P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikh children demonstrate against ban on turban
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
Sikh children wearing traditional saffron and blue ‘dastars’ (turbans) held a demonstration at the entrance of the Golden Temple protesting against the “turban ban” in primary schools of France. The demonstration was organised today under the aegis of Culture and Heritage Conservation Initiative” (CHCI) and Sikh organisations to mark and coincide with the visit of French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin to India.

American, European and Sikhs from other countries also turned out in large numbers to protest on the controversial legislation that bans wearing of turban and supporting other religious symbols in French Schools. Talking to The Tribune Gurujot Singh from the USA who has been in Amritsar’s Mir Piri academy for eight years said the ban smacked of ‘insecurity’ of the French government who cannot handle diversity of religions Six-year-old Sikh student Sridharam Kaur of the USA, says the government in France doing was ‘wrong’ how can they be so unreasonable, she asks.

Gopal Kaur from Hamburg Germany whose 11 year-old son Kurban Singh, studies in the academy, terms the ban ‘absurd’. She had adopted Sikhism in 1999 along with her son. This made her son the only Sikh studying in a German school. Although the turban caused a number of cases of misbehaviour with her son there, slowly classmates respected the religious symbol. Defending the turbaned she said it was the distinct identity of Sikhs and should not be considered an ostentation. “The turban does not stand for inequality, instead Sikhism stands for equality amongst all diversities” they exclaim.

Mr Manjit Singh Randhawa, convener, CHCI and president, Sikh nation organisation said that Sikh and especially Sikh children make a global appeal to the Sikh nation to unitedly rise and preserve its heritage, identity and ideology. He maintained that the proposed ban was arbitrary and unjust and violated principles of human rights and also posed a threat to personal freedom. He asked what excruciating circumstances or threat to security was posed to the French to compel them to impose such a ban. He stated that Sikh organisations would approach the international community to protect the human rights of Sikhs.


Delegation to meet French minister on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
The SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has formed a Sikh delegation to present a memorandum to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on the turban issue during his India tour.

The delegation comprises Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Mr Dilmegh Singh, general secretary and additional secretary, SGPC, respectively.

The delegation would meet the French minister in the Capital.

Taking note of elements who opposed Sikh unity, he urged for caution against such persons who were trying to cause dissention in the community.

He termed the decision to ban the turban in French schools as unfortunate and an encroachment on the rights of minorities in that country.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC, said they had already made strong representations in presenting their case in this regard.


Polling in Punjab likely before Baisakhi
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
The SAD-BJP combine is expecting the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab before Baisakhi. This was revealed today by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, who will contest as the SAD candidate from Sangrur.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Dhindsa said that the elections in Punjab would be held in the first round. In all there would be four or five rounds of polling, he added. “ As the farming community will become busy in the harvesting of wheat and other rabi crops after Baisakhi, the Election Commission has been requested to hold the elections in Punjab before Baisakhi. The Commission reportedly agrees with the contention of the SAD”, he added. In fact, the farming community in all the northern states will be busy in the harvesting operations after Baisakhi.

Meanwhile, the SAD-BJP combine has decided to make “ non-performance” of the Capt Amarinder Singh Government as the main plank in the Lok Sabha elections in the state. This was revealed today by Mr Dhindsa.

He said that in the past two years, the Capt Amarinder Singh Government had done nothing except putting its political rivals in jails and committing excesses on Akali workers.

“During the past two years the state has suffered immense damage in all respects. Development process has come to halt. Roads have become unmotorable in the countryside. Economy is in a spin. Punjab has slided back on industrial and other fronts. All sections have been bruised financially and otherwise during the Congress rule.” said Mr Dhindsa. All this would be highlighted during the elections.

“The Congress had promised to eliminate corruption. But it has gone up manifold. Infighting among congress leaders has hit the state hard”, he added.

Besides, the SAD-BJP combine would highlight the “achievements” of the NDA Government in the Centre. Peace and prosperity were the two major achievements of the Vajpayee Government, he added.

He said that during his tenure as Union Chemical and Fertilisers Minister, prices of fertilisers had not been allowed to increase.

Dhindsa to meet French Foreign Minister

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa will meet visiting French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin in New Delhi on Friday on the turban issue. Mr Dhindsa, who left for Delhi this afternoon, said the appointment with the Foreign Minister had been fixed through the External Affairs Ministry. He would be accompanied by Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Minorities Commission. Mr Dhindsa, who has been asked by the SAD to meet the Foreign Minister, said that he would convey to the Minister the resentment among Sikhs over the proposed ban on turban in French schools.


Feel-good card will not fetch BJP votes, 
says Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 12
Dr Gurbax Singh, President, All-India Qaumi Ekta and senior Congress leader accusing the NDA government of misleading the people over economic health of the country, said that “Feel-Good” card floated by it would not fetch votes for its candidates in the next Lok Sabha elections.

In a press note here today, he said that though the NDA government had been glorifying a section of its leaders by inserting advertisements in print media and electronic media thus was wasting crores which could have been used to eradicate poverty and arrange foodgrains for those, going hungry millions.

He pointed out that 26 crore people of India belonged to that category, which were living below the poverty line despite the fact that India had enough of foodgrains which could fed countrymen for three years. He added that position on account of deposits of foreign exchange and stock market was good due to the fact that NRIs had their money in the banks and the foreign financial institutions had been investing in the stock market.

He said that from the huge response of people to AICC chief Ms Sonia Gandhi in Uttar Pardesh, had made clear that no party could stop her from becoming the Prime Minister of India. Those, who were traditional opponents of Gandhi family, had been exposed after late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi was found innocent in the Bofors pay-off case.


Mann criticises Badal, Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 12
SAD (A) is the only party which is contesting elections for the cause of the Panth and Punjab. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) is contesting elections for Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Capt Amarinder Singh for Ms Sonia Gandhi. SAD (A) would contest on all 13 Lok Sabha seats of the state and also put up candidates in some Sikh-dominated constituencies in Rajasthan and Haryana and would not make alliance with anti-Panthic and anti-Punjab parties, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Presidents, SAD (A), while addressing the gathering at a function organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale here today.

Mr Mann posed a challenge to Mr Parkash Singh Badal to contest elections against him from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency. He said Mr Dhindsa had been fielded against him in Sangrur with an assurance from Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani that if he defeated him he would be given a better position in the Union Cabinet. He ridiculed Mr Badal for proposing the names of “outsiders” to contest elections from the state.

Reacting over the statement of Mr Sukhbir Badal that Mr Mann was working as the B team of the Congress, he said he had faced tough days for the cause of Sikhs, whereas Badals were put behind the bars for corruption and provided all facilities by the Congress Government in the Patiala jail.

He alleged that Mr Badal had rejected his offer for all Akalis to join hands and defeat the Congress. He termed Mr Badal and Mr Dhindsa as puppets in the hands of the BJP, Reacting on the SYL issue, he said Mr Badal and the Congress were responsible for not looking after interest of the state.

He said his party wanted to bring freedom for Sikhs through ballet and not bullets. He said his party would protect the rights of Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and every section of society. He said the party was against cow slaughter as well as the demolition of Babri Masjid.

On the issue of foreign origin of Ms Sonia Gandhi, he said many Punjabis and Sikhs had been elected as MPs in other countries Mr Mann raised the issue of Sikhs languishing in jails since 1984 and said the government was adopting a different yard stick in their case. He said in the Purulia Arms Drop case, British citizen Peter Bleach, who has been for 14 years, was released just after six years. He urged the French Government to sort out the turban issue as early as possible.


Mann dares Badal to contest against him
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 12
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) will contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state and will also field candidates from some Sikh-dominated constituencies in Rajasthan and Haryana, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Dal, while addressing a function organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale here today. The function virtually turned into an election rally. He showered praise on those who escaped from Burail Jail and termed them “mahan yodhas”.

Mr Mann challenged Mr Parkash Singh Badal to contest against him from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.

On the foreign origin issue of Mrs Sonia Gandhi being raised by the BJP and the SAD, he said his party opposed their stand on the grounds that there were many Punjabis who were elected as MPs and to other top political posts abroad. Mr Mann raised the issue of Sikhs languishing in jails since 1984. He said the government was adopting a different yardstick in the case of Sikhs who were not being released while in the Purulia Armsdrop case, British citizen Peter Bleach, who was sentenced to 14 years, had been released just after six years.

Mr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a Khalistan ideologue, said Sikhs had made great sacrifices during the freedom struggle of the country, but were never rewarded after Independence.

Over 20 families of Sikh martyrs, who were killed in police encounters, were honoured.


Badal silent on Zora Singh’s candidature

Abohar, February 12
The SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has said the list of party candidates for Lok Sabha elections might be released within the next two days. He was responding to queries by reporters after addressing an anti-repression rally at Bahavwala village, near here, this evening.

Asked whether the SAD had given green light to MP Zora Singh Mann to contest from the Ferozepore constituency, Mr Badal said he was forced to announce the candidature of Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from Sangrur but would not break discipline by announcing any other name.

Stating that Congress Prime Ministers had always lowered the reputation of the country by adopting wrong foreign policies, Mr Badal said Rajiv Gandhi had taken wrong decisions regarding the situation in Sri Lanka and the nation had to pay for it. — OC


Youth Akali Dal goes hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 12
The youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Youth Akali Dal, has gone hi-tech, with computers being used for managing its organisational affairs.

Its website has already been launched and its central office at Chandigarh linked with more than eight districts offices through computers. The youth wing leadership has also started issuing identity cards and badges to workers.

The Youth Akali Dal has enrolled about one lakh workers from various parts of the state. In each village and each ward in urban areas, a unit comprising 11 members is being set up. The resume of each member will be available on the party’s website.

Party sources said the youth wing would release its monthly magazine at a rally in Ludhiana on February 16.

Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Shahnawaz Hussain, former Union Minister Omar Abdullah and other leaders will address the rally. The Youth Akali Dal will announce its five-point agenda pertaining to the problems faced by youths in various fields, including education and employment.

In June, youth wing workers will be sent to Canada, USA and UK under the party’s exchange programme. Later, the Youth Akali Dal will also set up its units in these countries.

A former Union Minister and the general secretary, SAD, Mr Sukhbir Badal, talking to TNS, said the main objective of the party was to channel the energies of youths. He said youths were also being mobilised to fight social evils, including drug addiction.


9 more jail guards suspended

Ferozepore, February 12
Nine more guards of the Central jail here were suspended today, raising the total to 19, even as the issue of the reintroduction of “patra” (disc) system remains unresolved in most jail across Punjab.

Earlier, 23 guards had been suspended at Sangrur and 16 at Patiala for defying to do guard duty as per the system which had been discontinued in the state in 1991-92. Introduced by the British in 1857 for better internal security, the disc system was reintroduced in Punjab after the recent Burail jailbreak.

Confirming fresh suspensions today, Ferozepore Jail Superintendent Swaran Singh said a guard, Jagdev Singh, had also been charged under the Prison Act for remaining absent from duty without sanction of leave. The other suspended guards are Jugraj Singh, Beant Singh, Surjit Singh, Jaswant Singh, Baljinder Singh, Judge Singh, Balwant Singh and Bhupinder Singh, according to Deputy Jail Superintendent Iqbal Singh Brar.

Mr Swaran Singh said 15 personnel had been requisitioned from the local police for manning watch towers in the high-security jail. He said the SSP, Mr H.S. Chahal, had assured to send the policemen to the jail.

Under the disc system, each guard on three-hour patrol duty has to patrol an assigned stretch in the jail and then hand over the disc to the next guard, like handing over a baton in the relay race. — UNI


US technical institute’s president visits Palahi village
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 12
Dr Gerald Pumphrey, President, Bellingham Technical College (BTC), the United States of America, today visited, Community Polytechnic of nearby Palahi village and Kamla Nehru College for Women Phagwara.

He held meetings with the governing bodies and principals of these colleges to discuss the issue of possible

collaboration in common technical, vocational and professional courses. Mr Gurmit Palahi Principal Community Polytechnic Palahi had discussion with Dr Pumphrey. Mr Palahi offered to have a collaboration with the BTC in certain vocational courses.

Dr Pumphrey evinced keen interest in Duckweed Technology for treating sullage, solar systems etc. in the Community Polytechnic.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Pumphrey maintained that there were some similarities and some differences in both local institutions  and the BTC which however had a common mission of serving the community . We could learn from each other and meet the challenges by raising resources, remarked Dr Pumphrey.

The BTC President was quite impressed to see boy students learning fashion designing at Palahi village.

Mr I.K. Sardana President and Mrs Kusum Verma Principal of local Kamla Nehru College for Women held discussion with Dr Pumphrey. They evinced interest in having a tie-up with BTC in nursing and culinary courses. Dr Pumphrey told the meeting he would discuss the issue of partnership with his Board of Directors. The team later left for nearby Athouli village to have a look at the upcoming building of a proposed Nursing College there.


Claims, counter-claims on development funds
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
Mr Chander Pal Singh PPCC member and former president, district Congress Committee Gurdaspur claimed that former BJP MP Vinod Khanna was misleading the people in Gurdaspur on the Local Area Development MP-LAD fund from his quota. The BJP says that the state government was making false claims and trying to claim credit for projects sanctioned by Centre.

Mr Chander Pal stated that the former MP was falsifying facts on fund allotment and making false claims on development grants in view of Lok Sabha elections. He said no proposals were submitted to district administration for development works till the last week of January. He further alleged that out of the Rs 4 crore of MP-LAD Funds earmarked for 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 not a single rupee was drawn.

However, the BJP blamed the district administration for not releasing the funds to antagonise people against the BJP.

Earlier Mr Vinod Khanna had reportedly alleged that the ruling government was also claiming credit for road projects under the Prime Minister’s Road Yojna scheme.

However, Mr Chander said it was only after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha and the possibility of lapse of MP-LAD funds that Mr Vinod Khanna has woken up to make false claims. He further stated that even panches, sarpanches and citizens were disappointed over non receipt of various grants and funds.


Principal quits in anticipation of SAD ticket
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 12
Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, here today resigned from the school in anticipation of nomination as Lok Sabha candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) from the Bathinda reserved constituency.

According to sources in the Education Department, Ms Paramjit Kaur gave in her resignation letter to the District Education Officer yesterday which was forwarded to the DPI Schools Punjab today. In her resignation letter she had specifically expressed her desire to contest the elections, sources state.

Ms Paramjit Kaur was unavailable for comments but sources informed that her name is being considered seriously as the SAD candidate from the Bathinda seat of the Lok Sabha.

The Bathinda seat had, before the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, been lying vacant since the demise of MP Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura two months ago.


Signature drive against Cong govt
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, February 12
Mr Avinash Khanna, state BJP president, today launched a signature campaign to mobilise public opinion against the Congress government in the state. Party workers led by Mr Khanna organised a “nukkad” rally at the main chowk in Balachaur and displayed a banner listing the “false” promises made by the Congress in its manifesto for the Assembly elections.

Mr Khanna, Mr Ashwani Ballagan, district BJP president, Ms Varinder Kaur Thandi, former district BJP president, Mr Surinder Abhi, Mr Charanjit Singh Fauji and Mr Ashwani Sharma were among those who addressed the gathering. Later, the BJP leaders put their signatures on the banner and urged people to follow suit. A large number of people put their signatures.

Mr Khanna said the BJP would organise such “nukkad” rallies in each Assembly segment of the state to grill the Congress government on various points which were mentioned in the election manifesto of the Congress but not implemented.


Sonia has no respect for religions, says Sra
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 12
Mr Sukhpal Singh Sra, Vice-president, Vishav Hindu Parishad, Bathinda today accusing AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi of making derogatory remarks against a particular religion appealed the people to hand over reins of power to a person, who professed faith in religions.

In a press note here today, Mr Sra pointed out that Ms Gandhi had been observing atheism on one hand and on the other ignoring the religious aspects of the countrymen. He said derogatory remarks of Ms Gandhi against a particular religion in the recent past were baseless and every one should take serious notice of it.

He said that Ms Gandhi should tell people that in her country of birth, Italy, whether economic progress had taken place without the spread of religion or not.


Pak delegation for resumption of ties
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
A fifteen member business delegation from Pakistan on way to New Delhi and Mumbai interacted with traders here and expressed desire to resume trade ties at the earliest.

Leader of the delegation Mohamad Idris Tabbasum told newsmen that in the past 56 years, both countries had remained poor and failed to undertake major industrialisation. He added that time had come for taking major initiative to built strong economic ties. He felt that business communities in India and Pakistan must develop trust and faith to bring prosperity to the region.

Mr Tabassum pointed that with the WTO agreement being implemented by 2005 it was important that both nations must work in unison to take full advantage of the opening of world economy. He said that the present thaw in relations would help boost bilateral trade with the SAFTA having already in place when all countries of the region have agreed to reduce import lives and make this area tax free.

The leader of the delegation said that India and Pakistan must work for economic solidarity on their own and face the challenge of multinational corporations who had threatened to take over the market in this area. He said their 15-day stay in India they would be visiting New Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Ajmer.


Petition filed against Jagir Kaur
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
An Akali worker from Ajnala, Mr Raghubir Singh, today filed a petition under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission against Ms Jagir Kaur and Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, former SGPC president and secretary, respectively, and four others.

According to the petitioner, the respondents allegedly embezzled Rs 10 lakh of gurdwara funds while participating in the Sarv Dharam Sammelan held during 1999-2000 in South Africa.

The SGPC has admitted the petition and fixed March 11 as the next date of hearing.

The others against whom the petition has been filed are Mr Gurbachan Singh, information officer, Mr Harjit Singh, former PA to Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Raghujit Singh and Mr Harsurinder Singh, both SGPC members.


One killed, 17 hurt as bus overturns
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 12
In an accident on the road to the Sirsa river, one person was killed and 17 were injured as a CTU bus overturned today. The bus reportedly failed to negotiate a depression on the road .

The but was on its way to Shah Talai. Leela Devi of Paonta Sahib died on the spot. The injured were admitted to Civil Hospital here.

The seriously injured have been shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Those admitted to the Ropar civil hospital include Sucha Singh of Ghanauli, Pawan Kumar of Bhatha Sahib in Ropar, Charan Dass, Rakesh Sharma and Surinder Singh of Chandigarh, Surinder Pal of Manuli village near Ropar, Ratni of Khulmi village of Himachal, Prem Singh of Naya Goraon near Chandigarh and Leela Kumari of Manauli village in the Kotkahlur area.

The police has registered a case against Hari Chand, driver of the bus who has absconded.

This is the third accident on the road in the past one week. The road has been in controversy ever since it was opened to public. It developed compression within one month of its opening. It was closed and the company concerned was directed to repair it.

However, the company instead of rectifying the fault just resorted to patch work. When it was again opened about two month ago, it again developed depression.


PUDA to develop integrated township
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 12
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to conduct a draw of lots as well as auction of plots in the 330-acre integrated township at Baran village on the outskirts of the city.

Disclosing this here today, a PUDA press release said the decision had been taken after the land had been declared free from all encumbrances with the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing all 36 writ petitions challenging the acquisition proceedings.

The release said as per the outlay plan of the township 42 acres had been reserved for the establishment of an information technology park, 28.83 acres for agro processing and the rest 235 acres for a residential estate having facilities of community centre, banquet hall club, art and culture centre, multiplex site and senior secondary school.

PUDA is set to carve out a total number of 1,213 plots of different sizes of 150, 200, 256, 300, 400, 500 and 1000 square yards.

The integrated township, which is situated close to the city, is being developed under the Counter-Magnet Township Project of the Central Government The National Capital Regional Planning Board has approved Rs 49.80 crore for the project which constitutes 75 per cent of the cost of the project. The remaining 25 per cent will be borne by the Patiala Development Authority. The NCR Planning Board has released Rs 28 crore as part of the first installment for the project.


Ban on building maps goes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 12
The Municipal Corporation has started entertaining people wanting to get their building maps passed by it following an end to the ban imposed on processing of building maps by the state government.

Disclosing this here today, Mayor Vishnu Sharma said the corporation had been cought in a financial squeeze after the ban imposed on the processing of building maps. He said with the lifting of the ban, the corporation was likely to earn an additional revenue of around Rs 50 lakh.

Development work had suffered. with money not being released by the state government.


Dental clinic inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, February 12
A dental clinic was inaugurated at the Beas military station today by Mrs Rita Kullar, president, Double Victory Army Wives Welfare Association.

A press note issued by the military station said a dental chair, an X-ray machine, a modern light cure unit, a vacuum apparatus and an airconditioner were available in the clinic.

The clinic will be run by Major Neeru Kanwar, Dental Officer, Double Victory Brigade.

Brig D.S. Kullar, Station Commander, Beas, has promised to provide a music system to the clinic.

Brigadier Kullar has also promised to open a poly clinic at Beas.


Employees flay Punjab Government
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
On call of the Punjab Mulazam Sangarsh Committee, hundreds of employees today held a rally in Sector 17 in support of their demands.

According to a press note, leaders came down heavily on the “anti-employee” policies of the Punjab Government. In case their demands were not accepted immediately, the employees would join an all-India strike on February 24 and observe it as a “black day”, they said.

The speakers alleged that the government was following anti-employee policies at the diktat of the World Bank and the IMF. The government had gone back on its pre-poll promises.


Former MPs can attend Area Fund functions
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 12
The Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has allowed all Members of Parliament of 13th Lok Sabha to continue their association as Ex MPs with functions relating to their MP Local Area Development Schemes projects even after the dissolution of Parliament till the code of conduct, to be announced by the Election Commission, takes effect.

Dr Vijay Goel, Director of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme, Implementation has informed to all MPs and District Collectors of the country of this decision. In a circular to this effect, he has stated that this decision had been taken on the requests of many of MPs of dissolved House of 13th Lok Sabha.


High Court
Bench shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the high court on Thursday referred to another Bench a petition seeking the grant of bail filed by IAS officer Gurnihal Singh Pirzada.
Functioning as the Chairman of the Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation, he was earlier booked by the Vigilance Department in an alleged in corruption case.


Pollution control board suspends four officers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 12
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has suspended an Executive Engineer, three Subdivisional Officers (SDOs) and four other personnel on the charge of delaying the processing of files in the Ludhiana office of the board.

The personnel, all of whom are posted in Ludhiana, have been suspended following the filing of a report of a three-member team which conducted a surprise check at their office on February 4. The team comprised board member, secretary Malvinder Singh, Superintending Engineer Babu Ram and Executive Engineer V.V. Handa.

Sources said those who had been suspended were Executive Engineer Kulwant Singh, SDOs Gurbakshish Singh, Sukhmandar Singh and Gurmeet Singh, besides four personnel of the clerical staff — Harnek Chand, Harmesh Bansal, Ashok Singla and Balwinder Kumari.

The sources said files were lying pending in the Ludhiana office of the board for the past nearly four months. They said according to norms files should be processed in 20 to 25 days. Meanwhile, the board has decided to conduct surprise checks in other offices also. Board staff have been asked to clear pending files in a time-bound manner.

In another development, the PPCB is checking whether 600 industrial unit, which had been served notices to install pollution-control devices within two months in December last year, have done the needful. Sources said the board was not likely to give any more extension in this regard.


Son beats woman to death
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 12
A woman was allegedly beaten to death by her son when she failed to give him money for liquor. A case in this regard was registered at the Mukerian police station yesterday.

According to the police, Surinder Pal, son of the late Banta Masih of Danoa village, went to his house on February 10 and demanded money from his mother Khushaida for liquor. When she refused to give him money, he abused her and beat her up severely. She was rescued by people of her locality. Her son fled the house. Khushaida succumbed to her injuries yesterday.


Labourer charged with abducting 3 kids
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, February 12
Chhote Lal (30), a migratory labourer, has allegedly abducted Bimla (9), Pappu (7) and Sangeeta (2), children of another labourer, Bhagirath, yesterday.

According to Parvati, mother of the children, Chhote Lal had come in their area to sell his rickshaw. He remained there for some time and took her children, who were playing there, to Mai Hassi a nearby religious place. Since then her children had been missing. The particulars given by Chhote Lal in the receipt were found fake when verified.

The police has registered a case. The police recovered the body of Sangeeta from the pond Alachaur village, about 5 km from here, late in the evening. According to information, some villagers found the clothes of the child at a place of worship in the village.

They later found the body in the pond. The police was informed and the body was identified as that of Sangeeta.


Friendship clubs duping youth
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 12
An organised racket is allegedly being run on the pretext of friendship clubs. These clubs are reportedly operated from Delhi and its adjoining towns.

The racketeers get an advertisement published in newspapers by giving contact mobile numbers and by alluring people to talk with members of the opposite sex.

Those interested are required to deposit a “registration” fee for becoming a member with a bank. The fee ranges between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000.

After the fee is deposited, a code number is allotted to the member along with a mobile phone number with the name of the person for free talk. A meeting is then organised.

After the money is deposited, the mobile phones of the racketeers stop responding and the customers’ calls. It is learnt that over 800 youth are duped every day.

After about a month, the same process is adopted by giving new telephone numbers by way of advertisement.

On the condition of anonymity, a member of the club said there should be some check from the government for operating friendship clubs.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 12
With the arrest of five persons, the district police today claimed to have busted a gang of vehicle thieves. The accused have been identified as Tejinder Singh of Bundala village, Surjit Singh of new Rup Nagar, Ranjit Singh of Rana, Vipin Kumar of Housing Board Colony and Dharminder Singh of New Golden Avenue.

The police has registered a case under Sections 379, 411, 420, 468 and 471, IPC, at Islamabad police station here.

The police has recovered three cars, three motor cycles and a scooter from them. The accused used to steal cars with the help of Delhi-based Gulshan and then sell the cars after forging documents.


Patwari held for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 12
The Vigilance Department today arrested Harminder Singh, revenue patwari of nearby Ladhuka area, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 500.

According to details, Kulwant Singh of Jamalke village, 20 km from here, wanted to secure a copy of mutation of his land for a loan. He reportedly requested the patwari several times for the copy but nothing came of it.

On his complaint, Mr Surjit Singh, DSP, Vigilance, arrested Harminder Singh while accepting the bribe.

A case has been registered.


Car driver killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, February 12
Raj Kumar, a car driver, was killed and two persons were injured when a jeep collided with the vehicle on the Fazilka-Malout road last evening.

In an FIR lodged with the police, the car owner, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Amar Colony, said when the car neared Tahliwala Bodla village, a jeep rammed into it, causing serious injuries to Raj Kumar.

He was taken to the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Ashok Kumar and Gurlabh Singh were injured. Both were admitted to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Prahlad Kumar, a resident of Jattain Mohalla, who was injured in an accident on Monday, succumbed to his injuries at Ludhiana today.


Man killed in rail mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 12
Harvinder Singh (28), a resident of Akoi Sahib village, near here, was killed today after his three-wheeler collided with a train on a railway track near the village. Harvinder was going to Thalesan village from Akoi Sahib when the mishap occurred. The train was on way to Ludhiana from Jakhal.

The local railway police has registered a case.


3 held in Lalla murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Three of the six accused in the Lalla murder case were nabbed by the district police tonight. Those arrested were the main accused, Raman Rana, who allegedly shot gangster Anil Sharma, alias Lalla, in Haibowal Colony here on Monday, Mohan and Ashu. The police did not disclose the place from where they were caught.



Nawanshahr, February 12
Panic prevails in nearby Banga town over the incident of firing and looting by two persons yesterday. According to information, two miscreants riding a scooter fired at a shop owner and decamped with a bag containing Rs 4 lakh. — OC


Engg college students stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 12
Students of Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology staged a dharna today in protest against the abolition of the credit system in the semester examinations.

The students, belonging to the 2001 batch alleged that Punjab Technical University had been frequently changing the rules applicable to them. They said some rules were similar to those applicable to their senior batches while some others were different.

They said the PTU authorities had implemented a credit system and promoted the students to the next batches under the same rules. They said a few days ago, the PTU had sent a notice to the college authorities intimating them that the credit system had been withdrawn.

The students alleged that they had been penalised for protesting against the PTU for keeping the pass percentage of the supplementary examinations of their batch very low.

A student said out of the 80 students who had appeared in the supplementary examinations, only 3 had been declared passed. 


PPS headmaster honoured
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 12
Mr. M.S. Bedi, the Headmaster of the Punjab Public School, Nabha, will represent the IPSC in the Governing Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination, New Delhi, for a term of two years. The Indian Public Schools Headmaster Conference has 76 schools affiliated with it.

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