Tuesday, September 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CPI rejects WTO policies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 15
Failure to improve the economic policies in the state could make the CPI-Congress coalition fall apart in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Dr Joginder Dayal, CPI secretary, stated here today while flagging off a protest rally against WTO policies from the Jallianwala Bagh Martyrs' Memorial.

He said India should boycott the WTO as its policies would threaten India politically and economically. Taking the strong stand on the state’s policies, he said the Congress was blindly following the WTO policies.

Taking a dig at the Congress government, he said the present government had been aptly nicknamed as the roll-back government. He said if the Chief Minister defended himself by saying that he was “misled” by the Finance Department pertaining to the NPA and sales tax, he did not have the right to continue as the CM.

Commenting on the BJP and its allies’ agenda, he said the Supreme court’s observations exposed the “misdeeds” of the Gujarat Government.

He said the Congress had followed in the BJP’s footsteps by starting its election rally from the temple.


Farmers moot joint struggle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Farmers’ organisations are happy over the collapse of the ministerial conference of the WTO at Cancun in Mexico last night.

Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, a state committee member of the All-India Kriti Kisan Union, said if the USA and the EU had succeeded in getting their agenda implemented through the WTO, it would have caused a big damage to the agricultural sector in India, especially in the states like Punjab where agriculture was a lifeline of the economy. The BKU (Ekta group) has hailed the poor countries for showing unity at the Cancun conference.

Meanwhile, efforts have started to bring about unity among various farmers’ organisations in Punjab. Six organisations — the Punjab Kisan Sabha affiliated to the CPI, the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta group), the Khetibari and Kisan Vikas Front, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and the Kirti Kisan Union — have jointly invited other such organisations for a meeting here on September 18. The meeting aims at inviting organisations to fight a joint battle against the state government to get their demands farmers’ conceded.

Mr Bhangu said a common minimum programme would be prepared at the September 18 meeting. If all groups agreed on the agenda, a programme would be prepared to launch a joint agitation.

Among the issues that need to be taken up with the government are the minimum support price of paddy and privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board. Most farmers’ organisations are against its privatisation.

Mr Bhangu said the government had not yet paid the sugarcane dues. Neither had it withdrawn 4.4 per cent sales tax on pesticides. It had also not paid the remaining instalments of bonus on paddy, said Mr Bhangu.


SAD youth wing for Boparai’s dismissal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Mounting a counter-attack, the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded immediate sack of the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai for “ deliberately functioning in a manner calculated to put the state into the throes of dangerous youth unrest”.

Mr Boparai had yesterday made a hard-hitting statement blaming SAD President, Parkash Singh Badal for the prevailing sorry state of affairs in the University.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, President of the SAD youth wing, said today that “Mr Boparai’s antecedents mark him out as a wrong person to hold the sensitive post of Vice-Chancellor of one of the premier universities in the country.

“It was amazing that Mr Boparai continued to hold a high position in the Union Government even as his father, Dr Sohan Singh, was waging a war against the state as convener of the Panthic Committee,” the SAD youth wing statement said.

“It was funny that only a few days ago the VC was blaming the present Government for the trouble on the campus. And, he suddenly discovered today that it is the previous government which is responsible for the problem.”

The Shiromani Akali Dal ( SAD) said Mr Boparai’s remarks about the Punjabi youth were a shocking attempt on his part to politicise a genuinely academic problem. In a statement, the general secretary of the party, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, said Mr Boparai would have done well to remember his own antecedents before uttering a word on this highly sensitive subject.

The troubles afflicting the varsity were the result of gross mal-administration of the university authorities and the government’s refusal to heed the students’ genuine grievances.


SAD to join dharna by varsity students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal is set to cast its lot with agitating students of the Punjabi University, with its General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra today announcing that he had been asked to take part in the dharna being organised by students in front of the varsity gate tomorrow by SAD President Parkash Singh Badal.

In a simultaneous move, the university today obtained a restraining order against agitating students from a local court which forbids them from holding any meeting or demonstration within 50 metres of the varsity main gate. The varsity claimed this had been done to ensure the academic atmosphere in the campus was not disturbed by “unruly elements”.

Mr Chandumajra while talking to newsmen said he would attend tomorrow’s dharna outside the varsity gate along with a few party representatives. He said in case Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai did not withdraw the remarks made against Mr Parkash Singh Badal within a day, the SAD would actively side with the agitation of the students.

Meanwhile, student leaders said they would continue with tomorrow’s agitation even though a restraining order had been passed in this connection. The students also alleged that the varsity authorities were suppressing students who were raising their voice in their favour, saying that two girl students had been asked to leave their hostels.

The student organisations have also formed a team on the varsity campus as the first rung leadership cannot enter the varsity. These students today distributed pamphlets among students explaining their viewpoint and also asking for support for tomorrow’s agitation. The authorities, however, prevented the students from entering classrooms to distribute the pamphlets.

The security in the varsity has been tightened in view of tomorrow’s dharna. Nearly 500 security personnel have been deployed.


Ministers' appeal to students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Punjab ministers, Mr Lal Singh and Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, and Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today appealed to the agitating students of Punjabi University, Patiala, to exercise restraint as their tough posture could slip their agitation into the hands of political parties and their genuine demands get relegated into the background.

In a joint statement, they said that the Chief Minister was very keen to resolve the issues amicably to the satisfaction of the students but without compromising dignity of the office of the Vice-Chancellor. They also repeated the steps taken in students’ interest by the Chief Minister.

They pointed out that the issue of settling punitive action against some students would be redressed separately for which efforts from the government side were in the offing.

They also appealed to the political parties not to exploit the innocent students for narrow political gains, says a press note.


Varsity says no to ‘golden chance’ to B.Tech students
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 15
About 450 B.Tech students of various engineering institutes in the state have allegedly been left in the lurch by the Punjab Technical University (PTU) authorities, who, unlike in the past, have refused to give a “golden chance” to them to enable them to clear one of their eighth semester papers.

A large number of students from different colleges, who came to meet the PTU authorities here today, alleged that the university authorities were playing a cruel joke with their career. “They have discontinued this practice without any notice to the students. This will make us lose a year,” said Gagandeep, a student of Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana.

Amandip, another student, alleged that when they went to meet the Registrar his representative, Mr Jaspal Singh, told them that the Vice-Chancellor was not in a mood to give any such chance to the students. “Our result was declared in July, but the university authorities kept promising of doing something in our case. But after a lapse of three months, we have been simply told to go back and prepare for a regular examination,” said Inderdip, a student.

Mr S.K. Bhatia, Registrar of the PTU, denied that any injustice had been done to such students, “In fact, there is nothing like a “golden chance”. It was only once and for all that the previous Vice-Chancellor had given a chance to the students to take the supplementary examination. It was not a precedent,” said Mr Bhatia.


Girl raped by brother-in-law for spurning proposal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 15
Shawinder Kaur (name changed), an unmarried girl of the town, who has allegedly been raped repeatedly by her brother-in-law, Pargat Pal Singh, and his brother for months together, feels she has reached the end of the road as she was found having more than 15 weeks’ pregnancy during her medical examination.

Shawinder Kaur, a victim of lust of Pargat Pal Singh and his brother, Avtar Pal Singh, was subjected to sexual violence with the complicity of Ramandeep Kaur, mother of Pargat Pal Singh, Harbhajan Singh, father of Ramandeep Kaur, and a famous comedian of Punjab.

Her fault was that she refused to marry her brother-in-law, Pargat Pal Singh, after such a proposal was made to her by Ramandeep Kaur about eight months ago. Ramandeep Kaur made the proposal to Shawinder Kaur that she should get married to Pargat Pal Singh who had been married to Shawinder Kaur’s elder sister, Paramjit Kaur (name changed) in May 2001. The couple was issueless since then.

A few days after she declined the proposal, Pargat Pal Singh and his brother, Avtar Pal Singh, came to her house on the outskirts of the city. They took her away forcibly on a motor cycle on March 24, 2003. She was taken to Dabwali town of Haryana to the house of Harbhajan Singh, father of Ramandeep Kaur.

At Dabwali, Shawinder Kaur was raped by Pargat Pal Singh and Avtar Pal Singh by turns. She was allegedly threatened that if she raised a hue and cry, she would be killed. She was not allowed to move out by the occupants of that house. It is learnt that Ramandeep Kaur would bolt the door of the house from outside whenever she was raped by Pargat Pal Singh and Avtar Pal Singh.

According to a copy of the FIR registered against the suspects, Shawinder Kaur was taken to the courts at Dabwali a few days after she was kidnapped. She was forced to make a statement in the court. She alleged that when she was forcibly taken to Dabwali, her elder sister Paramjit Kaur lodged a complaint with the police.

After keeping the victim at Dabwali for a few days, she was brought to the suspects’ house in the Amarpura Basti of the town. She was allegedly raped repeatedly and was never allowed to move out.

On June 10, 2003, she escaped from the house of the suspects and reached her parents’ house. She narrated her tale of woes to them. When she approached the police, it refused to get her medically examined. Then she approached the court and on the order of the court, she was medically examined at the local Civil Hospital on July 25, 2003. She was found having 15 weeks’ pregnancy. She alleged that one Nek Singh helped the suspects in committing the crime against her.

After it was established that she had been subjected to sexual intercourse in the medical examination, the police registered a case under Sections 366, 376, 344, 506 and 34 of the IPC against the suspects.

Mr Devinder Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), city kotwali, said he had been directed by the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the case. He added that so far no one had been arrested in this connection.

The SHO pointed out that the complaint lodged by Paramjit Kaur, elder sister of victim, at the time when the victim was forcibly taken from her house allegedly by the suspects was lying with the legal adviser and hence no action could be taken on the complaint.


Woman booked for female foeticide, delivers boy
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
In a case of a sex determination test that never was, a woman who was accused of getting herself admitted to a Samana-based hospital to abort her female child after an ultrasound report confirmed this, has given birth to an eight-month-old premature male issue yesterday. The child did not survive birth.

A team of the Patiala Civil Surgeon’s office which raided the premises of Dhanetha Nursing Home in Samana around, 50 km from here on September 3, had registered cases under the PNDT Act against a lady doctor, Dr Maneka Garg and also the owner of the nursing home, Dr Bhojinder Singh.

The lady doctor was accused of being in the process of conducting an abortion on the patient Sunyari Devi. The Civil Surgeons’s office had then complained that instruments and ampules used in conducting an abortion were found in the Nursing Home and that a six-month-old pregnant woman was found in the hospital. It was also claimed that an ultrasound test for determining the sex of the child was got done from Garg Ultrasound Centre, Samana, and that the test report had a secret symbol indicating that the sex of the foetus was female. It said following this test the woman had come to the nursing home to get the foetus aborted.

However, within a fortnight of the registration of the case, Health Department officials have egg on their face with the case being entirely different. The woman had apparently come to the nursing home complaining of premature labour pains and leakage of fluid and was on a drip when the team of the Civil Surgeon raided the hospital. After the registration of the case, the woman got admitted to the Government Rajindra Hospital here. She was discharged from the hospital on September 13 and went home to Gajjumajra village, around 22 km from here, where she delivered a premature male child yesterday. The child did not survive birth.

Besides jumping to wrong conclusions, the Civil Surgeon’s office is also being accused of getting the thumb impressions of the patient on blank papers, besides carrying out an internal examination of the patient. Hospital owner Dr Bhojinder Singh disclosed that the internal examination conducted by a doctor of the team was against medical ethics and had worsened the bleeding of the patient.

The doctor said the team registered cases against him and also his assistant, Dr Maneka Garg, without verifying the facts of the case to get “cheap publicity”. He said he was arrested and had to be bailed out while his assistant had to seek anticipatory bail in the case. Dr Maneka Garg said the postmortem done on the body of the premature child had revealed that he was eight months old indicating that the child was nearly seven-and-a-half months-old, when the Civil Surgeon raided the nursing home. She said no doctor performed an abortion at such an advanced stage of pregnancy.

Civil Surgeon Inderjit Kaur Walia when contacted admitted that the recent development had made it clear that the nursing home was not guilty under the PNDT Act as a male child had been prematurely delivered by Sunyari Devi. She said, however, the hospital was guilty under the MTP Act which required a hospital to possess a certificate in case it wanted to medically terminate a pregnancy due to some complication. She said the team which had raided the hospital had found instruments and even ampules which are used to terminate pregnancies in its premises. Dr Walia said this indicated that these instruments and medicines were used on other patients and was enough to book them.

However, even this fact is being disputed, with Dr Maneka Garg saying that keeping the instruments and ampules quoted by the Civil Surgeon was not a crime as they could be used for other purposes also, including delivery. Meanwhile the Indian Medical Association today criticised the district health officials, saying they had acted “irresponsibly” by registering a false case under the PNDT Act against the two doctors of the Samana hospital.


Take action on negligence of officers in labour courts, rules HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Displaying “utter callousness”, officers in Punjab have been causing a loss to the exchequer by representing the interest of the state before labour courts in a “negligent manner”.

The officers were either not appearing before the labour court at all, or failed to produce the relevant record. In fact, in a large number of cases, junior officials were being directed to handle serious matters.

The labour court in such cases was left with little option but to order the reinstatement of the workers with full back wages. The casual approach adopted by the officers was resulting in a “tremendous loss” to the government as the state was losing cases by default.

Taking a serious view of the matter, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have ruled that the state “would be well advised to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against the officers responsible for the negligent conduct of cases before the various labour courts”.

In a ruling, the judges observed: “In view of the emerging facts, it has become necessary in the performance of our constitutional duty to point out the utter callousness with which the officers concerned have been representing the interest of the state before the labour court”.

The judges added: “The sheer negligence exhibited by the representatives has resulted in fiscal loss to the state. It has also wasted a great deal of valuable judicial time of the labour court as well as the high court. The state would be well advised to initiate appropriate disciplinary action....”

The court had passed similar directions earlier also in another petition. Coming down heavily on Irrigation Department officials for their failure to produce relevant record before the labour court, a Division Bench had directed the Secretary concerned to proceed against erring officials.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, had ruled: “Necessary departmental action should be taken to prevent any future lapse, deliberate or due to gross negligence. As and when the department finds about the officials concerned who are responsible for not producing the relevant record in the court, recovery of the amount paid to the workmen should be effected from the officials or officers concerned”.


NRI deceives wife, extradition process on
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 15
The police has initiated the process of extradition against a UK resident, Bhagat Ram Sharma, for allegedly deceiving a Madhya Pradesh woman by deserting her after 10 days of marriage.

Bhagat Ram Sharma had allegedly married Renu (name changed), a resident of Istgamapur in Madhya Pradesh, on December 25. The marriage was solemnised in the presence of relatives and others in accordance with the Hindu rites.

The girl’s family allegedly gave a huge dowry as per the demands made by Prem Rani Sharma, the groom’s mother.

After a night in Shimla, he flew back to England without his wife. Renu was allegedly tortured by her in-laws.

Renu’s parents contacted her husband and were told that he would not sponsor her for immigration. He also hired the services of a law firm to respond to Renu’s lawyer, saying that it was a marriage of “convenience” and he had been misled.

The police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498-A and 420, IPC, against the accused and initiated extradition proceedings. “We have approached the crime branch of Interpol through the office of the ADGP (Crime). We have also contacted Daniel and Harris, an NGO dealing with deception in international marriages,” Mr L.K. Yadav, SP (Headquarters) Kapurthala, said.

Ms Navjot Sohal, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Phagwara, has declared the accused as proclaimed offenders.

He maintained that there was no concept of “marriage of convenience” under the Hindu Marriage Act.


Rashtriya Kalidas Samman” for Gursharan Singh
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
All of a sudden, Budhwar, a Dalit boy, stopped coming to the Municipal Primary School of Multan (now in Pakistan). It was in 1937. He was an intelligent boy.

As he did not turn up for some days, one of his classmates went to his house. He was told by the boy’s mother that her son had discontinued studies as he had to help her collect night soil.

Shocked, the classmate returned home but the story of the Dalit boy changed his life and ultimately made him raise the banner of revolt, through the medium of theatre, against the centuries-old institutionalised social injustice in the country.

The classmate was Gursharan Singh, who has been selected for this year’s prestigious “Rashtriya Kalidas Samman”, given every year to four eminent persons in the fields of drama, music, classical dance and paintings, respectively, by the Madhya Pradesh Government. Gursharan Singh will get a cash award of Rs 1 lakh and a citation.

Mr K.A. Kabir, Director Cultural Department, M.P., has requested Gursharan Singh to reach Ujjain to receive the award on November 4, the day a week-long Kalidasa Samoroh will begin there. On November 5, Gursharan Singh’s troupe will stage a play there.

The award has put Gursharan Singh who will turn 74 tomorrow in the league of eminent theatre personalities.

The earlier recipients of this award have been Shambu Mitraji, E. Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, K.N. Panikkar, Vijay Tendulkar, Badal Sarkar, Grish Karnad, B.V. Karanth, Johra Sehgal, Shiela Bhatia and Tapas Sen. Interestingly, it will be the second time that this award will be given to Gursharan Singh’s family. Earlier, his sister-in-law Arpita Singh, a Delhi based painter, had been given the award.

A recognised face in Punjab’s progressive theatre movement during the past 50 years, Gursharan Singh has over 7,000 performances to his credit besides being an author of 113 plays and 17 books. Among his best plays have been “Dhamak Nagare Di”; “Baba Bolda hai”, “Bhai Manna Singh”, “Jangi Ram Di Haveli”, “Hit List”, and “Inqualab Zindabad”. He has performed in almost every big city and had been a regular performer in Mumbai till Balraj Sahni was alive.

A Leftist, Gursharan Singh, gave his first performance on August 15, 1958, for workers and engineers of the Bhakhra dam project, where he was posted then.

“ I was only six when I started reading Preetlari, a popular Punjabi literary magazine of that time. Later when Sumeet Singh, whose grandfather Gurbax Singh started the magazine, was killed by terrorists, I was unable to sleep for several nights”, says Gursharan Singh. “I felt as if my own son has been killed”, he said with moist eyes.”

“I was in Class IX when I became the youngest card holder of the Communist Party” he says Gursharan Singh who opposed terrorism, especially the killing of Hindus in Punjab, has been working these days to stage the Punjabi version of “The Moon is Down”. “The form and pattern of my plays have been criticised by dramatists such as Balwant Gargi, but it has not discouraged me from leaving the path I followed”, he adds.

He conveys his messages through simple symbols and gestures. In fact, he uses minimum material on the stage for his performances. But having a passion for change and hatred for inequality, Gursharan Singh makes a sharp attack on the system through delivery of wellcrafted dialogues.

Annihilation of injustice and emancipation of the poor have always been the highlights of the plays of Gursharan Singh.


SAD rally on September 17
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to hold a rally in Shahkot near here on September 17 in against the state government’s policies against its leaders.

“The party has decided to hold rallies in every constituency. The first rally at Shahkot in the Lohian constituency would be attended by senior parties leaders, including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Badal, Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and other party MLAs”, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, MLA from Lohian and president of the district Akali Jatha, told reporters here today.

Regarding the apprehension that the SAD would bring no-confidence motion in the coming Assembly session, Mr Kohar said the party had no intention of destablising the government, but was sure that the government would fall soon due to the discontentment among the Congress leaders.


Get ready for poll, Cong men told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Mr Suresh Kumar, general secretary of the Indian Youth Congress, presided over a meeting attended by office-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress and Presidents of the District Youth Congress and Block Youth Congress units here today.

He appealed to the leaders and workers of the Punjab Youth Congress to get ready for the forthcoming elections in four states and the general election to the Lok Sabha.


Finally, a bridge to cut distances
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Sidhwan Bet (Ludhiana), September 15
It was a dream come true not only for the residents of the Sidhwan Bet area in Jagraon tehsil on one side and those of Nakodar tehsil on the other side of the river, but for all those who travel to Faridkot, Ferozepore, Moga and Jalandhar. At long last, they have got a bridge across the river. The bridge will reduce the distance between Jalandhar and Jagraon by about 50 km.

Till now, people living on the either side of the river used to ferry across the river. And that was possible only during the normal weather. During the rains or when the river was in floods they had to detour either through Ludhiana or the bridge at Kawan Pattan on the Shahkot-Dharamkot road.

Constructed at a cost of about Rs 40 crore, the 810-metre-long bridge is one of the three included in the Integrated Infrastructure Development Programme formulated by the Punjab Infrastructural Development Board under the road and bridges scheme. The project was partly financed under the NABARD RIDF-VI programme at a total cost of Rs 4,109.53 lakh.

The bridge will help reduce traffic on national Highway No 1 between the Jalandhar and Ludhiana section and traffic through Ludhiana city. The bridge will also lead to a shorter route for traffic from Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir state, Palampur, Dalhousie, Dharmasala areas of Himachal Pradesh to Bathinda and Mansa districts of Punjab, Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts of Rajasthan and Sirsa and Fatehabad districts of Haryana and adjoining areas.


Doab project to be completed by year-end
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 15
The Irrigation Minister, Punjab, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, has said that the Rs 180 crore Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) project will be completed by year-end. Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Bhullar said the Punjab Government had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court on the SYL issue.

Answering questions on the reported statement of the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, that the Centre had assured the Supreme Court that the remaining work on the SYL canal would be completed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Mr Bhullar refused to give a categorical reply. He, however, added that since the matter was pending with the apex court, he would not like to comment on the issue. He said at present Punjab had no water to offer to Haryana.

The minister said the government was aware of an alarming decline in the ground water level in Punjab, adding that it was working on a few proposals to remedy the situations. He said his department had taken a few initiatives to work out a plan to stop the decline in the water level but nothing concrete had been achieved as yet.


Muktsar boy scales Satopanth peak
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 15
Mountaineering and pharmacy are two different professions, which are poles apart. It is rarely that the two meet. A young pharmacist of this holy city who is working in the government hospital here has summited the 7075-m high Satopanth peak in the western Garwal hills.

The pharmacist, Mr Sukhbir Singh Gill, has also brought laurels to Punjab by becoming the only civilian in the state who has achieved the feat of summitting a peak more than 7,000 m high.

Mr Gill conquered the peak on September 2 at 8.30 am. The Corps of EME undertook the Mt Satopanth expedition led by Major K.S. Dhami. There were 16 members of the team, of which seven reached the summit.

The team has also set a new record in mountaineering. Earlier, the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi, had set the record of fastest climbing on any peak in India, which is above 7,000 m in a space of 15 days. However, this team outdid the record by completing its expedition in nine days.

Mr Gill was inspired in mountaineering by an Army doctor, who also belongs to this town. He joined the basic training course at NIM, Uttarkashi. In April 2002, he cleared the advance training course in mountaineering with ‘A’ grade. At NIM, Uttarkashi, he came in contact with Major K.S. Dhami, who was working as Vice-Principal there. Mr Gill summitted a peak named “Dropdi ka Danda” during his advanced training course.

The opportunity to test his skill knocked at the door of Mr Gill in August when the Corps of EME planned a mission to scale the tough Satopanth peak that has claimed a number of lives.

After performing prayers at a temple in Uttarkashi, the team left for its first halt at Gangotri. On August 24, the team started ascending the steep snow-clad hills.

The mountaineers spent three nights, one each at Gaumukh, Nandenban and Vasu Ke Tal. They reached the first base camp set up at the height of 17,500 feet followed by advance camp numbers one and two before hitting the top of Satopanth peak on September 2, at 8.30 am.

It took six days for the team to reach the peak. As the descending was equally challenging, the team reached at the first base camp in three days.

Mr Gill said now his aim was to put his feet on the world’s highest peak — Mt Everest.


Artists for painting as compulsory subject
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 15
Several renowned artists from various states, including New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh , West Bengal, Punjab and J&K, and Chandigarh, have underlined the need for introducing painting as a compulsory subject in each educational institution to purify the soul of the youth. It also helps them to concentrate and express their views in a more free spirit besides imparting them moral values.

The artists have arrived here to participate in a four-day painting workshop organised by the District Red Cross Society on the eve of the nine-day Aagman Purab celebrations related with Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid which began here today. They said such workshop should be conducted on a regular basis as they give opportunities to the artists and lay persons to interact.

Expressing concern over the mafia controlling the art field and using it for monetary and other gains. They demanded that art should be vocationalised.

Talking to this correspondent, Mrs Upinder Singh, art teacher of Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, New Delhi, said art was one of the biggest media to promote Indian culture and tradition among the builders of the nation.

Mr Sher Singh Kukker from Noida emphasised on encouraging regular working artists who to play a significant role in strengthening the nation through their works. He regretted that due to the indifferent attitudes of the state and central governments, a large number of renowned artists were living in penury and had no proper source of earning their livelihood. He also demanded due representation to the artists in Parliament.

Sadhu Khan Debnath from West Bengal said art schools should be set up at least in each district headquarters financial and other aids be provided to the artists.

Mr Jaspal, Professor of fine arts from Government College, Hoshiarpur, urged for the promotion of visual arts.

Manjit Singh, winner of many state and Lalit Kala Akademi awards for sculpting statues of several martyrs, patriots and prominent writers and sculptor of Art College, Chandigarh, stressed for the promotion of sculpture art in Punjab.

Meanwhile, to mark the Aagman Purab festival, the NSS unit of the local Government Brijindra College organised a camp in which 53 donors donated blood. A debate by students of the college on the role of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the development of the country was held on the occasion.


Dengue outbreak in Batala
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 15
Batala town seems to be in the grip of dengue fever, with a number of cases reported in the past few days from various localities. The dengue patients include Mr R. Sharma, a college student of the Quadi Hatti area, Honey, a schoolboy from Bhandari Gate, Mrs Madhu Aggarwal and Sandeep. One of the patients has been referred to Guru Nanak Hospital, Amritsar, while the others are getting treatment locally.

Dr Harbhajan Singh of the Civil Hospital, here, said this disease had broken out due to the insanitary conditions prevailing in the town. The patients contracted fever following mosquito bites that led to a sharp drop in the blood platelet count.

The Executive Officer of the local Municipal Council, Mr A.K. Punj, assured that the town would be cleaned on priority in the wake of the dengue outbreak.


CM’s effigy burnt

Gurdaspur, September 15
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha burnt Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s effigy at Hanuman chowk here today.

The youths brought the effigy to Hanuman Chowk, the venue at which the BJP had been organising fast for some days, to press upon its demand, and burnt the same amid anti-government and anti-Congress slogans.

The agitation has been launched to protest against the police lathi charge and firing at the Naushahra Pattan bridge inauguration ceremony on August 20 last and to demand withdrawal of “false” cases against BJP leaders. — UNI


83 lakh disbursed for toilets
Our Correspondent

Moga, September 15
A slum of Rs 83.38 lakh has been distributed to 10 villages under the Rajiv Gandhi Pendu Jat Sehat Kalyan Yojna through IRDP to construct latrines for 1,962 Scheduled Caste families and other poorer sections in the rural areas in the district. This was stated by Mr C. Ramesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, here today.

Giving details of the scheme, the Deputy Commissioner said this ambitious project would be taken up in the whole district, but during the current financial year, in first phase, it would be restricted to following categories; villages where panchayats had been elected unanimously, villages with SC sarpanches, villages with women sarpanches, villages with religious or historic importance, villages of martyrs, sportsmen of eminence or villages with 100 per cent SC population.

The Deputy Commissioner further said that a sum of Rs 5,200 and Rs 5,900 would be spent on each unit in villages without water logging and water-logged, respectively. As many as Rs 80,000 would be spent where a six unit block was developed. Each family, except BPL families, would have to contribute Rs 1,000 per unit. Panchayats of villages with annual income of more than 1 lakh would contribute Rs 1,000- per unit, he added.


2 workers killed
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 15
Parsu Ram (45) and Jai Ram (35) died today after the furnace of an industry at Chadhoki village caved in.

They had climbed up to put raw material into the furnace when the girders gave in, resulting in the caving-in of the roof.


Rs 50,000 donated
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 15
Brig Sukhjit Singh, scion of the Kapurthala royal family, has given Rs 50,000 to the SGPC for repairing the samadhi of Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in Amritsar. He took this decision after reading a report about it in the September 4 issue of The Tribune.


Coming up hearing in cases against Amarinder, Badal, Bhattal
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, September 15
The Chandigarh District Court will be the battleground for three political bigwigs of Punjab, including the Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh and two former chief ministers, Parkash Singh Badal and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. These leaders will be appearing in the court in connection with various cases later this week.

The Agriculture Minister, Ms Bhattal, is scheduled to appear on September 19, while the SAD chief, Mr Badal and his political opponent Capt Amarinder will appear on September 20.

At present there are 13 separate cases pending against Capt Amarinder Singh, Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Badal and Ms Bhattal, and Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Capt Amarinder Singh, has been asked to appear in person on September 20 by the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal, acting on a criminal complaint filed against him by Mr Badal, accusing him of spreading and publishing false reports about his assets and properties. Mr Badal being complainant in the case is also expected to appear in the court on same date.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, is scheduled to appear on September 19 in a case pertaining to the alleged embezzlement of Rs 20 lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund against her pending before the UT CBI Special Judge, Mr R.S Baswana. Mr R.K. Anand and a criminal lawyer, is expected to appear on behalf of the Punjab Government.

The battle between the SAD and the Congress had entered the district court before the Punjab Assembly elections last year. The first case in the district court just before the assembly elections was filed by a local Akali leader, Mr N.S. Minhas, against Capt Amarinder Singh, alleging that during the elections campaign Capt Amarinder Singh had got a number of false, misleading and defamatory posters and advertisements published in the newspapers. Thereafter four cases of similar nature had been filed by Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal against Capt Amarinder in February and August last year. Retaliating to the cases filed by the Badals, the Congress filed a defamation case against Badal, Sukhbir Badal.

Another three cases were filed by an Akali leader from Ropar, Gurmeet Singh Matharu demanding Capt Amarinder Singh and all Punjab MLAs to declare their assets. He has also filed a case against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, alleging that she had promised to get jobs for women while addressing public rallies in Himachal Pardesh but till date no woman had been given job.

Three cases had been filed against Parkash Singh Badal by the former Deputy Director of Information and Public relations department, Punjab, Mr Jagdip Singh Chowhan claiming damages. He alleged that Mr Badal, had directed him to work in the election campaign of his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, during the period of 1998-1999. In another case, former President of the Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), Bibi Jagir Kaur, has also been summoned on November 4 by a local court in a defamation case filed against her by Kulbir Kaur Dhami, Director of the Gur Ashra Trust, S.A.S Nagar.



High Court
Proceedings stayed in lottery scam case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Staying further proceedings before the trial court in the lottery scam case allegedly involving Punjab’s senior IAS officer B.R. Bajaj, Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today fixed November 24 as the next date of hearing.

Taking up an application, Mr Justice Mittal ruled: “Since it is not possible to hear the revision petition at this stage because of the heavy rush of work, therefore, in the interest of justice, the case has been adjourned and proceedings before the trial court are stayed”.

The Judge clarified: “While ordering the stay of proceedings, the court has also kept in mind the fact that the proceedings before the trial court are now fixed for prosecution evidence on September 24.

Seeking the stay on proceedings, Mr Bajaj had contended that he had challenged an order issued by the Special Judge for Central Bureau of Investigation cases vide which his application was dismissed and charges were framed.

Subsequently, the high court had issued notice regarding stay on his petition, but the matter was adjourned to July 2003. Meanwhile, the Special Judge fixed May 21 as the next date of hearing for recording evidence of prosecution witnesses. As such, further proceedings should be stayed, the petitioner had submitted.

Notice on Narottam’s plea

The High Court on Monday issued notice of motion on a petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s cousin Narottam Singh. He was seeking the grant of bail in an alleged corruption case.

Taking up the petition, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar also fixed September 24 as the next date of hearing in the case. Narottam Singh was earlier booked on June 24 under Section 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.



District Courts
Land case hearing adjourned
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 15
Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Civil Judge, Senior Division, Kharar, today adjourned a case regarding 8 acres owned by Mr Malkeet Singh of Ratwara village, Kharar tehsil, for October 20 for filing written statements. Malkeet Singh had filed a case against state of Punjab in this connection.

In his plea he has stated that officers be restrained from assisting his relatives for getting the land situated at Ratwara village, tehsil Kharar, transferred in their names.

He said he had inherited the land from his uncle. He further said he married Harpreet Kaur and even after seven years they had no child. They got divorced this year.

He alleged that with the help of the police and revenue officers. His relatives were trying to pressurise him in signing the papers for transferring the land.



9 get life term for murder

Moga, September 15
Additional Sessions Judge Jagmohan Singh Chawla today convicted and sentenced nine persons to life imprisonment on a charge of killing a farmer over a land dispute three years ago.

Eight of them — Pal Singh, Tejwinder Singh, Balbir Singh, Gurdial Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Joginder Singh, Gurnam Singh and Rajwinder Singh — were in jail during the trial of the case. The ninth person, Sukhwinder Singh, who has absconded, has been sentenced in absentia.

The judge, however, acquitted Tara Singh, the tenth accused in the case, for want of evidence.

Banta Singh of Kapura village was murdered on March 11, 2000, when he was watering his fields in the village. The Mehna police station had registered the case on the complaint of victim’s son Hari Singh.

All convicts also belong to the same village. — UNI


Farmers seek research centre
Our Correspondent

Mansa September 15
Farmers in the district are facing problems in the absence of an agriculture research centre at Mansa. The issue has been hanging fire for the past one decade. Mansa was carved out of Bathinda district on April 13, 1992, by the then Chief Minister Mr Beant Singh, in deference to the wishes of the people. The main occupation of the people is agriculture.

There are no large industrial units in this area and the two cooperative industrial units — the sugar mill at Budhlada and the spinning mill at Mansa were shut down years ago by the state government.

Apart from such setbacks the district has the distinction of being the largest producer of desi cotton and gram. Being a water scarcity area, the farmers have been pressing for a research centre so that better quality seeds were made available to them. Latest agricultural techniques, too, have yet to make their debut here. Sources revealed that the Akalis and the Congress leaders have been repeatedly assuring people that a centre would be set up soon. But it has been an hallow promise so far. The matter was also highlighted in the recently held elections to the state Assembly. The farmers have to do with second hand knowledge, often with disastrous results. Farmers who flock to neighbouring districts of Sangrur and Bathinda do not realise that the advice of their counterparts does not hold good here since the soil composition and water quality is totally different. Mansa has very saline ground water and fields are increasing becoming “barren” on account of this. Nothing has been done to counter this so far. Nearby districts of Bathinda and Sangrur have research centres. In addition to the centre, promises of more canal water remain unfulfilled. So far not even a single drop of extra water has been released in the canals of the district. Mansa is probably the only district where farmers are given water under the PO scheme — farmers have to irrigate their fields whether they want water or not.


Farmers plan statewide stir

Moga, September 15
Farmers’ organisations in Punjab have given a call to halt trains and road traffic across the state on September 29 in protest against the “anti-farmers” policies of the Congress government.

Various farmers’ organisations under the banner of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee had resolved to hold an agitation following a statement of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that he had fulfilled 90 per cent of the farmers’ demands.

Stating this to newspersons here today, the BKU (Ekta) Punjab unit president, Mr Joginder Singh Ugraha, and the Rachhpal Singh of the Punjab Kisan Sabha said the government had not fulfilled even a single promise made by the Congress in its election manifesto.

They said certain promises like the Rs 30 bonus to paddy growers, payment of dues to sugarcane growers and free power and water for irrigation remained unfulfille. — UNI


BKU (Ekta) launches dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 15
Hundreds of activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) today started their indefinite dharna in front of the office of subdivisional officer (SDO), Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), Bhucho Kalan, against the suspension of power supply to the tubewell of Mr Manjit Singh, president, BKU (Ekta), Nathana block.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, president, BKU (Ekta), Bathinda district, said the PSEB act violated all rules. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had given time till November 15 to farmers for depositing their electricity bills, but the PSEB offcials had jumped the gun.

He alleged that a section of officials of the PSEB had been harassing farmers for money. Activists of the BKU (Ekta) were being harassed more as they had been opposing the corrupt activities of these officials. The dharna, he said, would continue till the PSEB authorities withdrew the case against Mr Manjit Singh and waive the penalty.


Cops suspended for illegal detention
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, September 15
Mr Ram Singh, SSP, Batala, has suspended Sub-Inspector Gurnam Singh and head constable Balwinder Singh for illegally detaining a person in custody.

According to sources, the SSP had directed the SP (City) to raid the police station and check its functioning. He took into possession the record of the police station and started checking those who had been detained. He found Shingara Singh of Shankerpura village near Batala had been illegally detained.


Teachers wear black badges
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 15
Teachers of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera, wore black badges today in response to a call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) against the alleged mismanagement of this over three-decade old institution.

According to Prof Darshan Kumar, president of Guru Gobind Singh College unit of the PCCTU, members have been demanding the payment of salaries on the 10th of every month. The teachers have not been paid their salaries for six months.

They have also been seeking a probe into various “irregularities” and misappropriation of funds of the college. Several years ago, the college authorities had constituted an inquiry committee to look into certain financial irregularities, however, the report had been hushed up.

They said those responsible for encouraging the use of unfair means in examinations in the college had not been identified so far and no disciplinary action had been initiated against them.


Navodaya school closed
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, September 15
The Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya at Teona Pujarian village, 10 km from here, was closed yesterday by Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma, Additional Director of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti.

The school was closed after the authorities concerned found it difficult to run the classes due to the deteriorating academic atmosphere. Mr Sharma also ordered the transfer of its Principal, Mr Karam Chand, to Chandigarh.

Students had also been boycotting classes for the past several days, demanding the transfer of the Principal. The students were also agitated over the transfer of a sports teacher.

More than 200 students have already left for their homes.

Deputy Commissioner Anurag Aggarwal said in another case, the Principal of Dashmesh Senior Secondary School, Talwandi Sabo, had been placed under suspension as the management had been receiving complaints against her. An inquiry would be conducted into the allegations.


MLA’s assurance on college
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, September 15
The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Kharar MLA, Mr Birdevinder Singh, held a meeting with officials of various government departments here today for the speedy development of Government College. He said the funds for the pending works would be secured from the government at the earliest. He said the plan of the students centre and the college canteen should be got cleared on a prioriry basis and the work be started immediately.

He told officials of the horticulture wing to plant ornamental saplings in the vacant college land. The municipal council has been asked to sink a tubewell solely for the college.

The MLA has asked the police to provide security and also to ensure the buses stopped near the college for the benefit of the students who came from distant areas.

Officials from the PWD had been asked to beautify the road berms near the college.


Students’ leader convicted
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 15
Mr G.K. Rai, Additional District and Sessions Judge, has convicted Avtar Singh, president of the Punjab Students’ Union of Government Nehru Memorial Postgraduate College, and Guriqbal Singh, a student of the college, and Balwant Singh and Sulakhan Singh, government employees, in a case registered against them under Sections 307, 326, 323, 324 and 34 of the IPC. They have been to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and a fine of Rs 500 each has been imposed on them.

The accused had assaulted a student with kirpans as he was not taking part in rallies organised by the president of the students’ union.


Army function tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The Army will organise a “Sadbhavna” function at Army Public School, Beas, near Jalandhar, in Punjab on September 17 for the induction of 101 insurgency-affected children from Jammu and Kashmir into the school.

Defence Minister Geroge Fernandes, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Chief of the Army Staff Gen N.C. Vij and Western Army Commander Lt-Gen S.S. Mehta will be present on the occasion.

These children will be provided education free of cost by the Army.

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