P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



College ‘threatens’ students against stir
Girls’ hostel intrusion
Chander Parkash & Romesh Gupta
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 23
Students of the local Guru Gobind Singh Medical College (GGSMC) have allegedly been given a verbal threat by the college authorities to face serious consequences if they continued their protest against an incident, where an intruder tried to kill an inmate inside a girls hostel on Friday night.

“We are trying to come to terms with the tragedy which took place in the girls hostel on the night of May 21 and we have been protesting against the negligence of college authorities and the police administration for their failure to provide security and safety to the inmates. Now the college authorities have started trying to cause harm to us as we are continuing the strike,” alleged a section of students today.

The college authorities were reportedly considering rescheduling the summer vacation by advancing it from June 1 to May 24 so as to sabotage the strike. The students were also being reportedly threatened that they would suffer academic loss if they continued to observe strike, alleged students.

On Friday night, a girl student of final prof of GGSMC was attacked with knife in her room by an unidentified intruder. However, that inmate managed to save herself from the intruder by showing extraordinary courage and presence of mind. While saving herself, she suffered injuries on her hands. This was second incident of its kind in the past two months.

The students today held a demonstration and raised slogans against the district police authorities and college authorities.

They demanded that a committee of senior civil and police officials should be constituted by the Punjab Government to probe the incident and to fix the responsibility the authorities which were found lacking in making proper security and safety arrangements of inmates of the girls hostel. They added that they were not safe under the present police administrative setup.

They demanded that college authorities should explain why the height of boundary wall of the girls’ hostel, which was quite low, was not raised earlier. Why did the college authorities not make any efforts to pressurise the police administration to catch the culprit who had intruded into the Interns hostel about two months ago?

The students said that they would not withdraw their strike till the Minister of Medical Education and Research, Punjab, Mr Santokh Singh, visited them to know their problems and to assure them on foolproof security and safety arrangements. They said that they had conveyed their demands to the minister today on phone.

Police sources said that Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station under which the hostel came where the intrusion incident took place, had been transferred.

Dr J. S. Dalal, Principal, GGSMC, could not be contacted.


New groups emerge for SGPC elections
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress will again face each other in the ensuing elections to the General House of SGPC.

Interestingly, a number of new Akali outfits have come up in the recent past with an eye on the SGPC elections. Even radical Sikh groups have decided to jump in the gurdwara elections arena. The Shiromani Khalsa Dal, a new organisation, has been formed under the leadership of Daljit Singh Bittu, who headed the Sikh Students Federations during militancy. Bittu is in jail facing trial in a number of cases.

Similarly, Dal Khalsa, which is headed by Gajindera Singh, who is on the most wanted list of 20 persons from Pakistan, has announced to contest the SGPC elections. Mr Kanwarpal Singh, convener of the Dal Khalsa, is spearheading the campaign in Punjab.

The Akali Dal (1920), headed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, former Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and the All-India Akali Dal led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann are the other Akali factions which have emerged in the recent past. Besides, there are eight Sikh groups, including the SAD and SAD (A) which have been recognised by the gurdwara elections commission. There is Akali Dal (International), The Sikhs headed by Mr Atinderpal Singh in Haryana have also formed a separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (adhoc), which will also participate in the gurdwara elections.

Enquiries made by the Tribune reveal that more than 50 lakh Kesdhari Sikhs have been registered as voters. Nearly 10 lakh voters are Sehajdhari Sikhs who have been debarred from participating in the elections.

Sources close to the Congress government in Punjab say that the state government would like to get the gurdwara elections postponed and rake up the issue of Sehajdharis.

The Chief Commissioner, gurdwara elections, has already held a meeting with the representatives of sikh organisations and announced that the elections would be held on July 11.

The state government will rake up the issue of the debarring of Sehajdharis with the Central Government and would try to get the elections postponed.

Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, has opposed the demand for debarring Sehajdharis from casting votes.

The SGPC elections have 120 constituencies. In all 170 members will be elected along with five jathedars of the takhts. The strength of the SGPC General House is 180.

Meanwhile, the political affairs committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal is already having parleys on the issue of SGPC elections for the past two days in Himachal Pradesh.


Ex-SAD leader to put up candidates for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 23
Mr Baldev Singh Mann, expelled SAD leader and former general secretary of the party, today held a meeting of his supporters at his residence at Sular Gharat village, near Dirba, in connection with the ensuing SGPC elections.

The meeting was attended among others by Mr Kashmir Singh Karrial, district unit general secretary of the SAD, Mr Kirpal Singh, Chairman, Punjab Agriculture Development Bank (PADS) Dirba, Mr Jasbir Singh, Vice-Chairman, PADB, Dirba, and Mr Darshan Singh, president, Nagar Panchayat, Dirba.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann said the meeting held a detailed discussion over the ensuing SGPC elections and decided to field candidates in Dirba and Bhawanigarh. areas. Mr Mann said the meeting also authorised him to select candidates for the SGPC elections.


DIG-rank officer booked for embezzlement
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, May 23
In a significant development, a criminal case was registered in the local police station against a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) rank officer of the Punjab Police and other junior officials for their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of money recovered form an accused involved in a theft case and keeping him in illegal confinement for more than a month.

Official sources said a case was registered in the city police station on the direction of the district police chief after the DIG rank officer and other Punjab Police officials were found guilty of committing embezzlement and keeping the accused in illegal confinement.

The sources added that the matter pertaining to the embezzlement of money and illegal confinement of the accused came to light on April 29, 2004, when the SSP, Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, conducted a surprise check of the city police station.

The accused told him that he was being kept in illegal confinement for the past one month despite the fact that Rs 94,000 cash had been recovered from him by the station house officer (SHO), CIA police station, Mr Ram Singh.

The SSP asked the SHO, Mr Satnam Singh, about the reasons for keeping the accused in illegal confinement.

Then the SSP deputed the DSP, Mr Balwinder Singh, to conduct an inquiry. He also placed Mr Satnam Singh under suspension.

In the inquiry conducted by Mr Balwinder Singh, it was established that Rs 94,000 which was recovered from the accused and was to be kept as case property in the police station, was with a DIG-rank officer.

The SSP then ordered the registration of a criminal case.

The sources said the entire inquiry report of the DSP had been converted into FIR 82 in the city police station. The case was registered under Sections 409, 342 and 344 of the IPC.


Alcoholism, corruption bane of police: Addl IG
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, May 23
A-B-C — Alcoholism, behavioral problems and corruption — three evils are the bane of the police force. This was the essence of a study by Additional Inspector-General of Punjab Armed Police Dr Jatinder Jain.

In the study Dr Jain said there was an urgent need to check three evils for which police is being criticised. Dr Jain said these were the root cause for poor police image.

Dr Jain revealed that policemen of all ranks were being booked every year for criminal acts. He observed that many cops escape from the police in such cases. Their ‘escape’ could be due to ‘soft spot of superiors’, political patronage and feeling of camaraderie.

He said no crime could be more serious than the enforcers of law violating the law in league with gangs of smugglers and other criminals. “The trend of policemen indulging into crime was most disturbing factor” having serious impact on law and order of a state. It puts serious questions about the existing system of supervision and performance appraisal by superiors, he added.

Dr Jain advocated harshest possible punishment to such elements by amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the criminal procedure code (CrPC). He said suitable legal provisions should be made so that such elements were dismissed from service without cumbersome procedures.

The study was undertaken to highlight major flaws in the system of management of police particularly the district level.

He stressed on the need to update the Police Act, 1861 and state police rules in view of the changed socio-economic scenario and the complexity of future challenges. “New laws should be incorporated to save the police from becoming a puppet in the hands of politicians. The principle of tenure must be laid down in the act itself so that the use of transfer as a tool to make police bend and break as per whims of influential ones, he proposed.

He emphasised on the setting up of crime tribunals having a retired gazetted police officer and a retired judicial officer at district headquarters where complainants can go for justice in the cases pertaining to land, monetary and matrimonial disputes.

Dr Jain said the drug addiction among teenagers, traffic and road accidents had assumed alarming proportions. The police had to play the role of a social reformer while implementing drug-related laws.

He said the count of lives lost on roads has outnumbered the figure of murders. He emphasised establishment of traffic management department in each big city which should function as an independent department.

He said there must be demystification of rules and procedures. The public must know the procedures required to be followed for police-related works.


Online registration of FIRs soon
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 23
The Punjab Government has cleared a project relating to computerised registration of FIRs at all its police stations. The government had recently given its approval to integrated computerised format, which enabled complainants to get registered their FIRs online.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Director-General of Bureau of Police Research and Development, Mr Sarabjit Singh, said, “Under this project, all police stations in the country will be connected with each other through satellite based communication systems, wherein, any SHO of a police station can access status and contents of every case registered in any part of the country. Besides, complainants can access the status of any case. This will add transparency in conducting investigation to ensure speedy justice to the people.” He added that the bureau would be extending help to the states for the early implementation of this project.

He further said that the states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and some southern states had already approved the plan and were working towards its implementation. “In fact, this will enable any complainant to get registered his or her FIR online while sitting at home and the FIR registration number will be allotted online immediately. Besides, the complainant and the accused’ both can download the copies of FIRs directly from the website,” he said, adding that the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) would be responsible for installation of computers at police stations.

The ADGP (PAP), Mr D.R. Bhatti, said that the process to train the police officers to handle computerised systems was already on. “The police personnel, selected for the implementation of the project, are being given training at Chandigarh in a phased manner,” he added.

Mr Sarabjit Singh further said that a regional laboratory for forensic tests was being set up at Shillong to cater to the needs of police stations of North-Eastern states. Admitting that the DNA test facility was yet to be provided to Punjab, he said that there was a need to further upgrade forensic test structure in the country for conducting speedy investigations.


Police seeks facts about graveyard
Our Correspondent

Batala: The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Batala, Mr Narinder Bedi, said the police had written to the Subdivisional Magistrate to let it know whether there was a cremation ground or graveyard at Sunaiya village, 4 km from here, on the Batala-Fatehgarh Churian road. The DSP said the police knew the character of Mr Steba Masih who is one of the main accused wanting to disturb the peace in Batala subdivision and wanted to grab the land of graveyard at Sunaiya.

He said Mr Steba Masih had already tried to have control over a Christian school run in the Dr Daulat Ram Bhalla building, Circular Road, Batala, and a case under Section 452-2, IPC, had been registered against him and his accomplices.

The graveyard was constructed in the village before Partition. Villagers like Mr Sucha Masih, Mr Sardar Masih, Mr Allah Dutta, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Nagi and Mr Rockey Dean, chief of the Old Students Association of Allen Memorial School, Sunaiya, said. They alleged that Mr Steba Masih, Mr Mahinder Singh Sanghera and Mr Baldev Singh vandalised the grave of Fanina Dean on the night of April 30, 2004. In this connection the villagers lodged a 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 Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, the Subdivisional Magistrate, Batala, and the chief of Batala district police.

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.

The two-acre graveyard is under the control of the Sunaiya gram panchayat.

Mr Bedi said that if Mr Steba Masih and his accomplices did not check their activities like grabbing the school or trying to get control of the graveyard land of the Christian community, he would be arrested soon on the charge of disturbing the peace.


Woman burnt alive by in-laws, 4 booked

Phagwara, May 23
In a dowry harassment case, a woman was burnt alive by her husband and in-laws in nearby Bhaghana village late last night, the police said.

Amarjit Kaur was married to Raj Kumar in 1999. According to her father Ram Labhaya, they had given her enough dowry at the time of marriage. But soon after the marriage, Amarjit’s in-laws started demanding more dowry. Initially, Amarjit’s father gave Rs 10,000 to her in-laws but even after that they kept demanding more money which he could not give. Enraged over their demand being not met, Amarjit’s husband and in-laws set her on fire.

She was first brought to Civil Hospital, here, but then referred to DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, where she succumbed to her injuries.

The police has registered a case under Section 324 B of the IPC against the deceased’s husband Raj Kumar, mother-in-law Simro, brother-in-law Gurdip and sister-in-law Savita. — UNI


Diseased and deserted, sisters die a slow death
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 23
Surjit Singh refuses to give up hope though he knows it won't cure his three ailing daughters. Not long before he discovered they were all infected with muscular dystrophy, one of the deadliest and the rarest diseases in the world. Until then, he thought they were polio ridden and would survive with regular medical attention. Little had he imagined that he would have to watch his children degenerate before his very eyes.

Three months after doctors at a medical camp at Rajpura told Surjit Singh that his daughters Sonu, Seema and Sweety were victims of a deadly genetic disorder, he has been trying hard to accept the reality. Deserted by his wife who left children in the lurch, he is still attempting to make sense out of life. As he faces his destiny, his daughters Sonu (16 years), Seema (14) and Sweety (6) await their mother's return as much as they await a miracle.

Living in a tiny hutment at Takhto village Majra in Patiala, the sisters-in-suffering have no wisdom left to understand what is wrong with them. They faintly know of their mother's decision to abandon them. In the company of their father, grandparents and two normal siblings, they are waiting for things to change.

Surjit Singh says "Sonu has lost all sense of existence. Her muscles have largely degenerated. As an infant, she could walk. But as she turned nine months old, her movements ceased. Her younger sister, Rajni, who is normal, helps her live through the days." Seema and Sweety talk a little, as of today. But Senior Medical Officer, Rajpura, Dr Amar S. Anand, says they are losing their vital energy with every passing day.

Recently Roshni, an NGO operating in the region, took up the cause of these sisters. Father Thomas from this organisation persuaded Surjit Singh to attend the medical camp at Rajpura. With the help of the Rotary Club, Rajpura, he is helping make the life of these children easy. Surjit Singh says, "Father spends time with my children. We can do nothing but make them happy now."

As far as treatment is concerned Surjit Singh is ready to dig out finances. He is so poor that he has to cycle 25 km to Patiala to attend duty every day. Breaking into tears a hapless father says: "I get exhausted covering 50 km on the cycle every day. When I return home, there is nothing to look forward to. But there is hope and some miracle may save my kids. I go crazy ferrying them in a cart everywhere."

Doctors, however, give little hope. Sonu is in her last stages, with her lungs getting infected slowly. Dr Amar says, "Victims of muscular dystrophy don't survive beyond 20 years or so. First the extremities are affected, then the abdominal muscles. Failure of respiratory tract is the last stage. Their lungs get damaged because they cannot cough out secretions. They are too weak to do that.


Cong asks Badal to part company with BJP
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 23
Block Congress Committee (urban) President Mr Manmohan Sharma today asked SAD president Parkash Singh Badal to snap ties with the BJP. He was talking to newsmen after a function here.

As Ms Sonia Gandhi AICC President had proved that the Congress was a secular party and considerate to minorities especially Sikhs by appointing Dr Manmohan Singh the highest office, Akalis, and for that matter Sikhs, should reciprocate her gesture, continued Mr Sharma.

The events of two Sikhs occupying highest offices of President and the PM had happened during the Congress rule while the BJP-led NDA regime had given nothing to Sikhs, claimed Mr Sharma.


Sonia bowed to fascist forces, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 23
SAD (A) President and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann yesterday alleged that by not becoming the Prime Minister, AICC President Sonia Gandhi had capitulated before fascist forces and shown disrespect to the mandate of the voters.

Talking to newspersons at the local PWD Rest House, Mr Mann said her surrender to “Hindu extremists” was alarming for the cause of democracy and secularism in the country.

The Congress had been following a policy of appeasement of the “forces of Hindutva,” he said. Ms Gandhi’s refusal to be Prime Minister was part of this policy, he added.

However, Mr Mann praised Dr Manmohan Singh, calling him a wise and clean person. 


Dal Khalsa decries Jaswant Mann
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Countering claim of Mr Jaswant Singh Mann that rival Akali factions have decided to field a joint candidate for the post of SGPC president, the Dal Khalsa questioned the status of Mr Jaswant for issuing a statement on behalf of the Dal Khalsa.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a spokesperson of the Dal denied giving any authority to Mr Jaswant for commenting on the proposed unity move. He added that there were efforts afoot by the Dal for an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (A) Mr Simranjit Singh Mann for the SGPC elections, but Mr Jaswant’s statements on their behalf at this stage could jeopardise the efforts.


Lessee, manager of marriage palace beaten up
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 23
The alleged detention and beating of a lessee and a manager of a local marriage palace by octroi contractors has snowballed into a controversy.

Mr Gurdev Singh Brar and Mr Ramesh Kumar Soni were admitted to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here yesterday. Mr Brar claimed that he had taken a marriage palace on lease on the College road here from one of his close relations. Mr Soni is the manager. As they were to renovate the place some work of earth filling was needed. They reportedly contacted a partner of the octroi contractors firm for lumpsum payment of the octroi instead of paying Rs 35 per tractor-trailer as prescribed under the rules. According to them, on Friday another partner of the firm reportedly objected to this practice and asked the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying sand to stop work. There was a scuffle between employees of the octroi firm and the driver and helper over this.

Later, the manager of the marriage palace was reportedly summoned to the office of the contractors, Mr Brar said. On coming to know that the manager had been detained he rushed to the octroi office. There both of them were allegedly thrashed by some persons.

When asked why they had not reported the matter to the police Mr Brar and Mr Soni stated that they needed rest at home and some legal consultations. The police visited the hospital for initial investigation but no case was registered yesterday.

Meanwhile, the octroi contractors described the allegations as baseless. According to them the dispute was over the payment of the octroi and both Mr Brar and Mr Soni had allegedly misbehaved with their employees.

Experts say there is no provision in the Punjab Municipal Act and Octroi Rules for any underhand settlement for lumpsum payment of duty on any commodity.


Path held to thank Sonia
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 23
The management Committee of Gurdwara Godri Sahib and Tilla Baba Sheikh Farid, here performed an akhand path bhog here yesterday as a thanks giving function for AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi for making Dr Manmohan Singh Prime Minister of the country from a minority.

While thanking Mrs Gandhi for her courageous act and sacrifice made for the country to strengthen the democratic roots and to instill confidence among the minority communities, Mr Inderjit Singh Sekhon said that it would not only heal the wounds of the Sikhs who had suffered during operation Blue Star and anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi in 1984.

He also appealed to the senior leaders of SAD and BJP to get rid of their rigid attitude and cooperate with the new Prime Minister in the national interest. Later, laddoos were also distributed to the gathering.


Sikhs’ body hails Sonia Gandhi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, Chairman of the Master Tara Singh Institute of Studies and Contemporary Politics today welcomed the elevation of Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister and also hailed the sacrifice of Ms Sonia Gandhi.

In a statement here Prof Kapoor said that Mrs Sonia Gandhi had launched a new era in the Indian politics by opting out of Prime-ministerial race and remaining President of the Congress.

By proposing Dr Manmohan Singh for the Prime Minister’s post she had sent a positive signal to the Sikhs.


Manmohan as PM of little help to Sikhs: KMC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Dr Manmohan Singh heading the government at the Centre would not solve the problems of Sikhs, the Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) stated here on Friday.

A joint statement released by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of KMC, Mr Harmandeep Singh and Mr Virsa Singh Bahela, respectively, said the Congress was responsible for “Operation Bluestar” and Delhi Sikh riots. It has also deprived Punjab of it claims over Chandigarh and sharing of river waters. So, Dr Manmohan Singh, heading the government would not help the issue.

They said that earlier Giani ail Singh, the then President of India, was dictated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Now Dr Manmohan Singh would be under the influence of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. It was too much to expect positive results from him regarding Sikh issues, they added.


Ban Ja Stara semifinals today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Punjabi singers Amrinder Gill, Sarbjit Cheema, Preet Harpal, Surinder Laddi will perform in the second semifinal of Pepsi Ban Ja Stara II at Khalsa College grounds here tomorrow. It was being organised by the ETC Channel Punjabi under the aegis of Pepsi Co.

Mr Rabindra Narayan, president, ETC Channel Punjabi, said here today that 24 singers had been selected from Punjab after a two-month selection process for the semifinals. Around 7000 entries were received, out of which 100 contestants were called for audition, he added.

Mr Narayan said the goal behind the programme was to tap talented singers and give them a platform. He said these 24 selected contestants had been given extensive training for the semifinals. He said the first semifinal was held at Bathinda. The third semifinal would be held at Jalandhar on May 27 and the last one at Jammu on May 30. The finals would be Ludhiana on June 4. Music Today would record an album of the male and female winners, he added.

Mr Mohit Gupta, representative of Pepsi Co said in this semifinal winners would be selected by a panel of judges comprising Hans Raj Hans, Shamsher Sandhu, Dolly Guleria, Sikander and Surinder Shinda.


25 children taken ill after eating kulfi
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
More than 25 children of Baba Pir Colony Sirhind suffered from gastroentiteritis after eating Kulfi and were taken to various private hospitals of Sirhind and Hamayunpur.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, who was presiding over a cultural function visited hospitals and enquired about the children. He said the expenses on the treatment would be met by the District Red Cross Society. He also directed that all types of ice-cream in the district must be sampled.

Talking to The Tribune at Mahesh Hospital Sirhind, where children have been admitted, Mr Paramjit Singh, father of one of the affected children, said in the evening three or four kulfi venders came to their locality and they rang the bells of every house.

The Kulfi sellers asked the children to taste kulfi.

He said on the insistence of the children, the parents purchased kulfi for their children.

With in minutes of eating the kulfi, the children started vomiting and fell on ground, he said. Now the condition of the children was improving.

They did not notice the name of ice cream factory written on the kulfi boxes. He noticed ‘shaktiman’ written on one of the kulfi boxes.

Dr Mahesh Kumar said the children were brought in a very serious condition and the were suffering from gastroenteritis.

The condition of all the children was out of danger now. Similarly six children were admitted to the Delhi Hospital, Sirhind, and one or two in other hospitals, he said.


19 more cases of diarrhoea detected
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, May 23
As many as 19 new cases of diarrhoea were detected in this town of Muktsar district today. Diarrhoea has claimed two human lives so far in the district.

Official sources said so far more than 60 cases have been reported in various hospitals dotting the region in the past three days.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that in Jaito area two new cases were admitted to the hospital today.

The sources said the condition of all patients was stable.


One-year-old girl burnt alive
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 23
One-year-old female child of a migrant labourer was burnt alive in a fire in jhuggis at Sultanpur Lodhi this afternoon. Four jhuggis were destroyed in the fire caused due to wind in the area.

In an accident, one person was killed while five members of his family were injured when a Santro car hit a truck near Dogranwala village on the Jalandhar-Amritsar national highway this afternoon.

The deceased has been identified as Gurdharshan Singh of Hoshiarpur and was an officer in the Pollution Control Board at Ludhiana. All victims were coming from Amritsar after paying obeisance at Hamandar Sahib when mishap occurred.

The injured identified as Kulwinder Kaur, Nasib Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Malkiat Kaur and Sonia have been admitted to the Civil Hospital here and stated to be out of danger.


Safai sevaks observe strike
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 23
The safai sevaks of the Sunam Municipal Council yesterday observed a strike at Sunam, 13 km from here. They alleged that the police had not initiated any action against the “erring” persons, mentioned by Ms Gita Sharma, the president of the council, with regard to an inauguration stone missing from a newly installed tubewell.

Ms Sharma inaugurated a tubewell in Ward No. 1 by unveiling the inauguration stone on May 20. Ms Sonia Arora, a Congress leader from Sunam, inaugurated this tubewell on May 21 by pressing a button. However, on May 21, the inauguration stone was found missing from the tubewell site, which led to a controversy. A complaint was lodged with the police by Ms Sharma against two persons, including a municipal councillor.


NRI couple donates land for homeless
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 23
Mr Milkhs Singh (70) and Harjinder Kaur (62), an NRI couple from Mehrampur village, has donated two acres of land for a colony for homeless persons in the village. As many as 34 residential plot each of five marlas were donated to beneficiaries at a function held at Mehrampur village today. Apart from providing residential plots, the colony would also have a park for children. Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal presided over the function. Mr Gurvinder Singh Atwal, MLA Nurmahal and Mr Tarlochan Singh Sood, MLA Banga were also present. Mr Milkha Singh had been sarpanch of the village from 1960 to 1972 and 1983 to 1993.

Earlier, he also made donation for the construction of a primary school, stadium in the village.


Dharna against police excesses
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 23
Villagers led by a former MLA Gurdip Singh Bhullar, sat on dharna before the Bilga police station, in protest against police excesses.

According to reports here, the demonstrators alleged that the police was not initiating action against those involved in 11 different cases, on the alleged directions of a Congress MLA.

SP (D) Upinder Singh Ghumman held talks with the representatives of the protesters and assured action against the accused, following which the dharna was lifted.


New transformers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 23
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to install transformers in rural areas in place of those which have been burnt, said Mr H.C. Sood, Member (Distribution). He appealed to the farmers to get their power loads regularised to avoid overloading of transformers.


Review elevated road project, says manch
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
The Amritsar Vikas Manch here has requested the state government to review proposal of the elevated road through Punjab that the plan would harm already polluted environ of the Golden Temple. According to UNESCO’s requirements such projects should not fall in the “buffer zone” of 1,000 yards from the periphery of the Golden Temple.


Judicial courts complex inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 23
The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, today formally inaugurated judicial courts complex here today.

The newly-built complex consisted of 22 courtrooms. While the courts of District and Sessions Judge and six Additional District and Sessions Judges have already started functioning from the complex, it was decided to shift three courts of Judicial Magistrates to the complex from the old complex by tomorrow.

The remaining courts in the old complex would be shifted to the newly-built complex in a phased manner. The facilities of drinking water and other essential facilities, including cemented chairs had been provided for the litigants.

Meanwhile, the construction of chambers for the members of District Bar Association at new complex would start soon.


Life term for 6 in triple murder case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 23
Mr Jagroop Singh, Sessions Judge, Sangrur, in a triple murder case, yesterday sentenced six persons — Jaspal Singh, Nachhatar Singh, Mahinder Singh, Nachhatar Singh (second), Baldev Singh and Sukhpal Singh — to life imprisonment.

Mr Beant Singh, District Attorney, said five persons, including two children, were travelling in a Maruti car in 1999 when it was hit by a truck and pushed into a tree. The accused alighted from the truck and assaulted the occupants of the car, leading to the death of Mewa Singh, Kulwinder Singh (a child), and Bikar Singh.

The attack was reportedly in revenge for the alleged murder of a member of the assailants’ family.


Post-poll scene: cops back to their posts
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, MAY 23
All police officers who were transferred by the Election Commission during Lok Sabha elections have been posted back at their original positions. The beneficiaries include two Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs) , three Senior Superintendent (SSPs) and six Superintendents (SPs) besides others.

Though the first list released today is of the middle-level officers, more transfers in the Police Department are anticipated. According to sources, a long list of almost 100 officers, covering Additional Directors-General (ADGPs), Inspectors-General (IG), DIGs, SSPs and SPs, had been cleared for transfers.

Some of the transfers and postings are being necessitated because of retirements. The government will have to name a new head of the Prisons Department as the present incumbent, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, retires on May 31. Another DGP, Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal, now with the Punjab Lok Pal, retires on June 30. This will lead to reshuffle of ADGPs.

In the first administrative reshuffle after the election, involving 25 officers, the Punjab Government on Sunday ordered Faridkot and Jalandhar Range DIGs -- Mr Paramjit Singh Sarao and Mr Gurinder Pal Singh -- to swap positions. Earlier, they had swapped positions at the instance of the Election Commission on the complaint of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina and Mr Surinder Pal Singh are back as district police chiefs of Ferozepore, Moga and Ropar, respectively. Mr Gautam Cheema, who had held temporary charge of SSP, Moga, during the elections, now becomes SSP of Mansa as the present incumbent, Ms Neerja Voruvuru, has proceeded to England under the Chavening Women in Leadership and Management Programme.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, who was made SSP, Ropar, during the elections, will retain the post but at Jagraon, where he replaces Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, son of former Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar. Mr Harcharan Singh now moves to Patiala as SP in Government Railway Police.

Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, who had gone to Ferozepore as a replacement for Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, now becomes Commandant, Seventh Battalion of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) at Jalandhar. Mr Varinder Kumar has been given the additional charge of Assistant Inspector-General, Traffic, while Mr Rakesh Aggarwal will be the new SP of Mohali.

Mr Sudesh Kumar Agnihotri, Mr Darshan Kumar, Mr Tejinder Singh, Mr Harmanbir Singh, Mr Makhan Singh, Mr Baljit Singh and Mr Dharam Singh -- all SPs -- who were also transferred during elections, mainly because their home districts had been changed on the eve of elections, have also got back to their old postings.

Besides, other transfers ordered are of Mr Pritpal Singh Virk who will be now SP, Detective at Patiala while Mr Gurpreet Singh Toor, on return to Ludhiana as SP, Operations, will carry out the work of SP, Detective.

Mr Mandeep Singh will be new SP, City-I in Ludhiana and Mr Harish Kumar becomes SP, Detective at Fatehgarh Sahib. International basketball player Mander Singh will be new SP, Headquarters at Hoshiarpur. Both Mr Iqbal Singh and Mr Ajaib Singh Kaloke have been posted SPs in Internal Vigilance Cell at Chandigarh.

In neighbouring Haryana also, Mr Baldev Raj Lall, who became DGP replacing Dr M.S. Malik during elections, will also retire by the end of this month.

It may be a mere coincidence that three officers of the rank of DGP - Mr Sarabjit Singh and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar (Punjab) and Mr Baldev Raj Lall (Haryana) - will superannuate on the same day.


Company office sealed, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, May 23
The local police has sealed the office of a private company doing business of home appliances. Two employees have been arrested in this regard.

Soon after the police action people in large number gathered near the sealed office at local Aggarwal Colony and enquired whether they had been duped of their deposited money.

As per information, South-India based company H.S. Ambal Home Appliances was operating here since April 19. Under a scheme the company offered branded home appliances from pressure cookers to air conditioners at 40 per cent of the market price on 100 per cent advance payment basis, subject to delivery. The scheme had been bifurcated in three categories A, B and C on the basis of the delivery period. In A category the delivery period was fixed at seven days at 80 per cent of the market price. In B and C categories it was 60 per cent and 40 per cent after 15 and 30 days of delivery, respectively.

Certain products of established electronic companies like Sansui and Nokia were being offered at half the market price. A Sansui 21” colour TV could be booked for just Rs 6,000 (market price 12000), Kenstar desert cooler for Rs 3000 (market price Rs 6000) and similarly Nokia 1100 mobile for Rs 2,200 (market value 4400).

People got gradually lured by the heavily discounted rates of these goods and started depositing heavily in the so-called scheme. A few days back the police had questioned their business practice but the company had approached the court, seeking restrain against police interference. It is still pending in the court.

According to an estimate, the company has so far collected more than Rs 8 lakh as advance money.

The DSP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, stated that the case was being investigated and the records were being scrutinised. However, he added that those arrested were in no way involved in the fraudulent money collection in other parts of the state.


10 booked for smuggling charas

Amritsar, May 23
The D-Division police here yesterday booked 10 persons for allegedly indulging in illegal practices, including smuggling of narcotics, gambling and vehicle theft.

They have been identified as Rajinder Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Mahinderpal, Jagdish and Raj Kumar, all residents of Hindustan Basti, and Suraj, Ashwani, Vikas, Nitin and Ramesh of Godam Mohalla here. — OC


12 hurt in mishap

Phillaur, May 23
More than 12 persons including four women received injuries, in a collision between a private bus and a Tata Sumo near Mehli bypass late last night. The injured were admitted to a private hospital of village Kaleran Dhahan. One of the injured Narain Dev was sent to DMC Hospital Ludhiana due to his critical condition. — OC


PTU launches e-governance project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, has become the first university in the country by going digital in implementing e-governance solutions on its central university campus and the affiliated colleges and study centers for overall delivery of quality education by introducing satellite-based Tele Education.

The project code named as “FORWARD PTU" was formally launched by Dr Swaran Singh, Divisional Commissioner of Jalandhar, with the issue of smart cards to PTU officials and inter-connectivity of all the departments of PTU. This will facilitate PTU a broadband connectivity between PTU and DEP affiliates and regular colleges, for live delivery of lectures, programmes and digital contents over the network.

The project also facilitates full-fledged automation of PTU using a suite of e-governance tools, delivery of question paper over the network in a secured manner, provide online interaction between PTU and students, like online issuing of all tickets.

According to Mr. S. K. Bhatia, Director , Distance Education Programme, Punjab Technical University, “the e-governance project of PTU is one of the pioneering works of any Indian university and will become a trend-setter. On successful launching of the programme, PTU will become the only university in the country to have networked all its learning centres and colleges for electronic delivery of lectures and delivery of question papers in a secured manner.”

This concept is a revolution in academic field which will offer online studies to the students spread across the country and also aid them right from the admission stage to the examination stage as well as the declaration of result.

The project has been designed and managed by the Bangalore-based e-governance specialist company Mindlogicx Infotech Limited on an expected investment of over Rs 15 crore. For this purpose they have developed exclusive software and also provided digital contents for the subjects. They have constructed a state of the art studio at the PTU campus which awaits formal inauguration.

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