P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Panthic Morcha announces 47 candidates for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
Announcing nomination of 47 candidates for the SGPC poll, the Panthic Morcha leadership today decried the alleged mal-administration of the SGPC, dominance of the “RSS inspired” Sikh leadership and proliferation of the “state sponsored” anti Panthic gurudoms in and outside Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, former Akal Takht jathedars Bhai Ranjit Singh and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, former MP Dhian Singh Mand, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, Charan Singh Lohara and Mr Partap Singh, said the maladies which gripped a section of the Sikh leadership had anguished Sikhs.They also alleged that none of the candidates announced by the SAD (Badal) fulfilled norms specified in the code of conduct for the SGPC poll announced by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti.

The morcha also announced nomination of 47 of its candidates for the poll and they included: Mr Sukhev Singh Doad (Faridkot), Gurmail Singh Aulakh (Kotkapura), Narinder Kaur Nawan Kila (Kotkapura-women), Harpal Singh Dalsinghwala (Jaitu), Avtaar Singh (Jaitu-SC), Baljinder Singh Bhairupa (Rampura Phul), Karamjit Kaur Rathode (Bathinda-women), Harpal Singh (Balluana), Kehar Singh Rathode (Talwandi Sabo), Gurtej Singh (Maur), Kaur Singh Khara (Mansa), Mukhtiar Singh Todarpur, Nabha, Randhir Singh Rakhra (Bhadson), Bachan Singh Safeda (Dakala), Prof. Mohinder Singh (Patiala city), Amaninder Singh Kang (Rajpura), Jarnail Singh Hussainpur (Balachaur), Tarlochan Singh Dapalpur (Nawanshahr), Master Jagir Singh (Shimla), Dr Ajaib Singh, Yamunanagar), Mehan Singh Karaiwala (Gidderbaha), Pritam Singh Kauni, Doda, Karamjit Singh (Doda-SC), Paramjit Kaur Madaka (Mukatsar-women), Gurbhej Singh, (Abohar), Jagrup Singh Chimnewala (Fazilka), Gurdip Singh Bukkanwala (Mamdot), Jaskaran Singh, Jalalabad, Balbir Kaur Tibikalan (Mamdot-women), Master Gurdial Singh (Ferozepur), Sukhpal Singh Bhangu (Talwandi Bhai), Mahinderjit Singh (Zira), Master Pal Singh (Zira-SC), Boota Singh Ransinhke (Nihalsinghwla), Gurpreet Singh, Baghapurana, Angrez Kaur, (Baghapurana-women), Bir Singh (Adampur), Jagir Singh Wadala (Kapurthala), Mohan Singh Bal (Bhulath), Varinder Singh Bains (Hoshairpur), Jagjit Singh Bela (Anandpur Sahib), Harbans Singh Kandola (Ropar), Daljit Kaur (Ropar-women SC), Balbir Singh Gill (Morinda), Bhajan Singh Shergill (Kharar) and Jasdip Singh advocate (Kharar-SC).


Akali factions for anti-Badal front
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 6
Different Akali factions and Sikh organisations are trying to forge an anti-Parkash Singh Badal front in the elections to the General House of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The process for the SGPC elections has started on June 1. June 8 is the last date for the receipt of nomination papers.

Parleys are going on between leaders of organisations opposed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The Akali Dal (Amritsar) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann has already held discussions with leaders of Akali factions, namely the Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Khalsa Dal and Akali Dal 1920 headed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, former speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Another meeting was held here yesterday, in which besides Mr Mann, Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president, Gurmat Siddhant Parcharak Sant Samaj, participated and discussed contesting the gurdwara elections and forming a united front against the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Sources close to the Akali Dal (Amritsar) said today that there was consensus that the SGPC elections were purely a religious matter.

It has been learnt that rebel leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal namely Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Baldev Singh Mann are also in touch with Mr Mann and other leaders of his Akali Dal.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann, expelled from the Shiromani Akali Dal at the instance of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa for opposing him during the Lok Sabha elections, belongs to the Surjit Singh Barnala faction and is now busy in mobilising his supporters. Mr Barnala has also been in Punjab for the past two days and his supporters are pressing him to leave governorship and return to Punjab to lead them.

Mr Chandumajra is also meeting his supporters and planning to float an outfit. Mr Baldev Singh Mann and Mr Chandumajra may revive the Akali Dal (Longowal) since both have worked with Mr Barnala.



SAD candidates to file papers today
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 6
Most of the SAD candidates from the district will file their nomination papers for the ensuing SGPC elections tomorrow. This was stated by one of the candidates, Mr Gurpal Singh Gora.

All six sitting SGPC members from the district have been allocated tickets by the SAD for the elections slated to be held on July 11. Their names were included in the first list of candidates released by SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh yesterday.

They are Mr Sarup Singh Sibia from the Muktsar (general) seat, Ms Manjit Kaur Chrewan from Muktsar (women), Mr Navtej Singh Kauni from Doda (general), Ms Mukhtiar Kaur from Doda (woman), Mr Dayal Singh Sandhu from Malout and Mr Gurpal Singh Gora from the Gidderbaha seat.


Chandumajra meets Bhai Ranjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
Former Member of Parliament, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra who was suspended from the Shiromani Akali Dal, today held a meeting with Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Akal Takht Jathedar.

Talking to mediapersons, Prof Chandumajra alleged that SAD had flouted all democratic values. He indicated that some religious personality (a Sikh Sant) could be projected as candidate for Presidentship of the SGPC. He said that Mr Badal would be shown his place in the SGPC elections. He alleged that many of the candidates for the SGPC elections did not meet requirements of the code of conduct declared by Jathedar Akal Takht.


‘Abolish caste-based reservation in SGPC poll’

Bathinda, June 6
The General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab, has demanded the abolition of caste-based reservation of seats in the SGPC elections as casteism is against the principles of Sikhism.

A delegation of the district unit of the federation met Mr Balwant Singh Khalsa, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, under the presidency of its district president, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, in Talwandi Sabo today.

Stating this in a press note issued here today, Mr Sidhu said the delegation demanded the Jathedar to make efforts to issue a “hukamnama” from Akal Takht to abolish caste-based reservation of seats in the SGPC poll. He said casteism was entirely against Sikh tenets.

Among others, Shivpal Goel, Jagwant Singh, Sukhdev Singh Kang and Balaur Singh were part of the delegation. — TNS


SGPC supports Sikh women on helmet issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) urged the state government to exempt Sikh women from wearing helmets while driving two-wheelers. 

Mr Dilmegh Singh, Secretary, SGPC, stated that police challans against Sikh women were being viewed with resentment. He said wearing of helmets was against the Sikh tenets and traditions.


Follow Sikh tenets in serials: SGPC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar June 6
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) urged producers and management of various TV Channels to pay proper attention towards Sikh tenets, philosophy and traditions while presenting Sikh characters in serials.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC in press release here today stated that in case of any TV serial on any theme relating to Sikh history, the script must first be shown to the SGPC.

In a communication to chairmen of various satellite TV channels, he stated that the SGPC had been receiving complaints that whenever any Sikh character was presented in a serial, no attention is paid to Sikh tenets, philosophy and traditions.

Scant attention was paid to dress and make-up. Generally Sikh characters are being presented as caricatures which denigrates the Sikh community.

Mr Calcutta advised the chairmen to pay personal attention to the characters before telecast. “In case of TV serial on any theme relating to Sikh history, only Sikh actor should be selected to present any Sikh character.” the SGPC secretary added.


Amarinder discusses strategy on SYL canal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today spent the day discussing with the core group possible strategies to defend the interests of the state and its farmers following the Supreme Court judgement on the SYL canal.

Sources said the core group had been constituted to suggest steps, to protect and safeguard the interests of Punjab. It is feared that if the SYL canal project, under execution since 1981, was commissioned, at least nine lakh hectares will go barren.

The core group is headed by the Chief Secretary and has the Principal Secretary, Irrigation; the Advocate-General, the Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations, and the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister as its members.

Capt Amarinder Singh today again spoke to senior advocate F.S. Nariman in New Delhi, where the state’s Advocate-General, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, is camping to find out legal ways to file a review petition in the Supreme Court. A special meeting of the council of ministers scheduled here for tomorrow will be briefed on the steps to be taken. A “position paper” has been finalised to be presented to the Council of Ministers, which is expected to pass a resolution tomorrow.

The Chief Minister will also address a press conference after the Council of Ministers’ meeting tomorrow.

Another important issue discussed by the Chief Minister today was the reported outbreak of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea in the state and consequent deaths, particularly in Ferozepore. At the instance of Capt. Amarinder Singh, the Secretary, Health and the Director, Local Government, have rushed to Ferozepore.

Mr D.S. Guru Principal Secretary (Health), said 120 patients were admitted to various government hospitals.

The outbreak of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea, Mr Guru said was primarily due to mixing up of drinking and sewerage water since the pipes run close to each other. There are reports of ‘’leakages’’ due to wornout pipes.

The other possible cause was sale of uncovered and cut fruits. Rapid response teams have been constituted in all districts to deal with the situation.

Another important decision taken by the department of Local Bodies was that no new water supply connection would be sanctioned without approval of an officer holding at least the rank of Junior Engineer.


Son remembers Bhindranwale
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
“I remember my father as a deeply religious man, who used to make us recite certain ‘Shabad’ before we had our food and I am proud of him. It is for people to judge whether he faught for the Sikhs or not. I will continue to feel his absence as a religious and caring father and at times miss him as a son.”

This was stated by Mr Ishar Singh, (32) son of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in an interview with The Tribune here today. Mr Ishar Singh, elder of Bhindranwale’s two sons was just 11 when Operation Bluestar took place at the Golden Temple complex in June 1984.’

“Definitely we feel his absence but at the same time all of us (family members) are proud of him. I don’t want to say anything about political people and I don’t want to discuss the present politics. People and history will judge what he did for the Sikhs. All I can say that only a few people can be as fortunate as he was,” observed Mr Ishar Singh, choosing words carefully.

Asked to share his childhood days, which incidentally was the most turbulent period witnessed by Punjab and Punjabis, Mr Ishar Singh, “All I can tell you is that we were trained to bow to “Waheguru’s Bhana” (the will of God) by our family. Sadness or elation both has almost no power to destabilise our innerself. I remember that he used to come home till I was seven years old and after that he did not come to home as he had become a saint. It were we who used to go and meet him wherever he was. Though, he never claimed himself to be a saint or a leader, he used to describe himself as a guard and that his duty was to caution Sikhs. I remember, he and my grandmother Mata Nihal Kaur used to force us recite some ‘shabads’and the ‘ardaas’ before we had our food,” said Ishar Singh, who was reluctant initially to utter even a word.

Asked whether he considered his father to be a great saint or not, Mr Ishar Singh said, “Sikh history was full of sacrifices. At times, he dubbed himself a ‘Jharubardaar’ of the Sikhs. He was beyond worldly things and our family still follows by being less bothered about worldly things and this is what he had taught us,” said Mr Ishar Singh, who maintained that he went to Akal Takht today to pay obeisance to his father. His younger brother Inderjit is settled in Canada.


Brigade commander to head court of inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
A brigade commander based at Ferozepore has been appointed as the presiding officer of a court of inquiry instituted by the Army into allegations that some officers were accepting illegal gratification from troops for ensuring their selection in contingents going abroad on United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.

It was earlier reported that a jawan posted with a mechanised infantry battalion in Punjab, L/Nk Ajay Kumar, had made allegations that some officers were demanding money from troops. He had alleged that he had been forced to sign his discharge roll when the officers learnt that he was in the know of things.

Following the report, Headquarters Western Command had directed the formation concerned to order an inquiry into the matter. An officer of the level of a brigadier heading the court of inquiry suggests that the matter is being viewed seriously by the Army.

While the jawan claimed that he had been forcefully dismissed, an official statement issued by the Army stated that his unit had arranged for his dismissal after it was discovered that he had fraudently withdrawn money from another jawan's account through the ATM. Ill health of his mother has been recorded as the reason for his discharge in documents.

One officer, two JCOs and 40 troopers from the said mechanised infantry battalion, in which the jawan was then posted as a clerk, were sent to Lebanon in March, 2004, on a UN Mission.


2 more gastro deaths reported
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 6
With two more deaths reported today, the toll due to water-borne diseases has gone up to 10 in this border town. Shamri, 55, wife of Sohan Lal, a resident of Basti Shekhan, died just a few minutes before the Principal Secretary, Health, Mr Darbara Singh Guru, visited the local Civil Hospital here today. Chiragdeen, 60, another resident of Basti Shekhan, died while undergoing treatment at home.

The local health authorities this morning undertook a major clean-up operation just before the visit of Mr Guru, who was accompanied by Dr J.L. Goyal, Director, Health Services, Punjab, and several senior officials from the PHSC and the Health Department.

Till date, seven patients, namely Monahor Lal, a resident of Azad Nagar, Shanti Devi, a resident of Basti Balochan Wali, Teja Singh, a resident of Ratta Khera village, Deepika, a resident of Kucha Surjan Mal, Shintoo, a resident of Mohalla Dolian, and Anchal, a resident of Dulchike, have died due to diarrhoea and gastroenteritis during the past week. All these patients were suffering from pain in the abdomen, vomiting and diarrhoea. Yesterday, Gupreet Kaur, daughter of Gurpinder Singh of Vajidpur village, had died with symptoms related to water-borne diseases.

Meanwhile, during a press conference held today, Mr Guru claimed that till date only two deaths had been reported due to gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases. He said in the other cases reported in a section of the media, the patients died due to other health problems and the reason behind the deaths was being ascertained by a team of doctors. He said in most of the cases of deaths reported so far, the patients did not take treatment from the Civil Hospital or any private hospital but took treatment from unqualified private practitioners.

He said there were 46 indoor patients with symptoms of water-borne diseases which were admitted to the Civil Hospital and 88 other patients were undergoing treatment in other private hospitals. He said about 50 patients had already been discharged from the Civil Hospital. In addition, there were 48 patients in the OPD who were provided with medicines, he added.

Mr Guru said 15 days’ stock of medicines for 100 patients had been made available in the Civil Hospital, which would be provided free of cost to patients.

About the reports of water being contaminated, Dr R.L. Taneja, DHO, said from January, 2004, till date, 170 water samples had been taken from various places in the district, of which 36 had failed and the result of another 47 was still awaited. He said water was being supplied by tankers and other sources to those places where water samples had failed. Dr J.L. Goyal , Director, Health, said the Heath Department had formed rapid reaction teams, which were touring every nook and corner of the district to ascertain the field situation and take preventive measures.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ranjit Singh, said a major clean-up drive had been launched in the city.


B.Ed aspirants feel cheated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
With the decision of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, to accept demands drafts issued only by two particular banks, State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab and Sind Bank, (PSB) for the payment of B.Ed entrance test fee, students feel cheated as the exchange fee being charged for the drafts by these banks is much higher than that charged by other public-sector banks.

Students living in rural areas and small towns also have to waste time and money to get the drafts made in big towns, as there are no branches of these banks in villages or small towns. About 50,000 students appear for the test every year. It would be held at the end of this month.

A section of the students, talking to TNS, alleged that branches of these two particular banks had been charging Rs 30 as exchange fee for each draft worth Rs 500 for the general-category students and Rs 250 for Scheduled Caste students. On the other hand, other banks were charging Rs 15 or Rs 20. One student who got a draft made from the State Bank of Patiala, which is an associate bank of the SBI, said the local representatives of the university did not accept her application form. She had to get that draft cancelled and then get a new draft from the SBI.

Sources in the SBOP revealed that at some of its branches the problem of cancellation was so acute that the authorities had started refusing to issue drafts for the B.Ed entrance exam. Other students said it would have been better if the university had clubbed the examination fee with the prospectus itself.

Officials of the SBI and the PSB, when contacted, said they were cooperating with the students and the drafts were being issued on priority. They said the minimum exchange rate applicable on the drafts had been revised a few months ago and the changes were applicable throughout the country. They added that all banks were free to determine the fee for drafts.

Dr R.S. Bawa, coordinator of B.Ed entrance test cell in Amritsar, when contacted, said the university had specified the two banks in the prospectus as it had been its accounts with these two banks only. No complaint in connection with overcharging by these two banks had been received, he added.

He said if the university started accepting drafts of all banks, it would have to incur clearing charges of Rs 15 per draft. However, bank officials revealed that no clearing charges were deducted from any draft payable locally.


BJP, SAD anti-Sikh, says Mann

Amritsar, June 6
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann today termed both the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) “anti-Sikh parties’’. Talking to reporters on the Golden Temple premises here today, Mr Mann, former MP, said both the parties were responsible for injustice to the Sikh community during the postindependence era.

He said it was BJP Punjab unit president Avinash Khanna who had allegedly distributed sweets after Operation Bluestar in 1984 and SAD president former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had always supported the BJP to safeguard his political and family interests.

Mr Mann said Mr Badal had never bothered to safeguard the interests of Punjab and Sikhs.

He said while in power in state, Mr Badal always played political gimmicks. — UNI


Batala Youth Congress chief removed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 6
All-India Youth Congress president Randip Singh Surjewala has removed Batala District Youth Congress president Ravinder Sharma from his post for anti-party activities during Lok Sabha elections.

It was announced by All-India Youth Congress general secretary and in charge Punjab affairs, Suresh Sharma here today. He said that a show-cause notice was given to him.


Can discharge of total chrome in drain be carcinogenic?
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
Can the presence of high levels of total chrome (TC) in the “untreated highly polluted” effluent discharge of about 40 tannery units being released into the Kala Sanghian drain be carcinogenic? And can these have hazardous impacts on the ecology of the water body and lead to the degradation of environment in the areas along the drain?

The answer is in the affirmative, if the observations of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) regarding the state of Kala Sanghian drain and discharge of untreated polluted effluents of the Leather Complex are to be believed.

There are about 70 tannery units operating within the Kapurthala road Leather Complex. They were established by the Punjab State Leather Development Corporation in 1992 for providing the tannery units with common effluent treatment plant facilities. Of these about 40 have been pointed out as major “water polluting” units engaged in the process of dyeing and fat-liquoring, and about 20 as minor polluting units. The main objective behind setting up the complex was to shift old tannery units operating in the city. Subsequently, the complex was transferred to the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) and one of the two proposed Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) was installed at the complex. The alleged failure of the authorities concerned to maintain and operate even this single treatment unit has compounded the problem and there is excessive discharge of effluents from the complex than the capacity and prescribed limits.

Though PPCB officials were tight-lipped, the samples collected by the board officials revealed that the release of “polluting” effluents into the Kala Sanghian drain was beyond the prescribed limits and effluents generated by the tanneries were being discharged directly into the drain, bye-passing the CETP. The analysis report of the samples also showed a high level of total suspended solids (TSS), bio-chemicals oxygen demand (BOD) and total chrome (TC). “The presence of total chrome to the tune of 120 mg/1 makes the stream highly toxic and carcinogenic. Due to the indiscriminate discharge of highly polluted effluents from tannery units located in the complex, the environment of the locality has highly been degraded which is evident from the effluent samples collected from the drain,” maintains the PPCB report. “Various parameters such as total suspended solids (TSS)—126mg/1, bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) —250 mg/1 and total chrome (TC) — 40 mg/1, have been observed in the drain 100 metres down the stream. These high concentration of pollutants can have hazardous impacts on the ecology of the water body,” says the report.


Sikh jatha to leave for Pak on June 8
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
On the occasion of the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev, a Sikh jatha would leave for Pakistan on June 8 to pay obeisance.

The jatha would visit Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib, Sacha Sauda and Dera Sahib gurdwaras. Eight persons’ requests for visas were rejected. The jatha would return here on June 17. This was stated in a press note here on Friday.


PPS officers form panel on cadre issue
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
The Punjab Police Officers Welfare Association has formed a committee to discuss the situation arising from a court directive to the Punjab Government that the PPS officers who have been posted as SSPs, should be replaced with IPS officers by June 9.

The association has also decided to meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, after its executive committee meeting scheduled to be held at Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Nearly 90 members of the association discussed the issue and decided to knock the doors of the court to seek legal remedy.

A section of the officers maintained that since there were just eight PPS officers who had been posted as SSP against 15 posts of SSP being held by IPS officers in the state, efforts should be made to give PPS officers cadre posts.

The following have been elected office-bearers of the association: President — Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP, Amritsar; senior vice-president — Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP, Moga; general secretary — Mr Ashwani Kapoor, DSP (D), Amritsar; joint secretary — Mr Manmohan Singh, DSP, Ajnala; and treasurer — Mr Raj Jit Singh, DSP, Nakodar.


Akali leader alleges police torture
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Mr Buta Singh, an Akali leader and member, Block Samiti was admitted to a hospital here allegedly after being tortured by the police yesterday. District police chief Kapil Dev has ordered an inquiry into the case and sent Mr Balwinder Singh, In charge, Police post, Nandgarh and one Punjab Home Guard (PHG) Jawan, to the Police Lines.

Mr Buta Singh’s uncle Mr Kesar Singh alleged that Mr Buta Singh was tortured in police custody.

Mr Kulwant Singh of same village was also picked up by the police along with Mr Buta Singh in connection with a land dispute, alleged that he was also tortured. He also showed injury marks on a finger of his right hand.

He alleged that while he along with Buta Singh kept on pleading with the police to leave them torture made Buta Singh unconscious. They both were thrown out of the police post. He added that some villagers, who reached at the police post, took them to the hospital.

However, Dr Mohinder Singh, in whose hospital the victim was undergoing treatment, pointed out that Buta Singh was having no injury marks on his body when he came to the hospital last night. Buta Singh was in the semiconsciousness state and from his physical appearance, it looked that he (Buta Singh) had suffered sunstroke.

He said that Buta Singh or his kin did not allege that Buta Singh was tortured by the police. But today morning, kin of Buta Singh started alleging that he (Buta Singh) was tortured by the police. He added that after kin levelled this allegation, he informed the police and SP (D) Ajay Maluja visited the hospital in same connection. He said that condition of Buta Singh was normal.

Police sources said that inquiry conducted into this case indicated that Buta Singh had been suffering from epilepsy.

Mr Kesar Singh and Mr Kulwant Singh demanded registration of a case against the in charge of the police post, Nandgarh and his suspension. They said that so far the police had not recorded statement of the victims.


Arms licence holders’ long wait for renewal
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 6
Arms licence-holders of Ferozepore district are running from pillar to post for the renewal of their licences, as there is virtual ban on their renewal. According to official sources, at least 15,000 arms licences-holders have been approaching the office of the Additional District Magistrate, Ferozepore, for renewal since past several years. 

Their licences are not being renewed on the ground that a CBI probe into the fake arms licence scam is on. It is stated that from 1998 to 2001 arms licences were granted in bulk by reportedly overlooking the set procedure due to alleged connivance of police officers, politicians and some arms dealers. The beneficiaries of such licences included anti-social elements, criminals, and terrorists, from far-flung areas of the country.

The probe was initiated following a public interest litigation filed by Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa and Mr Hans Raj Josan, the then MLAs of Fazilka and Jalalabad constituencies, in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in March 2001. Since then the office of the Additional District Magistrate has been refraining from renewing arms licences. Surprisingly, many of the arms licences awaiting renewal were issued prior to the scam tenure. In certain cases the licences were issued after the controversial tenure.

Lachman Dass of Shamakhan Ka village, a 12 bore gun licence holder was issued the licence in 1995. He had submitted his licence for renewal in March 2001 but it had not been renewed till now.


4 of family receive burns

Phagwara, June 6
Four migrants of a family, including a two-year-old child received burns in an accidental fire at nearby Mehli village last night, the police said today.

While the child was shifted to a Ludhiana hospital in a critical condition, the other three were hospitalised at Guru Nanak Mission Hospital Dhahan Kaleran. The injured were identified as Kiran (40), Sunny (15) and Bittu (14). The name of the child could not be known. The roof of the house and other articles were damaged in the fire. The house belonged to NRI Piara Singh settled in the USA. — PTI


NTAS stages ‘Andher Nagri’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
A theatre group, the NTAS, staged ‘Andher Nagri’, a 19th century anti-establishment play written by poet and dramatist Bharendu Harishchander, at the local Baradari gardens here this morning.

The chief guest, Dr Sudhir Verma, a leading heart specialist, gave away prizes to 30 artistes who performed in the 40-minute play. Dr Verma lauded the efforts of NTAS Director R.T. Jindal for promoting the cause of theatre in the region.

Prominent among others who were present Dr Capt Hardev Singh, Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr Manmohan Sehgal, Head of the Hindi Department, Punjabi University, and other art lovers of the region.


Farmers fail to get promised power supply
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar June 6
Despite assurance of eight-hour power supply to farmers for paddy sowing by the Punjab State Electricity Board, farmers have failed to get even three-hour power supply in most of villages in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts of the Doaba region.

Farmers are reeling under acute power shortage and facing power cuts, affecting crops forcing them to delay sowing.

A survey by The Tribune revealed that farmers’ wait for short power cuts was seemingly endless, for which, they held the PSEB authorities responsible. Today we got power for just about two hours. If the situation has to remain so, why the PSEB authorities have been making such tall claims, if they (government) wants us to delay paddy sowing they should tell us,” lamented Pushpinder Singh, a farmer of Talwandi Chaudhrian village in Kapurthala district.

Similarly, farmers of Adarman, Parjian and Mehatpur also complained that they were getting power just for two three hours and sometimes even this failed to materialise.

Mr Sukhpal Singh, a farmer of Vaddi Miani village in Hoshiarpur district alleged that after reading in a paper that the board was going to ensure eight-hour power supply, elated farmers of his village kept waiting, but their optimism dimmed when power went out just after three hours. “Why they make such promises if they cannot keep these?” questioned Mr Sarbjot Sabi, Mukerian circle president of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD). He alleged that a large number of villages including Mehngrowal, Gobindpur, Khun Khun Kalan, Takhni were not getting even three-hours power supply.

Ms Satnam Kaur, a member of Panchayat of Nangal Ishar village, suggested that instead of promises, the government should first do something to benefit farmers if it really wanted to show that it had a pro-farmer approach, “Earlier it was scrapping free power system, now it is big power cuts which have tormented farmers,” said Ms Satnam Kaur.

“Apart from sowing paddy and other crops, we have sown 25 acres of sugarcane to diversify our crop pattern, but we are not getting enough water for its irrigation for we are getting just three hours of power supply,” said Sant Channan Singh and Hardev Singh, farmers of Nauli village of Jalandhar district.

When contacted, Mr S.S. Sangha, Chief Engineer (North Zone) said arrangements for eight-hour power supply was likely to be completed within two three days. “Negotiations for purchase of power from other states are on and farmers are likely to get power for eight hours within two three days,” said Mr Sangha.


Farmers seek law to keep property off loans
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
The kisan wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, demanding that the Central Government should pass an Act to stop the attachment of land and property with loans issued by moneylenders and banks.

The president of the kisan wing, Mr Satnam Singh Behru, alleged that farmers were being subjected to discrimination for a long time regarding the fixation of price of their produce. He said the Agriculture Cost Commission had been overlooking costs being incurred on agriculture as per the price index.


Jeweller’s killer arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
The police here arrested two persons by the Amritsar police for the murder of a jeweller in Amritsar on May 24. The arrested persons were alleged to be members of a gang responsible for robberies in Majha.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, said here today, that a police party in Maqsudan area signalled a Maruti Zen car for checking. Instead of stopping the vehicle, an occupant fired a shot at the police and tried to speed away. The car was chased and two persons were arrested. They have been indentified as Jaspreet Singh alias Jassa, a resident of Mahasha colony, Tarn Taran and Surjit Singh alias Raju, of Lohgarh Chowk, Amritsar and a .32 revolver was recovered from them. Two of their accomplices escaped were identified as Paramjit Singh alias Pamm and Vinod Mahajan, both of Patarpur, Amritsar.

The SSP said it was revealed that Jaspreet Singh and three others had robbed a cloth merchant of Rs 95000 in Amritsar a week ago and another cloth merchant of Rs 60000 besides a robbery in Tarn Taran household. Mr Bhullar said the two PCR personnel were being rewarded for showing presence of mind in the arrest of two criminals.


4 peacocks found dead, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, June 6
Carcasses of four peacocks were found near Garhi Tarkhana village, 3 km from Machhiwara. Of the four, two peacocks were found skinned. The feet of one peacock were cut whereas the body of a peahen was found intact.

The crime is reported to have taken place near the farm house of the MLA, Samrala, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon. Hakam Singh, who sells ayurvedic medicines on the roadside, has been arrested by forest employees on the charge of hunting birds. Hakam Singh belongs to Dehra Dun.

The accused will be produced in the court of Duty Magistrate, Samrala, tomorrow. A case under the Wildlife Protection Act has been registered.

Senior Veterinary Officer Amarjit Singh, who conducted the postmortem examination of the killed birds, said the birds had died due to intake of a poisonous substance. 


Fake currency worth 5.5 lakh seized
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
The police has busted a gang involved in circulating fake currency notes in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh here today.

The gang comprised of Tehel Singh Phalwan, a resident of Amristar, who is at present imprisoned at Patiala Central Jail and was operating from there, Harjit Singh and Gurjinder Singh of Morinda, and Rajveer Singh of Patiala. All of them have been arrested.

Fake currency notes worth Rs 5.5 lakh along with real currency worth Rs 45,000 and two mobile phones have been seized. The case is being investigated by the in charge, patron, police station, Mr Kuldeep Singh Sekhon.


Pbi varsity VC’s ouster sought
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
The Punjab Scheduled Castes Welfare Society (PSCWS) held an emergency meeting today under the chairmanship of Mr Paramjit Singh Sodh, in which members unanimously demanded the ouster of the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.S. Boparai, for his anti-Dalit stance.

In a press note, Mr Sodh said the anti-Dalit stance of the VC was reflected when he took over as VC and reverted seven senior assistants belonging to the community by abolishing the long existing reservation policy. The members expressed anguish over the manner adopted by Dr Boparai for making appointments from the General Category against reserved vacancies. Also came under fire at the meeting was the VC’s decision to downgrade the post of Technician (Grade-II) to that of a date entry operator without taking the Syndicate into confidence.

Mr Sodh alleged that abolishing the post of Mr H.S Khokhar, an Assistant Public Relations Officer, further substantiated the VC’s anti-Dalit stance. Mr Khokhar had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the VC’s decision, Mr Sodh added.

The members decided to call upon the Governor and the Chief Minister to apprise them of the situation.


Pbi varsity postpones Academic Council’s meeting
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
The Punjabi University authorities have decided to postpone indefinitely a meeting of the Academic Council which was scheduled to be held on June 9 to discuss in detail the issue of the introduction of computer application at the graduation level.

According to sources, the decision to postpone the meeting has been taken by the university authorities under pressure following the raking up of a controversy on the issue after Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh not only flayed the proposal but also shot off a strongly worded missive to the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University S S Boparai, criticising the move.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, while accusing the university authorities of precipitating an agitation by reducing the maximum marks of compulsory Punjabi paper from 100 to 50 at the graduation level to introduce computer application as a compulsory subject, has publicly claimed that he would fight the move in the Syndicate and also take up the issue with the Chief Minister.


Fest to mark transit of Venus
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 6
The district unit of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti will organise a festival on June 8 on the premises of the local Prem Sabha Senior Secondary School to mark a rare celestial happening, the transit of Venus, which will occur after 121.5 years. Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, will inaugurate the festival.

Giving this information here today, Mr Raj Kumar Garg, project coordinator of the district organising committee of the “Year of Scientific Awareness-2004”, said the main aim of the festival was to make people aware of “how the Venus comes in a straight line between the earth and the sun while orbiting the sun”. During the transit of Venus, a black spot would appear on the sun from 10.46 am to 4.50 pm on June 8, he added.

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