P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CBI’s Interpol unit approached in Daler case
SIT reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
The Patiala police has asked the Interpol Division of the CBI to cross-check the documents submitted by Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi even as it today reconstituted the special investigation team (SIT), which had been set up to investigate the human trafficking case registered against the Mehndi brothers.

Patiala district police chief A.S. Rai, while addressing a press conference here, said that the Punjab Police headquarters had requested the Interpol, through the CBI, to verify the documents submitted by Daler in coordination with the United States Embassy. He said the Interpol had been asked to ascertain whether the documents were exhaustive or more people had been sent abroad by Daler to the USA.

Mr Rai disclosed that the SIT, which was not functional earlier due to the transfer of various officials working in it, had been reconstituted. Mr R.L. Monga, who was heading the SIT in his capacity as the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), would continue to head it in the capacity of SP (City) to which post he had been transferred recently. Other members of the team would be Deputy Superintendent of Police (Rural) Bhupinder Singh, Sadar Station House Officer Amarjit Singh and CIA Inspector Sukhdev Singh.

The SSP also stated that the police would verify the complaints submitted in the case. This would be done to ensure these were not motivated in any manner. He said all 31 complainants would be asked to submit relevant documents substantiating their case. The police would also examine the residential addresses of all complainants, ascertain their antecedents and also check up with the respective embassies as to when, if at all, they had travelled abroad or were scheduled to do so.

Mr Rai said the police would try to comply with the orders of a local court, which had issued arrest warrants against Daler Mehndi which were returnable by November 17. He said though some of his hideouts had been checked earlier, he was not sure whether the Patiala police would be able to arrest him in the case.

He said that the Patiala police would oppose the bail application filed by the pop singer which is to come up in the Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow. The district police could not say now that Daler would be wanted for questioning in the case in near future and that it wanted to ensure its right to secure his custodial interrogation if needed.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today demanded a CBI probe into the human trafficking case registered against Daler Mehndi, adding that the manner in which the investigation into the case had been scuttled seemed to indicate that all was not well.

“Mamla Garbar Hai” was how the former Chief Minister described the manner in which the Daler case had been handled up to now. “You all know what had happened”, he said but did not elaborate on the issue. He said the CBI inquiry would reveal the truth and ensure that justice was done in the case.

Mr Badal was talking to newsmen after taking part in the bhog ceremony in the memory of Kartar Singh Dhaliwal, father of Samana legislator Surjit Singh Rakhra.


Religious board takes up jathedars’ appointment
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
The first meeting of the Religious Advisory Board (RAB), which met at the SGPC’s Guru Nanak Nivas here yesterday, resolved to give a befitting reply to the “anti-Panthic” forces that “dared to challenge” the authority of Akal Takht on the pretext of gurdwara reforms.

The RAB also discussed the framing of rules and regulations for the appointment of Sikh high priests and their removal. This is for the first time that any committee having the stamp of the SGPC and Akal Takht discussed the issue.

The meeting, held under the presidentship of Bhai Jasbir Singh Kannewale, declared that Akal Takht was the supreme temporal seat for the Sikhs and nobody could be allowed to challenge its authority. Taking serious note of the resolutions passed at the World Sikh Convention October 26, the RAB members announced that the hukamnamas once issued could not be withdrawn.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Bhai Jashir Singh Khannewale, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a leader of the Dal Khalsa, Dr Khark Singh, member, dharm prachar, Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, secretary, Chief Khalsa Dewan, Mr Joginder Singh Talwara, a member of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Principal Ram Singh, Dr Gurbax Singh and Giani Gurbax Singh from the USA, Bibi Inderjit Kaur Yogi, Giani Amolak Singh from the UK, Mr Kewal Singh, an SGPC member from Mumbai, Mr Khajan Singh from Kolkata, Dr Vikram Singh (Patiala) and three special invitees Mr Gurcharanjit Singh Lamba, Editor, Sant Sipahi, Mr Prithipal Singh Kapur, a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and Mr Harsimran Singh Anandpur Sahib.

It is learnt that the RAB has recommended that the SGPC’s general house, scheduled to be held on November 20, should withdraw the title of “Professor of Sikhism” from Mr Gurtej Singh. The meeting also recommended that Akal Takht should seek an explanation from Mr Joginder Singh, Editor, Spokesman, for allegedly indulging in blasphemous activities and challenging the authority of Akal Takht.


Tohra may not have SGPC Sr Vice-President of his choice
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Though former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has been making a strong bid to be the SAD nominee for the post of SGPC President, it is almost certain that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra will be the party’s candidate. The annual election of the President of the SGPC is scheduled for November 20. All other office-bearers will also be elected on that day.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General of the SAD, has already announced that no other candidate should enter the fray as the party is going to renominate Mr Tohra. But a formal decision in this connection will be taken on November 16 at a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee, which is expected to authorise party President Parkash Singh Badal to nominate the candidate.

However, Mr Tohra, may not be allowed to have the Senior Vice-President of his choice. Mr Tohra wanted that Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur should be elected the Senior Vice-President, replacing Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, who is a close relative of Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, a heavyweight Akali leader from Majha. Mr Bhaur is a confidant of Mr Tohra. Mr Tohra, who has not been keeping good health, planned to make Mr Bhaur as working President after getting him elected as the Senior Vice-President of the SGPC to run its affairs. Owing to Mr Tohra’s bad health, SGPC Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta has virtually become its de facto head and calls the shots in the apex religious body.

Mr Tohra has got all his important supporters adjusted in political positions either in the party or elsewhere. Only Mr Bhaur is yet to get any respectable position. So, Mr Tohra wanted to get him accommodated. Since Mr Bhaur has earlier worked as acting President of the SGPC, besides its executive member, Mr Tohra feels the best place for the former is the religious body.

Sources said Akali leaders from Majha led by Mr Brahmpura have told Mr Badal that they wanted Mr Pakhoke to be elected as the Senior Vice-President for the next term. Almost all Akali MLAs as well as members of the SGPC from the Majha region are one in stopping Mr Bhaur from being elected as the Senior Vice-President. Akali leaders from Majha have, according to sources, asked Mr Badal to give adequate representation to them as office-bearers in the party and the SGPC. They have reasoned that Mr Badal himself, SGPC President, G.S. Tohra, Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and most General Secretaries of the party are from the Malwa region. The power structure of the party and the SGPC is almost in the hands of Akali leaders from Malwa. All this is at the cost of Akali leaders from Majha, they have pointed out.

According to party sources, Mr Badal has held a detailed meeting with Mr Tohra on this issue. He conveyed to Mr Tohra the resentment of Akali leaders from Majha area over the proposed replacement of Mr Pakhoke by Mr Bhaur. Mr Tohra has, according to sources, agreed to consider the opinion of Akali leaders from Majha.


Mann against Tohra as next SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 12
Mr Sirmanjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, not to field Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra for the post of the SGPC chief in the elections to be held on November 20, in view of charges of “misappropriation” of SGPC funds.

He also exhorted Mr Tohra to step down from the post of the SGPC chief on moral ground following levelling of fund “misappropriation” charges against him. He further accused Mr Tohra of “encouraging” nepotism in the SGPC and “misusing” the public office during the past 25 years.

He lashed out at the Amarinder government saying the Vigilance Bureau had issued a red alert against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, members of his family and others, when a number of his associates had already fled the country


Chief Khalsa Diwan heads for split
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
The Chief Khalsa Diwan, one of the oldest Sikh institutions, today headed towards a spilt with the ruling group invoking Clause 12 of its constitution and terminating the membership of 284 members (nearly 60 per cent of the total members). The members were barred from casting their vote in the forthcoming elections, scheduled to be held on January 4, 2004.

The Diwan is celebrating its 100 years of inception. It has an annual budget of about Rs 16 crore and runs hundreds of educational and social institutes, including an orphanage where Shaheed Udham Singh was brought up.

The ousted group described the move as undemocratic and unconstitutional and decided to fight against it.

The 284 persons, who cease to be members for allegedly not attending six meetings, are from places as for off as Kanpur and Mumbai.

Mr Charnjit Singh Chadda, an office-bearer, and Dr Santokh Singh alleged that the current term of the Diwan would end in the first week of December and, hence, the election, which is held every three years, could not be postponed to January.

Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary, claimed that most of the members who were debarred from voting had failed to deposit their monthly fee in time. He pointed out that clause 12 of the constitution said that any member who failed to attend six successive meetings would cease to be a member. The emergency meeting had to take the decision to avoid “unnecessary litigation”.

However, Mr Chadda alleged that a large chunk of the members had been debarred from voting as the ruling group felt that it would lose the election. Mr Chadda alleged that his group had concrete proof of corruption against Mr Ankhi and his associates.

Mr Ankhi refuted the charges and claimed that the Diwan had witnessed a lot of improvement after his joining as honorary secretary in 1994.

Dr Santokh Singh alleged that Mr Ankhi had become member of Guru Nanak Dev University by depositing more than Rs 1 lakh from the Diwan accounts.


Badal would lead even if jailed, says Sukhbir
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, November 12
Putting all speculation at rest regarding the leadership issue of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in case Mr Parkash Singh Badal was arrested, Mr Sukhbir Badal, general secretary of the party, said the senior Badal would lead the party even if he was put behind bars by the Congress Government.

Talking to mediapersons yesterday, Mr Sukhbir Badal, who was here to attend a conference of the youth wing of the party, said the Badal family did not dread jails and his father had spent 16 to 17 years of his prime in jails.

CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) General Secretary, Kanwaljit Singh said here on Tuesday that the filing of a challan against party President, Parkash Singh Badal would be the last nail in the coffin of Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh as it would expose the lies the later had indulged in over the past two years.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh also sought an explanation from the Chief Minister as to why he had chosen not to rely on the evaluation of Mr Badal’s properties carried out by a team of senior handpicked Punjab government officials and what was the need for reassessment by private parties.

FARIDKOT: Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Congress MP from Faridkot, has assailed former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal “for spreading rumours regarding dissidence among senior Congress leaders, and that they were busy to dethrone Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh”.

He said that after amassing huge wealth and property through unfair means during his five-year rule in the state, Mr Badal had lost his mass base and was making lame excuses to save his skin from the court of law.

Mr Brar, who arrived here on Tuesday to preside over the District Vigilance Monitoring Committee meeting, praised Capt Amarinder Singh for launching a vigorous campaign to check corruption.


Akalis seek probe against Bajwa
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 12
Former Akali ministers Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Nirmal Singh Kahlon and former Chairman of the Forest Department Manjinder Singh Kang today sought a CBI probe into the allegations levelled against the Punjab Public Works Department (PWD) Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, by Mr Gurmit Singh Matharu, a senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader, at Chandigarh yesterday.

Mr Matharu had alleged that the Minister had purchased shamlat land worth several crores at Bharojan village, Kharar, in the name of his relatives.

The Akali leaders, addressing a press conference here, demanded that before the CBI inquiry, Mr Bajwa should resign.

Mr Sekhwan said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had not initiated any action against Congress leaders indulging in corruption.

He alleged that various Akali leaders had been booked by the government without any complaint or affidavit while there were complainants ready to submit affidavits against Congress ministers, giving details of corruption.

The government had not taken action against even the four Congress ministers indicted by the Lokpal in corruption cases, the leader said.


Bhattal hits back at Brar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Reacting sharply to a statement of senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, Rural Development Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said that Mr Brar should refrain from giving her advice on political matters.

Mr Brar had reportedly stated yesterday that Ms Bhattal had been told by the party high command not to make any statements against Capt Amarinder Singh till the Assembly elections in five states were over.

From Ms Bhattal’s signed statement today, it appeared that another front had opened in the ruling party was already in news due to an internal crisis in the state. Ms Bhattal said the government was not extending any help to her in a court case against her. “It is necessary to refute the allegations levelled by certain persons that the state government was helping me in the court case in any manner,” she said.

Ms Bhattal said neither Mr Brar was a spokesman of the All-India Congress Committee nor of the Punjab Government. Ms Bhattal also hit at certain bureaucrats without naming them. “Certain bureaucrats had infiltrated the ruling party and were levelling false allegations against certain party MLAs and ministers to weaken the Congress in the state,” she said.

“If Mr Brar had anything to discuss regarding party affairs, he should have talked to me instead of going to media,” she asserted.


Dalits ignored in reshuffle, says BSP
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 12
Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, state president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) yesterday accused the Punjab Chief Minister of ignoring Dalit officials while making postings of senior civil officials recently.

Talking to newsmen, he asserted that the ability and efficiency of Dalit officials was not taken into account and they were ignored during the recent bureaucratic reshuffle.

He alleged the CBI was a plaything in the hands of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and he was misusing it to implicate Ms Mayawati in false cases. He said party’s rank and file would come out on the streets in case Ms Mayawati was arrested.

He said Mayawati’s arrest would prove to be a nail in the coffin of the BJP. “On the one hand, the CBI had been used to exclude the name of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Adavani from the chargesheet in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case, on the other, Ms Mayawati’s name was being falsely dragged into the Taj corridor case,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Karimpuri addressed a meting of BSP workers here.


Army move sparks panic
Takeover of old grant property in Ferozepore cantt
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, November 12
The recent move of the Army to take possession of a bungalow in the cantonment area has jolted the inhabitants of other such bungalows, who apprehend that they would soon lose their shelter.

According to sources, the bungalow 84, Jhoke Road, situated in Ferozepore cantonment near Wazir Ali building, which is part of survey No 20 of the cantonment was an old grant property and the land belonged to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). As per the Cantonment Board records its occupancy rights before partition were with Mr Syed Ahsan Ali and Mr Muratab Ali, who shifted to Pakistan before Partition.

Later, this became an evacuee property in possession of the Rehabilitation Department and remained vacant for some time. Its residents claim that the building was subsequently rented out to refugees by the department but there is no official record to endorse their claim. The total area of the bungalow is around 1.60 acres and the ownership of the land is vested with the Government of India. Over the years, hundreds of families shifted to this bungalow complex, some of whom were legal tenants while a few others kept on staying here unlawfully.

Thought it could not be officially established that the Rehabilitation Department had rented out the bungalow to the displaced persons after Partition, yet some of the residents produced xerox copies of the receipts of the rent they had been paying to the Rehabilitation Department in support of their claims. Mr Faqir Chand, a resident of this bungalow, claimed that he had been residing here for the past 40 years. He showed a few receipts of the rent he had paid to the Department of Rehabilitation. Another resident, Mr Gulzari Lal, said he had been staying here since partition and had been regularly paying rent to the Rehabilitation Department up to the early nineties.

Mr Ravi Soi, a former member of the Cantonment Board, said the district administration should have offered the first rights to the current tenants instead of handing over the complex to the Army.

Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, said this case, was decided a few years ago by the then Deputy Commissioner that since the property belonged to the Ministry of Defence, it should be handed over to it. After this decision, the cost of the structure raised on the land was assessed by the department. Later on, the Army was told to deposit an amount of Rs 50,400 before it could take possession of the bungalows as only the land belonged to them and not the structure erected on it. The Army deposited the said amount last month and moved an application for possession of the bungalow, which was granted by the DC through the Tehsildar. Mr Vikas Pratap, however, said that he would get the matter re-examined so that no injustice was done to anyone.

The local Army authorities said as the land already belonged to them and the cost of the structure had already deposited with the department concerned, they were legally authorised to take possession of the bungalow. Since, the status of the land has also been changed from B3 to A1 by the MoD so that the area can be used for the construction of houses for Army officials, an Army official said.

The Army authorities asserted that the land had been unlawfully encroached upon by certain people who were running commercial activities from the premises.

It is pertinent to mention that the Army had erected a tent on the disputed land and posted a few jawans there, which created panic among the residents who feared that they would soon be shown the door.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents held a series of demonstrations in front of the DC office, office of the Cantonment Board and the judicial court complex in protest against the move to vacate the bungalow. The residents also handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, who assured them of getting the matter re-examined.


Codify privileges of House, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
Senior Congress leader, the Mandi Board Chairman and others stressed on the need to codify the privileges of Parliament and of her state Assemblies at a seminar organised on “Challenges Before the Press — A Moment of Crisis” here today.

The seminar, which discussed the privileges of the state Assemblies in the light of the arrest order issued against the Editor of the Hindu and its journalists, called for creating a mass movement to codify the privileges immediately so that they could not be misused. The seminar was organised by the Patiala Journalists Association.

While delivering the chief guest’s lecture, Mr Sant Ram Singla, said the attack on the Press was an attack on common man as it was highlighting the proceedings of the Assembly to make the people of Tamil Nadu aware of what was happening in the House. Mr Singla said arrest orders issued by the Tamil Nadu Speaker was an example of gross misuse of legislative powers by the Assembly of the state. He said no breach of privilege could be passed on a matter which was constitutionally untenable and was totally unrelated with the purpose for which the power had been given to the Assembly by the Constitution.

Professor of Punjabi University Dr Suchha Singh Gill while delivering his key note address said there was an urgent need to ensure a free Press in the country whose right of expression should be guarded at all costs. He said earlier there had been an attempt to make journalists reveal their source to the police under the proposed Article 3 (B) of the present POTA regulation. He said this was not allowed to be passed due to the pressure from civil rights and other right thinking individuals.

Pepsu Road Transport Corporation Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta while speaking on the occasion said what had happened in Chennai should be seen from the context of the increasing trend of trying to muzzle the freedom of the Press. He said care should be taken to ensure that the system was not subordinated in this process and that powers granted by the Constitution were not used to achieve narrow political ends. Mayor Vishnu Sharma highlighted the fact that the Punjab unit of the Congress and Capt Amarinder Singh had already decried the Chennai development.

Punjab Union of Journalists General Secretary Gurkirpal Singh Ashk while speaking on the occasion said the nation relied on the three pillars of Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary besides the fourth pillar — the Press to ensure conducive functioning. Mr Ashk said recent reports of friction between the different departments would endanger the system and steps should be taken to correct the situation.


Sangrur police to don new look
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 12
The Sangrur district police plans an economic offences wing, a district traffic unit and a community policing wing to provide a new look to the district police and serve the people in a “transparent” manner.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the new Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sangrur, said in view of increasing economic offences, the economic offences wing would start functioning in a fortnight. It would receive complaints and inquire into the same before registration of an FIR.

The district traffic unit would function under the direct supervision of the SP (Headquarters), Mr Mandip Singh Sidhu. It would work for providing better traffic services and safe roads to the people.

A separate community policing wing would work for the welfare of the public and against drug addiction and other evils.

The SSP said in view of the recent crimes in Malerkotla, the top priority would be the whole of Malerkotla.

Two new vehicles had been provided to the Malerkotla police, besides 14 motor cycles for patrolling. Beat constables would be appointed there soon.

Regarding tension in Hasanpur village near Dhuri between Dalits and Jats over a piece of land, the SSP said the matter would be resolved soon by taking both sides into confidence.

Mr Dhillon said a youth coordination cell would also be set up to involve the youths in development activities.


Amarinder tastes jail food
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Sing today paid a quiet visit to the Central Jail here. He stayed there for around 40 minutes, during which he inspected the “langar” prepared in the jail. He also tasted the food to be served to the inmates tonight.

Capt Amarinder Singh also interacted with the prison inmates and listened to their problems. They said a major complaint was the feeling of discrimination amongst convicts who did not own land. The convicts belonging to urban areas said they were eligible for a parole of 28 days, while those from rural areas possessing land of their own were granted a parole of 42 days in a year.

The Chief Minister assured the convicts that he would get the rules amended so that all convicts were able to avail of the same parole.


Front condemns action against Press
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 12
A meeting of the Socialist Front, Punjab, held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Kesar Singh, condemned the Tamil Nadu Government for its attempt to arrest journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli.

Mr Balwant Singh Khera and Mr Mohan Singh Wadala, Front leaders, said the Tamil Nadu Speaker had tried to gag the Press on the pretext of exercising a privilege of the assembly.

Mr Darshan Singh, President of the Janata Dal (S), Mr Hukam Chand Sunkar, Mr Kulbhushan, Mr Jagdish Anand, and Mr Mehar Chand Bhumbla all front leaders, were among those who attended the meeting. It was announced that the front would hold its political conference at Dana Mandi, Garhshankar on December 16.


Wedding vows across the border
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
Even as the marriage of Qadian-based journalist Maqbool Ahmad has been postponed, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Muhammad Rauf, has got married to Karachi-based Malika, Both reached India by the Delhi-Lahore bus today.

Mr Rauf said he had met Malika about seven years ago. His mother and brother, who had brought Karachi halwa, distributed it among officials posted at Wagha. They said the family was grateful to the government of India and Pakistan for restoring the road link.


MC ignoring some colonies, says welfare society
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 12
The Executive Committee of the Charan Bagh Welfare Society, Patiala has urged the Municipal Corporation to fix the priorities for the development works to be carried out in approved and unapproved colonies instead of the ‘policy of pick and choose’.

Members of the committee alleged that the corporation was ignoring some colonies and areas. They added that the committee had submitted as many as eight memorandums seeking the completion of the 40-feet wide main road connecting Punjabi Bagh, Sant Nagar, Model Town and other colonies with Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib. The committee further informed that the work was started in May, 2001 and boulder was placed on both sides of the road to extend it by 4 feet each. However, after levelling the boulder the corporation had failed to complete the work till date.


No water for 15 days
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 12
Residents here are facing an acute shortage of drinking water for the past 15 days, as the main tubewell is out of order and the municipal council (MC) has failed to improve the water supply. Only one tubewell is operating and supplying water to the entire town.

An employee posted at the tubewell said the bore of the tubewell had gone out of order and he had been requesting the maintenance in charge for a new bore but nothing had been done so far.

He said one of the gate walls had also been out of order for the past many months due to which the water supply to a particular area continued for 24 hours, causing inconvenience to the rest of the town.

He said all three gate walls from where the water was released was surrounded by dirty water.

The residents said drinking water was supplied only for about an hour in the morning and evening and the water pressure is low. Due to low water level, hand pumps were also ineffective.

The residents said the Deputy Commissioner had directed the MC to make arrangements for drinking water but the council had failed to do so. They urged the Deputy Commissioner to intervene in the matter.


BSNL subscribers complain of poor network
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 12
The BSNL mobile phone subscribers in the Sirhind and Bassi Pathana areas are facing the problem of poor network resulting in weak signal. Though BSNL has launched the mobile service for students with much fanfare but they are now repenting after getting the connection, as the signal in the Bassi Pathana area is very weak.

The students said the incoming and out going calls were not possible in Bassi Pathana and surrounding areas and most of the subscribers had surrendered their connections. They said in the age of competition the BSNL had failed miserably to provide best services to its subscribers. The students said though there were towers of both Spice and Air Tel in Bassi Pathana but the BSNL has not installed its tower in the area. 


Free eye camp held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 12
A free eye operation camp was organised by the Goodwill Society at Paras Ram Nagar, near here, in which about 1,500 persons were examined. Cataract surgery was performed on 112 patients and the patients were provided spectacles, medicines etc free of cost at the camp.

The camp, which began on November 9, was conducted by a team of doctors from the CMC Eye Mobile, Ludhiana. In addition to the cataract operations, 412 patients took sugar and reflection tests.


High Court
3 indicted for getting emergency parole
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Incredible, but true. Three prisoners in Punjab managed to obtain emergency parole by preparing, procuring and furnishing false medical certificates. An inquiry held by Patiala Commissioner C.S. Srivastava has indicted them for the offence.

In his report, Mr Srivastava has held that medical certificates regarding the relatives of prisoners Jaspal Singh, Agyapal Singh and Krishan Kumar were false. The report was prepared after recording the statement of several doctors, including senior medical officers, along with Patiala’s Central Jail Superintendent Jagjit Singh.

After going through the report, Additional Secretary in the Department of Home Affairs and Justice Vinod Kumar Bhalla has added that the state government has an intensions of launching prosecution against the prisoners and other conspirators involved after getting first information reports registered against them under the relevant provisions of law.

The Commissioner was asked to look into the matter and submit a detailed report.

The directions were issued after a writ petition was filed in public interest before the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a social organisation — Lawyers for Human Rights International through press secretary Arunjeev Singh Walia. In the petition, Mr Walia had alleged the release of prisoners from Patiala’s Central Jail on the basis of forged and procured medical certificates.

Initially, the High Court had asked state of Punjab’s counsel to inform them whether the government had intentions of launching criminal proceedings against those involved in the issuance of forged medical certificates on the basis of which parole was given to the prisoners.

Appearing before the Bench, comprising the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, counsel had informed that a committee, comprising a civil surgeon, Senior Superintendent of Police and the District Magistrate, had been formed to check the genuineness of the certificates.

The High Court, in another petition regarding the release of convicts on parole with the alleged help of medical officers and jail authorities, has already asked Punjab’s Director General of Police to look into the matter.

He was asked to work out a mechanism by which cases of less resourceful persons for the grant of parole could be finalised expeditiously within specific time frame, preferably 30 days.

Issuing the instructions, the Judges had ruled that they had asked Punjab’s Deputy Advocate-General to place on record certain documents for gauging the circumstances in which “preferential treatment” was given to one prisoner “who appeared to be not only rich, but also infamous”. The Judges had added that a perusal of the documents showed that the Department of Prisons had “blatantly violated the instructions”.

Exemplary cost imposed on college

Coming down heavily on Muktsar-based Desh Bhagat Dental College and Hospital for admitting students in first year Bachelor of Dental Surgery course after ignoring merit, a three-Judge Bench of the High Court on Wednesday imposed “exemplary costs” of Rs 20 lakh on the institute.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta ruled that it was obvious from the conclusions drawn by the Bench that the college had admitted the students to first year course in violation of all the norms and conditions. The process of admission adopted by the college was a total sham. The Judges further ruled that it was not open to the college conducting a professional course to make admissions in a manner other than on merit determined through Common Entrance Test held by an agency nominated by the state government.

It was added that the college had failed to abide by the directions of the state government and did not fill the seats according to a government notification dated May 10 last year. It even failed to abide by the directions issued by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and the standard delineated in the prospectus issued by it. The regulations for admissions laid down by the Dental Council of India were also ignored. Moreover, it failed to adhere to the norms laid down by the apex court in various judgements.

In their detailed order, the Judges held that the written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, including the state of Punjab, disclosed that the college was running a group of institutes wherein the total expenditure incurred was Rs 89 lakh against the income of Rs 222 lakh in three preceding years. Thus, the college was earning a profit of Rs 133 lakh which was more than 150 per cent of the average annual expenditure.

“We have, therefore, chosen to impose exemplary costs on the college. Ordinarily, such costs should be payable to the students who may have to be dislodged as a consequence of the order passed by us. We, however, feel that the students admitted by the college have acted with same malice as the college to gain entry into the course by hook or crook by superseding the claim of the candidates with higher merits”, goes the judgement.

The Judges concluded that for the various acts of omission and commission at the hands of the college they were directing it to pay costs to the state of Punjab and another respondent, quantified as Rs 10 lakh. Another Rs 10 lakh was to be paid to the university.



Seminar on free legal aid
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 12
It was for the first time that all judicial officials of the district led by Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge, organised a seminar at Chanarthal Kalan village to educate the rural masses regarding “free legal aid” being provided to the weaker sections of the society by the government as well as to popularise the concept of Lok Adalats. The seminar was largely attended.

In his keynote address Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge, said as majority of the people live below the poverty line and could not engage lawyers to defend their rights, so the government had decided to provide free legal aid to this section of society. He said that all are equal in the eyes of law, so no one could be deprived of proper legal aid. He said that early the disputes were confined to rural areas and the elders of the area used to sort it out amicably but with the passage of time the disputes increased many folds in urban areas and courts had been flooded with the cases causing delay in the disposal of cases. It has motivated the government to set up the Lok Adalats, where the cases are settled amicably with the mutual consent of both the parties. He said, moreover, the decision taken in this court could not be challenged in any other court. He urged the people to benefit from these courts. He said in Lok Adalats 4,080 cases were presented and out of these 2,241 were decided with mutual consent and Rs 9,62,58,285 was awarded as compensation. He said similarly the District Free Legal Aid Society got 378 applications for free legal aid and all were provided aid by the society and out of this 165 cases had been decided.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, in his address appreciated the efforts of the District and Sessions Judge for organising such seminar in the biggest village of the district. He urged the people to rise above petty politics for the development of the village. He advocated the concept of Lok Adalat and said they should settle their disputes at panchayat level and if need arose they should go to Lok Adalat and not to civil courts. He announced a grant of Rs 1.20 lakh for the school where function was being organised.

Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Gill, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.J. Nangli, Additional District Sessions Judge, Ms Neelam Arora, Civil Judge, Senior Division, Mr G.S. Dhillon, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr H.K. Sular, Civil Judge, Mr S.S. Panesar, Civil Judge, Mr A.S. Cheema, president, District Bar Association, Mr H.S. Rai, Mr Lakhbir Singh, advocates also addressed the seminar.

On this occasion the village panchayat honoured all the dignitaries.



Judicial court still eludes Dera Bassi
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 12
Even after about six years of the awarding the status of a subdivision, the Punjab Government had hardly considered the public demand for setting up a judicial court at Dera Bassi.

In the absence of any judicial court here, residents from far-flung villages of the subdivision have been facing great hardship in going to Rajpura since all the court related cases are being taken up at the Rajpura court.

After the formation of the subdivision, offices of the Subdivisional Magistrate, Tehsildar, Naib Tehsildar and other revenue related officials were shifted from Rajpura to Dera Bassi, but no judicial court was set up.

The subdivision consists of 160 villages and 75 panchayats have demanded the setting of a judicial court within the tehsil complex. Residents of about 36 villages, that share their boundaries with the villages of other subdivision of Haryana, have to travel a long distance to reach Rajpura.

Residents belonging to these villages first have to take buses up to Ambala and after having a halt there, they take buses to Rajpura. The other alternative route is the Dera Bassi- Zirakpur-Rajpura route.

Mr Jasbir Singh of Handesra village, about 25 km from Lalru, has complained that litigants from this belt of the subdivision have to change four buses to reach Rajpura, which takes about four hours. Their problems are aggravated when the affected persons have to return home disappointed whenever the job remains undone at Rajpura, he has complained.

Since Dera Bassi is one of the main industrial hubs of the state, with a truck union, two civic bodies, two police stations and a number of housing colonies, the number of criminal incidents have increased in the last seven or eight years.

Two national highways passes through the subdivision and the number of accidents has also gone up. This forces accident victims to go to the Rajpura court, says Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini of Dera Bassi.

Members of the Dera Bassi Bar Association have demanded a camp court at the tehsil complex for the convenience of litigants and the general public.


BKU warns against arrest of farmers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 12
The local unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) yesterday warned the authorities against arresting farmers for defaulting on the payment of loans. In a statement issued here today, the BKU members said that a farmer from Bathinda district had been arrested at the behest of the Housefed for not repaying a loan.

The BKU said that earlier it were banks which were behind the arrest of farmers, but now the Housefed was doing the same. It said that six farmers were arrested last year, causing resentment in the farming community.

It warned that if the trend continues, farmers would resort to agitation and gherao officials.


Kang opens turkey farming project
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 12
With a view to provide an alternative in lieu of the traditional agriculture practised by the farmers of the state, the Minister for Animal Husbandry, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, inaugurated a pilot project for turkey farming at Government Poultry Farm here today.

Addressing the gathering Mr Kang said initially small and marginal farmers would be motivated to take up the project. While praising the high protein and low cholesterol content present in turkey meat Mr Kang said as turkeys were in considerable demand in five star hotels and metropolitan cities all over the country, marketing them would not be a problem. Moreover, he added that as the turkey meat was relished the world over, it could well be exported to other countries after processing.

The minister told the farmers present on the occasion that an average male turkey matures after 24 weeks and could be sold for a good profit. Earlier, a deputation of experts had visited turkey farms in Bangalore to study the techniques involved and later a team comprising 12 poultry experts was sent for training at the Central Poultry Training Institute, Hasserghata. Presently farmers were being trained in turkey farming at the subdivision level.

Mr Kang said after the success of the pilot project turkeys would be distributed among farmers for Rs 30 a bird. Others present on the occasion were the Secretary Animal Husbandry, Mr D.S. Bains, and the Director Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Dr B.S. Sidhu.


Panchayats not reporting on funds
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 12
Despite assurances, panchayats of several villages have not yet forwarded reports on the utilisation of development funds to the Vigilance and Monitoring Committee.

Stating this here today, the local MP, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, said several lakh rupees had been released to the panchayat of Harkrishanpura and Raiya villages under the Indira Vikas Yojna last year, but the amount had not been spent on development as required.

He said while Harkrishanpura had utlilised only 50 per cent of the allotted funds, not a “single paisa” was spent by Raiya village. “The vigilance committee had asked for a report in September on why funds were not spent, but despite assurances by the panchayats that the reports would be submitted within three days, nothing had happened, Mr Bhora said.

The MP also flayed the government’s attitude towards unemployment. He said the government, instead of creating jobs, was cutting them down.

Mr Bhora said the government was not making people aware of welfare schemes. He said that the government had introduced a scheme under which a group of youth from a village could obtain a collective loan up to Rs 2.5 lakh for a venture, but no one at the grass-roots level actually know about it.


Proposal for economic offences wing in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Centre has agreed to enhance its share in grant for upgradation of police infrastructure in Punjab from 50 per cent to 66 per cent, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, DGP, said here today.

The proposal, which stands approved in principle by the Cabinet Committee on Security, awaits a formal intimation from the Cabinet Secretariat. A sum of Rs 67 crore has been allocated by the state government for police modernisation.

Mr Siddiqui said a proposal had been sent to the government for creating an economic offences wing ( EoW) under the Inspector-general of Police (IGP), Operations, Punjab.

The DIG (Economic Offences) and DIG (Operations) will work under the IGP (Operations).

The DGP said special operations had been launched in Ropar, Ludhiana, Jagraon, Sangrur and Barnala to curb crime.


Admn gets flak on hygiene
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 12
The BJP has demanded the resignation of Punjab Health Minister R.C. Dogra in view of the spread of dengue.

In a press note, the state press secretary, Mr Tarun Chugh, said the government had failed to provide adequate sanitation in the city.

In a separate statement, former BJP MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla criticised the district administration for singling out government-school students and teachers for the cleanliness and sanitation drive at the cost of their studies.

In a statement issued here yesterday, she said that while private-school students were concentrating on their studies, students of government schools were working for the cleanliness of the city.

Mr Brij Bedi, president of the Citizen’s Forum, has urged the administration to remove the obscene posters and graffiti from the walls in the city. In a press note, he said the government was planning to celebrate the heritage festival in December at a cost of Rs 5 crore, and yet not a thought had been given to giving the city a clean look.


AMIE engineers against revision of service rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,  November 12
A deputation of the AMIE Engineers Association Irrigation Department today met Mr G.Vajralingam, Secretary, Finance and Expenditure, to inform him that the revision of the service rules regarding Class-1 officers in the Punjab Irrigation Department would put financial burden on the state exchequer.

After a meeting with the Secretary, Mr Surinder Singh Kaler, a spokesman of the association, said by revising the rules, the direct recruitment quota was being raised from 55 per cent to 65 per cent which was in violation of the state government’s policy to minimise direct recruitment. Moreover, no provision had been made to segregate civil, mechanical and electrical cadres in the proposed revision of rules.

They also met the Principal Secretary, Irrigation, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, to request him to order the filling of 100 vacant posts of sub-divisional engineers in the Irrigation Department in accordance with the existing unrevised rules.

They told Mr Lakhanpal that as per law the existing vacancies had to be filled according to unrevised rules from amongst those eligible for promotion. There were 45 eligible junior engineers for promotion as sub-divisional engineers, they added.

Mr Lakhanpal was also informed that the Irrigation Department had moved the file to revise the rules without getting it vetted from the Finance Department. Mr Kaler said on their request, Mr Lakhanpal had now ordered the file to be sent to the Finance Department for getting the necessary clearance.


Punjab commandos for Rajasthan poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The Punjab police will dispatch 15 companies of commandos to augment the state forces during the Rajasthan Assembly elections to be held on December 1.

This was disclosed by Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon, IG, Commando, during his visit to the city here yesterday. He said three companies would be sent to Jaipur, two each to Ajmer, Kota and Chittorgarh while one company each would be posted at Pali, Jalore, Bhilwara, Udaipur and Sawai Madhopur towns.

He said they had received a requisition for the force from the Election Commission of India. He added that the companies would reach their places of posting within the three days. Significantly, the Shiromani Akali Dal is not contesting from any of the constituencies mentioned above.


Phase I of Science City near completion
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 12
A meeting of the governing body of Science City was held at Yojna Bhavan with Mr Jai Singh Gill, Chief Secretary, Punjab, in the chair today.

Mr Gill said civil works of the first phase of the project were almost complete. Models of Dinosaur and GSLV had been installed as outdoor exhibits and a large format film projection system and 3-D motion simulator had started functioning, he said.

He said Mr Kuldeep Nayar, a member of the Rajya Sabha, had given a grant of Rs 10-lakh for setting up an interactive computer system. The Punjab Government had contributed more than Rs 17 crore for the project by way of providing land and development of infrastructure, he added.


DSP, 2 others booked in parole case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 12
Nearly one and a half years after The Tribune exposed the manner in which high- profile convicts and police officials lodged in the Central Jail here were securing emergency medical parole by furnishing forged records, the local police has registered a case of fraud against them.

The Civil Lines Police has registered a case against two police officials, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jaspal Singh and Assistant Sub Inspector Krishan Kumars, besides Agyapal Singh, a convict in a murder case, along with former Additional Director-General of Police D.S. Bhullar. The case has been registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Cases have been registered against all three convicts under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120 (b) of the IPC.

The Lawyers Forum for Human Rights International had taken up this issue in the High Court. The court had first deputed the Patiala Divisional Commissioner to inquire into the case. Following the advice of the Advocate-General’s office, another team was formed to re-look into the case. The Civil Surgeon was also involved in the team, which submitted a report, indicting the police officials and Agyapal Singh in the case.

The report noted that the convicts used to procure false medical certificates, stating that their near and dear ones were seriously ill. As there is a provision of granting emergency parole to a convict whose immediate relation is in a serious condition, these convicts were able to get bail on this plea repeatedly.

DSP Jaspal Singh, who was sentenced in 2001 in four different cases of police atrocities for a period of seven years, apparently created a record as far as securing emergency medical parole is concerned. He was able to get emergency medical parole for 15 days each, four times at a stretch with short gaps in between.

Jaspal availed of his first medical parole from 13-12-01 to 28-12-01, then from 28-12-01 to 12-1-02 and from 12-1-02 to 27-1-02. On the last day of his parole, Jaspal complained of chest pain and was admitted to the Civil Hospital at Fatehgarh Sahib, where he stayed till 3-3-02. One day after coming back, he proceeded on emergency medical parole for another 15 days. To round off his “sojourn” outside the jail, he immediately availed 42 days leave to look after his agricultural work. Jaspal was able to get leave by claiming that his wife had got a head injury.

Agyapal Singh and Krishan Kumar also used the same ruse to avail of emergency medical leave. In most of the cases, the medical certificates were signed by the Medical Officer of Government Rajindra Hospital or the Registrar in the department of medicine. However, there is no Medical Officer in the hospital in the department of surgery who could have given the certification or any Registrar in the department of medicine. False Central Registry numbers, showing the patients were admitted in the Rajindra Hospital were also used while requesting for leave.


SMO held on bribe charge
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, November 12
Vigilance sleuths led by DSP Vigilance Surinder Singh, today arrested Senior Medical Officer, Dr Pritam Singh Sona. The doctor who is in charge of the local civil hospital, was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from Gurdeep Singh, son of Inder Singh, a resident of Dhandian village in lieu of operating upon his cousin Tirlok Singh.

Vigilance Bureau sources revealed that Dr Sona had allegedly demanded Rs 2,500 for conducting appendectomy of Tirlok Singh. Gurdeep Singh had paid Rs 500 to the doctor yesterday, and the balance amount of Rs 2000 was given to the doctor today.

When the Vigilance team entered his chamber, Dr Sona had a scuffle with the vigilance sleuths and heated words were exchanged. Thereafter, Dr Sona ran outside and rushed his house in his car. The Vigilance team followed the doctor’s car in a gypsy. According to sources the doctor was overpowered when he tried to jump the rear wall of his house.

Dr Sona, however, denied that he had accepted any money and accused the Vigilance team of highhandedness. He alleged that the amount of Rs 2,000 was forcibly pushed into his pocket by the Vigilance sleuths. While talking to media persons, who had assembled outside his house, Dr Sona denied the charge and said the Vigilance team had framed him in the case.

The Vigilance team also seized several account passbooks from his house. Sources in the Vigilance Department said his accounts show transaction of lakhs of rupees and the cost of his house was also estimated to be around Rs 80 lakh. Vigilance sources said the department would make an estimate of the entire moveable and immovable property of the SMO and a thorough investigation would be carried out in the case.


Sarpanch, 14 others booked in group clash case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 12
Tension prevailed in Hasanpur village, near Dhuri, following yesterday’s stone-throwing incident between, Dalits and the Zamidars over the possession of a disputed piece of Shamlat. However the situation remained under control.

To avert any untoward incident, Mr Gurinder Singh, Dhillon SSP Sangrur, had posted more than 20 police personnel in the village.

More than 20 persons were injured in the incident yesterday.

The police has registered a criminal case against around 15 persons belonging to the zamidaars group, including village sarpanch Kesar Singh.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon said police personnel would continue to camp in the village till the matter was resolved. He said Mr Pritpal Singh Virk, SP (D), had been made investigating officer in the case.

Meanwhile, a delegation, led by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD(A), visited Hasanpur village today. It met representatives of Dalits and Zamidars, besides meeting the Dhuri SDM and the Dhuri DSP. Mr Alloarkh said both parties had assured the delegation that they were ready to reach a compromise and create a cordial atmosphere in the village.


Police remand for photographer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The police today booked a photographer working with a vernacular daily in connection with the Canadian marriage racket wherein local girls posed as NRI brides and married youths desirous of going abroad. He was produced in a local court which remanded him in police custody for one day.

Shiv Gemini, who also runs a studio in Jalandhar, was heckled by scores of onlookers present outside the court. He was whisked away by the police within a few minutes.

Mr J.S. Khaira, DSP, said the accused used to prepare forged documents in the shop of Shiv Gemini. These documents were used to dupe youths. Meanwhile, the police is on the lookout for the main accused, Keemti Lal, and his wife. The police is also on the lookout for six other girls recruited by the gang to pose as NRI brides. A local doctor has also been questioned in the case. The five accused arrested earlier, Mohinder Singh, his wife, Swaran Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Rittu and Renu, were remanded in police custody till November 14.


Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 12
The police has claimed to have busted a gang of robbers with the arrest of its five members.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, said today that Ramanand and Shiv Kumar, both residents of Machwara, near Khana, and Chandar Prakash, Mukesh Chander and Manish Kumar, residents of Doraha, in Jalandhar were planning a robbery in the forest area, near Behrampur Bet village. The police arrested all accused and seized .315-bore revolver and three rounds, sticks and rods. A case under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC Sections 25/54/59 of the Arma Act had been registered against the accused.

The SSP said the gang members were involved in a number of thefts and burgalaries in the state. Ramanand was the leader of the gang. The gang members after surveying the area used to strike at unprotected houses and shops. They used to break walls to enter into shops. the SSP added.


Girl crushed to death
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, November 12
A drive launched by the local Railway police — wherein two-wheelers trying to cross the level-crossings were to be challaned — fizzled out a tragedy occurred at one of the six level-crossings today.

Jasleen (17), a BA IInd year student of the local Mohindra College, was crushed under a train at the level-crossing No 21 in the city today when her foot got struck in the track while she was pushing her friend’s two-wheeler. According to eye witnesses the incident occurred at 2.30 p.m. when Jasleen was returning from the college.

On finding the level-crossing closed the girls tried to push the scooter across the lines. While Jasleen’s friend managed to get across along with the vehicle, Jasleen who was pushing the scooter from behind got trapped when her foot jammed in the railway track seconds before the Dadar Express crushed her. Jasleen who died on the spot was dragged for nearly 20 to 25 feet by the train before it came to a halt.

About a month ago the railway police had launched a drive to challan those crossings the level-crossings. However, things returned to normal after the scheme, which was launched following a complaint lodged by a social worker, Mr Prem Sharma, at the local railway police station as well at the subdivisional level in Ambala, petered out soon after its launch at level crossing No. 22.

The complaint had come in the wake of an incident which had caused a major scare in the city about three months ago when a railway engine had passed through without warning at an open level-crossing in the city. Citizens concerned have from time to time demanded steps to ensure public safety at the various crossings in the city. There has been a strong demand to put up a wire mesh or some other barrier below the bar at the level-crossing so as to prevent anyone from crossing to the other side of the track.

Meanwhile, gloom descended upon the Jasleen’s residence at Azad Nagar in the city. Youngest of three daughters of a retired government official Jasleen’s parents were inconsolable. Her father Kuldeep Singh Kohli and mother, Harwinder Kaur, implored the administration to take adequate steps to ascertain that the tragedy which had devastated the family would not befall on others in the future.


Three killed in bus mishap

Pathankot, November 12
At least three persons were killed and 30 injured when the driver of a private bus lost control over the vehicle today evening, near the Gharota road, about 15 km from here.

According to reports reaching here, the deceased have been identified as Pritam Singh and his wife Beant Kaur. One body has not been identified. The driver of the bus absconded after the accident.

The injured have been shifted to different hospitals in the area.

The police has registered a case in this connection.


Labourer crushed to death by tipper
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, November 12
Sonia Devi (25), a Bihari laborer was allegedly crushed to death by a tipper while working in Gulmohar Colony (Part-II) at Dhakaauli village, near here, this morning.

The tipper reportedly run over the woman while its driver was reversing the vehicle. She was residing with her husband, Mohinder Rai, in a jhugi nearby and was working here for the past couple of months.

A case under Section 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against Harjit Singh the tipper driver. The police has sent the body to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura for a post-mortem. The driver of the vehicle has been arrested and the tipper impounded.


20 hurt as bus, truck collide
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, November 12
Twenty persons were injured, some of them seriously, when a truck collided with a bus near here today.

While one of the injured Jagjit Singh, was referred to DMC, Ludhiana, two were referred to Civil Hospital, Bathinda. The rest were treated at a local hospital.

A tyre of the truck reportedly burst and the driver lost control, hitting the bus.


6 motor cycles recovered
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, November 12
The police has arrested three persons and recovered from them six motor cycles allegedly stolen by them.

Mr Swarndeep Singh DSP, Fazilka, said the accused were arrested at a naka near SD Senior Secondary School. Those arrested were identified as Kanshi Ram of Korianwali village and Swaran Singh and Lakhwinder Singh, residents of Odian village.

The accused have been booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.


Proclaimed offender surrenders
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 12
Proclaimed offender Harpal Singh, alias Happy, of Bhanna village, who remained on activist of the Khalistan Commando Force, surrenderd in the Garhdiwala police station yesterday. This was disclosed in a press note by Mr Lok Nath Angra, Senior Superintendent of Police, Hoshiarpur, here today.

Harpal Singh was a close associate of Iqbal Singh Bahga and Surinderjit Singh Malewal of the Khalistan Commando Force during terrorism period in Punjab, he said.

He, along with his accomplices had committed many murders in Tanda, Dasuya and Kartarpur police station areas. His accomplices had already been killed in various encounters, he added.


ITI employees lay siege to office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Joint Action Committee of Polytechnic and ITI Employees Association today laid siege to the office of the Department of Technical Education, Sector 36, and did not allow the meeting on the issue of privatisation of ITIs and polytechnics to be held.

The convener of the association, Mr Gurbakshish Singh, said a meeting of prospective bidders with the representatives of the government was scheduled for today on the issue of privatising 12 ITIs and five polytechnics in the state. However, representatives of the employees association, blocked the main gate, as a result of which the prospective bidders were forced to return.

Mr Gurbakshish in a statement said Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee and the Secretary, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, had assured them that they would not go ahead with the privatisation process of these technical institutions. But now with the government inviting tenders from the PIDB on November 3 it seems all is set to privatise these institutions.

The effigies of the officers concerned were also burnt during the rally. Leaders said the struggle launched against the government’s move to privatise the technical institutions would continue.

Meanwhile, Mr Roshan Sunkaria, Director of the Technical Education and Industrial Training Department confirmed that the meeting could not be held due to the dharna staged by the employees association.

It was a pre-bidders conference between the prospective bidders and the PIDB, which is the authorised agency to invite private public partnerships and give briefings, he added


Plan to promote English
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 12
Prof Darbari Lal, Minister for Education, Punjab, said yesterday that steps were being taken to improve the standard of education to bring it on a par with advanced countries.

Talking to newspersons here, the minister said memorandums of understanding were being signed between British Columbia, Canada, and universities of Punjab regarding exchange of students and sharing educational know-how. The issue was discussed by the Premier of British Columbia, Mr Gordon Campbell, during his meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh yesterday.

Proficiency in English would be promoted by focusing on vocabulary in the first and second classes in schools and then introducing regular textbooks in the third standard, said the minister. Students from the South fared well in the national and international job market due to their proficiency in English, while students from this region lagged behind in that regard, he pointed out.

He informed that Rs 210 crore would be spent this year on education, especially the Sarb Shiksha Abhiyan. The dropout rate, which was 32 per cent, would be checked, he said.

The minister was here as a chief guest at an inter-college declamation contest organised by the general categories federation and the local Lions Club at Guru Nanak College.


Protesting students to approach Sonia Gandhi
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 12
Students of the local Lyallpur Khalsa College for Women continue to tread the path of agitation as their strike against the alleged fee hike entered its third day today. The college management, however, seems to be in no mood to relent and accept their demands

Meanwhile, the students have decided to approach the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to get necessary directions issued to the local Congress MP and the president of the governing council, Mr Balbir Singh.

Hundreds of students today staged a dharna in front of the main gate of the college to protest against the alleged fee hike and the indifferent attitude of the college Principal towards their demands. They raised anti-management slogans and demanded that the fee hike ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per month should be withdrawn immediately.

Mr Balbir Singh refuted the allegations and said they were charging fee according to the prospectus issued by the management at the start of the session. “There is no truth in the story that fee hike was unilaterally announced by us midway through the session. Besides, we are in the process of conducting negotiations with the students to resolve the matter amicably,” he said, adding that some educational institutions of the city were instigating the students to resort to strike.


BBSBE college wins overall trophy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 12
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College, Fatehgarh Sahib, won the overall trophy at Punjab Technical University (PTU) zonal festival organised at Giani Dit Singh Auditorium of the college. Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology (SUSCE), Tangori (Mohali), was declared the runners up.

The Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemical, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, presided over the prize distribution function while the SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, was the chief guest. More than 300 students of various colleges participated in the festival.

Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, won this trophy for the second time in succession. Navtej Singh of the college with five gold medals in music category was adjudged best singer of the zone. The Bhangra contest was won by the college while Gian Jyoti Institute of Technology, Mohali, got the second prize. In one act play the host college’s play ‘Miti Rudan Karey’ was judged as the best play of the festival while the play of DIMT, Doraha, got the second prize. In clause making BBSBE College won the first position while Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering Tangori, bagged the second position. In mimicry this college bagged the first position while BBSBE College was declared second. In mine IET, Bhaddal, stood first while BBSBE College was declared second. In allocation BBSBE College bagged first and SUS, Tangori, got the second position. In debate SUS, Tangori, was adjudged first while PIMT, Mandi Gobindgarh, second. In group song BBSBE College was declared first. In light music (vocal) BBSBE College bagged first prize while Gian Jyoti, Mohali, stood second. In quiz contest SUS, Tangori, got first position while GGS, Kharar, stood second.

The results of various events were judged by music and theater experts like Mr B.S. Brar, Mr H.S. Dhillon, Mr N.S. Bawa, TV artist Ms Swita Tiwari. Addressing the gathering, Mr Dhindsa said Punjab being a border state had witnessed a number of wars and tragedies right from the time of Mughal but Punjabi culture was so rich that they forget all the hardships immediately and again start dancing to the beats of the drum. He appealed to students to participate in the cultural activities.

The SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said it was good that the PTU was promoting Punjabi culture by organising cultural festivals among engineering and management colleges of the state. He said students must adhere to rich Punjabi culture and shun the negative aspects of the western culture.

The college Principal Dr D.S. Hira, highlighted the achievements of the college. In his address he thanked the PTU for selecting the college for conducting the festival and various PTU sports competitions in the college.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, former chairman of Punsup, Mr Jaspal Singh, coordinator, cultural affairs, PTU, Prof Gurpal Singh, college coordinator of the festival, Prof Amritbir Singh, Mr I.P.S. Gill, Prof Gurneet Kaur Tiwana, Ms Jatinder Kaur, Prof B.S. Brar, Mr Randhiar Singh Cheema, former minister, Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, SAD working committee member, Mr Swarn Singh Chanarthal, SAD president, was also present.


Students demand fee refund
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 12
Members of the local branch of the Punjab Students Union (Randhawa) today said they would be compelled to agitate if the government failed to refund the excess fees charged.

In a statement issued here, the union said that despite three months having passed since the government rolled back the fee hike, the excess fees charged had not been refunded.

It pointed out that while the government had rolled back the hike in the state, it had soon after increased the fees in Punjabi University again.

The union members also condemned the recent attack on certain student leaders of Sahaeed Udham Singh Government College, Sunam.


PTU director held on bribe charge
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 12
The Vigilance Bureau sleuths today caught red-handed Director (Colleges) of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Dr Sadhu Singh, while he was accepting Rs 15,000 as bribe from the canteen contractor of the university for the clearance of latter’s dues.

Shiv Sharma of the local Nizatam Nagar and a private canteen contractor, in their complaint, alleged that Dr Sadhu Singh had demanded a bribe of Rs 20,000 to clear his dues to the tune of Rs 50,000. They said that though bills worth Rs 1.5 lakh were pending towards university as contract fee for providing catering facilities during the last counselling on the university premises in May, a sum of Rs 1 lakh was released by the authorities concerned after delaying the matter for long. When the contractor approached Dr Sadhu Singh to get his remaining payment of Rs 50,000 released, the latter reportedly demanded Rs 20,000 as bribe for the same. However, the deal was struck for an amount of Rs 15,000.

Acting on a complaint, Pushkar Sandal, DSP (Vigilance), along with the two witnesses caught Dr Sadhu Singh while taking the bribe at his residence in Dhogri village, near here.


Grewal is PTU Registrar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 12
Dr Manjit Singh Grewal has been appointed Registrar of Punjab Technical University replacing Mr S.K. Bhatia. In an press note issued here today, a PTU spokesman said Dr Grewal was a graduate from IIT, Kahragapur, and PhD (Engineering).


Bhagwant Mann to perform on Bal Divas
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 12
Bhagwant Mann, a renowned comedian, will regale the audience during the district-level Bal Divas celebration on November 14 at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, being organised by the District Red Cross Society, said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner. He said more than 10,000 children and students would participate.

Mr Ahluwalia said sports, cultural items, painting, rangoli, reciting of shabads, fancy dress, choreography, solo songs, and dances, bhangra, giddha and other competitions would be organised. The entry fee for these competitions would be Rs 10 only and it could be deposited in the Red Cross office at the district administrative complex.


PRTC revenue up, says Chairman
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 12
The revenue of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has gone up by Rs 340 crore from April to November 2003, compared to last year, despite having 66 buses less than last year. This was achieved through optimum utilisation of the existing resources, said Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, Chairman, PRTC, at a press conference here yesterday.

He favoured keeping major government transport undertakings in India out of the purview of disinvestment as there was a possibility of earning profits in this field, too.

The PRTC Chairman said that soon 100 new buses would be added to the fleet.

Mr Gupta said there was a need to revise bus fares by 10 paise per kilometre as for the past several years there had been no major revision.

In the wake of hike in staff salaries and diesel prices and uneconomical routes extended by the Punjab Government, the revision would be justified, Mr Gupta added.

Haryana had recently revised fares from 40 paise per kilometre to 45 paise.

The PRTC proposed to run air-conditioned buses from all district headquarters to Chandigarh. There was also a proposal to run air-conditioned buses from both Patiala and Ludhiana to New Delhi, he said.

The minister ordered on the spot a viability report on a Barnala-Rishikesh service.


Seminar on changing trends in insurance sector
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 12
A national seminar on the topic ‘Changing Trends in Insurance Sector’’ was organised by the department of Correspondence Courses, Punjabi University, Patiala, here today.

The seminar was sponsored by National Insurance Company Limited, the State Bank of Patiala and United India Insurance Company.

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, in his presidential remarks stressed on the need to sensatise people about health care as well as the need of insurance.

Speaking on the occasion Dr S.B. Singh, Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd , Chandigarh, said the General Insurance Industry was in transition phase from regulated market to open market due to the opening of this sector for private players. There was fierce competition in the market and in this scenario only fittest would survive. He expressed hope that competition would develop a better understanding of consumer requirements leading to more customised product for the market place.

The Assistant General Manager, State Bank of Patiala, Mr U.V. Ghore-pare, discussed various activities and schemes being launched by the banking industry to attract customers. Earlier, Dr Ritu Lehal, coordinator of the seminar, said insurance industry in any economy was regarded as a pillar of growth and works as catalyst for the overall development of the economy.

The Head of Correspondence Courses department of the university, Dr Bhupinder Singh Khaira, highlighted various activities and new courses being introduced by the department.

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