P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong govts lend little support to gurdwara panel to hold poll
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The hostility is apparent. Even though the Gurdwara Election Commission is maintaining strict silence, it is evident that Congress governments — both at the Centre and in Punjab — are lending little support to the Commission for conducting the forthcoming Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections. In fact, the governments are successively disposing of the proposals put forward by the Commission.

Instead of transferring the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Gurdaspur as recommended by Justice J.S. Sekhon of the Commission, the Punjab Government chose to defend the actions of the officers. Rather, the authorities concerned asked the Commission to reconsider its decision.

Though the Commission reiterated its earlier stand while rejecting the government's plea for reconsideration, the Deputy Commissioners were still not transferred.

The story of alleged defiance did not end here. The government simply refused to transfer the Returning Officers of Taran Tarn, Dhariwal and Gursdaspur constituencies despite specific recommendations by the Commission in this regard.

The Commission's demand for deployment of paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair polls was also ignored by the Centre. It had asked for the posting of central forces after declaring 2157 polling booths sensitive, and another 203 booths hyper-sensitive. But nothing was heard from the Centre.

The Commission has again written to the Centre, but was still not very hopeful. In the absence of paramilitary forces, the Commission would have to depend upon the state police for controlling the situation but was not very comfortable with the idea of having the state police, instead of central forces, at the sensitive and super sensitive booths.

This was not all. Weeks ago, the Commission had written letters to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for sending the names of officers to be deployed as election observers. Though Haryana was quick to respond, the Punjab Government took its own time to act. Finally the names of five officers were forwarded, instead of 15, as demanded by the Commission, forcing it to deploy Haryana officers in Punjab and Himachal.

Though Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice Sekhon refused to comment on the issue, the sources in the Election Commission claimed that the reason behind their "attitude" was not hard to see.

Giving details, they said the government was feeling sour because amendment effecting the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs was effected by the then NDA government at the Centre despite its opposition. Moreover, SGPC elections were declared even though the government wanted the polls to be postponed.

The government had sought postponement of the polls on the ground that a writ petition filed by the Sehajdhari Sikhs was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The government had further claimed that a decision in this regard had to be taken by the Government of India "and it should take the same for giving rights to the Sehajdhari Sikhs".

Disturbed by the government's attitude, Shiromani Akali Dal's Secretary D.S. Cheema recently declared that there was "complete constitutional crisis in the state".

The Administration, he said, "was just not agreeing to the Election Commission's proposals. Worse, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was himself instigating the Deputy Commissioners and other officers to defy the Commission. Under these circumstances, the election could never be fair and free". 


RSS using Badal, says Bedi

Bathinda, July 7
The Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) is using SAD President Parkash Singh Badal to suppress Panthic sentiments in the minds of the Sikh community.

This was alleged by Sant Samaj chief and in charge of the campaigning committee of the Panthic Morcha, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi at an election rally for the morcha candidate from Bathinda, Jathedar Toga Singh, at Kot Shamira village here today.

He said this was evident from the fact that Mr Badal himself had not cared for the edicts issued by Akal Takht during his regime. — TNS


Give Sehajdharis right to vote: Sandhal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 7
Around eight lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs will not be able to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election of the SGPC on July 11, and they should be allowed to cast their votes.

Dr Mohan Lal Sandhal, president, All-India Sehajdhari Sikh Sabha, stating this at a press conference here today, alleged that it was the outcome of “unholy” and “politically motivated alliance” between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He said the Sehajdharis’, who had been part of Sikhism since Guru Gobind Singh’s time, were left out by some leaders.

He said a writ petition was filed in this regard by Dr Rano of Raikot in the Supreme Court and its next hearing was on July 19. He said as a Sehajdhari Sikh he had went to jail five times along with almost all the senior Akali leaders, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Dr Ratan Singh Ajnala. He said the Sehajdharis, who were allowed to cast their franchise in 1959 by the efforts of Master Tara Singh, had been debarred from using their right.


News Analysis
Cong’s punishing, rewarding policy quite baffling
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Prof Darbari Lal have been removed from the Punjab Council of Ministers because they failed to ensure the victory in their respective Assembly segments of the Congress candidate, Mr R.L. Bhatia.

But on the other hand the veteran politician, Mr Bhatia, who failed to win against Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, a green horn in politics, has been rewarded by the Congress high command by being appointed as the Governor of Kerala.

The new “policy of rewarding” the principal losers such as Mr Bhatia, and “punishing” those who were to play a “secondary” role in their elections, adopted by the Congress high command has baffled all concerned in the ruling Congress in the state and at the national level. Take the case of Mr Arvind Khanna, who lost the Lok Sabha election from Sangrur but has been rewarded as an MLA by being appointed Parliamentary Secretary.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, son of the late Beant Singh, and Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, have been removed from the Council of Ministers for not ensuring the victory in Lok Sabha elections of Mr Manish Tewari, who is lobbying hard to become President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Though Mr Tej Parkash Singh’s sister, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, today took the oath as a Minister of State, but there was no one from Beant Singh’s family at the oath ceremony. When asked, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur said “she has not liked the dropping of Mr Tej Parkash Singh from the Council of Ministers”. Mr Tej Parkash Singh and his mother, Mrs Jaswant Kaur, are both camping in Delhi. They have met Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and other leaders of the Congress high command, to the lodge the protest for treating them “shabbily”.

Interestingly, the policy of “removal” for non- performance in the Lok Sabha elections has been “selectively” used by the high command. There are at least three ministers who have been spared while enforcing the “performance” formula.

“We have been expecting sagacity from the High Command while taking a decision regarding retaining and dropping of ministers. The high command should have taken the blame on itself for selecting “non-winnable candidates in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab. But as the high command has played a partisan role rewarding and favouring some and punishing others who have no connections in Delhi, then what should one do except to fight for justice”, said a senior minister, who has been axed from the CmMs.

In fact, most of the ministers, who have been dropped from the CoMs and MLAs, today stayed away from the oath taking ceremony. That gives a signal of revival of dissident activity in the ruling party in the days to come. Many of the ruling party MLAs and dropped ministers have been camping in Delhi to meet the party high command.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has bailed himself out from the entire controversy that is ensuing from the downsizing of the ministry, by taking the clear stand that “ it was the party high command which has taken the final decision regarding the retaining and dropping of ministers”. In a shrewd manner, he has put the ball in the court of the party high command to deal with any “political crisis”, which is expected in coming days.

It is clear that Ms Ambika Soni, and Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder had also their say to some extent in the downsizing exercise that preceded the downsizing of the ministry. There are now at least nine dissident Ministers who were earlier active against Capt Amarinder Singh in the CoMs. And nine are other ministers who stood with Capt Amarinder Singh, when the political activity against him was at its peak in the beginning of this year. That means dissidents have got an equal share in the CoMs.

Because of Ms Soni, Mr Romesh Chander Dogra has been retained in the CoMs. Jalandhar has maintained its domination in the COMs. However, there seems to be under representation of SCs, who are considered a major vote bank of the party besides urbanites in the state. Jat-Sikhs have now a major share in the ministerial cake.


Demolition drive abandoned under ‘political pressure’
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 7
The sudden and quiet burial of the much-hyped demolition drive, launched by the local municipal corporation in the last week of June when parts of certain buildings in the Model Town area were demolished by MC officials, and a complete silence over it by the civic body has not only raised many eyebrows, but also given rise to apprehensions among residents that the drive has been withdrawn under political pressure.

Interestingly, despite resistance and political pressure exerted by some owners of illegal buildings, the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr T.R. Sarangal, had resolved to go ahead with the demolition drive and had even formed two high-powered teams of officials through an order issued on June 28 to look after the demolition work after dividing the city into two sectors.

The Commissioner did not stop here but had also observed in his order that there were “signals of a widespread bureaucratic nexus” which encouraged illegal constructions in the city in the past. He had also directed his officials to “catch the big fish first” and demolish big illegally constructed buildings on priority.

The order of the Commissioner had instilled a sense of elation among right-thinking residents, considering that most of these multi-storeyed buildings, which were constructed in violation of the building bylaws, were responsible for traffic congestion in the city. But their elation proved to be short-lived as the much-publicised demolition drive was allegedly abandoned by the MC authorities within two days of issuance of the order by the Commissioner, allegedly under political pressure.

“The drive was withdrawn after the MC was directed to do so from the top,” admitted a senior officer, even as the Commissioner, Mr Sarangal, was not available for comment. Sources in the MC pointed out that some of influential building owners had approached some political leaders, who managed to get verbal directions for the MC authorities that the demolition drive should be abandoned.

According to the sources, there were more than 100 big buildings in different parts of the city, which were constructed in clear violation of the building bylaws. A senior minister had also taken up the issue of construction of some illegal buildings in his area with the Chief Minister during his recent visit to the city.


Rs 51,500 looted in daylight robbery at bank
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 7
In a daylight robbery, four persons looted the Shahpur branch of the State Bank of Patiala. The robbers struck at the bank, located in a busy locality, at about 1.15 p.m.

An eyewitness to the robbery told TNS that three robbers entered the bank as customers. They kept sitting in the waiting lounge of bank posing as if they were filling some papers. After studying the scene for about 10 minutes, one of them pointed a gun at the temple of the bank guard. The other two entered the chamber of the bank manager and pointed a gun at him.

While one of them kept the bank manager, Mr Anant Ram, pinned to his seat, the other two forced the guard to guide them to the strong room of the bank. Taking keys of the strong room from the cashier, they collected Rs 51,500 lying there and fled.

During the entire operation, the robbers let the customers enter the branch but did not allow anybody to move out. They also collected the mobiles of the customers and disconnected the one of the phone lines of the bank. After the robbery, the robbers fled on two motor cycles.

One of the customers, Mr Tara Chand, followed the robbers on his own motor cycle. He followed them up to Mammon but later gave up the chase fearing being shot at by the robbers on a deserted road.

Mr Tara Chand, who saw the robbers closely, said three of the robbers were turbaned while one had his hair cut. The stunned bank manager said the entire episode ended within 10 minutes. At the time of robbery, there were 11 employees and four customers in the bank.

The police on getting the information tried to give a chase to the robbers. Highly placed sources said the police had rounded up one person on suspicion.

The police suspects the involvement of some local students in the robbery.

The SSP, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said the police had got some clues, but nothing could be said with certainty at present.


Illegal custody of Nepali youth
Centre recommends action against cops
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 7
The government of Nepal has taken up the case of chaining of one of its nationals for three days in illegal custody after he was picked from Nepal by the Amritsar police and then booked in a “fabricated case”.

The Nepali national, father of an accused in a theft case, was brought from Nepal by the Amritsar police last month following a theft, allegedly committed by his son and two others in a house near Lawrence Road here. The victim was allegedly kept in illegal custody by chaining him at the Lawrence Road police chowki.

In the absence of any extradition treaty between India and Nepal, the arrest of the Nepali national without valid documents is being treated as “unconstitutional”.

The Union Home Ministry has asked the Inspector-General (Border), Mr J.P. Birdi, to take stern action against the policemen responsible for picking the Nepali national from Nepal. Talking to TNS, Mr Birdi said the case against the Nepali national, who was booked for possessing liquor, was being dropped. He said the Sub-Inspector, the Assistant Sub-Inspector and other policemen were being placed under suspension besides initiation of departmental action against them.

The Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, while addressing a meeting of senior police officials on July 5 at Chandigarh, had also directed them to discipline the force to avoid unnecessary litigation with regard to violation of human rights.

The case was highlighted when Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP, saw the Nepali national chained outside the police chowki without registration of an FIR. When she took up the matter with Mr Ashwani Kapur, DSP, he failed to give a satisfactory reply. Then Ms Chawla wrote to the state and the National Human Rights Commission for immediate intervention. Two days later, Ms Chawla learnt that instead of releasing the old man, he was booked in a “concocted case”. During her visit to the Central Jail, where he was lodged, the Nepali national told Ms Chawla that the police party had taken away a nose pin and other ornaments belonging to his family during their “unlawful” raid at his house.

Interestingly, on the complaint of the Sub-Inspector and the ASI, four policemen, including one Head Constable and three constables, were placed under suspension. However, it is learnt that these four policemen had a tiff with their seniors during their visit to Nepal and hence, they had to suffer on account of a “false complaint”.


DSP case: role of govt lawyers under scrutiny
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
The conduct of two senior law officers of the Punjab Government dealing with the ongoing case concerning the alleged irregularities in the selection of Deputy Superintendents of Police sometime back has come under the scanner.

Today, a senior Punjab Government officer told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that even though he had, as per court orders, brought the Sports Department file relating to the selection to the High Court for handing over the same to the Court, the file was taken away by Senior Additional Advocate General Bharat Bir Singh Sobti.

Mr Sobti, Punjab Youth Services and Sports Department Joint Secretary D.S. Laungia claims, did not hand over the file to the court after taking it from him.

The contents of the affidavit and the subsequent proceedings forced the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy to ask counsel for the Punjab Government if the entire record pertaining to the case had been actually submitted. In view of the serous allegations in the affidavit, the Bench also granted liberty to all parties to file their replies if they want.

Apart from other things, Mr Laungia has also stated in the affidavit that following the assertion of Mr Sobti that he did not have the file, the Sports Department was contemplating getting an FIR registered in the matter.

Mr Laungia is facing contempt of court charges for allegedly interfering with the administration of justice.

In an affidavit to the High Court, Mr Laungia today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that on May 28, a day after being informed by Mr Sobti that the High Court had ordered that the file of the Sports Department be submitted in the court, he came to the court. He was accompanied by one Mr Soni, Officer on Special duty to Punjab Sports Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang.

Mr Laungia has further stated that in the presence of Mr Soni he duly handed over the file to Mr Sobti. However, despite repeated attempts, the record was not handed over to the court by Mr Sobti.

Mr Laungia also claims that another law officer, Additional Advocate General Atul Nanda, was also informed about the action of Mr Sobti.

He immediately informed Mr Kang and the then Secretary (Sports), Mr D.S. Bains about the development.

The next day, Mr Kang told his officers to lodge an FIR in the matter as also to get photocopies made of the record present in the department and submit the same to the High Court.

Then Mr Laungia approached an official of the court of the Chief Justice and tried to submit the record, following which he was told to bring the matter to the notice of Punjab Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh.

Mr Singh reportedly advised the officer to approach the law officer dealing with the case.

Mr Laungia has also informed the court that neither the Sports Department nor the then Secretary was informed about the developments in the case by the law officers. Incidentally, a letter written by Mr Laungia, which has been annexed with his affidavit, says that he left the file with Mr Atul Nanda. The letter was addressed to Advocate- General Harbhagwan Singh.


Save Kanshi Ram from Mayawati: BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
In a memorandum submitted to Punjab Governor Justice O.P. Verma, Bahujan Samaj Swabhiman Sangharsh Samiti members today demanded that BSP leader Kanshi Ram should be “freed from the clutches of Uttar Pardesh’s former Chief Minister Mayawati”. They also demanded that Mr Kanshi Ram should be treated in the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in the presence of his mother and brother. He should also be provided with security, they added.

A deputation, led by Mr R.K. Chaudhary of the samiti, also asked the Governor to solve the problem as soon as possible. They further asked him to forward the memorandum’s copy to the President of India

In the memorandum, the members asserted that Mr Kashi Ram had worked hard for uplifting the downtrodden. They added that the party formulated by Mr Kanshi Ram had done well not only in Punjab, but in other parts of the country as well. The party had also won in Uttar Pradesh thrice. They added that Mr Kanshi Ram was now being kept in captivity at a hospital in New Delhi on the pretext of treatment. He was not being allowed to meet anyone.


Samta Samaj Party merges with LJP

Ludhiana, July 7
The Samta Samaj Party, headed by Mr Phul Singh Baraiya, has been dissolved to merge with the Lok Janshakti Party led by Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

This was announced by LJP secretary general Kartar Singh Patna while addressing a news conference here today. He said Mr Paswan had nominated Mr Baraiya as senior vice- president of the central unit of the LJP, while Mr Harbhajan Lakha would be the national general secretary of the party. — OC


Villagers gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Gharinda (Amritsar), July 7
A large number of residents of Gharinda and nearby villages, including women and children, today gheraoed the Gharinda police station against alleged police atrocities. The protest call was given by the Police Jabar Virodhi Action Committee”. Activists of communist parties and farmer organisations participated in the protest.

The residents alleged that the Station House officer of the Gharinda police station was doing injustice and atrocities on the residents at the behest of ruling party and district administration.

Mr Ratan Singh Randhawa, district secretary of the CPM, alleged that the police failed to take appropriate action in certain cases, and panchayat members of Lahorimal village under illegal custody on March 6. He alleged that it had failed present a challan in the case in which a number of trees were axed from the memorial complex of Amar Singh.

He alleged that the police did not register an FIR in the brutal attack on Harjinder Singh, manager of a cooperative bank. Mr Randhawa alleged that the aggrieved families had approached higher police officials, but no action had been taken against the accused.

Mr Preetam Singh Hoshiarnagar, convener of the committee, said they were forced to pursue the path of agitation as the SHO had not taken appropriate action in the cases. The activists threatened to intensify their agitation if the police failed to take action in the cases.


Highway patrolling from today
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 7
Highway patrolling in Punjab is being introduced from tomorrow. As many as 20 highway patrol vehicles fitted with all the latest gadgets to help the accident victims will be flagged off by Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of Police, from the Punjab Police Academy Phillaur.

These vehicles will patrol the national and state highways and other sensitive areas and help the accident victims to reach hospital at the earliest, according to Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Traffic). Each vehicle has cost more than Rs 5 lakh.

Mr Sharma told this reporter today that more such vehicles would be introduced later to cover the entire state. The incidence of road accidents in Punjab is quite high as during the year 2003 as many as 2,712 persons were killed in 4,512 accidents.

These vehicles are fitted with alcometers which would measure the level of consumption of liquor by the drivers. This will help in checking driving under the influence of liquor. Besides, the vehicles are fitted with the first aid kit, stretchers, traffic cones and wireless system. These vehicles will move on the highways round the clock and will also help check the blockade of the roads in the event of any accident or otherwise.

The police identified some of the sensitive points which are accident prone. These include Jalandhar-Mukerian, Pathankot-Dinanagar and Pathankot-Ludhiana-Jagraon and Ludhiana-Samrala. The Ludhiana-Ferozepore and Ludhiana-Sangrur highways are also accident prone. The vehicles also will be stationed near the state barriers.


BKU organises dharna outside PSEB office
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 7
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) yesterday organised a dharna in front of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) SDO’s office at Ajeetwal, near here. The farmers blocked the Moga-Ludhiana road in the evening for over two hours. They gheraoed the SDO, Mr Gurmeet Singh, and did not allow him to leave after duty hours. The SDO was “freed” only after police intervention.

The union members were protesting against snapping power connections to Kokri Kalan village farmers, including the state general secretary of the union, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, owing to non-payment of electricity bills. The farmers were demanding that the power connections snapped should be restored, but the SDO said that was not possible.

Talking to The Tribune, the state union president, Mr Joginder Singh Ugraha, said that they were staging a dharna owing to the “acute power crisis” in the agricultural sector. He said the union was organising protests in various parts of the state, including Khanna, Mansa and Sunam. He said the Amarinder government was not fulfilling the promises it made to the farmers and alleged that this (snapping power lines) was being done to attack the farmers’ leadership. He said that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had forgot the one-time settlement (OTS) promise he made to the farmers under which 50 per cent of the pending power bills of the farmers was to be paid by the government, while the remaining 50 per cent was to be paid by the farmers in instalments.

He said that the union would gherao various subdivisional offices of the PSEB on July 12.


Rs 17,000 loss to Punjab Roadways depot daily
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 7
Despite having a fleet of 104 buses which ply on 68 routes, the local depot of Punjab Roadways is incurring a loss of about Rs 17,000 every day. Mr Amarjit Singh, General Manager of the depot, told this correspondent that out of a fleet of 104 buses, 17 were out of service. Almost all remaining buses had completed their prescribed coverage of mileage quota for long. However, Punjab Roadways had no other alternative than to ply these buses, even on long routes.

These buses yielded a revenue of about Rs 2.15 lakh daily which was insufficient to meet the requirement of diesel and maintenance. He said the depot was facing a loss of about Rs 17,000 daily, adding that all existing buses should be replaced with a new fleet. Only then the maintenance expenditure could be curtailed and losses converted into profit.

As many as 540 employees, including drivers, conductors, mechanics and governing staff, were running the depot.

The Punjab Roadways General Bus Stand in the Model Town vicinity here was demolished and the construction of a new one for providing modern facilities to the incoming and outgoing passengers was started by the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation at the fag end of the SAD-BJP regime. A portion of it was constructed, but the present government did not provide the requisite funds for it due to which the work on it was held up.

More than 500 government and private transport buses were arriving at or leaving the bus stand daily with thousands of passengers. These buses are being plied from and parked in a portion of the old bus stand adjoining the Punjab Roadways workshop and on roads adjoining it.

There are no proper sheds to serve as shelters for passengers and they have to wait for the buses in scorching sun and rain.

There are no toilet and drinking water facilities in and around the bus stand. Rehriwalas and wooden stall owners provide substandard soft drinks to passengers at exorbitant rates and passengers have to ease themselves on the road.

The inhabitants of the area are facing a lot of inconvenience on account of passengers and overcrowding of buses.


Self-employment scheme action plan approved
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 6
The action plan under the Swaran Jayanti Gram Self-Employment Scheme for 2004-2005 was passed at a governing body meeting of the Zila Rural Development Agency here today.

The meeting was held in the mini secretariat. It was presided over by the Chairperson of the Zila Parishad, Ms Gursharan Kaur Randhawa.

While addressing the gathering, Ms Randhawa said this year the agency aimed at making 450 persons self-reliant under the said scheme. These persons would be given loans of Rs 1.35 crore from various banks to start their own business, she added. They would also be given a subsidy of Rs 36 lakh.

Besides, nearly 54 self-help groups would also be constituted for helping these persons in becoming self-reliant. These groups would also be provided subsidy of Rs 54 lakh and Rs 1.63 crore of loans through various banks.

She said this year nearly 48 persons had been given subsidy of Rs 4.1 lakh and loans worth 15.7 lakh this year. Besides, six self-help groups were given loans of Rs 18 lakh and subsidy of Rs 6 lakh.

Last year, 334 persons were made self-reliant and were given subsidy of Rs 29 lakh and loans of Rs 1.4 crore through various banks.

General Manager of the District Udyog Centre D.S. Sandhu, District Social Welfare Officer P.S Gill, president of the Progressive Youth Forum Major Singh Sekhon, ADC

(Development) Jagwant Singh Brar were also present at the meeting.


Dharna against govt decision on micro-hydel projects
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 7
On a call given by the Technical Services Union, technicians of the Patiala,Sangrur and Khanna circles today organised a dharna at Nadampur, near here, to protest against the state government’s decision to give four micro-hydel projects on contract to private parties.

Mr Vijay Dev condemned the government’s decision to give the micro-hydel projects of Nadampur, Rohti, Thuhi and Doddar to private contractors for five years. He said the decision was anti-employee and anti-people.

The union further stated that the government would purchase electricity from the private contractors at Rs 2.35 per unit whereas it had aimed at generating 1 crore units of power at a cost of Rs 1.35 per unit.


Lucky coupon draw delayed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 7
The draw of the 26th free lucky coupon scheme of the Small Savings Department, to be held in May or June, has not been held so far. More than one crore lucky coupons had been sold.

The department is reportedly waiting for the new Finance Minister. The department will seek a date from the minister for the draw.

Further delay in the draw will shatter the faith of the investors. It may have an adverse affect on the 27th free lucky coupon scheme.

Two district officers of the department admitted that they were getting phone calls from investors and agents with regard to the date of the draw. The investors wanted the draw to be held soon and telecast on Doordarshan.


PWD staff wear black badges

Amritsar, July 7
Employees of the PWD (B&R) staged a rally and wore black badges to protest against filing of corruption cases against its engineers by the Vigilance Bureau, at its local office here today.

Mr Avtar Singh Dhillon, co-convener of the Joint Committee, Punjab, said that the rally was on the call of the JAC.

He said the staff would wear black badges daily as a mark of protest. — OC


82 NCC cadets donate blood

Bathinda, July 7
As many as 82 NCC cadets, including 10 girls, donated blood at a camp organised by 20, Punjab Batallion, NCC, Bathinda, here today. 

Stating this in a press note issued here today, the camp commandant, Lieut-Col Bharpur Singh, said that the blood donation camp was organised during the annual training camp being held from July 1 to July 12 at Jawahar Navodia Vidalaya, Bring Khera. — TNS


Prominent Rotarian Seth dead
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 6
A large number of people joined the funeral procession of Mr Raj Kumar Seth (88), seniormost member of Rotary International District 3090 who died on Monday evening. Mr Seth belonged to one of the oldest business families of the city.

He was a charter member and past president of the Rotary Club, Patiala, and had been associated with the club for 60 years. He had been honoured with the Hall of Fame award by Rotary International. He was the patron of the SD Kumar Sabha and was also associated with a number of other organisations in Patiala.

He is survived by his wife, four daughters and a son.

The Mayor of the Municipal Corporation , Mr Vishnu Sharma, the Governor-elect of RI District 3090, Dr Harbans Pathak, and the SDM, Mr Tej Pratap Singh Phoolka, were among those present at the cremation.


Five injured in clash
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 7
Five persons, including two women, were injured in a clash over a piece of common land between two families of Khelan-Mahlan village, about 15 km from here, this afternoon.

Sticks and sharp-edged weapons were used in the clash in which Krishna Devi, Rajmeet Kaur, Yeshpal Ram, Tarsem Singh and Charanjit Singh sustained injuries.

Tarsem Singh and Charanjit Singh, who were seriously injured in the incident, were rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, while other injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. No case has been registered so far.



Autorickshaw overturns; 3 hurt
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 7
Three women were injured when an autorickshaw in which they were travelling overturned at Gulabgarh village on the Dera Bassi-Kheri Jattan link road, near Dera Bassi, this afternoon.

Two injured have been identified as Soma Devi and Charno Devi. They were going to attend ‘bhog’ ceremony of their relative at Kheri Jattan village.

They were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. Soma Devi and Charno Devi said the autorickshaw was overloaded when the incident took place.



Nomination papers
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
A Division Bench of the High Court has issued notice for July 9 on a petition filed by one Pushpinder Kaur of Gurdaspur. 

In her petition, Kaur, who claims that she belongs to the Scheduled Castes, has stated that her nomination papers for the ensuing Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) election from the Kala Afghana constituency were rejected on the ground that she was not a Scheduled Caste candidate. 


Shortage of staff in labour court

Amritsar, July 7
The condition of the labour court here has gone from bad to worse. The court that addresses problems of labourers, daily-wage employees and employees of companies is suffering from shortage of staff for the past five months.

There are unfilled vacancies in the court of a stenotypist, a senior-scale stenographer. Also the court is in dire need of a judgment writer and a person on the post of ‘ahlamad’ having command in English.

More than 2,000 cases have been pending in the court due to procedural delays and other problems, said Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary, state committee, All-India Trade Union Congress. — OC


Punjab Agro to procure coarse grains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The state government has declared Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation as the state agency for procurement of coarse grains, namely maize, barley etc on minimum support price ( MSP) under the Central Government policy.

An official release issued here states that PAFC is already a procurement agency on behalf of FCI for foodgrains and on behalf of NAFED for implementing the MSP scheme for oilseeds and pulses.

The appointment of the agency will go a long way for promoting crops like maize and barley under the diversification of agriculture programme. More farmers will take to these crops because of better prices. Earlier, maize was being bought by private traders at a much lower price.

Under the contract farming programme, the area under maize crop went up substantially to around 28,000 acres. 


New bus stand planned, school offered alternative site
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 7
In a bid to quick-start the setting up of a bus stand in the city, the district administration has offered the Atma Ram Kumar Sabha School management an alternative site so that the present ground of the school can be used for the purpose.

Though the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) has mooted a proposal to set up the bus stand on the Rajpura road to remove clogging at the present site, there has been resistance from the Atma Ram Kumar Sabha management. It had approached Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in this regard.

The administration is now offering the school management a piece of land presently under a temple for use as a ground. This piece of land is about 200 yards away from the present ground, though on the other side of the road. The school management, during a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, expressed its displeasure, saying that the land was much smaller than the present one. The management is also vary of taking up land, which is presently under a temple, fearing that the move could cause problems in future.

Sources said the administration had promised to give clear-cut possession of the land to the school by making changes in the relevant records. Besides this, the administration had promised to create appropriate infrastructure at the new site. This includes a boundary wall and a track for games.

Though the new bus stand is important for the city, residents feel efforts should be made to safeguard existing open spaces.

Joginder Singh of Factory Area said the decision of the PDA to create a new bus stand and not use the present site for commercial gain was laudable. He said once the bus stand was shifted out, the administration could go ahead with its plan to make the entry into the city easier.

The administration, besides deciding to rehabilitate “khokhas” and other small establishments situated along the bus stand, aims to construct wide roads.

Amarjit Singh of Sheranwala Gate said the city was losing its open spaces. He said earlier there was an open ground in the heart of the city where the State Languages Department had been set up in 1992.

Residents said the Atma Ram Kumar Sabha School grounds were expansive and on Sundays one could see various teams playing cricket. “The administration is proposing to give a smaller ground to the school and there is a possibility that even this new site may be needed for future development work”, Amarjit said.


Youth’s hands chopped off in clash
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 7
In a shocking incident, a group of young boys chopped off both hands of a 22-year-old youth as they clashed in Pandori village of Bhulath subdivision here yesterday.

A resident of Dyalpur village of Subhanpur subdivision, Sandeep was going to Bhulath with his friend Satnam Singh for some work, when a group of young boys way laid them and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons to take revenge over some old incident. While Satnam Singh received minor injuries, both hands of Sandeep got amputated during the clash.

Both the boys were rushed to a hospital in Bhulath, where Sandeep was referred to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Ludhiana, for surgical treatment. The SHO of Bhulath, Mr Surjeet Singh, said a case could not be registered as the patient was still unconscious and could not give his statement. He said Satnam Singh could also not be traced for recording his statement and he had sent his team to his village.

Dr Vijay Obed, Head of the Department of Plastic Surgery, CMCH, said Sandeep’s right hand had been totally amputated along the wrist, had reached rigor mortis as it was not preserved properly and could not be saved. But fortunately, his left hand, that was near total amputation, had been operated upon and was in place, the doctor said.

Dr Obed said Sandeep had also received serious chest injuries and his chest tubes had to be given cardiothoracic surgical treatment. He said there were severe injuries on his legs and his knee joint had opened up, which too required surgical treatment. Dr Obed said Sandeep was now recovering and was fully conscious this afternoon.

In another incident, a youth was killed with stones and bricks yesterday in Sheruwala village of Bhulath subdivision over a petty tussle. A case has been registered and investigations are on, said the SHO, Mr Surjeet Singh.


Uncle held for killing boy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 7
With the arrest of Naib Singh, an uncle of Sadha Singh (13) of Longowal village who was murdered with a sharpedged weapon on June 6, the police yesterday claimed to have solved the blind murder case of Sadha Singh. The body of Sadha Singh was recovered from near the village bus stand.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, said as per the investigations, Naib Singh allegedly murdered Sadha Singh as he (Sadha) had told his aunt several times that some bad character women often his uncle (Naib) at home and his meat shop. He further said Naib Singh did not like this act of Sadha Singh and decided to kill the boy.

Mr Narinder Kaushal, DSP (Rural), who supervised investigations, said on the night of murder, Sadha Singh had been watching TV at a shop in the bazar when his uncle asked him to accompany him to go home. He said instead of going home, Naib Singh “killed” Sadha Singh with a sharpedged weapon and threw the body near the bus stand.


Man kills brother
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 7
Jagdev Singh, son of Dalip Singh of Andana village, near Khanauri, in this district, allegedly murdered his brother, Jiwan Singh, with a “gandasa” (sharpedged weapon) on the night of July 6 when he was sleeping in his house.

The Khanauri police said today that Jagdev Singh did not like Jiwan Singh as he (Jiwan) had prevented him from selling poppy husk several times in the past on the plea that the family had a good reputation in the village so he should give up such activities.

The police said Jiwan Singh had also prevented Jagdev from selling poppy husk the previous day which led to an altercation between the two brothers. However, Jagdev Singh kept this incident in mind and allegedly killed his brother.

It stated that Jagdev Singh also made an attack on the wife of Jiwan Singh. In this attack, she suffered injuries.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 323 and 324 of the IPC against Jagdev Singh.


2 murders solved, four held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 7
The district police has succeeded in solving two separate murder cases with the arrest of four persons. Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, stated here today that one Drashan Kumar of Budala village in Noormahal, in a complaint on July 3, said that his brother Sarabjit Kumar had been kidnapped by unidentified car-borne persons from Budala bus stand.

During the course of investigation, it was found that the car used in the crime had been decorated with flowers the same day. The police questioned the flower arranger, Amir Singh, who revealed that he had decorated a Maruti Esteem car (CH-01W-2608) belonging to one Kulwinder Singh of the same village.

Kulwinder Singh and Jaspal Singh, also of the same village, were arrested. They revealed that they had strangled him, severed his head and thrown the body into a drain. The other three accomplices in the crime were identified as Davinder Singh, Kinda and Sukha.

The arrested persons were produced before a local court, which remanded them in police custody till July 9.

In another case, a body was found lying in bushes near Bachowal village in Phillaur on June 15. The hands and feet had been tied while the body bore injury marks inflicted with a blunt weapon. The victim was identified as Ranjit Dass, a truck driver.

Ranjit had started from the Tanda road here for Ludhiana on June 15 in a truck laden with pig iron, but neither the truck nor the driver reached the destination even after several days.

Following investigation, the truck, which had been stolen, was intercepted near the Sutlej bridge and its occupants, Harwinder Singh of Ramidi village in Kapurthala and Tarsem Singh of Deviapur in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, were arrested.

Raids are being conducted to arrest the remaining suspects.


Police fails to arrest rape accused
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 7
Even after 12 days of registration of an FIR of rape against Mahant Madho Dass of Dera Mahant Dhian Dass at Doda village, the Muktsar police has failed the arrest the mahant. However, when contacted, Gidderbaha DSP Malkiat Singh said that the police had been raiding several places to nab the accused.

The FIR under Sections 376 and 506, IPC, was lodged against the mahant at Kot Bhai police station on June 25 after a long struggle of over six-month of the victim, Rupinder Kaur (name changed).

According to the information, the victim along with her husband Piara Singh (name changed) of nearby Kotli Sangal village was working at the dera for some time. Rupinder Kaur lodged a complaint against the mahant regarding rape in December last year.

The victim reportedly mentioned in the complaint that the accused not only raped her but also locked her in a room for about a week and released her only after she promised that she would not tell about the incident to anyone. Instead of registering an FIR against the accused, the police allegedly put pressure on her to reach a compromise with the accused, it is learnt. However, not succumbing to pressure she sent the complaints to senior officers, including the SSP and the CM. At last, the FIR was lodged with the intervention of the SSP.


Engineering institute gets accreditation, Rs 10 cr grant
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 7
Under the Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP), the Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) has received a grant of Rs 10.3 crore from the World Bank.

The grant has come following an approval of a three-year accreditation to the institute by the National Accreditation Council of India for Technical Education. While the BTech course in civil engineering has been accredited for a period of five years, other branches — electronics and communication engineering, instrumental and control engineering, industrial engineering, textile technology, chemical and bio-engineering, and mechanical engineering — have been accredited for a period of three years.

The World Bank had specified that the institute could get the grant under the TEQIP only if it got accredited. The bank has directed that the grant be used for developing state-of-the-art facilities the institute, especially in the library, computer centre and departmental laboratories.

The institute had applied for accreditation with the council, following which a 17-member committee inspected the college. The team, headed by Dr A. Gopalan, former Vice-Chancellor of Cochin University, visited the college on March 12, 13 and 14.

Mr K.K. Dhir, Registrar, said the institute had recenty decided to introduce MTech and PhD from this academic session. While it was offering MTech on a part-time basis for the past few years, the course would be started on a regular basis from this year.


DC honours toppers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia, here today honoured students of the district who have excelled in middle, matriculation and senior secondary examinations. He said it was a matter of pride that a student of Government Senior Secondary School, Salana had got ninth position in the state in matriculation examination.

Mr Dayal Singh, DEO(S), said the Education Department would make all efforts to improve the education standard in the district. He said efforts were being made to provide better infrastructure in the schools.

The students who were honoured included Jaswinder of GSS School, Salana, Ankash Goyal, Manandier Kaur, Nandani Kaushal — all of SNAS Senior School, Mandi Gobindgarh, Jaskiranpreet Kaur of GNP High School, Khant Manpur, Rupinder Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Harmanjit Kaurall of GTB Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Khant Manpur, Samiksha and Rupinder Kaur of Holy Heart Public School, Bassi Pathana, Sukhpreet Singh of Baba Dyalpuri School, Shirhind and Muskan of SNAS School, Mandi Gobindgarh.


AISSF to fight for students’ cause
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 7
Priority of the AISSF (All-India Sikh Students Federation) will be to redress the problems of the student community, AISSF president Tarlochan Singh said here yesterday. He said that he would launch an agitation to put pressure on the authorities to reduce academic and hostel fees in the state. 

He further stated that AISSF units would be set up in all districts and villages shortly.

Tarlochan Singh also constituted a 12-member working committee of the AISSF. The members are Gurlal Singh Sandhu (Amritsar), Parkash Singh Matharu (Ludhiana), Sarabjit Singh Panesar (Jalandhar), Ranjit Singh (Muktsar), Mukhtiar Singh (Ferozepore), Darshan Singh (Faridkot), Satnam Singh Kahlon (Gurdaspur), Gurbachan Singh Miani (Hoshiarpur), Surjit Singh Dapai (Kapurthala), Gurjit Singh (Dehradun), Bhupinder Singh (Kharar) and Paramjit Singh (Patiala).


Prof Goswami joins Punjabi varsity
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 7
Professor Emeritus and Padma Shree Dr B.N. Goswami has joined Punjabi University, Patiala, as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Fine Arts. An eminent art historian, Dr Goswami joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1955 but resigned in 1958 to pursue career in fine arts. 

He has occupied many prestigious positions in various art forums at national and international level and was Commissioner for Pahari Exhibition (Zurich) for the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Commissioner for the Exhibition on Sikh Heritage in Art, Department of Culture, Government of India. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London, Royal Asiatic Society and the American Oriental Society.

Dr Goswami retired as Professor and Head, Department of Fine Arts, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

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