P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Head Granthi of Golden Temple sacked
Vedanti may lose additional charge
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18
In a surprise move, the SGPC today sacked Giani Mohan Singh, additional Head Granthi of the Golden Temple.

Earlier, Giani Mohan Singh had served as Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib for a long period, however, after his retirement, he was appointed as additional Head Granthi by the then SGPC chief, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, on February 1.

Giani Mohan Singh received the letter terminating his services from Mr Major Singh, Manager of Darbar Sahib this morning.

The reason for his removal is said to be the directives issued by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission which had asked the SGPC to remove all employees above the age of 60 years. Under the same criterion, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, is likely to lose additional charge of priest of the Golden Temple. The Manager of the Golden Temple told TNS that orders in this regard might be issued to Jathedar Vedanti, divesting him of the additional charge tomorrow.

Though services of Giani Bhagwan Singh as Head Granthi, Akal Takht, were terminated last year, Jathedar Vedanti was allowed to hold the additional charge as priest of the Golden Temple.

Giani Mohan Singh described the orders of the SGPC as arbitrary since he was serving as additional Head Granthi without getting any salary.

Sources pointed out that Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, who enjoyed proximity to the “Brahmpura” group could be behind the removal of Giani Mohan Singh.

Giani Mohan Singh said it was strange that his services were terminated after a few months of his appointment. He said his name did not figure among the 27 employees who had attained the age of 60 years, submitted to the judicial commission by the SGPC. He claimed that the granthis and raagis were given age relaxation due to their high demands and hence the rule of superannuation did not apply to them.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Vedanti has convened a meeting of the Sikh clergy on July 23 at the Akal Takht secretariat. The meeting is likely to discuss various issues pertaining to the Khalsa Panth.


Badal warns govt on Pranab’s remarks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Taking a serious note of the “disturbing” statement of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the decision of the Punjab Assembly on abrogating all river water accords after 1981, SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal has warned that his party will not allow the state government to retract on the stand taken by all elected representatives under pressure from the Congress high command or the Centre.

“It is disturbing that Mr Pranab, who has been appointed as party in charge for Punjab, chose to attack the Termination of Water Accords Act at this stage.

The Congress is known for betraying the interests of Punjab and taking contradictory stands on various issues at different times,” he alleged.

Elaborating this point, he said when Ms Indira Gandhi, a former Prime Minister, had laid the foundation of the SYL canal, the party had praised her. The Congress opposed the Akali government led by him (Badal) when his government had filed writ petition against the SYL canal in the Supreme Court.

The petition was withdrawn during the tenure of Chief Minister Darbara Singh when the case was at a crucial stage.

Now the Congress was opposing the SYL canal in Punjab.

SAD was firm that his party would not allow a single drop of Punjab water to flow out of the state. He further said Punjab was facing a drought like situation but the state government appeared to be totally oblivious of the situation.

They had not even written a single word to the Union Government urging it to take any remedial measures or to pay compensation to poor farmers of the states, he pointed out.

Taking a dig at Capt Amarinder Singh, he said he was behaving like Emperor Nero while Punjab suffers.

Evading a direct reply on his party’s relations with the BJP vis a vis the SYL canal issue, he said he had all regard for the state BJP leadership and hoped it they would play a constructive role on the matter.

He, however, added that waters being a state issue SAD had no objection to the Haryana BJP unit taking a different stand in its own (Haryana) interest. He asserted that his party expected the central BJP high command not to take side on the issue.


News Analysis
Punjab Cong scripts new episode
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, July 18
The Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, has re-constituted the working committee and reshuffled the AICC general secretaries. In this political musical chairs scenario, Ms Mohsina Kidwai has been replaced by Mr Pranab Mukherjee as in charge of Punjab affairs.

This is not for the first time that Mr Mukherjee will be handling Punjab, rather ever-pervasive factionalism in the PPCC, both in the organisational and legislative wings. These have always been at loggerheads with ministers sniping at one another and organisational activists being engaged in undercurrent politics.

Mr Mukherjee had played a part way back in the summer of 1996, when Mr Harcharan Singh Brar and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were engaged in battle royal for supremacy. In fact, Mr Mukherjee was asked to step in, after Mr Ahmed Patel, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ms Meira Kumar and Ms Ambika Soni had failed in improving Congress house-keeping. The patch-up truce had got unstuck as the political temperature refused to come down. Eventually, Ms Bhattal had her way. She first became Deputy and then Chief Minister by mid-November. In 1996, May onwards, Congress MLAs had spent more time in Delhi. That act has been often repeated by her. So strong are political compulsions within the Congress and so self-centric the Congress leaders, that neither rightsizing of the Council of Ministers nor the World Bank report’s dark forecast is likely to affect the Congress high command, which plays it own political games and whose political permutations and combinations are influenced by “interest groups”.

The coming back of Mr Mukherjee, thus, has triggered political speculations. Various interpretations of this change of the AICC guard in Punjab are already afloat.

Is the move aimed to check the tide of the river waters stirred by the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act-2004? Is it to bring about a semblance of political balance and sanity in the PPCC? Is to placate the Opposition or damage-control the spill over of the placid SYL water in Haryana that goes to Assembly polls in the near future?

Is it to back up Ms Bhattal or check-mate Capt Amarinder Singh, architect of the Act, who had acted in the larger interests of the state and its people and had taken a calculated risk? There are high stakes involved in Punjab’s act—to ensure that cold-blooded violence did not revisit the state.

It is anybody’s guess regarding this sudden change. But given the ad hoc mannerism in which the Congress high command has acted and taken decisions in the past, exposes chinks in its armour. It seems to resort to either first-aid treatment of the ills that afflict the PPCC or opt for political adjustment and accommodation to cap factionalism, rather than find a permanent solution to the perennial in-house party problems.

Something similar is in the offing now, say political observers, when they interpret the recent comments of Mr Mukherjee in Kolkata over Punjab’s action to enact an Act, thereby, nullifying all river water-sharing agreements. He had said the Act and the step taken by the Chief Minister were “unfortunate” and that neither the party nor the Prime Minister had been sounded or consulted.

To such criticism, Capt Amarinder Singh has replied umpteen times. These observers feel the wordy duel over this issue, within and without the Congress, will further hot up, notwithstanding the fact that the Union Government has filed an application in the Supreme Court bringing to its notice the “changed” ground realities following the Act and seeking fresh guidelines.

The Act, as well as the AICC change, have further activated the political stage in Punjab. It is unfortunate, say observers, that the Congress high command is never decisive, but plays with political permutations and combinations while dealing with orchestered dissensions and divisions and never-say-die factionalism in Congress-ruled states.

There was no denying the fact, says a Congress leader, that much of the rot in the Punjab Congress set in in the mid-1996, when there was a spat between Mr Brar and Ms Bhattal. The party high command had acted without conscience or conviction. The festering resentment continues with ambitious, opportunist and hypocrite Punjab politicians having failed to learn any lessons.

Despite the Congress having restored peace restoring democracy at the grassroots by organising elections to initiating strong socio-economic measures to revitalise the state by the end of its five-year rule, 1992-1997, the Congress had been mauled in the Lok Sabha elections in 1996. Such is the fate of the Congress that it still does not display strands of cohesiveness and tends to lapse into insomnia. In the process the Congress high command has failed the state, dimmed the ray of hope it had kindled by erasing terrorism, shattered the dream of a prosperous state.

Thus, to Punjab’s sordid political serial, another episode has been added by the Congress with the appointment of Mr Mukherjee, even as harmonious cohesiveness in the Congress remains elusive, while the Congress and the Akalis may swim or sink together in river waters.


Party post not a surprise for Manish Tiwari
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
For Mr Manish Tewari, his appointment as Secretary, All-India Congress Committee, yesterday, did not come as a surprise. After he lost the last Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana, he was expecting an active role in the organisational and party affairs.

“I do not know as yet as what work will be assigned to me. I am a committed party worker and served as the Secretary, AICC, before I became the President of the All-India Youth Congress Committee (AIYCC) in 1998,” said Mr Tewari, for whom the last Lok Sabha elections marked his unsuccessful entry into the electoral politics.

Two months after the elections, Mr Manish Tewari is back in Ludhiana, this time as the Secretary, All-India Congress Committee, and to reiterate that whatever he had promised to do for the people of the industrial town, he would get those things done.

“I had committed that Ludhiana would have an international airport. A team of the Airport Authority of India has already visited the town and cleared the site along the banks of Sutlej River at Lodhowal village. Now, after the technical clearance, global tenders are likely to be floated by end of September,” said Mr Tiwari, adding that the airport would be built on the lines of the Changi international airport of Singapore.

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, Mr Tewari said other commitment he had made included excise exemption to industries.

“I am now visiting my constituency regularly, holding meetings with the people and trying to sort out their problems, redressing their grievances. My voters are surprised that even after losing the election, I have returned and visiting them regularly ,” says Mr Tewari.

Mr Manish Tewari, who was a senior advocate in the Supreme Court, said, between 2000 and 2004 he was into practice.

Mr Tewari headed the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, for five years. In between, he became the first Asian to be elected President of the International Union of Students for a full term of four years. But he quit in between in 1994. He remained the President of the AIYCC for two years (1998-2000).

“In the 1998 elections, I was looking after Maharashtra as Secretary, AICC,” he said, holding that allocation of work among the secretaries would be made in the coming week.


Mayawati can kill Kanshi, says brother
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 18
In a dramatic turn of events, family members of Mr Kanshi Ram today alleged that the founder president of the BSP could be eliminated at the behest of BSP President and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati in case he (Kanshi) would not have been freed from her custody.

“We fear that Ms Mayawati can eliminate Kanshi Ram at any moment. so we seek personal intervention of the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to provide us justice by handing over my brother to me at the earliest,” Mr Dalbara Singh, brother of Mr Kanshi Ram told reporters here today.

He rejected the statement of the BSP in which it was said that Mr Kanshi Ram refused to meet and recognise his mother, Ms Bishan Kaur, and brother Mr Harbans Singh, when they went to meet him in New Delhi. He said, “Rather the gesture of Mr Kanshi Ram was like that he wanted to get rid of Ms Mayawati’s custody.”

He revealed that when Mr Kanshi Ram was in Batra Hospital, he tried to flee from there but overpowered by doctors, who were working as agents of Ms Mayawati.

Ms Bishan Kaur, along with her daughter Swarn Kaur, sons Harbans Singh and Dalbara Singh, were present at the conference organised here by the expelled leaders of the BSP, including former MP Satnam Singh Kainth and former MLAs Shingara Ram Sahungra and Raj Singh Kheri.

All expelled leaders pledged to make efforts to get him free from the custody of Ms Mayawati and threatened to launch a countrywide agitation in case she failed to respond in a positive manner.

Asked whether the expelled leaders were going to form a separate political front, Mr Kainth ruled it out and maintained that they would expose the corrupt deeds of BSP leaders.


Manmohan, Musharraf invited for candlelight vigil
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 18
Veteran journalist and a votary of cementing the ties between India and Pakistan Kuldeep Nayyar said he had written to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Gen Pervez Musharraf to come to celebrate together the Independence day of both the countries on August 14 at Wagah joint check post.

Happy at improving ties Nayyar said he had been dreaming about this day during the past ten years of candle peace missions.

He said he had invited Bollywood stars and Pakistani artistes to jointly celebrate the Independence day next month.

Nayyar has chalked out three day Indo-Pak Punjabi folk festival to be held at Amritsar and Lahore from October 10 to 12 and requested both the countries to let the borders to be opened for three days for free movement of people across the border.

The former Rajya Sabha member expressed concern over the recent controversial abrogation of river water termination Bill which had generated considerable heat among the northern states. He said that a group of influential Punjabi leaders had been formed to discuss the fallout of the current water dispute, likely to have far reaching repercussions in case an amicable solution could not be achieved.

He said that Punjab was already reeling under a serious economic crisis and would require a comprehensive action plan to get out from the present stalemate.


Back from UK, impressed
Pawan Kumar

Raja Sansi (Amritsar), July 18
It was like a dream come true for a group of 19 students of the Guru Hargobind Sahib Academy, a charitable trust at Jagraon (Ludhiana), which returned today after a two-week journey to the UK, sponsored by Mr Gurmail Singh Malhi, a London-based NRI.

Excited after an eventful first-ever trip to the UK, Arshdeep Kaur (14) said, “We were impressed by their education system. The visit to London was a marvellous experience for all of us.

Mr Malhi, an industrialist based in London, is also the chairman of the academy, looked after by his brother, Mr Jorawar Singh Malhi.

Arshdeep, a student of Class VIII, said she made friends and visited famous places in London. She said the students were accorded a warm welcome there.

Besides Arshdeep, 10 girls, eight boys and three teachers were part of the group.

Mr Malkeet Singh, one of the teachers who accompanied the students to London, said the students performed a play “Nikian Jinda, Vade Saake” and presented a cultural programme which was appreciated by non-resident Indians as well as by the British. He said boys performed bhangra while girls performed Malwai gidda. He said the students also organised kirtan, Gatka (Sikh martial arts) and dhadi at a programme there.

He said the students attended a class at Guru Nanak Sikh School and Heathland School there.

The students thanked Mr Malhi for sponsoring the visit.


Sewage disposal poses threat to IAF planes
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 18
Sewage of the Municipal Council, Pathankot is posing a threat to the flights of Air Force planes. The sewage entering the Air Force station besides spreading foul smell is also attracting birds that hamper the flights.

Sources in the Air Force said due to the sewage the units here have to restrict their flight schedules. They are now being forced to use just one side of their runway due to threat posed to the planes by birds attracted by sewage.

The sources said the problem of sewage had cropped up in the past two years. The Pathankot Municipal Council used to dispose of its sewage in kutcha sedimentation tanks a km away from the Air Force station.

However, a politically influential landlord dug an illegal canal out of the sedimentation tanks to use sewerage water in his fields. The fields of the said landlord were near the Air Force station. The water from the fields enters the Air Force station.

The Air Force authorities have brought the water to the notice of the district administration and the state government. Meetings have even been held with the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to resolve the matter. However, nothing has been done is this matter as yet.

The Air Force authorities have proposed to the local authorities that an underground pipe should be laid to carry the sewerage water into Chaki river or the UBDC canal. They have also demanded that the illegal canal dug by the local landlord should be plugged.

The SDM, Pathankot, Mr Harminder Singh, when asked to comment about the complaint of the Air Force said he had joined here recently and had not been apprised of the matter as yet. He, however, assured to look into the matter at the earliest.

Besides the sewage disposal, the unauthorised construction coming up in the vicinity of the Air Force station is another hazard. The Air Force authorities allege that certain slums had started coming up along the wall of the Air Force station near Dhakka colony.

A multiplex theatre has come up recently right in front of the Air Force station. However, the district administration has made no efforts to check new constructions despite the fact that the Air Force had taken up the matter with them.


City faces worst power cuts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
Residents here have been facing not only the unscheduled power cuts but also have been suffering from air and noise pollution caused by hundreds of electric generators being used by commercial establishments and other organisations. The threat to their lives is also due to emission of flue gases and fly ash from chimneys of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP).

Information gathered by TNS revealed that though local MLA Surinder Singla who is now Finance Minister, had made sincere efforts for maintaining the status of power cut-free city, it could not yield any positive results.

“We are facing the worst power cuts. Now the power cuts have become longer, frequent and more unscheduled as compared to the power cuts imposed in this city in the initial years of the SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab,” pointed out a section of citizens today.

“Our life have become miserable not due to power cuts only, the big generators installed by some banks and business houses have also added to our woes. The district administration has also failed to check the pollution by power generators which has now become a major source of health hazard,” they added.

Mr Rajesh Kumar, a timber merchant, said some citizens had decided to lodge a complaint against officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) who had not taken any action against those who had been using big power generators.

Mr Inder Singh Sahni, acting president, District Congress Committee, Bathinda, said Mr Singla had taken responsibility to keep this city power cut-free. He added that after monsoon hit Punjab, the power situation would also improve and there would be lesser cuts.


PSEB staff to protest against trifurcation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 18
The PSEB Engineers’ Association has decided to launch a protest against the state government’s decision to dismantle the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The association general secretary H.S. Bedi said it was a matter of concern that the state government seemed to be in a hurry to trifurcate the board under the garb of implementing the Electricity Act 2003 which itself was under review. He said the proposed structure of generation, transmission and distribution companies in Punjab was on the same lines as had been tried in other states including Orissa, Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and UP. Even with repeated tariff revisions, the financial health of the dismantled utilities had further deteriorated in these states. The dismantling of these state electricity boards had only increased the burden on the exchequer.

The association president M.S. Bajwa added that it was distressing that despite total failure of the experiment of dismantling the state electricity boards in other states and the declared policy of the UPA Government to review the Electricity Act 2003, the Punjab Government was going ahead with the proposal to dismantle a profitable organisation.

The members of the association announced that a protest action would be launched within the next 15 days if the state government failed to resolve the issue.


PSEB to bear cost of JE’s treatment
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board will bear the entire cost of the medical treatment being given to the Junior Engineer who was attacked by a tubewell owner with firearms near Ferozepore. This was stated in an official press note issued here today.

On receiving reports from affected consumers of Haruwala village about running of three-phase agricultural motors on single-phase supply, a team of PSEB conducted a raid on the tubewells of Rajinder Singh.

During the raid the PSEB officials found that the agriculture tubewells were being run illegally on single-phase supply. As per the board rules the officials disconnected the motors. While returning Jagir Singh was attacked with firearms.


Caste-based quota opposed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president of the General Categories Welfare Federation, said yesterday that if the government introduced caste-based reservations in private sector, the federation would launch a countrywide stir in association with like-minded organisations.

He alleged that after a mess in the government with caste-based reservations, politicians now had started planning to milk the private sector for petty gains.

He lamented that no political party or national-level leader had come out with any statement opposing the caste-based reservations in private sector.

Mr Sidhu alleged that efficiency of the government sector had been eroded as merit was being ignored to promote caste-based recruitment. He alleged caste-based recruitments would ruin the country.

He said that if the caste-based reservations were started in private sector companies, investing in India, would flee the country, leading to large-scale unemployment.


Check plying of private buses, urges union
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 18
Members of the Punjab Government Transport Workers’ Union (AITUC) has alleged that a large number of private buses, belonging to MLAs and ministers, were plying in the state causing huge losses to Punjab Roadways.

During a meeting of the AITUC’s central body, the members demanded an immediate check on private buses, new fleet of roadways buses and jobs for the wards of the dead roadways employees. Mr Darshan Singh Kang presided over the meeting.

Acting general secretary Gurmail Singh said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the removal of buses older than 15 years. In wake of this verdict the transport department should immediately replace old buses, he added.

He alleged that private buses of MLAs and ministers were running due to the connivance of the State Transport Commissioner and District Transport Officers.


Masjid action panel chief comes to Valmikis’ support
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 18
Mr Mohammed Azam Khan, Chairman of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, today arrived here for a few hours before returning to Delhi, to attend a function to launch Eklavya Sena under the Adi Dharm Samaj in support of the demand to hand over the controversial Ram Tirath shrine to Valmikis. Mr Mohammed is also Minister for Water Supply and Employment in Uttar Pradesh and had earlier taken up the demand of handing over the temple to the Valmikis in Parliament as an MP.

However, during the function today, Mr Mohammed snubbed the newly elected parliamentary secretary, Dr Raj Kumar, when he said an MLA should not flout government funds for the shrine at a forum of religious or community affairs. Dr Raj Kumar had earlier told the gathering that Rs 1 crore was given by the government for the development of the shrine.

The minister promptly announced Rs 5 crore for the shrine on behalf of the UP Government.

He said they did not want to create a Gujarat or Ayodhya here but the right of the Valmikis should be given to them, as each community needed to a distinct identity.


Rail coach factory rolls out 25 postal vans
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 18
The Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala has rolled out 25 postal vans to enable the Department of Post and Telegraph to transport a large quantity of mail at a time.

As per the requirements of the department, the RCF has incorporated special features in the vans such as swiveling type chairs with fixed table. A chimney has been fitted to exhaust the fumes generated while sealing the mail bags during the journey.

The coach has also been provided with different enclosures for keeping postal bags, seating and sleeping berths and folding luggage racks.

To facilitate easy and fast loading of mail, wider doors have been provided in the coach besides one letter box on each side of it. In case of emergency, fire extinguishers and emergency doors have been provided in the coaches.


Punjab Assembly prorogued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The seventh session of the 12th Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which was adjourned sine die at the conclusion of its sitting on July 12, was prorogued by an order of the Governor of Punjab today, according to a spokesman of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.


Cold storage owners convicted
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 18
Mr Joga Singh, President, District Consumer Forum, Hoshiarpur, has convicted Sohan Singh Gill, Mohinder Singh Bath and Jaswinder Singh, all partners of Kisan Ice Factory and Cold Storage Shamchaurasi under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act and has sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 in each execution application for not complying with the order of the forum within the stipulated time. He has ordered to issue warrants against all of them for August 13 and send the same to the Senior Superintendent Police, Hoshiarpur, for their execution.

As may as 54 farmers of the Shamchaurasi area had filed applications against the above partners of the Kisan Ice Factory and Cold Storage under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act. In the said applications they stated that the said partners appealed before the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Punjab, against the order of District Consumer Forum, Hoshiarpur, of November 27, 1996, in which it had directed partners to pay compensation to all of them for damaging their potatoes kept in their cold storage. On the dismissal of the appeal by the state commission the said partners filed another appeal in this connection before the National Commission which was also rejected.

On dismissal of appeals by the State and National Commissions, the decision of the District Consumer Forum was final. In his order Mr Joga Singh stated that it was proved on the record that the aforesaid partners had not intentionally complied with order of this forum by making payment of the amounts in question to the complainants within stipulated period. Consequently, they had made themselves liable for punishment under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act.


Farmers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 18
Irked over unscheduled power cuts and “false” cases being registered against them, farmers from various villages staged a five-hour dharna at Chadik village yesterday. The administration had deployed a police force to avoid any untoward incident.

Addressing a gathering, the district president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugraha), Mr Sadhu Singh Takhtpura, said long and unscheduled power cuts had made life miserable for the villagers and their paddy crop was drying up. He alleged that when farmers held peaceful demonstration, board employees threatened them with getting false cases registered against them.


Bahl denies effecting 200 transfers

Gurdaspur, July 18
Former Punjab Education Minister Khushal Bahl today denied news reports in a section of the media that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had cancelled 200 transfers effected by him during his tenure as minister.

Dubbing the news item as baseless in a statement issued here, Mr Bahl said he had not signed any transfer order on July 5 this year, a day before resigning, as mentioned in the news item.

Mr Bahl also ridiculed the news item in which the sources close to the Chief Minister had been quoted as saying that Capt Amarinder Singh was not pleased with the performance of Mr Bahl as Education Minister and that his son was indulging in the transfers in the Education Department.

“The news item has shocked me,” Mr Bahl said.

“It was malicious and misinformation on the part of the reporter that the Chief Minister was not happy with the functioning of School Education Department”, Mr Bahl said. — UNI


Cops attached to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura (Faridkot), July 18
Following the “kidnapping” of a Ferozepore police station “munshi”, SP (H) Vijay Sharma has attached ASI Sukhdev Singh and Head Constable Amarjeet Singh to Police Lines and ordered an inquiry into the incident by the SP (D).

It may be mentioned here that ASI Sukhdev Singh and Head Constable Amarjeet Singh had brought “munshi” of Ferozepore Sadar police station Onkar Singh to Kotkapura without informing any of the officials there.

Later, it turned out to be a case of defaulting payment of a finance company. The MD of Shekh Farid Finance Company, Mr Vivek Garg, said that Onkar Singh had taken a loan for buying a motor cycle from his company. He repaid only six instalments of the loan and after that no payment was made from his side, Mr Garg added. He said that after filing a case the company had obtained non-bailable warrant against Onkar. He said that the Kotkapura police had court orders and the SHO had sent policemen to take action in this regard, which was made out to be a case of kidnapping by the Ferozepore police.

Meanwhile, the “munshi” has got bail from the court.


Doctor booked in blood transfusion case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
A criminal case has been registered against Dr Indu Bhushan Aggarwal, in charge, blood bank, local Civil Hospital, and two other functionaries for their alleged involvement in transfusing blood of wrong group to a road accident victim on July 5 which allegedly led to her death a few days ago.

Police sources said a case under Section 304-A of the IPC had been registered against Dr Aggarwal and two other employees of the blood bank for causing death of Parveen Rani, a resident of Bhucho Mandi town of this district, due to their negligence.

After meeting with an accident, Parveen Rani and her husband Rajesh Kumar, who got married about two months ago, were admitted to the local civil hospital. While Mr Rajesh Kumar was discharged after some time, Parveen Rani was given two units of blood. The blood units were taken from the local blood bank and was issued by its employees.

Though Parveen Rani was having B positive blood group, she was given AB positive blood group by the in charge of the blood bank, Dr Indu Bhushan Aggarwal. After transfusion of blood units of the different blood group, the condition of Parveen Rani became critical and she was shifted to a big hospital in Ludhiana where she died on July 16. She was pregnant when she had died.

Though the kin of deceased moved an application for taking legal action against those guilty, the district police authorities did not take any action in this connection till yesterday. They were awaiting the legal opinion as the incident was related to death due to medical negligence.

However, hundreds of residents of Bhucho Mandi town, blocked vehicular traffic on the Bathinda-Bhucho crossing last evening to press the authorities concerned to register criminal case against Dr Aggarwal for his alleged involvement in transfusing blood of the wrong group to the deceased.

The residents also brought the body of Parveen Rani from Ludhiana, where she was undergoing treatment. They also issued a threat that they would not cremate the body until the criminal case was registered against the doctor.

To keep the law and order situation under control and prevent the situation from taking ugly turn, the district police authorities registered a case against Dr Aggarwal and two others in the city police station late last night.

The Police sources said efforts were on to arrest the accused.


9 held for running illegal medical camps
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 18
Nine persons, including three women, were caught by the Civil Surgeon for allegedly running illegal medical camps for administering hepatitis-B injections in two separate raids conducted here today.

Interestingly, the camps were being held at various religious places. The raids were conducted on religious shrines at the Sharifpura and Tehsilpura localities.

The suspects are Mohammad Mukhtar, a resident Sahibabad, Uttar Pradesh, who is the in charge of a camp in the Sharifpura area, Padamjit Singh of Jora Phatak, Rahul and Vinay of the Maqboolpura area, Beena of Sundar Nagar, Sudha of the Beri Gate area, Amandeep Singh of Krishna Nagar and Khushbir Kaur and Vinay Kumar of Nehru Colony here. They have been handed over to the Rambagh police.

Dr H.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, said the suspects were running the camps without permission. He said such camps were supposed to be run under the supervision of qualified doctors and nurses while these camps were without doctors.

The Civil Surgeon said local women and children from medical stores, who did not have any training, were immunising people on daily wages.

The organisers of the camp used to charge Rs 10 for preparing a card and Rs 45 to 50 for administering injections.

Earlier, unruly scenes were created when agitated people, after knowing the reality of the camps, brutally beat up Mohmmad Mukhtar at Sharifpura. Two persons managed to escape before the police reached the spot. The residents of the area did not allow the suspects to go till the arrival of the health authorities and the police. The police has seized mobile phones from them.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president of the All-India Youth Association, on whose information the Civil Surgeon raided the illegal camps, alleged that a number of such camps were being run under the nose of the Health Department. He said these camps were running for the past three to four months. He demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.


Five held for ‘damaging’ 66-kv grid building
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 18
The Sunam police has arrested five persons, Baljit Singh Chhajili, Kuldip Sharma Ratolan, Jasbir Singh Ratolan, Nirbhey Singh Chathe Nanhera and Bikar Singh Chathe Nanhera, in connection with allegedly making an attack on the 66-kv grid of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at Chhajli village, near Sunam, last night and damaging the property of the grid along with a large number of other persons, belonged to different villages.

Sources said protesting against the unannounced power cuts by the PSEB, a large number of persons of Chhajli and other nearby villages gathered at the grid building and raised slogans against the PSEB and the government. Later, this protest reportedly took a violent turn which led to throwing of stones on the grid building.

The Sunam police said today the protesters threw stones on the grid building and damaged the glasses. They also forced the employees at the grid to confine themselves to the building. The police said it had registered a case against several persons for making an attack on the grid and damaging the building of the grid, but it had arrested five persons so far. A case had been registered under Sections 353, 186, 342, 379, 427, 148, and 149 of the IPC.

The protesters alleged that the PSEB authorities were supplying electricity to their villages for just four to five hours daily, due to which their normal life and crops had been affected badly.


One more arrested in murder case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 18
To solve the murder case of a landlord of Wadala Colony, here the Jalandhar police yesterday arrested Vinod Kumar, alias, Titu, a resident of Tarewal village in Ferozepore. Vinod is a relative of the tenant and main accused, Kashmiri Lal, alias, Roshi, who is suspected to be involved in the murder of Bishambar, the landlord. The incident occurred on April 7, when the police found his body and declared it unclaimed. The culprits had absconded. The main accused then planned another murder to get hold of the house in Wadala Colony.

On June 24, the accused along with his wife and son killed the landlord's son, Rakesh Kumar, in Madhopur village by hitting him with stones. But this time they were seen by some passersby who handed them over to the police.

While in custody, the trio confessed to the killing of Rakesh Kumar as well as his father. The police arrested Vinod after booking him under Sections 302, 201-120 B 24 of the IPC in Division number 7 police station.


Head Constable held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
Laxman Singh, Head Constable, posted at Golewala police post in Faridkot district, was caught red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs 300 from Mr Makhan Singh, a resident of Kabarwala village of the same district for registering a report regarding the loss of his driving licence and registration certificate of his scooter.

Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, in a press release issued here yesterday, said that on the complaint of Mr Makhan Singh, a trap was laid by DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Faridkot, Mr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal. The accused was arrested in the presence of government and private witnesses and Rs 300 was recovered.

A case has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Boy beaten up, hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
An employee of the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) has alleged that his minor son was tied and beaten up by a man living in the neighbourhood in the residential apartments of the CMCH.

The 12-year-old boy, Ashish David, was admitted to the CMCH today after he fell unconscious. His father, Mr David, a laboratory assistant, alleged that his son was beaten up by his neighbour R.K. Robert on Friday and he was not feeling well since then.

Mr David alleged that his son was playing football in the compound of the residential area on Friday evening with other boys. He said the football hit two daughters of Robert, who were going on a bike. The girls could not control the bike and fell down. The boys, including Ashish, started laughing and the incensed girls complained to their father.

Mr David said Robert came to the compound and caught hold of Ashish while the other boys fled. He said Robert took Ashish to his house, tied him with a rope and beat him up, causing internal injuries.


College prospectus ‘misleading’
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, July 18
Khalsa College here is alleged to be ‘misleading’ the students of physiotherapy department. It has published the names of four persons on the staff of the physiotherapy department in its prospectus, out of which half of them are from other departments in the college.

The names of four staff members published in the college prospectus are: Dr Charanjit Singh (MBBS, a medical officer and head), Mr Kulwinder Singh Chimni (M.Sc/DPE/NIS), Dr Shavinder Kaur Dhillon (MA/M.Phil/Ph.D) and Dr Satinderpal Kaur Gill (M.Ed/PhD/Phy Education). Four vacancies have been mentioned in the prospectus in this department.

According to the prospectus, Mr Kulwinder Singh Chimni is also on the staff of the Department of Physical Education while Dr (Mrs) Shivinder Kaur Dhillon is on staff of the Department of Economics and Sociology.

The physiotherapy degree course was started five years back in 1999 and is of four-and-a-half years duration.

Several students have felt cheated by the college due to this. Several interns in the physiotherapy department feel that their internship may also be deemed ‘invalid’ owing to lack of permanent teachers in the college.

Dr J.S. Dhillon, when contacted, said advertisements had been released for the fresh staff. Besides Dr Charanjit, four more persons have been selected, he said.


Implement 85th Amendment, says teachers’ union

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
The SC/BC Teachers Union has threatened to launch an agitation to impress upon the Union Government to implement the 85th Constitutional Amendment regarding reservation for SC/BC employees.

Addressing a union gathering at the local Children’s Park, Mr Malaghar Singh and Mr Gurmail Singh Chandhar, president and chief organizer of the state body of the union, said the union would hold rallies and stage dharnas at the division level from August 5 in case the amendment was not adopted. — OC


Maninderjit, Sukhbir win drawing contest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 18
Maninderjit Kaur of White Bird School, Sukhbir Singh of Modern Senior Secondary School and Lubhawna Rohel of Children Memorial School have bagged first, second and third position in master category, junior and senior group, respectively in an inter-school drawing competition held at Mini Tagore here today.

The theme of the contest was ‘Nature’ Smile’. As many as 150 students of various schools of the city participated in the contest organised by Balaji Event Organisers. Speaking on the occasion the chief guest Mr Gopal Krishan Singla said such competitions provided an opportunity to students to exhibit their hidden talents.


Educational exhibition organised
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 18
Sant Kirpal Singh Akal Regiment Public Academy organised an educational exhibition here today. ADC (Development) Jagwant Singh Brar inaugurated the exhibition.

Speaking on the occasion principal of the academy Mr Harvinder Singh Aulakh, said such exhibitions helped students to exhibit their talent and also provided a platform to enhance their skill.

The highlight of the exhibition included a model of the Golden Temple, water alarm, nuclear reactor and a model depicting a village scene.

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