P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Hundreds of SAD workers booked by Ropar police
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 1
Just hours after the SAD workers dispersed after Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal were sent to judicial custody, the Ropar police has booked hundreds for violating Section 144 and causing inconvenience to general public by blocking traffic at Bhatha Sahib gurdwara crossing, new bridge over the Sirhind canal and near Water Lily restaurant areas of the Ropar town.

Those against whom cases have been registered include prominent SAD leaders Ranjit Singh Barhampura, Rajbir Singh Padiala, Balbir Singh Lopokae, Dhian Singh Kaulia, Jatinder Singh Lali Bajwa and Gurcharan Singh Grewal. Besides hundreds of unidentified SAD workers have also been booked. A case under Sections 307, 353, 186, 332, 506, 356, 148 and 149 has been registered against them.

Sources said the police was in the process of identifying the SAD leaders who participated in traffic blockades from the video clipping got recorded today by the police.


No Akali stir to be allowed: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said, ‘’My job has ended with the court remanding Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh, to judicial custody. And the government will not allow any agitation by the Akalis on this issue as the issue involved is purely of corruption and not of common cause.’’

Addressing a press conference, he said the Patiala administration had been asked to extend all respect due to a former Chief Minister and his Member of Parliament son and provide them with requisite facilities, while in the central jail. Their remand is till December 13, while hearing on their bail applications is on December 3.

On Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, he said his instructions to the vigilance were clear: not to seek either judicial or police remand for her. ‘’I do not want any harassment of the ladies. Of course, she will have to face all charges against her, as she was either director or on the board of directors of some eight or nine companies’’.

Capt Amarinder Singh said with the court sending the Badals to jail, his government had fulfilled a major promise made during the last assembly elections. ‘’Since Mr Badal symbolised corruption, my objective was to eradicate the same. Therefore, with the former Chief Minister in jail, a correct message has now gone down the line in the government and across to the people that the anti-corruption campaign will go on and also, if Mr Badal can be behind bars, others better watch out’’.

He said the primary responsibility of his government was to give to the people transparent, honest governance, catch the corrupt and take them to the court. ‘’This has been done in the case of the Badals and nine of his former ministerial colleagues, who are now on bail’’.

The Chief Minister said his government would firmly deal with any agitation that the Akalis may plan on this issue. He appealed to the people to see the Akalis’ game plan and oppose any agitation by them. No one will be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere or create a problem of law and order’’, he added.

Referring to today’s so-called show of strength by the Akalis at the behest of the Badals, the Chief Minister said there were not many of them. The police rounded up at least 1,600 of them under CrPC 107/51 and remanded them to custody till December 5. When the protesters tried to breakthrough police barricades at some places, there were scuffles and stone-throwing by the Akalis, which led to injuring of one inspector, one head constable and two constables, besides, some Akalis. At least two MLAs were also hurt, Mr Balbir Singh Miani and Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, while a former minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langha, was booked under Section 181, CrPC.

Capt Amarinder Singh when asked about a dissidence group in the Congress party said, ‘’First you report and then you want me to comment. There is absolutely no dissidence. I do not see any’’.

To another question that the Badals have alleged that the vigilance cases were being pursued against them at the behest of the party President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Chief Minister said he had earlier also clarified that ‘’she does not interfere in such matters and has not done so at any stage of investigation by the vigilance.

On the issue of Cabinet expansion, he said once Ms Sonia Gandhi was free from the elections, he would consult her on this issue.

He also said that the government had earmarked Rs 25 lakh for the two special or fast-track courts that have been sanctioned for Punjab.


Badal housed in MP ‘hataa’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1
The M.P. ‘hataa’ (MP enclosure) is the new calling address for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the Central Jail Complex here. The SAD President’s son Sukhbir Singh Badal has been allocated a barrack in the Jaura Chakki area in the jail complex, a far cry from the VIP barrack allocated to his father.

The ‘hataa’ had earlier been occupied by former Prime Minister Chander Shekhar during Emergency. The barrack, which is quite close to the main gate, was easily accessible from the main gate and was isolated from the other barracks.

Jail sources said the ‘hataa’ was a very spacious room which was being spruced for quite some time. They said the room had been cleaned and whitewashed some time back. The sources said a double bed had been placed in the room which was also carpeted. The room also has a table and chair. The room had an attached bathroom whose geyser did not function. However, the jail authorities were set to get this replaced and Mr Badal would be given hot water for bathing till this was not done.

The sources said Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal would, however, have to settle for less austere quarters with the Jaura Chakki barrack lacking VIP facilities. The sources said ‘B’ class facilities would be made available to Badal junior.

The sources said Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) had inspected the room in which the SAD President was to be housed before his arrival in the jail complex. The jail staff said around a fortnight back also the barrack had been inspected by senior officials of the administration and it could have been for this purpose only.

They said with the incarceration of the Badals in the Central Jail security arrangements had been further tightened in the jail complex, adding special care was also being made to ensure the isolation of the Badal duo from the other prisoners in the jail. Special Watch and Ward staff has been put on duty for this purpose, the sources added.

Meanwhile, sources said that even though Akali leaders, including SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, offered to provide beddings for Mr Badal and his son, the jail authorities refused the request. Mr Tohra said he had asked the jail Superintendent to allow provision of blankets and bed sheets to both the inmates but the request was not allowed. He said the jail staff had assured him that they would provide adequate beddings to the Badal duo, adding he would have been more satisfied if the request had been allowed.

The entry of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir posed another problem for the jail authorities. Thirty Akali workers who had been arrested from Ropar and Amloh and had been bought to the Central jail, started sloganeering in his support. The jail authorities tackled this problem by despatching all Akali workers to the Maximum Security Nabha Jail, around 25 km from here.

Earlier today Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir today entered the Central Jail here by bowing down to get into the jail complex with the jail authorities making them enter the jail through the inbuilt small door in the main door instead of opening the main gate for them.

It was foe-turned-friend Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee president Gurcharan Singh Tohra who helped Badal senior stomach the insult by going through the small gate first. Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir followed him through.

After entering the jail complex Badal senior appeared to be in a bit of a pensive mood and preferred not to talk to the press. However, his son, Sukhbir, was more aggressive. “We respect the judiciary and have come to see where we will put the Raja when our time comes,” he claimed. Sukhbir also followed up the dialogue with an expletive aimed at Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The SGPC chief remained with Badal and his son for more than one hour. Talking to TNS he said the next course of action of the party would be decided at a meeting of its Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) which would meet at Chandigarh tomorrow.

Mr Tohra claimed that the party would take directions from the SAD President from the jail itself.

When asked how he had changed his stance on the alleged corruption by the Badal family, he was stumped for an answer. He, however, condemned the cane charge on Akali workers at Ropar alleging it was for the first time that a senior police officer (DIG Chattopadhay) had led a cane charge against peaceful protesters.

Earlier, Akali activists led by former minister and at present SGPC general secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta and former minister Harmail Singh Tohra stopped Mr Badal cavalcade near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib in the city. Mr Badal came from Ropar in his official car with Mr Tohra sitting with him in the back seat and Sukhbir Singh Badal sitting in the front seat. Akali workers raised slogans against the state government.


Call for akhand paths for Badal
Tribune News Service

The police stops Akali workers from breaking a naka at Kurali on the Kharar-Ropar road
The police stops Akali workers from breaking a naka at Kurali on the Kharar-Ropar road. — A Tribune photograph

Ropar, December 1
Senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal have given a statewide call for organising akhand paths in gurdwaras for the health, strength and long life of Mr Parkash Singh Badal while he is lodged in the Patiala jail.

Stating that their next action would depend on what the party high command decided, former Akali ministers said today’s show of solidarity by Akali workers in Ropar had put all speculations about Mr Badal being left alone by his own men to rest and Mr Badal had emerged as the undisputed leader of the party.

Demonstrating unstinted support for their leader, senior Akali leaders managed to reach Ropar, despite heavy police obstructions. Mr Sucha Singh Langah said Mr Badal had today scored a victory over his arch rival Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh with a massive show of solidarity by the rank and file of the SAD during his personal appearance at the district courts here.

Former ministers and party office-bearers from all parts of the state reached Ropar, many of whom had to face the police wrath on their way here. While some of these leaders waited outside the courts, many of those who were stopped at the Bhatta Sahib Gurdwara, camped inside waiting for news to arrive from the court.

Stating that the Congress government had “murdered” democracy in the state by cracking down on Akali workers through the police, the Akalis alleged that the police had unscrupulously lathicharged them and showered blows on women and old men. “Thousands of Akalis have been picked up by the police today and hundreds were lathicharged all over the state. The Chief Minister has converted political opposition into personal opposition and the whole Punjab is suffering due to this,” said Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra.

Giving a list of all those who were hurt in the clashes with the police during their bid to reach the courts at Ropar, party office-bearers said Ajit Singh Kohar, MLA, Lohian, and former minister, had been hit on the head and received stitches. Another worker, Gurnam Singh, had been hit and fractured his knee while Mr Bakshish Singh Dhaliwal, SGPC member from Dera Baba Nanak, was hit in the eyes. Many of those inside the gurdwara showed their injuries relating stories of how the police had mercilessly lathicharged them.

Another former minister, Bibi Satwant Kaur Dhaliwal, told The Tribune that even women had not been spared by the police and the Congress government had misused its power to stop the Akalis from reaching Ropar. “But the overwhelming majority of supporters that still managed to reach here shows that Mr Badal is still the leader of the masses in Punjab,” she added.

Special arrangements had been made at the gurdwara to house the Akalis. Langar for over a thousand persons had been cooked and since a majority of the supporters had been camping all night at the gurdwara, sleeping arrangements were in place.

Following a massive lathicharge outside the gurdwara on the main road leading to Ropar, the gurdwara was heavily guarded. A senior police officer who was on duty with his force at the gurdwara said they were ready for any possibility and would not be allowing any of the men inside the gurdwara to enter the area near the Ropar bus stand leading to the court.

“We had to resort to lathicharge as the Akalis were hitting our men with large stones. We have video films to show that the police took resorted to lathicharge after stones were hurled at us,” he said.


Cong men burn Badal’s effigy
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, December 1
Congress workers led by Mr Raman Khullar, city unit president burnt the effigy of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, in front of their office here today. Congress leaders said he was trying to exploit sentiments of people to save his skin in the corruption cases.

Mr Kehar Singh, Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, criticised the leadership of Shiromani Akali Dal for its bid to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of state for petty gain in politics. Meanwhile, the police has arrested 120 activists of SAD in the district

NAWANSHAHR: Activists of the district unit of the Congress led by Mr Parkash Singh, MLA, took out a march, and burnt the effigy of Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh Chowk here.

Mr Parkash Singh, MLA and Mr Kuldip Rana, district unit president, addressing the gathering said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh had fulfilled his pre-poll promise by filing a challan in the court against Mr Badal for allegedly amassing wealth by misusing power.


PAC meeting of SAD today
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 1
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, today said a meeting of the political affairs committee (PAC) of SAD would be held at Kalgidhar Nivas, Chandigarh, tomorrow in view of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal being sent to judicial custody. The future course of action of the party on the issue would be decided at the meeting, he announced.

Mr Badal, when contacted, however, appealed to SAD workers to maintain peace. He said he respected the verdict of the judiciary and would not say anything against it.


Bhattal case adjourned twice
Counsel caught in traffic jam in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
The hearing of Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s case in Ropar today had an effect on the proceedings of a corruption case against Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, at the District Courts here as both had engaged the same counsel.

Mrs Bhattal’s case was adjourned twice as her counsel was in Ropar in the morning.

The case came up for hearing in the court of the Special Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, at 10.45 a.m. But on Mrs Bhattal’s request that her counsel was busy in another case, it was adjourned for 12.30 p.m. Counsel for the Punjab State did not oppose it.

Again at 12.30 p.m., Mrs Bhattal pleaded that her counsel was stuck in a traffic jam near Ropar. The case was again adjourned till 2 p.m. The hearing began at 2.20 p.m. and continued till 4 p.m in a courtroom filled to capacity.

Arguing that the Agriculture Minister had been given a clean chit in a case of corruption by the High Court as well as the Badal government, Mrs Bhattal’s counsel pleaded that the case against her by the Vigilance Bureau was liable to be dismissed.

Claiming that Mrs Bhattal had been falsely implicated in the case, her counsel said the Vigilance Bureau had not sought the permission of the Punjab State before filing the challan against Mrs Bhattal.

It was mandatory for the Vigilance Department to seek permission from the state government before filing a challan against any public servant. Mrs Bhattal, being a Cabinet Minister, was a public servant, therefore the department had to seek permission, he added.

He claimed that only the SHO of the police station concerned, where the FIR was registered had the right to investigate the matter.

Claiming that the challan filed had no legal sanctity, her counsel argued going by the Vigilance Department’s allegation that Mrs Bhattal was involved in the embezzlement of Rs 20 lakh from the CM Relief Fund, why had not an FIR been registered against her in Chandigarh. After hearing the arguments, the judge adjourned the case for tomorrow.

Interacting with mediapersons, Mrs Bhattal said: “It was I who brought Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh into the Congress fold and helped him get the Assembly ticket. But now I feel being treated worse than an Opposition member at the hands of my own government”.


CM meets ‘dissidents’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met “dissident” leaders of the Congress at the wedding reception of Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh’s nephew at the Gymkhana Club here last night.

The Chief Minister, who came to the reception party around 9 p.m., stayed on for more than one and a half hours during which he met a number of “dissidents” both individually and in groups.

Malerkotla legislator Razia Sultana, whose iftar party had led to reports of dissidence in the party because it was attended by legislators perceived to be close to Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was accompanied by her husband and police officer Mohammad Mustafa and was seen talking to the Chief Minister.

Sources said a number of other legislators also met the Chief Minister on the occasion. Punjab Pradesh Congress president H S Hanspal facilitated the meeting of a number of legislators with the Chief Minister.

All legislators met the Chief Minister in a separate enclosure and some even had dinner with him.

A number of legislators were viewed to be veering towards Mrs Bhattal at the wedding party of Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa’s daughter at Zirakpur yesterday.

A total of 33 legislators attended the reception party, including a number of ministers like Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Choudhary Santokh Singh, Mr Tej Prakash Singh, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Mr Ramesh Dutt, Mr Ashwini Sekhri, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Prof Darbari Lal and parliamentary secretaries Mohinder Singh Rinwa and Ravinder Singh Sandhu.


Schemes for SCs’ welfare scrapped
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 1
Mr R.R. Gill, a leader of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Scheduled Castes cell yesterday alleged that 29 schemes meant for the welfare of Scheduled Castes framed during late Indira Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister just 11 were being implemented by states while rest were ignored .

The cell, according to Mr Gill, would meet the Punjab Chief Minister and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief to apprise them of the situation. He said the department would also organise rallies in December in this regard.


Hopes of Punjabi hospitality belied
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1
Hopes of traditional Punjabi hospitality have been belied for as many as 62 young teachers who have come to the Northern Regional Languages Centre here to learn Punjabi, Urdu and Kashmiri with all students boycotting the food being served by the centre since the past five days in protest against the “substandard fare” being dished out to them.

The teachers, who are here to attend a 10-month-long in service course under a scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, have decided to go on relay fast if the centre does not agree to their demand of starting a cooperative mess in the centre by tomorrow.

The students, who have come here from Orissa, Assam, Manipur, Kerala and Bihar are presently having food from a hostel in the Punjabi University campus which is close to the centre in which they are presently housed. Though it is relatively easy to partake of breakfast and lunch at the university hostel, having dinner at the university hostel is a problem due to the lack of proper lighting on the road they take to the hostel besides the cold weather conditions.

Talking to The Tribune, C.P. Zubair from Kerala and Balabhadra Mahanta from Orissa said they had come to the centre in the city in July to learn Punjabi, Kashmiri and Urdu. They said all trainees had been facing problems in getting hygienic eatable food and had been complaining to the centre authorities from time to time. Abdul Qadir from Assam said when pleas to the contractor who was serving them food fell on deaf ears, they approached the centre Principal also.

The teachers said though the Principal told them that he had warned the contractor in this regard there was no improvement in the quality of food being served to them. They said they had finally got fed up of the attitude of the authorities and stopped having food at the centre mess from November 26. The students said after this they had approached the authorities to allow them to open a cooperative mess so that they could take responsibility of preparing their own food but the authorities had not acceded to their request.

When asked about specific problems being faced by them, the teachers said they had to constantly counter flour in the “daal” prepared by the mess contractors, besides stones in the rice. They also claimed that the contractor had been serving them sub-standard rice. The students said they had been having food from a hostel mess in the Punjabi University campus since the past few days and did not suffer any such problem.

The principal of the Centre, Mr Nazir Hussain, on being contacted, claimed that the students had refused to have food from the mess in the centre on November 25 and demanded that they should be allowed to run a cooperative mess. He said the students submitted a collective representation to him on November 28 and he had asked them to submit individual representations. He said individual representations were necessary in government offices.

When the Principal was asked to stipulate the rule under which individual representations were necessary, he said he would allow a cooperative mess but said the idea was not practical. He said problems would arise when the centre would have guests or it would held a seminar as it would become difficult in a cooperative set up. He also claimed that the students had different tastes which was responsible for their not liking the food served to them in the centre’s mess. He claimed that he had warned the contractor and had also suggested formation of a committee of teachers to regulate the menu to be served to them but the students were now adamant on having a cooperative mess.


Quota eroding efficiency, feels SDM
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul (Bathinda), December 1
Speakers expressed their concern over hatred, perpetuated due to the caste-based reservation at a state-level seminar on “Awareness on reservation” organised here yesterday by the General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab.

Speakers including industrialists, bureaucrats, lawyers, teachers, senior government officials, traders and some farmers shared their views on the ill-effects of caste-based reservations in the country. While students were being taught that all were equal later in their academic career they painfully discover that a section of their friends were getting benefits due their castes. This led to confusion and sowed the seed of hatred in the young minds.

Speakers urged those belonging to the General Categories to rise above personal and political affiliations to get bring an end to the caste-based reservation.

Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu, Subdivisional Magistrate, Bagha Purana (Moga), a key speaker, said while all religions, stressed equality among people, caste system being perpetuated by the politicians was dividing the country. Admissions in educational institutes, jobs and promotions, which were being doled out to a section of society on caste basis, had resulted in erosion of merit and efficiency in government offices. He said reservation at all levels, including in the elected bodies should be done away with.

Mr Jagjit Singh, Deputy Director, Department of Education, Punjab, said cases of misuse of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been increasing. A majority of such complaints had been found to be filed on flimsy grounds or to blackmail those belonging to general categories. He urged the government to formulate a policy to exclude the elite Dalits from the beneficiaries of the caste-based reservation.

A leading industrialist of the region, Mr O.P. Jindal, Chairman, Stelco Industries said traders and industrialists should oppose the reservation policy, as being tax payers they were funding those undue facilities which were being extended to a section of people.

Dr Gurjant Singh Sekhon, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Malout, Mr Nirmal Singh and Mr Prabhjit Singh, and some other senior functionaries of the General Category Welfare Federation also addressed the gathering on the occasion.


Local man’s body cremated as unidentified;
probe ordered
Our correspondent

Abohar, December 1
The body of a local resident Ashok Kumar was allegedly cremated as that of an unidentified person on November 23 by staff of the municipal council. The parents of the deceased alleged that it was a murder that was why their son was cremated in this manner. The SDM, Mr Jaskiran Singh, has asked the SHO of police station Khuyiansarwer, to make an inquiry into the incident.

According to a complaint by mother of the deceased Seeta Devi of Nai Abadi locality here, her son Ashok Kumar had been working with a commission agent at the New Grain Market here during the cotton season. He had left his job to work with another commission agent who had offered him better wages. The previous employer, accompanied by some other employees, had reportedly come to their residence on November 21 at 7 AM and allegedly forced Ashok Kumar to rejoin work with him. They then had taken him along on a tractor-trailer, the mother alleged.

The complainant further said that when her son did not return home by evening, she and her brother-in-law Harchand Singh went to the shop of the commission agent to inquire about Ashok Kumar. They were reportedly told that the commission agent had taken all his employees and daily wage earners, including Ashok Kumar, to buy cotton from the villages .

The family repeatedly enquired about Ashok Kumar’s whereabouts for next two days also but neither the commission agent nor his manager was available.

Later on November 24 when the family went to the police station at Khuyiansarwer to lodge a complaint they were “forced” to sign some papers. They were told that body of Ashok Kumar had been declared unclaimed and had been cremated after entering a report under Section 174,CrPC.

The police also refused to register their complaint so they approached the SDM yesterday for justice alleging that there was a conspiracy behind their son’s “death” which they alleged was a murder as the commission agent was allegedly annoyed with the victim for changing jobs.

The commission agent could not be contacted. However, sources in the grain market said that Ashok had been crushed to death when the tractor-trailer transporting cotton from Usmankhera village overturned near Killianwali village here. Four other occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, were injured. They left Ashok lying under the tyres of the trailer and went to a hospital for treatment. Ashok perhaps succumbed to injuries as he was not shifted to the hospital.

The affected family was not informed about the “accident”. Someone reportedly gave false information to the police that an unidentified migrant from other state had been killed in an accident

Ashok’s wife Rekha said since neither the commission agent nor any of his staff members had visited them to express condolences over the death this strengthened their doubts. Ashok is survived by wife and three children. He was the sole bread earner of the family.


Unpaid meal scheme contractors threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 1
Even as the supply of food under the mid-day meal scheme launched in various government schools in this district has been stopped for the past few months, supply contractors have been running from pillar to post to get their payments from the district education authorities.

Fed up with the “indifferent” attitude of the authorities concerned, the contractors, who have supplied food to 17,800 students of 108 schools in the district for 84 days since April 1, 2003, have now decided to launch an agitation to get their payments released.

Mr Ravinder Kumar and Mr Sunil Sehgal, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Mid-day Meal Suppliers Association, Bathinda, said, “We are left with no other option than to launch an agitation to get our payments. Instead of cooperating with us, the authorities maltreat us whenever we go to them for genuine our payments.” They said since April 1, 2003, they had supplied food for 84 days in 108 schools and the district education authorities (Primary) had released payments for 21 days only.

They said members of the association were to get Rs 47 lakh on account of the food supplied by them. The mid-day meal scheme, which was launched in various pockets of the state by the Punjab Government on October 17, 2002, was discontinued in this district in the first week of September, 2003, after the authorities failed to make payments to the contractors.


Couple fails to get adopted child’s birth certificate
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 1
The couple which adopted Sakhsi, a three-month-old girl, who was found abandoned on the premises of Gurdwara Qila Mubarak on September 1, is finding it hard to get her birth certificate.

The Registrar, Birth and Deaths-cum-Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, Dr S.K. Goyal, has allegedly not issued the birth certificate to her legal parents, Dr Mahinder Singh and Mrs Kiran.

“Dr Goyal has told us that he will issue the birth certificate of Sakhsi as an abandoned child and not as our daughter,” said Dr Mahinder Singh. “When the child has been legally adopted, how can the Registrar, Births and Deaths, put her in the category of an abandoned child?” he asked.

He said he would approach the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the Punjab State Women’s Welfare Commission to get the birth certificate of his daughter. Dr Goyal said as per the law, Sakhsi could be issued a birth certificate as an abandoned child as she was found abandoned minutes after her birth, according to the FIR registered at the city police station.

Dr Goyal said after a birth certificate as an abandoned child was issued to Sakhsi, her legal parents could apply for another birth certificate by fulfilling the formalities. He said if the law permitted, Sakhsi would be issued a birth certificate in which it would be mentioned that she was the adopted child of Dr Mahinder Singh and Mrs Kiran.


Students spread AIDS awareness message
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, December 1
The Lions Club International, DAV College and many other schools participated in a rally organised here today to observe World AIDS Day. Nearly 400 members of the Lions club, students of Shanti Niketan High School and Rosy Model School took part.

The Amritsar Vikas Manch held a seminar on AIDS awareness at Gyan Ashram School.

JALANDHAR: Hundreds of school children participated in an AIDS awareness march organised by the Citizens’ Welfare and Protection Council to mark World AIDS day here on Monday. The march started from Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Nehru Garden. Students were holding a 450-metre-long banner with signatures of more than one lakh persons.

HOSHIARPUR: A state-level function was organised by the Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department in connection with World AIDS Day and conclusion of Dental Fortnight at Civil Hospital, Dasuya, 40 km from here on Monday. Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, while addressing the gathering on this occasion said a school AIDS education programme was being launched in eight districts of Punjab was essential for teachers to create an environment where free and frank discussion could take place. The school will go a long way in bringing about change in the socially acceptable values.

Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said the state government and the NGOs were trying to control the disease with their limited resources. He emphasised the need for creating awareness about AIDS disease.

Functions to mark World AIDS Day were also held at Solan, Nawanshahr and Bhiwani.


Students’ rally marks AIDS Day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
The NSS Department of Punjabi University in association with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports organised a rally at the local Multani Mal Modi College to mark World Aids Awareness Day here today.

Thousands of NSS volunteers, NCC cadets and students from various local colleges and schools participated in the rally. While addressing the rally Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, appealed to the students to know about AIDS and lead a life of higher values full of self control and take a pledge to root out the evil and thus make the future of the country bright.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Sawarn Singh Boparai, urged the students to beware of AIDS and lead a life of self control. On the occasion, a blood donation camp was organised, which was inaugurated by Senior Superintendent of Police A.S Rai. A large number of teachers and students donated blood.

Baba Daljit Singh, released a book “Let us know about AIDS”, by Dr Rajeev and donated Rs 51,000 to the NSS Department for social welfare activities. The rally was flagged off by Baba Daljit Singh and Registrar of Punjabi University Dr Param Bakhsish Singh. The gathering was entertained by comedians Bhagwant Mann and Rana Ranbhir.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh, Chairman of the PRTC Ved Parkash Gupta, Principal of Modi College Surindra Lal, Principal of the local Khalsa College Dr Harbir Singh, and Principal of the local Mohindra College Dr Raj Kumar were also present on the occasion.


500 students take part in ‘chetna’ rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 1
The World AIDS Day was observed at the local Civil Hospital. A large number of schoolchildren and people from all walks of life participated in a seminar organised on the occasion.

Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, Acting Deputy Commissioner, called upon the doctors to help AIDS patients fight this disease. He said the test for AIDS would be conducted at the local Civil Hospital at a nominal charge of Rs 10 whereas earlier the charges were Rs 100. He urged the people to take precautions to prevent the disease.

Among others who spoke included Dr N.S. Bawa, Dr Goyal, DHO and Dr T.L. Matoo.

Earlier Mr Arora flagged off a ‘chetna’ rally from Ashoka School, Sirhind, in which more than 500 students carrying placards, banners passed through the bazaars educating the people about the effects of AIDS.


Health officials hold rally

Bathinda/Muktsar, December 1
The Civil Surgeon, Dr S.K. Goyal, led a march of health officials in the city today to mark World AIDS Day. These officials, who were carrying placards, banners and hand-outs, educated the people about methods to check AIDS.

Dr Goyal said the help of the Education Department, NGOs, volunteers was being taken to educate the people about the disease. He said AIDS patients should be treated with care and sympathy. He informed that handshake, kissing, meeting infected people could not spread AIDS. He said blood transfusion should be done under strict medical supervision.

The State Institute of Nursing and Paramedical Sciences, Badal, Muktsar also observed World AIDS Day. In a press note issued here today, the Principal, Mrs Prabhjot Kaur, said the rising number of AIDS patients in the country was a cause of concern. She said a poster-making competition was also held in the institute.

She said a public meeting was held at the institute and the people were informed about the modes of infection and methods of prevention.


Pak doc offers to cure men with feminine voice
Tribune News Service

Wagah, December 1
It is now the turn of Pakistan to reciprocate the gesture of India for providing free health services. Dr Shehbaz Khalid Ranifa, an eminent speech therapy specialist from Islamabad, has offered to perform non-surgical speech therapy on Indian men who have a feminine voice.

Dr Ranifa, who accompanied the 15 physically challenged children from Pakistan who were returning home after participating in the sixth international Abilympics in New Delhi, told TNS that he had the ability to convert the feminine voice of men into a masculine one within a week. He said during his visit to India, he had observed that many men in India were suffering from the “soft voice” syndrome.

Meanwhile, the 35-member team from Pakistan, including 15 physically challenged children, returned home. Wasim Khan (14) won a silver medal in Lego. Erum Shabby and Farman Ali special awards.


Bakir Hussain Khan dead
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, December 1
Patiala gharana’s last Ustad Bakir Hussain Khan Sahib died here today after a long illness.

From the glitterati of darbars it was a hard journey for this maestro to his one-room dingy mud-house in this Muslim-dominated locality of Malerkotla.

No official from the district administration participated in his last journey.

Ustad Bakir Hussain Khan Sahib was awarded ‘Sangeet Nayak’ by the Pracheen Kala Kendra in 1988. He taught at the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) for eight years.


Freedom fighters’ conference from December 13

Moga, December 1
A two-day All-India Conference of Freedom Fighters will be held at Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh) from December 13.

Mr Satya Nand Yajee, General Secretary, All-Freedom Fighters Organisation, said yesterday the conference would deliberate on the national, social, economic and political situation as well as international conditions.

Matters pertaining to the problems and difficulties being faced by freedom fighters would also be considered and a strategy chalked out to solve these during the conference, he said.

National leaders of various political parties and prominent freedom fighters, including former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, were expected to attend the conference, he claimed. PTI


Conference on Guru Granth Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 1
Justice O.P. Verma, Punjab Governor, will preside over the three-day international conference on Guru Granth Sahib and inter-faith understanding, to be held at Guru Nanak Dev University from December 3 to 5. Justice Mota Singh, Queens Court, England, will present the keynote address while Prof Harbans Lal of the Academy of Guru Granth Sahib Studies, USA, will make a special address at the conference.


Demand to check route permits issued flouting rules
Tribune News Service

Mansa, December 1
Mr Jatinder Kumar Agra, former president, Punjab minibus Operators Association, today urged the Secretary, Transport Department, Punjab for putting a check on the issuance of route permits for plying buses in the state by officials by violating provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and misusing authority.

In a letter written to Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Secretary, Transport, Punjab, Mr Agra pointed out certain officials of the department had been issuing route permits by misusing authority. He added that these officials had also been violating judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with the issuance of route permits.

He said that the route permits were being granted by the officials a manner that would create anarchy in Punjab and would render those, granted route permits by proper procedure under the self-employed scheme, unemployed as it would become unviable and for them to ply buses due to competition.

He said that though he had taken up this matter with Mrs Bajaj a number of times, no action had been taken to stop this which had been causing huge losses to those, plying buses as per norms.

He demanded that all route permits granted to various applicants by violating the norms, should be cancelled. He added that he had also taken up the matter with, Mr Jai Singh Gill, Chief Secretary, Punjab.


Health Dept raids eating joints
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 1
In a week-long campaign, the Health Department has raided several eating joints and collected food samples from them. Chutney and sauce samples from Tree House Restaurant in Ebony Mall were collected here today.

Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said the raids were conducted with an aim to curb large-scale adulteration in food products.

Five quintals of adulterated saffron was seized from a factory in the Annagarh area, owned by Kapil Kumar. The team also seized gur, maida, stone powder, special colouring agent and perfume used to adulterate saffron, which was sold at Rs 40 to 60 per kg. A case has been registered against the suspect.

A sample of kesar lassi was taken from Ahuja Milk Bhandar. Samples of cream and custard were taken during a raid on Adda Kukran Ajnala and Jagdambey Milk Products.


Padamjit is Adviser to Member, Operations, PSEB
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has appointed its senior engineer and Chief Engineer, Systems Operation, as Adviser to the Member, Operations, on his retirement yesterday even as the Tariff Revision Committee met at the PSEB Headquarters here today to finalise its recommendations to the State Regulatory Commission.

Mr Padamjit has been re-employed on contract basis. He was conferred the Baba Farid Award this year for his spotless record. He has also headed the All-India Power Engineers Federation besides being president of the PSEB Engineers Association.

Mr Padamjit is a product of Doon School, Dehra Dun, and the IIT, New Delhi.


Prohibitory orders
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 1
Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma district magistrate yesterday imposed prohibitory orders in the district for maintaining law and order.

The orders ban the assembly of five persons in public places, holding of meetings at public places, raising of slogans and taking out of religious processions without permission.

These orders will be in force till December 29, 2003.


Police raids on to find Siti Cable chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 1
The police today conducted another raid to find the Siti Cable Managing Director, Mr Sunny Gill and his co-workers, who were booked by the police on November 24 for allegedly launching an armed assault against workers of a rival Win Cable operator, in which two of the latter’s workers were injured seriously.

The police had been conducting raids to detain him for past one week, but without any success.

A raid was conducted at Mr Gills Siti Cable Control Room near Lal Rattan Cinema today by a police party led by ASI Rajbir Singh, but, again the raid failed to yield any result though three employees Manjit, Lada and Harpreet were detained for a brief period. These employees, however, denied their involvement in the incident. On the other hand police officials at the Police Division No 1 denied that these employees were detained.

Today’s raid was conducted on the basis of a tip-off that the MD and five other accused were present at the Cable Control Room. Talking to the TNS, Mr Mohinder Singh, the SHO, Division No 1, said the police parties had been raiding different places to nab the accused. Though the police was claiming that it was “sparing no efforts to nab” the accused, sources close to Mr Gill said that he was roaming freely, which, deflated the claims of the police.


Bathinda boy makes it to PCS
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 1
Mr Amandeep Bansal, a local boy, has secured 10th position in the PCS mains-2003 (reconducted) examination.

Mr Bansal, a graduate of the Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh, had earlier qualified UPSC test for All-India Civil Services and had appeared for interview. But he had failed to make it. Now he had succeeded in the PCS (executive) examination.

"I never lost sight of my goal even after exhausting all my chances for the IAS and had made up my mind to get into the state civil services", he said. Expressing happiness over his success, he said that the support from his parents, best wishes of friends and the grace of God had played a key role in his success.

He said that he did not take coaching from any academy for his written exams and alleged that a Patiala-based academy was trying to cash on his success by claiming that he had taken coaching.


Punjabi University educationists to attend
South Asian meet

Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
Dr Sucha Singh Gill of the Department of Economics and Dr K.C. Singhal of the Punjab School of Management Studies of Punjabi University have been invited to Trade Union Technical Consultation meeting on 'Studies of out migration in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka' on December 1 - 2 at New Delhi.

Dr Singhal will chair a session on developing plan of action for each South Asian country of migration environment.

Dr Gill will be one of the panelists to discuss, the "Role of trade unions in protecting the rights and interests of migrant workers."

Among others who will participate in the South Asian meet include Deputy Director ILO Maurizo Bussi, Senior Specialist on Workers Activities, ILO Pong Sul Ahn, Senior Migration Specialist, ILO Piyasiri Wickramasekara.

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