P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal fears mass rigging in poll
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, October 5
While reacting over the decision to refuse the deployment of paramilitary forces during the polling in the byelections in Garhshankar and Kapurthala by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, apprehended mass rigging in these elections.

He was talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Surinder Singh Chhinda, SGPC member, at Bhulewal Rathan village, about 18 km from here today.

He said the Punjab police had to act according to the directions of its ruling bosses. It was natural that the police would not take any step against the members of the ruling party for their undemocratic attitude during poll and they would go to any extent to win both these byelections to save their image.

He said being an outsider, paramilitary forces had no interest towards any of the political party. Therefore, they would act impartially. He demanded the deployment of paramilitary forces in both these segments for fair and free polling.

Referring to the clean-chit given by the state Chief Secretary in the chopper misuse case to Capt. Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal said the Election Commission was the right agency to ascertain the charge and had to decide whether the chopper was misused or not. The state Chief Secretary was directly under the control of the Chief Minister. How he could dare give decision against his immediate boss. He demanded probe into this case by the Election Commission.

Referring to the proposed Kar Seva at gurdwaras in Pakistan by the SAD (Delhi) despite opposition by the SGPC, Mr Badal said the SGPC was not only a religious organisation but also a duly elected body of the Sikhs. It was prerogative of the SGPC to conduct Kar Seva at the gurdwaras in Pakistan. The SGPC had already lodged its protest with the Union Government in this regard. The SAD (Delhi) was purely a political organisation, he added.

When asked to comment on the stay given by Supreme Court into the trial proceedings against him and his son in the Rs 78 crore disproportionate assets case, he said that being a sub judice matter he would not say anything in this regard.

Referring to the withdrawal of the Election Commission’s order regarding the suspension of Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, former SDM-cum-Electoral Registration Officer for Kapurthala byelection and registration of a case against him, he said it was a conspiracy for the deletion and addition of votes in the Kapurthala segment. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner and SDM were involved in this conspiracy.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal said the result of this byelection would be a certificate of the people against the performance and governance of Capt Amarinder Singh’s government. He said the law and order situation in Punjab was going from bad to worse.

Later, Mr Parkash Singh Badal along with Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and state BJP chief, Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, member Rajya Sabha, Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh, former minister, Mr Des Raj Dhugga, MLA, Mr Mohinder Pal Mann, BJP nominee for Garhshanker segment and many local SAD (B) and BJP leaders addressed election meetings at Jandoli, Rampur and Haveli villages and appealed the voters to vote in favour of Mr Mohinder Pall Mann, a joint candidate of BJP-SAD.

PHAGWARA: Commenting further upon Captain Amarinder Singh’s refusal for the deployment of paramilitary forces Mr Badal alleged that now it was clear that the Chief Minister would indulge in electoral irregularities in an organised way and on a large scale.

When told that he had assured free and fair poll under the supervision of the state police, Mr Badal retorted that police was under the Chief Minister and would do what he would tell it to do.


Police, admin favouring Cong, alleges Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 5
Alleging connivance of the administration and the police with the ruling Congress, Mr Sukhbir Badal, general secretary of SAD (Badal) cast aspersions on the free and fair conduct of Kapurthala byelection scheduled on October 13.

Mr Badal said while talking to mediapersons on the first day of his visit to the assembly segment ever since campaigning for the bypoll had begun.

He alleged that the liquor was flowing freely and drugs were being distributed openly to woo the voters but no action had been taken against those indulging in such malpractices.

He said this clearly indicated that the police was protecting the workers of the Congress.

He further said senior leaders from the ruling party had even directed government officials to ensure good number of votes from the people associated with their departments.

He said he had lodged a complaint in this regard with Election Commission officers during meeting last week.

Mr Badal said the leaders from the ruling party had started their gameplan by getting bogus voters enrolled for the byelection. But the serious view taken by the Election Commission in this regard proved to be a stumbling block for them.

When asked about the reversion of orders by the commission, Mr Badal said it was unfortunate. He said the party would re-appeal the commission to reconsider the matter.

Lashing out on the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal said he had been claiming of getting loans from the World Bank ever since he had formed the government. But he would not be able to get any loans so far.

Mr Badal said the SYL was the only issue that Amarinder took up for the cause of the people of the state but he said there were doubts that he would remain adamant on his stand as he faced tremendous pressure from officials sitting at the Centre.

He said the present government had not taken any positive decision for the youth of the state in regards to increasing unemployment. He said the youth wing of the Akali Dal had arrived in Kapurthala today and he would hold a meeting with them today encouraging them to mobilise young voters to align with the party so as to secure a bright future for themselves. 


Police terrorising BJP workers, says Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The BJP yesterday said that Punjab Police was spreading " terror" among its( BJP) workers and supporters to prevent them from campaigning for the party candidate in the Garhshankar Assembly constituency, where byelections would be held on October 13. The BJP has put up Mr Mohinder Pal Mann as candidate in that constituency.

Speaking to TNS on the phone, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said that the police was repeatedly summoning panches, sarpanches and municipal commissioners, who were supporting the BJP, to police stations to instruct them that they should stop campaigning for the BJP candidate.

Mr Khanna said that the he had got complaints from the BJP supporters in this connection and the issue would be taken up with the Election Commission soon. Apprehending rigging enmass at the polling booths on the polling day, Mr Khanna said that the EC should ensure free and fair poll in the Garhshankar constituency. He said that certain big liquor contractors, who are very close to the ruling party, were distributing liquor and resorting to other corrupt practices.

Mr Khanna said that even the premises of certain traders, who were supporting the BJP, had been raided by the Excise and Taxation Department officials in the past few days. Certain employees, who were related to the BJP leaders, had been transferred.

Another senior leader of the party, Mr Vineet Joshi, after visiting the constituency, said here that police officials were collecting lists of the BJP activists campaigning for the party candidate in Garhshankar constituency. 


Hoshiarpur DC told to probe BJP allegations
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Taking cognizance of a complaint filed by BJP candidate for the Garhshankar assembly constituency Mohinder Pal Mann, accusing Punjab Police personnel of influencing the electors, state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) today asked Hoshiarpur’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) to look into the allegations.

Another complaint forwarded by Mr Mann, alleging issuance of threats to village sarpanches by Congress ministers and panchayat secretaries putting up in the constituency, was also referred to Hoshiarpur’s DC.

Punjab State Electricity Board’s Secretary, besides Secretary, Power, were further asked to probe allegations pertaining to installation of poles for supplying power in a village. The directions were issued by the CEO on the basis of allegations contained in the second complaint. CEO G.S. Cheema could not be contacted.

In another election related development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) today appointed six Punjab IAS officers as observers. They would be supervising electioneering process in constituencies outside Punjab.

Accusing the police of misusing the government machinery, Mr Mann in his first complaint claimed that cops in plain clothes were harassing and threatening BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers. They were even asking the electors to vote for the Congress party candidate.

He further alleged that Hoshiarpur’s Superintendent of Police Sukhdev Singh Bhatti was supervising the entire operation. As a result of police interference, a wave of terror was sweeping the constituency.

In the other complaint, Mr Mann claimed that the police and the administration, along with Congress ministers, were violating the code of conduct. They were pressurising village panchayats to work and vote for Congress candidate.

Giving details, he claimed that Panchayat Secretaries were directing sarpanches and panches to meet Congress ministers campaigning in Garhshankar. The Ministers were, in turn, threatening them to work for Congress candidate if they wanted development works to be undertaken.

He added that at many places the work had already started. In fact some of the link roads were being metalled. Moreover, in Raj Pootan Basti located in Kot village, the electricity board had supplied poles for supplying power. The ministers, touring the area, were promising electricity supply in lieu of votes.

Mr Kirpa Shankar Saroj would supervise electioneering process in all assembly constituencies in Pune.


SAD (Amritsar) candidate quits race
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has decided not to contest for the forthcoming Kapurthala bypolls.

In a meeting held here today, it was decided that the party represented by candidate Jagir Singh Wadala should withdraw from contesting the bypolls, in view of the unfair means being adopted by the two major parties, including the Congress and the SAD (Badal).

Dr Harjinder Singh Jakhu, general secretary, said that it was being felt that the Election Commission was not able to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections. He said the commission had first taken a serious view of the alleged “bogus voter scam” and had suspended the Electorral Registration Officer. Later, due to pressure from the ruling party, the orders were reverted by the commission, he said.

Dr Jakhu said that it was impossible for the party to contest in such elections. He said alcohol and drugs were being distributed to woo the voters and both the parties were involved in such activities.

He said that even the police and administration were allegedly working hand-in-gloves with the two parties, as no action was being taken.

Dr Jakhu further added, that till date the party had decided not to align with any other party for the elections and would simply stay out of the whole process.

This leaves just three parties, including the Congress, the SAD (Badal) and the BSP, and seven independent candidates in the fray for the byelections in the Assembly segment.

The seven independent candidates include Mr Sunil Kumar Nahar, Mr Parminder Singh, Mr Bhajan Singh, Mr Rakesh Sharma, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Surinder Pal and Mr Sarban Singh.


SC stay not last word on Badal: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said here today that mere granting of stay by the Supreme Court of India on the corruption cases against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, did not amount to the final verdict on Mr Badal.

Talking to reporters after attending the cremation of Col Raminder Singh, the husband of Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, the Minister of State for Welfare and Social Security, the Chief Minister maintained that he had full faith in the Supreme Court of India. He said the law would take its own course.

The Chief Minister pointed out that merely a stay on the trial did not mean that Mr Badal had been acquitted of his charges.

He said, “the state will present its case before the honourable Court and will place all the facts before it.”

He said he had a strong belief that the justice would be done in the case. He also said that the stay would not have any impact on the byelections in the state.

Replying to a question about the reported grievance of the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, that officers were not cooperating with her, Captain Amarinder Singh said, the issue, if any, had not been brought to his notice so far.

While ruling out any such possibility, he warned that in case any officer is found to be guilty of insubordination he would be firmly dealt with.

The Chief Minister pointed out, “Ms Bhattal is a senior and respected party leader and moreover, she is the Deputy Chief Minister of the state so she must get due respect and regards from everyone”

Referring to the byelections in Kapurthala and Garshanker, Captain Amarinder Singh expressed confidence that the Congress would win both seats.

He regretted that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had not cooperated with the party and fielded its own candidate. “But this will in no way hinder the prospects of the victory of our candidate from there”, the Chief Minister asserted.

Kapurthala there was no fight as the seat was already with the Congress and the party had registered a substantial voter lead from this segment during the parliamentary elections, he added.


Outsiders call the shots as voters remain evasive
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 5
If this erstwhile princely town is a beehive of activity, it is not because of enthusiasm on the part of 1.21 voters this Assembly segment has, but is primarily because of invasion of the constituency by leaders and workers of two major political parties — Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal — from outside.

While voters, both in urban and rural areas refuse to give out their mind, the “outsiders” have been running the show, right from maintaining election offices to managing the campaign.

The silence of the voter is understandable. It has been giving both Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal turns in sending their representative to the State Assembly. While Mr Raghbir Singh of Shiromani Akali Dal had been a veteran of four such battles, the Congress candidate, Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur Rana, is a debutant in electoral politics.

It may be her first election as a contestant but she has the experience of managing the election campaign of her brother-in-law, Rana Gurjit Singh, in the last Lok Sabha polls.

Will the Rana family break the jinx of making it to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for the second successive time remains to be seen. Mr Raghbir Singh, who lost to Rana Gurjit Singh in the 2002 Assembly elections by more than 10,000 votes, has pinned his hopes on the result of the last Lok Sabha election where the margin of victory from this Assembly segment was drastically reduced to a few hundreds votes.

A visit to various villages of the constituency does not help much in reading the mind of the voter. personal equations and relationships are going to play a crucial and may be decisive role. If in the morning the house of a Panch is the venue for a meeting of Congress workers, the same house is used for hosting a meeting of the Akali workers in the evening. Invariably, the audience at both meetings is the same. The voter, it appears, has learnt the art of keeping the political leaders on tenterhooks.

Interestingly, many of the vociferous supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal openly admit that they would vote for Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the Panth and the candidate was not important for them. Many of them are not even happy with the party choice.

On the other hand, there is a certain section of voters which openly admits allegiance to the Rana family. Whatever be the general perception of the two candidates, the fight has become prestigious for both Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, and Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal.

It is not only Congress whose Ministers, Members of Parliament and even legislators besides office-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee are camping here, but also all senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, including legislators, former Ministers, Members of Parliament and even Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee members are actively engaged in the campaign here.

While the media relations of work of the Congress is handled by Mr Anil Dutta, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema is doing it for the Dal. Incidentally, both come from Jalandhar. And the overall election incharge for Congress here is Mr Sant Ram Singla, a former MP, and veteran of many such battles.

Interestingly, both Congress and Akali Dal have increased their dependence on the information technology and use of computers in running the campaign systematically and efficiently. Information about candidates, wards, booths, party workers, campaigners is available by click of button.

While SAD enjoys an advantage as it is contesting only Kapurthala and has left Garhshankar to the BJP, the Congress leadership is divided into two groups to look after both constituencies where byelections are held. For the next few days while Mr Badal will try to consolidate his position both in urban and rural areas, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mrs Preneet Kaur would try to make up for the absence of Capt Amarinder Singh, who has emerged as star campaigner for the Congress here. Capt Amarinder Singh will be in Garhshankar for the next few days before he makes his presence here on October 7.

Congress is also pinning its hope on a rally being organised by Mr Devi Dass Nahar, who was Bahujan Samaj Party candidate for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in last general elections. Mr Nahar is now supporting the Congress.


No serious concern at declining child sex ratio
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Punjabis are affluent, love their sons more and have the acumen to make the best use of technology to suit their interests.

Not surprising then that the first use of the ultrasound technique in 1980s in Punjab, at Amritsar, gave the Punjabis a ``weapon’’ to exert their preference and to bring out the ``desired results’’ in having more sons than daughters.

And it resulted in a direct impact: the once rising graph of child sex ratio in the state has sharply come down in past two decades, losing more than 100 points on its way.

Culling out the figures of the child sex ratio, which takes into account the number of female children in the age group of 0-6 years per 1000 male children, Director of Census Operations, Punjab, Mr Inderjit Singh, said steep fall of 77 points in the child sex ratio in the last decade (highest fall in the country) in Punjab, from 875 female children against 1000 males in 1991 to 798 in 2001, had failed to evoke the deserving level of concern from the residents.


Child sex ratio in Punjab

Year Punjab India
















* In Punjab, the trend, contrary to that in the country, was of an improving child sex ratio till 1981. After 1980s, Punjab has seen a sharp loss of points while the fall in All India figures has been consistent over the years.

Explaining what is seen as the impact of ultrasound testing by the doctors on requests of the expectant parents in “planned elimination of the females before birth”, the Director said that the child sex ratio was, in fact, improving till the technique was introduced in 1980s till ultrasound testing was started.

In 1961, there were 894 female children per 1000 male children and this number rose to 899 in 1971 census.

In 1981 census, the number again rose to 908. But then a doctor in Amritsar began the ultrasound testing in 1980 and in that decade there was a fall of 33 points, bringing the ratio of females to 875 in 1991 census, said Inderjit Singh.

The last decade proved worst for Punjab as the number of female children remained merely 798 against 875 female children in 2001.

“In many countries a drop of even 5 points could have raised an alarm but in Punjab the reaction is not proportionate,” said the director, speaking at the Advocacy workshop on sex selection and pre-birth elimination of females here today and added that the child sex ratio was a pertinent tool to gauge the demographic changes as the affect of factors like migration and marriage do not play a major role in this category.

While the preference of a male child is evident in Punjab, the popular two child norm in the state is augmenting the adverse ratio as the parents prefer to have just one of the children as daughter but go in for abortion in case the second child is also a female.

The couples whose first child is female go in for an ultrasound test to detect the sex of their second child before birth.

In case that is also a female the majority prefer to go in for abortion, added the director.

And what is equally disturbing is that women are becoming parties to the female child elimination as they, as mothers and mothers-in-law, too prefer a male child.


Small fawn saved from being slaughtered
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Six-month-old fawn rescued from captivity at Jagirpur village in Ludhiana.
Six-month-old fawn rescued from captivity at Jagirpur village in Ludhiana.

Chandigarh, October 5
Timely intervention and action on the part of wildlife conservationists from Ludhiana helped save the life of a six-month-old fawn.

The young one, identified as one of the "cheetal" species of deer, was on the verge of being slaughtered when a team comprising wildlife experts and veterinarians from the People for Animals (PFA) Chapter of Ludhiana intercepted the captors and rescued the animal.

The operation was carried out late at the night of October 2 soon after those in attendance at PFA's Animals and Birds' shelter, Rahon, received an anonymous call about the fawn's captivity at village Jagirpur near Ludhiana.

Significantly, despite failure to contact forest officials who were not responding at that hour in the night, the team of rescuers rushed to the house of Malkiat Singh and recovered the fawn.

The animal had been kept in inhuman conditions. Both its legs had been tied close together, absolutely restricting its movement, and there were fresh as well as old injury marks on its legs and back. Its ears were also scarred.

Some villagers said the animal had strayed into Jagirpur which falls under Mattewara forest range of Punjab, and while it was trying to figure out its way out, it was captured by Malkiat Singh and his son.

When recovered, it was in a state of utter shock. It has still not recovered from the painful treatment it had been meted out by the captors.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Dr Sandeep Kumar Jain, chairperson, PFA Ludhiana, today said Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana, was posted on the matter and had marked the inquiry to Forest Range Officer, Mattewara.

It needs to be mentioned here that keeping wildlife in captivity is an offence under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (as amended in the year 2003).

The police has also been informed and efforts are on to book the culprits.

Meanwhile, even three days after its recovery, the male fawn is finding it difficult to recover. Currently admitted to Animals and Birds' Shelter -- Jeev Kalyan Kendra & Bhagwan Mahavir Abhayshala, maintained by the PFA, the animal is not responding to treatment.

Timid as it is by nature, it takes long to get over injury. Data Ram, in charge, Veterinary at the Hospital said the animal had been kept in isolation.

"We have covered the animal and kept it in a safe corner in one of our enclosures.

This has been done to keep it away from human sight, as it does not relish the presence of humans.

It is also averse to noise," added Dr Jain.

Although the fawn has been accepting fodder and water, it is not recovering fast.

After some monitoring the rescuers might hand it over to veterinary experts at Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana, which is better equipped to treat such cases.

After recovery, the fawn will be rehabilitated at Deer Park, Neelon.


Postal Dept to release historic photo today
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
In memory of Raizada Hans Raj, one of the builders of modern Dalhousie, the Department of Posts will release a special cover depicting a historic photograph of Raizada Hans Raj along with Pt Jawaharlal Nehru taken during the latter’s stay in Dalhousie on October 6, the day when Dalhousie will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The postal cover will be released by the Himachal Pradesh circle of Department of Posts.

“To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the hill station the Raizada Hans Raj Memorial Trust will organise a special function on October 6 and 7 at Dalhousie, where the postal cover would be released,” said Mr Jitesh Sondhi, grandson of the Raizada.

Born in Jalandhar in 1869 in a progressive family of Punjab, Raizada Hans Raj, in whose memory a library and an indoor stadium has been set up in Dalhousie and Jalandhar, respectively, by the trust, learnt his first lesson of social reform from his brother Lala Dev Raj, who set up the Kanya Mahavidyalaya. After having his early education in Jalandhar the Raizada went to England for studies and later became one of the pioneer members of the Indian National Congress and remained so till his death in 1958.

Mr Sondhi said the cover release function would be followed by a two-day philately exhibition on October 6 and 7 and a quiz on philately.


Indian murdered in S.Korea

Malerkotla, October 5
A 28-year-old man hailing from this town of Punjab was murdered in South Korea last week.

The body of the deceased, Suleman, was buried here today.

According to information, Suleman had gone to South Korea in 1999 in search of better prospects and used to work in a furniture company of South Korea.

According to Suleman’s friends in Korea, the deceased was murdered by some unidentified persons on the night of September 26. — UNI


CPI to back CPM in Garhshankar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The Punjab unit of the CPI today officially announced to extend support to the CPM candidate, Mr Mahan Singh Rori, in the Garhshankar Assembly constituency where byelections will be held on October 13.

The secretary of the state unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said that the decision to extend the support to the CPM candidate was taken at a meeting of the secretariat of the party here today. He said that the party also passed a resolution criticising the Congress for its arrogant attitude with regard to the various political issues, especially the Assembly byelections.

Anti-Communist forces within the Congress were responsible for breaking the unity among secular parties in Punjab, said Dr Dayal.

Asked about the party’s decision regarding Kapurthala constituency, Dr Dayal said that the decision regarding that constituency would be taken on October 7 after consulting the district executive of the party there.


Cong has betrayed CPM, says Surjeet
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 5
Though the Congress is a secular party, its leaders did not act in a secular manner. They have betrayed the CPM, which brought them back into power at the Centre due to its secular image.

This was stated by Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, National Secretary, CPM, while addressing an election meeting in favour of Mr Maha Singh Rouri, CPM candidate, at Padrana, 45 km from there yesterday.

He said Hoshiarpur was a district of freedom fighters who were ignored by leaders of the Akali Dal. He said CPM candidate Maha Singh Rouri was a leader of the masses and always fought for the cause of the downtrodden. He appealed to the electorate to vote for him.

Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President, Lok Bhalai Party, said he would campaign in favour of Mr Rouri. He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, had ignored the interests of Punjabis. 


Criminals have greater say in system: Atwal
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 5
Passing the budget without properly discussing in the Lok Sabha can prove dangerous to the democratic system of the country, said Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, here today.

Mr Atwal, who was speaking to newspersons at the court complex here, said that it was unfortunate that there were very few honest and patriotic persons in the country at present and people having a criminal background had a greater say in the system.

The Deputy Speaker, who had come to meet his lawyer, Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, in connection with some court case, said that to keep the democratic system alive in was the responsibility of every political party to give ticket for contesting elections only to honest people. In cases where the parties were not playing a responsible role, it was the moral duty of every voter to cast his vote only in favour of a person who held a good character so that he could work for the welfare of the nation. He said that if honest people were not allowed to come to power, the democracy would be put to danger and everybody would have to face the consequences at the later stage.

Mr Atwal said that the ruling party as well as those in the Opposition should take a unanimous decision on national issues and those related to the development of the country.

Mr Atwal met Mr Avtar Singh Dhanoa, president of the Bar Association, and Mr Amrik Singh Baidwan, Ms Paramjit Kaur Gill and Ms Rajbans Kaur, senior advocates.


Canter falls into feeder, four drown
Tribune Reporters

Harike, October 5
Two Assistant Sub-Inspectors , one theft case suspect and a Head Constable got drowned when their vehicle fell into the Rajasthan Feeder near Harike Barrage, in the wee hours of today.

However, two policemen were saved by a police naka party with the help of locals. Another suspect was able to swim to the bank of the feeder.

The police party was on its way to Moga for the recovery of stolen vehicles. Mr Gurkirpal Singh, district police chief, Tarn Taran, said the ill-fated canter had been stolen by Balwant Singh, Mohinder Singh, Sarbjit Singh and Surjit Singh, all of Moga district. Balwant Singh and Mohinder Singh were in the canter at the time of mishap.

The deceased have been identified as Santokh Singh and Kuldip Singh, ASIs, Shivdev Singh Lohka, Head Constable, all posted at the border town of Bhikhiwind, and Balwant Singh, one of the suspects. Saraj Singh and Baljinder Singh, both Head Constables, and Mohinder Singh, the other suspect were saved.

According to sources, Kuldip Singh, an ASI, was driving the ill-fated vehicle.

The SSP said dizziness might have led to the mishap.

The Army was called to carry out the rescue operation. It took more than seven hours to fish out the canter. Only one body was recovered from the canter while three others got washed away .

Mr Santokh Singh, a sentry on duty at the Harike Barrage, who witnessed the mishap, told the Tribune that he immediately informed his senior Khushwant Singh.

After getting the information about the mishap, Khushwant Singh, Head Constable, posted at Harike Barrage immediately called Baba Gyan Singh, known as ‘Baba Beriwala’ to rescue the victims. The baba along with his supporters was able to save Saraj Singh, Head Constable.


A ray of hope for economically dependent women
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
Thousands of economically dependent women of the rural areas of Punjab have a ray of hope for a change of their lot by becoming self-reliant, as the Bisnouli Sarvodya Gramodyog Seva Sanstha (BSGSS), a Delhi-based NGO, headed by a team of a former IRS and an IPS has decided to extend its women welfare-oriented integrated development projects in the rural areas of Punjab.

In the first phase, the BSGSS would select 10 villages for launching its pilot project, aimed at making rural women self-employed by imparting training to them in the fields of leather garments, counselling, food items, computers, tailoring and even silk neckties. Interestingly, hundreds of high-end hand made neckties, made mostly those rural women who were once highly unskilled and were trained by the BSGSS, were purchased by Indian Airlines from the NGO.

The BSGSS, headed by former IRS officer Ms Nandita Bakshi and former IPS officer, Mr Vijay Jha, has been carrying out extensive social welfare projects in Delhi such as running dispensaries, free cancer detection camps, intensive campaign against hepatitis-B, a project in garbage segregation in two localities of South Delhi, computer skills training centres and tailoring classes.

“Our main objective is to assist women in becoming self-reliant. One of the ways that we are trying to achieve this is by training women in skills they can utilise towards income generation. It is sad to observe that most of the women welfare schemes worth Rs 4000 crore are either misused by politicians or the money lapses every year as it is not utilised ,” said Ms Nandita Bakshi, adding that the hand-made neckties were eliciting big response from the corporate sector and the profits light up the lives of hundreds of rural women who make these ties.

“We are planning to work in the rural areas of Punjab and are going to adopt about 280 villages of the state in phases. In the first phase, we are planning to adopt 10 villages where we would make self-help groups of women. Then these women would be given training in accordance with their aptitude,” said Ms Nandita Bakshi, who added that she had already met the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang and had apprised them of her organisation's plans.

“They have assured all the possible help. We are likely to start our project from Jalandhar where Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta has assured full help to us in making the project a success,” said Ms Nandita Bakshi.


Punjab water table declining alarmingly
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Declining water table is among the serious emerging challenges in agriculture-dependent Punjab. Unless farmers opt for low water requiring crops or scientists come up with water saving technologies, Punjab becoming a desert now seems quite a possibility.

If scientists at PAU are to be believed, the water table in the state fell by 42 cm per annum between 1997 and 2001.

The Director Research, Dr G.S. Nanda, assures that water-saving technologies like bed-planting in wheat or drip irrigation for horticulture are being standardised, and the feasibility of ground water re-charge through cavity wells has been established. The replacement of water-guzzling paddy will help immensely if instead farmers sowed groundnut, soybean and maize.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, says future projections are that by 2010 entire central Punjab will have a water table below 16 metre depth. As compared to 2001, the water table in the central districts will fall by 14 per cent in 2005, 34 per cent in 2010 and 75 per cent by 2020. Incidentally, 2020 is the year by when the country is expected to become a ‘’developed’’ nation!

Since the ground water in south-west Punjab is brackish and only a thin layer of sweet water floats over the saline sub-soil water, only employment of multiple ‘’skimming’’ technologies could help solve the problem of irrigation and that, too, at a huge additional cost.

Dr Aulakh says as a consequence of alarming fall in the water table, farmers have already replaced more than one lakh tubewells and around 3.9 lakh centrifugal pumps will have to be substituted with submersible pumps at a substantial price in the next few years, which will be back-breaking for farmers as also mean at least three times higher energy consumption.

While Dr Aulakh and Dr Nanda still hold paddy as the ‘’villan’’ for the deteriorating environment and ecology, maintaining that in the given scenario and as per future projections, Punjab cannot afford more than 16 lakh hectares of paddy as compared to around 25.30 lakh hectares under paddy at present. On this analogy, the two scientists as well economists talk of ‘’diversification’’. Will farmers accept this advice and adopt diversification, given the present ‘’bumper’’ crop condition?

This question assumes significance because 46 per cent of the total farmers are small and marginal, owning up to 2 hectares.

Yet, even more significant is the fact that successive governments have failed to correct the wrong done, when the UBDC — Upper Bari Doab Canal — was brick-lined and seepage stopped. In lieu of this, which obstructed natural re-charge of sub soil water, the state should have provided 20 per cent additional water in that life-line of Majha.

When Punjab cries foul over SYL canal, saying if it was executed at least 9 lakh acres in south-west districts will become a desert is not without reasoning.

Attention to this fact was drawn by a farmer, Dalbir Singh, who owns a modest farm, in Ganna village, on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar national highway. He says since water always flows downward, a canal should have been dug out from the Beas to provide irrigation to Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts. That way farmers would have used more natural water rather than consuming more power to operate their tubewells.

‘’Those who now talk of the declining water table forget that this is a manmade problem and its solution lies with the policy-makers’’.

The Director, Agriculture, Dr Ajmer Singh, says that at least 128 lakh tonnes of paddy was expected in the mandis.

The average yield was 35.75 quintals per hectare. But for some damage caused by rains recently, farmers were looking forward to good harvest.

A commission agent, Ashok Sikri, who procures export-quality rice in Guru Har Sahai paddy-belt in Ferozepore, says that on an average, a farmer pockets around Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, per trolley of paddy, if it is ‘’neat’’, free of mud, pebbles and straw etc. 


Trust suffers as authorities doze over vacancies
Kamlesh Sharma

Barnala, October 5
For the past three months, the Barnala Improvement Trust has been without incumbents on three of its top posts, courtesy the "indifferent attitude" of Director, Punjab Local Bodies. Even as the routine affairs are affected, the residents as well as the trust authorities are facing great hassles.

According to sources, the posts of Assistant Technical Engineer (ATE), Section officer (SO) and Accountant have been lying vacant for the past three months.

Only an Executive officer (EO) is presently manning the trust affairs.

It is pertinent to mention here that following serious irregularities in the construction of newly built shopping complex scheme, adjoining the Barnala bus Stand, the then Director (local bodies), Mr R L. Kalsia suspended its six officials in June 2003.

ATE Gulzar Mohammad, who was holding the additional charge of Barnala Trust along with that of Bathinda, was one of the officials suspended . Since than the post is lying vacant . Other suspended officials include SO Narinder kumar and Accountant Prem Singh Sodhi of Barnala Trust.

Presently, the Barnala Trust is paralysed and is breathing only on additional charge. Executive officer Jawahar lal Sibia , who is the only full timer here, is also looking after the Faridkot Improvement Trust. The remaining posts are running only as additional charge.

Barnala Municipal Committee Jr Eng Chand Singla is entrusted with additional charge of SO Trust while Accountant Happy Kumar, who is posted at Longowal Municipal Committee, is holding additional charge of Barnala.

In the absence of these officers, the developmental work has come to a standstill. Many people are complaining that they can not go ahead with the construction of their residential or commercial buildings in the absence of approval of maps and site plans.

The Barnala Improvement Trust which is having the annual budget of about Rs 6 crore is badly hit

In the absence of new proposals, EO Jawahar lal confirmed that the posts have been lying vacant for three months.


4 injured in explosion
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 5
Four persons, including two women, received injuries, two of them serious, when an explosive substance was hammered by one of the victims exploded in Meerpur village 2 km from here, this morning.

Seriously injured Sanjay Kumar and Krishan Kumar were rushed to the PGI Chandigarh and the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh, respectively, while Rekha and Champa, who received minor injuries, were given medical care at local civil hospital.

According to eyewitnesses, Sanjay Kumar was trying to flatten a piece of metal with the help of a hammer when the explosion occurred leaving him injured seriously. In the explosion, fingers of his left hand blew off and a leg was fractured. Krishan Kumar, who was watching Sanjay from nearby, also received shell injuries on his face abdomen and legs. Rekha and Champa, who were busy in their daily routine in the common courtyard there, also sustained minor injuries because of the shells-exploded.

Mrs Santri Devi, aunt of Krishan Kumar, said that Sanjay was hammering a piece of scrap when a blasting sound occurred. There was smoke every where in seconds and Sanjay collapsed on the ground. Blood started oozing from his face, abdomen and legs. His fingers blew off which were later collected by his sister Naurati Devi. She also tied a cloth around Sanjay’s bleeding abdomen, revealed Santri Devi.

Krishan, who had just reached from the market and was standing in front of Sanjay after parking his bicycle nearby also fell victim of the mishap. Rekha and Champa also come in the range of the shells, revealed the villagers.

Employed with an industrial unit in Dera Bassi, Sanjay’s marriage is scheduled to be held in November so he was trying to make a tin-sheet for some purpose by hammering the scrap.

Hearing the sound of the blast residents of the nearby houses assembled and subsequently the police was informed.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP of Dera Bassi, visited the spot and took the scrap hammers and other junk scattered at the spot into custody.

He said that the seized articles would be sent to the forensic experts to find out the exact cause of the explosion. The DSP, however, did not rule out the possibility of some unexploded bullet inside the scrap that went off as Sanjay hit it with the hammer.

Mr Sharma said that he has been ordered the Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, to conduct an inquiry into the matter.


Gurdwara attack: maulvi, more students detained
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 5
Mr Riaz Cheema has taken up the charge as the Principal of Nankana Sahib Degree College in Pakistan. The earlier Principal, Mr Abdul Karim Tabsam, was suspended following a stone-throwing incident at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on September 24.

Students had allegedly attacked Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on getting the news that the college would be shifted to a new place and the present building would be handed over to the gurdwara.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, Vishav Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, in a press release issued here today, said that the Pakistan police had also arrested two more students, Sahil and Tayar, besides the secretary, Nankana Sahib Bar Council, Anvar Shahid, and a Maulvi, Shahid Rehmani, under the detention act.

In the meanwhile, the police is continuing an inquiry with the suspended principal, he added.

He said Mr Cheema had earlier served as Principal of Zimidara Degree College in Gujarat (Pakistan).


Reopen cases of 222 for pension: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 5
Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has sought a fresh inquiry in cases of 222 pensioners earlier declared ineligible for pension by the department.

In a letter to the Director, Social Welfare and Women and Children Development, Mr Dang has said out of 444 cases enlisted for pension by him on June 2, as many as 175 cases had been accepted.

But 222 cases had been declared ineligible on the plea that the applicants had failed to participate in a meeting with the inquiry officer deputed by the department.

He said this was “unjust” and a fresh inquiry should be ordered immediately.

He said the names of 39 pensioners out of the 444 cases had been listed twice and four persons were “untraced”.

He said nine more could not be traced because the address as per their bank pass books were not adequate.


Gastroenteritis claims one life
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 5
One person died of gastroenteritis in Rajpura today even as six more were admitted to APJ Civil Hospital after they complained of severe diarrhoea.

The deceased has been identified as Bharat Yadav, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. Yadav had earlier been referred to Government Rajindra Hospital here when he complained of gastro enteritis-related symptoms. He was discharged on October 2 after a few days of treatment. Yadav developed the same symptoms again and was admitted to the Civil Hospital at Rajpura one day later. Today he collapsed when he was being taken to the PGI at Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, sources said six more persons with similar symptoms had been admitted to the Civil Hospital at Rajpura. All the persons are stated to be out of danger but are likely to be kept in the hospital for a few days for proper treatment.

Rajpura town has been rocked with gastroenteritis cases for the past week. As many as 180 cases were reported from the town on October 1. A first-aid camp was also organised at the Grain Market to deal with the large number of such cases besides distributing chlorine tablets to visitors at the camp. This, however, does not seem to have helped much with more cases being reported from the town.


Employees’ federation to hold rally
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 5
The General Category Welfare Federation of Punjab has decided to organise protest rallies in Garhshankar and Kapurthala Assembly constituencies to protest against the Punjab Government’s decision to implement the 85th amendment of the constitution.

In a press conference here today, the spokesman of the federation, Mr Arun Kumar, alleged that with the implementation of the said amendment of constitution, all the promotional channels for the general category employees would be blocked. This would create chaos in the employee cadres of the state, as senior general category employees would have to work under junior employees of the reserved category, he added.

The federation would also move court against the recent decision of the state government. The federation alleged that the decision had been taken in violation of the election code to woo the electorate. The federation would also request the voters of the Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly constituencies to oppose the implementation of the 85th amendment in the state.


Godhra probe team visits RCF
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 5
Four members of a high-level committee constituted for probing the Godhra massacre visited Rail Coach Factory here today.

The team, headed by Justice U.C. Bannerjee, held meetings with the General Manager, Mr Mohammad Sirajjudin. The team members were given details about the chemicals and procedures involved in making fire-proof coaches. The members discussed the factors that could have been responsible for the fast spread of fire in the coaches of Sabarmati Express.

The members were taken to the workshop where they held meetings with the mechanical and electrical experts from the factory. Others who were a part of the team were Mr K. Bala Kesri and Mr S.K. Khanna, both retired members from the Railway Board, and Mr S.K. Dheri, former chief of Fire Services.


Centennial celebrations of acharya begin today
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 5
Residents of Pathankot are the centennial celebrations (1994-2004) of the founder, Acharya of Sree Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhav Goswami Vishnupad. The celebration will be presided over by the present general secretary, Srila Bhakti Vigyan Bharati Maharaj, here tomorrow.

Many eminent acharays, comprising Srila Bhakti Sorav from Jaggannath, Puri, (Orissa), Srila Bhakti Kusum Yatti Maharaj from Brindavan (UP), Bramchariya Such Srikant Das from Kolkata, Yogesh from Delhi, Amrendra from West Bengal and also devotees from Unna, Rajpura, and Jammu will participate in the celebrations.

The founder-acharya of all-Indians Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Nityalila Pravista Om 108, Sree Sreemad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Vishnupad, was born on November 18, 1904, on Uttahan Ekadasi, in Kanchanpara village, in the Madaripur subdivision of Faridpur district in East Bengal.

At the age of 11, he memorised all 700 slokas of the Sreemad Bhagavad Geeta and mesmerised others by giving transcendental commentary.


Ex-servicemen hold rally
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 5
An ex-servicemen rally was held at Dera Baba Nanak today. Around 3,000 delegates from across the district participated in the rally.

An interaction programme for the ex-servicemen and civil administration was also organised.

Besides organising medical, veterinary, grievance redressal, de-addiction camps, ex-servicemen contributory health scheme and vocational project information centre was also set up.

Major-Gen D.C. Magal, GoC, Panther Division, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The chief guest distributed ex-gratia grants to 10 ex-servicemen, wheel chairs to disabled and a grant of Rs 5,000 each for marriage of wards of 14 ex-servicemen.

The ex-servicemen requested the authorities to arrange easy bank loans for them so that they could become self-dependent.

On this occasion, the Army authorities also released a booklet on welfare schemes for ex-servicemen. The booklet will also be circulated to the civil administration.


Punjab Govt mourns Raminder’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his Council of Ministers have expressed deep grief over the death of Col Raminder Singh, former Sports Director, Punjab, and son-in-law of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

In a statement issued today, the Chief Minister said that in the death of Col Raminder Singh, Punjab has lost an eminent sportsperson, who made valuable contribution, particularly in the field of hockey and sports in general.

The Punjab Ministry expressed sympathy with members of the bereaved family in their hour of grief.


Guru Granth Sahib translated into Hindi
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 5
Noted scholar and Sikh Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Jodh Singh has prepared complete translation of Guru Granth Sahib in four volumes in Hindi.

Dr Singh has already presented, the first translation of Varan Bhai Gurdas into English and Hindi and first ever translation of Dasam Granth into English and Hindi which have been well received by scholars of religion and philosophy as well as general readers.

Guru Granth Sahib being a rare creation of high spiritual as well as ethical values has stood the test of time because for the past 400 years it has been the centre of all socio-religious activities of the Sikhs, said Dr Jodh Singh. 


PWD workers’ protest on Oct 8
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 5
The Public Health Building and Roads and the Irrigation Drainage and Sewerage Board of the PWD as well as the Workshop Workers Union here have decided to stage demonstration on October 8 to express resentment against Punjab Government’s “anti-employee” policies.

According to Mr Paramjit Singh, press secretary of the union, hundreds of workers, after a rally in front of the local Sewerage Board office, would proceed towards the SDM office in a procession.

The workers’ are agitated at the decision to pay salary after deducting the amount on account of a weak’s rest in the wake of enhanced C.S.R. rates, failure to regularise services of daily wage workers, failure to lift ban on new recruitment, handing over the departments to village panchayats and downsizing the departments.


Meeting on Pulse Polio drive held
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 5
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, today held a meeting to review arrangements for the Pulse Polio immunisation campaign that would be undertaken on October 10 and November 21.

For administering anti-polio drops to children in the age group of 0 to 5, Moga is divided into six zones.

The administration has put the expected number of children to be administered drops at 1,38,210. As many as 487 booths would be set up for the exercise and 17 mobile teams would be constituted besides 104 supervisory teams. Twenty- six vaccine distribution centres have been set up.

The ADC, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, and officials of education, social security and other departments were also present.


Controversy over woman’s death
Our correspondent

Kharar, October 5
A controversy arose the death of an old woman at Khanpur village last night.

The police said that woman Surjit Kaur, probably died due to a heart attack but her daughters alleged that she had been badly beaten up by their brother, with whom she was staying.

The police said that according to the members of the family of the deceased, Surjit Kaur was not feeling well and had been brought to the Civil Hospital here from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, but she died on the way.

The police said that the daughters had made a complaint saying that her mother was beaten up by their brother which had led to her death.

As such a post-mortem examination done but no injury marks were found on the body of the deceased.

The viscera had been sent for chemical examination to Patiala.


Only doctor for 42 villages at Jaito
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 5
The health services sector in Punjab is ailing and needs immediate treatment. This is the only conclusion one can draw after visiting primary health centres and village dispensaries at Jaito.

Out of 18 posts of doctor for 42 villages at Jaito, 17 are lying vacant, forcing thousands of villagers to seek treatment from private doctors who fleece them in most of the cases.

Though Jaito has a Civil Hospital that houses a modern operation theatre, an X-ray room, and 30 beds, the post of the Senior Medical Officer has been lying vacant for the past four months.

The hospital has a temporary medical officer and a dentist.

According to the norms of the Punjab Health System Corporation, a 30-beded hospital should have a staff of 42 but this hospital has only 13-14 employees, who cannot cater to a large number of patients despite their best efforts.

In the rural areas, the situation is worse as out of 18 posts of government doctor there is only one doctor who is posted at the Primary Health Centre in Bajakhana.

The rest of vacancies has been lying vacant for the past many years.

In absence of government doctors, villagers have no option but to approach RMP (Regular Medical Practitioner) doctors, who are cashing in on the lack of health amenities in villages.

Many dispensaries are in a shambles. Dispensaries of Bishnandi, Gurusar, Ajitgill, Dod, and Chandbhan Sarawa are reportedly functioning from “dharamshalas”. The dispensaries of Dod, Romana Ajitsinghwadabhaika, Chandbhan, Bishnandi, Sarwa, Ajitgill and Rameana do not have a doctor for the past four years and they are running at the mercy of pharmacists.

Similarly, the post of doctor has been lying vacant in the Primary Health Centre, Bargadi, for the past five years, besides the post of lab technician. Two posts of doctor at PHC, Bajakhana, have been vacant for the last 3 years, apart from 3 posts of lab technician. Nineteen posts of doctor in village health centres of the Bajakhana block are lying vacant, while another block of the district, Jand Sahib, has 16 doctors.

The CMO, Dr Rajinder Singh, admitted that these posts of doctor are awaiting recruitment. He said the village dispensary building were in good shape and denied the reports of their functioning from “dharamshalas”. He said 11 health centres were repaired last year only.


High Court
Police powers
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 5
The High Court on Tuesday adjourned to November 2 the hearing of the ongoing case regarding powers, functions and other duty-related issues of the police force.

Today, just as the hearing began, Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh told the Bench that the SLP filed by the Punjab Government against the orders passed by the High Court on the issue of posting of IPS officers on cadre posts came up for hearing yesterday.

The case was adjourned for two weeks.

He requested that since the issue of posting of IPS officers on cadre posts was decided by the High Court recently during hearing in the present writ, the case should be adjourned for sometime.

The case will now come up for hearing on November 2.

DPI order

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang has stayed the operation of the directive of the DPI (Schools), Punjab, asking some headmistress of high schools and teachers working in a capacity higher than they are currently to pay back money given to them so far as special pay.

In their petition, Ms Harbans Kaur, Headmistresses, Government High School, Kalran (Ropar), and nine others have sought directions to the respondents not to stop allowances granted to them as special pay granted as per the circulars issued on February 17, 1989 and July 20, 1998.They said that the DPI (Schools) in a recent decision had ordered withdrawal of the special pay as also recovery of the amount already paid to them.


Murder accused cop moves court for discharge
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The alleged murder of a Ludhiana youth by an Inspector of the Punjab police—Gurmeet Singh alias Pinky—today took a new turn with the accused moving a local court for his discharge in the case.

In his application under Section 197 of the CrPC in the court of Mr R.S. Baswana, Additional District and Sessions Judge, the accused pleaded that since prior sanction of the police department was no taken before his prosecution, he should be discharged in the case.

His counsel also pleaded that the prior sanction was required for trying a police official, who might have committed any crime while on duty.

However, opposing the application, counsel for the complainant contended that the crime had nothing to do with the performance of official duties. The accused’s application had come at a wrong time as 12 witnesses had already deposed in the court, he added.

Quoting the judgements of the Supreme Court, counsel claimed that there was no need for obtaining prior sanction as the crime was committed when the official was not on duty and allegedly in an inebriated state.

It may be recalled that 21-year-old Avtar Singh alias Gola was allegedly shot dead by the accused following an altercation at Ludhiana on January 7,2001.The incident had raised a public hue and cry with residents taking to the streets against the “ghastly act” and alleged “partisan role” of the Ludhiana police.

Later, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court the case was shifted from Ludhiana to the district courts here.


Municipal councillor granted bail
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 5
Mr Madan Lal, a municipal councillor, was granted bail today.

The court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Barnala, accepted the bail application moved by the councillor’s counsel.

Mr Madan Lal was booked in a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code at Kotwali police station on September 25, 2004.


Rs 4.55 cr relief sought for flood-hit farmers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 5
In view of major losses to the farmers during floods in the Ghaggar in August in 26 villages of Moonak subdivision of this district, the district administration has sought funds to the tune of Rs 4.55 crore from the Punjab Government to distribute the same as compensation to the flood-hit farmers.

According to a report, prepared by the administration after special girdawari, conducted by revenue officials in 26 flood-prone villages of Moonak subdivision, standing crops in 22,537 acres were damaged completely.

Besides, standing crops were damaged from 51 per cent to 75 per cent in 353 acres and from 26 per cent to 50 per cent in 127 acres in some villages.

Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, has written a letter to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, seeking Rs 4.55 crore as compensation for the flood-hit farmers. Major share of this amount (more than Rs 4.50 crore), has been sought for the farmers whose standing crops were damaged from 76 per cent to 100 per cent during floods.

Sources said standing crops had been damaged in 5709 acres from 76 per cent to 100 per cent alone in Moonak village, while in other 25 villages damage to standing crops from 76 per cent to 100 per cent has been assessed during girdawari as follows: Mandvi village 1853 acres, Nawan Gaon village 1531 acres, Bangah 1603 acres, Bushehra 1225 acres, Makror Sahib 1030 acres, Handa 1005 acres, Hotipur 865 acres, Chandu 763 acres, Andana 691 acres, Salemgarh 640 acres, Fulad 616 acres, Hamirgarh 606 acres, Karrail 595 acres Therri 591 acres, Surjan Bhaini 500 acres, Bhunder Bhaini 529 acres, Kabirpur 504 acres, Baupur 475 acres, Banarsi 366 acres, Wazidpur 311 acres, Ghumar Ghat 130 acres, Khanauri Kalan 119 acres, Rampur Gujran 60 acres, Kudni 50 acres and Ganauta 40 acres.


PUDA allots land for refrigerated outlets for marketing fresh fruits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The Punjab Urban Developmentauthority ( PUDA) has allotted land for setting up refrigerated outlets for marketing of fresh and processed fruits/vegetables and food products.

The land has been allotted to Punjab Agri & Export Corporation Limited which would be constructing and maintaining these outlets on PUDA land in Sectors 53, 54 & 55 in Urban Estate, Mohali.

The Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr. A.S. Chhatwal, said here today that nine sites measuring (20’x30’) 60 sq.ft each had been allotted on lease for a period of 33 years.

Mr. Chhatwal said that the lease period could be renewed on such terms & conditions as might be mutually agreed upon between PUDA and Punjab Agri & Export Corporation Limited.

He said the monthly lease had been fixed as low as Rs. 1500 p.m.

Mr. Chhatwal added that the move had been initiated to make available fresh fruits and vegetables and other food products to the residents of Mohali, thereby improving quality of life in the Urban Estate.

He disclosed that after looking into the efficacy of land allotment for food marts, similar allotments would be made in other Urban Estates developed by PUDA in Punjab i.e. Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Phagwara.

Terms and conditions of allotment provide for a moratorium period of 3 years for the payment of rent to make the venture viable. Rent chargeable would be renewed after every three years. Also, only fresh produce and processed food products would be allowed to be sold in the outlets and no permission would be given to prepare/cook any item in these outlets.

Besides, the land would not be permitted to be used for any other purpose. Terms and conditions of allotment also mention that open spaces around the food marts would be maintained by Punjab Agri & Export Corporation Limited.

It would be mandatory for the corporation to enter into an agreement with PUDA.


Distress sale: cotton growers seek govt aid
Rajbir Kaur Sekhon

Bathinda, October 5
The BKU (Ugrahhan) group, alleging that cotton growers are being looted by private traders, has urged the authorities concerned to make arrangements for the entry of government agencies, including the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), into the markets to procure cotton and arrest the sharp fall in the prices of the same.

In the absence of government agencies from markets, private traders and those dealing in the cotton business have been looting growers, purchasing their produce at throwaway prices.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahhan, president, Bharti Kisan Union, demanded that the Centre hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of cotton to Rs 4,200 per quintal.

He said though growers were happy at the higher yield of cotton this year, the sharp decline in the prices of the same had come as a damper.

He demanded that the Punjab Government should order a special girdawari to assess the loss suffered by paddy and cotton crops after the untimely rains in the past few days. He said after assessing the loss, the state government should announce adequate compensation for the affected farmers.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that the cotton prices have been fluctuating between Rs 1900-Rs 2100 as against the opening prices of Rs 2500 per quintal of cotton this season.

A large section of well-off growers have started holding back stocks in the hope that in the coming months, the prices of "white gold" will go up and fetch them considerable profit.

When contacted, Mr Ashok Kapoor, president, Northern India Cotton Association (NICA), said traders, textile mill owners and ginning and pressing mill owners had been trying to purchase cotton on reduced prices in anticipation of increased cotton production this year.


Record paddy procurement by Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Punjab procured a record of 2,19,62,39 tonnes of paddy till October 4 this year as against 1,44,8243 procured last year.

Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, said Ferozepore leads in paddy procurement with 40,32,03 metric tonnes. He assured the farmers that total paddy would be purchased during the procurement season and payment to farmers would be made without any delay.

Out of the total paddy procured, he said 32,0861 metric tonnes was bought by the government agencies at the minimum support price fixed by the Central Government, while 15,71,65 metric tonnes was procured by the private millers and traders.


Zero tillage in 3 lakh hectares planned
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
The Punjab Agriculture Department will sow wheat seeds in three lakhs hectares of area in the coming season by using the zero-tillage technology to bring down the cost of cultivation.

Disclosing this at the district-level farmers’ training camp held here today, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, Joint Director, Agriculture, said that presently the department had been having 40 zero-tillage machines and the same were used during the paddy cultivation in the last season. He added that with the use of this technology, the cost of cultivation came down considerably.

He said that efforts were on to reduce the area under paddy and wheat cultivation by motivating the farmers to adopt other crops under the agriculture diversification programme. He added that in the coming season, about two lakh hectares of area under the wheat crop would be reduced as compared to the area under the same crop the previous year and the same area would be brought under gram and pulse crops.

He pointed out that the Punjab Government had fixed the target of producing 147.88 lakh MT of wheat in the coming season. For this task, the Agriculture Department had made arrangements for about four lakhs quintals of quality seeds of wheat.

He said that samples of pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers were being taken continuously so that farmers could get genuine things. In 2004-2005, 3,900 samples of insecticides, 3,500 of fertilisers and 16,025 of seeds would be taken.

Mr K. A. P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, who presided over the function, said that that time had come when the farmers should think to bring down the cost of cultivation on one hand and, on the other, to take more yield by following the recommendations of the Agriculture Department. He added that farmers should take keen interest in the diversification to increase their income.


Licences of 4 commission agents cancelled
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 5
The licences of four commission agents, three of this district and one of Bathinda district, were cancelled by the respective district authorities after they were found involved in bunglings while procuring paddy from different markets and purchase centres.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, DC Mansa, today made surprise checking at various purchase centres and imposed a penalty of Rs 12,000 on four commission agents after it was found that they had not been stamping the bags in which they were filling the paddy procured by them. He said there was also some lapses in the procurement process at a few centres.

Official sources said that the licences of three commission agents of this district were cancelled when they were found involved in packing less quantity of paddy in the bags. These agents were found indulging in this malpractice when a team led by the Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr J. C. Sabbharwal, carried out surprise checking at Thandewala purchase centre.

Mr K. A. P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, when contacted, said apart from cancelling the licence of one commission agent, licences of two persons, who were engaged in the weighing of the procured paddy were also cancelled.

According to official sources the traders and various agencies had already purchased 1,91,678 metric tonnes of paddy in Muktsar district so far. 


Deer park to be turned into deer safari
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 5
The Deer Park situated on the outskirts of the city is set to become a Deer Safari with the state government requesting the Centre as well as other organisations for funds.

Presently, the Deer Park is situated over seven to eight acres of the 1196-acre Moti Bagh Bir (forest) on the outskirts of the city. If the proposal comes through, the entire 1196 acres will become a Deer Safari area, excluding parts which will be reserved for specific purposes.

The Wildlife Advisory Board of the state government had submitted a proposal some time back recommending the fencing of the entire area. According to the proposal, the entire forest area is to encircled by a eight-feet brick wall. The board has proposed that solar electric current be induced on the entire wall so that pulsated current can prevent animals from going out or coming into the safari area.

Besides this, it has been decided that before the creation of the wall, a drive will be carried out to clear the entire forest area of stray cattle. Along with this, a habitat improvement drive would be started under the project. This envisages removal of eucalyptus and muscat varieties of trees in favour of ‘banyan’, ‘peepal’ and fruit-bearing trees.

Divisional Forest Officer P.C. Ataliya said some facilities necessary for the creation of the Deer Safari were already in place and only needed to be expanded. He said an interpretation centre with audio-video facility was already in existence in the Deer Park and that this was proposed to the further upgraded. 


Reforms in jails on the anvil: Adviser
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 5
A former ADGP and Adviser to the Jail Department, Punjab, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, today visited the Moga jail. He inspected the jail premises during which the Jail Superintendent accompanied him.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bhatnagar said he was visiting jails across the state and would submit a report to the state government suggesting measures for reformation of jails in June next year.

He said during his visits to various jails, he was interacting with jail officials to know about the deficiencies and requirements of their jails, besides their suggestions to bring improvement.

He said the jails in Punjab didn’t have a standardised system as far as security and communication was concerned. He said control rooms would be set up in jails, which would serve as a nerve centre for the security system.

“I have certain ideas to organise the entry of visitors so that nothing can be smuggled into a jail,” he added.

Mr Bhatnagar said the quality of food was acceptable in jails, though the way to manage kitchen needed some improvement. He said the quality of living in barracks should be perked up without compromising with the security.

Speaking about infrastructure, he said some jails like the one in Malerkotla were in a bad shape and these needed to be reconstructed. The walls of the Malerkotla jail, which had over 100 inmates, were on the verge of collapse, he added.

He said the condition of the Jalandhar jail was also poor and a combined jail of Jalandhar and Kapurthala was being built in Kapurthala. Likewise, a combined jail of Nabha and Patiala would be constructed for undertrials, besides half the convicts of Punjab.

He said the Patiala prison was surrounded by the urban areas, whereas the new site at Nabha was away from the township.

The state had 26 prisons that had 14,000 inmates against the capacity of 10,000. He said the capacity of the jails would be increased to 20,000 in the coming years.

He said the indifferent attitude of the government was affecting the morale of the jail staff and they needed to be motivated and trained. On cleanliness in jails, he said things could improve on this front by bringing a change in the surface where the inmates stayed.


Fraud in bank: 2 employees suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 5
Even as an inquiry has been launched into a fraud which took place in the main branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) here yesterday, the PNB authorities placed its two employees under suspension for their alleged involvement in facilitating the fraud.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that a criminal case had also been registered in the city police station against unknown person who had allegedly committed a fraud to the tune of Rs 4 lakh with the bank yesterday on the basis of a withdrawal voucher. The unknown accused also forged the signature of the account holder from whose account the money was withdrawn.

Mr S.K. Kalra, Regional Manager of the PNB, when contacted, said that the two employees who had been placed under suspension were Ms Paramjit Kaur, cashier, and Mr K.V. Mittal, computer operator. He added that a team of bank officials had been set up to conduct an inquiry into it.

Information revealed that fraud came to light when the withdrawal voucher, which was used to withdraw Rs 4 lakh by the conman, was found having no account number on it. Before the bank employees could react to the fraud, the conman had already disappeared from the branch.


PO arrested after 12 years
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 5
The CIA staff has arrested a proclaimed offender, Jagsir Singh, alias Billu, from the bus stand at Chadik village. He was wanted in a poppy husk smuggling case. Sources said that 100 bags of poppy husk were seized from Jagsir Singh and his two accomplices on August 22, 1992.

A case was registered against him under Sections 15, 61, and 85 of the NDPS Act.

The court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Faridkot, Mr Baldev Singh Sodhi, had sentenced them to 10-year imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine each.

Jagsir Singh and his accomplice Tarlok Singh were at large and were declared proclaimed offenders, while Sikandar Singh was arrested in the case.

Jagsir was also involved in four other cases of poppy husk smuggling, two each in Moga and Jagraon.


Robbers break into bank
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 5
Robbers broke open the locks of the shutters of the Oriental Bank of Commerce in Gurbaksh Nagar locality in the city to enter the bank last night. However they could not open any of the safes in the bank or the lockers.

Police sources said examination of the bank premises today morning had revealed that nothing had been stolen from the bank. The Kotwali Police, which has registered a case under Sections 457 and 511 IPC in the case, also used sniffer dogs and forensic experts today morning.


Techfest 2004 ends at Longowal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 5
The three-day “Techfest 2004” today concluded at the Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology (SHSLCIET) at Longowal village, about 20 km from here.

Students from 30 technical and engineering institutions from Punjab and other parts of the country participated in the festival.

More than 250 technical papers on different topics were presented. In he model exhibition students presented their innovative ideas towards rural development which included ‘modern tractor’, hydraulic ram’ and ‘oil recovery’. Some of the models were based on the new technological advances like ‘path finder’, ‘robot’ and ‘coke oven plant’.

Mr V.K. Sharda and Mr S.K. Chakarvarti gave lecturers on “Art of Living” and “nano technology”, respectively. Mr Chakarvarti said nano-technology was a future manufacturing technology that would make most products lighter, less expensive and more precise.

An industry-institute interaction, “Osmosis”, was also organised. The students in this programme interacted with the renowned industrialists, like Dr M.A. Zahir, adviser, Trident Group of Industries; Mr A.R. Sharma, managing director, A.P. Solvex Limited, Dhuri; and Mr J.S. Rayat, chairman, G.S. Auto International Limited, Ludhiana. Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, who was the chief guest on the occasion.


PTU to overhaul exam system
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
The Academic Council of Punjab Technical University, (PTU), has decided to overhaul the examination system of the university, with the view that the revised regulations will make the university an agitation-free institution.

The Academic Council expressed hope that students would not agitate as the revised regulations of the PTU involved minimum financial loss to the families of students who are not prepared to pursue the professional education.”

It will also add to the public image as well as increase students’ placements in the industry,” felt the council, which held the meeting here yesterday.

Stressing the need to overhauling the examination system of the PTU, the council has decided to set up a committee under the chairmanship of Prof C.L. Kochar, Principal of the DAVIET, Jalandhar, with the Dean (Examination) as its convener for the purpose.

Apart from suggesting alternatives, the committee would be asked to submit a report for establishing evaluation centres in Punjab in different disciplines.

“It will also submit a report for establishing evaluation centres in Punjab and advise a fool-proof methodology for table marking of answer books for the December, 2004, examinations.

The council suggested that the recommendations should be made available within a months’ time so that the next results was declared and announced within 60 days from the date of completion of examinations,” said Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, of the university.

The committee would also suggest methods and ensure secrecy of answer books as well as accountability of teachers in awarding marks and carefully checking the answer books.

The council also directed all affiliated colleges to enroll all provisional students immediately who opted for new regulations and those who were eligible for registration to the next semester.

The new regulations allow all students to complete their course uninterrupted and they must complete the entire course within the maximum permissible time limit.


Khalsa College Principal again under cloud
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 5
The principal of Khalsa College, Mr J.S. Dhillon, who was in news for purportedly masterminding a plot to eliminate some students to end strike in the college has once again came under a cloud.

This time it is the ‘controversial admission’ of his son in B. Tech (Electronics) course of Guru Nanak Dev University.

The issue came into limelight after the Finance and Development Officer sent a fresh note to take up the admission of Gurkirat Singh, son of the Principal under the teacher’s quota afresh.

The matter of admission of the Principal’s son had been deliberated upon earlier as it had raised serious questions of the eligibility of the latter to avail of the seat from the teacher’s quota, as Mr Dhillon was not an employee of the university at the time of the admission.

According to sources in the VC’s office the FDO’s note points out that deliberate delay was being exercised in this case giving rise to allegations of preferential treatment and causing undue financial loss to the varsity.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, when contacted said legal aspects of the admission of Gurkirat were being deliberated upon and would be taken up at the next full-fledged meeting of the Syndicate.

However Mr Dhillon asserted that the matter of his son’s admission was finally closed by the Syndicate at its last meeting.

He said the matter was duly recorded in the proceedings of the said meeting.

The Finance and Development Officer, Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Varinder Kumar Sharma, refused to divulge details of the issue. However, he stood by his previous note to the university, which described the admission of the ward of Mr Dhillon as “illegal.”

The matter of Gurkirat’s admission has been simmering ever since it came to light in 2001.

According to records Mr Dhillon worked as Reader/Deputy Director in Academic Staff College on a temporary basis from February 1997 to November 2000.

He was granted extraordinary leave by the then Vice-Chancellor from November 2000 for a year.

His son was admitted under the NRI-sponsored quota that was meant for university employees exclusively, on a concesional fees in July 2001. This was when Mr Dhillon had joined as principal, Khalsa College for Education, in November 2000. Hence opinions at the time were that the Principal could not have availed of the quota in 2001 as then he was Principal that did not make him an employee of the varsity.

The sanctions of — extraordinary leave (normal leave being for three months) and the admission of his ward — were mired in controversies then.

The matter remained unresolved. However, following serious allegations against him by college students recently with proof of recording in the alleged conspiracy against them has brought the controversy into limelight again.


NSS holds blood donation camp
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 5
The NSS unit of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC) here organised a blood donation camp.

Prof Lakhvir Singh, in charge NSS unit, said that blood was donated to the Blood Bank of the Government Hospital, here. He said that 53 units of blood were donated by students of the college. Girl students also donated blood.

He said that apart from blood donation, the NSS unit also planted trees.

A seminar on drug de-addiction was also organised on the occasion. Dr Balwinder Singh of the local government hospital spoke on the seminar.


DC denies charge

Moga, October 5
Taking serious notice of the allegation levelled by the Punjab Students Union, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, has said that the administration had no plan of commercialising the site of Regal cinema. He said that status quo would be maintained at the site. — TNS


Punjab set for big leap in biotech sector
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Punjab is all set to have world class certification facility for organic and inorganic foods including fruits and vegetables. For the state, it will be a big leap forward. In the absence of such a facility, progressive farmers’ initiative to diversify in the area of organic farming has been blunted, at least in this region.

The facility, perhaps the first of its kind in the country, is being created as part of the Punjab bio-technology park by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. The park, that is to be set up in 15 acres in Punjab area near the City Beautiful, will have a special feature named as bio-tech incubator.

The certification has become a must in the export business of foodgrains, fruits, vegetables and other eatables. European and US markets are very sensitive. Acceptability of all sorts of food products in those markets depends solely on the quality of the product and creditable certification. A slight doubt in the quality of product and compromise in certification can create a lot of trouble in export trade to the European and US markets. Keeping all these factors in mind, Punjab has decided to set up the facility enjoying credibility at the international level, especially in the Western world.

The facility will be an off-shoot of the incubator, which has otherwise four important features such as Research and Development (R and D) and Extraction facility, testing-cum-certification facility, guidance bureau for those interested to enter the bio-technology area and production of bio-tech equipment and instrumentation etc.

Besides entering in collaboration with the private Indian company, the council is entering into a tie-up with a Canada-based Ag-West Bio Tech Company for the promotion of bio-technology. Dr S. Marwaha, Director, Punjab biotechnology park has done the ground work for the signing of the MoU with the Canadian company here tomorrow with the approval from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who has been given a detailed presentation regarding the park project.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr N.S. Tiwana said today that the cost of the incubator project would be about Rs 15 crore. The Union Government would provide Rs 9 crore and the state government would contribute about Rs 3.50 crore for it. The remaining amount would come from some private players. Though council would be working in tandem with the Indian company for the development of the park but both would play pre- defined separate roles to avoid over-lapping, confusion and functional problems. The Indian company’s job would be to develop land, mobilise industrialists etc while technical know how would be provided by the council.

The memorandum to be signed with the Canadian firm has features such as development of bio-technology park through a cluster approach in Punjab, transfer of technology for improving agriculture practices and processing and promotion of business relationship etc.

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