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SGPC poll: Badal seeks Kalam's intervention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
In less than 24 hours after problems being faced by the Gurdwara Election Commission due to apparent hostile attitude of the Congress Governments in Punjab and at the Centre were published in these columns, former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today sought the President of India's intervention.

Mr Badal urged the President to use his constitutional and moral authority for stopping the governments from ''playing havoc'' with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) elections. He also reiterated his demand for the deployment of Central forces to ensure free and fair elections. A copy of the news item published in The Tribune was enclosed along with the communique addressed to the President.

The former Chief Minister, meanwhile, added that at stake was the Constitution of India's dignity, along with the faith and confidence of the minorities in the fairness of the system.

The SGPC, he further added, symbolised freedom of conscience and "the right to carry forward one's religious ideals without fear of interference from the sate". But the utterances and actions of the Congress Governments was putting undue pressure on the masses, Mr Badal asserted.


 

District police mobilised for SGPC elections
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Following the failure of the Central government to deploy paramilitary forces for "maintaining law and order situation" in the state during the forthcoming Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, the Punjab Police has decided to divert personnel from different departments.

The elections are to be held on July 11 and the campaigning will come to an end on Friday at 5 pm. Instructions, in form of a booklet, have already been issued to the Returning Officers and other functionaries.

Though senior Police functionaries are maintaining silence over the issue of security, sources in Punjab Police headquarters reveal that the authorities have resolved to go in for "mass mobilisation of district police" by gathering forces from numerous units, including CID, Intelligence, security and computers, even from training institutes.

Giving details, the sources claim that 85 per cent of the district forces is being mobilised for the elections.

They add that the authorities have also decided to depute extra force at sensitive and hyper sensitive stations.

The deployment of additional force will depend on the prevailing circumstances. "The authorities in the districts have been given the liberty to set up their own safety norms keeping in view the sensitivity," the sources say.

The sources also refute the apprehensions of law and order problem in the state during the elections. They assert that police personnel are geared up to meet any eventuality during the polls.

They also claim that the diversion of force will not lead to any "problem" in the day-to-day functioning of the police.

The security system, they claim, is similar to the one adopted by the Punjab Police during the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. Punjab's Additional Director General of Police (Operations) Shashi Kant — in charge of the SGPC elections — was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

The move to go in for mass mobilisation of police force is significant as the Commission has already declared 2157 polling booths sensitive in the state. Another 203 booths have been declared hyper sensitive. Majority of such stations are in Amritsar.

The total number of stations are 6946.

So far, the Commission has not heard anything about the deployment of central forces, but has recommended tight security around sensitive and hyper sensitive booths.

The sources in the Commission claim that the adoption of preventive measures in the sensitive areas is necessary during the SGPC elections as even Lok Sabha polls held recently in the state were "not entirely free from incidents of violence" despite heavy force deployment.

Group clashes between the members of rival political parties — resulting in injuries — were reported from outside the polling booths at several places in the state during the polls.


 

Many SGPC candidates violate ‘religious code’: survey
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 8
A survey conducted by fact finding teams of Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) has revealed that many candidates, fielded by various Akali factions for the forthcoming SGPC elections, have been found violating the ‘religious code’ pronounced by Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Though Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has returned from abroad and would reach Amritsar tomorrow, but it would be practically difficult for him to dispose of the complaints pertaining to violation of religious code received by the Akal Takht secretariat in his absence. The visit of Jathedar to New York and other states of the USA before the crucial SGPC elections had already received flak from the Sikh sangat.

Jathedar Vedanti appealed that the Sikh sangat should elect those candidates who pursue Sikh maryada in true spirit by rising above party affiliations. He failed to give satisfactory reply when asked whether he would be able to take any action against those who had violated the religious code during electioneering.



 

Ex-servicemen to back SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Punjab's former Director Sainik Welfare Brig K.S. Kahlon and his group of ex-servicemen have decided to support Mr Amarinder Singh, contesting SGPC elections from Chandigarh. At a press conference today Brig Kahlon said the candidate was honest, upright and educated. The conference was attended by Akali leader N.S. Minhas and city’s former Mayor Harjinder Kaur, besides other ex-servicemen.

Brigadier Kahlon said the ex-servicemen hailed the “Panthic agenda” of the (SAD) which included the setting up of a Sikh university, along with educational secretariat, besides the institute of advance Sikh studies. He also appreciated the party's proposal to “make special efforts for dharam parchar” and to come up with an exclusive television channel.



 

Move to nominate PSGPC panel members opposed
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 8
Even as the Government of Pakistan is contemplating to form a common committee for Sikh shrines, in various Islamic countries, including Bangladesh and Afghanistan, a section of Peshawari Sikhs have opposed the move to nominate an 11-member committee for the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) instead of proper elections.

The Peshawari Sikhs, led by Bhai Ram Singh and Bhai Rawel Singh, have sent their protest letter to the government that they will not accept any committee to manage Sikh shrines in Pakistan which will be imposed on them . They have pleaded that the government should instead hold proper elections on the pattern of the SGPC.

Though there are about 25,000 Sikhs in Pakistan, the number of eligible voters is about 8,500 only. The PSGPC was formed in April 1999 to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth, which led to a protest by the SGPC. Since its inception, the PSGPC has not given due representation to Sikhs living in various parts of Pakistan. A large section of Pakistani Sikhs have been opposing the continuation of Mr Sham Singh as co-chairman even as the PSGPC continues to be without office-bearers. This is for the first time that Mr Sham Singh has been facing formidable opposition from a large section of Sikhs living in Pakistan.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the Vishav Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society said Mr Sham Singh had joined hands with his bete noire, Mr Gyan Singh, a member of the National Assembly, while the other group was headed by Bhai Ram Singh and Bhai Rawel Singh. Mr Bhullar said Gen Naim Akbar Khan, chairman of the PSGPC, and Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary, Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board, had told him over telephone that nominations for the PSGPC elections would be completed by November end. He said Bhai Ram Singh and Bhai Rawel Singh had told him over telephone that Mr Sham Singh was a 'rootless' leader of Pakistan and hence, he should not be allowed to run the affairs of the PSGPC.


 

Inside Babudom
PCS officers get Additional Secretary designation
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Punjab Government has cleared the name of five PCS officers -- four of the 1989 batch and one of the 1990 batch -- for designating them as Additional Secretaries provided they have a posting in the Civil Secretariat here.

The only officer to benefit immediately with the highest designation a PCS officer can attain is Mr Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu. The remaining four -- Mr Kulbir Singh, Mr Sucha Singh Mast, Mr Mohinder Pal Arora -- all of the 1989 batch, and Mr Devinder Singh Saroya(1990 batch) , will be designated Additional Secretaries to the Government of Punjab as and when they have a posting in the Civil Secretariat.

It was after a sustained struggle that the PCS (Executive Branch) Officers Association had in December, 2001, succeeded in persuading the Punjab Government to give the designation of Additional Secretary to the officers of State cadre after 14 years of service for restoration of parity with IAS officers who have time-bound scales.

An IAS officer after joining service in junior scale gets time scale, junior administrative scale, selection grade, super time scale and Financial Commissioner scale reaching the highest Chief Secretary's scale. On the other hand PCS officers have only four scales after starting at par with their IAS counterparts at the entry scale of Rs 8,000. They get higher scales after four, nine and 14 years.

The PCS officers, considering themselves to be part of premier service of the State, have been fighting on many issues, including postings. They hold that several important positions which were traditionally held by their cadre had been gradually gobbled up by the IAS officers.

Unlike Police Department, where there is a running battle between IPS officers and PPS officers over appointment against cadre positions, the problem is not that severe in the civil service.

Unlike the police, the grieving cadre is State Civil Service and not the Central Civil Service.

The IPS officers have now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court again as the Punjab Government has not moved non-cadre officers from the cadre positions, including district police chiefs. The Court had directed the Punjab Government to take action by June 30.

Eight IPS cadre posts in districts are held by PPS officers.


 

7 Punjab cadre IPS officers move court
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
Seven Punjab cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the injustice being meted out to them by the Punjab Government by posting them on insignificant non-cadre posts in violation of rules.

These officers, who include Mohali Superintendent of Police Rakesh Aggarwal, Commandant, 4 Commando Battalion, etc, have said that despite undertaking given by the Punjab Government's counsel in the High Court, Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers continue to be posted on cadre posts, including as district police chiefs.

These officers have stated that during the hearing on an application filed by IPS officer Neelabh Kishore, who is presently posted as Superintendent of Police, Chief Minister Security, the state government had informed the court that due to Lok Sabha elections a final decision on the representations of IPS officers posted on non-cadre posts have been postponed.

However, these officers have stated, despite this undertaking three PPS officers have been posted on cadre posts meant for IPS officers. The PPS officers who have been appointed on cadre posts are Mr M.S. Chinna (SSP, Moga), Mr Harmanbir Singh (SP, City-II, Amritsar) and Mr Mandeep Singh (SP, City-I, Ludhiana).

The applicant-officers have said that by appointing PPS officers on cadre posts the government has flouted rules.

The applications are likely to be taken up tomorrow.


 

Govt in dilemma over police officers’ posting against cadre posts
Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Punjab Government is in a dilemma with regard to resolving the issue of posting police officers- IPS and PPS- against cadre and non-cadre posts.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the state government to consider the issue regarding " posting of non- cadre officers against the cadre posts or of the IPS officers against the ex-cadre\non- cadre posts on or before June 30".

Sources said that after a detailed exercise, the state government has reached the conclusion that it would have to " disturb" a large number of IPS officers, who are posted against the ex-cadre posts. Whereas IPS officers are insisting PPS officers should be removed from the cadre posts, the PPS Officers Association has asked the government that it should take a collective view.

The PPS Officers Association has told the government that the court order has two clear aspects: first, to consider the posting of non-cadre officers, in other words Punjab Police Service ( PPS) officers, against the cadre post( meant for IPS officers); and second is the posting of cadre officers (IPS officers) against the non-cadre or ex-cadre posts.

The authorised cadre strength in Punjab is 144. However, at present 126 cadre officers are in position in the state. The number of authorised direct recruitment( through IPS channel) against cadre posts is 101 and the remaining 43 posts in the IPS cadre are to be filled by promotion. But there are only 31 IPS officers promoted from the PPS at present and 12 slots are vacant ,which are to be filled by promotion from the PPS.

Authorised senior posts meant for IPS officers are 88 in the state. However, there are 93 such officers holding these posts. That means they are holding 5 posts in excess. Besides, there are 13 junior posts of IPS officers. But they are holding only 2 such posts of Assistant Superintendent of Police. Authorised ex-cadre posts meant for IPS officers in the state are 19. However, the number of ex-cadre posts held by IPS officers at present is 50. There are as many as 31 IPS officers posted in excess against the ex-cadre posts.

For instance, there is only one cadre post of the DGP in the state. However, the number of officers holding the post of DGP rank in the state has always varied between two and five. Obviously, they have been holding the ex-cadre posts. There are only 6 cadre posts of ADGP, but the number of officers holding these posts in this rank at present is 16.

The cadre posts of IG are only 13 but the present strength of such officers is over 20 and there are only 19 sanctioned posts of DIG rank officers but their number at present is around 25. Most of these officers have been accommodated by creating ex-cadre posts. While reviewing the posting of ex-cadre officers, the state government will be having no alternative except to " disturb" these officers either by sending them on deputation to the Centre or abolishing such posts.

In fact, as many as 31 IPS officers of Punjab should be on deputation with the Centre as per rules but at present the number of officers on deputation is hardly a dozen.

Before November last year there were only 12 posts of the district police chiefs to be filled from the IPS officers and the remaining 11 district police chiefs were to be posted from the non-cadre officers. However, accepting the state government proposal, the Central Government converted all non-cadre posts of district police chiefs to cadre posts in November last year, thus depriving the PPS officers from posting against such slots. In fact, even the post of the DIG at Ludhiana and Faridkot was to be filled from non-cadre officers but now these slots also have gone to cadre officers.

In fact, there are six police districts, which have been temporarily created in the state to deal with the problem of terrorism. These police districts could be abolished any time. But even now provision has been made to post cadre officers in these districts as police heads. The PPS Officers Association said there could not be temporary posts of cadre officers.

The PPS officers Association has told the state government that it was not given any opportunity to be heard when all slots of district police chiefs were converted into cadre posts. " We should have given opportunity to plead our case", says the association.

The association has requested the CM to hold the 12 posts of SSPs out of 23 in abeyance under regulation 10 of the IPS regulations, 1954, and against these 12 temporary posts may be created to accommodate PPS officers currently holding the posts equivalent to IPS cadre posts till the issue is finally resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.


 

3 children detained illegally by police
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Raikot (Ludhiana), July 8
In a shocking case of police highhandedness, three minors, including two girls, of this town were allegedly kidnapped, detained illegally and molested by cops in Chheharta police station, Amritsar, on July 5 and 6 in connection with an alleged dowry case against their maternal uncle. 
 The children, Sonia (13), Suman (12) and Gagandeep (10), had no involvement in the case registered by their aunt against their uncle, yet they had to undergo the alleged inhuman treatment at the hands of cops. The cops allegedly made them spend two days in illegal confinement, kept them without food and water in the sweltering heat and drove them back home, while one of the cops kept pinching the girls on the way.

The cops picked them up on Monday morning and dumped them outside their house after Tuesday midnight. The children were released only when a lawyer of the family threatened legal action. The police action came despite a pending inquiries into the case by a DIG and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

The SSP, Amritsar, Mr Kultar Singh, expressed shock at the incident. He has ordered an inquiry into the case and said he would summon the accused police officials in the evening and would take strict action for the alleged inhuman treatment of the children. The SHO, Mr Harjinder Singh, admitted before the SSP that the children remained in the police station for two days but insisted that the children had come on their own with the five arrested family members in the dowry case. The SHO, when contacted by The Tribune, denied that he had picked up the children.

 The Amritsar police had, on Sunday,  registered a dowry case against Varinder Kumar on the complaint of his wife, an Amritsar girl, Geeta Sharma, who had alleged that her husband and in-laws had been demanding dowry from her. Other accused in the case include Varinder’s father, Atam Parkash, his mother, Shakuntala Rani, his sisters Harmesh Rani and Krishana Rani, and his elder brothers, Krishan Lal and Charanjit Kumar.

 Shocked at the behaviour meted out to them, Sonia, the eldest of the three children, alleged that at 5 a.m. on Monday, they were woken up by a policeman, who had entered their house to pick up their relatives. They were packed like sardines along with their five family members in a Tata Sumo and were taken to Amritsar police station. No woman cop was present with the party, they alleged. Varinder was away from the house at that time.

She alleged that the cops, one of whom was wearing a nameplate of ASI Baldev Singh, were using abusive language against all of them. “My mother requested them not to do so. But they did not listen to us,” alleged Sonia.
  “We were pushed in a cell inside the police station, our parents and grandparents were made to sit in a different enclosure. We asked them again and again to allow us to join our family members but to no avail. We were not offered food till Monday evening. Then our grandfather gave them Rs 130 to buy food for us and we were given some food,” alleged Suman, a Class VII student of S.S.G. Vidya Mandir School, Raikot, who is apprehensive that the children of her school will not play with her when they will know that she was sent to

 “The cops behaved very badly with us and kept using abusive language whenever we tried to fill our water bottles. My brother Gagandeep was so shocked that he did not say a word in the enclosure,” said Suman.

She further alleged that they had to sleep in the enclosure. Next morning their relatives were presented in a court and taken to a hospital. But the children were made to stay with a cop only.  ‘‘We were again taken back to the police station. Then at around 9 p.m. a cop came and asked us to sit in a car. We went and sat in a car. They drove us to Raikot, where we reached after midnight. On the way an elderly cop kept pinching me here and there and the woman cop accompanying us kept sleeping,” said Suman.


 

Budget is balanced, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today hailed the maiden Budget of the United Progressive Alliance government and described it as a balanced, progressive and target-oriented Budget.

The raising of the income tax exemption limit to Rs 1 lakh would bring cheer to the salaried class, thereby boosting their morale.

Few steps such as the setting up of a task force to examine reforms in the cooperative sector, diversification of agriculture, lowering the rate of interest from 10.5 per cent to 9 per cent on the loans to the states from the Centre would hasten the pace of all-round progress and development in the state, he said.



 

A lacklustre Budget, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 8
Flaying the UPA government for not bringing about any major change in the annual Budget, the local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that the Finance Minister has continued with all policies started by the NDA government, including those on foreign investment, disinvestment policy and Antodhaya scheme.

Stating this, Mr Shiv Dyal Chugh, district president, said there was no growth policy for the industry and almost every customer had been burdened by enhancing the base and increasing the rate of service tax from 8 per cent to 10 per cent and by levying two per cent cess on all types of taxes. He said no incentive had been provided to the women. Even the NRIs were a disappointed lot, he added.

Mr Chugh said the Finance Minister had announced a new policy for senior citizens with 9 per cent interest rate, whereas LIC was already having a scheme of more than 9 per cent for the persons aged above 55 years. He said the capital market was also discouraged by levying of transaction tax in the share market.

The BJP president said the already burdened steel industry had been further burdened with an increase in tax from 8 per cent to 10 per cent. Increase on tax on refined oil and other household items would affect every common man, he added.



 

No package for Punjab in Budget, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 8
SAD (A) President, Simranjit Singh Mann, regretted that no package had been given to Punjab on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir in the Budget.

Addressing SGPC election rallies in support of Panthic Morcha candidate from Phagwara-Sultanpur Lodhi Jathedar Rajinder Singh Fauji today, Mr Mann asserted that Punjab, being a border state, always remained under threat from Pakistan and deserved a special package. Industries were frozen and shifting to other states where concessions were available, he stated.

Commenting on the downsizing of the Punjab Cabinet, Mr Mann declared that creation of 10 posts of Political Secretary was against the law. He flayed the stoning of the DTC Delhi-Lahore bus at Phagwara on July 6.

He rapped SAD President Parkash Singh Badal for calling the Panthic Morcha a handmaid of the Congress.


 

MC union leader dies after acid attack
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 8
In a gruesome incident, the president of the Municipal Corporation’ s Technical Employees Union was killed when two motorcycle-borne persons threw acid at him while he was riding pillion on a scooter near the Pheelkhana School today morning. The other scooterist also suffered burns and was admitted to the Government Rajindra hospital.

The deceased, who has been identified as Harjit Singh, died in the Government Rajindra hospital a few hours after the incident. He is survived by his wife and three children, including two girls. The injured employee has been identified as Puran Singh. The assailants are still to be identified with no witnesses coming forward to give any details of the case, including the number of the motorcycle on which they were travelling.

Friends and relatives of Harjit Singh claimed that he could have been saved but for the apathy shown by doctors in the Government Rajindra hospital. A friend alleged that when Harjit was admitted to the hospital an Assistant Professor looking after him asked us to call an ENT specialist as Harjit seemed to have some problem in his throat.

Pushpinder, a friend of the victim and also a corporation employee, said he and others went to call the ENT specialist but no one was available. He said following this the Assistant Professor also expressed his helplessness by saying he had registered a call

for the specialist and could not do anything more.

Pushpinder said following this the victim needed to be put on oxygen. “Four oxygen cylinders were brought to the spot but all four turned out to be empty,” he said. “We then ourselves went to the Emergency ward and got a big cylinder which was then used to ventilate the patient,” he added.

Friends and relatives of the victim said this was not all. “We felt he should have been transferred to the ICU unit but the doctors could not take a quick decision in this regard. By the time they did decide to transfer him his position had deteriorated further”. They said Harjit remained in the ICU for a short period following which he breathed his last.

Corporation employees then vented their anger at the hospital authorities by raising slogans against them. Doctors present on the occasion faced the ire of the employees. The employees were instrumental in ensuring the transfer of the second injured person – Puran Singh from the Rajindra hospital to a private hospital.

Meanwhile, Corporation Mayor Vishnu Sharma, when contacted, said he had reached the hospital, along with the Corporation Health Officer, immediately upon receiving the news about the incident. Mr Sharma said there he came to know that doctors and even oxygen cylinders were not available. “I will file a complaint against the functioning of the hospital with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh”, he added.


 
 

Rain chokes sewers, roads inundated
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 8
Even a drizzle water-logs the city colonies, commercial areas, and entrance of the Municipal Council get water-logged when it rains in the city. Residents of localities like Dashmesh Nagar, Arjun Dev Nagar and New Town had tough time a few days back when after light showers the roads in front of their houses were inundated and water started flowing into houses.

Municipal Council president, Joginder Pal Jain, blamed the previous MC for all wrongs in the sewerage of the city. He said that during the tenure of previous MC, work on Rs 15.73-crore sewerage project sponsored by Hudco began in 2000. He alleged that to benefit then MC presidents, Dr Kuldeep Singh Gill, design and technicalities of the scheme were ignored. He said that a sewerage line was laid from G.T. Road to Dosanjh village, where residence and agricultural land of on Gill was situated. He said instead of laying main lines first, branches were laid.

Alleging misappropriation, he said the previous MC had passed a resolution asking Hudco to provide funds for the project to the sewerage board. He said that the MC had nine temporary disposals and had the new sewerage system been implemented, the MC would have saved a lot of money.

He said they had received a letter for the repayment of loan on March 31, 2003, by which they were told to pay Rs 27 lakh per quarter. Out of the total loan of Rs 7.86 crore, Rs 3.2 crore was spent and not even 20 per cent of the project was completed, he added. Mr Jain said no loan amount was withdrawn after 2001.

Facing shortage of funds, the MC then calculated instalment on Rs 3.2 crore, the loan withdrawn till that time, and sent an application for the same. In reply, the MC was told that either the scheme would have to be curtailed or they would have to pay as per the agreement. The MC then held a meeting with Hudco and made a default payment of Rs 68.53 lakh. The MC also wanted rate of interest decreased from 14 per cent to 8.5 per cent. The drawl of loan was deferred to April 1, 2004. In turn the MC agreed to pay charges for the deferment of drawl and resettlement of interest rate.

Mr Jain said the new sewerage would be in place within two-three years. He said the MC had resources for it and Assistant Executive Engineer of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, A.K. Verma, had been deputed to the MC for the purpose. He said this time the funds for the project would not be directed to the Sewerage Board.

Dr Kuldeep Singh Gill denied ignoring the design of sewerage system and misappropriated of funds.


 

Training camp for panches, sarpanches
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
The District Rural Development Department organised a week-long training camp for the newly-elected panches and sarpanches of the district to educate them about their rights and duties under new Panchyati Raj System Act and to apprise them of ways to control the six departments, whose control has been given to them. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the camp at Bachat Bhavan today.

Addressing the panches and sarpanches, the Deputy Commissioner stressed the need for creating unanimity and consensus, while undertaking development projects. He called upon them to rise above petty party politics and work unitedly for the development of their respective villages. He said till all villagers joined hands, the village can not make any progress. He said it was unfortunate that whenever the panchayat started any development work the opposing group starts complaining and litigation to stall the works, which resulted in delay and the officials started inquiries and their repeated visits to the villages not only hampered the office work but also led to corruption and ultimately funds were grabbed in connivance with officials. He said that people belonging to the rural areas were themselves responsible for non development. He urged the panches and sarpanches to give full attention to the development projects initiated by the village panchayat and initiated by Government agency. They must ensure that proper material is used. He said if they found any irregularity they should inform him. He said the district administration would ensure that all panches and sarpanches were given due respect in the Government offices and their work was done on priority basis. He urged them to expose corrupt officials.


 

Railway station sans basic facilities
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 8
Instead of providing basic facilities for passengers, the Railway authorities have withdrawn many existing ones at the Railway station, here daily used by more than 2000 passengers. Causing inconvenience to travellers.

Renovation of the Railway station building has been on for the past three years but it nor complete. Waiting rooms and rest rooms are used by the Railway staff to house offices and to sell tickets due to which passengers face a lot of inconvenience. There is no arrangement for passengers to wait and rest. The only goods shed, opposite the platform and across the Railway track has been removed since long for reasons unknown. No alternative provision has been made for this. The Railway canteen opposite the Railway station has been closed and its building demolished long ago. Also the waiting hall for passengers opposite the Railway station has also been demolished with no alternative arrangement. To protect passengers from sun and rain, shed was provided over part of the platform and remaining area left uncovered. Most of the streetlights between the level-crossing at the Phagwara road to old Adda Bharwain are out of order. Condition of this stretch of road is pitiable. Bushes in and around the Railway station particularly near the goods booking office reflects on the efficiency of the Railway Department. There is no boundary wall around the Railway station due to which stray animals move there unchecked.

Only eight pairs of the diesel multiple unit (DMU) run between the Hoshiarpur Jalandhar Railway section daily. Besides two, three-tier coaches having 72 berths each in general class are attached daily for Delhi at 7.30 p.m. with passenger train up to Jalandhar city which are further coupled with the Jammu Tawi Express there.

The Daily Railway passengers Union, Jalandhar demanded that departure time of DMU at Jalandhar be changed from 6.25 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. and from 6.50 p.m. to 5.50 p.m.



 

Rally held against power cuts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 8
Hundreds of local residents, representatives of religious and social organisations along with workers of the BJP and the Youth Wing of the SAD, including women staged a dharna and held a rally in front of the Town Hall here today in protest against the deteriorating supply of electricity and imposition of intermittent undeclared power cuts for hours together daily by the PSEB. The protesters were led, among others, by Mr Tikshan Sud, MLA, and Mr Bhagwant Kishore Gupta, former district president of the BJP.

Addressing the rally, Mr Sud, Mr Jatinder Singh Lali Bajwa, president of the District Youth Wing of the SAD, and other speakers criticised the Punjab Government for its failure to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the people of Punjab. They said that the power cuts had badly affected the life of a common man. These had also hampered sowing of paddy and industrial growth.

Later the protesters went to the local Shastri Market in a procession where they observed a fast. Mr Sud said the fast would continue till the normal supply of power was restored.

A deputation, led by Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, Member, Rajya Sabha, Mr Jatinder Singh Lali Bajwa, Mr Shiv Sud and Mr Gopi Chand Kapur, went to the Deputy Commissioner’s office and presented him a charter of demands in this connection.



 

Banks ‘harassing’ pensioners
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 8
Punjab pensioners are facing harassment from various branches of scheduled banks as the government has ordered to get their pensions from banks instead of treasury offices. This was revealed by Mr Avtar Singh Afat, president of Punjab State Pensioners and Senior Citizens Welfare Association, in a press note issued here today.

Mr Afat alleged that the banks were not making payments of dearness relief which was due from January 1 and arrears for over six months. He said that the banks were also not giving old age pension at the rate of 5 per cent and 10 per cent due to the pensioners after attaining the age of 65 years and 70 years. He alleged despite various directions by the district treasury officer, one copy of PPO book, which relates to pensioners.

The president said even the payments of 50 per cent merger with basic pension due with effect from April 1 was not being paid to thousands of pensioners in violation of state government orders in which it had clearly been stated that this concession of 50 per cent merger was also applicable to the old age pension portion, but the banks were ignoring this factor and making less payment, he alleged.


 

Murder case solved within 48 hours
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 8
The district police has solved the blind murder case of Husan Lal of Malikpur Bodal village and arrested the murderer within 48 hours of occurrence of the crime.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, told media persons that Lalit Kumar of Jharkhand, a farm labourer, was arrested under Section 302, IPC. During interrogation Lalit Kumar confessed killing Husan Lal. He revealed that he had been working as a farm labourer in the fields of Darshan Singh for the past 15 years. During his stay he had developed illicit relations with a girl of the village. Husan Lal, who used to come to the village, saw him along with the girl in objectionable condition. He thought that Husan Lal may not disclose about their relations to the villagers. Therefore, he stabbed him to death on July, 4.


 

2 kids fall into chimney, burnt alive
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 8
Two children were burnt alive when they fell into the chimney of a brick-kiln on the Baghapurana-Rode link road here last evening. Both of them were children of a brick-kiln employee, Shiv Kumar of Rae Bareli. Fire tenders reached the spot and the bodies of both children were taken out.

Sources said Shiv Kumar was working at the brick-kiln for the past 10 years. The incident took place when the children, Anil Kumar (7) and Atul Kumar (5), were playing near the brick-kiln and unknowingly reached closer to an outlet for smoke, the lid of which broke down suddenly and the kids fell into the chimney.

Though there was no fire in the brick-kiln for the past one week, but still it was hot enough to burn these kids to death.

The police has not taken any action in this regard so far.


 

Ban on ‘Girlfriend’ lifted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 8
In a turnaround the District Magistrate, Mr Raminder Singh, lifted the ban on the screening of controversial film ‘Girlfriend’ in the holy city here today.

The ban orders were lifted today without assigning any reason.

Earlier, the District Magistrate had imposed the ban under Section 144, CrPC, citing that in view to maintaining public tranquility and peace, the ban had been ordered following demonstrations by radical Hindu organisations like the RSS, the Hindu Shiv Sena and others against the film that portrayed ‘lesbianism’. The film had met opposition all over the country due to its controversial content.

The orders were passed ex parte then. The ban was applicable till August 29.


 

Fire at blood bank
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
A fire broke out in the blood bank of the local Civil Hospital today and two refrigerators, two Air-conditioners and 29 units of blood was destroyed. The fire brigade reached in time and controlled the fire. According to doctors, the cause of the fire was short-circuit.

The Deputy Commissioner said the remaining blood had been shifted to the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, and the blood bank would operate from there for the time being.


 

Anand Margis to conduct Yog Sadhana Camp
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 8
The Ananda Marga Pracharak Sangh, Patiala, shall conduct a Yog Sadhana camp and a state-level seminar for its disciples and general public in street number 13, Gurbax Colony from July 9 to 11. The programme includes yoga classes from 6 am to 7 am in the morning on all three days followed by discourses on spiritual elevation, economic democracy, bio-psychology and righteousness which shall be delivered by Acharya Karunanand Avdhoot and others.


 

Villagers gherao police station

Jalandhar, July 8
Residents of nearby Khusropur village today gheraoed Sadar police station for the alleged failure of the district police to take the necessary action against the accused in a land dispute case. — OC


 
 

HC demands police version in drug seizure case
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Moga police to present its version of the case of seizing intoxicating drugs in a large quantity from some medical shops and sealing the shops on July 13.

The accused, Mr Krishan Kumar, M/s Goyal Medical Stores, and Prem Kumar, M/s Goyal Sales Corp, had filed separate petitions in the high court. The accused had told the court that the police had registered a false case against them in 1994 and the case was cancelled by the high court, in 1997. “The Moga police raided our shops again in 2003, after which we moved the high court,” the petitioners stated. They said the court asked the Moga SSP to probe the matter, but “the police registered a case against them instead”, which was stayed by the high court.

They alleged that the police was demanding Rs 50,000 from them and when they refused, the police raided their shops and seized medicines worth lakhs. They stated that the police had no right to seal their shops.


 

Sentenced to death for killing seven
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 8
The judge of a local fast-track court, Mr Hardayal Singh, today sentenced a person to death for killing seven members of a family. The accused, Ram Sewak, who is a resident of Farukhabad district of UP, was convicted in the murder case yesterday.

According to information available, Ram Sewak had killed seven members of Nathuram’s family, including two women and three children at Burj Sidhwa village in Muktsar district on May 24, 2001. The convict had also raped Nathuram’s wife and daughter.


 
CRIME

Fake bank draft case turns out to be havala deal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 8
The fake bank draft case involving Sodhi Ram, former PA of a former Punjab minister and BJP leader, Chaudhary Swarna Ram, has allegedly turned out to be a case of a huge havala operation having international dimensions. The police has written to Interpol to secure the repatriation of Mr Sodhi Ram’s UK-based contacts, Tarsem Lal and Major Singh.

Stating this at a press conference here this afternoon, Kapurthala SSP S.K. Asthana claimed that the police had recovered Rs 1,04,39,400 that Sodhi Ram had allegedly distributed to about 20 persons at their homes. Only Rs 3 lakh remained to be recovered as the address of Mr Rajinder Singh of Hoshiarpur district to whom this amount was handed over had not been confirmed so far, said the SSP. Sodhi Ram had defrauded the local branch of UCO bank by depositing a fake bank draft of Natwest Bank of the UK for £ 2.5 lakh (Rs 2.07 crore) in his savings bank account on June 11. He withdrew Rs 1,07,96,300 on three different dates. But the Chennai headquarters of the bank informed the bank manager here about the draft being fake. The UK bank later confirmed the draft to be fake.

On the bank manager’s complaint, the police arrested Sodhi Ram on June 27 under Sections 420, 466, 467, 468 and 471, IPC, on charges of fraud and forgery. He was in police remand till yesterday and is now in the judicial lock-up for 14 days.

Mr Asthana said Rs 56,900 had been spent by Sodhi Ram. The police had recovered almost the entire amount.

Mr Asthana said Sodhi Ram had distributed the havala money with the help of Raja Ram of nearby Virkan village. The money was distributed according to the telephonic directions given by UK-based Tarsem Lal, cousin of Sodhi Ram. Major Singh of the UK was also involved in the racket. These three persons remain to be arrested, the SSP said.

We will write to the DGP to take up the matter with the Birmingham police of the UK so that Tarsem Lal and Major Singh could be repatriated to India, he said. Sodhi Ram had also been interrogated at the Joint Interrogation Centre at Amritsar by the Enforcement Wing said Mr Asthana.

He said even the role of the local bank manager here was suspect because he made the payments to Sodhi Ram without waiting for the clearance of the draft from the Chennai headquarters of the bank. Everybody concerned would be questioned and every aspect of the case probed and, if required, more arrests would also be made, added Mr Asthana. The Phagwara DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh, was also present.


 

PSEB officials attacked by defaulter
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 8
The police has registered a case of intimidation and attempt to set government property on fire against Sukhvinder Singh Kikki and his accomplices after they threatened and attacked PSEB officials who had reached Sukhvinder’s house in Francewala village to remove his electricity connection. The accused had unpaid arrears amounting to Rs 42,000 against his connection.

According to the chain of events a team of PSEB officials led by an Assistant Engineer had first approached the Jhulka police station in order to receive protection before proceeding to the defaulter’s house to cut his connection. Protection was granted in the form of two Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASI) who, however, according to the complaint deserted the team mid way. On reaching Sukhvinder’s house the team found Sukhvinder waiting for them accompanied by his cronies.

The team which also included a Junior Engineer were abused and beaten up by the accused following which the latter tried to torch the vehicle the team had arrived. According to the complaint the tyres of the vehicle were also deflated by the accused prior to pouring kerosene over it. It also says that when the team reached the police station to register their complaint Sukhvinder Singh and his accomplices also turned up and tried to intimidate the officials within the police station complex.

The complaint alleges that instead of taking action against the accused the ASI on duty offered chairs to Sukvinder Singh and his friends. A case under IPC 353,186,506 and 147 was registered at the Jhulka station against the accused only after the Assistant Engineer leading the team submitted copies of the complaint to the SSP, Patiala and DSP (Rural). The team has also asked that action be taken against erring police officials who had sided with the accused, however no action against the same has been taken so far.

Employees belonging to various labour unions also held a dharna in protest against the treatment meted out to the PSEB officials at Devigarh.


 

Fake DTO booked
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 8
The police has registered a case against the miscreants who had followed a truck loaded with ghee on June 23 and after introducing one of them as the “district transport officers” (DTOs) thrashed the truck driver and looted Rs 10,000 from him.

According to SHO Gurbakash Lal, the vehicle has been identified to be that of the District Industry Officer, Chandigarh, and it was being driven by Karamjeet Singh. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Sources said in a complaint lodged with the police that truck driver Kulwinder Singh had stated that he was on his way from Amrit Vanaspati Mills, Abohar, to Rajpura on June 23. He said as soon as he reached Moga, a Gypsy started following him and stopped in front of his truck after overtaking it. A couple of persons got down from the Gypsy and told him that the DTO was sitting in the vehicle.

They beat him up and asked him to show the papers. The miscreants took away Rs 10,000 from the bag containing papers. He stated that the “DTO”, who was drunk, abused him and threatened him not to narrate the incident to anybody.


 
 

Officials fail to pacify agitators
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, July 8
Senior civil and police officials rushed to Dutaranwali village in this subdivision yesterday as tension mounted due to the agitation of residents over the reopening of the school. The residents, led by some members of the zila parishad, the panchayat samiti and the gram panchayat, had launched an agitation in May to express resentment over the suspension of Principal K.R. Baghla. He had been placed under suspension by the Principal Secretary, Education Department, on the basis of an inquiry report submitted by the District Education Officer of Ferozepore.

A lecturer of the Government Senior Secondary School Dutaranwali had levelled allegations against Mr Baghla of having withdrawn some amount from government funds without prescribed procedure.

A section of the residents had locked the main gate of the school, paralysing teaching work. They demanded that the suspension orders be withdrawn and the Director Education Officer be sacked.

During the summer vacation, Mr Baghla was reinstated, but transferred to Amritsar district. As the school was to reopen on Monday, the residents blocked the entry, locked all gates and sat on a dharna. Parents of some students had reportedly approached the administration, stating that some persons were trying to derive political mileage at the cost of the students.

The officials were unable to defuse the situation yesterday as the agitators continued to adopt tough postures. The police averted a clash as some teachers resented that they had not been allowed to mark their attendance since the beginning of the agitation.


 

Marks in elective subjects to count for admission
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 8
Punjabi University, which is already under fire for its earlier proposal to reduce marks of both English and Punjabi at the graduate level, has now decided that the marks in the two subjects will not be counted while determining merit of students aspiring to take admission in MA and Msc courses.

A committee of the university, under the chairmanship of Dean, Academics, Prof U.C. Singh, took the decision recently. However it was not publicised and has become known only now after the students applied for admission to various postgraduate courses.

After the decision only marks obtained by students in the three elective subjects opted by them will be counted for the purpose of admission to postgraduate courses and 100 marks presently earmarked for both English and Punjabi will have no role to play in determining the merit of the students.

Punjabi University Student Confederation Convener Gurnam Virk when questioned on the issue said the decision could affect the chances of rural students who usually scored well in Punjabi. He said the confederation would be meeting shortly to discuss the matter and take a decision on it. Meanwhile other student representatives said the move had been thrust on the students without being debated at any forum.

The students said they were already fighting for the cause of retaining the importance of languages, specially Punjabi language in the university, and the latest decision would be detrimental to language development. Admitting that counting marks of elective subjects could be understandable for science subjects, they said in the arts stream communication skills were very important and language should be given due importance.

Meanwhile a university spokesman Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, when contacted said the institution had taken this decision as presently there was a disparity on the issue between Punjabi University and Panjab and Guru Nanak Dev Universities. He said Panjab University had only one compulsory language paper while in GND University the elective subjects were more. Dr Sandhu said in such a scenario students of Punjabi University stood to lose in many cases.

Dr Sandhu said the university felt this change was also necessary in view of changing scenarios and competitiveness in higher studies. He said it was felt that the performance of a student in a particular language should be used only to judge whether he had minimum language skills and that more stress should be laid on the subject which he was going to take up at the post graduate level.


 

Abhiyan funds to be probed: DC
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 8
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged misuse of the Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan funds in the district. He has issued a notice to the acting District Education Officer (DEO) Primary, Gurdaspur, Ms Manjit Kaur, to furnish the records regarding the usage of the Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan funds.

The district received about Rs 8 crore under the said scheme in the past 3-4 years. As per the terms and conditions of the scheme, the funds were to be spent under the directions of the committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner. However, the Deputy Commissioner was allegedly never called to the meetings of the abhiyan.

The acting DEO at her own level spent the funds. Even the village-level committees were formed by the DEO without consulting the Deputy Commissioner. The recruitment of voluntary teachers by the DEO without the consent of the district-level committees was also under scrutiny.

The Deputy Commissioner admitted that a notice had been issued to the DEO to furnish the records of the usage of the abhiyan funds. He said the inquiry had been ordered on the basis of the complaints regarding the misuse of the said funds.

He also admitted that he as a chairman of the district-level committee was never consulted or informed about the usage of the abhiyan funds.

The DEO, Primary, Ms Manjit Kaur, said the present Deputy Commissioner was not consulted or informed because his predecessor had sanctioned all the funds of the abhiyan and placed them at the disposal of the DEO, Primary. Moreover, she never declined to give any information to the Deputy Commissioner whenever demanded.

The DEO, Primary, further revealed that the funds sanctioned were still being spent so the data regarding their complete usage could be given. The vigilance had already checked the records of the abhiyan and so no other inquiry had any relevance, she added.

The timing of the inquiry marked by the Deputy Commissioner has raised many an eyebrow. The sources said the acting DEO in question was a confidant of the former Education Minister, Mr Khushal Bhehal, who also belongs to Gurdaspur.

The permanent DEO, Primary, was never appointed in the district and Ms Manjit Kaur, who was in the rank of the Deputy DEO, was given the officiating charge.


 

64 JCOs trained in vocational courses
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 8
Third convocation of the Vajra Vocational Training Institute, affiliated with the Punjab Technical University, was held at Vajra Sainik Institute, in cantonment, here yesterday. As many as 64 Junior Commissioned Officers and other ranks of the Western Command had less than two years before retirement were trained in applied and infotech course, motor vehicle engineering course, maintenance and repair of construction plant and electrical and engineering craft studies course. Vocational training aims at providing opportunity of second career to the troops after they retire.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chencellor, Punjab Technical University, was the chief guest and Lt-Gen Parmendra Kumar Singh, AVSM, GOC Vajra Corps, was the guest of honour. They gave away certificates to successful candidates. Special prizes were given to the students who stood first and second in every course. Dignitaries from the PTU and senior Army officers of the station were also present on the occasion.


 

Concessions in admission for Kashmiri students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 8
Guru Nanak Dev University has approved certain concessions to Kashmiri migrant students in admission during new academic session according to guidelines of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Government of India.

Besides this, other concessions to Kashmiri migrant students, include relaxation in cut-off percentage up to 10 per cent subject to eligibility requirement, increase in course-wise intake capacity up to 5 per cent reservation of at least one seat in merit quota in technical/professional institutions and waiving of domicile requirements.


 

B.Ed results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 8
The annual results of B.Ed examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April will be declared tomorrow. Stating this in a press note issued here today, Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said that the result could be accessed on the university website gnduonline.org in the evening.

The results of part time diploma in garment designing and tailoring part I and II were declared today, he added.


 

Counselling for MCA, MBA on July 15

Amritsar, July 8
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold second counselling for the MCA/MBA (five-year integrated course) on July 15. Dr Joginder Singh, coordinator of the entrance test, said that the counselling would start at 10 a.m. in Guru Nanak Bhavan. — OC



 
 

46 units shut for laxity on waste management
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 8
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), in a submission to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) yesterday in Delhi, disclosed that 46 units had been closed in the state for defaulting on hazardous waste management and that it was processing the case of 204 new units which had been recently identified.

The board had simultaneously issued directions that all regional officers would be held responsible for the information supplied by them with regard to the status of hazardous waste producing units. This had been necessitated after the CPCB told all state pollution control boards that it would organise random checks to verify the authenticity of the information supplied to it.

A team from the board submitted an action taken report during a meeting of the monitoring committee of the CPCB, overseeing whether the directions of the Supreme Court on management of hazardous waste material under a stipulated timeframe were being followed or not.

The state board also submitted that out of 1,448 hazardous waste processing units, authorisation had been granted to 947 units. It said 313 units were lying closed, which included 12 used oil re re-fining units. It disclosed that 362 new industries producing hazardous waste had been identified by the board out of which authorisation had been granted to 148 units.

The Board was trying to be sure it did not get into trouble due to the reports submitted by its field officers. They said a random internal check conducted by the board in Ludhiana had revealed that it did not have the requisite waste management system stated in the record.

The board had identified 32 sites where hazardous waste could have been dumped in the past along with municipal solid waste. It submitted to the CPCB that it had recently carried out a preliminary assessment of the type of hazardous waste disposed of in these sites. It said it was found that hazardous waste was disposed of at only 14 of the sites.


 

2 trades reopened at centre
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kheowali (Lambi), July 8
The Muktsar district administration and the PSIEC have chalked out a scheme to revive three closed trades at the Multi-Trade Integrated Training-cum-Production Centre at Kheowali village of Lambi subtehsil in Malout subdivision of Muktsar district.

Muktsar Deputy Commissioner Buta Ram Banga inaugurated a handloom centre and a beauty care centre here yesterday.

A five-year agreement had been signed with Mr Baldev Raj of Gurdaspur for the handloom centre.

The PSIEC would provide the looms and the building, besides a loan of Rs 5 lakh in five instalments to buy raw material.

Ten girls would be trained in the handloom trade.

These students would be provided with training-cum-experience certificate after a year.

These students would be provided Rs 1000 each as stipend between the fourth and six month of their course.

Ms Manjit Kaur of Malout, had been given the responsibility of running the beauty care centre. She would be given Rs 3,000 per month.

Twentyfive girls could get admission to the six-month course at the centre. Each of the students would have to pay a nominal fee every month.


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