P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Disappointment over verdict here, sigh of relief there
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Acquittal of Ripudaman Singh Malik (58) and Ajaib Singh Bagri (51) in the Kanishka bombing case has come as a disappointment not only to the families of victims but also to Justice B.N. Kirpal, a former Chief Justice of India, who headed a commission of inquiry into history’s worst-ever mass murder in the air 20 years ago.

Members of the family of Ripudaman Singh Malik and leaders of various Sikh organisations, however, heaved a sigh of relief maintaining that the verdict has vindicated their stand that Sikhs were not involved in this dastardly crime and all attempts to tarnish the image of the community have been judicially negated.

All 329 persons on board Air-India’s Flight 182, Montreal to London, were killed when a Boeing 747 aircraft exploded and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland, on June 23, 1985. A Canadian court yesterday acquitted both accused, saying the witnesses were not credible.

One of the four main suspects, Talwinder Singh Parmar of Babbar Khalsa International, was killed in an encounter with the Punjab police in 1992, while the fourth, Inderjit Singh Reyat, after confessing involvement in the crime, had turned approver in the case.

The Tribune reporters were able to track down not only some of the families of the victims in Tarn Taran, Ludhiana, Karnal and Chandigarh but also managed to speak to relatives of both Capt S.S. Bhinder, co-pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, and Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of the main suspects in the case, in his ancestral town of Ferozepore.

Five members of the family of Mr Lachman Dass of Ludhiana had died in the crash while Mr Ram Raj of Shoian village, also in Ludhiana, had lost four members of the family in the 1985 air disaster.

Mrs Amarjit Kaur Bhinder, widow of Capt S.S. Bhinder, was also disappointed over the verdict “as we expected it to be the other way round.”

Mr Kashmiri Lal Gupta (72) of Tarn Taran, who lost four members of his family in the bombing, said that the verdict was hopeless as “our last hope” of punishing the perpetrators of the crime had vanished. “The Canadian government has failed to give justice to the families who lost their near and dear ones in the crash,” he added.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, and Member of the Rajya Sabha, said the verdict had vindicated the stand of the Sikh community that it was not behind such a “dastardly act which claimed so many innocent lives”.

He said the costliest and perhaps one of the longest trials had brought to an end a concerted vilification campaign against the Sikh community. “There should be a national inquiry to find out the truth as to which forces were behind this ghastly crime,” he added.

A senior Akali leader and SGPC member, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, said the judgment in the Kanishka case by a Canadian court has come as a great relief to the Sikh community. He alleged that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy, hatched by certain Indian intelligence agencies, to defame the community.

He said a true Sikh could never think of killing innocent persons.


Re-investigate case: NRI Sabha
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 17
Shocked over the acquittal of two accused in the Kanishka tragedy by a Canadian court, the family of Sukhwinder Kaur and her two sons, who had died in the bombing in June 1985, has demanded death for perpetrators of the crime even as the NRI Sabha, Punjab, has sought re-investigation in the case.

After a 19-month-long trial in Canada, a Vancouver-based court yesterday acquitted Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, the prime accused in the Kanishka bomb blast case, saying that sufficient proof could not be provided by the prosecution.

“Oh God! The killers should be hanged for they had taken away our innocent children forever. No other measure can give me solace.

All I want is that the killers should be hanged,” says 80-year-old Nasib Kaur of Bara Pind, whose, 36-year-old daughter-in-law Sukhwinder Kaur, 11-year grand-daughter Parminder Kaur and nine-year-old grandson Kuldip Singh had died in the accident. “The tragedy changed our life forever as I was waiting for my children when I received the rude shock.

While my elder son had died in an accident in Vancouver in 1975, my younger son lost his life in an accident 15 days after the Kanishka tragedy,” rues Ms Nasib Kaur, who, is putting up in her house along with her daughter-in-law, Ms Gurdev Kaur.

Ms Gurdev Kaur, however, differed a bit as she felt that since tragedy had already bruised their lives, nothing much could be changed even if the killers were hanged.

“Saza mile na mile, ine saalan baad ki farak painda hai,” feels Gurdev Kaur.

Meanwhile, Mr Amarjit Samra, patron of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, has observed that a re-investigation into the case could provide justice to families of victims.

“They (the court) must have given the decision on the basis of investigation and documents. But at the same time, the fact remains that somebody has done it. So, whoever, has done it should be given severe punishment.

If it has not been done by the two accused, efforts should be made to find out the real culprits,” said Mr Samra. He, however, said families of victims were still awaiting justice.


Ripudaman a kind-hearted soul, says aunt
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, March 17
Though relatives of those killed in a crash of Air-India flight Kanishka on June 23, 1985, are shocked over the Canadian court's decision to acquit the two under trials, relatives and friends of one of the prime accused, Ripudaman Singh Malik, have welcomed the judgement and heaved a sigh of relief.

At his ancestral house here on 73, Jhoke Road, his

aged aunt, Ms. Surinder Kaur, expressing contentment over the court's decision, said she knew from the very beginning that Ripudaman could not be a party to such a ghastly act. She the only member of the Malik family living in the cantonment, remembers Ripudaman as a kind-hearted soul since his childhood and could never imagine him triggering a mid-air blast.

Ridiculing the charges made against him by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ( RCMP), she asked, "How Ripudaman could think of bombing an airbus that was piloted by a Sikh, Capt. S.S. Bhinder?"

Although she admitted that Ripudaman had been extremely upset following Operation Bluestar carried out by the Army at Golden Temple, Amritsar in 1984, she said she never imagine her nephew could conspire to kill innocent passengers and now, after the court's decision, the truth was before everyone's eye.

Supporting her point, she said Ripudaman was a regular donor to gurdwaras and the poor. Ms Surinder Kaur said Ripudaman and her younger son had left abroad in early 1970s.

Mr Anil Monga, a local businessman, said Ripudaman had become religious minded after moving to Vancouver.


Villagers see pressure behind verdict
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha (Ludhiana), March 17
Twenty years may be too long a period for people here to remember the Kanishka air crash. But for Lachhman Das, who lost five members of his family, it has been a haunting nightmare eversince. The acquittal of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, the two main accused in the Kanishka bombing case, has come as a rude shock to the people here in general and the families of the victims in particular. There is anger, exasperation and even disbelief as to “how could the Canadian system of justice fail to procure enough evidence to convict them.”

Eighty-year-old Lachhman Das, who has been living in Canada since 1984, said, his faith in the Canadian Government had got shaken. He lost his wife Naseeb Kaur, daughter Bhagwanti and three grandchildren Sudesh, Bobby and Sunil in the tragedy. “Even the conviction would not have meant much to me as my world collapsed there and then, but punishment “to the guilty” could have been some consolation”, he told The Tribune at the residence of his younger daughter Prem Lata here today.

Lachhman Das originally belonged to the nearby Mohi village. Mohi, he said, was the worst hit in the Kanishka tragedy as it lost 10 persons. Besides five members of his family, four members of the family of his friend Pandit Ram Lal of the same village also died in the same crash. Pandit Ram Lal lost his son Devinder, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in the tragedy. Now, he is dead and the rest of his family has moved out of Mohi. Besides, there was another family which lost its son-in-law in the same crash.

At Mohi village, people expressed dismay and disgust over the acquittal of the accused. Rajinder Singh, a neighbour of Pandit Ram Lal, said they had great expectations from the Canadian system of justice. “But the system seems to have succumbed to some pressure”, he argued while adding, “Ripudaman is a multi-millionaire and must have saved himself with his resources, while the Canadian Government could not gather evidence against him”. He observed that the whole world knew as to who were the culprits and at the end of the day both of them were acquitted. 


Cong releases Badal’s picture with kidnapping accused
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 17
To counter the ‘propaganda’ that senior Congress leaders had close links with Kulwant Singh Kanta, the kingpin in the kidnapping of Prabir Singh, a student of local DAV school, the Congress today released pictures of the main accused (Kanta), with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, here today.

Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a Congress MLA and Mr Harminder Singh Gill, General Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, claimed that the picture was taken at the ancestral house of Mr Badal at Badal village during the previous Lok Sabha election in 1999 where Kanta had been invited by the Akalis to disrupt the elections in which Congress nominee Jagmit Singh Brar had won against Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. They also claimed that Congress party had procured three video films, which would prove beyond doubt that Badal had close links with Kanta and other persons of shady character.

Mr Dimpa announced that he would resign as an MLA if the photographs and video films were proved to be fake. When asked if Congress party had negatives of the pictures in its possession, Mr Dimpa quipped that video films would be played at press conferences, which would be arranged in the next few days.

Earlier, it was alleged that Kanta had close links with Congress leaders, including Mr Dimpa and Mr Ashwani Sekhri.

Mr Dimpa and Mr Gill alleged that Mr Jagdish Singh Walia, a former Chairman of Markfed and a senior Akali leader had attended the bhog ceremony of Bikramjit Singh, alias Fauji, and an accomplice of Kanta who was killed during cross firing. Mr Walia also gave Rs 30,000 to the family of the deceased, they alleged.

Mr Dimpa sought a CBI inquiry into the connections of Kanta with politicians. He said he would immediately resign as an MLA if anybody would prove that Kanta or any of the abductors of Prabir had any connection with him. He said, taking moral responsibility, Mr Badal should quit politics as it had been established that he had links with the ‘anti-social’ elements.


PSEB likely to register loss of Rs 1,100 cr
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 17
Increased spending on power supply is set to take the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) back to its loss-making days after a brief euphoria when the board had recorded a marginal profit of Rs 175 crore. The board was likely to record a loss of Rs 1100 crore this financial year due to extraordinary power purchases as well as fall in its projected revenue.

The PSEB had seen a record jump in the money spent on power purchase. The board, which had recorded power purchase of around Rs 1600 crore last year, would be purchasing nearly Rs 3,000 crore worth of power during this financial year. Paradoxically even though the board has distributed more energy, its revenue had remained nearly at last year’s figures of Rs 6,000.

This, sources said, was because the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Authority had not accepted the hike in rates proposed by the board had and decreased rates in all categories of consumers. This, the sources said, had placed the board in a very precarious position as it might be forced to even further jack up its power purchase in the forthcoming paddy season.

The board had this year not only been hit by increased power purchases but also a decrease in hydel power generation. Power from hydel generation had decreased by more than 24 million units this year with the board getting less power from the Bhakra project as well as its own hydel projects.

The sources said the situation was such that no amount of efficiency parameters, including reduction in the transmission and distribution losses, could offset the loss, likely to be suffered by purchasing power. They said the process to improve the transmission and distribution system by going in for a number of sub-stations and grid sub-stations would also eat into the revenue of the board in a short time.

The financial position of the board could also have an impact on the proposed unbundling exercise. The Engineers Association of the Board had moved a proposal to separate only the transmission wing of the board. Its general secretary H.S. Bedi, while talking to TNS, said the board should not go ahead with a dismantling process, recommended two years back, but see the ground realities as well as example of other states like Maharashtra who had not dismantled the distribution wing of its power utility.

Mr Bedi said the board should continue to keep the distribution and generation wings of the board together to ensure maximum coordination between both departments during the coming paddy season. He claimed that creating distribution companies at this stage would be suicidal as the necessary infrastructure had not been established at the grass root level. He said though the state government had already been granted an extension to complete the unbundling process till June this year, another extension could be easily availed to ensure any unbundling exercise did not have an adverse impact on the PSEB. 


NTT trainees being taken for a ride
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 17
In the absence of any regulatory authority to keep track of the functioning of various centres providing a one-year certificate course in nursery teachers’ training (NTT), thousands of students opting for the course every year are being taken for a ride.

Since most of the centres have been established on the campuses of Guru Nanak Dev University-affiliated colleges, the trainees are taking admission without even enquiring about the recognition and affiliation aspects of the course. None of such courses being conducted in the city has been recognised by any regulatory authority, including the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) or the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT).

The fact that the trainees taking courses from such centres are considered ineligible for any appointments conducted by the state or Central Government-run schools comes to their knowledge only when they appear for such interviews. The students taking courses from such unrecognised bodies are also likely to be considered ineligible for the posts likely to come up for pre-primary classes that would be opened in 500 rural schools of the state.

Ms Jagjeet Kaur, an NTT passout from a centre set up at the Lyallpur Khalsa College for Women, realised this when she recently went to the District Employment Exchange office in the city. “I was told that I could not be registered for employment. I made all efforts to convince the officer that I had duly completed the course and even presented her my certificate but she told me to produce a recognition number of the All-India Women Educational and Training Society, New Delhi, provided to it by any government for running the course,” she said.

The student said she went back to the college and was simply told that the society concerned headed by a Kanpur-based person was registered with the Government of Delhi instead of any specific government-run educational body. Her father, Mr Sukhdev Singh, said he felt cheated because a signboard put outside the college read that the course was instead registered with the Government of India.

When The Tribune contacted the Principal, Ms Arvind Arora, she was caught unawares as she said she was not sure as to what kind of recognition the course had. Interestingly, teachers taking the classes said the course was being run in affiliation with the NCERT. But a copy of the prospectus available from the college admission counter clearly mentions that the course was just being run on the NCERT pattern, indicating that the course was not affiliated to the council but was simply following its pattern.

Similarly, the Banarasi Dass Arya College for Women in Jalandhar Cantonment is offering the same course under the Mother Teresa School of Teachers’ Education based in Chandigarh. The centre is even taking students who are just Class X pass. This course also does not have any recognition from any regulatory authority.

Mr S.S. Randhawa, Director, SCERT, confirmed that any trainee taking any kind of course from such societies or trust would be considered incapable of taking any kind of state government jobs. 


Municipal Council chief resigns
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, March 17
Following sharp differences with the local MLA, Ms Razia Sultana, the president of the local Municipal Council, Ms Bholi Ismail, today resigned from the post.

She submitted her resignation to Mr Pappu Kalyan, vice-president of the council.

According to information, Ms Bholi Ismail has resigned from the post due to a controversy involving a private telephone company which is laying the cable in the town.

When contacted, Mr Kalyan confirmed the resignation submitted to him by Ms Bholi Ismail.

He said a meeting of the council had been convened for March 21 in which the resignation of Ms Bholi Ismail would be discussed.


high court
Notice issued to Alam in Razia Sultana case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 17
A Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice SK Mittal today issued notice to the Punjab Additional Director-General of Police Mohd Izhar Alam and Chandigarh Inspector-General of Police on the petition filed by Malerkotla MLA Razia Sultana.

The MLA, who recently resigned from the post of Chairperson of the Punjab Wakf Board, has prayed that the investigation of her complaint that she was kept locked inside her Chandigarh office by cops to prevent her from attending a meeting of the board be handed over to the CBI.

Ms Sultana is the wife of Mr Mohammad Mustafa, Inspector-General of Police. Her locking, she had alleged, was the handiwork of ADGP Alam, with whom she has a running feud over the control of the Wakf Board. Mr Alam is the official member of the board.

Stating that though she has complained to everybody who matters but no action has been initiated against the accused, Ms Sultana has prayed that the investigation be handed over to the CBI.

On her petition, the High Court had also stayed the operation of the decisions taken by the members of the Punjab Wakf Board at a meeting held on February 11.

Appeal dismissed

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Ms Justice Nirmal Yadav has dismissed the criminal appeal filed by some accused in a murder case, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar.

However, while upholding the life sentence awarded to Chhinda Singh and Santa Singh, the Bench acquitted the other accused, Partap Singh, Jugraj Singh, and Bhag Singh.

All of them had appealed against the judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar, on December 6, 1996.

As per the prosecution version, Santa Singh and his accomplices attacked Dal Singh, his son, Jaswant Singh, and his wife with sharp-edged weapons following a quarrel over seepage of water from the field of Jaswant Singh into the field of Santa Singh.

While Dal Singh succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, Jaswant and his mother survived. A case was later registered at Valtoha police station.

However, the Bench held that the prosecution version with regard to Partap, Jugraj and Bhag Singh appeared to be manipulated. Hence, they were acquitted of the charge.

But, the Bench dismissed the appeal of Santa Singh and Chhinda and upheld their sentence.


Punjab Cong leaders to meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
A meeting of members of the Council of Ministers, MPs, MLAs, office-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), the heads of front organisations and cells, the presidents of District Congress Committees and members of the Pradesh Congress Committee will be held at Punjab Congress Bhavan, Chandigarh, tomorrow.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, PPCC, will preside over the meeting and Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, will be the chief guest.

According to Mr Raj Pal Singh, general secretary, media wing, PPCC, the successful completion of three years of Congress rule in the state and the victory of the party in the Ajnala byelection, will be the main items in the agenda.


Murder witness seeks security
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 17
Charanjit, alias Budha, of Nawan Pind Naicha, village near Goraya in Phillaur subdivision, who was an eyewitness of a mysterious murder of a woman, Satwinder Kaur, about 12 years ago, was allegedly being threatened by the killers, including the husband of the deceased.

Charanjit, who had knocked the doors of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission said here today that two accused, Surinder Paul Singh, husband of the deceased, and his brother, Karnail Chand, were released on bail and were threatening him with dire consequences for informing the police about the murder. He demanded security for his family.

Charanjit had helped the Phillaur police solve the murder case of the woman whose decomposed body was exhumed on October 2,2004, from the cremation ground of the village in the presence of the Tehsildar and the Medical Officer.


Villagers oppose bundh proposal
Our Correspondent

Rajada (Amritsar), March 17
Sarpanches, panches and nambardars of seven border villages in the Ajnala-Ramdass sector today rose against the proposal of the government to construct a bundh on the Ravi.

The villages are Darya Mussa, Malakpur, Langarpura, Kot Razada, Dangai, Bajwa and Dujjowal close to Ramdass.

They threatened to launch an agitation if the government tried to implement the proposal which, they said, could destroy their livelihood.

In a statement, they said, about 1,000 acres would be rendered useless and uncultivable if the government went ahead with the proposal.

They alleged that the government was trying to suppress farmers and was undertaking proposals that would badly affect them.

In a missive addressed to the President, the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the Defence Ministry, they alleged that a team from the waterworks wing had arrived in their villages on March 15 and taken 'false' thumb prints of some illiterate villagers on blank papers in order to pursue the proposal.


Two children buried alive in wall collapse

Amritsar, March 17
Two teenaged children were buried alive when the boundary wall of a house collapsed in Heer village, near here, after high-velocity winds lashed the city and its surrounding areas today.

An official report said that the deceased, aged 13 and 14 years, had taken shelter behind the wall when high-intensity winds accompanied with rain swept across the country side. The wall caved in burying the children. They are yet to be identified. — UNI


2 buffaloes die in Nadiali village
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 17
Two buffaloes of a resident of Nadiali village died today while seven of them are reported to be in a serious condition.

It is learnt that two buffaloes of Mr Naseeb Singh died this morning. A veterinary officer from Bakarpur village was called in this regard. It is learnt that even the Deputy Director, Ropar, Dr Ram Singh, visited the village.

A postmortem had been carried on the dead animals and samples of 
fodder collected for 

From the preliminary investigations, it is suspected that the buffaloes died due to food poisoning. It is learnt that Naseeb Singh had got a bottle of some insecticide in his house which started leaking.

He reportedly kept the bottle in the room where fodder had been stored. It is suspected that the insecticide got mixed with the fodder which was today given to the buffaloes.


F&C panel okays Rs 4.10 cr for development works
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 17
Development activity in the city has been given another fillip with the Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation passing estimates of development works worth Rs 4.10 crore.

The estimates were passed at a meeting of the committee which was chaired by Mayor Vishnu Sharma yesterday. The committee gave the green signal to as many as 81 development works at the meeting.

The meeting also passed a proposal to allocate Rs 2 lakh each to every Councillor to enable him to conduct development works in his ward according to his discretion. This demand had earlier been voiced by the councillors who had claimed that they needed this money so that they could ensure urgent needs of their ward could be taken care of immediately. The councillors had claimed that sometimes delay in the conduct of development works had an adverse impact on the corporation as well as the ruling party and that they should be allocated some funds to cater to emergency needs of their wards. The proposal was supported by the Mayor.

Among the major development works which were passed today included the proposal to broaden all roads in the Sanauri Adda area besides broadening of roads from Railway Crossing Number 22 to 23 and 23 to 24. The road going from Railway Crossing number 23 to Model Town, Dhillon Marg, Raghubir Marg and also from Number 23 to Bachhittar Nagar and Jagdish Ashram.

In another major development, the road from Leela Bhawan Chowk to Amar hospital will be four laned.

The corporation has also passed the estimate to remake the portion of the Sanaur road and Seona road which were dug up to lay sewerage in colonies in the area. The meeting also passed a proposal to spend another Rs 50 lakh to provide street lights in areas.

Mayor Vishnu Sharma said that it would be ensured that all development works were completed in time. He said within one week tenders would be floated for all the works and that the work would start by April.


Vets put off protest

Mohali, March 17
The Punjab State Veterinary Officer Association has decided to postpone the protest that was to be held in Chandigarh on March 22 in connection with the long-pending demands. The decision to postpone the dharna, which was to be held in front of the office of the Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry, was taken at a meeting of the executive body of the association held here today.

Mr Ashok Sharma, president of the association, said the protest had been postponed because its representatives had been called for talks by the government in connection with its demands on March 21. OC


Classical vocal musician dead
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 17
Classical vocal musician, Pt Jawaharlal Sharma, died at his Triveni Chowk residence today.

Pt Sharma (73), was to be honoured by Pracheen Kala Kendra during the Bhaskar Rao Sangeet Sammelan scheduled to be held at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh, from March 18 to 20. His son Vijay Sharma is a sitar player.

Pt Sharma took forward the legacy of the Patiala Gharana. He learnt the finer points of vocal singing from Pt Girdhari Lal. Pt Sharma’s disciples include singers like Gurdas Mann, Jaspal Jassi, Preet Mohinder Tiwari and Shilpy Walia.

His cremation which was held at the cremation ground on the Rajpura road in the evening. It was largely attended.


Rs 12.50 cr to be spent on roads
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 17
The state government has agreed to release Rs 12.50 crore for the carpeting and widening of all the link and internal roads of the various subdivision of the district including Ropar city, Anandpur Sahib, Nurpurbedi and also Garshankar. The maintenance would take seven months this was disclosed by the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, while conducting the grievance committee with officers and MLAs of the district here this afternoon.

The committee has also decided to launch a drive to make the subdivision Mohali as beautiful as Chandigarh. The committee directed the official concerned to remove encroachments in the sub-division. The officials have also been directed to find out possible way to stop the cattle menace in Mohali.

In a major decision favouring the farmers of the district, the committee had decided that no phariwala would be allowed in Apni Mandi, held in various parts of the district. Only farmers would be allowed to sell their vegetables and other items.

Giving details about other decision taken in the meeting Mr Johar who is also the chairman of the district grievance committee informed that the work at bypass in Morinda town which had been halted for the past sometime following a dispute with the contractor would soon start. The construction work of the bridge in Balongi would also be completed within a month, he added.

In addition MLA from Anandpur Sahib, Mr Ramesh Dutt, today highlighted a case of sexual exploitation of a local girl. Mr Sharma alleged that the girl had been sexually exploited by one of the municipal councillors on the pretext of marrying her later. But he had refused to marry with the victim. The chairman of the grievance committee Mr Johar, said the case should be brought to notice of the police and victim could file a case to get justice.

Besides several officers of the districts, the meeting was attending by the MLA, Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh Ramesh Dutt Sharma, an MLA, Anandpur Sahib, Satwant Kaur, MLA, Chamkaur Sahib, Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain 
and the SSP, Mr Surinder Pal Singh.


Grants worth Rs 70 lakh distributed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 17
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar, MLA, distributed grants totalling more than Rs 70 lakh to the panchayats of a number of villages at a function held here today.

The grants had been given for the drainage of dirty water from villages, construction of school buildings, repair of a primary health centre, construction of a dharamshala, etc.

The MLA had laid the foundation stone of a tubewell in Manakpur Kallar village yesterday to be constructed at a cost of Rs 25.71 lakh. The residents of the village would be able to get 70 litres of water per head once the tubewell becomes functional.


3 ‘travel agents’ booked
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 17
The district police registered two separate cases against three “travel agents” for cheating people in the name of sending them abroad on Tuesday.

According to police sources, Hariana police station registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC against Paramjit Singh of Dhaliwal on the complaint of Gopal Singh of Sakhupur. In his complaint Gopal Singh alleged that Paramjit Singh took Rs 2.90 lakh from him for sending his son abroad. But he neither sent his son nor returned the money.

Similarly, Dasuya police station, on the complaint of Danesh Kumar, a local resident, registered a case under the same section against Sukh Ram of Mehatpur and Sharanjit of Buta Pind. In his complaint, he alleged that Sukh Ram and Sharanjit took Rs 25,000 and a passport of his close relative for sending him abroad. But they neither fulfilled their promise nor returned the money.


Drunken husband kills wife
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 17
A drunken husband allegedly strangulated his wife to death as she tried to stop him from consuming liquor here late last night.

Ranjit Kaur, a resident of Dhariwal Bet at Dhilwan, was done to death by her husband, Swaran Singh, when she stopped him from consuming more liquor.

In a case lodged by her elder son, Balwinder Singh, it has been stated that his mother, who had gone to complain about her husband’s behaviour with her uncle living closeby, was beaten up before she was strangled by his father just outside the house of her uncle.

A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC at Dhilwan police station.


Man kills father over property dispute
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 17
In a bizarre incident, Jalandhar Singh, a resident of Chak Bakhtu village of this district, allegedly killed his father, Balvir Singh, over a property dispute.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said deceased Balvir Singh, father of two sons, was residing with a son, Mr Rajwinder Singh, while the accused was living separately.

He said the accused demanded his share of property from his father while the deceased was relucant to divide the property.

On March 14, Jalandhar Singh came to the house of his brother and had a clash with his father.

When the latter denied the division of property, the accused got agitated and started beating his father with a heavy wooden stick.

The badly injured, Balvir Singh, was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to the injuries today, he said.

A case in this connection was earlier registered under Section 307 of the IPC but after the death of Balvir Singh it was converted into an offence of murder under Section 302 of IPC at the Nathana police station.


Two bodies found
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 17
The body of an unidentified man was found lying at Bathinda-Dabwali rail line near Naruana railway station in this district today.

The dead body, which was cut into pieces, has been kept for identification.

In another incident, volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa today fished out the body of an woman of unidentified about 55 years of age from the Kot Bhai distributory, 20 km from here.

The body was shifted to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination 


Gang of car thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 17
The district police has busted a gang of car thieves by arresting its four members and recovering four cars.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, said at a press conference here today, that on a tip-off, a police team led by Mr Balbir Singh Khaira, DSP, Budladha, arrested Harpreet Singh, Sukhjit Singh alias Seetu, Makhan Singh, and Sukhchain Singh, alias Chaina. Another member of the gang, Sanjeev Kumar, alias Kaka, absconded with a stolen car. He said that four cars, which were stolen from Ludhiana, Patiala and Ambala, were recovered from their possession.

Mr Cheema said that the modus operandi of this gang was that they used to lift parked cars by using duplicate keys and sell them off in Haryana. He added that the gang was also involved in looting cash and gold ornaments worth about Rs 90,000 from Mr Sanjeev Kumar, a local goldsmit.

Mr Cheema said that besides this, the police had recovered 65.2 kg of poppy husk and arrested three persons under the NDPS Act at different police stations in the district during the past four days.


Army jawan commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 17
An army jawan allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at Dhadha Sanora village, near here yesterday.

The deceased, Surjit Singh, was posted at Pathankot and had come to his home in Dhadha Sanora on March 11, police sources said, adding that the body was found in a sugarcane field in Gelna village. The police also recovered an empty bottle of liquor and some tablets of celphos from near the body. The jawan was reportedly absent from his battalion and was under tension after returning home.


Balongi fraud case accused held
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 17
Sukhjit Singh Randhawa, one of the tour accused in the Balongi fraud case, was arrested by the police. He was produced in a court here today and remanded in police custody for two days.

According to the police, Sukhjit Singh was arrested from near the bus stand in Balongi village yesterday. Sukhjit Singh, who hails from Gurdaspur district and is a resident of Mohali, had been at large ever since the police raided the business venue of Jai Laxmi Super Agency in November which was giving lucrative offers to the people.

Major Singh, the houseowner in whose premises the business was being run, had taken anticipatory bail after a case was registered in this regard. The two other suspects are still absconding.

A case had been registered by the Kharar police against Balwinder Singh, alias, Bahadur Singh, Jeet Singh, Sukhjit Singh Randhawa and Major Singh under Section 420 of the IPC and 4/5 of the Chit Fund Act, 1982. The four persons had allegedly duped people of lakhs of rupees.


Test date clash worries students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 17
Students preparing for pre-medical entrance tests conducted by various government and private medical colleges are in a state of confusion as two or more colleges are holding the test on the same day.

Students usually apply for admission to more than one institute. The clash of dates may cost them a chance to appear in other centres for which they have applied.

According to information, Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS) and private colleges in Maharashtra have announced May 1 as the date for test. Similarly, entrance tests of Mahatama Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, Maharashtra, and Bhartiya Vidhya Peeth are scheduled to be held on April 17. Also, Uttaranchal CPET and tests conducted by the Jawaharlal Institute of Post-Graduate, Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, and St. John Medical College, Bangalore, would be held on May 29.

Dr Ashok Nandwani, a complainant, said every year students face a similar problem. But this year, dates of entrance tests being conducted by eight colleges were going to clash.

Students and their parents have urged the government, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other authorities concerned to find a solution to the problem.

He said authorities and various medical institutes should coordinate through the IMA so that such a problem did not arise in the future.


Welfare schemes have become ornamental, says expert
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 17
The Department of Public Administration of Punjabi University today organised a ICSSR-sponsored regional seminar on “Comparative evaluation of welfare programmes in north-western regions” on the campus here today. Prof S.L. Goel, emeritus fellow, UGC inaugurated the seminar and Dr. S.P. Verma, Professor, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi delivered the key-note address. Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Mr Swarn Singh Boparai presided over the seminar.

In his inaugural address Prof S.L. Goel remarked that the welfare of the state was the most important foundation of any community. Dr Goel lamented that welfare schemes in our country had only been ornamental. He also requested the scholars to give input to the government for formulation of better welfare schemes for the under-privileged and deprived sections of the society. Talking about the work done by the NGOs’ Dr Goel pointed out that a number of NGOs were bogus and a mean to siphon off money provided by the government agencies for the welfare of common people.

Dr S.P. Verma while delivering the keynote address stressed that the government should make reappraisal of the various welfare schemes. He expressed shock that our founding fathers had a vision to see India and emerging star of democracy and to be role model for the other countries to follow but we could not score the expected results. In his holistic approach towards welfare programmes run by central and state governments he pointed out that constitutional amendments and stringent rules would be of little help for making the welfare schemes successful and that only dedicated efforts would bear fruit.

In his presidential address Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai stated that vital element of sincerity was missing which was a basic reason for the failure of welfare schemes in our country. He further said that Punjabi University had come forward for providing technical and professional education to the residents of the area through its neighbourhood campuses. He narrated that establishment of Yadvindra College of Engineering at Talwandi Sabo and the plans to start Medical College in Ratwara Sahib, starting a Regional Centre at Mansa and another engineering college in Rampura Phul were some of the steps in this direction.

Earlier, Dr S.S. Tiwana, Professor and Head, while welcoming the guests introduced the theme of the seminar. Prof S.P.S. Virdi, Dean Academic Affairs, proposed a vote of thanks. Punjabi University Registrar Dr Param Bakhshish Singh was also present.


140 papers presented at symposium
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 17
The third day of international symposium on Nuclear and Radiochemistry (NUCAR-2005) was devoted to the advances in Radio Analytical Chemistry (RA) and the Chemistry of Fission and Activation Products (CFA). In Radio Analytical Chemistry, research papers were read by Professor A. Chatt from Canada, Dr R. Greenberg, the USA, and Professor H.A. Das, the Netherlands.

These scientists highlighted versatility of neutron activation analysis and provided information on new innovations on the use of this technique for speciation of toxic metals. They contributed research papers in Radio Analytical Chemistry.

In the afternoon, more than 140 research papers were presented in poster session. The papers presented were on three major subjects - Chemistry of Actinides, Application or Radioisotopes and Radio Analytical Chemistry, Result on Chemistry of Uranium, Plutonium, Neptunium etc. in Nuclear Fuels, Fuel Reprocessing and Waste Management has been reported.


National Techfair opens today
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 17
National Annual Technical Function (Techfair 2005) of Baba Banda Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, will be inaugurated tomorrow.

Dr D.S. Hira said this year more than 600 students from 47 different colleges from all over the country will be participating in the two-day technical fair.

He said leading The Tribune will be the media sponsor of Techfair 2005 the other sponsors include Reliance Infocom, Career Launcher, Chandigarh, UNICON Industries, Jalandhar and Mukat Pipes, Rajpura.

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