Monday, August 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Farmers in agitational mood
Agriculture Minister stays aloof
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and five other leftist organisations are gearing up for ‘’Kisan panchayat’’ at Patiala tomorrow. The process of district-level panchayats has begun and these organisations also plan to hold a sit-in at Chandigarh from September 1.

There has been no reaction from the government, so far to the decision of these farmers’ organisations, namely the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Kirti Kisan Union, the Khetibari Kisan Vikas Front, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and the Kul-Hind Kirti Kisan Union. Even the parent organisation, the Bharti Kisan Union, is silent.

These organisations had launched agitations simultaneously in Patiala and Chandigarh in March.

The government had then asked Finance Minister, Lal Singh to negotiate with the agitating farmers ignoring the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Ms Bhattal was reported to be letting the issues to be handled at the level of the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister since policy matters were involved. ‘’If the farmers are in an agitational mood, there is justification as the government has failed to fulfil its promises and assurances given to them in March’’, said sources close to Ms Bhattal.

Most of the issues listed by the BKU and allied organisations either concern the Centre or the state government. If the Centre decides on the minimum support price (MSP), the Congress had made certain promises in the election manifesto in February 2002. The same were reiterated when these organisations had agreed to withdraw their Patiala and Chandigarh agitations in March.

Since then, leaders of these organisations have been meeting Ms Bhattal and making suggestions that were implemented by the departments concerned. But she is maintaining silence now.

About the issues that have forced the farmers to resume their agitation, Punjab CPI secretary, Joginder Dayal said the payment of Rs 150 crore as arrears to sugarcane growers was pending.

Despite the government assurance that farmers, who were defaulters of the co-operative loans would not be arrested under section 67-A of the Act, reports of arrests being made persisted.

Dr Dayal said the freeze of the MSP continued to irk the farmers. The government had withdrawn ‘’free’’ power to the agricultural sector and also re-imposed charges on irrigation water.

While it was unlikely that the government would make power supply free again, even continuous supply for eight hours was not being given.


Rights body for action against 11 docs 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 24
The Punjab Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) today condemned the statement issued by 11 doctors working in clinical departments of the local Government Rajindra Hospital here.

Dr Suchha Singh Gill, Dr V.S. Bhardwaj and Dr Jagmohan Singh, all activists of the association, in a statement here said the 11 doctors who had expressed their willingness to forgo the non practising allowance (NPA), had admitted openly that they were engaging in private practice. The association alleged that these doctors were working for reputed private clinics and some of them even had their own private hospitals.

The association has also demanded a vigilance inquiry against these doctors and urged the state government to ban private practice for doctors working in local Government Medical College.

The association claimed that allowing doctors to do private practice would adversely affect the health sector. Dr Vidhn Shekhar added that allowing private practice would also adversely affect the teaching of MBBS, MD and MS students.

The members of the association said the government should also ensure constant availability of doctors in the hospitals so that round-the-clock medical and emergency services were made available. They said doctors should be allowed to engage in private practice only after leaving the government job.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association today, while expressing its surprise over the statement of doctors demanding legalisation of private practice in lieu of the NPA, said even the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms did not favour private practice.

The association president, Dr B.S. Sohal, said the fact had been bought to the notice of the committee formed to look into the NPA issue by the government.


Principal Secretary stalls order on cinema
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Mr S.K. Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, today stopped the implementation of an order of the District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, issued on August 8, in which he had cancelled the licence of Ajaib Cinema for screening x-rated movies and pasting obscene posters in the city.

According to a copy of the order of Mr Sinha procured by TNS, the order of Mr Aggarwal in connection with the cancellation of licence of Ajaib Cinema has been kept in abeyance till September 25. Mr Sinha issued the order after going through the appeal of Ajaib Cinema and comments given by Mr Aggarwal.

Interestingly, Mr Sinha passed the order despite the fact that Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of State, had directed Mr Aggarwal to take strict action against the culprits.

Mr Aggarwal had cancelled the licences of two cinema houses in the city on August 8 after he received a report from the district police authorities that the cinema houses had screened x-rated movies and had pasted obscene posters in the city.

However, the cancellation of the licences of two cinema houses by Mr Aggarwal created a controversy when it appeared in a section of the media that Mr Aggarwal cancelled the licences of the two cinema houses being run by same person after his family was not entertained when it went to watch a movie.

Representatives of 11 social and voluntary organisations met Mr Amarjit Singh Samra on August 15 in the city and asked him to ensure that legal action was taken against the guilty. Mr Samra then directed Mr Aggarwal to take action against the culprits.

About 30 social and voluntary organisations took up the matter and held out a threat to the Punjab Government and the district authorities that they would launch an agitation if any favours were extended to the cinema house owners. They pointed out that some vested interests were trying to promote the screening of x-rated films in the city, which would not be allowed. Four organisations have demanded a CBI probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, a section of Congress workers told TNS on the phone the Principal Secretary’s order would cause a major setback to the credibility of the Congress government in the state and would adversely affect the prospects of Congress candidates whenever elections to the municipal corporation were held.


PWD lodges complaint against Nangal MC
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), August 24
Following alleged scandals in the multi-crore-budget, Nangal Municipal Council, the local PWD authorities have lodged a police complaint against the council authorities. A culvert being constructed at a cost of about Rs 13 lakh on the Nangal- Satoshgarh road (State Highway No 25) by the council has become a bone of contention between the two departments.

The SDO (PWD), Nangal, in a complaint to the local police, has alleged that the council authorities were illegally constructing the culvert. The council authorities were repeatedly asked to get the design of the culvert approved from the PWD as the road on which it was being constructed was under the latter’s jurisdiction. However, the council authorities proceeded with the work without taking approval from the PWD.

They provided the design of the culvert to the PWD only after the roof of the culvert was laid. Moreover, the design has also been rejected by the Executive Engineer of the PWD on the plea that it is not according to the PWD specifications.

The SHO, Nangal, said statements of the officials concerned were being recorded in the matter. Suitable action would be taken after seeking the opinion of the District Attorney (Legal) in the matter.

Sources said undue haste shown by the council authorities in the construction of the culvert had raised many an eyebrow. Initially the council allotted a tender of Rs 9 lakh for the culvert. The tender amount was later revised to about Rs 13 lakh, a hike of about 40 per cent.

The amount of hike in the tender in the form of extension of work was unprecedented. Besides, as per practice if the council wanted to get the work done on the PWD road, it should have deposited the amount with the department. However, in this case the council itself went ahead with the work, that too in the monsoon season.

The council authorities were not available for comments. The Executive Officer and the Municipal Engineer both are under suspension.


New bridge collapses
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 24
A one-month-old bridge constructed at cost of Rs 30 lakh on defence drain between border villages of Churiwala Chisti and Khanpur, 10 km from here, collapsed yesterday when a loaded truck crossed over it.

According to eyewitnesses, a tractor-trailer carrying stones and construction material for roads was crossing the bridge. As the truck reached middle of the bridge, it collapsed and the truck skidded to one side damaging the bridge railing.

The GREF had got the 110-foot-long bridge constructed on the defence drain. It had been completed only about a month back and thrown open to traffic Although the truck was damaged but the driver had a narrow escape.

Mr Davinder Singh Sawansukha, Sarpanch of the adjoining Chananwala village, had demanded that a strong new bridge be soon constructed on the drain to enable movement of heavy vehicular traffic. The construction should be undertaken immediately as the bridge was the only connecting bridge between many border villages.

Officers of the GREF are investigating the cause of the collapse of the bridge.


Ex-minister points at Advani’s foreign origin
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 24
Former Union Minister and senior AICC member Chand Ram has said that the NDA had come to power with the promise of eradicating hunger and corruption under the leadership of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee but the promise had been a dream. Mr Chand Ram, who had been a member of the Vidhan Sabhas of Punjab and Haryana for 23 years and a second postgraduate among Dalits after Dr B.R. Ambedkar with rural background before partition of the country, said the NDA would be defeated in Lok Sabha election.

The BJP was planning to make foreign origin of Congress President Sonia Gandhi major election plank. We will tell the electorate that Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani also migrated to India in 1957 from Sind province of Pakistan. History of the country will endorse that more than 50 per cent of Indians had migrated from other countries. India had 14 crore Muslims, the largest compared to other countries, but the BJP and the RSS had been suspecting their integrity.

He said that economic surveys by different agencies had revealed that only 10 per cent well-placed Indians had benefited after we achieved independence. It was the Congress, which recently favoured that economically weaker people in castes also should be given the benefit of reservation. Dalits will not oppose this proposal provided their rights were not curtailed.

Even majority of the Dalits may favour the idea that rich families among them should no more enjoy the benefits of reservations, he added. Claiming that only Congress leaders had made sacrifices in fight for Independence, Mr Chand Ram said that no BJP leader had been a freedom fighter.


Teachers not paid salaries for two months
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 24
Nearly 3000 teachers of the district here not received salary for June and July.

Salary of these posts are paid partly by the Centre and partly by the government of Punjab. The sources said that the Centre had paid its share in time but the Punjab government always took more time to release the salary.

These posts included which were created during the SAD-BJP rule by upgrading 44 high schools to senior secondary schools and 44 middle schools to high schools in this district. The posts for which the salary has not been released included Plan Posts under new opening schools in remote areas and operation black board. Two posts were sanctioned by the Centre in every primary school in the border districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore. The Centre has withdrawn Operation Black Board and the teachers who were being paid under this category from the Centre are being denied salaries in time.

The official sources said that more than 500 teachers, clerical staff and class-IV employees of 17 DIETS in this district have not been paid salaries since April. Under the scheme 85 per cent of the funds were to be contributed by the Centre and the remaining 15 per cent by the state government.

Official sources said that the sanction of Financial Commissioner Revenue is mandatory to release the salary of teachers and other employees being paid under planned posts. The District Treasury has not received the clearance in this regard so far.

Earlier teachers when not paid salary resorted the agitation to seek release of salary but the recent Supreme Court judgement declaring strike illegal had tied their hands. Mr Arun Kumar, State Press Secretary General Categories Welfare Federation also a primary school teacher said that teachers would move Punjab and Haryana High Court for seeking release of pay.


Demand to withdraw support to civic chief
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 24
Mr Sat Pal Sareen, former President Municipal Council and Mr Vijay Aggarwal, President District unit of the BJP Hoshiarpur urged BJP and SAD leaders to withdraw the support from Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi, President of Municipal Council here, following his condemnation of BJP leaders on the occasion of dedication ceremony of bridge over Beas at Naushehra Pattan by Mr Vinod Khanna, Union State Minister for External Affairs on August 20, 2003.

Talking to media persons here yesterday Mr Sat Pal Sareen and Mr Vijay Aggarwal said that Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi had no right to continue as President of the Municipal Council with the support of the BJP and the SAD, after his condemnation of leaders of both parties.

Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi won the last Municipal Elections on the Congress ticket. He along with four other Congress Municipal Councillors revolted against the official Congress nominee Mr Brij Mohan Batra in the election of the President of the council and became president with the support of the BJP and the SAD.


Probe likely into VIP treatment to undertrial
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
An inquiry is likely to be held into the VIP treatment given to the District TB Officer, Dr Mitterpal Devgan, who was arrested by the police yesterday. He was arrested by the police for allegedly tampering with government records to eliminate evidence of doing two government jobs simultaneously. It was alleged that he had tampered with the records in connivance with employees of the Health Department.

A senior official of the police told this correspondent that an inquiry would be held into the VIP treatment given to Dr Devgan. Dr Devgan was given VIP treatment during police custody. He was served tea and snacks along with Dr P.S. Bedi, Principal, Medical College, and Dr Kanwaljit Singh, Civil Surgeon, who visited the police station to meet Dr Devgan. He even remained available to mediapersons on the mobile.

Dr Devgan was produced before the Duty Magistrate, Mr Pushwinder, JMIC, late last evening, who sent him in police remand for 14 days. Later, Dr Devgan was admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital after he complained of chest pain in the Civil Lines police station.


Punjab Rattan Award for Punjab Today chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
The Punjab Writers Forum today presented the Punjab Rattan Award to Punjab Today channel Chairman J.K. Jain at a function organised at the Central Library here.

The award, consisting of a medal, memento and citation, was handed over to the Punjab Today Chairman by Patiala MP Preneet Kaur on behalf of the forum. Ms Preneet Kaur said the channel had carved out a niche for itself in the hearts of Punjabis within a short period. She said the channel had done yeoman’s service to the cause of Punjabi journalism and was helping in developing the language.

The MP, while speaking on plans for Patiala, said the city would be developed as a tourism site. She said the government had planned to project it as a heritage tourism site, under which it had held a 10-day fair, during the course of which the heritage monuments of the city were highlighted. She said it had been decided to enhance the prestige of the fair, which would be organised in February, by getting artisans of repute to perform during the course of the festival.

Mrs Preneet Kaur disclosed that work on augmenting the water supply and sewerage facilities in Patiala had started, with Rs 60 crore released for the same. She said Rs 126 crore would be spent for this purpose. The MP disclosed that the glory of the Baradari Gardens in the city would be further enhanced, with Rs 1.80 crore being spent for this purpose.

The Adviser to the Chief Minister, Mr Bharatinder Singh Chahal, congratulated the Punjab Today Chairman, saying the channel had highlighted the progress made by Punjab in recent times by concentrating on development activities being done in the state. State Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to the forum.


Tohra men get key SGPC posts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
The Tohra group yesterday took away, major portfolios from the previous Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee functionaries. According to orders passed by the SGPC Chief Secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, gets the charge of the Dharma Parchar Committee, general administration, trust and complete administration of Darbar Sahib. While Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary and confidant of Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar has been left with Section 85 (gurdwaras) and the Finance Department.

Mr Harjit Singh, an associate of the former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has been shifted from the Dharma Parchar Committee to the Publication Department. Mr Raghbir Singh, Assistant Secretary and former PA to Mr Badungar has been shifted to Press and Publication Department. Mr Ranbir Singh PA to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra gets the important section of revenue. Mr Joginder Singh gets education while Mr Mohinder Singh get posting in the department of flying squad.


Calcutta calls for strengthening of Panth
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 24
Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, secretary, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, today called upon the workers of all the panthic organisations to join hands for the “high spirits” of the Khalsa Panth.

While speaking at a function where he was honoured alongwith Mr Prem Singh Lalpura and Bhai Manjit Singh, both senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Calcutta said that the Akali unity had already infused a fresh blood in the organisation. This unity needed to be strengthened, he said.


Lal Singh issue may be raised at Akal Takht
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
The issue of the alleged ‘objectionable’ utterances by Finance Minister Lal Singh, equating Guru Gobind Singh and his family with the Nehru-Gandhi family, may be raised at Akal Takht by the SGPC’s interim committee if the latter fails to tender an apology.

The interim committee, including Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Onkar Singh Shriefpura and Mr Gurinder Singh Shampura, today said the statement of Mr Lal Singh had deeply hurt Sikh sentiments.


SP (City) to probe fake admission case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mr Kultar Singh has transferred the investigation of the fake admission case, in which Rakesh Sharma was fraudulently admitted to Guru Nanak Dev University in MCA, to Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh SP (City-I). The case has been transferred following a request by Rakesh Sharma, who was allegedly admitted in MCA in connivance with some high authorities of the university after giving a bribe.

The investigation was entrusted to Mr Ashwani Kapur, Deputy Superintendent of Police, about a year ago. However, even after such a long time, no significant development in the case had been made, Rakesh alleged in a letter to the SSP. He further alleged that the investigation was not being done fairly.

Prior to this inquiry, a probe was conducted by an SP and an FIR under Sections 420, 465 and 471 of IPC and Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against Parmanand, the then Assistant to the Dean (Academic Affairs) and Mr H.S. Kahlon, the then Head of the Department of Computer Engineering and Sciences. The SP prima facie found that Parmanand and other senior officers of the university had taken a bribe of about Rs 2 lakh from Rakesh for giving him admission in MCA.

Rakesh was admitted to the university in 2001. He had attended classes and was even allotted a roll number, which was later found to be of another student. He brought this lapse to the notice of the Head of the Department after which an FIR was lodged by the university against Rakesh for forgery.


Board to monitor subsoil water
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 24
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided to monitor quality of underground water in industrial districts of the state. Checks would be conducted every six months in various areas surrounding industrial belts to monitor effect of effluents on the ground water. If underground water was found to be deteriorating action would be taken to remove possible causes. Mr KPS Rana Chairman of the PPCB stated this to newsmen at DSM company yesterday. He was there to address unit owners of the Asron belt near Ropar.

Mr Rana said that the decision to monitor the underground water had been taken in view of the deteriorating drinking water standards in city like Ludhiana. In Ludhiana electroplating industry and the Municipal Corporation were the major sources polluting the underground water.

To check the further deterioration of underground water in Ludhiana efforts were being made to shift electroplating industry out of residential areas to focal points. In focal points the industry would be urged to install common treatment plants.

He also told that a site had been selected somewhere in Patiala district to dump hazardous waste produced in the state. In Ropar alone 600 tonnes of hazardous waste was produced annually which if not disposed properly could prove to be a serious pollutant.

Committees of experts has been formed to look into the disputed guidelines of the PPCB. These committees would examine the issues faced by the industry as the use of fuel by the steel industry in Gobindgarh and the location of shellers from the residential areas.


Couple pleads son’s innocence
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 24
The parents of Dr Harnrain Singh of Kot Kapura, former director of Vision Webmart Limited, Ludhiana, in judicial custody for misappropriating funds of the company, have charged the police with registering a case under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC on flimsy grounds in connivance with the complainant, Mr Hardip Singh Kainth, another director of the company, on August 14.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Avtar Singh (72) and Ms Mukhtiar Kaur (67) alleged that the police had registered the case in haste and had backtracked from its community policing scheme. They said the complainant was looking after financial matters and was maintaining the accounts. They added that their son resigned from the company on May 22.

The old couple clarified that under the constitution of the company, after the acceptance of the resignation of a director, he did not owe any responsibility for financial or other matters. They claimed that the company had never announced a scheme to give any incentive or salary to any depositor for promoting the business of the company. They demanded a thorough inquiry from an independent agency.


Tributes paid to ex-MLA’s nephew
Tribune New Service

Dhuri (Sangrur), August 24
Amid a large gathering at the bhog ceremony of Bhalinder Singh (33), a nephew of former Dhuri MLA Dhanwant Singh and a local arhtiya, here today, SAD and the Congress leaders paid tributes to the deceased. They also demanded stern action against the alleged “killers” of Bhalinder Singh. Bhalinder Singh was shot dead on August 15 at his native Manwala village, 4 km from here, when he was returning home from his fields. The reason behind the murder was a reported enmity during the last Panchayat elections.

The Dhuri police had registered a case against Surinder Kumar Changli, Gurdip Singh and Inderjit Singh. The police had also arrested Gurdip Singh on August 17, who confessed before the mediapersons that he had killed Bhalinder Singh and the other two accused, named in the FIR, had no hand in’ the murder. But Mr Dhanwant Singh said Gurdip Singh was telling a lie under pressure from the local police.

Addressing the gathering today, Mr Dhanwant Singh said if the relatives of the deceased did not get justice by August 30, then an agitational programme might be chalked-out 


2 bodies fished out of distributary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
Two bodies were fished out of the Kotbhai distributary near Jaitu in Faridkot district today.

According to a press note issued by the Sahara Jan Sewa a man’s body was fished out of the distributary. The body had been eaten up partly by the animals. It was handed over to the General Railway Police personnel and was cremated after the completion of formalities.

The other body fished out was of a young woman. The deceased had been strangulated to death. The deceased was wearing expensive clothes along with jewellery. The body was cremated after postmortem examination.

In another incident, a youth, Manohar Lal of Dabwali, allegedly committed suicide by jumping before a running train near the Dabwali railway station. The body was handed over to the kin of deceased after postmortem examination.

Another person, identified as Babban, died at the Bathinda railway station. The body was cremated after completing legal formalities.


Army expedition flagged off
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 24
Brigade Commander of Jalandhar brigade yesterday flagged off “Parbat Chetna”, a trekking expedition of Dogra battalion from a cantonment area near here.

The trekking team consisting of two Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 12 jawans led by Captain Amit Kabdwal would cover 103 km through difficult terrain in eight days from Uttarkashi to Kedarnath.

Talking to reporters, the Brigade Commander said that besides promoting sense of adventure and making Army personnel know about rich cultural heritage of this region.


AWWA celebrates Raising Day
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 24
The Ferozepore chapter of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) held a week-long celebrations to mark the 37th Raising Day. The celebrations culminated at the Mamdot Hall with a cultural programme organised by the AWWA.

Addressing the gathering, Mrs Ratandeep Kaur Brar, chairperson of the AWWA, lauded the efforts of association aimed at the welfare and uplift of the members.

In her address to the women of Golden Arrow Division, Mrs Brar highlighted the multifarious activities of Golden Arrow AWWA for care of the separated families, welfare of widows, educational drives and ecological awareness. She said that a vocational centre of training, gift shop, boy’s hostel and a centre for the handicapped and destitute children had been set up by the AWWA.


Missing girl restored to parents
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 24
A minor girl, missing since July 24 from Jalandhar, was traced by the local police from Tibbi here last night and restored to her parents, it was learnt here today.

Police sources said Noor Mohammed, running a market company in Jalandhar, had duped the girl under the pretext of providing her a job.

Having got compartment in her matric examination, the girl fell easy prey and was abducted and kept at various places.


MP for front on SYL canal
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 24
Mr Ashwani Kumar a Rajya Sabha member said here today that all political parties in the state should form a front to impress upon the Centre to protect Punjab’s interests regarding the SYL canal. He sought SAD-BJP combine’s help to the Congress government to protect Punjab’s interests. He made it clear that Punjab had no water to spare.

He said more than 600 farmers died during SAD-BJP rule due to poor economic conditions and if the SYL canal was completed to give water to Haryana, plight of Punjab farmers would worsen, he added.


Ensure adequate canal water, CM urged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Residents of several villages in Mansa district have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to direct the Irrigation Department to ensure adequate supply of water in the Uddat Sedewala water channel.

Submitting a representation to the Chief Minister here today, the villagers said they had not been getting adequate supply of canal water for the past several days. In the absence of adequate rain in about 20 villages, including Narinder Pura, Kalahiri, Kot Dharmu, Bhamme etc, farmers were finding it difficult to nurse their paddy crop. Even power supply to these villages was not adequate. “As we have been spending a lot to buy diesel to operate tubewells, it has become a costly affair”, complained villagers.


Illegal construction despite inquiry
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 24
The lanter of a building in the Basant Avenue area here was constructed yesterday and today even as the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Municipal Corporation was conducting an inquiry into the construction. The residential building was reportedly being converted into a commercial establishment by constructing a number of shops and a hall. This was allegedly being done with the connivance of some officials of the building department.

It was alleged that the owners of the building had not obtained any building plan and the construction was violative of the rules regarding parking space.

Mr Kirpal Singh, additional commissioner of the corporation, confirmed that an inquiry was being conducted by Mr Kansal. He said since the building department was under the commissioner, he could not comment more on the issue. A spot survey of the building revealed that the new walls were constructed even before the old and outer walls were demolished in an alleged attempt to conceal the illegal activity.


Three held for couple’s murder
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 24
The police has claimed to have solved the blind murder case of an old NRI couple, at Jamarai village.

The police said here today that three persons of the same village — Dharminder Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Narinder Singh — had been arrested for the murder. After taking the gold ornaments, they had strangulated the couple and locked the bodies in a room.

The couple lived in the USA and had come to the village to collect the contract amount against their land, being tilled by a person of the same village, which amounted to Rs 1 lakh. The couple had collected the amount a few days back, the police said.

Dharminder was the main accused, who in connivance with Sukhdev and Narinder, trespassed their house and tried to loot the amount. They had failed to locate the amount, following which they looted the gold ornaments from Naranjan Singh and strangulated him. While they were trying to escape, they strangulated his wife. The bodies were locked in a room.


Businessman robbed

Hoshiarpur, August 24
Four persons robbed a Delhi-based businessman of a car and Rs 2,200 near Tanda town on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road in this district late last night.

According to the police, the miscreants had hitched a lift from the car owner, Mohan Veer Singh, and later forced him and his driver, Harnam Singh, at gunpoint to surrender the cash and the car and fled in the same vehicle. — UNI


Held for selling spurious diesel

Moga, August 24
The CIA police raided a general store of Bahona village last evening and arrested its owner for selling spurious diesel.

The police also seized 600 litres of spurious diesel, which was allegedly stored in a tank.

According to the Moga SSP, Ms Anita, the suspect, Lakhbir Singh, used to buy diesel from a nearby Dala village diesel outlet and used to sell it by mixing kerosene in it. He had been operating in the area for the past one year. — UNI


Two proclaimed offenders held

Moga, August 24
The district police has arrested two proclaimed offenders (POs) against whom more than half a dozen criminal cases, including looting of petrol stations, were registered.

Daljit Singh, alias Goldie, and Kuldip Singh, alias Jolly, had absconded after jumping bail in more than six cases. — UNI

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