P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Curbs proposed on Sikh high priests’ foreign visits
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
In a significant development the first SGPC executive body, which meet here today, clipped the wings of Sikh high priests and hazoori raagis by proposing restrictions on their frequent trips to foreign countries.

Their foreign “religious itineraries” adversely affect the routine activities at the Golden Temple, it was stated.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, SGPC, said from now onwards Sikh clerics would be visiting foreign countries once in a couple of years. She urged the Sikh sangat and Panthic institutes of foreign countries to extend invitations to Sikh clerics through the SGPC so that all of them could get a chance to propagate Sikhism outside the country without affecting local religious activities.

Moreover, the Sikh high priests hardly deposit the money collected from NRI Sikhs with the SGPC when they return. Interestingly, in the past couple of months Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has spent more time in foreign countries than in India. Instead of implementing the religious code during the SGPC general election he preferred to visit a foreign country.

In yet another important development, the SGPC executive has formed a five-member sub-committee to scrutinise certain controversial promotions made during the previous SGPC’s tenure in violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, and directives of Chief Gurdwara Election Commission. Bibi Jagir Kaur said the fact-finding committee would submit its report at the next executive meeting.

The members of the committee are Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, senior vice-president, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, Mr Harjinder Singh Dhami, advocate, Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath and Mr Sanmukh Singh Mokha. She, however, stated that there won’t be no witch-hunting.

Replying to a question, the SGPC chief said baptised Sikh women might be given a chance to perform kirtan at the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple on the condition that they are well-versed with the prescribed ragaas.

The SGPC executive has also decided to introduce on-line system at all Sikh gurdwaras.

To provide modern facilities for pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple Guru Ram Dass Serai will be reconstructed through kar seva. Bibi Jagir Kaur said more land would be purchased to build serais.

Meanwhile, she said the SGPC had contacted co-chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mr Sham Singh, and sought report on the attack on Nankana Sahib.


‘Tainted’ SGPC member told to record statement
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
Sikh clergy today directed Baldev Singh, an SGPC member who was booked on charges of molesting the wife of a ‘raagi’, and the alleged victim to record their respective statements at Akal Takht secretariat. The directions were issued at a meeting of the Sikh clergy here.

Joginder Singh Vedanti, Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Tarlochan Singh, Iqbal Singh — jathedars of Akal Takht, Damdama Sahib, Kesgarh Sahib and Patna Sahib, respectively, and Jagtar Singh, Granthi Golden Temple, attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Baldev Singh held a meeting with Jathedar Vedanti and urged him to withdraw restrictions imposed on his religious activities.

Also, Sikh clerics issued warning to Gurinder Singh Dhanola, convener of Miri Piri Organisation, for misquoting Sikh history in an advertisement published during the Lok Sabha poll.

In yet another development, Jathedar, Akal Takht, directed President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Parlahad Singh Chandok to pay Rs 1.1 crore to Avtar Singh Hit, a former president of the DSGMC, as per recommendations of the sub-committee, formed by Akal Takht to settle the dispute.


250 NRIs arrive for celebrations
Our Correspondent

Amritsar October 4
On the motivation of Mr Balwinder Singh of Nanaksar Samprada, a jatha of 250 NRI Sikhs from European and other countries arrived here today a part of the quadricentennial celebrations on the installation of Guru Granth Sahib .

A majority of the NRIs are from England and others from the USA, Dubai, Canada and Germany. They were accorded a warm welcome by SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur and others.

The jatha members were presented with siropas and taken in a special nagar kirtan procession led by Guru Granth Sahib in a special palanquin.


Declared martyr, constable languishes in Pak jail
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 4
He was first declared missing and later a martyr, but after 33 long years his family gets the news that he is very much alive, though in a Pakistani jail.

BSF constable Surjit Singh’s wife, Angrej Kaur, led a tough life to rear her only son in the absence of her husband, who fought the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

An Indian prisoner, Khushi Mohammad of Malerkotla, released from Kot Lakhpat jail of Pakistan informed Surjit’s family that Surjit was in the same jail.

Other prisoners released from the jail also corroborated the news.

Jagjit Singh, a resident of Kapurthala, who was also in the same jail, told the family that Surjit had got disillusioned since nobody had tried to trace him and had been hoping that one day his prayers would be answered.

Talking to The Tribune, Angrej Kaur said they were living in Tehna village of the district when her husband, who was in 57 Battalion of the BSF, had to leave for battleground in 1971.

After the war, her husband’s companions returned, while others, including Surjit Singh, went “missing”.

When she approached top Army officials, they said a search was on to find him.

On July 27, 1972, Angrej Kaur got a missing certificate from Cmdt H.S. Sidhu informing her that Surjit went missing on the intervening night of December 3 and 4 from Jaisalmer.

Later, she received a certificate from Cmdt Ram Singh declaring Surjit Singh as martyr on September 24, 1974.

Accepting her fate, she started living at her father’s house along with her one-month-old son, Amrik Singh.

She resisted pressure from her family and friends to get remarried and decided to spend her life raising her son.

The son is now married and runs a photo studio here. She also has a grandson and a granddaughter.

Angrej Kaur said they read in a newspaper that Khushi Mohammad had mentioned the names of some Indian prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails.

Surjit’s name was also there, but without any address. Amrik then went to Malerkotla and showed his father’s old photograph to Khushi, which he recognised immediately.

The reaction of Kapurthala’s Jagjit Singh was also the same. He said Surjit was kept in jail despite the fact that he had completed his term.

He said Surjit had told him many times that he had written a letter to his family, but had not received a reply.

Angrej Kaur has now written to the President, Prime Minister and top BSF officials to help secure the released of her husband from the Pakistan jail.


Clean chit to CM in chopper misuse case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has reportedly been given a clean chit by the state Chief Secretary (CS) in the chopper-misuse case.

In another election-related development, Kapurthala's Deputy Commissioner was on Monday asked to look into Shiromani Akali Dal's letter alleging model code of conduct's violation, besides prayer for deployment of paramilitary forces in the constituency.

The sources in Punjab Government revealed that the Chief Secretary reportedly stated that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, never visited Kapurthala on a helicopter rented out by the state government.

Dismissing the allegations, the Chief Secretary reportedly asserted that the Chief Minister only went till Jalandhar on the helicopter, before leaving for Kapurthala by road on September 22.

The Akali Dal, in its complaint forwarded to the Election Commission of India, had earlier alleged that the Chief Minister was using the chopper for poll purposes by clubbing official tour with election campaign.

Referring to an incident, Akali Dal's Secretary Dr Daljit Singh Cheema had asserted that the Chief Minister had landed in Jalandhar for official work on September 22 but had left for neighbouring district Kapurthala by road soon after to attend Congress candidate's function.

The Chief Minister, by resorting to such tactics, was "trying to circumvent the model code of conduct", Dr Cheema had claimed.

He had also demanded the grounding of the state helicopter till the completion of the election process. The addition of costs — incurred during the tour — into the total election expenses was also sought.

In the other letter, SAD President Parkash Singh Badal had alleged the violation of model code of conduct by the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers.

"There is no rule of law in Punjab," Badal alleged in the letter to the Chief Election Commissioner. He was also asked to deploy paramilitary forces in the Kapurthala constituency.

Mr Badal also demanded that both Deputy Commissioner and Kapurthala's Senior Superintendent of Police should be transferred and the polling staff should be from central government departments.

He also demanded that all inquiries related to alleged violations of election code should be referred to central observers and not to any state officer.

"I am getting information that the Congress party is making all efforts to get the staff of its choice posted for poll related duties. If this happens, one cannot even dream of having free and fair elections in Kapurthala," Badal added.

CEO G.S. Cheema was not available for comments.


Cong govt has betrayed people: Kanwaljit
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
Former Punjab Finance Minister and senior Akali leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh today alleged that the state government had failed to effect any development in the state during its two- and-half year “misrule”.

He said the government had “totally failed” to manage economy of the state. It was evident from the repeated statements of those who were running the government that the state coffers were empty and that it was facing a fiscal deficit of over Rs 10,000 crore, he added.

In an interview with The Tribune, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was accompanied by senior Akali leader Rajinder Singh Sandal, said the government’s major act of “betrayal” of the interests of people of the state was the scrapping of the Bathinda refinery project. “You can feel it if you see the plight of over 30 lakh educated unemployed youths of the state, and observe the huge employment generation potential of the refinery. In my view, through refinery over 1.5 lakh persons could get direct or indirect employment, but, unfortunately, the project was virtually nullified by the state government. The issue alone could threaten the social equilibrium apart from bearing the potential of becoming a law and order problem as 40 per cent of population of the state Congress youths between age of 14 and 35 years. Not only this, the SAD-BJP government had extended incentives worth Rs 2,000 crore to farmers, traders and employees during its five-year term and all such incentives sadly stand withdrawn,” he said.

Referring to the fiscal position of the state, he said even the Finance Minister had conceded on the floor of the House that the state government was running with a Rs 10,000 crore deficit and it was sufficient for anyone to judge the situation for himself. “It is for sheer mismanagement. For an example, the state government has claimed sale tax buoyancy at 7 per cent, which, itself stands neutralised by 8 per cent inflation growth. As far as excise revenue is concerned, the government claim of 5 per cent growth is drastically lower than the one achieved by the previous SAD-BJP government. Moreover, state revenue has been mortgaged in favour of a few chosen ones,” he said.


Disqualify Cong nominee, says SAD
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 4
In a yet another complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner here today, the Shiromani Akali Dal has demanded that Ms Sukhjinder Rana be disqualified from contesting the poll for allegedly “exceeding the upper limit of electoral expenses as laid down under the law as also for enacting willful exception on the electorate through mischievously designed sponsored news material”.

In the complaint, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, secretary of the party, has written that the candidate was indulging in acts of massive deception to the people of the constituency by inserting misleading sponsored news and editorial material in certain newspapers. He said the publicity material designed as independent news reports had been inserted as paid advertisements and the expenses incurred on such advertisements far exceeded the upper limit set by the commission for the purpose.

Dr Cheema stated that correspondents were deliberately designing the full-page advertisements as a cluster of independent news reports. To cover the legal formality, it had been mentioned that the reports were advertisements in a footnote given illegible at the bottom.

Dr Cheema said it had become necessary to disqualify the candidate as such an action could put the fear of law in the mind of the ruling party in Punjab and also to pre-empt the potential damage such a conduct could do to the atmosphere of free and fair poll.

Meanwhile, Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, summed up his three-day election tour with his last rally held at Mansoorwala Dona village on Jalandhar road this afternoon. He repeated the same old issues he had been putting before the public from the past two days.

The Chief Minister said the World Bank was likely to soon release a grant of Rs 1600 crore to Punjab to help the state solve the problem pertaining to water shortage. He said the state had bought power worth Rs 20 crore to ensure that farmers did not suffer from power losses. He said the PSEB had been reeling under a deficit of Rs 1800 crore at the time he joined the government. But he added that now the same board had earned a profit Rs 250 crore.

The Chief Minister held meetings with the state representatives of the Akhil Bhartiya Samastha Bawaria Samaj Sangathan who demanded that social discrimination made against them be stopped and they too be given the right of better status in the society. The members also demanded 7.5. per cent reservation in the ST quota for themselves.

Capt Amarinder Singh also held meetings with rice shellers and arhtiyas at a hotel who shared their problems with him. The arhtiyas were represented by Mr Rajinder Kaura, vice-president of their district association.


No paramilitary forces for Kapurthala: CM
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 4
Turning down the demand of Shiromani Akali Dal for deployment of paramilitary forces in Kapurthala, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said that police force would be deployed in strength in the constituency to take strict action against those who try to bribe voters with “money, liquor or drugs”.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, the Chief Minister said that the Shiromani Akali Dal was in the habit of making complaints to the Election Commission as well as demanding deployment of PMF every time any election is held in Punjab.

“Last time in the Lok Sabha elections also the Dal had demanded deployment of PMF. Free and fair elections were held under the supervision of state police. If we were to misuse official machinery, we could have easily won in Lok Sabha elections also. We are for fair and free poll. No one will be allowed to take law into one’s hands,” he said, maintaining that the Home Department has been directed to send reinforcements so that “strict vigil is maintained on trouble makers”.

“The government will not allow any one to disturb peace and tranquility in the state. We will not hesitate to take action against those who try to instigate trouble anywhere in the two constituencies where byelections are to be held on October 13,” he added.

Talking about the apex court order today, he said that cases of corruption against the Badal family would be pursued with vigour to their logical conclusion. “They cannot be clubbed with other cases, including that of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. In case of Badals and other Akali leaders, prior consent of the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had been taken,” the Chief Minister said.

“There is no question of transferring the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Gurdaspur. There is no direction from the Supreme Court to that effect. The apex court has referred the case back to the High Court. We will not go by the wishes of the gurdwara commission,” declared the Chief Minister.

“There is complete unity in the party and we have divided leadership in two parts to campaign in both Garhshankar and Kapurthala alternatively. After spending three days, I will now be moving to Garhshankar. Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal will come and campaign here for three days from October 6. We have chalked out a complete programme and everything is moving smoothly,” he said.

“I will be back here on October 7 and then we will plan a major rally for our show of strength on October 10,” he said, holding that the response of the voters to his party and candidate has been “overwhelming”.


Stars may campaign in Kapurthala
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 4
Hectic campaigning by the top political leadership of the State notwithstanding, the major contestants — Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal — may rope in some Bollywood stars as well as national leaders to sustain the high pitch of electioneering here.

This high profile constituency has become prestigious both for the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

While Congressmen are slightly disappointed that Union Sports Minister, Mr Sunil Dutt, and cine star Govinda, may not be able to come and campaign here because of their active involvement in the Maharashtra assembly elections, they hope that they would be compensated by some central leaders who would visit the constituency before it goes to polls on October 13.

They, however, have some consolation that Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Shiela Dixit, who belongs to Kapurthala, would come and campaign for Mrs Sukhjinder Rana.

On the other hand, the Shiromani Akali Dal is hoping that both Hema Malini and Dharmendra would campaign here to “swing some votes in favour of their candidate”.

“We are also expecting Mr Arun Jaitely, Mrs Sushma Swaraj and some more central leaders to work for our candidate and swing the fence sitting vote in our favour,” says Dr Diljeet Singh Cheema, Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

In fact, both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal had been virtually going door to door. While Capt Amarinder Singh addressed three rallies — two of them with an impressive turnout — the SAD supremo was in the rural areas addressing largely attended gatherings in panchayat ghars and even houses of elected panches and sarpanches.

While Mr Parkash Singh Badal has been seeking “vote for Panth” to oust the anti-farmer and anti-Punjab Congress from the State, Capt Amarinder Singh continues to make development of the State as the basis for seeking people’s support.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who is getting into his new role of a tireless campaigner, does not spare any opportunity to attack his opponents, especially the Akalis, for their “alleged massive corruption and emptying coffers of the State”. Besides, he prides himself in claiming that his government had been successful to a great extent in putting the economy back on rails.

At the State-level rally of Bohria Samaj in the afternoon, he not only promised to get this erstwhile tribe its political due but also declared that all pending demands of the community would be taken up with the Union Government for speedy redressal. He also addressed a rally of the Youth Congress besides interacting with commission agents and rice millers of the town.

On the other hand, the Shiromani Akali Dal continues to target both the Chief Minister and Rana Gurjit Singh, MP, for their “arrogance and vindictiveness”. Mr Parkash Singh Badal has been playing the “water and power card” in rural areas and victimisation of both SAD and BJP workers by the Congress Government in urban areas.

Alleging that there was no democracy left in Punjab, the Dal chief also labels “Congress as anti-farmer and anti-Punjab party” and reels out instances of “opposition oppression”. Interestingly, Mr Badal wants people to vote for him and the Dal or the Panth so as to teach the Congress Government and the Chief Minister a lesson.

Besides, these two main players, other candidates in the fray have been subdued in their campaigning. They are mostly moving door to door.

While bigger rallies for show of strength are expected around October 10 or 11, campaigning is at its peak. The streets of this erstwhile princely town remain crowded with vehicles flying party flags.


High time Cong, SAD bury the hatchet
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
A report in today’s newspaper says that on Sunday the Prime Minister had an informal meeting with some “young” Congress Members of Parliament to get a feedback on their perception of a “developed’’ India and views on health, education and unemployment. There is a proposal to involve MPs from other political parties, as well, and get an overview of their “vision’’ of India-2020.

The Prime Minister is believed to have shared with them his own ideas that “growth and distributive justice should go together. There should be passion in the government’s thinking and people, who are a strategic resource, must be involved in the development process’’.

A similar exercise was undertaken by the President, who had had 10 breakfast meetings with MPs from all states, in March-May, 2003. He too had shared with them his concept of a “developed’’ India. He had stressed on the MPs to “work together’’. The outcome of those discussions is available in a beautiful, informative and illustrated book, “Towards Vision 2020’’.

The meeting that Dr Manmohan Singh has had with the MPs was aimed at helping them to pool their ideas, prepare an “action plan’’ for the youth of the country and present it to the Prime Minister. The exercise is believed to be in sync with his July 12 letter to all the chief ministers, wherein he had outlined the agenda of the government and sought “collective endeavour’’ of the elected representatives in the best traditions of “cooperative federalism’’. His thoughts are reflected in the Common Minimum Programme and budget —2004-05.

Those thoughts juxtapose well with what the President had discussed with the MPs. Consequent to those meetings the following five key areas were identified for “integrated’’ action:

(a) Agriculture and food processing, with a target of 360 million tonnes per annum of food and agricultural products, which would ensure food security and prosperity to rural people, besides speeding up economic growth;

(b) Education and healthcare, which are inter-related and assist in population control leading to social security and national security.

(c) Infrastructure development, including reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country.

(d) Information and communication technology to be used for promoting education in remote areas, creating employment opportunities and national wealth through export earnings; and

(e) Critical technologies and strategic industries — progress in nuclear, space and defence technologies will provide sustained growth and self-reliance for the nation.

In fact, in 2001, Mr Suresh Chandel, BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh, had taken an unusual step to bring together nearly 60 MP colleagues from the northern states to form an “informal’’ forum, cutting across political fences to work for the common cause of the region and its people. Unlike the UP MPs’ “power’’ group that indulged in “power games’’, The forum’s only purpose was to “network’’ on common projects to benefit the region. These were to be cost-effective, create job avenues, and improve incomes and economies of the people. These were to be of mutual interest to the states, free from political rancour and contentious issues.

The forum had shortlisted several projects, including trauma centre at Karnal for victims of road accidents and setting up of diagnostic extension centres of Chandigarh-based PGI in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. The MPs had also agreed on a common market, on the pattern of Delhi’s Azadpur mandi. It was to be located somewhere near Baddi, an upcoming industrial hub.

During the last parliamentary elections, at least three Congress candidates in the border constituencies, Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder (Gurdaspur), Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria (Tarn Taran) and Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar (Ferozepore), who all lost, had shared their views and shown their commitment to the welfare of the people in the three border districts.

The three had categorically told TNS during the election that irrespective of the outcome of the result, they would net-work to mitigate the socio-economic problems faced by the people living on the border, as they were virtually living on the razor’s edge, given the poor infrastructure, communication, education, health delivery systems.

The byelections to the two Assembly constituencies will be over on October 13. Irrespective of which party wins which seat, will the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal work together, forgetting their political acrimony, for the collective benefit of the state and its people in the spirit of what the President and the Prime Minister have desired? Or will the two continue to maintain Ostrich-like postures, much to the consternation of the state and its people?


BJP seeks central forces for byelections
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 4
Senior BJP leader and former minister Madan Mohan Mittal today urged the Election Commission of India to deploy central security forces for the Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly byelections as the government was allegedly misusing its official machinery and local police there.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Mittal claimed that the SAD-BJP combine was “comfortably placed” in both the constituency as people were “fed up” with the Congress government in the state. He, however, expressed apprehensions that the government would not allow free and fair elections there. Mr Mittal also demanded the transfer of the SP, Garhshankar, who, he alleged, had adopted a partisan approach.


‘Rock garden’ at Shivalik foothills
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Talwara: Inspired by Nek Chand, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has started developing a ‘rock garden’ at its Talwara township.

Using scrap engineers of the BBMB, some of whom have received training from Nek Chand, have started developing statues. The statues are being developed in the 20-acre landscape at the foothills of lush green Shivaliks on the Talwara-Mukerain road.

They are being created by the engineers and the workers of the BBMB using waste, nuts, bolts, broken pipes and worn-out machine parts. They, besides human interest, would depict the engineering activities during construction of dams. The activities that the statues here would depict include engineers and workers involved in digging, drilling, erecting structures and construction activities.

About 100 statues have already being placed in the area.

Mr Narinder Sharma Chief Engineer, Irrigation, Talwara, who conceptualized the idea of a ‘rock garden’ at Talwara said, Nek Chand himself had created a few statues. He had also visited the spot two times and supervised the project himself. However, now the engineers of the BBMB were adding their technical creativity to the skill learned from Nek Chand to create art from scrap.

The ‘rock garden’ here is part of the wider scheme of developing a green belt and an amusement park in the area. Initially, the BBMB had decided to develop a green belt in its 65-acre wasteland. However, later the engineers here on their own developed a concept design for a ‘rock garden’, an amusement park and a green belt here. Nek Chand was contacted to extend his advice and help in developing the rock garden.

Now the concept of amusement cum nature-park being developed here besides rock garden includes cafeterias and fund games for children that are also being developed from scrap, orchards of litchi and citrus fruits, green belts of teak, cloned eucalyptus and bamboo. Already 10,000 trees, including 5000 cloned eucalyptus trees, 1000 teak trees and 1800 bamboos have been planted successfully in the area.

Mr Sharma said after the first phase of the ‘rock garden’ and the nature-cum-amusement park, it would be opened for public by March next year. The BBMB intends to give the park to some private contractor on maintenance and operation basis after its completion. It would boost the economy of the area as large number of people from the surrounding areas are expected to visit it. Since the BBMB was using its own workers and scrap for the creations in the park, the cost of its development was minimum.

The BBMB, Talwara, is also going to start the solid waste management project at Talwara. The segregated waste from the surrounding areas would be used for creating art in the ‘rock garden’, he told.

The efforts of the BBMB authorities at Talwara have received appreciation from the Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, who has visited the area and promised all kind of financial help for the project.


Girl sold to NRI for 12 lakh by aunt
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar October 4
Rajdeep, a 22-year-girl from Ludhiana, was reportedly sold by her father’s sister to a Canada-based middle aged NRI for Rs 12 lakh.

She got to know her predicament when her NRI husband not only beat her up but also told her that she had been “purchased” by him after paying Rs 12 lakh to her aunt and hence she could not object to his right over her.

Rajdeep was later sent to the Nari Niketan here by the Punjab Human Rights Commission which Rajdeep had moved after “intolerable” behaviour of her husband and even that of her aunt’s sons, who used to “force” her to stay with the NRI.

Rajdeep said her mother had died when she was just four years old and thereafter she had been staying with her aunt at her house in Kharar. One fine day she found that she was engaged to a middle-aged NRI Balwinder Singh (name changed), a 40-year-old Canada-based NRI, who originally hailed from Jandiala village of Jalandhar district.

Subsequently, despite her protests, she had to marry him under “pressure” from her aunt and her sons.


Infighting among Faridkot Zila Parishad members ends
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 4
Infighting among the 12 members of the Zila Parishad, Faridkot, including two chairmen of Faridkot and Kotkapura block samitis of the Congress came to an end following the intervention of Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president, PPCC, here today.

These members, who were having the support of two senior office-bearers of the PPCC, were divided into two groups and were at logger- heads after the election of Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli as the chairman of the parishad since February 13, 2002.

The dissident group comprising Mr Sukhmander Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Shinderpal Singh, Mrs Harbans Kaur, Mrs Sonia, Mrs Chhinderpal Kaur was led by Mr Harcharan Singh while the other group of Mr Autar Singh, Mrs Manjit Kaur Dhaipai and Mr Harkirat Singh Gill was led by the Chairman of the parishad.

According to reports Mr Chameli went to the residence of Mr Brar here today and appealed to him to bring both rival factions on one platform. Mr Brar immediately convened a meeting of both groups at his residence and discussed the issue.

Later, while talking to mediapersons Mr Brar said all issues had been settled and both factions had given him an assurance to work unitedly during the forthcoming byelections.

Later, all members went to the Zila Parishad office and held a joint meeting under the chairmanship of Mr Chameli. They decided to release Rs 47 lakh earmarked under centrally sponsored schemes like Sampuran Gram Rozgar Yojna and Indra Awas Yojna. A decision was also taken to raise the allowance of each member from Rs 100 to Rs 400 per meeting.


Open Wagah border for trade, says Gill
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Elated over the announcement of the bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, Dr M.S. Gill, MP, said further push should be given to the opening of the Wagah border for Indo-Pak trade. He has decided to take up this and other related issues pertaining to development of trade in the Rajya Sabha, besides writing to Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

Talking to TNS today, Dr Gill said Punjab should constantly pressurise the Union Government to take up the issue of facilitating trade through the border as it would not only boost the economy of the northern states but also help earn valuable foreign exchange. “The lack of trade, commerce and movement across the border has led to the economic backwardness of the state and also has its affect on every other kind of trade,” he said.

The opening of the trade between the two nations would mean expansion to other countries, namely Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and eventually westward to Moscow through Western Europe. Promotion of trade would also mean industrial development of the state, particularly the border areas, thereby reducing dependence on agriculture for sustainable livelihood.

Dr Gill has been a strong votary of the long-pending demand of the Sikh devotees for starting this bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib. “I am delighted about the announcement since I had been constantly taking up the matter with the Prime Minster and the Union External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, in public interest and my efforts have borne fruit”.

“India spends nearly Rs 170 crore from the budget to send Muslims, free or at highly subsidised costs to Mecca. The same benefit should be extended to the Sikhs to go to their Mecca,” he added.

In fact, efforts should also be made to open the religious channel completely by starting daily buses and as many as required to these Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

Lauding the commencement of Singapore Airlines’ direct flight between Amritsar and Singapore, Dr Gill said: “This initiative on the part of the government would not only facilitate economic development in the region but also serve as a major fillip to tourism, where Amritsar could serve as a gateway to cultural and heritage of other countries in the world”. He said the flight would meet the main demand of the Punjabis, who are major migrants to outside countries but the endeavour should now be to make the thrice-a week flight to six days a week by focussing on enhancing cargo and passenger traffic. This would go a long way in diverting huge business, which currently goes to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, to Raja Sansi International Airport as it would mean creation of more jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. The former Agriculture Development Commissioner said agriculture alone cannot give Punjabi boys the required jobs.


Only 4 MLAs attend ‘sex-selection’ workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
How serious are the Punjab MLAs about the skewed sex ratio in the state became evident when just four of them turned up to attend a workshop organised especially for them on the subject of ‘’sex selection and pre-birth elimination of females”, jointly organised by the Population Foundation of India and the Plan India in association with the Voluntary Health Association of Punjab here today.

In response to the invitations sent to all MLAs, as many as 45 of them had sent their written consent to attend, share their views and listen to the experts on the sensitive gender issue.

The four, who made it to the workshop included the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Tota Singh, Mr Raj Kumar Khurana and Mr Tikshan Sud. The absence of the majority of MLAs was sought to be explained away by the Speaker saying they were, perhaps, busy with the byelections. Dr Kewal Krishan also said the government must address this issue seriously, as Punjab was a developed state, while it presented a distorted picture of gender equality.

Nevertheless, the participating MLAs felt that this important issue must be made part of their speeches inside as well as outside the Assembly and propagate against sex determination and female foeticide in their constituencies. It was Mr Tota Singh, who set the ball rolling by so saying. He quoted from the Sikh scriptures to say that even Gurus were against female foeticide.

Mr Sud endorsed his views adding that those who indulged in sex determination of the unborn child were, in fact, ‘’misusing’’ science for heinous crime. He said women were to be blamed for succumbing to sex tests and as such they must raise their voice against this.


Hargobind plant area made prohibited zone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Guru Hargobind Thermal Power Plant at Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda district has been declared a prohibited zone by the Punjab Government. Any person found in the project’s vicinity without valid permission can face trial, and imprisonment up to three years.

A notification, declaring the project prohibited area, was issued by the Punjab Government’s Department of Home Affairs and Justice on September 14. Copies of the notification have been forwarded to the Punjab Police Headquarters here, besides Bathinda’s Senior Superintendent of Police, for necessary action.

The development is significant as senior Punjab Police authorities had all along been insisting that the area under and around the project should be declared “prohibited” under the provisions of the Indian Official Secrecy Act because of its “sensitive” nature.

The reason behind their assertion was not hard to see.

All atomic and thermal energy projects, besides defence installations, are as a rule demarcated “prohibited zones” so as to ensure adequate security.

Moreover, all other “category I installation” in the state, including Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Project at Bathinda and Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Project at Ropar, have already been declared prohibited.

The Lehra Mohabbat project was not declared out-of-bounds for general public by the authorities concerned even though it was commissioned way back in 1997-98 and has expansion plans.

The sources in the Punjab Police Headquarters here reveal that the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Lalit Bhatia — dealing with the affairs of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) — had visited the spot twice, once in December last year and again in June.

He, too, had shot off letters to the District Magistrate concerned and PSEB’s General Manager, the sources add.

They were asked to work out the modalities for declaring the unit forbidden for general public. The ADGP was not available for comments.

Giving details of the implications, the sources assert that it will now be mandatory for the project manager to display the notification’s copy at the site. Any person approaching or inspecting the project, or found in its vicinity, without valid permission, will face legal action. 


Jobs elude these adventurous girls
Rajbir Kaur Sekhon

MUKTSAR: Ms Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi and Ms Paramjit Kaur Pammi, residents of this historic town, who have been bringing laurels to Punjab by accomplishing adventurous expeditions, are yet to get promised jobs.

Though these two girls, who have created a history of sorts by reaching the Khardungla Pass, the world’s highest motorable road, on cycle and motor cycle facing all odds, were repeatedly promised jobs by politicians in public meetings, they have been running from pillar to post to get even a small job to earn enough to meet their basic requirements.

In 1998, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, promised Sukhi employment in the Punjab police after she got a state award for scaling Mount Kamet. Mr Badal could not fulfil his promise. Again Sukhi hoped for a bright future when a few years ago Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, the then Punjab Public Health Minister, promised her a job while addressing an election rally in this district but she again faced disappointment. Pammi, who has also scored various achievements in adventures sports, was also promised jobs at various occasions but the words of various political leaders always remained unfulfilled.

Recipient of a award in 1998 for scaling Mount Kamet, Sukhi is finding it difficult to gather enough money to pay even royalty to the Nepal Government for scaling Mount Everest. She wanted to scale without oxygen, which has not been done by any Indian woman so far.

Sukhi and Pammi, the first duo of Punjab to reach the Khardungla Pass by driving a Bullet motor cycle through Tang-ling-la route, came back to Muktsar following the same route without any external help instead of taking the easy route through Srinagar. Asked about the hardships faced during their expedition, the duo said: The fierce weather and had condition of the road are the real challenges in reaching extreme altitudes. Many times we struggled for life.”

Sukhi and Pammi said their latest expedition on a motor cycle to the Khardungla Pass from September 9 to September 23 was dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the installation of Adi Granth at the Golden Temple.

Earlier these girls had gone to the Khardungla Pass, an altitude of 18,380 feet, riding a single cycle about two years ago. the Nehru Yuva Kendra had awarded Sukhi for being the best youth social workers of the district. She has also got the Red and White award for her achievements

Despite their achievements, these girls have never been given any financial assistance so far by any agency of the state government. Nobody sponsored their latest expedition. Mr Gursewak Singh Preet, a Punjabi Tribune correspondent from Muktsar, arranged a bullet motor cycle for their expedition.

These girls were promised jobs by Mr B.R. Banga, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, at a function organised to honour them after they reached this town on September 25. They hoped that the bureaucrats would keep his word.


Lottery firm denies duping shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Apropos a news report, ‘’Shopkeepers duped by lottery company’’, appearing in these columns on October 1, an ITSPL spokesperson, Mr B. Sheth, today said the news was ‘’factually incorrect and false’’.

Mr Sheth said the shopkeepers, who have complained to the police in Amritsar had done so out of some ‘’frustration or misunderstanding’’, as the commissioning of on-line lottery system was delayed from February to September 23, due to some technical snag. Arriving from Mumbai on reading the news item, he today clarified in writing that the company, ITSPL, had been constantly in touch with retailers at regular intervals and that he had met them personally in Amritsar on July 2 to explain the reasons for the delay. The distributors, too, had been visiting the retailers regularly.

Mr Sheth said:, “There is no question of duping any retailer. Whosoever wants his security deposit to be refunded, the same will be done, as per the terms and conditions. In fact, we have already refunded either the entire sum or part, thereof, to some of the retailers. Our Sunshine On-line Lottery was launched in Punjab on September 2, 2003, and there are over 180 terminals’’.

The company had provided requisite equipment—terminals and machines— to all retailers and these assets added up to a neat Rs 3.31 crore, against total security deposits of Rs 2.47 crore. Since the company had suffered losses in its Manipur sector venture and had to suspend its on-line lottery operations there in January last, still ‘’we did refund to retailers in Punjab between February and September, in addition to paying interest that accrued on their money’’.

The company had now made appropriate arrangements to distribute other lotteries through its equipment installed in Punjab terminals. ‘’I only wish we were consulted before publishing the said news report.

In fact we will personally hand over a similar docket (as made available to The Tribune — including the correspondence the company had had with its retailers between February and September) to the Senior Superintendent of Police in Amritsar ‘’to clarify our position that we are not in the duping business’’.


Woman acts mother to a deer
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka: The Bisnoi community’s love for animals is well known. One such rare example of a married woman feeding a newly born deer for its survival has come to light.

Vijay Laxmi Bishnoi of Rampura Narainpura village, about 40 km from here on Sito road, one day heard the screams of a deer while working in her fields. She followed the voice and saw some poachers fleeing after killing a deer on the outskirts of her village. A newly born deer was also lying in an injured state. Vijay Laxmi immediately brought the deer to her house and decided to breast feed it like her two-year-old son. Husband Vijay Pal also supported her resolve. She has been rearing the deer for the past about two months.

Rampura Narainpura is one of the 40 villages that comprise a wildlife sanctuary declared by the Government of India where hunting is prohibited. A majority of the people inhabiting these villages are Bishnois who even sacrifice their lives to save animals.

The Bishnoi community has also constituted the Jeev Raksha Bishnoi Sabha.

According to Mr Ramesh Bishnoi, vice-president of the sabha, they have been-vigilantly saving animals and organising several programmes for checking environment pollution and hunting .

He said the sabha shall honour Vijay Laxmi Bishnoi and her husband soon for their noble act.


SC should take suo motu cognisance of
rape cases: Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 4
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (A) president and former MP, urged the Supreme Court and the National Women Rights Commission to take suo motu cognizance of cases of rapes committed either by political bigwigs or their stooges.

He made these observations in the context of rape of a 14-year-old married woman, of Phagwara, who was gang-raped at nearby Khurampur village from July 25 to August 23 by some persons. These persons were allegedly being shielded by a senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal. He presented the victim and her father before reporters.

Mr Mann said he would present the victim before Ms Purnima Advani, Chairperson of the National Women Rights Commission.

He said the victim was taken to Jammu and kept there for 15 days by the alleged rapists who blackmailed her saying that they had clicked her photographs in a compromising position using their cellphone cameras.

Although the case was registered on August 21, nobody had been arrested so far, alleged Mr Mann. “I had met DC Kapurthala on September 22 and presented before him the victim but no action had yet been taken under political pressure, he said. 


"Paisa Bolda Hai" staged
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 4
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) Patiala with the Co-operation of State Bank of Patiala, presented “Paisa Bolda Hai” originally Bengali play, adapted into Punjabi and directed by Pran Sabharwal and Mrs Sunita Sabharwal, here at Baradari Gardens as a 21st Haas Raag Rang Garden Theatre performance.

Chief Guest Dr Mahesh Gupta, said the NTAS was awakening people’s conscience to make them realise their inner powers to fight corruption and vulgarity.

Presiding over the function, art lover, Dharam Paul Sharma, Chief Manager SBOP, spoke on Bank’s public benefit policies and assured help for community service projects of the NTAS. The dignitaries along with Mr Shyam Lal Gupta, gave away prizes and cash award to 20 artistes. The play, a social satire depicts how the money affects minds of the people to change their attitude and loyalities.

Performances of Sukhwinder Ram, Dharminder Sandhu, Ms Karamjit Kaur, Ms Sukhjit Kaur Sukhi, Sumant Modgil, Vijay Sharma, Kumari Bavita, Deepika, Rohit Vohra, Ajay Kumar and Kailash Kumar were much appreciated. Music and songs by Prof Akilesh Happy, Kamldeep Gill, Harpal Singh Aziz and flute recitation by Ramesh Kumar, costumes by Kumud Sabharwal, make up by Sunil Chouhan, production supervision by Vikas Sabharwal and dances by Jagdish Kumar group were also appreciated.


Farmers duped by bank official
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
Three farmers, Sawinder Singh of Kartarpur village, Balwinder Singh of Nurpur village and Balwinder Singh of Moulviwala village in Patiala district, have alleged that they have been duped by Raj Kumar Singla of The Patiala Central Cooperative Bank Limited, Patiala.

The three farmers had taken a housing loan from the bank. In a statement, they alleged that Raj Kumar Singla, Checking Inspector, Badshahpur circle, went to their respective houses and said he had come to check the houses they had built with the loans. After that he expressed dissatisfaction and said he would recommend an additional 3 per cent interest on their loans.

Upon the farmers’ pleas, Singla offered to deposit the fees for the farmers and took money from all three. When the farmers went to the bank to check if the fees had been deposited, they found out that they had been defrauded by Singla and no money had been deposited.

They also said since then they had reported the matter to the Chief Director, Vigilance, Punjab, and Chief Registrar, Cooperative Societies, among others, requesting them to take action against Singla but in vain.


Rotary plans polio rally on Oct 9
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 4
A polio orientation and planning meet, jointly hosted by the Rotary club Mansa Greater and the Rotary Club Mansa was held here.

In a press note issued today, Mr Prem Aggrawal, president, Rotary Club Mansa Greater, said that Rotary International, which would be celebrating its 100 years of existence in 2005, had promised polio-free world by 2005.

He added that the Rotary Club would arrange a polio rally on October 9.

Mr Brahm Mohindra, chairman, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, who attended this meet as chief guest, appreciated the role of the Rotary Club in polio eradication programme.


600 patients examined at camp
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 4
More than 200 patients, suffering from various chest diseases, were today examined by Dr Surinder Singla, in charge, District TB Centre, Civil Hospital, Sangrur, while more than 400 patients, suffering from dental problems, skin diseases and child diseases, were examined by Dr Romila Goyal (dental specialist), Dr Sanjay Bansal (child specialist) and Dr Dinesh Gupta (skin specialist), all from Sunam Civil Hospital, at a free medical check-up camp at Kanakwal Bhanguan village, about 30 km from here.

The camp was organised by the Baba Mukand Dass Youth Welfare and Sports Club and the gram panchayat, Kanakwal Bhanguan village.

Medicines were given free of cost to all needy patients by the club and the gram panchayat.


Shun superstition: Gurumaa
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 4
A large number of people from various parts of the state today attended Anand Murti Gurumaa’s religious discourse on the last day of her four-day programme in the city.

Gurumaa urged them to shun superstition. She appealed to the people to curb female foeticide. She said the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was against this social evil and the people should follow the path shown by him.

She said the only way to attain peace was the service to humanity by putting aside one’s ego.


A clarification

In the news report “Inspector held for ‘helping’ drug smugglers” carried in these columns yesterday, the dateline was mentioned as Moga instead of Muktsar. The error is regretted.


Paddy procurement at standstill
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
Procurement of paddy is at a standstill in the district with a negligible amount of paddy being procured either by government agencies or private traders. The district, which saw a procurement of around 15 lakh metric tonnes of paddy last year, has witnessed a procurement of only 1.25 lakh metric tonnes this year.

Government agencies have procured only 55,274 metric tonnes of paddy till yesterday while private traders have procured 70,467 metric tonnes.

A survey of various procurement centres today revealed that private traders have lost the zeal to buy paddy. This is largely due to the recent rains which have affected the quality of the crop which had been harvested and had been either transported to the centres or was in the process of being transported. Sources said the private traders are likely to wait for some time before starting the process of buying paddy again.

This, sources said, was likely to put pressure on the government agencies who are lagging behind in procurement. The position is such that the Punjab Government agency, Punsup, has procured only 8,000 metric tonnes of paddy till now. Moreover, even the procured foodgrains have not been lifted from the various centres.

It is only after the lifting process is quickened government agencies speed up procurement, mandi sources said. They said around 50,000 metric tonnes of procured paddy was still lying in various mandis, waiting to be lifted. The District Food and Supplies Controller, Mr H.S. Mokha, today made a round of various procurement centres including Devigarh, Bhunerheri, Doodan Sadan and the local grain market to facilitate the lifting process.

Farmers of the district, however, are sore at the government for not ensuring speedy procurement. “Efforts should be made to procure the foodgrains quickly as we have already started the process of drying the paddy which had been affected by rain”, said Jaswinder Singh of Fatehgarh Rajputan village while talking to TNS at the Devigarh procurement centre. He said if this paddy was not procured now farmers would find it difficult to get it procured later as other crop would arrive in the market.

Some farmers, while talking to TNS at the local procurement centre, said some relaxation should be ensured in the procurement norms so that farmers were not affected adversely due to the recent rains. Sources said around 45,000 metric tonnes of paddy was lying in various centers in the district when the rains hit the state two days ago. The showers are likely to delay the procurement process as those who had not harvested their crop will wait for a few more days.


Poultry corpn staff retrenched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Punjab Government today retrenched staff of the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation.

In a brief order issued in this connection by the Managing Director of the Corporation, it has been stated that the government had decided to wind up the corporation through its letters issued on November 23, 2001, and on September 18, 2002.

In the light of that decision, “ the staff of the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation are retrenched from October 4, 2004”, reads the order.

Informed sources said there were 26 employees who had been retrenched. In all, there were 57 employees in the corporation. Of these 31 had accepted the golden handshake and the package offered to them by the state government which had provided Rs 7 crore for winding up the corporation, it is learnt.

However, the 26 employees retrenched today did not accept the package. The sources said Corporation employees had not got salary for the past 40 months.

Among the retrenched employees are two widows, who were given jobs after the death of their husbands. Ms Amrik Kaur said she had three children. The government had put the future of my children in dark, she added.

“The state government has ruined our lives. We have nowhere to go. What will happen to our families in days to come, only God knows”, said some of the employees looking utterly dejected.

Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, President of the Corporation Employees Union, said the state government authorities were behaving like a dictator. “We should have given jobs elsewhere”, he added. “ No one of us had thought that the state would behave with us in such a manner”, he said.


Unauthorised structures pulled down
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 4
Almost all the unauthorised structures, which have come up on a piece of land belonging to PUDA, were pulled down today by the PUDA officials and a process was initiated to launch criminal proceedings against those who had allegedly encroached upon the same.

The Additional Chief Administrator (ACA), PUDA, in a press note issued here today said that these structures, which were demolished today, had come up on the same piece of land after these were cleared on September 17. He added that the police authorities had been urged to take legal action against the encroachers.

He pointed out that PUDA had been planning to use the vacated land, measuring about four acres, for carving out residential plots, commercial sites, showrooms and booths.

He added that in the unauthorised structures, which had come up on PUDA land, various anti-social elements were living and thus posing a threat to the safety and security of residents of its surrounding colonies.


IT Dept arrears over Rs 87,000 crore
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 4
The Income Tax Department has whooping arrears amounting to more than Rs. 87,000 crore and the Central Board of Direct Taxes has directed the Commissioners of Income Tax to recover the arrears. The officers have also been authorised to attach properties of the defaulters if they fall to comply with the recovery of the same.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has observed in a communication to the cadre controlling Chief Commissioners of Income Tax and the income tax investigating authorities to launch an intensive campaign to recover the arrears.

The board has observed that the Income Tax Department is burdened with the responsibility of recovering huge arrears existing in its records with the little possibilities of actual recovery in many cases. As on April 1, 2004, the arrears increased by 20 per cent to Rs. 87,885 crores while the objective was to reduce arrears by 20 per cent as compared to the preceding year.


Miscreants kill housewife
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 4
Unidentified miscreants entered the house of Nishan Singh in the Rose Avenue locality and murdered his wife Charanjit Kaur with sharp-edged weapons before removing the ornaments she was wearing.

According to the information, at around 10.50 am three persons entered house No. 34, Rose Avenue, near Anand Palace, strangled Charanjit Kaur (40), wife of Nishan Singh who was alone in the house. They took away the ornaments, including gold chain, earrings and bangles she was wearing.

The brother of the deceased Balwinder Singh reached his sister’s house, around 11 am and found her lying dead in a pool of blood.

According to police sources, Mrs Charanjit Kaur, it seemed resisted the robbers as her hands and the neck bore injury marks.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, along with Mr Munish Chawla SP (Detective) reached the spot and recorded the statement of Balwinder Singh. Mr Chahal said the police had cordoned off the area and all the exit points of the town had been sealed. Mr Nishan Singh is a government employee, working as secretary with Housefed.


Two arhtiyas shot
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 4
Two brothers, both arhtiyas, Gurmail Singh and Bhagwan Singh, residents of Sheron village, near Sunam, were shot dead by three persons in the Grain Market complex at Sheron village last evening.

According to the Sunam police today, the post-mortem examination on the bodies of the deceased was conducted in the Sunam Civil Hospital. However, all three suspects, allegedly involved in this crime have absconded.

The police said as per the complaint lodged with the police by Mr Karamjit Singh, son of deceased Gurmail Singh, three persons, Piara Singh and his two sons, Harjit Singh and Hari Singh, were allegedly involved in the murder of his father and uncle.

The police said an alleged business dispute between both parties was said to be the major cause behind this murder.


Govt error ruins career of 2 girls
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
A self-confessed inadvertent error made by the Punjab Government has ruined the brilliant career of two wards of riots victims. The sufferers are Ms Tarundeep Kaur and Ms Ghatdeep Lamba, both students of Government Medical College, Patiala. Both have lost the legal battle regarding their admission because of the government's error.

The Punjab Government issued a notification for admission in the MBBS course in Medical Colleges on June 17 this year. Through this notification, 1 per cent reservation was provided to the wards of terrorists and riot victim families. While issuing the notification, the reservation for the wards of terrorist victim families was placed on number one and for the wards of the riot-affected families, it was placed on the number two. In other words, wards of terrorist victims’ families were given first place in order of preference and wards of riot-affected and displaced persons got the second preference.

However, in all earlier notifications made by the Punjab Government for the past several years, both these categories — wards of terrorist victim and riots affected families — were placed on equal footing and no category among these enjoyed any preference. Under what circumstances and with whose orders the reserved category regarding riots victims was downgraded to second place, it is not yet known.

However, admitting its mistake, the government issued a corrigendum on August 11 that wards of persons killed in terrorist action in Punjab and riot affected and displaced families should be treated on par and in one category. While correcting the mistake, the government said that earlier notification of (June 17) was “contrary to the intention of the state government”. The government also admitted that in all previous notifications, both the categories were placed on par.

In view of the corrigendum, both Tarundeep Kaur and Ghatdeep Lamba, who were in the riot victim category, were admitted to Government Medical College. However, students belonging to other categories challenged their admission. Both have now lost the legal battle because in the first notification issued for admission in the medical college the state government had downgraded the category of wards of riot victims. Though the government issued a corrigendum, it failed to provide any relief to both the candidates.


Students to oppose sale of library site
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 4
The Punjab Students Union has decided to oppose the district administration’s alleged move to commercialise the site of Regal Cinema, which, till recently, housed a library.

In a meeting held here, the union leaders said that they would not allow the administration to go ahead with its plans, as the library was started in memory of those killed during the students’ agitation in 1972.

The union members led by its general secretary, Gurmukh Singh, inspected the site and lamented that it was not being properly maintained.

Gurmukh Singh said that in 1972 students had launched a stir against the screening of vulgar films in Regal Cinema during which two students, Harjeet and Swaran, were killed.

He said that after this incident thousands of students all over Punjab took to the streets and protested against theatres screening such films.

He said that the students’ agitation was successful and screening of films was stopped in this cinema.

The administration took over the cinema hall and converted it into a library. The cinema also housed the office of the District Public Relations till a few months back.

Highlighting the poor state of the memorial hall, the union general secretary said the library had been closed a few years back.

Two employees were appointed to look after the library out of which one had been absent for a long time, while the other used to come in the evening and spend the night there.

“The library building is in a dilapidated condition and neighbouring shopkeepers have encroached upon its premises,” he said. 


PU students top in group discussion contest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 4
The three-day national-level technical-cum-cultural festival “La-Fiesta-2004” concluded at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The final results are as follows:

On the spot programming: Aditya and Sumit (Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh) and Shilpi & Ashish (GND Varsity) — bracketed first and Deepak Sood (PEC)- second.

Web page designing: Kunal Arora and Gurpreet Singh — first and Manrajdeep Singh and Manu Lakhanpal (DAV IET, Jalandhar) and Deepak Kapoor and Mrigesh Mehra (GND Varsity) — bracketed second.

Debugging: Sumit Jindal and Aditya (PEC) and Sarabjeet Singh (GND Varsity) — bracketed first and Ginnia (Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar) and Saurabh and Navneet (GND Varsity) — bracketed second.

IT quiz: Kanwar Rajan Singh and Kapil Dhawan (NIT, Jalandhar)- first and Simranjit Singh and Amrinder Singh Malhi (ACET, Amritsar) — second.

IQ test: Munish Marwaha and Pankaj Kansal (GND Varsity) and Nishad Makol and Varun Garg (DAV IET, Jalandhar) — bracketed first and Yuvraj Singh and Harkanwar Singh (GND Varsity) — second.

Software presentation: CS Bal and Gagandeep Singh (GND Varsity) — first, K.P. Singh and G. Singh (GND Varsity) — second.

Technical paper presentation: Ankur Pruthi (RIEIT, Ropar) — first and Saranjeet Singh (GND University College, Jalandhar) — second.

Sketching: Iqbal Singh Gill (Khalsa College, Amritsar) — first and Sugand and Manmeet Kaur (GND Varsity) — bracketed second.

Solo dance: Gauri Vyas (GND Varsity) — first, Raman Kumar (GND Varsity) — second.

Flower arrangements: Manpreet (DAV IET, Jalandhar) — first and Satinder (SD College, Sultanpur Lodhi) — second.

Duet singing: Gagandeep Singh and Bikramjeet Singh (GND Varsity) — first and Varun Anand and Gurjeet Singh (APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar) —second.

Collage making: Prateek Gupta (MBSCET, Jammu) — first and Navjeet Kaur (GND Varsity) and Ankita Aggarwal (MIET, Jammu) — bracketed second.

Group dance: GND Varsity Campus, Amritsar — first, GND Varsity Regional Campus, Gurdaspur — second and SIIMT & GND University RC Gurdaspur — bracketed third.

Nautanki: Varun Garg and Sahil Sachdeva (DAV IET, Jalandhar) — first and Nishan Singh, Varanjit Singh and Ramandeep Singh (GND Varsity) — second.

Solo song: Gurtez Singh (DAV, Abohar) — first, Bikramjeet Singh (GND Varsity) — second.

Choreography: GND University — first, AIET, Faridkot — second .

Group discussion: Rohit Gupta (PU, Chandigarh) — first, Sunny Guglani (PU, Chandigarh) — second.

Modelling: LCET, Ludhiana — first and GND University second.


Private college teachers’ strike on October 7
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 4
The office-bearers of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), a representative body of over 6,000 college teachers serving in privately managed colleges of Punjab, will observe a day-long fast in protest on October 7 in front of the DPI (Colleges), Punjab, office at Chandigarh.

Giving this information here today, Prof S.S. Hundal and Prof R.S. Brar president and co-president, respectively, of the PCCTU, regretted that the union had been forced to resort to this step because of the Punjab Finance Department’s indifferent attitude towards the hardships faced by thousands of private college teachers who had not been paid salaries for a long period.

They said the Punjab Finance Department’s failure to clear two bills worth Rs 33 crore pertaining to grant-in-aid for private colleges had caused a lot of resentment among the teachers.

The two leaders said the two bills were duly approved by the Punjab State Assembly.

The private college teachers were also sore over the non-implementation of an order, under which 50 per cent D.A. is to be merged with basic pay.


Plan to set up biotech park
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 4
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) is setting up a biotechnology park. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard will be signed on October 6 with a Canadian firm.

According to Dr N.S. Tiwana, executive director of the council, they have conceptualised and formulated a proposal to develop a biotechnology park through cluster approach.

An MoU was signed on May 19, 2003, between PSCST and M/s Beckons Industries limited to form a company — Punjab Biotechnology Park Limited — to work out modalities to invite various companies to set up units in the proposed park.

An 11-member delegation visited Canada from May 7 to 15 to have first-hand information to the biotechnology in Canada.

A Canadian delegation is scheduled to visit Chandigarh in this connection.


PSEB withdraws all power cuts
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today withdrew power restrictions imposed on the industrial, urban and rural consumers.

The Board has in fact recorded a low demand of 765 lakh units today which is a far cry from the demand ranging between 1250 to 1300 lakh units daily during the last few months. The present demand is even less than the demand of 822 lakh units recorded during the same period last year.

Sources said the recent rain which was nearly spread over the State had resulted in easing the pressure on the Board. The PSEB earlier modified the power regulation on the industrial sector by reducing the two-day weekly off to one day on October one. Now even this has been withdrawn. Similarly the Board has withdrawn power cuts imposed on urban and rural consumers.

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