Thursday, December 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD-BJP, Cong to contest MC poll on party symbols
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress today announced to contest the January 23 municipal elections on their respective party symbols.

While the Congress has decided to test its popularity on its own and not to go in for any electoral tieup, the SAD-BJP alliance has decided to keep this option open.

A meeting of the state coordination committee of the SAD-BJP alliance was held last night to work out an election strategy. Speaking to mediapersons jointly, SAD General Secretary Kanwaljit Singh, state BJP President Mr Brij Lal Rinwa and General Secretary Avinash Jaiswal said today that they had set up committees of SAD and BJP leaders at each district headquarters to decide seat sharing and suitable candidates. These committees had been asked to submit the names of candidates by December 25. The next meeting of the state committee would be held here on December 27 to announce the candidates. They made it clear that there were no differences between the SAD and the BJP on any issue and the alliance was functioning as per the NDA agenda.

When asked whether the alliance had approached any other party for making a wider front against the Congress, Capt Kanwaljit Singh replied in the negative. There was a possibility of the BSP joining hands with the alliance. Ms Mayawati, Chief Minister of UP, may be asked to play a role in this connection.


Capt has ‘compromised’ Punjab’s interests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today accused Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of seriously compromising the interests of state farmers by going soft on the SYL issue with a view to helping the Congress-ruled state of Rajasthan.

In a statement released through the party’s media office here, Mr Badal said: ‘‘Where safeguarding the interests of the state on the river waters is concerned, the Chief Minister’s weak and dilly-dallying stand is a cause for serious alarm for all Punjabis. During its 10 months in office, the Congress Government in Punjab has not gone beyond the preliminary stage of legal consultations. On the contrary, Capt Amarinder Singh has shown remarkable promptness in committing thousands m.a.f of river waters to Rajasthan on the plea that the state faces a drought-like situation.’’

On the SYL issue Mr Badal said the SAD was committed to the implementation of the riparian principle before the issue of completing this canal was even touched. ‘‘We have consistently maintained that Punjab did not have a drop of water to spare for other states. In fact, it was hard even to meet the requirements of our own farmers from the existing dispensation. The Chief Minister had done his very best to demolish this argument by thoughtlessly releasing water to Rajasthan. By doing so he had also sought to weaken the state’s case on the river waters issue’’.

The Akali leader wondered why it had taken the present government 10 months to prepare the legal case when all home work on this issue had been done by eminent river-waters experts and legal luminaries already. Whatever fresh argument had to be added to those already existing could not have taken this long, he added.

Mr Badal advised the Chief Minister to take some time away from his ‘‘play’’ to visit the drought-affected people of the state. He invited him especially to visit the Malwa belt where farmers were facing acute problems because of the scarcity of irrigation water. 


Ministers are clean: Capt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh (retd), today gave a clean chit to Congress ministers/MLAs, who were reportedly involved in “objectioable” activities while on campaign duty in Gujarat.

Reacting to certain news reports and questions at a news conference here today, the Chief Minister said this was “a cock-and-bull story and utter nonsense. I will go to the bottom of the whole issue”. He added he had asked PPCC President H.S. Hanspal to proceed against Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, who had publicly raised the issue at a Congress meeting in Gurdaspur the other day without having verified the facts. Mr Hanspal said a serious cognizance had been taken of the utterances of Mr Birmi and action would be taken against him.

Capt Amarinder Singh said though utterly baseless, he got the news verified from highest quarters in Ahmedabad and a detailed report submitted to him showed that no untoward, objectionable incident had taken place in any hotel, as alleged in the news reports.

The Chief Minister also ridiculed Mr Parkash Singh Badal for reacting to such news reports.

He parodied a quote to say “Little work and no play makes Badal a dull boy”. He went on to say that “We will not allow anyone to malign our party ministers and MLAs and why should Mr Badal have any objection to what he calls “club culture of Amarinder”?.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal today reacted to Capt Amarinder Singh’s parody and said he would any day prefer to be known for his “all-work-and-no-play” approach than for “no work and all play”. 


IT Commissioner’s house raided
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The CBI today conducted raids on the residences of the Income Tax Commissioner, Ludhiana, and some police officials.

The raids were conducted late tonight and CBI sleuths seized some documents regarding property of these officials.

CBI officials said the raids would continue till tomorrow. They refused to divulge more information in this regard.


Another probe into bogus votes ordered
Tribune News Service

Jalalabad (Ferozepore), December 18
Mr C.L. Bains, State Election Commissioner, Punjab, today deputed another IAS officer, Mr Roshan Sunkaria, Director, Technical Education, Punjab to probe bogus votes in the revised electoral rolls of this town for the Municipal Council elections.

Earlier, Mr Alok Shekhar, Director-General (Schools), Punjab, who probed the bogus votes for two days in Jalalabad town on December 8 and December 9, has submitted his report to Mr Bains. In his report, Mr Shekhar said that 800 names in the revised voters list, were fake.

Mr Prem Valecha, President, Municipal Council here and other complainants, not satisfied with Mr Shekhar’s report, today requested Mr Bains for another probe by different officers to detect more bogus votes.

Mr Bains accepting their request deputed Mr Sunkaria to go into the allegations of bogus votes. He has also directed Mr Sunkaria to complete the inquiry in two days.

The local administration has been directed to make it known in the town about the fresh inquiry by Mr Sunkaria to help aggrieved persons to meet him in the SDM’s office, Mr Sunkaria would reach here tomorrow for the inquiry.

Bhucho Mandi (Bathinda): The five teams formed by Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Bathinda D.P.S. Kharbanda to look into complaints of 205 bogus votes in ward number three and four by 3 pm on December 17, could not complete the job.

Official sources said Mr Kharbanda, received reports from two teams and sent reminders to other three teams to expedite the work. He had given the inquiry of 40 votes to every team.

On Tuesday, when officials were on inquiry duty relating to fake votes a clash between Congress and SAD workers took place in ward number three.

The police confirming the incident said that no case was registered in this connection. Names of Mr Pawan Maheshwary, Mr Basant Maheshwary, Mr Roop Lal, Mr Makhan Lal, Mr Vinod Kumar and Mr Raj Kumar, all residents of the town, figure in the police DDR in connection with the clash.

The inquiry into bogus votes was ordered by state Election Commissioner C.L. Bains following several complaints in this regard.

Mr Mohit Gupta, a senior BJP leader, had alleged that several voters of ward number nine were registered as voters in ward number four for the Municipal Council. He added that earlier, ward number 9 was for general category but now it was reserved for scheduled caste candidate. In the previous Municipal Council elections, ward number 4 was reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates but now it was made a general category ward. His repeated objections against bogus votes did not bear fruit allegedly under the influence of ruling politicians.

Mr Jeewan Ram, a resident of ward number 4, alleged that certain small houses had been shown as residences of more than 50 voters in revised electoral rolls. He added that 300 votes out of 984 votes were bogus in this ward.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner said that deletion of bogus votes was to be completed by December 23.


Lawyers, cops to fight for deserted women
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The fight against exploitation of young married women by their NRI grooms has started gaining momentum following an overwhelming response from both policemen and lawyers throughout Punjab, says Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, ex-MP and President of the Lok Bhalai Party.

Talking to The Tribune here this morning, Mr Ramoowalia claimed that not only several young and bright lawyers had offered to fight the cases of “such deserted women free of cost but most senior police officers of the state have also promised full help in bringing culprit NRI grooms to the law.”

“Of the 46 cases taken up by us on our own, the victims have been given back the money their parents had reportedly spent on their weddings as well as on their dowry. In two other cases, the NRI grooms have agreed to take their deserted brides abroad by filing duly completed immigration applications before the competent authorities. In the remaining 35 cases, the progress has been satisfactory,” says Mr Ramoowalia, maintaining that though the exact number of such victims was not known, they were more than 10,000 in Punjab alone.

“Unfortunately, no political party in Punjab has either said a word of sympathy or done anything for these young , bright girls, who have been left in the lurch by their NRI grooms. In many of these cases, if the political bigwigs were intervening or taking any interest, it was in support of the bridegrooms and not the victims,” claims Mr Ramoowalia.

Yesterday, he held meetings with the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council and other organisations of lawyers, including those fighting for human rights and social justice. Besides, he also met senior police officials of Punjab.

“In Patiala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Moga, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Patiala, the response from lawyers to our appeal has been overwhelming. We had appealed to the lawyers that each one of them should adopt one victim to fight her case and get justice. The Punjab and Haryana Bar Council has agreed to take the matter to its executive committee. Mr Amar Singh Chahal and Mr Navkiran Singh have promised on behalf of their respective organisations to take such cases on a voluntary basis,” he said.

“In some districts, especially Moga, Jagraon, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Kapurthala, the police officers have responded well to the problem by not only registering cases against the absconding NRI grooms but also built pressure on their parents and relatives to summon them back. If we continue to maintain this pressure, the problem would be solved,” claimed Mr Ramoowalia. 


Panthic rows dominated 2002
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
The Sikh clergy could not solve most of the vital Panthic issues, including he Nanakshahi calendar, the Dasam Granth and many other controversial issues during this year. Instead, jathedars embroiled themselves in a number of controversies, including the infamous bribery case, which lowered their image in the eyes of the Sikh masses.

The year witnessed the arrest of Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law, while Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedars of Akal Takht and Kesgarh Sahib, respectively, faced serious charges of corruption.

The Sikh clergy failed to handle the ticklish issue of controversial godman Ashutosh Maharaj. The 31-member committee to counter activities of the Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan (DJJS), which was to be formed at the behest of Sikh high priests, remained a non-starter. The publication of pictures of Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, and Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath, executive member of the SGPC, with Ashutosh further complicated the situation of Jathedar Vedanti. Though the complaints along with proofs (pictures of Mr Panjrath and Ms Badal) had been submitted to Akal Takht, yet no action was taken in this regard.

The Sikh high priests remained indecisive on the unanimous resolution of the SGPC which sought the summoning of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, at Akal Takht for the entry of the police into the SGPC complex during the annual elections of the SGPC’s office-bearers. Jathedar Vedanti could not take any decision over the pending petitions which sought the summoning of Mr Parkash Singh Badal for participating in a havan and Mr Sucha Singh Langah, the then Akali Minister who organised 501 paaths of the Ramayana in violation of Sikh traditions.

The most controversial issued like the Nanakshahi calendar and the Dasam Granth also remained unresolved. Though the Jathedar, Akal Takht, had referred the matter to the SGPC for constituting committees for the purpose, yet tangible result could not be found.

Despite a number of reminders sent by Akal Takht, the SGPC could not reach any conclusion on whether Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala was dead or alive.

As per the requirement of the maryada, Sikh high priests failed to ensure the participation of Giani Puran Sinth, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, in the meetings of Akal Takht.

However, Jathedar Vedanti became the first Jathedar of Akal Takht who held meetings with the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, and the Pope, St John Paul, during this year.


Child abducted by Bibi’s kin rescued

New Delhi, December 18
The Delhi police has rescued a child, a day after he was allegedly abducted for ransom by a close relative of former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur from Kapurthala in Punjab, and arrested two persons in this connection. Sarabjit Singh (20), son of Jagir Kaur’s sister, had allegedly conspired to kidnap the 12-year-old Gurvinder, from his native Begowal village after he failed to pay back Rs 11 lakh he had taken from the victim’s mother. PTI


Border district cops to work jointly
Tribune News Service

Abohar, December 18
Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana have decided to curb criminal activities collectively by improving the delivery system of law and justice. A decision regarding this was taken by the high-level inter-state police coordination committee meeting held here today.

Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Mr Mehal Singh Bhullar, Director-General of Punjab police, said joint investigations were essential as criminals move freely across the state boundaries.

Better understanding among the police officials of border districts would not only control criminal activities like smuggling of narcotics but would help nab proclaimed offenders (POs), members of the inter-state gangs and terrorists, he added.

Such coordination meetings are being held regularly among senior police officials of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir. Earlier, Haryana used to conduct such meetings with Rajasthan.

During the open house session of the meeting, Mr Gurjot Singh Malhi, Inspector-General of Police, Hisar, said the smuggling of narcotics across state boundaries had gained alarming proportions and pro-active measures were needed to be taken in controlling this illegal trade.

Mr ML Sharma, Inspector-General (Crime) of the Rajasthan police, stressed upon the one-to-one coordination at the lower level among district police officials and SHOs of the border districts. He said the Rajasthan police would soon set up a special cell to tackle cyber crimes.

Earlier, Mr Raan Gupta, IG Border Range, inaugurated third deaddiction camp at Homoeopathic Hospital here this morning. As many as 35 addicts were admitted in the camp.


Vigilance nabs CIA Inspector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
The Punjab Vigilance Department today arrested Inspector Didar Singh, in charge, CIA, Patiala, on the charges of keeping a person in illegal detention and demanding a bribe to set him free.

The Vigilance Department had registered a FIR against the Inspector in this regard in August. He is charged with keeping Sandeep Kumar in illegal custody at the Kotwlai police station, where he was then the Station House Officer. The FIR alleged that Didar Singh had demanded money to set Sandeep free and that a deal was struck to set him free for Rs 25,000.

The FIR said when the complainant in the case, Bharat Bhushan, approached the Vigilance Department, a trap was laid and ASI Hari Singh, who was then working under Didar Singh, was caught red-handed while accepting Rs 25,000 from the complainant. The FIR claimed that Didar Singh, who was present in the police station during the incident, however, managed to give the slip to the Vigilance team.

The Vigilance Department had also raided the house of Didar Singh after registering a case against him and seized 55 bottles of liquor. A separate case under the Excise Act was registered against the Inspector at the Civil Lines police station in this regard.

After being arrested today, Didar Singh was remanded him in judicial custody till January 1.


Akali councillor booked for misusing funds
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 18
The police has registered a case against Mr Tarlochan Singh, an Akali Municipal Councillor, in connection with misusing sangat darshan funds.

Sources said the councillor had received a Rs 12 lakh grant for development at a sangat darshan programme of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The funds were meant for a dharamshala and a building for the Sirkiband community. But the councillor used the money for the construction of a place of worship. First the inquiry was conducted by Mr Gurdarshan Singh Romana, BDPO and later by the ADC(D), Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, sources said.

The councillor is also a member of the body managing the said place of worship and a leader of the Sirkiband community. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had ordered the registration of a case against the councillor under Sections 408 and 120-B of the IPC. No arrest has been made, sources added.


Baba produced in court amid protest
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 18
More than 300 activists of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) from all over Punjab staged a demonstration and shouted slogans against Baba Dhanvant Singh, head of Vishav Ruhani Charitable Sanstha and accused in a rape case, when he was brought by the police at the Sessions Court here today.

He was produced before Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge, who fixed December 20 for hearing in the wake of a strike by members of the District Bar Association.

At a press conference, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of the SKP, criticised Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti of Akal Takht and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib for ignoring the case. Instead of giving punishment for the alleged crime, the Jathedars punished the Baba only for his drinking habit and anti-Panthic activities. He demanded their resignations.


Lawyers go on strike
Tribune Reporters

Batala, December 18
Lawyers of the Batala Bar Association, under the leadership of Mr Raghubir Singh Randhawa, went on a strike on Wednesday in protest against the verdict of the Supreme Court banning strikes by advocates.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Lawyers of the District Bar observed a complete strike. In a press note issued here today, Mr Gian Singh Saini, president of the Bar, said a meeting of the District Bar Association was held on Wednesday and the lawyers unanimously decided to abstain from court work in view of a call given by the Supreme Court Bar Council of India.

HOSHIARPUR: A complete strike was observed by lawyers in the city, Garhshankar and Dasuya. Mr R.P. Dhir, former Vice-Chairman, Bar Council Punjab and Haryana, strongly condemned the Legal Services Authorities (Amendment) Act, 1987, and demanded for the withdrawal of undesirable clauses. He said going on a strike by any section of the society was its natural right.

KAPURTHALA: On a call given by the Bar Council of India, members of the District Bar Association observed a strike. They were protesting against the amended provisions of the Legal Services Authority Act.

TARN TARAN: The local Bar Association observed a strike. The association at a meeting presided over by Mr Kulwant Singh Bedi, president of the association, condemned the decision of the government imposing a ban on lawyers to appear in fast-track courts.

KAITHAL: Members of the local District Bar Association went on a strike in protest against the Legal Services Authorities Amendment Act, 2002, providing for lok adalats in every Public Utility Services Department of the government. However, it was learnt that work in courts here was normal. Mr K.L. Bhardwaj, president, District Bar, said they abstained from attending courts.


Freedom fighter seeks pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
He struggled for the country’s freedom, murdered a Britisher in 1943, was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 20 years on March 23, 1947, before being released from Central Jail in October, 1950. Today, Ferozepore resident Jagan Nath, reportedly forced to ply a rickshaw because of his financial condition, is fighting a different battle for freedom fighter’s pension.

In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Union of India and the state of Punjab, Jagan Nath has claimed that even though he was honoured time and again, the authorities concerned intimated him about his being “ineligible” for the grant of pension. This, he added, was not only “unconstitutional” and “arbitrary”, but also “illegal”, “unjust” and “discriminatory”.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner asserted that after his release from jail, the then Prime Minister, Ms Indira Gandhi, awarded him a “Tamra Patra” in recognition of his services. He was also issued freedom fighter’s identity card by the Punjab government. This was not all. His name existed in the list of freedom fighters of Ferozepore district.

Counsel for the petitioner added on his behalf that the Union of India intimated Jagan Nath that the matter was being looked into by the Punjab government through Ferozepore’s Deputy Commissioner. He, in turn, told the petitioner that as per the Central Jail record, the petitioner was imprisoned in a murder and dacoity case, but there was nothing to show that it was on account of freedom struggle.

Taking up the case, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, has asked a senior advocate to assist the Court in dealing with cases of freedom fighters. The case will come up for further hearing on December 19. 


War widow’s 37-yr wait for land
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 18
Giving relief to a war widow, Amarjit Kaur, the Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, Mr Rakesh Verma, has cancelled the allotment of 80 kanals of land to Gurcharan Singh Cheema, purporting to act as attorney of Amarjit Kaur, and directed that the land be resumed and allotted to Amarjit Kaur afresh. Mr Verma acting as Chief Sales Commissioner, Kapurthala, passed the orders after an inquiry in the matter proved that Gurcharan Singh had forged the power of attorney signatures and got the land transferred to himself fraudulently. A case under Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC has been registered against Gurcharan Singh at Sultanpur Lodi police station vide FIR No. 120 July 2, 2000.

Amarjit Kaur’s husband, Lance Naik Gurbachan Singh, had sacrificed his life during the Indo-Pak 1965 conflict and it is after 37 years that she has got the land in her name. She had to fight a protracted litigation to get her claim after she moved an application on October 10, 1967, seeking allotment of land. The allotment was declined on the ground that she had remarried, despite the provision that marriage with the brother of the deceased did not affect her entitlement for the allotment of land.


Dharna by farmers outside PSEB office
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 18
On a call given by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), a large number of farmers organised a dharna outside the Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) head office here in protest against the state government’s decision to issue bills on electric motors installed by farmers.

Alleging that the state government had taken several decisions that were adversely affecting the farming community, BKU leaders stressed that the government had failed to implement its promises to the farmers and was yet to release the Rs 20 per quintal bonus for paddy. Criticising the state bureaucracy, the leaders alleged that the government was yet to release the pending payment of last year’s sugarcane crop, amounting to Rs 80 crore, to the farmers.

The state general secretary of the BKU, Mr Gurcharan Singh Bajwa, urged the state government to take immediate and decisive decisions so as to improve the “fast declining” financial condition of the farmers in the state. He also blamed the bureaucracy for attributing the losses in the PSEB to the facilities offered to the agriculture sector by the board.


Illegal constructions in Mud Fort area
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, December 18
The Archaeological Survey Department has served notices to the local municipal council for allowing the construction of houses in the Mud Fort area in violation of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958 (part 24 of the Act).

The department had been sleeping over the violations since the country achieved Independence. Only in the beginning of this year the department displayed the warning boards, sources said.

Abohar town was known as Abha Nagri till the end of 15th century. It was a part of the princely states of Jodhpur and Bikaner. Abhay Rao Bhati was considered to be the founder of the town. Mohammad Tuglaq was son of Nayla, daughter of a prince here, historians said.

It was widely believed that a confrontation between five “peers” (sufi saints) and the king here led to the devastation of the old town. “Peers” are still worshipped at their “mazaars” by people on every Thursday.

However, the experts believed that the Mud Fort, located close to the “mazaars”, originally belonged to the Harrapan period. Elderly residents said whenever the Archaeological Department attempted to indulge in the extraction in the Mud Fort area, there had been some loss of life. Finally the idea was dropped.

As per the rules no construction within a 100-metre radius of any protected site can be taken up and within the next 200 metres only restricted construction is allowed. The authorities never tried to enforce the rules. So far the Mud Fort is concerned, it is alleged that the Department of Custodian Property, revenue officials and employees of the Revenue Department have “made” millions of rupees in allowing people to encroach upon the land of their choice for the construction of pucca houses in the prohibited area, now known as Jammu Basti. It was a separate ward for the election of the municipal council.

The Punjab State Electricity Board and the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board have liberally provided connections to the residents in violation of all rules and regulations.

Underground water and sewerage pipes have been laid in the entire area. The municipal council has approximately spent more than 10 million to provide basic amenities to the residents of the locality.

The occupants of Jammu Basti have been reselling the unauthorised land by signing agreements on stamp papers thereby indulging in the evasion of stamp duty in a big way.

The council approved no site plan but it gave serial numbers to the unauthorised houses.

The residents alleged that they had been greasing the palms of the caretakers (wardens) appointed by the Archaeological Department.

The caretakers, however, lamented that they used to inform the city police as and when an encroachment was noticed, but the police too was easily influenced by the encroachers.

Now the municipal council, as an eye-wash exercise, has served notices to some of the residents asking them to explain why their illegal structures should not be removed. The department has so far not taken any action against other state government departments for providing facilities to the residents in violation of the Act.

With municipal elections round the corner, there appeared to be little hope for any action against the residents. Corrupt practices by the employees of the Revenue, Custodian Land Departments might not be probed by any independent agencies, as some of the employees had themselves worked as property dealers in the Mud Fort land, insiders said. 


Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan from Dec 27
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 18
The 127th Shree Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan — festival of Hindustani classical music will be organised at Shri Devi Talab Mandir here from December 27 to 29. The sammelan was started by Baba Harballabh-saint musician and master of Dhrupad style of Hindustani classical music-here in the memory of his Guru Baba Tulja Giri. Addressing a press conference today, general secretary of the Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha Ms Purnima Beri said that noted classical musicians, including Pandit Hari Parsad Chaurasia (Flute), Professor B.S. Barang (Vocal), Dr N. Rajam (Violin), Pandit Bhola Nath Mishra (Vocal), Ms Som Bala Kumar (Dhrupad) had confirmed their participation in the three-day sammelan. The Mahasabha has also decided to organise Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Pratiyogita from December 26 to December 27.

The pratiyogita will have into three categories. Vocal, instrumental percussion and non-percussion. Young musicians between 12 and 17 years and 17 and 25 years are eligible to participate in the event.

The organisers, for the coverage of the event, have decided to set up a media centre with two computers with e-mail facility, fax machine, scanner, one closed-circuit TV on the mandir premises. She added that the sammelan would cost Rs 13 lakh of which Rs 8 lakh would be disbursed among the artistes.


Langah case: one remanded
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 18
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, today remanded Sudarshan Kaura in judicial custody till December 24.

Kaura was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with the case of Sucha Singh Langah, former Minister for Public Works, Punjab. The Vigilance Bureau had registered an FIR against Mr Langah.


Judicial posting

Chandigarh, December 18
Khanna’s Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) Gurmail Singh has been posted to Fatehgarh Sahib as the Chief Judicial Magistrate by the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to an office order, he has been asked to relinquish the charge at his present station and assume charge of his new assignment as soon as possible. TNS


Security for bridges, rail lines
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 18
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, in orders issued under the Punjab Village and Small Town Control Act here yesterday said special arrangements for the security of the railway lines, rivulets, water bodies, bridges, pipelines of the Indian Oil Corporation should be made.

He ordered that all healthy adult residents of villages falling in the vicinity of these areas would perform the “pehra” (security duty).


Repair roads soon, DC tells officials
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 18
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, today directed the officials of the Health Department to ensure that eye operations were performed only in operation theatres where all facilities were available for this purpose.

He was addressing a meeting of district officials at Bachat Bhawan here. He said the Bhaironpur-Shamsher Nagar road, under construction, would be completed within three months.

He directed the officers concerned to repair damaged roads at the earliest. He said Rs 29 Lakh would be spent in the district under Sampuran Gram Yojana. To increase the income of gram panchayats, a committee would be formed which would fix minimum annual lease rate for shamlat land because some panchayats had been giving shamlat lands on low annual lease rates.

Mr V.K. Ohri, ADC, Mr B.S. Sidhu ADC (D), Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Rakha Singh Jangu, SDM, Bassi Pathana, Mr Amarjit Singh Sahi, SDM, Amloh, and Mr Gurdeep Singh, SDM, Khumanon, were also present.


IG Gupta shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab Government today shifted IG ( Border Range), Amritsar, Mr Rajan Gupta, to Chandigarh as IG (Crime). Mr Chander Shekhar has been posted in place of Mr Gupta in Amritsar. 


Rape accused booked for fraud also
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 18
Another case has been registered against Dilbhajan Singh, already involved in a rape case allegedly for defrauding a Delhi-based bank of more than Rs 1 crore on the basis of fake sale deed of a piece of land in this town.

Dilbhajan Singh, an automobile dealer, already involved in several alleged scams, booked by the police for a fraud with a Delhi bank by taking loan of Rs 1.41 crore by pledging fake sale deed of a piece of land as guarantee for the loan. He has been booked under Sections 467, 468, 419, 420, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Police sources said that Dilbhajan Singh got a piece of land belonging to Jag Singh (deceased) transferred in the name of his son Amol Singh by producing another person, —Mohar Singh, — a servant of his automobile agency in his place before the revenue officials. On the sale deed, photograph of Mohar Singh had been pasted describing him the seller while Dilbhajan Singh and one Tajinder Singh, a resident of Shant Nagar, had put their signatures as witness on the sale deed.

After getting the land transferred in the name of his son, Dilbhajan Singh sought loan from the Central Bank of India branch, New Delhi for his company by pledging that sale deed as guarantee for the loan.

The matter came to light when a notice for the auction of the piece of land was issued by the bank authorities after Dilbhajan Singh failed to deposit the loan instalment. Mr Satwinder Singh, son of Jag Singh deceased, came to know of the notice relating to the auction of the land he complained to the police.


Property Act violators booked
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 18
The police has booked 10 persons under Section 36 of the Punjab Apartments and Property Regulation Act.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, told newspersons here today that Ashok Kumar of the local, Rulia Ram Colony, and Bhupinder Singh of Sant Nagar, Pathankot, had been arrested in the case. He said Surinder Singh and Sarabjit Kaur of Gurdaspur, Tilak Raj, and his accomplice Raj Kumar, of Nagrota in Himachal Pradesh and Rajinder Singh, Ranjit Singh, Darshan Kumar and Harinder Pal, of Pathankot were the other accused.

The SSP said these persons had converted their land into colonies without obtaining the mandatory licence from the PUDA authorities. The Additional Chief Administrator PUDA, Jalandhar, had informed the police about the crime.


Gujjar woman murdered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 18
A Gujjar woman, Hanima, resident of the Sultanwind area, was allegedly killed by relatives of the second wife of her husband, Harim, last night.

Dr S.K. Kalia, SP (City Headquarters), said today that Hanima was married to Harim about 10-year ago and had two children. He said about six months ago Harim married the wife of his cousin, due to which Hanima went to her father’s house and demanded divorce from him. But the Gujjar community intervened and settled the matter.

The SP said after a minor dispute, Harim‘s second wife also went to her parent’s house. About a week ago Hanima’s brothers and sister-in-law brought her to Harim’s house and left her there which aroused the anger of his second wife’s family who killed Hanima last night. Dr Kalia said the accused had been identified and would be arrested soon.


Parents booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran December 18
Bakhatawar Singh and his wife Sukhwant Kaur, residents of the nearby Aladinpur village have been booked in the case of suicide of their son Ranjit Singh.

Domestic disharmony is said to have led to the suicide. 


College exam postponed
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 18
After the clash on the campus of the local R.K. Arya College between teaching and non-teaching employees yesterday, the ongoing house examination has been postponed. The non-teaching employees, too, have gone on an indefinite strike.

The teachers had already boycotted the house examination and have been sitting on a dharna on the college campus since Saturday in protest against the non-payment of salaries for the past four months.

After the clash the non-teaching employees have started an agitation against the alleged assault by teachers and decided not to let the college open until the teachers apologies.

Both teachers and non-teaching employees held separate dharnas in front of the college gate here today.

A deputation of the college teachers met the Deputy Commissioner today and submitted memorandum in which they accused the college Principal of adopting callous, humiliating and discriminatory attitude towards them, consequently creating a division between teaching and non-teaching employees.

Moreover, the college teachers leveled allegation of squandering of college funds by the Principal and sought an inquiry into college finances so that irregularities committed by the Principal be made public. The agitating teachers met the local MLA, Mr Parkash Singh, and asked him to intervene into the matter.


Schools told to enforce order from Dec 1
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 18
The District Education Officer (Secondary) here in an order on December 12, 2002 to the heads of schools in the district has warned them against negligence in the implementation of the order of the Director, Department of Education (Secondary), Punjab, of November 22, 2001 to be effective from December 1, 2002.

As the order of the DEO reached several schools, heads of these schools apprehended being penalised for no fault. They said how could an order received by them after December 12 be implemented from December 1, 2002.

A few months ago, the district education authorities issued instructions to implement the decision, taken at a meeting presided over by the then state Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh two years ago.

The Director, Department of Education (Secondary), Punjab, in an order on November 22, 2002, directed all district education officers to instruct heads of all schools to maintain registers of several things related to schools under their charge.

It included the area of school, plan of the building, sports equipment, staff statement, sanctioned posts, vacant posts, number of students, number of boys and girls, class-wise, number of SC and BC students, information on scholarship to SC and BC students, information on books given to SC and BC students, information on arrangements for drinking water, toilets and electricity, library and laboratory for students. Information on the village education development committee and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) etc.

School heads were asked to maintain registers containing such information so that the officials, visiting the schools for surprise check did not face problems in respect of information on a particular school. Such register should be available with the heads office.

The order also said that the register on information regarding the schools should be ready on December 1, 2002.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, steno to the DEO, said that order from the Director, Department of Education, Punjab, was received late so the delay was caused in issuing the directions to heads of schools. He added that heads of schools could start maintaining the register when they received the order.


Punjab ‘lacks concern’ for higher education
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 18
The Haryana government has been asking state’s educational institutions of higher learning to improve quality of education by getting accreditation with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), but Punjab has not taken any initiative to motivate the colleges for meeting the global challenges in the field of education.

This was revealed by Dr Antony Stella, NAAC adviser accompanying a three-member NAAC team visiting Apeejay College of Fine Arts here for assessment and grant of accreditation by the council.

She said 78 colleges in Haryana had already submitted self-study reports to the council compared to 12 in Punjab. “While Kerala and Tamil Nadu has topped the list with 15 per cent of its colleges and universities already having been granted accreditation, Haryana is the only state in Northern region, which has shown keen interest in the scheme by instructing its colleges and universities to improve the quality of education to meet global challenges by adhering to the norms laid down by the council,” she said, adding that 305 institutions including 72 universities and 233 colleges had been granted certification by the NAAC so far.

“In fact, it will help accredited colleges and universities in Haryana to receive additional UGC grants for further excellence in education. There is great need to create awareness about the benefits of getting NAAC certification among the institutions of Punjab,” she said.

The three member team headed by Prof Indrani Chakravarthi, Vice-Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Kala Sangeeth Vishvavidyalaya and comprising Prof Murtaza Ali and Prof S. Banerjea met students, academics and administrative staff of Apeejay College of Fine Arts including its Principal Dr Sucharita.


Teacher ‘molests’ schoolgirl
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 18
A teacher of Government Senior Secondary School of Jandwala Bhimeshah village of this subdivision has allegedly molested teenaged girl of plus one. Tension prevails in the village following the incident.

On a directive of the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore Mr Bhupinder Singh Saharan, the SDM, Fazilka, has initiated an inquiry into the incident. A deputation of prominent villagers met the Deputy Commissioner and submitted him a complaint signed by at least 50 persons of the village.

It has been alleged in the complaint that the teacher asked the girl to carry his lunch box in his room. The teacher followed the girl to the room and reportedly molested her.

Mr Saharan visited the school today but the suspect teacher was on leave. The SDM has summoned the teacher and the complainant to his office on Thursday.


Restore 95 pc grant to colleges’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab and Chandigarh unit of Non-government Colleges Managements Federation has urged the Punjab Government to restore the 95 per cent grant-in-scheme in its original form by releasing the withheld grants for the past two years.

The federation in a statement issued here has expressed concern over the government’s reported move to shift plus-two classes from colleges to schools. The move the statement said, would not only ruin the financial state of the colleges but also render a large number of teachers in such colleges surplus.

The federation has urged the CM to hold any such move and resolve the matter through negotiations with representatives of the managements and principals of non-government colleges.

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