Saturday, July 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal’s petrol station at Killianwali searched
Our correspondent

Killianwali (Muktsar), July 4
The Vigilance Bureau today conducted extensive searches as at a workshop, petrol pump and a building rented to a bank, in the town belonging to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister, and his kin in connection with a case registered against him and members of his family in a Kharar court.

The teams of the bureau started raids simultaneously at the workshop, petrol pump and bank premises at around 9.35 a.m., which continued for more than seven hours. One team searched the workshop, while the other raided the petrol pump and the bank premises.

While Mr J S Kahlon, SP (Vigilance), who led the search, refused to divulge the details of the operation by saying that they were preparing a report. The DSP, Mr Gurmukh Singh, who headed the team at the workshop, said they had “gained something.” However, he said that they could not give the details, as it was “official secret”.

Even the report prepared by the bureau team after the raid at the workshop stated that the team did not find any “illegal or objectionable” item during the raid. The report gave a list of furniture, including chairs, tables and electrical appliances like fans, tube lights, lamps and motors.

The teams took the measurements of the open space and the rooms at all places. Officials and employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board and the electrical branch of the PWD (B and R) accompanied the Vigilance team.

Some objections were raised by the Vigilance team about the presence of mediapersons when the search started. However, later they allowed them to watch the proceedings.

The team also checked the records, including the tickets of different buses, at the office of the transport company owned by Badals situated on the premises of the workshop. At the petrol pump, besides taking the measurements of the space, they also examined the record about the income and expenditure of the pump.

The search was so minute that even the utensils in the kitchen were counted. The team also examined the flower pots and flowers in them. At the petrol pump, it measured the length of loose electrical wires.

The team searched the office, bedroom, mess, kitchen and rest rooms for drivers and conductors at the workshop. They took the measurements of each room separately and noted the number of electrical appliances and furniture items in each room.

The SAD (B) workers had gathered in large numbers at the workshop and other places. While the search was on, they burnt an effigy of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at around 2 p.m. However, the protest was mild and continued for a few minutes only.

Workers of the youth wing of the SAD (B) tried to hold a rally and shouted slogans against the Punjab Government and the Vigilance Bureau at around 10 a.m. when the search was on. However, senior leaders of the party asked them not to do so.

When the team left the workshop after the search, workers of the party shouted slogans against the Punjab Chief Minister, Vigilance Bureau and the Punjab Government.


Court allows videography of Badal’s house
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 4
The court of the local Subdivisional Magistrate, Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, has allowed all three applications of the Vigilance Bureau (VB) in connection with a case registered against the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here today. The Vigilance Bureau had given an application on July 2 requesting that videography of Mr Badal’s residence in Sector 9, Chandigarh should be allowed. The bureau had also appealed that the Badal family should be ordered to cooperate in this process so that the assessment could be undertaken in a proper way.

They had written that when the bureau had undertook the search of the Sector 9 residence of Mr Badal on June 28, a large number of Akali Dal workers had started protesting and the assessment had remained incomplete.

In the second application, the bureau had written that the permission to correct the address of the house number 30 in Sector 5 may also be given.

The bureau today gave another application where it was pleaded that instead of house number 30, search warrants should be issued for house number 31, Sector 5, Chandigarh.

Mr Inderjeet Singh Punn, public prosecutor, and Vigilance SP Surinder Pal Singh while demanding the permission to videograph house number 256 in Sector 9, Chandigarh said there were goods worth 2.5 crore in the house. He said if the video film of this house was not made, then cheap goods might be put in place of the original ones.

They said house number 31 in Sector 5, Chandigarh, where Mr Badal’s daughter, Parneet Kaur is staying allegedly been purchased by Mr Badal for 2.75 crore. However, the present cost of the house is about Rs 5.6 crore.

The court in its order has allowed the application as prayed for. Search warrants can be carried out in consonance with the provisions of Section 100, Cr PC, returnable by July 20, the court ordered.

In addition, the search warrants of H. No. B-2/2003 Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, of Mr Krishan Kumar, PA to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, have also been issued on the application of the prosecution. The court also ordered the search of the corrected address, house number 31, Sector 5, Chandigarh.

Defence lawyers D.S. Mahal and Anil Kaushik strongly opposed all three applications moved by the VB and vehemently argued that as per law provisions, there was no merit to accept the VB’s request.

On the complaint of Balwant Singh of Mansa district, a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13 (i) (d) (e) read with Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against Badals.


Advani’s statement a BJP move to keep SAD
with NDA: Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
Terming the statement of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in support of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who along with his family members has been booked for corruption, as breach of protocol, the state Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said today that the BJP was trying to please its alliance partner the SAD (Badal), which recently threatened to snap ties with the NDA for not putting pressure on Congress government in Punjab.

“Mr Advani has given a statement under political pressure to woo back the SAD, which recently threatened to snap ties with the NDA, in case it does not support Mr Badal in the wake of a corruption case registered against him,” Ms Bhattal told reporters here today, quipping that why Mr Advani did not say anything earlier?

She further said that if Mr Advani had any impression that any injustice had been done to Mr Badal, he could have spoken to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to review the situation and it was sure that after knowing the factual position Mr Advani would not have gone to the extent of issuing such a blind statement against the Congress Chief Minister.

“Why Mr Advani did not say anything against UP Chief Minister Mayawati and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms J. Jayalalitha, who took direct action against their political rivals Mr Mulayam Singh and Mr M. Karunanidhi, respectively by registering allegedly false cases against them,” she said, claiming that moreover the action against Mr Badal and his family members was totally different as all material and documentary evidence against them had been filed in the court instead of effecting the arrest of Badal’s family.

Instead of making a hue and cry, Mr Badal should join the investigation into the case and should not be afraid, if he was innocent. She said, ruling out “witch-hunt or political vendetta” against Mr Badal as the cases were registered as part of anti-corruption drive of the state government.

Regarding the proposed visit of the NDA team to the state to probe the Congress government’s alleged atrocities on Akalis, Ms Bhattal said, “We will welcome the team and show them the evidence regarding the misdeeds of Badal’s family. Why, the NDA team did not pay a visit to the state during severe drought instead of coming in the support of a corrupt leader?” she quipped.

Commenting upon the recent proposals of the Union Agriculture Ministry for not increasing the MSP for paddy, she said that the NDA government was indulging in discrimination against Punjab farmers. “We will take up the issue with the Union Government to convince them to announce a hike in MSP of paddy, in view of increase in agriculture inputs,” she said.


Cong decries Advani’s ‘hasty’ statement
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 4
Several district Congress leaders have criticised Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s statement in New Delhi yesterday against the Punjab Government for adopting a “vindictive” attitude towards Akali leaders, including SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal.

In a press statement today, Congress leaders said Mr Advani should not have made the statement in haste.

They said if Mr Badal was innocent he should have nothing to fear.

They urged the Prime Minister and Mr Advani to endorse the steps taken by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for checking corruption.

Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar, Mr Pawan Goel and Mr Satish Baghi spoke the occasion.


Punjab BJP memo to Governor
Campaign against SAD, BJP leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab BJP today urged the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to put the democracy back on the rails in the state by cautioning Chief Minister Amarinder Singh against behaving like a dictator.

Speaking to mediapersons after submitting a memorandum to the Governor, the President of the state BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, said if Capt Amarinder Singh did not stop the reign of terror, the BJP would ask the Union Government to impose President’s rule in the state.

The Governor has been asked to direct the Chief Minister to withdraw all cases registered against Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP leaders in the state. Capt Amarinder Singh has turned Punjab into Bihar. He had been using the police and other official machinery to win elections.

The Chief Minister had vitiated the peaceful political atmosphere in the state. Capt Amarinder Singh’s so-called campaign against corruption was nothing but an elaborate exercise to settle scores with his political opponents, especially the Badals.

The Congress Mr Rinwa said, had played a fraud on the people by not making its MLAs declared their assets. The Congress had promised to make its MLAs declare their assets befor the assembly poll. Action should be taken against the ministers indicted by the Lok pal.

The BJP was with Mr Badal and opposed “the political targeting of opposition leaders by the ruling party in the state, “ Mr Rinwa said.

He admitted the NDA team should have come to Punjab much earlier.

Mr Rinwa said the BJP was against corruption but it should not be used as a political tool to bully opposition parties. Among those who accompanied Mr Rinwa to the Governor’s office were Mr Avinash Jaiswal, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, Mr Arunesh Shakar, Mr Rajinder Bhandari and Mr Vijay Sampla.


Chautala calls on Tohra
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala today called upon veteran Akali leader and former Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President Gurcharan Singh Tohra at the residence of his son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra here.

Sources said that the visit of Mr Chautala was sudden and not a planned one. They linked it to a meeting held between Mr G.S. Tohra and Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal at the residence of Samana legislator Surjit Singh Rakhra at Rakhra village around 15 km from here.

The veteran Akali leader and his son-in-law, however, denied any political motive behind the visit of the Haryana Chief Minister. He said Mr Chautala wanted to meet the former SGPC chief earlier also but could not do so because he himself had undergone an operation on his leg. He said today as the Haryana Chief Minister was returning from Patran he gave a message that he would like to visit Mr Tohra.

Meanwhile, the sources said that Mr Chautala remained with Mr Tohra for nearly one hour in the afternoon and was also alone with him for some time. Mr Harmail Singh Tohra, however, said there was no need to link this meeting with that held with Mr Badal yesterday. He said even yesterday’s meeting between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra was a routine one and no discussion had taken place on giving Mr G.S. Tohra back the post of President of the SGPC.


Bhora criticises NDA team’s visit
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, local Member Parliament, today condemned the decision of the Centre to send a high-level NDA team to take stock of situation in connection with the charges of corruption levelled against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members.

While talking to The Tribune on telephone Mr Bhora said the team, comprising members of the BJP-led coalition, was being sent to Punjab only to boost the morale of the SAD in the state and not to take stock of any ‘deteriorating law and order’ situation in the state as claimed by the Akalis.

Mr Bhora added that if the Centre had really wanted to look into the law and order situation in Punjab, then why had it not sent such a team to Karnataka, Bihar or Uttar Pradesh where condition was worse than that in Punjab. He pointed out that political bosses of the BJP were worried about their relation with the SAD due to the pressure being put on them by Mr Badal and his associates to help them in connection with the alleged ‘atrocities’ being committed by Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the state.


Case against SAD leader: SSP orders probe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SP City-II has been deputed to inquiry by the district police chief in a case registered against Mr Pardeep Singh Walia, former district chief of the Shiromani Akali Dal allegedly for trespassing and injuring Surinder Singh, a freedom fighter on June 13.

Mr Surinder Singh Sandhu, a resident of Hukam Singh road, had alleged that Mr Walia along with Gurvinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh of Kot Baba Deep Singh and several other persons had attacked his house, demolished a wall and injured him.

However, former SAD chief talking to The Tribune refuted all allegations. He claimed that he was not present at Amritsar on the date of incident . He said he had gone Patiala to meet Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former president SGPC, along with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, former state minister regarding “panthik ekta”. He claimed that on June 13 he returned to the city at 8 p.m. He said he had recorded his and Mr Calcutta’s statements with the police in this regard.

Mr Walia alleged that Mr Sandhu had lodged a false complaint at the behest of his political rivals, to malign him. He threatened to file a complaint against Mr Sandhu in high court and with the Vigilance Department. He claimed Mr Sandhu did not have any legal documents regarding his ownership of the land.


Manuscript of verses by Guru Teg Bahadur stolen
Lalit Mohan

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), July 4
A granth having hand-written verses of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Guru Chau Pai Sahib (holy hymns recited at the time of baptisation) written by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, have been stolen from the house of descendants of Guru Teg Bahadur located in Anandpur Sahib.

Sources here said the scriptures were kept in an old building in Bari Sarha Mohalla of Anandpur Sahib owned by Narinder Kaur and her family who claim to be descendant of Baba Suraj Mal, son of Guru Teg Bahadur. Manji Sahib Gurdwara was also located in the same building. Devotees used to visit the building for paying obeisance to the scriptures of the Guru.

On Wednesday, a devotee came to the place to pay obeisance. He allegedly stole the scriptures after the family members left the place. The theft was noticed in the evening when family members came for evening rituals to the gurdwara.

A complaint has been registered by the Anandpur Sahib police station regarding the theft of the scriptures. The DSP Anandpur Sahib, Mr Varinder Brar, said initial investigation revealed that the person who stole the scriptures belonged to the Ludhiana area and was between 50 and 55 years of age.

On the basis of the description provided by the family members, a sketch of the suspected thief was being prepared. The thief also left a blanket at the spot, he said.

Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib Giani Tarlochan Singh said the scriptures stolen from the gurdwara were authentic. The SGPC during the tercentenary celebrations had urged the family to hand over the scriptures. However, the family did not hand these over, maintaining that the scriptures were property of the Sodhi family. The Jathedar also visited the spot for surveying the family’s remaining possessions which were important historically.

The SGPC has deputed its flying squad to inquire into the theft of the holy scripture written by Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh from the house of descendent of Baba Suraj Mal in Anandpur Sahib, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president of the SGPC, stated this after in a press note here today.

Mr Badungar has added that the SGPC tried to procure holy scriptures related with the Sikh history from the families which possessed these.

A three-member committee headed by the Jathedar of the Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib Giani Tarlochan Singh has also been formed to approach the family of Mr Harbans Singh Sodhi for handing over the remaining important scriptures to the SGPC. The scriptures would be kept in the Sikh Reference Library, he said.


Jat leads Dalits against Jats
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
Dispute between Jats and Dalits of Pandori Kajoor village could not be solved today.

A tussle between Jats and Dalits started when some Jats stopped seven or eight Dalit women, including Ms Charan Kaur, Sarpanch of the village, from cutting grass (Green Fodder) from their fields on July 2, 2003. Dalits alleged that these women were assaulted and forced to sit in the fields. But Jats denied these allegations and said that they only stopped these women from cutting standing crop.

Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner, and Ms Gurpreet Deo, Senior Superintendent of Police, heard both parties separately. They made all efforts with both communities in the day. They were trying to defuse the situation.

Mr Bhullar and Ms Deo told mediapersons that they had heard both communities and would take action to defuse the situation in the village.

Ms Charan Kaur, Sarpanch, her husband Gain Chand former Sarpanch, Gurmukh Singh, panch, and other Dalit members wanted a case registered against Jats who allegedly assaulted Dalit women.

Daljit Singh, Baldev Singh, Narinder Singh, Gurjeet Singh, Kirpal Singh and Harpreet Singh members of the Jat community wanted that Dalit women be stopped from damaging their crops. They alleged that Dalits of the village were being misled by BSP leaders for political motive.

Meanwhile in a representation to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Bikram Singh son of Teja Singh of Pandori Khajoor who is a member of the Jat community alleged that after the defeat of their candidate in the Panchayat elections Jat community announced boycott of Dalits of the village. Many Dalits did not come out from the village school even after the declaration of result of Panchayat elections on June 29, 2003, due to fear. On this announcement, he offered Dalits to take grass from his fields. He said that when the above incident took place on July 2, 1003, Dalit women were cutting grass in his field. he demanded the arrest of culprits and registration of case against them.

Mr Avtar Singh Karimpur, Mr Bhagwan Singh Chauhan, General Secretary of the BSP, Punjab, told that in case district administration failed in giving justice to Dalits by tomorrow morning, the BSP would launch statewide agitation.


Punjabi varsity to implement massive fee hike
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
The students of professional courses in Punjabi University are going to face the brunt of the university’s decision to go in for a massive hike in fee for the courses, besides hike in the hostel as well as re-evaluation charges.

According to information available with TNS, the fee of professional courses has been increased the most. The M. Pharma course, the annual fee of which was Rs 13,340 earlier, has now been increased to Rs 52,410, a nearly four fold increase. The increase in the fee structure of other professional courses is also substantial. B Pharma students will now have to pay Rs 66,710 annually instead of the Rs 28,840 paid earlier. B. Tech students will now have to pay Rs 70,410 instead of Rs 42,240.

Students of Masters in Computer Application will now have to pay an annual fee of Rs 72,810 instead of the earlier Rs 48,940. The fee structure of the various business management courses has also been hiked substantially. The annual fee of the MBA course has been hiked from Rs 22,360 to Rs 68,860, the fee for the MBE course has been hiked from Rs 22,360 to Rs 32,660 and MFC from Rs 22,360 to Rs 32,660.

Other courses for which the fee has been hiked tremendously are — BPT (from Rs 38,840 to Rs 66,710); MSc (biotech) (from Rs 16,140 to Rs 55,400); BSc (computer science, statistics and mathematics), for which it has been hiked from Rs 23,860 to Rs 34,160; PGDCA (from Rs 12,590 to Rs 16,960); BA (Honours School) (from Rs 8,310 to Rs Rs 12,660); B Lib (Science) (from Rs 9,690 to Rs 14,460)’ M.Lib (science) and MJMC courses has been hiked from Rs 11,340 to Rs 16,650, for LLB the hike is from Rs 10,440 to Rs 14,460, for LLM the hike is from Rs 11,640 to Rs 17,160, for M.Phil courses the hike is from Rs 23,800 to Rs 28,560, for M.A. courses the hike is from Rs 9,540 to Rs 14,160; for M.Sc courses the hike is from Rs 12,240 to Rs 19,410 and the M.Com. the hike is from Rs 14,040 to Rs 19,410 annually.

Meanwhile, the university has also increased the cost of prospectus of all courses from Rs 350 to Rs 400, entrance test fee from Rs 500 to Rs 600. Supplementary Examination fee will be the same as the examination fee. Earlier, this was half of the examination fee. The annual hostel charges have also been increased from Rs 3,875 to Rs 6,015.

Besides the students going in for re-evaluation will also have to shell out more money now. Re-evaluation fee for graduate-level courses had been increased from Rs 200 per paper to Rs 400 per paper while that for post graduate courses has been increased from Rs 250 per paper to Rs 500 per paper. The eligibility for applying for re-evaluation has now become 70 per cent of the pass marks instead of the earlier condition allowing students who had secured 15 per cent of the pass marks also being eligible for applying for re-evaluation.

Meanwhile, the Sanjha Vidyarthi Front comprising the All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) and the Students Federation of India has decided to organise a dharna in front of the fee counter of the local Mohindra College besides going in for a state-level conference in the city on July 9. AIDSO Patiala, president Kirt Grewal and SFI state president Ramandeep Dhaliwal have urged the students not to deposit the enhanced fee.


Hanspal honours sarpanches
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 4
Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has asked the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, if the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Congress government should be continued or not.

He said this while replying to a question on the remarks made by the Deputy Prime Minister about the anti-corruption campaign which has indicted Mr Badal.

He was here to attend a function organised to honour the newly-elected members of gram panchayats of Kharar block.

Mr Hanspal said the anti-corruption campaign had been going on for the past 16 months but with Mr Badal’s name figuring in the list, Mr Advani had woken up. He said probably the Deputy Prime Minister was afraid that Akalis would withdraw support from the NDA government at the Centre.

On the panchayat elections, Mr Hanspal said the Congress has won on about 68 per cent of the panchayat seats and that the Chief Minister would divide these into zones after July 9 and the panchayats that had been elected unopposed would be provided a grant of Rs 2 lakh each.


SGPC chief may be replaced on July 10
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar is under pressure to quit as SGPC chief in the meeting of the SGPC executive committee, scheduled to be held at Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana on July 10 to pave the way for the change of guard.

Following a closed-door meeting between Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, held at Patiala yesterday, it was decided to appoint Mr Tohra or his close confidant as the next SGPC chief replacing Mr Badungar at the earliest.

Though the SGPC officials claim that SGPC executive committee would discuss the routine agenda, yet it is learnt that the change of guard in the Shiromani Committee may take place on July 10.

According to sources, Mr Tohra would like to get his confidant Sukhdev Singh Bhaur appointed as SGPC chief till the annual election of the SGPC, scheduled to be held in November.


Bhai Ram Singh reaches home
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Bhai Ram Singh who was nominated Jathedar of Damdami Taksal and removed from the post later, today reached his home from California.

Talking to The Tribune, Bhai Ram Singh said that he would not visit Chowk Mehta headquarter of the Damdami Taksal till Baba Thakar Singh reaches to prevent confrontation.

Though Bhai Ram Singh did not want to speak on his appointment as Jathedar of the Damdami Taksal, yet he brought all proofs of his appointment as Jathedar of the Taksal in America. Bhai Ram Singh also got original copy of his appointment as Jathedar of the Taksal, he, however, said that he would obey all directives of Baba Thakar Singh whom he held in high esteem. He said he had been with Baba Thakar Singh since he was eight and could not disobey his directives. He did not entertain any query when asked whether he still considered himself Jathedar of the Taksal or not.


Romana sacking: meeting next week
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Five executive members of the ‘prabandhak’ committee, Takht Patna Sahib have served a notice to its general secretary to call a meeting of the committee within 15 days to implement the directive of the Sikh clergy (Patna Sahib) to sack Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the management.

The five members threatened to call the meeting on their own after stipulated time of 15 days as they were competent to do so as per the bylaws of gurdwara Act. However, when contacted Mr Mohinderpal Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the ‘prabandhak’ committee, said that the meeting was being convened next week.

The five executive members who had served the notice were Mr Jogingder Singh Jogi, Mr Manjit Singh Sarla, Mr Raja Singh, Mr Darshanjit Singh and Mr Avtar Singh Dakha. The contents of the notice read that it was a matter of concern that Mr Romana who was declared ‘tankhiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) had not bothered to tender unconditional apology for his Chicago utterances.


Road named after IET Bhaddal chairman
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 4
The Punjab Government had decided to name the Ropar-Parkhali-Bhaddal road after Gurcharan Singh, chairman of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal. Gurcharan Singh was murdered allegedly at the behest of an another trustees of the college.

Announcement regarding this was made by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, here today. He was here to attend path organised by the college authorities in the memory of Gurcharan Singh.


Will water ever flow into Malout drains?
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, July 4
About five years ago the then Badal Government had started digging the Abul Khurana and Aspal drains to save farmers of Malout and Muktsar areas from the problem of seepage. These drains are nearing completion now.

Now as former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is being questioned on this issue and corruption cases have been registered against some persons involved in the drains-digging scam, the very motive of digging appears to remain unfulfilled and there is an apprehension of crores of rupees going waste. The million-dollar question which arises is will the water ever flow into the two drains dug at a cost of about Rs 300 crores.

Experts in the matter and enlightened farmers believe that due to erratic designing of the drains and their least requirement there is little possibility of water flowing into these drains. The Abul Khurana and Aspal drainage system join at Sabuana village of this subdivision. Thereafter from Sabuana the water will flow into the creeks of the Sutlej near Muhar Jamsher village, which will ultimately go to Pakistan.

An officer of the Drainage Department on condition of anonymity disclosed that basically the Abul Khurana drain had been designed wrongly as there was no desired gradient from Abul Khurana to Sabuana. Hence water released in this drain at Abul Khurana may not reach Sabuana. Not only this the drainage dug from Sabuana to Muhar Jamsher is against the grain of the land as the water normally flows from the North to the South direction but in this case its direction is reverse.

At the Muhar Jamsher outfall from where the water will be pushed into the Sutlej on the drain is about two to three feet lower than the Sutlej river.

Hence the drainage Department has decided to instal a sluice gate there for which the project has been worked out so that the water of the Sutlej does not flow back into the drain.

Surprisingly the government instead of putting the drain water into the river is trying to prevent the backflow of river water into the drain by installing gates.

Mr Satish Kumar Dhingra, convener, Border Ruralites Awareness Forum, Fazilka, whose agricultural land is situated in Alamshah village along the drain, says water has not flown anytime in the drain so far. He feared that if water ever flowed in this drain there was imminent threat of floods to the agricultural land in nearby villages of Mauzam, Muhar Sona, Bhiwani, Chack Amira, Alamshah, Mohammad Pira, Bakhu Shah, Kabulshah Hithar, Kadar Baksh, Kotha, Jhuge Gulab Singh, and Mumbeki.

This would be mainly due to insufficient gradient as a result of which seepage water would remain stagnant in the drain or these lands would be flooded with backpressure of water from the Sutlej river. As such the farmers would have to face hardships.

Besides this the very purpose of constructing these drains had been defeated as the water table had gone down and there was no problem of seepage in Muktsar and Malout areas.


Case registered in canal scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab police today registered a case in connection with a multi-crore scam in the Upper Bari Doab Canal remodelling project.

The Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Mr A.A. Siddiqui, said here today that the case had been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an inquiry report submitted to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, by his irrigation adviser, Mr Bhagat Singh Sandhu.

No politician or engineer has been named in the FIR, so far, but the police says that further investigation may lead to the arrest of engineers, contractors and many others.

On the basis of preliminary- inquiry report, the Chief Minister had placed one Chief Engineer, one Superintending Engineer and two Executive Engineers under suspension in November 2002. Since the Chief Engineer concerned has retired, the Superintending Engineer has been reinstated, bur the status of the Executive Engineers is not clear. The news of the scam was broken by The Tribune.

Mr Sandhu, who was asked to give a detailed report after the preliminary report had come, told The Tribune that a large number of engineers at all levels were involved in the scam. A number of contractors are also involved.

The project is partially funded by the Central Government and the state government has a 25 per cent share in it. About Rs 110 crore have been released for the project, so far. The Rs 180 crore project was to be completed in five years, but engineers finished it in a shortest possible time, allegedly to let the then SAD-BJP government have an advantage at the time of the 2002 Assembly elections.


High Court
SGPC not an industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a significant judgement, today ruled that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) was not an industry and its employees were not “workmen” under the Industrial Disputes Act.

Pronouncing the orders on an appeal filed by the SGPC against Patiala Labour Court’s order in favour of an employee, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court added that the distribution of karah Parshad, besides the opening of free kitchen — langar — would not bring it under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act.

The state had earlier challenged the Labour Court’s order setting aside the termination orders of an employee. Acting on its appeal, the High Court had remanded the case back to the Labour Court with directions to decide the case afresh on the point of jurisdiction. Taking up the matter, the Labour Court had once again decided the matter in favour of the employee after holding that “the SGPC was an industry”.

After going through the documents and hearing arguments in the case, Mr Justice Gill held: “The SGPC is not a commercial organisation and is not in the business of distributing goods and services. The work of the SGPC is spiritual and religious. It is not a profit making body and is only to supervise and control the gurdwaras notified under the Sikh Gurdwara Act...”

The Judge concluded: “Purely religious functions are being performed by the SGPC. The petition is allowed. The orders passed by Patiala’s Labour Court are set aside”.

Samra’s injury

The injury on the forehead of Gurvinder Singh Samra — complainant in a bribery case registered against two judicial officers — was not caused by a bullet. This was the opinion of a doctor based on the report submitted before the High Court by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL). The text of the report was not available.

After going through the report, Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Varinder Singh directed that the report should be placed on the Court record. The Judges also fixed July 10 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Samra had earlier claimed that he had been shot at. Appearing before the Court, counsel for the petitioner had initially stated that the bullet had grazed Samra’s forehead. Giving details, he had asserted that Samra was on his way to Chandigarh from Kartarpur when his vehicle was hit by a truck between Balachaur and Ropar. He had added that the petitioner was shot at after he got off the vehicle to inspect the damage to his vehicle.

Taking up the case, the High Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register a first information report regarding the incident before asking PGI’s Director to have the petitioner “examined medico-legally by a forensic expert to see “whether the wound could have been caused by the grazing of a bullet”.

The Court was later informed that material necessary for determining the cause of the wound had been sent to CFSL. Final opinion would be expressed only after receiving report from the laboratory, it was added.

Bail plea

Taking up a petition by MLA Sohan Singh Thandal seeking the quashing of an order passed by Ropar’s Session Judge rejecting his application for grant of regular bail in a corruption case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the High Court today fixed September 5 as the next date of hearing.

The MLA was booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act on January 29. Claiming to have been implicated in the case due to political vendetta, the petitioner had asserted that he had signed a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor for initiating action against now Finance Minister Lal Singh. The MLA had added that his application for regular bail had been adjourned 17 times.

Fresh notice

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court today issued fresh notice on a petition filed by the state of Haryana seeking the cancellation of bail granted by a Hisar court to the President of Bhartiya Kisan Union Ghasi Ram Nain.

A case of attempt to murder, rioting and other offences was earlier registered against him under Sections 188, 148, 149, 323, 186 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code.


Sham-e-ghazal programme
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 4
The recently formed District Cultural Society last night organised a cultural programme, sham-e-gazal, in the local Mata Gujri College auditorium. Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge, inaugurated the programme and Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the cultural evening.

Renowned qawwals of Malerkotla belonging to Patiala Gharana, Shaukat Ali and his troupe regaled the audience by presenting “Suphia Kalam”, and ghazals.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ahluwalia, who is also chairman of the District Cultural Society, said that the society had been formed to revive cultural activities in the district and the society would organise cultural programmes every month at different subdivisions.

These programmes would also be organised at the village level so that the coming generation may know about their culture and traditions.

He said that on August 1 “Teej” would be celebrated at Aam Khas Bagh and in this function all the schoolchildren would be invited to participate. He said that on July 17 at Bachat Bhavan, Prof Narinder Kapur, a renowned writer and speaker, would deliver his lecture. He honoured Mr Mohinder Pal, District Sessions Judge and Shaukat Ali and his troupe.


Safai karamcharis beat up man to death
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 4
Bhagat Singh, a resident of Mohalla Purani Kachehri, was killed allegedly by associates of a woman safai karamchari in the presence of his family members on June 9. The accused are reportedly roaming free and the police has registered a case under Section 304, IPC, instead of a murder case, allegedly under political pressure.

Bhagat Singh (52) and president of the Residents Welfare Association, had, according to neighbours and family members, had only advised the safai karamchari to clean the area properly. When she ignored him, he took the broom and started cleaning the lane. This provoked the woman who abused him and left.

After about half hour, she returned along with some safai karamcharis and started beating him up. “One of them caught hold of him and hit his head against the wall while Reeta, the safai karamchari, kept instigating her colleagues to keep hitting him. She threatened that they would kill him. Some neighbours came out and secured his release but he succumbed to his injuries within three-four minutes,” Ms Bachhitter Kaur, wife of the victim, alleged.

She said despite the identification of the accused, they were not being arrested under political pressure.

Relatives of Bhagat Singh said despite the post-mortem report which mentioned that he died of grievous head injuries caused by blows, the police had not registered the case under Section 302, IPC. “We have got to know that a local politician was shielding the accused and had pressured the police to weaken the case,” alleged a nephew of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Mr Pawan Rai, SP, has denied that the police was under pressure. He said the main accused, Reeta, was absconding and raids were being conducted to nab her. “We have already given clear instructions to police officials to arrest her at the earliest. The others would be arrested only after her arrest,” he said.


Preneet honours warehousing corpn Chairman
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 4
Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, honoured the newly elected Chairman of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation, Mr Hardial Singh Kamboj, at Kohinoor Palace here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh said the state government had undertaken various development programmes to overcome the financial problems. He said the present government had already recovered a financial loss of Rs 1,057 crore.

Mr Lal Singh attacked the previous Akali government for misusing funds given for rural development under the sangat darshan programme. He said due to this the state government had come under a debt of Rs 56,000 crore. He has also appealed to the newly appointed sarpanches and panches to make proper use of the funds.

Ms Preneet Kaur said the recent panchayat elections had proved that the people of the state were satisfied with the government.


Flying club out of action
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
The Patiala Aviation Club, once a premier flying institution in North India, is closed for flying since the past over two months because it cannot get a welder to fix a snag in its Pushpak aircraft, even as its main Cessna trainer aircraft’s engines are awaited since one and a half years after being sent for repairs.

The club witnessed a vigilance raid more than two months ago during which it was revealed that there were irregularities in the maintenance of the oil register, with the oil in hand at the club not tallying with the entries in the register.

While flying continued for some time on the lone Pushpak aircraft for some time after the Vigilance raid, a severe resource crunch has resulted in failure to maintain the aircraft, which developed a snag shortly afterwards. With the club having no money in its balance, the snag could not be rectified due to want of funds.

The club’s Chief Flying Instructor, Capt G.S. Brar, said as far as the Pushpak was concerned, it was felt that help of Air Force officials was needed to fix it.

He said a request had been made to the Chandigarh Air Force Station. He said the team was expected to arrive soon, adding that the work was minor and expected to be done quickly.

However, as far as the Cessna is concerned, all three of its engines have been sent for overhauling to a Chandigarh-based private company. According to sources, no work has been done on the engines because the club did not make payment for spares bought earlier from suppliers, who are unwilling to provide more spares. Besides this, the club has also failed to make payments to the private company in Chandigarh which was to overhaul the engines.


Scribe’s arrest stayed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 4
The Punjab and Haryana high Court has issued a notice of motion for August 12 to the state in suit filed by Jaswant Singh, Editor of Sirhind Fatehgarh Sahib weekly, who was booked by the district police on the complaint of Mrs Prem Lata, wife of Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forests, alleging trespassing, threatening and scuffling.

The court in its order on July 2 has stated that the “arrest shall remain stayed till then. However, the petitioner shall join the investigation as and when called and shall also abide by all the conditions laid down in provisions of Section 438 (2) of the CrPC”. Copies of the order have been sent to the SHO of Sirhind police station, the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, and the Ilaqa Magistrate, Fatehgarh Sahib, for compliance of the order.

It is worth mentioning here that a tussle between two scribes of the district and the wife of Dr Harbans Lal had taken place and the wife of the minister had alleged that both the scribes and an accomplice had entered her residence and threatened and scuffled her. They had come to blackmail her stating that they had affidavits in their possession against her husband.

But both the scribes had denied the charges. One of the scribes and his accomplice were arrested and were released on bail but till June 17 when the FIR was lodged. Mr Jaswant Singh had been evading arrest.


Three pilgrims killed, 17 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
Three pilgrims were killed and 17 were injured when the mini bus in which they were travelling collided a roadside tree and overturned at Sarai Khas village on Jalandhar-Amritsar road near here today.

According to the police, the accident took place when the driver of the mini bus (PB 10 AX 0499) packed with pilgrims, on way to Dera Beas, lost control over the vehicle due to slippery road at the village and collided with a tree.

Subsequently the bus overturned causing death of three pilgrims, Hari Ram Bhatia (62) and Arjun Singh (50) and Gulzar Kaur (45). As many as 17 pilgrims were injured who were admitted to local Civil Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital. CRPF officials helped the police authorities in rescue operations. Injured were given first aid by the special CRPF medical teams.

The injured were identified as Baljinder Singh, driver of the bus, Surjit Kaur, Harwinder Kaur, Mukhtiar Kaur, Kamlesh Sood, Raj Babbar, Baljeet Kaur, Shruti, Sheela Verma, Shakuntla, Usha Rani, Meenu, Nimmi, Suman, Jinder, Surinder and Satya.


1 killed, 4 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 4
One person was killed and four were injured, two of them seriously, in a road accident here today.

Sources said five persons were returning to Abohar after attending a marriage at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, when their Maruti car went out of control and rammed into a stationary truck near Kallarkhera village. Sumit Kumar (23) died on the spot whlile Raj Kumar, Om Parkash, Jinder and Montu Midha sustained injuries. Jinder has been taken to PGI, Chandigarh, while Montu has been referred to Government Medical College Hospital, Amritsar, as their condition was serious.

A case has been registered.


29 donate bodies to counter superstitions
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The district unit of the Taraksheel Society today claimed that as many as 29 persons had pledged to donate their bodies till now for various medical and scientific purposes and to curb the superstition.

In a press note issued here today Mr Krishan Bargadi, district president of the society, said the donated bodies would help in medical and scientific research and allied activities.

He said apart from a number of eye donations, the volunteers of the society were also donated three bodies at local civil hospital.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, who has pledged to donate his body, said the basic ideology behind body donation was to minimise superstitions about life after death, ghosts, existence of soul.


Animal Husbandry scam: warrants issued
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 4
Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, here yesterday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for July 15 to arrest the Managing Director, Poonam Saxena, and the Director, Rakesh Kumar Saxena, of Food Processing Equipment Private Limited in connection with a scam in the Animal Husbandry Department.

Public prosecutor Jatinderjeet Singh Punn informed the court that the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation had invited tenders in 1997-98 for a plant to be constructed at Hoshiarpur. He said Rs 219.58 lakh was spent on it. The firm was given contract to install imported machinery. When the Executive Engineer checked the machinery, he found it indigenous. He alleged that all the accused in the scam, in connivance with other officials of the department, embezzled Rs 8.73 lakh.


Recruitment rally at Faridkot
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 4
A recruitment rally is being organised by the Army for the recruitment of Sikh Mazabi, and Sikh Ramdasia candidates of Ferozepure, Bathinda, Moga, Mansa, Muktsar, Faridkot, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts from July 6 to 13 at Faridkot.

The candidates are required to report on July 6 at Faridkot. Tokens will be issued to the candidates from 6 a.m. onwards on July 6, an Army press note here said.


PUDA allows telecom towers across Punjab
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 4
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today decided to allow the installation of telecommunication towers within its areas across the state. PUDA has also identified six locations in Punjab for the development of new urban estates and announced the construction of a Habitat Centre at Patiala which will be the second of its kind in the country.

These decisions were taken during the 22nd meeting of the Board of Directors of PUDA held at Chandigarh today. Addressing a press conference following the meeting, the Minister for Urban Housing and Development, Punjab, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri stated that the procedure for issuing licences to colonisers had been simplified and a proposal to regularise the 1,518 unauthorised colonies in Punjab on payment of development charges to PUDA was under consideration.

Installation of telecommunication towers by various companies will be permitted on built-up portions and the open space available within industrial, commercial and institutional sites but not on plotted residential buildings and sites. The grant of permission shall be regulated by PUDA’s estate offices of the area.

New urban estates will come up in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr Gurdaspur, Kharar and Zirakpur. An outlay of Rs. 210 crore has been earmarked for purchasing the land for these estates while Rs. 120 crore will be used for the infrastructure development. The location of these urban estates is in accordance with the response to the demand survey conducted by PUDA last year in which over 37,000 applications were received. While 23,000 applicants had asked for the plots, over 13,000 applications were for built up houses, Mr Suresh Kumar, Chief Administrator PUDA, said.

Patiala Development Authority (PDA) (specially constituted for the development of Patiala as a counter magnet to the National Capital Region) will develop a Habitat Centre at Patiala in accordance with the decision of the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, to develop such centres at state capitals on the lines of the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The Punjab Government has decided that the Centre will be developed by PUDA jointly with HUDCO.

The revitalisation of Baradari Gardens, Patiala, at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.5 crore will also be undertaken by the PDA. Over 300 acres of land on the Sirhind road, Patiala for the development of an integrated township have been acquired by PDA. ‘‘This township will have an IT park among other institutional, commercial and residential elements.’’ Mr G.S. Sandhu, Secretary, Urban housing and development, said.

PUDA has also decided to include gallantry award winning Punjab police personnel and their legal heirs to its reservation policy extending the quota benefit to them already being enjoyed by the defence personnel. PUDA has also approved the group gratuity insurance scheme for the welfare its 1,485 employees.

The minister also informed that the draft policy regarding exemptions and relief in the New Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act was pending at the level of the Chief Minister but a declaration in this regard was expected soon.


Vermin culture in villages soon
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 4
The district administration had decided to start vermin culture in Suksal, Thana and Daroli villages of the Anandpur Sahib block. Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain, talking to newspersons at Nangal today, said this would help in solid waste management and provide self-employment to women of the area. Agencies were being contacted that would buy organic manure.

She said a proposal would be sent to the Punjab Government to construct small bridges to connect villages of the Anandpur Sahib block situated along the Sutlej. Burj, Mator and Shahpur Bela, besides two other villages, had been identified which cut off from the mainland during monsoon.


Gang of robbers busted, 6 held
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
The district police has busted an inter-district gang of robbers with the arrest of six persons, including the kingpin of the gang, yesterday.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, Senior Superintendent of Police, Hoshiarpur, in a press conference here today said as many as six unidentified persons had looted Rs 2 lakh from offices of M/s Sangam Finance Pvt. Limited and Omega Foreign Exchange Pvt. Limited situated at the Garhigate, Gaushala Bazar, here on May 29, 2003. On getting the information a police party had chased the culprits while they were escaping in a car (No. PB-10T-3222). But they managed to escape after leaving the car at Chack Sadhu on Hoshiarpur-Una road. The police impounded the car. During investigation it was revealed that the said car belonged to Raja Ram, son of Puran Chand of Jahan Khelan. A special police team raided various hideouts of the suspects.

The SSP said a police party raided house No. 110 at Sector 35-A, Chandigarh, yesterday and arrested Santokh Singh, a resident of Marnaian village, Sodhi Ram of Bhrowal and Amarjit Kumar, a resident of Saroya. Another police party arrested Surinder Pal and Manoj Gir, both of Bhrowal. The third police party arrested Vijay Kumar of the local Katche Quarters.

She said two more members of the gang — Raja Ram, and Inderjit Singh — were still at large.

During interrogation they revealed that before looting Omega Money Exchange, Garhigate, all of them, along with Yash Pal of Mohalla Khanpuri Gate, Inderjit of Rajpur Bhaian and Raja Ram, had hatched a conspiracy to commit a dacoity.

She further said Santokh Singh, alias Sukha, was a hardcore criminal and had served as an SPO in the Punjab Police for six years. He had left the service in 1998. Since then he was involved in incidents of looting.

The SSP informed that Rs 15,000 cash and two mobile phones had been recovered from the arrested persons so far.


Raid on SITI Cable office
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
The district police today conducted a raid on the premises of SITI Cable office here and detained four persons on the charge of violating the Copyright Act. SITI Cable was screening films without getting mandatory permission from the distributors concerned.

The police confiscated 100 video CDs, a colour TV and a computer from the office. According to the police, Sandeep Kumar a resident of Mumbai, in his complaint, had alleged that the SITI Cable office here had been screening two films “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak” and “Tridev” illegally since his company was the sole distributor for broadcast and screening of these films. He further stated that the SITI Cable was never given any rights to telecast these films.

Subsequently, the police conducted a raid at SITI Cable’s office situated near Lal Rattan Cinema and confiscated duplicate CDs of different Hindi movies.

The police immediately detained three persons — Varun, Pritam and Bhagwan Dass.


Missing person found murdered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The police has registered a case under Sections 364, 302 and 34, IPC, in connection with the murder of Babu Singh (34), a resident of Bhucho Khurd village, 15 km from here, who had been missing since June 29.

Sources said the body was found in a blocked “rajbaha” near the cantonment area after two days of his going missing. According to the post-mortem report, head injury had caused his death.

Mr Ajit Pal Singh, brother-in-law of the deceased, alleged that the cause of the murder might be personal enmity. He said one of the motives could be his (Babu’s) support to Ms Amarjit Kaur, who had won the election to the post of sarpanch.

Meanwhile, residents of the area said they would launch an agitation with the help of the district unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) and other organisations if the authorities failed to nab the culprits.


2 arrested for murder
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The police today claimed to have solved a murder case with the arrest of two persons who were involved in the murder of Kundan Lal on June 17 at his shop in the Bhucho Mandi area of the district.

In a press note here today, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, claimed that the police had arrested two persons in this connection. He said the accused had gone to the shop of the victim and demanded keys of the safe.

When he refused, they attacked him with sharp-edged weapons.

The accused, Jasveer Singh and Dilbag Singh, residents of Burj Kahan Singhwalla village, had confessed to their crime, he said.

A case under Sections 307,452 and 34, IPC, had been registered and a scooter and a knife used in the crime had been seized.


1,050 kg of poppy husk seized, 2 arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
The district police today arrested two drug smugglers and recovered 1,050 kg of poppy husk from their possession near Virk village on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana road.

According to the police, following a tip-off, the CIA staff of the district police laid a naka near Virk village and intercepted a car. The occupants of the vehicle were questioned and a search of the car led to the recovery of 30 bags of poppy husk. The arrested persons were identified as Sameer and Chander Shekhar of Gurgaon.

According to the police, they had been in the business of narcotics for two years. Poppy husk was brought from Madhya Pradesh for distribution among customers in Punjab. A case has been registered under the NDPS Act.


8-yr-old girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
An-eight-year-old girl was allegedly abducted by two persons here today. The police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366, IPC.

According to a complaint lodged by the father of the girl, Ram Varan, Raju and Ramjit Verma, who used to stay as his tenants, had abducted the girl. He alleged that some neighbours had seen her with the accused.

He said the boys had also been missing. The police has raided the rooms of the accused and found some phone numbers.


Dacoits kill one, injure five
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Dacoits bludgeoned a man to death and injured five others after attacking them with iron rods at a farmhouse at Sanour, 5km from here, last night.

Police sources said while Partap Singh was killed in the assault his wife Gurpal Kaur, Narinder Kaur (48), Satbir Singh (30), Gurdial Kaur (70) and Khushbir Singh (50) were injured in the attack.

The dacoits, who were three in number, forcibly entered the farmhouse situated on the Chaura road and known as “Dilli wale da dera” after midnight. The sources said when family members woke up hearing the commotion, they were hit with iron rods due to which many of them became unconscious. The dacoits ransacked the house and made off with gold ornaments and some cash. Narinder Kaur and Satbir Singh have been rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. The others were admitted to separate hospitals in the city. The Sadar police has registered a case.


2 arrested for murder
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The police today claimed to have solved a murder case with the arrest of two persons who were involved in the murder of Kundan Lal on June 17 at his shop in the Bhucho Mandi area of the district.

In a press note here today, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, claimed that the police had arrested two persons in this connection. He said the accused had gone to the shop of the victim and demanded keys of the safe.

When he refused, they attacked him with sharp-edged weapons.

The accused, Jasveer Singh and Dilbag Singh, residents of Burj Kahan Singhwalla village, had confessed to their crime, he said.

A case under Sections 307,452 and 34, IPC, had been registered and a scooter and a knife used in the crime had been seized.


Cough syrups seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The police arrested two persons on Wednesday for carrying phials of medicinal syrups, allegedly meant to be sold as intoxicant, according to a press note.

The police intercepted three persons during a ‘naka’ near the Sukha Nand chowk at Bhagta Bhaika in the district. While the police was searching their bags, one of them fled. The police seized 215 phials of cough syrups and other syrups from their possession. Those arrested were identified as Jawahar Lal of Guru Nanakpura Mohalla and Munish Kumar of Nai Basti. Their accomplice Neeraj Kumar of Ganesha basti was at large. A case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act was registered against them.


Confusion mars CET counselling
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 4
Though the first counselling of CET-2003 being conducted by the Punjab Technical University (PTU) will conclude on July 16, the students opting for bachelor of technology (B.Tech) are confused as they are not getting proper information and guidance regarding their admission and seats available in various colleges of the state.

A large number of students and parents while talking to The Tribune at the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College said that though the staff of this college had guided them properly, there was no concrete information provided by the PTU. They have no idea about the vacant seats in various categories and when these would be converted to the general category.

They alleged that the schedule of the counselling given in the information brochure had not been followed by the university itself and the students were suffering.

They further said that if they wanted to change the college or branch in the second counselling, the PTU charges money, which is a burden on them as they are already paying heavy fees.

The parents said for the first time the PTU had allotted 15 per cent of the total seats to the colleges as a management quota but it had not framed any rules on how these seats would be filled as certain managements have been fleecing the students.

The parents demanded that the revised dates of the second counselling along with the norms must be notified in the leading newspapers for the interest of the students and parents.

When contacted, Dr Dilbag Singh Hira, Principal of BBSBEC, he said electronics and communication were again the first choice of students. All seats except those of the SC/ST quota at BBSBEC had been filled. He said that in electronics and communication, students up to 2976 CET rank had been filled, in mechanical engineering up to 3925 rank, in computer engineering up to 5089 rank and in electrical engineering up to 5419 rank had been filled.

He said more students stood a chance of admission in BBSBEC during the second counselling. Vacant seats in the SC/ST quota would be converted to the general quota in the second counselling to be held at PTU, Jalandhar.

About the 15 per cent management quota seats, Dr Hira said they had been filled as per the CET merit.

Meanwhile, Prof R.S.Uppal, press secretary of the college said the BBSBEC was providing information regarding the counselling and vacant seats of various colleges with the help of PTU website.


11 Nawanshahr teachers reinstated
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab School Education Department today revoked the suspension of 11 teachers, including the acting Principal of a government school in Nawanshahr district for “remaining absent from duty”.

Official sources told TNS that all suspended staff members of Government Senior Secondary School, Rattewal, Nawanshahr, had been re-instated following verification of the fact that the school was actually closed on that day in accordance with the norms prescribed for a local holiday. These teachers were found absent from duty by the Vigilance Bureau on May 2.

Those who have been re-instated are Krishan Kumar (acting Principal), Gurcharan Singh, Nasib Chand, Chaman Lal, Darshan Chand, Harjit Singh, Nachatter Kaur, Anita Rani, Surinder Pal Singh, Baldev Kaur and Satya Devi.

The DPI ( Schools) had placed these teachers under suspension due to their alleged “absence from duty” on the basis of the report submitted by the bureau.

The sources disclosed the department ignored the plea of the suspended teachers who repeatedly pointed out that the school was actually closed under the orders of the acting Principal, who was empowered, to declare five days in a year as ‘local holidays’ with the prior approval of the District Education Officer ( DEO). It did not even consider it necessary to verify the facts from the DEO. The DEO later clarified that permission for the holddays was sought on April 8.

Mr Sohan Lal DPI ( Schools), confirmed their re-instatement.

Ms Tejinder Kaur, Principal Secretary, School Education, said the Vigilance Bureau should not have acted in haste.


Students protest against fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The local unit of the coordination committee of students today organised a rally in which students of Government Rajindra College, Industrial Training Institute and activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) participated to protest against the steep fee hike.

Mr Bhola Singh Buggar, an activist of the BKU (E), while addressing the gathering said their organisation would support the student’s agitation against the increase in fee of various educational institutes.

Mr Manpreet Singh, convener, coordination committee, said with this hike in fee only the rich would be able to afford education.

He alleged that the fee hike was a well thought after plan of the government to prevent the students of rural areas and belonging to middle class to get education.


Pbi University Heads appointed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 4
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, has appointed Dr Gurbachan Kaur Bhatia and Dr Meenakshi Sharma as Head, Department of Economics and Education and Community Service Department, respectively.

Dr Dharanveer Sharma, Dr Tara Singh, Dr Bhupinder Singh and Dr Ran Singh Dhaliwal have been appointed as Wardens of Homi Bhabha Hostel, Bhai Vir Singh Hostel, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Hostel and Boys’ Hostel Punjab University Guru Kashi Campus, Talwandi Sabo, respectively.

Dr Rakesh Mohan Sharma and Dr Devinder Singh have been appointed senior wardens of the Boys’ hostel and Dr Ritu Lehal as senior warden of Girls’ hostel.

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