P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Wheat procurement in Punjab falls short by three lakh tonnes
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Wheat procurement in Punjab is going to fall short by at least 3 lakh tonnes over the last year’s figures.

Last year, various government agencies procured over 95 lakh tonnes wheat, but this year’s figures so far are only 90.18 lakh tonnes. Last year, till May 7, agencies had procured over 93.83 lakh tonnes wheat, over 2.65 lakh tonnes more than this year’s figures.

About 2 lakh tonnes more wheat is expected to be procured in various mandis of Punjab this season.

Sources associated with the ongoing procurement admit that there will be a shortfall as compared to last year’s figures.

But, apart from the fall in the procurement figures, what has taken the government by surprise is the relatively sharp fall in procurement in the border areas of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore.

Last year, farmers in Amritsar sold 10.76 lakh tonnes, Ferozepore 11.14 lakh tonnes and Gurdaspur 5.76 lakh tonnes wheat to government agencies at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

But, this year, the procurement figures (till May 7) for Amritsar, Ferozepore and Gurdaspur are 9.75 lakh tonnes, 10.10 lakh tonnes and 4.44 lakh tonnes. “Nobody can say at this stage what is the cause of this fall, but it is too significant to ignore,” said the source.

However, mandis in Patiala, the hometown of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, are all set to show an increased procurement by government agencies. As compared to the 7.43 lakh tonnes last year, farmers have already sold 7.77 lakh tonnes till yesterday.

Government sources also say the government has finally accepted that there has also been a fall in the total produce.

While last year, the total produce was 144 lakh tonnes, this year, the Agriculture Department had pegged the likely produce at 149 lakh tonnes. “But, this has not happened. Due to various causes, wheat production in Punjab has fallen,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified.

However, the government does not feel that the fall in production and procurement is a cause for worry.

“Farming is dependent on many factors, the most significant among them being the climate. If you study figures, wheat production in all wheat-producing states has gone down. In fact, as compared to other states Punjab has delivered the best results,” noted Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab.


Sikhs divided over gurdwara committee for Haryana
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 8
The announcement of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister, Haryana, to consider the demand of the Sikh community of his state for the formation of a separate gurdwara committee for historical Sikh shrines in Haryana has evoked a mixed response from the Sikh community.

While the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has openly supported the demand of Haryana’s SGPC member, for the formation of a separate gurdwara committee, the Shiromani Committee has described the move as gross violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

Mr Harinder Paul Singh, an SGPC member from New Delhi, alleges that the Congress is misleading the Sikh community by giving baseless statements. He claimed that no amendment could be made to the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 for paving way for the formation of a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana unless two-third of the SGPC’s general house approve the draft.

He said the gurdwara Act was passed in Parliament and hence the same route would be adopted for any amendment on the basis of the SGPC’s resolution. He said the number of SGPC members elected from Haryana were only seven and could not dictate their terms in the general house of the Shiromani Committee. He said the Congress wanted to violate all the agreements, including the Nehru-Liakat pact, for vested interests.

However, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, while supporting the demand of Haryana’s SGPC members, said the Sikh community in Haryana was disillusioned with the approach of the SGPC, which had failed to fulfil its aspirations. Most of the recruitments in historical Sikh shrines of Haryana were made from Punjab by the SGPC, thereby ignoring the rights of Haryana Sikhs.

He said while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had been demanding state autonomy as to why it was opposing the process of decentralisation of power to the Haryana Sikhs so far as gurdwaras were concerned. He said the SGPC should be open to any arrangement for streamlining the management of gurdwaras instead of imposing its hegemony.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, senior SGPC member and former Akali minister, said the demand of Haryana Sikhs for a separate gurdwara committee was not justified, which was aimed at diluting the strength of the community. Instead of forming a separate gurdwara committees, efforts should be made for the enactment of All-India gurdwara Act to bring all historical Sikh shrines under the control of a single institution.

He alleged that any move of Haryana’s SGPC members to form a separate gurdwara committee would un-necessarily invite direct interference of their state government. He said the Sikh community was already pained at the direct interference of Bihar and Maharashtra governments in the management of Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, respectively.

The Government of Maharashtra appoints an IAS officer as a caretaker for the management of Takht Hazoor Sahib while the District Magistrate of Patna is authorised to nominate certain members in the management of Takht Patna Sahib, which could not be justified. He said the sane elements should come forward to save the community from being divided further.


Badungar flays Hooda on remarks on Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 8
Commenting upon Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s suggestion that the Haryana Governor should now be made the Administrator of Chandigarh, UT, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC president and member of the Political Affairs Committee, SAD, today asserted that Punjab had an inalienable right on the capital city Chandigarh because Punjab was a parent state while Haryana was just a ‘guest state’.

“A guest should not nurse the illusion of being the host and the owner of the house (Ag lain ayi ghar wali ban baithi)”, quipped Prof Badungar while reacting to The Tribune story that had appeared today.

Mr Hooda’s suggestion to the Prime Minister and Home Minister that both Haryana and Punjab should share the administration of Chandigarh is bound to stir up a hornet’s nest as Punjab has been ruling the UT through its Governors for the last 21 years.

Prof Badungar alleged that Mr Hooda was giving one after the other irresponsible statements at the behest of the Congress-led Central Government for vitiating the situation in Punjab and creating bitterness in inter-state relations of two neighbourly states, which were very friendly during the Badal government.

First, Mr Hooda meddled in Sikh affairs by stating in Amritsar that a separate Haryana gurdwara parbandhak committee would be set up, he rued. Now he had meddled in Punjab affairs with his preposterous suggestion, he regretted.

Prof Badungar asked Centre to restrain Mr Hooda by directing him to keep his mouth shut and lay his hands off Sikhs as well as Punjab matters.

Prof Badungar asked the Congress-led Centre Government to restrain Mr Hooda before the situation went out of control, transfer Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana to Punjab at the earliest and make Haryana build its own capital as the ‘guest had overstayed in the house of the host’.


Girl ‘tortured’ by cops, hospitalised
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 8
A 17-year old brick kiln labourer, Reshma, was allegedly tortured by the police after she failed to provide clues relating to the murder of her elder sister.

A police party from the PS (Sadar) reportedly picked up the young woman from Teja Bhatt village, under the jurisdiction of Bhunerheri police post yesterday afternoon, where she was working as a labourer at a kiln owned by Shailendra.

Reshma has now been admitted to Government Rajindera Hospital where she has been declared to be out of danger. Reshma , who was allegedly given electric shocks on her right breast, lips and right ear, was picked up by the PS Sadar personnel following investigations by the cops into the sudden death of her elder sister Kamlesh.

The SHO of Sadar police station, Mr Sharanjit Singh, denied the allegations of torture and added that Reshma was picked by the cops because on the day her sister Kamlesh disappeared Reshma was sleeping with her sister on the same cot. He maintained that they wanted to question Reshma and since she was a woman, a woman constable and Reshma’s aunt accompanied the labourers to the Police Station.

Mr Sharanjit Singh added that the labourer’s family was trying to dilute the facts and were trying to concoct a story under pressure from Shailendra, the brick kiln owner.

Meanwhile, the SSP Mr A.S Rai, said that even though prima facie there appeared to be no truth in the story of the woman being tortured, still he had sent the SP (D) Mr P.S Virk, and DSP (Rural) Bhupinder Singh to the hospital to talk to the labourer and ascertain the facts.


Govt rejects HPCL plea to restore refinery package
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Punjab Government has rejected plea of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited( HPCL) for the restoration of the tax and other concessions which were allowed by the previous SAD-BJP government for the installation of oil refinery at Bathinda.

Recently, the Punjab Government had offered a revised package, vastly diluting the earlier one promised by the previous state government, of concessions to the HPCL. However, the HPCL authorities have written back to the state government to restore the earlier package or give the concessions at least on the pattern of Bena oil refinery under installation in Madhya Pradesh.

As per the new package, the Punjab Government had offered to give Rs 250 crore per annum by securing the loan from banks for five years. And its interest calculated on the average basis of the five years was to be paid by the state government. However, the money is to be returned by the HPCL. Informed sources said the Madhya Pradesh Government had offered such a package for 15 years.

The sources said today that the Punjab Government, rejecting the plea for the restoration of the earlier package, had urged the HPCL authorities to stand by the decisions taken at a meeting held at the Prime Minister level.

Following differences between the HPCL and the state government over the package of concessions, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had called the HPCL authorities, the top officials of the Petroleum Ministry and the Punjab Chief Minister and others to resolve the issue.

A senior officer of the state government said at the meeting held at the Prime Minister level, the HPCL authorities had agreed to the Rs 250-crore bank loan condition. “ It was unfortunate that now the HPCL was going back from its promise made.” Now the Punjab Government, the sources said, had sent a copy of the proceedings of the meeting to the HPCL for reference.

In fact, the HPCL had sent the revised deed of assurance, that was prepared in the light of the decisions taken at the PM-level meeting, to the state government for acceptance in January.

The Punjab Council of Ministers had approved that deed at its meeting on January 28. And it was conveyed to the HPCL. However, the HPCL has again started seeking concessions on the Bena refinery pattern.


ETT course: no age relaxation for SC candidates
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
A controversy has erupted in the corridors of the Punjab Government as the Education Department has not given relaxation in the age category to Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates keen to apply for admission in the Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) course. Today was the last day to apply for admission to be made on the basis of merit.

Sources said the Director of the SCs and BCs Welfare Department had written to the Secretary of his department to take up the matter with the Education Department. The Director had acted on the basis of complaints received from affected Scheduled Caste candidates.

In fact, the Education Department has faced a lot of flak on the admissions issue. Its latest prospectus that carries details about the admission process etc, the age limit for admission is from 18 years to 25 years.

There is no relaxation for any category. However, in the earlier prospectus published in December the age limit was 17 years to 32 years. There was a relaxation of three years for the candidates of SCs and BCs categories. The Technical Education Department allows relaxation of three years for admission in professional courses to SC and BC candidates.

But the prospectus published in December was cancelled. Change has been made in the admission criteria in the latest prospectus. Earlier admission was to be made through the entrance test and now admission is to be made on merit to be prepared on the basis of marks secured in plus II examination.

The Director has requested the Secretary that the Education Department should be told that Scheduled Caste candidates, who will make to the merit list in general category, should not be counted against reserved seats. He has quoted government rules in this connection. Meanwhile, there will be discrimination with students belonging to humanities and vocational groups, whose plus II class result is yet to be declared. In the absence of the result, such students are unable to apply while their counterparts in science and commerce streams have got the chance to apply as their results were declared last week.


Punjab to allow limited killing of wild boars, blue bulls
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
After years of dithering, Punjab has decided to clear the controversial proposal of allowing the shooting of wild animals that have been causing damage to crops in the state.

Endorsing the suggestion that had long been kept in abeyance for the sheer criticism by die hard conservationists, the state government has decided to allow the killing of blue bulls and wild boars. It has, however, decided to issue a limited number of shooting permits to ensure minimum damage to the wildlife.

Further, no killing will be permitted in the Shivalik hill region which is exceptionally rich in wildlife population. Speaking to The Tribune, Mr A.S. Dogra, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, confirmed that the shooting permits would be issued in the plains of Punjab where the reported extent of crop damage was very high. He added that the Shivalik hill region would not be covered under the proposal.

"The Shivalik region has been left out of the purview of the proposal because it is rich in many other wildlife species, besides blue bulls and wild boars. Also, the enforcement of the proposal would be tough in this region," he said.

Although a thorough scientific census of the animals is still awaited, the tentative figures of the two animals, as given by the Wildlife Department are - 14, 335 wild boars and 10, 312 blue bulls. At the April 27 meeting of the recently reconstituted Punjab State Board for Wildlife, the extent of population of the two animal species in Punjab was also discussed.

Present also at the meeting was Dr Malik from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, who was privy to the five-year proposal which Punjab has made to scientifically study the population of wild animals. For the time being, the decision is to hire an expert on full-time basis who will help determine the population of animals within a year.

As for the numbers of blue bulls, they are generally large in the plains - the largest being in Ferozepore and Patiala, followed by Ropar, Faridkot and Bathinda, where shooting permits will be issued by SDMs.

The wild boar population is the highest in sub-mountainous region, especially Hoshiarpur, where it is 9000 followed by Ropar which has 2000 wild boars.


PPCC lashes out at NDA over boycott
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 8
Lashing out at the NDA-led Opposition for its boycott of the two houses of Parliament for the rest of the Budget session till May 13 on “frivolous and baseless” grounds, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has alleged that the NDA and its constituents have not only utterly failed to project themselves as a responsible and accountable Opposition, but have also “betrayed” people of the country.

The PPCC has also alleged that instead of going in for a “potent and meaningful discussion” over vital issues concerning people of the country, the NDA has chosen to waste public money by simply announcing unilaterly that it was boycotting the Budget session in a highly “unparliamentary and undemocratic” manner.

Launching a scathing attack on the NDA, the PPCC General Secretary, Mr Parminder Singh, questioned, “Who have given them the right to waste precious public money. People have sent them to Parliament for solving their problems and not for making them more intricate.

If they are boycotting the discussion without assigning any valid reason, what right have they got to claim their perks for these days? Is it not a betrayal of countrymen and is it not a dishonest practice ?”

Mr Parminder Singh said targeting corrupt practices during the discussion was not a crime and this was what was being given as a reason by the Opposition for its boycott.

“They are saying that they were being humiliated by the ruling UPA. But, in fact, it is otherwise, as it were they (NDA) who have been humiliating people by resorting to unhealthy and undemocratic practices. People have every right to pinpoint malpractices, if any, and why this should be made a prestige issue?” said Mr Parminder Singh.

Mr Parminder Singh pointed out that the Lok Sabha members owing allegiance to the NDA had no right to claim their travel or other allowances, if they were not performing their duties in the Parliament.

“How can they go to people on the latter’s expenses and yet claim that they were their (people’s) representatives when they were not ready to speak or discuss people’s problems on their behalf in the Parliament. In my view, they even cease to be MPs, when, they were not honouring the decorum of the Parliament,” said Mr Parminder Singh.


Use of abusive language by Fernandes flayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Rajya Sabha MP Ashwini Kumar has flayed the use of abusive language by former Defence Minister George Fernandes against Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Mr Kumar, in a statement issued here today, said the former Defence Minister had allowed his personal prejudices to vitiate the democratic political discourse.

Stating that the expressions used by Mr Fernandes mock the sensitivity of people of India and are offensive to the sensibilities of women in general, Mr Kumar cited frustration and political failure on Mr Fernandes’ part as the reason for the verbal abuse.

In an interview earlier, Mr Fernandes had made a statement referring to Ms Sonia Gandhi that “witches don’t survive for long”.

Mr Kumar added that the verbal abuse heaped upon Ms Gandhi would not be tolerated any further and that the expressions used by Mr Fernandes were confirmation of negative politics.


Youth Cong seeks action against Modi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 8
Angry over inaction against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Best Bakery and Godhra episodes, a large number of workers of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) blocked traffic and burnt effigy of Narendra Modi at BMC chowk here today and urged the President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to initiate action against Mr Modi.

The PYC workers, led by Mr Gurmeet Sehgal Monty and Mr Rinku Sethi, the General Secretary of the PYC and President of district unit of the PYC, respectively, also took out a procession from the Rajendra Nagar office of the District Congress Committee and marched towards the BMC chowk, where they shouted slogans and burnt effigy of Modi.

Mr Sethi and Mr Sehgal said it was unfortunate that no concrete action had been taken against Mr Modi at any stage and this could further lead to some uncalled for happenings in Gujarat and elsewhere. “Absence of any action against Modi could give wrong signals,” said Mr Sehgal and Mr Sethi.

PYC office-bearers, including Devendra Sanyal, Tarun Gandhi, Vijay Mithu, Rishi Aanand, Vinay Kumar, J.K. Sharma and Manav Khanna also spoke on the occasion.


Mann flays SAD for writing to PM over France visit
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 8
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today criticised the SAD leadership, especially Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general, for writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to seek time from the French Government for a deputation of the SAD MPs and representatives of the SGPC which wanted to visit France to have discussions with the government over the turban issue.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Mann said all the eight SAD MPs, including Mr Dhindsa, were observing a boycott of Parliament these days, while they should be in Parliament for raising serious Sikh issues like a ban on wearing of turban by the Sikh students in French schools and non-tabling of the Nanawati Commission report by the Union Government. He said when the SAD MPs did not raise their voice in Parliament on the ban on wearing of turban by the Sikh students, then how one could expect that they would raise their voice in this regard in France. He said the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had taken a wise step by ending the boycott of Parliament.


New-look buses on state roads soon
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 8
Peace and prosperity of Punjab is all set to be depicted by the Punjab Transport Department through its new 360-strong fleet of buses. The buses would be painted in a new pleasant combination of soothing green and tranquil white, replacing the dull pale and blue colours.

Not only this, 360 new buses, which would be inducted by the Punjab Transport Department in the 1500-strong fleet of buses within next fortnight, would also offer passengers a luxurious ambience and comforts matching those of deluxe buses and no extra money would be charged from passengers for new facilities.

The Punjab Roadways has about 1500 buses in its fleet, but, interestingly, over 90 per cent of these buses are not even roadworthy, what to talk of luxuries.

Frequent breakdowns are the trademark of the old yellow buses belonging to all 30 depots.

The 360 new buses would be inducted in the fleet and these would replace an equal number of old buses in the first phase of the replacement exercise being undertaken by the Punjab Transport Department authorities.

Nearly 100 similar new buses were likely to be added to the fleet of the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) soon.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, the Punjab Transport Minister, revealed that the new buses were being fitted with deluxe-type luxury cushioned seats instead of bench-type seats and the new vehicles would come with wider glasses to enable passengers to have a wider view.

“The body and built quality of these new buses would be much better than their predecessors, but at the same time no extra charges would be slapped on passengers. Full effort has been made to ensure more comfort to passengers, who would set a new feel while sitting in new buses,” said Mr Kaypee.

He said the entire fleet would be gradually replaced with new buses in the ongoing effort of the department to overhaul the Punjab Roadways.


MC told to cancel sale deed
Reluctant, it pleads status quo
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 8
A unique case of selling a part of a road in a populated area by the local municipal council (MC) some years ago to the owner of a petrol station on the Roxy road outside Sunami Gate here, has come to light as the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, in a letter to the MC on March 23, has directed it to cancel the sale deed of the land and file a civil suit in this regard in the court.

After receiving the letter, the MC at its meeting held on May 2, adopted a resolution to request the state government to review the order. The president of the MC told the members that the sale deed had been executed by the then municipal officials as per rules and instructions of the government. He said also due to poor financial condition of the MC, it would be difficult for it to return the payment.

According to information, 195.61 sq yards of municipal land, including a major part of the road, had been sold to M/s Tilak Ram Krishan Chand on February 9, 2001, at a cost of Rs 13.93 lakh. The Deputy Commissioner had brought the matter to the notice of the Director, Local Bodies, saying that the land was situated on the corner of two wide roads and a major part of the land was part of the road. The Deputy Commissioner recommended the Local Bodies Department to cancel the sale deed.

At the MC meeting, Mr Jatinder Kalra, a councillor, recorded his note in the proceedings of the meeting that the sale deed was done in a wrong manner as a major part of the road had also been made a part of the sale deed.

Mr Krishan Chand, on April 9, 2001, told the Executive Officer of the MC that he was ready to leave a portion of the land out of the sale deed. On April 30, 2004, the MC accepted the offer, stating that the width of the road would increase and gave its approval to get the sale deed amended.

However, in the light of this resolution and the representation of shopkeepers to the Director, Local Bodies, regarding the cancellation of the sale deed, the Director asked the MC to cancel the sale deed.

The shopkeepers of the Sunami Gate and the Roxy road areas, besides residents of the town, have written to the Chief Minister to direct the MC to get the sale deed cancelled.


Fake eunuchs make an easy buck
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, May 8
Unbelievable, but true. Fake eunuchs have descended on the town. In order to earn a decent livelihood, a group of two to three men dressed up like eunuchs can be seen at various functions. According to informed sources, they have chosen the area in and around Chakki railway station here as their makeshift residence. Ramoo of adjoining Himachal Pradesh is said to be their so-called group leader.

According to residents of the Dhaki area, eunuchs start their make-up early in the morning. The physical appearance of the eunuchs seems to be changed but from the beard and female hairstyle they are still identified more as men.

The local police has acquired a list of at least 10 fake eunuchs but no legal action has been taken. However, the police is maintaining a studied silence over the issue.

The sources said, money is the only criterion for these young-looking group and they learnt the art of borrowing money to meet their needs.

The sources in the eunuch community revealed that for working as a eunuch necessary permission was required from the ‘mahant eunuch’. A spokesperson of the community said a specified number of eunuchs were allowed to perform in the Pathankot circle, adding that all others who were performing without permission from the Mahant were operating illegally.

Recently, a tussle had taken place on account of the fake eunuchs in the area, which was reportedly amicably solved by a ruling Congress politician.


Chawla’s gesture to victims of family feud
Rashmi Talwar

Gill Warraich (Tarn Taran), May 8
Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP vice-president, has offered assistance in providing free education and lodging to two minor girls who became victims of a family feud. The help would be provided by an NGO Shakti.

One of the girls was raped while the other was stripped naked. Ms Kanta visited the families in the village to express her solidarity with the girls who had suffered at the hands of their cousins.

The feud started when an illicit liquor kiln was raided by the police last year, being run by Sukhjinder Singh, alias Sonu (18). Sonu accused the family of Kulwant Kaur, his paternal aunt responsible, for tipping off of about his illegal activities to police.

An year later, Sonu, along with his brother Manjinder, alias Monu, finding his cousin sister Rani (name changed) (15) alone in the house, on April 21, attacked Rani with sharp-edged weapons. Sonu then allegedly raped his cousin. Days after the first incident, four brothers of the victim Rani, stripped naked a sister (14) Balu (name changed) of the accused (Sonu) besides thrashing her.


World Red Cross Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 8
“Service towards mankind is service towards God and Red Cross Society must work with this aim and should make allout efforts to help the needy, handicapped, and helpless sections of society”. Stating this here today, Mr C.S. Srivastava, Commissioner, Patiala Division, while presiding over the district-level function organised to celebrate World Red Cross Day at BBSB Engineering College, urged people to donate generously to Red Cross. He also inaugurated an impressive cultural programme presented by different artistes, including Roop Singh Sekhawat from Rajasthan.

Mr Srivastava lauded the activities of the District Red Cross Society and urged officers to utilise the Red Cross fund only for helping the poor.

In his address, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, gave a detailed account of the activities and public-oriented programmes initiated by the District Red Cross Society. He said medicines for poor patients, ceiling fans in schools, tricycles to handicapped, marriage of poor girls, blankets and quilts to poor during winter, uniforms, sweaters and shoes to poor schoolchildren, sewing machines to widows besides grants for students were being provided through the Red Cross fund. He said the District Red Cross Society was running Mata Sundri School and a school in Nabipur village where rural girls were being imparted vocational training in various courses. He assured that not even a single rupee was wasted on any individual or useless activity.

Thousands of people gathered to witness the cultural programme and Miss Sugandha from APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, impressed everyone with her show. Mr Roop Singh Sekhawat from Rajasthan presented his skill of dancing on glasses, pots and swords by placing 11 pots on his head. Miss Arunima, seven-year-old girl from the district, presented an excellent choreography.

On this occasion, a special souvenir was also released.


Rs 27 lakh spent on aid to needy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 8
The District Red Cross Society has spent about Rs 27 lakh on the aid for handicapped, widows, students, patients and other needy people during the past two years. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, stated this at a function held to mark World Red Cross Day here today.

The DC said a fixed deposit of Rs 1.25 crore had been made for the local Deaf and Dumb School. In 2004-05, Rs 6.83 lakh was spent on medicines for poor, Rs 1.1 lakh for their aid, Rs 2.93 lakh for handicapped, Rs 2.56 lakh for tsunami victims and Rs 1.76 lakh for distributing sewing machines to widows.

The DC said a centre for mentally challenged would soon be opened at a cost of Rs 12 lakh with the Central aid. He said the Centre had also approved Rs 8.5 lakh for the Deaf and Dumb School. Apart from 60 sewing machines, 20 children were given uniforms and 15 got books at the function.


80 cases of hepatitis-C detected
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 8
The detection of about 80 cases of hepatitis-C in a month in the Malerkotla town and adjoining areas panic has spread among people, here.

A large number of persons from Quila Rahmatgarh, Jamal Pura, Sirhandi Gate, Bhumsi and some nearby villages of Malerkotla have been detected with disease. Hepatitis-C and infective hepatitis happen due to supply of contaminated water.

The District Health Officer, Sangrur, Dr K.C. Goyal, today confirmed the cases of hepatitis-C in the Malerkotla town and the adjoining areas.

Dr Goyal said that he had sent some teams to collect water samples from the affected areas as per the directions of the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner.

Some residents said that the sullage had mixed with water in some parts of the town, contaminating potable water.

Dr Badri Nath, SMO, Civil Hospital, says that the situation was under control as far as hepatitis-C was concerned. He said that the unregistered medical practitioners at times used unsterilised syringes and needles spreading the disease further.


7-year-old burnt in jhuggi fire
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 8
A seven-year-old girl died of burns while her mother, two brothers and a sister are fighting for their lives in the Civil Hospital after their jhuggi caught fire at Fazalpur village early this morning.

Seven-year-old girl died on the spot while her mother, Seeta Devi, a migrant from Bihar, is admitted to hospital with 65 per cent burns.

The three children, Ram Sagar, Mala and Mittu, are also admitted with nearly 50 per cent burns.

While Seeta Devi has claimed that her jhuggi was set afire by the owner of the land she had encroached upon, a case is yet to be registered in this regard by the district police.


Lok adalat settles 98 cases
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 8
About Rs 1.13 crore compensation was granted to litigants in the special lok adalat held in the local district court here yesterday.

Out of total 292 cases taken up here, 98 cases, were disposed of in the six lok adalats held on judicial side and one by Executive Magistrate informed Chairman of the Lok Adalat-cum-District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, A.K Sharma.


Addl Registrar elevated to IAS

Chandigarh, May 8
Mr Kahan Singh Pannu, Additional Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, has been elevated to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS).

A notification in this connection has been issued by the Union Ministry of Personnel following the recommendation made of his name by the Union Public Service Commission. — TNS


SHO held on bribe charge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 8
A team of the Vigilance Bureau, led by Mr Rashpal Singh, DSP, Sangrur, arrested the Longowal SHO Jagjit Singh from Longowal police station last evening when he was allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 from Mr Nishan Singh, sarpanch, Pindi Dhilwan village (near Longowal), for not harassing him and other members of his family in a case registered against his father Sukhdev Singh and others under Sections 379, 420 etc of the IPC at Longowal.

Talking to The Tribune today, Mr Rashpal Singh, said Pritam Singh had issued a cheque for Rs 5.50 lakh to Sukhdev Singh, but the cheque bounced. Later Pritam Singh got a case registered against Sukhdev Singh and some others, alleging that Sukhdev Singh had filled the cheque by stealing the same from his cheque-book. Some of the accused got bail from the court, while others, including Sukhdev Singh, had not got bail from the court so far.

The DSP said Nishan Singh complained against the SHO to the Vigilance Bureau that the SHO had been harassing members of the families of those alleged accused, who had not got a bail from the court, and demanding money from them in lieu of not harassing them. Besides, the SHO was also not including those, who were on bail, in the investigations of the case, he added.

He said the Vigilance Bureau had registered a case under Sections 7, 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the SHO.


Youth booked for blackmailing teenaged girl
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 8
A case of the blackmail of a teenaged girl by the driver of a truck was reported at the Garhshankar police station on Friday.

According to the police, the victim had filed a complaint against Ram Kumar, in which she alleged that he had taken her nude photographs when she was living with her sister at Mehandwani village.

Ram Kumar was an employee of her brother-in-law and used to visit their house regularly. He had a relationship with her. Meanwhile, he also took her nude photographs. One day her sister and brother-in-law found Ram Kumar with the girl in a compromising position. They sent her back to her parents at Garhshankar.

Six months after the incident Ram Kumar again contacted her and tried to blackmail her by showing her nudes.


‘Most wanted’ by Punjab police arrested
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 8
Vikram, alias Vicky, identified as the most – wanted man in the Punjab police files, was nabbed from his house near the Civil Hospital at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, by the Rajasthan police yesterday and handed over to a police party from Talwandi Sabo, sources said.

The Talwandi Sabo police said Vicky was wanted in connection with the theft of two dozen tractors and other similar incidents not only in areas of its jurisdiction but also other police stations.

A warrant of arrest had also been issued against him. There were reports that after committing the thefts would cross over to Rajasthan and had raised a “luxurious” house at Sriganganagar. The Rajasthan police had been sounded. His neighbours had a good opinion of him.


9 kg heroin seized,1 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 8
The Customs Department yesterday arrested one person and seized 9 kg heroin worth Rs 9 crore from his possession near the Indo–Pak border village of Nikipindi.

Mr D.P. Singh, Commissioner, Customs, and Mr P.S. Sodhi, Additional Commissioner, arrested Attar Singh, alias Baba Attre, and seized the bag containing 4 kg heroin wrapped cellophane. During interrogation he revealed the whereabouts of 5 kg more heroin.

On reaching the spot near Gazniwala border out post on the international border with Pakistan, Customs and BSF officials recovered rest of the packets.

A case under the NDPC Act and the Customs Act was registered against the accused.


Man shoots brother
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 8
Angrej Singh was shot dead by his younger brother at Gajsinghpur in the Sriganganagar area, 40 km from here, on Saturday, the police said. According to information, Angrej Singh and his brother, Lakhbir Singh, allegedly exchanged hot words while consuming liquor at their house late in the evening. Lakhbir reportedly hit Angrej with knife and escaped.


Girl jumps into Beas, dies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 8
A 26-year-old girl, Kulbir Kaur, jumped into the Beas at about 10 this morning.

On seeing her jump into the river, a person sitting on the bank of the river also jumped to rescue her. He was able to drag her out of the river after much struggle. He tried to resuscitate her. However, the girl was declared dead on reaching Beas hospital.

The deceased was identified as daughter of Mr Shamsher Singh, a resident of Dakoha in Gurdaspur district.


4 Mansa students among 10 toppers
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 8
Even as Mansa is considered to be one of the backward districts of Punjab in the field of education, four students of a local school have brought laurels to the town by securing ranks among the top 10 merit holders in Class VIII result declared today.

Arshdeep Singh, having roll number 595114, secured the second rank in Punjab, while his school mates Kirandeep Kaur, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, and Sakshi, stood fourth, sixth and ninth, respectively, list. All of them are the students of S. Chetan Singh Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir.

Arshdeep Singh, son of Sukhdev Singh, told The Tribune that his family atmosphere played an important role in his studies, as both his parents are teachers. Though a big cricket fan, Arshdeep never allowed it to hamper his studies and never lost his focus on them. Outlining his future plans, Arshdeep said he would grow up to be a doctor.

Daughter of SDO Uday-deep Singh, Kiran-deep Kaur likes to read a lot of books and magazines. She intends to take up competitive exams in future and achieve something big in her life.

Gurinder Singh Dhillon had also secured third place in the district in his Class V exams. Son of Darshan Singh Dhillon, he loves to play cricket and work on computer. He has won many state-level general knowledge contests. He is a talented writer and his eight articles have been published in Punjabi newspapers. He is getting a scholarship.

Both his parents are lecturers and are preparing him for competitive exams. His mother, Ms Gurjeet Kaur Dhillon, is the principal of a government senior secondary school.

Daughter of Engineer Vijay Kumar, Sakshi wants to become an airhostess and she has already drawn her future course of action for achieving her goal. She has also started preparing for it. Her mother is a lecturer.


Middle standard exam: eight on merit list
Tribune News Service

Pass percentage of students for 2004 and 2005





74.45 %

68.21 %


66.67 %


Chandigarh, May 8
In the result of the middle standard examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board, girls have once again taken the lead in securing positions in the merit list released by the board authorities here today. The examinations were held in February.

The only exception in the merit list was that the first three positions have been secured by boys from private schools. A student of DC Model Senior Secondary School, Ferozepore Cantt, Sagar has topped in the state. Arshdeep of Sri Chetan Singh Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary School, Vidya Mandir, Mansa, and Satinder Singh of Dashmesh Public Senior Secondary School , Bathinda, have been placed second and third, respectively.

In the merit list of the first 506 students released by the board, only eight students have found the place. By securing 218th position in the merit list, Anchal of Government Model High School, Sector 2, Talwara (Hoshiarpur) has topped among the government schools.

The result gazette would be available at the board’s text sales book depot at the district and tehsil headquarters after 4 pm on May 9.

Under the policy of the board, the pass percentage of the students placed in the merit list has not been released. A senior officer of the board disclosed that compared to last year the overall pass percentage of regular and private candidates had fallen.


This topper hopes to make it to IIT
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 8
“I was hopeful that if not first, I would be at least placed among the first five position-holders in the state”, exclaimed an elated Sagar Narang who topped the middle standard examinations conducted by the Punjab School Education Board this year.

Sagar, a student of D.C. Model Senior Secondary School, has been standing first in the class for the past five years. Talking to mediapersons here, he attributed his success to his parents and teachers.

He said a feeling of competition with his classmates also helped.

Asked about his future plans, he said he aspired to make it to the IIT to pursue computer engineering and then sit for the civil services examination.

About his other interests, he said he was a member of the school skating team and had participated in the state-level roller skating championship held in Patiala and Ludhiana.

He also loved to play basketball, cricket and watch Discovery channel.

He said he rarely watched Hindi movies or TV serials and preferred to see some sports channel or National Geographic.

Sagar’s father, Mr Sushil Kumar, is posted as ADO in the Department of Agriculture at Mamdot. His mother Karamjit Kaur is a housewife.


Bathinda boy bags 3rd place
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 8
Satinder Singh, Class VIII student of Dashmesh Public Senior Secondary School, made the city proud by securing third place in the merit list of the Punjab School Education Board middle standard examination.

Residents of Jail Colony started visiting Hardev Singh’s home as soon as the news of his son topping in Class VIII exams broke out. Hardev Singh is a constable at the local Central Jail. Talking to The Tribune, Satinder said hard work and regular studies was the key to his success. He said he used to study regularly throughout the year unlike others who study only during the exam time. He would not leave the study table without completing his work.

His favourite subjects were science and mathematics and he had been a topper in the school right from Class I. Satinder said he wanted to be a doctor.

He gave equal credit to his parents and teachers for his success, especially his mother who is a housewife.

His school Principal, Mr Ravinder Singh Maan, said Satinder was one of the bright students of the school and had come up to the expectations of the school staff.


Parents brave sun as wards appear for exam
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 8
Parents of hundreds of Class XII students who appeared for All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) at Police DAV Public School were forced to bear the scorching heat for almost eight hours on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway.

Most of them had come from Ludhiana, Amritsar and Kapurthala districts. As a result, they kept waiting inside their cars parked outside the Punjab Armed Police headquarters or sat inside adjoining dhabas or restaurants for some respite.

The parents got agitated when they were not allowed to offer lunch or refreshment to their children during the first 75-minute break. Even children were not allowed to come out of the campus and take eatables.

Ms Rashmi Vij, Principal of the school, said no sitting arrangement was made for the parents because they could not be allowed inside from security point of view.


B.Com (I) results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 8
The results of B Com (Part I) of Guru Nanak Dev University that was held in April, 2005, would be declared tomorrow, Dr R.S. Bawa, registrar, stated in press note here today.

The results could be viewed on university website www.gnduonline.org after 5 p.m. the same day.


MoD officials visit Sainik School
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 8
A high-powered team from the Ministry of Defence visited Sainik School, Kapurthala, today to take a round of the building for the restoration of which it had recently received a grant of Rs 1.01 crore.

Dr Rekha Bhargava, Additional Secretary, and Mr P.K. Rastogi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence, met the Principal, Col Sandeep Kumar, and a grandson of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kapurthala, Brig Sukhjeet Singh. They went round Jagatjit Palace that houses the school building and discussed various measures required to restore it.

While the school had received a grant from the MoD on March 31, it is still awaiting a matching grant of Rs 96 lakh from the state government for the renovation to begin as orders of execution of the work have not been passed.

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