Sunday, February 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



‘Rasta roko’ will be a success: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today accused the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of conspiring to push Punjabis back to alienation to promote his party’s petty electoral interests in Himachal Pradesh.

“He has also embarked on the path of gross misuse of the state’s resources and manpower in an attempt to sabotage free and fair elections in the neighbouring state by going to the extent of using officials in the Chief Minister’s Office for functioning as low-level spies”, Mr Badal said in a statement here.

The SAD leader said the Chief Minister was acting as if he could browbeat innocent people of Himachal Pradesh to vote as per his dictates. “He is grossly mistaken if he believes that he can ride roughshod on the pride, dignity and freedom of the people of that state. His arrogance is bound to boomerang on the Congress and his party will have to pay dearly for the sins of Capt Amarinder Singh”, he said. Mr Badal was reacting to reports of high-handedness of officials of the PSEB and the state government against the relatives of the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Mr Badal asserted the “rasta roko” programme of his party on February 10 would be a success. There was frustration among the Congress leaders, especially those belonging to the Chief Minister’s camp at the growing alienation of his government from people.

The SAD leader said his party was fully aware of the conspiracy of the ruling party to try to defame his party’s programme and said “we would make it sure that it was conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner”.

Mr Badal said rapes in police stations drunkards walking in the corridors of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, custodial deaths, escapades of ministers and bureaucrats salary cuts, the withdrawal of facilities of employees and retrenchments and bar on recruitments were some of the highlights of Capt Amarinder Singh’s regime. “Add to this repeated rebukes the Chief Minister and his government had received from the judiciary, brazen government interference in the religious affairs of people and frauds played on the people in the name of loans worth billions from shady international organisations like the IFC and you get some idea of where this government had brought Punjab”, said Mr Badal.

Mr Badal said the SAD had issued special instructions to the rank and file to ensure that patients and those travelling with wedding parties were exempted from the “rasta roko” stir. “Ambulances would be allowed to ply as normal and wedding parties would proceed unhindered”, he said.


Capt spoiling ties with HP: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 8
A former Union Minister and general secretary, SAD, Mr Sukhbir Badal, while accusing the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of spoiling Punjab’s relations with neighbouring Himachal Pradesh said that raids conducted by the Enforcement Wing of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at the premises of HP Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, at Jalandhar was condemnable. Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had launched a misleading campaign against the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh to ensure that Congress formed its government there so that he could remain Chief Minister of Punjab as his government had become unstable due to severe factionalism and infightings among the party workers and functionaries.

“The raids conducted by the PSEB at Jalandhar on the premises owned by Mr Dhumal shows that Capt Amarinder Singh has got frustrated over the fact that his government has failed to deliver the goods in the past about one year and his popularity graph has touched rock bottom. It will create anti-Punjab sentiments in Himachal Pradesh,” pointed out Mr Badal.

The incident of suspension of former Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore, Mr D.K. Tiwari by the state government over the fact that Mr Tiwari did not yield to pressure being mounted on him by two rival factions of Congress MLAs was another evidence of the fact that instability had gripped Capt Amarinder Singh’s government. He added that now the people had lost faith in the Congress government and a strong wave had started emerging in favour of SAD (Badal) again and people had started coming to the party President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, with their routine problems. Regarding the Bathinda Oil Refinery project, Mr Badal said that he, along with other MPs belonging to Punjab, and members of Young MPs Association, would meet the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to take commitment from him in the coming Budget session regarding the implementation of same in the public sector.

He preferred to keep mum when asked whether the SAD (B), which had been demanding that death sentence of a dreaded terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhuller should be commuted, would keep same stand when death sentences were awarded to those terrorists who had been facing trials in various courts for killing their party leaders.


Tandon, Grewal condemn raids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a senior BJP leader and former minister, and Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the party in two separate statements here today said that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was playing "cheap politics" against his opponents.

They said the raids on the factories of the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal's close relations at Jalandhar were part of such politics. They said Capt Amarinder Singh was throwing all democratic norms to the winds to harass his rivals by using police against them.


CM rules out DC’s early reinstatement
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 8
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ruled out any immediate reinstatement of Mr D. K. Tiwari who was suspended as Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, for “dereliction of duty.’’

The Chief Minister, who was in the Capital, said the officer concerned had not followed his instructions about holding the zila parishad elections.

“I had spoken to the officer and told him to be at his place of posting for the local body elections on the stipulated date,’’ Capt Amarinder Singh said. “But if you abandon your position, it amounts to cowardice. You have to answer,’’ he added.

The Chief Minister indicated that an inquiry would be initiated in the matter .

He said he was surprised at the IAS Officers Association taking up the cudgels on behalf of the officer. “This, I think, is not correct,’’ he said.

Ruling out the possibility of the officer’s immediate reinstatement, he said that it was a matter of discipline. “I am running the state and not the IAS Officers Association,’’ he said.

Asked about the “raids’’ by the PSEB at factories and the residence of acting Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P. K. Dhumal and his relatives at Jalandhar, he said these were stopped after the matter was brought to his notice.


Complainants’ statements recorded
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 8
Highly-placed sources said here today that the Vigilance Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court recorded the statements of the two brothers Karnail Singh and Sukhdev Singh of Bhuchu Khurd village and has issued notice to advocate Surinder Mohan here who allegedly took Rs 55000 from them allegedly for paying the amount to Additional Sessions Judge Karnail Singh. The advocate has been told to appear before the vigilance judge on February 25 for the recording of statement. Sources said the court of Mr Karnail Singh, had forwarded a report in this connection to the High Court, after investigating the complaint. The Additional Sessions Judge had recorded the statements of the two brothers (complainants) and that of the police officers, who had harassed them (brothers) on the complaint of the said advocate.

The advocate had complained to the police alleging by the brothers.

The police tried to take the two brothers into custody but, they went underground. Later the brothers appeared before the judge, when he was chairing a Lok Adalat here on December 21, 2002.

The brothers submitted before the judge that the advocate had taken Rs 55,000 from them for influencing decision in a land dispute case.

They said that when the case was not decided in their favour, they demanded the money from the advocate and he (advocate) filed a false complaint with the police.

The Additional Sessions Judge taking serious note of the allegations levelled by the two farmers asked them to make a written complaint, but no typist or petition writer allegedly typed the complaint.

They again appeared before the judge, who took their statements in the presence of a few advocates in his court and took their signatures as witnesses.

They again complained that the advocate had taken Rs 55,000 as bribe for paying it to the Additional Sessions Judge (before whom they were appearing), but did not pay the money back after they lost the case.

The court had also recorded the statements of certain police officers, who had harassed the two brothers, on the complaint of the advocate.

The local Bar association had also constituted a seven-member committee to probe the matter after it appeared in the press, but it has not made the report public.

Former bar council president, Jatinder Roy Khattar said that as the matter was under consideration of the high court the report was not made public.

The Punjab and Haryana Bar Council has not took any cognisance of the incident, even as Mr Surinder Mohan has been pleading innocence and has denied all allegations against him.


Kiran to seek funds for addicts’ kids
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 8
It was a pleasant surprise for residents of Maqboolpura, to see Dr Kiran Bedi, who paid an unscheduled visit to the area where more than a hundred persons have lost their lives due to drug addiction in the past few years.

She scribbled a few lines in the visitors’ book, “It is unique and an inspiring work which involves total dedication and commitment. The government needs to step in to add strength and sustainability to make the project a success. Navjyoti and the Citizens’ Forum would henceforth would be partners in educating children of addicts.”

Later, while talking to TNS, Dr Bedi said Navjyoti, a de-addiction centre in New Delhi run by the India Vision Trust, had adopted citizens’ Forum Vidya Mandir, Maqboolpura and offered to send Rs 6,000 per month to meet the expenses of the school. She said she would speak to Capt Amarinder Singh, the Ministry of Human Resource Development to earmark special funds for sustaining the project. Dr Bedi, who will take over as police adviser, Civil Police Division, Department of Peace-keeping Mission, UN, on Tuesday in New York, said she would endeavour to get a grant from the UNO de-addiction project in this regard.

She even persuaded shopkeepers of the area to contribute Rs 10 each for meeting the running expenses of the institute where 163 children of addicts were studying. Dr Bedi raised slogans of universal and Indo-Pak brotherhood at the Wagah border while witnessing the Retreat Ceremony here today.

Meanwhile, her visit to the Golden Temple checked the traffic chaos to a certain extent.

Even as she was discussing with Ms Kiranjot Kaur, former general secretary, SGPC, and SP, City, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, suggesting ways and means to manage traffic near the Golden Temple, the SP immediately ordered one-way traffic to the golden temple complex. Her suggestion to spare about 10 volunteers for managing traffic bottlenecks in the area met with an assurance from the police that these volunteers would get training in traffic management.


ZP poll: decks cleared for Cong candidate
Our correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 8
Decks have been cleared for the unanimous election of Mrs Krishan, Congress candidate for the post of Chairman, Zila Parishad, Gurdaspur. There were four contestants for the post including Mr Balwinder Singh Laddi, Zila Parishad member from Bhagowal and Mr Balloo, Zila Parishad member from Qadian.

Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder senior Congress leader, intervened and was able to secure a consensus for the candidature of Mrs Krishna. She was to get unanimously elected yesterday but the meeting in this regard was postponed because she though being a Scheduled Caste, was elected from the general category. The Additional Deputy Commissioner, who was the returning officer, had referred the matter to the Director, Local Bodies and Panchayats, for clarification.

The Director, Local Bodies and Panchayats, has further sought legal opinion from the Law Department in this regard, thereby delaying her election.


Heritage Festival to put Patiala on tourist map
Patiala set to become major tourist attraction
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Six years earlier, Patiala just about missed the bus to fame. The formation of an Akali government put paid to the plans of then Patiala Commissioner S K Sinha to have a heritage festival in the city in which the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was to be the star attraction. The festival then was focussed on the limited objective of highlighting the deplorable condition of Quila Mubarak, the fort of the Phulkian dynasty of Patiala, as well as creating funds for its restoration under an initiative which had already been started by Mr Sinha. However, former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra scuttled the plans of Sinha by getting the entire programme cancelled because of alleged fears that Sinha’s “good friend” and former scion of the Phulkian dynasty, Capt Amarinder Singh (Maharaja Sahib in Patiala), may get mileage out of it.

Sinha apparently has had the last laugh. Patiala is gearing up for a festival, the likes of which it has never seen. The “raj” may have been lost to the family of the Chief Minister, but shades of it are likely to be revived during the Heritage Festival planned in the city from February 14 to February 23. However, instead of a limited objective of raising funds for the restoration of Quila Mubarak, the festival aims at placing Patiala on the tourist map of the country. The Patiala Heritage Society, which has been formed with the Rs 1 crore patronage by the government, also wants to make the festival an annual feature on the lines of similar fairs held in Rajasthan and Haryana (Surajkund mela).

The government has with this aim made Mr S K Misra, the former bureaucrat responsible for the success of Haryana’s “Motel” tourism, its pointman for the festival. Mr Misra has drawn up a comprehensive tourism plan for the government in which he proposes to focus on developing the tourism potential of Patiala, Amritsar, Kapurthala and Anandpur Sahib. Patiala is being focussed in the first phase due to its heritage

The festival is likely to bring in major changes in the city as a number of developmental and restoration schemes targeted as monuments in the city are being undertaken at a brisk pace . All spheres are being targetted simultaneously, be it broadening roads, putting up high mast lights, painting and even illuminating heritage buildings, landscaping prominent areas, beautifying chowks and even recruiting an additional 150 sweepers on contract basis to ensure spick - span cleanliness.

The festival itself is being spread over the Quila Mubarak, Sheesh Mahal (built by Maharaja Bhupindra Singh) and Rajindra Kothi (the first European style building built for residential purposes by Maharaja Rajindra Singh in the city along with a huge garden known as the Baradari). Two functions — a dinner (featuring Patiala cuisine) and a musical evening in which Jagjit Singh and Hansraj Hans will perform will be held in the Moti Bagh Palace, residence of the Chief Minister. Presently, all the three spots, except for the residence of the Chief Minister, are witnessing hectic activity. A verandah has been extended in front of the ‘Durbar Hall’ to facilitate the holding of a fashion show by J J Valaya. The Durbar hall itself where a huge number of chandeliers hang form its massive painted ceiling, besides a display of arms and even the ‘silver buggy’ of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh has also been spruced up for the occasion.

Sheesh Mahal is also abuzz with activity. This is because the crafts mela, which will run for another week after the festival, is being organised in the ‘tank’ in front of the mahal which was filled with water during princely times and had a “lakshman jhula” over it (which is still present).

Though the crafts mela and few other events, including the J J Valaya fashion show and Jagjit Singh and Hansraj Hans performances will be ticketed, people will be allowed in free for most of the classical programmes. These programmes include performances by Sonal Mansingh, Reza Ali Khan, Jawad and Mazhar Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj and Birju Maharaj besides a Punjabi rendition of Ghasi Ram Kotwal by Kewal Dhillon, and a Punjabi opera, “Wichhre Pani”, by Madan Bala Sandhu. Sport enthusiasts can witness polo and equestrian performances besides other events.

For those dealing in traditional Punjabi items, be it Phulkari work, elaborate embroidery for the trousseau of maidens, the age-old ‘juttis’, ‘parandas’ and ‘nala’ makers - the festival is being seen with a commercial interest.

Tour operators and those associated with the hospitality industry are, however, still shy in committing themselves to the festival. This is mainly because of uncertainty whether tourists can be attracted to the city at a time when a similar festival is going to be on in Rajasthan as well as the tourist season being in full flow in Goa. Rupinder Singh, Director, Mukat Group of Companies, said the government would have to come out with concessions for tourism promoters if it was to put Patiala on the tourist map of the country.


MC plays ‘unfair’ with former councillor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 8
The Patiala Municipal Corporation has decided to withdraw the sanction for building three shops in the city that was given to a city man eight years after the district administration had taken over a land occupied by him on Mall Road. The land was opposite the office of the Divisional Commissioner, where he had been operating a ‘dhaba’, a cane-crushing machine and a scooter-repair shop.

The corporation has recently stopped a former municipal councillor, Sharanjit Singh Ranjha, from completing work on three shops that he had been building close to Vir Haqiqat Rai Park near the Rajpura road. The corporation has claimed that the shops were built in fraudulently, during official holidays. It means that the permission was given in a wrong way to Ranjha to build shops on the PWD land. When contacted, the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, said the PWD had, now, written to the corporation against the construction and the MC would try to get the sanction cancelled.

Ranjha, a former Congress man, says that political motives have put the work on halt. He also says that the shops have been duly allotted to him and the building plans have been passed by the corporation. He says that he will contest the decision of the corporation, as the land, on which, the shops have been raised, has been given to him as compensation and not as a favour.

Ranjha said he had been running his businesses on Mall Road in 1995 when told to vacate the land, so that, the road could be broadened. He said, as he was a Wakf Board leasee, the district administration had recommended that he be given 130 square yards at an alternative site. “The corporation passed a resolution in this regard in January 1995, following which, the government also approved it,” he said.

The man said he had to change his choice of an alternative site several times. The site, first, allotted to him close to the Rajpura road was not given to him eventually, as a slip road was to be built there. Then, he selected a site opposite Aurobindo School here, but, this site, too, was also sold by the corporation while he was obtaining the required sanctions from the DC’s office.

“When I went to court on the issue and got a stay against the corporation’s decision, it promised to give me an alternative land. I was issued a letter in this context in December, 2001,” Ranjha said.

The letter says that Ranjha’s land on Mall Road was taken from him to broaden the road and he was being given another land as compensation. The case was cleared by the Building Subcommittee of the corporation. The former councillor says that the corporation is being unfair to him in claiming that he has encroached upon a footpath. He said there were four feet between his shops and the link road.

Besides, he said, a soak pit of the corporation was close to his shops, so, the land could not be used for any other purpose. He has also disputed the MC claim that the corporation could not sell the PWD land and said that a new rule of the state government gives the corporation an absolute control of all the PWD roads here. He said the MC had sold the PWD land near Polo Ground here as well, besides the PWD land on the Sangrur road.


Get Punjabi youths in Pak freed, Badungar tells PM
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 8
The SGPC president, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has written to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, urging him to take necessary steps to facilitate freeing of Punjabi youths jailed in Pakistan. He alleged that the jailed Punjabi youths were being forced to adopt Islam by the Pakistani authorities.

Speaking at a press conference here, Mr Badungar said four Punjabis were jailed in Baluchistan and 10 in Quetta and being subjected to physical and mental torture. He said the Government of India should put pressure on the Pakistani authorities for the same.

Accusing the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) of mismanagement and non-maintenance of Sikh shrines in Pakistan, Mr Badungar said Mr Vajpayee should put pressure on the Pakistani authorities to dismantle the PGPC and ensure that the SGPC was handed over the responsibility of the upkeep of gurdwaras in Pakistan.

‘Nek Aurat’ questions society
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 8
‘Nek Aurat’, Punjabi adaptation of German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s fable play ‘The Good Woman of Sezuan’ brought forth the dilemma and anguish of a person forced to live a schizophrenic existence due to the apathy of society, characterised by greed and insensitivity towards an individual.

Staged last evening by the students of the Department of Theatre and Television of Punjabi University, under the direction of famous director Bhanu Bharti in the open air auditorium, the play was reminiscent of almost all fable plays of Brecht as ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’.

The protagonist, Kawal ‘invents’ her cousin, Sooraj, after a series of deceptions at the hands of her acquaintances and enters the ‘men’s world’, symbolically the self-centered one and characterised by insensitivity. She lives a dual existence in order to survive in society. Her goodness as Kawal and her cruelty as Sooraj are aimed at coexisting possibilities. Her behavior witnesses a complete change as soon as she enters the personality of her male cousin, taking to task whoever duped her in her existence as Kawal.

Through sensitive handling of the theme and intentional break in emotions by swift change in scenes, Bhanu Bharti managed to convey the essence of the play and cleverly avoided ‘stage confusion’ despite the fact that about 30 actors were involved in the production.

Realistic and superb portrayal of the central character by Vandana Kapoor was the major strength of the production that efficiently managed to lift the tempo. Clever use of sets took the audience to the original setting of Brecht’s play and also gave the needed energy to actors. Each actor, howsoever miniscule his role may have been, stood out. Rajeev Dhingra, who played the lover of the protagonist, exhibited both intensity and mature acting.

After almost ages, one witnessed a professional and crisp production in Patiala . After 15 years, a director of the stature of Bhanu Bharti did a production with the department students, and professionalism was all evident. The play, however completely lost out on the music front. Indispensable elements of Brechtian plays, the lyrics and music failed to contribute anything to the thematic essence of the production. It was overall an excellent production. Minute attention paid to characterisation, different elements including costumes and lights, contributed immensely to the basic character of Brechtian plays: of critical examination rather than sensational exposure.


Police turns blind eye to illegal hunting
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 8
In another incident of illegal hunting of wild animals in the district in a fortnight, a Sambar was killed in Nangal last evening. Eyewitnesses said hunters with the help of dogs chased the Sambar from the Shivalik Ranges into Nangal and killed it in the DD locality of the town. The hungers loaded the killed animal into a white autorickshaw allegedly with the help of two cops here. The carcass was then allegedly sold to a meat shop.

Though the police here was informed about the illegal hunting of the animal, and many people in the town witnessed the killing of the animal, it failed to nab any of the culprits till the filing of this report. The authorities failed to nab the culprits despite certain eyewitnesses said that they were ready to identify the hunters if brought before them.

The sources added that certain Nangal Town residents were regular hunters. They own greyhounds used for chasing and injuring the animal in the Shivalik Ranges. Hunting parties go with dogs, spears and guns in early morning hours. So, blatant is the hunting that meat of the illegally killed animal is sold at the shops here.

Besides the hunting of the wild animals in the Shivalik forests, hunting of migratory birds in the Nangal lake has been going on blatantly. The sources said that guns shots killing migratory birds in the Nangal lake can be heard in the early mornings and late evenings. However, the Forest and Wildlife officials here turn a deaf ear to these shots.

A fortnight ago the District Forest officials had identified the hunters who had killed two Sambars in the forest of Nurpur Bedi. The Forest officials recovered one of killed Sambars from the house of the alleged guide of the hunters coming to the Nurpur Bedi area for hunting while the Jalandhar-based hunters fled with the other killed animal.

Though the owner of the car in which the Jalandhar-based hunters fled, has been identified by the Forest officials, no arrest has been made so far.


Police ‘tortures’ another farmer
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 8
Close on the heels of the ‘torture’ of two farmers by CIA staff at Tarn Taran, who were later got released by a warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, another farmer Ranjit Singh Rana was admitted to the local Government Hospital in a ‘critical condition’ after he was subjected to a similar ‘torture’, here today.

However, the district police chief, Tarn Taran, Mr Narinder Bhargav, claimed that Mr Rana was one of the three accused booked by the police under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He claimed that he, along with two others, had collected money to get a drug peddler released from the Sarhali police. However, Mr Ranjit Singh, a former Sarpanch of Dhotian village, alleged that Mr Rana was subjected to ‘thrid degree torture’ at the CIA and other police stations of the Tarn Taran police. He alleged that a DSP had forced Mr Rana to confess that he had ‘bribed’ the Sarhali SHO, Mr Naurang Singh, which was factually incorrect. He alleged that the SHO was punished and sent to the Police Lines as he did not ‘obey’ the orders of the DSP who wanted to save his own man, an associate of Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, a dreaded terrorist and self-styled chief of the Bhinderanwale Tigers Force.

Mr Bhargav denied that Mr Rana was tortured in police custody. He claimed that the Sarhali SHO was transferred on administrative ground.


Gurdwara panel denies calling Dalits’ boycott
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 8
Shaheedan Gurdwara management committee at Talhan village near here has denied allegations that Jats had given a call to boycott Dalits of the village. The police today registered a case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act for using abusive language against Dalits.

Members of the committee met SSP Paramjit Singh Gill here and submitted a memorandum stating that Jats of Talhan never gave call to boycott Dalits. They assured the SSP that anybody found boycotting Dalits would be fined by the village panchayat and his or her name would be forwarded to the police for action.

Meanwhile, the SSP, following the receipt of a complaint from Chanan Ram Pal of Talhan village, ordered the registration of a case under Sections 295-A, 148, 149 of the IPC, Section 3, 9, 10, 14 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act and Section 4 of the Protection of Civil Rights Act. It was decided to appoint an SP-rank officer from another district to probe the matter. Mr Chanan Ram Pal, in his complaint, alleged that the SHO of Sadar police station had wrongly ordered lathi charge on Dalits of the following village in smooth conduct of elections to the gurdwara committee on January 14. He said that certain miscreants used abusive language against Dalits and committed sacrilege resulting in tension in the area and later boycott of Dalits was announced.

A team of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes already held an on the spot inquiry into the issue in the past two days and would submit its report on Monday.

The SSP said that SHO of Sadar police station Gurbachan Singh was shifted to the police lines.


Punjab’s plea on incidental charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
In a 14-point memorandum submitted to the Union Food Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, the Punjab Government has sought immediate reimbursement of incidental charges to the tune of Rs 4342 crore of foodgrains procured for the Central pool.

Mr Lal Singh, Food and Supplies Minister, who hosted a dinner for Mr Yadav here last night, submitted the memorandum to him.

The government has urged Mr Yadav to increase the share, which is on the decline, of the FCI in the procurement of foodgrains in Punjab. It has also asked him to expedite the movement of foodgrains from the state to other parts of the country.

The government has requested Mr Yadav to take up the matter to increase the minimum support price of wheat to Rs 790 per quintal with the Prime Minister. The Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices has recommended to keep the price at last year's level, i.e. Rs 620 per quintal.


BKU dharna enters fourth day
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 8
Dharna and road blockage by members of the Bharti Kisan Union in front of the police station, Dinanagar, to protest against non-payment of their arrears by sugar mills of Gurdaspur, Batala and Ajnala, entered its fourth day today. The rural link roads are being damaged as a direct fallout of this blockage.

Sugar mill at Paniar is on the verge of closure due to blockage of roads as sugarcane supply has stopped coming to the mill from the Pathankot side. Moreover, the sugarcane growers of the district are also participating in the dharna. Last night the crushing stopped at the sugar mill but it was later started by the managing committee.

Due to the blockage, buses and small vehicles are being diverted to link routes. Army tanks last night had to travel additional 91 km to reach Pathankot via Tanda in Hoshiarpur district.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, national president of Bharti Kisan Union and a former MP said the dharna would continue till the total payments to the sugarcane growers amounting to Rs 26 crore (approximately) were made. He said, Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister, had called him on telephone urging him to withdraw the dharna assuring him the government would pay the arrears in installments.

Mr Mann said that no concrete proposal regarding payment of arrears to the sugarcane growers was coming from the government. Both the Central Government and the Punjab Government were blaming each other for the delay in the payments to gain political mileage out of the issue. He said that farmers would not be taken in by both the governments and were determined to fight to the end even if the dharna had to be extended to the national level.

Mr K.A.P.Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said that the Punjab Government had already made a payment of Rs 3 crore to farmers against supply of sugarcane to sugarmills at Batala, Gurdaspur and Ajnala, to clear the backlog. He said that the district was expected to receive another installment of Rs 3 crore shortly in this regard. He added that clearance of backlog would take some time and appealed to the farmers to lift the dharna.


CM files reply in civil suit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 8
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today filed a reply in a civil suit filed against him by a propaganda secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Ropar unit, Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, claiming that the case filed against him is not maintainable in a local court.

While filing a reply in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr S.S. Bhardwaj, through his counsel, Mr H.S. Awasthi, Capt Amarinder Singh has stated that the plaintiff has no locus standi to file a case against him and the case was not maintainable. It has been further stated that Capt Amarinder Singh is not bound to provide names and addresses of the all Punjab MLA as they have not been working under him. The case has been adjourned till March 4.

Matharu had filed a civil suit against Capt Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) through its president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and Punjab Congress MLAs through CM, for mandatory injunction, directing the defendants to declare their assets.

According to the plaintiff, before the Assembly election, the PPCC had, through its election manifesto and advertisements, made a promise to the general public that if Congress came to power, the CM, ministers and their MLAs would declare their assets on the day of their taking the oath in the Vidhan Sabha, but the same had not been done.

It was also stated in the suit that earlier a legal notice was issued to the defendants, but no reply has been received so far. Hence the present suit has been filed against them. The plaintiff had pleaded that the defendants should be directed to declare their assets to the general public, as well as to the plaintiff in the interest of justice.


362 cases settled in Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 8
To settle cases relating to cooperative societies, land mortgage banks and housefed loans, a special Lok Adalat was organised here today in the premises of Zila Prishad Complex.

The adalat was inaugurated by Mr Lakhbir Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda.

Five Benches were constituted which were presided over by Mr Dharam Singh, Additional District and Session Judge, Mr Harsh Mehta, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Ms Gurdarshan Kaur Dhaliwal and Ms Jatinder Kaur, all Judicial Magistrates (First Class), Mansa.

As many as 492 cases were summoned, of which 366 appeared and 362 were settled.

Rs 1,28,23,180 was claimed by financial institutions from 362 loanees, whereas Rs 1,00,21,540 was awarded to them by the adalat, giving a benefit of Rs 28,01,640 to 362 loanees. Only four cases were not settled due to some technical problems.

Giving this information here today, Mr Harsh Mehta, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mansa, said a state-level Lok Adalat would be organised on March 15, which would be presided over by Justice H.S. Bedi.

He said pre-litigation cases of disputes between commission agents, farmers and banks would be settled in it.


MOs asked to tour their areas
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 8
The Director, Health Services, Dr S.P.S. Sandhu and the WHO consultant, Dr J.G. Vohra, while addressing a meeting of senior medical officers here, directed them to intensively tour their respective areas during the second round of pulse polio campaign and ascertain that all children in the age group of 0-five were given polio immunisation drops.

It was also disclosed that more than 1,040 medical camps would be organised all over the district. The camps would be manned by 913 health employees.

The district administration would also seek the help of NGO’s, anganwari workers and other social organisations in this regard.


Octroi collection privatised
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 8
The Nagar Council here has privatised octroi collection poll promises notwithstanding. Last evening octroi was auctioned for the 5.16 crore. US Associates, a Jalandhar-based firm the highest bidder got the contract. Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Harjit Singh Jalandhar supervised the auction in the presence of Mr Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, President, Nagar council. The decision will be implemented after the approval of the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab. Due to alleged octroi evasion due to understaffing, income from octroi had fallen considerably over the past several months sources said. It went down below Rs 1 lakh a day while now it will be more than Rs 1.41 lakh a day, claimed sources.


Murder case of SP’s son solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The Jagraon police today claimed to have solved a murder case involving a student of Lala Lajpat Rai Polytechnic at Ajitwal village in Moga district, whose beheaded body was found from the Abohar Canal branch a few days ago. The police said he was murdered by five members of a gang of robbers, who had been active in the state for the past few months. They were arrested by a team of the Sadar police station in Jagraon district.

The victim, Baghel Singh, was a son of Mr Harjinder Singh, an SP with the CRPF, belonging to Kapurthala and presently posted at New Delhi.

The incident sparked off tension in Moga district, after the youth went missing on January 22. Agitated students blocked traffic on several occasions, demanding arrest of the culprits.

The accused have been identified as Harwinder Singh, Sikander Singh, Manjit Singh, Satwant Singh and Harinder Singh. They were arrested from one of their hideouts in Sohian village, following a raid by the police team.

According to Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, the accused confessed of committing the gruesome murder. They revealed that after committing some robberies, they were looking for a place to spend the night in Ajitwal village, where students of the polytechnic live in rented houses. The gang members knew one of the landlords, Jugraj Singh. Jugraj Singh told them to use a house as its occupants had gone home due to vacations. However, one of the tenants, Baghel Singh, came back unexpectedly.

According to the accused, Baghel Singh challenged the intruders. Following this, they shot him, beheaded the body and inflicted several wounds on the chest. They then dumped the body in the canal.

The police also claimed to have solved several robbery cases in the region. A large number of stolen items, including vehicles and jewellery, were also seized from their possession.


Tehsildar, three others booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 8
The police has booked tehsildar, Hari Singh, Kanoongo Jabardast Singh, halqa patwari, Gurjinder Kumar, lambardar Amrik Singh and two others under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120, IPC, for forging documents to graft a piece of land.

Police sources said here today that Hari Singh, Jabardast Singh, Gurjinder Kumar and Amrik Singh forged documents and made wrong entries in the girdawri columns in the name of Yadwinder Singh and Baldev Singh, both residents of the town.

The matter was brought to the notice of the higher authorities of the police by Mr Jarnail Singh, a follower of Mahant Hardial Singh of Amritsar. The matter was then investigated by Mr Rattan Lal, inspector, anti-fraud staff of the police, who found Hari Singh, Jabardast Singh, Gurjinder Kumar, Amrik Singh, Yadwinder Singh and Baldev Singh guilty. A case has been registered against the accused.

The police has booked two more persons on a charge of manhandling a police constable on duty. A case under Sections 353, 186, IPC, has been registered against the accused who have been identified as Bikramjit Singh and Tarsem Singh, both residents of nearby Bugha village. The accused were coming on their motorbike when they were signalled to stop by Mr Gurpreet Singh, a traffic police constable. The accused reportedly manhandled the constable and tore his uniform.


9 convicted in 3 dowry cases

Sangrur, February 8
Additional District and Sessions Judge Shyam Sunder Gupta, Barnala, has set a record of sorts by convicting nine persons in three separate dowry cases, two of which also led to the death of girls, in the past two days.

The Judge yesterday sentenced four persons to life in connection with the killing of newly married Kanta Rani in November last in Dhanaula for bringing inadequate dowry.

Those sentenced included deceased’s husband Parshotam Kumar, mother-in-law Vimla Devi, father-in-law Brij Lal and her husband’s elder brother Vijay Kumar.

In another case, Dalbir Singh was sentenced to a seven-year term for trying to kill his wife Mandeep Kaur and his maternal uncle Mohinder Singh to a five-year term, in the Bhadur police station area. Mohinder Kaur was saved by the timely action of doctors in the Barnala Civil Hospital.

In another dowry death case, the Judge sentenced three persons to a six-year term for poisoning and killing Paramjit Kaur in Chauhanke Kalan village of Barnala subdivision. Those sentenced included her husband Kuldip Singh, mother-in-law and father-in-law. UNI


Murder convict arrested
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 8
The Ropar police has arrested, Harpal Singh, a convict in a murder case, who recently fled from Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. Giving this information the SSP Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, told the accused was arrested from Kiratpur Sahib on a tip-off.

Harpal Singh of Barnala was convicted for killing his neighbour Jaj Singh and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was initially lodged in Bathinda Central Jail. Just a week ago he was shifted to Patiala Central Jail along with three constables of the Bathinda police. Due to the reported respiratory problems he was shifted to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

During interrogation he told the police that three Constables of the Bathinda police were deputed to guard him in Rajindra Hospital. However, on the night he fled, two of the constables went back to Bathinda. The only constable who was guarding him were went to sleep.

Taking advantage of the situation he fled from the hospital wearing the uniform of the constable. He came to Anandpur Sahib after escaping from the police custody and was planning revenge on Jaga Singh, the main witness in his murder case, the SSP said.


Bank manager killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 8
Two persons, including a manager of a Punjab National Bank branch, were killed and three other employees of the same bank, were injured in a head-on collision between their car and an Army truck at the Chheharta chowk late last night.

The deceased have been identified as Gursharan Singh, manager, and Manjit Singh of Kartarnagar.

A case under Section 304-A, IPC, has been registered. The truck has been impounded.


11 dismissed secys held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The Chandigarh police once again swooped on the dismissed Panchayat Secretaries today and arrested 11 agitating members of the Association of Dismissed Panchayat Secretaries of Punjab. With this, the total number of arrested Panchayat Secretaries has gone up to 123.

The dismissed Panchayat Secretaries were arrested when they tried to gather again in Sector 17 in protest against the Punjab Government’s decision to remove them from service. An FIR under Section 107 and 151 of the CrPC has been registered against them. According to the police, all those arrested today were produced before a local magistrate, who sent them in judicial custody. They were later shifted to the Burail jail.


Peon held in theft case
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 8
The police here arrested Parkash Singh, a peon at the Tehsildar’s office, in the Rs 2.58 lakh theft case at the tehsil complex here yesterday and recovered Rs 2.05 lakh from him. Briefing mediapersons Balwinder Singh Bajwa, SHO, city police station, said the police suspected the involvement of certain office employees in the theft.


Rustication of 4 students sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 8
Even as Ravinder Pal Singh, a B.Sc (agriculture) final year student of Khalsa College, son of a Principal of Senior Secondary School, Sofi village, Jalandhar, lies in a semi-conscious state in a hospital nine days after being hit on head by a cricket bat, students of Khalsa college, along with the parents of Ravinder, in a signature campaign have appealed to the Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr SP Singh, to rusticate four students of the college.

The students were demanding rustication of four students, Gagandeep Singh, Harpreet Singh, Gurbinder Singh and Yadvinder Singh, who allegedly critically injured Ravinder Pal. They were booked in an FIR at Sadar Police Station.

According to Mr Baldev Singh, Principal and father of Ravinder, his son had suffered head injury caused by cricket bat. The college management then set up a three-member inquiry, immediately after the incident on February 1.

Principal Khalsa College, Dr M.S. Dhillon, said the inquiry had been completed and it was found that both the accused and the victim were drunk when they fought. He said three of the accused had been let off on bail while the main accused has been denied bail. He said the college would take action on the recommendations of the college management and according to university rules and regulations.


Unsigned award lists delay IT results
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 8
Punjabi University has been unable to declare the result of various information technology courses at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute on the university campus and Guru Gobind Singh Institute at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district for the past one month because the institutes had not cared to get the sign of the teacher concerned or stamp on the internal assessment and practical examination award lists submitted to the varsity.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s office, who had got the examinations conducted, had sent the award lists to the examination branch for computation. However, this could not be done as unsigned and unstamped awards could not be validated.

In an unprecedented step the examination branch wrote to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor on January 30 pointing out the anomaly. The examination branch said as the awards were neither signed nor stamped they could be changed by anyone. The Pro-VC was urged to depute some senior official from his office to get the relevant signatures and stamps on the award lists so that the pending results could be released.

According to information, the examination coordinator of Guru Gobind Singh Institute reached the university on Thursday and signed and stamped some of the awards.

When the issue that a coordinator could not sign on anything which he had not personally seen was brought to the notice of the controllor, examinations, Dr Baldev Singh yesterday, he said his office was helpless in the matter as the process had been initiated and partly completed by the office of the Pro-VC. He said the procedure of getting the signatures of the teachers concerned who had conducted the practicals and internal examinations would lead to further delay in the declaration of the results.

Dr Baldev Singh said he was facing problems in getting the results of the institutes declared because even the routine procedures were not followed in the conduct of the examinations. He said neither the fee paid by the students of the Institutes had been verified by the Accounts department nor had their registration in the university.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor R.N. Pal said he did not remember the case. Dr Pal said he was out of station and that he would inquire about the case when he returned.

However, a little later one of Dr Pal’s office employees rang up to explain the situation. Mr S R Kataria, a retired employee who is working on extension in the Pro-VC’s office, said the theory examinations had been without any hitch but added that there was some problem in the practical and internal awards which was being looked into.


Students to be educated on pollution control
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) here is working out modalities to introduce training programmes on industrial pollution control for students of colleges and universities as well as various technical training institutes located in the state.

According to sources, the proposal to initiate such training programmes follows a meeting of senior PSCST functionaries with the Scientific Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajan, recently. The PSCST officials were reportedly "advised" by Dr Ratra to explore possibilities of interacting with all universities and technical institutes in this regard.

The council is already conducting a six-month training programme for students of chemical engineering at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala. "The scope of this programme will be expanded and the curriculum modified to involve different institutes," a senior official said.

"Colleges and universities have a lot of infrastructure and manpower but their work is generally academic or conventional with little application in industry," the official pointed out.

Functionaries of the PSCST state that academic institutes have little awareness of the practical requirements of the industry. "The council will act as a catalyst and try to bridge the gap between the institutes and the industry, an official associated with the project said.

Under the present curriculum devised for students of the Thapar Institute, students are exposed to various small-scale industries like rice shellers, brickkilns, re-rolling mills and stone-crushers so as to get a feel of industrial problems.

Sources said specific design problems relating to these industries were also taken up by the students for study. An important aspect of the programme was that students were imparted training to develop computer programmes for designing important components and operating units concerned with chemical engineering.

Declamation contest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 8
Arya Girls Senior Secondary School will organise a declamation contest in memory of Swami Dayanand Saraswati on February 10.

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