P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akal Takht rejects ‘hukmnama’ of Patna Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 8
In a significant development, the Sikh clergy today rejected the ‘’hukmnama’’ issued by Takht Patna Sahib declaring Giani Gurdit Singh, author of controversial book Mundavni, as ‘’Tankhaiya’’.

This is for the first time in the history of Sikhism that an edict issued by any Takht has been declared null and void by another Takht. Jathedars of both Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting. However, the meeting was attended by Jathedar Vedanti, Giani Tarlochan Singh and Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh — Jathedars of Takht Kesgarh and Takht Damdama Sahib, respectively, Giani Jagtar Singh and Giani Mal Singh, Granthis of the Golden Temple.

After the meeting of Sikh clerics today, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti pronounced that Akal Takht was supreme and it had the sole right to take any decision on Panthic issues, while other Takhts could take up regional issues only. He quoted the joint decision of the Sikh clergy, taken on November 19 last year, to which Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh, Jathedar, and Deputy Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, and Hazoor Sahib, respectively, were signatories.

The Sikh clergy admitted the petition of Giani Gurdit Singh, who pleaded that Takht Patna Sahib had no jurisdiction to declare anybody ‘’tankhaiya’’. He urged Akal Takht to take up the case. The Sikh high priests said the issue of Mundavni would be settled within a month’s time. However, Giani Gurdit Singh regretted that he had inadvertently mentioned the name of Jathedar Vedanti for his support in carrying out research on Mundavni. He said he had visited Patna Sahib along with Jathedar Vedanti but the latter was not associated with the research. It is presumed that this step was taken to absolve Jathedar Vedanti and save him from any action, proposed to be taken by Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib on December 10.

Jathedar Iqbal Singh told TNS that the proposed meeting would be held as per schedule in which Jathedar Vedanti’s case would be discussed. Earlier, Jathedar Patna Sahib had threatened to declare Jathedar Vedanti as ‘’tankhaiya’’ if he failed to appear before Patna Sahib for clarifying his position on Mundavni.

Jathedar Vedanti, however, said he won’t appear before Takht Patna Sahib as per summons issued by the Sikh clergy there. He said it was not in the jurisdiction of Patna Sahib to summon Jathedar of Akal Takht.

The directive of Sikh clergy, issued in the name of Sikh Sangat, warned that conspiracies were hatched from time to time to undermine the authority of Akal Takht. The directive further stated that Akal Takht remained the fountainhead of the Panth and Sikh masses had been taking guidance from this Takht from time to time.


Shun politics at martyrdom functions, SGPC
tells invitees

Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
"Shun politics while paying tributes to Sahibzadas and Mata Gujri." This is the message the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has given to leaders of various political parties invited to participate in the tercentenary of martyrdom functions at Fatehgarh Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib later this month.

"We have cut across all political lines and affiliations in inviting all former presidents, prime ministers, union ministers and chief ministers of various states, including Punjab and Haryana, to join the tercentenary functions," says Bibi Jagir Kaur, president SGPC, maintaining that she would be in New Delhi tomorrow to extend invitations to national political leadership of the country in person.

"The Vice-President, Mr B.S. Shekhawat, and Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, have already confirmed their participation. Since I could not get an appointment with the Prime Minister to invite him, I shall try to meet him tomorrow," said Mrs Jagir Kaur, holding that "all leaders would be requested to talk only about martyrdom of sahibzadas".

The SGPC has also appealed to Sikhs from all over the world to come and join the tercentenary functions at Chamkaur Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib where erection of pandals, arrangements for board and lodging of the visitors have started.

The decision of the SGPC of not allowing the religious stage for "politicking" has been appreciated. All major religious fairs, especially of the Sikhs, had been witnessing rallies by major political parties for a long time now. The Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib, Shaheedi Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib, Maghi Mela at Muktsar and Baisakhi Mela at Damdama Sahib and others have become permanent venues for political rallies. Whether the SGPC decision will be applicable on all religious melas and fairs remains to be seen.

After a meeting of the executive committee at the Sector 27 Kalgidhar Niwas here this afternoon, the SGPC chief said that all arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the tercentenary functions both at Fatehgarh Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib.

Efforts are being made to start work on the construction of the campus of Guru Granth Sahib Vishav University at Fatehgarh Sahib. All modalities, including registration of trust and finalisation of the model, have been nearly completed. The office of the proposed university, she said, would start functioning from the Kalgidhar Niwas in Chandigarh. "We have fixed a target to get this university functional by 2008," she added.

Talking about Miri Piri Medical College and Hospital at Shahbad Markanda in Haryana, Bibi said that it had been decided to introduce diploma and B.Sc. in nursing and pharmacist courses at the proposed college immediately. Besides, it had been decided to start hospital services with four basic departments of general medicine, gynaecology and orthopaedics.

"Starting of MBBS and BDS classes at the Shahbad Markanda College and Hospital may take a while. Till then other courses and hospital services would run on regular basis," she added.

Coming to her meeting with the Chief Minister of West Punjab, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, Bibi Jagir Kaur said that the SGPC had submitted a memorandum to the Pakistan Government through him protesting against the setting up of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has in a major gesture decided to grant regular scales to all "dharmi faujis" who left their barracks in protest against Operation Bluestar. "Though many of them had been working for the SGPC, they were not given regular scales. Now we have decided to grant them the grades which they were getting at the time of leaving their barracks.

"We have also decided to offer similar jobs to any dharmi faujis who could not get rehabilitated. All such faujis have been asked to send their applications with their relevant service record for employment and rehabilitation," said Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Talking about the controversy between various Takhts, she said that differences on an important religious issue would be resolved amicably. "We will go by the unanimous view of the Sikh clergy," she said, hoping that they would sit together and resolve it amicably.


3 accused in ex-Kharar MLA's murder case acquitted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside the conviction of three of the four accused in the murder of Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Kharar MLA Bachitter Singh.

The three are Kulwinder Singh, Kuljit Singh and Inderpreet Singh.

He had been shot dead on the night of December 1, 1996, while he was travelling in his jeep on the Landran-Kharar road. He had gone to Moga to attend a political conference.

The Bench of Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice K.S. Garewal, which heard the appeal filed by the four, challenging award of life term to them for their involvement in the crime, did not find merit in the appeal of one of them. It upheld the August, 2002 order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh as far as the fourth accused, Jugraj Singh, was concerned.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, had found them guilty and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life apart from other sentences to run concurrently.

In its order, the Bench noted that the deceased had a gun shot injury on his chest with two corresponding exit wounds but no ante-mortem kirpan injuries. The post mortem report about the nature of the wounds was such that they had been inflicted at least two hours after Bachhitter Singh had died, not immediately after the gun shot injuries.

It also noted that the recovery of kirpans from Kulwinder and Kuljit and the car from Inderpreet did not establish they had also participated with Jugraj in committing the murder.


Inside Babudom
Seven DSPs yet to relinquish charge
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Seven Deputy Superintendents of Police — recruited under the sportsmen category — are yet to relinquish charge even though the Punjab Home Department had on Tuesday directed Director-General of Police (DGP) A.A. Siddiqui to "relieve" them of their "duties". The orders directing their removal could not be passed as the DGP is out of station — at least this is what the sources are claiming.

The sources add that the Home Department is, meanwhile, working out the modalities for removal of nine PPS officers occupying the post of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSPs).

Their removal orders are expected to be issued within this week. Another order directing the removal of a PPS officer occupying a Commandant's post is also expected to be issued this week.

The sources in the Punjab Police Headquarters reveal that the job is not going to be easy as some of the PPS officers are trying to use political influence for getting the posts of SSP decaderised so that they can continue to hold the positions.

They add that some of the officers have even made individual representations to "senior politicians at Delhi" and the matter is currently pending before the Union Home Secretary.

Giving details of the activities, the sources claim that "the file containing Home Department's recommendations has reached the DGP's office and the orders regarding the removal of the DSPs will be issued as early as possible". The DGP could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. Action was initiated against the officers following the setting aside of their selection by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The candidates include Media Adviser to the Chief Minister B.I.S. Chahal's son Bikram Inderjit Singh Chahal and Ferozepur's Senior Superintendent of Police Harinder Chahal's son Gulzar Singh.

The other DSPs proceeded against are Mr Vimmy Singh, Mr Gagan Inder Singh, Major R S Ahluwalia, Mr Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mr Palwinder Singh Cheema. They were selected by a committee headed by Mr Sinha, besides DGP Siddiqui and the Sports Department Secretary.

Regarding the controversy pertaining to the removal of non-cadre officers from cadre posts, the sources add that the government has little option but to issue the orders before December 13 — the day on which a petition filed under the Contempt of Court Act is scheduled to come up for hearing.

Notices have already been issued to Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill, DGP Siddiqui and Principal Secretary (Home) Sanjit Kumar Sinha on the petition filed by IPS officer, Neelabh Kishore.

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

The High Court, in its order, had directed the government to remove all non-cadre officers from cadre posts and submit compliance report in this matter. The Judges had also ordered that postings on cadre posts should be made only as per the IPS Cadre Rules, 1954.


CM urged not to implement 85th Amendment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 8
The General Category Welfare Federation, Punjab, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh not to implement the 85th amendment in Punjab till the hearing of a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court in that connection.

The federation, which held a dharna and rally in front of the local district administrative complex, in the memorandum submitted to Capt Amarinder Singh pointed out that the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act was being misused and hence its application in Punjab should be stopped.

The federation demanded that a separate welfare cell for the general categories should be set up by the state government, stop reservation in grade A and B posts and cancel the proposal made in connection with the reservation in private sectors.

Addressing the rally, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, president, General Category Welfare Federation Punjab, Bathinda unit, said if the 85th amendment was implemented in the state, there would be no scope for promotion for the employees belonging to the general category.

He said the time had come when all people belonging to the general category should come on a common platform to fight against the caste based reservation system.

Mr Labh Singh Brar, general secretary of the federation and other leaders also addressed the rally.


Drug that produces female offspring of
mammals patented

Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
It is a dream come true for Dr B.S. Aulakh, drug researcher from Ludhiana, whose drug that produces female offspring of mammals has been patented by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland.

The discovery has the potential to raise milk production in developing nations manifold. Mr Aulakh had applied for an international drug patent under the International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) at New York, USA, in December, 2000, for his drug. The WIPO has published this vide world patent publication No. WO 02/47574 A1.

Talking to The Tribune, an elated Aulakh said he was successful in securing the patent and it could be made available to dairy farmers at a fraction of cost as against expenses involved in the present technology.

Mr Aulakh said the drug was in a liquid form and administered as a dose of 250 ml at the time of mating to the female animal. The success rate was 100 per cent. It was priced at Rs 250 per dose

The current technology is out of the reach of the common dairy farmer and costs between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 to get the desired results, he pointed out. Another benefit of adopting this technology is that we can save nearly 1 crore calves which land in slaughter houses across the country.

He said he hoped the drug could also be used to balance the human sex ratio in favour of the fairer sex, he added.


Senior folk singers feel left out as DD promotes
new artistes

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 8
Going ahead in full steam, the Jalandhar Doordarshan authorities are busy giving final touches to the production of its popular annual new year cultural programme, even as certain senior Punjabi folk singers are sore for having been “ignored” time and again and for not being included in the list of performers.

The DD authorities were busy wrapping up the production of the programme as it has reached near completion. The programme was likely to see performances of singers and performers such as Sonu Kakkar, Gurdas Mann, Harbhajan Mann, Sardool Sikandar, Amar Noori, Ravinder Grewal and Bhupinder-Mitali.

DD was also expecting Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam’s participation in the programme, which has become a matter of prestige, particularly among the Punjabi singer fraternity.

But what has drawn flak for DD was the fact that a number of very senior Punjabi folk singers, legendary for their contribution to the field of Punjabi music, have been left out and have allegedly been “ignored”. Such singers feel that they were “left out time and again” for reasons unknown to them and which could be “beyond the matter of performance”.

Expressing his anguish over what was done to him by the DD authorities, veteran singer Mohammed Siddique rued: “They might have a feeling that I have forgotten singing or I might not be liked by audience anymore. It is not a new thing for me as it has been happening not with me but with almost all senior singers for years altogether. The entire system is such that there is no ‘appeal’ or ‘daleel’. Now I have become used to this humiliation. So is the indifference for people like us that we were not even contacted. In my case, they rarely do invite me to small agriculture based programmes. They only call those who are in their contact.

“I was invited for participation with my “Baajre Di Rakhi” song about 4-5 years ago. Except for that, I have always been asked to sing merely two three lines or at the most a stanza. This way my entire career has been spoiled. I am totally aghast over what is happening,” says Ms Sarbjit, of “Koka” fame.

Similarly, the reaction of Kuldip Manak, a veteran singer who had created ripples with his extremely popular song, “GT Road Te Duhaihan Paawe” in the 70s was somewhat similar.

“Though DD has been inviting and paying me for my performances in the past, after hearing from other singers about the sad developments I feel we are an ignored lot. All they can do is to showcase performances of at least one or two singers in their annual programme,” said Manak.

When contacted Mr Fayaaz Shaharyar, Director, DD, declined to comment.

Mr Jaswant Deed, the Producer-in charge, said: “Who can be more senior than Gurdas Maan?” He further said the shooting of the programme was almost complete. “We will shoot Gurdas Mann’s song on December 17 and that is the last item to be shot,” said Mr Deed.


Birinder is SAD (A) youth wing chief
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 8
Mr Birinder Singh Mann, president, SAD (A) Bathinda district, was yesterday nominated president of the youth wing of the SAD (Amritsar), Punjab, by its president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

Mr Mann, who is presently member of the District Grievances Removal Committee, Bathinda, unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election as SAD (A) nominee from Talwandi Sabo in 2002. Mr Mann holds a degree in engineering and did schooling from Kasauli and Chandigarh.


Umbrella body sought to ensure welfare of ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today underlined the need for evolving an effective cooperative mechanism by setting up an umbrella body to ensure allround welfare of ex-servicemen.

Addressing ex-servicemen at a meeting held at the Raj Bhawan here, General Rodrigues, who is also the Chairman of the Punjab Rajya Sainik Board, said that this single platform should act as a facilitator among various ex-servicemen’s organisations and respond to their needs.

Heads of various ex-servicemen’s organisations from all over the state attended the meeting. Principal Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, Ms Geetika Kalha, and Director Sainik Welfare (DSW), Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd), were among those present.

On the recommendation of the Governor, a committee is to be formulated under the DSW to work out the modalities of setting up an umbrella body.

General Rodrigues said that the body should be a model for the rest of the country to emulate. He suggested that a panel of experts in different fields from amongst ex-servicemen be constituted who will submit their suggestions to the main body for implementing and ensuring the execution of welfare measures at different levels.

These experts, he added, should be made responsible to give technical guidance and expertise wherever necessary.

Exhorting retired senior officers of the Armed Forces to lead a life of dignity, self-respect and honour, the Governor said they should utilize their potential for productive purposes and contribute their might for transformation of society. He also stressed that the heads of ex-servicemen’s organisations should work together as a team for raising the quality of life of ex-servicemen and their families.


Revenue staff stir spills over
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 8
Tehsildars, naib-tehsildars, BDPO’s of adjoining sub-divisions and blocks today joined the dharna being held by Phagwara revenue staff on Court Complex. They have been demanding the arrest of all those persons, including Mr P.S. Passi, President of the All-India Anti-Corruption Forum, who had used foul language against Ms Seema Singh, Naib-Tehsildar, Phagwara, on December 6 in her office.

Mr Passi and Mr Hans Raj, alias Mantri, who are owners of certain kiosks inside tehsil complex, had been asked by her to see her today in connection with an inquiry marked to her by Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala Rakesh Verma, but the duo, along with their supporters, stormed her office two days ago, raising slogans and using foul language against her.

After taking casual leave today again, Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate of Phagwara Hardip Singh Dhaliwal and Ms Seema Singh participated in the dharna along with other revenue staff for the second day today. Mr Darbara Singh, Mr Lashman Singh, Tehsildar, and Naib-Tehsildar of Nakodar Rashpal Chand Sharma,Tehsildar Parveen Chhibber, Naib-Tehsildar of Sultanpur Lodhi Varinder Bhatia, Naib-Tehsildar of Bholath Harbilas, BDPO of Phagwara Ajay Kumar and the BDPO of Nakodar also joined the dharna.

The local Bar Association, led by Mr Vijay Sharma, went on a strike in support of the protesting revenue staff. It declared that no advocate of Phagwara would appear on behalf of the persons who had misbehaved with Ms Seema Singh.

The dharna was also joined by entire ministerial staff of the offices of Tehsil and SDM paralysing work at courts of the SDM and at Tehsil. The Patwar Union, nambardars, sarpanches, typists and councillors also sat on dharna.


Ludhiana MC model as UNDP case study
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India, will study the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) model for a case study of ‘Municipal Management and Capacity Building’.

The MC, Ludhiana, is the only corporation in the country chosen by the UNDP for the study.

The Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sharma confirmed here today that the UNDP had selected the MC Ludhiana for its study for preparing a document for “Successful governance initiatives and best practices: experiences from Indian states”.

The other case studies to be filmed are “Community Contracting in rural water and sanitation (Swajal)” in Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal, “Rajiv Gandhi watershed management mission” in Madhya Pradesh, besides the Ludhiana project.

Claiming efficiency, success in providing basic amenities, financial management as the main reasons for getting selected, Mr Sharma said the Ludhiana MC had already scored several firsts like providing drinking water to the entire population within its limits and setting up of the biomedical disposal plant in the city.


Probe ordered into kidney removal case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 8
The Vigilance Department has ordered an inquiry into the removal of a kidney of a poor woman allegedly by a doctor of government-run Guru Nanak Hospital.

However, the victim, Premvati, wife of a worker of Bara Hanuman Mandir on the Durgiana Temple complex, today received the notice to join the inquiry at the local vigilance office hours after the scheduled time of the inquiry.

The victim said she received the notice at 2.40 pm while according to the notice she was to join the inquiry at 10 am today.

Premvati alleged that the delay in handing over the notice was deliberate as certain persons were trying to hush up the case given the involvement of a reputed doctor in it.

Dr Jaswinderpal Kaur Shergill, Prof and Head of Surgery, Government Medical College, was alleged to have removed the kidney of Premvati when she had been admitted to the hospital in March, 2001, for surgery to remove stones. However, later it was discovered in an ultrasound test that her kidney had been removed.

Dr Shergill had refuted allegations and said the kidney was removed with full consent of patient.

SSP Kultar Singh had earlier marked an inquiry on October 20 to SP-II Harmanbir Singh. However, Premvati, in a letter to the Punjab Human Rights Commission stated that despite more than a month have elapsed since orders to initiate inquiry were issued, but she was not informed of the inquiry. The report of it was to be submitted within three days.

She also alleged that she had been harassed and threatened.


Dalit Sena to approach HC against police
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 8
Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri, president, Dalit Sena, Punjab, today said that his party would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the atrocities being committed on a section of the Scheduled Castes living in Gill Patti village in this district by a landlord with the help of a senior police official.

While addressing a press conference here this evening, Mr Gehri alleged that a landlord having political connections had been trying to grab a piece of land belonging to the Scheduled Caste persons worth crores of rupees for the past many months and in this connection he had got a false case registered against those persons with the help of a senior police official.

He added that he had taken up the matter with the DGP, Punjab, Mr A. A. Siddiqui, who had assured him that he would get the matter inquired into by an officer of the level of Inspector-General of Police. He added that the Dalit Sena had also urged the Punjab Government to arrange a CBI probe into this matter.


Protest by PSEB employees, families
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Raising slogans against the privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), thousands of employees and their families from all over the region marched towards the Punjab Secretariat for handing over a memorandum to the authorities concerned.

The protesters claimed that government’s alleged move to dismantle PSEB into six corporations would result in large scale slashing of employment, besides the substitution of the present wage policy by contract labour policy. It would also result in the curtailment of trade union rights.

The speakers included state convener of Technical Services Union Gurdial Singh Bhangal and state convener of the Technical Services Union (Vigayanic Group) Dev Raj.

According to a press release, a considerable number of members belonging to Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta — Ugrahan), besides Kisan Sangarash Committee and Punjab Kisan Sabha participated in the event.


Protest against employees’ suspension
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 8
Employees of the Municipal Council staged a dharna in front of their office here today to protest against the suspension of five employees of the octroi department of the council.

Mr Kulwant Singh Saini, general secretary of the Punjab Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangthan, Mr Kewal Lal Heer, regional president, Mr Ravinder Thakur, district president of municipal employees, and Mr Yashpal, Safai Mazdoor Union leader, warned the municipal authorities to reinstate the suspended employees immediately, failing which they would intensify their agitation.


Forest officials hold protest
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 8
Employees of the Forest Department held a protest in front of the Forest Range Office here today in support of their demands.

Members of the Forest Labour Employees Union alleged that the forcible retrenchment of employees was being done by the department and their working areas were also being changed without any reason. They said that they were not being given benefits which were due after completing three years and 10 years of service. They said they would hold a protest on December 14 in case their demands are not conceded.


Sikh federation to hold shaheedi sabha
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 8
The Sikh Student Federation and the Shiromani Khalsa Dal will jointly organise a Shaheedi sabha on the eve of the commemoration of the supreme sacrifice of the Sahibzadas during the Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Thousands of youths will participate in the sabha and they will be told to follow the principles of Sikhism, said Mr Mandhir Singh, national president of the federation, while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

He said a debate on “Challenges before Sikhism” will be held.

He said Sikh youth would be urged to get baptised and become true Sikhs. He said the federation being representatives of students and youths, fully understoods its responsibility.

Mr Swarn Singh Khalsa, a spokesman for the Shiromani Khalsa Dal said that his organisation would extend all help to the federation in organising the sabha. 


ASC day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 8
The 244th Corps Day connected with Army Service Corps (ASC) was celebrated in the local cantonment here today.

Brig B. P. Tiwari, seniormost ASC officer posted at Bathinda cantonment while recalling the glorious deeds of the ASC over the years, said that the soldiers had kept the flag of the ASC flying high from the Jammu and Kashmir operation in 1947-48 through Korean War (1851-53) to Operation Vijay where their valour earned them seven gallantry awards, including one Mahavir Chakra, three Vir Chakras and two Sena Medals.

Most recently, Operation Prakram displayed the meticulous foresight and planning of the corps, he said and added that corps had been maintaining flawless support to the Army, the navy and the air force in every corner of the country, living up to their motto “Service Is Our Creed”.


High Court
PIL filed to end discrimination
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 8
A public interest petition has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Panjab University authorities to put an end to alleged discrimination against students of MA Sociology-II (correspondence course) on the issue of usage library facilities.

The petitioner, Dr B. Singh, has alleged that the library authorities have not been allowing students of correspondence course to use the main library while those doing MA Sociology II course as regular students are allowed access to these facilities.

The petitioner has prayed that correspondence students be treated at par with regular students.

After hearing the petitioner, who appeared in person, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Chief Justice B.K. Roy adjourned the matter to tomorrow.


Agriculture technocrats observe strike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 8
Almost all the agriculture technocrats of this district today observed a pen-down strike on a call given by the Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee, Punjab, to lodge their protest against the appointment of a non-technocrat as chief of Agriculture Department.

In a press note, Mr Jaskaran Singh, secretary, Agtech, Bathinda, said that the action committee had been demanding that the state government should review its decision and appoint a person from administration side as chief of the Agriculture Department.


Sarpanch suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
The Punjab Government yesterday suspended Tejinder Singh, Sarpanch of Nagla village in Dera Bassi block of Patiala district, on the charges of encroaching upon the “shamlat land” of the village.

According to information, Mr Avtar Singh, in a complaint to the Director, Panchayats, had alleged that the Sarpanch had encroached upon the “shamlat land”.

On the basis of the complaint, Mr Bahadar Singh, Deputy Director(Land Development), visited the village yesterday and found him prima facie guilty. He was suspended under Section 20(4) of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act,1994.

The Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Dera Bassi, has been asked to take possession of all records from him.


Veterinary officer suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Veterinary Officer Harjit Singh, posted at the Morinda Civil Veterinary Hospital, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect by Punjab’s Minister of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Jagmohan Singh Kang.

According to an official spokesman, the action was initiated on the basis of a public complaint alleging indiscipline, misconduct and misbehavior. The officer was also accused of failure to check indiscriminate sale of meat and chicken of dead animals in the town.


Army man, two others held for smuggling
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 8
Three persons, including an Army man, were arrested and fake currency, narcotics and arms were seized from them in a joint operation by the Majitha police and the BSF last night at a naka at Chakk Oul village under the police district.

The arrested persons have been identified as sepoy Ali Mohammad Khan of 4 J&K LI, Simon Pal of Chuchakwal village under Lopoke police station, and Sukhwinder Singh of Dina Nagar under Gurdaspur district.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SSP, Majitha, said there could be ISI’s involvement. He said 700 gm brown sugar, Rs. 1,30,000 in fake Indian currency in the denominations of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes, one double-barrel gun of .12 bore, a country-made .12 bore pistol and eight cartridges were seized.

Mr Bajwa said a police team of Majitha had gone to arrest Javed of Doda, suspected to be a supplier to the three accused.

Mr Mayank Dwivedi, Deputy Commandant, BSF, said they had reliable information that some persons, including an Army personnel, were involved in smuggling of narcotics, arms and counterfeit currency. The information was shared with the Majitha police and a joint operation was chalked out.

Mr Bajwa said Khan, at present posted in Jammu and Kashmir, was earlier posted in the Ajnala sector and had become close to Simon Pal, who runs a PCO in his village. They also involved Sukhwinder Singh, brother-in-law of Simon, in their plan.

The SSP said Khan used to supply the consignment to these two persons and evade frisking on the way by producing his identity card. He said Khan confessed that earlier he had delivered two such consignments.

Mr Bajwa said Khan revealed that he used to receive the contraband from Javed, who worked in a travel agency, and denied any knowledge of the origin of the items. He said the items may have been smuggled from Pakistan through the Jammu and Kashmir border.

A case under various sections of the IPC, the NDPS Act and the Arms Act has been registered.


Brothers booked for duping ‘arhtiya’
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 8
Two brothers have been booked for duping a Nihalsinghwala-based ‘arhtiya’ of Rs 5.65 lakh.

According to sources, the complainant, Mr Bharat Bhushan, said farmers Jagdev Singh and Atma Singh had borrowed Rs 5.65 lakh from him, but instead of returning his money, later, they asked him to take their piece of land at Deena village in lieu of the amount. After finalising the deal when Bharat Bhushan reached the tehsildar office on June 24 last year, he came to know that they had already taken a bank loan on the said plot and its registry could not be obtained.

Mr Bhushan said he even paid off their bank loan through a cheque on October

10, 2003, but their attitude remained the same.

Taking note of the complaint, the SSP had ordered a probe into the matter. After the allegations levelled against the brothers were found true, a case has been registered against both of them under Section 420 of the IPC.


Guru Ram Dass Institute to have new Principal
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Guru Ram Dass Hospital Trust has decided to advertise and appoint a regular Principal for the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar. In a meeting chaired by Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, under whose patronage the trust works, an earlier resolution that had sought regularisation of the current incumbent, Dr Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal, was rejected.

Guru Ram Dass Hospital Trust members met here late last evening to discuss various issues relating to the running of medical and dental colleges by the trust. Though there were nearly two dozen issues in the agenda, the issue of appointing a regular principal was discussed at length and it was decided that an earlier resolution passed in July that had called for the regularisation of Dr Dhaliwal should not be accepted and the post should be advertised, seeking a person who has experience of working at an institute like the PGI. Dr Dhaliwal has been officiating as Principal of the institute for the past three years.

The trust empowered Bibi Jagir Kaur to form a committee and take other initiatives in this regard. Raise in fee of nursing students was also cleared by the trust despite strong opposition for this among the students at the institute.

Others present at the meeting included SGPC secretary Dilmegh Singh, Dr L.S Chawla, former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid Medical University, Dr B.S Tung from Amritsar, Dr G.S Grewal from Ludhiana, Mr H.S Mattewal, former Advocate General Punjab, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Mr D.S Mallunangal.


250 SLIET students get degrees
Tribune News Service

Longowal, December 8
The seventh convocation of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) was held on the SLIET campus today. Ms Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, was the chief guest while Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, presided over the convocation. Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, also attended the convocation as a guest of honour.

More than 250 students were awarded degrees in various engineering courses by Dr S.K. Salwan, while Er H.P. Singh, Director, SLIET, awarded diplomas and certificates in different certificate and diploma courses of the SLIET to about 500 students.

Ms Razia Sultana, presented gold and silver medals to the meritorious students of various degree courses while Mr K.K. Bhatnagar presented gold and silver medals to the meritorious students of various diploma courses. Er H.P. Singh presented gold and silver medals to the meritorious students of different certificate courses.

Mr Parmesh Bansal, who hails from Ludhiana, was honoured with a special award for topping consecutively in the entire three modules – Certificate, Diploma and Degree of Computer Science and Engineering.

Mr Parmesh Bansal is the only boy throughout India in the past 13 years’ history of the SLIET to create such a record in the field of Computer Engineering. After the completion of his Computer Engineering course, he was selected by Reliance Industries Limited and is now serving in the Reliance’s corporate office in Mumbai.


NRI Sabha to sponsor poor students
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 8
The NRI Sabha has decided to sponsor brilliant students of poor families to study in foreign countries. Apart from this, the sabha would also award scholarships to the toppers of government run secondary schools.

This was announced by Mr Gurcharn Singh Walia, district president NRI Sabha at a function held at Government Secondary School, Daburji, 15 km from here, today.

Earlier, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Manpreet Singh Chhatwal distributed woollen jackets to the poor students of the school. The jackets were donated by Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Harjinder Singh of Hong Kong.

The Gurdwara Manage-ment Committee, Daburji, also announced to create proper infrastructure for the government schools.

The NRI Sabha has appealed to its members living abroad to collect huge funds so that proper facilities could be provided to the students here.


Johar calls meeting of teachers’ unions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 8
Punjab Education Minister Harnam Das Johar has called a meeting of Teachers’ unions in the state on December 10 at 2 pm in Chandigarh.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Johar said only the presidents and general secretaries of the unions were invited and allowed to participate in the meeting.

The meeting has been called to discuss and consider demands of teachers. Mr Johar further said the government was committed towards the development of education and welfare of the teaching community.

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