P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Shamsher shifted to condemned cell
Accused of making phone call from jail premises
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 30
Pop singer Daler Mehndi’s brother Shamsher Mehndi has been shifted to a condemned cell in the Central Jail here following a complaint by the district police that he had made a call from a mobile phone from the jail premises.

The jail authorities have also started conducting all his meetings with outsiders under strict supervision.

According to sources, these steps have been taken following a complaint by the district police that Shamsher had made a call from a mobile phone from the jail premises after being remanded in judicial custody.

The sources said though Shamsher had a few persons visiting him, a few meetings were conducted in the open ground inside the jail complex instead of the separate meeting hall near the main entrance which has a wire mesh and where meetings are strictly monitored.

The sources said during one such meeting, Shamsher was able to make a call on a mobile phone, following which the jail authorities were asked to explain the breach of security.

Jail Superintendent Jagjit Singh, when questioned on this issue, said he was on leave during the last few days. He said he came to know of the incident yesterday only after he came back from leave. He said the mobile call was made by Shamsher during his interrogation in the CIA Interrogation Centre and that mobile call owner had been identified as a havaldar in the CIA staff.

The Superintendent said the jail authorities had taken the complaint seriously even though no breach of security had occurred on the jail premises. He said now anyone coming to meet Shamsher would have to meet him under strict supervision. When asked on why Shamsher had been shifted to a condemned cell, he said this had been done as a security measure. He said the jail authorities did not want him to mingle with other prisoners, fearing there might be a backlash against him.

Meanwhile, jail sources disclosed that only a few youngsters who appeared to be associated with the music field had come to visit Shamsher. They said one of them had claimed that he was distantly related to the accused. They said even Shamsher’s star brother Mika and all his other known relatives, some of whom live in the city, had given him a wide berth. They said Shamsher was suffering from hypertension and was under medication for it.


Non-bailable warrants against Daler’s wife
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 30
A local court today reissued non-bailable warrants against Daljit Kaur and Balwinder Kaur, the wives of Daler and Shamsher Mehndi, respectively, and three others accused of human trafficking along with the Mehndi brothers.

Daler, meanwhile, failed to keep date with Patiala Deputy Inspector-General of Police Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota for the second day. Daler who was scheduled to come at 11 a.m.

In the District Court today, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa reissued arrest warrants against the wives of Daler and Shamsher besides Tejinder Singh Laddi, Surinder Singh and Dhian Singh. The prosecution claimed that a police party under the Station House Officer of the Nabha kotwali had been despatched earlier to deliver the arrest warrants but they could not be delivered.

The prosecution asked that the date of the arrest warrants be extended due to this which was done by the court.

The arrest warrants will be effective till November 17.

Meanwhile, the Patiala Range DIG disclosed at noon that Daler Mehndi did not come to record his statement in a complaint submitted by him against the Patiala police. The DIG said Daler, who could not come yesterday because he was purportedly ill, did not inform his office that he was not coming today. He said, accordingly, a fresh notice had been issued to him under Section 160 of the CrPC.

The officer said in case Daler still failed to record his statement, an ex parte decision would be taken.

Daler’s lawyer Ravinder Kumar when questioned on the issue, said Daler could not come to Patiala today as he was still ill. The lawyer said the Patiala police would be informed as to when he could come to give his statement.

He added that his client was interested in recording his statement in the complaint filed against the Patiala police. The lawyer said Daler would move the court tomorrow for regular bail in the case.

Meanwhile, sources said the Sadar police had added some more Sections in FIR number 498 which had been registered against Shamsher Mehndi and others on September 19. The Sections which had been added now are 120 (b), 467, 468, 471, 471 (a), 465 and 466, IPC.

They relate to conspiracy (120-b) and preparation of forged documents and using the forged documents as genuine ones. These sections had been added following fresh complaints that Shamsher Mehndi had forged official documents on the basis of which money had been allegedly extorted from some persons on the promise of sending them abroad.

Daler is, meanwhile, scheduled to rejoin the investigation in the case at 5 p.m. tomorrow, sources said.


Cops’ conduct with Daler ‘inhuman’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Parkash Singh Badal today said the Punjab Police had behaved in an inhumane way with Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi and said the entire issue should be probed by an independent agency.

“A judicial probe at the highest level will be quite in order to get at the truth in the sordid drama,” a statement quoting the Akali leader said here.


Look-out notices against Badals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) has issued look-out notices against the Badals and a few others close to them in the disproportional assets case.

According to Vigilance sources these notices sent to the immigration authorities at airports across the country make it mandatory for the Badals and their close associates to inform the police and the investigating officer ( IO) before they leave the country.

These notices have also been issued against a few other suspects, including Ashim Kapoor, Anil Kumar, son of Harbans Lal, Bhagwan Dass Gupta, who are reported to be close to the Badal family and are facing investigations in the case. This step has been taken in view of a few people — wanted for questioning in the case — having flown out of the country, including Mr Bikram Majithia, brother-in-law of Mr Sukhbir Badal, who was to appear before the bureau on October 27. Among others are Hardeep Singh Bhamra, OSD to Mr Badal, and Kewal Krishan, personal secretary to Sukhbir.

Only two days ago the Vigilance had sounded red alert against the Badals.


Sikh convention condemned
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, October 29
The All-India Sikh Students Federation today urged Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, to ex-communicate the intellectuals who had passed resolutions urging the Sikhs not to obey the ‘hukamnamas’ issued by Akal Takht at the World Sikh Convention held at SAS Nagar recently.

Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president of the federation, in a press note issued here today urged that the intellectuals should be ex-communicated so that nobody could dare to denigrate the prestige of Akal Takht.

He said the resolutions passed in the convention was the challenge to the traditions of hukamnamas and supremacy of Akal Takht which could not be tolerated.

Mr Gill also criticised Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (Amritsar), for his alleged statements against the federation.

Describing the organising of the World Sikh Convention as the violation of Sikh tradition, the Akhand Kirtani Jatha International (AKJI) has also condemned it.

In a joint press note, senior leaders of the AKJI Joginder Singh Talwara and Satnam Singh here today said their organisation was against the holding of such conventions which challenge the age-old religious institutions.

In another press note, the honorary secretary of the Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, said no reputed organisation of Sikhs had participated in the conference.


Gurtej group to contest SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Accepting the challenge thrown up by the SGPC secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, organisers of the World Sikh Convention (WSC) today said that they would contest SGPC elections, whenever these were held.

Addressing a joint press conference, former bureaucrat, Prof Gurtej Singh, convener of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Rajinder Singh, Maj-Gen (retd) Narinder Singh, said the Sikh Students Federation had no ideological commitment.

Earlier, the federation which was “stubbornly supporting’’ ideology of the late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, was now supporting the ideology of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who stood opposed to Sant Bhindranwale at every step. Tomorrow it may even be with Capt Amarinder Singh, he remarked with sarcasm.

Objecting to his comparison with Salman Rushdie, Prof Gurtej Singh, said he had made immense contribution to Sikhism by writing 10 books and 500-odd articles and none of them had been anti-Panthic.

He questioned Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta’s contribution to Sikhism.

The organisers advised Mr Ravinder Singh and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to refrain from indulging in false propaganda and study the resolutions passed at the convention.


DGP’s roadmap to deal with changing
pattern of crime
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, is working on a roadmap to ‘’re-invent’’ policing. As the first step, community policing has been introduced at the district level. It is to be extended to the subdivisions, besides establishing separate helplines for women and children.

In the existing archaic, cramped system, there is little elbow room for any major manoeuvre. The police has to learn to function within this system and simultaneously resist pressures from various quarters. In this regard, Mr Siddiqui is trying to flag the roadmap with short and long-term targets for police image makeover — a daunting task in the prevailing political system and bureaucratic intrigues.

Mr Siddiqui, however, is hopeful of narrowing the gap between the police and the people. His effort is to improve credibility of the police and ensure that the people are respected, cared for, secure and safe in the company of the police. Talking to TNS today on various aspects of policing, recruitment to new draft police rules to check corruption in the police and changing crime patterns, he says: ‘’There is a sea change in the crime scene. Though the police is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime, it is no longer a mere ‘chor-sipahi’ gamble’’.

The DGP says in the given quicksilver socio-economic and political developments, the police cannot remain quiescent. It is time to change the police profile to enable it to deal with crime that has acquired a ring of sophistication and involves high-society people. Crime is no longer the domain of the poor or the have-not or vagabonds. Neither is crime the prerogative of only certain classes, castes and tribes, who are professionals in petty crime: theft and “thugee”. The police has now to deal with high-grade crime: cyber -crime, economic offences, financial frauds, forgeries and embezzlements, cheating and even domestic disputes and violence at home et al.

If the crime patterns have changed, so have the tools. From crow-bars and sharpedged weapons that gangs of ‘’kalekacchhewale’’ used, the new generation crimemasters have switched over to breaking into computer systems, hacking codes, corrupting e-mails, forging documents, stealing ATM cards and after the crime, misleading the police by using cell-phones with different SIM cards. And the police has also noticed a mushroom growth of ‘’deras’’ that serve as ‘’safe sanctuaries’’ for the criminals.

To meet future challenges, Mr Siddiqui says: ‘’Modernisation of the police is as important as it is imperative to bring about a behavioural and attitudinal change in the police mindset . It is also time to re-enforce police ethics, improve morale and provide leadership to the force. To match the new crime minds, must equip the cops with investigating kits. The technique of lifting fingerprints is primitive. Fingerprints are lifted in barely 1 per cent of the crime cases, though these are vital to connect a criminal to the crime’’.

Analysing the changing crime scene, the DGP says: ‘’What makes people from all walks of life to indulge in white-collar crime and sleaze are frustration, greed for making quick money, addiction to drugs, unemployment or meagre salaries, commerce-driven market economy, domestic responsibilities, etc.”

Now ‘’human trafficking’’ and NRI marriages have added yet another dimension to the crime scene. It involves travel agents, “ragis”, sportspersons, cultural troupes, NRIs et al.

Mr Siddiqui believes that in this fast developing knowledge-based society, the crimebrains will further invent cleverer means to dupe or circumvent the police to avoid their identification and detention. Admittedly, the police has been rather slow in changing its methodology of crime prevention, detection and punishment. But then the police is not the only player in this task; there is also the judicial system. This too has not changed radically in tune with society’s changing lifestyle and crime scenes.

Thus, Mr Siddiqui’s roadmap includes introducing mass-scale computerisation, improving communication skills, equipping cops with traffic, intelligence and security gadgets and establishing forensic lab facilities in each district to deal with the changing crime scene. His one major area of concern is the pressure of work on the police at the grassroots and pilferage of manpower by way of deployment of cops on personal security duties with serving and retired politicians, bureaucrats, police brass, VIP citizens, etc. In the past three months he has withdrawn 1,400 cops from such duties.


Uninterrupted power for all villages
by 2004, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Round-the-clock uninterrupted power will be supplied to all the villages in Punjab by the end of next year, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said during his visit to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Room today.

Addressing a gathering, the Chief Minister said about Rs 300 crore was being spent on the rural electrification programme. At present there were about 5,800 villages in the state without 24-hour electricity supply.

He also announced a grant of Rs 33 lakh for the High Court Bar Association this year. A payment of another Rs 32 lakh next year was promised for airconditioning of the hall, purchase of books or for “any other purpose”.

Interacting with the lawyers, the Chief Minister said the advocate fraternity was welcome to meet him in case of any grievance. He also asked former Bar Association President G.K. Chathrath to furnish a detailed plan for the construction of chambers for the lawyers. “I will discuss the matter with the Governor,” the Chief Minister said.

He, however, refused to comment on the issue pertaining to the filing of challan against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a disproportionate assets case registered against him. “In the court, how can we talk about charge sheet,” he asserted.

Regarding other corruption cases in the state, the Chief Minister said over 400 criminal cases, involving senior political leaders, bureaucrats and other government functionaries, were being tried in different courts.

He urged the legal fraternity to devise ways and means of decreasing the ever-mounting pressure exerted by the pending cases in the courts as the same was resulting in delay.

Earlier during the programme, he was presented a memento by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Mr B.K. Roy. Sitting and retired High Court judges were also present.

Talking to the media after the Chief Minister’s departure, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association president, Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, revealed that their other demands included land for advocates’ society near the High Court complex, an additional bar complex and adequate space for parking vehicles.


Case of death row prisoner in Pak handed over to CM
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 30
Close on the heels of the filing a fresh petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for the acquittal of Sarabjit Singh, an Indian prisoner sentenced to death by Pakistani court allegedly in case of masterminding bomb blasts in Karachi, Mr Sital Das Kaler, ‘case coordinator’ South Asian Human Rights Group of Canada, today handed over the case to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh for action.

Mr Kaler who filed the petition this month on behalf of his organisation, said the Chief Minister had assured to take up the case with the Union Government.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Sital said Sarabjit, sentenced in the case of a “mistaken identity” as one Manjit Singh, by the Pakistani courts, was allegedly implicated in a ‘false case’ after he strayed into Pakistan in 1991.

The Lahore High Court sentenced him to death for causing death of four persons, including a woman, besides causing grievous injuries to 22 others in the alleged bomb blasts.

While Sarabjit, is a resident of Bhikhiwind here, and kept pleading innocence. The Pakistan judiciary, administration and executive turned a deaf ear to his pleas despite his family sending all proofs of his identity to Pakistan. Mr Kaler said “recently Sarabjit converted to Islam to save himself from more torture. His minor daughters one of whom was merely 23 days old (now 12 years) when he went missing had written an emotional letter to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to give them back their father as a gift in response to the goodwill extended to 20 Pakistani children for free heart treatment in India. Meanwhile the case of three Sikh youths having taken refuge in Dera Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan and living as converts was also handed over to the Chief Minister for further action.


Discord in Punjab CLP denied
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
As many as 13 Punjab Ministers said in a joint statement issued today that the recent news reports suggesting dissidence in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) were “totally unfounded” and seem to be a figment of the imagination of the Akali-BJP combine. “The CLP is completely united and has full faith and confidence in the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh”.

The ministers whose names appear on the statement issued by the state’s PR Department are Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh, Mr Khushal Behl, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Mohinder Singh Kay Pee, Mr Santokh Singh, Mr Sardul Singh, Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Mr Amarjeet Singh Samra, Mr Ashwani Sekhri and Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa. When contacted some of these ministers said they were not even aware that a statement attributed to them had been issued.


Congress leaders deny dissidence
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 30
Congress leaders of the district today presented a united face to counter the rumours that there was dissidence in the party and the party men were revolting against the Chief Minister.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, and former Minister, Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, Amloh, and Vaid Hari Krishan, president of the District Congress Committee denied media reports that there was dissidence in the Congress Legislative Party.

They alleged that these reports were a part of the campaign initiated by the SAD-BJP combine to divert the attention of the government from probing the “misdeeds” of Mr Badal.

They said there was a complete unity in the Congress CLP and they had full confidence in the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh. During the past one and-a-half-year rule of Congress government the state had witnessed development under the leadership of Capt. Amarinder Singh. The hassle-free purchase of wheat and paddy, improvement in power supply, implementation of infrastructure projects, launching of schemes for weaker sections, implementation of Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan are some of the areas where the government had done remarkably well, they claimed. The derailed economy of the state has started coming on lines only due to the policies and programmes of the government.

These leaders urged the people not to be misled by the false propaganda.


SAD to contest 3 seats in Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Badiala (Bathinda), October 30
The former Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said that his party would contest the coming Assembly elections in Rajasthan while talks were on with like-minded parties to put up party candidates in the coming Delhi elections.

Mr Badal, who was here to attend the function organised in connection with the 31st death anniversary of Sant Fateh Singh, an architect of Punjab Suba, talking to mediapersons pointed out that the SAD would field its candidates in the Punjabi belt of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan and the elections would be contested in alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the BJP. He said his party would field its candidates atleast on three Assembly seats. He said the main purpose of contesting the coming Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Delhi was to ensure the defeat of the Congress which had continuously been harming the interests of Punjab and had been committing atrocities on the Punjabis and Sikhs.

Mr Badal claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh was committing atrocities on the Sikhs and Akalis under the garb of anti-corruption campaign and added that whenever Akalis came to power, the scores would be settled.

Lauding the contribution made by the Sant Fateh Singh for the creation of Punjabi Suba, Mr Badal said his party would always make efforts to bring those areas to Punjab that figured in the map of original Punjabi Suba for which Sant Fateh Singh launched the agitation.


Ravi Inder flays Badal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 30
Lashing out at Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal and former Chief Minister, the president of the new Akali Dal, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, today said Mr Badal had abandoned all Punjab issues, like the transfer of Punjabi speaking areas and Chandigarh to Punjab, and Punjab’s rights on river waters when he was Chief Minister from 1997 to 2002.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Ravi Inder Singh also stated that the Punjab administration was being run by bureaucrats as the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, did not have full control over the administration.

The Akali Dal president said the Sehajdhari Sikhs should not be barred from casting votes in the SGPC elections as they were a part of the larger Sikh family. He said he had convened a meeting of the Akali Dal working committee on November 8 to discuss the issue.


Akalis behind dissidence reports: Cong men
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 30
Legislator Randeep Singh and district urban and rural units Presidents Ved Parkash Gupta and Hardyal Singh Kamboj, respectively, and city Mayor Vishnu Sharma and Improvement Trust Chairman K.K. Sharma today alleged that the Akali - BJP alliance was behind the reports of dissidence in the State Congress as the Vigilance probe against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family had been finalised.

Congress leaders, in a joint statement issued here, said after the thumping victory of the Congress in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections this year leaders of the Akali Dal and the BJP were trying to stop Capt Amarinder Singh from campaigning in five states which were to go to the polls next month.

The leaders said the Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP) group would unitedly campaign for the Congress candidates in the coming elections.

The Congressmen said all-round reforms in the fiscal and power sector coupled with initiatives in the infrastructure, rural development and agriculture fields besides the unprecedented free paddy procurement witnessed during Capt Amarinder Singh’s regime had given fresh hopes to the masses. They said the Punjab Congress was prepared to meet any threat by the Akalis as it had full faith in the people of the state.


Spurt in dengue cases
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
Dengue fever is tightening its grip on the city as 11 patients suffering from the disease have been admitted to different private hospitals and the Civil Hospital here during the past one month.

Harsimranjit Singh of Maqsoodan, admitted to the local Sacred Hospital last week, was today shifted to the Civil Hospital, where a special ward has been set up for dengue patients.

Though the hospital authorities have maintained that the disease was under control and there was no threat of its turning into an epidemic, the recent spurt in dengue patients has rung alarm bells. City residents, alleged that the unhygienic conditions prevailing in low-lying areas and slums of the city were the main reason for spread of dengue.

The local Municipal Corporation, meanwhile, has taken some steps in this regard, including conducting three rounds of insecticide fogging during the past one week in the suspected areas.

The patients were identified as Gurpreet Kaur of Banda Bahdur Nagar, Jasdeep Singh of Partap Bagh, J.B. Singh of Guru Nanak Nagar, Deepak Choudhary of Urban Estate Phase-I, Ashok Kumar of Garha Rohit of Sodal road, Sukhdev of Gole Market, Ajay Dada of Green Model Town, Jogi Singh of Kala Bakra and Daljeet Singh of Partap Bagh.

The Civil Surgeon, Mr Kiranjit Ku0mar, said special medial teams have been constituted to monitor the situation even as private hospitals and nursing homes were being asked to report about such patients.


Top priority to health setup in rural Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
A four-member high-level delegation of the World Bank, led by Mr Tawhid Nawaz reviewed the functioning of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh last evening.

Mr Nawaz rated as highly satisfactory the implementation of the World Bank project for revamping 154 secondary-level hospitals, says an official press note.

Mr Nawaz also lauded the role of the PHSC in imparting training to doctors and para-medical staff in prestigious institutes like the PGI, the AIIMS, the CMC and abroad.

Capt Amarinder Singh said as much as Rs 394 crore of the revised project cost of Rs 447 crore had already been spent till September 30 while the rest would be spent by March next year.

The Chief Minister pointed out that the government was according top priority to upgrade the health infrastructure in the rural areas through its existing primary health centres (PHCs).


Staff lay siege to SMO’s office
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 30
The office of the local Civil Hospital’s SMO was laid siege to for four hours from 1 pm to 5 pm here today by members of the Class Four Government Employees Union, led by Mr Bhajan Singh, district president of the union.

They alleged that the SMO had “violated” the rotation system, while deputing Class IV employees of the hospital on different duties, to oblige some employees.

Raising slogans against the SMO they said the rotation system should be implemented in letter and spirit.

On the other hand, some Class IV employees of the hospital, led by Mr Sat Pal, senior vice-president of the Punjab Medical and Health Class IV Employees Union (INTUC) raised slogans in favour of the SMO and against the agitation by the Class IV union.

Dr Anup Kad, SMO, said there were 65 Class IV employees in the hospital, and of them 60 had already given him in writing that duties had been assigned to them in a right manner. He said being an administrator, he was bound to do some changes to run the hospital smoothly.

The siege was lifted when Dr Suresh Singla, Deputy Medical Commissioner (DMC), Punjab Health Systems Corporations, Sangrur, gave in writing to the union that as per the order of the Sangrur Civil Surgeon, the rotation system in the case of Class IV employees’ duties in the hospital would be implemented by November 15.


MC firm on shifting dairies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
Notwithstanding claims and counter-claims over the death of buffaloes during the drive to oust dairies by the Municipal Corporation (MC) to the city suburbs, the MC continued with the drive.

“We are implementing the high court orders and dairy owners are interfering and playing dirty”, asserted the Commissioner MC, Mr K.S. Kang.

Meanwhile, the district administration has directed the SSP to depute more police personnel to accompany the corporation squad to carry on the drive against the dairies in the city's jurisdiction. Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said the administration had taken steps to thwart any untoward incident during the drive.

On the other hand, more than 35 dairy owners accused the MC of highhandedness and forcibly driving out their animals.

However, the corporation additional Commissioner, Mr Kirpal Singh, who is monitoring the drive, said the dairy owners had assured them that they would vacate the dairies but they locked the dairies and fled. The MC was forced to take strong steps to thwart the designs of those who were resisting.

Meanwhile, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) refused to take up the case of dairy owners against the MC in claims made of death of buffaloes.

Mr Kang, meantime, favoured that a DSP should head the squad for the drive. He said the dairy owners were creating a hype to win sympathy as no reports of the post-mortem of the deceased buffaloes were presented.

Nevertheless, a controversy has erupted over the ouster of two ‘gaushalas’ (cowsheds) to the city outskirts. The Pinjrapal ‘gaushala’ located in Ghee Mandi and one at Baba Bohriwala outside Logharh having more than 800 cows, say that they could not considered as ‘dairies’. These ‘gaushalas’, one of them being more than 100 years old, have been selling milk at no profit. Also, only about 250 of the cows are ‘milching’ while the rest of them are diseased and old and were being cared for here.

Mr Lajpat Rai functionary SPCA said since the matter relates to religious sentiments, it needs to be handled sensitively.


Govt promises equal rights to Dalits
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 30
The state government has undertaken various schemes and programmes to provide equal rights and opportunities for the overall development of Dalits.

This was stated by the Minister for Social Welfare, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, at a district-level seminar on untouchability, organised here today. While addressing the gathering, Mr Mann said the state government had implemented the Civil Protection Act, 1955, to provide social security and support to the backward classes of the society.

He urged the Dalits to come forward and contribute for the development of the society. He added that the Constitution had provided equal rights and opportunities to all sections of society. He said for the overall development of the Dalits, the state government had launched special programmes and schemes. He said during this financial year, the state government had decided to spend Rs 82 crore for the overall development of backward classes in the state.

Mr Mann further informed that during the present financial year, 10 lakh students belonging to the backward classes were given scholarships worth Rs 66 crore. In addition to this, free books worth Rs11 crore were also distributed among them.

The Chairman, Warehousing Corporation, Mr Hardial Singh Kamboj, the Director, Welfare Department, Mr Hans Raj and the District Welfare Officer, Parminder Singh Gill, also spoke on the occasion.


Poor women given suits
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 30
The Rotary Club, Sirhind with the help of the Hospital Welfare Section today distributed suits among poor women including those of the local Leprosy Colony. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, presided over the function which was attended by the Rotarians and inmates of Kusht Ashram.

Mr Ahluwalia urged social organisations to help the poor and the downtrodden. He appreciated the efforts of the Rotary Club in this direction. The Red Cross and the district administration were always ready to stand by those social organisations which are doing service to the society.

Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, secretary of the club said the club was always keen to extend its services to society. Mr Bhupinder Singh Jaggi, president of the club, thanked the Deputy Commissioner for his support to the club.

Dr Pehrson who has come from Sweden as Rotary volunteer to serve in the dental clinic run by the club, was also present at the function. Rotarians Kamal Gupta, Vijay Bector, Prof Harshvinder Singh, Mrs Rajwant Kaur and Mrs Swarnjit Kaur also attended the function.


TRA section sought in Sirhind
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 30
Though the BSNL has sanctioned two top posts of the Deputy-General Manager ( DGM) and the District. Engineer Telephones (DET) for Sirhind to provide best services to its subscribers, but the two offices had failed to sort out the main problem of the subscribers of the area relating to the billing section.

The subscribers had to go to Patiala and Mandi Gobindgarh towns for the minor correction in the bills of the telephones as the TRA section has not been sanctioned in these two offices.

According to Mr R.N. Sharma, President, Citizen’s Welfare Council, Sirhind, with these high offices no doubt the BSNL had started providing better services to its subscribers and faults in telephone lines had been controlled to some extent. Now the complaints regarding faults in telephone lines were being attended the same day or at the most the next day. He said it was unfortunate that for problems relating to correction in bills, disconnection and Restoration of telephones, the subscribers had to go to Patiala.

He demanded that to provide all facilities under one roof the TRA section should also be sanctioned for Sirhind, the district headquarters town, so that the subscribers may get all facilities in the same office.


Ex-servicemen rally at Khasa
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 30
A district-level ex-servicemen rally was organised by Headquarter 15 Infantry Division at New Amritsar Cantonment, Khasa, about 12 km from here, today.

Major Gen Ashok Samantaray, General Officer Commanding, 15 Infantry Division, was the chief guest of the rally which was attended by Brig R.J.S. Dhillon, Commander, 54 Infantry Brigade, and a host of senior Army officers, retired Army officers and officers from the civil administration.

A medical camp with specialists in various fields was organised for the treatment of ailing ex-servicemen and widows. Various stalls in connection with the self-employment schemes such as dairy, fish farming, bee-keeping and also loan cells by various banks with the loaning schemes for the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen and self-employment ventures were also set up.

Major Gen Samantaray, presented sewing machines and blankets to war widows as well as ex-servicemen. Financial grants were also distributed among the beneficiaries sanctioned by the Central and state governments.


196 flats for weaker sections
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
The local Improvement Trust has decided to allot 196 residential flats in its newly set up Surya Enclave locality here to the weaker sections of society at subsidised rates.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Chairman of the local Improvement Trust, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, said the new residential colony was spread over 170 acres of land on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road and it would be equipped with all modern civic amenities.

“ We have decided to allot 196 residential flats to the weaker sections of society at subsidised rates.

Besides this, 1,636 residential plots in different categories would be allotted through open draw,” he said.

The trust has signed an agreement with Punjab National Bank, which would be responsible for outsourcing the applications for plots along with 10 per cent earnest money from November 1 to December 5 through its branches all over the state.


Song contests mark fair
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
Song competitions marked the second day of the four-day “Mela Ghadhri Babbian Da” which is under way at the local Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall. Students from all over the state are showcasing their performance at the mela.

About 50 students participated in the solo song section (senior), while 54 participated in the solo (junior section).

The results of today’s competition are as follows:

Senior solo (Sufi kalam and folk song): Sandeep Singh (1) of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia School Kapurthala; Mandeep Kaur (2) of Wadala village.

Songs and ghazals: Gurmeet Singh (1) of Sheikhpura DIET, Kapurthala; Talwinder Kaur (2) of Sikh National College, Banga.

Senior group songs: Government Girls Senior Secondary School Railway Mandi, Hoshiarpur (1); Dev Raj Girls Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar (2).

Group song (junior): Victor Model Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar cantt (1); Lyallpur Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar (2).


Villagers oppose setting up of distillery
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 30
Representatives of more than 15 villages surrounding the proposed distillery are up in arms against the distillery project at the Industrial Growth Centre here.

According to sources, Pioneer Industries here has proposed an integrated agro-based industrial manufacturing unit for the manufacture of starch, vital gluten liquid glucose and e. n. alcohol from its distillery from wheat as its only raw material.

According to a spokesman for the Pioneer Industries the plant, first of its kind in South Asia, is based on modern technology. The Industries Department had allotted a 22 acre plot in 1999 for the distillery.

The move for the installation of the project was opposed by the residents of surrounding villages on the ground that of the distillery would cause pollution.

Refuting the allegations of the villagers officials of the distillery said, that equipment confirming to zero discharge would be installed in the unit.

Officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board yesterday fixed personal hearing for listening the objections at Shimla Panari here.

In response to the public meeting hundreds of residents gathered at the site but they were informed that public hearing meeting had been adjourned.

Irked by the attitude of the pollution board, the villagers organised a protest march and submitted a memorandum to the SDM.


Passports: MHA nod for SGPC staff not needed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Members and employees of the SGPC have been exempted from seeking explicit clearance from the Union Home Ministry for going abroad and will now be issued passports from the Regional Passport Offices on normal local police verification. Earlier, their passport applications were referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clearance.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, had taken up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs and emphasised that the SGPC was elected under an Act and hundreds of employees were working in its secretariat and other offices.


Devotees perform Chhath Puja
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 30
Nearly 20,000 migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh settled in the town converged here for Chhath Puja this evening.

A portion of a dry distributory between the JCT Mill and Chachoki village was filled with water transported through tankers as the Puja is performed while standing in water.

Buntings, welcome arches, festoons and around 100 small bricked structures for placing earthern lamps marked the religious ceremony. Sugarcanes, fruits, coconuts and other puja articles sold like hot cakes.

Prayers were offered at sunset and would continue till late in the evening, said devotees. Politicians also cashed in on the occasion by visiting the site.


Sadbhavana yatra
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
A ‘sadbhavana yatra’ will be held by the district unit of the BJP (rural) to mark the 400th ‘parkash utsav’ of Guru Granth Sahib. The president of the state BJP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, will participate in the yatra. The yatra will commence from Darbar Sahib at Tarn Taran and will conclude at the Golden Temple.


Promote BTE degree holder headmaster: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
A bachelor of technical education (BTE) degree is equivalent to the bachelor of science (BSc) and bachelor of education (B.Ed) degrees, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in a significant judgement.

The ruling was issued on a petition filed by Om Parkash against the state of Punjab and other respondents. The petitioner had claimed that he could not be denied promotion to the headmaster’s post as BTE, possessed by him, was equivalent to the bachelor of arts and B.Ed degrees.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had claimed that the University of Rajasthan issued a certificate to him on January 10, 1970, affirming that he had passed the BTE degree in first division.

He had added that in March, 1971, the Director in Punjab’s Education Department addressed a communication to the Secretary of the same department asserting that the BTE degree was equivalent to B.Sc and B.Ed. His claim for appointment to the science master’s post was also accepted by the authorities, but later he was denied promotion as headmaster.

After hearing arguments in the case, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, ruled: “The only issue that we are required to adjudicate upon in order to settle the controversy between the parties is whether the qualification of BTE, possessed by the petitioner, is equivalent to B.Sc and B.Ed. In our view, the answer to the query is in the affirmative.”


Petition filed against SCO’s auction
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 30
The Residents Welfare Association (YPS) Land Urban, Phase I, has filed a civil petition challenging the auction held here on February 20, 2001, pleading that commercial area should not be allowed to develop at open space.

In the above case, a notice was issued by the high court and the reply was filed by the Punjab Planning and Urban Development Authority (PUDA). Now again PUDA, before waiting for a final decision from the high court, has advertised in the newspaper that the authority would auction commercial sites from 243 to 264 in Urban Estate, Phase 1 on October 31 at Central State Library Hall.

Residents alleged that this was the same site where nine commercial shops-cum-office had been auctioned by PUDA which has been challenged in the high court by the association.

Members, of the association said the buyers who were interested to purchase the shop-cum-office sites there would do so at their own risk as the residents would file another writ petition against PUDA after the auction of the commercial sites tomorrow.

They added that they would file another writ against the earlier auction of nine shops which were sold by “manipulation”.

Notice of motion on PCS candidates’ plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion on a petition seeking directions for restraining the Punjab Public Service Commission and another respondent from holding interviews for selecting PCS (Executive) officers. In their petition taken up by a Division Bench, Dr Karamjit Singh of Patiala and Ms Kuldip Kaur Dhaliwal had also sought directions to the respondents for declaring their results. The examinations were conducted in September, 2003.

Arguing before the Bench, counsel had earlier contended that the two petitioners were aggrieved by the action of the respondents in not declaring their results, along with other candidates.


Bank manager suspended for fraud
Lalit Mohan

Nangal (Ropar), October 30
Punjab and Sind Bank has suspended two employees of its Bhanopli branch, about 10 km from here, on the charges of committing fraud in bank accounts. According to sources, the bank management had suspended the cashier T.S. Bhogal and Manager Gurdip Singh for a fraud committed in the bank last year. The inquiry into the financial irregularities and the wrong balance certificates is being investigated.

The fraud in the bank came to light in December last year when an account holder, Pritam Kumar, came to withdraw Rs 35,000 from his account. He was startled to know that his balance according to the bank ledger was just Rs 3060 against Rs 75,000 he deposited.

The accused bank officials perturbed over the discovery of the fraud deposited Rs 40,000 in the account of Pritam on their own and made him a payment of Rs 35,000.

After three-four days a Class IV employee of the bank returned the remaining Rs 35,000 to Pritam Singh. However, this created panic among the other depositors who approached the bank to check their balance. In the subsequent inquiries, anomalies were found in accounts of many depositors.

The fraud in the accounts of depositors was committed by the cashier, bank manager and a class IV employees. Though the entry was made in the pass book of the depositor, no entry was made in the bank ledgers. They allegedly used to swindle the amounts deposited by the depositors.

After the detection of the scam, the accused were shifted to the head office at Chandigarh before being suspended.

The General Manager of the bank, Mr Davinder Singh, confirmed that the employees had been suspended.


Woman poisons husband

Sangrur, October 30
A woman allegedly killed her husband by giving him wine laced with poison at Jawandha village last night.

Bhola Singh of Jawandha was married to Charnjeet Kaur of Kohriyan village about 11 years ago. But some time ago, she reportedly developed illicit relations with Satpal of Jawandha village. When Bhola Singh came to know about his wife’s alleged illicit relationship, he warned her.

Last night, Charnjeet Kaur allegedly mixed poison in wine and served it to Bhola Singh. After consuming it, his condition deteriorated. He was taken to Civil Hospital, Sunam, but was later referred to a Sangrur hospital where he died early this morning. — UNI


3 booked for giving false evidence
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 30
The Kotwali today booked three persons for furnishing illegal bail bonds and giving false evidence in a case. This was done on the directions of Chief Judicial Magistrate M.P.S Pahwa.

A case has been registered against Nirmal Singh, Robby and Raj Kumar under Sections 406,420, 467, 468,471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Court (IPC). According to information, a local court granted bail to Raj Kumar on October 19 on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 30,000 and required evidence.

But according to the sources, Nirmal Singh, resident of Kalamajri and Robby, residents of Rasulpur village, provided fake evidence to seek his bail.


Polytechnic fees to be cut
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
In its bid to encourage bright students belonging to poor families to join job-oriented technical courses, the state Technical Education and Industrial Training Department has decided to reduce the fees for all polytechnic courses from the next academic session. This was revealed by the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, while presiding over a function organised by the Government Polytechnic for Women to confer awards upon its outstanding students here today.

Mr Kaypee said a three-member committee had been constituted to assess the fee structure while taking into account the percentage of the students belonging to poor families, who had been admitted to various polytechnics during the past five years. He said the fee might be reduced by around 20 per cent.

He further announced that department would award the best student and teacher of the year. Later, he gave away prizes to the students for their performance during the last academic session.

Sonia Mittu (architecture assistantship) won the gold medal for topping all six semesters while Mandeep Chahal and Rajni Bala Bhagat (electronics and communication engineering), who stood first and second, respectively, bagged the gold and silver medals.

Roopa Kumari and Sukhdeep Kaur (library and information science) were awarded gold and silver medals for securing the first and second positions, respectively. Parneet Kaur and Manju Ranchal stood first and second in diploma in pharmacy.


Foundation to give $ 2 lakh for bhavan
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 30
A memorandum of understanding between Punjabi University and the Punjab Heritage Foundation, Pasadena, USA, was signed by the Registrar, Punjabi University, Mr Param Bakhshish Singh, and Major General Trilochan Singh Aujla on behalf of the foundation here today.

According to the memorandum, the Punjab Heritage Foundation will donate $ 2 lakh for the completion of Kala Bhavan and to give a fillip to the promotion of Punjabi art and culture.

The Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai said Kala Bhavan project was under taken to promote the spirit of Punjabi culture and to ensure integrated growth of performing arts as well as academic disciplines.

The idea was to bring four department of dance, music, theatre, television and fine arts under one roof. But due to lack of funds, the project had to be stopped midway. Now with the initiative and philanthropic attitude of the Punjab Heritage Foundation, the project would be completed as planned.

Besides this, an auditorium named Aujla Auditorium will be constructed within Kala Bhavan. Punjabi University and the Punjab Heritage Foundation will also jointly arrange an annual event, folk music festival.

Major General Trilochan Singh thanked the Vice-Chancellor for giving them an opportunity to serve the public cause and showed satisfaction over the attitude of faculty of Punjabi University for their involvement in the development of the institution.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |