Thursday, January 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kidney scam: addresses of 400 donors found ‘fake’
Book Rajan Gupta also, demands Dang
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 22
All the 12 Special Investigation Teams (SIT), sent to other states to serve notices on 400 kidney donors returned ‘empty handed’ as their addresses were found to be ‘fake’. These teams were sent from Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar districts to serve notices on the recipients and donors in Punjab and other states.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Jalandhar) who heads the SIT revealed that the kidney recipients had tried to hoodwink the enforcement agencies in connivance with all concerned.

Mr Sharma, however, said that he had directed SP (City) and SIT member Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh to arrest persons concerned including recipients, middlemen and musclemen’ who had allegedly kidnapped Bagicha Singh (17) from the Golden Temple and had his kidney removed at gun-point in a Jalandhar hospital. The kidney was transplanted on a police inspector of Chandigarh, after getting hair of Bagicha Singh cut. He was given the name of ‘Raju’, and shown as a migrant in the record and then his case was cleared by the Authorisation Committee before removing his kidney, he was kept in illegal confinement in Chandigarh and threatened if he went to the police. The victim Bagicha Singh, a resident of Muradpura (Ludhiana) met Baljit Singh of Fatehgarh Shudarchakk in the temple in February last. Baljit Singh on the pretext of making him learn driving took him to the residence of Suresh Kumar Sharma, a relative of the accused, reportedly a police inspector in Chandigarh. The victim was, however, denied the promised Rs 40,000.

Meanwhile, Mr Satya Pal Dang, senior CPI leader, sought registration of criminal case against Mr Rajan Gupta, IG for his alleged involvement in the kidney scam. In a communication to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Dang said, “It is obvious that without some police officials helping and protecting Dr Sareen and his associates this organised crime could not have thrived, a prima facie case stands already made out against IG Rajan Gupta.

Mr Dang also sought probe into the functioning of magistrates, oath-commissioners and public notaries who had attested blatantly and clearly false affidavits. He said it must be examined to find out as to why they did that and whether it was for a consideration. If so who greased their palms — relatives of recipients of kidneys or doctor Parveen Sareen’s men etc. He said law must take its own course against them too. He urged the Chief Minister to send a detailed report to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on the role played by them.

HOSHIARPUR: Mr Gurmit Singh, SP (Headquarters) and member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe kidney scam, by Mr A.A. Saddiqui, Additional Director-General (Law and Order) and OSD to the Chief Minister under the supervision of Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector-General Zonal Jalandhar has recorded the statements of 25 to 30 patients including two/three kidney donors so far. During investigation it was revealed that only Rs 10,000 to 40,000 had been given to each kidney donor whereas the major share of amount taken from the patients had been shared between the middlemen, and doctors. As many as 143 files of kidney patients have been given to Mr Gurmit Singh for investigation out of which 84 are from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Gurmit Singh said here today that letters had been issued to 84 patients, who had got transplanted kidney, for their personal appearance before him for recording of their statements. 35 letters had been received back undelivered due to fake addresses and 49 had not replied or responded so far. Besides, 87 letters had been issued to the kidney donors out of which 56 had come back due to fake addresses whereas 31 had not replied so far.

He said during investigation donors and patients had come out against the doctors and middlemen. Further investigation was in progress, he added.


CM misleading people, says Rinwa
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 22
Accusing the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of suffering from “Badal” phobia, the Punjab BJP chief Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, today demanded that the state government should order a CBI probe or a sitting high court judge should hold an inquiry into the Rs 100 crore kidney racket to expose the involvement of influential politicians and doctors.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Rinwa refuted the allegations levelled by Capt Amarinder Singh accusing the previous SAD-BJP regime of conniving with the doctors involved in the kidney racket by not initiating any action against the accused.

“In fact, the Chief Minister is suffering from the Badal phobia as the former is trying to mislead people of the state by continuously issuing baseless statements against the Akali-BJP regime.

The Congress government had virtually failed to start new development projects in the state for the past 10 months of its rule and blaming Mr Badal for every misdeed is virtually an attempt to divert the attention of people from his own failures,” Mr Rinwa alleged.

“Will the Chief Minister tell people about the credibility of his statement that International Financial Consortium had agreed to lend $1 billion loan to Punjab for undertaking development works? What about poll promise of continuing with free power to the farming sector and abolition of octroi system? There are lots of questions, which the Chief Minister should answer first instead of posing confrontational attitude against the Opposition parties,” Mr Rinwa added.

Supporting the SAD demand for a CBI probe into the Rs 100 crore kidney racket, Mr Rinwa, accompanied by the vice-president of the Punjab BJP SC Morcha, Mr Vijay Sampla, said that the SIT, presently investigating the racket, was directly under the control of the state government, which was using its influence to settle political scores. “The state government should order a CBI probe for the conduct of an impartial inquiry or an inquiry commission headed by a sitting high court judge should be constituted for the purpose,” he added.

Launching a fresh salvo on the Chief Minister, Mr Rinwa said the Himachal Government should conduct an inquiry to expose the moveable and immoveable assets of Capt Amarinder Singh in the neighbouring state. “In fact, the Congress Government has lost its credibility among people in a short span of time and I have specific information that a group of MLAs belonging to ruling party have started lobbying for the replacement of Capt Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister due to latter’s indifferent attitude towards his colleagues,” he said, adding that the Beopar cell of the state BJP had decided to organise district-level protest rallies on January 29 against the anti-trader policies of the government.


IMA takes exception to CM’s remarks
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 22
The Punjab unit of the IMA today asserted that it was not shielding the two doctors — Dr O.P. Mahajan and Dr P.K. Sareen, who were arrested by Punjab police for their alleged involvement in the kidney racket, but had been impressing upon the Punjab Government to hold a fair and impartial probe into the racket by some independent agency other than the Punjab police.

It was reacting to the criticism by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

In a written joint press statement here on Wednesday, Dr R.C. Garg, president and Dr Surinder Singla, honorary secretary, state unit of the IMA, while assailing Punjab Chief Minister’s press statement re-iterated that the association has been demanding an impartial and thorough probe into the racket either by a sitting high court judge or the CBI.

Dr Garg and Dr Singla expressed their surprise over Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Punjab Health Minister’s rejection of the association’s demand for holding an impartial probe into the scam by the CBI which had put a question mark over the intentions of the Punjab Government.

Dr Garg and Dr Singla expressed concern over making only two doctors a scapegoats and overlooking as well as shielding many others involved in the kidney racket.


No space to store parboiled rice
FCI, rice mills suffer losses
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Jalalabad (Ferozepore), January 22
As the regional authorities (Punjab) of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been finding it difficult to find any space to store the parboiled rice in a scientific manner in Ferozepore, Muktsar, Faridkot and Moga districts, they have been asking the Delhi headquarters to help lift the rice so that milling operation could be continued and the godowns vacated for storing new arrivals of parboiled rice.

But having failed to get any positive response from the headquarters, the regional FCI authorities have started storing the parboiled rice at faraway places by incurring huge expenditure on transportation from the rice mills. The parboiled rice delivered by Jalalabad mills is stored at Abohar, that delivered by Dharamkot and Kot Isse Khan at Talwandi Bhai and that delivered by Faridkot mills at Kotkapura.

Official sources said that the FCI had started suffering losses on account of transporting the parboiled rice from one place to another for storage on one hand and rice mill owners had been forced to run their units below the level of their installed capacity due to negligible lifting of rice by the FCI.

Mr B.R., Dharmik, Regional Manager, FCI, Punjab region, when contacted at Chandigarh admitted that there was negligible movement of parboiled rice from these districts to other states and the FCI had been facing a problem of storage. He added that at present, the FCI had a stock of 25 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice in its godowns dotting the state and in the past four months, only, 9,000 tonnes parboiled rice had been sent to other states.

He pointed out that transportation of parboiled rice to other states had been slowed down significantly as there was no demand from Orissa, Assam, West Bengal and a number of states in the southern part of country. He added that the hike of Rs 600 per metric tonne in the rate of parboiled rice for export made by the Ministry of Food, Government of India, also emerged a major factor in its declining demand.

He disclosed that the matter was being regularly taken up with the headquarters for sanctioning more special trains to Punjab for transporting the parboiled rice to other states.

Official sources said that due to non-availability of space, the state procurement agencies had also been suffering losses to the tune of lakhs of rupees daily as the milling operations had been slowed down and it had hampered the custom milling of paddy.

Meanwhile, the millers demanded that FCI authorities should use the vacant space lying in various godowns in many districts of Punjab for storing the parboiled rice to increase its lifting and to make their units run at their respective installed capacities.


Power plant faces coal crisis
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 22
Coal stock of the Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP) here has reached critical state with reserves just for four days only against the Central Electricity Authority guidelines of keeping 22 days stock in reserve.

The sources here said that at present the reserve stock of coal with the plant has been reduced to 98129 metric tonnes. This includes 20000 tonnes of carpet coal which cannot be used in the plant. With daily consumption of coal in the plant being 20000 metric tonnes it now has reserve stocks for four days only.

Due to the shortage of coal the plant was forced to cut load on three turbines yesterday. The said turbines were run on load of just 190 MW per hour against the normal load of 210 MW.

The sources told that the coal crisis in the plant a major power generating unit of the PSEB had arisen due to the non-payment to the Railways by the PSEB. Due to non-payment of dues the Railways allegedly had reduced number of racks to the PSEB from January 1. This month the plant has received only 70 racks of coal much below the normal supply and requirement.

Due to reduced supply of coal the plant authorities had to use the reserve stock also nearing depletion.

The sources said at present the plant was using one rack daily from the reserve stock. If coal supply fails to improve in the next few days the plant may have to stop power generation in one or more units worsening power supply in the state.

The General Manager of the plant, Mr Luthra, admitting the coal crisis said that it had been caused due to persistent fog delaying the arrival of coal racks. The matter has been taken up with the Railway authorities who had assured to improve things, he said.


PSEB staff hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 22
Hundreds of employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today staged dharna outside Shakti Sadan here to register their protest against the state government’s proposed move to privatise the board.

Addressing the gathering, the convener of the PSEB Employees’ Struggle Committee, Mr Amarjit Sodhi, alleged that the state government was following the anti-employee policies and the proposed move to bifurcate the board would be opposed by the employees.

The agitating employees raised anti-government slogans and demanded that the already accepted demands of the employees should be implemented without further delay failing which they would launch a statewide agitation.

The committee has decided to observe strike in all parts of the state on February 4.


NFL ‘forcing’ VRS on employees
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 22
Workers of the NFL plant at Nangal, today threatened to start an agitation if the management forced them to accept the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS). In a gate rally held at Nangal on Wednesday leaders of the Nangal Khad Factory Mazdoor Dal alleged that the management was forcing the workers to accept the VRS scheme under the threat of transfers.

The management after offering the VRS scheme, has directed the sectional heads of the company to prepare lists of the surplus staff working under them. The sectional heads instead of preparing lists of the surplus staff were settling personal scores with the subordinate employees. Even the handicapped employees who were recruited recently on the directions of the Supreme Court were also being declared surplus.

The president of the union, Mr G.L. Khera, told this correspondent that the surplus lists were being prepared by the management only to pressurise the workers to accept the VRS. The management, besides threatening the staff with transfers was telling the workers that after the VRS the company might resort to the voluntary separation scheme under which the workers would just be given their dues and told to part with their jobs.

The union leaders alleged that there was no need to reduce the staff in the NFL as after the declaration of new fertiliser policy by the government the company was set to generate record profits. The company was expecting a record net profit of Rs 210 crore by the end of the financial year.

Meanwhile sources said the recent move of the NFL management to reduce the worker load was motivated by the government move to privatise the company. The Union Government had recently invited fresh bids for the NFL. The sources said most of the interested bidders had told the government to first reduce the workforce of the company.

BATHINDA: The Employees Union of the local unit of the National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) on Wednesday held a gate meeting and alleged that the government and the management of the NFL was bent upon privatising this ‘profit making’ undertaking.

Mr Harish Chandra, president of the union, alleged that the NFL was being privatised to cater to the ‘needs’ of the multinational companies. He said in its operational history of 25 years the NFL has paid a divident of Rs 200 crore. He pointed out that the plant was operating at 100 per cent capacity and has never faced any labour unrest or industrial relations problems. He added that the quality of the produce was also very good and no marketing problem has been seen by the NFL.


Lectures condoned for marriage!
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 22
Punjabi University has set a new precedent by condoning the lectures of a M.Com. (second year) student who submitted that she could not attend classes regularly due to her marriage in October last year.

The submission was made by second year student Amandeep one day prior to her examination. In her submission she said she could not attend to her studies due to her marriage and that she be allowed to sit in the examination.

The Vice Chancellor, on his part wrote the following note on the application itself. “Due to shopping, preparations, honeymoon this lapse, though serious, is not unforgivable. This is her happy time and should not be marred as she is a first class student. The shortage is therefore condoned and she is allowed to sit in the examination”.

Though the girl may have had a valid point due to which she could not attend to her studies, condoning of her lectures resulted in other students also demanding the same concession. Law students of the university who fell short of lectures also demanded that they be condoned. The University in its wisdom also condoned off their lectures but stipulated that they pay a fine of Rs 5,000, which was also levied on the girl student.

Seven to eight law students took cover under the excuse that some of them belonged to rural areas and could not pay the tall fine imposed on them. They also organised a dharna and closed the front gate of the university in December. The authorities soon buckled under their demand and even dropped the criteria of paying Rs 5,0000 fine.

The Forum of Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) today claimed that the rules of the university could not be changed on any one’s “whims and fancies” and that tomorrow other girl students getting married during their study period would also demand the same concession.

A forum president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said the university had also shown weakness in administration by buckling under pressure when other students also demanded the same concession. “Ideally such a situation should not have been allowed to come to pass”, Dr Dhillon added. 


Patiala leads in female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Nabha, January 22
Punjab leads the country in female foeticide. The male, female ratio here is 1000:770.

Patiala is ahead of all other districts in this crime against humanity. Here 330 female foetuses are aborted every year.

Mr Somparkash, Deputy Director, Social Security and Child Development, express these views at a function organised at the local Hira Palace.

Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Mr Tejvir Singh, said by denying equal rights to the female child the society was only showing its mental weakness.

Bibi Satinder Kaur, member PPCC, Mr Harjit Taneja and Ms Nasiba Sultana also participated.


Ex-PTU VC seeks bail in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice of motion for March 24 on a petition filed by Punjab Technical University’s former Vice-Chancellor Hardev Singh Gurum seeking the grant of bail in a cheating and corruption case.

Mr Gurum was booked in a case registered by the Vigilance Bureau on October 18 last year under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the prosecution, Mr Gurum, along with former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and another accused, had caused a loss of about Rs 11 crore to the state exchequer.

The prosecution had added that the three were allegedly involved in the appointment of 95 persons in the university without advertising the posts and arranging for the tests. Those appointed included 34 from Mr Garcha’s constituency. It was further alleged that the petitioner and the co-accused gave contracts to firms quoting the maximum rates.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel for the petitioner contended that the accused was being implicated in a false case. He added that the former Vice-Chancellor was not required by the Vigilance and should be granted bail.

CM’s election

Continuing with the arguments on the issue of maintainability of a petition challenging the election of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh from the Patiala Assembly constituency, his counsel today played a video cassette of a press conference in the court in an attempt to substantiate his arguments against the allegations of malpractice during the poll.

Arguing before the court, counsel claimed that even if IAS officer Bharat Inder Singh Chahal was present during the press conference, it did not make any difference. Giving details, counsel added that the conference was about the nomination papers and no reference was made to Assembly constituency No 76. Moreover, the voters were not present during the conference and the correspondents were not voters from that constituency. The case will now come up for hearing on January 29.

It may be recalled that Harkirat Singh — a voter from Patiala — had earlier alleged that the Chief Minister had used the services of Mr Chahal and the documentary evidence, appended along with the petition, proved his role beyond any shadow of doubt. 


Defamation case: CM denies charges
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today denied allegation of spreading and publishing false reports about assets and properties of the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while filing a reply in a defamation case filed against him by Mr Badal.

Capt Amarinder Singh had filed reply through his counsels in the court of UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal. Giving details Capt Amarinder Singh stated that corruption had been rampant in public life and had eaten the vitals of the system. Therefore allegations of the corruption against those who were in power should be verified in order to maintain the faith and confidence the people. He also pleaded that the present suit filed by Mr Badal was not maintainable and deserved to be dismissed.

Mr Badal had filed a defamation suit against Capt Amarinder Singh of alleging that Capt Amarinder Singh had been spreading and publishing false information about his assets and properties for the last one year and had been persisting with the same after he became the CM. Mr Badal had sought damages of Rs 5 crore. Mr Badal stated that Capt Amarinder Singh, had defamed him through letters and advertisements issued in media.

Mr Badal also alleged that even during the course of Assembly elections campaign Capt Amarinder Singh, as President of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC), with the active connivance of All India Congress Committee (AICC), particularly its president, had got a number of false misleading and defamatory posters, advertisements published in the newspapers.



Govt has failed on all fronts: CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
The leader of the CPI in Punjab, Dr Joginder Dayal, said today the state government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh had failed on all fronts, adding that the state’s money was being spent on non-developmental activities.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should tell people how much money he had spent from the state’s exchequer on often flying in a chopper. “People have a right to know whether the chopper was being used for public welfare and for performing duties related to the state or not”, he added.

Unemployment was increasing but the government was silent on filling 30,000 vacancies in various departments. Promotions of employees had been stopped. Ministerial and administrative expenditure was shooting up. The development process in the state had come to a halt, he added. The industry was facing the worst of times. Several units in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Gobindgarh had been closed in the recent past.

He said the national unit of his party would organise a march to Parliament on February 26 to oppose the “anti-people” policies of the Union and Punjab governments. Policies of the WTO were being implemented in Punjab in an aggressive manner, he added. Starting of contract farming was part of implementing of the WTO policies. A rally would be held by the party in March at Moga, he added.

He has urged the Prime Minister to call a meeting of the political parties from Punjab and Haryana on the SYL canal issue asking them to explain their position on the issue.

Dr Joginder Dayal said today that his party was prepared to provide proof that former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Badal, had got election fund in connection with the Majitha byelection from one of the doctors involved in the kidney scandal.


PCS officer’s staff ‘beat up’ trucker, helper
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 22
Truck operators jammed traffic this evening near the ITI chowk to protest against the alleged beating up of a truck driver and his helper, by the gunman and the driver of a PCS officer posted in the district. Traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa and Bathinda-Dabwali roads was disrupted due to the protest.

The driver and the gunman of the PCS officer allegedly beat up Mr Balwinder Singh and Mr Hakam Singh, driver and helper of the truck. Minutes after the incident took place, the truck operators parked their vehicles on the road, disrupting traffic to different cities from Bathinda. Traffic was diverted to other roads.

The truckers alleged that the driver and the gunman came in the official vehicle of the officer who was not in the car. They said that the truck driver was making a phone call to his residence, when the driver and the gunman of the officer started beating up him without assigning any reason.

When attempts of junior police officials to pacify the truckers failed, Mr Harjinder Singh, SP (H), reached the spot. The truck drivers wanted that the accused be brought before them and beaten up in the similar way as they had beaten truckers.

Mr Harjinder Singh, when contacted, said that though he was not fully aware about what happened, the truckers were levelling allegations against driver and gunman of a PCS officer. He said that the registration number which the truckers had given to him, was that of the official vehicle of the officer.


Minister, MP fail to turn up for hospital’s inauguration
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, January 22
The state Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chand Dogra and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP, from Ropar today failed to turn up to inaugurate the newly-built building of the Sanatan Dharam Charitable Hospital here. In the absence of the two leaders, the building was inaugurated by Mr Hari Chand Goyal, whose family donated/incurred the entire amount of money for the completion of the hospital. The land for the hospital was provided by the local Sanatan Dharam Sabha.

A havan was performed for the success of the hospital.


Help to mentally challenged at doorstep
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 22
Mentally challenged children living in the city and its nearby areas will now be reachable by special workers at their homes following a programme initiated by the Navjivani School for Special Children. The school has initiated training of women who will serve the special needs of mentally handicapped children.

The training programme, which was formally inaugurated by Mrs Arvind Dhaliwal, wife of Patiala SSP Paramraj Singh Umranangal, saw trainees being told of the special needs of mentally challenged children.

Speaking on the occasion, the school director Dr N S Sodhi said the “Domiciliary scheme” had been started to cater to children who could not be admitted to the school or any other institution due to a number of problems. He said under the scheme, a batch of 10 young women were being trained at the school under a Central Government scheme.

He said the scheme had a dual purpose of providing help to the mentally challenged at their doorstep besides serving as an employment avenue for young women. Dr Sodhi said while those not able to afford the service would be charged a nominal sum, those who could afford it would be charged Rs 300 per visit. He said during the visits the special workers would tell the family how to handle and tackle the needs of the child, both emotional and other needs.

A school trust member, Dr Ravi Bhushan said more batches of girls would be trained to look after the needs of the mentally challenged, adding the trust would also pay the special workers an honourarium of Rs 400 per month. Mrs Arvind Dhaliwal also spoke to the trainees besides interacting with the mentally challenged children.



Three die, 10 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 22
Three persons were killed and 10 others injured in two different road accidents in the area during the past 24 hours. In one incident, two passengers were killed on the spot when an mini bus overturned near Bath village last night. In a head-on collision between a truck and a car, one car passenger died on the spot and the remaining four passengers were injured seriously.

Police sources said Ajaib Singh (30) of Sabhra village and Kashmir Singh (50) of Nagoke village, an employee of the PSEB, died on the spot when the mini bus overturned.

The injured have been identified as Harbhajan Kaur, Amarjit Kaur (both residents of Kang village, Sukhwinder Kaur of Bath village and Sukhdev Singh of Dulchipur village. The other injured were discharged after giving first aid.

In the second incident, Harjinder Singh (19) of Patti died on the spot while the injured have been identified as Chamkaur Singh of Patti, Nasib Singh of Gandiwind, Sonu of Chohla Sahib and the driver of the car, Jugnu. The injured have been admitted at Amritsar hospitals. The truck driver has absconded.


Insurance firm told to pay claim
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 22
The local District Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum today censured National Insurance Company Limited for allegedly concealing and suppressing official documents for denying payment of just and genuine claim to its client New Suraj Transport Co. Ltd. The forum has directed the insurance company to pay the claim of over Rs 3 lakh along with the interest to the client within a limited period.

The insurance company had filed an incomplete and false copy of the investigation report in the court to escape its liability, but during the evidence in the court, it was forced to file the true copy of the investigation report which clinched the matter.

The complainant company had suffered a claim of Rs 3,80,763 in 1996 under Carriers Legal Liability Policy issued by a branch office of the insurance company. Despite submitting all claim documents, the divisional office of the company kept delaying the settlement of the claim of the complainant company for over six years on one pretext or the other.


36 hurt as roof collapses

Sangrur, January 22
As many as 36 persons were injured this evening after roof of a house at Khanauri in this district collapsed, the police said.

Condition of six injured was reported to be serious.

Five of the seriously injured were referred to Tohana in Haryana bordering Khanauri while the sixth was referred to Rajindra hospital, Patiala.

The mishap occurring during a religious function (Satsang) in which 350 devotees were participating it said. PTI


Ultimatum to govt on farmers’ dues
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 22
Condemning the state government for its failure to release Rs 80 crore towards the payment of arrears of crop sold by sugarcane growers last year, the SAD (Amritsar) today served an ultimatum to the government to release the amount within 15 days, failing which it would block traffic on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana road at Phillaur.

Addressing a protest rally of farmers and SAD (A) workers outside a sugar mill in Nakodar, near here, today, president of SAD (A) and MP Simranjit Singh Mann said the state government had failed to keep its word, forcing the farmers to come on the street. “We will permanently block traffic on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana road at Phillaur if the Congress government fails to disburse arears of sugarcane growers within 15 days. The shaby treatment being given to the farming community has virtually exposed the true face of the government among the people,” he said. On the Rs 100 crore kidney racket, Mr Mann said the SIT should probe the role of politicians into the racket, who had used their influence to mint money by conniving with doctors and middlemen. “There are specific reports that several Congress and SAD-BJP leaders were involved in the racket,” he added.

Demanding expansion of Rajasansi Airport at Amritsar, Mr Mann said that the government should encourage export of vegetables and other agro-products by air.


Drive to recover loans from farmers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 22
After getting permission from the state authorities, the Primary Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) authorities of the region today started a campaign regarding the recovery of loans advanced to farmers. Two defaulters in Mansa district were arrested today.

However, a defaulting farmer of Tungwali village in the district managed to escape. The PADB authorities have lodged a complaint with the police in this connection.

Official sources said the PADB authorities had issued warrants against 61 farmers for defaulting in the payment of instalments of loans taken by them for non-agricultural and allied activities. They have also prepared warrants against more than 150 farmers falling in same category and their arrests would begin soon.

The sources added that the authorities had also prepared the documents for attaching the properties of defaulters and subsequently holding auction for disposing of the same to recover the amount advanced to such farmers.

A senior official of the PADB said to expedite recovery, the PADB authorities had been contemplating new ways and means for pressurising the defaulting farmers. Information gathered by TNS revealed that nearly 17,000 loanees had turned defaulters in the district and the percentage of recovery was 17.8 as only Rs 6.50 crore had been recovered of the total amount of Rs 42 crore.


Murder case: SSP exonerates SP (H)
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 22
The SSP here has submitted a report to the DGP, Punjab, exonerating the SP (H), Mansa, Mr H.S. Sekhon, of all charges. Ms Gurdeep Kaur of Gidderbaha, Muktsar district, in a complaint to the DGP and other officials had alleged that Ms Parminder Kaur, a local resident, had murdered her husband Gurmit Singh with the help of the Punjab police.

The case is presently in the Sessions Court, Patiala, and an inquiry is also pending with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the National Commission of SC/ST.

She alleged that Mr Sekhon was pressurising and intimidating her to withdraw the case and effect a compromise with Ms Parminder Kaur.


Two held on murder, theft charges
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 22
The police here today claimed that it had solved a two-and-a-half-year-old blind murder case following the arrest of two youths, besides recovering nine stolen two-wheelers from their possession. According to district police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said the two youths — Baljit Singh and Rajinder Kumar, both of Ranjit Nagar in the city — had been arrested by a naka party while they were entering the city on a motor cycle without any number plate. The SSP said one of the youths had been holding a video camera in his hand.

Mr Umranangal said following this, the case was taken up by the city Kotwali police and more recoveries were made in the case following the interrogation of the youths. He said the youths had admitted during the interrogation that they had murdered one Jaswant Singh near Seona village on July 1, 2000, by strangulating him and throwing his body in a drain. Later, they fled from the scene with the scooter and video-camera of the victim.

The police officer said that the accused had also admitted that they had stolen nine two-wheelers in the recent past, all of which had been recovered. He said while one Hero Honda motor cycle (PB-31-A-1813) had been stolen from the district courts, two scooters had been stolen from Rajindra Hospital, two from the Model town and three from other areas in the city, besides one motor cycle which was also stolen from the district courts. The accused have been remanded to police custody.


Man stoned to death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 22
The Majitha police district has booked sarpanch of Nawanpind village for allegedly murdering Madan Lal here last evening.

Jaspal Sharma, a resident of the same village, in his complaint lodged stated that Basant Singh, sarpanch of the village, along with his two sons Baldev Singh and Hardev Singh, nephew Sukhdev Singh and Satnam Singh stoned his father Madan Lal to death over the issue metalling of streets and laying of sewers. His mother was also seriously injured in the incident. The accused fled the scene after commiting the crime.

A case has been registered against the four persons under Section 302, 323 of the IPC.


6 convicted in assault case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 22
In two cross cases Mr Ranjit Singh, Judicial Magistrate, (First Class) here, on Monday convicted six persons, including a former Sarpanch. They were sentenced six-month imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each.

The police had registered two separate cases against Sudesh Kaur, Darshan Singh, Lakhvir Singh, all residents of Hazipur and Partap Singh, Sain Dass, former Sarpanch of Bhanwal village and Bhupinder Singh in a case of assault over a land dispute.


2 held for thefts
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 22
The police here has arrested two persons — Teja Singh of Doburji village near Ropar and Harinder Singh of Chamkaur Sahib for thieving.

Ropar SSP, GPS Bhullar in a press note here today said that during interrogation the arrested admitted to have committed thefts in Power Colony, Ropar, the Railway yard at Ghanauli and the Ropar Thermal Plant. They have also given the names of their accomplices identified as Varun Kumar, Baljit Singh, Babi and Vinod Kumar of Jalandhar.

A Maruti car stolen from the Power Colony Ropar, .12 bore country-made pistol and three cartridges were also recovered, the SSP told.


Man held for showing porno films
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 22
The police raided a computer centre at the Bhaghu road of the city and unearthed a porno film parlour near a convent school here.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said the computer centre was a cover for the parlour and youths were shown porno films by the owner. He said the police seized three computers with nine pornographic films stored in them.

The SSP said one of the accused, Naresh Kakkar, had been arrested while the other accused, Bal Krishan, a resident of Dabwali, had escaped. He said a case under Sections 292 and 293 of the IPC and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act had been registered in this regard.


Exams affect teaching in govt schools
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 22
Teaching work in state-run schools has been affected as students have been asked to appear in the pre-board exams just after the December tests by the authorities concerned.

Highly placed sources said after the December tests and winter break the schools were opened on January 1. Paper marking, result compilation, preparation of report cards, etc also affected teaching work.

The sources said after the District Magistrate changed the timings of the schools the teaching time was further reduced by one hour and some schools even observed January 13 and 14 as local holidays on account of Lohri and Maghi. After having teaching days from January 15 to 18 the school authorities were asked to start the pre-board exams from January 20.

Interestingly, no date-sheet has been supplied to the schools. The sources further said the class VIII board exams were scheduled from February 14 and if the pre-board exams were held on the board pattern then this would leave no time for the revision of the syllabus.

Some schools are planning to do away with result compilation this time to save time as attendance at the schools reduces significantly due to approaching board exams.

They added that most of the male teachers of the state-run schools would be sent on examination duty and this would further compound the problem.

Meanwhile, no senior officer of the District Education Office could be contacted for information.


VC’s circular has dons in a flutter
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 22
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, has tried to explain his recent actions on the Punjabi front through a circular which quotes the advise given by Abraham Lincoln to his son’s school teacher.

The circular, which has been written on January 20, was circulated among teachers and students today. The circular has an uncanny similarity to the justification released by Punjabi University recently to show why it had decided to allow teaching of Punjabi only during the first year of the B.Sc science course as well as going in for a change in its recruitment policy.

The second para of the ‘’advise” says: “Teach him to have faith in his own ideas even if everyone tells him they are wrong. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd”. Other quotes in the advise include: “Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to close his ears to the howling mob and to stand up and fight if he thinks he is right.”

Though the letter gives other advise also to the teacher of Lincoln’s son, university teachers are reading different meanings in the letter, which is the first time that the Vice-Chancellor has addressed teachers and students together. This is also probably the first time that a varsity VC has issued such a lengthy note of advise with notes from VCs usually being limited to greetings on the New Year or Divali.

Teachers feel that Mr Boparai has tried to answer his critics through the letter, specially after his decision to amend varsity rules with regard to Punjabi usage have been met with criticism from even the university besides outside bodies. The varsity’s recent Academic Council meeting had decided to restrict teaching of Punjabi to only the first year of the three-year B.Sc science course. Besides this, the Syndicate passed the agenda removing the condition which made it mandatory to have passed the class X Punjabi examination for recruitment as a teacher in the institution.



Science models competition
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 22
Teams of the Government College of Education, Faridkot and the Government College of Education, Patiala, shared equal honours in the third Inter-College Working Science Models Competition, organised under the aegis of the Patiala Chapter of the Indian Science Congress and the Punjab Academy of Sciences at the State College of Education here yesterday.

Bharat Bhushan and Pooja of Faridkot College won the first prize in the life sciences section, while Rasik and Shveta of the local Education College got the first position in the physical sciences section.

Special prizes for teaching aids in the physical sciences section went to Tilak Raj and Renuka and those in the life section went to Tonika and Daisy Gupta — all students of the local Education College. The prizes were awarded to the students by Dr B S Gill, Professor Emeritus of Punjabi University. Earlier, the exhibition was inaugurated by Dean, Colleges, Dr S.P.S. Virdi. The Principal of the local college, Dr Kanwarjit Singh, spoke on the exhibition and how it helped in making students learn the concepts of science.


Anandpur, Mansa teams bag top positions
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 22
Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur College, Anandpur Sahib today bagged the top position in the Bhangra competition and S.D. Kanya Mahavidyala, Mansa, the first position in the Giddha competition on the inaugural day of the Inter- Zonal Youth festival organised on the Punjabi University campus today.

The Bhangra team of S D Colleg, Barnala, was adjudged second while the team of Government College, Malerkotla bagged the second position in the Giddha section.

Earlier, varsity Pro Vice- Chancellor Dr R N Pal inaugurated the youth festival along with Prof Daljit Singh, Director, Youth Welfare. Speaking on the occasion, the Pro Vice Chancellor said such festivals were needed for the overall development and personality of the youth. 


IGNOU centre
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 22
Mr M.L. Arora, Vice-Principal, DAV College, Bathinda, today welcomed students of the local study centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University. He said IGNOU had emerged as the largest open university of the world. Prof S.P. Jain, coordinator of the study centre, said 820 students were on rolls of the centre.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |