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Congress citadel crumbling, says
Arun Jaitley

Phagwara, February 23

Arun Jaitley Commenting on the affairs of the Congress in Punjab, Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley said it was facing a civil war-like situation following the “strife” between Chief Minster Amarinder Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Naidu blames Cong for Operation Bluestar
Amritsar, February 23
Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, President of the BJP, today held the Congress responsible for Operation Bluestar. Addressing a party meeting here to highlight the “feel good” and “India shining” slogans, Mr Naidu alleged that Operation Bluestar was misconceived.

Former Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar Sarbjit Singh shakes hand with BJP President Venkaiah Naidu in Amritsar on Monday Former Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar Sarbjit Singh shakes hand with BJP President Venkaiah Naidu in Amritsar on Monday. — photo by Rajiv Sharma 

Sukhbir, Brar hit out at each other
Panjoli favours SAD candidate for Amritsar
Bachi’s entry into SAD oppose
Badal Dal rallies from today
Chandumajra raises banner of revolt
Mann, Dhindsa ready to exchange property
Pargat may be Congress nominee from Jalandhar

Fatehgarh Sahib



Panthic board to contest poll
Chandigarh, February 23
The Panthic Parliamentary Board, a new political organisation, is emerging as a cocktail of radical and moderate ideologies. The PPB, that asserts to provide an alternative of the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress in Punjab, has roped in Mr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, a Khalistan ideologue, Mr Sarabjit Singh Sohal, a Sikh Students Federation activist, Mr Rajinder Singh Khalsa, a top leader of Khalsa Panchayat, and several other former militant, radical and moderate Akali leaders in its ranks.

News Analysis 
Will ‘Punjab shining’ happen?
Chandigarh, February 23
The elections to the Lok Sabha are at the doorstep at a time when serious socio-economic and financial problems confront Punjab. It is wishful to expect key political parties to talk of these or make a commitment to find a solution to them. One can, however, expect them to hold each other responsible for having precipitated these problems, once the election campaign starts.

Kang’s directions to officials
Muktsar, February 23
Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang today directed civil and police officers to redress Congress workers’ grievances on priority. Mr Kang, who was here to preside over a meeting of the District Planning Board said that officials should hear elected representatives.

Information kiosks to help tourists
Amritsar, February 23
“Information kiosks” being set up in different parts of Amritsar will provide details about tourist places, hotels and flights before the holy city is declared as a world heritage site by Unesco. E-governance will also help in disaster management in case of earthquake or any other emergency. This will be a first step towards providing total information about the city.

Liquor contractors fear unfair auction of vends
Ludhiana, February 23
The auction of liquor vends in Punjab may not be a smooth affair and Punjab liquor contractors are apprehending that the liquor trade may be passed on to a particular group which at present has monopoly share of the trade. These apprehensions were expressed by liquor traders of Punjab who held a meeting with the Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr D.P. Reddy, here on Friday.

Apex body for Panth mooted
Chandigarh, February 23
Several Sikh organisations met here today and recommended to the SGPC to constitute a global apex body under its aegis and patronage of Akal Takht for the Sikh panth to deal with problems and provide guidance and direction to the community in its march toward progress.

100 pilgrims likely to visit Pak gurdwara
Khadoor Sahib, February 23
The Centre is likely to give permission to 100 pilgrims to visit the historic Kartarpur Gurdwara in Pakistan for the first time to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, which falls in April. The pilgrims would be allowed to start a religious procession from Pakistan, which would culminate in Khadoor Sahib.

NRIs arrive at Amritsar
Amritsar, February 23
An NRI from England, Mr Jimmy Pooni, was instrumental in bringing a special chartered flight from Europe here today. Boeing 757 Air Slovakia painted with “City of Golden Temple” and carrying 130 NRIs landed at Rajasansi International Airport to visit the Golden Temple.

IT raids on premises of traders, docs
Ferozepore, February 23
Sleuths of the Income Tax Department conducted raids on various premises belonging to some doctors and businessmen of the region today. According to information, the operation was carried out under the supervision of Mr L.R. Nayyar, Commissioner, Income Tax, Bathinda, who was assisted by Additional Commissioners along with a battery of ITOs, inspectors and other officials drawn from Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepore.

Lawyer charges MLA with taking over property
Chandigarh, February 23
A local lawyer has alleged that a senior Punjab ruling party legislator has illegally taken over his family property at Ferozepore in connivance with staff of Primary Agriculture Development Bank .

Farmers’ dharna throws traffic out of gear
Patiala, February 23
Traffic in the city was thrown out of gear with activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union pitching tents on the Mall road opposite the headquarters of the Punjab State Electricty Board. The dharna, for which activists started collecting yesterday, is expected to last for a week. Today itself there were traffic jams at Lahori Gate, Sheranwala Gate and the Fountain Chowk because traffic had to be diverted due to the blockage of the Mall road.

Power bills of border area farmers waived
Jalalabad, February 23
The Punjab State Electricity Board has decided not to ask for payment of electricity bills from agriculture tube-well owners situated along Indo-Pakistan border, whose land was mined during operation ‘Prakarm’, disclosed Mr R.K. Bains, Chief Engineer West Zone PSEB Bathinda.

Seminar on environment
Bathinda, February 23
Kheti Virasat, an NGO for organic farming, organised a seminar here yesterday at which to protect environment was stressed. It was pointed out that due to pollution of air, water and food diseases like diabetes, and reproductive diseases had increased. Decreasing number of vultures, peacocks, kites and lowering of age of puberty and menopause were pointed out.

Two labourers buried alive
Sohawa (Tarn Taran), February 23
Two farm labourers were buried alive at Sohawa village while digging a well here today. The labourers have been identified as Gurpreet Singh (24) of Burj-Rai-Ke village and Randhir Singh (22) of Bhattal-Bhai-Ke village.

SC members get financial aid
Kharar, February 23
The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, distributed cheques under a welfare scheme for the Scheduled Castes here today. As many as 111 persons were given a cheque for Rs 10,000 each. The payment was the first instalment of the total amount of Rs 20,000 to be paid under the scheme.

Campaign against female foeticide
Fatehgarh Sahib, February 23
A five-day campaign against female foeticide was launched in the district by the regional advertisement wing of Government of India by organising a seminar on female foeticide at Bachat Bhavan today. Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, ADC, presided over the function and Mr K.S.Dhatwalia, Regional Director, was the guest of honour. The function was attended by NGO representatives of nursing homes and social organisations.

Punjab to buy 400 buses
Phagwara, February 23
Punjab Transport Minister Tej Parkash Singh declared yesterday that 400 new buses would be added to the government transport fleet in state. Talking to newsmen here, the Minister, who was here as a Chief Guest at the Rajput Kashyap Mela, said that the bus stands of Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar would be modernised at a cost of Rs 50 crores.

39 breeds take part in dog show
Patiala, February 23
The two-day all-India breed champion dog show, which was held at the local Polo Grounds today, attracted as many as 320 dogs from all over the country. The show, which was organised by the Patiala Kennel Club and is part of the ongoing Patiala Heritage Festival, saw canines from 39 breeds taking part.



Pak rock band charms Patiala fans
Patiala, February 23
Members of Junoon, the Pakistan-based rock band There is more to “Junoon” than music. For 13 years now, the three members of South Asia’s biggest rock group have been crusading against fundamentalism and corruption back home in Pakistan. 

Members of “Junoon”, the Pakistan-based rock band, strike familiar melodies on their arrival in Patiala, where they performed at the closing ceremony of the Patiala Heritage Festival on Sunday. 
— Tribune photo by Rajesh Sachar

Salman of ‘Junoon’ visits his ancestral house
Patiala, February 23
Salman Ahmad from Pakistan meets members of the family currently residing in the house of his mother's family The Sandhas of Namdar Khan road were in for a pleasant surprise today. “It was as if our wish had come true”, they said when they saw Salman Ahmed, the star of the ‘Junoon’ group, at their door. Surprise gave way to good old punjabi warmth with the family jostling to get the proverbial “thanda” and showing their VIP visitor all the nooks and corners of the colonial house.

Salman Ahmad from Pakistan meets members of the family currently residing in the house of his mother's family, in Patiala on Monday. 

Heritage fest ends on a musical note
Taz of stereonation performs at the pop concert in Patiala on Sunday night. The Patiala Heritage Festival, which started with a series of soulful classical performances ended with a bang with hundred of watts of foot tapping music forcing a jam packed crowd in Yadvindra Public School stadium to rock all night. The crowd braced the chilly winds and continued to enthusiastically support Gursewak Mann, Stereonation and Junoon late into the night.

Taz of stereonation performs at the pop concert in Patiala on Sunday night. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar


High Court
Government asked not to regularise encroachments
Chandigarh, February 23
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the Punjab Government “shall not be entitled to regularise encroachments and illegal constructions” in municipal areas all over the state.

Transfer of ‘tainted’ cop raises eyebrows
Amritsar, February 23
The transfer of a “tainted” police officer to a plum post has raised many eyebrows. In an order dated October 28, 2003, the Director-General of the Punjab Police ordered the transfer of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ashwani Kapur to PAP Chandigarh after serious complaints of “misconduct” against him.

MC still to submit probe report to CM’s office
Jalandhar, February 23
The functioning to the local municipal corporation has come under cloud following its alleged failure to submit a detailed report into the allegations of amassing disproportionate assets by Mr Somdutt Kalia, personal assistant of the Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, to the Chief Minister’s office.

Tehsil office property auctioned
Sangrur, February 23
A computer, an almirah, three fans and a digital camera of the office of the local Tehsildar were today auctioned for Rs 14,500. The auction was done on the order of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) in an execution proceeding related to the recovery of the arrears of a former employee of the local tehsil office.

Narcotics smuggling from neighbouring states up
Muktsar, February 23
Even as the next Lok Sabha elections are approaching, the smuggling of narcotics to this district from Rajasthan and Haryana has started witnessing an upward trend. The police has started a campaign against anti-social elements. “We have seized about 50 quintals of poppy husk worth about Rs 20 lakh in the past five days” the SSP, Mr R.S. Khatra, said.

Six robbers held, pistols seized
Sangrur, February 23
Six persons allegedly involved in several cases of looting and robberies have been arrested. Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, said here today that the robbers had been arrested from the Jandali Kalan village area (Ahmedgarh) when they were planning to loot a petrol station.

Spate of thefts in Malerkotla
Malerkotla, February 23
There is panic among residents of this area following several thefts during the past 24 hours in which valuable goods worth lakhs were stolen. A gang of thieves reportedly stole about 50 tyres worth Rs 5 lakh from three different shops here. The shops are located near Sadar police station and the DSP’s office.

Doctor couple booked
Bathinda, February 23
A criminal case has been registered against Ludhiana-based Dr Amardeep Singh, his wife, Dr Sunita Singh, and three others for allegedly entering Nagpal Hospital here and trying to fabricate documents against Dr Gurinder Singh Nagpal, owner of the hospital.

Bank manager held for taking bribe
Moga, February 23
The local Vigilance team today arrested a manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Kot Isse Khan branch, for accepting Rs 4,000 as bribe for sanctioning a loan. 

Bihari labourer killed in accident
Kharar, February 23
A migrant labourer was killed on the spot when a tractor and a truck collided near Daon village today. According to the police, the deceased, Tulsi Yadav, who was sitting on the tractor, fell down when the two vehicles collided and got crushed under the truck.

Demand to implement veterinary Act
Chandigarh, February 23
The Veterinary Students’ Association of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, in a memorandum to the Chief Secretary has drawn his attention to the fact that there had been no follow up on the posts of Veterinary Officer quashed in the Ravi Sidhu job-on-cash case, whereas, interview of lecturers and PCS officers have been held by the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Symposium on biotechnology held
Patiala, February 23
The Bio-technology Department of Punjabi University organised a two-day national symposium on “Advances in industrial biotechnology” here today. The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Sawarn Singh Boparai, inaugurated the symposium.

Registration of students to begin on March 15
Kharar, February 23
The registration of students for Government Model Senior Secondary School will start from March 15. A deputy director will be appointed nodal officer for making provisions of staff and other infrastructure for the school, apart from taking care of admissions.

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