Sunday, January 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Panel blames political pressure
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 18
Certain members of the Authorisation Committee today said they faced political pressure while clearing cases for kidney transplant even as they had brought it to the notice of the director Research and Medical Education that “strict action” be taken against the culprits after obtaining the report from the police authorities on the authenticity of the affidavits filed by the donors and the recipients from time to time.

In a letter No. 4050/SS/Pend of September 22, 1999, by Principal Dr O.P. Mahajan to DRME, released to the press by a member of the present Authorisation Committee, Dr Jagdish Gargi had stated “it is again requested that the Authorisation Committee may be exempted from this duty because it is not related to their hospital or institution, instead everything from the beginning to the end is done in the private hospital concerned. But Authorisation Committee is being made a scapegoat. Dr Gargi said this letter was written as reports of certain malpractices had appeared in a section of the press.

Defending the action of the Authorisation Committee president of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Bhola Singh Sidhu said had they not cleared the cases they could have faced suspension or have lost jobs, since it involved the lives of many renal failure patients, although there were doubts about the authenticity of the affidavits. They had brought this issue to the notice of the government and were obliged to clear the cases in the larger interest of humanity.

The doctors also released a letter of October 22, 1999, addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, seeking his views on the verification of the antecedents of the donors and recipients as the Authorisation Committee had felt that there were certain contradictions in the documents filed by them for clearance. The Principal had pointed out that the Deputy Commissioner was requested to verify the factual position of the documents so that their cases could be cleared for kidney transplants.

The doctors also presented a copy of the letter of the Deputy Commissioner of November 3, 1999, which had stated that “returned in original (documents) to the Principal and the Chairman, Authorisation Committee, for kidney transplant along with affidavits/papers for taking immediate necessary action under the rules at their end.”


It was threat, helplessness
Kidney donors in jail tell CPI team
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 18
“Don’t send a message to my wife that I am in jail even after losing my kidney as she will be totally shattered to know this.

“I will immediately run away from Punjab to meet my children as soon as I am released from jail. I don’t know how my children are being looked after as I could not send them any money order after coming to Punjab”.

Tears welled up in the eyes of Raju, a resident of Milk village, Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), who got a jail sentence instead of the promised Rs 40,000 for donating his kidney, while narrating his story to a three-member fact-finding team of the CPI which visited the Central Jail today to know the plight of the kidney donors. The team, comprising Mr Satya Pal Dang, Mr Amarjit Asal and Mr Jaikaran Singh Pathania, recorded the statements of the undertrial donors.

Raju told the committee that a middleman, Tinku, threatened the donors and told them not to give any statement against doctors or middlemen during their trials. It is intriguing how a middleman could have access to the donors in the high-security jail.

Some donors alleged that they were lured to Punjab by better prospects. They were later threatened by musclemen with dire consequences for refusing to donate their kidneys.

Ravi Kumar Yadav, a resident of Dehra Dun, told the committee that he had agreed to donate his kidney to meet the medical expenses of his father who was suffering from a chronic disease. “It was a great shock to me that I could not save the life of my father even after donating my kidney as I did not get Rs 70,000 as promised by the middlemen.” He alleged that the middleman got him arrested for submitting a “false affidavit” as the latter wanted to keep the entire money with him.

Apart from preparing “false affidavits”, some of the advocates would also act as middlemen. This was corroborated by Vijay Kumar, who is still behind bars. While six of the other donors were released from jail after completing two years’ sentence each for submitting false affidavits, Vijay Kumar had to undergo an additional 10-month sentence as he was unable to deposit Rs 10,000 as fine as directed by the court. He said three middlemen, including a senior advocate had lured seven migrants to donate their kidneys for Rs 1 lakh each. However, the middlemen beat them up in full public view when they demanded the promised money. “When seven of us approached the police at that time, the well-oiled nexus got us behind bars for furnishing ‘false’ affidavits.” However, no action was taken against recipients who had submitted similar affidavits, he said.

Kailash, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, revealed that middlemen would always keep an eye on those migrants who were extremely poor so that they could not pursue their cases after the removal of their kidneys. He said he was a professional blood donor and would get Rs 400 per bottle. However, Pankaj met him and told him that he could be rich overnight if he donated his kidney. “I readily accepted the offer as I had never seen Rs 40,000 in my life.”

He said it was his bad luck that he was given only Rs 5,000 out of the promised Rs 40,000. He was put behind bars when he asked for the rest of the amount from the middleman. He pleaded with the fact-finding team not to send any message to his old parents as it would be a great shock to them.

However, some persons under-trial said that the police had implicated them in a “false case” though they had not donated their kidneys. They alleged that the police had been pressurising them to turn approver.

Mr Asal, District Secretary (Urban) of the CPI, said that the state government adopt a sympathetic attitude towards the “donors” who donated their kidneys under compelling economic circumstances or were lured by middlemen.


Mahajan in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 18
Dr O.P. Mahajan, suspended Principal of Government Medical College who was remanded in judicial custody till January 31 in the kidney scam case today, complained of chest and back pain.

While doctors suggested that Dr Mahajan should be admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital immediately, the jail authorities said that he would have to be brought to jail first.

Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, said that Dr Mahajan was an asthmatic patient and doctors had advised immediate treatment.

Dr Mahajan was also remanded in judicial custody in a case relating to Bagicha Singh, who was shown as a migrant while removing his kidney.


BJP proposal on SYL eyewash: Capt
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 18
The recent proposal of the state BJP president Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, to support the state government on the SYL issue is eyewash. If the BJP was serious about supporting the government on the issue it should have attended the all-party meeting on the issue. Moreover, the party is an alliance partner of the Chautala government in Haryana due to which its proposal to help the Punjab Government in defending the state’s interests on the issue cannot be considered seriously.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, stated this while talking to news persons at Nangal today, before leaving for Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh for election campaigning.

Asked if he would meet the Prime Minister to seek help on the SYL issue, the Chief Minister said he had already written to the Prime Minister on the issue and there was no point in meeting him. Punjab had no surplus water for Haryana, he said.

On the controversy regarding the proposed power reforms in the PSEB, Capt Amarinder Singh said the government was firm in going ahead with the reforms.

To a query, The Chief Minister said the financial position of the state had improved and no harsh, measures would be taken in the forthcoming budget. He said following the anti-corruption drive of the government, the tax collection in the state had increased by Rs 1000 crore over the previous year. World Bank had also extended a loan of Rs 800 crore for rural water supply schemes and talks for another Rs 3,700 crore in an advanced stage.

Regarding the lifting of the ban on recruitments in the state, Capt Amarinder Singh said the ban on the recruitment of technical staff had been lifted. The departments concerned requiring technical staff had been directed to put forward their proposals for recruitment before the Cabinet.


Latest facilities for CM’s village
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), January 18
This ancestral village of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh having nine panchayat bodies and a population of more than 25,000 is likely to become a model village shortly.

Capt Amarinder Singh directed the Bathinda district administration at a high-level meeting held about three days ago in Chandigarh to draw up different development projects for the village which could generate employment for youth and improve the lot of its residents.

The setting up of a computer centre, an Industrial Training Institute, a nursing institute and a sports academy were a few of the projects discussed at the meeting Capt Amarinder Singh had with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma. The Chief Minister also directed that the residents should be provided with the best basic amenities.

“Capt Amarinder Singh wants to make the village one of the best in the world by providing ultra modern facilities to its residents,” said a senior state government functionary while talking to TNS.

He said that details could not be divulged at this stage, but if all went well, work would start within a few months in the village.

Official sources said that Mr Verma had started meeting officials of various departments to provide the village with ultra modern facilities. Mr Verma has also deputed a PCS officer to interact with the residents.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Capt Amarinder Singh, who has not visited his ancestral village after he became the Chief Minister, wanted to go there with some concrete development projects. A Rajya Sabha MP has promised to provide funds for the development of the village.

Mr Raninder Singh, son of Capt Amarinder Singh, who came here recently to attend the bhog of an akhand path, said that his father was working on various schemes for the overall development of the village.


Govt may bow to secys’ demand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
The Punjab Government may concede to the main demands of agitating panchayat secretaries who were removed from service a few months ago. Sources said the government’s emissaries were in touch with the panchayat secretaries. Certain colleagues of the agitating panchayat secretaries are on an indefinite fast.

Sources said the government might waive the condition of the test for those panchayat secretaries who have an experience of five years, also issue instructions to the interview committees to give numbers against experience in the interview. The government might also give preference to those secretaries having an experience of five years in recruitment.

The sources said a senior officer of the Punjab intelligence is playing the role of an emissary. The secretaries wanted that the assurance to this effect should be given by three senior ministers of the state Government and also by Mr H.S. Hanspal, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Government. They might suspend their agitation and end the fast if the government agreed to do the needful in this connection, it is learnt.


PAU winds up research centre
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, January 18
The Punjab Government has forced Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) to wind up its Regional Research Centre, popularly known as Birla farm, near Ropar.

Highly placed sources told this correspondent that the Agriculture Department suddenly raised the lease amount of the land allotted for the research centre which forced PAU to wind up its operations here. The research centre was set on 602 acres, 7 km from Ropar.

Initially, the land was owned by the Birla family, which donated it to the Punjab Government in 1971. The government gave it on lease to PAU at the rate of Rs 30 per acre per annum. However, recently the government raised the lease amount of the land to Rs 5,000 per acre per annum. PAU, however, expressed its inability to pay the increased amount of lease and instead decided to wind up its research centre.

The Agriculture Department is busy finalising the formalities of taking over the land from PAU.

After the takeover of the farm from the Punjab Government in 1971, PAU had started a university seed farm. The research component was added to Birla Farm under the National Agriculture Research programme phase II in 1991. It was recognised by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) in July, 2000.

Till recently, the research centre was involved in three-fold activities, including production of seeds (different-grades) of various crops and the supply of these to various agencies. It also organised training camps to provide new technology to farmers of the area.

During its three-decade occupation, PAU had developed residential colonies for its employees and other research facilities. However, with the winding up of the centre, the university would now have to handover the entire infrastructure to the Agriculture Department.

The sources said the Agriculture Department was now mulling over the idea of running the research centre on its own.


Irish envoy: adhere to UN charter
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 18
The Ambassador of Ireland to India, Mr Philip Mcdonagh, today said a dialogue was the only solution to all problems particularly the one relating to achievement of long-lasting peace in every part of the world.

Mr Mcdonagh, while presiding over a seminar organised by the National Thinkers Forum here, said,” We must not lose on account of urgency to sort out short-term issues and avoid wars and violence, which is emerging as a major cause of concern among civilisation.”

“The peace process initiated in Ireland has shown good results and the British Prime Minister and Irish Prime Minister are scheduled to hold a meeting next week to further strengthen the peace process to put an end to violence,” he said.

The Ambassador, who was accompanied by the President of the National Thinkers Forum Mr D.P.Sehgal, said the people should adhere to the UN charter. “Though the UN charter is too idealistic but the wars and violence cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and huge money, which can be used for the welfare of humanity. Even the row between the Irish people and the British government has been resolved through dialogue to some extent, which can be judged from the fact that Ireland became the member of the European Union in 1973 after the British Government and going through a long process of dialogue,” he said, adding that there were a lot of similarities among India and Ireland, including freedom of movement of citizens.

Mr Munish Sehgal, general secretary of the Human Rights Department of the Punjab Congress, said Punjab had witnessed a decade of terrorism, which resulted in the killing of innocent people and security personnel. “The peace can be achieved through democratic process as was the case with Punjab.

The situation in the state was brought under control only when the peace process initiated by the then government by deciding to hold elections in trouble torn state in 1997, which turned the whole scenario as elected government of the people of the state was able to eliminate the terrorism from the grassroot level. The people should be involved in the policy-making process to ensure an end to violence and to curb human rights violations,” Mr Sehgal added.

Earlier, Mr Mcdonagh visited the church in the cantonment area to offer prayers in memory of 70 Irish soldiers, who were imprisoned for lodging their protest against the British Army after court martial in June 1920.


Dhir made dist BJP chief
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 18
Mr Hira Lal Dhir, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party of the district has been appointed acting president of the district unit of the BJP in place of Mr Surjit Singh, according to Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state president of the BJP.

In a letter released to the Press here today Mr Rinwa said the BJP under the leadership of Mr Dhir in the district would gain politically.


Funds released to develop 500 villages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 18
The Punjab government has released Rs 101 crore for providing various facilities, including pucca drains and streets, sewerage, 24-hour power supply and street lighting, and mini-markets in 500 villages of the state till March 31 next. These villages have been identified from 140 blocks.

Talking to mediapersons at Government Ranbir College here last night, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Punjab, said the state government had drawn-up a comprehensive plan to cover all 12,369 villages in four years in the state for providing basic amenities and facilities. In the first phase, 500 villages would be covered this year while 1500 more villages would be covered during the next financial year. Likewise, remaining villages would be covered during the subsequent two financial years.

Mrs Bhattal was here in connection with a cultural competitions programme, “Surtal”, organised by the Cultural Affairs Department, Punjab, to promote Punjabi culture and find talented artistes in the state. She also announced a grant of Rs 13 lakh for the development of the college.

Mrs Bhattal said the amount of Rs 101 crore had been provided to the Punjab Rural Development Department by the State Finance Commissioner while another Rs 15 crore had been provided by the Government of India for the purpose. He said an amount of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore would be allocated to each village. She said these villages would be developed as “model villages”.

Mrs Bhattal also stated that the Punjab government had started contract farming to get rid of problem of the minimum support price (MSP) and the paddy-wheat rotation. She said during the financial year 2003-04, an area of 3 lakh acre would be brought under multi-crop multi-year contract farming programme. She said in this area those crops would be sown which require less water.

Mrs Bhattal also stated that the entire work of contract farming, including signing of contract with the farmers, procurement of the crops, and payment of crops to the farmers would be made by the Punjab Agro. She also claimed that Punjab was the first state which had taken first step in the diversification of crops in the country. She said the 3 lakh acres would be identified before March 31.

The Agriculture Minister also stated that Punjab had detected an embezzlement of Rs 10 crore, done by various panchayats in the state. She said enough amount had already been recovered from them.

Mrs Bhattal also stated that the state government had prepared a scheme to convert the abandoned focal points into useable places like cinema houses and halls etc. She said the government would also initiate action against the sellers of duplicate pesticides.

Mrs Bhattal also claimed that the Punjab government would provide more powers to panchayats. She said there were 1874 cases of disputed shamlat lands pending in the courts of District Revenue Collectors, Commissioners, and courts. She said efforts would be made to expedite the settlement of these cases.


‘Effects of privatisation being ignored’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association today claimed that neither the state government nor the Haldea Committee, which had been constituted to suggest reforms in the power sector, was taking into consideration the effects of the dismantling or privatisation of other state electricity boards in the country.

In a statement issued here yesterday, association general secretary H.S. Bedi alleged that the committee was giving misleading statements by claiming that consumer groups supported dismantling of the PSEB. He alleged that the workshop organised by the committee had not been made public. He also alleged that all interaction and workshops were an eyewash as the committee was not working with an open mind and was moving to dismantle the PSEB.

The association called for an open debate by consumer organisations, agricultural experts and economists on the issue. It said the role of the Haldea Committee was nothing more than giving recommendations and the final decision on the issue had to be made by the public and should be in public interest.

The association claimed that private companies were buying power at a low rate of Rs 1.35 per unit and selling it at a profit of 200 to 300 per cent. It said the domestic rate in Delhi was Rs 3.60 per unit while the commercial rate was Rs 5 per unit.

The association claimed that in all seven states in which dismantling of electricity boards had taken place, the new model had failed. It said the same model should not be repeated in Punjab as private companies would take up distribution of power in profitable areas while rural areas would be left with government companies. The association demanded that its proposal, suggesting bringing in accountability in the PSEB by making top-level officials responsible for the energy units handled by them, should be debated upon it also demanded that public hearing should be given to different consumer groups by the committee.


Eleven NRI Punjabi writers honoured
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, January 18
Writers living abroad are the real ambassadors of goodwill. With their hard work and labour, they have made the Indian identity recognised at the global level, said Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, while inaugurating a two-day international seminar organised by the Centre of Immigrant Studies of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Mr Bhatia honoured Avtar Jandialvi, Harbaksh Maksoodpuri, Veena Verma, Dalbir Kaur, Darshan Dhir, Shiv Charan Gill, Gurnam Dhillon and Darshan Tatla, all from England. He also honoured Dr Swaraj from the USA, Jarnail Singh Sekha from Canada and Ajaib Kamal from Kenya.

Dr Satinder Singh Noor of Delhi University delivered the keynote address. The seminar was presided over by Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Noor said Punjabi culture had its distinct identity and it should be treated as one cultural unit. Citing the example of Gujarat, he said India, in the recent past, had to face certain fascist movements, but Punjabi culture could not compromise with such movements. He said earlier Punjabi writers had settled in the USA, Canada and Germany, but now they were residing in Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries.

Dr S.P. Singh said the university had established an independent Centre of Immigrant Studies. He said the university would complete the work on dictionary of Punjabi literature from foreign countries this year.


Giani Lal Singh Award for Dalip Tiwana
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Eminent Punjabi writer Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana was awarded the Giani Lal Singh Award for her contribution to the Punjabi literary at a function held here today.

The award was given to Dr Tiwana by Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Punjab Public Works Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa at a function organised by the Giani Lal Singh Memorial Society at the State Language Department here.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dhindsa, while lauding the services rendered by the late Giani Lal Singh in making Punjabi the official language of the state, said Dr Tiwana had scaled new heights in Punjabi literature and that her writings had given a boost to Punjabi language in the international arena.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa said Punjabi language was in danger due to bureaucrats of the state who were not using it in official functioning as well as the new generation which did not use it as either a medium of communication. He said the government would make endevours to ensure Punjabi was used as a medium of official functioning.

Senior Congress leader and former MP Sant Ram Singla, who is also a member of the Giani Lal Singh, Trust, urged the government to rename the headquarter building of the Language Department as the Giani Lal Singh State Language department. He said this would be a befitting tribute to the man who had selflessly served the cause of Punjabi language. Others who spoke on the occasion were Punjab School Board Chairman Kehar Singh and Prof Daljit Singh, Director Youth Welfare, Punjabi University, also a member of the trust.


Two sites identified for Habitat Centre
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Two sites have been identified in the city for the establishment of the proposed Habitat Centre on the lines of India Habitat Centre in Delhi.

The Patiala Development Authority had earlier mooted the proposal of establishing a Habitat Centre in the city which could become a hub of cultural activity besides giving a boost to all round development of the city. For this purpose it had given the responsibility of making a feasibility study to Cushman Bakefield consultants.

Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) Additional Chief Administrator Hussan Lal disclosed that the consultants had identified two sites in the city for the Habitat Centre. He said one of the sites identified was presently housed the Public Works Department (PWD) Headquarters in the city. He said as there was a proposal to shift all government offices to the new Mini Secretariat coming up on the Jail Road, the site would be available for utilisation.

The other site identified by the consultants is situated on the Jail road. This land belongs at present to the Irrigation Department. Here also Mr Lal disclosed, there was enough land which could be used for establishing of the Habitat Centre.

The team of consultants has recently toured the city to study the commercial mix as well as the utilities which need to be created in the proposed centre.


MoD ban on construction causes panic
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 18
The Ministry of Defence order prohibiting construction within the creast of the outer parapet of 900 metres of the Air Force station here panicked the residents having their properties within the prohibited area.

Reliable sources revealed that the Deputy Chief Admn Officer, on behalf of the Air Force Commander here has written to the executive officer, Pathankot, to pass such suitable instructions to the dealing staff.

More then 10,000 people residing within 1000 metres of the 2 ammunition sub depot (2 A.S.D) Mamoon here are worried after administration’s orders regarding carrying out the valuation of their properties after fire incident which took place on April 28, 2001.


Ropar bypass project cleared
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 18
Punjab Health Minister Ramesh Sharma said here today that the government would not succumb to any pressure, including that of the IMA while bringing the guilty to book in the kidney scam, cases.

He was here to preside over a school function. He said the state government had cleared Ropar bypass project. The project would be taken up by the PIDB shortly, he added.

He further said the government had decided to build a new bridge near the old Ropar bridge. An amount of Rs 20 lakh had been sanctioned for the project, he added. Another amount of Rs 20 lakh had been sanctioned and placed with the Ropar Deputy Commissioner for the development of the town, he said.


Action taken against 32 panchayats
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 18
The district administration has initiated departmental action against 32 village panchayats for misutilisation of funds. Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, said these sarpanches would face action under Section 20 (1) of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994. He said that sarpanches found guilty would be removed from their post and case registered against them.

Mr Tiwari told that a case under Section 420 has been slapped against Jasbir Singh, Sarpanch, Vada Bhai Ka, Block Ghal Khurd and another case under Section 409 of the IPC has been registered against Joginder Singh, Sarpanch, Bhala Farayamal for not maintaining the record of funds.


Kidnapping that was not
Our Correspondent

Maur Mandi, January 18
The two-month-old Harpreet kidnapping case has been solved. Harpreet, who had gone missing on November 26 last year was found at Panchkula, Haryana, doing a job. He was handed over to his family on Thursday.

The father of Harpreet had implicated his two friends Avtar Singh and Iqbal Singh in the case.

Both of them remained first in police remand and later in judicial remand.

Police sources said that Harpreet had accepted that he had gone away on his own. Six days after running away from home, Harpreet had talked to family members on phone.


Undertrial dead
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 18
An undertrial, Davinder Chand, who was brought to the jail on January 8 under the NDPS Act was reported dead today. Jail officials claimed that he went to bathroom this morning and fell down. He was admitted to Civil Hospital. The hospital authorities declared the patient dead, however, members of the Jail Guard Association said the patient died due to lack of timely medical treatment. They also demanded an inquiry into his death to ascertain facts.


Jeep hits bus, two dead

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 18
Two people were killed on the spot while one was injured when a jeep collided with a private bus near Roza Sharif today.

According to information, six people were on their way from Patiala to Ropar in the jeep when it collided with the bus around 10.15 am.

Gagandeep Singh, son of Ajmer Singh, resident of Patiala, and Balram, resident of Sherpur, were killed on the spot while Harpreet Kaur, wife of Gagandeep Singh, was seriously injured.

According to sources, Harpreet Kaur was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib. From there she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, but her parents took her to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

After conducting a postmortem examination at the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib, the bodies of the victims were handed over to their relatives.

The sources said the driver of bus immediately fled from the scene. The police have registered a case and impounded the bus. UNI


2 held in paddy scam case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 18
The police has arrested Surjit Singh of Muthianwali and Vijay Kumar of Fazilka in connection with the PUNSUP paddy scam. They were produced in a judicial court here today, which remanded them in police custody for two days.

The police had registered the case earlier this month following on the spot verification of stock at Pashupati Rice Mills at Kalatibba. Comprehensive search of the premises of a rice mill run by a SAD circle president at Guruharsahai was conducted and a huge quantity of the stolen paddy was recovered.

Other named in the case are Darshan Singh, Ranjit Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Satnam Singh, Baljit Singh and Gulbir Singh. Sources said milled paddy had been siphoned off through Vijay Kumar also. The police was yet to recover the remaining stock. Official sources had put the total amount involved at Rs 1.37 crore.

Reports received here said all shops and industries at Gurharsahai remained closed as the funeral procession of Dhiraj Gupta passed through the township. Gupta was quoted by official sources as one of the partner in Pashupati Rice Mills and had withdrawn his share before the occurrence the scam.


Four SGPC task force men held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 18
The police has registered a case against six persons of the SGPC task force in connection with a clash in the district court complex yesterday.

The accused allegedly attacked Baba Major Singh of Dera Baba Bahaul Singh and general secretary of the Sant Samaj when he along with some other persons, including his official gunman had come to the court for a hearing regarding some property dispute with the SGPC.

A person of the SGPC task force allegedly attacked the Baba with his sword that led to the opening of fire in the air by his gunman. Later Baba Major Singh was admitted to Civil Hospital with head injury.

Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SP (City-II) confirmed the arrest of four persons of the SGPC task’s force namely Dasunda Singh of Jago Nangal village, Jasbir Singh of Dhindan village Palwinder Singh of Nangal Pannu village and Jasbir Singh. Two more unidentified suspects were still at large. The SP said it was yet to be ascertained that what caused the clash between the two groups.


PSEB inspector arrested

Gurdaspur, January 18
The police arrested a meter inspector of the Punjab State Electricity Board for extorting money from a villager yesterday.

According to sources, Pargat Singh of Maan village under the Kahnuwan police station complained to the Executive Engineer of the board at Srihargobindpur that meter inspector Ram Gopal had threatened him that he was indulging in theft of electricity and asked him to pay Rs 1,500 as bribe otherwise a fine of Rs 8,599 would be imposed on him. After paying the amount, he again received a bill of Rs 8599 as fine.

After examining the documents, a case was registered against the inspector under the Prevention of Corruption Act. UNI


6 held in trade union feud case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 18
The police has arrested six persons on the charge of attempting to take forcible possession of the office of the truck union, Lehragaga, yesterday. They were reportedly led by Mr Labh Singh, brother of former truck union president Hakam Singh.

Mr Ajay Sharma, SHO of the Lehragaga police station, when contacted, said Mr Gurcharan Singh, alias Mithu, was now president of the truck union, but the group led by Mr Hakam Singh opposed Mr Mithu. These persons, carrying weapons and sticks, went to the office of the truck union. The police was informed and it rushed to the scene.

It arrested Labh Singh, Tarlochan Singh, Gurtej Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Gurbakhsh Singh and Baldev Singh and registered a case under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC.


100 morphine injections seized
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 18
The police today recovered 140 kg of Poppy Husk in an anti smuggling drive on a road linking this area with Rajasthan. The recovery was affected near Chak Radhewala village, official sources said, adding that both the “suspects” had escaped. They were identified as Victor Masih s/o Nadar Singh of Tahliwala Jattan village and Kewal Krishan son of Jugnu ram of Azamwala. Both villages fall in Fazilka area.

The police today arrested Ajay Kumar son of Krishan Kumar of Street 12 here and seized 100 injections of Morphine from him. He has chemist shop in Nai Abadi locality and was allegedly selling prohibited injections etc. without prescription from doctor.

Both the cases had been registered under sections 15, 61, 95 of the NDPS Act, sources said.


Artiste alleges rape
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 18
A woman singer of an orchestra party here had alleged rape by Rajinder Pappu a member of the same party.

According to complaint lodged with the Kotwali police station here today she alleged that she was raped by Rajinder Pappu along with Shobha, a dancer of the group. The singer said she had been working with party as a singer for past two years. During the period, she alleged, the accused on promise of marrying here continued to rape her.

The police has registered the case under Section 314, 315, 506 and 34 of the IPC at Kotwali police station. The police here has also booked Nirmal Singh of Dhindsa village in Jalandhar for allegedly possessing fake passport. Mr Ashok Kumar Das, immigration officer, in his complaint alleged that the accused possessed the passport numbering A-5-910423 of March last year. The accused were to board the flight number T-5-534 for Uzbekistan. On investigation, the passport of the accused was found to be fake. A case has been registered at Raja Sansi police station under Section 419, 420, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code and 12 of the Passport Act. The police had arrested the accused.


Four-yr sentence for rapist

Gurdaspur, January 18
A rapist was sentenced to four-year imprisonment and was also slapped a fine of Rs 500 by the judge of a fast-track court here today.

On the complaint of a girl of Ohari gate in Batala, a case was registered against Ranjeet Singh of the same locality under Section 376, 363 and 366 on September 6, 1999.

The victim alleged that Ranjeet Singh kidnapped her and raped her for six days. UNI


Man strangles wife
Tribune News Service

Killi Nihal Singhwala (Bathinda), January 18
Veerpal Kaur (20), was today strangled allegedly by her husband Lakhbir Singh and others. Sources said that a police team had been sent to verify facts. The munshi of Nahinwala police station said that a case could not be registered till late evening. He also declined to disclose whether anyone accused of crime had been arrested or not.


32 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 18
The police has recovered 32 kg of poppy husk from near Kusla village of the district from Gurcharan Singh Mahant, of Rori in Sirsa district in Haryana. The Sardulgarh police has registered a case in this regard under Section 15/61/85 of the NDPS Act. The accused was produced in the court today and was remanded in police custody for one day.


Orders on school signboards not implemented
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 18
The District Education Officer (elementary and secondary) offices so far have not been able to implement government orders on the nomenclature of government schools.

Sources said that when the state government decided to change the grading of government schools from Primary, Middle, Secondary and Senior Secondary levels to two tier system i.e. Government Elementary Schools (having classes 1-8) and the Government Secondary Schools (classes 9-12) orders were issued to all schools heads that the signboards of the schools should be changed accordingly. The sources added that visits by senior officers of the department were also organised to check the implementation of the orders. The sources said the school heads who had not changed the signboards of schools were warned to do so. The sources said that while the school heads were asked to implement these orders, the officers concerned—the DEOs—had failed to implement the same.


Physical Education College students’ protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Students of the local Government Physical Education College today took out a protest march through the city which culminated in front of the residence of the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, where they demanded that the Principal of the college, Ms Indu Sarwal, be transferred for not taking any action following complaints of sexual harassment submitted to her by girl students.

Meanwhile, the two other teachers — Jagroop Singh and Prabhsharan Kaur — who have been transferred from the college even though no complaint had been submitted against them, said today that the education department had cited administrative reasons for their transfer but had clubbed their transfer with the suspension of two other teachers on sexual harassment charges. They said they would send a petition to the Education Secretary in this regard.

The students after a march through the city handed over a memorandum in this regard to the Chief Minister’s private secretary, Mr Malvinder Singh Malhi, who assured them that it would be forwarded to the Chief Minister for appropriate action.

Students also held a rally close to the residence of the Chief Minister in which they threatened to intensify their agitation in case no action was taken against the college Principal and other teachers, who they alleged had sheltered a teacher who had sexually harassed two girl students. The rally was addressed by the president of the Punjab Students Union, Mr Raminder Singh Patiala and Sikh Students Federation, president Dharmender Singh Patran besides others.

Though the education department has taken action in the case by suspending one college teacher — Kulraj Singh Gill who is accused of sexually harassing two girl students besides suspending another teacher Kulwant Kaur who is accused of “sheltering” Gill, the students today claimed that the action was incomplete. They said it was necessary to take action against Principal of the college Indu Sarwal besides other teachers — Devraj Atri and A.K. Bangar — who they claimed had supported the suspended teachers.

Students are also demanding that the Punjabi University, should depute teachers for their internal assessment which is worth around 50 per cent of the total examination marks. They said they would meet the Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, in this regard as they felt that teachers sympathetic with the suspended teachers would try to take revenge from them for raising the issue of harassment of girl students. They have also demanded that marking by external examiners should become an annual feature to end the exploitation of students on this score.


Nizampur to have technical institute
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 18
Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Technical Education Minister, has said the Lord Krishna Society will set up a technical institute at Nizampur village in Badshahpur.

Addressing a function at Ramidi village, 12 km from here, today, Mr Kaypee said Rs 4 crore would be spent for the setting up of the institute and its foundation stone would be laid on February 4. Mr Kaypee said the institute was being set up with the efforts of Mr Inderjit Singh, chairman of the society. Mr Man Singh, sarpanch of Dham village, had given 20 acres for the setting up the institute.

Mr Kaypee said 142 villages had been chosen under the model village scheme for overall development. Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a Congress leader, also addressed the function.

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