Saturday, January 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



British Colombia, Punjab to tie up in agriculture
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 3
The government of British Colombia is interested to collaborate with the Punjab Government in the areas pertaining to agriculture, urban infrastructure, dairy products and education. This was stated by Dr Gulzar Singh Cheema, Minister of State for Mental Health, British Colombia (Canada), at a special function organised by Guru Nanak Dev University here today. He was speaking on immigrants lives: experiences and achievements.

Dr Cheema said Punjabis were in a dominating position in Canada and that his government was interested to collaborate with the Punjab Government. He had met Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and some other prominent persons in the state to explore the areas for collaboration.

Talking about health care system in Canada, Dr Cheema said Canada’s universal health system was known the world over and that the system had been adopting to challenges since its inception. British Colombia (BC) had an annual revenue base of about $ 22 billion of which it invests over 41 per cent in health care services. That amount to about $ 10.4 billion per year spent on health care in BC. Over the past two decades they have more that tripled the amount of money they have spending on health care in their province, he added.

Dr Cheema said the BC Premier had recognised the need to focus more on mental illnesses and mental health. He said, “we want to make 2003 a year that business across BC and Canada recognises mental illnesses an issue that affects every workplace.

He cautioned Punjabis keen on immigrating to Canada not to be misled by the agents and fill up the prescribed form themselves by downloading the same from the Canadian website. He said Canada only needed technical personals like electricians, plumbers and that they should not submit any wrong information regarding their age and education in the form.

Meanwhile, Dr Cheema assured that the government of BC and GNDU would together explore the areas of collaboration in the field of higher education and research especially in the areas of genetics, social sciences, art and culture. 


Punjab may face water famine in next decade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
If efforts are not made to save water consumption in Punjab the state was bound to face a water famine in the next decade, said Dr G.S. Dhillon, a former Chief Engineer (Irrigation), Punjab, while addressing a symposium on ‘Punjab Heritage’ organised by the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation here today.

Dr Dhillon also underlined the need to stop pollution of rivers and sub soil water. Giving some data of the water resources, he said that Punjab had 34.8 million acres feet (MAF) of water in 1955. However, due to water sharing and consumption, the state was left with only a reserve of 12.8 MAF now which was pathetically low. This was relevant in the context that the state needed a supply of 36.5 MAF now.

Dr Dhillon opined that water levels had fallen alarmingly in Malerkotla, Sangrur and areas around the Ghaggar river. While water tables were rapidly falling in the centre, the levels in the waterlogged areas on the corners of the state were rising which was a threatening situation to the state agriculture. Stopping early plantation in the months of May and June can save a lot of water.

One big problem that was imminent in the wake of the falling water tables was availability of contaminated water for daily usage, he added.

Dr Sukhdev Singh from Guru Nanak Dev University in his keynote address said so far Punjab had not taken any benefit from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) which provides services for restoration and conservation of historic sites. He is also the convenor of the Punjab chapter of INTACH.

Shivalik Hills have a major role in the economy and environment of the state and there were several areas which needed immediate care for long term benefits to the state, said Mr P.L. Kaler, a former Principal Conservation Officer of Punjab.

In his introductory address Principal Gurbax Singh, President of the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation, said the heritage relating to the period of Baba Banda Bahadur and heroic struggle of the Khalsa during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh remained neglected or forgotten during the British rule. Little effort had been done even now to identify and maintain these sites.

Principal Gurbax Singh called upon the Punjab Government to extend a helping hand to the foundation which had taken up the pioneering work of identifying and restoring the monuments. He also urged the government to create autonomous trusts for care of Ram Bagh Garden and the famous Gobindgarh fort as a protected monument.

Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Tourism, assured the foundation to support the cause. He said soon a number of historic sites in the state would be declared as monuments, including the Gobindgarh fort.

Col Jatinder Singh Walia thanked the guests. The session was conducted by Mr S.S. Sekhon, additional Chief Architect, Punjab.


New industrial policy soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Punjab Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra said today that a meeting of the Council of Ministers would be held on January 6 here to discuss and approve a new industrial policy.

It may be mentioned that the policy was to be discussed at the last meeting the CoMs but Mr Ashwani Sekhari, Minister of State for Industry, and certain other ministers reportedly told the Chief Minister that they needed time to go through the policy.

Meanwhile, a meeting with the Union Government on the issue of diversification of crops in Punjab will be held in New Delhi on January 8. Officials of Haryana and Andhra Pradesh had been also called by the Centre to discuss the issue.


Minorities asked to keep off Hindutva debate
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 3
Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), today asked the minorities not to participate in the ongoing debate on the definition of Hindutva and neither to get perturbed over the issue.

He said the NCM would intervene in Tamil Nadu, where the recently passed Anti-Conversion Bill had created unrest among Christians, apart from arranging a meeting between Muslim leaders of Gujarat and the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr Tarlochan Singh, who was here to address the annual function of the local Guru Amar Dass Public School, said there was nothing to worry for the minorities as far as statements of some radical Hindu leaders or the nationwide debate pertaining to the concept of Hindutva were concerned. He said it was nationalism, as described by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, “all of us should welcome it.”

He was of the view that there was no harm in the minorities accepting that they shared a common heritage with the majority. The minorities should not press the majority to a point where things become unacceptable or unrealistic, particularly in the name of secularism.

He said he would leave for Tamil Nadu on January 7 to hold a meeting with Christian leaders and with the Chief Minister to settle the row over the Anti-Conversion Bill.

He said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had already conveyed to the commission that the Bill was not against the minorities, particularly Christians.


Dhindsa opens DD Narrow Casting Centre
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 3
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today inaugurated the Doordarshan Narrow Casting Centre which will relay the narrow casting programmes on a weekly basis. With the setting up of this centre, the residents of this border town will be able to air their problems and showcase their talents through the regional channel of Doordarshan on the programme, “Sadi Dharti” every Wednesday.

Mr Ashok Jailkani, Director Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar, said that Ferozepore had become the second town after Patiala to have a narrow casting centre. It was an endeavour on the part of Doordarshan to cover small towns and especially rural segments in order to reach the grass-roots level so that the rural folks and farmers can have a direct access to the government through the electronic media. He said every Wednesday (6.00 to 6.30 pm), a programme will be telecast through which the populace of this area can air their grievances and display their talent.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Dhindsa said that Doordarshan was the only TV channel which was serving the community without bothering about the monetary gains. He hailed the contribution of the Union Minister for Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, for giving a new lease of life to the Doorsharan.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, Ferozepore, Mr Sukhpal Singh, MLA, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, a former Irrigation Minister along with hosts of other senior leaders from the SAD and the BJP were present during the function. However, the Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence even though the function was held in the constituency of a Congress MLA, Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu.

Later, renowned Punjabi singer Balkar Sidhu and Pargat Bhagu enthralled the audience with their thrilling performances, TV actor and comedian, Ashwani Bhardwaj presented a couple of skits which evoked tremendous applause.

The International border at the Indo-Pakistan joint checkpost, Hussainiwala, can be opened for trade and transit only after the relations betwen the two hostile neighbours become cordial. This was stated by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa during a function organised in the memory of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh by the International Bhai Mardana Society.

A befitting memorial will be raised at Hussainiwala in the memory of the revolutionary for his role in the freedom struggle. Mr Dhindsa said he would exhort Mr Jagmohan, Union Urban Development Minister and Mr Vinod Khanna, Minister of State for Tourism and Cultural affairs, to come down to Ferozepore and sanction the project shortly. He also lauded the efforts of the Bhai Mardana Society and the Desh Bhagat committee for their endeavour to construct a museum in the memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and donated Rs 51 lakh for the same. 


Spending lakhs on rejected semen
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 3
The Punjab Animal Husbandry Department is spending lakhs to maintain thousands of doses of semen imported from the USA in 1988-99 even after they have been rejected by the department as being unfit for use.

The department had imported 8,450 doses of semen at a cost of $ 33,631 from Glenroe company of the USA. The stock was subsequently found unfit for use.

Despite so many years it is still being kept in the department’s semen bank here in containers filled with liquid nitrogen gas which has to be renewed after 15 days involving heavy expenditure.

The department had even tried to auction the semen but could not do so after its auction was questioned on the grounds of it being unfit for use.

According to the papers with The Tribune, the department had made out a case for auctioning the semen doses in a communication to the department secretary, saying that it was incurring an extra expenditure on maintaining them. The letter, which was sent in 1994, also stated that the department had 3,300 doses of HF cattle breed semen and 4,537 doses of Jersey breed.

The case of the Animal Husbandry Department, however, fell through when the department was asked about the exact number of doses of semen lying in stocks as it had applied for the permission to auction 7,837 doses. It was also asked as to what would be the legal position in case the semen was auctioned.

The department Secretary also pointed out in the same communication that items worth Rs 2 crore had been purchased since 1989 and that these were still lying in the department store. The purpose in purchasing equipment which had not been put to use for such a long time was also questioned.

Department Deputy Director Tejinder Singh Sandhu, who is heading the department office in the city in which the semen bank is located, when contacted, said the department had been storing the rejected semen for all these years as it expected the company to take it back. He said some problem with regard to the quality of the semen stock had arisen during the 1992 floods in the city. When asked about the move to auction the semen he said he had no knowledge about it. He also claimed that there was no equipment in the bank which was not being used.

Meanwhile, Punjab Veterinary Council member O.S. Kalra stated that semen doses were stocked in liquid nitrogen containers at minus 1760C. He said 30 liters of liquid nitrogen were being consumed every month with each litre costing Rs 14. He said the department had stored the rejected semen in two containers for 14 years and no inquiry had been ordered.


LPG shortage in Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 3
Residents of the city and nearby towns and villages are facing difficulty in getting the supply of cooking gas due to its shortage.

Long queues of customers could be seen at various LPG distributing agencies. The customers who were accustomed of getting supply at their doorsteps are finding it difficult to go to the distributing agencies in this chilling cold.

Mr Piare Lal, a local resident, said earlier the LPG was being sold in streets like any other commodity, but now he was not sure whether he would get a refill of cylinder or not.

Mr Mohan Lal, owner of a sweet shop, said he had to pay more for getting the refill of the LPG. He said for running his business he needed adequate supply of cooking gas.

Some other residents also alleged that they had to pay more for getting the supply of cooking gas. They also alleged that some of the LPG cylinders were under weight, although the District Food and Supply Office (DFSO) did not receive any complaint regarding overcharging or cylinders being under weight. Sources in the DFSO said the department could not do much in this regard.


Rs 50 lakh for lawyers’ chambers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 3
Acceding to the long-pending demand of the District Bar Association, the state government has released Rs 50 lakh for the construction of lawyers’ chambers at the district court complex.

Mr Balbir Singh, MP, along with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad, today handed over a cheque for Rs 50 lakh to the bar members during a function held at the court complex here.

Mr Balbir Singh assured the lawyers that he would press Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to bear half of the total cost of the project, as promised by the previous state government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He announced that the second instalment of Rs 50 lakh would be released soon to the association. 


1.66 lakh kids to be given polio drops
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 3
The Health Department with the help of NGOs took out a procession in the city today to educate the people so that maximum number of children between the age group of 0-5 years should be administered pulse polio drops on January 5.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, while flagging off the rally at the Civil Hospital said an awareness campaign was launched by the Central and state governments so that children between 0-5 years should be given anti-polio drops and it was necessary that efforts should be made at the local level also so that those who don’t read newspapers or don’t watch TV, should come to know about the campaign.

He said about 1.66 lakh children would be administered pulse polio drops in the district. He said 676 teams had been formed for administering the pulse polio drops and out of these 506 teams would work in rural areas and 165 teams in urban areas of the district. 


Woman resents police inaction
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 3
Nearly four months after Mr Parmod Kumar Malhotra, an Investigating Officer with Diesel Component Works (DCW) disappeared after leaving his house in the morning to depose as a prosecution witness in a departmental proceeding launched by the company against another IOW in some case, the city police has failed to trace his whereabouts.

Ms Suman Malhotra, wife of the officer, has been running from pillar to post to learn about her husband`s well-being.

Apprehending physical harm to her husband by those against whom he was to depose as witness, she got an FIR registered with the city police. Mr Parmod Kumar , who was earlier posted at DCW here and at present posted at Nawanshahar, had been summoned to appear as prosecution witness in a case involving an IOW at present posted in New Mumbai.

According to Ms Suman Malhotra, her husband appeared on August 5 and 6 as witness before Mr M.S. Nangal Enquiry Officer, and Mr Vikas Bhatnagar, Vigilance Inspector, DCW, and Presenting Officer, on behalf of the DCW authorities. She alleged that however, Parmod’s statement was not recorded on both days. She further added that her husband was directed to appear as witness again on August 7. Mr Malhotra reportedly complained about being harassed during the course of the inquiry and was not seen again after he left the house on August 7 for the inquiry.



Police helpline for elders
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, January 3
The district police in collaboration with the District Elders Service Society set up a helpline at the city police station here today with a view to resolving the problems, particularly of the senior citizens of the area, on priority basis. Mr Harmohinder Singh, DSP, has been appointed the in charge of the helpline.

Inaugurating the cell, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Faridkot, said more such institutions would be established at the village level shortly to sort out disputes and other problems of the ruralites in the district. He sought the cooperation of the non-govt organisations to make this programme a success and also urged them to launch a special campaign to make the people aware about various other social problems like population, explosion, illiteracy and dowry system.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Brar, President of the Elders Service Society, talked about various other welfare schemes being launched to help the elderly in the district. The SSP also released a brochure highlighting the services being provided to the elders.


CPI seeks advisory panel for running MC
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 3
The district unit of the CPI has demanded that an advisory committee should be formed for running the affairs of the Municipal Corporation till the elections for the civic body were not held.

Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, district secretary of the party, said in a press note issued here today that the advisory committee should have constitutional rights and comprise representatives of political parties, social organisations, educationists and traders. He said the formation of the committee was necessary for carrying out developmental works in the city.

Mr Joga condemned the statement of some Akali leaders that the city got the municipal corporation to keep away the Dalits from claiming its presidentship. He said when a resolution was passed in the council that the city should be made a corporation, the Akali councillors had also voted in favour of resolution. He said if the Akali Dal had any objection the party should have voted against the resolution.


Magician to perform in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 3
A Punjabi magician settled in Delhi is set to give his first big show in the state at the Tagore Theatre here from January 5 onwards during which the citizens would witness ‘disappearance’ of a real-life elephant from the stage besides other magic works.

Jitender Singh Babbar, who resides in Delhi but was born and brought up in Amritsar, landed in the city today. Talking to newspersons, Mr Babbar, who is a Sikh, says he was going to display ‘big illusions’ like the disappearance of an elephant besides other tricks.

Mr Babbar said he had come under the influence of the magic world when a foreign magician had landed up at his father’s shop for assistance after he had lost his his luggage at the Attari border while crossing over from Pakistan. He said his father had helped the magician conduct several shows in the city which had left a deep impression in his mind. He said even though he was only five years old then, he decided at that age to become a magician. His dream had been realised later.

Babbar termed magic a mixture of jugglary of hands, science, yoga and hypnotism, adding hypnotism was practised when all else failed. Tagore Theatre managing director Harinder Singh said Babbar would showcase a number of magic tricks during his programme which would be held for nearly one week.



Water supply scheme a cropper
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 3
The government scheme to transfer the maintenance of rural water supply schemes to panchayats has come a cropper with no panchayat accepting the offer. 

Sources in the Public Health Department said the refusal of the panchayats had placed the department in a piquant situation, with the Union Government stressing on the transfer.

The sources said the panchayats were unwilling to take up the responsibility of maintaining water supply schemes due to paucity of funds. The average cost is about Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh. Another Union Government sponsored rural water supply scheme, Swai Jaldhara is also not receiving a good response in the district.


2 killed in road mishap

Amritsar, January 3
A pick-up, carrying pilgrims returning from Dera Beas, collided head-on with a truck, killing a woman, identified as Kailash Devi, and a 14-year-old boy, identified as Billa, between Tangra and Muchhal villages under the Khalchian police station. At least 20 others in the pick-up were injured. UNI


Citrus fruit show concludes in Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 3
The state government has decided to provide 1.97 lakh plastic crates to fruit growers at 50 per cent of the cost. This was stated by Dr Mohinder Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab on the concluding day of the two-day state-level exhibition-cum-citrus fruit show here today. The function was presided over by the SDM, Mr Jaskiran Singh.

Dr Rinwa said five centres had been set in the state to improve the quality of citrus fruit. Weather forecast equipment were provided for the benefit of farmers at Abohar and Hoshiarpur. The government was offering 50 per cent subsidy on grading and waxing of kinnow, 25 per cent on packing and carriage of fruits and vegetables beyond 500 km.

Mr Rinwa said, kinnow had emerged as most viable and popular fruit in Punjab. So far 13,400 hectare of land was under kinnow cultivation, out of this 6,200 hectare fall in Ferozepore district only. The district was contributing 93,000 tonnes out of the total 2 lakh tonnes produced by the state. Mr Himmat Singh had been requested to device ways and means for marketing fresh vegetables and fruits in the Middle East.

The fruit growers told Dr Rinwa that some of the orchards had to be abandoned as the Irrigation Department was unable to provide canal water continuously for three terms. They demanded that sufficient subsidy be given for the construction of water storage tanks and introducing sprinkler system. The growers said the Rajasthan Government was providing air conditioned containers for carrying fresh vegetables and fruits to progressive farmers for carrying the produce to far off places.

More than 4,000 entries were received from different parts of the state for the citrus fruit show. Mr Sukhjinder Pal Singh of Kallarkhera village (Abohar) won the prize for best fruit of the show. Winners of first prizes in kinnow included Mr Iqbal Singh Kuharianwali, Mr Prabodh Setia Sappanwali, Ms Anjali Ahuja Khubban, Mr Utkarsh Ahuja Khubban, Ms Radhika Sharda Bhangerkhera, Ms Akshika Ahuja Khubban.

Mr Purshotam Lal Sharda of Bhangerkhera village topped in sonimitra fruit, Mr Lakhbir Singh in other varieties, Ms Deepika Setia Gumjal in mars seedless, Balhans Jainpur in other lemon, Ms Manjit Kaur in Mitha, Mr Jaspal of Hoshiarpur in Chakotra, Mr Sukhdev Singh of Gurdaspur in Galgal, Mr Madanmohan Singh of Faridkot in Khatti and Mr Sunil Jakhar (MLA), Maujgarh, in Baramasi lemon.


2 PCS officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Punjab Government has transferred Mr Sanjay Popli, AC (Grievances) and AC (General), Ferozepore as SDM, Jalandhar, vice Mr Sukhmandar Singh, who goes as AC (Grievances), Mansa, in place of Mr A.P.S. Sandhu, who has been placed under suspension, an official press note said here today.


Naib Tehsildar booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 3
On the directive of the ADGP, Crime Branch, Punjab, the Sadar police station here has registered a case of fraud, forgery and criminal conspiracy in a land grab case against nine persons, including a naib tehsildar and a patwari under various sections of the IPC.

The directions were given following the directions of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission on a complaint of Manjit Singh in this regard.

When contacted the SSP, Kapurthala, Dr R.N. Dhoke, today confirmed the registration of the case. He told the correspondent that a copy of the case had been sent to the ADGP, Crime Branch, Punjab police, as per the directions.

Repeated attempts by the reporter to contact the Naib Tehsildar for getting his version failed as he was not available when the reporter visited his office in the tehsil complex today. His cellphone was also switched off.

As per details Manjit Singh of the local Sukhchain Nagar on the Banga road had made a deal of 20 kanals for Rs 8 lakh on March 30, 1994, with Harkishan Singh of Khankhana village. On payment of Rs 1 lakh the possession of 2 kanals were handed over to Manjit Singh’s wife Amarjit Kaur. But Harkishan Singh backed out of the deal on October 30, 1996, at the time of registration of a deed. the complainant got a stay after he filed a case in a civil court.

However, Harkishan Singh gave a power of attorney to a Jalandhar-based resident and went abroad. Despite the stay eight deeds were registered under different names.

One of the buyers even got a case of fraud registered against Manjit Singh and his wife. Harkishan Singh also sided with the buyer and termed the previous “ikrarnama” fake.

It was only when he approached the Human Rights Commission that the ADGP was asked to probe the scandal.


Robbers storm village, loot houses
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 3
A gang of robbers stormed the Awankha village close to Dinanagar today and allegedly looted cash and jewellery from several houses of the village. According to eyewitnesses, about seven to eight robbers entered a house near DAV High School owned by Narem Lal and seriously injured the two occupants of the house, Usha and her sister-in-law Sangeeta, by beating them with iron rods. At least Rs 20,000 in cash and valuables, including gold ornaments worth Rs 50,000 were looted from their house. The robbers before fleeing the house locked them in a room and bolted the house from outside.

Later, the robbers entered the house of Amrik Singh, beat him with lathis and decamped with Rs 3,000 in cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 20,000. The robbers then entered the house of Ms Gurmeet Kaur and robbed her of Rs 15,000 in cash and gold ornaments. All injured persons were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Dinanagar, where the condition of Usha and Sangeeta is stated to be critical.

The SHO of Dinanagar police station reached the site in the morning and began investigation. However, no arrest has been made in this regard.

The victims said the robbers were armed with a revolver, iron rods and lathis, and added that they appeared to be migrants.


Jr assistant booked for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 3
Makhan Singh, a junior assistant at the Divisional Forest Office, Mansa was caught red-handed by the Vigilance Bureau while accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from Mr Tara Singh, a retired forest guard, for preparing certain documents with regard to his pension.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance Bureau), Bathinda, said Mr Tara Singh had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get pension which was allegedly being denied to him by the authorities concerned. After he won the case a direction was issued to the Divisional Forest Office for preparing the pension documents of Mr Tara Singh.

Makhan Singh, who was asked to prepare the pension documents, demanded Rs 1,000 for preparing the same. After negotiations the bribe amount was settled at Rs 500.

The SP said the raiding team was accompanied by Mr Neeraj Kumar, District Revenue Officer and Mr Bhagwant Rai, Superintendent, Revenue Department, Mansa. Mr Pawan Kumar was a witness.

A case in this connection has been registered.

The raiding team also carried out raids at the house of Makhan Singh at Mandi Kalan village in the district.


Man gets death sentence for killing nephew
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 3
Mr Gurdev Singh, Sessions Judge, today awarded the death sentence to Jaswinder Singh (42), a resident of Sheikhupur village near here, on the charge of murdering his nephew, Bikramjit Singh, over a property dispute.

The Sessions Judge also sentenced Jaswinder Singh to life imprisonment under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code for inflicting serious injuries on Ravjit Kaur, mother of Bikramjit Singh and ordered him to pay a fine of Rs 10,000.

According to the prosecution, Jaswinder Singh had transferred his share of the land, measuring one kanal and 14 marlas, and the house in the village in the name of his brother, Harjinder Singh, father of Bikramjit. Thereafter, he went to New Delhi, where he deserted his wife. He was declared a proclaimed offender in a criminal case. The prosecution alleged that after returning to Sheikhupur village, he started demanding his share of the land and the house from Harjinder Singh, giving threats to eliminate the family if his demand was not fulfilled.

According to the prosecution, Jaswinder murdered Bikramjit on February 12, 2001.


Police nabs looters with public help
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, January 3
With the active support of the public, the Tarn Taran police today arrested two persons who had snatched two bags, containing salaries of the staff members of eight schools (Rs 2.10 lakh) after a two-hour chase.

The district police chief, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said the cash award was being given to Ajit Paul Singh and a Constable who helped in arresting the culprits, Bachiter Singh and Darshan Singh of Jaura village.

Giving details of the incident, Mr Bhargav claimed that it was for the first time that the culprits were arrested in such a short time. He said on getting the information, wireless messages were flashed and a team led by Mr Ashok Bath, SP (Detective), overpowered the looters.

According to the reports available, the salaries were withdrawn from the local branch of State Bank of India by Mr Bikramjit Singh, Headmaster, Sheron village. But when he hired a rickshaw from outside the bank, the looters snatched both the bags containing the salaries.


Murder accused acquitted

Sangrur, January 3
A local court today acquitted eight persons accused of the murder of Malerkotla-based journalist Gian Chand Sharma, representing various vernacular dailies.

Sessions Judge Jagroop Singh gave the accused — Kamiker Singh, Karamjit Singh, Balpreet Singh, Bharpur Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Rupinder Singh, Jagdeep Singh and Jagjit Singh — all of Ludhiana district the benefit of the doubt. PTI


Decision on law college hailed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, January 3
Members of the District Bar Association here has hailed the decision of Punjabi University, Patiala, for giving approval and letter of intent to the management of Baba Godri Sahib Baba Farid Society here for setting up a law college. A meeting attended by more than 200 lawyers held here today, however, regretted the press statement of Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, president, Forum for Educational Action and Reform, who had raised doubts about the proper functioning of the institution by a private body.

The Bar members clarified that the management of the society had huge funds to run the college.

The body was running Baba Farid Public School here where more than 600 students against the strength of over 1,200 were getting education on a concessional basis.


Need for hostels: private help sought
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 3
There is an acute shortage of hostels in Punjabi University, due to which, single cubicles are being allotted to two students each. This has made the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.S. Boparai, say that, if any organisation offers to build hostels here, the university will give it its full co-operation.

At a meeting attended by the Registrar, all Deans and the Financial Officer here today, the VC said private parties, including individuals, religious and social organisations, would be allowed to build hostels on the campus and these hostels would be named after them. The approximate cost of building a hostel is Rs 2 crore. Female students will have to be given co-operative messes.

For a long time now, boarders have been demanding permission to receive telephone calls in hostels. The university authorities said negotiations with a private telecom company were on and telephones would soon be installed in all hostels here. Each hostels has only an intercom system, so far, regulated by the university’s exchange.

It has been decided that reading rooms will be built in all hostels and Deans will check the quality of food being served in all hostels. The VC said he would make surprise visits to hostels to check the quality of food. The library will be computerised, updated and connected online with all other major libraries for facilitating advanced research.

The university will have an enquiry counter linked to all important departments of the university. The university syllabi will be made NET (National Entrance Test) compatible.

The university controller of examinations said he would ensure that examination results were declared by June, so that, teaching days could be increased. Computers will be used to prepare degrees and marks-sheets.

In order to ensure an organised collection of fee, the authorities have decided that departments with adequate clerical strength would accept demand drafts and fees. To reduce the rush, the departments will stagger collection dates.

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