P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pollution control board to act against violators
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, December 16
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided to act against government organisations and public sector units (PSUs) that don’t comply with the guidelines of the board. The PPCB passed a resolution yesterday to initiate criminal proceeding against the officials of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, and the Phagwara Municipal Council.

Mr K.P.S. Rana, Chairman, PPCB, told this correspondent that while criminal proceeding against the GGSSTP authorities would be initiated for failing to prevent the breach in their ash dykes that led to pollution in the Sutlej in the wetland areas, the Phagwara Municipal Council would be indicted for improper solid waste management. Criminal complaints under the pollution laws that carry an imprisonment of up to three years would be filed against the guilty officials.

Recently the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while taking suo motu notice of the reports published in The Tribune regarding pollution in the Sutlej, had issued notice to the GGSSTP, National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), Nangal, Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Limited (PACL), Principal Secretary, Environment, Punjab, and the PPCB. They were asked to file a reply as to why the court should not appoint a commission to collect funds from them and distribute it as compensation among the people who were suffering due to the pollution caused by them.


Good lipid ‘not enough to prevent heart diseases’
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Having a good lipid may not necessarily be a sure protection against a heart attack, as is the general belief. It is this latest research by Prof S. Majumdar, Head of Experimental Medicine, PGI, which has won him the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Basanti Devi Amir Chand prize for 2002.

Though a lot of attention has been paid towards bad lipid the world over which gives an open invitation to heart diseases but it is for the first time in the country that research has been done on good lipids. The decade-long research by Prof Majumdar indicated that even people with good lipid could stand the risk of coronary heart diseases.

“Basing patient management and treatment on the total good lipid is a misconception as even if it is within the normal limits, it may not be sufficient to prevent coronary heart disease,” he said. He said the significance of this sub-fraction of good lipid would help doctors change the drug, diet or physical activity that a patient needed for the management of the disease.

“Lipid is the fat in the blood which is circulated throughout the body and is one of the major risk factors in the development of coronary heart diseases. Its deposition on the walls of the blood vessels leads to thickening and stiffening which causes the problem,” explained Prof Majumdar.

Till two years ago it was believed that good lipid or high density lipoprotein (HDL) is the protective factor which prevents against the harmful effects of bad lipid or low density lipoprotein (LDL), Prof Majumdar said.

Though there could be several reasons for developing coronary heart disease, one factor which enhances it is the high-lipid content. As such all research during the past two decades was being focused on bad lipid and good lipid area was rather ignored, said Prof Majumdar. The trials to establish the fact that good lipid can at times be non-functional were conducted on monkeys.

He said the fact that a large number of young people with good lipid were also falling prey to coronary heart diseases was baffling and as such research was taken up to study good lipid than the usual focus on bad lipid.

“We discovered that it is not the total good lipid which is important but its form and if this is oxidised it cannot give protection against harmful effect of bad lipid,” he explained.

He said coronary heart diseases continued to remain a leading cause of death and a major health problem in the developed and industrialised countries. Talking about good and bad lipids, Prof Majumdar said though it varied from one laboratory to another and depended on the method adopted but generally a normal level of bad lipid was anywhere between 70 and 110 mg per cent and of normal good lipid was between 35 and 70 mg per cent.


‘Durgah’ that attracts all
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: The “durgah” of “Sheikh Brahm”, on the Indo-Pakistan international border near Mianwali Uttar village in Khemkaran sector continues to be source of belief and conviction for thousands of devotees not only from India but on the other side of the fence also. Every Thursday, thousands of devotees pay their obeisance here, and seek blessings. According to villagers “Peer Baba” was a disciple of Guru Nanak Dev.

Villagers said before hostilities between the two neighbouring nations began, hundreds of people from the Pakistani side used to visit this “durgah” every Thursday but after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflict, Pakistani devotees have been denied access to this sacred place.

BSF officials said before the launch of “Operation Prakaram” in the aftermath of attack on Indian Parliament, the Pakistanis used to offer prasad, but later they were not allowed to come close to the Indian side of the international border. With the changed scenario now, even the devotees from the Indian side have to go through thorough frisking by the BSF sleuths before entering the “durgah” through the fencing gates, which are thrown open to the devotees only up to 5 pm.

Mr Tirath Ram, a resident of Valtoha, said all the communities of the area irrespective of caste, creed and culture revered the ‘durgah’ which depicted a vibrant scene of religious activities, especially on Thursdays when langer is served to hundreds of devotees coming from far and wide. He said it was unfortunate that the Pakistanis had been debarred access to the “durgah”.

BSF officials said even the officers and jawans of the BSF hold this place in high esteem. Mr N.K. Singh, Commandant, BSF, said this place was visited even by some retired BSF officials to pay their respects.

The BSF has formed a committee comprising the local villagers and BSF officials for the maintenance of the durgah.

Mr Lakhmir Singh, a resident of Mianwali Uttar village, said that Pakistani devotees should also be allowed access which would certainly boost the friendly relations between the two nations.


Punjab shifts 3 IAS officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of three IAS officers. Mr Boota Ram Banga has been posted Deputy Commissioner of Muktsar in place of Mr P.S. Aujla.

Mr Rahul Bhandari has been posted as Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab at Patiala. The services of Mr Krishan Kumar have been placed at the disposal of the Department of Cooperation for appointment as Additional Managing Director, Markfed, against a vacant post.


Sonali charmed by Punjabis
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 16
“I love Punjab, Punjabis and the Punjabi food. It is wonderful to be here . It is nothing short of a homecoming as I am married to a Punjabi,” says Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre.

“It is wonderful. Punjabi food is fabulous. I was tired after the long journey from Mumbai, yet I savoured the food last night said Sonali while admitting that most of her films were flops.

Sonali, who is the Omega spokesperson and is here for a signature campaign launched by the Omega watches. She did not hesitate to admit her failures in Bollywood. “Most of my films, except ‘Diljale’ have been failures. Still, I have reached a stage where I can afford to choose and do films according to my choice. I don’t know which film I will do next year. It will decide it after the new year,” she maintained.

Sonali is pinning high hopes on her Marathi film, “Anahat,” directed by Amol Palekar. “We are hoping  for an International release. It will be released in Delhi and Ahmedabad soon. the story is set in the 10th century. I am very hopeful about it as it has been handled by a director who is known for impeccable dealing. Now, I want more challenges.” She also did not rule out working in an art film. “Yes, nowadays these are more successful commercially,” she asserted

About her venture on the small screen, Sonali, who  has done a kids TV show, ‘Kiya Masti Kya Dhoom, quipped,’ I like working with kids. It has been a great joy. But for TV you need more time, say, 15 days at a stretch, which is difficult. Moreover, I don’t want to get tied down and want to do things more on my own, said a vibrant looking Sonali, who admitted that her best favourite actor was none other than Amitabh Bachchan.


Chohan asks militants to return, expose govt
Our Correspondent

Dr Jagjit Singh ChohanJalandhar, December 16
The president of the Khalsa Raj Party and Khalistan ideologue, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, yesterday said the Sikh militants, who had been residing abroad for the past more than a decade, should return to their motherland to inform the people about the forces responsible for the decade-long turmoil in Punjab.

Talking to reporters here, Dr Chohan alleged that several government agencies had been instrumental in supporting terrorism even as the Sikhs were forced to resort to participation in fight against the then rulers.

“In fact, I am of the view that the Sikh militants should return to expose the misdeeds of the then Indian political leadership. Besides, they should face the law of land instead of living a life in exile abroad,” he said lauding the role of the Indian judicial system in providing justice to the people.

Meanwhile, Dr Chohan had written a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, urging him to grant “observer status” to the Sikh nation to enable the Sikh leaders to raise their grievances and related issues at the international platform.


Vijay Divas: veterans feel let down
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 16
Gurnam Singh (94), a veteran of World War II, who has faced all odd situations in different countries bravely from 1939 to 1947, has been finding himself defeated in the evening of his life.

After having sold his landed property for the treatment of his 27-year-old adopted son, who is visually challenged, he has been finding it difficult to make both ends meet with meagre pension of Rs 300 being given to him by the government, “Not only this, I have been failing to arrange money to get the brain tumour of my son removed so that his eye sight could be restored,” said Gurnam Singh with lump in his throat, who was here today to attend the function organised in connection with Vijay Divas by the Bathinda Military Station.

Kaka Singh another war veteran has been suffering pain in one leg and one arm for the past many years after he had multiple fractures on them in a road accident and could not get proper treatment then: “The pension has no meaning for me. My only need is that I should be looked after well now when I am failing to carry myself on my own.”

A large number of war veterans of Bathinda and Mansa districts, who assembled here for the war veteran meet organised by the Bathinda military station on the occasion of Vijay Divas alleged that though they had sacrificed the best parts of their lives for the protection and dignity of their motherland, they were denied a fair deal by those, who ruled the country till today.

“What the little money will fetch us when we are not even able to move from one place to other. We have been witnessing the worst of our lives which we never imagined. We have fought wars but we have failed to fight against the odds which are coming in our lives now,” pointed out a large number of war veterans to The Tribune.

Havildar Jage Ram, who has seen action in 1962 Indo-China war, 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars on different borders of the country and won eight medals for bravery, demanded that a specific numbers of Lok Sabha seats and in state Assemblies should be reserved for ex-servicemen so that they could have a say in policy-making and do something for the welfare of serving as well as retired Army personnel.

In the function, Lt. Gen. Mohinder Puri, GOC, Chetak Corps, laid the first wreath at Nand Singh Chowk followed by other senior Army and civil dignitaries.

The Deputy Commissioners of Bathinda and Mansa districts addressed the war veterans and Brig Jatinder Singh, Station Commander, Bathinda Military Station, presented them with gifts and heard their problems. A Barakhana was also organised on the occasion.


Heroes of 1971 war remembered
Tribune Reporters

The Army jawans pay tributes to martyrs of the 1971 India-Pakistan war
The Army jawans pay tributes to martyrs of the 1971 India-Pakistan war, at the Dograi war memorial at Khasa, Amritsar, on Tuesday on the occasion of Vijay Divas to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of India's victory in the war. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Khasa (Amritsar), December 16
Major-General B.S. Nagal General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Panther division today laid a wreath to pay tributes to the martyrs of 1971 Indo-Pakistan war at the “Dograi’ War Memorial to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of ‘Vijay Divas’ here. The jawans drawn from different regiments reversed arms to pay tributes to their comrades-in-arms who laid down their lives during the Bangladesh liberation war and defending the western borders.

A spokesman of the Army said that the 14-day war with India divided Pakistan and eastern Pakistan was liberated into a new country called Bangladesh. He said the Indian Army in the eastern sector forced the Pakistani forces led by Lt-Gen A.A.K. Niazi to surrender to the Indian Army commander Lt-Gen Jagjit Singh Arora. More than 93,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken as prisoners.

Brig R.J.S. Dhillon, VSM (Vashisht Seva Medal), and Col Mohan Das, SC (Shaurya Chakra), also laid wreaths on the occasion to celebrate India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.

Pathankot: To mark victory of the Indian Army over Pakistani troops in 1971, ‘Vijay Divas’ was celebrated at Salaria Park here today. A large number of ex-servicemen from Kathua, Sujanpur, Nurpur and adjoining areas attended the function. Brig. R.K. Sharma, Commander 21 Sub Area addressed the gathering.


Jor Mela to be a sombre affair
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 16
The four-day annual Shaheedi Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib scheduled to start from December 24, would be different from the previous years as the martyrdom of younger sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, would be commemorated strictly in a religious spirit this year. Earlier it used to be celebrated with fervour, this was stated by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a press conference here today. He said in order to pay true homage and obeisance to the sahibzadas, who were bricked alive there would be no circus, dance, programme, gambling stalls, swings and any other amusement item. No sweets would be served at the community kitchens and “Langars” would have only simple food and loud speakers too would not be allowed. The stalls, which had been permitted, would be only on one side of the road beyond five feet of the road and the other side had been kept vacant for the convenience of the devotees. The roads have been widened and recarpetted for this purpose. The wine shops would remain closed for three days and anyone found selling intoxicants and wine would not be spared.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner said in spite of the consistent pressure the district administration had not given permission to put up amusement stalls, swings or other merry making items. He said district administration was firm on its decision though it had caused a loss of Rs 5 lakh to the District Red Cross as these stalls owners used to donate to the Red Cross. He said “Bhagti Sangeet Sammelan”, “Var Gyan” competition, painting competition and Shabad Gayan competitions would be organised by the district administration to pay homage to the sahibzadas. He said after identifying the exact time of their martyrdom the district administration would play a siren, to enable the devotees to pay homage. A special souvenir on sahibzadas would also be released.

He said an impressive exhibition depicting various achievements of the state government in different fields and public oriented schemes initiated by various government departments would be arranged. He said the Public Relations Department would organise a special light and sound programme “Sirhind Ki Dastan”. Besides this the basic civic amenities like toilets, drinking water, cleanliness would be ensured and five enquiry centres and dispensaries would work round-the-clock.

While talking to The Tribune, Jathedar G.S. Tohra, president SGPC, appreciated the initiative and efforts of the Deputy Commissioner in commemorating the event as per “gur maryada”. He said the Deputy Commissioner had done, what he had been wanting to since long but could not implemented due to various reasons. He said though this step had caused a loss of Rs 10 lakh to the SGPC as the contract of SGPC land earlier used to fetch Rs 18 lakh but this year due to a ban on amusement item it had been rented out only on Rs 7.25 lakh. He said money is not the only consideration. 


Amarinder to visit native village today
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), December 16
Even as uncertainty over the visit of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to his ancestral village tomorrow, came to an end this afternoon, senior civil and police officials from Bathinda descended here to make foolproof security arrangements.

Residents of this “VVIP” village were uncertain whether Capt Amarinder Singh would visit the village tomorrow in the wake of political developments.

To ensure the victory of Capt Amarinder Singh in the power struggle going on in New Delhi, villages who are hoping that the village would be developed like Badal, village, the native village of former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, have been holding special prayers at the local “samadh”. An akhand path is also being organised.

This will be Capt Amarinder Singh’s first visit to his village after about 20 months.

Tomorrow, the village, one of the largest villages of Asia as it has nine panchayat bodies, will witness the laying of foundation stones. Capt Amarinder Singh will lay the foundation stones of underground water and sewerage project worth Rs 6.5 crore, drain covering project worth Rs 4.5 crore, a hospital project worth Rs 2 crore, multipurpose stadium worth Rs 19.5 lakh and gram sabha hall project worth Rs 16.5 lakh, among others.


DC’s help sought on zamindar, Dalit issue
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 16
On behalf of the zamindars of Hasanpur village, near Dhuri, a five-member deputation comprising Mr Jhanda Singh, district president of the BKU (Rajewal), Mr Kesar Singh, sarpanch of Hasanpur, Mr Satwant Singh Punia, district president of the BJP, Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A); and Mr Sher Singh, district vice-president of the BKU (Rajewal), today met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, to get the dispute between Dalits and zamindar settled soon.

A clash between the Dalits and zamindars of the village took place on November 11 over the possession of a disputed piece of shamlat land. In the clash, 20 persons from both sides were injured. Since then, tension between both communities prevailed.

Meanwhile, members of about 20 panchayats of the Hasanpur area today gathered near Mahavir Chowk here and held a meeting to decide further course of action, if the administration did not initiate steps to settle the matter.


Concern over declining sex ratio
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, December 16
Expressing concern over the alarming decrease in the sex ratio, particularly in Punjab, the president of the All-India Women Conference (AIWC), Dr Aparna Basu, said in the holy city of Amritsar the sex ratio had declined from 861 to 783 against the all-India figure of 934 per 1,000 males, which was shameful.

Dr Basu said Punjab, one of the most prosperous states in the country, had the lowest ratio of 795 per 1,000 males in the age group of 0-6. She said what had shocked the delegates at the 76th annual session was the fact that the ratio during the census of 1991 to 2001 in the age group up to six years in cities had declined more in urban segments. She attributed this to the fact that the cities had more doctors, ultrasound and sonogram facilities.

Dr Basu said in 2004, the AIWC would observe it as a year to create greater awareness about the positive image of girl child.

The AIWC welcomed the election of three women Chief Ministers during their recent elections which have brought into focus their ability to govern. She said the government and all political parties should now enact the bill to provide 33 per cent reservation in state Assemblies and Parliament for women.

Dr Basu announced that a team of a Pakistan woman organisation would visit India next month for a broader interaction with their Indian counterparts to strengthen the peace initiative undertaken by the Indian Prime Minister.


Shifting of vegetable mandi stalled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 16
Senior officers of the Punjab Mandi Board, who had been camping here for the past three days, returned to Chandigarh today after having failed to persuade commission agents to shift to a new mandi site. A senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said fruit and vegetable licensees, who had come to know about the proposed shifting yesterday, managed to stall it by launching an agitation.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr Kulbir Singh Kang, who was instructed by board officers to take over the vacant mandi site, said the Army, which has its ammunition dump near the new Vallah Mandi site, had stated that it would not allow any construction in close proximity to the dump.

Mr Kang said a meeting was held about 10 days ago, which was attended by the Deputy Commissioner, the Brigadier in charge of the dump, and officers of the Punjab Mandi Board. It had failed to resolve the stalemate as the Army authorities insisted that a no-objection certificate be obtained by the board from the Ministry of Defence before allowing any construction at the new mandi site.


Police clueless about attack on bank manager
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 16
Even after more than 10 days the police is clueless about the attack on Mr S.P.S Bains, Zonal Manager Punjab and Sind Bank.

Mr Bains was injured seriously in an assault by six persons armed with hockey sticks, iron rods etc a few metres from his residence in Akash Avenue on the Fatehgarh Churian road on December 6. Mr Bains had received head injuries and fractured his right arm in the attack. The Zonal Manager had complained to the police giving account of the attack on him. The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 148, 149 of the IPC at Sadar police station.

Talking to ‘The Tribune’ Mr Bains talked of threat to his life. He alleged that the accused had taken the keys of his car and turban.

Mr Kultar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) said that the police has been rounded up some persons who had masterminded the attack.


Hundreds turn up for recruitment rally
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 16
Hundreds of youths from Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Moga and Muktsar districts came to try their luck at the sports ground of the local Government Rajindra College where the recruitment for the Army is under progress.

Some of them were not aware about the minimum marks in matric, which had been revised by the Army authorities recently.

The youths complained of poor arrangements and said they had to eat their lunch at roadside stalls.

A senior officer who was supervising the process said there was no discrimination and everything was done on the basis of merit.

The youths who could not qualify for the recruitment for not being able to fulfil the minimum standards were disappointed.


Check drug abuse, says judge
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 16
Mr Mohinder Pal, District and Sessions Judge, in a function held here today released the second issue of “Yuva Chetna”, a magazine published by the District Hospital Welfare Section. The magazine aims to create awareness about social evils and this issue of focussed on drug abuse.

Mr Mohinder Pal said growing trend of drug abuse among the youths was a matter of concern and every one must contribute to check this menace. He said the district had done a commendable work by opening a drug de-addiction centre. He said other organisations should also contribute to the cause.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-patron of the magazine, said the district administration during a campaign seized over 1,61,167 tablets, 5,5654 capsules, 1373 injections and 305 vials of intoxicants. He said a large number of drug addicts were now coming for treatment at the centre. He said as Fatehgarh Sahib had the lowest sex ratios among all districts so with the active support of NGOs various initiatives to control this menace were being taken. Dr Daisy Walia, editor of the magazine, said it was high time to make people aware of the social evils and everyone should make efforts to check these. She urged the NGOs to join the campaign against social evils.


Kicked out of job, Dalit woman appeals to CM
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 16
A local Dalit girl Krishna Devi, whose services as a clerk with the Punjab School Education Board have been recently terminated along with nearly 133 others, has appealed to the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, for help.

In her appeal to the Chief Minister, she has stated that she has been left to fend for herself for no fault of hers after putting in nearly two years of service. Krishna Devi is one of the 134 clerks recruited by the board in December 2001 who have all been relieved of their duties in the last week of November by the education board. She has stated that all clerks who had been recruited in 2001 have been relieved of their services as the board now contends that their selection had not been made through correct procedure.

Daughter of a peon in the Irrigation Department, Krishna passed her BA examination privately and later completed a diploma in computer application. She claims that she applied for the post in the education board after it was advertised in the newspaper. Following which she appeared for the written examination, the typing test, the interview and the Medical examination.

Urging the Chief Minister to come to her aid, Krishna has claimed in her letter that she had qualified the test and interview on the basis of merit alone and despite this she faces a bleak future.


Two brothers die in accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 16
Sohan Singh (55) and Amrik Singh (60), both brothers of Krishna Nagar Mohalla here died on the spot while Jagtar Singh son of Sohan Singh and Rajwant Singh of Nawanshahr were injured seriously when their car (No. PB-10AN-5453) in which they were travelling was hit by a tractor trailer at Chack Gujran village, 6 km from here on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road last night. Both injured were admitted in local Civil Hospital.

They were coming from Jalandhar after making purchase for the marriage of Jagtar Singh to be held on December 20, 2003.


13 couples tie the knot
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 16
Thirteen marriages were solemnised at a marriage function organised by the Rotary Club, Amritsar Midtown, at S.L. Public School here today.

Household items of daily use were given to all couples. Mr Avinash Mohindru, Chairman of Bhavan’s S.L. Public School was the chief guest. Students of B.B.K DAV Public School performed gidda. The function was attended by a large number of members of the association and their families.


Workers seek removal of discrepancy
Our Correspondent

Batala, December 16
A meeting of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Gurdaspur, district, was held here yesterday. The meeting urged the Local Bodies Minister, Punjab, Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to accept the demand of retirees of the local self-government by giving them 59 per cent of DA since retirees of the local self-government in Punjab were getting DA at 43 per cent.


Constable cremated
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 16
Constable Satnam Singh (25), who laid his life while fighting anti-national forces in Jammu sector, was cremated at his native village Jaura with state honour. But no representative of the Punjab Government was present at the cremation.

Satnam Singh died three days back. He was married only a year back and is survived by his pregnant wife.



High Court
Akali worker’s plea for case against SSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
In just over a fortnight after the Punjab police cane-charged Akali workers marching towards Ropar the day former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal were to appear before a court, a party supporter today sought directions for registration of an attempt-to-murder case against Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Surinder Pal Singh and another official for beating him.

In his petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Jatinder Singh Randhawa of Faridkot claimed that he, along with his brother and other Akali workers, was “peacefully marching towards Ropar on December 1 when Inspector Gurbachan Singh, deployed at a naka near the Police Lines, ordered officials to beat them up without warning or reason”.

He added that Ropar’s SSP, instead of restraining the officials, issued directions for further beating up the petitioner. Soon after, the Inspector and other officials started beating the petitioner with gun butts. This was not all. The SSP again ordered them to kill the petitioner and throw his body into a canal.

Arguing before the court, counsel added on the petitioner’s behalf that Randhawa was admitted to a hospital in Mohali and was still undergoing treatment. Taking up the case, the High Court today issued notice of motion. The case will now come up for further hearing on January 16.

Kuka movement

Acting on a public interest litigation seeking directions to the Union of India and other respondents to take a decision on extending recognition to Kuka movement as part of the freedom struggle for granting benefits, a Division Bench of the High Court has issued notice of motion.

In his petition, advocate Malwinder Jit Singh Waraich asserted that the benefits under the Swatantarta Sainik Samman Pension Scheme of 1980 had so far been denied.

Giving details, he asserted that the Kuka movement happened to pioneer the attempt to liberate the motherland from foreign rule just a decade after the uprising in 1857. Under the leadership of Baba Ram Singh, it encompassed total non-cooperation with the government. The Kukas were later “blown before the canons in an open ground located in Malerkotla”.

Ad hoc employees

In a judgement likely to affect hundreds of employees appointed before June 13, 1996, on ad hoc or 89-day basis, a Division Bench of the High Court today quashed the orders passed on November 6 vide which services of the petitioners were terminated.

Allowing the petition filed by Wazir Singh and other employees of Bathinda’s Animal Husbandry Department, the High Court directed the government to regularise their services in three months. The petitioners had earlier claimed that they were appointed on 89-day basis in 1995 and were allowed to continue, but their services were terminated on the ground that they were not working on June 13, 1996, which was the required cut off date as per Punjab Government policy.

Markfed Chairman

A Division Bench of the High Court issued notice of motion for January 13 on a petition filed Mr Jagdish Singh Walia seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for allowing him to function as Markfed Chairman till an order stopping him from doing so was passed by the competent authority.

He claimed that the government on August 22 passed an order nominating Mr Harminder Singh Jassi as Chairman even though no order stopping him from doing so was passed by the competent authority.

The High Court had earlier admitted another petition challenging the appointment of former minister Harmohinder Singh Jassi as Chairman. In his petition, Mr Walia had also sought directions for staying the appointment, besides quashing a notification on the subject.

The petitioner had submitted that he was elected as Chairman under the Co-operative Act for six years. As such, his removal was carried out in a mala fide and arbitrary manner. It was also an expression of political vendetta since he happened to be from the opposition.


Shamsher Mehndi files counter complaint
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 16
The prime accused in the human trafficking case, Shamsher Mehndi, today filed an application in a local court against Bakshish Singh, complainant in the case as well as some of the other accused who were earlier his clients, claiming all of them had implicated him in a false case.

In the application, which was filed in the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Shamsher claimed that three of the accused in the case, Tejinder Laddi, Dhian Singh and Surinder Singh were working as his employees in Big M. Entertainment Private Ltd. The application alleged that all three were committing “misdeeds” due to which their services had been terminated and a public notice had also been published in newspapers in this regard. The application said the three formed a group alongwith Bakshish Singh and two others, Jaswinder Singh and Gurdial Mama, to lure people into sending them abroad. When villagers asked for a refund, the accused asked them to file complaints against Shamsher and Daler Mehndi. The application alleged that the reason behind this was to exploit the Mehndi brothers.

It also claimed that despite repeated police remands, nothing incriminating was found against Shamsher. The application pleaded that necessary action should be given to the police to register a criminal case against the six persons mentioned in the complaint and to conduct an investigation into the matter. The case will come up for hearing on December 18.


Kisan Sabha convention on December 19
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 16
The Punjab Kisan Sabha has decided to hold a state-level convention at Desh Bhagat Yadgaar Hall here on December 19 on “failure” of the state government to implement already accepted demands.

President of the sabha Rashpal Singh, in a statement here today, said that delegates from all over the state would participate in convention.

He alleged that the farmers were opposed to privatisation of the state electricity board since it would lead to hike in power tariff and burden the farmers community. Besides, the public distribution system and procurement process should be strengthened.

He said that despite assurances by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to release more than Rs 100 crore for the payment of arrears of sugarcane growers, nothing had moved in this direction.


Farmers end stir
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 16
The stalemate between farmers and the administration came to an end today when the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, Mr Raminder Singh, gave them an assurance on their demands.

The farmers under the banner of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee the area had been staging a dharna near Piddi village, 5 km from here, for the past 15 days.

The demands of the farmers include the payment of sugarcane arrears. Mr Raminder Singh said the payment would be made by January 10.


Farmer murdered over water dispute
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 16
Mohinder Singh, a farmer of Lakhewali village in the district, was murdered last night by another farmer, Balkaran Singh, and three others while he and his nephew were working in a field.

Police sources said Mohinder Singh was murdered with “toki”, a sharp-edged weapon, used for cutting cotton sticks.

Balkaran and other suspects have their fields adjacent to the fields of the victim.

The sources said a dispute between Mohinder and Balkaran over the use of canal water led to the murder.

A case under Sections 302 and 34, IPC, has been registered against the suspects at the Sadar police station.


VC fires another salvo against Pro-VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 16
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has asked the university Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, to “expedite” action against the institute’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, on the basis of a report sent to him earlier which called for the removal of Dr Pal from the post of Pro-VC.

Mr Boparai in his letter to the Chancellor a few days back has alleged that Dr Pal continued to indulge in wilful insubordination of the authority of the university and had launched a vilification campaign vitiating the academic atmosphere of the institute.

The university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, when questioned on the issue, confirmed the despatch of the letter to the Chancellor. He said the Vice-Chancellor had taken this step because the complaint did not only deal with vitiation of the academic atmosphere of the university by the Pro Vice-Chancellor but also dealt with violation of rules in financial matters.

Dr Sandhu alleged that Dr Pal asked a private company to arrange Rs 1 lakh which was to be borne by him while visiting a number of information technology examination centres being run by the private company in the country. He said this was done despite the fact that under the agreement with the company, the expenditure on conduct of the examination was to be borne by the university.

Dr Sandhu said the Pro-VC also put up a note in this regard to the then Vice-Chancellor but as he had already completed his tour by then, the note was declared as infructous. He said following this, Dr Pal submitted a bill of Rs 29,685 to the university for the expenditure incurred by him in the visit.

He alleged that the Pro-VC made a “misleading” statement that the expenditure was incurred by the private IT institute head and even got the money paid to the IT head on the basis of this statement.

He said the Vice-Chancellor had pointed out to the Chancellor that this “act” of the Pro-VC was against rules and had lowered the prestige of the university.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, when contacted on the issue, denied that he had ever taken money from any private institute as expenditure during his tour of examination centres in various parts of the country.

Dr Pal also denied that he had ever taken any money for the expenditure incurred by him during the tour from the university.


Conserve water sources, says Dr Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 16
The Department of Geography, Punjabi University, organised a lecture by Dr Kirpal Singh Sidhu, Department of Occupational Environmental Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA, on the topic “Role of pollutants, environmental and social factors” in the Senate Hall of the university here today. Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, presided over the lecture.

While speaking on the occasion on the future problem regarding the scarcity of drinking water Dr. Sidhu said the major environmental problems and factors that affected the quality of drinking water were acidic deposition, mercury deposition, global warming, population growth, water usage for agricultural production and deforestation.

Of these, acid and mercury deposits affect the quality of water whereas all others affect the quantity of fresh water available for drinking purposes, he added. Dr Sidhu said the quantity of fresh water available for drinking was finite. The need for fresh water has increased four fold due to growth in human population and water usage in agricultural production,” he said and warned that global warming related increases in temperature may be accompanied by changes in rainfall patterns and potential for droughts. Mr Boparai in his presidential remarks stated that water had always played an important role in the development of human civilisation. He emphasised that history was witness to the fact that man had always tried to stay near water sources. Mr Boparai reiterated that Punjab had always remained in the forefront regarding sharing of its water resources with the other states.

Earlier Dr K.S. Sohal, Head, Geography Department, introduced the Chief Guest. Dr U.C. Singh, Dean Academic Affairs, welcomed the guests. After the lecture Dr R.S. Ghuman (Economics), Dr H.S. Rose (Zoology), Dr Buta Singh (Physics), Dr Raman (Chemistry) participated in the question- answer session. The Vice Chancellor presented a set of university publications to Dr Sidhu. While presenting a vote of thanks.


Education Minister fails to keep appointment
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 16
Infighting among senior Congress leaders cast its shadow in Punjab on silver jubilee celebration function of the Saint Marys Convent school here yesterday. Mr Khushal Behal, Punjab Education Minister who was to preside over the function did not turn up and the programme was cancelled a few minutes before the function.

Students and staff members of the institution who had spent many days for preparations were disappointed.

The parents of students who had reached to witness the show also felt unhappy at the behaviour of the Education Minister Mr Gurdev Singh Badal senior vice president SAD and former Agriculture Minister, Punjab presided the function in the absence of Mr Behal. Students presented items like Bharat Natyam, Ding Dong bells a classical Dance (Pariyon Ki Shehzadi) and Bhangra and Gidda.


Lyallpur Khalsa College tops NAAC evaluation
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 16
The 77-year-old Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, has topped the Grade-A plus list of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), an autonomous body of the University Grants Commission.

The college, one of the oldest in the region, was established in 1926 at Lyallpur in Pakistan after the upgradation of Khalsa School Lyallpur, established by Sant Attar Singh Mastuana in 1908. The college was shifted to Jalandhar in 1948.

The college has 300 teachers, 7140 students and offers 61 courses in different disciplines.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Sukhbir Singh Chatha, Principal of the college, said the college had topped the grade-A plus list by achieving 93.5 marks. “This is the highest that any college has got so far”, he said. 


Plea to declare thermal plant area prohibited
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Vigilance Department has recommended that Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant site in Bathinda district be declared a prohibited place besides police verification of all contract workers working in the plant.

This decision was taken following the recent visit of Board’s Vigilance head Lalit Bhatia to Lehra Mohabbat as well as the Bathinda thermal plant. The visit, part of the annual security review of the thermal plants, it was found that Lehra Mohabbat plant had not been declared a prohibited site. This is essential as the thermal plant falls in the list of installations which are of high risk nature. It said besides this the thermal plant was employing more than 400 persons on contract and that it was essential to get their police verification done.

The Vigilance head has also recommended that both thermal plants adopt common contingency as well as disaster management plan. They have been asked to adopt the contingency plan issued by the Central Industrial Security Force and the disaster management plant adopted by the Central Electricity Authority. Both thermal plants have been asked to modify guidelines on both issues and take the approval of the District Magistrate.

Both plants have also been asked to conduct mock safety exercises and combing operations with the help of the local police. They have also been asked to keep their rescue relief and fire-fighting facilities in a state of high alert.

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