P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Takht summons Chandok for honouring Tytler
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 21
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has directed Mr Parhalad Singh Chandok, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to personally appear before the Sikh clergy by July 15 for honouring Mr Jagdish Tytler, a Union Minister, who was allegedly involved in anti-Sikh massacre of November, 1984.

In his directive, Jathedar Vedanti said Mr Chandok had festered the wounds of Sikh masses by honouring Mr Tytler at a function held in a club of New Delhi.

After Mr Avtar Singh Hitt, Mr Chandok is the second president of the DSGMC who has been summoned at Akal Takht.

Mr Chadok who was here today told The Tribune that being a devout Sikh, he would definitely appear before the Sikh clergy within stipulated time. He, however, said the honour bestowed upon anybody at a public function other than gurdwara should not be misconstrued as ‘siropa’.

The DSGMC chief claimed that more than 90 per cent Sikhs had voted in favour of Mr Tytler. He, however, said he was ready to tender unconditional apology before the Sikh sangat for this act. He claimed that it was a chance that he had reached the Chemsford Club where a gurdwara committee of Delhi had arranged a function. He denied that he had presented ‘siropa’ to Mr Tytler in his capacity as president of the DSGMC.

Mr Chandok asked what relief the BJP-led NDA government had provided to assuage the victims of Delhi riots? Showering praises, Mr Chandok said the Congress government had taken a number of measures for the sake of Sikh community. Giving details, Mr Chandok claimed that the state government of Delhi had agreed in principle to allow the DSGMC to develop a park adjoining Gurdwara Bangla Sahib for the benefit of Sikh devotees. Apart from giving a second language status to Punjabi in New Delhi, the state government had raised a memorial in the name of Guru Teg Bahadur.

Replying a question, Mr Chandok said the DSGMC would provide ‘moral support’ to Panthic Morcha in the forthcoming SGPC elections. 


Gurdaspur DC submits reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Taking up a petition filed by three Shiromani Akali Dal leaders — including two former ministers — challenging the rejection of their candidature for the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) polls, Justice J.S. Sekhon of the Gurdwara Election Commission today fixed June 22 as the next date of hearing.

In a reply submitted to the commission, Gurdaspur's Deputy Commissioner, Harjit Singh, asserted that the Gurdwara Election Commission, as per the relevant rules, had "no authority to give any interpretation on the issues arising out of an election petition".

He added that the directions issued by Justice Sekhon, on the last date of hearing, should be reviewed and withdrawn. The petition should as such be dismissed as infructuous and without jurisdiction.

In their petitions, former ministers Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, along with SGPC's working President Alwinder Pal Singh, asserted that the same was illegal and in violation of the provisions.

The candidature of the three leaders was cancelled as huge amounts were allegedly outstanding against their wards admitted in SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Dental College under the NRI quota.

Challenging the orders, they asserted that owing money to the trust did not make them liable for disqualification. They asserted that a specific procedure had to be followed for disqualifying candidates from contesting the elections.

Giving details, they asserted that a candidate had to be declared "undischarged insolvent" for debarring him from contesting the polls This, they asserted, was something which only the courts could do.

The Deputy Commissioners (DCs) had no powers in this regard. By proceeding against the candidates, the DCs had tried to assume the powers of the courts, the petitioners asserted. They added that the parents could not be held liable for the actions of their major children.


Plea filed against SAD candidate
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 21
A petition has been filed against another SAD candidate for the SGPC poll before the District Returning Officer, seeking his disqualification.
Earlier, the candidatures of Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, working president of the SGPC, Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Mr Sewa Singh Langah were cancelled by the District Returning Officers of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, respectively.

Mr Satpal Singh Wadali in the petition sought the disqualification of Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate who is seeking re-election as SGPC member from Amritsar (West) under Section 45 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. The petitioner alleged that during his tenure as SGPC member, Mr Jaswinder Singh had ‘misused’ his authority.

However, the SGPC member has already denied the charges levelled against him.

The petitioner alleged that the SGPC member in his capacity as convener of ‘Akal Purkh Ki Fauj’ had taken a grant of Rs 51,000 from the funds of the SGPC in violation of SGPC bylaws.

The petitioner had also attached a copy of the controversial edict issued by the then Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, through which he (the SGPC member) was ‘excommunicated’ from the Sikh Panth.


4 candidates withdraw nominations
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 21
Four candidates withdrew their nomination papers from the Muktsar seats today. Ms Jaswant Kaur, Ms Baljeet Kaur and BKU candidate Gurmeet Singh withdrew their papers from Muktsar (general category) seat.

SAD candidate Manjeet Kaur Chrewan’s covering candidate Gurwinder Kaur withdrew her papers from Muktsar (reserved for women) seat.

The BKU decided yesterday on the withdrawal of papers of its candidate from Muktsar (general category) seat in favour of SAD candidate and sitting SGPC member Sarup Singh Sibia.


BKU to back SAD in Moga
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 21
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Punjab, has decided to support the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections in Moga district. BKU general secretary Bhupinder Singh Mahesari announced this here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Gurdev Singh Khalsa, an Independent candidate, has decided to withdraw his nomination in favour of Gurpritam Singh Cheema, a candidate fielded by various religious organisations, for the coming SGPC elections.


SGPC poll: last date for withdrawal extended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 21
The last date for the withdrawal of candidature for the SGPC has been extended by two days. According to officials, the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Election Commissioner, Justice J.S. Sekhon, issued directions for the same under sub rule 3 of Rule 13 of the Sikh Gurdwara Board, 1969. 

Accordingly, paras 6 - 8 have been changed. Now, the last date for withdrawal is June 23 instead of June 21.

The list of candidates in the fray would be released on June 24. The list of the polling stations would be issued on June 25. Voting will take place on July 11.


4 withdraw from SGPC poll fray
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 21
With four candidates withdrawing their names today, SAD candidate Jarnail Singh Wahid and Panthic Morcha candidate Rajinder Singh Fauji are in a straight contest for the July 11 SGPC poll from the Phagwara-Sultanpur Lodhi constituency.

Those who withdrew their names on the last day of withdrawal today included Jathedar Jaimal Singh and his son Gurpreet Singh of Sultanpur Lodhi, Jathedar Gurmukh Singh and Kirpal Singh Maiopatti of Phagwara, according to local SDM-cum-Returning Officer Pritam Singh. Jathedar Jaimal Singh is a sitting SGPC member and had filed his nomination papers as a rebel candidate. However, he withdrew his name thus ending the headache of the official Akali candidate Jarnail Singh Wahid, an adviser of the SAD. 


Bitta: SGPC should take over 2 Takhts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 21
Mr Maninderjit Sing Bitta, president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, today said Takht Patna Sahib and Takht Hazoor Sahib should be taken over by the SGPC. He said this had been necessitated as both Takhts were not following the ‘maryada’. He said he would approach the SGPC on this issue and complain in writing.

Coming down heavily on the move to repeal POTA, Mr Bitta said the Congress government at the Centre was bowing to pressure from the DMK and the MDMK.

He alleged these parties were responsible for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and were now trying to save their skin and of terrorists pressing for the abolition of stringent laws like POTA.

He said if POTA was repealed, it should be replaced by an anti-terrorist military court, which should decide all cases within six months and adopt stringent punishment for heinous crimes.

He said talks on Kashmir should be confined to Pak-occupied Kashmir. He said the front would observe Kargil Divas on July 20 in Delhi. 


Clergy to discuss summoning of Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 21
The Sikh clergy are likely to discuss the issue of summoning Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti at Patna Sahib. However, Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh, Jathedar and Deputy Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, respectively, may not be invited for the discussion.

It is after a long gap that the Jathedars of both Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib Takhts have started attending the meetings of Sikh high priests at Akal Takht. Earlier, the declarination of Mr Mohinder Singh Romana as ‘tankhaiya’ had created an unsavoury situation which was resolved following a lot of efforts. The high priests had decided that Akal Takht being the supreme Takht, it was authorised to handle the matters pertaining to the Sikh community and the other Takhts were authorised to take up local matters . It was also decided that the right of excommunicating a Sikh would be with Akal Takht only .

Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, former SGPC secretary and leader of the Sikh Watch Group, took a strong view of summoning of Jathedar Vedanti at Takht Patna Sahib. He said though the jurisdiction of Akal Takht and the other Takhts was decided by the Sikh clergy to which Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh were party, the Sikh intellectuals should come forward to decide the role of Jathedars at the earliest. He said authority of the Jathedar of Akal Takht being the supreme leader of the Sikh community could not be challenged.

Though Jathedar Vedanti had announced that being an authority on manuscripts, he was ready to give his opinion by visiting Takht Patna Sahib, but there was no question of his appearing before the Sikh clergy there.

The Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib had directed that if Giani Gurdit Singh, noted Sikh scholar, failed to appear before Takht Patna Sahib on July 20 to submit a clarification on his controversial book ‘Mundavni’ along with his two associates (including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti), stern action would be taken against them as per the Sikh maryada.


Sharp rise in rights violations in Punjab
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Human Rights situation is sounding alarm bells in Punjab. The past two years have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of cases of human rights violations across Punjab. Human rights activists allude this rise to a number of factors, prominent among them being increase in registration of false cases at various police stations.

Figures prove it all. As per an official report, just 90 cases of human rights violations were instituted in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) in 1997, the year of its setting up.

By 2000, the number of cases taken up by the PSHRC had gone up to 4926. But, it is between 2001 and 2003 that the figures tell us the true story.

While the number of cases instituted in the PSHRC in 2001 was 7520, the number crossed the 11500-mark by the end of calendar year 2003.

This year, sources in the PSHRC say, the number is poised to cross the 13000-mark this year.

According to a report prepared by the PSHRC, a whopping 13,407 complaints were still pending disposal at the end of 2003. The number may have gone up now, say human rights activists.

"Vendetta, especially where the Punjab Police is the party that violates the human rights of individuals, has gone up. You can get any person booked on cooked up charges and make life miserable for him," says renowned human rights activist and Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer Ranjan Lakhanpal.

Mr Lakhanpal notes that the rise in number of cases shows that more and more people are reposing faith in the PSHRC.

"Considering that its orders are not strictly enforceable, the rise in cases is a good thing. But, more teeth are needed to be given to the rights body to make its functioning better," he suggests.


Custodial death: SDM contradicts police theory
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Balachaur (Nawanshahr), June 21
The alleged June 7 custodial death case has taken a new turn, with the Balachaur SDM not believing the police theory that the victim, Rakesh Kumar, had committed suicide at the Balachaur police station, in his preliminary magisterial probe report.

The SDM, Mr A.S. Sahi, has submitted a preliminary report to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.I.S. Grewal, indicating that the police theory cannot be believed and that circumstantial evidence has pointed out that 22-year-old Rakesh Kumar did not commit suicide. In other words, it means that he was killed during detention in a theft case.

Mr A.S. Sahi had taken the postmortem report of body into account. He was tight-lipped about the contents of the report.

Police officials had alleged that Rakesh Kumar had committed suicide by hanging himself from a low-lying tap in the police station bathroom with his pyjamas. While a police officer insisted on the use of pyjamas, another police official had said it was trousers.

Refusing to comment on the preliminary report, Mr Amarjit Singh, SP of Nawanshahr, said the truth would come out after the authorities received the viscera report of the deceased. This was likely to take a month’s time.


Meters lose tamper-proof sheen
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 21
The newly launched Punjab State Electricity Board’s electronic meters are not tamper-proof, as was claimed. Recent raids have revealed that powerful magnetic meters are being used to tamper with them.

The board had recently decided to step up its drive to cover the entire state with electronic meters. Commercial establishments and industrial units have been covered under this drive to a large extent. Earlier surveys had revealed that there had been an approximately 20 per cent increase in revenue generation wherever electronic meters had replaced the traditional magnetic ones.

The board conducted a raid to detect the crime. A 250-member team under Superintending Engineer O.P. Sharma led the raids in Lehra and Sunam townships in Sangrur district. According to sources, Kaka Ram who deals in compact discs in Lehra was arrested after it was found that he was tampering with the electronic meter installed on his premises with the use of magnets.

According to the sources, a criminal case was registered against Kaka Ram. Police investigation revealed that powerful magnets had been supplied to various people in Sunam and Sangrur districts to allegedly enable them to manipulate the new electronic meters. Some persons, including the owner of Lily Studios in Sunam, was caught tampering with his meter.

Sources said investigations had revealed that a Delhi-based firm was supplying the magnets at Rs 3,000 apiece. Magnets which have been taken into custody had been found to be very powerful.

The Sangrur police has also started investigations to gauge the magnitude of this scam.

The octroi staff of Sunam, which had given the police a tip-off on the large number of magnets entering the town, will also be asked to give further details to identify traders dealing in the magnets.

Chief Engineer (South) S.S. Bassi disclosed that fresh directions had been given to all board offices that no electronic meter would be issued to any consumer without it being put in a sealed box first. This precaution is being taken now to make it more difficult to tamper with the meter. Simultaneously, the board is slated to start a drive to check the condition of electronic meters in different zones in a random manner to verify if more meters were being tampered with in a similar manner.


108 handicapped Punjab employees reinstated
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
Crackers did not burst and glasses did not clink. Even though the Punjab Government's decision to reinstate 108 handicapped employees was reason enough to celebrate, the usual excitement was missing.

The reason was not hard to see. Two years out of job had left so many of them with little money even to commemorate the occasion. No wonder, they sat on the footpath running along the Rose Garden in Sector 16 here waiting for the sweets to arrive.

The decision on again lending support to the handicapped was communicated to the affected employees this afternoon. They were told that the Secretary concerned, after obtaining Punjab Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh's opinion, had forwarded their case to the Director for necessary action.

Working with the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Department as Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPO), even as helpers, the employees were sacked way back in August, 2002 — without assigning any reason, they claimed.

In fact, the employees said that the principles of natural justice were violated in their case as they were not given an opportunity of hearing. This was not all. The employees added that the inquiry was not conducted before the issuance of termination orders. Proper procedure, they added, had been followed while appointing them.

Among the employees was polio-stricken Manish Kumar of Fazilka. As he tried to support his deformed leg with his trembling hands before rising on his feet, he muttered, "You cannot even imagine how the termination orders affected my life. My father died last year. We had no money even for performing his last rites. My mother works as a house maid, but still we could not raise enough funds for the purpose. In the end, we had to borrow money from the neighbours. Now, after reinstatement we will be able to make both ends meet".

Standing next to him was Piara Singh of Zira. His father too made his final exit from the world while he was struggling hard to combat depression. "We too had to borrow money from relatives. So bad was the condition".

Also an handicapp, BDPO H.S. Sodhi added that the engagement of at least two girls was called off because of the termination orders. "Their would be in-laws were obviously more candid than candied. They categorically told the girls that they could not marry their sons to them because they were handicapped and out-of-job".

The employees gave credit to "The Tribune" for highlighting their plight and also to general secretary of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Parminder Singh. "It was all because of such efforts that we have got our due," they said.


Review petition of SYL will yield nothing: BKU
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 21
There will be no benefit of filing a revision petition in the Supreme Court on the SYL issue as decided at an all-party meeting held some days before at Chandigarh, said state president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ajmer Singh Lakhowal while talking to mediapersons here yesterday.

However, he suggested that the Punjab Government should file a petition in the SC for abolishing Sections 78, 79 and 80 of the Reorganisation Act.

The BKU president reiterated that the construction of the SYL canal would not be allowed at any cost. At the same time, he said that the BKU would neither stage any dharna nor organise any protest in this connection. However, they would take ‘direct action’ against the construction of the canal and said details about the ‘direct action’ would be disclosed after some time.

He said the BKU had been recruiting volunteers from all over the state for the ‘direct action’.


Sikh jatha leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 21
As many as 359 Sikh pilgrims left for Pakistan to mark the 165th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh by a special train from Attari international railway station today.

The SGPC jatha is headed by noted poet-writer Nirvair Singh Arshi. The SGPC gave a warm send-off to jatha with garlands amidst ‘jakaras’ of ‘Jo bole so nihal’ at the Teja Singh Samudri Hall in the Golden Temple complex here today.

The jatha would reach Nankana Sahib today. On June 22, they would pay obeisance at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda. They would reach Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hassan Abdal) on June 24 and pay obeisance at Dera Sahib, Lahore, on June 26.

After bhog on June 29, death anniversary of Sher-e-Punjab would be observed. The jatha would reach back on June 30.


Rs 4.65 crore allocation for Calamity Relief Fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 4.65 crore during the current financial year to the Calamity Relief Fund. This was revealed by Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Ms Gurbinder Chahal, during a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today.

The Chief Minister directed the administration to gear up for facing floods during the coming monsoon season.

The Chief Minister said there were five flood-prone districts — Gurdaspur, Ferozepore, Patiala, Sangrur and Ropar. The government would chalk out an action-oriented strategy to save the entire state from the vagaries of floods.

Most Deputy Commissioners sought additional funds to carry out flood-protection works.

The meeting was attended by all Divisional and Deputy Commissioners, besides the Administrative Secretaries of the departments concerned. Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar and Minister of State for Revenue Amarjit Singh Samra were also present.


Inscol academy in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 21
INSCOL Academy, a division of INSCOL Hospital, Chandigarh, has opened its eighth branch at Bhupindra Road, Patiala. The academy is focused on catering to the ever-growing need of healthcare professionals by first class hospitals in India as well as the developed countries, mainly the USA, Canada, the UK and EU (European Union).

The academy offers various courses for doctors — PLAB, USMLE, MD/MS/ MDS and for nurses —CGFNS/NCLEX through collaboration with world leaders in training, including Exam Master (USA), Plab Master (UK), Judith Miller (USA) & University of Sunderland (UK). The batches start from July 1 onwards. Students are offered multiple options of course delivery mainly - classroom, correspondence and web-based.

The new centre at Patiala is a major step towards achieving the objective of becoming a national level player in healthcare education having more than 100 centres all over the country by the end of 2005. 


Artistes have forgotten Bindrakhia: Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 21
Artistes have deserted the trust formed in memory of late Punjabi folk singer Surjeet Singh Bindrakhia. The Trust was formed for the development of his native village and area of the late singer. At the time of its formation, many artistes from Punjab promised to contribute to the trust by organising charity functions. However, later nobody came forward for the cause. A meeting of the trust would be convened soon to discuss the situation.

This was stated today by Mr Bir Devinder, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, while talking to newsmen. He was here to preside over the function to mark the death anniversary of the late chairman of the Institute of Engineering (IET) Bhaddal, Gurcharan Singh.

Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Speaker announced that the Punjab Government would spend Rs 6 crore on the Mainpur-Purkhali-Bardhar road that has been named after Gurcharan Singh. The 10- km stretch of the road from Mainpur to Bardhar would be widened and strengthened by spending Rs 2.5 crore under the Prime Minister Gram Sardak Yojna. The next 6 km would be constructed with a Rs 2.91-crore grant from NABARD. Another Rs 42 lakh would be spent by the state government on the next 2.4-km stretch.

Later, addressing a press conference Mr Bir Devinder defended Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for issuing statement regarding the chargesheets against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and other Akali ministers. He said the latter was issuing statement regarding the chargesheets against Mr Badal in his capacity as the Home Minister.

He also justified the rejection of nominations of the acting president of the SGPC Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke and the former ministers, Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, for the SGPC elections. He said their papers were rejected purely on administrative grounds and the Congress government did not have anything to do with it.

About the probability of his induction in the Cabinet, Mr Bir Devinder said being as active politician he was not averse to joining the Cabinet. This would free him from the limitations he had in his capacity as the Deputy Speaker. However, the decision regarding the matter depended on the Congress high command and he would abide by its decision.



Withdrawal of LPG price hike sought

Jalandhar, June 21
The Democratic Bharatiya Samaj Party (DBSP) today demanded the withdrawal of the hike in the liquidified petroleum gas (LPG) price.

Talking to reporters here today, party president Vijay Kumar Hans said the people of the country were not in a position to bear such hikes.

He said the new UPA government at the Centre should understand their limitation and grant them a relief. — UNI


Villagers ‘detain’ two JEs
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 21
In a case of mistaken identity, farmers of Lohara village on Saturday night “detained” two junior engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board. Villagers took them as thieves when they were carrying out repair work. The Kot Ise Khan police had to interfere into the matter to get the PSEB employees freed. The police has registered a case against village sarpanch, Kewal Singh and five other farmers, following a complaint lodged by the PSEB staff.

Sources said the farmers became irate when a PSEB team, led by SDO Charanjit Singh Mann, were connecting the power lines of Vare village with the feeder of Janer village, from where power was supplied to these three villages. The farmers of Lohara village objected to this, saying that it would adversely affect the power supply to their fields.

In the complaint, it had been said that the irate mob was led by Kewal Singh and that the farmers misbehaved with the PSEB staff. The police said the farmers manhandled junior engineer, Harbhajan Singh and his colleague, Khair Masih and assaulted them after taking them to Lohara village.

Mr Kewal Singh said these allegations were baseless and they were just keeping a watch as their wires were getting stolen for the last few days. He said they got angry after spotting the PSEB staff, thinking that somebody was trying to steal their wires again, but when they came to know about the matter, they opposed the PSEB move to connect the power lines of Vare village with the feeder of Janer village.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Punjab, had alleged that the police administration and the electricity board were “harassing” the farmers. Addressing a meeting of the union here yesterday, the state BKU general secretary, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, said if the case against Mr Kewal Singh and other farmers was not withdrawn, the farmers would stage a dharna in front of the Executive Engineer’s office. The union had demanded from the chief engineer, PSEB, Bathinda zone, to take an appropriate action against the SDO. In a letter to the Moga SSP, the union had also sought a probe into “false case” registered against the farmers.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), has threatened to stage an indefinite dharna in front of the Executive Engineer’s office if the case registered against farmers of Lohara village was not withdrawn.

The union alleged that the police administration and the electricity board were harassing the farmers. The union had asked the Chief Engineer, PSEB, Bathinda zone, to take an appropriate action against the SDO. In a letter to the Moga SSP, the union had also sought a probe into the “false” case registered against the farmers.


Rain wreaks havoc, claims life
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 21
Cotton crop sown in more than 1000 acres might be damaged due to heavy rain that caused breaches in four sub-canals (minors) in this subdivision early today morning. A 65-year-old woman lost her life as roof of a house collapsed during the rain Nanki Nagar locality. Her husband was also injured and admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to information, the breaches ranging from 10 to 80 ft were caused as the stormy wind preceding the rain uprooted trees from the banks of Malookpura, Ramsara, Panjawa and Daulatpura sub-canals. Officials of the Irrigation Department were informed today morning though the breaches commenced between 1 am and 4 am, sources said. Supply in all sub-canals was suspended from the controlling headworks but the fields covering over a 1000-acre had been flooded by then. The villages affected include Dhaani Bisheshar Nath, Alamgarh, Haripura, Daulatpura, Diwankhera, Raipura and Rajanwali. Some villages fall under the wild life sanctuary and the water may pose a problem for the black bucks too, residents said.

The department teams were busy in plugging the breaches with the help of the local farmers and daily wage labourers till late evening, sources said. Most of the villages had been without water for a long spell and were forced to start an agitation against the Irrigation Department during last fortnight. The water was released in the sub-canals only when Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, personally sought intervention of the Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, last week. The town with a 1.25 lakh population was facing problem in drinking water supply also.

The rain also affected power supply in rural and urban areas. The supply in the township was restored in the morning after a 10-hour breakdown that made even the inverters ineffective. But the residents of Sherewala, Rajpura, Jhorarkhera, Khatwan, Bahavwala and Amarpura villages complained that they were without power since 8 pm yesterday.

Mr Banwari Lal (69) and his wife Mrs. Lajwanti (65) were injured as the roof of their house in Nanak Nagri locality here collapsed during rain last night. The woman later succumbed to the injuries in the civil hospital, the husband had fracture in his arm the doctors attending them said.


4-year-old girl crushed under bus
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 21
A four-year-old girl was crushed to death by a Punjab roadways bus, near Khanpur village, here this evening. It is learnt that the decreased, Ajmila Khaton, was a resident of Khanpur village. She was crossing the road near the village when the accident took place. The bus was coming from Chandigarh and going to Ludhiana.

A shopkeeper of the area informed the father of the child about the accident and also took the body of the girl to the local Civil Hospital.


Govt ignoring demands: grain market body
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 21
The New Grain Market Association has criticised the administration for adopting apathetic attitude towards long prevailing problems of the commission agents.

A meeting of the association, presided by Mr Gurbachan Singh Sran, regretted that the Punjab State Marketing Board had not reconstructed the boundary wall of the new grain market despite repeated requests.

This had aggravated the problem of stray animals that damage produce stacked in the yard and other goods outside the shops.

Parking of vehicles without authorisation inside the market complex had become another menace.

The police too had failed in checking thefts that had become very common in the last few months.

Mr Neeraj Godara, president of the association, accused the wrong policies of the government in neglecting their demands. Though the market committee had issued 400 licences, only 90 shops were so far visible in the market.

As per rules, each licencee was bound to give his permanent address but it appeared that the licences were issued without proper verification.

This racket appeared to be the root cause of the non-development of the grain market even after 30 years of government notification and subsequent auction/allotment of shop-cum-flats and booths.

A deputation of the association later met the Secretary of the Market Committee and apprised him of the prevailing resentment.

He reportedly assured earlier redressal of the genuine grievances.


PUDA shops not auctioned 4 years after construction
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Malout, June 21
None of the shops at the shopping complex constructed by PUDA four years ago on the premises of the market committee here has been auctioned so far. The reason is that PUDA has not succeeded in getting the land transferred to it from the Punjab Mandi Board, to which it originally belonged.

All 352 shops at the complex are lying vacant since their construction. The shopping complex had been built at a cost of Rs 2.1 crore. Anti-social elements, gamblers and drug addicts have started using the premises of the complex, said a number of shopkeepers.

When The Tribune team visited the complex some days back, a number of persons were gambling on the premises of the complex in the daytime. A large number of syringes and evidence of drugs having been used were found on the premises.

While most for the shops were locked, some had been unlocked, apparently by anti-social elements, to run their activities. A shopkeeper, Mr Rajinder Bansal, said a number of thefts had taken place in the area in the recent past.

He suspected the involvement of the anti-social elements active at the PUDA shopping complex in the incidents. He said several stolen items had been found inside the shops of the PUDA complex.

According to information, around 30 thefts had taken place in the shops adjoining the complex during the past several months, but only a few had been reported to the police. The office of the DSP of Malout is situated on the market committee premises.

When contacted, PUDA ACA of Batinda, Mr Kirpal Singh, under whose jurisdiction Malout subdivision of Muktsar district falls, admitted that PUDA was unable to auction the shops as the title of the land was yet to be transferred by the Punjab Mandi Board.

In reply to a question regarding the justification of constructing a shopping complex without getting the land transferred, he said the decision of constructing the shopping complex had been taken by officials at the PUDA head office in Chandigarh and the Bathinda office was just implemented the orders.

In reply to another question, he said the department would write to the police to look after the shopping complex so that it could not be used by anti-social elements.

When contacted, PUDA ACA (Projects) at Chandigarh, Mr I.S. Sekhon, said the matter had taken up with the Director, Colonisation, Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, for legally transferring the land of PUDA.

The head office did not take any responsibility regarding this. In reply to a question, Mr Sekhon asked The Tribune team to contact the ACA at Bathinda to know why the shopping complex had been built without transferring the land.


Patiala may get rid of stray bulls
MC nod to 3-acre cow shelter
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, June 21
Residents of the inner city finally have a reason to hope. Thousands of alleys and narrow bylanes, which criss cross the area, have been dotted with stray cattle since decades. But the menace of bulls which looms large over the residents who have been witness to many incidents of by bull goring may finally be eliminated with the Municipal Corporation giving the go ahead to the construction of a cow shelter, spread over an area of 3 acres on the outskirts of the city near Sanour Road.

The nod to the cow shelter has come as a relief to the people of the city where frequent bull fights is a regular feature. Many a person have been injured fatally or crippled in the incidents of bull fighting. Nearly a year and a half ago, a daily wage worker was gored to death by a bull.

Most bull fights, especially at the crowded Anardana Chowk and Jaurian Bhattian, end up with smashed vehicles parked along side the narrow lanes in the bazaar area. Wares which are displayed by the shopkeepers in front of their shops, are also damaged.

Though the corporation has in the past few years launched at least three major drives to catch stray cattle and herding them into six cow shelters in the city, the drives were more or less a failure as the animals were let loose after sometime by the people manning the ‘gaushalas’. The last such drive which was conducted around a year ago proved a washout as the cow shelters released all nearly a hundred head of cattle, caught during the drive, into streets. Only milch cattle were retained at the shelters.

The Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, stated the corporation would spend around Rs 12 lakh to construct a boundary wall of the new cow shelter. He said owing to financial constraints, the rest of the funds would be collected from the people who had shown a remarkable enthusiasm to carry the project on their shoulders. He stated that already some persons had chipped in with fodder and donations for the cattle as they considered it a pious cause.

Mr Vishnu Sharma said the corporation had also decided to enforce strictly its decision to challan and fine persons responsible for releasing cattle on the roads. He said employees of the corporation would keep a strict vigil, especially in the inner city where old bulls and barren cows were frequently abandoned.


Rehris selling cut fruits raided
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 21
To take measures to check the outbreak of gastroenteritis and cholera in the district, the health authorities today raided and destroyed rotten fruits being sold in the open in various parts of the city.

The authorities destroyed rotten fruit being sold at 17 rehris near the Rajindra Hospital, nine rehris near YPS Chowk, five rehris near Chief Minister’s residence and 50 rehris in vegetable market.

The raids were conducted under the instructions of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Hardev Singh and District Health Officer, Dr Varinder Singh. The team comprising of District Food Officer, Dr Manjit Kaur and Mandi Officer, Dr Joginder Singh, raided various rehris selling rotten and cut fruits in the city.


Two employees held for duping Punsup
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 21
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested two employees of the Punsup for allegedly duping the department of Rs 11.80 lakh by selling its wood without following prescribed norms.

Mr Tulsi Ram, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said the Punsup had purchased wood in 1998-99 for making crates for distribution to its different stores in and around Hoshiarpur district. But, the remaining wood including waste wooden material worth about Rs 11.80 lakh, was allegedly sold without conducting mandatory auction for the same. No tenders were invited for the open sale of remaining wood and it was sold at less price to favour some private contractors in violation of the prescribed norms.

Following a tip-off about alleged financial irregularities last year, the VB sleuths conducted a thorough probe in this regard and it was found that two inspectors, Malkiat Singh and Randhir Singh posted at Garhshankar, were responsible for loss to the state exchequer.

A case under Section 409, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13 (1) D and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered after getting the nod from the Director Vigilance Bureau office.

Both officials were arrested from their respective places today afternoon and the arrested persons were being produced in the court. “We are also probing the role of other employees of the Garshankar office of the Punsup, Mr Ram said, adding that a special VB team was also probing into the assets amassed by the arrested persons during their service as it was informed that their assets were disproportionate to their known sources of income.


3 Shiv Sainiks injured in assault
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 21
Six or seven car-borne armed assailants attacked and injured three Shiv Sainiks (Hindustan faction), two of them seriously, around mid-night. near Chachoki village on the GT Road on the outskirts of Phagwara and sped away last night. The injured were Ajay Mehta, district president, Kamal Kishore Pinka, block vice-president, and Daljit Bhalla. Pinka of Onkar Nagar and Bhalla of Guru Nanakpura sustained serious injuries inflicted with sharp-edged weapons on their arms and head, respectively, Mehta was hit with a baseball bat.

The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Mehta said today that his associates were injured seriously because they bore the brunt of the attack, which was directed at him.Since he ducked and his associates sprang in front of him to protect him, he was beaten up with bats and sticks while the other two were hit with sharp-edged weapons, said Mehta.

He claimed that he recognised two of the assailants. One of them shook hands with them after getting down from the car, he stated.

A delegation of the Shiv Sena(Hindustan) today met local police officials and demanded immediate arrest of the assailants. The police said the culprits would not be spared and would be arrested shortly. It attributed the attack to some old dispute.


38 more complaints against immigration company
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 21
As many as 38 more complainants came forward today to claim that they had also been duped by Cherry Immigration Service head Ramandeep Singh, who, they alleged, had supplied them with fictitious job offers and even immigration clearances from the Minotaba State of Canada.

The complainants approached district police chief A.S. Rai today. The SSP has directed the Civil Lines police authorities to make them a party in the case, which has already been registered against Ramandeep, his wife Cherry, father-in-law Harnek Singh Gill, brother-in-law Amardev Singh Gill, and Dimple Walia under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.

Earlier, a case had been registered against the accused when nine youngsters claimed that they had been duped by them. With the registration of the fresh complaint, the total money involved in the racket has touched Rs 40 lakh.

Meanwhile, the Patiala police has also filed an application in a local court, petitioning it to give directions forbidding Cherry Immigration Services head Ramandeep Singh, his wife Cherry and other accused from selling their properties.

Mr Rai said if it was found that the accused had defrauded the youngsters, the district police would move another application in the court, urging for the seizure of all properties and bank accounts of the accused so that the complainants could be compensated.

The police officer said till now the police had only come to know about a house of the accused in Majithia Enclave. When questioned that there was a notice outside this house stating that it had been sold, Mr Rai said the police would examine when the sale had taken place.

Meanwhile, police sources said that two more complainants had approached the Civil Lines Police Station, claiming they had also been defrauded by Ramandeep and the other accused, bringing the total number of complainants in the case to 11.


Woman might have eloped with SDO, says police
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 21
The case involving the alleged kidnapping of a 33-year-old married women and her son by a 55-year-old Sub Divisional Officer of the Irrigation Department took a complete turn around today with the police claiming that the woman might have eloped with the SDO.

The missing woman - Maninder Kaur’s husband Arvinder Singh, who runs a groceries store at the Railway Crossing Number 22 market had got a case registered against the SDO alleging that the latter had kidnapped his wife and son.

District police chief A S Rai when questioned on the issue, said evidence was leading to the fact that the woman had eloped with the SDO, who was already accused of embezzlement of a huge sum of money from the Irrigation Department. He said the police was, however, still invesitigating the case to confirm whether the woman had been kidnapped as was being claimed. Mr Rai said the complainants in the case had met him today but were not able to give the details of the passport numbers of Maninder and her 11-year-old son Gurpreet. He said the complainant had already alleged that the passports had gone missing after he had shown them to the SDO earlier. He said the police had now decided to get in touch with the passport authorities to get the passport number of the mother and son.

He said once the police had these numbers it would contact all international airports to confirm whether all the three persons had left the country or not. He said in case it was revealed that the three were still in the country, a look out circular (LoC) would be issued in their name so that they could be detained in case they tried to flee the country.


SHO, other cops hurt in attack by mob
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, June 21
Nearly 30 persons, including president of the Block Youth Congress Mohd Shakeel, allegedly attacked a police party headed by local SHO Vijay Kumar here last night. The mob also damaged two vehicles of the police.

The SHO and other policemen suffered injuries in this attack. The local police today registered a case under Sections 353, 382, 341, 323, 427, 186, 148 and 149 of the IPC against the suspects, including Mohd Shakeel and his brother. Mohd Shakeel has been arrested.

The policemen had gone to Mohalla Maler to get the shops which remain open till midnight closed.

However, Maulvi Wahab-ud-Din Qasmi, Khateeb (Imam) of the local Masjid Pandian, Maler, alleged that the SHO was under the influence of liquor and entered the mosque with shoes and damaged some articles in the masjid.

Parvej Mohd and Nadeem Mohd, residents of the area, alleged that the police attacked the residents who were sitting in front of the masjid after performing ‘namaz’. It also allegedly damaged two shops, including a shop of Mohd Shakeel.

When Mohd Shakeel and his supporters protested, the police arrested him and implicated him in a false case, they alleged.

But the local DSP, Mr M.S. Mallhi, claimed that the SHO was not drunk. He said a medical examination of the SHO was conducted in the local Civil Hospital and its report was awaited.

He said policemen were on routine duty to stop crime in the city when these persons attacked them.

He also reguted the allegations that the SHO entered the mosque with shoes and damaged some articles there.

He said some cases were already pending against Mohd Shakeel and his supporters.


Gang involved in post office robbery busted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 21
The CIA staff today busted a gang of robbers that looted Rs 80,000 at gunpoint from a post office in Shahi Samadhan locality of the city last week. Manpreet Singh, Sanjay Kumar, Rinku and Gagandeep Kumar Bansal were arrested, while Kaka Singh and Amit Kumar managed to escape. The police recovered Rs 44,600, some Kisan Vikas Patra, Indira Vikas Patra, a passbook, one scooter and three pistols from them.

The police has also arrested Vijay Kumar, Yash Kumar and Nafees Khan. They were also involved in the robbery.

A case has been registered against the accused under Sections 398, 399, 400 and 402 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.


Man kills ex-lover
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 21
Sumanjit Kaur (20) was killed at Patti with a sharp-edged weapon today in broad daylight. Kashmir Kaur, mother of the victim, was injured when she tried to intervene. The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC against the alleged accused who has been identified as Satta of the same township.

The police said Sumanjit, who allegedly had an affairs with Satta, was married four months ago with Sonu, a resident of Amritsar. She had come here today to meet her parents. Satta, who came to her residence with a kirpan, made several attacks on her. She was killed on the spot and when her mother Kashmir Kaur tried to intervene, he cut her hand with the weapon.

Satta was later nabbed by the police. The husband of the deceased, who was also present on the spot, ran away when Satta attacked Sumanjit.


Khalsa College professor dies in accident

Amritsar, June 21
Prof Jaswant Singh Pahwa, a physics professor of Khalsa College here, was killed in an accident late last night when he was going on his scooter on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road.

A head on collision occurred with a car coming from the opposite side. According to reports, Professor Pahwa died on the spot. 

The car was being driven by Mr Satnam Singh, who has been arrested on a complaint filed by Mr Manjit Singh.


Thieves decamp with cash, gold
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 21
Thieves struck at a Baghapurana house and decamped with Rs 61,500 cash, 150 gm gold, a rifle and some legal documents last night. The complainant, Nachhatar Singh, a conductor with Punjab Roadways, suspected the hand of the family where his daughter was earlier engaged. 

He said his daughter has been engaged to Harinder Harry of Patiala on May 26, 2003, and they were supposed to get married after a year but later Harry’s family refused, he said. A case was pending in the court in this regard, he added. The police started investigations.


NIT to start regular M.Tech courses
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 21
Dr B.R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT), in its bid to promote research-oriented projects in this part of the region, has decided to introduce higher education programmes in M.Tech and Ph.D from this academic session.

While the institute was offering M.Tech courses on a part-time basis for the past few years, the course will be started on a regular basis from this year. Admission to the regular course will be held on the basis of an entrance test and interview.

The seven-semester M.Tech course would be started in two disciplines for the time being. These will be ‘Structural engineering and construction management’ and ‘Textile engineering and management’.

However, M.Tech by research and Ph.D will be started in all nine disciplines offered by NIT, including chemical and bio-engineering, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, industrial engineering, instrumentation and control engineering, leather technology, textile technology, electronics and communication engineering and mechanical engineering.

Dr K.K. Dhir, Registrar, said even though the Ministry of Human Resource Development had allocated 18 seats in each of the two disciplines of the M.Tech regular course, the institute had decided to admit students to five seats only this year as it could not afford to pay a scholarship of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5000 per month to more than 10 students.

However, there was no limit to the number of students taking admission to courses in M.Tech by research and Ph.D. He said all eligible candidates would be allowed admission to the courses.

Dr Dhir said the courses were being started as there was a dearth of specialised engineers in various advanced fields in the region. With this demand of the industry in the region would be fulfilled. The students could get better opportunities after completing the specialised courses, he added.

The institute has finalised the fee structure for the new courses. A total of Rs 12,000 per semester would be charged from the students taking admission to the M.Tech regular course or by research. Students taking admission to Ph.D will have to pay Rs 14,000 per semester. The students applying for M.Tech (part-time) will pay Rs 11,000 per semester. In addition, all the candidates will have to pay Rs 2,000 as question money in the first semester.


Govt commercialising education: Adhayapak Dal

Faridkot, June 21
A meeting of the state executive committee of the Adhaypak Dal, Punjab, held here yesterday critisised the state government for following the policy to commercialise the education by appointing teachers on contract. Expressing concern over the issue, the meeting expressed apprehension that it would give more powers to the private sector to formulate their own policies and may also promote nepotism and corrupt practices in the selection of teachers, hampering the future brilliant students.

Mr Surjit Singh Shehtab, senior vice-president of the state body, while quoting various instances of irregularities committed in the selection and posting of the teachers alleged that the roaster was violated by the District Education Department (Primary), Faridkot, in the posting of 94 teachers recently, particularly of the weaker section in different branches of the schools under the Sarv Sikhaya Abhiyan scheme in the district. Demanding for providing education and health facilities free of cost as made mandatory in the Constitution, the senior representative of the Adhyapak Dal stressed upon the state government to formulate a unique policy by rising above its political motives and interests for the uplift of society. Making another demand for the adjustment of nearly 3,900 unemployed ETT pass-outs without further delay, he said if the state government failed to perform its responsibilities with zeal, the dal would be compelled to launch a state-wide stir. — OC


Govt ignoring industry, says Beopar Mandal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 21
Upset over a comprehensive package for the farmers announced by the Union Government, the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal has charged the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre with being indifferent and apathetic to the problems of trade and industry.

At an emergency meeting of the mandal held here yesterday under the presidentship of Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal, it said that the hopes of the members of trade and industry in Punjab had been dashed to the ground after the Finance Minister had failed to mention this vital sector while granting sops to the farming community.

Chairman of the mandal Baba Ajit Singh, state secretary Sunil Mehra, district secretary Mohinder Aggarwal, Som Nath Malhotra, Charanjit Bhargav, Parwinder Bagga, Suresh Makkar, Baldev Ahuja, Ashok Jain, Ashwani Jain, Jagdish Anand, Vijay Walia, Sunil Marhia, Shiv Kumar, Raju Bindra, Rakesh Vohra, Anil Handa and Harinder Thakur, among others, were present at the meeting.

Speakers, including Mr Mehra and Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, said the government was anti-trade and anti-industry. Rather than providing any relief to the crisis-ridden industry and trade, the government had jacked up prices of petroleum products, which in turn would lead to rise in prices of all commodities.

The representatives of trade further rued that hosiery, textile, ready-made garments and yarn trades were facing one of the worst crises and over 50 per cent of the trading and manufacturing units were on the verge of closure.

The spiralling prices of iron and steel material and other inputs had adversely affected the engineering industry, spinning units and sports goods industry in the state as well.

Mr Aggarwal alleged that the government was giving stepmotherly treatment to the trade and commerce and except for false promises, nothing worthwhile had been done either by the centre or the state government to provide relief to trade and industry. Mr Aggarwal and several other speakers vehemently opposed the government proposal to give effect to VAT system of taxation from April 2005, making it clear that this system would not be allowed to be introduced till other taxes and levies, including octroi, sales tax and central excise duty, were abolished. Moreover, the VAT regime could only succeed when introduced uniformly and simultaneously all over the country.

The meeting also criticised the state government for giving more powers to the officials in the draft rules for proposed VAT system. The excise and taxation network, it apprehended, would become more repressive and harassment to trade and industry would increase if the VAT were brought into effect without suitable amendments.

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