P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Chautala for nationalisation of river waters
Tribune News Service

Wagah (Amritsar), September 10
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who led a 40-member delegation to Pakistan to fetch water from Sodhra village in Gujranwala district of Pakistan, the birthplace of Bhai Kanhaiya, today hoped that the ‘sacred water’ would help in resolving the inter-state river water dispute in India.

Mr Chautala said Bhai Kanhaiya had served water to the wounded enemy in the battlefield. The spirit of service shown by Bhai Kanhaiya could be a guiding force in the fair adjudication of inter-state river water dispute and early completion of the SYL canal, he added.

Mr Chautala said it appeared that those in power in Punjab did not have any faith in the democratic system. Replying a question about the support of SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal to the Congress government on the river water issue, Mr Chautala said he still enjoyed good relations with Mr Badal.

Advocating nationalisation of inter-state river waters and their need-based distribution by the Centre, Mr Chautala said he would not hesitate to seek intervention of the Sikh clergy in this regard. The Akal Takht could direct the Sikh Panth to show magnanimity, he opined. He claimed that he did not have any political motive in organising ‘Harmony Yatra’ to various parts of Punjab and Haryana.

The sole aim was to inspire the people with the ideals of Bhai Kanhaiya, whose 300th ‘Bakshish Day’ would be celebrated in Haryana, he said. The ‘sacred water’ would be mingled with water from Anandpur Sahib on the return of Mr Chautala on September 13 and these waters would be taken in procession to various parts of Haryana.


Badal manages ‘siropa’ for Chautala
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 10
Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana, was honoured with a “siropa” (robe of honour) in the SGPC’s Information Office here today, while the same was denied to Capt Amarinder Singh on the eve of the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib’s installation.

The “siropa” was reportedly given to Mr Chautala at the behest of the Badals who enjoy good relations with Mr Chautala. It was Mr Chautala who had arranged a comfortable stay for the SGPC members belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal during his tug-of-war with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former SGPC chief. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, a former Union Minister and senior leadership of the SAD, was present at the time of presenting the “siropa” to Mr Chautala.


HT Resident Editor sent back from Pakistan
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, September 10
In an unprecedented development in Indo-Pak relations, the Pakistan immigration authorities today sent the Resident Editor of Hindustan Times, Chandigarh edition, Mr Kanwar Sandhu, back from Lahore this afternoon after he had crossed over to Pakistan this morning along with the delegation led by Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

Giving details Mr Kanwar Sandhu told The Tribune that he along with the delegation crossed over without any hassle. But while they were having lunch at a hotel in Lahore, senior officers from the Pakistan Immigration Department told him that he should go back to India, specifying that during his earlier visit in 1991 he had violated visa regulations.

He added that the Pak visa authorities said he had visited Pakistan-occupied Kashmir without the clearance of the Pakistan government and had thus violated the visa norms 13 years ago. The Indian consulate in Lahore tried to reason out with the Pak authorities, but they insisted on sending him back, he added.


Pensioners of Education Dept a harassed lot
Medical bills not being reimbursed
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 10
State government pensioners in the state are running from pillar to post for the past more than one year for getting the reimbursement of their pending medical bills, but to no avail.

These government pensioners, especially in the Education Department, figure among those, whose medical bills have already been sanctioned for payment by the authorities concerned of the Education Department. In many cases, the sanction for payment of the medical bills have lapsed more than once in the past couple of years.

Sources said the DPI (Secondary), Punjab, required more than Rs 1 crore to clear the pending medical bills of the pensioners of the Education Department. He was reportedly “unable” to make funds available to the district education offices in the state due to the non-allocation of requisite funds by the state government for the purpose.

It is learnt that the office of the Sangrur District Education Officer (Secondary) needs about Rs 20 lakh for clearing all medical bills of the pensioners submitted till now. Out of Rs 20 lakh medical bills the office had already received sanction for Rs 10 lakh bills. But it was yet to receive funds for clearing the bills. Besides the office was still awaiting sanction for payment of Rs 10 lakh bills.

Mr Vinay Kumar, patron, Government Pensioners Welfare Association, Sangrur, told TNS here today that about 22 pensioners of the Education Department were awaiting payment of their pending medical bills (after the sanction of payment for the same by the Education authorities), including Mr Mohinder Partap (Rs 2.20 lakh), Mr Ujjagar Singh (Rs 1.13 lakh), Mr Har Bhagwan Dass (Rs 99,597), Mr Mohinder Pal (Rs 93,000), Mr Raghbir Singh Dardi (Rs 65,000), Mr Harnek Singh (Rs 53,000) and Ms Shimla Devi (Rs 42,000).

Mr Vinay Kumar said the government pensioners of the Education Department in this case considered themselves a “harassed lot” due to the endless wait in getting their pending medical bills cleared even one year or more after the sanction of the same by authorities concerned. He said the pensioners were experiencing mental agony and financial crisis due to their limited sources of income.

The patron also claimed that he had met the DPI (Secondary) at Chandigarh a couple of months ago to get funds released for the payment of pending medical bills of the pensioners. He claimed that the DPI also expressed his inability to allocate funds for the purpose, as the state government had not provided him requisite funds for clearing the medical bills of pensioners.

He also appealed to the Punjab Government to provide sufficient funds to the Education Department for the clearance of all pending medical bills of the pensioners.

He also said in case the government “failed” to release funds for the purpose, the pensioners would be compelled to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.


Scrap recruitment quota in Army: Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 10
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) today asked the Union Government to scrap the quota system for recruitment in the Army fixed for the states on the basis of their population.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the SAD (Longowal), said the Punjab’s quota in the recruitment to the Army was just 2 per cent, which showed that this quota system was implemented to block the entry of brave Punjabis in large numbers into the Army. He also said that if the Union Government wanted to continue this system then it should enhance the quota for Punjabis.

Prof Chandumajra also urged the Union Government to pressure the French Government to get the ban on turban lifted soon. He also demanded the release of all Sikh youths languishing in different jails.

He also demanded Rs 150 per quintal as minimum support price (MSP) for sugarcane crop. He sought the implementation of the Johl Committee recommendations to make the diversification of crops a big success.

He condemned the Punjab Government and the PSEB for power cuts in the state. He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the recently conducted gird awri of the crops damaged due to floods or drought in the state.

He announced that the SAD (Longowal) would field its candidates in the ensuing byelections for Kapurthala and Garhshanker Assembly seats. He said the party would finalise the names of its candidates for these seats on September 16.


Empty seats in engg courses at Thapar institute
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 10
The Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology here is faced with empty seats in its various courses, with 40 students leaving the institution for Punjab Engineering College (PEC) in Chandigarh following the end to ambiguity over the union territory quota in the Chandigarh institution.

A large number of Chandigarh students had taken admission in various engineering courses here as there was ambiguity over the share of Chandigarh students in PEC this year. The PEC authorities had decreased the quota for Chandigarh students to 50 per cent after it was declared a deemed university. This had resulted in the filing of a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which restored the 85 per cent quota for Chandigarh students.

A large number of students from Chandigarh who became eligible for admission to PEC had been leaving the institution since last fortnight. Till yesterday, the number of vacancies in the various engineering courses was 35 and today, it was 40. Sources said some more students could leave the Thapar institute by the end of the month, with PEC deciding to conduct its second counselling for admission later this month.

Parents all over Punjab who were hoping for the admission of their wards in the Thapar institute said they felt cheated. “Our wards could not get admission in PEC because of the union territory quota in the institution. They are now being denied admission in the Thapar institute for no fault of theirs,” said Dr Ravi Bhushan, a veterinarian.

He said parents who were hoping to get admission for their wards in the Thapar institute on the basis of last year’s cutoff marks had not applied for admission anywhere else keeping in view the high fee charges. He said later, when they did not got admission in the Thapar institute, they joined other private institutions.

This was a small price to pay for many parents from all over the state who had been coming to the Thapar institute since the last one week, hoping that the institute would fill the vacant seats. They said they had not got any response from the Thapar institute authorities, who they alleged were reluctant to go in for new admissions as their session started on August 2.

The parents felt the start of the session should not come in the way of admission of their wards in the institution. Mr P.R. Tuteja said the Thapar institute was set to lose Rs 30 lakh due to the vacant seats and could pay its teachers a fraction of the cost to hold extra classes for late entrants. “If PEC can adjust its entire session due to late admissions, the Thapar institute can do the same for between 40 and 50 new entrants,” he added.

Thapar institute Registrar Brig Paramjit Singh said the institute had never taken new entrants after the closure of the admission procedure. He said this policy was followed to ensure regular studies from the beginning of the session so that a student did not record a poor percentage in the first semester, which would be difficult to cover up later. He said the institute had held the mid-semester examination of the students who had been admitted this year.

The Registrar said the situation was still fluid as more students could leave the institute. “In such a situation it is difficult to take a decision on the issue immediately,” he said, adding that the institute authorities would take a final stand on new admissions next week.


Gurdaspur tops list of cheaters
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The toppers are from Gurdaspur in September of 2004. The results of cheating available with the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) reveal that the students from the border city of Punjab have topped the list of copy cats during the supplementary examinations.

In all, over 80 students — indulging in unfair means of cheating — have been caught by the authorities concerned from three schools in the city during the first paper of English held on September 8. Just five cases were detected from Ludhiana.

The number of cheaters is negligible considering the fact that 70,000 students are taking the papers in 174 centres all over the state — at least this is what the PSEB authorities are claiming.

But determined to ensure “level studying ground for all the students,” the PSEB authorities have once again called up Gurdaspur’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in this regard.

The Board’s Controller of Examinations, Ms Sukhvinder Kaur Saroya, has reportedly asked the SSP to step up the vigil for Mathematics paper scheduled to be held on September 13. She had earlier written a letter to the officer asking him to make sure that the papers were conducted in a smooth manner. Similar letter were also written to SSPs of Ludhiana and Amritsar, besides District Education Officers. The Controller could not be contacted for comments.

The sources in the PSEB say that a special team of seven members will also be posted at Gurdaspur during the examination. The team members will leave for the city at about 4 am and stay there till the process is completed. More special teams will be leaving for other districts to “check the incidents of cheating”.

They add that besides the special teams, 75 educationist — including professors, principals and Board members — have also been granted liberty by the PSEB to visit schools all over the state for carrying out the checks.

The sources claim that letters have already been written to the Deputy Commissioners of all the cities asking them to impose a ban on the gathering of five or more people outside the schools under Section 144 of the CrPC during the examination season.


Rare Quran manuscript
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 10
Mr Nisar Ahmad, a lecturer in the local Kendriya Vidayala, has been preserving a rare manuscript of the holy Quran for the past about 20 years with him. He claimed that it was one of the smallest manuscripts in the world measuring 2.6 & 1.1 & 0.6 cm. It weights 2.65 gram and is written in Arabic language. He said here today that it can be read with the help of magnifying glass. The manuscript was gifted to his grandfather by Mr Burhanu-Din Rabbani, a resident of Afghanistan, during his visit to that country over two decades ago. Ahmad’s grandfather Niaz Ahmad had served at the Roza Sharrif of Mojaddad Sheikh Ahmad Alaf Sani, a Sufi Saint, for almost 40 years.

Mr Rabbani, one of the descendants of Sufi Saint Sheikh Ahmad who later became President of Afghanistan in 1992, was so impressed by the services of his Niaz Ahmad that he also gave another “octaginal holy Quran” weighing about 40 grams to him, said Mr Nisar Ahmad.

Expressing his reluctance to sell this priceless and valuable manuscript at any cost Mr Nisar Ahmad said the manuscript was a motivating force for him and the other members of the family to always remain dedicated to motivating their duties in serving the mankind with love and humanity.


Sham Singh removed from Pak gurdwara panel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 10
Mr Sham Singh has been removed as Co-Chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) and Mr Mastan Singh, a resident of Nankana Sahib, would be the new incumbent from September 22.

However, the outgoing Co-Chairman, Mr Sham Singh, who has been made member of the new committee has decided to resign from the membership.

The PSGPC was formed in April, 1999 to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth.

Interestingly, Sikh high priests, including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Kulwant Singh — Jathedars of Akal Takht, Kesgarh Sahib, Damdama Sahib, Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib would be members of the 11-member coordination committee. This is for the first time since the inception of the five-year-old PSGPC that jathedars of the takhts have been involved.

According to Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president Vishav Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Society (VBMYS), the new committee had been constituted under the direct supervision of Mr Ganga Singh Dhillon, president, Nankana Sahib Foundation.

The new development has, however, come as rude shock for Sham Singh who was heading the one-man PSGPC. Mr Bhullar claimed that Mr Sham Singh told him on telephone that he would respond whenever he would be invited by the new PSGPC to attend any function. However, Sham Singh has made it clear that he won’t attend any function without any invitation.

The newly elected Co-Chairman runs a school in Nankana Sahib where Punjabi is taught in Gurmukhi script. The other members of the PSGPC included Rawel Singh, Bishan Singh, Saam Singh, Mahesh Singh, Tara Singh, Sahib Singh, Swarn Singh, Sarbat Singh and Satnam Singh. Due representation has been given to Punjab, Sind, Balauchistan, Peshawar and other parts of Pakistan while forming the PSGPC.


Canadian MP invites dairymen of Punjab
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A leading Canadian MP, Mr Lynn Myers Kitchener, who is also chairman of the Parliamentary Dairy Commission in Canada, has invited Punjabi dairy farmers to visit his country to update themselves on the latest techniques of dairy farming.

"Dairy is a huge business in my country", said Mr Kitchener in an interview with TNS here today. "The total turnover is about $13 billion annually. Highest possible quality standards are maintained with regard to the milch cattle and dairy products. And a fine balance is maintained between demand and supply. Everybody knows what is the cost of production and the rate at which it is being supplied to the consumers.

"India in general and Punjab in particular is also doing fairly well in the field of dairy farming. But maybe, they could benefit from the new advances which we have made in the field of dairying. We will love to have dairy farmers from here to come over and study what we are doling there".

Mr Kitchener was in town along with Mr Raj Chahal, Senior Policy Adviser to the former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, to inaugurate a Canadian law firm, "Singh, Abrahams and Joomratty" which practices in the area of business and investment solutions, criminal law and immigration law.

Punjabis, he says, constitute a large segment of the Canadian population and are playing a significant role in the Canadian society. Before Pierre Trudeau became the Prime Minister (1968-79), it was difficult to immigrate to Canada. "You had to be white, Anglo-Saxon and a Protestant to be able to qualify for immigration to Canada. But Pierre Trudeau changed all that. He laid down that people from all over the world are welcome. They are all equal before the law, irrespective of their colour, country and creed.

"This is what encouraged immigration from countries like India. And we are happy that they are all playing a useful role there.


Legal advice on marital frauds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The rising trend in marital frauds in Punjab in recent years has prompted a Canadian law firm to offer free initial legal advice to those who may have been defrauded by their spouses in Canada.

''This is a social evil and a stigma on the reputation of Canada and the Canadians in general", said Mr Amandeep Singh, one of the partners of the well-known legal firm, "Singh, Abrahams and Joomrartty", which opened its office here today. The office was formally inaugurated by Mr Raj Chaahal, Senior Policy adviser to the former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, and Mr Lynn Myers Kitchener, MP from Ontario. "I have come across nearly two dozen cases of marital fraud in which the husband or the wife have vanished on reaching Canada on the strength of purported marriage with the Canadian citizen".

It has been found that in many cases, he says, they are already married in India and are using their second marriage to immigrate to Canada. In other cases, they come to India to stay with their spouse for a short while before going their separate ways.

In such cases, Mr Amardeep Singh says, the courts are very reluctant to take action because they feel that couples could have separated because of incompatibility.

''We are inviting the victims of such marital frauds here to contact us. We will offer them free initial legal advice and if need be, we will fight their cases in Canadian courts. The law suits will be fought for a contingency fee constituting a certain percentage of the damages claimed from the other party'', says Mr Amardeep Singh.

Singh, Abrahams and Joomratty is one of the Western Canada's most prominent law firms which practices in the area of business and investment solutions, criminal law and immigration law, having a substantial base of clients and presence both in Canada and other countries.


Delay in MC poll unfortunate: CPI
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 10
Representatives of the city unit of the CPI, BJP, SAD, CPM and the Akali Dal (Longowal) today criticised the authorities concerned for delaying the election of the local municipal corporation.

In a joint meeting of representatives of different political parties and trade union here today, they expressed concern over the problems like insanitation, inadequate sewerage and water facilities, pot holed roads and bad street light arrangements. They also submitted a memorandum in this connection to the Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab.

In a press note issued here, Mr Jagdish Ghai, Secretary, CPI, while dubbing the delay caused in holding the municipal corporation elections as unfortunate, pointed out that problems of insanitation, street lights, repair of roads and streets, inadequate water supply and sewerage facilities had been causing concern to the citizens.

He said though the term of elected body of the then local municipal committee, which was later elevated to the Municipal Corporation, ended in April 2003, no fresh election for the corporation had been held by the state government so far. He added that even the Punjab Government had failed to carry out the demarcation of the wards.

He said though the Punjab Government had set up the interim advisory committee of the corporation to look into the problems of citizens, it had failed to serve the purpose as all members of the committee belonged to the ruling Congress.


Transcending barriers through music
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 10
The doyen of north Indian classical vocal music, Pandit Jasraj, and his singer daughter Durga Jasraj of ‘Antakshari’ fame on television, left for Pakistan via Wagah today along with the 46-member delegation led by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala. The delegation will attend the 300th year of Bakhshish Divas of Bhai Kanhaiya.

Talking to The Tribune Pandit Jasraj, the Mewati maestro, said “music transcends all barriers and the strength of music can humble the proud. Music is devotion and devotion is God”.

A devotee of Lord Krishna and Mata, Pandit Jasraj said he considered ‘gurmat’ sangeet in the classical mould as it was set in ‘ragas’.

Born in Haryana in a family of outstanding musicians, the classical vocalist said this was his fourth trip to Pakistan. “When someone from birthplace gives a call, it has to be answered.” He said he had gone to Pakistan for the first time in the fifties and later in 1998 on the occasion of 50 years of Independence of both the countries. “I have performed in Pakistan and people have been extremely warm and appreciative of my music”.

Initial grooming in music under his father, Pandit Moti Ram ji, a national and international awardee in classical vocal music, with a notably sublime emotional quality to his singing, said it was an honour to be part of the celebration of a historical event like the Bakhshish Divas of Bhai Khaniya —-a selfless devout.

The music maestro, who is famous for his unique ‘jugalbandi’ based on the ancient system of moorchanas said six Pt Jasraj Public Schools of Music were being run abroad. Five of these were in Canada and one in USA.

Durga Jasraj, who was accompanying her father, said she had shifted from being a TV hostess to the production of television software for Music Today under the AAJ Tak and India Today banner .

Advocating free interaction between people of both countries, she said she was going to Pakistan with her father primarily to “look after him” and also to be part of delegation to mark the special occasion. She said she was looking forward to visiting the birth place of the Bhai Kanhaiya at Sodhra village near Wazirabad in West Pakistan.


Australian High Commissioner visits Malerkotla
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, September 10
The Australian High Commissioner to India, Ms Penny Wensley, along with Mr Jhon Black Well, member CSIRO, Australia, and faculty member from PAU, Ludhiana, today visited Malerkotla and Amargarh in connection with the Indo-Australian project on residue management. They visited Dasmesh Mechanical Works factory at Amargarh and saw the machines manufactured at the factory.

While talking to The Tribune, Ms Penny Wensley said she was visiting Punjab to explore avenues for the development of agriculture because there was a good scope for the development of agriculture here. Many steps had been initiated for the development of agriculture and in fact a major breakthrough had been achieved in this direction, she said.

She said they were working on an India-Australia Agricultural Research Project which would enhance the productivity of agriculture in India.

She said in order to reduce the dependence of Indian agriculture on rainfall, it was essential to develop permanent means of irrigation and more mechanised means of cultivation.

Mr Jhon Black Well, member CSIRO, Australia, said about 80 per cent of population in India depended on agriculture and in Australia it was less than 3 per cent. He said a fair price of the produce should be given to the farmers. He said Indian agriculture sector was good but it was facing problems. He said they were here to develop machines for handling rice straw.


Second emergency service benefits soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Benefit of service rendered during the second emergency period by ex-servicemen who have been re-employed in the Punjab government after discharge from the Armed Forces is expected to come soon through. The benefit includes counting the period of military service towards determining pay and pension.

Sources said that the matter, which has already been cleared by the chief minister in principle, is being legally examined before being formally notified. Sources said that the scheme is restricted to monetary benefit only and will not affect the existing service seniority of the employees.

The second national emergency, imposed following the 1971 Indo-Pak war stretched from December 3, 1971 to March 25, 1977. The grant of benefits of service during the second emergency period would benefit a large number of Punjab government employees who had served with the Armed Forces prior to being absorbed by the state government. Punjab has only recently restored service benefits for the first emergency period, relating to the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962.


Youth stages own kidnapping to escape marriage
Tribune News Service

Jaito (Faridkot), September 10
A local youth, Harvinder Singh, alias Bobby, staged his own kidnapping to avoid getting married to a girl who fell in love with him.

The drama started earlier this week when Bobby’s parents lodged a complaint with the police that their son had been kidnapped on Monday night when he went to the market to buy clothes. They stated that the unidentified kidnappers came in a Tata Qualis and bundled Bobby into the vehicle on Jaito-Bathinda road. According to them, following the incident brothers of the girl, with whom Bobby was to get married, had called them up and told them that they had kidnapped him and would release Bobby after the date fixed for marriage.

The boy’s mother stated in her complaint that Bobby was engaged to Gurpreet Kaur of Deluana village in Mansa. But the boy’s family was not in favour of the wedding. However, the girl was bent upon marrying Bobby. She had even started staying at her sister’s home at Dalelsinghwala village in Mansa after differences with her family. On Tuesday, Bobby called up his parents and said the kidnappers had fled after leaving him between Gillpati village and Bathinda. Later, he said about 12 persons had kidnapped him on Monday and took him to an unknown place after tying his hands and legs. They assaulted and kept him hungry. The police had even registered a case against the unidentified kidnappers.

Later, when he was interrogated by the police he revealed that he had illicit relations with a married woman who was his neighbour. The woman didn’t want him to marry Gurpreet and they staged this whole drama.


IMA supports HP doctors
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 10
The Indian Medical Association today announced its support to the demand of Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers’ Association for withdrawal of the notification of the state government by which the non practice allowance (NPA) of doctors had been de-linked from their basic salary.

In a joint statement, Dr O.P.S Kande president, IMA Punjab and Dr D.S Bhullar member, in-service wing of IMA, appealed to the state chief Minister to withdraw the notification as the NPA was not any allowance but a special pay being given to the government doctors for their odd nature of duties. They added that the state government decision was ‘anti- doctors’ and financial benefits once granted could not be taken away unless there was a financial emergency in the state.

The state government had violated the recommendations of the pay commission which had declared the NPA as part of the basic salary. The IMA announced to render full support to the agitation of the Himachal Government doctors against the retrograde step taken by the government.


Commission agents block traffic
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 10
Commission agents in the district today blocked traffic and staged a dharna in front of the district administrative complex (DAC) here to lodge their protest against the failure of the police to arrest all members of the BKU (Ekta) against whom two criminal cases were registered at Kot Fathe and Talwandi Sabo police stations a few months ago.

The commission agents also raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the district police authorities for their alleged ‘partial’ approach. They alleged that while the commission agents were made to face a criminal case even on the basis of a false complaint lodged by the farmers, the authorities concerned had not been taking any action against those farmers against whom two cases were registered, including one registered on the complaint of a judicial officer.

The police had failed to arrest any of the accused, 17 of whom had been identified and named in the FIR. Mr Bhagwant Rai Jain and Mr Jaswant Rai Bhallo, president and senior vice-president, respectively, of the District Arhtiya Association, Bathinda, while addressing the rally, alleged that the commission agents had come out on the streets as they had not been getting justice from the police.


Unruly mob spoils Jassi nite
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 10
Pop singer Jasbir Jassi had to pack up his luggage and slip away within 90 minutes as an unruly mob pelted stones at the stage erected inside the Nehru Stadium here last night. His troupe was escorted out safely.

The show hosted by a wine manufacturing unit started 60 minutes late. Jassi could sing only two religious songs and a remix originally composed by Gurdas Mann.

The crowd was waiting for some popular numbers but poor seating arrangement made the gathering impatient.

They had not to walk much as lots of stones and brick pieces were readily available inside the stadium due to some construction work.


Bank staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 10
On a call given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, the local employees of the bank observed a full-day strike to put pressure on the management to accept their demands here today.

As many as 1,000 employees participated in a protest march taken out through the main bazars of the city. The employees demanded immediate appointments to the dependents of deceased employees on compassionate grounds, adequate recruitment in the clerical/subordinate cadre and implementation of decisions of welfare committee meeting. They appealed to the management to stop outsourcing and contractualisation of bank jobs and asked it to hold meaningful dialogue in the JCC on all pending issues.

While addressing the gathering, general secretary of the federation N.K Gaur said the bank management just to bring net NPA to zero level had suppressed the NPAs and the balance sheet of 2003-2004 did not reflect the true state of affairs about NPAs in the bank.

He appealed to the Governor, Reserve Bank of India, and Finance Minister to constitute a high-level committee to probe into the bungling of NPAs.

The strike call was supported by the Officers Organization, Associate Bank Officers’ Association and All-India Bank Officers Association of the State Bank of Patiala.


Strike by SBP employees
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 10
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala observed strike in front of the zonal office in support of their pending demands here today.

Addressing a rally of the agitating employees, Mr Ashok Sharma, deputy general secretary of the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, said that they had been stressing upon the bank management since long for the acceptance of their long-pending demands.

The demands include appointments of dependents of deceased employees, recruitment in clerical or subordinate staff, an end to contractual labour and implementation of decision arrived at a welfare meeting.


Ex-servicemen take out rally
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 10
A rally of ex-servicemen was organised by the district Sainik Welfare Board here today. They urged the Centre to formulate constructive policies to ensure the proper rehabilitation of retired Army personnel.

The participants regretted that committees headed by experts and politicians had failed to make any headway in implementing the pension scheme cleared by the government. They said no steps had been initiated to monitor the one-rank one-pension scheme.


Kultar Singh's ashes received
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 10
The ashes of Kultar Singh, brother of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, reached the city en route to Hussainiwala border in Ferozepore. The ashes, which were on the way from Jalandhar, were accompanied by his sister, Parkash Kaur.

The SDM, Mr Gurnam Singh Gill, received the ashes here. Later, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, and other administration officials paid floral tributes to Kultar Singh in the administrative complex.


PSEB increases power cuts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 10
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is in the grip of a power crisis with a severe reduction in power from West Bengal, forcing it to increase the number of power cuts in both urban and rural areas by one hour.

Sources disclosed that the board was getting around 35 lakh unit only out of the 90 lakh unit which it was getting from West Bengal through the Power Trading Corporation.

The sources said power cuts had been increased in both urban and rural areas. Important cities will now face power cuts of four hours each, while urban industrial centres would now face power cuts of six hours daily. In the rural areas the power cuts have gone up from 13 hours to 14 hours now.


Kamboj made PSEB member
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 10
Senior Congress leader Hardial Singh Kamboj was selected as member of the Punjab State Electricity Board today at the board headquarters. Mr Kamboj had been actively involved in politics right from the college days and remained president of students union of Khalsa College, Patiala in 1980.


High Court
Chottepur’s election upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 10
Mr Justice J.S. Narang of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the election petition filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) leader Sucha Singh Langah, challenging the election of Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur from the Dhariwal Vidhan Sabha seat in Gurdaspur.

In his petition, Mr Langah has challenged the election of Mr Chottepur on the ground of irregularities on polling day.

However, the Court did not agree with the contentions of Mr Langah and dismissed his petition. The Bench also imposed the cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner.

Poll for Ajnala seat

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Swantanter Kumar and Mr Justice Surya Kant today issued dasti notices on a petition filed by some persons, including Dr Amarpal Singh, son of former MLA and current MP Rattan Singh Ajnala.

The petitioners have sought directions to the Election Commission to hold elections for the Ajnala seat in Amritsar, which fell vacant after Mr Ajnala's election to the Lok Sabha, along with the by-elections for two other seats in Punjab.

They have said that it was the duty of the EC to fill the seat within six months of its getting vacant. However, since an election petition is pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the elections of Mr Ajnala to the Vidha Sabha from the seat, the election is not being held. This, the petitioners say, cannot be a ground for not holding election.

The case will now come up for hearing on September 14.


2 cops get 10-yr jail for rape
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 10
Four persons, including two Punjab police constables, were today sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment in a rape case by a local court. The court also fined them Rs 2,000 each.

The four had abducted the victim from near the Sirhand Canal while she was returning from Ropar city and raped her in the Nurpurbedi forest area. 


Agriculture workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 10
A large number of agriculture workers and labourers today staged a dharna in front of the district administrative complex here in support of their demands, including enhancement in the rates of daily wages, supply of wheat at a rate of Rs 2 per kg to all labourers and guaranteed employment for 180 days for them.

The dharna was organised by four organisations of the labourers to compel the state government to accept the demands of the labourers.

The dharna was addressed, among others, by Mr Baru Satwarg, president of the Kirti Mazdoor Union, Punjab; Mr Harmesh Malrri, state president of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union; Mr Tehal Singh Phul, a leader of the Pendu Mazdoor Mukti Morcha; and Giani Jeet Singh, state president of the Pendu Mazdoor Union (Mashal).

All speakers criticised the Punjab Government for not accepting the demands of the agriculture workers and labourers. The leaders said that the Congress government in Punjab had abandoned all promises made with labourers during the last Assembly elections.

The leaders announced that they would continue their agitation till the acceptance of the demands.


Farmers block rail traffic
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 10
Hundreds of farmers led by the farmer wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) blocked rail traffic on the Amritsar-Dera Baba Nanak rail line at the Fatehgarh Churian level crossing here today.

They were protesting against the decision of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) not to give Rs 6,657 crore to the Punjab Food and Supplies Department and non-fulfilment of their long-pending demands. They raised slogans against the central and state goverments.

Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, general secretary, kisan wing of the SAD (A), said that the RBI had refused to give Rs 6,657 crore to the Food and Supplies Department as it had earlier failed to return Rs 2,360 crore which was pending with the department. He strongly criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and president, SAD. He said during the current season, paddy had reached the grain markets and due to this decision it would become difficult for the government agencies to lift the paddy, which would have an adverse affect on farmers. 


Henry sees no problem in paddy procurement
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 10
The Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, today said that the state had received the first instalment of the cash credit limit of Rs 1,900 crore from the Reserve Bank of India and there would be no problem in paddy procurement.

He said that the maximum support price (MSP) would be implemented from October 1. He said that the farmers would not face any problem in getting their dues as the payment would be made within 24 hours. He admitted that the rise in the MSP was too little. The Central Government had announced a rise of Rs 10 in the MSP.

Earlier, the minister chaired the meeting of the District Grievances Committee. He said that the committee meeting would now be held regularly and the development work in the district would be taken up on priority. The committee member, Mr R.S. Gill, raised the issue of problems being faced by the teachers who had been reinstated after being caught by the Vigilance Bureau in various cases. He said that they were neither getting loans nor facilities owing to pending inquiries of their cases.

The minister asked the authorities concerned to expedite their inquiries and try to wind them up within a month.

He also ordered that the audit of the PTA fund. It was also decided that the work on the Moga-Baghapurana road would be started within a month. The patchwork would be completed within next four days, the official concerned told the meeting.


Orders on bullocks cancelled
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 10
The district administration has cancelled the orders for transporting over 1,500 bullocks out of the state. Over 600 bullocks have been tethered at two different places near the Ghaggar railway station in Mubarikpur village.

The district administration has also decided to videograph the bullocks to see whether they are in good health. The police has been asked to investigate the matter and register a case against the transporter.

Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Patiala, said the permission granted to Sher Khan, transporter, was withdrawn on Wednesday morning. The transporter was earlier granted permission for transporting bullocks for agriculture purposes.

Mr Tejveer Singh said the SSP, Patiala, had been asked to find whether cattle were being transported for slaughtering.

Earlier, activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Gau Raksha Dal and the People for Animals protested against the alleged smuggling of cattle.

They approached the Dera Bassi police station, demanding that a case be registered against Sher Khan. They had charged him with taking the cattle for slaughtering.

Mr Ajay Singh Bhardwaj, state president of the VHP, alleged that the cattle were being transported for slaughtering to West Bengal. He added that smuggling of bullocks and cows to Muslim countries had become a major source of income for Border Security Force jawans.

Employees of the transporter claimed that the bullocks were purchased from cattle fairs in Ropar, Khanna, Sirhind and other parts of the region, and would be sold in Baliya Mandi in Bihar.

Meanwhile, Mr Sher Khan yesterday met the DC and sought the release of the cattle. He also threatened to move to court.


Woman Development Officer suspended
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 10
The Women Development Officer of the district, Ms Amriti Devi, has been suspended following complaints against her.

Sources said that the gram sewikas working under her had alleged that she used to harass them and demand money even for getting their official work done. They had alleged that she demanded money for forwarding their cases of loan, GPF and increments. The Deputy Commissioner had asked the District Revenue Officer to probe into the matter. The DRO found the allegations levelled against her true and recommended departmental action against her. After the submission of the probe report, the Secretary (Rural Development) issued her suspension orders.


One held for desecration
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 10
The police today arrested Balbir Singh of Bisrampur village in Kartarpur tehsil for desecrating the two birs of Guru Granth Sahib at Dashmeshpuri, dera, Bhanoki road, Kotrani village near here, two days ago. The dera caretaker, Ms Balbir Kaur, had been arrested and was in police remand.

A total of 1,019 pages of one bir were found torn with a blade while two pages of another bir were torn and found missing. The sacrilege came to light on September 8, when one page was found lying in a drain.

The two arrests had been made under Section 295 of the IPC. The motive behind the sacrilege would be known only after a thorough interrogation of the main accused.

The bhog of akhand path would be held here tomorrow for atonement of sacrilege. The desecrated birs would then be taken to Goindwal Sahib for their disposal. 


Double murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 10
The district police today claimed to have solved the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of the truck driver, Sewak Singh, and his namesake, the cleaner, while they were coming back to the town after unloading the wheat at Hambran village in Ludhiana district on March 9.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said a police team succeeded in tracking down the culprit who was involved in the murder of both of them.

He said both of them with Rs 1 lakh in cash were coming to this area from Ludhiana district after unloading the wheat at Hambran village. Kaka Singh, who was convicted in a narcotic smuggling case in Haryana, was accompanying them. He said when Kaka Singh, who was lodged in Central Jail, Sirsa, was brought from there for questioning on the basis of production warrant taken against him from the court, he confessed having committed the crime.

Kaka Singh confessed that he first made them to consume liquor and then intoxicated biscuits. When both Sewak Singh fell unconscious, they were thrown into the canal near Dadahoor village. After that he parked the truck near the railway station, Barnala town.

Mr Dev said more than Rs 88600, which the accused had looted from the Sewak Singh had been recovered. A case in this connection had been registered.


Mandir sevadar found dead

Jalandhar, September 10
The chief sevadar of the Sodhal Mandir was found dead in his room early this morning.

The police has sent the body of the 65-year-old Ram Murti for post-mortem at the Civil Hospital. While the police maintains that the sevadar died due to brain haemorrage, it is being suspected that he was strangulated, for his body had some marks close to the neck and below the eyes. TNS


2 jail inmates hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 10
Two inmates of Central Jail were badly injured in a clash that took place between two groups here this morning. Both inmates, Suraj and Sukhbir Singh, have been admitted to the Civil Hospital.

According to the jail authorities, the clash took place between the groups of Vicky, who is in jail in connection with a double murder case in Basti Sheikh, with those of Malkit Singh Titoo, who was recently in the news over some objectionable words written on his back.

Both groups attacked each other with sharp-edged weapons. The clash continued for more than 10 minutes in the jail hospital and barrack No 11.


One killed, four hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 10
Four persons were injured and one was killed in two different accidents here today.

It is learnt that Monica Rani was killed when the scooter she was riding collided with a tractor-trailer near Sahora village. She was riding pillion on the scooter. Her cousin brother, Mr Balram Gupta, who was driving the scooter was also injured seriously.

In another incident, Amandeep Kaur, a student of Kanshi Ram College of Physical Education, Bhago Majra, was injured when she was hit by a scooter while trying to cross the road near Christian Missionary School here. Two persons — Mr Avtar Singh and his wife Ms Pardeep Kaur — on the scooter involved in the accident was also injured.

The injured persons were taken to the Civil Hospital here. The police has registered a case against the driver of the tractor under Sections 279, 338 and 304A of the IPC.


Students burn effigy of minister
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, September 10
The Joint Students Front, comprising seven organisations, including the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) and the Students Federation of India (SFI), today burnt the effigy of Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee at the main gate of the local Government Ranbir College in protest against the government’s “soft attitude” towards the private bus operators.

The students also observed a strike in the college and held a rally. They alleged the private bus operators illtreated students with bus passes. They also took out a protest from the college to the traffic light chowk near the main bus stand and blocked traffic there for about 10 minutes.

Gursewak Singh, college unit president of the PRSU, said the students would not allow any one to “snatch” the bus-pass facility from them. The students would also not tolerate the rude behaviour of bus operators. He said if the government did not withdraw the cases registered against students, the agitation would be intensified.

BARNALA: Students of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera, Government ITI and SD College, burnt the effigies of Mr Mohinder Singh Kay Pee, Transport Minister in front of their college today and observed strike to protest against the maltreatment given to the college students travelling in private buses by the transporters.

Addressing the demonstration, Harbans Sonu, state executive member of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), and Jaswant Jassa, president, PRSU, SD College, Barnala, alleged that private transporters were indulging in goondaism and forcing students to buy tickets. They alleged that even the police was siding with private transporters.


Class V marks cards awaited
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 10
Even as the result of the Class V examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board in February 2004, was duly declared by the authorities on March 31, the district education authorities have failed to issue detailed marks certificates (DMCs) to a large number of students of government schools.

Such students have been granted admission to Class VI on the basis of the school leaving certificates given to them by the heads of their respective primary schools. These students have no idea of the marks scored by them in various subjects in Class V.

A section of teachers pointed out that though the non-release of DMCs by the district education authorities (elementary) did not affect the process of admission in schools, it showed the callousness and laxity in the administrative circles of the department.

As per department norms, the results of primary classes and other such classes, the exams of which are taken at the school level, are to be declared on March 31. The report cards are supposed to be signed by the parents of the students and the new academic session is supposed to be started from April 1.

Ms Surinder Kataria, DEO (Elementary), said the delay in preparing and subsequently distributing the DMCs among those students who had passed the Class V examination was due to teachers being given additional job of collecting information in connection with the issuance of birth certificates of the students of their respective schools.

She said that in some parts of Bathinda district, the DMCs had been distributed and the rest of the schools would be covered within a few days. She added that she had now been monitoring it.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that that the non-release of DMCs of Class V students was deliberate. The education authorities did not want to show the actual performance of the students.


College students hold protest
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 10
A large number of college students today held a protest rally in favour of their demands. They were demanding that the passes issued for Punjab Roadways buses should also be considered valid for travelling in private buses.

The protesters alleged that the private bus operators and the state government wanted to end the facility of bus pass. They further alleged that the students were being humiliated on all routes in Punjab. They said that the students had to travel in private buses as the state government buses did not ply on many routes in the state. 


Celebrations on Guru Granth Sahib
at engg college conclude

Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, Sept10
Week-long quadricentennial celebrations of Installation of Guru Granth Sahib concluded here at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering (BBSBE) College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr SPS Virdi, professor and Head of the Department of Physics, Punjabi University, Patiala presided over the prize distribution function.

Dr Virdi said the emphasis should be laid on dissemination of the message of Gurbani in the whole world. He said Guru Granth Sahib was a unique repository of spiritual knowledge.

In the slogan writing Amandeep Singh won the first prize, Rupinder Kaur remained second and Jasdeep Singh won the third prize.

Gurpreet Singh won the first prize in essay writing and Harmandeep was runner-up; in declamation contest, the team of Harmeet Kaur , Rajbir Kaur, Navdeep Kaur and Manjinder Singh won the first prize.

In Shabad Gayan Bhanjit Singh remained first and Mandeep Singh second , in poster making (on the spot) Shilpika emerged first and Amanjot Kaur second and in poster making ( publicity) Amanjot Kaur stood first followed by Shilpika Quiz contest was won by the Sahibzada Ajit Singh group comprising Bhajneet Singh, Sarabjot Singh and Harpreet Kaur. Mohit Sharma, Amandeep Singh Mahipal, Sarabjot and Simrandeep was honoured for their designing slide show depicting the teachings of Bani of Guru Granth Sahib.


Traders protest against ‘extension’ of octroi contract
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 10
A section of local traders today protested against the continuation of octroi contract despite its expiry on September 8. They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, in this connection.

A delegation of the Beopar Mandal met the Municipal Council chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh, and briefed him about the "excesses" of the octroi contractor.

They protested against extension of the octroi contract and demanded that the auction for the same should be held soon.

On the other hand, sources in the Municipal Council said the resolution for holding auction for octroi contract had already been passed. The MC authorities had also written to the local bodies Director in this connection.

Sources said this was just a temporary arrangement and had the MC passed the resolution earlier then the auction would have been held by now.

Sources said MC could not afford to do without octroi posts as octroi was the only source of income for it and doing away with it for 10-15 days would have presented a golden chance to octroi evaders to stock their goods in the city.

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