P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vinod Khanna, Gujral allege booth-capturing
Tribune Reporters

Poll percentage

Gurdaspur 54
Amritsar 53
Tarn Taran 52
Jalandhar 61
Phillaur 55
Hoshiarpur 57
Ropar 52
Patiala 52
Ludhiana 50
Sangrur 60
Bathinda 52
Faridkot 60
Ferozepore 55

Violence/ bogus voting/ other complaints:

Khang: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Congress workers clash; 12 injured

Danegarh: SAD, Cong workers clash

Batala: Congress, BJP workers clash after gunman of a Congress MLA fires in the air

Kotkapura: Bogus voter held

Samana: Voter assaulted by observer

Balongi: One injured seriously in a shootout, admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh

Jalandhar Cantt: EVM fails to work, defective machines replaced

Sarai Amanatkhan: Congress worker Mukhtiar Singh stabbed to death

Attari: Four Congressmen injured in a clash with Akali workers

Amritsar: Mayor assaults a BJP worker

Ludhiana: Bogus voter held

Abohar: Violence after Municipal Councillor Rattan Lal was assaulted

Moga: Municipal Councillor, driver of Akali MLA, two Dalits injured in minor clashes

Jalandhar, May 10
Barring stray incidents of scuffle and exchange of heated arguments between Congress and SAD-BJP supporters, voting passed off peacefully, with 52 per cent (un-official figure) of the 11.42-lakh-strong electorate exercising their franchise in the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency, a prestigious seat from where Mr Naresh Gujral, son of a former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, and Rana Gurjit Singh, a close confidant of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, are contesting.

The constituency, which has a total of 11,42,090 votes, including 5,88,768 men, again showed a declining trend of poll turnout as was the case during the past three elections.

The turnout at polling booths was slow in the early hours but picked up by afternoon when large number of women along with elders were seen standing in queues in front of polling booths.

The polling process remained suspended at several polling booths falling in the Kila Mohalla, Chander Nagar, Makhdoom Pura, Paragpur and Panjpeer Chowk areas for some time due to objections raised by polling agents regarding identity of voters.

The SAD candidate, Mr Naresh Gujral, and Punjab minister Avtar Henry rushed to a Chander Nagar polling booth, where polling remained suspended from 3.30 pm to 5 pm over allegations of booth-capturing. The police resorted to a mild cane charge at Dhand Mohalla, Kila Mohalla and Makhdumpura to disperse supporters of parties, who entered into heated arguments over their respective candidates

In another incident, a Punjab police personnel posted at the Model House polling booth accidently fired a shot in the air, causing panic among voters and residents of the area.

Polling remained suspended for about half an hour at polling booth No 94 in the Jalandhar Cantonment Assembly segment due to a snag in the electronic voting machine. Officials concerned replaced the machine.

Meanwhile, Mr Naresh Gujral, in a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), alleged that some armed supporters of Congress nominee candidate Rana Gurjit Singh captured booth Nos 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40 in the Kapurthala Assembly segment, booth Nos 1 and 2 in Sultanpur Lodhi and booth Nos 81, 86, 87 and 89 at Jalandhar North. He alleged that Congress supporters polled bogus votes by threatening poll officials. He demanded a re-poll at these booths.

PATHANKOT: Barring minor incidents of groups clash between workers of the Congress and the SAD-BJP polling passed off peacefully in the Gurdaspur constituency.

GURDASPUR: Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna, seeking a third consecutive term to the Lok Sabha from here, alleged booth-capturing by Congress workers in connivance with the police.

In complaints, sent to the Election Commission, Mr Khanna, facing a stiff challenge from five-time Congress MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, alleged that Rajinder Singh of the Congress led a “goons brigade” in capturing the polling station at Singhpura village in the Fatehgarh Assembly segment, saying booths were also captured at Veera village, Dullochak and Mehmachak in the same constituency.

He alleged that eight booths — numbering 24 to 29 and 34 to 26 — were captured in Sujanpur town, while one booth each was seized at Sarna and Bahadurpur Lari village under the Sujanpur Assembly segment.

Similarly, Mr Khanna said the booth at Nona Barkatan village in the Kahnuwan segment was also allegedly captured by Congress activists.

LUDHIANA: CPM supporters in the Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency alleged that the district administration played a partisan role at the instance of Central observers in various Assembly segments.

They alleged that vehicles carrying supporters of their party were stopped and the occupants harassed. They pointed out that no vehicle of the BSP was impounded even though the party had used vehicles in excess of the norms.

They said BSP leader Charanjit Singh Channi was a rich and influential person. It was due to his influence that the observers turned a blind eye towards all violations. While the posters and banners of other parties were removed, his men went to town and flooded the city with poll material.

Poll arrangements were satisfactory in the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituency, especially the sensitive Garhshankar area, where village chowkidars, lambardars and patwaris were present at each polling station. In view of the hot weather conditions, shamianas had been erected so that voters could stand in shade. Cold water was also available at each polling station. In the Balachaur area, there were complaints pertaining to board and lodging of the poll staff. In the Hoshiarpur area, voters complained of deletion of their names from the voter list at the instance of a particular party and this caused tension at some polling stations. In the Ropar area, workers of the CPM complained against removing their banners by the municipal staff. In Tanda and Dasuya, the poll arrangements were satisfactory.

PHILLAUR: Altogether 57 per cent polling was recorded in the Phillaur parliamentary seat. Barring a few minor scuffles between activists of various parties, polling was by and large peaceful.

According to official sources, 50 per cent polling was recorded in urban areas while 64 per cent polling was reported from rural areas in the constituency.

A case of fake voting was registered against Bahujan Samaj Party activist Jaspul Singh at Akalpur village in Phillaur subdivision.

Three electronic voting machines — one in Hargovindpur and two in Phagwara — developed a snag and were replaced. Polling was disrupted for about one hour in these places.

NAWANSHAHR: Polling remained by and large peaceful in the district except an incident of alleged manhandling of SAD polling agents at the nearby Alachaur village.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Pakher Singh, SAD polling agents deputed at polling booth No 47 at Alachaur village, alleged that they were kept out of the booth for about half an hour to facilitate bogus voting at the behest of Congress leaders. The matter was settled following the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner.

KAPURTHALA: Barring minor incidents of scuffle between Congress and Akali Dal workers in the town, polling in Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi, Phagwara and Bholath passed off peacefully.

The Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi Assembly seats fall in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat while Phagwara and Bholath fall in the Phillaur Lok Sabha seat.

PHAGWARA: Polling booths presented a deserted look in the morning, with voters showing little enthusiasm. This worried leaders and activists of major political parties, who throwing all caution regarding the Model Code of Conduct to the wind, started ferrying voters in cars and other vehicles to the polling booths. Even rickshaws, hired by some parties and sporting their flags, were pressed into service.

Meanwhile, 80-year-old Sardara Singh was among the first to cast his vote. There were several first-timers, among the voters.

Meanwhile, some leaders alleged that names of hundreds of their supporters were found missing from the electoral rolls. Many voters with photo-ID card were seen complaining outside booths that their names were not in the voter list. Akali councillor from ward No 6 Inderjit Sonkar alleged that about 900 persons, who had been residing in the Shivpuri, Onkar Nagar and Kirpa Nagar colonies for the past 20 years, did not find their names in the list. He accused the ruling party of manipulating it as these voters, mostly migrants, were supporters of the Akali Dal. Some BSP activists made similar complaints.

AMRITSAR: The Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency recorded an estimated 53 per cent polling.

A sizeable number of voters, some of them employees of Guru Nanak Dev University, had to return disappointed as their names were missing from the voter list.

As many as 500 voters of Ranjit Avenue Park (B block), including the chairman of the welfare society, Mr D.S. Mann, and Col J.S. Gill (retd), could not cast their vote as their names were missing from the voter list.


Police fire into air to disperse mob
SAD leader held for ‘buying’ votes released on bail
Tribune Reporters & PTI

Abohar, May 10
The police reportedly fired three rounds into the air to disperse a mob that had gheraoed a police team led by the SHO of the Sadar police station this evening. The SAD and Congress spokesmen blamed each other for the disturbance.

Some miscreants were carrying kirpans and lathies. The personal vehicle of Mr Bobby Mann, son of SAD-BJP candidate Zora Singh Mann, was badly damaged by some miscreants. He took shelter in a roadside shop. Sources said the trouble started when some SAD-BJP workers allegedly indulged in bogus voting at Singh Sabha Kanya Pathshala. Supporters of the Congress candidate resisted and later chased the vehicles of the SAD men, including Mr Bobby Mann, as SAD workers had allegedly damaged a vehicle of Congress supporters after a dispute over bogus polling at Gurunanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School here.

As the SHO felt insecure he reportedly sought the heop from the DSP. DSP Narender Pal Singh Waring immediate rushed along with the CO of the BSF and a large force. The police then used force to disperse the mob. Mr Bobby Mann was taken under security cover by the DSP to the police station. Official sources did not confirm having fired in the air. The situation was brought under control by 6 p.m.. The police had acted impartially, official sources said. A large number of women were seen waiting for their turn at the polling booths inside Government Elementary School, Azeemgarh. Ms Chando Bai (95) was escorted by her family members to the booth. She said so far she had not missed any chance to exercise her right to vote.

Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, Vice-President of the PPCC, cast his vote at Maujgarh village.

Improper lodging and boarding arrangement for civil and police staff of the state government on election duty irked many of them. Some said they had to sleep on the banches last night. They had not reportedly been served any refreshment till 12 noon when some mediapersons visited the urban polling booths. However the security was tight today compared to last elections that had witnessed ugly scenes. Interestingly the SAD musclemen and liquor mafia was blamed for rigging and violence in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1999. This time the SAD had faxed a series of complaints to the CEC and CEO apprehending rigging and violence from the ruling party in the state.

Meanwhile most of the female voters outside the polling booths in slum areas said their first choice as the Prime Minister was Ms Sonia Gandhi. Whereas Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee continued to be first preference as the Prime Minister among educated voters.

For most of the voters foreign origin of Ms Gandhi was not an important issues, though they give due weight age to the campaign launched by the state government to book corrupt politicians.

BATHINDA: About 53 per cent of the electorates exercised their franchise for this reserve parliamentary constituency, polling for which was held on Monday. No incident of violence was reported from any part of this constituency.

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, said on a complaint of people that a presiding officer of one of the polling booths of the city was drunk, that presiding officer was changed. The SDM, Bathinda, had been asked to conduct an inquiry against him. He added that about 18 vehicles, which were violating the code of conduct, had been impounded. The polling was heavy in the rural area as compared to the urban areas. There were 10 contestants in this constituency.

FEROZEPORE: The polling in this constituency went off peacefully barring few incidents of election related violence. According to the information, 62 per cent polling took place in this parliamentary constituency. The Assembly wise break up of the poll percentage shows that in Balluana- 62 per cent, Guruharsahai- 65 per cent, Ferozepore City- 57 per cent, Ferozepore Cantt- 56 per cent, Zira- 64 per cent and in Dharamkot- 75 per cent polling took place.

Mr Kanwar Vijay Pratap, SSP said incidents of election related violence had been reported from Rau ke Utar village under Mamdot police station, Lakho ke Behram and Jalalabad. He said cases had been registered in the police stations concerned. Few stray incidents of booth capturing have also been reported from Fazilka.

In Guruharsahai, the police had to resort to air fire to prevent a clash between the BSP and Congress workers.

Another clash had been reported from Abohar, where the Akali and Congress workers clashed after the polling was over.

MOGA: The Faridkot district police has arrested local Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harjit Singh Bholuwal from his native village Bholuwala for allegedly buying votes.

The police recovered Rs 50,000 from his possession during the arrest last evening.

SAD candidate Sukhbir Singh Badal from Faridkot also arrived when the Akali leader was caught redhanded by the police.

DIG (Faridkot) range Paramjit Singh Sarao said on Monday that it was a polling party in the village which informed the police that the Akali leader was purchasing the votes. The police party then raided the spot and caught the Akali leader redhanded.

The Akali leader was later released on bail.

FAZILKA: One person was reportedly injured in shoot out at Singhpura village of this subdivision in post-poll violence. According to initial information received here Falak Singh, son of Bagga Singh of Singhpura village, who had returned home after casting his vote saw some armed persons around his house. Two persons believed to be belonging to ruling party shot at Bagga Singh in front of his house. He received two bullet injuries in his waist at about 5.30 pm. He was also reportedly beaten up badly with sticks. He was brought to the local Civil Hospital in serious condition.

In another incidence Bajrang Lal Gupta, former BJP President Municipal Council was injured in poll violence. According to Mr Gupta, he was beaten up by police officials on the behest and in presence of senior Congress leaders and senior police officers because he tried to stop ruling party members who tried to caste bogus votes in S.D. High School where polling of Ward No. 9, booth No. 32 was going on. Mr Tara Chand Solanki, another BJP activist, was also beaten up by the police along-with Mr Gupta.


SAD worker shot at in village near Kharar
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, May 10
A SAD worker was shot at and seriously injured by two scooter-borne persons while he was distributing poll slips to voters at Dabali village, about 10 km from here, this afternoon.

The injured, Pritpal Singh, was taken to the local Civil Hospital, from where he was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh.

According to doctors at the Civil Hospital, Pritpal Singh received four gun shot on the back of his right shoulder, which had pierced through. As there was a lot of bleeding, the injured had to be immediately sent to the PGI after being given first-aid. A lung of Pritpal Singh was pierced by the gunshots.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Basian, former Sarpanch of Basian village, said he was sitting next to Pritpal Singh when the incident took place. He said it was about 1.30 pm and six persons were present at the SAD polling camp as others had gone for lunch. He said two turbaned persons came on a green scooter and stopped near the synthetic mat on which poll agents were sitting. “We thought they were voters. But soon they took out a gun, which was earlier hidden under a cloth, and fired at Pritpal Singh,” he said.

Mr Basian, suspected that the firing was not linked to elections as there was no groupism in the village at the political level and the votes were being cast peacefully. Pritpal Singh was shot at from close range. A lot of blood stains could be seen on the mat where he was sitting. Mr Basian said the assailaints did not belong to the village.

Mr Basian said Pritpal Singh, who lived in Kharar and had given his land in Dabali village on contract, used to take part in holding of akhand path as he had a soothing voice.

Another eyewitness, Mr Kuljit Singh, said the assailants had come with muffled faces from the side of Dabali village and after committing the crime, left towards Basian village. They stopped at home distance after committing the crime and looked back before moving ahead. He lamented that though police personnel were present near the polling station at the time of the crime, no action was taken.

Mr Bhadur Singh, Sarpanch of Dabali village, claimed that the incident was not linked to elections, but could not give any reason why Pritpal Singh was fired at.

Mr Jagdev Singh, DSP, who reached the scene of the incident, said Pritpal Singh had lodged a complaint against three persons, who he suspected were involved in the firing incident. They were Gurnam Singh, alias Gama, Surinder Singh and Charan Singh. The DSP said some dispute had taken place in the village about four years ago over the use of gurdwara untensils for private purposes.

Some person had cooked meat in one of the utensils, which was objected to by others. Members of both groups, including Pritpal Singh, were beaten up at that time and a police case had been registered.

The polling staff at booth 54, set up at Government Elementary School, Dabali, said the firing incident had no effect on polling. A total of 650 out of 1,323 votes were cast at the polling booth set up for Dabali, Ghoga and Basian villages till 3 p.m. The booth fell under the Kharar 69 segment of the Ropar constituency.

Not much enthusiasm was noticed among voters at Kharar. Though polling went on peacefully in the town, there were a number of people who were disappointed as they could not vote. They had their voter identity cards, but their name did not figure in the voter lists.

Mr Amarjit Singh, resident of Ranjit Colony, said there were more than 50 votes in his mohalla, but only four persons could vote. He said there was a repetition of a large number of names in the voter list. He said the name of his son, Damanjit Singh, and daughter, Narinderjeet Kaur, figured at serial number 854 and 855, respectively. But both names were again present in the list at serial number 1045 and 1046. Moreover, addresses of a number of voters had not been entered in the lists.

Mr Ramesh Sharma, a polling agent of the Congress, present at booth number 19, said he could not cast his vote though he had a voter identity card because his name did not figure in the voter list.

Mr Preet Kanwal Singh, a legal adviser of the SAD, said a number of votes of Bangalas had been repeated in a voter list.

At polling booth 28, only 433 votes out of a total of 1,042 were cast by 3.50 pm. At this booth, only 84 votes were cast till 9 am. Only 5.3 per cent votes were polled till 9 am at booth number 27. However, by 4 pm, 500 votes out of a total of 1,481 were cast.

The position at booth number 25 was better as 347 votes were cast by 4 pm. The booth had a total of 696 votes. A total of 548 votes were cast at booth number 21 till 4.25 pm out of a total of 1,432 votes. Similarly, 446 votes out of a total of 1,210 were cast till 4.30 pm at booth number 20.


Sukhbir booked for attacking Cong supporter
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 10
A criminal case has been registered against SAD-BJP alliance candidate from the Faridkot parliamentary constituency, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, and his associates for his alleged involvement in the fatal attack on Mr Dhananjay Kumar, a supporter of the Congress candidate, Ms Karan Brar, at Kotli Sanger village of Muktsar district today.

A case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered against Mr Badal, Mr Kiranbir Kang and 40 others in the Sadar police station, Muktsar, on a complaint of Mr Dhananjay Kumar, who allegedly suffered serious injuries on his head.

Barring stray incidents of violence, the polling remained peaceful in this constituency. More than 60 per cent of the electorate exercised their right. The rural areas witnessed heavy polling as compared to the urban areas.

Mr R.S. Khatra, SSP, Muktsar, said Mr Kumar was attacked by Mr Badal and his associates when he went to monitor the polling in booths located in Kotli Sanger village along with Mr Harsimrat Singh, son of Ms Karan Barar. He added though the case had been registered, no arrest had been so far in this connection.

However, Mr Badal while denying the allegations, pointed out that he along with his associates were being implicated in false criminal cases after the Congress contestant got frustrated when she came to know about her defeat in the elections. He alleged that some Congressmen inflicted self injuries on their bodies to get criminal cases registered against SAD workers.

He further alleged that though SAD workers were kidnapped from the polling booths, thrashed in various parts of the constituency and intimidated by the Congressmen, the police authorities did not entertain their complaints. He added that Congressmen along with policemen all limits to ensure the victory of Ms Brar.

Mr Khatra said so far no complaint had been received from the SAD in connection with the violation committed by Congressmen. He added that some vehicles belonging to Congressmen, which were violating the code of conduct, ad been impounded.

He said in another case two persons identified as Tikka Bhagirat Singh and Gursant Singh had been arrested after it was found that they had been carrying a pistol, cartridges, knife, cash and four mobiles in their car. These persons were arrested at a special naka laid in connection with the security arrangements for today’s poll. A case under the Arms Act had been registered against them.

In another case, 25 residents of Harsh Chinna village of Amritsar district, who came in this area with the intention of capturing booths in favour of Mr Badal, had been rounded up.


Poll violence in border areas claims one life
Varinder Walia and Balraj Mahajan

Batala, May 10
In wide-spread incidents of poll-related violence in Amritsar, Batala, Rayya and Serai Amanat Khann (Tarn Taran constituency) one person was killed while over dozen injured even as SDM, Batala, recommended re-polling in Purana Pind following smashing of Electronic Voting Machine by a close confidant of a Cabinet Minister .

The poll-related incidents in the border constituencies have surpassed all previous records of violence . In village Gehri (Serai Amanat Khann), one Mukhtiyar Singh, a Congress worker was stabbed to death while three others sustained injuries . Though the clash between the SAD-BJP and Congress workers occurred inside the polling station, the police had to open fire to disperse the warring factions and forced the clashing activists to leave the polling station. The clash was the result of an objection raised by Kanwaljit Kaur.

Many incidents of violence between the supporters of Mr Jagdish Sahni, a former MLA of BJP, and Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Punjab Minister were reported from various parts of Batala. The supporters of both leaders opened fire in the air. Later, Mr Sahni was virtually put under house arrest by the BSF and Punjab Police. While Mr Sahni alleged that Mr Sekhri had personally beaten up the driver of his bus, the latter denied the incident.

On the other hand, Mr Harprit Singh Goldi, a close confidant of Mr Sekhri allegedly smashed Electronic Voting Machine in Purana Pind. The SDM, Mr Praneet Bharadwaj has recommended to the Election Commission repolling in that booth. The Batala Police is likely to register an FIR against the alleged culprit in this regard .

Meanwhile, at least four Congress workers including Bhan Singh, Jupa, Massa Singh and Babbi Pehalwan sustained injuries in the stone pelting between SAD-BJP and Congress workers at Attari. At least five incidents of stone-pelting have been reported from Attari. Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, an Akali candidate from Tarn Taran has alleged that Mr Tarlok Singh Chakwalia, a Congress leader had resorted to intimidation of voters in Dhaliwal , Badugli , Sur Singh and Ahemadpur villages.

Many incidents of violence including alleged kidnapping of Akali workers were reported from the Beas Assembly constituency. Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, a former Chairman of the Punjab Forest Corporation, alleged that Mr Rajinder Singh and his son were kidnapped by supporters of Congress MLA, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa and kept in illegal police custody.


SAD supporters’ names missing from voters’ list
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
Hundreds of people, most of them committed Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supporters, could not vote today. The reason was simple: their names had been struck off the voters’ list. Most of these voters complained of irregularities in the conduct of the elections. “I have been voting for the past over 20 years. But, today when I went to the polling station to cast my vote, I was told that my name did not figure in the voters’ list. Repeated complaints to the polling officials went unheeded,” claimed Col D.S. Dhaliwal (retd) of Urban Estate, Patiala.

Besides Colonel Dhaliwal Dr Gurcharan Singh, president of Urban Estate Residents Welfare Association, and scores of other residents of the area showed their voter I-cards and said their names had been deleted from the voters lists as they were supporters of the SAD.

Interestingly, the voters’ list also contained the names of residents living in some houses of the area. The only problem was that the plots on which the houses are shown to exist are still vacant.

Dr Gurcharan Singh said the association would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the “irregularities”. Not only common voters, leaders of some political parties also found their names missing from the list.

“Yesterday evening, when I was going through the voters’ list of my area, I found my name as well as that of many of our workers missing. How can we be denied the right to vote”, asked Jaspreet Singh Bhatia, SAD leader.

Talking to The Tribune along with many other voters, whose names were missing, Mr Bhatia said in his area, ward No.s 16, 17, 18 and 19, almost 400 voters faced similar problem.

It wasn’t just missing names that encountered voters in this high profile constituency. Hundreds of voters also returned without casting their vote. Somebody else had already used their franchise.

“When I went to the polling station, I was told that my vote had already been cast. When I showed officials my voter I-card, they told me that they could not help me. If such actions cannot be controlled, why did the Election Commission insist that we get our voter I-card prepared”, questioned an irate voter Ramjas Lal, who could not vote for this reason.

When asked, the Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejbir Singh, who is also the Returning Officer of the constituency, denied that there was a game plan behind the deletion of votes.

“I don’t know why people are saying this now. We had given all voters ample opportunity to ensure that their names were present in the voters’ list.

Incidentally, the SAD had a couple of days ago complained to the election staff about the discrepancy in the voters’ list.

“We have sent a report in this regard to the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab,” stated Mr Tejbir Singh.


Poll peaceful in Ropar, but lacklustre affair
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 10
Barring a firing incident that led to grave injuries to an Akali supporter in Kharar, elections to the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency remained a peaceful but lacklustre affair. Only 56 per cent of the total votes were cast in the constituency. While majority of the urban areas registered a low polling percentage ranging between 40 to 45 per cent, the voter turnout in villages was much better with some polling booths registering over 85 per cent votes.

The Nabha segment registered the highest turnout of voters at 65 per cent in the constituency. ‘‘Mainly because, here we have only 3000 urban voters where 50 per cent votes were cast. In the villages we had over 70 per cent voting,’’ said Mr Balraj Singh Sekhon, SDM and Assistant Returning Officer (ARO), Nabha. ‘‘Village Lope registered the highest voter turnout at 86.2 per cent. Over 20 villages have registered above 80 per cent voter turnout,’’ he added.

While the largest number of voters belonged to the Kharar segment. only 50 per cent votes were cast here, the lowest in the constituency. This constituency also had the largest component of urban voters, concentrated in Mohali that saw a very thin turnout of voters at 37 per cent. The SDM Mohali, Mr M.L. Sharma, said ‘‘Barring the firing incident at Dhavali village which was not poll related, but caused due to persoanl rivalry, the polls have ended peacefully here.’’

Over 55 per cent of votes were polled in Morinda that had over 1.4 lakh voters. The Chamkaur Sahib segment had 1.7 lakh voters out of which about 56 per cent voters cast their votes. ‘‘We registered 60 per cent polling in rural areas and less than 45 per cent in urban areas. But certain villages in the constituency have registered over 80 per cent voting. Makhnora Chota had 80.3 per cent voter turnout, Tapariya Amar Singhwala had 83.5 per cent voter turnout and the highest was registered at Makkowal at 86.6 per cent,’’ said Mr Daljit Singh, SDM, Ropar, adding that voting was delayed by half an hour at Thana village as an EVM had to be replaced.

Samrala, where over 1.1 lakh voters were expected to cast their votes registered a voter turnout of 60 per cent. The voter turnout in urban areas remained less than 50 per cent while it was above 65 per cent in the rural areas. Mr J.P. Mittal, SDM, Khanna, could not be contacted but according to the information given by the PRO office in Ropar, 55 per cent votes were cast in Khanna. The two main candidates in the fray, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, cast their vote at Khanna. Mr Dullo along with his wife Mrs Harbans Kaur, the local MLA went to A.S. Senior Secondary School, Khanna, and cast their votes early morning after which they left for a tour through the constituency. Mr Libra along with his son Randhir cast his vote in his Libra village.

At Amloh, a large amount of focus remained at Tohra village where by the end of the day 1081 votes were cast out of the total 1486 votes. ‘‘A good percentage since it was thought that enthusiasm in the village will be low following the death of Gurcharan Singh Tohra,’’ said Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, and ARO. Another 56 per cent votes were cast at Fatehgarh Sahib and 60 per cent votes were cast in Dhuri.

The day began with problems with many Electronic Voting Machines failing to work at a large number of polling stations. But with replacements ready at hand, polling was not delayed any where. A large number of urban voters who did reach the polling station were in for a surprise when they found their names missing from the voters' list. The two main political parties had set up their booths outside every polling station and were manned by polling agents who assisted the voters in locating the booth number and guiding them through the process.

While some incidents of party workers ferrying voters in cars were reported, no complaint was made to the assistant returning officers anywhere in the constituency. Allegations of bogus voting were made by some party workers in Mohali but again no complaint was given to the ARO. The day began with thin turnout of voters which picked up after 10 am and reached a peak at 1 pm after which polling even in the village booths went down. However, voting again picked up after 3 pm and till 5 pm, crowds could be seen outside booths of people waiting to cast their votes.

Missing names in the voter list was in fact a major source of discontent among voters in the otherwise peaceful polling in the district. Voters in many parts of the district complained of their names missing from the voter list. At some places, complaints were also received regarding bogus votes. The 1 Eastern Avenue address at Nangal, that houses the income tax office, had 47 voters on the poll rolls.

Leaders of the BJP and the BSP alleged that names of their workers were selectively deleted from the voter list.

The presiding officer in the Khizrabad area, Mr Jagdish Lal, suffered a fit and had to be replaced immediately.

Supporters of candidates were seen ferrying voters in vehicles in various parts of the district.

124-year-old Tulsi Devi who cast her vote at Ropar on Monday.
124-year-old Tulsi Devi who cast her vote at Ropar on Monday. — Photo by Subhash Sharma

As many as 1,306 polling stations in the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency were set up where over 13 lakh persons were expected to cast their vote today.

The voting percentage in five assembly segments of Ropar constituency was as follows: Anandpur Sahib — 54, Nangal — 52, Chamkaur Sahib — 56, Morinda — 52, and Kharar — 52.

Meanwhile, Tulsi Devi (124) cast her vote at booth No. 125 here on Monday.

She was carried to the polling booth by her son, Col B. R. Kakkar (retd). Her zeal to cast vote was obvious from the broad smile she wore on her wrinkled face.

She said she always loved to cast her vote.

Tulsi Devi is a resident of Meera Bai Chownk locality of Ropar.


Sidhu protests against poll disruption

Amritsar, May 10
The BJP contestant, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, today staged a dharna in front of the polling booth in the Shakti Nagar area after the voting was over, in protest against the alleged disruption of polling by Congress workers in the afternoon.

Mr Sidhu said Congress workers had deliberately tried to stop the peaceful polling as voters were waiting for their turn to exercise their franchise in favor of the party and this was not to the liking of the Congress which had come prepared to indulge in booth capturing. He said this wasted more than an hour during the disruption.

He urged the election observers and district returning officer to conduct repolling in the booth at the Khurana Janj Ghar.

However, the Congress leader Mr Naresh Kapur, in charge of the area denied the report and added that it was BJP workers which had indulged in violence to stop the Congress supporters from casting their votes.


Bogus voting was easy
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
The Election Commission time and again talks of free and fair elections.

In Patiala Lok Sabha constituency from where Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, is in direct contest with Shiromani Akali Dal’s Capt Kanwaljit Singh, casting a fake vote was not difficult. Rather it was easier.

Courtesy small-time leaders of the two parties, casting one’s vote at a polling station where it vote did not exist was easy.

Having decided to check the system we buttonhole a young man standing outside a polling booth in the office of Languages Department, Punjab, here.

It did not take much of an effort to procure a voter’s name, address and number. What use Voter’s I-Card The moment the election agents of both main parties were approached, there was ‘Ill-do-it-for-you wave. Almost 12 slips were handed to the decoy and he was asked to “choose the name he liked best”. Some choice this!

The voter whose vote was chosen — he was the closest in age — one Balwinder Bawa.

On instructions, the decoy voiced his fear to the ‘leader’ of the Congress camp that he was afraid that he might be caught by “alert” police personnel or polling officials.

“Nothing to worry about. We’ll send a person with you for guidance. Have faith in us,” the ‘leader’ assured the decoy.

The next was easy. The decoy walked into the booth, showed the slip to the officials, received the okay and cast his vote. And, he came out with that sign of having voted, indelible ink mark on the first finger.

No questions asked, no answers given.

Incidentally, our man was not the only one to indulge in bogus voting. Scores of young men and, in some cases, women were spotted voting again and again.

The modus operandi was simple. Obtain the name and address of a voter, memorise it for an eventuality, walk into the polling booth and vote. For subsequent attempts, boys were seen changing their shirts and T-shirts so that nobody would remember them from their clothes.

As for the ink marks, strong ink removers did the task.

And what about the face? “No problem. Nobody will ask,” was the reply of one such enthusiastic voter.

Wherever, The Tribune team went, the same system was found in place. And both the sides were doing it.


Khurana says he voted for Preneet
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 10
Mr Raj Khurana, a local Congress MLA, who has not been on good terms with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that he was a loyal Congress party worker and had never voted against the Congress candidate and the party.

“Even today I voted for Mrs Preneet Kaur, though she did not ask even once for my help in the Lok Sabha elections for which polling was held today”, he asserted.

Mr Khurana said that he had been repeatedly made political target by certain persons during the past two years. “I sought an interview with the Chief Minister several times to narrate my side of the story but the interview was never granted”, he added. “My supporters were denied the party ticket in Rajpura’s Municipal Committee elections and also in Block Samiti elections. I told about this to Mr H.S. Hanspal, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee," he added.

When asked about the show cause notice to him for anti-party activities, Mr Khurana said that he did not get any notice till this evening. “Whenever I get the notice, I will respond to it”, he added.


Villagers paid money for votes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
Money — Rs 200 each was said to be distributed yesterday in Mulle Chak village in Tarn Taran constituency violating the election code.

Sukhbir Singh, a villager reported that 70 persons received the money under the old age pension scheme for voting for the ruling party candidate. It was reported that an announcement to collect the pension was made on the public address system of the village. An entry dated May 11 was made in the pensioner’s passbooks. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, admitted that a report of distribution of money had been received and facts were being verified.


Nominees told to furnish poll details ads
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
The Election Commission has directed all candidates to submit complete accounts of the advertisements issued by them to various newspapers and the electronic media. A letter by the election observer here has asked them to send complete details of the bills relating to the advertisements.

According to information, all candidates from Amritsar and Tarn Taran Parliamentary constituencies have been arranging bills for submission to the district Returning Officer.


55 pc voter turnout at Sirhind, Amloh
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 10
The polling process passed off peacefully, with no untoward incident being reported from the Sirhind and Amloh Assembly constituencies of the district falling in the Ropar parliamentary constituency. Mr S. K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election officer, and Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, told this correspondent at the Bassi Pathana polling station.

They said they had visited more than 60 polling stations in the four subdivisions of the district. The workers of the parties present there had expressed satisfaction over the arrangements. They said 55 per cent polling was reported in both constituencies of the district, while during the last parliamentary elections, 58 per cent votes were polled. They said in the Sirhind Assembly constituency, 56 per cent polling was reported, whereas in Amloh, 54 per cent polling was reported.

Though till noon only 24 per cent votes were polled, it was by afternoon that the voting picked up momentum. There was, however, no enthusiasm among the party workers and leaders. People in Sirhind complained that the no worker of any political party had informed them about their vote number and polling booth. The workers of both the leading political parties did not come openly in support of their respective candidates and encouraged the voters to cast their votes. The scorching heat also played a role in the low percentage of voting.

Interestingly, Mr Charnjeev Kumar Channa, president of Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, who had been campaigning for a Congress candidate, was surprised to see that neither his name nor his neighbours’ names figured in voters’ list. Better voting percentage was reported in the urban areas as compared to the rural area.


Patiala records 60 pc polling
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
The Patiala Lok Sabha constituency recorded around 60 per cent voting today. Voters in the rural areas showed more keenness to vote than their city counterparts.

While Patiala city, which is considered to be the stronghold of Ms Preneet Kaur, Congress candidate, registered 48 per cent voting, the rural areas recorded 60-70 per cent voting.

Polling in the constituency was held under an unprecedented security umbrella, with the Election Commission declaring it as sensitive.

However, low turnout in the urban areas could be a matter of concern for the Congress where Ms Preneet Kaur is trying to ward off a spirited challenge from SAD nominee Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Ms Preneet Kaur and Capt Kanwaljit Singh cast their votes early, after which they toured various parts of the constituency to drum up support. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh cast his vote at Government Ayurvedic College here.

The polling station where Capt Amarinder Singh and his family cast their votes recorded below average voting. Of a total of 1,544 registered votes, only 510 had voted till 4.30 pm.

Workers of both the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress were seen working in large numbers manning polling booths.

Speaking to the media before casting his vote, Capt Amarinder Singh dismissed reports that dissidents, including the Rajpura MLA, could spoil his wife’s chances.


60 pc polling in Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 10
Barring a few stray incidents of clashes, polling in the district today was peaceful.

Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said today as per the reports about 60 per cent polling had been recorded in the Assembly segments of the district.

He said the polling in the urban areas was restricted to about 56 to 58 per cent while in rural areas it had been recorded from 62 to 64 per cent.

A clash took place between the workers of the Congress party and the SAD-BJP here this afternoon. Mr Bishamber Dass, a Youth Akali Dal worker, was injured. He was admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD candidate from Sangrur Parliamentary constituency, visited the injured in the hospital. He alleged that the Congress had tried to create a “Bihar-like” situation in Punjab in the elections.

At Karamgarh village, near Barnala, two groups of the BSP also had quarrel on the issue of casting of votes, either to the BSP or the Congress, as the BSP candidate had already announced his retirement from the contest. The police rounded up two BSP workers in this connection.


3 special observers appointed for Faridkot
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 10
Two of the three special observers appointed by the Election Commission (EC) to ensure the counting of votes without any hindrance on Thursday in Faridkot Parliamentary constituencies comprising nine Assembly segments, including Faridkot, Kotkapura, Panjgrain, Muktsar, Malout, Gidderbaha, Lambi, Moga and Baghapurana have resumed their duties here today. They include Mr Raj Gopal (Gujarat) and Mr Subroto Viswas (West Bengal). The other observer Mr Girmee Gurparma (Sikkim) is likely to reach here any time said Mr Hussan Lal, District Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, here today. Three other observers, including Mr Vimal Kirti Singh, Mr V.N. Garg and Mr Kumar Sanjay would also remain present during the counting of the votes. The Election Commission after receiving many complaints particularly from SAD leaders expressed apprehension against the ruling Congress government on the eve of counting of votes. The Election Commission has appointed 45 special observers in all 13 parliamentary constituencies of Punjab.


Zaffarwal votes after 20 years
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 10
A one-time terrorist, Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, who had also headed the Khalistan Commando Force, a militant outfit, today caste his vote at Zaffarwal village, 60 km from here.

He said he had faith in the Indian Constitution and that was why he used his right to franchise after 20 years.


Badal expels SAD general secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today expelled general secretary Baldev Singh Mann from the primary membership of the party “for ever”.

In a signed statement faxed to The Tribune, he said this action was taken due to anti-party activities of Mr Mann who had worked against the party's secretary general, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.


They still drink polluted water
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hamira (Kapurthala): In spite of the election din and taking of strong notice by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) of the plight of residents of six villages around Jagatjit Distillery, nothing has practically changed for them. The poor residents, who even don’t know that the PSHRC has intervened in their case, have been forced to drink polluted water for decades allegedly because of discharge of polluting effluents.

Taking suo motu notice of a report, “Distillery effluents polluting drinking water”, published in The Tribune from Jalandhar on January 12, the PSHRC had not only asked the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to keep a check on the discharge of effluents allegedly released by the distillery but had also urged The Tribune to reinvestigate the matter so as to find out whether the situation had improved or not in the affected villages.

A survey by The Tribune revealed that though some efforts had been initiated by the distillery management and the PPCB, nothing has changed at ground level and a large section of the people of six villages, including Hamira, Khole, Chote Khola and Naharpur, were still forced to drink polluted water. Samples collected by The Tribune team revealed that the colour of the ground water was still light pale to deep brown, depending upon the depth of the tubewell or the hand pump.

An interesting revelation by residents was that no political leader had come to their villages to seek their votes or even to assure them that their lot would change one day. “No change is there, babuji. The situation has been so for the past 15 to 20 years,” said Wazir Singh, a middle-aged villager of Lakhan Khole. “We have just one deep hand pump on one side of the village which often remains out of order.” Meanwhile, a woman brings a glassful of hand pump water, which was pale yellow. “Can we drink this? We cannot even wash our hair or clothes with this,” she said.

Balwinder Kaur, another women, said that though she knew that this water was unhealthy for her kids, yet her family had no other water source. “We bring water from a distance of about one kilometre,” she said.

Ajaib Singh, lambardar of Khole village, said nobody raised his or her voice against those people who were responsible for their plight. “There are so many reasons. Despite knowing our plight no leader of any political party has come to even seek votes so far,” he said, adding that no practical effort had been made to ensure supply of clean water to the village. He said that officials had put up boards at their tubewells, which suggested that the water was being monitored jointly by the distillery and the PPCB. “They even did not seek our permission before putting up the boards. All the officials, who had come here to install boards, said was that boards were being put up to show it to the pollution authorities that something was being done here,” said Rulda Singh, a farmer of Hamira, while showing deep yellow water gushing out of his tubewell. Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Khole village, said that irked at the action, some farmers had rooted out the boards.

Though PPCB Chairman Rana K.P. Singh was not available despite repeated efforts, sources in the board maintained that following directions of the commission, Jagatjit Industries Limited and the PPCB had jointly started monitoring the pollution levels of ground water. The board had also associated the Central Ground Water Board for proper monitoring of the situation with the help of about 40 tubewells already installed by farmers.


Mann decries PM’s remarks on interlinking of rivers
Our Correspondent

Phagwara May 10
SAD(A) President Simranjit Singh Mann today criticised PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s on announcement at Ludhiana on the interlinking of rivers in country.

Mr Mann opposed the interlinking of rivers as it would convert Punjab into a desert. It was shameful that the declaration was made in presence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD(B) President, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and party’s General Secretary, he remarked. Mr Badal and Mr Dhindsa must rebut what the PM had said on the river waters, he demanded.


A sculptor par excellence
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 10
What stood as a contentious issue for years between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh over the Chambal Dam project on the border of two states was surprisingly resolved by a ‘sculptor’.

Ram V. Sutar (79), a Padamshree awardee in 1999, accomplished this unique feat at a mere cost of Rs 10,000. By creating a 40 feet high sculpture of concrete and steel of a mother with her two sons placed on her shoulders he christened her “Chambal Devi mata”. One of the sons, in Rajasthani attire while the other in a traditional Madhya Pradesh costume paved the way for yearslong impasse to end. By a single stroke he managed to end the deadlock.

The dam was eventually inaugurated by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

Unassuming, Sutar describes art as a ‘divinity’ that could soothe or cause turmoil depending on the ‘way and time’ they were projected.

His more than 120 scultures include various poses of Mahatma Gandhi installed in countries like Japan, the UK, the USA, Malaysia, Australia and Canada etc.

Sutar was born at ‘Gondur,’ a hamlet in Maharashtra, in a carpenter’s family. Later, he rose to become president of the All-India Fine Arts and Craft Society.

He is currently working on a composition of freedom-fighter-trio of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev to be installed near Husainiwala border in Ferozepore.

To his credit is the 13 feet high bronze statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on a horse — a landmark in Amritsar installed in the protected area of the Maharaja’s summer palace. One statue of the Maharaja is also in Phillaur. Another is the bronze statue of war martyr Nirmal Singh Sekhon at Ludhiana.

However, the artist laments that a 12-feet bronze statue of Master Tara Singh — seven time president of the SGPC, still awaits installation in Amritsar while another of the ‘Master’ was recently installed in Delhi.

Gold medallist of renowned J.J. School of Fine Arts, Mumbai, Sutar’s statue of Nobel laureate Rabinder Nath Tagore holds pride of place in Russia. His Trimurti — Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh adorns a crossing in Mauritius. The recipient of “Mayo Medal for Excellence in art” at a young age of 27 Sutar believes in sincerity and devotion to art.

“The art work must evoke a positive or constructive response”, cautions the artist. Laughing about the time he had to face a Delhi Police complaint of ‘missing’ persons against him lodged by his wife when he failed to return home for three days, finding no time to leave a message for completing a sculpture.

The artist who derives inner strength and balance from ‘yog asans’ has great appreciation for sculptors of Ellora caves where he worked tirelessly for four years as a restorer and modeler.

From painting school village walls and writing “shlokas” during weddings to making small clay toys for his friends, Sutar made Parliament an ardent admirer of his works as statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Babu Jagjivan Ram and Jai Parkash Narain are displayed there.


Harassment for dowry denied
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
Mr Harbans Singh, who was along with members of his family was booked for demanding dowry from Kamaldeep Kaur on the complaint of her father and California resident Mr Avtar Singh Chahal, yesterday denied the allegations of Mr Chahal.

Harbans Singh denied that his son Inderpal Singh and husband of Kamaldeep used to beat her up for dowry or green card. He alleged that the police was acting under pressure.

He claimed that Mr Chahal had tried to lodge a complaint of fraud against the family in November 2003. However, Harbans Singh alleged that after inquiries a case of dowry was registered, proving that Mr Chahal was trying to harass the family.

He said the police did not have jurisdiction in the case as the marriage was solmenised in California. He added that the boy was still in California and if Mr Chahal had any complaint against him he should have filed a case in California .

Mr Harbans Singh alleged that the police was trying to arrest his family members without investigation. He alleged it was Mr Chahal who had cheated his family with false information about the girl who was a divorcee and older than the boy.

Mr Chahal had made a complaint, against his daughter Kamaldeep Kaur’s mother-in-law Satwant Kaur, husband Inderpal Singh, father-in-law Harbans Singh and Malwinder Singh, all residents of Amritsar. The complaint also named Kamaldeep Kaur’s sister-in-law Rajinder Kaur Sandhu and her husband Harjit Singh Sandhu as accomplices.


Freedom fighter cremated

Hoshiarpur, May 10
The mortal remains of veteran freedom fighter Gurbachan Singh (92) who died day before yesterday, were consigned to flames at his native village Shareshatpur yesterday.

His elder son Chanan Singh lit the pyre.

He is survived by his wife Karam Kaur, three sons and two daughters. He served the Indian National Army (INA) led by Netaji Subhash Chander Bose. District Revenue Officer B.K. Kochar placed wreath on the body of the freedom fighter on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner.

The antim ardas of Gurbachan Singh would be performed at his native village on May 18. — UNI


Intruder shot

Amritsar, May 10
Security personnel shot a Pakistani intruder along the Indo-Pak border near Harbhajan post on Saturday.

He was trying to infiltrate into India. — UNI


Commando dies as gun goes off
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 10
Iqbal Singh (30), a commando with the Punjab Armed Police, died after he suffered bullet injuries when his gun went off accidentally while he was on duty at an inter-state checkpost at Pathrala village of this district today.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the police had registered a case under Section 174, Cr PC in this connection.


Report on Red Cross exhibition by DC, SSP sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
Taking cognizance of a complaint lodged by Mr Tarsem Singh Bholla, former councillor, who accused the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Amritsar of starting Red Cross exhibition for a financial consideration, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has sought a report from the state’s Home Department in this regard. The PSHRC has called for the submission of a report on May 31.

Mr Bholla in his complaint alleged that these officers allowed the setting up booths of various gambling and dance activities in the name of the Red Cross. He said this exhibition was organised by four partners, including one from the city, two from Hoshiarpur and one from Jalandhar. He said against this violation the people gheroaed the Ram Bagh police station due to which there activities were stopped. However, these resumed on April 13. Both officers were not available for comments.

Meanwhile, as many as seven persons received sewing machines and tricycles on the occasion of the World Red Cross Day being observed by the Red Cross Society, Amritsar, yesterday.

Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner-cum-President District Red Cross Society, also gave away certificates to 18 Red Cross volunteers. He directed the society to provide sewing machines to needy persons without any delay.

Speaking on the occasion Mr M.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, said laws regarding sex determination test would be made more stringent.


28 PCS officers hope to get appointment letters
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Even after more than five months of the declaration of results of the Punjab Civil Service (Executive) and Allied Services examination, selected candidates are yet to get their appointment letters.

The successful candidates hope that now when the elections to the Lok Sabha are over, they will be soon asked to report for duty as all other formalities, including medical examination, had been completed much before the model code of conduct became effective.

Of the 91 officers selected by the PPSC on November 25 last year, 28 are to join PCS (Executive). The remaining will go to different departments, including Revenue, Excise, Food Supplies, Transport and other departments.

Long delay in issuing the appointment letters has been irking the successful candidates.

"While for some of the candidates , who were earlier selected by the PPSC headed by Ravi Sidhu and had to take the reconducted examination, the wait for appointment letters is unprecedently long. On the other hand, in the case of six Deputy Superintendents of Police (sports quota) , the entire process , including inviting of applications, interview, and appointments, was completed in less than a month, and the beneficiaries are already undergoing training," remarked parents of a successful PCS (Executive ) candidate.

Six of the earlier candidates had made it to the final list of PCS (Executive) on November 25.

After declaration of results, a couple of unsuccessful candidates moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court maintaining that candidates from humanities (arts) stream were at disadvantage as they could not match high scores of science stream candidates. The petition was admitted and would come up for hearing soon.

In fact, many in the Civil Secretariat of both Punjab and Haryana are waiting for the election process to be completed so that normal functioning resumes.

Since six of the 28 PCS (Executive) officers had already worked in the field before recruitment scam, the government will have to take a decision whether to send them for training again or give them postings straightway.

While the appointment letters of PCS (Executive ) officers are to be issued by the Department of Personnel, which is under the Chief Secretary, names of other selected candidates would be forwarded to the Financial Commissioners concerned for appointments after allocation has been made.


Diarrhoea under control, says Faridkot DC
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 10
Mr Hussan Lak, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, said here today that the situation in the three localities, including Sukhchain Pura, Balmiki and Himmatpura Bassis of Jaito in this district, which were under the grip of diarrhoea during the last week was now under control. Seven out of twelve patients who were earlier admitted to the local Civil Hospital have been discharged and others would be relieved soon.

Moreover, about 50 patients who were being treated at private clinics were also being treated at their doorsteps by the special medical teams headed by an expert each. These teams have been deployed by the Health Department. As a precautionary measure medicines have been distributed among 300 residents. Two tankers deployed by the Nagar Council were providing drinking water to all residents, the Deputy Commissioner said.

The samples of the drinking water from hand pumps have been sent to laboratories for the test.


Cheema new Moga SSP
Our Correspondent

Moga, May 10
Mr Gautam Cheema, a Security Officer of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been posted Senior Superintendent of Police, Moga in place of Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina who has been transferred by the Election Commission following a complaint by Akali and BJP leaders.

Mr Chhina is said to have participated in an election meeting in Sarainaga village in Faridkot district where a daughter-in-law of former Governor of Haryana and former Chief Minister of Punjab Harcharan Singh Brar is contesting.


4 held for selling liquor despite ban
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 10
The Deputy Commissioner and the SSP here today caught persons selling liquor outside their liquor shops.

On a tip-off that liquor was being sold at Jalbehri Dhoomi village the Deputy Commissioner along with his servant went to a liquor shop at the village. It was closed. He approached certain persons sitting nearby on the GT Road and asked for a bottle of liquor while giving Rs 500. The person brought a bottle kept in the nearby bushes.

The Deputy Commissioner said a constable, Hardeep Singh (No. 186) was also consuming liquor at the spot.

He said when he revealed his identity the constable was able to flee while Bharpur Singh and Subhash Chander were arrested and cases of liquor bottles and Rs 6600 seized and handed over to the police chowki in charge, Nabipur.

He said a case under Sections 188, IPC, and 61,1, 14 of the Excise Act has been registered. The suspension of the constable concerned has been recommended to the SSP.

Similarly, on the directions of the SSP Mr Sadhu Ram, in charge, police post, Badali Ala Singh, arrested Ram Singh and Rakesh Kumar, who are working with Sidhu and Co. Wine Contractors under same sections. Forty bottles of liquor and cash were seized from them.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |