P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM grants Rs 5 cr for drinking water in Kandi region
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, August 15
Recalling sacrifices made by countless Punjabis for attaining freedom for the country, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today expressed optimism that Punjab would emerge as a developed state besides becoming an economic and industrial power by 2020.

Meanwhile, speaking about the failure of different governments in providing drinking water to residents of sub-mountainous Kandi region of Punjab, the Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 5 crore, which would be used exclusively for setting up projects for providing drinking water to residents of the under-developed Kandi area. He handed over a cheque for Rs 5 crore to Minister of Health and Family Welfare Romesh Chandra Dogra.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was speaking at the state-level Independence Day function organised at the Police Lines Grounds here today, exhorted people to remember those Punjabis who had sacrificed their lives to see their dream of freedom of the country realised. “Though we remember the names of eminent freedom fighters such as Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, but there are thousands of Punjabis who have gone unsung despite having sacrificed their lives.

Later, the Chief Minister, who was escorted by Punjab DGP A.A. Siddiqui, took salute from contingents of the PAP, Jalandhar, BSF, Punjab Police, Home Guards, NCC cadets, CRPF and a platoon of ex-servicemen hailing from Janauri village in Hoshiarpur district. Students from different schools presented a colourful programme while tableaus of different state government departments such as forests, education, health, agriculture, Markfed, and of Sonalika tractors mesmerised onlookers. The Chief Minister also presented certificates to about 25 state awardees.

MOGA: Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Avtar Henry unfurled the Tricolour at the Guru Nanak College ground today. He also inspected the parade and took salute from the march-past. Students of various schools presented colourful cultural programmes on the occasion.

Later, the minister inaugurated a solar light project at Salhina village. Under this project, about 28 streetlights would be lit in the village through solar energy. The minister also inaugurated a project under which 115 toilets were constructed at the cost of Rs 5 lakh for weaker sections of society.

FEROZEPORE: Independence Day was celebrated here amidst lot of enthusiasm and patriotic fervour at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium, where Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD (B&R) and Cultural Affairs Minister, unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute from contingents drawn from the BSF, CRPF, Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC during an impressive march-past.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Bajwa said the Punjabis have always remained on the forefront in sacrificing their lives for the sake of motherland. He paid tributes to all those gallant sons of the soil who embraced gallows during the freedom struggle.

The government has envisaged special programmes for the uplift of the downtrodden and the neglected strata of society, he said. Mr Bajwa distributed 35 sewing machines to the needy and 15 tricycles to the physically challenged persons. He said an amount of Rs 75 crore would be spent on the construction and maintenance of roads in Punjab and 845 km road would be repaired under BOT scheme. He said Rs 10 crore would be spent on the construction of railway overbridge in Guruharsahai tehsil of this district.

Earlier, the minister accompanied by Mr Hardish Randhawa, DIG, Ferozepore, Mr Ranjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr H.S. Chahal, SSP, paid floral tributes at the samadhi of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala.

Faridkot: Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, who was to unfurl the National Flag and preside over the Independent Day function here, cancelled his programme at the last moment which caused great resentment among many senior Congress leaders in the district. Meanwhile, the chief guest on the occasion Mr B. Sarkar, Commissioner, Faridkot and Ferozepore divisions, sought the cooperation of the people to strengthen brotherhood, communal harmony and the values in true spirit for the overall development and prosperity of Punjab and the nation, besides to fulfil the dream of those patriots and martyrs who brought the freedom after 300 years of the slavery faced by the country. He also took the salute from different contingents of forces and distributed 36 tricycles, 13 sewing machines and six wheel chairs to the needy. The Commissioner also honoured 12 persons with bravery and other awards for their dedicated services to protect the interests of society in different fields.

Students of various schools presented colourful cultural programme to mark the occasion.

Muktsar: The people should come forward to eradicate evils like corruption and female foeticide, apart from preparing themselves to make any type of sacrifice to protect the Independence which the country managed to get after a long freedom struggle and at the cost of lives of countless freedom fighters

Addressing a function organised in connection with the 58th anniversary of Independence Day after unfurling the National Flag here today, Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said diversification in the agriculture was necessary to make the economy of Punjab strong. He added that there was strong need to channelise the energy of youths for constructive works. Prof Darbari Lal honoured the freedom fighters. Later, he took the salute from the parade comprising contingents of the Punjab police, Punjab Home Guards, ex-servicemen, NCC cadets, scouts and schoolchildren.

Bathinda: Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, called upon the community to make efforts to imbibe the qualities of honesty, patriotism and leadership amongst the youths for effective channelisation of their energy into constructive works.

Mr Sinha, while addressing a function after unfurling the National Flag here on the occasion of Independence Day, said teachers and parents should inculcate moral values and good habits among the youths so that wheels of society could run smoothly.

He honoured the freedom fighters of the district.

Later, he took the salute from the parade comprising contingents of Punjab Police, schoolchildren and NCC cadets. He also inaugurated a blood donation camp in the morning, which was organised by Civil Hospital authorities.

Mansa: Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Revenue Minister, Punjab, today said people should initiate an era of cooperative movement in nation building and bringing all round development.

While addressing a function organised in connection with Independence Day after unfurling the Tricolour, he said to protect the hard earned Independence, the people should maintain communal harmony and preach universal brotherhood.

Jalandhar: Recalling sacrifices of the martyrs in attaining Independence, a district-level function was held at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium here today.

On the occasion, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister of local bodies, unfurled the National Flag. Addressing the gathering, the minister talked about strengthening of panchayat system in the state and upliftment of the villages. The minister announced a grant of Rs 11 lakh for the upliftment of the stadium and Rs 51,000 for the school students who participated in the function. he distributed 22 sewing machines, 18 tricycles and three wheel chairs to the needy persons. Also 22 persons who had won acclaim in various fields were honoured.

Gurdaspur: The Minister for Excise and Taxation, Mr Sardool Singh, today unfurled the National Flag at the college ground here today to mark the 58th Independence Day. Earlier, Mr Sardool Singh took the salute from a contingent of the Punjab police and the Punjab Home Guards.

Amritsar: Cultural events at Guru Nanak Stadium and at many other places marked the Independence Day celebrations in the district.

Mr Surinder Singh Singla, state Finance Minister, unfurled the National Flag at the district-level function to celebrate Independence Day at the stadium today.

As many as 17 distinguished personalities from various walks of life were honoured on the occasion. About 21 sewing machines to widows and 15 tricycles to physically challenged were distributed.

Kapurthala: Punjab Transport Minister Mahinder Singh Kaypee, unfurled the Tricolour at the district-level Independence Day function held at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

Mr Kaypee distributed 46 sewing machines, 21 tricycles and six wheel chairs to the needy. He exhorted the social organisations to come up and support the government in welfare activities of the state.

Meanwhile, members of the Unemployed ETT Union dressed in black dresses and wearing black badges took out a procession. Their effort to meet Mr Kaypee failed but they held a massive demonstration at all major roads of the district.

SANGRUR: Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, today unfurled the Tricolour to mark the Independence Day celebrations at a function held at the War Heroes Stadium here. She also inspected the parade and took salute from a march-past comprising contingents of the Punjab Police India Reserve Battalion, Punjab Home Guards, NCC cadets and scouts.


Chandigarh an integral part of Punjab: CM
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, August 15
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today asserted that Chandigarh was an integral part of Punjab and there was no question of abandoning of Punjab’s right over the capital city. Talking to mediapersons after addressing the Independence Day function, Captain Amarinder Singh said the Punjab Government would stake its claim over Chandigarh once the vexed river water issue was settled for once and all.

Referring to controversy of Section 5 of the Punjab Termination of Waters Act and objections in this regard raised by SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh ruled out the possibility of convening of a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to amend the Act. “Badal is raking up the issue without any logic and he and his party MLAs were given enough time to go through the entire contents of the proposed Act. Even four of his MLAs spoke on the issue and did not raise any objection over this clause at that time. I don’t understand what provoked Mr Badal to rake up the issue at this critical juncture. Since the matter is sub-judice and all of us should wait till the pronouncement of the final verdict by the Supreme Court of India,” the Chief Minister said.

Turning to possibility of flooding of certain parts of the state in view of blasting of the Parchu lake, Capt Amarinder Singh said there was no imminent danger to the state since Gobind Sagar reservoir had the capacity to absorb the entire water of the lake. The CM said the state government had announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for Ropar-based family of Sukhdev Singh, who has been detained by terrorist in Iraq along with two other Indians.

The CM also clarified that Home Guards were getting salary on regular basis, except for certain cases where delay was due to procedural and departmental problems.


Mediapersons boycott CM’s ‘At Home’

Irked by the mismanagement on the part of the district administration and humiliating behaviour of a DSP and an SDM, mediapersons boycotted the ‘At Home’ of the Chief Minister organised by the administration at the Services Club. Brigadier D.S. Randhawa (retd), who claimed to be a senior officer of Capt Amarinder Singh while the latter was in the Army, also became the victim of the mismanagement.

While DSP Dharamvir rudely told journalists, including a woman correspondent, to enter the club only after getting frisked by his staff, SDM S.S. Marar ordered journalists to leave the place and that they could enter the place after CM’s arrival.

This irked a large number of mediapersons, who decided to boycott this part of the CM’s visit. Only a few reporters associated with electronic media and vernacular newspapers were persuaded by Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ramesh Chander Dogra to attend the function.


24-hr power in Punjab by Dec: Lal Singh
Tribune News Service

GCG girls perform giddha during the 58th Independence Day celebrations at YPS Stadium in Patiala on Sunday.
GCG girls perform giddha during the 58th Independence Day celebrations at YPS Stadium in Patiala on Sunday. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar

Patiala, August 15
Punjab Rural Development and Power Minister Lal Singh today unfurled the National Flag at a district-level celebrations held at Yadavindra Stadium here.

He announced that the entire state would be covered under the 24- hour electric supply scheme by December 31 this year.

The minister, who inspected the parade along with Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police A. S. Rai, said the Punjab State Electricity Board would also release 40,000 more tubewell connections this year. He said work was also being speeded up to augment the thermal generation capacity of the state which had to buy power amounting to Rs 15 crore every day.

Mr Lal Singh said the government had helped 14 cooperative sugar mills revive by releasing an amount of Rs 500 crore.

The minister said a preliminary report had stated that 313 villages in had been affected by the flood waters following a series of flash floods.

He said crops in an area of 1.25 lakh acres had been damaged while there had been 13 deaths due to the flash floods.

Mr Lal Singh also highlighted the manner in which state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had steered the state out of the acute financial crisis being faced by it in the last two and- a- half years of the Congress rule.

He said the state government had not only improved its financial position but had also gone in for sustainable development which had resulted in the state being awarded the “most developed” state award by “India Today” magazine following a nationwide survey.

The function was also attended by Pepsu Road Transport Corporation Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta and city Mayor Vishnu Sharma. Students of Thapar institute and students of Buddha Dal School who won a prestigious competition held by NASA in the USA

The widow of martyr Lance Naik Chhinder Pal ,Sarabjit Kaur, was given an ex gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh.

In other functions held in the city, PRTC Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta and PSEB Member, Finance H. S. Sohi unfurled the National Flag at their respective office complexes.


Vice-Chancellor asks faculty to give their best
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 15
Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today unfurled the National Flag on Independence Day on Punjabi University campus here. A guard of honour was presented by the university security, led by Col Alamjit Singh, Chief Security Officer. Schoolchildren of University Model School presented an impressive PT show on the occasion.

Mr Boparai congratulated the faculty and urged them to work hard and to make every effort to make the university an epitome of academic excellence. Narrating the achievements of the last year, the VC expressed satisfaction at the pace of development in all activities initiated by the university in academics, sports and other youth activities.

He expressed satisfaction over the ways in which the university had started catering to the academic needs of areas under its purview.

In another function the State Bank of Patiala celebrated Independence Day at the its head office, where the Managing Director, Mr A.K. Das, unfurled the National Flag.

Mr Das distributed uniforms to students of Rajpura’s SOS School. Also present on the occasion were Mr P.K Panda, Chief General Manager, Mr J.S. Subba Rao, General Manager (Operations), Mr A.K. Jagannathan, General Manager (CB) and Mr C. Soman Roy, General Manager (Planning and Development).

Sri Aurobindo School also celebrated Independence Day with fervour on its campus. The school also celebrated its annual day where Abhishek Aggarwal and team leader Maneek Kumarhich, who recently toured the USA under a NASA project, were honoured.

On the occasion various curricular activities like modelling, shabad gayan, English play, children’s kavi sammelan and classical dance numbers were held.


Sacrifices of martyrs remembered
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 15
Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour at the stadium of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib. Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Minister for Cooperation, unfurled the National Flag and took salute from contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guard, NCC cadets. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner and Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, were also present on the occasion.

In his address, Mr Randhawa recounted the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. He highlighted various public-oriented schemes initiated by the state government, particularly for the weaker section of society.

He said under the Aashirwad Scheme Rs 6,100 were being given as shagun on the marriage of Dalit girls. He said the government had decided to celebrate all three anniversaries of Sikhs on a large scale.

He distributed fans, tricycles to the handicapped, bicycles to meritorious students. He also honoured 32 prominent persons for their achievements in their respective fields.

On the occasion schoolchildren presented an impressive cultural programme in which Saffron City School, Kotla Bajwara, was declared first, Sacred Heart School, Sadhugarh, second and Mata Sundri School third. Tableaux of various government departments were displayed. Markfed got first prize and the Agriculture Department second in this category.

Mr Randhawa gave Rs 31,000 to students who participated in the cultural programme and Mr Shiv Kumar gave Rs 5,000 to schoolchildren of five schools.

The Deputy Commissioner has announced a holiday tomorrow in all schools of the district.


Spectator falls unconscious during I- Day function
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, today ordered an inquiry into the incident pertaining to the delay caused by doctors, deputed on duty at the function organised in connection with Independence Day here, in attending to one of the spectators who fell unconscious while watching the function.

Mr Sinha, talking to The Tribune said that he had asked the ADC (General) to hold an inquiry into this incident so that reasons for the delay caused by the doctors in attending to the patient could be known. He added that the Civil Surgeon, who attended the Independence Day function, left the venue with his permission before the spectator fell unconscious.


Ministers hoist flags closer home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
No minister went to Bathinda or Faridkot to hoist the National flag on the Independence Day today. The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, who represents Bathinda Assembly constituency, was to hoist the flag at Bathinda, according to an official list released here.

Consequently, the cards printed in his name were withdrawn and new ones issued in the name of the Minister for Local government, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh. Though, he moves around the state despite fracture in his arm, he too was reluctant to travel all the way to Bathinda and preferred to be the chief guest at Jalandhar, his home town. His request was accepted.

Then the Punjab Urban Planning, Development and Housing Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, was asked to proceed to Bathinda. He, reportedly, was not well and refused. But the invitation cards were printed and distributed in his name. The same were again changed. It was decided to ask Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, to unfurl the Tricolour. Thus, on August 13, fresh cards were distributed with the name of Mr Sinha printed on them, as the chief guest. And, finally he did hoist the flag.

In Faridkot, the Health Minister, Mr R.C. Dogra, was to be the chief guest when he learnt that the Chief Minister was to hoist the flag at Hoshiarpur. He got his assignment cancelled in order to be in Hoshiarpur. He represents the Dasuya Assembly constituency, said sources. The Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, Mr B. Sarkar, hoisted the flag there.


Candlelight call for Indo-Pak friendship
Syed Nooruzzaman
Tribune News Service

Wagah (Amritsar), August 15
As the sun set last evening, people in large numbers collected near the India-Pakistan border. Mostly youngsters, they had assembled there to take part in a unique function organised by the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch.

They were angels of peace, whose numbers swelled to take the shape of a massive gathering, unprecedented since the manch began its candlelight border vigil ceremony to promote peace between the two neighbours nine years ago.

The enthusiasm among the people - both from villages and cities - could be seen to be believed. There were only a few policemen around. Yet, no untoward incident happened. It was amazing to see thousands of people staying beyond midnight with lighted candles under the leadership of veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar.

An enchanting cultural programme outside the gate where the BSF-controlled no-entry zone begins was an added attraction. Punjabi folk singers like Pammi Bai, Balkar Sidhu and Angrez Ali regaled the audience with their popular numbers.

Children belonging to Madeeha Gauhar’s Ajooka Theatre, Lahore, along with students from Amritsar’s Springdales School, made the people emotional by their renderings in chorus: ‘Aao Khelein Border Border, Ek Mera Ek Tera Border’.

Among those sitting on the dais were three members of Pakistan’s National Assembly - Syed Naveed Kanwar, Chaudhari Abid Ali and Mr S.L. Khosa (Senator). Two of them belonged to Ms Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and one was from Mr Nawaz Sharief’s Muslim League.

Among the prominent Indians, besides Mr Nayar, was CPM stalwart Sitaram Yechuri and the National Conference MP from Baramula.

The speakers highlighted the significance of peace between the two countries. Their logic was simple yet convincing. People on both sides have similar looks, speak the same language, eat the same food, share the same cultural traditions and wear the same kinds of clothes. Yet, they have fought many wars since 1947. However, now they realise that both have suffered enough and it is time to build bridges of friendship.

There is a realisation that poverty and illiteracy are their common enemies and they should fight these together. They can do it easily only when they have friendly relations among themselves. An atmosphere of peace is bound to push up trade and tourism, resulting in prosperity on both sides.

The gathering passed a resolution, demanding the introduction of an Amritsar-Lahore bus service. It stressed the need for adopting a policy of give and take for the success of the India-Pakistan dialogue process, particularly when there was no alternative to peace.

Mr Kuldip Nayar appealed for a soft border as an immediate necessity. His idea was that this would promote people-to-people contacts leading to a build-up of pressure on both governments to make peace by making the required compromises.

The Hind-Pak Dosti Manch seemed to have given birth to a powerful people’s movement for peace though it had only six or seven participants when the seedling was planted at Wagah in 1996. This year, there were a few young participants from Chandigarh also. They travelled to Wagah together on their Bullet motor cycles under the banner of Road Survivors.

Mr Nayar said Pakistan’s prominent human rights activist Asma Jehangir was on the other side of the border yesterday and wanted to meet him. He went to the border gate, but the Pakistan Rangers’ attitude was uncooperative. They, in fact, behaved with him in a shabby manner. But he and those with him in the manch appeared undeterred and pledged to make his movement a success whatever the difficulties.


Living up to Army tradition
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Janauri (Hoshiarpur), August 15
Come Independence Day and this small village creates a history of sorts as a unique platoon of about 40 ex-servicemen of this village join contingents of armed and para-military forces and march past at the Independence Day function.

Another unique fact is that almost every family here has been sending its members to join the forces. Joining the Army is a tradition here. It is evident from the fact that every 10th resident is serving in the Army.

But what is more enchanting is the 40-member platoon which participates in the march past at Hoshiarpur on Independence Day and Republic Day just like other members of the armed and paramilitary forces. Attired in white shirts, black trousers and maroon turbans, active and alert platoon members led by Capt Suram Singh (retd) not only hold the march past but in a way give a message that a “jawan is a jawan” no matter whether serving the Army or has retired. “We start rehearsing about 10 days before and we even take part in the official rehearsals,” says Lakhan Singh, an ex-serviceman.

The parade and the march past not only keep them fit but also they feel it tones their bodies and helps them maintain the Army discipline in tact in their day-to-day life. The members pointed out that theirs was perhaps the lone platoon of its kind in the country. The exercise of holding a march past has been going on for the past four years.

Madan Lal, a member, said apart from 400 serving Army officials, the village has about 300 ex-servicemen. About 15 residents villages are serving the Indian Army as officers. “Independence Day and Republic Day come for us as festivals and we go to the grounds with full preparedness,” he said.


Justice eludes Yamunanagar couple, no hangman in Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Though exact data is not readily available with the authorities, the sources in the Punjab Prisons Department claim that in at least 11 "rarest of rare" cases death sentences have been awarded by the trial courts in the state. The same are pending confirmation from the superior courts. It is necessary under the law.

The accused in such cases are either lodged in Patiala, Jalandhar or Ferozepore jails. The sources add that in Punjab last hanging took place way back in late 80s at Ferozepore. Since then, no one has walked to the gallows.

Interestingly, in Punjab there is no hangman. The records available with the department show that one is available at Ambala. "But he has never been contacted," the sources add.

Chandigarh, August 15
Dhananjoy Chatterjee's execution may have given some kind of solace to Hetal Parekh's family, but justice is still eluding a Yamunanagar couple. Their 16-year-old daughter was raped and strangulated eight years ago. But the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has failed to trace the culprits.

The victim — a plus one student of Government Secondary School — was returning home on August 26, 1995. After being kidnapped, she was raped at a quarter in Jagadhri’s Railway Colony before being strangulated.

Renuka Sharma's body, "with one or two bruises", was later stuffed in a gunny bag. A case of murder, rape and kidnapping was registered at Farakpur police station the same day after the bag was discovered by her desperately searching father.

During the probe, one Sunil Gupta’s name emerged as that of the prime accused. But nothing much was done about it. Rather, Renuka’s father, expressing doubt about the “bona fides of the investigation”, claimed that a body found two months after the incident could have been that of Gupta.

Till date, the CBI has not specified whether Gupta was dead or alive. Was he hiding away from the probing eyes of the law or was murdered by co-accused in the case? The “vital aspect” was even ignored in a report submitted before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Completely dissatisfied with it, Chief Justice Mr B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar of the High Court refused to accept the report submitted in June last year. The Judges directed the placing of the report before the CBI Director for ordering further investigation in the matter.

Coming down heavily on the CBI for conducting the probe that was “far from desired standards of fair investigation”, the Judges observed: “It is not possible for us to draw any other conclusion except that an effort has been made to shelter the guilty and the investigation suffers from an element of impropriety”.


Political parties divided on water sharing issue
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Isru (Ludhiana), August 15
The SYL issue continues to reverberate in the political circles of the state. This was evident at the annual Shaheedi Conference organised in memory of Shaheed Karnail Singh Isru, here today with various political parties cutting across party lines and harping on the same issue. Although the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, tried his level best to refrain from making any comment, still he could not help himself when confronted by the scribes on the issue.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Panthic Morcha leaders appeared to be in agreement on sub-clause 5 of the Punjab Termination of River Waters Agreement Act 2004, which maintains that the current supply of water to the states of Haryana and Rajasthan will continue. Both the SAD as well as the Panthic Morcha sought the repealing of the sub-clause 5 of the Act, while the CM asserted that he stood by this clause and would not agree to its scrapping.

When asked as to why he did not raise the issue in the Assembly when it was being debated on July 12, Mr Parkash Singh Badal claimed that he did not read it properly as the copies of the Act were provided to him just 15 minutes in advance. He maintained that the SAD wanted that no water should flow out of Punjab, as Haryana and Rajasthan had no riparian rights on Punjab waters. Mr Badal reiterated his demand for convening another special session of the assembly so that the error in the Act is rectified.

Capt Amarinder Singh questioned the argument of Mr Badal that he (Mr Badal) did not read the Act. He pointed out, it was just one and a half page document which did not require more than 10 minutes to be read. He said, it took five hours of debate for the Assembly to pass it and how could Mr Badal claim that he did not get time to read it. He also rejected Mr Badal's demand for another special session of the Assembly.

Even the Panthic Morcha leader, Mr Charan Singh Lohara questioned Mr Badal’s claims on the same account. He said Mr Badal had the habit of shirking away from responsibilities.

Mr Lohara alleged that there was a tacit understanding between Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal and the BJP on the sub-clause 5 of the Act. Mr Badal had supported the Act just to buy peace with Capt Amarinder so that he goes soft on him on the anti-corruption cases pending against him.


Farmers to educate people on river waters
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), August 15
Sarpanches, panches and farmers of this area yesterday formed an 11 member committee to educate people on the sharing of river water between Punjab and other states.

At a meeting presided over by Mr Surinder Pal Singh Mann and attended by Dr Gurjant Singh, Mr Lakha Singh, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr Om Parkash Khera, senior vice-president, municipal council and Mr Surinder Kumar Chabbra decided to protect Punjab farmer’s interests.

The meeting appreciated the stand of the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on the issue of river waters.

He said Punjab had no surplus water.


Efforts on to revive militancy, says KLF chief
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 15
In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Harnek Singh, alias Bhap, self-styled chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force, admitted that he was involved in many killings. But he was duty-bound to do this as a matter of policy of the outfit, though he was personally against such killings. He said if he had any regret today it was that his mission ended in a fiasco after a struggle of 15 years. He said their fight was solely against the Union Government, but unfortunately the state police also got involved and their real enemies like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, H.K.L. Bhagat and Bhajan Lal went scot-free. He said with pride that he had no regret for murderous attack on Mr Bitta, who was a hindrance in their mission.

He said he was fed up with the solitary life that he had been living all these years, but he didn’t want to surrender and earn a bad name. The KLF chief said efforts were still on to revive militancy in the state and they were receiving funds for this purpose through various agencies. He said agencies were funding Mr Daljeet Singh Bitto, who was in jail. He distributes the money through Surinderpal Singh of Patiala and he was also getting funds from him. He said he was in constant touch with Bitto through a mobile phone. He said he had noticed a change in the behaviour of Punjab police, which was now more considerate than before. Harnek said he wanted to meet his mother and brothers but he did not knew whether they were alive or not. The KLF chief said he had spent five years at Phagwara and got admission in a college there on the name of Inderjit and played football for the college. He said presently he was living in 2564, Urban Estate, Phase 2, Patiala.


Harnek remanded in police custody
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 15
Harnek Singh, alias Bhap, a self-styled chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), who was arrested yesterday, is the biggest achievement of the police, said Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, at a press conference here today.

He was active in terrorist activities since 1989 and he, along with his other gang members, was responsible for more than 60 killings of innocent persons. He said he was involved in Kila Raipur massacre of 26 railway passengers, murder of 15 migrant labourers at Duburji village, murderous assault on Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, then chief of the Youth Congress, by planting a bomb in a car near the Youth Congress headquarters, ambushed Army carvan in Lehal village in which two Jawans were killed and 11 injured and was involved in many other killings. The SSP said he along with his accomplices kidnapped son of Mr Bajaj of Delhi and got Rs 3.26 crore as ransom for his release.

Mr Shiv Kumar further said that in order to put pressure on the government for the release of Devinder Singh Bhullar, who was awarded death sentence for attack on Mr Bitta, he abducted the son of Mr Ram Niwas Mirdha, the then Union Textiles Minister from Jaipur but in ensuing encounter two of his accomplices were killed.

He said the police has registered a case at the Sirhind police station. He was presented in the court of Mr G.S. Dhillon, CJM, who remanded him in police custody till August 17th. 


Badal using celebrations for political gains: Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president, SAD (Longowal) yesterday alleged that SAD (B) president Parkash Singh Badal had been using the 400th year celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib for political gains.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday evening, he pointed out that though the SGPC had been organising all functions connected with 400th year celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib, Mr Badal was trying to make it as his party’s show.

He said Mr Badal went to invite the President and the Prime Minister for the celebrations, he did not take the acting president of the SGPC with him.

He said all accords including the Rajiv-Longowal accord, should be cancelled to protect interests of Punjab. He said a delegation of the party would meet the Prime Minister in connection with demands of Punjab after August 20, the day when death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal would also be observed.

He said more check dams should be set up on various rivers and seasonal drains to control floods and to generate electricity.

He condemned the Centre’s decision to hike price of diesel. He demanded the MSP of paddy should be increased by Rs 50 and drought and flood affected farmers given Rs 10,000 per acre relief.


Rice millers up in arms against PPCB policies
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 15
The rice millers of Punjab are up in arms against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the Punjab Pollution Control Board. At a meeting held here yesterday, Mr Tarsem Saini, president of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, has accused the board authorities for backtracking on the mutually framed policy regarding the upgradation of the existing effluent treatment plants (ETP) in the rice mills.

In the meeting, held last year between the millers and the chairman, the PPCB, the millers agreed to the board’s suggestion to upgrade their existing ETP’s as the earlier designed ones were inadequate to treat the effluent.

But to avoid repetition of past lapses it was decided that initially six ETPs would be installed by the millers in consultations with various private consultants and the remaining would be upgraded after going through the efficacy of these demonstration plants.

He said the millers had installed the plants but the board had so far given clearance to the design of Alliance Engineers, Patiala, and remaining ETPs designed by other reputed consultants had been put in the pipeline.

Contrary to the decision, the board has now issued directions under Section 33-A of the Water Act to the rice millers that either upgrade ETPs before the coming kharif crop or face closure. He said this indicated that the board wanted all the ETPs be upgraded by the particular consultant firm.

Mr Saini said the design of the existing ETPs, that had been declared defunct now was not only approved by the engineers of the board but the millers were also issued consent to operate for 15 years on the basis of their performance. However the board had not fixed any kind of responsibility for this faux pas.

He appealed to the board not to take any step in a hurry, as the cost of upgrading a ETP was about Rs 5 to 6 lakh and the millers could not afford it.

Mr Bal Krishan Bali, senior vice-president of the Punjab Rice Millers Association alleged this was a case of favoritism. He said that it was unfortunate that the design of certain national fame consultants had been left in the pipeline for certain reasons.

Mr Nardev Singh, another miller, alleged that notices under Section 33-A were served at this stage, would only encourage corruption.

He alleged the PPCB, regional office, Faridkot, had become the hub of corruption as the business community of this backward area were more vulnerable to corruption due to lack of proper guidance and knowledge. He added that a minimum six months time was required to upgrade or construct an ETP, but serving the notice at the nick of kharif season would hardly help to serve the purpose. Moreover the notices have been issued on pick and choose basis.

H.S. Virk of Effluent Engineers, Rajpura and M.K. Jaggi, Indata Valve System, Patiala, when contacted, observed that there was nothing wrong with the ETP designed by their respective firm. Mr Virk said that the samples of treated effluent of all ETPs installed under his consultation had found to be well with in prescribed limits. But the clearance had been withheld on account of some petty reasons.


Devi Lal memorial in bad shape
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), August 15
Late Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal’s memorial, situated at Killianwali village right on the Punjab and Haryana border, is in bad shape. The condition of the multi-crore park and memorial has taken a turn for the worst within less than four years of its inauguration by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on September 25, 2001, on late Devi Lal’s 88th birthday.

When The Tribune team visited Killianwali some time back, the park presented a pathetic picture. Dirt was scattered in almost every nook and corner, giving the memorial a very bad look.

Most of the fancy lights, installed in the park, were also broken. Grass had overgrown, obviously, it had not been mowed for the past several months.

Similarly, the huge umbrella put up over the head of the statue was also not in its original shape. Fancy tiles fixed around the memorial in the park were also damaged.

An SPO, Laxman Ram, deployed for its security, was lying in a room of the park due to his continuous bad health. He told The Tribune team that neither any sweeper nor any gardener took care of the park since the time he had been deployed.

A taxi driver of the area, Sukhdev Singh, told The Tribune that the memorial was looked after well for the first six months but now none bothered about it.

A cloth merchant of Mandi Dabwali, Mr Satish Kumar, who runs a shop near the memorial, said that he had brought the matter of neglect of the memorial to the notice of SAD President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is also chairman of the Devi Lal Memorial Trust, during his visit here in the recent past. yet, nothing had changed for the memorial. Now it was also being used by anti-social elements in the absence of any security.

Sukhdev Singh said that earlier two security guards had been deputed here one each by Punjab and Haryana but now only an SPO, commonly known as a Home Guard jawan, was deputed by Punjab but he too could not perform his duty well due to his bad health. At present, no security personnel was posted here by Haryana despite the fact that late Devi Lal’s son Om Prakash Chautala is the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, when contacted, SAD General Secretary Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, one of the six members of the trust, admitted that the memorial had not been looked after well during the past several months. At the same time, he said that a meeting of the trust was held last month under the presidency of Mr Badal and it was decided at the meeting to make arrangements for its upkeep.

Mr Bhunder further claimed that the entire condition of the memorial would be restored to its original position within days. He said that the trust members agreed to use interest of the funds of the trust for looking after the memorial.


Encroachments removed, residents happy
Balraj Mahajan

Batala, August 15
Residents of Batala are happy with the Municipal Council for removing the encroachments from city roads, especially from Gandhi Chowk to Hansli bridge.

The authorities have demolished the unnecessary encroachments made by shopkeepers on the left side of the road from Gandhi Chowk to Hansli bridge.

The contractors engaged by the Municipal Council, Batala, have constructed a central verge on the road from Gandhi Chowk to Hansli bridge.

Mr Subash Sekhri, president, Municipal Council, Batala, informed this correspondent that the council had given the contract for pre-mixing of both sides, divider and fixing of electric poles with the lights-bulbs etc. He said that pre-mix work would be done from wall to wall. However, Mr Sekhri said that a five-feet side should be marked in front of each shop, which could be left for pedestrians.

To remove the encroachments, J.C.B. machines have been used by the contractor.

However, it is interesting to note that the platforms which were to be built in front of the shops of the influential persons have been largely spared.

The shopkeepers of the area alleged that the Municipal Council authorities had indulged in favouritism and nepotism. Congressmen's and BJP influential persons' encroachments had not been demolished totally by the Municipal Council authorities.

However, a central verge has also been constructed on this road partly and at the moment only 14 high electric poles had been fixed.

However, on this road from Hansli bridge to Gandhi Chowk, the central verge of about six poles has not been made by the concerned contractor so far and even the central verge has not been filled with earth so far.

This central verge work had been started before elections to the Lok Sabha.

However, when contacted Mr A.K. Punj, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Batala, said the Municipal Council had given the contract to three different contractors for fixing the electric poles, to construct the central verge and to lay down the pre-mix from wall- to-wall on both sides of this road from Gandhi Chowk to Hansli bridge.

Mr Punj further said that the Municipal Council had allotted these works to the three municipal contractors. For this purpose Municipal Council had given the contracts to these contractors worth Rs 15 lakh.

Mr Harbans Lal Mahajan, an ex-House leader of the Municipal Council, Batala, whose shed also is on this road, alleged that the present Municipal Council is controlled by the Congress .He said there is already a slump prevailing in the market. On the other hand the Municipal Council authorities are deliberately harassing shopkeepers of the city roads leading from Gandhi Chowk to Hansli bridge.

Mr Harbans Lal Mahajan urged the authorities of the Municipal Council not to adopt the policy of nepotism and favouritism on this demolishing project.

Mr Mohan Singh Saggu, an ex-municipal councillor, said that it is interesting to note that with the onset of the monsoon, this is not the time for the construction of platforms and for laying the pre-mix.


Doctors hold ‘sankalp’ rally
To go on strike if promises not fulfilled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Hundreds of private and government doctors today urged the district administration to fulfil its four promises made to them after a criminal case was registered against three doctors of the local Civil Hospital, failing which they would resort to an agitation again.

The doctors, who held a “sankalp” rally here under the banner of the Indian Medical Association and the PCMS Association, said that the district administration had promised that the FIR lodged against three doctors in connection with the death of an accident victim would be cancelled. They added that the district administration had also promised to accept their other demands also by next Tuesday.

Dr Amrit Sethi, president, IMA, Bathinda district, said that at the “sankalp” rally it was decided that if the district administration failed to accept their demands which included immediate suspension of the SDM, Mr S. K. Singla, who got the FIR registered against three doctors, by Tuesday, they would restart their agitation. He said that a memorandum in this connection was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. A. P. Sinha.

Dr Sethi pointed out that if the authorities concerned failed to accept their demands, the PCMS Association would direct its members to refer the critical patients to other hospitals after giving them first aid instead of admitting them.


Jalandhar residents bag seven awards
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 15
In what may be a reason good enough for the Jalandharites to flash a broad smile, seven of the total 25 state awards have fallen in their laps. They have made remarkable contribution towards the society.

The seven recipients of the state awards either belong here or are serving here in one or the other capacity.

Dr G.S. Aujla, the ADGP and the director of the Punjab Police Academy has been awarded for his efforts to get an academy status to the Punjab Police Training College, Phillaur, and to strike its affiliation with the Guru Nanak Dev University.

Mr Amrik Singh, a cameraman of Jalandhar Doordarshan recently posted at Chandigarh, has been awarded for his contribution to the field of telecasting cinematography and documentary films, including the one on Guru Gobind Singh.

Mr Barinder Singh, of Preet Nagar, has been awarded for his contribution to social service for the past 12 years.

Ms Bimla Devi, of Dallewal village, has been honoured for her services towards the downtrodden, particularly, those belonging to the scheduled castes.

Mr Rajesh Kumar, from Dallewal village, has been honoured for his contribution in the field of social service.

Popular sufi singer Hans Raj Hans from Shafipur village has been awarded for his contribution in the field of Sufi music and for popularising Punjabi folk and sufi music all over the world.

Lt. Col. (retd.) Manmohan Singh, has earned laurels for his contribution towards the welfare of ex-servicemen. He has received six appreciation letters issued by the Chief of the Army Staff for his service towards ex-servicemen and their families.


Prime forest land falls to encroachers
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 15
More than 50 influential persons of this area have constructed dhabas on the prime forest land of Malikpur and Madhopur on the outskirts of the town, allegedly with connivance of officials of the Forest Department and the Irrigation Department.

Some of them have even encroached upon nearly 40 feet of space in front of their shops to provide parking to their customers.

The Forest Department has failed to take steps to remove the encroachments, despite the fact that the forest land on which the dhabas are built has a market value in crores.

The encroachers had reportedly bribed some local officials of the Irrigation Department, who after charging them nominal fee, allowed them to use the forest land for commercial purposes by flouting rules and regulations.

Boldened by their action they even encroached upon the UBDC canal. A influential Congress party politician of the area is allegedly supporting the encroachers.

Despite protest by local residents, nothing had been done in this regard. Sources revealed that the Irrigation Department had recently suspended an official of the department for allowing unauthorised constructions, but later he was reinstated.

The Forest Department officials admitted that the forest land had been illegally encroached upon and they had already written to the DC in this connection.

Gurdaspur DC Harjit Singh asserted that no encroachment on government land would be tolerated and the District Administration would take stern action against such violators.


Inquiry finds project design faulty
Tribune News Service

Patti (Amritsar): A high-level inquiry has found many chinks in the implementation of centrally sponsored Integrated Development Scheme for Medium and Small Towns (IDSMT).

The huge grant of Rs 51 lakh was released through the District Planning Board to the Municipal Committee here for constructing a modern bus stand , shopping complex . The centrally sponsored scheme has been aimed at increasing the revenue of municipal committees of small towns in the country.

However, during the inspection, the inquiry team reportedly found the design of the complex which include bus stand and shopping complex as ‘faulty’ which did not even provide toilets or urinals . Shockingly, the design was given to the contractors two months after the actual allotment of the project was made.

So much so that two unauthorised shops were coming up at the entry point of the proposed bus stand . However, the visiting team ordered immediate stoppage of the unauthorised construction. It is learnt that the person who was carrying out the ‘un-athorised construction’ enjoyed the political patronage .

The progress of the project was also found to be at a snail’s pace.

When contacted , Mr Gyan Singh Bal , Deputy Director, Local Bodies, admitted that he had personally visited the site to know the reasons for slow pace . He , however, said that he had directed officials concerned not to allow any unauthorised construction in the proposed complex.

It is learnt that those responsible for the ‘faulty design’ , ‘unauthorised ‘ construction and slow pace of the project were being shielded by the high-ups.

Interestingly , the local Municipal Committee had failed to make timely payments to the contractors which delayed the project .The reason for delayed payment was that the committee had deposited about Rs 40 lakh in the Fixed Deposits for three months. The contractors were verbally asked to submit their bills after the maturity of the FDs.


Indian, UK kids to perform plays jointly
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
A British theatre group for the first time will give joint performances with Indian children belonging to a private school here. The play, an adaptation of the famous Shakespeare epic ‘A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream’, will be presented by the British youth group, Hyrat, based in Wellingdon, west England, and students of the Spring Dale School here.

The leader of the British group Louie Jenkins, while interacting with newspersons here today, said that it was going to be a unique experience to work with the Indian students.

The Hyrat group, she said provided formal education on drama, dance, animation, music composition sets, costumes etc, under international youth exchange programme presently underway in India.

When asked about the groups visit here, Ms Jenkins said they had learned a lot about the rich Indian culture especially about Punjab and were very keen to get first hand information about this country. She hoped that it would be a very rewarding experience for the young group who had never been to India before.


PSEB staff to protest against DC’s ‘misbehaviour’
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 15
To protest against the alleged misbehaviour by the Deputy Commissioner, the joint action committee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) employees has decided to block traffic in front of the local powerhouse from 12 noon to 2 pm on August 17.

They had formed a joint action committee after an FIR was lodged against a Junior Engineer in an incident in which two persons were killed when a 100 kv transformer got burnt at Akalsar Chowk here on May 17. The decision to block traffic came at a meeting, which was presided over by the convener of the committee, Mr Gurmail Singh Nahar. The committee members alleged that when a deputation led by Mr Nahar met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, to discuss the matter he misbehaved with them and told them to get out of his office. They alleged that the DC told them that if they would hold protest on the issue police action would be taken against them. They said they had met the DC last month also and he had assured them that justice would be done in the matter.

The committee was demanding that the FIR lodged against the Junior Engineer, Mr Jarnail Singh, be withdrawn. They said the transformer was burnt due to overloading and not due to the fault of any electricity board employee.

Various power employees’ bodies, including the Technical Services Union, Junior Engineers’ Council, Power Employees Front, and PSEB Employees Federation, have joined hands on the issue and would participate in the protest.

The Deputy Commissioner said the committee members were pressurising him to withdraw the FIR registered against the Junior Engineer immediately and he had only said that the law would take its own course. He denied the charge of misbehaving with them.


10 pc cops suffer from hypertension
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 15
According to a study by Dr Rajesh Sharma (PCMS) 10 per cent policemen of Gurdaspur district suffer from hypertension. Dr Sharma made the survey with the SSP’s approval.

The study selected 500 cops at random and found in the district. Ten per cent of the cops suffering from high blood pressure. Obesity was one of major reasons for blood pressure among cops.

About 50 per cent of the cops found to be suffering from high blood pressure were over weight. Stress of work was another major reason. A driver who also formed part of study had not slept for 48 hours due to hectic duty schedule. Almost all suffering cops complained of lack of regular holiday. They also complained of excessive VIP duty and fewer facilities.

Just 10 per cent of the cops had family history of high blood pressure. Meaning that 90 per cent had high blood pressure due to work stress or unhealthy eating habits.

Among those suffering from blood pressure. Only 18 per cent cops were found to be aware of their ailment.

The doctors recommended seminars to make cops aware of symptoms of hypertension and ways to control it. Doctors recommended regular exercise and dietary scheduled for the cops.


Hospitals should be self-supporting: PHSC chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Mr Tilak R. Sarangal, Managing Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation and Secretary Health, yesterday favoured the self-sustaining of government hospitals to meet expenditures.

He was talking to The Tribune during his visit to Government Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital and Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Civil Hospital here.

Mr Sarangal said for maintenance and infrastructural development of all government hospitals they needed to be self-sustained. Hospitals should generate own resources for expenditures in hospitals should be spent in four categories.

Out of the total income its 45 per cent share should be used on drugs and medicines, 25 per cent for facilities while 15 per cent on equipments and 15 per cent on the building.

The Managing Director said the Civil Surgeons and the SMOs of hospitals concerned would had special powers for this and it would be their responsibility to run the government hospitals. He said optimum use of government equipment and maximum revenue generations for the hospitals would also be stressed besides maximum facilities to patients and people.

He said the PHSC was contemplating on starting diploma courses relating to mental disorders or diseases in the mental hospitals.

Mr Sarangal said uplift of the subsidiary health centres would now be in the priority list of the PHSC. He said the state government had sent a proposal of Rs 680 crore to the Central Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in this regard.


Aanganwadi workers, helpers protest
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 15
The Aanganwadi Workers and Helpers Union, Barnala, organised a dharna on Saturday in front of the office of the CDPO, to express their resentment against the anti-employee attitude of the Punjab Government and to urge the government to accept their demands at the earliest.

In a press note issued here today, Daljit Kaur president of union, here said the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, had promised the union an allowance of Rs 300 per worker but so for it had not been honoured by the government.

She said in protest the aanganwadi workers and the helpers burnt an effigy of the government at the local Courts Chowk yesterday.

The dharna was addressed by Daljit Kaur, Surinder Kaur Sanghera, Beant Kaur Aspal Khurd, Manjit Kaur, Surinder Kaur, Renu Bala and Sita Rani who urged the government not to hand over the centres to village panchayats.

They also demanded, the workers and helpers who were thrown out of jobs in the centres, be reinstated.


Traffic chaos reigns in Moga
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 15
Vehicles coming from the wrong side of the road, traffic cops standing on roadsides instead of regulating the traffic, stray cattle roaming freely, rehris lined up on both sides of the roads and the rising number of cycle rickshaws and tempos (three-wheelers). This sums up the traffic scenario here. It seems that the traffic police and other authorities concerned have closed their eyes to the chaos prevailing on city roads. The traffic scene on the main GT Road, which leads to cities like Ferozepore and Ludhiana, is pathetic. A large stretch of this road on both sides of the road divider is half covered with a layer of dust and it seems that this half of the road doesn’t even exist.

In front of the transport union office on the GT Road a large number of trucks are parked and they occupy a part of the road on about 1.5-km stretch. Due to this, half of the road remains unused. Buses and tempos plying to various villages and cities also occupy this road in a bid to get more passengers there. As if this wasn’t enough, at the point where the road ends, rehriwallas sell fruits and vegetables. They have even occupied the Joginder Singh Chowk, which is the main square of the city and where most of the cops man traffic. The scene on the road leading to Amritsar is no different. Rehriwallas sell vegetables and fruits on both sides of the road and tempos stop right in front of these rehris for picking up passengers.

Traffic congestion reigns on the road from the Joginder Singh Chowk to the Civil Hospital and driving on this road is every motorist’s nightmare. Rickshaws, tempos, buses, cars and two-wheelers block the road beyond one’s tolerance level.


MP seeks Rs 100 cr for flood-hit areas
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
Ms Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala, will seek Rs 100 crore from the Central Government for the flood-affected villages of Patiala and Sangrur districts. Newly 250 villages were affected by floods in the Ghaggar river in Patiala Parliamentary constituency.

The MP yesterday visited flood-affected villages in the Moonak and Khanauri area of the district and met villagers. She also saw flood damaged crops. She also visited Moonak, Banarsi, Baopur, Andana, Chandu, Banga, Bushehra, Hotipur, Nawan Gaon, Karrail and Surjan Bhaini villages.

To a question she said, she would seek Rs 100 cr for the affected villagers and raise the issue in the Lok Sabha.

She was accompanied by Mr N.S. Walia, ADC, Sangrur, Mr Dharam Pal Gupta, SDM, Moonak, Mr Kuldip Singh, DDPO, Sangrur, and Dr J.R. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur.


Widows of martyrs honoured
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 15
The 58th Independence Day was celebrated with enthusiasm by the local administration, schools and the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat in this subdivision today.

Mr Deepak Raj Garg, Sub Divisional Magistrate, unfurled the Tricolour at a function organised at the play ground of Government High School, Dera Bassi. The SDM also took the salute.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Garg appealed to the parents to educate their children about the freedom struggle, sacrifices of freedom fighters besides make them aware about the significance of the National Flag.

Widows of martyrs and freedom fighters, were also honoured.


BKU dharna on August 18
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
The activists of the BKU (Ekta) yesterday demanded that traders of Gidderbaha town, who were involved in the attack on the farmers in the recent past should be immediately arrested. In a statement issued here yesterday, they said the police officials, who did not perform their duty on the day when the farmers were attacked while they were protesting against the sale of spurious cottonseeds, should also be placed under suspension.

They said the BKU (Ekta) would hold a rally and stage a dharna before the office of the SDM, Gidderbaha on August 18 in protest against the atrocities committed to the farmers.


Don’t succumb to pressure, IG tells cops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 15
Mr P.M. Das, Inspector General (IG), Faridkot range, yesterday urged the police officials not to work under any sort of pressure and not to help the anti-social elements.

Mr Das, while addressing the police officials here said the first priority of the policemen should be honesty. He pointed out that there was a need for providing training to the police in connection with their office works. He also reviewed the crime record of this district.


Newly wed commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
A newly-wedded, Poonam Rani, alias Kanchan (22), allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at Bhawanigarh, yesterday. The post-mortem examination of the body was conducted at the Civil Hospital here today.

The Bhawanigarh police told the TNS over the phone today that a case had been registered under Sections 304-B (Dowry death) and 34 of the IPC against Vinod Kumar, husband of the deceased, Om Parkash, father-in-law, and Pushpa Devi, mother-in-law, on the complaint of Mr Naresh Kumar, the brother of the deceased from Patiala.

The police said in his complaint, Mr Naresh Kumar had mentioned that his sister had been forced to commit suicide by her in-laws, who harassed her mentally on the pretext of not bringing sufficient dowry. He also alleged, her in-laws had recently demanded Rs 50,000 from his family, of which they had already given Rs 10,000 to Vinod Kumar. Despite this, they continued to harass his sister, he added.

The marriage of Vinod Kumar and Poonam was reportedly solemnised on June 27 last.


Alleged rapist of Dalit girl held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
Kashmir Singh, an alleged rapist of an 11-year-old Dalit girl of Uppli village, near here, was arrested by the local police today. This was stated by Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP.

Kashmir Singh is reportedly a neighbour of the Dalit girl at Uppli village. He allegedly raped the girl in the early morning of August 13 after lifting her from her cot when she was sleeping in an open place in front of her house.


Two killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
Two persons were killed and two were injured in two separate incidents in the city since last night.

One person was killed and another was injured when their motor cycle collided with a truck near Capital Cinema House on the Mall road today. The deceased has been identified as Shalu of Malor village near Malerkotla. The injured has been identified as Narinder Singh, resident of Basantpura village near Rajpura. The truck driver absconded from the spot leaving the truck behind.

In another accident, Punjab Singh, a resident of Michingan village near Patiala, was killed when he run over by a vehicle last night near Bhadak village on the Patiala - Rajpura road last night. He was identified through a slip found in his pocket this morning.

In yet another hit-and-run incident, a seven-year-old girl, Mandeep Kaur, was run over by a vehicle near Kamikalan village near Ghanaur yesterday. She is seriously injured and his fighting for her live at a local hospital.


Elementary school sans teacher, students
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, August 15
Even as the government has been claiming to providing education to all by setting up schools in every nook and cranny of the state, government elementary school of Raayia village of this subdivision presented an entirely different story.

Though upgraded to the elementary status from primary level, the school is without any teacher, as the only teacher, Mr Harcharan Singh, who had been working here for the past many years, has been sent to another school of nearby village on deputation by the authorities concerned.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed though the school was upgraded to elementary level about a year ago, classes VI to VIII could not be started from the current academic session as no new teacher was posted here.

Mr Harcharan Singh, who was handling all teaching and non-teaching jobs of the school, was shifted to another school recently when the higher education authorities came to know that no student was coming to school after the summer vacation.

About 60 students (upto class V) used to come to school before the summer vacation.

A peon posted there had already been shifted to an elementary school located at Mirjeana village. The sanctioned strength of the school was two teachers, peon and a head teacher.

The post of the head teacher has been lying vacant for the past one decade.

A senior official of the Education Department said when parents were not sending their wards to the school, how a teacher could be kept sitting idle in that school and hence the authorities were left with no option but to shift him to another school.

Residents of the village said they had been urging the authorities concerned to improve facilities in the school, but to no avail. However, they declined to say anything about why the students were not attending school after the summer vacation.

The local politics had also been harming the interests of school, they added.

Some of the students to whom TNS talked to alleged they had stopped going to school because they were being taught nothing.

The District Education Officer (Elementary) could not be contacted for comments.


Jobless teachers hold protest march

Sangrur, August 15
A large number of members and activists of district units of Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union (UETU), DIET Students Welfare Association (DSWA) and Nav-Niyukat Adhiyapak Union today took out a protest march from the local bus stand to the War Heroes Stadium, the venue of the Independence Day function, demanding regular appointments of the teachers, stoppage of teachers’ recruitment on contract and withdrawal of false cases registered against students leaders at Jalandhar.

The police reportedly prevent them from proceeding towards the stadium. Mr Mohinder Pal Singh Kaleke, president of the district unit of the UETU, alleged that the police not only tried to prevent them from going to the stadium but also harassed and manhandled them.

Mr Kaleke also said that after reaching the stadium the union leaders sent a message to Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal requesting to meet her. But Bhattal left the venue without giving them a hearing.

He also claimed that the protesters observed Independence Day as a ‘black day’ as their demands had not been met.

Later, they blocked traffic at the local Mahabir Chowk for some time to express their resentment against the Punjab Government. — TNS


Jobless teachers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 15
The Unemployed ETT Teachers Union today organised a dharna at Majestic Chowk here. The protesters were dressed in black and had chained themselves.

Addressing the gathering, the union president, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, and the state secretary of the Diet Students Welfare Association, Mr Buta Singh, said they would continue to protest against the contractual appointment of teachers.

They warned to intensify their stir if the state government didn’t heed to their demands.

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