P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Charges fly at SAD meeting over siropa issue
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 8
The siropa issue, which hit the headlines on the eve of the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation, took a fresh turn when it was hotly discussed in a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, presided over by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, yesterday .

The SAD and the SGPC had received flak from the Sikh sangat for ignoring Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, on August 31 while siropas were presented to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and other dignitaries outside the SGPC’s information office.

However, on the subsequent day, Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi of the Golden Temple, complicated the matter by presenting siropas to the Chief Minister and some of the ministers considered “patit” as they either dye or cut their hair. The Deputy Commissioner and the Media Adviser to the Chief Minister were also presented siropas by the high priest.

There was commotion at yesterday’s meeting when Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a former Akali minister and close confidant of the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, raised this point. He pointed out that there was resentment in the sangat as to why “patit ministers” were honoured in the sanctum sanctorum by the head priest, who had been appointed by certain Akali/SGPC leaders present at the meeting.

Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura reportedly reacted sharply and said such faux pass were also common during the presidentship of Tohra. At this, Mr Grewal alleged that the “omissions and commissions” during the past 27 months surpassed those committed over the 27 years when Tohra was President of the SGPC.

However, Mr Badal clarified that like him (Mr Badal), Capt Amarinder Singh was also considered a host at the celebrations. Since he himself did not get a siropa, there was no question of giving it to other hosts either.

When Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta was the SGPC secretary he had also faced the wrath of the SAD for presenting a siropa to the Chief Minister.

It is yet to be confirmed whether Giani Puran Singh honoured the Chief Minister and others at the behest of the SAD-SGPC leadership or it was his own decision.


Molestation charge to be raised in SGPC House
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 8
The first SGPC House, likely to be convened this month to elect the office-bearers, could witness commotion with the Opposition members contemplating to raise the issue of Mr Baldev Singh, an SGPC member belonging to the SAD, following his booking in connection with a molestation charge.

The Chhehrta police has registered an FIR against the SGPC member on the complaint of the wife of a blind assistant raagi. The woman has alleged that he barged into her house when her husband was away. She has sent copies of the complaint to SAD President Parkash Badal and the Akal Takht Jathedar.

Leaders of rival Akali factions say that when "personal loyalty" in allocating the ticket for the SGPC elections, rather than selfless service to the community, is the criteria, such incidents are only to be expected.

Before the SGPC elections, Mr Badal had stated that those who had remained loyal to the SAD in the past would be given priority for the party ticket.

Earlier, Sadhu Singh Raagi, an SGPC member of the Badal faction, was arrested with poppy husk and opium. A criminal case is still pending against former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur. The serious allegations and cases against certain Sikh high priests in the past also brought a bad name to the community. Mr Kewal Singh Badal, then junior vice-president of the SGPC, was accused of attending functions organised by controversial godman Ashutosh Maharaj.


Pak not abetting terrorism, says Pervez’s adviser
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 8
Mr Muhammad Anwar Bhinder, Legal Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, said the regular dialogue process between India and Pakistan on all disputed issues could ensure peace and development in the region and denied that Pakistan government was abetting terrorism in India.

Mr Bhinder, who is also the Chairman of the Functional Committee of the Senate on Government Assurances of Pakistan, was speaking to mediapersons here today on his way to the dargah of Mohmmad Diwan Shah, located in Hardothla village near Dasuya in the district.

He strongly supported the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of both the countries and said such meetings should be continued till the goals were achieved.

He further said any dispute could be solved through dialogue which should be continued till the final solution. No one should thrust its opinion on each other. The people of Pakistan and India were very much keen on the permanent settlement of all disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

Mr Bhinder strongly refuted the assertion that Pakistan Government was encouraging or supporting terrorism to destabilize India. He said that it had never sent any terrorist to India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, nor it ever encouraged any terrorist outfit. However, some of the jehadi elements of Pakistan could be involved in such activities, he added.

He emphasised that the fundamentalists were existing in every country and added that while deliberating on the Kashmir issue, leaders of the Hurriyat Conference should also be invited to the negotiations.

He hoped that if the ongoing process between both countries continued peacefully, the permanent settlement of disputes between India and Pakistan was possible in next six months. This would create goodwill among people and promote trade which would bring prosperity to both countries.

Mr Bhinder, who came to India along with the Pakistani parliamentary delegation on 28 August to exchange the views for strengthening the parliamentary system in Pakistan, said there was a continuity in the democratic process in India.

He added that Pakistan had witnessed Presidential form of government in the past, but now there was a Parliamentary system in place. The other democratic processes in both countries were same, he stressed.

Mr Bhinder said that an MP in Pakistan could get done development works of Rs 1 crore annually in his constituency from his discretionary fund, but he had to submit a plan for these works to get them approved by the concerned departments and Parliament.

Commenting on the statement by General Pervez Musharraf, in which he had claimed that people of his country liked him in Army uniform, Mr Bhinder said that some Pakistanis may like him in the uniform and other in civil dress. The statement of Mr. Musharraf was not a referendum on Pakistani opinion.


Pak agencies motivating convicts to spread terror
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Pakistani intelligence agencies are apparently motivating convicts in their country to spread a reign of terror in India. Preliminary interrogation of a Pakistani terrorist — arrested recently by the Punjab Police — has allegedly revealed that life-termers and other convicts were being encouraged to cross the border for planning subversive activities in the country.

The officers questioning the accused claim that he was serving a life sentence in a murder case in a Pakistani jail before being “picked up” by the intelligence agencies for its operations in the country. The accused were allegedly working towards the revival of terrorism in Punjab.

He, along with another Pakistani national, was apprehended with three other “militants”. Acting on a tip-off from Indian “intelligence agencies”, the cops had managed to recover a “huge” cache of arms and ammunition from them, including 15 kgs of RDX.

Investigations into the case carried out by the Punjab Police has so far revealed that the Pak nationals had swam their way into the country using underwater masks fitted with oxygen cylinders. They had entered India from Dera Baba Nanak sector about a month back and were planning to go back soon.

Giving details of the investigation, Jalandhar zone Inspector-General of Police S.K. Sharma says that the oxygen cylinder used by the Pak nationals to cross over has been recovered from near a river bed. The exact spot of entry has also been identified.

The recovery is significant because Border Security Force (BSF) officials had all along been insisting that their personnel had made special arrangements for guarding about 150 metre area from where the Ravi flowed into Pakistan. They had also been claiming that the “chances of arms being smuggled from Punjab border were virtually impossible”.

Though IG Sharma refuses to comment on issue, sources in Punjab Police headquarters here maintain that the cylinder’s recovery has substantiated their claim about the men entering the country from Punjab side.

They add that interrogation report will soon be submitted to Punjab’s Director-General of Police A.A. Siddiqui. A copy will also be forwarded to Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) S.S. Virk for necessary action.

The sources say that the officers investigating the case will also be requesting the authorities to take up the matter of national security with the BSF men. “As of now we are not saying that some BSF official is involved in the conspiracy to smuggle arms in the country. But we all wish that the BSF authorities come up with their own internal vigilance to keep tabs on the activities of their men for ensuring against such incidents”.


Centre urged to take up turban ban with France
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), urged the Central Government to take up the ban on turban by the French Government without delay.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Pakhoke said turban was an integral part of every Sikh’s personality. He said the SGPC had submitted a memorandum to the Foreign Minister of France during his visit to New Delhi on February 25. He said the French minister had assured them that the sentiments of the Sikhs would be honoured, but nothing had been done so far.

Mr Pakhoke welcomed the decision of foreign ministers of India and Pakistan for introducing a Amritsar-Lahore bus for pilgrimage to Nanakana Sahib and other Sikh shrines. He urged that the bus should operate daily instead of on special days only. The proposed bus service would go a long way in creating goodwill among the people of both countries, he added.


Maan blames ‘genocide’ for population trend
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Daroli Kalan (Jalandhar), September 8
Mr Simranjit Singh Maan, chief of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that the "Sikh population has declined" and a large number of Sikhs had fled India due to the "genocide" of Sikhs.

The SAD (A) chief was addressing a gathering at a tournament organised here by the Shahid Baba Mati Memorial Society.

Mr Maan said the biggest factor behind the decrease of the "Sikh" population was the "genocide of Sikhs by the Indian state."

Lashing out at the SAD, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he alleged the SAD (Badal) had converted the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib virtually into a Badal family function. He also appealed to the Sikhs abroad to boycott Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, who is currently on a tour to Canada.

Lamenting that degeneration had come into the character of Sikhs under the leadership of Mr Badal," Mr Maan condemned the alleged molestation of the wife of a blind SGPC employee by an SGPC member.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, general secretary of the SAD (A), said sports should be encouraged and the youth, particularly in rural areas, should be encouraged to take part in sports activity. "Both the state and Central governments should pay attention to the promotion of sports in a practical manner and it could eradicate many evils from society," he said.


Why are riots’ accused scot-free, Badal asks Sonia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
SAD president and former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal today dared Congress president, Sonia Gandhi to come out with the truth about the November, 1984, massacre of Sikhs.

Relatives of the victims of the 1984 carnage are still crying for justice, he said. Ms Gandhi should listen to her innerself and explain in detail to the public where the plan of the massacre was hatched and name of all the leaders involved in it. She should also explain the cover-up plan of the Congress.

Mr Badal said that one after the other, as many as nine commissions of enquiry and many independent human right organisations had given their verdict that Mr Sajjan Kumar, Mr Kamal Nath, Mr H.K.L. Bhagat and Mr Jagdish Tytler were responsible for the November carnage. He demanded that cases should be registered against all these leaders and the Congress should expel them from the party.

Mr Badal was reacting to various newspaper reports in which Justice G.T. Nanawati (retd), Chairman, Nanawati Commission had revealed that he has enough evidence to say that Mr Sajjan Kumar, a Congress Member of Parliament, was involved in the 1984 massacre. Mr Badal said that the final report of the commission should come at the earliest and all the persons involved should be prosecuted and given exemplary punishment.

Mr Badal further said that even after a gap of 20 years, 26 affidavits had been filed against Sajjan Kumar, three against Kamal Nath and one against Jagdish Tytler before the various commissions. But it was surprising that no case was registered against any of these leaders by the Congress government of the time. He said that cases were registered against Sajjan Kumar at the time of V. P. Singh government. Similarly, cases were also registered against H.K.L. Bhagat on the orders of the court and it was the Justice Narula committee which recommended registration of the case against Jagdish Tytler.

“It is surprising that the police did not take any concrete action.”

Mr Badal reminded Ms Sonia Gandhi that a leading English newspaper had reported on November 2, 1984, that Mr Kamal Nath led a violent mob of miscreants and attacked Gurdwara Rakab Ganj and massacred two Sikhs in broad-day light. “The Congress is not only responsible for the massacre but is also responsible for shielding the culprits”, Mr Badal added.

Mr Badal lamented that Mr Ranga Nath Misra, who was chairman of the commission to probe the 1984 riots, was later awarded by the Congress with a Rajya Sabha seat for helping the culprits go scot-free. Not only that, he was also appointed as chairman of the human rights group of the Congress. Similarly all three, Sajjan Kumar, H.K.L. Bhagat and Jagdish Tytler, were given party tickets to become Members of Parliament.

Mr Tytler is a minister even now. More than that Mr Nikhil Kumar, who was Commissioner of Police at that time, had also become a Member of Parliament with Congress support. Mr Badal asked Ms Gandhi to come clean on this and tell the people of the country what were her compulsions to shield and reward these persons.


Leakage from thermal plant continues
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Patialna (Ropar), September 8
Contaminated water continued to be released from the Stage-I dyke of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) for the fifth day today, polluting ground water and agricultural land.

Thermal plant authorities have deployed several security personnel on various paths leading to the dumping ground for the past two days to prevent reporters from visiting the spot. However, a Tribune team managed to visit the spot this afternoon and found that while nearly 100 labourers were working on the site, the leakage was continuing.

When contacted, the Chief Engineer (PSEB), Mr R.S. Sohal, said the leakage was minimal today and would be controlled within a day. He also denied that the leakage of ash content in the drain would cause any damage. He said: "We do not want to make temporary repairs, that is why it has taken us time to stop the leakage."

But a visit to Patialna, Miani and Chakterna villages along the Ghanauli drain showed the visible ill effects of the pollution. Villagers complained that because of the high content of fly ash in the drain, animals had fallen ill and were not eating since the past four days. In Patialna, where the drain joins the Sutlej, residents have stopped using the river water for drinking.

Ash is mixed with water at the GGSSTP to carry it to the dumping ground through pipes. This water is stored in three dumping grounds in the GGSSTP complex spread over 975 acres. This percolates down to the ground water, polluting drinking water and agricultural land in villages in the area, including Lodhi Majra, Jhanagir, Ghanauli, Patialna, Chakterna and Miani.

Anup Singh, a resident of Patialna village, said that for the past four days they had not used the Sutlej water for any purpose. But as tubewells could not meet all their needs, they were forced to take their animals to the contaminated water for a wash and also to have them drink it.

Prem Chand, a resident of Miani village, said as a result of the seepage from the ash dumping ground agricultural land had been polluted, leading to a decline in the farm produce.


Farmers’ conclave to take up SYL issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
A conclave is being organised by various farmers' outfits in Chandigarh on September 16 to focus on the likely impact on Punjab's economy in case the Sutlej-Yamuna link (SYL) canal is made functional. The event will be held at Giani Gurnam Singh Musafir Bhavan in Sector 24.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, state president of the Kirti Kisan Union, said others who have expressed their solidarity with them include the BKU (Lakhowal), BKU (Ekta), Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and the Khetibari and Vikas Manch. He said they were of the view that public opinion had to be mobilised across the state even though the matter was before the Supreme Court.

"It is not just the farmers who will be at the receiving end in case the canal is built, but the economy of the state, especially the Malwa belt, would also be ruined. There is need for a sustained campaign at this juncture so that the issue does not lose steam," he added.

He said the water situation in Punjab was grim. "The state has suffered drought-like conditions for two years and, viewed in the backdrop of the changing climate pattern and the steep decline in the groundwater levels, all river waters will have to be harnessed and distributed within the state through a network of canals if the farmers are to be saved," he pointed out.

Citing experts, he said the available canal water had been able to meet only 20 per cent of the total irrigation needs of the state. The rest of the area was totally dependent on ground water, he added.

He said in the case of Punjab all established international conventions and riparian laws had been flouted. Adding insult to injury, the state had been projected as a villain, he added.

Mr Sandhu said the state and its farmers had all along maintained that Punjab had an absolute right to all three rivers, the Sutlej, Beas and the Ravi, and Haryana, Rajasthan or Delhi had no locus standi to claim any share in these waters in terms of List 2nd, Entry 17, of the Constitution of India.

All contrary arrangements made to ensure the flow of water to states other than Punjab were in violation of the Constitution, he said.


World Punjabi Conference in Patiala from Dec 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, today announced that Patiala would be the venue for the World Punjabi Conference from December 1 to 3,
followed by Punjab vs Punjab sports meet from December 5 to 11. His West Punjab counterpart, Mr Parvaiz Elahi, was expected to participate in both events.

Briefing the media after a meeting on the two issues, the Chief Minister said the conference was a sequel to the one he had attended at Lahore, where he had extended an invitation to Mr Elahi to visit Punjab. On the up-coming occasion in December next, the promised World Punjabi Centre would also be established at Punjabi University for which the CM had announced a grant of Rs 2 crore at Lahore itself.

On the sports meet, he said it would basically be Indo-Pakistan Punjab Games to be held at alternatively different venues in Pakistan Punjab and Indian Punjab. For this meet, 14 sports activities have been identified as recognised by the Indian Olympics Association. The Punjab Olympics Association has signed an MoU signed with its

counterpart in Pakistan for such a sports meet. Nearly 350 sportspersons from both Punjabs will participate. Only state domicile sportsmen will be allowed to participate.

The reason for selecting Patiala was the presence of the National Institute of Sports, Punjabi University and the sports infrastructure, he added.

Replying to some other questions, Capt. Amarinder Singh said that he and the state party president, Mr H S Hanspal, had given in writing to the High Command that the Congress must contest both the Assembly seats, Garhshankar and Kapurthala, where by-elections are scheduled on October 13.


PPCC panel seeks explanation of Birdevinder, Birmi
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The Disciplinary Action Committee( DAC) of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee ( PPCC) has asked Mr Birdevinder Singh, a Congress MLA and former Deputy Speaker, and Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, to explain their position with regard to their anti-party statements to the media.

The DAC met here today, under the chairmanship of Mr Nasib Singh Gill, a former minister. Other members of the committee, who attended the meeting, were Mr Basant Singh and Mr Joginder Nath, both are former MLAs.

Mr Gill told The Tribune that both — Mr Birdevinder Singh and Mr Birmi — have been asked to explain personally or through other channels their position regarding ‘statements’ on September 22, in the Punjab Congress Bhavan, here.

After going through the statements, the DAC reached to the conclusion that “ these statements gave an impression that both leaders seems to have deliberately aired their anti-party views to the press and thereby have damaged the party’s image in the eyes of public”.

The president of the Punjab Congress, Mr H.S. Hanspal, had referred the statements of both leaders to the DAC.

The DAC has decided to constitute a committee of legal experts to be advised on the important issue such as violation of party whip and anti-defection.

The DAC could submit the case to the president. Mr Gill said that he would name the members of the committee soon.


Two birs found desecrated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara September 8
Two birs of Guru Granth Sahib were today found desecrated in Gurdwara Dashmeshpuri, Bhanoki road, in Kotrani village, near here.

While pages 391 to 1,410 of one bir were found torn apparently with a blade, two pages of another bir were torn and missing. The desecration was noticed when one page was found lying in a street drain.

The gurdwara is run by Sant Swaran Singh, who is currently abroad. In his absence, Ms Balbir Kaur is looking after the gurdwara.

She alleged that while two pages had been torn by a person who visited the gurdwara a few days ago, the other pages were torn yesterday. The visitor was said to be from Kartarpur. However, she could not give any plausible reason for not reporting the matter earlier.

The birs were in "sukhasan" on the first floor when the sacrilege came to light.

Local MLA and Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann, SGPC member and SAD adviser Jarnail Singh Wahid, local SDM Pritam Singh and DSP Jaspal Singh visited the spot. A case under various Sections of the IPC, including 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion), has been registered.


14 Indian doctors to attend conference on nuclear war
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Hundreds of medical professionals from across the globe, including 14 doctors from India, will participate in the 16th World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) to be held at Beijing in China from September 15-19.

The Congress will debate on the IPPNW’s role in preventing small arms injuries, armed violence in South Asia: from small arms to nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons’ proliferation in South Asia, raising public awareness on nuclear dangers, the continuing toll of landmines, peace through health, dialogues with the concerned authorities, indiscriminate attack on civilian populations etc.

The 14 member delegation of doctors from various states of India selected for the Congress will also include two doctors from Amritsar. They are Dr Santokh Singh, a surgeon and former president of Indian Medical Association, Punjab and Dr Rajbir Singh, an eye surgeon.

Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IPDP) today said in a press statement that the Congress will formulate a concrete action plan for future with an aim to educate the society on dangers of war and violence. It would also endeavour to mobilise the people to stand against violence of all kinds. It would try to influence the concerned authorities to change their nuclear weapon policy and to solve the disputes through dialogues.

The IPDP pointed out that over 20,000 nuclear weapons, still amassed around the globe, posed a serious threat to the life. Moreover, it added, there were armed conflicts based on territorial disputes, ethnic, communal and caste-related issues which were affecting the health of the society. It said the money spent on the arms race, if diverted to the welfare of the mankind, could change the fate of millions of people.

Condemning the attack by the US and its allies on Iraq, it said that ignoring the UN resolution had made the whole world, particularly the development countries, insecure. It said this trend needed to be reversed.

The IDPD added that South Asia was one of the poorest regions in the world and the countries in this region could very well sort out problems of poverty and hunger if they ended hostility and developed good neighbourly relations.


Punjabi khes to get new look, texture
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali: One of the oldest weave products of Punjab, the khes, has come of age. For the first time since the early fifties, the Punjabi khes is going to get a completely new look and texture. In a unique project undertaken by the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT) here for the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Government of India, the traditional khes is to be converted into soft blankets, kitchen wear, trendy garments, dining accessories and furnishing material.

Mr. K. Krishna Murthy, NIIFT faculty member, in charge of the project, told The Tribune that the completed project report along with samples of the new-look khes items were handed over to the KVIC Chairman in Chandigarh, Mr H.C. Upreti, recently.

Mr Krishna Murthy said that the traditional khes is a course piece of weaved khadi cotton yarn used mostly as the poor man's blanket. ‘‘But the scope of the khes beyond this is phenomenal. I have softened the product by making a small change in the technology used to weave the yarn. Secondly, I have added better colours to the yarn. And lastly, I have generated improvised weaving patterns and designs for the khes,’’he said. Using the ‘raising’ technique, a traditional course khadi has been converted into a soft comfortable cotton blanket. ‘‘These blankes of pure cotton can be used in large numbers in hospitals and trains,'' pointed out Mr Upreti.

Mr Upreti said that the khes is spun on wheels by hundreds of khadi industry workers in Punjab villages and the state was the largest manufacturer of khes in India. ‘‘The Punjab Khadi Mandal, that has over 20 centres across Ropar and Chandigarh, has the potential of producing over 50,000 khes pieces annually. But since the local and national demand is just about 15,000 khes pieces in an year, we have banned its production. In fact the mandal has a dead stock of khes pieces worth Rs 8 crore lying unused at Kharar,’’pointed out Mr Upreti.

‘‘In order to use this dead stock, I have suggested that the material be converted into garments using simple silhouettes and cuts. Plain material can be used in combination with the check material for fashionable products for the younger generation. Such casual wear like jackets, coats, long skirts and shorts is easily accepted by college- going students. Other articles like kitchen wear, dining wear, drawing room usage wear and bedroom products can also generate revenue.

‘‘My work included a detailed analysis of the existing problems in khadi dyeing and its weaving. I found that although it was difficult to use staple yarn for hand-spinning but the yarn could be dyed in a lot of pleasant trendy colours. Using the traditional dyeing methods, I have tried several wide range of dark, light, pale and pastel instead of using a single colour. However, in order to get better patterns different weaves like twill, tabby, ribs, pointed twill, broken twill and sateen will have to be used,’’ said Mr Krishna Murthy.


Panel asks govt to deal strictly with excise inspectors
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 8
The State Planning Commission has asked the Punjab Government to strictly deal with those inspectors of the Excise and Taxation Department against whom more than 20 complaints have been received.

This was disclosed by Mr S. S. Johal, Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Commission, while addressing a press conference at DAV College here today. He said on account of corruption prevailing in state, there had been a considerable decline in the industrial sector. It had become very difficult to provide financial help to industrial units on account of deteriorating financial position of the state Government. Due to a large scale evasion of taxes, there had also been considerable fall in government revenue. On account of above reasons State Financial Commission had recommended in its report to give warning to those inspectors against whom 10 complaints had been received and to stop the allowances of those against whom 15 complaints had been received.

Mr Johal said it had also been recommended that industrialists who had paid taxes up to Rs 50 lakh and had crossed 60 years of age, should be given 15 per cent from their contribution as pension.

He also admitted that on account of non-availability of facilities, many industrialists of Punjab were migrating to other states. To stop their migration improvement in power supply and availability of better roads were required. Besides single window system at the District Industries Centre should be introduced, only then industrialists of the country and NRIs would set up their units in Punjab. 


Another controversy rocks HMV Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
The HMV, Jalandhar, a leading women’s college, was yet again bogged down by a controversy when it was found that a college athlete, Amandeep Kaur, who ran the inter-college cross country race on the behalf of the college, was actually employed as a police constable with the Amritsar police.

The controversy has once again raised the issue of the top athletes playing for different colleges in their bid to garner sports glory.

Although, the GND varsity, initially, failed to take any action over the blatant attempt by the HMV college to allow a police constable to participate in the inter-college athletic meet, but when the matter was blown by the media, the university authorities tried to find excuses to wriggle itself out of the controversy.

The HMV continued to ignore the warnings of university authorities and even cleared her name for the inter-university athletic championship in Karnataka.

The inquiry by an IG-rank officer and local SSP found that Amandeep Kaur, being a police constable as was alleged by some students also who produced her employment records, was asked by the college to play for them which sealed her fate and the university authorities, later, ordered that Amandeep would not participate in the event.

This entire incident had given a bad image both to the university as well as to the college while the final verdict on this sordid issue was yet to be come.

Earlier, in April this year, the college was fined a sum of Rs one lakh by the GND varsity when the seal of envelopes containing question papers was found to be tampered with.


Chaos in MC over corruption issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 8
Chaos prevailed in the municipal corporation meeting here today as BJP councillors alleged discrimination against sanctioning of various development works in wards of Opposition members. Interestingly, Mr Mahesh Khanna of ruling party also took corporation to task on various issues of corruption.

Mr Shvet Mallik and other Opposition councillors raised the issue of debt-ridden corporation which was forced to pay a whopping Rs 60 lakh monthly as interest on loans.

They stated that corporation’s shopping complexes had practically turned into ‘white elephants’ as no one was coming forward to buy them. Mr Khanna of the Congress castigated the corporation over a number of issues where alleged ‘corruption’ was evident. He criticised the corporation for employing a large number of people on contract while forwarding lame excuses of being cash- strapped. He demanded a CBI probe into new recruitments. The councillor pointed out the multi-storied buildings were violating bye-laws with impunity.

However, he lamented that the corporation was not even trying to collect fines from violators.

The Municipal Corporation Commissioner Mr K.S. Kang, however, added that he needed unanimity among the councillors to carry out any demolition.


No-trust vote against MC chief on Sept 22
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
The no-confidence motion against the beleaguered Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, will be taken up in the council meeting on September 22.

With this announcement the political activities in the city have gained momentum. While the leader of the rebel group, Mr Naseeb Bawa, was making all efforts to keep his group intact, Mr Jain was looking towards his mentors in the state capital to come to his rescue. The group of SAD MLA, Mr Tota Singh, has also decided to play a key role in removing Mr Jain from the council.

Sources said the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and the chairman of Punjab Agro Export, Mr Labh Singh Ahluwalia, were taking keen interest in the issue, which may spring a surprise in the September 22 meeting. The sources further said Mr Jain’s associates were working overtime to lure the rebel councillors back into their fold. The infighting within the Congress has also given a golden chance to the BJP and the SAD to cash in on the same.

Mr Jain when contactedsaid he was confident of sailing through the no-confidence vote. He said his rivals could not keep the rebel councillors with them for long and they would soon join hands with him. On the other hand, Mr Bawa said their group was intact and more councillors were joining them. He added that they would successfully unseat Mr Jain from the council.

Last month 22 councillors had handed over a letter to the executive officer informing him about their intent to move the no-trust vote against Mr Jain. The monthly meeting of the council, which was to be held on August 30, had to be cancelled as it fell short of quorum. Mr Jain, who was comfortably ruling the council, felt the heat after a theft at his home, in which three suitcases full of valuables were stolen.

There were speculations about the contents of these suitcases, which turned rife following an audiotape, in which the ‘prime accused’ had made some startling revelations. The councillors then raised a banner of revolt and demanded Mr Jain’s removal saying that the party’s image had suffered a setback following the theft at his home and revelations made thereafter.


Inquiry ordered into affidavit scam
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
The district police and court authorities have swing into action and launched separate inquiries into the matter pertaining to the free availability of blank affidavits signed by oath commissioners in the city.

The district police authorities launched a secret inquiry and started making efforts to procure the bank affidavits signed by oath commissioners.

The district court authorities decided to summon the record of the oath commissioners to check the same.

The matter pertaining to the free availability of the blank affidavits, signed by oath commissioners, for using the same in the registration of transfer deeds of lands, came to light in the tehsil yesterday. It was found that three oath commissioners had been selling blank affidavits signed by them to all and sundry in gross violation of the rules.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said though the offense committed by the oath commissioners was serious, the punishment for the same was not so stringent. He added that police authorities had not received any formal complaint in this connection.

Official sources said the district court authorities had also brought the matter into the knowledge of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The action against the oath commissioners would be taken on the report of High Court. The District Bar Association had also been inquiring into this matter.


Funds for Quila Mubarak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
The World Monuments Fund has given US $ 2.20 lakh to Punjab for the conservation and protection of Quila Mubarak at Patiala, a protected monument. This structure is also in the World Monuments’ ‘’watch list’’ of 100 most endangered sites.

Giving this information in a press note, Secretary D. S. Jaspal said today that the financial help would be received under the Robert W Wilson Challenge. The offer was in response to a request from the state, which wanted one-third cost to be met by the Fund, while it had paid up its own share.

The conservation plan of Rs 3.16 crore plus was prepared by an experts’ committee headed by Ms Gurmeet S. Rai. For the implementation of the project, Punjab would sign an MoU with the World Monuments Fund. An empowered and a steering committee has been set up for the execution of the works.


Land dispute leads to tension in village
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 8
Tension prevailed in Magra village, near here this afternoon, after an ex-service man allegedly fired two shots into the air following a land dispute with his neighbours.

According to the villagers, problem started when Rattan Singh and his sons reportedly started staking claim to a piece of disputed land in the village. The land was also shared by Shushil Kumar, a neighour of Rattan Singh.

Since an elderly member of Shushil Kumar’s family had passed away today so relatives and other neighbours of the family were busy in performing the last rites when Rattan Singh and his sons including an ex-serviceman allegedly tried to take possession of the disputed land.

Sources in the police said that Rattan Singh and his sons along with some other persons reportedly started constructing a wall when Shushil Kumar and his family members were busy in the cremating the body of the elderly man.

Members of both the families indulged into a scuffle after Shushil Kumar and other returned from the cremation ground. During the scuffle, the ex-serviceman son of Rattan Singh allegedly fired twice into the air.

Residents who had assembled at that spot, pacified both the families and the case was reported to the police. Mr Rattan Singh, however, has denied the firing incident.

After receiving information relating to firing incident, Mr Rupinder Bhardwaj, Station House Officer of Lalru, reached the spot and started probe. No case was registered till this evening.


Health Dept raids drinking water units
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 8
Taking serious note of the quality of packed water being sold in the district, the Health Department has raided two units and registered cases against them, besides sealing one of them.

The District Health Officer and the Deputy Commissioner had received complaints that poor quality of water was being sold in the district. The Deputy Commissioner then ordered to launch a crackdown against the units, which were minting money at the cost of people’s health.

During the raid, about 100 jars filled with water were seized from Amrit Sagar, a unit of Ferozepur-based firm, while Kotkapura-based Crystal Water unit was sealed.

The district administration had earlier banned two such companies in the past and had registered a case against them.


Hospital discharges ‘disabled’ forcibly
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 8
Mr Harmanjeet Singh, a Jat-Sikh youth from Rajgarh Basti, Sohian road, Sangrur, alleged that he was forcibly discharged by the local Civil Hospital authorities from the orthopaedic ward of the hospital in the back date today. Harmanjeet married a Dalit girl, Ramanjeet, on February 4 this year.

He said that though he was still suffering from acute pain in the legs and other parts of the body, he was discharged by the doctor concerned today by issuing a discharge slip of September 7. He also claimed that Dr Karamjit Singh, orthopaedician, told him that he was under pressure from the hospital authorities to discharge him immediately.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Harmanjeet Singh said Ramanjeet’s parents were against their inter-caste marriage.

He alleged that he was kidnapped by the family of Ramanjeet from Fatehgarh Sahib on May 2 and was kept in captivity till September 1 at some place around Khanna.

On the intervening night of September 1 and 2, he was admitted to the Sangrur Civil Hospital by the police, he added. Dr Anup Kad, Senior Medical Officer of the Civil Hospital, said Harmanjeet was not forcibly discharged. He was discharged as he was medically fine.


Endless wait for immunisation at Civil Hospital
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, September 8
Immunisation is an ordeal at the Civil Hospital here which is facing a shortage of staff. The situation was much worse today due to a heavy rush since the weekly immunisation day happened to be a holiday last time.

Babies, some of them only a few days old, could be seen crying while their parents tried to soothe them as they awaited their turn. The heat was oppressive and the wait seemed endless.

Mr Munish Kumar, a resident of a colony near Imli Wala Mandir here, whose mother was holding his week-old child, said he had come to the hospital at 9 a.m. as his child had to be given a BCG injection, but he had to wait for two hours before his child had given the injection.

Ms Neelam, a resident of an area near Wingi Masjid, who was with her six- week child, said she had reached the hospital at about 10 a.m. and had been waiting for almost two hours. She was not aware which injection was to be given to her son but was carrying an immunisation card.

Ms Satya Devi, whose four-month-old grandchild kept on howling, could be seen arguing with those who tried to jump the queue. She said she came to the hospital at about 8 a.m. and even after 11 a,m. her turn wasn’t come.

Ms Karamjit Kaur also complained that she had come to the hospital to get a DPT injection administered to her child but had to wait a long time for her turn to come.

Dr Maninder Jeet Singh, SMO in charge of the hospital, said the hospital was facing staff shortage and the post of an ANM and a health worker in the post-partem (PP) unit had been lying vacant. The work was being handled by a lady health visitor who had not got salary for the past four months. Some health workers from the training institute of the Punjab Health and Family Welfare had been asked to assist her.

He said nobody was ready to work in the PP unit as the salary was not paid in time. An employee had been called on deputation from Buthgarh but he had been transferred without having worked even for a single day at the hospital.


Expert: diabetes, hypertension lead to blindness
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 8
Treatment of diabetes, mellitus and hypertension were necessary for the control of blindness, said Dr Maninder Singh, SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, at the function here today organised on the concluding day of the fortnight long national programme for the prevention of blindness.

He appealed to the public to donate eyes after death to help the needy persons. He said during the fortnight 620 patients were examined. As many as 20 major surgeries and 270 refractions were done. He explained about various eye facilities available at the hospital.

Dr K.K. Gupta, eye specialist, spoke about common causes of blindness and their treatment. He told the gathering about “PHACO surgery” latest treatment for cataract, which was being done in the hospital at nominal rates.

Mr Gurdev Singh Dev, president of the Citizens Welfare Club, pledged that all members of his organisation would donate eyes after death. Dr P.S. Sapra, ENT surgeon, also pledged to donate his eyes.

Dr Rajiv Bhalla thanked all those participated in the function.


Dental Council’s directive to doctors
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 8
Acting on complaints by patients, the Punjab Dental Council has directed all dentists in the state not to write abbreviations of membership or fellowships held by them after their names.

At the same time, the council has advised dentists to write only recognised dental qualifications after their names apart from recognised foreign degrees.

In a press release issued here today Dr J.L. Joshi, Registrar of the council, said the action had been taken as numerous complaints had been received from public/patients, who had been missed by these abbreviations as degrees.

Dr Harjinder Singh, the vice president of the council, said dentists registered for whole life, should surrender their original registration certificate, if not surrendered so far, alongwith two photos to felicitate the issuance of new registration certificates.


Yoga fervour grips Bathinda
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Thousands of people, belonging to various walks of life, today attended the seven-day Yoga camp organised here by celebrated yoga teacher Swami Ramdev.

The camp attracted a sea of humanity from not only Bathinda and neighbouring districts but also from Haryana and Rajasthan. A large number of senior civil and police officials from Bathinda and its neighbouring districts also attended the camp.

“I have come to attend this camp from Haryana with the hope that I would be able to shed extra fat and look younger by learning different yoga asanas postures from Swami Ramdev Ji,” said Mr Pardeep Kumar, a college student, who was overweight and found it difficult to walk for long.

Mr Manoj Kumar, a businessman from Faridkot district, said he had seen Swami Ramdev performing various asanas on TV for treating various aliments and hence he had come to attend his camp as he had been suffering from breathing problems.

Though more than 10,000 persons attended the camp on the first day today, more and more people from various parts of the country were arriving in Bathinda to benefit from the camp.

The organisers had been receiving queries from the far away states like Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.

On the other hand, the seven-day yoga camp turned into a blessing in disguise for a section of businessmen in the city. The hotel owners were witnessing a phenomenal rise in business with all rooms booked till September 15. No room was available even in the dharamshalas situated in this town.

Apart from this, a large section of residents of the city were playing host to a large number of visitors who had come to attend the yoga camp.

Those dealing with the sale of Ayurvedic medicines were doing roaring business. The “Vaid” accompanying Swami Ramdev also started the treatment of people with Ayurvedic medicines coupled with various asanas of yoga.

The autorickshaw and rickshaw pullers were also witnessing a heavy rush of commuters. The sale of fruits had also jumped up.

Swami Ramdev said such camps had helped in enlightening the people about the benefits of yoga, which the people had almost forgotten.


Protest against haulage of cattle
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
Hundreds of cattle are presently stranded at the Mubarakpur Railway Station in Dera Bassi subdivision of this district with activists of Hindu organisations agitating against their haulage out of the state. The activists are demanding that a case be registered against Sher Khan of Malerkotla, who is the transporter and has been given permission by the Patiala district administration to transport them out of the state.

Even as more than 1,500 cattle have been stranded at the station, transporter Sher Khan has gone missing. Activists of the Hindu organisations have approached Dera Bassi police demanding that a case be registered against Sher Khan. They accuse Sher Khan of taking the cattle, including bulls and oxen, out of the state for selling them for slaughtering.

An activist, Mr Ravi Kant, today claimed that the contractor was being "protected" by senior politicians as well as police officials. He even showed a copy of a letter recommending Sher Khan written by Fatehgarh Sahib legislator and former minister, Dr Harbans Lal. The letter, while mentioning Sher Khan, says “Please listen to him. I strongly recommend him as I know him very well”.

The district administration has given Sher Khan permission to take bulls out of the state from the district for agricultural purposes. The letter while granting this permission states that the contractor is not to mistreat the animals under his care and is to ensure that he does not commit any act which is likely to hurt the sentiments of any one community.

Mr Ravi Kant said the permission given by the district administration was in contravention of the Punjab Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. He said the Act stated that the selling of cows (which includes bulls and oxes), which were likely to be slaughtered, was totally banned. He said the permission for selling was to be taken from the competent authority after giving the purpose for selling and the name of the state where the animals were being taken.

The district administration has following the complaint withdrawn the licence issued to Sher Khan. The licence was issued for a two month period and was to expire on November 10. The police is, however, still to act in the matter.


Labourers stage dharna at DC office
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 8
Members of the Dihati Mazdoor Sabha today organised a rally and staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands by the Punjab Government.

The general secretary of the sabha, Mr Gurnam Singh Daud, while speaking on the occasion, alleged that the government had gone back on its promises made to labourers during the last Assembly elections. The Congress had promised jobs to members of the poor labourer families of the state. Instead the state had scrapped about 50,000 posts of labourers in the various government departments. The government had also promised to increase the old age pension from Rs 200 to Rs 500. However, on the pretext of conducting a new survey all pensions had been stopped.

The Shagun scheme was also replaced on paper with the Ashirwad scheme by the present government. However, instead of giving the increased amount of Rs 11,000 under the Ashirwad scheme the government discontinued the Shagun scheme depriving the poor of the minor assistance they got from the government.

If the government did not pay heed to the demands of the labourers, they would intensify their agitation across the state, the protesters said.

The labourers also presented a memorandum of demands to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh.


Bank staff hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Hundreds of employees of the State Bank of Patiala, zonal office, Bathinda, today held a demonstration in front of the zonal office under the banner of ‘All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees’ Federation to press the authorities to accept their demands.

Mr Ashok Sharma, assistant general secretary, All-India SBOP Employees Federation, in a press note here, said the demands of the employees included recruitment on the basis of compassionate ground, recruitment in clerical and subordinate staff cadre to stop the trend of out sourcing and contractual labour system, the implementation of decision arrived at in the welfare meeting and holding of a meaningful discussion in the joint consultative committee (JCC) by the bank management.

He added that bank management had shown no concern towards the problems of the employees despite the fact that they had been holding agitation for the past many months. He added that the apathetic attitude of the bank management had forced the federation to observe one day strike on September 10.


Bank employees observe demand day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
On a call given by All India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, employees of State Bank of Patiala observed a demand day and wore badges to demand compassionate appointments to the dependents of deceased employees here today.

General secretary of federation N.K. Gaur announced that a country wide strike would be observed on September 10 to demand recruitment in the clerical and subordinate cadre, stop outsourcing and contractualisation of bank jobs, implementation of decisions of welfare committee meeting and holding of meaningful dialogue with the JCC on all pending issues.

The federation has appealed to Governor Reserve Bank of India to hold an inquiry into the bungling of NPA's.

Demonstration by  bank staff
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Bank employees under the banner of the All-India State Bank Of Patiala Employees Federation organised a demonstration in front of SBOP Sirhind City Main branch in support of their demands.

Addressing the gathering Mr Varinder Takyar, Regional Secretary of the federation criticised the management and urged the management to finalise all pending compassionate ground appointments also implement all decisions taken at JCC meeting.

He also demanded recruitment be made in the banks. He also urged that out sourcing of bank work should be stopped.


Activists of mazdoor unions block traffic
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Hundreds of activists of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, the Pendu Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, Punjab, the Kirti Majdoor Union Punjab and the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab (Mashaal), today blocked traffic in front of the local bus stand and staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner to press the authorities concerned to implement their accepted demands.

The activists of these four unions lifted the blockade only after the SDM, Mr S.K. Singla received a copy of their memorandum which they submitted to Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Before blocking the traffic at the local bus stand, the activists with empty utensils and sticks in their hands made a round of the district administrative complex. Later they staged a dharna and urged the authorities concerned to accept their memorandum failing which they would intensify their agitation.

As no official from the district office came to accept their memorandum, they blocked vehicular traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa road in front of the local bus stand. The activists also raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the district administration.

In a joint press statement issued here this evening, the representatives of the four organisations, said their demands included hike in the rate of daily wages of labourers, minimum guarantee of 180 work days in a year to the labourers, provision of foodgrains at subsidised rates to the labourers, the issuance of cards to those living below the poverty line, waiver off electricity bills of labourers and grant of pensions to them.


Dharna by PSEB staff
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
On a call given by the PSEB Employees Joint Forum the employees of Patiala Circle organised a dharna in front of the PSEB headquarter to protest against the unbundling of the Board here today.

As many as 500 employees participated in the dharna. Addressing the gathering Balraj Sharda, union leader alleged that the State government was out to dissolve the Electricity Board although it was running at a profit of Rs 180 crore. He added that the management had also given four micro projects to private contractors. In addition to this, meter reading and bill distribution in Ludhiana and other industrial towns had been handed over to private contractors.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Sodhi, another leader said that the demands of the employees including promotions, non grant of 50 per cent DA as DP to workcharge staff, non implementation of agreed demands including priority employment in death cases to the dependent of the deceased employees. He also demanded an early grant of arrears of nine years T/B scales of LDC.

President of the Bhartia Kisan Union Pishora Singh said that they would intensify their struggle if the board failed to accept the ‘genuine’ demands of the farmers and employees. Those who addressed the dharna included Surinder Singh, Radheshyam, Faljeet Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Karam Chand Bhardwaj.


SSPs can use red lights atop vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 8
Senior Superintendents of Punjab Police can use red lights atop their vehicles in the area under their jurisdiction. The same will have to be removed once they move out of their area. The orders to this effect were passed by the transport wing of the Punjab Police.

The order adds that IPS officers, with a minimum of 10-year experience, can use red lights. The Deputy Superintendents of Police were entitled to use blue lights, but that only while they were on duty.

According to sources in the Punjab Police Headquarters, the orders were passed as a survey conducted by the authorities had revealed that the lights were being misused by the police officials.


Jassi nite exposes admn’s laxity
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
While youngsters danced to the tunes of pop star Jasbir Jassi, who performed at Town Hall Club here last night, the district administration should thank its stars that the event passed off peacefully despite lack of proper arrangements.

The club premises, where the show was arranged, proved too small to accommodate the massive crowd that turned up for the show. The organisers had not informed the club about the number of passes issued, while the club permitted them to hold the show putting at risk thousands of lives.

The venue had only two gates, which served as entrance and exit, besides a narrow exit for VIPs. The club was jam-packed and in case of a stampede or a short circuit owing to massive lighting arrangements there would have been great loss of life.

There were only a handful of policemen to control huge crowd and they too were spotted having a doze of bacchus. The cops had to resort to mild cane-charge to control the excited youth, who were eager to get in. The scene was no better inside with teenagers dancing close to the barricades with their shirts off.

There were also reports of teenagers under the age of 18 queuing up to buy whisky of a particular brand to gain access to the show that was organised by a liquor company, which was offering two passes with one bottle of its product. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said that the show was private function and the district administration was not directly involved in it. He admitted that being the president of the Town Hall Club he had given the permission to hold the function. Mr Mandeep Singh also admitted that he didn’t inspect the venue of the function.


Proposal to shift bus stand withdrawn
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 8
A proposal to shift the municipal general bus stand to a more spacious site has been withdrawn.

Members of the traders’ associations, who met a Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Sunil Jakhar, got an assurance from him that the bus stand would be shifted.

Earlier, Mr Mathura Dass Hiteshi, Chairman, Improvement Trust, was quoted in a section of the press as saying that the bus stand might be shifted to the Industrial Focal Point, which had not attracted a single entrepreneur though the state government had spent Rs 25 crore on its development.

Mr Jakhar had yesterday said that two or three proposals, including the shifting of the bus stand to the old cattle fair ground, were under consideration.


Pakistan ex-Speaker visits Rauza Sharif
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Mohamad Ali Bhinder, two time former Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, paid obeisance at Rauza Sharif here today. He told the Tribune that he had come to India on a family visit as he is from the same family to which Mr Gagandeep Singh Shamsher Nagar Congress leader, belonged. He was received at Rauza Sharif by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner.

Commenting on the ongoing talks between the representatives and officials of both the countries, he said the talks would definitely help in strengthening the relations between both the countries and the talks should continue till all matters were resolved.

He said people of Pakistan wee keen to visit India. He said people of both countries had always been praying for better relations and it was all due to this that relations had started improving.

He also offered Namaz. He was honoured with a siropa by Khalifa Sayeed Mohammad Yahya Muzadid. The Deputy Commissioner and Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, also honoured him.


Dalits get relief of Rs 4.55 lakh
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 8
Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, handed over cheques, worth Rs 4.55 lakh, to the family members of two killed Dalits, Gurjant Singh and Harminder Singh Bhola, and 17 other injured Dalits at a function at Kamalpur village, near Dirba, yesterday.

Gurjant Singh and Harminder Singh Bhola were killed and 17 others were injured on August 3 last at Kamalpur village when a family of landlords allegedly attacked the basti of Dalits.


Lawyers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 8
Members of the District Bar Association (DBA) under the presidentship of Mr Gurtej Singh Grewal, president of the DBA, staged a protest dharna in the district courts complex here today against the alleged “brutal” lathi-charge by the police on the lawyers at Lucknow a few days ago.

Mr Gurbinder Singh Cheema, secretary, DBA, Sangrur, said on the issue of dignity of the lawyers, the entire lawyers’ community was one and would not tolerate any attack on it.

Kapurthala: Members of the District Bar Association on Wednesday sat on a dharna for two hours in the district courts to protest against the lathi charge by the police on lawyers at Lucknow.

They marched in procession and presented a memorandum to Assistant Commissioner Ranjit Kaur demanding strict action against the erring police officials. — PTI


Lawyers protest against cane-charge
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
Protesting against the cane charge on lawyers in Lucknow, members of the District Bar Association on Wednesday locked the main gate of the court complex and staged a dharna.

The lawyers didn’t allow any work in the courts today. They demanded strict action against the police officials concerned, is removal of Mulayam Singh and imposition of President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh.


BSNL told to pay  Rs 5,000 compensation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Bharat Sanchar Nigam to give a compensation of Rs 5,000 to Harsimrat Kaur, resident of Urban Estate Phase II here today.

Harsmirta Kaur had alleged that BSNL had disconnected her telephone without notice by showing the arrears of the bills pertaining to seven years back which had already been written off.

Keeping in view the inconvenience, mental torture and agony the complainant had to suffer due to the disconnection of the telephone for nine days, the Forum ordered the BSNL to pay compensation within one month from the receipt of the copy of the order.


Bar members stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 8
Members of the District Bar Association, Bathinda, today staged a two-hour dharna in the district courts complex to lodge their protest against attack on lawyers by the police at Lucknow.

Mr H.S. Grewal, president, District Bar Association, in a press release here, said that members also wore badges during the period and sat on dharna to show their resentment against the UP Government.


Six-month jail term for bank officer

Amritsar, September 8
A local court has sentenced Om Parkash, special assistant of Bank of Maharashtra on the M M Malviya road, to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 200 for using derogatory remarks against the caste of Mr Darshan Kumar, a railway employee.

The complainant had alleged that the special assistant had abused him against his caste without any provocation when he approached him for issuing a cheque book. — OC


Farmers protest against inadequate power supply
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 8
A dharna was organised by farmers of nearby villages outside the office of the Executive Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board here today in protest against inadequate power supply to rural areas.

The protesters raised slogans. They said the problem being faced by them be sorted out at the earliest or they would block traffic on the National Highway No. 21. They said the paddy crop, which was sown late in the area, was withering due to lack of proper irrigation as power for running tubewells was being given only for a few hours.

Mr Mehar Singh Theri, member of the executive committee of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said power for running tubewells was being given only for four hours against the government announcement of ensuring power supply for eight hours. Even during those four hours, there were a number of trippings, he added.

He said single-phase power supply was being provided for only two-and-half hour in 24 hours. As the supply was being given for one hour in the morning and for one-and-half hour in the evening, it was causing inconvenience. Villages like Gharuan and Rurki, which were supposed to get power supply for 24 hours, were also facing a similar fate.

Mr Mohinder Singh Sakrullapur, a former sarpanch, said when a transformer of an area got burnt, it had to be carried to the workshop at Ropar by farmers and a functional transformer had to be carried from Mohali by them for being replaced. He alleged the farmers had to pay Rs 100 to Rs 200 for handing over the burnt transformer or for getting another one released for which no receipt was given by the staff concerned.

Farmers alleged that transformers, which were being got repaired on contract by the board authorities, were not checked by officials concerned after repairs. In many cases, the fault came to the notice of board officials only when such transformers were sent for replacement.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Macchipur, sarpanch, said on September 6 power supply for tubewells was given only for three hours, but after the board officials were notified about the dharna, power supply was given for eight hours today.

Mr Sohan Singh, sarpanch of Bajehri village, said people of the village had deposited Rs 10,000 with the board almost 10 years ago for giving 24-hour single-phase supply, but nothing had been done in this regard so far. Similar was the case with Hassanpur village.

Mr Surinder Singh of Silh village said power lines in the area had got broken about 5 days ago, but no action was taken by the authorities concerned despite complaints being made in that regard. Mr Bachan Singh of the same village complained that a transformer in the area had got burnt about 10 days ago, but the board officials had not replaced it so far.

Mr R.K. Shahi, Executive Engineer, PSEB, said power for running tubewells was being provided for six hours and now it would be increased to eight hours. He said power-cuts were announced by the Power Controller of the board and local officials had no role in deciding these cuts.

He said farmers were asked to carry burnt transformers to Ropar or the repaired ones from Mohali, when the official vehicle was already engaged in some work. He said the board authorities were already looking into the complaint that repaired transformers were not checked by board officials. He said the Executive Engineer concerned had told him that in future all transformers would be checked after repairs. He said estimates for 24-hour single-phase power supply to some villages had been sent to the Mandi Karan Board and it had floated tenders for the work. He said the faulty transformer in Silh village was being replaced.


Fake currency racket busted, 3 arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 8
The Ferozepore police today arrested three persons allegedly responsible for running a fake currency racket and seized fake notes worth Rs 3,50,000 from them.

According to Mr H.S. Chahal, SSP, Ferozepore, the operation was carried out on a specific information that some persons involved in a fake currency racket were trying to exchange the notes with the original ones of lesser denominations at a destined location in the Cantonment area. A police team led by Mr Surjit Chand, Inspector, CIA Staff-II, raided the Saragarhi Gurdwara Complex. Those arrested have been identified as Sunil Kumar of Sarpanch Colony, Jamalpur of Ludhiana, Narinder Kumar, alias Raj of Focal Point, Ludhiana, and Lakhwinder Kumar, alias Lakha, of Ludhiana. Their fourth accomplice identified as Harpreet Singh, alias Happy, of Samrala, however, managed to escape.

Mr Chahal said the accused had offered fake currency notes worth Rs 1 lakh for Rs 50,000 to their local contacts. During their interrogation, the accused admitted that they had already circulated fake notes worth Rs 40,000 and had used it at petrol stations, chemists shops and some restaurants.

One of the accused, Sunil Kumar was a computer engineer and had been arrested earlier also in Ludhiana in connection with fake currency racket.

They use to print fake currency notes in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 with the help of scanner and laser printer. Mr Chahal said the fourth accused Harpreet Singh was a student of MA (Political Science).


Man fakes identity to become cop
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 8
Changing his name proved beneficial for Jarnail Singh, alias Jaila, of Jahalan village, near here. Jaila was able to get a job in the Punjab police by acquiring the identity of a person of Rajpura whose father’s name was the same as that of his father. This person — named Sarabjit Singh — had cleared the matric examination and this was the key to Jaila’s success.

Jaila changed his name to Sarabjit Singh after searching the gazzette and coming to know that the real Sarabjit’s father’s name was also Rattan Singh, as was his father’s name. Following this, Jaila also secured a ration card in the name of Sarabjit Singh. He was also able to get a duplicate certificate of the Class X result of real Sarabjit Singh by applying for the same after submitting an application that he had lost it.

Jaila was able to get an appointment of Special Police Officer (SPO) in 1992 and was absorbed into the Punjab Armed Police as a constable the following year. He was also promoted subsequently and was posted at the Community Resource Policing Centre (CRPC) in the city.

The local Vigilance Bureau started investigating the case on a tip-off. According to Senior Superintendent of Police Balkar Singh Sidhu, during the course of investigation the real Sarabjit Singh was located in Rajpura and it was also found that the original matric examination certificated was in his possession. The Vigilance police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC against Jaila and also arrested him. He has also been remanded in police custody for a day in the case.


Housewife injured by miscreant
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 8
Fear gripped residents of the Civil Lines area following an attack on a resident of the area by an unidentified miscreant today.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that Ms Neelam Aggarwal, a housewife, was attacked by an unidentified youth in her house in the morning after the accused entered the house by posing as cable mechanic.

Ms Aggarwal, received injuries on her head and on one of her arms she was admitted to local Civil Hospital where her condition was stated to be stable. However, the doctors attending on her said she was not in a position to give statement to the police.

After getting the news, the district police chief, Mr Kapil Dev and SP (D), Mr Ajay Maluja rushed to the spot and subsequently to the Civil Hospital, where Ms Aggarwal, was admitted.

Police sources said an unidentified youth entered the house of Ms Aggarwal on the pretext of rectifying the fault in the TV cable connection. After entering the house, the accused asked her to bring some documents pertaining to the TV set. When she turned her back to bring the documents, she was hit on the head

Mr Dev, when contacted, said that police was investigating the crime. He added that so far no case had been registered.


Six hurt in group clash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, September 8
As many as six truck operators, members of the local truck operators union, were injured in a group clash at Singo village of this subdivision, today.

Police sources said the clash between the two groups took place two days after the elections of the union. In the election, the group led by Mr Gurmeet Singh succeed in electing its member as president while the member of group led by Mr Jatinder Kumar lost the elections. Mr Jatinder Kumar is a petrol pump owner at Singo village.

Those injured included Jatinder Kumar, Gurnam Singh, Gurbachan Singh and Harbans Singh (Jatinder group) and Gurmeet Singh and Makhan Singh (Gurmeet group). The sources said the clash took place at the petrol station. All sorts of weapons were used freely.

The police sources said a case had been registered under Sections 307, 324, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Gurmeet Singh, Makhan Singh, Bikkar Singh, Mohinder Singh, Ranjit Singh and Vinod Kumar on the statement of Jatinder Kumar, in local police station. Another case under the same Sections had been registered against Jatinder Kumar and others on the complaint of Gurmeet Singh and Makhan Singh.


Theft at Escorts hospital

Amritsar, September 8
Expensive smoke alarm equipments, worth Rs eight lakhs, were reportedly stolen from the prestigious Escort Heart and Super Speciality Hospital here today.

The Chief Operating Officer, Lieut Gen (Retd) Harcharan Singh, while confirming the theft said a case had been registered for the theft of the equipment while an internal inquiry had also been ordered to find out the culprits.

According to the information, the hospital pointed the accusing finger at some persons who posed themselves as a part of the maintenance company from New Delhi who had been given the contract to look after the equipment.

The persons cleverly managed to take out the smoke alarm devices for servicing and managed to take them out of the hospital on the pretext of repairing them. But they did not return to install the devices.


Three arrested for double murder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
The district police claims to have solved the double murder case in which two women were found murdered under mysterious circumstances in Majri village of Khamano subdivision in the district, with the arrest of three persons. The three have confessed to the crime.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said today that on the night of August 31, Jaswant Kaur and Shinder Kaur were found murdered in their house. He said that Jaswant Kaur was living in her house along with her servant Balwinder Singh, a drug addict, and his wife Shinder Kaur.

Jaswant Kaur, along with Balwinder Singh, went to the residence of Mukand Singh at Machhiwara regarding a matrimonial matter. They stayed at the residence of Mukand Singh for the night and fixed the engagement of her nephew with Mukand’s daughter.

During the night stay, Balwinder Singh stole the jewellery of Mukand Singh and later sold it in market. When the matter came to light, Mukand asked Balwinder to return the jewellery. The later confessed to the crime and told Mukand that he had sold the jewellery and handed over the money to Jaswant Kaur. Subsequently, Mukand Singh, along with the panchayat and his sons, approached Jaswant Kaur to return the money, who abused and threatened them.

The SSP said Gurmukh Singh, son of Mukand Singh, felt insulted and decided to take revenge. He, along with one of his relatives, Avtar Singh, alias Rana, and friend Boota Singh, decided to murder Jaswant Kaur. He said on the night of August 31 at about 10 pm the three went to the residence of Jaswant Kaur and murdered her and Shinder Kaur, and fled. It was after two days that Balbir Kaur, daughter-in-law of Jaswant Kaur, came to see her and found the two murdered.


PCO owner run over by bus, killed
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 8
A PCO owner, Narinder Singh (65), was crushed to death by a Haryana Roadways bus while he was walking on the Kalka-Ambala highway early this morning.

The police said Narinder Singh was going for his morning walk when the bus bound for Ambala ran over him.

The bus driver was nabbed by the police and passengers were shifted to other buses.

The body was handed over to his family in the evening after a post-mortem examination at Civil Hospital, Rajpura, this morning.

The bus has been impounded and a case under Sections 279 and 304-A, IPC registered.


AK 47 seized from Babbar Khalsa activist
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 8
The local police has seized one AK-47 assault rifle from Didar Singh, alias Dari, a Babbar Khalsa activist, who was arrested in connection with the murder of Baba Jagtar Singh, head of the Dera Akal. Baba Jagtar Singh was gunned down on the night of April 15.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, said here today that two magazines and 30 cartridges were recovered from the militant. The SSP added that Jagtar Singh, alias Jagga, and Baljinder Singh, alias Nihang, were arrested in connection with the killing of Baba Jagtar Singh. Giving details of various criminal cases pending against Didar Singh the SSP said he was involved in nine cases of henious crimes, including the Arms Act and for drugs peddling in the area.


Cheating case against 23 students
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 8
The flying squad of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) today registered a cheating case against 23 class tenth students, appearing for English supplementary examination, at the Government Senior Secondary school for boys here.

The Principal of the school, Mr Duggal, said the students had come from various other schools to appear in the supplementary examination. The flying squad team came just about 15 minutes before the start of examination.

They found 23 students in possession of the cheating material due to which a cheating case was registered against them.


3 members of nursing home staff booked
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
Three persons have been booked in connection with the clash between two groups at a local nursing home yesterday.

These people were protesting against alleged negligence shown by the nursing home staff in treating an NRI boy, who complained of stomach pain. The police has registered a case against Davinder, Satish and Raju under Sections 452, 341, 506 and 149 of the IPC.


Man held for fraud
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 8
The police has arrested Jarnail Singh, a resident of Moga, for getting fake birth certificate and bank documents prepared to usurp his neighbour’s land.

The complainant, Jagir Kaur, said that the accused was their neighbour when he used to stay in the Kokri Kalan area. The husband of Jagir Kaur, had died sometime ago and he owned 15-acre land in the village. Jarnail got a fake birth certificate and bank documents prepared and was trying to sell off their land.


Stand-off between SGPC-run institutes, govt on admissions
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 8
While admissions to the MBBS course in private and government medical colleges in Punjab are almost complete, the stand-off between the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical and Dental Sciences and the State Government is persisting.

Enquiries reveal that the state government set up a committee headed by Justice G.. Majithia (retired) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as directed by the Supreme Court for fixation of tuition fee and distribution of seats under different categories and oversee the conduct of the entrance examination by the private medical and dental colleges in June. The formation of the committee was late and in the meantime, the SGPC-run institutes formed their own association of unaided Sikh minority medical and dental institutions. The Christian Medical and Dental Colleges, Ludhiana, run by the CMC Society and the two SGPC-run institutes have been granted minority status by the central and the state governments. The Majithia Committee first came into conflict with the management of the SGPC-run institutes and questioned the minority status and allowed the same to hold entrance test for 50 per cent seats and also challenged the tuition fee fixed by the two institutes. The committee later agreed to retain the minority status and decided that the same would be withdrawn from next year.

The CMC Society Institutes — Christian Medical College and Christian Dental Colleges also had to face a similar situation and they challenged the Majithia Committee verdict in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the status and allowed the CMC Society to conduct its own entrance test for all 50 students each for medical and dental colleges. The management of the two colleges has since completed the admission of MBBS and BDS courses.

Meanwhile, the management of the Sri Guru Ramdas Institutes of Medical and Dental Sciences conducted its entrance test and admitted students of the Sikh community in both the courses. The management of the two institutes also admitted eight students in MBBS and nine students in the BDS course under the NRI quota. The management of these institutes as a metter of fact filled all the seats — 50 in MBBS and 60 in BDS out of its own entrance test on the plea that the last date for admission was July 31 fixed by the Medical Council of India.

The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences which was authorised to conduct the PMET on August 1 held its counselling and admitted students to MBBS and BDS courses on the basis of the merit list. The management of the Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, followed the merit list of the Baba Farid University and has admitted 70 students in the MBBS course, including 11 NRI students. There is no dispute between the DMC management and the state government.

Dr Mohan Verghese, Principal, Christian Medical College and Hospital, told this correspondent that their fight was to retain their right to organise their own separate entrance test and admit students under the national minority status which was granted since the inception of the institute. This stand was vindicated by the Supreme Court, he said. Now the dispute between the management of the Sri Guru Ramdas Medical and Dental Institutes which are run by the Sri Guru Ramdas Charitable Trust is pending. The Baba Farid University has sent a list of 25 students to the Guru Ramdas Institute for admission in the MBBS course as government quota as the management has already admitted 50 per cent quota of students. The Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences has not only filled 50 per cent quota seats of the management but also admitted under the sub reservation and NRI quota from the government quota.

Mr Satish Chandera, Secretary, Medical Education, Punjab, says the management of the two SGPC-run institutes could only admit students under its management quota and not the government. He further says that the management was making a lame excuse to first fix the tuition fee for both MBBS and BDS courses. The state government has fixed the provisional fee for MBBS course at Rs 75,000 and for BDS course at Rs 65,000. The state government has now asked the management to submit the accounts to the Majithia Committee. It has sought time till October 15 for submission of the same. The management was unnecessarily coming in confrontation, he alleged.

Mr Satish Chandera has briefed Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and minister of Medical Education about the situation and she is likely to get in touch with the management of the SGPC to sort out the issue. Mrs Bhattal has already said that the minority status granted to the two institutes would not be withdrawn.

Dr Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal, Principal, Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences, maintains that the government is adamant on disturbing the admission process.


College teachers observe strike
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, September 8
In response to a call of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), the college teachers of private colleges observed strike for two periods today and held rallies and staged dharnas in support of their demands in the district.

Professor P.K. Sharma, district president of the PCCTU, said the college teachers all over the district expressed strong resentment against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government towards the grievances of the college teachers, working in about 175 private colleges of the state.

He also regretted that the private college teachers had not been paid their salaries for a period ranging between one to 10 months because of irregular flow of grant-in-aid to the private colleges by the state government.

He further stated that the PCCTU activists flayed the Punjab Government for offering less grant-in-aid to these colleges. The teachers urged the government to redress their grievances at the earliest to create a congenial academic atmosphere on the campuses of private colleges.

AMRITSAR: On the call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), teachers of various colleges headed by Prof H.S. Walia, vice-president PCCTU, Prof R.K. Kaushal district president of the unit and Prof Suba Singh, district secretary, today organised rallies at DAV college here in support of their demands.

Addressing the rally Prof H.S. Walia, criticised the state government and demanded regular disbursement of grants, implementation of pension and gratuity scheme of December 18, 1996, to cover the un-aided colleges and un-aided posts under grant-in-aid scheme, parity of DPE/Librarian with other lecturers and to raise the exemption limit for refresher course up to December 2004.


Pbi varsity felicitates students
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 8
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has welcomed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s views on education in which he has advocated an increase in the budget for education.

Meanwhile, Punjabi University in collaboration with the Punjab Academy of Sciences and Patiala Chapter (ISCA) today felicitated students of Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and Budha Dal Public School, who were part of a team for a worldwide design competition for “settlement in space around the earth’s orbit” organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The president of the Punjab Academy highlighted the multifaceted activities of the organisation pertaining to the children's science congress and scientific promotion programme.


Dr Hira made PTU Dean, Engg
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 8
Punjab Technical University (PTU) has appointed Dr D.S. Hira, Principal, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College as Dean of the University Engineering. This was decided at the 16th meeting of the Academic Council of PTU, at Phagwara and chaired by PTU Vice-Chancellor Dr S.K. Salwan.

Dr Hira had served 27 years at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana. He served for six years as Principal GZSCET, Bathinda and two years as Dean Academic Affairs at SLIET, Longowal. He remained a member of the Board of Governors of PTU and remained members of various academic bodies of Panjab University, Punjabi University and PTU.

He has published more than 35 papers and four books.

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