of the IPC.


CPM organises camp against corruption
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 12
A camp on drive against corruption was inaugurated by Mr Gurdial Singh Dher, district unit secretary of the CPM, at the district judicial complex here today.

The camp will be held here till November 15. Affidavits and complaints will be received from the public against corrupt officials.

Mr Dher said such camps were held today in all tehsils of the district. He said affidavits and complaints, collected at these camps would be handed over to the Deputy Commissioner for forwarding these to the higher authorities.

He said these camps were being held as part of party’s “jail bharo” drive on November 18 against corruption in the state. He said the party received four complaints today at the local camp.


Gurdwara langar hall lintel today
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, November 12
The lintel of the langar hall building of Baoli Sahib gurdwara will be laid here tomorrow at 10 a.m.

This historic gurdwara is situated in Dhakoli village, 1 km from here. The construction work is going on under the supervision of Baba Jagtar Singh of Tarn Taran.


Trust to carry on Tiwana’s work
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
Play House, the residence of Punjabi theatre legend Harpal Tiwana, who died in a road accident this year, came to life yesterday. A trust is being formed to carry on his work. A number of his former students and colleagues, including Raj Babbar, Gurdas Mann, Sardar Anjum, Nirmal Rishi and Preeti Sapru are likely to be part of the trust.

Manpal Tiwana, the late thespian’s son, said the foundation would establish a training academy of performing arts and organise a festival of performing arts every year.

Dr S.N. Sewak spoke about the theatre started by Tiwana in Ludhiana, which ran on tickets for a decade. Others who spoke on the occasion included Sardar Anjum, Gurdas Mann, Preeti Sapru, Sant Ram Singla, Charanjit Singh Walia, both former MPs.


Privatisation ‘to hit SCs, BCs’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 12
Mr Hans Singh, state secretary, All-India confederation of the SC, ST and BC organisations in a statement issued here today alleged that the government was bent upon selling the public sector undertakings to end caste-based reservations.

He said many of the government departments had been privatised to put an end to the reservation system of the country which was designed to uplift the weaker sections. He said students of their castes would be hit badly by the privatisation move.


Nod to farm training programmes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 12
In its bid to stimulate the ongoing crop diversification process by striking closer farmer-agricultural expert relations, the Punjab Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute (PAMETI) has given its nod to the initiation of several new farm utility-oriented training programmes for farm experts.

The institute has also decided to explore the potential of growth of highly profitable medicinal crops in Punjab and to maintain the ecosystem of the state as well.

PAMETI has been working in close coordination with the National Agricultural Technology Management Institute which has been imparting training to agricultural experts, the extension staff and farmers in seven states of the country under a central government scheme and a World Bank-project through the agricultural technology and management agencies (ATMAs). ATMAs were already functional in four districts of Punjab — Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Faridkot and Sangrur.

The new training programmes, to be initiated by PAMETI and the ATMAs, have been shortlisted after a lot of brainstorming and after evaluating the utility of such programmes for farmers and for agricultural experts as well. “Actually, it was for the first time when we gave a serious thought to the point whether we really need some existing training programmes or do we need to shun some outdated programmes”, said Mr Naresh Gulati, a senior official associated with ATMA.

After giving thoughts to the emerging needs of the agriculture sector, PAMETI, which discussed the matter under the chairmanship of Dr R.K. Rampal, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, and Dr S.P.S. Brar, has finally given its nod to several proposed training programmes such as agriculture business management, use of IT for agriculture, statistical analysis of the farm sector, integrated fish culture, farm water management, dairy and post-horticulture produce handling.

Apart from this, stress would also be laid on how to develop low-cost farm technologies, how to do value addition of traditional crops and how to uplift the rural economy by using alternative energy resources like bio-gas and solar power. “Another area which would be explored by us is the cultivation of medicinal plants”, said Dr Ajmer Singh, joint director, Agriculture Department, Punjab. According to Mr Gulati, the new training programmes have been devised in a way that these are not only beneficial to both farmers and the farm experts but also to the soil and atmosphere. 


DC’s raid finds 33 officers absent
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, November 12
As many as 33 officers and employees of different departments, including eight Sub-Divisional Officers (SDOs) of the Irrigation Rajasthan Feeder and other departments were found absent during a checking conducted by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Usha R. Sharma, today.

The district administration has written to the Administrative Secretaries of the departments concerned to take disciplinary action against the absent officers and employees. Mr Amarjeet Pal SDM, Muktsar, accompanied the Deputy Commissioner.

Ms Sharma said the checking was part of giving a good administration to the residents. She told officials in various departments to ensure the presence of employees in their respective officers.

Those found absent included officers of Irrigation Rajasthan Feeder, Mr J.S. Bhandari, Mr Bhag Singh, Mr Sulakhan Singh, (B and R) Mr Ujagar Singh, Mr D.S. Dhaliwal, Mr Amarjeet Singh, Mr H.S. Arora (Lining division), Mr K.K. Sharma (Drainage and Construction), all SDOs.

Mr Naginder Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Inderjeet Sharma, Mr Tej Ram, all SDOs, and Mr Ranjeet Kumar, senior clerk of the same department were also among those who were found absent.

Ms Sharma said from the Public Health Department, Mr Sahib Singh Bedi, senior clerk, Mr Jagdish and Mr Lakhwinder, both clerks, Mr Gurinder Singh, Superintendent, Mr Dharampal, Senior Assistant, Ms Amarjeet Kaur, Ms Kiran Bala, Mr Gurmeet Singh, senior clerks, Mr Baljeet Singh, Draughtsman, and Ms Balvirpal Kaur, a clerk, were absent.

Mr Vijay Kumar Goyal, Senior Assistant, and Mr Heera Lal, Mr Avtar Singh, both peons of the Xen (B and R) and in the office of the Xen (Drainage). Mr Kultar Singh, Ms Paramjeet Kaur, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Yogesh Kumar, all clerks, Mr Baldev Singh (Accounts), Ms Paramjeet Kaur and Mr Makhan Singh, Senior Assistant, were also found absent.

Ms Sharma, in a press note issued here today, said the presence of officials and employees would be assured in the offices. She claimed that stern action would be taken against those found guilty of not attending to their duty.


Plea to delete ‘double votes’
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 12
Mr Narinder Singh Sitta, a former honorary secretary of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council, and a candidate for the forthcoming Bar Council poll, along with another candidate, has urged the Returning Officer to delete the “illegally”-entered double votes of advocates in the voters’ list.

They have also demanded action against the “guilty”.

In a representation to the Returning Officer, they alleged forgery while preparing the final electoral rolls for the poll. They said 61 names of voters who belonged to Ferozepore district had also been shown at Chandigarh. Similarly, 13 voters of Dabwali had also been shown as registered at Chandigarh. They claimed that the number of such voters was more than 100.

They demanded that the names of the voters, enrolled at two places, should immediately be removed from one place. They also demanded a thorough investigation of find out such “mischiefs”, committed while preparing the voters’ list.

They also demanded the registration of a criminal case against the guilty for cheating, forgery and other such offences.


16015 challans for traffic violations
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 12
The Ropar district police has issued 16015 challans for violating traffic rules during the past 10 months throughout the district.

An amount of Rs 34,43,655 has been realised as fine up to October 31 from these violators. The fine had been imposed by different courts.

Giving this information here yesterday, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, said 4827 drivers had been challaned for not wearing helmets on two-wheelers while 2202 persons had been challaned for jumping red lights. Seven hundred and fifty persons had been challaned on account of wrong parking.

The SSP said the district police had got fixed 5000 reflectors on vehicles to avert accidents.


Rs 3 lakh looted from bank
Tribune News Service

Chak Gujjran, November 12
In a broad daylight robbery which has sparked fear in the Doaba region, a group of about 12 armed scooter-borne robbers attacked an extension counter of a bank here, thrashed employees, and took away about Rs 3.1 lakh after threatening the staff that they would face dire consequences if they revealed anything to the police. This is the third such incident in Hoshiarpur district.

The robbers first came to the Oriental Bank of Commerce extension counter at the village at about 9.45 a.m. and told Mr Satpal, the bank manager who was standing in front of the bank, that they were farmers from Mandiala village, where they had about 60 acres, and they wanted to take a loan. When he told them that since this was a small branch which did not entertain such big transactions, they left the place.

The six youth returned to the bank at about 11 a.m. and two of them barged into the cabin of the manager and caught hold of him. The third youth, who had engaged the bank staff in conversation, took out a pistol and ordered the security staff not to move. At the same time, the fourth youth entered the bank with a carbine in hand and along with two accomplices.

They started thrashing the bank staff, including Mr Amarjit Singh, the cashier. The robbers took out Rs 3.1 lakh from the bank safe and fled after taking away the gun and 10 live cartridges from the security guard of the bank. Though the manager, the security guard and a number of persons chased the robbers, they escaped towards Jalandhar on their scooters, which they had parked about 100 yards from the bank.

Police officials reached the spot after the incident. Senior police officials, including Mr Rohit Chaudhary, DIG, Jalandhar range, also visited the place and took stock of the situation. Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Hoshiarpur police, which had declared a red alert in the district after the incident, traced the number of one of the three scooters. Though the SSP, Ms Gurpreet Deo, was not available for comment, senior police officials said all-out efforts were being made to nab the robbers and police parties had been dispatched to nab them. Police sources said about 24 persons were rounded up in connection with the robbery.


3 transport firm employees held
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 12
The police today arrested three employees of a transport company from the local bus stand allegedly for abusing employees of the Ropar Depot of the Punjab Roadways and creating nuisance. An Inspector of the company along with others, however, fled the scene. A case under Sections 107/150 and 107/151 of the Cr. P.C. was registered against the accused.

The police said an employee of the company allegedly under the influence of liquor today went to the office of the Punjab Roadways and abused Roadways employees on the plying the buses on different routes. Later, other employees of the company also reached there and blocked the gates of bus stand by parking the buses there. They also abused the Roadways employees. On this, the authorities of the Punjab Roadways informed the police which reached there and controlled the situation.

The police said it had arrested Gurcharan Singh (Moga) who allegedly was under the influence of liquor; Kewal Singh and Surinder Singh while Jagtar Singh, an Inspector of the company, along with others fled.

It is learnt that the police had to use force to control the situation while making the arrests.


Blind murder case solved, one held

Moga, November 12
The Moga police has solved the blind murder case of Kotkapura-based businessman Mukand Singh, stating that one of the accused, Darshan Singh, had been arrested last night. This was stated by SSP Shiv Kumar here today. According to investigations, the accused had accompanied Mukand Singh to Chandigarh on October 8 and the duo remained together for the day, while the police found the businessman’s body the next day in the fields in Dala village in the district.

The SSP said Darshan Singh had been accompanying the deceased when the latter called his family members on the night of October 8 on telephone that he would reach home within two hours.

The accused had lied with the police that the deceased made the call from Moga, while it was discovered from the telecom company concerned that the call had been made via Mullanpur tower, on way from Chandigarh, through the mobile phone. UNI


Kidnapped boy’s body found

Moga, November 12
The Faridkot police has recovered the body of Bimal, a six-year-old schoolboy who was kidnapped from Kotkapura on November 7. After being hacked to death, his body was thrown in the Rajasthan feeder. This was stated at Faridkot by Senior Superintendent of Police Harinder Singh Chahal. According to the SSP, the Kotkapura police recovered the body from near Bariwala village and the postmortem examination was yet to be conducted.

The police suspects that Rajpal, an uncle of the victim, who was absconding, could be involved in the killing. PTI


Woman dies in family dispute
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 12
A woman was killed yesterday in a family dispute in Kotfatta village, 25 km from here.

Gurvinder Kaur was shot last evening by her brothers-in-law. The accused, Partap Dass and Gurdas Dass, entered into a scuffle with the husband of the deceased and shot Gurvinder. She died on the spot. The accused fled after committing the crime. A case has been registered.


Punjabi varsity youth fest begins
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, November 12
A four-day zonal youth festival of Punjabi University began at Government College here today.

The festival, in which 19 colleges are participating, was inaugurated by Mr Khushal Behal, Minister for Education, Punjab.

The minister said a proposal was under consideration to give facilities to students who excel at youth festivals on a par with those provided to sportspersons. A decision on this will be taken by the vice-chancellors of the universities in Punjab.

Mr Behal said many changes were being brought about in the education system because the state was lagging behind in certain respects as compared to other states.

He said the primary and middle levels in school education were being merged. After this change there would be only elementary and secondary levels. However, the promotion channel of head teachers of primary schools would remain intact.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for setting up a gymnasium in the college.

Mr Daljit Singh, Director, Youth Services, Punjabi University, Patiala, said the youth festival had been divided into four zones — Ropar, Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda-Faridkot. Zones had been created on the basis of similarities found in the culture of the areas.

He said at the national level also four zones had been created. There were 60 universities in the north zone and Punjabi University had always bagged a position in the north zone youth festivals.

Following are the results of the events that were held today: Giddha-Government College, SAS Nagar (1), Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Khalsa College for Girls, Morinda (2); Bhangra: Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib (1), Government College, SAS Nagar, and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (2); and classical dance: National memorial College, Rajpura (1).

Ms Seema Jain, Deputy commissioner, Ropar, was the chief guest in the afternoon session of the festival. She announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the development of the college.


PU zonal youth fest results
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 12
Government College, Hoshiarpur, and MBBS Girls College, Mansowal, bagged first positions in quiz, poetical recitation and debate contests, respectively, on the second day of Panjab University Zonal Youth Festival under way at G.G.D.S.D College in Hariana in Hoshiarpur district.

DAV College, Hoshiarpur, Gurjinder Singh of GGDSD College, Hariana, and Rajwant Kaur of DAV College, Hoshiarpur, were adjudged second in the quiz, poetical recitation and debate, respectively.

Earlier, Dr Gurdeep Kumar Sharma, Principal of the host college, received Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Chief Guest and Chairman of the Sheikh Baba Farid Chair of Panjab University, Chandigarh.

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