P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tax on day-old chicks may go: Kang
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Sujanpur (Gurdaspur), November 6
In what could be a boost to the poultry in the state, the government was considering waiving off the tax on hatcheries. The Department of Animal Husbandry has now written to the Department of Excise and Taxation to waive off the tax imposed on one-day old chicks produced in the hatcheries of the state.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development and Tourism, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here today. He was here to preside over a state-level fish farmer’s conference.

He said the tax on one-day chicks was imposed just in Punjab. In neighbouring states there was no such tax. Due to the tax many hatcheries from the state were moving out. So, now the government has decided to waive off the tax. Otherwise also, the state was earning just about Rs 50 lakh per annum from the tax, he said.

While responding to a query Mr Kang said a definite programme had been chalked out to tackle the stray cattle menace in the state. In this programme non-government organisations (NGOs) would be supported by the government to start gaushalas. Initially, one gaushala would be opened in each district. Depending upon on the success then, the number of gaushalas would then be increased to at least one at each block level. One such pilot gaushala project was being launched at Kharar in Ropar district in about 5-acre land marked for the purpose.

About 2,200 posts of veterinary doctor and pharmacist were lying vacant in the state. The matter of vacant post had been referred to a Cabinet sub-committee. The committee would soon take a decision on the matter after which the allowed vacancies would be filled.

Earlier while addressing the farmers on the occasion, Mr Nirmal Singh, senior fisheries officer, said efforts were being made by the department for developing polyculture in fishery programmes being run in the state. Many of fish varieties, as prawn, did not survive in winter.

A programme was being tested to find out if tubewell water could be used for fish farming. General temperature of the tubewell water was about 22°C. If the farmer first poured the tube well water in fish ponds and then used it for irrigation, the problem of survival of prawn in winter might be sorted out. This would help farmers of Punjab in capturing the prawn market in five-star hotels of North India round the year, he added.


LPG scarcity triggers black-marketing
2 criminal cases registered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 6
Even as the scarcity of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which has hit the region for the past many days, is yet to be controlled by the authorities concerned, a section of LPG dealers have started cashing in on the situation by selling cylinders in the open market at a premium.

Though two criminal cases have been registered in the past few days against those who have been selling LPG cylinders on a premium to consumers in the open market illegally, the District Food and Supply Control authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to these incidents.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the authorities could not get a criminal case registered against an LPG dealer who was found selling cylinders on a premium in the Nathana-Bhucho belt of the district three days ago. The authorities had not take action against him despite the fact that this was brought to their notice by producing receipts. The receipts established the fact that the dealer was selling LPG cylinders at the rate of Rs 300 each even as the maximum retail price (MRP) of the same was Rs 270 at that time.

Only two criminal cases had been registered in the district so far, one each in Bathinda city and Rampura town, against three persons for their alleged involvement in the racket. The cases had been registered under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act.

After the dealers got a tip that the prices of the LPG cylinders would be increased steeply, they started hoarding the same and created an artificial scarcity. The situation became compounded by a section of hoteliers who started stocking. LPG cylinders to use the same in the coming marriage season.

Ms Kulwant Kaur, District Food and Supply Controller, when contacted said she would take strict action against the erring LPG dealer as she had got the receipts proving the LPG dealer had sold the cylinders at Rs 300.


Physiotherapy Dept head offers to step down
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 6
Even as at an emergency meeting of Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers’ Association the ‘intervention’ of the Ministry of Higher Education in the Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy was termed as a ‘serious attack’ on the autonomy of the university, Dr Jaspal Singh Sandhu, has offered to step down as Head of the Department if the university authorities appointed another person in his place.

However, Dr G.S.Kang, a Reader in the Department who is being tipped as the next Head of the Department from next month, said neither he nor Dr Sandhu were eligible for the post.

He said as per the rules only a physiotherapist should be appointed as head of the department.

While Dr Sandhu is an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Kang who has been teaching biomechanics, kinesiology and sports psychology, is from the arts stream.

Since the inception of the department no physiotherapist had ever headed the department. However, Dr Sandhu claimed that many orthopaedic doctors were serving as heads of physiotherapy all over the world and hence no teacher from the arts stream had ever become head of this department.

Dr Kang showed the letter of the Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to his GNDU counterpart in which he had raised objections over running the Physiotherapy department in the university. However, Dr Sandhu claimed that Baba Farid University had written another letter in which qualifications for the headship had been mentioned as Masters degree in the relevant subject (physiotherapy), MS (ortho) or MD Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Nowhere in the world a teacher of arts had headed the department of physiotherapy, he said.

Taking a serious note of the “intervention” of the state government in university affairs, Dr Davinder Singh and Dr Kuldip Singh, president and secretary of GNDU Teachers’ Association, respectively, alleged that the step on the part of the ministry was in gross violation of university statutes and could not be tolerated.

The association said selections, for the teaching departments of the university were made by duly constituted selection committees and were approved by the university Syndicate only.

However, students of the department, in a written statement, alleged that they had to approach the state government as the university authorities had failed to resolve the matter.

They said their future would be endangered in case an ‘ineligible’ person was made Head of the Department.

In their written representation, students of the department pleaded that the university Syndicate, in its meeting held on September 27, 2002, had approved only two categories of teachers for the department i.e. M.D./MS in the relevant subjects. They said any wrong step on the part of the university could ruin their future. The students claimed that Baba Farid University and Jammu University’s ordinances had described the minimum qualifications for headship of physiotherapy department and these should not be violated at any cost.


Sale of plots continues in illegal colonies
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 6
PUDA has launched an aggressive campaign against the illegal colonisers in the state. However, in this district the sale of plots in illegal colonies being developed by the property dealers is still continuing.

A survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that a lot of illegal colonies are still coming up in and around Gurdaspur. The unauthorised colonies coming up openly in and around Gurdaspur include a colony near Hari Darbar area, a colony in about 8.5 acres on the Gurdaspur-Tibri road, on the Bhule Chak road in 5.5 acre farmland, a colony in Nagawali area, a colony near Tibri gurdwara and near Ram Sarnam Colony.

Similarly, many illegal colonies are coming up in the Dinanagar and Pathankot areas. An interesting fact is that there is not even a single PUDA-approved colony in the entire Gurdaspur district.

The sale of plots in these colonies was continuing through property dealers who are developing these despite the state-level PUDA campaign against them.

Initially when PUDA forwarded the names of the illegal colonisers to the SSPs in the state for registration of cases against them, most of the illegal colonisers here went underground. Many of them also applied for anticipatory bail. However, cases were registered against four illegal colonisers of the Pathankot area.

Rest of the colonisers escaped the police wrath and have again started their business. The police authorities, when asked about to comment about it, said that PUDA had not forwarded all the necessary details to take action against the real culprits.

They said that in most of the cases the farmers from whom the land was purchased were being made the culprits. The property dealers had taken just power of attorney from the farmers for developing colonies. The sale deeds of plots sold in the colonies are being affected by the farmers.

In some of the cases the property dealers have affected the sale deeds of the land in the name of their servants. PUDA was asked to clarify the status of the actual accused in such cases before the cases could be registered, they said.

The sources said that the action was not being taken against the illegal colonisers because many senior police and revenue officials were silent partners in the projects.

Meanwhile, the people are blaming PUDA for the mushrooming of illegal colonies in the district. They alleged that though the urbanisation had been increasing in the district at a rapid pace, PUDA had failed to provide even a single colony.


Revision petition filed in land use case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
A land promoter was allowed change of land use for 67.78 acres in Sohana and Lakhnaur villages in Ropar district even though 12 acres were alleged to be forest land.

This was not all. An authority — acting under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA) — directed the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSEIC) to provide road connectivity to the proposed township even though a licence for developing the same had not been granted.

Taking up a revision petition filed in the matter by the PSIEC, Punjab's Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Rupan Deol Bajaj has now admitted the same for hearing.

She has added that the competent authority, in the meantime, may stay his hands regarding the grant of a licence to the coloniser. Senior state counsel has also been directed to assist the court with reference to the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement in the Forest Hill case.

The change of land use was reportedly allowed on October 31, 2003, by Punjab's Housing and Urban Development Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri. He was exercising powers under the Punjab New Capital Periphery (Control) Act and the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act.

The promoter, subsequently, applied to competent authority under the relevant Act — which was the Chief Administrator of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) — for grant of a licence to develop the residential colony.

It was, however, rejected as not maintainable. Three main grounds were cited in support of rejection orders. Firstly, 12 acres in the proposed colony were in the nature of forest land and use for non-forest purposes was impermissible without Central Government's prior approval.

Secondly, Punjab's Chief Town Planner had pointed out that no objection certificate had not been given by the PSEIC for allowing connectivity with its roads. Moreover, the PSIEC had not permitted construction of missing links on its land.

Thirdly, PUDA's former Chief Administrator had strongly objected to the validity of the order granting change of land use as the issue of periphery policy was pending before a "high- powered committee" headed by the Chief Secretary.

Taking up an appeal filed by the promoter under PAPRA, Punjab's Housing and Urban Development Secretary directed the setting aside of the order and remanded the promoter's application to the competent authority.

The PSIEC, impleaded in the appeal proceedings despite objections, was directed to provide road connectivity without any right to seek share in the promoter's profits or proportionate share of funds invested for development works executed by its.

It was further directed that if and when the licence to develop the colony and township was granted, the PSIEC will construct the missing road links as soon as possible failing which the coloniser will be entitled to take up these works itself without any objections from the PSIEC.

These issues were directed to be part and parcel of the terms and conditions of the licence and it was ordered that they would not be reopened.

Challenging the findings, the PSIEC in its revision petition stated that the matter had been remanded back to the competent authority for considering the grant of licence to develop a colony.

As such it was not possible now to impose conditions making matters final regarding the connectivity of roads especially when licence to develop a colony was yet to be granted.

It was added that the PSIEC, being a separate government-owned company, was not a subordinate authority under PAPRA. As such directions for providing road connectivity could not be issued to it by the authorities constituted under PAPRA without no objection certificate being issued by it.


Punjab seeks relief for expenditure during terrorism
P.P.S Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
In pursuance to November 3 meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has requested an “early action” on reimbursement of expenditure incurred by the state on the security forces during terrorism, April 1981 to 2004; writing off the outstanding special term loan; and relief for the economic loss suffered by the state due to drought and deluge, earlier this year.

Sources today told The Tribune that the Chief Minister, who had left for Bangalore to attract IT magnets to invest in Punjab, had received a “positive response” from the Prime Minister on financial bailout he had sought from him during the meeting on November 3.

The memorandum on the reimbursement of expenditure incurred to combat terrorism, combination of internal disturbances and external aggression, is cogent, logical and based on constitutional provisions and as per the recommendation of the Eleventh Finance Commission.

On one hand, the memorandum has drawn strength from the World Bank Punjab Development Report — June 2004, to build up a case on how terrorism had cast a shadow on Punjab’s economic growth, suffering loss of Rs 13,000 crore, besides the killing of 25,000 civilians and 1,600 security personnel. Terrorism had thus “decelerated”the economic development.

On the other, it has drawn sustenance from the recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission, which had suggested that Punjab should seek reimbursement of the expenditure incurred by it on security forces in consultation with the Union Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance.

Punjab has taken advantage of this and has quoted Article 355 of the Constitution, under which “it is the duty of the Union of India to protect states against internal disturbances and external aggression”. Punjab was a victim of both. Hence, Capt Amarinder Singh has sought reimbursment from the Prime Minister.

The expenditure on security forces is estimated at Rs 13,199 crore, which covers departments of police, home guards, prisons and relief and rehabilitation.

The Prime Minister was requested to recommend and forward this memorandum to the ministry concerned for early action. Punjab has given details of the total special term loan, Rs 5,799.92 crore released by New Delhi from 1984-85 to 1993-94, including who (Prime Ministers and Finance Commissions) had given how much relief or deferment or waiver or moratorium on re-payment of principal amount and interest, thereon, and for how much period, how much had been repaid and how much was still to be repaid, effective April 1, 2005.

All this adds up to the fact that Punjab is to repay Rs 3,772 crore, outstanding as on March 31, 2000, beginning April 1, 2005. This is the sum remaining after having availed of relief, waiver, deferment and moratorium at different points of time. It is this amount that Capt Amarinder Singh wants to be written off in the light of the arguments built in the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister and to which he had sent a reminder on November 5.

The memorandum on reimbursement of expenses on security forces gives a graphic picture as much of the “tragedy” as it is a reminder of the dark chapter in the “history” of Punjab that had changed the very fabric that weaves Punjab’s social matrix, including culture, ethos, economy, politics administration. And, in ways more than one, it also mirrors the human sufferings, tensions, turmoil and, of course, bondage.

The memorandum gives statistics to show how the police and allied departments had to be strengthened and expanded to fight terrorism. This had led to proliferation in all ranks, addition of vehicles, arms, ammunition, communication infrastructure, housing of security personnel, and, of course the relief and rehabilitation expenditure on the families of those security personnel who were killed.

The letter requests early decision on waiver of the special term loan and on Rs 5,100 crore relief sought for damage caused by drought and deluge. The loan, the Chief Minister had told the Prime Minister, should be treated as “aid”, since Punjab had fought a battle for the country’s integrity. Though, the situation appeared to be peaceful, threat perception still persisted. Moreover, given Punjab’s poor financial health, it needed all help to reverse “deceleration” of economy.


Sabha demands speedy justice for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
Demanding a speedy justice for NRIs settled abroad, the UK Chapter of NRI Sabha, Punjab, has said fast-track courts be established to facilitate the litigation process.

Stating this in a press conference, Mr Manjit Singh Lit, president of the sabha, said NRIs were facing a lot of problems, especially pertaining to property matters. Though the Government of Punjab had amended the Rent Act and Tenancy Act to facilitate the NRIs, these amendments would bear fruit only when fast-track courts were established to settle their disputes.

Mr Lit said special courts be established to solve matters and the High Court be requested to issue instructions to subordinate courts for day-to-day hearings for NRI cases. He said it would be much better if a tribunal was set up for the same purpose.

Mr Lit said NRIs the worldover had appreciated the decision of the state government to provide 3 kanals of prime land for an NRI Bhavan. He said the sabha would request the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to get the land transferred in the name of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, as soon as possible so that the construction of the bhavan could be started at the place.

Mr Lit said members would also request the CM, wo is patron of the sabha, to postpone the annual convention scheduled for January, 2005, to March, 2005, because of weather reasons.


Foreign groups target Indian education market
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Now, foreign groups have started eyeing the Indian education market as Varkey, an international group, is all set to launch its first school promising world class education in Jalandhar this month.

The Cambridge International Girls School, being set up by the Global Education Management System, (GEMS), a member of the international Varkey group, exclusively for girls will start functioning from April, 2005.

This was disclosed by Mr Shashank Vira, Chief Operating Officer of GEMS Education, while talking to TNS on the sidelines of a seminar on Quality School Education at CII today.

Aimed at providing global standards, the school will be one of its kind in the region as it will be an ``international school rooted in Indian values''. Many other such schools will be coming up in the country, though to begin with two more will be launched at Noida in UP and Peddapuram in Andhra Pradesh later this month, he said.

Talks are also on with some local parties for opening two such schools in Chandigarh and Amritsar in the near future.

Built in 8 to 10 acres in Udyog Vihar, Urban Estate, Phase II, the school in Jalandhar conforms to the standards of the International Audit and Quality Analysis team, which ensures that all schools of the group maintain similar quality standards.

The building of the school is equipped with the latest of infrastructure and technology. Targeting the children of middle and upper middle-class segments, admissions would be open by December and the strength of the school will not exceed 1,500, said Mr Vira.

Mr Vira said the dual curriculum of these schools would be a mix of Central boards like the CBSE, the ICSE and international bodies like the National Curriculum for England. Students will, however, have the option to write the examination of the Indian board or an international one, he added.

Emphasis will also be on making the students realise what they want to be and then let them be so as to bring out their best talents.

This will not only make students studying in these schools eligible for higher education in the educational institutes across the world but also give NRIs settled abroad an opportunity to send their children to such schools to have a better idea of the social system back home.


Probe sought into BKU activists assault issue
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, November 6
The state CPI and the Punjab Kisan Sabha leadership while alleging that the police has meted out an inhuman treatment to BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) activists at Ralle village on November 3 have demanded a judicial probe into the same.

The team of the Punjab Kisan Sabha and the state unit of the CPI, which visited the local Civil Hospital, where the injured BKU activists are getting treatment, alleged that most of them would not be able to walk for days as they had suffered multiple bone fractures.

Mr Hardev Arshi, national executive member, CPI, and Mr Bhupinder Sambar, general secretary, Punjab Kisan Sabha, who along with other functionaries of the two organisations were in the team, said the cases registered against the activists should be withdrawn immediately and a suitable compensation given to them by the state government.

“A judicial probe is necessary to find out whether the police or the activists were at fault on November 3 when the activists were holding a dharna at Ralle village. They had been stopped by the police from proceeding towards Mansa town for organising their rail roko agitation,” pointed out Mr Arshi. He added that if the police was found at fault, the state government should take adequate action in that connection.

He claimed that the police had given an inhuman treatment to the BKU activists when it resorted to a lathi charge on them at Ralle village. The police had mercilessly beaten up the activists and treated them worse than animals, he alleged.

Though the district police chief, Ms V. Neerja, claimed that activists of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan), who were arrested by the police for their alleged involvement in the attack made on the police party on November 3 at Ralle village, had suffered only petty injuries, about eight activists had suffered bone fractures in the same.

Out of the 11 policemen, who were injured after being attacked by BKU activists, Mr Jangir Singh, DSP, had got one of his ribs fractured. Two other policemen also suffered bone fractures.

Mr Arshi pointed out that both the CPI and the Punjab Kisan Union had given a call to all farmers to come on a common platform to launch an agitation to get their demands accepted by the Punjab and Central Governments.


Farmers protest against poor food quality in jail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 6
Hundreds of members of various farmers organisations who had been arrested by the police during a state wide portest against the government on November 3 yesterday went on a fast to protest against the sub-standard meals being provided by the jail authorities.

The farmers demanded that they should be treated as political undertrials.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener, Kisan Sangharsh Committee, today met the farmers in the Central Jail here. While talking to this correspondent he said the police had arrested more than 900 activists, including women, during the protest all over the district. He alleged that the farmers were being provided sub-standard meals and tea.

Farmers led by Sawinder Singh Chutala, Kartar Singh Jhand, Baldev Singh Gandiwind and Kulwinder Singh Dadehar held a protest march and raised slogans against the jail authorities, district administration and the police.

The farmers demanded proper care for aged farmers, newspapers and extension of the meeting time from 9 am to 5 pm as they were not criminals but were protesters, he said. He also said the strike would continue till their demands were met. He alleged that the farmers who were taken in preventive custody before the protest had not been released even two days after the protest.

Mr Pannu warned that the farmers lodged in various jails including those in Gurdaspur, Sangrur, Bathinda, Malerkotla, Ferozepore, Ludhiana, Moga etc would go on an undefinite fast if the jail authorities in Amritsar failed to provide proper facilities to them.

Capt S.P. Singh, Jail Superintendent, said there was no hunger strike going on in the jail. He alleged that the leaders of farmer association were spreading rumours.


No complaint to VB from Dera Bassi: DSP
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 6
Sixtyone cases were registered with the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (PVB) at Patiala in last 10 months. Out of the registered cases, 30 are of trapping while the rest relate to misappropriation of funds by different panchayats. Apart from this, three cases have been registered against persons who mislead the bureau by providing false information.

This was disclosed by Mr G.S. Bedi, DSP of the bureau, Patiala, while addressing a public gathering during the ongoing Vigilance Awareness Week here yesterday. The DSP claimed that no complaint was received from the Dera Bassi and Banur areas in last 10 months while majority of the complaints were reported from Samana, Patiala and other areas of the district.

To make public aware of the bureau and its functioning besides developing good relations with it, Mr Bedi said telephone numbers of officials concerned of the bureau would be displayed at the notice boards of every police stations and the police posts in the subdivision.

He asked the public to come to the bureau, office falling nearest to their surroundings whenever some government official demanded bribe from them. The DSP assured the best possible help to the affected persons, provided the complainants give the department in writing.

Complaints against Punjab police personnel and Home Guard jawans for their high handedness were raised by sarpanches. Mr Amritpal Singh, president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, raised the issue regarding harassment of people on the hands of police personnell. Increasing drug abuse among the youth was also discussed in the meeting.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP, Dera Bassi, appealed to the public to come forward with any sort of complaint to the police without hesitation. Mr Narinder Sangha, SDM, Dera Bassi, pointed out that “the system as a whole has turned corrupt and the society is responsible for it”.


SHO shifted for handcuffing youth
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 6
Mr Lachhman Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of thermal plant police station, was sent to the police lines today by the district police chief, Mr Kapil Dev, after he was prima facie found guilty of handcuffing and chaining a local youth, Rajiv Kumar.

The youth was found in a lock-up of the police station on November 3 by a warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Dev also issued show-cause notices to Mr Lachhman Singh and Mr Jasvir Singh, SHO of the city police station, in this regard. Rajiv Kumar was arrested under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC.

A regular inquiry is being conducted into the case by the SP (D), Mr Ajay Maluja.

Mr K. L. Bansal, the warrant officer who raided the local police station, recorded in the roz namcha of the police station that Rajeev Kumar had been found in the lock-up handcuffed.

The action was taken on a petition filed by Mr Sanjeev Kumar, a brother of the detainee.

According to sources, the warrant officer had found the detainee around midnight. He was informed by police officials that Rajeev Kumar had been arrested by the city police station at 10 pm on a complaint of Mr Mandeep Kumar, a resident of Kot Kapura, over a dispute between them. The city police station had also arrested Mandeep Kumar under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC.

The warrant officer was told that Rajeev Kumar had been shifted to thermal plant police station as there was no space in city police station.

Mr Lachhman Singh, thermal plant SHO, said Rajeev Kumar had been handed over to them already chained by city police station. He said the official who brought him had forgotten to hand over the keys of the handcuffs.

Before the keys could be brought, the warrant officer had raided thermal plant police station, the SHO explained. He said he had presented all facts to the warrant officer.

Mr Jasvir Singh, SHO of city police station, said Rajeev Kumar had been handcuffed while being shifted to thermal plant police station as he had started quarrelling with Mandeep Singh in the lock-up and it was apprehended that the two, who were wrestlers, could get violent.


Arya Samaj annual function cancelled
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 6
The annual function of the local unit of Arya Samaj could not be held due to infighting in the Arya Samaj. The two-day 103rd annual function of Arya Samaj, Hoshiarpur, was to begin today but claims regarding the control of Arya Samaj management by factions led by Mr Kamal Chaudhry, former MP, and Mr K. K. Saini created confusion.

In complaints to the Deputy Commissioner and SSP, Hoshiarpur, Mr Kamal Chaudhry, alleged that Mr Saini and his associates were claiming that they were the genuine office-bearers of the Arya Samaj. He also alleged that those persons had changed the locks of the offices of the DAV College Managing Committee and PD Girls Arya School located in the building of the Arya Samaj and had removed important documents relating to various cases pending in different courts. “They have also filed a case relating to Arya Samaj in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hoshiarpur,” he added. He said he had been acting as president of the Arya Samaj for the past one decade. He also alleged that he was receiving threatening calls from some unknown persons and had an apprehension that participants in the annual function would be physically assaulted. He demanded the registration of a case and strict action against the culprits.

Mr Saini, however, denied the charges levelled by Mr Chaudhry. In a press note issued today Mr Saini said they had not changed any of the locks of the offices located in the building of Arya Samaj. He also claimed that he had been duly elected as president of Arya Samaj for the year 2004-05 after an election held on September, 26, 2004. He claimed that names of office-bearers elected in the election had duly been approved by the Registrar of Firms and Societies, Punjab, with whom the Arya Samaj had been registered. On receiving an approval from the Registrar he and other office-bearers had gone to the Arya Samaj and performed a havan in the hall. They had not touched any of the locks and did not remove documents as had been alleged had been by Mr Chaudhry.


‘People’s participation must to root out graft’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 6
As many as 30 officials of different departments, including eight gazetted officers, had been caught red handed while accepting bribe by different teams of Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda range in the current year so far.

While disclosing this at the concluding function of the “Vigilance awareness week” held here today, Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda range, said apart from this, the bureau had settled about 189 complaints and 61 inquiries in this year.

He said in order to root out corruption, the cooperation of people was a must as it was a two-way affair.

He said people must realise the fact that by bribing any official, they were creating trouble for others as it would promote the habit of taking bribes.

Mr K. A. P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, who alongwith the SSP, Bathinda, Mr Kapil Dev, was present on the occasion made the participants take a pledge not to accept bribe from any one.

Mr Ashutosh Kaushal, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, said during the “Vigilance awareness week”, held from November 1 to 6, seminars to eradicate corruption were organised at Faridkot, Mansa and Talwandi Sabo also.


Public help sought to root out corruption
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 6
Public cooperation is compulsory to root out corruption from society, said Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia, while addressing a seminar organised by the Vigilance Office on the concluding day of “Anti-Corruption Week” at Bachat Bhavan here today.

SSP Shiv Kumar said the district police was committed to nabbing persons indulging in corrupt practices.

Presiding over the function, SSP (Vigilance) Balkar Singh Sidhu said two flying squads and six vigilance ranges had been set up by the department for the purpose.

He ensured protection and recognition for officers and staff performing their duty with honesty and dedication.

ADC Mahinder Pal Arora, ADC(D) Devinder Pal Singh Walia, SDM Bassi Pathana Manisha Trighatia, SDM Amloh Sandip Hans, SP (Headquarters) Harbhajan Singh, DSP (Vigilance) Banarsi Dass, DSP Amloh Daljit Singh Rana, Civil Surgeon Harkirtanpal Singh Sandhu and member Zila Parishad Hardip Kaur Virk were also present.


Colony residents write to MP on thefts
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 6
Residents of Teg colony, one km from the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence, have claimed that several robberies had taken place in their colony and adjoining ones with the police taking no action against the culprits.

In a memorandum to the Patiala Member of Parliament Mrs Preneet Kaur, the Teg colony Welfare Association has claimed that a house (no 227) of Teg Colony, belonging to Mr Sutinder Singh, was broken into in the forenoon of November 5. The thieves reportedly decamped with valuables worth Rs 35,000.

The Association added that two other incidents of theft had occurred in adjoining colonies but the police had yet to nab the culprits. The Association has asked the MP to ensure safety around their colonies where houses of some police officials were also there.


2 minors suffer serious burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 6
Two minors suffered serious burn injuries today when they poured kerosene on an “angeethi” in a room at their house in Kadala Jatta village near here.

The incident took place in the morning, when Ranjit Kaur, mother of the children, had gone out to get milk. Rabin Singh (6) and Jaswinder Singh (4), were alone in the house. According to Karnail Singh, father of the boys, the two poured kerosene on a “angeethi” and were caught in the flames.

Both the boys received burn injuries and were rushed to a nearby private hospital, where their condition was stated to be critical. Robin received 90 per cent burns and Jaswinder 80 per cent. 


Three found suffering from mild jaundice
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 6
To examine suspected cases of jaundice, the district health authorities yesterday organised a medical camp at the local Magazine Mohalla. As many as 19 suspected jaundice cases were examined by a team of doctors, comprising Dr Inderjit Singla (pathologist) and Dr Vikas Dhir, Medical Officer.

Dr K.C. Goyal, District Health Officer (DHO), Sangrur, said blood samples of all 19 persons had been tested, of which three had been found suffering from mild jaundice.

The 19 persons had also been tested for Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C.


Bank Manager released
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 6
Mr Suresh Kumar Makkar, local Branch Manager of UCO Bank, has been released by the court after the police failed to produce “solid evidence” against him.The manager was arrested on September 18 in connection with an alleged havala racket.

It may be recalled that Mr Sodhi Ram, a former PA to a former Punjab Minister and senior BJP leader Chaudhary Swarna Ram, was arrested on June 26 for defrauding the local branch of UCO Bank by depositing a fake draft of £2.5 lakh and withdrawing Rs 1.07 crore.The manager had lodged a police complaint after he had come to know about the fraud and Mr Sodhi Ram was arrested. The police had recovered the amount that Mr Sodhi Ram had distributed to various persons under havala transactions.

The police took nearly three months to nab the manager in the Sodhi havala case but had to cut a sorry figure when the Manager was acquitted on November 2 by Mrs Ramesh Kumari, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Phagwara, as the police could not produce solid evidence against him.


Herbal garden raised in Ropar
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 6
In order to reduce the pressure on forests and provide alternative sources of income to farmers in the economically backward kandi area in Ropar district, the Forest Department has launched a herbal project.

About 10000 herbal plants of 60 species have been planted in Ropar district’s “herbal garden” besides hundreds of plants in the forest areas. These plants will be supplied to farmers free of cost or at subsided rates for plantation to enable them to earn additional income.

Mr S.S. Bhatti, District Forest Officer, who started the project, said special emphasis was on conservation and meeting the survival needs of villagers dependent on forests. That could only to possible by establishing direct relationship with the villagers.

Under this project 60 species of herbal plants, including thymol ginger, black pepper, cuminseed, basil, soap-nut, cardamom, sago, aniseed, and turmeric, had been planted in the herbal garden near the Punjab government tourist complex and also forest areas in the district. The department, Mr Bhatti said, would impart training to farmers before giving them herbal plants for plantation. About the benefits of herbal plants, he said, herbal plants would generate more income for the villagers in comparison to traditional trees.


1.5 kg of charas seized from 2 smugglers
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 6
The police has arrested two inter-state drug smugglers and confiscated 1.5 kg of charas from them.

In a press release issued here yesterday, the SSP, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said that two smugglers, Wilson John, a resident of the Ramlila Ground area of Pathankot, and Ramesh Chand Sharma, a resident of Jatton village of the Nurpur area of Himachal Pradesh, had allegedly purchased charas from a Chamba-based smuggler, identified as Bunty.

They were planning to sell the charas in the Pathankot area. However, a police party arrested them from a naka near the Chaki bridge before they could execute their plan.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.

This was the second big drug catch by the Gurdaspur police during the past one week.

Earlier the police caught three smugglers while they were trying to smuggle about five quintals of poppy husk from the Jammu and Kashmir area to other parts of the country.

They were trying to smuggle the poppy husk concealed in apple cases.

During their interrogation, the smugglers revealed that the authorities at the Lakhanpur barrier of Jammu and Kashmir were allegedly hand in glove with them.

The SSP said that the matter was being taken up with the police authorities of the J&K.


'Tech Utsav' organised
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
Nineteen teams from different colleges of the region participated in 'Tech Utsav-2004' organised by the Computer Department of the local DAV College on its premises today.

Mr D.J. Mukand, Deputy-General Manager, local branch, State Bank of Patiala, presided over the function, in which computer-based competitions, including web development, logic development, quiz etc, were organised.

Mr J.S. Anand, Principal, DAV College, emphasised the need of computer education for students. He said the active participation and enthusiasm shown by students inspired them to organise more such functions in future.

The results of various competitions are as follows:

Web Development: DAV College, Bathinda — first; Regional College of Management and Technology (RCMT), Bathinda — second.

Logic Development: Government Polytechnic College Bathinda — first; RCMT, Bathinda — second.

Debate: DAV College, Bathinda — first; SSDWIT, Bathinda —second.

Extempore: DAV College, Bathinda — first; SSDWIT, Bathinda —second.

Quiz: DAV College, Bathinda — first; DAV College, Malout-second. A cultural programme was also organised by the Youth Welfare Department of the college on the occasion.


St Soldier school holds annual function
Our Correspondent

Banur, November 6
A cultural programme was organised by the students of St Soldier Divine Public School, Banur, on its annual day, here today.

Students participated in various items including rhymes, dances, group and solo songs, qwawali and plays (English and Hindi) with great enthusiasm. Giddha and bhangra performed by the students was praised.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister of Punjab and MLA Banur, was the chief guest and encouraged the students to participate in other curricular activities besides their studies.

Earlier, Lt Col P.S. Gyani, director of the school, read out annual report of the school.

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