P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC team’s clean chit to Pak Govt
Attack on Nankana Sahib gurdwara
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 9
After obtaining a first-hand report on the attack on Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, the fact–finding committee of the SGPC today gave “clean chit” to the Government of Pakistan for properly handling the situation.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the SGPC, who headed the fact-finding team, expressed his full satisfaction over the steps taken by the district administration of Nankana Sahib following hooliganism by students of Guru Nanak Degree College on September 25.

After interacting with members of the Sikh community, the fact-finding committee concluded that the mischievous elements who pelted stones on the main gate of the Sikh shrine leading to breaking of one window glass did not enter the gurdwara premises.

In yet another significant statement by Mr Bhaur said the students who were incited by their Principal that their college was being closed down due to transfer of the building to gurdwara had pelted stones on the business establishments of Muslims too. A Sikh, Mr Pritam Singh of Nankana Sahib, had sustained injuries during the incident. At least 30 to 35 students also pelted stones on the house of Mr Rawel Singh , a member of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

The report stated that a big posse of policemen had been deployed outside the Sikh shrines of Pakistan as a precautionary measure .

The findings of the SGPC are similar to that of the Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna. Though Mr Sarna had visited Gurdwara Nankana Sahib two days after the attack, on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib yet the SGPC decided to send its own team to get first-hand information about the attack.

The SGPC team said the Principal who had misguided the students of the degree college had been placed under suspension and the new Principal had taken the charge.

Other members of the fact-finding team were Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath, Mr Dalmegh Singh, Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwar, Mr Ram Singh, Mr Harbans Singh and Mr Major Singh. The team, however, held a meeting with Mr Pir Mohammad Khan Bangas , new chairman of the Aukaf Board and urged him to take all preventive measures to ensure the safety of the members of minority community and their shrines.

The SGPC delegation will hold a meeting with Chaudhary Parvez Elahi, Chief Minister, Punjab (West) at Lahore tomorrow.

The SGPC delegation may take up the issue of handing over ‘Kar seva’ for constructing 500 room serai at Nankana Sahib to the Shiromani Committee.


SGPC wants govt to keep hands off Golden Temple
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, senior vice-president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), today said any interference of the government with the upkeep of the Golden Temple, which had been accorded status of the World Heritage Site, was not acceptable to the Sikhs.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Gora, who came here to honour the kin of those who had laid down their lives during the Punjabi Suba agitation, said certain vested interests were trying to put the upkeep of Golden Temple under the authority of the government. He added that the Golden Temple was always a "wonder" to the Sikhs.

He said that the SGPC had imposed no restriction on the foreign tours of the jathedars of all the Takhts of Sikhs, adding that the news items to this effect were not true.

He said the members of the SGPC, who had been facing criminal cases, should not resign till they were held guilty by any court of law.

He, however, added that if any member, who had been facing serious charges, wanted to quit the SGPC on his own, no body should object to the same. Mr Gora said the SGPC was the only elected body to represent the Sikh religion, so only it was authorised to carry out the maintenance of historic Gurdwaras in India and abroad. A jatha, comprising about 3000 Sikhs, would be sent to Pakistan on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, he added.

On the issue of the construction of Gurdwaras by the people belonging to different castes in rural and urban areas, he said this trend was bad and harmful and alleged that the Congress party had been promoting such trends in Punjab.

He said that the SGPC had decided to open a school of international standards in the Malwa region. Apart from it, the educational projects, which were initiated by the SGPC in the Malwa region and were incomplete so far, would be taken up and completed shortly.

Apart from it, the SGPC would undertake a number of projects to construct shelters and rest houses at different places of Punjab.

Mr Gora pointed out that the SGPC had also planned to set up a museum at every Takht so that people could know more about the importance of the Sikh religion and about the Gurus. Earlier, he honoured the kin of shaheed Chanchal Singh, shaheed Nazar Singh, shaheed Ranjit Singh and shaheed Jaswant Singh, who laid down their lives during the Punjabi Suba agitation.


Reunited with family after 5 yrs’ ordeal
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
For Mr Balbir Singh Bains, a UK resident for 25 years, his last visit to his motherland, turned out to be a nightmare, separating him from his family, including his mentally and physically challenged daughter.

After a long-running campaign and legal battle sustained by the Indo-British community and supported by Mrs Manjit Kaur Gill, his solicitor, he has now been reunited with his family in Southall after five years.

His is the story of victimisation, false imprisonment and frustrating delays. He faced brutal treatment at the hands of the Indian authorities as well as the British Home Office.

Wrongfully imprisoned in June 1999 by the Indian authorities on the charge of “terrorism”, he was physically and psychologically tortured, says Mr Harinder Singh, Practice Manager, who spearheaded the campaign for Mr Bains.

After three years in jail without a conviction, he was subsequently found innocent of all charges, which were declared improper and unjust by Delhi’s Special Court. Whilst exonerating him, Special Judge, M.L. Sahni said in his final judgement:

“A balloon of falsehoods…the prosecution story stands falsified…It is well said that a lie does not have legs to stand on…Accordingly, I acquit the accused of the charges framed against him.”

Says Mr Harinder Singh: “It was even more shocking when shortly afterwards, an internal investigation conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (I.B) proved that the RDX explosives allegedly ‘found’ on Balbir’s person were, in fact, from an operation unit of the police.”

After his acquittal in May 2002 Mr Balbir Bains expected to be immediately reunited with his long-suffering family. However, to his horror, he discovered that he was yet to face another two years of heart-wrenching separation from his wife and five children. Since the UK Home Office continued to consider him a threat to national security.

“This denial of return to his home was in gross violation of the right to family life as outlined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”, said Mr Harinder Singh.

Mrs Manjit Kaur Gill From Gravesend, who represented Mr Bains, appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) on August 18, 2003, against the decision not to allow him into the UK for reasons of national security. Substantive evidence in response to the Secretary of States evidence was filed in June 2004 as a result of which the Home Office had no option but to withdraw the case against him and issue him a returning resident visa to the UK.


116-year-old man to cast vote in Kapurthala
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 9
A 116-year-old man from Kasaban Mohalla will cast his vote in the Kapurthala byelection on October 13.

The centenarian Mr Karam Singh Bhasin, said he was of the view that one must exercise one’s franchise and elect the person of one’s choice. He said he had cast his vote innumerable times and had probably missed no Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha or gurdwara elections.

Mr Bhasin, (vote number 326), said since he could not walk for long now, his sons would probably take him to the booth number 79 on some vehicle so that he could cast his vote.

He said he was well aware of the ongoing politics as he was keeping a tab on each and every activity that was on in the assembly segment. “It is not just through media that I keep myself update, even my sons, daughters, grandchildren and people from my colony keep visiting me and discuss latest political issues with me. Although I do not move about much, my acquaintances keep coming to me in routine to look after my health and needs,” he said.

Going by the official records, Kartar Kaur (105), a resident of Nathu Chahal village, vote number 104, is the oldest voter from the segment. But when The Tribune team reached the village, residents said that she had already passed away last year. Since no one in the family was residing in the village now, her name could not be struck off from the voters’ list.

The next old person from the assembly segment as per official records is Mr Bhasin. His age has been mentioned as 101 years, but the man claims that he is 116 years old.

“It was in the year 1919 that I first stepped into politics. I was in Pakistan at that time and had supported a candidate for gurdwara elections there. I still remember that I was 31- years-old then,” he said to substantiate his claim.

An ardent Akali follower, Mr Bhasin says he could not think of vouching for candidate from any other party. He said that it was not just him, but even his forefathers who had always voted for the Akalis. He also showed appreciation letters sent to him by senior party leaders, including Master Tara Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Finally, PM on Cong posters
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 9
With campaigning for the Kapurthala byelection nearly over, the Congress has suddenly realised the urgency of using the picture of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on posters supporting party nominee Sukhjinder Rana.

The picture of the Prime Minister, which had been missing from the campaign material of the party so far, suddenly appeared everywhere today.

He has now been shown along side Sonia Gandhi on all posters in the city.

The party workers perhaps realised the importance of the leader from Punjab, though the idea may have come a bit late. Sukhjinder Rana, however, claimed that it was planned like that from the very beginning.

“We had decided that we would come up with new posters with the pictures of the PM at the end of the campaign,” she contended.

The posters used earlier carried a bold picture of the candidate, besides the picture of the candidate’s brother-in-law and MP Rana Gurjit Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee H.S. Hanspal and party president Sonia Gandhi.

The party workers probably realised this after The Tribune carried a story on October 3 pointing out the absence of the Prime Minister from the posters.

The party workers made the change so as to correct the wrong signals the posters were sending to voters.

Voters in the constituency had taken a serious note of the “error” as they felt that Manmohan Singh was country’s first Sikh Prime Minister and it seemed that he was not being considered an important person despite elections being held in an Assembly segment of Punjab.


Strategy to check money, liquor inflow
Poll proceedings to be recorded
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today directed Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to record election proceedings at all sensitive polling stations in the state.

In another development, senior Punjab Police authorities have come up with a “double-layered sealing strategy” for the Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly constituencies during the elections.

Giving details of the ECI’s directives, the sources in the CEO’s office said the authorities had been asked to record the proceedings following apprehensions expressed by some political parties.

their complaints to the ECI, the party members had earlier claimed that a “free and fair poll” could not be expected in the state due to “interference” by ruling party members and other government functionaries.

In fact, Shiromani Akali Dal members and other political parties had demanded deployment of paramilitary forces in the two constituencies, levelling serious allegations against the police.

Sources said the directives issued by the ECI were forwarded late this evening to the Deputy Commissioners of Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur for necessary action.

They said video recording of the proceedings would go a long way in identifying miscreants involved in possible incidents of bogus voting and “other forms of violence”.

So far, the Punjab Police has identified 54 “sensitive” polling stations in Kapurthala and Garhshankar. The stations have been placed in the “sensitive category” because of the “local conditions”.

A senior Punjab Police officer claimed that there were 23 “sensitive” stations in Kapurthala. As far as Garhshankar was concerned, there were 31 such polling stations. In all, there were 233 stations including 116 in Kapurthala.

So far as the voters were concerned, 79.88 per cent had voter identity cards in Garhshankar. As many as 69.28 per cent electors possessed identity cards in Kapurthala.

Regarding the “new strategy” evolved by the Punjab Police for maintaining “law and order” in the state, the sources at the headquarters said that the constituencies had been divided into two layers — the outer and the inner layer.

All roads leading to Kapurthala and Garhshankar had been sealed, as also internal roads and pathways leading to the polling booths in the two constituencies. The operation was being carried out under the supervision of Jalandhar Range Inspector-General of Police S.K. Sharma.

He could not be contacted for comment, but sources in his office said the police had been able to check the flow of liquor and money into the two constituencies after the adoption of the “sealing strategy”.


Sachin Pilot dubs Oppn communal
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 9
Accusing the Opposition parties, the BJP, the SAD and the BSP, of pursuing a communal and caste-based agenda, the Congress leader, Mr Sachin Pilot, at an election rally in Beenewal village today, exhorted the youth to join the Congress for defeating the communal forces in the country.

Addressing the rally, he said the Congress had been reposing faith in the youth and had been encouraging them by giving them opportunity to contest Parliamentary and Assembly seats.

Mr Pilot said though the Congress and the CPM had been contesting against each other for the Garhshankar Assembly byelection, yet it would not affect the UPA govt at the Centre as the main aim of the UPA govt was to stop the communal forces from coming into power.

He said the Congress-led UPA govt at the Centre was committed to the welfare of all sections of society and especially of the farming community. It had taken a number of steps to ameliorate the sufferings of farmers. A comprehensive programme had been chalked to generate employment opportunities for the youth, said Mr Pilot.

The Cabinet Ministers, Mr Surinder Singla, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Mr Ramesh Dogra and Mr Ashok Sharma, MLA, along with Congress nominee. Love Kumar Goldy also addressed.


Badal using Takht as political stage,
says Chandumajra
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) has convened a meeting of its office-bearers at Ludhiana on October 19 to decide its future course of action to strengthen the Panth.

This was stated by Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, President SAD (Longowal) and former MP, while talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Karam Singh Dhaliwal, president, district unit of the party, here today.

Accusing Mr Badal of encouraging nepotism, corruption and making the party as his personal property, Mr Chandumajra also charged him (Badal) with damaging the sanctity of Akal Takht by using it as a political stage to meet his personal ends.

He also lambasted the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for adopting “anti farmer attitude”. No steps had been initiated by the state Chief Minister to enhance the rates of the sugarcane, he said.

Professor Chandumajra who was on a state tour to mobilise the party at the grassroots level disclosed that a special campaign had been launched to enrol more and more members and was evoking good response. Party units had been set up at every district headquarters by unanimously nominating their office-bearers, he said.

Later addressing an impressive political conference of the party at one of the local gurdwaras he called upon all Sikh leaders and workers to join his party to oust the SAD and their senior leaders, including Mr Badal, from the political scenario.

Deploring the dubious role allegedly played by Justice J.S. Sekhon, Chairman, Gurdwara Election Commission, in the recent SGPC elections to give undue favour to SAD candidates being a close relative of Mr Badal, Mr Chandumajra claimed that in spite of all such odd events his party candidates got 43 per cent votes in the poll.

Moreover the electorates of Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi also rejected the nominees of SAD in the SGPC elections, he said.

He also criticised the appointment of Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was facing criminal charges in the judicial court, as the president of the SGPC. He demanded a subsidy for farmers for setting up submersible pumps in their fields for improving the irrigation facilities keeping in view of the low of ground water table.


AISAD to ensure Dalits allowed into dera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The President of the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said here today that he would lead a jatha of Dalits to a “dera” near Bhucho Mandi on November 1.

He said he was disturbed to learn that Dalits were not being allowed into a place associated with the Sikh religion.

This was against the spirit of Sikh religion. There was no place in the Sikh religion for those who believed in casteism, he said. The doors of this religion were open to all, irrespective of caste or creed.

Taking on the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Mann said the party had failed to take along Dalits on social and political fronts. Likewise, the SGPC had done nothing for Dalits. He wondered as to why Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, had remained silent regarding the “ban on the entry of Dalits into the dera”.

He said the party would make improving the lot of Dalits and backward sections of society its main agenda. These sections had been discriminated against and had not been given due representation in public appointments. The statutory reservation under the Constitution had become bastion of a neo-elite class, which stood alienated from its poor brethren.

The Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance both had become feudal in approach, deriving strength from money and muscle power. Eversince the adoption of the Constitution in 1950, Dalits and women had become victims of social violence, suppression and incarceration.

The chasm between Dalits and Sikhs in rural areas had to be bridged. He said his party would be in the forefront in the fight against exploitation and denial of rights to the poor sections.


Ahmadiya youths exhorted to spread love
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 9
The 35th national convention of the Ahmadiya Muslim Youth Wing Organisation concluded here yesterday.

Mirza Wasim Ahmad, Chief Secretary of the Ahmadiya Jamaat in India, presided over the concluding function. Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, MLA, and Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board was also present.

Mohammad Nasim Khan, President of the Ahmadiya Youth Wing (Bharat), urged Ahmadiya youths to work for peace and spread their message: “Love for all hatred for none”.

Mirza Wasim Ahmad said the Ahmadiya community worked for peace and showed the real path of the humanity. On the occasion, he distributed the awards among the Ahmadiya youths for attaining high positions in the academic and sports competitions which were held during the three-day convention here.

Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa appealed to the Ahmadiya youth to come forward in the field of sports and academics. He lauded the social activities carried as well as the free medical camps organised by the Ahmadiya youth in India.

Mr Bajwa, Mr Mohammad Nasim Khan, president Ahmadiya youth wing (Bharat), Ch Abdul Wasay, president, nagar council (Qadian), and Mr Ardumanjit Singh Sandhu were honoured by Mirza Wasim Ahmad.


Vet enters Punjabi pop arena
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service,

Chandigarh, October 9
Sukhnain has evolved his music well enough to avoid being labelled as another Punjabi pop star. He as such detests the idea of confines, whether they pertain to themes or to styles. Given this fondness for freedom, the veterinary doctor-turned-singer has managed to come a long way in a rather short time.

Honoured by the Punjab Government with the coveted Shaheed Bhagat Singh State Youth award, Sukhnain is now trailing melodies seriously. Backed by musical training from vocalists Chamal Lal Bhalla, Ustad Mohan Malsyani and Master Om Prakash, the singer is looking beyond the routine of cutting music albums, selling a few copies and then waiting to be written off.

He insists he is here to stay and the points he makes during a brief conversation lend credibility to his claims.

A product of Veterinary College of Punjab Agricultural University, Sukhnain began his singing career like any other college youth.

"I used to present Punjabi numbers during youth festivals. I also regaled farmers with my traditional songs along with Narinder Biba. But I had never quite charted my course as a singer. The path kept surfacing. All I did was treading it carefully," the singer tells The Tribune.

Practising variation in musical styles, Sukhnain soon mastered the art of presentation. It was this ease and variety which found him place in the Government of India's team for the 18th Japanese Youth Goodwill Cruise in 1985 organised by Japan to promote cultural understanding between India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Sukhnain charmed South-East Asian audiences with his boisterous notes, and in the bargain earned himself the mark that was to help him build his career in near future.

"After the tour abroad, I decided to work on my first music album called ‘Pyala Ishq Da’. Then I cut another album titled ‘Gora Chita Mukh’ which had music by Jaidev Kumar and lyrics by the famous Babu Singh Mann. I am now releasing my third music album ‘Lachhi’, he said harping on the significance of variation in music.

Conscious of market constrains stemming from saturation, Sukhnain says his endeavour is to enhance melody along with presentation of the song through the video.

"Videos cannot and should not be considered critical to the success of songs. These commercial considerations are destroying the spirit behind the song. Computerisation is fine but acoustics can never be treated as secondary to anything. It is the sound which determines success, not the quantum of money you have spent on creating a video of a particular song," he reasons.

A folk music buff, Sukhnain has not yet compromised on his music. He regards musical texture supreme and everything else complementary to the song.

That is why perhaps he still has hopes of survival in a market overloaded with glitzy video albums which almost bury the soul of the song.


Commissioner refutes lawyer’s charges
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 9
Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, Bibek Sarkar, while refuting charges of corruption leveled against him by Kotkapura-based lawyer Harpartap Singh Sandhu, today said the complainant in the case neither practised in his court nor did he ever come to his office.

Sarkar, who is holding additional charge of commissioner, was talking to mediapersons at his residence here today.

He contended the case was decided by him on September 15, where as the complainant had come up with the allegations almost after a month.

Sarkar said he had upheld the judgment of the Additional District Magistrate, Faridkot, against whose orders the complainant had filed a review petition.

He said the case was further appealable in the court of Financial Commissioner (Revenue), so he was not the final authority in the matter.

The complainant had alleged that Sarkar received a sum of Rs 55,000 through his reader, Paramjit Singh Brar, to decided the case in his favour, but eventually gave the verdict against him.

Paramjit Singh, who was also present at the press conference held at the commissioner’s residence, too denied the charges of accepting bribe on behalf of the commissioner.

In a statement released to the press, Brar said the commissioner after listening to counsels for both sides at a preliminary stage of the case, had dismissed the same and that the decision had never been deferred.

Sarkar said he was contemplating the idea of slapping a defamation suit against the complainant, who had given a false affidavit to tarnish his image.

He said he would also write to the Bar Council of India against the conduct of the advocate.


85th Amendment will debar meritorious candidates: association
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 9
The Punjab Irrigation Engineers Association today claimed that the implementation of the 85th Amendment by the state government would result in debarring of right of promotion to meritorious candidates.

In a press note issued here, president of the association Jarnail Singh and general secretary A.S. Dullat said the association would take up the issue with the government as implementation of the amendment without taking all issues in consideration would only result in demoralisation in the rank and file of the Irrigation Department in the state.

The association, which earlier comprised two associations under the names of the Temporary Engineers Association and the PSEB Class One Association, has also called for the formation of a common platform among engineers working in different departments, including the Public Works, Building and Roads, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), Public Health and Panchayati Raj Departments.

The association pointed out that against a cadre strength of 623 directly recruited SDOs at present, there were only 272 SDOs in the department. Similarly, it said, 80 posts of Superintending Engineer and eight posts of Chief Engineer were lying vacant. The association said due to poor planning of the recruitment process, engineers of the 1972 batch were working as Chief Engineers while those from the 1978 batch were working as SDOs at the fag end of their career.

Claiming that the irrigation network was the backbone of the agricultural economy of the state, the association said there was an urgent need to recruit more direct officers as SDOs and also ensure regular and attractive promotional channels for engineers in the department. The association said if the present trend continued, there would be a major exodus of engineers from the department in the coming years.


Mill workers’ fast enters fifth day
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 9
Workers of a sugar mill at Dhuri, under the banner of the Workers Joint Action Committee, today held a march in Dhuri against the mill management in protest against the non-payment of their salaries and other allowances for the past two months.

Meanwhile, the relay fast by the workers entered its fifth day today.

Mr Kulwinder Singh, president of the Workers Joint Action Committee, said their agitation would continue till the acceptance of their demands by the mill management. The members of the action committee sought the intervention of the Punjab Government to resolve the crisis, besides compelling the mill management to release the salaries and other benefits to the workers.


Couple drowned in Bhakra canal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 9
A couple was drowned when the car in which they were travelling fell into the Bhakra canal, near here, last night.

Gurcharan Singh and Manjit Kaur were returning from the dera of Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwala located on the Sangrur road, about 20 km from here. The police is yet to ascertain the cause of the accident.

Divers were pressed into service this morning. Two teams of divers from the Nangal dam and Khanauri could not find the car. Another team from Doraha found the car 100 m from the accident spot. The car, Maruti 800 (PB 11 T 2317) was fished out of the canal in the evening along with the bodies.

Gurcharan Singh, 45, is survived by a lone son. He was engaged in the business of retreading tyres.


Awareness camp

Banur, October 9
To make people of rural areas aware of their rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Consumer Forum, Chandigarh, organised a rural consumer awareness camp here on Friday.

A large number of students and villagers attended the camp that was presided over by Mr P Bharti, SDM, Rajpura. OC


Tribune Follow-up
20 lakh wasted on temporary bundh
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 9
Drainage Department officials wasted Rs 20 lakh on the construction of a temporary bundh in the Tash Pattan area on the Indo-Pak border in September. Following a report published in The Tribune regarding the poor work done on the bundh, Deputy Commissioner Harjit Singh visited the area.

While talking to The Tribune yesterday he said Rs 20 lakh had been spent by the Drainage Department on the bundh and admitted that the bundhs using jute rope mesh had been recommended to tackle flash floods. However, the Drainage Department constructed the bundh in September, which was a lean period.

When The Tribune had earlier contacted Drainage Department officials for their version they had said that just Rs 5 lakh had been spent on the jute rope mesh wire bundh.

The Drainage Department made an estimate of Rs 40 lakh for the construction of the bundh to the Superintendent Engineer Drainage.

The Superintendent Engineer surprisingly sanctioned a budget of Rs 20 lakh for its construction in September. The sources said an inquiry into the amount spent on constructing temporary bundhs in the area could bring to fore huge irregularities.

The Deputy Commissioner said he would send the report to higher authorities. Also, he would recommend the government to sanction a one-time budget of Rs 1 crore for pucca bundhs in the area. This would help solve the problem of border fencing erosion and misappropriation of funds in the area, he added.


PSEB imposes Rs 5.5 lakh fine on defaulters
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 9
Punjab State Electricity Board officials conducted raids on nearby villages today and imposed fines totalling about Rs 5.50 lakh for power theft and violation of the rules on sanctioned load.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, Superintending Engineer, Ropar, said 15 teams, each headed by an SDO, conducted raids on premises of consumers in villages adjoining the Mohali power division. Three executive engineers were also part of the raiding teams.

The team of the board detected more than 50 cases of theft. In 56 cases, power was being drawn above the sanctioned load.

Mr V.K. Mahajan, Additional Superintending Engineer, who coordinated the raids, said the action, which started around 5 a.m., covered Balongi, Daon, Badmajra, Desu Majra, Nayagaon, Kansal, Shivalik Vihar, Togan, Mullanpur and Sectors 68 and 69 and Phases I and II of Mohali.

Mr Mahajan said members of the team for the raids, which started at 5 a.m., had been drawn from Ropar, Kharar, Morinda, Kurali, Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib.


4 held for bid to loot bank
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 9
The local police has arrested four youths who had allegedly broken into a branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce a few days ago. Weapons, stolen goods and some cash has been recovered from them.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police A S Rai, two country-made pistols had been recovered from the youths, three of whom belonged to Uttar Pradesh and one to Assam. The accused have been identified as Rajesh Kumar, alias Sonu, his brother Amitabh, Aas Bahadur, alias Raju and Rajesh Kumar. While the first three were residents of Gurbaksh Nagar, the last was residing in the Heera Bagh area in the city.

Besides the country-made pistols, special metallic objects used to break open almirahs, five tolas of gold and Rs 5000 were recovered from them. A case of dacoity has been registered against the accused who, police sources said, had admitted to having carried out robberies in Tripri, Sewa Singh Thikriwal Nagar and Gurbaksh Colony areas.

According to sources, committing the robbery under the influence of liquor did in the robbers. They said all four had first stolen liquor from a wine shop in front of the bank, following which they had attempted to rob it. Though they were successful in gaining entry into the bank, during this process, one of them, Sonu, had injured his hand. Sonu discovered his injury later on only and had subsequently undergone treatment at a private clinic in Gurbaksh Nagar itself. As blood had been found in the bank premises, the police was able to solve the case after getting information about Sonu’s visit to the private clinic.

Meanwhile, sources said the four accused were living as tenants and none of their landlords had informed the police about them. The sources said two of the accused had recently been released from jail. The tenant-registration drive is a non-starter in Patiala despite the fact that the District Magistrate has passed orders in this regard and defaulters are liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC.


Family feud: 3 hurt in assault
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 9
Three persons were injured, two of them seriously, this afternoon here when they were assaulted with sharp-edged weapons on the GT Road, near the Courts Complex here. The victim were returning after appearing in the local Civil Court in connection with a case.

Those injured included Dr Surinder Mohan Sharma, his policeman son Harminder Mohan Sharma and friend Nirmal Singh Josan, all of Phillaur. While Mr Josan was referred to the DMC, Ludhiana, in a critical condition as he had sustained a stab injury in abdomen, the other two were admitted to the local Civil Hospital according to Dr G.S. Virdi. Mr Sharma had sustained injuries the head and hands.

A profusely bleeding Mr Sharma alleged at the Hospital that his NRI son-in-law, Munish Shukla, and a very senior police officer of Punjab were behind the attack. He even named police officer.

Dr Sharma claimed that he recognised his son-in-law while other assailants had muffled faces. He disclosed that he was having a dispute with his son-in-law and had come along with others to appear in the court.

On the complaint of the Sharmas, the police had his son-in-law, Munish Shukla, and his mother Kamlesh Rani of the local New Model Town Phagwara, a few years ago for harassing their daughter Monica Shukla for dowry.


Greed for pension lands woman in police net
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 9
The greed for pension by fraudulent means has landed a resident of this district, Partap Kaur, alias Gurnam Kaur, aged about 60 years, in police net. She along with other two persons was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau.

Apart from her, two other persons, who had been arrested by the Vigilance Bureau, included Kheta Singh, Nambardar, and his son Balkaran Singh, panchayat member of Bhagsar village of this district.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Partap Kaur, alias Gurnam Kaur, had been getting old-age pension for the past four years by making a false claim that she was a widow and having no agriculture holding. Her claim was certified by both Balkaran Singh and Kheta Singh. Even the Patwari of the village also certified her claim.

Mr Raminder Singh, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Muktsar, when contacted, said a complaint against her was received by the local office of the Vigilance Bureau. He said an inquiry was done following the complaint and during the inquiry it was found that Kartar Singh, her husband was still alive and he had eight acres of agriculture land.

A case under Section 409 of IPC and Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against her in the Vigilance Bureau police station, Ferozepore.

Partap Kaur, Kheta Singh and Balkaran Singh had been arrested while Malkeet Singh, the Patwari, who was also involved in this fraud, was yet to be arrested.


Man held for ‘buying’ Santro on fake draft
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 9
The police has arrested a person who duped Godawri Motors by “buying” a Santro car on a fake bank draft.

The suspect, Ranjit Singh, alias Rana, is a resident of Tarn Taran. Addressing mediapersons here today, the DSP, Darshan Singh Sandhu, said that Rana was caught today when a police team had set up a check post on the Daulatpura Neewa-Zira Link Road spotted a Santro and tried to stop it, but the car driver sped away. The police followed the vehicle and caught him.

The police also seized the car bearing a fake number plate (PB10 AD 9912).

Rana first made a bank draft (No. 032767) worth Rs 100 from the PNB’s Zira branch in the name of Government College, Moga, on September 9. He mentioned his name as Gurnam Singh of Makhu in the demand draft form. He then “manipulated” the draft with a value of Rs 3,74,000.

He had approached various car agencies in Amritsar and Ludhiana, but they refused to deliver the car before the clearance of the bank draft. On September 21, he visited Godawri Motors, Moga, and requested them to deliver him a car saying that he had to present the same in his sister’s marriage. He mentioned his name as Gurprit Singh of Dhandiya village and also gave the company a photocopy of fake driving licence bearing the same name. The company salesman fell in his trap and delivered a brand new Santro car to him. The fraud came to the fore when the company presented the draft in HDFC Bank for clearance.

The company has lodged a complaint with the police in this connection.


Case registered against eight farmers

Bathinda, October 9
A case was registered against eight farmers belonging to Mehma Sarja, Mehma Sarkari, Ablu and Kothe Natha Singh Wala villages of the district for their alleged involvement in committing a fraud on State Bank of Patiala (SBOP) by violating the conditions of an agreement reached between them when they were given loans by the bank.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said a case under Section 420 of the IPC was registered against these farmers at Nahianwala police station on the complaint lodged by the manager of the Mehma Sarja branch of the SBOP.

Those against whom the case was registered included Iqbal Singh, Jasvir Singh, Manpreet Singh (all of Mehma Sarja village) and Balwinder Singh and Mohinder Singh (both of Mehma Sarkari village) and Jagat Singh of Ablu and Sikander Singh and Kaur Singh of Kothe Natha Singh Wala village. — TNS


Scooterist dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 9
A Mohali resident, Harvinder Singh died when a Maruti car approaching from the collided head-on with the scooter he was riding on the Ghaggar bridge in Bhankharpur village on the Kalka Ambala highway near here, last night.

According to the police, Harvinder Singh, an employee with an industrial unit near Lalru, was riding his scooter (PB-65C-3126) way back to his home when the car (CH-01Y-8781) heading towards Ambala collided head-on with the vehicle. The scooterist died on the spot.

The car occupants reportedly fled from the scene leaving the car. The police has impounded the vehicles. A case has been registered.


3 nabbed by CIA staff for theft
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 9
The CIA staff, Bahadur Singh Wala (near Dhuri), has arrested three persons, Ali Hassan, Ramzan Mohammad and Satish Kumar, residents of Malerkotla.

They were allegedly involved in a theft of gold ornaments worth more than Rs 3.50 lakh and other household goods.

The theft was allegedly committed in the house of Ms Gaffuran, resident of Madina Basti, Malerkotla, on the night of September 16.


Probe sought into admissions in sports quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Suspecting foul play in awarding of certificates of various sports events for admission to Government medical colleges, some parents have submitted a representation to the Principal Secretary, Department of Sports, seeking a probe into the admissions made against seats reserved for sportspersons in such institutions.

They have requested the Principal Secretary that a detailed inquiry be held into the matter as they suspected that certain non-deserving candidates had made it to the medical colleges on the basis of “managed” sports merit.

They said only “genuine” sportspersons should be retained in medical colleges and others thrown out after the inquiry.

There are certain sports events which are being run only by big guns, who claim to be sports lovers, just to ensure admissions of their near and dear ones in professional colleges. “If a detailed probe is held, it will surface that certain students admitted on sports basis are ignorant even about petty details of the event on the basis of which they have made to the professional institutions”, says a senior sportspersons.


Three-day youth fest opens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
A three-day zonal youth festival for boys of Guru Nanak Dev University opened on the university campus today. Mr O.P. Soni, MLA and Chairman, State Industrial Development Corporation, inaugurated the festival, while the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, presided over the function.

More than 700 student-artistes drawn from various affiliated colleges of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts are participating in cultural competitions.

On the opening day, competitions in bhangra, fancy dress, mimicry, histrionics, one act play and fine art items of painting, painting, sketching, cartooning, poster making, collage, clay modelling, flowering arrangement and phulkari were organised.

The spokesman for the university said competitions in skit, mime, group shabad/bhajan, group song, vaar gayan, folk orchestra and quiz preliminary, classical instrumental and classical vocal will be held on the second day.


VCs for making health education mandatory
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
Vice-Chancellors participating in the Amritsar session of the North Zone Vice-Chancellors’ Conference today unanimously recommended the creation of a national agency to launch higher education loan programme (HELP) for students besides making the study of health education mandatory in university curriculum.

The three-day conference, which concluded here today, was hosted by Guru Nanak Dev University under the aegis of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi. Dr K. Mohandas, president, and Prof Dayanand Dogaonkar, secretary general of the AIU, were also present.

The VCs felt the need for creating a national agency to launch HELP for students and working toward its improvement.


10-day NSS camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
Volunteers of NSS unit of the local Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College generated awareness among people about the importance of water and its conservation during a 10-day camp, which concluded here today.

The volunteers also made the people aware of AIDS. During the camp, the volunteers undertook a literacy campaign and informed people about the importance of education.

The volunteers were imparted training in traffic management by the traffic police.

They also got a lecture on moral education, training in yoga and meditation, first aid and awareness in connection with pulse polio.

Special lectures on preservation of Punjabi culture and spiritualism by experts were also delivered.

In a press note issued here today, Ms D.K. Mann, Principal of the college, said around 150 students of the college participated in the camp.

The camp was organised under the supervision of Prof Ranjit Kaur and Prof Ackhwinder Kaur.

The aim of the camp was to inculcate the spirit of cleanliness, prudent use of water and to help the destitute.

She added that volunteers carried out cleanliness drives on the college campus and gave a facelift to its building and lawns.

Volunteers also donated articles to the local leapers’ home and deaf and dumb school.

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