P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



I never sought Dy CM’s post, says Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Thikriwala (Barnala), January 19
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal here today declined to comment over the delay in giving her the Deputy Chief Minister’s post by saying that she could not say anything about it as the decision had been taken by the Congress high command in that regard. She had never made any demand for the post before the party high command, she added.

Ms Bhattal was here to pay tributes to Sardar Sewa Singh, a martyr of the Praja Mandal Movement on his 70th martyrdom day.

Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Environment and Horticulture, Punjab; Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, MLA from Mansa; Mr Bachan Singh Pakho, a former MLA; Mr Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, a former Chairman of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation, also paid tributes to the martyr.

About the inclusion of MLAs belonging to her group into the Council of Ministers at the next expansion, she said there was now no groupism in the Punjab Congress and the expansion would be done under a criterion to be fixed in that regard.

About their demand of removing Capt Amarinder Singh from the post of Chief Minister, she said “We have never revolted against the Congress high command, though it is true that removal of the Chief Minister was our demand at that time”.

She also declared that she was not a candidate for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.

She announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh for the development of Thikriwala village. She asked the officials concerned to start the incomplete projects in the village and that she would inspect the work after a month.

She also criticised the Akalis on various issues.

Mr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa also addressed the gathering. 


Orders reserved in Bhattal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
In less than a fortnight after the state of Punjab sought directions for deferring framing of charges against Deputy Chief Minister (designate) Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved orders in the matter.

At the very onset, counsel for complainant Balwant Singh Dhillon asserted that the veracity of the receipts, allegedly submitted by Ms Bhattal regarding the distribution of money out of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, should be examined by forensic experts at different places. The state had claimed that the receipts had been recently traced.

Counsel added that the stamps on receipts should also be sent to Nasik for examination. Moreover, it was important for the state to give details on the date when the receipts were discovered, along with the name of the officer who found the same.

Relying on newspaper clippings to show that the state was trying to protect her, counsel, in a reply, had earlier asserted that about 20 days back there was no mention about the receipts. Ms Bhattal had simply claimed that the work had been properly executed. She too had made no mention about submitting the receipts.

He added that in any case the receipts could now be used only in defence. Furthermore, Ms Bhattal’s revision petition was not maintainable as the charges had not been framed.

Replying to a court query, the state, on the other hand, answered that six weeks were required for verification of documents. In its application, the state had initially sought directions for deferring the framing of charges in the first information report registered in the matter on May 22, 2001, at Ferozepore “during the pendency of another application for further investigation moved by it.”

Going into the background of the case, the state had claimed that an application was moved by it on December 24 last year requesting the trial court to defer the framing of charges. Liberty to undertake further investigation in the case were also sought.

This, the state had added, was necessitated in view of the fact that a file containing receipts regarding distribution of money out of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund had been traced. Ms Bhattal was the Chief Minister then. The receipts, the state further added, “were lying in a file inadvertently mixed up with another file.”

The investigation regarding the receipts were to be carried out. If the receipts were found to be genuine, it would have a direct bearing on the result of the case, the state had asserted.


Death of youth: SHO booked for ‘torture’
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 19
Arvinder Singh (25), a resident of Kala Bula village, near Sherpur, allegedly died in the custody of Sherpur police yesterday due to alleged ‘torture’ by the police. The police has registered a case against Kulwinder Singh, SHO of Sherpur police station and police party under Sections 302, 323 and 34 of the IPC.

A large number of men and women today staged a demonstration at the Dhuri Civil Hospital against the Sherpur police and raised slogans against it, demanding arrest of the SHO and other policemen. The post mortem examination of the deceased was conducted at the Dhuri Civil Hospital today. Protesting against the police, the shopkeepers of Sherpur town kept their shops shut.

In the FIR lodged by the police, it has been reportedly alleged that the deceased died in the police custody due to torture.

When contacted, Mr Narinder Bhargava, SSP, Barnala police district, said as per the version of the Sherpur police, Arvinder Singh had been called to the police station the previous day in connection with the verification of a car. Arvinder Singh got a fit at the police station and fell down on the ground. He was taken to Sherpur hospital and later to the Dhuri civil hospital, but Arvinder reportedly died on the way to hospital.

The SSP further said there was some information that Arvinder had been “using” his car with black glasses and red light atop the vehicle for “anti-social” and smuggling purposes. The police, therefore, took his car in its possession. During investigation it was found that the engine number of the car had been changed as the engine number mentioned in the registration copy (RC) was different. It was for this reason that Arvinder Singh had been called to the police station for verifying the facts.

The SSP also claimed that as per his information, Arvinder Singh had not been “tortured” at the police station.

On the other hand, hundreds of protesters at the Dhuri Civil Hospital were of the view that Arvinder Singh died due to alleged police torture. So the “guilty” policemen should be arrested immediately.


Sister seeks release of jailed brother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Dr Davinder Kaur, a leading gynaecologist of Ludhiana and sister of Ranjit Singh Gill, currently undergoing life imprisonment for owing conviction in the Lalit Maken case in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, has appealed to all human rights bodies and political leaders to take up her brother’s case and secure his release since he has spent almost half his life under detention until now.

“Although the Akalis mobilised hundreds of supporters to secure the release of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, who were sent to judicial custody by a Ropar court in a corruption case, no one barring a few like Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has bothered to inquire about my brother who is behind bars in Tihar Jail. It seems youngsters like him have been left to their fate,” Dr Davinder Kaur said in a statement issued here today.

“No Akali leader worth his salt has ever bothered about the plight of youngsters like Ranjit. He has already spent 17 years behind bars, including 14 years in American jails. A life convict is usually free after 14 years but with no one to support his cause, Ranjit is languishing in jail and his imprisonment has already exceeded the life term,” she said while appealing to the Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Sheila Dixit, to review Ranjit’s case sympathetically at the remission committee meeting especially because of their mother’s grave illness.

Incidentally, Ranjit Singh Gill’s case is a classic example of an impressionable mind being led astray under unfortunate circumstances. Born on June 22,1961, Ranjit now 43, has spent more than 17 years behind bars. Out of these almost a decade and a half was spent in American prisons, where he along with Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, was interned after being arrested on May 14, 1987 at a New Jersey gas station. Following extradition from the USA, Ranjit Singh Gill was tried and convicted in the Lalit Maken case last year.

Reminisces Dr Davinder Kaur whose husband, Dr Bhupinder Singh, is also a renowned surgeon: “It has been over a decade and a half since I was separated from my brother.

Ranjit was then a 25-year-old bubbling with energy. He cleared his matriculation exam securing 70 per cent marks. As a student of M.Sc. Genetics, he was all set to carve out a brilliant career after topping in the B.Sc examination. He was selected for PhD at Kansas University. As a player he excelled in hockey. Then like countless young men in Punjab who were swayed by religious emotion and rhetoric of political leaders, he left home never to return. Since then, 17 precious years of his life have been wasted behind bars. On his extradition to India, I could only catch a glimpse of him through a wire mesh unlike the privilege extended to Zaffarwal and I was not allowed to go anywhere near. For months, I could not talk to him. He has greyed. The prime of his youth has been lost behind bars. The period of his imprisonment has already exceeded a life term. Will he ever get an opportunity to start life afresh,” she asks in bitter tone.

The family of Ranjit Singh Gill, whose father, Dr Khem Singh Gill, is a former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, has suffered emotionally as well as financially. During his imprisonment in the US transit jail, contact was difficult. For 10 years he did not get to see the sky. The US lawyers, namely Mr Ronald Kuby and Ms Mary Pike, who were defending them, charged as much as $ 4000 per hearing. Ever since his extradition, Ranjit Gill has been lodged in Tihar Jail.


Samjhauta kindles hopes of Hindu marriages
Muslim couple leaves for Pak after nikah
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Attari, January 19
Even as cross-border marriages among Muslims is quite common, the resumption of the Samjhauta Express has also kindled hopes among thousands of Pakistani Hindus to get their children married in India. The minorities in Pakistan, who feel “suffocated” due to their reported persecution, want to send their wards to India permanently.

While Vasimuddin, a resident of Karachi, returned to his country after marrying his Indian cousin, Rubi, at New Delhi, many Hindu parents brought their girls to India through the train to look for a suitable Indian match for them.

Mr Ram Chand, a Sindhi Hindu from Sindh province, reached here along with his daughter, Tina (19), to find a match for her in India. Talking to TNS, Tina said she loved both Pakistan, her motherland, and India — the land of her forefathers. However, her parents want that she should be married in India. Tina’s two brothers, Mahesh Kumar and Jai Kumar, who had come to India in early eighties, have settled in India permanently.

However, half of their family still lives in Pakistan and the plying of the Samjhauta Express has brought cheers on the faces of many Hindu families, too, who had separated following the partition of the country in 1947.

Mr Sunder Dass Nainwani, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, who had returned from Pakistan after meeting his relatives, said that his brothers — Raju Mal and Dula Ram — had also asked him to find a suitable match for their daughters in India. Mr Nainwani said that he had already selected a match for the grand-daughter of his brother, Pushpa Devi, and the marriage could be solemnised anytime. He, however, said that if India gives liberal citizenship, many Hindu girls and boys could opt for getting married here.

He said that after the thaw in the relationship between the two countries, the condition of Hindu temples in Pakistan had improved. Mr Nainwani said that he had taken 16 idols of Hindu gods, which were installed in temples there and unlike in the past, nobody had raised any objection in Pakistan this time.

Meanwhile, the main attraction for mediapersons today was the newly wedded Muslim couple which was leaving for Pakistan after their marriage, in New Delhi. Mr Asamuddin Khan, a resident of Karachi, said that his son, Vasimuddin, had got engaged to Rubi in Karachi in 2000. However, the marriage could not be solemnised due to the snapping of rail, road and air links after the attack on Indian Parliament. Earlier, Mr Asamuddin had come to India about 14 years ago for the marriage of his brother in New Delhi.

The resumption of the train also proved to be a boon for an Indian student from Kashmir, Tajamul, who got admission in the MBBS at Quetta (Pakistan). He said due to the snapping of the transportation links, he could not visit India.

Owning to strict visa restrictions, only 56 passengers could come to India in the Samjhauta Express, while about 180 passengers went to Pakistan. Though the Customs Department made three seizures of “trade goods” which were being taken to Pakistan for business purpose, the customs officials remained courteous to the passengers.


Racial discrimination in UK declines, says NRI
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, January 19
Racial discrimination which was suffered by Indians and other people of Asia origin in Britain has declined and the image of India has changed in Western countries in the past few years. Mr Inder Singh Jamu, first Asian Mayor for Council from London Borought of Barking and Dagenham, England has stated this. He has been selected for the Hind Ratan Award by the NRI Welfare Society of India for his outstanding services, achievements and contributions.

A boy of Nawa Pind village here, Mr Jamu has risen to the level of Mayor for Council of London. From an agriculture inspector to the state civil services, he graduated to be a farm manager. Three years later, he migrated to the UK and later joined “Ford” as quality inspector.

His biggest achievement, he said, was that through his office as chair of Race Equality Council (REC), he was instrumental in getting the letter from the Home Office by which Amritdhari Sikhs could wear the five Ks and all legal cases against Amritdharis on that count were dismissed. He had also persuaded the education authorities to teach Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu to the Asian children.

Mr Jamu became first Asian Governor in Borough in 1980. He said India had proved to be a superpower in information technology and generated a tremendous human resource development in the sector. This had attracted multinational companies and NRIs to invest in India.

He said the people of Asian origin, especially from India, were excelling in every sphere of life in Britain. The Indian children, especially girls, were heading in various activities and getting top positions in examinations. However, he said 80 per cent of Indian children in England were not interested in returning to their native country.

The only drawbacks that India had were rampant corruption, population explosion and illiteracy, which were the main hurdles in the development of the country.

Mr Jamu who is also the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, London East Branch, said elections of MLAs and MPs in India seemed to have become a profession nowadays.

Mr Inder Singh Jamu will be awarded with the Hind Ratan Award on January 26 in New Delhi.


Nambardars to look into NRIs’ problems
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, January 19
The government has issued a notification regarding appointment of nambardars who will look into the problems faced by NRIs. The appointments will be made in all those villages which have at least 20 NRI members. The appointments will be made shortly.

Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the Faridkot District NRI Sabha, said these nambardars would discuss problems faced by NRIs. They would later discuss these issues with the district administration and strive to sort out these on priority basis.

He sought the cooperation of all 1,300 NRIs residing in this district to make the programme a success. He also appealed other NRIs to get their names registered with the sabha by paying a life-time fee of Rs 5,000 so as to avail themselves of various facilities given by the government. A large number of NRIs took part in the meeting.


Punjab may okay toll policy today
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Punjab Council of Ministers’ meeting here tomorrow is expected to announce more tax sops, approve a toll policy for roads and bridges and also clear certain rules to make the Anti-Dowry Act more stringent.

Sources said among the intended tax reliefs was to abolish 8.8 per cent tax on “dhabas”.

The Cabinet sub-committee on fiscal management which met here today has decided that 3,200 km rural link roads be repaired by April 30. For the next year too it drew up a road-map for the strengthening of village link roads.

Immediately after the Council of Ministers’ meeting the state planning board will hold its second meeting.

Sources said Punjab was in a debt-trap with a burden of over Rs 50,000 crore. Yet, the government was likely to borrow Rs 200 crore for payment of old-age and widow pension, implementation of the “ashirwad” scheme and give incentive money to panchayats elected unanimously.

Already, Punjab’s Annual Plan (2003-04) stands reduced from Rs 3,200 crore to Rs 2,822 crore. So severe is the financial crunch that funds released so far were only Rs 664.24 crore, Rs 305.02 crore for the PSEB, Rs 71.70 crore for the Punjab Infrastructure Board, Rs 29.89 crore for the Rural Development Fund and Rs 257.63 crore for other departments.

In view of a low political will to collect higher revenue and check tax evasion, the Annual Plan (2004-05) is pegged at Rs 3,500 crore. Though unwilling to act effectively and still faced with a financial crisis, the Annual Plan (2004-05) will focus on diversification and rejuvenation of agriculture, revival and promotion of industries, welfare of Dalits and delivery of social services, education and health, among others.


Advani’s remarks deplorable, says Cong
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 19
The Human Rights Department of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has termed the statement of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani with regard to the former Prime Minister, Ms Indira Gandhi, as “unethical”.

Talking to reporters here today, the state secretary of the human rights department, Mr Munish Sehgal said that Mr Advani, during a public function at Ludhiana on Sunday, had resorted to such remarks against Ms Gandhi, which were unbecoming on the part of a Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Advani had criticised Ms Gandhi on the issue of imposition of emergency in the country during the function.

He further said though two Punjab ministers, who were present during the function, had showered praise on Mr Advani. Mr Advani chose to criticise Ms Gandhi in a public function, which was highly deplorable.


Pasla gives unity call

Jalandhar, January 19
The Punjab Communist Party Marxist (Pasla) and three other Left parties today appealed to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Lok Bhalai Party to forge a common front in Punjab to defeat both Akali-BJP combine and the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to reporters here, Punjab CPM chief Mangat Ram Pasla said his party and three other Left parties, the Marxist Communist Party of India (Lyalpuri), the CPI (ML) and the Forward Block, had decided to fight out the “communal saffron brigade” (BJP) and its allies and the “anti-people and anti-poor Congress party” in the state. He said his party has decided to contest three Lok Sabha seats — Sangrur, Tarn Taran and Phillaur — in the state. — UNI 


Employees back Walia for Patiala Lok Sabha seat
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
A day after the announcement of the withdrawal of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Gurcharan Singh Tohra as candidate for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat, senior Akali leader and former Member of Parliament Charanjit Singh Walia was today projected as a candidate for the seat, albeit as a candidate of various employee organisations of the state.

Mr Walia announced that various organisations, including the Punjab State Services Federation, PSEB Employees Federation, Punjab Udyog and Beopar Dal and Punjab Kirti Dal, would put him up as a candidate from the Patiala seat.

Sources, however, claimed that the veteran leader was only positioning himself to become a candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Mr Walia had unsuccessfully contested the Dakala Assembly seat on SAD ticket in the last elections.

However, according to sources, former Member of Parliament Prem Singh Chandumajra remained the strongest claimant to the seat.

According to information, Mr Chandumajra has quietly started canvassing for the seat. He is presently concentrating on the Shatrana Assembly constituency where he has a strong vote bank.

Akali sources say even though the SGPC President and Mr Chandumajra are not on the best of terms, it may be difficult for Mr Tohra to refuse the ticket to his one-time protege.

The sources said though SAD President Parkash Singh Badal was likely to ask Mr Tohra to nominate candidate for the Patiala seat, it might be difficult for the veteran leader to ignore the claim of Mr Chandumajra.

The sources said Mr Chandumajra could be ignored only if the party felt the necessity of putting up an outside candidate of eminence against Mrs Preneet Kaur of the Congress.

Mr Chandumajra, on being questioned on the issue, said if Tohra was not fighting, he would fight the elections. He, however, said this would depend on the party high command.

The Akali leader said he felt he was the right candidate because of his past record and the fact that he had won the seat twice. He said he had served the constituency as Cooperative Minister earlier.

Though the SGPC President could not be contacted, his son-in-law and former minister Harmail Singh Tohra said Mr Tohra had announced his candidature for the Patiala seat in the “heat of the moment” during the morcha launched by the SAD following the arrest of the SAD President and his son.

Mr Harmail Singh said the SGPC President would leave the decision regarding the candidature Mr Badal though he was likely to advise the SAD chief on the issue.


Ballia kids beaten up in Navodya school
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Fatehpur Rajputan (Patiala), January 19
The national integration programme entailing the exchange of students among different Navodaya schools seems to have failed as far as the school in this village is concerned with five students of the Navodaya institute at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh being allegedly thrashed by local students.

The students, who were taken to Rajindra Hospital last evening, were taken back to the school after a senior school functionary prevailed upon them to withdraw the medico-legal report (MLR) lodged by them and not insist on the registration of a criminal case. Eight students of the school including four injured, had landed in the hospital yesterday. Three students refused to go back after they were administered medical aid and fled the hospital. While two were rounded up near the Fountain Chowk late last night, another student who had gone to the house of a relative in the city, was brought back this morning.

The school authorities have, as a precautionary measure, lodged all 14 students of the Ballia school in flats meant for the school staff. They are also partaking of food separately. The Assistant Director of the Regional Centre of the Navodaya Schools in Chandigarh, Mr Ashok Sharma, today visited the school and conducted an inquiry about the incident.

Though school Principal S.S. Guraya when questioned about the matter today claimed that the students had quarelled over a trivial issue, the students of Ballia said they had been beaten up not only by their class mates of class XI but also students of senior classes. Javed Mohammad, Abhishek Srivastav, Jaidev, Manjit Singh and Anwar said they had been thrashed due to inimical relations between an earlier batch of students from Ballia and local students.

Javed claimed they were being discriminated against ever since they had come to the school. He said they had reported some incidents to their house masters but it did not have the desired effect. “An excuse was made yesterday to thrash us”, he said adding that this was done by a large number of students in front of some teachers. Other students wanted to say more on the matter but they were pacified by administrative staff on the occasion.

The Principal said the students had made certain complaints to their head masters and that these had been addressed to immediately. He said even yesterday the quarrel ended quickly after teachers intervened. The school authorities were in the process of brokering a compromise which, he said, was likely to be reached soon.

When questioned whether any action had been taken against students who were accused of beating the Ballia school students, Mr Guraya said this was not required as the issue was being solved amicably. He said as far as the issue of animosity between students of the Ballia school and the local school was concerned, he would write to the authorities concerned to end the exchange programme with the Ballia school. “We can start an exchange programme with another school”, he said, adding that the students of Ballia would be sent back when their one-year tenure ended in March. “Sending the students now would cause a problem because 20 students from our school are at present studying for a year in Ballia”, he added.

Meanwhile Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, Parneet Shergill also visited the school and took stock of the situation. The students of the Ballia school have also been offered police security in case they feel insecure. 


Daler, Shamsher’s wives questioned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
The wives of pop singer Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Mehndi today joined investigation in the human trafficking case registered against their husbands, one day before they were to be declared proclaimed offenders in the case.

Both Daljit Kaur, wife of Daler Mehndi, and Balwinder Kaur, wife of Shamsher, joined the investigation in the evening today. They were questioned for more than two hours by Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai and other senior police officials at the Sadar police station before being let off late in the evening.

SSP Rai stated that both had claimed that they could prove that they were nowhere near the said village under the Julkan police station where they were alleged to have received payments from the complainants in the case. He said the two had also produced certain documents which were being verified.

Meanwhile, the police officer disclosed that despite being re-issued notices the complainants in the human trafficking case were refusing to show up before the police. He said only eight to nine of the around 30 complainants have presented themselves before the police till now. He said even these had not been able to present any additional evidence.

As far as the other complainants are concerned, SSP Rai said some of the complainants were from Gurdaspur and Kapurthala districts. He said in case they did not show up then their addresses would be verified and investigation started to ascertain whether their complaint was genuine or not.

Speaking on the issue of Bul Bul Mehta, he said there was no question of persuading him to become an approver in the case. He said the police felt that he was one of the main accused and there was no question of making him an approver. 


Punjab asked to check dengue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has asked the government of Punjab to take effective measures to check the recurrence of dengue fever in the state which reported a total of 836 cases, 13 of them fatal, in the year 2003.

“Now again we are in the month of January, 2004, and after a month or so, these mosquitoes will start breeding again...and rule the urban and suburban areas of the state till September”, observed Justice R.L. Anand and Mr B.C.Rajput, members of the PHRC, in a seven-page order.

The commission said that the objective of the whole exercise was to make the society disease-free so that the span of life and expectancy of life might increase. As per Section 2(d) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, any violation of life, liberty, equality and dignity of an individual as guaranteed by the Constitution of India was prima facie violation of human rights and, as such, it came within the jursidiction of the commission to entertain the issue. It had, therefore, taken up three complaints from different sections of society regarding the problem of dengue fever.

The commission said that according to information supplied to it, there were 836 confirmed cases of dengue fever, 13 of them fatal during 2003. The district-wise breakup of the dengue fever cases was: Ludhiana 656, Gurdaspur 57, Jalandhar 41, Amritsar 38.

A stitch in time saves nine’ is a wellknown maxim”, said the commission in order. “To take steps when the disease is at the doorstep is not an effective approach. Preventive measures are more effective and the state should grasp the gravity of the situation immediately on receipt of this order so that this problem may be nipped in the bud in the incoming months of February and March, 2004”.

The commission said that blood separator machines should be provided at all hospitals of the state because it helped a lot in diagnosing not only dengue but also several other diseases. An effort should be made by the Director, Health Services, for allocating the machines in various hospitals after obtaining the necesary sanction from the government. The commission also called upon the sanitation department of the local authorities to gear up and try to ensure the sanitation aspect, especially in the slum areas of Ludhiana and in other districts where the people have less knowledge about the sanitary conditions.

Lastly, a concerted effort was required on the part of the citizens of the state to see that this problem of dengue fever did not recur.


CM urged to probe graft charges against Trust officials
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 19
Members of the Green Avenue and Jhujar Singh Nagar Welfare Society, Bathinda, have accused the local Improvement Trust authorities of violating all norms for sanctioning its “45.57 acres scheme”. They have urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for a high-level probe into the corruption charges against a section of its officials.

In a press note issued here today, the members alleged that while sanctioning the “45.57 acres scheme”, the Improvement Trust authorities had neither issued the required two notices to the occupants of those dwellings which fell under the land being acquired for the scheme nor was any official of the Land Acquisition Department present on the day when the award for the acquisition of land for the scheme was announced on January 16. This was despite the fact that the presence of such official in the local Improvement Trust office on that day was mandatory.

They pointed out that residents of Green Avenue and Jhujar Singh Nagar kept waiting for the Land Acquisition Official in the local Improvement Trust office on January 16 but he did not turn up and all formalities were completed from the office of the Collector of Land Acquisition, Ludhiana. They alleged that to further complete the formalities, the authorities concerned had issued bogus notices to the occupants of various dwellings from Ludhiana.

They added that they had constructed their dwellings on different pieces of land on which the Improvement Trust authorities had sanctioned the scheme by violating all norms after getting the site plans sanctioned by the local municipal corporations. Besides, the Municipal Corporation had also made arrangements for streets, drains and streetlights for them in their area.


3 development boards recast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
With a view of regulating development of the historic towns of Fatehgarh Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib and Talwandi Sabo, the Punjab Government today reconstituted their respective development boards under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, an official press note said.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP of Ropar, and Mr Harbans Lal, MLA, would be the non-official members of the Fatehgarh Sahib Development Board. Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Bhag Singh, ex-MLA from Anandpur Sahib, and Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu and Mr Rana K.P. Singh, MLA, would be the non-official members of the Chamkaur Sahib Development Board.

The non-official members of the Talwandi Sabo Development Board would be Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, MLA, and Mr H.S. Jassi, Chairman of Markfed.

Besides, who prominent persons of the area would be nominated by the Chief Minister to these development boards.

The official members of the boards will include the Principal Secretary, Local Bodies; the Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development; the Chief Administrator, PUDA; the Chief Engineer, PWD (PH), Patiala; the Chief Architect, and the Chief Town Planner.

The Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Bathinda will be member-secretaries of these boards. 


Scuffle at Talhan gurdwara panel meeting
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 19
The managing committee of Gurdwara Shahid Baba Nihal Singh at Talhan village terminated the membership of five “outsiders” following a brawl between two groups of residents on the gurdwara premises here today.

Earlier, the two groups, led by Bhupinder Singh, member of the committee, and Gurnam Singh, a former president of the committee, exchanged heated arguments on the issue of holding fresh elections to the committee on the basis of a tradition to elect new committee members every year on “Maghi”.

Agitated members and residents allegedly exchanged blows causing panic among the villagers. The SDM and senior police officials reached the spot and controlled the situation.

Later, a joint meeting was held in the presence of senior civil and police officials to effect a compromise. It was decided to allow continuation of the present managing committee for one year, while the membership of five members, who belonged to nearby villages and were appointed in May last year, was terminated with immediate effect. The compromise formula further stated that these five vacant seats would be filled from among the residents of Talhan village only.

As regards managing the offerings, which run into lakhs every month, it was decided a permanent chartered accountant to maintain proper accounts. Meanwhile, the administration has appealed to the residents to maintain peace and communal harmony in the village.


SGPC direction to employees may kick up row
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 19
The decision of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to get the official quarters vacated from those employees who fail to disown their “patit” (apostate) children is likely to cause a flutter. The decision assumes significance as general elections to the SGPC are round the corner.

The “Sikh Sangat” had been demanding action against those SGPC employees whose children keep shorn hair or trim their beards.

There are certain employees, including senior officials, who failed to implement the maryada” (Sikh traditions) in their families. Talking to TNS after a meeting, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC, said that a recommendation would also be sent to the Shiromani Akali Dal to allocate the party ticket for the coming SGPC elections to those who take pledge along with their family members before Akal Takht to observe the maryada in toto.

In yet another decision, the SGPC executive decided to regularise the services of Giani Tarlochan Singh as Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib. Jathedar Tarlochan Singh had been officiating as Jathedar since the sacking of his predecessor, Prof Manjit Singh.

The meeting also decided to terminate the services of Mr Harbeant Singh, the suspended secretary of the SGPC, as it found that the certificate on which he had got the job in the Shiromani Committee was fake. The photocopy of his certificate had failed to convince the SGPC in this regard. Mr Calcutta, however, said that the SGPC executive had authorised its President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, to release his gratuity on the condition that he would withdraw the case from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The meeting has also given a clean chit for the installation of a water-treatment plant for the Golden Temple.


Calendar to be released on January 22
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
The new Nanakshahi Calendar will be released by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on January 22 at Akal Takht. The calendar is published by Dharam Prachar Committee of the SGPC.


Safai karamcharis meet officials
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
Member of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, Mr Ganga Ram Teja, today held a meeting with officials of various departments of the administration at the District Red Cross Bhavan here today.

The meeting was held to study and evaluate the welfare works being done for the upliftment of safai karamcharis.

Mr Teja urged the officials to implement various schemes being undertaken by the Central Government for the welfare of safai karamcharis so that they could raise their standard of living.

He further emphasised the need to make education complusory for the children of safai karamcharis. Besides, he urged for providing technical training to children above 15 years of age so that they could get dignified jobs in future.

He further said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had allocated and released nearly Rs 712.14 crore to various states and Union Territories during year 2002-03 for the implementation of national scheme for liberation and rehabilitation of scavengers.

Mr Teja said besides this, the Central Government had also released Rs 277 crore as loan and Rs 245 crore as subsidy under the integrated low-cost sanitation scheme and converted nearly 7,15,933 units of dry latrines into wet latrines. In addition to this, stringent laws had also been passed stipulating that no new construction would be allowed without any wet latrine.

Six UTs and seven states including Andaman and Nicobar Island, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman, Lakshdweep, Pondicherry, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura have declared themselves as scavenger-free states and UTs.

Meanwhile, the Planning Commission has also drawn up a National Action Plan for the eradication of manual scavenging by 2007 in consultation with the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and other concerned departments and the same is under implementated through the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation.

The government is also running a pre-matric scholarship scheme under which scholarship to the children of scavengers of dry latrines, sweepers to pursue pre-matric education.

Mr Teja also appealed to the officials of various nagar councils to organise regular medical check up camps for safai karmacharis.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, Commissioner Municipal Corporation, Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu, SP (City) R.L Monga, and SDMs of various sub-divisions were also present on the occasion. 


Sukhbir revisits Patiala jail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Singh Badal today revisited the Patiala Central Jail in which he had been kept for 10 days after being challaned in a case involving possession of disproportionate assets.

The Rajya Sabha member had come to meet a manager of his father-in-law who is lodged in the jail.

Asked how he felt at revisiting the jail where he had been incarcerated, the Akali leader. “We have completed the jail yatra. Now it is the turn of the Raja” (Capt Amarinder Singh).

He also said the party was ready for a poll understanding with any party ready to stand on an anti Congress plank.

He said talks had been held with various parties in this regard. 


Seminar on effects of drugs
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 19
The Generation Saviour Association of Mohali organised a seminar and a drawing competition at Mata Sundri Public School today with an aim to make society free from tobacco. Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, inaugurated the seminar.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Shiv Kumar said: “It is a matter of concern that the young generation is getting addicted to drugs”. He appreciated the efforts of the association in taking initiative in this regard. He donated Rs 5,000 to the association and assured all cooperation from his department in organising seminars in the other parts of the district.

Ms Amteshwar Kaur, president of the association, highlighted various steps taken by her organisation to prevent the younger generation from taking drugs, particularly tobacco. She said the association had also organised similar seminars at Patiala, Ropar, Mohali and Dyal Pura.

A documentary film, “Sapath”, was also screened. Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, ADC, and Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Principal, also addressed the gathering.


Preneet reviews development work
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
The Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, held a meeting of all 37 Congress councillors here today and asked them to list the development works which were required to be carried out in their wards.

Mrs Preneet Kaur met the councillors as well as the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, the Municipal Commissioner, Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu, and other officers of the corporation at the PWD guest house here.

The MP asked the councillors to list the development works which had been done in their respective constituency. The corporation authorities were directed to start necessary work at the earliest. Sources said this exercise had been undertaken to ensure that development work was not affected in case of early announcement of Lok Sabha elections.


PUDA told to pay 2 lakh as compensation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 19
The district consumer forum has directed PUDA to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to Mr Gursharan Singh Gill of Ludhiana for not allotting him a plot for the past seven years.

Mr Gursharan Singh in his complaint had said Ms Anita Gupta had applied for a plot in the Mohali urban estate in 1969 along with the earnest money. Her application was accepted but the allotment did not come through because of the frequent changes in the allotment policy.

In 1992, the department of housing and urban development was merged with the Punjab housing and development board. The erstwhile Punjab Housing Board framed a policy and allowed the old applicants to transfer their pending applications to third persons on the payment of Re 1 per sq yard as transfer fee.

Ms Anita Gupta applied to the Estate officer, Punjab Housing Development Board, for the transfer of the application to his name and deposited Rs 200 as transfer fee. She also submitted an affidavit attested by the magistrate(First Class) confirming the transfer of the application.

However, the application remained pending and in June 1995, the Punjab Housing Development Board was PUDA was constituted. PUDA decided to allot plots to the pending eligible applicants who had paid and deposited the earnest money at the rate of Rs 1,200 per sq yard.

However, the list of eligible applicants declared later neither included the name of the complainant or Ms Anita Gupta. Some original applicants whose names were not included approached the Punjab and Haryana high court and the court in its interim order directed PUDA to include their names.

Following this, PUDA formed a screening committee to examine the genuineness of the transfer applications. A notice was issued to original applicants to appear in person before the committee. Ms Gupta could not appear before the panel and submitted an affidavit to the committee in this regard. The committee did not take cognizance of the affidavit and rejected the application.

The complainant said the plot should be allotted to him at the rates prevailing in 1994, besides Rs 3 lakh as enhancement in construction cost and Rs 25,000 as compensation.

The PUDA authorities had in their reply before the forum maintained that Ms Sharma had not appeared before the committee despite repeated communications to her through post and newspaper notices due to which her request for the transfer of plot was rejected.

The forum held PUDA guilty of dereliction in services and directed it to transfer the application in the name of the complainant and allot the plot at the rate of Rs1,400 per sq yard. PUDA was directed to pay Rs 2 lakh as composite compensation and Rs 2,500 as litigation costs to the complainant.


Plea to revise salary of bank officers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
A meeting of the All-India Punjab National Bank Officers Association was held here today. As many as 300 members of the association took part.

Addressing the gathering, the president of the association, Mr P.K. Nayyar, said the government should not interfere in the working of the bank.

He said there should be operational autonomy and the issue of salary revision for the employees, which had been pending since November 2002, should be taken up.

The zonal secretary of Punjab National Bank, Mr Rajeev Puri, said bank officers were reluctant to take credit decisions and the credit off-take had slowed down.

General Manager of Punjab National Bank U.S. Bhargava and general secretary of the association K.D. Khera also spoke.


7-day national integration camp opens

Patiala, January 19
The first All-India National Integration Camp — 2004 organised by Sri Guru Teg Bahadur National Integration Chair at Punjabi University was inaugurated by the local MP Preneet Kaur, here today.

As many as 300 students from various parts of the country are attending the seven-day camp. The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Sawarn Singh Boparai, welcomed the delegates.

The former Commissioner, Linguistic Minorities in India, Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol, stated that national integration had occupied a central position in every country. OC


Federation assails govt’s ‘anti-employee’ policies
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
A joint meeting of the state working committee of the Punjab State Services Federation, the PSEB Employees Federation and the Punjab Kirti Kisan Mazdoor Dal was held here today.

The meeting was presided over by the President of the Federation, Mr Charanjit Singh Walia. The members of the federation condemned the state government for its ‘anti-employees’ and ‘anti-people’ policies. They demanded promotional scale for all Punjab Government employees of all cadres in all departments.

They condemned the state government move to privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board and the transfer of administration control of seven departments to panchayats. The members decided to further intensify the agitation and organise flag marches in all Assembly constituencies throughout Punjab from January 21 to February 10.

The federation further decided to join the strike call of February 24 in solidarity with the Central Government and other state government employees against the impending danger of withdrawing the right to strike, contributory pension scheme, privatisation and globalisation.


Student’s father threatens staff
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 19
Teachers of APJ Public School staged a dharna outside the institution at Mundi Kharar, near here, today demanding action against a student’s father who allegedly threatened certain staff members. The teachers demanded that the student should also be removed from the school.

Mr Jasvir Chander, Principal told Chandigarh Tribune that two students of Class VIII had a fight on the school premises on January 15 in which one of them sustained a head injury.

The teacher concerned had sent a written note in the school diaries of both students to call parents to school the next day. When the students came to school on January 16, without their parents accompanying them, they were sent back.

He said after some time the student, who had injured the other one, came along with his mother who refused to admit that her son was at fault. After some time the father of the student also came to school, allegedly armed with a gun. It is alleged that he started threatening the teachers with dire consquences for turning his child back from school. He, too, defended the activities of his son and refused to apologise for threatening the school teachers.

Mr Chander said the staff members were feeling insecure because of the incident. A complaint to the Ropar SSP and the Kharar DSP was made in this regard.

He said the SSP had assured him that the weapon, which was used to threaten the teachers, would be confiscated and the licence cancelled. 


Nehra probe panel begins work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The one-man Commission of Inquiry into $ 1,00,000 transactions, allegedly linking Punjab Chief Minister’s son, Raninder Singh, with an organisation, Punjab Intranet, has started its work at the state government’s mini secretariat here.

The Punjab Government, on January 2, had appointed the Commission, headed by Justice B.S. Nehra of the Punjab and Haryana High court “to inquire into the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations” levelled against Capt Amarinder Singh’s son in a media report regarding “Curious transactions in the name of Punjab Intranet”.

Vigilance Department’s joint secretary, Prithi Chand, was appointed the Commission’s secretary on January 17 and he was preoccupied drafting a public notice today, government sources said.

The public notice will seek information from people regarding the alleged ‘hawala’ (non-banking) transactions by Punjab Intranet.


Governor to unfurl flag at Patiala

Chandigarh, January19
The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma ( retd), will unfurl the National Flag at Patiala, and not Amritsar, on Republic Day. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, will unfurl the flag at Amritsar instead of Patiala, according to an official spokesman.

Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, Minister of State for Jails, Housing and Urban Development, will unfurl the flag at Nawanshahr instead of Samrala. — TNS


MLA seeks action against MD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, an independent MLA from Dirba, has been awaiting reply from the government about action taken on his complaint against Mr Ashok Kumar Goel, Managing Director of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation.

Mr Dhiman said today that he made a written complaint against Mr Goel a few months ago. The matter was also brought to the notice of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who assured to look into the matter.

In the complaint addressed to the Minister for Rural Development, Panchayats and Agriculture, Mr Dhiman had stated that Mr Goel misbehaved with him when he visited his office for some official work. The MLA said he had revealed his identity to Mr Goel.

On the other hand, Mr Goel denied having misbehaved with the MLA at all. 


HPCL move to check LPG pilferage
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 19
The Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), in its bid to check the practice of pilferage of gas, today launched a weight-checking programme of LPG cylinders in the district.

Speaking on the occasion Senior Regional Manager, Mr R.K. Goyal, said that all the deliverymen would carry a stamped and calibrated weighing scale. The cylinder would be weighed in the presence of customer and delivered only if found to be containing 14.2 kg of gas, he said.

He further said that “Rasoi ghar” another initiative, was aimed at promoting use of LPG for cooking by the people residing in villages and slums. “We have launched 5-kg gas cylinder for providing LPG connection in far away places in hilly and tribal areas,” he said.


Club property attached over PF
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
The provident fund authorities have attached the property of the Service Club in the historic Ram Bagh with police assistance as the club has not paid the PF dues to its employees.

This was disclosed in a press release issued by Mr Ajay Kumar Mehra, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, here today. He said the club had not paid dues amounting to Rs 6.14 lakh to employees even after a number of reminders being issued to the club.

He informed that 635 establishment had not paid their dues amounting to Rs 230.96 lakh. He warned the defaulter establishments of strict action under the EPF and MP Act, 1952.


Baba Darshan Singh chooses son as successor
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
Baba Darshan ‘Bir Sahib Waley’ chose his son, Baba Santokh Singh, as his successor for undertaking ‘kar sevas’ at gurdwaras, at a function at Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib, 16 km from here.

The institution of ‘kar seva’ was started by Baba Kharak Singh about seven decades ago. Baba Santokh Singh’s ‘taj poshi’ was attended by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Charan Singh, Giani Gurbachan Singh, Giani Jagtar Singh. Panches and sarpanches of various villages were also present.


Principal issued show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Taking serious view of prima facie false and misleading statement made by the Principal of Moga-based D.M. College, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked him to show cause why a criminal case should not be registered against him. The directions were issued on a petition filed by a college student initially accused of cheating in examinations, but later found innocent.

The Principal had informed the court that the student’s Sanskrit paper was cancelled following the adoption of unfair means of cheating in the examinations. The student, on the other hand, had asserted that he had been given a clean chit after an inquiry was conducted in the matter.

Pronouncing the directions in an open court, a Division Bench, headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, also issued notice to Principal S.K. Uppal to show cause why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act should not be initiated against him.

In his petition, the student, Vivek Aggarwal of Moga, had earlier sought directions to Panjab University and the college to issue him the roll number for sitting in the examinations for final year of graduation in arts.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had asserted that roll number for examination to be held in April, 2003, was not issued to him despite the deposition of required examination fee.

It was added in the written statement filed by the college that Mr Aggarwal’s Sanskrit paper was cancelled by the college authorities after taking a lenient view. However, their advocate stated before the court that there was no order or record available with the college to establish the cancellation of paper.

After going through the documents and hearing arguments in the case, the Judges ruled: “This, prima facie, shows that the averments in the written statement were misleading and false.


2 get life term for murder
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 19
Mr S.S. Gupta, Sessions Judge of Kapurthala, today convicted Harsh Kumar and Gulshan Kumar, alias Binder Kumar, all residents of Mohalla Kurla, Railway Road Sultanpur Lodhi, under Section 302 of the IPC on the charge of killing Jaswant Kaur, their neighbour.

Mr Gupta sentenced the convicts to imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs 2,000 each and in default of fine, a further imprisonment of one month each.

Mr Gupta acquitted Rajinder Kumar, Urmila and Sonia, giving them the benefit of the doubt.


PSEB told to compensate farmers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 19
In a relief to the farmers, the District Consumer Forum, Ropar, has set aside the orders of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) penalising owners of tubewells for extra load.

The orders were passed on the complaint of Mewa Singh, a resident of Burjwala village, near Ropar. The complainant had alleged that he had tubewell connection for the past 35 years. The motor installed on the computer was initially of 5 BHP that was later enhanced to 7.5 BHP.

However, the PSEB on July 29, last year, issued a letter to him demanding Rs 2,500 as load surcharge, alleging that he had been using a load of 10 BHP. He alleged that the notice issued to him was illegal and should be withdrawn.

The PSEB authorities in their reply filed maintained that his connection was checked by the meter inspector on July 21, who found that motor was of 10 BHP. The complainant was issued a notice with a direction to remove excess load and submit a test report. However, he did not respond and another notice was issued to him for the recovery of Rs 12,000 which included Rs 10,000 on account of service connection charges and Rs 2000 for regularisation of load.

Taking into consideration similar complaints from other farmers, the forum appointed a PSEB engineer as local commissioner to verify the load of the complainants. The local commissioner in its report to the forum assessed that load on the tubewells of the farmers as normal and within the sanctioned limits. On the report of the commissioner, the forum comprising the president, Mr J.P. Gupta, and a member, Mr S.K. Bhatia, ordered the PSEB to withdraw the notices issued to the complainants, pay a compensation of Rs 1,000 and cost of litigation quantified at Rs 1,500 to each farmer.


Admn complex not given to PWD

Hoshiarpur, January 19
PUDA has not so far handed over the District Administrative Complex, built along the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road, though its construction has been completed since long.

The administration has got it constructed through PUDA at a cost of Rs 28 crore to house 22 government departments, which are currently located in and around the city. The complex has been constructed in an area of 59 kanal. It has 180 rooms.

According to sources, Era Construction India Limited, New Delhi, which constructed the complex, had informed PUDA on December 31, 2003, about the completion of construction. But the PUDA authorities have not so far taken steps to hand over the complex to the PWD (B&R). The district administration is keen on getting the control of the complex after which it will arrange to get it inaugurated from the Chief Minister. — OC


Man, wife held for abandoning baby
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 19
The Hoshiarpur district police has claimed to have solved a case regarding a newborn baby which was abandoned in a garbage dump here about five-six months ago.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said here this afternoon that he had constituted a team to investigate the matter. A case in this regard was registered on November 12, 2003, under Section 317, IPC.

It maybe noted that a newborn baby was found at a garbage dump at the local Mohalla Premgarh. The police took the baby to the Civil Hospital and after providing it treatment there, it was handed over to an orphanage home at Jalandhar. He said that the CIA staff had succeeded in tracing out the mother and father of the baby. Neelam and her husband Jagdish, alias Hanuman, a resident of the Jagatpura Mohalla here, had thrown the baby in a garbage dump. They already have three children. He said that both husband and wife had been arrested.


2 jail inmates beat up another
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 19
Two inmates of the local Central Jail, Om Parkash, alias Hitler, and his son, Manoj Kumar, allegedly beat up another inmate, Narsi Ram yesterday. They have been booked under Sections 308, 323, 506 and 134 of the IPC.

The father-son duo is lodged in the jail in connection with a criminal case registered against them in Haryana. They are residents of Chotala village.

The duo used a blunt weapon to beat up Narsi Ram following a dispute that arose while they were taking food. Narsi Ram was taken to the Civil Hospital for a medical examination.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, Superintendent of the jail, said the victim and the accused were lodged in the same barrack. Now, the accused and victim had been put into separate barracks, he added.

Om Parkash and Manoj Kumar had been facing trial in a murder case, registered against them at the Dabwali police station (Sirsa district).

The case, which was pending in a Sirsa court, was transferred to the Bathinda court by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the petition of Om Parkash.

Narsi Ram had been facing a trial in a case of smuggling of narcotics.


College teachers observe two-period strike
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, January 19
Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), including those belonging to local Guru Nanak College, observed a two-period strike here today. The strike was in protest against the state government’s alleged failure in honouring the poll promises of maintaining the grant-in-aid at 95 per cent and implementing pension, gratuity provisions. The protesters sat in dharnas and held rallies.

A delegation of the protesters, led by former district president of the PCCTU Jasbir Singh Johal, met Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann in this regard. Members of the delegation urged him to prevail, upon the Chief Minister to honour poll promises. The minister promised to take up the matter with the Chief Minister. He also assured to raise the issue in the Cabinet meeting.

The protesters would again observe a two-period strike tomorrow. They would take mass casual leave on January 21 and gather at Chandigarh outside the office of the DPI (C) for marching to Matka Chowk, where seven office-bearers of the union would court arrest, they said.

BATALA: Teachers of all four degree colleges here observed a two-period strike on Monday.

The step was taken in response to a call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU).

Prof Kuljinder Singh, president of the S.L. Bawa DAV College Teachers Union, a unit of the PCCTU, said they would also observe a two-period strike on Tuesday in support of their demands.

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