P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Budget directionless, say SAD-BJP leaders
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 22
Senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party today dismissed the Punjab Budget as insipid, unimaginative and directionless. The ruling party had tried to present a please-all Budget with an eye on the ensuing byelections in three assembly segments but it had not given any relief to any section of society, thereby rendering the Budget anti-people, anti-poor, anti-dalit and anti-farmer, alleged Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid, national adviser, SAD, Mr Gurjit Singh Khalsa, national general secretary, Youth Akali Dal, Mr Swarna Ram, BJP state president and a former Punjab Minister, and Mr Balbhadar Sain Duggal, acting district BJP president.

They said the government would impose new taxes later through back-door measures and the Finance Minister had hinted this to press by conceding that he could not give any assurance to the people that fresh taxes would not be imposed in the current financial year. Besides, no concrete steps had been spelt out for improving the health of sick economy, and shoring up crumbling medical infrastructure. Agriculture sector, industries, urban people, employment generation and resource mobilisation to strengthen the economy and meet the huge deficit had been ignored, they added.


Political exigencies and Budget blues
Chief Minister set to seek resignation of ministers
by P.P.S. Gill

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Budget was presented in the Vidhan Sabha on Monday under unusual circumstances and in the shadow of political uncertainty.

With the deadline for pruning the strength of the Council of Ministers approaching, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is believed to have invited all Congress MLAs to dinner here on June 24. The ministers would then be asked to submit their resignations, it is learnt.

The state Budget had come at a time when the Central Budget is yet to be presented in Parliament. Punjab's Annual Plan for 2004-05 is yet to be cleared by the newly constituted Planning Commission, and neither the allocation of Plan Assistance for capital investment nor the quantum of share of the state from the Central tax pool is known.

Thus, in the absence of assured available resources from New Delhi, the Finance Department was left with little or no choice but to sum up and reiterate what the government had been claiming and proposing for the past three years to jack up its economy, improve its financial health and state its intentions to perform in future.

All calculations were made on presumptions and the state's political executive could not be expected to jump the gun in view of the political exigencies prevailing in the state. The government is also into the damage control mode in view of the ''adverse'' reporting in the media on the Budget.

This is being attributed to two factors: first, failure to clearly enunciate Budget strategies at yesterday’s press briefing after the Budget speech of the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, and a woolly press note; second, lack of ''perspective'' of the media in understanding and interpreting the Budget speech and related documents.

No one denies that on the face of it, the Budget speech showed as if the government had ''abdicated its responsibilities'' in managing the financial situation and failed to re-invent itself despite having passed the (blame) buck to the previous SAD-BJP government.

Sources pointed out that in the Budget speech, there were enough hints of how the government perceived the future of Punjab and steps required to revive the economy and generate employment, inculcate technical skills right from the school level, develop sports, promote dairying and animal husbandry and take up power generation and irrigation projects in earnest to keep the wheels of industry running and seeds of cash crops sprouting, making agriculture remunerative for small farmers and introducing new schemes in the cooperative banking sector to give more relief to farmers.

The government proposes to introduce a new information and communication technology (ICT) project for imparting computer education to students in all government schools from Class VI to XII. The aim was to develop attitude, awareness and skill among 13 lakh students. A sum of Rs 17.13 crore has been earmarked for this project in 2004-05.

To give effect to the slogan ''catch them young'', it was proposed to set up the Punjab State Sports Authority on the pattern of the Sports Authority of India. The suggested authority would be autonomous and independent.

Despite some resistance, the government is all set to frame a new Act to establish Guru Angad Dev University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Later, this new university will have its own campus in Ropar. Punjab had vast potential to develop livestock and the university is expected to fulfill that need.

The state will go ahead with the Shahpur Kandi Phase II project to be executed by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and also the expansion of the Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant, phase II. It will have two units of 250 MW each. The project will be executed by BHEL.

In the cooperative sector, for the first time it was proposed to launch a self-financed health insurance scheme, named "Sanjivini", for the members of primary cooperative societies. Every member shall contribute to build a corpus at the state level, which shall be utilised to meet medical treatment expenses of members with the upper limit set at Rs 2 lakh per year in any of the listed hospitals.

The Finance Minister also announced to frame a policy of ''debt insurance'' to reduce debt burden of farmers in case of natural calamities. Under this scheme, a farmer's liability to repay will be taken over by an insurance company and the farmer loanee will remain eligible to borrow fresh loan for new crops. This is a more practical scheme rather than crop insurance.

It almost went unnoticed that Punjab employees were the highest paid in the country, though it was another matter that work efficiency and efficacy of the government had not improved, correspondingly. The state spends over 48.24 per cent of its revenue expenditure on their salaries and allowances to its employees and pensioners.

In the past two years, this pampered section of society was further helped with the enhancement of their Dearness Allowance (DA) and pension five times. On account of this, DA had increased from 45 per cent to 61 per cent. And with the merger of DA equal to 50 per cent of basic pay, pension of the employees and pensioners, effective from April 1, 2004, had resulted in additional burden of Rs 1,000 crore on the state exchequer. Likewise, keeping pace with inflation and spiralling prices, related allowances were also raised.

An official admitted that the existence of some "inflated'' revenue figures here or ''suppressed'' expenses there in the Budget estimates were but natural, based as these were on mere presumptions, and because what will flow from the Centre was not known. He added, ''See our statement of intentions in part A and specific projects and schemes already approved on the files and included in part B of the Budget speech in the backdrop of political uncertainty in the state and the fact that the Congress-led UPA government is still settling down in New Delhi''.


Budget silent on new jobs: Brar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 22
Former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar said today that the Budget presented by Finance Minister Lal Singh yesterday should have indicated the measures to be taken by the Congress government to fulfil the promises made to the electorate in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to mediapersons at the residence of former municipal council president Manohar Lal Nagpal, Mr Brar said the decision not to impose any new tax was a welcome step but the Budget was conspicuously silent over new employment avenues for the 10 lakh educated unemployed youths of the state.

On his defeat in the Lok Sabha elections from the Ferozepore constituency, Mr Brar said trailing from the Fazilka assembly segment was indeed shocking. He had already submitted a detailed report on his defeat to the AICC and named two senior party leaders who allegedly joined hands with SAD nominee Zora Singh Mann.

Mr Brar was going to meet the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on July 7 along with a delegation of selected functionaries from this district. They will demand that Ferozepore should be given border area status and issue of opening the Hussainiwala border be given priority in the next round of talks with Pakistan.


SAD to raise SYL issue in Parliament
Captain interfering in Sikh affairs: Badal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 22
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal today asserted that his party would raise the issue of construction of the SYL canal in the Budget session of Parliament. Talking to reporters after inaugurating the party’s election office here, he said since Punjab did not have surplus water, it would be injustice with farmers of the state if the river water was shared with Haryana.

“We have decided to raise our voice against the completion of the remaining portion of the SYL canal in Punjab during the Budget session of Parliament. Members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha belonging to the SAD have been informed about the decision to oppose any such move, he said. He added that there was a need to first decide about allocation of river waters afresh as per the internationally acknowledged riparian law.

“It is only the SAD which is capable of raising the issue on the floor of the House to safeguard the interests of the farming community of Punjab, he asserted. Asked whether his party would be part of an all-party delegation to meet the Prime Minister over this issue, he said the Shiromani Akali Dal would support any such move of the state government as the SYL canal issue should be taken up at all appropriate fora without considering any political affiliations. “I am ready to go anywhere to protect the interests of state farmers, he added.

Commenting on the Budget proposals presented by the state Finance Minister yesterday, the former Chief Minister maintained that there was nothing like a Budget in it. “The Congress government is short of welfare schemes, which is evident from the fact that the Budget lacks a vision to ensure proper development of the state. No new scheme has been launched. It is a lacklustre exercise,” he said. He added that the present regime had failed to initiate development projects in the state during the past more than two years of its tenure.

Launching a fresh salvo on the Amarinder government, Mr Badal alleged that the rejection of the nomination papers of some party candidates for the SGPC poll, including Mr Sucha Singh Langah and Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, by the officials concerned at the behest of the Congress government was an example of its interference in Sikh religious affairs. “In fact, there is no proof against these candidates since neither are they insolvent nor patit,” he said. He added that his party would win the SGPC elections with a thumping majority.


Amarinder hosts dinner for CPI, CPM leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, hosted dinner for the CPI leader, Dr Joginder Dayal, and the CPM leader, Mr Balwant Singh, last night. Two senior Congress Ministers, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and Mr Lal Singh, were also present.

It was, perhaps, the first time that the CM had invited the Communist leaders for an exclusive dinner meeting. He has not been maintaining good relations with the state leadership of the CPI for quite some time.

As the Communists have become important players in national politics and also the national leadership of the CPI and the CPM is also very close to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, it has become a political necessity for Capt Amarinder Singh to keep the state leadership of the CPI and the CPM in good humour.

Source said at the dinner meeting, the CM got feedback from communist leaders that about the reasons that led to the defeat of the party in the Lok Sabha elections in the state. The CPI and the CPM were both allies of the Congress in these elections in Punjab. The CM was also keen to know that what steps should be taken to win the support of the Dalits and farming community for the ruling party. Though the issue of upcoming three byelections in the state was not discussed at the meeting, but obviously it must be weighing on the mind of the Chief Minister because to win these byelections would be politically a must for him ( CM).

Sources said the Left leaders expressed their opinion frankly. They told the Chief Minister withdrawal of free power facility from farming community, stopping of the shagun scheme for Dalit girls and delay in releasing funds for paying pension to the aged and other needy persons were the main reasons for the drubbing in elections of the Congress- Left alliance in the state. Besides, a scare was created by the “ disinvestment programme” of the government among employees of public sector undertakings. Another major factor enlisted for the defeat was mishandling of the election campaign.

Communist leaders urged the CM to announce free power for farmers having land holdings up to seven acres, 150 free units for Dalits and one job each for every Dalit family in the state. The shagun scheme should also be revived and payment of pension to old aged persons should be timely.


Why Punjab opposes Bathinda refinery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today informed the Vidhan Sabha that his government was not for scrapping the Bathinda Refinery but for redefining its terms and conditions so that the state did not suffer any financial losses.

Though, the original question by Mr Manpreet Singh Badal was whether there was a proposal for an ‘’integrated mix-use industrial park’’, its reply was lost in the spate of supplementary questions put by Akali MLA, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, who wanted to know about the future of the refinery.

Capt Amarinder Singh explained at length why his government was opposed to the refinery project and why it had been included on priority in the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister.

The estimated cost of the refinery was Rs 9, 806 crore. It would have an installed capacity of nine million tonnes per annum and HPCL was involved. When the project was conceived, the state had given a slew of incentives in terms of sales tax deferment, octroi and electricity duty exemptions etc. But somehow, while signing the ‘’deed of assurance’’ several factors were not kept in view.

The Chief Minister went on to say that re-examination of the terms and conditions showed that revenue loss to the state due to sales tax deferment alone would be about Rs 600 crore, per annum for 15 years. In addition, the state would also lose some, if not all, of the existing sales tax revenue from petrol, oil and lubricants, which is about Rs 800 crore, annually.

On the other hand, the Centre would earn substantial revenue from this project by way of central excise and customs duties, amounting to estimated Rs 1,200 crore per annum. If the refinery needed tax concessions to become viable, as claimed by HPCL, it would only be fair and just that the Centre should forgo a part of its earnings, rather than expecting the state to do so.

Reverting to the original question, Capt Amarinder Singh told Mr Badal that the setting up of a ‘’integrated mix-use industrial park’’ was under the government’s consideration. As to tax concessions and incentives, decisions were taken on a case to-case basis for mega projects involving the investment of above Rs 100 crore.

The Chief Minister told Mr Randeep Singh that there was no move to “privatise the Punjab State Electricity Board. In fact, its profit before tax was Rs 180 crore, in 2003-04.

The Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Mr Joginder Singh Mann informed Mr Tarlochan Singh that a grant of Rs 14 crore was given to 7,564 homeless Scheduled Caste families in 2002-03 while only 106 families were given a grant of Rs 40 lakh in the following year. These 106 families were in only three districts Gurdaspur, (59), Patiala, (40) and Faridkot (7).

Finance Minister Mr Lal Singh assured the House that the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib, started as a part of the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa in 1999, shall be completed by December 31, 2005, subject to the availability of funds.

Mr Lal Singh said the Chief Minister had had a meeting with the chief executives of nine banks in March, who promised to give Rs 100 crore for the project. Punjab National Bank has already given Rs 20 crore. In fact, former Union Minister, Jagmohan had also said Rs 100 crore would be provided if the state arranged the remaining two-third.

Punjab was faced with a peculiar problem. In several parts of the state, high-tension electric wires in several cities and towns oftenposed a threat to life. Recently, a 18-year-old girl and a 22-years-old youngman died in Amritsar city. Though compensation was paid, overhead wires continued to hang close to houses.

On the removal of these wires in the public interest, the Chief Minister told Mr Jugal Kumar Sharma that this could be done if people met the cost. The MLA said as people were poor they could not afford to pay.

Capt Amarinder Singh said there were many areas where such problems existed. ‘’We have worked out the cost of removing wires from the Amritsar colony under reference. That comes to Rs 9.70 crore. The entire state would require a huge sum. We do not have resources’’.


Three Akali leaders allowed to contest SGPC poll
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Three senior Akali leaders, including two former ministers, will now be able to contest the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. The Gurdwara Election Commission today accepted their petitions and quashed the orders passed by the deputy commissioners (DC) concerned, rejecting their candidature.

Pronouncing the orders on petitions filed by former ministers Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, along with SGPC’s working president Alwinder Pal Singh, Justice Jai Singh Sekhon of the commission held that the orders passed by the DCs, rejecting the candidature of the three leaders, were beyond jurisdiction.

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

The judgement reversing the rejection orders is significant as Mr Sekhwan and Mr Langah were at one stage strong candidates for the post of SGPC president. Soon after the judgement was delivered late this evening, Panthic Morcha members declared that they would be filing a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the commission’s orders.

Meanwhile, Justice Sekhon held that the nominations filed by the three petitioners were legally valid. As such they should be allowed to contest the elections scheduled to be held next month.

Coming down heavily on the DCs of Gurdaspur and Amritsar for their failure to produce relevant records despite the commission’s orders in this regard, Justice Sekhon also directed the issuance of notices to them. The Judge asked them to show cause why proceedings should not be initiated against them for disobeying the commission’s orders.

In his detailed order, Justice Sekhon held that the commission was competent to interpret the provisions of the relevant rules. He also agreed with the contentions raised by the petitioners that only civil or insolvency court was competent to declare a candidate “undischarged insolvent” for debarring him from contesting the elections.

In their petitions, the leaders had earlier asserted that the rejection of their candidature was illegal and in violation of the provisions. Challenging the rejection orders, they had asserted that owing money to the trust did not make them liable for disqualification. They had asserted that a specific procedure had to be followed for disqualifying candidates from contesting the elections.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioners, Punjab’s former Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal had asserted that the DCs had no powers in this regard. By proceeding against the candidates, the DCs had tried to assume the powers of the courts.

They had added that the parents could not be held liable for the actions of their major children. The youngsters could be penalised in case of default. In fact, they had been debarred from attending the classes. As such, the fathers should not have been proceeded against.

In a reply submitted to the Commission, Gurdaspur’s Deputy Commissioner Harjit Singh had, on the other hand, 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 had 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.


MC chief blames Health Dept for gastroenteritis
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 22
Mr Ajay Mohan Babbi, president of the Municipal Council, Hoshiarpur, criticised the district health authorities for blaming the municipal council for the outbreak of gastroenteritis/ diarrhoea in Hoshiarpur city. Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Babbi said the council had taken many steps to check the onslaught of disease whereas the Health Department did not even bothered to undertake spraying of DDT and check the sale of rotten vegetables and fruits.

Mr Babbi said the council had passed special budget of Rs 9.92 lakh for the installation of chlorinators on tubewells from where the water supply was being done in the city. There were 53 tubewells in the city of which electronic chlorinators had been installed on 28. Besides, manual chlorination was being done at 10 tubewells. Two tonnes of chlorine liquid had been purchased and the Health Department had only given 30,000 chlorine tablets to the council so far.

He said the council had got tested water samples of supply sources of Gokal Nagar, Bassi Khwaju, Udham Singh Park, Roshan ground, Parhlad Nagar, Shimla Pahari Chowk and Gandhi Chowk Bahadurpur and all samples were found potable by the testing laboratory.

Referring to the sanitation, he said there were 211 safai sewaks in the council as against 281 sanctioned posts. The municipal limits had increased to a greater extent and the fresh recruitment was banned. He said 24 safai sewaks would be appointed soon on contract basis to clear the ganda nullah of the city.

Mr Moti Lal Sud, Mr Shiv Sud, Mr Kharati Lal Katna and Mr Amar Nath, all councillors who were also present at the conference, flayed the district administration for not taking them in confidence in controlling the outbreak of gastroenteritis. They demanded complete ban on the sale and use of all types of plastic/polythene bags which were creating lot of problems in maintaining sanitation. They also appealed to the shopkeepers to remove encroachments in front of their shops which were creating obstacles in cleaning the drains.

Dr Y. C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, said all possible steps were being taken to prevent the outbreak of gastroenteritis under the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, and it was under control now.

Meanwhile, 16 fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported in the Civil Hospital in the last 24 hours.


Science city awaits Rs 5-crore grant
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Wadala Kalan (Kapurthala), June 22
The much-awaited Pushpa Gujral Science City is all set to open by October this year, provided the Central Government releases a grant of Rs 5 crore to it for giving finishing touches to the various structures erected in its vast 71-acre area.

With more than Rs 43 crore spent on the project, a huge science hall equipped with a 328-seater large format film projection system, a screen for 3-D visuals and mind-boggling laser shows, and a 30-seater flight stimulator with multi-axes freedom are near completion to take a visitor to a virtual voyage in space.

An artificial lake running throughout the science city has been created to give the visitors the pleasure of pedal boating while enjoying the beauty of various marvels of science built inside it. A computer centre has also been set up inside the city with the basic aim to impart awareness about computers to the youth in the adjoining rural areas.

Huge, eye-catching models of dinosaur, GSLV missile and a globe made out of tiny, 26 lakh colouful tiles can be viewed by anyone passing on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road. Landscaping of the area is almost complete and two green houses have also been erected inside to cultivate some temperature-sensitive plants. Advanced fire-detecting systems have also been installed at various places.

To make the entrance plaza attractive, imported curved lights have been erected atop granite pillars. A roundabout built a little inside, however, is awaiting a unique structure depicting some scientific aspect. Ticket counters, restaurant and kiosks have been set up a little inside the science city.

Construction of parking areas for two-wheelers, cars and buses is also near completion. Extra care has been taken to ensure that there are ramps everywhere to facilitate the movement of physically challenged visitors.

The Rs 5 crore grant that the officials are awaiting will be utilised partly for the construction of a kids’ park equipped with video parlours, train rides, swings and bouncers to attract the little ones. The officials concerned are in the process of finalising the timings, entry ticket rates and other charges to be levied for various facilities that the visitors will avail inside the science city. It, has, however, been decided to give special concession to schoolchildren, senior citizens and any group of visitors exceeding 50 persons. At the moment, the authorities are in the stage of finalising contracts with a private group for running restaurants and stalls inside the science city.

Mr Bhagwant Singh, Director of the science city said if the grant would be made available within a fortnight’s time, the science city would definitely be opened by October. He said this would be the last instalment required by them for completing the structures planned to be built in the first phase of the construction.

The Director added that several new attractions like the construction of a 60-feet banyan tree made of fibre, musical fountains, a fossil park, a butterfly park, an aquatic garden and crocodile parks would be coming up soon. He said facilities for adventure sports like rock-climbing, para jumping and aero ballooning would be added in next phases.

The Director said efforts were being made to ensure that a halt station was set up near the adjoining Wadala Kalan railway crossing for the convenience of visitors commuting by train.


Delhi nod to varsity named after Guru Tegh Bahadur
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 22
The Delhi Government has recommended the establishment of a Rs 2000-crore university after the name of Guru Tegh Bahadur. This was disclosed by Mr Parhalad Singh Chandok, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), while talking to The Tribune here today. He said the DSGMC would urge the Centre to allot 400 hectares in Delhi in lieu of the land allotted by the British in Fatehgarh Sahib district in 1927 in the name of Gurdwara Raqab Ganj, which had been encroached upon by land grabbers.

Mr Chandok also said there were about 250 surplus employees with the DSGMC, which had been recruited by earlier committees without requirement. He said the surplus staff had been causing a loss of over Rs 40 lakh to the DSGMC and the surplus staff needed to be retrenched, for which a high-level committee would be constituted. He said the functioning of many DSGMC-run educational institutes would be streamlined. Mr Chandok said during a surprise checking of the DSGMC–run ITI, a male teacher was caught teaching in place of his wife.

Replying to a question, Mr Chandok opposed any proposal to make the All-India Gurdwara Act. He said while there was a move to constitute a separate committee to manage gurdwaras in Haryana, the proposal for an All-India Gurdwara Act would not be acceptable to Sikhs living in other states.

Mr Chandok also said there was a need to amend the DSGMC Act for increasing the term of office-bearers from one year to at least three years. He said the one-year term for the office-bearers encouraged infighting, which adversely affected functioning of the DSGMC.


Overwhelming public response lights up 4 lives
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Nothing but a divine intervention can make certain things happen. And one never knows when and where God may intervene to ensure that pain does not always win over patience.

So it happened this morning which saw a distressed father receive a beautiful gift from God - a gift that will not only make the life of his three suffering daughters easy but will also save him the ordeal of cycling 50 km daily to attend office at Patiala. With his new Piaggio diesel three-wheeler gifted to him at CMPL Motors, Industrial Area today, Surjit looked a happy man. The vehicle costs Rs 1.23 lakh, which were mobilized following The Tribune report that highlighted Surjit's and his daughters' plight.

"God is strange and his ways are even stranger," said an overwhelmed Surjit, who will not have to ferry his muscular dystrophy-ridden daughters on the cart anymore. He can now use the auto to take Sonu, Seema and Sweety for regular treatment at Patiala. Surjit added, "I know they are nearing death but I can make their days happier. I could never have dreamt of such generosity. I am indebted to those who made this happen. For me, this is nothing but a dream come true."

The task appeared impossible, but things moved unimaginably fast for Surjit after The Tribune report on May 24. Responses poured from all over India and abroad.

Many doctors expressed willingness to offer free medical help to Surjit's children. He is already taking his daughters to a Patiala-based doctor for treatment.

But commuting remained a hassle for Surjit until Ms Madhu Anil of the Helping Hand Charitable Trust, in response to the report, offered to empower Surjit. She contacted Piaggio's Regional Manager (North) Mr S.S. Bajwa, who swore all assistance.

Within 20 days over a lakh were collected, with Navdeep Kumar, a young trainer with the ICICI Bank, Sector 9 branch, mobilizing Rs 25,000. The Sector 34 Gurdwara contributed Rs 25,000.

The rest came from individuals, who contributed whatever they could, from Rs 21 to Rs 2000. Said Ms Anil, "This has been the proverbial case of every drop filling the ocean."

Piaggio also contributed heavily. Apart from giving Rs 3000 of the vehicle cost, Mr Bajwa convinced his dealers to give up profit margins in favour of Surjit. He also gave Surjit free insurance, free accessory fittings and an extra Rs 8000. Mr Narinderjit Singh of CMPL Motors, where the auto was presented today, also waived off his profit margin for the cause. As for the vehicle, it is the best available among cargo autos in India.

Easy on economy with its mileage of 36 km per litre of diesel, Piaggio will suit Surjit the best.

For his part, Surjit said he had been rewarded by God for looking after three girl children, despite their fatal disease. He was most joyous to receive keys of the vehicle from a girl child today.

Also present on the occasion was Father Thomas KJ of Roshni Society, the driving force behind this cause, which has brought light to the dark world of four people who live in village Takhtu Majra, Rajpura.


An empire built by cheating gullible youth
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 22
Hundreds of youths from rural areas of Patiala and Kurukshetra districts of Punjab and Haryana in search of an El Dorado in Canada did not know that the young man promising to send them abroad had made his own dreams come true in this city itself.

Ramandeep Singh, who defrauded the unemployed youngsters of lakhs of rupees by supplying them copies of fake job offers and immigration clearances, had built a cosy nest for himself and his wife Cherry at an age of 24 only. He enjoyed a flamboyant lifestyle owning two cars, including a Honda City.

Within a short span in the city, Ramandeep was able to build a house in the Majithia Enclave and was well looked after by servants. His hobbies included keeping large dogs.

Today the house is locked. A sign outside it says that it has been bought by one Chander Mohan Gupta of Ambala, and that the lock belongs to Mr Gupta. This has ostensibly been done to prevent the duped youths from calling on Ramandeep.

“Youths come almost everyday asking for Ramandeep” says a neighbour Vimla Kumari. She said a youngster had come even today asking for Ramandeep’s whereabouts. “He was holding a bounced cheque which Ramandeep had given him, claiming it was part of the repayment fee he had given to the immigration service owner”, she added.

Neighbours said around 15 or 20 women, who were relatives of a youth, who had been duped by Ramandeep had come to the house a few days ago, and there was a lot of shouting. They said some of the youths had also confronted the family members in the absence of Ramandeep a few days ago, adding the entire family fled the house the next day. They also disclosed that the accused’s father had expired 12 days ago, allegedly due to depression, knowing that the family would have to return the money taken from the gullible youth.

At Alam Complex in the posh Railway Crossing Number 22 area, Ramandeep maintained a plush office to impress clients. Vishal Batta, who claims he was duped by Ramandeep, says the latter’s was an example of rags to riches story, with his father running a STD booth earlier.” He got into the immigration services due to his brother-in-law, who was running a similar service and opened a franchise of Canwest Immigration.

Batta claimed Ramandeep soon created his own company on the same premises and started doing business in its name. Youths who were already coming to him because of Canwest’s name were given receipts of the new company, Cherry Immigration Services. Everyone was taken in as Ramandeep supplied the youth with fake job offers, which seemed like the real thing besides immigration clearances. In this manner he was able to dupe many youths”, he added.

Ramandeep did not spare anyone. Alam Complex belongs to a police official who was forced to lock up the premises as the accused did not pay his rent for some months. Similarly, the Electricity Board was also not paid power bills.


SAD (A) gets a jolt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 22
The SAD(A) suffered a major setback when its Phagwara (Rural) block president Kirpal Singh Maiopatti, senior vice-president Jaswant Singh, general secretary Lakhbir Singh, along with their supporters, joined the SAD headed by Parkash Singh Badal. A press note today said Mr Maiopatti and others had left SAD (A) after they were fed up with party’s local leadership. They had reposed full confidence in the leadership of Mr Badal and declared to work for the SAD candidate in SGPC elections from Phagwara-Sultanpur Lodhi, Jathedar Jarnail Singh Wahid. Mr Maiopatti had withdrawn his nomination papers for the SGPC elections from Phagwara-Sultanpur seat yesterday.


12 nominated state BJP special invitees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Punjab BJP President Avinash Rai Khanna has nominated 12 party functionaries as “special invitees” to the executive committee. According to a press note, the members are Mr Lalji Ram of Dasuya, Mr Ramesh Jalam of Hoshiarpur, Mr D.P. Khosla, Mr Gurdial Singh, Mr Vir Abhimanyu and Mr Gurdial Chand of Ludhiana, Ms Ramesh Kumari of Phagwara, Mr Shivpal Singh of Nawanshahr, Mr Amarjit Singh Walia of Mohali, Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi of Dasuya, Mr Ram Sarup Goyal of Barnala and Mr Narender Mittal of Bathinda.


No action in tree felling case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 22
Even as more than 2,000 tree saplings are being readied by the municipal corporation here to be planted on the stretch from the railway station upto the bypass leading to the Wagah international border, no action has been initiated against the “illegal” felling of as many as eight trees in the park of a posh colony allegedly by some employees of the municipal corporation in connivance with some others.

Residents of Ranjit Avenue, B block, here are sore over the felling of the trees as some trees were more than two decades old and many were fruit-bearing trees . The trees including mango trees, jamun and peepul.

The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation Mr KS Kang, and Mayor Mr Sunil Datti, denied having given any permission to any MC employee to fell the trees. The mayor said he had stopped the felling when it was brought to his notice.

According to the residents, the felling of the trees was carried out covertly to benefit a senior IAS officer in the area. It was also alleged that the felling was carried out to widen a road. Some persons alleged that the trees were not felled in a day but over two or three days to avoid any furore or report about it. Some of the trees were cut right down to their roots and the ditch filled up with soil to avoid detection. Some stumps were being removed similarly .

Both the Mayor and the Commissioner said the culprits would be punished, but no action has been taken against anyone so far.

Mr S. S. Bhalla of the Ranjit Avenue said the park had already been ill-maintained by the MC. Tall grass was not removed and haphazard growth was not properly pruned. Persons from nearby colonies were also throwing garbage here but the MC took no notice of it, many residents added.

A forest official told this reporter that for felling, more than one tree permission had to be taken from Forest Department.


Principal alleges harassment by ex-employer
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 22
Dr Rakesh Mohan, Principal of SPN College at Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district, who served as English lecturer at the SRPAAB College at Pathankot for 22 years prior to his present assignment, alleged today that the acting Principal and the management of the college at Pathankot were not releasing his gratuity and transferring his provident fund account to harass him. Talking to mediapersons here, Dr Rakesh Mohan said in case his gratuity was not released and his provident fund account not transferred within 10 days, he would knock the doors of court.

He said he had made requests to the acting Principal and the management of the Pathankot college in this regard. He said he had written to the Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar, and the DPI, Colleges, in this connection. He added that both had instructed the acting Principal and the management to release his gratuity and transfer his provident fund account, but they were making excuses. He said he went to the college on June 18 to meet the Dean of Guru Nanak Dev University, who came there to settle his case. He alleged that when he was discussing the matter with the Dean in the office of the Principal, he was instructed by the authorities of the college to leave the room.

Dr S. K. Sud, acting Principal, said he had written to Guru Nanak Dev University thrice for releasing the gratuity and transferring the provident fund account of Dr Rakeh Mohan, but the university authorities had not given a clarification in this regard. He said he had informed Dr Rakesh Mohan in this connection. Dr Rakesh Mohan contradicted the statement of Dr Sud and said he was only avoiding to make the payment.


Villagers gherao police post over ASI’s ‘misbehaviour’
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 22
Irked at the alleged misbehaviour with a mini-truck driver by a policeman, villagers of Kishanpura gheraoed the police post here last night and damaged the jeep of the Assistant Sub-Inspector, (ASI) Swaran Singh.

The incident occurred when the in charge of the police post, ASI Swaran Singh had an altercation with a mini-truck driver over parking the vehicle. Villagers alleged that the ASI abused and manhandled driver, Balbir Singh.

Denying allegations of misbehaviour by the police post in charge, the police registered a case against 150 villagers and started raiding their houses to arrest them. The situation became tense in the village.

Around 8 pm yesterday, Balbir Singh, a resident of Fatehpur Kania village and member of the local Canter Union, parked his vehicle on the roadside and left for some work. After some time, the police post in charge reached the spot and started misbehaving with him. Villagers alleged that when some of Balbir’s supporters reached there, the police misbehaved with them.

Angry over the police behaviour, a villager announced from local gurdwara’s mike that the police was misbehaving with innocent people, following which hundreds of villagers gathered and gheraoed the police post. When the situation went out of control, police personnel came out of the police post and started threatening the villagers, following which they entered the police post and overturned the ASI’s jeep after damaging it.

DSP Gurjit Singh Romana said the incident was the result of the action of some anti-social elements, as the ASI had just asked Balbir Singh to park his mini-truck properly. According to him, a case was registered against 150 persons, including Balbir Singh, under Sections 379, 342, 427, 188, 109, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Lack of amenities irks PUDA allottees
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 22
Allottees of residential plots in the Phase III Colony of Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) here are finding it difficult to build their houses as PUDA has failed to provide them with paved roads, piped water supply and street lights.

Those who have built their houses are irked over the absence of civic amenities, thick growth of elephant grass and poor sanitation.

“We have lodged protests against the denial of basic amenities. We staged a dharna about three days ago. Our repeated representations and protests have failed to move PUDA officials in the right direction,” pointed out Mr Jaspal Singh, secretary of the Urban Estate Phase Three Welfare Society.

He added that the allottees had spent heavily on getting plots and they would have to pay non-construction penalty if they did not start construction of their houses. He said there was no provision to penalise PUDA for its failure to provide basic amenities.

The PUDA had been supplying piped water to unauthorised colonies, which had come on its land after the same was encroached upon with the active connivance of its officials. Those living in the unauthorised colonies had been using the Phase III-Colony land as an open toilet, the residents alleged.

Whenever the allottees went to the local office of PUDA for redressal of grievances, they were allegedly maltreated by the authorities concerned. A number of plots allotted had not been demarcated by PUDA officials.

Mr Jaspal Singh said if the PUDA officials kept on denying basic amenities to the allottees, they would start an indefinite fast. No official of PUDA could be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Three die, six hurt in pile-up

Ferozepore, June 22
Three persons, including a woman, were killed and six others wounded in a pile-up near here last evening, doctors and witnesses said.

While none of the dead, whose bodies were removed to Zeera Civil Hospital, had been identified yesterday, four of the wounded were shifted to Ludhiana’s Dayanand Medical College (DMC) Hospital in view of the multiple injuries suffered by them, district health officer R.L. Taneja told reporters in Zeera Hospital.

When a motorcyclist fell while overtaking a car near Behak Gujjar village, 9 km from Zeera on the road to Makhu, a jeep following the two-wheeler screeched to a halt. As several other passing vehicles and people stopped to find what had happened, an Amritsar-bound PRTC bus ploughed into the crowd of vehicles and people, dragging them along. The bus and jeep fell into the roadside ditch after hitting and scattering vehicles and people, killing three on the spot and wounding five others, witnesses told the doctors.

Dr Taneja said Mukhtiar Singh and his wife Charanjit Kaur of Baja Brar village in Mukatsar district, Harpreet Singh of Bahak Gujjar and an unidentified 15-year-old boy had been sent to DMC Hospital, while Parminder Kumar (22) of Makhu town was admitted in Zeera Hospital. Ranjit Singh, a resident of Jogewala, was admitted to Makhu Hospital.

Of the dead, the woman was estimated to be in her mid-forties, while the two men were aged around 40 and 50 years. — UNI


The legend of ‘Kare Khan’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 22
The reverberations of the “Kare Khan” may have died long time back but its legend refuses to die. Named so because of four rings on its barrel, two on each side, the weapon, which was lodged for decades in the Cannon Park in Quila Mubarak complex, has a colourful history.

The cannon was cast by Raja Jujhar Singh of Chanderi. The original inscription in Devnagri states that the cannon was cast in Sanat 1683 (1626 A.D.) and also mentions the names of ironsmiths Soneek and Narhans, who were responsible for the casting the “Agan” (Yantra).

The cannon came into Mughal possession after the Raja was defeated by Shah Jahan and was deputed at Sirhind during the fag end of the Mughal empire to counter threats from both across the Khyber as well as that posed by sikhs, who had started to assert themselves as a fighting force.

On January 14, 1764, Sirhind fell to the combined forces of the Budha Dal, Taruna Dal and Phulkian Chief Baba Ala Singh. With its Governor Zain Khan being shot dead, the city fell into the hands of Baba Ala Singh, who got the cannon as part of his share of the war booty. It remained with the Phulkian state till 1807 when Maharaja Ranjit Singh cast his eyes on it.

In 1807, a dispute arose between Maharaja Sahib Singh and his Rani Aas Kaur. The Rani invited Maharaja Ranjit Singh to settle the dispute promising, him a necklace worth Rs 9 lakh and the “Kare Khan” cannon. By the time Ranjit Singh came to Patiala, both the Maharaja and the Rani had been prevailed upon to settle the dispute themselves than to rely on Ranjit Singh. The latter, however, as part of the promise took both the necklace and the cannon from the Patiala state. The cannon was used successfully by the army of Ranjit Singh in the conquest of Multan and Peshawar.

The cannon was captured by the British in 1894 during the Second Anglo Sikh War. It was taken to Fort William in Calcutta along with other guns captured during the war. Noted archivist and former Director of the Archives Department, Dr Mohan Singh, says the purpose behind this was to show visible proof of the subjugation of the Sikh army to inhabitants of the British India, adding they were exhibited all along the way.

Mohan Singh states it was then that the inscription “Kurrah Khan” was inscribed in English on the cannon.

After 1857, the Patiala royal house requested for the repatriation of the cannon to the state and the same was granted keeping in view the loyalty of the state to the British during the Anglo-Sikh wars. The cannon was transported to Delhi, and from there it was brought to the city by the Patiala state. A file about the “Kare Khan” in the Archives department details this process and also contains a chord which confirms the measurement of the cannon.

The cannon was given a grand reception when it was returned to Patiala by Maharaja Narinder Singh. The cannon entered the city from the Ghalori Gate and was installed on the outer complex of the Quila Mubarak.

It has again crossed the Sutlej as a prized exhibit in the exhibition of ”Maharaja Ranjit Singh And His Times”, which was put up on the occasion of the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of the Maharaja at Amritsar in 2001. Since then it is still to be returned to the Quila Mubarak in Patiala.


Water shortage, power cuts irk villagers
Our Correspondent

Moga, June 22
Residents of many villages in the district today complained that they had been facing an acute shortage of power and drinking water for the past several weeks. A delegation of villagers led by Ms Kuldip Singh Mahesari said here that the residents of these villages had to fetch water from remote places.

Certain villagers had to drink water of ponds nearby which was not fit for human consumption. Residents of Kot-Ise Khan village said about 50 per cent of them were without water as the tubewells installed there were not functional.

Transformers at Mahesar village which had been damaged or burnt had not been repaired. Employees of the PSEB had never carried out repairs, they alleged.


Twins delivered in public toilet
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 22
A woman delivered twins in a public toilet at the Ropar bus stand, Sirhind town, today evening.

Ms Meena Kumari of Brahman Majra, along with another woman, was going to market in Sirhind town. On the way, she developed labour pain and went to a public toilet at the Ropar bus stand. Hearing her cries, her companion rushed to the toilet and found that she had delivered a male child. She brought the child out. However, she again heard the cries of the woman. She had delivered a female child. 


Plea to protect interests of state-cadre officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh Grewal, a member of the working committee of the Punjab BJP and a former President of the State BJP Yuva Morcha, today urged the Punjab Government to protect the interests of state cadre police officers. They should be entrusted with equally important posts like IPS officers.

In a statement, he said such officers, who were the backbone of the force, should not be sidelined. Many state cadre police offices had been awaiting promotion to the IPS for the past several months.

As many as 14 slots were to be filled in the IPS cadre by promoting state cadre police officers. Their cases should be cleared immediately by asking the Union Public Services Commission to expedite the process.


53 illegal kiosks pulled down
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 22
A team of PWD officials removed 53 illegal kiosks from PWD land on Amloh Road, Mandi Gobindgarh. Mr Jatinder Singh, Tehsildar, was appointed Executive Magistrate to supervise the operation.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said the district administration had launched a campaign to remove illegal encroachments on government land in the district. He said people had complained to him about inconvenience on Amloh Road, Mandi Gobindgarh, due to the roadside kiosks.

He said when he reviewed the file relating to the allotment of the PWD site for kiosks, he was surprised to see that the High Court had decided a case in favour of the PWD in 1988 directing the department to take the possession of the land. He said he directed PWD officials to file a case in the court of SDM under PP Act to get the possession of the land by removing the kiosks. The SDM court decided the case in favour of the PWD.

Meanwhile, the SDM, Bassi Pathana, conducted a surprise check at the octroi office of Municipal Council, Bassi Pathana, and found that the staff had not marked attendance in the attendance register since June 7. The Deputy Commissioner has sought explanation from the Executive Officer of the staff.


DM orders closure of Cosmo Club
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 22
The District Magistrate, Mr Raminder Singh, today ordered the closure of the Cosmo Club located on the Taylor Road . In a written order, he said the club was indulging in illegal activities, including gambling and drinking.

The raid on the club premises on June 18 was reportedly due to political rivalry between an MLA and a councillor. The MLA was alleged to have used his clout to “teach a lesson” to the councilor whose brother–in–law is the president of the club .

The matter between the two had triggered when 15 councillors got cancelled an agenda item that was passed in the Municipal Corporation House to take over an electricity substation on the Lawrence Road worth crores of rupees, to make a shopping mall . The MLA had denied the allegation.

Meanwhile, the district administration ordered the closure of the club in public interest as it claimed that anti-social elements were being encouraged to carry on illegal activities here . On this account, a raid was conducted on June 18 on the club premises in which many persons were booked under the Gambling and Excise Act, it stated .

The orders have been imposed under Section 144, CrPC, ex parte. The club would remain closed from June 22 to August 20.


Passport centre to close from July 1
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 22
The local passport collection centre, which was opened nine years ago for the benefit of residents of border belt, including Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore districts, would be closed after June 30.

This has been conveyed officially through a public notice put up on behalf of the Regional Passport Office, Jalandhar. The notice reads, “No application for the passport would be entertained after June 30”.

Though a district passport cell, located at local court complex, is working but it charges Rs 100 for the submission of papers whereas the centre do not charge anything for this work. The centre used to dispatch the applications duly filled on the same day.


Computerised rail booking shut for 5 hrs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 22
People were inconvenienced today as computerised railway ticket booking remained shut for five hours at the railway station here. When contacted, a railway official said the power shutdown had caused it. Asked as to why the system was not operated with a generator, the official replied that kerosene and petrol were out of stock.

He claimed that the backlog of booking was being cleared by employees working overtime after the resumption of power supply this afternoon. A long queue was seen in front of the computerised booking counter this afternoon when the booking resumed.


Flesh trade racket busted, nine held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 22
The Shahpurkandi police claims to have busted a racket of flesh trade and booked 10 persons and arrested nine including four women in this connection.

The DSP (Rural), Mr Mohinder Singh yesterday laid a naka at Mamun chowk here and on specific information, a hotel located on the Defence Road was raided along with policewomen.

The police found four women and four men suspects from the hotel. The police said the fifth customer was waiting for his turn in the hotel.

The accused have been identified as Neelam, Seema, Sonu all local residents, Lata of Varanda (HP), Sapinder Singh of Gazikot village, Ashwani and Kuldip Kumar of Chhani Beli (HP), Rajesh Kumar of Varanda and Sonu of Manwal Bhag.

The owner of the hotel has absconded.

The accused were booked under Sections 3 and 4 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention ) Act 1956. They were today produced before Mr R.K. Garg, SDJM-cum-Duty Magistrate here, who remanded them in judicial custody till July 6.


2 youths attack cop, snatch revolver
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 22
Mr Jugraj Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), was attacked by two unidentified youths while he was going to his house after duty late last night. The attackers took his service revolver with them.

Mr Jugraj Singh, posted at the Sadar police station, was going on his motor cycle to his house at Dhobiana Basti when the incident occurred. When he reached near a deserted spot, two unidentified youths came on a scooter and one of them hit an iron rod on his head.

Mr Jugraj Singh fought with the attackers, but they snatched his .9mm service revolver and tore his uniform. The ASI grabbed the cap of one of the attackers but they fled.

Mr Jugraj Singh, living in Dhobiana Basti for the past about 12 years, was rushed to the civil hospital by passersby accompanied by two policemen. His condition was stated to be out of danger.

After getting information, the senior police officials reached the hospital. Police teams were constituted, which conducted raids on the premises of the suspects. The police rounded up a number of suspects. Checks were carried out in areas near the site.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the ASI did not have personal enmity with anyone. Sources said Mr Jugraj Singh had suffered three head injuries and injuries behind his ear, arms and back.

A case under Sections 307, 333, 382 and 34 of the IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act was registered.


Dera followers foil robbery; 1 held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 22
Alert securitymen and followers of a dera on the outskirts of Chhappar village not only foiled a robbery last night but also arrested one of the robbers, who later turned out to be a criminal wanted in many cases by the police. The criminal, who was injured after an exchange of gunshots with followers, was overpowered by a team of the Dehlon police around midnight. The alleged criminal, Rafiq Mohammad, alias Bruce Lee, was rushed to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital. He was booked under Sections 307, 382 and 511 of the IPC.

The incident took place just after 11 pm and the ensuing commotion and the sound of the gunfire caused panic among residents. As the news spread, a large number of devotees from Chhappar, Mandi Ahmedgarh and adjoining villages reached the spot. The agitated followers later gathered in front of the hospital where Bruce Lee was hospitalised. They were demanding that he should be handed over to them. The mob even stoned the hospital and damaged a number of windowpanes, doors and vehicles. However, the police succeeded in pacifying the mob.

Sources in the police revealed that Bruce Lee was first seen by Jarnail Singh Fouji, a securityman at the dera. The former attacked the latter with a sharp-edged weapon but was injured when Jarnail Singh opened fire. He could not be caught despite being injured as the followers suspected he was carrying guns. The police arrested him.

The sources revealed he was a notorious criminal, whose gang was involved in several cases of robbery and snatching in the region. He was a terror among residents.

Meanwhile, Mr Bachan Lal Bansal, Civil Surgeon, visited the hospital today. Dr Krishan Pilani, SMO, has lodged a complaint to the police about the damage caused by the mob. However, no one has been named in the complaint. The police is yet to lodge an FIR on the complaint of the hospital authorities.


Miscreants beat up man, father, snatch belongings
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 22
Miscreants created panic here on Monday night when they attacked Mr Gurpreet Singh a resident of Ballianwali village, with sticks and beat up his father. They also snatched a golden chain, a ring, a purse, a mobile phone and a wrist watch.

In a complaint lodged at the local Kotwali police station, Mr Gurpreet Singh alleged that on Monday at about 8.30 p.m., when he was returning from Jagraon after seeing his sister, some miscreants started chasing his car in their jeep at the local ITI Chowk. The miscreants were carrying sticks, he said.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said when the miscreants beckoned him to stop his car, he sped away to take refuge at his uncle’s shop on the local College Road. He said the moment he stepped out of his car, he was attacked with sticks by about 15 men. They snatched his belongings. He said that they thrashed his father also. His nephew, who was travelling along with him, became unconscious out of panic.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said in his complaint addressed to the SSP, Barnala, and the SHO of the local Kotwali police station that the miscreants could have killed him had the shopkeepers in the market near the Gaushala not intervened.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, his father, Mr Chhajju Singh, and a few shopkeepers who were eyewitnesses to the incident in their written complaint to the police, expressed their apprehension that the assailants were octroi contractor Barnala’s musclemen.

The victims, in their complaint, have urged the SSP, Barnala and the SHO, Kotwali police station to take strict action against the guilty.


Scam: VB arrests 2 employees

Hoshiarpur, June 22
A Punjab Food and Civil Supply Department Inspector and his colleague were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in the alleged Rs 11 lakh scam in the department.

An official spokesman said Inspector Malkiat Singh and Grade II employee Randhir Singh were arrested in connection with an inquiry in the scam which was in progress for the past about a year.

It is alleged that the two accused had disposed of wooden items of the office illegally without following any formal procedure.

Meanwhile, the duo were produced in a local court here which remanded them in police custody till June 24. — UNI


1 held for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 22
A Vigilance Bureau team , led by the DSP, Mr Zora Singh Brar, today nabbed an employee of the Civil Surgeons office on bribery charges.

The bureau caught red handed Joginder Singh, mass media officer in the office of the Civil Surgeon, while he was accepting illegal gratification of Rs 20,000.

The Bureau was acting on a complaint of the proprietor of a Patran-based Patiala Nursing Home, Mr Ashok Kumar, who had alleged that Joginder Singh and two others had demanded a bribe to file closure report relating to a PNDT case which was likely to be registered against him.


Panchayat secy arrested

Patiala, June 22
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested panchayat secretary Parkash Singh, sarpanch of Srinagar Puniwal village Kuldeep Singh and his wife and former sarpanch Bhupinder Kaur on charge on embezzling government funds.

The Bureau claimed that the four accused were involved in misappropriating government funds to the tune of Rs 4.50 lakh which otherwise were meant for the welfare of village. The arrested have been charged under Sections 409 and 120-B IPC. Meanwhile, a local court has remanded all the four to a day’s police custody. OC


Aided colleges’ staff go without salary
Our Correspondent

Batala, June 2
Staff of local four degree colleges have nor received their salaries since March this year.

Dr Hepesh Shephered, Principal, Baring Union Christian College, Batala, said here today that the Punjab Government was making false promises with the government-aided colleges that they would give 95 per cent grant to all colleges and the government was disbursing only 50 to 55 per cent grant.

Prof S.K. Jaitley, Secretary of the staff union of S.L. Bawa D.A.V. College, Batala, a local unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh Colleges Teachers Union (PCCTU), alleged the D.P.I. (Colleges) and the government were harassing the teaching and non-teaching staff of the aided colleges by not disbursing the money due to them.

He urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar to look into the matter.


Recruitment of teachers on contract opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Members of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union and other associations today raised slogans against “black policies” of the Punjab Government at Matka Chowk. They were protesting against the recruitment of teachers on a contract basis.

According to a press note issued here, the members demanded immediate termination of the policy regarding the appointment of teachers on a contract basis. They claimed that memorandums had been submitted to members of Legislative Assembly also but to no effect.


Summer camp for kids organised
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 22
The 5th annual summer camp for children between the 3-15 years age group, being organised by a private event management firm, Passion Unlimited at Heera Nagar, attracted children from various schools of the city, including Our Lady of Fatima Convent School, Budha Dal Public School and DAV Public School.

The focus was on activities like dance, music, painting, modelling, spoken English, toy-making, flower-making, theatre and crafts.

Mr Sanjay Micheal, Director, Dance, Music, Acting and Modelling Institute, which is organising the event said the prime aim of the camp was to make children confident human beings and also to unearth their hidden talents.

Earlier, Passion Unlimited organised a ‘Smart Kids-2004 camp’ which also drew children from various schools across the city.


Handbook of information released
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 22
A handbook of information for admission to MBA/MCA courses in Punjab for the session 2004-05 was released today and the same shall be available from June 26 at authorised branches of ICICI Bank, Bank of Punjab and Punjabi University’s Publication Bureau.

Candidates can procure the handbook from the nearest place and submit it to the Coordinator, MBA/MCA Entrance Test Cell, Department of Economics, arts Block No. 4, Punjabi University, Patiala with in the prescribed time.

There will be no group discussion and interview for the MBA course.


MSc (Physics) interviews today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 22
Interviews for admission to M.Sc. (Physics and applied physics) for which results were declared yesterday will be held on June 23 .

A press note issued here said original certificates and Rs 16,000 for spot deposition of fees were required from the candidates.


BSc (IT) II results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 22
The results of the BSc (IT) II examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in May will be declared tomorrow. The results would be accessible on the university website www.gnduonline.org the same evening.


District Credit Plan reviewed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 22
To review the progress made under the District Credit Plan for the year ending 2004, a meeting was held here today which was attended by the Deputy Commissioners, Mr Tejveer Singh and officials of the State Bank of Patiala which is the lead bank.

Prominent among others who attended the meeting were the ADC (Development), officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Nabard and development agencies and various nationalised banks.

Mr M.K. Rastogi, Deputy General Manager, State Bank of Patiala , disclosed that for the financial year 2003-04, deposits had increased by 372 crore while advances had increased by 4076 crore.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, while reviewing the progress made by the banks under the priority sector, appreciated the fact that against a target of Rs 1168 crore, the banks had disbursed Rs 1333 crore. He also appreciated that under the headings of agriculture, small-scale industry (SSI) and other priority sector areas, the banks achieved the targets set in the annual credit plan 2003-04.

Mr Tejveer Singh advised the banks and other government agencies to make concerted efforts to form and finance atleast 1000 self-held groups during the ongoing financial year. He also advised that more rural entreprenuership development programmes should be conducted to create sustainable employment. The banks were also advised to be liberal in financing non-farm sector schemes as was envisaged by the Chief Minister.

Mr B.S. Shergill, ADC (Development), disclosed that the annual targets set by the District Industries Centre, Dairy Development Board, Fisheries Department and Khadi Board had already been achieved.

The DGM of the State Bank of Patiala, Mr M.K. Rastogi, assured that all out efforts would be made to implement various development schemes of the state government. He said that branches of SBOP had been asked to step up credit flow in the agricultural sector so that it was more by 30 per cent in direct lendings to farmers as compared to the target achieved during the last financial year.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |