P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Explain stand on refinery, Badal asks govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Urging Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh not to keep personal interests above those of the people of the state, SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today said the government should provide fiscal benefits in the form of sales tax exemption.

Reacting to the threat of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to shift the refinery to Rajasthan if the promised fiscal concessions were not given, Mr Badal alleged that the argument being put forward by the government for not offering fiscal incentives was purely hypothetical and it must explain how it would benefit if the refinery was not allowed to be completed.

The mega project was brought to the state by the SAD-BJP government and the then Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had laid the foundation stone of this project. The project was hanging fire for the past several years even as HPCL had already invested about Rs 300 crore in the project.

Former president of the state unit of the BJP Balramji Dass Tandon has also expressed concern on the issue. The setting up of the refinery would generate additional revenue for the state exchequer after the period granted to HPCL for concession was over.

He also criticised the Chief Minister's statement regarding the abolition of octroi on the eve of byelections in Garhshankar and Kapurthala.

Ms Paramjit Kaur, MP from Bathinda, has also stated that the shifting of the refinery would be a setback for the state. She criticised the policies of the Central government in this regard. They would be meeting the Prime Minister and the Petroleum Minister with a representation seeking that the refinery should not be shifted.


Chahal now faces contempt
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 15
Trouble could be in store for Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Media Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. He was today asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to explain why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against him for interfering with the administration of justice.

Capt Amarinder Singh’s right-hand man, whose son’s selection as DSP in Punjab was today set aside by the High Court, has been directed to be present in the Court on December 1 for explaining his conduct.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla and Mr Justice Surya Kant had sometime back taken strong exception to the alleged attempt of some persons, including Mr Chahal, for interference in the proceedings of the bunch of petitions into irregularities in the selection of DSPs.

Apart from the fact that his son was one of those selected, Mr Chahal’s name was also mentioned during the controversy over the missing file of the Punjab Sports Department, which had been summoned by the Court.

A letter written by Sports Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, which was produced in the court, to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also mentioned Mr Chahal’s name.

In that letter dated May 28, 2004, Mr Kang has stated that Mr Chahal stopped Sports Department officials from submitting the file in the Court.

Mr Chahal, the letter says, also threatened then Joint Secretary (Sports) D.S. Laungia of dire consequences if he submitted the file in the Court. The file was reportedly taken from Mr Laungia by then Senior Additional Advocate General BBS Sobti and was never submitted to the court.

Mr Kang had also told the Chief Minister that by doing so, Mr Chahal was not only interfering in the Department of Sports (where he had no locus standi) but also interfering with the administration of justice.

Incidentally, in order to save these tainted selections, the Punjab Government virtually opened the mouth of the state exchequer, bringing top lawyers from New Delhi and completely ignoring its own Advocate-General.

The conduct of two senior law officers of Punjab, one of them since removed, had come under the scanner for their role in the file going missing. They are MR Sobti and Mr Atul Nanda, Additional Advocate-General.

On December 1, Mr Chahal will have the difficult task of explaining his position to the Court.


Wastage of time, energy, courtesy Punjab Police
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
It is a classic example of how time, energy and resources are wasted by the government on an exercise they know is nothing but futile. The Punjab Police authorities here forwarded the name of Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) M.P.S. Aulakh for deputation with the Central government knowing very well that he was not fulfilling the necessary criterion as far as service period before retirement was concerned.

The sources say two years service before retirement is necessary for Central deputation. But ADGP Aulakh had just 10 months to go before his retirement upon attaining the age of superannuation. He is scheduled to leave office on August 2005.

The sources add that there was no possibility of oversight. In fact, the ADGP had himself informed senior police authorities that he was not eligible for the deputation because of his impending retirement.

Rather, he had written a letter to the authorities concerned asking them not to forward his name for deputation. The ADGP had reportedly mentioned that he had already spent good 15 years on deputation otherwise also. The comminnique was sent after his consent was sought in April.

Though the ADGP refused to comment on the issue, sources in the Punjab Police Headquarters here disclose that his letter was ignored and his name was forwarded, along with over two dozen other names.

“No doubt, ADGP Aulakh’s track record is unblemished and he is most suited for the purpose. As a matter of fact, he and Director-General of Police (DGP) R.K. Gupta are the only two officers empanelled to be DGPs with the Central Government. But he is not eligible in view of the guidelines issued for the purpose of sending officers on deputation,” remarks a senior officer. “Still one wonders why his name was forwarded and that also without his consent”.

He adds that the rejection of his name, along with that of over eight other senior Punjab Police officers, was expected all along as the entire exercise was nothing but “farce”. Giving details, he says most of the officers recommended for deputation were unfit for the purpose.

Describing it as an attempt against sending officers out of Punjab, the officer says that the government has never been interested in the matter. The rules make it mandatory for the state to send at least 31 police officers on deputation with the Centre. But the Punjab Police has been sending far less number of officers. At present there are just seven officers on deputation. As many as 24 posts are lying vacant. As a result of “such activities”, IPS officers were being posted on ex-cadre posts, the officer concludes.


Control of Sant Longowal Institute restored to Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Changing the decision of the previous BJP-led Government at the Centre, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development has restored the administrative and other control of the prestigious Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), to the Punjab Government.

In a clever and discreet move, the previous BJP Government had not only decided to change the name of the institute but also to have a complete control over it by revising the Memorandum of Association (MoA) that was signed between the state government and the Centre while setting up this institute in late ‘80s. Under the MoA, a society was set up to run the institute.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, the Joint Secretary of the HRD Ministry has stated that the meeting dated December 4, 2003, was convened by the Union Government without the approval of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the institute and in violation of the clause 11 (i) of the rules of SLIET. It has been further observed that the rules (MoA) of the society cannot be amended without prior approval of the state and the Central Governments.

On receiving this letter the Punjab Government, which has been struggling hard to get undone the decision of the previous government to transfer the control and change the name of the SLIET, has heaved a sigh of relief.

At the December 4, 2003, meeting, the decisions of which now stand undone by the HRD Ministry, a decision was taken to change the word ‘Sant Harchand Singh’ and ‘Central’ in the main body of the name of the institute and rename it as Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology and to revise the MoA besides registering the revised MoA, afresh with the Registrar, Firms and Societies concerned.

The motive behind changing the MoA was to get all the powers for the appointment of the Board of Governors by the Union Government.

When the Punjab Government came to know about the decisions of the December meeting, that was convened without taking its consent, the matter was taken up immediately with the Union Government but it turned a deaf year to what the Punjab Government said.

After the change of the government at the Centre, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wrote a detailed demi official letter to the HRD Minister, Mr Arjun Singh, informing him about the “ discreet game” played by the previous government with regard to the wresting of the control of the SLIET.

Meanwhile, to set the house in order at SLIET, Mr Jai Singh Gill has ordered the suspension of Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, SLIET.


Panchayati Raj bodies toothless tigers
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Panchayati Raj institutions have remained neglected in Punjab despite the constitutional provisions. Rural decentralisation, under the 73rd Amendment in 1992, is yet to strike roots. Consequently, there is hardly any participation of people in governance.

On paper and in files neatly tied in red ribbon, states are to give powers, authority and responsibilities to panchayats to enable them prepare plans for economic development and social justice and implementation of the schemes under these. The XII Schedule, Article 243 G, lists 29 departments, whose functions and functionaries are to be monitored and supervised by panchayats under decentralised governance.

In Punjab, so far, just six of these departments have been entrusted to panchayats, claims the government. At a recent round-table meeting the state had with the Union Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyer, in Chandigarh, several identified grey areas and short-listed issues were deliberated.

These included lack of financial autonomy to Panchayati Raj institutions (PRI), like power to tax. But both the state and PRIs were reluctant to use in-built taxation provision. There was no regular flow of funds as recommended by either the first state Finance Commission in 1994 or the second in 2000. Now, the third commission has been constituted. The second commission had recommended that 4 per cent of the net receipts from all state taxes be transferred to the local bodies. The allocation to urban local bodies and PRIs was to be on population basis, as per census — 2001,in the ratio of 67.5 and 32.5.

In practice, official figures revealed that in 2002-03, against an allocation of Rs 148.28 crore actual disbursement was Rs 106.95 crore; in 2003-04, it was Rs 161.58 crore and Rs 12.39 crore, respectively; and in the current year, against an allocation of Rs 90 crore, disbursement was just Rs 10 crore.

Should flow of funds to PRIs not be obligatory under the constitution? And, why not place the ‘’action taken’’ report on the table of the Vidhan Sabha?

Based on the field reports from PRIs on their empowerment, weaknesses and strengths of the system, TNS asked the Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats, Mr G.S. Sandhu, what steps were envisaged by the government to enable panchayats function, as provided for in the constitution.

Mr Sandhu said several steps were on the anvil to empower PRIs and also to adequately equip the zila parishad, the nodal agency, to take over devolved functions. ‘’We want to make PRIs proactive and reduce their dependence on the government grants. Their passive acceptance must change. No new blocks be created. The state has 141 blocks at present.”

Punjab is likely to follow the Kerala model of setting up Ombudsman to look into ‘’complaints, enquiries and suspension’’ of members of PRIs, besides deciding on common electoral rolls for PRI elections on the pattern of the Vidhan Sabha. Also, ways for provision of ‘separate’ budgetary provision for PRIs in the state budget was under consideration, besides working out modalities to raise extra monetary resources for them from banks and financial institutions.

Measures were on the anvil for capacity building of PRIs to upgrade skills and knowledge through periodic regular training. In fact ground work was complete to make panchayat secretaries accountable and ‘’gram sabhas’’ more active.

Mr Sandhu said: ‘’We are working to unlock the potential for people’s participation in the PRI system and necessary instructions have been issued.”

Mr Sandhu said for gram sabhas to meet, schedules have been prepared for each village in a block and dates for the two meetings permanently fixed and display boards put up in villages. 


Cynosure of parents’ eyes, he now leads a lonely life
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 15
He is 10 and his parents wish him to live up to 100 years. His father is 75 and mother 60, the former being partially blind and the latter totally blind. They already had nine daughters but the quest for a male child even in their advanced age brought home Jagsir.

But Jagsir Gir has no idea where life is taking him. Abandoned by his parents at the Punjab government-run Children's Home in Rajpura a fortnight ago, he is still struggling to come to terms with the painful reality of his life.

Till recently, he was the apple of the blind eyes of his parents. They named him Jagsir which literally means "our partnership in the world." Though his parents were infirm and poverty stricken, the fact that he was their only male child bestowed special privileges and attention on him. But the only son of Labh Gir - Krishna Devi and the only brother of nine sisters can't but mourn his incredible loss. He can no longer demand the luxury of home because it no longer exists.

Jagsir now lives in the dilapidated Home for Neglected Children at Rajpura. "My parents love me. But they have been sick for many years. I used to clean utensils at home and also wash clothes. Sometimes I would help my mother cook because she could not see. We had little money, but my mother sent me to school. I also had a bicycle which had to be sold," he narrates his tale surcharged with emotion. He breaks down when he recalls his days at Satnam Public School in Pappal village. "I was good at studies and I want to continue studying," he says emphatically. In Rajpura, however, he has little to do. The Home is a temporary halt for neglected children before they are sent to Hoshiarpur Juvenile Home.

Jagsir's tear-laced eyes harbour dreams, too. He is hoping to attend high school at Hoshiarpur. "I want to learn English. Like Sunny Deol, I also want to be a fauji. I have to buy a home for my parents. All my sisters have homes," he stresses the outlines of his life's ambition. "When we lived in Tohana, Haryana, my parents fell ill. We sold everything and came to Pappal where my sisters are married. My elder sister, Jaswant, loves me but she has five children of her own. I would have been a burden. So I came here."

"My eldest sister is Jaswant. She is 45. Her daughter's children are elder to me. Others are Kaushalya, Meli, Satya, Hardeep, Kuldeep and Puri. Two others died," he says in a matter-of-fact tone. That he longs to be with his parents is clear from the way his eyes light up at the mention of their names. The parents are currently recuperating at Gurdwara Kanudki Saheb in Nabha. It offers free boarding and medical treatment to the poor. At the gurdwara, when Jagsir is momentarily reunited with his parents, they narrate the magical tale of his birth all over again. "It was our duty to bring him into this world. He will now be our representative even long after we have gone. People used to tell us we can't bear a son because we were so old but we have proved them wrong. Sau saal jivega sada puttar."

The benediction apart, Home Superintendent Barinder Kaur tells The Tribune that she has never come across such a case during her career. "This old couple risked their lives to beget the 10th child hoping it would be a son. They have now left him here requiring the government to take care of him till the time he is old enough to look after his ailing parents," she says.


ISI agents involved in arms smuggling identified
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 15
The ISI agents from whom a huge quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered in the district recently have been identified. Highly placed police sources said that one of them had been identified as Abdul Rasheed, alias Hanif, a resident of Rasinwala village in Narowala district of Pakistan.

The police investigation has revealed that Hanif was a hardcore ISI agent and a narcotic smuggler. He first crossed the Indo-Pak border from Punjab in 1986. Thereafter, he frequented across the border many times. He was caught for the first time in 1997 at Amritsar. However, at that time nothing was recovered from him. So, he was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for illegally crossing the international border.

In 1999, during the inspection of the Amritsar Central Jail, the Punjab and Haryana High Court noticed that he had already completed the sentence ordered to him by the court. He was then deported to Pakistan 1999 in an exchange of prisoners between the two countries.

After returning to Pakistan, Hanif allegedly got involved in narcotic smuggling. Besides, he also successfully smuggled three consignments of arms to Punjab. Hanif was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment by a local court of Pakistan on charges of smuggling narcotics. He, however, managed to secure bail in the case from the Punjab high court of Pakistan.

After coming out of jail on bail, Hanif came in contact with Neeta, chief of the Khalistan Zindabad Force, who is known as Haji Sardar in Pakistan where the latter is currently suspected to be putting up. Neeta engaged Hanif to smuggle arms and ammunition across the Punjab border.

As part of their plan, they initially sent into India another ISI agent in July this year. He has been identified as Shakrula, a resident of Jaserwala village in Sailkot district of Pakistan. He entered India from the Jammu border and stayed at Ludhiana as a tenant. He changed his identity and prepared a bogus identity card, identifying him as Amar Singh Gill, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. He also acquired a Tata Seirra vehicle from Ludhiana that was later used to carry smuggled weapons.

After having planted Shakrula in Punjab, Hanif smuggled arms into India from the Punjab border. He entered India from Jassar village of Pakistan along the Punjab border. An expert diver, Hanif swam for three hours under waters of the Ravi with help of a scuba mask and an oxygen cylinder to enter India in a portion of border that was not fenced. There with the help of Sakrula who was already in India, he carried the arms to supply to Punjab terrorists.

Hanif was planning to return to Pakistan from the Punjab border near Pathankot. The Gurdaspur police on a tip-off alerted the BSF that thwarted his plans to return to Pakistan. Later, the Gurdaspur police caught him along with Shakrula. On the basis of the information provided by these ISI agents, the police arrested three Punjab terrorists and recovered from them a huge cache of arms, including 15 kg RDX, AK-47 rifles, hand grenades, pistols, live cartridges and fake currency.

SSP Gurdaspur Narinder Bhargav said the investigation into the case was still on.


Man has much to learn from monkeys
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, October 15
Going by the theory that man has evolved from monkey, and given the skewed sex ratio, especially in states like Punjab and Haryana, it is time that man learnt a lesson from monkeys, his ancestors.

Among monkeys, it has now been established that female monkeys outnumber the male ones by about 25 per cent. This interesting fact came to light during the second “ monkey census” carried out by the Wildlife Department of Himachal Pradesh, where monkey population is growing rapidly and has emerged as the most ticklish problem to handle for the government. Even among langurs, females outnumber the males in a big way. In fact, it is true in case of all primates, assert officials concerned. Obviously, primates never kill females in the womb as their descendants do.

Himachal Pradesh wildlife authorities, who are preparing to give lessons to their counterparts in Punjab to conduct the “monkey census”, say that they have almost perfected the art of conducting the census of primates. This art will be passed on next week to officials of Punjab where monkey population has started spilling over to human settlements from forests.

Punjab wanted to conduct the census of monkeys immediately to gauge the magnitude of the monkey menace and to find its solution. Mr A.K. Gulati, Additional Principal Conservator, Forests and the Chief Wildlife Warden of Himachal Pradesh, told The Tribune that he would be visiting Punjab in the next few days to train wildlife officers for holding the census.

Talking about census of primates in Himachal, he said that the number of monkeys had crossed the figure 3.19 lakh, whereas the number of langurs was around 56,000. Among monkeys, the number of adult males is 95,443 and females 1,17,581. The count of younger ones is 78,371. There had been 27,393 monkeys, whose sex could not be identified. Among langurs, 18,510 had been found as male and 21,779 as females. The sex of 13,743 could not be identified.

According to a rough estimate,the number of monkeys in Punjab seems to have crossed 50,000. However, proper estimate would only be possible after the census. Even in certain parts of Haryana, monkey problem has become serious.

Hit hard by the monkey problem, the Himachal Pradesh Wildlife authorities have contacted experts world over to curb the population of the primates. “We have been working on several projects to check their growth”, said Mr Gulati. First is sterlisation by micro surgery, and the second is sterlisation by vaccination. About 200 vaccines have been imported from Canada for sterlisation by vaccination that remains effective in case of males for life-long and among females for five years, he added. The possibility of sterlisation by laser is also being explored. Crop damage, especially apples, apricot etc by monkeys has been estimated to the tune of 20 per cent in Himachal. They pluck fruits and throw away after one or two bites. It is a colossal wastage that a state like Himachal could not afford.

Shimla will be soon by and large be freed from monkey menace. Areas have been identified for the translocation of monkeys from Shimla and other human habitats. “We are very touchy about monkeys and will give them humane treatment. We would translocate them where their natural food will be available in plenty”, he adds.

A monkey welfare society has also been established. People supporting the translocation project say that there are a lot of leopards in deep forests of Himachal and they may also feed on monkeys. Once the law of the jungle came into operation in the forests, it may automatically check the growth of monkeys. In the absence of availability of flesh, leopards often land in human settlements to feed on goat, sheep etc.


Single-window service for NRIs opened
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 15
The DIG of Ferozepore Range, Mr H.S. Randhawa, today inaugurated a single-window service for immigration aspirants and the NRIs on the new premises of the Community Police Resource Centre (CPRC) at the Administrative Complex here.

The CPRC office has been shifted recently from the Market Committee premises to the Administrative Complex. The newly opened single-window service has counters for passport verification, police clearance certificate, foreigners registration and public complaints’ redressal.

Addressing a gathering, the DIG said these counters would make it easier for the people of Moga and the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) of the district to approach the official concerned for their work. It would also lessen the burden on the CPRC staff who, earlier, had to answer queries of many people due to confusion, he added.

Speaking on the issue of drug smuggling, he said though the criminals involved in the trade had found many escape routes, the police was making all efforts to arrest them and curb drug menace. Answering the queries of some Congress leaders who had raised the issue of traffic chaos in the city, he said the problem could be sorted out with the combined efforts of the municipal council, shopkeepers, the truck union, and the common people.

The SSP, Mr M.S. Chhina, said earlier people had a problem in locating the official concerned, but with the opening of this single-window service it would be easier for them to get their work done in time. He said the police was receiving 500 cases of passport verification every month and 100 cases of clearance certificates. He said the CPRC counters set up with the aid of the district administration would prove to be of great help to the NRIs who arrived in large numbers in the district in November and December.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, appreciated the Police Department for its working on the CPRC front. He said at no point of time there were more than 500 cases of passport verification, which showed that the police was consistently clearing cases which come up every month.

Later, the DIG also inaugurated a regular police post at Ajitwal whose boundaries touch the police districts of Jagraon and Barnala. This police post is situated on the Ferozepore-Ludhiana highway that has heavy traffic and is known as an accident-prone area. The police hopes to check criminal activities and accidents with the setting up of this police post.

SP (H), Surjeet Singh, SP (D), H.S. Pannu, DSP (City), Jatinder Singh, DSP (D), Bhulla Singh, senior Congress leaders, Darshan Singh Brar, Dr Malati Thapar, Dr Tara Singh Sandhu, Ranwinder Singh Pappu, and others were also present on the occasion.


SGPC for full names of Sikhs in newspapers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
The SGPC has urged all the newspapers of the region to suffix ‘Singh’ and ‘Kaur’ with the name of each Sikh personality in the newsitems.

Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary SGPC, in a press note issued here yesterday said, letters had been sent to editors of all newspapers of the region in this regard. He observed that sometimes incomplete names were mentioned, especially in the headlines. He said it amounted to the denigeration of concerned Sikh personality.


Community seeks heritage status for Agroha
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
In a resolution adopted at the Maharaja Aggarsain Jayanti celebrations function at the Aggarwal Bhavan here today, the Aggarwal community urged the Haryana Government to grant heritage and holy city status to Agroha town near Hisar.

The community members in another resolution, also asked the Union Government to declare a national holiday every year on Aggarsain Jayanti, as members of the community reside in every part of the country in large numbers. The Aggarwals also urged the Union Government to issue Rs 10 coin, carrying the picture of Maharaja Aggarsain, the founder of the Aggarwal community.

The resolutions were presented by Mr Lovlesh Kumar Singal, president of the local Aggarwal Sabha, and passed by the gathering. Mr Singal said the local Aggarwal Sabha would publish a directory of the Aggarwals of the town soon. He said the sabha would also make available literature regarding the Aggarwal community’s history and culture to the Aggarwals in the library, inaugurated at Aggarwal Bhavan here today. He said the Sabha had also got prepared silver coins in memory of Maharaja Aggarsain, which could be got from the sabha’s office here.

The function was also addressed among others by Mr Jeewan Kumar Garg, principal, Springdales Public School, Sangrur; Mr Jagroop Lal Gupta and Mr Ashi Goyal, vice-president and office secretary, respectively, of the local Aggarwal Sabha.

The sabha also honoured three students of the Aggarwal community with a silver coin and an appreciation letter each for their performance in the eighth, matric and the CET examinations. A quiz contest on the history and culture of Aggarwals was also organised. Students from various local schools also presented cultural programme.


Poison suspected to be mixed in waterworks tank
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Amargarh (Bathinda) October 15
In a bizarre incident some unidentified miscreants suspectedly mixed some poisonous substance in the local waterworks tank, supplying water to this and Goniana Khurd villages, 15 km from here, and thus put the lives of thousands of people in danger.

However, no untoward incident took place as the panchayat members, when came to know that some white material is present in the water, immediately made an announcement in the village asking the residents not to use the water.

All the senior officials of the Public Health Department (Rural Water Supply) were out of town as today was a holiday in connection with the Maharaja Aggarsain Jayanti. Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the panchayat also made arrangements for supplying water to the residents from other sources.

Mr S.K. Singla, SDM, said that he came to know about this incident in the evening when the panchayat contacted him. He rushed to the spot and got samples of the water in which the poison was suspected to be had been mixed. He said that all the tanks of the waterworks were also cleaned. He said that he also sent a team of doctors from the Bathinda Civil Hospital to take samples of the water.


EME celebrates 61st corps day
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
The Corps of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers (EME) today celebrated its 61st corps day with the motto of “ Karam Hi Dharam” (work is supreme duty), which is the driving force for the EME soldier craftsman and the civilians who are responsible for the operational fitness of electrical, mechanical, electronic, medical, aviation and optical equipment in the battle zone and in peace time also.

In a press note issued here today, the Army authorities pointed out that the Corps of EME had been fulfilling its responsibilities of providing effective engineering support. The efforts of the EME in maximising availability of equipment during Operation Vijay, Operation Parakram and in the counter-insurgency operations were particularly noteworthy.

The Corps of EME ensured application of all engineering knowledge through continuous updating of knowledge, technological creativity and innovative thinking. Rapid technological developments and induction of new equipments had made the job of EME more challenging. The corps was all set to keep pace with these modern changes through development of innovative techniques.

Keeping this in view, the new vision for the Corps of EME had been formulated the following slogan,” Enhance Army’s Combat Potential by Exploiting the Power of Technology and Innovation”.

EME personnel of 10 Corps, led by Brig C.M. Harnal, organised a special sainik sammelan here today. 


Eleven harvester combines seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
Revenue officials of Barnala and Sunam subdivisons in this district seized 11 harvester combines on Wednesday night for harvesting paddy in violation of the orders of the District Magistrate.

Mr Jora Singh Thind, SDM, Barnala, said the revenue officials seized seven harvester combines in the Barnala subdivision harvesting paddy after 8 pm. He said the Naib-Tehsildar, Tapa, seized four harvester combines belonging to Mr Balwant Singh (Amritsar), Mr Bhola Singh (Dhillwan), Mr Chamkaur Singh (Shehna) and Mr Sewak Singh (Kothe Ishar Singh Wala) while the Barnala Naib-Tehsildar seized two harvester combines of Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Gurlal Singh (Handhiaya). The Barnala Tehsildar seized the harvester combine of Master Bant Singh (Wazidke Kalan), he added.

Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, Sunam, said four harvester combines had been seized in Sunam subdivision, harvesting paddy between 7 pm and 11 pm. 


Crores at stake as bets placed on byelection results
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 15
While people are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly byelections, “satta” players of the Doaba region have come into action and organised “satta” of between Rs 5 crore and Rs 7 crore on the poll outcome.

The “satta”, according to sources, was being organised in major cities, including Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Phagwara, by a group of youngsters, who were usually in the business of organising “satta” on cricket matches.

On the other hand, their customers were either those who generally bet on cricket matches or small-time politicians, who have been associated themselves with one or the other party in Kapurthala or Garhshankar.

Almost the entire money had been put on either the Congress candidates or their SAD-BJP rivals.


Repoll peaceful
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 15
Peaceful repolling at the Kalewal Bhagtan polling station of the Garhshankar Assembly byelection was held today. Out of the 1030 electorate, 66.8 per cent cast vote.

The Election Commission had ordered re-poll at the Kalewal Bhagtan polling station following disruption in the poll process by some miscreants on October 13.


Farmers burn paddy straw despite ban
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 15
Farmers of various districts of Malwa region have been burning paddy straw with impunity though the state agriculture authorities and district administrations have imposed a ban on the same and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has declared it an offence.

Though the district magistrates of various districts have imposed a ban as it has been doing great damage to the environment, farmers have been doing so that they can start the sowing of wheat in this month only.

This practice has been becoming more prominent in this region every year in both kharif and rabi crop seasons. Farmers have been burning the paddy straw and wheat stubble to prepare their fields for the next crop by damaging the nature-friendly insects and causing damage to the fertility of the soil. The farmers have also not been paying any heed to the appeals made in this connection by the PPCB through various newspapers.

A tour to Muktsar and Mansa districts revealed that paddy straw burning had become a common practice among the farmers. A sheet of thick smoke which used to emanate from the fields where the paddy was being burnt, had been becoming a major cause of health problems and road accidents due to significant reduction of visibility.

A section of farmers said they had been doing so because other methods to clear paddy straw from their fields were time consuming and expensive. If they would follow environment-friendly methods to clear paddy straw, they would not be able to sow their next crop in time.


Eleven harvester combines seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 15
Revenue officials of Barnala and Sunam subdivisons in this district seized 11 harvester combines on Wednesday night for harvesting paddy in violation of the orders of the District Magistrate. Mr Jora Singh Thind, SDM, Barnala, said the revenue officials seized seven harvester combines in the Barnala subdivision harvesting paddy after 8 pm. 

He said the Naib-Tehsildar, Tapa, seized four harvester combines belonging to Mr Balwant Singh (Amritsar), Mr Bhola Singh (Dhillwan), Mr Chamkaur Singh (Shehna) and Mr Sewak Singh (Kothe Ishar Singh Wala) while the Barnala Naib-Tehsildar seized two harvester combines of Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Gurlal Singh (Handhiaya). The Barnala Tehsildar seized the harvester combine of Master Bant Singh (Wazidke Kalan), he added.

Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, Sunam, said four harvester combines had been seized in Sunam subdivision, harvesting paddy between 7 pm and 11 pm. 


2 women killed in road mishap

Moga, October 15
Two women were killed and another person was injured when a truck coming from the opposite direction hit their Moped at Badhani Kalan here yesterday. The deceased have been identified as Malkit Kaur and Charan Kaur, while injured Amarjit Singh is recuperating at a hospital.

The incident occurred when Amarjit along with his mother, Malkit Kaur, and sister-in-law, Charan Kaur, was on his way from Rania village to Badhani Kalan. — TNS


Three held on robbery charge
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 15
The district police yesterday claimed to have busted a gang of four robbers with the arrest of its three members. Jewellery worth Rs 70,000 was recovered from their possession.

Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, said yesterday that following a tip-off a police-party raided the suspected hideout of robbers at Transport Nagar here and succeeded in nabbing three of them. Those arrested had been identified as Nanadan Singh, Ram Sri and Jackie, all residents of Rajgarh district in Madhya Pradesh.


GCG girls steal show
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 15
The students of the local Government College of Girls (GCG) achieved top honours on the second day of the Zonal Youth Festival, being organised at the Government Physical College here, by winning the Clay Modelling, Vaar Gayan, Kavi Ucharan and Debate competitions.

Jasmine Kaur of GCG won the Clay Modelling competition beating Ranjit Singh of Mohindra College to second place. In the traditional Vaar Gayan competition, the GCG team beat Mohindra College to second spot..

In Kavi Ucharan competition, the Government Physical College while in the Debate, Mohindra College attained the second spot.

Jaswinder Singh of host college took the first position in the Folk Song category. In the One Act Play category, the Mohindra College team took the first spot while the second position was claimed by the GCG team.

In Histronics , the Khalsa College team came up on the top followed by the Government State College team. Mohindra College did well in Poster Marking with Jatinder Singh bagging the first postion followed by Mandeep Kaur of Punjabi University .

The same was true in the Traditional Attire and Contemporary Attire competetions in which the Mohindra team came first followed by the team from Bikram College and University Campus teams, respectively. Modi College annexed the Vaad Vivaad competition followed by University Campus.

Former Punjabi University Director, Youth Services, Dr Daljit Singh was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr Daljit Singh said Punjabi University had risen to new heights in the field of Culture with the University teams beating Bombay University three times to annex the first position at the national level. He said the University had always laid special stress on promotings folk singers and artists from the rural countryside which had paid rich dividends. "Many of these artists are now making mark for themselves at the national level", he added.

The Government Physical College Principal, Ms Prabhsharan Kaur, said efforts were made to create the right atmosphere so that artists could perform to their optimum. Renowned singer Pammi Bai made a special appeal to the young singers not to incorporate vulgar lyrics into Punjabi songs.

He said the youth should understand the rich cultural heritage of the state before trying any western words or rhythms into Punjabi songs. 


Nursing school principal arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 15
Sleuths of the vigilance Bureau raided a local nursing school near the cantonment bus stand and arrested the principal and the vice-principal, who were allegedly running the institute without any approval of the nursing council concerned or the state government.

According to Mr Inderjit Randhawa, SSP, Vigilance, Ferozepore, the vigilance team, on specific information, raided the premises of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Nursing College and Hospital for Women, which was imparting nursing education and training to students for the past few years. He said the school was being run under the aegis of the Meeri Peeri Education Society, Ferozepore, without any sanction from the state government or approval from the nursing council. The school had no adequate infrastructure, he added.

He said the nursing school, which was allegedly being run by the private society in connivance with some government officials, used to fleece students, thereby causing heavy loss to the state.

The Vigilance Bureau has registered a case against the members of the society and arrested the principal, Ms Nirmal Kaur, and the vice-principal, Mr Tarsem Singh.


Lecturers to hold dharna at DPI office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
Lecturers working in government schools all over Punjab have decided to hold a dharna in front of the office of the Director, Public Instruction (Schools), to press for the acceptance of their demands, including seniority with respect to the vocational masters which were having lower qualifications.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Mahesh Kumar, district president, Government School Lecturers Union, said that the state government had accepted the candidature of those vocational masters who had passed only matric exams and were having a three-year diploma for the 15 per cent quota in promotions as principals. This was against natural justice as under such cases lecturers and even master cadre employees who were otherwise more educated than these diploma holders, would be posted as their juniors.

He added that it would be frustrating for a majority of the employees as they would be working under their seniors who are having lesser qualifications. He claimed that the union had taken up this matter with the senior officials of the Education Department but no concrete solution was found.

He urged the members of the union to get ready for a dharna to be held at Chandigarh on October 19.


Promote self-belief, students told
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
Students were today told to “create vision and promote self-belief ” on the last day of a three-day career counselling workshop organised by Blossoms School for classes IX and X students. The workshop was organised by Mr Amitabh Mohan, founder of Human Learning Systems.

Speaking at the workshop at the Central State Library, Mr Mohan urged parents to talk to students and advised them not to thrust their choices on their wards. The counseller said parents must avoid comparisons at all costs. Parents were also advised to allow a child to express feelings.



Jackson lab sealed for violating Copyright Act
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 15
The district police today sealed Jackson Laboratories Private Limited situated at the Majitha road by-pass for violating the Copyright Act and manufacturing ‘look-alike’ drugs ‘Diclowin plus’ made by Wings Pharmaceuticals Private Limited, New Delhi.

Huge quantity of drugs was seized from laboratories during the raid conducted by officials of the drug controller along with police officials.

A case under Sections 63, 65, 69 of the Copyright Act 1957, has been registered against Mr Jugal Kishore, Mr Sudhir Kumar and Mr Ramesh Kumar, all directors of Jackson Laboratories at Civil Line police station here on a complaint of Mr Jai Shankar Jaiswal, Liaison Officer of Wings Pharmaceutical Ltd.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG Border Range, said no arrest had been made so far. He said Mr Dines Partap Singh, ASP, had been asked to conduct an inquiry into the case under the direct supervision of Mr P. K. Rai, SP (City-I).

The complainant company alleged that the Jackson Laboratories was selling its drug ‘Duragesic’ in a green coloured dispenser and blister packs which was similar in looks and appearance to wings pharam’s pain killer medicine ‘Diclowin Plus’. 

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