P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



54 PoWs still in Pak jails
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
Returning home is a dream for 54 Army men captured by Pakistan in 1971 war, even two prisoners of war-Lance Naik Jagsir Singh and Sapper Mohd Arif- returned to motherland after repatriation by Pakistan yesterday. The two had strayed into Pakistani territory while defining after Kargil war.

These 54 jawans have been in Pakistan jails for past more than 30 years and some of them may not be alive after being in jails for such a long time.

Earlier, the Missing Defence Personnel Relatives’ Association formed for taking up the issue of the 1971 POWs made efforts for the release of these unfortunate prisoners of war. Members of the association had approached every minister concerned, persons and organisations in this regard, however, no government took the matter seriously.

Fear has also been expressed regarding their deaths as Jagsir and Mohd Arif also said that they had not seen any POW in the Pakistan jail where they were 
held in captivity for five years.

Sepoy Joginder Singh, who was in the Border Security Force has been missing since 1971 Indo-Pak war. His daughter Harjit Kaur, a resident of Rajatal village here visits Wagah joint check post every time when repatriations take place.


Fill seats on merit, medical colleges told
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The admissions supervision committee headed by Justice G.R. Majithia today made it clear to the managements of various private medical, dental, ayurvedic and homeopathy colleges that they should fill the management quota seats on the basis of the merit list announced by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

The ratio of the government and management quota seats is 50:50. At the time of making admissions against such seats, the representatives of the university and government would have to be associated by the managements of these institutions.

The merit list has been prepared by the university on the basis of the entrance test conducted by it for admission purpose. An order to fill such seats on the basis of merit was issued today by Mr Satish Chandra, member secretary of the admissions supervision committee set up by Punjab Government on the directions of the Supreme Court.

However, this order, would not be applicable to Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical and Dental Sciences, Amritsar and Christian Medical and Dental College, Ludhiana.

Mr Satish Chandra said that the committee would supervise all admissions made against the management quota seats in the private unaided ( both minority and non minority) institutions.

The committee would depute observers for this purpose. Any admission that is not approved by the observer concerned and the admissions committee would be considered invalid.

The fee for management quota as well as government quota seats would be on a par as had been decided by the fee fixation committee. All institutions covered under the order would have to insert at least two advertisements in leading two daily newspapers of Punjab inviting applications for the management quota seats.

The institutions would have to send application forms, prospectus and website address to the member secretary of the Committee and also to the university.

The institutions would also have to furnish details such as schedule of admissions, copy of advertisement, details of newspapers, last date of application, last date with late fee, date of interview and counselling etc to the member secretary. A written request would also be made to the member secretary to depute observer(s) for supervising the admissions.

Mr Satish Chandra said that the fee structure notified on July 17 this year was provisional.

Institutions had been asked to furnish details of infrastructure and statement of income and expenditure. Final fee structure would be determined after considering all these details. Institutions had been advised to take an affidavit from the students that he or she would pay the final fee fixed by the committee.


Two law students suspended for ragging girls
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Chaheru (Jalandhar), August 10
In a shocking incident, “four” first-year girl students of a law college here were allegedly subjected to ragging by their seniors. Judging the seriousness of the incident, the management of the Lovely Institute of Education, of which the law college is a part, has punished two of the erring students by suspending them from the institute.

On the other hand, a team of panches and sarpanches of the area and leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) visited the institute and apprise the management of the incident.

The incident, according to information, took place on Monday when four freshers from Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts (only one girl according to Mr Ashok Mittal, chairman of the Lovely Institute of Education), visited the institute for the first time and were allegedly stopped by a group of senior students.

Subsequently, the students were taken to classroom No. 303, where “they were not only made to pull their ears and do sit-ups but were also teased by their seniors”. The girls even touched the feet of their seniors and pleaded to be spared, but the requests fell on deaf ears. One of the four girls, who was prevented from going to the toilet, was allowed to leave the room only when she began to cry. The group of boys also allegedly tried to dissuade the girls from addressing them as brothers.

The incident has instilled a sense of fear among girl students. A student also reportedly told a team of college officials, headed by Mr Ashok Mittal, who is president of the Lovely Institute of Education, that ragging had been going on in the institute for number of days. Mr Mittal immediately suspended two of the students, while others, who sought pardon, were let off.

Mr Ashok Mittal said the management had taken the incident seriously and that arrangements had been made to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in future. Mr Mittal, however, maintained that the incident involved one girl, who, according to him, turned out to be “extra-sensitive” and not four, as alleged by Mr Sukhvinder Pal Singh Khalsa, senior vice-president of the SAD (A).

“Initially, the girl did not want to identify boys and had wished that such incidents did not take place in future,” said Mr Mittal. However, Sukhwinder Pal Singh Khalsa maintained that the number of girls was four.


Work at a standstill on Narwana branch
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 10
Two breaches in the Narwana branch of the Bhakra canal, which takes water to Haryana, could not be plugged for the second day today with farmers refusing to lift their dharna at Lachhru Khurd village, near Ghanaur, despite intervention by district officials as well as officers of the Drainage Department.

The farmers of around one dozen villages, which were flooded last week, are demanding immediate construction of heavy capacity syphons at both sites where the Narwana branch canal was breached.

They have formed a committee to fight for the acceptance of this demand.

The committee held a dharna at Lachhru Khurd village today which was addressed by SGPC member Jasmel Singh, MCPI leader Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Gursewak Singh of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kamaldeep Singh of the SAD (Longowal), Mr Dharampal Siel of the Punjab Kisan Sabha and Mr Gurdev Singh of the Kisan Union. All the speakers said they would not lift the dharna till the syphons were constructed at both the site.

District officials, including Subdivisional Magistrate Navtej Singh, DSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan and Drainage Department Executive Engineer Amarjeet Singh Dullat invited the leaders of the committee to the Market Committee office in Ghanaur to discuss the entire issue. When the committee refused to send any delegation to Ghanaur, the officers went to the dharna site at Lachhru Khurd.

Mr Dullat and others went around the two breaches along with the committee members and assured them that their demand for bigger syphons at both the places would be met. However, Mr Dullat argued that construction of the syphons would take around six weeks and that the Narwana canal could not be kept closed for such a long period. The committee members, however, refused to lift the dharna.


BBMB reviews flood threat
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 10
With a view to coping up with the panic among villagers that an artificial lake formed on the Parechu river in Tibet is likely to overflow and cause floods in the villages on both sides of the Sutlej, a meeting of senior officials of the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) and the district administration held here this evening.

Giving details of the meeting, Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain said, “There is absolutely no possibility of flood in the district. But the administration had sounded the red alert in the district and declared seven villages in Anandpur Sahib subdivision sensitive”.

She said that the villages which were declared sensitive were Chanderpur Bela, Harsh Bela, Amar Bela, Tirak Karna, Sashipur Bela, Tila Dhyani, Bela Dhyani.

“There is nothing to worry about as there was a shortage of 127 feed water in the Bhakra Dam,” she added.

17 truckloads of fodder for flood-hit areas
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
As many as 17 truckloads of fodder have been sent to the flood affected areas of the district by the Malwa Arts, Sports and Educational Trust (MASET), an official press note said here today.

The general secretary of the trust, Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu, said they would be sending fodder to the various affected areas till the people of those areas were themselves able to produce fodder. Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also decided to donate medicines worth Rs 1 lakh for the flood-affected people.

The President of the IMA, Dr D.C. Bansal, said the medicines would be purchased and given to the district health authorities for further distribution. The money for the purpose would be collected by the branch from city nursing homes, hospitals, clinics and laboratories.


Police inspector held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Continuing with its drive to check corruption among members of the police force, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau today caught in charge of Ropar's anti-embezzlement staff Gurmukh Singh on the allegations of accepting Rs 5,000 from an accused.

He is the second police official to have been arrested by the bureau in less than a fortnight. The sleuths had earlier nabbed an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) while he was allegedly demanding and accepting bribe.

The sources in the Vigilance Bureau claimed that a Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employee, posted at Kathu Nanagal in Amritsar district, was also convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment by a Special Court. A fine of Rs 2,000 was also imposed. In another corruption case, a patwari was sentenced to two years' imprisonment by Patiala's Special Judge. Both of them were booked by the Vigilance Bureau.

Giving details of the trap case, the sources claimed that Inspector Gurmukh Singh was taken into custody from a dhaba in Mohali. The Inspector had reached the spot to allegedly meet and accept bribe from complainant Karamjit Singh.

The operation was carried out under the supervision of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Vigilance) N.S. Dhillon. Though he was not available for comments, the sources revealed that the accused had been arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Going into the background of the case, the sources claimed that Karamjit Singh was directed by a court to join investigation in a case registered against him after he applied for anticipatory bail. The Inspector, however, demanded Rs 10,000 from Karamjit Singh for allowing him to do the same. Failure to join the investigation would have resulted in cancellation of bail, the sources added.

They disclosed that the deal was finalised at Rs 5,000. As both the complainant and the accused Inspector were coming to Chandigarh, they decided to meet at the dhaba.

Instead of making the payment, the complainant reportedly approached the Vigilance authorities after which the Bureau's flying squad — headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police — reached the spot and allegedly caught the accused in the act.

Regarding the court cases, the sources said PSEB employee Kamla Sharma was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1000 from complainant Kulwant Singh "to minimise excess consumption of domestic electric meter".

Patwari Roop Chand was also caught red- handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from complainant Ranjit Singh "for issuing him a copy of Jamabandi". 


Bawa lauds role of Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Ludhiana District Congress (urban) President Krishan Kumar Bawa today lauded the role of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in protecting the rights of the state over the use of water. ‘’He speaks from the heart and there is no dichotomy in what he feels and says’’.

In a signed statement, Mr Bawa, a former Chairperson of Punjab Housefed, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had failed to protect the interests of the state and had raised only a false bogey of being a sympathiser of the people.

He called upon all Punjabis to support Capt. Amarinder Singh in safeguarding the interests of the state.


Badal wants PM to visit flood-hit areas
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 10
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today asked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, to visit flood-affected areas of Punjab to assess loss of farmers due to floods.

Mr Badal said SAD leaders would visit New Delhi on August 13 to meet the Prime Minister for inviting him to participate in the 400th anniversary celebrations of installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Badal along with Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, leader and Giani Niranjan Singh Bhutal, a SAD leader, toured some flood-affected villages, including Khanauri, Andana, Mandvi and Chandu, in the Khanauri and Moonak areas.

Mr Badal demanded Rs 10,000 per acre compensation for the farmers whose crops had been damaged. He said the government should also grant relief to Dalits, whose houses were damaged.

Mr Badal also stated that the 400th anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Granth Sahib’s installation would continue for four years. The celebrations would begin from September 1 this year.


Water sharing will “hit Punjab farmers”
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 10
Nine lakh acres of cultivable land in Punjab will become barren if the river waters are shared with the neighbouring states.

This was stated by Master Mohan Lal, senior BJP leader and former Punjab Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said by sharing river water nearly 18 lakh farmers would not be able to do farming and Punjab would become another Rajasthan.

The former minister, who was accompanied by Prof Rajinder Bhandari, general secretary of the state unit of the BJP, and Mr Manoj Arora, vice-president of the Panchayati Cell of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said he was not against other states and wanted all states to flourish.



SGPC gears up for celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
The SGPC appealed to all Indians and NRIs world over to illuminate their homes and commercial establishments on September 1 to mark the 400th installation of holy Guru Granth Sahib in Darbar Sahib here.

SGPC working president Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke stated that gurmat chetna march (procession ) would be taken out from Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, Banaras, Dhuaan (Rajasthan) Srinagar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo and Sultanpur Lodhi during the next fortnight which would conclude at Amritsar on august 30 and 31.

He appealed to municipal committees of all towns and village panchayats, enroute the procession, to erect welcome gates and arches. He said the SGPC had already requested the Centre and the state governments to declare holiday on September 1.

Meanwhile, in a meeting of principals of SGPC run colleges, various principals were assigned duties to decorate route of the march in their respective areas.


3 million devotees expected on Sept 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Punjab Government is expecting a turnout of 3 million devotees on September 1, the day when the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib would be celebrated at the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, said today that the President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, have been invited, besides several other dignitaries for this occasion.

A sum of Rs 1 crore had been placed at the disposal of the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, for providing infrastructural support for providing parking facilities and other arrangements such as toilets, drinking water, temporary tents etc.

Mr Gill has also reviewed the progress of the beautification and widening of the Darbar Sahib, Gurdwara Ramsar Road, which is proposed to be renamed as “Sri Guru Granth Sahib Marg.”


Transfers in SGPC raise eyebrows
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
The large-scale posting, transfer, demotion and promotions in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) by the outgoing working president have raised eyebrows. The orders were kept “top secret” for more than a week.

The outgoing working president has already been summoned by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission through “Munadi” (beating of drum) for recruiting 111 employees in violation of SGPC bylaws. The orders were issued despite the fact that the new office-bearers were expected to take over shortly. The co-option of the 15 SGPC members would be finalised by the Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh 
Badal tomorrow.

At least 44 posting and transfers were made on August 2 in a “secretive” manner, which were not made public till today.

The transferred employees were given verbal orders only. However, the TNS arranged the copy of the orders. Senior officials of the SGPC, who pleaded anonymity, described the orders as “arbitrary” as the outgoing working president had no moral right to do so. The transferred employees included senior officials too.

It is learnt that the posting and transfers were made on the basis of “personal loyalty” aimed at settling a “political scores”.

The outgoing SGPC executive also effected certain demotions as well as promotions. Earlier, Mr Badal had reportedly directed Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke — the working president SGPC —not to take any major decision during the stopgap arrangement. The major reshuffle is the prerogative of the regular 
president only .

Earlier, the outgoing president made certain changes in various sub-committees, including the inquiry committee, and inducted his certain “loyalists” without the approval of the SGPC executive.

The outgoing president had also recruited employees in certain SGPC-run institutions. Like in the past, the next president or executive body may also amend the “controversial orders”.


Pakhoke against Majithia panel order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The acting president of the SGPC, Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke and former president of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, met the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, here today.

They urged her not to implement the order of the Majithia committee. The committee had rejected the minority status granted to the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical and Dental Sciences, Amritsar.

Both the SGPC leaders pointed that the committee was set up to supervise the admissions in the medical, dental and other such colleges and not to decide the minority status of the SGPC run Institute.

Ms Bhattal assured them that the government was legally examining the issue at its own level. It had not implemented the order of the committee yet, she added.


President Kalam marks farmers’ letter to Chief Secy
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 10
The President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has marked a demand letter of farmers protesting against acquisition of their land in Mohali to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, for necessary action.

This demand letter had been sent to the President on July 27 by members of the Pind Bachao Committee, formed to protest against Punjab Urban Development Authority’s move to acquire land in Mohali’s periphery.

The agitating farmers said this had raised hopes that the Punjab Government would consider their protest seriously and deal with them fairly.

Over 1200 land holders of villages in Chandigarh’s periphery are protesting against the acquisition of their land by PUDA for the past six months.


Satta alleges torture
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, August 10
Under trial prisoner Satnam Singh Satta, held in high-security Central Jail here said that he was tortured by the police to give a statement against jail doctor and a policeman after his escape from a government hospital.

Satta alleged that he was given electric shocks on ‘lower part’ of the body, chest, fingers and ears during police remand and he stated whatever they (policemen) wanted him to do. He was talking to “The Tribune” at Central Jail today. He was presented by Capt S.P. Singh, Superintendent Jail before the Press.

Earlier, at a press conference on August 5 in Majitha SSP’s office he had said that he had given Rs 8000 including Rs 3000 to a doctor and munshi of the Central Jail for his escape. He had escaped from a government hospital after his admission there on the recommendations of doctor of the jail on April 12. Later, he surrendered before a court at Batala on July 19 and taken into custody by the Majitha police.

Satta alleged to be an accomplice of militant K.S. Jangla, has been facing 17 criminal cases including murder, lootings and snatchings. He denied that he was member of a gang and committed any crime.

Capt S.P. Singh, Superintendent Jail, annoyed at frequent criticism of the Jail Department refuted charges that criminals were being given VIP treatment and of smuggling of drugs in the jail. He said nobody was given VIP treatment. He said only “human face treatment” was being given depending upon the person and nature of the crime.

Capt Singh said that criminals were given facilities as per the jail manual. He said the department had transferred 162 policemen who had been posted in the jail for many years and had allegedly formed a nexus for the smuggling of drugs etc. He said even vegetables were not being allowed inside the jail after some complaints of drugs going inside in the vegetables were received.

He alleged that the policemen who take the undertrial prisoners for court hearing were responsible for escapes and smuggling of narcotics in the jail. He rued that the persons who even did not know anything about jail were giving irresponsible statements about jails. He questioned that why the action had not been taken against any senior police official due to large number of escapes of undertrial prisoners from police custody. He said since his posting three prisoners had escaped from police custody.


Old women pensioners stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
A large number of old women today staged a dharna under the banner of the CPI and the Istri Sabha in protest against the non-issuance of pension and alleged harassment meted out to them in this regard.

The women headed by Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, district secretary of the CPI, and senior women leaders of the sabha raised slogans against the state government for its anti-people policies. They have been demanding increase in pension from Rs 200 to Rs 500 and decrease in the age limit from 65 to 60.


Family’s desperate efforts to get body of loved one
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 10
Sunita, wife of late Raj Kumar, alias Kala, of Bansi Nagar mohalla here is making great-efforts to get body of her husband from Italy, where he died one and a half months ago, for last rites. Raj Kumar went to Italy for livelihood. Ms Usha Sharma, an officer in Indian Embassy in Italy, had informed about the death of Raj Kumar to his family here. The body of Raj Kumar was sent to a hospital in Italy on June 29, 2004, for keeping it in mortuary, the family was told.

The family was told to send a copy of the passport and other documents of Raj Kumar to Italy to enable the embassy to send the body to India. Sunita has approached Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, for help. Mr Khanna wrote to the Union Foreign Ministry along with the necessary documents.

Mrs Maya Devi, mother, Sunita, wife, and a daughter of Raj Kumar are in shock. Raj Kumar went to Italy for livelihood six years ago. After working in Malan city for three-four years, he shifted to other city. The family had requested Indian Embassy in Italy to send a photograph of the dead but did not receive one. The cause of death was also not intimated. She said the family has been waiting for the body to perform the last rites.


World Breast-Feeding Week celebrated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
A seminar on breast-feeding was held to celebrate the World Breast-Feeding Week here today. The seminar was organised by the district unit of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics under the presidentship of Dr Sudesh Sharma, former professor of pediatrics, Government Medical College. About 60 paediatricians attended the seminar.

Dr Sharma said the artificial feeding exposed the babies to infection which resulted in over a million deaths annually worldwide.

There was no need to give extra water, honey, sugar, soother, pacifiers, etc, in the first four months to newborn babies who were taking mother’s milk. He stressed the need for giving special training to feed the newborn to nurses and paramedical personnel who were handling the newborns and mothers in hospitals.


Chemist shops raided; intoxicants seized

Kharar, August 10
To check the sale and purchase of intoxicants and banned drugs in the state and book those violating the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, the Punjab Health Department has launched a special campaign.

As many as 11 chemist shops in Kharar, Mohali, Morinda and other parts of Ropar district were raided since Friday by a high-powered team, headed by the Punjab Assistant Drugs Controller (ADC) Mr Bhag Singh. The official reportedly seized a heavy quantity of intoxicants and banned drugs from some of the premises.

A karyana merchant in Morinda, who was not even possessing the requisite drugs license to store and sell drugs, was found selling Oxytocin ampoules, which were used for milking cattle and were banned for sale, storage and usage, and a huge cache of the banned drug was seized from him.

Two chemist shops each in Kharar and Mohali, three in Morinda, one each in Landran, Lutheri and Peepalmajra and a karyana store in Morinda were raided during the past four days, according to the Punjab ADC. As many as 2,800 tablets of Lomofen, 800 ampoules of Oxytocin and 74 different types of those drugs, which were reportedly used as intoxicants, were reportedly seized during the raids. PTI


In aid of AIDS patient
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 10
In a rare gesture a family of Bathinda has adopted an HIV-positive baby girl. Two-and-a-half-year-old Neena was adopted by Mr Vijay Goel, president of an NGO of the area, when her mother Chhinder Kaur died on December 11, last year. Since then Neena has been living with his family at his house at Gali Arjun Dass here.

When a Tribune team visited his house today Neena was playing with her new mother Rachna and sister Neeru.

Sitting in Neeru’s lap, on seeing The Tribune team initially she expressed shyness. She took some time to mix up with The Tribune team but did not speak much.

Mr Goel told The Tribune team that the NGO had got a call from some residents of Deep Nagar here on December 1, last year. Volunteers of the NGO went there and saw Chhinder Kaur along with Neena, lying in a locked room of a house.

They took both to the Bathinda Civil Hospital, where both of them were found HIV-positive. Chhinder died on December 11.

Mr Goel further said it had been decided that Neena would be sent to a Sangrur-based Pingalwara being run by Bhagat Puran Singh’s daughter Bibi Inderjeet Kaur. But at the last moment he decided not to send her there and brought her to his home after adopting her as her daughter.

“I wanted to provide her happiness till her death. That was why I brought her to my house,” he said.

And unaware of her future Neeru told The Tribune team that she was proud of her new father.


Legal awareness camp
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
A legal awareness camp was organized under the guidance of Assistant District Attorney (legal services) at bus stand, Banur, here today. The basic objective of the camp was to make people aware about free legal aid and Lok Adalats. Speaking on the occasion, the Assistant District Attorney (legal services) Rakesh Kumar Soni said the basic objective of the Lok Adalat is to settle disputes between parties amicably and to minimise enmity between the parties and to save time and money. He further informed that an application could be submitted to the court concerned.

According to Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, any person belonging to Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes, women, children, industrial workmen, disabled persons and a person whose annual income is less than Rs 30,000 are entitled to free legal services. Free legal services include lawyer’s fee, and process fee and expenditure on summoning of witness. Persons belonging to Patiala district can contact the Assistant District Attorney at the local court complex for more information.


Bank staff hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
On a call by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, bank employees today organised a rally in front of the head office of State Bank of Patiala to protest against the ‘adamant attitude’ of the bank management in not providing compassionate appointments to dependents of deceased employees.

Addressing the gathering, the general secretary of the All India SBOP Employees Federation, Mr N.K. Gaur, said if the management failed to accept their ‘genuine’ demands they would hold a dharna before all zonal and head offices from August 16 to 19.

Those who addressed the rally included general secretary S.K. Gautam and vice-president SBOP Employees Union Gurbax Singh Dhillon. 


3 buried alive in mudslide
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 10
Three labourers were buried alive when they were digging a tubewell at Dhudike village here today. While the district administration did nothing to save their lives, the residents of nearby villages carried out the rescue operation.

The incident took place when the labourers were digging a 40-feet tubewell in an agricultural land. There was a sudden mudslide which buried them alive. An engine, motor and its shaft also fell into pit.

The labourers were identified as Gurmail Singh, Ranjeet Singh and Lakhveer Singh.

The villagers, alleged that though they had informed the SHO of the Mehna police station within 15 minutes of the incident, no one reached the spot till 5 pm.

They also said the SDM, Mr Gurnam Singh Gill offered no help except for making the arrangements for light to carry out the rescue work at night.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, could not be contacted for his comments.


PSEB urged to reduce connection charges
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 10
A section of the farmers of Bathinda and Mansa districts yesterday urged the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to reduce the charges pertaining to the power connection for agriculture as they had started paying the electricity bills now.

In a representation made to the Chairman, Mr Sukhdev Singh Chahal, former chairman, Panchayat Samiti, Mansa, on behalf of farmers pointed out that power connection charges for agriculture were hiked by the state government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal when the facility of free power was extended to the farmers. He added that though the facility of free electricity to the farmers for agriculture had been withdrawn, the Punjab Government had not reduced the power connection charges despite the fact that farmers had started paying monthly electricity bills.


HC orders new bullet-proof car, Gypsy for Tej Prakash
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 10
The Punjab Government was today directed to provide a new bullet proof car as also new Maruti Gypsy with security personnel to escort the car of Mr Tej Prakash Singh, a former Punjab Transport Minister and son late Beant Singh.

Disposing of the application filed by Mr Tej Prakash, the Punjab and Haryana High Court also directed that adequate security arrangements should be made for the applicant before August 31.

Citing security concerns in the wake of failure of security agencies to nab the three terrorists, involved in the assassination of Beant Singh, the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Tej Prakash had said that despite repeated requests from the family, the government has failed to provide adequate security to them.

Saying that his father's death anniversary will be observed on August 31, Mr Singh had said that a bullet proof car and escort car should be provided to ensure that the escaped militants don't harm them.


Police custody for 2 in fraud case
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 9
Two persons have been remanded in two-day police custody by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Jagjeet Singh Chauhan for cheating people on the pretext for sending them abroad. Harbhajan Singh, another accused was absconded.

Earlier, the complainant, Karam Singh of Jhakadwala village, in his complaint to the SSP, had alleged that a travel agent named Harbhajan Singh had duped his son, Kulbeer Singh of Rs 2 lakh under the pretext of sending him abroad. 

The complainant said he had met Labh Singh and his son Lakhwinder Singh of Wada Bhaika village and they had told him that their friend Harbhajan Singh used to send people abroad. They assured Karam Singh that people sent abroad by their friend got a permanent job, after which he asked them to introduce him to Harbhajan. Karam Singh met him and struck a deal for Rs 10 lakh for sending Kulbeer to the USA. The complainant said the accused asked him to in advance pay Rs 2 lakh. The accused told him that they would take Rs 4 lakh after sending his son abroad and his son could pay the rest of the amount after reaching the USA.


Three get life term for poisoning man
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 10
A local court today sentenced three persons to life imprisonment on the charge of poisoning a fellow resident of Nandpur Kesho village near here in 1999. The fast-track court of Mr B.S. Sidhu took the decision. 

The accused have been identified as former Nandpur Kesho sarpanch Hardev Singh, his brother Harbans Singh, and Nirmal Singh. Three other accused in the case, Parvinder Singh, Jaspal Singh and Janak Singh, have been acquitted.

All of them are accused of poisoning fellow village resident Narang Singh. The accused had called Narang Singh to the Jhill bus stand to sort out another case in which Narang Singh had been acting on behalf of another person of the village who was accused in a murder case involving relatives of the accused. It was alleged that something was mixed in liquor and given to Narang following which he died a little later.

According to the case history, Narang’s brother Balbir Singh filed a case in the court claiming the police was doing nothing to give him justice.


Farmers allege irregularities by mandi board officials
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
Even as the district administration promised facilities to those who had shifted from old mandi to the new one, the ground situation is far from satisfactory, despite more than a month having passed. Farmers have alleged of irregularity and harassment at the hands of officers of the mandi board.

Following this, Mr R.P. Bhatti, Suprintending Engineer, State Mandi Board, Chandigarh, took stock of the situation today after receiving several complaints from farmers here .

The district vice-president of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Balwinder Singh, and secretary, Mr Lakhbir Singh, alleged that in gross irregularity, a space set aside for 18 shops was given to “phariwallas” (roadside vendors). They said the records showed 300 such vendors registered, while more than double the number existed. They said no receipts were given to the vendors.

Some fruit traders of the mandi revealed that only four police personnel had been deputed in the 104-acre expanse of the new mandi and that the administration had not set up a bank, as promised to them. Consequently, dealing in huge cash in the absence of a bank and inadequate security was proving risky.

The organisation alleged that irregularities were also seen in the allotment of the mandi canteen wherein large amount of money changed hands. Scarcity of water and charging of parking fee up to Rs 40 had also irked the farmers.

Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, District Mandi Officer, when contacted said the administration was forced to allot the demarcated space for shops to “phariwallas” as a temporary arrangement as the space was encroached upon by a “baba” who indulged in illegal activities.

He further said no licence was needed for “vendors”. He admitted that problems of water shortage, security and banking were urgent and genuine and it would take another two months to solve these.


10.50 lakh hectares to be made green
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 10
More than 1.75 lakh new saplings will be planted on 10.50 lakh hectares in Punjab in the current fiscal year. Disclosing this here, Mr Hans Raj Jossan, Minister of State for Forests, said at present 8 per cent of the total area of the state was under the forest cover, which would be increased to 12 per cent in the next three years. 

He said to achieve this target, the Forest Department had embarked upon an ambitious proposal under which saplings would be planted along the railway tracks, in educational institutions, focal points, link roads and surplus government land under the supervision of panchayats.

Mr Jossan said under this afforestation scheme, five green cities would be developed in Punjab. He said to begin with Patiala, Jalalabad and Ferozepore had been chosen for the green city drive. He said to achieve the 33 per cent target as specified by the Central Government, the Forest Department has envisaged a 10-year plan.

Mr Jossan said area under the forest cover was constantly depleting even in states like Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, which had adversely affected weather conditions. He said although Punjab was an agrarian state, 83 per cent of the total land was under agriculture use but efforts were on to bring more area under the cover of forests to reduce the pollution level.

He said the state government had sent a proposal to the Union Government to provide subsidy to farmer for planting trees instead of going in for traditional crops.

Later, presiding over a meeting of the district officials, Mr Jossan exhorted the government machinery to work towards various development programmes and ameliorate the hardships of the poor at grassroots levels.


Police criticised for violating SC verdict
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, august 10
The Punjab Senior PCMS Association criticised the civil and police administration of Bathinda for registering a criminal case against three doctors of Bathinda Civil Hospital on flimsy ground.

The Central executive member of the association, Dr Gurjant Singh Sekhon, alleged that the administration had violated the recent judgment of the Supreme Court while registering the case. He said without any inquiry report of a team of senior doctors no criminal case of negligence could be registered.

The Muktsar unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) also came forward in favour of the doctors. The president of the association, Dr Balwinder Singh, termed this act of the administration and the police as illegal and irresponsible.

An FIR was registered against the three doctors of the Civil Hospital for negligence that led to the death of an accident victim.


Missing youth: case registered
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 10
The police has registered a case of kidnapping in an incident in which a youth had gone missing from Bukkanwala village two months back. The police has also taken a person into custody for interrogation. Earlier, family members of the youth had written to the Human Rights Commission demanding a high-level probe into the matter.

According to complainant Surjeet Singh, who is the cousin of the missing youth, Gurdeep Singh went missing under mysterious circumstances about two months back. He said Gurdeep owned a two-acre plot and a house. He was staying with his uncle Milkha Singh in Takhanbandh village.

The complainant said someone had called Gurdeep saying he could get a motor installed in his land. After that Gurdeep never came back. He said he also enquired about the whereabouts of Gurdeep from that person before panchayat, but he didn’t disclose much.

“When we opened his room in the presence of our relatives and village sarpanch we found his belongings missing and locks of two suitcases were broken,” he added. The complainant said he suspected that somebody had killed Gurdeep.

Surjeet alleged that the person in question was threatening him and his brother with dire consequences and pressuring them to withdraw their complaint. He further alleged that all this was done to grab Gurdeep’s property.


Dr Samra booked in ‘doctored’ photo case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 10
The Jalandhar police today booked Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra on the basis of a complaint filed by AIG (Provisioning) Varinder Kumar. Mr Varinder Kumar has alleged that Dr Samra had intentionally tried to tarnish his image as a police officer by releasing some doctored photographs wherein he had been shown dancing with a girl at a Jalandhar hotel. He said the photos were first released in Jalandhar and later in Chandigarh.

Acting on the complaint the Jalandhar police has registered a case against Dr Samra under Sections 420, 469, 301, and 501 of the IPC and under Section 66 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000.

Sources in the police revealed that after, registration of a case the said photos have been sent to forensic experts.


Jail inmate tries to escape
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 10
An inmate of Bathinda Central Jail, Baaz Singh, tried to escape when he was being brought back from a court of some other district. However, he was rearrested within minutes as a result of active efforts of the police.

According to sources, the jail inmate jumped out of the bus when the driver slowed down its speed near thermal plant here on Thursday. Following which, the police personnel also chased him and he was rearrested.


Police custody for 2 in fraud case
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 9
Two persons have been remanded in two-day police custody by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Jagjeet Singh Chauhan for cheating people on the pretext for sending them abroad. Harbhajan Singh, another accused was absconded.

Earlier, the complainant, Karam Singh of Jhakadwala village, in his complaint to the SSP, had alleged that a travel agent named Harbhajan Singh had duped his son, Kulbeer Singh of Rs 2 lakh under the pretext of sending him abroad. The complainant said he had met Labh Singh and his son Lakhwinder Singh of Wada Bhaika village and they had told him that their friend Harbhajan Singh used to send people abroad. They assured Karam Singh that people sent abroad by their friend got a permanent job, after which he asked them to introduce him to Harbhajan. Karam Singh met him and struck a deal for Rs 10 lakh for sending Kulbeer to the USA. The complainant said the accused asked him to in advance pay Rs 2 lakh. The accused told him that they would take Rs 4 lakh after sending his son abroad and his son could pay the rest of the amount after reaching the USA.

Karam Singh said he paid Rs 2 lakh to Harbhajan on January 4, 2004, but when the accused did not send his son abroad he asked them to return the money.

Harbhajan refused to return the money following which Karam Singh complained to the SSP on June 25, 2004. On the basis of his complaint, the police registered a case against the three accused under Section 420 of the IPC. 


Boy, sister die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 10
School-going brother and sister were killed in a road mishap today when they were run over by a truck carrying LPG cylinders. The two, who were returning home after attending their school on a bicycle, died on the spot.

According to reports, the accident took place on the Barnala-Bajakhaana road when Sukhdeep Kaur (nine) and her brother, Gursewak Singh (six) were returning home in Kothe Ramsar after attending the school in Shakti Nagar on their bicycle. As they reached Dhillon Nagar, a speeding truck came turning to the wrong side running over them. The police identified the truck driver as Partap Singh, who did not flee from the scene. 


Girl found loitering near bus stand
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 10
A young girl, belonging to West Bengal, was found by the local police from near the bus stand last night. The girl, about 16 years old, was taken to the Civil Hospital for a medical examination here today. She was also presented before the SDM, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill.

According to the DSP, Mr Jasdev Singh, the girl was roaming about near the bus stand around 11 pm.

On questioning she told the police that she wanted to board a bus for Sirhind.

He said that the girl was kept in a safe place last night and handed over to women police personnel today.

He said the girl was sold off by her parents about four years ago. He said she had been going to various places, including Delhi, where her grandparents were staying but they refused to keep her with them. She also went to Ludhiana.

The girl would be produced before the SDM again tomorrow. The police plans to send her to a nari niketan.


Rs 10 lakh disappears from bank
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 10
As much as Rs 10 lakh today disappeared from the Mall Road branch of Punjab and Sind Bank in the city.

According to sources, Rs 10 lakh, which had been deposited in the bank at 1 pm, was found missing a few hours afterwards. Sources said the bank manager had lodged a report in this regard with the police.

The bank authorities on their part sealed the bank immediately after the loss was reported. Senior officials of the bank also arrived to make an on-the-spot inspection.


PUSC members stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
On a call given by the Punjabi University Students Confederation, students of various departments of the university organised a dharna in front of office of the Vice-Chancellor to protest against the ‘anti-student’ policies of the university administration.

Addressing the gathering, general secretary of the confederation Gurpal Dhaliwal demanded that the massive counselling fee being imposed on students seeking admission to the LLB and the MBA courses should be revoked immediately. The confederation further demanded that Punjabi be introduced as a compulsory subject in BSc (medical and non-medical). They also demanded that the university’s decision to introduce internal assessment of 20 marks should be cancelled.

The students further said that the authorities were being partial in providing the hostel facility to students as students of the engineering college of the university were being provided this facility while the others were being deprived of it.

They added that management was wasting the hard-earned money paid by the students by spending it on other ‘unnessary things’, including the construction of a landscape outside the university gate which would cost Rs 25 lakh.

Meanwhile, the authorities say that they have accepted all the “genuine” demands of the students. They added that some of these demands, including hostel accommodation and mess facility, were just grievances which would be addressed shortly. The authorities further said that the demand regarding internal assessment was part of an entire package of the semester system and had been already approved by the student leaders.


Unemployed teachers meet Johar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A deputation of the B.Ed Unemployed Teachers’ Front, Punjab, led by its president, Mr Tehal Bir Singh, met Mr Harnam Das Johar, School Education Minister, here yesterday. Teachers apprised the minister of their long-pending demands.

Mr Johar assured the un-employed teachers that the 20,000 vacant posts of teacher would be filled.


Samriti tops MA(I) exam
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
Samriti Lumba of Hindu College, Amritsar, topped the Guru Nanak Dev University in MA-Economics Part-I by securing 322/400 marks. The result was declared today.

Poornima Mahajan of DAV College, Amritsar, stood second while Priya Mahajan, another student of Hindu College, secured the third position.

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