Tuesday, April 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Suspected SARS cases in Patiala, Hoshiarpur
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
A 14-year old boy who had visited Goa to meet his sister, who had come from abroad, has been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital here this evening as a suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) case.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, said the boy, Gaurav Sharma, a resident of Aman Vihar on the Bhadson road, was being kept in on isolated ward. She said his father, Baldev Sharma, was also being kept under observation in the hospital even though he was not showing symptoms of the disease.

She said the boy had visited Goa from April 16 to April 23 to meet his sister who had come from the UK. She said though there was no history of the boy having met a SARS patient reported from Goa, he had been admitted to the hospital as he was showing SARS-like symptoms. These, she said, included high fever and distress in the chest.

Meanwhile, doctors said an X-ray of Gaurav’s chest had shown a pneumonic patch. They said blood and urine samples of the boy would be sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the news of a suspected SARS case created a little panic among attendants of patients. Doctors, however, assured attendants and others that there was no need to panic.

HOSHIARPUR: A suspected SARS patient was quarantined in the Civil Hospital, here on Monday.

Though the civil hospital authorities have refused to confirm that the 27-year-old patient hailing from Mukerian was actually suffering from SARS or not, he has been kept in an isolation ward as a precautionary measure. Samples of his blood have been sent to the NCID.

The suspect, an official of the CRPF and working in Assam, had come home on leave a few weeks ago. Since then he is suffering from caugh and high temperature. He was taken to the Hajipur Primary Health Centre on Sunday after his condition deteriorated and was subsequently referred to the Civil Hospital here.

Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, maintained that the clinical investigation of blood, sputum and X-ray of the chest had not established that he was suffering from SARS, however, the exact position would be clear only after they received detailed report from New Delhi within next two days.

FAZILKA: Mr Tajinderjit Singh (32) of Punjab Roadways, who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital on April 26 with fever and chest congestion, has been tested negative for SARS. A panel of doctors, comprising Dr D.K. Bhukal, Dr P.R. Bhadu and Dr Renu Dhuria, examined the patient. He has been diagnosed as a case of allergic bronchitis with enteric fever.

According to Dr Sarita Kamra, Senior Medical Officer, the patient has recovered from fever and chest congestion and has been shifted to the general ward from the isolation ward.

CHANDIGARH: No new case has been reported from Punjab, according to an official note.

Report on SARS negative
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 28
Mr Jagdish Rai Sharma (47), a railway guard, and his wife, Saroj 45), who were admitted to the local Civil Hospital on April 23 on suspicion of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), were discharged after the samples of blood and sputum were declared negative by the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD).

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Civil Hospital, Bathinda, said he had received a report in this regard from the Joint Director of the NICD, Dr Shashi Khare. He said both patients had fully recovered.


Truck operators threaten stir
Say CM’s man trying to capture their union
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, April 28
There is tension in the town following attempts by a section of ruling party politicians to “install” their favourite as president of the local Truck Operators’ Union, despite the fact that he is not a member of the same.

Hundreds of truck operators have been squatting in the premises of the Union office to thwart any attempt to capture the management of the union. The truck operators have been making efforts to mobilise support of local residents and activists of the BKU (Ekta) to oppose the “high-handedness” of these influential persons.

The authorities concerned have yet to take action to save the situation from taking an ugly turn. The truck operators plan to meet the AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, in this connection.

Mr Tarsem Sharma, a member of the Truck Operators’ Union, alleged that a reporter of a Punjabi daily with the help of a close confidant of Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh was making repeated attempts at becoming the president of the union though he was not even a member of the same.

The local police had been threatening the union members that if they opposed the reporter, who was eyeing the union funds, they would be implicated false criminal cases, he alleged.

Mr Sharma pointed out that members of the union had requested Capt Amarinder Singh that they be allowed to elect the president of the union through secret ballot/.

He alleged that earlier several frauds had been detected concerning deductions under the IT Act.

A criminal case in this connection had been registered against a member of the SGPC, Mr Satnam Singh Bhairupa, and Mr Basant Singh.

He claimed if an independent agency was to probe the matter, the police would be able to register cases against more.

Most truck operators to whom TNS spoke pointed out that the SAD-BJP government too had “imposed” its own men as presidents of the truck union. They had embezzled funds in crores but the truck operators could do nothing as they belonged to the ruling party.

It may be mentioned that Congress leaders of this district had raised a hue and cry when the Truck Operators Union of Bhucho Mandi was allegedly captured by a kin of a senior SAD leader three years ago.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, when contacted, denied the police had issued threats to anyone. He said the police had no role to play in the affairs of the union. He said the SDM of Rampura Phul would conduct the union elections.


Probe into pay-off scandal begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
The state Vigilance Bureau has begun an inquiry into the police pay-off scandal, exposed through a video film shot by two satta operators. Eleven policemen have been booked and many more heads are also likely to roll.

Sources said the inquiry would not be limited to the pay-offs between the alleged satta operators Subash Katty and Bittu Chawla, but would concentrate on the criminal-police nexus exposed through the video film.

The SSP of the Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau told The Tribune that an inquiry had been ordered and he had almost finalised the preliminary report.

Earlier, the police had ordered an inquiry by the internal vigilance wing of the police against the role of senior officers in the scandal. The SP (Detective), Ludhiana, was heading another investigation. A news report of The Tribune, which gave details about the criminal-police nexus, had also been incorporated in the Vigilance report. The Vigilance inquiry would aim to identify a former SSP of Ludhiana, whose brother had allegedly been caught carrying 15 kg of opium, but had been allowed to go scotfree.

A number of police officials were reportedly responsible for the custodial death of a Dalit youth and later the hushing up of the case. The names of a former SSP and a DIG had come up in the scandal. 


Suspend MDS courses: DCI
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
The Dental Council of India (DCI) has recommended suspension of Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) courses in five specialities in the Government Dental College here for not having infrastructural facilities and teaching staff required Under Graduate Training Programme.

The DCI Executive Committee which met earlier this month recommended to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on April 23 to ask the Punjab government and the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to suspend MDS courses in specialities of Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Conservative Dentistry, Orthodontics and Pedodontics.

If implemented the DCI recommendation will curtail the number of MDS seats in Dental Colleges from 16 to 10. The Dental College here was inducting two students each for the MDS course in periodontics, prosthodontics and pedodontics. The Dental College has yet to start inducting students for the Orthodontics course while it has stopped admission to the Conservative Dentistry course.

The DCI has taken this decision despite a report sent by the Principal of the local Dental College stating that the case for the appointment of teachers was under the active consideration of the government. It stated that despite this assurance on January 29 this year, the deficiency had not been made good. The Council has noted that there is a shortage of three Professors in the Departments of Conservative Dentistry, Orthodontics and Oral Pathology. It said there was shortfall of six Readers in the Departments of Orthodontics, Community Dentistry, Oral Pathology, Oral Surgery, Conservative Dentistry and Oral Medicine.

It has simultaneously also turned down an application by the local Dental College for the starting of MDS course in the speciality of Oral Surgery as the government has not filled vacant posts in the various teaching departments.

Meanwhile Dental College students, likely to be denied seats in postgraduate courses, are also suffering due to the closure of the Radiology Department of the College. This has happened because the only Radiologist of the College retired in February and the post has not been filled. Final year students presently serving interns are being denied practical experience with only two months of internship left. The students had apprised the Higher Education Minister of this a fortnight ago during his visit to the College besides demanding a separate hostel for the Dental College, students of which have to make do in cramped quarters in hostels of the local Medical College.

College Principal Dr Rattan Lal Jain said the College submitted its demand of filling of vacant posts two years back but the posts are yet to be filled. He said he had written to the local Government Medical College authorities to depute a part-time Radiologist in the Dental College as temporary measure till the post was filled. He said similarly the government had been apprised of the difficulty being faced by students as far as hostel accommodation was concerned and the need for a separate hostel for Dental students had been brought to the notice of the government.


Petitions of travel agents dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Dismissing a bunch of 25 petitions filed by travel agents in Punjab, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Chandigarh Administration, to look after the “interest of poor prospective non-resident Indians, rather than confining their concern to those well-settled migrants who have already made a fortune abroad, so as to avoid repetition of Malta boat tragedy”.

Issuing the directions after dismissing the petitions, Mr Justice Dutt ruled that the authorities should explore the feasibility of using the print, audio or the electronic media for educating the masses about the pitfalls.

The authorities should also consider the advisability of taking steps for educating the masses after consulting the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Labour. Possibility should also be explored to prevent the middlemen from making unwarranted profit by regulating the recruitment and letting everyone know about the demands sent by different countries for skilled and unskilled labour, the Judge asserted.

In his detailed order, the Judge observed: “Around Christmas in 1996, the nation woke up to be told that a tragedy had occurred on the shores of Malta in which about 290 persons lost their lives in a ship wreck. Most were Indians trying to immigrate on the basis of assurances by persons indulging in illegal manpower export to foreign lands which provided better livelihood. Twentytwo immigrants survived to tell the tale”.

The Judge further ruled: “Human memory being short, the magnitude of the tragedy has been lost with the passage of time and the promise of El-Dorado’s abroad still continues to allure innocent villagers from this part of the country to use their entire savings for handing them over to persons promising valid papers for immigration.

“Some immigrants achieve their goal on account of good luck, majority lose money and end up in prisons abroad.

“The magnitude of such betrayal of faith can be gauged from the fact that over a period of one month, more than 50 applications for anticipatory bail have been filed by the wrongdoers for seeking protection against interrogation at the hands of the police....”

The Judge concluded: “I am of the considered view that the extension of anticipatory bail in such cases is not called for because the petitioners are evidently trying to exploit human weakness for better prospects abroad by promising immigration on the basis of valid papers.... Applications are dismissed”.


No visa for Pak pilgrims as Urs begins today
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fetehgarh Sahib, April 28
For the third consecutive year, pilgrims from Pakistan have been denied visa by the Pakistani Government due to strained relations with India. Earlier, pilgrims from Pakistan came here to pay obeisance at the annual Urs at Rouza Sharif, Fatehgarh Sahib. The Pakistani pilgrims used to be the main attraction of the Urs and shopkeepers at Sirhind stock bulk quantity of goods as they used to do brisk shopping.

The Urs, which is celebrated in memory of great sufi saint Sheikh Ahmad Farooqui Sirhindi, will commence from April 29 and conclude on May 1. Thousands of Naqushbandi Muslims from India and abroad are expected to pay homage at the holy place. The Sheikh is considered next to Hazrat Mohammad in religious order. Hence the title Alaf Sani.

Rouza Sharif, situated on the Fatehgarh Sahib-Bassi Pathana road, belongs to Sheikh Ahmed Farooqui Sirhindi, popularly known as Mujadid-i-Alaf-i-Sani. The building was constructed in 1929. It has a separate entrance through Bahishti Gali. Near it there is a prayer hall, where Muslims sit to pay their homage. Sheikh Ahmad was the most eminent of Khawaja Baqi Billah’s disciples. Sheikh Ahmad was fourth of the seven of Sheikh Abdul Ahmad Farooqui Kabuli Naqshabandi and was born in Sirhind. From his childhood, Sheikh Ahmad moved in the company of ‘alims’ and ‘saints’. Around 1599, he left Sirhind with a view to proceed on a pilgrimage and reached Delhi where he was welcomed by Khawaja Baqi Billah and the Khawaja made him disciple.

When Sheikh Ahmed visited Khawaja Baqi Billah second time, he was allowed to initiate disciples into the Naqshabandi order and was declared by the Khawaja as his successor. The theory of the appearance of the Mujadid-i-Alaf-i-Sani was based on a tradition ascribed to Prophet Mohammad. During his life time, (Mujadid-i-Alaf-i-Sani) opposed Akbar’s religious policy and made himself the leader of Muslim orthodoxy.

Mujadid-i-Alaf-i-Sani and his successor are regarded very highly by the Muslims in general and the nobility of Kabul in particular. It is said that the place was the burial ground for the members of the Afghan royal family.

The district administration has made all arrangements for the annual mela. According to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vikas Partap, all basic amenities would be provided to the pilgrims. A mela officer has been deputed and an enquiry office and a dispensary would work round-the-clock. A bank counter for exchange of currency has also been set up.

Mr B. Chandra Shekhar, SSP, said all pilgrims, particularly foreign nationals would be provided adequate security. The mela site has been divided into sectors and the force has been deputed. 


One more held for paper leak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
The city police today arrested Balwinder Singh, a key accomplice of SAD leader Devinder Singh alias Pappu, in the dock over the leak of CBSE PMT question papers.

Balwinder Singh is also an associate of Amrik Singh, running Vivek Academy at Patiala for alluring prospective candidates against hefty amounts for securing their admission to MBBS.

The Amritsar police is also conducting raids at other places.


Theft at CM’s stud farm
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
The robbery of more than Rs 1 lakh from the stud farm at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s New Moti Bagh Palace residence has turned out to be an insider’s job, with the local police on the lookout for two employees who are absconding even as Rs 97,800 has been recovered from one of the stables.

Capt Amarinder Singh’s stud farm manager Balbir Singh reported the robbery to the police on April 20 after finding money missing from a cupboard in his office on April 19. He had reported that some persons had entered his office in the stud farm through the room’s grill and had stolen Rs 1.47 lakh from a steel cupboard after forcing it open.

Police sources said two employees, Shri Dutt and Ram Surat, were absconding and were being suspected to have committed the robbery. After receiving the report of the robbery, the police has called all employees of the stable and had told them to keep the money back at the stud farm complex.

The police had recovered Rs 97,800 in a polythene packet from one room in the stud farm. The total money stolen was around Rs 1.1 lakh. The manager had reported that Rs 1.47 lakh had been stolen because some money was kept aside in envelopes, to be given as salary to employees.

The envelopes had been found later in the cupboard. The checking of the contents of the cupboard had been delayed because the scene of the crime was not touched till fingerprint experts were through.

The police said the money had been put back by the robbers as they could not take it out of the premises before the discovery of the robbery. Both employees were living in the palace complex and could not take the money out as all employees leaving or entering the residence of the Chief Minister were frisked at the gate. They had been identified as residents of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh.

The police said the security at the Chief Minister’s residence had not been breached in the incident. One company of the CRPF was posted there and six bunkers had been created around the complex. Nine 
Central Police personnel were patrolling the complex. Around 35 Punjab police commandos were posted outside the complex.


Law, order have collapsed: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today described as shocking the reported theft at the Patiala residence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh yesterday. “This is a telling commentary on the utter collapse of law and order in the state. If the Chief Minister’s own residence is not beyond the reach of thiefs and burglars, one can only wonder as to what could be the security cover provided to a common man,” the SAD leader said.

In a statement here, Mr Badal said the incident showed how emboldened anti-social elements had become since the Congress took over power in Punjab. Law and order had deteriorated to alarming proportions.

He wanted to know as to what action was being taken against the guilty high-ups whose names were being mentioned in the Ludhiana Tehelka.


Punjab BSP reconstituted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 28
The state unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been formally reconstituted, with the announcement of a 25-member team of the office-bearers, including 17 general secretaries.

The in charge of the Punjab BSP unit, Mr Narinder Kashayap, accompanied by state BSP president, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, declared the 25-member list at a press conference here today. Mr Sukhbir Singh Shalimar, Mr Harbhjan Singh Sarinh, Mr Ravinder Singh Sohal, Mr Darbara Singh Kamboh and Mr Gurmail Singh Saini were nominated vice-presidents. The list included 17 general secretaries — Mr Mann Singh Manhera, Mr Pawan Tinoo, Mr Hargopal Singh, Mr Vir Singh, Mr Shingara Ram Sahoongra, Mr Joga Singh Patiala, Mr Atma Singh, Mr Siam Singh, Mr Karam Singh, Mr Sant Ram, Mr Nirbhai Singh, Mr Parkash Singh, Mr Prabhdyal Singh, Capt Sohan Singh, Dr Ravel Singh, Mr Bhagwan Singh and Mr R.C. Tyagi. Mr Inderjit Singh was appointed treasurer while Mr Gurnam Singh Aujla was made office secretary.


Dhumal to work for Badal-Tohra unity
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 28
The (BJP) Bharatiya Janata Party will help Akali stalwarts Prakash Singh Badal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra come together. Earlier also before the Assembly elections in Punjab an effort was made by the BJP to bring together the said Akali leaders. Now when positive signals are being given by Mr Badal and Mr Tohra for unity the BJP would not just welcome it but also help the two leaders come together.

Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Himachal Chief Minister told reporters here today. He was here to appear in the court of CJM in a defamation case filed against him.

He added that the Badal-Tohra unity would infuse life in demoralised workers of the SAD and the BJP in Punjab. The Congress has been victimising the SAD and BJP workers by implicating them in ‘flimsy’ cases taking advantage of the infighting between the Akali Dals. If Mr Badal and Mr Tohra unite it would also brighten prospects of the SAD-BJP alliance in the forth-coming Lok Sabha elections.


Dhumal seeks exemption from appearance
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 28
In respect of defamation case filed against Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Himachal Chief Minister, today filed an application under Section 205 of the CrPC seeking exemption from personal appearance in the court of CJM here.

The next date for argument on the notice issued to Mr Dhumal in the said case has been fixed on May 10.

Mr Bal Bhushan, a PPCC member filed a defamation suit against Mr Dhumal in the court of CJM here. Mr Bal Bhushan had alleged that Mr Dhumal in a statement on February 6 allegedly made some defamatory remarks in respect of Maharaja Patiala (Capt Amarinder Singh) (colourful nights) and his friends. The statement was published in an urdu daily on February 7.

The complainant demanded that criminal proceedings be initiated under Section 499/500 of the IPC against Mr Dhumal for these remarks made by him. On the complaint of Mr Bal Bhushan the court issued notice and summoned Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal.


PPCC to give 30 pc representation to women’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 28
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) plans to give at least 30 per cent representation to women to head District Congress Committees and due share will be given to the Scheduled Castes. This was stated here today by Mr Uppinder Sharma, general secretary, PPCC, and spokesman of the party.

He said a campaign had been launched to give the party a new look by holding seva dal camps at district level to enrol more members before the next Lok Sabha elections.


Chained, freed, forgotten
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Malian (Ludhiana), April 28
A mentally-challenged man chained to a pillar for seven years in Bhammipura village was freed after mediapersons and the police intervened yesterday. Situation of another mentally-challenged man chained and later freed in similar fashion almost two years ago has come back to square one.

Life has come full circle for 37-year-old Jagtar Singh, a mentally-challenged man of this village. He was also chained to a tree when a report on him appeared in The Tribune in August, 2001

After being taken to some hospitals by the police, family members and social workers, he has returned to his old place in the house. This time, he is not tied with a chain.

When he was freed, a case of illegal confinement was registered against his father and other family members. He was also taken away by the police and admitted to hospitals. But due to the paucity of funds, his family has brought him back to his old place.

Senior police officers and political leaders of different parties had made statements assuring the family of help in every possible manner for the treatment of the man. But as usually happens, it remained an assurance only.

Yesterday too, the statements were made in the case of Kippa. Time will tell what happens in his case. Would he get cured or his fate be similar to that of Jagtar Singh ?

A Tribune team visited his house in this sleepy about 60 km from Ludhiana on the Moga border with this district. Life of Jagtar Singh has not changed much. He has, however, become quieter and sits in the verandah of his house by the side of a tractor, cattle and a dog. He is offered food and water by his sister there.

His family members have become more cautious and do not allow anybody to meet him. Seeing the Tribune team in their house, the women of the family virtually got panicky and requested that they were not at fault.

Surat Kaur, mother of the man started crying. She showed medical reports of her son, which mentioned that he was schizophrenic. They said after the news two years ago, the Dharamkot police took him away and got him admitted in a hospital. A case of illegal confinement was registered against the man’s father and elder brother.

The issue remained fresh for a few days only. Then everything was forgotten. The family did not have money to continue the treatment and no one gave them help. Though Jagtar Singh was not chained but his family admitted if he become violent again they would have to do something.

“We had no option but to bring him back. No one came to our aid and asked what the problem was. Now we don’t wan’t to take him to a hospital. There is only one bread-winner in the family. He cannot run around in hospitals and feed all of us also at the same time. You leave us alone. We will fight our battle ourselves,” said Jagtar’s mother, who said she had gone blind and her husband was also upset.

The case of this family brings to the fore loopholes in the system. Even though there are hundreds of social workers and Non-government organisations, no one comes to the aid of such families. After all, mere registration of cases against them would not get the man treated.


Day-to-day cross-examination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
On a petition filed by an approver in the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam Jagman Singh and his wife seeking the quashing of a section in the Code of Criminal Procedure which stated that an approver would continue to remain in jail till the trial concluded, the high court directed that the cross-examination would continue on day-to-day basis after May 10.

Seeking directions for the striking down of the Section, the petitioners had contended that the same was unconstitutional. Jagman’s counsel had asserted that all other accused in the case, except him, had been released on bail. Even the accused who had turned approver at a later stage were out on bail.

Jagman Singh, in an earlier petition, had stated that he should be examined as the first prosecution witness after the framing of charges and then release him on bail. The petitioner was taken into custody in a case registered in the PPSC scam under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act by the State Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar on March 25 last year.

Week’s time granted

Nearly three months after a Division Bench of the high court ordered the appointment of one-member Commission under Justice T.P. Garg to assess compensation for the victims, a week’s time was granted to the Haryana state for acting on an application alleging lack of infrastructure for the Commission.

The Dabwali Fire Tragedy Victims’ Association, in its application, alleged that the Commission was contacted for the settlement of its claims, but nothing could be done because of improper infrastructure.

It may be recalled that the Bench, while issuing the directions regarding the appointment of Commission, had ruled that the report should be submitted in the matter preferably within six months. The association had initially sought directions for granting compensation to the families of the deceased, besides free treatment for the injured, including plastic surgery. Several photographs of the victims had also been enclosed along with the petition.

Recommending the constitution of special courts for disposing of the compensation claims filed by the victims, the high court had directed that certain hospitals would not demand advance for plastic surgery or any other treatment from the patients. The Bench had further directed that the patients would be given treatment at 10 hospitals, including AIIMS at Delhi, the PGI, Chandigarh, and Rohtak, besides at CMC and DMC in Ludhiana. 


Restoration: experts visit Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today decided to seek expert opinion on the restoration of the intricate interiors of the Golden Temple.

The panel of experts held an extensive meeting with senior functionaries of the SGPC along with the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sevak Jatha from Birmingham, which had been entrusted the task of the restoration of mohra naqqashi work and gold gilding and the repair of the falling plaster from the dome of the sanctum sanctorum. Former SGPC general secretary Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, who had been vocal about keeping the original frescoes and replacing the old marble slabs which had lost its original colour, had advocated expert opinion on restoration without changing the old designs.

The four-member panel of experts included Mr S.P. Singh, director of the National Museum, Ms Gurmeet Rai, project director and Mr P.M. Tandon, retired director of the Archaeology Society of India. During their two-day visit to the Golden Temple, they looked into the restoration works and offered their suggestions about the use of material and the methodology to be adopted, maintaining the old works without compromising with quality.


Shahbajpuri decries Badal on calendar

Amritsar, April 28
Coming down heavily on Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal for extending support to implement the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Sukhdev Singh Shahbajpuri today said this step of Mr Badal had given “open invitation to the terrorism in Punjab”.

Talking to the mediapersons here, Mr Shahbajpuri said, when Mr Badal was the Chief Minister of Punjab “he always misused his official position for intervention in the SGPC affairs by issuing clandestine instructions regarding the appointment and the removals of the Jathedars of Akal Takht”.

“Even at one time he allegedly restrained Jathedar Akal Takht for according final nod to the Nanakshahi calendar”, Mr Shahbajpuri said, adding, “but the moment Mr Badal got out of power he started favouring Nanakshahi calendar and its early implementation”.

Terming Nanakshahi calendar as “politically motivated and anti-national” Mr Shahbajpuri said enforcement of the separate Sikh calender was meant to instigate the employed youth to raise the Khalisthan (separate Sikh homeland) demand, which would certainly act as catalyst to disturb peace of Punjab, he claimed. PTI


2.5 lakh cases pending in HC
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 28
Perturbed over the ever-rising number of cases in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Centre has requested the High Courts to implement the recommendations of the Malimath Committee to expedite disposal of pending cases. It has also started encouraging the use of information technology for speedy disposal of cases.

Official sources said more than 2,44,100 cases were pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Out of these, 1,51,328 cases had been pending for the past more than three years.

Sources said a large number of these cases were against the Punjab Government. The number of cases against the Punjab Government was about 20,000 in 1991. Now it had crossed 60,000.

On the other hand, the number of cases in lower and subordinate courts have been rising due to inadequate strength of judicial officers. The government had removed some judicial officers through the Punjab and Haryana High Court, claiming that their selection was “tainted”.

About two years ago, the High Court had hired the services of a section of retired judicial officers for disposal of cases in the lower courts.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the number of cases in the High Court had constantly been rising as the Centre could not appoint judges to its sanctioned strength of 40. Also, the court was catering to two states and the Union Territory of Chandigarh and, hence, over burdened.

Though the legal authorities and social organisations have urged the Centre time and again to appoint more Judges to the High Court, their number has remained at 30. This is one of the major factors that has contributed to the piling up of cases.


Joblessness leads to drug addiction’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 28
Mrs Kuldeep Kaur and Mrs Dalbir Kaur, mothers of two drug addicts of this town, have appealed to the Punjab Government to generate more sources of income to check the menace of drug addiction which has marred the future of the younger generation. They have also laid emphasis on introducing special job-oriented courses, particularly for the uneducated youths of the poor community.

Talking to this reporter, both mothers, who along with their drug addict sons Happy (30) and Kuldeep Singh (26), were here to attend a anti-drug district-level seminar organised by the police department at the local police lines said poverty and unemployment were the major causes for their sons turning to drugs.

The two women said merely conducting surprise raids on medical stores to check the sale of intoxicants would not serve the purpose. Rather there was need to take concrete and constructive steps to instill confidence among the misled youth towards their duties in building the nation stronger.

Happy and Kuldeep Singh, who are not very literate, said about 10 years back with a group of 10 youths they started consuming intoxicants to escape from frustration. Five of them have already lost their lives to this addiction.

They praised the local Sahara Service Society for helping them lead normal lives by leaving drugs. However, they were still in search of a job to lead a happy life.

Another drug addict, Lalit Mohan, regretted though he had left all drugs society was not ready to accept his services so that he could live in a proper way. He has requested the government to arrange a job for him.

A large number of other drug addicts who attended the seminar expressed similar views.

Meanwhile, presiding over the seminar, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP of Faridkot, blamed population and poverty as the main reasons for drug addiction among the youths.

He said the department had formed ladies’ clubs in rural areas of the district to make the villagers aware of the bad effects of drug addiction. A team of police officials headed by the SHO concerned would also help the clubs in implementing the programme.


Action against absent MC staff
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
Nearly 25 per cent of municipal corporation employees were found absent from duty when the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, conducted a surprise check in the office.

The Mayor said he had conducted a surprise check after receiving complaints that several employees remained absent from duty even though they had been marked present in the attendance register.

According to the corporation authorities, five persons were found absent in the engineering branch, including the Executive Engineer, an SDO and two Junior Engineers. In the house tax department, eight persons were found absent, including three inspectors. In the main office, 10 employees were found absent. The personal assistant of the Corporation Commissioner was also found absent.

The Mayor said he had written to the Corporation Commissioner G.S. Grewal to take disciplinary action against the employees found missing and submit a report to him within a week. He said the employees would be given three days to explain their absence.

He said directions were being given to the employees to inform their seniors before leaving office during work hours. He said the corporation would also start a punctuality drive to ensure that people coming to the corporation for their work were not harassed.



Cabinet ministers to head district planning boards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The Punjab Government issued a notification today that the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the District Planning and Development Boards would be Cabinet and state ministers, respectively.

All sitting members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the district will be on the respective boards. One member each will be nominated by the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and ministers from their constituencies. One member is to be nominated by the union minister (s) from the state.

All sitting MLAs of a district and chairmen of the Zila Parishad will also be members of these boards, says a press note.

Every board will have six non-official members, including one ex-serviceman, one sarpanch or a Block Samiti or Zila Parishad member from each block of the district to be nominated by the state government on the recommendation of the district administration.


7 injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 28
At least seven persons were injured, some of them seriously, when two groups clashed in the Sanjay Nagar locality of the city this evening.

All the seven injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The injured, belonging to two groups, attacked each other with sharp-edged weapons. Members of both groups alleged that the others attacked them first without any reason. Most of them have received injuries the head, legs and arms.

The injured have been identified as Tola Singh (53) Rajesh Kumar (26) and Suresh Kumar (20) of one group and Kaka Singh (80), Nachhatar Singh(55), Gurjant Singh (50) and his son Kala Singh (28) of the other group.

While Tola Singh alleged that they were attacked by the other group when some friends of his son, Raju, came to meet him. He said they were attacked with sharp-edged weapons, swords and lathis, etc.

Gurjant Singh of the other group said they were attacked by 20-25 men who came to the house of Tola Singh with the intention of injuring them (Gurjant and others). He alleged that Tola Singh had given sharp-edged weapons to his supporters.

Tola Singh alleged that Gurjant Singh and others wanted to grab a piece of land belonging to him. He said friends of his son had come to his house for some work.

Gurjant Singh alleged that a case in the court was pending regarding the said plot. He alleged that Tola Singh had started constructing a wall on that plot this evening. When he (Gurjant) objected to it, he along with others was attacked by Tola Singh and his supporters. He said he had objected to the construction of the wall and had told Tola Singh that he should wait for the verdict of the court.

Tola Singh said when they were admitted to hospital, the women members of his family informed the police about the incident. He said they wanted that a case should be registered in the matter.

No case was registered till the filing of this report.

In another incident, a child received burn injuries at the Parasram Nagar colony of the city this evening. The child, Sahil (12) was pouring hot tea from a pot into a glass when it accidentally fell on his body and he received 30 per cent burns. He was admitted to the Civil Hospital.


CM’s aide snubs bureaucracy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 28
Congress leaders in Ludhiana demanding the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Agarwal, today got a shot in the arm with the Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, coming to their support and declaring that the bureaucracy will not be allowed to dominate the political leadership.

He was addressing a public meeting after inaugurating the District Youth Congress office here today.

Reacting to the grievances of the local Congress leaders who complained to him that they were not being given a proper hearing by the officers, Mr Sodhi declared that the bureaucrats have to be accountable to the public representatives.


Kidney scam: 3-day remand for Dr Jain
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
The local court today remanded Dr P.K. Jain who had surrendered before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) yesterday in police custody for three days.

According to SIT sources, Dr Jain has given vital clues in the multicrore kidney transplant racket. The SIT has confirmed information that Dr Jain used to remove kidneys of donors and distribute the money collected from recipients among middlemen and other members of the nexus.


PSEB employees take out march
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees today took out a march towards the residence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today to protest against a proposal to dismantle the board.

The march, which was organised under the banner of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee comprising PSEB Employees Federation, Bijli Mulaxam Front, Workers Federation (INTUC) and the Bijli Mulazam Sangh, was stopped at the YPS chowk near the residence of the Chief Minister. A delegation of leaders, however, was allowed to go to the Chief Minister’s residence to give a memorandum.

Other who addressed the gathering included Amarjit Singh Sodhi, Radhey Shyam, Phaljit Singh, Swarn Singh and Karam Chand Bhardwaj.


Protect ecology for posterity’
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 28
“It is our duty to provide better healthcare to the younger generation by continuously supporting the efforts to protect environment,” said Mr Ashok Gupta Deputy Commissioner, at a function to mark World Health Day on the premises of Red Cross School for Deaf here today.

Mr Gupta added that there was need to educate people on the adverse impact of water, soil and air pollution on the health of an individual and the Red Cross Society was taking several steps in this direction.

“We are duty bound to provide better environment to the next generation as over exploitation of natural resources will severly hit the ecological balance on the earth. The sustainable development is the only way to protect environment for the civilisation,” he said, lauding the role of students in creating awareness among people on the ways to protect environment.


Engineers allege discrimination
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 28
Resentment prevails among diploma engineers of the public health wing of the PWD due to the alleged discrimination in promotions.

During a meeting held here this evening, they said some officials of the department were not following promotion rules.

Mr Amar Chand Gupta, president of the district unit of the Association of Diploma Engineers, said they were not given their due share in promotions.


Hospital sans anaesthetist
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 28
There is resentment among residents of Jugial residential area of Ranjit Sagar Dam and surrounding areas aganst no anaesthesia expert being appointed in the 100-bed hospital at Jugial. The post of the experts has been vacant for the past seven months. Official sources said that earlier an anaesthesia expert was posted to visit the hospital twice a week.

Residents of the area said that Ranjit Sagar Dam had employed nearly 15000 employees. The hospital caters to the medical needs of 30,000 population of the area. In the absence of an anaesthesia expert in the hospital, people have to go to Pathankot for every minor operation which is costly and inconvenient.

The minister of the area has recommended and even spoken to the Health Minister for posting of an expert in the hospital several times but in vain.


Medical camp organised
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 28
Around 500 patients were examined and 200 lab tests and 100 ECG examinations were performed during a medical camp held at Gurdwara Chamkaur Sahib in Ropar district. The camp was organised to commemorate the martyrdom of Sahibzadas Ajit Singh and Zorawar Singh, sons of Guru Gobind Singh. A team of 20 doctors, led by a retired Army doctor, Brig M.L. Kataria, examined the patients. 

The camp was organised by Defence Veterans Polyclinic, SAS Nagar, and Health Care India, Chandigarh. Medicines were given to the patients free of cost. Gurdwara Kalgidhar Sahib, Phase IV, SAS Nagar, donated medicines worth Rs 7,000 for the camp. 


PO surrenders in court
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 28
Proclaimed offender Sant Parkash Singh who is allegedly involved in the murders of Gurpreet Kaur Sohal, President, All-India Sikh Students Federation (women wing), and a salesman of Woodlands showroom, today surrendered in the local court.

Sant Parkash Singh was activist of the Khalistan Liberation Force and was wanted in a number of criminal cases in the state.


Cable operators remanded
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 28
Partners of the local Ahluwalia Goldstar Cable Network namely Ramesh Kumar and Navdeep Ahluwalia and their employees namely Pawan Kumar and Jaswinder Singh, who were booked under Sections 307, 342, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC for beating a minor boy Rohit and his father, Rakesh Kumar Goyal, and his friend, Ashok Kumar Jindal, who went to lodge a complaint regarding poor reception of various channels, were produced in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Harsh Mehta, here today. The magistrate remanded them in the judicial custody till May 12.

On another application of the accused, the magistrate ordered to detain them in Barnala subjail instead of District Jail, Bathinda. Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Sections 323, 382, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Vijay, Girdhari, Gora Lal Bajewala and others on the complaint of Mr Shinder Pal, reporter, Punjab Today, whose camera was snatched by some of the miscreants forming part of the mob.


PR staff found absent

Amritsar, April 28
Many officials were today found absent during a surprise check of the local office of the Punjab’s Information and Public Relations Department by its Director Karam Singh.

The Director detected many irregularities and discrepancies in day- to- day functioning of the office during the inspection, an official spokesman said, adding strict action would be taken against those found guilty of irregularities, indiscipline. UNI 


Protest against water shortage
Our Correspondent

Moga, April 28
A number of women belonging to villages falling under the Baghapurana police station in Moga district today took out a procession carrying empty pitchers and buckets to protest against the acute shortage of drinking water in their villages for the last several weeks.

The demanded the repair of the tubewells installed in their villages. The water available was contaminated, they said.


Woman, paramour kill son
Tribune News Service

Sangat (Bathinda), April 28
In a bizarre incident, Kirna, living with her paramour at Gheri Bhagi village in the district after leaving her husband at Jaitu, has murdered her one-and-a-half-year-old son.

Police sources said Kirna, along with her paramour Megha Singh, who was also married, killed the boy about three months ago and buried the body in a field after wrapping it in a bedsheet and a blanket.

The mutilated body was dug out today by a police team accompanied by the Bathinda Tehsildar.

The sources said the matter came to light when the grandfather of the child visited Kirna for seeking the custody of child. When Kirna refused to listen to him, he approached the police.

When the police questioned Kirna and Megha Singh, they did not come out with a satisfactory reply. They were questioned again and they confessed their crime. They also disclosed the place where they had buried the body.

The sources said the body had been sent to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, for postmortem and forensic examination. A case under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC was registered and the accused were arrested.

Meanwhile, Chinder Kaur, of Gopal Nagar committed suicide by hanging herself. A case under Section 174 of the CrPC was registered.


ASI on bail for dacoity re-arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 28
ASI Sanjiv Kumar on bail in a case of dacoity was re-arrested in another case of breach of trust registered under Section 409 of the IPC for the “disappearance” of a “misal” of a police report of a theft case. It was learnt here today that the police secured warrant and nabbed the ASI after he was freed on bailed on April 26 in the first case. In the second case, Sanjiv Kumar, former ASI local city police station, had been charged with removing the “misal” file to save culprits in theft case and weak ening the case.

A theft took place in the house of Tarlochan Singh Janjua in Dashmesh Nagar here on September 4, 1999. One licensed revolver and important documents of Mr Janjua were stolen. Sanjiv Kumar was entrusted with an inquiry the case. Deepak Kumar and Balwinder Singh were arrested for this on October 25, 1999. However, the “misal” of the police report “vanished” and it was alleged that the ASI had removed it to save the suspects in the theft case. A case under Section 409 was registered against the ASI on April 20.

Sanjiv Kumar was arrested earlier under Sections 395, 452, 342 of the IPC and various Sections of the Arms Act charges of dacoity, house trespass, criminal assault and wrongful confinement of Sukhraj Singh, Director, Wadhawan Forex Private Limited, in February last year. The ASI was charged with taking at gun-point Rs 20 lakh from the Wadhawan Forex, showing Rs 10 lakh out of it as “hawala” money, sharing the remaining Rs 10 lakh with his four accomplices in uniform, arresting the Director from his Banga road office but showing the arrest on the Hoshiarpur road. After his bail on February 26 last year, Sukhraj Singh complained to the ADGP Internal Vigilance and other police high-ups whose probe indicted the ASI. He was arrested in February this year and had since been in judicial custody. The ASI was freed on bail in this case on April 26 only to be re-arrested the following day in a new case.

ASI Sanjiv Kumar, rearrested under Section 409 was remanded in judicial custody till May 12 today afternoon.


Tiller denied share, ends life
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 28
Bhola Singh, a farmer of Lallewala village of this subdivision, committed suicide last evening when he was denied his share in the crop for two seasons in a row by landlord, Janak Raj Nambardar, whose land he tilled.

Police sources said that Bhola Singh consumed some poisonous substance yesterday after he was denied his share in wheat crop by Janak Raj Nambardar and his two sons identified as Deepi and Bhola. Before Bhola Singh died, he wrote on a slip of paper that he was committing suicide as his landlord and his two sons refused to give him his share of the crop. He also wrote that now he had been finding it difficult to earn enough for survival.

Police sources said that during the last cotton crop season, Janak Raj Nambardar and his two sons also denied Bhola Singh his share. When Bhola Singh insisted on getting his share, he was denied it by the accused on the pretext that there was no crop which could be given to him as his share.

Mr Ashutosh, DSP, Talwandi Sabo, confirmed that Bhola Singh had committed suicide, pointed out that a case in this connection had been registered under Sections 306 and 34 of the IPC by the Talwandi Sabo police station. He added raids were being made to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, kin of the deceased cremated his body today after post-mortem examination in Civil Hospital, Bathinda.


Fake currency, liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 28
The police has seized fake currency notes worth Rs 2,500 and a case of liquor from two motor cycle-borne persons.

In a press note issued here today, the police said during special checking near Rampura village two motor cycle-borne persons, Darshan Singh of Ludhiana district and Sami of Sadargarh district in Orissa were searched and fake currency notes and a case of liquor seized from them. A case was registered.


Four held for robbery
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 28
The police has arrested four persons on charges of robbery and recovered Rs 45,000, a country-made pistol and four cartridges from their possession.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, stated in a press note here today that the accused had been identified as Palwinder Singh of Randhawa village; Gurjit Singh and Jatinder Singh of Muddan village; and Gurjit Singh of Kotla Janga village.

They allegedly snatched Rs 50,000 from Mr Shingara Singh of Randhawa village while he was returning to his residence on April 5.


Gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 28
The police here has claimed to have busted a gang of miscreants responsible for over 12 incidents related to robbery and other crimes.

Mr Praveen Kumar Sinha, Senior Superintendent of Police, told newsmen that the miscreants were using toy pistols and revolvers available in the open market to rob people. He said that members of the gang used to keep an eye on the people who came for the withdrawal of money from various banks situated in rural areas and then followed the persons to a deserted location, where they robbed them.

On a tip-off, the police today apprehended a person named Harbans Singh and recovered Rs 70,000 and a motor cycle used in the crime, besides a toy pistol. The arrested person admitted before the police that he was involved in last Saturday’s incident when two motor cycle borne men had forcibly seized Rs 50,000 from one Ranjit Singh near Machiwara village.


Ex-serviceman held for fraud

Gurdaspur, April 28
The police has apprehended an ex-serviceman on the charge of duping innocent persons by promising to provide them jobs in the Army.

The police said Daljit Singh of Geeta Bhavan at Gurdaspur had lodged a complaint that Gurdev Singh had claimed that he could recruit his son in the Army as he had links with high officials.

Following the assurance, he had taken Bhupinder Singh to Pathankot on February 25 and Gurdev Singh had handed over an appointment letter to Bhupinder Singh, duly signed by an Army officer, which on verification, turned out to the fake. PTI


Baba’ gets 10-year jail for rape
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 28
A local fast-track court today awarded 10-year imprisonment to a “baba” for raping a minor girl studying in Class VII. The paternal uncle of the girl was also awarded a 10-year sentence along with the “baba” for abetting the crime.

According to the complaint registered at the Rajpura City police station, one Mohammad Imran, who was a self-styled “baba”, had raped a minor girl of Bharat Colony at Rajpura in September, 2002. The complaint said Mohammad Imran used to frequent the house of the girl’s uncle, where the crime took place.

In another rape case registered at the local Sadar police station, a widow had claimed that she had been raped by a dairy owner when she went to take milk from him at Kartar Colony on the Nabha road. The court awarded a seven-year prison term to accused Mohan Singh.



3 chemists booked
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 28
The district police has booked three chemists for selling psychotropic substances without valid prescription issued in violation of the orders of the District Magistrate, according to a press note.

Keeping in view the rise in the sale of medicines by chemists without prescription and the subsequent music of this practice by drug addicts, raids were conducted on various medicinal shops.

Three chemists — Dinesh of Master Tara Singh Nagar, Gurmit Singh of Kartarpur and Davinder Singh of Khambra village — were booked.


‘Govt to invest in science, technology’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 28
The Government of India has decided to raise national investment in science and technology to 2 per cent of the GDP in the next few years. This was stated by Prof V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary Science and Technology, Government of India, while addressing the second faculty convocation of Guru Nanak Dev University here today. He said with focussed efforts India could emerge as global leader in the arena of science and technology.

Prof Ramamurthy stressed on close interaction among social scientists, technologists and businessmen to bring formidable results. He said the new science and technology policy reiterates this commitment in this field “ as an engine of economic growth”.

As many as 237 graduates and postgraduates were given degrees in disciplines of planning, architecture, electronics, computer science and engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Expressing his concern over the impact of technologies on the environment, the Secretary said the increasing technological activities resulted in the production of large quantities of waste, which is not environmentally safe. “The production of large quantities of fly ash from thermal power stations, toxic industrial waste and ozone depleting gases are some of the examples of large-scale waste generation having an impact on the environment”, he added. 


Demands for Gargi Chair
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 28
Mr Surinder Singh, chairman of the high-powered finance committee, Punjab, and MLA, Bathinda, yesterday urged the Centre to set up a Balwant Gargi chair in the Department of Theatre in Panjab University, Chandigarh, for his contribution to the Punjabi literature, particularly the Punjabi theatre.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Singla said that he had written a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in this regard.


Notice to Harcharan Bains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
The PAU Registrar has served a show-cause notice on Assistant Professor Harcharan Bains, who was reinstated recently, asking him to explain his alleged political activities within 20 days or face the stoppage of next two annual increments with a cumulative effect. 

The notice has been issued on the basis of an inquiry by Dr A.S. Sandhu, Additional Director of Extension Education, PAU. 


22 teachers found absent

Muktsar, April 28
During a surprise raid in 30 schools in the Gidderbaha block in this district, 22 teachers were found absent from duty.

The raiding party, led by a Sub-divisional Magistrate, found that all teachers of the senior secondary school at Lalbai were absent from duty and the only teacher present was found playing chess with the school peon.

One primary school at Theri village was found locked and the village panchayat said the staff had left the school before the working hours were over, official sources said here today.

When the raiding party reached the Biddowal village primary school students were playing while teachers were nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, the DC today wrote to the Education Department to take necessary action. PTI

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