P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Properties of Badal’s ex-OSD raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 27
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today sealed properties worth over Rs 3 crore in Mohali belonging to Hardeep Singh, ex-Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The absconding OSD, wanted by the bureau in a corruption case was declared a proclaimed offender in August, 2003, and his property attached to the case.

Acting on orders of the court, a team of the vigilance bureau led by Inspector Jagdish Singh today locked and sealed the various residential, industrial and commercial properties here owned by Hardeep Singh and son Manpreet. These included the palatial three-storeyed one kanal house in Phase 3B1 where he lived before absconding.

The team first closed down one of the double showrooms rented out to a popular chain of restaurants in the Phase 3B2 market here. One of these showrooms (SCO Number 61) is owned by Hardeep Singh. Much to the surprise of those running the restaurant, the vigilance sleuths asked them to squeeze their restaurant into one showroom while they sealed the other. This showroom, according to vigilance sources, was bought by Hardeep in August, 1998. Surveyed by the bureau at the rate of over Rs 21 lakh, at present the price of this property is over a crore of rupees.

Another empty showroom (SCO 531), in Sector 70 on the Mohali-Sohana Road was locked by the vigilance. This was bought by Hardeep Singh in August, 2001. Surveyed by the vigilance as costing Rs 63 lakh, at present this property too is worth over a crore of rupees. The OSD’s house in Phase 3B1 (number 815) was last to be locked. This was bought by Hardeep Singh in February, 1999. Bought and built at the cost of over Rs 38 lakh, according to the vigilance surveyors, the price of the house now is over 70 lakh. According to vigilance sources, Hardeep Singh had also bought an industrial plot in the name of his son Manpreet at the cost of over Rs 5 lakh in Phase VIII (F- 190) Industrial Area. Since the plot is vacant, the bureau has written to the PSIEC not to allow its sale or purchase. Similarly, Hardeep Singh is said to own property worth crores in Kharar, Delhi and Ludhiana.

Hardeep Singh was booked in a corruption case by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on August 29, 2002 (FIR number 22, Mohali) under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and 13(1) DE and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Having denied bail a number of times by various courts, including the apex court, Hardeep Singh was declared a proclaimed offender on August 18, 2003, by a Kharar court following an application moved by the vigilance bureau. On June 13, 2003, Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Badal, was arrested by the vigilance bureau in the same case. The bureau had alleged that both Dhillon and Hardeep Singh were very close to the Badal family and used to collect huge amounts of money to pass it on to the political bosses.


HC nod must to hear our case, say Badals
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, have questioned the jurisdiction and sanction of Ropar Special Judge S.K. Goel in hearing the disproportionate assets case involving them.

While the father-son duo had on the very day when the challan was filed by the Vigilance Bureau in the court raised objection to Mr Goel hearing the case, in a recent development, they have filed two applications in the court, seeking that the Judge not hear the case as the Punjab Government had not consulted the High Court while empowering Mr Goel to hear the case.

In their applications, Mr Badal and his son have claimed that the notification issued by the Punjab Government on November 17, 2003, appointing Mr Goel as the Special Judge to hear their case, was issued without either consulting the High Court or seeking its concurrence.

Saying that this "unprecedented" act of the government was part of a "sinister attempt to give a go-bye to constitutional mandate", the two leaders have asserted that Mr Goel cannot take cognisance of the case involving them without the clearance of the High Court.

They have said that in the absence of such allocation of work to Mr Goel by the Union Government, it would be illegal and improper for him to take cognisance of the case before him without such allocation by the High Court.

However, the Punjab Government, in its submissions, had said that there was no need for taking concurrence of the High Court as the special court was already there in Ropar.

According to information, Mr Goel is expected to decide on May 29 if he is competent to hear the case or not without the concurrence of the High Court.


Calcutta may quit on transfer issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
The crisis in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee following the transferring of Tohra loyalists to insignificant posts is likely to boomerang. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, did not attend office today as a mark of protest.

Tohra loyalists have urged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, get the transfer orders passed by the working president, Mr Alwinder Paul Singh Pakhoke, withdrawn. They are likely to corner Mr Pakhoke at a meeting of the SGPC executive scheduled to be held at Anandpur Sahib tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, held a closed-door meeting with Mr Calcutta at the latter’s residence here and discussed the crisis at length. Mr Bhaur described the sidelining of the Tohra loyalists as a breach of trust, which had sent wrong signals to the grassroots level at a time when the general elections of the Shiromani committee were round the corner.

Mr Bhaur said the recent moves Mr Pakhoke were aimed at dividing the party at this crucial juncture. Mr Bhaur said Mr Pakhoke had disobeyed the directives of Mr Badal, on whose directions a presidium was formed to take important decisions with regard to the SGPC. He sought action against Mr Pakhoke so that the hard-earned Akali unity could be saved from forces wanting to create chaos at the time of the SGPC poll.

Mr Calcutta has reportedly told Mr Badal that he will not attend office unless the transfers made by Mr Pakhoke, without taking the presidium into confidence, were withdrawn immediately. It is reliably learnt that Mr Calcutta will resign in case the transfers are not cancelled.

Mr Calcutta told TNS that he would not attend the meeting of the executive committee tomorrow as he did not want to create any problem at the meeting. He said it was hurting to know that Mr Raghbir Singh, who took over as the personal assistant to the SGPC chief, had distributed ‘laddoos’ before assuming office today. He alleged that Mr Raghbir Singh had been instrumental in filing certain court cases against the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra and other senior functionaries of the Shiromani committee.

Mr Bhaur alleged that Mr Pakhoke had ordered the transfers in disregard to the decision of the SGPC executive. The SGPC executive, which had made Mr Pakhoke working president after the death of Jathedar Tohra, had formed the presidium to take important decisions by evolving a consensus.

Mr Calcutta alleged that Mr Pakhoke had terminated the services of more than 100 teachers of SGPC-run educational institutes as he wanted to adjust his own men. He said the move was opposed by him. He alleged that Mr Pakhoke wanted him to clear certain files, which were not as per the SGPC’s norms. Quoting an instance, Mr Calcutta alleged that he had referred a case of land dispute of Gurdwara Sann Sahib to the executive committee, which was being opposed by Mr Pakhoke and his confidants.


SGPC voter enrolment
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 27
The eligible Sikhs who could not enrol themselves as voters for the SGPC elections in the voters’ list of January 2, 2004, can do so now by submitting an application on a prescribed form to the returning officer of the constituency concerned.

This was stated in press note issued yesterday by Mr Pritam Singh, SDM-cum-Returning Officer, 84-Board constituency, Phagwara-Sultanpur Lodhi.

The applicants would have to deposit Re 1 as fee in the Treasury. After the notification, the fee would be Rs 5.


Chandumajra seeks action against Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who was suspended from the party last week by the SAD President, Parkash Singh Badal said today that action should instead have been taken against Akali leader Kanwaljit Singh, who had lowered the prestige of the party by losing the Patiala Lok Sabha seat even when there was a strong pro-SAD wave in the elections.

Seeing a big conspiracy behind his suspension at a time when the organisational elections are on and the SGPC elections are drawing close, Mr Chandumajra said Capt Kanwaljit Singh alone was responsible for his defeat. Asked to elaborate the conspiracy factor, Mr Chandumajra said obviously there was a plan to deny pro-Tohra leaders berths in the organisation as well as the tickets in the SGPC elections.

Addressing a press conference here, he said “Capt Kanwaljit Singh made himself wholly dependent on dissident Congress leaders during the election campaign and this created heartburning among Akali leaders. As a result Capt Kanwaljit Singh lost in all those Assembly segments where Akali MLAs were elected last time but won in those segments where Congress leaders supported him”. Capt Kanwaljit Singh did not try to take Akali leaders along during the campaign, Mr Chandumajra alleged.

“In fact, I had told the party before the beginning of the campaign that Capt Kanwaljit Singh was a weak candidate and that he could not wrest the seat from Mrs Preneet Kaur”, he said. “I am the only leader, who has defeated the Patiala royal family twice in the Lok Sabha elections. But the ticket was denied to me”, he lamented.

Mr Chandumajra said though one week had passed since he was suspended, he was yet to get the suspension letter. The three-member committee which was supposed to call him to explain his position was yet to do so.

Mr Chandumajra who claimed to have held a meeting with about 20 SGPC members and other close associates this morning here, said though his associates were in an angry mood, they were told to be patient and calm.

Mr Chandumajra said that he tried to contact Mr Badal in the past few days, he was unable to meet him. Mr Chandumajra, who was told to hold the organisational elections of Nawanshahr district unit, has since been replaced by Mr Ajaib Singh Makhmailpur.


CM urged to drop Bhattal from Cabinet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Mr Anil Dutta, Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said here today that Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal should be dropped from the Cabinet by Capt Amarinder Singh immediately. He also urged the high command to remove Mrs Bhattal from the party.

Mr Dutta, who rushed here from Jalandhar this morning, said Mrs Bhattal had a past history of creating trouble in the party and damaging its electoral prospects Mr Dutta, was accompanied by Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor of Jalandhar; and Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, president of the Jalandhar urban unit of the party of Jalandhar.

Mr Dutta, who was supported by Mr Bittu and Mr Mahey in his comments against Mrs Bhattal, said she had earlier raised the banner of revolt against Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, who was removed from the post of Chief Minister. After becoming the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Bhattal had done nothing to take the party out of the crisis it faced due to dissident activity. He blamed Mrs Bhattal for the defeat of the party in the Lok Sabha elections. When asked as to how Mrs Bhattal was responsible for the party’s defeat in almost all parts of the state, Mr Dutta, had no convincing answer. Mr Dutta is known to be close associate of Capt Amarinder Singh. He claimed to have spoken to Mrs Sonia Gandhi also about the party’s defeat in the state.

Reports are that more attacks and counter-attacks are expected between both camps in the days to come. Though Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Bhattal made observations about the party’s drubbing at the hustings easily, they have refrained from doing so. Mrs Bhattal declined comment when approached today.


Meetings on Budget formation held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today held a series of meetings with senior ministers and Administrative Secretaries on Budget formation and the Annual Plan (2004-05).

He called upon the Administrative Secretaries to devise ways and means to fund the Rs 3500 crore Annual Plan

Meanwhile, Dr S.S. Johal, Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, submitted the Plan Resource Committee report outlining a possible breather to the difficult economic situation. The report has underlined that the growth in revenue was meagre while the increasing debt burden and the resultant debt servicing had depleted even available resources.

In order to garner resources for the Annual Plan (2004-05), it was decided to hold the next meeting of the planning board on June 8 to finalise modalities for resource mobilisation.

The Chief Minister today discussed budget proposals for agriculture and allied activities and industrial development. Proposals regarding irrigation and power, rural development, social welfare and security, health and education, urban development and housing, infrastructure development and administrative reforms would be discussed in the (subsequent meetings).

The Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was among the ministers present. 


Victim ‘catches’ culprits’ accomplices
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
A local residence, Mr Raj Kumar, whose wife’s gold necklace was snatched by two motor-cycle borne youths on May 22, laid a trap to nab the culprits with the help of his relatives and succeeded in catching their two accomplices last night. However, he alleged that the police was taking it leniently.

Mr Raj Kumar said he along with his wife Anita Rani and daughter Shilpa was going to a jagran on the night of May 22 when on the way two motor cycle-borne youths snatched the gold necklace worth Rs 18,000 from his wife and fled. However, he said, he recognised the culprits. He lodged his complaint at Shivala Bagh Bhaiyan police chowki the same night.

However, when the police failed to nab the culprits Mr Raj Kumar searched for the culprits on his own. Last night, he along with his two nephews Karnesh Kumar and Vipan Kumar and brother-in-law Rajinder Kumar was standing on the Batala road when he saw four persons on two motor cycles coming from other side. He claimed that he recognised two of them immediately. He said he chased them with his relatives for half an hour. He said eventually they (accused) stopped near a tea shop at Jammu Wali Saddak. In the meantime, he saw two policemen coming on a motor cycle. Expecting help from them all of them, pounced on the culprits, he added.

He said they caught two accomplices of the chain snatchers, while the actual culprits escaped successfully. He said the police took them along with their motor cycle, which is without number, to Majitha Road police station.

When contacted SHO of the chowki Rakesh Kumar said the motor cycle got number on it. He said investigations were on and case would be registered after ascertaining the facts.


Top industrialist detained

Jalandhar, May 27
In a major crackdown against tax evaders, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) today detained a city-based leading industrialist, his three employees and a bank manager for allegedly duping the government of crores of rupees on account of evasion of customs and excise duty.

Even as DRI officials were keeping mum for reasons best known to them, sources maintained that the industrialist was detained from Ludhiana following revelations of irregularities during checking of records of his Jalandhar-based Focal Point factory.

Meanwhile, the DRI officials have sealed the bank accounts of the company owned by the industrialist at the industrial area branches of the Oriental Bank of Commerce and Punjab National Bank, while the manager of PNB branch was also detained for questioning. — PTI


MC report names ministers, Cong men as encroachers
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 27
That Congressmen, big and small, are having a free run in unabashedly helping residents of this city, where the Chief Minister is the sitting MLA and his better half the MP, encroach upon public land is reflected from a secret report prepared by the local Municipal Corporation authorities in which the names of a senior minister, an official in the Chief Minister’s office, senior corporation officials, Chairman of state-owned corporations and several ruling party councillors figure prominently.

In what appears to be a classic case of vote bank politics, the report reveals that election time was boom time for encroachers as 229 illegal structures, including shops, showrooms, residences, booths and other commercial sites here came up in the city since December 1, 2003. A top politician revealed that with the Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, engaged in a do-or-die battle with the SAD nominee, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, it was left to all her blue-eyed boys to woo the electorate. Another senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that helping people raise encroachments was one big job Congressmen did to help sway the voters.

Out of the 229 encroachments raised since December 1, 2003, 94 structures were constructed between April 1 and May 15. Elections were held on May 10.

The 10-page computer generated document — ‘Details of unauthorised constructions/encroachments raised from December 1, 2003’ — has sent shivers down the spines of local Congressmen and the corporation authorities, who on their part, have gone on a fast forward mode in denying the contents. The report (which is in possession with The Tribune) has the columns of ‘notice no/date’, ‘name and address’ (of encroachers), ‘details of the construction’ while the last column — ‘recommended or approached by’ — names the Congressmen, with whose backing the encroachments allegedly took place.

When contacted, the Commissioner of the corporation, Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu, said he was not aware of any such report although he admitted that encroachments had come up in the city in the past few months and that too in a big way. He added that notices had been dispatched to the owners of all such illegal constructions.

The fact that the corporation has sent notices is not an issue as this is a routine affair. The real issue at hand is the gross misuse of powers and influence by local Congressmen. Fearing a backlash in this politically-sensitive city, both the Commissioner and the Mayor, refused to go into the details of the report.

Moreover, the studied silence of the corporation when the encroachments were being made, just prior to the elections, raises more questions than answers for the officials controlling the local body.

Like the Commissioner, the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, too, went on the defensive and denied having come across any such list in which his name or that of his fellow Congressmen figured.

Interestingly, the document, which has become the cause of immense embarrassment in the Chief Minister’s residence here, has been deliberately left unsigned. Even as the report has raised the political temperature, the Commissioner and the Mayor have got into the game of pointing the accusing figures at each other with the Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, striving hard to soothen ruffled feathers. Meanwhile, the mysterious surfacing of the document has meant that chasm between the two groups of councillors — one enjoying proximity to the Mayor and the other not — has further widened.

So blatantly how some councillors misused their influence can be reflected from the fact that the names of many of them figure several times which means that these Congressmen backed the constructions of not one but numerous illegal structures even as the corporation authorities, apparently under pressure, thought it convenient to look the other way.

The name of a particular councillor finds mention at least 10 times signifying the councillor’s involvement in the illegal constructions of at least 10 structures.

The document mentions that a senior police official, whose proximity to the ruling party is well known, has constructed four shops without taking the requisite permission while it has also been revealed that the towers built by communication giant — Hutch at Delight Colony — have been illegally raised.


World Punjabi Conference begins today
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The 10th World Punjabi Conference beginning in the city tomorrow will be different from the rest in more ways than one. For the first time the list of its delegates is rich not only with names of litterateurs, but also with names of eminent academics, technologists, scientists and entrepreneurs.

Most of those attending the conference are the ones who played a significant role in Pakistan during the times of the People's Party. As of now, visas have been cleared for 152 out of the 200 guests expected to attend the three-day conference, to be held at Shivalik View in Sector 17. The conference is being organised by the Indian Chapter of the World Punjabi Congress.

Determined to fight the reputation of being an old hat, the conference has been remodelled to suit changing times. Being coordinated by Mr Avtar Singh Paul and Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, it is diverting focus from cultural to commercial concerns.This consciousness is new and it has everything to do with the emerging significance of South Asia in the current scenario of regional cooperation.

There will be sessions to deliberate upon consensus in cultural, linguistic as well as scientific and economic realms. The focus will be on finding ways of effective cooperation between East and West Punjab, the most strategic regions insofar as cooperation in South Asia is concerned.

Attending the conference, which comes close on the heels of the last one held at Lahore earlier this year, will be luminaries like physicist Dr Anis Alam, scholars Dr Shaista Nuzhat, Sabir Lodhi, Prof Abbas Mirza, media personalities Hamid Akhtar and Aziz Mazhar, and eminent writers-poets like Bushra Ejaz, Nasreen Bhatti, Azaz Azer and musicologist Saeed Malik. Also accompanying are film artistes, media representatives of Urdu dailies like Jang and Awaz and English dailies like Dawn and Daily Times. Former bureaucrats from West Punjab will also be there.

After the earlier conferences organised all over from North America and Europe to the two Punjabs of the sub-continent, this one will be all about meaningful technical and commercial collaborations that will help India and Pakistan utilise resource base. The idea is to focus on tapping the potential of the two Punjabs in the rapidly changing global conditions.

As in the past, literary, artistic and cultural dimensions will also form a significant part of the conference. However, major thrust will be on intensive discussions to find solutions to common problems of the Punjabis across the world, especially in East and West Punjab. The delegation is being led by Fakhar Zaman, Chairman of the World Punjabi


Give Kapurthala ticket to Sodhi’s family: Bhandari
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 27
Mr Kulwant Singh Bhandari, chairman of the local Improvement Trust, today demanded that Congress ticket should be given to a member of the family of Rana Gurjit Singh, who has been elected member of the Lok Sabha from Jalandhar as Congress nominee.

Mr Bhandari said with Rana Gurjit Singh becoming an MP the Kapurthala Assembly seat had fallen vacant and a large number of Congress leaders had started claiming ticket for the seat.

Mr Bhandari, who is a Dalit Chairman of the Improvement Trust, has urged Congress President Sonia Gandhi to allot ticket for the Kapurthala Assembly seat to one of the members of the family of Rana Gurjit Singh.


SGPC poll: Zira calls for unity against Badal
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 27
To save the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Akal Takht from the clutches of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, the coming SGPC elections will be fought unitedly by various Akali Dal groups opposed to Mr Badal.

This was stated by Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, former minister, at a press conference here today. Mr Zira had come to attend a meeting held by a senior Akali leader, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who had been suspended from the SAD for his alleged anti-party activities, along with his supporters. It is learnt that Mr Chandumajra held a closed-door meeting with Mr Zira.

He said the wrong policies of Mr Badal had compelled some leaders to form the Panthic Morcha. He said the Akali Dal (Mann), the Akali Dal (Taksali) and other Akali leaders who shared a similar thinking regarding the Panth would be included in the morcha. When asked as to who would head the morcha, Mr Zira said the name of the morcha head would be announced later.

Mr Zira said around 170 members of the morcha from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh would be contesting the elections. Ticket would be given only to those persons who were Gursikh and had adequate knowledge about the Sikh religion, he said.

He said during the earlier election, Mr Badal distributed ticket allegedly after taking financial benefits from the candidates.

At the meeting, Mr Chandumajra worked out the election plan with his supporters. He said that Mr Badal had taken a one sided decision and had not listened to his side of the story.


Resignation of Ajnala accepted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Punjab Speaker Kewal Krishan today accepted the registration of Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala as an MLA Dr Ajnala has been elected as an MP from Tarn Taran. He represented Ajnala in the State Assembly.


Storm leaves trail of destruction
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 27
Even as the loss caused by the storm here on the night of May 25 to crops, irrigation channels, trees, electric and telephone poles is yet to be assessed, the storm which hit this area today morning left behind a trail of destruction in Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar and Faridkot districts.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that more than 1000 electric poles were uprooted and 150 electric transformers fell due to the storm, causing great disruption in the electricity supply to Faridkot and Muktsar areas.

According to sources, the PSEB has suffered loss to the tune of about Rs 1 crore so far.

Meanwhile, the Mehta irrigation minor, passing through the district, today breached after a tree fell in it and obstructed the flow of water. Bathinda and Mansa districts have so far witnessed 15 breaches in the canals, their distributaries and minors passing from the two districts.

More than 3000 acres had been flooded due to these breaches.

Apart from electric poles, a number of telephone poles and trees have also been uprooted in the region, disrupting telephone services in the region.

Sirsa: Life remained disrupted in the town even two days after it was lashed by rain and hailstorm, exposing claims of various departments regarding development work.

Power supply was restored to some parts of the town almost after 24 hours. Even after 40 hours, there were still some localities where water and power supply had not been restored.

Officials of the Public Health Department said choked sewerage pipes had to be cleared to restore supply of drinking water. For 40 hours after the storm subsided, drinking water was unavailable due to a power failure. However, after the power supply was restored, several localities, including Ram Colony, Khairpur and Khanna Colony, received contaminated water.

Heavy rain has turned the rainwater drains, recently constructed by the PWD, into big ponds. These drains, constructed on both sides of the national highway, are still uncovered at various places and pose a threat to commuters. — OC


No post-construction care of drains
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 24
The drains constructed by the previous SAD-BJP government in the Malwa region to save the Lambi-Gidderbaha area from waterlogging are not being properly maintained. Each drain had cost Rs 300 crore, sources say.

There is a lot of wild growth in the Aspal drain. Besides, certain persons had allegedly started encroaching upon the land acquired by the state government for the drain.

A survey reveals that shrubs had not been cleared from the bed of the Aspal drain for the past three years. Trees have grown inside as well as on the banks of the drain. Small bridges have started collapsing. No government source was ready to make any comment.

Farmers told this correspondent that four years back rainwater accumulated in the waterlogged areas was pumped into the drain along with sewage from Malout and Gidderbaha subdivisions of Muktsar district. After that the drain never had a drop of water. There is no post-construction care by the authorities.

Meanwhile, the ground water level had gone down further. Certain farmers had placed pipes in the drain to save cost of mechanical drilling and get lesser salty water for irrigation.

Mr Kashmiri Lal, son of Mr Balia Ram of Khuiyansarwer village, near here, alleged that an influential farmer had blocked his access to the fields by encroaching upon the passage on the bank of the water course adjoining the Aspal drain. He had placed water pipes on the passage to draw water and harass small farmers. No action had been taken against such offenders, farmers said.

Though officials of the Drainage Department during the previous government had claimed that never before such a design for an economical drain was prepared, residents of villages bordering Pakistan observed that the government had wasted millions of rupees on the project. During monsoon, they feared, the flood water would move back and ruin scores of villages as the drain bed level was faulty. At some points tractor-trailers could be seen lifting sand from, thereby weakening the side walls and bed of the drain.


State of Rivers - II
Flyash dumps pollute Sutlej
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

ROPAR: It is the fastest flowing river originating from the holy Mansarovar lake in Kailash mountains of the Himalayas. It has nurtured and ransacked civilisations for thousands of years at its banks in the plains of north India. It is now the power house of the Himalayas whose energy is being tapped. It is the life-line of modern Punjab.

The Sutlej travels 190 km in Chinese territory before entering India near Shipkila as a small creek after a drop of about 700 metres. Once inside Indian territory it meets the Spiti, one of its major tributaries, in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

The water of the Sutlej in upper Himalayas is now being used to generate hydel power in Himachal Pradesh. Already a 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri, the 800 MW Kol Dam are coming on the Sutlej. The total hydroelectric potential in Himachal is estimated at 20000 MW half of which is from the Sutlej.

The river finally calms down at the Bhakra Dam in the biggest man-made lake of the country, Gobind Sagar, spreading across an area of 88 square kilometres. At Gobind Sagar, the Beas also merges in to the Sutlej through a river interlinking project. The Baggi tunnel dug through the mountains brings the Beas waters from Pandoh Dam to Gobind Sagar.

After Bhakra, the Sutlej flows as a tamed fury moving at the will of man. Its waters are first stopped at the Nangal Barrage. From here two canals the Nangal hydel with a water-carrying capacity of 12500 cusecs and the Anandpur Sahib hydel with a water-carrying capacity of 10150 cusecs are carved. The Nangal hydel, named as the Bhakra mainline, after travelling a distance of 65 km irrigates the plains of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The Anandpur Sahib hydel was carved to feed the controversy-mired SYL canal.

Due to the diversion of water in canals, the Sutlej becomes a small stream after Nangal Dam. From here onwards starts chemical pollution of the Sutlej. The flyash dumps of National Fertilizers Ltd at Nangal have been constructed on the banks of the Sutlej. The polluting industrial material flows into the river destroying its ecology in a stretch of 10 to 20 km. Here water of the river is turbid and according to reports of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) no aquatic life is present in its bed. In the past three years the fish have reportedly perished in this portion of the river.

However, with two more major tributaries — Swan river and Sirsa — joining at Ropar, the water flow increases only to be stopped at the Ropar barrage. At Kiratpur Sahib, about 30 km from Nangal, the Sutlej assumes the role the Ganga has for the Hindus. Here the Sikhs immerse the ashes of their dear ones as a religious tradition.

At the Ropar barrage the stored water of the Sutlej is transformed into an international wetland area that has become a halting place for thousands of migratory birds.

Here also the flyash dumps of the Ropar Thermal Plant have been constructed on the banks of the river. The residue of the ash dykes flows in the form of Ghanauli drain polluting the river. In the past two years the flyash dykes of the thermal plants have breached due to the release of thousands of tonnes of flyash in the river.

From Ropar the Sutlej enters Ludhiana district where it is used as the drain to carry industrial waste. For once the life-giving water of the Sutlej is converted into a disease-spreading scourge due to the discharge of untreated industrial effluents.

Carrying the dirt of the industrial town the Sutlej meets its tributary, Beas, in Harike where again it forms a wetland of international level. From the Harike barrage, the Sutlej is diverted into the Sirhind and Rajasthan feeder canals for irrigating the fields of Punjab and Rajasthan.

The remaining water, before entering Pakistan, is once again stopped at the Ferozepore barrage and diverted into the Bikaner and Eastern canals.

In its 964-mile stretch out of which 329 miles is in Pakistan the Sutlej provides life-giving water for drinking, generating power and irrigation to Himachal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. However, the precious water of the river is being used as a channel to drain and dump all polluting substances.


Suspected gastro cases from more areas
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
Apart from the Bhargo camp area, gastroenteritis seems to have gripped more areas of the city, from where suspected cases have been reported amidst the claim by the Punjab Health Department that none of eight deaths in the city during past one week were of gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis has spread to some more localities including Santokhpura, Basti Guzan, Jaimal Singh Nagar and Jalandhar cantonment, where suspected patients were believed to coming to private hospitals for treatment, while the district health authorities maintained that these might be cases of stomach upset and that private doctors had been instructed to report any such case at Civil Hospital.

At the Buddha Mal chowk in the Bhargo camp area, where the health authorities have set up a camp to provide medical aid to residents, the number of people who reported for various stomach-related maladies declined today, maintained Dr Kiranjit Kumar, Civil Surgeon.

As compared to 250 residents who reported at the medical camp yesterday, only about 50 came in for medical examination today. Of these 50 residents, seven were cases of suspected gastroenteritis and were referred to Civil Hospital, where 20 such residents were admitted yesterday. Of seven patients, four were from the Bhargo camp area, while three were from other areas like Santokhpura and Lamba Pind. Of about 20 cases of Wednesday, 16-17 residents were from the Bhargo camp area, while rest were from other areas of the city.

We have already deputed about 40 teams in the Bhargo camp area alone, while about 1,000 chlorine tablets were distributed among residents of different localities today. Of a total of eight deaths, not even a single was due to gastroenteritis and still we are keeping full vigil. That those admitted are suffering from gastroenteritis could only be confirmed after we receive culture test reports. We are likely to get these reports within a day or two, said Dr Kiranjit Kumar.

Meanwhile, residents of certain parts of the Bhargo camp and Chappli chowk areas, where the Municipal Corporation had replaced water supply pipes, alleged that they were still getting contaminated water.


Water, sewerage  connections cut
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 27
The water and sewerage connections of a four-storeyed building constructed in the main bazar was cut by the Municipal Council here today on the directions of the Ropar Deputy Commissioner.

The SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, told Chandigarh Tribune that he had written to the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Seema Jain, yesterday that as the building had been constructed in violation of the building bylaws, it should be demolished.

The SDM said that Mrs Jain had today directed the local authorities to get the building demolished. As immediate action she had ordered that the water and sewerage connections of the building should be cut immediately.

Mr Gill said that he had received a complaint that a building had been constructed in the bazar in violation of the building bylaws. As such he had asked the tehsildar to carry out an inspection of the building. The inspection was done on May 25.

Mr Gill said that tehsildar had told him that the owner of the building had constructed the structure which was 46 feet high, though the height of the building in the plan that had been cleared by the Municipal Council was only 34 ft.

The complainant said that the owner had also constructed a basement in the shop, which had adversely affected the adjoining building.

It is learnt that the complainant had brought the violation to the notice of the council authorities but no action had been taken in this regard. The complaint then approached the higher authorities.


Challan not filed in accident case, alleges NRI
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
Mr Subash Chander, a non-resident Indian (NRI), is a shattered man today and is running from pillar to post for justice.

Mr Subash Chander’s 14- year-old daughter, Shiv Chander Anna, was killed when a car driven by one Jagjit Malhotra, a resident of Jalandhar, allegedly crushed her to death in broad daylight. The incident occurred on the main G T road near Fattowal village under the Beas police station in the Majitha police district on August 12, 2003.

Mr Chander, in a representation to senior officials of the police including DGP, IG and DIG, has levelled charges against a SP rank officer for pressurising the investigating officer not to file a challan and cancelled the FIR for shielding the accused.

The father of the deceased alleged that Mr S.K. Agnihotri, the then SP (D), Majitha, out of way helped the accused, who was driving the car belonging to one Anil Kumar having close relations with the police officer.

A case under Sections 279, 304-A of the IPC at the Beas police station was registered against Jagjit, which was later cancelled, allegedly at the behest of the SP.

Mr Chander claimed that the accident was due to sheer negligence of the driver, and eyewitnesses to the accident had supported his case. He said the police was doing great injustice to his family by shielding the accused.

He urged the higher police authorities to direct the investigating officer to present the challan against the accused without delay.

While Mr R P S Bajwa, SSP, Majitha police district who was out of station, expressed his ignorance about the incident, Mr Sudesh Agnihotri, SP (D), refuted the allegations leveled by Mr Subash chander. He said action was taken after an inquiry conducted by the then SHO, Beas police station. He said he had nothing to do with the case. 


Celebrations to mark Puran Singh’s centenary
Our Correspondent

Amritsar May 27
Several eminent speakers, including environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna, Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande, writer Reema Anand, Mr Bhangwant Singh Dilwari, Mr V.N. Narayanan, Mr S.J.S Pal and Mr S. Ripoche Dalai Lama will highlight the personality of a great social reformer and the founder of the Pingalwara Bhagat Puran Singh, on the occasion of his centenary celebrations, which will start on June 1.

Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the Pingalwara who had inherited the legacy of Bhagat Puran Singh, said here today that the aim of the four-day-long celebrations was to convey his message of selfless service, for which he toiled throughout his life.

She said the spread of education among the most neglected segment of society had been taken up by the organisation in a big way. She stated that Pingalwara was running a school for 500 children from the economically backward section of society. She said the organisation would recognise the services of eminent social workers who had dedicated their lives to the cause of education during the centenary celebrations. Dr Inderjit Kaur said one of them was Master Ajit Singh who had given his house to run a school for children in the locality of widows in the Maqboolpura area on the outskirts of the city. She said the others included Mr Tarlochan Singh Cheema from Sangrur, Mr Dev from Faridabad and Mr Sardara Singh of Nishkam Seva School.

She said the celebrations would start on June 1 with a chetna rally to create awareness of social evils, protection of environment and caring for the old. The celebrations will include the screening of a documentary and a light-and-sound programme on the life of Bhagat Puran Singh. The event will conclude on June 4 with kirtan darbar.


PSEB assures regular power for paddy sowing
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The PSEB is all geared up to meet the power needs for paddy sowing in the state. The anticipated demand in June alone is 1,200 lakh units per day. Punjab is short of at least 140 lakh units per day.

PSEB Chairman, Y.S. Ratra said Punjab would also get conditional 36 lakh units per day from the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant and another 40 lakh units form Nathpa-Jhakri and 20 lakh units from Himachal, J&K and Uttaranchal.

PSEB Member (Distribution), H.C. Sud said: “Punjab will buy power worth Rs 1,000 crore between June and October’’.

Mr Ratra said the PSEB would ensure eight-hour continuous, three-phase power supply for paddy requirements. In areas where vegetables, sunflower, sugarcane, orchards, poplar and cotton were grown, farmers would get three-phase six-hour continuous power supply. “We have already started giving eight-hour power supply to farmers in the border districts since May 25 as paddy sowing had started early there. Farmers in the rest of the state would get similar power supply from June 5. The night group for three-phase supply should start latest from 10 p.m’’. The board Chairman said.

Reports received here indicated that while the sporadic sowing of ‘’sathi’’ paddy was on in the Patiala, Amritsar and Malout areas.


Graft charge against PSEB official
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
Ranjit Singh, resident of Gandiwind, claimed that an Executive Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been demanding a bribe of Rs 1 lakh for not pursuing PSEB case against him in a land claim case . However, Ranjit says that the land actually belongs to him while the PSEB officer was harassing him after he had won a court case against PSEB.

At a press conference held here today he said his 4.2 kanal located at Hamidpur village, on the Amritsar-Lahore road had been erroneously declared as PSEB land. He said he had bought the land from Gura Singh on April 4, 2002, for Rs 2 lakh.

Ranjit further said that on May 25 the same officer along with some 40 persons had ‘illegally’ razed the boundary wall of the same land and forcibly took away his two buffaloes and the iron gate. He said he had submitted a complaint in this regard at police station, Chheharta.

He claimed that he had the relevant documents regarding the possession of land. Meanwhile, the officer concerned could not be contacted.


PSEB to fill posts of JE
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to fill all vacant posts of junior engineers by giving additional charge to the senior-most officials working in the same sub division.

An official press note said this had been done to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the agriculture sector during the coming paddy season. The note further stated that the limit on journeys and on telephone calls of field officers had been enhanced by 50 per cent and members and in charge have been given powers to regularise journies and telephone calls over and above the enhanced limit during the paddy month.

Mr H.C. Sood, Member Distribution said that the field officers had been advised to carry out intensive touring and arrange meetings with representatives of farmers and village panchayats to get the feedback regarding the quality of power supply.


Torture case: dist police writes to IG (Border Range)
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 27
After a case pertaining to alleged torture of two brothers of the district by the Tarn Taran district police came to light, the district police authorities today wrote to the IG (Border Range), Punjab police, Amritsar, to take necessary action in that connection.

Police sources said a DSP-rank officer today recorded the statements of two brothers — Baldev Singh and Harmel Singh — of Dohak village in the district, who alleged that they were picked up by the Tarn Taran police, kept in illegal confinement and tortured by policemen of Verowal police station.

“The statements of both brothers have been sent to the IG, Border Range, for taking action on the same,” said district police chief R.S. Khatra, adding that it had been confirmed that Tarn Taran police picked up the two brothers without informing the local police.

He said as per his information the brothers were picked up by the Tarn Taran police for the investigation of a criminal case registered against them.

He said it could not be known whether the brothers were kept in illegal confinement or not, but it was clear that the action of the police, which took them to Verowal police station was legal.

Both brothers, who suffered injuries, alleged that they were given third degree treatment in the police station. They demanded that they should be provided justice by registering a criminal case against those policemen who picked them up and against those policemen also who tortured them brutally.

Mr Khatra pointed out that the two brothers were not kept in an illegal confinement anywhere in the district, hence the district police authorities were not able to proceed in the case.


Police averts group clash
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 27
An armed group clash was averted here last night with the timely intervention of the police. There was a stand-off between two groups over a prime piece of 352-kanal, 15-marla land along the GT Road in Jamalpur village, near here, leading to tension in the area.

The party in possession of the land, which owns a transport business, blocked vehicular traffic on the GT Road by parking its buses in the middle of the road in protest against bid by the rival group to take possession of the land.

The local DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh, reached the spot with a police force, got the blockade lifted and made both parties leave the place. He asked them to put up their case before the SDM.

The land is in the possession of Walia Transport Bust Service. Its occupants, Mr Paramjit and Mr Gandhi, claimed that the joint owners of the land, Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Balraj Singh, had given them the possession of the land by getting biana of Rs 20 lakh on June 16, 1998, but did not turn up at the stipulated time for entering into a registered deed in June, 1999.

However, Mr Ajit Singh countered the claim, asserting that the story about the sale of the land was cooked up by the rival party. A court case had gone in his favour in this regard, he claimed. The “unauthorised” possessors could not produce the revenue records concerned while he had done so, he said. Even the “ikrarnama” was baseless, he claimed.


Implement agenda, Health Minister urged
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
Hailing the announcement of Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramdass with regard to bringing the healthcare system of the country on a par with that of developed countries and revamping the medical education system, Dr Surinder Singla, a central working committee member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), today urged the minister to implement his agenda at the earliest.

Dr Singla said successive governments had given less importance so far to this very important sector, due to which the health scenario in the country was worsening.

Dr Singla said the IMA had sent a national healthcare agenda to all political parties prior to the Lok Sabha elections, to improve the health scenario of the country. He said through this agenda, the IMA had sought from the Union Government to make medical education affordable for all students and declare healthcare as a right of every citizen, besides increasing the health budget.


Three of a family buried alive
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 27
Three persons of a family were buried alive while digging a trench for laying a water pump motor at Mumbeki village in the subdivision this evening. The victims have been identified as Jarnail Singh (18), his brother Kulwinder Singh (15) and their uncle Karnail Singh (32).

After digging an 18-ft trench, Karnail Singh was coming out with the help of a rope when suddenly the earth caved in and he fell on his nephews. His brother Jaswant Singh raised the alarm. Soon, a large number of villagers gathered to rescue the buried trio. However, their efforts failed. The body of Karnail Singh was retrieved around 3 p.m. Later, officials of the civil and police administration, led by Mr Upjit Singh Brar, SDM, Fazilka, and Dr D.P. Godara, SMO, Civil Hospital, Fazilka, reached the site. The bodies of Kulwinder Singh and Jarnail Singh were retrieved around 6.30 p.m.


2 killed, 6 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
Two persons were killed and six, including five children, injured when the truck in which they were travelling collided with a stationary truck at Badbar village, 18 km from here, on the Sangrur-Barnala road last evening.

The dead belonged to Dhanaula. The condition of two children was said to be serious.


Laser traffic lights inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh, May 27
Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, today inaugurated new laser traffic lights installed by the Municipal Council, Mandi Gobindgarh, on the GT Road at the cost of Rs 7 lakh. Addressing the gathering he appreciated the efforts of Municipal Council. He said the lights would help the police in controlling the traffic effectively. He assured the residents that the police would continue to serve society and protect their life and property.

Mr Joginderpal Singla, President of the council, urged the SSP to direct the PCR staff to remain more vigilant and sought more traffic police personnel on GT Road.

Aviation club staff not paid salaries

Patiala, May 27
The Patiala Aviation Club staff have alleged that they have not been paid their salaries for two months. They said their salary bills had been stopped by the Punjab Government despite the Supreme Court orders. They had also met the Punjab Aviation Secretary in this connection, but in vain. — OC


High Court
File sought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
The High Court on Thursday asked the Punjab Government's Sports Department to produce the file relating to the recent selections of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) made by the Punjab Government. The Bench also heard counsels for the respondents, including the selected candidates.

Following in the footsteps of counsel for Punjab Government, who had yesterday stated in the court that there was nothing wrong with the selection process, counsel for the selected candidates said that the candidates had been selected on merit.

Senior advocate G.K. Chatrath, appearing for a successful candidate, said that by selecting sportspersons of repute as DSP, the Punjab Government was doing a favour to the country. He said that the sportspersons of the state had been excelling in all fields.

He said that the selections were an attempt to accommodate those who are playing for the country and the state.

Counsel for another player said that his client had excelled in his chosen game and had represented the country in international events. This, he said, was reason enough for his being selected as DSP.

Almost all counsel also asserted that the fact that the selection committee did not have a sportsperson as member could not be treated as big wrong.

The hearing will continue tomorrow.


29 bags of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
The Malerkotla police on a tip-off seized 27 bags of poppy husk, weighing 8.10 quintals, from a Tata 407 truck at a naka on the Malerkotla-Nabha road yesterday, while the Moonak police seized two bags of poppy husk, weighing 70 kg, from an Indica car in the Moonak area last night.

Giving this information here today, Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, said the police had got an information that Chandu Ram, resident of Fatehabad district in Haryana, would come to Malerkotla from the Nabha side along with the bags of poppy husk. The police laid a naka on the Malerkotla-Nabha road. Chandu Ram after seeing the police naka stopped the vehicle 200 yards away from the naka and managed to escape along with another person. Later the police searched the vehicle and found 27 bags of poppy husk.

The SSP said the police had registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act against Chandu Ram and the other person. Both were still at large, he added.

Mr Dhillon said the Moonak police had arrested a person along with two bags of poppy husk from an Indica car in the Moonak area last night.


Police rescues girl kept in confinement
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
The police has rescued a Jammu-based girl who was allegedly kept in confinement in a house in the local Mohindroo Mohalla, harassed and was being forced by three persons to marry a boy.

Nisha Kumari had fallen in love with Sunil Kumar of Jammu. She wanted to marry him but feared the wrath of her parents. She talked about it to Sonia, the sister of Sunil Kumar, who allegedly assured her that she would solve her problem Sonila told Nisha that she would have to accompany her, her father, Som Nath, and father-in-law Rajinder Kumar, to Jalandhar, where the marriage would be solemnised.

After arriving in Mohindroo Mohalla, Nisha was allegedly told by Somnath and Rajinder Kumar that she would have to marry Gopal, brother-in-law of Sonia. When Sonia refused, Gopal allegedly started harassing her with the intention of getting her nod for marriage.

Nisha managed to give them the slip and reported the matter to the PCR team stationed in the area, which took her to police division No. 2. The police has registered a case against the suspects.


Murder victim may have been strangulated
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 27
The marks on the neck of the victim, who was murdered in Sakrullahpur village yesterday, point out that the girl was strangulated.

A postmortem on the body was carried out by a two-member board of doctors — Dr Amandeep Singh and Dr Sukhwinder Kaur — at the Civil Hospital here today.

According to sources ligature marks were found on the neck of the victim and the face was also congested.

The doctors had taken the viscera which was sent to Patiala for examination. The exact cause of the death will be known after the report of the viscera was received.

The victim, Lakhbir Kaur (21) alias Rano, was allegedly murdered when she had gone to the house of Jaswinder Singh.

According to the police, Lakhbir Kaur had gone to the house of Jaswinder Singh to lodge a complaint as she had alleged that the latter used to harass her by making unnecessary phone calls. It is alleged that some tiff took place between the two after which Lakhbir Kaur was allegedly strangulated by Jaswinder Singh. He had allegedly used her dupatta to tie around her neck.

It is reported that Jaswinder Singh had surrendered to the police after committing the crime.

The police has registered a case against the suspect under Section 302 of the IPC. He was produced in a court and remanded in police custody for two days.


Chain snatchers’ gang busted, six arrested
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 27
The district police claims to have busted a gang of looters, chain-snatchers which has also been involved in drug abuse activities and in running fake currency racket. It has arrested six youths belonging to well-to-do families of Bassi Pathana town of the district. Two of the gang members, Rupinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh were involved in a chain-snatching incident yesterday in Phase VII at Mohali. The victim, Renu succeeded in getting back her chain after giving the duo a long chase and the incident was reported in Chandigarh Tribune.

Those arrested have been identified as Baljinder Singh a resident of Bahadurgarh, Kaushal, son of a commission agent of Bassi Pathana, Parminder Singh, alias Lada, and Gurbhej Singh both of Bassi Pathana, Rupinder Singh, alias Rupi, of Jarkhelan Kheri, and Bhupinder Singh, son of Ambi, a satta king of Bassi Pathana. The police has recovered from their custody a motor cycle (No PB-23C 9400), a scooter (No PB-52 7517), seven gold chains, a pair of gold earrings, .315 bore pistol, and two cartridges.

Talking to this correspondent Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said the police received information that six or seven persons were consuming drugs on the bank of the Bhakra canal near Khalaspur village in the Bassi Pathana subdivision. He said a CIA team led by Mr Gurmeet Singh, Inspector, raided the area and arrested six youths, while one of their accomplices Sonu, alias Nagra resident of Bassi Pathana, fled.

The SSP said during investigation the miscreants revealed that they were a seven-member gang and a majority of them were drug addicts. They indulged in chain snatching and looting to be able to, buy smack, which they purchased from Dharma of Phase VI Mohali and Kamla and Gujri of Dadumajra village in Chandigarh at the rate of Rs 500 per gram.

The SSP said they revealed that they were planning to strike in the Sirhind town area to snatch chains as two of them had failed in the effort at Mohali. He said they confessed that they had snatched chains in Sector 38, 39, 47, 31, 52, and 40 of Chandigarh. They had also snatched a pair of earrings from a woman in Phase VII Mohali. He said their areas of operation were the Sirhind, Chandigarh, Mohali and Mandi Gobindgarh bus- stands. He said they had also snatched the chain of a woman constable, Ms Yuvraj Kumari working in the SSP’s office and earrings of a Deputy DEO.

The SSP said one of suspects revealed that they were also involved in running a fake currency racket and had brought fake currency from Bihar and sold it in Bassi Pathana. He said the police had registered an FIR under sections 399, 401, 402, 25, 54, 59 of the IPC. He said certain gold- smiths of Bassi Pathana, who had been purchasing stolen chains from them at throwaway prices, would also be hauled up.


Eve-teasing incident turns violent, 5 hurt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
An eve-teasing incident took a violent turn when five persons were injured in an assult at Fazalpur village, near here, this morning.

According to police sources, a youth entered the house of his neighbour by scaling a wall and started misbehaving with the latter’s 14-year-old daughter. As the girl’s sister raised the alarm and rebuked the youth, the latter left and returned with his family members and friends. They attacked Mohan Singh, his sister, Kuldip, and wife Chindo, Mohan’s brother, Raju, and his another sister, injuring all of them.


Degree course being run with ad hoc teachers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
The degree course of the Physiotherapy Department of the Khalsa College is being run with ad hoc teachers.

The course was started five years back in 1999. However, only one teacher, Dr Charanjit Singh, a medical officer, has been appointed to head the department.

Despite the university’s repeated reminders the vacancies have not been filled with permanent staff. Many students feel that their internship may also be deemed invalid due to lack of permanent teachers in the college.

Seven teachers were selected on January 31.

A Guru Nanak Dev University selection panel selected the lecturers and their cases were sent to the university for approval. However, five discrepancies were found in their cases. Later, two of the conditions were dropped by the university. Instead of getting permanent posts the selected teachers who were on probation were removed. The university got a letter from the college citing no reason for their removal and was asked to return the original certificates of the candidates as these had been submitted during the interview.

It is learnt that dissension among the current college management members, the elections for the new management of the college on May 29, was the actual reason for this step by the college.

Mr J.S. Dhillon, Principal of the college, said the college would be advertising the posts again before the coming session. When asked why he had not fulfilled the condition of permanent teachers in the mandatory period of six months, he said, “Which college has”.

Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, when contacted said the university had no role in the removal of the said teachers and they were ready to take the selected staff which fulfil three conditions.


Pbi varsity board rejects VC’s decision
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
The Board of Studies in Punjabi of Punjabi University here has recommended to increase the total marks of BA and BSc degree courses instead of reducing the total marks of Punjabi and English compulsory papers from 100 to 50 at degree level in all affiliated colleges of the university.

The Vice-Chancellor had recently decided to introduce a new compulsory subject, Computer Application (of 100 marks), while reducing the total marks of other two compulsory subjects from 100 to 50. The board meeting, which was chaired by Dr Balwinder Kaur Brar rejected the Vice-Chancellor’s decision, alleging that this would defeat the very purpose of the establishment of the university which was meant to promote Punjabi language.

Sources said that this decision of the Vice-Chancellor was against the norms as he had allegedly ignored the academic council of the university, which is the only body authorised to take such a decision. They added that this decision could have serious implications.

They further alleged that before taking the decision, the Vice-Chancellor did not constitute a committee to ascertain whether the affiliated colleges had adequate facilities to teach the subject.

Meanwhile, official sources said that the proposal would come up at a meeting of principals of colleges affiliated to the university, which is scheduled to be held on May 31. However, the final decision in this regard would be taken by the Academic Council on June 9.


Bank gives boost to money transfer service
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
Harbhajan Mann, a noted Punjabi singer, visited the local branch of Canara Bank to popularise a new money transfer service here today.

Mr Mann said this was the fastest way to send and receive money worldwide. Elaborating on the salient features of the service, he said the service provided a personal remittance to resident Indians and foreign tourists. Visiting Indians were eligible to access an expeditious mode of remittance of funds and an individual could receive up to 12 remittances in a year.

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