P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Spokesman Editor excommunicated
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 10
The Sikh clergy today excommunicated Mr Joginder Singh, Editor, Spokesman magazine, from the Sikh Panth for allegedly violating the directions of Akal Takht and indulging in blasphemous activities. He is the first Editor having face such an extreme religious punishment.

Decision to this effect was pronounced from the rostrum of Akal Takht by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti after the meeting of Sikh high priests held in the Takht’s secretariat by Jathedar Vedanti, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh — Jathedars of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Damdama Sahib respectively and Giani Gurbachan Singh, Granthi, Golden Temple.

The directive of Akal Takht appealed to Sikhs all over the world to sever all kinds of relations with Mr Joginder Singh and boycott his magazine published from Chandigarh.

Mr Joginder Singh was also accused of supporting Mr Gurbax Singh Kalaafghana, a Canada-based excommunicated Sikh. Earlier, Mr Joginder Singh was declared ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious punishment) on February 5 and was given time to clarify his position by March 10. However, Mr Joginder Singh had categorically refused to appear before the Akal Takht on the pretext that Sikh clergy had no right to declare any Sikh ‘tankhaiya’ or excommunicating him from the Sikh Panth.

Instead of responding to the summons of the Sikh clergy, Mr Joginder Singh had served legal notice on Jathedar Vedanti. However, Jahedar Vedanti announced that Sikh high priests were above the law and hence he won’t entertain any such notice.

The directive of the Takht reads that Mr Joginder Singh in his magazine had challenged all established Sikh traditions including institution of ‘Hukamnama’ (edict), Sikh tenets and tried to distort ‘Gurbani’ and tradition of ‘Amrit’. It further reads that Spokesman also distorted glorious medieval period of Sikhs and hence indulged in blasphemous activities. Instead of appearing before the Sikh high priests by February 7 for explaining his position, Mr Joginder Singh used derogatory language against them.


Nishan Sahib cannot be installed to grab land
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 10
In a bid to stop the land mafia from using Nishan Sahib for grabbing land, the Sikh clergy today directed that religious symbol could not be installed anywhere without the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.


Badal pre-empts BJP move for RS seat
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today outwitted the BJP by announcing the candidates for all three Rajya Sabha seats that may come the party’s way to fill vacancies from Punjab. He has denied any Rajya Sabha seat to the BJP to be filled from Punjab. The Congress has not yet named its candidates.

On the basis of its strength in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Congress will get four of the seven seats that fall vacant this year. Five of these seats are to be filled on March 26 and the rest in July.

The SAD candidates are SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, senior Hoshiarpur leader Varinder Singh Bajwa and former MLA Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha.

Mr Tohra and Mr Bajwa will file their nominations for the seats for which polling is to be held on March 26. Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha will have to wait till July for entry into the Rajya Sabha. Mr Tohra’s victory is certain.

Sources said the BJP had sought one Rajya Sabha seat from Mr Badal. The BJP had two members — Mr Lajpat Rai and Bibi Gurcharan Kaur — from Punjab in the Rajya Sabha. Without refusing the BJP point blank in this connection, Mr Badal announced all three Akali candidates. Mr Badal preferred to name Mr Raj Mohinder Singh five months in advance for the Rajya Sabha seat to be filled in July. “The BJP has only three MLAs in the Assembly and its demand for Rajya Sabha seat from Mr Badal was unjustified,” said a senior Akali leader.

Sources in the SAD said Mr Badal wanted to nominate former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar for a the Rajya Sabha seat but Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra put his foot down. Bowing to Mr Tohra, the SAD President opted for Mr Bajwa, who is backed by Mr Harcharan Singh Bains, Media Adviser of the SAD. Mr Bajwa and Mr Bains belong to Hoshiarpur. Mr Badal has struck a fine balance among the Malwa, Majha and Doaba regions by nominating Mr Tohra, Mr Majitha and Mr Bajwa.

RS seat for SCs sought

Choudhry Jagjit Singh, a senior Congress minister, said he had urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC President H.S. Hanspal to nominate one Scheduled Caste candidate for filling the Rajya Sabha slots on March 26.


Patiala liquor shops for Amrik group
Ponty Chadha stays away from auction
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
Congress legislator Amrik Singh’s group retained its hold over liquor shops in the city today in the absence of Ponty Chadha.

Even though Ponty Chadha did not turn up in the city today to participate in the auction, the Excise Department had taken all precautions to ensure the process remained out of media purview. There was tight security at the auction venue and only those who paid a fee of Rs 250 were allowed to go inside the premises. According to sources, the auction process was a mere formality with the same groups being given their old circles after affecting a slight increase. One of the contractors, Shiv Lal, said according to the present Excise Policy, the department asked them to quote a price and then pegged the rate further up through negotiations.

There was only a slight increase in the Patiala and Rajpura circles. In the other circles, the increase was nominal. In Patiala against a figure of Rs 36.20 crore last year, this year the auction fetched Rs 37.01 crore. They were auctioned off in the name of Hardeep Singh, son of Congress legislator Amrik Singh, and his partner Rajesh Kumar. In Rajpura against a revenue of Rs 14.21 crore last year, this year the shops went for Rs 15.22 crore in the name of Pawan Singla and Compay. Pawan Singla and Company also got the Dera Bassi circle after a Rs five lakh increase for Rs 15.20 crore. B P Mittal and Company got the Samana circle for Rs 11.63 crore against last year’s Rs 11.40 crore. Baghel and Company was able to get the Nabha circle after a Rs 30 lakh increase for Rs 15.30 crore.

Patiala Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner I.S. Chahal later claimed that the auctions had registered an increase of Rs 2.40 crore and that a total revenue of Rs 94.36 crore would be garnered through them. He claimed that the auctions went off peacefully and had been conducted in a free and fair manner. When asked why the media had been denied entry to the auction site, he said this had occurred due to a “misunderstanding”. According to rules only those who gave a fee of Rs 250 could participate in the auction, he said.

Meanwhile, officials said the auction for the Sangrur circle would be held on March 12.


Amarinder govt no different: Pasla
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 10
Launching the election campaign of his party candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency, Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, here today, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, state secretary of the CPM (Punjab), said there was no difference between the previous Badal regime and the present Amarinder government as both were the two sides of the same coin as far as corruption-related issues were concerned.

Mr Pasla alleged that as in the case of the Badal government, corruption in the regime of Capt Amarinder Singh was spreading rapidly in all spheres of life. He said even the son of Capt Amarinder Singh was allegedly found involved in billion-dollar money laundering operations, but despite constituting a one-man commission to probe this alleged scam, the Amarinder government had not assigned terms of reference to this commission. He said even in the auction of liquor shops in the state, several “irregularities” were committed to benefit certain contractors.

Mr Pasla lashed out at the NDA government, saying that it posed a danger to the communal harmony of the country as the BJP had accepted the RSS agenda. He criticised the feel-good campaign, stating that 40 per cent people in the country were living below the poverty line while 10 crore youth were unemployed.

He criticised the Congress and the BJP for bringing film actors in their party fold for campaign.

Mr Pasla said they had formed a four-party front, comprising the CPM (Punjab), the MCPI, the CPI (ML) Liberation and the All-India Forward Bloc to contest the Lok Sabha elections. He said the front had fielded two candidates so far — Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri (CPM) and Mr Bhagwant Singh Samaon, CPI (ML) liberation candidate from Bathinda.

Mr Pasla said the front would contest the Lok Sabha elections on people-oriented issues like rising prices and unemployment.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri claimed that he had the support of employees as he had worked for their cause for about 40 years.


Sack Punjab YC chief, demand office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 10
A delegation of Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) office-bearers today met Central party leaders, including AICC General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai and the in charge of Congress frontal organisations, Mr Oscar Fernandes, and sought the removal of newly appointed Punjab Youth Congress chief Raminder Singh Amla, who has allegedly been booked in a Rs 70-crore scam of the Food Corporation of India.

“We met Ms Kidwai and Mr Oscar Fernandes and apprised them of the resentment among office-bearers of the PYC against the appointment of Amla, who has been allegedly booked in a scam,” Mr Bobby Sehgal, vice-president of the PYC, told The Tribune over the phone from New Delhi, adding that the Central leaders demanded documents of the case against Amla and assured that appropriate action would be taken in the matter.

“We offered our resignations to the Central party leaders in protest against Amla’s appointment, but they rejected these and assured that if the allegations against Amla were found to be correct, appropriate action would be taken,” Sehgal said.

Apart from Sehgal, the five-member PYC delegation comprised Gurkirat Singh Kotli, vice-president and grandson of the late Beant Singh, Amarjit Singh Tikka, senior vice-president, Ravinder Sharma, district president (Batala) and Amandeep Singh Cheema, general secretary.


Split in DCC over ticket comes to the fore

Kapurthala, March 10
Split in the district Congress committee today came to the surface over the recommendation of Congress ticket from Jalandhar parliamentary constituency to local MLA Rana Gurjit Singh and member of the dissolved House Balbir Singh.

District Congress Committee (DCC) president Navtej Singh Cheema recommended the name of Balbir Singh a month back and had also passed a resolution to this effect at a meeting of the DCC.

Loyalists of Rana Gurjit Singh had objected to the action of Mr Navtej Singh Cheema and had also issued press statements recommending the name of Rana for party ticket. Nearly 12 members of the DCC owing allegiance to Rana group today held a meeting in which DCC president Navtej Singh Cheema and his loyalists did not participate and passed a resolution for the allotment of party ticket to Rana . They also faxed a copy of the resolution to Congress high command, Mohsina Kidwai in-charge Punjab Congress affairs and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president H S Hanspal.

DCC general secretary Surinder Marria who participated in the today’s meeting confirmed the passing of a resolution in favour of Rana. — UNI


Tohra is SAD candidate for RS
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 10
Former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today announced that SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, president, SAD (B) Hoshiarpur district, and Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha would be the party candidates for nomination to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Badal said seven Rajya Sabha seats were to be filled shortly from Punjab and as per the present scene in the state Assembly, the SAD (B) would get three seats.

Bhairupa: Mr Badal and Mr Tohra today appealed to the people to vote for a stable government under the prime ministership of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, who shared a stage after a long time, said the country would lag behind in every field if the Congress came to power in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“How can Ms Sonia Gandhi become prime minister of India when she does not know its language, culture, history and customs,” they asked.

The rally was attended by the SAD (B) candidate from Bathinda seat, Mrs Paramjit Kaur, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MLAs and Mr Sikander Singh. Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA, Rampura, who defeated Mr Sikander Singh in the last assembly elections and later joined the SAD (B), did not attend the rally.

Mr Badal alleged that appointment of the sons of his friends as DSPs by Capt Amarinder Singh, involvement of his son in a “hawala” scam, large-scale bunglings in the auction of liquor vends and atrocities being committed on innocent people had exposed the anti-people mindset of the “Maharaja of Patiala”. He added that due to anti-Punjab policies being followed by Capt Amarinder Singh, the oil refinery project in Bathinda district was being scuttled.

Mr Tohra appealed to the party workers to ensure the victory of party candidates in the elections. He admitted that the disunity among the Akali workers had contributed in the formation of Congress government in Punjab.

Earlier, Mr Badal, at a meeting of traders in Bathinda city, assured them that whenever the SAD-BJP alliance came to power in Punjab, their problems would be solved.


SAD (Delhi) to campaign for Tur
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 10
Rebel Akali leader and former member of Parliament Tirlochan Singh Tur today received a shot in the arm when the Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi, headed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna extended him support during Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, Secretary-General of the SAD told The Tribune here today said that his party would also fund the campaigning of Mr Tur against SAD candidate, Rattan Singh Ajnala in Lok Sabha elections.

He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had done great justice to Mr Tur by denying party ticket. He said the voters of the Tarn Taran constituency felt ‘ditched’ when an outsider was given the party ticket. Mr Sarna said sacrifices of the Tur family for the Panth were ignored.

Mr Sarna said that SAD, New Delhi would also campaign for good candidates in other Lok Sabha constituencies too.

Jalandhar: A former Punjab Assembly Speaker and president of the Akali Dal, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, today said his party would support rebel Akali leader Tirlochan Singh Tur from the Tarn Taran seat in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

“We have decided to support the candidature of Mr Tur, who has been recently expelled from Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), on the Tarn Taran seat,” Mr Ravi Inder Singh told reporters here today.

He also announced the candidature of Mr Mohan Singh Matian from the Amritsar seat and Mr Surjan Singh Rahi from the Ropar constituency.

He said talks for seat adjustments with the Lok Bhalai Party, BSP, SAD (Amritsar) and Left parties were on.

Making a scathing attack on the Congress and the SAD, he said: “Since both parties are full of corrupt leaders, our main objective in the LS election will be to defeat them.


Raksha Dal to contest twelve seats
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 10
The Rashtriya Raksha Dal (RRD) will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from 12 parliamentary constituencies in Punjab. While the candidates for four constituencies — Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Ropar — have already been announced, the list of other candidates and their constituencies will be finalised by the state body of the RRD at its meeting in Chandigarh on March 12.

This was stated by Col H.J. Singh (retd), state vice-president of the body, while talking to this reporter here today.

He alleged that the Centre had “failed” to formulate policies to protect the interests of ex-servicemen. He said if the RRD candidates won, they would raise their voice in Parliament against the “adamant” attitude of the government and would launch a special campaign throughout the country regarding welfare of ex-servicemen.

Col S.S. Banwara (retd), president of the district unit of the Ex-servicemen League, also charged the Centre with being indifferent to ex-servicemen.

The retired Army Officers, who were here to attend a meeting convened by the District Sainik Board, Faridkot, to review its quarterly progress in the implementation of welfare schemes in this district, laid stress on the establishment of a defence colony here.

They demanded the restoration of bus service between the local bus stand and the Army cantonment here for the benefit of ex-servicemen and their families.

Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-president of the board, said the local Sainik Institute of Vocational Training had got affiliation with Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, and would now introduce two courses — Diploma in Computer Application and Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Application — in the institution. The courses would be started from the next academic session.


BSP leader joins BJP
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, March 10
Mr Om Parkash Sidhi, a senior BSP leader left the BSP and announced to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr Sidhi announced to join the BJP at a election rally held in Shalamar Garden on Tuesday in favour of Mr Naresh Gujral. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president Akali Dal welcomed Mr Sidhi in the BJP and presented him with a siropa.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president state BJP was also present in the rally. Mr Hira Lal Dhir, president district BJP also welcomed Mr Sidhi joining the BJP.

Mr Sidhi was founder member of the BSP in Punjab and held the post of president of district unit of the BSP for several years. He was also a member of the executive committee of the BSP.

The district Akali Jatha also presented a purse of Rs 2 lakh for election fund to Mr Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday. Mr Raghbir Singh, former Transport Minister and president district Akali Jatha presented the purse to Mr Badal. Mr Dalbir Singh, president of the Punjab Dalit Kranti Manch also announced to join the Akali Dal (Badal).

Mr Naresh Gujral, a nominee of the Akali-BJP from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat met prominent persons of the town for support.


Youth Cong to hold chetna rally
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 10
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) has decided to organise a chetna rally at Moga on March 12 to counter the impact of the rally organised by the Youth Akali Dal (Badal) at Ludhiana few days ago.

The Central and state leaders of the party, at the rally, will raise the issues pertaining to the problems of unemployment, suicides by farmers during the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab and anti-corruption campaign launched by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Avtar Singh Jhajj, general secretary, PYC, while addressing a press conference here yesterday, said other aim of the rally was to bring maximum number of youths into the party’s fold to ensure victory of the Congress candidates in the forthcoming elections. Apart from it, the occasion would be used to expose the hollowness of the feel-good factor of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, he added.

He said youths, who would participate in the rally, would also be made aware of the achievements of the Congress government in Punjab in the past about two years. They would be urged to take these achievements to grassroot level.

He said the rally would be attended by Ms Mohsina Kidwai, incharge, Punjab Congress affairs, Mr Mukul Wasnik, former president, Indian Youth Congress (IYC), Mr Randeep Surjewala, President, IYC, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, and Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC.


Coal slurry dumping may contaminate water
Lalit Mohan

Nangal, March 10
The underground dumping of coal slurry by National Fertilisers Ltd (NFL) within the municipal limits of Nangal has caused concern among environmentalists. The NFL authorities have been dumping coal slurry lifted from their dykes in ‘kutcha’ ditches about 200 metres away from the Nangal Municipal Council.

The environmentalists are of the view that the underground dumping of coal slurry at a depth of about 15-20 feet could damage underground water in the surrounding areas. Coal slurry, an industrial waste of the NFL, contains heavy metals. Heavy metals could leach into the surrounding area with the rain and damage underground water.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) rules prohibit the dumping of the coal slurry without pulverised lining on the outskirts. The pulverised lining has been made mandatory for coal or ash dykes to prevent the leaching of heavy metals into the surrounding areas. However, the recent dumping of the coal slurry by the NFL is being carried out without providing pulverised lining.

Mr AJS Kohli, Deputy General Manager, Technical Services, NFL, when contacted said rules for providing pulverised lining was applicable to just ash dykes where coal slurry mixed with water was released. It was not applicable for dumping underground the dried up coal slurry.

He added that the problem of the coal slurry waste of the NFL would be solved by next year. The company was entering into agreement with the ACC that would lift coal slurry of the NFL.

However, sources said the dumping of coal slurry by digging ditches 15 to 20 feet deep not only violated the PPCB norms but also violated the Mining Act. For digging earth in areas spread over acres up to a depth of 15-20 feet proper permission had to be sought from the Mining Department of the state. Such persons or organisations which dig earth up to such depths have to pay royalty to the state government.

The NFL had earlier too dug ditches even up to 10 feet to 30 feet along the state highway and near the residential colonies for dumping their industrial waste underground.

The environmentalists feel that heavy metals from the coal slurry dumped underground will leach in to surrounding area by rain water and contaminate underground water.

The chairman of the PPCB, Mr KPS Rana, when contacted said the matter of underground dumping of coal slurry had not been brought to his notice. He would get the matter investigated and take action as per the rules, he added.


Poohla eviction panel suspends procession
Tribune News Service

Controversial Nihang chief Ajit Singh Poohla addresses mediapersons at the village of Poohla in Amritsar district
Controversial Nihang chief Ajit Singh Poohla addresses mediapersons at the village of Poohla in Amritsar district on Wednesday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma 

Poohla (Tarn Taran), March 10
The Poohla Eviction Committee (PEC) today suspended its procession, which was proposed to be taken from Pahoowind to Poohla, due to promulgation of Section 144 in the region. Meanwhile, Ajit Singh Poohla announced that a committee had been formed to oust Poohla Eviction Committee from the village.

The Tarn Taran police made elaborate security arrangements to meet any eventuality while the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, SPs Ashok Bath and H. S. Aulakh, camped at the Bhikhiwind police station to take stock of the situation.

However, the PEC chairman, Col G. S. Sandhu, said he would ensure that Baba Poohla was evicted from the historic Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taroo Singh in Poohla village. The SGPC had already announced to get the gurdwara vacated from the Nihang chief.

On the other hand, the controversial Nihang chief said his men would continue to manage the gurdwara which belonged to Nihangs. He said the management won’t be transferred to any committee or SGPC at any cost.


Promotee railway officers hold protest
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, March 10
All promotee railway officers in Diesel Mechanical Works (DMW) today observed a fast in protest against the Railway Board’s policy of surrendering senior scale posts to enable upgradation in higher grade posts.

Speaking on the occasion, the president of DMW Promotee Association, Mr R.S. Bhatia, condemned the move of the railway authorities for not constituting timely the Department Promotion Committee (DPC) and surrendering senior scale posts, which is adversely affecting the promotional aspects of Group B officers particularly.

He said directly recruited Group A officers were getting time bound promotions where as there was no such career planning for promotee Group B officers in the Railways.

While addressing the gathering, the general secretary of the association, Mr V.B.L. Sharma, said all posts of junior scale were not taken into consideration for induction in Group A. He further alleged that taking of less number of junior scale posts was effecting promotional aspect of Group B officers.

The members of the association also presented a memorandum to the chief Accounts Officer, DMW, Mr A.K. Gupta, for onward submission to the Railway Board.

AMBALA: The Northern Railway Promotee Officers Association today observed a protest day against the alleged reduction of posts in senior scale.

The railway promotee officers wore black badges and observed fast throughout the day. They termed the reduction in senior scale as an arbitrary decision which has adversely affected them. They demanded that the authorities concerned must take immediate steps to bring promotee officers on a par with Group A officers.

Mr Ashok Sharma, divisional association president, told mediapersons that they had passed two resolutions.


Cong making false promises: ayurvedic docs
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 10
The Unemployed Ayurvedic Doctors Association (UADA) Punjab has criticised the Congress for making a false promise in its manifesto released at New Delhi yesterday for creating more jobs to check unemployment after coming to power at the Centre. Describing it as a poll gimmick, Dr Dharminder Kaushal state president of the body here today reminded that even the Congress government in the state also made many tall promises in the last Assembly polls for resolving problems but all these proved futile. He regretted that more than 40 to 50 per cent posts of different categories in various government departments in the state have been vacant and no steps were taken to fulfill it. Even no measures had been initiated to absorb the needy on compassionate grounds.

Dr Kaushal said that even Ayurvedic doctors who were relieved earlier after they performed duties in various state dispensaries on 89-day basis were not reappointed in spite of the orders of the Supreme Court for the past one year. More than 100 ayurvedic dispensaries were functioning without experts in the state, he added. A large number of educated youths had crossed age limit due to non-recruitment since the inception of the Congress rule in the state.

He has impressed upon all political parties not to misled countrymen, particularly youths by making false promises for political gains.


Leopard’s pugmarks noticed
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 10
Officials of the Punjab Forest Department today visited Kurli and Batoli villages following reports of the presence of a leopard in the area. The team of officials, headed by Mr Harbans Singh Dhillon, Deputy Divisional Forest Officer, from Patiala, noticed pugmarks of a leopard in the fields.

Mr Dhillon assured the villagers that the leopard would be caged soon. He said the department would set up a cage in the fields, adding that a special cage had been acquired from Hoshiarpur.

Mr Sukhminder Singh, Range Officer, Dera Bassi, said two employees had been deployed in the village to keep track of the leopard.

He said the animal had been spotted by Pritpal Singh, a resident of Kurli village, in a field early this morning.

Fire in house

Goods worth thousands of rupees were destroyed in a fire that broke out in the house of Mr Anil Kumar in Samgoli village, near here, today.


Lahore-based Briton operated on
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
British National, Abdul Hamir Chaudhary presently based in Lahore after having been operated on at the Escort Heart and Multi-specialities Institute here returned to Pakistan today.

Before going to Lahore from Wagah Check post Mr Chaudhary said that Indian doctors were among the best in the world and he had chosen to be operated upon for his heart surgery at the Escort Hospital here. Mr Chaudhary was admitted with 90 per cent blockage of three arteries and decided to leave for Amritsar for his cardiac problems last month.

Chief Cardiac Surgeon at the Escort Heart Institute Dr Harshbir Singh Pannu said that Mr Chaudhary was the first Pakistani patient to be operated upon in the hospital and said that they would be expecting more patients from Pakistan to benefit. He said that Amritsar was the closest city to Lahore and it would be much easier for them to make use of world class health facilities here.

Dr Pannu said that a team of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists would Pakistan in the first week of April to apprise doctors there of the health care available in India particularly at Amritsar.


Prohibitory orders till May 3
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 10
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, today issued prohibitory orders under Section 144, IPC, banning playing of orchestra and other instruments creating noise pollution at marriage palaces till late in the night, use of crackers and playing of loudspeakers at high pitch at religious places. In his order, Mr Ahluwalia stated that these orders had been issued in public interest. Noise pollution affected studies of children, and crackers created danger to human lives. Under these orders loudspeakers would be banned from 6 pm to 8 am and would remain in effect till May, 3.

CPRC a boon

The Community Police Resource Centre (CPRC) in the district is proving a boon for the local residents. The centre has started yielding good results as all police-related problems of people are solved under one roof and people don’t have to visit repeatedly the offices of the SSP and other officials. It is also playing an important role in strengthening police, people relationship. Five motorcycles were donated by industrialists to the police for patrolling due to such an initiative.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, told The Tribune that as per the directions of the Punjab Government the district police had initiated various steps to strengthen the police, public relations. He said a grievances redressal cell, a nodal place for community oriented schemes, an information centre, a verification counter, a victim relief centre and a child protection unit had been set up at this centre to facilitate all police-related work at one place.

Check stress

We are responsible for our own lives and our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We should not blame circumstances or conditions for our failures, rather we should be the architect of our circumstances” said Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Head, Department of Commerce, Mata Gujri College, while delivering a discourse at a training programme organised by Kribhco for managers, field officers and secretaries of the cooperative department of the district at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind.

He said we should not worry about the factors, which are out of our control. He stressed the need for fixing priorities in life and the persons who do not set right priorities have to suffer tensions and stresses.


Panth Khalsa march to begin on April 3
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 10
The Panth Khalsa march will commence from Akal Takht on April 3 as a part of the commemoration of three important events in the Sikh history. The march will conclude at Takht Hazoor Sahib on April 13, the Baisakhi day.

This was disclosed by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary-general, Panthic Parliamentary Board, while talking to TNS today.

The proposed march will be led by Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, a former Secretary, SGPC, Mr Hardip Singh Bajwa, Dr H.S. Dilgir, Mr Tarsem Singh, Chairman, Dharm Parchar Committee, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Harsimran Singh and Mr Gurkirpal Singh Bathinda. Jathas will start from different places in Punjab and converge at Akal Takht.

Mr Mann said the “bani” (holy hymns) of various “bhagats” would be written on placards, which would be carried by Sikh devotees during the march.


BJP flays J&K daughters’ Bill
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
The BJP today lashed out against the Bill passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Government. Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, vice-president of the BJP’s Punjab unit said the Congress should be ashamed of having supported the Bill.

Ms Kanta said PDP President Mehbooba Mufti’s support to the Bill should be decried by all. Charging the J&K Government of playing with the sentiments of Kashmiri women, she said Kashmir’s daughter will always remain attached to the umbilical cord that is symbolised by the land of Kashmir.

She demand immediate withdrawal of the Bill and gave a call to all parties to condemn it vociferously.


102 operations performed at eye camp
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 10
Dr Triloki Nath and his team performed 102 eye operations and inserted intra-occular lenses in 22 patients at a free eye operation camp organised at the local Civil Hospital, Barnala.

The four-day eye operation camp organised by the local Bhagat Mohan Lal Sewa Samiti concluded here today.

Dr S.P. Gupta, Chief Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Barnala, presided over the concluding session of the camp.

Dr Triloki Nath said 750 patients suffering from eye ailments were examined at the camp. He said spectacles, green bands and medicines were distributed free of cost to the patients.


‘Sarovar’ kar seva from March 25
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
Kar seva of the Golden Temple sarovar will commence from March 25. This was informed by Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC today. Kar seva was last undertaken 15 years back. The seva was likely to be completed in a week.


Mahendru is chief of truck union
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 10
Mr Pawan Kumar Mahendru was elected president of the Bassi Mubarikpur Truck Operators Union, Dera Bassi, here today. Mr Mahendru has been elected for a period of two years.

He defeated Mr Kuljeet Singh Randhawa, a members of Zila Parishad by 67 votes.

Taking note of tension over the elections, the local administration had made elaborate security arrangements. Besides a company of reserve force, the mounted police from Patiala was detailed.

Mr Mahendru’s supporters took out a procession in the market.


High Court
Poll petition dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition challenging the election of MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon from the Faridkot Assembly constituency.

In his petition, Avtar Singh Brar of Faridkot had alleged the adoption of corrupt practices. The elections were held on February 13, 2002, and the result was declared on February 24 the same year. The petitioner had claimed that 57,274 votes were polled in his opponent’s favour, while 50,980 were cast in his favour.


Eight jailed for life

Moga, March 10
A court here yesterday convicted and sentenced eight persons to life imprisonment on the charge of killing two persons, including a woman during a robbery committed by them in the house of a cloth merchant of Jaitu town of Faridkot district four years back.

The prosecution alleged that the accused entered the house for committing the crime on the night of January 11, 2000.

The accused armed with sharp-edged weapons entered the house of Kamal Kant and attacked the family.

Mr Kant’s father Surinder Kumar and his sister Sushma were killed by the accused while Kamal Kant and his mother received injuries. The robbers escaped with valuables after the crime. — PTI


Experts give tips to farmers
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 10
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, organised a kisan mela at Kandi Agriculture Research Centre, Bullowal Sonkheri, about 30 km from here, today.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, presided over the function, while Ms Supinder Kaur Cheema, adviser of PAU committee, was the chief guest.

Addressing the farmers, Ms Cheema stressed the need for adopting latest farm techniques, diversification of agriculture and to minimise costs to make agriculture a lucrative venture. She suggested that the farmers should avoid taking unnecessary unproductive loans.

The Vice-Chancellor stressed the need for preserving underground water. He said farmers should cultivate crops needing less irrigation water. They should replace paddy cultivation with oilseeds and pulses. He lamented that farmers in the state had been hesitating to adopt cultivation of herbs. Dr Aulakh said medicinal plants had a vast market throughout the world. Besides, dairy farming could also prove to be lucrative for farmers.

Experts from PAU gave tips to the farmers regarding the latest farm techniques. They advised farmers of the kandi area to adopt cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Exhibitions of latest researches, farm machinery, seeds and fertilisers were also organised at the mela.


Transparency in purchase officers’ meetings demanded
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 10
Meetings of the district and sub-division-level paddy and wheat purchase officers should be made transparent so that the farmers and commission agents have some say at these meetings to contain rampant corruption in procurement process by the procurement agencies and to bring their problems and grievances to the notice of the authorities concerned.

This demand has been made by Mr Ved Parkash Tallewalia, president, Kacha Arhtiya Association, in a letter written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said the Chief Minister’s crusade against corruption at higher levels was quite effective but corruption at the grassroot level had got little attention.

He said Mr Avtar Henry, Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, has failed to manage paddy payments in time. The payments of paddy purchased by Pungrain from farmers were late by a month and other paddy procurement agencies too delayed payments to farmers.


Officials trained in use of EVMs
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, March 10
Training for operating EVMs was imparted to assistant returning officers of the district for Jalandhar and Phillaur Lok Sabha seats at the local Yojna Bhavan under the supervision of Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner-cum- District Returning Officer, today.

Mr Gurpal Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, Phagwara, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bhatti, SDM, Mr Bakhtwar Singh Shergill, SDM, Bholath, and other officials were also present on the occasion.

Ms Ranjit Kaur, Assistant Commissioner (General) and Prof Prabhjot Singh of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College imparted training to officers regarding the sealing of EVMs after the polling of votes.

Mr Verma said the district had received 771 EVMs and each assistant returning officers had been given 45 EVMs to enable him to impart training to field staff.


Man shot at, injured
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 10
Mr Sohan Lal Gotra, a former Manager of a bank, seriously injured when two unidentified persons shot at him while he was going to his house on the Sutehri road here last night. After injuring him the assailant snatched his bag containing about Rs 7,000 and fled away. He was taken to Civil Hospital by residents of the locality. After giving first aid to Mr Gotra, the doctors referred him to DMC, Ludhiana.

It is reported that Mr Gotra was in the money exchange business at Nawanshahr.

According to police sources, a similar incident took place at Banga few days ago. After examining the shells of bullets used in last night’s incident, it was found that the same type of weapon was used by the assailants at Banga.


NRI family robbed of jewellery
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 10
Some unidentified armed persons wearing masks robbed an NRI family of about Rs 3 lakh near Ladhian village in Phillaur subdivision yesterday.

Mr Amardeep Paul Singh, along with his family, was going in a Zen car to meet a relative near Dosanjh Kalan when the miscreants on scooters waylaid them and asked them to hand over their belongings. The miscreants escaped with more than 55 tolas of gold ornaments and other valuables.


Pak intruder shot

Amritsar, March 10
An unidentified Pakistani intruder was shot dead by the Border Security Force. A case under Sections 3, 34 and 20 of the Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreign Act was registered at the Gharinda police station here today.

According to details, the accused crossed over to India through the Kahangarh border post. BSF jawans shot him dead when he tried to run away after they challenged him. The police recovered a bag containing clothes and a railway ticket. — OC


Patwari held for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
Subash Chander, a patwari, was caught red handed by officials of the Vigilance Bureau for taking a bribe of Rs 2,000 for the registration of the ‘intkal’ of land belonging to Harwinder Singh, a resident of Sohian Kalan village.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SP, Vigilance Bureau, said a case under Sections 7, 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the patwari on the complaint of Harvinder Singh.


5 arrested for gambling
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 10
The police has arrested five persons for gambling. Mr Amit Prasad Tripathi, SSP, said a police party caught five persons while they were gambling. The police also seized Rs 51030 in cash from the spot.

Mr Tripathi said those found gambling had been identified as Raj Kumar, Sanjiv Kumar, Sukhvinder Kumar, Kultar Singh and Devinder Kumar, all residents of Barnala. A case under Section 13 of the Gambling Act has been registered against them.


Two-day Sangeet Utsav begins
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, March 10
A two-day Sangeet Utsav, organised by the Department of Music of Punjabi University, started here today. The festival was inaugurated by the Dean, College Development Council, Prof S.P.S Virdi.

The head of the department, Dr Yashpal Sharma, said the objective of the festival was to preserve classical and traditional music.

The highlight of the day was a sitar recital by Harwinder Sharma, a noted artiste. Sufiana gayaki by Sayeeda Beghum and B.S Balli is scheduled for tomorrow.

PWD employees’ rally

On a call given by the Technical and Mechanical Employees Union, PWD employees from all parts of the state held a rally to protest against the “anti-employee” policies of the state government here today.

The protesters, carrying flags and banners, reached the Mall and raised slogans against the government. The state president of the union, Mr Avinash Chopra, criticised the decision to hand over six departments, including Public Health, to the panchayats.

He also condemned the withdrawal of various financial benefits to employees and the non-implementation of various poll promises, including the regularisation of daily-wagers.

Prize distribution

The annual prize distribution function of the Government Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala, was held today. The Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The Principal, Mr Narinder Narula, urged the students to develop a positive attitude for success.

A cultural programme was presented on the occasion.

Science Olympiad

A class VI girl of the local Budha Dal Public School, Manu Oberoi, secured the first position among the students of her school who participated in the National Science Olympiad, which was held at the school.

Overall, with a score of 96.73 per cent, she stood seventh in the state.


Punjabi University teachers seek decision on poll
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
Punjabi University teachers, who have been without a forum with the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) not being in effect since September, 2002, have urged the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to dispose of writ petitions regarding the 2002 PUTA elections.

As many as 58 teachers have signed a memorandum in this regard that has been sent to the Chief Justice. The representatives behind the memorandum claim that teachers in the university were losing out because they did not have a representative body.

The memorandum is also aimed at a more assertive role for teachers with former PUTA secretary Balwinder Singh saying that many “just” demands have not been accepted since long.

The demands include two increments to teachers who have completed their doctorate degree, relaxing the condition of a refresher course, and retirement on December 31 or June 31 as per the semester timings of the institution.

The teachers say many issues of victimisation have not been set right. The university has not withdrawn the “false” case registered against senior teacher K.C. Singhal by former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, says Dr Balwinder Singh. Dr Singhal has been framed in a case regarding the accounts of an alumni meeting, he alleges. There are also issues regarding the promotion of certain teachers.

Two teachers of Guru Kashi College in Talwandi Sabo and the BEd College in Bathinda had filed petitions in the high court after the university management had barred teachers from the institutions from participating in the PUTA election. Though PUTA elections were held in September 2002, the result has been kept in abeyance since.


Gujral for 100 pc literacy in state
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 10
Former Primer Minister Inder Kumar Gujral today exhorted NGOs to make Punjab a 100 per cent literate state for its overall development.

Mr Gujral was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of Sant Baba Bhag Singh International School at Khiala village, about 20 km from here.

He said the state could achieve the status of “completely developed” its literacy was 100 per cent. “There is a need for the NGOs to take on reins of the education sector in their hands to impart quality education at the grassroot level, particularly in villages, where students do not have much access to the latest technology,” he said, hailing Sant Malkiat Singh, Chairman of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Memorial Charitable Society, for successfully running an engineering college in a remote village.

He said Baba Malkiat Singh was a live example for the NGOs and the people of the state as he had involved people from across the state and NRIs to donate for setting up educational institutions in villages. He said Baba Malkiat Singh had motivated the people to participate in various development projects casting more than Rs 20 crore, during the past one decade.

The Director of the school, Dr H.S. Sagar, said the school would cater to the needs of residents of Khiala, Kalra, Nauli, Padhiana, Jatewali and 20 adjoining villages. “We will provide best educational facilities, equipped with latest emerging technologies, to the students to inculcate a spirit of competitiveness,” he added.


Pharmacy students march to CM’s house
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 10
Students of pharmacy colleges of the state marched towards the residence of the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, here today. They were protesting against the Punjab Technical University (PTU) policy due to which they have been denied admission to the sixth semester.

They were stopped near YPS Chowk by the police. The students from Barnala, Moga, Amritsar and Nangal participated in the demonstration.

The students appealed to the Chief Minister to intervene immediately and resolve the issue.

Besides this, they also demanded that their colleges be affiliated to Baba Farid University, Faridkot.

They further demanded that under the 2/6 rule their result of fifth semester should be declared. Results of Engineering college students have been declared under the same rule.


PTU students hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 10
The PTU Students Action Committee of the IITT College of Engineering, Pojewal, about 25 km from here, organised a rally in protest against the “apathetic attitude” of the PTU authorities towards their demands.

Expressing solidarity with the agitating students, Mr Kulwinder Singh Chahal, general secretary, Punjab Students Union, Mr Ravi Thakur, Mr Abhishek Kumar, Mr Puneet Gulati, Mr Sandip Singh, Mr Sharanjit Singh and others accused the PTU of “deceiving” the students by granting permission to “educational institutions which were like shops and did not even have the requisite infrastructure”.

While demanding the implementation of the 24-credit rule system, the students said the PTU authorities were making a mockery of the system by applying new rules on old students, which would ruin the career of hundreds of students.

The PTU Students Action Committee threatened to intensify the stir if the authorities did not relent.


Economists discuss impact of WTO
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
Leading economists today opined that India could provide leadership to the Third World to meet challenges emerging from the WTO agreement.

On the concluding day of the national seminar on “opportunities and challenges to the Indian business under the WTO regime,” organised by the Department of Commerce and Business of Guru Nanak Dev University, Prof H.S. Sidhu from the School of Economics, delivering the valedictory address, expressed dismay over downgrading of the Planning Commission for the benefit of super powers. He said the WTO regime may adversely effect the poor farming community in India and farmer may be left to fend for themselves to get remunerative prices for their produce.

Earlier, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said that India must protect its own industry and trade to counter the threat of the WTO. The panelists felt that the new education policy, being pursued by the government at the behest of international agencies, would harm the interest of Indians.

A renowned economist from Jawahar Lal University, Prof Prabhat Patnaik, felt the need for having an in depth discussion on the acceptance of the WTO by the country.

He said the government must create awareness about advantages and disadvantages of the WTO.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, Director of the seminar said more than 70 papers were presented in the technical session.


Entrepreneurship summit at Longowal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 10
A national summit on “entrepreneurship” was held today at the Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology at Longowal, Mr Sachit Jain, Executive Director, Auro Spinning Mills, a unit of Vardhman Group, was the chief guest.

Mr Jain stressed upon the importance of team support for better implementation of creative ideas.

Mr S.K. Kalra, senior Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank, Bathinda zone, apprised students of scheme of the banks, encouraging entrepreneurial activities. Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu, known as ‘chilly king’ in Sangrur-Sunam belt, narrated his experiences to the students.

Dr P.K. Jain, Chairman, Training and Placement Section of the Longowal institute, said many such summits would be organised to fulfil the objective of entrepreneurship.


Students’ demonstration
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 10
Students of the Institute of Engineering, Bhaddal, took out a march against the non-implementation of the 24 credit system by Punjab Technical University (PTU). As many 100 students of the college marched raising slogans to the main road. They marched up to the SYL canal bridge near Rangilpur on the Ropar-Chandigarh road. The students alleged that though the PTU had withdrawn the 1-5 semester scheme, it was yet to withdraw the 2-6 semester scheme. They would carry on with the agitation till their demands were met, the students asserted.

10-month imprisonment

The Additional Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr J.S. Khushdil, sentenced Shinda, a resident of Ropar to 10 months imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine on the charge of smuggling poppy husk. A case under the NDPS Act was registered against him.

Mason meet

The Grasim Industries Ltd today organised a ‘Mason Mahasammelan’ in which 500 masons from Ropar district participated. Skill games and entertainment was organised. The company’s General Manager (marketing north), Mr Davinder Singh, presided over the function.


Octroi posts’ auction fetches Rs 5.7 cr

Phagwara March 10
Octroi posts of Nagar Council, Phagwara, were today auctioned to  a group of private contractors for Rs 5.7 crore. The company of contractors, named Bhaichara Co, gave the highest bid at the auction carried out in the presence of Ms Gurpreet Kaur, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Jalandhar, the president of Nagar Council, Phagwara, Mr Malkiat Singh and other municipal officials.

Today’s bidding recorded about  Rs 55 lakh increase over the last year’s auction. — OC

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