P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PM’s picture missing in Cong posters
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 2
If one happens to see the posters, huge banners and hoardings put up by the Congress in this Assembly segment in support of its candidate, Ms Sukhjinder Rana, one feels that something is amiss.

The posters have a bold picture of the candidate. Besides, there are four other pictures, including those of the candidate’s brother-in-law and MP, Rana Gurjit Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and a huge picture of the party president, Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Surprisingly, the Congress workers seemed to have either avoided or forgotten to use the picture of Mr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, as he is seen nowhere on the posters or in the campaign trail in the constituency.

The voters in constituency have taken a serious note of this mistake as they said that Mr Manmohan Singh was the first Sikh Prime Minister of the country. It seemed that he was not being considered an important person even as the elections were being held in an Assembly segment of Punjab.

Mr Ravinder Singh, a businessman and a voter, said, “It seems as if the Congress was trying to ignore the role of PM. Had the party used his picture for canvassing, there could have been more followers and the candidate could have had a better edge during the forthcoming byelections.”

Ms Sumeet, another voter and a teacher, said that during the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the then ruling NDA alliance had come out with bold pictures of their Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. The party was, in fact, largely banking of the image of their Prime Minister and the achievements he had made, she added.

Another political observer said that the poll campaign once again clearly indicated that the PM was being sidelined by the party and the reigns were completely in the hand of Ms Sonia Gandhi. He, too, said that the candidate would have been on an advantageous position had the party used Mr Manmohan Singh’s pictures.

Rana Gurjit Singh and Ms Sukhjinder Rana, however, could not be contacted for their comments.


Naresh Gujral to meet CEC over bogus votes
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 2
Repeating his resolve to fight ills of the poll system Naresh Gujral, a son of former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, has resolved to spend at least 10 days in the Kapurthala Assembly constituency to create awareness among people about the need to eliminate poll malpractices, resorted to by ‘businessmen-politicians’.

Meanwhile, while alleging that about 16,000 to 17,000 votes were bogus and were created at the behest of the “Congress machine” in Jalandhar Parliamentary constituency, of which, the Kapurthala Assembly segment was a part, Mr Gujral said he was going to meet the Chief Election Commissioner with a request to review the entire voters’ list of the Parliamentary constituency.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr Gujral, who had unsuccessfully contested from Jalandhar during the last Lok Sabha elections, asserted to fight out the “corrupt” poll system, wherein use of liquor, opium, drugs, bogus voting and use of combined of money-muscle power was widely prevalent.

“For that, I think awareness among people is a must and pre-requisite. To achieve this objective, I have decided to spend at least 10 days in the Kapurthala constituency. I am also going to request the national media that they should come to Kapurthala for at least the last two days to see things for themselves. And also to observe whether there is a repeat of events of last Lok Sabha polls when money, muscle power, drugs and whether these allurement were used to win over voters, he added.

Even this time, I have a grudge that the Akali candidate is not getting equal coverage in media. I appeal to media to come forward and save democracy by openly criticising the wrong doings and by exposing the criminalisation of politics. I want to convey it to people that they should realise that politicians coming to them with money do not have any interest to serve them, but, they do so for furthering their business interests. I think people will also realise this and I have no doubt that in the end, “sharafat” will prevail,” said Mr Gujral.

Referring to the last Lok Sabha elections, Mr Gujral rued that these were not “fair” polls and a lot many bogus votes were made. “Unfortunately, Our civil servants are subjected to immense political pressure and subsequently they choose to look the other way. But this time, the Akalis have decided to not to allow anyone to cast bogus votes”, he added. “During my visit Kapurthala this time, I have observed that people and officials are under a fear psychosis, which, has been created by political persons with vested interests. But I am sure that people would give a befitting reply to such tyranny this time,” said Mr Gujral.

“During my 10-day-stay in the Kapurthala constituency I will try to visit maximum villages and tell voters that democracy needs to be saved. For this they can play their role by voting in a fearless manner and without bowing to baits offered by political parties. As far as the Fourth Estate is concerned, it is the latter’s duty to protect democracy by playing an attentive role during elections. This is more important as the Fourth Estate has emerged as a more stronger institution, which, offer people the silver lining,” said Mr Gujral.


Badal, Amarinder woo Kapurthala voters

Kapurthala, October 2
The campaigning in the byelection of the Kapurthala assembly is in full swing as star campaigner of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh are camping here to campaign in favour of their party nominees.

SAD President Badal is campaigning for his party nominee Raghbir Singh for the past three days and has addressed about 50 rallies in the villages to woo the voters.

Amarinder Singh, on the other hand, visited the constituency for the third time today and would stay in the constituency for another three days to address 12 election rallies in favour of Congress candidate Sukhjinder Kaur.

Interestingly Badal and Amarinder Singh today addressed election rallies at Bhandal Bet village at same time this morning in favour of their party nominees.

The Congress organised the rally on the outskirts of the village while the SAD organised it in the village.

Addressing the Congress rally at Bhandal Bet, Amarinder Singh said that World Bank had sanctioned a loan of Rs 1600 crore to augment the water supply in the village and 24-hour power supply would be ensured to 12,700 villages in Punjab by December this year.

Commenting on the achievements of his government, Amarinder Singh said the state government had ensured eight-hour daily supply of electricity to the villages as compared to four hours during the previous SAD-BJP regime.

He also touched upon the corruption case registered against Mr Badal and some of his family members.

Addressing the party rally, Mr Badal alleged that the Amarinder Government had failed on all fronts “as there is no development in Punjab”.

He said law and order situation in the state had deteriorated during the Congress rule. He alleged that false cases were registered against the Akali workers. — PTI


Shun narrow politics, Dullo advises Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 2
Senior Congress leader Shamsher Singh Dullo today advised SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal to not to resort to “narrow” politics of complaints and explain the reasons for the poor work done for the development of Kapurthala Assembly segment during his tenure as Chief Minister.

Mr Dullo, who was accompanied by senior Congress leaders, including Krishan Kumar Bawa, Amarjit Singh Tikka, Gurmit Singh, Gurdev Singh Lapra and Gurdip Singh Bhaini, inaugurated the election office of the Congress party at Dhapai village in Kapurthala today.

Mr Dullo said the Congress leader and MP Rana Gurjit Singh had changed the face of Kapurthala by ensuring development of the area, while the SAD-BJP had ignored the constituency

He suggested that instead of making complaints, Mr Badal, should tell people of the area about the development works carried out by the SAD-BJP during its rule.


CPI to support CPM
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 2
The Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) has finally made up its mind to support the CPM candidate in the current byelection to the Garhshankar Assembly constituency.

A formal announcement to this effect would be made on October 5 after the meeting of members of the state secretariat of the party at Chandigarh.

This was disclosed by Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the CPI, while talking to TNS over the phone today.

Dr Dayal also accused the Punjab Congress of “damaging” unity of secular parties for its selfish motives by fielding its candidate in the byelection without taking other secular parties into confidence.


Tasks before the SGPC president
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, October 2
The president of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has a daunting task at hand to uphold the dignity and identity of the biggest religious Sikh institution in the world. But the question is will she prove equal to the task?

The circumstances and considerations under which she has been installed as president of the SGPC throw light on her limitations and compulsions.

As a matter of fact, the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal made her the president of the SGPC primarily to ensure that the Lubana community in Kapurthala district casts votes in favour of the SAD candidate in the byelection to the vidhan sabha. She was opposed by a strong group within the Shiromani Akali Dal. Consequently the religious affairs are taking the back seat.

There is a very strong feeling among the Sikhs that the SGPC has been relegated and its independent identity is merging in the Akali Dal.

But the new president must realise that the Shiromani Akali Dal came into being as a volunteer force of the SGPC. It is another matter that the Shiromani Akali Dal emerged as a political party representing Sikh interests subsequently. At the moment there is a sea change in the SAD as per the undertaken given by it to the Election Commission of India. It is no longer a Sikh minority party but a secular party. As a political party the Akali Dal cannot play a leading role in the affairs of the SGPC notwithstanding the fact that members of the elected Sikh body are given the ticket by the Akali Dal.

The affairs of gurdwaras in Pakistan also need to be viewed a wider perspective wherein the SGPC must ensure that the diplomatic channels understand the religious position of the Sikhs. The SGPC also has to contend with the position taken by the sister organisations like Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and the NGOs of devotees who frequently visit the Sikh shrines. To take a position that it is sole right of the SGPC to undertake the ‘kar sewa’ of gurdwaras or exercise some control over the shrines seems to be a fallacy in the changed circumstances. The Pakistan Government has been recognising the SGPC as a representative body of the Sikhs who has interest in the shrines in Pakistan because all historical shrines were under the SGPC before the creation of Pakistan. The SGPC must resile from its stand and accept membership on the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) to look after the interests shrines and satisfy the Sikh sangat.

Besides, these burning issues, the SGPC has a task to get the All-India Gurdwara Act enacted.

The Sikh community also faces the problem of drug addiction among youth in rural areas and also the menace of apostacy. The SGPC has failed on this front and would be required to fight the same on a war-footing.

Sikh scholars are at pains to say that the doctrinal sovereignity of Sikhism is under attack from forces like the RSS and the Akali Dal leaders are silent because of their alliance with the BJP. This will have to be fought by the SGPC on its own. But they are not very enthsiastic as they feel that the present SGPC leadership will not take up the cudgels to fight its own leaders who are using the SGPC as a political platform.


Smart identity cards for cops
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Techno-savvy Punjab Police authorities are getting all the more smarter, literally. The cops have decided to introduce the concept of “smart identity cards” for the entire police force.

Once issued, the cards with “unique” identity numbers will help in tracking down the lateral and vertical movements of police officials throughout their careers.

The development is significant as gathering details about postings, transfers and promotions of cops is currently an extremely difficult, and time consuming, process in the absence of such identity numbers.

Information has to be gathered from different sources before being tabulated at the level of headquarters. The entire process can sometimes take days, even months, in a few cases.

But with the introduction of identity numbers, inside information about cops will be just a click away. The computer operator will simply feed in the number before pressing the “enter” key.

In no time everything operator wants to know about a cop will be flashed on the screen. The entire process of issuing the number is likely to take not more than two months.

Giving details, Assistant Inspector-General (Personnel) Kuldeep Singh says, “As a first step, a software acquired by the police will help in allocating the identity number to each force member. The number will become central in tracking down the movements in the officer’s career”.

Ruling out the possibility of misuse, the AIG adds that as a security feature the card will have a hologram. In addition to it, the card will have an embedded magnetic or optical chip.

Along with it, there will be a bar-code. “It will open endless possibilities of integrating the smart card with the latest technical advances,” the AIG adds.

The issuance of the cards is a part of a “major” personnel management plan devised by the Punjab Police. Its administrative wing — under the guidance of Inspector-General of Police (Headquarters) Sanjiv Gupta — has already initiated the process of introducing ‘Human Resource Information System’.

It will enable top cops to know the details of promotions, training, rewards and punishments granted to police officials by simply pressing computer keys.

The project is expected to cut down effort and time required in generation and compilation of data about cops at all levels.

It will be of considerable assistance in policy planning. The process of transfers will also be rationalised — at least this is what the cops are claiming.


NRI among four booked on fraud charges
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 2
Four persons, including an NRI, have been booked for duping a Ferozepore girl and her father of Rs 10 lakh on the pretext of sending her abroad.

Sources said the complainant Santokh Singh had family relations with a Buggipura resident, Nirmal Singh. Santokh wanted to send his daughter to a foreign country. Nirmal introduced him to Darshan Singh.

Darshan told the complainant that he would get his daughter married to one of his friends in Canada and demanded Rs 10 lakh for the same.

Santokh’s daughter then got engaged to one of Darshan’s friend a few months later. She got married with him at Kot Ise Khan in 2001.

Santokh gave Rs 5 lakh in her daughter’s marriage. After a few days, Rs 3 lakh more was demanded for preparing her immigration documents. On February 24, 2001, their marriage was registered in a local court.

Darshan’s friend and the girl’s husband left for Canada two months after marriage leaving his wife in India. He assured her that he would send sponsorship papers for her soon. He then send her fake sponsorship papers, due to which the embassy refused her a visa.

When the complainant approached Nirmal Singh he again demanded Rs 2 lakh for setting the matter right, which Santokh again paid, but to no avail.

Disappointed, he asked Nirmal to settle their case, who neither sent Santokh’s daughter abroad nor returned his money.

The complainant then lodged a complaint with the SSP following which a case was registered against them.


Water a national problem: Jeyaseelan
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
While the demand for water is shooting up, the availability of water remains the same in the country. Consequently, water has become a national problem. But no immediate solution of this problem is in sight. One can say that for years to come, water will continue to be the foremost problem in the country.

While interacting with The Tribune on this issue, various water experts said that the management of water should be given top priority by the Centre. Various state governments have been dealing with this issue casually, absolutely ignoring that how serious the problem is becoming in the country.

When confronted with these questions, the Chairman of the Central Water Commission, Mr R. Jeyaseelan, told The Tribune that it was true that water had become a national issue for various reasons. There was a steep increase in the demand for water in industrial and domestic sector but no increase in its availability.

Laying emphasis on water management, he said that there was need to enhance the usage of surface water which was available in huge quantity during monsoon.

Of the 4000 billion cubic meter (bcm) surface water available during monsoon, only 1128 bcm is being utilised while the remaining goes waste. The commission has built reservoirs for the storage of 213 bcm of such water. For further storage of 75 bcm water, various projects are under implementation, says Mr Jeyaseelan. But a lot is more required to be done on this front.

Mr Jeyaseelan was here to preside over a research and development session of the Indian National Committee on Hydrology. The session was organised with the help of the Water Resources and Environment Directorate of Punjab Irrigation Department.

Asked about the progress on a project regarding linking of rivers, Mr Jeyaseelan said that there were 30 schemes with regard to the linking of rivers in various regions. “The National Water Development Agency is on the job of preparing a feasibility report of these schemes. Only after examining the feasibility reports, detailed project reports would be prepared”.

It would take two years to do the feasibility study, he added. It is almost clear from his talk that the river linking project would take years to mature.

The Union Ministry for Water resources has started talks to probe the mind of states concerned for the linking of rivers in their respective areas. Some states are agreeing, while others are raising objections and asking questions and seeking clarifications.

The Chairman made it clear that the existing usage of water of any state would not be reduced in case of linking of rivers. “ We are also doing basin-wise study regarding the availability of surface water, river water, ground water etc and also assessing the existing demand and projected demand for the next 25 years or so”, he said. Only available surplus water could be transferred from one state to other and one region to other.

Another area to which the commission is paying attention is recharging of the ground water. The Central Ground Water Board is looking this aspect.

Earlier, chief guest at the session, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary, Irrigation, Punjab, said that 94 per cent available water was used for irrigation in the state. Water crisis in Punjab had assumed serious dimensions as 50 per cent villages had no potable water.


Punjab Police for Maharashtra, UP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 2
Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director-General of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), said 25 companies of the police and Home Guards from Punjab would be sent to Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh for security during the Assembly elections and byelections of some of the Parliament and state Assembly segments there, respectively. He was talking to mediapersons at Canal Rest House here today.

He said 10 companies of the PAP, 10 of Commandos and five of the IRB would be sent from Punjab to these states. One Inspector-General of Police, two Deputy Inspector-Generals and five commandants (all of the rank of SSP), a large number of DSPs and inspectors would accompany the aforesaid companies and leave for Uttar Pradesh on October 5. Their deployment would be done on October 7and they would come back on October 14.

He said these security forces would be deployed in the most sensitive areas like Aligarh, Varanasi, Allahabad, Faizabad and Ayodhya.

He said these forces were being sent on the instructions of the Union Home Ministry. He said the ministry had, however, not instructed the Punjab Government to send forces to Arunachal Pradesh where the state Assembly elections were also going to be held on October 13.

The ADGP said on the instructions of Dr A.A. Siddiqui, Director General of Police, Punjab, five companies of security forces would be deployed in the byelections of Garhshankar and Kapurthala segments of the state Assembly.


Bhattal visits mental hospital, medical college
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 2
Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in a surprise visit to the local government institute of mental care and government medical college and hospital found serious drawbacks in both institutes.

Ms Bhattal visited Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital with Dr B.L. Goyal, Director, mental institute. Ms Bhattal who visited the institute with “ladoos” for hospital inmates on Gandhi Jayanti, said 400 patients in the hospital should be given adequate care and pointed out that the upkeep of hospital also was in questionable state.

She expressed concern over the inadequate arrangements in the institute.

The Rs 40-crore hospital had became operational last year and caters to mentally challenged patients from Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

After inspecting the meals being served to the hospital inmates, she instructed that tables and chairs might be arranged to serve the meals. She also tasted it and did not find it up to the mark.

She asked Deputy Commissioner Raminder Singh to provide a colour television for the entertainment of the patients here.

Mr Jagmohan Kang, Minister for Tourism, also accompanied her along with Dr Raj Kumar, Parliamentary Secretary for school education.

Inspecting 40 acres surplus land opposite the institute, she promised that the government would put it to proper utilisation in the public interest.

Later, Ms Bhattal, who holds additional charge of Minister for Medical Education and Research, Higher and Technical Education, also visited the government medical college.

While inspecting the wards and departments of Guru Nanak Hospital, she expressed her unhappiness over the administrative arrangements in the hospital and instructed for remedial measures to establish patient-friendly relations.

Expressing concern over the lack of high-technology techniques, she promised to introduce the upgraded infrastructure to provide better health care.


Tributes paid to national martyrs
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 2
The Golden Arrow Division of the Indian Army, organised a function at the samadhi of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev situated near the Indo-Pakistan border, to pay tribute to the national martyrs, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti today.

On the occasion, Army jawans, NCC cadets and hundreds of school and college children took part in a cleanliness drive at the national heritage and surrounding areas.

Brig S.K. Kathuria, VSM, Commander Sehjra Brigade, while addressing the NCC cadets and the schoolchildren laid stress on the importance of upkeep of national monuments to preserve them for the coming generations.

While paying tributes to the Father of the Nation, Brigadier Kathuria said the children should follow the path of duty, devotion, dedication and service to one and all irrespective of case, creed and culture, as shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

He said the spirit of sacrifice for the motherland should never die down. He commended the efforts of the state government for the beautification and development of the memorial.

Col I.J.S. Chauhan, Commanding Officer, Col R.D. Singh, CO, Col P.P.S. Gill, Deputy Commandant, Major J.P. Singh and other senior civil, police and army officials were present on the occasion.

The Army officials and their families also took part in the cleanliness drive and planted trees to enhance the beauty of the memorial.

The Army authorities also installed dustbins, swings, and tree guards at the memorial.


SBP employees oppose FDI
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 2
The 19th convention of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation commenced at the local Polo Ground today with thousands of employees from all over the country gathering to attend the rally.

The employees assembled in front of the SPOB office at the Mall road and went in a procession to the venue of the rally, holding placards and banners in which their demands were depicted.

The rally was inaugurated by MP and trade union leader Gurudas Dasgupta. Among those who spoke on the occasion, were Mr C.V. Venkatachalam, secretary of All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), Ms Amarjit Kaur, secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Mr Atul Anjan, secretary, All-India Kisan Sabha.

A majority the speakers welcomed the UPA government’s decision of not privatising the public sector banks and also demanded the public sector banks to be owed by the government and that there should be no further dilution of government stake in public sector banking industry.

The general body also passed several resolutions, the most prominent of them being — to withdraw permission to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 74 per cent of capital of banks, to publish a list of loan defaulters, to debar defaulters from holding public offices, and to amend the act which provided for non-attachment of personal properties of defaulters — among others.

Demands like increase in the rate of interest of small savings, reduction of the interest rate on agricultural credit, other rural credit and revitalisation and restructuring of co-operative banks also came up for discussion.


Need for senior citizens homes stressed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 2
A district-level function, organised by the Elders Service Society (ESS) here today to commemorate the World Elders Day, impressed upon the Punjab Government to set up day-care centres and senior citizens homes at the block and district levels for proper rehabilitation of the elders in the state.

Special Funds should also be allocated to ensure all types of health facilities to them.

Expressing concern over the failure of implementation of the national policy in true spirit, the function demanded grant of a regular pension of Rs 1,000 against Rs 300 to solve their problems.

An appeal was also made for launching a special campaign to awaken the youths about their social duties.

Regretting the prevailing conditions in his presidential address, Mr Jaswant Singh Chadha Superintending Engineer (retd), disclosed that nearly 90 per cent of the 7.50 crore elders were leading their lives in an urorganised way and 40 per cent of them were living below the poverty line.

Advising the younger generation to be more cooperative towards their elders, he said that by 2025 the number of the senior citizens would cross to over 17 crore. He appealed to all the social organisations to devote their energy for the betterment of the senior citizens.

Welcoming the guests and senior citizens to the function, Mr Jagmohan Singh Brar, president of the ESS, said that the body had already established a day care and health centre at Sadiq village, 15 km, from here, to serve the elders of the area.


Cop killed as bus falls into nullah
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur (Ropar) October 2
One constable of the Himachal police was killed, while 18 others including nine police personnel and nine inmates, were injured when the police bus in which they were travelling rolled down into a nullah at Kiratpur, about 40 km from here, today. Three of them are said to be seriously injured. Later, all injured were admitted at the Civil Hospital, Anadpur Sahib.

The mishap took place when the ill-fated bus (HP-020-A-9309) carrying the inmates and the police personnel was on its way from Kiratpur to Shimla. The inmates were being taken to the Kanda jail in Shimla after their case hearing at Bilaspur in Himachal.

The bus driver, Jagjit Singh, lost control when the tie-rod of the steering broke near the Dehri turn. Constable Sukhwinder of Ramgrah was crushed to death, when the bus rolled down into a nullah.

The SP, Una, and the DSP, along with a team of police personnel, also reached the spot.


SC acquits orthopaedist
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 2
The Supreme Court has acquitted noted orthopaedician, Dr Hardeep Singh Sohal, who was earlier sentenced to life imprisonment by a designated TADA court. Dr Sohal was released from the Nabha jail yesterday evening.

On April 10, 2004, the Nabha-based TADA designated court judge had sentenced Dr Sohal for his alleged involvement in the murder of a noted psychiatrist, Dr Megh Raj Goel, on February 6, 1992.

According to the prosecution story, Dr Goel and his wife, Dr Suman Rani, were running a successful psychiatric practice. A rival doctor, Dr Surinder Singh Sandhu, a friend of Dr Sohal, too was engaged in running a psychiatric hospital. Keeping in view Dr Goel’s growing popularity, the prosecution said, both Dr Sohal and Dr Sandhu, along with one Mr Balwinder Singh, hatched a conspiracy to do away with Dr Goel.

Mr Justice K.G. Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court ruled that the Special Judge of the TADA court seriously erred in admitting confessions as an item of evidence against the appellants. Apart from the evidence of confession, the prosecution attempted to prove the motive of the appellants to do away with Dr Megh Raj Goel. But the motive itself is not sufficient to prove guilt.


Rain has farmers worried
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Besides impeding the procurement of paddy at various places in Punjab and Haryana, the widespread rainfall today caused damage to the paddy crop at several places in both the states. At certain places fast-blowing winds flattened the standing paddy crop.

Officials of the local regional Met Department said that reports of light to moderate rain have come almost from all parts of the region. For instance, there has been 4 mm rainfall at Ambala and 13 mm at Hisar. Likewise, reports of rainfall have come from Patiala, Bathinda and Faridkot etc. At the time of filing of this report late this evening, it was raining in the City Beautiful and adjoining areas.

Inclement weather has not only hit the harvesting operations but has also exposed the claims of the Punjab Government regarding arrangements made by it with regard to the procurement. Informed sources said that rain water entered in most of the grain market yards, thus causing problems in holding the auction of paddy. Part of paddy heaps stacked outside got soaked in the rain water.

Praying to the rain gods to show mercy on farmers, who are busy in collecting their paddy crop, a farmer of a village near Banur said that he had harvested one acre of paddy yesterday. “But rain this morning has left me worried. It would become difficult to separate paddy grains from the harvested crop because of rain,” he added.

In fact, the prevailing bad weather has set the heartbeat of farmers racing. They had the impression that the monsoon has withdrawn from this region. But rainfall today has disturbed their calculations. “Obviously, we would like sunny weather at this stage. Rain is totally unwelcome now,” said another farmer from Dakala near Patiala.

Over 20 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured in Punjab in the past few days. Punjab is expecting the arrival of 128 lakh tonnes of paddy this year. The government agencies have fixed a target to procure 110 lakh tonnes while the remaining will be procured by private traders. During the last week, farmers got the price up to Rs 690 per quintal because of the heavy demand for good quality of paddy by private traders.


Paddy procurement
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 2
Mr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies Department, Punjab, inspected the main mandi here last night. He also inspected mandis of Behram, Banga, Balachaur and Kartarpur for taking stock of the paddy purchase and expressed satisfaction over the ongoing procurement arrangements of paddy, an official press note issued today said.

Mr Gupta disclosed that so far 17 lakh metric tonnes of paddy had been purchased in various mandis of Punjab. Out of it, 12 lakh metric tons were purchased by various agencies.

Claiming that the Punjab government had made elaborate arrangements for paddy procurement by setting 1453 purchase centres, Mr Gupta said the Reserve Bank of India had sanctioned Rs 6657.2 crore for paddy purchase out of which the first instalment of Rs 1891 crore had been received by the state govt.


5 Punsup officials suspended
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 2
Five officials of Punsup, including its district manager have been suspended for misappropriating wheat and rice worth about Rs 2 crore in connivance with three sheller owners.

According to an order of Punsup MD S.S. Ghuman, District Manager Amrik Singh, Field Officer V.K. Chopra, Inspectors Daler Singh, Amarjit Singh and Ranvir Singh have been suspended with immediate effect.

The officials were accused of misappropriating wheat and rice worth Rs 2 crore in connivance with three sheller owners of Sadik and Kotkapura.

Sources said Punsup had kept with two shellers 4,000 quintals of rice each that was worth about Rs 96 lakh, besides 7,000 quintals of rice worth Rs 84 lakh with a Kotkapura sheller.

After receiving a complaint, Punjab Civil Supplies Minister Avtar Henry had ordered an investigation into the matter.

The investigating team also found wheat worth Rs 25 lakh missing from Punsup godown in Kotkapura.

Punsup has replaced the officials in the wake of the ongoing paddy procurement.

Mr Hakam Singh has been appointed as the new District Manager of Punsup.


Sarpanch’s husband shot dead
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 2
The husband of Gidar village's Sarpanch and a Youth Congress leader, Gurcharan Singh Charna, was shot dead at the village last evening. Four persons, including the candidate whom his wife defeated in the panchayat elections and her husband, have been booked in this connection.

Sources said Charna along with his uncle Ganda Singh had gone to his farm last evening, and the accused armed with a .12-bore gun and a revolver reached there. The accused fired at them and fled from the spot. Charna's uncle rushed him to the Civil Hospital where he died.

The sources said the wife of the deceased, Kiranjeet Kaur, had defeated Paramjeet Kaur in the last panchayat elections following which there was tension between the two parties.

A case has been registered against Darshan Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Jaspal Singh and his wife Paramjeet Kaur under Sections 302, 341, and 34 of the IPC and Sections of the Arms Act.


Akali leader held for duping elderly
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 2
The Economic Offences Wing has arrested an ex-servicemen and Akali leader, Resham Singh for duping many elderly persons of their money under the pretext of helping them get their pension. The accused had been evading arrest for the past one year.

Sources said the accused Resham Singh of Dholewal village had taken Rs 800 to Rs 1000 from elderly men and women of Bajeke village in Dharamkot, claiming he could help them get old-age pension from the government.

He had even issued them fake pension books. When these persons didn’t receive pension for a couple of months they approached the Social Security Department, which told them that their pension books had not been issued by the department. They then lodged a complaint against Resham Singh following which a case of fraud was registered against him.

Unconfirmed reports said that the Dharamkot police was not taking action against him due to some “political pressure” following which the SSP had handed over the probe to the Economic Offences Wing, which arrested him. The accused had been booked on November 19 last year, but had not been arrested till now.


Four cops dismissed for helping smuggler
Tribune News Service

Batala, October 2
The Batala SSP, Mr Ram Singh, has dismissed four policemen for allegedly helping a notorious smuggler from a hospital. They have also been accused of helping the escapee in smuggling operations.

The dismissed policemen include Haw Santokh Singh and Constables Waris Maseih, Rajiv Kumar and Kulbir Singh.

In a pressnote issued here today, the SSP said Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Jathola village in Amritsar, was undergoing punishment in the Gurdaspur jail on the charge of smuggling narcotics. He, however, got himself admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital feigning kidney problem. One guard from the Batala police district was deputed in the hospital to keep an eye on the smuggler.

However, during a surprise checking at the hospital by DSP Ashish Kapoor, the accused was found to be missing from the hospital.

In the further investigation, it was found the policemen deputed on security duty and the hospital staff used to help the smuggler escape from the hospital and carry out his smuggling operations.

A case has been registered against the accused policemen.


Markfed Inspector nabbed

Amritsar, October 2
The Vigilance Bureau today nabbed an Inspector of Markfed and branch in charge of Bhagtawal grain market here for allegedly bungling wheat bags.

Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, Senior Superintendent of the bureau, said Vigilance sleuths, along with experts of Markfed, made a surprise check at Mahal open complex. The team found 4,377 bags weighing 50 kg each missing.

He said Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon Inspector, Markfed, and custodian of the complex, in connivance with Harjit Singh, branch in charge, Bhagtawala grain market, disposed of about 2,183 quintals of wheat worth Rs 18.62 lakh.

Both accused have been taken in two-day police remand. A case has been registered. — OC


1 injured in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 2
One person was injured in an accident near Chapar Chiri village when a tractor and a scooter collided today.

According to the police, the injured person, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, was a resident of Phase X, Mohali.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC against the driver of the tractor, Balwinder Singh, a resident of Ghataur village under Kurali police station.


800 students take part in IT festival
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 2
More than 800 IT students drawn from various universities, colleges and IT institutes of North India participated in the three-day national-level technical-cum-cultural festival, “La-Fiesta-2004”, at Guru Nanak Dev University, here today.

The festival is being organised under the aegis of the Technical Students Society of the Department of Computer Science and Technology of the university. Competitions in web page designing, on-the-spot programming, IT quiz (screening) and debugging (screening) were held today.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, inaugurated the festival and said computer revolution had made our life enjoyable. He said website, software application and mobile devices could be used to change the attitude and behaviour of people. The mode of communication enabled easy reach of information, he added.

While speaking about the modern trends in computer technology, Dr Salwan said the broad come (wireless network zip), synthetic vision, cognitive operation system, voice recognition and nano technology were the latest concepts in computer revolution that had changed the life of human beings.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, presided over the function. He said IT was an ever-evolving industry and there was a need for young dynamic minds who could think better, perform better and take on the responsibilities.

A cultural programme was also organised for the students on this occasion.


College holds seminar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 2
A seminar on “Diploma in business management” was organised at the Guru Gobind Singh College of Modern Technology, here today.

The Principal said there was a plan to start classes for the one-year diploma course to give students a basic insight into the managerial work of various organisations. A fully functional laboratory having audio-video facilities would also be started.

The Principal said management skills acquired along with engineering skills would help students to be ahead of others in this era of competition.


D.Litt couple
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 2
Dr Gursharan Kaur Jaggi, Principal, Government College for Women, Patiala, has been awarded D.Litt degree by the Bhagalpur University. Her research work was based on Bhagti Andolan Movement in Punjab and her thesis carried hard work of seven years and there after an open viva was conducted in July 2004 in which more than 100 teachers and students cross-examined her and she successfully got through after satisfying them with her highly intellectual performance.

Mrs Jaggi has written more than a dozen books and got three prizes from the Language Department of Punjab. Her husband, a renowned scholar, Dr Rattan Singh Jaggi, already has a D.Litt degree and the couple has the distinction of having the highest academic degree.


NSS camp
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 2
A 10-day NSS camp was inaugurated at GND Khalsa College here on Friday by SSP Kapil Dev. The SSP appreciated the college for its achievement in various fields. Principal Devinder Mann was also present on the occasion.

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