P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PPCC panel to meet on Sept 1
Action against Bir Devinder, Birmi?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The disciplinary panel of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee will meet on September 1 to take up the issue of Mr Bir Devinder Singh, ruling party MLA from Kharar and former Deputy Speaker, and Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary.

The PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, has referred certain statements, alleged to be made by Mr Bir Devinder Singh and Mr Birmi, to the party’s disciplinary committee for taking appropriate action.

Mr Nasib Singh Gill, chairman of the disciplinary committee, said today that the committee would meet on next Wednesday to decide further course of action on the matter referred to it by the PPCC. He said that he had asked the members of the panel to attend the meeting on September 1. Other members of the panel are Mr Basant Singh, Mr Joginder Nath, Mr Bhagwan Singh, and Ms Harsimarjit Kaur.

When asked what action would be proposed by the panel, Mr Gill said that it would not be proper to “pre-judge” the issue. All members of the panel would sit together to decide what further course of action should be adopted with regard to the matter referred to it. He said that it was obvious that the contents of the media reports referred to the disciplinary committee would be verified before proceeding further.

The PPCC leadership had not liked the “parallel” function organised by Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, to pay tributes to the late Mr Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary on August 20 at Ludhiana. The PPCC and the state government had organised such a function at the official level in Ludhiana on that day and it was attended by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Hanspal and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister. Besides it, Mr Birmi, made certain statements recently which were not liked by certain leaders of the ruling party.

Likewise, Mr Bir Devinder Singh’s certain statements that appeared in the media have been referred to the disciplinary committee. Reacting to the statement allegedly made by Jagjit Singh Chohan, Mr Bir Devinder Singh had asked the Chief Minister what link he (CM) had with Chohan.

It appears that the disciplinary panel will first call both Mr Bir Devinder Singh and Mr Birmi to ask them that whether what appeared in the media was stated by them or not. Other clarifications might be sought with regard to the matter referred to the panel.


MC appoints more staff for celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
The local Municipal Corporation has appointed 250 persons on a temporary basis for a week for the 400th celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner of the corporation, said these persons, along with other employees of the corporation, would ensure proper functioning of sewer, drainage and water system. He said the corporation had sunk 10 tubewells and set up 10 hydrant points around the Golden Temple. Roads leading to the Golden Temple had been repaired, he said.

The Commissioner said 72 employees would be available round the clock for any eventuality and attend any complaint regarding blockage of sewers and water problems. Three complaint centres would be installed around the Golden Temple.

Mr Kang urged the people to cooperate with the corporation keeping in view the enormity of the celebrations. He also appealed to them not to waste water and help the corporation in handling garbage etc.

He said 10-15 teams had been constituted to clear the temple area of waste material.

Mr Kubir Singh Sidhu, member secretary, celebrations committee, while interacting with the media expressed his concern over raising of gates, encroachments, parkings of two-wheelers and sought cooperation of the people during the celebrations. He said the gates raised in already narrow lanes and encroachments would hamper the movement of nagar kirtans.

Later, the Commissioner swept lanes and roads and lifted garbage on a rickshaw inside the walled city to motivate the employees.


Facelift for Damdama Sahib
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, August 27
A facelift is being given to Takht Sri Damdama Sahib in view of the Gurmat Chetna March scheduled for August 29. The march is being taken out in connection with the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Residents of this historical town and of surrounding villages have started making arrangements to accommodate those, who will descend here on August 27 and 28 to join the march. The Gurmat Chetna March will reach Amritsar on September 1 by making night halts at Muktsar and Zira. The residents have also started enlisting their names to prepare langar (community kitchen) and to serve the same to the congregation.

A number of Women have been making saffron flags and banners while men have been milling the wheat to make flour. Fresh coats of paint are also being provided wherever necessary. A large number of people have been removing weeds from the open spaces surrounding Takht Sri Damdama Sahib.

Though, according to Sikh history, Guru Arjan Dev initiated the recitation of Adi Granth at the Golden Temple on September 1, Guru Granth Sahib also has a connection with Talwandi Sabo as Guru Gobind Singh complied the Adi Granth by incorporating the teachings of Guru Teg Bahadur in the Adi Granth when he stayed for more than nine months at Talwandi Sabo, also known as Damdama Sahib.

History reveals that when those, who possessed the original copy of the Adi Granth, refused to give the same to Guru Gobind Singh, he (Guru Gobind Singh) reproduced the same from his memory and incorporated the hymns composed by his father, Guru Teg Bahadur, at Talwandi Sabo on August 30, 1706. The complete Guru Granth Sahib is known as Damdami Bir and is being recited in the Golden Temple. Guru Gobind Singh accorded the status of Guru to the Damdami Bir at Takht Hazoor Sahib on October 21, 1708 and the same Bir is being respected and followed as Guru by the Sikhs throughout the world.

Guru Gobind Singh prepared four copies of the Damdami Bir and the same were sent to four Takhts. The quills used by Bhai Mani Singh and Baba Deep Singh for writing the Bir were immersed in the Sarovar Likhansar Gurdwara, situated in the Takht Damdama Sahib complex after the completion of the work. The place where Guru Gobind Singh used to sit and used to get the Bir written by Bhai Mani Singh and Baba Deep Singh is known as Damdama Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh also declared this place as Guru Ki Kashi (a seat of learning).

Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, said no stone was being left unturned to make the occasion a memorable one.

He said the Punjab Government should carry out necessary repair of the roads since thousands of people were expected to join the march on August 29, which would be led by 400 horse riders and 300 ex-servicemen. 


ETC channel to telecast celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
ETC Punjabi channel will telecast all programmes of the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib on September 1.

In a statement, Mr P.S. Sahni, Associate Editor, ETC, said here today that besides kirtan programme from Sri Harmandar Sahib, the channel would also telecast historic nagar kirtan programmes from Amritsar and a laser show of fireworks from Darshani Deori in the evening.


115 devotees leave for Kartarpur Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
As many as 115 Sikh devotees headed by Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, a senior Akali leader, left today for Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan to participate in the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib there. The jatha left by the Samjhauta Express from Attari international railway station and would return on August 31.


Punjab proposes to levy ‘development charge’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 27
The Punjab Government proposes to levy a ‘development charge’ and ‘a land-use change fee’, for granting permission for development within the periphery of UT Chandigarh. While the latter would accrue to the state exchequer, the former would be put into a separate “periphery fund”, dedicated to improving the physical infrastructure in the region.

This decision was taken in the crucial, closed-door meeting on the “Policy on Periphery” convened under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, here today. The voluminous draft policy, which had been circulated to the officers present, was collected back by PUDA officials after the meeting under the instructions of the Chief Secretary, so as to maintain confidentiality.

While other precise details could not be ascertained, it was reliably learnt the committee decided to restrict itself to the matters of “general principles”, rather than going into specifics. It was agreed, in principle, that the proposed policy should be transparent, people-friendly and should encourage low-density development of the periphery for uses like institutions, sports and tourism-related infrastructure and farmhouses. This would ensure a kind of self-policing of the periphery, since it was felt that “freezing” the entire area as “agricultural zone” was neither possible for a pragmatic perspective nor from a town and country planning standpoint.

A relief sub-package is also being envisaged for the genuine residents of the periphery villages that shall enable them to go in for construction in the area adjoining their ‘abadis’ for bona fide residential purposes, in a hassle-free manner. No decision was consciously taken regarding the unauthorised constructions in the periphery, and this issue was reserved for deliberation at the level of the highest political executive.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has restrained the state from permitting any change of land use in the periphery by its interim order in the Forest Hills Resort case.


PUDA holds up project
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR: PUDA failure to release funds has been delaying completion of the second phase of the district administrative complex (DAC) here. It was to be completed in February, 2002.

Sources said PUDA had released Rs 2.5 crore to the PWD (B&R), the executing agency for the project, till July 2003, after which no money was released for one year. However, PUDA released an instalment of Rs 50 lakh a few days ago to the PWD (B&R) for this project while an amount of Rs 1.50 crore was yet to be released.

Mr Rakesh Bansal, contractor for the building, stopped work about 10 months ago as his bills to the tune of about Rs 15 lakh had not been reportedly passed by the authorities concerned on account of shortage of funds. The PWD (B&R) has reportedly not paid the contractor after March, 2003.

While the structure of the four-storeyed DAC is almost complete, a lot of work like fitting of doors and windowpanes, electricity, public health and painting works is yet to be done. Besides, roads and parking lots in the second phase of the DAC had not been constructed so far.

Mr K.S. Sohal, Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R), Sangrur, said now that his department had received an instalment of Rs 50 lakh from PUDA, work on the project would start soon.


As per Defence Act 75 pc of Pathankot is illegal
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot August 27
The very existence of Pathankot town is under threat due to the enforcement of the Defence Act 1903, by the Army and Air Force authorities. As per Section 3 of the Works of Defence Act 1903 no construction is allowed within the 1 km radius of the ammunition and ordnance depots or the Air Force stations.

Pathankot is surrounded on all sides by ammunition and ordnance depots and the Air Force Station. Nobody cared about the implementation of the Defence Act earlier, and buildings came up leading to the growth of the town over a period of about 50 years right in the middle of these installations.

Most of the government buildings such as the ITI institute, the PWD dump and the PSEB colonies also came up within the 1 km periphery area of the ammunition depots and the Air Force Station.

However, an accidental fire in the Mamoon Ammunition Depot, located near Pathankot changed everything. Though there was no casualty in the fire yet the Army authorities became serious about the alleged illegal construction within the 1 km periphery of the ammunition depot and the 9 Field Ordnance Depot.

The result was that all constructions, comprising about 75 per cent area of the town, were declared illegal. The further sale and purchase of land in the areas has also been declared as illegal. Due to it the prices of the property have crashed in most areas of the town. People who have spent crores on their houses after getting the maps properly approved from the local Municipal Council and depositing the development charges are in a fire.

Some Army officers who have spent the entire savings of their lives on the construction of houses in the area have also become victims of this move. One such officer said most civilians were unaware of the parameters of the Defence Act 1903.

If the Army feels that no construction should be allowed as per the parameters of the Defence Act 1903, then it should acquire the land and compensate the owners adequately.

The ban on construction near 9 Field Ordnance Depot was more unjustified as this depot contains just ordnance supply and no ammunition.

If the Army was so concerned about the welfare of the people then why was it allowing construction of official accommodation for armymen and their families in the area, said an aggrieved resident.


Militant’s mother alerted police on his escape plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Babbar Khalsa International member Gursewak Singh would still have been in custody had senior police officers paid heed to a letter written by the alleged terrorist's mother.

In a registered letter marked "sensitive and confidential", Ms Gurdial Kaur had reportedly alerted the cops about her son's scheme to escape from police custody after he shared the plan with her. But the cops reportedly treated the letter as routine. Now they say it is too late for them to do anything.

The mother had reportedly given details of her meeting with Gursewak Singh in Nabha Jail, where he was lodged before his escape. Gurdial Kaur had claimed that her son had told her everything about his plan during the meeting.

The cops were of the opinion that a family feud had lead her to disclose her son's plan. They said that apparently all was not well in the family.

As such, the police is reportedly looking into the role of certain relatives.

Gursewak Singh was taken to Sabzi Mandi police station in New Delhi on Monday evening after being produced before a court in connection with a case registered at Punjabi Bagh police station in 1998. The police personnel accompanying him took him to a hospital around 9 pm after he complained of chest pain. On their way back, the accused escaped on the pretext of answering the call of nature. Even though the incident occurred on Monday, the Delhi police was not informed of the escape till Tuesday afternoon.


Three students hurt in clash with bus operators
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 27
As many as three students were seriously injured and two private buses were damaged following a clash between students and bus operators on link road in the city today.

According to reports a number of students, including girls, sustained injuries when they were allegedly attacked by bus operators with lathis when they tried to block traffic on the link road. The students were protesting against the unbecoming behaviour of the bus operators.

While the three seriously injured students, identified as Pardeep, Parkash Singh and Gurkirat Singh, were admitted to the local Civil Hospital, the bus operators went on a strike immediately bringing bus service in the town to a complete halt.

The bus operators, who also held a rally, alleged that they were not against any student and added that they were checking only those persons, who had been travelling in private buses posing as students whereas in fact, they were working in different organisations.

Information revealed that students of the local Nehru Memorial College and other institutions had been protesting for the past four days for being forcibly charged by private bus operators.

The clash took place when the students were allegedly assaulted with lathis by a section of bus operators while they were holding a peaceful demonstration in the city. The students pelted stones on the bus operators and after some seconds it became a free-for-all despite the fact that a police party was present on the spot. The students damaged two private buses. A curfew-like situation prevailed in the city after the clash as people ran for shelter. The bus operators also blocked traffic.

Some students were allegedly roughed up by a section of private bus operators near Moosa crossing yesterday and one student identified as Gurtej Singh had suffered injuries. The injured student was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sardulgarh. The local police was investigating the incident.

Information revealed that civil and police officials had been holding talks with the leaders of different student organisations and private bus operators to resolve the issue.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, said both the parties had lodged separate complaints and two separate cases would be registered. He added that so far he did not know the exact number of students injured in the clash.

He said about four days ago, some private bus operators had come to him seeking police help to check the authenticity of documents of commuters travelling in the buses owned by them. He said he had agreed to provide them police assistance and today the bus operators started checking the commuters, including students, on their own without taking assistance from or informing the police. This had led to the clash, he said.

He also informed that police patrolling around Nehru Memorial College had been intensified to prevent any untoward incident in future.


Post of Sessions Judge lying vacant for 5 yrs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
“Justice delayed is justice denied”, this adage seems to have stopped holding relevance for judicial authorised in Punjab as litigants and lawyers have been suffering on account of non-appointment of the District and Session Judge for the past six months.

Though the District Bar Association, in a resolution passed about three months ago had urged the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has administrative control over the subordinate judicial system in Punjab, to appoint the District and Sessions Judge neither any District and Sessions judge has been appointed nor his powers bestored on any additional District and Sessions Judges working here.

Official sources said after Mr Lakhbir Singh, who was working as the District and Sessions Judge, attained the age of superannuation on February 29, 2004, no new appointment had been made by the authorities concerned. This matter was discussed by lawyers when a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court inspected the local courts about two months ago. Due to the non-appointment of the District and Sessions Judge, the disposal of about 420 criminal and civil cases had been delayed. This has forced litigants and lawyers to suffer irreparable loss. Not only this, lawyers and litigants had been left with no option other than to making their presence felt in the court of the District and Sessions Judge despite the fact that they knew that no judge has been appointed so far.

Mr Mandeep Singh (name changed), a litigant, said he had been coming to this city regularly from Kot Kapura for attending the hearing of his case in the court of the District and Sessions Judge despite the fact that post had been lying vacant for the past six months. He asked whether the authorities concerned would dispense justice to the people in this manner?

Besides Mr Mandeep Singh a number of litigants involved in criminal trials, have been waiting for the day when their cases will be disposed off. Apart from it, a number of litigants have been waiting for the day when they will be awarded decree of divorce by the court of District and Sessions Judge on the compromise petition filed by spouses and they will be able to get themselves remarried.

Fed up with this situation, Mr Nand Lal Garg, a senior advocate, in a letter written to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, pointed out that such a situation would erode the people’s faith in judicial system. He pointed out that earlier, the authorities concerned had delayed the appointment of the Additional Sessions Judge in place of Mr Surjeet Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, who retired from here.

About 104 cases pertaining to the Motor Accident Cases Tribunal (MACT) were pending in the court of the District and Sessions Judge. Apart from it, the litigants, who had got the enhanced compensation in lieu of their land acquired by different agencies of state and Central Governments and payment in that connection had been deposited in the court by the concerned agency, had been finding it difficult to withdraw the same without the order of District and Sessions Judge. They pointed out that they were doubly cursed as on one hand they were not able to withdraw payment without the judge’s order and on the other, they were not entitled to get any interest on their respective amounts for the period for which the delay had been caused in the payment of same.

Mr Hardev Singh Grewal, President, District Bar Association, Bathinda, said it was unfortunate that no District and Sessions Judge had been appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court despite the fact that Bar had passed a resolution in this regard. 


BSF ignored SP’s report against officer
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 27
The arrest of a BSF Deputy Commandant Harpreet Singh posted at Gurdaspur and his driver while smuggling 23 kg heroin has revealed some starling facts about the smuggling nexus in the area.

The Deputy Commandant was arrested by the Pathankot police while he was trying to smuggle 42 cases of liquor from Himachal to Punjab.

According to sources the SP, Pathankot, in his inquiry report submitted in the case had clearly stated that the BSF official was involved in smuggling.

According to the police inquiry he used to purchase cheap liquor from Himachal and used to sell it in Amritsar for profit. The case against the Deputy Commandant was initially taken up in the local judicial court. Later, it was shifted to BSF court.

A DIG was appointed by the BSF to inquire into the case. However, despite the case and inquiry pending against him no action was taken by the BSF authorities. He allegedly blatantly carried out his smuggling operations till his driver was caught at Delhi with one of the biggest consignments of heroin. The driver later revealed his name before the investigating authorities.

Sources in the BSF told that the Deputy Commandant was posted in the intelligence wing of the force. He initially carried out minor smuggling operations in the name of tapping sources across the border. However, later he switched to smuggling of drugs.

The police authorities here told that had the BSF authorities curbed his activities in the beginning then the things would not have gone that far.

The Pathankot SP, Mr Manminder Singh, admitted that he had submitted a report against the BSF official. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the report.


Kar Seva at Devi Talaab Temple from September 1
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 27
Lakhs of devotees from across the country are expected to take part in kar seva at the local historic Devi Talaab Temple.

The kar seva of the famous temple, which is scheduled to begin from September 1, is being done after a gap of about 30 years. Apart from lakhs of devotees, a large number of saints and members of the Sant Samaj were also likely to take part in the massive exercise, which, is expected to last for about 10 days and during which silt would be removed from the holy sarovar by devotees and saints.

As a large number of devotees and saints from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Maharashtra and other parts of the country are expected to come to the shrine for kar seva, the Devi Talaab Temple Management Committee has made elaborate arrangements for langars and stay of devotees. Arrangements have been made for stay of over 5,000 devotees within the temple complex, while, 25,000-30,000 devotees would stay in homes of the local devotees. “A large number of local residents and devotees have offered to adjust outstation devotees in their homes. We expect that number of such people would be around 25,000 to 30,000. Rest of the people would stay in more than 50 temples in the city, including the Durga Shakti Temple, Gulab Devi Road, Geeta Mandir Prakash Nagar, and the Baba Balak Nath Temple” said Mr Shital Vij, Chairman of the Devi Talaab Management Committee. He said a shoba yatra, comprising thousands of devotees and led by Mata Usha Devi would reach the temple on September 2, while jathas of saints would start arriving from September 1 onwards.

For the kar seva, the holy pond of the temple would be divided in four parts and kar seva at each part would be inaugurated by a prominent saint or religious figure.


22 councillors move no-trust motion against MC chief
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 27
The recent theft at the Municipal Council President, Mr Joginder Pal Jain’s, house seems to be taking a heavy toll on his political career as 22 councillors have handed over a letter highlighting their intention to bring no-confidence motion against Mr Jain, to the executive officer.

There are 31 members in the House and if the number of councillors, who had signed this letter, is anything to go by then Mr Jain may find himself in a soup. There are reports that these municipal councillors have gone “underground” and have also met Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjeet Singh in this regard. On the other hand, Mr Jain is also said to be camping in the state Capital so as to prevent the rebel councillors from upsetting his applecart. He would be in more trouble if these councillors didn’t attend the monthly meeting on August 30 as it would raise doubts over his support in the council.

Mr Naseeb Bawa, who is leading the group of councillors, said the Congress image had suffered in the wake of the theft at Mr Jain’s house and the sensational revelations made through an audiotape. Mr Bawa had demanded for an early council meeting. He claimed that four Akali Dal councillors were supporting them and added that they had also met the state Congress President, Mr H.S. Hanspal in this regard. Speculations are rife that not only dissidents, but also local Congress leaders want to unseat Mr Jain from the council.

Considered to be an astute politician Mr Jain won the council elections as an Independent candidate one and a half years ago. Not only this 17 other candidates of his group made Congress and Akali Dal candidates bite the dust in the council elections. After sweeping the council polls Mr Jain and his associates joined the Congress, which had nine councillors. Later one he became the Municipal Council chief. Though his entry into the Congress irked senior party leaders of the area, but he maintained his supremacy in the council with the blessings of the state Congress leaders.

When contacted, the executive officer, Mr Tejinder Singh, confirmed that he had received a letter signed by 22 councillors.


Protest against move to privatise PSEB
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
Hundreds of members of the Technical Service Union (TSU) of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today took out a march with torches in the city to lodge their protest against the move of the state government to privatise the PSEB. Before taking out the march, the activists staged a dharna for about three hours in front of the lakes to put pressure on the state government to stall its move.

Mr Krora Singh, co-convener, TSU, in a press note issued here, said that the Punjab Government or the authorities concerned had been trying to implement the Electricity Act, 2003, instead of scrapping the same, which was anti-employee. Apart from it, the PSEB had abolished the 34 posts of watchmen and had not merged the 50 per cent DA in the basic salaries.

He alleged that authorities concerned had been trying to privatise the PSEB under the pressure from World Bank and IMF and other multinational companies. He said if the PSEB management did not withdraw its anti-employee and anti-people move, the union would intensify its agitation.


Beant’s family to take part in all anniversary functions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, yesterday claimed that family members of the late Mr Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, would participate in all functions planned to observe his death anniversary on August 31.

He said that all senior Congress leaders, MLAs and others would first pay tributes to Mr Beant Singh at his samadhi in Chandigarh and later move to Payal village in Ludhiana district where a public rally would be held.

Mr Hanspal said that he met Mr Tej Parkash Singh, son of Mr Beant Singh, and other family members at Payal. Mr Tej Parkash Singh had assured that all family members would be attending both the functions.

Mr Hanspal said that Mr Beant Singh was the tallest Congress leader, who made the supreme sacrifice for the party.


Bhattal to be chief guest at Beant Singh function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, will be the chief guest at the functions to be organised to observe the death anniversary of the late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab, on August 31. Mr Lal Singh, Rural Development Minister, will preside over the functions.

The functions will be held at Beant Singh’s samadhi in Chandigarh and at Kotli village, near Payal, the native village of the late Beant Singh.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, will not be able to participate in the functions as he will be busy in connection with the visit of the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, to Amritsar on that day.


Baba Farid awards announced
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 27
The Gurdwara Godri Baba Farid Society has announced the winners of Baba Farid awards for 2004. IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh and playwright Gursharan Singh have bagged these awards. The chairman of the society, Mr Inderjeet Singh Khalsa, said that they had received 41 nominations and choosing two out of them was a tough job. The award carries Rs 51,000, a certificate and a shawl.

Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh would receive this award for his honesty and Gursharan Singh for his service to humanity at a function on September 23.


High Court
Acquittal of Karan Dalal upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today upheld the November 18, 2003, order of the Faridabad District and Sessions Judge to acquit Independent MLA Karan Singh Dalal and his relatives in a case relating to alleged murder of a relative, Ms Sumitra Chaudhary.

Today, A Division Bench of Mr Justice V. M. Jain and Mr Justice Virender Singh dismissed the writ filed by the Haryana Government challenging the acquittal.

Mr Dalal and some of his relatives were accused of murdering Ms Chaudhary, a relative of Mr Dalal, for her property.

Notice on student's claim

The High Court on Friday issued notice for August 31 on a petition filed by a student seeking fresh counselling for medical seats in Punjab.

In his petition, Manu Sharma of Chandigarh has challenged the government for ignoring his claim for a seat in a medical college while calling for counselling students who had lower merit than him in the PMET 2004 conducted by Baba Farid University.

The petitioner has said that he secured the 251st rank in the test and is on serial No. 18 in the bracket. However, while he was not called for counselling, a girl, who was lower in merit, was called. He has also claimed that some students who had compartment in 10+2 have been selected.

Firemen's petition accepted

A Division Bench of Mr Justice S. S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh has directed the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, to send three firemen for the Sub-Fire Officers Course on the next available vacancy.

In their petition, Mr Anil Luthra and two other firemen had sought directions to the authorities to send them to National Fire Service College, Nagpur, for the course as their claim and seniority had earlier been neglected on frivolous grounds.

In the order, the Bench noted that the contention of the corporation that the petitioners had not been deputed for the course as they had not applied for it was incorrect. It also said that the action of the corporation to ignore the claim of the petitioners was discriminatory.

Defeated candidate's plea rejected

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court has dismissed an application filed by Ms Sheelam Sohi, defeated Congress candidate from the Banur assembly constituency, seeking the inclusion of a fresh ground in her ongoing election petition.

Ms Sohi has challenged the election of former Punjab Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh from the constituency on the plea that he indulged in corrupt practices.

In her latest application, the Congress leader had stated that 1,260 votes of persons who were not ordinarily residents of the constituency had been prepared before the election to help Capt Kanwaljit. This, she said, had amounted to corrupt electoral practices.

However, counsel for Capt Kanwaljit contended that the allegation did not amount to corrupt practice and this was no ground for setting aside the election of his client.


No bidder turns up for foodgrains residue auction
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 27
The auction of foodgrains residue (kuttal) particularly of wheat and paddy could not be conducted today for the eighth consecutive time due to alleged political interference the parties interested in the auction had to return disappointed.

According to available details the auction of canteen, parking space and kuttal for the current financial year was originally scheduled to be conducted on February 27. Surprisingly no one turned up for bid on this date hence it was postponed to April 6. As the administrator of the Market Committee, who is also a member of the auction committee was not available, therefore the auction was rescheduled for April 12.

Again it was fixed for 15th and 19th April. In view of the then Lok Sabha and the SGPC elections the proposed auction of April 19 was deferred. It was rescheduled for August 18. This time again the auction cold not be conducted due to the non-availability of the SDM-cum-administrator of the committee. It was deferred to August 27 but again cancelled today due to his non-availability.

Now the auction would be conducted on September 8.

Ironically, the contract of lifting foodgrains residue was to commence from April 1 this year eventhough the wheat season ended long time ago.

Surprisingly the entire stock of foodgrains residue is missing from the grain market.

This has resulted in the loss of lakhs of rupees to the Punjab Mandi Board.

It may be recalled that the auction and contract of the foodgrains residue have been in the eye of storm for past few years as persons allegedly being patronised by politicians of the ruling party have made good fortune out of it. Mohinder Partap Dhingra, former president, Municipal Council Fazilka, and General Secretary, district unit of the BJP has in memorandums submitted to the Chief Minister, the Chairman and the Secretary, Punjab Mandi Board, alleged political interference and demanded a probe into the alleged misappropriation and repeated postponement of the auction.


Mavi gets extension

Chandigarh, August 27
The Punjab Government has granted extension in service to Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Mr Mavi, who was to retire on August 31, has been granted extension up to March 31 next year, according to an official press note. In fact, Mr Mavi was to retire on February 29 this year on attaining the age of superannuation but he was given extension earlier up to August 31. — TNS


Sant held for vehicle thefts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 27
In a bizarre incident, a sant was arrested by the Kot Fathe police for his alleged involvement in vehicle thefts from various places in the state.

Police sources said the sant, Satnam Singh, alias Bhola, a resident Burj Mansa village of the district, was arrested yesterday and two scooters and a car were recovered from his possession.

During investigation, it was found that a criminal case was registered against the sant in Kot Fathe police station about four years ago for his alleged involvement in the theft of a motor cycle.

The sources said the car, which was recovered from the accused, was stolen from Dhuri town of Sangrur district about four months ago.

A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.


3 booked for submitting fake documents
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 27
Sub Divisional Magistrate Raj Kumar Garg has ordered the registration of a criminal case against three persons — a fake lambardar, surety, and an under trial — for producing fake documents for the release of a liquor smuggler. The trio has been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, said Mr Manminder Singh, SP, Pathankot, today.

According to police sources, Raj, alias Angoor, of Kishen Purana Bazar, Satia district, Bihar, was arrested here with contraband liquor on April 19. A case under Sections 61,1,14 of the Excise Act was registered against him.

Later, Mr R.K. Garg, Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, remanded him in judicial custody. Ajit Singh of Hari Pura village, under the Phillaur police station, had moved court for seeking bail for Raj. Pal Singh also appeared with him as witness, impersonating as lambardar of the same village.

On verification, it was found that neither the list of property furnished by the surety was genuine nor there was any lambardar as stated in the court.


2 booked in man missing case
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 27
Two persons, including a woman, have been booked in a case in which a villager has been missing for the past four months. The missing man, Sohan Singh, was a resident of Bhinderkalan village.

The complainant, Nawab Singh, who is Sohan’s brother, has expressed suspicion that he might have been killed. According to him, Sohan went missing about four months back. There are reports that Sohan may have been killed over an illicit relationship involving his wife.

On the basis of Nawab’s statement, the police has registered a case against the missing man’s wife, Harbans Kaur, and nephew, Bhola Singh. Both of them have absconded. The police is investigating the matter.


Couple booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 27
A couple has been booked for duping a person of Rs 2 lakh under the pretext of sending him abroad. The couple, Jaswinder Singh and Paramjeet Kaur, belongs to Rauwala village in Ludhiana.

Sources said complainant, Gurtej Singh, who is a granthi and resident of Sadasinghwala village, wanted to immigrate to Canada. He came in contact with Jaswinder Singh and his wife who promised him that they could get him settled in Canada. They also assured him of a permanent job there. Lured by their promise, he handed them over Rs 2 lakh, besides his passport and other documents. However, the accused neither sent him abroad nor returned his money.

Gurtej Singh complained to the SSP who marked an inquiry to the anti-fraud cell, which found his allegation true. The police has registered a case against the couple under Sections 406, 420, 506 and 120B of the IPC.


Teacher killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 27
School teacher Kulwant Singh was killed when the scooter he was riding got trapped in a collision between a bus and a truck. In the accident 15 others, including the truck driver, were injured. Three of them were in a serious condition.

Sources said at the Gurdaspur bypass the bus driver could not notice the truck coming from other side. The truck collided with the bus and overturned, resulting in injuries to 14 passengers of the bus. While the driver of the bus fled, the truck driver received serious injuries.

The injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital, Gurdaspur.


Teachers not paid since April

Batala, August 27
Resentment prevails among the teaching and non-teaching staff of the government aided privately managed schools of Gurdaspur district due to non-receipt of their salaries since April.

Mr Amar Singh Goraya, president, Government Aided Privately Managed School Teachers Union, and Mr Darshan Singh, Secretary of Batala block, said here yesterday that in Gurdaspur district there were about 50 such schools functioning with more than 1000 teaching and non-teaching employees working there .

They urged the government to lift the ban on recruitment and issue the grant-in-aid pending since April. — OC


GND varsity results
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 27
Baljit Kaur and Sheila Sarren of Khalsa College stood first in the MA II (political science) and M.Sc II (zoology) examinations by securing 69 per cent and 80 per cent marks, respectively, according to a press release issued here today.

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