P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Agitated scribes burn Jaya’s effigies
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, November 10
In order to express solidarity with six journalists of Tamil Nidu, who were subjected to “dictatorial” arrest orders issued by the TN Assembly, a large number of Jalandhar-based journalists took out a protest rally from Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall to the BMC chowk today. An effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was also burnt.

The rally was organised by the Jalandhar Working Journalists’ Association.

Protesting journalists also carried placards with slogans like, “Stop terrorising Press”, “Sack Jayalalithaa Government,” and “Stop attacks on Press freedom,.

Earlier, addressing local mediapersons at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall, Varinder Singh president of the Jalandhar Working Journalists’ Association, condemned the act of the TN Assembly. He said the Assembly’s order was nothing but a reminder of the dark days of the British Raj. “The order is a calculated attempt to attack the base of the fourth estate and it is all the more shameful as it has been issued at a time when media is serving the world in a much more effective manner and at a time when efforts should be made by governments to act in a more civilised manner and strengthen the media instead of gagging it,” he said.

Ashwani Khurana, joint secretary of the association, said the entire media was with TN journalists and if the state government had failed to protect the freedom of Press, it was the duty of the Centre to come forward and protect journalists and newspapers.

Rajiv Bhaskar, senior vice-president of the association, said the media had the right to criticise.

Manpreet Randhawa, general secretary of the association, said the action of the TN Assembly was a reminder of the days of Emergency and such an act should be condemned by one and all.

PHAGWARA: Local journalists burnt an effigy of Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa and raised slogans against TN Assembly Speaker K. Kalimuthu for taking action against senior journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli. The journalists took out a protest march and burnt the effigy of Jayalalithaa on GT Road at the Gol Chowk, leading to the disruption of vehicular traffic for a short time.

The journalists dubbed the order of TN Assembly as draconian and aimed at gagging the Press. They asserted that The Hindu had not violated any privilege of the Assembly or showed any contempt to it. They asked the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to see reason as media had the fundamental right of expression and dissemination of information.

AMRITSAR: Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh Journalists Association burnt an effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Monday to protest against the arrest orders of senior journalists of ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Murasoli’ issued by the state government. The members let by Mr Jasbir Singh Patti held a protest rally and blocked traffic in front of Hall Gate here for over an hour.

NAWANSHAHR: The district unit of Punjab Chandigarh Patrakar Parishad at a meeting held here on Monday criticised the dictatorial attitude of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister towards the Press. They wore black badges and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for onward submission to the President demanding action against Ms Jayalalithaa.


CM convenes meeting of administrative secretaries
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Chandigarh, November 10
Hardpressed by his own party to rein in the bureaucracy, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has convened a meeting of the administrative secretaries here on November 12. After having ruffled many feathers in the police, the Chief Minister seems to be out to revamp the civil administration and to convey the message that the elected representatives must be respected while discharging official business.

Already, the Chief Minister has given indication of making changes in the civil administration at the district level in a couple of days to give it a new look. The meeting of the administrative secretaries will be followed by a meeting of chairpersons and Managing Directors of public sector undertakings on November 13. On the same day, according to sources, a meeting of the Council of Ministers will also be held.

Informed sources said that it would be the first meeting of the administrative secretaries at which a clear agenda would be given to them for implementation by the Chief Minister. They would be told to review the performance of their respective departments on a quarterly basis and to submit the report to the Chief Minister about the progress made with regard to various schemes.

In fact, the impression has gone around that nothing has been happening in the state on the development front and the official machinery has become too lethargic and requires a clear message from the top political executive to gear up. There is a large number of complaints regarding the functioning of the government offices not only at the district level but also at the state headquarters. Most of the officers remain unavailable in their offices and people have to face problems.

Even ministers have complained that senior officers neither respond to their phone calls nor to other matters pertaining to official work. A few days ago, a minister had told some mediapersons that he persistently tried to contact an administrative secretary for seven days, but got no response though the officer concerned was very much present here.

“ Each officer should be asked how many files were pending with him and for how long. Officers holding quasi judicial offices could be asked how many cases were pending with them and how many are disposed by them in a month. Cases of petty disputes were pending in hundreds with such officers for years. They could be asked to clear the backlog of all cases within a specific period. District Education Officers and DPIs could be asked to intimate the schools inspected by them in a month and progress report of the schools visited by them. The same can be done in case of dispensaries and hospitals”, says a senior Congress leader.

Chairpersons of various PSUs have certain problems. They are seeking more powers. In a joint meeting of chairpersons and Managing Directors, the Chief Minister would, according to sources, convey to the Managing Directors to respect the Chairpersons and take their approval while taking all policy decisions and in other important matters such as transfers etc.


Badal dares CM to arrest him
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 10
Challenging the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh’ to “dare” and arrest him, the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today asserted that the Chief Minister had ‘no courage” to arrest him and fulfil promise made to the people of Punjab that he would arrest him (Badal) within a week of his party’s coming to power.

Mr Badal, who seemed to be in a very upbeat mood, also apprehended that money could have changed hands in the large scale reshuffling of officers and said a part of it might have gone to the coffers of the Congress under its ongoing “fund collection” drive.

Talking to mediapersons at the local Circuit House today, Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to muster courage to arrest him and said, What about his claims and where are the ‘proofs’ about my property worth Rs 3,500 crore? Even in the proposed challan there is no mention of the Rs 3,500 crore property “owned” by me and the investigation has started revolving either around my ancestral properties or the Orbit Resorts. In fact, private agencies were engaged to assess my property only after government officials backed out and refused to inflate to value of properties,” said Mr Badal.

Referring to the reported wedge between the DGP and Chief Minister, Mr Badal said this would have an adverse effect on the discipline in the force. “How would juniors respect their boss when they know that the latter had been snubbed publicly by the Chief Minister?”

When asked as to who would be the leader of the party in case he was arrested, Mr Badal said all of his party’s leaders were capable. About the SGPC polls, Mr Badal said the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) would decide about candidates during its meeting to be held on November 16. “As far as Mr Tohra is concerned, he is a part of the decision making body,” said Mr Badal.


28 dengue cases confirmed in city
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 10
Even as various government departments pass the buck on each other, five new suspected dengue cases were reported from Dr Bhimsen Hospital here. The official count on the number of suspected dengue cases in the city has risen to 68. Twentyeight cases have been confirmed, including two from National Institute of Communicable Diseases, informed Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, while talking to The Tribune here today. He said a special ward had been earmarked at the Civil Hospital for suspected cases.

Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister for Industry, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, admitted that the coordination between various departments was missing. The administration and departments like Health and municipal corporation came in for criticism at the press meet today.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, said the purchase of a fogging machine had been sanctioned.

Meanwhile, the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena president, Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, criticised the administration in a statement for its laxity in tackling the menace.

The areas from which a number of cases have been reported recently are Hathi Gate, Gali Subedaar, Lohgarh, area near DAV College for Boys, Bambiwalla Khu, telephone exchange, Gali Loharian, Gali Kakiya, Ram Bagh.

Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, convener, Punjab state BJP medical cell and former Health Minister, Punjab, has been asked by state party president Avinash Rai Khanna to survey the state for dengue cases and provide treatment free of cost.


Engineering colleges get placement onus
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 10
The Punjab Government is framing a new policy to improve the standard of technical education in the state. Under the policy, all new engineering colleges coming up in the state would have to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the state government for a period of five years.

If a college fails to find placements for at least 50 per cent of its students passing out after five years of its launch, the government would not renew the NOC. The certificate would be mandatory for all new technical institutes in Punjab for clearance from the All-India Council of Technical Education (AITUC). The policy would come into force from December 15.

Also, no new institute in the state would be allowed to shift its location or the “motive” of its operation for at least 10 years.

Mr Mohinder Singh KP, state Technical Education Minister, gave this information while talking to newspersons at the Government Polytechnic College for Women here today. He, along with the Minister for Grievances and Transport, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, and Congress leader Jagmeet Brar, was here to inaugurate a “technical job festival” organised in the college.

The minister also said that the government was going to effect a reduction of 20 or 25 per cent in all government polytechnic colleges in the state. The government felt that the fee in Punjab polytechnic colleges was high as compared to other states.

A proposal to fill 500 vacancies of instructor in ITIs and 400 of teacher in polytechnics on contract was being presented before the Cabinet for approval. The recruitments would be done before the next academic session, the minister said.

When asked about the privatisation of polytechnic colleges, Mr Mohinder Singh KP said only 12 institutes, whose buildings were complete but in which the government had not been able to start courses, were being handed over to the private sector under the public-private partnership scheme.

The ownership of the assets would remain with the government and the private party running courses would pay the government for the property. Bids for transferring five institutes had been finalised and the matter was awaiting Cabinet approval, he added. Mr Jagmeet Brar announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the local polytechnic college on behalf of the local MP, Mr Charanjit Singh Chani.


Akal Takht advisory board meeting today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 10
The first meeting of the 21-member religious advisory board (RAB), constituted by the SGPC to advise the Sikh clergy, will meet here tomorrow. According to sources, RAB may recommend strict action against Mr Joginder Singh, editor of Spokesman, apart from discussing the contents of the recently held World Sikh Sammelan.

In the recent issue of Spokesman, its editor had used provocative language against the Sikh high priests and challenged the authority of Akal Takht. The SGPC’s Dharm Prachar Committee has already recommended strict action against Mr Joginder Singh. In case, RAB recommended strict action against him, the forthcoming meeting of the Sikh high priests, which is likely to take place on November 19, may summon Mr Joginder Singh.


Dance girls pose as NRI brides; 10 youths
duped of lakhs
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 10
Married to an NRI girl, Gurpreet Singh of Mullanpur Dakha village near here was virtually on cloud nine five months ago. His search for greener pastures in a foreign country was about to end. The girl had left for Canada after the marriage and had promised to call him there.

The wait was over this week but with an anti-climax. The call did come but from the Jagraon police. The bride was in the police custody. She was not a rich NRI but a dancing girl employed with a Jalandhar-based orchestra group. Her father, who was seen wearing expensive clothes at the wedding, was a vendor at the Jagraon bus stand.

Gurpreet is not the only victim. As many as 10 more youths hailing from different parts of the state share his dejection.

These youths have been duped of Rs 15 to 20 lakh each. Their families had arranged the money after selling property. One of them even attempted suicide.

The state has witnessed a spurt in cases of cheating by NRI boys and girls, but this is probably the first racket of its kind in the state where a local travel agent posing as an honest matchmaker hired local girls as brides and her parents to dupe youths. The gang used fake passports and immigration documents got prepared in Jalandhar.

The travel agent and a Raikot-based couple used to pose as matchmakers. The brides were paid Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 per marriage while the vendor got a paltry sum of Rs 600.

The travel agent and the Jain couple are believed to have collected nearly Rs 2 crore from the 10 youths.

Addressing mediapersons at Jagraon today evening, Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, SSP, said five members of the gang, including the travel agent, Mohinder Singh and his wife Swaran Kaur, three dancing girls Swaranjit Kaur, Renu of Basti Sheikh Jalandhar, Ritu of Ghas Mandi, Jalandhar, along with the vendor, Sukhdev Raj of Guru Nanak Colony of the same city, have been arrested.

Two key members of the gang Kimti Lal Jain and his wife Renu Jain, who run a cloth shop in Raikot are still on the run. Being quite influential they stood as guarantors.

Mr Chhina disclosed that it was the complaint of Gurpreet Singh that took the lid off the racket. He had complained that he was married to an NRI girl, Manpreet Kaur, of Kalakh village near Dehlon. The marriage was solemnised at a marriage palace at Moga. The family was shown immigration documents and they paid Rs 17 lakh to the cloth merchant, Kimti Lal Jain for the marriage.

However, when the girl did not contact the family after reaching Canada, Gurpreet and his parents went to inquire at the village. They were surprised to know that there was no such girl at the village and added that there was no NRI. After this information Gurpreet even tried to commit suicide.


Siddiqui refuses to comment on controversy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
The Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr A.A Siddiqui, today preferred not to comment on the ongoing controversy regarding police transfers.

A number of police officers, including the newly appointed SSP’s, called on the DGP on his return from New Delhi and held discussions with him as he attended office for the first day after his return.

The DGP is learnt to be of the view that a public servant has to carry out the orders and directions given by the elected representatives of the people, as per the Constitution.

Sources in the police disclosed that the DGP will be calling a formal meeting of all new district police chiefs in the near future to review law and order situation afresh.

Another source said that all transfers in the department were done in consultation with the DGP .

The transfer orders of 65 DSPs, in the absence of the DGP, were signed by the IG (Headquarters), indicating that the effective power to transfer the DSP continues to remain with the head of the department and that the government has not altered the rules of business.

Sources add that due to political reasons, the transfers recently ordered by the government have been done in consultation with the MLAs and ministers this time.

Meanwhile, the DGP also informally interacted with mediapersons all through the day and assured them that everything was alright.

Though he had already spoken to the Chief Minister on the telephone, he was likely to meet him later in the evening.

Earlier, in the day he held a meeting with the Chief Secretary on several issues pertaining to the department.

Mr Siddiqui, who had left for Delhi, after transferring a few DSPs, was publicly snubbed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who ordered several transfers of SSP, SP and DSP-rank officers in his absence.


Kanwaljit warns of bankruptcy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The Punjab Government is on the edge of bankruptcy, according to a former Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. The Akali leader, while criticising the economic policies of the Congress government, accused it of laundering money at a time when there was an urgent need for austerity.

The Akali leader, who is secretary-general of the Shiromani Akali Dal, alleged that employees of various government departments had not been paid salaries for the past several months. He said while the government was expecting to collect Rs 3,300 crore from excise and taxation, it was not likely to cross Rs 2,400 crore.

Aware of the situation, he said, the government had now approached the World Bank for assistance.


Mann favours poll pact with SAD
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 10
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today called upon Shiromani Akali Dal to take the initiative for having an electoral alliance with it for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections to give a crushing defeat to the Congress. He said the Panthic unity was the need of the hour.

Talking to mediapersons at the PWD Rest House here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of SAD (A), said in case both parties reached an alliance then Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of SAD, would have to field candidates with clean image.

Mr Mann said SAD (A) would contest the elections on its own symbol.

Mr Mann stated that his party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections would emphasise on the drive against corruption, unemployment and demand for seeking Punjabi speaking areas from Haryana and transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, besides Punjab’s control over river waters.


Lok Bhalai Party to launch stir
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 10
The Lok Bhalai Party headed by former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia will launch an agitation to save three “crumbling” pilars of Punjab’s economy — agriculture, transport and recruitment in the Army.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, Mr Ramoowalia said the party was worried over the shrinking of these three income-generating sources. These sources have been ruined by the selfish acts and policies of successive governments, which has forced Punjabis to migrate to other countries for earning their livelihood,” said mr Ramoowalia.

He said corruption had caused irreparable damage to Punjab’s small-scale industries. Government departments were responsible for the shifting of the Rs 500 crore woolen industry from Ludhiana city alone.

He announced that the Istri Shakti wing of his party would stage a dharna in Chandigarh on December 8 to highlight the plight of young girls who had been deserted by fraudulent NRIs. A large number of such girls and their parents would participate in the dharna, he added.


VHP’s terms for backing Cong
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 10
The organisational secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Mr Kailash Joshi, last night said VHP activists would keep themselves aloof of the December elections in five states. Talking to mediapersons at the residence of Bajrang Dal leader Mr Chhavi Bhaskar here, Mr Joshi said this was being done to make it clear to all political parties including the BJP, that the VHP’s political ties with the BJP were only due to Ram Mandir. He said barring the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, the BJP cadre was in favour of Ram temple at Ayodhya but was not speaking out for fear of inviting action on charges of indiscipline.

The VHP leader said in case Mrs Sonia Gandhi openly supported the construction of Ram Mandir, the VHP then would support the Congress.

The VHP would knock at the doors of the UP Human Rights Commission in connection with the “inhuman” treatment meted out to Ram Bhagat during VHP’s “Sankalp sabha” on October 17, 18. There had been a secret deal between the BJP-led NDA government and Mr Mulayam Singh for “sabotaging” the VHP’s programme, he alleged.

The VHP would organise “shaurya divas” at places throughout the country on December 6, he added.


Pro-Khalistan slogans raised at Nankana Sahib
Tribune News Service

Wagah, November 10
After a long gap the Government of Pakistan allowed NRI radical Sikhs to raise the demand of a separate Sikh homeland at a religious function held at Nankana Sahib to mark the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.

Earlier, they were not allowed to deliver inflammatory speeches after the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.

This was disclosed by members of an NRI jatha, which reached here after paying obeisance at Sikh shrines in Pakistan. Slogans like “Khalistan zindabad” were also raised on the occasion, they added.

However, they said five Sikhs, Gajinder Singh, chairman, Dal Khalsa, Ranjit Singh Neeta, self-styled chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force, Wadhawa Singh (Babbar Khalsa), Parmjit Singh Panjwarh (Khalistan Commando Force) and Lakhmir Singh Rode (International Sikh Youth Federation), most wanted by India could not be spotted anywhere. Bhai Mohinder Singh, a granthi from Chicago, said radical Sikh leaders like Mr Manmohan Singh of the Dal Khalsa and Mr Avtar Singh Sanghera of the Babbar Khalsa — both from UK, raised the demand of a separate Sikh state. He said Mr Pritpal Singh from Switzerland, Mr Bhupinder Singh (Holland) and Mr Jaspal Singh (New York) were among those who spoke on the occasion.

Mr Surjit Singh Dhillon and Mr Surjit Singh Sidhu, both from Chicago, alleged that the ministers and officials of Pakistan’s Evacuee Property Trust Board insulted Guru Granth Sahib by not bowing before it at the religious function. Moreover, non of the leaders raised objections to it, they added.

The jatha, led by Mr Balwinder Singh, a Chicago-based Sikh leader, said the condition of many Sikh shrines was pitiable and employees of Pakistan’s Evacuee Property Board could be seen pocketing offerings. He said he himself caught some persons accepting donations on the basis of fake receipts.

Earlier, the jatha was received by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, president, Youth Akali Dal, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, chief spokesman of the Dal Khalsa, and Mr Maninder Singh Dhunna, general secretary, Youth Akali Dal, at the Wagah joint checkpost.


SGPC members in dock on jobs for kin
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 10
Cases against seven SGPC members have been filed with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission for getting their near ones jobs in SGPC-run institutions in violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

The petitioners have urged the judicial commission to disqualify them as members and debar them from casting their vote during the elections of the SGPC on November 20.

The petitioners, all belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), alleged that before becoming SGPC members the candidates had given false affidavits that none of their relatives was an employee of the SGPC. Those against whom the cases have been filed are Mr Gurtej Singh Jodhpur, Mr Joginder Singh Yogi, Mr Kehar Singh, Mr Satnam Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh Taan, Bibi Daljit Kaur and Mr Jagjit Singh Brar.

The petitioners, Mr Barinder Singh Mann, district president, SAD(A), and Mr Jaswant Singh Rajgarh, an SGPC member, said the SGPC members who had taken advantage of their positions were liable to be punished under the Sikh Gurdwara Act.

The judicial commission has fixed November 13 for hearing in the case.


Dilgir refuses to accept post
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 10
Mr Harjinder Singh Dilgir, a noted Sikh scholar, has refused to accept the post of Director of the Sikh Itihaas Research Board in protest against the alleged “humiliation by some senior functionaries, including personal assistant to the SGPC chief.

In a protest letter, addressed to Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, Mr Dilgir said he was shocked at the behaviour of Mr Ranbir Singh, P.A. to the SGPC chief. The appointment of Mr Dilgir had been cleared by the SGPC after advertising the post. He alleged that it was surprising that the orders of Mr Calcutta for giving the appointment letter were not being implemented by his subordinates.

However, Mr Calcutta said the orders of the appointment could not be issued due to a technical flaw. He said SGPC still needed the services of Mr Dilgir and he must accept the offer in the interest of the Sikh Panth.


Cultural centre celebrates foundation day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 10
The local North Zone Cultural Centre celebrated its 18th foundation day here recently. The centre has contributed a lot for the promotion and preservation of art and culture of the region.

On this occasion, competitions in bhangra and gidha for school students were organised. Nearly 500 students from local schools participated.

In bhangra (Group A), Guru Nanak Academy, Sant Ishar Singh Ji Memorial High School and Tiwari Model Senior Secondary School won first, second and third positions , respectively.

In bhangra (Group B), Senior Secondary Model School, Punjabi University, National Public High School and Tiwari Model High School stood first, second and third ,respectively. In Group C, Government Senior Secondary School, Tripuri, Government Multi Purpose School and Senior Secondary Model School, Punjabi University remained first, second and third, respectively. In gidha (Group A), Tiwari Model Senior Secondary School, Patiala, Kaintal School and Guru Hargobind Mission High School won first, second and third positions, respectively. In Group B, Guru Nanak Academy, Patiala, Lucky Modern High School and Career Academy and British Co- Ed remained first, second and third, respectively. In Group C, Government Girls Multi Purpose School, Arya Girls Senior Secondary and Guru Hargobind Sahib School stood first, second and third, respectively.


Pooja Batra keen to work in Hollywood
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 10
Model-turned-actor Pooja Batra has expressed desire to work in Hollywood. She is now residing in the USA after her marriage to a surgeon eight months ago.

Speaking to mediapersons during the launch of a slimming centre in Bathinda, she said working in Hollywood was “a far-fetched dream”. Stating that she was giving a lot of auditions for film roles in the USA, she added that it was difficult there as one had to start from a scratch.

Pooja, who is on a visit to India to meet relatives, said she was presently not signing any film. “I am on a leisure break,” she said. “I am awaiting the release of my last film “Taj Mahal” and will sign films only if the script is good and I like it,” she added.

A good script, should be like that of “Dil Chhahta Hai” and “Monsoon Wedding”. She added that she would like to do projects which are completed in a short period.

Ms Vandana Luthra, chairperson of the centre was also present on the occasion.


Develop border areas, say ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 10
More than 1,000 ex-servicemen, including sarpanches and panches, from border areas attended a rally organised by the district unit of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal at Gahlari village, 13 km from here, today to highlight the problems of residents of the border areas.

Those who addressed the rally, besides Col Harsharan Singh, president of the party, were Lieut Gen K.J.S. Kahlon (retd), Air Vice-Marshal G.S. Punia (retd) and Col Dharam Singh, president of the district unit of the party.

The speakers expressed dissatisfaction with successive governments for not yet paying attention to their demands. They said their demand of one rank, one pension had been pending for years. They also demanded the filling of the quota of 13 per cent reserved for ex-servicemen in government services.

They further said grants released by the Centre and the state government for development of the area were being diverted by public representatives to serve petty political ends.


Lala Lajpat Rai martyrdom day

Moga, November 10
The 75th martyrdom day of Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai will be observed at his birthplace, Dhudike, in this district on November 17.

Stating this at Dhudike today, Lala Lajpat Rai Birth Place Memorial Committee secretary Satpal Grover said an inter-college debate and a cultural programme would mark the occasion.

Punjab Minister for Technical Education Mohinder Singh Kaypee will be the chief guest on the occasion. — UNI


CM visits Dera Roomewala
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 10
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today visited Dera Roomewala at Bhuccho Khurd, near here, today. It was said to be a personal visit.

The Chief Minister flew here from Chandigarh and spent about an hour at the dera. He also interacted with locals who gathered there, listening to their demands.

The Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Mr Bikramjit Singh Bikki, said he appraised the Chief Minister of the good cotton yield in the area this year. He said he had requested the Chief Minister to tour the cotton belt, which he agreed to.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by the Home Secretary Mr S.K. Sinha, the District Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, and the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev.


Personality development seminar for CAs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 10
A seminar on personality and professional development for chartered accountants (CAs), titled “the Ultimate Secret to Absolute Success” was organised by the Chartered Accountants NIRC, Bathinda, here.

A lecture on secrets to success was delivered on the occasion by Mr Asit Ghosh, a leading professional motivator. The object of the seminar was to sharpen the professional instincts of all members of the Chartered Accountants Association and to motivate them. The chairman of Chartered Accountants NIRC, Mr Shiv and the vice-chairman, Mr Amrit Mittal, were also present.


Heritage festival from Dec 3
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 10
Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Industry, had said that a heritage festival will be held at Khalsa College here from December 3 to 10.

The festival will be third in the series of festivals held at Patiala and Kapurthala. With a whopping budget of Rs 5 crore, the festival will aim to tap and highlight the tourism potential of the holy city.

A touch-lit carnival with dances, songs and tourism potential of the holy city. “gatka” will make up the procession on the inaugural day.

There will be song and dance performances by internationally famed artists, food festival, fashion show, poetry symposium, puppet show, painting workshop/competition besides other items in the festival.

Live ornate gates will be constructed from Ram Bagh to Khalsa College at the cost of Rs 30,000 each. All historical buildings of the city will be illuminated for the festival.


Special Olympics at Faridkot
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 10
The two day state-level Special Olympics to be organised by the District Red Cross Society Faridkot will start here on November 15. More than 350 mentally challenged children from 18 special schools in Punjab in different age groups will take part in various events.

Each participant can take part in three events. In addition, competitions up to the eighth position will also be honoured.

According to Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the Red Cross Society, a torch rally would start from Qila Mubarak on November 14 which would terminate at Nehru Stadium.

Marshal D. Keelor, Chairman, and Mr Noel Philips, national director of the Special Olympics New Delhi, will be the guest of honour.


Junior docs hold protest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 10
The Junior Doctors Association held a demonstration in front of the office of the Principal, medical college, condemning the working of the Accounts. Department.

Members of the association claimed that issues regarding the regularisation of stipend, payment of arrears etc. were took up with the Principal through a memorandum in October. They added that an inquiry had been sought into the alleged harassment of junior doctors by the Accounts Department.

They appealed to the Secretary, Medical Education, to intervene in the matter.


Pritam Saini cremated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 10
Dr Pritam Saini (77), a noted Punjabi author and critic, who died yesterday, was cremated here today. Mr Prabhat Saini, his son, lit the pyre.

Among those who attended the cremation were Mr Parkash Chand Garg, former Chairman of the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation; Mr Amandeep Singh Mansahia, Chairman of the local Improvement Trust; Ms Nirmala Singla, District Languages Officer; Mr Surjit Singh Dukhi, DPRO, Sangrur; Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A); and Mr Gurmail Madahar and Mr Mohan Sharma, both Punjabi writers.


Daler Mehndi case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
The High Court on Monday asked Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi to place on record the copy of orders pronounced in his case by the Delhi High Court.

Issuing the directions, Mr Justice Virender Singh also fixed November 13 as the next date of hearing in the case. He was seeking the grant of pre-arrest bail in two cases registered against him, besides probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

He had claimed that the transfer of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Paramraj Singh Umranangal from Patiala was an indicator of “something being wrong” with the investigation of the cases registered against him. He asserted that the SSP, despite his transfer, was powerful due to his proximity with the Punjab Chief Minister.

Claiming to have been framed in the matter, Mehndi asserted that he had severed ties with brother Shamsher Singh, also an accused, way back in 1998. He did it after he came to know about Shamsher Singh’s alleged involvement in impersonating him at public functions.


BKU threatens stir on arrears’ issue

Moga, November 10
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) today threatened to launch an agitation in the form of blockade of traffic or gherao of Punjab ministers if the state government failed to release a sum of Rs 101 crore as arrears to sugarcane growers.

An announcement to this effect was made by Punjab BKU chief Ajmer Singh Lakhowal after a meeting. The BKU criticised the Punjab Government for its alleged failure to release the arrears despite its assurance to make the payment by September 15.

Lakhowal said the BKU would oppose the ruling party candidates in the forthcoming elections in five states. — PTI


PUDA relief for violations of building rules
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 10
Granting much awaited relief to its allottees, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here has allowed compounding of violations of building rules in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings constructed in various urban estates in Punjab. Compounding of violations has been permitted under sections 157 of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Act. However, in case of non-compoundable violations, the building will have to be altered as per rules.

According to a press note issued by the Authority today, the rates of compensation for violations have been notified and fixed in view of the nature of violation. These rates will be reviewed after every two years. The violations designated as minor include change in position of doors, windows and ventilators; change in size and shape of doors, windows and ventilators; combining of bath and WC, if provided separatly in the building plan; making of separate bath and WC out of combined toilets provided in the building plan; non-construction of party walls between rooms subject to structural safety and change in the thickness of walls, size of columns subject to structural safety. All other violations other than these will be considered as major.

The non compoundable violations of PUDA Building Rules 1996 include violation in the height of the building, height of boundary wall, location and type of main gate, change of land use and construction of toilets, cycle, scooter stand in the rear courtyard of the commercial sites.


Urban estate in Pathankot soon
Our Correspondent

Sujanpur, November 10
An urban estate will soon be a reality in Pathankot town where PUDA has cleared the hurdles for its establishment.

Urban estates are being finalised for Amritsar, Khanna, Nabha, Batala and Sujanpur with sites having been identified for the same.

Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Raghunath Sahai Puri, talking to The Tribune, said here yesterday that a sum of Rs 210 crore had been earmarked for the new urban estates.

At least 8,800 houses would be constructed out of these 40 per cent for economically, weaker sections.

The minister said the government had approved a scheme that envisaged marketing of prime vacant and unutilised urban and sub-urban government land in various cities and towns for “urban regeneration”.


SSP to give new look to police
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 10
The priority of the district police will be to make the force more people-friendly and introduce greater transparency in the working of the police, said Mr Shiv Kumar, newly appointed SSP, while talking to The Tribune here today.

The SSP listed various proposals and plans to streamline the functioning and to give a new look to the force.

He has ordered a major reshuffle in the police postings in the district by transferring all SHOs and chowki in charges except the SHO, Amloh.

He said besides giving top priority to the redressal of the grievances of the public, he would also ensure that the police behaved properly and in a friendly manner with the public.

He said the prime duty of the police would be to control the crime and to ensure safety of life and property.

Soon a campaign against anti-social elements would be launched and those indulging in sale of drugs would be dealt with strictly.

To improve the functioning of the police, various innovative ways would be adopted, Mr Shiv Kumar added.

A comprehensive plan to streamline the traffic would be made and the traffic police would be made more active and well-behaved.

He said the police would also take the help of social organisations, students and other NGOs for initiating various educational and social reforms. He urged the people to cooperate with the police and provide information about criminals and anti-social elements.

Meanwhile, Mr Harbhajan Singh SP (H), Mr Harchand Singh Bhullar SP (D), Mr Balwinder Singh, DSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Mr Harpreet Singh, DSP, Amloh have taken charge.


Mayor complains against MC Commissioner
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
Mayor Vishnu Sharma had taken umbrage to the transfer of municipal corporation officials by its Commissioner without consulting him and has complained to the State Chief Secretary as well as the Secretary, Local Bodies, in this regard.

The Mayor has taken umbrage to the internal transfers affected by the Commissioner. The Mayor has, in his letter to the senior bureaucrats, claimed that the Commissioner is bound to consult him before affecting any transfer. The Mayor has cited a 1992 government notification in this regard, which says that all internal transfers will be undertaken by the Commissioner in consultation with the Mayor.

The Mayor says he has been forced to write a letter to the state government because the Commissioner has been violating a government notification. He says the Commissioner has also changed the allocation of work of various junior engineers and subdivisional officers.

The Mayor has also shot off a missive to the Commissioner, asking him as to how a number of private companies have been allowed to put up hoardings in and around the city. The letter says the Punjab and Haryana High Court has forbidden the putting up of hoardings and the recent hoardings are a violation of the court orders.


Welfare officer suspended
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 10
Punjab Social Welfare and Social Security Minister Joginder Singh Mann last night told mediapersons that the District Welfare Officer, Gurdaspur, had been placed under suspension due to various irregularities related to pensions.

Mr Mann claimed that he had found a number of cases of fake pensions in various parts of Punjab. Wrong entries had been made in the “ashirwaad” scheme to be introduced for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Mr Mann said a state-level Children’s Day function would be held at Hoshiarpur. Assembly Speaker Kewal Krishan would preside.

He said Mrs Hardip Anand, senior vice-president, Nagar Council, Phagwara, and Mrs Neelam Sood, a woman activist, had been nominated members of the National Children Fund Committee.

Mr Mann said land would be allotted in each village for dumping of garbage.


4 cops suspended for negligence
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 10
Four policemen of the Gurdaspur police have been suspended for negligence.

Gobind Ram, a prisoner in the Gurdaspur central jail, escaped from the custody of the four constables from the bus-stand area here. A case was registered against the erring policemen late last evening after a written complaint by an inspector of the Gurdaspur police.

The suspended cops are Bhupinder Singh, Satnam Singh, Praduman Singh and Dilbagh Singh.

The policemen had brought the prisoner, who was arrested on charges of smuggling illicit liquor about three months ago, for a hearing regarding his case. When they reached the bus-stand to return to Gurdaspur, the prisoner gave the cops a slip. The policemen directly went to Gurdaspur without even registering a case against Gobind Ram and told about the incident to their boss, who suspended them.


Birth certificate issuance drive
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 10
With a view to strictly implement the Birth and Death Act, 1969, the district administration has decided to launch an extensive exercise for issuing birth certificates from November 14 to November 20.

The drive has been launched under the guidelines issued by General Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. District Health Officer Virinder Singh Mohi is the nodal officer for the campaign.

The birth certificates will be issued in three phases. In the first phase, children below the age of 10, whose birth has been registered and are staying at the place of their birth, will be given the certificates. In the second phase, children below the age of 10, whose birth has been registered but are not staying at the place of their birth, will be issued certificates.

In the third phase, children below the age of 10, whose birth has not been registered, will be issued birth certificates. It is mandatory to get the birth of a child registered and it is a golden opportunity to procure birth certificates without hassles.


Six youths rape minor twice
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 10
A minor girl was allegedly gang-raped twice by six youths on October 6 and November 2 in Khemkaran, about 40 km from here.

A case was registered against the accused at Khemkaran police station late last evening when the parents of the girl came to know of the assaults.

The accused, Sarabjit Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Gurjit Singh, Gurmit Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Vipin Kumar, all residents of the same area, were booked under Sections 376, 342 and 506 of the IPC. However, they absconded after the registration of the case.

According to the complaint lodged by the girl, the accused intercepted her on her way back home after seeing Ram Leela on October 6. They took her to a room belonging to Sarabjit Singh, where she was gang-raped. The victim alleged that after committing the crime, they threatened to kill all her family members if she reported the rape.

About a month later, the same youths allegedly took her to the same place again and gang-raped her the second time.

After this, the girl started staying depressed, which made the parents anxious, who then pressed her into telling them what troubled her.

Raids are being conducted to arrest the culprits.


JE caught taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 10
The local Vigilance Department has caught Kulwant Singh, Junior Engineer, PSEB, posted at Grid 66 KV Sub-Station, Tohra, while taking a bribe of Rs 2500 from Malkiat Singh of Chanarthal Kalan for shifting electricity poles near his house. The department has taken him in custody.

According to Mr Paramjit Singh Khera, DSP, Vigilance, Malkiat Singh approached his office and complained that Kulwant Singh was harassing him and demanding money to bring down the estimated cost of shifting the poles adjoining his house. The vigilance laid a trap and caught Kulwant Singh. The bribe amount was recovered from his pocket.

A case under Sections 7, 13(2) 28, the PC Act, has been registered. The JE will be presented in the court tomorrow, he added.


Girl killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 10
Kamalpreet Kaur, a resident of New Tehsilpura and student of plus one, Army School, was killed when a truck collided with her vehicle today. The truck driver fled the scene, leaving the truck behind. A case was registered under Section 403-A of the IPC.

A traffic jam followed the incident, which did not clear till noon.


Five thieves arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 10
The district police has arrested five persons on charges of breaking into various shops and houses and stealing.

The accused, Lakhwinder Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Rinku, Satish Kumar and Jagsir Singh, had broken into the house of a bank manager, Mr Manohar Lal, in Rampura Phul and a grocery store in the township. Stolen cash, artificial jewellery and household articles were recovered from them. A case has been registered.


Pro-VC asked to leave meeting
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today directed Pro-Vice-Chancellor R.N. Pal to withdraw from a meeting of the syndicate on the grounds that he was obstructing the proceedings.

The Pro-VC, when contacted, said he was “surprised and dismayed” at the order and that he had taken up the matter with the varsity Chancellor, Justice O.P. Verma. He said his ouster from the meeting was “illegal”.

At the start of the meeting the Pro-Vice-Chancellor complained that he had not been served the minutes of the last meeting.

According to sources, the varsity Registrar had at the outset of the meeting announced that certain “omissions and commissions” had been committed while recording the minutes of the last meeting.

The Pro-VC then claimed that he had not received the proceedings of that meeting and that he should know what part of the agenda the authorities wanted to get corrected from the syndicate.

However, varsity spokesman Baldev Singh Sandhu said minutes of the proceedings had been delivered to Dr Pal and a receipt for it was also taken.

The sources said after half an hour of the deliberations, the Vice-Chancellor asked Dr Pal to withdraw from the meeting.

The university spokesman said the Pro-VC had been asked to leave the meeting because he was interrupting the proceedings .

The syndicate later passed the agenda without the Pro-VC. It decided that the proposal for the University College of Engineering should be put up before the syndicate after the approval of the Finance Committee. The syndicate also took a decision that retiring teachers would be relieved on either June 30 or December 31 to ensure they completed the teaching work of each semester.

The syndicate also approved the creation of two new faculties — the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business Studies. The Faculty of Medicine was made functional once more. The syndicate also approved paternity leave of 15 days for all male employees of the university and its affiliated colleges.


Navtej wins all classical contests
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 10
Punjab Technical University (PTU) zonal cultural festival was inaugurated today by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, at Giani Dit Singh Auditorium of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC) here.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, former chairman of the Punsup, presided over the function. Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemical, Fertilisers, will be the chief guest on the concluding day on November 11 while Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gurcharan Singh Tohra will preside over the function.

In the two-day zonal cultural festival more than 300 students from colleges of the zone are taking part in competitions including music, theatre, fine arts folk and tribal dances. Navtej Singh Gill of the BBSBEC college won all classical events today, which include vocal solo, classical instrumental. In skit, the GJIMT, Mohali, bagged first position and the IET, Bhaddal, remained second. In Rangoli, Simranjit Kaur of the GJMT, Mohali, got first position and Navneet Kaur of the local BBSBEC won second position. In clay modelling, the BBSBEC remained first while the second position was won by the GGIST Kharar.

Mr Ahluwalia, while appreciating the cultural achievements of Punjab, said Punjabi University, Patiala, and the GNDU, Amritsar, always remained among first five universities of the country in cultural affairs out of total 256 universities. He appealed the youths to quit drugs and devote time in cultural activities.

Mr Libra, who is also member secretary of the college Trust, said students must follow the rich tradition of our gurus and shun the vulgar part of western culture. He said classical and Indian dance in this festival was a glimpse of rich Indian culture.

The Coordinator of Cultural Affairs, PTU, Mr Jaspal Singh, said best teams from these festivals would be selected and trained to compete in north zone inter-varsity competition to be held at Kurukshetra University from January 12 to 16. He said the PTU had planned to arrange tours of gidha and bhangra teams to other parts of the country for cultural exchange.

Dr D.S. Hira said engineering college students should spare time for cultural and sports activities. He declared that the inter-zonal cultural festival would again be held on the college campus soon.

Prof Gurpal Singh, organising secretary of the festival, Dr Geeta Datta, HoD, Music Department, Apee Jay College, Jalandhar, Mr Balkaran Singh of Punjabi University, Prof Amritbir Singh, Prof Lakhvir Singh, Prof Gurneet Kaur, Prof Raj Bahadur Singh, and Mr Harjinder Sani of PTU were also present among others.


PPS celebrates founder’s day
Our Correspondent

Nabha, November 10
The local Punjab Public School (PPS) celebrated founder’s day today.

Justice O.P. Verma, Governor of Punjab, was the chief guest. The function started the school anthem. The school headmaster, Mr M.S. Bedi, highlighted the achievements of the school.

Justice Verma also gave away the prizes to students for their performances in various fields. Sardarni Jaswant Kaur Memorial Prize was given to Divya Sharda. General Kulwant Singh Prize was given to Guneet Pal Singh, who also won the Lala Bhana Mal Memorial Prize for the best boy in the senior school.

The winners of the All- India Inter-Public School Championship, 2003, were Harman Cheema (high jump), Nirbhai Singh (hockey) and Sukhpreet Brar (best athlete), Sandeep Singh, Jaspreet Singh, Prithvijit Singh, Simardeep Singh, Gurjap Singh.

Harjeewandeep Singh and Harsimran were awarded for their best all-round merit among junior boys and girls, respectively. Dronacharya Awards were given to Mr S.S. Shanni, R.S. Sodhi, G.S. Mathur, Mr Shahid Ahmed, Mrs Anupma and Mrs R.K. Sekhon.

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