P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Agricultural officers to get vehicles, mobiles
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Rakhra (Patiala), March 10
Agricultural officers are set to reclaim vehicles, besides being given petrol allowances to enable them to provide extension services to farmers in the state. They may also be given mobile phones in this regard.

This announcement was made by Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperation Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa while addressing farmers at the Kisan Mela organised here today. Mr Randhawa was responding to the general feeling that agricultural officers were not able to reach out to the grassroots level in absence of these facilities.

Agricultural officers present on the occasion did not take too kindly to this being reported to the Parliamentary Secretary by the Young Farmers Association director Bhagwan Das Gupta in his speech on the occasion.

Punjab Plant Doctors Association President Inderpal Singh Sandhu, who was also present on the occasion, said in the state against the sanctioned posts of 53 additional district agricultural officers (ADAOs) only 13 had been posted. He said of these 13, nine had been posted at the block headquarters while two were posted at the district headquarters.

Mr Sandhu said AOs were hard pressed to provide extension services under such circumstances.

Earlier, Mr Gupta while speaking about the contract farming experiment launched by Punjab Food Grains Corporation said it had failed because the companies which had signed contracts with farmers got discredited when they did not buy back the produce at the contractual rates.

YFA president Jagdeep Singh Cheema said farmers of the state could go in for crop diversification. Mr Cheema said coarse rice varieties could be replaced with Basmati, which had a good export potential.

The Agro-Chemical Promotion Group, which represents the cause of pesticide companies, also spoke on the need to optimise use of pesticides. Group representative Rakesh Chitkara said there was a misconception that there was an indiscriminate use of pesticides in India, adding that India ranked 48th in pesticide usage in the world.

An agricultural exhibition was also organised and farmers were taken round the demonstration plots of the high yielding HD 2733 and HD 2643 varieties of wheat.


Punjab has lost 11,000 cr in foodgrain export: Johl
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 10
Despite the fact that the state has suffered a net loss of Rs 11,000 crore in the past nearly three years during the export of 17 million tonnes of food grain, the area under wheat-paddy cultivation has not gone down.

Dr S.S. Johl, Vice-Chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, said this on visit to Lyallpur Khalsa College here today.

He said the margin reduction of the area under paddy was negated as about the same area had now been brought under basmati production.

He pointed out that the state was spending a lot during procurements and transportation of produce to godowns. Besides, as much as Rs 500 per quintal had to be spent on the storage of foodgrain annually. Since most of the foodgrain that was exported was stored for two years, the expenses per quintal were getting doubled.

He said since the state was reeling under power shortage last season, the government had to buy electricity worth Rs 5,000 crore from other states so that paddy farmers did not suffer loss.

He said the farmers were bent on cultivating paddy as the state was not providing them the loss in profits that they were getting on the cultivation of oilseed and pulses, which were being imported by the state at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore annually.

He said had the state reduced the export by 4 million tonnes of foodgrain and distributed the same among the downtrodden, it would have still saved nearly Rs 4,000 crore. He said the amount could be used to give compensation to the farmers who had reduced paddy cultivation to sow pulses and oilseeds.

He said due to paddy cultivation, the water table was going down by an average of 52 cm every year. In the next 10 years, no water could be seen in the top 20m layer of the earth, he said.

Dr Johl apprehended that there could be “backthrow” of water, leading to waterlogging and high salinity in soil.

Appreciating the new measures of culling water being adopted in Gujarat, he said the state was using water that was 1000 years old by hydrologically measuring its age.


Khalra case: question mark on Kuldeep’s presence at ‘murder site’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
The cross-examination of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) star witness Kuldeep Singh, who had earlier deposed in a local court claiming that he was witness to the liquidation of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, ended today with the defence asking him whether there was any official record of his presence at the Jhabal police station where the 'killing' was supposed to have taken place.

Defence lawyers, during cross- examination, asked Kuldeep Singh whether he was in possession of any office order or other official record to prove that he was ever posted at the Jhabal police station in Tarn Taran Police district where he had claimed that Khalra was kept in illegal confinement after being picked up from his Kabir Park residence in Amritsar.

The lawyers also asked him whether he had any record to prove that he was ever attached to the Jhabal Station House Office as claimed by him. Kuldeep Singh replied in the negative to these questions.

Kuldeep was also asked whether he had been discarded as a witness by the CBI and whether the investigating agency had produced him again in court at the request of Mrs Paramjit Kaur Khalra, the wife of the human rights activist.

Kuldeep said he had made some statements under pressure from the accused police officials which had resulted in this state of affairs.

The witness was also asked whether his family had held a press conference to state that he had been kidnapped by members of the Khalra Action Committee.

The witness refuted this fact saying such an incident had never taken place.

The cross-examination of Kuldeep ended today.

The next date of hearing in the case had been fixed for March 16.


Liquor prices to remain more or less the same
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
A marginal increase of Rs 28 crore in excise revenue, keeping the basic quota of both Punjab medium liquor (PML) and Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) unchanged, and a slight modification in the auction procedure are the salient features of the new excise policy of Punjab approved by the Council of Ministers here today.

Liquor prices will remain more or less the same.

A spokesman of the state government said that the projected revenue from excise would go up to Rs 1508 crore from Rs 1480 crore this year. The new policy provided for the formation of mixed groups of PML and IMFL vends. Now the whole group would be put to auction instead of attaching IMFL vends at a fixed fee with the PML vends.

There was no proposal to increase the basic quota of PML, which was fixed at 480 lakh PL or to change any optional quota and conversion quota.

The sale of liquor would remain prohibited within the walled city of Amritsar and the municipal limits of Anandpur Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Chamkaur Sahib, Bhaini Sahib (Ludhiana), Kiratpur Sahib (Ropar), Ralan (Ludhiana), Khadoor Sahib and Muktsar.

The spokesman further said that 10 per cent of the auction money from PML and 16 per cent of the duty on IMF and beer would be given to the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats or Local Government or Defence Services Welfare for grants to panchayat samitis, urban local bodies and cantonment boards in lieu of panchayat samitis tax or octroi for mobilising additional funds for educational purposes, additional excise duty would be leviable on PML at the rate of Rs 3 per PL and Rs 4 per PL on IMFL and foreign liquor. In the case of beer and ready-to-drink beverages it would be Rs 2 per BL.

This duty would also be leviable on liquor sold through the CSD. There was also no proposal to increase the quota of IMFL, which had been fixed at 200 lakh PL. There would be no change in excise duty on IMFL. All auctions would be conducted under the supervision of three officers of the rank of Principal Secretary or Financial Commissioner.

The council also approved the conversion of the Punjab Value Added Tax Ordinance, 2005, into an Act through the presentation of a Bill in the coming Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha.

The council also approved the creation of the Punjab Infrastructure Fund Account out of the sale proceeds from the property transferred to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority under the Optimum Utilisation of Vacant Government Land scheme.

The council also approved the Punjab Herd Registration Bill, 2005. This legislation would be the first of its kind in the country. It would go a long way in the development of the dairy sector in the state and making it globally competitive.

Amendment to Sub-Section (1) of Section 7 of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, and the introduction of the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (Bills), 2005, to allow the establishment of private markets in the state were also cleared by the council.


Chennai to Sweden on bikes!
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 10
A history of sorts is being made, even as 12 Swedish visitors, including two women and two brothers, have undertaken the feat of riding back home to Sweden from Chennai on their Royal Enfield bikes, covering a distance of more than 12,000 km.

This is perhaps for the first time that women have undertaken such a motorcycle trip across Asia, West Asia and Europe.

The riders, however, had bitter experience of bumpy Indian roads. Mr Helge Backlund, a member of the group, said they had to acclimatise to the hot Indian weather.

They had started from Anna Square (Chennai) and covered Hyderabad-Nagpur-Agra-New Delhi and reached Amritsar today by covering 2,700 km in about 10 days.

They will cross Wagah day after tomorrow. The group members would pay obeisance at Harmandar Sahib tomorrow before leaving for Pakistan on March 12. They will then pass through Pakistan-Iran-Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungry-Slovenia-Poland- Sweden. The ride will take about 45 days.

Talking to TNS, Mr Roger Lengrenn, another rider, said he was extremely happy to visit Chennai, the home town of the legendary Royal Enfield motorcycles and visited its factory also.


Punjabi language interpreter for Rajya Sabha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
Punjabi-speaking Members of the Rajya Sabha will now be able to get their speeches interpreted in Hindi and English.

A decision has been taken to include Punjabi in the list of languages for which interpretation services are available in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Member of the Rajya Sabha, had taken up the issue of the inclusion of Punjabi in the list with the Secretary-General of the House last week.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has decided to recruit an interpreter immediately.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat will make available the services of its Punjabi interpreter on an ad hoc basis till a permanent arrangement is made.


Controversy builds up over PUDA colony
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 10
The colony being planned by Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in Sujanpur town of the district has got mired in controversy. The ACR, PUDA, Mr Vikas Garg, recently visited the area to invite objections to the proposed colony.

However, the advocate for the effected persons, Mr Ashok Prashar, pleaded before the ACR that the colony was being planned to allegedly benefit politically influential people at the cost of poor farmers.

Mr Prashar, who is also the district president of the BJP at Pathankot, while talking to The Tribune here today alleged that PUDA had acquired about 100 kanals for the colony. Interestingly, the land that has been purchased has no entry but for an old 5 feet broad and over 100-year old bridge over the UBDC canal.

The land has been acquired for the colony in two chunks. In between the two portions was the land of persons allegedly close to the Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri. The land has been left out deliberately in order to make profit after the PUDA colony on the land comes up.

In addition, PUDA has left a portion of land on which an orchard was raised by a farmer. The land was later bought by some other persons. After initially leaving the land PUDA once again started the process of acquiring land that was earlier left out at the behest of the minister, Mr Prashar alleged.

The effected farmers besides fighting the case legally would also launch an agitation against PUDA in this regard, Mr Prashar added.

Interestingly, there is not even a single PUDA authorised colony in Gurdaspur district. The only eligibility of Sujanpur first getting the PUDA was just that the area falls under the constituency of Mr Puri. Meanwhile, Mr Puri was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him on telephone.


Senior citizen’s plea to PUDA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
A senior citizen, who had deposited Rs 2.15 lakh with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) as extension fee to obtain a no objection certificate (NoC) from the authority for his house constructed in Ludhiana, is running from pillar to post for the past six months to get the money refunded.

The senior citizen, Mr B.S. Dua, who lives in Gurbaksh Colony here, had deposited Rs 1.22 lakh in December 2003 and Rs 92,930 in August 2004 to obtain the certificate so that he could dispose off his house.

Mr Dua says his tale of woe started when he approached the Ludhiana office of PUDA to obtain the certificate. He said earlier he had been allotted a piece of land in Ludhiana in 1990. He said to save himself from being penalised for non-construction on the plot, he constructed one unit on the plot, including a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. Mr Dua said the boundary wall of the house was also constructed and all necessary fittings were fixed.

Mr Dua said he also obtained water, sewerage and power connections and also informed the PUDA office in Ludhiana in November 2001 about the construction made by him. He said following this he did not receive any communication from PUDA and thought that the matter rested there. He said when he applied for the certificate in 2004, he was asked to deposit an extension fee of Rs 1.22 lakh which would cover the period till 2001, when he had constructed upon his plot. Mr Dua said though this penalty was much more than the rate applicable then, he deposited the same under protest.

The complainant said he was, however, shocked when he could not get the certificate even after depositing this penalty. He said he was told that he would have to deposit another Rs 92,930 as penalty on the plea that the construction made by him was not up to the mark. This he alleged happened because lower-level officials concerned raised objections on this issue. Mr Dua said because he wanted to dispose off his plot he paid even this sum hoping he would be able to get the amount refunded.

Mr Dua says despite meeting the PUDA Administrator in September last year and officials in Ludhiana, he could not get his money refunded. He has demanded an inquiry against PUDA officials who “forced” him to pay the extension fee.


‘Suvidha’ to redress grievances
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 10
Suvidha an alternate complaint redressal mechanism, has been launched in the Ludhiana police range to sort out the grievances of the people and build their confidence in the police administration. Under this system at tempts have been made to redress the complaints of the people in a one-day camp. The brain behind this novel scheme is Mr Prag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana Range, who has started this scheme in the police districts of Ludhiana, Jagraon, Khanna and Ropar.

According to Mr Jain, all pending complaints with the police are looked into at the camps and on-the-spot redressal is aimed at through a process of conciliatory intervention. The role of the police is facilitative. Society elders and village respectable are also associated in the endeavour.

All enquiry officers from the rank of ASI, SHO, DSP, SP and SSP are involved in the process and the presence of senior officers raises the confidence in the police functioning. Revenue officials also attend these camps to render expert opinion on land disputes. Legal opinion is given by the DDA.

Mr Jain says that the camp is also used as a forum for addressing other service-related demands of people like issuance of NOCs for visa applications, passport verification, service verifications and arms license verification. Mr Jain maintains that these public complaints pertain to various criminal and civil disputes, though a large percentage pertain to issues which technically do not fall under the purview of police jurisdiction.

The main objectives of the Suvidha scheme are time-bound and expeditious redressal of public grievances, transparency, justice to the common man and improvement in police image.

Common disputes which are addressed at these camps include matrimonial discord and marital maladjustment and demand for dowry, money transact-ions, land disputes, petty neighbourhood issues, property disputes, family disputes and cases of alleged fraud and forgery. Three camps were held at Ludhiana where 302 complaints were disposed of.


Governor should act as per Constitution: Sidhu
Tribune Reporters

Malout, March 10
The Governor of any state should act and perform duties as per the Constitution and should not allow anyone to raise a finger on his or her conduct.

Making these comments while addressing a press conference, Mr Shivender Singh Sidhu, Governor, Manipur, who visited his native village Bhai ke Kera falling in this subdivision of Muktsar district, said a Governor should maintain the dignity of his stature under all circumstances.

Mr Sidhu gave these views when he was asked about his comments over the controversy raised over the role of Governor in Jharkhand. He added that though Governors were entitled to take decisions according to their wisdom, they should take decisions in accordance with the constitutional norms.

Mr Sidhu, who laid the foundation stone of a community centre at Hathrian village of this subdivision today, pointed out that though Punjab had made significant progress in agriculture, it was laging behind in education.

He pointed out that Manipur had achieved a distinction by getting highest yield of paddy per acre in the country. He added that the farmers of Punjab should adopt agriculture-allied activities to supplement their incomes.

Earlier, he inaugurated a building of a school at the village.

ABOHAR: Dr Shivender Singh Sidhu, Governor, Manipur, said things were improving in the trouble-torn eastern state with a multi-faceted approach undertaken to solve local problems.

Dr Sidhu was here to preside over the annual prize distribution function of Bhag Singh Hayer Khalsa College for Women on Thursday. He was given a guard of honour by a contingent of the Punjab Police.

He was received by Mr Desh Deepak ADC, Mr Sudhanshu Srivastva, SSP, Mr Jaskiran Singh, SDM, and Mr Narinder Pal Singh, DSP. Mrs Harbaksh Kaur Hayer, chairperson of the college, presented him a bouquet. Ms Charanjit Kaur and Ms Geetakshi welcomed him on behalf of the staff and students.

Dr Sidhu lauded the students for their achievements in academic, cultural and sports activities.

Dr Sidhu announced a personal contribution of Rs 15,000.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Sran, secretary of the managing committee, read out the welcome address. Dr Pritam Singh Sidhu, Principal-cum-Administrator, listed the achievements made by the college. The students presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

Mr Tejwinder Singh Aulakh, Dr G.S. Chauhan and other members of the college managing committee were also present.


BSNL employees hold protest
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, March 10
Members of the United Forum for BSNL, Executives, Rajpura, organised a rally in front of the local telephone exchange today.

The protesters included employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) comprising junior telecommunication officers, subdivisional engineers and divisional engineers. They raised slogans against the management.

The members were protesting against the management for not acceding to their demands relating to promotion and other policies.

The protesters have been demanding implementation of non-post based time-bound promotions, 100 per cent weightage of service rendering to DoT, date of promotion be October 1, 2000, and onwards, no recruitment of management trainees and some others.

Mr R.S. Sharma, Mr Ram Pal, Mr M.S. Chawla and Mr Sham Sunder, leaders of the forum, alleged that improper planning and ineffective tariff schemes by the management had been causing huge losses to the BSNL. 


Traffic-aid ambulances flagged off
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 10
The Ferozepore Range IGP, Dr P.M. Das, flagged off two ambulances for traffic aid from Joginder Singh Chowk here today.

The ambulances, which have been donated by some voluntary organisations, would provide immediate relief to accident victims. One ambulance will be stationed at Chuhar Chak to cover Ludhiana-Ferozepore highway, while the other will be stationed at Panjgarain to cover Baghapurana-Kotkapura road.

Top police officials including the DIG, Mr H.S. Randhawa, and the SSP, Ms V. Neeraja, were also present on the occasion.


Punjabi Suba Morcha activists honoured
Tribune News Service

Dhanaula (Sangrur), March 10
In protest against the alleged “murder of democracy in Punjab”, MPs, MLAs, SGPC and PAC members, besides district presidents of the SAD will hold a dharna in front of Parliament on March 15.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, said not only in Punjab, but the Congress had also put democracy in danger in Goa and Jharkhand.

Mr Badal was here in connection with the death anniversary of Sant Baba Jagat Singh Dhanaula and a function organised to honour 137 persons who had made sacrifices and gone to jail during the Punjabi Suba Morcha besides five families of freedom fighters of the district.


Singla’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 10
Government employees of various departments under the banner of the Democratic Employees Front (DEF), led by its district president Swaranjit Singh, today held a march in the town, burnt the effigy of the Punjab Finance Minister in a chowk and held a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the alleged “anti-employee” statements and alleged “anti-people” policies of the Punjab and Central Governments.

Addressing the dharna, the speakers criticised Finance Minister Surinder Singla for allegedly calling the employees as “tax chor” and kamm chor”.


Boy falls into manhole, dies
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 10
A minor boy today died when he fell into an uncovered sewerage manhole in a park situated at Urban Estate (Phase II) here where he was playing cricket with his friends.

The incident occurred in the afternoon when a 10-year-old Pintoo fell into the sewerage manhole while trying to pick up a cricket ball.

The police, along with fire brigade officials, reached the spot and extricated the body from the drain. A case has been registered.


high court
Punjab CM moves HC for quashing summons
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 10
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking quashing of the summons issued to him by a Chandigarh court asking him to appear in court on March 12.

The case in which Capt Amarinder’s appearance in court was ordered pertains to a criminal complaint filed against him by Mr N.S. Minhas, the then secretary-general of the Chandigarh unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The Chief Minister was accused of having committed defamation against Shiromani Akali Dal Chief Parkash Singh Badal during the campaign for the Punjab Assembly elections.

On July 20, 2004, the Court had summoned Capt Amarinder, ordering him to be present in court on September 18. However, the Chief Minister had cited urgent official work and prayed that he be excused from personal appearance.

However, on January 15, the court had directed Capt Amarinder to appear before the court on March 12.

The Chief Minister’s petition seeing quashing of the summons is likely to be taken up by the High Court soon.


Couple jailed for forcing girls into flesh trade
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 10
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Sukhdev Singh, has sentenced a woman to life imprisonment and her husband to 10-year jail for forcing girls into flesh trade and abetting one of them to commit suicide, besides slapping a fine of Rs 5,000 each.

Sources said a case was registered against Manjula, who is a former school principal, and her husband, Sushil Kumar under Sections 306, 344, 420, 506 and 120 B of the IPC following the statement of Jasmine, a resident of Raikot.

Jasmine had alleged that the accused kept her captive from January, 1999, to March, 2000.

She stated in her complaint that she got married to a Moga resident in 1997, but her husband deserted her within a couple of years of their marriage. She approached a local municipal councillor to help her find her husband.

She met the accused at the councillor’s home. As her economic condition was weak they engaged her as domestic help in their home. Later, they forced her into flesh trade. She also alleged that the accused had pushed many girls like her in the business. She alleged that Manjula had also tried to force Navdeep Kaur into flesh trade, but she committed suicide.


Park Plaza case: judicial remand for accused
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr G.C. Garg, today remanded the accused in the Park Plaza video-filming and attempt to murder case in judicial remand till March 24.

The accused — Parminder Pohal, Raju Sahni, Sangam and Dharminder — were produced before the court this afternoon by the police. The accused remained in police custody for five days.

The prosecution again sought police remand for the accused on the ground that the matter was still under investigation. However, defence counsel opposed the contention with the plea that nothing had been recovered from the accused.

The court declined the request as the prosecution failed to show sufficient progress in investigation.


Markfed to supply Bt cotton seed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 10
About 1.5 lakh seed packets of the hybrid Bt cotton will be available in Punjab. This comes after the approval of BT cotton from the Government of India for plantation in the northern state. Bt Cotton is significant as Punjab is producing about 25 per cent of the country’s cotton.

Markfed has made arrangements to supply 1.5 lakh packets of Bollgard (Bt) cotton through its branches for the welfare of cotton growing farmers. The total requirement of BT cotton seed in Punjab was 9 lakh packets last year. Now, with the approval to BT in Punjab, the demand is likely to be near 11 lakh packets this season. The farmers are required to book with Markfed against an advance payment of Rs 500.

The Managing Director of Markfed, Mr S.S. Channy , said the total area under cotton cultivation is around 15 lakh acre. Quoting the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Mr Channy said the cultivation of Bt cotton will result in a net increase of income to farmers by Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per hectare.

Markfed would provide such varieties as RCH – 134 & MECH – 6301 & 6304. The yield will also increase by 25 per cent to 28 per cent per hectare compared to normal hybrids. Farmers of the south-western districts had moved away from cotton due to repeated failures of the crop. Now it is expected, they would return to cotton, said Mr Channy. The foremost benefit of the government approval to farmers would be that they would get genuine seeds. Farmers were already growing Bt cotton by purchasing uncertified seeds clandestinely.

Markfed has entered into an agreement with Monsanto India Limited for Bt cotton seeds.


Vigilance Bureau gets 32 computers

Chandigarh, March 10
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau is going hi-tech. For streamlining its functioning, the bureau has procured 32 computers. The machines have been installed at the bureau’s headquarters and “subordinate offices” in the districts at an estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh.

The finances have been provided by the state government through the Department of Information Technology, said the Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey.

A bureau spokesman said a local area network was also being established in the bureau to facilitate connectivity with the field offices.

He said Punjab Infotech was developing a website of the bureau. — TNS


Pregnant woman burnt alive; in-laws booked
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 10
A pregnant woman was reportedly burnt alive by her in-laws leading to her unborn child’s death at Dharamkot, near here. The woman has sustained 90 per cent burn injuries.

According to sources, the victim, Preet Kaur, who is a divorcee, got married to Maud Singh of Sherewala village a few months back. She also had a six-year-old boy from her first marriage.

She wanted to keep him along with her, but her in-laws were opposed to it. They would often pressurise her to leave her son, but she didn’t give in to their pressure. They even asked her to hand him over to an orphanage.

On Tuesday, she reportedly had a tiff with her in-laws over the matter, following which they set her ablaze. Her neighbours rushed in to help her and called her husband. Her parents admitted her to the Civil Hospital at Dharamkot.

On the basis of the statement of the victim’s father, Resham Singh, a case has been registered against her husband, Maud Singh, father-in-law, Bakshish Singh, and mother-in-law, Kashmir Kaur, under Sections 307, 498A, 315 and 34 of the IPC.


Tehsildar arrested accepting Rs 15,000 as bribe

Ferozepore, March 10
The sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau arrested the Ferozepore Tehsildar, Mr Rajeev Verma, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 in his office here today.

According to Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, SSP, Vigilance, the Tehsildar was arrested while accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 from Surjit Singh son of Karam Singh, a resident of Basti Vakilanwali in lieu of effecting a registration deed of a piece of land measuring 54 kanals and three marlas.

Mr Randhawa said the complainant had already deposited the government fee of Rs 8,700, but the Tehsildar allegedly demanded Rs 50,000 from him to get his work done. He further said that Surjit Singh paid him Rs 35,000 earlier and the balance amount of Rs 15,000 was to be paid today.

He said the Vigilance team arrested him while accepting the Rs 15,000 in the presence of government witnesses, Mr Surinderpal Singh, Agriculture Officer, and Mr Ajitpal Singh Brar, SDO PWD (B & R), and shadow witness Pratap Singh. — OC


Youth held for producing fake certificate
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 10
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested a person for producing fake Class X certificate for further studies.

Sources said the accused, Tarun Kumar, was a student of Class X at the local SD Model Senior Secondary School in 1999, but he failed in the examination. He then approached Sushil Kumar of Mohali and got a fake certificate prepared by paying him Rs 5,000. The fake certificate had the same roll number that he had in the Class X examination.

On the basis of this certificate, he took admission in Arya School and cleared the Class XI examination. His luck ran out of favour next year when he failed in the Class XII examination.

Following a tip-off, the Vigilance Bureau arrested him and registered a case against him under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC. A search for Sushil Kumar is on. 


3 held for murder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 10
The police here arrested three persons for looting and killing two persons in Mandi Gobindgarh.

The fourth gang member is already in jail. Those arrested have been identified as Devinder Kumar alias Vicky (25), resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, Dharminder Pal Singh alias Ricku (24), resident of Mandi Gobindgarh and Dalip Kumar alias Tida (26), resident of Ambey Majra. Their fourth accomplice, Hem Raj of Mandi Gobindgarh is already in Nabha Jail.

The police has recovered a stolen Maruti car (DL-2C-0503) from their possession.

Addressing a press conference here today SSP Varinder Kumar said on February 13, the Gobindgarh police had recovered two unidentified dead bodies from the focal point area of Mandi Gobindgarh. Later these dead bodies were identified to be that a truck driver Jagdish Kumar and cleaner Mohan Lal residents of Bikaner. They were bringing iron scrap from Bikaner in their truck (RJ-07J-5169) and when they stopped the truck at an octroi post all the four accused approached the truck driver and told him that they were the owners and asked him to follow their car.

The driver followed the car to an unidentified area where the driver and the cleaner were murdered.

Later they sold the scrap to a junk dealer at Gobindgarh.

The SSP said the police got some secret information about the gang and their modus operandi.

During checking of vehicles, the police got suspicious of occupants of a car (DL-2C-0503) and they were taken to police station and during interrogation they revealed their identity and disclosed their involvement in various crimes, including the double murder.

The SSP further informed that focal point was a senstive area as far as crime was concerned relating to truck drivers, so the police has decided to set up a police post there which would start functioning shortly.


2 held for selling fake gold biscuits
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 10
An Inter State gang which sold fake gold biscuits worth Rs 5.5 lakh to residents of Chaswal village in this district yesterday were nabbed by Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel at the Sirhind Railway Station.

Director General of Police (Railway) S.C. Jain said two persons — Raju Mohan Lal and Hukam Chand, both residents of Jodhpur, were arrested. He said the accused were trying to sell 4 kg of fake gold to four persons of Chaswal village who had been identified as Shingara Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Pritpal Singh and Harmel Singh.

The DGP said once the deal was finalised and the two were handed over the money, the villagers said they wanted to get the gold tested from a jeweller. On hearing this, both the persons ran away. He said a case under Sections 420 and 120 (b) of the IPC had been registered against the two accused.


GND varsity excels at youth fest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 10
Guru Nanak Dev University today annexed the Punjab State Inter-University Youth Festival Overall Trophy by winning first positions in 15 competitions, out of the total 16, held.

These competitions organised by the DPI (Colleges), Punjab, concluded here today at the local S.R. Govt College for Women.

In the festival, the university won the top slots, in 'Group Shabad', 'Geet/Gazal', 'Folk Song', Classical Vocal, Group Song, Histrionics, On-the-Spot Painting, Collage, Clay Modelling, Poster-Making, Cartooning, 'Gidha', 'Bhangra', Classical Dance and Debate.

The University secured runners-up position in one-act-play competitions.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education, presided over the concluding function and gave away the trophies and certificates to the winners.

Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, Mrs Nisha Sharad, DPI (Colleges), Punjab, and Dr (Mrs) Harpreet Daljit Singh, Principal, S.R. Govt College for Women, Amritsar, were also present on this occasion.

Earlier, the GND varsity had been adjudged the 'Best Cultural University of India' by lifting the All India Inter-University National Youth Festival Overall Trophy for the fifth consecutive time.

It bagged 'Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trophy' for winning maximum positions and also won Fine Art, Theatre and Music Trophies in this festival.


Probe ordered into doctors’ leave
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 10
A probe has been ordered into the doctors shifted to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College from Amritsar and Patiala proceeding on leave “feigning” backache.

The Director, Research and Medical Education, Dr J.S. Dalal, visited the college yesterday. He told mediepersons that a three-member panel has been formed to investigate the matter.

Most of these doctors were transferred to Faridkot in the wake of the MCI inspection that was later postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Vice-Principal, Dr Jaswant Singh, has taken over the charge of the college after the resignation of Ms Geeta Sharma earlier this week. 


Forward Block for controlled FDI in India
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 10
The central government should go for controlled Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as done by China government for the development of their country. But FDI should not be allowed in any area where national security involved including the telecom and civil aviation sector, said National Secretary of the All India Forward Block, V.P. Saini, who with other four members returned from China after six-day officials visit.

A delegation of five members include MP, Debabrata Biswas, Mr G.Devarajan, Narendranath Dey, G.R Shivashankar and Mr V.P Saini were on official visit organised by the Communist Party of China from March 2 to March 6.

“Our objective to visit China was to learn how despite having 130 crore population, China managed to go a head in development works and how it managed to score in business and other fields” said Mr Saini at a press conference this evening.

The China allowed controlled FDI in various sectors. They did not allow anyone to buy property or owned any industry to foreign national industries. They leased out property or land. After 10 years the infrastructure development the multinational companies become the property of the government.

He said that the delegation met political leaders to understand their system. What we learnt from the visit that huge population in India should not be treated as burden what it should be used as good resources to carry out development work.

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