P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CEC panel to open strong room in Ajnala today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 25
A three-member panel of the Chief Election Commission would open the strong room at Ajnala’s Degree College where electronic voting machines have been kept, in the presence of all the five candidates to verify poll malpractices, if any, tomorrow.

The panel would land at Rajasansi airport, near here, tomorrow morning. The inquiry panel is likely to meet a cross-section of the people to have first-hand information.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) would produce video clipping of Mr Amarpal Singh Bonny, candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal, inside a polling booth, encouraging his supporters to cast “bogus votes” before the panel. He is also seen appreciating his supporter who had cast “five bogus votes” and asked them, “Should he (Mr Bonny) himself press the button of the EVM”. The video clipping was played in the presence of media persons.

It has substantiated the allegations of large-scale rigging as reported in the media, the claims of manning the booths by paramilitary forces notwithstanding.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, PPCC, Mr Surinder Singla, and Mr Lal Singh, both Cabinet ministers, sought immediate disqualification of the SAD candidate who had indulged in “poll malpractices”. He sought immediate prosecution of the SAD candidate for throwing all democratic norms to the wind.

The video clipping has also shown firing incidents and colossal damage to vehicles.

However, Mr Hanspal described the decision of the CEC to send special observers as “unfortunate”. He said the CEC must end uncertainty at the earliest and help in the earliest counting of the votes. He alleged that the violence was engineered by the Shiromani Akali Dal to defame the “winning party”. Mr Singla described the development to send a panel of special observers to Ajnala as “decision taken in undue haste”. He said such big decisions should have been taken after consulting all the candidates.

The PPCC claimed that the heavy polling during the Ajnala byelection should not be construed as result of booth capturing. The party leaders claimed that such a heavy polling was reported in previous byelections too.

Mr Hanspal claimed that there was no incident of violence inside the polling booth. He alleged that many congressmen were injured during violence orchestrated by the SAD.


Capt’s speeches triggered violence in Ajnala, alleges Jagmeet
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 25
Senior Congress leader, Jagmeet Brar, while alleging that ‘instigative speeches' by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during the Ajnala bypoll triggered violence on the day of polling, said that he would meet the party high command and other central leaders and urge them to take necessary steps to maintain law and order in Punjab.

Not only this, he would also apprise the AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Ms Ambika Soni, Mr Moti Lal Vora, and Mr Ahmed Patel about the facts that the employment level in Punjab had been reduced to zero, foreign investment was negligible, annual agriculture growth had come down below the national growth level and public finances had come under stress in the past three years under the rule of Capt Amarinder Singh, he added.

While addressing a press conference here today, he said that he had been fighting for the issues concerning people and Punjab.

Mr Brar said that no doubt Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his associates also made instigative speeches but instead of conducting themselves sensibly a section of Congress leaders, including Capt Amarinder Singh, also did the same without bothering about the law and order situation in the state. The way the violence was promoted during the Ajnala bypoll by Congress leaders, it would reach to the village level in the coming elections, he added.

Mr Brar pointed out that what happened in Ajnala would serve as a poor example to the future generations. “People had started considering Bihar as better than Punjab as far as election violence was concerned.”

He said that as per the reports of the World Bank, the Planning Commission, and the Economic Survey, public services, including health, transport and others, and the functioning of government offices had gone from bad to worse in the past three years. Not only this, even Congressmen, including Congress ministers and MLAs, were living under pressure and fear.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh humiliated the family of late Chief Minister Beant Singh by removing Beant Singh’s son Mr Tej Parkash from the Cabinet.

He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had not been taking other party leaders in confidence while making political appointments. People belonging to Patiala had been given appointments in a large number as compared to people belonging to other areas.


Hackles up on ACRs
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
In Punjab, there is hardly any difference if an employee has an average or an adverse annual confidential report (ACR). In both cases, the effect on promotions is adverse. Rather, an employee with an average ACR “suffers more” because he is not even granted an opportunity to explain or improve his conduct.

Taking a serious view of the fact, several employees’ unions and associations have decided to launch a stir in the state. One such organisation — the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association — has threatened to organise dharnas in the districts on March 22.

Besides other things, the association members are demanding that average ACRs should “not be used as tools against granting time-scale promotions to the employees”. They are also demanding that self-appraisal forms should be handed over to the employees before filling their ACRs.

Giving details, members assert that guidelines in the matter were issued by the Punjab Government on April 17, 2000. But the effect of this is being felt by the employees now.

In a one-month notice issued to Punjab’s Secretary in the Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Department, the members assert that as of now an “average ACR is not considered fit for the grant of time scale” even though it is different from an adverse ACR .

Association president Ashok Sharma adds that the basic purpose of writing an ACR is to improve the employee’s performance, to assess his capabilities and to give him proper feedback, besides guidance for removing the defects in his work and conduct, if any.

It is essential to convey any adverse remarks to the officer so that he can make representations against such entries to the authorities concerned, Dr Sharma adds. But in case of average ACR’s, the comments are not conveyed to the officers.

As such, they are neither informed about their deficiencies nor given a chance to improve their conduct. Moreover, they are deprived of the opportunity to make representations against the remarks.

He adds that in the Army, the personnel are asked to countersign their ACRs. On the other hand, the state government employees come to know about average ACRs only when they do not get higher scales.

Referring to judgements pronounced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court from time to time, Dr Sharma says, that even the court has held that average entries are not adverse and “could not be pressed into service for not allowing the employee to cross the efficiency bar.” Otherwise also, notice of adverse remarks cannot be taken if they are not conveyed.


Adulterated milk seized
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Leave aside for a while the Indian chillies which have terrified the British. Back home in Punjab, the sale of synthetic milk having dangerous chemical substances such as urea and caustic soda has set the alarm bells ringing in the Dairy Development Department. Not only milk but even spurious desi ghee has also been seized in good quantity in Sangrur district. And there are reports of the sale of such cheese and “khoa”.

More shocking is the fact that the quality of the milk being sold to lakhs of consumers in the urban areas is, by and large, woefully substandard. During a campaign launched by the department to make people aware of the quality of milk they buy, 816 samples were drawn for testing. Of these, 65 per cent were found to be heavily adulterated with water, etc.

In most cases, cream was found separated from the milk and it had a very low fat level. These samples were tested at camps organised by the department at Fatehgarh Sahib, Kharar, Bathinda, Ludhiana and other places. About 350 lakh litres of milk is daily supplied to domestic consumers, mainly in the urban areas, by milk vendors.

First, about the milk prepared from caustic soda and urea. Seven samples of such milk were detected in Bathinda and Ludhiana. Both chemical substances can prove dangerous to the vital organs such as the kidneys of those consuming such milk.

“We have asked the Deputy Commissioner of Bathinda to trace the source of such milk and take legal action against the guilty in the Bathinda area,” said Mr D.S. Bains, Administrative Secretary of the department.

“We took the help of the Health Department, which is the authorised official agency to initiate legal action against those found selling substandard and spurious milk and milk products,” said Mr Bains. Earlier, there was an impression that such milk was finding its way to Punjab from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. But officials have now reached the conclusion that it is being prepared at certain places in Punjab itself.


Chinese firm proposes Rs 100 cr hydel projects in Punjab
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 25
Chinese company Welfar has proposed to set up hydro and thermal projects in Punjab. A team comprising the company Director, Ms Nan Xu, and five engineers today surveyed the potential of hydro power projects on the UBDC canal.

The team along with the member administration PSEB, Mr Raman Bhalla, visited the Ranjit Sagar Dam, the Madhopur head and the UBDC canal today.

Mr Bhalla, while talking to The Tribune, said that he had met the company representatives during his recent visit to China along with a delegation of the PSEB. The delegation was impressed with the low mini power station developed in China by the corporation. He had invited them to explore the potential of power projects in the state.

After exploring the potential the company proposed to spend about Rs 100 crore on various mini hydel projects in the state. The projects are likely to be taken up as joint ventures with some Indian company.

The engineers of the Chinese company, during their preliminary survey, estimated that about 100 MW power could be generated by bringing up micro-hydel projects on the UBDC canal.

They also proposed to set up a thermal plant in Punjab if the company was permitted to import coal from China. The cost of coal was very low in China. If the company was allowed import of coal it would set up a thermal plant in the state that would help bridge the gap between demand and supply of power in Punjab.

Mr Bhalla said that the he would soon facilitate the meeting of the company representatives with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The demand of power in Punjab was about 5,000 MW whereas the production was just 3,000 MW. The state was buying power at a hefty price to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

The Chief Minister was seriously taking the power projects in the state keeping in view the future demands. In this direction private investment in power production could play a major role. The Electricity Bill 2003 has created an atmosphere for private investment in the power sector. 


Police fails to arrest 3 cops
Death of scrap dealer in custody
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 25
Despite dubbing of the alleged custodial death of Satpal, a scrap dealer of Lohian, as “a grave” violation of human rights by none other than the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Jalandhar police has failed to arrest the three policemen, who had mercilessly beaten Satpal to death inside the Lohian police station in the first week of February.

Satpal was allegedly done to death by ASI Vijay Joshi, Head Constable Surjit Malik and Home Guards jawan Balkar Singh on the intervening night of February 5 and 6. All of them had fled after committing the crime. While Satpal’s death had evoked wide-spread protests by residents of the area and Dalit organisations, including the BSP, which had alleged that the crime against Dalits had risen in the state, a case under Section 302, 342 and 34 of the IPC had been registered against the three policemen, who were said to be enjoying patronage of a former Punjab minister and a senior Congress leader.

Though the family had apparently got pacified to some extent as the pressure exerted by Dalit organisations had fetched a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to them, but, residents of the area, have smelled rot in the “failure” of the Jalandhar police to arrest the three cops, who, as per words of Capt Amarinder Singh had committed a “heinous crime” against “humanity”. Residents of Lohian township have also alleged that the police not only intended to “let the accused remain out of its reach” in view of an “understanding” on the basis of its persumption that the family might not like to go further into the matter after getting the compensation and a yet-to be fulfilled promise of a government job to next of kin of the victim. The prevalent situation is also contrary to repeated assertions of Captain Amarinder Singh that the accused, “whatsoever powerful they might be” would be arrested by the Punjab police within a short time.

But, about 18 days have elapsed after the unfortunate incident and yet the accused police officials were “out of reach” of the Jalandhar police.


Descendants of Mian Mir, Nabi Khan arrive
Pawan Kumar

Wagah, February 25
“It was my earnest desire to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple whose foundation stone was laid by our forefather, Hazrat Mian Mir”, said Mr Nasin Maqdoom Sayeed Chan Pir Qadri, the 19th descendent of Mian Mir who arrived here to participate in the two-day ‘Kirtan Darbar’ being organised by International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society tomorrow at Ferozepore.

Overwhelmed after crossing over from the joint check post, he raised his hands thanking God to providing him an opportunity to visit India, especially the holy city. Sayeed Qadri has come to India for the first time. He was accompanied by Mr Zahoor Ahmad Khan, ninth descendent of Nabi Khan and Gani Khan, and Bhai Lal, descendent of Bhai Mardana.

Sayeed Chan Pir Qadri also brought along a ‘tasbi’ (beads), which was presented to Mian Mir who had the rare opportunity to serve the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. He has also brought the “pearl necklace” of Mata Ganga.

Talking to The Tribune, he said his family had a number of historical belongings of Sikh Gurus, including those owned by the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind. These include a ‘manja’ utensils, Sri Sahibs (kirpans), water pot etc. He said they had looked after these invaluable belongings with great reverence. The fifth Sikh Guru had a very close relationship with Mian Mir and used to stay with him, he said.

He lamented that a number of times he urged Sikh religious leaders visiting Pakistan to arrange for his visit to India so that he could pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. However, no one lent a helping hand, he said.

Sayeed Chan Pir said they would display these articles at the ‘Kirtan Darbar’ in Ferozepore for darshan by the Sikh Sangat in India. He said earlier he had displayed these in various countries, including England.

Mr Zahoor Ahmad Khan has brought the hand written ‘Hukumnama’ of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru given to the family of Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan. The two were responsible for saving the Guru from the Mughals by disguising him (Guru) as ‘Ucch Da Pir‘ at Machhivara, when he was surrounded by enemies. Mr Khan said as the Guru had nothing with him, he wrote the Hukumnama with his blood at that time which was kept with reverence by them. “Guru ji had written that Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan were like my sons. Any Sikh helping their family would earn his (Guru’s) blessings”.

Mr Khan,who belonged to Gurdaspur district here, said he also had the letter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which was written to Sham Singh for providing a jagir to the family members.

Bhai Lal, the 17th generation descendent of Bhai Mardana, a Muslim who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev on his journeys, also arrived with them.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the society, said all historical items would be displayed during the ‘samagam’ at Ferozepore. He said marriages of 25 couples would also be performed during ‘kirtan darbar’.


Mann flays USA for duplicity of its policy
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 25
Reacting sharply to the media reports that the USA may sell the Patriot missile system and F-16 fighter aircraft to India, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today flayed the USA for duplicity of its policy on nuclear weapons.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mann said that on one hand the USA targeted Iraq saying it had weapons of mass destruction and, on the other, it was contemplating to sell F-16 aircraft, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, to India.

He said that India and Pakistan should destroy their nuclear weapons to avert a possible nuclear war, but the USA was encouraging the use of nuclear weapons through this move.

He said that the USA should instead keep the Patriot missile system to itself and exploit it to strike down nuclear warheads in case of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. “If America intended to promote nuclear race in South Asia, then why it attacked Iraq,” he asked.

On the suspension of counting of votes in the Ajnala byelection, Mr Mann alleged that the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had blamed the police for violence during the byelection and not the DGP as he himself got him appointed. He said the police could not do anything without orders from the DGP. He said Congressmen and Akalis were working in a similar fashion these days and it had created confusion among the voters. He said SAD leaders were marrying off their daughters and sisters in the families of Congress leaders whom they were opposed to in political arena. He said Sikhs voted for the Congress in the DGPC elections and Kapurthala and Garhshankar byelections owing to this confusion.

On the Nanavati Commission report, Mr Mann said as per information available through leakages the anti-Sikh riots were carried out by criminals. He alleged that Nanavati was a relative of late Rajiv Gandhi and that was why he exonerated Rajiv Gandhi as well as the Congress. 


Aamir Khan shoots for film in Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 25
Noted actors Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan and Kiron Kher shot for a film “Rang de Basanti” in the holy city. They started their 15-day shooting schedule in and around the city and the first shots were canned at Golden temple today.

Rakesh Om Mehra of UTV productions and director of umpteen ad-films with Aamir earlier, including the famous Coca-Cola advertisement directed the pair as well as Kiron Kher in a sequence of holy dip in the sarovar of Golden Temple holding the nearby chains.

In red T-shirt and jeans with blue jacket Aamir represented a youthful look supporting short hair covered with traditional saffron ‘patka’ while Soha Ali looked stunning in a yellow and bright pink ‘salwar kameez .

Kiron Kher portraying the role of mother, looked like a Sikh women complete with kirpan by her side. They paid obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum along with three other friends working in the film.

Thereafter film shots were canned as Aamir partook langar and accepted ‘karah parsad’ at Darbar Sahib. The film crew that left the hotel at 6 am shot till sunset today. Another place where shooting took place was ‘galiara’ (corridor surrounding Golden Temple ) “Hathi Khana” was choc-a -bloc with traffic as enthusiastic crowds gathered to watch the leading pair atop building near the temple’s vicinity. Film crew vans which were parked in the narrow galiara area led to the traffic jam.

According to Bantoo Khanna, production manager of the film, the director is the maker of ‘Aks’ . Musical genius A.R. Rehman would compose music while yesteryears actress Waheeda Rehman would put in special appearance.


Punjab seeks Rs 557 crore for flood damage
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
While Punjab has not got a single penny as compensation from the Union Government’s natural calamity fund yet for the damage caused by floods in the Patiala, Sangrur and Mansa areas during the last monsoon, its Agriculture Department has assessed that hailstorms damaged crops on about 2.25 lakh acres during the first fortnight of this month in the state.

Official sources said today that the hailstorm damage on 50,000 acres to crops was above 75 per cent, while in other areas it was a bit less. The most affected areas were Malout, Sangrur, Mansa, Jhanir, Sardulgarh and certain parts of Patiala and Ludhiana districts. The exact figure regarding the loss would be available after the completion of the girdawri by Revenue Department officials.

Officials said that the compensation being offered by the Union Government for flood damage was nothing but a joke. The Centre gives Rs 2,500 per hectare as compensation in the case of fields where assured canal irrigation is above 50 per cent. And for rainfed fields, the compensation per acre is Rs 1,000.

“We told the Union Government team that visited various areas affected by floods during the monsoon last year to make a reasonable increase in the compensation,” an officer of the Punjab Government said.

He said the state government had sought compensation of Rs 557 crore for the damage to crops and pucca works because of the floods last year. Owing to the floods, a branch of the Bhakra Mainline Canal had suffered 26 breaches at various places in Patiala district. Besides, some works on the Ghaggar and the canal were also damaged. A large number of villages were flooded. Houses were damaged and a number of head of cattle had perished.

The Punjab Government has put up a proposal before the Central team, which was headed by Ms Mitali Sen Gavai, Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry, to provide funds for finding a lasting solution of the problem of floods. There is need to channelise the Ghaggar river which has been causing death and destruction in a large number of villages in the Patiala-Sangrur- Mansa belt. 


Jalandhar Civil Surgeon is PCMS body chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 25
The Jalandher Civil Surgeon, Dr Y.C. Marken, has been elected president of the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association. A release here today said Dr Marken had been unanimously nominated to the post at a general body meeting of the association held here last evening. Dr D.C. Sharma, Chemical Examiner, Punjab Government, was elected as general secretary of the association. Dr A.S. Azad SMO Bhawanigarh, was elected as vice-president, Dr J.K. Bajaj, Deputy Medical Commissioner as treasurer and Dr Rakesh Gupta, SMO Kauli as secretary (Press).

Dr Ajit Pal Singh of Bathinda, Dr Maninder Singh of Ropar, Dr Avtar Singh Jarewal of Gurdaspur, Dr Manjit Bains, Dr Dalip Kumar, Civil Surgeon Nawanshahr, Dr Nirpal Singh, Civil Surgeon Mansa, Dr G.S.Chahal, Addition Project Director AIDS Control Programme Punjab, Dr S.P. Bansal, SMO Moga, Dr Manorima, District Family Welfare Officer Ludhiana, Dr Ashok Dhingra, Assistant Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala, Dr Paramjit Singh, Assistant Civil Surgeon Hoshiarpur, and Dr Sawaran Singh Walia of ESI Hospitals, were unanimously elected as member of the executive committee.

The general body meeting passed a resolution to request the Civil Surgeons and Brewing and Disbursing Officers of the Health Department to implement the March, 2004 instructions of Punjab Government regarding the merger of 50 per cent of dearness allowance with basic pay in letter and spirit.

The house also passed a resolution to request the government to stop the practice of re-employing retired persons or making appointments on a contract basis, in the Health Department, especially the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, keeping in view the fact that there was no dearth of competent persons available in the health department.

The house further criticised the government for implicating doctors in various cases, including epidemics. It said since these diseases were essentially related to bad water supply and poor sanitation conditions for which the district administration was responsible. The municipal body and Public Health Department were also directly responsible so doctors should not be made scopegoats.


PCMS Association threatens stir
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 25
The PCMS Association Punjab has threatened a statewide stir if the state government failed to arrest the culprits involved in murderous assault on three doctors of Orthopaedic Department of the Medical College Amritsar who were allegedly pushed from the roof top by some persons agitated over the death of a patient.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, patron president and general secretary, respectively, of the PCMS Association said that it was unfortunate that even respectable citizens of the society had to resort to agitational means to seek justice for heinous crimes committed against them in the state.


51 lakh donated for tsunami victims

Jalandhar, February 25
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has appreciated the contribution made by residents of Jalandhar to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for tsunami victims.
This was disclosed by Mr Shital Vij, president of the Sri Devi Talab Temple Management Committee, who has handed over a cheque for Rs 51 lakh to the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi. The amount was collected by the Sri Devi Talab Temple Management Committee within four days even as the target was to collect the relief amount of Rs 51 lakh in a month.

“Dr Manmohan Singh was all praise for the gesture of Jalandhar residents towards the tsunami victims and said he hoped that Jalandharites would keep up the same spirit in future too,” said Mr Shital Vij.


Probe into construction of Kharar-Banur road begins
Tribune News Service

Kharar, February 25
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today started an inquiry into the construction of the Kharar-Banur road. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, had yesterday demanded an inquiry into the up gradation of the road under the NABARD scheme.

Officials of the Vigilance Bureau and the quality control wing of Public Works Department (PWD) today visited the spot and collected samples of the construction material used by the contractor.

Stating that he was appalled to see the poor state of the road between Landran and Banur, Mr Bir Devinder Singh had expressed shock that the road had been recarpeted less than two months ago but was in a state of mess. The entire topping had come off.

Over Rs 2.25 crore was used in the recarpeting of this stretch. “Where has all that money gone?” he questioned. He also pointed out that while a part of the road was still under construction, a large part that had been constructed had disintegrated.


Protected monument demolished
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 25
Ram Bagh police station, once used as horse stable of Sikh warriors during Maharaja Ranjit Singh regime, was demolished to raise a modern building today. The demolished building is in the vicinity of the only surviving Ram Bagh Gate, which was declared as "protected monument" by the Governor-in-Council on November 17, 1925, under the ancient monuments preservation Act, 1904. According to the Ancient Monuments, Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, no construction is allowed within the radius of 100 metres from the parameters of the protected site, while construction within a zone of 200 meters is to be regulated.

The heritage lovers, including Mr Charnjit Singh Gumtala of the Amritsar Vikas Manch and Mr Balvinder Singh, Reader, Guru Ramdass School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, said that the proposed new building, replacing the heritage building was in gross violation of the Acts.

Earlier, three police stations out of the four, with the same designs which dates back to Maharaja Ranjit Singh time were demolished when Mr K.P.S. Gill was the Director-General of Police. Now, much to the disappointment of the heritage lovers, the only police station of the "golden period" of Maharaja Ranjit Singh time stands demolished.


11 hurt as bus, truck collide
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 25
Eleven persons were injured, three of them seriously, in a head-on collision between a Punjab Roadways bus and a truck near Jatimgarh Bhalla village, on the Ropar-Nawanshahr road, 14 km from here this morning. The three seriously injured included drivers of the bus and the truck and they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The others have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ropar.

The mishap took place about 8.15 am when the Punjab Roadway bus (PB-12C-9818) on its way from Chandigarh to Dalhousie collided with the truck (PB-11-H-7665) coming from the opposite direction. The accident occurred when the bus driver, while overtaking another bus, hit a truck.

The three seriously injured are truck driver Jaga Singh, bus driver Kulwant Singh, and passenger Jatinder Joshi. The other injured Amardeep Singh, Prem Naryanan, Ganesh Chand, Sukhey, Sukhjinder Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, Manvir Singh and Somnath were admitted to the Civil Hospital.


Home Guards jawans seek Rs 8,000 as wages
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 25
While claiming that they had always been loyal to the Congress that promised roti, kapda and makaan, senior office -bearers of the Punjab Home Guards (Border Wing) Association last evening urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to fix Rs 8,000 as the minimum monthly wages for them.

The association, in a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister before his return to Patiala, regretted that they had not been paid an arrears of Rs 4,200 from April 1, 2001, to October 25, 2001 despite orders issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on April 15, 2004. The state Finance Department had endorsed the same on July 13, 2004.

They were yet to get border allowance for 17 months during Operation Prakaram from January 3,2002, to June 4,2003. Though the SPOs attached to the Punjab police had been paid for performing duty at the FCI godowns, the Home Guards were yet to be paid the same.

Reminding the Chief Minister that they had been serving for the past two decades with the Punjab police, the GRP, the PSEB, Waterworks, schools, colleges and sensitive places, besides going on election duty in other states, the association members said that they were paid only Rs 90 per day. It was insufficient for meeting day-to-day personal expenses even, what to talk of supporting the families.


Panel order on Dalmegh stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 25
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the operation of the February 21 order of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) restraining Mr Dalmegh Singh and Mr Major Singh from working as secretary and assistant secretary of the SGPC, respectively.

Taking up a petition filed by Mr Dalmegh Singh and Mr Major Singh challenging the validity of the interim order passed by the newly-reconstituted commission, the Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal issued notice to March 10.

In their petition, they have also alleged that the SGJC committed wilful contempt of court by issuing such an order.

The three-member SGJC had, on the very first day of joining, restrained the two from functioning for allegedly causing loss of six gold spades and silver bowls during the kar seva of the holy tank of the Golden Temple .

The case will now come up on March 10.


BKU protests against ‘loot’ of farmers by ‘arhtiyas’
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 25
Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Punjab, today staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here in favour of their demands. Addressing the protesters, the state union president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and acting president, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, alleged that ‘arhtiyas’ were taking farmers’ signature on blank papers while giving loans to them and were looting them.

They said a Kisan Panchayat would be held in Chandigarh on March 3 to chalk out an action plan in this regard. They demanded that the farmers be given 12-hour power supply daily.

They also demanded that the money paid by farmers to the electricity board and canal department in the past three years be returned with interest. They sought free power and water to the state’s farmers.

They said that the electricity board had increased the load on transformers, but was yet to replace them with those of adequate capacity. The union urged the state government to fix the rate of cane at Rs 156 per quintal, wheat at Rs 1,064 per quintal, and cotton at Rs 3,500 per quintal.

They said the loans of farmers, Dalits and farm labourers, be waived and they be given loan at the rate of 4 per cent annual interest in future.

They demanded formulation of a law under which a farmer’s land could not be auctioned to recover his loan. The union leaders also sought a compensation of Rs 12,000 per acre for the damages caused due to the recent rains and hailstorm, besides a bonus of Rs 20 to paddy growers. 


PPSC nominations
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 25
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) yesterday released the list of the successful candidate who have been nominated to the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) following reconduct of interviews of batches nominated in 1994,96,97 and 2001. The interviews were canceled after allegation of bungling during the period of former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravi Sidhu.

The successful candidate have been nominated for the post of Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) and District Development Punjab Officer (DDPO) and Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Tehsildar, and ministerial staff.

A2-1994: Vijay Sayal, Udham Singh and Gurjit Singh

A2-2001: Bhupinder Mohan Singh, Manmohan Singh

A3-1996 (ETO): Karambir Singh Maan, Ravinderpal Singh and G.S.Bahia

A3-1996 (BDPO/ DDPO): J.K.Jain, Kuldip Singh Chandi

C-1994: Paramjit Singh.

C-1996: Sukhdev Singh, Balbir Singh and Nachater Singh Brar

C-2001: Lakhmir Singh. 

Man who exposed PPSC scam fails

Patiala, February 25
The man whose complaint led to former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu being trapped red handed by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and which led to scrapping of various examinations, Excise and Taxation Officer Bhupjit Singh, has failed to be nominated to the PCS. — TNS


Duped of Rs 80,000
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 25
A case of duping two persons in the name of providing job was reported from Rampur Bilron village under Garhshankar police station on Wednesday. According to police sources, Vivek Awasthi and H. K. Chaudhry, both of Dehradun allegedly took Rs 80,000 from Mandeep Singh, son of Piara Singh of Rampur Bilron, in September, 2003, for getting him job in the Merchant Navy.

They neither got him employed nor returned his money. The police has registered a case under Section 420, IPC. 


515 blue film, pirated CDs seized
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 25
The Jalandhar police has recovered 515 blue film and pirated film CDs and DVDs from Music Paradise, a music shop running in the Model Town area.

Mr Vibhor Kumar, SHO, said the blue film and pirated film CDs were seized from the shop after a tip-off and its owner Jaspreet Singh has been arrested. “We are investigating from where the pirated and blue film CDs and DVDs were brought,” said Mr Vibhor Kumar.


4 arrested with fake VCDs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 25
The local police today arrested four persons and seized fake CDs and VCDs of a popular company and other broadcasting equipment, including a computer, a television set, etc. after a raid was conducted on the premises of a city cable operator in old bus stand area.

In a press note issued here, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said that the raid was conducted on the premises of the owner of Siti Cable, Madan Mohan. He said that four persons, Kamal, Sushil Chauhan, Amrit Kumar and Vicky, had been arrested for their alleged involvement in exhibiting the fake CDs on the cable, while its owner Madan Mohan could not be arrested so far.

A case in this connection has been registered at local police station.


Interaction meet at TIET
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 25
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), North Zone, Chandigarh, organised an industry institute interaction meet jointly with Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET), Patiala, and industrial sectors at TIET here yesterday.

The focus of this meet was to invite industries representatives to explore the possibilities for strengthening the interaction with academia. Senior officials from reputed firms like Amrit Bansapati Co Ltd, G.S. Auto International Limited, Goetze India Limited, Soynia Electronics Limited, Swaraj Mazda, Auro Spinning Mills, Parwanoo and many others attended this meet.

Dr S.C. Saxena, Director, TIET and Thapar Centre for Industrial Research and Development (TCIRD), said that Thapar Institute had experienced human resources in terms of faculty and scientists in almost all areas of engineering, technology and management. He told participants that TIET was willing to seek guidance in order to further strengthen the interaction between industry and academia.

He said that the institute could provide consultancy and other facilities in engineering design, information technology and other disciplines.

The industrial officials visited various departments, central facilities and Thapar Centre for Industrial (R&D).

They were shown state of the art and other infrastructural facilities on the Thapar Technology Campus. During this visit they interacted with the faculty and scientists of the institute and discussed various problems of industries.


Artists’ workshop inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 25
A two day exhibition cum- workshop was inaugurated by artist Prof. Balwinder Singh here today at Government Mohindra College. The workshop is being organised by the Department of Fine Arts Mohindra College, Patiala in Collaboration with Punjab Artists Society.

Dr R.K.Sharma, principal, Government Mohindra College Patiala, in his welcome address stressed that students would be of benefit to the nationally acclaimed artists who here gathered had for the workshop.

Prof J.S.Bhatia, president, Punjab Artists Society, introduced the artists. Prof Virinder Singh, Head Department of Fine Arts Mohindra College, Patiala presented a vote of thanks.

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