Sunday, February 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



BBMB’s joint power venture in HP
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 1
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) would develop 144 MW hydro electric project in a joint venture with the Himachal Government. The said project which had got the clearance from the Himachal Government and the partner states of the BBMB, would be brought up at Swara Kandu on the Pabar river near Shimla.

The Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, gave this information while talking to this correspondent at Nangal today.

Mr Rakesh Nath further said the commissioning of three power projects of 18 MW capacity planned by BBMB on the Nirwana branch of the Bhakra mainline was being delayed inordinately. The delay was being caused because of the tough stance taken by the Punjab Government on the issue.

The Punjab Government wanted to develop the said projects on its own. However, the partner states of the BBMB have objected to the proposal of Punjab. In this situation the BBMB had proposed to develop the projects on behalf of the partner states. If the BBMB develops the project Punjab being a major partner state in it would be the main beneficiary from the project.

The matter was being taken with the Punjab Government as all other partner states and Union Government had given a clearance to the BBMB proposal.

To augment the generation of power in Bhakra, the BBMB was floating global tenders for the upgradation of the Left Hand Power House turbines of Bhakra. The generating capacity of the said turbines which were originally supplied by Hitachi would be increased from 108 MW to 126 MW. Besides this, tenders were also being floated for the upgradation of one turbine each at Ganguwal and Kotla power houses.

When asked why the turbines of the Ganguwal and Kotla power houses, which were upgraded earlier by the BHEL, were allegedly not generating the desired capacity, the Chairman said: “The BHEL has admitted its fault in the design of the upgraded turbines. The BHEL for the first time has agreed to replace the faulty machines from the Ganguwal and Kotla power houses. They are now model testing the new machines and would replace them with the existing ones free of cost.

About the status of the BBMB if the electricity boards of the partner states of BBMB were privatised, the Chairman said the owner states would decide about the dealing of the BBMB with new entities. The BBMB would then most likely hand over the power generated at its utilities to the transmission corporates. About the fate of the employees of the PSEB who were serving in the BBMB, the chairman said the matter had to be decided by the parent states.


Police gets Sohal’s custody cancelled
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 1
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau, which sought and secured two-day police remand of former Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Chairman G.S. Sohal yesterday, today produced Mr Sohal before a Duty Magistrate and pleaded that it did not need to question him in the electronic meters case.

Highly placed sources said the Vigilance team was apparently perturbed by Mr Sohal’s failing health during questioning which has been going on for three days now. They said Sohal, who is suffering from parkinson’s disease and slight paralysis, suffered deterioration in his health during police questioning. Sources said this was the reason to produce Sohal in court today, one day after a two-day police remand had been granted against him.

The Vigilance team produced Sohal before a duty magistrate and submitted an application saying it did not need his further remand as it had got the record needed from him. The Vigilance team asked the court to remand him in judicial custody in the case.

Meanwhile, District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal granted bail to Sohal. The bail application had been submitted in the court of the Sessions Judge earlier.

Sohal’s counsel said the PSEB Chairman functioned as liaison between the government and the Board. He said the decision to purchase the electronic meters had been taken by a duly constituted Purchase Committee. He said no specific allegation of kickbacks or any other form of corruption had been proved against Mr Sohal. The judge granted him bail on a bail bond of Rs 25,000 and a surety of the like amount.


MPs show concern on PSUs
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
All MPs from Punjab view with concern the functioning of public sector undertakings (PSUs), boards and corporations a majority of which are in financial straits. They want the government to bring out a white paper on these loss-making organisations holding bureaucrats and politicians concerned accountable for the same. They even favour either disinvestment or closure of such organisations.

The other concern of these MPs is the high cost of credit to farmers through co-operative banks. They favour the discontinuation of all freebies and giving of only targeted subsides, restructuring of the PSEB and restoring its autonomous status. These MPs are for a major drive for resource mobilisation and the opening of a single window for attracting investments and remittances from non-resident Punjabis assuring their participation in development projects.

The MPs are keen that the state should also issue a white paper on the long-pending issues with the Centre so that the same can be taken up effectively with the ministries concerned or raised in Parliament.

These views, expressed by the MPs at the first meeting of the State Planning Board earlier this month, have been consolidated and a copy is with TNS. Though the Akali MPs abstained, the BJP MPs — Ms Gurcharan Kaur and Mr Lajpat Rai — had participated along those from the Congress and the CPI. Who said what gives an insight into the minds of these MPs:

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar: There should be no compromise when it comes to nursing the economic/fiscal health of Punjab. Co-operative credit is an important issue and merits attention of the Vidhan Sabha. The state should prepare a white paper on issues pending with the Centre and also make PSEB autonomous.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann: Education creates awareness. Let panchayats be actively associated with management of schools. To encourage NRIs to invest in the state, the government should open a ‘’reliable’’ bank for their money. Atomic power is the only way out in the absence of hydro resources for power generation. Besides, an international airport to open Punjab to world-wide trade, state’s roads and sewerage system need attention. Funds should be given for old-age pension scheme.

Mr Lajpat Rai: Educational grants be given on performance basis to the institutions. Sales Tax evasion is due to the connivance of department officials and business suffers when considerations are paid even for genuine work. Public-private sector healthy participation is a must.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib: Accountability of officers responsible for losses in PSUs is imperative, so is eradicating corruption at lower levels or cutting edge of the administration, particularly in registration of property deeds.

Ms Gurcharan Kaur: Need is for empowerment of women and also to reduce the widening gap between the rich and poor. Participation of women in “unconventional” jobs is required.

Mr Charanjit Singh Channi: Villages of Punjab must be enabled to become “self-supporting”. All basic civic facilities and amenities available in urban areas must be provided in the rural sector as well.

Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura: Care of the deprived sections of society must continue and problems of weaker sections mitigated. Down-sizing of the police is needed and also disbanding of police districts.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo: A separate account be opened for funds received under the Centrally sponsored schemes to stop diversion of money and also hold accountable all persons responsible for pushing PSUs, boards and corporations into the red. Road net-work should be improved and toll tax levied, where needed. For all practical purposes the current financial year is one of “plan holiday”. The board felt that plans should be dove-tailed to resources and next year, 2003-04, explored to mop up additional resources to improve fiscal/economic health of Punjab. It was proposed that size of the Annual Plan, 2003-04, be pegged at Rs 3,100 crore against Rs 2,793 crore for the current year.

The board impressed upon the MPs to pressure the Centre to lift sugar worth Rs 435 crore turning bitter in godowns, and enable the state to pay dues to the farmers besides getting a special economic package cleared to promote industry and also seek waiver on Rs 5,800 crore special term loan.


2 die after inhaling fumes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 1
Two workers of Bathinda Chemicals Limited (BCL) here died after they inhaled fumes of a chemical while cleaning a tank on the factory premises without wearing safety masks. Another worker who fell unconscious after inhaling the fumes was saved after he was given medical aid on the spot.

According to information, the workers had gone inside the tank to clean it and inhaled hexane, and fell unconscious. They later died. The bodies were sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination. The dead were identified as Gurdlal Singh, a local resident, and Amit Kumar of Bihar. The labourer who was saved identified as Amrit Pal.

While the manager of the BCL, Mr N.M. Bhanot, claimed that the labourers went inside the tank on their own despite the fact that they were forbidden to do so, the associates of the deceased working in the factory alleged that they were never instructed not to go inside the tank containing the chemical for cleaning the same. They added that they were never provided safety masks.

Mr Bhanot pointed out that there was no need to provide safety masks to the labourers as they were never directed to go inside the tank. They were given instruction to clean the tank after opening the manhole of the tank, which was safe.

However, the associates of the deceased pointed out that for the past 10 to 11 years, they had been cleaning the tank containing the chemical in the manner in which they did it today.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Ishwar Singh Senior Superintendent of Police, when contacted, said that prima facie the deaths had occurred due to accident as per the report of SP(H), Mr Harbans Singh, who went to the spot. Mr Harbhajan Singh said the labourers went inside the tank from the lower side rather than the upper side, and this seemed to be main reason behind their death. No case had been registered in this connection so far.


Lung diseases on the rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Keeping in view the alarming increase in the number of lung cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis cases, over 500 doctors from all over the world would be attending the International Conference on Bronchology and Respiratory diseases at Jalandhar from February 14.

The three-day conference, which would be attended by internationally acclaimed pulmonologists and bronchoscopists, is being organised by the Indian Association of Bronchology in association with the International Conference on Bronchology and Respiratory diseases, the World Association of Bronchology and the American College of Chest Physicians.

“The latest advancements in bronchology and other related innovations like video assisted thoracoscopic surgery, interventional bronchoscopy, pneumonia and bacteremia, lung cancer, critical care, asthma and sleep disorders would be discussed at length,” disclosed Dr H.J. Singh, organising secretary of the congress while interacting with mediapersons here today.

He informed that there had been a steep increase in the number of lung-related diseases, tuberculosis and asthma especially in children. “Even though X-ray continues to remain the first procedure for detecting TB, at times there is confusion on account of the shadow in the report,” he said. He added bronchoscopy had virtually revolutionised diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases.

“With smoking being the cause for 95 per cent of the total lung cases in India, we have decided to create public awareness against hazards and ill-effects it causes,” disclosed Dr J.S. Cheema, joint organising secretary of the conference. He lamented that despite a ban on smoking in public places by the government, people were still doing it , not realising the harm it causes.

Dr H.J.Singh said laser was making a comeback in a big way in treatment of lung diseases. He said there would be sessions on critical care, sleep disorders, asthma. A number of workshops and live demonstrations will be organised during the three day conference for disseminating practical knowledge to the participants. A preconference workshop will be held on therapeutic bronchoscopy will be attended by 30 doctors.

Dr H.J. Singh informed that the Punjab Government would be sponsoring 51 doctors from the state health services so that they can know about the latest advancements in the field.


Cong wins samiti poll in Sardulgarh, Jhunir
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 1
The elections to three out of the five block samitis in the district were postponed as quorum for the respective samitis was not complete.

An interesting development emerged in the election of the Chairman of Block Samiti, Sardulgarh in the district.

The seat has been declared reserved for a Scheduled Caste woman and there is only one Scheduled Caste woman member Ms Janki Devi who is supported by the SAD.

Her name was proposed by the Sardulgarh MLA, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, but not seconded by anyone.

So, the election of the chairman could not be completed, however, Mr Pirthi Singh Mannkhera of the Congress was declared elected as the Vice- Chairman of the Block Samiti, Sardulgarh.

Mr Sujan Singh Tandian and Mr Maghar Singh Dhinger, both of the ruling Congress, were declared chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of block samiti Jhunir.

Ms Shinderpaul Kaur of the SAD and Ms Rani Kaur of the CPI were declared chairperson and vice-chairperson of the block samiti, Budhlada, respectively.

The elections of the Bikhi and Mansa block samitis has been postponed for want of quorum.


Cong wins Ropar samiti poll
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 1
The Congress won the local panchayat samiti president’s election amidst protests by SAD workers here today. The election was held in tight security at Zila Parishad Bhavan. Since morning, the police had sealed off all roads leading to the bhavan.

The victory of the Congress candidate, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, was ensured after the Secretary Rural Development, Mr J.R. Kundal, barred Mr Gurinder Singh Gogi (SAD), from voting under Section (1)(C) of the Panchayati Raj Act. Mr Gogi has been facing a trial in the court on charges under various Sections of the SC/ST Act.

The Congress and the SAD have nine members each in the samiti.

Ms Satwant Kaur of the Congress was elected vice-president of the samiti.


Cops play spoilsport at farewell bash
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, February 1
Students of Plus Two of a local private school were in a shock when their farewell party organised at a hotel was disturbed by some policemen, who allegedly asked girl students there about the purpose of their presence in the hotel.

Around 50 students, who were partying at the hotel with the consent of their parents had to undergo a harrowing experience when two constables, Mr Gurmail Singh, of police patrolling party No 10, and Mr Sukhpal Singh, posted at Talwandi Sabo, forcibly entered the venue and asked the students to reveal their identity. Some of the girl students broke into tears when Mr Sukhpal Singh allegedly asked them to come to him in a separate room, one by one, and reveal their addresses and phone numbers so that their parents might be called as they (the girls) had been 'caught' from a hotel.

The situation became tense when some girls ran out of the hotel to 'save' them from humiliation and had a narrow escape from the rushing heavy traffic on the Bathinda-Goniana road. Some persons gathered there and a few students called in their parents and some Press persons.

The students alleged that it had become a routine affair of the policemen to threat residents, particularly the youth, and intrude into their privacy. The girls alleged that the policemen stopped boys and girls moving together and threat them of 'exposing' their movements to their parents, even if the duo happened to be moving in a crowded bazar or watching movie at a cinema.

Parents said the cops without reason harassed their wards. Mr Darshan Singh and Mr Jagjit Singh, who had dropped their daughters at the party, said the policemen not only intruded into the privacy of the residents but also raised unnecessary objections over the healthy association of the youth. They said no student had come to celebrate the party without the knowledge of their parents. The hotel was booked by them, they added.

One of the girls said that the policemen refused to disclose their identity and threatened them with dire consequences. She alleged that even as the policeman (Sukhpal Singh) was not on duty and was in plain clothes, he raised an alarm and called the patrolling party No 10 only to pressurise them. She added that the requests of the hotel owner also proved futile and he had to call the police station for help.

Mr Jagroop Singh, SHO (Kotwali), who reached the spot after being called by the parents, tried to control the situation and some of the students raised their grievances about the high-handedness of the police.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, was on leave and no other senior official came on record about the incident. Mr Ishwar Singh, when contacted on his mobile phone, assured that the could look into the case.

Police sources said the erring cops had been suspended.


DM’s orders create panic
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 1
Panic has gripped residents here, after fresh orders were passed by the District Magistrate Gurdaspur, stating punitive action was proposed against violators, raising constructions within the crest of the outer parapet of 1,000 metres of the ammunition dumps in Gurdaspur district.

According to orders passed by the District Magistrate, Gurdaspur, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, under Section 144 of the CrPC, vide which he has prohibited setting on fire remnants of crops and raising of any construction in fields by people within a radius of 1,000 metres from the ammunition dumps in Gurdaspur district till March 14.

The orders said since the matter involved was urgent and required immediate action to safeguard public interests as these were ex parte.

After the promulgation of these orders more than one lakh persons residing within the prohibited areas here are a worried lot.

It is worth mentioning here that on April 28, 2001 a huge fire broke out in two ammunition sub depots at Mamoon in which ammunition worth crores was destroyed and a court of inquiry ordered.

Mr Krishan Lal Mehta, husband of sarpanch of Mamoon village, Mrs Sushma Mehta, said the ammunition dumps here came into existence somewhere in the sixties, however Mamoon, Siunti, Manwal and Lamini villages came into existence much earlier than ammunition dumps here.

Mr Jatinder Dev Sharma, president local unit of the BJP, said the orders of the District Magistrate were passed ex parte and were liable to be reviewed. He sought the intervention of the Punjab Government to take up the matter with the Ministry of Defence to solve the problem of the people.


Thandal’s police remand extended
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 1
Ms Preeti Sahni, Judicial Magistrate, today extended the police remand of former Punjab State Food and Supplies Minister Sohan Singh Thandal till February 4. He was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in a corruption case registered against him at SAS Nagar.

Mr Charanjeev Arora, Public Prosecutor and Vigilance DSP, Mr Tarsem Singh, pleaded for 10-day police remand of the accused. They said they had yet to get information from the accused about the transactions in his accounts ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh. They said information was also yet to be gathered on who was the sponsor of his foreign tours.

The Public Prosecutor said information was yet to be received about the passport of the accused. At this the defence counsel produced the passport of the accused in the court which was handed over to the Vigilance Bureau.


SGPC to send jatha to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 1
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa, today gave categorical assurance that the Rs 18000-crore Bathinda refinery project would be established, as the Prime Minister had given his firm commitment to him and Mr Badal in this regard.

He was talking to newsmen after inaugurating the new building complex of the Shri Guru Ramdass Institute of Medical Sciences here today. He said the Prime Minister had said even if the HPCL does not execute the project then the IOC and the ONGC would complete it.

Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, said the SGPC would send a jatha to Pakistan on Baisakhi.

Earlier, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD (Badal) and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, were honoured by Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, in absentia. Other prominent personalities honoured on the occasion were Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Central Minister, Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, former Advocate-General and MP Mr Tirlochan Singh Tur.


Sudarshan’s statement ‘irresponsible’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Institute of Sikh Studies has strongly reacted to the statement made by RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan, regarding Sikhs. Mr Sudarshan was quoted as saying that” Sikhs are the Hindus”.

Members of the institute who held a meeting under the Chairmanship of Mr Gurdev Singh, said today that the statement of the RSS chief was highly malicious, motivated and irresponsible. It had a dangerous overtones, more so when it had been made at Amritsar, the centre of Sikhism. In a signed statement, the institute has affirmed that the Sikhs were not Hindus”, and that they had a distinct entity.


29-hr power failure at Dhariwal

Gurdaspur, February 1
Dhariwal’s Model Town area faced power failure since 11 a.m. yesterday. Supply could not be restored till 4 p.m. today.

Power consumers of the area accused PSEB officials of negligence. They also alleged that senior officials of the PSEB posted at Dhariwal did not stay at Dhariwal. A PSEB officer goes to Amritsar daily while another officer goes to Batala every day. The third officer whom the consumers of the area tried to meet for the restoration of power could not be located yesterday.


Amritsar cleared as tourist destination
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 1
The Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr Jagmohan, has cleared the city as a tourist destination. Talking to newspersons here today the Minister of State for Tourism, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, said Mr Jagmohan had offered to clear projects worth Rs 5.50 crore to develop the holy city as the 26th tourist destination of the country.

The minister said the Central Government had accepted the proposal for getting Golden Temple declared one of the heritage sites of the world. He said in view of its holy city status the government had undertaken a major project to beautify the city with the amount sanctioned by the Central Government.

Mr Sekhri launched the Heritage Culture and Tourism Society of Amritsar which has been authorised to organise a major conclave to focus on its tourism potential. A special function will be held on March 2 which would be inaugurated by Mr Jagmohan.


BJP seeks probe into ASI bashing
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 1
In a communication to the Chief Minister, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a former BJP MLA today sought a high-level probe into the alleged ‘manhandling’ of women at Thathi village (Tarn Taran) on the eve of the Republic Day.

Ms Chawla alleged that during her visit to the village it was confirmed that the police went berserk after the bashing of an ASI by the family members of Dharm Singh, who was wanted in a land dispute case. The incident occurred when the police party, headed by Mr Arjun Singh, an ASI, had entered the house of Dharm Singh with a view to arrest him. She alleged the police went to the house of Karm Singh, brother of Dharm Singh and manhandled the women folk. Ms Darshan Kaur, wife of Karm Singh, was bundled into the waiting police gypsy and kept in ‘illegal custody’ till she was released on a verbal surety. She said if Dharm Singh was wanted in some criminal case, the police should not have acted in a ‘revengeful way’ and panicked his relatives.

Ms Chawla asked the Chief Minister to order an inquiry by a PCS officer as the police, which was already involved in the case could not conduct a ‘free and fair probe’ into the matter. She asked him to send a team of the National Women Commission to have an on-the-spot inquiry.


Plea to declare Quila Mubarak endangered site
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 1
In a move to restore the Quila Mubarak fort of the Phulkian dynasty of Patiala, the Patiala Heritage Society has approached the Washington-based World Heritage Front to get the fort declared an endangered site.

Patiala Heritage Society Vice-Chairman S.K. Misra, who is also Vice-Chairman of INTACH, said a request in this regard had already been submitted to the front by ITACH and added that the purpose behind approaching the front was to focus international attention on the fort. He said presently INTACH was doing the documentation work of the fort in collaboration with the Patiala Heritage Society. He said at present there was no record of its architectural layout as well as areas which were particularly endangered.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed that much progress could not be achieved in restoring the fort in past. due to a piecemeal approach. Due to this problem in the fort, particularly the Quila Androon dwellings of the erstwhile rulers of the state, were addressed on an emergency basis. Till now the conservation Department of state government has replaced roofs which have collapsed or were on the verge of collapsing. This experts said had occurred because the ground water in the area had gone down tremendously in past few decades. While this reduced the moisture and protected the walls of the fort from getting damaged. It severely affected the wooden supports on the roofs which were infested with termites.

Besides providing structural strength, experts said there was need to restore the wall paintings in various chambers of Quila Androon. At present only one chamber was in a good condition after having been partially restored by a conservation laboratory based in Lucknow. The failure of the state government’s own conservation wing in taking up the task of restoring other chambers which were in a pathetic condition had resulted in many of them becoming unrestorable now. Presently the only restoration work is being carried out in a building situated outside the Quila Androon which was known as the “ranwas” and used in the later days to accommodate guests. Restoration of this building is being done by the A.S.I. Archaeological Survey of India and is nearing completion.


Govt flayed for exim performa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
The Punjab unit of the BJP has criticised the state government for the introduction of exim performa for traders and business in the state. The performa has to be submitted to the state Excise and Taxation Department enlisting all details of good brought in and sent out by a registered firm in the state.


‘No relief given to farmers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Mr Bhupinder Samber, vice-president of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, a CPI offshoot, said today that the state government had not provided any relief, as was stated by it yesterday, to farmers but only released a part of the payment which was due.

Mr Samber who participated in the meeting held with the six agitating farmers’ organisations yesterday said that farmer organisations were totally dissatisfied with the outcome of yesterday’s meeting and they would continue the agitation. They would hold “rasta roko” agitation on February 15, he added.

Mr Samber said it was unfortunate that the government gave only one-sided picture to the media. The reality was that the meeting failed to bring government and kisan organisations closer on any issue pertaining to the farming community. The government should not have made wrong claims in its statement yesterday.

The government’s claim that it had provided a relief package to farmers yesterday was distorted and misleading. Six farmer organisations had been agitating for the past several months to get the money, which the government described as relief package for the farmers, he said.

The Union Government had announced Rs 20 per quintal as drought relief on paddy before the start of the last procurement season. However, the State Government had not paid it till yesterday while the FCI had paid it much earlier. At yesterday’s meeting, the government assured to make its payment. Likewise, compensation for border farmers was announced by the Union Defence Ministry, which used their land for military operations last year. Sugarcane growers had been only given a part of the dues which were long pending against the government, he added.

The government instead of providing any relief had withdrawn free power supply to the farmers.


11 held in three murder cases
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 1
The Majitha police today claimed to have solved three murder cases with the arrest of 11 persons.

This was stated by Ms Shashi Prabha Dwedi, SSP, in a press note issued here today.

Ms Dwedi said on January 14, Gupartap Singh, his son Ramanpreet Singh and Harshpreet Singh along with their accomplices, all residents of Rasulpur, shot at Dara Singh.

They also kidnapped two persons, including Harjinder Singh, member panchayat, whose bodies were later found in Tarn Taran. Ramanpreet Singh and Harshpreet Singh had been arrested.

In another case, Basant Singh, sarpanch of Nawan Pind, along with his two sons and nephews beat Madan Lal of the same village to death following a dispute over the construction of a drainage in January. All suspects had been arrested.

Kewal Singh and Appar Singh, brothers of Jangala, Batala district, were killed by Palwinder Singh, Harpal Singh and Rajwinder Singh, all residents of Kotla Sultan Singh, and Mohan Singh of Loharaka Kalan in July last year.

They buried the bodies near a drain near Bal Khurd village. The suspects had confessed to both the murders, Ms Dwedi added.


Poppy smuggling on ‘Press’ vehicles
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), February 1
The police today unveiled a modus operandi of narcotic smugglers after impounding a vehicle carrying 12 bags of poppy husk worth more than Rs 2 lakh on which “Press” was written.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said Amrit Pal, Makhan Singh, both local residents, and Darshan Ram of Harraipur village of the district, who had been arrested had been smuggling narcotics on the vehicle for the past many years. He said they told the police that they had been smuggling 60 to 70 bags of poppy husk in such vehicles every month from Sangria town of neighbouring Rajasthan.

Earlier, the police had impounded a number of vehicles with red lights atop these, which were used for smuggling of narcotics from one state to other. Earlier, a vehicle belonging to narcotic smugglers on which “Press” was written, was impounded by the Haryana police.

A case has been registered under the NDPS Act.


CRPF job racket unearthed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 1
The police has unearthed a racket of cheats who used to extort money from the youth on the pretext of getting them recruited in the CRPF.

SSP Varinder Kumar said here today Kuldeep Singh Fauji, a serving army personnel of Himachal Pradesh, Tara Rani of the jail road area here, a peon with the MES, and her son-in-law Kashmir Chand of Kahnuwan had been arrested. Their accomplices — Chanchal Singh a retired CRPF inspector, and Laina Singh Thekedar of Kotli Sainiyan were at large.


Mid-day meal scheme extended
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 1
Keeping in view the success of providing mid-day meal to students of primary schools in the Talwara block of this district, the scheme has been extended for 70 days. In terms of directions of the Supreme Court, the scheme was launched by the Social Welfare Department in the Talwara block on November 18, 2002.

According to official sources, as many as 6,698 children of 106 government primary schools of Talwara block were being given nutritious mid-day meal.

Initially the scheme was introduced for 50 days for which Rs 8.04 lakh had been given by the state government. It has now been extended to 70 days more for which Rs 11.27 lakh had been allocated.

Sources said mid-day meal was being given at the rate of Rs 3.50 per day to each child. These children had to be given mid-day meal for at least 200 days.

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