P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Health officials see link in Sutlej, diarrhoea cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Health authorities in Punjab are linking the Sutlej — with its dirty froth — to the constant flow of diarrhoea patients in clinics and other health centres in the state. Though they claim it “is too premature to say anything for certain,” at least some of the doctors are trying to establish a connection between the river and the recent spurt in the cases.

They claim that a large number of cases have been reported from slums and colonies in the cities along the river, including Ferozepore, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur. In the absence of “adequate drinking water”, residents are using hand pumps and shallow wells containing contaminated water, resulting in the malady.

Giving details, sources in the Punjab Health Department say tube wells dug by the department are at least 300 feet deep. But as the water table is high in the areas along the river, the residents do not have to bore deep for reaching water.

They add that the possibility of contamination seeping in is more in such cases. The problem, the sources add, is worsened by indiscriminate use of electric pumps. Attached to the hand pumps for constant flow of water, they suck in mud and other stuff, they reveal. Punjab’s Director, Health Services, was not available for comments.

The sources also claim that the “parallel presence of water and sewerage pipes” is largely responsible for the problem in the other areas. In case of leakage due to rusty and weathered pipes, sewage was getting mixed with potable water. The pipes, they assert, had not been replaced.

Otherwise too, in Patiala, Bathinda and some other cities water pipes were actually passing through open drains. A senior officer with the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board says they are looking into the matter.

Local Government Principal Secretary A.K. Dubey has, in the meantime, directed local bodies to launch a special campaign to identify leakages and mixing of water. He has also directed them to provide water through tankers in case of sample failure.

Refuting the reports of deaths due to gastroenteritis, Deputy Director S.K. Bansal says, “Cases of stomach upset and vomiting in summers are not uncommon due to water shortage and its rising demand”. The situation, he asserts, is not at all alarming.

The sources in his office reveal that over 3,300 patients with diarrhoea have so far visited different hospitals and dispensaries all over the state since January. But so far there has been no confirmed case of gastroenteritis. The recent deaths in Ferozepore also have nothing to do with the disease. Some of the patients were indulging in self medication. Others did not go to hospitals, so nothing can be said for certain, they say.

As a precautionary measure, control rooms have been set up in all districts and the authorities are carrying out house-to-house surveillance in sensitive areas. Civil Surgeons are also reportedly holding meetings with the Deputy Commissioners. Detailed reports have been sought from sensitive areas.

They add that the residents in any case should be maintaining proper health and hygiene, besides using drinking water cooled after boiling it. Chlorine tablets, available free of cost at dispensaries, can also be mixed. One tablet is enough for 20 litres of water. Washing hands before consuming food is also essential, they advise.

Meanwhile, Health and Family Welfare Minister R.C. Dogra has instructed the health authorities to ensure strict vigil by the functionaries in the filed. Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill, along with Health and Family Welfare Secretary D.S. Guru, also reviewed the situation.


Gastro death toll rises to seven

Ferozepore, June 4
The death toll due to suspected gastroenteritis has risen to seven in and around this border city even as more and more people were today rushed to various hospitals.

Two more victims, who died overnight, have been identified as Shanti Devi and Manohar Lal. Six teams of doctors have been constituted to oversee the situation arising out due to outbreak of the disease.

Local BJP MLA Sukhpal Singh Nanu had yesterday threatened to immolate himself in front of the Municipal Council office if the government did not take immediate and effective measures to check the spread of disease which has caused panic in the city. He has demanded suspension of the council and appointment of an administrator in place of its woman president Nirmal Kaur Sahota in view of the total failure of the civic body to perform its duty to the people. — UNI


Bluestar anniversary
Speeches may decide attitude towards Cong
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4
The tone and tenor of the speeches, likely to be delivered by Sikh leaders, especially by Jathedar of Akal Takht on June 6 to mark the 20th anniversary of Operation Bluestar would determine the approach of the Sikh Panth towards the Congress, which has earned the goodwill of the Sikh masses by appointing Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister of the country.

Apart from honouring family members of slain militants, including Maj-Gen Shabeg Singh, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Bhai Amrik Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht is likely to serve an ultimatum to the Central government to hand over invaluable articles and books of the Sikh Reference Library, which was ruined during the operation in June 1984.

This is for the first time that the Jathedar of Akal Takht has written personal letters to representatives of various Sikh organisations to participate in the 20th anniversary of Operation Bluestar at Akal Takht and Dewan Hall. Though the agenda of the meeting of Sikh clergy, proposed to be held here tomorrow, is to issue a model of conduct for the forthcoming SGPC elections, the high priests would give final touches to the “message” proposed to be delivered by the Jathedar in the name of the Khalsa Panth.

Representatives of various Sikh organisations are likely to criticise the SGPC for not raising any memorial for Operation Bluestar even after two decades, though a resolution in this regard was passed by the general House.

Mr Sartaj Singh, secretary general, Sikh Students Federation, said his federation would launch an agitation to get back the invaluable items taken by the Army during the Operation in June 1984. Mr Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, a spokesman of the Dal Khalsa said that it was a great concern that Parliament had not apologised for the Army operation so far.

Under secretary, Ministry of Home (Central government) has admitted that certain invaluable items of the Sikh Reference Library and Golden Temple were handed over to one Mr Mohan Singh, Museum Curator Punjab Government. Giving details, the Under Secretary stated that there were 52 historical items which were handed over on September 13, 1984. These were handed over by the Board in the presence of the SGPC and the Punjab government representatives. some of the precious gold and jewellery were handed over to officiating Treasury Officer on June 13, 1984. these comprised gold, precious stones, pearls and silver items. However, the CBI, in its note stated that certain seditious items were destroyed.

The SGPC secretary, Mr Dalmegh Singh, has sought the intervention of the Punjab Government to release and return the manuscripts, rare books on Sikh religion and other valuable articles recovered from the Sikh Reference Library and Toshakhana situated in Golden Temple Complex to the SGPC at the earliest.

In a communication to the Advocate-General Punjab, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, he referred to the judgement of the Civil Writ Petition No.11301 of 2003, delivered by Mr Justice Binod Kumar Roy, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, on April 26 last. The court has advised the Punjab Government to hand over those articles to the SGPC at the earliest. Mr Dalmegh Singh stated that in their reply submitted to the court, the Union Home Ministry and the CBI officials admitted that certain valuable items and documents were handed over to their respective authorities by the Army, which were recovered from the Golden Temple complex during Operation Bluestar. These items included gold and gold ornaments, silver and silver ornaments, precious stones, pearls, coins, currency etc. and about 4000 documents (manuscripts and books).


20-year wait by Galiara scheme sufferers
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 4
Operation Bluestar and the Galiara beautification scheme have snatched the livelihood of more than 400 persons. More than 20,000 members of their families became their indirect victims.

The hefty files of correspondence carried by Mr S.S. Uppal, Chairman of Galiara Grievances Committee, and Mr Manjit Singh and Mohan S. Gandhi, President and General Secretary, Bluestar Tenant Merchant Sufferers Association, bear a mute testimony to their plight. Manjit (81) had a big showroom as a thread wholesaler. Today he sells refreshments and cold drinks.

However, Operation Bluestar victims whose shops were reduced to a rubble in direct line of fire are the worse sufferers. As many as 133 shops, 15 godowns, nine stores were enlisted to have been completely damaged. None of these tenants and merchants were given any alternative place or compensations, they say.

Rashpal Singh who was the owner of a big showroom can be seen selling “datan” (indigenous tree twig tooth brush) on a roadside near Golden Temple. Recently, the municipal corporation removed all roadside vendors-from the area, rendering him jobless.

Six years ago two of the victims reportedly committed suicide. Harjinder Singh, a readymade garment wholesaler, jumped into the Golden Temple sarovar. Another victim, Parkash Chand, too committed suicide.

The plight of Jaspal Singh is pitiable. Once a known name in selling “parandis” and other ethnic Punjabi wear, he now asks for loans of Rs 20 to 30 from mohalla residents. His wife left him after he lost his shop. He is now being treated for depression by Dr J.P. Singh.

Manjit Singh had a dupatta shop while Mohan S. Gandhi sold readymade garments. Today both make a living by sell the items door to door. In 1998 the government wake up to their plight and assured them that they would be brought on a par with beneficiaries of the galiara scheme but all is forgotten .

Meanwhile, many who were displaced after the Union Government sought to decongest surroundings of Golden Temple and acquired land around it to beautify, sanitise and rationalise traffic and to provide foolproof cover against regrouping of anti-national elements under galiara scheme (corridor scheme around Golden Temple) remain unsettled even 20 years after their dislocation .

They could not resettle at other places as their sale items were temple-based. The bazaars of Mai Sewan, Muniara, Chowk Darbar Sahib, Sarai Guru Ram Dass, Gali Bagh Wali, Gali Fateh Bagian are the worst-affected. Though owners of shops were paid compensations or given alternative sites tenants and Traders dealing in hosiery, horse accessories, Sikh religious symbols, “pappar-varian”, temple-related stationary, general merchants, grocers, footwear could not resettle their businesses at the areas new place.

Today only a handful of galiara oustees own shops in markets like Pink Plaza, IDH, Golden Market, Green Plaza. They numerous meetings with Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi, I.K. Gujral, Chief Ministers Beant Singh, Harcharan Singh Brar, Parkash Singh Badal, provided no redressal to their grievances.

“Popular governments have been apathetic since we are not a formidable vote bank”, says Mr Uppal, who is also a former general secretary of the district Congress . He demands soft loans of Rs 5 lakh, at less than 4 per cent interest. Re-identify aggrieved whose fate has been sealed since 1991 when the then Chief Secretary closed the matter under pressure from some officers, he says.

Ten persons, including Surinder, Manohar and Billa Mal have not been allotted alternative shops till date.

Most of these sufferers have reached their early 70s but life for them have stood still since that fateful day on June 6, 20 years ago as many of them are barely able to fend for their families.


KMC wants PM to apologise for Operation Bluestar

Amritsar, June 4
The Khalra Committee (KMC) demanded an apology from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for Operation Bluestar before he pays obeisance at the Golden Temple. The committee took exception to BBC telecasting Operation Bluestar.

Mr Harmandeep Singh Sarhali and Mr Virsa Singh Behla chairman and vice-chairman of the KMC, respectively, stated that the programme was biased as it showed Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a “terrorist” and justified Army action in the telecast. OC


SGPC seeks return of books, valuables
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 4
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Secretary, Mr Darshan Singh, has sought the intervention of the Punjab government for the return of the manuscripts, rare books on Sikh religion and other valuable articles seized by the government during Operation Bluestar in 1984 which were taken from the Sikh Reference Library and Toshakhana situated in the Golden Temple Complex.

In a communication to the Advocate-General Punjab, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, he referred to the judgement on the Civil Writ Petition No. 11301 of 2003, of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Binod Kumar Roy, on April 26 and the court directed Punjab government to hand those articles back to SGPC.


Bathinda to elect 8 SGPC members
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 4
Eight candidates will be elected from six constituencies for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in this district. As many as 338 polling booths will be set up for voting in the district. This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Returning Officer, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, in a press note issued here today.

He said all arrangements had been made for the polling. As many as 2,67,800 voters would be able to exercise their franchise.

The ADC (Development) would be the Returning Officer (RO) for the Bhagta constituency, SDM, Rampuraphul, for the Rampuraphul constituency, SDM, Bathinda for the Bathinda (double) constituency, District Revenue Officer for the Baluana constituency, SDM, Talwandi Sabo, for Talwandi Sabo (double) constituency and the DTO, Bathinda, will be the RO for the Mour constituency.

Nominations papers could be filed with the RO concerned up to June 8. The papers would be examined on June 11.

Mr Sinha said the list of the eligible candidates would be published on June 22 and the list of the polling stations the next day. The results would be declared on July 15 after the polling on July 11.


Crises galore as govt tries to come out of
poll debacle
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
There are crises galore as the Congress government in Punjab is trying to put behind the debacle it suffered in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

A snub by the Supreme Court on the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, failure to get the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections postponed, dissensions within the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), worsening fiscal health of the State and an unsavoury controversy over denying Punjabi its due in Punjabi University, Patiala, are some of the major crises facing the state.

Capping it all is the “secret probe panel” of the All-India Congress Committee, which has been camping here, interacting with a cross section of people, to assess their mood and views about the “popularity” of the present government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh. The team comprising retired civil servants will submit its report to the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, soon.

Unmindful of these crises, many of the members of the Council of Ministers of the state are away to the hills for a holiday, while a few others are planning to follow them in the cool environs of either Himachal Pradesh or Uttaranchal before the Budget session starts on June 14. But the Apex Court verdict has come as a spoil sport for them.

Before the verdict came this morning, the Civil Secretariat was active as the Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, fired a three-page salvo to the Chief Minister camping in Himachal Pradesh, that in case the issue of step motherly treatment to Punjabi in Punjabi University, Patiala, came up for discussion on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during the Budget session, it would not only be difficult but impossible for him, like others committed to their mother tongue, to defend the state on the subject.

Though the state government came out with a three paragraph Press note claiming that following an assurance given by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.S. Boparai, to the Chief Minister, “the issue as raised in the media, is finally settled, with no controversy at all.”

The Punjab government is committed to the overall development and promotion of Punjabi language and any move of Punjabi University, Patiala, to curtail the syllabi, course contents and marks of Punjabi paper at the graduation level would not be allowed to happen, the note said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was fully seized of the matter. Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, has assured the Chief Minister that there would not be any change in the syllabus as well as the total allotted marks of Punjabi.

In his letter, Mr Bir Devinder Singh had quoted from the statute book about the objective behind starting Punjabi University and the concerted efforts in elbowing out Punjabi, the official language of the state, from the curriculum of the university in a gradual manner.

While assurance by the Chief Minister on Punjabi may subsidise the language controversy, other crises continue to pose a major challenge to the government. The SYL issue has come to the centre stage which has provided a lever to the Opposition, especially the Shiromani Akali Dal, to put the ruling party on the defensive.

Not only that in neighbouring Haryana, where the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) got its worst drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, the Apex Court verdict has provided the much needed relief. It has infused fresh life into the INLD as the party claims to have championed the case of farmers of the state triumphantly.


Generations fed on hatred: Pak writer
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 4
Generations of Pakistani youth have been fed on hatred for India through textbooks that taught enmity right from the primary stage for “Hind, Hindu and Hindustani”, revealed eminent Pakistani writer Ahmad Salim.

Talking to this correspondent here today, along with well-known Gandhian Nirmala Deshpandey, former MP and Rajya Sabha member, also chairperson of the South-Asia Peace Movement, Salim said: “Textbooks in Pakistan indoctrinated the hate-India message as a cardinal principal in all schools.”

As president of the peace movement’s Pakistan chapter, Salim said: “We prefer Hindustan and Pakistan instead of more kabaristans”.

He said their small efforts as activists of a political party, the Awami National Movement, for peace between the two neighbours in the sixties were viewed with suspicion by the military regimes that gave them lathis and jail. Today they were happy that their efforts were bearing fruit and they stood vindicated.

The writer said they were now making efforts to pressurise the government to rewrite the history books to present the real history without the “stench of enmity”.

Appreciating the people-to-people exchange, he said: “It is only now that reality has dawned on the Pakistan public, who have been fed for years on a diet of hatred.”

Ms Deshpandey, who has been instrumental in pushing the exchange of members of Parliament, reacting to the forthrightness of the Pakistani writer, said when people of the two countries met they realised the lies their governments had fed them. She gave several examples of Muslim Gandhians in India who had worked tirelessly for peace with Pakistan.

She said distorting history to suit political interests was a serious wrong that took years to rectify.

She demanded that people above 60 years of age should be allowed to cross borders without visa. The regulations should also be eased for youth exchange.

An interaction with the two personalities was organised by Mr Talwinder Singh, president, Janwadi Lehak Sangh, and Mr Ramesh Yadav, secretary of the Folklore Research Society, today.


Cong leader involved in sex scandal
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
In a major embarrassment for the Congress government in the state, a Youth Congress leader, who is close to a sitting Congress MLA, has been found to be involved in a sex scandal busted by the local police. A senior official of the Police Department is also said to be involved but no action has been taken so far against him

The Youth Congress leader, Mr Parminder Kumar Kukkar, and a millionaire rice mill owner, Mr Vimal Kumar, both of Jalalabad town in Ferozepore district have been arrested by the Division No 5 police in a raid on City Heart hotel on Wednesday night. The girl caught with the duo has been identified as Heena of Delhi.

The Congress leader once used to run a canteen in Kisan Bhavan in Chandigarh.

The police kept the matter under wraps until today afternoon when the three were brought to the Civil Hospital for medical examination. They were later presented before a district judge who remanded them to judicial custody.

While the three have been booked under the Immoral Trafficking Act, no action has been taken against a gazetted police officer who had allegedly got the room booked for the three accused. No senior official was even willing to discuss his role in the case.

It has been reliably learnt that a police team led by Inspector Anil Joshi and Inspector Rattan Singh Brar had raided the hotel.

The raiding team, interestingly, did not include any official from the Kotwali police station under whose jurisdiction the hotel is located.

After the raid, a number of politicians and police officials worked overtime to protect the accused as well as the senior police official. However, the local police officials stuck to their stand and went ahead with the registration of the case.


MC can cancel deed with temple body, say legal experts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 4
Legal experts of the local Municipal Corporation opine that the corporation here has “every right to cancel the lease deed with the Durgiana Temple management in which the latter had allegedly violated terms and conditions of the land, measuring 972.32 sq yrd, leased out to it to build a primary school.”

It was alleged that the temple management had started the construction of nine shops on the land meant for school for poor children, thus violating the lease agreement.

However, Mr Surinder Arjun, working president of the temple management, denied flouting the lease agreement and said they were committed to building the educational institute (primary school) for which they were trying to create funds and that they had got it unanimously approved from the Municipal Corporation House.

According to legal experts, “the commissioner had recommended to cancel the lease deed after getting the letter from the government on this issue of alleged violation”.

However, the legal experts denied any connivance of the authorities of the corporation in the construction.

“In fact, the local government was apprised of the factual position of the case on February 13, this year, and the government in its memo on March 12 had “stayed” the resolution that grained sanction to raise these commercial shops at the site in dispute,” they added.

The Commissioner, Mr K.S. Kang, admitted the same.

The experts admitted that “the construction of shops at the site in dispute is specifically against and in violation of terms and conditions of the lease deed dated May 6, 2002.” According to the lease deed, the land was given for 25 years on an annual rent of Rs 15,000.

Consequently, a notice was issued to the temple management under the Punjab Municipal Act, 1976. A demolition too was ordered but it could not be carried out fearing law and order problem on account of the matter being sensitive.

“Since the construction was not by an individual but by the tacit understanding of officials of the temple committee, it gave rise to reasonable apprehensions that demolition may take a religious and political colour,” the legal experts opined.

However, they stated that an application on the issue was tabled in the municipal House without the knowledge of corporation officials. “It was raised by a councillor and strongly recommended by an MLA”, they added.

Mr Surinder Arjun strongly refuted this and said the agenda item in the House meeting was not only taken up with the knowledge of corporation officials but also with their absolute support.


Dharna by MC employees
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 4
The spat between Congress Councillor Brij Bhushan Parbhakar and a Municipal Workers’ Union leader Ms Surjit Kaur today became serious as municipal employees started a dharna in front of Nagar Council’s office demanding action against the Councillor, who the protesters alleged, had misbehaved with their leader, The Councillor denied it. The protesters threatened to intensify their stir.

The protesters held a rally which was addressed by Mr Jagtar Singh, president, Phagwara Nagar Council Karamchari Union, Ms Surjit Kaur, its General Secretary, Mr Ram Murti, President, Nagar Council Safai Karamchari Union. The leaders demanded that the Councillor be removed from his office for misbehaving with the woman union leader. The Councillor demanded suspension of Surjit Kaur. He has the support of other councillors who threatened resign if action was not taken against the union leader.

Nagar Council President Malkiat Singh Ragbotra’s, efforts to break the deadlock had been futile. Even SDM Pritam Singh’s efforts also failed to resolve the issue.

Deadlock started on June 1 when the Council was holding a meeting to grant seven-day salary to octroi staff. The meeting resolved to give seven days salary, instead of six days to the octroi staff. It also agreed to give arrears 40 lakh in four instalments. The Council had passed a resolution in 2002 to pay five plus one day’s salary to octroi staff from 1999.


Lobbying on for Gymkhana poll
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 4
Intense lobbying for top posts has started gripping the Gymkhana members as the date of elections, scheduled to be held on June 13 after a period of three years, is drawing near.

Proposed candidates have started lobbying for different slots and vying with each other to win the vote and support of members.

The poll is likely to witness a contest between two groups, even as there is a possibility of the emergence of a third front also. The two main groups in the contest are the Lala-Gora group, headed by Mr Yash Pal Mittal, and the Dr Pawan Gupta, Dr H.S. Maan group. There are four posts of office-bearers. The executive members will also be elected. The last date for filing nominations is June 5.

For the post of senior vice-president, the contest is likely to be among Mr Yash Pal Mittal, Mr Vijay Sehgal and Dr H.S. Maan, while for the secretaryship of the club, Ms Satish Thakur Gora and Mr Pawan Gupta are likely to vie with each other. For the post of joint secretary, Mr Harminder Kaka, Mr Maninder Shergill, Mr Anil Sehgal and Mr Rampal Thakur could try their luck and the post of treasurer could witness a contest among Mr Parvin Gupta, Mr Vinod Hastir, Mr Lala Ram Lal Thakur and Mr A.S. Ghai.

The Lala-Gora group is learnt to have finalised the names of Dr Mandip Sethi, Dr Hardip Oberoi, Mr Surinder Khullar and Mr M.P. Singh.

Those intending to contest the poll have already started approaching voters through meetings held in the evening.


Police draws flak for inaction
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 4
Three physically challenged persons, including a married woman, admitted to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital on Wednesday are waiting for action by the police against those who attacked them. Sources said that Chander Kumar son of Jain Kumar of Azeemgarh was coming in a wheel chair. A boy hit polio-hit Chander on head with a pipe.

Mrs Krishna Devi also a physically challenged woman was attacked by some persons in her parent’s house in street 8 of Nai Abadi here. Neighbours saved her as she shouted for help and alleged that the attackers were hired by her in-laws to harass her. A report was lodged with the police. Virender Kumar son of Vijay Kumar a shopkeeper on the Hanumangarh road was attacked with a soda water bottle when he demanded payment of cigarettes from motorcyclists on Wednesday. The police was informed. The police simply said efforts were on to nab miscreants.

Meanwhile the police arrested Ranjan Handa alias Toti for alleged unlawful activities. Residents early held a demonstration before the police station demanding Toti’s arrest. The SDM later released him on bail. The Mohalla Sudhar Sabha at a meeting last night expressed concern over threat to peace of residents. The meeting expressed determination to fight anti-social elements. The meeting regretted that the police had abandoned patrolling and adopted evasive attitude to the activities of anti-social activist.


Agro factory workers seek reinstatement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 4
A large number of men and women, led by Dr Joginder Dayal, state unit secretary of the CPI, took out a protest march from the CPI office to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, here today.

They were demanding reinstatement of over 400 workers of Oswal Agro Furane Limited, Bhasor (near Dhuri), in the mill, which is now owned by the management of KRBL Limited. They also demanded the release of more than 300 workers and their sympathisers from the jail. They raised slogans against the administration and the police.

The protesters also held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner. Prominent among those who participated in the rally included Dr Joginder Dayal, Mr Bant Singh Brar, general secretary of the Punjab AITUC, Mr Baldev Singh, district secretary of the CPI, Mr Mukhtiar Singh, district president of the AITUC, Mr Avinash Sharma, working president of the district unit of the AITUC; Mr Achhra Singh, ex-CPI MLA, and Ms Kulwinder Begum, district general secretary of the Punjab Istri Sabha.

Later, they submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Deputy Commissioner.

Dr Joginder Dayal criticised the civil and police administration for their alleged “high-handedness “against the agitating workers. He also demanded the suspension of the Dhuri SDM and the Dhuri DSP for their alleged role in “tearing” of the red flag put up by the workers in front of the mill, and abusing workers.


10-day camp for disabled begins
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 4
A 10-day summer camp organised by the District Red Cross Society for mentally and visually challenged children started here today.

Inaugurating the camp, Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum Chairman of the society, said more than 30 children would be taught toy-making, painting, photography, music and dance, apart from being involved sports activities to develop their inner self.

He also disclosed that with the collaboration of the Central Government, the society had also undertaken a project for the development of mentally and physically challenged children here on the Faridkot-Kotkapura road. The project would be completed in two months at a cost over Rs 1 crore. It would help more than 300 children.

The Deputy Commissioner distributed tricycles, hearing aids and wheelchairs among 50 persons besides Rs 2.35 lakh as stipend for dress designing and computer trainees who completed their courses recently from the institution run by the society.


Two die due to heatwave

Hoshiarpur, June 4
Two persons died due to intense heatwave in this district during the past 24 hours.

According to police sources, Daljit Singh of Palahi village under the Sadar police station died while working in his fields last evening, while Pritam Singh (75) of Bhura village under the Talwara police station died near the city Kotwali today. — UNI


Council’s senior vice-president joins fast
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 4
Ms Amarjeet Kaur, senior vice-president, Mansa Nagar Council, sat on fast here today for putting pressure on the authorities concerned for providing adequate water supply, proper sanitation, maintenance of roads and to rationalise house tax.

A number of municipal councillors have already been sitting on the fast for the past couple of days. Among others, a student leader Khushpret Sandhu also joined them today.


Vij files plea in Sessions Court
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 4
A day after the dismissal of his bail application by the Ludhiana’s Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sheetal Vij, a Jalandhar-based industrialist, who is accused of evading customs duty, filed an application before the Sessions Judge, Mr Baldev Singh, seeking bail, here today.

The judge entrusted the bail application to the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik. Mr Kaushik adjourned the hearing for June 7, directing officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to bring record on the fixed date. A bail application filed by co-accused Ravinder Jain would also come up for hearing on the same date.


Farmers submit memorandum

Amritsar, June 4
A large number of farmers from all over the district, including activists of the Jamhuri Kisan Sabha and the Border Sangharsh Committee, today held a protest march and presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, the Chief Engineer, PSEB, and the Canal Department authorities in support of their demands.

Addressing a gathering, the district president of the sangharsh committee, Mr Nazar Singh, urged the government to provide electricity and water free of cost and minimum support price for Rs 760 per quintal of rice to the farmers. — OC


Inside Babudom
Gupta in DGP’s saddle
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The dust of controversy is beginning to settle down, finally. In just over a week after Punjab’s Director-General of Police A.A. Siddiqui proceeded on leave, senior-most police officer R.K. Gupta has been placed in the saddle. The additional charge — initially handed over to 1974-batch IPS officer Mohammad Izhar Alam — has been taken away.

The reversal of fortunes — if the term can be used for an additional charge — follows verbal representations by a large number of senior police officers, including Additional Directors-General of Police (ADGPs). When contacted, 1969-batch officer Gupta refused to talk about the issue.

It all started with the government’s decision to hand over the charge to ADGP Izhar Alam, even though he was low on the seniority list compared to some other police officers.

Though none of the affected police officers were willing to comment on the issue because of obvious reasons, they said on the condition of anonymity that the reason behind the issuance of the order was “beyond anyone’s comprehension”. They also alleged discrimination adding that the order had only widened the gulf between the DGP and the ADGPs.

Most of the ADGPs, affected by the direction, felt that the order was not only arbitrary and illogical, but also problematic. For instance, an order passed by the government made it mandatory for senior police officers to take permission from the DGP before leaving the state.

Now, most of the senior police officers felt it was not only embarrassing, but also humiliating, for them to approach an officer junior to them for taking permission to leave the state.

This was not all. Several police officers also insisted that the very idea of attending meetings in ADGP Izhar Alam’s office was not comfortable.

This, they added, was in fact the prime reason behind the submission of their representation.

A senior officer in Punjab government, when contacted, claimed that the order had been passed by mistake.

“The government rectified it as soon as it was brought to the notice of the authorities concerned”, he added.

Going into the background, he said the DGP attended office on May 28. The next two days were holidays. The “mistake” was rectified on May 31 —the next working day.


Probe sought into functioning of municipal council
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, June 4
Seven municipal councillors (MCs) of the local municipal council have alleged that crores of rupees have been siphoned off by a section of those “who mattered most” in its running during the past five years. They demanded a CBI or a Vigilance Bureau probe into the running of the council after sealing its official records.

The seven councillors in letters written to Prime Minister, Governor and Chief Minister, Punjab and DGP, Punjab, alleged that crores of rupees had been embezzled in running the affairs of the municipal council in the execution of civil works, laying and paving of roads, provision of street-lights and sanitation works in the town during the past few years.

They alleged that moveable and immovable assets of the council had been sold off at throwaway prices.

They pointed out that the records of the municipal council if sealed immediately and then scanned by the team of the CBI or the Vigilance Bureau would reveal the large-scale bunglings that had taken place.

Meanwhile, Mr Mohan Singh Matta, president, Municipal Council, denied the allegations levelled by a section of municipal councillors, alleging that some vested interests, including a journalist, were trying to extract money from him by indulging in mud-slinging. He added that anybody could check any record of the municipal council any time. The affairs of the municipal council were being run as per the norms and in a transparent manner.


Ropar DC asks for NoC for housing corpn land
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 4
The Ropar Deputy Commissioner has asked for an NoC from various government departments concerned in connection with the acquisition of land in Kharar and Khoonimajra village for the Punjab Police Housing Corporation (PPHC).

The PPHC has planned to develop a housing colony for serving and retired government servants, including police officers in Kharar.

The government is in the process of acquiring land in this regard.

The government is planning to acquire over 215 acres for the housing project. Of the 215 acres, 73 acre. 7 kanal and 19 marla fall in Khoonimajra village while 139, 3 kanal and 1 marla fall in Kharar.

In a letter written to various government departments concerned, a copy of which was also sent to the office of the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, the Ropar Deputy Commissioner has asked the authorities concerned to provide the NoC within 10 days.

Details about the khasra numbers, site plan had also been sent along with the letter.

In the letter it has been mentioned that the NoC should be sent after a thorough inspection of the land that was to be acquired. The DC has asked officials concerned to check whether any religious structure like a gurdwara, a mandir or a masjid existed on the land and also to see if any type of cremation ground was there.

They have also been asked to check whether any property belonging to the Wakf Board existed on the land that was to be acquired. It was also to be seen whether any part of the land in question had been declared surplus under law and how much of the land that was to be acquired fell under municipal limits. How many persons had land holdings less than five standards acres was also to be checked.

It is learnt that the SDM has directed the tehsildar to submit a report providing the necessary information in connection with the aforesaid points at the earliest.

However, the local Municipal Council is against the move of the government of acquiring more than 215 acres for the PPHC.

It had called a special meeting last month to discuss the issue. The House had unanimously opposed the move of the government on the ground that the land that the government was planning to acquire fell within the municipal limits.

The House said that people had constructed houses in the area after getting their plans approved from the civic body. Moreover, the council had also carried out some development activity in the area.


Retd SP to probe awards list tampering
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4
Guru Nanak Dev University has appointed Mr Apar Singh Bajwa, retired Superintendent of Police, to conduct an inquiry into the alleged tampering of the awards list during table-marking of MA ( Punjabi) papers.

Dr R.S. Bawa , Registrar of the university, said the inquiry officer had been asked to complete the work at the earliest . He said though the preliminary inquiry had clearly indicated that changes were made in the lists, the truth would come out only after a thorough inquiry.

He appreciated the officials of the university who had brought the alleged tampering to his notice. The inquiry was likely to ascertain whether the answer sheets belonged to a particular college where examiners were teaching.


Dr Sawinder Singh is Director, Animal Husbandry
Tribune News Service

Dr Sawinder SinghChandigarh, June 4
Dr Sawinder Singh, Joint Director, Animal Husbandry, was today promoted and appointed Director, Animal Husbandry , Punjab. He was earlier working as Chief Executive Officer, Punjab Livestock Development Board, besides Director-cum- Warden , Department of Fisheries.


3 booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 4
The police here has booked three persons, including husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law of Sunita Kumari, a resident here, for subjecting her to cruelty for, dowry, under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code.

The victim stated that she married Rajiv Kumar on August 9, 2002, at Pathankot according to Hindu rites. She also stated that her parents had given her sufficient dowry.

The accused — Santosh Kumari, mother-in-law, Tilak Raj, father-in-law, and her husband were not satisfied with the dowry, she alleged.

They allegedly maltreated the complainant and demanded Rs 2 lakh in cash and one Santro car. Rupees 1 lakh was given on May 6 last year but even then the accused demanded more and finally turned her away on May 28 last year. Since then she had been residing with her parents.

A complaint was lodged by the victim with the SP here and after an inquiry a case was registered against the accused.


Man robbed of Rs 4.9 lakh
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 4
Four youths robbed a money-exchanger of Rs 4.9 lakh in Tashpur area at Shahkot near here today.

The incident occurred in the morning. Mr Sanjiv Kumar, money-exchanger, was going to Lohia on his motor cycle. When he reached near Tashpur, four youths attacked him. They were following him on two motor cycles, the police said. After throwing chilly powder in the victims eyes, the accused ran away with Rs 4.9 lakh which Sanjiv was carrying in a bag.

The victim is a son of BJP’s rural wing president Tarsem Mittal. He said two of the accused were also having knives. A case has been registered at the Sultanpur Lodhi police station.


Another intrusion in girls’ hostel
Tribune Reporters

Faridkot, June 4
Even as the dust raised by an incident pertaining to intrusion of a stranger in the girls’ hostel of the local Guru Gobind Singh Medical College on May 21 is yet to settle down, another person entered the hostel and made derogatory remarks against residents despite the presence of a police post on the premises.

While nearly 30 girls students left the hostel after the May 22 incident, the rest of the residents today left the hostel fearing threat to their lives.

This is the fourth incident in the past three months. Earlier, on March 21 a man entered the interns’ hostel of the college and scared a student. Another person intruded into the nursing hostel on May 19 and tried to attack one of the residents.

The residents along with classmates today held a press conference. They alleged that policemen were drunk and failed to arrest the suspect. They said the police also failed to arrest the attacker in the May 21 case.

The students, who had been on strike since May 22, called off the stir after the Medical Education and Research Minister, Mr Santokh Singh, and the district police authorities assured them that foolproof security arrangements would be made in the hostel.

The students said the authorities concerned were trying to curb their protest, which they had been launched against the college authorities, the administration and the police.

They alleged that nearly 40 nursing students had been forced to leave the hostel by the college authorities to punish them for their action of joining the strike launched by MBBS students after the May 21 incident.

They alleged that so far neither the inquiry had been conducted into the incident nor anyone from the staff had been held guilty for showing laxity while making security arrangements.

Meanwhile, parents said the college management had failed to provide security to the hostel residents.


Nobel Prize winners’ books to be translated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 4
A meeting of the standing committee of the Punjabi Language Development Department, Punjabi University, was held under the chairmanship of Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, here today.

Giving this information, Dr Dhanwant Kaur, head of the department, said 65 new projects were given approval in which 14 Nobel Prize-winners’ books would be translated into Punjabi and history of Punjabi literature would be compiled in English in five volumes. Work on comprehensive history of Indian and Pakistani literature was also approved at the meeting. It was also decided to hold a workshop to translate “Rigveda” and to enhance the remuneration to be paid to eminent writers for the academic work.

Among others who attended the meeting were Dr Jagtar Singh Grewal, Dr Surjit Patar, Dr Bikram Singh Ghuman, Mr Gulzar Singh Sandhu, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol, Dr Surjit Singh Dhillon, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Dr Ranjit Kaur Kapoor, Dr Satish Kumar Verma, Dr Amritpal Kaur and Dr Param Bakhshish Singh, Registrar of Punjabi University.

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