P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Hanspal for tribunal to assess water situation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress today favoured setting up a “tribunal” for a fair assessment of water situation to evolve new terms and conditions .

At a press conference here today, Mr Hanspal asserted that they were within their constitutional rights to pass a bill terminating water sharing accords with neighbouring states in the Vidhan Sabha.

The Punjab Congress President reiterated that river waters was a state subject. “However Punjab’s stand on the SYL canal does not mean that they were going to “block” all water to Haryana or Rajasthan but that Punjab was against any fresh sharing of river waters”, he added.

To Haryana’s reaction of blocking its roads for Punjab, he asserted that the said roads in Haryana were national highway.

Admitting that Himachal Pradesh was the original and upper riparian state of river waters and Punjab was secondary, he demanded reassessment of the surplus water taking the present status of water level into consideration, to decide viability of sharing of river waters.

On whether the Prime Minister or Ms Sonia Gandhi leader of the Congress was taken into confidence before the passing of Bill he admitted that they did not. He explained that due to constraint of time the Bill was prepared at midnight and readied by morning to pass it in the Vidhan Sabha. On the question of the party’s plan of action in case the Supreme Court or the Prime Minister issued directions to state on the issue, he said they would decide accordingly.

On whether the SYL canal issue was a ploy of regional parties to strengthen themselves the Congress president said this was a misconception.

On Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s annoyance after the recent Cabinet reshuffling, the congress president said “as of now Bhattal is cool , she knows that downsizing was a compulsion and not a personal decision “. On the 800 crore loan from the World Bank to rejuvenate economy of the state promised by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh he admitted that it was not approved. On whether he would extend support to any other person in case the CM was asked to resign, he evaded a an answer and said the CM had already stated that if the high command asked him to resign he would do it.


Dal Khalsa backs Punjab House on water Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Dal Khalsa, while expressing its solidarity with the Punjab Assembly for passing the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, has warned the Centre against adopting tactics to rob Punjab of its river waters which are its only natural resources.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Sarbjit Singh Ghuman and Mr Birinder Pal Singh Saholi, senior leaders of the radical Sikh body, have urged all political parties to protect the state’s water resources and challenge the powers acquired by the Central Government under Section 78 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act in determining the rights and liabilities of Punjab and Haryana in regard to the Bhakra Nangal and Beas projects.


CM cancels 200 transfers done by Bahl

Patiala, July 17
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has cancelled all transfers in the School Education Department, which were done before July 7. Sources close to the Punjab Chief Minister revealed that the CM had taken this step as the outgoing Minister of School Education Khushal Bahl transferred over 200 teachers on July 5, just two days before being removed from the cabinet as part of the process of downsizing the state Council of Ministers.

The resignation of Mr Bahl was taken along with other ministers on June 24.

It was also alleged that the former Minister of School Education indulged in malpractices and his son was running the ministry from Gurdaspur with the connivance of former Director of Public Instructions.

This matter was also raised in the Cabinet meeting and was published in the media.

The sources said the Chief Minister himself asked for a few transfers, which were not done by Mr Bahl.

The sources added that the Chief Minister was also not happy with the functioning of the school education. — UNI

750 posts of teacher vacant
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 17
In the government middle, high and senior secondary schools of the district nearly 1,270 posts of teaching staff and Class III and IV employees are lying vacant.

Besides this, the posts a Deputy DEO, an administrative officer, a district science supervisor, a vocational guidance officer, a district coordinator and an assistant education officer (sports) are lying vacant in the office of the District Education Officer (Secondary).

The posts of the Principal in the Inservice Teachers Training Centre and the Principal in the District Institute of Education and Training are also lying vacant. However, the duties of these two principals are being performed by other persons of the teaching department as a stop-gap arrangement for the time being.

At present, nearly 740 posts of principal, headmaster/mistress, lecturer, master or mistress and other categories of teachers are lying vacant in the government middle, high and senior secondary schools in the district, putting an adverse affect on the studies of thousands of students during this academic session in hundreds of schools of the district.

As per the information gathered by The Tribune, 86 posts of principal, out of 103 sanctioned posts in government senior secondary schools of the district are lying vacant, while 119 posts of headmaster/headmistress out of 172 sanctioned posts, are also lying vacant.

Sources said 73 posts of lecturer (arts group), 14 posts of lecturer (science group) and three posts of lecturer (commerce group), were also lying vacant in the district. About 79 posts of social studies master/mistress, 94 posts of science master/mistress and 35 posts of mathematics master/mistress were also lying vacant.

The number of other posts of teachers lying vacant in various schools are as follows: DPE-31, Hindi master/mistress-38, Punjabi master/mistress-25, agriculture master-8, home science mistress-3, Urdu teacher-1, Sanskrit master-5, art and craft teacher-53, sewing teacher-5, PTI-63, and music teacher-1.

Besides the posts of teaching staff, about 525 posts of Class III and IV employees are also lying vacant in the district. The number of these vacant posts in the district includes senior assistant-six clerk-60, school librarian-two, senior laboratory assistant-31, Library restorer-two, peon-116, chowkidar/peon-cum-chowkidar-210, Mali-47, beldar-17, library attendant-10, waterman 10, workshop attendant-seven and sweeper-six.


Is Punjab really the richest state?
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Punjab is a study in contrast, a paradox!. While an average Punjabi has achieved a level of social and economic development, an average Indian citizen may not have achieved this in his or her lifetime. And Punjab is close to achieving most of the millennium development goals.

In fact Punjab grew rapidly when the rest of the country was growing at a slow pace of 3 per cent per annum. And when the rest of the country took off in 1990s, Punjab’s growth slowed down, primarily due to stagnation in agriculture.

This is the impression the World Bank has formed of the state in its Punjab Development Report, currently under examined by the government.

First, the good news: At the end of 90s, Punjab’s 94 per cent population was above the poverty line, 70 per cent as literate, 94 per cent of all 6-year-old children were enroled in primary schools, 63 per cent births were handled by expert health workers, 72 per cent children below 12 months were immunised, 52 per cent households had access to sanitation and another 99 per cent to safe drinking water and average age expectancy was 68. The National Human Development Report had placed Punjab at number 2 in the overall human resource development after Kerala.

Now the bad news: All these rates of improvement have considerably slowed down and Punjab finds it harder to maintain those levels of human development. Among identified human development indices, Punjab has slipped on at least five going below the national average. Health is a worrisome sector with infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate increasing between 1993-94 and 1999-2000. In this time period even key education sector indicators like literacy rate and primary education enrolment ratio have gone down.The sex ratio has worsened, further , while economy grew at a snail’s pace of 4.3 per cent in 1990s, compared to 6.1 per cent for the rest of India.

Even as Punjab is struggling to keep afloat on many fronts, it is also engaged in many fire-fighting exercises within and without, and is now straddled with the crisis of water, having entered into a legal battle in the Supreme Court.

Add to these woes Punjab’s running feud on political, administrative, fiscal, social and economic fronts—both on the farms and in factories. Punjab may pride itself of having the lowest poverty rate, it fell in 1990s and the regional disparities also narrowed. This was achieved despite plateauing of agricultural production. Thus, one basic reason why poverty rate has reduced is attributed to ‘’technological breakthrough’’ in agriculture and entrepreneurship of farmers, who have a mound of problems piled up at their door-steps.

Though Punjab has made considerable improvements in educational outcome, there continues to be a large disparity across economic, social and regional groups. State’s educational achievements are below what other high-income states have achieved. With 70 per cent literacy rate, Punjab is placed as 10th highest literate state after Mizoram and Kerala. Enrolment disparities among urban and rural children persist as do socio-economic, literacy disparities among districts.

Punjab has the largest percentage of Scheduled Castes in its population among all states. It is 35 per cent (1999-00) against 28 per cent (1991). And there is a striking difference between Scheduled Castes and non-Scheduled Castes not only in terms of socio-economic parameters but in terms of education, enrolment and completion of education, particularly at the higher level. And there is a sharp increase in school dropouts after primary level.

Punjab also suffers from gender discrimination. There is not only social cost to this phenomenon but also an economic one. The gap in the work force participation rate among men and women, at 35 per cent, is one of the highest in the country.

Punjab today carries the burden of a stagnated economy, which got stalled in 1990s after rapid strides in the 60s and 70s and slow down in 80s. Thus, Punjab’s status as the richest state in the country, before and after the Green Revolution, is under threat.

And if and when Punjab ministers and bureaucrats find time for the state’s problems and challenges the World Bank report would mirror the true reality.


29-member Pakistan delegation arrives

Amritsar, July 17
A 29-member delegation of elected representatives of the Pakistani civic bodies and panchayati raj institutions today arrived in India on a 10 day visit.

The delegation, which included 14 women, crossed into India through the Wagah joint border post here this afternoon and later proceeded for New Delhi by the Shatabdi Express.

Besides the national capital, the delegates would also visit Kolkata and some other places of West Bengal and would return home on July 26.

In a brief interaction with reporters at the Wagah post, the delegates expressed willingness to study different aspects of the panchayati raj and municipal administration in India.

The delegates particularly praised the functioning of panchayati raj system in West Bengal.

They told media persons that the term of elected representatives to municipalities and panchayati raj institutions in Pakistan was three years and these local bodies did control the functioning of 11 departments. — UNI


Sheron Bagga incident: 9 held, 2 cops suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
Nine Excise workers were arrested and two policemen suspended today in the midnight drama in Sheron Bagga village in the Mand area under Beas police station in which three persons, including woman were allegedly pushed into river Beas on July 15 night.

Mr RPS Bajwa, SSP, today said a case under Sections 171, 148, 149 of the IPC has been registered at Beas police station against the excise workers who were suspected to be wearing uniform of Head constable Nishan Singh of the Punjab Armed Police and constable Raj Kumar. He said the two policemen (Nishan Singh and Rajkumar) have been suspended for negligence of duty. The SSP refuted the charges that three persons were pushed into the river with the help of the police.

Mr Bajwa said he on directions of Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG, Border Range investigated the matter. He said it was found that nine private workers of Excise contractors were going towards the Mand area of River Beas to seize illicit liquor suspected to be brought from other side of the river through boats. He said while proceeding towards the river bank, they were signalled to stop the vehicles by four persons belonging to that village who were performing duty as “Thikri pehra”. Private workers of Excise contractors vehicles fled from there.

He said after reaching the spot near the bank of the river, they sent one of their associates Tarsem Singh to go ahead to know the boat coming from other side and he was also briefed to inform as soon as the boat reached near the bank. The rest of the workers were hiding in bushes nearby. The persons at thikri pehra alerted villager’s on the movement of suspicious persons in the area. Villagers gathered and moved towards the river bank to counter it. On suspicion the villagers started shouting and ransacked both vehicles. Upon this Excise workers fled from the scene out of fear.


Panel to go into SAD’s defeat in Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 17
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General, SAD, has constituted a three-member committee to find out the reasons behind the defeat of six SAD candidates of the district in the recently held SGPC elections.

Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, MLA, Dhanaula, Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA, Bhadaur, and Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, president, Sangrur district unit of the SAD, have been made members of the committee.

Mr Kanjhla said the committee would submit its report to Mr Dhindsa by August 31. After that the report would be examined by the top SAD functionaries.


Month-long wait for water and power
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, July 17
Residents of Pathankot and the surrounding areas have been facing an acute shortage of electricity and water for the last one month. The heat and humidity coupled with the unscheduled power cuts has put the residents on the warpath.

The delay in monsoon has compounded the problems. Repeated protests by the local residents against the PSEB officials have failed to provide regular electricity supply.

Residents of the Bhadani area near here blocked the traffic on the Chakki-Dalhousie road near their village. The official concerned blamed power cuts on snags in distribution system. Mr. Dev Raj, a resident of Kuther village, said that power cuts in the area had become unbearable. The worst hit are people living in Kuther, Seunti, Targarh, Sunder Chak, Fatehpur, Bhagwanpur, Dalur Chota and Dalur Wadda.

Former Sarpanch Karnail Singh of Kuther village said, while the RSD colony residents were getting 24-hour power, the surrounding villages had sunk in darkness. Several residents of the area have staged dharnas against the officials of the PSEB and demanded uninterrupted power supply. But nothing has been done so far.

Officials of the PSEB disclosed that eight-hour mandatory power supply norm was being followed.

Mr. Janak Raj Saini, a local resident said power cuts during the day was a routine affair. The consumers were not spared even during the night.

Mr Raman Bhalla, administrative member PSEB, said that the power cuts were not due to any fault at the local level. He said they had been enforcing load restriction imposed by the PSEB from time to time. Water level in the dams had decreased. For regular supply, the PSEB had floated tenders for purchase of power from other states.

The position of potable water supply in the rural and urban areas is no better. The municipal authorities attribute poor water problem on account of erratic electricity supply.


Ill residents blame contaminated water
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 17
Claiming contamination of water as the major cause of their illness, scores of residents of Sanjay Colony are down with fever, vomiting and dysentery for the past nearly three days.

A dozen-odd doctors running clinics in the area have said that nearly six to seven patients were reporting daily for the past few days, complaining of pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea-like symptoms. Some patients had been admitted in the clinics given glucose drips.

There are also several patients who have been lying in their houses, taking home remedies, in street numbers 3, 6, 7, 8 and 10 of the colony.

Residents of the colony showed the muddy, filthy water flowing down their taps. They said that they were not using tap water for the past few days and were instead using water from hand pumps installed outside their houses.

Sangeeta (26), a resident of street number 7, got admitted in a private clinic this morning. Dr Paramjit Singh, attending doctor, said she had been complaining of dysentery, vomiting and weakness since last night. But after being given glucose, she was showing signs of improvement.

Sangeeta’s mother-in-law, sitting by her side, said that since she had not consumed anything from outside, she presumed the cause was the contaminated supply of water in their taps. She said that she had even seen tiny insects in the supply.

Om Parkash (60), a resident of the street number 3, said he had been lying ill for the past several days. On a doctor’s advice, he had started taking boiled water and was feeling better.

Vishwanath (43), a resident of street number 10, said that he had been vomiting for the past few days. Medicine from a nearby drug shop owner, made him better.

Dr Ashwini Sharma, another doctor in the area, said that he was getting four to five such patients daily. But he added that the number was normal for the hot, humid weather. He said most of the patients in the colony were complaining of contaminated supply of water for the past few days and he was advising them to add chlorine tablets or drink boiled water.

Dr Kiranjeet Kumar, Civil Surgeon, when contacted, said that he too had received such reports from the area, and he had sent officers from the Epidemic Department for verification. The officers had brought water sample from the area, the test report of which was yet to come.

Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor, too said that he sent officials to check the water supply in the colony yesterday and he was yet to get the report. But he added that the colony was unauthorised and residents had occupied it illegally.

40 cases of diarrhoea in Malout

Faridkot, July 17
After gastroenteritis hitting hard in Ferozepore city and Jaitu town last month, reportedly claiming 20 lives, diarrhoea struck Malout town in Muktsar district, creating panic among the residents.

Nearly 40 residents of Ravi Dass Nagar, Jatia mohalla, West Patel Nagar and Khatika mohalla of Malout have been admitted to private and civil hospital for treatment of diarrhoea, hospital sources said.

Sixteen persons including six children of Ravi Dass Nagar, had been admitted with severe symptoms of diarrhoea in civil hospital till yesterday, the sources added.

Contamination of drinking water by sewage in the affected localities was suspected to be the cause of the water-borne disease. Water and sewerage pipes run parallel in these localities, municipal sources said.

Municipal Council officials have launched a drive to disconnect illegal water supply in the town, while the Health Department distibuted chlorine tablets in affected localities. — UNI


Woman given ‘wrong’ blood, traffic blocked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 17
Hundreds of residents, including women, blocked vehicular traffic at the Bathinda-Bhucho crossing this evening to press authorities to register a criminal case against the incharge of the blood bank at the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, for latter’s alleged negligence in transfusing blood a local woman, Parveen Rani, who died yesterday. 

The residents brought the woman’s body to the spot where they were blocking the traffic. They said they would not cremate her unless a criminal case was registered against the doctor. A team of police had reached the spot when reports last came in. The deceased had met with an accident while returning, from Gidderbaha town. 


Quila Mubarak set to be cultural hub
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 17
Quila Mubarak is set to become a living monument again with international experts being engaged to turn it into a cultural hub which will generate tourism inflow and become a national centre for crafts and conservation skills.

Leading conservation expert James Simpson visited the Quila Mubarak complex yesterday on the invitation of the Empowered Committee constituted by the state government to form a plan for the overall development of the quila as a cultural and tourism hub in the region.

Mr James Simpson, scheduled to visit Amritsar tomorrow to provide an outside perspective for the conservation plan to get the Golden Temple included in the World Heritage Monument List, says he is humbled by his experience in the city. He said the quila was the epitome of secular culture of the Phulkian dynasty and an example of Punjab provincial architecture. He said he had seen courtyards and was surprised at the planning that had gone into creating separate spaces for people of different heirachies.

He said what he was looking at was conservation with reason and would try to duplicate the example set by Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. He said conservation could happen if there was an economic justification for the move. “For this the quila needs to be opened up and could house a crafts centre, besides an institute which could teach conservation skills”.

Mr Simpson said in Edinburgh there were 10,000 protected monuments which were being put to varied use. While planning for the conservation of the quila, the economic, cultural and environment aspects needed to be worked out under a single package, he said, talking about shopkeepers and artisans based around the fort.

He said he would work for the establishment of a two-way relationship between Patiala and Edinburgh. He said laboratory technicians of the State Cultural Department and other workers could be given modern conservation training at the Conservation Department of the National Museum in Edinburgh while Edinburgh could use the skills of the artisans of the city.

Meanwhile, Ms Gurmeet Rai, member of the Empowering Committee, said the World Monument Fund was expected to give details of the funding for the fort next month. She said besides the state-level committee, a city-level implementation body was also being put into place which, besides officers of various departments, would include prominent citizens and representatives of market associations.


Farmers block traffic in Fazilka
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 17
Hundreds of farmers of Fazilka subdivision perturbed over the non-availability and alleged organised theft of canal water by politicians and religious persons blocked rail and road traffic for about four hours today. Agitating farmers squatted on railway line on Fazilka-Ferozepore section on level crossing at Malout chowk and they also blocked vehicular traffic, there.

Hundreds of trucks, four wheelers and passenger buses on Fazilka-Ferozepore-Malout and Abohar roads were stranded for about four hours. The agitating farmers smashed the window panes of a Punjab Roadways bus after a heated exchange of words. The train from Ferozepore which was to reach Fazilka aroung 10.45 a.m. remained stranded on the outskirts of the town for about three hours. Due to this blockade hundreds of passengers of the Fazilka-bound train, including women, children and aged persons, had to cover a distance of about one kilometer on foot. The farmer were led by Ranjit Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Bar Association, Fazilka, and Mahinder Partap Dhingra, former president, Municipal Council, Fazilka.

In a memorandum sent to the state Chief Minister the protesting farmers demanded a check on large scale water theft by laying cement pipes in canal at Chack Pakhi village in subdivision by head of a religious dera in connivance with the police an irrigation department officials. They also urged the government to remove a sluice gate installed on pillar no. 1,76,000 of Eastern Canal six years back on the instance of a politician. This will enable availability of canal water to farmers of Fazilka and Jalalabad areas, they claimed.

They also sought shifting of the control of this sluice gate from other unauthorised persons to the officials of the irrigation department. It has been alleged in the memorandum that 30 pipes of 10 inches to 14 inches have been laid on main branch line for theft by different persons. These pipes should be removed immediately. The availability of prescribed 2,600 cusecs of water in main branch line and 800 cusecs on Chack Pakhi head works should be ensured, they demanded. 


Augment work on memorial gates, Chief Secy tells PUDA
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 17
A meeting to discuss various development projects to be initiated here to commemorate the tercentenary of the martyrdom of Sahibzadas was held at the office of Chief Secretary. According to Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, who attended the meeting, the Chief Secretary directed the Chief Administrator, PUDA, officials of the Warehousing Corporation and Co-operative Department to complete the construction work of four memorial gates before the Shaheedi Jor Mela.

These gates would be dedicated to Sher Mohamad Khan, Todar Mal, Baba Moti Ram Mehra and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

The Deputy Commissioner said besides Rs 5 crore were demanded for the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib for development activities like construction of five new tube-wells, sewerage and disposal plan for Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, water supply, electricity, beautification of surroundings of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib choe, widening of roads and an underbridge near the gurdwara.

Besides, the projects cleared for discussion included Sainik Rest House, Circuit House, completion of Ambedkar Bhavan, open air auditorium, botanical garden, setting up of urban estate by PUDA and maintenance of old heritage and historical buildings.


JE ‘implicated’ in false case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 17
The Diploma Engineers Association, Punjab, said yesterday that JE Jagdev Singh Bhatti of Mehrajwala section had been falsely implicated in a murder case by the police at Gidderbaha station.

A deputation of the association ( Abohar and Gidderbaha zones ) led by president Sukhdev Singh met Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Irrigation, during his visit to the region and submitted him a detailed memorandum on this case. The association said that Mr Bhatti under directions from the department was checking illegally- run lift pumps at the Sirhind feeder during intervening night of July 14 and 15.

The association said that Mr Bhatti prepared a list of the offenders and informed the higher authorities in the Irrigation Department. But he was summoned at the Ko Bhai police station on July 15. The police blamed him for joining some other persons in throwing a man in the Sirhind feeder. The police booked him under Section 302 of the IPC and did not take any action against the farmers named in the spot inspection report.

The association demanded that Mr Bhatti’s name be dropped from the FIR related to drowning of the person and a case against the farmers involved in theft of water be registered. If the false case was not withdrawn the association of the engineers and class IV employees will be forced to resort to an agitation. 


Commercial activity opposed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 17
Residents of Preet Vihar, Baltana, have opposed commercial activity in Plot No 1 of the colony. In a representation to the Executive Officer of the Nagar Panchayat, the residents alleged that the commercial activity in the plot was against the rules as the plot could only be used for the residential purposes.

Besides violating the rules, the commercial activity would pose problems for the residents of the colony. The commercial activity should be stopped immediately, the representation demanded.


Bhog of MC union leader
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 17
The bhog of Harjit Singh, president of the Municipal Corporation Technical Employees Union, who had died in an acid attack while he was riding pillion on a scooter near Pheelkhana School, was held at Samana here today.

Paying tributes to the departed soul, Mayor Vishnu Sharma announced that within a few days, a job would be given to the son of the deceased on compassionate grounds. He gave a gratuity of Rs 2 lakh to the family of the victim. Besides, he announced that a family pension would also be given to the wife of Harjit Singh.


Arrest warrants issued against ex-minister
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 17
The Judicial Magistrate (Class I) of Batala, Mr Naval Kishore, today issued arrest warrants against a former Panchayat and Rural Development Minister of Punjab, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

He is wanted by the Batala police in connection with the firing incident during the July 11 SGPC elections. An SHO of Fatehgarh Churian, Mr Jarnail Singh and a Sub-Inspector, Mr Darshan Lal, in charge of police chowki Mallewal (under Fatehgarh police station), were injured when they were fired upon allegedly by Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

Nirmal Singh along with his 25 supporters are wanted by the police. 


Amarinder, Badal get exemption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Exempting the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, from personal appearance in a defamation case, a local court today fixed September 11 as the next date of hearing.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ms Paramvir Nijjar, granted exemption to the two leaders after their counsel pleaded that they were busy with their political and administrative works.

Mr Badal had filed a defamation case against the Chief Minister for allegedly spreading false information about the assets of the Badals and a “vicious campaign” of the Congress against SAD workers during the election campaign for the Punjab Assembly elections in February, 2002.


Junior engineer convicted, sentenced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Punjab State Electricity Board's Junior Engineer Lakhbir Singh of Amritsar district has been convicted and sentenced by a court in Amritsar to two years imprisonment. The engineer has also been fined Rs 2,000. A clerk, working with the Punjab Industry Department at Amritsar has also been convicted for the same period by another court.

The engineer — Lakhbir Singh — was booked by the Vigilance Bureau under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the prosecution, the accused was caught red- handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 800 from one Bhagwan Singh for giving him an electrical connection.

The prosecution, in the other case, had added that clerk Tarsem Singh Bedi was also caught red- handed while demanding and accepting Rs 500 as bribe from complainant.


In-laws in police custody for murder
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 17
A Sunam court today remanded Dev Raj, father-in-law of Hem Lata, Darshana Devi, mother-in-law, and Rajesh Kumar, brother-in-law, in police custody till July 23. All the alleged accused surrendered in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur, yesterday. Hem Lata was allegedly murdered by her in-laws on July 8.

Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, told The Tribune over the phone this afternoon that Kanchan, wife of Rajesh Kumar who today surrendered in the court of the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Sunam, had also been remanded by the court in police custody till July 23.

The court extended the police remand of Vinod Kumar, husband of Hem Lata, till July 19. Narain Dutt and Ram Ji Dass, two other accused in the murder case, had also been remanded in police custody by the court till July, the DSP added. 


2-year jail for bank manager
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 17
Additional Sessions Judge M.S. Virdi has sentenced the manager of Punjab and Sind Bank, Bajakhana, Maninder Singh, to two years’ imprisonment and Rs 3,000 fine in a bribery case. In case of not depositing the fine he would have to further undergo two months’ imprisonment.

The bank manager was arrested following a complaint of Harpreet Singh of Dod village. He had got sanctioned a loan of Rs 63,000. At the time of giving the second installment the manager demanded Rs 5,000 bribe. A vigilance team nabbed Maninder Singh while accepting the bribe.


Punjab move on de-caderising posts may be rejected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjab Government's reported proposal for de-caderising 11 posts of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) is likely to be turned down by the Government of India. Once the proposal is rejected by the Union Government, Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers will not be able to continue on the posts of SSP.

Though officers in the Punjab Home Department are maintaining strict silence over the issue, sources in Punjab Police Headquarters reveal that the Centre was not in favour of decaderising posts of district heads.

In an attempt to solve the ongoing dispute between the cadre and the non-cadre officers, the Punjab Government's Home Department had recently proposed the de-caderising of posts.

Going into the background of the matter, the sources in the police headquarters had asserted that in all there are 23 posts of SSP in Punjab — 17 in regular districts and six in police districts. Initially out of 23, as many as 12 positions were cadre posts. Rest 11 belonged to the non-cadre category. But on November 5, 2003, all 23 positions were made cadre posts. This resulted in the posting of PPS officers on cadre posts. It also resulted in friction between PPS and IPS officers.

The IPS officers, the sources added, have all along been claiming that PPS officers were being posted on cadre posts in violation of the rules. They have also been contending that regular IPS recruits, in turn, were being relegated to non-cadre posts in the rank of SP.

In fact, IPS officer Nilabh Kishore filed an application before the High Court against the government. He stated that the post of SP in the Chief Minister's security was a non-cadre post and he should not have been posted against it. 


Baba booked on extortion charge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
Baba Nand Kishore, a self-styled saint and resident of the east Mohan Nagar area, has been booked on the charge of extorting money from innocent persons. A case under Sections 389, 452, 385, 506 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against him at B-division police station here.

Mr Dalbir Singh Calcutta, general secretary of the Anti-Crime and Corruption Bureau of India, today alleged that the Baba along with a woman and some anti-social elements was running a gang of extortionists.

The accused had adopted a novel way of extortion. He used to make false court complaints against respected families and his accomplices posed as eyewitnesses in the case, causing harassment to the families. Mr Calcutta alleged that the accused used to demand money from the families to withdraw cases.

According to a complaint lodged by Sukhwant Singh, a resident of the Sarvarpura locality, her daughter was divorced from her husband following out of court settlement and Baba Nand Kishore had mediated in the transaction of money. He said the Baba who had earlier taken Rs 20,000 from them, started demanding Rs 70,000 more which they refused to give. The accused, he alleged, threatened them of dire consequences. The Baba filed a false case against them in court.

Mr Calcutta said their organisation approached the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana court as well as the District and Sessions Judge in this regard. The matter was also reported to the DIG, border range, who ordered an enquiry against the Baba and his accomplices. No arrest has been made so far.


Youth commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 17
A resident of Chajumajra village, near here, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance yesterday. Balwinder Singh (25) was taken to a private hospital here from where he was sent to the local Civil Hospital. 

The doctor on emergency duty in the Civil Hospital referred him to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, where he died.

The deceased was running a shop dealing in electrical goods in the village. The reason as to why he committed suicide was not known. 


PTU students hold rally
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 17
Demanding a mercy chance from Punjab Technical University, all affected students of BBA and BCA from the state held a rally at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today.

The rally was addressed by Mr Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, vice-president of the Students Federation of India, Punjab, Mr Pargat Singh Jama Rai, president of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Naujawan Sabha and Mr Kulwinder Singh Chahal, general secretary of the Punjab Students’ Union. Siding with the affected students of the PTU, the leaders of the unions said that they deserved a chance. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |