Tuesday, September 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Former MLA Harbhajan Singh shoots himself
Tribune News Service

Bhogpur (Jalandhar), September 8
Disturbed over the efforts to grab his land and on being repeatedly coerced by certain influential persons, Dr Harbhajan Singh (75), former Adampur MLA, allegedly shot himself with his licensed revolver at his house here early this morning.

He had been putting up at his house alone since death of his wife a few years back. Three of his four children had settled in England. Residents of this township on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road were stunned as the news of his suicide spread.

Before shooting himself, Dr Harbhajan Singh, who used to sleep in his first floor room along with his relative-cum-caretaker Gurvinder Singh, sent the latter down stairs to do his daily chores and penned a detailed note in Urdu. He wrote how he was battered by his chronic diseases and how some persons had been coercing him as part of their designs to usurp his land.

The suicide note said he was constantly being disturbed by his prolonged diseases and by Kuldip Singh, Prem Singh, Avtaar Singh and a few other influential persons, including a Youth Congress leader. The police registered a case against the three persons on the basis of the note. The body was sent for postmortem examination.


Punjab should pursue reforms, says Manmohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Former Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh said today: “Punjab has to create an investor-friendly situation that will promote agriculture and ensure jobs to the youth. The state should continue to vigorously pursue the reforms that have been initiated.”

Talking to newspersons at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, he said, since agriculture was the mainstay of the state’s economy, it called for an aggressive labour-intensive, environment-friendly, multi-faceted approach to improve the living standards of small, medium and marginal farmers.

This would require switching to high-value crops that could also be processed, thereby, promoting agro-industries.

Dr Manmohan Singh endorsed the report on crop diversification submitted to the Centre by Dr S.S. Johl and called for strengthening the agricultural base to promote exports. Cotton cultivation was one particular area that must be taken up seriously to promote textile industry.

Asked if the Congress Government was following the election manifesto, Dr Manmohan Singh said the previous Akali-BJP government had caused much damage to the state finances.

Efforts were now being made to restructure the fiscal situation through reforms.

About the recommendations of a brain-storming session that he had attended along with 30 other economists, farm scientists, policy-makers at Punjab Agricultural University in October ,1998, Dr Manmohan Singh said, those were submitted to the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in the form of a booklet, “Farmers and Farming in Punjab”. Nothing came out of that. “I have asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to have a look at those recommendations’’.

Dr Manmohan Singh said the government should withdraw itself from the commercial activities and focus on infrastructure, alleviation of poverty and the social sector, including education and health.

Earlier, Dr Manmohan Singh chaired a session of the Haksar memorial lecture series organised by the CRRID. The key speakers were Mr P.N. Dhar and Mr Salman Haider.

Others who spoke included Mr Gopi Arora, Mr Jagat S. Mehta, Mr R.P. Bambah, Mr C.D. Narula, Prof Partho Mukherjee.

They recounted their personal experiences with Mr P.N. Haksar, who had stepped into the Prime Minister Office at a crucial point of time in the political history of the country.


SGPC officiating secy’s appointment challenged
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 8
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today admitted a petition against the appointment of Mr Dilmegh Singh as officiating secretary of the SGPC.

The petition, filed by Mr Balwinder Singh, also made Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra as party to the alleged illegal appointment. It was alleged that there was no provision under the Sikh Gurdwara Act rules, service rules, administrative schemes or SGPC documents for appointing an officiating secretary. The secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh, was carrying out his duties, the petitioner said, alleging that the SGPC president had bypassed and ignored the order of the SGJC, which had stayed the working of the chief secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, on the same plea.

In a set of allegations, the petitioner alleged the latter’s involvement in the case of moral turpitude and the alleged manipulations in his appointments from gurdwara inspector in 1980 to chief gurdwara inspector in 1989. The petition added that he had allegedly jumped promotions from category 6 to category 11 and was appointed personal assistant to the SGPC president in 1991 and personal secretary to the SGPC president after 16 days. In 1995, he was appointed additional secretary of the SGPC from the post of superintendent of Mata Gujri College, it added, alleging that Mr Tohra had facilitated his appointments.

Dubbing the allegations as misleading and unethical, Mr Dilmegh Singh, in a written statement to The Tribune, asserted that such allegations amounted to character assassination. He said his appointments had been duly approved by the SGPC’s executive committee and were in consonance with the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling, allowing a graduate with 25 years’ experience and a postgraduate with 15 years’ experience to become secretary or personal secretary. Without naming Mr Harbeant Singh, Mr Dilmegh Singh asserted, “It was unfortunate that out-of-turn promotions were given for post of SGPC secretary to those who were simply matriculates”.

The petitioner claimed a Rs 4-lakh loss to the SGPC. This was the difference in pay to which Mr Dilmegh Singh was entitled as gurdwara inspector and which he was getting due to the connivance of both respondents.

The petitioner prayed for restraining Mr Dilmegh Singh and Mr Tohra from holding their offices, besides their disqualification from holding any SGPC office for five years. He appealed for the declaration of confirmation orders of the officiating secretary by the executive committee of the SGPC as null and void.

In addition, he prayed for the payment of Rs 4 lakh, along with 18 per cent interest per annum, and Rs 5 lakh for causing irreparable loss to the SGPC and its reputation. The next date of hearing was fixed for September 12.


23,752 teachers not paid for 3 months
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 8
There are 23,752 teachers and other staff in nearly 13,000 primary schools of Punjab and 1,404 middle, high and senior secondary schools upgraded in May, 2001, who have not been paid salaries for June, July and August.

The main reason for non-payment of salaries is that the Finance Department is yet to sanction these posts. Of the affected teachers, 20,831 are from the primary wing whose posts have been sanctioned under the non-plan scheme. In the 1,404 middle, high and senior secondary schools, 2,921 teachers whose posts have been sanctioned under the planned scheme have also not got their salaries.

The affected staff had got paid for March, April and May after obtaining temporary budgetary sanction from the District Education Officer (Secondary and Elementary) for one quarter. Six months have gone by since the commencement of the new financial year, yet due to the alleged indifference of the Finance Department, a regular budgetary sanction for these posts against which the staff have been working for many years has not been granted.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesperson, Government Secondary Teachers Union, Punjab, has criticised this policy of the government and threatened agitation for salaries. He has urged the Chief Minister and Education Minister to intervene.


Teachers unhappy
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 8
Resentment prevails among the teaching staff of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera (Barnala) as they have not been paid salaries for the past six or eight months.

A spokesman of the college unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union said today that the college had been passing through a financial crisis. He alleged that this crisis had been deepening because college funds were being misused and misappropriated.

The spokesman said a delegation of the unit called upon the managing committee office-bearers, urging them to pay the salaries at the earliest. He said the unit regretted.


Plea to link MSP with price index
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The 32nd annual kisan panchayat will be held here tomorrow under the aegis of the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU). It will focus on the problems and challenges faced by the farmers in Punjab.

BKU President, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Secretary-General, Manjit Singh Kadian said that the continuing upswing in the cost of farm inputs had a cascading effect on the incomes of farmers. There was need for linking the farm produce prices with the price index to sustain the agricultural economy.

The panchayat would announce its next course of action after deliberating on the problems that beset agriculture. This panchayat comes close on the heels of a four-day sit-in here by kisan organisations.

Earlier in the day, the kisan wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, demanding state intervention and linking the support price with the price index.

The memorandum said the prices of farm inputs had gone up 22 times since 1966 while the minimum support price had been commensurate with this increase.

The kisan leaders warned that the dismal situation of Punjab as portrayed in the memorandum was developing throughout the country, which could have serious implications, including more suicide cases due to growing indebtedness.


Engineering seats go abegging
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The raising of the management quota from 15 to 50 per cent and an extension in the last date for admission to September 15 notwithstanding, 15 to 25 per cent seats in various engineering colleges in Punjab are still vacant.

The situation is no better either in Haryana or Himachal Pradesh.

Punjab has over 30 engineering colleges while Haryana has 30 . Broadly speaking both Punjab and Haryana have as many as 10,000 seats each in their respective engineering colleges. Until today, the total number of admissions made in Punjab were about 8,200 while in Haryana, it was a little more.

Last month, the Supreme Court ordered an increase n the management seats from 15 per cent to 50 per cent, thus leaving it on the managements of these colleges, mostly privately managed, to make full use of the seats they have been sanctioned by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the State Technical Departments.

Punjab has only four government-sponsored autonomous engineering colleges while Haryana has an many government engineering colleges.

Last month, when the AICTE reviewed the status of technical education in general and admissions in particular in northern states at a conference held at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana claimed an improvement in their respective intakes. The position of Himachal Pradesh has remained unchanged as the number of vacant seats has remained in the range of 30 per cent.

Last year, Punjab could fill only 6,200 of the 10,000 seats. One of the major reasons for large-scale vacancies in engineering colleges in Punjab has been the fee structure. “The fee in Punjab is highest in the country. The parents of a student have to shell out almost a lakh of rupees a year as the tuition fee alone is Rs 45,000. Then there are development charges, university charges and other miscellaneous charges,” said a senior functionary of the Punjab Technical Education Department.


Top cop for watch on cyber crime
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
The Head of the Vigilance Department of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Mr Lalit Bhatia, has recommended the establishment of a police station to deal exclusively with cyber crime.

Mr Bhatia made the recommendation at a programme sponsored by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, held in Chandigarh recently.

In a press note here, Mr Bhatia said the report in this connection had been submitted to the Director General of Police (DGP) and the PSEB Chairman.

Mr Bhatia, during the programme which was attended by 30 participants from various government departments, including Punjab Police, observed that there was a need to create awareness of cyber space and cyber-related crimes and to apprise people of the provisions and legal implications of the IT Act, 2000.

The programme contents comprised cyber crime, knowledge of cyber threats, networking internet, ISP Internet service provider, obscenity and Internet, classifications of cyber crime, legal recognition of e-records and digital signatures and software piracy.

Mr Bhatia elaborated on the IT Act, 2002 and stressed that the Act was to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “electronic commerce or e-commerce”, which involved the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the government agencies.

He added that there was a need to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Banker’s Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

He further stressed that the new communication system and digital technology had made tremendous changes and impact on every aspect of life. The revolution was occurring in the way people transacted business with electronic system with a view to eliminating the need for paper-based transactions, making it imperative to introduce legal changes in the systems for effectively dealing with electronic system with special reference to commerce and governance.

The participants were imparted knowledge relating to browsing, client server, digital signature, domain name, hacking, icon, Internet service provider, protocol, search engine, Trojan house, web server and web site.

Mr Bhatia further added that the provisions of the IT Act went beyond the state jurisdiction and a new concept of “Netizen” had emerged. He stressed to secure electronic record, digital signature and security procedure as contained in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the IT Act, 2000.


They represented India at conference in USA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Six students of the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy at Ropar are back here after attending the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) in the USA. They represented India in this 12-day conference which ended at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The students — Preetinder Singh, Naveen Mehta, Jaspreet Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Tasveer Kaur and Ritu Sharma (all in age group of 16 to 18 years) — represented India and stayed at George Washington University campus.

As many as 360 students from 80 countries attended the conference. For the first six days, they were at Washington DC and for the next six days at New York.

In the conference, international problems like terrorism, poverty, economy, trade and finance, AIDS, inter-country disputes and environment were discussed.

The students were asked to share their views with prominent personalities.

The participants were taken to many important places in America, including Washington DC, Lincoln Memorial, Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, John F. Kennedy Centre and White House, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, International Human Rights Commission, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Atlantic City.

At the end of the conference, they were awarded the Youth Leadership Awards. Programme Coordinator Paul Turner called on Director of the academy Sukhjinder Singh and appreciated the role of students in the conference.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh said that owing to the performance of the students, the council has taken Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy on its regular panel to invite its 10 students every year for the conferences in future. The associate directors of the GYLC, Ms Anna Catharine Clemmons and Ms Brooke Bossen, have also taken Mr Sukhjinder Singh on the regular panel to be associated with the GYLC in regard to such a conferences.

On August 15 these students were invited to a cup of tea with the Consul-General of India at the Indian Embassy in New York.


Centre’s attitude discriminatory, says Cong
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Nearly 100 Congress workers from four block units today sat in a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner alleging the Congress-ruled states had been discriminated against by the BJP-led NDA government.

Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, president, District Congress Committee, said while on one hand, the NDA government had not been purchasing the sugar produced by Punjab, on the other hand, it had been pressing the state for consuming the sugar produced in Gujarat. He alleged though Punjab and Rajasthan, both ruled by the Congress, had experienced drought last year, the Centre had given no relief to these.

He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would stage a dharna in front of the residence of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and court arrest for protecting the interests of farmers. On September 22, the Congress would organise a ‘rail roko’ agitation for one hour.

Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader of the district said gathering at today’s dharna had been thin.


Ravi Inder claims good response from Akali leaders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The president of newly floated Akali party, Mr Rani Inder Singh, today claimed that he had received an overwhelming response from a large number of Akali leaders of the Badal faction who were disappointed with the functioning of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing a gathering of his party workers at Guru Nanak Bhavan here, he said during his recent visit to Bathinda, a number of Akali workers had now joined his party.


Rs 820 cr for SCs’ welfare
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The government would expend Rs 820 crore on the welfare of scheduled castes in the state. This was stated by Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Punjab Minister for Welfare, Social Security, Women and Child Development at a seminar on the security of civil rights here yesterday.

Earlier, Mr Mann said the government had earmarked Rs 111 lakh of this Rs 35 lakh was reserved for 140 intercastes marriages, Rs 21 lakh for panchayats working for the upliftment of SCs’, Rs 14 lakh for the seminars and Rs 14 lakh for other purposes.

The minister said Rs 90 lakh (45 lakh each by central and state governments) were also assigned for the rehabilitation of Scs’ under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

In the seminar cheques worth Rs 156 lakh were distributed among 735 SC beneficiaries from rural areas living below poverty line (BPL) for building houses and purchasing plots.


Vigilance probe against SDM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has initiated a probe into irregularities committed by Officials of the Punjab Education Department in admissions to the elementary teachers training (ETT) course in 2001.

A spokesman of the bureau said today a regular inquiry had been ordered against Mr Rakha Singh Jangu, SDM, Bassi Pathana (Fatehgarh Sahib); Harnek Singh, Naib Tehsildar; and Malkit Singh Patwari (Halka Nogawava) who, in connivance with Surjit Singh of Bassi Pathana, had registered a mutation of land measuring 30 bighas — belonging to Surjit Kaur of Jai Singhwala — in the name of Surjit Singh on the basis of a forged will.

Various irregularities had been commited in the allotment of contracts in the Public Health Department at Mansa, causing huge losses to the state exchequer. In this case, a vigilance inquiry had been ordered against Pawan Kumar, SDO, Mansa; Satish Kumar, JE (sub-division) and Gurmel Singh, a contractor of Dehlewal village (Mansa).

In another case of alleged bungling in stored wheat at Patran (Patiala), the bureau had registered a case against seven officials of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation, including Warehouse Manager Ranbir Singh; Technical Officer, J.P. Karkaria, junior assistant R.K. Jain, technical assistant, I.B. Tiwari, godown assistant Gurnam Singh and technical assistant Baljinder Singh.

It had also been alleged that Pawan Kumar Goyal, a document writer of Malout (Muktsar), was involved in preparing and selling bogus academic degrees in collusion with Surinder Bajaj of Adarsh degree College. It was on the basis a bogus degree that Pawan Kumar managed to get a government job for his wife, Ms Kiron Bala, as Headmistress of Government High School, Gurusar Jodha. An inquiry had been ordered to bring out the truth.


Road toll policy being framed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 8
The Punjab Government will change the concept of the construction and repair of roads shortly for better condition of roads. This was disclosed by Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Minister for Public Works, while talking to mediapersons at the local PWD Rest House here today.

He said the road policy was being framed and would be presented at the Cabinet meeting shortly for approval. He said the condition of almost all state highways had deteriorated due to heavy traffic. The state government had not provided any funds for the maintenance of roads in its annual budget for the last many years, he added.

He had recently visited Tamil Nadu and inspected the 137-km toll road from Chennai to Pondicherry. He said the PWD and the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board had identified about 1,000 km of state highways for making them toll roads. These toll roads would be made 33 feet wide, with two lanes. Toll tax would be charged from all vehicles, except two-wheelers and tractor-trailers carrying agricultural produce.

He would head a team that would visit China and Malaysia to study the project on the four-laned elevated highway from Delhi to Harmandir Sahib (Amritsar). He said the Union Surface Transport Ministry had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the construction of a four-laned national highway between Jalandhar and Amritsar.


Demand to reject WTO’s proposals
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 8
The Union Government should reject the proposals of the WTO regarding the stoppage of foodgrains’ procurement by the government agencies and fixation of minimum support price (MSP) of foodgrains by the government at a ministerial-level meeting of the WTO to be held in Mexico from September 10 to 14.

Demanding this here today, Mr Bhupinder Sambar, state general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, said the acceptance of the proposals by the government would ruin the country, especially the farming community. This would also ruin the entire agriculture sector, besides putting an adverse affect on our food security, he added.

Mr Sambar called upon the communist countries, like China, Brazil, Cuba and South Africa, to fight against any such move collectively and said India should lead these countries to oppose the imperialist forces and their policies.

Mr Sambar flayed the government for the non-inclusion of any farmers’ representative in the delegation, led by Mr Arun Jately, Union Commerce Minister, which had gone to Mexico to take part in the WTO meeting there. He said, however, the delegation had a sufficient number of representatives of industry.

Mr Sambar said six kisan organisations, including Punjab Kisan Sabha, BKU (Ekta), Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and Kirti Kisan Union, would hold a demonstration on September 10 at Chandigarh to compel the Punjab Government to fulfil all promises made by it to Kisan organisations.


Pharmacy supdt denies report on herbs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
While the Government Ayurvedic and Unani Dispensers Union, Punjab, has urged the state government to seal the Government Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Patiala, to inspect the material being used there for the preparation of ayurvedic formulations, the superintendent of the pharmacy, Dr Shivraj Singh, today denied that substandard and expired herbs were being used to make medicines.

Reacting to The Tribune’s story, Mr Narinder Singh Sidhu, president of the union, said in a statement that a Vigilance probe should be ordered into the affairs of the pharmacy. He said all formulations prepared at the pharmacy in the recent months should be sent to an independent laboratory to check their potency.

Since most of the funds were being provided by the Central Government for the pharmacy, it would also not be out of place if the probe was handed over to the CBI, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Shivraj Singh said the committee constituted by the Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab had visited and inspected the pharmacy and found that raw herbs were of good quality. However, he did not give the date and the year of the inspection.

Dr Shivraj Singh claimed that nowhere was it written in ayurvedic granths that raw herbs became unfit for use after a year. It is clear from certain records of the pharmacy that several herbs had been destroyed in the past which had become ineffective.


Human rights panel against cycle-stand fee in market
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
The Punjab Human Rights Committee (PHRC) has urged the chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Sant Ram Singla, to stop unauthorised collection of cycle-stand fee in the vegetable market.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, PHRC, said unscrupulous elements had been forcing shoppers and vendors to part with their money in the name of cycle-stand fee. It had become a routine despite the public resentment against it.

He said the PHRC had taken up the matter with the market committee authorities, but without any positive outcome. Even a section of market-committee officials had expressed their helplessness in preventing this looting”.

The PHRC wants market-committee officials, helping these unscrupulous elements to be transferred. Complaints in this regard had been lodged with the Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police.


SC families stage dharna, block traffic
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, September 8
Resentment prevails among the Scheduled Caste (SC) landless families of Khojewal village 10 km from here as the sarpanch has stopped them from taking possession of their land which was allotted to them for construction of houses.

During the Akali Dal-BJP government 46 Scheduled Caste families were allotted five-marla plots each.

More than a 100 landless SC persons today staged a dharna on Kapurthala-Jalandhar road and blocked the vehicular traffic for more than two hours.

The police persuaded them to lift the dharna and meet the Deputy Commissioner about their demands.

Later the landless families met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, and presented a memorandum to him listing their demands.

Mr Gurmit Lal, an activist of Youth Congress, told newsmen that 46 Scheduled Caste families were given plots for construction of houses from the panchayat land in 2001. He alleged the sarpanch of the village was obstructing in delivery of possession of these plots to these families.


Sodhal fair starts
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 8
Thousands of devotees from all over the northern region have started thronging the local Sodhal temple as the annual two-day Sidh Baba Sodhal fair started here this evening amid tight security arrangements.

Keeping in view the large number of devotees, the district administration and police have made elaborate arrangements to deal with any eventuality.

About 1,800 constables, headed by a DSP, have been deputed to look after the security of devotees.

A police control room and help room have been set up for the convenience of visitors. Two ambulances, a doctor, a pharmacist have been deputed to deal with any medical emergency. Four fire tenders have been stationed at the venue.


Baba Farid Aagman Purb from Sept 15
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 8
The 18th Aagman Purb celebrations of Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid would be jointly organised by the district administration, Red Cross Society, Baba Farid Memorial Society and Gurdwara Godri Sahib Society here from September 15 onwards.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would lay the foundation stone of a Multipurpose Institute for Handicapped Children on September 22.

He would also inaugurate a state-level rural festival at the Nehru Stadium, another Red Cross Fair at Government Balbir Senior Secondary School besides releasing a Sheikh Farid Chronicle-2003 depicting the works of the Sufi Saint on the same day here, said Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, at a press conference here today.

He said the celebrations, spread over a period of nine days, would start with a state-level painting workshop by renowned artists from New Delhi, UP and Punjab followed by a blood donation camp and Sheikh Farid National Drama Festival on the inaugural day.


Indian losing ethical values, says Suba Rao
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
“Human values all over the world are fastly erading due to increase in communal clashes between various communities and it is our moral duty to maintain communal harmony and national integration at any cost”, said Mr S.N. Suba Rao, Director, National Youth Project, while addressing a seminar on communal harmony organised by the District Cultural Society in collaboration with the Rotary Club, Sirhind, today.

Dr Suba Rao had played an important rule in persuading 500 dacoits of the Chambal Valley to join the mainstream by surrendering their weapons. He is a scholar and well-versed in 18 languages of world. He had organised more than 500 national integration camps.

He said it was unfortunate that the Indians were losing their moral, ethical and spiritual values under the influence of western culture.

Next month he would arrange a camp of children at SAS Nagar in which 2000 children from every part of the country would participate and they would trained to maintain peace and communal harmony.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of District Cultural Society said to counter communalism, we must strengthen our cultural activities.

Arjuna awardee honoured
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Alok Kumar, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh and a winner of the Arjuna Award, was honoured by the District Red Cross Society and District Olympic Association at a function held at Bachat Bhavan here today.

Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge, was the chief guest, while Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, presided over the function.

The billiards player won a silver medal in the Asian Games-2002 at Busan, Korea, secured third position in the World Billiards Championship held at Sydney, Australia, and became the national snooker champion.

In his address, Mr Mohinder Pal appreciated the efforts of Alok Kumar for bringing laurels to the country. He said though there were not many facilities available in the country, the player had won top positions. He called upon the youth and students to take to sports.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia said he had brought the district on the world map. He said it was the Red Cross Society that had sponsored Alok Kumar to compete in his first competition by providing Rs 25,000, which he went on to win. He urged the youth to take inspiration from the player and strive for perfection. He said the district administration would honour all those who brought laurels in any field.

Alok Kumar thanked the district administration and Olympic association for facilitating him. He assured that he would continue to work hard and bring honour to the district.

Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, Mr G.S. Gill, Additional District Sessions Judge, Mr Gurpreet Singh, president, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Club, Mr Amarjeet Singh Kohli, secretary, DFA, also addressed.


Bank seals ice unit
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 8
The local branch of the Punjab and Sind Bank today sealed an ice manufacturing industrial unit located at the Lalru-Handesra link road. The industrial unit, Om Nameh Shivaya Industries, has been sealed by the bank officials on the directions of the District Magistrate, Patiala.

Senior bank officials in the presence of the Tehsildar and other revenue officials reached the industrial unit, locked the rooms and the main gate of the factory.

According to bank officials, the owners of the factory had failed in returning a loan of Rs 6,59,146 to the bank. The bank had served a notice on the factory asking the owners to return the loan amount within 60 days.

The case was taken up with the District Magistrate and the factory taken over by the bank today, said Mr Surinder Singh Kochhar, Senior Manager of the bank.

Fake doctor’s shop raided
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 8
Ropar Health Department officials today raided the shop of a woman who was practising as a doctor in the main bazar without having valid degree.

While talking to The Tribune, Dr Harinder Rana, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Ropar said certain local residents had sent a complaint to the health authorities that the woman was running a Sewak Clinic here, but had no degree. During the raid, it was confirmed that she did not possess any degree and was not even a registered medical practitioner. The team also found some medicines that she was not authorised to keep.


Book, website on Guru Angad Dev released
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 8
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC president, released a book on the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev, and website www.guruangaddev.org having information on the Guru and Khadoor Sahib township at a function organised at Khadoor Sahib today.

Mr Tohra, while adressing a gathering, denied playing of any role in the Akali unity by the BJP leadership and hoped that the present Akali unity would last long. Mr Tohra called the Sikh youth to be united against the drug abuse.


Pak gurdwara panel chief to invite Tohra
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Mr Sham Singh, President, Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee would extend an invitation to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, SGPC, to visit Nankana Sahib on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. This was disclosed by Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, President, International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, in a press release issued here today.

He said Mr Sham Singh would also invite Mr Jafarulla Khan Jamali on November 9.


Pan card holders allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Permanent Account Number (PAN) card holders are facing inconvenience as the Income Tax authorities have been making them follow procedures for the verification of card which the department itself has issued.

The matter has been raised by the Punjab Employees Rights Protection and Welfare Union President, Mr B.R. Preenja. He alleged that for filing Income Tax returns to authorities the employees faced hardships as much time was consumed in queues.


Rs 4 for Re 1 stamp
Our Correspondent

Moga, September 8
Revenue stamp of one-rupee denomination has been selling for rupees four or more in this town as these stamps are not available here since long. This means additional charge of Rs 3 on every revenue stamp. People here are compelled to pay this additional Rs 3 due to the unavailability of revenue stamps.

Unscrupulous persons procure revenue stamps from remote areas and sell these at a premium. Postal department has been urged to make arrangements for the supply of these stamps and save people from inconvenience.


Blood samples of rape victim, accused taken
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The blood samples of the minor girl who was allegedly raped for months by a police constable and booked for concealing the body of the girl child, whom she delivered dead, and the accused constable were taken by the health authorities today.

The samples were taken as per the directions of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission for DVA testing to ascertain the paternity of the child.


Women prisoners examined
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Four women inmates of Central Jail here were referred to various hospitals for tests from a camp to check sexually transmitted diseases that was organised by the Malwa AIDS Surksha Sangathan (MASS) on the premises today.

Mr Raj Gupta, president, MASS, said 28 women inmates had received treatment for various diseases and free medicine. Dr Pragati Grover, a leading gynaecologist of the city, who checked up the patients, also donated Rs 15,000 for installing water coolers in the barracks reserved for women in jail.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, Superintendent, Jail, was also present.


Band competition at military station
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 8
The Western Command Pipe Band Competition concluded at the Military Station here today. The top nine battalions participated in the event. The GOC, 16 Infantry Division, was chief guest.

The band competition was followed by a mass band display. Officers and other ranks and their families were awestruck by the immaculate turnout, synchronised drill movements and inspiring music.


Contempt petition against Calcutta
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 8
A contempt petition has been filed against Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary of the SGPC, by Mr Ranjit Singh, a former district president of the Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

The petitioner said though Mr Calcutta had been constrained to work as secretary by the commission, his appointment had been confirmed, which amounted to contempt of court.

The panel, comprising Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Ajwant Singh Mann and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa, admitted the petition and the case was enlisted for tomorrow.



Next hearing in Calcutta case on September 11
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The stay order restraining Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta as Chief Secretary, SGPC, would continue till the next hearing of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

The three-member SGJC Bench comprising Chairman Mr Manmohan Singh Brar and members Mr Ajwant Singh and Mr Amrik Singh gave the next date of hearing in the case filed by Mr Ranjit Singh, rural district president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal as September 11.

Counsel for petitioner Ranjit Singh expressed his inability to file a reply today to the earlier application filed by the counsel for Mr Calcutta. The application appealed for early hearing of the case. The counsel for Mr Calcutta too had been asked to submit reply to the petition in which Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Harbeant Singh, President and Secretary SGPC, respectively, and 11 others have been made respondents.


Animal Husbandry Deputy Director suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Punjab Government has placed under suspension Mr Arun Kumar, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Hoshiarpur, for negligence and irregularities, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister, said here today.

His headquarters during the period of suspension would be the office of the Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab.


Trader kidnapped, robbed of lakhs
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 8
A local trader was kidnapped and looted near Mangoowal in Hoshiarpur district by six armed car-borne persons while he was returning from his business tour in the Kangra valley in the wee hours yesterday.

After beating up Neeraj, the driver of the trader, Rajesh Gupta, and kidnapping them, the robbers left them at Karisari and Jagjitpur villages on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road, respectively. They decamped with the new Sokda car of Mr Gupta and cash and jewellery worth lakhs.

Mr Gupta said as he entered Punjab from the Mangoowal barrier, the robbers, who were travelling in an Indica car, overtook them and stopped their vehicle in front of his car. They pulled the driver out of the vehicle and thrashed him up before bundling him into their car.

Two robbers entered the vehicle of Mr Gupta. They were followed in another Maruti car. None of the three vehicles was stopped by policemen even as the vehicles entered Hoshiarpur and started moving towards Phagwara. After reaching Karisari and Jagjitpur villages, the robbers told the driver and Mr Gupta, respectively to leave the car and instructed them to collect it from the Karisari village gate.

Mr Gupta reached Purhiran village by taking lift in a truck. The robbers, according to him, were aged between 25 and 28 years. A case was registered.


Teenaged boy on horse cart killed
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 8
A teenaged boy died on the spot and his father sustained serious injuries after a truck rammed into their horse-driven cart on the Ambala-Kalka highway in Bhankharpur village here today.

The deceased Amarnath (20) and his father Kishori Lal were on their way to their native village Mubarikpur Camp when they met with the accident.

The police said the truck (HR-03G-0323) was loaded with apple cases and hit the cart killing Amarnath on the spot. Kishori Lal has been admitted to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital.

The police has nabbed the truck driver and the vehicle impounded.

A case under Sections 279, 304-A and 427 of the Indian Panel Code has been registered against the truck driver.


Highway robbers take away car, cash
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 8
Four to five men who came in two cars — an Indica and a Maruti — looted Rs 21,000 in cash, two gold rings and a silver bangle from Rajesh Gupta of New Jawahar Nagar, Jalandhar, near Mangowal, 15 km from here on the Hoshiarpur-Dharamsala road at about 1.30 a.m. today. They also took away his car (CHO-37-0980).

Rajesh Gupta was coming with Parveen Kumar and driver Neeraj from Kangra to Jalandhar. When they reached near Mangowal, the men in Indica tried to block their way.

They failed, but later, the Maruti car appeared and its occupants forced Rajesh Gupta to stop the car. Men in the Indica car also reached there and looted Rajesh.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 382 and 34 of the IPC.


18 varsity depts resume teaching
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
In the second phase, 18 departments of Punjabi University, resumed teaching here today.

An official press note said in the first phase, the University College of Engineering was opened on September 5. Now, students of other departments had started impressing upon the university authorities to reopen the remaining departments.

Students of the Department of Physical Education and Sports had also made a written request to the Vice-Chancellor for resumption of studies, assuring him that in future they would not participate in students’ agitation.

In view of the assurance, the university opened the department with immediate effect.

The university also issued instructions to the hostel authorities to allow them to stay in the hostels.

The university has toned up its internal security to check the entry of outsiders. The security at all entry points of the university has been beefed up.

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