P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mann decries Vishwa Sikh Sammelan as anti-Sikh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
Terming the “Vishwa Sikh Sammelan” at Mohali as “Anti-Sikh”, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann today suggested that the process of appointment of Jathedars of different “Takhts” and the age old ritual of issuance of “Hukamnamas” needed reforms.

Lambasting the “Sammelan” Mr Mann said no Sikh could tolerate any such “sammelan” as it had hit the basis of the Sikhism, for which “Badal Tohra” combine was responsible.

Putting forth his suggestions on the appointment of Jathedars and the process of issuance of “Hukamnamas”, Mr Mann said Jathedars’ appointments should be time-bound while, the “Hukamnamas” should be considered at meetings of the Dharam Parchar Committee before final issuance and any suggestion of the committee should also be kept in view.

Mr Mann, who was accompanied by Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, General Secretary and senior party leader Dr Harjinder Jakhu also criticised the NDA-led central government for not welcoming the Canadian Prime Minister in a proper manner. “This has once again revealed the central government’s anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh attitude and policies. This is nothing short of insult of Sikhs as the visit of the Canadian Prime Minister to Punjab held more relevance of Punjab and Punjabis. Our party workers were also not allowed to welcome the Canadian Prime Minister during his recent Amritsar visit. Whenever, any international leader intended to visit Punjab, he is advised not to go to Punjab,” alleged Mr Mann.

He said he would take up the issue with the President of India, and in Parliament. He said he would extend invitation to the US President George W Bush to visit Punjab. He said his party’s “jatha” which was going to Pakistan on the eve of Birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, would meet President General Pervez Musharraf and would urge him to facilitate representation of the SGPC on the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Mr Mann said trade relations should be restored between India and Pakistan by opening Wagah and Hussainiwala routes.


Sikh convention a farce, says Ravi Inder
Our Correspondent

Nangal, October 27
The issue of Sehajdharis has been raised with a view to deal as the SGPC elections. The Union Government in alliance with SAD president Parkash Singh Badal has deliberately barred the Sehajdharis from voting, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, president of the New Akali Dal, stated this while taking to newspersons here today.

He said the party’s policy regarding the issue would be finalised at a meeting on November 5. He said his opinion was that stress should be on the kind of members getting elected to the SGPC rather than those voting them to power.

The denial of voting rights would alienate a large number of believers from the mainstream of Sikhism, he said.

He dismissed the world Sikh council as a farce, saying that dhly the Akal takht jathedar had the power to convene “sarbat Khalsa”.


Badal, Tohra used Akal Takht for political ends, says Ravi Inder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 27
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, President of the Nav Gathit Akali Dal and chairman of its religious wing, Mr Jasbir Singh Rode, today condemned challenge to the authority of Akal Takht by a section of Sikhs alleged that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and President of the SGPC Gurcharan Singh Tohra had always tried to use Akal Takht for their narrow political, personal and vested interests.

In a press note here today, Mr Gurdeep Singh, General Secretary, Nav Gathit Akali Dal, said that both Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Mr Jasbir Singh Rode condemned the derogatory remarks against Akal Takht by a few speakers at the World Sikh Conference organised at Mohali yesterday. Both leaders clarified that party would keep on abiding by the authority and sanctity of Akal Takht.

The leaders alleged that these two leaders always created controversy in connection, with the authority of Akal Takht and changed its Jathedar at their Whims. This was the main reason that now the authority of Akal Takht was being challenged.

They said that some principles and policies should be laid down for appointing, removing and working of the Jathedar of Akal Takht and their party would make efforts to make consensus on it besides making it an issue in the election to the executive committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).


Gurtej Singh’s title to go
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The SGPC honorary secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, today said that the SGPC had decided to withdraw the honour of “Professor of Sikhism” from Prof Gurtej Singh in the wake of yesterday’s World Sikh Convention in which he had advocated controversial Sikh writer Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana.

A formal decision to this effect would be taken at the next executive meeting of the SGPC, Mr Calcutta said at a press conference. “It is not fair to advocate the person (Kala Afghana) who has been excommunicated by the Akal Takht Jathedar”, he said.

It was in 1984 that the honour had been conferred upon Prof Gurtej Singh by the then SGPC executive for his works on Sikhism.

Mr Calcutta told reporters that the SGPC’s 21-member religious advisory board would meet on November 11 to decide whether the Akal Takht Jathedar should be urged to summon Prof Gurtej Singh and Mr Joginder Singh, Editor of the “Spokesman” magazine.

Both of them had yesterday organised the convention at Mohali along with a few other Sikh organisations and individuals in which the authority of the Akal Takht Jathedar to issue edicts had been challenged.

Meanwhile, International Human Rights Organisation Chairman D.S. Gill said: “The show was sponsored and organised by Kala Afghana’s relatives and fans from abroad, and a section of the Chandigarh-based intellectuals who tried to lend credibility to the function by spearheading the defensive move of Kala Afghana”. 


Teacher in custody for ‘bribing’ Badal’s wife

Kharar, October 27
A local court today remanded Jagnandan Singh, a co-accused in the corruption case against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in judicial custody till November 7.

Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate B.K. Bhatia directed to produce the accused before a special court on the next date for further remand related matters.

Jagnandan Singh, a resident of Sangrian in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan, who is working as a government teacher, was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) on Thursday last and was produced before the court here this evening after the expiry of his three-day police remand.

On Friday, a Kharar court had remanded him in police custody till today.

The public prosecutor, accompanied by VB sleuths, sought a five-day extension in police remand for him on grounds of recovering his alleged “fake” domicile certificate, on the basis of which he got recruited as a government teacher, and ascertaining his sources of income, with which he allegedly paid “bribe” for clearing his selection as a Hindi teacher.

The prosecution claimed that after getting prepared his “fake” domicile certificate, Jagnandan Singh, along with his brother-in-law Kuldeep Singh of Muktsar and Harbans Lal, a four-decade-old manager of Mr Badal, at present behind bars, had approached Mr Badal’s wife Surinder Kaur Badal and gave her Rs 2.5 lakh.

Further submitting that no test was conducted for the said post, the prosecution claimed that though he possessed no experience certificate or any extra qualification, he was awarded 13 out of 15 numbers in the interview conducted for filling the posts. — UNI

Sukhbir’s relative fails to appear before VB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Mr Bikram Singh Majithia, brother-in-law of Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Badal, today failed to turn up before the state Vigilance Bureau officials, while his Delhi-based lawyer sent a reply to the bureau stating that since his client had gone abroad he could not make himself available for questioning in the disproportionate assets case registered against the Badal family.

Sources in the Vigilance Bureau disclose that they would shoot another communique asking his lawyer to give information about the flight Mr Bikram Majithia took to fly out of the country and the country where he had gone so that they could get in touch with the embassy there to trace him out.

The bureau had on October 22 sent Mr Bikram Majithia a notice, asking him to join in the investigations at their Economic Offences Wing office and had also been asked to bring in the papers of his vehicle, a green-coloured Scorpio, and his passport. The notice had been sent to him keeping in view his close proximity with Chandigarh police Assistant Sub-Inspector, Nirbhjit Singh, alias Nippy Dhanoa who had been nabbed by the immigration authorities at Delhi. Mr Majithia’s vehicle was allegedly used by Nippy to travel from Mohali to Delhi.

In yet another development, a notice has also been sent to Mr Randeep Singh Rai, a city-based advocate, to join in the investigations in the case of corruption against the Badals.

Mr Rai, who, according to the Vigilance Bureau happens to be one of the main beneficiaries during the Badal regime is also reported to be close to both Sukhbir Badal and Bikram Majithia. However, according to information available, he too is reported to be out of country. Hence, two of the junior Badal’s key associates, who were to join in the investigations, happen to be abroad. Besides them, a host of others, who had been asked to come for questioning are reported to be put of the country.


World Bank team to visit Punjab next week
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Punjab is trying hard to wriggle out of the uneasy financial situation. Efforts are being made to bring down the overdraft that has touched a figure of Rs 270 crore in recent days. With steps initiated in the past days, it is expected to come down to Rs 40 crore by the end of this month, it is learnt.

“We have pulled all strings to enhance the revenue. The sales tax collection is being geared up to create a balance between revenue and expenditure. It is a bit difficult situation but we are trying to amend it”, said a senior officer of the state government.

Next Monday, a high-level 14-member team of the World Bank will reach here to assess the financial scenario in Punjab and its progress on the financial reforms front. When Capt Amarinder Singh took over as Chief Minister last year, he initiated several steps to put the state’s economy back on the rails. However, because of tactless and apolitical handling, the fiscal reforms initiated by the government led to a public outcry. Certain well-intentioned moves had to be halted because of opposition from various sections of the society.

The Punjab Government last year made certain commitments such as financial discipline, better tax collection management, administrative restructuring and jacking up of low agricultural growth with the Union Government as part of the fiscal reforms. In lieu of that, the Centre had offered to stand guarantee to the loans to be raised by it (state) from international financial institutions such as the World Bank.

Source said the Punjab Government would seek financial assistance from the World Bank under the Structural Adjustment Fund. Under this fund, the World Bank provides 70 per cent of the financial assistance as grant and the remaining is treated as loan on a very low rate of interest.

The state government has prepared public utility projects such as provision of adequate drinking water in rural and urban areas, laying of sewer system in various towns and cities and building of roads and bridges. At present the development process in the state is going on at a snail’s pace. While other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana are galloping ahead on the path of development, Punjab apparently has been left behind. “ It has become a major concern for all”, said a senior ruling party politician.

Punjab immediately needs about Rs 500 crore to take up certain projects. Sources said the state government wanted to go for “ external commercial borrowings” from international financial institutions. But for this, a nod from the Union Government was a must.

When contacted, a senior officer of the Finance Department said: “Our immediate concern is to improve the situation on the tax collection front. The information collection centres that were set up for better management information regarding sales tax have not shown the desired results.

There was a need to make further efforts to improve sales tax collection by making the information system more responsive and effective. Punjab is a consumer state but with low sales tax collection. That imbalance is required to set right to be jack up the state’s revenue”, he explained.

It may be mentioned that even the National Planning Commission has pointed out that the collection of taxes could be raised by Rs 2500 crore in Punjab by plugging various leakage points.


No commission, no revenue stamps through post offices
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Revenue stamps will no longer be available at post offices in Punjab. The decision will come into force at 4000-odd post offices, including those in the rural areas, once the existing stock of the stamps is exhausted.

The stock situation could vary from post office to post office, said a senior officer of the Punjab Circle of the Indian Postal Department. The decision has been conveyed to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab. The move follows failure on the part of the state government to comply with the demand of the Postal Department to pay 10 per cent commission on the sale of the stamps.

Over the years the Postal Department has been selling revenue stamps at its counters on behalf of the state government. When the issue was taken up with the state government, a notification was issued in May this year allowing the percentage commission on the sale of the stamps. But it was withdrawn in September last.

Confirming the decision to discontinue the sale of revenue stamps, Mrs Manjula Prashar, Post Master-General, Punjab Circle, said the issue had been repeatedly taken up with the Punjab Government, but no decision had been conveyed to the department. She said the existing stocks at the post offices could last a few months.

Under the existing arrangement, revenue stamps are collected by the staff at the district level post offices from the district treasuries.

The Postal Department is stressing on charging commission on the sale of revenue stamps after the Centre has started cutting on subsidies. The postal circles are being asked to generate the maximum possible resources from its existing resources.

The Himachal Pradesh Government pays 10 per cent commission on the sale of revenue stamps and the Jammu and Kashmir Government pays around 4 per cent commission.

The decision may affect the users in the rural areas. In the urban areas, private vendors are authorised to sell revenue stamps, but in the rural areas there is no such arrangement. Under the existing arrangement, the treasuries procure their stocks from the Government Printing Press at Nasik. The stamps are further sold to the Postal Department for counter sale.

Till the mid-seventies the Punjab Postal Department used to procure the revenue stamps from the Nasik press and store in Ludhiana. But later the practice was discontinued and the stamps were purchased from the state treasuries, says an officer of the Postal Department.


2 SGPC members removed from Akali Dal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today removed Mr Darbara Singh Seona and his wife, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, both members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), from the primary membership of the Akali Dal for their alleged “antiparty” and “Anti-Panthic activities.”

A spokesman of the Akali Dal, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, has in a statement issued here today said both of them, who are SGPC members from Samanna constituency in Patiala district, had attended the World Sikh convention, organised by a number of Sikh organisations at SAS Nagar yesterday. According to him, they have been held guilty of participating in the deliberations, where the institution of Akali Takht was challenged.


BJP conspiring against Mayawati, says Karimpuri
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib,  October 27
Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, President of the state BSP unit, while addressing a press conference here today has warned the BJP-led Central NDA government against “using” the CBI to suppress their political opponents by implicating them in false cases.

He said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee should not play with the fire by trying to arrest Mayawati. He said the state unit of the BSP would oppose her arrest. Party workers in large number would offer themselves for arrest. He said the state unit had started holding meetings of workers to involve them in the cause. He said if Ms Mayawati was arrested, it would led to chaos in the country as she represented the downtrodden and weaker sections of society.

Mr Karimpuri had come here to address a meeting of party workers to motivate them in this regard.

He alleged that the BJP leadership was conspiring against her as she had refused to toe their line. Moreover, as she had attained the stature of a National leader, the Central Government was facing a threat from her. She had contributed a lot for the development of Uttar Pradesh and the weaker section, which the BJP leadership could not digest and started conspiring to destabilise her government and to bring a bad name to her by involving her name in corruption cases, he alleged. He said in the coming elections the BJP had to pay the price for resorting to such tactics. He said the party would approach the masses and would educate the weaker section about how the “Manuwadis” were conspiring to make them slaves again.

Mr Mann Singh Manhera, general secretary of the national unit of the BSP and Mrs Surinder Kaur, state president, Women Cell of the BSP, also addressed.



Ex-minister lashes out at Cong govt
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 27
“The news reports about the performance of Punjab Government during its 20-month tenure in the state are nothing but a propaganda, which also aims at maligning the Badal family, where as main issues like unemployment, environment pollution and concessions to Dalits have not been touched upon,” commented Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, a former minister.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said on the directions of the Supreme Court, the state government had banned the use of crackers and burning of stubble. However, nearly 80 per cent of farmers were engaged in the burning of stubble in their fields and the use of crackers during Divali had rendered the atmosphere smoggy.

He lamented that the government had failed to spread awareness among the farmers about the ill effects of burning stubble besides the loss of urea in the soil. He said the husk could be sold to factories, where it is used as fuel to generate power. He added that the government had failed to take action against the erring farmers.

Mr Pandhi was also critical of the delay in payment of scholarship amount to Scheduled Caste students. The scholarship is given to those SC students who have passed their Class XII examination and left the school. He said teachers called such students to the school to give scholarship amount, but in many cases the amount remained with the school and did not reach the beneficiaries, he said.

Similarly, he said, books ment for such students did not reach them in time. Scholarships and other concessions for SC students were sanctioned by the head of the department. Mr Pandhi said the power should be decentralised up to district level to facilitate the release of the scholarship amount to such students.


BJP district executive panel announced
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 27
Mr Satwant Singh Punia, president of the district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the office-bearers and members of the executive committee of the district BJP unit.

Giving this information here today, Mr Prem Gugnani (Sunam), general secretary of the district unit, said Mr K.K. Mudgil (Sangrur), Mr Tarsem Thapar (Malerkotla), Mr Raghbir Chand (Barnala), Mr Ajmer Singh Khundi Handhia and Dr Chamkaur Singh Sehna had been made vice-presidents. Mr Prem Gugnani (Sunam), Mr Jogi Ram (Sangrur) and Mr Prem Pritam (Barnala) had been appointed general secretaries.

Mr Pawan Kumar Chhahria (Sunam) and Mr Jatinder Kalra (Sangrur) had been made press secretaries. Mr Charanjit Singh Lucky (Sangrur), Mr Lajpat Rai Garg (Sunam), Ms Sunita Rani Dhir (Ahmedgarh) and Ms Manjit Kaur (Sangrur) were the new secretaries. Mr Amrit Lal (Sangrur) had been made treasurer, he added.

Thirty two BJP activists have been nominated as the members of the district executive committee.


Pak body welcomes initiative
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
The Pakistani chapter of the Association of Peoples of Asia (APA) and other organisations have welcomed the 12 proposals made by India to improve the strained relations with Pakistan.

This was disclosed by Ms Nirmala Deshpande, president of the Indian chapter of the APA, who yesterday returned to India along with other members of a delegation, including Mr Abdul Rashid an MP from Kashmir, across the Wagah check post, after attending a peace convention organised by the APA in Pakistan.

She said the main advantage of delegations visiting the neighbouring country was that it increased pressure on the governments not to do anything that might go against the people.

The other two members of the delegation were Mr Mohammad Illias Qureshi, a social activist, and Ms Babita Choudhry, an activist of the APA. 


Shiv Sena decries Vajpayee’s peace offer to Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
The All India Hindu Shiv Sena has condemned the 12-point charter offered by the NDA government to Pakistan. Mr Surinder Kumar Billa Sena head stated the government needed to clear its stand regarding the acceptance of LOC (Line of Control) between Srinagar and PoK (Pak occupied Kashmir). The government’s announcement of bus services between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad (capital of PoK) had raised this question. It also condemned the proposed talks with the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) as a mistake. In a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee here today. Before the government decides to hold talks with the APHC, the latter must explain loyalty and declare it as Indian.

The Sena head stressed that the government must also press Pakistan first to lift any ban on visit by Hindu pilgrims, willing to visit and maintain their ancient shrines in Pakistan. He said it seemed that the government had yielded to pressure to please Muslims who are being given every facility for their pilgrimage in India from Pakistan to India. He feared that ISI’s activities might get impetus with the likelihood of so many new gateways. He asked the PM why had he had gone back on his own words in which he had ruled out dialogue with Pakistan till all terrorist and undercover operations were stopped by it.


138 civic bodies fail to check pollution
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
Punjab Pollution Control Board Chairman Rana K.P. Singh today alleged that 138 civic bodies in the state had failed to stop pollution and it led to the polluting of waters in the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, Rana K.P. Singh said except for Anandpur Sahib, Nangal, Sultanpur Lodhi and Phillaur Municipal Committees, which had installed water treatment plants, most of other civic bodies were releasing polluted water in rivers, resulting in pollution of ground water.

Referring to the Corporate Charter drafted by the central government in its endeavour to stop pollution in the country, Rana K.P. Singh said all distilleries, tanneries, paper mills and sugar mills have been asked to draw up plans to curb pollution before November 15.

He said distilleries, paper mills, tanneries and sugar mills were playing a dangerous role as far as pollution of rivers was concerned. He said even as of 37 tanneries, 10 had installed treatment plants, others have been asked to submit their action plans so as to prepare further strategy.

Mr Rana said since the board was facing staff shortage, its work in the field of prevention of pollution was being affected severely.


Infantry Day celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, October 27
Lt.-Gen Mohinder Puri, GOC 10 Corps and other senior officers paid homage to infantrymen on the occasion of Infantry Day which was celebrated here today.

A wreath-laying ceremony was organised at Nand Singh Chowk to commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by these men.

According to a press note, Infantry Day was celebrated every year on October 27. It was on this day in 1947 that Indian troops landed in Srinagar and fought gallantly to throw out Pakistani invaders.

The Infantry continues to the predominant combat arm. Its performances in Siachen, along the Line of Control and fighting militancy in Kashmir and North East have won accolades.

The contribution of the Infantry has been acknowledged through the large numbers of gallantry awards, unit citations and commendations conferred upon its men.

A special Sainik Sammelan was organised at Chetak Sainik Institute, which was followed by “barakhana”. Several serving and retired officers were present on the occasion.

FAZILKA: The Infantry celebrated its raising day at the war memorial raised in memory of the 1971 war heroes, who laid down their lives defending Fazilka at Asafwala village, 7 km from here. Major-Gen N.B. Singh, GoC, other Army officers and Dr Rattan Lal Thakral, president of the Shaheedon Ki Samadh Sabha, Asafwala, laid wreaths at the memorial. A pray ceremony was conducted by representatives of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians.

A Sainik Sammelan, “barakhana and a get-together were also held.

JALANDHAR: Vajra Corps today celebrated Infantry Day by paying homage to the martyrs who had sacrificed their lives to maintain the sovereignty and integrity of the country while repulsing the Razakars from the vicinity of Srinagar airfield on this day 57 years ago.

The GOC Vajra Corps, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, laid a wreath at the Vajra War Memorial.

Later, addressing jawans and officers, he commended the dedication and perseverance the Infantry had displayed during the war with the neighbouring country.


Rail traffic hit
Our correspondent

Pathankot, October 27
Rail traffic from Pathankot to Jammu came to a halt following disruption caused by the derailment of Shalimar Express near Jatwar village, Hiranagar in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday.

A team of railway officials headed by general manager Northern Railway Rajiv Ranjan Jaruaruhar , arrived here today and rushed to the spot.

The railway officials have terminated all trains from Pathankot to Jammu. The railway authorities have provided 12 buses for the passengers from Pathankot to their nearest destinations. The local taxi owners are making a fast buck by transporting the passengers by charging excessive rates.


Man booked for threatening Baba Bhaniara
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 27
The police has booked Kulwinder Singh, resident of Sangatpur village, near Kurali, for allegedly threatening Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara on his mobile phone.

Sources said Baba Piara Singh had received a call on his mobile at about 6 p.m. on October 25. The caller without identified himself threatened to kill him. The Baba reported the matter to the police and the call was traced. The accused is, however, yet to be arrested.

The police also found that Kulwinder Singh had visited the dera of the Baba at Dhamana village in the recent past. His name was found in the visitor’s register. The police had beefed up security around the dera. Metal detectors have been installed and the visitors are being frisked.


Phone  subscribers forum holds camp
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 27
Under the aegis of the Patiala Consumer and Telephone Subscribers Forum, a camp was held at B.N. Khalsa Senior Secondary School here today.

The main aim of the programme was to create awareness about the rights of a consumer provided in the Consumer Protection Act.

The president of the forum, Ms J.N. Shahi, spoke on the duties of a consumer.

The secretary of the forum, Mr Subhash Chawla, told the students about how to approach the Telecom Department for allowing rebate in rent if the telephone remains out of order for more than seven days.

Later the Principal of the school, thanked the office-bearers of the forum for imparting information to students.



Jallianwala funds swindled, says Bitta
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), has alleged that fund to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore allocated for the Jallianwala Memorial Bagh have been swindled or misutulised.

As member of the advisory board of the memorial trust/committee, Mr Bitta in a letter to the Union Minister for Tourism, Mr Jagmohan, has stated that Rs 37 lakh was sanctioned for a specific work at the site involving the road or passage to the monument which has only served to ‘distort’ the originality and historic significance of the site. Further, he has stated, other works executed to renovate or beautify it seem to have cost not more than Rs 1 lakh.

He urged Mr Jagmohan to order a CBI inquiry into the alleged embezzlement. Mr Bitta has advocated a time-bound action plan to develop the historical monument site. He has urged the Union Minister to dissolve all committees of the site and sought a fresh committee, preferably without any political person heading it.



Forum jails ex-IAS officer for 6 months

Bathinda, October 27
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, today ordered six-month imprisonment and a fine of Rs 6000 to a retired IAS officer and Managing Director Sarvotam Leasing and Real Estate Limited G.S. Multani following a complaint against him.

According to the orders passed by the District Consumer Forum president Harinderpal Singh Sidhu, Managing Director G S Multani had not complied with the orders, passed by the State Commission and National Commission for Consumer Forum, for refunding Rs 83,600 along with interest of 18 per cent to the complainant, Manjit Kaur of Bathinda.

He said the forum was of the view that Multani had shown utter disregard towards the genuineness, legality and validity of the orders passed by the state and National Commission before the district forum which added an insult to injury already caused by the accused for not complying with the orders.

The record says that the case had been decided in favour of the complainant State Commission and an order was passed to the regard for the payment of the deposited money along with interest within 60 days on February 20, 2003.

It was ordered that the Branch manager Sushil Sachdeva should undergo simple imprisonment of three months and fine of Rs 2000. It further ordered refund of the money to the complainant along with interest and costs within 60 days of communication of the order passed today. — UNI


ASI, head constable suspended, SPO discharged
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 27
Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP has suspended Narinder Singh Assistant Sub-Inspector and Head Constable Vijay Kumar on the charge of drinking on duty and harassing labourers at Bhattian grain market on the Divali night. Their accomplice Mane SPO has been given the notice of discharge.

On Divali night that the said police officials at 9.30 pm abused labourers and manhandled them. Injuring Manual Masih and Nand Lal son of Fauja Singh who received an head injury and has been admitted in Kahnuwan health centre.

Labourer said that yesterday 400 persons went to the Station House Officer Kahnuwan and narrated him their story. He recommended action against the said police official to the DSP who reported the matter to the SSP. The SSP ordered the suspension of the police officials today.

Meanwhile, arhtiyas of Bhattian grain market said that the said police officials collected money from them on demand from the office of the SSP. Lakhwinder Singh, Gurdarshan Singh, Mohan Singh Numberdar, Kulwant Singh and Iqbal Singh are alleged to have paid Rs 500 each to the said police officials. However, Master Aya Singh and Swarn Singh also arhtiyas refused to make payment because they had enquired from the Station House Officer, Kahnuwan about the demand from the SSP’s office. The arhtiyas refused to make payment to the said police officials. 


Son kills father

Jalandhar, October 27
A son, allegedly under the influence of liquor, killed his father over some petty dispute in Dingriyan village in the Adampur area.

The incident took place yesterday night when Balbir Chand indulged in verbal dispute with his son Charanjit Singh over some petty issue and the son, who was allegedly under the influence of liquor, attacked his father with some sharp-edged weapon and injured him, police sources said, adding that after the conflict Balbir was taken to a local clinic for first aid and came back but could not wake up in the morning.

It seems the deceased succumbed to his injuries in the sleep, sources said, adding that a case has been registered against Charanjit Singh at the Adampur police station and efforts were on to arrest him. — PTI


Two die in accident
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 27
Two persons were killed and four injured in an accident near Badrukhan village on the Sangrur-Barnala road last evening. All were occupants of an Ambulance van.

The police said here today the accident took place when the van, carrying injured Pritam Khan from Longowal to Sangrur Civil Hospital, reportedly hit the rear side of a tractor-trailer. The driver of the van Sadhu Singh was killed on the spot while Pritam Khan died on way to hospital.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr.P.C. in this case.


One killed in group clash
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 27
Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Morinda, was killed in a group clash over a piece of land in Bela Karkhana village, near Chamkaur Sahib, today.

Sources said Gurmeet Singh had the girdawari of 25 acres in the village in his name. However, a rival group tried to take the land, which led to an armed clash between two groups. In the clash, Gurmeet Singh was shot dead.

A case under Sections 302, 148 and 159 of the IPC has been registered against Atma Singh, Jaspal Singh and six unidentified persons on a complaint of the wife of the deceased. The DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh Gill, who was investigating the case said raids were being conducted at hideouts of the accused.



Petrol station looted

Moga, October 27
Three unidentified motorcycle-borne youths looted a petrol station on the Moga-Ludhiana road and decamped with a booty of Rs 10,000 at pistol point, the police said today.

It is for the second time that the petrol outlet had been robbed within two months.

The police said the youths reached the petrol outlet at about 7.15 pm asked the attendant to fill the tank. They asked him to return the remaining amount as they had a Rs 1,000 note.

When the attendant went inside the office, the accused took out pistols and asked him to hand over the cash. — PTI


Two arrested

Bathinda, October 27
Two persons have been arrested in connection with an alleged dowry-related death of Sudha, wife of Rajan, a resident of Gaddandob village near here.

She was badly burnt last week and succumbed to her injuries after she had been referred to Ludhiana by the Civil Hospital here. — OC


Engineering college gets accreditation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 27
The National Council of Institute of Engineers (IEI), at its 625th meeting held at Shimla, has decided to give accreditation to B.Tech degrees in electronics and communication, mechanical and computer engineering in Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, here.

Addressing mediapersons, Principal of the college, Dr Dilbag Singh Hira, said the college had got a letter from the Assistant Director of the IEI headquarters in Kolkata regarding the accreditation of these courses.

He said a high-level team of experts of the IEI had inspected the infrastructure of departments of the college in January. The team had also interacted with students and faculty member to judge the academic standards of various departments.

He said IEI functions with engineers, academicians and research scholars and provides an array of technical, professional and supporting services to the government, industries and the academic and the engineering field.

The coordinator of the IEI chapter of the college, Prof Lakhwinder Singh, said the IEI had been constituted to promote engineering, engineering science and its applications and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on these subjects amongst members and those attached with the institution.

He said the IEI had 18 state centres and 76 local centres. He congratulated the students, the staff and the faculty members on getting the accreditation. He said IEI chapter of the college was active in providing professional and supporting services to technical teachers and the students.

Media coordinator R.S. Uppal said the college, which had the ISO 9001 2000 certification, was preparing for accreditation by the National Accreditation Board of the All-India Council of Technical Education.

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