P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Police keeps an eye on human bomb’s kin
Surveillance in Jai Singh Wala village
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 24
Even as the Punjab Police has sounded a red alert in the state after the “daring escape” of three alleged assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh from Burail Jail, Chandigarh, on January 21, a special watch is being kept at Jai Singh Wala village in this district to which the human bomb, Dilawar Singh, who killed Beant Singh and others on August 31, 1995, belonged.

Though the police authorities are tight-lipped about the strategy being followed by them to deal with the situation, information gathered by TNS revealed that policemen in plain clothes have been put on surveillance duty to keep an eye on the movement of kin of Dilawar Singh.

While two paternal uncles of Dilawar Singh, son of an employee of Punjabi University, Patiala, are living in Jai Singh Wala village in the district, his maternal side relatives are living in Panj Garain town in the neighbouring Faridkot district. Harnek Singh, father of Dilawar Singh, was working as Senior Assistant in the Youth Welfare Department of Punjabi University, Patiala. The agricultural land belonging to Harnek Singh was being cultivated by his two brothers in the Jai Singh Wala village.

According to police sources it was being suspected that all three alleged assassins of Beant Singh namely, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bhaura, alias Pammi, and Jagtar Singh Tara, might contact the kin of their old associates to find a safe hideout for some days before executing their next plan. It was because of this that a close watch was being kept on the movements of those who had been directly or indirectly associated with them.

Information revealed that Dilawar Singh had been motivated to become a human bomb by those who masterminded the killing of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, Jagtar Singh Hawara, one of the escapees, had arranged RDX explosive for Dilawar Singh, Paramjit Singh Bhaura, alias Pammi, was involved in converting a simple car into a bullet proof car, which was used in the assassination that took place on the Punjab Secretariat, Chandigarh, premises. Jagtar Singh Tara, who was a motor mechanic, was suspected to be the supplier of car in this conspiracy.

All three alleged assassins of Beant Singh and others, including the then Congress MLA from Pakka Kalan Assembly segment of Bathinda district, Baldev Singh, had been arrested by the Punjab Police and CBI from different places. CBI sleuths had also conducted raids in the Jai Singh Wala village in 1995.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said the police authorities had taken necessary steps to deal with the situation.


Mann for probe by HC judge into jailbreak
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 24
While fearing elimination of absconding alleged assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in a fake encounter, the SAD (Amritsar) yesterday demanded that a sitting High Court judge should be appointed to probe the escape incident.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, the President of SAD (Amritsar) and MP Mr Simranjit Singh Mann alleged that the way the authorities concerned had not allowed the mediapersons and lawyers to enter Burail Jail following the escape of the undertrials, there was suspicion towards a larger conspiracy, which needed to be probed.


DGP reviews R-Day function security
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 24
The police is on full alert in view of the perceived terrorist threat, at the state-level Republic Day function to be held at Ropar. Stringent security arrangements have been made for the function that is to be presided over by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. In view of the escape of the alleged assassins of former Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh from the Burail Jail on Thursday, the Punjab Police is taking no chances regarding the security arrangements for the function to be held at Nehru Stadium.

Today the Punjab DGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, along with the ADGP (Security), Mr R.K. Gupta, reviewed the security arrangements for the function. He was also accompanied by senior police officials of the district.

According to sources entry to the stadium is likely to be restricted. Sniffer dogs are being used to comb the area around the stadium. Ban has also been imposed on carrying mobile phones, briefcases, handbags, pagers and cameras inside the stadium.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain stated in a press note issued here today that the state government would launch ‘Ashirwad Scheme’ in the state on Republic Day. The Chief Minister would give cheques worth Rs 6,100 to eight Scheduled Caste girls from poor families.


Termination of 6 MBBS students stayed
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has stayed the termination of admission of six students of first year MBBS at Dayanand Medical College (DMC) Ludhiana.

The admission of these six students was terminated by the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr Satish Chander, on January 14, after a thorough inquiry that had held that the admissions were ''illegal and fraudulent.'' The Chief Minister on January 20, however, ordered that the termination of the six students be ''kept in abeyance''. He has also ordered that a fresh enquiry be held by the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Mr D.S. Guru, who should submit the report within one month. Ostensibly, all this is believed has been done under bureaucratic pressure.

The Tribune had first reported on January 18 that admission of six MBBS students admitted to DMC had been terminated. Among the students was Gurnoor Channy, daughter of a Punjab bureaucrat. The others affected students were Deepak Garg, Muskan Dogra, Aikaj Jain and Neha Sood. Gurnoor was among the three candidates randomly picked up from what the Chairman of the selection committee, PMET-2003, and Principal, Government Medical College, Dr P.S. Bedi, had termed as the ''waiting list''. The two other names recommended by him from that ''waiting list'' were of Paras Sharma and Deepak Garg.

When the matter was inquired into by the Director, Medical Research and Education, since some students had gone to the court over NRI quota issue, it was revealed that DMC had also admitted three students of its own faculty members under the ''management quota'', though there was no such provision as per the admission rules and norms set by the Supreme Court. The three admitted under the management quota were Muskan Dogra, Aikaj Jain and Neha Sood.

Thus, the Secretary had ordered termination of six admissions and sent a fresh panel of names, based on merit for admission to DMC on January 14. The six students thus recommended for admission were Varinder Joshi, Mohit Shukla, Ankit, Richa Garg, Vivek Bansal and Renu Bala They were to replace six students, whose admission was terminated on January 14.

The parents of the students, who were happy over January 14 order are now upset over the reported bureaucratic manoeuvring, resulting in keeping in abeyance January 14 order as well as a fresh inquiry by Mr Guru. Obviously, upset over this development, some parents and students were contemplating going to the High Court, terming this as ''delay tactics''.

Incidentally, merit-wise, there were 89 students above Gurnoor Channy, when her name was picked up from the so-called ''waiting list''. The Director, Medical Research and Education, had also recorded that there were seven candidates above Paras Sharma and 55 above Deepak Garg.

Interestingly, on the last day of admissions, September 30, 2003, DMC Principal, Dr Daljit Singh, sent a hand-written letter to the Chairman, Selection Committee, Dr Bedi, seeking list of candidates from the ''waiting list'', who had opted for DMC as their first choice in the optional form. he had also mentioned that the September 30 counselling was not possible because of the ''chaotic conditions created by the agitated students and parents''. The college was also unable to fill three management quota seats.

The same day, Dr Bedi sent three names—Paras Sharma, Deepak Garg and Gurnoor Channy. The subject of his letter was ''waiting list for three seats for MBBS course, session, 2003, at DMC, Ludhiana, pending from management quota''.

However, the very next day, October 1, 2003, Dr Bedi wrote to Principal, DMC, saying that information asked and supplied was not for the admission purposes under the management quota.

Nevertheless, DRME had taken cognisance of all aspects related to MBBS admissions, 2003 in his report that he had submitted to the Secretary, who reportedly finally passed the orders on January 14, terminating admission of six MBBS students to DMC, as he could not longer hold back the same. It remains to be seen how Mr Guru interprets the chronology of events, report of DRME and order of the Secretary, Medical Education nd Research.


Guddu asked me to pull down trousers,
Daler tells IG
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24
Pop star Daler Mehndi had reportedly showed four different birth and injury marks for identification purpose to members of the special investigation team (SIT) on October 28, but members of the SIT insisted on showing some other mark. When Daler said he had no other mark to show, a member of the SIT allegedly asked him to pull down his trousers with the retort “we will find the mark we want”.

Sources said Daler Mehndi had given this statement to Zonal Inspector-General of Police Shashi Kant, whom he met yesterday. Daler had met him because the latter wanted to record his statement in the case as an affidavit was to be filed in the case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The IG has been summoned by the court in connection with a PIL filed in the court quoting the incident which was reported in The Tribune on October 29.

Daler told the IG that he had shown controversial cop Shamsher Singh Guddu, who was a member of the SIT, the mole on his right ear for identification purpose, but it was not considered sufficient. Then he showed the officer an injury mark on his left cheek, but it was also rejected. Then he showed a scar on his left leg and also the little finger of his right hand which has become deformed due to an injury.

Daler claimed that all four marks were not considered sufficient for identification purpose by Guddu who kept saying “hor dekhao” (show more marks). “When I said there are no other marks by which I can be identified he told me to pull down my trousers saying ‘we will find the mark we want’, Daler said. The police official then examined his thigh and zeroed on an injury mark. “This was finally noted for the purpose of identifying that I was Daler Mehndi”, the pop singer said.

The IG confirmed that the pop singer had told him that he had been told to take off his trousers despite the fact that he had showed birth marks to members of the SIT which could have sufficed to identify him in the case. When asked whether he had conducted any inquiry into the issue, he said, “I am trying to check facts on my own level, so that I am not taken for a ride”.

Inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu, however, said he was a junior member of the SIT. He said all other members of the SIT were sitting in the same room, including its head SP (City) R.L. Monga. He said Mr Monga had in his statement to the Range IG mentioned that he had asked Daler to show a permanent mark and the singer had himself rolled up his trousers to show the mark. He said Inspector Didar Singh, also a member of the SIT, had in his statement to the IG mentioned that Daler had shown a permanent mark on his leg to the SIT head himself. “Now this issue is being fanned needlessly”, he added.

Mr Shashi Kant also said he was inquiring into the incident of October 27 when Daler was allegedly attacked by a motivated mob which was brought to the scene by the district police. He said Daler had given him details of the case citing how his car had been attacked on the occasion. He said he was specifically looking into the issue to ascertain whether the police had arranged the mob on the occasion and whether food had also been served to the mob by police personnel. The district police had also been asked to file a report in the case, he added.


Police to target complainants in Daler case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24
The Patiala Police has decided not to give any further chance to those complainants who have still not come forward to press their charges against pop singer Daler Mehndi and instead will now approach the court to initiate proceedings against them.

Stating this to mediapersons here today, Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai said only 12 of the original 31 complainants had come forward to press their charges against the singer. He said even these 12 had not submitted any additional evidence against the singer and that their allegations were being verified.

The SSP said as far as other complainants in the case were concerned, the police would start the process of identifying them to verify whether the complainants existed or not. He said once the complainants were located they would be asked as to why they had not come forward to press charges against the singer. He said if the complaints were found to be fake, action would be initiated against them under Section 182 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the SSP has said that Daljit Kaur and Balwinder Kaur, the wives of Daler and Shamsher, have been questioned in the case and they have cooperated with the police during their three to four-day stay in the city. He said the women had been asked to submit some documents, which would be verified. He said he did not think there was need to call the women again to join investigation in the case.


Ravi Sidhu out on bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24
Ousted PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu was released on bail today after 22 months of captivity. After stepping out of the local Central Jail he got into a Maruti - 800 car.

One person had come to take Ravi Sidhu out of the jail complex today evening just before it became dark. Sidhu, who was dressed in a beige jacket and light brown trousers, did not respond to media queries. He said “no comments” and folded his hands in answer to questions from mediapersons.

Earlier in the morning, bail bonds had been filed in Sidhu’s favour at Chandigarh in the Arms Act case. Yesterday Sidhu’s aunts had filed bail bonds of Rs five lakh each in the court of the District and Session Judge here to fulfill the conditions of the Supreme Court bail order in the disproportionate assets case registered against him here.

He was granted bail by the Supreme Court on January 12 but spent 12 more days in jail mostly because he had to garner sureties of Rs 12 lakh in the three cases. His bail was also delayed for a few days due to technical reasons with his sureties not filing proper papers.

ROPAR: The paternal aunts of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu furnished surety bonds for him in the disproportionate assets and trap cases at Ropar court today.

In the court of CJM Ropar, today his aunt Amarjit Kaur furnished the surety bond of Rs 5 lakh in the trap case while both Amarjit Kaur and Narinderpal Kaur furnished surety bonds of Rs 5 lakh each in the disproportionate assets case. The surety bonds were furnished in the form of land owned by Sidhu’s aunts in Mansa district.


Grit, hard work won him Padma Bhushan
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
When Dr Sardara Singh Johl, a noted agricultural economist, failed in his seventh class and could not study for three years after that, he could not have imagined that one day he would be chosen for the prestigious Padma Bhushan award. After suffering such a setback early in his life, his story is an inspiring tale of how sheer determination, grit and hardwork can help overcome all difficulties.

Married while he was in Class IX, Dr Johl too has a woman behind his success. His wife Mohinder Kaur had sold off her jewellery to arrange for his education expenses. And today, this down-to-earth woman, who has remained in the background, is proud of his achievement.

Dr Johl will achieve a unique distinction when he receives the honour on the Republic Day, 52 years after he got the best NCC cadet award , when he had led the first NCC parade on the first Republic Day of the nation. That was incidentally his first award and he never looked back after that as awards kept coming his way.

Talking to The Tribune at his residence today, an elated Dr Johl attributed his success to the support from his family, friends and co-workers. As he sat in the lawn of his house, friends and relatives kept pouring in to congratulate him on his achievement.

“I had never expected that I would be chosen for this award. There was an indication though some days ago, when I came to know that my record was being summoned but I had never thought about it. Then there was a phone call by a scribe in the morning who had read a newspaper carrying his name as the award winner.’’

Dr Johl had then called for the newspaper and since then his phone had not stopped ringing. Thanking the selectors for choosing him for the award, the 76-year-old expert said it was the new method of selection that got him award.

‘‘Despite suffering many failures in life, I was never out. I always hit back and worked hard to the best of my abilities,” he said adding that he had never retired in his life and his hands were full of work even at 76. Recounting the past, Dr Johl said while his work was recognised and he was considered worthy of the Padma Bhushan, he had to suffer setbacks many times in his life. During Indira Gandhi’s regime, his report on power tariff, was censored by the former Prime Minister, though the farmer’s organisations were demanding its implementation.

Dr Johl was born on August 2, 1928, in a farming family in District Lyallpur of Punjab (now in Pakistan). After schooling in his village and small towns, he did his B.Sc (agriculture), M.Sc (agriculture economy), M.A. (Eco), Ph.D (Econ) from Panjab University. His work in agriculture and rural development started in 1952 in hill areas with emphasis on the introduction of improved production technology and watershed management through the construction of 16 water tanks for life saving irrigation.

After working with farmers and rural population for more than eight years in various capacities, he joined the Punjab Agricultural University as Assistant Professor and became Professor and Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology in 1965. Here he developed farm accounts books and motivated the farmers to adopt families as a business enterprise. He has authored seven professional books and more than 200 research papers and articles in journals of repute and one widely acclaimed book in Punjabi, which has been translated into Hindi and published by Punjabi University and into Urdu by Languages Department of Punjab Government.

His outstanding commissioner reports, including Rationalisation of Electricity tariff in Punjab, Diversification of agriculture in Punjab, Structural Adjustments in Cropping Patterns for Growth and productivity in Punjab, Structural Reforms in Agricultural Sector for Productive Growth in India, Resource Generation Consultancy, Contract Research, Incentives and Reward System are his important policy contributions at state and national level.


Excise Department inspects state units
Sales tax evasion worth lakhs detected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In statewide raids, the Excise Department today inspected the business premises of Mini King, a local hosiery manufacturer and detected a sales tax evasion worth lakhs of rupees.

Excise officials claimed that the dealer had suppressed a turnover of Rs 1.25 crore, causing a loss to the state exchequer by evading Rs 5 lakhs as tax. After the inspection the dealer himself deposited a cheque of Rs 10 lakh on the spot to the team. The business premises of Sahib Synthetics and dyeing, G T Road, were also inspected and evasion of tax worth Rs 2 lakh was detected. The tax was recovered by taking cheque of this amount from the dealer on the spot.

Another team led by Mr S. S. Gansi, Mr L. A. Khan, AETCs, detected large number of incriminating documents .This unit was exempted from the payment of tax earlier and its exemption expired on March 31,2002. Even after the expiry of exemption period, the dealer did not pay any tax to the government, though huge sale has been effected by it. The tax evasion amounting to Rs 5 lakh was detected on the spot.

A team of mobile wing led by Mr Tara Singh Tara, AETC, laid anaka near Khanna and seized a truck carrying 200 cases of IMFL being illegally smuggled from Chandigarh. Thee team also inspected the business premises of Narayan Timbers, Jagraon Road, Ludhiana. During the course of inspection, variation in stock of Rs 11.34 lakh came to notice and the dealer surrendered a cheque of Rs 1 lakh on the spot.

Another team led by Mr Kuldip Kumar, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner and Mr P. C. Pyasa, DETC, inspected the business premises of Bharat Oil Mills, Rampura Phool, Messers Kishori Mal Om Parkash and Ganesh Cotton. In the case of Bharat Oil Mills, it was found that for the last six to seven years, a turnover of Rs 35 crore was not shown. The dealer gave a cheque for Rs 10 lakh on the spot. In the remaining two cases, cheques worth Rs 4 lakh were collected on the spot on account of evasion detected.

In Amritsar, a team led by Ms Kanohan Chawla, DETC and Mr Ramjit Singh, AETC inspected the business premises of Krishna Synthetic, Amritsar where huge tax evasion was detected. At Barnala in Sangrur district, Mr K.V.S. Sidhu, AETC, and his staff inspected the business premises of Messers Sansari Lal Vijay Kumar and detected suppressed turnover of Rs 25 lakh. The dealer deposited a cheque for Rs 1 lakh on the spot.

The Joint Director (Enforcement), Mr Avtar Singh and his staff detained vehicles carrying goods worth Rs 5 lakh without proper documents. An amount of Rs 36,000 have been recovered as penalty while remaining goods have been seized, a press note issued by the department said.

Another team led by Mr J .S. Bassi, Joint ETC and Mr I. S. Chahal, AETC, carried out inspections at seven places in Patiala district. The business premises of Messers Patran Foods, Satnam Solvex,Jagdambay Cotspin, Patiala Cotspin and others were inspected Jagdambay Cotspin deposited Rs 50,000 on account of detection of suppressed turnover of Rs 15 lakhs. Patran Foods and Satnam Solvex are exempted units having tax exemption of Rs 5 crore. The exemptions of both these firms are likely to be cancelled due to irregularities detected. In the case of G M Lamination, suppressed turnover of Rs 20 lakh was detected and the dealer deposited Rs 2.5 lakh on the spot by way of cheque.


Shatrujit to contest Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 24
Tikka Raja Shatrujit Singh, a scion of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia founder of the Kapurthala princely state and great grandson of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, will contest the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat on the Shiromani Akali Dal ticket.

Raja Shatrujit Singh on Thursday visited Kapurthala town and held meetings with local Akali leaders, industrialists and prominent residents of the town to ascertain their views. He also visited Jalandhar town along with Mr Raghubir Singh former Transport Minister and president of the Kapurthala district unit of the Akali Jatha and met Akali leaders of the Doaba region.

Raja Shatrujit Singh has already held meetings with Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and son of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the final decision to decide the Akali nominee would be taken by Mr Badal.


BSP open to alliance with Cong or SAD
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 24
The national general secretary of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mr Narender Kashyap, yesterday revealed that the option of forging a political alliance with the Congress or the SAD for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, was open even as talks with both these parties were going on.

We are open to alliance with the Congress or the SAD in the state for the coming Lok Sabha poll and talks with the parties in this regard are going on”, Mr Kashyap told reporters here today while clarifying that SAD would have to break its alliance with the BJP first.

“Infact, our party is strong enough to contest from all seats on its own and the selection process for the candidates is already on in this regard,” he said adding that the final decision regarding political alliance with any of the parties in the state would be taken by party president Ms Mayawati.

He revealed that the party would hold a conference of the party workers at Khanna on January 29 where the party’s strategy for the Lok Sabha elections would be made public. “BSP has emerged as a strong force in the state after the merger of BSP (Ambedkar) led by Mr Devi Das Nahar”.


Johar rules out Cabinet expansion
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 24
There is no need for Cabinet expansion and the Congress is ready for elections. This was stated by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, while talking to this correspondent at Mata Gujri College here yesterday.

He was here on a surprise visit to the college. He was accompanied by Dr Harbans Lal, MLA.

Mr Johar inspected the library register of the college and made queries about the strength of the staff, students, subjects and courses being run in the college. The college staff brought their problems to the notice of the minister.

The minister said it had been passed in the Cabinet meeting that the state government would give 95 per cent grant to privately managed aided colleges and the grant would be sanctioned after a meeting of representatives of various teacher’s associations with the Chief Minister which would be held on February 5.

He said the teachers would submit their demands to the Chief Secretary who would submit the report to the Chief Minister before February 5.

He said Rs 14.40 crore had been issued by the government as the grant for the colleges.

Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha told the minister that the college had applied to the Central Government for the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), for getting the status of autonomous college as well as for excellence college.

He also submitted project report prepared by the college in this regard. The minister assured the staff that he would visit the college again and the state government recommend their cases to the Central Government.


Efforts on to form joint front of minorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The convener of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Rajinder Singh, said today that efforts were being made to form a joint front of various minorities.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting of various Sikh organisations, Mr Rajinder Singh said the minorities were facing a different sort of threats in the country. The main political parties had stopped raising their voice to protect the interests of minorities.

He said that political leaders like Mr Parkash Singh Badal were using the panthic institutions to promote their personal, family interests. He said that the SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, was using the platform of the SGPC to protect “corrupt Akali leaders”.

He said various organisations, which met here today, had expressed no confidence in the leadership of Mr Badal and Mr Tohra. They should be removed from various panthic institutions. He said that there was tremendous enthusiasm among panthic organisations to celebrate various Sikh historic events this year.


Rights body accuses SHO of torturing youth
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 24
The Punjab Human Rights Committee, a non-government organisation has said that SHO of the Talwandi Sabo police station Davinder Attri is guilty of using third-degree methods for torturing a youth of Mohallan village. The youth, Gurpreet Singh, was arrested for his alleged involvement in smuggling of narcotics on January 1.

According to a copy of the report of an inquiry conducted by a panel of the committee, the SHO had picked up Gurpreet Singh and his friend from a place in Bathinda. He then took them to the police station and tortured Gurpreet Singh on the excuse of recovering firearms from him.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, of the committee, said it was found that Gurpreet Singh was tortured at the instance of local Congress leader. Later, a false case was registered against the youth.

On January 2, Gurpreet Singh was taken to the Civil Hospital for a medical examination. He was declared fit by doctors without even properly examining him. He was also taken to the CIA office, where SP (D), interrogated him. Later, the SHO tortured him again. The youth suffered injuries during the process.

He was again taken to the hospital, where the doctor concerned again declared him fit without properly examining him. Thereafter, Gurpreet Singh was remanded in judicial custody.

On the order of a local court, Gurpreet Singh was again examined by Dr K.S. Brar of the local Civil Hospital. Some injuries were found on his body. After the matter became public, the Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, constituted a panel of doctors to re-examine Gurpreet Singh. The report given by the panel was biased, said Mr Gupta.

He said apart from being guilty of torturing Gurpreet Singh, the SHO was also guilty of the contempt of court. He had violated the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against keeping instruments of torture in the police station, he said.

Copies of the report had been sent to various authorities, including the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Chief Minister, for action in the case.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, however, said Gurpreet Singh was a smuggler and he was trying to manipulate things to his advantage. He added he was caught while smuggling opium. He also said the report of medical examination conducted by a panel of doctors of the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, was genuine.

He said to bring the truth to light, he had deputed the SP (City), Mr Nilabh Kishore, for conducting a probe into the incident.


Pak to host Punjabi Lok Boli Mela
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 24
The status of Punjabi, is no better in western Punjab (Pakistan) than in eastern Punjab (India). Concerned over this, some institutions and intellectuals have come forward to promote and spread awareness about the language.

A six-day “Punjabi Lok Boli Mela — 2004” will be organised in Ukara district of Pakistan from February 17. The fair will be held in connection with the International Mother Tongue Day (February 21) declared by UNESCO.

This was disclosed by Mr Shafiq Bhutt, coordinator of the fair, here today. Mr Bhutt is in India to invite various intellectuals and writers to attend the mela. He said the fair would be organised with the joint efforts of various organisations, including the Punjab Lok Sujag, Punjab Lok Boli Sangat, Punjab Lok Raas and Punjabi magazine ‘Pancham’. As many as 500 delegates from both Eastern and Western Punjab and from the UK were expected to participate in the mela.

As many as 14 intellectuals, led by Dr Rama Ratan of Ludhiana Kala Manch, and 56 other intellectuals have been invited to the mela. The coordinator said till now, the International Mother Tongue Day was being organised in hotels, but this time they would organise the fair in the open among people and in a novel way. He said the organisations were planning to make this fair an annual feature.

While giving details Mr Bhut said deliberations would be held on six points, including mother tongue and identity, mother tongue and education, written language, mother tongue and politics, mother tongue and globalisation and diversification of mother tongue. He said Sindhi, Balouchi and Pushto intellectuals who were struggling to save their mother tongue would also be included in the fair. Besides established and famous Punjabi poets from every district of Punjab, short story writers would also take part in the mela.He said a website www.lokpunjabi.org/mela had been launched in which registration forms and other detailed information about the fair had been provided in Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi lipi and English.


MC’s cheque not honoured
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 24
A cheque issued by the local municipal council in compliance with the directions issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to a retired employee has bounced again.

According to information employees of the council had approached the High Court for retirement benefits as the council was avoiding payment to them on superannuation of service. The department of Local Self Government had not been entertaining their representations. Mr Roshan Lal Chhabra, a former octroi employee, had filed CWP 15800/03 in the High Court which issued directions to the council on October 9, 2003. A certified copy of the orders was received by the council on October 24, 2003, but it took two months to issue a cheque dated December 29, 2009 for Rs 3,89,822.

Mr Chhabra said on Thursday that the council had not issued a cheque payable at Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) though the council as well as the employee had account there. Canara Bank had earlier returned the cheque to the OBC with remarks that sufficient funds were not available in the account. Thus Mr Chhabra’s struggle for benefits continues thanks to the mismanagement in the council.


Preneet gives cheques to sarpanches
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, January 24
Denying infighting among Congress leaders, Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP, said the Congress would contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections under one banner.

During a visit to the town, Mrs Preneet Kaur today distributed cheques worth Rs 1.60 crore among sarpanches 105 villages of the subdivision for various development works.

The cheques were distributed under the Model Gram Yojana launched by the Central Government.

Addressing a gathering, Mrs Preneet Kaur alleged that the Akali Dal and BJP had been trying to disrupt the functioning of the Congress led state government. Coming down heavily on the previous Akali government, the M P said the Congress was paying Rs 10 crore daily interest on the loans taken by the previous government. She also announced the construction of a modern stadium over 14 acres in Rajpura and the allotment of booths to rehri vendors here soon. Mrs Preneet Kaur also assured a grant of Rs 6.5 lakh for the construction of a bridge at Buddanpur village.

Those who were present on the occasion included Mr Hardial Singh Kamboj, present, district Congress committee, Mrs Sheelam Sohi, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and other Congress leaders.


Pak Rangers, BSF hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Wagah, January 24
Despite Pakistan’s denying that it had violated international rules by constructing bunkers on its side, there is a thaw in relations between the Sutlej Rangers and the Border Security Force. Senior officers of both forces held a meeting in the BSF’s conference hall, here today to discuss bilateral issues.

The contentious issues like construction of bunkers by Pakistani rangers will now be taken up during the forthcoming meeting between DGPs of the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers. The meeting is scheduled to be held in March.

Pakistani Rangers, however, had been directed to discontinue aggressive postures’ during the Beating the Retreat ceremony, said Mr Sher Zaman Khan, Wing Commander of Sutlej Rangers.

Earlier, officials of both forces had held a meeting on the Pakistan side after a gap of two years. Both sides had decided to resume the simultaneous coordinated patrolling (SCP) along the 533-km Punjab Border.

Mr Sher Zaman Khan said the meeting held on December 20 had resolved many bilateral issues. He said the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers would jointly work to re-locate the border pillars and to curb the menace of smuggling of narcotics and infiltration.


Plea to set up Netaji chair in varsities
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 24
A function was organised by the local Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Foundation on the 107th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose here yesterday.

The gathering urged the Panjab Government to initiate steps to get Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Chair set up in Punjabi Univer-sity, Panjab University and Guru Nanak Dev Univer-sity. The function was presided over by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

In another resolution, the gathering asked the Punjab Government to build Netaji Yadgari Bhavans at all district headquarters in the state and celebrate Netaji’s birth anniversary at the government level every year, besides declaring a public holiday on the day.

Several freedom fighters and members of their families were honoured on the occasion. Those honoured included Mr Mall Singh, Mr Nihal Singh and Mr Pritam Singh.


PSEB staff oppose privatisation move
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 24
The PSEB Employees Joint Forum organised a meeting here today in protest against the state government’s move to privatise the board. The meeting was attended by various government employees’ union of Punjab, the UT Employees Action Committee and farmers’ organisation.

Speaking on the occasion, the secretary of the forum, Mr Karam Chand Bhardwaj, alleged that the state government’s decision to privatise the board was “anti-people”, “anti-employees” and “anti-farmers”.

Members of the forum said they would organise a dharna on February 4 at Chandigarh.

They threatened to intensify their struggle if the state government failed to resolve the issue.

Those who addressed the meeting included Sukhdev Singh, Ranbir Singh Dhillon, Nirmal Singh Dhailwal, Charanjit Singh Walia and Harpal Singh Sidhu.


Electrified rail track to be inaugurated on
January 26

Amritsar, January 24
The inaugural run on the newly electrified rail track will be conducted on Republic Day. The Tata Jammu Express will be given the green light by Union Railways Minister Nitish Kumar.

The trial run between Amritsar and Jalandhar on the electrified track was today given clearance by the Railways Safety Commissioner, Mr G.P. Garg. — OC


125 take part in awareness camp
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 24
One untreated case of tuberculosis (TB) can infect 10 to 15 healthy persons with the disease every year. More than 20 lakh patients of TB are diagnosed every year and around five lakh patients die each year in India.

This was stated by Dr Surinder Singla, Medical Officer, District TB Control Society, at a TB awareness camp organised by the society at Dhuri on Thursday. He apprised people about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of TB under the Revised National TB Control Programme.

Dr Singla said the treatment of TB patients cost around Rs 1,300 crore annually. He said the Union Government had launched the programme with an objective to reduce mortality rate due to TB and to prevent the spread of the disease. He said under the programme, diagnosis and complete treatment of TB was done free of cost.

Dr Vijay Kumar, Nodal Officer, TB Control, Civil Hospital, Dhuri, urged people to motivate others to get themselves examined if they had symptoms like cough, fever for more than three weeks, besides loss of appetite, loss of weight and blood in cough.

Around 125 persons participated in the programme.


7 Punsup officials suspended
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 24
Two managers and five inspectors of Punsup have been placed under suspension in connection with an alleged paddy scam, sources said here today. Those suspended are Mr Atar Chand Bhikhan, district manager, Mr Purshotam Lal, deputy district manager, and Mr Sukhdev Raj, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr Bodh Raj, Mr Mohinder Pal and Mr Subhash Chander, all inspectors. The Tribune had exposed the “scam” last week.

Sources said the Minister for Food and Supplies, Mr Avtar Henry, had taken notice of the media and official reports.


Northern Command honours 90 Army men
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 24
Awards for gallantry and distinguished services were presented to 90 military officers and personnel at an investiture ceremony held at Mamun Cantonment here today.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lieut-Gen Hari Prasad, presented one Yudh Seva Medal, two Bar to Sena Medals (gallantry) 82 Sena Medals (gallantry) and five Vishisht Seva Medals to officers and jawans. Eight Sena Medals were awarded posthumously and were received by the next of kin.

Brig Rajesh Kumar Sharma was awarded Yudh Seva Medal while Lieut Col-Satbir Singh and Nk Dharamvir Singh got Bar to Sena Medal.

The others who got Sena Medal (gallantry) were Maj Madhur Goyal, Maj Devinder Singh Dalal, Maj Prathi Naduvillizheth Prasannan, Maj Vivek Singh Bhandral (posthumous), Maj Ravi Kishore Chauhan, Maj Vallury Nagendra Rao, Maj Tushar Joshi, Maj Gaurav Misra, Capt Prashant Kapoor, Capt Laleet Kumar Mohanty, Capt S. Suneel Reddy. Capt Rakesh Chandra Barthwal, Lieut Navjot Sigh, Asst Comdt Sumer Singh (posthumous), Sub Mithileshwar Kumar Singh, Sub Ghanshyam, Sub Jhaman Bahadur Rana, Nb Sub Baldev Singh Rana, Nb Sub Surjit Singh, Nb Sub Ram Niwas, Nb Sub Som Datt, Nb Sub Sabar Singh, Nb Sub Charan Dass (posthumous), Hav Devendra Singh, Hav Lakhbir Singh, Hav Ramani Kanta Das, Hav Raj Kumar Sharma, Hav Sunil Kumar Gurung, Hav Til Bahadur Thapa, Hav Dal Prasad Pun, Nk Bhagwan Singh (posthumous), Nk Dhani Ram, Nk Malook Singh, Nk Rokade Ramesh Vithal Rao, Nk Santosh Sawant, Nk Sakpal Ashok Shrikrishana, Nk Jai Prakash Singh, Nk Tej Kumar, Nk Surendra Singh, Nk Chaman Lal (posthumous), Nk Surjeet Sharma, L/Nk Sunendra Kumar Sahoo, L/Nk Rajendra Kumar, L/Nk Hoshiyar Chand, L/Nk Chandrakant Raosaheb Ainapure. L/Nk Mohd Salahuddin (posthumous), L/ Nk Ranjit Singh, L/Nk Devraj Singh, L/Nk Randhir Singh, L/Nk Sukhdev Singh, L/Nk Jagdish Singh, Gnr Lokanadham Ganapa, Gnr Pramod Kumar Tha, Gdsmn Darshan Singh, Ptr Kamal Kishore, Sep Kuldip Singh, Sep Yash Paul, Sep Muthu Raja M (posthumous), Sep Janish T.S. (posthumous) Gdr Neelam Singh Tomar, Sep Samudre Santosh Wasudeo, Sep Mane Santosh Ankushrao, Sep Bidhan Mandal, Sep Jaswinder Singh, Sep Sawarn Singh, Rfn Jaya Singh, Rfn Gajendra Singh, Rfn Virendra Singh, Rfn Hoshyar Singh, Sep Jagdish Singh, Sep Vimerha, Sep Raghunath Handsa, Rfn Mohd Rafiq Wani, Rfn Ishaq Ahmed, Rfn Mahinder Singh, Rfn Jham Bahadur Pun Brig Shankar Ranjnan Ghosh, Col Cherish Mathson and Nb Sub Som Bahadur Pun.

Those who were awarded Vishisht Seva Medal were Maj-Gen Ranbir Kumar Chhabra, Brig Sukhdip Singh Bhatia, Brig Susanta Kumar Choudhury, Col Ronald Ashoke Andrew Raj Kumar and Col Babu Joseph.


Army recruitment rally on Feb 1
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 24
An Army recruitment rally will be held from February 1 to February 8 at Dera Baba Nanak area for Mazhabi and Ramdasia Sikhs, a press note issued by the Recruitment Director here yesterday.


Meeting put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said today that the February 1 meeting of the State Executive Committee had been postponed keeping in view the visit of the party President, Mr Venkaiah Naidu, here on that day.


Bul Bul Mehta gets bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24
Property dealer Bul Bul Mehta, who is an accused in the human trafficking case along with pop star Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher besides others, was today granted bail by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa.

Bul Bul had earlier surrendered in the court on January 16 following which he was twice remanded in police custody. He was at present in judicial custody in the case.

The judge, while granting him bail asked him to furnish a local surety or another surety with a Rs 50,000 fixed deposit receipt (FDR). He has also been asked to surrender his passport and ordered not to leave the country.


Principal released on bail

Sangrur, January 24
A local court today ordered the release on bail of Sajjan Singh, former Principal of General Gurnam Singh Public School, charged with severely beating up one of his students.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate G. C. Garg also ordered him to furnish a personal bond for Rs 20,000, failing which he would be remanded in judicial custody till February 7.

Sajjan Singh was booked by the Sangrur police on January 21 for allegedly beating up a Class IX student, Tarun Sharma. According to the FIR, the ligaments of Tarun’s first index finger were damaged due to the beating.

SSP G.S. Dhillon had directed that the FIR be registered after a struggle of over one year by the student. — PTI


BCCL, CCL to provide coal to thermal plants
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24
The BCCL and CCL coal companies have agreed to give additional coal to thermal plants in Punjab to help them tide over the acute coal shortage following a request made yesterday by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to Coal Minister Mamta Bannerjee.

Sources said the Chief Minister had also met Union Railways Minister Nitesh Kumar and requested him to ensure timely transportation of coal to Punjab. The Railways is expected to allocate special rakes for this purpose for the state.

Meanwhile, the PSEB is lobbying hard to ensure the speedy dispatch of coal to Punjab from the coal mines. The movement was delayed earlier as coal was not coming on schedule to the rail heads from the coal mines. While six rakes reached Punjab yesterday, nine rakes are expected today.


DC orders action on use of recycled polythene bags
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 24
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta yesterday at a meeting of representatives of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Municipal Corporation and the senior civil officials directed that action be taken against those making and using polythene bags of less than 20 microns thickness and recycled plastic bags.

He also ordered officials to check that none should use carry-bags made of recycled plastic for storing, carrying, dispensing or packaging of food stuffs. Mr Sandeep Bahl, Environmental Engineer of the PPCCB here, said that they were planning to conduct seminars with the help of non-government organisations (NGOs) to inform public about the health hazards caused by using such bags.


Encroachments removed from forest land
Our Correspondent

Nabha, January 24
Officials of the Forest Range, Nabha have freed 7 hectares (85 bighas) of forestland, which was being illegally cultivated by farmers of Chhaju Bhatt, Bouran Khurd and Bouran Kala villages.

Giving this information, Mr Gagandeep Singh, Forest Range Officer, Nabha said the major encroachments removed were from Irrigation minor at Chhaju Bhat.

Meanwhile the local administration on Thursday removed encroachments from the markets. Hospital road, Bhawara Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar, Old Vegetable Market and Devi Dwala Chowk were cleared of the encroachments.

The SDM, Mr Balraj Singh Sekhon and the DSP, Mr S.S. Boparai led the drive.


Raids conducted on chemist shops
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 24
Intensifying the campaign launched by the district administration against drug abuse and sale of intoxicants, the drug inspector, on the directions of Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today conducted raids on various chemist shops in the district and booked six chemists for violating the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940.

According to a press note, Mr Bhagh Singh, Drug inspector, during raids found various discrepancies at Ashoka Medical Hall, GT Road, Sirhind, Om Medical Hall ,Sirhind, Bhangu Medical Hall Khamano, Kang Medical hall Khamano, Mann Medical Store, Khamano, and City Chemist, Mandi Gobindgarh, and sealed records and various types of medicines. The drug inspector has recommended action against all these chemists.

He said the district administration had launched a campaign against drug addiction and any chemist found selling intoxicants and drugs would not be spared.


Two held, 771 pirated CDs seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 24
The Talwandi Sabo police has arrested two shopkeepers of the same town allegedly keeping and selling fake compact discs.

In a press note here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said that a complaint was filed by Mr Mukesh Sharma alleging that two shopkeepers had been keeping and selling fake CDs.

After a raid of two shops of Bhushan Kumar and Gurdip Singh 771 fake CDs were recovered.

A case in this connection was registered under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 51 of Copy Rights Act 1957 against the accused.


PTU confusion puts students in quandary
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 24
As many as 1400 students of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, face an uncertain future due to the lack of clear instructions to affiliated colleges regarding the promotion rule to be followed for students of the 2001 year batch.

The situation reached a head early this month when students of the 2001 batch in the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, who had appeared for their fifth semester examination were disallowed from attending classes till the declaration of the result.

As many as 130 students of this college are now sitting at home waiting for the results to be declared which can take another month. Only those who pass the first two semesters subjects will be allowed admission to the sixth semester.

Students, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Tribune, that the university for the past three years had been sending contradictory circular to affiliated colleges regarding the 24 credit versus one-five system regulating the promotion of students from one semester to another.

“Our admission brochure clearly said each student should have at least 24 credits in the first year subjects to be able to take admission in the third year or in order to register for the fifth semester a student must pass all the subjects offered in the first semester. The former rule is called the 24 credit rule while the latter is known as the one-five rule,’’ explained a student.

The university in various circulars sent to the colleges in 2001 and 2002, first disallowed the 24 credit option, retaining the one-five rule, then allowed both to the 2001 batch before finally, the university decided to do away with the 24 credit rule.

The affected 1400 students in 19 colleges went on strike following which a committee was constituted that recommended that the students of the 2001 batch who had earned 24 credits in first year be admitted to the fifth semester ‘as one time chance’ only.

The students admitted to the fifth semester following the recommendations of the committee appeared for their examination in December 2003 presuming that the university is following the 24 credit rule for their batch.

But with a notice stating that only those who clear all subjects of the first semester will be allowed admission in the sixth semester was put up in Bhaddal College on January 6, 2004, uncertainty once again gripped the students.

“We are losing attendance and precious college time due to this. No other college from among the 19 colleges affiliated to the PTU who have a 2001 batch are disallowing their students from attending classes,” said a student.

When contacted, Mr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, PTU, stated that the colleges have been asked not to admit the 2001 batch students till they pass all their first semester subjects. “The rule is very clear and there is no confusion. The committee recommendation clearly said that a single chance be given to the students to clear their first semester subjects. This chance has been given during their fifth semester but now all further promotion will be based on the result of the re-appear examination results,” he said.

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