P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Stop recruitment of SPOs, says Kanwaljit
Punjab Govt denies any such move
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
While the Shiromani Akali Dal’s General Secretary and candidate for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has sought intervention of the Election Commission to stop recruitment of 20,000 Special Police Officers (SPOs)/Home Guards jawans and the release of secret funds to all 23 district police chiefs in Punjab to influence outcome of the Lok Sabha elections, senior Punjab police functionaries have denied such moves.

“We are not talking in the air. We have irrefutable evidence available with us on the basis of which we have sought the intervention of the Election Commission,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

In a legal notice sent to the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab, Mr Vinod Arya, the counsel for Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has alleged that 20,000 Home Guards jawans are being recruited for 10 days in view of the Lok Sabha elections. Besides, he has said in the notice that each of the 23 district police chiefs may be given Rs 4 lakh each from the secret fund for use during the elections.

Mr P.Lal, Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director, Home Guards and Civil Defence, denied the knowledge of any such proposal. “I have not seen any such paper. There has been no proposal from our side either,” he said.

“In fact, we have 12,500 Home Guards jawans on our roll. Of these, we have received directions to send 25 companies to Uttar Pradesh for the election duty,” said Mr Lal holding that no fresh recruitment was being made.

However, in the notice, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that on March 2, the Director-General of Police had forwarded a proposal from the Additional Director-General of Police (Operations) to the Home Department that 20,000 SPOs be recruited on a temporary basis . The proposal after approval has been sent to the Finance Department for sanction.

Talking to The Tribune, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the government had been taken aback as “authentic information on the whole proposal is available with us. Idea was to use all these SPOs in Patiala alone.”

On the other hand, Mr Shashi Kant, Additional Director-General of Police (Operations), categorically denied any move to recruit SPOs. “There is a complete ban on recruitment and we have sent no such proposal to the DGP or the Home Department,” he said.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh maintained that the Home Department also wanted that each district police chief be given Rs 4 lakh each during the elections. Such proposals are in violation of the Model Code of Conduct “fraught with repercussions and consequences which can give distinct advantage to the ruling party in the state.

“Recruitment of 20,000 SPOs for 10 days at the cost of state exchequer will allure and induce electorates to work for and support the ruling party,” he added.

Further, it was said that neither any advertisement was being inserted in newspapers for recruiting the Home Guards jawans or SPOs nor any help from employment exchanges of the state was sought. 


SAD ready for “target bombing” through ads
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, march 27
“We are ready to target the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and his coterie” through advertisements says Mr Sukhbir Badal, General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, who will be masterminding the party’s advertisement campaign in elections.

Refusing to share the ammunition in his arsenal for “attack”, Mr Sukhbir Badal, in an exclusive talk with The Tribune today said “We have a surprise package up our sleeves but it will not be wise to reveal its content at this stage”. Not only through advertisements, but we will also open the attack against Capt Amarinder Singh from all other sides around April 25, he added. It is too early to mount the advertisement campaign against the State Government, particularly against , Capt Amarinder Singh, he added.

“Last time, in the Assembly elections, we were caught unawares but this time the party is fully prepared to hit back. At that time we had not thought that Capt Amarinder Singh would start a personalised campaign against our family”, he said.” I am going to Delhi tomorrow to give the final touches to the material being prepared for the task given to me”, he added.

When asked what the defence line the party had chalked out against certain TV channels, who well before the last Assembly elections telecast one-sided surveys projecting Congress party’s landslide victory and giving only 10 seats to SAD, though it (SAD) won over 40 seats, Mr Sukhbir Badal said “ It was big mischief played against our party then. Such surveys were planned to demoralise our rank and file during the campaign for the Assembly elections. But this time during the Lok Sabha election campaign we will be extra vigilant on this front”, he added.

Already, a bitter controversy had started over the advertisements inserted in various vernacular papers by one organisation against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal. The Badals have alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh and his close associates were behind this campaign. However, Mr Gurinderpal Singh Dhanula, who is very close to the family of, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor of Andhra Pradesh, has asserted that his “ Miri-Piri” organisation was running this advertisement campaign against the Badals. Mr Dhanula has also remained active in the Youth Wing of the SAD for several years.

From available counts, it is certain that Punjab will witness one of the fiercest, stingy and virulent advertisement campaigns during the Lok Sabha elections.

“It is the Congress that has promoted dynastic rule in the country. The Congress has never looked beyond the Nehru-Indira dynasty. After Sonia Gandhi, now Mr Rahul Gandhi has landed in the political arena”, said Mr Sukhbir Badal. “At least I worked for several years in Faridkot belt before contesting the election but there are people like Mr Rahul Gandhi, who even with zero political experience are being projected as Prime Ministerial stuff by Congressmen”, he added.


Kang, others join Youth Akali Dal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) got a shot in the arm as top brass of the Panjab University Students Council today joined the all India Youth Akali Dal, a youth wing of the party.

Among those who have joined the youth wing include Mr Malvinder Singh Kang, President, Mr Rajnish and Mr Yogesh Goel, Vice Presidents and Mr Sharanjit Singh Bains, Joint Secretary of the council. Others who have joined the youth wing are Mr Mohan Singh Sran, Chairman, Mr Panwinder Singh Brar, Vice President, Mr Deepak Bharadwaj, General Secretary and Mr Balbir Singh Chahal, a member of the executive of the Panjab University Students Union. Several other supporters of the PUSU have also joined the youth wing.

Welcoming to the partyfold, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of SAD, said today that Mr Kang had been given the responsibility of setting up a students’ wing of the youth wing of the party in all colleges and universities of Punjab. He said already the youth wing was in the process of setting up the units in all villages. The party would prepare a data bank of all youth members and it would be put on the website, he added.

Mr Sukhbir Badal said that the party was getting good support from the youth this time. He said that the recent rally at Ludhiana was organised by youth with its own efforts and resources.

Asked about what motivated him to join SAD, Mr Malvinder Singh said that SAD had been more caring about the youth. It had been accommodating youth in elections. “It would be good for us to work for SAD during the Lok Sabha elections”, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Badal said that SAD would put up youth wing volunteers to check rigging in coming elections. He said he had got the information that the ruling party would use police force to rig polls at various places in Punjab. “We would keep watch to stop it,” he added.


Accused in Daler case surrenders
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 27
One of the main accused in the human trafficking case, Harchand Singh alias Dhian Singh, has surrendered before the Patiala police and was today remanded in police custody till March 31. Daler Mehndi and his brother, Shamsher Mehndi, are also accused in the case.

According to sources, Harchand Singh surrendered at Sadar police station yesterday. He is accused of being a mediator for youths who wanted to go abroad and being instrumental in liaising with various embassies to get their cases cleared. The accused was presented before a local court which remanded him in police custody till March 31.

The sources said Harchand Singh’s surrender was significant because the Sadar police had been asked to reinvestigate the case after a local court did not discharge Daler in the case despite the fact that he had been given a clean chit by the Patiala police.

As Harchand Singh has all along been stated to be the main conduit through whom money was allegedly routed to Shamsher and Daler, it is to be seen what statement he gives to the police.

The Patiala police is likely to take Harchand Singh to Delhi and a few other places to tie up loose strings in the case. It is also likely to verify the modus operandi allegedly followed by Daler’s brother Shamsher who, it maintains, was involved in human trafficking. The sources said questioning of Harchand Singh had been going on since yesterday but the district police was tight-lipped on the issue.


Kaulsar also to get filtered water
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 27
The kar seva of the first-ever sarovar named after a Muslim woman, Mata Kaulan, adjoining the Golden Temple, will start next week.

Significance of Gurdwara Mata Kaulan and Kaulsar sarovar could be adjudged from the fact that Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, had directed the devotees to take dip in Kaulsar before the Golden Temple sarovar. Now the sarovar at Gurdwara Kaulsar would also get filtered water as both the gurdwaras receive water from the common source.

The second phase of the kar seva of the Golden Temple and Kaulsar “sarovar’s would be launched simultaneously. The kar seva of Kaulsar is being undertaken after a gap of three decades.

Mata Kaulan, against whom qazi had pronounced death sentence for showing devotion to Sikh gurus, was brought here discreetly by Sain Mian Mir who had laid the foundation stone of the Golden Temple. Mata Kaulan, who was allotted a special place near the Golden Temple and Baba Atal, spent her entire life there before breathing her last at Kartarpur.

Excavation of Kaulsar was started in 1624 AD which was completed in 1627 AD under the supervision of Baba Budhaji, first head granthi of the Golden Temple.

Baba Amrik Singh, a representative of Baba Jagtar Singh of kar sewa wale, said kar seva of Kaulsar and second phase of the Golden Temple sarvovar would be completed in less than 24 hours after start of the de-silting operation scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile, fish of the sarovar of the Golden Temple had been transferred to the sarovars of Gurdwara Bibeksar and Gurdwara Ramsar, paving the way for launching of the second phase of kar seva.

Kaulsar is one of the five holy tanks of Amritsar city including Santokhsar, Bibeksar, Ramsar and the Golden Temple.

The process for installing filtration plant at the cost of Rs 5 crore started today. Mr Ranjit Singh Tut from the USA said laying of pipes for filtration plant would be completed before the starting of second phase of kar seva.


TN Governor visits Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 27
Tamil Nadu Governor P.S. Ramamohan Rao paid obeisance at the Golden Temple here today. He took interest in paintings on Sikh history displayed in the Central Sikh Museum. He was presented with a ‘siropa’ and a model of the Golden Temple by SGPC Secretary Dilmegh Singh. The Governor said he was visiting the shrine after 30 years. The Governor wished SGPC president G.S. Tohra recovery.


Tohra’s condition better
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 27
The condition of the Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee steadily improved during the past 48 hours, but still continues to be serious. He was admitted to the Escorts Heart and Superspeciality Institute here on Thursday.

A medical bulletin issued by the Chief Operating Officer of the institute, Lieut-Gen Harcharan Singh (retd), today stated that Mr Tohra was conscious and passing adequate urine. However, he continued to be on the life support system.

The bulletin further stated that a team of cardiologist, attending on the senior Akali leader, had considerably reduced drugs, being administered for maintaining his blood pressure and pulse rate. He added that Mr Tohra was unable to speak because of a ventilator. The chief cardiologist, Dr T.S. Kler, was expected to arrive from Lahore late in the evening today, examine Mr Tohra and plan the next course of management.

According to the Chief Cardiac Surgeon, Dr Harshbir Pannu, and a senior cardiologist, Dr Arun Chopra, Mr Tohra had shown miraculous recovery after he was brought to the hospital with severe heart problem. They added that immediately on arrival, Mr Tohra suffered a massive heart attack but the emergency medical management helped him recover.

The doctors stated that Mr Tohra had been advised to remain in the hospital for next five to seven days as they would gradually withdraw the life support measures and take a decision for angiography to ascertain his heart condition.


Matharu’s charges against CM’s aides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, propaganda secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal( Ropar district), has levelled serious allegations against certain political and official associates of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Matharu, who was earlier also in the news for levelling allegations against certain ministers, said today that a high-level probe should be held into his allegations. “I am ready to produce proofs in support of my allegations,” he added.

Levelling allegations against a certain political aide of the Chief Minister, Mr Matharu said the aide had property worth a few lakhs about 10 years ago. But he now owned property worth several lakhs. Mr Mathru has given details of the property in a press note he issued to the mediapersons.

Levelling serious allegations against another senior official in the Chief Minister’s office, Mr Mathru said that the official had made investment worth several crores in the name of his close friends in the companies owned by colonisers. He said that he was in the process of collecting more evidence in this connection.


Congress protest against party’s candidate
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 27
Situation became tense when some Congressmen started raising slogans against the Congress candidate from the Phillaur Lok Sabha constituency, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, who was here to address party members to activate her election campaign.

Punjab Medical Education Minister Santokh Singh and District Congress Committee (rural) president Rajinder Singh Johal were also present on the occasion and tried their best to pacify the angry party workers.

A few members also alleged that Ms Chaudhry had done nothing for workers and never took them into confidence. They dared her to try and win the elections without their support.

Later, Mr Santokh Singh, Mr Johal and Ms Chaudhry assured the workers that the mistakes would not be repeated.


Experts want all services taxed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 27
Economists today urged for extending the service tax net in the country to cover all services which they claimed would have a positive impact.

Speaking on the second day of the three day National seminar organised by the Department of Economics in Punjabi University here, Dr Om Parkash and Dr Navjot Dhingra said surveys should be conducted to raise this tax and make it consistent with VAT. They said legislative and administrative arrangements should be made to make this possible.

Dr R. Bawa, Registrar, Guru Nanak Dev University, along with Dr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon in a joint paper on “Determinants of Population Growth - An Inter - State Analysis” stated that population growth had an important bearing on the social and economic development of an economy. They said population and poverty were the twin sins of the country whose consequences were visiting the poor in horrendous ways.

Dr Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator (Examinations) and former Professor of Economics, in his paper on “Unfair Means in Higher Education” focused on the human tendency to cheat for material gains in life. He suggested various precautionary steps to check the unfair means.

Dr Manisha Sharma from the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, in her paper defined poverty as a social phenomenon in which a section of society was unable to fulfill even its basic necessities of life. Dr Anita Gill of Punjabi University in her paper attempted to empirically verify the post-reform period growth of employment differentials in the organised manufacturing sector across states and overtime. Dr Gurinder Kaur in her research paper highlighted the far reaching consequences of increasing inflow of migratory farm labour.


Rotary International to promote literacy,
improve water supply

Our Correspondent

Faridkot, March 27
Under its several welfare schemes, the Rotary International plans to improve health services, promote literacy and supply of drinking water free of cost this year as it is centennial year of the organisation. Under the health scheme AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, myetitis and other diseases would be contained. More wells and ponds be dug to conserve drinking water. Education be promoted by the Rotary volunteers by holding classes of illiterate persons.

Special Rotary family welfare committees will be formed to enrol members under the rotary family care programme. Non-Rotarian members will also be invited to make the scheme more effective. The plan was formulated in a week-long deliberations held in an international assembly at Anaheim in California state (USA) last month. As many as 550 District Governors of the Rotary from each district of all countries including 28 from India, one each from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka took part in it. All projects will be taken up from July with the collaboration of the governments of the respective countries. The decision on the allocations of funds will be decided by the end June. Disclosing this here today, Mr Romesh Jain, District Governor RI-3090 — a part of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan one of the participant in the international assembly said a meeting of senior office-bearers of all clubs in the said district will be held at Bathinda on April 11 to plan for accelerating the projects.


Mann for re-building Babri mosque
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 27
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today stated that his party was for the construction of a mosque at the old place in Ayodhya while Mr L.K. Advani wanted to construct the Ram temple at the site. He also said Mr Advani had favoured the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. He wanted Mr Parkash Singh Badal to clarify his party’s stand whether the Shiromani Akali Dal had abandoned stand on the autonomy for the states.

The SAD (A) also criticised Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, for not talking about ban on wearing of turban for Sikh students in France and the Bathinda refinery project. He also criticised the Union Government for meagre increase of Rs 10 per quintal in the MSP of wheat.

Mr Mann wanted the Prime Minister to open Indo-Pakistan’s borders for trade in Punjab area, so that farmers of Punjab could sell their produce at higher rates.

Mr Mann described the Bharat Udai Yatra of Mr Advani as “flop” show in Punjab.

Mr Mann also decided the Prime Minister’s statement on Kashmir, at Amritsar yesterday.

He also asked Mr Badal to tell people what they had gained from the Prime Minister’s visit and Mr Advani’s yatra for Punjabis, especially the Sikhs.


Dal Khalsa to hold ‘Sikh freedom march’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 27
On the pattern of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s "rath yatra”, the Dal Khalsa today announced to undertake a statewide yatra under banner of “Sikh freedom March” and spread message of sovereign Sikh rule. The march would start on April 26.

The Dal Khalsa also formally opened its office and named it “Freedom house”. Addressing a press conference here today, leaders of Dal Khalsa, Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, Satnam Singh Paonta, Kanwar Pal Singh and Karnail S. Panjoli said the proposed march would highlight Sikh aspirations.

“Hailing Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and his party workers for opposing Advani’s yatra, they said they would try to create awareness among masses about dangerous policies of the BJP and the Congress for the Sikh nation besides exposing Akali leadership for mortgaging Sikh interests to the BJP for personal gains”, they said.


Devotees flock to Kali temple
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 27
Faith in Kali Mata today pulled a stream of devotees to her temple here on the Mall to offer liquor and goats to propitiate  the goddess and  ensure their wishes come true.

A long queue of devotees, mostly from villages, could be seen before the temple today. Their offerings  included country made liquor and goats.

For the thousands who visit the temple regularly, Kali is a living goddess who comes to their rescue whenever they need her. Malagar  Singh, who came to the temple today from Sanaur, says his entire family seek blessings of Kali whenever it was faced with crisis. 

Malagar had  brought a goat for offering.

“Nothing can be more auspicious than to visit the temple on the eve of asthami”, said Puneet Goyal from Model Town. He said he had been  coming to the temple  for the past one decade.

A number of goats were offered to the goddess today. The goats are sold in evening and the  money thus collected is deposited in the temple accounts. However,  liquor offered by the devotees is given as “parsad” mainly to hundreds of volunteers working on the temple grounds.


Bir Devinder vows to donate his body
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 27
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Legistative Assembly, today announced to donate his body after death to a medical college. He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating an eye operation camp, organised by the Bassi Pathana unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad.

He clarified that he had only interactive session with teachers who were already serving in the Education Department with regards to teaching methods in a new government model senior secondary school with English medium.

Meanwhile, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, while addressing a rally organised by the youth wing of his faction of the Akali Dal here today, said his party had forged alliance with the Lok Bhalai Party in the state and the talks were going on with other like-minded parties to provide third alternative to the people during the coming Parliamentary elections.

Mr Paramjit Singh Saholi, and third Mr Baldev Singh Khiala also spoke.


Indo-Pak heart summit from April 10

Amritsar, March 27
Cardiologists from India and Pakistan will hold the first two-day Indo-Pak heart summit here on April 10. Giving details of the summit, the chairman, organising committee, Dr T.S. Kler, said he had received tremendous response for the joint cardiology meeting being organised by the Escorts Hospital here. — OC


IOA Secretary summoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Acting on a petition filed by karate player Charanjit Singh of Amritsar challenging the decision of the Indian Olympic Association to reselect the team for representing the country in the ninth South Asian Federation Games at Islamabad in Pakistan, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed that the respondents may consider sending the petitioner subject to the condition “that he was selected on competitive basis”.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal, also directed the Association Secretary to be present in the court on May 18 for final disposal.

In their detailed order, the Judges added: The event is to be held on March 29 and if the petitioner was selected for it as indicated by a letter dated February 13 we fail to understand why the petitioner should not be permitted to participate”.

The petitioner had earlier contended that he was selected as member of the Indian karate team after trials at the state and national levels, but all of a sudden the authorities decided to reselect the team without any reason.


Diversify crop pattern, farmers advised
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 27
Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, member of the board of Directors, Iffco and Kribhco, has advised farmers to diversify the  crop pattern and prefer crops which need less quantity of water for irrigation.

Addressing the inaugural meeting of the Opinion Leaders Club sponsored by Iffco here today, Mr Jakhar said a race for Bt cotton seeds from Gujarat or Maharashtra could harm the interests of farmers in Punjab as the climatic conditions here differ from those states. Mr Jakhar said Iffco planned to educate farmers in selected villages by expanding the IT network. Stocks and rate position of various crops in prominent markets of the world would be available on computers as the government was allowing a link with foreign stock and forward trade exchange based in Chicago.

Stating that most of the cooperative cotton spinning mills had been shut down and the sugar mills in the cooperative sector may also not survive longer, he felt the cooperative societies and banks would have to reshape their policies as the commercial banks were offering loans to farmers at competitive rate of interest.

Mr S.S. Anand, GM (Marketing), north zone, and Mr Pritam Singh Sidhu, Punjab Marketing Manager, said the promotional programmes of Iffco were helpful in disseminating the latest agriculture technology at the doorsteps of farmers. The opinion leaders clubs would strengthen the cooperatives, further fortify the aim of  serving agriculture through cooperatives and help in preparing the farmers and cooperatives for meeting the challenges in the present days of globalisation.

Mr Anand said Iffco marketed 60 lakh tonnes fertilisers last year. Area manager Nahar Singh Mavi said farmers in Abohar would not face any problem  in the availability of fertiliser in the next crop season. For the welfare of farmers Iffco has earmarked 5 per cent of its budget.

Senior horticulture scientist of CIPHET G. B. Singh said ber, aonla, wood stock, guava, jamun, lasoda, falsa could fetch handsome income to growers in this region. Dr V.R. Bhagwat, in charge, KVK, said cotton growers should wait for a year before switching over to Bt cotton. Mr Gurbachan Singh Sran, Mr Ratan Lal Alamgarh, Mr Rajinder Singh Jakhar, Mr Gurbux Singh Burjmuhar, Mr Jaspal Singh Hayer and Mr Ajit Kumar Saharan all progressive farmers, also gave suggestions. Mr Ranbir Singh Jiyani, former MD, Fruitfed, also spoke on the occasion.


Farmers to block rail track tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 27
Thousands of farmers will block the Amritsar-Jalandhar railway track for about 24 hours on March 29 against “indifferent attitude of the state government”, led by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

This was announced by Mr Kanwalpreet Pannu, convener, Kisan Sangharsh Committee along with Mr Joginder Singh Ugraha, president, Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), at a press conference here today.

Mr Pannu said the government had remained unresponsive even after a dharna on railway tracks at nine places in the state, including Amritsar, on March 24. He said the four-hour dharna was a pointer towards resentment prevailing in the farmer community all over the state. He alleged that the state government had turned its back to promises made during the elections, including genuine demands regarding electricity and water bills.

The farmer leaders alleged that payment of sugarcane worth about Rs 400 crore was pending with the government. He said Capt Amarinder Singh, at a meeting after an eight-day dharna in Patiala, had assured to solve the problems of farmers. However, no such action had been taken so far, consequently farmers were forced to resort to agitational path. He said other farmer organisations had also been approached to support the agitation.


Natural disaster cell for Punjab likely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Punjab is likely to set up a disaster management cell in accordance with the disaster management policy evolved by the Centre. Stating this, the Director-General of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Public Administration said since natural disasters were inevitable, there was a need to be prepared for them. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a national-level conference on “Natural disasters: institutional building for mitigating the impact on vulnerable sections” here.

Speaking on the “Exposure and vulnerability of disasters”, Dr B.K. Sharma from the National Institute of Disaster Management said the main reasons behind the calamities were global warming, deforestation and urbanisation without the requisite infrastructure.

Prof H.S. Virk from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, spoke on seismic zones and said areas along the Himalayas, including Chandigarh, fell into zones where earthquakes could measure over six on the Richter scale. He also said Bhakhra, Pong and Thien dams were vulnerable to earthquakes.

Major-Gen Pushpinder Singh, Executive Director of the National Institute of Disaster Management, Bhopal, spoke on the mitigation of earthquakes. He also emphasised on the need for quake-proof constructions.

As many as 90 delegates from all over the country are attending the conference.


BSNL chargesheets 6 employees
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 27
The BSNL has chargesheeted its six employees in the ISD calls scam and effected recovery of Rs 50,000 claiming that the total loss was estimated at Rs 70,000 only.

Sources said ISD calls were allegedly made from some phone numbers of Balluana village located on the Abohar-Malout road in 2000-2001. The subscribers had not availed even the STD facility, they were required to affix their photographs on the application forms with a guarantee to be entitled to the ISD facility. The calls were reportedly made to Pakistan via Dubai, though the government had banned calls to Pakistan after the terrorists’ attack on Parliament. Such calls were reportedly intercepted at Mumbai.


PSEB engineer, flying squad attacked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 27
The Kotfatta police has registered a case against Nachhattar Singh, a resident of Gehri Bara Singh village, for allegedly attacking a Junior Engineer (JE) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at the Gehri Bara Singh village.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, Bathinda in a press note issued here today stated that the suspect had attacked the JE and the flying squad of the PSEB with a stick and obstructed the PSEB officials from discharging their duties on March 25. He said the suspect had been booked under Sections 353 and 186 of the IPC on the complaint of the Senior Executive Engineer, Maur Mandi.

In another case Karam Singh and Banta Singh, both residents of Jagga Ram Tirath village, attacked and injured Gurjant Singh of the same village with a sharp edged weapon over a property dispute. The two have been booked under Sections 323 and 34 of the IPC on Thursday.

The Rampura police recovered nine bottles of liquor from Jagroop Singh in the area of Chauke village yesterday. A case under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act had been registered in this connection.

Meanwhile, as part of traffic week the district police has fixed reflectors on animal-driven carts and tractor-trailors. Besides, students of various schools in the city are being educated for implementing traffic rules, according to Mr Harwinder Singh, SHO, Sadar police station, here today.


3 held with fake currency
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 27
The local district police has arrested three members of a gang involved in a fake currency racket. Rupees 6.27 lakh of fake currency was seized from them. The gang was also involved in the illegal sale of smack.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, at a press conference here today, said the police had set up a naka at Bhikhiwind. On seeing three persons on two motor cycles they signalled them to stop and on searching the police seized the fake currency.

Those arrested have been identified as Davinder Singh of Narli village and his two brothers-in-law Charanjit Singh and Amritpal Singh of Bakipur village. They have confessed that Hardeep Singh of Jalandhar is the brain behind the racket.

A case has been registered in this regard.


Three held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 27
The district police has arrested three persons Yaqub Bapu, Dalip Kumar, both residents of Vadodra, Gujarat and Karan Kumar, a resident of Dinanagar, under Section 420 of the IPC from Dinanagar yesterday. The SSP said the brain behind the gang is known as tantrik Baba Bapu ji.

Raj Pal, Jeevan Kumar and Rahul of Sujanpur, propagated that Baba can remove stones from different parts of the body using magic tricks and without any operation.

Activists of the Taraksheel Society, when approached by some local persons, told the SSP who with the cooperation of the district health authorities laid a trap to apprehend the culprits red-handed.


Two held for smuggling arms
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, March 27
The police here claimed arresting two persons and recovering four country- made unlicensed pistols from their possession.  Those arrested are Gurmit Singh alias Billa and Harbans Singh resident of Krishna Nagar Hoshiarpur. Mr Rajesh Asthir, SHO at press conference on Thursday   said that the arms recovered, included .38 bore two pistols, one .315 bore  and one  of .12 bore.  

He claimed that those arrested revealed that they were operating from Sriganganagar and the  arms were being smuggled to various places in Punjab and Haryana.  It was also found that  the Sriganganagar police had also registered a case against one of  the accused under the NDPS Act.

Mr Asthir said that the accused were remanded in police custody for one day.  The SHO added that a special team had been constituted under the charge of the SP(D)  by  the SSP Ferozepore, to arrest Rajasthan-based manufacturer of  these illegal weapons. He added that use of these weapons in Lok Sabha election could not  be ruled out.


Woman, paramour held for killing husband
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 27
Gehal Singh (55), a resident of Sabhra village, falling under the Patti police station, was allegedly killed by his wife Jasbir Kaur (40) and her paramour Heera Singh (26) of the same village last night.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the two accused and arrested them.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, told newsmen here today that Jasbir Kaur developed illicit relationship with Heera Singh two years ago.

Jasbir Kaur, in connivance with Heera Singh, gave some poisonous substance to Gehal Singh in his meal. After Gehal Singh lost consciousness, Jasbir Kaur and Heera Singh attacked him with sharp-edged weapons. He died on the spot.


Girl raped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
A 19-year-old girl was allegedly raped by two unidentified persons at Phagwara some days ago. The girl, a resident of Amritsar, was visiting her aunt Binder Kaur in the city.

Binder Kaur’s friend, Charanjit Kaur, who used to meet her had reportedly promised her a job and had allegedly taken her to some unidentified place, where she was handed over to two unidentified men.

Both took the girl to a house in Phagwara and raped her. The Ludhiana police has registered a case against Charanjit Kaur and two unidentified persons under Sections 376 and 120 B of the IPC.


Gang of cheats busted

Ropar, March 27
The Ropar police has busted a gang of cheats involved in deceiving people in the guise of giving three time fake currency in exchange for original currency.

In a press note issued here, the SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, said the arrested gang members include Satpal Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Ravinder Pal Singh, Karnail Singh, Vijay Kumar and Rana Singh all from Amritsar district. A case under Sections 420, 170, 171, and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against the arrested gang members.


Special observers for Class X, XII exams
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 27
The Ludhiana police today shifted its investigations into the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) paper leakage case to the SSP Jagroan for action.

According to SSP Ludhiana, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, the Board had informed that the leakage allegedly started from a Centre in Dehlon which technically fell within the jurisdiction of SSP Jagraon.

‘‘But we will provide all assistance to SSP Jagraon,’’ he added.

Sources pointed out that a ‘limited’ leakage of question papers had begun from day one of the Class X examinations at this centre, to help the ward of a VIP but the ‘widespread’ leakage of question papers had started from another examination Centre in Daresi Ground Ludhiana. The involvement of a close relative of a VVIP in the leakage was also hinted at by sources.

Meanwhile, special observers will be placed on duty by the District Education Officers (DEOs) for re-conduct of the Class X and Class XII examinations beginning on April 1. These observers chosen from among senior school teachers will be placed at all the 3000 centres across the state for these examinations.

The observers will be responsible for the conduct of the examination at the centres and also file a written report to the DEOs. This was decided at the pre-examination meeting of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) officials with District Education Officers of the state here yesterday.

It was decided that the question paper bundles be sent to the DEO office on March 29 and be distributed by the DEO’s to the school principals or centre controller in the presence of the DEO the following day. It was also pointed out that in case the principal of the school sends an authorised person to collect the question paper bundle, the responsibility of the bundle seal remaining intact will be of the principal concerned. The question paper will be opened by the centre superintendent in the presence of the observer other than the centre controller and others deputed for the duty. This is the first time the board has asked the DEOs to appoint observers on duty at all the centres where the examinations will take place.

According to sources, in wake of the paper leakage incidents, more powers and functions were shifted to the DEOs with none of the board officials wanting to shoulder complete responsibility of the conduct of the examinations. The sharp divide among the board officials, according to sources was all too visible during the meeting. While the Secretary, PSEB, Mr Mahinder Bir Singh, constantly tried to shift all responsibility of the conduct of examinations to the Controller, Mrs Narinder Kaur, insisted that she had given up the charge of conduct of examinations and now the responsibility rested with others. Sources also alleged that a senior official of the board was in fact using this opportunity to promote his own interests and leaving no stone unturned to point fingers at the Chairman and the Controller of Examinations.

Members of the commission holding the inquiry into the paper leakage also met at the board yesterday. A large number of board officials, including the Secretary and the Vice-Chairman and board staff were called for information by the committee members. The Controller of Examinations and the Secretary also met Mr Anurag Agarwal, Director-General, School Education, as part of the inquiry being conducted by him into the matter.


Experts discuss role of DNA in crime investigation
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 27
A two-day national seminar on “DNA and the law: new dimensions”, organised by the School of Legal Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, started at the GNDU’s regional centre at Ladhewali village, near here, today.

Delivering the keynote address, the chief guest, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, called upon the legislature to revamp existing provisions with an objective to include the DNA technology and make it more advantageous for the people to use it as an effective investigative tool for dispensation of justice. He said the DNA technology was proving beneficial for the administration of civil and criminal justice system in a number of countries.

Dr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of the Punjab police, emphasised that DNA was the most significant scientific advancement in criminal investigation. He, however, regretted that this technique could not provide relief to all innocent persons languishing in jails due to absence of its active involvement in investigation process.

Dr Seyed E. Hasnain, Director of the CDFD, Hyderabad, talked about scientific aspects of DNA and its importance in the contemporary justice dissemination system.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, exhorted the police and the judiciary to ensure enhanced application of the DNA technique in the field of investigation.


VC, Registrar can’t expunge my letter, says FDO
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 27
Finance and Development Officer (FDO), Guru Nanak Dev University, Varinder Pal Sharma today challenged the authority of the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar for expunging the contents of his letter, written against Dr Narpinder Singh, President, GNDU Teachers Association wherein he had levelled charges of financial irregularities.

Mr Sharma claimed that the Registrar had no authority to issue any official letter on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, expunging contents of his (FDO’s) remarks.

Mr Sharma had written a letter against Dr Narpinder Singh which was later withdrawn. In a fresh letter, addressed to the vice-chancellor Mr Sharma said that he had neither met the Executive Committee of the Teachers Association nor tendered unconditional apology. He claimed that it was Dr Narpinder Singh who met him and “begged for compromise” to which he agreed.


“India Shining” a misnomer, says Johl
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 27
The Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Dr S.S. Johl, today said the size of the per capita economy should be the main concern of planners instead of calculating the per capita earning of an individual.

Speaking on the last day of the three-day national seminar organised by the Punjabi University here, Dr Johl said a large chunk of the country’s population was still sleeping without adequate food and the slogan “India Shining” seemed to be a misnomer.

The economist said the wheat - paddy cycle had resulted in depletion of water resources, adding diversification should be further encouraged in the state. He also touched upon the trend of declining sex ratio, saying this needed to be checked in time.

Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, in his presidential remarks, said every state was bound to play a vital economic role in a given historical perspective in one form or another. He appealed to policy-makers to keep the rural population, which constituted 70 per cent of the country’s population, in mind while preparing national policies.

Dr Nirmal Singh Azad, Professor of Economics, in his paper ‘State and capital social planning’ highlighted that as the role of the new and independent states grew, the ideological struggle over the course on which Third World countries had to develop also became acute. Dr Gurbachan Kaur Bhatia, head of the department, welcomed the guests. Dr Janak Raj Gupta, Dean, Faculty, elaborated on the theme of the seminar.


World Theatre Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 27
Students of the Department of Theatre and Television of Punjabi University today celebrated World Theatre Day by putting up a lively day-long show. The package included two ‘nukkad’ plays, an open-air mime and a ‘mashaal’ march through the campus, besides a couple of plays in the department studio. The proceedings livened up the day for students of the university, who hung around in large numbers to enjoy the show.

Former students of the department and theatre artistes of the city too participated in the activities with zest. Two theatre groups created by former students of the department — Natakwala and Gurcharan Singh’s group — staged plays. Waryam Sandhu’s ‘Apna Apna Hissa’ directed by Gurcharan Singh came in for applause and so did ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Eh Lahoo Kisdaa Hai’ by Natakwala group, led by Rajesh Sharma.

The highlights of the day were a solo performance in Hindi by former student Dharmendra in ‘Ek Pagal Ki Diary’ and a mime by students of the department. This mime was put together by noted theatre artiste Niranjan Goswami.

‘Vicky Ban Gaya Gentleman’ based on Anton Chekhov’s ‘Seduction’ was directed by Lakha Lahiri and staged by students of the department.


Degrees conferred on nursing college pass-outs
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, March 27
The Guru Nanak College of Nursing, Dhahan Kaleran, about 20 km from here, organised its annual convocation today. Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, was the chief guest and Mr Baljinder Singh Dhahan, president, Canada India Education Society, Vancouver, Canada, presided over the function. Dr Gujral conferred degrees on 48 B.Sc (nursing) pass-outs and honoured meritorious students.

In his convocation address Dr Gujral said nursing was not merely a profession but a religion which taught us to serve humanity. He assured all help from the university of the college for starting postgraduate courses.

Mr Dhahan said the education and health facilities was the key to the development of any society. Mr Dhahan, Mr Hardev Singh Kahma, president and vice-president, respectively, Dr Saroj Sharma, Principal also addressed the gathering.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the university of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, Canada, which included a faculty member, Prof Lynne Esson, and four students — Barry Kearse, Michal Twyman, Leighanne Martin and Lara Pollard — has reached Guru Nanak Mission School of Nursing Dhahan Kaleran, as part of educational visit on Thursday. The delegation will stay here for more than one month.


Bhaddal institute celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Ropar, March 27
Vista, annual cultural function of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, was organised on its premises with enthusiasm last evening.

Mr K.S. Bahra, Chief Engineer, Operation, PSEB, Patiala, was the chief guest.

The function began with the worship of Goddess Saraswati. Hindi skit “Jagriti”, Punjabi skit “School Deh Din” and Punjabi play “Fauji di Family” were highly admired by the audience. A fashion show was also organised.

Earlier, Principal Prof. I.K Kataria welcomed the chief guest.

The chief guest gave away prizes to students and the Dean, Student Activities, Mr Narinder Thakur, extended the vote of thanks.


Reunion by Law alumni
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 27
Alumni of Department of Law, Punjabi University, Patiala, will organise a felicitation programme-cum-reunion for students of 1974-77 and 1975-78 batches on March 28 at Hotel Narain Continental here, according to a press note.

Mr Justice M.M. Kumar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, who were recently appointed Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will be honoured on the occasion.

The programme will provide old students with the opportunity to revive their old memories.


Seminar on latest manufacturing systems
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 27
A two-day national seminar on advanced manufacturing system began at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here yesterday.

The PTU Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, presided 
over the seminar while Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, 
was the chief guest at the seminar.

The seminar was organised by the Mechanical Engineering Department of the college under the patronage of the college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira.


Tribune holds meeting of sales agents
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 27
About 190 sales agents of the Tribune Group of Newspapers and hailing from different townships of Jalandhar, district participated in a meet organised by the organisation here today.

Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager of the organisation, said the agents were an important link between a newspaper organisation and its readers and The Tribune group was proud of the services rendered by sales agents for a long time.

“All of us know that we have a lasting bond and we hope that we would carry it forward in a better way in future,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Rajeshwar Chopra Circulation Manager, also addressed the agents.


BSNL launches WLL service
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 27
Mr G.S. Bhatia, Chief General Manager, BSNL, Punjab Circle Chandigarh, here today inaugurated the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) 3000 lines fixed/mobile service for Bathinda, Raman, Phul Mandi and Mansa area.

Tariff for fixed WLL lines has been fixed on a par with landline. However tariff for Mobile WLL (Tarang) has been fixed slightly higher than the fixed WLL line. This system has been installed to meet the demand of rural and urban areas.

Mr Bhatia also inaugurated the newly-built Telephone Bhavan in Bharat Nagar area of the city for accommodating all branches/sections of the Bathinda Telecom District. This centre has been equipped with a single-window concept for the disposal of public grievances and day-to-day work. ‘Dotsoft’, the software package developed by BSNL for provisioning/ supporting commercial, TRA, directory inquiry was also launched on the occasion.

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