P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PDS kerosene diverted to petrol station
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
In a development that could expose the nexus of the petrol pump station owners, ration depot holders and oil tanker operators, the police here impounded an oil tanker containing kerosene while it was being mixed with diesel at a petrol pump here late last night.

Two accused namely Rattan Chand and Naresh Kumar, both residents of Kotkapura town of Faridkot district and driver and owner of the oil tanker respectively, were arrested by the police while the others accused including those, who have been running the petrol pump in this town are still at large.

Police sources said that Rattan Chand, who took delivery of 12000 litres of kerosene from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Depot. Phoos Mandi, yesterday evening was supposed to deliver it at the two ration depots namely Hari Dev Krishan Chand and Hazura Singh Gujjar Singh, Moga. Instead of taking the kerosene to Moga, the accused took it at petrol pump namely Malwa Motors, owned by Harinder Singh.

While the kerosene was being mixed with the diesel at the petrol pump, the police got the information. Acting on the information, district police chief, Kapil Dev constituted a team comprising police officials and Food and Supply Department officials to raid the petrol pump.

When the raid was conducted, it was found that kerosene was being mixed with diesel with the connivance of driver, owner of the tank and owner of the petrol pump. Two accused were arrested.

Though pressure was mounted on the police authorities by a senior Congress leader of Muktsar district, who claimed himself to be a confidant of Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh to hush up the case, a case was registered against the accused under Section 7 of the EC Act and Section 420 of the IPC.

Police sources said that there were total five persons involved in this racket. The two accused, who were arrested yesterday were remanded in judicial custody when they were produced before the judicial magistrate today.


Tension on temple premises
Our Correspondent

Ram Tirath (Amritsar), May 16
Tension mounted in the ancient Ram Tirath temple today following threats by some organisations to oppose the Ramayan path on the temple premises. It had been announced that the path was a ceremony for laying the foundation stone of a new temple in the sarovar despite stay orders till May 27.

Complaints had reached the district administration from mahants, who are in a legal battle with the Balmiki Samaj Dhuna Sahib Trust, headed by the Deputy Mayor, Mr Om Parkash Gabbar, and other Balmiki organisations over illegal act of laying the foundation stone despite a court order. Apprehending trouble, the district administration today swung into action and decided to arrest the Deputy Mayor. However, he was not arrested following a written undertaking from him regarding abandoning his plans to lay the foundation stone.

The situation continued to remain tense as almost 5,000 devotees arrived on the spot today amid tight security here for the Ramayan path, which had started yesterday in the presence of Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Minister for Social Welfare.

Police personnel had been deputed in large numbers to thwart any untoward incident on the temple premises.

A magistrate had been stationed at the site while Mr Kulwant Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, monitored the situation.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised over the Deputy Mayor’s recent membership of the Ram Tirath Government Development Board, comprising 16 members and headed by Mr Sardool Singh, Minister for Excise and Taxation. Many members of this board as well as representatives of the Balmiki community had objected to the Deputy Mayor’s inclusion.


Illicit relations led to murder
Suspect arrested, head recovered
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kartarpur (Jalandhar), May 16
The mystery behind the gruesome murder of a youth, who was beheaded on Friday night and whose head had gone missing, was solved today, with the identification of the youth, the recovery of his head and the arrest of the suspect, a friend of the victim who has confessed to the crime. The suspect stated that he was perturbed over the victim’s suspected illicit relations with his unmarried sister.

Meanwhile, a large number of women from Kartarpur and Burj Hassan, the native village of the victim, who has been identified as Baldev Raj, alias Bikka, a carpenter at a shop here, gheraoed the police station, where suspect Raman Kumar was brought after the recovery of the head from a well near the railway station, and demanded that he be handed over to them. The agitating women got pacified only after DSP Rajinder Singh and SHO Sucha Singh assured them that no leniency was being shown to the suspect.

Raman Kumar revealed that after stabbing Baldev Raj (25) in fields near the Civil Hospital, which resulted in his death, he chopped off the head, put it in a gunny bag and threw it in to a well near the railway station on Friday night.

Mr Gurpreet Bhullar, SSP, said Baldev Raj, who was putting up with his sister in the New Aryan Nagar locality for past about eight years, and Raman Kumar, also a carpenter and a resident of Mandi Mohalla, were friendly with each other. But of late, Raman Kumar started suspecting that Baldev Raj had not only been making advances to his beloved, but had also illicit relations with his 20-year-old sister.

Raman Kumar, according to Mr Bhullar, called Baldev Raj from the shop of Lal Chand, where he was working, at around 9 p.m. on Friday with an offer to smoke together. He took him to the fields near Civil Hospital and stabbed him in his chest and abdomen, which resulted in his death on the spot. “Raman has confessed to the crime,” said Mr Bhullar. He said Raman had planned the murder in advance and had bought a big dagger recently.


No regular SGPC chief till general house election
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided not to appoint a regular president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee till the general house elections, slated for July 11.

The presidium comprising of Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, working president, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, senior vice-president, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Dilmeg Singh — both secretaries of the SGPC would continue to run the affairs of 'mini parliament of the Sikhs'. This step was necessitated due to the forthcoming SGPC general elections.

Meanwhile the SAD has decided to revamp the organisational structure by May 30 though re-election of Mr Parkash Singh Badal as party chief is a foregone conclusion. The emergency meeting of the election observers of the party would be held at Ludhiana tomorrow (May 17) which would be presided over by Mr Badal himself. Sources pointed out that the delegates for the general house would be elected next week who would later elect circle and district Jathedars. The general house of the SAD has as many as 418 delegates including Canada (one delegate), UK (five) USA (two), Malaysia (one), Iran (one), Afghanistan (two), Africa (two), Tamil Nadu (three), Assam (one), West Bengal (Three), Haryana (30), Rajasthan (12) and Madhya Pradesh (four).

Mr Badal has given a commitment to Tohra loyalists that he would give them due representation in the re-organised structure of the party as promised before merger of the erstwhile Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal with SAD. However, sources pointed out that youth leaders who enjoyed proximity with Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary SAD would get lion's share in the re-organised structure of the party. The broad formula for giving top slots in the organisational structure would be 'loyalty' shown by the leaders in the past, especially during the recently held Lok Sabha elections.

Later, the re-election of Political Affairs Committee, the highest decision making body of the party would be held.

The circle, district presidents and the national body is likely to be finalised at the earliest so that the party leadership could work for the SGPC's general elections which are due to be held on July 11.


INTACH to set up units at district HQs
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 16
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) plans to set up its chapter at each district headquarter all over the country to protect old art, monuments and other antiques in order to make aware people about their rich culture. More than 140 such institutions, including two in Punjab at Amritsar and Patiala, one each at Rewari (Haryana) and Shekhawati (Rajasthan) and the remaining in other parts of the country, were already functioning. This was stated by Maj-Gen L.K. Gupta, AVSM (retd), in charge, INTACH, New Delhi chapter, here today.

He had arrived here to inaugurate the third chapter here. He said two more such chapters would soon be established at Ferozepore and Jalandhar raising the number of centres to five in Punjab.

He said though the country had 40 to 50 millions of heritage structures but they needed proper attention for its preservation.

The in charge said a scheme had also been formulated to hold workshops on a regular basis to educate people about properly maintaining the old structures and other valuable things in their respective areas.

Steps were also under way to constitute like-minded groups of youths and other members of the society to accelerate the plan in an effective way. He further said that to preserve the old arts, a centre was already functioning at Lucknow and four more centres were being established at Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hyderabad soon.

He made it clear that all funds to run the projects were being collected through charity or with the help of government and the semi-government departments or other private resourceful agencies. While praising the Punjab Government for making amendments in its Punjab Regional and Town Planning Act last year directing both urbanites and ruralites not to demolish the old structure or other old antiques without prior approval of the state authorities concerned besides the directions by governments of both Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh to their citizens for keeping in touch with the governments before initiating any harmful act, the senior army officer also appealed the other state governments to follow the same lines to promote the conservation of old monuments in the interest of the country.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, convener of the Punjab INTACH was also present on the occasion. Later inaugurating the chapter here he appealed to its members and other participants to make all efforts to preserve their old art and monuments in a best possible way.


Cotton area to increase in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The area under cotton cultivation in Punjab is likely to increase by 1 lakh hectares this season, with the area under sowing likely to touch 5.5 lakh hectares as against 4.5 lakh hectares last year. In fact, cultivation on nearly 4.40 lakh hectares has already been completed, which is much higher than the corresponding period last year.

Government officials attribute the expansion to the high prices of cotton last year and the timely availability of canal water this year. “This has boosted the morale of cotton growers, who have decided to bring more land under cotton cultivation. The availability of hybrid seeds, which were recommended by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), has also helped in increasing cotton production in Punjab,” said Director Agriculture, Mr Ajmer Singh.

He maintained that the cotton production will witness a significant increase, as it is expected to touch 15.5 lakh bales next year. Water has been made available to the farmers since the first week of April this year to ensure early sowing and the process is likely to be completed by mid-May. Since wheat was lifted a week in advance, that too facilitated early sowing of cotton. This will also protect the cotton crop from the American bollworm attack, he said.

Last year, the price of raw cotton ( narma) was rather high and varied between Rs 2,500 - Rs 2,700 per quintal. It even touched an all-time high of Rs 2,900 per quintal and this also encouraged the farmers, who had shifted from cotton to paddy cultivation to switch back over to cotton.

Diversification is now the mantra for the farmers of the cotton belt area. And they are now looking towards hybrid cotton varieties like Bt cotton, since they fetch a good market. While the ban on releasing insect-resistant Bt cotton continues in the Northern region, some farmers have started procuring it from the central zone, including Gujarat.

The increase in the cotton production will also help generate more employment, besides reviving the cotton ginning and pressing industry in the state.


Those who worked against party candidates to face action, says Badal

Jalandhar, May 16
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said an appropriate action would be taken against those who had either not worked for the SAD candidates or had worked against the party candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

He said a committee would be formed to look into such cases of party indiscipline. On the alleged non-cooperation from SAD leader and former Minister Prem Singh Chandumajra in Patiala, Mr Badal said he was not aware of it. He, however, said action would be taken against Mr Chandumajra if the allegations were found to be true.

About the leader of the newly-elected SAD Parliamentary Party, Mr Badal said the election would be held after the new MPs took the oath.

He charged other Akali factions like the Shiromani Akali Dal (Ravi Inder) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) with helping the Congress indirectly.

On the party’s affairs, he said the process of the SAD’s organisational election would be completed by May 31, for which former Speaker and newly elected MP Charanjit Singh Atwal had been appointed as chief returning officer. — UNI, PTI


Discipline Kanwaljit, Chandumajra asks Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The factionalism in the Shiromani Akali Dal came to fore when Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the party, today urged the party high command to discipline Capt Kanwaljit Singh who had levelled serious charges against him of helping Congress candidate, Ms Preneet Kaur, wife of the Chief Minister, during recently held Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to the press, here today, Mr Chandumajra said the party President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should take disciplinary action against Capt Kanwaljit Singh for levelling ‘baseless charges’.

Earlier, immediately after his defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Capt Kanwaljit Singh had held Mr Chandumajra responsible for his loss.

When asked whether he had supported Capt Kanwaljit Singh during the elections, Mr Chandumajra quipped, “I had extended that much support which was sought by him (Capt Kanwaljit Singh).


Anti-incumbency led to my defeat: Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Inspite of the clear directions from the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, who made unscheduled 15 minutes stop over at Amritsar airport, a week before the poll to personally exhort Congress MLAs’ and other leaders to ensure the victory of Mr R.L. Bhatia the severe drubbing received by the Congress candidate have sent shock waves among the Congress circles in the country.

According to details of the votes polled in nine Assembly segments showed that the Congress stalwarts lost in all nine constituencies out of which the Congress have eight MLAs’ while the north is with the SAD.

The sizeable loss of the votes in nine segments had proved to be the undoing for Mr Bhatia and have reflected on the poor performances of the ruling party MLAs’ who had won the Assembly elections held two years ago. The loss in the three Majha parliamentary constituencies has been a trendsetter for the Congress which lost eight seats in Punjab during the recently held parliamentary elections.

Talking to this correspondent while analysing his defeat Mr Bhatia said the major factor, which contributed to his biggest loss, was the peasantry turning enmasse against the ruling party especially in the six rural and semi-rural Assembly segments. Mr Bhatia pointed out that there were many factors which made the farmers in the border belt vote against the Congress, including the withdrawal of free power incentives, ignoring the rural masses and partly due to factionalism within the party.

The former Union Minister of State for External Affairs said although there was no wave against him or favouring his rival but the anti-incumbency factor which spelt doom for the NDA government at the Centre besides stalwarts like the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Chander Babu Naidu, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and others.

Commenting on the role of the Congress MLA, Mr O.P. Soni, and some disgruntled Congressmen who had switched side on the eve of elections also added to his woes.


Sushma’s remarks on Sonia ridiculed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 16
Mr S.K. Gupta, chairman Improvement Trust here has criticised senior BJP leader Mrs Sushma Swaraj who has threatened to quit the Rajya Sabha along with her husband if Mrs Sonia Gandhi President AICC was made Prime Minister of the country.

He said that Mrs Gandhi was being chosen Prime Minister of the country after a mandate from countrymen Congress leader Gupta has also appealed the other secular forces to join their hands with Mrs Sonia Gandhi to strengthen the democratic roots and to curb the anti-national activities in the country.


Reinstatement of employees to be reconsidered
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 16
The Punjab Government will reconsider the controversial reinstatement of two employees of the Punjab State Nurses Registration Council here who were placed under suspension following their arrest on charges of leaking the council’s question papers. The Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr Satish Chander, today said he would again look into the matter specially when charges had been framed against the two employees.

Gurpal Singh Kang and Charanjit Singh after being suspended for over an year were reinstated on the same position in the council’s examination branch which they had allegedly misused. The reinstatement was done by the Director Health Services and president of the Nurses Council, Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, despite a written objection from the Vigilance Bureau.

The bureau had on November 15, 2002, booked these employees along with a Mohali municipal councillor, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, and a computer operator Rajwinder Singh for leaking ANM and GNM question papers of the council in October, 2002.


Water level dips in Gobind Sagar
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, May 16
The state might face power and irrigation crisis as the water level in the Gobind Sagar Lake of Bhakra Dam, has fallen alarmingly. The water level in the Gobind Sagar Lake was 1474.85 feet today which is about 40 feet below the level that prevailed last year on the same day.

The water level in the Gobind Sagar Lake, a snow-fed lake, starts rising in the first week of May. However, this year due to unprecedented rains in the last week of April, the melting of snow in Himalayas was delayed. So the water level in the Gobind Sagar started rising marginally in the past three to four days only.

However, the current problem for the BBMB authorities here was that the inflows in the Bhakra reservoir still remained below the outflows. The sources said the BBMB authorities have taken a decision to stop generation at Bhakra if the water level dips to 1470 feet.

Though the dead storage of the lake was 1462 feet the BBMB authorities have decided to stop generation at 1470 feet just as a precautionary measure. If inflows continued to be low compared to the outflows in reservoir for another week, the BBMB authorities might be forced to stop generation.

The Bhakra has power generation capacity of 1385 MW. The power from the dam was supplied to Punjab and Haryana that have 85 per cent share in generation and Rajasthan that has 15 per cent share. Besides, there are common pool consumers that are supplied directly by the BBMB these include NFL and Rajasthan Kota Fertilizer factory.

Bhakra Dam was also a major irrigation project, especially for the partner state. With the paddy season approaching, the low water level in dam could also spell difficult days for the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The BBMB authorities expressed hope that with the heatwave on the rise, the water inflows in Bhakra Dam would start increasing soon.


DC warns against encouraging encroachers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 16
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, took serious note of the activities of certain employees of the municipal council, Sirhind, in encouraging encroachments on government land and helping encroachers to occupy the vacated land as well as to get stay orders from courts. He was addressing monthly meeting of the district officials at the Bachat Bhavan here.

He said he would write to the government against the conduct of such employees and recommend disciplinary action. He said their cases would be handed over to the Vigilance Department to investigate the property of such officials.

Expressing anguish over the callous attitude of the officials in solving the problems of the people, he said 95 per cent people were approaching his office to get justice and with such problems as could have been solved at the block level. He directed officials to personally visit rural areas and arrange public darbars to sort out their problems.

Mr Ahluwalia directed executive officers of all municipal councils to file applications in the respective courts to get vacated stay orders against the encroachments. He said any delay in this regard would amount to disciplinary action against them. He directed all officials to transfer the employees who had been working on the same seat for the past three years.

He directed the revenue officials to launch a campaign for the recovery of loans belonging to various government departments pending towards the defaulters.

He urged the revenue officials to speed up the recovery and achieve targets. He called upon the officials to do their duty honestly and serve the people. He said discipline and punctuality should be ensured.


Diarrhoea claims two more lives

Jaito, May 16
Two more persons died due to diarrhoea in the town, taking the death toll to nine, health officials said today.

Several patients were admitted to the Civil Hospital today with symptoms of the disease which has gripped the town and its adjoining areas for the past three weeks, the Civil Surgeon, Faridkot, Mr Rajinder Singh, said.

All the eight water samples collected by health officials from the town have shown that contaminated water is causing the problem.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Hussan Lal, who visited Jaito, said the authorities concerned were making arrangements to check the spread of the disease. He said teams of doctors and paramedics drawn from various hospitals had been constituted and they were examining patients and providing them free medicines.

House-to-house surveys were also being conducted to take remedial measures, while six doctors had been put on round-the-clock duty at the Civil Hospital, Mr Lal said. — PTI


100 diarrhoea cases reported
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
More than 100 cases of diarrhoea have been reported from a lane near Mayor Sunil Datti’s house in the Chheharta area.

The lane, Peshoria Wali Gali, has 60 houses and a majority of the occupants are suffering from diarrhoea and have been admitted to various hospitals in the city.

Dr M.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, said a majority of the cases were mild in nature. He said nine cases were serious. He said the area had been sanitised and 10,000 chlorine tablets had been distributed free of cost.

He said the Health Department had found that the water content in this locality was not so much to blame. He said cut fruit was responsible for the problem. He denied that it had attained epidemic proportions.


Blindness from glaucoma can be prevented: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
About 50 leading ophthalmologists from India and abroad took part in a symposium on the latest development in detection and treatment of glaucoma (kala motia) organised by Grewal Eye Institute (GEI) here today.

Dr Niel T. Choplin, Clinical Professor, University of Health Sciences, San Diego, USA, shared his views and experiences on glaucoma detection.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Approximately 67 million people suffer from glaucoma worldwide. Common public perception about glaucoma is that it is heralded by severe pain in the eye. But glaucoma is usually painless without any symptom and thus may be detected very late. In late stages, blindness is permanent and vision lost once cannot be regained. If glaucoma is diagnosed and treated early, blindness is preventable , but it is ironical that in India, physicians are still dependent on the age-old methods of detection of glaucoma which are less accurate and time-consuming. Intra-ocular pressure (IOP), disc appearance and standard automated visual field are most commonly used tests for glaucoma. An eye with IOP greater than 21 mm Hg would be identified as glaucomatous. However many patients with glaucoma may have a statistical normal IOP. The standard automated visual field test remains the most widely used functional test for glaucoma, but it has several limitations as it is a subjective test and a lot depends on the skill of the patients.

“Visual field test detects glaucoma when 30 per cent of the nerve fibers have already been irreversibly damaged. Thus by the time a diagnosis is made, there is already permanent loss of vision. The GEI has added GDx-VCC (retinal nerve fibre layer analyser) to the equipment available in the institute,” says Dr S.P.S. Grewal, CEO, Grewal Eye Institute.

“GDx-VCC, a breakthrough in early detection and monitoring of glaucoma , will be a boon to millions of Indians who are at a risk of this serious disease”.

“GDx-VCC is a revolution in early diagnosis of glaucoma. GDx-VCC technology is the most accurate method for early detection of glaucomatous damage, as it quantifies retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), which thins in glaucoma . It uses 780-nm laser to scan the retina to measure the thickness. The measurements are then compared against a normative database to determine whether a given scan falls within the normal limits of the thickness. The GDx-VCC, RNFL Analyser is the only quick, accurate, reliable and responsible test for objective assessment of glaucoma ”, said Dr Choplin, adding that “GDx-VCC can diagnose glaucoma as early as six years before the actual vision or field losses are detected . It is recommended for all cases at a high risk of glaucoma. If you are above 45 years of age, or with a family history of glaucoma, or a hypersensitive, chain smokers, long-term steroid users, myopic and diabetic, then we suggest you take this test. ”


Riot victim exhibits his talent Rashmi talwar

Amritsar, May 16
Gurmail Singh (48), who lost his shop, house, money and jewellery in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots at Yamunanagar, has left behind his trauma and found fulfillment as a thermocol artist.

The artist uses a cutter to sculpt thermocol with precision. “one wrong cut ruins the whole work,” he explains as he points towards his beautifully carved models.

In the artistic pursuit, the artist has found solace as he is able to convey the message of humanity and the “one” higher being and to get out of the trauma and suffering of the riot scene.

He has made models of religious shrines as high as three feet, and symbols of all religions, including “Onkar”, “Om”, “Cross”, etc., making a symbolic statement of unity in religious diversity.

Having fled Yamunanagar, Gurmail Singh and his wife found shelter in gurdwara in Saharanpur. His wife found employment in Guru Nanak Girls College there and he is employed in a gurdwara as sevadar.

Talking to The Tribune, Gurmail Singh remembered how he started his artistic pursuit in 1991 with his meagre income. “I never asked anyone for money even as I support a family of five with three minor sons,” he says.

“A medium-sized model costs about Rs 500. The display, handling, cartage to locations, besides storage of these models is tough. There is fear of their being damaged by ants or other insects,” he says as he unpacks the last of them for an exhibition.

As many as 85 models are on display at the exhibition organised by the Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society outside the Golden Temple to mark the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

His art pieces include the Golden Temple, Buddhist temple in China, Mecca, Madina, a Hindu temple in Sri Lanka, Shahi Killa, Lahore, Mir Manu's jail (a Muslim general who prosecuted Sikhs), Nanakshahi “sikka” (coin), gurdwaras in Italy, Baghdad, Canada, the UK, the USA, Gurdwara Nanakana Sahib and other gurdwaras in Pakistan. All the models are based on pictures gathered from NRIs and foreigners who visited these places.


Scientist of repute
Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Only a few residents of Maujgarh village in this district remember that Dr Dip Singh Gill had to follow a very difficult route to International fame, nevertheless they are proud of him.

Dip’s family had to migrate from Montgomery district in Pakistan after Partition, leaving behind a large agriculture farm where they had been growing foodgrains, cotton and vegetables. He was just two then. After spending a few months in Jagraon they had to settle at Maujgarh village as a few acres of land was allotted to them to compensate the loss of immovable property in Pakistan. Though his parents worked hard for a decent living but failed to improve things.

Blessed with intelligence, sharp memory and deep love for studies, Dip determined to be a scientist. But he still remembers that he had to study in the dim light of a kerosene lamp, walk several kilometers to the institution on foot as he could not afford to buy a bicycle but was always in need of books and good clothes. The basic necessities of life were far off from his reach. However, he kept his morale high even when his health had been failing due to the hardships.

His elder brother later helped him to continue studies after doing matriculation from Panjab University. Finally, he became a great scientist and served in Himachal Pradesh and Panjab University. He spent six years in Germany, nine months in France and 10 months in Australia, doing advanced research in modern areas of chemistry. He was a Guest Professor at Aachen University of technology in Germany and Henri Poincare University at Nancy-1 in France.

Dip had been participating in international seminars after doing Ph.D. in 1971 in physical chemistry from Panjab University. During 33 years he guided five post-doctoral fellows, 11 Ph.D. scholars, 20 M.Phil. and 40 M.Sc. Honours students and developed expertise in polymer chemistry, electro chemistry, reaction kinectics, Spectroscopy and Molecular structure. His research work had both applied and fundamental scientific Importance.


SGPC resents distortion of facts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Mr Dilmegh Singh, Secretary Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee yesterday expressed resentment over the alleged distortion of facts of sikh history in a text book of social sciences in Madhya Pardesh and demanded its removal. The secretary also threatened legal action in case the ‘wrong facts’ were not removed.

In a communication to Dr A L Nayak, consultant, Rajya Shiksha Kendra, Rajeev Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Bhopal, he stated that text book of social science prescribed for class VII by the M P Pathya Pustak Nigam Contained objectionable contents regarding the martyrdom of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib on page 56 under the heading of ‘Revolt of the sikhs’. The Guru neither waged any war against the contemporary Mughal Empire nor built any fort as mentioned in the text book. He said the alleged distortion of the facts, had hurt sentiments of the Sikhs.

He demanded deletion of all objectionable portions from the text book.


Sikh jatha to visit Pakistan

Jaito, May 16
A jatha of 500 Sikh pilgrims will visit Pakistan on June 8 to pay obeisance at Sikh gurdwaras there on the Shaheedi Divas of Guru Arjan Dev.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yadgar Society, said today that the pilgrims would visit Grudwara Panja Sahib, Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda and Dera Sahib Lahore, among others.

He said the jatha would return to India on June 17. — PTI


Pakistan puppet show strikes a chord
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
Giving message of humanity and oneness of human beings, the Pakistani puppet show — A Simple People — enthralled the audience, including students and their parents at Guru Nanak Dev auditorium last night here.

It was presented by Rafi Peer Theatre group from Lahore, participating in Indo-Pakistan Visual Arts Festival organised by Spring Dale Educational Society here.

Young director of the show Shehryar Qureshi said that it depicted how the human spirit crumbles while facing adversities and then how the sheer grit to fight and survive brings it back to life. He said ‘A Simple People’ shows how life begins in the lap of nature but greed of man makes them fight with one other and divide them. However, eventually they discover that their source is one.

Faizaan Peerzada who created all these puppets along with the team said that A Simple People was such a success in Pakistan that it even stirred the heart of Mr Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, who quoted it in his speech at United Nations’ Conference of Accountability held at Islamabad.


Unemployed youth stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 16
Scores of unemployed youth yesterday staged a dharna in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Mall Road in protest against the “skewed” policies of the state government due to which employment opportunities were not being generated.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, patron of the PCMS Association, in a press note said his association supported their demands and appealed the state government to take steps to end resentment prevailing among the youth. They were agitated after nearly 10,000 youths turned up for an Army recruitment rally held to recruit just 300 jawans.


Seminar on tax planning
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 16
The local branch of the Northern India Regional Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India organised a seminar on tax planning with special reference to the HUF and Company Auditors Report Order (CARO) here yesterday.

Chartered accountants from Patiala, Nabha, Samana, Rajpura, Patran, Sirhind, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Bathinda took part in the seminar.

The newly elected member of the Central Council of the Institute, Mr S.C. Vasudeva, and the New Delhi-based taxation expert, Mr Girish Ahuja, spoke on the occasion.

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, secretary of the branch, conducted the proceedings, while Mr Ashok Goel, a senior member of the branch, proposed the vote of thanks.


Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 16
The following were elected office-bearers of the Surgeons Society of Amritsar have on Saturday. President Dr R.S. Bawa, Vice-presidents — Dr RPS Boparai and Dr H.S. Sachdeva, general secretary — Dr Amrik Singh Bhatia and Financial Secretary — Dr Satwinder Bhagat.


SAD leader booked for defrauding mother-in-law
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 16
An SAD leader has been booked under Sections 420, 406, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC for allegedly defrauding her mother-in-law, who is a widow. After exhausting all avenues to get justice, the woman has approached the state police chief seeking justice.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here Ms Hasmate (70) accused her son-in-law, Mehar Din, SAD leader of Malerkotla, of defrauding her by disposing of her property worth lakhs on the basis of fake documents. The complainant said her husband Khushi Mohammad had died in 1984, after which Mehar Din started looking after family affairs. “As, Abdul Satar, my son, was a minor at that time, I allowed Mehar to manage our family affairs. Instead of watching the interests of my family, he started pocketing a major portion of our income for his own family and gaining political mileage.”

The widow and her son were shocked to learn that the accused had disposed of a major portion of their property on the basis of power of attorney, purportedly prepared by her in 1980, whereas she had acquired the land from her husband through a decree in 1983. The complainant apprehended involvement of the revenue staff at Malerkotla in allegedly preparing fake documents. Narrating her tale of woes, Ms Hasmate said, “When I asked Mehar Din to give at least a part of the sale proceeds of the property in question, he threatened me with dire consequences and implicated my son in a false case. I had to approach the Director-General of Police only when the Malerkotla police refused to initiate any action against Mehar Din, and other persons involved in the fraud.


Immigration consultant booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
Senior vice-president of the Sector 34-based Carrier Immigration Consultants, Anil Manaucha, has been booked for allegedly cheating a couple in the name of sending them to New Zealand.

Mohinder Singh, resident of Sector 7-B complained to the police that Manaucha had promised to send him and his wife abroad. The immigration consultant allegedly took an advance of Rs 15,000 from him.

Manaucha told Mohinder Singh that the couple was perfectly eligible for permanently settling in New Zealand. He took the interviews of the couple and told them that their visas would be ready within eight months from the date of payment made to him in September 2002.

As per the assessment by the immigration consultant, the couple had 24 eligibility points and those were sufficient to make them eligible for visas.

However, Mr Mohinder Singh came to know later, that a couple needed 29 points to become eligible for visas. On this he asked the consultant to return his money. But Manaucha neither returned the money nor sent them abroad.

A case under Section 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) has been registered in the Sector 34 police station. The police is investigating the case.


Murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
The murder case of Sarabjeet Singh, a resident of Kamla Nehru Colony here, was solved. He was murdered on April 10 at his residence.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, stated in a press note here today that a special team headed by Mr Ajay Maluja, SP (D), had investigated the case. He said the accused, Kiranjit Singh, a resident of Hazoora Kapura colony here, was arrested.

He said during investigation it was found that the victim and the accused were friends and were in the habit of drinking together. On April 10, when they were drinking they got into a heated exchange over some issue. The accused hit a hammer on the head of Sarabjeet and stabbed him with a knife.

Mr Dev said the accused was arrested from the Bibi Wala chowk here and a case had been registered under Section 302 of the IPC.


2 die, 12 hurt in bus mishap
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 16
Two persons were killed and 12 injured when a Patiala-bound bus of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation overturned near Mand village on the Kapurthala-Jalandhar road this morning.

The bus met with the accident as its driver tried to overtake a tractor-trailer, resulting in death of the conductor and a 11-year-old unidentified girl and injuries to 12 other passengers. The bus driver fled the scene after the accident, which took place at around 9.45 a.m.

The conductor was identified as Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Talwara township. The girl, who could not be identified till evening, succumbed to her injuries at the civil hospital here. Other injured were discharged after first-aid at the civil hospital here and two other private hospitals.


One held, 1 kg charas seized
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 16
The police arrested a person and allegedly recovered 1 kg (one kg) charas from his possession on Saturday. The police said today, the accused who was coming on a scooter from Jammu and Kashmir side was nabbed while carrying contraband (charas) at Navapind village. The accused has been identified as Manwir Kumar of Kathua (J&K).

A case has been registered in this connection.


Husband, four others booked
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 16
The local police here booked a person and four others for assaulting a woman her father Madan Lal, along with his companions Hardev Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Jagdish Singh, Buta Ram came to Uchapind village in a Maruti car on Friday and beat up Sunita and her father Joginder Ram and drove away with two and half year old son in car.


Petrol station looted
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 16
Three armed robbers looted a petrol station near Nurmahal in Phillaur subdivision in the wee hours today. The robbers broke the locks of a safe of the petrol station and decamped with Rs 3,30,000. Before leaving the place, the robbers locked the petrol station employees in a bathroom.


Total marks for Punjabi, English cut
Monica Ahluwalia

Patiala, May 16
Punjabi University seems to be undermining the importance of languages at the degree level. In a recent circular issued by the university on the recommendation of a special committee comprising the Dean, Academic Affairs, and other senior teachers it has reduced the total marks of Punjabi and English compulsory papers from 100 to 50.

The authorities have reduced the marks of Punjabi and English while adding another compulsory subject, computer application, in all affiliated colleges of the university from the coming academic session. Against norms, the university has kept the total marks of this third compulsory subject at 100.

Sources say this decision defeats the very purpose of the establishment of the university, promotion of the Punjabi language. The Vice-Chancellor has ignored the academic council of the university, which is the only body that can take such decisions, they add.

The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) president, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said it was an “anti-Punjabi decision.” It also had serious implications as it would lead to the reduction of the workload of teachers of Punjabi and English, while on the other hand there would be financial burden on the colleges, he added.

The Head of the Punjabi Department of the university, Dr Balwinder Kaur Bedi, said the university should explore other alternatives and not reduce the marks for languages as it would also reduce the importance of the subjects. She also suggested the university should introduce Punjabi as a compulsory subject in all bachelor’s degree courses as had been done by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Meanwhile, the authorities justified the decision, saying a “slight reduction” in emphasis on languages as a compulsory subject would not do any harm, rather, what was being offered instead would be more useful to students. “We need to adopt a realistic and constructive approach as far as education and the interest of students is considered, rather than being hypocritical and negative,” said Mr Baldev Singh Sandhu, Director, Public Relations.

He said needs kept changing; now proficiency in different skills was required among students to earn their livelihood. The university had taken this decision to help students find jobs.


12 SC girls to leave school in protest

Faridkot, May 16
Around 12 girl students, belonging to Scheduled Caste families, have decided to discontinue studies to protest “cruel and humiliating” behaviour of Mehsuana village high school head teacher in this district.

The students, in their complaint to village sarpanch, charged government elementary school head teacher with abusing them.

The parents of the students also threatened not to send their wards to school till action was taken against the head teacher.

On the complaint of the village sarpanch, Deputy Commissioner Hussan Lal today marked an inquiry into the complaints made by students.

The DC had directed the district education officer to submit a report in this matter soon so that necessary action could be taken against the teacher if found guilty.

The girl students even showed scars on faces that were allegedly caused by the teacher by his nails. — PTI


Jobless teachers warn govt
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
The local unit of the Berozgar Adhiyapak Front has claimed that the apathy of the Punjab Government towards them was responsible for the defeat of Congress candidates in the state.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh, the president of the district unit of the front, in a press note issued here today, said following the defeat, the Congress government in the state should resign on moral grounds.

He added that if the Punjab Government did not redress their grievances, the front would oppose the Congress candidates in Ajnala, Garh Shankar and Kapurthala Assembly byelections.


DC changes school hour
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 16
Mr KAP Sinha, district magistrate, this evening ordered that hours of school including that of privately managed, had been changed. He said that the schools would open at 7.30 am and would close at 11.30 am. These orders have been issued keeping in view the rising temperature and would remain in force till further orders.

Meanwhile, Major Basant Kumar, district secretary, Democratic Teachers Front, said that on one hand the district magistrate had changed the school time due to summer and on the other the Education Department had delayed the schedule of summer holidays.

Major Kumar said that the summer holidays for government schools were scheduled to start from May 15, but the state-level authorities of the department changed this scheduled at the 11th hour. He said that the authorities of the Education Department should explain that why they had delayed the summer holidays. He demanded that the old holiday schedule should be implemented.

FARIDKOT: Mr Hussan Lal Deputy Commissioner here has fixed working hours of all government and private schools from 7 am to 11 a.m. in the district. The orders which come into force with immediate effect will remain in force till May 29. OC


B.Sc (Biotech) at Khalsa College
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 16
The local Khalsa College has introduced a B.Sc course in biotechnology from the next academic session. There will be 40 seats, which will be filled on merit basis.

The Principal of the college, Mr Harbir Singh, said the course had been introduced keeping in view the shift from traditional courses towards new professional courses in the educational system.

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