P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC seeks clarification from Unesco
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 13
Without involving the Central Government, the SGPC has directly sought clarification from Unesco regarding pre-conditions for granting world heritage status to the Golden Temple.

In a communication to Unesco, the SGPC made it clear that the Sikh sangat would accept the world heritage status on the sole condition that the inscription on this prestigious list would not compromise the legal status, ownership, rights and practices of the community.

Talking to TNS on the phone, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, said the SGPC wanted this status but at the same time the management and ownership of the Golden Temple would continue to remain in the hands of the Sikh sangat.

Highlighting the reasons for maintaining the management of the Golden Temple by the SGPC, the communication reads: “We would like to share the concerns of the Sikh community, which forms the basis for the nomination of the site to Unesco. The Sikh religion is the youngest of the world religions, founded in the 15th century. It is the only world religion, whose cultural site is not represented on the list.”

“World heritage status would also help in preserving the Golden Temple. In order to safeguard the site, it is important for the site to be protected through the Hague Convention of 1954 and the World Heritage Convention of 1972.”

The SGPC has said the nomination of Sri Harmandar Sahib is an initiative of the committee, which has elected representatives. The SGPC has been managing the affairs of Sri Harmandar Sahib and various Sikh shrines in India since 1925.

The Ministry of Culture was only the conduit to send the three volume nomination dossier to the World Heritage Centre of Unesco last year, claims the SGPC. It further claimed that various organisations representing the Sikh community, including religious heads, SGPC members, and academicians, were engaged in the preparation of the dossier.

Bibi Jagir Kaur claimed that it was the duty of the SGPC to seek clarification directly from Unesco.


10 p.c. extra for WB-aided water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
People in the rural areas opting for the World Bank-funded drinking water supply and sanitation facilities would have to make at least 10 per cent contribution in such schemes. Informed sources said that such contribution would have to be made by water tap and santitation system-connection holders. In any case the funding of such schemes would not be from panchayat or other common village funds.

Years ago the Punjab Government had approached the World Bank to seek funds for rural water and sanitation schemes. It had submitted a project worth Rs 1819.35 crore to the World Bank for this purpose. However, the WB had laid down certain conditions in shape of reforms before sanctioning the funds for this project.

One of the conditions was that certain amount of user charges should be recovered from consumers. Maintenance and operational charges should also be paid by consumers. Obviously, this money would be collected from consumers by levying monthly charges.

The meeting of Council of Ministers held here today under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chief Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, approved the World Bank project of Rs 1819.35 crore for providing water supply and sanitation facilities in 4,900 partially covered habitations and 1600 yet to be covered habitations in the state.

The government press note issued in this connection only says that the Council of Ministers also approved other modalities regarding the adoption of reforms, institutional and financing approach with regard to the World Bank project. However, no details of reforms had been given in the statement.

The council also approved the amendment of the Punjab Agriculture Produce Market Act, 1961, for the reconstitution of market committees within three years of their supersession instead of two years.

The office of the Chief Parliamentary Secretary is being declared as office of no profit because the MLAs cannot hold the office of profit as per constitutional provisions. The Punjab Government has made certain MLAs as Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Parliamentary Secretaries. A Bill to declare the office as of no profit is expected to be brought in the State Assembly on December 15.

The Council also approved the Punjab Pay Scales of Teachers Ordinance 2004 (Punjab Ordinance No. 11 of 2004) to remove disparity and discrimination in the pay scales of the similarly situated teachers holding the same post and performing the same duties and responsibilities.


Patna Sahib jathedar to attend clergy meeting
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 13
Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, today claimed that Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, had decided to sink differences with Jathedar Akal Takht in the larger interest of the Sikh Panth. He would attend the meeting of Sikh clergy, proposed to be held at Akal Takht tomorrow.

Talking to TNS on telephone, Bibi Jagir Kaur said it was the collective responsibility of the Sikh clergy to come upto the expectations of Sikh sangat while discharging their religious duties.

Both the Jathedars, who had gone to Mumbai to attend the marriage ceremony of the son of an SGPC member, would arrive in Amritsar by the same flight tomorrow.

It is learnt that the SGPC chief had mediated to bring rapprochement between both the Jathedars. Earlier, Jathedar Iqbal Singh had announced that he won’t attend any meeting of the Sikh clergy till Jathedar Vedanti was the Jathedar of Akal Takht. He had also levelled serious charges of tampering with the proceedings of the meetings of Sikh clergy.

Earlier Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, had urged the SGPC to resolve the matter which had assumed serious proportions. Jathedar Iqbal Singh had also alleged that in spite of his repeated requests, during the meetings of Sikh clergy, Jathedar Vedanti had not sought clarification from Ms Surinder Kaur Badal for allegedly visiting the Dera of Ashutosh.

It is believed that the meeting of Sikh clergy would constitute a committee of Sikh intellectuals to take decision on the controversial book “Mundavni”, authored by Giani Gurdit Singh.

In case Jathedar Iqbal Singh attends the meeting then it would establish once for all the supremacy of Akal Takht. His participation in the meeting would send a clear signal that Takht Patna Sahib can’t pronounce any edict on Panthic issues.


First use of ‘Hindustan’ by Guru Nanak: Jodh Singh
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Who was first to use the word Hindustan? Obviously, it is the most difficult question to answer. “Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, was first to use this word. Unfortunately, this fact is little known to scholars and others concerned”, asserts Dr Jodh Singh, famed scholar of philosophy and religion and the Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Sikhism, which is being prepared by Punjabi University, Patiala.

“In fact, Guru Nanak Dev was the first holy man to conceptualise our country as Hindustan. And Guru Granth Sahib is the first religious scripture of the Bhakti Movement period in which the word Hindustan was used first time. Before Guru Granth Sahib, the word Hindustan had not been used in any religious Granth”, claims Dr Jodh Singh. “I would stand corrected if any one shows me the reference of Hindustan in any other religious scripture before it was used by Guru Nanak Dev”, says Dr Jodh Singh.

Guru Nanak Dev wrote the word Hindustan in his ‘shalok’ that was authored to lodge a protest to God against Babar’s reign of terror in Hindustan. The Shalok is “Khurasan khasmana kiya, Hindustan draya, eti mar pai kurlane, tain ke dard na aiya”. Dr Jodh Singh, who has completed in four volumes the translation of Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi, says Guru Nanak Dev was in fact also the first to visualise the integration of this country which during his period had been divided in several provinces and principalities. All literature was full of references regarding provinces and there was no talk of the country as a unit as such during that period.

Asked about the translation of Guru Granth Sahib in Hindi, Dr Jodh Singh said that he had performed this task keeping in view the requirement of millions of Hindi-reading people of the country. “The translation was in chaste Hindi that is written and read in Central India”, he adds. Dr Jodh Singh, who has also been designated as Professor of Sikhism, did his Ph.D on Guru Nanak’s thought from Banaras Hindu University and also served there as lecturer for some years before joining Punjabi University. He is a member of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research and had held several eminent positions in Punjabi University and other academic institutions. He has authored several books on Sikhism.

His most recognised earlier works are the translation of Dasam Granth in English and Hindi and also the translation of Vars of Bhai Gurdas in English and Hindi. Translation of Guru Granth Sahib is the latest one. In this work, on the left side pages, there is a translation in ‘shalok’ form in Hindi and on the right side pages there is translation in Hindi prose. This has been done to make easy the understanding of Gurbani for Hindi-knowing people.

Talking about the translation of Guru Granth Sahib, he said that the number of pages of this translated works is the same as those of Guru Granth Sahib. A detailed introduction explaining about Sikh history, philosophy and its doctrinal aspects and also glossary of technical terms used in Sikh religious ethos has been part of the work.


Inside Babudom
Randhawa gets back old posting|
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Assistant Inspector-General of Police Inderjit Singh Randhawa is back in the same saddle. In less than two months after he was shifted from the post of Ferozepore’s Superinten-dent of Police (Vigilance Bureau), Mr Randhawa has been posted back.

IPS officer H.R. Chadha — on central deputation since 1999 — is also back. Awaiting posting, he has now been transferred as Inspector-General of Police (Indian Reserve Battalion) at Chandigarh.

His promotion as Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) is also due. Sources in the Punjab Police Headquarters here claim that two officers — senior to IGP Chadha — are awaiting elevation along with him.

Going into the background of the case involving Mr Randhawa, the sources say that he was looking into an alleged fake pension case in which relatives of the petitioner in DSPs recruitment case were allegedly harassed.

The alleged fact had come to light after a newspaper report had claimed that petitioner Jaskaran Singh’s relatives were harassed following the filing of a public interest litigation (PIL) in the matter.

Mr Randhawa’a transfer orders were issued on October 25 — less than 24 hours after the news report’s appearance. Though the Home Department had termed the “transfer and posting” orders as routine, the sources had at that point of time claimed that the action was initiated due to “adverse publicity” in the matter.

They had, however, admitted that the orders were issued after Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation offered by the Vigilance Bureau’s top brass regarding the arrest of petitioner Jaskaran Singh Brar’s father and brother.

Denying the allegations, they had claimed that proceedings had been initiated much before the PIL’s filing. Taking a serious view of the matter, the Chief Minister had also directed the Bureau Chief A.P. Pandey to submit a factual report in the matter.

The sources in the Punjab Government’s Department of Home Affairs and Justice now say that the orders transferring him back to the same post were issued because nothing incriminating was found against him.

They add that the officer had not harassed the petitioner’s relatives. They claim that the PIL was filed before the High Court on February 13. On the other hand, a complaint supported by a joint affidavit — dated November 13 last year — was received by the bureau on December 1, 2003.

The matter was referred to Ferozepore’s SP on December 12 last year — much before the PIL was filed. As such the complaint was not procured to harass the petitioner’s kin.


The Home Department has ordered the transfers and postings of 14 other officers also. IPS Officer Dinesh Partap, awaiting posting on promotion, has been posted as SP (Headquarters) at Amritsar.

Ludhiana’s SP Vigilance Naunihal Singh has been posted as SP Special Branch, Intelligence Wing at Chandigarh. PPS Officer R.S. Khatra, awaiting posting, has been posted as Commandant PRTC at Jahankhelan. Gurinder Singh Dhillon, also awaiting posting, has been posted as SP Vigilance at Ludhiana.

PPS Officer Gurkirpal Singh, awaiting posting, has been posted as SP Flying Squad, Vigilance Bureau at Chandigarh. M.S. Chhina, awaiting posting, has been posted as SP (Vigilance) at Chandigarh. R.P.S. Bajwa, awaiting posting , is now the Commandant of 5th IRB at Amritsar in place of Gurdev Singh. He has been posted as the Deputy Director, Administration at Phillaur.

Sukhmohinder Singh, awaiting posting , has been posted as AIG Armaments at Chandigarh. Shiv Kumar, awaiting posting, is the new SP Intelligence at Chandigarh. Narinder Bhargav, awaiting posting, is the Commandant of 5th CDO Battalion at Bahadurgarh in place of Mohinder Singh Chahal. He has been posted as SP (Headquarters) at Patiala.

Kulshinder Singh, awaiting posting, is the Commandant of 4th IRB at Jalandhar in place of R.P. Sharda. He has been posted as SP (Crime) at Jalandhar.


PPS officers’ welfare association chief quits
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 13
Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (City-II) and state president of Punjab Police Services (PPS) Officers welfare association today resigned from the presidentship in protest against the removal of PPS officers from cadre posts, including district police chiefs.

Mr Gill said accepting the high moral ground in failing to protect the rights of PPS officers on SSPs and cadre posts, he had opted to resign from his presidentship.

It may be mentioned here that the state government has removed all PPS officers from the posts of district police chiefs yesterday, just a day before the hearing of tje contempt petition moved by an IPS officer, seeking action against the authorities concerned for deliberate and wilful disobedience of the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders in August. The high court in its order had directed the Punjab government to remove all non-cadre officers from the cadre posts.

The SP (City) said the PPS officers believed that a group of bureaucrats had kept the state government in the dark due to which the PPS officer were made to suffer.

When asked about the future plan of action, he said the PPS officers would fight to protect their rights. He said they would abide by the decision of the association. He appealed to all PPS officers to unite and sink their past differences for securing better future for the officers. He expressed his hope that the state government would review its decision in future. He said he had sent his resignation to Mr Shiv Kumar, vice-president of the association.

Mr Ashwani Kapur, DSP and general secretary of the association has also resigned as general secretary of the association.


New SSP takes over
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 13
Mr Varinder Kumar today took over as SSP of here. He replaces Mr Shiv Kumar. Mr Varinder Kumar has been SSP Gurdaspur, twice.

After taking the charge, in his address to police officials, he directed them to maintain transparency in working and added that corruption would not be tolerated.


Revenue staff go on leave, seek arrest of anti-graft forum head
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 13
The Kapurthala district Tehsildars and Naib-Tehsildars-cum-Executive Magistrates and Duty Magistrates today took mass casual leave and went on a two-day strike. They also joined the ongoing agitation inside the Courts Complex at Phagwara. They were seeking the arrest of Mr P.S. Passi, president, of the All-India Anti-Corruption Forum, and his aides for using foul language with Ms Seema Singh, Naib-Tehsildar, Phagwara, in her office on December 6.

Besides Mr Hardip Singh Dhaliwal, Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate and Ms Seema Singh, Naib-Tehsildar-cum-Duty Magistrate, Phagwara, others who joined the protest today included Prof Rachhpal Chand, Tehsildar; Mr Parveen Chhiber, Naib- Tehsildar Sultanpur Lodhi; Mr Inder Dev Singh, Tehsildar; Mr Varinder Bhatia, Naib-Tehsildar, Bholath; Mr Bhupinder Singh, Tehsildar; Mr K.D.S. Bhullar, Naib-Tehsildar, Kapurthala; and and Mr Jasbir Singh Mahi, Naib-Tehsildar, Dhilwan.

The call for this district-level protest was given by the Punjab Revenue Officers Association. Its executive committee would be meeting on Wednesday to chalk out the next future course of action in case Mr Passi and his accomplices were not arrested by the police. This was stated by the local Tehsildar, Mr Hardip Singh Dhaliwal.

The Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee also joined the dharna here today. Ministerial/revenue staff of the Tehsil and SDM courts here is already on strike since December 7 alongwith the local Tehsildar and Naib-Tehsildar, according to Mr Narinder Kumar, additional general secretary of the Patwar Union, Punjab.

Meanwhile, the photostat cabin of Mr Passi was today sealed following the cancellation of his licence. The cabin had been allotted in the name of Mr Passi’s wife, Ms Rajinder Kaur. Its furniture and other articles were taken into possession by the local Kanungo, Mr Hardip Kumar. A notice had been pasted on the cabin regarding the removal of furniture by today, failing which authorities took the articles into their possession.

Another notice had been pasted directing Ms Passi to herself demolish the cabin in two days failing which the demolition would be carried out by the revenue authorities. A notice was also pasted on the door of the residence of Passi in Onkar Nagar, Khothran road in this regard.

Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Verma had cancelled the licence of the photostat cabin after the December 6 incident.

Meanwhile, a noisy demonstration was again held by the Magistrates/ Duty Magistrates and other employees in continuation of the stir which entered its second week today. Ms Kusam Sharma, Congress Councillor, said it was sad that the police was shielding a culprit and was ignoring the Executive Magistrates. Mr Kuldip Sharma, another Congress leader, said it was ironical that the police was not believing the complaint of its Magistrate and was conducting a probe to protect Mr Passi.


Patwaris hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 13
Members of the local Revenue Patwar Union (RPU) held a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner to lodge their protest against the suspension of a patwari, Joginder Singh, by the SDM, Talwandi Sabo.

Mr Gurtej Singh Pakka, district president of the union, RPU, said that first the SDM, had placed Joginder Singh under suspension deliberately and falsely, and now the Deputy Commissioner had been trying to keep that matter hanging for long.

He said that an inquiry being conducted into the allegations levelled against Joginder Singh and being conducted by the DRO on the order of the Deputy Commissioner had not been completed so far.

He alleged that the Deputy Commissioner had been playing a partisan role in this case and had been favouring the SDM, Talwandi Sabo.

Mr Pakka threatened that if the administration did not withdraw the suspension orders, they would intensify the agitation.

Mr Manjit Singh, president, local unit of the Class IV Government Employees Union, said that their union would support the RPU in its protest against the suspension of Joginder Singh.


Marriages between girls becoming a reality
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The same-sex marriage between two girls of Amritsar is not an isolated case in the state. Such relationships, hitherto unheard- of in Punjab, are fast becoming a reality with cases of as many as four more girls reported to the Ludhiana and Amritsar police in the past few months.

While 25-year-old Raju and his wife Mala (22) have come out in the open, two girls Surjit Kaur and Madhu (not real names) reported missing from this city two months ago are living in hiding.

Of these, the case of Surjit Kaur (real name) is most interesting. She had been living with three different girls. Madhu is her ‘latest’ girlfriend while the two previous ones, Rajji and Sunaina, were ‘rescued’ by the Amritsar and Ludhiana police.

Only Madhu belongs to Ludhiana while all the other girls hailed from Amritsar. According to police sources here, Surjit Kaur allegedly had a relationship with a girl, Rajji, in that city, till the police intervened. Then Surjit Kaur ‘befriended’ Sunaina, a daughter of an ASI with the Amritsar police, eloped and lived with her for over a year in a rented apartment in Vishal Nagar here.

It is here that she met Madhu and eventually disappeared with her. An FIR was lodged by the parents of Madhu at Sarabha Nagar police station in October. The FIR is probably the first of its kind in which a girl, Surjit Kaur, has been accused of kidnapping another girl.

Surjit revealed to the landlords that they were sisters. It was only after she went missing with the tenant’s youngest daughter, Madhu, that the fact came to light. The devastated Sunaina revealed to the family that she and Surjit had got married. Within a few days, a police team from Amritsar came with her ASI father and took her back.

Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP, City-I, and Mr Ravcharan Singh Brar, DSP, Sarabha Nagar, said they were trying to locate the girls but have not succeeded so far. Family sources of Madhu have expressed resentment at the police failure to trace the two girls. They claimed they had told the police that the girls were spotted on a motor cycle in the city several times. They even gave the police the number of the vehicle but still there was not much success.

The police is also foxed at the complaints on how to deal with the allegations. It considers it more of a social problem than the law and order. The Indian society, which disapproves of same sex relationships, looks down upon such cases.

The police can only register a case of kidnapping against one of the girls in each case labelling the other as misled victim of her aggression. The girls cannot be booked under Section 377 dealing with unnatural sex till the families get the girls medically examined. It is also not sure whether the medical examination would help in such cases.


CPM (Pasla) criticises UPA government
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, December 13
The three-day state level conference of the CPM (Pasla) began here today. Hundreds of delegates of the party from all over the state are taking part in the conference.

While addressing the conference, state president of the party, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, accused the UPA Government of toeing the line adopted by the NDA government. He said due to the privatisation policies of the government the middle and poor class of the society was suffering.

The gap between the rich and poor in the country was increasing due to the World Bank-sponsored policies being adopted by the union governments at the Centre, he added.

Mr Pasla said the farmers of Punjab were being forced to commit suicide due to hardships they were facing. While the prices of all inputs in farming have increased the government was not increasing the minimum support price in that proportion.

He alleged that the privatisation of the public sector units has left thousands jobless and the recent move of the privatisation of the PSEB by the Punjab Government was against the interests of the farmers and employees.

He said the CPM (Pasla) would continue the struggle and build mass movement against the privatisation and alleged anti-labour and anti-farmer policies of the union and state government.


Chamkaur Sahib readies for devotees
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 13
The district administration and the SGPC have made arrangements for the stay of about 60,000 devotees at Chamkaur Sahib during a three-day samagam to be held here from December 19 to 21 to commemorate the 300th year of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas. The administration has made arrangements for about 50,000 persons at government schools, offices, the Anaj Mandi and nine different places along nine parking sites. The SGPC has made arrangements for 10,000 persons on 35 acres.

As devotees from different parts of India have already begun to arrive at Chamkaur Sahib, the administration has divided the town into nine sectors. The main function will be held at Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib, which falls in Sector-2 near the Sirhind canal.

The administration has made arrangements for special buses to carry the devotees from parking sites to the samagam site. Vehicle owners have to park vehicles at parking sites, about 2km from the Gurdwara. Only those carrying special passes would be allowed to ply vehicles on internal roads.

A 24-hour langar would be served at sites close to the parking sites. The SDM has received several applications from people expressing their desire to organise langar for the devotees.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, said eight committees had been constituted to make various arrangements. The committees could take care of security and traffic arrangements, water supply, sanitation, transport, health services, hospitality and the media. These would be headed by PCS officers.

A member of the SGPC from Anandpur Sahib, Mr Gurinder Singh, told The Tribune that the SGPC had taken 80 acres to organise different programmes. A temporary tent would be erected on about 35 acres and langar served at 15 different places by the SGPC. The rest of the land would be used by the SGPC to organise religious programmes, highlighting the sacrifice of the Sahibzadas.

Convener of the Akali Dal and the SGPC media committee Babi Badal said a Nagar Kirtan from Anandpur Sahib and Poanta Sahib to Chamkaur Sahib would also be organised by the SGPC.

On December 19, various sports events, including wrestling, Kabaddi and Marshal arts would be held at the site allotted to the SGPC. Sportspersons from Pakistan would participate in the sports events to be held here, he added.

Vice-President to attend function
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 13
The Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, would attend the main function of the tricentenary martyrdom of the Sahibjadas and the mother of Guru Gobind Singh at Chamkaur Sahib on December 20.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, President SGPC, in a press release here today, said that all the necessary arrangements had been made to observe the tricentenary function at Chamkaur Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib from December 18 to 26.

A massive nagar kirtan would be taken out from Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh on December 17 which would reach Chamkaur Sahib the next day. Another nagar kirtan would commence from Qila Anandgarh (Anandpur Sahib) to Chamkaur Sahib on December 18.

A sikh youth conference would be held on December 19 which would be attended by former Union ministers, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Shah Niwaz Hussain, Mr Omar Abdullah, Mr B.D. Pandey and Mr Ajay Chautala.


Setback to SGPC unity efforts
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 13
The efforts of the SGPC to set up a common stage on the eve of tercentenary commemoration of the supreme sacrifice of Sahibzadas here got a set back when Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president SAD (Longowal), while addressing a press conference at Mata Gujri Sarai here today declared that the Panthic Morcha would organise a separate conference at Jor Mela, Chamkaur Sahib, and at Fatehgarh Sahib and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (A), Baba Sarvjot Singh Bedi and Bhai Ranjit Singh would also address from that stage. 

He clarified that the proceedings on the stage would be totally religious in nature and there would be no political mud-slinging. He had come here to preside over the meeting of working committee of the SAD (Longowal) as well as of the district presidents called to finalise the programme.

He alleged that the SGPC was befooling the public as well as the other political parties by giving advertisements in newspapers to have one common stage set up by the SGPC. He further alleged that the Badal had totally overpowered the SGPC and the SGPC had become a puppet in the hand of Mr Badal. He said the SGPC had not sent any formal invitation to his party to take part in the programme nor it had sent any proceedings to be held on this occasion.

Answering a query, he said that PPS officers should also be given a chance to head the districts but following the court orders, the government had posted IPS officers, which was an injustice with the PPS officers. He criticized the government for not declaring the MSP of sugarcane. He also criticised the privatisation of the PSEB and said his party would oppose it and support the employees.

Latter he presided over the meeting of the working committee and passed various resolutions criticising Mr Badal and the government policies. Mr. Inderjit Singh Zeera General Secretary Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra, State Youth SAD (L) president, also addressed.


Unfinished projects bare govt’s claims
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Chamkaur Sahib, December 13
With only six days left for the three-day Shahidi Samagam to commemorate 300th year of martyrdom of sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh at Chamkaur Sahib, various development projects started by the Punjab Government are yet to be completed.

The work on widening of the Ropar-Chamkaur Sahib road along the Sirhind Canal and the Chamkaur Sahib-Bela road is still under progress and if it continues at the present pace, then it will take another month to complete these projects. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had laid the foundation stone of the widening of the roads on September 29 and had announced that the projects would be completed by November end.

Lakhs of devotees from India and abroad are expected to attend the samagam to be held at Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib from December 19 to 21.

Of the 15-km long Ropar-Chamkaur Sahib road along the Sirhind Canal, work has been completed on just 4-km stretch. Similarly, work on just half of the 13-km long Chamkaur Sahib-Bela road stretch has been completed so far.

All other development works in Chamkaur Sahib were to be completed before December 10. But a visit to different parts of the town demonstrates incomplete work on internal roads too. The order of the district administration to remove encroachments for the widening of the roads has not been implemented yet.

Although the administration had banned the entry of vehicles from outside at Chamkaur Sahib and made separate nine parking slots, it did not work out any plan to control the use of a large number of vehicles by residents of the town. There is hardly any space for parking of vehicles in the markets and they were seen parked on the roads. If the trend continued during the samagam, it would add to the woes of devotees.

The administration is also paying little attention to the colonies along the link roads to Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib.


Jathas may now travel in buses to Pakistan
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Sikh jathas on pilgrimage to Pakistan are likely to be allowed to travel in chartered buses, says Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

“We have been given an assurance by the External Affairs Minister, Mr K. Natwar Singh, last night that when the next jatha goes to Pakistan on December 28 to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh, it may be permitted to travel by road in chartered buses,” revealed Mr Sarna, while talking to The Tribune over the telephone this afternoon.

Facility of bus travel once granted would make the travel of Sikh pilgrims to various shrines within Pakistan easier and comfortable.

The DSGMC has been demanding for a long time that rules should be amended to treat Indian nationals visiting Pakistan at par with foreigners.

At present only foreign nationals are individually allowed to enter Pakistan by land route from Wagah. Only in exceptional cases, the Ministry of Home Affairs allows Indian nationals individually to enter Pakistan by road.

The only exception is New Delhi-Lahore bus service.

“If foreigners and Pakistani nationals can travel by road, why not Indians in general and Sikh jathas in particular,” argued Mr Sarna. Mr K. Natwar Singh promised to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister on his return from tour abroad on December 17.

“We will take a decision on this genuine demand of the Sikh jathas before their next pilgrimage to Pakistan at the end of this year,” Mr Natwar Singh told the DSGMC delegation yesterday.

The External Affairs Minister also promised to amend rules to permit the DSGMC to take funds collected from the “sangat” for “kar seva” of historic Sikh shrines in Pakistan. As of now, donations for religious purposes are not allowed to be carried to Pakistan.

The DSGMC wants that the Home Ministry control on travel of Sikh jathas should go.

It should not be left to the Home Ministry to decide who is to be allowed to travel by road or rail. “At times this control causes many problems for the pilgrims. Last time, two Sikh pilgrims died. And see the apathy of the Home Ministry. It did not allow their bodies to be brought back by land route. So we told the External Affairs Minister of our problems and urged him to ensure all such irritants are removed.

“Now when we are talking of the bon homie and cordial relations with Pakistan, why not make relaxations for the Sikh jathas,” Mr Sarna added.


Brick-kiln owners making a fast buck while on strike
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
On the one hand owners of various brick kilns have been claiming that they are on strike, and on the other they are making a fast buck by charging high rates of the bricks being supplied by them.

In fact, brick kiln owners have jacked up the rates of good quality bricks to Rs 2,800 per thousand. Earlier rate was in the range of Rs 1,400 and Rs 1,600. In other words, by selling the bricks at such a high rate, owners of most of the brick kilns would earn money in six months which otherwise they would have earned in a year.

Various kiln owners from districts like Sangrur, Mansa and Patiala supply bricks to Chandigarh, Mohali, Zirakpur, Panchkula and other towns in the area. These bricks are brought in trucks from the countryside and unloaded at various brick markets around Chandigarh for further supply to house-builders.

“If they are on strike, then why are they selling bricks at such a high rate”, asked Dr Narinder Singh Kapoor, a professor, who is constructing a house. He said: “It means that the strike was being used as a tool to charge high rates and not as a means of protest against the government”.

A retired superintendent, who is constructing a house at Mohali, says that the strike was suiting most to the brick kiln owners. “On strike they are selling bricks and earning loads of money. The existing situation has become a blessing for them”, he adds. House-builders say that most of the brick kiln owners stocked the bricks in huge numbers at their kilns before going on strike. Now those stocks are being exhausted at a high rates.

There are also allegations that some of the brick kiln owners mix certain quantity of salt and gypsum in the material used to prepare bricks. With the mixing of salt and gypsum in the material, less coal is used to manufacture bricks in the kilns. Moreover, mixing of these two chemicals in the material provides a better look and colour to the bricks. However, the strength of the brick is affected by doing so, say those having some knowledge in this regard.

Meanwhile, a senior leader of the Brick Kiln Owners Association said that the strike was justified as the state government had refused to extend any help in lifting the fly ash from various thermal plants. He said that the association was ready to use fly ash in the manufacturing of bricks but it should be provided to them at the kiln sites by the government.

He said the transportation of fly ash to kilns from the thermal plant dykes would cost about Rs 120 crore per annum to owners of brick kilns. The Union Government has made it mandatory for kiln owners to mix fly ash in earth used to manufacture bricks. No fresh stock of bricks was being prepared by kiln owners. Only the old stock was being cleared, he added.

Tomorrow, owners of kilns would stage a dharna here to urge the Union Government to withdraw its decision regarding the mixing of fly ash.


Dalit girl’s father insists on public apology
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 13
Mr Preetam Singh, father of a Dalit girl whose marriage was not allowed at a Bahona village gurdwara, today stated that if the committee chief of Gurdwara Chardi Kala and “others behind the incident” did not apologise publicly soon, he would write to the Deputy Commissioner seeking legal action against them.

Talking to mediapersons after meeting with the SDM, Mr Gurnam Singh Gill, Mr Preetam Singh also demanded that the gurdwara committee should pass a resolution making the gurdwara available for the wedding ceremonies of people belonging to all castes.

However, the SDM said the committee chief of the gurdwara, Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, had today submitted a written apology in the form of an affidavit, which also stated that there would be no restriction on holding “anand karaj” at the gurdwara.

Sources said Mr Rajinder Pal was also ready to apologise personally for the incident.

However, Mr Preetam Singh was not satisfied with the affidavit. He remained adamant on his stand that the committee chief and “those who forced him to stop the marriage” apologise publicly.

The SDM said he would submit his report to the Deputy Commissioner.

According to sources, the controversy, which seemed to be heading for an end, is getting dragged due to the contradictory statements of the girl’s family and Dalit community members.

Mr Preetam Singh had come out against Mr Mukhtiar Singh, president of Dalits’ separate gurdwara, who had claimed that they stopped his daughter’s marriage fearing a fall in the offerings at their gurdwara.

The administration said the committee of the gurdwara had denied preventing the marriage, while the president of the Dalits’ gurdwara was taking the responsibility for it.

The girl’s family said Mr Mukhtiar Singh was making such statements due to political rivalry and only committee members of Gurdwara Chardi Kala were responsible for the incident.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said if the girl’s family was not satisfied with the written apology and sought legal action against someone, the administration would move according to the law.


IMA kicks up a row over bio-medical waste
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Irked over the “re-allocation” of areas to all four common bio-medical waste treatment facilities (CBWTF) and the making of hospital owners jointly responsible with them for the handling and treatment of bio-medical waste by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) without consulting it, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, has accused the board of exceeding its brief and violating the fundamental right of consumers to select a service provider of choice.

In its order, issued on November 22, the PPCB had authorised all four CBWTFs based at Ludhiana, Mohali, Amritsar and Pathankot to collect, receive, store, transport, treat and dispose of bio-medical waste from various health-care establishments and had, in a way, made the owners of these establishments jointly responsible for the proper handling and treatment of the waste in accordance with the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. The PPCB had also divided the areas of operation among these four CBWTFs.

But the exercise has upset the IMA, which, maintains that the areas of operation had already been allocated among the CBWTFs by it and by “re-allocating” these facilities the PPCB has supcerceded earlier decisions.

“The PPCB has exerted its authority in the allocation of areas, forcing the doctors to sign up with the CBWTFs of its choice. The PPCB has violated the fundamental right of consumers to select a service provider of their choice and at the same held the owners of hospitals responsible for the failure of the CBWTFs in the proper handling of bio-medical waste,” said a letter to the Member Secretary of the PPCB by the IMA-Punjab president, Dr O.P. Singh Kande.

“They cannot hold people running hospitals jointly responsible with the CBWTFs. It is clear that the CBWTFs have been established as per the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, under which the generator of bio-medical waste is responsible for collection and providing segregated waste to the CBWTF operator and not beyond that. He is not to be held responsible for the proper lifting, transportation and disposal of bio-waste. Moreover, the PPCB order was discussed at a meeting under the chairpersonship of the Principal Secretary, Environment and Science and Technology, on the same day and it was decided that the order would be kept in abeyance till a final decision was taken after a meeting with representatives of the IMA and the PPCB,” said Dr Kande.

Though no senior PPCB official was available for comment, it is learnt the order was circulated by the board among all regional offices. PPCB officials are also asking doctors to sign up with the CBWTFs.


NGO seeks action against Jalandhar cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption (FOLAC), an NGO, today urged the Punjab police to initiate action against police officials of Jalandhar district allegedly responsible for leaking a “case diary” to an accused to facilitate him in getting anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a representation to Mr A.P. Pandey, Director (Vigilance), the NGO alleged that officials of the Adampur police station deliberately leaked “case diary” details to the accused, Gagandeep.

Gagandeep is accused of having attacked and injured Mr Sushil Kumar, a resident of Daroli Kalan village in Jalandhar district.

While the inquiry against the accused was pending with the SP (Detective), the investigating officer declared him “innocent” before the high court, the representation alleged.

While moving an application for bail, the accused attached the copies of the case diary — a confidential document — with it.

Also, certain persons were interrogated by the police with a view to helping Gagandeep, the FOLAC alleged.

The case was an example of corruption in the police amounting to violation of human rights, the representation added.


Censor board for TV channels demanded
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 13
Expressing concern over the obscene scenes shown in the videos of Punjabi songs on various Punjabi TV channels, the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today demanded a separate censor board for the private TV channels.

Talking to mediapersons at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib, near here, today Mr Brinder Singh Mann, president of the youth wing of the SAD (A), said the constitution of a censor board for private TV channels was a need of the hour to control the screening of objectionable scenes, especially in Punjabi songs.

He said the youth wing of the SAD (A) would submit a memorandum to the Director of Jalandhar Doordarshan soon to initiate steps to stop the screening of such scenes.

Mr Mann also declared that he would announce the Punjab body of the youth wing of the party and district units of the youth wing within two months.

Later, Mr Mann also attended a meeting of the party held in connection with preparations of Sikhi Sidak March from Damdama Sahib to Fatehgarh Sahib from December 23 to December 24 to mark the martyrdom tercentenary of four sons and the mother of Guru Gobind Singh.


Army jawan cremated with military honours
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 13
Jasbir Singh (23), an Army jawan, who laid down his life while fighting against militants in Manipur some days ago, was cremated with military honours at Bhaini Mehraj village, 13 km from here, today.

Jasbir Singh was unmarried and is survived by his mother, father, a brother and a sister.

A contingent of the Army jawans reversed the arms and fired in the air, besides observing a two-minute silence, to pay respects to the martyr. Col Satpal Singh, Station Staff Officer, Sangrur Military Station; Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, MLA from Dhanaula; and Major Pishora Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Sangrur; were those, who paid tributes to the martyr.

Major Pishora Singh said that Jasbir Singh was the injured seriously in an encounter with militants on Burma border on December 8, but he succumbed to his injuries on December 10.


25 Indian youths in Pak jail go on fast
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
To protest against ‘inhuman’ conditions prevailing in Mach jail of Pakistan and to express their anguish over the “lack” of medical facilities, as many as 25 Indian youths, who are lodged in the jail, have decided to go on an indefinite fast from today.

Meanwhile, the International Bhai Mardana Yadgaari Kirtan Darbar Society had urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to have a dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart and secure the release of Indian inmates of Mach jail.

Regarding the alleged poor sanitary and medical conditions in the Mach jail of Balouchistan, 13 of 25 Indian youths are suffering from weakness, fever and and other health-related maladies, it is learnt.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the society, revealed that three Indian youths Sohan Singh, Tilak Raj and Amarjit Singh, who had gone to Quetta to secure medicines, told him on the telephone that all of 25 Indian inmates of the jail had decided to go on an indefinite fast from today in protest against poor conditions in jails. “They have told me that they have already written a letter to Indian Embassy officials in Pakistan. They feel that Indian Embassy in Pakistan does not do the needful as far as their fate is concerned and hence they will not write any letter to it in future. I tried to pacify them and to dissuade from taking such an extreme step by promising that talks with Punjab (Pakistan) Chief Minister Pravez Ilahi and other leaders about their early release would bear fruit, but they have resolved to go ahead with their decision,” said Mr Bhullar in a statement here.

Mr Bhullar alleged that though 76 Indian youths were lodged in different Pakistani jails along with 476 Indian fishermen, but the issue of their early release was not discussed by Indian leaders with their Pakistani counterparts who were on a visit to India recently.


Hooch claims four lives
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 13
The Dhaliwal police has booked one Roopa Massih on the charge of selling illicit liquor that led to death of four persons of village Fojula Chak.

The police authorities said the accused used to distil hooch in his house. Yesterday four persons namely Shinda Massih, Avtar Singh, Davinder Singh and Raju consumed illicit liquor supplied by the accused. After consuming the liquor they fell ill. The victims were rushed to local quack but he could not save them and all of them died.

The post-mortem of the deceased was conducted at the primary health centre Naushera Majha Singh. The police has arrested the accused and registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC.


Seminar on diabetes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 13
The local branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) here organised a seminar on diabetes and its treatment.

As per a press note issued here yesterday, Dr Vitull Gupta, MD, stressed on the need for education and motivation of patients.

He highlighted the role of regular exercise and importance of diet in preventing diabetes and its complications, including heart diseases kidney failure and blindness.

It was unanimously resolved to nominate Dr Amrit Sethi, president, IMA, Bathinda branch, for the office of IMA state president for the year 2006-07.

It was also decided by members to approach the district administration to involve the IMA in national health programmes.


Bareta rape case
Residents question police conduct
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, December 13
Even as members of the Pinky Katal Kand Sangharsh Committee have threatened to launch an agitation in case the police failed to arrest of all accused involved in the rape and subsequently forcing Pinky to commit suicide by December 14, the police failed to make a formal arrest of Gajjan Singh Makkar, one of the main accused, despite the fact that he joined the investigations by presenting himself before the SP (D), Mr Lakhwinder Singh, today.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh said Gajjan Singh Makkar had come to him for joining the investigation and he was not arrested formally. He did not disclose whether Gajjan Singh Makkar was in police custody or not.

Pinky, whose husband Palwinder Singh was working in a rice mill at Bareta town of this district and owned by Baghirath Lal, a senior BJP leader, died mysteriously on December 1. She was allegedly raped and subsequently administered poison by the accused.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, had already ordered a magisterial probe into this case. Mr Sukhwinder Singh, ADC, had been asked to conduct the probe and submit the report within 15 days.

The members of Pinky Katal Kand Sangharsh Committee had organised gherao of the local police station many a times to lodge protest that no accused involved in that heinous crime could be arrested. They had also demanded that those police officials, who had played a partisan role in this case, should be transferred from this place immediately.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), has also held out a warning that if accused involved in this crime were not arrested by the police by December 14, when the bhog ceremony of her death would be held, his party would launch an agitation.


Baba roughed up in court complex
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 13
Baba Nand Kishor, a self- styled saint and resident of the East Mohan Nagar, was reportedly roughed up by some women, during a hearing in fraud charges against him in the district court here today.

The Baba had been booked on the charges of fraud and extorting money from innocent persons.


Kisan sabha activists stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 13
Activists of the Punjab Kisan Sabha today staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner office here. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh.

Addressing the protesters, the state vice-president of the sabha, Giani Gurdev Singh expressed concern over the depleting watertable in the state and said that 26 irrigation projects were lying incomplete in the state.

He said that the completion of these projects would facilitate irrigation of about 30 lakh acres of land. He said that about 2.5 lakh acres of land in Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur was deprived of canal water. He said that under the 10th Five-Year Plan Rs 29 crore had already been allocated for constructing a canal in this area, but the work on this project was not being carried out at the required pace. He said the water scenario in about 1,600 villages of Ropar, Patiala, and Fatehgarh Sahib districts was also grim and demanded faster completion of the Kandi dam project. He urged the state government to increase the capacity of village ponds for water harvesting. He demanded that the debts of farmers having land below 17 acre be waived and they be given loans at 4 per cent annual interest.

Comrade Surat Singh termed Rs 1.5 per quintal hike in the sugarcane price as "unfortunate" and demanded that the dues of cane farmers amounting to Rs 80 crore be paid immediately.

He asked the government to continue subsidy for the farming sector and sought the permission for selling farm produce in the neighbouring countries.

The sabha leaders demanded unconditional release of the farmers arrested during their recent agitation.


MC to recover payments from govt deparments
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 13
The local Municipal Corporation has decided to tighten the noose around those state government departments, which have over Rs 2 crore as outstandig bills for water and sewerage facilities.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Commissioner of the MC, Mr Satwant Singh Johl, said the state government departments and undertakings were not jpaying the water and sewerage bills for the past several years and it had been decided to take action against such defaulters. The water supply would be disconnected in case the departments failed to pay the outstanding bills which had touched a whopping figure of over Rs 2 crore.

Elaborating further, Mr Johl said major state government department defaulters included Market Committee (Rs 45 lakh); Police complex at Patel chowk (30 lakh); police colony at Police Lines (Rs 25 lakh); Civil Hospital (20.45 lakh); Public Health Department (19.15 lakh); Jalandhar Improvement Trust (Rs 9.45 lakh); Central Jail (7.5 lakh); Director, Sports at Kapurthala road (Rs 6.17 lakh); and ESI Hospital (Rs 5.37 lakh).

The Commissioner maintained that the MC would shortly issue final notices to the defaulters to deposit their dues. “In case, these defaulters fail to pay up, we will disconnect their water supply and sewerage facilities. I had personally discussed the issue with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, who had assured me to get the matter resolved soon,” he said, adding that special efforts would be made to ensure the recovery of the total outstanding sum of more than Rs 44 crore towards water supply bills in the city.

He also informed that a parking-cum-commercial plaza would be constructed near Jyoti Chowk to solve the parking problems of vehicle owners. “In fact, with the expiry of the stay granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to a private contractor, who is running a parking lot at the scheduled place near Jyoti Chowk, we have decided to get the land vacted from the illegal occupation of the contractor.” Mr Johl added.


MLA writes to DC on panchayat land
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 13
Kharar MLA, Bir Devinder Singh, has asked the Ropar Deputy Commissioner to see that the panchayat land in Badali village was not sold in a secret manner.

In a letter to the DC copies of which were sent to the ADC (D), Ropar, the DDPO, Ropar, the SDM and the BDPO, Kharar, the MLA said that it had come to his notice from reliable source that the panchayat land of Badali village was being sold in a clandestine manner by khewatdars/panchayat in connivance with certain influential “land sharks” who were operating to set up illegal colonies in this area.

He said these “land sharks” were also assuring the innocent khewatdars and prospective buyers that they would get the necessary orders passed by the district authorities and would also get the mutations done in the revenue records.

He asked the DC to warn all officers that their indulgence in any such act, whether advertent or inadvertent, shall be viewed very seriously. All Revenue officials of the Kharar subdivision and also of the panchayat department should be directed to act immediately and effectively to check the sale of panchayat land at throw away prices.


8 booked for misuse of funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The state Vigilance Bureau has booked a Superintendent Engineer (SE), two Executive Engineers and a Sub Divisional Officer of Patiala Municipal Corporation, besides four others on allegations of misappropriation of corporation funds.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of Punjab Vigilance Bureau said a criminal case under Section 120 B of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against SE Ashok Kumar, Executive Engineers M.S. Syal and V.K. Setia, besides SDO Sham Lal Gupta, Section Officer Subhash Chandar, Junior Engineer Ramsharan, storekeeper Balwant Singh and another.

He further added that the bureau has put up its best efforts to eradicate corruption amongst the public servants and others in every sphere of the state. During October, 2004, two gazetted officers (GO) and 16 non gazzetted officers (NGO) were caught red-handed in 17 cases.

He further revealed that during November, 2004, four GOs and nine NGOs were caught red-handed in 12 cases and nine criminal cases have been registered. He further added that 18 vigilance inquiries were ordered in which 11 GOs and seven NGOs were involved.

He added that Chief Director-cum-Additional Director-General of Police (Vigilance) A.P. Pandey also reviewed the progress reports during a crime meeting here today. It was attended by Vigilance Range Officers from all over. Deputy Inspectors-General Ishwer Chander, G.S.Sahota and N.S. Dhillon, besides Joint Directors Arpit Shukla and RPS Brar were also present.


2 arrested in minor’s rape case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 13
The Nangal police today arrested two accused allegedly involved in the rape case of a minor. The two accused, Parshotam and Punam, were produced in the court of the SDJM, Mr R.K. Kaundal, at Anandpur Sahib, who remanded them in police custody till December 16.

The minor girl, who hails from Nangal, in her statement to the police had alleged that she was raped by Parsotham with the connivance of her relative, Poonam. The minor was claimed to be seven-month pregnant.


1 held in shop allotment controversy
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, December 13
The ongoing controversy over the allotment of shops of Dr Shyama Parsad Mukherjee Shopping Complex (DSPMSC) here today took a new turn when the police arrested Maninder Singh Lucky, kin of one of the allottees, Avtar Singh, under Sections 420, 465, 467, 471 of the IPC for tampering with the records pertaining to some inquiry ordered by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Gurdaspur.

According to the police, Avtar Singh on September 3, 2003, had filed a complaint and requested for an inquiry to be conducted regarding the allotment of shops of DSPMSC, constructed by the Pathankot Improvement Trust. It was alleged that the ADC had never ordered the Executive Officer, Pathankot Improvement Trust, to carry out the inquiry but the orders of the ADC were allegedly tampered by the accused. The police said the inquiry was marked to the Pathankot SDM.

The arrest of Maninder Singh Lucky was criticised by the district BJP President, Mr Ashok Prashar.


Bid to grab land
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 13
Mr Deepak Kumar, a resident of Madhopur village, in a complaint to police, has alleged that Jai Singh, his three sons, Tajinder Singh, Baljinder Singh, Narinder Singh and Prem Pal Singh and some others of the same locality have been threatening his family members.

In his complaint to the SSP, Mr Deepak Kumar said that the said persons had made an attempt to grab his land and they had attacked him and his family last night. The land was a disputed one and a court case was pending.

Mr Deepak Kumar also alleged that Jai Singh and others were being shielded by some political person.

Meanwhile, Mr Jai Singh said that Deepak Kumar and his father Mangat Ram had tried to sell the piece of disputed land to a third person. “Since a part of the land was under his ownership so we asked them not to make any deal before the court case was solved. Following which Mangat Ram and family members objected and lodged a complaint against us at Dera Bassi police station,” claimed Jai Singh.


One dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 13
One person was killed when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Jandpur village. According to the police, the deceased, Rajinder Singh, was returning from his reletive’s place, along with his father, when the accident took place.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304A of the IPC in this regard.


Adolescent girls to be counselled
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 13
Under a special project, girl students of high and senior secondary schools will be provided in connection with problems related to adolescence.
This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said the project, which was first of its kind in the country, would be started in 31 government schools failing under the Gharuan block. 

The schools would be allocated to doctors who would provide guidance to students. He said under the project an almirah, cotton, sanitary napkins, medicines would be stocked for use when needed. A committee of women teachers would be formed in each school to help the girl students with their problems. He said Quark would provide the almirahs while Ranbaxy would provide medicines, cotton and sanitary napkins.

The MLA said the project would kick off on January 7 when an interactive session of teachers and doctors would be held. At a later stage, efforts would be made to seek WHO grant to sustain the project on a continuous basis.

He said efforts were being made to provide two machines for dialysis at the local Civil Hospital. He said a number of persons were facing problems of kidney failure and the treatment at private hospitals was expensive.

NRIs from the area had offered help in this regard. A public welfare trust would be set up., involving NRIs, so that a proper account of donations could be maintained. The amount involved in this project was about Rs 20 lakh. He said the MD of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation would be requested to arrange equipment.

The MLA inaugurated the maternity ward today after its renovation. He said the area used to stink. But now beds had been repaired, mattresses sheets had been changed and an exhaust fan provided. Immunisation charts and those relating to the benefits of breast feeding had been displayed.


Dropout rate up as students fail to get stipend
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 13
Accusing the Congress-led state government of failing to watch the interests of Dalits and Backward Classes, the Dalit Jabar Virodhi Front and the Bahujan Samaj Morcha today alleged that school dropout rate of Dalit and BC students was going up because of the failure of the state government to release monthly stipend meant for students of these communities for the past over two years.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Satnam Kainth, president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha and convener of the Dalit Jabar Virodhi Front, Mr Jasbir Singh Pal, president of the Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees Welfare Federation, Punjab, Mr Malagar Singh, president of the SC/BC Teachers Union, Punjab, and Mr Daler Singh, president of SC/BC Federation, Punjab, alleged that the state government was not watching the interests of Dalits and Backward Classes. “Proof of this fact is the government’s failure to implement the 85th amendment of the Constitution and non-release the money for stipend meant for disbursal among poor SC and BC students. While the amendment has been implemented by 22 other states of the country, Punjab has done nothing despite the fact that it could benefit about 50,000 SC and BC employees as far as their promotion is concerned,” said the front and morcha leaders.

Mr Kainth alleged that the school dropout rate of SC and BC students was going up because of the failure of the state government to release funds for stipend. “There are a large number of poor families which cannot afford to send their wards to school without some sort of financial help and these scholarships, though very meagre, meant a lot to them. But in the absence of these the poor had no choice but to keep their children at home,” said Mr Kainth.

He further said the benefit of promotion in accordance with the provisions of the 85th amendment was the “constitutional right” of Dalits, but, this right was not being passed on to SC and BC candidates, which showed the discriminatory policy of the government towards the members of these communities. “We will have no option but to launch a statewide struggle after the session of Vidhan Sabha was over,” said Mr Kainth.

Mr Kainth also demanded punishment for teachers of a Phagwara school, where a Dalit girl student was allegedly “humiliated” by an upper caste teacher in October this year.


Special education scheme to be launched shortly
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 13
To provide quality education in the government run schools of this district, which is considered as educationally backward area, a special scheme would be launched by the district administration shortly.

While disclosing this in a meeting of district development committee, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, said that talks for launching a special scheme for education were going on with the state government. He said that this scheme came to light when the district administration started receiving complaints from the panchayats about the acute shortage of teachers, which was having an adverse effect on education.

He said that both district education officers (Secondary and Elementary) had been directed to collect details pertaining to the number of sanctioned posts, number of posts of teachers lying vacant, number of students who had been attending the schools and number of students, who were on rolls in each school within four days.

Apart from it, they had been directed to collect details pertaining to the number of students belonging to general category and scheduled caste category, the plight of school buildings and infrastructure and other shortcomings. Not only this, Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, ADC (Development) had been asked to physically verify all the details pertaining to the number of students and teachers in those schools which were situated close to the towns.

Mr Sinha said that district administration had also been collecting information in connection with those students who were suffering from some diseases and were handicapped by sending medical teams to the schools. The handicapped students would be given tri-cycles and artificial limbs as per the merit of individual cases.

In an other significant step, he said the Revenue Department had almost prepared a big map pertaining to the revenue record of Bathinda city and when it is put into use, there would be no problem of earmarking any piece of land, road and other things.

He added that for the convenience of the people, a local bus service would be started in the city shortly and bus shelters were being constructed at various places.


Students to stage dharna at campus gate
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 13
The Punjabi University Students Confederation (PUSC) has threatened to intensify its agitation if its long-pending demands are not met immediately.

In a press release, the PUSC has said that a “massive dharna” will be held at the main gate of the campus on December 15, where they would also discuss the course of the agitation.

Among their demands are the withdrawal of criminal cases against 11 PUSC members, reinstatement of four students who were expelled from the campus, hostel for research scholars and end to the “victimisation” of staff by the authorities.

The press note, signed by Gurnam Singh Virk, co-ordinator of PUSC, Gurpal Dhaliwal of the Students Federation of India and Sukhjit Chahal of Punjabi University Students for Harmony, also condemned the cartons of whisky being found in Waris Bhavan, where delegates stayed during the World Punjabi Conference and the Indo-Pak Punjab Games.

They alleged top functionaries of the university were involved in this and said the Vice-Chancellor, could not blame the students since all of them had been sent away on leave during the games. The students leaders claimed that all hostels had been vacated well before the Punjabi Conference.

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