P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PAU Vice-Chancellor’s term extended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
Generating finances and securing more job avenues for agriculture graduates are among the top priorities of Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, whose tenure as Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University was extended for another four years by the government today.

Mobbed by employees, supporters and students at his house after he returned from Chandigarh this evening, the Vice-Chancellor first of all sought the blessings of his mother, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, by touching her feet and then accepted the greetings of those present. His interaction with mediapersons was continuously interrupted by the telephone which was ringing off the hook.

Sporting his trademark maroon turban, a beaming Dr Aulakh said he had called on the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh earlier in the day and appraised him of the financial crunch faced by the university which was affecting research work. The grant is not enough to take up certain projects in the long run, he pointed out.

“The Chief Minister said he would look into the matter and ensure that finances were not a stumbling block for future plans. I also informed him that steps to generate finances at our own level would also be taken so that dependence on government funds decreased,” he added.

During Dr Aulakh’s first term, the staff strength of different cadre posts in various departments/units/ directorates was fixed. Taking into account the financial crunch and to bring in an interdisciplinary approach, eight departments were merged.

He also enforced rational and judicious use of electricity, resulting in saving of over Rs 60 lakh per year. The functioning of the Regional Research Stations, KVKs and the Farmers Advisory Service Scheme (FASS) at its zonal headquarters was integrated into a Regional Station. The 1,250-acre university seed farm at Ladhowal and a 500-acre seed farm at Nabha were established.

During Dr Aulakh’s tenure, the university has entered into mutual cooperation with many foreign universities. Many high dignitaries from within and outside India visited the PAU to learn about the latest technological developments.

An avid bodybuilder, Dr Aulakh was born at Lopoke Chugawan village, Amritsar district, in 1941 and did his BSc (Agri) from Khalsa College, Amritsar, MSc and PhD (plant pathology) from Punjab Agricultural University. After starting his career as a lecturer in plant pathology in Khalsa College, Amritsar, he joined the Department of Plant Pathology, PAU.

He served the PAU in various capacities, including Assistant Plant Pathologist, Plant Pathologist, Professor of Plant Pathology, Head of the Department, Dean, College of Agriculture, Director of Research, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.


Rs 13 cr deficit in SGPC budget to erode savings
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 28
The deficit of Rs 12.90 crore in the SGPC budget, proposed to be tabled in the general house tomorrow, will erode the precious savings of Mini Parliament of the Sikhs.

Meeting the deficit on the 'pretext' of opening seven public schools and a Sikh university at Fatehgarh will eat up a whopping Rs 10 crore in savings of the previous three years.

According to the budget (a copy of which is with The Tribune), the SGPC proposes to spend Rs 32.30 crore on Dharm Parchar, establishment, maintenance of existing educational institutions and renovation of the gurdwara buildings besides opening new schools and a university.

The breakdown of Rs 32.30 crore Dharm Parchar Fund includes the free distribution of Guru Granth Sahib ( Rs 1.5 crore), financial aid to gurdwaras (Rs 1.5 crore), a small amount of Rs 2 lakh for Sikh youths languishing in jails, Rs 25 lakh for victims' families, Rs seven lakh for litigations and Gurmat Gyan Hindi (Rs 10 lakh). For financial aid to religious schools and colleges, Rs 18 lakh has been earmarked. Rs 40 lakh will be spent on purchasing video vans and film projectors. An equal amount has been earmarked for publication of diaries and calendars.

For centenary celebrations, Rs 1 crore has been earmarked while Rs 12 lakh will be spent on Gurmat Sangeet Academy, Anandpur Sahib. However, Rs 18 lakh has been earmarked as aid to construct a new building of Medical College, Amritsar. A whopping Rs 3 crore is meant for raising memorials and preservation of historic buildings. An amount of Rs 20 lakh has been earmarked for construction of a school in the memory of Sohan Singh Sitalwadi.

The SGPC will spend Rs 2 crore for setting up Gurcharn Singh Tohra Institute for Advanced Sikh Studies at Mohali. Similarly Rs 2 crore will be spent on opening a new college in Srinagar.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, an SGPC member, has made up his mind to raise his voice in the general house tomorrow against the alleged ill-planning which will eat up the previous savings. He criticised the grant to Dashmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, which is part of the Ministry of Defence. He took strong exception to the grant given to Sri Gobind Singh College, Gidderbaha, in the constituency of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Panjoli raised eyebrows over earmarking of Rs 5 crore for the proposed university. The case of opening a private university was pending with the Select Committee of Parliament. He said it would take a long time for the UGC to clear the project and earmarking of huge funds could not be justified .

Interestingly, while the state government has already chalked out a plan to privatise educational institutes, the SGPC is going ahead to open these.


Cong workers demand Jagmeet’s expulsion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Raising slogans, Congress workers from Zira in Ferozepore district and the surrounding areas today demanded the expulsion of senior leader Jagmeet Singh Brar from the party for “levelling false allegations against the Chief Minister” in connection with the auction of liquor vends.

The agitated workers, after converging Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Bhavan in Sector 15 here, also sought a probe into the utilisation of Rs 35 lakh allegedly handed over to Mr Brar by them at the time of the parliamentary elections.

They claimed that Mr Brar, in an attempt to give the party a bad name, was wrongly accusing the Chief Minister of accepting funds during the auction of liquor vends.

Mr Brar could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts. But sources close to him added that he was “only acting in the interest of the state and its residents”.

Addressing the gathering of nearly 180 sarpanches and members of different civic bodies, senior Congress leader Kuldeep Singh Bhullar, meanwhile, said that Mr Brar was acting out of desperation.

As far as the money handed over to Mr Brar for the election was concerned, he said the former MP should be asked to give a detailed account. He claimed that the money was neither utilised, nor returned.

Other leaders alleged that the money was not shown as a part of the election expenditure. The workers also asked Mr Brar to publicly inform them whether he had filed his income tax return and if the amount was reflected in it. They also asked him to explain the source of the money used for purchasing two luxury cars owned by the family soon after the parliamentary elections. “It amounts to a grave violation of the code of conduct. As such, he should be debarred by the Election Commission of India from contesting elections in the future,” they said.

Meanwhile, the PPCC media in charge, the Rajpal Singh, claimed that the party had not called for his social boycott. Quoting PPCC president H.S. Hanspal, he said the members had only recommended his political boycott.

Rejecting Mr Brar’s claim that the meeting in this regard was attended by a “handful of office-bearers”, he said out of 21 district presidents, 19 were present. Besides, as many PPCC office-bearers, including vice-presidents and general secretaries, were present.

Describing Mr Brar as an “unemployed person”, the media in charge concluded that the former MP had “lost his base in the Faridkot and Ferozepore Lok Sabha constituencies. That is why he was training his guns on the PPCC and the Congress government.


Brar's men come out in his support
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 28
A group of Mr Jagmeet Brar loyalists today said a “political dictator” could not stifle democratic views. They flayed the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, for recommending Mr Brar’s expulsion from the party.

The Brar loyalists said the PPCC President didn’t feel any need to take any action against those who worked against the party candidates in the last Lok Sabha elections, but was quick to the “political boycott” of Mr Brar who had been fighting against the SAD and the BJP for the past 30 years. They said the party workers would not boycott Mr Brar but instead would felicitate him for his achievements.

They said the neighbouring state of Haryana registered a rise of 18 per cent in liquor contracts through transparent and democratic bidding, whereas Punjab got only 2 per cent hike by “giving preference” to Ponty Chadha.

Mr Amarjit Singh Brar,Mr Vijay Sathi, and Mr Tara Singh Sandhu, released the joint statement. On the other hand, the District Congress chief, Mr Ranwinder Singh Pappu, has warned Brar loyalists of a strict disciplinary action.


PSEB helpless against govt defaulters
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 28
While the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is in the process of computerising the billing system, it has not yet worked out any mechanism to recover outstanding bills from various government departments.

The board has been facing problems in recovering Rs 7.07 crore due from the various government departments in various sub-divisions including Ropar city, Kharar, Anandpur Sahib.

Senior officials of the PSEB, said that despite the fact that huge amount was outstanding against various departments, including the Health Department, the Police, Punjab State Tubewells Corporations (PSTC), the PSEB could not cut their connections.

These departments require round-the-clock power supply for providing services to the people. However, the PSEB could not do much to recover pending bills from these.

Taking into account the inability of these departments to pay dues, the state government has made provisions in the Budget to help these departmnts to overcome the crisis, sources said.

As per documents available with The Tribune, bills outstanding against various government departments in Anandpur Sahib include Rs 2.52 crore against the Punjab State Tubewells Corporations (PSTC), Rs 1.09 lakh against the Police Departments, Rs 9.90 lakh against the Public Health Department, Rs 78,000 against the tehsil complex, Rs 46,000 against PUDA, Rs 38.76 lakh against the various hospitals and dispensaries, Rs 3.52 lakh against the Forest Department, Rs 47.61 lakh against the Public Works Department Rs 10 lakh PWD B and R.

Similarly in Roper, an amount of Rs 1.12 crore outstanding against Punjab State Tubewells Corporations (PSTC), Rs 7.54 lakh against the Police Department, Rs 3.46 lakh against the Public Health Departments, Rs 16.24 lakh against various hospitals and dispensaries, Rs 76,000 against the Irrigation Department, Rs 45,000 against Central Government departments and others.

In Kharar subdivision, an amount of Rs 1.68 crore is outstanding against the PSTC, Rs 1.64 lakh against the Police Department, Rs 7.80 lakh against the Public Health Department, Rs 17 lakh against various dispensaries and hospitals, PWD (B and R) and educational institutions.


Murder of girl: father’s plea to register FIR
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur March 28
Dr S.P. Singh, a local resident has been running from pillar to post since June last year to get an FIR registered against the alleged killers of his daughter, Gurleen Kaur. His daughter was a first year student of GGS College of Technology and Engineering in Kharar, Ropar district.

In June last year, she left the college hostel in Mohali for Chandigarh but never reached the destination. The report of her missing was lodged at Phase XI police station in Mohali.

After about a fortnight, her body was recovered from under a canal bridge within the jurisdiction of Nathana police station in Bathinda district. Due to the inadequacy of the morgue at the station, the body was cremated by a local non-government Organisation (NGO).

The post-mortem and later the chemical examination of the viscera pointed out the presence of a chloro-compound a group of insecticides in her body as the cause of the death. The report also indicated that there was no water in the belly of the deceased, indicating that she might have died before her body was thrown in the canal.

The chemical examination of the viscera of the deceased pointed out that the chloro-compound had seeped into her body causing the death.

However, the police has been impressing upon him that his daughter committed suicide. If the theory of suicide was to be believed it was not possible that Gurleen first consumed poison and later walked about 40 km to the canal in the vicinity of Mohali and drowned herself.

Circumstantial evidence said that Gurleen was allegedly kidnapped, raped and then done to death. Her body was later disposed of in the canal, Dr S.P. Singh alleged.

He lodged a complaint with the Mohali police and the SSP, Ropar. In the complaint, he requested the police authorities to register a case of murder against suspects who were college students.

However, nine months after the disappearance and alleged murder of his daughter no FIR has been registered by the Mohali police in the case. It has just entered a DDR on the complaint and was dithering on arresting the accused, Dr S.P. Singh alleged.

The SP, Mohali, was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him on phone.


Civilians resent ban on entry to religious places in Cantt
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 28
The civilians living in Jalandhar Cantonment area are a disappointed lot due to restrictions imposed by the Army authorities on their entry to a gurdwara and a temple on the main cantonment road.

Signboards put outside the gurdwara and the temple clearly mention that only serving army personnel or ex-servicemen can enter the religious places. Even the jathedars and pujaris looking after the religious places have been strictly told to perform religious ceremonies only for the Army personnel, serving or retired, and that too after getting prior permission from the officers concerned.

The Army officials, however, maintain that this had been done due to security reasons as the gurdwara and temple built inside the Army area were not public places and had been built only for the armymen deployed in that unit. They also claim that it was not possible to keep a check on everyone entering the premises as people from all walks of life used to go to these religious places and created chaos during various religious ceremonies organised on different occasions.

The civilians, on the other hand, are not ready to buy the point as a cantonment resident, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, pointed out, “If the restriction has been imposed due to security reasons, then why are the civilians allowed to live inside the cantonment and to use the road.

The gurdwara falls near the civil area very close to my college and it would have been very convenient for me to go and pray before I begin my day.”

Another cantonment resident, Mr Vibhor Kumar, said, “Everytime I pass from the area I feel like going inside the Shiv Temple on the road but due to restriction on entry, I bow my head from outside. At places like Sri Harmandir Sahib, four gates have been constructed indicating that people from all sections and religions are welcome but I was really astonished to read this signboard indicating a ban on the entry of civilians to a religious place.”

Granthis working in the gurdwara said it was very difficult for them to distinguish between a civilian and a fauji in civil dress. They said it was even more difficult for them to tell someone not to come and worship as it was against their religion. They opined that restriction had been imposed as they were often called by the civilians to perform religious ceremonies at their homes and the armymen felt that they were too occupied with civilians to work for the unit gurdwara.

An Army official, on the condition of anonymity, said a restriction had been imposed by them on the entry of civilians as they were unable to manage various religious ceremonies in which high rank officers were also supposed to come. People from all walks of life, including rickshaw-pullers, used to enter and create unruly scenes, they added.

“Moreover, the food served for langar had to be arranged from the limited Army funds and it used to exhaust even as hundreds of persons remained unserved”, they said.


BJP crosses sword with RSS
Detention of youths
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, March 28
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has crossed sword with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) over the recently released report of the RSS alleging that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), had obstructed the release of Sikh youths from prison.

There was a report in a section of media stating that the RSS had released a report saying that Mr Badal had blocked the release of Sikh detainees languishing in various jails under TADA during the militancy period.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, state President BJP, while talking to this correspondent here today, denied the release of such report and added that he had not come across any such report so far. He said Mr Badal was a big leader of Punjab and had always fought for protecting the rights of Punjab and Punjabis.

Meanwhile, Mr Ram Madhav, spokesman for the RSS, addressing a press conference here yesterday, had alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, had opposed the release of Sikh youths. The account was based on the report documented by the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, an organisation presenting Sikh community in the RSS.

Mr Madhav said the central leadership of the BJP had held deliberations with the Akali leadership for their sympathetic consideration.

However, the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had vehemently denied that the Central Government had ever held talks for the release of detained Sikh youth.


VB to probe society’s functioning
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 28
Can anyone claim salary for 13 months in a year? If allegations levelled by a member of Bilaspur the Agricultural Cooperative Society are to be believed, then some of the society employees have claimed salary for 13 months in a year and that, too, not once but for 14 years in a row.

The Director of Vigilance Bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey, has ordered a probe into the matter, besides another one into the loans disbursed by the society to farmers allegedly on the basis of fake documents.

Acting swiftly in the matter, the Vigilance has already seized the records of the society. The investigation began following a complaint by one of the society members, Mr Ranjit Singh. In his complaint to the VB Director, he alleged that on the basis of fake documents, the society’s secretary, in connivance with an inspector, disbursed loans worth lakhs to 17 farmers. He also alleged anomalies in the construction of the society’s godown in 1998. He alleged that trees at the construction site were cut and sold and the amount received was not credited to the society’s account.

He accused some of the society employees of selling a reaper worth Rs 4,000 and embezzlement in the case of furniture. Mr Ranjit Singh also accused these employees of claiming 13 months’ salary from 1986 to 2000. On the other hand, the society inspector, Jugraj Singh, and the secretary, Mahinder Singh, have termed these allegations as “baseless” and said there was no truth in them.

They said Mr Ranjit Singh was no more a member of the society and he had levelled these charges, as he was nursing a grudge against them.

They said that a probe had already been conducted into the society’s works. They said they were ready to face any inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance DSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh Sidhu, has started an investigation into the alleged anomalies in the society’s works.


Preneet inaugurates ‘Kalash Yatra’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 28
Patiala MP Preneet Kaur today inaugurated “Kalash Yatra” containing the holy water from the Katas Raj temple in Pakistan even as she claimed her husband, Capt Amarinder Singh, was the only Chief Minister who had taken special interest in conserving dilapidated temples in Pakistan.

Addressing a gathering on the premises of Quila Mubarak, she said it was only after the interest shown by Capt Amarinder Singh that a scheme had been prepared to restore the Katas Raj temple. She said besides donating Rs 11 lakh for the conservation effort at the spot, her husband would give another Rs 2 crore for the restoration of the temple.

The MP said besides paying attention to temples, the Punjab Government had also taken the initiative to lobby for and eventually get the nod for starting a regular bus service to holy Sikh shrines in Pakistan. She said with the start of this service, devotees would be able to get easy access to prominent gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Earlier, Ms Preneet Kaur, after performing religious rites, took the “kalash” from Shiv Mandir in Quila Chowk to the premises of Quila Mubarak where it was installed on a chariot. She accompanied the chariot through the old city along with the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, and other senior Congress leaders.

The yatra wound its way from Quila Chowk to Purani Kotwali, Top Khana Mor, Adalat Bazaar, Anardana Chowk, Jauhrian Bhattian, Arna Barna Chowk, Arya Samaj, Lahori Gate and finally to the Kali Mata temple. Mr Sharma said after a halt at Kali Mata temple for the night the yatra would leave for Fatehgarh Sahib tomorrow.

The Mayor said from Fatehgarh the yatra would travel to Khanna, Doraha, Ludhiana. Jalandhar and Amritsar. He said the yatra would end at Amritsar with the holy water being immersed in the pond of Durgiana Mandir.


Work halts in hospital after ‘manhandling’ of SMO
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, March 28
The Senior Medical Officer of the local Civil Hospital, Dr Pritam Singh Sauna, was allegedly manhandled by the SDM, Mr Bhupinder Singh, following which the functioning of the hospital, except emergency services, came to a halt.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Sauna said the SDM, Mr Bhupinder Singh, called him at his residence this morning and asked him to issue a medical certificate regarding immunisation of his son, who is presently in the USA.

Dr Sauna said he told the SDM to let him talk to his son regarding his requirement so that he could make the certificate accordingly. He said the SDM told him that it was not possible as his son was in the USA. Thereafter, Dr Sauna said when he asked a few related questions to the SDM, he got angry and asked him to go away.

The SMO alleged that when he was about to come back, the SDM allegedly abused and manhandled him. However, the SDM denied the charges.

Dr Sauna said the SDM even called up his security guards and instructed them to teach him a lesson. The SDM even threatened to put me behind bars.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, driver of the SMO’s car, said he did not know what exactly transpired between the SDM and the SMO but when Dr Sauna came out of the SDM’s residence he seemed to be frightened.

As the news of this incident spread, hospital staff, including doctors, came out of the hospital and sat on a dharna demanding action against the SDM. Dr Sauna said he had lodged a compliant with the police. The city police station has entered a DDR regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association condemned the unwarranted attitude of the SDM. In a resolution passed here, the local chapter of the IMA while criticising the behaviour of the SDM has demanded registration of a case against the official.

Mr Bhupinder Singh said there was no reason for him to manhandle the doctor. He said as he was not feeling well in the morning he called up the SMO, who in turn told him that he would personally come to examine him.


Doctor writes to CM over suspension
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 28
Dr S.K. Bansal, Deputy Medical Commissioner Fatehgarh Sahib, was suspended by Secretary Health on Jan. 5, 2004, in a communication to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretory and the Health Minister has urged them to reinstate him, as he had been mentally harassed and tortured by Mr D.S.Guru Secretory Health without reason.

In copies of the letter distributed among mediapersons he alleged that he had been working as DMC cum SMO at Civil Hospital Fatehgarh Sahib, and on Jan. 2, 2004, he was called by the then Civil Surgeon Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia and asked to sign certain bills relating to pulse polio. He mentioned that as the amount was double than the actual amount spent, he refused to sign the bills.

He said the Civil Surgeon told him that she had to send the amount to Health Secretary and he should either sign it or face the consequences. He said as he again refused, to his surprise Mr D.S.Guru, Health Secretary, visited the hospital on January 4, 2004 and he called him. Dr Bansal alleged that he was insulted and scolded by Health Secretary without any reason, and on January 5, he was given the suspension letter. He said he had an excellent record of 24 years of service without any blemish. He urged the Chief Minister to intervene and direct the authorities to reinstate him.

The then Civil Surgeon Dr Inderjit Kaur refuted the allegations.


Mann seeks UN probe into Kanishka tragedy
Tribune News Service

Dhanaula (Sangrur), March 28
Holding the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the country responsible for the Air-India Kanishka bombing in 1985 in which 329 passengers were killed, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today asked the Union Government to give a grant of Rs 5 crore each to the families of all killed passengers. He further asked the United Nations (UN) to initiate fresh investigations into the Kanishka bombing case under its supervision.

Mr Mann said here that following the acquittal of two Sikh activists, accused in the 1985 Air-India Kanishka bombing case by a Canadian court, the truth had come to the surface that the Sikhs had no hand in this tragedy. He said his party would continue its fight till investigations by an international agency into the role of RAW in the Kanishka bombing case began as then Rajiv Gandhi government wanted to defame the Sikhs so RAW placed bombs in Kanishka.

Mr Mann asked the USA to deny visa, on the pattern of Gujrat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, to Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr S.S. Ray, Mr K.P.S. Gill, Gen R.S. Dayal and all other such persons who had allegedly played a role in the genocide of the Sikhs in1984. He said he would visit the USA soon and urge to the US Government not to give visa to these persons.

Regarding hurling abuses and creating unruly scenes at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib, near Sangrur, a couple of days ago in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib by activists of the Dhindsa and Barnala groups, Mr Mann said the SGPC could not initiate proceedings against the “hooligans” as its own President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, was an accused in the murder case of her own daughter. He said even the Jathedar of Akal Takht could not initiate action against such persons as he was helpless in this direction.

Mr Mann also asked Akal Takht to confer the “Panth Ratna” award on Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, Gen Subegh Singh and Beant Singh, an assassin of late Indira Gandhi for their services in the Sikh struggle. He criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for boycotting the Budget session of the Assembly.


373 Home Guards, defence men receive three months’ salary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Punjab Finance and Planning Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, announced in the Vidhan Sabha today that salaries to 373 Home Guards and civil defence personnel for three months, ending February this year, have been released.

The Finance Department, he said, would consider the continuation of these temporary posts only after complete information had been received from the Home Department. He was responding to a call attention motion by Capt Kanwaljit Singh of the Shiromani Akali Dal.

PUDA to have Chief Engineer on deputation

The Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, informed the House that a regular Chief Engineer of PUDA would be appointed on deputation from the Punjab Public Works Department. Responding to a question by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, he said the charge of the Chief Engineer, given to a Superintending Engineer, has been withdrawn after the finalisation of a chargesheet against him. No other engineer from PUDA, he said, was eligible to be promoted as Chief Engineer.

Doctors’ list await CM’s nod

The Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister said the recommendations made by the Punjab Public Service Commission for the appointment of doctors had been received and sent to the Chief Minister for approval. He said at present there were 1374 vacancies in the Health Department.

Cooks for mid-day meal scheme

The Punjab Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, said today a proposal had been sent to the Central Government for clearance for the appointment of cooks in schools under the mid-day meal scheme. He said in schools where there were no teachers, the scheme was being implemented through Panchayats. He also said he had taken up the issue of the success of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan with the Prime Minister.

Payment of sugar cane arrears

The Cooperation Minister, Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, assured the House efforts would be made to clear all arrears for the supply of sugarcane to 10 mills in the cooperative sector by end of this year. By July 20, he said, arrears worth Rs 20 crore out of a total of 58.55 crore would be cleared.


Music released
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 28
The music of a Punjabi movie, “Addi Tappaa”, was released by Saregama last evening here amidst great fanfare.

The entire female cast belonged to the local BBK DAV College for Women, which in collaboration with producer-director of United Vision ,a London- based production house, had shot the movie at local locales and in the college campus last year.

Jeet Matharu, Director of United Vision, said he had been toying with the idea to make a film with women star cast in Punjabi and his chance meeting with the Principal of the Women college, Ms J. Kackaria, led to the execution of the plan.


Valmikis stage dharna at DC’s office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 28
A protest dharna was organised by the Bharatiya Valmiki Sabha and the Bhagwan Valmiki Dhuna Sahib Trust outside the Deputy Commissioner’s ofice here today.

Led by Mr Karnail Singh Sahota, sabha president, and the Deputy Mayor, Mr Om Parkash Gabbar, they alleged tampering with land records of the ancient Ram Tirath Temple and demanded action. They threatened to staged a dharna at the office of Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, in case of inaction by the government. 


13 Mohali residents injured
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 28
Thirteen residents of Mohali, including six women, were injured when a truck coming from Jalandhar collided head on with their Qualis at Uchi Bassi, 45 km from here, on the Jalandhar-Pathankot National Highway this morning.

The injured were admitted to the Dasuya Civil Hospital. The truck driver fled from the spot. The injured were coming from Vaishno Devi. They were identified as Manjit Singh, Veena Rani, Teena Rani, Rathak Kumar, Jaspal, Gian Devi, Tek Chand, Shakuntla, Anil Kumar, Samitri, Anil Kumar, Rachni and Atul Kumar.

The condition of five of them was serious and they were shifted to Chandigarh.


Prof Mohan Singh centenary celebrations
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 28
Prof Mohan Singh centenary celebrations were organised at Punjabi University here today with two-day seminar in collaboration with Sahit Akademi, Delhi.

Inaugurating seminar eminent novelist Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana congratulated the Punjabi Department for its endeavour in remembering the great poet. She said such functions always prove vital in the revival of literary and cultural pursuits of any academic fraternity. Touching upon the style of poetry of Prof Mohan Singh, Dr Tiwana emphasised that though a romantic poet yet he did not confine his poetry to love rather he portrayed a new sensibility of realistic poetry.


high court
Court summons record in Virk case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab Government to submit in court the record relating to a charge-sheet served on Punjab DGP S.S. Virk sometime back as also his service book.

During hearing in a PIL filed by Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Simranjit Singh Mann challenging the appointment of Mr Virk as DGP, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta fixed April 29 as the next date of hearing.

In his petition, Mr Mann, a former MP, has challenged the appointment of Mr Virk to the coveted post on the ground that a charge-sheeted officer could not have been appointed to the post.

The charge-sheet, served on Mr Virk by the Union Government for refusing to return to his cadre state despite repeated reminders, was withdrawn just before his appointment as DGP.

Bail confirmed

The High Court on Monday confirmed the bail granted to Tarna Dal chief Ajit Singh Phoola in a murder case.

The case was registered in 2004 regarding an incident alleged to have happened in 2001 in Amritsar district. In his petition, Phoola alleged that he was being framed because of his “proximity with Punjab senior police officer Sumedh Singh Saini”, who is “not on good terms with another police officer.”

He has been framed in two other murder cases because of the same reason, his counsel alleged.


BKU decries cess on diesel
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 28
The union as well as state Budget of Punjab has nothing for farmers instead rupee one per litre cess on diesel by Punjab Government will ruin the farm economy of Punjab since it is not reflected in cost calculated to fix MSP of wheat etc. This was stated here today by Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, National General Secretary of the BKU. Reacting to the imposition of VAT, Mr Rajewal said that it would crush the farmers as 4 per cent tax on fertiliser, pesticides and other agricultural input products will push up the prices beyond the farmers’ reach. The prices of DAP fertiliser alone will increase to more than Rs 1000/- per quintal.


Goldsmith fraud case solved
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 28
The local police has solved the case pertaining to defrauding of a local goldsmith by a person about a year ago by identifying the suspect.

Police sources said suspect had been identified as Ravi Sahni, a resident of Jalandhar, who had been cheating the people by claiming himself as kin of certain IAS, IPS and PSS officials of the state.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that Ravi Sahni came on a car at a local jewellery shop located in the post office bazaar and introduced himself as the DSP, Vigilance Department, about a year ago. He asked the shopkeeper to show some jewellery items as he had come to attend a family gathering of high official of this town. While seeing the gold items, he made some phone calls to other persons to show that he was a close associate of district high officials.

He asked the shopkeeper to give him the jewellery items so that the officer (whose function he was going to attend) could choose the jewellery of his choice. The shopkeeper was agreed to send shop worker with him.

On reaching the Mini Secretariat, he asked the shop worker to wait outside so that he could show the jewellery to the official. He took the jewellery and fled away through the another gate of the secretariat.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said after enquiry it was found that the accused was in the Jalandhar jail. After getting the production warrants from court, the Bathinda police had taken him into its custody. The accused had admitted the charge.


7 convicted in murder case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 28
The court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Fatehdeep Singh, today held seven persons guilty of the murder of Dalip Singh of Mehalkalan. The convicted are Narayan Dutt, Prem Kumar, Manjeet Dhaner, Labh Singh, Avtar Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Bakhtaur Singh.

Narayan Dutt, Prem Kumar, Manjeet Dhaner are the founder members of the Kiranjeet Kand Virodhi Action Committee.

The court convicted all the seven accused today for the charges of murder.

In a tight security arrangements, the court pronounced the conviction. The special security arrangements were made by the police to prevent any untoward incident.

As per the prosecution, Dalip Singh, grandfather of Harkamal, an accused in Kiranjeet murder case, was attacked in the court complex on March 3,2001. Dalip Singh was attacked with sharpedged weapons. He died after 10 days at the DMC, Ludhiana. 


One killed, 27 hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 28
A person was killed and 27 others, including eight women, and three children, were injured when two buses collided head on near Singhawala village here today.

According to sources, the incident occurred when a bus of Nagpal Transport Company, Abohar, which was on its way from Amritsar to Hisar, collided with the bus of Kangar Bus Service, Bhagta Bhai, coming from opposite direction. The injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Moga.

The deceased has been identified as Jugal Kishore, a resident of Vishwakarma Colony, Moga. His five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter also sustained injuries.

Two persons, who suffered serious injuries, have been referred to Ludhiana.


Labourer killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 28
A labourer was killed when a truck ran him over near the YPS chowk in the city late last night.

The labourer, Pankaj Kumar, was riding a motor cycle. The truck hit him after breaking through the NIS gate. After the truck hit the motor cycle, the driver lost control over it and it rammed into a tent where a temporary chowki had been set up. Thankful the truck first struck trunks heavy material lying in the tent, thus saving the police personnel sleeping inside.According to police sources, the truck driver had come there to deliver vegetables. A case has been registered against driver Rattan Lal at the Civil Lines police station.


Two Haryana residents arrested with 7 kg of opium
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 28
In its drive launched against smuggling of narcotics, the district police arrested two persons and seized about 7 kg of opium from them today.

So far, in this current year, the district police has made huge seizures of opium, smack and poppy husk by arresting many smugglers involved in smuggling of narcotics and drugs.

Mr Gautam Cheema, SSP, Mansa, said that one person identified as Naresh Chander, alias Sura, a resident of Kebri village in Hisar district of Haryana, was carrying 5 kg of opium in a bag.

Mr Cheema said that on getting information a special naka was set up. The accused used to collect opium from Hisar where drugs came from Rajasthan and Madhya Pardesh in huge quantity and distributed in Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur. A case in this connection had been registered at Jaurkian police station under the NDPS Act.

One moe person, identified as Satvir Singh, alias Kala, a resident of Pakka Sahidan village in Sirsa district had been arrested and about 1.22 kg of opium was seized from him.

A case in this connection was registered at Sadar police station under the NDPS Act.


Uncle betrays orphan’s trust, charged with rape
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 28
A 15-year-old orphan girl of Malikpur Taparian village near here was allegedly raped by her uncle. The victim, now six-month pregnant, has named her father’s elder cousin, Balbir Singh, as the father of her unborn child. On realising what must have happened, the grandmother of the victim, Jagir Kaur, today contacted the police and got a case of rape registered against Balbir Singh.

Jagir Kaur reportedly told the police that the parents of the victim had died some years ago due to some illness and the girl became orphan. She, along with her two siblings, lived with Jagir Kaur.

Balbir Singh, who lives in the same village just a few houses away from the victim’s house, is the elder son of Jagir Kaur’s sister. He is yet been arrested. The SHO, Mullanpur Garibdass, Mr Bhagwant Singh, said the family of the accused seemed to have run away from the village. The house was found to be locked.


Seminar on Punjabi language, literature begins
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 28
A former Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Joginder Singh Puar, today emphasised on the establishment of the Punjabi literature and cultural centres at Patiala, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar during the inauguration of a two-day international seminar on “Punjabi language, literature and culture: study and teaching” organised by the School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Lamenting on the deterioration in the field of teaching and research, Dr Puar stressed on adopting method of studies of the Punjabi literature after a minute and thorough study. He also stressed on organising such seminars producing sincere and concrete results.

More than 100 scholars and writers from various universities and colleges and abroad are participating.

The first inaugural session was presided over by a noted linguist from Patiala, Dr S.S. Joshi, while Dr Ved Agnihotri, Dr Buta Singh Brar and Dr Sukhdev Singh (GND University) presented their papers on the study and teaching of the Punjabi language.

In the next academic session, which was chaired by Dr. Davinder Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, Jammu University, Prof Amaritpal Kaur from Punjabi University, Patiala, presented her paper on the teaching and study of Gurbani, Dr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal on Punjabi story, Dr Sukhdev Singh Thind on Punjabi and Prof Inderjit Kaur on modern Punjabi poetry.

Dr Akhtar Hussain and Janab Sadiq Parvaiz from Lahore (Pakistan) spoke on Heer Waris Shah.


157 students get prizes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 28
As many as 157 students were given prizes for academic excellence in the university exams and house examinations at the annual prize distribution function of Government College of Girls held here today.

Thirteen students were awarded the roll of honour while 55 students won college colour and 67 were awarded merit certificates for excellence in academic cultural activities, sports, NCC, NSS and Red Cross.

College principal Dr. G.K.Jaggi welcomed Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh who was the chief guest. Dr. Jaggi presented the annual report of the college highlighting its achievements which included excellent academic results.


BJP holds rally against VAT
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 28
Tying black arm bands, activists of the Punjab Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party led by its president, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, held a protest march against the VAT in the state here today.

The march would conclude at Ludhiana tomorrow after passing through Phagwara, Goraya and Jalandhar.

Mr Khanna said as per norms every bill was discussed and notified before becoming a law. However, this procedure was not followed in the case of the VAT.

He stated that the new tax would increase inflation and hit the people belonging to the economically weaker sections. He said small traders were apprehensive about the VAT.

Meanwhile traders would keep their business establishments closed for three days in protest against the implementation of the VAT from April.

Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM), in a press statement issued here today said that the traders would close their establishments in support of their protest from March 30 to April 1. He said that the trades would pressurise the state government not to implement this anti-trader system.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |