P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Crores wasted on canal bed, says Central team
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 13
The Monitoring and Appraisal Directorate of the Central Water Commission has questioned the propriety of dismantling the original concrete bed of the Gang Canal for reconstruction with a project cost of Rs 448 crore.

A team of the engineers, led by Director K.P.S. Sengar and Deputy Director S.K. Mehta, visited the canal in the district on Friday to monitor the progress of work.

While talking to newsmen last night at the Circuit House, Sriganganagar , 40 km from here, they observed that the old bed was still looking better than the reconstructed canal. They wondered why the irrigation engineers from Rajasthan resolved to waste money and material on dismantling the old bed.

Maharaja Ganga Singh had constructed the canal beginning from the Balawala head in Ferozepore to the Bikaner head in 1927 using red powder and lime. It was designed to last 50 years, but survived till 2002.

The Rajasthan Government has so far paid Rs 121 crore to the Irrigation Department, Punjab, for reconstruction, but a 17-km stretch is yet to be constructed. Officials of the department told the visiting team that the target for completing the construction by July this year might not be achieved, as there had been some delay in releasing the money by the Rajasthan Government. In Rajasthan, work is pending for 6-km length.

The visiting engineers said though it was not under their jurisdiction to examine the quality of construction, yet they had informed the Punjab Government that in certain areas quality of reconstruction was very poor. Several farmers gave a demonstration to the visiting engineers on how bricks could be easily removed from the bed and walls of the canal with bare hands. In some parts, poor-quality bricks had been allegedly used. Mr Sengar and Mr. Mehta said they would apprise the Chief Engineer, Rajasthan, of the matter.

The farmers told the team that there had been a loss of 400-425 cusecs of water as a result of seepage from the canal due to poor quality of construction by the contractors in Punjab. The team was accompanied by irrigation officials from Sriganganagar and members of the Kissan Sangharsh Samiti.

The samiti leaders said they would meet Ms Vasundhra Raje Scindia, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and request her to write to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, to order a vigilance investigation into the alleged bungling in the re- construction of the canal.


Daler to visit Pakistan with song for change
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
Pop star Daler Mehndi will present a new song during his Pakistan trip, which will urge the peoples of India and Pakistan to “wake up” and stop “goondas” from calling the shots.

The pop star paid quick visit to the city this afternoon to retrieve his passport from the Sadar police station so that he could perform in Pakistan later this month. Before returning to Delhi, Daler told TNS that he would unveil a song during his Pakistan trip.

He said he had been hurt by the rising trend of “goondaism” in the country during the past more than one year. He denied that the treatment meted out to him at the hands of Patiala cops, when he was booked in a human trafficking case, was behind his latest composition. “I had been working on the composition earlier, but have decided to go public with it now”, he said.

The song is harsh and unlike any of Daler’s other compositions. It goes like this - “Chor ucchake choudhary, goondi ran pardhan, jaago desh vasiyon, nahi te ho jaou kalyan”. (thieves and immoral women are leaders, rise countrymen or the country will be doomed). The song ends with the couplet “rabba teriyan beparvahian, kutte khaan maliyan” (O god, your carelessness ensures rule of dogs).

Daler says the song has significance for Pakistan as it has for India. In both countries, the situation is the same, he says, adding that he wants to urge the peoples of the two countries not to tolerate the increasing hold of “criminals”, over the people.

Speaking about his forthcoming visit to Pakistan, the pop singer said he had been invited by the Cancer Society run by Imran Khan. He said he would be leaving for Pakistan on March 19 and would perform in Lahore and Karachi. During the visit, Daler will be felicitated by the Lahore Chamber of Industry for “his commitment to the spread of his mother tongue”. Daler said he would visit religious places in Pakistan to thank the Almighty for bailing him out of the “false” case registered against him.

Asked about the human trafficking case in which he has been granted bail, but denied discharge by the court, Daler said the district and state police had cleared him completely. He said he was not being called again by the police for reinvestigation even though a local court had directed the Sadar police station SHO to reinvestigate the case. “Why should they call me again when I have been already cleared in the case”, he added.

Meanwhile, Daler’s counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi identified the singer at the police station to pave the way for handing over of the passport. The counsel disclosed that a photocopy of the passport had been kept with the police station authorities and that the original would be given to the police station after the visit.


Tax evader’s land to be auctioned
Evasion worth Rs 3.54 cr detected
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 13
In a move that could have a deterrent effect on others the state Sales Tax Department authorities have decided to hold an open auction of property belonging to an automobile dealer for recovering the tax worth crores of rupees from him.

Official sources said the Punjab Sales Tax Department authorities would hold an open auction of the land situated on the Bathinda-Mansa road on March 15.

The sources said an automobile dealer, who was running a Maruti cars agency in the city, evaded crores of rupees on the sale of car spare parts and on those cars which were purchased by him from the canteen stores department (CSD) for defence personnel by showing bogus sales in the account books. He also used bogus sale declaration forms, put fake stamps and signatures on the same to establish the fact that he had made genuine sales to various spare parts dealers in Punjab.

From 1997 to 2001 the automobile dealer made bogus sales worth Rs 7 crore and evaded sales tax to the tune of Rs 3.54 crore on the same.

Information revealed that the sales tax authorities had fixed Rs 31 lakh as the reserved price for the property, which included a well-constructed bungalow and an open space.

However, the authorities concerned were worried over the fact that they would not be able to dispose of the land in the auction as the same fell in the no-construction zone declared by the Army authorities because of a nearby ammunition depot. 


Karn, Kewal may figure in second Cong list
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
While cine star Rajesh Khanna and former All-India Youth Congress chief Munish Tewari are still vying with each other for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, the Congress may field a couple of new faces in Punjab in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The names of four more candidates have reportedly been cleared by the Election Committee of the All-India Congress Committee in New Delhi this evening leaving the decision on Ludhiana and Jalandhar seats to a later date.

A formal announcement about these four candidates is likely to be made in a day or two.

The Central Election Committee, according to sources, has decided to leave the Bathinda seat for the CPI (Mrs K. Bhaura) and the Hoshiarpur seat for the CPM (Mr Darshan Singh Mattu).

Those cleared include Mrs Karn Brar, daughter-in-law of former Punjab Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, from Faridkot and industrialist Kewal Singh Dhillon from Sangrur. Mr Dhillon got the clearance after Mrs R.K. Bhattal expressed her unwillingness to contest Lok Sabha polls.

The committee also decided to shift Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar from Faridkot to Ferozepore and give the party ticket to Mrs Karn Brar to oppose Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in Faridkot.

Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, the sources said, got the clearance for Gurdaspur.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the state Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, along with members of the Central Election Committee had met the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, on her return from Andhra Pradesh before clearing these names.

In case of an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Congress may leave both Phillaur and Ferozepore seats for it. The BSP, according to the sources, was asking for three seats, Hoshiarpur being the additional one.

Since the Congress has been in alliance with both Communist parties in its secular alliance, it may find it difficult to take Hoshiarpur from the CPM and give it to the BSP.

In Ludhiana, both Rajesh Khanna and Mr Tewari were strong contenders. In Jalandhar, Mr Balbir Singh was once again in the running though he had in a letter to the party high command expressed unwillingness to seek re-election. Others in the run for the Congress ticket from Jalandhar include Rana Gurjit Singh, legislator from Kapurthala, and former international hockey player Pargat Singh.

The case of Ludhiana and Jalandhar is likely to be decided on Monday.


Poohla issue: SGPC sees Cong hand
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
The SGPC has accused the Congress of supporting Nihang leader Ajit Singh Poohla in the illegal occupation of the historic gurdwara connected with Bhai Taru Singh at Poohla village.

Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the SGPC, have urged the district administration to get back the occupation of the notified gurdwara that has been encroached upon.

They said the Congress government was backing Poohla even though his activities were well known. "Instead of getting the gurdwara released from 'illegal occupation', the government is busy formulating 'saving tactics' for the Nihang leader," they alleged.


Graft case: VB told to give documents to Badal
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, March 13
The Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, today directed the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to provide a copy of statements of key witnesses and video cassettes of the disputed properties to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The bureau was also directed to allow the defence counsel of Mr Badal to scrutinise about 10,000 documents attached to schedules of the challan presented against Mr Badal or allow them to get the documents xeroxed at their own cost.

Earlier in the application moved before the court, the counsels for Mr Badal had alleged that the Vigilance Bureau had not supplied them all documents attached with the challan. The prosecution in its reply filed had maintained that all documents attached with the challan could not be supplied as the investigation in the case was still in progress. They also alleged that the application seeking all documents was just a ploy for delaying the proceedings in the case.

The judge, however, held today that Mr Badal had the right to all documents attached with the challan.

In another development in the proceedings of the case of corruption and disproportionate assets, filed by the bureau against Mr Badal and his family, the prosecution today urged for early chargesheet against the accused. The counsels for prosecution in the proceedings held today alleged that the defence in the case was trying to delay the proceedings by moving applications.

The defence in case also presented a reply regarding the second passport of Mr Sukhbir Badal in the court today. The prosecution in an application had earlier alleged that Mr Sukhbir Badal had not deposited his second passport in the court. Mr Nirapjit Singh, a co-accused in the case, also moved an application today demanding release of his air ticket and articles confiscated by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

The judge fixed April 3 as the next date for hearing and all applications moved by the co-accused. Today only Mr Parkash Singh Badal was present in the court. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal sought exemption from personal appearance for today’s proceeding.


Congress to field young candidates
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 13
The Congress will put up young candidates to give representation to youths in Lok Sabha elections. All-India Youth Congress president Randeep Singh Surjewala stated this to reporters here yesterday. He claimed the Congress would field able and honest candidates. When asked whether Ms Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi would contest Lok Sabha elections, Mr Surjewala said, it was the wish of all Congress workers but it could be decided by Rahul and Priyanka only. To a question on dissidence following the appointment of Mr Raminder Singh Awla as Punjab Youth Congress president, he said representations of dissident Congress leaders were being examined, but Mr Awla would not be replaced as his appointment was made after consultations with the Congress high command. Mr Surjewala claimed that ‘chetna’ rally indicated landslide win for the Congress in Lok Sabha elections.

On the reported absence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president H.S. Hanspal and other senior Congress leaders from the Yuva Chetna Rally of Moga, Mr Surjewala replied, Captain Amarinder Singh was busy in a Cabinet meeting and also Mr Amarinder Singh and Mr Hanspal were busy in deciding tickets for Lok Sabha candidates. He claimed the Congress in Punjab was working in complete unity.

Mr Surjewala told that Youth Congress had also started a “rath yatra” headed by Mr Mirinal, which started on Thursday and would pass through 10 states of the country.


Cong issues whip to MLAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The ruling Congress party today issued a whip asking all party MLAs to be present in the House during the two-day session of the Punjab Assembly.

Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Whip of the Congress Legislature Party, said the Governor’s address would be on March 15. The next day, financial and legislative business would be transacted.


Barnala’s wife opposes Dhindsa’s candidature
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 13
Ms Surjit Kaur, a former MLA and wife of Andhra Pradesh Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, today demanded that the SAD should reconsider Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s candidature for the Sangrur parliamentary constituency as there was a lot of resentment among the workers over his nomination. She said it would be difficult for herself and her supporters to help Mr Dhindsa who has always opposed Mr Barnala.

Ms Kaur was accompanying her husband, who was the chief guest at the golden jubilee celebrations of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College here today. She maintained that Mr Dhindsa was not the right choice for Sangrur. She said she was being pressurised by her supporters to revive the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal). However, she added that she would not let the party suffer. Mr Barnala preferred not to talk to the media.

ROPAR: Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the president of the SAD, said he had no differences with Mr Barnala, who was an integral part of the SAD. The “rumours” regarding the revival of the SAD (Longowal) were being spread by Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, he said.

Mr Badal maintained that he might be having family ties with Mr Chautala, but the SAD had no political ties with the INLD. He, however, chose not to comment on the participation of Mr Sukhbir Badal in an INLD rally.


Chandumajra may attend PM’s rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
Senior SAD leader and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra is expected to formally join the election campaign of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD candidate, at the March 18 rally being held here which will be attended by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Mr Chandumajra held a meeting with his supporters yesterday which included the 101-member committee of people of the constituency. During the meeting, the committee “authorised” Mr Chandumajra to take a decision on the issue. Though the Akali leader claimed that he would disclose his decision to SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal on March 16, sources said Mr Chandumajra was more or less back in the SAD camp.


SAD to raise liquor auction issue in Assembly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal will raise the issue of liquor auction in the coming Assembly session. It will also bring in a call attention notice against the “backdoor appointment of tainted candidates” as DSPs in Punjab Police.

Stating this here today, SAD president, Parkash Singh Badal regretted that only a two-day session had been convened, which amounted to “betrayal of the people and murder of democracy”. He pointed out, that the time duration was too short to raise important issues in the Assembly

Mr Badal presided over a meeting of party legislators to draw the strategy to be adopted during the two-day session. He said the party legislators would try to utilise zero hour, where the questions of immediate and urgent concerns could be raised.


Rise in cases of HIV infection in children: expert
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
“New challenges are emerging in the reccurrence of controlled diseases and the scourge of HIV infections in children,” Dr O.N. Bhakhoo, a noted paediatrician, said in his keynote address at the annual conference of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, state branch, held here yesterday.

As many as 200 delegates from the state attended the conference, inaugurated by Dr Bhakoo and hosted by Government Medical College.

In his address, Dr Bhakoo expressed concern over inadequate resources and infrastructure to provide specialised services and the need to evolve specific principles and practice modules for catering to health needs of children, including those from urban slums, rural and tribal areas and other disadvantaged groups like mentally and physically challenged children.

Dr Karnail Singh, head, Paediatrics, Government Medical College and organising chairman of the conference, while welcoming the guests disclosed that the state branch had bagged two state-level awards as the national conference, held recently in Chennai.


45 Armymen get gallantry awards
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
As many as 45 officers, JCOs and jawans were given gallantry awards for distinguished services and act of valour at a solemn and colourful investiture ceremony of 3 Western Command held at the Panther auditorium of the Panther Division here today.

Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, presided. One Yudh Sewa Medal, two Bar to Sena Medals, 35 Sena Medals and seven Vishisht Seva Medals. Of these four Sena Medals were awarded posthumously. Mrs Daljit Kaur received on behalf of late Capt Satnam Singh, Mrs Savitri Thapa on behalf of late Naik Harsh Bahadur Thapa, Mrs Rekha Devi on behalf of late Rifleman Bhim Sain and Mrs Chita Devi on behalf of late Rifleman Dina Nath.

Col Ranbir Singh of Dogra Regiment got Yudh Sewa Medal, while Col Kavil A. Mohan and Havildar Bala Ram Pradhan received Bar to Sena Medal.

Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, GOC, Vajra Corps, along with officers, JCOs jawans and civil dignitaries, besides families of awardees were also present on the occasion.

Sena medals were given to Col Paramvir Singh (Dogra), Col S.K. Jha (Sikh), Col Gurpratap Singh Dhillon (Dogra), Major Virinder Singh (artillery), Major Gautam Segan, Major Peeyush Vyas, Major Vinay, Capt Satnam Singh, Lieut Hitender Parti, Capt Paramveer Singh Bisht, Lieut Rampal Singh Nehra, Lieut Arjun Mohan, Naib Subedar Ram Singh, Havildar Ajay Pal Singh, Havildar Dalbir Singh, Naik Beer Singh, Naik Amar Singh, Naik Pardeep Singh, Naik Harsh Bahadur Thapa.

Lance Naiks Gangadhar, Diwan Singh and Indresh Singh, Sepoys Jagwant Singh, A.S. Shammugam and Vinod Kumar, Rifelmen Bhawani Singh, Surendra Singh, Sanjay Singh, Bhim Sain, Chandra Ballav, Dharmendra Singh Aswal and Dina Nath.


Stripping case: Magistrate visits exam centre
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 13
Even as a magisterial probe into allegations against some teachers regarding helping children of VVIPs is yet to be completed, information gathered by TNS revealed that a number of wards of senior civil servants posted in the Deputy Commissioner’s office had been taking the examination of Class XII in the local SSD Senior Secondary School.

Record available with centre staff and the school authorities revealed that sons and daughters of nearly 12 VVIPs had been taking the examination.

Mr Ashok Gupta, father of the student who was allegedly stripped by invigilators when he refused to give his answersheet to a ward of VVIP. March 9, lodged a complaint with Mr K.A.P. Sinha, District Magistrate, when Mr Sinha visited the centre this afternoon.

Mr Sinha pointed out that the Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr S.K. Singla, and a team of the education board were probing the incident.


Traffic blocked against PUDA move
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 13
Traffic came to a standstill for about an hour today at the Courts chowk, Barnala, when activists of the Anti- Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority Action Committee, Barnala, blocked traffic in protest against a proposed PUDA move to develop an urban estate here. The committee has threatened to gherao Subdivisional Magistrate, Barnala, on March 24 if the demand of the committee to denotify and scrapping of this scheme was not conceded by then.

The committee activists, holding black flags with black bands on their turbans and shirts, staged a dharna at the chowk. The residents and plot-holders of the said land were upset over the development of this area coming to a halt in the wake of proposed PUDA move to develop an urban estate.

Protesters took out a march and finally assembled in front of gurdwara Nanaksar Thath where they organised a rally.

Addressing the rally, Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, Chairman, Punjab Kisan Vikas Manch, flayed PUDA and administration of betraying the trust and assurances given to the committee. They demanded that the proposed move of PUDA be scrapped immediately by denotifying the scheme at the earliest otherwise the committee would intensify the stir.


Villagers block traffic over nambardar’s death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
A large number of villagers today held a demonstration and blocked traffic on the main Ajnala-Fatehgarh Churian road against the government and the administration of the Central Jail here. They were protesting against the death of Darshan Singh, a nambardar, who was alleged to have died in jail on March 11.

The traffic remained suspended for about four hours and was resumed after the announcement of a magisterial enquiry by the SDM, Ajnala, Mr Jaskiran Singh.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, son of the deceased, alleged that his father was murdered under a conspiracy.

However, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Superintendent of the Jail, said Darshan due to some kind of addiction was admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. He was later shifted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, where he died.


Enthusiasm in border belt
Our Correspondent

Basarke (Amritsar), March 13
Excited cricket fan Joginder Singh of this village said that the Indian tigers’ would win the series being played at Pakistan.

Answering questions about the level of cricket awareness in the border areas, Mr Joginder Singh said he was a keen cricket enthusiast and had full knowledge of the game.

A Doordarshan team brought their OB van here to elicit the views of the rurals folk about the historic India-Pakistan cricket series being played after a gap of 14 years. The team was flooded with comments by the villagers. Producer Usha Pawar said she never expected such an enthusiastic response from the people in the border belt.

After the Indian victory large crowds performed ‘bhangra’ and distributed sweets, on Lawrence Road in Amritsar.

FATEHGARH SAHIB: Hundreds of cricket fans celebrated the victory of the Indian cricket team over Pakistan by distributing sweets and bursting crackers in the main bazaar and other areas of Sirhind and Fatehgarh Sahib. Students danced and raised slogans in favour of the Indian cricket team. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, joined in the celebrations.


Traffic awareness week opened
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 13
Most accidents take place due to carelessness and negligence of drivers as well as due to lack of awareness about traffic rules. It is the need of the hour to check road accidents, as more deaths are taking place due to accidents. Punjab police has started a traffic awareness programme to meet the challenges posed by increasing vehicular traffic, said Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, while addressing a function on the GT Road, Sirhind, yesterday, after inaugurating the traffic awareness week being celebrated by district police in collaboration with the Lions Club, Sirhind.

The SSP said the law enforcement agencies could not control it on their own, rather everybody had to contribute by obeying traffic rules. He said in most of the accident cases trucks or tractor-trailers were involved. It was, therefore, mandatory that truck and tractor-trailers drivers were educated about traffic rules. He also stressed on avoiding use of mobile phones while driving and driving after taking liquor. During the week-long programme various camps at different places in the district would be organised. Medical check up and eye check up camps for truck drivers would be organised.


Traffic education function held
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 13
A function, in connection with traffic education week, was organised at the civil rest house here yesterday to create awareness about traffic rules.

A number of drivers of autorickshaws, trucks and taxis and rickshaw-pullers gathered for the function. They were told to abide by traffic rules.

Mr Jasdev Singh, DSP, said posters, which highlighted various traffic rules and prepared with the help of Lions Club, were distributed.


Moulding creations out of bougainvillaea
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
From a rickshaw-puller to a gardener to a nursery owner and a freelance adviser 45 year-old Ram Lakhan has made his love for plants into a vocation.

He seems out of place among amateur floriculture lovers participating the state-level flower show being organised at the Barandari Gardens here. He lacks the money to pursue his hobby and the flair to put his thoughts across.

The man’s creations speak for themselves. His favourites are bonsai’s, of whom he has a large collection, besides creating art out of bougainvillaea plants. The latter has caught the attention of viewers at the flower show.

Ram Lakhan has made an outline of a camel out of a bouganvilla, plant, besides an eagle and a chowkidar. The three creations have been thought over and accomplished over years. He had first used wires for his creations, but, this was not appreciated due to lack of aesthetic beauty. “Then I started hand-grafting my creations”, he adds.

Though the gardener is one of the owners of a nursery, Sham Nursery, adjacent to the New Moti Bagh Palace, he keeps his favourite creations at his house at Lal Kothi on Rajbaha road. He has been living in a small portion of the house since years. “In fact, I became interested in gardening when I shifted to this house around 16 years back”, he says.

Ram Lakhan says after working as a gardener to supplement his income, he developed an interest in the vocation and soon took it up as a full time vocation. Patiala Horticulture Development Officer Sandeep Grewal says the man is presently working as a freelance adviser to a number of prominent citizens of the city.

The flower show has also attracted many amateurs, who have come here from all over the state. There is a good collection of J.B. Rao, who is displaying a big collection of bonsai and cactus plants. Other amateurs displaying interesting objects are Prabhdayal Singh Gandhi, displaying a huge bouquet of cut flowers, and Satinder Kaur, displaying a number of dry flower arrangements.


Germany-based Punjabi poet honoured
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 13
Rajwinder Singh, a Germany-based poet, who originally hails from Kapurthala, was honoured jointly by the district administration, the municipal council and citizens of Kapurthala at a function in the local town hall yesterday.

Rajwinder Singh recalled his association with Kapurthala and his passion for his motherland while striving hard in Germany, where, he has come out with a number of books on poetry including, “Ghar Te Parvaaz Sargam”, and “Raat Lambi Zindgi”.

He said his efforts have also been recognised in Germany where he has been accorded recognition as “Poet Laureate”. He also rendered one of his poems — “Main Rukh Hovaan Sanghnan Jiha, Tu Usdi Chaan Howe.”


Istri Sabha for scrapping of daughters’ Bill

Amritsar, March 13
The Istri Sabha in a resolution passed after the week-long international women conference here has sought the immediate scrapping of the Permanent Resident Disqualification Bill in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a press note issued here today Ms Vimla Dang, patron of the sabha, condemned the Bill. She said it was an attack on women’s right and infringes on their freedom. The conference supported the proposal given by Ms Sonia Gandhi, that the Upper House of Jammu and Kashmir legislature should appoint a committee to discuss pros and cons of the Bill and make recommendation accordingly. — OC


Amritsar-Lahore bus sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
Echoing the sentiments of the lakhs of persons from the border areas and the district, the SGPC secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, has urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to start a bus service from Amritsar to Lahore.

In a written communication, the SGPC secretary said the service would help devotees to visit Pakistan-based gurdwaras and could come back on the same day.


12 docs leave for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
A 12-member delegation of doctors left for Pakistan via the Indo-Pakistan joint check postal Wagah yesterday. Seven doctors from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) led by Dr Tanaji and five from Oswal Cancer Hospital Ludhiana led by Dr BK Mahindra went to attend the medical conference on an invitation at Hamid Latif Hospital Lahore on March 13-March 14. Meanwhile a cricket fan Satnam Singh, a British national also arrived from London here to visit Pakistan for the Indo-Pak cricket match scheduled for March 24.


BSF ex-servicemen to boycott poll
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
The Border Security Force Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, led by Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, has threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Sandhu stated in a press note here today that they would boycott the elections if the pension of ex-servicemen and widows would not be released. The association also decided to stage a dharna in front of the DGP's office in New Delhi on March 22.


Man killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 13
One person was killed when a bicycle and a tractor collided near Madanheri village last evening.

Ajaib Singh of Manauli village was seriously injured in the accident and died by the time he was brought to the Civil Hospital here. A post-mortem examination was conducted today.

A case has been registered against the driver of the tractor on the complaint of Kuldeep Singh, son of the deceased. The driver of the tractor, Gurpreet Singh of Allahpur village, near Kurali, fled from the scene after the accident.


Principal’s revision plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 13
Mr Virender Kumar, Additional Sessions Judge, Sangrur, has dismissed a revision petition filed by Mr Ram Singh Kular, Principal of Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, against an order of framing charges against him by Mr Virender Aggarwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Sangrur, on August 24, 2002, under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 420 of the IPC read with 120-B of the IPC. In his order, he has found a prima facie case against the accused, including Mr Kular.

In his order, the Additional Sessions Judge, mentioned that from the statements of witnesses and the complainant, a prime facie case against the accused was made out. Another accused in the case, Mr Surinder Pal Gupta, was a superintendent and custodian of records and Mr Kular the overall in charge of the college and drawing and disbursing officer as well. It seemed that offences of cheating and forgery could not have been committed except with their consent, knowledge and connivance, he said the allegations were yet to be established during the trial. However, as far as framing a charge was concerned, even suspicion was sufficient, he added.

Mr Virender Kumar said there was no illegality in the order under revision passed by the CJM, Sangrur. Finding no merit, the revision petition was dismissed.

It was alleged that Mr Baljit Singh was appointed on March 1, 1997, as a mechanic in the college and given the salary for the period March 1, 1997, to July 31, 1997. It was also alleged that he had drawn double salary for the period from the college as well as from the Indian Oil Corporation.

Even though he did not work for the period at the college, he was marked present. Rolls were fabricated and false entries made in the attendance register of the college though he had been working as a security supervisor from March 1, 1997, to July 9, 1997, in the Indian Oil Corporation.


Life term for bid to kill wife

Sangrur, March 13
A local court today sentenced Ajmer Singh of Samaspur village, under the Samrala subdivision of Ludhiana district, to undergo imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs 5,000 for attempting to murder his wife, Surinder Kaur.

In default in payment of fine, the accused will have to further undergo imprisonment for one year.

Pronouncing the 18-page judgement, Sessions Judge Jagroop Singh, responding to the prayer of the defence counsel for leniency in conviction, observed that the accused does not deserve leniency in sentence to meet the ends of justice.

The accused on February 23, 1991, drove pillion to his wife on a scooter in Ahmedgarh. The accused threw her on the ground and started strangulating her. He attempted to murder her with his small sword (kirpan) and pierced it through her neck and inflicted 12 injuries on her neck, face and chest.

She resisted his attack first but soon fell unconscious. The accused, considering her dead, whisked away from the scene.

After regaining her conscious, she walked to a near by village Jandiali Kalan and narrated her tale to a villager Narang Singh who with the help of village elders took her to hospital and reported the matter to the police.

The couple was married seven years prior to the incident and had a five-year-old son. After birth of the son the relations between the couple turned strained as the accused became a vagabond and indulged in adultery that his wife could not tolerate. — PTI


Labour Dept to look into complaint of Lalru unit workers
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 13
Taking a note of a complaint filed by the workers union of a Lalru-based industrial unit, the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has directed the Labour Department, Punjab, to look into the matter as per the law.

The Commission has also asked the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, to take necessary action against the unit management and employees of the Labour Department.

In his letter to the Labour Commissioner, Justice R.L. Anand, a member of the PHRC, said that Anand Nishikava, an industrial unit located on the Kalka-Ambala highway near Lalru, had starting filing false cases against its workers in violation of the Labour Act guidelines.

He further said that officials of the labour department had paid no attention towards this and no action was being taken by them in this regard.

It may be recalled that employees of Anand Nishikava have been protesting against the company management for allegedly implicating them in false cases. In a complaint to the PHRC, Mr Vinod Chugh, president of the Anand Nishikava Workers Union, alleged that the management, in connivance with the Labour Department officials, had been shifting employees to far-flung areas with the intention to harass them so that they leave their jobs.

Meanwhile, clarifying the company’s stand, the manager of the local unit said that the company was contributing a revenue of about Rs 2 crore per annum as excise and sales tax to the state besides providing employment to 250 employees.

Due to the requirement of its major customer — Maruti Udyog Limited — the company had to shift some manufacturing units to Gurgaon. For this, about 40 employees were transferred to Gurgaon as per the agreement signed with the workers prior to their appointment.

He denied implication of any employee in false cases and claimed that some workers, who even do not serve in the Lalru area, were creating nuisance and misleading employees of the unit.


Man booked for killing wife
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 13
A man killed his wife near the railway station here by hitting her with an iron rod. The police has registered a case against the husband and step-daughter.

According to the police, the accused and his family came here to meet his adopted “sister with his family members including two daughters and wife. Sources said that it was second marriage of both. Both have one daughter each from their first marriage. On March 10 husband of Savitri Devi, Pujari alias Raju was cracking jokes with her adopted sister. Savtri Devi objected to it but Pujari attacked her with an iron rod and daughter of Pujari also helped him. Savitri received injury on hand. She was taken to Civil Hospital from where she was referred to DMC Ludhiana. in the night on March 11 night, Savtri Devi died in the Hospital at Ludhiana.

Her body was brought at Civil Hospital Khanna for a post-mortem examination.

A case under Sections 304 and 34 of the IPC was registered against Pujari and his daughter Rakhi.


5 lakh looted from bank
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 13
Four unidentified persons today looted Rs 5 lakh on pistol point from the State Bank of Patiala branch at Jakhepal village, near Sunam.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, said four persons on two motorcycles came to the bank and decamped with Rs 5 lakh.

Mr Dhillon said the police had detained cashier and security guard of the bank for investigations, as the cashier had not pressed the alarm button while the security guard had been performing the duty of a peon. He said the rifle of the security guard had also been found dismantled into two pieces. The police had registered a case.


Thieves decamp with goods worth 50,000
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 13
Thieves broke into a house in Ranjit Nagar in broad daylight here today and decamped with gold and silver jewellery and other items worth more than Rs 50,000.

It is learnt that Mr Gurinder Pal Singh, who works at Panjab University, complained to the police that the thieves took away about 9 tolas of gold, some silver ornaments, a CD player, a number of CDs, a camera and watches.

It is learnt that the family of Mr Gurinder Pal Singh had left the house in the morning after locking it. When his wife, Mrs Ranjit Kaur, who works as a teacher, came home around 2 p.m. she saw that the gate and doors of the house were open.


IT should reach villages, says Babu Parmanand
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 13
The Governor of Haryana, Babu Parmanand, has expressed concern that around 70 per cent of the Indian population in rural areas have been denied the benefits of information technology.

Inaugurating the national conference on “Information Technology; Pathway for Transformation of Society” organised by the local DAV College here today, the Governor pointed out that it was the responsibility of the state to provide infrastructure to those living in villages in this regard.

He felt that India had to play a dominant role to retain its position in the world and it would need to develop its own technologies. Earlier, IT technocart M.N. Pant, while presenting the keynote address, said that IT had created a new intellectual asset of our country. He strongly advocated the use of IT for enhancing our capabilities.

The Principal, Mr M.L. Aeri, said more than 180 delegates from all over country were attending the two-day conference.

The Governor inaugurated a 100-bed hospital at Dera Baba Teja Singh Saidpur here today.

He expressed hope that the hospital would provide latest medical facilities to the people of surrounding villages.

The head of Dera Sant Rasila Ram said the hospital would provide better medical facilities, especially to the poor of the area.


Special scholarships for students soon
Tribune News Service

Talwandi, March 13
Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, yesterday said university authorities had been making efforts to arrange special scholarship for students who had been getting education in the local institutions with the help of private sector industrial organisations.

Dr Boparai, was here today to inaugurate a seminar, organised by the University School of Management (USM) of the local Punjabi University Guru Kashi Campus, on “Indian business preparing for the future”. He said special scholarship was being arranged for the students so that they could continue with their higher education. Apart from it, the talented rural students, who usually left their studies midway due to financial constraints, would be able to get higher education with this facility, he added.

He said so far five private organisations had agreed to give scholarship to students of local Yadwinder Engineering College, which had been started in the current academic session, on the campus. Efforts were on to bring more such organisations forward to give scholarship to the students, he added.

He said many seminars would be organised to evolve a strategy to be adopted by the Indian traders, who were going to face challenges of the WTO.


Decision to shift Classes XI, XII flayed
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 13
The decision of the Punjab Government to shift Classes XI and XII from colleges to schools was today denounced as myopic by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU).

In a letter written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Higher Education Minister and Secretary of the department, Dr VK Tewari, general secretary of the PCCTU yesterday demanded formulation of a comprehensive policy in consultation with the Union leadership to solve the crisis created by this half-baked decision of the government. He warned of serious consequences in case even a single teacher got retrenched owing to this decision.

About 25 colleges had science and commerce streams up to class XII only and shifting of classes would force retrenchment.

Whereas students would suffer lack of proper facilities in schools, the existing rich facilities and experienced staff in colleges would remain underutilised, said Dr Tewari in his letter.


Seminar on technical education
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 13
The local chapter of the Indian Society Technical Education (ISTE) today organised a national seminar on “Reaching the Unreached ”, a challenge to technical education, at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College, Fatehgarh Sahib. Teachers from Bhopal, Bikaner, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh presented papers on the theme of global competitiveness, resource management and innovative education modes.

Addressing the seminar, Dr J.K. Sharma, Principal, GGSCMT, Kharar, said that globalisation had become an important perspective in today’s competitive market. He explained the impact of globalisation on technical education.

Prof P. Thareja from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, in his keynote address, emphasised the role of teachers in building a reputed technical institute. 

BBSBE College, Principal Dr D.S. Hira said with ever increasing change in world technology, economics, politics and culture.

Talking about the theme of the seminar, he said technical education should reach the economical by deprived people. Prof J.S. Oberio, Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Prof Niraj Bala, Prof H.S. Nigha, Prof K.S. Panesar, Prof. Lakhvir Singh,  Prof B.S. Brar  also expressed their views.


Vatsyayan nominated to Punjabi varsity Senate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Principal Suresh Chandra Vatsyayan, an author and educationist, has been nominated as a member of the Senate of Punjabi University, Patiala, by the Governor of Punjab. This follows his nomination to the Academic Council of the Punjab School Education Board.

He is known for his ‘Mantra’ poetry in Hindi, Punjabi and English. He has also won three national and six state awards. Welcoming the nomination of Prof Suresh Vatsyayan, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr S.S. Boparai expressed the hope that ‘his able guidance, wide experience and knowledge would contribute to the all-round development of the university.’


Aided school teachers meet CM

Chandigarh, March 13
A deputation of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union today met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The union leaders urged the Chief Minister to regularise the services of 444 teachers appointed in aided schools after May 13, 2002.

The union also urged the CM to continue the old pension scheme of the employees retired from aided schools. — TNS


Shopkeepers seek amenities
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 12
Members of the Didar Nagar Market Association have demanded that basic civic amenities be provided in the area. They met the SDM, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, regarding their problems and presented a charter of demands to him.

Mr Malkeet Singh Saini and Mr Harvinder Singh said provision for the supply of drinking water should be made and proper disposal of rain water was also needed.

They said shopkeepers should be allowed to open their shops on Sundays.

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