Monday, May 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



VFF to seek Sikh youth support
Battle for gender equality at Darbar Sahib
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Voices for Freedom (VFF), a human rights organisation, which has been spearheading the campaign for gender equality at Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, has started mobilising youth in support of its battle for allowing women to do “seva” at the sanctum sanctorum.

Ms Mejindarpal Kaur, one of the UK-based Sikh women involved in the incident at Darbar Sahib in February, says as a first step in this direction, the VFF addressed the first Sikh youth gathering at Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar yesterday.

Ms Mejindarpal Kaur, who has been here since then, had narrated the entire incident and its follow-up in a paper readout in her absence at a seminar on “Role and advocacy of women in Sikhism — challenges ahead and the solutions to these challenges in the 21st century” held in Maryland, New York, last week.

Mr Pal Singh Purewal, the architect of the Nanakshahi calendar, who was the chief guest at the seminar, said the campaign for gender equality at Darbar Sahib, which would face an uphill task with the SGPC, would eventually succeed as did the one on the Nanakshahi calendar. The Nanakshahi calendar was implemented recently after a two-year battle with the SGPC.

The issue of gender equality came to a head on February 13 when two Amrit Hari Sikh women, Ms Mejindarpal Kaur and Ms Lakhbir Kaur from the United Kingdom, were refused the right to participate in the Sukhasan procession at Darbar Sahib.

The following day they lodged a complaint with the Akal Takht Jathedar and the SGPC seeking immediate restoration of the right of Sikh women to undertake all types of seva (selfless service) at Darbar Sahib. Soon after the incident, the VFF started a petition campaign for gender equality addressed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, which has been sponsored by more than 300 Sikh organisations.

“The seva campaign has hitherto not been able to turn to the Sikh youth of Punjab for support because the campaign had started in the midst of college examinations. We would like to call on all Sikhs to be prepared to fight a long battle, should that be required,” she said while supplying a copy of the proceedings held at Maryland through e-mail to The Tribune here today.

The participants at the seminar, she said, acknowledged that the solutions to the problems faced by Sikh women involving gender inequality and other issues would have to be initiated at a micro level within each Sikh family before it could create a mass effect and that Sikh men would have to be an integral part of any solution. she stated in her paper.

Sikh organisations worldwide have appealed for the conception of an international Sikh women’s forum to promote development issues for Sikh women globally. The aim of such a forum would be to ensure that the rights granted to Sikh women by the Gurus and Guru Granth Sahib are implemented in their entirety. Furthermore, such a forum would also tackle social, political and gender oppression-related issues.


Mann objects to Home Ministry report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
In a letter to Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, Mr Simaranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has sought the withdrawal of “anti-sikh” contents from the latest annual report (2002-03) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the letter, a copy of which is with The Tribune, Mr Mann said he was “outraged and shocked” to see an official report which had maligned the Sikh community in such a blatant way.

Mr Mann has refuted certain parts of the report. Mr Mann says the opening lines of the first paragraph of the report say that there are approximately 50 splinter groups of Punjab militants still active in the state. However, the next few lines list only six organisations. The Home Ministry should at least give the names of 50 organisations. Even at the height of the Punjab problem, the state did not have such a large number of organisations, the SAD leader contended.

Objecting to the second paragraph of the report which states that Pakistan is making efforts to revive Sikh militancy in Punjab and ISI Officials have assured their commitment to the Khalistan movement to overseas pro-Khalistani leaders who visited Pakistan for the Baisakhi celebrations in April, 2002, Mr Mann said it was merely anti-Sikh propaganda.

“I participated in the Baisakhi celebrations in April, 2002, in Pakistan. I did not see any evidence or traces of any conspiracy by Sikh nationalists to bolster Sikh militancy in any way”, says Mr Mann’s letter.

Referring to the last four lines of paragraph 1.21 of the report which states “recent inputs suggest that the ISI has established training centres for Sikh youths in Muscat, Dubai, Thailand and Iran for reviving militancy in Punjab,” Mr Mann said the report should instead have stated “Where were these camps in those countries? How many Sikh youths were being trained? Were these Sikh youths from Punjab? Were families of Sikh youths informed that their wards were in militant training camps?

Elsewhere in the report it had been stated that red corner notices were issued against many Punjab militants. This was again a general statement, which did not give any detail. “Such portrayal fuels bias and malice against the Sikhs,” said Mr Mann.

Mr Mann further said that “in a secular country how can words such as Sikh youths and Sikh militancy be used. A militant or a terrorist is what he is, whether he is a Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Muslim, Sikh or Buddhist. By perpetuating such a bias, you have not only exposed the right-wing ultra nationalist complexion of your government but also your prejudice against the minorities”.

Demands jobs

SANGRUR: Meanwhile, in a letter to the Union Railway Minister, Mr Mann also demanded employment for Sikhs and Punjabis in the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and provisions of more jobs in the Rail Ministry for people from Punjab.

Mr Mann also urged the Railway Minister to take up the project of a Railway-track between Amritsar and Ferozepore via Khemkaran. With this the Sikhs of the Malwa region will have direct access to Amritsar. He also urged the Railway Minister to resume trains to Lahore in Pakistan to encourage trade, commerce, tourism and religious pilgrimage as 280 Sikh religious shrines were in Pakistan.

Mr Mann also asked the minister to expedite the two-laning of the track from Rajpura to Ferozepore via Bathinda. He also said that Dhauldhar Express should stop at Ahmedgarh and Malerkotla railway stations to enable traders and passengers of this region to visit Delhi and Amritsar.

Mr Mann also demanded a train from Chennai to Amritsar for the benefit of Sikhs and Punjabis, willing to travel to Amritsar. He also demanded computerisation of booking at all important railway stations in Punjab at the earliest.

Mr Mann also demanded that Sachkhand Express (which goes to Takht Sri Hazur Sahib) should halt at Sirhind junction as a large number of pilgrims visited the Takht from Sirhind. He also said that work on Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway track should be taken up in right earnest.

Tourism centres

PHAGWARA (OC): Mr Mann also pleaded with Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mr Jagmohan that the routes of Udasis of Guru Nanak Dev ji and Guru Gobind Singh should be charted out for creating centres of tourism along these in the way as centres of tourism on routes travelled by Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda and M.K. Gandhi were being created. Mr Mann said that two Sikh Gurus were great travellers and their travel routes be mapped out for the tourist centres. Mr Mann supported the demand of Hindus for a ban on cow slaughter.


Dang threatens legal action against SIT
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
Expressing surprise over the recent statements by the special investigation team (SIT) regarding the kidney scam, Mr Satya Pal Dang, Communist leader, said that if need be he would take the legal option against the working of the SIT as he was not fully satisfied with it. He said the statements by the SIT were contradictory on several occasions.

The communist leader said “As regards the Jalandhar hospital, a member of SIT team, the IG, Jalandhar, had given conflicting reports which included giving a clean chit to this hospital twice. However, another member of SIT, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, has stated that the inquiry is in progress against the Jalandhar hospital.”

Mr Dang said that in another statement the same police official had stated that ‘magistrates’ could not be held responsible as affidavits were taken on oath. Mr Dang stated that, “Law is not and cannot be that the attesting authority should not refuse to attest affidavits which on the face of it are false and absurd.” He further said the earlier statement of the IG, Jalandhar, regarding magistrates was that “they did not to open another front by starting investigations against magistrates”.

He regretted that Mr Vijay Partap had not made any statement about role of police officials, including two IPS officers, whose names were admitted by the SIT. He added that no mention was also made about advocates, politicians and hospital owners involved in the scandal.

He said the recipients who got the kidney under false names and addresses, too should be prosecuted.


Dump portends trouble for MC
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 11
The Municipal Corporation here could be in a spot over its massive garbage dump yard in Bhagtanwala, as a site near the dump is earmarked for an ambitious multi-crore basmati rice export project approved by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

This unit, which can boost exports and provide gateway to best quality basmati produced in the Majha belt, is proposed to be constructed at a cost of Rs 2.20 crore on 6.9 acres. But the site for the unit is barely a stone’s throw from the garbage dump. However, consistent complaints to the corporation have fallen on deaf ears. Mr Parmjit Singh, Secretary, Market Committee, while talking to The Tribune, said the corporation had taken little notice of their complaints.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, however, said a solid waste management plant was proposed to be set up at the site of the dump. He said the corporation was contemplating an alternate site for garbage disposal out of the city limits. The corporation had not made any proposal regarding land to be bought at the alternative site, he added. However, Mr Parmjit Singh alleged that the garbage dump, whose thoroughfare was from the biggest grain market of the district, namely the Bhagtanwala Mandi, was a nuisance. The unhygienic conditions got aggravated during monsoon, when the garbage stink became unbearable and insects and scavengers freely fed on garbage creating an unsavoury atmosphere. Mr Ashok Lakhpal, Executive Officer, Mandi Board, admitted that the dump was a hindrance to cleanliness and the corporation must take immediate steps to remove it.

Tactics of barring the loaded corporation garbage lifters from entering the mandi premises and emptying the waste at the garbage dump had proved futile as the corporation men dumped the entire garbage in front of the mandi gate, compounding their problems, allege farmers and officials .

The approved project would entail a covered area for grain in addition to massive platforms. Machinery was proposed to be set up to segregate the qualities of rice meant for export, including keeping the moisture content stable, in conducive condition to maintain the rice quality. The unit could boost economy in this agro belt where most of the other manufacturing industries had fallen on bad times. Two other such massive units had been approved by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the union ministry to be set up at Tarn Taran and Batala.


Akali workers meet on panchayat poll
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 11
Akali workers from all over the district participated in a meeting held at Dhariwal today to chalk out strategy to contest panchayat poll slated for June 29 in Punjab. The speakers included Mr Sucha Singh Langah, president, district unit of the SAD; Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, PAC member of the SAD and former Rural Development and Revenue Minister, respectively; Mr Natha Singh Dalam, former Minister for Public Relations and Capt Balbir Singh Baath, MLA.

They said the SAD (Badal) would be victorious in the election if held free and fair. The leaders said the Akali Dal would cooperate with the rural government to hold fair elections but at the same time warned the government against using extra-constitutional means to control panchayats.

The leaders said the party would start circle and district-level meetings from May 30 onwards to mobilise Akali workers to be vigilant during the panchayat poll as the Congress might use illegal methods to win.

They accused the government of implicating Akali workers in false cases. They said lists of Akali workers implicated in false cases were being prepared to be sent to the Prime Minister and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Mr Langah said enrolment of party workers would be completed within a week.


Temple panel shows papers to prove claim
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 11
The All-Party Action Committee, constituted to spearhead an agitation for the Thakurdwara Bairagian Shri Hanuman Mandir, today presented at a press conference, documents to authenticate its claim that the nine kanal and17 marla of land, which had earlier housed the Civil Hospital, actually belonged to the temple.

Senior BJP leaders and former vice-presidents of local Nagar Council Ram Saroop Arora and Avtar Singh Saini and councillor Rakesh Duggal showed copies of ‘hukam mehkama nizamat” signed by the then Chief Minister, Mr Abdul Aziz, on July 4, 1944, in which the land having ‘khasra’ Nos 3773,74,75, measuring nine kanal and 17 marla belonging to the Thakurdwara. they asserted that this land was rented to hospital for Rs 72 per annum. Now that the tenant had left, the land should revert back to the owner, they quipped. The Civil Hospital had shifted to new building at Chahal Nagar recently.

They also demanded a high-level probe into the lathi charge on the devotees in which several persons were injured in the night of May 9, withdrawal of cases registered against the devotees, action against the officials concerned and return of the temple land to it. They warned of holding a demonstration outside the SDM’s office and gherao of the SDM tomorrow.

The followers of temple had fixed two signboards inside old hospital building in the evening of May 6 staking claim to multi-crore land. PUDA officials were manhandled when they removed one of the boards on May 8. The followers then again fixed the board. PUDA officials accompanied by police force, again removed the boards in the night of May 9. The police had to use force to disperse the brick-bating mob which had reinstalled the boards yet again. The followers of temple yesterday observed a bandh here and at Goraya against police highhandedness.


Invited to wedding, NRI alleges rape
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
Mr G.S. Sahota, DIG, has directed the SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, to register a case against an NRI family on the complaint of another NRI, Mrs Kamaljit Kaur, alleging rape and illegal detention.

The Canada-based NRI widow, Mrs Kamaljit (50), who escaped from the detention of another NRI family after she was raped by a father-son duo, in a written complaint to the DIG had demanded the registration of a case against them. She also demanded that the family should be restrained from leaving for Canada.

In her complaint, the copy of which is with The Tribune, the victim alleged that she had been raped by two NRI persons, father and son, who were her neighbours in Canada. She said she was invited to a wedding in India by the accused. She arrived in India on February 18. After the marriage on February 22, the victim alleged that, she was taken by the accused to their home at Ghumanpura village. Thereafter they allegedly raped her. The shocked victim suffered a cardiac attack on February 26. She was taken to a hospital in Amritsar. Later when she was in a semi-conscious condition she was taken back to Ghumanpura village and kept under illegal detention in the accused‘s house, who raped her repeatedly for days.

To keep her silent, she claimed she was told on May 4 that they would make arrangements for her return to Canada. In the meantime, they took away all her possessions which were in her suitcase, including $ 3000, her passport, gold jewellery weighing about 22 tolas and Rs 35,000.

Mrs Kamaljit Kaur said she escaped on May 7 when the three accused, including the wife of Sukhjinder, hired a car and left for Delhi to proceed to Canada.


Bathinda to be slum-free
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 11
This city, known as heartland of the Malwa region, will be first city of Punjab which will have no slum areas, jhuggis and hutments.

The city, which has already acquired the status of fifth municipal corporation and first powercuts-free city of Punjab, will be cleaned of slums within few months. Three agencies, PUDA, Improvement Trust and Municipal Corporation, have started working in tandem to accomplish the job at the earliest.

Talking to TNS today, Mr Surinder Singla, MLA and Chairman, High-Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, said the district administration had also engaged a town planner and urban development expert, Mr Jeet Malhotra. Mr Malhotra would visit the city within this week and would work out the strategy to make the town a slum-free city. He would hold discussions with the three state government agencies in this regard.

Mr Singla said that a comprehensive survey of jhuggis and slum areas had been on in the city and a list of slum and jhuggi dwellers was being prepared. After the survey would be completed, these jhuggi and slum dwellers would be given residential plots. They would be given facilities to get soft loans apart from various grants from the state and Central government schemes to construct houses. All basic amenities would be provided in their localities.

Pointing out the benefits of this exercise, he said the state government would be able to get vacated its encroached upon land worth crores of rupees, which had been occupied by the jhuggis and slum dwellers. The basic amenities would be provided to new colonies of such jhuggi and slum dwellers by selling of the vacated land.

The funds for this task would also be arranged from the state government. A list for the repair of roads, overbridges, covering of left-out population with sewerage and potable water facilities and sanitation for this city had been submitted to state government for more funds.

After the slums and jhuggis would be removed, no new slum or juhggis would be allowed to come up in the city. The rules would be framed in such a way that would bar the slum dwellers to sell of their houses, provided to them by the state government.

Mr Singla said the municipal corporation authorities had been finding it difficult to provide basic amenities in the unplanned and haphazard colonies. Mushrooming of more unplanned colonies would also be checked.

Mr Malhotra would also evolve solutions to the problems being faced by three agencies due to unplanned and haphazard growth of the city. He would provide solutions to bottleneck in the development of city. A master plan would also be prepared to regulate the development of city.

Apart from development of city to make it vibrant and functional, Mr Malhotra would also evolve methods of garbage management and sanitation.

Mr Singla, who presided over a blood donation camp organised by Sant Nand Youth Welfare Club in Gill Patti village this afternoon, pointed out the state government was committed to provide basic amenities in the rural areas also.


Trees cut to save wires
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 11
The local Rose Garden, including the Leisure Valley, situated on the Bathinda-Barnala bypass, has lost a part of its green cover as the local Municipal Council authorities have started cutting full grown and old trees.

In the past two days, several full grown trees of different varieties have been felled in the Rose Garden and the Leisure Valley. The process of cutting more trees was still on.

Official sources said about a month ago the Municipal Council authorities had decided to cut these trees as these had been causing damage to high tension (HT) wires by falling on the same during windy conditions in this region and thus had been making the power supply erratic. The trees were being cut to safeguard the HT wires.

Due to frequent damage to the HT wires, the main water works located behind the Rose Garden had been getting erratic power supply and thus affecting the smooth supply of potable water to residents of this town, official sources added.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that after the auction of trees, including poplar, eucalyptus and some other varieties, was held about a month ago, the work to cut the same was started by the contractor concerned. About 132 trees would be cut from the Rose Garden and the Leisure Valley.

However, a section of residents said the Municipal Council authorities should find some other ways to protect the HT wires instead of cutting the 132 full grown trees. Over the past few years, the Rose Garden had become a paradise for the morning walkers.

Mr Kamal Kant Goyal, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, said there was no other way to save the HT wires and ensure uninterrupted power supply to the water works than to cut the trees. He added that he permission for cutting the trees had been taken from the Ministry of Environment and Forest. The council would develop a number of green patches in the town this year, he added.


Fire-victim traders seek compensation
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 11
All 11 shopkeepers whose shops were damaged in a fire in the old vegetable market here adjoining to the main bazaar on May 9 night have appealed to the government for financial help. They had also demanded repair of all shops. They requested the Punjab government for help in their hour of crisis.

Mr Darshan Lal Grover, a shopkeeper said that he started his shop with taking a loan of Rs 2 lakh from a bank and also borrowed from relatives three years ago had lost all his belongings in the fire. He had no means to restart business.

He said he was finding it difficult to feed his family. It was also not possible for him to repair his shop. Narrating their tale of woes four vegetable sellers — Mr Mehnga Ram, Mr Romesh Kumar, Mr Rajeev Kumar and Mr Yash Pal — said that they were unable to make payment to the wholesale vegetable dealers from whom they had purchased vegetables in the past one week. Under the prevailing conditions it had become difficult for them to meet daily needs.

Moreover it was not possible for them to repair the shops. Similarly Mr Robin Kumar of Banarsi Dass Chaman Lal who started a shop of confectionery with a loan of Rs 1.25 lakh from a bank also lost everything in the incident.

He said that before the arrival of the fire engines all shops were gutted by the fire. He has demanded that a fire brigade station at this district and divisional headquarter town. He has also demanded adequate compensation to run his business.

Similar views were expressed by the other shopkeepers. Meanwhile Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner has announced a grant of Rs 5000 each for victims from the District Red Cross Society. He has also assured to send his recommendation to the government for a financial assistance from the relief fund of the Chief Minister.

It is learnt that a deputation comprising local Municipal Councillors and sufferers led by Mr Avtar Singh Brar, ex-MLA and Vice-President PPCC also met the Deputy Commissioner today and apprised him of the condition of the fire victims.


Sunita died due to ‘hospital staff’s negligence’
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul (Bathinda), May 1
Mr Parshottam Lal, president, Vikas Committee, Rampura Phul, today alleged that the administration had given a clean chit to the staff members of the civil hospital here whose negligence had caused death of Mrs Sunita Rani admitted here on March 22 for delivery.

He alleged that in the inquiry into the incident the administration had also absolved the staff members of civil hospital of negligence who were on duty when Mrs Sunita Rani remained hospitalised.

It may be mentioned that Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Aggarwal had ordered an inquiry into the death of Mrs Sunita Rani on the complaint of her husband Munna Lal and Mr Parshottam Kumar, a social activist. Mrs Sunita Rani, was admitted in the hospital on March 22 morning, was referred to Civil Hospital, Bathinda at night. She died after she reached there.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, SDM, who conducted the inquiry had held that staff members of local civil hospital, were guilty of tampering with official records pertaining to the admission of Mrs Sunita Rani. They were found not guilty of any negligence.

Mr Parshottam Kumar alleged that when Mrs Sunita Rani was referred to civil hospital, Bathinda at 2.40 am on March 23, her condition deteriorated as she was not attended by any doctor. He added that Mrs Sunita Rani was kept in the operating theatre for more than one hour but no surgery was done. Mrs Sunita Rani went to the operating theatre on foot and she came back on a stretcher as her condition was critical. He said that due to the negligence of hospital staff. Mrs Sunita Rani died before she could deliver the baby.

He alleged that the hospital did not provide an ambulance for shifting the patient to civil hospital. Mrs Sunita Rani was shifted there in a private vehicle. After the death of Mrs Sunita Rani, when residents protested in front of the civil hospital, Rampura Phul, its record was taken into possession by certainly staff members who later on tampered with it to save them.

He said that the Vikas committee would approach the high court to get justice for Mr Munna Lal, husband of deceased. He added that state Health authorities should explain why Mrs Sunita Rani was referred to civil hospital, Bathinda when two surgeons were present in the local hospital having blood bank and other facilities. He alleged that Mrs Sunita Rani was referred to Bathinda hospital as a section of staff members were reluctant to treat her.


DM to probe Dalit families’ case
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 11
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the District Magistrate to personally conduct an inquiry into the allegations of forcible removal of some Dalit families of Para village in Kartarpur from their houses by some influential persons.

Justice Mr N.C. Jain, chairperson of the PSHRC, in his order said that the District Magistrate, Jalandhar, would not entrust the inquiry to anybody else and instructed the complainant, Mr Kashmir Singh Ghugshor, press secretary of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab, to appear before the inquiry officer on May 30 to explain his point of view.

Earlier, Mr Ghugshor in an application submitted to the commission on May 8, alleged that the authorities concerned, in connivance with some influential persons, were trying to hush up the case, for which the commission had already ordered the District Magistrate, Jalandhar, to conduct a through probe on March 13. He alleged that the kanoongo and patwari concerned had made the Dalit families sign pre-prepared statements on April 18 to save the other party. Sensing seriousness of the allegations, Justice Jain ordered the DM to conduct the inquiry himself and next date of hearing was fixed for July 24.


Manch hails launch of Astra
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
The district unit of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch said today that the use of indigenous technology should be encouraged in every sphere so as to make the country self-sufficient and self-reliant.

Mr Naveen Singla, district convener of the manch, in a press note here said the successful launching of indigenously developed air-to-air short range missile “Astra” had showed that Indian scientists were capable of developing latest technologies. With the launch of the missile India became the third country to have this technology.

He said on the National Technology Day being observed today we should pledge to use domestic technology instead of foreign one and encourage Indian entrepreneurs to become more efficient and competent.

Mr Singla alleged that a section of multinational companies were stealing our traditional knowledge and patenting Indian herbs and formulas.


IMA branch seeks boycott of PMC elections
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 11
The Muktsar branch of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the state unit to boycott the elections of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) to be completed by May 22 as more than 26,000 doctors registered with the PMC would not be able to cast their votes due to their non-enrolment as voters.

Giving this information here today, Dr Surinder Singla, secretary of the Punjab IMA, said the Muktsar branch of the IMA had also urged the state president of the IMA to make an appeal to all 7,468 voters not to cast their votes in protest against the non-enrolment of 26,000 out of about 34,000 doctors registered with the PMC. Dr Singla said the Sangrur branch and some other branches had also approached him in this context.


Colonisers to meet Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 11
While criticising the PUDA for charging a fee of Rs 3.5 lakh per acre as external development charges (EDC) without carrying out the mandatory development works, the Punjab Colonisers and Builders Association has decided to take up the issue with regard to the PUDA’s refusal to renew the licences of members of the association with Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh next week.

The chairman of the association, Mr Anil Chopra, here today alleged that PUDA had never executed mandatory external development works to connect colonies with the mainstream. He said that as per the agreement, PUDA was supposed to carry out external development works, including laying of drainage and sewerage lines, potable water supply, roads and electricity connections.


XEN’s appeal to Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Mr D.K. Syal, an Executive Engineer posted in the Upper Bari Doab Canal Project, has in a representation submitted to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought withdrawal of the cases registered against him by the Pathankot police and the Vigilance Bureau on May 2 and May 3.

Mr Syal claimed today that he had been framed in false cases at the behest of certain persons who had been supporting the land mafia in the Pathankot belt.

The Punjab Engineers Association (Irrigation Department) has also asked for the withdrawal of the cases.


75 revenue disputes settled

Tarn Taran, May 11
As many as 75 revenue disputes were settled on the spot at a revenue lok adalat organised jointly by the police and the civil administration yesterday under the supervision of Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, which was presided over by Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP.

Besides all the three SDMs Mr Bhupinder Singh (Tarn Taran), Mr Desh Deepak (Khadoor Sahib) and the SDM of Patti along with other revenue officers, DSPs and the other officials were present at the lok adalat. OC



Amritsar, May 11
The ABVP yesterday presented a memorandum to Mr Jugal Kishore Singh, an MLA, in protest against the state government’s anti-education policies. OC


Demand to shift liquor shop
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 11
Resentment prevails among residents, shopkeepers, teachers and parents whose daughters study in DAV Girls High School and Senior Secondary School against the opening of a liquor shop near DAV Girls High School, Kila Mandi, Batala.

Mrs M. Kanta, Headmistress, DAV Girls High School, Batala, said here yesterday that with the opening of the liquor shop, the girl students feel embarrassed while passing by.


Border farmers get compensation

Tarn Taran, May 11
A sum of Rs 75 lakh has been sent to the administration to be distributed among farmers of the border areas whose land was used by the Army for mining purpose.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, SDM, told this correspondent here yesterday that fields in Naushehra Dhalla, Chahal, Gandiwind, Sohal, Bhuchar Kalan, Cheema Kalan, Shukarchak, and Beer Raja Teja Singh village were used to lay mines and farmers could not sow kharif crop. The SDM inaugurated the relief distribution ceremony at Naushehra Dhall village yesterday. OC


3 travel agents held
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 11
The police has arrested three travel agents, Gurdev Singh of Pandwa village, Joga Singh of Mohalla Prempura, Phagwara, and Kashmiri of Sangha Jagir village in Noormahal tehsil, for cheating four persons of lakhs of rupees. A press note by the SP, Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, issued this evening said that cases against these agents had already been registered.

Mr Gill said that Gurdev Singh had struck a deal for Rs 10 lakh for sending Jagjit Singh of Taur village in Sultanpur Lodhi, last year to the USA. He had taken Rs 80,000 from the youth.

Similarly, Gurdev Singh had struck a deal with Gurwinder Singh and his nephew, Jasbir Singh, of Rs 20 lakh for sending them to the USA. However, these persons were neither sent to the USA nor their amounts were returned to them.

In the other case, travel agents Joga Singh and Kashmiri had taken Rs 65,000 from Rakesh Kumar of Prempura Sultanpur in 2001 and sent him to Kuwait with incomplete documents leading to the arrest of Rakesh in Kuwait and his deportation. A case against these two agents was registered, Mr Gill said.


Kerosene scam detected
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
The district police has busted a gang active in the diversion of kerosene meant for the public distribution system (PDS) and has arrested four of its members. However, the kingpin is still at large.

Police sources said here today that the police stopped two oil tankers yesterday on suspicion and found that these were carrying kerosene meant for the PDS. It was being taken to Dabwali town in Haryana. The sources said the suspects used to collect oil from PDS dealers and sell it to petrol station dealers in the region.

The sources said the colour of kerosene sold under the PDS had been changed to bright blue by the government to prevent its unauthorised sale. The suspects had been mixing a chemical in this kerosene to change its colour to that of diesel.

The sources said about 12,000 litres of PDS kerosene and about 250 gm of a chemical used to change the colour of kerosene had been seized form the suspects.


Poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
The police here has arrested five persons from different places for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of poppy husk.

According to information, Amarjeet Singh of Chak Heera Singhwala village and Gurdeep Singh of Gehri Bhagi village were arrested from near Naruana village last evening while they were allegedly carrying 90 kg of poppy husk.

Nachhatar Singh of Gehri Bhagi was arrested from near Bir Behman village yesterday for allegedly carrying 10 kg of poppy husk, while Megha of the same village was arrested last evening for carrying 10 kg of poppy husk from near jhumba village.

Sources said that Sema Singh was arrested today from Kot Shamir village while he was reportedly trying to smuggle poppy husk. A resident of Teona village, Sema Singh, was arrested with 10 kg of poppy husk.

All these have been booked under various Sections of the NDPS Act.


Youth held with 54 bottles of liquor
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
The police yesterday arrested Vicky, while he was trying to smuggle 54 bottles of IMFL into the city.

Police sources said the accused was arrested while he was coming from the Kaile Wander area in a car, the number plate of which had been changed by the accused. The sources said a police party checked his car and 54 bottles of whisky were recovered from him.

The sources said the accused had been arrested many times and cases of liquor smuggling were pending against the accused.

A case under Sections 61 of Excise Act and Sections 468, 420, 472, 173 of the IPC has been registered.


Man kills father
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
In a bizarre incident, a son shot his old father dead over some dispute of distribution of water in their fields late last evening.

According to information available, Gurnam Singh, a resident of the Kathunangal area, falling under Majitha police district, shot his father Shingara Singh dead while he along with one of his four sons was sleeping in their behak (farm house). A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC and Sections 25,54, 59 of the Arms Act. The accused was still at large.


Woman killed in  accident
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
A woman was killed and 10 others injured when the Toyota Qualis in which they were travelling rammed into a truck near the Patiala Aviation complex on the outskirts of the city yesterday.

The woman was identified as Kartar Kaur of Sadharanpur village in Patran.

The injured were admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital and discharged after being given medication.

A case has been registered against the truck driver.


One killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
One person was killed when the scooter he was riding was hit by a bus near the canal on the Bathinda-Goniana road on outskirts of the city yesterday.

The deceased, Ram Bilas, a resident of local Ganesha Basti, was a labour contractor. He was taken to hospital after the accident where he was declared brought dead. The body was handed over to the family after the post mortem. The police has registered a case under Section 304-A, IPC.


Cash, ornaments stolen from house
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 11
Gold ornaments and cash worth Rs 11 lakh were stolen last night from the house of a local jeweller, Mr Amit Sachdeva. The police has registered a case under Sections 457, 380 of the IPC in this regard.

According to information, the thieves entered the house through the main gate by breaking the lock. Mr Sachdeva and members of his family had gone to Amritsar to attend some function when the theft took place.


Principal in a fix over son’s admission
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
The Principal of Khalsa College of Education, Dr Jaswinder Singh Dhillon, is in a fix as Guru Nanak Dev University, after seeking legal opinion, has reached the conclusion that granting of one-year leave to him during his stint as lecturer in the academic college of the university was ‘not according to the university statute’.

As a result, son of Dr Dhillon becomes ineligible for admission to the B.Tech (Electronics) course under the NRI quota with concession of fee as admissible to the wards of university employees.

The department concerned has recommended that the matter may be taken up at the next meeting of the Syndicate to cancel the admission of the son of Dr Dhillon and the student be charged full fee under NRI quota.

As per statute a temporary employee can be granted extraordinary leave for three months at a time, but Dr Dhillon applied for one-year leave as he had to join as the Principal Khalsa College of Education. The legal adviser has opined that the matter may be placed before the Syndicate.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh said the matter would be taken at the next Syndicate meeting. He said the Syndicate was likely to ask Dr Dhillon to deposit the remaining amount which is around Rs 6 lakh.

Gurkeerat Singh, son of Dr Dhillon, was admitted on July 9, 2001 before the meeting of the Syndicate was held on July 20, 2001.

However, Dr Dhillon claimed that he had availed the teachers’ quota strictly as per university statute. “Moreover the admission was cleared by the previous Syndicate which could not be challenged. He claimed that other employees of the academic college had availed more leave than he had.


Teachers hold dharna against govt apathy
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 11
A large number of teachers owing allegiance to the Government Teachers Union Punjab held a dharna here today in protest against the apathy of the Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, to hold negotiations with the union regarding their demands.

The teachers were to hold a dharna in front of the residence of the minister but for the police they had to shift the venue of protest to Nehru Park.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gandhri, president of the union, accused Mr Behl of adopting a dilly-dallying attitude in holding negotiations. He said the deputation had met the minister at least four times earlier and demanded the fixation of time for holding negotiations on their demand regarding the new education policy and the redressal of their grievances.

Mr Gandhri said the new education policy should be discussed with educationists, intellectuals and leaders of the state and certain amendments should be brought forward by deleting anti-students and anti-teachers clauses in it. He demanded that vacant posts should be filled, contract system discontinued and time scale increments and grades should be given after 4-9-14 years of service. Vigilance raids on schools should be stopped forthwith, he added.

He accused the present government of politicising education in the state. He said service rules were not being implemented and transfers of teachers were being made in an arbitrary manner on the banking pattern. The assured career projection scheme should be implemented at the level of District Education Officer and not at the level of Circle Education Officer as ruled in the new education policy, he added.

Later, the teachers marched in a procession on the main roads of the town, including the library road, where the residence of the minister is located.


Hundal-Tiwari group sweeps PCCTU poll
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 11
The Hundal-Tiwari group swept the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) poll held here by winning all seven key posts this afternoon.

The old groups, Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr V.K. Tiwari retained the posts of the president and the general secretary, respectively, as they were polled 275 and 239 votes. Prof Guram Singh Kahlon was elected to the post of vice-president, while Dr V.K. Sharma bagged the post of finance secretary.

Similarly, nominee of the Hundal-Tiwari combine for the post of area secretary of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Proof Parkash Singh, was polled 207 votes to be declared elected. Besides, the posts of area secretaries for Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Punjabi University, Patiala, were won by Prof Kanwaljit Singh and Dr Surjit Singh, respectively.


College re-election result
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
Dr J.S. Arneja, Head of the Department of Economics-cum-returning officer, declared the Khalsa College Teachers Union (KCTU) election held on April 21 as null and void. It was alleged that the election were not held as per the procedures laid down by the PCCTU.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Arneja declared the results of re-election. The new office-bearers of the Khalsa College unit of the PCCTU are: president — Dr Suba Singh (Department of Punjabi); vice-president — Prof Daljit Singh (Department of Physical Education) and secretary — Dr Harbhajan Singh (Department of Botany).


Reintroduce bus passes: college
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, May 11
The local GGS DAV College has sought reintroduction of concessional bus passes for its students as the facility had been withdrawn by the Punjab Government sometime ago.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, the management stated that this was the only college in the 90 km border belt between Ferozepore and Fazilka and that the majority of its students belonged to the Rai Sikh community, one of the most backward communities in the area, who came to the college by bus from far off places. Hence, most of the parents were not in a position to bear the daily transportation charges of their wards. Since the withdrawal of the facility, the strength of the college had fallen from 1,150 students to less than 800.

The letter further stated that the college was unaided and had already been facing financial constraints. It was not in a position to extend any financial help to the students, it said.

The letter said the government colleges of the area were still enjoying the concessional bus pass facility. The facility had been provided to the college by the DPI (Colleges), Punjab, but the Ministry of Transport withdrew it much to the chagrin of students.


Students seek change in exam date
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 11
Students of bachelor of management and information technology (BMIT), of Punjabi University, Patiala, have urged the university authorities to change the examination scheduled on May 30, as it clashes with the entrance test for MBA of another university.

A section of students, said today that Guru Nanak Dev University had announced the schedule for holding the entrance test for MBA in the last week of April while Punjabi University had announced the datesheet of the BMIT examinations recently. They said that the applications for the MBA entrance test had been filed and if Punjabi University did not change the BMIT datesheet they would be deprived of an opportunity to compete for a prestigious course.

Some students opined that due to a large number of holidays between the two papers on May 30 and June 10, Punjabi University would not find it difficult to alter its datesheet for the BMIT, for the benefit of its students. They claimed that a letter urging the university authorities to change the examination schedule of the BMIT had been sent.

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