P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



State govt accused of defying SC guidelines
Admission to medical colleges
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, June 27
Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Director-Principal of the SGPC-run Guru Ram Das Medical and Dental College here, has said a recent notification issued by the Punjab Government for holding medical entrance test for admission to various government, minority and private institutions had defied the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in this regard.

Meanwhile the Principal Secretary, Medical Education, Mr Satish Chandra, has called a meeting tomorrow to settle the issue of admission process to be adopted by the minority institutions in the state.

The Association of Unaided Sikh Minority Medical and Dental Institutions had urged the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr J.S. Gill, to intervene in the matter. It said the notification had barred the association from holding entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses from the current academic session.

The state government on the directions of the Supreme Court, had set up a committee under Justice G.R. Majithia, a former High Court Judge, to monitor the procedure of admission to the professional colleges. Meanwhile, representatives of Sri Guru Ram Das Medical and Dental College have been invited to Chandigarh tomorrow to present their views on their petition. Dr Dhaliwal said the team representing their case would include former SGPC presidents Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr K.S. Badungar and Mr Arvinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, along with the trustees of the institution, Dr B.S. Tung, Dr L.S. Chawla, a former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid Medical University, Dr K.S. Chuth, a former Advocate-General, Mr H.S. Mattewal, Secretary, SGPC, and Mr Dilmegh Singh.

Dr Dhaliwal claimed that the institution was following the Supreme Court’s verdict of August 14, 2003, which laid down the guidelines for the professional institutions, including the minority colleges, for conducting their own entrance tests, besides fixing the fee structure which would be approved by a committee headed by a retired High Court Judge. He added that a contrary point was made in the notification.

Dr Dhaliwal said in “clear defiance to the judgement, the state government was denying them the right to hold the tests, thus interfering in the autonomy of the Sikh minority institutions.

Dr Dhaliwal also expressed concern over the fee structure announced by the state government. He alleged that the state government’s policy on admissions and fee structure was against the apex court judgement.

The fee structure could not be proposed by the government for the private and minority institutions as the Supreme Court prohibited the state government from doing so, he added.


SGPC poll: Badal wants to repeat performance
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 27
SAD chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s home district Muktsar has become a prestige issue for him as far as the repetition of the performance of SAD candidates in the SGPC elections is concerned. Actually, SAD had won all the six seats from the district last time in 1996 and Badal wants to repeat its performance this time also.

Therefore, he does not want to take any risk in Muktsar, though SAD has already won three of the total six seats unopposed for SGPC elections in Muktsar district as papers of rival Panthic Morcha candidates were rejected on different grounds.

Now, he is specially concentrating on remaining seats of the district as far as the campaigning for the polls is concerned. It is evident from the fact that he has already visited the Malout constituency as part of electioneering on Sunday, which was his first-ever election tour for the SGPC polls in any constituency of the state. Further, he is providing adequate time in the days to come for campaigning in the constituencies in his home district.

“Badal is paying special attention to his home district”, admits SAD spokesman Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema. ‘We had won all the six seats last time and we are going to repeat the same this time also. Our victory is almost sure, we just want to increase our victory margin.”

Further, SAD candidate from Malout Dayal Singh Kolianwali, who has recently been exonerated from the murder charge by the Muktsar police, told TNS that Mr Badal would again adderss several rallies in his favour on June 28 and 29. A close confidant of Mr Badal, Kolianwali said that he had already confirmed dates for campaigning on those days.

However, when contacted, SAD candidate from Gidderbaha seat Gurpal Singh Gora, told TNS that he would not call Mr Badal for campaigning as he did not find any fight from his opponent Panthic Morcha candidate Mahan Singh Kariawala. He said that he did not want to waste Mr Badal’s precious time by calling him for campaigning.

Gora said that his supporters were trying to persuade Kariawala to withdraw his papers. Even if Kariawala does not withdraw from the contest, his victory with a big margin is sure, he claimed.

Meanwhile, when asked separated from Kolianwali and Sibia as to whether they were afraid of their rival Panthic Morcha candidates, they said they did not. They were calling Mr Badal for campaigning just for increasing the victory margin. At the same time, they admitted that elections were elections and opponents could not be taken non seriously.

On the other hand, Panthic Morcha leaders claimed that their candidates would not only give a good fight to SAD candidates in Badal’s home district but also win at least one seat from there. In the meantime, Panthic Morcha candidates Gurdev Singh Lubanowali and Jaswant Singh are also leaving no stone unturned to give a befitting fight to SAD candidates at Muktsar (general) and Malout seats, respectively.

It is worth-mentioning here that three SAD candidates Ms Manjeet Kaur Chrewan from Muktsar (women-reserved), Mr Navtej Singh Kauni from Doda (general) and Ms Mukhtiar Kaur from Doda (SC) seats have already won the elections unopposed.


Panthic Morcha funded by Amarinder: Badal
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 27
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal today alleged the Panthic Morcha, which is his party’s main opponent in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, was being funded by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Speaking at an election rally here in favour of SGPC candidates Surjit Singh Garhi and Gurdev Kaur Harpalpur, the SAD President said the Congress was attempting to take control of the SGPC through the Panthic Morcha. He urged the people to foil this plan by ensuring the victory of SAD candidates in all constituencies.

The Akali leader alleged that the Congress had been trying for the past few decades to control the SGPC. “Though they have failed in all attempts, they have not learnt from their mistakes and continue to interfere in the religious affairs of the Sikhs,” he added.

Mr Badal also evoked memories of Operation Bluestar at the campaign rally. He said the operation was aimed at breaking the Sikhs psychologically.

Speaking on the occasion, senior SAD leader Kanwaljit Singh said the Panthic Morcha was comprised of diverse parties and individuals who did not have anything in common. He said they did not even have a common ideology or policy.

Mr Badal said he had given tremendous opportunity and importance to leaders like Mr Chandumajra and Mr Baldev Singh Mann, who has also been expelled from the party. He said despite this Mr Chandumajra had not remained loyal to the party. He said he had not given the ticket to Mr Chandumajra in the parliamentary elections because he had apprehensions that Mr Chandumajra might arrive at an adjustment with Capt Amarinder Singh and not put up an effective fight against Ms Preneet Kaur, the Congress nominee.


Badal seeks Amarinder’s dismissal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 27
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today demanded the dismissal of Capt Amarinder Singh for plunging the state into a grave constitutional crisis on the SGPC election issue.

In a statement, Mr Badal said, “By subverting all constitutional processes in the conduct of a free and fair poll to the apex religious body and by openly encouraging his senior officers to defy the gurdwara commission on a matter of law. the Chief Minister has created an unprecedented situation, in which two crucial pillars of our constitution have come into an open confrontation with each other.”

Mr Badal referred to the strong indictment of the government, especially of the Chief Minister, by the Gurdwara Election Commission and said a parallel crisis had developed in Punjab with the Chief Minister leading the process of defying the Constitution.

The observations made by the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, Justice J.S. Sekhon, were indeed alarming. His disclosure about the Chief Minister refusing to abide by the instructions of the commission on the transfer of the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Gurdaspur have finally taken the lid off the Chief Minister’s “insulting attitude towards the rule of law.”


Old NCERT books: Rahi may move court again
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 27
Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate M.S. Rahi, who is counsel of the Guru Nanak Universal Brotherhood Society, is getting ready for yet another legal battle against the Union Government and the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT).

The reason he feels that he may have to go to court against the government and the NCERT is the recent decision of the Union Government to revert to old history textbooks for schools.

The petition of the society seeking removal of "derogatory and objectionable" matter in a history textbook which allegedly shows Guru Teg Bahadur in bad light is still pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The same court had in 1996 ordered the government and the NCERT to remove certain objectionable remarks against Guru Gobind Singh in the history textbook - Modern India - prescribed for Class XI by the CBSE.

A Division Bench of the High Court had held that the state was "under a constitutional obligation to preserve and protect the interests of Sikh community". The order further said, "While protecting their interests the respondent/authorities are under an obligation to refrain from becoming a party to such controversial writing, which may ultimately hurt the feelings of the Sikh community as a whole or part of it. The writings about Gurus cannot be permitted to be justified on the basis of disputed and debatable historical truths, lest it may destroy the very secular fabric of the Constitution."

Later, the objectionable remarks about Guru Gobind Singh were removed from the textbook in 1999, after a contempt petition was filed against officers of NCERT.

However, the second petition was filed as the NCERT did not remove the objectionable remarks about the other Sikh Gurus.

This petition prayed for removal of objectionable remarks about the Sikh Gurus, particularly Guru Teg Bahadur, from history textbook- Medieval India- prescribed for Class XI.

The High Court had directed the respondents to decide the representations of petitioners regarding which the NCERT rejected.

While the writ was pending, the NCERT changed the paragraph in the reprint of the book in 2000.

The reference to Guru Teg Bahadur that raised the hackles of Mr Rahi and his associates is the one relating to the Guru's alleged association with a Pathan, Hafiz Adam.

This anomaly was even raised by some Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha.

Later, the history book said that after "his return from Assam, the Guru, in association with one Hafiz Adam, a follower of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, resorted to plunder and repine, laying waste the whole province of Punjab".

"After this issue was raised in the Lok Sabha, former HRD Minister ordered the removal of the controversial references. But, now that the Union Government has decided to revert to the old textbooks, the wrong information about the Gurus may also be included," Mr Rahi says.

But, now Mr Rahi and his associates fear that if the old books are reintroduced, discrepancies and wrong remarks about the Sikh Gurus may again find a place.

"If that happens, it will amount to contempt of court and the NCERT would be liable for further damages as application for damages of Rs 5 crore is already pending before the High Court," says Mr Rahi.


Mayors yet to quit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 27
None of the Mayors in Punjab have submitted their resignations to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and some chairmen of boards and corporations have also not submitted their resignations.

Though there was an attempt by a close confidant of the Chief Minister to secure the resignations of the chairmen of boards and corporations, the move could not be carried out completely. They said this was because some of the chairmen had approached the Chief Minister and had been told to stay put.

Some chairmen who had resigned might not be axed as most of the ministers were wary of being demoted to corporations, where bureaucrats were all powerful. The axed ministers are likely to be appointed Parliamentary Secretaries with independent charge, which will ensure that they have complete charge of their departments.

Ludhiana Mayor Nahar Singh Gill met the Chief Minister yesterday. According to sources, he was reassured by the Chief Minister that he need not quit. Patiala Mayor Vishnu Sharma is sitting pretty and there is no need for him to put in his papers as the Chief Minister is the legislator from Patiala.

Sources said there did not seem to be any change in the corporation chairmen from Patiala. At present, three Congressmen from the city are chairmen of a board and two corporations. While former MP Sant Ram Singla is Chairman of the Mandi Board, Mr Ved Prakash Gupta heads the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation and Mr Hardyal Singh Kamboj the Punjab Warehousing Corporation.

While Mr Singla was a staunch supporter of the Chief Minister and was in charge of the election office of Ms Preneet Kaur in the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Gupta could keep his office as he was heading the district unit of the party.


Sangrur, Amritsar students bag most top positions
Tribune News Service


Manpreet Kaur
Manpreet Kaur


Mohali, June 27
Students from Sangrur and Amritsar have scored majority of the top positions in the Punjab School Education Board matric examination. The merit list consisting of the top 27 positions shared by 227 students was released by the board here today. This year too, girls have outshone boys in the overall performance. Out of the 33 students across Punjab sharing the top 10 positions, majority are girls.

Over 48 students from Sangrur have made it to the merit list while 41 students from Amritsar are named in the list. Hoshiarpur students come next with 25 of them making it to the merit list. Ludhiana and Ferozepore students follow with about 20 students each making it to the merit list.

Harneet Kaur of Modern High School, Amritsar, has topped Punjab and her district. Her class fellow, Anupreet Kaur, is second in the state. Anupreet shares her position with Manpreet Kaur of Dashmesh Model High School, Behram, Nawanshahr who is first in her district. Sharing the third position in Punjab are Ramandeep Singh of Doaba Public Senior Secondary School, Parowal, Hoshiarpur, and Prateek Singla of Springdales Public Senior Secondary School, Sangrur.

Deepika of Modern High School, Amritsar, is fourth in the state. Sharing the fifth position are Ninjit Dhanota of Hoshairpur, Amrita Sankhian of Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir Sn. Sec. School, Dhuri, Sangrur, Amanjot Kaur of Pioneer Public Sn. Sec. School, Gajjan Majra, Sangrur and Shifali Gulati of Modern High School, Amritsar.

Ankita Rani of Sangrur along with Richa Nayab of R.S. Model Sn. Sec. School, Ludhiana, and Ravneet Kaur of Vikram Public High School, Kharar, Ropar, are sharing the sixth position in the state. Maninder Kaur of S.B.S. National Model High School, Garhshankar, Hoshairpur, Manpreet Singh of Guru Nanak National Public School, Mahilpur, Hoshairpur, Jasdeep Singh of Government High School, Manki, Sangrur, Ravinderpreet Kaur of Gem Public School, Phase 3B2, Mohali, Sakshi and Deepika Aggarwal of Modern High School, Amritsar share the seventh position in the state.

Rajnish Pathak and Sonia Jaswal of Guru Nanak National Public School, Mahilpur Hoshiarpur along with Binderjit Singh of Kapurthala, Savita of Vidya Mandir Sn. Sec Model School, Hoshairpur and Japinder Singh Khalsa of Sri Sadanand Shankrapuri Adarsh High School, Zira, Ferozepore, are sharing the eighth position in the state.

Vikrampal Aggarwal of Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir Sn. Sec. School, Dhuri, Sangrur, and Nidhi Jain of D.C. Model Sn. Sec. School, Ferozepore Cantt. share the ninth position in the state. Gaganpreet Kaur of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sn. Sec. School Patiala, Monika Verma and Gagandeep of Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir Sn. Sec. School, Dhuri, Sangrur, Amrinder Singh of Springdales Public Senior Secondary School, Sangrur, Himani Sharme of Modern High School, Amritsar, Navjyoti of S.N. Girls High School, Amritsar, and Manish Gupta of D.C. Model Sn. Sec. School, Ferozepore Cantt share the 10th position in the state.

Bhupinder Singh of Desh Bhagat High School, Sohian, Ludhiana, is 11th in the state and II in the district. Amritpal Singh of Nankana Sahib Public High School, Rampur, Ludhiana, is 13th in the state and third in the district. Hitoshi Sharma of Government Model Co-ed Sn. Sec. School Jalandhar is 12th in the state and first in the district. Sharing the 16th position is Prabhjot Kaur of Mata Gujri Public High School Kartarpur, Jalandhar, who is second in the district.

Anamika Sharma of B.B. Singh High School, Patiala, is 12th in the state and II in the district. Pallavi Gupta of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sn. Sec. School, Patiala, is 15th in the state and third in Patiala district. Sahil Garg of Khalsa High School Mor Mandi, Bathinda is 13th in the state and first in the district. Jasmine Kaur of Khalsa High School Mor Mandi, Bathinda is 15th in the state and second in the district.

Also on the 13th position in the state is Shivani Garg of Saraswati Sn. Sec. School, Jaito, Faridkot, who is first in her district. Ankit Singla of the same school is 20th in the state and second in the district. The 13th position in the state is shared by Karishma Jain of Navyug Shishu Mandir High School, Moga, the district topper. Sobia of Arya Girls Sn. Sec. School, Moga, is also 18th in state and second in the district.

Rupinder Kaur of Guru Nanak Public School Khant Manpur, Fatehgarh Sahib, is 16th in the state and first in her district. Nandini Kaushal of S.N.A.S Model Sn. Sec. School, Mandi Gobindgarh, is 18th in the state and second in Fatehgarh Sahib. Maninder Kaur of Guru Shakti Sn. Sec. School, Khamano, Fatehgarh Sahib, is 19th in the state and third in the district.

Saranjit Kaur of BVM High School, Nangal Kotli Mandi, Gurdaspur, is 17th in the state and first in her district. Punamjit Kaur of KV Khalsa Sn Sec School, Qadian, Gurdaspur, is 21st in the state.


Gaganpreet tops Class X exam in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 27
Gaganpreet Kaur of Guru Harkrishan Public School here has topped the district in the Class X examination results of which were declared today. She has stood tenth in the state ranking.

Gaganpreet, who loves to paint besides house keeping in her spare time, says she was able to secure high marks due to the inspiration of her parents as well as special attention given to her by school Principal Jaswinder Kaur Dardi.

Gaganpreet’s father Harinder Singh, who is a technical employee with the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) here, said his daughter had been studying in the Harkrishan School right from Nursery Class. He said a few years ago he was planning to shift his daughter to another school because he had changed his residence, but the school authorities urged him to retain her in the school so that her result was not effected. “This seems to have paid”, he added.

Others who have done well in the district include Pallavi Gupta of the same school who has stood third in the district and 15th at the state level. Anamika Sharma of Baksh Bir Singh High School has stood second in the city and 12th in the state rankings.


Jigar’s disappearance still a mystery
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 27
“Zindagi sabse bada inaam hai, ise sar ankon pe rakha keejiya”, was a favourite couplet of noted urdu ‘shayar’ Jigar Jalandhari who had made Patiala his home. This couplet, alongwith hundreds of others which were full of life make it difficult for Jigar’s fans to believe that he could have ended his life exactly one year back.

Jigar Jalandhari is not traceable since June 28 last year when he went to Haridwar. He was last seen by the family’s priest at 6 p.m. when he left to perform “aarti” at Hari Ki Pauri. His family and friends came to know about his disappearance the next day when the family priest informed them that the poet had not returned after leaving to perform the ‘aarti’. Following this the police launched a massive search in Haridwar and neighbouring areas without any success.

Rajinder Nath ‘Rahbar’, a close family friend and poet himself says he finds it difficult to believe that Jigar could have committed suicide because he was disturbed after the death of his wife in February, 2003. He said he personally felt that a strong current could have carried away the poet.

The noted poet’s son Dinesh Marwaha feels his father has gone into self exile to do meditation. “I feels a strong sense of renunciation made him give away everything for a life of an ascetic”, he says adding “there was no point in my father giving away his life when he was one of the main organisers of a mushiara which was to be held in the city on June 29”. Dinesh still has hope that his father may return back home one day.

Jigar Jalandhari was born in 1935 in Sarangdev village in Amritsar district and was named Dharampal Marwaha. He studied law and also earned a Adeeb Fazal degree following which he served in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). Jigar retired from the Board as Deputy Secretary following which he devoted himself full time to the cause of Urdu poetry by writing many books as well as being the star of many a mushiara.

The poets works include ‘Soze Jigar’ which came out in 1972, ‘Likhte Jigar’ in 1979, ‘Khoone Jigar’ in 1984, ‘Andaze Jigar’ in 1987, ‘Darde Jigar’ in 1990, ‘Gullo Khar’ in 1992 and ‘Parvaze Jigar’ in 1998 besides translated works in Punjabi. He was given recognitions by the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, Punjab Language department and Meer Academy, Lucknow, besides the Punjab Government which honoured him with the Sahir Ludhianvi and Shiromani Sahitkar awards.


Protests over Kainth’s expulsion held

Hoshiarpur, June 27
Supporters of the expelled BSP leader Satnam Singh Kainth today demonstrated against Kainth’s expulsion from the party. They also raised slogans in the meeting of the district unit of Bahujan Samaj Party held at local Ravi Dass Gurdwara, Bassi Khwaju.

Later, addressing the meeting, Charanjit Singh Channi, former MP who contested the Lok Sabha election as the BSP candidate from Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency, alleged that CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, and UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav were “trying to ruin the BSP for their selfish motive to crush the voice of Dalits”.

Referring to the performance of the BSP in the recent Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, he said in the absence of Mr Kanshi Ram, the election campaign of the BSP could not be made effective.

“If Mr Kanshi Ram had campaigned for the party, the BSP would have won two to three seats in Punjab”, he said. — PTI


Hanspal forms 3 byelection panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 27
The PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, today constituted three committees for the upcoming byelections to the three Assembly seats, necessitated by the election of the present MLAs to the Lok Sabha in May.

Those nominated on these committees are Mr Ram Lubhaya, Mr Naresh Thakur, Mr Basant Singh for Garshankar. Prof. Darbari Lal, Mr Tarlochan Singh and Mr Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa for Ajnala, and Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Ch Gurmail Singh and Pt Bal Mukand Sharma for Kapurthala.


Battling for disability pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 27
After spending years closeted in smokey engine rooms, a former Navy sailor is now waging a battle on two fronts. He has been struggling to get his disability pension for the past 10 years and despite clearing interviews for three different government jobs, he has been awaiting appointments letters for the past several years.

Petty Officer Arjan Singh had served the Navy for 18 years when he was discharged on medical grounds after having being placed in permanent medical category. He had developed a disorder called Niddim, due to prolonged duty hours in smokey places like engine rooms onboard ships. his disability, at the time of discharge in 1994, was attributed to military service.

A few months after his discharge, he received a letter from the Controller of Defence Accounts, Allahabad, stating that his disability pension has been rejected and he may appeal against it if he so desired.

"Arjan, who hails from Amritsar, at that time did not take up the matter for grant of disability pension as he was drawing a meagre service pension of Rs 1,657 per month and could not afford legal expenses," president of the Ex-Servicemen's Grievances Cell, Lieut-Col S S Sohi (retd), said while giving details of the case. The sailor is presently staying with relatives.

The cell has now taken up Arjan's case with the Bureau of Sailors, Mumbai, and the Ministry of Defence, for the grant of disability pension. In a letter sent to the bureau this week, the cell has also enclosed the sailor's statement for delay in filing an appeal, a non-conviction certificate from the police and a non-employment certificate.

"He has also cleared three interviews for employment in the Punjab Government, including one for a post in the Department of Sainik Welfare, but there has been no further progress over the past five years," Colonel Sohi said.


From ‘purdah’ to smuggling of narcotics
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 27
About four decades ago, women of the Malwa region, particularly of this district, were considered most backward as they would hardly get any opportunity of getting formal education.

Due to extreme backwardness in the rural areas and influence of a large number of people, who migrated here from Pakistan after Partition, on the local population, the tradition of “purdah” and “ghunghat” became prominent among the rural women in this region.

However, during the past four decades, the women have undergone a significant transformation and have excelled in almost every field. They have even prominently jumped into the smuggling of narcotics which hitherto was considered as male bastion.

Information gathered by Tribune News Service revealed that the crime scene in this district has undergone a significant change as more and more women are getting involved in criminal activities like murder, dacoity, cheating, smuggling of narcotics, etc. Most of the women have been taking to this illegal profession due to their family circumstances.

As per the data collected from police sources, the police arrested seven women who were actively involved in drug paddling in 1998. Six women smugglers were arrested in 1999 and 10 in 2000.

However, 2001 witnessed an alarming increase in the number of women who took to smuggling and subsequently apprehended by the police. The police arrested 16 women smugglers during the year. The number of women smugglers went to 17 in 2002.

The year 2003 turned out to be shocking for the police authorities as well as for those organisations which were working to curb the menace of drug addiction when the number of women smugglers arrested rose to 28. The current year is also witnessing the same trend as up to June 23 the police has arrested 18 women who were involved in the smuggling of narcotics.

Police sources said that from January, 2001, till June 23, 2004, 5.3 kg of opium and 1218.43 kg of poppy husk were seized from 79 women smugglers who were arrested during this period. Out of 79 women smugglers, six belong to Haryana, five to Rajasthan and the rest to this district and its surrounding areas.

Not only the smuggling of narcotics, many rural women were taking to illicit distillation of liquor in a big way. The number of women arrested for involvement in illicit distillation of liquor in the district in past two years was also significant.

When asked about the reasons for the continuous increase in the number of women in the field of smuggling of narcotics, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kapil Dev, pointed out that more and more women had been initiating themselves in the field of smuggling as they were rarely suspected and checked. He added that the police had become aware of this trend and had been adopting a new strategy to deal with the situation.


Nangal canal flows into 50th year
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

ROPAR: The Nangal hydel canal is set to complete 50 years. The 31-feet deep canal continues to flow since its completion on July 8, 1954.

A symbol of high standards of construction and design the canal flows away from the Sutlej at the Nangal Dam. A power house was built on it at Ganguwal, near Anandpur Sahib. It has an installed capacity of about 77.65 MW. The electricity from the power house was used in the construction of the Bhakra Dam.

The canal can carry 12500 cusecs of water. Later, another power house with an installed capacity of 77.65 MW, was constructed on the canal. Besides the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) at Ropar draws water from the canal.

From Ropar the canal joins the Bhakra canal that irrigates Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The 65-km canal is also the source of drinking water in Ropar and adjoining areas of Himachal. By lift irrigation techniques its water reaches to Punjab and Himachal fields.

The canal is maintained and operated by the Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB). The BBMB Chairman Mr Rakesh Nath, said that invitations were being extended to the union power minister and the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan for the golden jubilee function on July 8. Besides a national seminar on the lined canal was being organised from July 12 to July 13 at Nangal to mark the occasion.


‘Phariwalas’ have their way as officials look away
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 27
Hundreds of consumers are being fleeced in ‘apni mandis’ here, which have virtually been usurped by ‘phariwalas’ in the absence of any check by the Punjab Mandi Board. Officials of the board have turned a blind eye to the plight of consumers amid allegations of corruption and malpractices.

Farmers have virtually been pushed out of ‘apni mandis’ in the city. ‘Phariwalas’ are ruling the roost, allegedly in connivance with officials of the Punjab Mandi Board, who allegedly mint money by allowing ‘phariwalas’ to put up their stalls in violation of norms and discouraging farmers from selling their produce.

No board official was present at the ‘apni mandi’ at Model Town here today to supervise sales and no fixed price list board was visible, mandatory as per norms. One such board was covered with jute bags and umbrellas, apparently by ‘phariwalas’ to keep consumers in the dark about the prices fixed by the board authorities.

‘Phariwalas’, were selling vegetables at high prices and almost bullying consumers to pay the prices dictated by them. “I will sell bittergourd at not less than Rs 14 per kg. I do not know whether the price fixed is Rs 10 a kg. I have been selling it for even Rs 20 a kg in the morning. I do not care about board officials. Why will the supervisor come here when he is pocketing a huge salary of Rs 18,000 a month and taking money from us. Anybody can do whatever he wants, but I will sell my produce at the price commanded by me,” said a ‘phariwala’.

Two other sellers asserted, “We are paying the ‘daily’ to officials of the board on a regular basis. We do not know what are fixed prices. The ‘mandi’ is open till 2 p.m. and if you want to take some vegetable, it is okay, otherwise you can go.”

Enquiries revealed that after conniving the officials, ‘phariwalas’ bought farmers’ produce in bulk at low prices in the morning and sold it at high prices for the rest of the day. Hardly any of the sellers was carrying the Punjab Mandi Board identity card mandatory as per norms. “You can get cards after greasing palms,” quipped a seller.


Demolition has ended, but questions remain
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 27
The sudden abandoning of the demolition drive of the local Municipal Corporation here has raised many questions. These include whether the drive was left midway under political pressure and why more than 100 illegal commercial buildings were allowed to come up in different posh areas of the city.

Yesterday’s drive was ended abruptly within a couple of hours after the intervention of political bigwigs, including Mayor Surinder Mahey. He ordered the MC staff to stop the demolition drive and dubbed the demolition of such buildings as a “national loss”.

The MC staff had identified about 20 illegal structures and partly demolished five such partly built buildings in the Model Town area. There are about 100 commercial complexes in the city either being constructed or having been constructed illegally.

Illegal construction, which was in full swing, had gained momentum during the recent Lok Sabha poll. The number of makeshift fruit and vegetable shops near the Mayor’s house had gone up. Despite the death of 4 or 5 labourers during the alleged illegal construction of a shopping complex in Sheikhan Bazar about a year-and-a-half back, its construction had been completed.

Mr T.R. Sarangal, MC Commissioner, was not available for comment. “How can such buildings be constructed without the connivance of MC staff? The traffic problem has been aggravated due to such buildings, most of which do not have space to park vehicles,” said Mr Manoj Arora, secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. He demanded a probe into the construction issue.


AWWA adventure camp
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: With an inspiring credo of “Asha, Vishwas, Astha” to motivate its members, the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) has been ensuring that the soldier does not have to worry about his family when he goes to the front.

The Golden Arrow AWWA organised a 10-day-adventure camp here recently for the wards of defence personnel. More than 300 wards participated in the camp. Apart from adventure activities, the camp participants displayed their skill in screen, glass, oil and fabric painting. They also learnt the art of making the best out of waste, puppet making, flower making and gift wrapping. The children also learnt dramatics and public speaking.

The main attraction of the camp was para-sailing, horse riding, shooting and other adventure sports. The president of Golden Arrow AWWA, Mrs Omana Sivashankar, complimented the organisers for meticulous arrangements.

The concluding function of the camp was held in the Ferozepore Club. The children put up stalls of items made by them. They also presented a cultural programme.

AWWA also organised a picnic to Hussaniwala, and excursions to Kufri and Dagshai.

Brig R.S. Sidhu, Officiating GOC, complimented the children and congratulated AWWA for organising the camp.


Change of investigating officer sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 27
Mr Niranjan Singh Sidhu, a resident of California, USA, has urged the district police authorities to change the station house officer (SHO), Raman Mandi who was investigating into a case registered there following an attack on his aged sister living in Sukhladi village.

In an application moved to the SSP, Bathinda, Mr Kapil Dev, on Friday, Mr Sidhu alleged that despite the fact that some unidentified men caused multiple injuries to his aged sister living in Sukhladi on the night of June 1, the SHO concerned did not visit the village in connection with the investigation of the case registered. He added that his sister suffered serious injuries.

The incident came to light the next day when the woman was found lying in a state of unconscious in her house. A case was registered under Sections 459 and 380 of the IPC.

He alleged that though he repeatedly pleaded with the SHO and other police officials to trace the offenders, none of them had shown any interest. He added that his sister had been fearing threat to her life.

Mr Dev, when contacted, said the investigation into the case would be handed over to some other police official, and efforts were on to nab the accused.

In another case, a body of a girl, wearing jeans, was found by volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) from the distributory flowing near Phuli village of the district. A mobile phone was seized from the pocket of the deceased.


Rice millers, agents donate motor cycles to police
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 27
A police-public meet was organised here today which was attended by prominent citizens, industrialists, traders and representatives of social organisations. Mrs Surinderjit Kaur, SHO, Bassi Pathana police station, called upon the people to cooperate and provide information about anti-social elements to the police.

She said the police had decided to start round-the-clock patrolling on two-wheelers. She thanked the commission agents and rice millers for donating motorcycles to the police at the meet. The motorcycle squads would be equipped with the latest means of communication and sophisticated weapons, she added.

Dr Ved Parkash, senior Congress leader, Mr Bhagwant Singh, former president MC, Mr Bharat Bhushan Jogi, vice-presidents, MC, Bassi Pathana, Ms Kamaljit Kaur, former chairperson, Zila Parishad, Mr Raj Kumar Badhwa, Mr Gurpal Singh, Dr Harjinder Singh Dhanoa, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Ashok Gautam, Mr Lakbir Singh also addressed the meet.


Gurdwara ‘kar seva’ draws crowd
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 27
A large number of devotees today turned up to participate in a week-long 'kar seva' at 'Guru Ka Mehal', a complex within the premises of Bunga Nihal Garh Sahib Gurdwara, located on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road in Saidpura village, near here, today.

Besides the general public and devotees, various bureaucrats from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh joined the ‘kar seva’ at the site.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Sant Baba Kirpal Singh, chairman of Ekonkar Charitable Bunga Trust, Bunga Nihalgarh Sahib, Saidpura, who is running this religious institute, revealed that late Sant Baba Bhajan Singh founded the gurdwara in 1991 and the complex was completed through ‘kar seva’ only on nine acres.

Later a trust was constituted to run this religious institution. With the aim to uplift the weaker sections, a high school was also started by the trust.


Complaint lodged against octroi contractor
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, June 27
The Municipal Council (MC) will pass a resolution on June 30 demanding action against an octroi contractor who was allegedly issuing fake receipts, the MC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh, said yesterday.

The MC president, in a surprise check, had caught employees of the octroi contractor issuing fake receipts a few days ago. The contractor, Mr Ashok Kumar, rejected the charge. He alleged that certain relatives of the president were found evading octroi and his staff had refused to let them off.

Sources said the MC president had seized about 100 fake receipts during the check. The scam had caused huge losses to the council, they added.

Mr Gurcharan Singh told TNS that during the past eight months the contractor had not issued receipts in the case of soft drinks and cement. He added that a complaint in this regard had been made to the Deputy Director, Local Bodies. A report had also been sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Hussan Lal, who had asked the executive officer to investigate the matter.


Lightning strikes factory; Rs 8 lakh loss reported
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 27
A cement manufacturing factory located near Chahal village, about 7 km from here, suffered a loss of about Rs 8 lakh after being striken with lightning in the wee hours yesterday. However, no loss of human life was reported. The incident occurred at Navjot Cement and Construction at 5 a.m. There was a heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorm when the lightning struck one of the manufacturing units of the factory. The cemented sheets of the factory were blown up and four labourers sustained minor injuries.

The lightning also damaged raw material and various cement manufacturing machines.

Talking to mediapersons at the factory yesterday, Mr Chamkaur Singh, Managing Director of the factory, said the exact loss would be calculated later. He said he had brought the matter to the notice of higher district authorities. He added that ADC Darshan Singh Grewal had directed the local Tehsildar to estimate loss. Later, SDM of Faridkot Mohan Lal visited the factory to review the situation, Mr Chamkaur Singh said. The Managing Director appealed to the (SDM) to recommend for the due compensation.

The SDM said a detailed report regarding the incident would be sent soon to the Punjab Government for initiating suitable action.


500 attend yoga camp
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 27
In the present set up of society every one has madly joined the race for amassing as much wealth as he could forgetting all values of life resulting in tension, depression and violence. It is only through Yoga that one can attain balance mentally, physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually, said Swami Dhirendra Achraya, a Yoga trainer, addressing a week-long yoga training camp organised by the Fatehgarh Shib Welfare Club at Sirhind today.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the camp. More than 500 persons attended the camp.

Swami Dhirendra said in near future yoga would become compulsory as more and more people were becoming patients of one or the other disease and the treatment was costly getting and beyond the reach of the common man. He said yoga was a perfect way to cure every type of diseases, even dreaded diseases like AIDS, cancer and stress could be fully cured, he added.

Mr Sandeep Sheoran, assistant to Swami Dhirendra, said for the maintenance of life and prosperity, yoga is must.

Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Mr Gulshan Rai Bobby, councillor, Mr Shiv Kumar Sood, organiser, Mr Ramesh Kumar, were also present.


CPI decries closure of passport office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 27
The Communist Party of India has decried the closure of the passport collection office here, stating that though the office was collecting Rs 80,000 daily, it was spending a measly amount on its upkeep. The closure was due to some vested interests, it alleged.

Mr Amarjit Asal district secretary, district council (urban) CPI, said in a press note issued here yesterday that there was no reason for the closure of the office as it was convenient for people of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore to get the services. Besides, it would create a huge rush in the Jalandhar passport office.


2 killed as bus turns turtle
Our Correspondent

Amritsar , June 27
Two persons were killed and 20 injured near Sangalpura village in Majitha when a private bus in which they were travelling turned turtle here today. The killed persons are Sampooran Singh (70) and Raj Kumar (45) of Har Dalbar village. The condition of injured Jasbir Singh (14) is stated to be serious. They were travelling to Jandiala Guru to attend the pre-marriage ceremony of Amrit Pal Singh of the same village.

According to police sources, the accident occurred when driver of the bus Avtar Singh received a call on his mobile phone while the bus was running at a great speed. A case has been registered against the driver.


Martyr cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 27
The mortal remains of Naik Subedar Sukhdev Raj were yesterday consigned to flames, with full military and state honours at the native Azizpur village.

The Naik Subedar laid down his life in the Drass sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

Brig R.K. Sharma, Naib Tehsildar Tarsem Singh and DSP Mohinder Singh were among those who attended the cremation.


3 held on charge of selling girls
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 27
The Gurdaspur police has arrested three persons allegedly involved in sale of girls in the area. The poor girls were mainly brought from Bihar.

The district police ‘chief, Dr Narinder Bhargav, said today that on June 25, Sunita of Ludhiana reported that her sister Usha of Baroli in Chhapra district of Bihar was staying with her. On June 24, Manmohan Singh of Ludhiana, along with Naranjan Singh of Hambowal and Balkar Singh of Gurdaspur, came to her house and said they could arrange the marriage of her sister in Bhaini village. Sunita, accompanied by her sister Usha and a friend, Pooja, hired a Tata Sumo to go Baghol village to meet the prospective groom along with the three persons.

She alleged that Balkar Singh and Niranjan Singh allegedly molested her, on which she went to the room where her sister and friends were sitting.

Meanwhile, she overheard the three persons talking with Sadhu Singh about charging Rs 50,000 for the sale of her sister. Following this, she, along with her sister and her friend, managed to escape.

The police has arrested Balkar Singh, Niranjan Singh and Manmohan Singh and registered a case under Sections 342-354-420 of the IPC. During preliminary interrogation, it was found that a racket involving the sale of girls had been running for the past two months.

In another case, the police has arrested Harpal Singh of Bal village for trying to get a passport issued in the name of Kulbir Singh. Mr Bhargav said Harpal’s own passport had been cancelled on some technical ground.


BJP leader’s ex-PA booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 27
The local police has booked Sodhi Ram, a former PA of a former Punjab minister and senior BJP leader, for defrauding a bank of millions of rupees.

It was learnt from reliable sources today that Sodhi Ram had been booked under Sections 420, 466, 467, 468, 471 of IPC on charges of cheating and forgery. The local DSP, Jaspal Singh, while confirming the registration of the case, declared that investigation and verification of the case were still going on.

As per the details available, Sodhi Ram had deposited a foreign draft worth Rs 1.9 crore in a local branch of the UCO Bank in Central Town. Sodhi Ram is an old account holder of the bank. The draft had come from Holland.

He had withdrawn an amount exceeding Rs 1 crore from the branch a few days ago. In the meantime, the branch manager of the bank learnt that the draft was a fake one. However the manager kept his cool and waited for Sodhi Ram to come for withdrawing more money. The latter came yesterday to the bank to withdraw Rs 50 lakh. The manager called the police. The police party headed by DSP Jaspal Singh, took Sodhi Ram for questioning. Later, other police senior officials also questioned Sodhi Ram. The police is reported to have conducted raids at Moranwali, Rurki and Behram villages in connection with the case. It was also learnt that the former PA wanted to contact on his cell-phone his former boss but the police took his cellphone into its possession. The police is reported to have recovered a major portion of the amount from Sodhi Ram. He, however had not yet been arrested.

The former Punjab minister denied having any links with Sodhi Ram. He admitted that Sodhi Ram had been his PA when he was the minister but now he had no links with him.


One crushed to death by Canter
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 27
Mr Kuldeep Singh, who was returning to Chandigarh along with his family members after his betrothal ceremony from Gidderbaha town, was crushed to death by a speeding Canter while coming out of the car, in which he was travelling.

The accident took place near the Municipal Rose Garden here.

According to information Kuldeep Singh died on the spot while his younger brother identified as Varinder Singh, suffered multiple injuries.

His condition was critical, so he was referred to Ludhiana.

The driver of the Canter fled from the scene alongwith the vehicle. The police chased the vehicle, but without success.

A case had been registered, police sources said.


Rs 3.75 lakh robbery in shop
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 27
Some unidentified men have allegedly stolen electronic goods worth Rs 3.75 lakh from a shop here. The police has registered a case.

Mr Rajnish Kalra, owner of Uniworld Electronic at Salaria Chowk, said some unidentified men broke open the shutter from the first floor of the shop and removed valuable electronics goods including digital diaries, cameras, mobile phones, CD players and other electronic goods.

He said he came to know about the theft this morning and rang up the police.


3 travel agents booked for cheating

Hoshiarpur, June 27
The police has registered a case against three travel agents — Ghasita Singh, of Daburji, Kuldip Singh of Vishnu Garden, Delhi, and Satnam Singh of Talwandi Chaudhrian — for allegedly duping Mr Shingara Singh of Pul Pukhta and Mr Mohinder Singh of Bains Awan of Rs 13.50 lakh.

Mr Shingara Singh told the police that Satnam Singh took Rs 7.25 lakh from him for sending his son to Canada. Satnam Singh kept his son in Delhi, Nepal, Mumbai and Chennai for some days and later sent him back. The entire expenditure at the places was also incurred by him. He neither sent his son to Canada nor returned his money, he alleged.

The other travel agents took Rs 6.25 lakh from Mr Mohinder Singh for sending his son abroad, but they neither sent his son abroad nor returned his money, he alleged. — PTI


Opium seized, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 27
The Adampur police today seized 4 kg of opium from two car-borne persons at a naka in Adampur township.

The accused identified as Mandip Singh, a resident of Saini Bassi of Phagwara, and Ajaib Singh, a resident of Bhilwara of Rajasthan, were travelling in a Cielo car when they were intercepted and subsequently arrested at a naka by SHO Bhupinder Singh in Adampur. A case has been registered.


JE booked for negligence
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 27
A junior engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been booked for negligence following a magisterial inquiry into the incident in which two persons were killed when a transformer got burnt here in May.

Two persons, including a police constable’s son and a labourer, had died in the transformer accident at Akalsar Chowk here. According to SHO Gurbakash Lal, a case has been registered against the junior engineer, Jarnail Singh, in this connection.


Patwari caught taking bribe

Amritsar, June 27
The Vigilance Bureau has allegedly caught patwari Satwinder Singh red-handed accepting Rs 2,500.

Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SSP, in a press note issued here today stated that the accused had demanded money from Mr Mahinder Singh a resident of Batala for releasing fake documents. He said a case was registered under the Anti-Corruption Act. — OC


Truck rams into autorickshaw, 1 dies
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, June 27
A 12-year-old boy was crushed to death while his parents and younger brother sustained injuries when a truck rammed into the autorickshaw in which the family was travelling on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway in Singhpura village near here, this afternoon.

According to eyewitnesses, the truck rammed into the autorickshaw from behind and ran over Roshan Kumar, who was thrown out of the vehicle with the impact of the accident. In the accident his father, Mr Jai Lat Mandal, mother Madhavi Devi, and brother Raj Kumar also sustained injuries.

The police said that the family was residing in colony No 5, Chandigarh, and was on its way to Chandigarh from Ambala when the mishap occurred.

The injured Madhavi Devi and Raj Kumar were rushed to the government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32 in Chandigarh, where their condition is said to be stable.


2 protesting students write to DC in blood
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 27
Two of the 400 students protesting against the cancellation of their degrees by organising a dharna in front of the PTU campus here, wrote a letter in blood to the Deputy Commissioner and urged him to intervene.

The BBA and BCA students from different colleges in Punjab had been organising a protest dharna in front of the PTU campus for the past couple of days. They had been contending that degrees of about 400 such students had been cancelled and they had not been granted a ‘mercy chance’ to clear the examinations.

The students alleged that they had been suffering due to vague rules and regulations, but the university authorities had been indifferent towards their demands. The two students had written the letter were Gurvinder Singh and Rupinder Singh.

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