P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Human trafficking: special cell to help in probe
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
In less than a month after the Punjab Police gave a clean chit to Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi in an alleged human-trafficking case, the state of Punjab is setting up specialised cells at the headquarters level to ensure the non-implication of innocents and guide the investigating agency in the matter.

Claiming to be serious about tackling the menace of exploiting unemployed rural youth, the state has already issued a circular to Senior Superintendents of Police for “creating awareness and identifying unscrupulous persons””.

Appearing before Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab’s Deputy Advocate-General Mansur Ali informed the court that the cells would constantly organise meetings and guide the investigating agency, besides redressing the grievances of innocent persons implicated in false cases. The feed back would be used to issue further guidelines from time to time.

The High Court had earlier ruled that a “case study should be undertaken by the government to identify the dimensions of the crime”. The court had further ruled that the study was to be carried with “the object of finalising preventive measures required to effectively control the menace”.

Taking a serious note of the cases, the court had also ruled: “It is expected that the study would be carried out after collecting the necessary data in such a manner as may appear to be necessary.... The studies already carried out will also be taken into consideration”.

The directions assumed significance as several cases of human trafficking, some allegedly involving theatre and film artistes, had surfaced recently.

This was not all. Way back in 1996 the nation woke up from slumber only to be told that a tragedy had occurred on the shores of Malta.

About 290 innocent youths had lost their lives in a ship wreck. A majority of them were Indians trying to immigrate on the “basis of assurances by persons indulging in illegal manpower export”.

The court had also asked the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Chandigarh Administration, to look after the “interests of poor prospective non-resident Indians, rather than confining their concern to those well-settled migrants who have already made a fortune abroad, so as to avoid a repetition of the Malta boat tragedy”.

The authorities could explore the feasibility of using the print, audio or electronic media for educating the masses about the pitfalls, the court had suggested.

It was added that the authorities should also consider the advisability of taking steps for educating the masses after consulting the Ministries of External Affairs and Labour.

The court had added that the possibility should also be explored to prevent middlemen from making unwarranted profits by regulating the recruitment and letting everyone know about the demands sent by different countries for skilled and unskilled labour.


IG report indicts 3 cops in Daler case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 7
Outgoing Patiala Zone Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shashi Kant has indicted three police officers on charges of forcing popstar Daler Mehndi to pull down his pants for the purpose of identification.

Mr Shashi Kant has conducted an inquiry into the case as his office was to submit an affidavit on February 19 on the incident to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. According to the allegation, Daler was forced to remove his trousers on October 28.

According to sources, Mr Shashi Kant wrapped up the report before relinquishing charge as the Patiala Zonal IG. The report has been conveyed to the Range DIG as well as the Patiala SSP.

The sources said the report has held Inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu, Inspector Didar Singh and then SHO, Julkan, responsible for forcing Daler to take off his trousers.

Meanwhile the IG has also noted in his report that the Patiala Police has stage managed the protest against Daler when he had come to Patiala for the first time to undergo questioning in Sadar Police Station. The report also admits that the district police also facilitated the movement of the “protesters” to Sadar Police Station. However, the report falls short of indicting any police officer in the case.


Another reshuffle in Punjab police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Punjab Government in yet another reshuffle in the Police Department modified the transfer orders of some of the officers shifted on February 5, besides giving fresh postings to four IPS, nine PPS and 54 Deputy Superintendents today.

Under the modified orders, Mr S.K. Sharma will also hold the additional charge of IGP, Security. The transfer orders of Mr Suresh Arora, Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon, Mr Harinder Pal Singh Kang, and Mr Jaspal Singh Dhanoa have been cancelled.

Mr S.S. Saini, IGP, Economic Offences and Special Operations, will work under the ADGP, Crime.

Mr Rajinder Singh will also look after the work of the Vigilance Bureau as entrusted by the ADGP-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau.

Mr P.M.Das has been relieved of the additional charge of IGP, GRP, Patiala.

Mr S. Chattopadhaya has been posted as Inspector General-cum-Director, Vigilance Bureau.

Mr R.P. Meena has now been asked to take over as DIG (Administration) of an India Reserve Battalion at Patiala, while Mr Paramjit Singh Saraon, a brother of the Punjab Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, becomes DIG, Jalandhar Range.

Mr Gurinderpal Singh Grewal, who had deposed in the Badals case, has been named the new DIG of Faridkot Range.

Mr Devinder Singh has been made Superintendent of Police, Special Bureau in the CID.

Mr Varinder Kumar becomes Assistant Inspector-General, Welfare and Litigation. Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh goes as Commandant, 13th Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP). Mr Harminderpal Singh will be the new Commandant of 2nd Commando Battalion. The new SP (Detective) of Nawanshahr will be Mr Amarjit Singh. Mr Dharam Singh has been shifted as SP(Detective), Batala. Mr Paramdeep Singh becomes SP (Detective) at Gurdaspur. Mr Tejinder Singh goes as SP, Special Wing.

Mr Jaskirat Singh has been posted in the Vigilance Bureau as an SP, while Mr Vivek Mehra goes as Assistant Commandant of 82nd PAP Battalion. Mr Iqbal Singh becomes SP, Government Railway Police, Patiala.

Among the Deputy Superintendents shifted are Olympian Pargat Singh who goes to Sardulgarh from Jalandhar PAP. Other international sportsmen shifted are Mr Sajjan Singh Cheema (Hoshiarpur), Mr Paramdeep Singh Teja (Tarn Taran) and Mr Amrik Singh Powar (Amritsar).


DGP for improving image of police
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, February 7
Dr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General Punjab Police, laid the foundation stone of ‘Community Policing Resource Centre’ and launched ‘Umeed’ — an NGO for providing voluntary service to women, youth and children here today. Addressing the gathering, Dr Siddiqui, said that in a society the police was necessary evil and philosophy behind Community Policing and ‘Umeed’ was to bridge the gap between public and the police to improve image of the police. People’s faith in the police would be developed by mobilising community and its involvement in policing. Environment of ‘Trust’ instead of ‘Terror’ regarding the police in public eye, would be built said he seeking people’s cooperation for community policing.

Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commis-sioner, and Mr Dinkar Gupta, DIG, Jalandhar Range, stressed the involvement of NGOs for better coordination between the police and public for amicable settlement of matrimonial disputes, combating drug addiction and counselling and career guidance to the youth.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, Commandant 4th Battalion who started the “Umeed” — a helpline for women in Hoshiarpur district during her tenure as SSP there, while sharing her experiences said that coordination between people and police was must for community policing.

Ms Gurpreet Gill, a social activist and CEO, ‘Umeed’, who had worked with Ms Gurpreet Deo in Hoshiarpur district, said she had experienced gradual transformation in the attitude of the police.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Soond, MLA, Banga, stressed training for police officials especially SHOs for changing their attitude for the success of ‘Community Policing’. He demanded a ‘Liaison office’ at Amritsar Airport to ameliorate sufferings of the NRIs at the hands of Customs Officials.

Mr Parkash Singh, local MLA stressed the need of eradicating ‘middlemen’ between the police and public to build confidence of public in policing. Mr M.F. Farooqui, SSP, said that ‘Umeed’ would act as an agency to assist the police in providing a sensitive and caring service to crime victims and amicable solution of the family and social problems.


Many in race for Cong ticket for Ferozepore seat
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 7
Dates for Lok Sabha elections are yet to announced. Many Congressmen, including sitting and former MPs and MLAs are keen on contesting from this Lok Sabha seat.

Several Congressmen have started seeking blessings of central leaders for getting party ticket to contest.

Congress candidates have won this seat a number of times. Mr Zora Singh Mann, sitting MP of the SAD has already started his campaign and has been visiting 10 to 20 villages everyday.

Prominent ones who have been making efforts to get party nod for contesting from this seat include Mr Balram Jakhar, who shifted to Rajasthan during the heyday of militancy in Punjab and contested Lok Sabha elections a number of times from that state and Mr Hans Raj Joshan, MLA, Jalalabad, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha election against SAD (B) candidate Zora Singh Mann.

Apart from it, Mr Jagmeet Brar, known as “Awaj-e-Punjab” and defeated Mr Sukhbir Badal from Faridkot Lok Sabha seat in the last election, had also been trying to shift to Ferozepore seat. However, PPCC President H. S. Hanspal had declared several times that Mr Brar would contest from Faridkot as he Mr Brar was the only candidate who could give tough fight to Badals.

The names of former Congress Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, former DGP M.S. Bhullar were also being discussed for this seat in the next Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, MLA, Guru Harsahai and political Secretary to Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, was also a strong contender for party ticket for Ferozepore seat.

Mr Jaspinder Singh Jakhar, former member, Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and son-in-law of senior congress leader, Mr Umrao Singh had also announced his intension to contest from Ferozepore in case the party high command gave this seat to the BSP after an alliance between the Congress and the BSP was reached.

A senior Congress leader pointed out that a large number of aspirants for party ticket from Ferozepore might damage prospects of the Congress man be allotted this seat in case there was no alliance with the BSP.

Meanwhile, party sources said party high command was thinking of fielding Mr Surinder Singla, MLA, Bathinda, from Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat. A senior functionary of Indian Railways had been making efforts to get party ticket for Bathinda seat.



Ambika’s name recommended from Hoshiarpur

Chandigarh, February 7
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, who was a member of the 13th Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur, is the surprise omission from the list of 38 Congress contenders for 13 seats from Punjab which had been recommended by the party’s district units to the AICC for selection of candidates for the coming General Election.

In his place, the district Congress committees of Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Ropar, in which the Hoshiarpur constituency falls, have recommended the candidature of Ms Ambika Soni, an AICC general secretary.

Barring Mr Channi, all remaining seven members of the Lower House, dissolved yesterday, have been recommended for candidature by the DCCs concerned as per the list procured by UNI. They are Mr R.L. Bhatia from Amritsar, Mr Balbir Singh from Jalandhar, Mrs Santosh Choudhary from Phillaur(reserve), Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo from Ropar (reserve), Ms Preneet Kaur, wife of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, from Patiala, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib from Ludhiana, and Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar from Faridkot.

The Congress had eight MPs, the Shiromani Akali Dal two and the BJP, the CPI and the Akali Dal(Amritsar) one each from Punjab in the dissolved House. The Bathinda (reserve) constituency had fallen vacant a month before the dissolution of the House with the death of Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura of the CPI last month. Minister of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna was the lone BJP member from Punjab (Gurdaspur constituency), while Sangrur was represented in the House by Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann. Ferozepore and Tarn Taran were held by the Badal-led SAD’s Zora Singh Mann and Tarlochan Singh Tur, respectively.

Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh will be in New Delhi next week to discuss the list of 38 contenders from Punjab with the party high command, party sources said here. Following is the constituency-wise list of those recommended.

Gurdaspur: Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, four-time MP and former Union Minister, and Rajya Sabha MP Ashwini Kumar.

Amritsar: Mr R.L. Bhatia, Mr O.P. Soni, Independent-turned-Congress MLA and Major Rajbir Singh Ajnala (retd).

Tarn Taran: Amritsar DCC (Rural) president Inderjit Singh Basarke, Mr Bhagwant Singh Jhabal and Mr Surinder Raj Singh Lalli.

Jalandhar: Mr Balbir Singh.

Phillaur (Reserve): Mrs Santosh Choudhary.

Hoshiarpur: Mrs Ambika soni.

Ropar (Reserve): Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

Patiala: Ms Preneet Kaur.

Ludhiana: PPCC president H.S. Hanspal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, and Mr Darshan Singh Brar.

Sangrur: Mr Arvind Khanna, MLA, Mr Jasbir Singh, Punjab Agro chairman, PPCC Vice-President and Cola king Kewal Singh Dhillon and PPCC General Secretary Ram Pal Dhapai.

Bathinda (Reserve): Mr Gurjant Singh, MLA, Mr Kewal Singh, former MP, Mr Jasmail Singh Nathana, former MLA, Mr Mangal Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh Mulewal and Mr Jagat Singh Jagri.

Faridkot: Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former CM, and his daughter Babli Brar, a PPCC general secretary, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Badal and Mrs Gurmeet Singh Khudian.

Ferozepore: Mr Balram Jakhar, former Speaker, Lok Sabha, Mr Hans Raj Josan and Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, both Parliamentary Secretaries, and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, MLA and political secretary to CM. — UNI


Clash of exam, poll dates feared
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
There are apprehensions regarding the clash of dates of the annual examinations and the election to the Lok Sabha. The elections are expected to be held between mid-April and mid-May, when nearly one crore undergraduate and post-graduate students will be taking their exams.

Though the ‘’preparedness’’ of the states for the Parliamentary polls were discussed by the Election Commission in New Delhi on February 4, the issue of the examination dates was not on the agenda.

The Punjab election office, sources said, had collected examination date-sheets from all universities as well as the School Education Board. A perusal of these date-sheets revealed that while Board examinations commence on February 20, the university exams begin from April 1 and will continue till the end of May.

As the elections will also coincide with wheat harvesting that begins by the second week of April, the Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had all along demanded that the elections should be held after the harvest season, as farmers, who form the bulk of voters, would be busy.

The sources said while the Election Commission would hold a meeting with the Union Home Ministry to discuss the deployment of paramilitary security forces and take into account the number of days required for the movement of men and material, the examination aspect was not likely to be given that much importance. Across the country, about one crore students, both undergraduate and post-graduate, will appear for various examinations. They are spread across 13,500-odd colleges affiliated to about 350 universities. They are potential voters. In fact, youth, it is estimated, constituted nearly 54 per cent of the total population in the country.

According to Prof Charanjit Chawla, Senator, Panjab University, students were conveyed the annual exam schedule at the time of admission. Any change now could possibly create problems. The academic session commences from July 1, every year, almost all over the country. If the elections were to interrupt the examination schedules, it will have a cascading effect and may infringe upon the UGC guidelines that the number of mandatory study days must be at least 100 in a year. There were chances of this mandatory provision going haywire.

A quick look at the examination schedules already announced by various universities showed that Panjab University exams commence on April 2 and will last till the second week of May; Punjabi University’s from April 1 to May 25; Guru Nanak Dev University’s from March 31 to May-end; Punjab Agricultural University from May 30 to the third week of the July and school board exams from February 20 to April 8.

Taking into consideration the examination schedule and wheat harvesting operations, Punjab would prefer a one-day poll. The Chief Electoral Officer, Mr G.S. Cheema, told The Tribune today that of the 1.20 lakh-odd election duty staff that would be required for the conduct of the polls, teachers would constitute nearly 75 per cent of the total strength. Their availability was important.

On the preparedness of the state for the elections, Mr Cheema said the final draft electoral rolls were ready. These showed that the total electorate numbered about 1, 65, 68,709 at present. This figure was as on January 20.

The entire polling would be through the electronic voting machines (EVM). The state had more than 20,000 of these.


Foetus found on garbage dump; doctor held
Tribune News Service

Rampura, February 7
A foetus, which was about 14 weeks old, and had been allegedly thrown by a woman doctor after carrying out an illegal abortion, was recovered by a joint team of the local police and officials of the Civil Hospital from a garbage dump located near the level crossing on the Bathinda-Ambala rail section here this morning.

Following the recovery of the foetus, hundreds of residents, assembled in front of the Garg Maternity Centre, being run by Dr Laxmi Garg. They demanded the arrested of the doctor.

After the registration of a case, Dr Laxmi Garg along with an employee, identified as Champa, was arrested by the police. The case was registered under Sections 315, 318 and 34 of the IPC. The police officials had been making efforts to trace the patient who had undergone illegal abortion.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, and Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Sub-Divisional officer, Rampura Phul, who visited the spot, said that the ultrasound machine and other relevant records in the hospital had been sealed.

Dr Goyal pointed out that if the foetus was found to be female, proceedings would also be initiated under the PNDT Act. He said the maternity centre was not authorised to carry out the termination of pregnancy.

A complaint lodged to the police said that the foetus was thrown on the garbage dump by Champa, who was working in the maternity centre. Immediately after it was thrown, the foetus was picked up by a pig but some persons, who were present near the garbage dump, managed to retrieve it.

Police sources said that apart from the foetus, placenta and other equipment used in the “induced” abortion were also recovered from the site. The foetus was sent to the Civil Hospital.

Dr Garg, when contacted, denied all allegations, saying that some vested interests were trying to defame her by levelling false allegations against her. She added that two normal deliveries had taken place in her hospital today and Champa had only thrown placenta of those deliveries on the garbage dump where the foetus was already lying.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, said an investigation had been launched, into the matter.


Pak writer recalls horror of Partition
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, February 7
“I had to beg for seven years, lift cow dung and graze cattle for a living along with Nawab Bibi, a woman who had lost her family and took him with her near Jammu after the bloodshed of the partition in 1947” , said Mr Amin Malik, a British citizen and noted Punjabi writer from Pakistan who visited his native Gujranwali village near Ajnala here for the first time after 56 years and witnessed the partition holocaust.

In an interview Mr Amin recalled days of partition. He said he was just five years old when partition ruined everything on both sides of border. My mother sent me across he Ravi river to save me from bloodshed where he met Nawab Bibi.

Mr Malik, a mechanical engineer, who also taught at Walton Training College Lahore rued inferiority complex amongst the people now-a-day for speaking in their mother tongue was hurting Punjabi language. He said the people had started considering Punjabi as the language of the illiterate people. He said the people who were ignoring the Punjabi language were not true Punjabis. It was like cheating own mother. He said the new generation was turning its back on their mother tongue.

The noted Punjabi writer said, “I have not learnt Punjabi culture. I have lived it my entire life. He said I did not have the technique of writing and nobody had taught me. He said “I used to write from my heart. He added, “For me my mother was my university and my inspiration who knew old age ‘Kalams’ which she used to sing early morning after offering her daily Namaz. He said if anybody wanted to know Punjabi culture he should visit far-flung villages where it was still alive.

Mr Malik said even after living in London, I could not forget my motherland. I get peace only in the lap of my motherland. He broke into tears while visiting his native village which had only ruined houses in place of their houses. He is die-hard fan of Mukesh and great Urdu Indian poet ‘Sahir Ludhianavi’. He said he used to listen Mukesh before writing any story.

Ms Rani Malik, wife of Mr Malik was also with her. Ms Rani herself is also a good poet and writer. Amongst the noted writings of Mr Malik include ‘Boulde Athru’, ‘Main Hanju Kehri Akh Da’ and ‘Gungi’. Mr Malik has started two novels for the first time. Mr Malik said he had lived the pain of partition in his works. Another significant feature of his stories is that his book contained both Shahmukhi (persian) script and Gurmukhi script. Half of the book is printed in Gurmukhi script and another half is in Shahmukhi script.


Expelled SAD leaders meet
Tribune News Service

Dirba (Sangrur), February 7
In a show of strength by expelled Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, including Mr Gurbachan Singh “Bachi”, a former chairman of Punjab Cooperative Bank, Mr Teja Singh, Kamalpur, Chairman of Malwa Milk Plant, and Mr Kaur Singh Mauran, an SGPC member, an impressive gathering was organised at Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib here today.

All these expelled SAD leaders are said to be supporters of Secretary-General of the SAD and Union Cabinet Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. They were expelled by the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during the February 2003 Assembly elections for allegedly opposing the SAD candidate from Dirba, Mr Baldev Singh Mann. However, the expelled leaders claimed that they had been got expelled by Mr Baldev Singh Mann under a “conspiracy” by misleading Mr Badal. They now claimed that the top SAD leadership had approached Mr “Bachi” to join the SAD alongwith his group.


Low worker turnout has Sukhbir fuming

Patiala, February 7
The low worker turnout at a district-level meeting organised at Dukhniwaran Gurdwara here in preparation for the February 16 Youth Akali Dal rally at Ludhiana had Rajya Sabha Member Sukhbir Badal fuming today.

There were not even 200 workers present for the rally at the gurdwara though a number of leaders, including Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and legislators Surjit Singh Rakhra and Nirmal Singh Shatrana, were present.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said the youth wing was in the process of being dissolved. TNS


CRPF gets Best Battalion trophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Central Reserve Police Force’s 89th Battalion based at Ferozepore has been declared the Best Operational Battalion for the year 2003. The trophy was received by its commandant, Mr S.S. Sandhu, from the Additional Director General, North-West Zone, Mr Kanwal Jeet Singh, at a function organised here today.

During the year, the battalion had faced various challenges, being deployed with the Army during Operation Parakram, tackling Left Wing extremism and taking up security duties during the recent elections and the Republic Day.

Lauding the performance of the battalion while addressing officers and men present at the occasion, the Additional DG said in the present circumstances it is not only professional excellence but conducting operations with dignity and honouring human rights that matters.

The Deputy DIG, Jalandhar Range, Mr Balwant Singh, the Deputy DIG, Chandigarh Range, Mr Adhir Sharma, and a number of senior CRPF officers were also present on the occasion.


Jail guards call off strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The Punjab Jail Guards Association today called off its strike following a meeting with Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Punjab Minister for Jails. Reports of suspension of more jail guards and striking employees turning violent in Borstal Jail here were also received.

The association said the strike had been suspended till February 16 when it would meet the Jails Minister on the demands.

Mr Birmi earlier told reporters that there was no intention to discontinue the patra system. He said he had directed all Jail Superintendents to register FIRs against striking employees. He said he had ordered re-starting of the ‘patra’ system in jails for better security.

Jail Guards Association president Sunder Singh Laddewali, general secretary Dilbagh Singh and vice-president Gurdev Singh Bal claimed in the evening that they just had a meeting with Mr Birmi on the issue. Nearly 100 jail guards in different jails of the state have been suspended in the past few days for opposing the ‘patra’ system.

There was tension in Borstal jail here today afternoon when a few striking jail guards turned violent and burnt a board and some ‘patras’ to protest against the new system.


Suptd of juvenile jail suspended
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 7
The Punjab Government has suspended the Superintendent of the local Juvenile Jail, Ms Harinder Kaur, with immediate effect due to her failure to perform duties effectively. In a fax message received by the district administration, the government has assigned the job to the District Social Security Officer, Faridkot, till suitable arrangements are made in this regard.

According to sources, the state government has initiated the step due to her reported failure in handling the situation arising following the sending of seven Pakistani boys to the Tihar Jail in New Delhi on February 3 without consulting the state higher authorities. The boys were sent back by the Tihar Jail authorities with the directions to settle the matter at the state-level. The Punjab Government had also received complaints from Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, regarding her frequent absenting from duties during the former’s visits to the jail to examine the working conditions there.


Capt lays stone of sewerage scheme

Fazilka, February 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh laid down the foundation stone of Rs 203 lakh sewerage scheme at the Civil Lines and Nai Abadi localities across the railway line here this afternoon. He also laid the foundation stone of a Rs 106 lakh sewerage treatment plant on outskirts of the town.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, the MP from Faridkot, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, PPCC, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Irrigation Minister, Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, a state minister, Mr Hans Raj Josan and Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, both Parliamentary Secretaries, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Political Secretary, Mr Sunil Jakhar and Mr Parkash Singh Bhatti, both MLAs and Mr Rajinder Kumar Rinwa, Chairman, Zila Parishad, Ferozepore. At the local M.R. Government College stadium, the Chief Minister trieds to woo the poor voters. — OC

Review decision on amendment, CM urged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab, said today that the consequences of the implementing the 85th amendment of the Constitution in the state would be serious. Reacting to the Chief Minister’s statement that the amendment would be implemented soon, the federation said the CM should review his decision.

Under the amendment, the reservation in the promotions for reserved categories of employees had been protected. The President of the state unit of the federation, Mr Shyam Lal Sharma, said it would be great injustice with the general category employees to post junior employees of reserve categories above them by giving promotions to them under the reservation formula.


Bhinder on stone-laying spree
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 7
Congress leader Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, accompanied by Mr Gurbachan Singh Babehali, DCC president, Mr Sharwan Kumar, the president of the local Municipal Council, Mr Sham Behal, general secretary, PPCC, laid the foundation stones of renovated Shimla Park, Shaheed Samarak, Balmiki Park and Guru Ravi Dass Chowk and a tubewell at Saili today.’

She also addressed a public meeting.

Mr Ashok Sharma the local MLA and Chairman of the PTDC, office-bearers of the local Congress committee and Mr Rajbir Singh, Chairman of the local Improvement Trust opted to boycott the functions of Mrs Bhinder and organised a function at the court complex here. Mr Sharma handed over a cheque for Rs 1.5 lakh to Mr S.S. Rana, the president of the lawyers’ body, for development.


Johl inaugurates Science Congress
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 7
“With a single stroke of setting up processing units near 2000-2500 hectares of vegetables and fruits farms, the economy of agriculture sector could take a huge leap forward.” This was one of the recommendations in a presentation made by Dr S.S. Johl, vice-chairman, Punjab Planning Board, to the state government to boost agro economy in Punjab. Dr Johl, a Padam Bhushan recipient and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, inaugurated the seventh Punjab Science Congress at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Dr Johl presented fellowships on behalf of the Punjab science academy to Dr H.S. Hans (Physics), Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh (Agriculture Science) Prof Manohar Lal Sharma (Life Science) and Dr Prabodh K Sehjpal (Bio-Medical) for their commendable contribution in their respective fields.


DGP orders probe against SHO
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 7
The Director General of Punjab Police (DGP) has directed the Patiala police to take departmental action against a former Station House Officer (SHO), Dera Bassi, for not performing his duty, besides directing to cancel a first information report (FIR) against the president of Zirakpur Nagara Panchayat.

The DGP has also directed the police to arrest a property dealer, an accused in this case, who reportedly was being favoured by the SHO. The DGP has issued the directions following an inquiry conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Special Staff, Crime Wing, Patiala.

Taking a serious view of a complaint filed by Mr Narinder Kumar, Sharma, president of Zirakpur Nagara Panchayat, to the Principal Secretary of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the commission had requested the Crime Branch to conduct an inquiry into the case.

In his complaint, Mr Sharma had sought commission’s intervention in a criminal case falsely registered against him by Tajinder Singh, the then SHO, Dera Bassi, while shielding Satinder Singh Dhaliwal, a property dealer, who along with SI Rattan Singh and certain other accomplices allegedly attacked him on September 9 night.

The assailants and villagers also fired in the air for over 15 minutes.

In his report, the DSP, Crime Wing, listed that it was observed that Tajinder Singh misused his powers and took a hasty step by sending SI Rattan Chand to Mr Sharma’s residence at midnight.

Mr Sharma represented 15,000 residents of the area and the police had no reason to raid his house at midnight. It could have enquired about the incident the next day.

The DGP directed the police to cancel FIR No. 235 registered on September 9, 2003, under Sections 452, 323, 506, 427 and 120-B of the IPC and arrest the accused against whom FIR No. 236 was registered under Sections 452, 336, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on September 10, 2003.

The police has also been asked to submit a challan in the court in this regard.



High-level probe against Poolha sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
While demanding a high-level inquiry into the allegations against self-proclaimed chief of the Nihang Tarna Dal, Ajit Singh Poolha, the chairman of the Poolha Eviction Committee, Col G.S. Sandhu (retd) today said the list of crimes by Poolha was increasing by the day.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Colonel Sandhu said though the police was cooperating with the committee, only a high-level inquiry by a senior officer in the Crime Branch at Amritsar could hasten the process of law since the places where Poohla allegedly committed crimes were spread all over Tarn Taran, Majitha, Amritsar, Batala and Gurdaspur.

Colonel Sandhu, who belongs to Pahuwind village, said due to the efforts of his team of ex-servicemen, the fear in the minds of the public was diminishing and people are coming forward with details of the cases of murder, dacoity, abduction and looting allegedly committed by Poolha and his henchmen.

Stating that the government had withdrawn security cover to Poolha, he added that raids had also been conducted to nab him. He was suspected to be hiding in one of the gurdwaras in Rajasthan.

Accusing Poolha of land grabbing, Colonel Sandhu said he owned or had occupied the premises of 10 gurdwaras, shopping complexes and associated land and accommodation, covering a total of over 200 acres. He was also allegedly in possession of numerous vehicles and scores of unlicensed arms.


Voter cards to be made from Feb 9

Barnala, February 7
The second round of preparing voters’ photo identity cards for Barnala, Dhanaula and Bhadaur Assembly constituencies will begin from February 9.

Mr Jora Singh Thind, SDM, Barnala, urged those voters who had  not got their photo identity cards made to get these made.

Mr Thind said in the Barnala assembly constituency (No. 83), the identity cards would be made from February 9 to 11, in Bhadaur (No. 84) from February 11 to 13 and in Dhanaula (No. 85) from February 14 to 15.— OC 


Patiala slums, Lower Mall to get street lights
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 7
Slum areas, Lower Mall and other areas here are set to get much-needed toilet blocks and street lights with the sanctioning of Rs 4 crore to the Municipal Corporation by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Disclosing this here, Municipal Corporation Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu said it had been decided to install five toilet blocks in the city to improve sanitation conditions. He said these would be installed at the Arya Samaj chowk, the Rajindra Hospital, Sher-i-Punjab Market, Tripri, the Anardana chowk and the Model town, near Tagore Theatre. He said Rs 18 lakh had been provided for this purpose. The Commissioner said side by side it had also been decided to wall up all the garbage dumps in the city and also create new dumping sites.

The Commissioner said as far as street lights were concerned, the corporation had decided to cover all 37 slum areas which were without any street lights. He said 1,678 street lights would be installed in the slum areas at a cost of Rs 47 lakh with the project being inaugurated by Patiala PM Preneet Kaur formally today. He said besides this, it had been decided to install more street lights on Mall Road.

Mr Sidhu said a long stretch from the Fountain Chowk to the NIS chowk and Samania Gate, from Mohindra College to Machli Talab to Sirhindi Gate via Maiji di Saran, from Maiji di Saran to Shamsham Ghat bridge to Rajpura get street lights. He said street lights would also be installed on the main road in the factory area.

It was also disclosed that water lines (172 km) would be laid at the cost of Rs 5.50 to provide potable water in all localities within the corporation area. Mr Sidhu said work on 30 tubewells at a cost of Rs 3 crore had already started with 23 tubewells already being installed. He said site selection for nine overhead tanks with a capacity of one lakh gallons each had been done and the work on them would start shortly.

He said Rs 3 crore would be spent on improving, strengthening and reconstructing roads in the city. He said major roads, including road stretch from Railway Crossing number 21 to 22, the Anandpuri Ashram road and Thikriwala-Badungar, Sheranwala Gate-Anardana Chowk and Sanjay Nagar to Transport are stretches were being widened.


4 killed as car, bus collide
Tribune News Service

Buladewala (Bathinda), February 7
Four residents of this village died in an accident on the Bathinda-Gidderbaha road last evening.

All four died on the spot when their Maruti car coming from Gidderbaha was hit by a bus. Two of them were panchayat members. The news shocked the villagers.

The four were identified as Balbir Singh, Gurdev Singh, Bachhitar Singh and Harpal Singh. The accident took place near Dera Lung. Bodies were taken out from the car with difficulty. The driver of the bus fled the scene.

Men and women were wailing and children of deceased were inconsolable.

The police has registered a case under Sections 304-A and 427 of the IPC against the bus driver.


330 cases disposed of at  Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 7
The Quaterly Lok Adalat organised in the Judicial Courts Complex here today disposed of nearly 330 cases and settled financial disputes to the tune of around Rs 69 lakh. The Lok Adalat, which was held under Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, and presided over by the District and Sessions Judge, Mr A.N. Jindal, who is also the Chairman of the District Legal Authority, took up 525 cases.

Most of the cases pertained to matrimonial disputes, while others were related to motor accident claims and the Negotiable Instruments Act. Eleven Benches comprising one judicial officer, one lawyer and one eminent social worker heard the cases. Justice A.N. Jindal, while appealing to the people to come forward and settle their disputes through the Lok Adalat, said there was a provision for providing free legal aid to poor and the needy.


Fazilka to have new cotton market
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 7
Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board visited Fazilka Grain Market on Thursday. He along with Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA, Fazilka & Parliamentary Secretary Punjab distributed financial aid of Rs 4 lakh among 16 persons who lost limbs while working on farm machinery. Mr Vinod Gupta, president, Kutcha Arhtiya Association, Fazilka, G.S. Gill, Districts Mandi Officer, Ferozepore, Bhupinder Singh Saharan, SDM cum Administration Market Committee, Fazilka, Hari Chand Kamboj, president, Municipal Council, Fazilka and Dev Raj Kamboj, chairman, Block Samiti Fazilka addressed the gathering and highlighted the problems of the commission agents of Fazilka.

Addressing the gathering Mr Singla said 20,000 km of link roads in the state would be repaired during the next year. He said 5,250 km of link roads had been repaired in Punjab in the 6 months. A sum of Rs 90 crore had been spent on the development of the grain markets of the state.

Mr Singla said the Mandi Board had earned a profit of Rs 40 crore and no market committee in the state had to pay any outstanding loan.

He announced that a separate cotton market would be set up along the existing grain market. This would enable the farmers to keep their cotton free from dust which in farm would fetch them better price. To promote diversification of tradional crops the Mandi Board had cultivated new crops on its own 8,000 acres of land added Mr Singla.

Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa alleged that the SAD-BJP government had misused government funds at sangat darshan programmes.


15 Bangladesh nationals held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 7
The Kotwali police arrested 15 Bangladesh nationals from the galliara side when they were trying to enter Saran in the Golden Temple complex here last evening. A case has been registered under Sections 3, 34, 20 of the Indian Passport Act and 14 Foreign Act.

The accused are Mohammad Ali, his wife Hafeeza Begum, their three-year-old daughter Sukhi Afzal Ali Sazma, Akhtar, her daughter Geeti, Mohammad Malik, his wife Jawanda Khawaja, their daughters Reena Bagum and Mumtaz Begum, Afzar Ali, his wife Zameela Begum, their three-year-old daughter, Afzar Mian and his daughter Rafeeza Begum. All accused belong to Rohitpur village in Dhaka.

All arrested persons have been sent to judicial custody till February 21 and the children would be presented at a juvenile court in Faridkot.


Woman held under NDPS Act

Abohar, February 7
The police has arrested Harbans Kaur, a resident of Nanak Nagri, here under the NDPS Act. Pappu, an employee in the Sanitation Department of the Municipal Council here, was caught red-handed while stealing wood from the sewerage disposal works, yesterday. — OC

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