P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal alleges misuse of govt machinery, to meet EC
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 3
A three-member high-level delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal will meet the Chief Election Commissioner at Delhi on April 6 to apprise him of the misuse of official machinery by the ruling party and violation of code of conduct.

Talking to reporters at Circuit House here today, Mr Badal said that the delegation comprising Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and candidate from Patiala Lok Sabha seat Capt Kanwaljit Singh would meet the Chief Election Commissioner separately after attending an all party meeting at Nirwachan Sadan at Delhi on April 6.

“We have proofs regarding the misuse of official machinery by the Congress in the state to woo electorate in violation of poll code of conduct. The delegation will seek action against the Congress, he said.

He revealed that recent transfers and postings of senior police officials, failure to shift officials from home districts and alleged malpractices in auction of liquor vends to benefit a particular liquor contractor for election fund would be main issues to be discussed with the CEC.

Responding to the allegation of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh that former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra was shifted to Delhi in haste, Mr Badal said that a panel of senior heart experts had recommended the shifting of Mr Tohra to Delhi for treatment. “The panel of doctors held a two-hour meeting to review the condition of Mr Tohra, before deciding in favour of shifting Mr Tohra to Delhi,” he said.

On next president of the SGPC chief, Mr Badal said the issue would be discussed only after April 11, — day of bhog ceremony of Mr Tohra.


Come clean on Chahal’s accident, Badal tells CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to come clean on the true identity of those accompanying his Media Adviser Bhartinder Singh Chahal when the latter’s car rammed into a scooter, near Sohana, yesterday. Three persons were injured, one of them seriously, in the accident.

The Media Adviser and his friends were returning from Tohra village after attending the cremation of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Mr Badal in a statement issued here today also sought the Chief Minister’s apology on the conduct of his Media Adviser and those accompanying him as they dumped the injured persons in a Fatehgarh Sahib Hospital.

“Is this the Chief Minister’s royal tribute to the memory and legacy of Jathedar Tohra who spent all his life serving the poor and the defenceless people?,” Mr Badal asked saying that the tragic irony was that the CM’s Media Adviser and his colleagues should have conducted themselves in such an arrogant and irresponsible manner minutes after they had driven away from the village of the great man.

“And the Chief Minister has not thought it fit even to issue a clarification to the people and a warning to his aides,” said Mr. Badal. “Why did the CM’s adviser and his companion not stay back to tend to the injured and to file a report with the local police? Capt Amarinder Singh owes it to the people of Punjab and to the memory of Jathedar Tohra to speak the truth on the whole incident. This could be his humble tribute to the legacy of the great soul,” said Mr Badal but wondered whether he would be able to break away from the pattern of defending the guilty as he had done in the case of police firing on innocent farmers in Amritsar just few days ago.


Punjab seventh lowest in MPLAD fund use
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
Even as a majority of the outgoing Members of Parliament (MPs) from Punjab have sanctioned close to cent per cent of the funds made available to them under the Member Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme, the overall utilisation of the scheme amount in the state at 76.18 per cent, is the seventh lowest in the country since the inception of the scheme in 1993.

Source: Deputy Commissioners, Punjab and the Ministry of Statistics and
Programme Implementation, Government of India.

According to the data collected from the various deputy commissioners (DCs) in the state, almost all outgoing MPs have sanctioned works worth the amount that was available to them under the scheme since 1999.

When the scheme began in 1993, a token sum of Rs 5 lakh was given to each MP as part of the fund. But later the amount was raised to Rs 1 crore per year and in 1999, the amount was further raised to Rs 2 crore per year. “This set of MPs whose term has just ended have been the richest as far as MPLAD is concerned. Other than the Rs 2 crore per year some of them also got the unspend amounts of earlier MPs,”’said an official of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, where an account of the release and expenditure of MPLAD fund is maintained for every MP in the country.

But since the elections have been announced a little early, many MPs would not have been able to sanction the last instalment of Rs 2 crore,” he added.

However, a majority of the Punjab MPs managed to sanction more than the Rs 10 crore they were entitled to in their term, thanks to the sum left over by their predecessors and the interest that accrued on the fund over the years. The luckiest has been Mr Tirlochan Singh Tur, who represented outgoing MP from Tarn Taran in the 13th Lok Sabha and was able to sanction a whopping Rs 16.14 crore during the five years of his term. This constituency had since 1993 shown the least MPLAD fund utilisation, leaving Mr Tur flush with funds when he took over in 1999.


Sukhbir seeks CM’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
Mr Sukhbir Badal, Rajya Sabha MP and a son of former Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on moral grounds following the “denial of an interim stay to the Punjab Government” by the apex court in the liquor auction case.

Mr Badal was addressing mediapersons during an impromptu press briefing held at the residence of local SAD leader Kiranbir Singh Kang.

Stating that while the Chief Minister claimed to be waging an anti-corruption campaign in the state, Mr Badal alleged that the Chief Minister’s own role in the liquor auction was questionable.

Stating that late Gurcharan Singh Tohra wanted the SAD to win all seats in Punjab, Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was trying to cash in on the death of Tohra.

When asked if party members close to Tohra had been sidelined, Mr Badal said they would be given their due in the party when it will come to power after the elections.

Mr Badal also informed that the former SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, had been made a special observer for the Ropar constituency for the SAD election campaign.


Defeat Cong for Tohra’s sake, says Sukhbir
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 3
Defeating the Congress on all seats in Punjab in the Lok Sabha elections would be a true tribute to the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who fought all his life against the party.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal stated this while addressing a press conference here today. He was here to attend the proceedings of a corruption case filed against him and his family by the Punjab Vigilance.

He also condemned Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for trying to derive political mileage out of the death of Tohra. He was issuing irresponsible statements regarding the shifting of Tohra to Delhi only to play politics, Mr Sukhbir Singh alleged.

He also said corruption in the auction of liquor shops in the state had been proved in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Chief Minister, who had been making claims regarding curtailing corruption, should now resign in the wake of this development, he demanded.


Tohra’s son-in-law blames doctors
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Tohra (Patiala), April 3
Late Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s son- in- law Harmel Singh Tohra today blamed the doctors of the Escorts hospital in Amritsar for the death of his father-in-law by claiming that the condition of the late leader took a turn for the worse after doctors gave him medicines to make him pass stool on March 30.

Talking to TNS at the village today, Harmel even claimed that the doctors seemed to be inept. “They would ring up Delhi even before administering a pill to Tohra”, he said. The son-in-law said earlier on March 30 the condition of the SGPC President had improved substantially.

The Akali leader said his father-in-law even asked for juice on that day, indicating that he was on the road to recovery. “However, at this juncture the doctors decided that he must be given medication so that he could pass stool. Apparently a strong dose was given to the SGPC chief which his heart could not tolerate as his condition took a turn for the worse immediately”, Harmel added.

He alleged that the doctors did not guide the family properly as to what course of medication should be followed. “When I saw them ring up Delhi for almost everything I asked Uncle (Parkash Singh Badal) to do something following which a decision was taken to shift Tohra to Delhi,” he added.

The Akali leader claimed that the decision seemed to have been taken too late. “Whatever happened in Delhi was an eyewash. It seemed to be all over in the aeroplane itself, ” he said, adding that the doctors did not even allow any family member to travel with Tohra to Delhi. “I reached Delhi by Shatabdi but was too late to do anything,” he added.

Meanwhile even as Harmel, the immediate family and village folk are mourning the loss of the late SGPC chief politics has already started. Close aides of the late SGPC chief said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was putting pressure on Tohra’s widow Joginder Kaur not to accept the facilities being extended by the Congress government. There is a feeling in the SAD that acceptance of the facilities, which included a pension of Rs 15,000 per month and free accommodation, would blunt the SAD attack on the Congress in the forthcoming elections.

Sources said the family was being asked to wait and promised that the facilities would be extended to them if the SAD came to power. This promise is, however, being taken with a pinch of salt by supporters of Tohra, who claim that the SAD-led government had never done anything for other prominent Sikh leaders.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD general secretary, when questioned on this said the party did not even have time to think on the lines of asking the family to refuse the facilities being offered to them. He added that the family of the late SGPC chief was being offered aid even though they had not requested for it.

Meanwhile, Harmel welcomed the decision of the state government to give state honours at the cremation of the late leader yesterday.


Panth Rattan to Tohra: Sikh clergy to decide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Sikh clergy will meet at Akal Takht secretariat in the second week of this month to discuss the demand of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal and other Sikh organisations to confer Panth Rattan award on Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra posthumously.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht told The Tribune that the demand would be placed at the meeting of Sikh high priests. After master Tara Singh and Mr Inderjit Singh of Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr Tohra would become the third ‘Panth Rattan’.

Earlier, Mr Badal had urged Jathedar Vedanti to confer this award on Mr Tohra.

Mr Badal honoured Jathedar Vedanti with a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) at Ramsar Gurdwara.


Nominate Tohra’s widow to RS: Sikh council
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 3
The World Sikh Intellectual Council (WSIC) today urged all political parties in the state to rise above political considerations and nominate Ms Joginder Kaur Tohra, widow of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, to the Rajya Sabha seat, which has fallen vacant following the death of her husband.

Addressing a press conference here, the president of the council, Prof Baldev Singh Balluana, said nominating Ms Joginder Kaur to the Rajya Sabha would be a befitting tribute to the late leader, who had made a name for himself through his honesty and dedication throughout his life.

The council praised Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for ensuring a State funeral for the late SGPC chief and announcing a number of facilities for Ms Joginder Kaur, which include a pension of Rs 15,000 and free accommodation of her choice in Chandigarh or Patiala. It said the Chief Minister should also take a lead for the unanimous nomination of Ms Joginder Kaur to the Rajya Sabha.


Tributes paid to Tohra

Amritsar, April 3
The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat on Friday condoled the death of Tohra. In a condolence message, Mr Gurcharan Singh Gill and Mr Chiranjeev Singh, national president and former president of the organisation, respectively, said with the demise of Tohra the Panth had lost a great leader who could guide the Sikhs with devotion and unparallel ability. They expressed their sympathies with the bereaved family.

Mr Harbir Singh Sandhu, office secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), along with other leaders of the party, also expressed their sympathies with the bereaved family.

Shaheed Sikh Missionary College also condoled the death of Akali leader. TNS


Pakhoke takes over as officiating SGPC chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 3
Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president took over as officiating president of the SGPC here today.

Mr Pakhoke first became a member of the SGPC in 1996. After the death of Mr Balbir Singh Pannu he took over as senior vice-president of the SGPC.

Earlier Mr Pakhoke had officiated as president of the SGPC when Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar resigned to make way for presidentship of the SGPC for Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.


Kar seva to de-silt Kaulsar from today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Kar seva to clean the first ever ‘sarovar’ named after Muslim woman Mata Kaulan and remaining portion of the Golden Temple sarovar would be launched by Jathedar Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and four other ‘Sikh sants‘ here tomorrow with five gold spades and many silver bowls.

Mata Kaulan, Gurdwara adjoining the Golden Temple has great significance in Sikh history as the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind had directed the Sikh Sangat to take dip in Kaulsar before having bath in the Golden Temple sarovar. Like the Golden Temple sarovar of Kaulsar Gurdwara would also get filtered water as both Gurdwaras receive water from a common source.

According to Baba Amrik Singh, a representative of Baba Jagtar Singh, kar seva of Kaulsar and second phase of the Golden Temple’s sarovar would be completed in two days. He said more than 26 lakh devotees had participated in the first phase of the kar seva.

Kar seva of Kaulsar is being started after three decades. Mata Kaulan, against whom ‘kazi’ had pronounced fatwa (edict) of death sentence for showing devotion to Sikh Gurus was brought here by Sain Mian who had laid the foundation stone of Har Mandar Sahib (Golden Temple). She was a daughter of Rustam Khan-Qazi of Mujang village (Lahore). Mata Kaulan who was allotted a special place near the Golden Temple and Baba Atal, spent her life there before breathing her last at Kartarpur (Jalandhar). Excavation of Kaulsar started in 1624 and was completed in 1627 AD under the supervision of Baba Budhaji — the first head granthi of the Golden Temple.


Wadala to contest from Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 3
With the receding hopes to have poll alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), SAD (Democratic) today announced to field its party president, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, from Jalandhar for the coming elections.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Wadala said at an emergency meeting of the party today, it was unanimously decided to field him from Jalandhar while Mr Samsher Singh Maya would contest from Phillaur (Reserve) constituency.

However, Mr Wadala, said the party would formally announce its candidates for three more seats- Patiala, Sangrur and Faridkot- after awaiting the outcome of the meeting of various Akali leaders convened at his native village here on April 5 to forge panthic unity.

Interestingly, Mr Wadala had revealed that his candidates would contest the elections on the symbol of alliance partner Samajwadi Janata party (SJP).

He disclosed that he had invited various Akali leaders, including Simranjit Singh Mann, Ravi Inder Singh, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, Inderjit Singh Zira, Prem Singh Lalpura, Tarlochan Singh Tur, Major Singh, Surjit Kaur Barnala and Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanola, to participate at the meeting on April 5. In case his unity move materialised the united Akali Dal would contest all 13 seats in the state.


33 pc women’s quota in SAD demanded
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary of the SGPC and granddaughter of Master Tara Singh, today demanded 33 per cent quota for women in the Shiromani Akali Dal. She said women Akali workers should also be given due representation at the national as well as district level.

In a statement issued here today, she said while 33 per cent quota for women had been fixed for panchayat and municipal corporation elections, similar quota should also be fixed in the organisational structure of the SAD.

On the claim of Ms Surjit Kaur Barnala that Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal had formed the first Istri Akali Dal, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said it was her mother, the late Rajinder Kaur, who had formed such a dal with an independent constitution. It was not created by the mainstream SAD, she added. However, with the assassination of Rajinder Kaur, dal vice-president Kuldip Kaur (now executive member of the SGPC) took over as president of the Istri Akali Dal.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur clarified that Dr Shavinder Kuar Johal was president of the Istri Akali Dal that was a wing of the mainstream Akali Dal. However, when Dr Johal unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election from Ferozepore district on the Congress ticket, the Istri Akali Dal lost its identity.


Istri Akali Dal seeks ‘due’ share in party business
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 3
Dr Shavinder Kaur Johal, former president of the Shiromani Akali Istri Dal (SAID), today urged SAD (B) president Parkash Singh Badal to give due representation to members of the SAID in party’s activities.

Dr Johal, said here today, that only one woman was given party ticket by the SAD (B) for Lok Sabha elections. She added that earlier, Mr Badal nominated a BJP leader, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, to the Rajya Sabha. She said that members of the SAID should be given due representations in these matters.

She pointed out that late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, always gave due respect and honour to the members of the SAID. She added that it was late Mr Tohra, who allowed the members of the SAID to address party’s conferences. However, Mr Badal after making Bibi Jagir Kaur president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) once forgot the other women members of the party and its wings.


BKU to support SAD-BJP in Punjab

Moga, April 3
The Bharatiya Kisan Union today announced support to the NDA at the national level and to the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

A decision to this effect was taken by Punjab Executive of BKU at its meeting under the chairmanship of Ajmer Singh Lakhowal. Mr Lakhowal criticised the Amarinder Singh government in the state for its alleged failure to fulfil promises made especially to farmers in its election manifesto. The BKU also charged the Congress government with failing to clear arrears worth Rs 380 crore to sugarcane farmers. — PTI


SAD surrendered agenda to BJP, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 3
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (Amritsar) and candidate of SAD (Mann) from Sangrur in the coming parliamentary elections, today alleged that the Shiromani Akali Dal had surrendered the Akali agenda to the BJP as it had “failed” in raising its voice for Punjab and the Sikhs during the Vajpayee regime.

Talking to TNS on the telephone today, Mr Mann said the union government had not recognised participants and heroes of the Kuka movement and the Kamagatamaru movement as freedom fighters. He said Mr L.K. Advani, Home Minister, had rejected their case by saying they were not freedom fighters.

Mr Mann also said the Anand Marriage Act-1919 had not been implemented so far despite his repeated requests to Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, union minister, in this connection.

Mr Mann alleged that Mr Dhindsa, a minister, had done nothing in this regard. He also alleged that SAD had already accepted the idea of linking of rivers by signing the Rajiv-Longowal Accord, in which construction of the SYL canal was also an issue.

Mr Mann asked Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to tell the people what he had done for Sangrur or Sikhs so far.

Mr Mann today also participated in a function, held at Longowal in connection with birth celebrations of Lord Mahavir. He described the Jainism, the Budhism and the Sikhism as unique religions as their birth took place in India.


Dissent against Jagmeet Brar grows
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, April 3
Even as Congress leader, Jagmeet Brar is yet to launch a full-scale campaign, a section of the party, including the rank and file, claims the party high command would review his nomination from this border parliamentary constituency.

“The Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, will rethink over the nomination of Mr Brar — who has shifted to this border seat from the neighbouring Faridkot, which he has represented twice — on April 6 after she returns to Delhi from Maharashtra,” said Mr Naresh Kataria, a Member of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board and former organising secretary of the Punjab Congress.

Mr Kataria, who participated in a party workers’ meeting at Guru Har Sahai in this district, pointed out that a party delegation from this district had met almost all senior party leaders in Delhi in the past three days. It had been assured that Ms Gandhi would reconsider the nomination of Mr Brar, he claimed.

Mr Amolak Chand, Chairman of the Central Cooperative Bank here, Mr Vijay Kalra, vice-president of the Punjab Arhtiya Association and a senior Congress leader, and Mr Ravi Sharma, a party leader and sarpanch of Guru Har Sahai, one of the biggest villages of this district, predicted that if the high command did not allocate the ticket to an original resident of this district, the Congress would not be able to win the seat.

Mr Sharma said that so far only two Congress MLAs had come to support Mr Brar, who could manage to open only two election offices in such a large constituency. He added that the response from party workers was discouraging when Mr Brar came here on April 1.

Mr Vijay Kalra pointed out that people were asking why Mr Brar had deserted the Faridkot people, who had returned him to the Lok Sabha twice. Also, why was Mr Brar running away from facing Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, whom he had defeated when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister, he added.

Mr Amolak Chand said certain Congressmen who were against Ms Gandhi had misguided her on the selection of a candidate for this seat.

Mr Brar could not be contacted for comment despite repeated efforts.


Tewari to bridge differences with Cong supporters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 3
The Congress candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Manish Tewari, today said he will seek the support of all those within the party who are opposing his candidature.

Speaking at a press conference at the Balongi Barrier here today, while on his way to Ludhiana from New Delhi, Mr Tewari showed confidence of winning the seat.

Accompanied by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, Mr Tewari said Mr Hanspal would be going with him to Ludhiana to bridge the differences with Congress supporters. ‘‘The opposition for my candidature at Ludhiana is a result of the Akali Dal’s conspiracy,’’ he said.

Lashing out at the central government, Mr Tewari said the NDA government had failed to deliver its promises made in its election manifesto last time. ‘‘Where are the five crore jobs that the NDA government had promised the youth of this country? Can the government tell us how many jobless persons have they given employment to? ’’ he said.

Mr Tewari was welcomed into Punjab at the Balongi barrier by the president of the Mohali Youth Congress, Mr Paramjit Singh Baidwan and his supporters. They will accompany Mr Tewari to Ludhiana to help him in his campaign.

Other senior Congress leaders including Baldev Singh Kang and PUDA Minister of State Malkit Singh Birmi were also present on the occasion along with Mr Bikramjit Singh, OSD to the Chief Minister.


Khanna misleading voters, says Bhinder
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 3
Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, former Union Minister and Congress candidate for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, addressing newsmen at Mukerian near here said today that Mr Vinod Khanna, External Affairs Minister and BJP candidate had won  two elections by misleading people of Gurdaspur.

Mr Khanna failed to discretionary utilise his funds. Out of Rs 10 crore he did not put to use Rs 4 crore. This Rs 4 crore could be used for the 1500 villages and eight Municipal Councils in Gurdaspur, said Mrs Bhinder.

The Congress leader claimed that in the six-year period of the NDA Government inflation had made it impossible for the poor to make both ends meet and 98 per cent of Indians feeling the punch of price hike of daily-use goods, added Mrs Bhinder.

Later addressing a meeting of Congress workers, Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, appealed to the people to vote for Mrs Bhinder as she had provided employment to thousands of boys and girls of her constituency.

Mr Ramesh Dogra Punjab Health Minister, Mr Ramender Awla President Punjab Youth Congress, Dr Kuldip Nanda, President DCC Hoshiapur and Mr Yogesh Bhandari, President DCC Gurdaspur, Youth Wing were among the speakers.


Christians back Preneet Kaur
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 3
The Christian community here today held a rally in support of Congress candidate Preneet Kaur in front of sadar police station in the city.

The rally started with a prayer by Rev. Wilson Shah who paid homage of SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Speakers hailed the decision of the United Christian Front representing the 15 lakh strong community in the state to support the Congress in the coming parliamentary elections.

Ms Preneet Kaur said she would leave no stone unturned to uplift the Christian community. Former Municipal Councillor Kanwarjit Singh Kapoor, Balmikhi Sabha President Kirpal Singh Kaka and International Rangretta Dal President Amarjit Singh joined the Congress at the rally.

The rally was also addressed by Rev P.R. Charan, Rev Inayat Sadiq, District Lay Leader of the Patiala Methodist Church N M Gill, Pastor Anil Edwin and Rev Paramjit Michael.


Town faces water, power shortage
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 3
The subdivisional town is facing serious shortage of drinking water and electricity for the past few days.

Ms Shubhanjli Malviya, a teacher said working women are the worst hit as they have send children to school in the morning. Drinking water is not supplied by the water works here in the morning and the PSEB too shuts electricity supply.

Ms Anuradha Sachdeva, another housewife, reminded that it had become a routine for the past four or five years. If such is the situation in the beginning of summer what will be the situation in June when temperature crosses 45 degree Celsius mark in this area.

Mr Ghanshyam Nagpal ‘Raju’ president of a dramatic club pointed out that the Irrigation Department chose to suspend water supply in canals in these days under the pretext that water was not required for irrigation as harvesting of wheat crop was on. The department has to exhaust funds for the repair of canals at the end of the year only, this practice should be dispensed with, he added. After all canal water was required for drinking not only by 1.25 lakh citizens but for 3 lakh population in the rural areas also. Tubewell water was so brackish that it was difficult to drink it.

According to a survey the problem of drinking water for human beings was also serious in villages where even ponds were getting dry due to suspension of water supply in subcanals on account of maintenance. The temperature here is higher than that of regions of the state.

The Punjab State Electricity Board had not executed its plan of improving the supply of electricity in the subdivision. Some transformers were replaced but the supply was suspended without prior notice to domestic and commercial consumers in every corner. The situation was worse in villages, residents said. This had increased the consumption of diesel for generating supply which added to pollution level. The town was already having highest number of TB patients in the Ferozepore district, sources confirmed. The officials said power supply has to be suspended on receiving SOS from higher authorities. So it was not possible to inform in advance. The consumers complain that receivers of the telephone sets at the complaint centres were generally found off and the technical staff use the time for holding rallies in protest against proposed privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board during shut-down hours. Students, appearing in examination of the School Education Boards and Universities were the worst sufferers, a survey said. The Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board said that the storage capacity of the tanks was limited so they had to supply drinking water on alternate day.


Revenue officials’ arrest demanded
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 3
The Gaushala Land Eviction Committee has demanded the arrest of Mr Madan Lal, District revenue Officer, Mr Daljit Singh, a kanungo, and three other persons of Kanjli village. The District Magistrate, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, has ordered the registration of a criminal case against them in the charge of tempering with the revenue record of the land of local gaushala.

Talking to newspersons here today, Mr Jagdish Kataria, president of the Gaushala Land Eviction Committee, thanked the district administration for taking action to save the 25 acres of land from “land mafia.”

Mr Kataria urged the SSP to register a criminal case against the alleged culprits and arrest them.

The Committee has demanded the correction of khasra girdawaris by deleting the names of three persons in the column of occupation in the revenue records.


Pak writer for more relaxation in visa norms
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 3
Hailing the ongoing peace efforts initiated by India and Pakistan, an eminent Pakistani Punjabi writer and former minister Fakhar Zaman today advocated further relaxation in issuance of visas to aspirants. They should be allowed to visit the entire country.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Zaman said the visa relaxations from both countries had given a boost to people to people exchange. “We should break the visa restrictions to visit a particular city or place and people from both countries should be allowed to visit the entire country to know more about each other without facing any problem,” he said.

Mr Zaman, who was accompanied by convener of the Hind Pak Dosti Manch Satnam Manak, expressed confidence that the people of Punjab, in both countries could play a major role in the peace process as most of them had same culture and language. “Whenever I visit Punjab in India, I feel like home since the people and their feelings are the same as the people in Punjab (Pakistan). Moreover, Punjabi language is a major tool which re4minds us that we are still part of undivided Punjab, he said, adding that the Punjab (Pakistan) government had decided to establish “Punjabi” university in Lahore soon to promote Punjabi language.


Pak politicians to participate in seminar today
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 3
A 35-member delegation of Pakistani politicians will attend a seminar here tomorrow on current political situation and local governance in both India and Pakistan.

“The Pakistan delegation led by Rai Azizullah Khan. Member of Pakistan Parliament will attend the seminar on self government in India and Pakistan what we can learn from each other, Mr Satnam Manak, convener of the Hind Pak Dosti Manch, one of the organiser of the seminar, told reporters here today.

Apart from the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch, the co-organiser of the seminar would be the Centre for Rural and Industrial Development.


Bhaur not to head jatha to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 3
SGPC General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur today declared that he would not head the Sikh jatha leaving for Pakistan on April 6. Mr Bhaur said that he was so upset over the death of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra that he did not want to lead the jatha.

A confidant of Mr Tohra, Mr Bhaur asserted that he would prefer to be with the family of Mr Tohra in their hour of bereavement. I had conveyed  my feelings to the SGPC that I should be replaced as head of the Jatha, disclosed Mr Bhaur.

It was after a long time that a 3000-strong Sikh jatha of the SGPC and the DSGPC was going to Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi. It would leave on April 6 and return on April 15.


Names of 62 pilgrims deleted from jatha list
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 3
Names of 62 pilgrims have been deleted by the state and central governments from list of the jatha which will go to Pakistan on April 6 for Baisakhi. The jatha will leave from Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee office here.


Action against sex tests mooted

Moga, April 3
The Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, has taken serious view of adverse sex ratio in the state and directed all the Civil Surgeons and other officials to take action against all those found guilty of carrying out sex determination test. Mr Girdhari Lal Goyal, Director, Health and Family Welfare at a meeting of Civil Surgeons, senior medical officers and others of Health Department here today, urged them to implement the PNDT Act. — PTI


Dalit woman complains against cop
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 3
A Dalit woman, Raj today alleged that Kashmiri Lal, an SI of police station B-division had misbehaved with her and abused her after entering her house. She said the SI also demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 from her. Mr Amrik Singh Mardi, Chairman, Punjab Pradesh Dalit Council, who has taken up the matter said the Sub-Inspector is an investigating officer in a case in which Amit son of the Dalit woman was critically injured by Tilak Raj.

The Sub-Inspector had also misbehaved with other women of the family, he alleged. He said a complaint had been given to Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG (Border Range) but no action had been taken so far.


Hearing in Badal’s assets case on April 24
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 3
The non-supply of the documents dominated proceedings of the disproportionate assets and corruption case against former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his family at the special court here today.

As the proceedings of the case started counsel of Mr Badal led by Mr H.S. Mattewal, alleged that they had not been able to inspect all documents attached with the challan. They maintained that one of their counsel spent four hours every day to inspect the documents but was not able to complete the work. They demanded at least four more weeks for inspecting all documents attached with the challan.

The prosecution, however, told it was a ploy of the defence to delay the proceedings. They demanded that a final date be given for arguments in the case. They also demanded that all applications moved by the defence should be disposed of on the next hearing. The prosecution also alleged that the defence had not made serious efforts to inspect the documents.

The court gave April 24 as the next date of hearing in the case. The court also directed that the defence in the case should report to the court by April 17 on the status of supply of documents so that the proceedings were not delayed on the issue next time.

Mr Prakash Singh Badal did not present himself in the court as he was granted exemption from personal appearance on health grounds. Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal has already been granted exemption from personal appearance. Only Mr Sukhbir Badal was present in the court.

The judge also directed the prosecution to file reply on the application of another accused in the case Mr Nirapjeet Singh sub-inspector in Chandigarh Police, on April 10. Mr Nirapjeet Singh in an application to the court had demanded the return of his articles confiscated by the Punjab Vigilance including the air ticket, identity card and immigration card of his child.


Recovery from teacher’s pay stayed
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
A JBT teacher was promoted as Head Teacher in December, 1991, after superseding about 100 others. She “continued to enjoy the benefits of promotion” till Gurdaspur’s District Education Officer passed an order in February this year revising her date of promotion from 1991 to May, 2003. The recovery of “excess amount” from her salary was also ordered. But the same has now been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The teacher had joined the service on February 16, 1971. She was promoted as Head Teacher on December 5, 1991. She continued to avail the benefits “till it was discovered that her promotion was in violation of doctrine of equality enshrined in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India”. Subsequently, a notice was issued to the teacher and her date of promotion was revised.

Aggrieved by the orders, the teacher moved the High Court here. But a Division Bench ruled that the order revising her date of promotion was in accordance with law.

Taking up her petition, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh ruled: “We are satisfied that the order does not suffer from any legal infirmity warranting the interference by the court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India....”

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Singhvi further ruled: “It is undisputed that when the petitioner was promoted as Head Teacher, the claim of about 100 persons, senior to her, was overlooked. The officer concerned has removed the injustice done to a large number of teachers, senior to the petitioner, by issuing the order. Therefore, we do not find any ground to interfere with the same”.

In their detailed three-page order, the Judge directed the issuance of notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents for final disposal of the writ petition on limited question relating to the legality of the recovery order. The notice was accepted by Punjab’s Additional Advocate-General S.S. Behl.

Fixing May 22 as the next date of hearing in the case, the Judges, meanwhile, added that the written statements should be filed within six weeks. The Judges also stayed the recovery from the petitioner’s pay.


Excise official clarifies in vends auction case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, today asserted that in “certain sections of media inaccurate and confusing reports” had appeared on Saturday in the liquor vend auction case.

In a press note, the Commissioner asserted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while setting aside the auctions of Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur, had ruled that the “existing licencees in respect of these districts” would be allowed to continue till date of fresh auction or April 10, whichever was earlier.

The judgment, he added, was challenged by the state of Punjab by filing a Special Leave to Appeal before the Supreme Court. It was heard on April 2 and notice was issued to other parties for further hearing. The apex court also ordered that the interim arrangement made by the High Court would continue till further orders.


Labourers clash; 10 hurt in stone throwing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 3
At least 10 labourers belonging to the Punjab Labour Union and a private contractor were injured when two groups of labourers threw stones on each other for about 15 minutes in front of the local General Railway Police (GRP), police station after a clash took place over the loading of gunny bags. Windshield of a truck, parked near a goods train, was also shattered in the clash.

After the incident, the railway police registered a case against seven labourers belonging to the Punjab Labour Union and the private contractor. Heavy police force was deployed at the loading and unloading yard of the local railway station, where the labourers belonging to both groups were sitting till the filing of this report.

Out of the 10 injured, five had been admitted to the local civil hospital. The injured had been identified as Mr Niranjan Singh Premi, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Naib Singh, Mr Gurpreet Singh and Mr Avtar Singh. The whereabouts of other five injured, who were not identified, could not be known.

Police sources said Mr Malook Singh had been awarded the contact of loading and unloading of gunny bags by the state procurement agency Punsup. When his private labour came on the loading and unloading yard of the local railway station for the work members of the Punjab labour Union objected to it.

The Union claimed that as its labourers had been doing the job of loading and unloading for the past several years and hence they would not allow the labour of a private contractor to do the same job.

Suddenly, members of the Punjab Labour union and private labour of Mr Malook Singh started pelting stones on each other. The policemen, who were deployed in the GRP, police station, had a tough time controlling the situation. The people, who were in the area, had to run for cover.

Mr S. K. Singla, SDM, Mr Darshan Singh, DSP (city) and other senior civil and police officials rushed to the spot after the incident. They tried to workout a compromise between the two parties but could not succeed.

Mr Kuljeet Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), GRP, police station, said that a case under Section 145 of the Railway Act and Sections 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC had been registered against seven labourers. He said efforts were being made to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, as many as four labourers have been rounded up by the local police to prevent any untoward incident.


Corruption case against 2 jail officials
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 3
The local police today booked Deputy Superintendent and store-keeper (in charge) of the district jail under Sections 409, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and 7, 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the alleged “misappropriation of articles” from the store of the jail here.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, said here the case against them had been registered on the complaint of Darshan Singh, a prisoner, and on the recommendation of the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner after the inspection of the jail store.

The SSP further said Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, had been directed to investigate into this case.

The inspection of the store had been conducted by the SDM, Sangrur, and the DSP (Headquarters), Sangrur, on April 1 on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner. The team had allegedly found discrepancies in the stock register and the misappropriation of goods and articles in the jail store. Following which, the team sealed the store and submitted its report to the Deputy Commissioner.

Meanwhile, Ms Shinder Kaur, a relative of Darshan Singh, had sent a representation to the top police officers and the district administration, claiming that life of Darshan Singh in the jail was in danger. The government should provide him security.


Plan to loot commission agents foiled, 1 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 3
The district police has arrested Rachpal Singh Bhullar, a resident of Ghuman Kalan village of this district, who was allegedly planning to loot the commission agents during the wheat procurement season by using firearms.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the accused had purchased weapons — a pistol and a revolver — which had been recovered from him, from Rajasthan by paying Rs 10,000.

He added that the accused was planning to use these firearms for looting the cash from commission agents of this area during the wheat procurement season.

He said acting on a tip off a special naka was laid on a bridge near Ghuman Kalan village. One person, who was coming towards the naka, tried to flee after seeing the policemen. However, he was overpowered and on search, one pistol was recovered from him.

During interrogation he revealed that a revolver was lying in an orchard, which was also recovered by the police. He also disclosed his plans for looting the commission agents. A case under Section 25 of the Arms Act was registered against the accused.


Education board recommends action against employees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
The Punjab School Education Board here in a written recommendation to the education department, has asked department officials to take strict against those employees who are encouraging cheating and foul play at various Class X and XII examination centres in Punjab.

According to the board Secretary, Mr Mahinder Bir Singh, the board has provided the department with a list of the employees who are posted on invigilation duty at the examination centres but are instead encouraging cheating.

Mr Mahinder Bir added since it was the duty of the board to get the examinations conducted well, it was vital that the education department complimented the efforts being put by the board to ensure their smooth conduct. These employees had been caught red-handed and the education department had been asked to initial disciplinary action against them.

The board also released a list of the examinations which were cancelled due to outside interference. These include Class X science paper held on March 13 at Doaba Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road, Jalandhar-44 and Arya Senior Secondary School, Basti Gujan, Jalandhar-34; the Class X Punjabi- A paper held on March 16 at S.S.S. School, Sudhar, Amritsar, and S.S.S. School Bassi Pathana, Fatehgarh Sahib district; Class XII General English paper held on March 13 at Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Baba Sangh Dhesia, Jalandhar and Children Memorial Public School, Patiala-55; the class XII physical education paper held on March 16 at S.S.S. School (B-1) Kalanaur, Gurdaspur.


Gang also leaked out papers last year
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 3
In a shocking revelation, the Ludhiana police today said that the gang arrested by them on charges of leakage of question papers of the Punjab School Education Board had also leaked the Class X and XII papers of the board last year. However, since these papers were sold to just a limited persons for big money, the matter went unnoticed.

According to the SSP Ludhiana, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, another student of Class XII, Rohit of the Government school, Mangat, was arrested by the police yesterday, taking the total number of persons arrested in the case to nine. Rohit and Makhan Singh, another student arrested in the case, are class fellows.

On March 31, the Ludhiana police had arrested Ram Lal, Principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Mangat, along with seven others responsible for the leakage of the question papers.

A senior police official investigating the case, who requested not be quoted, informed that the school principal Ram Lal,his nephew Sukhdial Chand, Sukhwinder Singh alias Kaka and Makhan Singh, the Class XII student were interrogated by the police today. During the interrogation, they revealed that that they had used similar methods last year to obtain question paper packets. Photostat copies of question papers were sold for large sums of money to only a limited candidates whom the gang personally knew.

Meanwhile, reliable sources stated that the Director General of Police (DGP), Punjab, has asked IG, Mr Varinder Sharma, in the Crime Branch to take up the inquiry into the matter. Mr Sharma could not be contacted for comments but sources stated that he had asked for various files pertaining to the case from different places in Punjab to begin a consolidated investigation at his level.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh said that he was not aware of any such move and in any case the investigations in Ludhiana were complete since the culprits had been caught. Sources added that the file pertaining to the case being investigated by the SP Mohali, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, had been sent to the IG.


Varsity team inspects law college
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 3
A four-member team led by Dr S.P.S. Virdi, Dean, College Development Council of Punjabi University, Patiala, today examined various financial and other matters of Baba Farid Law College being set up by the Gurdwara Godri Sahib Farid Society.

During its over four-hour stay, the panel inspected the institution’s classrooms, library, various offices and the hostel. It also examined documents related to its financial status to ensure that the students’ interest is protected.

Expressing satisfaction over the arrangements in the college, Dr Virdi said a detailed report in this regard would be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor of the university within three days, who was likely to finalise the issue soon in view the management’s plan to start the classes from the coming academic session. However, the approval would be granted only for a year. The next step would be initiated only after reviewing the progress of the college.

Two more teams would visit the college on April 11 and 18 regarding the selection of faculty members.

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