P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Farmers in jails begin protest
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Resentful of the government’s apathy towards their demands, farmers owing allegiance to the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) have intensified their agitation by courting arrests in various districts and subdivisions, besides starting chain hunger strikes inside jails in Punjab.

“There were as many as 1574 farmers inside various jails in the state until this morning. Of these 84 of them have been named in various cases registered against them for rioting, assaulting public servants on duty and for disturbing peace and tranquillity. Besides, 12 other farmers were injured in clashes on November 3 when the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) gave a call for rail roko for three hours,” revealed a spokesman of the government, maintaining that efforts were being made to “release all innocent farmers soon so that they can be with their families for Divali”.

Among those arrested on November 3 was Mr Ujagar Singh Ugrahan, president of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta). In his absence, the entire agitation was being monitored by Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu and Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, both office-bearers of the Union.

Farmers, on the other hand, maintained that since no action had been taken against policemen responsible for opening fire, besides resorting to lathi charge against peaceful protestors on November 3, those arrested have started chain hunger strikes inside jails. Ninteen farmers were injured in police action.

The BKU leadership claimed that several hundred farmers, including women, courted arrest in Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Muktsar, Bathinda, Sangrur and other districts.

Arrested farmers in Gurdaspur jail started 48-hour hunger strike. Similar hunger strike has been started by arrested farmers in Amritsar Central jail also. In Bathinda also, farmers have started hunger strike inside the jail.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), told The Tribune over the telephone that main demand of the agitators was unconditional release of all farmers so that they would join their families for Divali celebrations.

Besides, the union wants that the guilty police officers be booked and all long-standing demands of farmers be conceded forthwith.

Rueful of the government’s apathy, he said that now when farmers were busy in sowing wheat, there was an acute shortage of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). Substantial increase in the price of diesel, failure of the government to compensate farmers who suffered huge losses because of inclement weather last month, failure of government agencies to guarantee remunerative price for their cotton and non-payment of dues for sugarcane supplied to various sugar mills were other important issues that have been agitating farmers, he added.

Mr Pannu maintained that poor fiscal health of the farm sector was the major factor for increasing incidence of suicides in rural areas.

In case the government did not act now, the agitation would spread to other areas also, he cautioned.


Jail using tents to house inmates
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 9
As many as eight tents have been pitched up in the local Central Jail to accommodate the increasing number of inmates after activists of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) started courting arrest in protest against police “atrocities” and the government’s failure to check the falling prices of cotton.

Information revealed that about 80 inmates were putting up in the tents. This is the second time that the jail authorities had to use tents to accommodate the rush of inmates in the past five years.

Sources said the jail had been facing an acute shortage of space. The situation arose when over 300 BKU activists arrested from Bathinda and Mansa districts were lodged in it. The number of inmates went up to 1,480 as against the official capacity of 500.

There is no separate jail for Mansa district and hence all undertrials and convicts of Mansa district are accommodated in Central Jail here.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, Superintendent, Central Jail, said the jail authorities were left with no option but to pitch up tents following the rush of inmates. He said only 282 activists were lodged in the jail. Out of these, about 90 activists would be released tomorrow and within two to three days, things would be back to normal.


Rs 100 bonus on cotton demanded
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 9
In a significant development the Northern India, Cotton Association (NICA) here today sounded alarm on the fact that if the Centre and Punjab Government failed to take some steps to stabilise the prices of cotton, its quantity would come down next year and affect the domestic textile industry, the biggest foreign exchange revenue earner for the country.

NICA sounded the alarm when it found that the prices of raw cotton had been falling continuously thus depriving growers of the profit, which they were supposed to earn from this crop.

Information gathered from the cotton market revealed that prices of raw cotton opened at Rs 2,400 per quintal when it started arriving in the market in September this year. Its prices kept on falling since then.

The Information revealed that today the raw cotton was sold between Rs 1,760 and Rs 1,780, which was much less than its minimum support price of Rs 1,815 for Punjab at Abohar market, while it was sold at Rs 1,802 at Kotkapura. About 28,000 bales arrived in the cotton markets in the north. Most of the transactions, where the cotton had been sold at the lower rates than its MSP at Abohar, had not been entered into official record to evade market fee by unscrupulous traders.

NICA was apprehending that the falling prices of raw cotton would force the farmers to shift to other crops. It was the right time for the Centre and Punjab Government to intervene into the situation by taking necessary steps to ensure better prices of the white gold to its growers.

Mr Rakesh Rathi, president, NICA, said it had urged the Punjab Government to reduce the market fee on the cotton crop and announce Rs 100 per quintal as bonus to the cotton growers of the state so that they could earn better prices of raw cotton. Apart from it, the Centre government should announce export subsidy on this produce to enable traders to sell it in the international markets.

He said at present the market fee was being levied at 4 per cent in Punjab, which was highest in the country as compared to the market fee being levied in other cotton-producing states of India. On account of highest market fee, the cotton growers of Punjab had been suffering heavy losses.

He demanded that the Centre should direct banks to lower the interest rate and stock margins of the ginning factories so that their stock capacity could be expanded to enable them to purchase more raw cotton from the markets.


Future of research centre in jeopardy
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Malikpur (Gurdaspur), November 9
The future of the hydraulic research centre here is in jeopardy with the local land mafia and PUDA trying to grab most of its land. The centre that has the models of almost all vital hydel projects of the country was established in 1925.

The experimental testing of all projects of the country, including Bhakra, Ranjit Sagar Dam and the projects on the Brahamaputra, was conducted here.

In 1998, allegedly in connivance with some officials of the Irrigation Department, some people discovered that the titles of about 75 acres of the centre were standing in the name of the original owners.

They tried to get the registration of the said land in their names from the original owners from whom the land was acquired by the department in 1943-44. The department objected to the registration. The matter was contested and the Supreme Court ordered the registration to be effected but made it clear that the title of the land would be decided by the lower civil court.

The civil court Pathankot, in its orders issued in October 2003, directed the government to pay compensation of the land at the market price to owners within 10 months. In case of the non-payment of compensation, the land was to be transferred in the name of the original owners or property dealers who allegedly bought the land from the original owners.

The Irrigation Department moved in an appeal against the orders of the civil court. The Sessions court, Gurdaspur, ordered status quo on September 24. However, without waiting for the 10-month period, The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh ordered the mutation of the land in the name of the property dealers.

Officials of the department alleged that the mutation was effected in the name of the property dealers despite repeated reminders to revenue officials. They alleged that initially they did not have the acquisition record but later found a large portion of the acquisition records that included notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition act.

However, the revenue officials ignored the record presented by them. They also alleged that documents relating to the award given to the farmers that was lying in the Gurdaspur treasury had also been destroyed by vested interests.

They said the land which the mafia wanted to take over was the one on which vital models and offices of the centre were located.

The PUDA had also acquired over 100 acres of the institute, including about 35 acres protected under the Sections 4 and 5 of the Forest Act.


Randeep Singh to head Punjab Infotech
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 9
Nabha legislator Randeep Singh will finally join as Chairman of Punjab Infotech after an “appeal” by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The legislator had earlier written to the Chief Minister on refusing the post when it was offered to him a little over a month ago. He had then claimed that he did not want to put a burden on the state government because of its precarious financial position.

Mr Randeep Singh had also claimed that he was never in the race for chairmanship and had denied the responsibility because he wanted to serve the people of his constituency.

Sources had then said it was a case of sour grapes. They had claimed that Mr Randeep Singh had been promised the more important chairmanship of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, whose headquarters are in Patiala. This had led to his refusal to accept the chairmanship of Punjab Infotech, the sources alleged.

The legislator had always denied this allegation and claimed that he was never in the race for the chairmanship. When contacted by TNS today, Mr Randeep Singh said he would join as Chairman on November 11, adding that Capt Amarinder Singh was taking him to Chandigarh on the occasion. He said the appeal by the Chief Minister was mainly responsible for his decision to take up the post.

Talking on the issue, he said the Chief Minister was keen to make the information technology sector the hub of activity in the state and had already been responsible for getting a number of companies to invest in the state.

“In such a scenario I felt that I should make my services available for this cause,” he added. Mr Randeep Singh said he had been involved in programming, besides having an economic honours background at the graduation level.

The Nabha legislator has enjoyed a bittersweet relationship with the Chief Minister during the past three years. Despite being a close family friend of the Chief Minister, he was denied a ministerial berth and even chairmanship.

Later, his relations somewhat soured as he responded positively to overtures from rival groups in the Punjab Congress and even joined the “neutral” group led by Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa during the crisis in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). Later, though his group members were able to get plum posts, he was offered the post of Chairman of Punjab Infotech, which he then refused.


Repolling, if required, in 2 constituencies on Nov 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Two days after the conclusion of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls, the Gurdwara Election Commission today affirmed that all was not well with at least two polling booths in Gurdaspur and Dhariwal constituencies.

Referring to the allegations of booth capturing by cops in other stations in the two constituencies, the commission claimed that the allegements could not be corroborated following absence of documentary evidence. As such the counting of votes would be held on November 11 at 8 am, the commission revealed.

Taking a serious view of lapses in the two stations, Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice Jai Singh Sekhon ordered repolling, in case it was required, on November 16.

Addressing a press conference, Justice Sekhon clarified that repolling would take place only if the victory margin — after the counting of votes — was less than the total votes polled in the stations.

He added that the total number of votes was 664 in the polling station situated at Government Primary School in Dalelpur village falling under Dhaliwal constituency. Repolling would be held only if the victory margin was less than 664. In case it was more, then the same would not be ordered, Justice Sekhon asserted.

As far as the other booth in Gurdaspur’s Jhanda Lubhana village was concerned, Justice Sekhon added that the total number of votes was 560. Repolling would be ordered only if the margin was less than that.

Giving details of the circumstances leading to the issuance of orders directing repolling, he said the ballot boxes arrived late in Dalelpur village polling station. Otherwise also, there was over writing on the ballot paper specifying the total number of votes polled.

Justice Sekhon disclosed that initially the number of polled votes mentioned in the sheet was 466. After overwriting, the number of such votes was enhanced to 566.

Regarding the other station in Jhanda Lubhana village, the Chief Commissioner said polling was disrupted for over one hour from 1.30 pm following some quarrel. But the Presiding Officer and the Returning Officer did not inform the commission about the incident.

On the other hand, the supervisor ordered the resumption of polling process even though the power to do so was only with the commission. Moreover, the electors were not allowed to vote for additional one hour to compensate for the time lost. Justice Sekhon revealed that explanation had been sought from the two officers in this regard.


25 Pak prisoners repatriated
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, November 9
India today repatriated 25 Pakistani prisoners, released from various jails of the country to mark Id-ul- Fitr. However, no Indian prisoner was released in exchange though a number of them have been languishing in different jails there.

They were repatriated following orders issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr Mukhtiyar Hussain, an official at the Pakistani Embassy in Delhi, said the Pakistan Government would also release Indian detainees following the completion of their sentence and the requisite procedure of consular access and nationality verification.

While eight of the detainees repatriated today were lodged in the high-security Amritsar Central Jail, an equal number were brought from the Jammu jail and as many from the Sriganganagar jail in Rajasthan.

They were handed over to Major Isfak Khan of Pakistan’s Sutlej Rangers by Mr Ghansham, Deputy Commandant, BSF. Senior officials of the district administration, including a Duty Magistrate, were present on the occasion.

A Pakistani national, Mohammad Latif (70), was not in his senses. Most of the Pakistani nationals were detained under the Passport Act for inadvertently entering Indian territory. Iftdar Haider Rana said he had strayed into Indian territory on February 7 ,1993, when he had gone to attend the marriage of his friend in a border village. He was caught by the BSF in Jammu.

He said the man-made border had become a barrier in the way of human relationships. He hoped that the “border wall” would be demolished one day. He said after languishing in Indian jails for 13 years, he would start his life afresh on return to Pakistan.

A beaming Mohammad Tuffail said it was a historic occasion that he would be able to celebrate Id in his own country after an imprisonment of 12 years in Indian jails. He, however, said he had faced no problems during his imprisonment. He said he had strayed into Indian territory while grazing his goats.

Zulfkar Ali (Hyderabad) said it would be a great Id for him and his family when he would cross the Radcliff Line.


Helpline for aggrieved NRIs
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Dial “H” for help

In case you are an NRI feeling aggrieved, you can lodge a complaint in person. These can also be forwarded by public representatives through offices. Complaints are also received through High Commissioners.

You can also dial
0172-2749739 and
0172-2741829. Or else, fax your complaint at
Complaints can also be
e-mailed at pbpolicenri @yahoo.co.uk

Chandigarh, November 9
Living in Canada and out of tune with the Indian legal system? No problem. You can just switch on the radio and twist the knobs to catch “NRI helpline” recently launched by the Punjab Police for Indians settled abroad.

In fact so many non-resident Indians putting up in Toronto and Vancouver are already tuning in for redressal of their grievances. It may come to you as a surprise, but the NRI cell of Punjab Police is actually first in the country to launch the helpline.

The procedure is not so complicated. The aggrieved NRIs give vent to their grievances through tele-conferencing facility. The programme thus prepared is aired on the radio.

After their problems are brought to the fore, the NRIs forward their complaints through fax and e-mails. Without wasting time, the cops back home start probing. The complaints are monitored personally by senior Punjab Police officers. In 15 days time, reply is sent back through radio and e-Mail.

The Toronto helpline is being run with the help of “Asian Connections Radio”. The Vancouver helpline, on the other hand, is being aired with the help of “Radio India”.

So far the NRI cell has handled 186 complaints. Out of these, action has been initiated in 140 cases. Thirtynine of them were of civil nature. In 36 cases the facts could not be established. As many as 46 cases are still being looked into.

The cell was established in Punjab Police Headquarters on February 10 following initiative by Punjab’s Director General of Police A.A. Siddiqui. Inspector-General of Punjab Police Sanjiv Gupta is the “nodal officer”. He is assisted by Assistant Inspector-General of Police Varinder Kumar.

Elaborating upon the need to establish the cell, a senior police officer says that NRIs, with roots and properties in Punjab, frequently return to their relatives in the state. But they often encounter problems like cheating and harassment by the cops while passing through Punjab.

Then there are problems pertaining to properties, civil disputes with their relatives, besides matrimonial conflicts. For taking care of their problems, need was felt to create a separate cell. That is when the authorities came up with the idea of setting up the cell and launching radio helpline subsequently.


SGPC sacks 334 employees
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 9
In a major jolt to the former working president, Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke , the SGPC Executive today sacked at least 334 employees while as many as 40 were reverted, including senior functionaries.

The decision to revoke the orders, taken by, Mr Pakhoke, during his brief tenure as working president of SGPC, has been taken on the basis of a report of a five member fact-finding committee, constituted by the Shiromani Committee after formation of the General House.

The senior functionaries, who were reverted, included, Mr Raghbir Singh, secretary, Mr Harjit Singh, additional secretary, Mr Gurbachan Singh Mahia, Mr Angrez Singh, Mr Dilbag Singh, and Mr B.S. Patti.

In gross violation of bylaws of the Shiromani Committee, Mr Pakhoke had promoted a number of employees while showing door to many Tohra loyalists after his death.

The SGPC Executive has also decided to give provident fund to the tune of Rs 22 crore to its employees on their persistent demand.


Places earmarked for sale of crackers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 9
Keeping in view public safety, the district administration has earmarked some places in various towns for the sale of crackers on the eve of Divali.

In a press note issued here today, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, District Magistrate, said that the crackers would not be sold at places other than those earmarked by the authorities. He said that teams led by the Subdivisional Magistrate, the Tehsildar and the Station House Officers (SHOs) had been constituted to regulate the sale of crackers.

The places earmarked for the sale of crackers in Bathinda town included Sports Stadium, Railway Ground, Mall Road, Government Des Raj Senior Secondary School, grounds of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Rajindra College and Government Primary and Senior Secondary Girls Schools.

The places earmarked in other towns of the district included Sports Stadium and Municipal Committee ground of Rampura Phul, old bus stand and Khalsa Senior Secondary School of Talwandi Sabo, stadium of Nehru Memorial College and backside of SSD School, near railway station of Maur Mandi, ground of Government Senior Secondary School for Boys of Bhucho, Panchayati Dharamshala and senior secondary schools of boys and girls of Goniana Mandi, Sabji Mandi and cattle fare ground of Raman Mandi, places of sub-tehsil and veterinary hospital of Bhagta Bhai Ka town.


Efforts on to implement legal aid schemes
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 9
On the occasion of Legal Services Day, a seminar on “legal services” was organised under the presidentship of Mr Jagroop Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Sangrur, at the District Courts Complex here today.

Mr Jagroop Singh said efforts were being made on a war-footing to implement the legal aid schemes in a smooth manner in the district.

Mr Husan Lal, DC, Sangrur, said members of the lawyers’ panel, constituted by the District Legal Services Authority for the needy persons, should contest the cases of the beneficiaries with hard work.

Hoshiarpur: On the concluding day of Legal Services Week, a seminar on legal services and lok adalat was organised by the District Legal Services Authority, presided over by Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur, here today.

Mr Harbans Lal said six seminars on free legal services and two lok adalats had been organised during the week. Prior to this as many as 104 lok adalats had been organised in which 12,784 cases of civil and criminal nature had been decided and a total sum of Rs 27,41,90119 had been settled.

Ferozepore: In 13 lok adalats held during the current financial year so far, a total number of 811 court cases were settled on the spot. This was stated by Mr J.S. Chawla, District and Sessions Judge, while presiding over the valedictory function organised to celebrated the Legal Services Week here today.

Mr Chawla said lok adalats were held in the district on every first and the third Saturday of the month to provide speedy justice to the people, wherein most of the cases were either amicably settled on the spot or the instructions were issued to the department concerned to settle the case on priority basis.

Mrs Sunita Kumari Civil Judge (Senior Division, Mr Harish Anand, Judicial Magistrate I Class, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, District Attorney, Mr Baljit Singh Sandhu, BDPO, Mr Navneet Gupta, ADA Legal, also addressed the gathering.

Amritsar: The district legal services authority under the chairmanship of Mr Gurdev Singh, District and Sessions Judge, held a seminar on the concluding day of the Legal Services Week today.

The seminar deliberated about free legal services to the Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, mentally or physically challenged, women and children industrial workers, etc.


Employees divided over Director’s appointment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 9
The appointment of Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu as Director, Department of Agriculture, by the Punjab Government has evoked a mixed response from its employees. One section of the employees have started supporting his appointment while other has started opposing it.

About 10 organisations of employees of the Department of Agriculture, Punjab, in a press note issued here today, thanked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for appointing Mr Sidhu, claiming that the latter was hard working and had already produced a number of results so far.

They alleged that a section of employees of the department, who were “anti-farmer”, were opposing the appointment of Mr Sidhu. They also appealed to Capt Amarinder Singh not to cancel the appointment of Mr Sidhu.

These organisations are the Khetiwadi Engineers Association, Diploma Engineers Association, Junior Engineers-cum-Assistant Engineers Association, Technicians Associations, State Wing Employees Association, Field and Mechanical Workers Union, Khetiwadi Inspectors Association, Well Supervisers Association, Chemical Assistants Association and Government and Semi-Government Drivers Union.

On the other hand, members of the Agro Tech Association, Officers Association and one other organisation of employees of the department today went on leave to lodge their protest against the appointment of Mr Sidhu, calling it an anti-farmer step of the Punjab Government.

These members also presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in connection with the appointment of another person as Director in place of Mr Sidhu as per the rules. They also staged a dharna. 


Salaries not paid for six months
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 9
Resentment has been prevailing among the teaching and non-teaching staff of private managed government-aided colleges for not getting their salaries for the past 6 months, causing hardship to their families.

Mr. Janmit Singh, Principal DAV College, Hoshiarpur, said today that the state government had only released 50 per cent grant up to May, 2004, which was quite insufficient for paying salaries to the staff.

The managing committee of the college had to make arrangements to pay 50 per cent salaries from their own sources. In the absence of regular salaries, the families of the employees were leading a miserable life.

He appealed to the Education Minister, Punjab, to take up this case with the state finance department for its quick disposal so that employees of these colleges may also get salaries.


Writers, newsmen on advisory board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Eminent Punjabi and Hindi writers and journalists have been taken on the advisory board, Punjab Languages Department. The constitution of the board was announced officially today. The department was without a board for the past two years and in its absence the department failed to decide Shiromani Sahit and other awards which has been an annual feature.

The meeting of the board would be held on November 18 under the chairmanship of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, to decide the names of those to be given Shiromani Sahit and other awards.

The Punjab Government would celebrate “language week” from November 22 to November 28 and awards would be given during this week.

Among those who have been nominated as members of the board are Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Prof Kirpal Singh Kasel, Dr Harcharan Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh Kanwal, Mr Santokh Singh Dhir, Mr Ram Saroop Ankhi, Dr Satinder Singh Noor, Dr Jageer Singh Rahi, Mr Sukhdev Singh Madhpuri, Mr Jasbir Singh Bhullar and Mr Hans Raj Hans.

Dr Mahip Singh, Dr Indu Bali, Dr Navrattan Kapoor, Mr Kashmiri Lal, Dr Kewal Dhir, Janab Jaginder Pal, Prof Dev Dutt Bhatti, Dr Gobind Nath Rajguru and Dr Majoola Sahdev are also among the nominees on the board.

From the media Mr Shingara Singh Bhullar, Mr Hajeet Singh and Mr Baljeet Singh Balli have been included as members of the board.


Bus attached to recover PF dues
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 9
A bus belonging to New Janta Bus Pvt Ltd was attached by the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner to recover pending provident fund dues from the defaulting firm.

On orders of Mr Ajay Mehra, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, a team of enforcement officials attached the bus of the Batala-based firm with the help of the police.

In a press release here today, Mr U.D. Shukal, Assistant Director, PF, stated that the firm was not depositing the provident fund dues to the tune of Rs 3.93 lakh and the action had been taken to recover it.


Woman sarpanch among 4 hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 9
Four persons, including a woman sarpanch, were injured in a clash between two groups of villagers in Batoli village near here, this evening.

The clash started when the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) of the area went to the village to inquire about some alleged discrepancies in various development works by the panchayat members.

The members of both the groups beat each other with sticks and even hurled stones at each other following which Mr Malwinder Singh, BDPO, was escorted out of the village to avoid any untoward incident.

Village sarpanch, Ms Santosh Rani, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Hari Singh and Mr Kundan Ram, sustained injuries and were admitted to the local civil hospital.

According to the villagers, the problem started when the BDPO was in the village to inquire about discrepancies in various development works carried out in the village.

The officer was inquiring about the allegations levelled by some villagers belonging to Ramesh Kumar Batoli, member of the Zila Parishad.

In a complaint to the BDPO, the complainants - Mr Desh Raj, Mr Harbansh Singh, Mr Gurmail Singh, Mr Lajja Ram - alleged that the Sarpanch had misappropriated funds which were issued for various development works in the village.

The problem started when the BDPO was accompanied by the villagers and the members of both the groups had a heated argument. The simmering problem took an ugly turn leading to the clash.

However, all efforts to contact Mr Malwinder Singh till late in the evening proved futile.

The police has recorded the statements of the injured but no case has been registered so far in this regard.


53 poor families get insurance policies
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 9
Mr Justice Ashok Bhan of the Supreme Court of India distributed 53 universal health insurance policies of Oriental Insurance Company Limited among members of the below poverty line (BPL) families of 11 villages, including Banga, Bushehra, Alisher, Moonak, Khanauri, Andana, Shergarh, Lehra and Badalgarh, at the extension counter of the company at Moonak village, about 60 km from here today. The policies were given to 40 male and 13 female beneficiaries.

Mr Justice Bhan appreciated the persons behind this noble cause for the welfare of the poor families.

Mr Vipan Garg, Assistant Administrative Officer (Development) of the insurance company, said each beneficiary had been insured for Rs 30,000 for medical expenses and accidental death claim. He said the entire amount of premium had been paid by some people of Moonak village on behalf of the beneficiaries.


Amritsar heritage festival from Nov 18
Our Correspondent

Amritsar November 9
A rich repository of spiritual and cultural heritage of this historic city and the state of Punjab would be exhibited in all its grandeur during the second Amritsar heritage festival to be held from November 18 to 23

The festival organised by the district administration on behalf of the state government in collaboration with INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) would include an inaugural procession of bhangra, giddha, gatka along with horses and elephants. The procession to start from Town Hall at noon would culminate at Ram Bagh.

A classical evening by Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra and flute maestro Hari Parsad Chaurasia at Khalsa College would be the highlight of the inaugural day.


Cycle expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 9
As part of the silver jubilee celebrations of its Raising Day, the 17 battalion of Dogra Regiment launched a cycle expedition here today.

Lt-Gen S.S. Sangra, former Western Army Commander, flagged off the expedition. The expedition comprising one officer, one Junior Commissioned Officer and 20 other ranks will be covering a distance of about 800 km on cycles in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

The team will pass through Jwalamukhi, Kangra, Jogindernagar, Mandi, Kulu, Roopnagar and Hoshiarpur.

The team led by Lt-S.S. Lamba, said that some get-togethers would be organised by ex-servicemen of the unit at various stops to promote regimental bondage. He said that the expedition would return on November 25.


IT raid on Gopal Sweets
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 9
Income Tax sleuths conducted a raid on both shops of Gopal Sweets in the city this evening. While one shop is situated on Lower Mall, the other in the Leela Bhavan market.

The raid created a sensation in both markets as shoppers thronged both shops due to Divali. Two Income Tax teams conducted the raids simultaneously with the help of the police. Though the shops remained open, shoppers were stopped from entering the premises.

Details of seizures, if any, could not be known with no senior Income Tax official available for comments.


Rodrigues to take oath on Nov 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9
Gen Sunith Francis Rodrigues, who has been appointed Punjab Governor and the Administrator of Chandigarh, will be sworn in the office on November 16.

According to Raj Bhavan sources, Chief Justice B.K. Roy will administer the oath of office to the General.


High Court
Contempt notice issued to PAU VC, Registrar
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 9
A Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Mr Justice Virender Singh today issued notice of contempt to the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana and its Registrar.

The notice was issued for December 6 on a petition filed by Dr Prabhjit Singh, Assistant Professor, whose services had been terminated sometime back.

After his appeal against the arbitrary termination of his services was turned down by the university authorities, the petitioner approached the High Court.

A Bench headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar had stayed the operation of the impugned order. However, despite the court order, the petitioner was not allowed to join back and the PAU authorities filed an application for vacation of stay. But, no order has been passed so far on that application.

In the plea for initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the erring officers, the petitioner has stated that by disregarding court orders, the authorities have shown their contempt for court.

Notice issued

The High Court on Tuesday issued notice for November 17 on a PIL filed by Jalandhar-based Union for Civil Liberties and Human Rights.

The Union has prayed for directions to the authorities, including the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar, to ensure the compliance of provisions of the Indian Explosives Act and also remove the hazardous explosives from residential areas of Jalandhar City.

Saying that many thickly populated areas in Jalandhar City are such that in the event of any calamity or mishap, fire-brigade tenders would not be able to enter these areas, the petitioner has said that it was necessary that storage and sale of explosives in these areas be stopped.

The Union has also submitted photographs of some such areas in the court to buttress its claim.

It has also stated that it sent detailed representations to the authorities, including the Punjab Home Department, but no action has been initiated. Even unlicenced business concerns storing and selling explosives, the petition says.

Maintaining that provisions of the Indian Explosive Act being blatantly ignored, the petitioner has also prayed that manufacture, stocking, sale, etc, of explosives in such areas be immediately stopped.

During hearing, advocate Ashok Sharma Nabhewala, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that immediate action was needed to prevent loss of innocent lives.

After hearing him, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant issued notice for November 17.

Plea dismissed

Mr Justice A.K. Goel has dismissed the petition filed by Congress leader Naresh Thakur, challenging the election of BJP leader Tikshan Sood from the Hoshiarpur Assembly constituency.

Mr Thakur had challenged the election of Mr Sood on the plea that the victory was due to misuse of official machinery.

However, Mr Justice Geol found no merit in the allegations and dismissed the petition.


Station Master suspended for derailment
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 9
Divisional Railway Manager Dharam Singh has suspended Station Master, Goreya, Faquir Chand Sharma, and Point man Radhey Sham on the charges of negligence in duty which led to the derailment of two bogies and the engine of Mumbai-bound 1058DN Dadar Express on the Phillaur-Phagwara rail section yesterday. Mr Dharam Singh, who visited the site, told this correspondent that the train was entering the railway station from main line to loop line as it had to take a brief halt at the station, but the Point man did not change the railway line point (kanta) and gave signal to the Station Master of clearing which was not checked by the Station Master and the derailment occurred.

Mr Dharam Singh said three-member enquiry committee, headed by the Divisional Safety Officer, railway, Mr R.S. Ghera, had been constituted, which would submit its report within three days.

When asked about the much-awaited Jammu-Udhampur railway section, he said 53 km railway track was ready for passenger traffic and good trains had already started plying on the section.

Mr Dharam Singh said the General Manager, Northern Railway, would inspect the Jammu railway section on November 18.


10-member gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 9
The police busted a gang of thieves operating in Punjab and Haryana. The 10-member gang, indulging in theft from dickeys of scooters parked outside banks, was busted by the police when Inspector Swaran Singh, SHO, Kotwali police, arrested two persons while opening the dickey of a scooter in front of the main branch of the State Bank of Patiala.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Amit Prasad, SSP, said that the arrested persons, Sat Pal, alias Kalu and Sonu, alias Suresh, belonged to a 10-member gang hailing from Adarsh Colony of Muradabad (Uttar Pradesh).

The SSP revealed that after interrogation it was found that the gang was involved in eight cases of theft in Barnala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Ambala.

The police today recovered Rs 10,000 along with two knives, tools, including screw drivers, etc. on the spot of the incident today. 


Two arrested with fake currency
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 9
The CIA staff today arrested two persons with fake currency notes amounting to Rs 5,700 at Nathuwala Jadeed village, near here.

Those arrested have been identified as Jasveer Singh, an ex-Army man and resident of Lamajatpura, and Visakha Singh, a resident of Chupkiti village.

Both the accused had been residing at Nathuwala Jadeed for the past few months.

The CIA in charge, Mr Tehal Singh, that 42 fake currency notes of Rs 100 each were seized from Jasveer, while 15 notes were seized from Visakha.

He said that they used to give Balwinder Singh of Raikot Rs 6,000 and take fake currency notes amounting to Rs 10,000 from him.

The accused disclosed that they had even circulated fake currency in Ludhiana.

A case has been registered against them under Sections 489-A, 489-B, and 489 of the IPC at Mehna police station.


Woman throws acid on another
Our Correspondent

Batala, November 9
Mrs Sunita (34) wife of Mr Joginder Pal, a resident of Mohalla Valmiki, Nehru Gate here today sustained serious injuries as a result of acid thrown on her.

An un-identified woman of about 40-years had come to Sunita’s residence to meet her mother-in-law, who works in municipal council, a few days back.

The same woman, accompanied by two unidentified men with covered faces, came again today when Sunita was alone at home. She tied her hands and gagged her and raised the volume of television.

The culprits then threw acid on Mrs Sunita. The culprits also threatened Sunita that they would kill her and other members of her family. A case has been registered.


Rs 1.50 lakh looted from petrol station
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 9
Five unidentified persons looted Rs 1.50 lakh at pistol point from a petrol station situated on the Sunam-Patiala road at Sunam last night.

Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, said today that five unidentified persons came on foot at the petrol station last night and looted Rs 1.50 lakh from Mr Amrit Lal, owner of the petrol station, at pistol point. They also opened fire in the air to scare the passers-by before fleeing with the money.

The Sunam police has registered a case against five unidentified looters.


Valmik research centre at GND varsity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 9
The Punjab Government would establish Maharishi Valmik Research Centre at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) here. Disclosing this Choudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies and Parliamentary Affairs, Punjab, announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh on behalf of the Chief Minister for the centre.

He was here to inaugurate a one-day seminar on the life and philosophy of Maharishi Valmik organised by the GNDU.

Choudhary Jagjit Singh said that Punjab Government had decided to get Valmiki Ramayana translated into Punjabi, English and other languages. He exhorted the state Universities to undertake more research on Maharishi Valmik. Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, said that Maharishi Valmik was not associated with a particular community but he belongs to whole humanity.

Dr Sewa Singh, in his key-note address said that Maharishi Valmik was like a god for oppressed.

Earlier, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, presided over the seminar. He also announced that the university would publish in a book form all research papers presented in today’s seminar.


PTU youth festival results
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 9
Contests in music and fine arts were held on the second day of the three-day inter-zonal youth festival of Punjab Technical University at the DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology here today.

Results of today’s events:

Classical dance: Tarangini of DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology (DAVIET), Jalandhar (1), and Guru Teg Bahadur College, Malout, and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), Fatehgarh Sahib (2).

Light vocal: Kunal Jhangi of DAVIET, Jalandhar (1), and Navtej Singh of BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Navraj Hans of Lovely Institute of Management, Phagwara (2).

Western vocal solo: Kunal Jhangi of DAVIET, Jalandhar (1), and Vineet Ambardar of BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ravroop Kaur of GTB, Malout, and Sidhartha Rai of MIM Institute of Technology, Malout (2).

Classical instrumental solo (percussion): Parampunit Singh of Ramgarhia College of Phagwara (1).

Classical instrumental solo (non-percussion): Navtej Singh of BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib (1), and Kamaljeet of Punjab College of Technical Education, Ludhiana (2).

Western group song: DAVIET (1) and MIM Institute of Technology, Malout (2).

Classical vocal solo: Luvraj Hans of Lovely Institute of Management, Phagwara (1), and Ramandeep Kaur of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, Ludhiana (2).

Rangoli: Doraha Institute of Management and Technology, Doraha (1), and Lovely Institute of Management (2).

Clay modeling: MIM Institute of Technology, Malout (1), and BBSBEC of Fatehgarh Sahib (2).


GCG girls shine in youth fest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 9
The local Government College of Girls (GCG) bagged the first position in the western solo category in the inter-zonal youth festival being held on the Punjabi University Campus today. They got second position in the western group song competition.

The Director, Sports, Dr Sunita Dhir, said in the one-act play competition, DAV College, Bathinda, bagged the first position followed by Government Mohindra College. In the histrionics category, Barjindra College, Faridkot, took the top honours followed by Ranbir College, Sangrur. In the fancy dress competition, Ranbir College took the top honours.

In the clay modelling contest, both Government Rajindra College, Bathinda, and the GCG, Patiala, took the top honours. In the poster-making competition, Mohindra College and Rajindra College came in joint first. Government College, Malerkotla, came first in the on-the-spot painting competition while the GCG, Patiala, came first in the quiz competition followed by the team from the Punjabi University campus. 


Row over dismissal of teachers ends
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, November 9
The controversy surrounding the dismissal of three teachers of Gandhi Memorial College following a dress code violation has come to an end with the college management in charge, Mr S.K. Garg, tendering a written apology to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Interacting with mediapersons, the local SGPC member, Mr Makhan Singh Nangal, said that following media reports on SGPC team had reached the college to probe into the matter. He said the team members explained to the college authorities that most of their employees belonged to rural areas and they didn’t know how to wear sarees. He said that no educational institution would be allowed to pressurise teachers to change their attire.

The college has reinstated Punjabi lecturer Narinder Kaur, sewing teacher Karamjeet Kaur and computer lecturer Rajwant Kaur.


450 students participate in knitting contest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 9
Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited organised the zonal-level Aao Bune Knitting Contest at Central State Library Hall here. Nearly 450 students from 32 schools of Patiala, Dera Bassi, Nabha, Banur, Rajpura and Samana participated.

Some of the participating schools in the Patiala zone were: Dashmesh Public School, Model Town; Government Girls High School, Anardana Chowk; Government Model Senior Secondary School, Pheel Khana Chowk; Government Victoria Senior Secondary School; Arya Girls Senior Secondary School; Budha Dal Public School; and B.N. Khalsa Senior Secondary School.


Children stage plays of Shakespeare
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 9
Mankirat Singh was declared the best student and Mrs Rajnisha Chopra the best teacher of the primary wing during the fifth annual day function of Saffron City School here. Similarly, the best student and the best teacher in the senior section were Ravneet Kaur Chakkal and Ms Taruna, respectively.

While Classes II and III students staged “The Tempest” on the first day, students of the senior classes staged “Twelfth Night” of William Shakespeare on the second day. Dances of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were the highlight of the two-day function.


Lucky draw business flourishes as Divali nears
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 9
The business of lucky draw in the festive season is booming despite a ban imposed by the district administration.

According to sources, the Deputy Commissioner has imposed a ban on all types of lucky draws and private lotteries. He has written to the officials concerned to take strict action against those indulging in such activities.

However, flouting the district administration’s orders people are being “looted” by luring them with lucky draws. In some nearby areas of Faridkot, shopkeepers have joined hands in holding lucky draws and they are also publicising their event by putting on display the prizes of the draws.

They are even issuing receipts of lucky draws ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 500.

Sources said that the people behind these lucky draws collect anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh, while only 5 to 10 per cent of this amount is spent on giving away “attractive prizes” to the winners.

Similarly, the business of private lotteries is flourishing in Faridkot. These lottery vends are drawing huge crowds every evening.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, has imposed a ban on the illegal lotteries. He said that anyone coming out with such a lottery would be taken to task. He has also warned the officials concerned not to be negligent in this regard.

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 |