P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



28 cops reverted, 66 get notice
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
As many as 28 police officials, whose out-of-turn promotion in sports quota had generated a lot of controversy in the state, have been reverted to their original ranks. And show causes have been served upon 66 other such police officials for reversion. They are posted at various places in the state and most of them are originally from the Punjab Armed Police( PAP).

Informed sources told The Tribune today that the reversion of these officials had been ordered following the scrutiny of the official records of these persons. They were promoted on the basis of their “performance” in the various sports activities. However, officials concerned said that following scrutiny it was found that they were non- sportspersons and did not deserve to be promoted.

In all, 431 police officials were promoted in recent years on the “basis of their performance” in the sports. But on scrutiny, it was found that only 337 were the genuine sports persons while others had been promoted without adequate justification.

Now, the state government has decided to protect the interests of 337 sportspersons and they would not be reverted. But all others would be demoted to their original ranks, it is learnt. In their place, those who deserved to be promoted on the basis of their seniority, would be promoted, source said. Further scrutiny of the 337 police officials would also be made. And if any one of them was found non-sportspersons, he would also be demoted, the sources added.

But, the demotions are likely to generate further controversy in the police ranks. Recently, defending the promotions, a former DGP, Mr M.S. Bhullar, had stated that all those promoted were genuine sportspersons and no one was favoured. He had offered his services to get verified the performance of promoted officials. He had also offered to explain the promotions to the Punjab Council of Ministers, which was also seized of the matter. Mr Bhullar had stated that a few promotions were made in excess of the fixed quota. Such officials could be accommodated against the posts falling vacant in due course. The DGP had a fixed quota to order out-of-turn promotions and waive training etc.

It may be mentioned that 26 police officials, who were affected by such promotions, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


SGPC general election in May, 2004
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The long due elections to the general house of the SGPC are now scheduled for May 23, 2004, it is reliably learnt.

These elections were actually due in October 2001. But the elections could not be held either due to political exigencies during the Akali-BJP government or the unresolved issue of ‘’sehajdhari’’ Sikhs, if they should be allowed to vote or not. Even the voters’ lists were not ready, as dates for enrollment were repeatedly extended enabling voters to register themselves.

The Sikh Gurdwara Commission had several times written to the Union Home Ministry to announce dates for the SGPC elections, as a commitment had been given to the High Court that these would be held after every five years, as stipulated in the Act. Finally, the Union Ministry has sent a communication to the Commission giving the green signal for the holding of the elections, said sources.

There are 120 constituencies spread across Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh Union Territory. Out of these 50 are double-member constituencies, reserved either for a woman or a scheduled caste candidate. The distribution of constituencies is as follows: Punjab 110, Haryana 8, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh 1 each.

The general house comprises of 170 members. At least 15 more are coopted members. Besides there are six slots for the head priests, five of the Takhts and one of the Golden Temple.

A joint meeting of the officials of the states involved was held here on October 23 last and all election-related issues were discussed. All states agreed on May 23 as the date for polling taking into account the annual examination schedules and harvesting of wheat. The farmers would be comparatively free from farm chores.

As the ‘’sehajdhari’’ stand barred from voting, at least eight lakh of them will be out of the voters’ lists. That will leave the voters’ number at around 53 lakh. At present draft voters’ lists are on display inviting objections, if any. The final list of voters will be published on January 2, next.

The Centre has not permitted use of electronic voters machines for the polling.


Former SGPC secretary declared tankhaiya
Badal may be in the dock
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 19
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal may be in dock as the Sikh clergy today directed former SGPC secretary Kulwant Singh Randhawa to undergo ‘tankhah’ for any religious misconduct committed wittingly or unwittingly in the past.

Mr Randhawa had owned the responsibility for “misguiding Mr Badal” during stand-off between Mr Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then SGPC chief. Mr Randhawa had also confessed that it was he who had given some ‘loopholes’ in the SGPC Act which resulted in the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh and Mr Tohra as Jathedar Akal Takht and SGPC chief, respectively.

The pronouncement of ‘tankhah’ on Mr Randhawa assumes significance on the eve of annual election for the SGPC chief and other office-bearers, slated for tomorrow.

It is learnt that a relative of Mr Randhawa had filed another petition before the Sikh clergy to pronounce ‘tankhah’ on Mr Randhawa.

Mr Randhawa has been directed to recite Japuji Sahib daily and offer ‘parsad’ of Rs 100 at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht as a part of ‘religious tankhah’.

Significantly, jathedars of all five Takhts including Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh, Jathedar and Deputy Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, respectively, were present at the meeting.


Capt fails to attend Congress function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
For several Punjab ministers, party workers and mediapersons it was a wait in vain as the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, failed to turn up for the birth anniversary celebrations of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

After waiting for nearly two hours at the Punjab Congress Bhavan, Sector 15, they went back disappointed.

Mediapersons and photographers reached the venue hoping to get the Chief Minister’s reaction on the secret documents released by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, yesterday. The documents were to be a part of the challan to be filed against the Badals.

The Chief Minister was scheduled to arrive at 2.30 p.m. The mediapersons were then told that he would arrive at 4 p.m. as he had been delayed waiting for the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, who was coming from Bathinda. A little after 4 p.m., Capt Amarinder Singh’s security personnel and the Public Relations Officer left the venue. It was not explained why the Chief Minister had failed to come to the venue.

The Chief Minister, while talking to the TNS on telephone said he was scheduled to arrive at the function at 4 p.m. but was unable to do so as he had to rush to Delhi for an urgent meeting.

Capt Amarinder Singh also attributed the leakage of the secret documents by Mr Badal to the Vigilance Bureau and admitted that it was to be a part of the challan. Top functionaries of the bureau have been asked to fix responsibility and take strict disciplinary action against the guilty, he said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Congress President, Mr Hanspal, said Mr Badal and his family members cannot be absolved of the graft charges by making the document public.

Answering questions at the venue later in the evening, he reiterated that the Vigilance Bureau had already launched an inquiry to find out the person who had leaked the document to Mr Badal.

When asked how the leakage occurred as the Chief Minister had handpicked officers for investigating the case and preparing the challan, Mr Hanspal quipped, “Let the Vigilance complete the inquiry — stringent action would be taken for leakage of document.”


Indira Gandhi remembered
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, November 19
All officials and staff members of the Deputy Commissioner’s office took an oath to work towards national integration and unity and resolved to discharge their duties with sincerity.

The took the oath on the occasion of the birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which also marked the inauguration of National Integration Week being celebrated around the country from November 19 to November 25.

The DC, Mr Vikas Pratap, addressed the gathering.


Govt curtails number of juvenile boards
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, November 19
The Punjab Government has reconstituted the Juvenile Justice Boards in the state. Earlier one Juvenile Justice Board used to function for two districts. However, now only two Juvenile Justice Boards have been formed for the entire state.

As per the notification issued by the Principal Secretary (Women and Child Development) Punjab, on November 17 now just two boards at Faridkot and Ludhiana would deal with the juvenile cases.

The Juvenile Board of Faridkot, that would be headed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridkot, would cater to the cases from Amritsar, Bathinda, Ferozepore, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa, Faridkot and Sangrur districts. The other members of the Faridkot board would be Mr H.R. Bansal, advocate from Faridkot and Ms Nisha, wife of Mr Husan Lal, Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, Faridkot.

The Juvenile Board of Ludhiana would cater to the need of Fatehgarh, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Patiala, Ropar and Ludhiana districts. Its members besides the Chief Judicial Magistrate Ludhiana are Mr Sarwan Kumar, president of the Nishkam Sewa Ashram Ludhiana and Ms Ruby Fernandez, Principal, Ludhiana Public Senior Secondary School.

This move of the Punjab Government has, however, evoked criticism from the Bar Association Ropar. Mr J.P.S. Dher, president of the Ropar Bar Association, said that people would have to face unnecessary harassment due to this decision. The Ropar-based Juvenile Board used to cater to the Ropar and Hoshiarpur districts. However, now all litigants in juvenile cases would to travel to Ludhiana on each date of the case.

The government should review the decision keeping in consideration the problem likely to be faced by people, Mr Dher added.


DIG to take ex-parte decision on Daler’s charge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 19
Patiala Range Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota said today he would take an ex-parte decision on the complaint of Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi against former officers of the Patiala police, one of whom had been accused of demanding bribe of Rs 1.50 crore from him.

Daler Mehndi had charged former Patiala Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajinderpal Singh Anand with demanding bribe of Rs 1.50 crore for to ensuring that the singer’s name would not figure in the human trafficking case registered against his brother and a few others. Daler Mehndi had also mentioned the name of then Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal and Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh in the complaint.

The DIG when contacted, said he was holding an inquiry into the charges of bribery made by Daler Mehndi in his complaint. “If he does not want to pursue the matter I will have to take an ex-parte decision on the issue”, he said. Mr Sahota said there was no need to give further chance to Daler to give his statement on the charges of bribery or submit any proof as Daler himself seemed to be in hiding.

The police officer, however, clarified that he had not submitted any report to the Inspector-General of Police as mentioned in a section of the Press. He said no report, not even an interim one had been submitted to the IG in this regard. He said he would send his report in the case to the IG in a few days.

Earlier the DIG had given the singer at least three chances to appear in person and give proof regarding the allegations of bribery made by him against the police. Mr Sahota had even recorded the statement of DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand in the case and had said he would record statements of the other police officers mentioned in the case if needed.


Commission takes notice of report on Punjabi youths
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In less than 72 hours after a report was carried in these columns about 36 Punjabi youngsters languishing in Pakistani jails despite the completion of sentence, the Punjab State Women’s Commission today took suo motu cognizance of the report and asked the Punjab Chief Secretary to give details about the steps being taken to get them released from the prisons.

The report had stated that the youngsters had landed themselves in Pakistani jails following their failure to sneak into Europe through land and sea. They were, subsequently, convicted for entering Pakistan without proper travel documents. But despite the completion of sentence, their repatriation had been held up due to want of documentation from their home state.

Taking serious view of the report, Chairperson Surinder Kaur Grewal ruled: “A news item dated November 17 published in The Tribune revealed that 36 youths had landed themselves in jails in their pursuit to go abroad. They were tortured and kept in inhuman conditions. Though they had served their sentences in jails, they were still languishing there”.

The Chairperson further ruled: “The commission is inclined to take suo-motu cognizance of the news item. Accordingly, the order’s copy, along with a copy of the news item, would be sent to the Punjab Chief Secretary to apprise the commission about the steps the government of Punjab was taking to get the youths released from jails in Pakistan. The needful would be done within a month’s time”.

In her detailed order, the Chairperson held: “Several report have been appearing in the recent past wherein human trafficking rackets have come to light. The commission has examined the situation and is of the opinion that necessary measures must be taken by the government to check the gross abuse of not only human rights, but the basic rights enshrined in the Constitution of India”.

She further held: “Hundreds of mothers have lost their sons in their pursuit to go abroad. Employment opportunities being less, the youth search for greener pastures in foreign countries. The role played by travel agents in this illegal trade has to be examined in depth. These agents dupe people of several lakhs of rupees and, thereafter, run away with their money. The problem has reached a geometric proportion. The families, suffering irreparable loss, have no ray of hope”.

The directions are significant, several cases of human trafficking, some allegedly involving theatre and film artistes, even pop stars, had recently surfaced. Earlier also in 1996 the nation woke up from slumber only to be told that a tragedy had occurred on the shores of Malta. About 290 innocents had lost their lives in a ship wreck.

It may be recalled that a complaint filed by social activist Charanjit Singh Bakhshi in the matter is already pending before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. The activist has sought directions to the state and other respondents to issue identity cards after registering all the travel agents to enable the police to nab them if they dupe innocents.


Youth Akali Dal seeks CM’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 19
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, President, All-India Youth Akali Dal (Badal) said today that Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should either get charges of disproportionate assets owned by former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal and his family members probed or quit as Chief Minister.

Mr Dhillon, was here to mobilise of workers for December 8 Chetna rally at Ludhiana, told reporters at Goniana and Bathinda that on December 8, Youth Akali Dal workers would pledge to launch a struggle against anti-people policies of the Congress government in Punjab.

He said that Vigilance Bureau allegations against Mr Badal were false and the agency was defaming Mr Badal under pressure from the Chief Minister.

He said that there was no controversy regarding the appointment of two presidents of district units of Youth Akali Dal (Badal) urban and rural respectively.

The youth’s meetings were organised by Mr Ajay Mittal, President Youth Akali Dal, Bathinda (Urban) and Mr Bhola Singh Gillpatti, President, Youth Akali Dal, Bathinda (Rural) in this district. Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, MLA, Joga, former Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Mr Rajan Garg, General Secretary, All-India Youth Akali Dal and former MLAs were present in the meetings.


Village given facelift for marriage of MLA’s daughter
Tribune News Service

Jassi Baghwali (Bathinda), November 19
This “not so developed” village of the Chairman of Markfed Punjab, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi in Bathinda district today wore a new look with clean and freshly carpeted roads and painted buildings which a few days ago were not so.

For the past 10 days, various state government agencies, villagers and followers of a religious sect put in their best round the clock to give the village a facelift. The pot-holed village roads were re-carpeted. State government buildings were repainted. The local stadium was cleaned and painted red. Officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) with unusual efficiency changed power transmission lines to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the village.

This sudden and unprecedented activity witnessed by this village in the past few days was because Mr Jassi was to hold reception today following the marriage of his daughter with the son of Sant Ram Rahim Gurmit Singh, Head of Sacha Sauda dera of Sirsa.

The district administration denied that government men and machinery were pressed into service and special funds allocated for any private work in this village. But the marriage of the son and the daughter of religious and political trader respectively, appears to he a blessing in disguise for historical Jassi Baghwali village as it got a facelift to improve its appearance for the reception hosted by Mr Jassi today.

Certain villagers told The Tribune that no doubt that some roads of the village had been re-carpeted and government buildings including school had been repainted to give facelift to the village on the occasion of the marriage of Mr Jassi’s daughter, there was nothing wrong in it as every one always gave facelift to his house, locality or the colony in which he lived when a function pertaining to the marriage of his son or daughter was held.

Mr Harpal Singh, a panchayat member of the village said that development work, going on in this village, was being done with the help of Panchayat funds, which were being spent according to the norms.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, when asked about the use of government men and machinery for the facelift of Jassi Baghwali village on the occasion of marriage of Mr Jassi’s daughter, he said that development works, for which the state government had sanctioned fund from the Planning Board funds were already going on in many villages including this village. He added that no agency of the government had done anything special for the marriage of Mr Jassi’s daughter and only the pace of development work was speeded up.


Chunni Kalan to be made model village
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 19
Residents of Chunni Kalan and Chunni Khurd in the district have come farward for the development of their villages as the owners of 44 kiosks set up on the panchayat land have given their consent to remove the kiosks for constructing shops. The other panchayats should also follow the example and rise above petty politics for the development of their areas, said Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, while addressing a gathering at Chunni Kalan town.

He was here to preside over a meeting of district officials called to initiate various developmental projects at the cost of Rs 2 crore under the CRDP scheme. The first installment of Rs 35 lakh has been released for the projects.

The removing of the kiosks has been made possible due to the efforts of Mr Bir Devinder Singh and all shopkeepers have given in writing to him today.

The Deputy Speaker told The Tribune that Chunni Kalan would be developed as a model village under the Adarsh Gram Scheme of the government. All urban facilities would be provided in the village. He said under the Revenue Earning Scheme (RES), 44 shops would be constructed on the panchayat land and these shops would be given on rent and on the roof of these shops a building would be constructed, which would be given on rent to some bank or other government offices. By this the panchayat would have regular income. He said besides this, the projects of the duck weed technology for village pond, solar lights, sanitation and disposal of sewerage water scheme, drinking water, upgradation of school, new streets and roads were being started.

He said Kajal Majra and Mulanpur village would be covered under the Nabard rural water supply scheme and thus the villages like Kotla Bhai Ka, Saddo Majra and Anait Pura would also be benefited.

He said at Landran village a new 220kv grid was being set up, which would solve all electricity problems of the residents of the area and the residents would get 24-hour uninterrupted power supply.

Later, addressing the officials, he directed them to redress the grievances of the public on priority basis and not to indulge in corrupt practices. He warned the officials that if any one was found violating the government directions he would not be spared.

Earlier, he inaugurated Deep Resort at Chunni Kalan.


Punjab Cooperative Act to be amended, says minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Cooperative banks that played a crucial role in the green and white revolutions, are today passing through a critical phase. Though they have cut down the interest rate from 14.5 per cent to 13 per cent for farmers, they are unable to match the interest rate of commercial banks, Mr Lal Singh, Finance and Cooperation Minister Punjab, said here today.

Speaking at a function organised at the Regional Institute of Cooperative Management to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cooperative movement, he said, “We are making efforts to further cut down the interest rates in the cooperative banks but it would not be possible for cooperative societies to match the reduced rate of commercial banks due to higher costs.”

He said Nabard had agreed to restructure high-cost loans worth Rs 1200 crore at a lower interest rate that would result in saving of Rs 48 crore annually. He claimed that state government would amend the State Cooperative Act in the coming session of the state Assembly to make the cooperative societies autonomous.

Appreciating the contribution of the cooperative movement in the development of economy, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Minister for Cooperatives, Himachal Pradesh, said, “In Himachal alone, 4,280 cooperative societies were functioning and had given employment to 12.56 lakh persons. Till now they were concentrating on credit, production and procurement business, but efforts would be made to start cooperative societies for the service sector as well, including the education and health sectors. “

He said due to the dominance of the bureaucracy and politicisation of the cooperative sector, their potential was not being fully realised. Himachal State Cooperative bank had advanced just Rs 26 crore to the cooperative societies out of a total of Rs 217 crore advances, he said. Similarly, Kangra Cooperative Bank had just advanced about 5 per cent to the cooperative societies out of the Rs 141 crore advances.

Mr Kumar said the state government would also amend the State Cooperative Act on the pattern of the Punjab Act that would be amended soon, to empower the cooperative societies.

Mr N. Pasricha, Regional Director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, and Mr Bhagwati Parsad, Director-General, National Council for Cooperative Training, New Delhi, also spoke on the occasion.


Pak quawwals take Patiala by storm
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, November 19
Whenever Sufi mysticism combines with soul-stirring music, the end result is always the same — sheer divine magic. Javed Bashir Khan, noted Pakistani quawwal, and his troupe recreated this magic at a quawwali night organised in the State languages Department before a jam-packed hall yesterday.

The troupe is here to provide music for the play ‘Bullhe Shah’ which will be performed here by the Pakistani theatre group ‘Ajoke’, which has come to India on a mission of peace and goodwill. As is evident from the title, the play required singers of repute to communicate successfully to the audience the Sufi spirit in the form of ‘Qafis’ and ‘Quawwalis’.

Javed Bashir Khan is accompanied by his three brothers — Amir Ali, Akbar Ali and Asif Ali — who all share a rich musical lineage which can be traced back to Jalandhar. Both their maternal and paternal grandfathers, famous ‘quawwals’ of their times who sang together and were popularly known as Fajju and Gajju belong to Nalan village near Jalandhar.

Javed who is the lead singer of the troupe, while tracing the family's past narrated an interesting anecdote to this correspondent. Undivided Punjab’s melody queen ‘mallika-e tarranum’ Noorjehan after listening to the pair once remarked ‘Fajju shah, tuhade ta gadole vi gaande ne’ (Such is your talent, Fajju shah, that even the mattresses on which you sit are musical).

The tradition was continued by Javed’s father Bashir Ahmad after the country's partition, albeit in Pakistan.

“Given a choice, I would only sing in the classical tradition. However the musical clime dominating present-day society does not permit me to do that” states Javed. “If youngsters here are not particularly fond of traditional or classical music, things are no better in Pakistan either”. He adds “I have to revert to singing popular music in order to survive in the music industry”.

The group started their rendition with a “Qyal - Heri, Main Kaise man Bhaoon” in Raag Bhageshwari followed by “Ghar aaja nahin o dil lagda Mera, Kiven Mukhare to nazara hatawan”.

The latter has been lately used by Bally Sagoo in his new album and has attained immense popularity all over the subcontinent.

The group also presented two quawwalis based upon Sufi Baba Bullhe Shah’s qalams which virtually transported the audience into a trance, namely ‘Mera Piya ghar aaya’ and ‘cheti bori ve tabiba nahin ta main mar gaye ya’.

The magic of the evening continued with every fresh rendition and the quawwals had to finally beg the audience for a break. The singers are accompanied on the tabla by Kavir Khan and on the harmonium by Amanat Ali.

The artistes were later honoured by Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, chairman, PRTC, Mr M.L. Hasija, Director, State Languages Department, and Mr J.S. Dardi, member of the Press Council of India, besides others.


Demolition drive abandoned
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 19
The local municipal council today abandoned midway an anti-encroachment action after pulling down part of a lintel of a structure which was coming up on municipal land along the Old Railway Road.

The anti-encroachment drive continued for over three hours in the presence of the Executive Magistrate, Mr Vijay Sharma, the EO, Nagar Council, Mr Jagir Singh Thind, and a heavy police force.

The unauthorised construction was going on a piece of land known as Rikhi da Talab, situated behind a market, comprising about 60 shops, allegedly also constructed illegally by an industrialist.

The demolition, however, was stopped midway when one of the persons behind the construction handed over his cellphone to the EO, Nagar Council, in the presence of mediapersons, saying the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, wanted to speak to him.

The EO took the phone and moved away to a side. After receiving the call, he ordered the ongoing demolition to be stopped. When questioned by newspersons, the EO asserted that the demolition had been stopped because the task had been completed and not because of any call. However, he also cited a fault in the machine engaged in the demolition as one of the causes of stopping the work.

Today’s demolition was initiated following a report of the local SDM, Mr Pritam Singh, to the Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma.


Rally to create awareness about pollution
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 19
MP Parneet Kaur today flagged off a rally from the Baradari Gardens, organised to mark the National Environment Awareness Month being organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

Students from various government and non-government schools of the city participated in the rally.

Speaking on the occasion MP Parneet Kaur enlightened the school kids regarding environmental pollution due to plastics, solid waste, biomedical waste and also highlighted the need for proper management and disposal of waste products.

She further added that Baradari Garden and various municipal parks of the city would be further improved and developed. The chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board Rana K.P. Singh urged students to contribute in keeping the city clean and green.

Municipal Corporation Mayor Vishnu Sharma, Chairman, PRTC Ved Parkash Gupta, Chairman, Improvement Trust K.K. Sharma and Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh were also present on the occasion.


Panel inspects facilities at dairy complex
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 19
A five member committee headed by Principal Secretary, PWD (B&R) R.S. Sandhu today inspected facilities at dairy complex, set up by the Municipal Corporation at Jamsher village near here six years back.

The committee was constituted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to look into the grievances of the dairy owners, who in a petition, had alleged that they were being forced to shift dairies to the complex where there were no facilities.

The team reached the city today morning. Dairy owners presented their case before the committee. It was decided to set up a provisional milk collection centre for 90 days to assess quantity of milk per day. In case, there was less collection of milk the Doaba Milk Plant here would continue to collect milk from individual dairy owners through mobile vans.

The PUDA authorities assured dairy owners that work on Rs 35 lakh veterinary hospital would start by next week. Roads would be constructed within six months. The case of waiver of penal interest on instalments was already sent to the government for approval on September 23, 2002.


Molestation case: doctor writes to CJ
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 19
A woman dental surgeon of Primary Health Centre Kasel village, who was allegedly molested by a Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Dr Ramesh Choudhry of same centre along with Kulwant Singh on October 30, has written to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to take an ‘appropriate’ against the accused doctor.

In the letter which was issued to the press here today she also urged the Chief Justice to take action against the CMO also who, instead of taking any action against the erring doctor, had threatened her of dire consequences if she did not withdraw the case.

The woman doctor, in an application attached with an affidavit, alleged that the CMO was threatening her and forcing her to withdraw the case which was registered at Sarai Amanat Khan police station under Sections 452, 186, 187, 224, 353, 354, 506 and 120-B of the IPC against the erring doctor. She also alleged that the police was not arresting the accused persons.


Driving in reverse for 12,000 km
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 19
Mr Harpreet Pappu, a resident of the city, today enthralled the crowd by driving a car in reverse gear at considerable speed.

While talking to the mediapersons after his demonstration, Mr Pappu said that he had started driving the car in reverse as a hobby and had covered more than 12,000 km. He said now he could drive the car in reverse gear at speed greater than 100 km per hour.

He said that he wanted to drive his car in reverse to Pakistan on a “shanti mission”. He said that it was dangerous driving in reverse but, he exercised great caution. He urged the spectators not to try the same.


Punjab gears up for pulse polio drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, today reiterated the stand of the government in eradicating polio from the state, which is also the target for this year’s pulse polio campaign. He was addressing a state-level workshop, organised to evolve a strategy for the forthcoming pulse polio campaigns to be held on January 4 and February 22.

Mr Dogra disclosed that the state was close to achieving the polio free status as only one positive case had been reported in the state during the current year. This case is also from a migrant family and not from a local Punjabi resident.

Mr D.S. Guru, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, said nearly 37 lakh children would be administered polio drops for which 16,000 camps would be organised throughout the state. A social mobilisation campaign would be started from December 10 for involving the community at large.


Clergy objects to Collector’s action
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 19
The Sikh clergy today took serious view of the expulsion of the SGPC-nominated superintendent, Mr Gurbachan Singh Chand, from an administrative committee of Takht Hazoor Sahib by the District Collector concerned.

The High priests warned that the Panth would not tolerate the interference of Maharashtra’s Congress government in Sikh religious affairs. They said the government should amend the Act so that collectors could be debarred from attending or presiding over the meetings of Takht Hazoor Sahib and Takht Patna Sahib.

The meeting was also attended by the jathedars and deputy jathedars of Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib.


Film team at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar November 19
After UK-Indian in ‘Bend it like beckham’ a Canadian Punjabi team-is making a bilingual film “ Aasa Nu Maan Watnaa Da”.

The 40-member crew, including 25 actors, paid obeisance at the Golden Temple here yesterday.

The Rs-5 crore film titled “Back to India”.

Harbhajan Mann in the lead the other Neeru Bhardwaj (Kiran of ‘Astitva’ serial) and Kimi Verma, and Kawaljit Singh (Saans’ serial), Navneet Grewal (‘Tara’ serial). Directed by Manmohan Singh, the film is slated for March release. The film focuses on live-in relationships among Indians and jilted brides from India in foreign lands.


Beopar mandal urges IMA to aid admn

Bathinda, November 19
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal and Bathinda Beopar Mandal today appealed the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bathinda to cooperate with the district administration in its crusade against female foeticide.

In a joint press note issued here today, Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal and Mr Kasturi Lal Aggarwal, president, Bathinda Beopar Mandal said that IMA’s agitation against the crusade by the district administration had lost its moral grounds as it had boycotted a meeting convened on female foeticide by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, yesterday.

They alleged that by boycotting the meeting the IMA had shown its dubious stand on the issue. They said earlier also IMA had expressed concern over the falling female sex ratio in this district but had opposed action initiated against some of the doctors for their alleged involvement in facilitating female foeticide on technical grounds.


Children’s film festival in Jan
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 19
A children film festival will be organised in Patiala district from January 5 to 9 next year. During this festival, educational and entertainment films will be screened for schoolchildren of Patiala, Nabha, Raipura and Dera Bassi.

Employees and owners of cinema halls said the shows would be organised for school children free of cost and instead of tickets, tokens would be given to students.


High Court
Sehajdhari Sikhs challenge notification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Acting on a petition filed in public interest by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation challenging a notification issued by the Union of India whereby the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs had been taken away, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab, the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and other respondents for December 10.

In its petition, the federation, through national President Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu of Raikot, had earlier contended that Sehajdhari Sikhs, constituting the majority of Sikh population, had been exercising their franchise in a peaceful and democratic manner for the past 59 years. But their rights were curtailed vide notification dated October 8.

Arguing before the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, counsel asserted that the Union of India had no legal or legislative competence to issue the notification by amending the Sikh Gurdwara Act — which was a Central Act. He added that the Sehajdhari Sikhs had been disfranchised without being given an opportunity of hearing.

Bail refused

Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the High Court on Wednesday dismissed a bail petition filed by a juvenile accused of being involved in a murder case.

The juvenile was booked by the police under Sections 392, 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code after a case was registered on July 18 at Bahadurgarh police station on July 18. According to the prosecution, a witness had made a disclosure statement claiming that the murder of one Narinder Kumar was committed by the petitioner, along with another accused.



PUDA ordered to pay interest on earnest money
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 19
The Ropar district consumer forum has directed PUDA to pay interest on the amount the client deposited in case of non allotment of plot. In a complaint to the forum Mrs Asha Rani Bansal, Chandigarh alleged that PUDA invited applications in January 2002 for the allotment of 318 residential plots in SAS Nagar. She applied for 500 square yard plot and deposited Rs 2.75 lakh as earnest money. The draw for the allotment of plots was held by PUDA on May 15, 2002.

On September 29, 2002 the Rs 2.75 lakh deposited by the complainant were received by cheque. The complainant alleged that she had raised bank loan to deposit the earnest money for the plot. However, the PUDA kept the amount without holding the draw. The earnest money deposited was returned by PUDA without interest while she had to pay the interest on the loan raised from the bank.

She demanded 18 per cent interest on the earnest amount and compensation of Rs 25000 for the harassment.

The PUDA officials maintained that the draw of the 500 square yard plots was withdrawn by the organisation and she was not entitled to interest on earnest money.

The forum comprising president J.P. Gupta and member S.K. Bhatia, held the PUDA authorities guilty of dereliction in duty and directed to pay an interest of Rs 14912 on the earnest money besides the litigation cost of Rs 2500.



Former SHO jailed for 4 years

Moga (Punjab), November 19
A court here has sentenced a former Station House Officer (SHO) to four years rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case.

Additional Sessions Judge J.S. Chawla also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Rashpal Singh, former SHO Nihal Singhwala, while sentencing him on Monday for misappropriating money confiscated in a raid.

According to the prosecution, Rashpal Singh and his team, on March 11, 1993, raided the house of two suspected militants -Swaran Singh and Major Singh- at Pathankot.

As nobody was present in the house, the cops broke open the lock of an almirah and recovered USA $ 1.25 lakh. However, the SHO deposited only $40,000. — PTI


3 youths held on kidnap charge

Moga, November 19
The Punjab police today arrested three youths allegedly for kidnapping, confining and threatening a travel agent.

Amit Mittal, a travel agent, alleged that on November 16 and 17 night six persons entered his house and forced him into a waiting vehicle along with his bag containing his passport and cheque book.

Mr Mittal was taken to Ludhiana where he was allegedly assaulted and forced to sign stamp papers and cheques.

A police party left for Ludhiana along with Mittal and his father after the victim filed an FIR on November 18 and nabbed the three youths identified as Naresh Kumar, Sarbjit Singh and Sanjeev Kumar.

The other three are absconding, the police said.

According to the police, Mr Mittal allegedly had taken Rs 1.5 lakh from these youths one and half years back for sending them to Malaysia. Instead, the youths were sent to Thailand on a tourist visa.

After spending two months there, they returned and demanded their money back which Mr Mittal refused. — PTI


Fake currency racket busted
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, November 19
The police has busted a gang involved in printing of fake currency.

According to Mr H.S. Chahal, SSP, five persons have been arrested and fake currency worth Rs 47,200 has been seized along with a computer and other peripherals used in the racket.

Mr Chahal said at a press briefing today that a team led by DSP Avtar Singh had learnt that Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Jalalabad, was supplying fake currency notes around Rukna Begu and Noopur Sethan villages. The police cordoned off the area and apprehended Ravinder Kumar along with fake currency worth Rs 20,000.

During investigation by the CIA, Ravinder gave information of his accomplices, which led to their arrest.

Those arrested included Sucha Singh of Jalalabad, Sher Singh of Baminiwala village, Pankaj Kumar of Muktsar and Gurjant Singh of Bathinda.

All those arrested were part of the same gang and were operating for the past 6 months.

A case was registered at Sadar police station yesterday.


DAV Institute of Engg wins trophy
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
The DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology (DAVIET) here won trophy after winning the over-all championship during the PTU Inter-zonal cultural festival held and concluded at the BBSCET, Fatehgarh Sahib on Tuesday.

The Punjab College of Technical Education Ludhiana won the runners-up trophy in competition in which 22 teams from all over the state participated.

In a press note issued here today, Mr C.L. Kochher, the Director-cum- Principal of the DAVIET, said his institute won first positions in seven events including Western Group Song, Rangoli, Cartooning, Poster Making, Collage, Elocution, Classical (Instrument-percussion) and finished as runners up in seven other events. He received the winners trophy from the Punjab Technical University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Y.S. Rajan.

Addressing the valedictory function, Dr. Y. S. Rajan said Punjabis had immense talent, but they were not aware of their potential. It was like sitting on a goldmine without not knowing about it.


Students damage bus
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 19
Protesting against the death of a Jagraon student by a bus, students of the local Government College today damaged a private bus by throwing stones at it near Gurdwara Haa Da Naarah here.

The police has registered a case against Harbans Singh and 14 other students under various sections of the IPC in this regard. The bus was on its way to Ludhiana from Malerkotla. The case was registered by the police on the complaint of Mr Ranjit Singh, driver of the bus.


Industrialists organise dharna on house tax issue
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 19
Industrialists of the Focal Point Industries Association, Patiala, organised a dharna in protest against the “nonchalant attitude” of the PSIEC towards the needs of factory owners here today.

Speaking on the occasion, the president of the association, Mr Paramjit Singh, and the general secretary, Mr J.S. Malhi, elaborated the problems being faced by the factory owners of Focal Point, Patiala. The association demanded that Focal Point should be transferred from the PSIEC to the Municipal Corporation.

The members of the association said due to the long pending transfer of the area, factory owners had been burdened with house tax and octroi by the Municipal Corporation and were likely to be burdened by development tax by PSIEC without getting any infrastructural facilities from both the organisations.

The members of the association further alleged that receipts before due date of water bills were given even after the due date has elapsed. They further alleged that the last date of water receipts were kept open and money was collected from those factory owner who had not paid their water bills on the due date by going personally to their factories and collecting money with taking 50 per cent of penalty from them and pocketing it. The receipts given to them were of the last due date without no penalty imposed on them.

The members of the association urged the authorities concerned to take action against such officials.

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