P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab gives video evidence on canal breaches
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
To prove that the Narwana canal was breached by flood waters and not cut deliberately, the Punjab Government today gave proof by way of video films to a high-level Central Water Commission team.

This was done to counter allegations of Haryana that Punjab had deliberately made cuts in the canal to drain out its flood waters and inundate Haryana in the process.

The evidence was submitted to a CWC member, Mr M.K. Sharma, and other officials, who visited breach sites along with senior engineers of the Irrigation Departments of Punjab and Haryana. Later, the CWC team held a meeting with the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill and the Principal Secretary, Irrigation, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal. The Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Mant Rao, and Chief Engineer (Drainage), Mr D.P. Jindal, were also present.

Sources said Punjab engineers told Mr Sharma that in 1993, when floods had hit Patiala and other parts, the Narwana branch was breached at 35 places. But at that time, Haryana did not utter a word. The Punjab officers told the CWC that to hide its own failure in the management of floods in the Ambala area, the Haryana Government started blaming the Punjab Government.

The CWC member was told that the Narwana branch had got damaged more in the Haryana territory than in Punjab. And this fact was being concealed by the Haryana officials concerned. The sources said on August 3 flood waters breached the canal and damaged pucca works on the Ghaggar also. While the Ghaggar can hold water up to the level of 553 ft, on August 3 the water level had crossed the 561-foot mark.

Video films, prepared by the Irrigation Department on August 3 and screened for the CWC, team showed flood waters in the Narwana branch causing damage.

The sources said the CWC was apparently convinced with the evidence produced by Punjab.

Meanwhile, the CWC has asked the Punjab Government to submit a proposal within a month regarding construction of syphons on the Narwana canal. People of the Rajpura and Ghanure areas have been agitating for the past few days, urging the authorities to provide syphons on the canal to save the area from floods in future. Mr Shamra spoke to villagers in this connection and assured them that the CWC would solve this problem.

The issue of constructing a dam on the Ghaggar, which Haryana has been opposing, was also taken up with the CWC team by the Punjab Government.


Water panel member visits breach site
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 11
Farmers of more than a dozen villages who are demanding the construction of syphons at separate points on the Narwana branch of the Bharka canal, today lifted their dharna after a team from the Central Water Commission (CWC) assured them that the syphons would be constructed at both points.

The farmers had been holding a dharna since the past two days at Lachhru Khurd village near Ghanaur and had even turned away contractors who wanted to plug the breaches in the Narwana canal so that water supply could be resumed to Haryana.

CWC member M.K. Sharma today visited Lachhru Khurd, the other breach sites and the SYL canal. He was accompanied by Chief Engineers, Irrigation, of Punjab and Haryana, besides other officials.

Mr Sharma announced that a technical survey would be started tomorrow so that a report for the construction of the syphons could be made. He said the CWC would talk to the governments of Punjab and Haryana in order to find a permanent solution to the problem of flooding caused by the Ghaggar.

Meanwhile, SGPC member Jasmel Singh and Akali Dal leader Gursewak Singh Harpalpur said they had suspended the dharna following an assurance given by the CWC member.


Alert sounded in villages near Chandpur bundh
Tribune News Service

Chandpur (Mansa/Sirsa Border), August 11
Residents of a number of villages surrounding Chandpur bundh have been put on maximum alert by the district administration of Mansa after the Ghaggar started flowing slightly above danger mark yesterday. Since 1955 it has suffered breaches six times.

Official sources said though a Ghaggar river standing committee under the chairmanship of the then Union Minister of Water Resources was set up a few years ago when the state government was headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the outcome could not be known.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, who visited the syphon twice, said though the water level had started receding, the district administration had made foolproof arrangements to evacuate people in case of emergency. He added that relief camps had already been set up.

However, the residents are worried as according to them two gates of the bundh had been closed despite the fact that water level of the Ghaggar had crossed 10 feet yesterday. The unchecked growth of weeds, which were obstructing the flow of water, was also causing concern to them.

Residents of Kulrian, Vehawala Dogra, Bhakthial, Goraknath, Reondkhurd and Chak Alisher villages, near the bundh demanded that they should be given sand bags to strengthen it when Mr Chaudhary 
visited the spot yesterday. They also demanded the removal of weeds.

Mr Chaudhary said the state government had released Rs 2 lakh for strengthening the bundh and making other necessary arrangements.


Vedanti wants granthis, ragis to be graduates
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has said the minimum qualification for granthis and ragis should be graduation. He said such a step on the part of the SGPC would go a long way in improving the recitation or reading of holy scriptures in various gurdwaras.

Addressing a gathering of representatives of various Sikh and Nihang organisations in the SGPC complex here today, Jathedar Vedanti alleged that it was a matter of concern that there were few granthis or ragis who read the holy scriptures properly. He emphasised on need for organising camps or refresher courses for the granthis and ragis.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, was frank enough to admit that due to his busy schedule he was unable to read the Sikh scriptures every day. He, however, said whenever he was courted arrest he never forgot to carry the “Satiks” (translation and interpretation) of the holy scriptures in the jail.

Meanwhile, Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd), convener of the Ex-Servicemen Organisation and former Director, Sainik Welfare Punjab, said Sikh soldiers who had fought valiantly and made their mark in history should be honoured during the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib. He said the ex-servicemen had made laudable contribution during various agitations launched by the Akali Dal in the past.

Mr Badal asked Brig Kahlon to facilitate the smooth organisation of functions relating to Guru Granth Sahib’s installation celebrations. He said more Sikh missionary colleges should be established to produce qualified granthis and ragis.


Slogans raised against Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
Unsavoury situation was witnessed outside the Akal Takht secretariat when slogans like “Jathedar Akal Takht murdabad” were openly raised here today. This is for the first time in the Sikh history that anybody raised such slogans in full public view.

Earlier, two persons, including a senior official of Damdami Taksal, entered in a hot wordy duel with Jathedar Vedanti outside the Akal Takht secretariat. Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, personal assistant to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, alleged that Bhai Amrik Singh, senior functionary of Damdami Taksal, and Mr Bhupinder Singh allegedly used derogatory remarks against Jathedar Vedanti.

Talking to TNS, Jathedar Vedanti said strict action would be taken against the persons who created ruckus outside the Akal Takht secretariat. Apart from summoning them to Akal Takht, the Jathedar, Akal Takht, is contemplating to write to Damdami Taksal for taking action against Bhai Amrik Singh.

The Jathedar, Akal Takht, had fixed August 11 to deliver his decision to resolve the controversy over the placing of Guru Granth Sahib in a mosque of Gadli village which was later converted into a gurdwara after Partition of the country. While a group of villagers had lodged a complaint against the caretakers of the mosque-cum-gurdwara and sought the removal of Guru Granth Sahib as per Sikh Maryada, the other group was adamant to keep Guru Granth Sahib there. However, a day before the final hearing which was fixed for today, the complainants had allegedly reached Gadli village for removing Guru Granth Sahib and placing the same at a gurdwara. However, the police was called in the village to defuse the situation.

This irked Jathedar Vedanti who refused to meet the complainants. Jathedar Vedanti asked both Bhai Amrik Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh as to why they entered in confrontation with the opposite party when directive in this regard was to be delivered today. On this Bhai Amrik Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh alleged that the Jathedar, Akal Takht, had been conniving with the opposite party.

Meanwhile, in his directive, Jathedar Vedanti directed Mr Veer Singh to remove Guru Granth Sahib from the controversial place and keep the same at the adjoining gurdwara till a proper building was constructed. He has also directed him to shift the ‘Nishan Sahib’ pitched in the memory of the assassins of Gen A.S.Vaidya, Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukha, inside the gurdwara complex.


Badungar, Calcutta likely to be co-opted to SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Tota Singh, a former Akali minister and a former president, and the chief secretary of the SGPC, respectively, are among 15 persons who have reportedly been shortlisted for co-option in the SGPC tomorrow.

Among others who’s names figured in the 15-member list include Mr Harinder Pal Singh and Mr Kuldip Singh Bhogal (both from New Delhi), Mr Malkit Singh Nagpur, Mr Bawa Gurinder Singh from Mumbai and Mr S.Grewal from Uttar Pradesh.


Guru Granth Sahib anniversary function runs into rough weather
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
Even as the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, in its written undertaking to the Sikh clergy, has accepted that the Sikhs enjoy distinct identity, yet Akal Takht and the SGPC are unlikely to permit it to take out religious processions to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib.

In a written statement, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, alleged the organisation had spread disinformation that the Sikh clergy had given it permission to take out processions. He urged Sikhs to beware of the ‘propaganda’.

Meanwhile, the five-member subcommittee constituted by Akal Takht has in its report raised serious objections over the ‘intentions’ of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat for taking out procession that was to culminate at Akal Takht on September 1.

The committee was reportedly constituted following pressure by Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal. Earlier, the Sikh high priests had asked Sikhs to boycott the yatra being taken out by the organisation. However, senior BJP leaders had approached Mr Badal for taking up the issue with Sikh high priests.

Now, the committee has recommended to the jathedar that permission should be given only if the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat withdraws certain objectionable portions from its literature.


Vigilance books DSP, SI for demanding bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 11
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau has registered a case of corruption against Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajinderpal Singh Anand and Sub-Inspector Darbara Singh for demanding a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a truck operator of Rajpura.

The case, registered recently, pertains to a complaint filed by Rajpura-based truck operator Hari Krishan. The complainant has alleged that Mr Anand, posted as a DSP at Rajpura in March last year, had seized two of his trucks without any apparent reason and had demanded a bribe of Rs 1 lakh for their release. The Sub-Inspector was accused of being in league with the DSP.

The complainant alleged that the DSP claimed that the papers of his truck were fake and refused to release the seized trucks until the bribe was paid to him. The complainant said he had complained against the DSP to police officers in Patiala, but when no action was taken in the matter, he had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had ordered the release of the trucks on a surety.

The complainant said the DSP had changed the record of the truck seizures to show that these had been officially seized when the seizure had not been entered into the police record on the date of seizure. He said he was still in possession of the “rahdari” and octroi slips to show that he was doing legitimate business with the trucks on the given date.

Though Mr Anand could not be contacted, Senior Superintendent of Police, Vigilance, Mr Balkar Singh, confirmed the registration of the case against the DSP. Mr Balkar Singh said the case had been registered by the Vigilance Bureau as it pertained to corruption. The DSP was booked under Sections 467, 468, 471, 166, 167, 192 and 120 (B), besides Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Meanwhile, Mr Hari Krishan demanded security for himself and members of his family, claiming that he feared for his life after complaining against the DSP. The complainant alleged that the DSP was already facing an inquiry in a number of cases pending with the Punjab Human Rights Commission and demanded that he be provided protection so that he could safeguard his life.


Former DSP asked to submit assets list
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 11
Taking serious notice of the disproportionate assets case against a retired DSP of the Vigilance Bureau, Mr Surinder Singh Sandhu, Director of the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, Mr A.P. Pandey, has ordered a probe into the matter. Mr Surinder Singh retired as DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore, this year.

Sources said someone had complained against Mr Surinder Singh that he had accumulated assets worth lakhs during his tenure in the Vigilance Bureau.

His assets included a palatial house in Moga, 12-acre land in Kot Ise Khan and a rice sheller, in which his wife was a partner. He had also reportedly grabbed some disputed land exploiting his position.

According to the complaint, he had spent lakhs of rupees on the medical education of his daughter abroad.

On the basis of this complaint, Mr Pandey has asked the SP, Vigilance, Ferozepore, to probe into the matter. The DSP, Vigilance, Moga, Mr Surjeet Singh Khosa, will conduct the inquiry.

When contacted, Mr Khosa said Mr Surinder Singh was given one week’s time to provide the details of his assets.


Vigilance nabs 2 PEDA employees
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, Aug 11
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested two employees of the Punjab Energy Development Agency in a bribery case.

Raminder Singh, district manager, and Kuldeep Singh, JE, were caught red-handed while resident of Housing Board Colony, for getting the solar light report forwarded. The bureau has registered a case against the two accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Bodies of mudslide victims yet to be recovered
Irate villagers block road
Tribune News Service

Ajitwal (Moga), August 11
Protesting against the apathetic attitude of the administration in carrying out rescue work at Dhudike village, where three persons were buried alive yesterday while digging a tubewell about 500 villagers from nearby villages today blocked the Moga-Ludhiana Highway for over five hours. There was long queues of vehicles on both sides of the highway and commuters had a difficult time in reaching their destinations.

Villagers from Dhudike, Madoke, Daudhar and Chudchak blocked the road at about 1.30 pm when the rescue work at the village yielded little even after 24 hours of the incident.

Two small JCB machines were engaged in digging the pit where the victims were buried. Out of these one machine was hired by the villagers who even arranged drivers for both the machines. The only help the villagers received from the administration was the presence of the SDM, Mr Gurnam Singh Gill. They said the SDM assured them that a crane was on its way, but no crane reached the village till afternoon.

About 200 villagers gheraoed the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahavad. The Deputy Commissioner was yet to reach the spot.

Sources said the village women had also blocked the link roads leading to villages like Dhudike, Chudchak and Kokrikalan. Various social and farmers’ outfits, including Lok Sangram Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta, took part in the protest.

An 11-member action committee was also formed to decide the future course of action. The committee members include Dhudike sarpanch Jagtar Singh, BKU Ekta district chief Tarlok Singh Himmatpur and Nari Mukti Manch member Surinder Kaur Dhudike.


HS Sidhu appointed education board chief
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 11
Dr. Harbans Singh Sidhu, Professor of Agro-economics at Guru Nanak Dev University has been appointed the new Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board here. The decision was taken by the Chief Minister today. Earlier, it had been decided that Dr Kehar Singh, the former Chairman of the board, would continue for another two months but this decision was reversed today.

Dr Sidhu is yet to receive his appointment letter but sources in the CM office confirmed that Dr Sidhu will serve as the Board Chairman for a term of three years.

A PhD in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, the 55 -year -old Dr Sidhu has been serving at the Department of Economics, Guru Nanak Dev University since 1985. Author of three books on the subject, Dr Sidhu is a renowned agro- economist. Stating that he was ready for the responsibility that had been bestowed upon him by the Chief Minister, Dr Sidhu pointed out that he intended to focus on rural school education.

Dr Sidhu did his graduation in economics with honours followed by Masters in the subject from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He shifted to JNU and did his M.Phil and Ph.D there. After teaching as Lecturer in Economics, Corporate Studies Division, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, for one year, Dr Sidhu joined Guru Nanak Dev University as a lecturer in 1985. he became reader in 1987 and a professor in 1995. Dr Sidhu served as head of the Punjab School of Economics, Guru Nanak Dev University for about three and a half years from February 9,.2000. He has held the office of the President of Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association for two consecutive sessions- from 2000 to 2002. He also remained the president of the Punjab Federation of University Teachers Associations (PFUTA) in 2001-2002 and the Vice-President of the Indian Society of Labour Economics in 2002-2003.

In his over 29 years of teaching and research experience, Dr Sidhu has been attending national and international seminars on agriculture economy. Dr Sidhu attended an International Conference on Agriculture of Punjab convened by Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University, New York. Dr Kehar Singh's six month extension ended on August 8.

It might be recalled that Dr Kehar Singh was given a six- month extension in February this year following the end of his three year term as Chairman.


PM’s college in web of controversy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
Even as Hindu college here shot into limelight following Dr Manmohan Singh’s elevation as Prime Minister, the institute is now faced with a controversy.

Reports of mismanagement, foul play and misappropriation of funds by the college Principal, Mr R.C. Verma have been doing the rounds in the institute.

Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) unit of the college today gave a call for dharna in protest against the anti-teacher and anti- student” approach of the Principal.

The teachers demanded a probe into the alleged misuse of funds. Allegations of harassment also surfaced against the Principal. Prof D.K Walia and Mr Rakesh Joshi, president and secretary, respectively of the PCCTU, took a strong stand against the Principal’s approach.

It was alleged that the funds were utilised for the personal use and for the house of the Principal but were shown to have been spent on the college. Allegations of college expenditure on advocates on pretext of court cases also emerged. The college staff had reported the matter to the Deputy Commissioner who had deputed an inquiry to the SDM. The staff, however, alleged that the SDM had also reportedly been ‘approached’ by the Principal.

Mr Verma, however, refuted the allegations and said the charges against him were baseless.

Meanwhile the governing council today tried to pacify the staff and have said things would be set right in a week’s time.


Beant’s family doesn’t want govt involvement
Death anniversary function of late CM
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Family members of late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, today gave a clear indication that they “ do not “ want the involvement of the Punjab Government in the functions to be held on his death anniversary on August 31 at his samadhi here and also at his native Kotli village in Ludhiana district.

The family wanted to observe the day on its own by involving close associates and supporters of Beant Singh. The family seems to be unhappy with the state government for various reasons.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, a former minister and son of Beant Singh, told The Tribune today that his father ‘s close associates and supporters in the ruling Congress party feel that “no proper attention has been given to maintain and complete the samadhi of Beant Singh” in the city. A lot of work remained to be done on the “ samadhi” even after a decade of his death. The Punjab Government is to make major financial contribution to complete the project.

“ Family members and all its well wishers and supporters feel hurt because of the non completion of work on the samadhi”, said Mr Tej Parkash Singh. Mr Tej Parkash Singh did not attend the meeting called by the Chief Minister here today to finalise the programme for observing his death anniversary. However, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, daughter of Beant Singh, who is a Minister of State for Social Security, was present at the meeting.

Informed sources said the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, who was here to attend the meeting, today visited the house of Mr Tej Parkash Singh. He was accompanied by two senior Congress leaders of Ludhiana district. Mr Hanspal had recently made a statement that the Congress wanted to invite the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at one of the functions to be held with regard to the death anniversary.

Mr Hanspal, sources said, met Ms Jaswant Kaur, widow of Beant Singh. He assured her that the government was prepared to provide required funds and do whatever else was required for the samadhi.

Sources said a number of Congress MLAs also met Mr Tej Parkash Singh today and discussed the programme regarding death anniversary. 


Funds not lacking for Beant’s memorial, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said there was no paucity of money for the construction of the Beant Singh memorial and the centre for performing and visual arts under construction here.

Presiding over a meeting of the committee on state-level function to observe the martyrdom day of Beant Singh, who was killed by a “human bomb” on August 31, 1995, he said Punjab would meet the financial requirements of Rs 24.09 crore project . Out of that Rs 15.59 crore had been placed at the disposal of the UT Administration.

He said the state was committed to complete the project and would call on the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (Retd.) , who is also Administrator of Chandigarh to ensure the early completion of the memorial.


Hike in paddy MSP ‘inadequate’
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A token hike of Rs 10 per quintal in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, announced by the UPA Government on Tuesday, has been described as inadequate and was contrary to crop diversification.

''I am not in favour of even this token hike. Such an incentive, if it is one, is harmful to farmers of Punjab. If economic returns continue to be good, how can farmers be expected to reduce area under paddy, which is the dire need of the time? Any increase in the price of, say maize or pulses or oilseeds, was welcome to ensure a switchover form paddy''.

This was the spontaneous reaction of Dr K S Aulakh. As Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, he stressed that Punjab and paddy were not made for each other, and the continuing cropping of this water-guzzling crop was detrimental to the state's economy, ecology and environment. ''Such a step is counter-productive to diversification plans''.

The Director of Agriculture, Dr Ajmer Singh, said that this tiny increase was inconsequential in view of the efforts and money invested by farmers to save kharif crops, particularly paddy. Farmers, on an average, had to spend an additional Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per hectare to raise paddy. To produce one quintal of paddy, a farmer has spent extra Rs 100 on diesel alone, due to scarcity of electricity.

Against Rs 10 per quintal hike, Punjab had sought Rs 40 per quintal increase in paddy price due to an upswing in the cost of farm inputs, as compared to last year.

There would be a cascading impact on the economies and incomes of farmers, first due to drought or scanty, scattered and uneven rain, and then due to deluge in several parts. Dr Ajmer Singh said the area under paddy was still around 25 lakh hectares, and despite the damage, the state may yet end up producing around 90 lakh tonnes paddy. ''There are signs of kharif crops recouping''.

The farmers, he pointed out, had re-ploughed nearly 7,000 hectares wherever the paddy crop was a total loss due to drought and of that area, nearly 2,000 hectares had been re-sown with maize occupying the major chunk, 1,500 hectares. He was satisfied that power availability to tubewells was 7 hours to 8 hours per day.

Farmers had sown Basmati on 10,000 hectares in Amritsar and 30,000 hectares in Patiala, while the crop condition of cotton was good this year in south-west districts.

Punjab has nearly 1.60 lakh hectares under maize, 29,000 hectares under pulses and 17,000 hectares under oilseeds.

The state's Planning Board Vice-Chairman, Dr S S Johl, estimated that Punjab would have invested close to Rs 10,000 crore to save its paddy, given the arduous task of diverting power from industry to agriculture sector and on purchase of power from outside the state.

Talking to The Tribune from Palampur, Dr Johl said the marginal hike of Rs 10 per quintal in the paddy MSP was a ''political action''. Given the negative impact of paddy on Punjab, the token hike in no way compensates the high cost incurred by farmers on producing paddy. In fact the state was paying a heavy social and production cost to sustain this crop. ''MSP for certain foodgrains is one phenomenon that always goes up and never comes down. Such is its mechanics. Sooner or later, farmers will have to live without MSP being offered to them''.

Dr Johl said whenever the agriculture sector performed well, the economic growth also was higher. Since agriculture would continue to occupy the centrestage in the country, the post-Green Revolution distortions must be removed to make it remunerative.

Meanwhile, Dr Ajmer Singh, who gave rainfall figures for different districts in the past 24 hours, said a comprehensive report was being prepared to be sent to the Centre for seeking relief.


‘Shaheedi day’ of a brave girl today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
When the parents named their daughter, Kiranjit, they perhaps never dreamt that one day she would really be a “kiran” (ray of light and hope) for women, who often become victims of human wolves .

Kiranjit, who laid down her life seven years ago but refused to bow to the wishes of such wolves, has now become symbol of collective battle against women’s exploitation and torture not only in Barnala but also for Punjab.

Kiranjit was on her way back to her home from her college at Mehal Kalan, near Barnala, when she was kidnapped on July 29, 1997, and brutally killed. Later, her body was buried in a field. A complaint was lodged with the police but it did not take any interest to find her whereabouts. As is the common practice, instead of finding the culprits, the police started cooking up stories about the girl.

But as there were clear indications available that something wrong had happened with the girl, people started joining hands to build a forceful campaign to press the police authorities concerned to trace the girl. In a few days, the campaign turned into a big movement, and it virtually rocked the whole of Punjab. Bowing to public pressure, the police recovered the body of the girl about a week after her kidnapping.

But the matters did not end with the recovery of her body. People formed the Kiranjit murder action committee for a bigger cause. They not only continued putting pressure to ensure justice for her parents, but also started working to mobilise people against the “ rogue elements” operating in society.

Every year on August 12 the committee with the help of other like-minded social and cultural organisations observes a “Shaheedi day” of Kiranjit at Mehal Kalan. Mr Narain Dutt convenor of the committee, says that certain members of the organisation had paid a heavy price for being frontline leaders of the movement built against the “savagery” faced by women folk. “But we are satisfied with what we have achieved to awaken people on social issues”.

“Now our fight is not only confined against human beasts. We are also fighting against the exploitation of women. Multinational companies have been just viewing women as hot material for advertisements and lowering their dignity in the process”, he said.

Tomorrow people will gather on the 7th death anniversary of Kiranjit at grain market at Mehal Kalan to pay her tributes and to resolve to further continue their struggle for upholding the dignity of womenfolk in the state.


Doctors agree to restart OPD
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
The doctors and para-medical staff of the local Civil Hospital today decided to restart the OPD wing from tomorrow. The wing was kept closed for three days in protest against the registration of a criminal case against three doctors.

The doctors and other employees of the Civil Hospital decided to run the OPD on the condition that their demands, including the suspension of SDM S.K. Singla, on whose direction the case was registered against doctors following the death of an accident victim Maninder Kumar on August 8, would be met by the district administration at the earliest. However, the doctors would hold a protest rally on the premises of the Civil Hospital every day till their demands were accepted.

The OPD wing caters to about 700 patients. Due to closure of the OPD, a number of patients suffering from serious ailments could not get treatment.

Dr Amrit Sethi, president, IMA, Bathinda, said the IMA, Punjab unit, would hold Sankalp Divas on August 15 to work out a strategy to counter harassment of doctors on flimsy grounds. He said the national vice-president of the IMA would participate in the Sankalp Divas rally.

He said the main demands of the doctors of the Civil Hospital and the local unit of the IMA included the cancellation of FIR against the three doctors, registration of an FIR against four members of the mob that manhandled the doctors after the death of Maninder Kumar and assurance by the district administration that no case against doctors would be registered in future under public pressure and without following proper procedure.

Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said the OPD of the children hospital functioned normally today and from tomorrow, the OPD wing of the general hospital would also start functioning. He said though the doctors were still agitated, he persuaded them to start working in the interest of patients.

Meanwhile, Dr D.S. Gill, president of the PCMS Association, Punjab, urged the state

Health Department authorities to take up the matter of harassment of doctors with the Home Department of state government.

He said they had been considering the proposal that if the harassment of doctors by the police did not stop, the association would direct its members to refer critical patients to other hospitals after giving them first aid instead of admitting them.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, had reportedly deputed the SP (D), Mr Ajay Maluja, to conduct an inquiry into the registration of criminal case against the three doctors. Mr Maluja was yet to submit his report.


Foundation stone found in rubble
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 11
Congress councillors, including Mayor Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, along with party activists were today shocked to see the foundation stone of the new building of the City Club, Phagwara, laid down by the then Punjab Cabinet Minister, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, on January 1, dumped in a heap of rubble near a spot where people urinate in open.

They demanded registration of a case against the management of the club in this regard. Interestingly, the DC and the SDM are president and senior vice-president of the club.

The Congressmen alleged that the stone was removed and vandalised deliberately as Mr Mann was no more a minister. He had been dropped as a minister in July during Cabinet downsizing.

Mr Mann had given Rs 2 lakh from his discretionary grant as the then Punjab Social Welfare Minister at the time of the laying of the foundation stone of the new building, they said. He had even collected Rs 11 lakh in this regard, they added.

The police had taken the stone in its possession. The local DSP, Mr Jaspal Singh, said on receiving the complaint they would seek the opinion of DA (Legal) and act accordingly.

Meanwhile, Mr Paramjit Singh Sethi, vice-president, City Club claimed that the management could not even dream of doing such a thing. The stone was removed for putting it at a proper place as it was earlier on a site where construction work had to be carried out.

Unfortunately, the stone got broken but we had got prepared a new stone and the same would be fixed at a proper place in a day or two, he added.


Nursing institute closed for 1 year
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 11
Due to inadequate infrastructure at Guru Nanak Institute of Nursing, Mithapur Road, the Punjab Government has decided to close it down for a year. The institute will not be allowed to make fresh admissions and its students will be adjusted in other government-recognised institutes in the state.

The decision comes in the wake of inquiries made by the members of the Punjab Nursing Registration (PNRC) and the report submitted by the DC, Mr Ashok Gupta, to the Director of Medical Research and Education in this regard.

The report had pointed out serious anomalies in the functioning of the institute.

The students had given a memorandum to the ADC, Mr Mahinder Singh Kainth, on August 6, demanding an inquiry into the matter. Over 130 students of the institute had alleged that the management of the college had been charging heavy fines from certain students. The students added that even though they were being charged Rs 32,000 as admission fee, they were being issued a receipt of Rs 10,000 only.

Those who had opted for hostels complained that the college did not have a hostel of its own. They said they were made to stay in hired accommodations where as many as 15 girls were being made to put up in one room. They said later they were put up in a marriage palace where three halls had been hired by the management. They added that as many as 50 girls were putting up in one hall there. 


Centre chalks out ‘Balmiki Awas Yojna’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 11
Mr Ganga Ram Teja, member, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, has directed the executive officers (EOs) of the Municipal Councils to get the safai karamcharis medically examined in every six months.

Mr Teja was presiding over a meeting, held in the district administrative complex here yesterday. Among others, who attended the meeting were Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Mr N.S. Walia, Additional DC, Sangrur, the SDMs and the EOs of the Municipal Councils of the district.

Mr Teja said the central government had also chalked out a “Balmiki Awas Yojna” under which houses at a cost of Rs 40,000 each would be constructed for them.

The commission member also asked the officers to ensure the deposit of the provident fund on a regular basis. He expressed concern over the non-deposit of Rs 23 lakh, Rs 11 lakh and Rs 4.40 lakh by the municipal councils of Sangrur, Bhadaur and Dhanaula, respectively, into the PF accounts of the safai karamcharis. 


Proposal for no-overtaking zone on highway
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
The local Municipal Council will be discussing a proposal to create a no-overtaking zone on the National Highway falling under the municipal limits at its meeting scheduled to be held on August 13.

Even the SHO of the Kharar police station, in a letter dated July 26 to the civic body, had asked the council authorities to fix a speed limit on the main highway falling under municipal limits as a number of accidents were taking place on this stretch. He also urged the council to create a no-overtaking zone on the main road and also display sign boards at various points with a warning to offenders. Action on the proposal would to be taken after getting a clearance from the House. Help of the traffic police would be taken for the implementation of the plan.

A proposal to develop a colony on the land falling in Khanpur and Aujlan villages, that had been retrieved by the council from illegal possession, would also be discussed at the meeting. Orders in this regard had been given by the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, at a monthly meeting. The council wanted to use one acre for setting up a cattle pound. But the Deputy Commissioner said that the some other land could be used for that purpose.

The council proposes to plant 1200 saplings during the ongoing monsoon season. The work of octroi collection is to be given on contract and an auction in this regard will be held at Ludhiana tomorrow.


Suicide victim’s kin protest against police ‘inaction’
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 11
Relatives of Rashvinder Kaur, who reportedly committed suicide here last month, today protested outside the SSP office here against alleged police inaction.

However, they could not meet the SSP, Mr S.S. Chhina as he was out of station. They alleged that Rashvinder was killed by her in-laws and the police was not taking proper action against the suspects.

Rashvinder had died at her in-law’s house at Bedi Nagar here after she reportedly consumed poison on July 26. She was married to Tarsem Singh, a resident of Moga, about nine years back.

It was the second marriage of Tarsem. The victim’s relatives state that Tarsem had concealed the number of children from his first marriage.

Rashvinder’s in-laws had reportedly started harassing her as Tarsem’s children had not accepted her as their mother. Her agony increased when after four years of marriage she gave birth to a deaf and dumb girl. They added that Rashvinder’s in-laws had pressurised her to kill the baby.

The brother-in-law of the victim, Dr Amarjit Singh Rattan of Ludhiana, said it had been two weeks since the case was registered and the suspects were still roaming freely. He alleged that the police was helping them by giving them time to take legal recourse to save themselves. He said they had also written in this regard to the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Punjab Chief Minister, DGP, Punjab, and the Deputy Commissioner, Moga.

It may be mentioned here that on the basis of the statement of the victim’s brother, a case had been registered against Tarsem Singh, Amarinder Singh, Kulwinder Kaur, and Mukhtiar Kaur, under Section 306 of the IPC. 


MLA seeks estimates for relief demand
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
A special relief package for flood-hit areas falling in the Kharar constituency is being demanded from Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh. Esti-mates are being prepared for the provision of new bridges, roads and drainage facilities and desilting of two rivulets.

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, while addressing sarpanches and panchayat members, who had gathered to present their problems to him.

The MLA directed officials of various departments concerned to prepare budget estimates in the next two days for the works that had to be carried out so that the demands for the special relief package could be presented to the Chief Minister.

He said silting of two rivulets in the area and choking of siphons by colonisers of various housing colonies coming up around Kharar had led to the flooding in the area when it had rained heavily some days ago.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said Janta ki Rao and Patiala ki Rao had silted up and as such, could not take the flow of water. He said 7,000 cusecs of water flowed through Patiala ki Rao and 9,300 cusecs flowed through Janta ki Rao under normal circumstances.

As both rivulets had silted up, these could not carry the rain water, as a result of which the excess water became uncontrolled and breached the Ghaggar, Nirwana and SYL bundhs. A number of areas till Sangrur district had been adversely affected.

He said Shivalik Enclave, Sunny Enclave, Gulmohar Complex, Paradise Farms and a combine factory on the Landran road had choked the siphons, which resulted in flooding around Kharar. The Drainage Department had not been consulted while approving private residential colonies.

He asked the Executive Officer of the local Municipal Council, Mr Jagjit Singh Sahi, to issue notices to colonisers to clear the water passages, failing which their licences would be cancelled. A meeting of the colonisers should be fixed up with the Drainage Department in this regard.

Panchayat members from 21 villages, out of the 25 villages through which Chandigarh - Ludhiana railway line passed, presented their problems to the MLA. Mr Bir Devinder Singh asked the officials, to whom the various applications had been marked, to submit an action-report after 15 days.


Girl found by cops to be sent to Nari Niketan
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
A teenaged girl, belonging to West Bengal, who was found by the local police near the bus stand on the night of August 9, will be sent to the nari niketan at Patiala.

In a letter to the SSP, Patiala, today, the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, said the local police had found a girl, Sunita alias, Geeta, daughter of Atul Mandal, near the bus stand, who was later presented before him. He said according to his opinion and also according to the police report the girl appeared to be a minor. As such, he wanted that she be sent to the nari niketan at Patiala till the time she was handed over to her parents.

A copy of the letter was sent to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, for information and another copy to the local police for compliance of the orders.

It is learnt that the girl, in a statement today, said about a year ago, her parents had sent her to Delhi, where her brother lived. She stayed with her brother for six months and left the house after her brother and sister-in-law started fighting with each other. She found some work in Delhi in a house and lived there for four months till her employers shifted to another place.

She then came to Ludhiana, where she met a woman belonging to Kharar. She came to Kharar along with her and lived in her house for two months. She left the house after quarrels started taking place between the couple. She wanted to leave for some other town when the police questioned her and took her in custody.



High Court
HC bars further proceedings in wireless scam
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday directed the Punjab Government not to initiate any further proceedings against the two police officers, who have been chargesheeted for their alleged involvement in the multi-crore wireless purchase scam.

The two officers are Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) D.R. Bhatti and Superintendent of Police (SP) Malwinder Singh Sidhu.

Giving this direction during hearing in the public interest litigation filed by two advocates - Mr Ashok Chaudhary and Mr R.K. Kwatra, seeking a comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore, the Bench gave time to the Punjab Government to file a reply in the matter.

Rape case

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant has ordered investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case of alleged rape and murder of a young girl of Hoshiarpur.

The Bench gave six months' time to the CBI to complete the investigation.

The order was passed on a writ filed by Mr Manjeet Singh, whose daughter was allegedly raped and murdered on June 21, 2003.

While the family had accused the owner of the Brilliant Computer Centre, Malpur, Hoshiarpur, and some of his relatives for the crime, the police did not book them.

The chowkidar of the computer centre was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the crime, the family accused the police of foul play.

Bail granted

The High Court has granted bail to Mr Ravi Karan, son of former Punjab Minster Nirmal Singh Kahlon, in a case attempt to murder.

The petitioner had been sometime back booked by the Amritsar police for his alleged involvement in murderous assault on some people.


Warrants against another ex-Kot Kapura policeman
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 11
Close on the heels of bailable warrants against a former SHO of Kotkapura, the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Jagjeet Singh Chauhan has issued non-bailable warrants against an ex-ASI of Kotkapura, Mr Harinder Singh, for abusing a person. The SSP has been asked to arrest the police official and produce him in the court on November 16.

Sources said the complainant, Mr Gurlal, a resident of Jeewan Nagar, Kotkapura, had lodged a complaint in the court against Mr Harinder Singh, who is now posted as the SHO (Police Line), Bathinda. He had alleged that during his stint as an ASI at Kotkapura, Mr Harinder Singh had made caste-based remarks against him.

On March 3, 2002, when Mr Gurlal approached the Kotkapura SHO, he came across the ASI who again abused him and made some derogatory remarks. The complainant then wrote an application to higher police officials demanding an action against him. But when nothing came out of it, he moved the court. The court summoned him many times, but he didn’t appear. Then the court issued an arrest warrant against him. It may be mentioned here that the bail application of the accused had been rejected by the Additional Sessions Judge and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. 


Kohli’s brother dismissed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 11
Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, main accused in the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster and currently lodged at the Patiala Central Jail, will be produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Chandigarh, tomorrow morning.

It is learnt that the CBI has procured Kohli’s production warrants from the courts of the CJM, Chandigarh, directing the Jail Superintendent, Patiala to produce Kohli before him. The CBI authorities would be asking for Kohli’s detention under the provisions of the Extradition Act. With this the first step in Kohli’s extradition to the UK has been taken, almost a month after he was arrested by the West Bengal police on July 15.

Meanwhile, Maninderpal Singh Kohli’s brother Ishtpreet Singh, who was serving as a constable in the Punjab police and currently in judicial custody, has been dismissed from service, under Article 311 (2) of the Constitution of India.


PD Sharma appointed standing counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has appointed Mr Parshotam Dass Sharma as the standing counsel to represent the Central Government as well as the officers of the Central Government in cases filed before the district courts, subordinate courts, consumer forum and tribunals at Ludhiana.

Mr Sharma’s appointment will be for three years.


No MC general house meeting for 6 months
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 11
Development works in Pathankot are being hit as the general house meeting of the local council has not been held for the past six months. The last meeting of the Pathankot Municipal Council general house was held on January 15.

As per provisions under the Punjab Municipal Act, the general house meetings should be held at least once a month.

The only other meeting that has been held by the council authorities this year was a special meeting for passing the annual Budget.

The result is poor accountability of the council authorities to elected representatives and delay in development works. Sources said several development projects were being hit.

A tubewell had been installed in Ram Sharnam Colony. However, an estimate of Rs 8 lakh to make it operational was pending as the agenda had not been passed.

The sources said the tubewell would solve drinking water problems of many areas of the town.

Pathankot has a population of about 2 lakh, which is represented by 33 councillors. However, despite having a Budget of Rs 19.57 crore, the town lacks basic amenities. Broken roads are a common sight here.

The posts of senior and junior vice-president of the municipal council have also been lying vacant due to the non-assembly of the house. Terms of the former senior and junior vice-president expired during the period in which the meeting was not held.


Escapee held; minor girl recovered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
Baaj Singh, an inmate of the local Central Jail, who managed to escape from police custody last evening while he was being brought here from Ferozepore after his court hearing, was arrested by the police within half an hour.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, in a press note issued here today said that Baaj Singh escaped from police custody when the bus in which he, along with the policemen, was coming to Bathinda stopped near thermal plant. When the bus stopped, the accused jumped down from it and ran away.

He added that the accused was handcuffed loosely as both his arms had been burnt after he himself poured hot water on the same with the aim that he would take advantage in escaping from police custody. He added that accused was arrested within half an hour with the help of a resident, Mr Amrik Singh. A case against the accused had been registered under Sections 223 and 420 of the IPC.

He said that in another case, the police arrested Krishan Kumar, a resident of Maheshwra (Rajasthan), and Meena, wife of Vishmbar, who were living together in a rented house in Paras Ram Nagar of this town, for their alleged involvement in the abduction of a minor girl belonging to Faridabad district of Haryana.

He said that after arresting these two accused, the minor girl was recovered from their possession and all the three were handed over to the Faridabad police.


245 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 11
The CIA staff of the local police seized 245 kg of poppy husk from Naib Singh and Harbans Singh from Sandhu Kalan.

Mr Gurmail Singh Bungi, SP (Detective), said yesterday the police set up a naka and stopped a tractor-trailer which was carrying seven bags of poppy husk weighing about 245 kg. The police party arrested Naib Singh while Harbans Singh escaped. A case had been registered against the two under various Sections of the NDPS Act.

He said the police had seized 500 grams of opium from Mr Ekam Singh of Hamidi village. 


Teej celebrated at Blossom School
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 11
Blossom School celebrated Teej here today by organising mehandi, rangoli, rakhi making, thali decoration, dry-flower arrangements and fresh-flower jewellery contests for children and the selection of Teej Queen.

The preparatory section celebrated Independence Day with patriotic action songs. Prizes were awarded to the students by Ms Daisy Grewal, Ms Ravi Singh, principal, and Ms Sant Chahal on behalf of the school management.

Teej Queen —
Harsimran Singh (nursery) and Priyanka (Class IV) joint first and Sehaj (Prep I) and Damini joint second.

Fresh-flower jewellery: Vagish Verma (Class I) first, Jasmine Kaur (Class II) Second and Kajol Batish (Class III) third.

Thali decoration: Divya Goyal (Class VII) first and Muskan Khullar (Class VI) second.

Rangoli: Amit Chauhan (Class X) first and Neetika Verma (Class IX) second. Rakhi making: Vinpreet Kaur (Class VII) first and Ankita Gupta (Class VIII) second.

Dry-flower arrangement: Rahul Garg and Vipanpreet Singh (Class X) joint first and Bharat Mittal (Class X) second. Mehandi competition: Amanjot Kaur (Class X) first and Simranpreet Kaur (Class VIII) second.

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