P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikhs from France to meet SGPC chief today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 3
Even as the deadline fixed by a French court to decide the fate of three Sikh students of a suburban Paris school whether they would be expelled or allowed to cover their uncut hair despite a new ban on religious symbols will end tomorrow, a delegation of Sikhs from France arrived here to make a last ditch effort to pressurise the French Government through Indian Prime Minister and the SGPC. The French Government’s move to ban the wearing of turbans in schools has already triggered protests from Sikhs across the world.

Meanwhile, a French national, Mr Kudrat Singh , who had joined the Sikh fold in 1999, said he would like to seek political asylum in India if the ban on wearing turbans in France continued. He said the decision to impose the ban on turbans was against the Constitution of France which guaranteed adoption of any religion .

However, Mr Gurdial Singh, president, International Human Rights Commission, France, said at least 50 Sikh families would immediately leave France as the ban had endangered the very existence of Sikhism in that country .

Accusing Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, international adviser of Jathedar Akal Takht, Mr Gurdial Singh alleged that he had created confusion on the sensitive turban issue and hence tried to misguide the Panth.

He said the delegation would meet Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, tomorrow and urge her to probe the credentials of Dr Rai.

Earlier, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, an SGPC executive member, had lambasted Dr Rai for confusing the turban issue. He alleged that Dr Rai had pleaded that turban was cultural symbol of the Sikhs which was the wrong interpretation of a religious symbol.

He further alleged that instead of taking up the turban issue at a proper platform, Jathedar Akal Takht had ‘suggested’ his representative that Sikhs in France should send their children for studies in India.

Answering another question, Mr Gurdial Singh said Sikhs in France had been left with only one option either to leave the country or say goodbye to Sikhism.

Mr Kudrat Singh said the delegation would meet Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh shortly. Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, has already given her consent to accompany the French delegation to meet Dr Manmohan Singh.

Interestingly, the delegation preferred to hold meeting with Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht instead of meeting Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti.


Clergy asks US Sikhs to take up ‘kirpan’ issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 3
The Sikh high priests have sent a specimen of a ‘kirpan’ (sword) to representatives of Sikhs in the USA that the matter can be taken up with the government there for allowing the specific-sized sword in its Delhi Embassy.

This step has been taken following the denial of entry into the American Embassy to Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib. The Jathedar was asked by Embassy officials to remove his ‘kirpan’ before entering the Embassy. However, he refused to oblige and returned to Damdama Sahib.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, who presided over the meeting of Sikh high priests, said the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities had taken up the issue with the Government of India.


Verma given warm send-off
Ferozepore SP (Vigilance) not shifted: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today denied that the Ferozepore SP Vigilance, Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, was transferred to Chandigarh as AIG (Armaments). He continued to stay put there. When asked about this at Raj Bhawan here today, he said he was not ‘’shifted’’ but was ‘’called over’’ so as to get to the bottom of the facts as to on whose orders and why Bhagsar village (in Muktsar) residents, Kheta Singh and his son Balkaran Singh, were booked and locked up from October 8 to 18.

The CM also said that he had asked for a ‘’factual report’’ from the Director, Vigilance, Mr A.P. Pandey. ‘’I have been out of Chandigarh. May be the report has reached my office’’. The report has, in fact, not reached his office, say sources, despite the fact that the Chief Minister has had a meeting on this issue with Mr Pandey, where the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Home, were also present.

The only fault of the father-son duo, who spent days in the lock-up, was that Jaskaran Singh Brar, second son of Kheta Singh, had filed a PIL in the High Court challenging the selection of Deputy Superintendents of police under the sports quota. Subsequently, the selection was quashed by the court. Among the DSPs removed from service by the court order were sons of the Media Adviser to the Chief Minister and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepore.

This action by the vigilance had created a furore and put the government in the dock. Therefore, when asked to comment if Mr Randhawa continued to be SP Vigilance in Ferozepore, the Chief Minister said he was not aware and would find out.

The fact, however, is that orders of Mr Randhawa were passed by the acting Home Secretary, who was conveyed that the Chief minister had ordered to “shift” Mr Randhawa.

The moot question, however, is could Mr Randhawa have acted on his own in booking Kheta Singh and Balkaran Singh? Why does he not tell the truth to the Chief Minister as to on whose behest he had booked the father-son duo? Certainly, he could not have done so on his own. Did he or did he not inform his boss, the Director, Mr Pandey? Or is it that Mr Pandey has no control and command over his men?

The fact, sources later revealed, was that all concerned know the truth behind the vigilance action and existence of ‘’extra government or constitutional centers of power’’ operating within the administrative system. These centres have veiled transparent functioning of the administration in general and vigilance in particular. This was not the first time that the vigilance has mis-timed its steps by going out of the way to “teach a lesson” to those who dared challenge to the high and mighty.

Even on earlier occasions, recall sources, the vigilance had put the Chief Minister in a tight spot, when its men had snooped around much to the consternation of some ministers and MLAs. Will the CM act now?

The CM was at Raj Bhawan to bid farewell to Justice O.P. Verma (retired), who recently resigned as Governor of Punjab and attend the swearing-in of neighbouring Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, as Punjab Governor, as well, at two simple ceremonies that followed each other at short intervals.

Others at hand to see off Justice Verma was Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, some Cabinet ministers and a small number of bureaucrats. The only comment Justice Verma made was “I will remember you all and hope you too will”.


Suicides: Kalam forwards report to Finance Ministry
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The President , Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has forwarded a well-documented report regarding suicides by Punjab farmers and labourers to the banking division, Ministry of Finance, for necessary action. This has been conveyed to the author of the report, Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee, convener of the Movement Against State Repression, by Mr P.M. Nair, Secretary to the President.

Meanwhile, Mr Jaijee has urged the state government to set up an independent commission of public spirited persons to collect facts regarding all cases of farmers’ suicides in the state. The commission, assisted by the top officers of the state Agriculture Department, should visit all the 12,500 villages to collect data of suicide deaths and also of institutional and non-institutional loans.

Observing that the government figure of 2116 suicide cases since 1988 is gross under-reporting, Mr Jaijee said that he had a verified data of 300 cases of suicides in the two blocks — Andana and Lehra — of Sangrur district in the past three years. This means approximately 50 suicide deaths per block per year. And there are 138 blocks. Hence the number was far more than what the government claims as distress in agricultural sector is widespread in state, though it is more pronounced in Malwa belt, besides Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Jaijee, who has been working on the farmers’ front for the past some years, said that his team of researchers had found 18 cases of suicides during the past one decade in Tarn Taran subdivision’s Dhun Dhaiwala village alone. The cause had been economic distress and debt. Punjab, facing almost total collapse of rural economy, he said, was neck-deep in economic crisis. PAU, Ludhiana, has also come to the conclusion that 86 per cent of rural suicides were a result of economic hardship and debt.

Mr Jaijee, who has submitted a copy of the report to the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, and to the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, drawing their attention towards the problem of suicides, said that farmers were being dispossessed of their land at an alarming rate. An investigation in this regard was required immediately. There were over 80 per cent farmers having land holdings below five acres. For years economists of various agricultural universities had been saying that holdings below 14 acres were not viable.

He has urged the Punjab Government to set up a debt conciliation board at the subdivisional level to examine the legality of non-institutional debt and settle the dues as was done by the state government in the 1930s. The law regarding the presentation of accurate semi- annual accounts to the debtor should also be enforced.

In the letter to Mr Ahluwalia, Mr Jaijee has urged him to put agriculture on a sound footing as it was more than an occupation in this country. Its a way of life, he added.


Celebrations over victory of Bobby Jindal 
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 3
Today was the happiest day in the life of Malerkotla residents when they received the news that a boy from their area had earned fame by entering the House of Representatives in the USA.

Mr Bobby Jindal, an American of Indian origin who was elected to the House of Representatives from Louisiana in the USA belongs to Khanpur village near Malerkotla.

He is the second Indian American and the first in nearly 50 years to enter the US Congress. His father, Mr Amarchand Jindal, had shifted to the USA in 1972 when the Indian government had sent Ms Raj Rani, wife of Mr Amarchand Jindal, for higher studies to the USA.

A wave of joy swept the city when news of the election of Mr Bobby Jindal reached here. Sweets were distributed by his relatives at their houses.

Sweets were also distributed at his native village Khanpur. People at Khanpur village and Malerkotla are now waiting for the visit of Mr Bobby Jindal and his father, Mr Amarchand Jindal, to Malerkotla and Khanpur.

Mr Harvinder Jindal, first cousin of Mr Bobby Jindal, told The Tribune that all brothers of Mr Amarchand Jindal, including Mr Sham Lal, Mr Bachan Lal and Mr Dharampal had died but Mr Amarchand used to visit India frequently. He said when Mr Amarchand visited India he stayed with them here in Malerkotla.


Poland envoy lauds Indo-Pak talks
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 3
Dr Kryzysztof Majka, Ambassador extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to India, today condemned all forms of terrorism. He expressed happiness over the on-going process of negotiations between India and Pakistan.

Addressing mediapersons here, Dr Majka said that, “I do not see any reason why there could not be cooperation in the South Asia region like in the European Union.” It was important not only for India but also for the world, he opined. He said he was happy that India was promoting such a cooperation in this region.

He said European countries remained divided for 19 centuries but now they were united. He said it was possible in the South Asia region also. All stand offs between India, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries could be solved through cooperation among them, he added.

The Poland Ambassador, who was here on the invitation of the state government, said Punjab could be benefited by simple and reliable technologies of food processing and agro-based industry of Poland. He said the Chambers of commerce and industries of both countries should organise meetings to identify different areas of trade where cooperation was possible.

Dr Majka said that they were contemplating more flights from Europe to Amritsar, which would promote tourism in the area.

He said that experts should explore possibilities of floriculture here, which was flourishing in Poland.


Khalra case witness wants CRPF vehicle
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 3
After expressing no confidence in Punjab police security, former Special Police Officer and key witness in the Jaswant Singh Khalra murder case now wants the Punjab police vehicle, which brings him to the local court here from Amritsar, to be replaced with a CRPF vehicle.

The witness, Mr Kuldeep Singh, earlier alleged in a statement recorded by the CBI under Section 161 CrPC that he saw DSP Jaspal Singh with a pistol in his hand and a dead Khalra when he returned to the cell in which Khalra was being kept captive. Mr Kuldeep Singh has also alleged that Khalra was taken for a meeting with former Punjab DGP K P S Gill at the residence of former Tarn Taran SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu.

Mr Kuldeep Singh has sent a telegram to the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr S P Bangarh, who is hearing the case expressing his inability to attend the court hearing yesterday even though he had received summons in the case. His lawyer, Mr Brijinder Singh Sodhi said Mr Kuldeep Singh had expressed dissatisfaction with the Punjab police vehicle and driver provided to him.

Mr Sodhi said the former SPO had stated in the telegram that the Punjab police driver was in the habit of wasting time deliberately. Besides it has been alleged that the driver threatened Mr Kuldeep Singh when he pointed this out. It has also been claimed that no petrol was being provided to the vehicle. Mr Kuldeep Singh has stated that due to these reasons he was feeling unsafe and said he be provided with a vehicle from the CRPF whose men were already providing security to him.

Mr Sodhi said this was not the first time that his client had claimed harassment at the hands of Punjab police. He said earlier Punjab police had allotted a condemned vehicle to him which was changed only after he took up the matter in court. Mr Sodhi said Mr Kuldeep Singh also had to fight to get CRPF security.

Mr Kuldeep Singh is the most important witness of the prosecution which finds itself with fewer and fewer witnesses ever since 1996 when the challan was first filed in the case. Only six out of the total of 40 witnesses in the case have been examined till now. A total of seven persons are facing trial in the case with former SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu and DSP Ashok Kumar, who were also accused in the case, having expired. 


Release salaries, orders Singla
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 3
The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today ordered the release of salaries of all government departments which had been withheld due to the failure of their drawing and disbursement officers (DDOs) to reconcile the Group Insurance Scheme (GIS) accounts with the district treasury offices.

Following the directive of the Finance Minister, the salary of almost all departments has been released. Reports here said the treasury officers were taking undertakings from the DDOs of defaulting departments that they would reconcile all GIS accounts by November 30.

The DDOs have also been asked to issue certificates of the status of the GIS accounts to the employees besides been told to file answers to all objections pointed out during the internal audit of their departments.


SAD seeks paramilitary forces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Apprehending booth capturing and poll rigging with the connivance of the state police, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded deployment of paramilitary forces in all the three SGPC constituencies — Dhariwal, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran — going to the polls on November 7.

A complaint in this regard was sent to the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections by SAD secretary Daljit Singh Cheema. In this complaint the SAD alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was blatantly misusing the state machinery to defeat the SAD candidates.

SAD alleged that many police officers were openly campaigning for the Congress-supported candidates. Dr Cheema further alleged that the party was receiving numerous complaints of police excesses on SAD candidates and their supporters.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister had refuted Akali allegations.


State forest cover up
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 3
The forest cover in Punjab has increased from 6.1 per cent to 8.1 per cent in the past four years. The State Forest Minister, Mr Hansraj Joshan, revealed this while interacting with mediapersons here yesterday.

The minister said the Forest Department had set a target of increasing the state’s forest cover to 18 per cent by 2010. Mr Joshan said Punjab’s economy was based on agriculture and 84 per cent of land was under cultivation, but still the state government would leave no stone unturned to achieve this goal. He said during a recent of meeting of forest ministers of all states with the Union Forest Minister he had raised the issue of fixing maximum support price (MSP) for eucalyptus and poplar trees on the lines of paddy and wheat. He said fixing MSP would encourage plantation and that would increase green cover in the state. He said the union minister assured him that he would give a serious thought to the proposal.

The Forest Minister said Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ferozepore and Jalalabad had been declared green cities and plantation was taken up on a large scale in these cities.

He said 35,000 saplings were planted in Jalalabad and the municipal committee had been asked to look after them. In the second phase of this scheme 15 cities would be declared green cities and they would be provided with free saplings. Similarly, 2,500 villages would be covered under a plantation scheme in the coming year. Different varieties of medicinal and ornamental saplings would be planted under the drive.

He said despite the financial crunch the state government had released Rs 3 crore for various schemes of the Forest Department.

Mr Joshan said the department had succeeded in achieving this year’s plantation target of 12,000 hectares of which 5,000 hectares alone came under Ropar, Gurdaspur, and Hoshiarpur districts. He said under the project financed by Japan Bank International Corporation (JBIC) the department had fixed a target of 18,000 hectares for the next year.

Mr Joshan said he was personally looking into the case of theft of forest produce and anyone involved in such activity would be dealt with strictly under the Forest Act, 1890.

The minister admitted that the department was facing difficulty in manning the forest areas due to staff shortage.

He said 400 posts of forest guards were lying vacant and he had talked to the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, in this regard. He said till these posts were filled the department would seek help from local bodies and corporations and utilise the services of their surplus staff.

The minister said he had also put up a proposal of using vacant land of municipal councils, gram panchayats and focal points for plantation.


Sidhu’s appointment sparks off protests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The appointment of Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu as Director of Agriculture has stirred the hornet’s nest, and officers down to the field level are wearing black badges in protest, dubbing him as “non-agriculture” man.

A delegation of the agriculture technocrats action committee today met the minister concerned and also the key bureaucrats to lodge their protest and demand that only a person with the requisite qualification from the main agriculture administrative wing be appointed director. The delegation was led by Joint Directors Bhupinder Singh Shahpuri and Balwinder Singh Sohal.

Mr Sidhu, it was contended, was only B.Tech and did not fulfil the prescribed minimum qualification to be eligible to hold the post even if he had been asked to “officiate”.

The action committee general secretary, Dr Chaman Lal Vashisht, said that if the government did not correct the “mistake” of appointing Mr Sidhu, the department officials would proceed on one-day, mass casual leave on November 9.

The minister concerned and the bureaucrats were given copies of the rules governing appointment of Director of Agriculture as well as wing-wise seniority lists to support their point of view. The four wings are agriculture, statistics, hydrology and geology and machinery-related engineering wing. The delegation will meet the Chief Minister on November 11.


33 girls married off
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 3
Thirty three girls of financially backward families of different villages of Abohar and Fazilka Assembly segments were married off today at DAV College here.

Mr Hans Raj Josan, Minister of State for Forests, was present on the occasion.

Mr Josan regretted that Punjab was one of the most prosperous states in India but the women in the state could not be assured the status and respect, which they deserved in society.

Manipur was smaller in terms of population and area as compared with Ferozepore district but the girls lived there in more dignified manner.

In Punjab most of the farmer or middle class families faced the menace of suicides only because of fast increasing expenses on marriages.

There had been a mad race for vulgar show of wealth and resources on the marriage ceremonies and related functions, he said.


Water schemes inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur Sahib, November 3
More than 6,000 residents of 11 villages situated in the Kandi area of the district, who have been facing scarcity of water for the past many years, got a reprieve with the inauguration of two water supply schemes by the Minister of Public Health (Food and Supplies), Mr Avtar Henry, here today. The two projects costing Rs 3.27 crore became functional at Kiratpur villges, about 30 km from here.

The villages on the Ropar-Nangal highway covered under the first scheme includes Kiratpur Sahib, Kalyanpur, Bhatoli, Jeowal and Bhagwala. Those covered under the second water supply scheme “Gara Maura” includes Gara, Moura, Dehni, Dabour, Nard and Barowal villages.

Water is now being supplied to these villages from the canal after purification at the treatment plant in Kiratpur village.

Earlier the villagers were dependent on water available through natural sources. Due to substantial increase in population and depleting water level, the villagers of the area had been facing shortage of water.

To meet the increasing demand of water in the area about Rs 44.42 lakh has been spent on the water supply scheme at Kiratpur Sahib and Rs 283 lakh for the Gara Moura scheme.

Interacting with mediapersons, Mr Henry said that the projects were developed to cater to the increased demand of water by raising per capita water supply level from 40 lpcd to 70 lpcd.

He said that under both schemes a treatment plant of 0.25 MGD capacity, a water tank with 5.50 lakh litres, electrical sub-station and a standby arrangement of 200KVA capacity were installed here.

“With a view to providing clean water to each village in the state the government has decided to take Rs 1,814 crore from the World Bank. The government has started various schemes to provide clean water in 8,300 villages of the district.

The rest of the villages will be covered under new schemes after getting aid from the World Bank,” he added.


Key resolutions passed in MC amid protests
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 3
After defeating two no-confidence motions, the Municipal Council president, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, succeeded in getting a number of resolutions passed amid vociferous protests from rebel councillors led by their leader, Mr Naseeb Bawa, at the MC’s monthly meeting here today.

The two factions had a heated argument over giving away the octroi contract. The rebel camp alleged that some of the municipal councillors had ‘benami’ contribution in previous year’s octroi contract and they had “looted” traders while charging octroi. They further alleged that the MC officials did not listen to the traders’ grievances and instead “humiliated” them, as some councillors had a share in the octroi contract. They opposed giving octroi posts on contract and said that the council should run them on its own.

On a resolution regarding the proposed Rs 70-lakh MC complex, the rebels said the state government should sanction a grant for the same, while PUDA should undertake its construction. Apprehending misappropriation of funds in case of the MC taking up the work itself, they said the hefty amount that the MC proposed to spend on the complex should instead be utilised for development works.

The dissidents said the sewerage system in the city had totally collapsed and 25 per cent of its population was not getting drinking water. Opposing the resolution on lodging FIRs against those having illegal water connections, Mr Bawa and Mr Ranwinder Singh Pappu said this was nothing but a plan to “harass” people who should be provided drinking water free of cost. Lamenting the poor state of roads, they said that 25 per cent of the city’s lanes were without tiles.

The rebel councillors also spoke against a resolution to sell stray cattle. Mr Bawa said the stray cattle sold might be slaughtered and it would be better if they were kept at a ‘gaushala’. They also resented a resolution on construction of the Zira road saying that the state government had sanctioned a sum of Rs 10 lakh for the road work on October 27, 2000, and the money MC planned to spend on it should be diverted to development projects.


400 complaints by PUDA against illegal colonisers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 3
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here has lodged over 400 complaints against colonisers developing unauthorised colonies in the 3 districts of Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib falling under PUDA Patiala zone.

According to a press note issued by the authority here today, out of the total 409 complaints given to the respective SSPs, 94 FIRs had been lodged while 315 complaints were pending with the police.

In Patiala, out of the 267 complaints sent, only 43 cases had been registered by the police, in Sangrur, out of the 61 cases sent to the police only 32 FIRs had been lodged. In Barnala, 14 FIRs had been lodged out of the 18 complaints sent by PUDA, and in Fatehgarh Sahib, out of the 63 complaints sent only 5 FIRs had been lodged so far.

Stating that PUDA was pursuing these complaints with the respective district police chiefs to register the remaining cases so that guilty are punished according to the provisions of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, (PAPRA) 1995, Mr A.S. Chattwal, Chief Administrator, PUDA, pointed out they had succeeded in proving the offence of such colonisers in the court.

On 14.10.2004, in the court of the Subdivision, Nabha, Mr Hardeep Singh Grewal, pronounced judgements in two such cases convicting colonisers Amar Singh of village Alhoran, and Rajiv Goel of Bansa Street, Nabha, for developing an unauthorised colony on 2.5 acres land in village Alhoran. The other person convicted was Charanjit Singh of Nabha, who had developed an illegal colony on 8 acres of land in village Dulladi, Nabha. The court had ordered the accused to undergo imprisonment of one-and-a-half years with fine of Rs 2000 each and in default of a payment of fine, to undergo further imprisonment of 20 days.


Corporation proceeds against 2 colonisers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 3
The municipal corporation today proceeded against two colonisers in the city by plying bulldozers on roads constructed by them besides destroying boundary walls and even levelling a few rooms in one colony.

Mayor Vishnu Sharma disclosed that action had been taken against illegal colony which had come up on the Devigarh road and another near Raimajra village behind the Truck Union. He said in the case of the Devigarh road colony the corporation bulldozers had obliterated a major part of the roads constructed inside the colony with the purpose of carving out plots on its sides.

He said in this colony few rooms which had been constructed at the site had also been demolished.

Mr Sharma, said in the case of the colony near Raimajra village, the corporation bulldozers had demolished roads as well as a boundary wall. He said the drive was led by Assistant Town Planner Nirmaljit Singh and included staff of the building and land branch of the corporation.

The Mayor said the drive against illegal colonies would continue for another two days. He said the purpose of the drive was to make people aware that illegal colonies would not be tolerated and that the corporation would act decisively in the matter. He said boards were being put up at all the illegal colonies to warn the public that it should not purchase land in them and that the corporation would not pass any maps of proposed houses to be built in such colonies.


Honesty not best policy, say ‘sufferers’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 3
The inaugural seminar of the Vigilance Awareness Week in the city today saw a few persons stating that toeing the honesty line had proved costly to them and that they would have been able to succeed in their business if they had lined the pockets of various government officials.

A person said he had been ruined as he had failed to bribe officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Food and Supplies Department. “I started a sheller but failed in my business as I did not acede to the demands of officials of these departments. It would have been better if I had lined their pockets”, he added.

Another person gave the name of an Additional Director against whom he claimed he had submitted quite detailed allegations. “No action has been taken in the case till now”, he said, adding how was the ordinary person to believe that action would be taken against corrupt officials on his complaint.

Patiala Divisional Commissioner C.S. Srivastav speaking at the function organised at the Central State Library, said the people themselves should not pressurise officials to do a particular work in hurry. He said once this was done avenues for corruption were opened. Mr Srivastav urged the people to report corrupt practises and persons so that action could be taken against such persons.

Vigilance Deputy Inspector General of Police N.S. Dhillon said people should get in touch with the Vigilance Bureau of their district in case they wanted to report any case of corruption. He said a system had been put in place under which complete confidentiality would be maintained in the matter.

Patiala Vigilance Bureau Senior Superintendent of Police Balkar Singh Sidhu said the numbers of officers responsible for receiving complaints would be put up at important places for the knowledge of the people.


‘Uranium in water above required level’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 3
Researchers have found that the uranium concentration in water is more than the required level.

They concluded this on the second day of the three-day National Conference-cum-Workshop on Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors and its Applications being organised by the Physics Department of the local DAV College today.

Mr Dhani Ram, Principal of the College, said more than 100 scientists from various scientific institutions of the country were participating in the conference, which is being organised with the collaboration of the University Grants Commission, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Department of Science and Technology.

Lectures were delivered by well known scientists, including Dr R.H. Iyer, Prof S.K. Chakravarty, Dr D. Ghosh, Dr R.C. Ramola, Dr T.V. Ramachandran, Dr R.G. Sonakwade and Dr. K.P. Eappen.

Some of the papers presented were on the determination of uranium in soil samples of some states such as Goa, Punjab, Jharkhand etc.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Dr K.N. Pathak, inaugurated the conference yesterday.


Punjabi artistes to perform in Jalandhar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 3
A galaxy of Punjabi music stars, Sukwinder, Hans Raj Hans, Harbhajan Mann, Pammi Bai, Sarabjit Cheema and Harjit Harman will perform in the city for a cultural festival “Mitti di khusboo”. The festival is the first function to be organised by a cultural organisation “Punjab panian dee virasat” at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium on November 19 and 20.

Stating this at a press conference here today, Mr Swaran Singh, Commissioner of Jalandhar Division and president of the organisation, said Pakistani Punjabi artistes Akram Rahi, Nasibo, Afshan, Jat brothers, Surraya Khanum and Iqbal Bahu would also be in the city to perform in the show.


Appointment letters to 128 candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Appointment letters were issued to 128 candidates on compassionate grounds by Punjab’s Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee at an impressive function organised here at Kisan Bhawan today.

Addressing the gathering, the minister said these cases of appointment on compassionate grounds were pending since long but were decided expeditiously by the Amarinder Government.

He added that the remaining cases would also be decided soon after completing official formalities. Giving details, the Director in the Transport Department P.S. Aujla said letters had been issued to class III, IV and workshop employees.


Workshop for parents of ‘special’ children
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 3
More than 60 delegates from all over Punjab recently attended a workshop on strategic growth organised by the District Special Olympics Association to orient special educators and parents working with mentally-challenged children.

Disclosing this here today, Special Olympics — Bharat, Punjab Chapter Secretary, Dr Ravi Bhushan said Ms Christine Parker Hunt from international office, Washington, Mr Noel Phillips, national director, New Delhi and Mr John Nagarjun from Chennai were the resource persons for the workshop.

Dr N.S. Sodhi, Area Director, emphasised upon the importance of objectives of the workshop. He said the Special Olympics — Bharat Punjab Chapter had been assigned a target of providing opportunity for sports competitions for 10,000 mentally challenged athletes. Dr Sodhi said in addition to this 500 coaches and 500 volunteers were to be identified for this purpose.


Ugrahan held

Sangrur, November 3
In view of the “rail roko” agitation today by farmers’ organisations against the distress sale of cotton in the state, the Sunam police today arrested Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU(Ekta) Ugrahan group, from the Sunam area.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Sangrur, said Mr Ugrahan’s arrest had been made as a preventive measure in view of the farmers’ agitation. — TNS


Medical camp held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 3
Following the detection of jaundice cases in various parts of the town, the district health authorities today organised a medical check-up camp in the worst jaudice-affected local Adarsh Mohalla. A team of two doctors of the local Civil Hospital, Dr Jagmohan Singh, medical specialist, and Dr Inderjit Singla, pathologist, examined the patients.

Dr K.C. Goyal, District Health Officer (DHO), Sangrur, said blood samples of 40 persons had been collected at the camp. Of which, 23 persons had been found suffering from mild jaundice.


Anti-graft rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 3
Mr. S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, flagged off an anti-corruption rally from district administrative complex, taken over by the students of Divine Light International School Sirhind. The rally passed through Sirhind city and concluded at G.T.Road Sirhind. The students were carrying with anti-corruption banners and raising slogans against corruption.


Court gives partial relief to liquor contractor
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 3
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday gave partial relief to liquor contractor Sanjiv Bhandari when it directed that the contractor whose bid is highest in the re-auction of liquor vends in Punjab would be given the liberty of paying the licence fee in three installments by January 31 as against the earlier decided deadline of December 31.

The Bench of Mr Justice NK Sud and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, however, did not deem it fit to interfere in the matter of payment of 54 days' security.

The Bench, however, said that this payment could be made in three installments before the commissioning of vends.

Mr Bhandari had challenged the condition in the auction notice which said that 54 days' security would have to be deposited by the successful bidder. His lawyer, Mr Mohan Jain, told the court that the government should be asked to charge proportionate amount as the fresh auction was being held to give licence for only four-and-half months.

However, advocate Arun Palli, counsel for the Punjab Government, said that the security deposit was only at the regular rates and there was nothing wrong in it.

The Bench also allowed the petitioner to make payment of 5 per cent of the bid amount at the fall of hammer and the rest 10 per cent before vends become functional.

The Bench also agreed with the contention of the petitioner that he should not be held responsible for any loss that was suffered by the exchequer in the fresh auction for Jalandhar I and II excise districts.

The Bench also said that Rs 6 crore deposited by the petitioner in the court would be adjusted towards payment of auction amount if he succeeded.

The petition was disposed of.


Punjab CM's election upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 3
Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition seeking setting aside of the election of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala Assembly constituency.

The petitioner, Mr Harkirat Singh, worker of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), who lives in Patiala, had sought setting aside of the election of Capt Amarinder on the ground that the electoral process had been vitiated due to use of undue influence by Capt Amarinder.

The petitioner had also accused the Chief Minister of having used government machinery to ensure his victory.

Mr Harkirat had alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh won from the constituency in the 2002 Punjab Assembly elections by using the resources of the government.

He had cited the case of Mr B.I.S. Chahal, who was then employed with the Punjab Department of the Public Relations. Mr Chahal, who is presently Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, had been accused of openly working for Capt Amarinder Singh.

However, finding no merit in the contentions of the petitioner, Mr Justice Jasbir Singh dismissed the petition.


47.61 cr given as compensation in adalats
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 3
Compensations worth Rs 47.61 crore have been awarded in 424 Lok Adalats held in the district.

Giving this information at the first legal aid seminar organised at Rampura Phul today, Mr K.C. Puri, District and Sessions Judge, said 11,969 of the 22,161 cases had been disposed of so far. He said 3,137 litigants had been given free legal aid.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Rampura Phul, said it was the duty of society to educate the masses, especially the poor, about their legal rights.

Mr Kuljitpal Singh Mahi, SDM, assured the judges that the availability of free legal aid to all needy would be ensured.

Among others who spoke at the seminar were Mr J.S. Brar, tehsildar, Rampura Phul, Mr A.S. Bedi and Mr Nanu Ram, ADA (Legal). Mr Hazari Lal Bansal, Principal, Shaheed Samarak College, also attended the seminar along with 340 students.


Seminar on free legal aid
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 3
As part of the beginning of the Free Legal Aid Week celebrations today, a seminar on “free legal aid services” was organised at the local Bhai Gurdas College of Law. Mr Jagroop Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Sangrur, was the chief guest, while Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, presided over the seminar.

Besides Ms Neelam Arora, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Sangrur, Mr Hakam Singh Jawandha, Chairman of the governing body of Bhai Gurdas College of Law, Mr Kesar Hayat, Principal of the college, Mr Gurtej Singh Grewal, president of the Sangrur District Bar Association, and Mr R.K.Sharma, ADA (Legal Services), students of the college and local lawyers also attended the seminar.

Mr Jagroop Singh said that there was a need to initiate four steps in the law profession to establish ‘Ram Rajya’ in the country. Mr Husan Lal asked the lawyers to fight at least one case of a poor person without charging fee. The seminar was also addressed by Mr Kesar Hayat, Mr Gurtej Singh Grewal and Mr R.K. Sharma.


Inside Babudom
PPS officers may be shifted from posts of SSP
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Notices under the Contempt of Courts Act are required to make the Punjab Government act.

Less than a week after receiving notices issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition filed by an IPS officer, the government is now working out the modalities for shifting PPS officers posted as Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) in different districts.

The orders directing their transfers are likely to be issued within a day or so — at least this is what the sources in Punjab Police Headquarters here are claiming. The sources clarify that PPS officers will not hold the posts of SSPs in the state once the orders are given effect to.

The notices were issued to Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill, Director General of Police A.A. Siddiqui and Principal Secretary (Home) Sanjit Kumar Sinha on a petition filed by IPS officer Neelabh Kishore.

Alleging deliberate and wilful disobedience of High Court orders issued on August 9, 2004, the officer had asserted that the government had failed to implement the same even though a stay had not been granted by the Supreme Court.

The High Court, in its order, had directed the government to remove all non-cadre officers from cadre posts and submit compliance report in this matter.

The Bench had ordered that postings on cadre posts should be made only as per the IPS Cadre Rules, 1954.

Appearing before the court, Mr Kishore’s counsel had added that nine non-cadre PPS officers were still posted as district police chiefs, while another PPS officer was Commandant of Punjab Armed Police’s 82nd battalion.

Meanwhile, the sources in Punjab Home Department reveal that there are in all 23 posts of SSP in Punjab — 17 in regular districts and six in police districts. Initially out of 23, as many as 12 positions were cadre posts. Rest 11 belonged to the non-cadre category. But on November 5, 2003, all 23 positions were made cadre posts.

This resulted in the posting of PPS officers on cadre posts. It also resulted in a friction between PPS and IPS officers.

The IPS officers were claiming that their posting opportunities were being limited due to “manipulations” by non-IPS officers. They were also claiming that PPS officers were being posted on cadre posts in violation of the rules.

They were further contending that regular IPS recruits, in turn, were being relegated to non-cadre posts in the rank of Superintendents of Police (SPs).

The PPS officers, on the other hand, were contending that they were being deprived of their due.

Some of the officers were claiming that their contribution in combating terrorism were being ignored. They were claiming that a large number of officers had lost their families in the fight against militancy and their posting on cadre posts was in recoganisation of their services.


6 booked in murder case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 3
The district police has registered a criminal case against six accused at Dialpura police station for allegedly murdering Vijay Kumar, a resident of Bhai Rupa village in this district.

According to a police press note issued here today, Mr Hem Raj, a resident of Bhai Rupa, had alleged that on the night of November 1, the six accused, Vikaramjit Singh, Saju Ram, Surinder Kumar, Binder Kumar, Kanta Rani, Sita Rani, all residents of Bhai Rupa village, came to their house and knocked at the door.

When Vijay Kumar opened the door the accused dragged him to the street and murdered him.

The cause of quarrel is said to be a land dispute.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Mid-day meal scheme resumed
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 3
Moga has become the first district in Punjab to have resumed mid-day meal scheme in all its 337 primary schools covering 65,000 children.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, inaugurated the scheme by distributing food items at a function held at a local primary school. Members of NGOs, village education committees, teachers and district administration officials were present.

Giving details of the scheme, Mr Mandeep Singh said food products made from 100 gm of wheat would be given to every child daily.

A sum of Rs 33 lakh had been sanctioned as first installment to the district. He also said the scheme would be executed by block primary education officers with the aid of NGOs and village education committees.

NGO district coordinator S.K. Bansal and Lions Club, Moga, president Vipin Bansal announced that the transportation of the food items would be done free of cost by their organisations. The scheme has been restarted following the Supreme Court directions to all states.


Principal alleges non-payment of dues
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 3
The Principal of SPN College, Mukerian, Mr Rakesh Mohan, has alleged that the management of the SRPAAB College here was not releasing his dues. In press note issued here, Mr Rakesh Mohan alleged that he served as English lecturer in SRPAAB College for about 22 years.

He was selected as Principal in SPN College Mukerian, in 2002. Since then he has been pleading for the release of gratuity from the management of the SRPAAB College, Pathankot. However, the management has not released his gratuity despite directions in this regard from the authorities of Guru Nanak Dev University and the DPI Colleges. He alleged that the management of his previous college was harassing him and not paying his justified dues.

The Principal of SRPAAB College Dr SR Sood, said the charges of Mr Rakesh Mohan were baseless. He alleged that as per the university calendar, an employee could be paid gratuity only at the time of death or retirement. Since Mr Rakesh Mohan had left the college on his own sweet will, the college was not liable to pay him the gratuity.


Stone crushers stifle tiny tots
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, November 3
Mist containing dust particles and chemically treated fumes has been affecting the health of tiny tots of Shiv Mandir Shivalik Bharti Public School that has come up amid stone crusher zone in Mubarikpur village about 3 km from here.

The auditory sense of the students has also been affected due to the sound pollution caused by the stone crushing units situated near the school.

As per records, the school is being run from a temple building on an acre of village land owned by four-five families along the Mubarikpur-Neembuan link road. Being a common land the villagers constituted a committee and later constructed a temple on the land. The temple committee and the school management entered into an agreement on certain conditions and the temple premises, including the building, was given to the latter for running the school.

Running a private school from a stone crusher zone has raised many eyebrows in the past three years as little students could be seen exposed to the air-water and sound pollution in this area that has been declared a ‘free enterprises zone’ FEZ by the state government.

Mr Chaand Rana, sarpanch of the village, confirmed that members of the panchayat permitted the school management to run a school from the temple premises.

It is learned that the school management has complained to the Punjab Pollution Control Board against the stone crushing units, seeking its closure. The management has also alleged that the stone crushing and other industrial units have been causing air and sound pollution affecting the health of the school students.

Mr Vijay Aggarwal, president of the Mubarikpur Stone Crushers Association, claimed that over 35 stone crushers have been functioning from the FEZ for the last 30 years while the school has come up only three years ago. “ How can the industry be removed or closed down for the school which is not affiliated with any school board”, pointed out Mr Aggarwal.

Sources in the villages alleged that the school management had been demanding huge money to vacate the temple premises.

When contacted, Mr S P Saxena, founder-director of the school, said the site was donated by the panchayat to the Shivalik Bharti Educational Society, Chandigarh, for running a school in the village.

When asked about the functioning of the school amid hazardous to the surrounding. Mr Saxena claimed that the school was being from a religious premises and that could not be closed down.

“Since the student strength was thin so the school was not entitled for affiliation to any School Education Board”, he admitted.

Mr S P Garg, Executive Engineer of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, however, said that the school was illegally running from the area. He also claimed that the board had found that the school was not affiliated with the Punjab School Education Board. The school management has been falsely complaining against the industrial units to save its own skin, added Mr Garg.

Mrs Pritpal Kaur, District Education Officer, Patiala, was not available for comments.


Punjabi varsity students go on strike
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 3
The Punjabi University Students Confederation, which represents all major student bodies on the campus, has taken up the cause of four suspended student leaders by starting an agitation to get them reinstated.

The Confederation held a dharna opposite the University gate yesterday addressed by student leaders of all the major bodies. The student leaders, including Kanwar Gurpreet Singh, Kirt Grewal, Bakshish Azad and Jagdish Sharma, appealed to the State government to intervene in the matter while alleging that Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai was “deliberately” keeping the student leaders out despite assurances.

The leaders said despite assurances that the case of suspension of the student leaders would be considered sympathetically, no decision had been taken on the matter since three weeks. They said earlier the student leaders — Gurnam Singh Virk, Sukhjit Chahal, Bikramjit Singh Jattana and Kartar Cheema had been suspended for getting involved in a fight on the University campus. The leaders said a compromise had been reached on the issue between both the parties but the University was still not considering the reinstatement of the student leaders.

The Confederation meanwhile demanded that Punjabi language subject should be reintroduced at the BSc level, counselling fee should be taken back, internal assessment should be stopped and the increase in hostel fee should be taken back.


Scholars honoured
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 3
In recognition of their services to society, Mr Pal Singh Purewal, Sikh scholar, and Mr Sukhjinder Singh Sangha, UK-based Sikh principal of a college, Mr Amrit Singh Purewal and Mr Gurbaksh Singh Purewal, both NRIs, were honoured by the local Lyallpur Khalsa College Management Committee yesterday.

Addressing a gathering, Mr Balbir Singh, former MP and Chairman of the Khalsa College Governing Council, said while Mr Pal Singh Purewal had been honoured by the Sikh community for the “Nanakshahi” calendar, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Sangha was the only Sikh to be principal of a UK-based college.

“Among a total of 460 colleges, Mr Sangha is the only Sikh principal, which is a matter of pride for us,” said Mr Balbir Singh.

Mr S.S. Chatha, principal of the college, was also present.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |