P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Channelise Ghaggar, say flood victims
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Alampur (Patiala) , August 4
They suffer every year. Some years more, some years less. They have been doing so since Independence when they migrated to Indian Punjab to start a new life. They want the Ghaggar to be channelised to prevent flash floods which destroy their crops and sometimes their houses as well. This has not come about despite umpteen promises made by both by the Akalis and the Congress.

“We are used to aerial surveys and promises to the effect that the Ghaggar would be channelised every time our crops are ruined by flash floods”, says Master Diwan Chand of Fatehpur Garhi village, while talking to The Tribune. He said it was unfortunate that no state government had been able to make a plan whereby a permanent solution could be found to the flash floods which wrecked havoc in the area every year.

Dewan Chand said the Ghaggar and other seasonal rivulets caused damage in the entire stretch of land along it in Patiala and Sangrur districts.

He said the matter had been politicised by all the political parties with the Akalis coming out with an election slogan, “Tusi Congress chak do asi Ghaggar chak devange”. He said, however, nothing was done in this regard during the Akali-BJP regime.

Further downstream, Harvinder Singh of Sandharsi in Rajpura subdivision, while said most of the area till Patran and even further was populated by people who had migrated from Pakistan.

Kashmira Singh of Guru Nanakpura, near Patran, said the area had been constantly facing floods but no effort had been made to solve the problem on permanent basis.

Dilbagh Singh of Alampur and others today demanded that the government stop water from entering the SYL canal as it was leading to flooding of their fields.

The people of the area were in a foul mood today. They raised anti-government slogans while waiting for the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to arrive on the spot.

However, they were moved when the Chief Minister assured them on arrival that he would do his utmost to provide relief to them for the time being with food and fodder arrangements.

Even Capt Amarinder Singh did not have any answer to queries for channelising the Ghaggar. He said this was a Rs 1200-crore project which needed to be supported by the Centre. “We do not have such huge resources to carry it out on our own”, he added. He said a beginning was, however, being made in this regard with NABARD sanctioning Rs 30 crore for channelising the Tangri rivulet.

Meanwhile, people are also angry that no flood protection measures have been carried out in the sensitive areas. Sources said despite Rs 33 crore being earmarked for this task this year, the money was not released. The Chief Minister, when questioned on this, said the Deputy Commissioners had been asked to take up needed works. He said no major breach had occurred and that nothing could be done to control flash floods.


Rain water enters factories
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 4
Factories situated near the Shambhu checkpoint on the outskirts of Rajpura town have suffered extensive losses as the rainwater entered the premises situated in a low lying area.

The labourers employed in these factories were marooned. Though the civil administration and volunteers were able to evacuate them, raw material and machinery lying in the factories might have been damaged due to downpour.

Ms Pali Dewan, Himalayan Frozen Foods, said the raw material and even packaged goods had been destroyed after the rainwater entered the premises. “We could not do anything with the rainwater being six to seven feet high”, she added. Ms Dewan said factory owners who were running units in Shambhu should be given compensation to help them tide over the losses suffered due to the rain in the area.

Meanwhile, the district administration last night urged all those living alongside the Badi Nadi to vacate their jhuggis immediately. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, said this had been done as a precautionary step. However, residents claimed that they had been lucky as the water level did not rise in the river as Badi Nadi was severely clogged with hyacinth. No efforts had been made to clear the weed before the monsoon, they added.


SC ruling may go against Punjab: Mann

Jalandhar, August 4
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, said today that the Congress and the SAD (Badal) would be responsible if the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Presidential Reference on the river water-sharing issue went against Punjab.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Mann said the ruling Congress in collusion with the SAD (Badal) had adopted in haste the Bill for terminating all agreements on river water sharing with other states and this Bill itself had given a room for a possibility of an anti-Punjab ruling in the Presidential Reference.

Mr Mann said SAD president and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had joined hands with the ruling Congress without bothering for the larger interests of Punjab just to earn the government’s soft corner in the matter of cases pending against him and his family.

The former MP said his party was ready to launch an agitation to safeguard the interests of Punjab. — UNI


Waters: Khalra panel to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) has declared that it will hold a rally at Harike dam on August 12 in protest against the forced sharing of Punjab waters with the neighbouring states despite scarcity in the state.

Mr Harmandip Singh Sarhali, chairman, KMC said at a press conference here yesterday they would highlight the shortfalls of sharing water and electricity of the state and demanded the abrogation of all clauses forcing Punjab to release water to the neighbouring states.

He said the state should not be bound to share its natural bounty but the current sharing should continue on the basis of brotherhood.

Criticising Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President, they said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh had done what Mr Badal could not do as the Chief Minister. He said Mr Badal only raised the SYL issue for narrow political gains.

Mr Dalbir Singh, patron KMC, said successive central governments had always ignored the rights of Punjab.


Panthic Morcha SGPC members back CM’s stand
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 4
All three newly elected SGPC members of the district belonging to the Panthic Morcha led by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, along with hundreds of supporters, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner regarding the SYL canal for forwarding it to the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister

The members appreciated the stand taken by the Chief Minister regarding SYL canal. They said a brave Sikh like Capt Amarinder Singh alone could have taken the stand.

The Chief Minister had created history by passing a law rejecting all water agreements in the Assembly.

He said for this daring step, coming generations would remain in debated to him.


Amritsar set for worldwide connectivity
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Raja Sansi International Airport of Amritsar is all set for worldwide connectivity. From September 1, Singapore International Airlines (SIA) has decided to introduce thrice-a-week direct Amritsar-Singapore flight, thus opening avenues for air connectivity of this airport with South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Coast of the USA and Canada.

After Singapore starts its Amritsar operations, the number of international flights operating from Raja Sansi will go up to 38 a week from 35 a week now. Except for Indian Airlines, which is operating Amritsar-Sharjah flight, no other flight by any national carrier is operated from Amritsar.

Entry of Singapore Airlines will meet a long-standing demand of Indian diaspora in general and Punjabis in particular for direct flights between Amritsar and various destinations in South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, California (USA) and British Columbia (Canada).

At present a number of European national carriers, including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Slovakia are operating out of Amritsar, providing air connectivity between Punjab and Europe. Indian Airlines connects it with Middle East.

Earlier experiments of Air India-Indian Airlines combine for hub and spoke services providing worldwide connectivity failed to take off because of inconvenient connections and low frequency.

After Raja Sansi was granted the status of an international airport in the early 80s, Air India introduced a direct flight to Birmingham which became popular as "Balle Balle, Birmingham." It used to connect Mumbai, Delhi with Birmingham through Amritsar. The flight was, however, discontinued after turbulence started in Punjab in 1983.

The new flight will provide a big relief to Punjabi diaspora, especially from the Majha and Doab belts settled in South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, besides providing them quicker, economical and safer travel from their abodes in the Pacific Coast of North America.

It will also ease out pressure on the congested Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Some other airlines, including Air Canada and Gulf Airlines, are also contemplating of introducing flights from Amritsar.

Air Canada may announce direct flights from Amritsar to both Toronto and Vancouver in the coming winter as its five days-a-week direct flights to New Delhi have evoked good response.

Mr H.S. Bajaj, who represents Singapore International Airlines here, says that top officials of the company will be visiting Chandigarh tomorrow to meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and others to unfold their plans of bringing Amritsar on worldwide map.


Plans for handicapped gathering dust
P. P .S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
This is the story as much of handicapped persons as of a 'handicapped' government. In Punjab there was no social security or safety net but only high-sounding legislative instrument, The Persons with Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, effective since October, 1998.

The Act was intended to support and provide necessary services to the disabled and fulfill specific obligations. The Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development was the nodal agency to give effect and administer the Act . For the welfare and rehabilitation of handicapped there are schemes that gather dust and institutions whose primary concern is self-survival and not care of inmates.

The money released by the National Programme for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disability and the National Handicap Finance and Development Corporation had remained unutilised and Punjab had also failed to set up a nodal agency to make use of that money after the Punjab Financial Corporation refused to do so in July, 2001.

Punjab has a Commissioner for the Persons with disabilities. And under the Disability Act, there have to be two committees, coordination and executive. There was no evidence when these two had last met or how many times or what was deliberated. CAG—Comptroller and Auditor-General— has focused on all such ''infirmities'' of the government in its it civil report, 2002-03.

Survey and institutions for handicapped

A survey by the Department of Health and Family Welfare of Handicapped in 1999-2000 had revealed there were 55,110 blind persons for whom there was just one institution at Ludhiana, which too was not running to its full capacity of 65. The average ranged from 49 to 59 during 1998-2003. The institution spent Rs 16 lakh in the last five years on the blind, against Rs 98 lakh it had spent on self-survival

The survey had identified 23,543 mentally retarded persons. For them there was an institution at Kapurthala, the plight of the which was more grim than the Institute for the Blind at Ludhiana. The intake capacity at Kapurthala is 50, against which only 12 to 18 had remained on its rolls during 1998-2003. If the institute had spent Rs 61 lakh on its self-survival, it spent barely Rs 7 lakh on the alleviation of conditions of the mentally retarded. The evidence of government callousness was also reflected in the Ludhiana-based institutions, Workshop for the Welfare of the Handicapped, established in 1979, and Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped Women set up in 1994.

Against the intake capacity of 50, the former had just 10 to 12 persons during 1998- 2003. Lack of publicity, non-availability of hostel accommodation and trades being very old and not viable to provide economic occupation were given as an excuse for poor admissions. And this, after 25 years of its existence! The officially listed trades were hosiery and weaving, identified in 1979. No one ever made changes in tune with time or technological advances!

While the institution provided for barely one-fourth of its capacity, on its own survival it spent Rs 64 lakh during 1998-2003. The second institution remained a non-starter. Barely 12 or 13 inmates had turned up during 1998-2003 for tailoring and stenography. The department never appointed stenography instructor or sanctioned the post of tailoring teacher. All the four institutions have barely 100 disabled persons receiving any form of rehabilitation, while for more than one lakh there was hardly any institution.

Thresher victims and industrial workers

Take the case of victims of thresher accidents during harvesting. They constitute bulk of persons categorised under loco-motor disability. This was because mechanical operations were carelessly performed on ''outmoded, unsafe'' machines. There were 1.45 lakh persons with ''loco-motor'' disability.

Though, a serious problem, only help available to thresher victims was small compensation by the Punjab State Marketing Board. Its record showed that 7,063 thresher victims were paid Rs 12.90 crore during 1998-2003. CAG report records that there was no scheme which took care of the loss of limbs or provided alternative means of occupation to them.

The same was true of industrial workers who met with accidents. They too were paid petty compensation by the Department of Labour. Even to get that much was a laborious exercise. There were over 600 cases pending for compensation with the Labour Commissioner, as in January, 2003. Punjab today released Rs 5, 874 lakh by way of pension held up for the past three months.


IFS officer levels corruption charges against seniors
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
A senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, Mr Harsh Kumar, presently posted as Conservator of Forests, Hoshiarpur, has levelled very serious charges of corruption against two of his seniors -Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, AS Dogra and Chief Conservator of Forests (Hills) H.S. Gujral.

In a letter addressed to the Financial Commissioner, Forests and Wildlife, Punjab, Mr Kumar has also reiterated his request to allow him to prosecute advocate Anupam Gupta, the amicus curae in the public interest litigation into alleged irregularities in the construction of Forest Hill Country Club and Resort at village Karoran in Ropar.

In an earlier letter also, Mr Kumar had sought permission to prosecute Advocate Gupta.

Dated August 2, the latest letter says that the Forest Hill Resort was allowed to come up on forest land by Mr Gujral. Mr Kumar also said that Hoshiarpur advocate S.K. Bhatti, on whose complaint an inquiry was ordered into the irregularities in the construction of the resort, has admitted before him that Mr Gujral paid him Rs 2 lakh to deny, having sent the complaint.

He has also asserted that Mr Dogra knowingly hid the third report that he submitted in the matter. The third report, Mr Kumar's letter says, contained the inventory of the forest.

Interestingly, the previous Financial Commissioner (Forests), Mr P. Ram, had recommended suspension of Mr Dogra and Mr Gujral for having allegedly collected money.

A part of the collected money was allegedly paid to the then Forest Minster Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa. Mr Ram had also suggested that the matter be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further inquiry.

However, while Mr Ram has been shifted to another post, Mr Dogra and Mr Gujral continue to serve in the Forest Department.

Sometime back, the Punjab Government had ordered Additional Director General of Police (Security) RK Gupta to probe the matter.

Mr Dogra and Mr Gujral had earlier also been indicted in an angle iron purchase scam and their suspensions had been recommended.

Facing victimisation at the hands of his superiors, Mr Harsh Kumar has leveled over 60 charges of corruption against Mr Gujral, but to no avail. Mr Gujral, he says, also unauthorisedly wrote his annual confidential report (ACR), which was later set aside by the Union Government.

According to highly placed sources in the government, no decision has so far been taken on the letter written by Mr Kumar.


NRI Sabha gives 2 lakh each to kin of hostages

Jalandhar, August 4
The families of three Indians, who were taken hostage by militants in Iraq, today expressed satisfaction over the ongoing efforts by the Indian Government for the safe and early release of the captives.

The families have also made a renewed appeal to the militants to release the hostages on humanitarian grounds.

Talking to reporters here today, Ramdas, the uncle of captive Antaryami, Promila, the wife of Tilakraj (both from Una, HP) and Sher Singh, the father of Sukhdev Singh (Ropar-Punjab), said the government was doing its best and keeping their families well informed about the well-being of their kin taken hostage in Iraq.

They said officials of the Home Ministry had been making telephone calls daily to inform them about the ongoing efforts and well-being of the hostages.

These families were in the town to receive relief amount provided by the NRI Sabha Punjab on the behalf of NRIs settled in Canada.

Sabha’s vicepatrons — Punjab Ministers Amarjit Singh Samra and Avtar Henry — gave away the relief amount of Rs 2 lakh to each of the three families.

Meanwhile, the NRI Sabha, Punjab, urged the External Affairs Ministry to ensure effective measures to prevent the misuse of tourist visas by unscrupulous touts and travel agents in sending people to different countries.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Henry, said these unscrupulous elements did take Indian workers for job in different countries on the basis of tourist visas and this illegal practice cost the people concerned dearly as soon after landing in the other country their plight began.

They said such immigrants were forced to stray here and there in the want of valid requisite papers.

This was what happened in the case of three Indians who were taken hostage by militants in Iraq as they had also gone abroad on tourist visas, they added.

They also assured of disbursement of adequate relief to the families of three Indian hostages in Iraq by the Punjab Government. — UNI


Punjabi becomes first Asian Sheriff in UK
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 4
It is yet another proud moment for Jalandhar as Mr Harjit Singh Gill of Dakoha village, near cantonment has become the first Asian of the UK to get appointed as the Sheriff of Gloucester city.

Mr Gill (49) was working as a labour councillor for two wards in Barton and Tredworth, where he owns two post office businesses. The Labour Party nominated him as his name was formally proposed at the annual meeting of the Gloucester city council recently.

Mr Gill became the first Asian mayor of Barton in 1999. In 2000, he was reappointed on the post. In April, 2003, he became the firstever Asian of Gloucester to have lunch with the Queen.

Mr Gill has been in UK for 26 years and in Gloucester for 13 years. But he was born and brought up in the city. His academic career started from NDV Victor Senior Secondary School in Jalandhar cantonment. For higher studies, he joined DAV College, Jalandhar. He completed his postgraduation in 1978 and got married to Ms Jaswinder Gakhal of the UK and migrated there. He has two children, Gurkamal (23) and Amrit Kaur (21).

A former professional hockey player in India, Mr Gill came here last in 1999 when he brought with him a police hockey team from the UK. The team played exhibition matches in Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Amritsar. During his visit, the DGP of Jalandhar, Mr M.S. Bhullar, and the District Cricket Association honoured him and the accompanying team.

The elder brother of Mr Kuldeep Singh Gill is a leading transporter-contractor and general secretary of the District Congress (Urban) in Jalandhar. He was in the UK last month when his brother was appointed as the Sheriff.


French Sikh seeks PM’s support on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
“Being a Sikh, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh should understand, the “insult” and problems faced by Sikhs without turban in France”, said Mr Gurdev Singh, an executive member of Gurdwara Singh Sabha in France, during a press conference here today.

Mr Gurdev Singh urged the PM, CM and Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to take up matter with the French Government on this issue. He said the Sikhs could not attire ‘purn swarup’ without the turban. He feared that if the school children were not allowed to wear turban or a dastar and had to cut hair, they would move away from Sikhism.

He urged the Jathedar that earlier, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Akal Takht had taken up this matter, but their problems remained.

Mr Gurdev Singh urged that the Prime Minister should take a high level delegation to France in this regard.

He showed his identity cards and said that their identity cards and driving licences had photographs without turbans. He said Sikhs felt humiliated being clicked without turban. He said there were approximate 5000 Sikhs in France.

He said Mr Dominique de Villepin, Home Minister, France, who had visited India as the Foreign Minister recently, had assured help in this regard, however, no concrete steps had been taken so far, he added.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (SC/ST Cell) also assured its support to Sikhs of France. Leaders of the cell said they would meet the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the PM and the French Government.


BJP ends strike over power cuts
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 4
With the withdrawal of power cuts by the Punjab State Electricity Board and restoration of the normal timings of government offices and shops by the Punjab Government, the district unit of the BJP, Hoshiarpur, ended its 28-day-long fast today, organised to protest against the power cuts.

Thirtyseven women workers, led by Mrs Satwant Kaur, president, mahila wing of the district unit of the BJP, Mrs Rakesh Sud, Bibi Vinod Chadha and Mrs Shama Rani, observed a two-hour fast.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Tikshan Sud, leader of the BJP legislatures’ group in the Vidhan Sabha, said after constant prodding by the people of Hoshiarpur district the strike was started on July 8. People from all walks of life participated in it to pressurise the PSEB to lift all the power cuts and restore regular power supply.

Mr Sud denounced the Punjab Government for not making additional arrangements to ensure the regular power supply in the paddy season when power consumption had increased.

Now, the PSEB had arranged 67 lakh units of power from the central grid and other states. Moreover, the water level in the Gobind Sagar and Pong Dam reservoirs had increased following the heavy rain, which would help in generating sufficient power.

Flaying the change in the office timings and that of the shops, Mr Sud said people, including government employees and shopkeepers, had faced not only inconvenience but also suffered heavy losses.


New industrial units won’t need PUDA licence
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 4
The Housing and Urban Development Department, Punjab, has exempted new industrial estates from the process of obtaining colony licence from the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

According to a press note issued by PUDA, this has been done with a view to simply procedures regarding industrial investments in the state.

The Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, has issued a statutory notification in this regard under relevant Sections of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995. Mr Puri, who is also the Chairman of PUDA, stated that this had been allowed within the framework of the Industrial Policy-2003 and would also cover Information Technology, agro technology and biotechnology as well.

The minister stated that no minimum condition regarding the area to be developed had been prescribed and the eligibility for such park/estate/zone would be assessed and determined by the empowered committee on industrial approvals headed by the Chief Minister. The exemption would become automatically available as soon as the Department of Industries issues an eligibility certificate and no reference to PUDA would be necessary.

The minister added that the facility would mean the automatic waiver of external development charges, which were normally levied. The prospective developer would also not have to furnish any bank guarantee to PUDA, which is insisted upon to secure the execution of internal development works and infrastructure as per approved standards.

The Secretary Housing and Urban Development, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, said the layout plan would however require the approval of the Chief Town Planner with a view to ensuring that sufficiently wide roads were maintained and that there were adequate number of open spaces in the proposed estates. It has, however, clarified that independent approval for potentially polluting industries would be required from the competent state authority.


Husbands complain against wives regularly: study
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 4
Husbands seem to be at the receiving end, with a study of cases referred to the city helpline revealing that husbands regularly complain against their wives.

However, unlike their wives, husbands do not go public and also don’t want a case registered against their “better half”. Sources said even though many men had approached the city helpline to complain against their wives but the complaint always came with a request. “Solve my problem without letting my wife coming to know about it”. The local police has acted accordingly and approached such families saying that they had received complaints from a neighbour or some other person.

Invariably most of these cases have had happy endings, says Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) L.K. Yadav. He said in most of the cases the women, when confronted with the facts, see reason and the cases were resolved following counselling sessions in which elders and society members are involved.

Besides this the parents who suspect their children of taking drugs also make their complaints in secret. The police usually takes action in this regard after it is given the identification of the youngsters. The youngster is told to give up the habit or face the consequences, which according to sources works most of the times.

Mr Yadav disclosed that the helpline has also received a number of complaints against NRI grooms — as many as 697 since January. The complaints mostly pertain to property and dowry besides harassment of the girl abroad. The police officer said in such cases, pressure was put on the families and they are encouraged to work out a compromise. “Only when this fails do we resort to the registration of cases”, he said.

Another important factor which has emerged following interaction with the complainants is that almost 80 per cent of them do not want to approach any of the city police stations with their cases. Most of the complainants said they were reluctant to approach the police station concerned with their complaint for the registration of a case. The district police has, on its part, tried to remove this fear by holding interactions between various complainants and officials posted at the police stations. The sentries posted at the police stations have been asked to be more polite and friendly so that complainants do not hesitate from coming to the police stations.

The helpline has received 7,900 complaints since its start in January. Out of this 5,500 persons have complained on the phone while 2,382 persons have approached the helpline personally to register their complaints. The helpline has received as many as 756 complaints concerning women, out of which 259 complaints are concerning domestic violence. Mr Yadav disclosed that even in these complaints, nearly 80 per cent were solved through counselling and pursuasion and only 20 per cent of the cases are registered against the accused.

‘Boost industry to generate more jobs’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 4
If we want to generate more employment opportunities and save our economy, we have to boost the industry of the state. More than 86 per cent land of the state is under agriculture. But, in the present scenario, the agriculture sector is not in a position to generate employment opportunities and revive economy. So industry is the only hope and the Punjab Government is making all out efforts in this regard.

This was stated by Mr K.P.S. Rana, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Industry, while talking to mediapersons here today. He had come here on an invitation of Dr Sikandar Singh, former president, DCC. Later, he interacted with the industrialists of the district at Mandi Gobindgarh. He also paid obeisance at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Rana said the state government had constituted an advisory council to study the problems of the industrialists of the state and stop the flow of capital from the state to neighbouring states having better facilities. It had submitted its report to the government.


Dalits cremated amidst heavy security
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 4
The bodies of Gurjant Singh and Harminder Singh, members of the Dalit community, who were shot dead allegedly by a group of landlords at Kamalpur village, near Dirba, yesterday, were cremated today.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, along with a strong police contingent was present on the occasion at Kamalpur village.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP Sangrur, said all the three suspects, Bhupinder Singh, Harjit Singh and Kanwaljit Singh, who had been arrested by the police last night, were today produced in a court at Sunam which remanded them to the police custody till August 8.

He added that rest of the accused would be nabbed soon as the police was conducting raids on their possible hide-outs. In the firing incident, two persons were killed, while another 15 were injured, of which 10 persons were under treatment at the Health Centre of Kohrian village while five persons were admitted to the Sangrur Civil Hospital.

The members and supporters of a family of landlords allegedly opened fire on a basti of the Dalits following a quarrel among the children of the Dalits and landlords.

Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, has been made the investigating officer (IO) of this case, the SSP said.


2 labourers die as wall caves in
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 4
One person was killed and another injured while fitting a water motor at a trench in Badha village of Fazilka subdivision this evening. The labourers, Santa Singh (35) and Lekh Raj, both residents, of Rana village, about 8 kilometres from here, were fitting a water motor in a trench in Badha village today afternoon when the mud wall outside the trench caved in.

Both Santa Singh and Lekh Raj were injured seriously and rushed to a private clinic where Santa Singh died in the evening. The condition of Lekh Raj is stated to be out of danger.


SBI panel to hold rally on Aug 9
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 4
Members of the State Bank of India Staff Association organised a demonstration in front of the head office to protest against the anti-employees policies of its management.

Speaking on the occasion the zonal secretary of the association, Ms Gurmit Kaur, alleged that despite several requests the management was not appointing dependents on compassionate grounds.

The association further said it would organise a rally on August 9 in front of its  head office.


Bank deducts money ‘without’ intimation

Patiala, August 4
A resident of Ajit Nagar locality of the city has alleged that bank employees of the HDFC Bank had deducted Rs 3000 from his account without his permission.

Dr Harish Sood said he had deposited Rs 5000 with the HDFC Bank four years back through a bank representative who assured him a free credit card. He said last week he received a balance-sheet from the bank showing a balance of Rs 2000.


High Court
Club affidavit
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 4
The owner of Forest Hill Country Club and Resort, Karoran, on Tuesday filed an affidavit in the High Court, stating therein that the Resort was being made a scapegoat in an ongoing tussle between officers of the Punjab Government, particularly Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers.

In his affidavit, Col. B.S. Sandhu (retd) has alleged that the additional affidavit filed by the Punjab Government a couple of days back in the matter gives the impression that the report filed by IFS officer Harsh Kumar, who conducted inquiry into the irregularities in the construction of the resort, was manipulated by the Resort management.

Filed in reply to the application filed by the Punjab Government, the affidavit further alleges that senior IFS officer H.S Gujral has been indulging in corrupt practices, including accepting illegal gratification.

Referring to media reports, Col Sandhu has stated that Mr Gujral was indicted in an enquiry conducted by the then Financial Commissioner (Forest), Mr P. Ram.


Inside Babudom
15 police inspectors promoted
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab Government has reportedly cleared the names of J.P. Birdi and Jyoti Trehan for promotion as Additional Directors-General of Police (ADGPs) from the post of Inspectors-General of Police. The government has also promoted 15 police inspectors as Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs).

Their names were reportedly considered by the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) during a meeting held a fortnight ago. The promotion list was not available as the same had been sent to Punjab's Director-General of Police A.A. Siddiqui, the sources insisted. They added that the list, along with promotion letters, was likely to be issued within a day or so. The number of DSPs in the state is already above 290.

The sources further claimed that the two IGPs were awaiting posting orders as ADGPs. The same, they asserted, were likely to be issued soon. Both the IPS officers belong to the 1970 batch. Two of the batch-mates have already been promoted to the post of ADGPs.

The sources stated that orders promoting ADGPs to the post of DGPs were still pending, even though the government had recently ordered the promotions of DSPs to the posts of Superintendents of Police (SPs). They said ADGP Parshottam Lal and R.K. Gupta were in line for promotion as DGPs in the otherwise top heavy Punjab police.

The sources disclosed that the seniority list of state cadre police officers for appointment to the Indian Police Services (IPS) was also being finalised. As many as 12 officers, belonging to the Punjab Police Services (PPS), would be able to make it to prestigious IPS after the entire process was completed.

The Punjab Government authorities, after circulating a fresh seniority list, had earlier issued notices to officers concerned calling for objections. The same have been submitted.

The process of filling the vacancies by promotion was being carried out in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The rules make it mandatory for the authorities to fill 33 per cent vacancies by promotion.

The sources in the Punjab Government further revealed that out of 12 vacant posts, eight belonged to 2002. Two belonged to the next year. Another two belonged to 2004.


Child specialist caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 4
Dr Baldev Raj Arora, child specialist, Civil Hospital, Ferozepore, was caught red-handed by a team of Vigilance Bureau led by DSP Raminder Singh while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from an attendant of a patient, Man Singh, a resident of Gulami Wala village in Ferozepore district.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore Range, said that Sukhbir Singh, son of Man Singh was under treatment in the Civil Hospital, and he remained under treatment from July 23 to 29, 2004.On July 29, the accused took Rs 800 as bribe and discharged Sukhbir Singh from hospital.

Today, Man Singh, along with his son, again went to Dr Arora for the recheck of his son. Dr Arora allegedly demanded Rs 1,500 as bribe for examining Sukhbir Singh. A deal was struck between them at Rs 1,000.

Mr Randhawa added that Dr Arora was arrested while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from Man Singh by the team of the Vigilance Bureau in the presence of government witnesses. A case in this connection has been registered.


2 held for poor construction of market
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 4
A vigilance team from Amritsar today arrested the president of the Daulatpur-based labour society, Bharat Bhushan, along with an employee of the Dhariwal Municipal council in the case of poor construction of the Langah market. Sources said the accused had been arrested for the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Langah market in Dhariwal.

The president of the society, who constructed the market as a contractor for the Dhariwal Municipal Council, has been accused of using poor construction material. Earlier the executive officer of the Dhariwal Municipal Council was booked by the Vigilance Department for failing to check poor construction of the market.

The Gurdaspur or the Pathankot police was not informed about the raid by the vigilance sleuths.


Nambardar arrested for fraud
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 4
The police has arrested nambardar Sohan Singh of Mauli village and Dharam Chand, a witness, of Khambra village, in connection with a case of allegedly preparing a fake will.

Malkiat Kaur of Mauli village complained to the police that her brother-in-law Bahadur Singh had allegedly prepared fake will of the property which her late husband Malkiat Singh had willed in her name in 1994 much before his death in 2002.

The police has booked four persons under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, IPC, on the charges of fraud, forgery and criminal conspiracy. Two of the accused have been arrested and the raids were on to nab the rest.


Teacher caught smuggling smack
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 4
A teacher of a private school in Faridkot district was caught smuggling smack from Delhi late evening.

The young teacher, Gurinder Singh, resident of Street No 2 of Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Faridkot, was caught when he alighted at the local railway station with 50 grams of smack yesterday.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Gurinder Singh purchased the smack by paying Rs 3,000 to a stranger, who met him at Delhi railway station.

The accused purchased the smack to sell the same at higher rates.


90 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 4
Gurdial Singh, a resident of Masinghana village, was caught while allegedly smuggling 90 kg of poppy husk here today. A case has been registered against him under Section 15 of the NDPS Act at Jullaka police station.

In another incident, the police recovered 500 gm of opium from Davinder Singh, a resident of Bhrampura. A case has been registered against him under Section 18 of the NDPS Act.


Child sacrifice: case registered
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 4
The police today registered a case of murder under Section 302 of the IPC in connection with the incident of suspected child sacrifice as the two-year-old child was cremated here today.

The decomposed and mutilated body of the child was found from near the dry Bhullarai village canal on August 1.

The police brought the body for post-mortem to the local Civil Hospital. But doctors did not conduct the post-mortem saying since the body was decomposed and mutilated, it was not easy to find out the cause of the death. Subsequently, the body had been sent to the Department of Forensic Medicine of Medical College, Amritsar.

The report of forensic experts had said sharp-edged weapons were used to chop off the limbs of the child.


Rally by unemployed teachers
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 4
Protesting against the contractual appointment of teachers by the Punjab Government and a lathi-charge on unemployed teachers in Jalandhar, the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union organised a rally at Nehru Park here today.

The union warned that if the government didn’t accept their demands by August 6 it would launch an agitation. The jobless teachers also observed black day by wearing black clothes and taking out a rally holding black flags.

Addressing the rally, the state president of the union, Mr Jasvinder Singh Sidhu, and the state general secretary of the Diet Students Welfare Association, Mr Buta Singh, said the government wanted to suppress the voice of unemployed teachers and for this false cases had been registered against their leaders.

A resolution was passed stating that the jobless teachers would not bow before government atrocities and would give a befitting reply to the same. It was also announced that the agitation would continue till the government stopped appointments on contract basis. Leaders of various political parties and teachers’ bodies also addressed the rally.

Bathinda: About hundreds of unemployed ETT teachers, who were holding a protest rally in front of the residence of the Deputy Commissioner here today, were allegedly misbehaved by the police.

The teachers alleged that the police first snatched the loud speaker and the mike, which was being used by them to address the gathering, and then pushed the girls who participated in the rally.

They added that they were holding peaceful rally to lodge their protest against lathi-charge resorted by the police on the unemployed teachers, who were protesting against the state government’s policy of recruiting the teachers on contract at Jalandhar on August 1. They observed a black day against the highhandedness of the state government.

They said members of the Punjab Student Union, the Technical Service Union, the Khet Majdoor Union, the Kirti Majdoor Union and the Palledar Union had pledged their support to their cause.

Jalandhar: Protesting against the recent lathicharge on them, the unemployed teachers held a dharna outside the DC office today.

They said they had been demanding their due rights.

They also raised slogans against the state government for not filling the posts of teacher in government schools in Punjab. They demanded that contractual appointments should be stopped.

Nawanshahr: The Nawanshahr and Ropar units of the Berojgar Elementary Teachers Union and DIET Students Welfare Association observed ‘Black Day’ and organised a protest rally here today held a dharna in front of the DC office to protest against the police lathicharge on their peaceful demonstration at Jalandhar.

They wore black badges and held black flags in their hands and raised anti-government slogans.

Students leaders Ashwani Kumar, Siri Ram Chaudhary, Parminder Singh, Surinder Singh, Kuldip Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Avneet Chadda and Prem Rakker, also addressed the dharna. They demanded to withdraw “false cases” registered against student leaders at Jalandhar and threatened to intensify the stir by burning effigies at the district headquarters from August 6. They also submitted a memorandum to the DC.


Nursing students raise slogans against Principal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 4
Over 130 students of Guru Nanak Nursing Institute, most of them hostellers, raised slogans against the college Director and Principal, and gave a memorandum to the ADC, Mr Mahinder Singh Kainth here today.

They alleged that the management of the college had been charging heavy fines, even a thousand rupees, from some students, though sent leave applications when they were not present.

They said the college management charged a fine of Rs 50 per day and a student who had remained absent for two months owing to illness was told to pay Rs 3,000.

They also alleged that the management was duping them as the institute was not recognised by the Punjab Nursing Registration Council (PNRC) and its certificates did not bear the stamps of the registrar. They said even though they had deposited huge money for admission, they were being issued fake examination certificates.

The students also pointed out that even though they were being charged Rs 32,000 for admission fee, they were issued a receipt of Rs 10,000 only.

Hostelers added that the college did not have any hostel of its own. They said they had hired accommodations at six places where as many as 15 girls wear being made to put up in one room.

They said every last Saturday, they were forced to vacate their hostels and stayed in a marriage palace where three halls had been hired by the management. They said that as many as 50 girls were putting up in one hall there.


Nursing students threaten to move court
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, August 4
The future of all 35 girl students of R.N. Tagore Hospital and Nursing Training Institute located at Dibber-Ghrat near here, is at stake after the management has closed the institute, following the arrest of its director Dr G.D. Sharma.

Many girls had recently accused Dr Sharma of sexually harassing them on the pretext of “monthly medical examination”, and also alleged molestation by Sharma.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, District Gurdaspur police Chief, had deputed then SP Manminder Singh, to probe in to the allegations.

Following the inquiry report a criminal case was registered against Sharma on molestation charges and tampering with the records. The bail plea of Dr Sharma was declined by the illaqa magistrate here. The further appeal was pending before Additional Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur for August 6.

Since the institute had been close down, the students had no option but to leave.

The students had also met the Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, demanding their security and adjustment in some other recognised institution and refund of fee, but nothing had been done so far, said sources.

A student said, if nothing was done, the students would be forced to move court for cancellation of the license of the institute.

Mr Harjit Singh said that he had written to the Health Department, for adjustment of all students of the institute and also recommended that no fresh admission be allowed in the institute here.


647 report for MCA counselling
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 4
Nearly 528 candidates reported for the state-level counselling for admission to the MCA course for 2004-05 being conducted by affiliated colleges of the three universities of Punjab — Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. The counselling, which continued for a week, concluded yesterday.

Giving this information, Dr K.L. Allawadhi, coordinator of the counselling, said it was conducted by around 25 teachers in the presence of representatives of all three participating universities. Around 1,400 students had appeared for the PAM, CAT-2004 test conducted by Punjabi University for admission to the MCA course.

As many as 647 candidates reported for counselling. Out of these, 528 (55 in Reserved category and 473 general category) were recommended for admission to 31 various institutions.

A meeting of the representatives of the three universities was held in the evening in the Physics Department, Punjabi University, to review the counselling process and make future recommendations, if any.


Vice-Chancellors’ conference at GND varsity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
Guru Nanak Dev University will host the North Zone Vice-Chancellors’ Conference-2004 here from August 5 to 7

Mr R.L. Bhatia, Governor of Kerala will inaugurate the conference while Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, will preside.


Compensation for traders sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 4
The Punjab Government should grant adequate compensation to traders for the losses incurred by them during the past 11 days due to the closure of their shops and other commercial establishments at 6 pm daily, instead of 8 pm in the wake of power crisis in the state.

This was demanded by Mr Diwan Goyal, district president of the Beopar Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Mr Lalit Kumar Garg, district president of the BJP Legal Cell, today.

Mr Goyal and Mr Garg said it was the need of the hour that traders should be compensated for the losses as the traders community had already been facing a financial crisis on account of various aspects.

They said the state government should come up with a formula to grant compensation to traders on the pattern of compensation granted to farmers when their standing crops were damaged due to floods or droughts.

Mr Garg urged the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to announce compensation to traders on the Independence Day. He stated that the Chief Minister should immediately initiate steps to announce compensation by forming a high-level committee to assess the losses incurred by traders and decide the compensation amounts.

Mr Garg warned the state government that it failed in announcing compensation to the traders by August 15, the BJP Legal Cell would be compelled to move the court of law to get justice for the traders.

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