Tuesday, February 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



10 Haryana residents booked
Lalit Mohan

Kurali, February 10
The Punjab Government has ordered the registration of cases against 10 Haryana residents who are suspected to have purchased 350-acres of land in Ropar on behalf of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister.

On the directions of the government, the Ropar police this evening registered cases under Sections 420, 120 (B) of the IPC and Sections 3 and 33 of the Prevention of Benami Land Transaction Act against Kamir Singh, Karamjit Singh, Amir Singh, Balwinder Singh, Kulbir Singh, Sandeep Singh, Manjit Singh and Pardeep Singh all land owners, and Krishan Sagwan and Sandeep Godhara, the alleged property dealers who effected the land transaction. Among the accused, the Kurali police has arrested Amir Singh.

The probe into the ownership of 200 acres of land at Naglian village and 135 acres at Khairpur had been ordered by the government last year on the suspicion that the said land was purchased by the former Chief Minister through a benami transaction. The way in which the land was transacted had further aroused the doubts of the authorities regarding the original ownership of the land.

The land was purchased and sold by property dealers Mr Sagwan and Mr Godhara on behalf of the power of attorneys obtained from both buyers and the sellers.

On the initial orders of the government on November 8, 2000, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, had reported to the Chief Secretary that 200 acres of land in Naglian was purchased in 2001 in the name of Kulbir Singh and seven others, all belonging to Haryana, on the general power of ‘attorney. Besides, at least 135 acres of land had been purchased at Khairpur village by Mr Sagwan of Hisar also on the general power of attorney.

Following the report, the Chief Secretary ordered the Deputy Commissioner to conduct a detailed inquiry into the said land deals. In the preliminary report submitted on November 29, the Deputy Commissioner alleged that 135 acres of land purchased on power of attorney by Sagwan was tantamount to evasion of stamp duty.

In the final report submitted by the Deputy Commissioner in December 2002, it was stated that the land deals were fictitious and benami in nature. The report stated that the original owners never visited the purchased land and were never a part of the deal struck for buying the said lands. The Deputy Commissioner had concluded that 350 acres of land at Naglian and Khairpur villages was actually purchased on behalf of some other individuals whose identity should be established.

After receiving the Deputy Commissioner’s report, the Chief Secretary had referred it to the OSD (Law and Order), Mr A.A. Siddiqui, for further inquiry.

Sources said after conducting further inquiry and seeking legal advice on the matter, the government has now ordered the registration of cases against the suspected fake buyers and the dealers involved in the controversial land deal. 


Congress to sue Dhumal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 10
AICC treasurer and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora today said that he would soon file a case of defamation against caretaker Himachal Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal in the Delhi High Court.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Vora, who is also in charge of Punjab and Himachal Congress affairs, said that lawyers were being consulted to prepare the case against Prof Dhumal.

The list of moveable and immoveable properties of Prof Dhumal released by us is based on facts, he said, adding that the Dhumal government had failed to fulfil poll promises during its five years of rule.

Mr Vora added that they would have a thorough probe into the assets acquired by Prof Dhumal as Chief Minister of Himachal after the formation of the Congress government after the elections. “Dhumal government was trying to divert people’s attention from its failures by filing cases against Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and other senior Congress leaders. The allegations of harassment to the family members of Prof Dhumal based in Jalandhar by the Congress government are totally baseless,” he added.

Mr Vora, lauding the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab, ruled out replacing Capt Amarinder Singh as the Chief Minister. Capt Amarinder Singh is going to stay here as the CM and Congress high command is not considering any proposal to replace him,” Mr Vora asserted.

On poll strategy for the coming elections in Himachal, the senior Congress leader said that his party would expose misdeeds of the Dhumal government to the people of the state. Widespread corruption in government offices and unprecedented rise in unemployment are main poll issues in the campaign, I am sure that the people of Himachal will oust the BJP government.

Besides, the issue of widespread use of money for getting government jobs will be the major poll plank,” he added.


Dhumal got Rs 13-cr assets as CM: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said it was his ‘’duty’’ to nail lies on properties owned by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, and his family in Jalandhar. The intention was not to cast aspersions on him but to tell people the truth.

He said the Dhumal family had acquired properties worth Rs 13 crore after he became Chief Minister.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting with MPs at Punjab Bhavan, Capt Amarinder Singh asked, ‘’Where is the need to hide or deny properties that Mr Dhumal owns? If he hides or denies, it becomes suspicious. I am clearing such suspicions to reveal the truth. There is even documentary evidence of his sons’ shares in the school’’, he added.

The Chief Minister said, ‘’My family has a historical relationship with Himachal since 1843. We must show the people the true colours of their Chief Minister’’.

He clarified there was ‘’no raid’’ on the factories of the Dhumal family in Jalandhar. It was part of a state-wide ‘’routine checking’’. In fact, the PSEB would now issue them a show-cause notice, as the staff of the Enforcement Directorate were obstructed and no check was done.

On allegations against him by a BJP leader, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Capt Amarinder Singh remarked, ‘’He is crude and a loudmouth. He has hit below the belt. It is below my dignity to even answer the nonsense he is speaking’’. He also rubbished the charge of having cleared any debts after becoming Chief Minister last February.

Referring to his meeting with the MPs, Capt Amarinder Singh said they were requested to raise the issue of minimum support price for wheat and its procurement, to pursue the crop adjustment scheme of the Dr S.S. Johl committee on diversification of crops/cropping patterns, industrial policy and special economic package for the state on the lines of ones the Centre has given to Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, lotteries and internal security.

In reply to a question, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would inquire into the ‘’disappearance’’ of a child, who was witness to the killing of his brother by Jalandhar cops. Both the child and his grandmother are reported ‘’missing’’ since the incident and the arrest of policemen allegedly involved in the killing of the child.

‘Ganging up of IAS men bad’

Referring to the episode of the suspension of the Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore, Mr D.K. Tewari, the Chief Minister reiterated that suspension would not be revoked till a satisfactory explanation was received from the erring IAS officer for ‘’dereliction of duty. I had spoken to him to ensure the smooth conduct of zila parishad elections. Yet, he left station, under pressure from within the warring groups of the Congress.”

The Captain was unsparing when it came to the IAS Officers Association lobbying for Mr Tewari. ‘’I do not like the ganging up of officers the way they are doing. As I have said earlier, I run a state and not an association. How can one leave simply under pressures?’’ On the Panchkula incident report, he said he would look into it. Mr Bhagat Singh has not sought extension beyond two weeks.

On converting death penalty into life imprisonment of D S Bhullar, who has been sentenced to the gallows for attack on the Congress leader, Mr M S Bitta in which 14 persons were killed, he said it was a ‘’legal matter’’ for the President of India to decide.


CM ‘sidelining’ Cong MLAs
Our Correspondent

Jallowal (Jalandhar), February 10
Mincing no words in criticising the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for his alleged failure to give due consideration to the demands raised by MLAs of the ruling Congress, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, Congress MLA from Adampur, today alleged that development works in his constituency had virtually come to a halt after the formation of the Congress government in the state.

Mr Lalli, speaking at a function to launch a joint venture project of Pepsico and the Punjab Agri Export Corporation to grow quality citrus fruits here, alleged that the ruling party MLAs were being sidelined by the Chief Minister, which, he said, was evident from the fact that though such a big project was being launched in his constituency, he (Lalli) was never informed about the visit of the Chief Minister.

“Development works in my constituency have virtually come to a halt soon after the formation of the Congress government in the state,” Mr Lalli said.

Mr Lalli criticised the state government for backtracking from its poll promise to sanction funds for the expansion of Bhogpur sugar mills during the past one year of its rule.

“The creditability of elected MLAs is at stake due to the failure of the government to initiate development works in the state. Though the condition of the main and the link roads in the rural areas of my constituency is so bad, not a single penny is released to carry out even patch work on the roads. With MLAs of the ruling party having no say in the functioning of the government, it had become difficult to face the people”, Mr Lalli said.

Mr Lalli, a close associate of the state Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, also criticised the organisers for ignoring him and Ms Santosh Choudhary, MP while issuing the invitation cards and releasing advertisements in various newspapers.

The Parliamentary Secretary (Horticulture), Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, who presided over the function, said the Chief Minister had to cancel his visit as he was to preside over a meeting of the Punjab MPs at Chandigarh.


MPs meet Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Six Members of Parliament — five of the Congress and one of SAD (Amritsar) — today held a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today to discuss some key issues of Punjab to be raised by them in the ensuing session of Parliament.

The Chief Minister urged the MPs to plead for an early fixation of Rs 790 per quintal MSP for wheat, release of sugar from the mills, compensation to the farmers of the border districts, change of parameters for drought relief and for continuation of lotteries that are a major source of revenue to the state.

Referring to the release of relief/special assistance due to drought-2002, the Chief Minister said the Centre had not responded to the memorandum of September 18 in which Punjab had sought Rs 3642.74 crore relief for losses incurred, but was given an assistance of only Rs 125.41 crore.


Punjab industrial policy by March 1
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Punjab industrial policy is likely to be announced by March 1.

This was announced by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at an interface with the industry here today. The focus was to invite suggestions on the draft industrial policy. However, most of the speakers talked about their sectoral ‘’aches and pains’’.

The CII Northern Region Chairman, Mr S.K. Bijlani, said the consensus was to set up a joint ‘’task force’’ of the CII and Government of Punjab for cohesive networking for socio-economic uplift of the state and to ameliorate the problems of small, medium and large industry. Captains of the industry suggested that the government should ‘’involve’’ the ‘’clients’’ at the formulation stage of policymaking rather than seeking suggestions after the draft policy is ready. The ‘’task force’’ would be headed by the Chief Minister.

Another outcome of the deliberations was the approval of a CII proposal for setting up a ‘Centre for Excellence in Competitiveness’. Punjab has announced Rs 1 crore as its contribution to the project that aims to introduce new technologies, modernisation, upgradation, cost-effectiveness in power, quality production, better inventory, turnover etc. Agriculture will be an integral part of the envisaged programme, as value addition is to be as important as diversification in crops/cropping patterns.

Mr Bijlani said for any successful industrial entrepreneurship, watching the interest of consumers was as important as that of the producer and labour. Therefore, the interface also talked of labour laws and employment. ‘’In fact, good governance, which is transparent and corruption-free, alone can help Punjab position itself on the development trajectory to jackup its economy and employment’’. Mr Bjlani strongly believes that industrial policy alone is not an instrument to promote industry. It is only a miniscule part of good governance. What the CII and state should aim is to network for other aspects as well, like education (even in border areas) and social services to the people in terms of health delivery system and communication infrastructure.

The interface also saw lots of discussion on development of ‘’border’’ area. Should development be confined to the 16 km-border belt or district as a whole or why not take up Punjab as a border state itself. Participants representing border districts wanted incentives and sops. But far-sighted entrepreneurs were of the opinion that ‘’lollipops’’ were only a secondary factor to promote industry. The primary factor is power sector reforms, infrastructure and attending to vital sectors of economy through participative functioning.

The issue of truck unions also cropped up with the Chief Minister assuring that these would not come in the way of industrial development.

The state, given its fragile fiscal health, is also keen to get rid of the cooperative sugar mills. The Chief Minister announced the government would disinvest in these mills and allow sugar industry power co-generation and production of ethanol. Punjab is facing a serious sugar crisis due to the Centre’s policies.

There was also a feeling that some ‘’vested’’ interests, including political ones, were spreading the word that the special economic package available to some neighbouring hill states would lead to ‘’flight’’ of industry from Punjab.

It was also pointed out that Punjab needed a formalised and institutionalised forum for the redressal grievances of industry and entrepreneurs. 


Woman’s body exhumed, girl traced
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur February 10
The recovery of a 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly abducted by a young dera owner about two years ago with the connivance of her cousin, has unfolded a sordid story wherein the girl was forced to dress-up as a Gorkha and the body of her maternal aunt’s pregnant daughter-in-law, who died for want of treatment, was buried in a choe by her paramour, the dera owner and his brother.

The two-year-old decomposed body of Amarjit Kaur, a resident of Nangal Shahidaan, her clothes and bangles were exhumed from the Parsowal choe bed near Chabbewal village of the district by police officials on Saturday. The police stumbled upon the sordid details of the mysterious death of Amarjit Kaur during questioning of the minor girl who was staying with Surinder Pal Singh at his farm house at Bassi Ali Khan village in the guise of a Gorkha boy.

The girl, hailing from Naroor village in Kapurthala, had come to Hoshiarpur with her ailing mother in October 2001 for the latter’s treatment. She was taken to Nangal Shahidan village by her maternal aunt latter’s daughter-in-law Amarjit Kaur was allegedly four months pregnant at that time as she was reportedly having an illicit relationship with Manjit Singh of Bilaspur village.

Amarjit Kaur allegedly connived with Manjit Singh and “induced” the girl to accompany them. Though the police had registered a case against Manjit Singh and his accomplices Harbhajan Lal and Amarjit Kaur under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC, the girl could not be traced till she was found from the farm house of Surinder Pal Singh on Saturday.

The Investigation, led by Mr Dharam Singh Uppal, DSP (Detective), revealed that Manjit Singh forced Amarjit Kaur to abort the foetus in case she wanted to marry him and took her to a Bahadurpur Bhaian-based ayurvedic doctor Kuldip Singh along with the minor girl.

The doctor arranged for a midwife Rajrani, belonging to his village, to conduct the abortion. As the abortion was not done properly, Amarjit was unwell for a couple of days.

She along with the girl, was taken by Manjit Singh to the dera of Surinder Pal Singh where she died on December 29, 2001. Stunned by the development, Manjit Singh, Surinder Pal Singh and his brother Gurjit Singh buried the body in the Parsowal choe.

To conceal the crime, Surinder Pal Singh kept the girl at his dera in the guise of a gorkha boy. The girl kept working in the fields all this while till somebody got suspicious that the ‘boy’ was actually a girl who might be pregnant as well and informed the police. The decomposed body was being sent for a medical examination, said police sources.


Video conference to hear Kala Afghana
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 10
Sikh clergy today decided to hear Canada-based Mr Gurbax Singh, Kala Afghana, a cop-turned Sikh scholar through video-conferencing in a fortnight.

The decision unprecedented in the history of Sikhism had to be taken as Mr Kala Afghana had expressed inability to appear before the Sikh clergy today on health grounds and being on the “black list”. He was told to appear before the Sikh high priests for his alleged ‘blasphemous’ writings especially about the ‘Amrit’.

However, the Sikh clergy refused to hear Mr Gurtej Singh, ‘Professor of Sikhism’ on behalf of Mr Kala Afghana because there was no such precedent in the history of Akal Takht. However, Mr Gurtej Singh was a bit agitated on the refusal of the Sikh clergy to hear him for Mr Kala Afghana, claimed that there were several instances in the Sikh history when petitions were made through proxy on genuine grounds.

Addressing reporters, Giani Joginder Singh, Vedanti Jathedar Akal Takht said that video conferencing would be arranged at gurdwara in Vancouver (Canada) where Mr Kala Afghana would present his clarification in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. He said the Sikh clergy had accepted the appeal of Mr Kala Afghana that he was unable to appear before the Akal Takht due to unavoidable reasons.

Earlier, talking to The Tribune on telephone, Mr Kala Afghana had stated that being close to late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale his name had been included in the ‘black list’ by the Indian government and he could be accepted on arrival in the country. He had also pleaded that he had been bed-ridden for the past two years and doctors had advised him against travelling.


Plant fire: high-level probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Lehra Mohabat (Bathinda), February 10
A high-level panel has been constituted by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to identify the cause of fire in the unit number two of the local Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) yesterday.

Meanwhile, the plant authorities have estimated the loss due to the fire to be around Rs 10 lakh. The unit number two, in which the fire broke out, has been shut down for annual overhauling. It would take about 20 days to restart it, while the unit number one, which was shut down yesterday, was started again today morning.

Mr M.S. Thind, Chief Engineer, GHTP, said the panel constituted by the PSEB to know the cause of fire included Mr H.S. Sahay, Member Generation, PSEB, Mr S.S. Sohal, Superintending Engineer, Mr Baldev Singh, Superintending Engineer, GNDTP, Mr R.P. Pandov, Director, Public Relations, and himself. He added that a team of BHEL had been called to open the turbine, as it was suspected that some parts of it had damaged after the fire incident.

Mr Thind pointed out that as per preliminary investigations, the fire broke out after the gasket of lubricant oil pipe was breached due to high pressure and it came in contact with the hot steam pipes running in the turbine section. He added that there was no negligence on anybody’s part in this incident.

This was the second major fire incident in the GHTP after it came into existence. Earlier, a fire in the boiler of unit number one caused loss to the tune of crores of rupees a few years ago when it was under trial.

Mr Thind said he hoped the loss suffered by unit number two would not be more than Rs 10 lakh. He said the actual loss would be worked out after the repair of damaged parts of the turbine section started.


Women shown in poor light: Juhi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 10
“Women are being portrayed terribly in today’s films”, commented actress, Juhi Babbar who was on a promotional tour here today for her Hindi film “Kaash Aap Hamare Hotey”.

Juhi, daughter of Raj Babbar, who was accompanying her, said the roles being offered in many films today are demeaning to women, and she would never accept the role of a mere decoration piece in skimpy clothes even for a big banner.


Kidney scam: notice issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
In less than a month after the great kidney conspiracy was unearthed, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion on a petition seeking the quashing of first information reports registered against the donors.

Dr B. Singh, in his petition against the Union of India, the state of Punjab, the Indian Medical Association and the Medical Council of India, besides other respondents, had also sought directions to the Punjab Government for the release of all innocent donors and helpless recipients from jail with or without the bail bonds. Directions were also sought for cancelling the licences of the professionals indulging in the criminal activities, besides violating the code of ethics. The case will now come up for hearing on March 11.

It may be recalled that former Law Minister-cum-senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had also asked a human rights organisation here to take steps for providing medical attention to the “victims” after their release from jail custody, lest the state was guilty of human rights violation.

In a letter to Justice A.S. Bains — retired Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge-cum-Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation — the former minister, along with other human rights activists, had asserted that apparently the poor victims of exploitation, compelled to sell their kidneys to save themselves from starvation, had further been victimised by being imprisoned.

Quoting the newspaper report, they asserted that the story on the kidney conspiracy that appeared on January 19 was shocking. As per the report, two well-known doctors were in the docks, while several donor-labourers were in jail. It was further stated that Punjab government’s Special Investigation Team may have cracked the kidney case, but plenty of questions remained.

It was added that the estimated value of the kidney racket was Rs 100 crore. As many as 1,922 transplants had taken place in Amritsar, while 650 had taken place in Delhi, since 2000. About 300 labourers had lost their kidneys, approximately 25 their lives.

Next hearing

Taking up a bunch of petitions filed by panchayat secretaries sought to be terminated by the Punjab government, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday day fixed February 12 as the next date of hearing in the case.

The secretaries, in their petition taken up by the Bench had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of total a 909 secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners had added that the same was illegal and arbitrary. Giving details, counsel had submitted on the petitioners’ behalf that the secretaries were appointed in the department concerned by a duly constituted Departmental Selection Committee.

Bail plea

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the issuance of a five day notice to Punjab’s former minister S.P. Saini in case he was required in any case registered against him. Seeking the grant of bail, he had contended that he may be falsely implicated.


Industrialist murder case accused gets bail

Moga, February 10
A court here today released on bail Darshan Singh Alias Gasha of Moga, arrested for the murder case of Kot Kapura Industrialist Mukand Singh. He was arrested on November 11, 2002.

The court ordered his release on bail this afternoon when he was produced in the court.

As the prosecution failed to put up the challan and charge sheet in the stipulated period of 90 days, the court ordered the release of the accused on furnishing the sureties of Rs 20,000 each.

Kot Kapura industrialist Mukand Singh along with Darshan Singh went to Chandigarh on October 8 and returned at night. From Moga Mukand Singh informed at Kot Kapura that he would be coming to Kot Kapura but next morning his burnt body was found in his burnt car near Dala village.

The police arrested Darshan Singh on November 11, 2002 and after three days in police custody he was sent to the judicial custody. PTI


MLA Kittu’s son granted bail

Moga, February 10
Kulwant Singh, son of SAD MLA Malkiat Singh Kittu, arrested by the Billaspur police post under the Excise Act for the recovery of 120 bottles of country-made liquor from his vehicle near Himatpura village on January 30, was released on bail by a court here on furnishing a surety of Rs 50,000.

Kanta was produced in the court on the expiry of 10 days’ judicial remand. UNI


American folk singer wins hearts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 10
James Durst, a renowned American singer, won Punjabi hearts with his American folk songs and peppered Punjabi on the Guru Nanak Dev University campus here today.

Clad in a kurta pyjama and an ethnic jacket, Janes, a singer in 18 languages broke into an extempore fusion music with tabla and guitar. His songs extolled adolescent love of a Vietnamese girl and Jerusalem, the city of 12 gates. He slid into a soft tempo before he sang a Texas-flavoured song ‘My Family’.

Accompanied by the First Secretary in charge, Cultural Affairs, American Embassy, Ms Mariam Caraville, the programme was a joint effort of the US Embassy and GND University.

Having more than 150 compositions and four books to his credit and married to a Bengali girl, James, talking to The Tribune, said Indian music, culture and even food was compelling. Punjabi music has a restic flavour comparable to none. Famous Indian singer Hemant Kumar, however, remained his favourite.


Villagers’ complaint against bank manager
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 10
Farmers and labourers of 25 villages around Nabha have sent complaints to the Chief Minister, Director Vigilance and higher officials of Central Cooperative Bank against the “dictatorial attitude of the manager of Central Cooperative Bank at Galwati village, 10 km from here.

In their affidavits they alleged that no action has been taken against the erring officer despite their oral complaints to higher officials of the bank. They complained that the attitude of the manager had turned from bad to worse after the complaints, and now they were compelled to send affidavits to the Vigilance Bureau and the Chief Minister of Punjab.

Mr Pal Singh, a resident of Hassanpur village, in his affidavit alleged that when he contacted the manager of the bank for a loan, he treated him badly and later demanded Rs 1,000 against the payment of each installment of Rs 5,000. Similarly, Mr Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Dhingi village, in his affidavit, complained that he had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 from the bank for opening a grocery shop but at the time of payment, he had received Rs 19,000 only. Ten more persons belonging to Nabha and nearby villages have also sent similar complaints.

The villagers also met local MLA Kaka Randip Singh to take action against the manager. He assured them that he would look into the matter.

Meanwhile, Mr Deedar Singh Khatra, president, Punjab Cooperative Agricultural Societies Employees Union, when contacted, said the union members had met the Managing Director of the bank, Mr Harinder Paul, in this regard. The manager of the bank, Mr Bodhraj said he had sanctioned no loan to anyone as was evident from bank records.


Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur train flagged off
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 10
The Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Mr H.C. Punia, today formally flagged off a Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur DMU equipped with modern facilities from the local Railway station. With this launch, DMU shed, Jalandhar, has become the first in the Railways to introduce automatic passenger doors.

Mr Tarun Huria, Divisional Mechanical Engineer, said a team of the senior technicians took 25 days to modify the five-year-old pattern of the DMU. The DMU would run 10 services daily between Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. The fare for the journey would be Rs 11 per passenger. He further said that the DMU was provided with modified security gadgets and passengers could enjoy music while travelling.


New inter-city train between Bathinda, Delhi

Bathinda, February 10
A new inter-city express train between Bathinda and New Delhi via Ambala was started by Northern Railway today.

The local Station Superintendant M. Meena told PTI that the train (4522) would leave Bathinda for New Delhi at 7.30 am and reach Delhi at 2.30 pm.

The train (4521) would leave Delhi for Bathinda at 3.50 pm and reach here at 10.40 pm. He said the train would stop at Ambala cantonment, Rajpura, Patiala, Dhuri and Barnala. PTI


Only talent will be recruited, says PPSC chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 10
Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Lt-Gen Surjit Singh (retd) spoke on the system of selection for the state Civil Services and allied posts at a lecture organised by placement unit of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The chairman said several steps had been taken to select only talented persons for the benefit of the state. To make the selection process transparent help of Internet and computers would bring more efficiency and accuracy in the system. Dr S.P. Singh, vice-chancellor of the varsity presided.


Using hospital equipment for brickbatting
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 10
Miscreants of two clashing groups indulged in brickbatting with equipment of the emergency ward of the local Civil Hospital last night. Despite timely information, the police reached the scene about one-and-a-half hour after the incident when most of the miscreants had left the place after damaging hospital property.

According to available details, some persons of two groups clashed at a marriage party at Tara Palace here and eight of them belonging of both groups sustained minor injuries and were admitted to the hospital after a medico-legal examination around midnight. Nand Lal (43), Jagdish Verma (38), Mohinder Mohan (25), all three brothers, and Shabed Verma (19) had a scuffle with Tilak Raj Maini (52), his son Gaurav Maini (22), Sandeep Kumar (25 and Jaspreet Singh (19) were admitted to the hospital. Accomplices of both factions in large numbers reached the hospital and indulged in brickbatting around 1 am in the Emergency Ward. The miscreants and some of the injured persons used the hospital equipments as weapons to hit one another. As a result the table, Intravenous fluid stands, oxygen cylinders, disposable syringe incinators, glass bottles, dressing drums and other equipment got damaged. Some of the miscreants also broke open the door of the Operation Theatre of the eye wing to run away.

The Medical Officer on duty informed the city police of the ongoing clash thrice on telephone, but the police did not turn up to control the situation. Ultimately, upon sending written information, the police force reached the hospital after about one-and-half hour when the clash had ended.

Dr Sarita Kamra, Senior Medical Officer, while expressing anguish over the damage to hospital equipment, deplored the hooliganism by the miscreants. She said oxygen cylinders could have burst and caused more damage. She revealed that the entire episode had been reported to the SDM, Fazilka, and the Civil Surgeon, Ferozepore, demanding deterrent action against the miscreants.


ICU on wheels introduced
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
Hero DMC Heart Institute, the prestigious 150-bedded superspeciality cardiac care centre of the region, has introduced “Intensive Care Ambulance” for heart patients.

The ambulance is equipped with facilities like the Ventilator, defibrillator, monitor, oxygen, infusion pumps and life-saving drugs.

A special trained team of doctors and nurses has been appointed for the management of patients in the ambulance.

To avail the services of this 24-hour facility, people can contact on 2480890.

Mr Narinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Hero DMC Heart Institute, said,”The first few minutes are critical for saving the life of the patient. 


Dispensaries sans vets
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 10
Veterinary services in the district are in a bad shape due to large number of vacancies at the posts of veterinary doctor, particularly in backward and border areas. More than a 100 dispensaries are without veterinary doctors.

Official sources say border and backward development blocks of Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamyal are operating without veterinary doctors. The sanctioned posts of veterinary doctors in these blocks are about 15. Similarly, Dera Baba Nanak Block has only two vets against a sanctioned strength of 20 vets. Dhar subdivision has only two veterinary doctors to look after the cattle health.

Important veterinary dispensaries at Sri Hargobindpur, Harchowal, Kala Nangal and Naushehra Majha Singh too are without doctors.

Similarly, there are a large number of vacancies for para-medical staff.


Punjab to beautify samadhi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 10
The Punjab Government will undertake beautification of the samadhi of a Sikh General, Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala, by developing it into a befitting memorial. Deputy Commissioner Iqbal Singh stated this while presiding over a commemorative function on the 157th martyrdom day of Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala at Attari Village on the Indo-Pak border here today. Paying glowing tributes to the Sikh General, he said adequate funds would be provided for the samadhi.


Cultural fair organised
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 10
Youth Sports Club, Sahiwal, organised its first cultural fair at Sahiwal village, near here, which was presided over by Mr Sadhu Singh Dhramsot, MLA, Amloh, and Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Minister for Transport, and Mr Gurwinder Singh Atwal, Parliamentary Secretary (Co-operation), were the chief guests at various sessions.

Fakir Chand Patanga, Debi Muksuspuri, Surinder Sahu, Lalli Tarkehri, Dev Nirman, Balbir Balli, Viki Punian, Rimpi Shahpuri, Param Bhadson, Anita Sunam, Bhjna Amli, Ms Santi and Bobby Sidhu presented programmes besides bhangra, which was witnessed by a large number of people from the surrounding villages.


Experts warn of ill-effects of Bt cotton
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 10
Experts, farm scientists, representatives of NGOs, farmers and agro-economists yesterday gathered here from all over the country to discuss the implications of growing Bt cotton on other crops and concluded that even as it offers short-term benefits, its long-term effects are anything but positive.

The two-day seminar on ‘implications of Bt Cotton and its Alternative’, which concluded yesterday evening, held that growing Bt cotton was not in the interest of the farmers. The experts opined that the introduction of genetically modified crops, whether cotton, mustard or tomato, was interfering with the natural processes and would play havoc with other crops.

A former Agriculture Minister and Member, Planning Commission, Mr Sompal Shastri, stressed that earlier insects took four to five years to develop resistance to any insecticide, but with the Bt cotton, these insects developed resistance very quickly. He said cottonseed was used as fodder and human beings consumed cottonseed oil. The Bt cotton, being poisonous, would be harmful for human beings and animals also.

Ms Kavita and Dr Asesh Tayal, activists of Green Peace, pointed out that even the reports submitted by ministers and their departments were not reliable.

Mr Korah Mathur, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, highlighted the economic losses due to the introduction of Bt cotton.

Mr M.S. Thind, Joint Director, and Mr Jasbir Singh Bains, Deputy Director (cotton), Punjab, pointed out that Bt cottonseed was being sold illegally in Punjab as neither the state government nor PAU had recommended any variety of Bt cotton. Adding to this, Dr Hem Raj Garg, senior cotton breeder, PAU, said the trials of Mech 95 Bt cotton, conducted by the university would be submitted to the state government shortly. Similarly, Dr Adarsh Pal Vig, seed technologist, GND University, Amritsar, pointed out the threat to biodiversity of traditional cotton varieties and other friendly insects, due to largescale introduction of Bt cotton.

Mr Kapil Shah, founder, Jatan, a Gujarat-based NGO, Mr Umendra Dutt, Director, Kheti Virasat, an NGO, Mr Devinder Sharma, Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, Mr Naresh Sirohi, an activist for organic farming, Dr Kunwar Bhai Yadav, former Gujarat Agriculture Director, Mr Bharat Jhunjhunwala, former associate of IIM, Kolkata, and Mr H.S. Bhatti, Mansa, Mr S.C. Khurana, Patiala, Mr Paramjit Singh Sohal, Muktsar, Mr Major Singh Brar, Ferozepore, Mr Palvinder Singh Aulakh, all Chief Agriculture officers, also spoke.


Youth dies in attack
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 10
Gurinder Singh alias Babbar, leader of a group of youths, died when he along with his two friends was attacked with firearms and sharp-edged weapons near a school on Bhagu Road, 100 metres from the SSP’s residence and Civil Lines police post by another group of youths, involved in several court cases of violence today evening.

The police launched a hunt for the culprits. A few persons said to be accomplices of the accused, had been taken into custody, sources said.

Harwinder Singh, who received multiple injuries said that he along with four friends was going to the hospital to enquire after the health of an associate, admitted there when they were attacked by more than 10 youths, riding scooters and a travelling in a car and armed with fire-arms, swords and spears.

He said that after the attack they fled the scene. The accused also fired from double-barrelled .12 bore gun. He added that he took Babbar and another injured person to the civil hospital. Babbar was declared brought dead in the hospital.

Sources said the attackers killed Babbar and injured Harwinder Singh and Sukhdeep Singh alias Kaka as one of the their associates Neeta had attacked Guru Iqbal Singh, a member of other group (attackers’ group) on December 19, 2002. A case in this connection was registered under Section 307 of the IPC against Neeta.

A few years ago, a brother of Babbar facing trial under Section 307 of the IPC for firing in a hotel on the New Year eve two years ago was also killed under mysterious circumstances. One of the brothers was Punjab Police head constable and retired from service.

Civil Hospital sources said that both injured, were given treatment and kept under observation.

Mr Harbaj Singh and Mr Harbhajan Singh, SP (D) and SP (H), respectively visited civil hospital said that by tonight most of the accused would be arrested. They added that per their information the accused were Gursewak, Satinder Bhola, Guru Iqbal, Malkeet, Gurmeet alias Phancy, Bhindi and Prince (both brothers) and Vicky.

They said that both Bhindi and Vicky were sons of a senior Punjab Government functionary.

A case was being registered under Sections 302, 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act in this respect. 


7 booked for duping farmer
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 10
The police has registered a case against seven persons, including two brothers, for allegedly duping a farmer of Rs 40,000 on the pretext of selling gold coins to him at the rate of Rs 2,000 per tola only.

Official sources said Ameer Chand had lodged a complaint with the police post at Khuikhera (Bodiwala Peetha) stating that two persons visited him at border village Bareka and offered gold coins at Rs 2,000 per tola. He was cautioned against telling others about the deal. Ameer Chand reportedly reached the fixed place near a canal outside Jandwala Meeransangla village where four persons were waiting for him. As he handed over Rs 40,000 to the accused, they raised an alarm pointing to the arrival of three persons in police uniform and ran away. Ameer Chand, fearing police action, also preferred to flee.

However, later he learnt that a gang had been operating in Punjab and Rajasthan allegedly cheating people with the same modus operandi. Some members of the gang claimed that they had with them gold coins extracted during recovery of hidden treasure belonging to late “safaidposh zaildar” Majhi Khan of Patrewala village. Majhi Khan had migrated to Pakistan in 1947, leaving behind a treasure in the basement of his haveli here. They used to fox people into believing their story and dup them.

A preliminary police probe led to the identification of seven suspects in this case. The police has booked Makhan Singh and Gari of Patrewala village, Darshan Singh of 1-C village in Sri Ganganagar district, Pippal Singh, Makhan Singh and his brother Baldev Singh and Harbans Singh (all of Raniwala village) under Sections 419, 420, 471 and 120-B of the IPC. It is pertinent to mention that the names of some persons had figured in an FIR registered in Sri Ganganagar district for same offence last year also.


Man killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 10
Bira Singh, a resident of Bir Talab village was seriously injured in a road accident here today.

He was taken to the local Civil Hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva but was declared brought dead. The police has registered a case.

In another incident, Gurmeet Singh, a resident of the Amarpura Basti of the city, was injured in an accident and was admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Hospital sources said a teenaged girl received burn injuries when a LPG cylinder burst accidentally. Two other persons injured in accidents were admitted to the local civil hospital by the volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva.


Make education job-oriented: Haider
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 10
The three-day convention on vocational education sought restructuring of vocational courses according to the needs of trade and industry. The seminar was being organised by PSS Central Institute of Vocational Education Bhopal NCERT and BBK DAV College for Women here.

The Director Central Institute of Vocational Education Bhopal Prof S.Z. Haider, in his valedictory address pleaded introduction of vocational courses to help tide over unemployment situation in the unorganised sector. He favoured framing of a national employment policy.

Quoting figures Prof Haider said that every year 20 lakh matriculates get added to the number of jobless in the country, while 2.7 crore dropouts from schools join the casual labour segment.

He said during 1992 and 2000 that the government could meet only the target of 25 per cent children who were given vocational training, while only 6700 schools in the country have been provided with infrastructure to run these courses. He pointed out that the courses were meant only for the urban population while the rural segment had been neglected totally leading to large-scale migration to cities in search of jobs.

Vice-president of the DAV managing committee B.R. Abrol felt that there was no dignity of labour in our country and people were looking for white-collar jobs.

Dr R.S. Bawa registrar of the Guru Nanak Dev University addressing the convention felt that vocational training policy be evolved and funds provided for infrastructure with latest courses at the school and at the college level to build a base for skilled labour.

He stressed proper evaluation for starting the courses keeping in view the local, regional, national and international needs.

Dr Bawa was for a strong agricultural base and agro-industries must be established to process farm produce for jobs for many.

Businessman Krishan Khanna presented Vision 2020 paper and said that the government must provide good governance and effective administration to bring the country on a par with developed nations.

He said that the government must focus on primary education 100 per cent literacy and fell that it would take more than 30 years to realise the dream of total literacy. Mr Khanna pointed out that vocational education and training rather than the traditional college education would not help India achieve higher growth rate.

He suggested total vocationalisation of entire education curriculum. He also suggested a plan to encourage small and medium enterprises as majority of the small scale units constituted industrial capacity in the country and provide more than 80 per cent employment to skilled force.

Later principal Mrs J. Kackria released eight recommendations which needed to be adopted for creating better employment opportunities for the jobless in the country.

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 |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |