P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



XEN involved in ‘power theft’
Enforcement wing raids his govt quarter
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 29
A case of suspected power theft by a senior Executive Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has come to light. As per information, a senior XEN of the local PSEB Enforcement Wing, Mr A.K. Kansal, on April 19 raided the government quarter of a senior XEN in the Ranbir Club locality.

The senior XEN, Mr V.K. Mehta, allegedly involved in the suspected power theft case, is nowadays working as Deputy Director, Thermal Design, Patiala. He had also served as senior XEN of the PSEB Sangrur Division (Distribution) till September 2004.

Sources in the PSEB told The Tribune today that Mr Kansal received a phone call in the second fortnight of April that power theft was being committed in a government quarter of the Ranbir Club locality. On this, he raided the quarter and checked the electricity meter installed there. Later, he sent his report to the Assistant Engineer of the local city PSEB subdivision PSEB, asking him to seal the electricity meter. The Assistant Engineer of the city PSEB subdivision removed the meter from the quarter and sent it to the metering equipment laboratory for investigation.

The sources said during the checking of the meter the senior XEN of the PSEB Enforcement Wing found the seal of its terminal cover as intact but fake. The two seals of the ME laboratory also seemed to be tampered with or fake. The senior XEN of the PSEB Enforcement Wing had considered this case as a case of suspected power theft.

When The Tribune today contacted Mr Ishwar Chander Garg, Assistant Engineer of the city PSEB subdivision, here today, he admitted that an officer of the PSEB Enforcement Wing had checked the electricity meter of Mr Mehta. But he declined to divulge the details.

However, he admitted that the PSEB staff had already removed Mr Mehta’s meter and it would now be sent to the laboratory, which only would decide whether it was a case of power theft or not. He also admitted that he had also written to Mr Mehta in this regard.


Class XII results out
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 29
Two girls from Mukerian and Jalandhar topped the science group while a girl from Ludhiana bagged the first position in commerce group in the Class XII examinations of the Punjab School Education Board the result of which was declared here today.

Neetu of AS Senior Secondary School, Mukerian, and Deepika Juneja of Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar, stood first in the science group while Jasmeet Kaur of R S Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, was declared first in the commerce group.

Amritpal Singh of B.U.C. College, Batala, and Harjap Singh of DAV College, Jalandhar, got the second position and Harsh Mittal of S.S.D. Senior Secondary School, Bathinda, stood third in the science group. Mamta Chhiber of R.S.D. College, Ferozepore, and Karan Jindal of R.S. Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, bagged the second and third position in the commerce group.

Following are the names of students who got the first 10 positions on the merit list.

Science group: Mohit Preet Kaur, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, 4; Rohit Ahuja and Neha Suri, Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, Manu Garg, Government Senior Secondary School, Dhuri, 5; Varinder Jeet Singh Khatra, S.G.T.B. Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib, 6; Anjali Sharma, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, Mandeep Singh, A S Senior Secondary School, Mukerian, Navjot Singh, Guru Nanak Mission Public Senior Secondary School, Dhahan Kaleran, Suvinder Devra, SBMD Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Sangrur, 7; Japleen Kaur, Khalsa College, Amritsar, Rajni Garg, MSD Senior Secondary Public School, Bathinda, Kapil Saluja, DAV College, Abohar, 8; Gurveen Pal Singh, Khalsa College, Amritsar, Sonam Sharma, Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, Sandeep Kaur, Atam Public Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, Amit Sharma, Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 9; Jagpal Kaur, Khalsa College, Amritsar, Jasdeep Singh Boparai, Government Senior Secondary School, Tibbar, 10.

Commerce group: Abhimanyu Gupta, R S Modern Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, 4; Amana Jain, S D Senior Secondary School, Hoshiarpur, Jyoti Kapoor, Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, 5; Amanjot Kaur, Ajit Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, Rajni, R S Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, 6; Prabhjot Kaur, Ajit Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, Rakesh Sharma, R S Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, Ankit Bansal, Government Senior Secondary School, Bhadson, 7; Sarwan Sabharwal, DAV College Jalandhar, Priya Vishwas, Vir Hakikat Rai Model Senior Secondary School, Patiala, 8; Punam Preet Kaur, Anand Isher Senior Secondary Public School, Ahmedgarh Chhapar, Shivani Rani, R S Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, 9; Ankur Mangla, Sanmati Vimal Jain Senior Secondary Public School, Jagraon, Puja Karval, Vir Hakikat Rai Model Senior Secondary School, Patiala, 10.

According to board officials, the pass percentage for regular candidates in the science group stood at 52.64 per cent while in the case of private candidates (full subject) it was 8.45. Similarly, in the commerce group the pass percentage for regular candidates was 69.63 and in the case of private candidates (full subject) it was 34.38.

The result gazette will be available for the public in the board’s text book sales depots at district headquarters at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Result would be available on www.Indiaresult.com. www.schoolnetindia. com.


Made-in-Punjab show in Canada
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Punjab can export to Canada woolen goods like ski caps, cardigans, shawls, mittens, garden hand tools, garments for both men and women, cotton and woolen clothes and yarn, auto, bicycle parts and bicycles, sports goods, handicrafts, carpets, designer wear, books publications, leather goods, handbags, wallets, belt shoes and perishable consumer goods belonging to agro sector.

Lack of exposure to foreign markets have remained a major drawback of these units. Except hosiery, textile industry, other small scale units have not ventured vigorously to create niche in the Western markets. However, these units lack of professional management and marketing. There was need to motivate the small scale entrepreneur in restructuring the technological bases of the units.

Mr Sikander Singh, a Canada-based NRI and Mr Mohan Singh of the Centre for International Trade and Industry at Mohali are going to hold Made-in- Punjab, a trade show, first of its kind, at Toronto from May 20 to 22.

It will provide a platform to Punjab Industry to show case its wares. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his Cabinet colleagues, have been invited to the show. The Canadian Government and India-Canada Chambers of Commerce there have extended their full support to the show. From Indian end, Mr Mohan Singh is handling the trade show affairs.

Mr Sikander Singh, graduated from Mohindra College, Patiala, before migrating to Canada. He served as Commercial Officer in Indian High Commission in Canada till 1972. He has been associated with the promotion of trade and industry in Canada since then. He says that the “exhibition is expected to go long way to boost bilateral trade between the provinces of Ontario and Punjab”. As many as 60 industrial houses from Punjab are expected to put up their stalls in the show besides 10 government organisation such as Markfed, the Punjab Agri Export Corporation, Phulkari may also participate.


Traders observe bandh in protest against VAT
Tribune Reporters and UNI

Hoshiarpur, April 29
On the call of various business organisations, local traders observed complete bandh today in protest against the implementation of VAT and for filing of stock statement existing in their stocks on March 31.

All markets and business establishments were presenting deserted look. However chemist, sweetmeal sellers, vegetable and fruit shops remained open.

A spokesman of the Traders Union said officials of the District Excise and Taxation Department and their counsels did not know about VAT and filing of statement relating to existing stock position.

He said the implementation of VAT was done in haste. All traders were busy filing quarterly return of sales tax of first quarter. Therefore, they were enable to prepare the actual list of existing stock according to the bills. He urged the government to extend the date for filing the stock statement up to June 30 and review the decision.

SANGRUR: Local traders and shopkeepers on Friday burnt an effigy of the value added tax (VAT) at the Barra Chowk and downed the shutters of their shops and business establishments in protest against its implementation.

The leaders said prices of various commodities had increased due to VAT. Besides, no one had educated traders about it.

DHARAMSALA: Shops and business establishments remained closed in Kangra, Nagrota Bagwan, Palampur, Baijnath, Dehra, Jawalamukhi, Nurpur, Gaggal and Shahpur.

The bandh was complete and peaceful and members of the business community urged the state government not to implement VAT.

KULU: Traders observed bandh in protest against Himachal Pradesh Government’s decision to impose VAT, professional tax and hike the shop registration fee from Rs 5 to Rs 1,000. However, wine and beer shops, shawl showrooms, medical stores and doctors did not join the bandh.

BILASPUR: The Himachal Pradesh State Beopar Mandal said on Friday that the bandh call given by the All-India Industries and Traders Federation was a success. Mr Hemchand Sood, President State Beopar Mandal said their organisation had also supported the bandh call.

Kangra: All shops and business establishments on Friday remained closed in Kangra in protest against the implementation of VAT in the state.

The strike was complete and peaceful and the members of the business community urged the state government not to implement VAT in the state.

Reports of complete strike were received from Nagrota Bagwan, Palampur, Baijnath, Dhera, Jawalamukhi, Nurpur, Gaggal and Shahpur. Some shops were, however, open in Dari locality of this district.

JAMMU: A near total bandh was observed against the VAT here on Friday by traders as the government offices closed for their annual move to Srinagar for six months.

SRINAGAR: All business establishments in Kashmir remained closed on Friday. The one-day general strike call was given by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation against the implementation of VAT.


SAD activists burn effigy  of VAT
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 29
Youth Shiromani Akali Dal and All-India Samaj Sewa Dal activists burnt an effigy of VAT at the YPS chowk near the Chief Minister’s Moti Bagh residence here today.

Addressing a gathering of traders and businessmen, the SAD youth wing president of the Patiala unit, Mr Kulwinder Pal Singh Lovely, said by imposing VAT in the state, the government was making life miserable for the middle class.

He urged the CM to look into the “booming economy of other states where VAT had not been imposed” and termed VAT a draconian law which will finish the trading community. He urged the CM to have “ a fresh look at things so that the economy of the state could be saved”.

Meanwhile, on a call given by the Patiala Beopar Mandal, shops in the city remained closed for the entire day. However, shops selling eatables, fruits and vegetables remained partially open, particularly in the walled city.


Inside Babudom
IGP Chadha to look after rights panel work
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
In an attempt to rationalise and restructure the Police Department, the Punjab Government today posted an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) with the Punjab State Human Rights’ Commission, instead of an Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP).

In fact, the state government this afternoon asked IGP H.R. Chadha to look after the Commission’s work, in addition to his own duties, till further notice. An order in this regard was issued by state’s Principal Secretary A.K. Dubey.

IGP Chadha — currently in charge of the Indian Reserve Battalion — had returned to the state only recently after spending a long time on deputation with the Centre.

The post with human rights commission fell vacant earlier this month with the clearance of ADGP N.P.S. Aulakh’s name by the Punjab Government for deputation with the Centre.

As far as other transfers in the Police Department are concerned, the sources in the Punjab Police headquarters assert that the file is in state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s office. Orders are likely to be issued, with his consent, within the next few days.

The sources add that the re-designation of post was part of a major exercise launched to restructure the department at a senior level by the Punjab Police authorities in September last year. Several post were abolished, while some were re-designated.

Giving details, the sources say that it was decided to abolish three posts of ADGPs — operations, training and rules — as soon as they fell vacant. In addition, it was decided to do away with the posts of IGP operations ( I and II), along with IGP (Security). Five posts of Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) were also abolished.

As of now, there are 13 ADGPs in the state, even though the number of sanctioned posts is just 11. The sources add that currently there is no move to slash the number of ADGPs in the state.

The post of ADGP Punjab Armed Police (PAP) is lying vacant following the retirement of Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP) D.R. Bhatti upon attaining the age of superannuation. ADGP R.S. Gill — looking after the communication and wireless wing of the Punjab Police — is likely to be shifted in his place.


Kidnapped railway official rescued
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 29
The police has rescued the railway official, who was allegedly kidnapped from the office of the Divisional Railways Manger (DRM), Ferozepore Division.

Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, said here today that the four kidnappers, Parkash Masih, Balak Ram, Rakesh Kumar and Desh Raj, had been arrested. Desh Raj and Parkash Masih were employees in the Railways.

Mr Srivastava said Darshan Lal, who was Office Superintendent in the P-branch of DRM office, had been kidnapped by the accused in a Tata Sumo at around 11:30 am on Tuesday. He had managed to inform his wife that Parkash Masih and Balak Ram, along with the other accused had kidnapped him and had been taking him towards the Pathankot side.

Darshan‘s wife Reeta had informed the police and with the help of the Gurdaspur police, Darshan Lal was rescued from the forest area in Kathua and kidnappers were arrested.

She had told the police that the kidnappers had called up and demanded Rs 27 lakh as ransom to release her husband.

Sources in the railway department said Darshan used to fleece people on the pretext of arranging government jobs in the Railways and had allegedly collected Rs 27,25,000 from people.


Five-year-old missing girl recovered
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 29
The Sultanpur Lodhi police today traced a five-year-old missing girl and restored her to her parents, according to Kapurthala SSP Arun Pal Singh.

Ms Jyoti of Diwana mohalla of Sultanpur Lodhi had lodged a complaint yesterday with Harpreet Singh Mander, DSP, Sultanpur Lodhi, saying that her daughter Munisha, alias Mani, went out to play in the afternoon and did not return. Police party headed by Sub-Inspector Gurwinder Singh Sandhu, SHO, Sultanpur Lodhi police station, raided various places. All public places were searched and all police stations were informed.

Meanwhile, the police got an anonymous telephone call informing that one Jagtar Singh of Saboowal village, had taken the girl along with him. When police party headed by SHO Sandhu raided Saboowal village falling under Lohian police station, Jagtar Singh had already left the village with the girl.

The police raided the houses of various relatives of Jagtar Singh. The house of his brother Bahadur Singh at Chaheru village, falling under Sadar police station, Phagwara, was raided today. The police was told that both Jagtar Singh and his mother had just left for the railway station for taking the girl back to Sultanpur Lodhi. The police rushed to the railway station, nabbed Jagtar Singh and recovered the girl.

On questioning, Jagtar Singh told the police that the girl had lost her way and he found her crying near the Lohian octroi post. He took her to his village but he was advised by villagers to take back the girl to her parents. He came to the railway station for returning the girl to her parents but was frightened on seeing heavy police force present all around. He also learnt from people that the police was present in the town as well.

So instead of proceeding to Sultanpur Lodhi, he took the girl to Chaheru for consulting his brother and mother about it.

Jagtar Singh works as a railway gateman. He was being thoroughly investigated. Munisha was handed over to her parents, the SSP, said.

Killed: A motorcyclist, Sonu was found dead near the railway barrier on the khothran road on Friday. Belonging to Khothran village, the teenager seemed to have been hit by some vehicle on Thursday night. 


Caretakers endanger priceless Sikh relics
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 29
The over-enthusiasm of caretakers has endangered many relics of Sikh history even as the ‘kharavan’ (traditional wooden shoes) and ‘pangura’ (cradle ) belonging to the Sikh Gurus have been covered with gold .

The National Institute of Punjab Studies(NIPS) , established to promote cultural heritage of Punjab, has endeavoured to document the endangered relics to create awareness among the heritage-lovers and common man . Mr Mohinder Singh of NIPS and Bhai Vir Singh Sadan, Amritsar, visited Pakistan and far-flung areas, including Lahore, England , Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, to procure rare pictures, pertaining to Sikhism. The NIPS has already brought out eight illustrated books in two years with photographs of rare relics of the Sikh Gurus, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and other historical personalities collected from different repositories in India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Talking to TNS here yesterday, Mr Mohinder Singh said the documentary would be shown to the Prime Minister and heritage-lovers. He said Takht Patna Sahib had the richest collection of Guru Granth Sahib birs and hukamnamas but not much attention had been paid to their conservation. A casual visitor is shocked to see the historic ‘pangura’ of Gobind Rai which has lost its original shape. Its jute strings have been replaced by plastic strips while four pegs have been covered with gold. Thus, the facelift puts visitors in doubt whether Guru Gobind Singh actually used it during his childhood. At the Takht we find the robe of Gobind Rai which has been framed in a box. He said the caretakers had compromised with the value of the relics. Similarly, the golden ‘kharavan’ (the traditional wooden shoes) of Guru Teg Bahadur have been covered with gold without being treated by conservation experts. Mr Mohinder Singh said his NGO would attempt to engage heritage experts to preserve the relics in their original design.

The robe of the sixth Guru with the Sanga family of Drolli Bhai Ki is kept in a plastic poly bag. It needs to be carefully treated by INTACH or some other professional agency. The team found that the robes of Guru Gobind Singh and clothes of Mata Sahib Kaur with the family of Bhai Dhalla, are kept in poly bags and are being affected by moisture created by use of a cooler in the display room. The robe of Guru Nanak, perhaps the only available relic of the founder of Sikh faith with the Bedi family in Dera Baba Nanak kept in a showcase, is getting affected by moisture.

He further said that a rare Guru Granth Sahib bir and weapons of the sixth and ninth Gurus with the Bagrian family need urgent conservation. Mr Mohinder Singh claims that the only relics which have been professionally conserved and taken care of are relics of Guru Gobind Singh in the collection of Capt Amarinder Singh in the New Moti Bagh Palace, Patiala. The team collected rare relics of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his family found in the Princess Bamba collection in the Lahore Fort Museum.


Regularise docs’ services, says PCMSA
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 29
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) today blamed the red tapism for the delay in regularising the services of all those members of PCMS who had completed four years of short-term or ad hoc service.

In a press note here today, Dr Hardeep Singh, president, and Dr Ajay Bagga, press secretary, of the association, urged the Punjab Health Minister to take action against all those employees of the department who were responsible for such acts.

They pointed out that to regularise the services of other doctors, the Director, Health Services, Punjab, had sought details from Civil Surgeons and Medical Superintendent on July 29, 2004, but their services had not been regularised.


BKU(E-U) men protest against jail officials
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 29
A large number of BKU(E-U) activists, led by its state president, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, today staged a dharna in front of the local district administrative complex in protest against the alleged “beating up” of Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, farmers’ leader, on April 14 in District Jail by its officials. They also demanded registration of a case against the Jail Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent in this connection.

Mr Ugrahan said their agitation would continue till the registration of a case against the Jail Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent. Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor told mediapersons that he was first “beaten up” by two criminals and later by jail officials as he had exposed the “malpractices” in the jail by writing an essay in a Punjabi daily. The jail officials had, however, refuted the allegations levelled against them.

The leaders also submitted a memorandum to the district administration in this regard.


Akali Dal (L) plans agitation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) today announced the beginning of the second phase of its mukti andolan. At a press conference organised by the party here today, party president Prem Singh Chandumajra said over 10 lakh persons were expected to be enrolled during the special campaign till August 20. “On August 20, which is Sant Longowal’s barsi, we will launch the third phase of the andolan,” said Mr Chandumajra.

Alleging that the SGPC was “handing” over the trusteeship of its various properties to undeserving persons, Mr Chandumajra said a five member committee of the party would look into all such cases and file a detailed report within a month “These would include the case of Guru Ram Dass Medical College, Amritsar and Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib,” said Mr Hardeep Singh, member of the SGPC from Mohali who accompanied Mr Chandumajra.

Stating that their meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, yesterday had been highly successful, Mr Chandumajra pointed out that the Prime Minister had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the turban issue with France and the kirpan issue with Denmark.


MLA seeks transfer of Ropar DC
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 29
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, today launched a scathing attack on the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, calling for her immediate transfer for allegedly obstructing development work in the Kharar constituency.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who had come to attend a meeting of the Kharar Municipal Council here as an ex-officio member, told mediapersons later that Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, was not taking an interest in development works in Kharar constituency. Mrs Jain has failed to release development grants for the constituency. Funds under the 11th Finance Commission had not been released, apart from the discretionary grants of the MLA. He demanded a high-level inquiry into this serious lapse.

He said he had made efforts to get a government model school in the town here functional but now teachers were being withdrawn from the institution allegedly on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner. It was her duty to see that the school functioned normally.

He said that areas around Kharar got flooded during the rains but the Deputy Commissioner did not constitute any committee to look into the problem. The Patiala ki Rao was being encroached upon near Balongi village but no steps were being taken by the authorities concerned to get the area vacated.

He said he had taken steps to improve the lot of the government school in Phase XI and Government College with the help of the Mohali Municipal Council, but the Deputy Commissioner has stayed the proposals related to development works.

He said he would meet the Punjab Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, Punjab, in this connection.

However, officials at the office of the Deputy Commissioner, said that grant to the tune of nearly Rs 60 lakh under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan had been released for school education in the area. They said that no teacher from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Kharar, had been withdrawn by the DC. In fact, the PTA of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Ropar, wanted that one teacher, who was working at the Kharar school without any official orders should be called back as she was withdrawing her salary from the Ropar school.

The District Education Officer had been asked by the Deputy Commissioner to give a report in this regard.

They said Mrs Jain was taking a personal interest in the students’ centre coming up at Government College, Mohali, and was monitoring the work.

Land worth crores of rupees falling under Kharar municipal limits, which had been encroached upon by people for the past many years, had been got retrieved with the help of the Deputy Commissioner.


Social activist alleges victimisation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 29
Social activist Balwinder Singh Saifdipur has alleged that the modikhanas (ration shops) he had opened across the city to help the poor and needy were being shut down at the behest of the Punjab Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mr Randhawa is the sitting MLA from the Ghanaur Assembly segment, while Mr Saifdipur is a strong contender for the Congress ticket from the segment.

Despite the fact that nearly two years are still to go for the Assembly poll in Punjab, both Mr Randhawa and Mr Saifdipur are engaging themselves in verbal duels almost every day in an attempt to attract the voters.

On Thursday evening hundreds of people, who have been directly affected by the closure of the ration shops, protested in front of the office of Bhau Bhaichara at Bahadurgarh. Bhau Bhaichara, a social organisation started by Mr Saifdipur earlier, had the Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur, as its Patron but of late the MP disassociated herself from the activities of the organisation.

Mr Saifdipur, who claims that he was recently implicated in a case under Section 307 allegedly at the behest of Mr Randhawa, had opened 28 ration shops. Out of these 15 were in Patiala while the rest were located in the Ghanaur Assembly segment.

Mr Saifdipur claimed that a large number of persons assembled outside his office at Bahadurgarh to lodge their protest against the Punjab Minister’s move to shut down the modikhanas. However, he said that despite all pressure he would continue to distribute ration to the residents of Ghanaur free of cost.


Syrian actor praises Amitabh’s humility
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 29
Working with Amitabh Bachchan has been nothing, but, a miracle for the world’s second tallest man and Syrian actor Haisan.

Haisan, an actor-cum-international basketball player representing Syria, has worked in “Boom” with the Big-B and a James Bond film “The Spy,…”. Though originally hailing from Syria, Haisan, works as Chief Security Officer for a company in Dubai and currently is undertaking a tour of Punjab. At 7.3 inches, Haisan claims to be the second tallest person of the world after Mohammed Nazir of Pakistan, who is world’s tallest man at 7.8 inches.

Though Haisan had worked in the James Bond film with a three minute role, he finds his role in “Boom” and his affinity with Amitabh Bachchan as an out of the world experience. “Actually, Amitabh is a friend of my boss and it was the latter who had introduced me to him. I spent 15 days with Amitabh during shooting of “Boom” in Dubai. “During the shooting of the film I found that Amitabh was completely devoid of any airs about him. He was so affable that I could not even believe. I had heard about humility of Indians, but, the Big-B proved himself to be above all as he never frowned over anything and was so warm in his real life too,” observed Haisan.


Presentation was solid waste for top Local Bodies’ officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The top brass of the Punjab Local Bodies Department here today failed to turn up at a presentation organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board on the management and productive use of municipal solid waste, which has become not only a major health hazard but also a social problem in the state.

None of the top officers of the Local Bodies Department attended the presentation organised here by the board in collaboration with an Andhra Pradesh-based company on the management of solid waste and harnessing of energy, also called “green power”, from it. The board authorities confirmed that the top officers of the department, including its Principal Secretary were invited to attend the presentation.

However, the Mayors of the Jalandhar and Patiala Municipal Corporations were present. Some junior officers of the Local Bodies Department were also present.

Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairman of the board, said: “I cannot say why the senior officers did not turn up. The problem of solid waste is faced by municipal towns.”

About 30,000 quintals of solid waste is generated daily in various towns and cities in the state. There are no estimates available for such waste in the rural areas, where it is stacked in the open. According to an estimate prepared by the board, Ludhiana, with a daily generation of 880 tonnes of waste is at the top. It is followed by Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Bathinda. At present, almost all such waste is disposed of in open dumping yards. The availability of land for setting up such yards is decreasing and there is also opposition from people living in the areas where the waste is stacked. Technology is now available to harness energy from the solid waste.

Dr G.V. Rama Krishna, chairman of Solid Waste to Electricity Company (SELCO), while giving the presentation, said that methane, which was formed by the decomposition of organic matter in the dump yards, had 24 times more global warming potential than Co2. The uncontrolled burning of garbage in the open led to the emission of nitrous oxide, which had 179 times more global warming potential than Co2. Besides, it created air and water pollution, etc.

Mr Surinder Mahe, Mayor of the Jalandhar MC, offered to extend all financial and other help to set up such a project in his city.


Musical evening on May 1
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 29
The local Sur-Taal Kendra will organise a musical evening ‘Kal Ke Kalakaar’ on May 1 at Punjab Naatshala here.

Mr R. L. Bhatia, Governor of Kerala, will be the chief guest. Ms Jagjit Kaur and Mr Jatinder Brar, patron and chairman, respectively, of the kendra, said the programme would start at 5.30 pm.


PSEB to release temporary tubewell connections
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 29
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), keeping in view the persistent demand of farmers, has decided to release temporary tubewell connections up to a maximum load of 7.5 BHP during this paddy season.

The Chairman of the PSEB, Mr Y.S. Ratra, said processing of applications would be done from May 15 to 31. The connections would became operational by June 10. Being temporary in nature, all such connections would be disconnected by September 30 once the paddy season ends.

Mr Ratra also said that necessary instructions had been issued to the field staff to ensure that there was no overloading of any distribution transformer due to release of these connections. He added that such connections would be released only from rural feeders without disturbing low or high tension wires.

The Chairman added that if any unauthorised load was detected during the paddy season, a load surcharge of Rs 1,500 per BHP would be recovered from the erring consumers.


Cong anti-farmer, says Wadala
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 29
Terming the Congress as an “anti-farmer force”, senior Akali leader Kuldip Singh Wadala on Wednesday demanded that subsidies and export incentives be extended to farmers to save the farm sector from further decay.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the government was out to withdraw subsidies under international pressure.

He demanded that subsidies be extended to farmers and they also be accorded export incentives. 


NOC only after clearance by Sewerage Dept
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 29
The municipal council here has decided that private colonisers will be given no-objection certificate (NOC) by the civic body only when they produced a certificate from the Punjab Sewerage Department which stated that the colony would not be obstructing the natural flow of water.

The decision was taken at a general House meeting of the council held here today. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who attended the council meeting as its ex-officio member, pointed out that colonisers around Kharar had not taken care of the sewerage aspect and had obstructed the natural flow of water. This had resulted in flooding in areas around the town. He urged the council to also see whether PUDA norms were adhered to by coloniers before giving the relevant NOC.

Regarding the usage of vacant sites falling under the municipal limits, the House decided that the engineering wing of the council would prepare various proposals in this regard which would be discussed at the next monthly meeting.

The council rejected the proposal of getting the work of bill distribution done by engaging a private contractor. The members said this would amount to be a financial burden on the civic body. They said let council employees carry on the work of bill distribution as was being done at present.

However, the proposal of awarding punishment to a council clerk, Pardeep Kumar, was again kept pending by the House. It was alleged that the clerk had indulged in embezzlement and as such some councillors wanted that be should be punished for this.

It has been decided to construct two community centers for the convenience of the residents. One would be constructed at Khanpur village while the other at Mundi Kharar. It had also been decided to construct a multi-purpose hall and a stadium. 


Minor raped by migrant
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 29
Mohammed Naseem, father of three children, last night raped a minor girl at the local Kaulsar Mohalla on Khothran road.

The 35-year-old Naseem was arrested. When contacted today, Inspector Nirmal Singh, SHO, City Police Station, confirmed the incident. The medical examination of the14-year-old girl was conducted in Civil Hospital.

The girl belonged to Mehuba village in Betya district of Bihar. The rapist is also a migrant hailing from Badasar village in Kishen Ganj district of Bihar. Both were living in Kaulsar and had a common courtyard.

The girl alleged in her complaint that her father was asleep while her mother was away from house. She came out of her room and Naseem, who lived in an adjoining room, caught hold of her and raped her, she alleged.

The police had registered a case.


Fourteen hurt in bus-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 29
Fourteen persons were injured, including five women — three of them seriously, when the Punjab Roadway bus in which they were travelling collided head-on with a truck coming from the opposite direction near Bothgarh Balna village in the Morinda sub-division of the district this evening. Seven of the injuring including the bus driver, have been admitted in a private hospital at Morinda, four in Khamnoo Civil Hospital in Fathegarh Sahib, while three seriously injured have been referred to the CMC, Ludhiana.

The mishap took place at around 3.30 pm when the bus, which was on its way from Nangal to Ludhiana, collided with the truck coming from Ludhiana.

Those admitted in the private hospital at Morinda are bus driver, Amarjit Singh, Amandeep Kaur, Satinder Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Harshdeep — all four residents of a Malikpur village in Ropar, Shera and Billa of Morinda and Rupinder Singh of Khamano. The other seven injured were initially admitted to the Khamano Civil Hospital and later three of them were referred to CMC.

The truck driver, who was identified as Fakir Singh, a resident of Mandi Govindgarh, escaped from the spot after the accident. The police has registered a case.


ASI held in cheating case

Hoshiarpur, April 29
The police today arrested ASI Karamjit Singh posted at Garhdhiwal police thana in a cheating and bribe case.

District police chief Lok Nath Angra said here that action had been taken on a complaint by Rajvir Kaur, wife of Balbir Singh, resident of Sarhala village. She alleged that ASI Karamjit Singh took Rs 3 lakh from her on the pretext of getting her husband released. But neither her husband was released nor the ASI returned the money. — UNI


One booked on duping charges
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 29
The Gurdaspur police has arrested Makhan Singh, resident of Jandeh village near Dorangla on the charges of duping his relative.

The SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Ishwar Singh, said in a press release that Nirmal Singh, a relative of Makhan Singh complained to the police that the accused had taken Rs 2 lakh from him to get (Nirmal’s) son recruited in cooperative bank.

Nirmal Singh borrowed money and paid the amount to the accused. He also submitted the details of the bank transactions through which he collected the money that was later paid to the accused. However, the accused neither got Nirmal’s son recruited nor paid the money back to him following which he was forced to file a police complaint.

The police, after verifying the contents of the complaint, booked the accused under Section 420 of the IPC.

The SSP also said that a proclaimed offender Dawinder Singh resident of Kotla Dholeshah village near Kathu Nangal police station, who had been eluding police since 2003, was also arrested.


Kidnapped boy found
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 29
The Batala police’s prompt action has resulted in the recovery of 8-year-old kidnapped boy Rakesh of Talwandi Lal Singh village.

Dr Jitendera Kumar Jain, SSP, told mediapersons here today that Rajbir Kaur, mother of the boy, was living separately from her husband in the village. Rakesh was studying in Class II in a school at Batala. When she went to the school to pick the boy on April 18, 2005, Sandeep Singh of Riar village and Gurpreet Singh of Vade Ghuman and her husband Harwant Singh took her son forcibly to an unknown place in a three-wheeler.

The matter was reported to the police and a case was registered against the accused and Mrs Vimmy of Amritsar. Police parties raided the house of Harwant Singh.

The second raid was conducted at the residence of Mrs Vimmy and she was arrested on the spot. On her information, the police went to Gurdwara Shaheedan, where the boy was recovered, along with the culprits.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, April 29
The CIA staff has busted an inter-state gang of vehicle thieves and arrested five of its members, besides recovering three vehicles from them.

Sources said the vehicles recovered were Toyota Qualis, Scorpio, and Maruti Zen. The gang always used to target luxury vehicles, as it would earn them handsome money.

The sources said Qualis belonged to an advocate residing at Bhan Singh Colony here, while Scorpio was stolen from Dongar Basti.

A case has been registered against them under Sections 379, 380, and 457 of the IPC. They have been remanded in police custody till May 2.


Murder case solved, 1 held
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 29
The police has solved a murder case registered in 2003 and arrested a person in this connection.

Sources said deceased Dharam Singh Rana, who was working as a supervisor at Small Industries and Exports, Moga, left for New Delhi on November 25, 2003, to attend a meeting. On November 28, he boarded Intercity Express from Delhi, but didn’t reach home. His body was found near a tea vend close to his residence. His wife, Santosh Rani, had stated in her complaint that she had talked to him on the phone before he left for home. A murder case was also registered against killer on the basis of her complaint.

The SSP said the police arrested accused Parmod Kumar only after having a vital clue after taking details of telephone and mobile talks between the accused and wife of deceased Santosh Rani, proving both had illicit relations.

The telephone and mobile details also revealed that the accused Parmod Kumar and Santosh Rani had talks before and after the committing of crime.

The police investigations revealed that both accused and Santosh Rani had illicit relations and deceased Dharam Singh never liked it.

Parmod owns a shop of white goods in Muktsar. sources said Parmod had killed Dharam Singh with sharp-edged weapons. Parmod was produced in the court which remanded him to two-day police custody.


Fake currency racket busted
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 29
The Goraya police has busted an inter-district gang of fake currency manufacturers with the arrest of Harwinder Kaur, wife of Sukhdev Singh Sukha, at Virk village in Phillaur sub division today. Fake currency notes worth Rs 1.90 lakh was recovered from her possession.

Earlier, a police team raided her house and arrested her husband, Sukha, and seized one computer, one scanner, one printer, and other material used for preparing fake currency notes.

Fake currency notes worth Rs 60,000 were also seized from his possession. Raj Kumar, a TV mechanic, an accomplice of Sukha, was also arrested and fake currency notes worth Rs 7,000 recovered from him.

The police had also rounded up another gang member Parminder, alias Kala, in this connection.

The Ludhiana police had arrested a few youths near the Sherpur area, Ludhiana, who gave vital informations about the racket and gang members.


One hit by car, killed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 29
One person was killed and another was seriously injured when they were hit by a car near the bus stand here last night.

According to the police, Labh Singh, a resident of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, and Charanjit Singh, a resident of Balongi, were hit by a Qualis when they were trying to cross the road. Both were taken to the local Civil Hospital. Labh Singh died on the way to the hospital.

The driver of the car fled from the accident site after leaving the vehicle behind.


Doc cross-examined in Harpreet murder case
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 29
Dr B.S. Sohal was cross examined by the defence in the case pertaining to SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is being tried for alleged murder of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, in the court of Special Judge S.P. Bangar here today. The defence team comprising Mr N.P.S. Waraich and Mr S.S. Kler, grilled Dr Sohal for nearly two hours.

Dr Sohal will be cross examined tomorrow also.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was present in the court along with her supporters, entered the court through the back door once she came to know that SAD (A) supporters were protesting outside the complex.


Magisterial probe into Pawani case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 29
The Deputy Commissioner today ordered a magisterial inquiry into the alleged rape and torture of Pawani Bai in the police custody. The SDM of Talwandi Sabo would investigate the matter.

The police had arrested Pawani Bai with 150 gm opium a few days ago. She had accused the police of torture and rape.

Rajasthani migrants had staged dharnas demanding an impartial probe into the case. Following those protests, Mr Kapil Dev had asked the SP (D), Mr Ajay Maluja, to investigate the matter.

However, a delegation of the migrants met Mr Dev today and expressed its dissatisfaction over the police probe. Now the SP (H) has been entrusted with the investigation into the case. The police is awaiting the medical report regarding rape charge in the case.

A medical examination of Pawani Bai was held in the wake of her allegations of police torture. The report of that examination was today sent to the court of Additional Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Atri. Pawani Bai was medically examined thrice.

Sources said none of those medical reports had corroborated rape on her. Later, she was admitted to the Civil Hospital following court orders. Today she was discharged from the hospital.

Meanwhile, police sources said Pawani Bai was levelling allegations to escape from the case. On the other hand, the migrants have accused the Health Department of siding with the police.

The Rajasthan Government has reportedly taken up the matter with the state government. 


High court
DGP Virk’s case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 29
The Government on Friday submitted in the High Court the entire record pertaining to the chargesheet served on Mr S.S. Virk, Punjab Director General of Police. Mr Virk’s service book was also submitted.

The HC had summoned the record in the petition filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann seeking quashing Mr Virk’s appointment.

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

Mr Mann has also sought directions to the government to repatriate Mr Virk to his parent state of Maharashtra.

The case now comes up for hearing on May 3.


PCCTU threatens to boycott exams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 29
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) here today threatened to boycott examination duties if the Punjab Government failed to restore agreed upon issues in the budget passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Prof S.S. Hundal, president of the PCCTU, decried the decision of the four-member committee of the Punjab Government to stop 95 per cent grant to colleges and to deny parity with government colleges in respect of allowances.

He said the anti-education and anti-student attitude of the government would destroy the higher education in the state. The government had constituted the four-member committee consisting of the Higher Education Minister, the Finance Minister, the Finance Secretary and the Education Secretary when the PCCTU had agitated for a long time and boycotted university exams.

Prof Hundal further said stopping of grant would mean hefty, unaffordable fee-structure for students of whom 85 per cent study in private colleges. The Chief Minister had agreed at a meeting and withdrawn the 10 per cent annual cut on grants order and even restored Rs 14.40 crore as part of 20 per cent cut in grants.

Prof Hundal said a college teacher suffered loss of about Rs 2,500 due to denial of 50 per cent DA merger and also 6 per cent already given to government employees.


DC for transfer of guilty Headmaster
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 29
Following the publication of a news item in Chandigarh Tribune regarding a conflict between the Headmaster and a woman teacher of Government High School, Badochi Kalan, the Deputy Commissioner had ordered an inquiry. The Headmaster was alleged to have caught the teacher from the arm at the school.

After getting the report of the inquiry officer, Mr P.S. Kaley, Assistant Commissioner (G), the Deputy Commissioner wrote to the Principal Secretary (Schools) to immediately transfer the Headmaster out of the district as he had been found guilty of misconduct with the woman teacher. He also mentioned that the Headmaster’s action had put a bad impression on students, particularly girl students, staff and villagers. The incident had also dented the reputation of the Education Department.

In separate orders, the Deputy Commissioner has directed the DEO(S) to immediately withdraw the DDO powers of the Headmaster and delegate the same to someone else till he is transferred.

Earlier the inquiry officer submitted his report to the Deputy Commissioner in which he found the Headmaster guilty of misconduct. He also mentioned that the Headmaster had withheld the honorarium of examination of many teachers. He recommended action against the Headmaster.


VC’s ouster demanded
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 29
The Punjab Scheduled Castes Welfare Society (PSCWS), at a meeting held here today, demanded the ouster of the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, for financial irregularities.

In a press release, Mr Paramjit Singh Sodh, president of the society, said his body had taken serious note of news items appearing yesterday in various newspapers pertaining to the ‘illegal payment made to several teachers and other non-teaching staff of the university’.

Mr Sodh alleged that while on the one hand the VC was abolishing various posts citing ‘financial constraints’ while on the other hand he was accommodating his favourites on plum posts apart from handing them additional charges.

Mr Sodh claimed that the VC had abolished the post of Assistant Public Relations Officer, Mr H.S. Khokhar citing ‘financial grounds’ forcing the affected employee to file a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Sodh appealed to the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to put a check on the activities of Mr Boparai as he was acting against the larger interests of the university.


NFL employees form education society
Tribune News Service

Nangal, April 29
Employees of National Fertiliser Limited, Nangal unit, yesterday formed a Fertiliser Employees Education Society to run Capt Amol Kalia Model School in Nangal on a no-profit-no-loss basis.

This was stated by the president of the National Fertiliser Employees Union, Mr Gurdev Singh, here today. The school is at present leased out to the Rose Mary Educational Society. The employees of the NFL have approached the High Court against the NFL management’s decision.

Mr Gurdev Singh said Mr Nirmal Singh had been appointed president of the education society and documents regarding its formation were today submitted in the High Court. The case was adjourned for May 17, he added.


Workshop on personnel management ends
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 29
A three-day workshop on “Personnel Management,” conducted by the Mahatama Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab, to impart training to officials of different departments of the district at Rayat College of Law, Rail Mazra, about 40 km from here, concluded today.

The workshop was inaugurated on Wednesday by the Director-General of the institute, Mr V.N. Ojha and the concluding session was presided over by Mr N.K. Arora, member, Punjab State Human Rights Commission.


Debt-ridden farmers leave banks in a fix
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 29
Tough days are ahead for cooperative banks as on the one hand Nabard is asking them to recover loans, on the other the state’s struggling farmers are finding it difficult to repay their debt.

Sources said sudden hailstorm and rain, decline in cotton prices and wheat production had broken the backbone of farmers, but the government was in no mood to give any relaxation in the debt recovery.

Farmers argued that this time, the wheat production had gone down by 15 quintals per acre and now hailstorm had hit newly sown cotton crop.

The decrease in the cotton prices had led to the rise in number of defaulters.

Sources said agricultural development banks had to recover Rs 300 crore from the farmers, while the number of defaulters had reached 1 lakh. About 96,500 defaulters belonged to the agricultural development banks only, of which a majority hailed from Ferozepore division.

Last year, the number of defaulters from cotton belt was 56,000, which had now increased to 59,995. There were apprehensions that this figure might increase further after this season. The farmers of Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar, Moga, and Ferozepore, owed Rs 196.51 crore to these banks.

Sources said the farmers of the cotton belt were living in fear as in case of non-payment of debt they could be jailed. Last year, the recovery of agricultural development banks was 70 per cent, while it was 51 per cent in the last season.

Banks of Bathinda, Mansa, and Muktsar could not cross the recovery figure of 40 per cent. The Additional MD of cooperative banks, Mr Harjinder Singh Kohli, said the decline in wheat production would hit loan recovery but still they were sending teams daily to villages and meetings were also being held in this regard. He admitted that cotton farmers had suffered losses in the hailstorm and it might also affect the recovery of loans. Meanwhile, Nabard had imposed restrictions on about 18 agricultural development banks of the cotton belt. This had resulted in a fear among other banks.

As per norms, Nabard could take action in case of decline in recovery. Sources said the government officials were also apprehensive as action was taken against six officials last season owing to the low rate of recovery.

The Chairman of North India Cotton Association, Mr Kattar Singh Jidda, said the state government should give some relaxation to the state’s farmers, who were bearing the brunt of natural calamities. He said the farmers should be given compensation, besides relaxation in loans.


RCF to set up wheel, axle unit soon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, April 29
Rail Coach Factory (RCF) is all set to open wheel and axle production unit in its workshop soon.

While the factory was earlier buying such components from private dealers, the in-house production of the bogey parts is expected to begin after a year in a new unit coming up at a cost of Rs 25 crore.

Mr Yashpal Gupta, General Manager of the RCF, revealed this during his first press conference here today. The GM said the factory had been sanctioned Rs 60 crore for its new expansion plan under which the production of coaches would be enhanced to 1,400 coaches a year from its existing capacity of manufacturing 1200 coaches annually.

Mr Gupta said since the new unit would be ready for production only after the next financial year, the RCF had targeted to manufacture 1,216 coaches during this financial year.

“The RCF will start manufacturing air-conditioned composite three-tier and two-tier coaches from this year and roll out five refrigerated vans for transporting perishable goods also,” said Mr Gupta, adding that for the fast mobility on metre gauge tracks, they had improved the design of the coach to enhance its speed by 10 km per hour.

Keeping in view the cleanliness in toilets and avoid soiling of station premises, 88 coaches manufactured by RCF this year would be provided with modulated toilets equipped with controlled discharge system. The faecal matter would be discharged through these toilets when the train gained the speed of 30 km per hour, said Mr Gupta.

Reacting to implementation of VAT on rail components, he said it had adversely affected the production of the factory. “In fact, about 100 coaches are still awaiting completion for want of small components, which are being sourced from vendors. With the decision of the state government to reduce VAT from 12 to 4 per cent, we are hopeful to clear these coaches within a week,” he added.

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