P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Administrative reshuffle in Punjab
2 ministers change portfolios, Lakhanpal back in Finance, 3 DCs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
After the reconstitution of the Council of Ministers and effecting some changes in the portfolios of two ministers, the Punjab Government today ordered a major administrative reshuffle affecting 25 bureaucrats, including three DCs.

At the level of the Cabinet Ministers, Mr Lal Singh would now be the Minister for Irrigation, Power, Rural Development and Panchayats, while Mr Avtar Henry would retain the Food and Supplies portfolio, besides looking after the Public Health, instead of Irrigation.

Capt Amarinder Singh called on the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, at the Raj Bhavan today. The two are believed to have discussed the latest developments.

Mr K.R. Lakhanpal is back as the Principal Secretary, Finance and Disinvestment, in place of Mr B.R. Bajaj, who goes as the Principal Secretary, Local Government. Mr Lakhanpal will continue to hold the charge of Irrigation.

Mr Saraveet Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, who has been made the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, has been replaced by Mr Hussan Lal, who has been shifted from Faridkot and his successor is Mr Alok Shekhar.

Mr Mandep Singh has been made the Deputy Commissioner, Moga, in place of Mr R.K. Ganta, who becomes the Joint Development Commissioner, Integrated Rural Development.

Meanwhile, Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj is now the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, but will take charge after the retirement of Ms Gurginder Kaur Chahal on July 31.

Mr P.K. Verma is back as the Financial Commissioner, Development, in place of Dr B.C. Gupta, who has been posted as the Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies.

Mr A.K. Dubey is now the Financial Commissioner, Cooperation. Mr D.S. Jaspal is the Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Transport.

Mr J.R. Kundal is new the Financial Commissioner, Forests, in place of Mr P. Ram, who is now the Presiding Officer, Sales Tax Tribunal.

Mr T.R. Sarangal is the Secretary, Expenditure, vice Mr G. Vajralingam, who goes as the Director, Local Government, vice Mr R.L. Kalsia, who has been appointed as the Secretary, Social Security, Women and Children Development.

Mr S.S. Gill has been made the Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice.

Mr Narinderjit Singh is now the Director, Technical Education and Industrial Training.

Mr Som Parkash has been made the Labour Commissioner and Director Employment, Mr S.R. Ladhar, will be the Director, Social Security, Women and Children Development.

Mr Surinderjit Singh Sandhu is the Special Secretary, Elections, Coordination and Jails. Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu has been posted as the Additional Registrar, Cooperation.

Mr Satwant Singh is the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar.


Inside Babudom
K.R. Lakhanpal to be Finance Secretary, Punjab
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, an IAS officer of the 1972 batch, was named Principal Secretary, Finance, again in a major administrative reshuffle the Punjab Government ordered this evening. He replaced Mr Bharat Raj Bajaj of the 1970 batch.

In all 24 IAS officers and one PCS were shifted today. Among those transferred were four Financial Commissioners, five Principal Secretaries and three Deputy Commissioners.

Incidentally Mr Bajaj had replaced him late last year. For Mr Lakhanpal, it will be home returning for he has been the Finance Secretary not only in the present Congress Government in the State but also in the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) coalition government also.

Though the administrative reshuffle was expected immediately after the downsizing of the Council of Ministers in which key portfolios of some Ministers were changed, it was held up because of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue taking the centre stage. Mr Lakhanpal has been Principal Secretary, Irrigation.

Mr Lakhanpal is considered close to the new Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, as both had initially worked together when Mr Singla was heading the Advisory Committee on Fiscal Reforms.

Mr Bajaj has been named the new Principal Secretary, Local Government, and will also look after Information Technology. Mr P.K. Verma is back as Financial Commissioner, Development, while Dr B.C. Gupta has been made Principal Secretary, Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

By the end of this month, Punjab’s seniormost IAS officer, Mrs Gurbinder Kaur Chahal, who is Financial Commissioner, Revenue, will also retire on attaining superannuation. Tradition in Punjab to name the seniormost IAS officer of the State as Financial Commissioner, Revenue, has been maintained by naming Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj as the next Financial Commissioner Revenue.

After Mrs Chahal retires, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj would be Punjab’s seniormost officer after the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill. Mrs Bajaj retires on the last day of the current calendar year. A step behind her is Mrs Asha Attri, also of the 1969 batch as of Mrs Bajaj, but her retirement is due on September 30.

Mr A.K. Dubey (Cooperation), Mr P. Ram (Sales Tax Tribunal), Mr D.S. Jaspal (Transport) and Mr J.R. Kundal (Forests) are the new Principal Secretaries of the departments mentioned against their names.

Meanwhile, two seniormost officers of the State, Mr Purshottam Lal and Mr R.K. Gupta, both of the 1969 batch, are in the run for promotion as Directors-General of Police. Three DGPs — Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar — have superannuated since April 30 this year.

As of now, Punjab has only two officers in the rank of Director-General. Mr S.K. Verma is DGP attached with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSRC) while Dr A.A. Siddiqui heads the State police force.


VB initiates inquiry against excise official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The state Vigilance Bureau has initiated an inquiry against Joint Director (Enforcement) in Punjab's Excise and Taxation Department Samarjit Singh for allegedly amassing property beyond his known sources of income. The authorities, however, refused to divulge the details. Disclosing this here today, a Bureau spokesman said the authorities were doing their best to eradicate corruption among public servants and others in every sphere of the State.

During the last month, 23 trap cases were registered in which four gazetted officers (GOs) and 20 non-gazetted officers (NGO) were arrested. As many as 14 criminal cases were registered in which 24 GOs , 45 NGOs and 10 "private persons" were booked. He added that 38 vigilance inquiries were ordered in which 20 GOs , 39 NGOs and 18 private persons were involved, while two cases of disproportionate assets were registered.

He further added that Chief Director-Cum-Additional Director-General of Police (Vigilance Bureau) A.P. Pandey held a crime meeting today. It was attended by Inspector-General-Cum-Director S.M. Sharma, besides Deputy Inspectors-General Ishwer Chander, G.S. Sahota and N.S. Dhillon. Joint Directors Arpit Shukla and RPS Brar were also present.

Mr Pandey reviewed the progress reports and directed the officers concerned to expedite investigations of pending vigilance inquiries and fresh complaints at the earliest. He also asked the field officers to regularly follow up the vigilance cases under trial in the courts to ensure against suspects escaping judicial punishment.


Venod Sharma on comeback trail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The appointment of Mr Venod Sharma as special invitee to the Congress Working Committee the other day has put the Congress leader of the region on the comeback trail.

Mr Sharma, who remained in political limbo for quite a while, is now the only Congress leader from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh to make it to the highest decision making body in the All India Congress Committee, besides of course, Mrs Ambika Soni who is the General Secretary of the party.

Party sources here emphasise that Mr Sharma’s elevation in the party heirarchy indicates the trust reposed in him by the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Son of the late Congress leader, Mr Kidar Nath Sharma, who was a prominent businessman of Chandigarh, Mr Sharma has held a series of important posts in the Congress party.

He remained a member of the Rajya Sabha, Punjab MLA from Banur constituency of Patiala district, a Minister in the Union Council of Ministers headed by Mr Narasimha Rao besides heading the party units in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Others special invitees nominated to the CWC include Mr Jyotirraditya Scindia, Mr Subbramani Reddy and Mr Imran Qureshi. They have come in place of Mr Digvijay Singh, Mr Ashol Gehlot, Mr Salman Khurshid and Mr Janardhan Dwivedi who have become members of the CWC.


President’s rule must to solve SYL crisis: Dalal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 19
The Centre should declare President’s rule in both Punjab and Haryana to solve the vexed issue of SYL canal and sharing of river waters, said Mr Karan S. Dalal, Congress MLA, Haryana, during his visit to the Golden Temple here today.

The MLA, while talking to The Tribune, said Article 356 should be imposed on both states to solve the issue, which needed President’s intervention.

He said the 11-member committee set up by the Haryana Pardesh Congress Committee (HPCC) to make a report on the SYL crises is likely to release its report tomorrow. Following the release of report, the committee would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, said the MLA.

Dismissing any fresh perspective on the water assessment as desired by Punjab, he said hardships awaited people of six districts of Haryana due to lack of potable water and for domestic use there.

He cautioned the people of Haryana against “evil” designs of the Chautala government, which, he said, would try to stir popular sentiments to gain political mileage for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

Asking Punjab to act like a “big brother” and not sabotage the interests of the Haryana, where the water was to be used for domestic purposes and not for irrigation, he said the sharing would also mean a suitable utilisation of Punjab’s flood water, which otherwise would be disastrous for the state.

Mr Dalal said Haryana would be forced to take the path of agitation in case Punjab did not withdraw the Assembly Act terminating all agreements on water sharing.

“The agitation could be a sit-in by farmers at Akal Takht or Punjab Vidhan Sabha to highlight their plight”, he added.

The MLA said the Devi Lal regime had played a cruel joke on the state by agreeing to bring water through the Bhakra mainline to parts of west Haryana, leaving the southern part of the state parched.

Decrying Central policies of being not up to the mark, he said paddy and wheat cycle that consumed high quantities of water should be discouraged and new incentives be evolved for sowing edible oils. This would not only meet the demand of edible oil but also consume far less water, making the surplus water available to neighbouring states. 


Benefits from Bhakra more than expected, says study
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 19
Benefits from the Bhakra Dam have been much more than anticipated at the time of its conception, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Research. According to the draft of the study, yet to be published, Bhakra has contributed immensely in the development of the northern region.

Mr Rakesh Nath, Chairman of the BBMB, said this while delivering inaugural address on the national seminar of lined canals that began here today. The two-day seminar is being organised by the BBMB to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Nangal Hydel Canal.

The case of Bhakra was in contrast to the results of the study carried out by the World Commission on large dams. The World Commission study was based on a small sample and said that large dams were economically non- viable and having adverse impact on the environment.

The environmentalists and many NGO’s had been using this study to target the large dam. However, the specific study on the Bhakra Dam conducted by the Centre for Policy Research would silence the critics of large dams.

At present only 0.8 per cent of the total available fresh water was being harnessed for irrigation. The demand was going to double over the next 20 years. It was only the large dams that could help meet the growing demand of fresh water for irrigation, Mr Rakesh Nath said.

The Chairman of the Central Water Commission, Mr R Jaisealan, who was the chief guest and inaugurated the seminar, stressed on the benefits of lined canals. He said that though the lined canals had higher commissioning costs, they were more viable in the long run. In the long run the lined canals were easy to maintain. Also it was easier to instal and operate power houses over them.

The environmentalists were ignoring the benefits of the large dams while criticising these on various counts. Though new methods as water shed management and water harvesting methods were being experimented but the large dams still remained the best method for the conservation of fresh water, Mr Jaisealan said.

Mr Balbir Singh, member (irrigation) BBMB, delivered a paper on the Nangal Hydel Canal and the completion of its 50 years. He commended BBMB engineers for proper maintenance and operation of the Nangal Hydel Canal due to which it completed its 50 years without any obstruction.

Mr Balbir, however, also stressed on the scheduled stopping of water in the canal for its overhauling and maintenance. He said due to irrigation pressures the water was never stopped in the canal. However, the non-stopping of water compromised with its maintenance to some extent.

Over 31 delegates and experts on lined canals from all over the country are participating in the seminar being organised by the BBMB. The experts would share views on designs, maintenance, operation and problems faced in running lined canals.


Sacking of Mohan Singh taken up with Badal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 19
The unceremonious removal of Giani Mohan Singh yesterday has caught the attention of the senior Panthic leaders who are worried over the denigration of the Sikh institution , since the celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth in 1999.

According to highly placed sources in the SGPC , the matter regarding the removal of Giani Mohan Singh was taken up with Mr Parkash Singh Badal , president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, today by certain leaders of the party. It is learnt that the SGPC may be forced to withdraw its decision to sack Giani Mohan Singh due to the pressure built by the various Sikh organisations .

However, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, former Akali minister, today refuted the allegations that his group was behind the sacking of Giani Mohan Singh .

Interestingly all high priests who were sacked in the past five years were appointed by the SGPC controlled by the SAD.

Bhai Ranjit Singh was the first-ever Jathedar of Akal Takht who was sacked on February 10 ,1999 , a few days before the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth. Giani Puran Singh, who was appointed Jathedar Akal Takht , replacing Bhai Ranjit Singh ,in violation of the Sikh Maryada from Circuit House was later removed by the SGPC executive , headed by Bibi Jagir Kaur . Earlier , Giani Puran Singh had excommunicated the then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur through a controversial edict pronounced from Guna (Maharashtra).

During the tenure of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar the SGPC executive sacked Prof Manjit Singh by leveling serious charges which were never made public . Later , Giani Kewal Singh, the then Jathedar Damdama Sahib had to step down following his arrest in connection with the alleged suicide committed by his daughter -in-law .

Making derogatory remarks against Sikh high priests seems to have become common these days. So much so that the then SGPC chief , Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, had dubbed Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti , “Jathedar Akal Takht as ‘ jeondian lashan” ( the living dead bodies) . However, no action was taken against him.


PUDA questions validity of Puri’s decision
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), today questioned the validity of a decision taken by the Minister for Housing Urban Planning and Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, for granting permission to change the land use of 120 acres of a prime land in Mohali.

Stating that the minister had allegedly over stepped his authority in granting permission to give 120 acres to Janta Land Promoter Limited, (JLPL), PUDA representatives reportedly told the Secretary, Department of Housing, that the township’s master plan had been violated by the minister in the process.

The company owned by the Mohali Municipal Council’s President, Mr Kulwant Singh, was refused a license by PUDA on June 15, 2004, and its representatives were today responding to an appeal filed by JLPL to reconsider the decision. After hearing various arguments in the case today, the Secretary, Department of Housing, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, reserved his judgement.

In a short written reply submitted by PUDA before the secretary today, PUDA has said the colonisers are behaving like ‘bonafide businessmen’ and not law abiding citizens. ‘‘The appellants (JLPL) have admitted that their application is not only incomplete and illegal but also misconceived....The competent authority has taken the right decision in rejecting the case of the appellants,’’states the reply.

The secretary also heard the replies of the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation (PSIEC). Lengthy discussion were reportedly held regarding PSIEC’s demand of Rs 83 crore from the coloniser in order to give his company connectivity. PSIEC representatives reiterated the decision that the money earned by them from the builder will be flushed back into strengthening the industrial infrastructure of the Focal Point, Mohali.

The PSIEC representative said in case the PUDA competent authority grants the coloniser a licence to develop his land than PSIEC might consider his request for connectivity but only after he pays Rs 83 crore to it. Besides this JLPL will also pay for the maintenance and upkeep of PSIEC roads and infrastructure being used by the coloniser.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, who had in a highly controversial decision taken in October, 2003, gone out of his way to grant permission to Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL) to change the land use of over 120 acres in Mohali. Through the ministers orders, JLPL, was allowed to buy large tracts of land already notified under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, as the Local Planning Area, SAS Nagar, meant for the expansion of Mohali. The land also fell within the periphery controlled area of Punjab. The minister allowed the changes despite being advised against it by the then Secretary of his department, Mr G.S.Sandhu, and the then Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr Suresh Kumar. Both had made it clear, in writing, that the change of land use should not be permitted.

Meanwhile, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, the former president of the Mohali Industries Association and co-chairman of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Punjab, has welcomed PSIEC ‘s decision to flush the money earned from private colonisers back into the area for the industrial development. ‘‘There are many facilities that the small and medium scale industries have been demanding from PSIEC. But PSIEC has its fund limitations. Instead of depending on land enhancement costs compensations, if PSIEC is able to earn from private colonisers, the Mohali industry should welcome it,’’ he added.


Death by negligence: case registered against kin
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 19
The issue pertaining to the death of Parveen Rani, a resident of Bhucho Mandi, allegedly due to the transfusion of blood of wrong group in the local Civil Hospital, took a new turn today when a criminal case was registered against her kin Rakesh Kumar and others for their alleged involvement in an attempt to kill the driver of car while holding an agitation at the Bathinda-Bhucho Mandi crossing on July 17.

To pacify the residents of Bhucho Mandi, who were holding the agitation at the Bhucho Mandi-Bathinda crossing, to press the authorities concerned to register a case against the doctor and others, who were involved in transfusing wrong blood to Parveen Rani, a case was registered against Dr Indu Bhushan Aggarwal and two other employees of the blood bank of the local Civil Hospital on July 17.

The district police authorities yesterday got a case registered against Mr Rakesh Kumar, a kin of Parveen Rani, and others for their alleged involvement in an attempt to commit murder case on the charges that they had injured the driver of a car while holding an agitation.

Interestingly, the case was registered against Mr Rakesh Kumar and others on the complaint of Mr Sukhdev Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), police station, cantonment. Whether Mr Sukhdev Singh, SHO, himself was driving the car or some one else was driving the car was not clear in the crime report issued by the police today. No senior police official could be contacted for his comments.

Parveen Rani, who was married to Mr Rajesh Kumar and was pregnant, died in a Ludhiana hospital on July 16. She was allegedly given wrong blood while she was under treatment in the local Civil Hospital after she met with a road accident. After the transfusion of blood of wrong group, the condition of Parveen Rani deteriorated and she was shifted to a hospital in Ludhiana where she died on July 16.

On the other hand, Mr Rajesh Kumar, husband of the deceased and other residents of Bhucho Mandi town, who met SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said the offences made out against Dr Aggarwal and two other employees of the blood bank under Section 304-A of the IPC was not sufficient as they were also responsible for abortion of the deceased and hence an offence for forcible abortion must be made out against them.

They said they would hold an agitation if justice was not given to them. They added that they would also approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission to get justice.

Meanwhile, members of local unit of the Punjab Civil Medical Association (PCMS), members of local unit of the IMA and others connected with the medical profession alleged that a false case had been registered against Dr Aggarwal and others. The doctors of Civil Hospital also observed a strike for a few hours which affected the outpatient department (OPD) and emergency services.

On the other hand, Dr Y. P. Singla, Civil Surgeon, said in the two inquiries conducted on his order, it was found that Dr Aggarwal and others were not responsible for death of Parveen Rani. He added that he had submitted his report to the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda.


Woman sarpanch harassed, threatens to quit
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 19
The woman sarpanch of Kalsera village, Ms Anjna Garg, has threatened to resign from here post over harassment by certain miscreants of the village. She has alleged that despite complaints neither the district administration nor the police has come to her rescue.

The sarpanch had submitted her complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, on April 15 this year which was marked to the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, for further action. She alleged that the Punjab Government through notification issued on February 4, 2002 had issued directions banning bathing at public taps in villages.

As per the instructions, she requested some persons of the village to desist from taking bath and washing undergarments at public taps, as it caused inconvenience to others. Instead of heeding to the request, they allegedly abused her in public.

The panchayat was called to discuss the matter but the persons threatened some panches not to align with the woman sarpanch over the issue. They even came to the house of the sarpanch and allegedly manhandled her and her husband.

The Naya Nangal police was called to provide them security. However, instead of booking the accused, the police repeatedly called them to the police station without any result, she alleged.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, said she had marked an inquiry into the incident to the SDM. She would soon ask him to submit the report into the matter at the earliest.


Waste management plant for holy city
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar July 19
More than 500 tonnes of garbage produced daily by the holy city which could be a health hazard will now be utilized to produce electricity .

This will be possible after an the ambitious waste management-cum-thermal converter project the municipal corporation undertakes shortly. The Rs 200-crore project, the first of its kind in the state, would be set up with the assistance of a UK-based firm —Brind International.

The huge amount of garbage after it is lifted will save vast lands from being used for illegal dumping. Besides, it will reduce health hazard and keep the city clean.

Interestingly, it will also keep the municipal corporation authorities under pressure to lift garbage promptly to provide the requisite tonnage of waste to make the multicrore plant viable. Besides, it will go a long way in making the residents happy due to clean environment.

According to the understanding reached, the UK company would invest Rs 200 crore in the project that would process 500 tonnes of municipal waste daily, converting it into electrical energy up to several mega watts.

Mr KS Kang, Commissioner who initiated the project, said the municipal corporation would provide eight acres of land on lease for a period of 33 years. The land to be leased at present is being used as dumping yard in Bhagtanwala near the largest mandi in the district.

The plant will use state-of-the-art technology. The technology is being used in several countries like Japan, Germany, Belgium and the UK for various purposes. The project could start operation after 18 months of installation. It would leave a waste residue of as little as 3 per cent of the total garbage and it will require no pre-sorting of the waste.

The non-toxic, sterile and granulated residue will be used as infill for roads or footpath construction .

The project promises non-toxic emissions after treatment of garbage with minimal of noise pollution to be under safe limits .

Milch animal diaries and sugar-cane waste produced from mills near here and polythene bag waste in large quantities are ideal to intensify the high heat (1700* centigrade) required for complete combustion. The considerable amount of heat thus produced can be converted to process steam /hot water into electricity. The power produced could be sold to be used for supporting local industry, improving consumer supply and for desalinating water. 


Indian fish attracts BBC film-makers
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, July 19
A fish species of the Harike wetlands has attracted the attention of foreign freshwater filmmakers. They have rated this species as unique because it has not been seen or documented on television.

A team of BBC series Planet Earth will visit Punjab in February to capture the habitat and behaviour of Bagarius bagarius, commonly known as goonch, on camera. This green or brown fish, with three darkly pigmented bands or blotches, though ugly, is one of the most powerful fish in freshwaters of India.

The team, comprising Mr Conrad Maufe and Ms Kathryn Jeffs, of the Natural History Unit is studying the behaviour of amazing animals throughout the world. Planet Earth is a sequel series to The Blue Planet, the natural history programme about life under the sea.

“One of the films I am working on is all about freshwater habitats worldwide. I am interested in goonch because it is not a familiar fish,” said Mr Maufe in an e-mail message to Prof M.S. Johal of the Department of Zoology, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Professor Johal had undertaken a collaborative project with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, on the hillstream ecology of Himalayan region (Himachal Pradesh) with a special reference to fish species.

Professor Johal says the Harike wetlands in Ferozepore district and the Ropar wetlands have a good population of goonch. It is commercial fish and also called freshwater shark because of its voracious feeding habits and formidable teeth. It is a pre-monsoon breeder.

Professor Johal says goonch is one of the largest Asian catfish and grows rapidly. If it lives long enough, its weight can be up to 40 kg. Its flesh is not relished much being very stiff and fibrous.

This fish lies mostly at the bottom of water and can withstand forceful currents among rocks. 


CWC refutes Punjab’s low inflow plea
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 19
To buttress its case on the SYL deadlock, the Punjab Government has been maintaining that the inflows in all the rivers running through the state have come down considerably.

However, the Chairman of the Central Water Commission, Mr R. Jaisealan, seems to disagree. Talking to The Tribune here today, he said the perception that the inflows in Himalayan rivers were reducing was not substantiated. The inflows in these rivers have instead been cyclic i.e. increasing and decreasing over a period of time.

The states were using data reflectively to plead their cases. However, a comprehensive study was needed to determine the exact status of the river basins, he added.

When asked about the status of the interlinking of rivers project, Mr Jaisealan said presently a feasibility study on the peninsular rivers was being carried out. The northern rivers were presently not being considered for the interlinking because of their international status.

On the completion of the feasibility study, a project report on the interlinking of rivers assessing their socio-economic impact would be submitted to the government.

Commenting on the stoppage of grants to the Punjab under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), he said the grants to the states were released according to the guidelines made under the programme. Many states facing that financial crunch have not been able to release matching grants under the AIBP following which the grants to them have been temporarily stopped, he said.


BSF nabs insane on border
Anirudh Gupta

Along the Zero Line, Ferozepore:
The BSF which guards frontiers of the nation is fighting an altogether different battle here, not against the enemy but against the red tapism and procedural wrangles of our system. More often than not, BSF sleuths apprehend insane persons moving under suspicious circumstances in sensitive border zones, but these persons taking advantage of the judicial loopholes and lack of coordination between government agencies, manage to go scot-free.

BSF sources disclosed that some of the persons apprehended from near the international border are actually insane but others pretend to be so. The number of such insane persons increases whenever the relations between the two countries turn hostile. At the time of Kargil conflict and in the aftermath of attack on Indian Parliament, the intelligence agencies had nabbed scores of such insane persons and beggars roaming under suspicious circumstances near the cantonment area here.

In 2003, the BSF apprehended 31 Pakistani intruders, out of whom three were insane and two were gunned down near the cobra fencing. Apart from this, 11 Indians were apprehended while trying to cross over to Pakistani side of the International Border(IB) out of whom seven were insane or mentally retarded. The BSF also nabbed 13 Bangladeshi citizens trying to cross over to Pakistan. During this year , the BSF has killed two Pakistani intruders, apprehended four out of whom one person was insane, three Indian national have been arrested out of which two were mentally retarded and 16 Bangladeshi have been caught so far.

In a few cases, the Bangladeshis who try to cross over to the other side of the fence also fabricate stories and pretend to be insane. Whenever BSF troops arrest any such person, after preliminary interrogation, they hand over the offenders to the police as they cannot keep any person in their custody beyond a stipulated time of 24 hours. The police, in turn, either produces them in the court or in some cases sets them free after a few question-answer rounds or gives them minor sentences for roaming under suspicious conditions. BSF officials say that in every case, they strongly recommend that the offenders be sent to Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC), Amritsar.

Furthermore, either the court directs them to go to the mental asylum, Amritsar, or they get some mild penalty.

BSF authorities also complain that the police does not keep them apprised with the developments in the cases when such persons are handed over to them after preliminary investigations. In some cases, the police authorities allegedly themselves make such persons board the train to a far-off place just to avoid any controversy and unnecessary workload.

BSF officials reveal that the problem has attained enormous proportions due to large influx of Bangladeshis.

BSF officials say that on many occasions the same group of Bangladeshis has been apprehended while going towards Pakistani border. in this area but all in vain, as they are let off the hook due to various hassles, thus defeating the overall objective of the border guarding force. The tendency of the local police has always been to avoid getting into any controversy and not to increase the workload needlessly. BSF authorities protest that they take all the pains to nab these people but they do not have teeth to bring these offenders to book.

Security experts contend that there should be adequate arrangements to deal with the insane persons apprehended from along the border in sensitive border areas. Apart from the medical and technical expertise, arrangements should be there to watch their movement through hidden cameras to ascertain whether they are actually insane or not.

Mr Munish Chawla, SP Detective, when contacted, said generally such persons were sent to the local jail after the registration of the case and if need be, they are sent to the JIC, Amritsar, or the mental hospital, Amritsar, as per the demand of the case.


Scanty rains force more power cuts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 19
Scanty rains have forced the PSEB to impose power cuts of over three hours in all important cities of the state, besides already increasing power cuts in towns and rural areas.

The demand for power has crossed the 13 lakh unit figure which is causing concern to the board because the demand usually starts tapering off at this time of the year due to the arrival of the monsoon. The board has been able to generate only 737 lakh units from its hydro and hydel projects and is dependent on buying power to offset the demand.

The industrial sector is facing power cuts for about six hours. Villages linked to a single phase line aimed at supplying 24-hour power supply are also facing power cuts of five to seven hours.

The board is buying more than 400 lakh units of power from various organisations, including the National Hydro Power Corporation’s Stations at Bairasul, Tanakpur, Chamera, Uri and Salal for 95 lakh units. It is also buying power from the National Thermal Power Corporation’s plants at Singrauli, Rihind, Anta, Auriaya, Dadri and Unchahar for 235 lakh units. It is getting 72 lakh units from the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant and the Power Trading Corporation.

Sources said the level of the Bhakra Dam was 1,525 feet compared to a level of 1,612 feet last year. Due to the fall in level, power generation had come down.


Rainwater harvesting a must for plot-holders
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 19
The Improvement Trust authorities have decided to make it mandatory for allottees of residential plots, measuring 200 yards and above, to make arrangements for rain harvesting of water at Guru Gobind Singh Avenue and Surya Enclave localities on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway.

The engineering wing of the trust has calculated that if the average annual rainfall of 600mm and 650 mm in Punjab was to be taken into consideration, each holder of a 200 yard plot could make an annual contribution of about 88,700 litres of water for recharging ground water with the help of the rain water harvesting technique, based on the collection of rain water on roofs and floors and its subsequent release into ground water. It has also been calculated that the annual consumption of water by a family of five was not more than 18,250 litres and the final cost of installation of rainwater harvesting technique in a house was between Rs 20000 and Rs 30,000.

The engineers of the trust were of the view that if the technique was adopted by plot-holders, each of them would be making a contribution towards the recharging of groundwater.

The technique had already been adopted on a trial basis in Master Tara Singh Nagar locality, even as the district administration has already put the technique to use in almost all government offices, including the District Administrative Complex.

The Trust authorities have decided to introduce the scheme in a big way in Guru Gobind Singh Avenue where it was going to auction 108 HIG and MIG flats. It would further be extended to Surya Enclave. “In the first phase, the proposed technique would be introduced in HIG, MIG and flats of 200 yards and above. Holders of such properties would be given sewerage connections only after they installed the harvesting system. If a plot or flat holder fails to adopt the scheme, he or she would be subjected to a fine,” maintained an official.


Youth Cong asks BBMB to shun bias
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 19
Youth congress activists and daily wagers of the BBMB today staged a dharna to protest against the alleged discriminatory attitude of the board. About 100 activists sat in front of the BBMB officers club, venue of the national seminar on lined canals, raising slogans against the management. They tried to gain entry into the venue but were stopped by the police. The police also rounded up some of the Youth Congress activists.

The Youth Congress activists led by Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma have been sitting on a dharna for the past 18 days to press for their demands. They have been demanding an end to the alleged discrimination faced by BBMB workers vis-à-vis the officers.

The Youth Congress workers have been demanding that the red permit facility should be extended to all the workers of the BBMB. Presently, only the officers of the BBMB have the privilege to get red permit to see the Bhakra Dam. They have also been protesting against the poor state of the auditorium and facilities in BBMB canal hospital.

The daily wagers have been demanding regularisation of their jobs in BBMB. They alleged that they have been working in BBMB for the last 10 to 15 years. However, none of them has been regularised in the organisation.

The protestors submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Chairman of BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, who assured to look into the demands at a meeting to be convened very soon.


Malaria cases reported from Muktsar, Hoshiarpur
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
If you are living in Muktsar or Hoshiarpur, just be a little more cautious. A majority of malaria cases reported till May end were from these two cities. Otherwise, the incidence of malaria has so far shown a decrease in the state, compared to 2003. In any case, treatment for the disease is being provided free of costs by the health authorities in the state.

Sources in Punjab Health Department revealed that 15 malaria cases were reported till May end, compared to 22 for the corresponding period last year. In 2003, malaria was more or less confined to Amritsar and Ferozepore.

The incidence of malaria had registered an increase in 2003 compared to the previous year. In 2002, 265 cases were reported, compared to 379 the next year. The overall situation in Punjab was “much better” compared to the neighbouring states.

Giving details, a senior doctor in the Health Department revealed that the situation was “alarming” in Rajasthan last year. As many as 1,42,738 malaria cases were reported, besides 66 deaths. The state of affairs was “marginally better” in Haryana. Approximately 4336 were reported. In Jammu and Kashmir 309 cases were reported even though the population in the state is much less compared to neighbouring states.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease in the state, the Health Department has issued detailed guidelines and instructions to the authorities concerned in the districts. They have been asked to be more vigilant in the sensitive areas, besides stepping up surveillance and strengthening anti-malaria measures.

They have been directed to ensure against the presence of stagnant water not only in the cities, but even in the slums and colonies. This was not all. They have been asked to identify sensitive areas and adopt measures for preventing the breeding of mosquitoes by ensuring a layer of oil on stagnant water.

The residents have also been instructed to drain water from the desert coolers, besides other pots and bins in their houses. Advertisements too have been issued for generating awareness in this regard.

The doctor added that June was also observed as “anti-malaria” month to create consciousness and there was no shortage of anti-malaria drugs in the state. Even the preparation and testing of blood sites was being carried free of costs. He adds that malaria transmission season started from May and continued till December. A majority of the cases were reported between July and October.


No hindrance to Punjab buses in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Punjab, today said that Punjab Roadways and the PRTC buses today plied on various routes in Haryana without any hindrance.

Speaking to mediapersons, he said, because of the bandh call in Haryana, state roadways and the PRTC buses were withdrawn from Haryana routes early this morning. However, later buses resumed operation following reports came that the situation was normal on highways and other main roads in Haryana.

He said that he was in touch with Punjab Police authorities concerned to have first hand reports regarding operations of Punjab buses in Haryana.


Suspension of JE, lineman triggers protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
From tomorrow no Junior Engineer or lineman employed with the Punjab State Electricity Board will be available to repair any power supply problem arising in the township. Both the Punjab State Electricity Board Employees Federation and the Junior Engineer Council (PSEB) have decided to go on a strike to protest against the alleged ‘unfair’ suspension of their colleagues.

Two board employees, a Junior Engineer, Mr Jarnail Singh, and an additional lineman Mr Brij Mohan, were suspended on Saturday on charges of conniving with consumers involved in power theft. The two were suspended following the recommendations of an inquiry conducted into a power theft complaint.

In separate meetings of members of the two unions held today, it was decided that while the junior engineers will stage a dharna outside the board’s office every day from 10 am to 12 noon, the linemen will sit on dharna throughout the day. The junior engineers further clarified that they will also not work after 5 pm. These dharnas will continue till the suspension orders were revoked. Union members alleged that Brij Mohan and Jarnail Singh were being framed and the complainant Avtar Singh had been used to plant a complaint against them.

The complainant, Mr Avtar Singh, a resident of Thaska village had on June 23 given it in writing that he was being denied a connection by the PSEB employees on flimsy grounds while others in his village were using electricity free of cost with the active connivance of these employees. An inquiry was ordered and it was reportedly found that a large number of electricity motors were being run by farmers illegally. A report was compiled by senior XEN V.K. Mahajan who recommended the suspension of these two employees.

Mr V.K. Mahajan said the board was geared to deal with any situation arising out of the employees’ strike. He added that in case junior engineers refused to work, action will be taken against them. ‘‘As regards the linemen he said, “We will ensure that the consumers do not face any problem.” He pointed out that the inquiry had been held following directions of the board chairman and the two were found to be involved.. ‘‘However, the board can decide to reinstate the two employees pending investigations,’’ he said adding that reinstatement could be ordered only by the competent authority. 


Bir Devinder to fight for villagers’ cause
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The MLA, Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today reiterated his complete support to the cause of the villagers here protesting against the acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

Mr Bir Devinder Singh was today addressing the villagers at the spot where they have been on a relay fast for the past two months. He assured them that he would intervene in the acquisition process and made sure that the farmers get their due from the government.

Over 500 landlords of villages in Chandigarh’s periphery have been protesting for the past five months against the acquisition of their land. On May 17, the villagers had intensified their stir by starting the relay fast. The strike, that began at the Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Sohana, is continuing till date.

The protesters are demanding the cancellation of the notification issued by the government dated January 19, 2004, with respect to acquisition of approximately 690 acres in five villages. According to the PUDA notification, over 170 acres will be acquired in Sohana village, another 209 acres in Lakhnaur village, 21 acres in Landran, 124 acres in Bermpur and 162 acres in Manak Majra village.

The protesters have asked PUDA to acquire land in accordance with a ‘pooling-in scheme’ being followed in some other states in India. Instead of a monetary compensation, the landowners are demanding a part of the developed land in proportion to the size of the land acquired. On June 9, the Punjab Government had formed a six-member committee to look into the problem of the villagers. 


Community policing centre to be set up in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 19
A community policing resource centre will be set up in Ropar. It will have an extension centre at Mohali. Mr S.K. Sharma, Inspector General of Police, Jalandhar zone, told this to mediapersons at a press conference. He said information regarding dowry cases, FIRs, passports would be sent from Ropar to the extension counter at Mohali so that people did not have to go to Ropar. He said that the police could not directly interfere in certain types of offences which affected the quality of life. In such cases, the help of the community was needed.

Units of volunteers could be raised in different residential colonies which could solve certain cases at their own level by taking help from the police. The IGP said quick response teams would be constituted to reach a spot of crime for immediate investigation.

He said that the number of fatal accidents on the stretch of the state highway adjoining Kharar had gone up.

One of the reasons for such accidents was overspeeding. The highway patrol police would check overspeeding, he added.

He appealed to the public to keep the police informed about migrant labourers and domestic helps engaged by them.

If people failed to comply in this regard.

The police would be compelled to take action under Section 188 of the IPC against them, he warned.

He added that the satellite system linking the police stations in Punjab with those in other parts of the country could become functional in about two months.


Historic gate on verge of collapse
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 19
Another historic gate is set to be wiped out from the face of the city with one of the massive gates of the Samania Gate becoming unhinged and falling on the other gate.

The city is left with only four historic gates now including the Samania Gate. The last historic gate to vanish was the Sheranwala Gate. A massive structure, it was pulled down by the shopkeepers of the area once it became unsafe in the eighties and no attempt was made by the government or the district administration to save it.

One of the massive wooden gates of the Samania Gate became unhinged yesterday evening and fell on the other gate of the structure. The loud noise created a scare among people of the area and there was apprehension that the gate itself might collapse as it is in dilapidated condition.

Ironically the Patiala Heritage Society had decided to restore the Samania Gate before this year’s Heritage Festival which is held in February. The society had aimed at collecting funds for the purpose from private donors and taking up the project on a priority basis with the aim of replicating the work in the other three historic gates - Sunami Gate, Darshani Gate and Sirhindi Gate. Though the Sirhindi Gate had been repaired a few years ago, the Sunami and Darshani Gates are in a dilapidated condition. However, the project could not take off.

The Samania Gate is a massive structure, which was constructed by Maharaja Narinder Singh, who was responsible for the construction of 10 gates in the walled city. The gates, besides being used for the safety purposes and regulating trade and commerce, also served cultural and religious purposes. The gates had rooms for those responsible for manning them. These gates also had a room where the holy Guru Granth Sahib was kept. “Path” from Guru Granth Sahib was recited throughout the day.

The Samania Gate had fallen on bad times recently. Blatant spiking of the gate to install iron angles to hold electricity wires has damaged it. Besides this seepage into the walls from the rooms on the first floor of the structure have damaged the building with large cracks appearing on it. It has also been defaced extensively.

The DC, Mr Tejveer Singh said he had asked the PWD Executive Engineer to visit the spot and look into means to fix the door again. He said the door was massive and it would require some effort to get it back on its hinges. Mr Tejveer Singh said the Heritage Society had also contacted the INTACH Chairman, Mr S.K. Misra, on the issue.


PSEB engineers flay privatisation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 19
An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of PSEB Engineers’ Association was held here yesterday in which the proposed move of the Punjab Government to unbundle the PSEB “in a secretive manner without involving all stake holders in this exercise” was criticised.

Association members 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 was put under a scanner by the Congress-led UPA government. 


PSEB technical union members hold convention
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
A state-level convention of members of the Technical Services Union of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was held at the Haunman Mandir in Phase 3B2 here today. More than 350 members of the union attended the meeting organised by the Zirakpur division.

The members discussed various problems being faced by technical employees of the Board. The members condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to unbundle the Board. They pointed out that the government’s decision would lead to a sharp hike in the electricity prices. Mr Jai Krishan, president of the union, appealed to the members to stay united so that their voice could be heard effectively by the decision makers.


High Court
Poaching case: Govt asked to examine witnesses' statements
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave time to the Punjab Government to look into the statements of two main witnesses in the Pathankot poaching case that they have been receiving threatening calls.

The two - Mr Gunraz Singh and Mr Sukhdeep Bajwa, both guards in the Forest Department - have filed an application in the court seeking its intervention in the matter.

Giving some telephone numbers, the applicants have stated that they have received threats on their telephone, asking them to remove themselves from the case.

It may be recalled that the then Pathankot Sub-Divisional Magistrate Puneet Goel and his two accomplices had allegedly killed two peacocks and four other birds in a shooting spree. They had been caught and booked for the crime. Mr Goel was later transferred by the Punjab Government.

In their applications, the duo has requested the court to get the culprits, who have been threatening them, traced and booked under law. They have also alleged that some senior Punjab Police officers are involved in the matter.

After hearing counsel, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Ropy and Mr Justice Surya Kant adjourned the matter to July 30.

Sehajdhari panel

The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, petitioner in an ongoing case in the High Court seeking voting rights in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), have filed an application in the matter.

Their earlier application for stay of the electoral process, which was completed on July 11, had been earlier declined as the election process had already started.

In their application, the federation has prayed that various newspaper reports about the irregularities on the polling day be taken on record.

Citing reports, the federation has stated that while decisive votes of Sehadhari Sikhs were not allowed to be cast, patit Sikhs and others who, it had been decided, would not be allowed to vote, had been able to cast their votes.

Since counsel for the Punjab Government, who was slated to come from New Delhi could not make it, the case was adjourned to July 29.


Trial against Gurdev Badal stayed
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 19
The Supreme Court today stayed trial proceedings against former Punjab Minister Gurdev Singh Badal in a Rs 1.07 crore corruption case, while issuing notice to the state government on his petition challenging his prosecution.

The stay was granted by a Bench of Mr Justice Y. K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice D. M. Dharmadhikari on a petition by Gurdev Singh Badal, challenging his prosecution on the ground that the government had not sought required sanction from the competent authority for this.

Senior advocate Jawahar Lal Gupta, who appeared for him, told the court that the sanction was mandatory under the Prevention of Corruption Act for the prosecution of a public servant and stay has been granted earlier in two other cases, including a case against Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal was charged with “misusing” public fund to the tune of Rs 1.07 crore during his tenure as minister in the Akali Dal ministry, headed by Parkash Singh Badal.

He was also charged with giving promotion to his favorites and allegedly amassing huge “immovable and moveable assets” during his tenure.

The case was registered against him by the Amarinder Singh government after assuming power in 2002.


Probe ordered into extortion case
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 19
Taking serious note of the alleged human rights violations against a lab technician trainer pursuing a diploma course in Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has marked a probe into the involvement of a doctor of the college in extortion.

The case will come up for hearing before the commission on August 11.

The PSHRC has asked the Deputy Commissioner and the Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, to submit their reports before the date of hearing.

Pavittar Singh, a resident of Muktsar, in his complaint to the PSHRC, alleged that Dr Ashutosh Talwar and MLT Joseph forcibly collected Rs 100 each from lab technicians for the purchase of an apparatus in the Microbiology Department. When Pavittar failed to give Rs 100 owing to his weak economic background, Dr Ashutosh and MLT Joseph started “harassing” him. Pavittar has sought action against both of them for “humiliating him on a caste basis and compelling him to do menial work in the department”.

Later, the complaint was forwarded to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Acting on the complaint, the President’s Secretariat issued a missive to the Chief Secretary, Punjab Government, for taking action in the matter. The PSHRC observed that from the charges levelled in the complaint, a prima facie case was made out under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, for intervention of the commission.


Ludhiana DC summoned
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma to appear in court on July 22 to explain why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against him for not implementing court orders.

Taking up the application filed by Ms Ravneet Kaur of Habbowal, near Ludhiana, in which she has stated that despite court orders, the DC refused to get her marriage to an Australian citizen registered or pass a speaking order on her application. Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla summoned the DC.

Earlier, the court had directed the DC to pass a speaking order on the application of Ms Ravneet and Mr Maxwell Moore to marry under the Special Marriages Act.

However, without giving any reason the DC refused to follow court orders.


Case of fraud detected
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 19
The police has unearthed a case of fraud under which a truck driver had disappeared with 180 quintals of wheat loaded in his truck from godowns of FCI here. A case under Sections 407/468/471 of the IPC has been registered.

The police sources said the owner of M/s Gagan Traders, Hoshiarpur road, Baljit Singh Walia, a resident of Khalwaragate, was an FCI contractor who had sent a supply of wheat in a truck provided by New Sethi Roadline, Ludhiana on December 5, last year, for Neer Bazar, Sri Nagar in J&K.

However, the truck never reached its destination. It disappeared on its way along with the wheat bags.

The contractor reported the matter to the police. During investigations, the police found that the truck carried a fake number.

The truck actually belonged to Gurnam Singh alias Gama, of Dublehar. The police has impounded the truck from Jammu and a search is on to nab the suspect. 


Smack worth Rs 1 cr seized
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 19
The district police today made the biggest ever seizure since this district was created. It seized 900 gm of smack worth Rs 1 crore in the international market from Har Bhagwan Singh, a resident of Malout town.

While Har Bhagwan Singh, a school drop-out, supplying smack to the new entrants in the colleges dotting Muktsar, Abohar and Fazilka areas, has been arrested. The police has also identified three other agents, who also involved in this.

Mr R.S. Khatra, district police chief, today said that smack was seized from Har Bhagwan Singh, at a naka laid by a police party near Barkandi village. Har Bhagwan Singh, who was travelling in a car bearing registration number of Delhi turned back after he saw the police check-post.

Suspicious over his action, the police party then chased the accused. While fleeing his car got stuck in a rainy drain. During the search of the car, 900 gm smack was seized in the presence of DSP, Gurmeet Singh.

The DSP said the accused had been getting smack from Kota Bundi area of Rajasthan. The accused used to give two doses of smack, free of cost, to the new entrants in the colleges especially students of plus one and plus two classes, on two consecutive days. When they got addicted and demanded more, the accused used to charge money.

He said that three other associates of Har Bhagwan Singh used to take bulk supply from him (Har Bhagwan Singh) and would sell it to the students of other colleges in this region. During preliminary investigation, it was found that Har Bhagwan was operating in Abohar and Fazilka.


Pbi varsity to shift Jaito computer centre
Tribune News Service

Jaito (Faridkot), July 19
Punjabi University, Patiala, has decided to shift the computer centre it is running in the Jaito block to Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district. This has come as a jolt for those willing to learn computers in this small town.

The centre was set up here about five years ago, but due to lack of amenities it failed to attract students. The centre was running from a “dharamshala”. But it was a boon for those who were interested in computers.

According to the university officials, the reason behind the shifting this computer centre was less number of students. Lack of proper accommodation and basic amenities led to a decline in the number of students with each passing session.

There were talks of providing a better building, hostel and canteen facilities at the computer centre and the municipal council even offered a piece of land for the same, but the university officials rejected it.

Municipal Council president and various political parties have termed the university’s move as unfortunate.


Dharna against teacher’s suspension
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 19
The Punjab Government-aided School Teachers Union has launched an indefinite dharna to protest against the suspension of a teacher by SD Senior Secondary School. The protesters said that Amar Singh had been suspended illegally and they would continue their agitation till he was reinstated.

Leaders of the union including Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, Mr B.S. Rana and Mr Puran Singh Sandhu, said that a teacher could not be suspended in this manner and it was essential to hear his version before taking any such step. Terming the school management’s step as dangerous, the union leaders said that all teachers of government-aided schools should come out in support of Amar Singh.

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