P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC’s U-turn; reinstates granthi on Badal’s intervention
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
In a surprising volte-face, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) today reinstated Giani Mohan Singh as additional Head Granthi, Golden Temple, after two days of his unceremonious sacking.

This decision was taken after the direct intervention of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who had reportedly conveyed his displeasure to the working President of SGPC, Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, on the sacking of Gaini Mohan Singh.

Earlier, Giani Mohan Singh had called Mr Mahesh inder Singh Grewal, a former Akali minister, for taking up the matter with the SAD President. At that time Mr Badal was holding meeting with Mr Grewal at his residence. Then Giani Mohan Singh spoke to Mr Badal and told him how he had been humiliated by the SGPC which had sacked him without giving any proper notice though he was performing his duties without claiming any salary.

When contacted, Mr Raghbir Singh, personal assistant to SGPC Chief, confirmed that services of Giani Mohan Singh had been retained. He said the decision to this effect had been taken in view of various Sikh centenaries which fall this year. Interestingly, Mr Raghbir Singh said that Giani Mohan Singh would now be performing ‘katha’ in Darbar Sahib in addition to his routine duties.

With this the SGPC would allow Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to hold the additional charge of priest of Golden Temple. Earlier after the unceremonious removal of Giani Mohan Singh, Jathedar Vedanti had reportedly made up his mind to resign as Granthi, Golden Temple.

Like Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Chief Secretary, SGPC, Gaini Mohan Singh was also sacked on the pretext that he had crossed the age of 60 years. The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission had directed the SGPC to remove all employees who had been continuing despite the fact that they had crossed 60 years.

The question now arose that if the services of Giani Mohan Singh had been retained in wake of forthcoming Sikh centenaries, whether Mr Badal would now also intervene to reinstate Mr Calcutta and others who had been also removed from their respective posts, unceremoniously.


Officials prepare for finance panel’s visit tomorrow
State may seek adequate share in Central taxes
PPS Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
There is a flurry of activity in Punjab over the proposed visit of the Twelfth Finance Commission to the state on July 22.

The state had submitted a memorandum to the commission in March, 2003. It is now being brushed up and the speech of the Chief Minister is being carefully packed with politically correct grammar. Steps have been taken to implement the reform agenda, highlighting the state's commitment to fiscal policy and financial management.

The commission team will be headed by its Chairman, Dr C Rangarajan, and will include Mr T R Prasad, Prof. D K Srivastava and Dr S N Acharya, all

members, and the member-secretary, Mr G C Srivastava. Besides interaction with Chief Minister and bureaucrats, the commission will meet business, industry and trade magnates, political parties and representatives from urban and rural Punjab.

While Punjab would seek adequate share from the net Central taxes, it has also crafted principles that should govern ordinary grants-in-aid out of the consolidated fund of India as well as revenues under Article 275 of the Constitution. It would suggest measures to augment the consolidated fund to supplement resources of the panchayats and municipalities. Besides, it has devoted a chapter for financial allocation under ''special problems'' .

The commission visit has come at a time when the World Bank's ''Punjab Development Report'' is making waves and a number of other reports on governance, financial, social, economic and service sectors, agriculture and industry, power, tax management etc. are available. All these reports laud Punjab for its ''earnest'' efforts to initiate reforms, articulate its intentions to implement them and then wonder how Punjab failed to perform, thus giving policy reversal to its own commitments.

The World Bank is even apprehensive that given the spectrum of ''other'' political priorities, Punjab may not achieve its committed fiscal indicators, mentioned in the MediumTerm Fiscal Reforms Programme, and may even put on the back-burner the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act,2003.

It is in this backdrop that the commission's visit assumes significance and also when Punjab has just had an administrative reshuffle, including a change of guard in the Department of Finance, where Mr K R Lakhanpal has returned. Thus, how far Punjab succeeds in convincing, influencing and winning over the commission will depend on several factors, including ''political will and not words or fiscal figures or only articulating and not implementing reforms''. Punjab, sources say, has raised questions over several principles that govern the present system of devolution of funds to the state and has referred to the recommendations of the previous commissions. While suggesting radical changes in the parametres governing funding pattern of the states, Punjab has pointed out that developed states should not be made to ''suffer''.

Punjab will try to justify its claims to higher financial benefits. These include ''freeing'' Punjab from the obligation of repayment of the special term loan obtained to combat insurgency, address to the ''special problems'' and seeking that its financial burden be lessened, regardless whether it was revenue surplus before devolution of funds or not.

The memorandum says that states have a ''narrow, in-elastic'' tax base with limited tax coverage potential. Therefore, a minimum of 50 per cent of the net Central tax revenue should be assigned to states and their percentage share determined at 40 per cent—2005-07, 45 per cent—2007-09 and 50 per cent— 2009-2010. Punjab wants a share of each state in the divisible pool determined as follows: 70 per cent on population basis, census-1971; 20 per cent on size of the gross domestic product; and 10 per cent on fiscal discipline.

On grants-in-aid, Punjab says the commission must give these to the states to cover their deficits on revenue account— Plan and non-Plan—and that the Centre should limit its expenditure for apportioning larger share to states.

The commission should recommend grants for modernisation, upgradation of standards of administration and services as well.

Punjab has suggested that the commission provide sufficient funds for civic amenities and maintaining of existing services in urban and rural areas. These amenities were water, sewerage, surface drainage, solid waste management, roads, street lights etc.

To promote girl education, the commission should provide Punjab Rs 75 crore for five years, as against Rs 30 crore by 11th commission. It has also demanded Rs 250 crore for five years for socio-economic, infrastructure development of the border districts.

Punjab has 533 km international border, where people virtually live on the razor's edge and are denied basic amenities, despite braving and bearing with the brunt of wars or war-like situations, that caused loss of incomes and economies.

Punjab has also sought money for reviving stagnant agriculture and also improving living and socio-economic conditions of the Scheduled Castes. For the latter, Punjab has sought Rs 500 crore for five years.

Punjab would also urge the commission to pay special attention to the financial requirements of Panchayati Raj institutions and urban civic bodies. To make up for missing or deplorable basic civic amenities in villages, Punjab has sought Rs 240 crore annually.

The debt position, bank and block loans for plan schemes, repayment burden of interest and principal sum, World Bank assistance by way of structural adjustment loan and specific projects are explained at length in the memorandum.

Punjab wants reduction in the rate of interest on small savings loans and to also reflect market conditions from time-to-time; grant of loan component ratio of 30: 70, fixed decades ago, revised to 70:30; Central assistance for plan schemes paid up in lumpsum with major slice as grants and flexibility for its allocation across development projects; and allowing states consolidation and rescheduling of repayment of Central loans outstanding on March 31, 2005, over a period of 25 years to 30 years.

If Punjab has sought financing of relief expenditure, it has also suggested coverage of relief fund enlarged to include calamities caused by pests and waterlogging, besides enhancing relief fund for Punjab from Rs 508.57 crore to Rs 1,500 crore for five years, 2005-2010.


Does Eradi Tribunal have any relevance today?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Will the visit of the Eradi Tribunal to Punjab and Haryana serve any purpose in view of the latest developments with regard to river waters in this region? This question has assumed significance, especially after the abrogation of all water related agreements by the Punjab Assembly by passing an Act.

All the three members of the Eradi Tribunal headed by Justice V. Balakrishna Eradi will visit certain parts of Punjab and Haryana on this week end. It would be second visit of the Tribunal to this part of the country. Earlier about two months ago, members of the Tribunal had visited certain parts of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, especially Nangal dam to have first hand assessment about river waters.

The Eradi Tribunal was set up by the Union Government on April 2, 1986, under the Inter-State River Waters Disputes Act, 1956, in which a new Section 14 was incorporated making the Rajiv-Longowal accord its basis. In fact, para 9.1 and para 9.2 of the accord was made terms of reference of the Tribunal.

Tribunal’s report, that was kept under wraps by the Union Government for five months, was made public on May 20, 1987, a few weeks before the Assembly elections in Haryana. Obviously, the Tribunal report was released before elections with any eye on the Assembly elections in Haryana, as its ( Haryana) share was increased to 3.83 MAF from 3.50 MAF, which was given to it through 1981 award. Punjab’s share was also enhanced to 5 MAF from 4.22 MAF.

To oppose the report, Punjab filed its objections with the Tribunal. There has been a provision for filing such objections. Haryana also made submission to the Tribunal. However, on those objections, the Tribunal is yet to give its verdict.

When Tribunal’s report was made public in 1987, it was rejected by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, the then Chief Minister and also Capt Amarinder Singh, the present Chief Minister. At that time, Capt Amarinder Singh was in the Shiromani Akali Dal. In fact both Mr Barnala and Capt Amarinder Singh then wrote articles in The Tribune criticising the Tribunal’s verdict and for “cooking up imaginary waters data” to increase share of Punjab and Haryana. Capt Amarinder Singh, who spearheaded the abrogation of water related agreements a few weeks ago, had taken the same stand on waters issue in 1987. In fact, he had also criticised the Eradi Tribunal for brazenly violating the terms of reference while calculating water related data and flow series period to adjudicate river waters dispute.

However, a new dimension has been added to the Tribunal story now. The Punjab Assembly has annulled all water related agreements including agreement of 1981 and river waters related sections of the Rajiv- Longowal accord. In other words, for Punjab these agreements hold no legal sanctity. Then on what basis would Punjab accept the final report of the Tribunal when it (Punjab) has already annulled the agreement on the basis of which the Union Government had set up the Tribunal?

Mr Manjit Singh Khaira, a senior advocate of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who appeared on behalf of Punjab in river waters case when Mr Barnala was Chief Minister and also at the time of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that the visit of the Eradi Tribunal to Punjab would be a futile exercise.

He said that Punjab’s case did not fall in the category of inter-state river waters disputes and, hence, no Tribunal could be set up to decide this case. He said that Punjab’s stand after the abrogation of agreements was clear that Haryana and Rajasthan were non-riparian states, and these were not entitled for any share from Punjab’s river waters.


Panthic Morcha pats Amarinder on SYL canal issue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
In a significant development which can have far-reaching effects on the state political scenario, leaders of some constituents of the Panthic Morcha, while appreciating the role of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on the SYL canal issue, predicted that the Panthic Morcha may disintegrate if its senior leaders failed to shed their ego.

Alleging that a majority of the Panthic Morcha candidates had tasted defeat in the recently held SGPC elections due to the ego of these leaders, they said if due representation was not given to all constituents in the set-up, it would soon disintegrate. Mr Gurkirpal Singh, president, Sikh Front (International), and Mr Amrik Singh Dharmi Fauji, chairman, Sikh Dharmi Fauji Association, while talking to mediapersons today, pointed out that the Panthic Morcha could have won about 30 seats more in the SGPC elections if the egoist leaders had not inordinately delayed its formation.

If these leaders continued to behave in the same fashion, then it would be difficult to defeat Mr Badal in the political and religious arenas.

They alleged that Mr Badal and Mr Jai Singh Sekhon, Chief Gurdwara Election Commissioner, had made a lot of bunglings in the SGPC elections to ensure the victory of SAD candidates and should be summoned at Akal Takht by its Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, for awarding punishment to them as per Sikh traditions. Praising Capt Amarinder Singh for his stand of the SYL canal issue, these leaders said people of Punjab would always respect him.

They said Capt Amarinder Singh was a true sympathiser of Punjab and a protector of the interests of the poor.

They alleged that the Union Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who had been made the in charge of Congress affairs of Punjab by the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had been making irrelevant statements in connection with Punjab. They appealed to Mrs Gandhi to ask Mr Mukherjee to exercise restraint.


Amarinder summoned in defamation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
On a complaint of a senior leader of the SAD, a local court today summoned the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in a defamation case.

Pronouncing the order, Mr P.R. Sharma, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), summoned the Chief Minister on September 18. The complainant, Mr N.S. Minhas, had contended that the Chief Minister had defamed the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, through advertisements in various newspapers in 2002.

In his complaint, Mr Minhas stated the PPCC, under the presidentship of Capt Amarinder Singh, had issued advertisements in various newspapers alleging shady deals between Mr Badal and the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala. It was alleged that Mr Badal had mortgaged Punjab’s interests in the SYL canal to Haryana in lieu of a “gift” of 22 acres of prime land in Gurgaon worth Rs 500 crore.

It was also alleged that in the advertisements it had been mentioned that Mr Badal and his family had amassed wealth worth about Rs 3,500 crore in India, the USA and Australia. All this was done to get votes during the Punjab Assembly elections of 2002, Mr Minhas argued.

That this is the third time the Punjab Chief Minister would be appearing in the district courts in such a case. Mr Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal had filed defamation cases against him earlier.


2,000 tonnes of garbage piles up in Patiala
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
From being the city of gardens to the city of garbage, Patiala has earned a new epithet with more than 2,000 tonnes of garbage lying on its streets and diarrhoea cases on the rise. The district administration has remained a mute spectator so far with corporation employees refusing to work unless the government took action against doctors of Government Rajindra Hospital whose negligence had allegedly led to the death of a union leader on July 8.

It has been 13 days since the death of union leader Harjit Singh, who had succumbed to his injuries in Rajindra Hospital, after assailants threw acid on him while he was on his way to work on a scooter. The corporation employees have boycotted sweeping the streets and lifting of garbage. Garbage has accumulated in huge quantities at all major dumps in the city and even the “ganda nala” which flows through the city is choked with it.

Heaps of cow dung can be seen next to the garbage dumps because of the large number of dairies in the city. Dairy owners, besides dumping the dung at the garbage dumping sites, have also resorted to throwing it into the ‘ganda nala’ and other drains in the city. This has clogged a number of drains.

Huge heaps of garbage can be seen at the Quila Chowk and the Arna Barna Chowk and these are also obstructing the traffic movement. The situation near the ‘Sabji Mandi’ is much worse because of the stench emanating from rotten vegetables lying in the dumps there. The situation in the colonies in the city as well as in the suburbs is not much different. In the outer colonies municipal employees are not letting private sweepers engaged by the respective colony residents, to pick up garbage. In some areas like Khalsa Mohala, residents have taken to cleaning the drains and the streets themselves.

Around 50 cases of diarrhoea, viral and conjunctivitis have been reported from the city. Sources said there could be more such cases in the slums which have not been reported. Sources maintained that diarrhoea cases had been reported after a recent spell of rain in the city. They said any further rain could lead to more water-borne diseases due to large scale presence of garbage all around the city.

Corporation sources disclosed that the city generated around 200 tonnes of garbage every day. They said according to this estimate, more than 2,000 tonnes of garbage was lying in dumps across the city. Residents of the city want an immediate solution to the problem. Ranjit Singh of Sheranwala Gate said as the Municipal Corporation had failed to make the employees resume their duties, the district administration should intervene and get the garbage lifted. Sarwan Kumar of Quila Chowk said the garbage could be lifted by engaging private workers and help could be taken from the police to ensure that no one interfered with the exercise. He said it was amazing that the district administration was allowing itself to be black-mailed for so long.


State to have hazardous waste treatment facility
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
Hazardous waste generating industry in Punjab is set to have its own facility with the process of land acquisition being started at Nimbuan village in the Dera Bassi subdivision of this district.

The site, which has been selected by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), has been granted a no-objection certificate. Representatives of Nimbuan village and the adjacent areas have visited a similar treatment facility at Ankeshwar and Surat.

The Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC) has been declared as a nodal agency for development of the facility. A technical committee with members of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests has been constituted by the state government to ensure that the project is completed as per the guidelines. According to the PPCB, major generators of hazardous waste in the state have been asked to take the initiative for creating the facility. Board Member Secretary Malvinder Singh said the major generators had formed Nimbuan Greenfield Punjab Limited. He said the company had given the contract to a private company for the inventorising and quantification of hazardous waste which was likely to be completed by July 31.

According to a submission made in this regard to the CPCB recently, the private company has given an undertaking to start operations at the site by December 2005. The company is yet to finalise an operator who will run the facility on a build, operate and own facility.

Following a preliminary study it has been found that 14 major dumping sites in the state contain hazardous waste material despite clear cut instructions that no hazardous waste is to be dumped in the open.


No action against doctor as Bhattal in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
The state government has not taken any action against doctors of the Government Rajindra Hospital who have been accused of an “inexcusable delay” in the treatment of corporation union leader Harjit Singh.

Health Secretary Satish Chandra said no action could be taken on the report submitted by a three-member team including the Civil Surgeon, Sub Divisional Magistrate and the Corporation Assistant Commissioner because Higher Education Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was in Delhi. He said Ms Bhattal was scheduled to come to Chandigarh on July 22 following which the report would be presented to her.

Mr Chandra said the report submitted to him by the committee had reported a “system failure” in the hospital when the union leader was admitted there. He said as the intercom service was not operational a lot of delay had been caused in getting doctors to attend to the union leader. Besides this, he said, the report had mentioned that the patient had been admitted to the ICU after two hours when it should have been done in 25 minutes at the most. This the report had termed as “inexcusable”. The Health Secretary said the department was verifying which doctors were on duty at the time when the union leader was admitted to the hospital following which action would be recommended against them.

Meanwhile, Mayor Vishnu Sharma tried to break the deadlock between the corporation employees and the doctors by holding a meeting with union leaders. Mr Sharma told TNS that he had asked the employees to start sweeping and garbage-lifting operations while promising them that their demand for action against the doctors of the hospital was being looked into. He said the union leaders had told him that they would consider this request at a meeting of the union scheduled for tomorrow.

The Mayor also disclosed that he had called a meeting tomorrow to discuss the current crisis. He said the General House may also make an appeal to the corporation employees in this regard. Mr Sharma said he had also apprised Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of the issue adding the Chief Minister had directed Senior Superintendent of Police A S Rai to take steps to nab the culprits responsible for throwing acid on the union leader.

Meanwhile, according to a press note the municipal employees will hold a protest rally at the Major Manvendra Singh Chowk tomorrow and then proceed to the residence of the Chief Minister to demand action against “negligent” doctors.

The doctors, staff nurses and para medical staff held a rally on the hospital premises. They demanded immediate arrest of those responsible for the acid attack on Harjit Singh. They also claimed that they would intensify their agitation in case any action was taken against doctors or staff members of the hospital under pressure from the corporation employees.


Core panel fails to arrive at consensus on Punwire
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Government-appointed core committee on revival of Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) today failed to arrive at a consensus regarding the future plans, if any, to bring the failed company back on its feet. The Rs 500-crore company’s Mohali unit is closed since the last over five years.

Members of the core group at its meeting held today under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Surinder Singla, while expressing its reservations on the revival plan, suggested alternate means. The same would be considered after a period of three months.

The prestigious company, which paid handsome dividends to shareholders for over 20 years, had wound up because of gross mismanagement and alleged embezzlements. The firm, which supplied communication systems to the Indian Army, stopped operations in 1999 when the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered its winding up. The CBI is currently investigating the scam.

Sources in the Department of Industries reveal that most of the members who attended the meeting expressed apprehensions on the viability of the revival plan and the huge sum required for the same. The report pertaining to the revival of the beleaguered company was discussed at the meeting wherein it was suggested that it was not possible to implement the proposed revival plan as it would only spell “deep trouble” as the matter is subjudice and the company is already under liquidation.

A senior officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “We can’t even look at the machinery without the permission of the court. So, how does one make such big investments on arranging the working capital to the tune of Rs 25 crore for its revival? Certain steps have been suggested and the progress of the same would be reviewed after three months for the government to take a final decision as to whether it wants to liquidate the company’s assets and close it or revive it”.

The delay will put former Punjab Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder in a piquant situation as he has constantly been doling out promises for its revival and had only before the Assembly elections told the people of Kharar constituency that he would get the unit revived if elected to power.

But even after over two years no concrete word has come from its promoter Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and the financial institutions that have a stake in the company.

Mr Bir Devinder, who has been spearheading the move to revive the unit is not prepared to give up and plans to take up the issue with Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee. He is of the view that the company can be revived over a period of time and can once again become profit-making if they start getting defence orders for communication equipment again.

Mr Bir Devinder, who is keen to fulfil his promise to the people of his constituency is convinced that revival is the only viable solution. If the assets of the company are disposed off, employees and institutions would get only Rs 40 crore out of the total Rs 180 crore. The unsecured creditors would hardly get anything out of their stake of Rs 450 crore. The firm owes its creditors and employees Rs 650 crore.

“If liquidation happens only the first charge holders and the employees of the company will stand to benefit, but if it is started again it can become a profit-making company within a few years if it is able to rope in good clients like the Army and the paramilitary forces”. Besides hundreds of people can get back to work. He said the Finance Minister had also expressed his keenness on its revival and assured that he would take it up with the Chief Minister. The matter would also be taken up with the Defence Minister.

Mohali (TNS): The Government of Punjab will move an application before the Punjab and Haryana High Court to stay the sale of assets of Punwire for a period of six months in view of the fact that the core group constituted by the Punjab Government was seriously examining the possibility of the company’s revival.

This was decided during the second meeting of the core group formed by the Punjab Government to revive Punwire held today under the chairmanship of Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab. A viability appraisal report prepared by the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) was discussed during the meeting attended by the Kharar MLA and Mr Jai Singh Gill, the Chief Secretary Punjab, among others.

Addressing a press conference in Mohali after the meeting, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said that the Punjab Government through the PSIDC will ask for time from the courts to give the revival proposal a chance. He added that the government will also seek permission from the company’s official liquidator for inspection of the plant and machinery by a team of technical experts to be appointed by the government. The team will assess the present condition of the machinery and the amount of expenditure required to bring it into working condition. This team will look into the need to upgrade the existing plant and machinery in view of changes in technology in telecommunication sector during past 4 years and to make an estimate of expenses involved to upgrade the technology. “Particularly switching over to digital technology from the analog technology for communication equipments which was being supplied to defence. The company has the capacity to get into mobile technology also,” said Mr B.S. Baidwan, former President Mohali Industries Association. Mr Baidwan had prepared the rehabilitation plan for revival of Punwire that was presented before the core group in the first meeting held on April 12, 2004 under the chairmanship of then Finance Minister Lal Singh.

Another team of experts will be appointed to study the market potential of the products being manufactured by Punwire and also to look into the possibility of manufacturing other products with the existing plant and machinery, said Mr Bir Devinder.

It was also decided that the entire process of technical and commercial feasibility study will be completed within two month from today.


NHRO’s list on false encounters ‘vindicates’ Khalra
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar July 20
Mr Bahal Singh lost his 25-year-old graduate, married son Nishan Singh a resident of Ranian village under the Lopoke police station. He was pursuing his studies in Khalsa College at the time. On June 18, 1989 a CRPF party surrounded his house and stripped Bahal Singh (father) naked and forced him to disclose whereabouts of his son who was sleeping near a tubewell when he was arrested and taken to BR Model School Interrogation Center. Two days later Amritsar’s SSP announced that Nishan was a BTF terrorist. Nishan confessed to it as he was tortured . In his last meeting with his father at Sadar Police Station Nishan had told his father that he was innocent. Fourteen-days later he was produced at a magistrates house quietly . the same evening Bahal heard on radio a news of his son’s death in an encounter. The police claimed that he was killed in crossfire with terrorists and was cremated unidentified.

Jagir Kaur mother of Harinder Singh (22) in her report stated that her son used to visit Harmandar Sahib and other shrines regularly became a suspect and was picked up on July 16, 1990 by the police. He was produced before a magistrate when the police claimed to have arrested him after an encounter. On August 30 Harinder Singh along with Parminder were to be presented before a court but never done their trust death in crossfire with terrorists was announced in an encounter in next morning’s newspaper .

Kuldeep Singh(26) of Sarhali Khurd was trapped in the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar and arrested under the NSA till 1989 as reported by his uncle Harjeet Singh . Even after his release the police continued raids and in March 1991 newspapers reported his death as a militant committing suicide by consuming cyanide.

Mr Chain Singh Dhillon lost his both sons Ajinderpal Singh a lance Naik Army in and his nephew Kanwal Nain Singh residents of Mane ki Patti in Kasel village. Belonging to a family of freedom fighters Ajinderpal was on leave when he became a victim of false case in 1989 and eliminated on March 21, 1991 according to a newspaper report .

Pathetic is the case of Beer Singh (30) who according to his father Mr Virsa Singh was killed when he had gone to see a film in Amritsar. His friend informed his parents of the shooting of their son at the Sultanwind road and cremated as unidentified.

Gurinder Singh a polio afflicted a high school student was arrested on August 5, 1991 by an Army patrol and reportedly committed suicide when surrounded by Gharinda police station officers. Two boys were cremated together as unidentified . These and many such cases have been recorded in detail in a book “Reduced to Ashes “—the Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab written by Mr Ram Narayan Kumar with Amrik Singh , Ashok Aggarwal and Jaskaran Kaur a 635-page book and released last year.

The Human Rights Organisation (NHRO) led by Mr Surinder Singh Gharyala, today welcomed the initiative of the National Human Rights Commission to admit and publish details of 2097 persons cremated as unidentified killed in encounters by the Punjab Police and para-military forces in the state from June 1984 to December 1994.

Mr Ghariyala said the four full page advertisements in regional and national dailies enlisting those who had died thus and inviting applications for claims had vindicated the exposure made by late Mr Jaswant Singh Khalra who allegedly was killed by vested interests for exposing the mass killings and cremations . “It is a historic leap towards justice for Jaswant Singh Khalra’s struggle”, they added .

The three lists are from Police districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Majitha .

A meeting of the NHRO’s office-bearers including Bibi Paramjit Kaur Khalra wife of Jaswant Khalra held here today stated that the said notice makes a mockery of the reported statement of the then police chief, that the missing boys had fled to foreign countries. The police did not kill them and Jaswant Khalra was a liar .

They said the list released was the same that Jaswant Singh Khalra had presented to the Canadian Parliament in front of 51 MPs in the house of Representatives there in 1994.

The NHRO has expressed apprehension that all accused officers and other police personnel involved in these false encounters would try to suppress the claims by all means . Hence these officers should be identified and transferred to far flung places so that they were unable to put pressure on the kin of victims.


Government sacks convicted DDPO
Tribune news service

Amritsar, July 20
The state government today dismissed Mr Bhagwan Singh Garewal, District Development and Panchayats Officer (DDPO), following his conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Though he was convicted by Mr Kewal Kumar, Special Judge, Jalandhar, on January 22, he had been evading dismissal due to political pressure. Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, who earlier held the portfolio of Rural Development, did not clear the file pertaining to the dismissal of Mr Garewal despite the fact that Mr A. P. Pandey, ADGP (Vigilance Bureau), and Mr G. S. Sandhu, Secretary, Rural Development, had sent a number of reminders.

However, a few days after taking over the portfolio of Rural Development by Mr Lal Singh, the file was promptly cleared.

When contacted, Mr S. R. Ladhar, Director, Rural Development, confirmed that Mr Garewal had been dismissed with immediate effect. The order in this regard has been issued by Mr G. S. Sandhu, Secretary, Rural Department. The order read that Mr Garewal was convicted on criminal charges in January.

Earlier, Mr Amarjit Singh, Superintendent, Mr Malkiat Singh, BDPO, Jandiala Guru (he had got the job on the basis of fake degrees of the GND varsity Maghad University, Bihar) and Mr Hardyal Singh, another BDPO, were dismissed from service.

The department had given a note on the file that any delay in dismissal of Mr Garewal would be considered discriminatory against the officials who were earlier dismissed from service on similar lines.


Differences in state CPI over defeat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Differences have cropped up in the Punjab unit of the CPI over the party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections in Bathinda parliamentary constituency. Informed sources said today that a section of the party had blamed the party leadership of the state unit for the defeat.

In fact the issue was debated at length at the meeting of the state executive and state council held here on July 17 and 18. The resolution moved by the state leadership regarding the review of elections in the state executive failed to get through. Instead, another resolution presented at the meeting by opponents of the official resolution was carried. It gave a clear indication that things will be not smooth in the days to come for the secretary of the state unit, Dr Joginder Dayal. It is the third successive term of Dr Dayal as secretary.

The state conference to elect the new leadership is due to be held early next year. Sources said that the issue to elect the new leadership at the state conference would be discussed with the national body of the party.

The CPI has its own style to bring about a change in the leadership. It keeps everything tight secret and effects a change without making any noise. Though it has not been finalised yet, but the national conference of the party is expected to be hosted by Punjab by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress in Punjab is keeping an eye over the developments in the CPI. The Congress had the electoral alliance with the CPI in the last Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections.


Chandumajra set to revive SAD (Longowal)
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The SAD (Longowal) will give due honour and representation to all Akali leaders and workers who made tremendous sacrifices for the party but have been sidelined by the Badals, said Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former MP, who has taken it upon himself to revive the once defunct unit.

He was in the city to meet senior Akali leaders who had called him to discuss the organisational set-up of the party which will be announced on July 26. A large number of disgruntled members of the SAD (B) met him and assured him that they would work round-the-clock in order to challenge the way Akali affairs were being managed.

Mr Chandumajra said it was a matter of shame that a party which had a rich history of struggles for the Panth has been converted into a private enterprise where the sole criterion was sycophancy. Moneybags were buying their way to the top while the workers at the grassroot-level were being ignored, he alleged.

Corruption had reached an all-time high during the tenure of Mr Badal and nepotism was the order of the day. All jobs were auctioned to the highest bidder and any post was available for the right price. A thriving transfer industry and the unresponsive administration led to the rout of the Akalis in the Assembly poll, he pointed out.

He said in the new scheme of things only those individuals would be accommodated who had made sacrifices for the welfare of the people. The party would function democratically and all decisions would be taken after consultations with everyone. It would not be an autocratic setup like the Badal group, he asserted.

On the Panthic Morcha, he said, the 33 per cent votes garnered by them were an indication of the undercurrent of resentment among the masses and all their SGPC members would work to ensure more transparency in the functioning of the Mini-Parliament of the Sikhs.

Appreciating the state Act on abrogation of river water accords, he said Capt Amarinder Singh had taken a historic step by annulling all water accords. The awards and pacts were forced on the people of the state by pliable CMs in the past and in view of the ground realities today, such a drastic step was necessary.

Criticising the BJP, he said they were indulging in rhetoric and inciting the people by making provocative statements and indulging in arson which did not augur well for a region.


Dharnas, demonstration against police, corruption
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 20
More than 12 organisations organised dharnas and demonstrations to protest against police failure and alleged corrupt practices in the area today.

Men and women arrived in the town using four-wheelers from villages and held a rally at the Gandhi Grounds. Later they marched to the office of the DSP. When told that he was not in his office the crowd marched to his residence braving heat and submitted a memorandum. The march was led by Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu Chairman, Mr Baldev Singh President and Mr Puran Ram, General Secretary of the Kisan, Mazdoor Mulazam Sangharsh Committee.

Protesters raised slogans against a few police officers of the subdivision and demanded their transfer for failure to maintain law and order. Alleging corruption in the administration, the Committee demanded arrest of alleged killers of Nursery owner Krishan Lal Kamboj. They alleged the police had not arrested those behind the attack on Surender Kumar son of Chanda Ram. It was alleged that Karandeep who educated youths against drugs at Pattisadiq village was allegedly tortured by the police without a case on the false charge of selling drugs. He was hospitalised but the police did not entertain the medico legal report issued by the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital. Doctor’s certified that Karandeep’s leg was fractured but the Police denied having taken him in to custody.

Leaders of the committee said there had been rise in cases of thefts, sale of narcotics, flesh trade and obscene posters in the town but the police was a silent spectator.

They criticised the police for not booking those who allegedly stole canal water. The area was reeling from water shortage. The police it was alleged did not arrest Mainpaul son-in-law of Birbal Ram of Bazeedpur Kattianwali village. Some women were picked up by the police without women cops and detained illegally.

After submitting the memorandum listing police excesses the protesters marched to the Subdivisional office Complex.

It was alleged reports of the police functioning had not opened eyes of higher authorities.

Another dharna was held jointly by the Diploma Engineers Associations of Abohar, Ferozepore and Bathinda Zones of the Irrigation Department, the Ministerial Staff Union, the Revenue Union, and the Government Employees Union Clsss IV etc.

It was regretted that report illegal lift pumps installed by some influential persons in the Gidderbaha area of the Sirhind Feeder had been brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner Muktsar. Even then Mr Bhatti, the engineer was arrested under Section 302 of the IPC. He had nothing to do with the death of a farmer due to drowning. The Association had submitted fact to Mr Avtar Henry, Punjab Irrigation Minister and Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary of the Department seeking justice. Junior Engineers resorted to a pen-down strike. Other Associations vowed to join the agitation if the case was not dropped.

The All-India SC ST BC and Minorities Ekta Bhalai Manch also at a meeting aired grievances against the SHO of the city police and some other officials. The meeting criticised SHO Jagrup Singh for challaning vehicles on flimsy grounds and harassing the law-abiding citizens. A resolution was passed to condemn police atrocities including torturing of Karandeep of Pattisadiq village and electrician Chiman Lal. A Deputation of the organisation will meet DIG Ferozepore Range and Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary to demand transfer of Mr Jagrup Singh SHO, City.


Ranjitgarh project may be revived
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Government is examining the possibility to revive the Ranjitgarh project. Informed sources said yesterday that the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Mr Singla had also asked the authorities concerned to provide him the project report.

The foundation stone of the Ranjitgarh was laid long back. As a part of this project, a new modern township on the lines of Chandigarh was to set up near Phillaur, a few miles away from Ludhiana. However, the project failed to take off for various reasons. Sources said that the Punjab Urban Development Authority ( PUDA) had been asked to dig out all the details regarding the project.

The state government has felt the need to build a modern township for NRIs, who wanted best infrastructure and other facilities. The government had got several requests from the NRIs that they were prepared to invest in the township provided it was set up on the most modern cities in the world. NRIs are not interested to build houses in cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar, several parts of which have virtually become slums.

Because of this reason, the government had been thinking to revive the Ranjitgarh project. It would also reduce the population burden on Ludhiana and Jalandhar cities, which are located at a short distance from the site of Ranjitgarh. Already, Capt Amarinder Singh has announced to set up an international airport near Phillaur. He has discussed the airport issue with the Union Government authorities concerned.

In fact, Punjab needs heavy investment, (in any sector) to bring out its economy from the jam. With the revival of the Ranjitgarh project, Punjab could expect an investment of Rs 10,000 crore at the initial stage. And such investment would start the cycle of investment in other areas also. Housing sector is considered in these the best area for pushing up economy and employment.


Brick-kiln owners oppose notification
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 20
Hundreds of brick-kiln owners in the state are up in arms against the notification of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, which forces them to mix at least 25 per cent of ash (fly ash, bottom ash or pond ash) with soil on a weight-to-weight basis for the manufacture of clay bricks and tiles.

The brick-kiln owners have been observing a statewide strike since July 1 as they are of the view that if they run their brick-kilns by violating the notification, criminal cases could be registered against them.

As the notification was issued on August 27, 2003, the Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities have already started issuing notices to the brick-kiln owners, saying that in case of non-compliance of the notification, action shall be taken against them as per the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

In a notice to a brick-kiln firm some months ago, the board’s Sangrur office had mentioned that no person within a radius of 100 km from coal or lignite-based power plants shall manufacture clay bricks or tiles without mixing at least 25 per cent of ash with soil on a weight-to-weight basis.

Mr Kewal Krishan Longowalia, joint secretary of the Punjab Brick-Kiln Owners Association, claimed that the use of ash was not possible as it created problems for the brick-kiln industry. He said the labour was not ready to use the ash because of its adverse affect on health. Also, the strength of ashmixed bricks or tiles would be poor. It would also increase the rate of bricks by about Rs 250 per thousand, he said.

Mr Longowalia appealed to the Union Government to withdraw the notification.

He said the All-India Bricks and Tiles Manufacturing Federation would hold a national-level conference on July 30 at Delhi in this regard.


Minister reviews performance of hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Need to revamp the work culture in health institutions, curb absenteeism and encourage masses to avail the health facilities being provided by the institutes run by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) at Mohali - these were some of the suggestions that surfaced during a meeting attended this morning by Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare Minister R.C. Dogra.

The Minister reviewed the performance of the hospitals in the state and discussed various issues, including the availability of drugs, waste management and computerization of hospitals, besides the status of blood banks and the implementation of health care facilities.

During the meeting attended by the Civil Surgeons, Medical Superintendents and Deputy Medical Commissioner of 17 districts in the state, it was disclosed that in Punjab 15 out of 18 Divisional Hospitals had been ranked “A +”, while the remaining three had been ranked “A”.

The meeting was called by the PHSC. The others present at the meeting included, Health and Family Welfare Secretary D.S. Guru, Corporation Chairman Col CDS Kamboj and Managing Director Anjali Bhawra.

It was also disclosed that 15 Sub-divisional hospitals had been ranked “A +” and twenty-one had been ranked “A”. As far as the Community Health Centres were concerned, 18 had been ranked “A +”. As many as 36 had been ranked “A”.

Addressing the gathering, Parliamentary Secretary Razia Sultana added the work culture in the health institutions should be revamped and the service providers should be more pro-active and public spirited.


Dalit Sena’s protest against dera today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
Activists of the Dalit Sena will hold a rally in protest against the discrimination being meted out to members of the Scheduled Caste community by a religious dera of the area tomorrow. The district police authorities have taken measures to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn.

Mr Kiranjit Singh Geheri, president of the Dalit Sena, said the sena had given ultimatum to the district police authorities and civil administration to make arrangements for stopping the discrimination by the dera by July 20 failing which they would hold a peaceful demonstration and rally to lodge their protest against the same on July 21.

He added that the Dalit Sena had also demanded that a case be registered against those spreading the untouchability and discriminating against the members of the scheduled caste community. The religious dera is located near Bhucho Mandi. Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, when contacted, said police force in adequate strength would be deployed near the dera. An Executive Magistrate would also be present on the spot. He added that the police authorities had made an appeal to the dera head and the Dalit Sena head to resolve the issue amicably.


Artistes return after 50 performances in UK
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
A Punjabi theatre group of the local BBK DAV College for Women has won accolades across England.

The Principal of the college, Ms J. Kackaria, addressing a press conference said the college in association with the Kent county council of England had started a cultural exchange programme between students of both the countries encouraging folk and performing arts.

The Principal said the group gave 50 performances of the famous Punjabi play “Is Jagah Ik Pind Si” depicting the trauma of the Partition. She said the play brought the tragedy of the Partition alive among the older generation now constituting major NRI community in Birmingham. She said it was indeed an opportunity for the Punjabis residing in the UK to get the feel of folk theatre and drama right in their vicinity.

Besides the theatre performance by the 16-member group of girls and teachers, the group gave performances of traditional Punjabi folk songs in different settings, including marriages, festivals, etc.


Octogenarians come to blows
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 20
A scuffle took place between octogenarian heads of the management of two Arya educational institutions in which the clothes of both were torn here today.

It is learnt that both of them, Mr Sohan Lal, president of the Arya Kanya Vidyalaya Parbandhak Committee, and Mr Om Parkash Aggarwal, president of the Arya College Management Committee, had come to attend a meeting on the school premises. But before the start of the meeting heated exchanges took place between the two, which led to a scuffle. It is alleged that both of them used abusive language.

According to the police, Mr Sohan Lal said that Mr Aggarwal was not a member of the school management committee and that was why he had not been called for the meeting. However, Mr Aggarwal claimed that he was a member of the committee and as such he had come to attend the meeting.

It is learnt that when the scuffle took place, students and teachers of both institutions (college is running on the first floor accommodation) came out of the classrooms to witness what was going on between the heads of the two managements. The police had also reached the school.

A senior staff member of one of the institutions said that it was unfortunate that such an incident had taken place in an educational institution as it would leave a bad impact on the minds of the students.

She said that both the heads were on bad terms with each other for the past many years.


In India to study art
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), July 20
A 21-member group of the painting and design faculty of the National College of Arts, Lahore, arrived here today on a 15-day tour of India.

The leader of the delegation and professor of art, Ms Shahnaz Mahli, told mediapersons that they were excited over the visit to India. She said they were impressed by the status of Indian artists and painters, and added that though Pakistan also had good artists, they lacked exposure.

Ms Malhi expressed the desire to establish a lasting bond with Indian artists and to learn from them modern techniques, which had made them “the best in the world”.

The group will visit various art galleries and interact with leading artists and painters.

A student from the department of architecture, Zunaira, said she was impressed with the Sikh and Muslim architecture. The group will visit New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and study modern Indian architecture.


10-year-old girl electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 20
Pawni Joshi (10), daughter of Mr Anil Joshi, former president of the Amritsar (Rural) BJP, was electrocuted here today.

She was taken to a local private hospital where the doctors declared her brought dead.


A unique case on right to information
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 20
A unique case relating to right to information came up before a Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

In the writ, petitioner Lalit Sharma, a graduate engineer, who teaches in a Bathinda college, had alleged that despite making efforts to get information about the reasons that prompted the Union Government to drop the clause relating to driving on low beam light, he had been unable to do so. After hearing his counsel, the court directed that the petitioner's right to information cannot be questioned as it was the duty of the government to provide him all necessary information. The Bench also ordered that the Union Government would re-consider and re-decide all applications of the petitioner in 3 months.


GND varsity coach convicted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
The court of the Civil Judge here today convicted Guru Nanak Dev University volleyball coach Bhupinder Pal Kaur for one-year probation with a fine of Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 as cost of litigation under Section 500, IPC.

According to details, a former Director of Sports, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, had filed a defamation case against Ms Kaur in 1998 for false charges of sexual harassment in her bid to malign the reputation of the then Director.

Dr Kanwaljit said that the volleyball coach had filed many false cases and charges against him in various courts and sent complaints to the Punjab Women Commission, the SSP Amritsar, the PHRO, and to the university authorities.


Centre to lift Punjab levy sugar by Sept 2005
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 20
The Union Government has decided to lift Rs 430 crore levy sugar from cooperative mills of the state by September 2005. Arrears of sugarcane supplied to mills would be paid to the farmers by the Punjab government when the Centre lifts the levy sugar.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperative, Punjab stated this here today.

He added that by 2005 the Punjab government would be able to make payment to the farmers. This would help promote sugarcane as cash crop for farmers of Punjab trapped in wheat and paddy cycle.

Due to delayed payment by the cooperative mills of the state the farmers had started giving up sowing sugarcane and started returning to wheat and paddy due to assured minimum support price.

He added the farmers of Gurdaspur district needed gypsum in huge quantities to prevent fields from becoming barren. Presently there was just 25 per cent subsidy on the supply of gypsum. Due to it every farmer here was being forced to spend Rs 1500 per acre to keep fertility of land intact. The government would be urged to increase subsidy on gypsum to ease financial burden of the farmers.

A campaign would also be launched to check sale of substandard gypsum in the market. The farmers are also being urged to take gypsum from government agencies rather than from traders.

The Punjab government has also planned to revive research in Punjab Agricultural University. Research in the university received setback due to the lack of funds over a period of time. The government was planning to provide regular grants for research in the agriculture university.

The Punjab Agricultural University has credibility among farmers of the state and it should be used for implementing crop diversification rather than inviting private players in the field, Mr Sukhjinder Singh said.

Congress workers at Gurdaspur Congress Bhavan welcome him.


Inside Babudom
Reshuffle in Punjab Police in offing
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Brewing discontent among officers over their postings and an unsavoury controversy between IPS and non-IPS officers may be the key decisive factors as and when the Punjab Government orders a reshuffle in the Police Department.

Developments within the department, especially during the past few weeks, may be worrying the government. An unsavoury incident yesterday involving two senior officers of the rank of Inspector-General is a reflection of the growing trouble within the top heavy police set up in the State.

The incident was reportedly related to postings and transfers as one of the officers involved had expressed his displeasure over denial of a proper posting to him.

The authorities have been successful in keeping the unsavoury incident wrapped under covers with either of the parties being told to keep quiet on it. The incident has blown the lid that everything is fine in Punjab police.

Yesterday’s incident apart, there are a number of other issues which need immediate intervention at the top to prevent them from flaring up into major controversies.

Only last week, the government decided to inform the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it was chargesheeting an Additional Director-General and a Superintendent of Police in the wireless sets procurement case. Knives are out and accusations and counter accusations have started.

Already pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court is the issue taken by eight IPS officers in two separate cases over posting of non-IPS officers against cadre posts. The top of the Punjab police is divided on the issue. While the main grouse of the IPS officers has been their limited posting opportunities which they say were being “manipulated” by non-IPS officers, the PPS officers are demanding their share of the cake.

It is not only the lower or middle cadre which is unhappy over postings and transfers but also the top level where some officers of the rank of Inspector-General and even Additional Director-General level are unhappy and complain of “worklessness”.

Administrative reshuffle is long overdue in the Police Department especially after some retirements at the top. Now when IAS officers have been reshuffled, a similar exercise is expected in the Police Department.

Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch, who has been named as the next Financial Commissioner Revenue, will retire on superannuation on December 31, 2005 and not 2004 as inadvertently reported in this column.


DC conducts surprise check

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 20
To ensure punctuality in the offices of the district, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today conducted a surprise check at the SDM office, Tehsildar office, Municipal Council office and certain schools in Bassi Pathana town and surrounding areas.

Seven employees were found absent. The DC ordered for an explanation of these employees. — OC


3 Nihangs held with cache of arms, opium
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
The police has arrested three Nihangs belonging to a dera in the vicinity of Akali Phula Singh Burj with a huge cache of arms and ammunition and opium. The police had been following them for the past two days on a tip-off.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG (Border Range), told a press conference here today that the seized ammunition included two carbines, a double-barrel gun, two rifles, a revolver, a pistol, four .12-bore rifles, three air guns, a country-made pistol, 360 rounds of cartridges and fake arms licences, besides 2.5 kg of opium.

Giving details of the operation Mr Gill said the police acted on information that three Nihangs — Harbhajan Singh, Bhan Singh and Joginder Singh, all residents of the dera, were involved in selling sophisticated weapons and producing fake arms licences to gullible persons. Besides, they were also involved in opium trade.

The DIG said the arms were concealed in a number of almirahs at the dera.

To a query, the DIG said there was nothing to suggest that the Nihangs owed allegiance to Baba Santa Singh, a former Nihang chief who had been involved in the construction of Akal Takht after Operation Bluestar. He also denied any terrorist links of the three Nihangs. An FIR has been registered.


Cash, gold worth Rs 2.5 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
About 32 tolas of gold, Rs 60,000 and other valuables totaling more than Rs 2.5 lakh were stolen from house in Jivi Nagar here late last night, while the owners of the same were sleeping.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that thieves, whose number could not be known, entered the house after removing the iron grill of the kitchen window.

After making entry into the house, the accused broke opend the almirahs and stole the valuables.

This is the second big theft in the area falling in the jurisdiction of the city police station in the past one week or so.

Earlier, the unidentified thieves stole goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh from a house in Model Town.

Mr Ajay Pal Singh, incharge, police post, Civil Lines, said that a dog squad was pressed into service.

A case in this connection has been registered.


SMO, 2 others booked on embezzlement charge
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur July, 20
On a recommendation by the District Magistrate Hoshiarpur, Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, the Civil Surgeon, Dr Y.C. Markan, has got registered a case under Sections 409, 120-B, IPC, with Sadar Police Station against Dr A.C. Sud, Senior Medical Officer, Mr Kishan Dutt, Senior Assistant and Mrs Hardev Kaur, clerk at Primary Health Centre, Harta Badla, for fraudulently withdrawing double salary amounting to Rs 2,95,917 during 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 from the treasury office.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP Hoshiarpur, said that a letter from the Civil Surgeon was received last evening along with the recommendation letter of the District Magistrate in this connection and accordingly a case had been registered against the aforesaid officials for embezzling Rs 2,95,917. He said that checking of records for 2001-2002 of the health centre Harta Badla, had also been started to ascertain any more embezzlements by these officials.

A news item relating to these embezzled funds was published in The Tribune on July 1, after which this action had been taken.

According to official sources, while auditing of GP fund of Class I, II and III officers/officials of the Health Department, Hoshiarpur by the Internal Audit (Revenue), it was found that Primary Health Centre Harta Badla had sent a schedule to its head office, regarding the withdrawal of GP Fund through different bills of salaries of officers/officials in two months. Recovery had been shown twice in the accounts of these employees. The Audit team found that salary of some officers/employees had been withdrawn twice in 2002-03 and 2003-04.


Shiv Sena, Youth Cong leaders held for gambling 
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 20
In a major crackdown on the gambling network, the Ropar police in a raid arrested 19 persons from NFL Guest House at about 1 a.m. today.

The arrested include the state vice-president of the Shiv Sena, Mr Subhash Talwar, the secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Sanjay Kumar, and an NFL union leader.

The police said that the raid was conducted by the Ropar police without passing information to the Nangal police that was suspected to be hand in glove with the accused. In the raid the accused, along with others, were arrested while indulging in gambling.

A sum of Rs 2.36 lakh was allegedly seized from them from the spot.

The police claims that the gambling here was part of the statewide network.

In today’s raid the persons indulging in gambling had come from all over the state.

Those arrested, besides the above said leaders, include Sanjeev Kumar of Naya Nangal, Madan Lal, Jaswir, Surinder and Ranwir from Balachaur, Som Nath and Kulwant from Nawanshahr, Mohinder Kumar and Sandeep and Vikas Kapoor from Jalandhar, Jagdish, Keshav Singh and Vaneet Kumar from Ludhiana and Deepak, Pawan Kumar and Tarsem from Nangal.


2 cops booked for attempt to kill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
A criminal case was today registered against Head Constable Amarjit Singh, Punjab Police (PP), posted in Mansa district and another policemen identified as Manjit Singh for their alleged involvement in making an attempt to kill Paramjit Kaur, a local resident and widow of a brother of the accused Amarjit Singh, yesterday.

Police sources said that accused Amarjit Singh, along with Manjit Singh and two other persons, yet to be identified, first beat up Paramjit Kaur, whose husband was also serving in the Punjab Police as Head Constable, and then fired shot at her and her son Kulwinder Singh, yesterday.

Sources added that Amarjit Singh was having some dispute with his sister-in-law over sharing of joint land.

The accused came to the house of Paramjit Kaur and beat her up. He then fired shots at them from rifle and pistol.

A case under Sections 307, 34, 457 of IPC was registered against the accused, who were yet to be arrested.

In another case, Mr Dharamvir Singh, a resident of Neor village of this district, along with his wife, were looted by two scooter-borne youths, while they were coming from Moom village in Sangrur district to their village Neor today.

Police sources said that unidentified youths, who were driving a white scooter took away gold jewellery from the couple.


Attempt of theft at LIC office
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), July 20
Unidentified thieves made an attempt to steal over Rs 5 lakh kept in the strong room of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) situated near the bus stand, Malout, last night. However, the thieves could not break open the strong room.

The thieves break into three other buildings in the town on the same night and stole Rs 7,000 and valuables from Baba Farid Motor Garage.

LIC officials came to know about the attempt of theft today morning. When contacted, LIC branch manager V.K. Arora refused to say anything about the attempt to theft. Sources confirmed that the thieves entered the building after breaking the grill.

An FIR under relevant sections was registered at Malout city police station.

Several iron rods were recovered from near the strong room.


Pre-nursery classes in elementary schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Punjab proposes to start pre-nursery classes in government elementary schools to attract students. The proposal, if found feasible, would be implemented from the next academic session.

This was stated by the state Education Minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar, in a press note issued here today.

Mr Johar, the press note said, assured representatives of various unions, including unemployed B.Ed and ETT teachers today that relevant rules of recruitment would be amended to fill up all vacant posts of elementary teachers, approximately 10,000. During discussion, the minister sought co-operation of all unions to raise standards of education and assured that all genuine grievances would be addressed.

Referring to posting and transfers, Mr Johar said these would be done as per the policy of the government at the level of the respective district education officers. There would be no bar on “mutual transfers” but transfers with posts or on deputation would not be permitted.

Despite scarcity of funds, the minister announced that the government proposed to construct state “vidya bhawan” and accommodate all offices and branches of the Education Department under one roof for the convenience of the teachers, non-teaching staff etc.


Students hold dharna against counselling fee
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 20
Students of Punjabi University today organised a dharna on the campus in protest against the university’s decision to charge counselling fee of Rs 10,000, for MBA and MCA and Rs 2,500 for L.L.B.

Addressing agitated students, coordinator of the dharna Gurnam Singh Virk said by making a massive hike in the fee structure, the university authorities had made education a mere business.

PSU leader Parminder Patiala said the authorities were not bothered to provide safe accommodation to students as various hostels of the varsity were in poor shape. In a recent incident in Hostel No 7 of the university, a fan fell on a girl injuring her seriously.

He alleged that a single room was being shared by as many as five students. While on the other hand, students of Engineering College of the University were being allotted one room each. They would intensify the struggle if the authorities failed to resolve the issue, he warned.


GND varsity bans ragging

Amritsar, July 20
Guru Nanak Dev University banned ragging on its all campuses located at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur. Stating this, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, said that these steps had been taken keeping in view the guidelines given by the Supreme Court. Debarring from institution or fine up to Rs 25,000 would be imposed on erring students. — OC


AIDS education programme to be launched in schools
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 20
The Punjab State AIDS Control Society yesterday organised a workshop here on sensitisation of Principals and Headmasters, about AIDS education programme in schools. Principals and Headmasters of Government Senior Secondary Schools of Garhshanker and Hoshiarpur blocks participated.

Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, said that if the younger generation was more vulnerable to HIV, they also held the key to its prevention and control. The Punjab State AIDS Control Society was going to implement the AIDS education programme in the state to equip every young youth who passed out of the school with basic knowledge about HIV infection.

Mr S.S. Gill, Secretary Health and Family Welfare Punjab-cum Project Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society said the school students had a right to the knowledge and skills that would enable them to make safe choices and to protect themselves against the epidemic.

Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, stated that all schools being covered under the programme would observe World AIDS Day, World Health Day and Blood Donation Day etc. in which students would be encouraged to express their views on HIV/AIDS.

Dr H.S. Chauhan, Assistant Director Punjab State AIDS Control Society, in his address stated that due to wrong information about human sexuality obtained from peers, pornographic material and from media etc. persons in the 15-24 age group were being victims of HIV.


LMA invites nominations for awards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
In order to develop entrepreneurship and promote and develop scientific management education in the region by effective exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas, the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) has invited nominations for its annual awards.

Disclosing this here today, LMA president, M.C.Munjal and general secretary V.K.Goyal said that the association had a tradition since 1984 of honouring and recognising the efforts of promising entrepreneurs and outstanding managers in their respective fields on annual basis.

Three awards, LMA-Vardhman award for entrepreneur of the year, LMA Dyanand Munjal award for manager of the year and LMA Trident award for young innovative entrepreneur and manager of the year, are bestowed upon selected candidates .

Elaborating the eligibility criterion they said: “For the entrepreneur of the year award, the candidate should belong to Punjab but may be running his business or industry anywhere, while for manager of the year award one should be working anywhere in Punjab or Chandigarh”.

For the young innovative entrepreneur and manager of the year award, the candidate should be working anywhere in Punjab or the Union territory of Chandigarh.

These awards are conferred at the annual day function of the association each year by the Governor of Punjab. This year the awards function will be held on August 29.

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