P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Repolling in 3 stations in Punjab put off to today
Tribune Reporters and UNI

Chandigarh, May 12
Repolling in three out of six polling booths in Punjab has been postponed for tomorrow.

The repolling in booth numbers 10 to 12 at Sahauli village in the Ludhiana constituency, where Shiromani Akali Dal activist Jagpal Singh, alias Gorkha, was shot dead by some unidentified persons on the day of polling on May 10, has been postponed due to his cremation today in the village.

Meanwhile, the repolling at three other booths, one each in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bathinda (Reserve) constituencies was held today.

The voters also cast their votes afresh in booth number 80 in Bathinda (Reserve) constituency as the repoll was necessitated due to the mistake of a polling officer there.

The EC ordered the deployment of additional paramilitary forces at these booths to ensure free, fair and peaceful conduct of re-poll.

Batala: Repolling took place at polling station no 49 at Purana Pind village here today amidst tight security.

The polling station was virtually turned into a cantonment since early morning. A heavy police naka was laid near the site, under the supervision of DSP (Rural) Parampal Singh.

All passersby were questioned, many were searched and their vehicle documents checked following reports of another clash in the ‘sensitive’ booth. Mobile phones were ordered to be switched off before entry into the venue.

The repolling was ordered by the Election Commission following smashing of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) by Congress and BJP supporters who clashed near the polling site.

Congress minister Ashwani Sekhri and former BJP MLA Jagdish Sahni were debarred from the site for the repolling today.

As much as 70 per cent voter turnout was reported in the polling station, having a total number of 931 persons on its voter list. Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) Parneet Bhardwaj supervised the polling today that comprised of a total of 453 males and 478 women registered voters.

As many as 30 per cent of votes were polled in the first phase before 1 pm. It picked up later, with a huge turnout after lunch.

The EVM was taken away amidst tight security soon after the polling was completed.

The district police had booked eight persons, including a confidant of Cabinet Minister Sekhri on May 10.

JALANDHAR: Re-polling at booth no 94 of the Jalandhar Cantonment Assembly segment was conducted peacefully. Over 57 per cent of a total of 1348 voters exercised their right to franchise.

Re-polling was ordered by the Election Commission following complaints of fault in Electronic Voting Machine at the booth on May 10. Re-polling was held under heavy security arrangements. As many as 770 voters out of a total of 1348 turned up at the booth to cast their votes.

Meanwhile, the security arrangements at counting centres for Jalandhar and Phillaur Parliamentary constituencies here was further tightened to avoid any untoward incident. The counting would take place tomorrow at 18 counting centres.


Bookies stake crores on poll results
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
The eagerness of bookies for the election results, which are to be announced tomorrow, is perhaps even more than that of the contestants as they have put crores of rupees on stake.

Punters had put crores of rupees on the results, with the number of seats won by each party, the candidate for the post of prime ministership and winning margins, all being betted upon.

Sources said with the poor performance of the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, the punters had put the chances of forming a BJP-led government at the Centre under scanner. They had started fearing that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was a distant possibility and this had resulted in a decrease in the prices of the candidates of the BJP and its allies.

The maximum betting is on the Patiala seat where Congress-CPI alliance candidate, Preneet Kaur emerging as a favourite. The Ferozepore seat which is witnessing a close contest has also invited a large number of bets.

The Faridkot seat, where Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD-BJP alliance candidate, and considered to be a favourite by the bookies, has been witnessing pumping of lakhs of rupees on bets pertaining to the victory margin. The Sangrur and Jalandhar seats are the other two largely “traded” seats.

With the police authorities getting more vigilant, the bookies have started using hi-tech equipment, including mobile phones with computer connectivity and additional memory. All major transactions are being done on mobile phones and that too by reference. No call from any unrecognised telephone number is being attended to by them.

Such mobiles are equipped with an Internet browser and can be tuned to show any news channel any time, eliminating the need for being glued to the news channels.

A large number of bookies have got a special paid telephone connection, the number of which is not displayed on the mobile or any other phone number which is being called. Such calls are displayed as private number calling” on the mobiles being called and the same funds no entry in the “call register” of the mobile phones.

A bookie operating from this town, requesting anonymity, said though the transactions were done verbally, the “failure rate” (party not paying up money in case of losing the bet) was low. This was due to the reference system being used by them. He said he had been in touch with a section of election pundits and had the names of all top three candidate of all seats across the country.


All Sangrur candidates spent less than Rs 20 lakh
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 12
In the recently conducted Parliamentary elections for the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, majority of candidates have spent less than Rs 20 lakh as per the statements submitted to the Returning Officer by representatives of the candidates till today.

As per official information, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD candidate, spent about Rs 18.65 lakh, while Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress candidate, spent about 17.65 lakh.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (Mann) candidate, spent about Rs 12.70 lakh on his election campaign while Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, Independent candidate belonging to CPM Punjab (Pasla group) spent about Rs 4.65 lakh.

A large part of the amounts was reportedly spent on vehicles, food, tents and printing of election material.

The official limit of expenditure, fixed for a candidate in a Lok Sabha constituency, is Rs 25 lakh. This amount is considered inadequate in view of the size of parliamentary constituencies. Many are of the view that though some candidates exceed the limit, they prefer to show the expenditure below the prescribed limit to avoid complications.

The limit, they said, should be enhanced to prevent the use of “black money” or other such sources in the Parliamentary elections.


Those who couldn’t vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Following the efforts of The Tribune to highlight how several people were left out despite having valid voter identity cards, readers have responded in a big way and all of them want a solution to this problem. The following persons were among those who could not exercise their fundamental right to franchise:


Mr Jagmeet Singh 307, Urban Estate, Phase I.
Ms Parminder Kaur 307, Urban Estate, Phase I.
Mr Daljit Singh Gill 40/4, Ward 11, Sanaur.
Mr Rajinder Srivastva 259, Majitha Enclave.
Mrs Shikha Srivastva 250, Majitha Enclave.
Mr Sandeep Singh 92-B, Grid Road, Sarabha Nagar.
Mr Gora Lal Gargi 89, Charan Bagh
Mrs Uma Devi 89, Charan Bagh
Mr Manjish Gargi 89, Charan Bagh
Mr Chaman Lal Azad Nagar, Patiala
Mrs Veena Rani Azad Nagar, Patiala.
Col Gurinderjit Singh Mann 67 Rose Avenue, New Officers Colony
Mr Harveen Mann 67 Rose Avenue, New Officers Colony
Miss Ratna Mann 67 Rose Avenue, New Officers Colony
Mr Ramesh 67 Rose Avenue, New Officers Colony
Mr Arun Bhatt 265, Anand Vihar, Zirakpur.
Mrs Shailja Bhatt 265, Anand Vihar, Zirakpur.

Fatehgarh Sahib

Mr Bal Ram 43, Ward 14, Sirhind
Ms Neelam 43, Ward 14 Sirhind
Dr Surinder Khullar Hari Niwas , Bassi Pathana
Mrs Shashi Khullar Hari Niwas , Bassi Pathana
Ms Preeti Khullar Hari Niwas , Bassi Pathana
Ms Poonam Khullar Hari Niwas , Bassi Pathana
Ms Sheenu Khullar Hari Niwas , Bassi Pathana
Mr Pawan Kumar Ward no 10, Bassi Pathana
Mrs Santosh Ward no 10, Bassi Pathana
Mr Kuldeep Kumar Ward no 10, Bassi Pathana
Mr Devinder Kumar Ward no 10, Bassi Pathana


Mr Avtar Singh 575, Giani Zail Singh Nagar
Ms Balbir Kaur 575, Giani Zail Singh Nagar
Mr Sekhar Shukla 322, Giani Zail Singh Nagar
Mr Madhu Shukla 322, Giani Zail Singh Nagar


3 of family beaten up for not voting for Akalis
Our Correspondent

Moga, May 12
All members of a family who reportedly did not support the Akali Dal in Lok Sabha election were beaten up allegedly by supporters of the Akali party.

According to the police youth Gurmail Singh of Jhandeana village in this district who was returning home on bicycle last night was detained by certain persons near his village said to be supporters of the Akali party and beaten up. The victim raised the alarm and hearing his shrieks his parents came to his rescue. The accused also beat up his father Pritam Singh and mother Lakhbir Kaur.

All accused said to be supporters of the Akali party escaped. All three members informed the police which has registered a case.


Paramilitary forces for EVM security
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 12
Adequate arrangements for counting have been completed in the state. Sources said 5,000 government employees had been deputed for counting tomorrow while 39 companies of the para military forces, besides the Punjab police, had been deputed for the security of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

72 observers would supervise the counting. 17 computer centres would be set up for the purpose.


Burning of wheat stubble hazardous
to environment
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Various parts of Punjab and Haryana are enveloped in darkness after mid-day these days as farmers set their harvested wheat fields aflame in the afternoon to burn the residue. As a result, the area turns smoky, affecting visibility to a great extent. It also causes irritation in the eyes, making driving difficult as roads in the countryside turn hazy because of smoke factor.

Thick clouds of smoke rising from fields is a common sight in most parts of these states now. This phenomenon, which starts immediately after the completion of wheat harvesting in the first week of May, will continue till the second week of June when paddy transplantation picks up.

Even as farmers continue setting wheat stubbles on fire, they do not realise the damage it causes to environment.

Environmental experts have been urging the Punjab Government to get this practice stopped by enacting legislation or educating the farming community in this regard.

However, the authorities concerned have never taken this problem, seriously. Owning to the burning of wheat straw, carbon monoxide is released into the atmosphere which makes breathing difficult. Smoky conditions also sometimes lead to the choking of lungs, say experts.

Farmers burn crop residue twice in a year — First, after harvesting the Rabi crops and then after reaping the kharif crops. With the burning of crop residue, a lot of organic material useful for maintaining soil fertility is also reduced to ashes. Besides, species of friendly insects are also eliminated in the process. The upper layer of soil becomes moistureless because of the heat factor.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities say that they do not have adequate powers and administrative machinery to tackle this problem. The Deputy Commissioners could stop the menace by enforcing Section 144, Cr. P.C. But without the backing of the government, even Deputy Commissioners cannot do anything in this regard. Moreover, as farmers are a powerful group in the state, no political party is ready to annoy them.


Principal’s grave vandalised
Balraj Mahajan

BATALA: Resentment prevails among residents, particularly members of the Christian community, of Suniya village, 4 km from here, on the Batala-Fatehgarh Churian road, against demolition of a grave allegedly by three villagers.

Mr Rockey Dean, chief of the Old Students Association of Allen Memorial School, Suniya, alleged that Mr Steba Masih, Mr Mohinder Singh Sanghera and Mr Baldev Singh vandalised the grave of Madam Fanina Dean on the night of April 30.

According to Mr Dean, villagers lodged a written complaint with the Sadar police station, Batala, on May 1. Copies of the complaint were also sent to the Chief Minister, Punjab, the Director-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Border Range, Amritsar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Batala, the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, and the Subdivisional Magistrate, Batala. But no action seems to have been initiated by the authorities concerned to bring the culprits named in the complaint to book, said Mr Dean, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Pal Masih and Mr Balkar Masih.

Madam Fanina Dean died on January 12, 2003, at the age of 75 years. She spent 53 years of her life in the village, teaching poor students of the area free of cost. She was buried in the graveyard of the village.

She started a school in village under the name of Methodist School in 1952. However, in 1974 the name of the school was changed to Allen Memorial School, Suniya. The school is run by the Allen Memorial School Trust, Batala. At present about 400 poor students of the rural area are studying in the school. Madam Fanina Dean was the founder principal of the school.

The two-acre graveyard is under the control of the Suniya gram panchayat. The graveyard came into existence before 1947, said Mr Rockey Dean.

When contacted on May 7, the Station House Officer, Sadar police station, Batala, Mr Dilbagh Singh, said that he would inquire into the matter after the completion of the parliamentary election process.


Stanford varsity, CRRID sign pact
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
With focus on Punjab, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Stanford Centre for International Development, (SCID) at Stanford University and the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) on May 10. MoU aims at collaborative research in rural, industrial and human resource development.

CRRID Director, Rashpal Malhotra, who signed the agreement with SCID Director, Roger G. Noll, said, ‘’The USA-based university will help to further analyse and improve upon the descriptive Punjab State Development Report that CRRID had prepared after the Planning Commission of India had commissioned us to do so’’.

Giving details of the MoU, special attention would be paid to decentralisation of political, administrative and financial governance, besides working on 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments that empower the Panchayati raj institutions — The MoU is development-centric. It will involve joint research and data collection, besides exchange programmes on commonly agreed projects.

An eight-member CRRID team has been constituted for the purpose of implementation of the MoU. A Stanford University team is expected here in September.

This is not the first time that Stanford University has shown interest in Punjab. There was a one-day round-table conference on the ‘’Implementation of reforms in Punjab’’ held here in July, 2003. Among those who had attended the conference were scholars from Stanford University and eminent economists, administrators and academicians. What was deliberated upon during the conference has remained unimplemented. There is practically no follow up on the recommendations of the conference

The new avenues of collaborative research, analysis and project profiles that the SCID and CRRID propose to present as ‘’road maps’’ to accelerate Punjab’s development and growth would be keenly watched even as governance and political will have been placed on the back-burner and the state is in no mood to raise resources to fund its own Annual Plans. Mr Rashpal Malhotra, however, is confident that the outcome of the MoU will take Punjab onto a new development trajectory, as area-specific project profiles are being readied.


Kalam lauds Baba Seechewal’s efforts
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 12
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has lauded the efforts of Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal in cleansing the 160-km long Kali Bein rivulet near here where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have received enlightenment after a dip.

Addressing the nation on Technology Day on the All-India Radio at 7.30 pm last night, Dr Kalam said environmental cleanliness was one of the indicators of the development of a nation and as a nation we had to keep our environment clean, including all our places of worship and rivers. Referring to the efforts of Baba Seechewal in cleaning the sacred rivulet which was choked with weeds and sewage for the past more than four decades, he said this model should be followed in all the places of worship and inspire the pilgrims to keep the environment clean, including water and air.

He said he was thinking about how to improve the environment of the rivers and religious places when he found that one of the enlightened citizens had taken the initiative to solve this problem.

He also appreciated the efforts of Baba Seechewal in building a 100-km long kutcha path on the bank of the rivulet and in building bathing ghats at five places.

Baba Seechewal is doing the kar seva at Bein for the past more than three years with people’s cooperation and the Punjab Government has released 100 cusecs of fresh water into the rivulet from the Tarkiana barrage about a year ago.

The president also highlighted the technological progress made in the country in his address.


Trinamool Cong unit dissolved
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
The district unit of the National Trinamool Congress (Urban) was dissolved today.

Dr Harbahajan Singh Chhina, president of the unit in a press note here today said the new unit would be constituted soon in consultation with the party high command.


Practising art for art’s sake
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, May 12
The often-repeated cliché art for art’s sake assumes significance after meeting Subhasish Ghosh, an artist who believes that a painting or sculpture does not necessarily have to propound a philosophy or impart message. However, as a medium of entertainment, the first pre-requisite it should fulfil is that it should be pleasing to the eye. And then what could be more pleasing to the eye than pure unalloyed female form which Subhasish specialises in dabbling into.

A well-established name down South where he painted and taught painting for nearly 30 years before moving to Patiala, Subhasish believes in creating “happy paintings”, as he calls them.

Most of his paintings focus on the human form. He does not shirk from using bright colours, which reflect the joie de vivre inherent in human existence. A firm believer in the aesthetic appeal of art over its symbolic content, it is enough for him if people enjoy his painting.

Critics do not bother the artist in him because he as says, “My work is unique to me. It is the essence of my evolution as a human being over the past three to four decades. How can anyone accurately understand or comment on the thought process that has led to the image on the canvas?”. Fiercely independent, this amateur artist believes in blazing his own trail into the world of art.

“It has become almost mandatory for most artists in a city to bond together as groups to either win instant recognition or to avail themselves of some benefits or awards. I detest this trend as this kind of bonding does not contribute anything to the world of art”, says the artist.

Being as much of a teacher as an artist, Subhasish rubbishes the belief that artists are born and not made. “You can teach people to be creative”, he says.

“As a teacher, I have evolved a style perfected over the past many years which helps develop creativity in children.”

“I believe that the concept of higher order thinking if applied properly to growing children is most fruitful in creating well-rounded professionals later. One has to encourage them to think and come up with answers, which are highly individualistic as a successful study of all subjects requires a liberal smattering of creativity .”

He is also very clear about the kind of “freedom of expression”, which is usually allowed in most schools. “I bide my time till my students, especially the older ones, overcome their inhibitions and start painting in a style which is not “doctored” by the image of the world, generally projected around them.

If at all, I have to meddle in their work, I take care to do it as unobtrusively as possible. I take pride in the fact that some of my students in Yadvindra Public School hold that they have learnt to be creative in their expression without my overtly teaching them to do so”, claims a smiling Subhasish.


SGPC bans statues in gurdwaras
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today imposed a ban on the installation of statues of any type in Sikh shrines, stating that idol worship had no place in Sikhism.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Secretary, SGPC, said the decision was taken at a meeting of the Dharam Parchar Committee held at Chandigarh.

The SGPC has also decided that the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib would continue for four years and the concluding function would be held in 2008.

The SGPC would raise a number of memorials to Jathedar Gurcharn Singh Tohra, who has been honoured with the title of ‘Panth Rattan’. A training centre for Granthis, to be set up at Fatehgarh Sahib, would be named after Jathedar Tohra.

Meanwhile, the SGPC has granted permission to raise a “Gurmukhi Lath” (minaret) at a cost of Rs 35 lakh at Khadoor Sahib.


SGPC to send jathas to Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has urged devotees to submit their passports till May 16 for sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan on June 8 and 21.

The pilgrims will observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh there.


Civil Surgeon told to explain on diarrhoea cases
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 12
Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, has sought explanations from Dr Rajinder Singh, Civil Surgeon here, and Dr Ajit Singh, SMO, Civil Hospital, Jaito, for failing to handle the spread of diarrhoea in the Sukhchainpura, Himmatpura and Balmiki Bastis in Jaito town and its adjoining areas of Kasam Bhatti village, Surghoori and Chand Bhan in the district.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, despite clear directions, both the senior health officers showed negligence in deploying medical teams without experts which worsened the situation. He said if the officers failed to give a proper reply, he would recommend to the government to take strict action against them.

Talking to mediapersons here after reviewing the situation in the affected areas today, the Deputy Commissioner said 20 medical teams headed by experts from the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital had already been deputed in the three localities and the other three villages to treat the diarrhoea patients. All teams visited more than 3,300 houses in the affected areas today and detected only 154 patients who were mildly suffering from the disease.

They were given medicines for three days. Four patients had been admitted in hospital.

He also clarified that the four old women who had died last week in the affected areas were not suffering from diarrhoea. Only the death of a one-month-old child had come to his knowledge and he asked medical teams to examine the case. He had also directed the Health Department to take more samples of drinking water to identify the cause of the disease.


Cops accused of favouring scamsters
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
Mr N.K. Garg, the advocate who unveiled large-scale bunglings in the sale of Milky Bazaar land by the then Municipal Council in 2000, today alleged that the police was favouring the accused involved in that scam.

It was on Mr Garg’s writ petition that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the district administration to register a criminal case against those involved in this case. Mr Garg alleged that the police had not been presenting a complete challan in the court in which the accused were being tried.

The police registered a case under Sections 427 and 447 of IPC in the city police station on April 25, 2001 against 24 persons who had purchased the land.

Later, the then SP(H), Mr L.K. Yadav, who conducted an inquiry into the case made out more offences against the accused apart from involving municipal council and district officials in the case.

Mr Garg said the police presented the challan only under Sections 427 and 447 and not under all the offences which were made out against them to favour them.

Mr Garg alleged that a section of district and police officials had been misleading the high court in this case.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, refused to make any comment as he was yet to go through the record.


Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society function
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
The Sri Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society of gurdwara Mata Kaulan Ji here announced that its annual function this time would commemorate the 400th year of installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the holy city .

Mr Gurdeep Singh Saluja, president of the society, in a press conference today said the two-day function from May 15 had been approved by the SGPC.

A special dress code has been announced for the occasion. White kurta pyjama and black turban for men and white salwar kameez with black dupatta for women .

The society runs 12 OPDs and a charitable hospital.

Mr Saluja said the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, would also participate in the function and invitations had been extended to the other takht high priests.

The SGPC will start the celebration of the 400th year of installation of the holy Granth on September 1 as the first ‘parkash utsav’ was held on August 30, 1604.


Cancer treatment restored after 6 years
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 12
The facility for the treatment of cancer by radiotherapy has been restored at the local Rajindra hospital at an expense of Rs 65 lakh after a gap of six years.

Thousands of patients of cancer in Punjab and neighbouring states, including Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, are likely to benefit from this.

The Principal of Government Medical College, Dr Kiranjeet Kaur, said cancer treatment under the Punjab Government rules was free of cost in government hospitals. A large number of patients who had to go to the PGI and expensive private institutions could avail themselves of this facility free of cost, she added.


Treat AIDS patients free of cost: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
Mr Satya pal Dang, CPI leader, has urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to ensure that the state government bears treatment expenses of poor persons suffering from AIDS/HIV, as in the case of TB.

He said a woman from a poor family, who seemed to have got the dreaded infection from her husband, died after a prolonged illness. The woman was unable to meet the high cost of treatment. He said that the trust headed by Ms Vimla Dang, former MLA, was extending patients some financial help but the treatment was very costly hence the state needed to come forward and help such patients.


Kin of abducted youth stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 12
Residents of Basti Sheikh and family members of a youth who was allegedly abducted late last night, today staged a dharna in front of police division no 5 to protest against the failure of the police to nab the accused.

Hundreds of protesters sat on dharna and raised anti-police slogans.

According to the police, Vicky was allegedly abducted by some unidentified persons who bundled him into a car. His relatives alleged that despite the identity of the accused being told to the police, it had failed to rescue Vicky.

The police, however, maintained that raids were being conducted at Phloriwal village and Jalandhar cantonment at suspected hideouts.


ITBP attestation ceremony
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
Fourteen sub-inspectors and 214 constable of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Force will pass out here on May 15. The 25th Battalion of the ITBP is organising the attestation ceremony and passing out parade.

Mr R.C. Aggarwal, Director-General, ITBP, will be the Chief guest on the occasion.


Martyr’s bhog held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
The bhog of martyr Gurbhag Singh, who died while fighting militants in Assam, was held at his native Ammi Shah village, near Khalra, here today.

The bhog was attended by villagers and relatives in a large number. Col S.P. Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, paid tributes to the martyr.


Nursing Day observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
The Punjab Nurses Association observed International Nursing Day at a Mental Hospital here today.

Ms Jeewan Preet Kaur, state president of association said the noble profession of nursing had been downgraded by successive governments. She said keeping in view the services of nurses, they must be given the scale of Rs 6,400. Dr B.L. Goyal, Director, Mental Hospital, was the chief guest.


High Court
Human rights body seeks release of 2 Army men
Our High Court Correspondent 

Chandigarh, May 12
The World Human Rights Protection Council today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Union Government to take immediate steps to ensure the release of two Armymen, who are in the custody of Pakistan since the Kargil war.

In a public interest petition filed through its president, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal, the council said that the two soldiers, who had gone missing on September 17, 1999, were languishing in a Pakistani jail.

The petitioner also pointed out that after the duo - Lance Naik Jagsir Singh of Muktsar and Sapper Mohammad Arif of Meerut - went missing from Kargil, the Army declared them deserters and their families were also harassed. The salaries of the missing soldiers were also stopped, the petitioner said.

Later it transpired that they had been caught by Pakistani soldiers during a de-mining operation and were presently in enemy custody.

Arif's wife re-married after some time while his old mother became blind. Similarly, Jagsir's old father died heartbroken while his wife left the house due to continuing harassment.

Saying that reports in the media have said that the Pakistan Government was ready to release the two if three Pakistani citizens in Indian jails were also released, the petitioner has sought directions to the Union Government to get the duo released.

It also said that the authorities who harassed the family of the two soldiers be asked to apologise. The case is expected to be taken up tomorrow.

Ex-Ropar DEO appears

Former District Education Officer of Ropar Malti Barta today appeared before a Division Bench of the High Court claiming that she had been attacked in an attempt to eliminate her.

Drenched with blood, Ms. Batra arrived inside the court where a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice KS Garewal was hearing cases.

A writ in which Ms Batra is a party was scheduled to be heard by this Bench.

She said that while coming to the High Court, a car bearing a Delhi number plate hit her and sped away. According to her the incident occurred between Ropar and Kurali.

Seeing her condition, the Bench called the High Court doctor who gave her first aid. After that she was taken to Sector 16 General Hospital for further treatment.

The case was later adjourned for next Wednesday.


Langah allowed to visit USA

Ropar, May 12
A local court today granted permission to former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah to visit the USA to attend marriage of a kin but directed him to report back in the court in person on May 31, the next date of hearing in the graft case registered against him in 2002.

Special Judge S.K. Goel, while granting the permission, directed Mr Langah to submit a personal surety bond of Rs 5 lakh and two independent sureties of Rs 2 lakh each as also a written undertaking that he would not do anything which could affect the proceedings of the case against him. — UNI


Farmers ignore advice, transplant paddy early
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 12
Even as the state government has been trying to educate farmers about the negative affects of early sowing of paddy, section of the farmers of the Malwa region have started transplanting the same.

A large section of farmers have been carrying out the transplantation of paddy despite the fact that the water table has been going down alarmingly in various pockets of this region. In some pockets, the situation has reached a point where the farmers have been left with no option but to use expensive submersible pumps to draw water.

The farmers of the Gidderbaha, Malout, Bajakhana, Kotkapura, Musktsar and Nathana areas of Muktsar, Faridkot and Bathinda districts have started transplanting paddy. While some farmers have completed this process, the others have taken to it.

The Agriculture Department authorities have been educating them to transplant between June 10 and June 20. The authorities feel that the farmers will prefer cotton to paddy this year as the cotton yield had increased and had fetched remunerative prices last year.

Due to a sharp fall in the water table, government agencies had been urging the farmers to go in for late sowing varieties. The government had even launched a scheme under contract farming to encourage diversification, but the scheme failed.

Sources said due to the early sowing of paddy, the crop had matured earlier, resulting in problems in procurement by government agencies.

Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, Chief Agriculture Officer, Bathinda, said paddy, which was being transplanted now, was susceptible to diseases.

Some agriculture experts said by transplanting paddy early, the farmers were actually adding to their problems. If the monsoon was delayed, the shortage of water would compel the farmers to irrigate their fields with underground water by using tubewells and this would increase the cost of inputs.


In-laws booked in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Lalru, May 12
Amarjit Kaur (25) allegedly committed suicide at Basauli village, near here, today.

According to police sources, her body was found lying in the verandah of her in-laws’ house by her brother Harvinder Singh, a resident of Khadoli village, near Rajpura.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Harvinder Singh alleged that his sister was forced to commit suicide by her in-laws for want of more dowry.

He further said the in-laws of Amarjit had been harassing her after three months of her marriage to Manjit Singh last year.

He added that after Amarjit complained of harassment by her in-laws for a car he along with some prominent persons of his village came to his sister’s house only to find her dead.

The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a post-mortem examination.

Meanwhile, the police has booked Manjit Singh, his father Kapoor Singh, mother Hardeep Kaur, brother Paramjit Singh and sister Manjit Kaur under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.


Deed writer found dead in tehsil complex
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 12
Purshotam Lal Mittal Bursatwala (42), resident of his Jai Jawan Colony, Badungar, was found dead at his shop today. He was working as a deed writer at tehsil complex here.

According to information Purshotam had gone to the office but did not return home. His family contacted his nephew Pawan Kumar, who is also working in the same complex. Pawan went to his shop and found it closed. Later, when he did not return till midnight his family again went to the shop but could not locate him.

Today his wife Lajwanti along with some relatives went to the shop and found that the shutter had been put up but it was not locked. When they opened the shop they found the body of Purshotam. An electric wire was found wrapped around his wrists and plugged in to a switch board. They immediately called the police.

According to police sources, it did not appear to be a case of theft as all his goods, and his purse, watch and ring, were found intact.

When the SHO, Civil Lines, police station, Mr Balwinder Pal Sharma, and in charge Model Town chowki, Ajay Sharma reached the spot they found a suicide note from the site. It said, “I am responsible for my death and nobody should be harassed for it”.

The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered under Section 174, Cr PC.


Man kills labourer, tries to implicate father
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
Tirlok Singh of Pitho village in the district, who had allegedly tried to implicate his father Bant Singh in a murder case, has himself landed in police custody.

Tirlok Singh, who had a dispute with his father over the sharing of property, killed Bhola Singh, a labourer, who was residing in the same village on the intervening night of May 8 and 9. After killing him with some sharp-edged weapon, the accused informed the police that Bant Singh had killed Bhola Singh.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the motive of the accused was that after his father went to jail, he would grab the entire agricultural land.

He said when the investigation in the murder case was going on, Trilok Singh made a call to the Rampura police station and said his father Bant Singh had murdered Bhola Singh.

However, when Tirlok Singh was questioned, he confessed his crime. The accused said as his father Bant Singh was not giving him share in the property, he tried to implicate Bant Singh in the murder case after killing Bhola Singh. Mr Dev said following this, Tirlok was arrested.


75-yr-old woman found murdered
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
A 75-year-old woman was found murdered at her Circular Road residence located opposite the medical college here today. Mr Ranbir Singh, DSP (Civil), said the murder seemed to have been committed by some robbers who had entered the house of the victim. The woman was unmarried and living with her brother Jagat Mohan and other family members.

The body was sent for a post-mortem examination today. It bore strangulation marks on the neck. A case has been registered in this regard.


2 killed as scooter collides with bus

Hoshiarpur, May 12
Two persons, including one woman, were killed when their two-wheeler rammed into a bus near Dhootkalan village on the Dasuya-Hoshiarpur road this morning.

According to police sources, the accident occurred when the scooter collided head on with a Pathankot-bound private bus. The deceased were identified as Jaspal Singh, 18, and his aunt Kewal Kaur, 40, residents of Ganja village under Hariana police station.

Kewal Kaur was killed on the spot while Jaspal Singh was declared brought dead by doctors of the Civil Hospital here.

The police has registered a case and impounded the bus. The driver of the bus escaped. — UNI


Woman assaulted by neighbours
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, May 12
A married woman of Majara village was severely beaten up by three members of a family while she was performing her daily chores in the villages, today.

She was admitted to Civil Hospital at Sahnewal.

According to the FIR registered at Sahnewal police station under Section 325 of the IPC, Paramjit Kaur, wife of Ajmer Singh of Majara village, was beaten up by Jeet Singh, his wife Amarjit Kaur and their daughter Jyoti due to some rivalry.

Paramjit Kaur fell unconscious and had to be taken to Civil Hospital at Sahnewal.


Truck driver held, liquor seized

Moga, May 12
The district police has intercepted a truck at a check point on the outskirts of the town and seized 97 crates of liquor being allegedly smuggled from Chandigarh.

Stating this here today, Mr Gautam Cheema, Senior Superintendent of Police, said Gurmit Singh, driver-cum-owner of the truck, and conductor Tirlok Singh were arrested. The vehicle and the liquor, valued at around Rs 85,000/ were seized. He added that patrolling had been intensified in the district to check smuggling and distribution of liquor. — PTI


Man robbed of Rs 8.5 lakh in foreign currency
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 12
Three scooter-borne robbers decamped with foreign currency worth Rs 8.5 lakh from an employee of a Kapurthala-based money transfer agency here today.

According to the police, a case under Sections 379, 356 of the IPC has been registered. Mr Manmohan Singh, an employee of Walia Enterprises, Kapurthala, in his complaint alleged that he was on his way to deposit foreign currency worth Rs 8.5 lakh in the Bank of Punjab when three youths snatched his bag and fled. The police has sounded a red alert in the district and raids were being conducted at the suspected hideouts of the robbers.


Bir Devinder controlling IET, allege trustees
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 12
The undercurrents of infighting for the control of the Institute of Engineering (IET) Bhaddal finally erupted today, with the trustees holding a press conference here.

The trustees alleged that the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder, was trying to take control over the college. He was implicating the trustees in false cases and intimidating them with dire consequences if they continued to press for their due share in the trust running the college.

A trustee, Mr Jaspal Singh issued a press note signed by four trustees of the college. The note claimed that the IET, Bhaddal, was set up in 1998 by a Kandi Friends Education Trust founded by Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr B.S. Randhawa, Mr Farmesh Singh and Mr Jaspal Singh. These persons and their wives were the eight founding trustees of the trust.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, chairman of the trust, was murdered under mysterious circumstances in 2003. A trustee, Mr B.S. Randhawa, has been accused of the murder.

Mrs Kulwinder Kaur, widow of the late chairman, became the chairperson of the college with the help of Mr Bir Devinder. Her appointment was challenged by other trustees in the court which granted a stay on her appointment. However, she continues to “control” the college with the help of Mr Bir Devinder.

The trustees alleged that she had initiated the illegal move of including Mr Bir Devinder, her family members and Mr Rajinder Singh, IG Patiala range, as members of the trust.

A complaint in this regard has already been sent to the DGP, Punjab.

The IET, Bhaddal, has a sprawling campus. It has 200 students and staff of 300 on its roles. The annual turnover of the college is Rs 12 crore.

Mr Bir Devinder when contacted on phone denied that he was interfering in the affairs of the institute. He said he was made the member jointly by all trustees.


Guru Nanak Girls College students
fare well in exams
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
Most of the students of BCA-III of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, Ludhiana, secured above 65 per cent marks.

Three students got above 75 per cent while 11 students secured above 70 per cent. Harinder Kaur stood first in the college by securing 76.4 per cent marks (1825/2400), Smriti Jain second with 75.79 per cent marks (1819/2400) and Gurvinder Kaur third with 75.62 per cent marks (1815/2400).

Students of 10+2 (science) of the same college fared well in examinations 91.07 per cent students passed the examination. Six students got more than 70 per cent marks and 44 students got the first division.

Amandeep Kaur of non-medical stood first in the college by securing 76.2 per cent marks. Mandeep Kaur of non-medical and Pushpinder Kaur of medical stood second in the college by securing 75.5 per cent marks. Harpreet Kaur of non-medical stood third by securing 73.3 per cent marks in maths, Harpreet Kaur secured 94/100 and Mitali 91/100.

Fancy dress

Mom’s Pride Nursery School organised a fancy dress competition on account of Mother’s Day. Children came dressed up as teachers, doctors, soldiers, postmen and milkmen. Harman Lotey (dressed as teacher) got the first prize and Ansh Sharma (postman) got the second prize. In toddlers club, Gautam Garg got the first prize.

Notebooks distributed

Under the Aid to Needy project, the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Shivaji branch, distributed about 1000 notebooks to poor students of two government schools in Haibowal.

Mr I.V. Thaman, project in charge, and Randhir Sharma, president of the parishad, spoke about the activities of the parishad.

New courses

New courses in hospital waste and disposal management, child care, dress designing had been started from the current academic session in Master Tara Singh Memorial College.

Moreover, the college will start MA in English and M.Com from the current academic session.

In a press conference held today Dr Madanjit Kaur Sahota, principal of the college, said four students of the college cleared the UGC Net examination.

NSS camp

SDP College for Women, Ludhiana, has been organising an NSS camp from May 11 to 20.

The camp is being held by all three units of the NSS under the Youth for Swasth and clean drinking water programme of the NSS Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Ms S. Verma, Principal of the college, addressed the NSS volunteers.


Placement cell for NCC cadets
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 12
The NCC group headquarters here has set up a welfare and placement cell to ensure better job opportunities for girl cadets.

The Deputy-Director General, NCC, Brig D. S. Dhillon, in a press note here today, said the cell would impart special training to the cadets for appearing in interviews. The cell would provide financial assistance to bright cadets who came from poor background.

The cell would maintain liaison with private and government agencies to help the cadets get jobs after completing their studies.

Lt Col Sadanand Singh, Commanding Officer, 2nd Punjab Girls Battalion, NCC, has been appointed director of the cell. He urged the girls to get themselves registered with the cell.


Bathinda doctor clears Civil Services Exam
Tribune News Service

Dr Vivek GargBathinda, May 12
Dr Vivek Garg, a resident of the city, has cleared the Civil Services Examination. Dr Garg said being a doctor, he could have served the people, but with his selection in the Civil Services, the sphere of work would increase. He said he had completed his primary and secondary education from the city and had done MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala.


B.Com (III) result today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
Result of B.Com (III) examination held in April will be declared tomorrow. The results can be accessed from the university website www.gnduonline.org


Executive body of Punjab Beopar Mandal dissolved
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 12
Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Beopar Mandal, has dissolved the 60-member state executive body of the mandal. A new body comprising 15 to 20 members was likely to be constituted by May 31, he said.

Mr Kapoor maintained that many executive members were ignoring the interests of the traders to further their own. Stating this here today, Mr Kapoor said they were repeatedly requested to check their anti-trader activities, but to no avail.

He, however, clarified that the district bodies of the mandal would continue to function in their present form. Mr Kapoor also alleged that the Punjab Government had not fulfilled its promises made to the traders.

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