P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Patna Sahib, Hazoor Sahib to violate
Nanakshahi calendar
To celebrate Gurpurb as per Bikrami calendar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4
While the SGPC would celebrate birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh tomorrow (January 5) as per Nanakshahi calendar, Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib would commemorate it on January 16 as per traditional Bikrami Calendar.

The decision by Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib is in gross violation of the Nanakshahi calendar, which was approved by Akal Takht and implemented by the SGPC. Before the advent of the Nanakshahi calendar, Sikh Panth used to celebrate its Gurpurb festivals as per the lunar calendar.

Both Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib are related with Guru Gobind Singh. While Patna Sahib is his birth place, the Guru spent his last days at Hazoor Sahib.

A section of Sant Samaj would also celebrate this gurpurb on January 16.

Talking to TNS on telephone, Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib said that the celebrations for birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh would be held for three days, starting from January 14 onwards. A big religious procession would be started from Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib on the eve of gurpurb. He said he had talked to Giani Kulwant Singh and Giani Rattan Singh, Jathedar and Deputy Jathedar respectively of Patna Sahib, who also endorsed the views of Takht Patna Sahib to celebrate the gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh.

However, Jathedar Patna Sahib expressed hope that Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht and Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, would visit Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib soon to sort out the matter. He said that a way out would be found to celebrate the Sikh purbs on common days.


Allowances of Ranjit Sagar Dam staff withdrawn
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 4
Workers of Ranjit Sagar Dam will get reduced salaries this month. The Department of Finance, Punjab, has ordered the local treasury not to pay project and field allowance to the employees of Ranjit Sagar Dam along with the salary for December.

Highly placed sources in the Department of Finance told The Tribune that the allowances had been stopped as per the decision taken by a committee headed by the Punjab Chief Secretary after completion of the project. The committee had decided that the said allowances of the dam employees would be stopped now that the construction of the project had been completed.

Somehow the allowances continued to be paid to the employees despite objections from the office of Comptroller and Auditor General. However, the Department of Finance has now ordered the compliance of the decision of the committee headed by the Chief Secretary.

The stoppage of the project and field allowances of the dam employees would result in reduction in salaries of more than 12000 employees posted here. The impact of reduction on each employee would range from Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 per month. At present the salary bill of the Ranjit Sagar and Shahpur Dam projects is about Rs 10 crore per month. If the allowances are stopped the government will be able to save more than Rs 1 crore per month.

However, the employees of the project are up in arms against the Finance Department decision. They have refused to accept the reduced salaries. They gheraoed the local treasury at Juggial today to protest against the stoppage of their allowances.

The employee leaders alleged that there were no written orders regarding the stoppage of their allowances. The local treasury officer was just telling them to get their salary bills revised deleting the said allowance. The salary bills would be cleared only after reduction of the said allowances. A memorandum has also been given the local minister Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, according to employee leaders.

However, a senior officer in the Department of Finance said since the old orders of Chief Secretary had been implemented in the case of dam employees there was no need to issue fresh orders. The dam employees cannot be given allowances and the decision to withdraw was taken long back by the government.

However, officials of the PSEB deputed at the dam alleged that the Department of Finance had no right to reduce their allowances. They were employees of the board and legally only the board was competent to reduce their allowance.


Take care while donating to PM's Relief Fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
As people are opening their hearts as well as purse strings out of sheer generosity for the tsunami victims, certain facts need to be checked before donors hand out cheques or bank drafts.

These include in whose name is the donation being made and is it being rightly directed, says local Income Tax authorities.

The cheques or bank drafts should be made out in the name of the " Prime Minister's National Relief Fund " and a proper acknowledgement should be obtained for it to qualify for the 100 per cent income tax rebate under section 80-G of the Income Tax Act. Also the donors should write their names and address on the back of the cheques.

Local income tax authorities clarified that only those donations made to the PM relief fund qualified under the law for full deduction of the same amount from the income. So in case a donor gives Rs 5,000 the sum is reduced from the income. IT officials said organisations deducting salary could send in the entire sum in one go to the PM relief fund and append the list of employees and the sum donated for each of them.

The acknowledgment has to before the entire list and the employees whose names are on the list can subsequently claim the benefit while filing their Income Tax returns.

In case a donor is making a cheque for anybody other than the Prime Minister's Relief Fund then the donor must check if the organisation has exemption letter issued by the Commissioner of Income Tax. The said organisation must be able to produce the letter and quote its date of issue and letter number for ready reference.

Also full income tax exemptions will not apply for all such cheques.


Team of doctors to leave for Tamil Nadu today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 4
A 25-member team of medical doctors of the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research will leave for the tsunami-hit areas of the country on January 5.

In a press note issued here today Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Director and Principal of the institute, said that Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur would flag off the team along with 100 trucks loaded with relief material.

The medicines have been procured from the donation of Rs 5 crore made by the family of a NRI, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra.

Dr Dhaliwal said that SGPC had made all the arrangements after contacting the Tamil Nadu Government.

Meanwhile, the staff members of the institute donated Rs 2.50 lakh for the rehabilitation of victims of the tsunami tragedy.


Tributes paid to Sqd Ldr, family
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 4
Tributes were paid to Sqd Ldr Nirmal Singh, his wife, Jasmine Kaur and two children, Kirandeep Kaur (7) and Harmandeep (4), who died when tsunami hit them at Car Nicobar, at their bhog ceremony held at Rajpura today.

The body of Kirandeep Kaur was found on December 26 while the bodies of other family members were found later.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, Deputy Commissioner Tejbir Singh, Prem Singh Chandumajra, president SAD (Longowal), and Kirpal Singh Badungar, former president of the SGPC, were present on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Randhawa said a statue of Nirmal Singh will be installed at Tahliwala Chowk, and that the name of the school at his village, Suhron, will also be renamed after him.


Pensioners to hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 4
Members of the local unit of All-Department Pensioners Association will told a meeting here on January 6 to take a decision on the contribution to be made for the relief of the tsunami victims.

The convener of the unit, Mr Hardeep Singh, said today that the meeting would be held at 10 am at Ram Bhavan, near the Dasehra ground.


Killer roads-2
Buses number one killer vehicles
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Buses, private or of state-owned public sector undertakings, remain number one killer vehicles on roads in Punjab. They are followed by trucks, mini trucks and a new breed of 10-seater vehicles, including jeeps, Sumos and Qualis.

Yesterday’s tragic mishap apart in which 15 people, including 14 girls, were killed in a head-on collision between a mini bus and a private bus, another such tragic accident had taken place in Zira on July 4 last year in which 16 pilgrims had died and 12 others were injured after a mini bus carrying them dashed against a tree.

On November 24 last year two buses of Jammu & Kashmir Transport Undertaking collided at the Pathankot bypass leaving five dead and 33 others injured. In yet another accident on June 25 at Beas, all four occupants of a car were killed after they were run over by a private bus.

In a gory accident on June 21, a PRTC bus ran over a crowd of witnesses to a road accident at Zira to leave three dead and eight others injured.

In fact, in 2003, the first major accident was on January 4 when a Punjab Roadways bus hit a jeep leading to the death of three persons, besides injuring six others. In another such accident on February 23, a Punjab Roadways bus hit a tree in Nawanshahr killing six passengers. Nineteen other passengers were injured.

Interestingly, buses hitting trees, presumably after failure of breaks, are the single largest cause of major accidents. It happened in Zira, in Morinda, in Nawanshahr and at a number of other places.

Besides buses, trucks, oil tankers, jeeps and multi-passenger motor vehicles are other major killer vehicles on roads.

In all these cases of commercial vehicles, the major contributory cause has been long hours at wheels. In most of cases, drivers of vehicles responsible for the mishap had been at the wheel for much beyond than the prescribed duty hours.

But in case of buses belonging to state-owned undertakings, this may not be the reason. Poor upkeep and maintenance has always been the main reason leading to heavy loss of human life. Human failure may be an additional factor.

Careful analysis of all major road accidents in Punjab during 2003 and 2004 reveal that at least 15 to 20 per cent deaths were caused by buses, both belonging to state-owned transport undertakings or private sector. The killer buses include both regular and mini buses. The only saving grace has been that except for a couple of cases, no buses carrying schoolchildren were involved in major mishaps.

— To be concluded


Kidnapped boy returns after 9 years
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 4
It was a rare and happy occasion for which Ms Satinder Kaur, a widow of Lohara village, has been wishing for the past nine years as she got reunited with her kidnapped son after nine years by the district police authorities today.

Though after her two-and-half-year-old son was allegedly kidnapped by some unidentified persons, Ms Satinder Kaur kept on facing repeated problems in her life. In 1997 her husband, Pritam Singh, died, as he could not bear the shock connected with the kidnapping of his son.

Mr L. K. Yadav, SSP, Muktsar, while addressing a press conference here today said that kidnapped child Gagandeep, who has turned 11 now, had been formally handed over to his widowed mother after establishing the fact beyond doubt that he (Gagandeep) was the son of Ms Satinder Kaur. He added that still the DNA test of the boy would be conducted to make sure that the kidnapped boy was the son of Ms Satinder Kaur.

He pointed out that during investigations, a police team of Muktsar district had come to know about all the happenings, which occurred to Gagandeep from 1998 to 2005. The police team was still making efforts to know about the fact that how Gagandeep was kidnapped and what happened to him from the day of his kidnapping.

He said that during investigation it came to light that the boy remained in Loon Karan Sar town of Bikaner district of Rajasthan for many years with different people. One person identified as Dar Vijay Pandey, who hailed from UP and residing in Bathinda town now and whose seven-year-old son was reported missing in 2002, managed to get the custody of the child by making the Rajasthan police believe that Gagandeep was his real son. Dar Vijay Pandey then brought the boy to Bathinda town.

He said that after getting the custody of Gagandeep, Dar Vijay Pandey arranged employment for Gagandeep at a eatable kiosk, while he (Dar Vijay Pandey) had been arranging regular education for his other children. Dar Vijay Pandey used to harass Gagandeep also. Gagandeep, who had developed friendly relations with the sons of his employer had also told them that Dar Vijay Pandey was not his real father.

He said that one day when Gagandeep suffered some injuries after he fell while working he was admitted to the Civil Hospital by Suraksha Helpline, Bathinda. When the boy was under treatment, the Muktsar police got information and started making investigation into the case. During investigation, it was found that Dar Vijay Pandey was not the father of Gagandeep and succeeded in establishing that Gagandeep was the boy who was kidnapped from Lohara village in 1995.

Mr Yadav said that Dar Vijay Pandey had also been taken in custody and he was being questioned that why he had taken the custody of the child by making a false claim. He added it was also being verified that whether Dar Vijay Pandey was having any role in the kidnapping of Gagandeep or not.


Registration of complaints made easy for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, January 4
For NRIs coming back to India and contacting the police for lodging complaints would not be necessary now as the Nawanshahr police has made arrangements for online registration of complaints of NRIs hailing from this district.

After proper verification of such complaints, the FIRs would be registered.

The police has claimed that it is for the first time in Punjab that the facility of registration of complaints online has been extended to the NRIs. All they would have to do is to log on the website www.nsrpolice.org to the complaint’s section and lodge the complaint online.

The website was launched by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at Government Senior Secondary School at Pharala village of the district today. Their suggestions would also be welcomed by the police through its website. Earlier, the NRIs had to rush back home in case of land disputes and other complaints, but now this need has been eliminated.

“It is a unique and people-friendly feature of our website and we hope this will address many problems of the NRIs of this district. Besides, we have also introduced a lot of features which would against the NRIs and common people about the varied aspects of law and police functioning,” said Mr M.F. Farooqui, SSP. “Suppose somebody wants to know whether some offence is cognizable or not or wants other information, it all has been included in the venture,” he said.

The Chief Minister discussed different aspects of law and order and problems being faced by police officials with senior officers, including Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, and Mr P.S. Sarao, DIG (Jalandhar).

He promised that the government would acquire land for the construction of a district police office, the Police Lines and for the houses of gazetted police officers, a senior officer said.


12-year-old caught hunting wild animals
Jupinderjit Singh and Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, January 4
At the age of 12, children usually run away at the sight of animals, especially wild animals. But meet Ram Dass, a resident of Jahara Hazur village in Hoshiarpur district who has become the youngest hunter in the records of the state Wild Life Department after being caught hunting wild animals, including a jackal, in a forest near Prangna village yesterday.

The minor boy was sent to the juvenile jail here by a city court and an injured jackal recovered from his possession was today ordered to be shifted to Chhat Bir Zoo, Chandigarh, by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sarbhjit Singh Dhaliwal.

The boy, showing amazing ingenuity, had devised iron traps himself and roamed the forest alone in search of animals.

Besides the injured jackal, the officials have recovered a wild cat, a civet and a hare from his possession. The accused was carrying the dead and injured animals on his cycle.

The officials said they had never imagined even in their dreams that somebody can be so efficient in hunting at such an age. The boy used to place the iron traps at strategic places in the forest and when an animal was trapped he used to kill it.

In his statement to the officials, the boy stated that he used to kill the animals for consuming their meat and to sell some body parts.

Mr Gunraj Singh, Honorary Wild Life Warden, Hoshiarpur, told The Tribune that the boy belonged to a particular tribe who still ate meat of wild animals.

He said the killing of civet and jungle cat was banned under the Schedule-II of the Wild Life Act, 1972.

The boy was spotted by some residents of Prangna village, who informed the police which referred the case to the Wild Life Department.

A joint team of the police and the Wild Life Department laid a trap to catch the boy and managed to arrest him with the help of villagers.


SAD to have poll pact with INLD in Haryana: Badal
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 4
The former Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has announced that the Akali Dal will have an alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal in the Assembly elections in Haryana and the decision will not effect the national-level cordial relations between the Akali Dal and the BJP.

Talking to mediapersons at Kherra village in Phillaur subdivision yesterday, Mr Badal said, he had tried to bring the BJP and the INLD on one platform, but did not succeed. He said, he wanted a strong BJP-INLD-SAD alliance in Haryana.

When asked about division in the Damdami Taksal, Mr Badal said, it would have affect on Akali politics in the state.

On the Nehra Commission report involving the son of Captain Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal said, the case would be filed soon.


4 girls hurt in mishap discharged
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib/Morinda, January 4
Doctors today discharged the four injured admitted to the Civil Hospital, Morinda, yesterday after they sustained serious injuries in a major accident in Fatehgarh Sahib. The four include Reena from of Ludhiana, Sarbjit Kaur and Jasbir Kaur from Nandpur in Fatehgarh Sahib district and Ram Darbar, Chandigarh, respectively.

Meanwhile, the nine girls, who were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, were said to be out of danger. As the condition of the girls, who belong to Wazidpur village in Fatehgarh Sahib district, improved today, they were shifted from the emergency ward to other wards for treatment.

Fifteen persons, including 14 girls and a bus driver, were killed while 35 persons sustained injuries in a head-on collision between two private buses in Fatehgarh Sahib yesterday.

The DSP, Khamano (Fatehgarh Sahib), Mr Balwant Singh, who is investigating the case, said that the mini bus owner had the permit to the vehicle on the route while Libra private bus owner failed to show permit. The owner was asked to submit the permit of the bus before Wednesday. He said the mini bus had the capacity to carry 20 girls only but when the accident took place yesterday there were 27 girls in the bus.

The officials of Malwa Thread, Macchhiwara, also met the families of the victims who hail from four villages of Fatehgarh Sahib and assured them that the company would pay for the treatment of injured persons.

“The girls who had been employed in the thread factory were getting Rs 400 during the three-month training period and after the completion of the training, they were promised Rs 800 per month” said 17-year-old Sunita of Kalaur village in Fatehgarh Sahib. Sunita was saved as she did not board the mini bus for the factory yesterday as she was not well.

“I have two brothers and two sisters. It was difficult for my father to run the family alone. Therefore, I joined the factory on December 7 last year to support my family” she added.


Showrooms come up in residential area
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 4
Three showrooms are being constructed in house number 67 of Bank Colony here without getting the plans of these passed from the Municipal Corporation.

These are being constructed without dismantling the boundary wall of the house. Besides the showrooms a concrete staircase has also been constructed to facilitate the construction of more shops on the first floor.

The showrooms have been built in an old building after dismantling it partially. Plaster work on these is under way.

Mayor Vishnu Sharma said he had been informed about the construction of the showrooms around a week ago and he had written to Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu to take action in the matter. He said he had received a report today from the Commissioner stating that a notice was being issued to the owners of the house. He said construction work at the site would be stopped.

Meanwhile, a visit to the site today revealed that the construction was still going on. Neighbours said even they were surprised that someone would attempt to make showrooms in a residential area and that the corporation would wait so long before for an action in this regard.

They said the showrooms had been built as the lane on which the house was situated was very close to the market of Railway Crossing Number 22.

“We think the action against the owner of the house has been delayed deliberately to help him take stay for the construction”, they added.

According to the Mayor notices have been issued to few more persons who are carrying out constructions without the MC permission. Mr Sharma said steps would be taken to make corporation officials personally responsible in case they showed laxity in spotting illegal constructions in time. 


Mann against extension to Virk
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 4
SAD (A) president and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann today opposed Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s move to get the stay of ADGP S.S. Virk in Punjab extended for eventually elevating him to the post of Director-General of Police, Punjab as well as the suggestion to shift the venue of the proposed Defence University from Anandpur Sahib to Kapurthala.

Commenting on a report in The Tribune, Mr Mann asked Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil to reject the proposal of Capt Amarinder Singh for extending the deputation of Mr Virk in Punjab. Mr Virk had suppressed Sikhs in the name of terrorism, violated the human rights and as such he was not acceptable to the Sikhs as DGP, asserted Mr Mann while talking to this correspondent.

Mr Mann reminded Mr Patil and Capt Amarinder Singh that what they were dubbing terrorism was the fight of Sikhs for a noble cause. Earlier, the Sikh population had dwindled by 6.4 per cent owing to the carnage of Sikhs in the name of terrorism and now retention and proposed elevation of Mr Virk as DGP would send signals that the Congress again wanted to suppress Sikhs, he said.

He also opposed the plea of the Chief Minister to the Prime Minister for shifting the venue of the proposed defence university from Anandpur Sahib to Kapurthala. He reminded Dr Manmohan Singh that as an MP he was signatory to a letter written to the then Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for setting up a defence university at Anandpur Sahib. Even Mrs Preneet Kaur had signed that letter as an MP then, claimed Mr Mann.

On the issue of Damdami Taksal, Mr Mann regretted that both the factions had adopted wrong path and shown indiscretion by inviting SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur to attend the function. Damdami Taksal was the fountainhead of ideals of the Sikhs, he said. Who would steer clear the Sikh doctrine if both the factions had invited a “kudimar” (killer of daughter) to their installation functions? asked Mr Mann.

On the controversy triggered by the denial of siropa by the SGPC, Akal Takht, from the Golden Temple or information office of the SGPC to Baba Dhumma, Mr Mann reiterated his party’s stand that the practice of presenting siropas should be discontinued as it militated against Sikh principle of egalitarianism.


Follow Guru’s teachings: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today extended warm greetings to the Punjabis on the occasion of Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday — the Tenth Sikh Guru. He exhorted them to follow the noble teachings of the great spiritual ambassador.

In a message on the auspicious occasion’s eve, the Chief Minister said Guru Gobind Singh preached and practised the gospels of love, oneness of mankind and universal brotherhood throughout his life.

The Chief Minister said the creation of the Khalsa by the great Guru in 1699 had universal significance.

He asked the people to unitedly strive hard for carving out a healthy and harmonious society by following the precious legacy of the Guru and celebrate this occasion rising above petty considerations of caste, creed and religion.


Dalits burn effigy of DSP
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 4
A Dalit procession led by Mr Ram Lal, former BJP legislator from Narote Mehra, today raised anti-police slogans and burn the effigies of DSP (Rural) and the SHO, Sadar police station, and decried police inaction in not arresting the accused allegedly involved in a murder case.

The trouble started on December 3 last year at Kothi Pandtan village when the badly mutilated body of Ashwani Kumar, a newly married Dalit, was brought in an autorickshaw.

The body of Ashwani was brought to the local Civil Hospital and after autopsy it was handed over to the kin of the deceased. The widow of the deceased, Pooja, claimed that she reported the matter to the police regarding the murder of her husband in time but the police did not register the case against the five accused.

However, the police registered a case against Raghubir Chand, Kuldeep Kumar, Gahti, Sheera and Pawan Kumar on December 19 under Sections 304, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

Today the protesters raised slogans against the erring police officials and demanded immediate arrest of the accused allegedly involved in the murder of Ashwani.

Mr Ram Lal, while addressing the gathering in the SDM court complex, alleged that the police was trying to hush up the murder due to political influence and a political leader of the area had offered Rs 2,50,000 to the widow of the deceased for not pressing the case.

When contacted, DSP (Rural) Mohinder Singh said the allegations levelled were false.


ADGP to probe Dalits’ humiliation
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
In less than 24 hours after the plight of three Dalits allegedly forced to taste urine and insult from the slippers of upper caste members was brought to the fore, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission today ordered a probe into the incident.

Pronouncing the directions on an application forwarded by the alleged victims for action against the erring officials, commission Chairman Justice N.C. Jain directed Additional Director-General of Police (Crime) to look into the incident and submit his report. Justice Jain also directed the ADGP to "ensure through a responsible officer that no harassment was caused to the complainants".

In his detailed order, Justice Jain ruled: "It has been alleged that the Station House Officer, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the Superintendent of Police

and the Senior Superintendent of Police have not taken any action on the complaint. In view of the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, the ADGP (Crime) is asked to give his report to the commission at least three days before February 8 — the next date of hearing".

The three were allegedly humiliated following an innocent quarrel between their relatives' sons and the ward of an upper caste member during a cricket match. They were also "tortured after being detained in a police post, along with two more relatives", following their refusal to apologise to the aggressors.

The "victims" had claimed that the matter was brought to the notice of "higher authorities". But action was not initiated as an MLA was allegedly safeguarding the interests of the aggressors.

Giving details of the incident, the three — Bittu Singh, Gurbaksh Singh and Piara Singh — had claimed that the aggressors were nursing a grudge against them. The reason, they added, was that their relative Jangir Singh's son Nanak Singh had quarreled with classmate Amarjit Singh, belonging to the upper caste members. The fight had taken place during a cricket match on November 22.

A few days after the quarrel, a mob belonging to the upper caste had surrounded them, along with another relative Balwinder Singh, while they were going to the local bus station in Patrawala village in Fazilka district.

Balwinder Singh had manage to escape, but the three were taken to the residence of the sarpanch belonging to same caste. After liquor was allegedly forced down their throats, the three were forced to drink urine. As if that was not enough, the police was called in.

Presenting their case before the media, BJP leaders Vijay Sampla and Vineet Joshi had added that another relative — former panchayat member Malkiat Singh — and Balwinder Singh were also taken to the police chowki, along with Nanak Singh's father Jangir Singh.

Malkiat Singh and Jangir Singh were, subsequently, released, but were asked to bring Nanak Singh and yet another relative Kulwant Singh to the police post. He added that the detainees, taken to the police station on November 28, remained in custody till December 7.


Power projects approved to overcome shortfall
Our Correspondent and PTI

Jalandhar, January 4
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said the Punjab Government has given approval for the 500 MW Lehra Mohabbat Phase V and 166 MW Shahpur Kandi power projects in order to overcome the shortfall and meet the growing electricity demand in the state.

In his address on the occasion of the death anniversary commemoration of former Punjab minister Choudhary Jagat Ram at his native Soondh village, he said the commissioning of these power projects would help overcome the shortfall of power.

He said the government was making efforts, including the purchase of power from outside, to ensure regular supply to domestic, industrial and agriculture consumers.

He announced a sum of Rs 20 lakh for the Banga Municipal Council and promised to set up an industrial unit in the area so that employment opportunities could be developed.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, criticised Akalis of “demolishing” the economic structure of the state during its tenure.

Chaudhary Santokh Singh, former minister, said the government should take care of the welfare of Dalits, which constituted 30 per cent of the total population.


Jaito victim of govt apathy
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaito, January 4
Neglected seems the apt word to describe the state of affairs in this township. While the town’s Rs 1.5-crore Civil Hospital is running with a single doctor, half of its population doesn’t have access to proper drinking water.

According to sources, the health services at Seth Ram Nath Civil Hospital, which was built by the Punjab Health System Corporation a few years ago, have virtually collapsed with a single doctor, a dentist, offering his services in a town of 45,000 persons.

The hospital also caters to over 30 villages of the subdivision. The post of Senior Medical Officer is vacant here. No emergency services are available at the hospital, which is costing dear to accident victims. Sources said the life of a child hurt in an accident could have been saved last week if he had received timely treatment at the hospital.

Ironically, while many government hospital lack infrastructure, this one has a nice building, indoor, operation theatre, and an x-ray room. But, the hospital has not got enough staff to utilise its resources to the optimum. Sources said no patient had been admitted to the hospital in the past few months and its indoor was on the verge of being locked. Most patients coming to the hospital these days are the ones with dental ailments while the rest have no option but to approach private practitioners.

Besides, half of the town’s population residing beyond the Muktsar railway gate was being supplied drinking water from a water tank at Nehru Park. Sources said the pipeline originating from this water tank, which received water from a borewell, was leaking and a pool of water had come up near the bus stand. According to sources, the bus stand didn’t have any toilet facilities, forcing the people to urinate around this pool, which leads to contamination of water. When the water supply is off, the contaminated water of this pool seeps into the pipeline and gets mixed with the water supply later.

The town had witnessed a diarrhoea outbreak in May-June last year. Prior to it, the Deputy Commissioner had issued orders stopping water supply from the Nehru Park tank following reports of high fluoride and selenium content in it but when people facing a water crisis took to the streets in the summer the MC resumed water supply from the tank, saying that its water samples had been found fit for consumption.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said though there was a shortage of medical staff in the whole district, he would discuss the matter with the CMO.


Braille day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 4
To commemorate the 195th birth anniversary of Louis Braille, founder of the Braille language for the blind, Braille day was celebrated at the Institute for the blind here today.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The students presented a cultural programme, including chanting of Geeta shaloks, flute recital, ghazal and orchestra. Mr Sidhu sanctioned Rs 4 lakh for the institute and presented two Braille computers to the students.


Cold wave claims life
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 4
The cold wave, which has been sweeping this region, claimed one human life in this town during the past 24 hours.

Information revealed that an unidentified man, who had fallen ill due to severe cold, was lying in one of the passenger trains at the local railway station. Though he was shifted to the Civil Hospital by volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa for treatment, he died after a few hours.

The other victim of the cold wave was found in bad shape near Balluana railway station and was shifted to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital.

The third victim of cold wave was found lying unconsciousness at Sirki bazaar. He was also shifted to the Civil Hospital for treatment.


Campaign to provide free artificial limbs
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 4
A campaign has been launched under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan scheme by the Social Security Department of the state, in collaboration with the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corp of India( ALIMCO), to identify and provide free artificial limbs to children between three to14 years of age.

Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today launched the scheme by inaugurating a camp at the ITI grounds in Bassi Pathana town. Parents and guardians of many physically challenged children took part in the camp.

Doctors from the Civil Hospital, accompanied by the officials of the Social Security Department, ALIMCO, teachers and social workers assisted in the paper works and the technicalities aspects.

Mr Ahluwalia said under the scheme, Mr R.L.Kalsia, Secretary, Social Security Department, has assigned a scheme under which the children between the age group of three to 14 years would be identified by organising camps in every district.

He urged the social organisations to come forward for this noble cause and disseminate this information so that maximum number of physically challenged children could derive benefit from the scheme.

He said the limbs would be provided free of cost by the ALIMCO.


Road Safety Week launched
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 4
The District Transport Department in collaboration with the district administration and the police has launched traffic awareness-cum-road safety week programme in the district to meet the challenges of increasing accidents.

The law enforcing agencies cannot control the mishaps at their own, rather everybody had to take responsibility and had to obey the traffic rules at his own, said the Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Road Safety Week at Market Committee, Bassi Pathana, today. The function was organised by the Truck Union, Bassi Pathana.

The Deputy Commissioner said he would urge the SSP to start a separate educative wing of traffic police, which would visit the schools, colleges, truck unions and transporters offices to educate them about the traffic rules. He appreciated the efforts of the District Transport Department in organising such camps, seminars and driving licenses camps.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Mukand Singh Sandhu, DTO, said whenever any driver takes on the road he had great responsibility because a small mistake could affect various precious lives.

He said that traffic awareness camps were being organised at the subdivision and block levels also with the help of social organisations where the people would be educated about the traffic rules.


High Court
Chahal's claim gives new twist to the contempt
of court case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 4
Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister, today claimed that the letter purportedly written by Sports Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh concerning the controversial selections of DSPs by the government has not reached the office of the Chief Minister till date.

The letter dated May 28, 2004 had been produced in the court during hearing in the petitions challenging irregularities in selection of DSPs under sports quota. In that letter, Mr Kang had claimed that Mr Chahal stopped Sports Department officials from submitting the Sports Department file regarding the selections from being produced in the court. Mr Chahal, the letter said, also threatened the then Joint Secretary (Sports) D.S. Laungia of dire consequences if he submitted the file.

The file was reportedly taken from Mr Laungia by the then Senior Additional Advocate General B.B.S. Sobti and was never submitted to the court. Mr Kang had also told the Chief Minister that by doing so, Mr Chahal was not only interfering in the Department of Sports (where he had no locus standi) but also interfering with the administration of justice.

However, the claim of Mr Chahal that the letter never reached the office of the Chief Minister, has given a new twist to the hearing of the contempt of court proceedings against Mr Chahal. Mr Chahal has wondered how a letter that was meant for the Chief Minister reached counsel for one of the petitioners even though it never reached the office of the Chief Minister.

In an affidavit filed today, Mr Chahal also pointed out that the affidavit submitted by Mr Laungia in the court on November 28, 2004 also did not say anything about Mr Laungia having talked to Mr Chahal.

One of the major issues that cropped up during the sudden missing of the Sports Department file was the alleged threat made to Mr Laungia by Mr Chahal. But, now Mr Chahal's counsel claimed that since Mr Laungia has himself stated that he did not talk to him, either in person or on phone, there can be no charge against him and he should be discharged.

During hearing, the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy appointed advocate Anupam Gupta as amicus to assist the court in framing charges in the matter.

The case was later adjourned to January 14.

PIL hearing

The High Court on Tuesday asked the UT Administration to tell it if reports saying that the Administration suffered a loss of Rs 139 crore due to irregular allotment of a prime piece of land to the Chandigarh Law Institute are correct.

During resumed hearing in the PIL challenging the allotment of land to the Institute of opening a law college, the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy directed the UT to present the audit report, if any, that has been quoted in reports.

Counsel for the petitioner told the Bench that he could satisfy the court on the issue of locus standi of the petitioner in filing the PIL.

However, the Bench said that the issue of locus standi would also be taken up on the next hearing.

The case was later adjourned to January 10.

Notice issued

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice of motion to the Punjab Government and the Central Bureau of Investigation on a petition seeking registration of case and proper investigation into the alleged multi-crore scam involving senior officers of Markfed, Punjab.

Petitioner Kanwal Kishore, who is a social activist of Ropar, has brought to the court's notice that senior officers of Markfed, including Mr Ram Mohinder Singh, Senior Manager, Markfed (Anandpur Sahib), who had been found guilty of involvement in the scam, had been suspended and removed from service. Mr Ram Mohinder was among those reportedly dismissed from service.

In 2001, taking cognizance of news items, the High Court had issued notice to the Punjab Government and CBI in the matter. But, the case was disposed of after Markfed and the Punjab Government informed the court that on the basis of the departmental inquiry, the guilt of the accused had been established and they had been punished.

However, the petitioner has alleged, that top Markfed officers managed to get the guilty officers reinstated and gave them back their jobs.

The petitioner had also moved an application in the court seeking to be made party to the petition filed by Mr Ram Mohinder Singh challenging award of minor punishment to him. He had prayed that he be given an opportunity to provide details of the wrong-doings of the officers.

On that application, notice was issued to the respondents for January 28.


Ghee unit given 60 days to end pollution
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 4
The local SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, today gave 60 days’ time to the ghee-manufacturing unit near Khanpur village to end all kinds of pollution in the area, failing which action would be initiated against those running the unit.

The decision was taken ex-parte as no representative of the factory appeared before the SDM to give his arguments.

More than 60 persons had made a written complaint to the SDM that the factory was causing noise, air and water pollution in the area.

The SDM had forwarded the complaint to the Tehsildar who visited the spot and submitted a report. After receipt of the report, the SDM had issued notice to the factory but failed to get any response.

The residents had complained that the using of rice husk and a chemical in the manufacturing process was causing air and water pollution, respectively. Two generators in use on the premises were causing noise pollution, they further complained.

A team of officials from the Punjab Pollution Control Board had collected various samples from the unit on April 16 last year. The residents had also complained to the board to take action against the unit.

The board officials, including members of a scientific team from Patiala, had collected samples of the underground water, smoke from the chimney, ambient air levels, etc. These were sent to Patiala for analysis.

The residents had complained to the board that the factory had been set up in a residential area and the pollution caused by it had made their lives miserable. 


New Year calendars released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The city witnessed a spate of calendar and diary release functions today with the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, almost dedicating his day to this. To begin with, it was the function of the Punjab Public Relations Department, where the Chief Minister released two calendars for 2005 and a diary for the same period. At the second function, he did the same for Markfed.

The Punjab Government calendar depicts the developmental activities in the state. The six-sheet calendar comprised pictures of Baba Budha ji carrying Adi Granth to the Golden Temple for installation, the supreme sacrifice of four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, bestowing the best governed state award to the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at ‘India Today’ Chief Ministers Conclave and the last one carried the collage of pictures showing the glimpses of important events of 2004.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Advisor to Chief Minister, Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal Secretary, Information and Public Relations, and Mr B.S. Sudan, Director, Information and Public Relations, Punjab.

Earlier, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, and Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, presented cheques of Rs 37,34,680 and Rs 11 lakh to the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh towards Chief Minister’s relief fund for tsunami victims.

One of the Markfed calendars, a five-sheeter focusses on the five Takhts of the Sikhs, with one page devoted to each Takht. The Markfed function was attended by Punjab Cooperation Minister, Jagjit Singh Randhawa, Chairman Markfed, Harminder Singh Jassi, Financial Commissioner (Cooperation) A.K. Dubey and Managing Director Markfed S.S. Channy.


Sisters held for paramour’s murder
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 4
The Gurdaspur police has claimed to have solved a murder case involving extra marital relations and deceit. Police sources here revealed that the investigation in the case began with the recovery of the body of Jagjit Singh, a taxi driver who was a resident of a village near Kalanaur.

The investigation led the police to two middle-aged sisters, Sukhwinder Kaur, whose husband has gone abroad, and Balbir Kaur, whose husband is serving in the BSF. Both the sisters allegedly had extra marital relations.

On December 31 night, both of them called their paramours, Nirmal Singh, a mechanic, and Jagjit Singh, a taxi driver, to the residence of Balbir Kaur. Jagjit Singh reached their residence in an intoxicated state. He later died at the residence of Balbir Kaur.

The sisters with the help of Nirmal Singh took the dead body of Jagjit Singh on his motor cycle and dumped the vehicle and body on a waste dump outside the village. But both the sisters also left behind strong evidence. The police recovered from the body a rope used on the uniform of service men. Thus began the search for the serviceman living in the vicinity. This gave them the clue of the house where the deceased frequently visited. The piece of uniform was found to be belonging to the husband of Balbir Kaur, who was away on duty.

The police then rounded up all three accused in the case and registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against them.


Youths open fire in shop belonging to Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4
Some inebriated youths opened fire inside the “No Exit” shop on the MM Malvia road belonging to the sons of Ms Ratna, chairperson, Punjab State Social Welfare Board (PSSWB) and senior Congress leader , here this evening.

While Vikas , a son of the sarpanch of Amarkot, was overpowered by the security guard and handed over to Circuit House police chowki, his two accomplices fled.

According to Ms Ratna, the alleged culprits grappled with the manager of the shop while his accomplice opened fire.

The trouble arose when the alleged culprits refused to pay the bill after buying some jackets.


Three die in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 4
Three people died in separate accidents which took place on the outskirts of Rajpura, near here, today

In the first accident, which occurred early today morning, a truck rammed into a Tata Sumo. The driver of the Sumo, Baldev Singh, hailing from Kurukshetra, and a passenger Subash Saini of Mustafabad (UP) died on the spot while another passenger Rajesh Saini was rushed to the PGI with serious injuries.

In the second accident , which took place at Jansui village on the Rajpura-Chandigarh road, a truck, which was coming at a high speed barged into a milk tanker coming from the opposite direction. Sukhdev Singh of Khanna who was travelling in the tanker died on the spot while the driver and cleaner of the tanker, Jasdev Singh and Jaipal Singh, received injuries. The driver of the truck Gian Singh and a passenger travelling with him, Narinder Singh, too received injuries.


Nephew of high court judge disappears
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 4
Mr Karamjot Singh, a nephew of Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who was to go to Bathinda from Barnala yesterday, disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Karamjot Singh (17), a student and resident of Barnala, used to come to Bathinda regularly to attend his tuition classes. He was expected to reach here at around 12 noon.

The police authorities of Barnala and Bathinda have been searching the boy since yesterday.

No case in this connection has been registered so far.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, when contacted, said that the police teams had been working to search Karamjot Singh. He revealed that detailed description of the missing boy had been flashed in police stations of the towns.


PTU fails to hold M.Tech correspondence exams on time
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 4
Even as more than two years have passed since Punjab Technical University (PTU) started its first batch for M.Tech through distance education programme, students enrolled for the course have been able to complete only the first two semesters of the two-year degree course as the university authorities have reportedly failed to hold the examinations time on time.

This has caused frustration among the students, forcing a majority of them to drop the course. They said they had taken the course with a view to getting better job opportunities but they were dissatisfied.

The students said they had got themselves registered in the third semester more than three months ago but they were yet to get the syllabus, books or any reading material, adding that their examinations for the semester were scheduled to be held by February.

They said the same was the case in the first semester. “We were not given the syllabus or books for several months and all of sudden we were given a set of books along with a datesheet for the examination to be held next month. We do not want that to happen again,” they said.

They said they were paying Rs 8,000 per semester along with the expenses on books but they had not yet received any receipt for the second and third semesters.

They had even met the higher authorities a number of times but to no avail.

“We feel that we have been cheated and we have wasted our money and time. Had we taken the course with some other university, we would have completed the course by now”, they said.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar of the university, said since it was their first and only batch, there had been some teething troubles. He said he had called some students on Friday to sort out their problems.


Settle headship issue as per varsity laws: dons
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 4
The Punjab Federation of University Teachers Association (PFUTA) today declared that it would fight against the erosion of autonomy of the universities in the state.

Taking a serious note of the directive by the Governor Punjab and Chancellor of the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) to its Vice-Chancellor regarding the headship issue of the Department of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy, the federation resolved that the issue should be settled according to the existing statues of the university.

The GNDU Teachers Association and students of Physiotherapy Department had crossed swords over this issue. The students were opposing the appointment of Dr G.S. Kang, as heads of the department. He was already working as a reader in the department. The students opposition was that he did not belong to medical background. But the teachers association was favouring his appointment as per the university statute.

The PFUTA, comprising the teachers associations of Punjab University, GNDU, Punjab Agriculture University and Punjabi University Patiala, was revived at a special meeting held at Chandigarh today. The federation, in a press statement issued here urged the Governor to adhere to GNDU’s calendar in settlement of this issue. The association also sought an appointment with the Governor for apprising him of the relevant provisions of the university statutes, which govern the rotation of headship in the universities.

The federation, headed by Dr Davinder Singh, convener and Dr Ronki Ram, co-convener alleged that the Governor had not been properly informed about the statutory provisions by the Vice-Chancellor of the university.

The PFUTA demanded the release of 100 per cent finance to the universities in the state instead of block grants. It requested the enhancement of retirement age in the universities from 60 to 62 years.


Meeting hails grant for rural colleges
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, January 4
A meeting of principals and office-bearers of management committees of un-aided private rural colleges was held at Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial Colleges, Mukandpur, about 20 km from here, on Sunday. Mr Pritam Singh Sangha presided over the meeting at which principals and representatives of managing committees of 13 un-aided rural colleges participated.

They hailed the announcement by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, regarding allocation of Rs 4 crore for infrastructure development of un-aided rural colleges. It was felt the decision of the Chief Minister would go a long way in bringing in qualitative improvement in the functioning of private colleges in rural areas. They stressed on the need to implement the decision at the earliest. The effort put in by Dr. S.S.Johl, chief of the Managing Committee of Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial College, Mukandpur, and the Vice- Chairman of the State Planning Commission in this direction was hailed at the meeting.

A sub-committee was constituted to prepare cases of infrastructure development projects. This committee would meet the CM for grants. Dr Amarjit Singh, Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti, secretary and principal, Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial College, Mukandpur, Dr Tiwana, principal, Khalsa College, Jharh Sahib (Ropar), and Mr Tirath Ram, finance secretary, MBG Education Trust, Pojewal (Nawanshahr) were nominated convener, co-convener, secretary and member, respectively, of the sub-committee. 


Aided school teachers’ rally on Jan 7
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 4
Protesting against the decision of the state government to withdraw the pension scheme, the Punjab state aided school teachers and other employees union will organise a rally here on January 7.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Mangu Ram, president, and Mr K.D. Sharma, secretary, said that the pension scheme had been withdrawn by the government since June, 2003. He said the members had been pressing that the scheme be restored so that all employees retiring after that period also get the benefit of their prolonged services with the government.

The members said that they would also demand merger of 50 per cent DA, rural allowance and filling of vacancies of teacher and employee in the aided schools. They said that the members from Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar would assemble outside Sri Parvati Jain Co-Educational Senior Secondary School from where the rally would proceed towards other parts of the city. They said that such rallies would also be held at Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala. 


Nursing students stage protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 4
Students of the Bengal Institute of Medical Sciences, Raikot, Ludhiana, staged a protest outside the office of the Punjab State Nursing Council here today against inadequate facilities provided to them by the authorities of the institution.

The students raised slogans in support of their demands. They said the institution had fixed a high fee structure but had not provided the hostel facility. Besides, there was overcrowding and absence of proper practical classes.

They said the college had admitted 60 students, a figure which was much higher than the number of seats sanctioned for the institution. The Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC) had given permission to the college to admit only 30 students.

The Principal of the college, Mr A.K. Banerjee, however, said he had been given permission by the Indian Nursing Council in August last year to admit 60 students. He said students were asked to pay fees which had been fixed according to the rules of the institution.

It is learnt that the PNRC would be holding a meeting to discuss the matter after which a show-cause notice would be served on the institution.

Earlier, on December 13 last year students had also protested against the college authorities’ failure to provide the necessary facilities. They had demanded that they should be shifted to other colleges and their fee be refunded. They had alleged that the institution was facing staff shortage which was adversely affecting their studies.

They further alleged that the institute had no building of its own and was being run in a rented accommodation. A cattle shed had been turned into a hostel for the students and they had to go to a nearby petrol station to take a bath.


Govt school staff await salary
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 4
A large number of government school employees serving in the Barnala region are sore over the non-payment of their salaries for the past over one month.

Complaining this to The Tribune here today these employees, including lecturers, teachers and non-teaching employees, said it was becoming difficult for them to make both ends meet.

According to information certain employees could not be paid salaries for the past two months whereas some others could not be paid their wages for the month of December.

Expressing surprise these employees said it was ironical that state government deducted their one-day salary for the Tsunami relief fund without paying them salaries.

Sources in the local Treasury Office revealed that salaries of the employees in many departments could not be cleared for want of staff position pertaining to the sanctioned and non-sanctioned posts. They said the Finance Department had sought statistics from various departments and departments which furnished the data their salaries bills were cleared. It is learnt that the Education Department had not provided the required information which was causing delay in the clearance of the salary bills from the Treasury posing hardships for the teaching and non-teaching staff of government schools.


Workshop on international law
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Army Institute of Law, Mohali, is organising a two-day workshop on international law in collaboration with the Indian Society of International Law from January 8.

The focus areas during the seminar would be primacy of international law and recent developments, emerging international criminal law and courts, and issues of international trade law.


School timings changed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 4
Keeping in view the intense cold and fog engulfing the district for the past one week, the timings of all schools in the district have been changed. All schools, from tomorrow, will function between 10 am to 3 pm till January 15, informed Deputy Commissioner, Seema Jain, here today.

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