P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong leaders play different tunes at Hola Mohalla
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 25
The second day of the Hola Mohalla festival here today witnessed Congress rift coming to the fore with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, blasting his party man Jagmeet Singh Brar as a “ person of no worth”.

The CM also challenged Mr Parkash Singh Badal to prove allegations of corruption against him and refused to conduct an enquiry against the auction of liquor vends in Ludhiana.

The Congress emerged ahead of other political parties in pulling crowds and roped in professional singers for the purpose so as to ensure heavy turnout at a conference to be addressed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Speaking on the allegations of corruption levelled against the Congress by Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, Capt Amarinder Singh said, “Mr Brar is not a man worth anything. So I do not want to comment on him. Any course of action against him will be taken by the All India Congress Committee.”

The rift between the Congress also came to the fore when the MLA, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, a close associate of Bhattal group, boycotted the conference and left the stage within a few minutes of the Chief Minister’s arrival.

The reason for the MLA leaving the conference was that he was not given a chance to address the gathering despite being a local MLA.

He even took up the matter with the Chief Minister before leaving the conference but the CM advised him to discuss the matter later.

"I have not been given time to address my people. I belong to this place and people of the area have voted for me. I am left with not option but leave the venue. I cannot tolerate such embracement," said Mr Sharma.

Later, when the CM was asked about the episode, he clarified that Mr Sharma’s name was in the list to address the people to express thanks, but he had left earlier.

Earlier, addressing the gathering the Chief Minister ruled out any enquiry against the auction of liquor vends held in Ludhiana recently stating that he would resign if Mr Badal proved charges of corruption against him or any of his ministers.

He was reacting to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s demand of the CBI enquiry against auction of the liquor vends alleging corruption.

Highlighting the government schemes for the development of the state, he said the state would soon have 27 mega-projects to provide employment to 1.5 lakhs youths in the state.

He said the work on the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Project had remained stalled for a long time as the Badal government had left only Rs 46 crore for the project completion.

He announced on this occasion a project to provide water supply and sewerage plant in each village of Anandpur Sahib within a year.

"The Congress government has purchased Rs 1600-crore worth of power to meet the demands of the people of state last financial year.

The government has also decided to spend Rs 2400 crore to purchase power from various sources to meet the demand in the coming year,” he said.

“Besides it, the government has also decided to set up a hydel and a gas plant to become self reliant in power generation," he said.

The President of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr H.S. Hanspal, expressed his desire that the political conferences should not be organised on such occasions.


Badal for probe into liquor vend auctions
Kiran Deep
Tribune News service

Anandpur Sahib, March 25
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today alleged that due to poor functioning of state CM, corruption had increased manifold in every department of the government. Most of the ministers in his Cabinet were favouring their relations in various government deals, he added while addressing a gathering in the stage set up by the SAD (Badal) in the main ground of Gurdwara Shri Takht Keshgarh Sahib.

He demanded a CBI inquiry into the recent liquor vend auctions held in Ludhiana. He alleged that the Captain's government had favoured particular parties in the auction. He said with a view to hiding the information, even the Press had been restricted to cover the auction.

Levelling allegations of indifferent attitude of the Central Government, Mr Badal said: "We had high expectations from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for Punjab. But he appears to be powerless as the Congress party is run by Ms Sonia Gandhi".

He said like the power sector, the Congress government had also been in the process to of privatising, educational institutes and hospitals. The move of the government was against thousands of teachers and students. The scheme was launched by the SAD (Badal) when it was in power to support the institutions to come out of the financial crisis and to improve the education standards in the state.

Others who addressed the gathering included the SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and the former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

From left: Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur at Anandpur Sahib on Friday.
From left: Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur at Anandpur Sahib on Friday.

On a separate stage set up by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Dal Khalsa, both welcomed the US decision for revoking Narendra Modi’s visa. Meanwhile, three political parties, including SAD (1920), SAD (Longowal), Lok Bhalai Party said Punjab needed a third front to represent the problems of the people of the state.

Leaders of these parties claimed that the people of the state got rid of both the Congress and the SAD and they needed new form to represent them.

The Dal Khalsa also demanded immediate release of Sikh detainees in Punjab and elsewhere who had been languishing in various jails for the last two decades.

Taking a dig at both the Akali Dal and the Congress for being non-serious and biased in resolving Sikh issues, speakers of the conference condemned Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh for sidelining the issue of Sikh detainees by succumbing to the pressure of Hindu forces and bureaucracy.


Pingalwara inmates play Holi
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 25
More than 100 inmates (men, women and children) of the local Pingalwara, a branch of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Amritsar, this afternoon enjoyed the happiest moments of their life when they celebrated Holi with great fervour on the Pingalwara campus here by applying colours on one another.

The inmates even did not spare Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, as they also applied colours on her to express their happiness on the occasion of the festival of colours. They also applied colours on Mr Rajesh Kumar, in charge of the local Pingalwara, and other employees.

The inmates, with coloured faces, danced on the tunes of Punjabi songs.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Cheema, Chief Administrator of the local Pingalwara, said the event had been organised on the Pingalwara campus for the first time in five years to provide the mentally challenged, deaf and dumb and other patients of the Pingalwara happiness.


48 cases against Bathinda cops in past 3 years
Chander Prakash

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
A few years ago, an inspector of the Punjab Police, posted in this district, hit the headlines after he was booked for allegedly kidnapping and subsequently beating up of a dhaba owner in the Barnala police district area.

Another inspector of the Punjab Police, identified as Budh Singh, created a record of sorts after he was booked in number of criminal cases in Bathinda and Mansa district and was subsequently convicted in some of them.

Yet another inspector of the Punjab Police, Jagdish Bhola, who had also earned a name for himself in the sports arena, was once caught by the local police for his alleged involvement in narcotics smuggling.

In the January 2005, two police officials identified as Sub-Inspector Devinder Kumar and Assistant Sub- Inspector Harbans Singh along with others were booked for their alleged involvement in an attempt to murder in a local hotel.

These were not the isolated incidents as crime by the men in uniform had been witnessing an upward trend in this district for the past many years.

Not only a section of the Punjab Police personnel had been allegedly committing crimes, the wards of a section of them had also been allegedly indulging in them.

The data collected by the Tribune revealed that in the past three years and three months, as many as 48 cases had been registered against policemen ranging from the constable to inspector level in this district.

The cases had been registered for their alleged involvement in various crimes including corruption, eve teasing, forcible taking of possession of property, theft, attempt to murder, smuggling of narcotics, committing atrocities on innocent people and snatching of articles. The wards of a section of policemen had been found involved in heinous crimes like murder.

The data revealed that while 15 cases against policemen had been registered in 2003, the number came down to 13 in year 2004.

However, the start of the current year brought a bad name for the police administration after three cases were registered against the police officials in different police stations in January 2005 for their alleged involvement in various crimes.

Interestingly, a section of police officials, who had been facing serious allegations against them, had been manning the important posts in Bathinda and various posts of the state.

Police sources pointed out that in a number of cases registered against the policemen, the complainant had reached a compromise with the accused and in certain cases the FIRs registered against them had been cancelled after the offence alleged against them was not found true.


Parliamentary Secretaries face moral question
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
A big moral question has arisen for three Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) and 10 Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) of Punjab. For what work will they be accepting salaries allowances and perks meant for the office held by them when they will be officially performing no duty.

The state government has issued orders that henceforth no file should be routed through them.

It has withdrawn its order through which administrative secretaries were directed to route their files through the CPS and PS. The government has been virtually treating the CPS and the PS as Ministers. They have been allotted rooms in the Civil Secretariat and also given official vehicles which are otherwise given to Cabinet and other Ministers.

When they will no more be dealing with files and writing notes on these or taking any other executive decisions officially, on what moral ground will they be accepting the salaries and perks given to them in the capacity of their being CPS and PS? “It is a big moral issue for them”, said a senior minister.

The appointments of the PS and the powers given to them were challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court a few months ago. There are reports that the powers to deal with files have been withdrawn from the CPS and the PS after seeking legal opinion, including that of the state Law Department

Most of those who have been appointed CPS and PS were earlier dropped from the Council of ministers in order to conform to the provisions of the 91st Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment had limited the size of the Council of ministers to 15 per cent of the total strength of the MLAs.

Some months ago The Tribune had done stories quoting legal experts, including a former Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Punjab, Mr Umrao Singh, as saying that the CPS and the PS, could not be given powers to deal with files. Giving of these powers was also opposed by top bureaucrats of the state immediately after the appointment of the CPS and the PS. However, as the government was under pressure at that time, it had to give these powers.

A Parliamentary Secretary, who was earlier a minister, said that “they will collectively take up the issue with regard to the withdrawal of powers from them with the Chief Minister and request him to find a solution”. He said there were many other tasks which could be performed by the CPS and the PS.

For instance, he said, they could monitor the performance of offices of various departments in the districts and also hold review meetings with senior officers in the rural areas. They could also play the role of coordinators between the state government and people and help implement the decisions taken at the district level.

But a question arises. With what authority will they convene review meetings and act as coordinators? They will not be legally entitled to do so and also will be unable to put anything in this connection in writing. Moreover, they will have no powers to punish any employee for not obeying their orders.

There are 11 members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board who are also getting salary and perks without recruiting a single employee during the past two years.

How the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will deal these issues remains to be seen.


Two Punjabis among Lebanon blast victims
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 25
Two Punjabi youths, who were working as labourers in Lebanon for the past 10 years and had just returned from India after spending their holidays, perished in a bomb blast in Lebanon on Wednesday night.

Surjit Singh alias Gola (32) and Sukhwinder Singh (37), both hailing from Tahli village in Begowal sub-division, had left home on March 21 and had just reached Lebanon before the tragedy struck.

The two had been working in Lebanon as labourers for the past nearly 10 years. They had come home to spend three months with their families.

A pall of gloom descended on the house as soon as the news reached them. The family members, who had been expecting a phone call from them, were shocked to know as they were informed by one of their friends that the duo had died in the blast.

Ms Balwinder Kaur, wife of Surjit Singh, was too traumatised to talk to anyone.

The grief-stricken father, Mr Tarsem Singh, said, "My son used to come to India after every two years. Had we known that he would never come back, we would not have allowed him to go there."

He further said that it was a cruel stroke of fate that took his son away.

The family had been into agriculture and the two brothers of Surjit Singh were also into the agri-business that was not fetching them much to bear the household expenses.

"But ever since Surjit Singh went to Lebanon and started doing some labour work, there had been a ray of hope", said the father.

Sukhwinder's family was also into farming. His mother Dalip Kaur said her son was their only hope and he too had left her in despair. His wife Paramjit Kaur sat quietly beside her with three kids.

The relatives and friends of the two said they had been told that their bodies were in such a bad shape that they could not be brought here.

Mr Rattan Singh Talwin, a writer and a neighbour, said their cremation would have taken place today and someone from the family would go to Lebanon soon to get back their mortal remains.


Punjabi youths top deportees’ list
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 25
How quest of greener pastures abroad remains unending for Punjabi youths is evident from the fact that Punjab has highest number of deportees from Canada, the USA, the UK and other gulf countries.

Interestingly, the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here has to work overtime to furnish details of the large number of deportees Punjab, to the Ministry of External Affairs.

At the same time, the RPO authorities have disposed of thousands of cases of passport-seekers which have been pending with them for one or the other reason during a special drive lauched for one-time settlement of such cases.

The huge number of deportees shows that tales of tragedies and loot by unscrupulous travel agents have failed to dim the spirits of the Punjabi youths who want to land on “foren” lands at any risk and cost.

Sources in the RPO reveal that between 5000 to 7000 Punjabi youths are being deported from various countries every year, which, in turn, makes it clear that many Punjabis, particularly youths of Doaba, are using fraudulent means for landing in countries like the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia and the Gulf and even to acquire their passports.

The highest-ever penalty of Rs 81.5 lakh, which was recovered by the RPO authorities during 2004, proves that a large number of persons in Doaba region have been furnishing wrong information to obtain their passports.

What is stunning is that except for Punjab no other state has such a large number of deportees.

Mr Amarjit Singh, Regional Passport Officer (RPO), reveals that his office has to work overtime for clearance of those cases of deportees which have been pending for 4-5 years.

“Since the number of such cases has been high, we are launching a special drive to deal with the same. Even during the past about one-and-a-half year, we have furnished a list of more than 500 cases to the Ministry.”

“Similarly, the RPO has received 19,101 references of the passport holders from various Passport Issuing Authorities (PIAs), such as embassies or missions abroad and Regional Passport Offices in the country during the last year, and each of 18, 361 of such references have been disposed off within a period of 5-7 days,” he says.

He adds that the RPO had issued 1, 66,425 passports during the year 2004 and it has been the highest ever number of passports issued during the past five years.

According to Mr Amarjit Singh, during an ongoing special drive, about 10,000 of those cases have been disposed of which have been pending for 6 to 7 years for the one or other reason, such as lack of furnishing of full or proper details.


Sharifpura — a bond between Amritsar, Lahore
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25
The densely populated Sharifpura locality here has become an inseparable link between Lahore and Amritsar, considered as twin cities before Partition.

After Ms Neelima Nahid Durrani, first woman cop of Pakistan, who had visited Sharifpura to locate her ancestral house, it is now the turn of Mr Dawood Bhatty, a resident of Lahore, and his wife, Mahvash, to visit Mehboob Manzil, a 75-year-old house owned by his grandfather, in the locality. Much to the joy of the couple, the house was intact. Though their son, Usman Dawood, a student of the Lahore University of Management Science who visited Amritsar three months ago, failed to locate Mehboob Manzil, the couple made painstaking efforts to find the building. The house is named after Mr Bhatty’s grandfather, Dr Mehboob Elahi. Mr Bhatty said that his father, Qazi Mohammad Hanif, had been the Deputy Collector (Canals) and was a known figure of Amritsar, especially Sharifpura.

The Bhatty couple was happy to see that the name plate with Mehboob Manzil written on it atop the building was intact. They took a number of photographs of the house, now owned by Dr A.S. Virk, Professor of Physics at a local college. Professor Virk has now moved to his newly constructed house in Ranjit Avenue. The couple wants the old house to be preserved.

Talking to TNS, Mr Bhatty said that his mother, Ms Zaffar Jehan (91), had insisted that he should bring some photographs of the house. He said she had given him certain details on the basis of which they were able to locate the house. He said Mr Kuldip Singh helped him find the building.

Earlier, it was a memorable day when Ms Durrani happened to meet retired Indian cop-turned-poet Satpal ‘Soni’during her visit to Sharifpura. Ms Durrani, who has written many Urdu and Punjabi books of poetry is at present the Senior Superintendent of Police at the Training School’s special branch in Lahore. She was on a four-day visit to the city to participate in a two-day national conference on “Media and Punjabi Language” in Amritsar. Hers was a chance meeting with Satpal (80), a resident of Sharifpura, who originally belonged to Sialkot in Pakistan. Ms Durrani was trying to find her ancestral house that belonged to her grandfather. It was the poet in Ms Durrani and Satpal that resulted in instant chemistry. Both started reciting poetry right in the middle of the road, much to the amusement of passersby. 


Poll funds: submit account, Bhullar tells Jagmeet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
After his statement against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the senior Congress leader, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, has come under attack by party leaders and activists.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Bhullar, who was the official candidate of the Congress from the Zira constituency in the last Assembly elections, said today that he and certain members of panchayats and municipal committees of the Zira area had collected about Rs 32 lakh for Mr Brar during the last Lok Sabha elections which he contested as the Congress candidate from the Ferozepore constituency.

Mr Bhullar said the money was given to Mr Brar to spend in the poll. But after losing the election, he neither submitted any account nor returned the money to the party.

Mr Bhullar said that as the Zira assembly segment was a part of the Ferozepore parliamentary constituency, he did election work for Mr Brar and helped him a lot. “Even the police got after me and registered cases”, Mr Bhullar said. But Mr Brar proved a thankless politician.” He forgot not only me but also other Congress activists who had worked hard for him in the Lok Sabha elections”, said Mr Bhullar.

Mr Bhullar urged the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to ask Mr Brar to submit the account with regard to the Ferozepore Lok Sabha poll to the party immediately. “I will also meet Mr Hanspal in this connection.” The party should conduct an inquiry into the matter, he said.


PUDA plot allottees forced to build houses using generator sets
Varinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 25
Hundreds of allottees of plots in the PUDA “developed” Chhotti Baradari, phase II, are forced to live or construct their houses with the help of diesel generators. Electricity has been eluding them due to the alleged laxity on the part of the PUDA authorities to complete the laying of power supply lines in the area.

PUDA has not only received full and final payment of the plots, but has also charged development fees.

The allottees have been shuttling between the PUDA and Punjab State Electricity Board offices with pleas to initiate power supply in the area. But the government-run organisations seem to be wanting to wash their hands off.

PUDA had allotted 8, 10, 12 and 20 kanal plots to about 350 allottees in February 2004. Possession of plots in the “developed” colony was also accorded to them last year, but no power supply has been given to them till date.

Fed up with the indifference on the part of the PUDA authorities, and to some extent the PSEB authorities, most of the allottees have either completed or are still constructing their houses with the help of generator sets.

“This has put an additional burden on the allottees, who have already paid the high reserve price of Rs 1.38 lakh per marla for their plots. All our requests to the PUDA authorities to facilitate power supply in the area have fallen on deaf ears, and so is the case of the PSEB. When we approach the PSEB authorities, they say that they can not provide power to us as there is some tiff going on between the PUDA and the PSEB officials. What is our fault and where we should go?” lamented Mr Gurmit Monty Sehgal, an allottee.

The PUDA authorities have laid power supply lines in some parts of the colony and installed one or two transformers, but these have been lying non-functional. Despite the absence of power supply, some allottees, who have already constructed their houses, have moved in and are relying on generator sets for power supply to their houses.

Mr J.D. Chawla, another allottee, said he had to construct his house with the help of a rented generator, which cost him between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12000 per month.

When contacted Mr B.S. Bajwa, Estate Officer, said the allottees would be getting power supply within two months. “We are going to initiate work on a war footing to ensure that power supply is ensured within two months,” Mr Bajwa assured.


IVF expert blames infertility on late marriage
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR: Late marriage, pollution, tuberculosis and drug abuse are the major infertility in India, where the success rate of the In-vitro causes for fertilisation (IVF) technique of human reproduction was just 30-35 per cent and not 70-80 per cent, as claimed by some IVF centers.

These revelations were made by Dr Hrishikesh Pai, a renowned Mumbai-based IVF and gynaecological expert, who has been trained in assisted reproduction at Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, and in Brussels, where the world’s first test-tube baby was produced.

In an interview with The Tribune, Dr Pai, who was accompanied by Dr Amarjeet Singh, a local leading sonologist, observed: “Increasing tendency among people to go in for marriage at a later stage of life is adversely affecting their reproduction capacity. Even though the capacity of reproduction nosedives after the age of 30 among women, it is noted that a large number of men and women go in for marriage after 30 for career reasons. Pre-marital sex and resultant termination of unexpected pregnancies and tuberculosis are other major factors that are affecting reproduction in a big way. Despite all precautions and widespread medication, tuberculosis is spreading its tentacles in north India as its drug resistance has increased”.

Drug abuse was also affecting the capacity to produce children in north India as it could lead to impotency and infertility straightway.”

“Pollution has its own drastic effect on the human reproduction system. A recent study conducted in France has revealed that there has been a major decrease in the male sperm count among humans after the 1940s and this was primarily due to pollutants found in air, food and milk,” observed Dr Pai. Dr Pai observed that 70-80 per cent of the infertility cases could be treated by a common gynaecologist and there was no need for people to rush to an IVF specialist unless recommended so.

He also informed that new norms, envisaged by the ICMR, were in the offing for the regulation of IVF centers in India. “Under the forthcoming guidelines, making claims by centers will be banned,” Dr Pai said. He observed that human reproduction centres of north India were far more aggressive than the ones in western India as far as marketing was concerned.


Punjab loses key economist
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Dr K.C. SinghalChandigarh, March 25
Dr K.C. Singhal, Professor of International Economics and Marketing at the Punjab School of Management Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, was a fine human being and dedicated socio-political activist. He died on March 23 at the PGI from a liver ailment.

Known for his frank and liberal views, Dr Singhal served as the president and the secretary of the Punjabi University Teachers Association and also as the convener of the Punjab Federation of University Teachers Association. He not only fought for the cause of the teaching community but also for students. He never shied away from taking on the establishment, if he felt that it was working against academic interests and the student community. Because of his efforts, the system of rotation of headship was introduced in Punjabi University.

A secular man to the core, he was the founder-president of the Association for Democratic Rights and through his initiative several studies regarding disasters such as the Bhopal gas tragedy were published. He also got documents published with regard to the police firing on workers of the Abohar spinning mill and the situation relating to human rights in Punjab which was presented at the Vienna United Nations Convention on Human Rights in 1992. He also published a document, “Who are guilty?” about the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other parts of the country.

Dean of the Faculty of Business Studies from 1998 to 2000, Dr Singhal also did consultancy projects for BHEL and the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Ministry of Home, Government of India.

He won the gold medal for securing the first position in MA (Economics) and was also the winner of N.V. Gadgil Prize in Punjabi University. Dr Singhal got a pre-Ph.D grade “A” from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was a merit scholarship holder right up to graduation which he did with mathematics and economics.

The author of 40 research papers in journals of international and national repute, including Economic and Political Weekly and The Indian Economic Journal, Dr Singhal hailed from Lehragaga town in Sangrur district. He was 58. He was a son-in-law of the late Sher Singh Gupta, a well-known journalist.

The family, friends and well-wishers will gather to pay tributes to him in Model Town, Patiala, on Sunday.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs Parveen Singhal, who is also a teacher at Punjabi University, and a son and daughter.


Army ‘putting pressure’ to withdraw molestation case
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 25
The tussle between the Army authorities and residents of Hariyal village took a new turn today. The Army authorities in a press note maintained that the jawan involved in an eve-teasing incident on March 23, was a victim of mistaken identity.

He was returning home when a few unidentified men attacked him in a drunken state. They beat him up, alleging that he was involved in eve-teased a villager. The father of the jawan tried to help him but the villagers kept beating him up.

The jawan escaped from the custody of the villagers and reported the matter to his superiors. Later, some Army personnel came to assess the situation. However, some “drunken” villagers entered into an argument, leading to a scuffle. Both parties sustained injuries, the Army authorities said.

Mr Parveen Minhas, a Shiv Sena leader who took up the cause of the villagers, however, said the police and the Army authorities were putting pressure on them to withdraw the case of attempt to rape against the jawan.

One of the persons beaten up by the Army personnel had sustained serious injuries, he said, alleging that doctors were not conducting his medical due to pressure from the Army.

Highly-placed sources in the police said both Army and civilians took law into their hands. Civilians as well as the jawan involved in the incident had sustained serious injuries, they said.


Pak boy lands up in juvenile jail
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 25
A Pakistani boy has landed up in the local juvenile jail after he made an attempt to cross over to his country through the Wagah border.

Sources said that 14-year-old Muneer had come to India along with his uncle about eight years back. He was staying with his grandparents in New Delhi after his uncle deserted him. He had nowhere to go after his grandparents died a couple of months back.

Later, he thought of crossing over to Pakistan along with cricket fans who had come to India to watch Indo-Pak cricket matches, but he could not escape from the prying eyes of the immigration authorities.

He was arrested on the Wagah border for trying to cross the border without valid documents. He was booked under the Passport Act, 1920, and sent to Faridkot Juvenile Jail.

The local juvenile jail already has two Pakistani boys who are awaiting their identification from the Government of Pakistan. One of these boys doesn’t even remember his address, which is hampering his immigration.


Threat to disrupt Samjhauta Express
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25
The All-India Hindu Shiv Sena president, Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, has threatened to disrupt the ‘Samjhauta Express’ and the Lahore-Delhi bus service, if the Pakistan failed to tender unconditional apology for the missile attack on the ancient Hinglaj temple in Baluchistan district of Pakistan.

In a press statement issued here today, he said that it was a matter of great concern that even the Government of India had not condemned the attack though the matter was raised by the BJP on the floor of Parliament yesterday. He asked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to immediately take up the issue with his Pakistan’s counterpart to safeguard the interests of minorities there.


Missing boy found in Tarn Taran
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 25
The Kapurthala police had traced a 12-year-old student Jagjit Singh alias Jagga, missing since March 8, and restored him to his parents today, according to Kapurthala SSP Arun Pal Singh.

Mr Baldev Singh, father of the boy, informed SHO Gurwinder Singh, Sultanpur Lodhi police station, on March 11 that his son was missing.

Baldev Singh, resident of Passan Kadeem village, told police that his son had gone with his foster father Mohinder Singh for vending milk at Pardeep Kumar Sweet Shop in Sultanpur Lodhi.

Since March 8 was holiday in the boys’ Govt. Middle School, he went with his foster father.

However, the boy gave a slip to Mohinder Singh and disappeared.

Police parties along with boy's father Baldev Singh and foster father Mohinder Singh also left for various religious places/deras in search of the boy.

The boy was found in the langar hall of Baba Budha Sahib gurdwara Tarn Taran, yesterday. The police brought the boy and restored him to his foster father Mohinder Singh.


Saini’s replacement criticised
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, March 25
Members of the Saini Community of the area last evening at a meeting criticised replacing of Mr Sukhbir Singh Saini, from the chairmanship of Land Mortgage Bank, Dera Bassi.

The directors of the bank had nominated Mr Prem Chand Bijanpur, as a chairman of the bank. The members of the community said that Mr Saini was replaced unlawfully. 

Mr Jaswant Singh Saini, president Northern India Saini Cultural Society, Chandigarh, Mr Gurnam Singh Saini, vice-president all India Saini Samaj, Mr Shiv Lal Dehar, president Saini Sabha, Banur, Mr Bakshish Singh Saini, a former vice-president, Municipal Council, Dera Bassi, Mr Lal Singh Saini, sarpanch, of Pandwala village and other leaders of Saini Community.


636 Jharkhand Police recruits pass out
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 25
Mr D. R. Bhatti, Director-General of Police Armed Battalion, Jalandhar, took the march past salute from 636 recruits of the Jharkhand Armed Police in an impressive passing-out parade at Jahan Khelan, 8 km from here, today.

Mr Bhatti appreciated Mr R. S. Khatra, Commandant, PRTC, for completing nine months’ training of these recruits within six months.

He honoured Constables Vikas Kumar, Parvez Aalam and Rajesh Kumar for securing the first, second and third positions in this training, respectively. Constable Ramesh Kumar was adjudged first in the outdoor subject and Constable Karam Chand in indoor subject. Constable Navshad Ali had secured the first position in shooting.


Traffic panels mooted

Jalandhar, March 25
With a view to tackling the traffic problems in the state, district traffic assistance, awareness and advisory committees have been envisaged by the Punjab Police.

This was stated by Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, Jalandhar, who was addressing participants of a workshop on “Role of education in road safety”, organised by the Punjab Police at Red Cross Bhavan here yesterday.

A large number of members of NGOs, transport unions, students of schools and colleges and SSPs of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, and Nawanshahr participated. — TNS


7 held for ‘sale’ of girls

Gurdaspur, March 25
The police has busted an inter-state racket involving trafficking of girls. Seven persons, including four women, have been arrested in this connection. Batala police district chief Jitendra Jain said the accused brought girls from Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir and sold them in Punjab for Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.

One such girl, Savita, who was brought from Rajasthan and sold here for Rs 10,000, was also recovered from the house of one Lakhbir Singh in Khanpiara village in Gurdaspur district. Lakhbir Singh had been arrested.

Following a tip-off, the police nabbed three accused — Gurnam Singh, Gurmej Singh and Dalbir Kaur of Qadian. Their interrogation led to the arrest of three others — Balwinder Kaur of Qadian, Nirmal Kaur and Ranjit Kaur of Jalandhar district.

The accused confessed that they had brought a girl from Jammu and sold her for Rs 15,000 in Buttar Kalan village. Another girl was sold in Bharath village for Rs 25,000, the police said.

The police chief said the accused kept the girls with them before finding a bachelor who found it difficult to get married. — UNI


Skeletons of missing couple found
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 25
The skeletons of a Ludhiana-based couple that had been missing since March last year were found from the Rajasthan Feeder twin canal, near Ghal Khurd village on the Ferozepore-Moga GT Road here today.

According to police sources, the water level in the Rajasthan Feeder has been brought down for the maintenance and repair of the canal. As soon as the water level receded to bare minimum, a rusted Maruti Esteem car was found lying on the bed on the canal.

Two skeletons were found inside the car.

The police got into action and traced the identity of the victims with the help of laminated papers of the car kept in the glove box. Some jewellery items were also found.

The investigation revealed that the skeletons were of Sanjay and Monica, a Ludhiana-based couple that had allegedly gone missing a month after their wedding.

Sanjay, son of Lal Chand, was a resident of Sanjay Gandhi Colony in Ludhiana and a report regarding the disappearance of the couple had been lodged at Ludhiana, on March 19, 2004.


Body found
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 25
Volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa recovered body of an unidentified man from Pathrala village in this district on Friday. The volunteers shifted the dead body to the local Civil Hospital for post mortem. The deceased, who suffered a head injury, could not be identified. A case in this connection had been registered at Sangat police station.


4 book for fraud

Moga, March 25
Four persons have been booked for duping a resident of Lopo village of Rs 2.6 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

The complainant, Javseer Singh said the accused demanded Rs 2.6 lakh for the task and also asked him to give him his passport and some documents.

The police has registered a case of fraud against Jasvinder Singh, Sarvjeet Kaur, Mandeep Singh and Hardeep Singh. — TNS


‘Check patenting’ of Indian traditional products
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 25
Prof Inder Nath Mukharjee of South Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, here today said that for protecting traditional Indian knowledge there was a need to provide it international recognition so that other countries could be prevented from granting patents to products based on traditional knowledge.

He said this while delivering the keynote address on protecting traditional knowledge in the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement at the inaugural function of the two-day national seminar on intellectual property rights being held at Guru Nanak Dev University here.

It was organised by the Punjab School of Economics of the university and sponsored by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Professor Mukharjee said granting of patents to inventions related to traditional knowledge using turmeric, neem and others amounted to bio-piracy. He stated that under the WTO TRIPS Agreement India was obliged to legislate a major change in its domestic patent law so that protection was provided not just to the holders of specified processes but to products as well.

He further said India had passed the protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer's Rights Act in 2001, but the same had not been notified.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, deplored the politicisation of the Patent Amendment Bill. Dr Sharanjit S. Dhillon, director of the seminar, introduced the theme of the seminar.

Earlier, Dr Paramjeet Kaur Dhindsa, Professor and head, Punjab School of Economics, welcomed the delegates and detailed the achievements of Punjab School of Economics.

About 50 delegates from different parts of the country are participating in the seminar.

Dr Somesh Kumar Mathur, Dr Sharanjit S. Dhillon, Dr Swapan Bhatacharya, Dr Shabnamjit Singh, Dr Paramjit K. Dhindsa, Dr P. K. Chaubey, Dr Rajender Kumar, Dr P.J. Phillips, Dr Virender Koundal, Dr Parminder Singh, Ms Sawraj Kaur and Dr Harpreet Singh Matharu presented the research papers today.


DAV engg institute to set up research centre
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 25
The DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology (DAVIET) has collaborated with R.Soft, USA, a global giant in the field of fibre optic communications, to establish ultra-modern transmission research centre here.

The Director-cum-Principal of the institute, Prof C.L. Kochher, stated that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect had been signed with R.Soft at the firm’s New York headquarters recently.

“R Soft has provided us with latest photonics software. A batch of senior faculty members of the institute, including the head of the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering, Prof. Manoj Kumar, has undergone training at the company’s New York headquarters recently,” Prof Kochher, who headed the faculty delegation to the USA, added.

Elaborating further on the benefits of the having the centre, the Director said, “It will help in promoting research work in optical communications in this part of the country. It will enable data communication at a very fast rate, particularly in telecommunication industry.”

Prof Kochher further said the institute had tied up with Columbia University for research collaboration related to high-speed optical interconnects and networks, system design and sharing of research outcome.

The institute has also tied up with Compu-AIRE Inc. at Whittier, California, to provide six months industrial training to the students of mechanical, electrical and electronics streams. “The students selected for the training programme will be offered a stipend while outstanding performers will be recruited in the USA,” the Director added.


Busy govt teachers go easy on students
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 25
The state government’s plan to boost admissions in government schools and check the outflow of students towards private schools seems to be going haywire as a majority of the teachers are busy in board exams, leaving students admitted to class VI to fend for themselves.

According to sources, the District Education Officers of the state had issued stern orders, directing school teachers to kick off admission process for classes I-VI from March 1 under the government programme to admit maximum students.

Interestingly, even the class V students, who have recently appeared for exams, have not been spared. They have been given provisional admissions to class VI, but with the teachers busy in exams there is hardly anybody to attend them in the schools.

Sources said as per norms neither any record of these students could be maintained nor their fee could be registered in records. They said earlier the DPI office had stated that the result of class V would be declared before the start of admission process, but it got delayed due to some reason.

The Tribune visited some of the government schools in the district and found that the teachers have admitted about 40-60 students in class VI in many schools. A majority of these students are also attending the schools daily, but sans teacher.

The district secretary of the Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singh, said the Education Department had failed to declare class V result in time and the department officials went ahead with the admission process without a proper plan.

The District Education Officer, Mr Ashok Sachdeva, said provisional admissions have been made to Class VI only to keep the students engaged in studies. He said their regular admission would take place on March 31.


Redesign curricula, says Fulbright specialist
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 25
Mr Satpal S. Sidhu, Dean of Professional Technical Education, Bellingham Technical College (BTC), Washington and a Fulbright Senior Specialist, today underlined the need for redesigning the curricula to suit a demand-driven workforce education.

Talking to this correspondent at Palahi village, Mr Sidhu said rather than a “stagnant curricula” there should be a lifelong learning education and upgradation of teaching skills so that the youths could be gainfully employed. Degrees or divisions did not matter as much as the skills of employment did, he added.

Mr Sidhu was on a six-week visit to this area to assess and develop a workforce education model with emphasis on industry collaboration in consultation with industry executives and teaching faculty of polytechnics He would be submitting the report to the BTC and the United States Educational Foundation in India.

He said structurally the Indian education was good, however, problems were on the front of curricula and its upgradation. There was no flexibility and the approach was top-down.


PCCTU gives exam boycott call
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 25
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has threatened to boycott examinations of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, on April 2 if three demands of teachers serving in privately managed colleges of Punjab were not accepted by the state government by March 31.

Giving this information to The Tribune here today, Prof R.S. Brar, president, PCCTU, stated that the decision to boycott examinations in the three universities was taken at a meeting of the state unit of the PCCTU office-bearers held in Chandigarh on March 21.

He added that resentment prevailed among private college teachers of Punjab because they had not been paid salaries for the past many months. Moreover, private college teachers were being discriminated against and given “step-motherly” treatment by the state government as far as certain allowances are concerned, he added.


Collection of market fee in private hands
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, March 25
The annual contract for collecting market fee for the Pathankot market committee went for Rs 3.84 crore against the last year’s highest bid of Rs 1.5 crore.

The process for allotting the contract started yesterday. Initially, the deadline for receiving the bids was fixed at 11 a.m. However some contractors arrived late. They protested against non-acceptance of their bids. This led to scuffle among the contractors. The SDM, Pathankot, Mr Amarjit Paul, then extended the time limit for receiving the bids.

The revenue comes in the form of 3 per cent market committee fee, 3 per cent tax for rural development and 1 per cent commission for arhtiyas. Earlier, the commission agents used to charge 7 per cent duty on goods being purchased from the local market from customers. But the same was not deposited with the government, leading to lower revenue.

Traders of the Pathankot market committee are against the allotment of revenue collection contract to private contractors. They allege that this will affect business as the contractors will create hurdles.

They have threatened to shift the vegetable market to an adjoining area if the contractors harass them in the process of collecting revenue.

They burnt an effigy of the Punjab government in protest against the privatisation of the market collection process yesterday.

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