Monday, July 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab may adopt hard options
Crucial Cabinet meeting on Wednesday
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A special meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers is scheduled here for Wednesday to review the financial situation, decide on fresh tax proposals to raise revenue and relook at employees-related schemes.

Sources say the council will consider proposals on the re-introduction of sales tax on fertilisers, pesticides, replace additional excise duty with sales tax on cloth, sugar and tobacco, bring under the purview of the state sales tax luxury goods (automobiles and refrigerators etc.) sold through defence canteens, etc.

This meeting has been sought by the Department of Finance to stress that finances were in an intractable situation and unless the political leadership was prepared to take hard political decisions, all fiscal and economic reforms would get unstuck.

In the absence of any social security net, it is difficult to throw employees out of service. The council is poised to take a second look at the recruitment policy, pension scheme, evolved on defined contributions and re-deployment of the surplus staff. The state is keen that future employment should be scheme or project specific and it should be terminated with its completion.

Another item on the agenda is reported to be amendments to the Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002. Due to an oversight, the bureaucracy forgot to institute the Punjab Infrastructure Regulatory Authority on the pattern of the Punjab Electricity Regulatory Authority. Once that happens, the fixing of tariffs etc. in respect of all procurement of stores and social and economic services would make it easy to implement reforms and projects, say sources.

The council is expected to “sacrifice” soft budget options and populism. It also cannot resort to diversion of money either from the food credit account or the centrally sponsored schemes or projects or other sources, as had been the practice in the past.

All this makes it imperative to reduce the gap between revenue receipts and revenue deficit, and go ahead with additional resource mobilisation, besides cutting on unproductive expenditure.

The economic and fiscal reforms that Punjab has set about to implement come at a cost. Given the tight fiscal situation, the state needs fiscal space. For this funding is required from multilateral agencies. The Principal Secretary (Finance), Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, disclosed that Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh had written to the World Bank (through the Union Finance Minister) to provide the state a loan from the “structural adjustment fund”. The World Bank is already processing Punjab’s $ 125 million project on roads. Another Rs 1,200 crore project on water resources has been sent to the Union Ministry of Finance, which forwards these plans to the World Bank.


Videography of Badal’s resort allowed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 13
Mr Ranjan Kumar Khullar, Judicial Magistrate of Kharar, today held that the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) had the right to undetake the videography and assessment of the Orbit Resorts at Gurgaon belonging to the family of Mr Parkash Singh Badal as per the court orders in this connection issued earlier.

These orders were passed when the public prosecutor and the SP Vigilance moved an application in the court alleging that the supporters of the Badal family had today deliberately tried to stop the Vigilance men from carrying out the court orders.

They sought that instructions be issued to Mr Badal and his family not to obstruct the officials.


Probe sought into assets of Badal, Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 13
Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur, an Independent MLA, from the Dhariwal Assembly constituency, talking to newspersons here today said an independent probe should be held to look into the properties of mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Capt Amarinder Singh in view of the allegations and counter-allegations. He said if Mr Badal was clean, he should not object to the Vigilance Department’s raids on his residences.

Regarding the unity between the SAD and the SHSAD, he said it was not based on principles. Earlier, he presented siropas to 90 sarpanches of the Dhariwal Assembly constituency. 

Yet another proclamation against Bamra

Kharar, July 13
A fresh proclamation has been issued against former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Hardeep Singh Bamra. Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) Baljinder Kaur Bhatia yesterday issued these orders returnable till November 22 following non-receipt of the previous proclamation issued against Mr Bamra.

He had been issued proclamation in a case of corruption and disproportionate assets registered against him at SAS Nagar on August 29 last year.

On the request of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB), which had submitted that despite best efforts made by it Mr Bamra was either absconding or concealing himself so that non-bailable warrants of arrest earlier issued against him could not be executed. A local court on June 2 had published a written proclamation under Section 82 of the CrPC requiring Mr Bamra to appear before the court till July 12. — UNI


Khalsa panchayat removes panch
Ex-communication of Kala Afghana
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 13
In a significant development, the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) today removed Mr Kashmir Singh as its panch for supporting the Sikh clergy which led to the ex-communication of Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana, a Canada-based cop-turned-Sikh scholar. This was stated by Bhai Rajinder Singh, convener of the SKP, while talking to TNS here today. He alleged that the ex-communication would create division in the Panth.

Mr Kashmir Singh was one of the five panches of the SKP. He said he had not received any communication from Bhai Rajinder Singh either in writing or verbal regarding his removal as panch. However, he said he would not react on his expulsion as he had acted as per his conscience. Since Mr Kala Afghana had indulged in blasphemous acts, it was his “religious duty” to present the case before the clergy against him, he said. Bhai Rajinder Singh who had been spearheading the campaign for the removal of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti on “corruption” charges, said the clerics had again tried to create a wedge in the Panth by pronouncing ex parte ex-communication.

While ex-communicating Mr Kala Afghana, the clergy had announced that it would initiate action against those who extended support to him. The clergy had also pronounced that Mr Kala Afghana had been violating edicts issued from time to time and had failed to appear before Akal Takht though he had been given sufficient time to clarify his position.

However, Bhai Rajinder Singh alleged that Jathedar Vedanti had backtracked on the promise to appoint a 10-member committee of Sikh intellectuals to resolve the matter. He claimed that Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, a youth Akali leader (close to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra), and Mr Kanwarpal Singh, spokesman of the Dal Khalsa, had been mediating between supporters of Mr Kala Afghana and Jathedar Vedanti. During mediation, Jathedar Vedanti had agreed in principle to constitute the committee giving due representation to both groups and neutral persons. However, he did a volte-face, saying that the “efforts” had been leaked out, he said. The SKP has pleaded before the clergy to review the edict to avoid an ugly situation. However, sources close to the high priests said the edict once issued could not be reviewed.

Bhai Rajinder Singh said Mr Kala Afghana had to face the music for his “bold writing” and criticism of Bhai Randhir Singh, founder of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. He alleged that Bhai Joginder Singh Talwara, member of the jatha who was critical of the clergy for absolving Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had played a vital role in the ex-communication of Mr Kala Afghana.


Vedanti for clergy meeting on Romana
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 13
Even as Jathedar of Takht Sri Patna Sahib Iqbal Singh is still sticking to his decision to “excommunicate” the president of the managing committee of Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, from the Sikh community, Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti has decided to convene a meeting of Sikh clergy in Amritsar in the last week of July to settle the issue once and for all.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Vedanti said the issue was very significant for the entire Sikh community as only Akal Takht could “excommunicate” a Sikh from the Panth as was the tradition since the inception of the Khalsa Panth.

“The Sikh clergy will meet in the last week of July to discuss the issue and a religious edict will be issued to remove misconceptions from the mind of the entire Sikh community, who are confused over the recent development regarding the expulsion of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana from the Panth by Jathedar Iqbal Singh without taking into confidence Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs,” said Mr Vedanti, adding that the issue, pertaining to row over control of management of Takht Sri Patna Sahib would not be part of the agenda of the proposed meeting.

This is to mention here that though the Sikh high priests had recently asked the Jathedar of the Takht Patna Sahib to reconsider his decision in the larger interest of the community, but nothing moved further in this direction so far. This forced the former to decide the fate of the religious edict announced by Jathedar Iqbal Singh unilaterly during the high profile meeting at Akal Takht, the date of which, according to Mr Vedanti, would be announced soon.

He further said the Central Government should ensure that those Sikhs, who were fully adhering to the norms of the Panth like supporting a beard, should be recruited under the Sikh quota. “I have asked SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar to take up the matter with the Union Home Ministry in this regard even as I written a letter to the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to take up the matter with the authorities concerned,” he said, quipping that now a Sikh, who terminates his beard, could get benefit during recruitment in armed forces as a “patit” Sikh.


Vedanti calls for drive against female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 13
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today called for a social movement against female foeticide. He was speaking at a seminar on the issue organised by Trendsetters, a local NGO, in Red Cross Bhavan here today. He said the trend among Punjabis to go for sex determination was disturbing, moreso because there were strict rules against it. “The time has come for people to join hands with the NGOs to eliminate female foeticide, especially in view of the growing imbalance in sex ratio,” he said.

The Sikh clergy had already announced a religious edict asking the Sikh community to boycott anyone responsible for female foeticide. Mr Tajinder Singh Bittu, Chairman of the Improvement Trust, in his address, said the Union Government should introduce capital punishment for those found involved in this crime. Baba Kashmira Singh, chairman of the SGL Charitable Trust, and Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, also spoke.


Pilgrim attack: SGPC team to visit Uttaranchal

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 13
The SGPC president, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has welcomed the resumption of the Delhi-Lahore bus service.

Speaking to mediapersons at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib yesterday, he said the resumption of the bus service would reduce tension.

Taking a serious note of the arrest and registration of a case of looting and dacoity against several Sikh devotees by the Uttaranchal Government, the SGPC chief, condemning the incident, demanded security for the Sikh devotees.

He said the SGPC had written a letter to the President of India and the Uttaranchal Chief Minister in this regard. He said a probe should be ordered by an independent agency into the incident, adding that a four-member delegation, would visit Uttaranchal to take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, an 11-member committee of the SAD has decided to visit Gobind Dham in Uttaranchal where the pilgrims were attacked, party’s secretary Ranjit Singh Cheema said. — UNI


Punjab reserves seats in colleges for achievers
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Realising the immense potential of the state in extra-curricular activities, Punjab has, for the first time, decided to reserve seats for students with outstanding co-curricular record, in its schools, professional as well as general colleges, affiliated to the universities in Punjab. Reservations will be granted to achievers under various educational competitions (Vidyak muqabla) organised annually by the Punjab School Education Board.

The government will reserve one after every 50 seats in colleges, for those who earn accolades in the above-mentioned category. Contests to be covered under the new scheme are — declamation, poetry, painting, fancy dress, shabad gayan and good writing for classes I to IV. In class X, Kavishri and Vaar gayan contest will be added to the above-mentioned list. In class XII, gidda and bhangra will be introduced.

The decision was taken at a meeting of representatives of Punjab universities held under the chairmanship of the DPI, Colleges, Punjab. All universities will extend the benefit of reservation to student achievers in the educational contest section of the board. The reservation will be granted on gradation basis. All graded participants will be eligible to apply in colleges under the new reservation policy.

The decision will enable achievers in the co-curricular section to apply for reservation in the next higher entry class. Any student passing out of school will have seats reserved in all professional and general colleges affiliated to universities of Punjab. Reservation pattern in entry classes (VI, IX, XI and XII) at school level is still being considered.

The board has been organising these contests for the past about 15 years but it never accorded academic weightage to the achievers in this category. Outstanding performers in sports and social welfare activity segment like NSS, however, always got the benefit of reservation in universities as well as professional colleges. The Punjab Government has decided reservation on similar lines for those bringing laurels to the state in the extra-curricular section.

A highly-placed official told The Tribune the move had been initiated to strike balance in the reservation policy. He said, “Whereas winners in sports have been enjoying the quota benefit for long, winners in categories like folk dances, declamation, poetry, etc were never considered. The new policy seeks to remove this imbalance.”

Yogi Harbhajan Khalsa donates 5 lakh

From this year, the Punjab School Education Board will use Rs 5 lakh donated by USA-based spiritual leader of the Sikhs, Yogi Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, for upgrading its extra-curricular section. Yogi Harbhajan donated the money last year on the condition that it will be spent on strengthening contests which further the rich traditions of Punjab. The board will use the annual interest of Rs 40,000 on enriching the cultural heritage of Punjab by promoting contests like Vaar gayan, Kavishri, folk dances and martial arts.


Deletion of votes: Cong boycotts panchayat repoll
Tribune News Service

Saran (Amritsar), July 13
The Congress, in protest against the deletion of 60 votes on the direction of the State Election Commission, today, boycotted the gram panchayat repoll here, while Ms Balbir Kaur Kang, a close relative of Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, a former Chairman, Punjab Forest Corporation, was declared winner with a thumping margin of 222 votes.

Earlier, the Election Commission had directed the repoll on June 29 following a tiff between supporters of Congress and Akali candidates over the deletion of the 60 votes.

The district administration had a tough time immediately after the starting of the polling. The Congress reporters, who were also standing in the queue to cast their votes, were politely told that their names had been deleted on the direction of the State Election Commission. The senior Congress leaders, including Mr Swinder Singh Kathunangal, a Congress MLA reached the spot. However, the SDM, Baba Bakala, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, showed a orders of the Election Commission directing him to ensure a free and fair poll after deleting the 60 votes. Not satisfied with a reply, Mr Kathunangal levelled serious charges against him for favouring the Akali candidate. The Congress workers raised slogans against the SDM in presence of Mr Bhagwant Pal Singh Sachar, Vice-Chairman, Zila Parishad, and Mr Kathunangal.

However, Mr Sandhwalia, SDM, said he had acted as per the direction of the Election Commission, which had directed him to delete the 60 votes. He said the commission had categorically stated that he would be personally held responsible if the persons, whose names were deleted were able to cast their votes.

The Congress leaders said they would take up the matter with the Chief Minister for action against the SDM.

A heavy police force, led by Mr Makhan Singh, SP, and Mr Chaman Lal, DSP, Amritsar, was deployed as a precautionary measure.

Later the Deputy Commissioner was informed, who sent Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth, for conducting a “free and fair” election.

Talking to TNS, Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, senior Akali leaders, said the Congress leadership wanted to rig the election, which was foiled due to the vigil showed by the Akali workers. He claimed that the post of sarpanch had been with his family for the past about 30 years and hence Congress leaders wanted to win the election at any cost. He denied allegations against the SDM for favouring the Akali candidate.


Badal has ‘authority’ to adjust Tohra men
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
Senior Akali leader and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra today said Shiromani Akali Dal President Prakash Singh Badal had been given complete authority to adjust leaders of the erstwhile Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal in the SAD.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Chandumajra said, “We have handed over the party to Badal sahib”. However, he was quick to add that he hoped that the SAD President would do justice to party leaders who had sided with the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, when he had split from the SAD. He said everyone hoped that Mr Badal would do justice to all leaders who had sided with Mr Tohra as he was now head of the family.

The statement of Mr Chandumajra was made amidst speculation that an attempt was being made to marginalise him in Akali politics with his mentor Gurcharan Singh Tohra relying more on his son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra. Though Mr Tohra has denied any such move, recent events have seen the ascendency of Mr Harmail Singh Tohra in the Tohra camp.

Meanwhile, Mr Chandumajra while speaking to mediapersons said unity was the need of the hour and that it would strengthen the SAD. He said following unity in the Akali ranks, the SAD would be able to give a befitting fight to the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He said harassment of Akali workers and leaders would result in further strengthening of the party.

Speaking on the issue of the recent local bodies elections held in the state, Mr Chandumajra said the state government was using its power to suspend Sarpanches or to dissolve panchayats to ensure that the elected parnchayats obeyed their dictates. He said this had made a mockery of the grassroot organisations which were supposed to work for the development of village.


SAD workers warn of court arrest
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 13
About 35 sarpanches and panchayat members of 100 villages have warned the Punjab Government against the arrest of party president Parkash Singh Badal and have threatened to court arrest.

A meeting in this regard was held here today under the presidentship of Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, senior vice president of the SGPC.



Repoll in 5 villages peaceful
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 13
The panchayat elections were reheld today amid tight security at the villages of Kari Kalan, Ratta Ther, Sher Mohammed, Dhingawali and Raoke-Utar in this district. According to Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, the polling was peaceful.

Results from two places were out by the time of filing this report. At Dhingawali in the Abohar block, Mr Krishan Lal of the Congress was elected Sarpanch, while at Rauke-Utar, an Independent, Mr Binder Singh, was declared successful. 


Improvement Trust organises Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
As many as 60 cases pertaining to the allotment of plots, penal interest on the instalments and default in making the payment of periodical instalments were settled in the first ever Lok Adalat of the allotters of various residential and commercial plots in the colonies developed by the Improvement Trust. The Lok Adalat was organised on Thursday by its chairman, Mr Jagroop Singh Gill.

In a press note issued here on Friday, Mr R. L. Bhagat, Executive Officer, Improvement Trust, Bathinda, said 16 cases were of transfer of ownership while nine cases were pertaining to those, who had made default in the payment of periodical instalments.

He said apart from it, the improvement trust authorities had also made an achievement by eradicating the Congress grass from the colonies developed by it. The Improvement Trust authorities would plant saplings of about 2400 trees in its colonies apart from 810 saplings, which had already been planted. The work for constructing a town hall would be started shortly, he added.


Govt staff to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 13
Thousands of members of the Punjab Mulazam Sangarsh Committee participated in a convention held here today in protest against the alleged anti-employees policies being pursued by the Congress government in the state.

The committee comprising both factions of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation and the Democratic Employees Front criticised the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for his failure to implement the already accepted demands since September 5, 2002.

Addressing the convention, Mr Datar Singh, convener, alleged that the Congress government was more concerned about increasing perks of its MLAs and ministers, while the employees were being deliberately denied their rights. “We have decided to intensify the agitation against the state government.

As part of a fresh agitation plan, we have decided to conduct series of district-level meetings throughout the state till July 31 to motivate the employees against the functioning of the government, besides holding a state-level rally in Chandigarh in September,” Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation said.

The convention unanimously passed a resolution criticising the state government for its proposed moves to privatise government departments in a phased manner and ban fresh recruitments.


Govt asked to review tax policy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
Mr Ashok Garg, state president of the Punjab Yuva Beopar Mandal has urged the state government to review its tax levying and collection policy as it was not suited to the existing circumstances.

In a press note issued here today Mr Garg pointed out that various tax policies of the government which were made 56 years ago were not doing any good to the businessmen as well as to the state government. These policies had been filling the coffers of corrupt politicians and the bureaucrats, who had connived to loot the traders.

He said the state government should not fill its coffers by sucking the blood of traders. Instead of levying huge and unnecessary taxes, the state government should tax the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, who had amassed huge wealth. The policies pertaining to levying of different taxes should be trader friendly so that the income of the state government could increase.


Murder case: kin writes to Kalam
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 13
Suspecting attempts to hush up the case, a family member of Naresh Mahajan, a Bank Manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce who was allegedly murdered by some bigwigs of the city in 1998, has written to the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpai, and the Union Law Minister to intervene in the matter.

Even as about two years had passed since the case was handed over to the CBI by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, no breakthrough had been made. As many as three CBI officials namely Mr K.P. Singh, Mr P.S. Sandhu and Mr J.S. Bhatti (all CBI SPs) had been changed in the case.

The case was handed over to the fourth CBI SP, Mr A.K. Hargava, last month. Interestingly, the court had ordered to complete the inquiry within four months. Before handing over the case to the CBI as many as nine SPs and one DSP were changed by the Punjab Police.

Mr Banarasi Dass, father of the deceased, alleged that Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SP, the investigation officer in the case, had issued warrants against Onkar Sharma, alias Master Omi, former Municipal Councillor Inderjit Sharma, Kanwaljit Singh, K.K. Bhan and Ravi Dhawan, but no arrest had been made so far.

Earlier, the family had written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) in this regard.

Family members of the deceased, including father Banarasi Dass Mahajan and brothers Suresh and Harish Mahajan, alleged that the case was being scuttled.


Chawla seeks probe into road construction issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 13
Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, a former BJP MLA, has expressed apprehension of bungling in the construction of a road passing in front of the Durgiana Temple. This she said in a letter written to the city Mayor Mr Sunil Dutti.

She stated that the road was constructed in February 2002. As she was an MLA of the area at that time, she had released Rs 1,28,000 from the MLA development fund. She said it was strange that merely a year after this the road now was again being constructed. She sought an inquiry into the case.


NFL union opposes move on equity
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
The National Fertilisers Employees Union yesterday criticised the decision of Union Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) regarding the offloading of 51 per cent equity shares of National Fertilisers Limited (NFL).

Mr Naib Singh Brar, President of the union, in a press note said the decision taken by the CCD to offload 51 per cent equity of the NFL was unethical, undemocratic and anti-national and the union would oppose it tooth and nail. He said the union would intensify its ongoing agitation to counter the nefarious designs of the government.

He said the government had backtracked from its earlier announcement in which it had been proposed that the strategic buyers would run NFL plants for a minimum period of five years. However, the permission given to strategic buyer to dispose of some assets of the company was highly deplorable, as it would amount a sheer loot of public money and the plant, which had been performing well. He said with the implementation of this decision employees of the NFL would be rendered jobless.

He said the decision taken by the government was uncalled for as NFL units were performing well in all units since its inception. He alleged that the government’s move in this connection could create suspicion in the minds of employees about the working style of government.


Balle Balle fashion show a hit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
There was palpable excitement at the State Language Department grounds here last night with models taking to the cat walk at a glittering function organised by the Balle - Balle Punjabi channel and Surkhab productions.

The fashion show was a blend of modernity as well as the conservative. While a good number of western dresses were displayed on the occasion, of special interest was the creative effort taken in depicting the Punjabi attires. This included formal and wedding suites besides casual dresses which were done up in different styles but were authentic Punjabi in looks.

The programme was a hit with youngsters who gathered to see it. A few cultural items were also presented on the occasion. The Balle Balle team also interacted with the crowd to elicit their response to the items being presented on dais.



Chamber chief

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 13
Mr J. P. Sharma has been elected president of the Gobindgarh Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mandi Gobindgarh, for 2003. Mr Sharma defeated Mr Bharat Bhushan Jindal, former president of the chamber, by three votes. 

Fiftythree members exercised their right of voting. Mr Joy Kutti was elected general secretary, Mr Pargat Singh and Mr Joginder Singh Maini, senior vice-presidents, Mr Parveen Kumar, treasurer, while Mr Jagtar Singh and Mr Satish Kumar, secretaries. UNI


2 scooterists die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 13
Two scooterists Paramjit Singh, a driver with a private transport company, and Balkar Singh, an official of the Punjab Roadways, were killed when a Tata vehicle skidded of the road hitting and falling on them near Khurampur village on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road, near here today.

Three occupants of the Tata vehicle, its owner Dilbag Singh and traders Vijay Arora and Jugal Kishore, all from Kapurthala, sustained injuries.

The scooterists were coming from the native Khati village of Balkar Singh. Paramjit Singh belonged to Khalyan village, Balkar Singh was the station in charge at Jalandhar-I.

The Tata vehicle was carrying the supply of mangoes to Dasuya from Saharanpur via Phagwara. The accident occurred as its driver lost control and the vehicle skidded off to the opposite side of the road and overturned and fell on the scooterists. A case has been registered.

Two killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 13
Two persons died on the spot when their Maruti Zen rammed into a truck at the Mona Kalan crossing on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road this morning.

The deceased have been identified as Jatinder Singharia of Civil Lines, Ludhiana, and Sukhdev Singh, also of Ludhiana. A case has been registered against the truck driver.


Timber worth Rs one 1 lakh gutted

Moga, July 13
Timber worth more than Rs 1 lakh was reduced to ashes when a fire broke out in a saw mill at Kotkapura last evening.

Seven fire tenders were pressed into service to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire is still to be ascertained.

The saw mill was situated near residential colonies and for the past many years residents of these colonies had been demanding shifting of the saw mill.

The district administration in February this year had served a notice to the mill owners to shift it some other place, but the mill owners had got a stay order from court against the administration’s order. — UNI


Farmer electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 13
Balbir Singh (26), a resident of Allowal village falling under police station Verowal was killed on the spot when he came in contact with a live electric wire last night.

Balbir Singh was working in the fields of his relative when a live wire touched him. The police has registered a case.


Girl ends life following rape bid
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 13
Kulwinder Kaur (20) reportedly committed suicide after an alleged attempt to rape her by consuming celphos tablets at her residence near Sriganganagar yesterday.

The girl had been referred to a private hospital for an ultrasound examination as she had some abdominal problem. Her mother accompanied her to the hospital on Friday. The doctor concerned conducted the test in the absence of her mother.

After an hour, the doctor called her again. Within a few minutes, she cried for help. Her cousin forcibly entered the room and took a profusely weeping Kulwinder Kaur out of the room. The doctor was beaten up by an irate mob. Furniture and medical equipment were damaged.

The victim alleged that the doctor had tried to rape her. The doctor, however, denied it. He was arrested and the girl was allowed to leave the police station.

The doctor’s wife, refuting the allegation, said there was a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the incident.

The doctor was produced in the court of the CJM, Mr Yoginder Purohit, who remanded him in police custody for two days.


Man ‘throws’ pregnant wife off scooter
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
A 27-year-old resident of Bindra Colony here has been accused of deliberately throwing his eight months pregnant wife off scooter while taking her to the hospital as the girl’s parents had not given him sufficient dowry.

Ranjit Kaur, the mother of 21-year-old Simran, who was admitted to the Government Rajindra Hospital here in serious condition, said her son-in-law had deliberately thrown his wife off the scooter after experienced labour pains.

Ranjit Kaur said her daughter’s marriage with Dalip Singh had taken place one-and-a-half years ago.

She said even though she had given them sufficient dowry the demands of her daughter’s in-laws kept increasing.

She said relations between the two families worsened when she failed to provide a motor cycle as demanded by her son-in-law, and instead gave a scooter to the family.

Following this, she said, her daughter was persecuted at the home of her in-laws. She said she had complained to the local panchayat, which had warned Simran’s in-laws not to demand dowry.

Disclosing the latest incident, she claimed that when her daughter complained of labour pains, she was insulted and taken to the hospital at the last moment on a scooter.

Ranjit Kaur said on the way, her son-in-law deliberately threw his wife off the scooter.

She got a call from the parents of her son-in-law who claimed that her daughter had tried to commit suicide by jumping off the scooter. She claimed this was not true and has already given her statement to the police.

A case is yet to be registered in the matter.


Failing to get admission, boy commits suicide

Moga, July 13
A youth who failed to get admission due to non-availability of requisite money for seeking admission in a college allegedly strangulated himself to death at Mahlakalan village in this district, the police said today.

Hardev Singh along with other youths on Friday went to Faridkot to get admission in plus two. He was only carrying Rs 1,200 with him, but when the college authorities demanded Rs 4,500 he was unable to submit the admission fee.

Yesterday the boy committed suicide by strangulating himself. — PTI


BSF jawan drugged, robbed by imposter
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 13
Mr Pitamber Sharma, a BSF jawan travelling in a Ludhiana-Hisar train, was today robbed of Rs 15,000 in an unconscious state by a person who claimed to be CRPF jawan.

Mr Sharma was found lying in an unconscious condition by a security guard in the train at the local railway station. The railway police took him to the Civil Hospital where he had been admitted. According to the railway police, a person, claiming to be a CRPF jawan met the victim in the train at Ludhiana. They shared tea twice but later the accused offered him a biscuit which the victim ate and fell unconscious. His briefcase containing the cash and other articles was missing.

Meanwhile, the Amargarh police has arrested five persons — Ramesh Kumar, Sita, Saati, Sohna and Jiwan — all of Ludhiana, on the charge of selling artificial silver ornaments to a goldsmith by describing these as original.

The police seized 8.7 kg artificial silver ornaments and 32 g original silver ornaments from them. During interrogation, they told the police that they lived in the huts near the railway station at Ludhina and cheated goldsmiths this way. The case against them had been registered on the complaint of Mr Gursewak Singh of Bathan village near Amargarh, who said he had been fleeced by them.


Eight booked for dowry
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 13
Monika of Pathankot has got the Division No. 2 police to register a case against her husband and seven of her in-laws on the charge of misappropriation of dowry and subjecting her to cruelty.

The case was registered under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC after her statement on Friday against her husband, Raj Kumar of Abohar, and her in-laws. The couple has an eight-month-old child.

She alleged that the accused — Avinash Chander (father-in-law), Shila Devi (mother-in-law), Punam, Rita and Asha (sisters-in-law), Krishan Ghaniya (brother-in-law) and Hira Lal (husband of Asha) — had been forcing her to bring more dowry. She alleged that they wanted Rs 1 lakh in cash and a car.

A police party has been sent to arrest the accused.


Body found from water tanker
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 13
The police has found the body of Tej Prakash, a resident of Nepal floating in a water tanker of a cold store situated on the Kharar Mohai road, near village Balongi here.

The body was handed over to his relatives today after postmortem. According to the police, he was working in this cold store for the past about 5 months.

The police has registered a case on the charge of abetment of suicide against the contractor of the cold store Om Pal and other employees Naresh Kumar, Raj Kumar, Mohan Lal and Desraj under Section 306 IPC as per the complaint lodged by Mr Krishan Bahadur, a relative of the deceased.

According to the police, the deceased used to stay in the cold store and was allegedly being harassed by the accused. 



10 booked under Excise Act
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 13
The police has booked 10 persons under the Excise Act and seized 165 kg of lahan and 638 bottles of illicit liquor from their possession.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, in a press note here today, identified the accused as Hira Singh of Mochpur, Rajesh Kumar of Dola Nangal, Surjit Masih of Langah Jattan, Salim Masih of Rajuwal, Sukhsagar of Awankha, Nirmala Devi of Behrampur, and Mukhtiar Singh of Warraich.

Those at large are Rakesh Kumar of Batala and Vijay Kumar of Maddowal.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered.


Body found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
An unidentified body was recovered from a distributary near Kale Bander village of this district today. Mr Vijay Goyal, president, of an NGO, in a press note issued here today said that its volunteers took out the body. The body was cremated by the NGO after its post-mortem was conducted.


Woman constable killed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 13
Constable Paramjit Kaur was crushed to death by Ravi Express near Dhariwal on Friday. Her relatives alleged that she was being maltreated by her mother-in-law.


Retired teachers await pension
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 13
Nearly 1,000 superannuated teachers of close to 500 government aided schools in Punjab are not getting their pensions according to the revised pay scales. Of these affected teachers, 900 had filed 32 writ petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard some time ago and the court had also decided the close in their favour.

Following the court decision, the Punjab Cabinet on May 21 decided to grant salaries and pension benefits to teachers retiring between January 1, 1996, to May 31, 2003, according to the revised pay scales by June 30, 2003. However even after more than a month since then, the pensions have not been paid.

Besides, teachers who have retired after 2002 from government-aided schools are not being paid monthly pensions for reasons best known to the authorities concerned. Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, president of the Punjab Government Pensioners Association of Fazilka said the issue of the non-payment of pensionary benefits was taken up with the Director, Public Instruction (Private Schools), Punjab who said no amount had been allocated for clearing the payment.

Mr Kewal Krishan Tinna, a former teacher of S.D. Senior Secondary School, Fazilka, who sought retirement on health grounds in October, 2002, has not been paid any pensionary benefit. He has to undergo dialysis frequently and he is facing grave financial crisis. Mr Boota Ram Sethi and his wife Saroj former teachers of S.D. Senior Secondary School and S.D. Elementary School of Fazilka, respectively, are among the others denied pensionary benefits and are finding it hard to support their family.

Mr Kalra has now urged the Chief Minister to ensure that the decision of the Cabinet is implemented so that the affected teachers may get their pensionary benefits. 


Seminar on effective teaching
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 13
In the present scenario, when society is losing moral and cultural values, teachers have to play an important and fundamental role as the destiny of the country is being shaped in classrooms and if students are handled properly the future of the nation would be safe, said Dr D.R. Vij, a renowned scholar, while addressing a seminar on Motivation and effective teaching organised by the Rotary Club, Sirhind, here today as part of International Literacy Month being observed by the Rotary International.

He said teachers should strive for duty No. 10 of 51 A Article of the Constitution, which reads as “Striving for excellence individually and collectively”. He called upon the participants to excel in their respective professions. He said if Indians stuck to these principles, India might become number one force of the world. He reminded teachers to be one with their students, subject and self.

They should develop communication, speaking, explaining, questioning, writing and sympathising skills. He stressed the need to strengthen the teacher-student relation.

He said satisfaction and self-confidence were the solution to all problems and the happiest movements in the life of a teacher were those, when he saw satisfaction, respect and understanding in the eyes of his students. He said teachers should keep their eyes, mind and heart open.

They should have positive attitude and should always appreciate and encourage his students, as criticism always led to downfall. He quoted various examples from history and religious books.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, called upon teachers to be punctual, dedicated and honest to their profession. He urged the teachers to follow principles, only then they would be able to convince their students.

He said good teachers had always been widely respected. There were certain black sheep, who brought bad name to the profession and they must be identified.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, President, Rotary Club, Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, secretary and Nakesh Jindal, Project Chairman, also addressed the seminar and assured the administration to arrange more seminars in future.

Brilliant students and seven best teachers of the district were also honoured by the club.


Lok Morcha against fee hike
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
Mr N K Jeet, president, district unit of Lok Morcha, today said that morcha would start a campaign to generate public opinion against the hike made in tuition fee in various educational institutes by the state government.

In a press note issued here today Mr Jeet said that the hike made in the tuition fee by the government would adversely affect the spread of education in the state. A large number of students of middle class families would be deprived of it while it would be out of reach of those students, who belonged to poor section of society.

He said that the morcha would urge the students, their parents and other non-governmental organisations to start agitation against such anti-people policies of the government. 


Teachers’  workshop ends
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 13
A three-day teachers training workshop organised to acquaint teachers with modern techniques and teaching skills at Narain Public School concluded here yesterday.

Former Principal of the Punjab College of Education Agyatjit Singh said the most important aspect of teaching was to motivate students to put in their best to attain their goals. He said there should be overall development of children in educational institutions. Besides, Dr S.S. Joshi acquainted the teachers with the concept of language. The Director of IAS Training Centre, Dr G.S. Bajwa, was the chief guest.



Bankers urged to promote entrepreneurship
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 13
The district unit of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) organised a three-day training programme on creating employment opportunities in the rural areas through enhanced credit flow to the rural non-farm sector with promotional support from NABARD.

Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Bathinda, urged all bankers to promote new entrepreneurship in the small-scale sector because opportunities for wage employment were limited.

Mr Sanjeev Dhamija, Assistant General Manager, (District Development); Mr S.P.S. Bains, Chairman, Faridkot-Bathinda Kshetriya Gramin Bank; Mr N.S. Sidhu, AGM PADBs Bathinda; and Mr Vijay Arora, Programme Consultant, NITCON, Bathinda, also attended the programme.

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