P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal attacks Centre for giving SYL task to CPWD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today criticised the Union Government for entrusting the task of completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna link (SYL) canal to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). He said the Centre had not taken the requisite executive and legislative steps to remove the anomaly of having a canal with no water to flow in it.

The Akali leader also asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to come clean on what he intended to do if the Centre went on to construct the canal.

“Capt Amarinder Singh enacted the drama of staging a dharna in front of the Prime Minister’s residence during the NDA government’s tenure. What he does now, when a life-and-death matter for the people of Punjab is being handled in an insensitive manner by the Centre, would be watched with keen interest by all Punjabis. We have committed ourselves to supporting him on whatever strong decision he takes to stop the canal from being constructed. We hope he would place the interests of Punjab above those of his party,” said Mr Badal in a statement released here today.

About the Centre’s decision to hand over the task of completing the canal to the CPWD, he said it was a case of those in the government acting more loyal than the king when it came to implementing the decision of the Supreme Court against the interests of Punjab. He reminded the Union Government that the court had categorically dissociated itself from the basic issue of the distribution of river waters.

That, said Mr Badal, had opened a window of opportunity for the Union Government to take requisite executive and legislative steps to address the issue of Ravi-Beas waters in the context of the riparian principle. The court’s order was based on awards made by the Government of India and also on some agreements on the issue, he added.

“Since all these awards, orders and agreements already stood challenged in the court, the Centre had legitimate ground for reviewing these and removing the strictly legalistic compulsion guiding the court’s orders. Once those grounds had been removed, the court could easily be approached to review its order in the light of changed circumstances. The first thing to determine is whether any water can legitimately flow through this canal or not,” Mr Badal said.

The Akali leader said Capt Amarinder Singh had not bothered even once to approach the Centre on this issue even weeks after he had been authorised by an all-party meeting in Chandigarh to take all necessary steps to stop the canal from being constructed. He should have gone to New Delhi with a proposal that all decisions, agreements and awards on Punjab rivers be scrapped since all of these were ultra vires of the Constitution of India.

The Constitution clearly and categorically prohibited non-riparian states from having any share in the waters of a river. “To the best of my knowledge, the Punjab Government had prepared no case to present before the Centre on the scrapping of these agreements, awards and decisions. The Chief Minister has been camping in Delhi for weeks now, but not even once has he brought up the issue of the SYL canal before the Central leaders. This shows just how non-serious he is about the matter,” Mr Badal said.


Amarinder wants to prune ministry on basis of performance
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who faced a massive revolt of MLAs against him a few months ago, is working overtime to consolidate his position in the Congress Legislature Party ( CLP). Whether he will succeed or not, remains a big question.

The Chief Minister is camping in New Delhi for the past few days. His immediate task is to prune the state Council of Ministers by July 7 to meet the legal requirement. He has already submitted a detailed proposal to the party high command for approval to reconstitute his Council of Ministers.

The Chief Minister wanted that the performance of the MLAs in their respective Assembly segments during the Lok Sabha elections should be given main consideration to retain and drop ministers from the Council of Ministers. The Congress lost in 13 segments, represented by ministers, besides four segments represented by Parliamentary Secretaries in the Lok Sabha elections.

Of the 117 Assembly segments, only in 25 Assembly segments, represented by Congress MLAs and ministers, the Congress got more votes than the SAD- BJP combine in the Lok Sabha elections. Besides, the Congress candidates got more votes than their rivals in the Lok Sabha elections in five Assembly segments represented by the SAD-BJP MLAs.

If the CM’s proposal on making performance as the basis to retain and drop ministers was accepted, then only Mr Lal Singh, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Jasjit Randhawa, Mr Rakesh Pandey, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and Mr Harnam Dass Johar will qualify to be retained in the Council of Ministers. Others will have to go. This proposal suits the Chief Minister the most. If it is accepted, the Chief Minister’s wish to drop his main opponents from the Council of Ministers will be fulfilled. It will also provide him an opportunity to induct some new faces in the CoM.

However, informed sources said the party high command did not want to drop Mr Tej Parkash Singh and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal from the CoM. The sources said that instead of Mr Tej Parkash Singh, the Chief Minister was interested to induct Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, daughter of the late Beant Singh in the CoM.

The sources said Capt Amarinder Singh was trying hard to break up groups of MLAs within the CLP. At present, there are three major groups of MLAs in the party. One group is identified as the Bhullar group, the other is the Bajwa group and third is the Bhattal group. Before leaving for New Delhi, Capt Amarinder Singh met Mr Tej Parkash Singh at the latter’s house for a detailed meeting. He is learnt to have made some good offers to Mr Tej Parkash Singh.

However, Mr Tej Parkash Singh refused to part company from the group led by Mrs Bhattal. In fact, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha and Mr Tarlochan Singh have a separate group which is associated with the Bhattal group, whose staunch loyalists are Mr Raj Khurana, Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal and Mr Romesh Dutt , Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Mrs Razia Sultana, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang and Mrs Harbans Kaur are also close associates of this group.

The other group comprises Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Randeep Singh Nabha, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Mr Surinder Singla and Mr Sunil Jakhar. Mr Arvind Khanna was also part of this group but he has now become an MP. The Gurchet Singh Bhullar group has in its ranks Mr Hans Raj Joshan, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Ravinder Babbal, Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Mr Mohinder Rinwa, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lali. There are some MLAs,who are not associated with any group. They ally themselves with different groups as the political situation demands.

The sources said the CM wanted to induct Mr Sunil Jakhar, Mr Surinder Singla, Mrs Harkanwal Kaur, Rana K.P. Singh and Mr Hans Raj Joshan in the Council of Ministers by replacing some old faces. Besides, he wanted to accommodate as many as eight MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. Mr Lal Singh has already conveyed to the CM that he is no more interested to retain the Finance portfolio, which he considers a thankless job because of an empty treasury. The plea for the inclusion of Mr Singla is that there is no representation from all major districts such as Mansa, Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar, and Faridkot of Malwa in the CoM. Mr Singla has been the only one to win as MLA from these districts.

The Chief Minister, according to sources, wanted to adjust 17 MLAs as chairpersons of the District Planning Boards in all 17 districts by giving them the rank of Ministers of State. At present, such boards are headed by ministers. Besides, he wanted to appoint four MLAs as chairpersons of four Improvement Trusts in cities like Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar. He is also keen to appoint three MLAs as Mayors of Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar Municipal Corporations. Besides, he wanted to make MLAs as chairpersons of some of the major boards and corporations such as the Punjab Mandi Board, the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation, Warehousing Corporations, etc by transferring all main powers of managing directors to chairpersons.


Help trace killer of British girl, Dy speaker appeals to Takht chief
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today sought intervention and help of the Jathedar of Akal Takht in tracing out the killer of teenaged British girl, Hannah Foster, besides offering to host the parents of the slain girl during their proposed visit to Punjab next week.

Trevor and Hilary Foster are expected to fly to India on July 10 to urge the people of Punjab and nearby areas to come out with any information leading to the arrest of the killer of their daughter. They will stay in Punjab till July 21 so to “raise an awareness of the ongoing hunt for the suspected killer.”

“One can understand the anguish experienced by the parents of the victim. Though one cannot bring back the precious daughter of the family, but we, as a community, can certainly share their pain and sorrow. I believe that the couple is on the look out for this criminal who allegedly is responsible for their nightmare and in this connection they are visiting Punjab,” says Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Foster was abducted 500 yards from her home in Southampton on March 14 last year. Two days later her body was found. Postmortem examination confirmed that she had been raped and strangled. A number of police teams, including from the Hampshire County, have visited Punjab during the past 11 months after the alleged suspect in the case, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, had managed to flee to India, visited his parents at SAS Nagar in July last year before “disappearing”.

Since then there has been no trace of him.

Even the British Home Secretary, Mr David Blunket, during his last visit to India had issued a public appeal to help bring Maninder Singh Kohli to justice. There is a cash award of Rs 50 lakh on anyone providing a clue leading to the arrest of Maninder Pal Singh Kohli.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bir Devinder Singh asked Maninder Pal Singh Kohli to surrender. He said that according to information available with him, Maninder Pal Singh was living in disguise as a follower of some sect somewhere in the region. He has grown long beard and wears long dresses like any “sadhu”.

A brother and sister-in-law of Maninder Pal Singh Kohli were working in Punjab Police in the Intelligence wing. His father had repeatedly appealed to his son to surrender and face justice.


Bitumen scam: raids in Ambala, Mathura
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 3
Bitumen scam has taken Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths to places like Mathura, Panipat and Ambala. In an attempt to verify the facts about the supply of bitumen — used for laying and repair of roads — the sleuths are raiding these places.

The development is significant as accused Satnam Arora — Proprietor of Messrs Servo Road Lines in Ludhiana — was transporting bitumen from Indian Oil Corporation depots at these places in compliance with orders placed by the state government.

According to the allegations, "huge quantities" of bitumen were allegedly being diverted by the engineers after taking bribe from Arora. He, in turn, was allegedly mixing bitumen with kerosene for making "cheap" furnace oil before selling it at higher rates to the industries.

The sources in the Vigilance Bureau claim that the sleuths were currently examining how bitumen was picked up, diverted or delivered by the accused in the case. The records were being seized and examined, the sources said. The raids were being conducted under the supervision of Deputy Inspector-General of Police N.S. Dhillon.

They added that the bureau was also looking into the functioning of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, the Local Government Department, besides the National Highway Authority.


Result unexpected, says AIIMS test topper
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 3
“I had expected to clear the test but securing the top position was beyond my expectations, says 18-year-old city boy, Kanwarneet Singh, who has topped the entrance test for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) examination in his first attempt. “I am elated at my achievement which has done my city and parents proud”, he adds.

Success has come to Kanwarneet in all medical services entrance tests for which he applied this year. He stood 40th in the CBSE PMT entrance test and also cleared the Air Force Medical College (AFMC) examination. AIIMS, however, is his first choice and joining the prestigious organisation is like a dream come true, he says.

Kanwarneet says the fact that both his parents are doctors made it easy for him to take a decision as to what he wanted to do with his life. “Ours is a family of doctors with one of my sisters doing her MBBS from Dayanand Medical College (DMC) in Ludhiana while a second one also wants to take up medicine as a profession. “Moreover it is the most noble profession and I felt I should also make my contribution to society through the profession”. While Kanwarneet’s father Dr Gurjinderpal Singh is a neurologist, his mother Dr Arvinder Kaur is a gynaecologist. Both work in Government Rajindra Hospital here.

He says he did not join any coaching institute but did undertake tuitions from local teachers for physics and chemistry. “My father taught me biology”, he adds. He wants to specialise in neurosurgery.

With the tension of the results over, Kanwarneet wants to catch up on reading latest novels. “Nowadays I like to read novels or watch television”. Kanwarneet was also into sports earlier although now he cannot devote enough time to it. He had represented Punjab in national school games in tennis.

The boy has been a bright student right from the beginning. He studied in Budhha Dal School and later joined Mohindra College to do his plus two.

Another Patiala boy, Gursukhmandeep Singh Sidhu, a son of a doctor couple working in Government Rajindra Hospital, has also cleared the AIIMS entrance examination. He has secured the 13th rank. Gursukhmandeep’s father Dr A.S. Sidhu is the head of Orthopaedics Department while his mother Dr Harjit Kaur Sidhu is an eye surgeon.


Kharar firing: two arrested
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 3
Two persons have been arrested in connection with an incident of firing that took place at an SGPC election rally in which two persons were killed and three injured here yesterday. The police has rounded up 22 persons for questioning belonging to the two SAD groups involved in the incident.

The arrested persons are Satinder Singh Gill and Sewa Singh. Non-bailable arrest warrants have been issued against others whose names figured in the FIR.

Harveer Singh and Paramjit Singh were killed in the firing while Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of the youth wing of SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Mundi Kharar, and Mr Sajjan Singh Bawa were injured in the incident.

A case has been registered by the police against Mr Kang, Mr Satinder Singh Gill, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, junior vice-president of the SAD, Mr Tejveer Singh, Mr Sewa Singh, Mr Amarjeet Singh and Mr Nagar Singh on charges of murder and possession of deadly weapons and also under various sections of the Arms Act.

Among those who have been rounded up by the police are Mr Kuldeep Singh Basian, a SAD leader, Dr Gurnam Singh, Municipal Councilor, Mr Ajit Singh Badala, senior vice-president of the Ropar unit of SAD, Mr Kuldeep Singh Hampur and Mr Satinder Singh, SAD workers, Mr Sewa Singh Silh, a member of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), and a son of Mr Sadhu Singh Todarmal, sitting SGPC member.

The police had also searched the house of Mr Kang last night. Deepak, a servant of Mr Kang, told The Tribune team that visited the house of the SAD leader today, that nearly 30 persons had entered the house around 11 p.m. The two servants, Deepak and Ramesh, who were sleeping on the second floor of the house were woken up. Deepak said that the policemen then asked for the keys of different rooms in the house. Deepak alleged that they both were beaten up when they failed to produce the keys. The keys were with the third servant, Vijay, who had been working in the house for the past two years.

A visit to the house revealed that a window pane of a bedroom, on the first floor was removed for entering into the house. Things like a revolving chair, a table lamp, some note books, pens, furniture etc were seen lying scattered on the floor. Even clothes from a cupboard in the attached bathroom were seen lying scattered. A door of a storeroom had also been damaged. It was alleged that Vijay was given electric shocks by the police personnel who had raided Mr Kang’s house.

Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, told The Tribune that Mr Kang’s house was searched to recover the weapons that had been used in the firing. He said searches for nabbing the accused were going on. “Look-out circulars” had been distributed at airports so that the accused were not able to leave the country.

Meanwhile, the post mortem of those killed in the firing was carried out at the local Civil Hospital here today amid police security. A board, comprising three doctors — Dr H.S. Oberoi, Dr Amrit Chahal, Dr Amandeep Singh — was constituted by the SMO in charge of the hospital to carry out the post mortem.

According to sources, it has been pointed out in the post mortem report that Harveer suffered a single bullet injury on one side of the chest which had pierced his left lung. Paramjit got a fatal injury over the neck extending into the chest. It had pierced his right lung. X-rays had to be done to detect the bullets and pellets in the bodies.


Kharar firing: ex-president of PUSC booked
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 3
Even after more than 24 hours of his escape from police custody from the PGI premises, the police has failed to arrest murder accused Kiranbir Singh Kang of the Youth Akali Dal. However, the police has booked Dyal Pratap Singh Randhawa, former president of Punjab University Student's Council (PUSC), along with 30 others for their involvement in the case.

Randhawa and others were booked by the Chandigarh police after the five accomplices of Kang disclosed their names during questioning. They also admitted to Randhawa's involvement in the case. However, no arrest has been made as yet.

The Youth Akali Dal leader, Karanbir Singh Kang, had managed to escape from the police custody despite being fired upon by Sub-Inspector Gurdeep Singh of the CIA wing of the Punjab Police on the PGI premises. Kang had received a bullet injury in his leg in Kharar and was referred to the PGI.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr S C Sagar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, said three police parties had been sent to the suspected hideouts of Kang in Punjab. He also claimed that all efforts were being made to arrest him.

Meanwhile, Kang's accomplices, Taranvir Singh of Ludhiana, Charanjiv Singh, Gurdevinder Singh of Khuda Alisher, Raghav Sharma of Sector 38 (West) and Ashok Kumar, driver of the Honda Accord, who were arrested after being booked under Sections 307, 332, 353, 47, 48, 49 and 120 B of the IPC, were today produced before a court and remanded to two day's police custody.


425 without work for two years, but get salary regularly
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur July, 3
Due to paucity of funds, nearly 425 employees, including one superintending engineer, four executive engineers, 16 sub divisional engineers and 60 junior engineers of the Dholbaha Dam Construction Circle here, without work for the past two years. The government spending Rs 4.34 crore every year on the salary and allowance of the employees. The Dholbaha Dam Construction Circle was formed to construct 31 low dams to check floods and provide irrigation to land of Kandi track in Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts. A proposal for this was sent to the World Bank by the government for providing funds. In 1980 the World Bank agreed to the proposal and the construction of Dholbaha, Janauri, Maili, Chohal, Damsal and Saleran dams was completed in Hoshiarpur district and Mirzapur, Perch, Siswan and Jayanti dams in Ropar district.

Meanwhile the World Bank stopped funds and construction of the remaining dams came to a stand- still.

Later Punjab persuaded NABARD for fund which provided requisite funds for the construction of Patiarian Dam which was completed one and a half year-ago by Kandi Water Shed and Drainage Division of the Dholbaha Dam Construction Circle. Nearly one lakh inhabitants of more than 110 villages of Kandi area of Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts are benefited with the construction of 11 low dams in the area.

A spokesman of the Circle said irrigation facility to more than 28,000 acres of land in the Kandi area was being provided and crop yield had increased manifold .

A proposal for the construction of Thana Dam on Khawaju Khud in Hoshiarpur district has been finalised and preliminaries regarding its construction completed since long. But due to any availability of funds, the construction could not be started. The expenditure of this dam was estimated to be at Rs. 20 crore and state Government granted sanction on October 9, 2001. NABARD authorities also agreed to arrange funds. But attitude of the authorities concerned hampered the project.

The spokesman said no funds had been released by the state Government for the maintenance of water distribution system of all constructed dams for the past four years. Rupees 10 lakh spent for maintenance in work the past had not been cleared so far.


French Sikhs seek panthic support on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
The Franco-Sikh and United Sikh organisations, both associations of the French Sikhs, have welcomed the initiative taken by the Sikh Nation Organisation and its chairperson, Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa.

In a message faxed to the Tribune office today from France, the Sikhs there stated that time and again they had to face the ire of the French Government against the use of turban.

The organisation’s move to take up the ban on the turban in French schools with the UNO has given a new thrust to the movement.

Mr Shinghara Singh Mann said in numerous cases the French Government insisted on using turban-less photo of Sikh on vital documents.

Mr Mann urged all panthic organisations to support their cause and pressurise the French Government to withdraw the ban.


SGPC to release gold coins
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 3
To mark the 400th anniversary of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the SGPC would release, gold and silver coins.

Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, President SGPC, said nagar kirtans would be taken out from four historic gurdwaras — Takht Damdama Sahib, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (Pakistan) and Gurdwara Baoli Sahib, Goindwal.

Nagar kirtan from Damdama Sahib will begin on August 28 and halt at Muktsar and will reach here (Amritsar) the next day.

The nagar kirtan from Takht Kesgarh Sahib would start on August 27 and pass from Chamkor Sahib, Macchiwara, Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Ludhiana before reaching Amritsar the next day.

The nagar kirtan from Gurdwara Baoli Sahib, Goindwal will start on August 31 through Khadoor Sahib, Tarn Taran and will reach in the evening at Golden Temple.

The SGPC President said an international seminar on the philosophy of Shri Guru Granth Sahib would be held on August 28 at Sri Guru Ram Das Dental College.


Panthic Morcha an unholy alliance, says Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 3
Terming the Panthic Morcha as an “unholy” alliance between some parties with different ideologies, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General of the Shiromani Akali Dal and MP from Sangrur, has asked the SAD (Longowal), headed by Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, and the SAD (Amritsar), headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to clarify their stand over the martyrdom of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Talking to mediapersons here night, Mr Dhindsa said while Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had termed Sant Longowal as “traitor” of the Panth and had given “siropa” to the alleged “killers” of Sant Longowal in the past, Sant Longowal was a martyr for the SAD (Longowal) leaders. He said Mr Mann should tell the people whether he had acknowledged that Sant Longowal was a martyr.

Mr Dhindsa alleged that there were several contradictions in the Panthic Morcha as it had no common programme.

Mr Dhindsa also claimed that there were no differences in the SAD over the allotment of SGPC tickets.

Dhindsa also disclosed that he had urged the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner to initiate an inquiry into the registration of new voters for the SGPC elections recently in the district as the SAD was of the view that some ineligible voters might be enrolled in the SGPC voters’ lists.

Mr Dhindsa also claimed that SAD candidates would sweep the SGPC poll this time. He also alleged that the Congress Government in Punjab was helping the candidates of the Panthic Morcha in the SGPC elections.


Gurdwara poll panel seeks details of new voters
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 3
The recent order of the Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) seeking details of new votes formed for the SGPC election has left the district administration perplexed. As per the commission’s orders received here yesterday all returning officers have been asked to submit details of the new votes formed for SGPC poll. The sources said the GEC has issued orders to 10 districts including the Gurdaspur district.

The orders have been issued on the complaint of SAD leaders. SAD leaders reportedly alleged the government was making invalid votes to help Panthic Morcha candidates in the elections.

As making of votes was allowed even after the filing of nomination papers almost all candidates got their supporters enrolled as voters. An official said that there were three trunk-fuls of applications for new votes in Gurdaspur alone.

It is very difficult to take entire record to the GEC when elections are just nine days away. The district administration is busy appointing officials for poll duty and making arrangements for elections.

The district administration here is at loggerheads with SAD leaders Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan over the rejection of nomination papers. Both moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court which issued a notice of motion in the matter.

The district administration here is busy planning to defend rejection of nomination papers of both SAD leaders. Besides defending the rejection the government might also challenge certain decisions of the GEC in which instead of asking the government to issue notifications the commission had taken the responsibility of entire process on itself.


Symbol given on gurdwara panel order: DC
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 3
The Deputy Commissioner here Mr Harjit Singh, today denied that the election symbol of the Independent SGPC candidate from Pathankot, Mr Amarjit Singh, was changed deliberately.

Talking to The Tribune he said SGPC candidate had initially applied truck as an election symbol as his first preference. It was allotted to him. However, the gurdwara Election Commission later allotted the truck symbol to the Haryana Akali Dal.

The commission declined the permission to allot the truck symbol to Amarjit Singh.

Later the scooter symbol the second preference of Mr Amarjit Singh was allotted to him. He, however, protested in writing against the allotment of scooter symbol and demanded that he be allotted the oil tanker symbol. On his request he was later allotted the oil tanker symbol, the Deputy Commissioner said.


Ranjit Singh attacks Badal
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 3
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, has given control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to persons who are allegedly causing harm to the Sikh quam and are not bothered about the maryada of the Panth.

This was stated by Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht, while talking to mediapersons before addressing an SGPC election rally in support of a candidate of the Panthic Morcha here today.

Launching an attack on Mr Badal, the former Jathedar said money from the “golaks” of various gurdwaras was allegedly being spent on purchasing liquor and other things meant for distribution among voters in the SGPC poll scheduled for July 11. He said Mr Badal had forgotten the maryada of Guru Granth Sahib.

While talking about yesterday’s incident of firing here in which two persons were killed and three injured, Bhai Ranjit Singh said it happened due to the irresponsible attitude adopted by Mr Badal.


PSEB officials bargaining for more power
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 3
Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) top officials, who have gone to Delhi yesterday to seek an additional 200 mega watt of power from the Power Ministry, could not make any headway today.

The board had submitted a formal application asking for an additional allocation of 200 mw of power to help it tide over the present power crisis in the state. The Board had maintained that the Centre could allocate power to it from Madhya Pradesh and the Rajashtan Atomic Power Station besides other sources.

Though the board officials, including its Chairman Y.S. Ratra and Member, Distribution, H.C. Sood could not make any headway during their Delhi trip.

The issue is likely to come up for discussion on Monday. The PSEB is optimistic that more allocation would be made to Punjab on Monday.

The PSEB is not being able to meet the gap between the demand and the supply. As against a demand of more than 1300 million units, the board could muster only 1150 million units. In rural areas, the power cuts have been stretched up to 13 hours every day.


PSEB office gheraoed
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 3
Residents of the cantonment today gheraoed the PSEB office to protest against the failure of the authorities to redress their grievances.

Agitating residents alleged that officials at cantonment office of the PSEB were not attending to their complaints despite directions by the higher authorities in this regard.


Hydroelectric projects facing water shortage
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
Mr H.M. Jain, member (generation) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) said today that there were power cuts in the state due to delayed rains. The hydroelectric projects were facing acute shortage of water and produced less electricity.

Mr Jain, who was here to inspect the ongoing renovation and modernisation work in unit number two of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), said power crisis would be over the moment monsoon hits the state. He added that the PSEB was imposing power cuts on all categories of consumers.

He instructed the officials concerned to complete the renovation work within the stipulated period so that the unit could be pressed into service for power generation.


Undue favour shown to Mohali coloniser: PSIEC
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 3
The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has alleged that undue haste was being shown by the Department of Housing and Urban Planning to grant licence to a private coloniser at Mohali.

In a written response to an appeal filed by a private coloniser before the Housing Department, the PSIEC (who are respondents to the appeal) has also questioned the validity of an earlier order passed by the Minister of Housing in favour of the coloniser.

In October, 2003, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri had, in a controversial decision granted permission to Janta Colonisers to change the land use of over 120 acres at Mohali. Janta Colonisers, owned by Mohali Municipal Council’s President Mr Kulwant Singh, was allowed to buy large tracts of land already notified under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, as the Local Planning Area, (LPA), SAS Nagar, meant for the expansion of Mohali. The land also fell within the periphery controlled area of Punjab. The minister allowed the changes despite being advised against it by both the then Secretary of his department, Mr G.S.Sandhu, and the then Chief Administrator (CA), PUDA, Mr Suresh Kumar. Both had made it amply clear, in writing, that the change of land use should not be permitted.

The competent licencing authority in the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) on June 15, 2004, also rejected Janta Colonisers’ request for a licence, against which they filed an appeal with the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Mr K.B.S Sidhu, to reconsider the decision. The appeal was heard yesterday.

The PSIEC, in its response filed before Mr Sidhu yesterday pointed towards grave anomalies in the passing of the minister’s orders. ‘‘Land use change has been granted to M/s Janta Land Promoters Limited when they were not even owners of the land... as per the law if land use change is allowed, it is allowed to the owner of the land and cannot be allowed only in the hand of a person or company who is not even the owner of the land....in fact, the perusal of the entire order indicates that undue favour has been made to the present appellant,’’states the PSIEC communication.

The PSIEC further stated that Janta colonisers has in its site plan shown a large part of the land owned by the PSIEC as its own. ‘‘This action of the appellant in showing proposed plots over the land of the corporation has been viewed by the corporation as a mala fide act.’’it stated. The PSIEC has also prima facie refused to grant connectivity to Janta Colonisers on the grounds that it will put unbearable burden on the corporation’s infrastructure.

Upholding the rejection of licence by PUDA to Janta Colonisers, the PSIEC alleged that they had also misrepresented facts in the appeal filed before the Secretary, Housing.

Interestingly, Chief Administrator, PUDA, who was also asked to respond to the appeal has not filed any reply before the Secretary, Housing. The Secretary Housing, has asked for a final response from PUDA by July 7 after which the case will be heard again on July 9.


Joint front for Punwire revival
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 3
A joint front for revival of Punwire was formed during a meeting of members of various employees unions here yesterday. An action plan was formulated by the joint front for the purpose. It was decided that the front would ensure that Punwire’s property was not sold as per the advertisement given by the official liquidator. Members of the front would sit on day and night dharna in front of Punwire properties starting from July 5, 2004 to July 11, 2004 and stop prospective buyers from inspecting the property.

A convention would be held at Mohali on July 11 to press the demand for reviving Punwire and a joint rally would be held at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on July 20.

A resolution was passed during the meeting that an appeal be made to Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, to take concrete steps to stop the sale of Punwire property and revive it. It was also decided that a delegation of joint front would meet the Chief Minister and submit a memorandum.

Mr Shahid Ahmed, president, Punwire Employees Union, informed that the union had filed an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 1, requesting that the sale of Punwire be deferred in view of the fact that the Punjab Government had already formed a core group headed by Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, and efforts were being made by the government to revive it.


I have been implicated in false case: Akali MLA
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Mr Manjit Singh Manna, an Akali MLA, who was booked for allegedly running a still at his house in Khadoor Sahib, yesterday refuted the allegation levelled against him. He said that he was falsely implicated in the case as on that day he was attending the Committee meetings on Government Assurance in New Delhi.

Mr Manna while talking to mediapersons showed a copy of the certificate of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat signed by its under secretary, Mr Amrit Paul, declaring that Mr Manna had taken part in the meetings on June 28 and 29. Mr Manna’s house was raided in the evening of June 28. He alleged that the police planted the hearth used in still and utensils used in the dairy to implicate him in a false case.

Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura another senior Akali leader, while condemning the registration of a false case against Mr Manna it was another instance of political vendetta unleashed by the Congress government of the state. He added that Mr Manna was implicated in the false case to defame him and effect his vote bank in the coming SGPC elections.

Mr Guljar Singh Ranike, an Akali MLA demanded the scrapping of the case and urged the government to penalise those involved in the incident.


Councillor’s plea on amenities
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 3
A Municipal Councillor of Ward No 1 here has demanded that the Municipal Council should provide basic amenities to residents of the town on priority basis instead of spending funds on works that were less important.

In a letter to the Director, Local Government, Punjab, Mrs Amrik Kaur, said her ward was facing acute shortage of water. In certain areas people had sunk handpumps which stopped functioning after sometime. Residents could not spend money time and again on getting more handpumps sunk. There was lack of proper sewerage in the area and streetlights were not functioning in many parts, especially in the newly development colonies.

Mrs Amrik Kaur further said after contacting the authority concerned, a tubewell had been sunk in Mander Nagar which was to supply water to residents of her ward. She alleged that the work of laying water supply piplines was left midway due to indifferent attitude of the council president and the water from the new tubewell was diverted to Ward No X. She said she had been approaching council authorities in this regard for the past many months but to no avail.

Giving an example, the councillor said the civic body authorities were more worried about enhancing the beauty of the town than providing basic facilities to the residents. She alleged that lakhs of rupees had been spent on developing a park and constructing a pucca darwaza when the real need was to supply adequate water to residents of the town.


35 pc of male deaths due to heart attacks: Dr Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 3
To discuss the latest technologies for cure of heart ailments, eminent cardiologists of the city got together to participate in a seminar held at BBC Heart Care Foundation here yesterday.

In his keynote address on the topic ‘Prevention of heart diseases’, Dr C.S. Pruthi, cardiologist, said heart ailments were claiming 35 per cent of total deaths in Indian males and 25 per cent of total deaths in females. He said reduced physical activity and excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking and chewing tobacco were the major factors responsible for the problems.

Quoting results from a recent study conducted by Columbia University, US, Dr Pruthi said the incidence of heart attacks among Indian women between the age group of 35 to 64 years was double than that of America. He said 27.9 per cent women die of heart-related diseases in the US while in India it had touched an alarming figure of 55.9 per cent in the past one decade. Dr Shushant Srivastva, cardiac surgeon, clamed the wrong eating habits as one of the reasons behind the rise in heart patients, particularly in Punjab and Gujarat. He said a person must exercise for 30 to 50 minutes a day or do brisk walking to remain physically fit. He emphasised the need to have a balanced diet while consuming more fruit and green vegetables to reduce the risk factors.

Dr Anwar Khan and Dr Paarteek Soni said adherence to yoga could prevent a person from getting affected from heart ailments.


Security beefed up for RSS ‘shakhas’
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 3
Security has been beefed up for the RSS shakhas (morning classes) being organised in the border areas of the district following interception of terrorists’ messages. The sources said the terrorists’ messages from Jammu and Kashmir were intercepted by the security agencies yesterday night.

As a precautionary measure the district police authorities ordered the beefing of security around places where the RSS shakhas were being organised especially in the areas bordering Jammu and Kashmir. Special nakas were also errected by the police following a tip-off.

The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav said the exercise of beefing-up security was a routine affair.


NGO asks CM to be fair in drive against corruption
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
Punjab Human Rights Committee (PURC), an NGO, yesterday urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to adopt a fair policy to eradicate corruption from the state government machinery and not to target people on the basis of political grounds.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, PURC, said that though the committee and the people appreciated the efforts of the state government in arresting officials involved in the bitumen scam, the Chief Minister needed to have an unbiased approach against all corrupt persons He questioned the role of the state government in multi-crore Bhupindra Flour Mill scam, which allegedly involved about a dozen senior government officials, a couple of then ruling politicians and a son of a VVIP of the state.


In-laws held on charge of murdering woman
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Sandeep Kaur (25), a resident of Kotli Dhile Shah village, falling under Kathunangal police station in Majitha police district, was allegedly beaten to death by her husband and members of the family. They allegedly cremated the body hurriedly to conceal evidence.

A case under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC was registered today at Kathunangal police station against husband of the deceased, Onkar Singh, his mother Malkeet Kaur, uncle Sadh Singh and sister Manjit Kaur. The Station House Officer said all suspects had been arrested.

Ms Rupinder Kaur, mother of the deceased, in her complaint stated that her daughters, Amandeep Kaur and Sandeep Kaur, were married in the family about six years ago. Sandeep, mother of two, had complained that she was often beaten up by her in-laws. She said yesterday she received a call from Amandeep that Sandeep was being beaten up by members of the family. However, when they reached their house the suspects had already gone to cremate her body.

The police took possession of the half-burnt body and after a post-mortem examination handed it over to them, a police official said.


11-year-old raped by father
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 3
A resident of Gandwan village was arrested under Section 376 of the IPC for raping his eleven-year-old daughter yesterday.

The incident occurred when the mother of the victim had gone out the house for household work. When she returned the victim narrated the incident to her. On the complaint made by the mother, the accused was arrested. A medical examination of the girl was done at the Civil Hospital here.

The incident had sent shockwaves in the area due to disgusting nature of the crime.


Girl dies after consuming celphos tablets
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 3
Two lovebirds reportedly consumed celphos tablets at Khati village here today. Baljinder Kaur (18) died while her lover Bahadur Singh, a mechanic, was struggling for life in a private hospital here.

Baljinder Kaur’s body was sent to the Civil Hospital for-post-mortem examination. Families of both boy and girl were reportedly opposed to their relationship.


Commission agent robbed of 4.67 lakh
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 3
Four car-borne robbers allegedly looted Rs 4,67,000 from Mr Charanjit Singh, a commission agent of Phagwara, at pistol point near Chuck Muglani village on the Nakodar-Zandiala road in this sub-division yesterday evening.

Mr Charanjit Singh was going to Nakodar to purchase a land, when the robbers stopped his car and snatched the money from him. A case has been registered in this connection.


Police party attacked, one arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
Mr Roop Chand, a police official posted in Rampura police station, was injured when a police party of which he was a member, was attacked by Jeewan Kumar and his accomplices near Mandi Cho Wali Gali on the Rampura link road last night.

Jeewan Kumar hammered the butt of revolver on Mr Kumar’s head and fired a shot towards the police team when it reached Mandi Cho Wali Gali after being informed that the accused had been threatening residents of that locality.

In a press note here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said Jeewan Kumar was overpowered while others managed to escape. He added that a .32 bore revolver, one empty cartridge and four live cartridges were recovered from the accused. The other accused had been identified as Pakori, alias Vicky, Nonu, Deepa, Kuldeep Singh Soni and Bittu.

He said a case had been registered at Rampura police station and added that earlier also two criminal cases were registered against Jeewan Kumar in 2000 and 2003.


Three boys missing
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 3
Three minor boys, all cousins, belonging to Balian and Longowal villages have reportedly been found missing since June 30.

According to the complaint lodged with the local Sadar police by Mr Kulwinder Singh, father of one of the missing boys Taranbir Singh (11), his son along with Gurwinder Singh (10) and Harwinder Singh (13), both sons of his two brothers-in-law from Longowal, had left for Sangrur on June 30 to join birthday celebrations of Taranbir Singh’s friend. They had not returned since that day.


Fake dental surgeon booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
A criminal case was registered against Rahul Kumar, a resident of Muktsar district, for allegedly running a dental clinic in Bhagta Bhai Ka town of this district without having any formal degree for the same.

He was running a clinic, Happy Dental Hospital. During surprise checking conducted by the Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Primary Health Centre (PHC), Bhagta Bhai Ka, it was found that the accused had been practising as dental surgeon with a fake degree.

Rahul Kumar has absconded.


Changes in varsity rules render BBA students ineligible
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 3
A section of students who got compartment in one of the papers of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and the Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) have alleged that the sudden change of some rules by Punjab Technical University (PTU) had rendered them ineligible to get their degrees.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Roop Singh, spokesman, Punjab Students Union (Randhawa faction), alleged that the university suddenly changed the rules due to which they had been declared ‘ineligible’ to get their degrees. He said students were not made aware of these rules at the time of the admissions and its sudden change was not in their interest.

He pointed out that university authorities had been denying the degree of the BBA and the BCA courses to those students, who could not complete the same in a stipulated time. He, however, said this condition was suddenly imposed on students by the university.

He said on one hand, the university authorities had been claiming that it had imposed this condition for lifting the standard of education but on the other the university and the state government had been indulging in foul play as the pass percentage of Class XII students (non medical stream) had been increased to make them eligible get admissions in engineering college dotting the state.

He claimed that this was being done by the university and the state government to generate enough candidates for filling the seats of all engineering colleges of the state because as against 17,000 seats in various engineering colleges, only 15,000 students had taken common entrance test (CET) this year.

He alleged that to keep private colleges financially viable the university had been relaxing the conditions by allowing those students to get admission who had not taken CET. He added that when BBA and BCA students failed to clear their exams in stipulated period, the university denied degrees to them under the garb of uplifting the standard of education.

He demanded that all such students should be given mercy chance and added that the students and their parents should be careful in future while opting for such ‘fancy’ courses being ‘sold’ out by the university and its affiliated colleges.


Students want difference in fee refunded
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 3
A deputation of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) yesterday met the Principal of Government Ranbir College here, Mr Tarsem Dhariwal, to seek refund of the rolled buck fee. The hiked fee was deposited by the part I students of B.A. classes last year. Later the fee was rolled back by the state government.

Mr Sukhvinder Singh, Secretary of the district unit of the PRSU, said a large number of students of part I classes had deposited Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 as fee after a hike in college fee by the government, but despite reduction in the fee the excess amount had not been refunded to the students.

He said some students, who could not pass their part I examinations this year and did not want to study further, were also demanding refund of the fee charged in excess but to no avail so far. He also claimed the state government had also announced that the amount of the hiked fee would be adjusted in the next academic session, but it was also not being done as the students had been asked to deposit fee for the new academic session.

The district secretary said the college Principal had assured the deputation that the amount of the hiked fee would be refunded to the students concerned soon.


Child council to start night schools
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 3
The Child Welfare Council, Punjab, plans to start night schools to impart free education upto class X to children in the age group of 7-14 years, who work to support their families in the state.

Initially two such schools would be set up at each district headquarter with a strength of 35 children each. Every student would be provided free books and other material alongwith a stipend of Rs 25 every month.

The schools would be supervised by District Red Cross societies to monitor the schemes effectively.

Inaugurating the school in Faridkot district at the Sanjay Nagar Basti behind the Kushat Ashram here today. Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, said on experimental basis two teachers had been deployed on contract basis and if the scheme was a success more staff be employed.

The state Child Welfare Council had already granted Rs 60,000 in this regard and if needed more would be granted. The second school of this district would be opened at Ambedkar Nagar Dharamsala at Jaito on July 5, the Deputy Commissioner said.

He made it clear that only those children would be admitted in the night schools who failed to avail the opportunities under the centrally sponsored SarvSiksha Abhiyan in the state.


Members of Bar Council of India visit law college
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 3
Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, a member of the Bar Council of India, has laid stress on checking commercialisation of education. He said mushrooming of educational institutions without provision for proper infrastructure had marred education. Corrective steps were needed to monitor it effectively, he added. Mr Bhardwaj, along with another member J.S. Dalal, arrived here today to inspect the infrastructure of Baba Farid Law College being managed by the local Baba Farid Gurdwara Godri Sahib Management Committee. The members said they would submit their report to the Legal Education Committee next week.

Mr Bhardwaj sought the cooperation of the public to monitor the judicial system. He termed the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s statement about not accepting the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in giving cadre posts to IPS officers in various districts of the state as unfortunate. Mr Dalal underlined the need for checking criminalisation of politics.

Later a deputation of senior lawyers of the District Bar Association led by its President Bikramjit Singh Brar met the members to discuss the issue of special reservation quota in law colleges for wards of lawyers.


Summer camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 3
A month-long summer camp organised by the District Cultural Society at Om Parkash Bansal Modern School, Mandi Gobindgarh, concluded today. The camp was organised to impart training to tiny tots in various cultural activities. Dr Daisy Walia, Head of Dance Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, and chairperson, District Child Welfare Council, conducted the camp and her students taught cultural activities. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, was the chief guest, whereas Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, Chairman of the school, presided over the function.

Addressing the gathering Mr Ahluwalia, who is also chairman of the District Cultural Society said this society had been formed to revive the cultural activities in the district. He said the camp was organised to train the tiny tots as this was the perfect time to develop their interest in cultural activities. He said cultural activities played an important role in the development of personality and confidence. He said the students gave an excellent performance. Announcing that such camps would also be organised in rural schools he said the younger generation had to be trained.

Addressing the function, Dr Daisy Walia said there was great enthusiasm among students to learn and get training in cultural activities. She said all the participants did their work with dedication and some of the students refused to accompany their parents to hill stations. She assured that she would continue to extend all help in organising such camps.

Mr Hukam Chand Bansal, chairman, Mr P.K. Dhar, Principal, Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Secretary also addressed, the gathering.


Special chance to GND varsity students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 3
Guru Nanak Dev University has granted a special chance to students who have failed in second professional of the Bachelor in Physiotherapy (BPT) held in January. The university also allowed all reappear candidates in second professional to appear in the third professional of the BPT examination to be held in July. This was stated in a press note issued here today.

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