P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Loyalty main criterion for SAD ticket, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
The main criterion for allocation of SAD ticket for the forthcoming SGPC elections, scheduled for July 11 will be candidate’s loyalty towards the party in the past, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, party President, here today.

Though Mr Badal categorically stated that his party will give due representation to leaders of the erstwhile Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the move has given indications that the sitting SGPC members who had camped at Mr Badal’s farmhouse at Balasar (Haryana) during his tug-of-war with late Gurcharan Singh Tohra would be given preference.

Mr Badal was addressing mediapersons after a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party and another meeting of party MP and MLAs. He, however, said prospective candidates should be baptised and religious to the core. Mr Badal said it would be even better if the entire family of the prospective candidates was baptised. He said preference would be given to the sitting members who remained loyal to the party throughout. The forthcoming SGPC poll would be “the Akalis versus the Congress” as the “rest of the Akalis” would be supported by the Congress. He described the “rest of Akali factions as Congress sponsored”.

Mr Badal said Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary General, and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of SAD, would be leader and deputy leader of the party in Lok Sabha, respectively, while Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, an MP from Phillaur, would be the Chief Whip and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon treasurer of the party in Parliament.

The election to elect the President of SAD would be held here on June 13 after the “shukrana divas” (thanksgiving day), to be observed here to celebrate the victory of SAD in the recent Lok Sabha poll. He said the party would arrange bhog of Akhand Path at Manji Sahib (Golden Temple) on June 13.

Mr Badal reiterated that MP, MLA and other senior functionaries of the party would hold a dharna at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on June 14 to coincide with the Assembly session in protest against the non-fulfilment of demands of Scheduled Castes, employees, farmers, traders and other sections of the society.

The SAD chief admitted that he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and requested him not to postpone the SGPC elections. When asked as to why the SGPC had decided to present a “siropa” (robe of honour) to Dr Manmohan Singh during his proposed visit to Golden Temple despite the fact that he belonged to the Congress, Mr Badal quipped: “Dr Manmohan Singh is an honest and fine person. Though Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, had the support of the Congress, SAD had supported him due to his pro-Punjabi agenda.” Replying to a question, Mr Badal said SAD would take up long-standing issues of Punjab, including inclusion of left out Punjabi speaking areas and Chandigarh, apart from adjudication of inter state river waters, with the Centre.


SGPC crisis deepens
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
The crisis in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee deepened when Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, today said status quo would be maintained and recent administrative reshuffle in the shiromni committee would not be undone.

However, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary of the SGPC, who had stopped attending the office in protest against the appointment of Mr Raghbir Singh as personal assistant to the SGPC chief, has said he could not work under such circumstances. Mr Calcutta said Mr Badal had not conveyed his decision yet he hoped that he (Mr Badal) would take corrective measures to streamline the SGPC. Mr Calcutta said he could not be a spectator to the nepotism and corruption in the SGPC. He said if he (Mr Calcutta) could not deliver goods then there was no charm in going to the office.

Though Mr Calcutta, being a member of the Political Affairs Committee had attended the meeting in SGPC complex, but the issue of administrative reshuffle was not discussed. Mr Calcutta remarked that Mr Badal was a big leader and perhaps he could not find time to discuss the ‘small issues’ like controversial postings and transfers in the shiromani committee.

Talking to the mediapersons, Mr Badal said no transfer could be cancelled or made after the issuance of notification for the ensuing SGPC elections had been issued. However, Mr Calcutta claimed that the reshuffle was still possible as the SGPC had not received any notification or communication from the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission. He alleged that Mr Raghbir Singh was instrumental in filing of certain cases against the SGPC in the past.

It is learnt that Mr Badal has convened an informal meeting at Chandigarh where senior leaders of the erstwhile SHSAD have been invited. However, Mr Calcutta is unlikely to attend the meeting.


SGPC secy denies links with AISAD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
Former SGPC Secretary Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, on Sunday alleged that certain senior officials of the newly formed All-India Shiromani Akali Dal had been misusing his name, thereby creating a wrong impression that he (Dr Bachan) had joined the party.

Addressing the mediapersons, Dr Bachan said that he was a loyal member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and hence had no links with any other faction.


Chandumajra to confront Badal on SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, who was suspended from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) a few days ago, is all set to confront SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, in the SGPC elections the nominations for which started today.

Making a veiled attack on Mr Badal, Mr Chandumajra said today that political leaders and parties should stay away from selecting candidates for the SGPC elections. This task should instead be handed over to eminent religious persons such as high priest.

Absolute politicisation of this religious body over the years had dwarfed its religious character. Sikh religion should shape the course of Sikh politics. At present Akali leaders had been giving direction to Sikh religion, Mr Chandumajra said.

He said he would campaign for only those candidates who were honest and had clean image.

Mr Chandumajra said he would hold public meetings at Patiala, Sunam, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moonak and Lehra, Jalandhar and Amritsar to chalk out a strategy for the SGPC elections. Leaders of certain other Akali factions had approached him for a tie-up in the elections, Mr Chandumajra enjoyed a good rapport with several leaders of the erstwhile Panthic Morcha.

Mr Chandumajra said Mr Badal had suspended him from the party without making any inquiry into the allegations levelled against him. “Should people consider Mr Badal also guilty on the basis of mere charges levelled against him in the court. Mr Chandumajra asked the SAD chief.


Don’t fight SGPC poll, CPI tells Akalis
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 1
The Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today asked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the SAD (Amritsar) and other Akali factions not to field their candidates in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. It said the SGPC elections was a religious affair so political parties should not interfere in these elections.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the CPI, said the party was of the firm view that there should be no political interference in the religious bodies. The Akalis were mixing religion with politics, he said.

Dr Joginder Dayal also demanded that former workers of Oswal Agro Furnace Limited, Bhasor (near Dhuri), should be given jobs by the new management of the mill, KRBL Limited. He also demanded a high-level judicial inquiry against the civil and police officials who had allegedly misbehaved with workers, staging a peaceful dharna in front of the mill to get jobs. He alleged that the police tore flags of the AITUC and arrested atleast 200 workers in a day.

Dr Dayal also demanded that 287 workers, arrested by the police should be released immediately providing jobs to old workers was the liability of the new management, KRBL Limited, which had purchased the Oswal Agro Furnace Limited in an auction.

He said a big rally would be taken out through the main bazars of the town and a dharna would be held in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on June 4 here to seek justice for the workers.

Dr Dayal also asked the union and state governments to waive off the loans of farmers. He also demanded that the minimum support price (MSP) policy should be implemented for all crops. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) should not be disbanded and the Public Distribution System (PDS) should be strengthened, he added. 


Nominations for SGPC begin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The process to conduct elections to 11 SGPC seats in Haryana started today.

Mr B.D. Dhalia, Commissioner Gurdwara Election Commission, Haryana, said the nomination papers would be filed from June 1 to 8. Scrutiny would be conducted on June 11.

The last date for withdrawal was June 21.

The poll result would be declared on July 15.

Out of 11 seats, eight seats were for the general category, two seats were reserved for women and one for the Scheduled Castes.


Nabha Jail Supdt booked
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The Patiala, police today registered a criminal case against Nabha Jail Superintendent S.P. Singh, following the directions of the Punjab Human Rights Commission.

The commission had earlier directed the Patiala SSP to register a case against the Jail Superintendent. The case has been registered today by the Civil Lines police under various sections of the IPC.

The case pertains to an incident which occurred in July, 2001. The Superintendent is accused of directing seven undertrials to attack Ranbir Chand, another undertrial, who was then lodged in the Central Jail, Patiala. Mr S.P. Singh was the then Deputy Superintendent of the Central Jail, Patiala.

According to the complaint submitted by Ranbir to the human rights commission, he was attacked on July 6 by seven undertrials with sharp-edged weapons, injuring him.

Ranbir claimed that at the Rajindra Hospital, another undertrial Karamjit Singh told him that he had heard Mr S.P. Singh, making enquiries from the undertrials in this regard.

The commission had asked the office of the ADGP to probe the complaint.


Officials pulled up for gastro cases
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
Admitting that Jalandhar district was the worst affected by gastroenteritis, the state Health Minister, Mr R.C. Dogra, today pulled up the health officials for their alleged negligent role in controlling the situation. Ten persons have reportedly died of gastroenteritis during the last couple of weeks.

He presided over a meeting of health officials in which the Civil Surgeon, Dr Kiranjit Kumar, and the District Health Officer, Dr Raman Trehan, were also present. The minister pulled up the officials and instructed them to be more vigilant so that the disease, which had already engulfed the area of Bargo Camp, Ekta Nagar, Santokh Pura, Garha and New Swaraj Ganj, could not spread further.

He said although the Health Department had not confirmed that any of the 10 deaths was actually due to gastroenteritis, the health and corporation authorities had been instructed to take effective steps.

He said over one lakh tablets of chlorine had been distributed in the affected areas for purification of drinking water. Thirty-five samples of water were collected from these areas, out of which 17 failed. The test report in respect of five samples was yet to be received, he said.

Medical camps had been set up at Bhargo Camp and other affected areas. Even mobile medical teams had been pressed into service, he added.

Admitting that the cause of the spread of the disease was faulty water pipelines, he said he had held a meeting with higher officials of the Local Bodies Department recently and apprised them of the problems. These officials had instructed the officials concerned to take necessary steps.

“Till now, the district health authorities have examined 730 patients, out of which 482 were found to be gastro-related cases. A house-to-house survey of the affected areas was also on,” he said.

He appealed to the people to have faith in the Health Department and instead of going to private hospital, they should come to the Civil Hospital. “Adequate facilites have been provided at the civil hospital to treat such cases free of cost,” he said.

“A magisterial inquiry has already been ordered to probe into the reason behind 10 deaths reported in the area,” he said.


Haveli being pulled down for shopping mall
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, June 1
A ‘haveli’ built during the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, situated in the walled city just opposite to Hindu College here, is being demolished, reportedly for constructing a shopping complex.

This is the second such ‘haveli’ which is being demolished. Earlier, ‘Jainian di Haveli’ of the same era was demolished about two months ago. That ‘haveli’ was situated in Chatkian Wala Bazaar in the city.

The old heritage ‘haveli’ having frescos depicting Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding a ‘durbar’, unique floral designs and patterns, high-quality stain glasses in different geometrical shapes, different floor patterns, tiles and beautifully carved wooden doors and windows shows how precious a treasure is being lost. The facade of the building also has fresco borders. The ‘haveli’ has elegant Japanese tiles with borders, which are not found nowadays.

“It is height of frustration. To whom should I say and complain. In spite of the efforts to make the authorities concerned impose the change of land use rules strictly, nobody is bothering to save our heritage,” lamented Mr Balvinder Singh, conservation planner and reader of Guru Ram Dass School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University.

He said, “Mohrakashi technique” of frescos; stain glasses, carved wooden windows and floor patterns show that ‘haveli’ is part of our rich heritage belonging to the British era. The government must have taken concrete steps to preserve these ‘havelis’. What would be more unfortunate than seeing our heritage structures being demolished and labourers pulling down the beautiful works of art.”

Mr Sudarshan, a contractor, said a shopping complex was likely to be constructed at the place. He said the construction of the shopping complex at the site would create a traffic bottleneck in the congested bazaar.

Mr Balvinder said a UNESCO team was scheduled to visit the place in the next few months and if the heritage buildings were demolished, it would have a negative effect on them. He said an immediate action could save the facade of the building. He urged the civic body to intervene immediately. He said NRIs should form an NGO and participate in the preservation of such buildings.

Mr Kulbir Singh Kang, Municipal Commissioner, could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Man poisons school water, tragedy averted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
An unidentified person allegedly mixed some poisonous substance in the water tank of a private school in Bazzoana village here today. However, an alert teacher averted a major tragedy from happening.

This is second such incident in the village during the past two months. Earlier, an unidentified person had mixed some poisonous substance in the water tank of a tubewell. Around 10 persons had fallen ill after consuming water from the tank. One of the victims, Gurmel Singh, later died at a hospital in Ludhiana.

After getting information, a police party immediately reached the spot and took a sample of water from the tank.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, when contacted, confirmed the incident and said an inquiry had been initiated. The Station House Officer (SHO), Nathana, police station, would conduct the probe under the supervision of the DSP, Phul. He added that the water sample would be sent for a chemical examination.

According to sources, a sweeper of the school filled a pitcher from the water tank around 6.30 am. When the school started, a teacher asked one of the students to bring a glass of water from the pitcher. The teacher got suspicious when she noticed a change in the colour of water and foul smell emitting from it. Suspecting a foul play, she immediately informed the other staff members and the panchayat of the village.

As the news spread, parents of the students rushed to the school. Mr Gurcharan Singh, sarpanch of the village, told TNS that during the inspection carried out by the police, an empty glass container was found on the roof of one of the rooms of the school.

Meanwhile, the district education authority has taken a serious view of the fact that the school had been running despite the state government having announced summer vacation in all schools 10 days ago.


Accused in multi-crore fraud detained, let off
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
The Jalandhar police today detained Rocky Malhotra, a resident of Sarabha Nagar in Ludhiana, for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore fraud case involving over 10 persons.

Mr Charanjit Singh, DSP, who was asked to conduct an inquiry into the case by the IG (Jalandhar Zone), Mr S.K. Sharma, said Rocky was asked to join investigation following disclosures made by the main accused, Sandeep Dhir, in this regard. He said a Jalandhar police party succeeded in detaining Rocky in Ludhiana and later brought him to Jalandhar.

The DSP said during the course of the investigation, Rocky disclosed that he was given a sum of Rs 2 lakh by Sandeep Dhir even as the latter, in his earlier deposition before the inquiry officer, said that a sum of Rs 14 lakh, a part of the Rs 6 crore fraud money, was given to Rocky as his share.

Chander Sain, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar in Ludhiana, had alleged that Sandeep Dhir, along with others, had defrauded him of Rs 6 crore on some false pretext. The complainant alleged that though the money was given to Sandeep Dhir in good faith, the latter allegedly refused to pay back the amount on filmsy grounds. A case under Sections 406, 420, 468 and 471 was registered at the Sarabha Nagar police station.

The DSP said since the Punjab and Haryana High Court had put a stay on the arrest of Sandeep Dhir, the latter had joined the investigation and revealed the names of 10 persons, who, along with him, were allegedly involved in the fraud.

Meanwhile, a Ludhiana court today accepted the application of Rocky for grant of anticipatory bail filed by his counsel. The court orders were sent through fax to the Jalandhar police late in the evening. “We have released Rocky after receiving the court orders through fax. Rocky has joined the investigation and accepted that he had received a sum of Rs 2 lakh from Dhir,” Mr Charanjit Singh added.

He said raids were being conducted on suspected hideouts of 10 identified co-accused, mainly based in Ludhiana.


'Get my kids released from illegal custody of my wife'
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 1
A unique case came before the Vacation Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. Strange because it was a habeas corpus filed by a man, asking the High Court to get his two children released from the illegal confinement of none other than his wife.

The man has come all the way from Malaysia to reclaim his children.

Petitioner Ranbir Singh, a Malaysian citizen, has claimed that two children born from the wedlock between him and Satinder Kaur Mann have been forcibly and clandestinely brought to India by his wife in February.

The children - Haralekh Singh (5) and Mehak Kaur Khosa (3) - are allegedly in the custody of his wife.

He claims that Ms Mann, without informing him or her employers, came to India along with the two children, following which he filed a case in the High Court of Malaya (Malaysia). The court ordered that he was entitled to the legal guardianship of the two children.

However, by then his wife had managed to bring the children to India.

Saying that his children are Malaysian citizens and should be handed over to him, Mr Singh has also claimed that his wife took away with a lot of jewellery and cash from the house while fleeing.

Incidentally, the petitioner's father originally hails from a village near Ferozepore, while he was born and brought up in Malaysia.

He has claimed that his wife is residing in Punjab along with the children.

He has also alleged that his wife managed to illegally procure visas for the two children as Malaysian law is clear that only the father can apply for visas of the children.

After hearing counsel for the petitioner, Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla issued notice for Monday and directed SHO, Rampura Phull, to ensure the presence of the petitioner's wife in court on that date.


Cong to look into causes of defeat in Banur
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 1
To know the reasons of defeat in Banur segment of Patiala constituency in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Congress will conduct an inquiry.

Stringent action would be taken against the Congress leaders and workers who would be found indulged in anti-party activities thus causing loss to the Congress vote bank, warned Ms Preneet Kaur, Member of Parliament from Patiala, while addressing a party workers’ meeting in Dera Bassi here today.

After being elected as an MP, Ms Preneet Kaur was on a tour to the township to pay thanks to the public. She also expressed her concern over a huge margin of votes from which she lagged behind her rival, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, in Lok Sabha elections.

She claimed that during Assembly elections last year, the number of votes polled was much higher as compared to the Lok Sabha elections in Banur segment of the Patiala Parliamentary constituency, this time.

The MP also assured that all development works of Banur Assembly constituency would be taken up on priority basis.

Those who spoke on the occasion include Mr RR Bhardwaj, Deputy Chairman of the Punjab Planning Board, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, a former Additional Advocate General of Punjab, Ms Sheelam Sohi, a former member of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Mr Amrit Pal Singh, president of Dera Bassi Municipal Council, and some other prominent persons of the area.

Ms Geetanjali Gujjar, a member of the Block Samiti, Dera Bassi, resigned today and submitted her resignation to Ms Preneet Kaur.

In her resignation letter, Ms Gujjar has alleged that there was no discipline among the party workers, here. She also complained that the party lacks a head who could lead the party workers in one direction.


MASR outlines priorities for Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Movement Against State Repression (MASR) has listed certain priorities for the Congress to follow in Punjab.

These priorities are agriculture and industrial-cum-service sector centric that could generate employment opportunities, thereby reducing Punjab’s dependence on outside labour.

MASR convener Inderjit Jaijee said today the state should pay more attention to primary education, medical and health facilities and human resource development. Proper implementation of social and economic programmes was imperative to take care of the destitute, old, widows and disabled.

Equally important for the state was to make optimum use of natural resources, water, land, power and manpower and downsizing of the bureaucracy, particularly the police.


Water released in Billewala minor
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 1
Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president of the PPCC and former Education Minister, released water in Billewala minor at Arainawala village, 5 km from here, today.

He said the project, covering a stretch of about 22 km and passing through 12 villages, had been built through ‘kar seva’ by villagers in about a year.

Initially, it would provide irrigation facilities to eight villages, including Burj Masta, Machakikhurd, Jhotewala, Middumaan, Machakikalan, Memuana, Arainwala and a part of Faridkot area. Later, another four villages, Shersinghwala, Billewala, Maansinghwala and Bhangewala, be covered under the project. Thus, it would provide irrigation facilities to 6,327 acres in these villages.

The total cost of the project was around Rs 5.24 crore. Out of this, the state government had paid more than Rs 2 crore for acquiring 85 acres.

The earthwork of the project had been completed by the residents of these villages, thus saving more than Rs 90 lakh. Ten per cent of the bricklining had also been completed.

The remaining work would be taken up shortly, said Mr Brar. Besides solving the irrigation problem, the project would also improve the availability of drinking water, he said.

Three years ago, the residents of six villages, including Dhok, Sukhanwala, Dhab Shersinghwala, Quanau, Chetsinghwala and Shersinghwala, also worked on the same lines and constructed 9.15 km Dhok minor. It provided irrigation facilities in 4,400-acre area in these villages.

It was the first such project ever taken by villagers in the state, claimed Mr Brar. The state government was also planning to start Golewala project. It would cover six to seven villages. Mr Brar appealed to the villagers to come forward to construct such mini projects not only in their own interest, but also in the interest of the state.

Mr S.K. Gupta, Chairman of the Local Improvement Trust, said the Billewala project would not only boost the production of various crops, but also prove helpful in improving the financial condition of farmers. Mr Chand Singh, Mr Harvinder Singh, sarpanches of Machaki Khurd and Machakikalan villages, respectively, and Ms Angrez Kaur, panch of Arainawala village, also spoke on the occasion.


Samples of Sirsa bridge road material taken
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
Experts from the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) today collected samples and carried out investigation into the controversial approach roads to the Sirsa Bridge road. The team of the CRRI led by Dr V.K. Sood dug the road from various sites and checked the strength of the material used for the construction. They also collected the samples of the material used in road construction that would be tested in the laboratory of the CCRI at Delhi. Dr Sood said the report regarding the kind of material used in the road would be submitted to the Punjab Government within six weeks.

The report is likely to provide evidence regarding the allegations of corruption in the construction of the roads in question. The CRRI has started the investigation into the technical aspects of the roads on the request of the PWD Department of the state. The Minister of PWD had ordered an inquiry into the construction of the road after it gave way just one month after the construction.

The construction of the Sirsa bridge having a length of 334 metres with 10 spans was started in 1998. It took over four years for the completion of the bridge. The total cost of the project was Rs 12.20 crore.

However, just after the bridge was opened for public, the approach roads constructed by a Chandigarh-based company at a cost of Rs 3 crore gave way within one month. The road was once again closed and an inquiry was ordered into its construction. Six officers of the PWD Department, including the Executive Engineer in charge of the construction were suspended.

The company was directed to repair the road at its own cost. The company, however, just relaid premix over the road.

Once again it developed cracks and became uneven at various places.


Shifting of dairies leads to milk shortage
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 1
Even as the Municipal Corporation has managed to shift about two third of the dairies from the city to the Jamsher village-based dairy complex during the past three days, the ongoing operation has caused a temporary shortage of milk in the city, forcing the residents to go in for pasturised milk or pay more for the dairy milk.

Residents who went to dairies of their choice to fetch milk this morning had to return empty handed as most of these has been shifted out of the city by the civic body. At most places, where a few dairies were still functioning, their owners refused to entertain customers so as to avoid any problem.

The buyers had no option but to go in for packaged milk, available in the market under different brand names and even at an enhanced price at certain unauthorised outlets. In certain parts of the city, dairyowners who were yet to shift to the Jamsher dairy complex, allegedly tried to make a fast buck by selling milk at a premium, ranging between Re. 1 and Rs. 2 per kg.

“We were left with no alternative but to purchase packaged milk when I and my son went to fetch milk in the morning from a dairy situated near our house. We were told by the dairy owner’s brother that they would not be able to supply milk from their dairy in future,” said Mr Kamlesh Singh, a resident of Harbans Nagar.

Similarly, Mr Daljit Singh Sandhu, a resident of Ranjit Nagar locality, said his son had to return empty-handed as there was no one at the dairy near the railway line, from where they usually bought milk every morning,” said Mr Sandhu.

In some parts of the city, residents had to stand in queues to purchase packaged milk in the morning.

Meanwhile, under its ongoing drive to shift dairies out of the city, the civic body officials, led by Additional Commissioner Satwant Singh Johal, have managed to shift more than two third of the total 425 dairies to the Jamsher-based dairy complex by this evening.

Some dairies were, however, still functioning in the Industrial estate, Dada Colony, Partap Bagh, Basti Sheikh and Model Town areas.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the civic body to shift all dairies out of the city by June 15.


Gian Singh’s statement on PSGPC contradicted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 1
Mr Sham Singh, president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), today contradicted the statement of Mr Gian Singh, member of the National Assembly (MNA), Pakistan, in which he had stated that the new committee of the PSGPC would consist only of Pakistan Sikhs.

Informing this in a press note issued here, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the International Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, said Mr Sham Singh had given the information on telephone to him. Mr Sham Singh said the new committee of the PSGPC would be an international committee having Sikhs from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (DSGPC), Bhai Mardana Committee and Sikhs from America, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, England, German, etc. However, he said the president of the committee would be elected from Amritdhari Sikhs of Pakistan.

Mr Sham Singh claimed that written agreements in this regard had been signed with Minority Minister Raise Munir Khan, Foreign Minister Khurshid Ahmad Kasuri and other government officials and ministers concerned.


Tribune Manager bereaved
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 1
Mr Raghuvansh Chopra, 94, freedom fighter and father of Mr Rajeshwar Chopra, Circulation Manager, The Tribune Group, died here last evening. His cremation took place at the Durgiana Temple cremation ground today.

Mr Raghuvansh Chopra was the Chairman of the Punjab Freedom Fighter Cell. He became the youngest member of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) in 1938. Besides, he had been municipal councillor for 32 years from 1930 to 1967.

He remained member of the Improvement Trust for 12 years. He had also been the general secretary of the Congress Committee, Amritsar, for 15 years and remained the Chairman of the Punjab Khadi Board for four years. He was also associated with several social organisations. The chautha and uthala will be held on June 3 at Arya Samaj Temple, Pashma Wala Bazaar, from 3 to 4 p.m.


Shopkeepers stage dharna against Spice
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
A number of shopkeepers staged a dharna in front of the regional office of Spice Communications Limited here today. They were protesting against the alleged refusal of the company to settle accounts of its former distributor, M/s Anoop Enterprises.

Mr Anoop Kumar said he had quit business dealings with the company after it appointed a new distributor in the town without informing him. He said when he asked the company to settle his accounts and take back the stock, but it was not done.

Mr Rajiv Gupta, sales head of Spice Communication Limited, Punjab, denied allegations levelled by Mr Anoop Kumar. He said Mr Anoop Kumar had quit dealings with the company as he was trying to get distributorship of another mobile phone company.

He said his company had never refused to settle his account. It would be done in due course of time.

No staff member of the local Spice office could be contacted for comments.


Blood donation camp held
Our Correspondents

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 1
On a call of the State Revenue Patwar Union, the district unit of the union, organised a blood donation camp at Bachat Bhawan here today.

It was for the first time that camps were organised by the union at the state level in which more than 4000 units were donated to various hospitals in state.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the camp.

A team of doctors from the Civil Hospital conducted the camp and more than 125 units were donated.

Addressing the function, the Deputy Commissioner, appreciated the efforts of the Revenue Patwar Union for initiating social service and donating blood, which would save human lives.

He said service to the mankind was service to God and the patwaris in their day-to-day life as well as while performing their duty should also adopt the same attitude.

He appreciated the working of the patwaris in the district and said that it was a matter of proud that he had not received even a single complaint against any patwari in the district. He urged the patwaris to directly approach him for their postings on suitable places or for any other problem, instead of running to higher-ups and politicians.

He warned that he would not succumb to any pressure.

Highlighting the importance of blood donation, he called upon the people not to shed blood but donate it.

ROPAR: The patwaris of the Ropar district today donated blood at various blood donation camps organised under the aegis of the district Red Cross Society. The blood donation camp was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain.

As far as 26 patwaris donated blood. In other similar camps, seven patwaris donated blood at Anandpur Sahib and 25 at Kharar.


Seven of family injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 1
Seven persons, travelling in a van, were injured as an Army vehicle hit it on the Abohar-Hanumangarh road yesterday.

According to the information, Mr Dinesh Garg of the Timber Market here yesterday morning hired the van for a pilgrimage to the Hanuman Temple Salasar in Rajasthan. The van was hit while being overtaken by an Army vehicle.

Those injured included Mr Dinesh Garg, his wife Ms Asha Garg, sons Rahul and Ankur, Ms Rajni Goyal from Sunam, Ms Madhu Bansal from Dehra Dun and nephew Saurabh. They were first shifted to a private hospital but no doctor was available there for half an hour. Then they were shifted to the Civil Hospital at Hanumangarh. Ms Rajni’s condition being serious, she was taken to the DMC, Ludhiana.


Residents stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 1
Residents of Nai Abadi and shopkeepers today staged a dharna in front of the old city police station to express resentment over growing activities of anti-social elements.

The protesters marched in procession from the Durgiana market and staged the dharna.

The residents said the anti-social elements rule the roost. Drug addicts were highest in number in this areas. Gangsters carried sharp-edged weapons and inter-gang rivalries posed a serious threat to the law and order situation.


51 quintals of poppy husk destroyed

Bathinda, June 1
The police yesterday destroyed more than 51 quintals of poppy husk by burning it in the fields of Jassi Pauwali village in the presence of a committee of senior police officials.

In a press note here, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said that poppy husk recovered in 169 cases registered under the NDPS Act was destroyed according to the provisions of Section 52-A of the Act. — OC


Woman, son go missing
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
Manvinder Kaur Mauji (35), alias Meenu, along with her son Manpreet Singh (11), alias Sunny, residents of phatak number 22, have been missing since yesterday. Anyone having any information in this regard may contact on 0175-2311122 or 231113-14. A case has been registered in this connection under Section 364 of the IPC.


Law officers: reshuffle awaited, 2 AAGs appointed
Maneesh Chhibber

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 1
Strange are the ways of the Punjab Government. While on the one hand, top government functionaries have initiated the move to bring in a team of law officers for the next year, starting August 1, two more Assistant Advocate Generals (AAG) have been appointed in Punjab.

As of now, with two more additions, the number stands at 122.

The two lawyers who have been appointed AAG are Ashutosh Hoshiarpuri and Rajeeta Raj.

The additions are inspite of the fact that the cash-strapped government can ill-afford more officers, more so when the general opinion is that there is need to cut down the number.

The government is also said to be under pressure to drastically reduce the number of law officers.

When Senior Advocate Hardev Singh Mattewal was the Advocate General in the Akali Dal-BJP regime in Punjab, the number never crossed 60.

The two new law officers will have a term of just two months, unless extended. One month - June - is the time when the Punjab and Haryana High Court is observing summer vacations.

Yesterday, the government had extended the term of the present team of law officers for another two months, till June 31.

In the meantime, a committee comprising Punjab Chief Secretary J.S. Gill, Advocate- General Harbhagwan Singh, Principal Secretary (Home) Sanjit Kumar Sinha and Principal Secretary (Finance) will carry on with its job of assessing the performance of the present lot.

"But, what will be achieved by it (committee)? It is a common knowledge that many of the law officers who have done virtually nothing in the past 14 months will figure in the new list also as they have powerful backing. Moreover, why is nobody questioning the logic of having such a huge number of law officers when the job can be performed by less than half the number?' asks a law officer.

Sources say that last-minute changes are done every year at the time of finalising of the list of law officers.

When asked to explain the logic behind appointment of new officers, Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh said the choices "are good". "They are competent lawyers," he said about the new entrants.

However, sources said that the two were expected to be there in the list of law officers for the next term also.


High Court
Selection row: Sports Department file
finally brought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 1
The Punjab Government on Tuesday finally brought the file of the Sports Department concerning the recent selection of Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) for submitting it to the high court.

The file had been directed to be submitted to the court by the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy, Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla and Mr Justice Surya Kant during hearing on May 27.

However, on the request of counsel for the government, the time was later extended till May 29.

But, it was only today that the government moved an application before the Vacation Bench of Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla and Mr Justice Surya Kant, stating that it was submitting the file.

Today, after hearing counsel for the government, the Bench directed that the matter be placed before the Chief Justice for orders.

Direction to SSP

The High Court on Tuesday directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, to trace and present in court on Thursday a newly married couple, which is said to have been picked up by the police yesterday night.

The Bench of Mr Justice Surya Kant also ordered that the SSP be present in the court on Thursday if the couple remained untraceable. The SSP will have to explain the steps taken by the police to trace the couple.

These orders were passed during the course of hearing in a habeas corpus, seeking directions to the Patiala police to produce the couple.

Counsel for the petitioner claimed that Harpreet Kaur and Bahadur Sharma married against the wishes of the family of the girl, following which they started receiving threats. The two then moved the High Court seeking protection.

Yesterday, while returning from the court, the two were reportedly detained by the police. The petitioner claimed that the cops intercepted the car in which the two were travelling yesterday after which they were whisked away. Saying that the two could be eliminated at the behest of the girl's family, the petitioner had sought directions to the police to produce them in court.


Residential colonies planned for policemen, says IG
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 1
The Punjab police authorities have drawn up a comprehensive plan to provide houses to policemen throughout the state and initiated work in this direction.

While stating this at a press conference late last evening, Mr Rajinder Singh, Inspector General, Zonal, said the authorities had already purchased 30 acres of land at the cost of Rs 4 crore in Mohali to develop a residential colony.

He added that houses would be provided to policemen of all ranks in the colony. More such colonies would be developed in other districts of the state in a phased manner, he said.

He pointed out that the authorities had also opened schools to provide better education to the wards of policemen. The schools being run by the Punjab police had started to produce good results. A new school, set up in Patiala, was imparting education to 700 students including 500 wards of policemen, he added.

He said a number of schemes had also been launched for the welfare of policemen. Jawans of the Punjab Home Guards would be given an interest-free loan of Rs 5,000 from the Police Welfare Committee Fund, he said.

Earlier, Mr Rajinder Singh held a meeting with members of public to listen their grievances. Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, DC, and Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP. also attended the meeting.


DC orders cleaning of seasonal streams
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 1
Mr B. R. Banga, Deputy Commissioner, said today that as a large number or seasonal streams criss crossing the district were in bad shape, the people living in a number of villages here could suffer heavy losses, including that of human lives, in case heavy rains lashed the area during the monsoon.

Mr Banga, who toured various areas of the district and inspected the streams, pointed out that they required immediate cleaning.

He added that as per officials of Punjab Drainage Department Rs 146 lakh were required for the purpose and the state government was being contacted for getting the same.

He said he had instructed the officials of be Drainage Department to start the cleaning work of all streams digged up for eradication of waterlogging in the area, immediately and the same should be completed before the onset of the monsoon.

He pointed out that he had also instructed the departments concerned to make arrangements for the safety of people in case their areas were flooded during the rainy season. A flood control room had also been set up he added.


Rs 1.88 cr sought to prevent floods

Moga, June 1
The district administration has demanded Rs 1.88 crore from the State Government for anti-flood measures in the district.

Deputy Commissioner G. Ramesh disclosed this after visiting the Dhussi Bundh, along the Sutlej river in the district, along with the senior officials of the Drainage and Canal Department on Sunday. He also inspected various flood protection measures and met villagers living along the Dhussi Bundh, in the Bet area of Dharamkot. — UNI


Two groups of truck operators clash
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Rampura, June 1
A number of truck operators were injured when members of two groups of the local Truck Union exchanged fire and lathi blows and threw stones on each other this evening on the premises of the union.

The clash was going on till the filing of the report. Though a team of the local police reached the spot, the operators kept on exchanging fire, and lathis blows and throwing stone on each other. A number of vehicles, including cars and trucks, were also damaged by the truck operators.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Gurdev Singh, president of the Truck Union and his son Paramjit Singh Sidhu, senior Congress leader, were gheraoed by about 1000 truck operators, including drivers and cleaners of the trucks, while they were sitting in the union office.

To frighten the truck operators, Mr Sidhu allegedly fired into the air and in other directions also. On the other hand, the truck operators, their drivers and cleaners, who were standing outside the union premises, started throwing stones on Mr Gurdev Singh and Mr Sidhu.

Information revealed that tension started building up among the truck operators when a clash took place in a cement factory located near Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), Lehra Mohobbat, over the issue pertaining to the loading of cement bags in trucks. A section of truck operators belonging to Mehraj and other villages of the area, who had floated a new truck union under the banner of the Mehraj Truck Operator Union, alleged that one of their member was allegedly attacked by those, who had been managing the affairs of the Truck Union, Rampura.

Agitated over this happening, hundreds of truck operators belonging to the Mehraj Truck Operator Union reached the premises of the Truck Union, Rampura and raised slogans against the Punjab Government, Mr Gurdev Singh and others.

They were demanding that criminal cases be registered against Mr Gurdev Sidhu and Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhu. They demanded that as a financial scam had already taken place in the union, the affairs of it should be handed over to local administration.

Mr Ajay Maluja, SP (D), who reached the spot, said that police was trying to bring the situation under control. He added that so far it could be known that only two persons were injured in the clash.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhu, when contacted, said he along with his father had been gheraoed by thousands of truck operators. He denied that he or his father was involved in any sort of clash.


Two minors raped
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
Two minor girls of Chuge Kalan and Bhagwangarh villages in the district were allegedly raped in the past three days.

Police sources said a 12-year-old girl of Chuge Khurd village was allegedly raped by two boys living in her neighbourhood on the intervening night of May 28 and 29. A 15-years-old girl of Bhagwangarh villages was allegedly raped by a resident of the Sangria area on May 30.

The sources said the 12-years-old girl was raped by Lal Jit Singh and Giani Singh when she got up during night to answer the call of nature.

The 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped while she was alone in her house during the day. When the accused was raping her, her father reached the house making the accused to flee.

The father of the victim alleged that Hassa Singh, the accused, raped his daughter in connivance with Gurdip Singh and his mother, both residents of Bhagwangarh village.

Two separate cases have been registered.


10 booked on rape charge

Sangrur, June 1
The police has registered a case against 10 persons, including a Railway contractor, a cashier of a bank and a hotel manager, on the charge of raping a girl and threatening her.

She alleged that she had been raped by Diwan Chand, a Railway contractor and his accomplices.

The SSP, following the complaint ordered an inquiry which found Diwan Chand and his accomplices guilty of the charge. — UNI


Eight arrested on charge of robbery
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 1
The Khanauri police has arrested eight persons from Phulad village and recovered a country-made pistol, three cartridges and a stolen motor cycle from them.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, said yesterday on a tip-off the police raided the place and arrested Rajesh Kumar, Sube Singh, Joginder Singh, Jasmer Singh, Naresh Kumar, Karamjit Singh, Ajai Kumar and Baba Bihari Kalua. They hailed from Punjab, Haryana and Bihar, the SSP added.

The SSP claimed iron rods, swords, hammer, motor cycle chains etc were recovered from them.

A case under Sections 25, 54 adn 59 of the Arms Act and Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC was registered against the arrested.


Bir Devinder flays VC on Punjabi language issue
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh, who represents the state government in the Punjabi University Syndicate, today came out openly against the university which proposes to reduce the marks allocated to Punjabi language at the graduation level even as the Punjab Student Union threatened to launch an agitation in the issue.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh when questioned by TNS on the issue, said the university Vice Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai should have taken the Syndicate into confidence once the Board of Studies of the Punjabi department had rejected the proposal. He said instead of doing this the Vice Chancellor called a meeting of the Principals of Colleges affiliated to it yesterday and too their approval for the proposal.

“The Principal’s conference does not have any locus standi to overrule the decision of the Board of Studies”, Mr Birdevinder Singh said adding the decision would have far reaching implications for both the state government and the Congress Party. “The university had unnecessarily given a handle to the opposition”, he said, adding the decision would also embarrass the state government which was hosting the World Punjabi Conference in the Punjabi University in November this year. “What face will we show to the world Punjabi community after such a decision”, he added.

The Deputy Speaker said the move would also hamper the efforts being made by the Punjab government to promote Punjabi in other states of the country and also Pakistan. He said new courses could be introduced in the university colleges but not at the cost of Punjabi language. He said he would fight the move in the Syndicate and also take up the issue with the Chief Minister and the Higher Education Minister. “I cannot even think of betraying my mother tongue. Anyone venturing to do so is capable of any sin”, he added.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Punjab Students Unions, former teachers and other “Punjabi sympathisers” was held in the university campus today. The meeting condemned the resolution passed at the meeting of college principals yesterday and urged the Vice Chancellor not to go ahead with the move.

The meeting decided that in case the university administration did not “see reason”, more organisations would be approached so that a joint agitation could be started to ensure the position of Punjabi was not diluted in any manner in the University. Besides PSU district president Dharminder Patran and vice president Rajinder Singh, others who were present at the meeting included Prof Anup Virk.

The Kendriya Punjabi Lekhak Sabha has also condemned the move to reduce the marks and periods devoted to Punjabi language in colleges affiliated to the Punjabi University. Sabha general secretary Mahenderdeep Grewal while talking to TNS said the sabha would take up the issue with Higher Education Minister Harnam Das Johar and also include this issue in its memorandum which would be submitted to the government after a ‘’dharna’’ at the Matka chowk in Chandigarh on June 21.


Favouritism alleged in Registrar’s appointment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) today alleged that the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, had appointed his relative Dr Param Bakshish Singh as Registrar after cancelling a scheduled interview for it.

The forum president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, claimed that after Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia’s “unceremonious exit”, the post of Registrar had been advertised when Dr N.S. Rattan was the Vice-Chancellor. He said the advertisement which appeared on May 31, 2002, held that a master’s degree with 55 per cent marks was necessary as per UGC rules. He said the interview was fixed for September 20 the same year.

Dr Dhillon said after Mr Boparai took over as Vice-Chancellor in August, 2002, he got the interview cancelled. He said Mr Boparai also appointed his relative Dr Param Bakshish as officiating Registrar after removing Dr K.S. Sidhu who had been appointed for a period of one year after regular selection.

The forum claimed that upon knowing that Dr Bakshish had secured only 53 per cent marks in his master’s degree, the post of Registrar was re-advertised. It said in response to the changed advertisement only three persons from inside the university applied for the job out of which only Dr Bakshish had a score of less than 55 per cent.

Meanwhile, a university spokesman, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, when questioned on the issue, said the university readvertised the post during the tenure of Mr Boparai as it was realised that Dr Sidhu had placed an incomplete advertisement earlier while inviting applications for the post.


Punjabi University signs MoU with Nainital institute
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
Following the suggestion of the UGC for establishing a linkage between universities and national laboratories in research and academic activities, Punjabi University has recently signed an MoU with the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital.

Giving this information, Dr R.C. Verma, Professor and Head, Department of Physics, said the department was the only one in the universities of the northern region which had a 24-inch reflecting telescope used for research in observational astronomy.

The department was running a two-year M.Sc. course in astronomy and space physics.

He added that the signing of the MoU would generate trained manpower in astrophysics and would enhance the growth of teaching and research in astrophysics, providing more opportunities for students and research personnel. Faculty members of the department and scientists from the institute would work for joint research projects in astrophysics and lower atmospheric studies. Scientists from the institute would participate in the teaching programme of astronomy and space physics. 


Sayali launches diploma courses
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
Sayali Bhagat, Femina Miss India World, 2004, visited the city to launch the degree/diploma courses being offered by Annamalai

University in technical collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) here today.

While addressing the gathering Ms Bhagat said that NIFD has provided a unique opportunity to students by introducing a degree course. She further informed that as per the tie-up, the students will have an added advantage of regular training at the local centre of NIFD with equal emphasis being laid on theory and practical orientation. Along with this, fashion shows, exhibitions, seminars, market surveys and interaction with celebrities will also be organised on a regular basis.

Speaking on the occasion, head of the centre Vikram Gupta said that with the launch of new TV channels, the opportunities were coming up for the students to have career in the field of media, glamour and fashion. On the occasion, the students of NIFD also organised an exhibition. Later, Ms Bhagat awarded diploma certificates to the passing batch of the students of NIFD.


UK college delegates visit Phagwara
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 1
A five-member delegation from City College, Birmingham, UK, led by Mr Amrik Singh Sahota, Vice-Chairman of its Board of Governors, visited colleges in and around Phagwara, including Community Polytechnic College, Palahi, and Guru Nanak College, Phagwara, today. The visit aimed at scouting possibilities of a mutually beneficial partnership between the UK college and a Punjab college for furtherance of job-oriented education and community service.

Besides Mr Sahota, other delegates included Mr Snowdon Reid, Director of International Affairs, Ms Rani Uppal, Curriculum Manager (Languages and Cultural Studies), Ms Anne Devany, Director of Curriculum (Academic and Creative), and Ms Manjeet Kumari Lal, marketing in charge.

The delegates said City College was the biggest college in the West Midland and the third biggest in the UK. The team had visited Goa earlier.

Mr Sahota, who hails from Dhaleta village near here, has got the Order of British Empire (OBE) for community services in the UK.


Sarpanches rally behind Bhaddal institute chief
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
In a new twist to the controversy surrounding the Institute of Engineering at Bhaddal, sarpanches of villages around the institute rallied behind Ms Kulwinder Kaur, wife of the former chairman of the institute, Gurcharan Singh. The sarpanches of 14 villages held in a press conference here and alleged that certain political leaders were trying to take control of the institute.

They said they would not allow the trustees accused of murdering Gurcharan Singh enter the institute. To show their solidarity with Ms Kulwinder Kaur, officiating as chairperson of the institute, the villagers would accompany her to the court on June 4, the next date of hearing of the murder case of her husband.


2 HoDs appointed in Punjabi University
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has appointed Dr Satish Kumar Verma Head of the Punjabi Department for three years.

Prof S.S. Tiwana has been appointed Head of the Public Administration Department, according to a press note.

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