Sunday, July 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal not in hurry to snap ties with NDA

Gurdaspur, July 5
Two days after Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani attacked the Amarinder Singh Government on the Vigilance Department raids, Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today said that he was under ‘constant pressure’ from the rank and file of his party to ‘withdraw support’ to the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

Talking to reporters at Dhariwal village, Mr Badal said that he was under pressure to withdraw the support to the government led by its ally at the Centre keeping in view their ‘prolonged silence’ against alleged reign of terror let loose by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh-led Congress government against the SAD leaders and its workers.

Mr Badal, however, reiterated that he was under no haste to severe his ‘age-old’ ties with the BJP or for that matter the NDA.

The SAD had recently expressed its unhappiness over the Centre’s ‘silence and delay’ in sending an NDA team to take stock of the situation in Punjab in the wake of the alleged political vendetta of the Congress government against the Akalis. Asked if he was satisfied with Mr Advani attacking the Amarinder Singh government on the Vigilance Department raids targeting him and his family, Mr Badal admitted that the statement may have come late, but hurriedly added ‘better late than never’.

Asked if he had demanded invocation of Article 356 to dismiss the Amarinder Singh government in view of the alleged breakdown of the constitutional machinery in Punjab, Mr Badal said that he had made this demand to the Centre because he was fully aware that there were Constitutional obligations which the Union Government had to take into consideration before taking such a ‘drastic step’.

A SAD delegation led by Mr Badal on Monday had submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor Justice (retd) O.P. Verma demanding dismissal of the Amarinder government citing breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the state.

Mr Badal said that SAD had a history of fighting injustice and in this regard the party was fully prepared to fight its battle independently.

“If any other party, including the BJP, joins us in our crusade against deteriorating law and order situation in the state, they are most welcome,” he said.

Mr Badal said that what worried him was not that he would be arrested by the Amarinder government but he was pained to observe that democracy was being “murdered” in the state.

He said that an FIR registered against him recently was done allegedly without any investigation. It was day before that the complaint was lodged and it was the next day that an FIR was registered, which was illegal and a glaring example of a vindictive attitude being pursued by the ruling party against him, he said.

He said that it was unfortunate and unheard of that third degree methods were used against the former Akali ministers and senior party activists who were falsely implicated in various cases.

Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was living in a fool’s paradise if he thought that he would silence the voice of the party by adopting illegal methods. “As the Chief Minister continues to commit excesses on SAD workers the party in all probability is going stronger,” the Akali chief said.

Mr Badal said that the Central team to assess law and order situation in the state was not visiting Punjab on July 16.

He said that the party was holding semi-religious function at Amritsar to celebrate SAD and SHSAD unity. Some Central leaders might join the function on July 16, but that would be purely their participation in that function only, he said.

Earlier, addressing a large gathering at Gurdwara Burj Sahib near Dhariwal, Mr Badal said that no development work in the state had been undertaken after the present government came into power about one and a half year ago.

Mr Badal said that ‘so called campaign’ launched by the ruling Congress against corruption was to divert public attention from the non-performance of the state government. — PTI 


Narottam’s police remand extended
Our Correspondent

Gidderbaha, July 5
Mr A.S. Virk, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, today further remanded Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, nephew of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in police custody till July 7.

The police remand of Mr Dhillon given on June 30 had expired today.

After listening to arguments put forward by the prosecution and the defence, Mr Virk issued directions to the public prosecutor and police officials that the earlier orders of the court regarding the medical examination and permission to his (Mr Dhillon) advocate to meet him would remain the same. A doctor could examine him daily and his counsel could meet him twice every day.

Mr Dhillon alleged that he was being tortured by sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau to extract a confession against Mr Badal and his family members. He said he was not questioned about the case registered against him but was pressured him to give a statement against Mr Badal and his family. 


Interrogation report ‘tailored’ to nail Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
The local police is tight-lipped about the interrogation report of Gopal, a smuggler from Madhya Pradesh, who was arrested by Amritsar police with 10 kg of opium. But it has been learnt that the senior police officials here had worked overtime to fabricate the report so that links of Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, could be established with the ISI and terrorists of Jammu & Kashmir and from across the border at behest of their seniors.

The Amritsar police had to send the interrogation report to SSP Muktsar yesterday through a special courier so that the remand of Dhillon could be extended.

The press note, issued by Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP Muktsar, had stated that the smuggler (Gopal), who was arrested by the Amritsar police ‘just now’ had revealed that Dhillon was the main financier for smuggling of narcotics, weapons in connivance with the ISI. But the smuggler was arrested on June 24. Though Gopal was interrogated by the officials of all intelligence agencies, including the Military Intelligence, BSF intelligence, CID, counter-intelligence and the intelligence bureau yet it was ‘surprising news’ for them that he (Gopal) had revealed that Dhillon had links with the ISI.

It may be mentioned here that the Lambi (Muktsar) police had booked Dhillon on June 11 on charges of working for the ISI, drug trafficking and involvement in the counterfeit currency racket.

Despite being on leave Mr Sukhdev Singh, SP (counter intelligence), joint interrogation centre, held a closed door meeting to fill up the gaps in the interrogation of Gopal, the sources said.


Sukhbir hits out at Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Launching a counterattack on the Capt Amarinder Singh government, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said the Chief Minister was shielding “corrupt bureaucrats and police officers”.

In a hard-hitting statement today, Mr Sukhbir said important posts in the Chief Minister’s office and the Vigilance Bureau were being manned by officers who were themselves facing serious charges of misdoings.

Questioning the credibility of the Chief Minister’s office, Mr Sukhbir Badal stated that the Principal Secretary to the CM, Mr Sanjit Sinha, who is also Principal Secretary (Vigilance Department), had been indicted for “serious corrupt practices” in the appointment of Naib Tehsildars and the inquiry in this case was conducted by a top officer of the rank of Financial Commissioner. He said reports regarding the alleged land grabbing by Mr A.P. Pandey, Chief Director (Vigilance), had been appearing in the media.

Challenging his campaign against corruption, the junior Badal said: “Such was the mettle of men leading the so-called anti- corruption campaign in Punjab”. Mr Sukhbir said his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had removed his Principal Secretary within 24 hours following his name figuring in a CBI case in 1997. Why has Mr Sinha not been removed yet? Whom was the Chief Minister trying to befool ? he questioned.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said if the Chief Minister was sincere about his anti- corruption drive, he should show courage to sack these officers and institute legal proceedings against them on the basis of the reports already available with the government.

Mr Sukhbir said if Amarinder Singh found the Sector 9 house (H. No: 256) so palatial and expensive, “he can exchange his own Patiala house (New Moti Bagh Palace) with this house and also take Rs 10 lakh over and above the exchange”.

The Akali leader further asked the Chief Minister to make public the details of the multi-crore bank loans returned by him after becoming the Chief Minister. “Where have all these crores come from? What is the Chief Minister’s known source of income from which he could pay back over Rs 10 crore (by his own admission) in reimbursing the loan?

Talking about his Sector 9 house, Mr Sukhbir said this was purchased by his father from a journalist in 1967 and no structural changes had been made since then. It had only been renovated and the details of the expenses incurred were all available with the Income Tax Department. All payments had been made through cheques and they were fully accounted for in our returns. He said once the case was filed in the court, he would present all details regarding the house.

Meanwhile, the Badal family today opened the doors of Sector 9 house to mediapersons to belie certain claims of the Vigilance Bureau.

Certain close relations of a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, led the mediapersons to all rooms of this double-storeyed palatial house.

A large number of Akali supporters waited the whole day for the Vigilance team to arrive to videograph the house for which court’s permission was taken yesterday. But the team did not arrive.

A visit to the place, however, brought out that Italian marble, costly stone and other swanky fittings were liberally used not only in the drawing-cum -dining area but also the bedrooms and bathrooms.

However, the family members maintained that the marble and stone used were not very expensive and that the rates were competitive to those of the ordinary marble. 


Advani’s support to Badal ‘motivated’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Prof Darbari Lal, Education Minister of Punjab, described the statement of Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, supporting Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal as “politically motivated”.

In a press note issued here today, Prof Darbari Lal alleged that Mr Advani had, in a way, supported Mr Badal’s “crimes”. He cited the example of Ravi Sidhu, sacked chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, who was charged with indulging in corruption during the term of Mr Badal as Chief Minister.


Guru’s descendants refuse to give manuscripts
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 5
A three-member team of the SGPC, including jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Gaini Tarlochan Singh, SGPC member from Anandpur Sahib Jarnail Singh Aulakh and SGPC member from Ropar Pritam Singh Salomajra, failed to persuade the descendants of Guru Tegh Bahadur to hand them over some important historical documents. The team met members of Sodhi family at Anandpur Sahib last evening and mooted various proposals to the family.

Mr Aulakh said that the family was asked to hand over the manuscripts to the SGPC to keep them safely in the Sikh reference library. In lieu of that the family was proposed to be given photostat copies of the manuscripts and a certificate authenticating their lineage with the Guru Tegh Bahadur and highlighting their services to Sikhism.

The family member, however, declined to hand over the manuscripts to the SGPC. Instead they proposed that a place should be constructed by the SGPC to safely keep the manuscripts in their ancestral house in Anandpur Sahib. The SGPC was even willing to consider the proposal if the family transferred the property in which the manuscripts were to be kept in the name of SGPC. However, the family even turned down this proposal.

Mr Aulakh, however, expressed hope that the family would be persuaded about handing over the manuscripts to the SGPC in the due course of time.

He also said that the SGPC team headed by Giani Tarlochan Singh had also surveyed various manuscripts in the possession of the Sodhi family. The family possessed many valuable manuscripts that might have been hand written by Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh. Though some of the manuscripts were readable others were in a pretty bad shape. If those manuscripts were not preserved in time the chances were they might perish.

Meanwhile, the police had also failed in locating a thief who on Wednesday allegedly stole a granth containing handwritten versus of Guru Tegh Bahadur and a Chau Pai Sahib written by Guru Gobind Singh.


Badungar rules out his replacement

Jalandhar, July 5
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, today dismissed reports that there was a move to replace him with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, saying he had not received any such directive from former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He Termed the report as baseless and said Mr Badal had not spoken to him on the issue, but, if asked to resign in favour of Mr Tohra, he would readily oblige him.

“However, as far as the July 10 meeting is concerned, only routine agenda will be discussed in it,” Mr Badungar said. He said that he was not aware whether or not Mr Badal had promised Mr Tohra the post.

Describing the move of the Deputy Prime Minister Mr L.K. Advani, to support Badal as “a delayed action”, he said Mr Advani should have intervened at the initial stage when the Congress government had implicated nine Akali leaders in false cases.

On the NDA team’s proposed visit to the state, he said the Shiromani Akali Dal was strong enough to fight the evil designs of the Congress government and the visit was not significant.

He also questioned the statement of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that former SGPC chiefs Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Jagdev Singh Talwandi were honest leaders. “Who authorised him to give character certificates to the Akalis,” he said. — PTI 


Pak agrees to reconstitute PSGPC
Tribune News Service

Wagah, July 5
Senior officials of Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board have agreed in principle to reconstitute the four-year-old Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) with a view to establishing the supremacy of the SGPC.

This was stated by members of the 135-member SGPC jatha that returned to India today after a nine-day pilgrimage to Sikh shrines in Pakistan on the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura, leader of the jatha, said during informal meetings, Mr Sham Singh, co-chairman of the PSGPC, and Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary, Aukaf Board, admitted that the PSGPC had been running without a constitution since its inception in 1999. Mr Sharifpura said Mr Sham Singh and other officials of the Aukaf Board evaded a direct question when asked about the other members of the PSGPC. “It is clear that Mr Sham Singh is the only person who was running the show on the behalf of the Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board,” Mr Sharifpura said. Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan could not give a satisfactory reply when asked if he would accept a non-Muslim as head of a mosque or Wakf Board in India.

Mr Sharifpura said accepting of siropa from Mr Sham Singh at the samadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib did not mean that he had given recognition to the PSGPC.

He said except for a few gurdwaras, the condition of other Sikh shrines in Pakistan was bad. However, the PSGPC had agreed in principle to carry out renovation of Gurdwara Janamasthan, Chunna Mandi (the birth place of Guru Ram Das) in Lahore within two days. Mr Sham Singh had also agreed to accept the supremacy of the SGPC while implementing maryada in Sikh shrines of Pakistan.


DSP among 13 booked for custodial death
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
DSP, Gangial (Jammu) is among 13 police officials from Jammu who have been booked by the Amritsar police for allegedly torturing to death a Dalit rickshaw-puller, Mohan Lal, during illegal confinement.

Earlier, three-member medical board comprising Dr Ashok, Dr Manpreet Kaur and Dr Kirpal Singh found as many as 36 marks of electric shocks, bruises and abraises on different parts of the body of Mohan Lal which had caused the death. The re-examination (post-mortem) of the body was ordered by the District Magistrate, Amritsar, following strong protests and massive traffic blockade at Mahlan village, near here, yesterday. Surprisingly, the post-mortem conducted at Jammu did not show any mark on the dead body.

The FIR was lodged on the complaint of Mr Pheru, father of the deceased who had alleged that the DSP along with a posse of policemen from Jammu had picked up his son and other youths from Mahal village and had taken them into illegal custody on June 21. He alleged that when he met the SSP, Jammu and Mr Chaudhary (DSP) with a request to release his son, they hurled abuses and threatened to hang him upside down.

The complainant alleged that six more youths from Mahal village, including Gollu, Bachan Singh, Rinku, Hira Singh and Gola were picked up from different places. Even Tara Chand, father-in-law of the deceased, who was working as sweeper in Army camp (Jammu) was also picked up by the DSP and his men. However, he was later released.

A police party, led by DSP, Gangial (Jammu), had picked up Mohan Lal on the pretext that he was a member of the ‘kale kachhewale gang’ which had recently attacked a village in Jammu.

The Sadar police has booked the DSP, Mr Chaudhary and 13 others under Sections 302 and 344 of the IPC. It is for the first time that a large number of police personnel, including a DSP from Jammu had been booked by the Punjab Police.

However, repeated efforts to contact Dr Kamal, SSP, Jammu and Mr Chaudhary on telephone failed as they did not come on line to give their version. 


Review of flood control after July 10
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

A rickshaw puller crosses past a water-logged railway overbridge in Jalandhar on Saturday. — PTI photo

Chandigarh, July 5
The Punjab Irrigation Department will review flood control measures after the Meteorology Department gives its final assessment of monsoon on July 10. On June 30 the water level was 120 to 124 per cent above mean in various reservoirs, including the Bhakra and the Pong Dam.

The Bhakra Beas management Board at its June 30 meeting decided to release 33,000 cusecs from Bhakra, 3,500 cusecs from the Pong Dam and 14,000 cusecs from the Ropar headworks and 10,000 cusecs from the Harika headworks into the canal network. One June 30 the water level at Bhakra stood at 1595.48 ft against 1574.40 ft last year. At Pong Dam, it was 1289.61 ft against 1280.16 last year. At Ranjit Sagar Dam, the water level stood at 505.44 metres last week against 490.70 m at the same time last year. The Irrigation Department has sought a sum of Rs 60 crore for strengthening of dhusi bundhs and other flood related works. The government has released Rs 5 crore for this year and Rs 6 crores for last year.

The move of the Pakistan government to divert the Ravi poses a threat to many villages in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

The district administration has received a grant of Rs 28 lakh out of the Natural Calamities Fund to minimise the loss of crops, properties and inhabitations.

Mr R.K. Chowdhary, Superintendent Engineer, Drainage, and Mr R.K. Nayyar, Executive Engineer, said that the works for desilting of drains was in progress at all the canal sites falling in the district at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore and sufficient measures had been taken to check erosion of various flood protection works and dhusi bundhs constructed along Ravi and Beas. A district flood control room has become functional in the office of district revenue officer from July 1. The round-the-clock service can be contacted on 222915 till September.

The absence of storm water drainage system and the staggering ground level has made Bathinda vulnerable to floods. Every year, the authorities have to use lift pumps to drain out rain water. Mr D.K. Tiwari, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said that all water pumps have been provided with generator sets. Repair of road gullies and storm water chambers have been carried out in city.

Setting up of flood control rooms, identification of evacuation points, advance vaccination of cattle and maintenance of requisite inventory of flood control equipment and gadgets to deal with any flood generated emergency and to save residents from possible outbreak of diseases during the monsoon season, are some of the steps taken by the district administration of Jalandhar.

Reinforcing Dhussi bundh

The Irrigation Department has carried out earth work to re-inforce Dhussi bandh along the Sutlej at 15 sensitive points including Lasara, Jhandi Pir, Sholey, Mionwal, Sanghowal, Lohgarh, Dadra Bhoda, Khaira Fouja Singh, Danewal, Bhoepur, Rampur, Pipli Mandi, Islmailpur, Chak Wadala, and Daroli Kalan.

The local Municipal Corporation has identified low lying areas and slums at Santokhpura, Kishanpura, Qazi Mandi, Basti Sheikh and Bashirpura for setting up pump sets drain out rain water.

Mr Gupta said that 48 evacuation points had been identified. The administration has alerted residents in the Bet area.

The Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, said vulnerable points on the Dhusi Buandh along the Sutlej had been identified. The XEN (Drainage) has been directed to liaise with the Ropar head Works to monitor the release of water.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation claims to have directed its officials to ensure the cleaning and desilting of Buddha Nullah and its drains. The areas along the Buddha Nullah area are vulnerable to floods.

Ghaggar still untamed

The Ghaggar river, the main cause of floods in Patiala district, remains untamed. The district administration and the drainage department are manning sensitive spots along the river, particular highly sensitive points near Khanauri where it crosses the Bhakra Main Line Canal and at Sarkapra village in Ghanaur.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, said the bundhs on the Chhoti Nadi and Badi Nadi were sound. The regulators of Patiala Ki Rao and Jayanti Ki Rao rivulets in Ropar district had been checked. A drag line has been stationed at the Sanour road bridge to remove hyacinth.

The administration has identified 166 villages as sensitive it will set up 19 control rooms. Special attention is being given to around a dozen villages near Khannaur whose fields are flooded when the Bhakra Main Line canal overflows with the Ghaggar water. In Sangrur district, the chronic areas are Moonak and Khanauri, where 26 villages are highly flood-prone. The villages are Moonak, Handa, Khanauri Kalan, Salemgarh, Hotipur, Nawan Gaon, Kudni, Makror Sahib, Wazidpur, Bushera, Fulad, Surjan Bhaini, Hamirgarh, Andana, Bhundan Bhaini, Banarsi, Mandvi, Gaunta, Bangan, Baupur, Shahpur Therri, Karrail, Kabirpur, Rampur Gujran, Ghamaur Ghat and Chandu. Due to heavy discharges in the Ghaggar river which passes through the district, standing crops in these villages get damaged every year.

A regulator, set up at a cost of more than Rs 1 crore, on the Jhambowali choes, near Chandu village, has been commissioned. This regulator will help in controlling the floods in the area, says Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur. The administration has arranged 14 boats 50 life jackets, 26 tents, 55,000 gunny bags to meet any emergency. The administration has also prepared a list of 74 divers, a swimmers, residing in the flood-prone areas, so that in case of emergency, their service could be utilised.

With inputs from Varinder Walia (Amritsar), Chander Parkash (Bathinda), Varinder Singh (Jalandhar), Naveen Grewal (Ludhiana), Jangveer Singh (Patiala) and Sushil Goyal (Sangrur).



Another claimant of sarpanches’ support
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 5
It cannot get worse than this for the Congress in Kharar. The latest to join in the tussle between Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha and Mr Bir Devinder Singh, both claiming the support of winning sarpanches, is Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, another Congress leader from the area.

Openly countering Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Mr Sidhu claimed that it was he and not Mr Bir Devinder Singh who had the support of over 90 winning sarpanches of the Kharar block. Mr Sidhu was speaking at a function organised at the Pinnacle Club premises to honour these ‘supporting’ sarpanches, here today.

Mr Sidhu’s claim comes within a day of a similar claim by Mrs Garcha, who held a show-of-strength function at Kharar yesterday, honouring over 90 sarpanches. However, Mr Sidhu openly avoided countering Mrs Garcha’s claims though he did mention that he was the only Congress leader in Kharar who had his roots in the rural areas and was the real representative of the masses.

With all three Congress leaders putting forward similar claims about support of the sarpanches, the number game has become even more interesting. Out of the total of 140 new sarpanches, each leader is claiming that he or she has the support of 90 sarpanches. A figure not possible numerically. But since the leaders actually land up with at least 70 sarpanches to show their strength, the majority of the sarpanches seem to be sitting on the fence, showing allegiance to all three. Clearly, the sarpanches are having the last laugh. Other than an odd set of 10 or 15 sarpanches, who are loyal to one leader, the rest are in a position to extract monumental promises in lieu of their support.

Mr Sidhu, who had left the Congress and fought against Mr Bir Devinder Singh for elections to the legislative Assembly from the Kharar constituency, recently joined the Congress again. Flaying Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Mr Sidhu said he had failed to fulfil his election promises. “He had promised Punwire employees that he will ensure that Punwire is reopened. But till date the employees are running from pillar to post, jobless. Either Mr Bir Devinder Singh should resign or sit on a fast unto death till Punwire reopens,” he said. Fed up with the day-to-day bickering of the three Congress leaders in Kharar, the party high command is diplomatically keeping out of this, ‘sarpanch claim game’.


6 sarpanches,  84 panches honoured
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 5
Six sarpanches and 84 members of panchayats belonging to the Lok Bhalai Party and seven others who had won election for the post sarpanch with the support of the Lok Bhalai Party were honoured today at a function organised here by Mr Amrik Singh Varpal general secretary of the state unit of the party.

A district-level function was organised in this regards, which was attended by a large number of other party workers and the office-bearers. Mr Varpal addressing the party workers stressed on the party workers to work hard for strengthening the organisational set-up of the party in the Majha region.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Kairon, Mr Hardeep Singh and other party leaders too spoke on the occasion. 


Move to revamp Police Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The 1861 Police Act, one of several legal legacies of the British is all set for a total revamp. Setting up of the state Security Commission for the superintendence of police, fixing three-year term for the DGP and Police Commissionerates for all important districts of Punjab have been proposed in the new legislation, which subject to approval by the state Council of Ministers, will be placed before the Vidhan Sabha in its next session.

Besides, the new Act lays stress on the community policing and provision for extermination of habitual offenders. Against 47 Sections in the 1861 Act, the new Act will have 114 Sections dealing elaborately with duties, responsibilities and functions of the men and officers of the force at different levels.

The draft will come up for preliminary discussion at a high-level meeting of the state government here on July 8.The draft has been finalised by a committee headed by the Director-General of Police (designate), Mr A.A. Siddiqui, and the Additional Director-General of Police (Rules), Mr M.P.S. Aulakh, and the Deputy Inspector-General, Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal.

The blue print of the Police Act suggested by the National Police Commission Report and the Bombay Police Act form the nucleus of the proposed Act, which suggests amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure to give powers of the Executive Magistrate to the Police Commissioners in metropolitan or big towns.

Though the proposal of the Police Commissionerates in Municipal Corporation towns of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bathinda, has been pending for a long time with the state government, there is no provision for this system in the existing 1861 Police Act. The proposed amendment may evoke sharp reaction from bureaucracy and civil magistrates besides a section of political parties.

The powers proposed to be delegated to the police under the Commissionerate system are of licensing, challaning, prohibitory orders and compounding of certain offences.

The significant portion of the new Act is establishment of State Security Commission, which on behalf of the state government, will look after the superintendence of the police in the state. The commission to be headed by the state Home Minister will have two members of the legislature, preferably one from the Opposition, besides four others, including a retired Judge of the High Court, a retired government employee, social scientists and academician of public standing and eminence.

The DGP will be its member-Secretary and the term of the commission shall be three years. In case of President’s rule, the Act provides that Adviser to the Governor on the law and order will be its chairman in place of the Home Minister.

It will be this commission which will also redress grievances of the police officers of the rank of the Superintendent of Police and above. The mandate of the commission will be to evaluate the performance of the police besides laying down broad guidelines .

Besides fixing the tenure of the DGP at three years, it also provides that no order of the state government shall deprive the DGP of his overall charge of any branch of the force so that the unity of command is not disrupted or damaged.

Under Section 8, it gives the state government powers to appoint Commissioner, Joint Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of Police in big towns.

Section 40 of the proposed Act describes duties of police officers towards the community at large. It also provides for the Village Defence Committees besides the Defence Societies and the Peace Committees in towns.

Most important of new additions is the power to the police to exterminate habitual offenders, especially those convicted more than once under the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, the Gambling Act and those convicted under various Sections of Chapters 12, 16 and 17 of the Indian Penal Code.

The new Act also gives police powers to make regulations for regulating traffic and for preservation of order in public places.


Murder suspects not being shielded: SSP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 5
Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, in a press conference here today said the rumour that the police was shielding the accused in the murder case of Ramtirath Kaur of Daduwal village was false.

She said on June 22, the body of the victim was found from a building under construction and a systematic inquiry had been conducted.

She said the SP (D) and she herself had visited the spot on the same day to make an on-the-spot assessment. A post-mortem examination had also been conducted. A peon of a nearby institute, Sanjay Kumar, had been detained by the police and he had confessed that he had drugged the victim and then strangled her.


Water supply plan ‘being sent to’ World Bank
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 5
A master plan was being sent to the World Bank pertaining to water supply and sewerage for 13 cities with over one lakh population each, according to Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Chairman of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Talking to newspersons after taking over as Chairman, he said today that out of the total 2.25 crore population of Punjab, 80 lakh lived in the urban areas and 70 per cent of this population had drinking water facility while 52 per cent had sewerage facility.

He said water treated in water treatment plants would be used for agro-purposes. A report had been sent to the Union Environment Department with a plea that the treatment plants should be cleared keeping in view the rise in population in the next 15 years, he said.


Revenue records to be computerised
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 5
Rana Gurjit Singh, a local Congress MLA, has announced that a project has been approved by the Punjab Government to computerise the entire revenue record of the district.

Addressing a function organised in connection with the inauguration of newly-built press room on the premises of District Public Relations Office Rana Gurjit Singh said that a sum of Rs 1.40 crore would be spent on this project.

The process to computerise the revenue record will start within next two or three months.

The Kapurthala working journalists association built the Press Room at a cost of Rs 4 lakh.

Rana Gurjit Singh announced to give Rs 2 lakh to the association.

Mr P.S. Walia, Col Sewa Singh, Mr Kuldip Sharma of the association and Mr Baljit Singh Balli, DPRO, also addressed.

The association honoured veteran journalists Mr Raghunath Sahai Sharma, Mr K.S. Ahluwalia, Mr B.N. Gupta, Mr Jagmohan Chouhan, Mr Surinder Maria, a social worker, and Col Sewa Singh.


Pilgrims’ kin get Rs 18 lakh relief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Choudhry Jagjit Singh, Local Bodies Minister, today gave Rs 18 lakh as compensation to the relatives of the Sikh pilgrims who had died and to those who had got injured in the Uttar Pradesh tragedy last year.

Eleven pilgrims had died and 38 injured when a truck carrying them to Gurdwara Reetha Sahib had met with an accident. Rs 1 lakh each was given to the next of the kin of the dead and about Rs 20,000 each to the injured. On the occasion, various Congress leaders paid homage to the dead.

The minister also visited the ancient Ramtirath Temple, where, at a rally, he said the government was contemplating beautifying and developing this place. Choudhry Jagjit Singh also paid obeisance at ‘Dhuna Sahib Ashram and gave Rs 1 lakh for its development.


Sacrilege: Taksal seeks action
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Expressing concern over the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at a Gurdwara in Jathuwal village under Kathunangal police station in Majitha police district on July 2, the Damdami Taksal has sought immediate action against the “tantrik” who was allegedly involved in the incident. Mr Mohkam Singh, spokesman of the taksal said here yesterday that the incident had hurt the religious sentiments of people. He said the administration would be held responsible, if no action was taken.


Staff not paid for four months
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
“For the past more than four months, the employees of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) at Verka have not been getting their salaries,” Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, staff secretary of DIET Verka, said this in a press note issued here today.

Mr Sandhu said, in spite of numerous pleas to the authorities concerned and the assurance given by the Director SCERT to do the needful, nothing fruitful had come out as yet. He requested the authorities concerned to release the salaries at the earliest.


Gurdaspur honours Prabodh Chander
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Gurdaspur Municipal Committee has passed a resolution to name certain part of the town as " Swatantarta Sangrami Prabodh Chander Nagar."

This has been disclosed in a letter written by Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur to Mr Ashwani Kumar, Member of the Rajya Sabha. Mr Kumar is a son of late Mr Prabodh Chander, who made a tremendous contribution for the development of Gurdaspur belt and also to set up education institutions in that area.

The resolution has been sent to the Punjab Government for necessary action. The areas which has been proposed in the resolution includes localities around the Milk Plant, Industrial Training Institute and certain areas in the municipal limit adjacent to the Bariar village.


CRPF security to Punjab CM restored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The CRPF security cover provided to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has been “restored” after protests from the Home Department of the State government over the “ unilateral withdrawal” of the only battalion of the force from the state a few days ago.

A top official of the CRPF said today that the 119 Battalion of the CRPF, which was withdrawn from the state, had been replaced with 124 Battalion. Last week, The Tribune had broken the story regarding the unilateral withdrawal of the CRPF battalion from the state.

Denying reports that the CRPF security to the Punjab Chief Minister was withdrawn, a spokesman of the CRPF, said today that there was no truth in such reports. Not a single CRPF jawan had been taken off the Chief Minister’s security, he added.

Informed sources said that following the unilateral withdrawal of the only CRPF battalion from the state, the Home Department repeatedly wrote to the Union Government to restore the cover. 


Train passengers robbed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Passengers of the Kalka-Jodhpur Express were looted of cash and jewellery by unidentified persons late last night near Guru Sar Sainiwala village when it was approaching Bathinda Railway station.

Official sources said that when the train was approaching the Railway station, some unidentified persons pulled the chain to stop it at a dark place. After the train came to halt, a section of its passengers, who were asleep, were looted of cash and jewellery. When the passengers woke up, the accused fled from the scene and started pelting the train with stones.

Sources added that as per the reports registered with the local Railway authorities, four passengers belonging to Jodhpur and Pilibanga towns of Rajasthan were looted of cash and jewellery.

Those, who had been looted, had also lodged complaints that though they were being looted, no policemen of the Railway Protection force (RPF) or Punjab Railway Police and Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) reached their coach despite the fact that they raised an alarm.

They added that other co-passengers saved them. After some time, the train again started heading towards Bathinda railway station. After reaching Bathinda railway station, they lodged their complaint. The passengers had been looted of gold earrings, gold chains, travelling tickets and cash, they added.

Railway sources said that after the incident, senior police officials of district Bathinda reached at the Railway station.


Man posing as SGPC official held
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), July 5
The district police has arrested Labh Singh, a granthi of gurdwara of Singo village, for impersonating as the Additional Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) and for befooling people on the pretext of providing jobs or financial help from the SGPC.

Sources said yesterday that the accused, who is a resident of Nathana village of this district was cheating residents by claiming that he could help them and their wards by getting financial help from the SGPC.

The sources said the accused went to the house of Gurdev Kaur, a widow in Lelewala village of this district on July 2 and claimed that he was the Additional Secretary of the SGPC. He said he was residing with the Manager, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib.

He told Gurdev Kaur and her kin that the SGPC had approved Rs 70,000 for her daughters and to get the said amount her daughters would have to accompany him to Amritsar for giving some affidavits.

When Gurdev Kaur insisted that the said affidavits could be made in Talwandi Sabo, the accused said that for getting the grant the girls would have to go to Amritsar.

Labh Singh used the telephone of Gurdev Kaur made long-distance calls to a number of persons, which led to suspicion in the minds of the family members. One of the daughters of Gurdev Kaur went outside and noted down the registration number of the scooter of Labh Singh by scratching the tape, which was allegedly used for hiding the number plate.

Gurdev Kaur then contacted the manager of Takht Damdama Sahib and narrated the story. The manager started searching for the person who had gone to her residence. He finally locate at Labh Singh at the gurdwara.

The staffers of the Takht informed the police who later arrested Labh Singh. After preliminary investigation, Labh Singh revealed that he was sent by Dalip Singh, an acquaint once of Gurdev Kaur. Gurdev Kaur, however, denied that Dalip Singh had called their family and said that he had not come to meet them for the past many months. 


LPG racket: 600 cylinders seized
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
The Food and Supplies Department seized 600 cylinders from two trucks exposing a racket by an LPG agency of Dirba in Sangrur district involving transfer of cooling gas to empty cylinders.

Food and Supplies Department Deputy Director Bhupinderpal Singh said today the racket was exposed when a team of the department seized two truck of cylinders which had been tampered with. He said the fraud was detected following a direction received from Food and Supplies Minister Avtar Henry in this regard.

He said while of the Manager of the Dirba-based agency was arrested a police case was registered in this regard yesterday. He said earlier the department had registered two cases in Ludhiana, seven in Fatehgarh Sahib and three in Sangrur under the Essential Commodities Act. In all these cases unscrupulous persons were found diluting or selling domestic gas cylinders to industrial houses, he added.

The Deputy Director said in Morinda in Ropar district license of Jati Ram, a wholesale merchant dealing in kerosene, had been suspended. Similarly license of another trader in Sangholi in Dera Bassi block of Patiala district had been suspended and he had been levied a fine of Rs 2,500.

He said the department had also seized 25 domestic gas cylinders from a dhaba in Ropar.

Mr Bhupinderpal Singh said Food and Supplies Minister Avtar Henry had given directions that henceforth action would also be taken against officials of the department in case any violation of the Essential Commodities Act was detected in their area of jurisdiction.

He directed officials of Sangrur, Ropar, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala to step up the drive against violators of the Act immediately.


Four held for ‘manhandling’ Dalit sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 5
A case under Sections 341, 506, IPC and under Section 3 of the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 has been registered in Hariana Police Station against four persons, Kultar Singh, Surinder Singh, alias Shinda, Joginder Singh, alias Ginda and Harkamal Singh of Pandori Khajoor village on a complaint by Ms Charan Kaur, new Sarpanch of the village. All accused have been arrested.

Ms Charan Kaur in complaint yesterday had alleged that the accused had manhandled her and abused her when she, along with six other women, had gone into the fields for cutting fodder.

Both parties were heard separately by the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Ms Gurpreet Deo yesterday. After hearing both parties and finding that the allegations constituted a prima facie offence under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, a criminal case was registered.

Ms Deo said that the issue appeared to be a direct outcome of the Panchayat elections. Charan Kaur was elected Sarpanch and she polled 173 votes while Harjinder Kaur polled 133. Two of the accused, Joginder Singh and Harkamal Singh, are sons of Harjinder Kaur who lost to Charan Kaur.

Ms Deo said the Deputy Superintendent of Police (R), Mr Randhir Singh Uppal, had been deputed to conduct an investigation into the case. All arrested accused would be produced in the court today. Patrolling in the village has been strengthened as a precautionary measure, the SSP added.


Man charged with bigamy
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 5
On a complaint of Ms Simar Kaur, 10 persons, including her husband, Ram Murti of Chak Dhade village, were charged under Sections 420, 406, 494 and 120-B of the IPC with fraud and criminal breach of trust. The husband also faces a bigamy charge.

Three out of the 10 accused —Jamna (mother-in-law) and Asha (the go-between) of Chak Dhade and Paramjit Kaur, a relative of Satinder Kaur, second wife of Ram Murti — were arrested today. Ram Murti, Usha (the go-between for Simar Kaur), Satinder Kaur, Banso (mother of Satinder Kaur) and Hans Raj, a relative of Satinder Kaur, are among the accused who have not been arrested, so far.

A polio-stricken Simar Kaur of the village of Raipur Pharala has two sons from Ram Murti. Though she had brought an ample dowry, her in-laws allegedly wanted more.

She was turned out of the house in 1991, after which, Ram Murti married Satinder Kaur without ever divorcing Simar Kaur. She went to the police and a case was registered at the Sadar police station against the accused. The police said more arrests would follow.


Cop booked for rape
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Inderjit Singh, a constable posted at Amritsar has been booked allegedly for raping a minor for last few years. The Lopoke police under the Majitha police district has registered a case under Section 176 of the IPC in this regard.

Kanwaljit Kaur, a relative of the accused and a resident of Gurewali village in her complaint lodged stated that the accused lured her for marriage and he had been raping her for last four years. She said the accused never married her. She alleged that Inderjit Singh beat up and threw her out of the house.


Fake currency: 2 get 10-yr RI
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 5
Two persons, accused in a fake currency note scam, have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years by Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, Additional Sessions Judge, of the local fast-track court.

Buta Singh and Rajpal were tried and convicted while their accomplices Kaushal Kumar and Chander have been declared proclaimed offenders as they are absconding.


HP resident dies in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 5
Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Himachal was killed and four others were injured when the car in which they were travelling collided with a Himachal Roadways bus on the Kharar-Ropar road near bus stand here.

According to information, the accident took place when Gurmukh Singh accompanied by his relatives was travelling in a car (HP 33-4051) travelling from Mandi to Chandigarh when a Himachal Roadways bus no. (HP 36-5801) coming from the opposite direction collided with it. Gurmukh Singh, the driver and other members of his family were injured. However, Gurmukh died on his way to hospital. The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus.


GND varsity action against 12 students
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Guru Nanak Dev University today debarred 12 students from taking examinations for five years following their indictment by the Unfair Means Cases Committee. They were charged of impersonation during the recently concluded joint test for B.Ed.

The committee comprising Mr Amarjit Singh Gulati, retired IAS officer, Mr Apar Singh Bajwa, retired IPS officer, Dr Raghbir Singh, former Registrar, and Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of university, had called the candidates for personal hearing. Eight students confessed the truth. The committee has recommended the cases of four candidates to the police as they had denied the charge. Two girls (twins) from Sangrur were given a clean chit when they produced the relevant documents, including birth and school certificates, before the inquiry committee. An ASI was also given a clean chit when he showed the relevant proof. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said the case of a teacher of Faridkot who was running a private academy had been recommended to the Punjab School Education Board for action.


B.Ed counselling on July 30
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold counselling for admission to B.Ed course in education colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh on July 30. This was stated in a press note here today.

Dr Gurnam Singh, coordinator of the test, said the counselling for science and humanities groups would be held simultaneously at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bhavan and Guru Nanak Bhavan on the university campus. He clarified that candidates need not send any form except form ‘C’ for admission to the Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Ludhiana, under the rural area category. The candidates should only bring their original certificates at the time of the counselling, he added.


Defamation suit against VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
A former Punjabi University Registrar, Dr Karamjit Singh Sidhu, today filed a defamation suit against Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, claiming that the Vice-Chancellor had made unjustified imputations against him on official files which had harmed his reputation.

Dr Sidhu also claimed that he had been sacked from the post of Registrar with the aim of tarnishing his reputation and that a relative of Mr Boparai had been appointed to the post. 


Unemployed ITI instructor’s threat
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 5
Members of the unemployed ITI Instructors Union Punjab, have threatened to intensify their agitation if the posts of instructor in various ITIs in the state are not filled immediately.

Kanwar Nau Nihar Singh and Mr Gurpreet Singh, president and secretary respectively, of the union in a press note issued here yesterday said that no recruitment to the cadre of instructors in the ITIs had been done after 1996. The instructors who retired after 1996 were not replaced and their posts had been abolished.

The leaders said in view of a large number of vacancies of instructors in the ITIs in the state these were on the verge of closure and the purpose of imparting professional training to the unemployed youth for self-employment was likely to be defeated.

The leaders said the state had a total of 144 ITIs of which 103 were in the government sector and 41 in the private sector. Seven hundred posts of instructor in various trades were vacant in 1032 ITIs for boys and 280 posts were vacant in 480 ITIs for girls. Moreover, 175 posts of group instructors of a total of 180 were also vacant.

As many as 50 ITIs were functioning without principals. Raw material and machinery lying in these ITIs was likely to be damaged. 

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