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Former sarpanch’s brutal murder shocks village
Political rivalry behind crime
Tribune News Service

Victim Gurcharan Singh Ludhiana, August 28
Rivalry between two political groups of Gill village took a violent turn today when the husband of the village sarpanch was brutally murdered in the early hours today. He was attacked with sharp-edged weapons and two shot were also fired at him.

Around 5.30 am, Gurcharan Singh (55), a former sarpanch and husband of present sarpanch Baljinder Kaur, was overpowered by a group of assailants on the main road near Shivala Mandir while he was going to his dairy on a scooter. The assailants had come in a Qualis and two scooters.

The assailants fired two shots at him that hit him in the waist and the hip, besides causing injuries with sharp-edged weapons. He died on the spot. His face and eyes were badly damaged. The assailants fled from the spot.

DSP Satvir Singh, who was taking stock of the crime scene, said eyewitnesses told him that the assailants hit him repeatedly with sharp-edged weapons and then fired two shots. He said they wanted to make sure that he was killed on the spot.

The police has registered a case against former sarpanch Charanjit Singh Channi and his aides, including Sat Dev Singh, Amrik Singh, Pal Singh and an unidentified person, under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC.

Villagers said the rivalry had been continuing for the past many years. The victim had his allegiance to the Congress and was president of the District Congress Committee (Rural). Charanjit Singh Channi was a prominent Akali leader of the village.

They added the victim had even filed a writ against Channi in a court alleging that the latter was involved in a scam involving panchayat money of around Rs 1.5 crore and had been threatening the former to withdraw the case.

Both were having a property dispute over a piece of 11 sq yrd of land and Channi had accused district police officials of helping Gurcharan Singh. On August 23, Channi had alleged that an SP slapped him when he went to the SSP, Ludhiana, for lodging complaint in the dispute.

Channi remained admitted to the local CMC Hospital for some days after he claimed of having suffered a cardiac problem following the slapping incident. The SP had, however, denied the charges.

Some villagers said the latest provocation for the accused came on August 23 when he was slapped by a police official in Gurcharan Singh’s presence. They alleged the accused was not able to stomach the insult and was willing to take a revenge.

The crime scene presented a ghastly site with blood splattered all around. The victim’s face and eyes were so badly damaged that he could not be identified from his face. An uncomfortable silence was witnessed in the village as residents feared that the bloodshed would start a chapter of cold-blooded murders in the village.

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BKU to hold kisan panchayat in Delhi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
The Bharti Kisan Union will hold a massive kisan panchayat in New Delhi on September 6 to press its demands after the fixing minimum support prices for crops and compensation for the drought-hit farmers of the state.

The decision was taken by the union at an executive committee meeting held here today. It was attended by various representatives of district units of the union. A number of resolutions were passed on the occasion.

The union will hold a conference and a dharna in Delhi on September 6 to press for its demands including the revision of kharif crop prices in proportion to the general price index, writing off of all past loans of farmers and charging of 4 per cent per annum interest on all future loans to the farming sector. The first resolution stated that those farmers whose crops had been destroyed in the recent flash floods should be given a compensation of Rs 14,000 per acre and those farmers who had to spend heavily on diesel to save their crops during the spell of drought witnessed by the state should be given a compensation of Rs 4000 per acre.

Mr Manjit Singh Qadian, general secretary of the union, told mediapersons that in its second resolution, the union urged the state government to immediately release the outstanding amount of last year’s bonus of Rs 20 a quintal on paddy. The union warned that if all outstanding dues, including those related to the purchase of sugarcane by sugar mills, of farmers were not paid by the state government before September 30, the union would launch a struggle.

Through a third resolution, the union warned the state government against any unilateral hike in electricity tariff by the Regulatory Commission of the Punjab State Electricity Board. It said the electricity board must insert advertisements in newspapers so that the viewpoint of consumers could be taken into consideration before revision of the power tariff.

The union leaders said this year also, farmers in the cotton-belt of Panjab were facing damage to the cotton crop due to the sale of sub-standard pesticides by unscrupulous traders. Earlier, it was the American bollworm that was devouring the cotton crop, now it is the “bhabhu kutta’ that was not being contained by these pesticides.

The union demanded that the government must take stern action against those who were selling the spurious and sub-standard pesticides, resulting in high losses to farmers and the country at large. The union demanded a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre for those farmers whose cotton crops had been devastated due to the use of spurious pesticides.

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Confrontation brewing between Cong, BJP
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
With Ms Uma Bharti trying to exploit the issue of unfurling of the Tricolour at Hubli and being booked, the local BJP leadership is up in arms against the Congress leaders, including the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, the AICC secretary, Mr Munish Tewari, and several others.

These leaders had attended a function organised by the Terrorist Victims’ Association led by a former District Congress Committee (DCC) chief, Mr K.K. Bawa. During the function, a Tricolour was shown in the background marked with the ‘Freedom Fighters Successors Association’.

This, the BJP leaders maintained, was “dishonour” to the National Flag as nothing could be written on it.

They have been demanding action against the Congress leaders as none of them had objected to it during the function.

However, the organiser of the function, Mr Bawa, claimed they had not hoisted the Tricolour at the function so there was no question of marking anything on it. He said the Congress workers and leaders realised their responsibility well and they did not need to take any lessons from the BJP leaders.

He said the Tricolour had not been hoisted by his association, but had probably been put there by some activist.

However, he owned the responsibility as the function was organised by the association led by him.

“We had staked our lives to safeguard the honour of the same Tricolour, which we are accused of having dishonoured,” Mr Bawa asserted, while regretting that the BJP was politicising the issue.

The BJP leaders have demanded registration of a criminal case against all Congress leaders present on the occasion.

Some of the leaders, whose name figured in the BJP’s complaint to the SSP, maintained that they could be booked for any violation.

They said they had no role in organising the stage or raising the banners or flags during the function. They observed that the BJP was trying to politicise the issue for its petty interests.

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BJP flays MC for poor amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticised the working of the Municipal Corporation and the poor civic amenities being made available to residents in most city localities.

According to the group leader of BJP councillors, Mr Parveen Bansal, insanitary conditions in the city, particularly in outer areas, and supply of contaminated water had led to the break out of gastroenteritis and other water borne diseases in several localities.

As a result, a number of colonies were in the grip of diseases.

He said special projects, including elevated road, the Dhandari flyover and motorable railway overbridge in place of Lakkar Pul, started during the regime of the BJP-SAD combine, were making tardy progress and the delay caused in their completion would mean additional expenditure in crores.

The BJP leader maintained that complaints of non-functional streetlights were common and projects for laying and maintaining sewerage had not been completed.

Mr Bansal, focusing on the problems being faced by residents in Ward No 16 represented by BJP councillor Sunita Aggarwal, alleged that the main sewer near Dhandari Khurd was completely blocked because several big industrial units, including some dyeing factories were disposing of their effluent into the sewer line. The clogged sewers and back flow of sewage into the houses of area residents had become routine.

Alleging that city wards represented by the BJP and other Opposition councillors were being discriminated against in allotment of funds and execution of development works, he said the residential areas in Focal Point (Phase V and VI) were being ignored.

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3.21 lakh children to be issued birth certificates by Sept 15
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
Work under the nationwide campaign for issuing birth certificates to students and other children below 15 years is in full swing here. With more than 200 employees of Municipal Corporation and other government departments deployed on the job, an estimated 3.21 lakh children, within the city limits, will be issued birth certificates during the next fortnight.

Giving this information, the Local Registrar for Births and Deaths in the Municipal Corporation, Mr Sudarshan Sharma, said today that the employees entrusted with the task of filling up the requisition forms had set up camp officers at the MC Headquarters at Mata Rani Chowk, sub-zonal office in Model Town, B-Zone office near Shingar Cinema and C-Zone office at Gill Road had so far collected more than 2 lakh forms. The preparation of birth certificates would commence in the next couple of days and the certificates delivered to applicants through their respective schools by the middle of September 2004.

He said under the ongoing campaign, those children would be eligible to apply for issue of birth certificates whose births were registered but certificate were not issued to them. Even those not studying in schools could apply for getting the birth certificates but processing of their applications and issue of certificates would be taken up only after these were issued to the school children.

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Plea to ‘save’ Kanshi from Maya
Our Correspondent

Khanna, August 28
The Punjab unit of the Indian Justice Party has urged the Dalits of the state to join the struggle to “save” BSP founder and President Kanshi Ram from the “clutches” of BSP supreme Mayawati.

In a press conference organised at Local King Hotel at Guru Amardass Market here today.Mr V.P. Singh, convener Punjab unit of the Indian Justice Party, alleged that Mayawati had no interest in the progress of the Dalits .

She had nothing done for the poor section of society. Mr V.P. Singh said if Dalit Samaj wanted to adopt the ideology of Baba Ambedkar Kanshi Ram should join hands with the Indian Justice Party struggle to save Kanshi Ram from the clutches of Mayawati.

He claimed that if the Dalit Samaj joined this struggle they will be able to get free Kanshi Ram.

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Plantation drive by PNB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
Punjab National Bank, Boparai Kalan branch yesterday organised a tree plantation camp at Jatindera Greenfield School, Gurusar Sudhar. The bank and the school management held a function in which Mr. D. Subramanian , Chief Manager, Regional Office, Ludhiana was the chief guest. The function was presided over by Mr. Rajwinder Singh Hissowal and was attended by Dr.H.S. Sur, Dr. H.S. Dhalliwal ( President School Management Committee) and other members of School Management Committee . At least 150 saplings were planted on this occasion.

Mr D. Subramanian stressed the need to nurture trees after plantation with devotion and informed about the bank’s concern towards healthy society and healthy environment.

Mr. G.S. Sohal, Manager of the branch described importance of trees and impressed upon the gathering to plant trees for future generations. He said the camp had been organised by bank to create awareness among masses about trees and environment. 

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Exchange of books can bring India, Pak closer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
Mohammad Aslam Rao, secretary, National Book Foundation, Islamabad during his visit to Punjab Agricultural University yesterday observed that the exchange of books between the two countries can bring them closer to each other. Mr Rao disclosed that Pakistani readers were fond of reading Punjabi books. He said a book written collectively by Pakistani scientists and PAU scientists will be published by the National Book Foundation.

Mr Aslam Rao said Pakistani books should be translated into Punjabi by Indian writers and vice versa. Giving information about PAU since its inception, Dr Gurbhajan Gill told Mr Aslam Rao that PAU played an important role not only in the field of agriculture but in the field of cultural development also. 

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Poppy husk seized

Khanna, August 28
The police today seized 27 kg of poppy husk and arrested one person. According to information SI Dilbagh Singh laid a naka near Malerkotla and seized from the possession of Hakam Singh the contraband. OC

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‘Rigid laws hampering investment flow’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
The relatively inflexible and rigid labour laws are hampering the flow of investment into the country. This was stated by Mr D.L. Sharma, convener, labour reforms panel of the CII, Punjab State Council, while making concluding remarks at a workshop on “Major changes in the application of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 here today.

He maintained that the key to economic reforms and competitiveness of a nation lay in the efficient use of manpower, which in turn, was influenced by labour laws. Various countries, including Britain, New Zealand and the United States, had liberalised their labour legislation, but India remained hesitant on amending laws that were detrimental to economic growth.

The main objective of the workshop was to give an insight into various provisions under the Contract Labour (Regulation and abolition) Act, 1970.

Mr M.R. Gera, Director, Management Development Centre, New Delhi, and Mr Michael Dias, Secretary, The Employers’ Association, New Delhi, were among the expert faculty at the workshop.

The major aspects covered at the workshop were issues, problems and concerns; overview of the Act and its applicability and coverage; abolition, and absorption of contract labour, new rights and obligations of employers, options available to employers, regulatory provisions and compliance, safeguards with reference to agreements between the principal employer and contractor, implications in the contract laws on wages, ESI, workmen’s compensation, bonus, provident fund, gratuity, factories and industrial disputes.

The workshop was attended by 25 select participants from industry based at Ludhiana and adjoining areas.

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