P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No plan to disband 6 police dists: CM
PSEB unbundling may be deferred
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 9
Reacting to the proposed white paper by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on May 15 on the alleged failures of three-year-old Congress government in Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, today said SAD leaders were feeling frustrated as the Congress had snatched the Akali agenda from them.

Answering a question, whether he would react to the alleged failures of the Congress government, to be mentioned in the proposed white paper of the SAD, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would give a proper reply to the Akalis in due course of time. He said he could not comment on the white paper at this stage, as the SAD was yet to issue it.

The Chief Minister said the Punjab Government had no plan to disband the six police districts in the state. The state government was working to replace the Punjab Police Act 1861 as several of its provisions had lost relevance, he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh said this after inaugurating the second phase of district administrative complex (DAC). Earlier, he inaugurated the Community Policing Resource Centre (CPRC) at the local Police Lines, the Red Cross De-addiction Centre, and an indoor badminton Hall, at the Guru Nanak Sarai Complex. He also laid the foundation stone of Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, near Banasar Bagh here.

On the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), the Chief Minister said the state government had sought six months from the Central Government to implement the proposal, relating to unbundling of the PSEB. He said, however, the state government would defer the unbundling of the PSEB till it achieved success in providing cheap and uninterrupted power supply to the people of the state.

Addressing the function, the Chief Minister also lashed out at Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur, for levelling charges against the Punjab Financial Commissioner (Revenue) and the Deputy Commissioner in a case relating to the appointment of his son as kanungo on compassionate ground. He said on the one hand, Mr Kanjhla had expressed thanks to him for issuing order for the appointment of his son and on the other hand he had levelled charges on the officers in the same case. He said the Punjab Government was not privatising schools, but it only wanted quality education for poor students in government schools.

Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD (B&R), Ms Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary, and Mr Arvind Khanna, MLA from Sangrur also addressed the gathering.


Pak allows ‘special jatha’ for first time
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, May 9
A 71-member “special jatha” of Sikh pilgrims today crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah joint checkpost to pay their obeisance at the Sikh shrines in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has relaxed its terms and conditions to allow the jatha that too through land route .

This is the result of the ongoing Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan that permission has been given to a “special jatha”. Otherwise, as per existing pact, only four jathas are allowed to visit Pakistan on specified occasions, birthday of Guru Nanak Dev, Baisakhi, death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev.

The 71-member “special jatha,” which crossed over to Pakistan, is led by Mr Rajinder Singh Wasan, president (West), Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi).

Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, general secretary of the SAD (Delhi), claimed that it was the initiative of his party to obtain visas for the “special jatha” which could be considered precedent in future .

The pilgrims would stay at Dehra Sahib, Lahore, today. The jatha would leave for Panja Sahib tomorrow. The Sikh pilgrims would also visit Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda and other gurdwaras in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Kartarpur Sahib. The jatha would return to India on May 17.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, an SGPC member said that the Government of Pakistan had accepted the long-standing demand of the Sikh community by giving permission to “special jatha”.


Lecturer among 3 booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 9
Three persons, including a woman lecturer have been booked for duping a man of Rs 2 lakh on the pretext of getting his son employed in the Railways. Two of them have been arrested.

Police sources said the daughter of complainant Bhagwant Singh, Sukhbir Kaur, was studying at Mata Sahib Kaur Institute, Gidderbaha, where one of the accused, Mamta Verma, was a lecturer. Verma approached Sukhbir Kaur and told her that she could get her brother recruited in the railways as it was looking for candidates for the post of ticket collector at Mumbai. Mamta Verma introduced Bhagwant Singh to her husband Sudhir Verma and his brother Ranbir Verma.

They demanded Rs 50,000 first to get his son, Lakhjinder Singh, recruited in the railways. They said they would also charge Rs 1 lakh after medical test and Rs 1 lakh after joining duty. The complainant gave Rs 40,000 to Sudhir Verma and Rs 10,000 to Ranbir Verma, following which they filled Lakhjinder’s form and got it signed. Later, he received a letter mentioning his roll number, his examination centre as Sarvvati High School, Chamori, Mumbai, and August 27, 2004, as the examination date.

The sources said the accused then contacted him and said there was no need for him to appear in the examination as they would manage it on their own. After some time they sent a newspaper clipping that had the results of railway recruitment. It also carried Lakhjinder’s roll number.

Bhagwant Singh paid them Rs 1.5 lakh more. But, the reality soon came to the fore as Lakhjinder didn’t get any call letter.

On the basis of Bhagwant Singh’s statement, the police has registered a case against Mamta Verma, Sudhir Verma and Ranbir Verma under Sections 420, 465, 467, 471, and 120-B of the IPC at Gidderbaha police station. While Mamta and Ranbir have been arrested, Sudhir is still at large.


Delimitation panel seeks views of parties
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
The Delimitation Commission of India, which held a meeting with representatives of Punjab based political parties in Delhi today, has been urged by the parties to review its proposal with regard to the reserved constituencies. Sources said the commission was told by representatives cutting across party affiliations that there should be reserved Assembly constituencies in all major cities of Punjab.

The commission headed by Justice Kuldip Singh was told that Dalits living in cities such as Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar should also get an opportunity to elect their representatives from the reserved constituencies in their areas.

Among those who attended the meeting of the commission in Delhi were Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mrs Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, Dr Kewal Krishan, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Mrs Praneet Kaur, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna and Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar.

Sources said the meeting had been postponed to June 7 by the commission as Congress representatives wanted to prepare their proposals for submission to the commission. The SAD leaders had gone fully prepared for the meeting and were prepared to discuss the delimitation of various Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha constituencies.

The commission has told all parties to submit their point of view and objections by May 30. On the basis of those objections, a discussion will be held on June 7. Earlier, the commission had circulated the preliminary draft of the proposed Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies among the parties. On the basis of that draft, the parties was to submit their viewpoint and objections at today’s meeting.

The parties have been told that it will be better if they narrow down their differences about the proposed list of constituencies at their own level by holding meetings.


PSHRC order runs counter to Constitution
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
In a faux pas, which virtually runs counter to the Indian Constitution, a Member of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has ruled that the right to education is not a fundamental right.

“I am of the view that the matter involved in this petition does not come within the ambit of human rights under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, nor does it amount to the violation of the Fundamental Rights as guaranteed in the Constitution,” a commission Member, Justice R.L. Anand, said in his order.

Right to education has not been recognised as a Fundamental Right but it entails Directive Principle of State Policy, the order said while adding that a copy of the order should be sent to the Secretary, Department of Education, Punjab Government, for dealing with matter at his own level.

However, the petitioner, Mr Arvind Thakur, general secretary of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), alleged that the order ran counter to the Constitution, which included right to education as a Fundamental Right through the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002.

“The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such a manner as the state, by law, determine,” Mr Thakur claimed quoting Article 21-A of the Constitution.

It may be recalled that the application had sought action against the Punjab Education Department for its failure to provide proper facilities for education to the people of Punjab.

The petitioner claimed that he had visited a number of schools, including in Kot Isse Khan (Moga) and Patti (Amritsar), for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

During the course of the visits, it was found that the schools did not have proper infrastructure for the teaching students, the application alleged.


Rs 1.05 cr stolen from Ponty’s house
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 9
A Nepalese servant of liquor baron Ponty Chadha decamped with Rs 1.05 crore from his residence after rendering an exserviceman gunman posted at the place unconscious.

Mr I.P.S. Chadha, son of Mr Ponty Chadha, maintained that it was a “huge” amount and more than Rs 1 crore. Interestingly, the Chadha family and the private gunman hired by the family were not sure about the antecedents of the servant, “Bahadur”.

“I think he was Vijay Bahadur, but we do not know his antecedents,” said Mr I.P.S. Chadha while talking to The Tribune.

While Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP, City, said the police was investigating the case and was about to find some vital clues, those at the residence of Mr Chadha in Urban Estate, Phase II, said the Nepalese servant decamped after offering a cup of tea to Surinder Singh, which rendered the latter unconscious. The incident came to light at about 10 a.m. when some liquor contractors poured in and saw Surinder Singh lying unconscious in a corner of the house.

Surinder Singh said he was offered tea by the servant. The servant had also been working as a caretaker when the building, named Suri Niwas, was being constructed.

The Jalandhar police has launched search operations at public places like bus stands, the railway station and hotels in its bid to nab the suspect.


Illegal slaughtering in residential areas cause resentment
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 9
Blood flows in the drains of the localities near Gandhi Chowk area of Pathankot, while stink reigns supreme. The people residing in the area are forced to keep their windows closed to escape viewing the gory scenes of animals being slaughtered. Students of the Shaheed Makhan Singh Government Senior Secondary School, located next to meat market, say the scavenger birds drop pieces of meat while they (students) are attending classes in open.

The reason behind these was the illegal slaughtering of animals that takes place in the meat market of Pathankot, located in the heart of city. The animals were slaughtered here illegally in unhygienic conditions, posing a threat to the health of the consumers as well as residents of the area. To add to it severed heads and body parts which were not sold were kept at the roofs of the meat shops. These decaying animal parts spread an annoying stench in the area.

Besides the meat sellers the municipal council authorities were also responsible for endangering the health of the residents by allowing the illegal slaughtering of animals at unhygienic places. Though the municipal council Pathankot had bought a slaughter house at Lamini, but it had not been made functional as yet. There was no facility of running water or proper sanitation system at the slaughter house. When The Tribune team visited Lamini the floor of the slaughter house was found stained with blood as there was no water to clean the mess.

The Executive Officer of the Pathankot municipal council, Mr Sharma, said the tubewell installed for the slaughter house at Lamini had failed. Efforts were being made to provide running water and drainage facilities at the slaughter house.

Besides Pathankot, no other slaughter house exists in other towns of the district, including Gurdaspur, Batala, Sujanpur or Dinanagar or rural areas. As per the Punjab Municipal Act it was the duty of the municipal councils to provide proper slaughter houses. The slaughtering of animals at places other than slaughter houses or marked places was banned. It was the duty of the sanitary inspectors and the local veterinary officer to check the sanitary conditions at the slaughter house and the health of the animal slaughtered.

The certification for veterinary officer was mandatory because an infected animal could transmit diseases like rabies, TB, gastroenteritis and skin allergies to the consumers. Besides, the consumers could also get infected with parasites like tapeworms that the animal being consumed, might have been infected with.

The veterinary officers had been writing to the respective municipal councils and district authorities regarding the illegal slaughtering to save their skin. However, no concrete steps were being taken to safeguard the health of the consumers from infected meat and residents from incovenience being caused by slaughtering of animals in residential areas.


Nothing rosy about Rose Garden
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 9
A foul smell and waterlogged potholes welcome early morning walkers at the local Rose Garden. Though the garden has a wide variety of roses, it is in a state of utter neglect.

The first thing this correspondent came across today during a visit to the garden was a waterlogged road leading to the garden having a welcome board over the main gate. The next thing that draws attention as soon as one steps in the garden after parking his vehicle is a defunct water cooler.

The garden has inadequate drinking water arrangements. Visitors have no choice but to buy a bottle of mineral water from the garden canteen. The garden has boards appealing people to maintain cleanliness, but the authorities concerned seem to have forgotten that a place can be kept clean only if it is. Wilted leaves can be seen strewn all over the pathway, besides empty water bottles, packets of eatables, and cold drink cups. Rose plants and seats for visitors also got submerged at a few points after a light shower last night. A huge fountain pool that could add to the beauty of the landscape has dirt and moss spread all over it. The fountain pool was renovated with special stones a few years ago.

The garden canteen has rusted counters and old furniture having water bottles, cold drink cups and straws scattered next to it. Some logs of woods and tiles can also be seen lying around it. The toilet next to the canteen is in such a bad shape that no one would like to use it. However, a new toilet is coming up close to it. The garden also has an open-air theatre, which is also in bad shape and muddy water is logged in front of the stage. Appu Ghar, having a baby train and a swing for children, also needs attention.

Surprisingly, a tractor was spotted parked inside the garden. A couple of heaps of cow dung were also lying next to it. Sources said tractor-trailers frequented the garden for loading and unloading construction material, ruining the green belt. The attendant at the garden’s parking lot rued that people used to park their vehicles outside the garden despite it being a no-parking area, and now waterlogging at the main gate had added to his woes. “No one wants to bring in his car due to the waterlogged potholed road leading to the garden,” he said. The yearly contract of the garden’s parking lot was for Rs 2.78 lakh, but the attendant said they were running in huge losses. He said they had also lodged a complaint in this regard, but to no avail.

There is also a lack of vigil at the garden. Though there are boards galore urging people not to pluck flowers, but there is hardly anyone to maintain a vigil. Similarly, a signboard says children above 12 years are not allowed at swings, but boys of the age of 16 were spotted on the swings.

The Bathinda Chapter of the Leisure Lovers’ League has also urged the MC Commissioner to ensure cleanliness of the fountain pool, construct a rain shelter, renovate the garden canteen, whose front portion and floor is in a shambles, and to disallow four-wheelers inside the rose garden.

The MC Commissioner, Mr Ranjit Singh, said the problem of waterlogging existed only when it rained. He expressed unawareness about the defunct water cooler. He said he got the fountain pool cleaned 15 days ago and also Appu Ghar. He said the new contract for the canteen had been given and things would change soon. He said he had given instructions to the officials concerned that only ‘rehris’ or rickshaws be allowed inside the garden for unloading any material. 


Building for physically challenged children inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 9
Physically challenged children are also talented like others and the only need is to identify their talent and bring it out so that they can also contribute to the progress of society. The Punjab Governor, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), stated this while inaugurating a building of a multipurpose special school built for such children here today. The District Red Cross has constructed this building.

Addressing a state-level function to the World Red Cross Day, the Governor said merely looking after challenged children and teaching them was not enough. He said efforts should also be made to make them self-dependent so that they didn’t see themselves as a burden on society. He said these children should be given the maximum chances to mingle with normal kids so that inferiority complex didn’t develop among them.

Welcoming the Governor, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said that Rs 71.5 lakh was spent on completing the first phase of this multipurpose special school, of which the Punjab Chief Minister gave Rs 25 lakh and Rs 10 lakh came from the MPLAD fund. The Red Cross managed the remaining Rs 35 lakh from its own resources.

He said there were about 200 children in the school, of which 100 were mentally challenged, 50 deaf and dumb and 50 blind.

The Governor later felicitated 10 persons for their contribution in social service. These are Inderjit Sharma, Red Cross secretary Gurdial Singh, Raj Kumar Sharma, Pravin Kala, Satpal Bansal, Kuljinder Kaur Randhawa, Simarjit Gill, Pritpal Singh Sandhu, besides a couple — Jaswant Kaur and Balwant Singh — who had donated blood for 44 times.


Dappar killings: grant of Rs 50,000 for next of kin
Bipin Bhardwaj

Lalru, May 9
Senior police officials including, Mr V.K. Bhawra, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Punjab, Mr A.S. Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Mr P.P.S. Virk, Superintendent of Police (directive), Patiala, along with local police authorities visited Dappar and Chaundheri villages where three persons were clubbed to death yesterday.

The police authorities said that every entry and exit points on all roads leading out of the subdivision to the neighbouring states including Haryana and Chandigarh, have been sealed.

The security has been tightened in subdivision and all additional commando-companies and teams of the CIA Staff from Patiala have been deployed in Dera Bassi, Lalru and surrounding areas.

The Patiala police has also sought assistance from the Ludhiana police in identifying the type of gang that hacked three persons to death and left seven critically injured in Dappar and Chaundheri villages on Saturday night. A team of experts in examining the crime scenes and identifying the gang has also been pressed to services in the villages.

The police has constituted teams to question migrant labourers in industrial units, brick kilns, cinema halls, slums, dhabas and other places in the subdivision and adjoining areas. The Punjab police has also sought help from the Railway police to question suspects in various railway stations in the surroundings.

The SSP has asked Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, to restart community-policing (thikri pehra) with the help of villagers.

The bodies were handed over to the families after postmortem examinations at the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, this evening.

Meanwhile, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and Mr Narinder Kumar Sanga, Subdivisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi, visited the houses of the aggrieved families and announced a grant of Rs 50,000, from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the next of kin of victims.

Mr Dhillon also announced that the government would bear the expenditure on the treatment of the injured being given at the PGI in Chandigarh.


Councillors level atrocity charge against MLA
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
Two councillors — Mr Kanwalnain Singh Gullu and Mr Garvinder Singh Vickey — along with some residents today levelled allegations of atrocities against the local MLA, Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar.

Urging the Chief Minister to look into the matter, both councillors, who won as Independent candidates, threatened to launch a stir if action was not taken in the matter.

However, Mr Thekedar refuted the allegations, terming these as an attempt to defame him.

Mr Gullu alleged that the MLA was promoting “gunda elements” and had indulged in illegal possession of land. His name also figured in a case of tampering with records and concealing the name of a senior police official in a sensational suicide case at Chowk Mohni, where five members of a family had ended their life.

Mr Gullu alleged that on May 5, the MLA’s men had attacked and manhandled him, besides removing his turban in the presence of policemen. He alleged that the police, under the pressure of the MLA, registered a false case against him and his supporters.


PCR teams face residents’ ire
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
The PCR teams of the district police today came under attack at a ‘police-public’ meeting when a number of residents of various localities of the Civil Line area expressed concern over the sudden spurt in snatching incidents in the area to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Civil Line) here.

Although the DSP assured them of help and stern action against the culprits, he was surprised at the ‘personal experiences’ of the people at the hands of the PCR mobile teams.

A representative of Mahindra House Colony Association, Mr Subash Sehgal, said that on March 5, when he complained against three unidentified persons who had tried to loot them, to a PCR team it took them to a spot where the accused were staying. To his surprise the accused were found to be policemen known to PCR team. He alleged that instead of taking any action against the accused the PCR team was ‘hugging’ them. He added that by the time he reported this matter to senior police officers accused had been let off by PCR team. He alleged that even now no case had been registered till now.

Prof Baljinder Singh, a spokesman of the joint welfare forum of Ranjit Avenue, alleged that when they handed over an accused who had stolen manhole covers, the then in charge of the Ranjit Avenue police chowki, did not bother to register an FIR against the accused. He said the police official claimed that they were busy providing food to VIPs at a hotel near the chowki.

DSP Ashish Kapur, assured investigation on and action against the accused police officials. He said the civil line area had been re-divided into different zones. He said he would personally monitor the patrolling parties. He said on the demands of the people a police chowki was being established in the Green Avenue area.

Mr Shwait Malik, district vice-president, BJP and Municipal Councilor, who was instrumental in arranging this police-public meeting, said that in last two months the residents of Civil Line scared including of Ranjit Avenue, Green Avenue, Basant Avenue etc were scared over the sudden spurt in the chain and purse snatching incidents. He alleged majority of cases went unreported due to alleged uncooperative behavior of the police personals.


International gurdwara committee sought
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
After succeeding in getting the dossier on Darbar Sahib rejected by the SGPC, Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, international affairs secretary to the Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, has now raised yet another controversy by seeking formation of an Antarashtri (International) Sikh Gurdwaras Parbandikan Committee (ASGPC). The committee should seek the NGO Consultative status at the United Nations, deliberate on Sikh issues worldwide and share some responsibility for the management of Sri Darbar Sahib with the SGPC, he added.

Even as the Gurdwara Act does not allow the Sikhs outside India to be active members of the SGPC, the demand for formation of the international committee is likely to draw flak from the SGPC.

In a statement given to The Tribune today, Dr Rai claimed that the demography of the Sikh had changed considerably in the last 30 years but institutional changes and formations had not caught up with this reality.

Dr Rai called upon the SGPC to work with other national Sikh bodies to set a new international body.


Proper handling of bio-medical waste stressed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
On the eve of International Red Cross Day, the district branch of the Indian Medical Association in collaboration with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Medicare Incinerators Pvt. Ltd., Ludhiana, organised a camp for private nursing homes, hospitals, laboratories and X-Ray centres for the renewal of their authorisation under the Bio-Medical waste (Management & Handling rules) 1998.

In a press note issued here today, Dr O.P.S. Kande, state president of the IMA, said besides treating patients it was the duty of the medical professionals to play an active role in preventive health care by properly handling and managing the biomedical waste in the health care institutions.

Mr Krunesh Garg, an environment engineer from the PPCB, said that the district had taken a lead in the registration of the health care institutions under the Act and the local Rajindra Hospital had recently been given authorisation by the Pollution Control Board.

Mr A.K.Jaggi, Managing Director of Medicare Incinerators Pvt, Ltd, Ludhiana, said that the company had treated a record 12, 75000 kg of bio-medical waste in about two and a half years in the state.

He said that the health care professionals still needed training for the segregation of bio-medical waste as prescribed under the rules. Dr Jagvir Singh and Dr D.S. Bhullar, president and secretary of the IMA, Patiala, respectively, said that the association was committed to proper disposal of bio-medical and other waste in the city besides maintaining sanitary conditions for the prevention of spread of deadly diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, gastroenteritis etc.

Dr Manmohan Singh, president of the Punjab Medical Council, Mr Vijay Gupta, Assistant Environmental Engineer, Dr R.K. Mittal, and Dr D.C. Bansal, were present at the camp.


Torture case: medical reports to be considered
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 9
The SSP, Mr A.S Rai, today clarified that the medical reports pertaining to the alleged torture of a young woman, Reshma, by the cops here on Sunday, will be taken into consideration before any action is taken against the SHO of Sadar police station.

Mr Rai added that the reports of the DSP and SP (D) were still awaited and that he would proceed against the accused cops only after these reports were received.

It may be recalled that Reshma, a brick kiln labourer, had alleged that she was tortured by PS Sadar cops, an allegation which was denied by the cops.

Meanwhile, in a related development, members of a social organisation- Sudhar Sabha, and labourers of the brick kiln staged a dharna in front of Rajindera Hospital where Reshma is still undergoing treatment.

In a press note, members of the Sudhar Sabha have urged the Patiala MP to intervene in the matter and take action against the erring cops.


Bt cotton will ruin farmers: forum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Mr Devinder Sharma, chief of the Delhi based Forum for Bio-technology and Food Security, said here today the Punjab Government was playing the role of an agent of international bodies such as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO.

Speaking at the local Press Club, he said, the introduction of Bt Cotton was a part of the world-wide programme of the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. Without realising the dangerous consequences, the Punjab Government had introduced Bt cotton in the state, he added.

“Bt cotton had failed in states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and it was bound to fail in Punjab”, he asserted. “ It would ruin Punjab farmers in the process and there would be more and more suicides in the farming sector in the state because of Bt cotton”, he added.

Urging the adoption of organic farming, Mr Sharma said while the developed countries had increased subsidies to farmers in their own lands, the developing countries were being pressurised to withdraw subsidies through the WTO, he added. It was a big conspiracy by the developed countries to stop the developing countries to be self dependent. He said that the USA provided Rs 5,000 crore daily as a direct subsidy to its 1.5 crore farmers. And the amount of subsidy in cotton sector in that country was over Rs 20,000 crore, he added.

On the other hand, India provided Rs 5,000 crore as subsidy to its 60 crore farmers in a year and that also indirectly, he said. After the emergence of the WTO on the world map, as many as 140 food surplus countries had become food deficit countries because of the withdrawal of the subsidies by these countries under the WTO pressure. Mr Sharma said all claims with regard to the success of Bt cotton were misleading and these varieties had even failed in the USA.

Mr Sharma said farmers in states like Punjab should be very careful while going for the sowing of Bt cotton as its consequences would be unmanageable for all concerned.


Wife held for murder of husband
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 9
Mangli (40), mother of seven ,has been arrested for getting her husband Dhanna Ram (43) killed with the help of her lover and his nephew.

Dhanna Ram had been suffering from tuberculosis for the past five years. This had put the family into financial strain. His 16-year- old son Jagdish Kumar took a job at the farm house of Mr. Karaj Singh.

Mangli allegedly developed a relation with Gurdip, a frequent visitor to their house. She directed Gurdip and his nephew Faquir Singh to hit Dhanna with a lathi on the head. His body was wrapped in a bed-sheet, taken on a bicycle and thrown into Karanji Canal.

In the morning Mangli reportedly went to the farmhouse of Mr. Karaj Singh to tell her son Jagdish that Dhanna Ram was missing since past night. A search was started by Jagdish and Mr. Karaj Singh.

They were told by Mr. Kuldip Singh of village Budha Johar that Mangli, Gurdip and Faquir were seen moving through fields last night. Mr. Kalu Ram son of Mr. Purkha Ram said that he had seen them throwing something in the canal .

The three suspects have confessed to the crime . The postmortem report has attributed Dhanna’s death to the lathi blow on the head.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered against the three who have been arrested 


Land-grab racket unearthed
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 9
The police today claimed to have busted a land grab racket in Uddat Saide Wala village falling under the Boha police station.

According to a release, Major Singh and Nahar Singh of the village masterminded the racket. Diwan Brij Lal divided his 331 acres in six equal shares for himself and his five sons. After his death in 1974 his share was equally divided among his sons.

This land was given for tilling to eight families on contract. With the onset of militancy in the state, these tenants had taken advantage of the situation and threatened the owners of these land and stopped paying “theka” in 1981.

Major Singh, Nahar Singh, Sher Singh, Harvinder Singh, and Gurbax Singh then got a forged and registered Will of Diwan Brij Lal prepared along with his fake death certificate. On the basis of these documents, they got a decree in their favour in ex-parte proceedings.

A case was registered against Major Singh, Baj Singh, Gurbax Singh, Sher Singh, Dilbagh Singh, Harvinder Singh, Harjit Singh, Sarwan Singh, and Harpal Singh, under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, and 120B of the IPC at the Boha police station on June 20, 2002. The case is still under investigation.

In the latest development to this two-decade-old fraud, another case of forged Will and death certificate has come to light, in which the same tactics have been used to usurp the land of Diwan Narottam Lal, son of Diwan Brij Lal. In the Will, he is shown issueless while his son Arun Nanda is a leading businessman in Mumbai. On the statement of Ashish Nanda, son of Ranjit Lal, the only surviving member of the family in that generation and the sole executor of the Will for his father Diwan Brij Lal, a case was registered against nine persons including Major Singh under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC on April 4 this year.

Interestingly, both these episodes have been masterminded by the persons and some of whom have been arrested while five of them are still at large.

The release stated that at the time of passing out decree, Major Singh had admitted that Gurbax Singh, who had written the decree, of Diwan Brij Lal, had died. But, Gurbax Singh is at present in Bathinda jail. In another instance, Major Singh and Nahar Singh have forged the thumbprint of Harpal Singh on the Will, where Harpal Singh is still alive.


Gunman’s death: case not yet registered
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 9
Even as the body of Nawab Singh, a gunman of former Deputy Speaker, who died under mysterious circumstances, was found from the Narwana branch canal on May 7, the Fatehgarh Sahib police has failed to register any criminal case.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, when contacted, said that no criminal case was registered in this connection as the doctors who conducted the post moretm on May 7, had not yet given their report to the police.

The body of Nawab Singh was found from Narwana branch canal downstream of Gandakheri village in this district about six days after he went missing under mysterious circumstances. The police has only recording the circumstances in its daily dairy report (DDR).

Mr Kumar said an inquiry into the case was going on.

The police is taking into consideration the suicide note which was recovered from the boot of the scooter used by Nawab Singh. In the suicide note, he has allegedly made direct allegations against a senior Congress leader, saying that he (the Congress leader) had made it difficult for him to live any longer.

Kin of the deceased, who are perturbed over the delay being caused by the police in taking any action in connection with the death, alleged Nawab Singh was being humiliated by the Congress leader, who abetted him to commit suicide.

An SP rank police official has been conducting an inquiry into this case.


Three die in bike-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 9
A motor cyclist and two pillion riders, Surinder Sharma, Gurjit Singh both of Deva Colony, and Raj Kumar of Mohalla Lambi, all from Mukerian, died on the spot when a truck (PB-07K-7833) hit the motor cycle (PB-54A-3462) near Khanpur village on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road last night.

According to police sources, after the accident truck driver fled. The police has registered a case under Sections 304A, 279 and 427, IPC against the driver.

Meanwhile, Jit Ram of Mehtabpur succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital, Garhshankar. Police sources said he, along with Gurmit Ram, was going on scooter to Gujjarpur village. Their scooter suddenly slipped near Rampur Bilron village due to which Jit Ram fell from it and sustained serious injuries.

The police sources said the female body was found near Bhangala Railway Station yesterday.

The police sources said Parminder Singh of Sherpur village died at the Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur, yesterday. He was a habitual drunkard and took wrong medicine on May 7.


Gangs continue to loot in Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
Gangsters belonging to certain identifiable groups, once termed criminals, continue to strike in Punjab.

Murder, dacoity and drug peddling are just some of the offences committed by them. Interestingly, it’s just not men. In five years, more than 133 women have been arrested for selling drugs in Nawanshahr district alone. Many of them belonged to a particular group.

The police claims that steps have been initiated to track their movements. For the purpose, a data bank is being maintained. But they agree that little has so far been done to revive the practice of hanging the lunar calendar in police stations.

Such calendars, sources in the Punjab police headquarters say, have been around for ages. These can still be seen on the walls of some police stations in the national Capital.

The reason behind the practice is not hard to see. Moonless nights are linked with the activities of criminals.

In fact, such nights have traditionally been seen as opportunities for the criminals to strike. The sources say that the outlaws silently slip into black garments and focus on isolated houses in the countryside on dark nights. Once inside, they follow the practice of “divide and loot”.

Armed with iron rods, some stand on guard. Others look for valuables. If someone in the house wakes up, he is attacked mercilessly and sometimes even killed.

Saturday night’s incident was no different, the sources add. Nearly 15 outlaws entered two houses in Dappar and Chaundheri villages, near Lalru. After hacking three residents to death, and seriously injuring seven others, they escaped with cash and valuables.

The police has reason to believe that the outlaws involved in the incident are members of a group active in the areas around Dera Bassi. “On an average, they strike once a year and leave a trail of destruction,” says Patiala’s Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai.

Giving details of the lunar calendar, the sources, meanwhile, say special patrolling is carried out by the police after identifying such nights. Even today, the Delhi police sticks to the tradition, the sources maintain.

Going into the background, they say that the practice of police patrolling on dark nights goes back a couple of centuries. In those days, policemen on horseback would carry “mashaals” in their hand. The tradition continued even after Independence, though horses were replaced with police Gypsies and “mashaals” with high-powered torches.

Commenting on the steps being taken by the police, Punjab’s Director-General of Police S.S. Virk — an expert on the subject — says: “We will have to go in for some long-term measures. After solving the Lalru murder case, we will concentrate on framing a strategy to deal with them.”


Two held for smuggling poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 9
The police arrested Sohan Lal and Rajesh Kumar alias Sunil, from different places for smuggling 38 kg of poppy husk today.

Sohan Lal, a resident of the Salem Tapri locality in Ludhiana, was nabbed by a police party from the Gurna Kheri-Tepra road, near Banur. The suspect was caught red-handed while carrying 21 kg of contraband.

Rajesh Kumar, alias Sunil, of the Indira Park area in New Delhi was arrested from Chamaru village on the Rajpura-Ambala road. He was carrying 17 kg of poppy husk when the police nabbed him.

The police claimed that the two had been selling the contraband on retail prices in various cities and townships in the state after purchasing it from Madhya Pradesh for the past two months.

Cases under the NDPS Act have been registered at Rajpura Sadar and Banur police stations. 


3 of family booked in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, May 9
The police booked three members of a family in a dowry harassment case got registered against them by Mr Surinder Pal of Mohalla Dadhal here on Sunday.

Mr Surinder Pal said his daughter Neeraj Kumari, was married to an NRI, Satish Kumar, a resident of Nawanshahr about a year ago.

She said after their return from England they started pressurising her to bring a car. She accused her in-laws of physically and mentally torturing her as her husband was still in England.

The accused Surinder, father-in-law, Ramesh Kumari, mother-in-law, and a brother-in-law were booked in the case registered at Sadar police station.


One killed over land dispute, ex-sarpanch booked
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 9
A youth was killed and six others were injured in a group clash that occurred over a land dispute at Buda Gujar village, near here, last night.

Sources said the ex-sarpanch of the village, Mr Darshan Singh, had a land dispute with Gurcharan Singh of the same village for the last many years. Though the matter is in the court now, Gurcharan Singh has the possession of the land.

Sources said last night when Gurcharan Singh was irrigating the disputed land along with his associates, the other party armed with rifles and sharpedged weapons reached there.

The sources said a clash between the two groups ensued and Darshan Singh reportedly shot Balkaran Singh dead. Five others were seriously injured in the clash and they were rushed to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, after primary treatment at the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case against eight persons including Darshan Singh and his sons – Rupinder Singh and Balwinder Singh — under Sections 302, 307, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC, and sections 25, 54 and 59, of the Arms Act. All the accused, except Darshan Singh who is admitted to the hospital, are reported to be absconding.


Daljit Singh is Khalsa College Principal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
Dr Daljit Singh, Prof and Director, Department of Law, Regional Centre, Guru Nanak Dev University, Jalandhar, today joined as Principal of Khalsa College, Amritsar, here today.

Senior functionaries of the Khalsa College management and faculty members were present on the occasion. Dr Daljit Singh assured the teaching and non-teaching members that he would endeavour to streamline the functioning of the college with their active support. He said steps would be taken to raise the academic standards by taking all the necessary steps with a view to restoring its pristine glory.


Sakshi, Shivani top in MBA, law exams
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
Sakshi Arora of the Department of Commerce and Business Management of Guru Nanak Dev University topped the university in the MBA (HRM) examination (2002-2004) by securing 2102 marks out of 2700.

Shivani Raswan from the Department of Laws of the university topped in her department by getting 176 marks out of 300 in the LL.M. (third semester) examination held in December, 2004.


BCom (II) results today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9
The results of B.Com (Part-II) examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University in April would be declared tomorrow. Dr. R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university, said that the results would be available on the university website www.gnduonline.org after 5 p.m.


Varsity official writes to VC on Registrar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 9
Mr Varinder Pal Sharma, Finance and Development Officer of Guru Nanak Dev University, wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, to implement the orders passed by the court of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Vinat Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the re-appointment of the Registrar, Dr R.S. Bawa.

The FDO stated that the court on April 28 had told the university to pass the orders in accordance with the university and civil services rules as presented to the court by him.

He had submitted that re-appointment of Registrar after expiry of his four-year term was violation of provisions of the university Act. He had stated that statutes under which the Registrar was earlier re-appointed were against certain provisions of the university Act.


Punjab to sell loss-making sugar mills
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 9
Out of 14 sugar mills in Punjab, nine which have been suffering heavy losses for the past many years will be put up for sale. The remaining five will be upgraded with latest technology and funds from the state and Central government, Minister of Cooperation and Horticulture Jasjit Singh Randhawa, told The Tribune, here today.

He was here to inaugurate the grain-testing laboratory.

Mr Randhawa informed that the state government had taken up matter of the sale of sick sugar mills with the Central government.

Mr Randhawa said five mills, which are likely to be upgraded include those in Nawanshahr, Ajnala, Batala, Gurdaspur and Budhawa.

The final decision would be taken after evaluating their balance sheet at the end of the year.

He said the private sugar mills have been paying more than the government mills to the farmers. So, the farmers prefer to sell their sugarcane to private sugar mills.

He said the government will be motivating farmers to increase the sugarcane production so that the sugar mills get enough cane.

He said the government has ordered the mills to pay the farmers within 48 hours of its purchase.

Only Rs 42 crore dues were left. About Rs 22 crore will be more paid to the farmer by the end of September, he added.


PSEB supplying power to Maharashtra
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 9
With an increase in hydel power generation and less load in the state, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been supplying 36 lakh units of power to Maharashtra for the past four days.

The PSEB has decided to supply power to Maharashtra for about 18 hours a day. Maharashtra has been facing a power crisis. The total power supply to the PSEB is 859 lakh units.

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