P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akalis instigated violence in Ajnala: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 24
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, claimed that the outcome of the Ajnala bypoll would be a referendum on the working of the Congress government in the state for the past three years.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was here today to lay the foundation stone of Mukt-e-Minar, a memorial to be built in memory of 40 muktas (liberated ones) who made supreme sacrifice while fighting with the Mughal army in the last battle of Guru Gobind Singh with them, said he was satisfied with the manner in which the Ajnala bypoll was conducted.

While talking to mediapersons, he said former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal and his associates instigated violence in Ajnala yesterday and now Mr Badal had been levelling false allegations against Congress workers.

“Out of 202 villages falling in the Ajnala Assembly segment, violence took place in five villages where the Congress and Akali workers clashed. The clash took place as Mr Badal and his associates instigated the same to disturb the poll process after they come to know that their party candidate is going to taste defeat,” he pointed out and added that in the past three Assembly elections, the Akali candidate had been winning this seat and claimed that this would be for the first time that Congress candidate would emerge victorious.

He said Mr Badal had been claiming that he (Mr Badal) would quit the politics if his party candidate were defeated in the Ajnala bypoll. He added that now that opportunity had come and Mr Badal should get himself prepared to quit the politics and take rest.

In connection with his forthcoming visit to Pakistan, Capt Amarinder Singh said he along with Punjab (Pakistan) Chief Minister, Mr Pervej Elahi, would lay the foundation stone of four-laning project of the Wagha-Nankana Sahib road to open new channels of trade with that country. He said that he would lead a delegation of the CII.

Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh gave a cheque for Rs 70 lakh for the completion of various project initiated in this town in connection with the celebration of tercentenary occasion of supreme sacrifices made by 40 muktas, which fell on May 4, this year. He also laid down the foundation stone for a stadium of international level.


Violence: police blames Akalis, soft on Cong men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh February 24
The Punjab police has squarely blamed Akali workers and leaders for most poll-related violence in the Ajnala constituency yesterday.

A Punjab police spokesman today issued a detailed statement regarding the violence. The thrust of the statement is that Akali leaders and workers, by their actions, provoked violent scuffles in the constituency. Obviously, the statement is soft on ruling Congress politicians.

The police said that there were only stray incidents and the poll process continued without any interruption. Nearly 12 persons suffered minor injuries and the polling was by and large peaceful in 200-odd villages except Kamalpura, Chakbala, Jatttan, Bhure Gill, Tera Rajputtan and Mandhu Sangha.

The police elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure smooth polling. Timely police action prevented any major untoward incident. Out of 1.49 lakh voters, about 1.17 lakh( 78 per cent) exercised their right of franchise.

On the polling day, in Tera Rajputan village, a former sarpanch, Lakhbir Singh, and others belonging to the SAD (B) were compelling voters to cast their votes in favour of their candidate. It was witnessed by a police patrol party headed by an ASI, Mr Tarjinder Singh. Mr Baljit Singh, a Congress worker, tried to resist Lakhbir Singh. This led to heated arguments. Following this, Mr Manjit Singh Barkandi, accompanied by his supporters from the Shiromani Akali Dal, and Mr Darshan Singh Brar, a former MLA, alongwith Congress supporters also reached the scene. Supporters of both sides resorted to brick batting. The ASI had to fire in the air to disperse the crowd. the police had registered a case.

The spokesman said that in another incident Ganga Singh, son of Mr Hajura Singh, and other Akali workers attacked Harbhajan Singh, son of Joginder Singh, of Kamalpura village with lathis because Harbhajan Singh did not vote as in accordance with their wishes. As a result, Mr Surinderpal Singh Sibia of the Congress had an altercation with Akali workers. After they were outnumbered, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Congress MLA, reached the scene. Akali leaders — Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala and Bibi Satwant Kaur, MLA — also reached the scene which led to brickbatting and firing in the air by both sides.

The police had to resort to a mild lathi charge in order to maintain law and order. In a related incident in the same village Akali and Congress workers clashed as the voting was taking place in the absence of the polling agent of the Congress. A mischievous person fired in the air which led to a scuffle. The police had to fire in the air to disperse the crowd. The election observer also reached the scene. The polling process continued even when these clashes were taking place.

In Dhup Sari village, Mangal Singh, former sarpanch of Toor village, along with Jagmohan Singh, Jasbir Singh, Lakha Singh and others attacked Kako and her son because she did not vote as per their wishes. A case had been registered against the accused at the Lopoke police station.


SAD meeting on Ajnala ‘rigging’ tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will be held here on February 26 to discuss the latest political developments in the state in the wake of alleged rigging by the ruling Congress in the Ajnala byelection.

The secretary of the SAD, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said the president of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would preside over the meeting.


Tohra’s anniversary to be exclusive SAD show
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 24
Tohra village is likely to be declared out of bounds for anyone except the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which has decided to commemorate the first death anniversary of Gurcharan Singh Tohra in a befitting manner.

The late leader’s son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra, while addressing party workers today at the Durkhniwaran gurdwara, said the “people” of Tohra village would not allow anyone to give a political colour to the death anniversary of their leader. Mr Harmail Singh was apparently reacting to speculation that the SAD (Longowal) might hold a parallel function at the village.

Meanwhile, the Sarpanch of the village is also not taking any chances. A government school in the village — the only other public place besides the Grain Market — has also been booked for the SAD.

Sarpanch Satwinder Singh Tohra while talking to TNS said the “barsi” of the late leader would be held at the Grain market and the school ground would be used for parking purposes.

He said as far as he was concerned only one function was scheduled to be held and that no other Akali faction had approached him for holding a parallel function.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra of the Longowal Akali faction when contacted today maintained that he had never said his party would hold any separate function. He said as of now the party had not chalked out any programme.

Mr Chandumajra, however, said efforts were being made to marginalise Tohra’s legacy by keeping the function limited to the SAD only. He said he himself could not go to the SAD function as he had not been invited besides the fact that it was being organised at the party level instead of being a family function open to all.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today held a meeting at the Dukhniwaran gurdwara to chalk out the programme. He announced that the Akal Takth Jathedar would confer the title of “Panth Rattan” on the late leader on March 4 and that a painting of Tohra would be installed in the museum at the Durbar Sahib complex. Mr Badal also disclosed that he had appealed to the jathedar to confer the title on Sant Singh Maskeen who had expired recently.


‘Kidnapping’ of youth confounds police
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 24
Piecing together an incident of alleged sensational kidnapping of a cloth agent from the local railway station late last night has virtually confounded the Jalandhar police, which is yet to ascertain whether the incident was indeed a kidnapping or not?

Mr Bhagwan Dass Sukhija, a resident of the local New Green Model Town locality, complained to the police early today that his 28-year-old son Dinesh was returning from Ludhiana last night and was feared to have been kidnapped immediately after he made a call from his mobile phone from within the train at around 10.15 p.m., informing that he had reached Jalandhar cantonment railway station and would be reaching Jalandhar city within 20 minutes. Dinesh, according to Mr Sukhija, has also informed that he was accompanied by one of his acquaintances, Chander of Surat. But the family got a rude shock when Dinesh failed to reach home by 10.45 p.m. This forced the family to launch search for him.

Mr Sukhija, who was accompanied by Mr Amit Arora and Mr Vijay Sampla, state president of the SC Morcha of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said that after waiting for his son for quite some time, the family members contacted Chander who was staying in the local Amar Guest House. But Chander said that he and Dinesh had parted company at Jalandhar city railway station itself at around 10.45 p.m. and while leaving, Dinesh had indicated to Chander that he was going to pick up his scooter from the nearby parking lot to reach home.

Mr Sukhija said enquiries by the family revealed that Dinesh might have got “kidnapped” from the railway station area as he had not picked up the scooter which was found in the parking lot. Thereafter, a complaint was made to the Division No. 3 police at around 2.30 a.m. which made an entry in its daily diary report.

What has put the police in a jittery are a number of ambiguities and question marks found in the kidnapping theory. The very first suspicion of the police was that though about 10 days back, Dinesh, who was working as a cloth commission agent, was allegedly kidnapped from near Naulakha cinema in Ludhiana by car-borne “abductors”. The incident was not reported to the police by the family.


Dollar dreams go sour
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 24
Lust for dollars turned out to be a nightmare for five youths of this district when they landed in Lebanon in September, 2004 and were trapped in the net of unscrupulous travel agents there. Travel agents, Abdula and Bant Singh, both residents of Jhandoli Kalan village of this district showed them rosy dreams for earning dollars in Greece and took hefty amount from them for this purpose. But on their way they were nabbed by the Turkey police who severely tortured them and later pushed them into Iran from where they managed to come back to India.

These five youths are Resham Lal and Charanjit of Chahalpur village, Joginder Singh of Singhowal village, Harpreet Singh of Johal village and Satnam Singh of Dada Kalan village. They finally managed to reach their homes in the first week of January this year.

While narrating their tale, Joginder Singh and Harpreet Singh said they wanted to go to Greece through a travel agent, Tejwant Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur district and presently based in Lebanon, in September, 2004. They reached Lebanon and met another travel agent Bant Singh there, who was also from Hoshiarpur. Bant Singh and his other accomplice, Abdula, manipulated their transit along with other youths from India and Pakistan to Greece by road illegally.

First they got their entry into Iraq from where they were pushed into Syria. After staying for a week there they were dragged to Istanbul, capital of Turkey. This city was divided with a river and the persons like them were being ferried to European side during night illegally.

When they reached at the border area of Greece they were arrested and were pushed back to Turkey. They were arrested by the Turkey police and were sent in its detention cell. They were brutally tortured and beaten. All their currency and other belongings were snatched by them and were not even allowed to contact the Indian Embassy. Later, the police took all of us to Iran border and instructed them to run.

They said the Iran police had also treated them very badly. However, they managed to reach a gurdwara of Tehran which was being managed by Sindhi Sikhs.


Decks cleared for promotion of 2 PCS officers to IAS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Central Administrative Tribunal today paved the way for the promotion of two seniormost Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

Upholding the move by the State Government to forward the case of two officers, Ms Amrita Atwal and Dr M.G. Acharya, against the state promotion quota to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the tribunal dismissed the plea made by three PCS officers who had stated that there was no vacancy in the state promotion quota for 1998 and 1999.

Ms Atwal, who is due to retire on February 28, 2005, gets two year promotion on being promoted to the IAS. Dr Acharya is due to retire in April 2005.

Earlier in September, 2004, the tribunal on the plea of the three applicants Mr Harbhupinder, Mr Prabhjot Mand and Mr Arvinder Bains had stayed the process to convene the screening committee for promotion of the two officers to the IAS. The meeting of the UPSC was scheduled on November 27, 2004.

The applicants had pleaded that there was no vacancy in the promotion quota for 1998 and 1999, the screening committee meeting could not be held.

Citing a decision of the Jabalpur Bench of CAT in a case of KK Goswami versus Union of India, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court, the respondents pleaded that the state deputation reserve and the training reserve are to be counted for the purpose of considering the quota of promotion. The decision was regarding the Cadre Strength Regulation 1955.

After the judgment, the Government of India decided to divert the vacancies arising out of direct recruitment and resignations to the promotion quota in addition to their normal entitlement to promotion quota. The cadre strength for the direct and promotee stands at 193. The Union Government through letters dated February 11, 1998, and March 20, 1998, had intimated the Punjab Government that five vacancies, three for 1998 and two for 1999, had to be filled through promotion quota.

While the two respondents are at serial No. 4 and 7 in the seniority list, the applicants are at serial Nos, 24, 26 and 28, respectively.


Inside Babudom
Resentment among PCS officers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Punjab Civil Service ( PCS) officers, who are regarded backbone of the civil administration, are an unhappy lot for various reasons. For years, they have been seeking the redressal of their grievances, but respective governments have been paying no heed.

Their total cadre is of 288 officers but their existing strength is 229. They have a quota of 58 posts in the IAS cadre which they enter through promotion. Of these 18 posts are vacant in the IAS cadre at present. They have been pressing hard the State Government to fill these posts. For promotion to the IAS cadre, they are required to put in eight years of service only. What hitch is there to promote them to the IAS, though as many as 185 officers are eligible to be promoted, is not known.

“All our efforts to get the promotion process expedited have been failed”, says a senior PCS Officer. As many as 16 officers will attain the age of 54 years next year, thus becoming ineligible for promotion. “The government should be considerate to such officers and give them promotion, if they otherwise qualify for the same, before they become ineligible”, says the officers. However, one fact, which the PCS officers, perhaps would not like to share with others is that some officers from their own ranks have been impeding the promotions through legal action against each other on seniority and related issues.

PCS officers say that once these 18 vacant posts are filled, then from next year onwards, the chances of PCS officers for promotion will further shrink. In 2006, only one vacancy for promotion to the IAS will be available in 2007 only 3 vacancies will be available. In the next 33 vacancies for promotion to the IAS will be available.

The PCS officers want their promotions to the rank of Special Secretary after 13 years of service. In fact, PCS officers say that a decision in this connection was taken last year but is awaiting implementation.

They claim that there are states where officers of provincial services are promoted to the rank of Administrative Secretary and even Principal Secretary. But in Punjab, they are only promoted to the rank of Additional Secretary, a step lower to the Special Secretary. They are for not considering the State Civil Services officers as District Development and Panchayat Officers, Excise and Taxation Officers and Executive Engineers etc for promotion to the IAS cadre. In the past some of the officers from these services have been promoted to the IAS cadre. “ When a large number of PCS officers are available for promotion, where is the need to promote officers from other services”, say PCS officers. They also want the posting of only IAS and PCS officers as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Zila Parishads.

PCS officers say that their pay scale stops moving to upward slabs after 12 years of service at which they get the scale of Rs 14300-18600. They are for entry into the Rs 18,000-22,000 scale on completion of 16 years of service.The IAS officers on entry get a scale of Rs 8000-13500 and it jumps to Rs 15100-18300 on completion of nine years of service. They have discussed these matters with the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, and also have brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. But they have achieved nothing yet on this front except pleading their case here and there.


Pak delegates pay obeisance at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 24
About 260 delegates of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy crossed over to India from the Wagah Joint checkpoint here today to participate in the four-day 7th Joint Convention of the forum to be organised in New Delhi from February 25.

Before proceeding to Delhi the delegates paid obeisance at Golden Temple. Mr Hasil Khan Biznjo, General Secretary, Pakistan National Party, said Dr Mubashar Hassan, former Finance Minister of Pakistan, and Mr I.A.Rahman would reach New Delhi by air.

He said efforts of the forum to bring people of the two countries, who remained estranged for long, closer had already been acknowledged at the international level with Magsaysay Award- 2004. The award was shared by Mr Rehman (Pakistan) and Admiral Ram Dass (India) on behalf of the forum, which was founded in 1994.

Most of the members felt that a conducive atmosphere has been created and it should be sustained with full earnest. Mr Mohammad Arif khan, General Secretary of the Karachi chapter of the forum, said the neighbouring countries should now encourage trade, which would take the relations to new heights.

Dr A.S. Mahal, state convener of the forum, said the forum was founded to generate an atmosphere of peace, friendship and fraternity among the people of both countries.

He hoped that these endeavours would ultimately help in defusing the atmosphere of tension and create confidence of goodwill.

About 700 delegates and peace activists from both countries were expected to participate in the convention. The sixth convention was organised in Karachi in December 2003. About 238 delegates from the forum’s Indian chapter took part in it.


Mian Mir’s descendants to visit India
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, February 24
For the first time, descendants of Sain Mian Mir, the Muslim seer who laid the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar will be visiting India to participate in the kirtan darbar being organised at Ferozepore from February 26.

Mr Nasin Maqdoom Sayeed Chand Pir Qadri, the 19th descendant of the Mian Mir, will be arriving with a host of other descendants of other prominent Muslims spiritual leaders who had close association with the Sikh Gurus.

The descendants would be bringing with them historical ornaments and documents for ‘darshan’ by the Sikh sangat in India .

Nasin Qadri will be bringing the precious necklace presented to his forefather Mian Mian Mir by Guru Arjun Dev .

He will also bring to India the pearl necklace of Mata Ganga.

The delegation will also bring the hand written ‘Hukamnama’ written by Guru Gobind Singh which was handed over to the family of Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan. The two were responsible for ensuring a safe passage to the guru by disguising him as ‘Uccha Pir’ at Machhivara when he was surrounded by enemies. Mr Yahood Ahmed Khan, descendant of Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan will be bringing the hukamnama in which the Guru had stated that “Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan were like his sons.

Bhai Lal Singh, the 17th generation descendant of Bhai Mardana, a Muslim who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev on his journeys, will also accompany the delegation that would participate in the 12th International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar at Ferozepore from February 26.


New police act draconian: Mann
Tribune News Service

Shahpur Kandi, February 24
The proposed police act of the state was draconian and would give sweeping powers to the police loosening the force from the control of the executive, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A), here today.

Mr Mann who himself is a former IPS officer said the police already has vast powers under the police rules. However, it has not been able to utilise those powers to maintain the law and order.

Under the police rule 12.2, it was the duty of the police to check the criminal antecedents of the immigrants in the state. However, from the increasing number of criminal activities being committed by immigrants in the state illustrate that the police has failed to use the said power vested in them.

After the take over by the present DGP, Mr S.S. Virk, the incidents of police atrocities on common people have increased. Two Dalits have been killed under the police custody at Ropar and Jalandhar, Mr Mann alleged.

Mr Mann later visited the patients suffering from jaundice in the Civil Hospital, Pathankot. He said it was deplorable that a preventable epidemic had broken in a city like Pathankot that has large presence of the Army.

A delegation of employees of the Shahpur Kandi Project met Mr Mann to plead their case. He assured them to take over case with the Punjab Government.


BJP youth wing’s ‘halla bol’ rally on Feb 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
As the Amarinder Singh government completes three years in office on February 27, the BJP’s youth wing will greet it by organising a rally against it on that day in Ludhiana accusing it of following anti-people policies and doing nothing for the state.

“The real face of the Amarinder Singh government will be exposed by our youth wing at the ‘halla bol, pol khol rally’”, said Mr Vineet Joshi, a member of the national executive of the youth wing of the BJP. “The three-year rule of the government has been full of shocks for the people, whether farmers, traders, Dalits or employees”.

He said neither the Chief Minister nor his Council of Ministers had declared their assests.

There was rampant corruption in the state. Instead of forming a judicial commission headed by a sitting judge of the high court to inquire into the so-called irregularities of the previous government, the Chief Minister was taking political revenge on his political opponents by misusing the state police and the Vigilance Bureau.

He said the Shagun Scheme of Rs 5,100 started by the previous Akali-BJP government had been discontinued. The promise of one job to each SC or BC family living below the poverty line remained unimplemented. Surplus land had not been distributed among landless Scheduled Castes families.

No step had been taken to provide 5 marla plots for residential purposes and 2 marla plots for the dumping of waste to SC and BC families in the rural areas. The number of free units of power per month to all SC and BC families had been reduced. The promise of reserving 27 per cent jobs for backward classes had not been fulfilled. Legal measures had not been taken to implement the reservation policy as per the new central legislation.


Substandard material used for road: MLA
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 24
MLA Kharar Bir Devinder Singh today demanded a vigilance inquiry into the upgrade of the Kharar-Banur road under the NABARD scheme.

Talking to mediapersons during the inauguration of the annual kabbadi tournament at Bhago Majra village, the MLA said he was appalled at the poor state of the road between Landran and Banur.

He expressed shock at the fact that the road had been strengthened less than two months ago. The aspalt had come off in a short duration. “I would recommend a vigilance inquiry to be marked so that people come to know how the construction was done. The quality of the construction material used be checked and responsibility fixed. Over Rs 2.25 crore was used in the strengthening of this stretch. Where has all that money gone?” he said.

He also pointed out that while a part of the road was still under construction, a large part that had been constructed had disintegrated.

The state government has strengthened and upgraded 1,358 km of roads in the state at a cost of Rs 252 crore under different schemes of NABARD in the past three years.


Raise IT exemption limit to 1 lakh, FM urged
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 24
The Finance Minister should take care of the interests of employees in the Budget as for the past many years the Budgets had been pro-businessmen, said Dr. Dharminder Singh Ubha, Head, Department of Commerce, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, in a letter to Finance Minister.

Releasing copies of the letter to the media, he criticised the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee and termed them anti-employee. He said it would be unfair to withdraw the rebates available under Section 88 of the Income Tax Act.

He said the rate of rebate should be 20 per cent for all persons.

He said the tax exemption limit should be raised to Rs 1,00,000 and there should be two tax slabs of 10 per cent and 20 per cent. He said lowering the tax rates would bring more tax payers in the net.

He also emphasised that the procedure of taxation for the salaried class should also be simplified because it had a lot of confusing provisions. He surprised that even DA was and HRA were taxable for salaried class.


Junior doctors threaten agitation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 24
The Junior Doctors Association today threatened an agitation if the government failed to provide security to doctors on the medical premises, especially in hospitals.

At an emergency meeting, the association condemned the manhandling of three doctors by the attendant, of a patient, Gurmeet Singh, who died due to some complications at Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.

Three doctors were allegedly manhandled by the patient’s attendants. Dr Parminder Singh was pushed from hospital terrace, leading to fractures.

Demanding an FIR against the accused, the doctors demanded tight security.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) took serious notice of the incident and condemned the unruly behaviour.


Fulfil demands within a month, vets tell govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association has asked the state government to meet its genuine demands within a month or else face an agitation.

The demands include new designation with each new pay scale, filling of vacant posts and the grant of non-practising allowance.

In a notice issued to the Secretary, Animal Husbandry Fisheries and Dairy Development Department, the president, Dr Ashok Sharma, also said that higher qualification pay should be granted to postgraduate veterinary officers and postgraduate diploma holders.


Quarrel in shobha yatra leads to clash
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 24
Altercations between two groups during the shobha yatra taken out on the eve of Guru Ravi Das Parkash Utsav snowballed into a violent group clash at Bhullarai Colony last night. Over 12 persons were injured in the clash. Out of them 10 had to be hospitalised.

The two groups first quarrelled at the local Sugar Mill Chowk on the GT road and then at the Sarai road. The quarrel created tension between the two groups. As soon as the yatra concluded at Bhullarai Colony the two groups stated using sharp-edged and blunt weapons against each other. Over 12 persons of both groups were injured in the clash. Ten of them, including women, were rushed to the local Civil Hospital.


Missing son of DSP returns home
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 24
Kamalpreet Singh, Class VII student of Christ King Convent School and son of Mr Puran Singh Purewal, a retired DSP of the Punjab police, who had gone missing 24 days ago finally returned home this morning.

Addressing a press conference, Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, said Kamalpreet, alias Chetan, was nabbed by a Punjab police team while he was trying to withdraw money from HDFC Bank’s ATM in Siliguri on Tuesday. He said the boy had admitted that he was unhappy with his home’s environment and had left it on his Kinetic Honda on January 29. Kamalpreet said he had a tiff with his father before leaving the house.


Parents oppose decision to close academy
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, February 24
Staff members of Shri Dashmesh Academy and parents of the students today organise a rally on the campus in protest against the management's decision to close down the academy.

The rally was organised in the wake of the scheduled visit of the two-member secretary of the management of the academy in the afternoon. The member secretary, Mr M.M. Singh and Mr A.J.S. Garewal, were scheduled to serve termination notices to the staff members and formally announce the closure of the academy, claimed the protesters.


Tributes paid to union leader
Our Correspondent

Khippanwali (Abohar), February 24
A rally was held today in this remote village by the Lok Sangram Manch, along with a number of other organisations, to mark the first death anniversary of trade union leader Krishan Lal.

The programme included staging of plays by artistes of the Lok Kala Manch, Mandi Mulanpur. The artistes demonstrated miseries of down trodden people of the society besides excesses and atrocities by the police. Songs on dowry, debts and defaults in the present system were presented with choreographers performing at their best of talent.

The widow of the leader was honoured at the rally.

Mr Balwant Makhu, state general secretary of the manch and Mr Surjit Phool, state president of the BKU (Revolutionary) were among others who addressed the rally.


PSHRC orders probe into minor’s rape
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 24
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has asked the Director, Health Services, Punjab, ADGP, and Home Secretary, Punjab, to order probe into the case in which a minor hailing from Takhanwadh village was raped by her cousin who later got her foetus aborted, and submit a report to the commission before March 24.

Four persons, including three women, have been booked in the case. The victim’s father, in his complaint to the SSP, had stated that last year he had gone to Patiala and Nabha for a few months.

One day his wife called her saying their daughter was ill. On reaching the village, he came to know that his brother’s son, Kulwinder Singh, had been sexually exploiting her for the past few months.

He alleged that when his wife raised her voice against his brother’s family, they took his daughter along with another girl, Pyaro, to the local health centre, where the nurse, Surinder Kaur, gave her injections for abortion. Following this, the victim’s condition deteriorated.

The nurse took her to Butarkalan village, where her husband had a private clinic and aborted her foetus.

The police had registered a case against Kulwinder Singh, his mother Malkit Kaur, Pyaro and Surinder Kaur under Sections 452, 376, 312, 313, 506, and 34, of the IPC at the Mehna police station.


Punjab Govt to pay relief to farmers
Tribune News Service

Ratharian (Muktsar), February 24
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh, said today that the state government would launch a drive to clean the drains dug up in the district and others areas to check waterlogging.

Capt. Amarinder Singh, who visited the hailstorm-hit farms said a team led by the Punjab Irrigation Minister, Mr Lal Singh, would shortly visit the area to take the stock of the situation. He added that as the people had reported that waterlogging had started surfacing again in the area, the state government would do everything to curb the menace. He added that adequate funds would be allocated for this purpose.

Talking to residents of the affected village, Capt. Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by the local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, the Revenue Minister, Mr Amarjit Samra, and the animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Jagmohan Kang, said the Punjab Government would pay compensation to affected farmers immediately after the special girdawri launched to assess the damage caused to the crops by hailstorms, was completed.

The Chief Minister said World Bank had sanctioned Rs 1,820 crore for providing potable water and other facilities in rural area and Rs 8,00 crore for the construction and recarpeting of the roads in the state.

Earlier, while addressing the gathering at a state-level function organised in connection with the 628th birth anniversary of Guru Ravi Dass at Malout, the Chief Minister said the Punjab Government would give adequate funds for smooth functioning of Guru Ravi Dass Chair and for completion of Guru Ravi Dass Hall in Malout town.

He gave cheques for laying water pipes in Muktsar and Malout towns to respective municipal councils.

He also announced that Rs 50 lakh would be given out of the Rural Development Fund to the town for its development.


Revenue record to be computerised
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 24
The Revenue Department is equipping itself to computerise the entire record from April 1, Mr M.L. Puri, Tehsildar, said while inaugurating the first phase of a 20-day training programme for the patwaris and other employees posted in Abohar and Fazilka subdivisions here today. The department had planned to launch the training camps in 15 districts. A beginning was being made from Ferozepore and Muktsar districts from this month. Abohar, alphabetically ahead of all, becomes the first subdivision to undertake the training for 140 patwaris, Mr Puri said.

Mr Jitender Chawla, senior executive of the Punjab Infotech, Chandigarh who had come here to commence the training, said that patwaris would attend the training camp for two hours daily for 20 days. They would be trained in operating computers, besides Gurmukhi typing and access to Internet.

In all 500 IT experts would be deployed in the districts selected under this scheme. In Ferozepore district alone, 340 experts would be involved.

During next phase IAS, IPS and PCS (Executive) officers would be associated with the training camps.


One killed, 3 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 24
One person was killed and three injured in two accidents around the town.

In an accident that took place near Khanpur chowk late last night, Ashwini Kumar was killed after his car and a truck collided. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital by policemen. As he was seriously injured, doctor was about to refer him to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he died.

In another accident that took place near Desumajra, three persons got injured when an Indica car, which was overtaking a bus, rammed into an autorickshaw.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, who was travelling in the autorickshaw, and driver of the vehicle Gurmeet Singh got injured.

It is learnt that another person, who was coming on a scooter behind the autorickshaw, also sustained injuries. All three were taken to the local Civil Hospital.


US medical institute ties up with local college
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 24
The local Government Medical College has been connected with the University of Cincinnati for the latest medical know-how to improve the infrastructure of the alma mater institution. This was revealed by an alumni of the medical college, Dr Satwant Singh, who is the chairperson of the task force of the Amritsar Medical and Dental Alumni Association of North America (AMDAANA).

Dr Satwant Singh, who is a Professor of Nephrology at Cincinnati, said the alumni association had been contemplating for a long time to upgrade the educational facilities for their college and devised a mechanism for a permanent link with their US-based university.

Speaking on “AMDAANA Amritsar Project — A partnership for the future” at the Indo-American International Convention, CME-2005, being organised by the Government Medical College Alumni Association (AMCAA), he said under this scheme, faculty members belonging to various medical fields and subjects and students would visit the medical college here on an exchange programme to provide latest information and the advancements in the medical treatment.

Although the Indian medical treatment set was quite good but the due to better infrastructure and facilities in the US it would be good for their Indian counterparts to visit them often for exchange of ideas.


Bungling in schools under NCLP project
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, February 24
The Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) has found glaring discrepancies in the working of schools running under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) and has urged the authorities to hold an inquiry into the working of these schools.

Mr Manish Kumar Assistant Commissioner, released his report here yesterday. Earlier the District Magistrate had marked the inquiry to the Assistant Commissioner on a complaint by Ms Parvesh Rani, a former CPI councillor of Ward No. 58, who had alleged bungling in funds provided for diet of children studying in these schools.

The DGO said after going through the records and listening to the persons concerned it was concluded that “neither the Project Director, Mr H.S. Sidhu, not the field officer, including Mr Sunil Kumar and Ms Kuldip Kaur, discharged their duties properly while the Red Cross Society which is running these schools did not pay proper attention to their working”.

According to the inquiry report, children studying in Centre No.1 and 2 located in Rasulpur Kaler were being given a Re 1 packet of biscuits or a banana or apple against a provision of diet worth Rs 5 per day. It said even the records pertaining to the strength of students and their diet money were not properly maintained at certain centres.

The report said every school could enrol 50 students. However, Mr Manish Kumar said he did not find full strength of students in several centres. He was told that they would come gradually till the evening.

He stated in the report that it was found that almost all the staff members connived with one an other to bungle the government grant and deprived the needy children of their diet and a monthly scholarship of Rs 100 per month. He recommended legal action against the accused employees besides holding a high-level inquiry.


Environment education need of hour, says IG
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 24
Patiala Zonal Inspector General of Police Rajinder Singh yesterday said environmental education was the need of the hours for tiny tots.

Speaking at a function organised at the Police DAV Public School in the Police Lines here, Mr Rajinder Singh said today’s environmentally aware children would become the protectors of the environment tomorrow. The IG, who was the chief guest at a function titled “Animal Kingdom”, also appreciated the life like exhibitions put up by children on the theme.

Giving details of the school activities, DAV Regional Director K.L. Maniya said the School, which started off in April, 2003, had already been upgraded to Class V. He said a new class would be introduced in the school every year with the aim being to provide quality education laced in traditional Indian values and traditions to children of police personnel as well as others. Patiala Range Deputy Inspector General of Police IPS Sahota and Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai also spoke on the occasion.


Roll numbers of X, XII students despatched
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 24
The Punjab School Education Board has despatched roll numbers of students appearing in the matriculation and Class XII examinations starting from March 2.

Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, said in a press note here yesterday that the roll numbers of private candidates had been sent by post.

Roll numbers of regular students had been sent to the boards, text book sales depots at various districts and to the distribution centres set up by the board at tehsil levels. The roll numbers of students studying in colleges had also been sent by post.

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