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Tantrik killed our son, allege parents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The district police today initiated investigations into the alleged murder of a local 19-year-old youth by a Moga-based tantrik, who reportedly sacrificed him to please the gods. The body of Gurpreet of Partap Singhwala village near Haibowal Kalan was found from a canal near Raunta village in Moga district yesterday.

According to a complaint filed by his father Jagtar Singh, the boy had left with some boys of the area on July 9 on the pretext of participating in a jagran. He added that the boys allegedly took him to the baba's dera at Raunta village. When he did not return they contacted another boy, who was part of the group, on July 11, who told them that Gurpreet had accidentally drowned in a canal.

After receiving the news, the parents rushed to Raunta. The boy, who had accompanied Gurpreet, took them to the canal and showed some clothes on the bank. He claimed that the clothes belonged to Gurpreet, but the parents denied this.

Later, the police arrested the baba but let him go under some pressure. The baba has been in hiding since that day, the parents allege.

“This made us suspect the baba and we complained to the police in this regard,” alleged Mr Jagtar Singh.

He said Gurpreet was scared of the water and he did not know swimming. “How could he go near the canal and get drowned? I cannot buy this theory,” he added.

He alleged that when he along with some relatives had gone to the baba’s dera, he threatened them of dire consequences. He added that the baba wanted to settle a score with Gurpreet as he had saved a small boy of his area from the former’s clutches. Their neighbour Bakhtawar Singh confirmed the incident. 

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Encroachments removed from railway land
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
A large posse of officials from the engineering wing of the Railways, the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police descended on the Dhuri railway line yesterday and removed as many as 80 encroachments on the railway land.

The land had been encroached upon by residents of Dashmesh Nagar and Arjun Nagar on both sides of the track. Encroachments in the area had been removed in the past also on a couple of occasions but sprung up again in due course of time. In yesterday’s operation, which lasted for about five hours, 80 different encroachments, falling in a stretch of 4 km, were razed to the ground. A heavy police force was present on the scene to prevent any untoward incident, as more than 40 labourers went ahead with the demolition.

The affected residents , whose constructions were razed, have, meanwhile, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner alleging high-handedness on part of the Railways officials. However, the officials concerned maintained that on the basis of a fair measurement, the land belonged to the Railways. And as such, there were more constructions, which needed to be razed.

It may be worth mentioning here that the Railways had been issuing notices for the past several years to residents of Prem Nagar along the Delhi railway line and some other localities which have come up along the railway tracks leading to Amritsar but in vain. Demolishing some of these constructions is a tedious job, as in most of the cases a major portion of the house itself stands on encroached land in Islam Ganj. If the portion on the railway land is demolished, the other portion, standing on the municipal land, would also get automatically demolished, which the Railways probably are not authorised to do. So it can remove encroachments that are in the form of extensions, which are growing with each passing day. Particularly along the Dhuri track where people living along the track on the other side of the Gill canal have started extending their boundaries several feet from their doorstep to make lawns, flower beds and so on and also to dig up water-disposal ponds.

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Punjab not a water surplus state, say experts 
SYL will render 9 million hectares barren in Malwa
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Contrary to propaganda about Punjab being a water surplus state, experts are of the view that there is a deficit of 10 MAF of water in the state which is being met through over exploitation of ground water.

This was the consensus of experts - Dr S. K. Sondhi of the Department of Soil and Water Engineering and Dr Gurdev Singh Hera of the Department of Soil - who were invited by PAU VC Kirpal Singh Aulakh to discuss the ground realities in the state in the backdrop of the SYL canal imbroglio.

The demand of water in Punjab for irrigation and other needs is 35.60 MAF, but at present only 12.40 MAF of surface (canal) water in addition to 13. 20 MAF of ground water is available, which means a deficit of 10 MAF. The diversion of 3.5 MAF to Haryana will affect the availability of water at the Ropar headworks.

Sirhind and Bist Doab are the two main canals which originate from Ropar headworks. The former supplies water to the Malwa region while the latter meets the irrigation needs of the Doaba region.

The experts said at present more than 80 per cent of the blocks in the state were grey - meaning where the groundwater was not being recharged at the rate it was being drawn. The alarming drop continues with Central Punjab being the worst affected area with the water table dipping by 76 per cent in 2002 as compared to only 3 per cent in 1973. In some areas, the water table had fallen to 26 meters at an average of over 0. 53 m per year in the past six years, they added.

The worst affected areas are the districts of Patiala, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Moga, Bathinda and Mansa. In Sangrur the water table has already gone below the 15 meter mark in 58 per cent of the district while it is 53 per cent in Patiala, 40 per cent in Jalandhar and 88 per cent in Moga, they pointed out.

Mr Aulakh said under such trying circumstances, the diversion of 3.5 MAF to Haryana would not only accelerate the water table fall but also render 9 million hectares of land in the Malwa belt barren. The shortage will also result in poor soil health due to excessive use of brackish and saline ground water for irrigation. It would also sound the death knell for orchardists and cotton growers of this belt.

The VC said the implications for farmers would be ominous as there was not enough energy to run the 10 lakh tubewells in the state. More than 2 lakh farmers had replaced their centrifugal pumps with submersible ones, the latter being a costly proposition and out of the reach of small and marginal farmers. The farmers would have to bear an additional cost of more than Rs 2,000 crore in installing submersible pumps in case this step was effected, he added.

The abundance of water in Punjab was one of the pivotal reasons behind the success of the Green Revolution in the country. The country would not attained the self sustaining status in foodgrains in case there was not water. All the advancements in farming sector too would have come to naught because of the same reason.

Commenting on the decision of the state Assembly to abrogate all previous accords, he said it was the need of the hour and the far sighted and historic decision by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was in consonace with the actual ground realities in the state. He has saved the grainery of India from certain ruin. That was the least anyone could have done as a mark of gratitude to Punjab, he asserted.

Mr Aulakh also rubbished the propaganda that excess water was flowing to Pakistan. He said only flood water was allowed to flow to Pakistan since the waters of the Beas and the Sutlej were harnessed at the Harike barrage and later on at Ferozepore for irrigation purposes.

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PPCC cell backs CM on water accords
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
The legal cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress here today hailed the passing of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004.
Addressing the meeting, Mr Dharamjit Singh Khera, Chairman of the cell, said that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had taken the step in the largest interest of the people of Punjab although he was facing a great pressure from the Centre.

The convener of the legal cell, Mr Ashok Bhakri, secretary, Mr Kamaljit Sharma, Mr Satwant Singh Dhaliwal, Mr T.S. Sood and Mr S.K. Pathak also welcomed the decision of the Chief Minister for terminating the previous water-sharing accords with the neighbouring states.

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Protest against setting up of police post in Kitchlu Nagar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Residents of Kitchlu Nagar here today came out on the streets to protest against the alleged encroachment on a market area by the police for the construction of a police post even as the police continued with the construction work.

Despite the notices issued to the police by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) stopping the encroachment on the corridors of the main market in Kitchlu Nagar to set up a police post in the area, the construction work by the Police Department continued here today.

The construction work on the police post was in full swing and masons were plastering the walls erected by encroaching upon the corridors of the market, owned by LIT.

The LIT officials had ordered the stopping of construction work yesterday and had claimed that they had issued notices to the Police Department to remove the encroachment themselves, but the police officials said that they had not received any such notice.

Meanwhile, residents of the area continued their protests against the setting up of the police post in the residential area and staged a protest in front of the police post here today. They raised slogans against the police and said that they would oppose the move tooth and nail.

They demanded that the post should be set up in the neighbouring Rishi Nagar, as there was no police post there. They lifted the dharna only when DSP S.S. Dhindsa reached the spot and pacified them. They claimed that he had promised them that the police would consider their demands sympathetically and would sort out the matter amicably within a few days.

After the protest, the residents unanimously formed a seven-member committee comprising the councillor of the area, Mr Balkar Singh, Mr Ram Pal Gosain, Mr Varinder Bhakoo, Sandeep Kapoor, Mr Lakshmipati Mishra, Mr Virinder Gandhi and Mr Baldev Sachdeva. This committee would decide on the future course of action.

They claimed that the residents had a bad time earlier when there was a police post here. They alleged that the police cops posted there used to bathe in the open by hurting the sentiments of people. They further alleged that they used to consume liquor besides sleeping without clothes outside.

Mr Ram Pal Gosain said that keeping all this in mind, they were protesting. Committee chairman Virinder Bhakoo assured the residents that matter would be sorted out soon. Mr Sandeep Kapoor said that a general meeting of all residents had been called where the future course of action would be decided.

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Family drugged, robbed
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 16
Four members of a family were allegedly drugged and robbed by a migrant couple residing as tenants in their house situated on the Railway road, Sahnewal.
Three of them have been discharged from a private hospital in Ludhiana where they were admitted yesterday morning. The condition of the daughter-in-law has not stabilised yet.

Narrating the whole incident that took place on Wednesday night, the lady of the house, Ms Harbans Kaur, said that she resides along with her son Satinder Singh, daughter Karamjit Kaur and daughter-in-law Karamjit Kaur in the house.

She said,“A week back a couple came to us and asked for a room on rent. The two said they belonged to Gorakhpur and were married. The man (29) agreed to work as a labourer at our house and the woman (25), agreed to work as a domestic help. As we have a room in our courtyard, we rented it to them.”

“Our house is under construction and hence the man started working as a labourer. The woman too supported him but in the evenings she assisted us in our household work. But we could have never thought they would do this to us,” adds Ms Harbans Kaur.

Mr Sikatar Singh, SHO, Sahnewal police station said the family did not have the address of the suspects and neither did they inform the police about this.” 

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Birth certificates to be issued by August 15
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
All children up to the age of 15 years who were not given birth certificates despite getting their births registered will be provided these by August 15. This was stated today by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma, who said this was being done during the second phase of the national campaign to issue birth certificates.

He was presiding over a meeting of officers concerned organised to review the progress of the second phase here today.

The Deputy Commissioner directed all officials to accord top priority to the issuing of birth certificates. He informed that during the first phase 2,21,696 children, born between January 1, 1994, and October 31, 2003, were provided with birth certificates and now in the second phase children born between June 1, 1989, and May 31 would be issued the same after completing all formalities.

The Deputy Commissioner further stated that the second phase of the campaign was being undertaken in all subdivisions under the supervision of the special subdivision-level coordination committees headed by SDMs. He said in the urban areas the process of issuing birth certificates was being undertaken by the Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council, whereas in the rural areas the panchayat secretaries had been designated as local registrars in place of SHOs.

Mr Verma said the officials of other departments, including Health, Police, Local Bodies, Education, Women and Child Welfare, have been nominated as members to ensure proper coordination and cooperation. He said in Municipal Councils Executive Officers had been made local registrars to issue the birth certificates in their respective towns and the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, was the district registrar.

The Deputy Commissioner announced that the employee who would perform outstandingly during the campaign would be suitably honoured at a public function and appreciation letters issued to them. He added that special entries in the annual confidential reports would also be made in this regard.

Among others who attended the meeting included Mr B.K. Gupta, Dr S.N. Tiwari,Civil Surgeon, Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM (west), Mr Prem Chand, SDM(east), Mr Gurmeet Singh, SDM, Jagraon, Mr Jaspal Mittal, SDM, Khanna, Mr Jaspal Singh, SDM, Samrala, Mr Bhupinder Singh, SDM, Raikot and Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal. 

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Kavarias return with Ganga jal
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, July 16
Kavarias, ardent Shiva devotees, have become ubiquitous with hundreds of them returning home on foot after an arduous journey to Hardwar and Gomukh. These men procure holy water from the Ganges to bathe the Shivlingam on the last day of the month of Shravan.

Ludhiana Tribune caught up with Anil, Sanjay, Manoj, Rakesh, Gautam and Dharamveer, all in their early twenties, who left Mullanpur late last month to get holy water of the Ganges from Gomukh. The only thing that keeps them going is their faith.

These kavarias use several modes of transport while going to Hardwar, but while returning they travel on foot and do not place the urn containing water on the ground for religious reasons.

Many Shiva devotees organise langars for the kavarias. Arrangements have been made for the devotees at dharamshalas along the way.

It took them more than three weeks for this group of six to reach their destination. After resting for a few days there they started homewards in the beginning of July. Since they walk the entire distance they bring the water in urns and carry it on a “wehngi” (a traditional way of carrying loads). They cover the urns with silken yellow cloth embellished with “gota”.

The young men said for the past two years they had been bringing water from the Ganges.

“Since a lot of kavaria travel together we sing bhajan and keep chanting “Om Nama Shivaha” all the way. Many people go by train on one side, but we walk both ways. Faith is the key. We don’t get tired. Nourishing food is served to us on the way by people. The journey homewards is tougher as we have to be very careful. While eating, we place the ‘wehngi’ on a branch of a tree so that it does not touch the ground.”

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Labourers protest against police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Relatives and friends of a migrant labourer today staged a dharna in front of the Division No 6 police station in protest against the alleged beating up of the labourer in the police station.

The police denied the allegation, but pacified the protesters by promising to bear expenses for the victim’s treatment.

According to Shambu Singh, spokesperson of the protesting labourers, the police had allegedly picked up Chander Bholli on June 24 accusing him of being a member of a gang of mobile phone thieves.

The labourer allegedly suffered a fracture due to the police beating. He was then sent to jail. His relatives came to know about the episode, when he came out on bail. The police said the labourers were trying to pressurise the police and wanted that Chander be acquitted of all charges.

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Trust to hold langar

Ludhiana, July 16
The Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust, a leading religious non- government organisation, will hold langar and provided tented accommodation to Amarnath pilgrims at Baltal and Panchtarni, according to trust chief Rajan Gupta. — OC

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Pirated CD racket busted
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 16
The police claims to have busted a network preparing duplicate CDs.
Mr Gurmukh Singh Cheema, DSP(D), Jagraon, while briefing mediapersons said on the information given to the local police by Jaswant Singh of 11, Bombay Nagar, Jalandhar, of Super Cassette Industries, Noida, the raided the premises of New Uttam Bhandar, Nanaksar, and seized 1825 audio cassettes 854 VCDs and 2868 blank cassettes apart from 204 Inle card of CDs,457 Inla cards of cassettes along with three cassette copies plants and arrested Guurcharan Singh and Charanpal Singh, the owners.

The two used to prepare duplicate cassettes from the originals cassettes without permission. They had been supplying these pirated cassettes at Nanaksar, Jagraon, Badhni, Gurdwara Mehtiana, Nanaksar Thhat Nakodar, Delhi and Chandigarh , Jhordan and Harike for the past over one year.

In another incident, the police recovered duplicate videos, DVDs, and 13 blue films from Cheena Musical Agency, Jhansi Rani Road, Jagraon, and arrested its owner Vijay Kumar.

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60 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
The Sadar police yesterday seized 60 kg of contraband poppy husk from a house in Passi Nagar at Phollanwal village in a raid.
The police said it got information that Nirmal Singh along with a woman, Mukhtiaro, was selling poppy husk at his house in the village. However, both managed to evade the police. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered.

Cheating cases: The Jodhewal police on Thursday registered a case under Section 420, IPC, on the statement of Mr Vijay Kumar of street No. 1, Balmik Nagar in Basti Jodhewal, against Raj Kamal Sharma, his wife Sunita Rani and Maharaj Kishan, who live in the DAV School lane locality on the Kali road.

The complainant had stated that he had paid Rs 1,90,000 to the suspects after they assured him that they would arrange a bank loan of Rs 5 lakh for him. But they neither got a bank loan sanctioned in his favour, nor returned his money.

In another case the Sahnewal police on Thursday registered a case against Tarsem Lal and his wife Shanti Devi, who live near Jalandhar Cantt on the complaint of Mr Barjinder Singh Mangat of Latton Joga village.

The complainant had stated that he had paid more than Rs 10 lakh to the above said on the understanding that they would arrange a foreign visa for him.

But they neither sent him abroad nor returned his money. When he demanded the money, he was threatened, he added.

Motor cycle stolen: The division No. 5 police on Thursday registered a case under section 379, IPC, on the statement of Mr Ashok Kumar of Chhawni Mohalla against certain person(s) who stole his Royal Enfield motor cycle in front of the Durga Mata Mandir near the Jagraon bridge

1 held for theft: On the statement of Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Y-block of Rishi Nagar, the Haibowal police on Thursday registered a case against Davinder Singh, who lives in the same block, and another person.

The complainant had stated that the suspect had stolen Rs 1,880 from his shop on Thursday. While Davinder Singh was nabbed after a brief chase, his accomplice managed to escape. The stolen amount was later recovered from Davinder Singh, the police said.

Cases of assault: On the statement of Mr Mukesh Kumar of Nawan Mohalla, the division No. 3 police on Thursday registered a case against Sanjeev Chopra, who lives near the Civil Hospital at Ropar, Anil Kumar of Gobindgarh and two other persons accompanying them.

The complainant stated that the above said came to his house on Wednesday and beat him up with iron rods.

Woman injured: The Shimlapuri police on Thursday registered a case on the statement of Mr Rajinder Kumar, of street No. 7, Gobind Nagar, Shimlapuri, against Avtar Singh of Bhasuri village in Sangrur district and Bhagwant Singh of Katani village.

The complainant had stated that his mother Ram Dulari was travelling by a three-wheeler being driven by Bhagwant Singh. Avtar Singh, who was driving a jeep, applied brakes of his vehicle near a footwear showroom on the Gill road as a result of which the three-wheeler banged into the rear of the jeep. This led to her mother’s leg getting fractured, added the complainant.

Knife seized: The division No. 5 police on Thursday arrested Partap, who hails from Nepal, for carrying a kamanidar knife and registered a case under the Arms Act in this regard.

The police said on Friday that the suspect was intercepted while he was loitering near the cremation grounds along the Budha nullah.

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