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NHRC notice to IG, Prisons, in branding case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
In less than a fortnight after an undertrial in Amritsar's Central Jail accused prison officials of branding him, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notice to Punjab's Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) after taking suo motu cognizance of reports carried in different newspapers.

The commission has reportedly asked the IGP to submit his report in the matter within six weeks. IGP S.K. Dutta was not available for comments. The sources in his office said the matter had already been looked into and a report would be submitted to the commission soon after receiving the order's copy.

The department had earlier claimed that facts were "manipulated" by the alleged victim. Describing the allegations as patently false, the department officials had claimed that the victim, Rockey, was trying to pressurise the staff.

In its report submitted to the Punjab Government, the officials had reportedly claimed that there was no evidence to establish the involvement of jail staff in the incident. The officials had added that the statements of the inmates regarding the incident were "not corroborating" with each other.

Giving details, the officials had reportedly stated that one of the inmates sharing barracks with the "alleged victim" had not heard anything. Rockey, on the other hand, had himself claimed that he discovered the marks on his back the next morning.

No other inmate in the adjoining barracks had heard anything. Moreover, there was no entry in the register for showing that someone had entered the barrack at night, the officials had added.

Rockey — an under trial in a theft case — had alleged that he was branded on his back by the Deputy Superintendent of Amritsar's Central Jail, along with other prison officials. Rockey had added that his demand for supply of water and other facilities, in accordance with the jail manual, had infuriated the staff resulting into the incident.

After appearing before Amritsar's Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Rockey had on Friday taken off his shirt to show the scars in an attempt to substantiate the allegations.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the CJM had ordered a medical examination of the victim, besides directing a probe into the incident. The doctors, after examining the victim, had confirmed that the scars were fresh and were inflicted with hot iron rods.


 

SAD hardens stand on river waters
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 14
The issue regarding adjudication of inter-state river waters and construction of the remaining portion of the SYL took a serious turn today, when Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) declared that his party would launch an agitation if a single drop of water was released to adjoining states through the SYL. He said his party would not bother about the intervention of the Supreme Court of the Centre if they went against the interests of Punjab on inter-state water issue.

He said Punjab did not have spare water and any injustice on inter-state river waters would ruin Punjab farmers which would not be in the national interest. Justifying the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004, Mr Badal said his party would continue to cooperate with the state government on the water issue.

Without mincing words, Mr Badal said his party had an alliance with the NDA and working under the Common Minimum Programme, but the SAD would not compromise on the interests of the state. He said the SAD was not with any party which would not cooperate with Punjab on the SYL issue. “It is our duty to protect the interests of the state and we will not hesitate from making any sacrifice’, he added.

Mr Badal was here along with newly elected members of the SGPC to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. Mr Badal said the SYL was a very sensitive issue which directly concerned the future of Punjab farming and his party had taken a clear stand which had nothing to do with the approach of the NDA. He blamed the Congress for compounding the SYL issue in the past. He said the SAD would support any party that fought for the just demand of the state.

On the failure of SAD candidates in repeating its performance of previous SGPC elections in Haryana, Mr Badal said it was primarily due to the fact that he had failed to spare time for campaigning in adjoining states. He blamed the Congress for the alleged proxy war during the SGPC elections. He said the Panthic Morcha was a ‘B team’ of the Congress and that was why the Sikh Sangat had rejected its candidates. This was evident from the fact that many Congress workers were canvassing for morcha candidates, he added.

Mr Badal stated that Assembly elections was a ‘political fatwa’ for the SAD and the SGPC poll was a ‘religious fatwa’ for his party. “Despite the government’s interference in the SGPC elections, SAD candidates won the elections with a convincing margin,” he said.

Meanwhile, the SAD received flak from Sikhs for not arranging Guru Granth Sahib during the meeting of Mr Badal at the Teja Singh Samunderi Hall. This had been a practice since the formation of the SGPC.


 

Punjab loath to handing over SYL records
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
“Having passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act and apprised the Union Government about the changed situation, the onus now rests on the Union Government how it proposes to handle the situation in the light of June 4 order of the Supreme Court with regard to the construction of the SYL canal”, said a top functionary of the Punjab Government today.

Answering a question in connection with the transfer of canal-related records to the CPWD, the agency identified by the Centre to execute the construction of the SYL canal, the officer said it was now up to the Centre to apprise the Supreme Court regarding the changed situation in the light of the new Act. The Centre had been directed by the Supreme Court to identify the agency to construct the canal, he added.

July 15 is the deadline to handover the record to the CPWD and give possession of the canal site.

The issue was discussed by Punjab officers with legal experts in New Delhi today. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and all senior officers, including the Advocate-General, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, are camping in New Delhi. They have been briefing the Centre, the Congress leaders and Members of Parliament regarding the Act.

Punjab officers have been emphasising that “while Punjab’s right over river waters is unquestionable, it has fully protected the current utilisation of the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej by different states. Punjab officers have told them that there has been a serious lacuna in water-sharing agreements among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The water sharing has also not been in tune with international riparian laws.

Haryana and Rajasthan continue to utilise the waters of the Ravi and the Beas rivers even though they are neither riparian nor basin states. River waters continue to flow to Haryana and Rajasthan through a canal system from Punjab without any hindrance.

Mr P. S. Kumedan, river waters expert, said one little known fact to the outside world is that Haryana had been already utilising 1.62 MAF water from the Ravi and the Beas through Bhakra Main Canal though it was not a riparian state. He, however, said Haryana had not disclosed this fact to the people of the country.

He said besides sharing the Ravi-Beas waters, Haryana’s utilisation from the Sutlej waters was 4.33 MAF. In all, Haryana was utilising about 5.95 MAF water from the Sutlej, the Ravi and the Beas.


 

No water for Haryana, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
Accusing the old Congress leadership of Punjab and the Akali factions of having taken a weak stand in favour of Punjab on the issue of river waters in the past which deteriorated the situation, Mr Anil Dutta, member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Surinder Mahey, Jalandhar Mayor, today threatened that not a single drop of water would be allowed to be given to Haryana.

Lauding the stand taken by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Dutta and Mr Mahey, said Captain Amarinder Singh was the only leader who had taken a very bold stand on the river waters issue to protect the interests of Punjab.

While making interesting observations at a press conference here today, Mr Datta and Mr Mahey said. “It is a matter of regret that old Congress leaders and Akalis have done little in the past to protect the rights of Punjab as far as river waters are concerned. The Congress leadership in the past took a weak stand which led to deterioration of the situation. Congress workers won’t allow flow of a single drop of water to Haryana even if we have to come out on roads,” said Mr Datta and Mr Mahey.


 

Rajasthan biggest loser in river waters row
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


Highlights

  • Rajasthan, and not Haryana, will be the biggest loser.
  • The move can leave large parts of Rajasthan without any water.
  • Haryana is still getting some water of Ravi and Beas despite an incomplete SYL.
  • Punjab’s opinion: reassess the flow of rivers.
  • The abrogation not to affect the division of Satluj waters between these states.

Chandigarh, July 14
Punjab’s annulment of the agreement over sharing of river waters has far-reaching consequences than are assumed. The controversial Satluj-Yamuna Link canal is not the only one to be adversely affected by the move.

Besides the visible political posturing with Haryana, the state of Rajasthan will be the biggest loser. Even Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir will have to bear the brunt of the abrogation.

The inter-state agreement for sharing of waters of the Ravi and the Beas was signed among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan in December 1981. The three states agreed to share the 17.7 million acre feet (MAF) water of these rivers. Rajasthan has the largest share of the Ravi and the Beas at 8.6 million acre feet (MAF) annually.

Haryana has a share of 3.5 MAF and a portion of the share was already being supplied even without the SYL, said sources in the irrigation department.

Going by the two day-old Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, the share of waters of the Ravi and the Beas of these states stand annulled. If Punjab implements its decision on the ground, then large areas of Rajasthan will be parched as they get water mainly through the Indira Gandhi Canal and some through the Bhakra Main Branch.

Among the areas which will be affected are Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Suratgarh, Bikaner and Anupgarh, which are close to the India-Pakistan border. There is fear that drinking water supply to the jawans posted in these areas would be affected.

The abrogation of the agreement will also have some effect on Delhi which gets 0.22 MAF of water for drinking purposes and J&K which gets 0.65 MAF from these two rivers. Water to J&K is given through the Kashmir Canal which starts from the Madhopur headworks on the Ravi near Pathankot. Punjab’s share is 4.22 MAF.

The waters of the Satluj will continue to flow normally through the canals as the agreement for the Satluj was not part of the 1981 agreement signed by the then Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The waters of the Satluj are divided on percentage basis. The formula is: The more the flow the more the share.

Punjab has already contested the formula for fixation of water shares in the 1981 agreement. The Eradi Tribunal set up almost two decades ago is still hearing all the parties. The Tribunal recently visited Nangal. The terms of reference of the Tribunal includes assessment of water in the rivers. Punjab says that the flow of river waters has been taken from data collected between 1921 and 1960. Punjab says the inflows have reduced and the latest data should be used.


 

PAU experts design Nutrition Garden
at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have earned the state a pride of place by successfully designing the Nutrition Garden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.

The garden, with its 18 species of fruits, has been developed to ensure year-round supply of fresh fruits to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The species have different varieties to provide for a staggered availability of the same fruit over a longer period.

Recently inaugurated by President APJ Abdul Kalam by planting virus-free kinnow plant, the leading fruit of Punjab, the garden spreads over 1.5 acres. Present at the quiet ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 26 were PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr K.S. Aulakh and scientists Dr A.S. Sandhu and Dr Satish Narula, who designed the garden.

Impressed with the professionalism of PAU experts, President Kalam has asked them to apprise him with the feasibility of home scale and commercial preservation of fruits and vegetables. He has also asked Dr Aulakh to help work out the concept for growing and supplying seasonal vegetable seeds and seedlings to all residents of the President Estate, besides training the estate staff in various horticultural operations.

Dr Satish Narula, who executed the Nutrition Garden project, has been asked to do the needful periodically. He will now be on the committee responsible for upkeep, addition and alterations in the prestigious Mughal Gardens. Conceived last year following the desire of President Kalam who was impressed by the research activities at PAU, the garden has been completed within a year. Jointly designed by Dr Sandhu and Dr Narula, the garden is of special significance in that it will address the nutritional requirements of the President and his staff throughout the year.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Dr Narula, who was behind the project's execution, said, "The garden was planned by the President after he returned from a kisan mela held at PAU on September 4 last year. He desired to have a Nutrition Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Following this, the Vice-Chancellor constituted a team comprising Dr Sandhu and myself. We left for Delhi on September 10 last year and collected samples to test and study soil and water quality. Accordingly, we planned phased development of the garden."

It features 18 species of fruits, including sweet orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pear, plum, grapes, guava, mango, papaya, among others. Dr Narula said, "We plan to add raspberry and strawberry to the list of species shortly. It is unique and the President himself said anyone visiting the Mughal Gardens, the Garden of Biodiversity, and the Spiritual Garden would also visit the Nutrition Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan to take back home the idea of growing their own fruits and vegetables for nourishment and prosperity."

Meanwhile, Dr Narula is working on the expansion of the Spiritual Garden at the President's House.


 

Former ASI facing trial escapes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
A former assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI) Harvinder Singh, facing trial in cases of smuggling of narcotics, gold and illegal arms etc in Tarn Taran and Amritsar police districts escaped from court premises last evening. He was being taken to a court here, when he gave the slip to the policemen escorting him.

The police today suspended constable Hardev Singh for dereliction of duty. He was escorting the escapee. He has also been booked under Section 226 of the IPC. Mr Kultar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Amritsar, have asked Mr Ashish Kapur, DSP to inquire into the incident.

Earlier too, Satnam Singh Satta escaped from Guru Nanak Dev Hospital on June 14. He was caught by the Majitha police after an encounter. Satta was wanted in three cases of murder and robbery in Amritsar, Majitha and Tarn Taran police districts.

As many as 13 prisoners escaped last year by dodging the police either in court premises or in government hospitals where they were admitted for treatment on the recommendations of a medical team at Amritsar Central Jail.

Court premises here have several entry points and exits. Crowd and unorganised construction around district courts add to chaos making cases of policemen difficult. On April 9, a Pakistani smuggler escaped after making policemen drunk.

Mr S.P. Singh, Superintendent of jail, here said it was the responsibility of policemen to guard the accused from the jail to the court.

A senior jail official said that absence of police guard was another reason for such incidents. Insufficient police guards sometimes made it difficult for jail authorities as there were a large number of criminals to be produced in court while the number of policemen available to escorting them, was inadequate, he pointed out.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG (Border Range) had issued several instructions on guarding accused persons to court. He reportedly had directed the police not to allow any family member or unknown person to talk with the accused. He had directed to keep the prisoner in a separate cell made for them. However, the instructions are not followed.

No senior police officer could be contacted despite several attempts.



 

Vedanti may appeal to Sikhs to help trace
Hannah’s killer
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Expressing his sympathy with the parents of slain British teenage girl Hannah Foster, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, may issue an appeal to the Sikh community to help trace her suspected killer Maninder Pal Singh Kohli.

Mr Trevor Foster and his wife, Hillary, who arrived here last night to "create public awareness for bringing the suspected killer to justice", visited the house of Mr Bir Devinder Singh, a former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, this afternoon.

It was Mr Bir Devinder Singh who talked to the Jathedar of Akal Takht on behalf of the Fosters. "We are moved by the kind words used by the High Priest of the Sikhs. We hope that the killer of our daughter is brought to justice and the community will help us in reaching him," said Mr Trevor Foster.

"We will write to the Jathedar so that he can issue an appeal to the community," said Mr Foster, maintaining that he and his wife accompanied by two police officers from the Hampshire Police may even visit Amritsar to meet Jathedar of Akal Takht.

It may be recalled that Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who represents Kharar constituency in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, had offered to host the Fosters during their Indian visit. Parents of the main suspect in the case, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, had lived at SAS Nagar for some weeks soon after he had visited India after the crime last year. A case is also pending against Maninder Pal Singh Kohli at SAS Nagar police station.

"It is the duty of everyone in my constituency to help trace the suspect. He has a brought a bad name to the community as a whole," he told Fosters, hoping that appeal by the Jathedar of Akal Takht would be a big help in tracing Maninder Pal Kohli in case he had disguised himself as a religious worker and joined some sect or dera in Punjab.

Hannah Foster, a 17-year-old Southampton girl, was abducted, raped and strangulated to death in March last year. Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, the main suspect in the case, disappeared from England soon after the body of Hannah was recovered from bushes a few days later.

The Fosters would call on the Director-General of Punjab Police, Dr A.A. Siddiqui, tomorrow. This morning they addressed a Press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club. Mr Alan Bates, Chief Detective of Hampshire Police, had a meeting with Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, Inspector-General of Police, Operations, Punjab, about the progress made in tracing the suspect.

It was suspected that Maninder Pal Kohli after visiting his parents in Chandigarh and Mohali last year had disappeared. Before leaving he had told his parents that "he had to return to England urgently". But investigations reveal that he never returned to England.

Investigators maintain that they had no evidence of Maninder Pal Kohli reviving his contact with his wife and children who were in Southampton in England after he left last year. Before leaving England with just a handbag, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli had sold his apartment and had told some of his friends and relatives that he wanted to move back to India.

Talking about their tragedy, Mr Foster said that it was a "nightmare for any parent" and it has "devastated our family". As newsmen asked the Fosters questions about the help they expect from Punjab Government and people of the state, Mrs Hillary Foster broke down.


 

IPS-PPS row: High Court reserves judgement
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
The Punjab Government today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it was considering shifting 17 Punjab Police Service holding cadre posts, including district police chiefs, meant for Indian Police Service (IPS) officers.

The government is also thinking of setting up a high-level committee to study and decide the issue. However, the committee would need at last four to six months to settle the issue, the court was informed.

This was disclosed during a hearing in an ongoing writ - Resurgence India versus State of Punjab - which deals with powers, functions and other duty-related issues of the police force.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant was also hearing submissions in the applications filed by eight IPS officers in the matter. After hearing counsel, the Bench reserved its judgement.

Earlier, counsel for the Punjab Government also said that the issue would be discussed with the Union Government for appropriate measures. He also said that the issue of postings of rest of the nine PPS officers working on cadre posts would also be taken up with the Central Government.

Counsel said that the government was of the opinion that the wholesale removal of all PPS officers from cadre posts would demoralise them as they had played a very positive role in the elimination of terrorism in Punjab. He also claimed that it was prudent to post PPS officers in border districts due to their familiarity with the terrain.

However counsel for the petitioner asked what was the reason that made the Punjab Government seek adjournment on

Advocate Gurminder Singh, counsel for the applicant-IPS officers, who have challenged the action of the government in posting them on non-cadre posts while retaining PPS officers on cadre posts, argued that the issue of posting of IPS officers on cadre posts had been settled by the highest constitutional bodies.

He also stated despite giving assurance to the court that all representations of IPS officers would be disposed of by June 30, the government had not done anything.

He said that in between the government had posted an IPS officer Rakesh Aggarwal as Mohali Superintendent of Police, a non-cadre post, while three PPS officers had been made district police chiefs.

Counsel for PPS officers claimed that the government had the power to make temporary additions to cadre posts. He also raised the issue of IPS officers holding ex-cadre posts.

Interestingly, after hearing counsel for the Punjab Government on the proposal of the government to shift 17 PPS officers, the Bench remarked that there was nothing on record to show that and the proposal was to de-cadre cadre posts.



 

DSPs' selections: Punjab changes counsel,
order reserved
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved the judgment in the application filed by Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar, a petitioner in the ongoing case, regarding irregularities in the selection of Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP) by the Punjab Government recently.

In his application, Mr Brar had expressed serious reservations to the manner in which an important Punjab Sports Department file was deliberately not submitted to the High Court on time.

The file, he asserted, may have been tampered with, particularly in the backdrop of the abrupt mid-term transfer of the then Sports Department Secretary, Mr D.S. Bains.

Today, the Punjab Government took the strange step of changing its senior counsel in between hearings.

In the last hearing, counsel Rakesh Dvivedi, brought specially from New Delhi, had informed the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Chief Justice BK Roy that he had given fresh advice to the Punjab Government. However, today, while Mr Dvivedi was conspicuous by his absence from the legal team, senior lawyer P.N. Lekhi informed the court that the Punjab Home Department had submitted all the record relating to the selections. Neither he nor Punjab Government's Senior Additional Advocate-General B.B.S. Sobti could assure the court if the entire record relating to the appointments of the controversial candidates had also been submitted.

All that Mr Sobti was ready to assure the court was that "whatever files were handed over to me, have been given to the High Court".

The Bench also pointed out that one of the serious allegations against Mr Sobti was that he appeared in the matter without instructions from the Sports Department.

An affidavit filed by Punjab Home Department Additional Secretary R.L. Mehta, which said that the entire record of the Home Department in the case had been submitted in the court, was also taken on record.


 

14-year-old girl crushed to death by Army vehicle
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 14
Military movement on the Patiala-Bathinda section today claimed another victim when a

Fourteen-year-old girl was crushed to death when one of the rear wheels of a military tank trailer crushed her while she was returning home from school on a bicycle near Rajpura road here today.

Military movement through the city had claimed other victims earlier also.

Though the Army authorities had mooted a proposal in 1985 to construct a bypass road from the outskirts of the city, which would connect further, with the Sangrur road, the project was still to come up. This meant all Army convoys had to pass through the city leading to traffic bottlenecks besides fatal accidents.

Eyewitnesses at the accident site said Rekha was on her way to home from her school situated in the Rajpura Road Colony when the accident occurred in the afternoon. They said a part of the trailer bypassed her but one of the rear tyres of the vehicle took her by surprise and she was crushed beneath it.

Rekha’s death is a double tragedy for the family within a spate of two months. Earlier Rekha lost her father Paramjit Singh. She is survived by her mother and two brothers.

A case has been registered against the driver of the truck under Sections 304A and 279 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Kotwali Police Station.


 
 

SGPC poll: Panthic Morcha wins Kharar seat
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 14
Mr Bhajan Singh Shergill of the Panthic Morcha has won the Kharar (general) SGPC seat defeating the SAD candidate in the elections held on July 11.

The result was declared today by the Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, after the recounting of votes was done at Government Polytechnic, Khoonimajra, here. An error of 10 votes surfaced in the recounting which were in favour of Mr Shergill. The Panthic Morcha candidate won by a margin of 155 votes after the recounting though the margin earlier was 145.

The Returning Officer said that Mr Shergill secured 10,258 votes while his nearest rival, Mr Ujjagar Singh Badali got 10, 103 votes.

The recounting of votes was done under tight security and in the presence of the Election Observer, Mr K.K. Khandelwal.

Though both the candidates had been directed to be present at the time of the recounting of votes, Mr Badali did not come but instead sent his election agent, Mr Harpal Singh, to the counting centre. As many as 10 votes were found to be valid which had earlier been declared invalid. Party agents also pointed out that certain packets of votes did not have proper seals on them.

The declaration of the result of the Kharar (general) SGPC seat had been stayed by the Gurdwara Election Commission on July 12 following a complaint by the SAD candidate regarding alleged irregularities in the elections.

Later the election Observer listened to both the candidates and also checked the relevant record and presented a report in this regard to the election commission. The commission had yesterday ordered the recounting of votes for the SGPC seat.



 
 

PSEB engineer in VB net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Continuing with its drive against corruption, Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths today caught another government official on the allegations of demanding a bribe. Acting on a complaint, the sleuths this time nabbed a junior engineer working with Punjab State Electricity Board.

Engineer Gurcharan Singh, posted at Sunam sub-division in Sangrur district, had allegedly demanded Rs 2,000 from Mahinder Singh of Biggerwal village in the same district for shifting a transformer.

Instead of paying him the money, Mahinder Singh reportedly approached the Vigilance Bureau after which the sleuths swung into action and caught the accused. The operation was carried out under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vigilance) N. S. Dhillon.

Though Mr Dhillon was not available for comments, the sources in his department revealed that the accused had been arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Gurcharan Singh is the third official to be nabbed in two days. The bureau, on Tuesday, had apprehended Punjab Mandi Board’s General Manager (Marketing) Sikander Singh and State Transport Commission employee Vijay Kumar. Caught “red handed”, both of them were today remanded to two-day police custody.

Sikander Singh was allegedly caught “red handed” while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from an employee for letting him off. In the other incident, Senior Assistant with the Transport Commission Vijay Kumar was apprehended while accepting Rs 1,000 from one Mr Surinder Singh. He was seeking the issuance of no objection certificate for plying vehicles.


 

PSEB to set up 3 substations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will construct three substations in the city to improve power supply. Sanction has been granted to construct 66 KV substations near the Golden Temple, at court road and in the Islamabad area. Another 66 KV substation had been commissioned at Rajasansi and a 132 KV substation at Sakatri Bagh would become operational shortly. This was stated by Mr R.C. Jaiswal, Chief Engineer, Border Zone, during his visit here today .

To further eight-hour uninterrupted power supply, 125 special control rooms had become operational for round-the-clock information and complaints. Mr Jaiswal said this during his visit to villages of Gurdaspur and Amritsar’s sub-urban circle.

Apart from this, 14,000 temporary connections had been released in the border zone to meet the growing demand of paddy. The Chief Engineer said 1484 villages had been given power supply on urban pattern.


 

Patiala on brink of epidemic
Impasse continues, garbage piles up
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
Patiala city seems to be on the brink of an epidemic with garbage accumulating in the city following a strike by safai karamcharis of the municipal corporation who are demanding action against doctors of Government Rajindra Hospital for what they describe as negligence leading to the death of an employee leader six days ago.

The Civil Surgeon has written letters to the Deputy Commissioner and the municipal corporation, warning that a gastroenteritis epidemic may break out if the garbage accumulated was not disposed of. Civil Surgeon Hardev Singh said he had also informed the Director, Health Services. Health officials had distributed chlorine tablets in the slum areas, besides intensifying the drive against those selling raw cut fruits.

The city is in a pitiable state with the corporation employees not even sweeping. Sources said only VIP areas were being cleared for about an hour in the morning. Mayor Vishnu Sharma said around 20 per cent of the sweeping was being done in the city. “The safai karamcharis have become emboldened due to the strike call and as they do not fear any reprisal, they are not carrying out their duties,” he added. There are huge mounds of garbage at all dumping sites as the strike entered its sixth day today.

Meanwhile, the sources said the municipal employees were not even allowing private safai Karamcharis to do their work. Under a corporation scheme, such karamcharis cleaned outer colonies of the city due to paucity of staff. They were partly paid by the corporation as well as residents of the localities where they were posted. They, too, have been coerced into not working by the corporation employees.

Garbage has accumulated at dumping areas at Quila Chowk, Sabji Mandi, Arna Barna Chowk, Railway Crossing Number 21 and Indra Colony in Tripuri, besides other places. The situation is worst in the Sabji Mandi area because of the stench emanating from rotten vegetables.

Though the Health Department says it is taking action against rehris selling cut fruit, other rehris, including those selling “gol guppas” and “tikkies” continue to do business amid filth.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh said he was hopeful of a resolution to the impasse once the three-member committee constituted by the State Health Secretary submitted its report. The committee is expected to submit the report tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, the corporation employees held a rally in front of the railway station. Employee leaders raised the issue of suspension of a Junior Engineer of the corporation by the Local Bodies Director to stress the point that while action was taken against them promptly, the same yardstick had not been adopted in the case of the doctors.


 

Sikh body’s plea to Armitage
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 14
The Sikh Nation Organisation has appealed to the US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Richard Armitage to take measures to check hate crimes against Sikhs in the USA.

The president of the organisation Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa condemned the attack on Rajinder Singh Khalsa (54) in New York when he objected to ‘’disparaging’’ remarks on turbans. 


 

VHP, Sena men invited to watch ‘Girlfriend’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
The managing directors of Suraj, Chanda and Tara theatres today invited representatives of radical Hindu organisations, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena and the media to see the controversial movie “Girlfriend”. They assured them that the scenes which would be objectionable to them would be deleted.

At a press conference here today, Mr Randeep Singh Sandhu and Mr Sandeep Singh Sandhu, MDs, said the censor board had already deleted about 13 parts or 350 metres of film removing all ‘objectionable’ scenes.

The district units of these organisations had decided to hold a chetavani march in protest against the screening of the movie.

The MDs said while the movie had been screened all over the country and in the state, it was only in Amritsar that it had not been screened.


 

PWD employees hold rally
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 14
On the 14th consecutive day, the Punjab PWD (B & R) Employees Co-ordination Committee organised a rally in front of the Mini Secretariat in protest against the registration of vigilance cases against 27 PWD engineers here today.

Members of the Senior Engineers Association, the Diploma Engineers Association, the Ministerial Staff Association, the Punjab Class IV Union and the Supervisory Staff Association participated in the rally. The committee has appealed to the State Minister of PWD (B &R), Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, to constitute a high-level committee to probe into the issue. Speaking on the occasion, the general secretary of the committee, Mr Darshan Singh Labana, has urged the Chief Minister to resolve the issue immediately.

The state convener, Mr Amar Nath Jolly, said the employees would also organise a state-level rally in Chandigarh on July 21.


 

Two bodies recovered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 14
Two bodies were fished out from two distributaries by volunteers of the Sahara Jansewa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) today.

In a press note issued here, Mr Gautam Goyal, a spokesman of the organisation, said one unidentified body was recovered from the distributory passing near Jaitu town on the Bathinda-Kot Kapura rail section and the other body, which was recovered from a distributory running between Ganga and Ablu villages, was identified as that of Ms Mukhtiar Kaur of Moga district. Legal formalities were completed in both cases.

Mr Goyal added the NGO had saved two youths who had been drugged and looted at Sirsa and Gidderbaha railway stations. Both youths, Parveen Kumar and Tarsem Chand, were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


 

Chawla for relief to custody death victim’s family
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 14
Surjit Kaur’s youngest son Jaspal Singh (20) died in the custody of Khalra police on June 10.

Surjit, a resident of Dhuna village, said here yesterday that the five persons named in the FIR had been released on bail.

Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP leader, has sought that a high-level inquiry into the case; compensation to the family and job for a person of the family.


 
 

Kisan Union lays siege to PSEB office
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 14
Protesting against the power shortage in the agricultural sector, members of the Kirti Kisan Union today gheraoed the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Executive Engineer’s office here. The gherao that started at around 12 noon continued till 2 pm. The union members sat in front of the Executive Engineer’s office. Policemen were deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

The district president of the Kirti Kisan Union, Mr Davinder Singh Ghali, said that faulty power lines, low voltage and burnt transformers had added to the already existing problem of unscheduled power cuts. Alleging apathy of the electricity board, the union leaders said that there were instances when the burnt transformers were not replaced for 15 days.

The farmers alleged that they were treated like second-rate citizens as the villages faced most power cuts. They warned that if they were treated in the similar manner in future they would also stop paying power bills of their domestic connections.

The union leaders alleged that while the electricity board employees did not pay heed to their demands, they had replaced a transformer with the one of more capacity in Punjab minister Avtar Henry’s agricultural land at Salhina village.

They said that bigger motors had to be installed as the water level had gone down drastically, but 40 per cent of the transformers did not support these motors. 


 

Farmers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 14
Hundreds of farmers of the area today staged a dharna and blocked the traffic at Malout Chowk in protest against the organised theft of canal water and non-release of water in main distributory of the eastern canal. The agitating farmers also submitted a memorandum to the SDM, Fazilka, in which they alleged that the sluice gates of the eastern canal at pillar No. 1,76,000 had not been opened as a result of which thousands of acres of their land was lying dry.

The farmers have also stated in the memorandum that they had met different officers of the Irrigation Department during past three days but to no avail. Now they have demanded that an Executive Engineer of the department at Ferozepore be immediately summoned to open the sluice gates. They also pointed out that the dera chief of nearby Chack Pakhi village was stealing canal water by laying cement pipes. Officials of the Irrigation department were told about the theft. They have demanded that the pipes be removed immediately and theft by other influential persons also checked. The Naib Tehsildar of Fazilka assured the agitating farmers that their grievances would soon be redressed.


 
 

VB probing illegal construction in Punjab: Pandey
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
Putting the conviction rate of cases being dealt with by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau at around 60 per cent, Mr A.P. Pandey, Chief Director, Punjab Vigilance Bureau, today said stress was being laid on improvement in the quality of investigation and achievement of a higher conviction rate.

Accompanied by the bureau’s Jalandhar Range DIG, Mr Ishwar Chander, and Mr Tulsi Ram, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar, he asserted that the bureau was carrying out investigations in illegal building construction in the major cities of Punjab.

Addressing a press conference at the PAP complex here today, Mr Pandey said though the bureau officials were putting in their best, all-out efforts were being made to improve the quality of investigation. He said that about 250 cases were being investigated by the bureau.

Referring to the bitumen scam, Mr Pandey said the name of no politician had figured during the investigation into the scam so far. Responding to a question about the contention of the Punjab PWD Minister that he was not taken into confidence while taking action against PWD officials, Mr Pandey said there was no need to seek permission.


 

Loudspeakers banned at night
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
The District Magistrate, Mr Ashok Gupta, under the powers vested in him under Section 144, has banned the use of loudspeakers, orchestra and DJ system from 10 pm to 6 am with immediate effect.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Gupta said the use of amplifiers would be prohibited at all places, including religious ones. He said there would be a restriction on the use of such equipment even in the day time as they would be allowed to play only with prior permission.

Mr Gupta specified that marriage palaces should take care that the noise of the loudspeakers remains confined to their premises. Otherwise, the owners of the palace, DJ and orchestra could be booked under the Punjab Instrument Control and Noise Act 1956.

Any complaint in this regard could be lodged at telephone number 100 or the police station concerned.

The orders remain effective till September 11.


 
 

3 held on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 14
The police has solved a blind murder case. The murder was made to look like an accident. Three persons, Ajay Kumar, alias Rahul of New Delhi, second husband of Harjit Kaur, alias Ashu, and her parents, Sarwan Singh and Swaran Kaur, belonging to Domeli village, were today arrested and booked under Sections 302, 201, 348, 148 and 149 of the IPC on charges of murder, causing disappearance of evidence, wrongful confinement, and rioting. Ashu and contract killers Birbal and Bhagwan Das of Haryana were at large.

As per details available from police sources, Harjit Kaur got her third husband Akbar, aged 24 years, of Bhijnour in Rajasthan, currently residing in Delhi, murdered with the help of her second husband, two contract killers and her parents. The victim was served milk laced with a drug by Harjit Kaur. After he fell unconscious, he was strangled at Domeli village on February 24 and his body was thrown on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road to make the murder look like an accident. The police had registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC and had taken it to be a hit-and-run case.

The police later got suspicious and started probing the matter. It was learnt that Harjit Kaur had married Arun Singh in 1993 and a daughter was born to them. She had left Arun and married Ajay Kumar and a son was born to them. After a few years, she married Akbar who objected to her behaviour, which offended her. She reportedly hatched a conspiracy to kill her third husband and her second husband connived with her. Akbar accompanied her to Domeli where the conspirators were present. Akbar was drugged and strangled to death. His body was bundled into a vehicle and thrown on the road.


 

DTO arrested accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 14
A Vigilance Bureau team arrested the District Transport Officer, Mr S.S. Sidhu, while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 this evening.

According to DSP (Vigilance) Surjeet Singh Khosa, Purshottam Puri had bought two buses from Uttar Pradesh and wanted to get them registered in the name of Puri Convent School. When Mr Puri approached the DTO, he demanded Rs 10,000 from him for making registration documents. Mr Puri took up the matter with the Vigilance Bureau, which laid a trap today and caught the DTO accepting Rs 5,000.


 

5 booked under child marriage Act
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 14
The Sadar police today registered a case under Sections 5 and 6 of the Child Marriage Restrained Act, 1929, against Harjit Singh and his wife, Palvinder Kaur of Ramu Thiara village, Jasbir Singh, his wife, Harjinder Kaur, and son, Karamjit Singh, of Dade Fateh Singh today.

According to the police, Harjit Singh and his wife married their teenaged daughter, Gurpreet Kaur (about 15) to Karamjit Singh (25), son of Jasbir Singh, today.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, said told that a deputation of the villagers met him in his office in this connection. He said that the medical examination of Gurpreet Kaur was being got done at the local Civil Hospital.


 

Husband, in-laws booked
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 14
The local police booked Sanjay Tayal, his father Mohan Lal, mother Santosh, brother-in-law R.K. Gupta, and sister-in-law Anjali of the local Adarsh Nagar Colony in a dowry case here today.

The police has also booked them in a case under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint of Sanjay’s wife Meena Gupta, a Chandigarh resident.

In her complaint to the police, Ms Meena Gupta has alleged that after her marriage with Sanjay in January, 2003, her in-laws started demanding money and a car from her. She also claimed that her parents gave them Rs 2 lakh in cash on their demand. Since their demand for car was not fulfilled her husband and other members of the family started assaulting her, she alleged.

The police called Meena’s parents and Sanjay Tayal, Mohan Lal, Santosh, R.K. Gupta and Anjali to the Dera Bassi police station this afternoon but no arrest has been made in this regard.


 

Patiala resident dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A person from Patiala was killed when a Swaraj Mazda hit the scooter he was pillion riding on the Sectors 46, 47, 48 and 49 crossing.

Mangat Singh of Godara village in Patiala district died in the PGI where he, along with his brother, Ajaib Singh, was hospitalised yesterday.

The driver of the vehicle, Harjeet Singh, was arrested.


 

Morcha candidate’s nephew shot at
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 14
In a controversy related to the recently held Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, a relative of the Panthic Morcha candidate from Guru Har Sahai was injured when a few persons fired at him in Mahanta-wala village yesterday.

The injured, Harmanjeet Singh, who is a nephew of Panthic Morcha leader Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singhwala, has been admitted to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.


 

Cyclist killed
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 13
A cyclist was killed in a collision with a Maruti car near the Mithra bus stand on Monday. The victim was identified as Sewa Singh (40). The driver of the car fled the spot and the car was found abandoned in Nasirpur village, 2 km from the spot.



 
 

Schoolteachers continue strike on funds’ diversion
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Rampura, July 14
Even as teachers of the local Bhartiya Model School, being run by Bhartiya Educational Society, observed a strike for the second consecutive day today to protest against the diversion of funds from the salary account by the management, members of the management alleged that vested interests were trying to disturb the atmosphere of the school to close it down.

The teachers, protesting along with students and a section of residents, alleged that the management was hiding facts. Some school students ransacked school property yesterday to express their solidarity with the teachers.

The teachers pointed out that the management was bound to increase their salaries. The management had diverted funds from tuition head and salary account by showing certain expenditure incurred by it on the teachers, which was not true, they said.

The students alleged that the management had hiked tuition fee, but not increased salaries of teachers. They added that about 120 teachers were working at the school, which had 2400 students.

A section of members of the coordination committee set up by Swami Visvas, founder-patron of the school, to conduct the affairs of school in place of the school management, today alleged that after examining the school accounts, it had been found that management had indulged in bungling in funds. Mr Parveen Kumar, a member of the committee, alleged that school funds had been mismanaged by the management committee.

Mr Om Parkash Jindal, former president of the management committee, denied that there was any bungling in tuition fee account or salary account.

He said he met the teachers today and the real position of funds was explained to them. He added that when the teachers were asked about changing the Principal, they expressed their willingness.

He alleged that the issue pertaining to the management of affairs of the school was being blown out of proportion as certain politicians and a section of local residents were trying to close it down.

Mr Shashi Singla, president of the management committee, said teachers were agitating as they wanted their salaries to be increased by giving them extra increment.

Mr S.S. Joshi, school Principal, refused to comment. A section of residents started planning to launch an agitation in a big way if the management committee did not do justice to teachers and students and made the functioning of school transparent.



 

NCP alleges harassment by principal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 14
Mr Amritpal Singh Sidhu, general secretary, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Punjab, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to make arrangements to check harassment of students allegedly by the Principal of the local Rajindra College, Mrs Gurmeet Kaur Bhattal.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Sidhu alleged that Mrs Bhattal kept on postponing the interviews of applicants for admission to different classes on one pretext or the other and thus made a large section of them to suffer a loss of Rs 400 as late fee. The last date for admissions was July 12.

He alleged that Mrs Bhattal did not bother to interview the applicants on July 12 despite the fact that a number of seats in almost all the courses were lying vacant. He added when a section of the applicants and their parents went to meet Mrs Bhattal in her office on July 13 to lodge their protest, her whereabouts could not be known.

Mrs Bhattal, when contacted, while denying these allegations claimed that the admission process was being carried out as per schedule. She added that the admission process had been continuing since July 5 without any break. She said that only those candidates who failed to deposit their admission fee in time would be liable to pay late fee.


 

PTU can’t grade colleges: Registrar
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 14
“Accreditation by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is respected by universities all over the country and Punjab Technical University (PTU) could not grade its affiliated colleges on its own,” said Dr M.S. Grewal, PTU Registrar, while answering a question regarding the grading of engineering colleges of the state.

He said the PTU could not grade colleges but said the colleges which got accreditation from the NBA were the leading colleges. He said these colleges got the edge in getting R&D projects and other financial assistance from the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

He said Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, and BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, got accreditation from the AICTE.

He was presiding over the concluding ceremony of a workshop on virtual instrumentation organised by the Electronics Department of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College in collaboration with the National Instruments (India), Bangalore.

Mr Grewal said the PTU study centre should not be confused with engineering colleges.


 

Seats in training institutes to be increased
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
At a meeting of top and middle-rung officers of the Education Department, the Minister for School Education, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, today announced that the seats in the district institutes of elementary training would be enhanced to 3400 from the existing 1700.

He said that this step was being taken to fill the vacant posts of teachers at the primary school level. While a large number of posts were vacant, but trained teachers were not available to fill the same. Besides it, relevant change s would be made in the service and recruitment rules to employ B.ed teachers at primary level.

Taking a strict view of the absenteeism in the schools by the teachers as well as the students, he directed both the DPIs, circle education officers and district education officers and Incharges of all DIETs and schools in the state that no teacher would visit the state or district offices of the Education Department without the permission of the head of his or her school etc.

Mr Johar has directed the heads of schools etc to display on notice boards the presence of teaching staff and attendance of students on daily basis.


 

2,518 take PTU entrance tests
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 14
As many as 2,518 candidates appeared today two entrance tests conducted by Punjab Technical University at various centres in the state. Of these, 1,817 students appeared for a test for admission to B.Tech through lateral entry. The remaining 701 students appeared for admission to B.Pharmacy.

The three-hour tests were held in 10 centres three at Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar, two at Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology in Ludhiana, one each at Punjab Institute of Management and Technology in Mandi Gobindgarh, SAS Institute of Management at Mohali, Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, Government Rajindra College in Bathinda and Government College in Gurdaspur.


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