P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Takht Patna Sahib poll on May 29
Prestige of Cong, SAD, BJP at stake
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
The stage of Sikh politics is likely to be shifted to Patna Sahib even as the general secretary of the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee (TPSMC), Mr Mohinder Singh Dhillon, today announced the crucial election of its office-bearers on May 29.

The prestige of the BJP, the Shiromani Akali Dal and even the Congress would be at stake. Though the elections are held after every two and half years, yet these were delayed for more than a year due to variety of reasons.

During the previous elections, the senior leaders of the SAD had reached Patna Sahib to ensure victory of its candidates.

Though Mr Buta Singh, Governor of Bihar, has stated that he won’t patronise any group during the elections, however, it is believed that he is likely to play an important role in the formation of the next committee. After becoming Governor, Mr Buta Singh has helped in sanctioning prime land of nine acres for constructing Gurdwara Kangan Sahib at Patna.

On the other hand, Mr Surinder Singh Ahluwalia, a senior leader of the BJP from Bihar, who is also one of the 14 members, would participate in the elections.

The managing committee of the Takht consists of 15 members, which include elected, nominated and co-opted members. However, 14 members would participate in the proposed elections as one is co-opted member, Mr Darshanjit Singh Billu.

As per the Gurdwara Act, three members are elected from the three constituencies of Patna district, two members are elected by direct election, six members are nominated by the different organisations i.e. one each by the SGPC, Chief Khalsa Diwan, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, the Uttar Pradesh Sikh Pritinidhi Board, the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, and the Kolkata and Sanatni Sikh Sabha of Patna city.

The district judge, Patna, nominates three members and the aforesaid 14 members nominate one member. Thus, the format of this august body is representative of the Sikhs from all over the country.


PUDA revises landscaping policy
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 10
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has come out with a revised policy on landscaping of road berms and incidental open spaces in the urban estate of Punjab.

The revised policy, which has been approved by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has permitted residents to go in for landscaping subject to certain parameters laid down in this regard. Three months time has been granted to comply with the revised guidelines failing which PUDA shall be free to take appropriate steps to remove encroachments on public land.

Sources say that according to the revised policy, the portion of the road berm that can be used for landscaping shall be restricted to the entire available depth of the road berm subject to leaving a minimum of 5 feet adjoining all internal metalled roads except shopping street (V4) where a minimum distance of 8 feet will be left from the metalled portion.

In case of V6 internal roads, where the width of available road berm is less than 5 feet, the entire berm area shall be permitted for planting grass only and no plants, shrubs or fencing will be allowed. The area of road berms permitted for landscaping shall be used for planting grass, ornamental shrubs, cacti and seasonal flowers only.

Landscaping only at the level of road berms shall be permitted and no raising or lowering of berms will be allowed. However, fencing of standardised colour and design approved by PUDA up to a height of 2 ft 3 inches to enclose the landscaped area shall be permitted .No landscaping of road berms will be allowed unless front and side boundary wall of plot is constructed. No hedges, trees or shrubs shall be planted in the “vision splay” areas at road junctions for vehicular and pedestrian safety reasons. Only grass, flowers/ornamental hedges of less than 12 inches height will be permitted in “vision splay” areas.

The area landscaped by residents will be open at all times to inspections by PUDA or any other agency authorised to do so. The plot owner will permit maintenance or repair of the services laid underneath and will not claim any damage caused while carrying out repair of such services.

In case of violations, a 15-day notice will be given to residents to remove the violations at their own level failing which a penalty at the rate of Rs 25 per sq ft of the violated area will be charged on the 16th day. Thereafter, a fine at the rate of Rs 5 per sq ft will be charged for each day of continued violation. And if the violation is not removed within 30 days, the same shall be removed by the authority concerned and the cost incurred will be recovered from the plot owner along with penalty.


Punjab shifts 11 IPS officers
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Less than two days after 45 IPS officers were ordered to be shifted, the Punjab Government today backtracked from at least some of the transfers and postings earlier ordered by it.

In fact, a fresh order directing the postings and transfers of 11 IPS officers was issued late this evening. Two of the officers, awaiting posting orders, were asked to continue with their current assignments.

The officers in the Department of Home Affairs and Justice claimed that the fresh orders were issued strictly on administrative grounds. They added that the intention was to streamline the functioning of the police force.

But sources in the Chief Minister’s office admitted that the government was under pressure of sorts eversince the transfer and posting orders were issued late Saturday night.

They asserted that the government move to prevent push and pull, by releasing the orders after midnight, apparently failed to prove effective. The fact that a few officers still managed to get the postings of their choice through the fresh order was a testimony to this effect.

The orders were issued this evening by Principal Secretary to Punjab Government A.K. Dubey and Additional Secretary (Home) R.L. Mehta. It said IGP P.M. Das would look after the work of Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) in charge of Computers and Telecommunication.

The orders added that Mr H.R. Chadha was being posted as IGP (Punjab State Human Rights Commission) at Chandigarh, Mr S.K. Sharma as IGP (Training) with additional charge of IGP (Traffic) and Mr M.K. Tiwari as Deputy Inspector-General (Punjab CM’s Security).

It further added that Mr Prabodh Kumar was being sent as DIG (Economic Offences Wing, Vigilance Bureau), Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu as DIG (Provisioning and Modernisation) and Mr Gautam Cheema as Commandant of 27th PAP battalion at Jalandhar.

Mr S.K. Asthana was ordered to be posted as Superintendent of Police (Special Branch, Intelligence). Mr Sanjeev Kalra had proceeded on leave. The orders concluded that Mr Kuldip Singh and Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, awaiting postings, would continue as Assistant Inspector-General (Personnel) and AIG (Litigation), respectively.

All officers were directed to join their fresh place of postings immediately.


27 IAS officers shifted
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Punjab Government gave the state Home Department a new look by ordering a major administrative reshuffle late this evening. Two Additional Secretary-level officers were ordered to be shifted out of the Home Department.

In all, postings and transfers of 27 IAS officers, including five Deputy Commissioners (DC), were ordered.

The government had earlier ordered the shifting of Principal Secretary (Home) S.K. Sinha. The orders shifting him out of the Home Department were passed after he reportedly lost favours with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The two officers shifted from the Home Department — purely on administrative grounds — were Mr R.L. Mehta and Mr Vinod Kumar Bhalla. While Mr Mehta was posted as the Additional Secretary (Planning), Mr Bhalla was posted as Additional Secretary (Local Government).

Sources in the state government termed the orders as a routine one. The same, they added, had been passed to streamline the functioning of the state government. They added the state, after a very long time, had a DC couple.

Ms Jaspreet Talwar, ordered to be posted as DC (Fatehgarh Sahib), is the wife of DC Tejveer Singh.

Fathegarh Sahib DC S.K. Ahluwalia’s services were placed at the disposal of the Department of Local Government for appointment as the Patiala Municipal Commissioner.

Ropar DC Seema Jain’s services were placed at the disposal of the Department of Agriculture for appointment as the Secretary, Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board.

Bathinda DC K.A.P. Sinha’s services were placed at the disposal of the Department of Power for appointment as the Secretary, Punjab State Electricity Board.

Kapurthala DC R.K. Verma was, meanwhile, appointed as the Director, State Transport.

Mr H.I.S. Grewal was posted as the DC, Ropar, Mr Samir Kumar as the DC, Kapurthala, Mr Rahul Bhandari as the DC, Bathinda, and Mr Krishan Kumar as the DC, Nawanshahr.

Financial Commissioner (FC) R.P.S. Pawar was posted as the Principal Secretary (Sports and Youth Services), D.S. Kalha as the Punjab Principal Secretary (Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives, Archaeology and Museums). Chief Executive Officer (Anandpur Sahib Foundation) B.K. Srivastava was made the FC (Appeals-I).

Mr J.R. Kundal was posted as the FC (Rural Development and Panchayats), Mr G.S. Sandhu as the FC (Forests), while Ms Sujata Dass would be the FC (Appeals-II). She would also be the Nodal Officer for Women Employees.

Mr N.S. Kang was posted as the Secretary to the Governor, Mr B.Sarkar as the Secretary (Freedom Fighters), Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu as the Commissioner (Ferozepore Division), Mr Kulbir Singh as the Special Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) and Project Director of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society.

Mr Kanwal Bir Singh Sidhu would be the Special Secretary (Home), Mr A. Venu Parsad’s services would be at the disposal of the Department of Co-operation for appointment as the MD (Sugarfed).

Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu has been shifted as the State Transport Commissioner, Ms Amrita Atwal as the Additional Managing Director (MARKFED), Mr M.S. Banwait as the Additional Secretary (Local Government).

Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu’s services would be at the disposal of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for appointment as the ACA, PUDA.


Order to prepare master plans for
Kharar, Zirakpur, Lalru
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
To check haphazard urbanisation in the periphery of Chandigarh, the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Board today directed the Department of Town and Country Planning to prepare master plans for Kharar, Zirakpur and Lalru.

The board, at its meeting held here under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also approved the boundaries of the local planning areas for Zirakpur, covering the entire jurisdiction of the nagar panchayat and surrounding areas.

The Chief Minister directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to prepare draft legislation for expediting the finalisation of master plan for all urban areas in the state.

The board, which met after a gap of over two years, also approved the master plan of Mohali and it surrounding areas, covering 16500 hectares. To create proper linkages for the area outside the sectoral grid of Mohali, extended to Sector 107 and situated along the Kharar- Landran- Banur road, low-density selective urbanisation had been planned, said a senior official.

The Chief Minister also approved a link road to connect Mohali with Chhat village on the Zirakpur-Banur section of the National Highway. It was also decided to take up the issue of providing a ring road for Kharar, which would be an extension of the National Highway no. 21. For the villages outside the municipal limits of Kharar, located on the right side of the National Highway no.21, low-density colonies with a minimum plot area of 1000 sq m each would be permitted.

It was also decided that a 100-foot wide road be provided on both sides of the upcoming Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link.

In the case of the master plan for Mohali, the board decided to give more facilities for industrial workers and low-income sections. The facilities would be provided in a new Sector 74 -A, located south of the Industrial Area of the PSIEC. An industrial sector would be carved out in the area opposite the proposed Mohali railway station, along the upcoming Chandigarh-Kharar rail line.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister mentioned that a policy on the periphery would soon be made operational in conjunction with the master plan. The broad parameters would be allowing low-density selective change of land use in the periphery, subject to payment of development charges and change of land use fee.


Calcutta for international Sikh body
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a veteran member of the SGPC, while supporting the demand for an international Sikh body, said the role of such an organisation should be limited to coordination among various Sikh institutions to resolve issues confronted by the community the world over these days .

Talking to TNS, Mr Calcutta, however, said representatives of the international Sikh body should be allowed to become non-voting members of the SGPC. He claimed that the then president of the SGPC, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, had agreed in this regard after the Vishwa Sikh Sammelan held here in 1995.

Sounding a note of caution, Mr Calcutta said the Sikh community would oppose any move aimed at undermining the authority of the SGPC, which was formed after supreme sacrifices.

Earlier, Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, international affairs secretary to the Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, had emphasised the need for floating the International Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (ISGPC). Dr Rai even suggested that the proposed 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 had stated that the Gurdwara Act did not allow Sikhs outside India to be active members of the SGPC.

Mr Calcutta, however, said the SGPC was the biggest body of the Sikh community and its role could not be diluted on any pretext. He said any proposed international Sikh body could take up issues like turban in France and kirpan in Denmark at the international fora.


30-year-old woman found murdered
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 10
Ruby, a 30-year-old woman, was found murdered at her house in the Salaria Nagar locality under mysterious circumstances. From preliminary investigation, it seems that she was strangled.

The husband of the victim, Rakesh, told the police that he left the house at about 11 am along with his daughter. His daughter was not feeling well, so he requested his wife over the telephone an hour later to prepare some light food for her. His daughter remained with him at his shop.

At about 2 pm, he returned home along with his daughter for lunch and found the outer gate locked. He crossed over the gate into the house. On peeping from the window, Rakesh found his wife lying motionless on the sofa. He raised the alarm and called neighbours.

The police was informed and the door of the house broken open. There were no signs of resistance on the part of the victim. An almirah was found open. The details of stolen material were not available till the filing of this report.

Police officials summoned a dog squad. Interestingly, construction work was going in front of the house where the crime was committed. Though about 10 to 15 labourers were working in front of the house, no one saw any suspicious activity around the house.

The SP, Pathankot, Mr Manminder Singh, said a case under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered on the complaint of the husband of the victim.


SHO found guilty of labourer’s torture
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
Sharanjit Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Sadar police station, has been found guilty of torturing a minor labourer, Reshma, in police custody in the recent past in an inquiry conducted by SP (D).

The incident has started taking political colours as the local unit of the BJP has asked the reason for “inaction” on the part of the Punjab Government in the same despite the fact that it has taken place in the hometown of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Reshma, a minor labourer working at a brick kiln, was allegedly tortured by the Sadar police two days ago on the pretext of extracting information from her in connection with the murder of her elder sister Kamlesh. Kamlesh was lying with Reshma on the same cot before she was found murdered. Reshma has been getting treatment in the local Government Rajindra Hospital for the past two days.

Though official sources disclosed that SHO Sharanjit Singh, had been indicted by Mr P.S. Virk, SP (D), in a departmental inquiry conducted by him, the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said so far he had not received the report and had asked Mr Virk to submit him the same immediately.

He said he would decide whether the report of Mr Virk would be sufficient to take action against the SHO or more details were required in that connection. He added that it would take some more time.

While disclosing that Shiv Parshad, husband of Kamlesh, murdered his wife, he said the police would also question him about the involvement of Reshma in the murder. He added that Shiv Parshad was arrested today.

Sharanjit Singh had denied that Reshma had been tortured by the police and added that baseless and untrue allegations were being levelled against the police by the vested interests.

The urban unit of the BJP, in its meeting held here today while condemning the torture of a minor labourer by the police in the town, which is represented by the Chief Minister in the Vidhan Sabha and by his wife Ms Preneet Kaur in the Lok Sabha, alleged that the silence being kept by the state Congress government on the issue after more than 48 hours had brought it a bad name.

Mr Raman Sharma, district press secretary, BJP (Urban unit), Patiala, said the BJP had demanded severe punishment for the guilty police officials, a CBI probe into the incident and Rs 5 lakh compensation to Reshma. 


Peacock poaching: no challan filed against ex-SDM
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The high profile case concerning the alleged killing of the national bird by PCS officer Puneet Goyal is headed anywhere except in the desired direction.
More than a year after Mr Goyal, the then Pathankot SDM was caught with the kill (two peahens/four partridges) by two honorary wildlife wardens, no headway has been made in the case.

The matter has been pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for several months now; its progress remains stalled because of the failure of the Punjab Wildlife Department to file a charge sheet against the accused officer. The challan has reportedly been delayed because the state government has not yet granted permission to prosecute the said officer.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mr Gunraj Singh, a former warden at Hoshiarpur, a key witness in the case, has already filed another private criminal complaint against Mr Goyal in the High Court. This, he said, has been filed apprehending government’s disinterest in following the case.

“The complaint under the Wildlife Protection Act was filed after serving a notice on the state government and asking it to take the desired action against the accused officer. But the government has not even given the permission to prosecute him. All it has done is transfer him from one department to another. Our private compliant in the High Court will ensure that the case does not lose steam due to government apathy. If Goyal is set free, we can appeal against the orders.”

While the issue hangs fire, wildlife officials maintain they are held up due to lack of government permission to prosecute the officer. Mr A.S. Dogra, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, told The Tribune today, “We are ready to file the challan tomorrow, provided our documents are complete and we get the permission. We have not received written statements of the two honorary wildlife wardens. Soon after we get those, we will move the file for permission.”

Although officials blame wildlife wardens for the delay, the latter counter the government stance vehemently. Mr Gunraj Singh said, “After I was contacted by the DFO Office, I promptly submitted a copy of my private complaint requesting that the same be treated as my official statement. I gave it to Mr Kulraj Singh, Range officer, Hoshiarpur.”

The other honorary warden - Mr S.S. Bajwa, said he had never been asked by any wildlife official to submit a complaint in this matter. “I came to know of this issue only today. I have written to the Chief Wildlife Warden that I am ready with my statement. We are the only ones who followed the case in the right earnest. Why should we delay matters? It is absurd.”

While the government takes its own time to process the case file and grant permission to file a charge sheet against Mr Goyal, Mr Gunraj Singh apprehends danger to his life.

Meanwhile, he has written to the ADGP, Security, Punjab, complaining against the withdrawal of his security, earlier provided under orders of the High Court. In a letter, he has stated that after changing five gunmen in a week, the police has withdrawn one of his two gunmen .


SC/ST cell revolts against Youth Cong chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
The SC/ST Cell of the Youth Congress today revolted against the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress (PPYC) chief, Mr Raminder Anwala, and decided to organise a rally on May 15 here in protest against his functioning style.

Addressing a press conference, here today, Mr Narinder Kumar Teenu, secretary of the PPYC, alleged that Mr Anwala had scant respect for democratic norms which were being flouted time and again.

Mr Teenu, who is also in charge of the SC/ST Cell of the PPYC, alleged that a large number of workers of the cell from Amritsar would take part in the protest rally, which would start from Sangam Cinema Chowk and culminate at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium, where a three-day North zone youth leadership camp would be held from May 15 to 17.

He said they would also submit a memorandum to Mr Ashok Tanwar, president, All-India Youth Congress, and other senior leaders of the Congress regarding the matter.

Mr Teenu said Mr Anwala had allegedly been ignoring the old and hardworking party workers of the SC/ST Cell who belong to the lower strata of the society. He said they were only protesting against one style of functioning of Mr Anwala and had no grudge against the party as such.

Mr Teenu said the Congress had been considering people from SC/ST as its backbone and Mr Anwala was working against the interests of the party by discriminating against them by not appointing them to any party post.

Mr Anwala was giving party posts to rich and affluent persons who were new entrants in the party and had no experience about the working of the Youth Congress, said Mr Teenu. He said that even their names did not exist in the list of the Youth Cell in Chandigarh.

Replying to a question about the next course of action if no remedial measures were taken, Mr Teenu said they would meet party President Sonia Gandhi next month and convey their resentment to her.


SAD asks Amarinder to resign
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 10
The national vice-president of the SAD, Mr Parkash Chand Garg, today asked the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to resign as he had failed to check crime. People were feeling insecure due to deteriorating law and order condition in the state, he added.

Mr Garg, who was here today, said a large number of kidnapping, murder, robbery, rape and police atrocities that took place in the recent past had created a panic among people. The recent example of police atrocities had come to light in the Patiala Assembly constituency where the police allegedly tortured a poor girl by giving electric shocks and stripping her inside the police station.

He said the Chief Minister’s yesterday’s visit to Sangrur had disappointed residents of the town and other nearby areas as the Chief Minister “failed” to announce any development grant or project for the town.

Mr Garg said the SAD would issue a white paper on May 15 to expose the “misdeeds” allegedly committed by the Amarinder government during the past three years.


Badal flays CM on power issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today ridiculed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s statement on limited free power to the farming sector as ‘utterly insincere’.
In a statement released by the party office, he said this was a direct admission that the decision to abolish the free power facility to the farmers along with welfare measures extended by the SAD-BJP government to other sections of society was “not only wrong, but also harmful” for people of Punjab. He said the ‘last ditch frauds on the people of Punjab would not work’.

He said, “Amarinder can clearly see that he is heading for political annihilation at the elections in just about a year and half from now.

But if he thinks he can take the people of Punjab for ride through such gimmicks, he is in for one of the biggest shocks of his life. Everyone knows that any decision taken by this government from now onwards is a mere election stunt”.


Excuses galore for exemption from duty
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 10
A majority of teachers working in government schools of the district are having health or family problems, if the applications submitted by them to the Deputy Commissioner for exemption from multi service card survey duties are to be believed. 

According to Mr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, PCS, who is Survey and Training Coordinator for this project, approximately 200 teachers were deputed on duty to collect data through door-to-door survey. The teachers were given extensive training and moreover the Deputy Commissioner had also announced awards for outstanding supervisors and surveyors, but interestingly more than 175 teachers have submitted applications to the Deputy Commissioner for exemption citing health and family problems. Most of the teachers have approached the Deputy Commissioner through ministers, IAS and IPS officers and politicians.

But despite these odds, Mr Gupta said the project was going on smoothly. The second phase of the pilot project started with the distribution of material to the enumerators and supervisors.


Health centres sans medicines
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 10
With the state government discontinuing the supply of medicines for the past few months, the health centres in the rural areas of Punjab have got nothing to offer to patients. A majority of centres don’t even have basic things like stethoscope, thermometer and bandage.

Due to this poor patients have stopped visiting these centres. A majority of these centres are being run by pharmacists. Leave alone the bandage, the health centre at Selbarah village doesn’t have medicines for fever.

The centre does not even have the power supply. The supply of medicines has been cut for the past few months and so is the supply of power. Sources said when the audit department reached this centre, they didn’t find anything for audit as neither the medicines were bought nor given to patients.

Posts of doctor are lying vacant in every village of the Bhagta Bhai block. Eleven dispensaries are being run by the lower staff. Bhagta’s hospital has a single doctor instead of five. The health centre at Chak Atar Singh Wala village doesn’t have thermometer for the past seven months.

The sources said the number of patients at this centre had gone down from 450 to 250 per month. It did not have medicines for fever. The sources said health centres at 15 villages of the Nathana block didn’t have stethoscopes. There was no medicines at the rural hospital of Chak Fateh Singh Wala village. The sources said some centres were reportedly drawing power through “kundi” connection as their power supply had been snapped.

With the onset of summers, the number of patients suffering from dysentery was on the rise, but there was no medicine for them. The health centre at Shekhupura had a doctor, but no bandage and medicine. The sources said at some centres the staff was buying medicines and paying power bills from their own pocket. This has led to a fall of 20 per cent in the flow of patients.

Residents of Mandi Kalan have formed the Hospital Welfare Committee to tackle the unavailability of medicines at the health centre, which is running at the mercy of donors. The health centre at Jaithuke has a similar story. The president of the Sarpanch Union, Sangat, Jalandhar Singh, said there were no health facilities for the poor. He said if this trend continued the day was not far when there would be no patients at these centres.

The Assistant Civil Surgeon, Dr HS Dhillon, said there was no supply from the government and the local purchase had been banned. He said they were unable to do anything in such a scenario.


Special operations to prevent robberies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
In an attempt to prevent robberies, special operations have been launched by the Punjab police, including the undertaking of “thikri pehras”, with the involvement of the district police chiefs.

A spokesman said senior police officers had been assigned the duty of supervising the operations. Special teams had also been constituted to identify and locate members of “migratory criminal gangs”.

The development is significant as on Sunday night a group committed violent robberies in Lalru. In one such incident, the criminals killed two women, Parkasho and Darshni Devi. On the same night, the gang killed a labourer and injured three others at a tubewell in Choundkheri village.

On Monday night, a group of criminals went to Ganji Tibbi village near Mohali, and killed two persons, Jaswinder Singh and Tarlochan Singh. Subsequently, they went to Mastgarh village. They killed Swaran Singh and his father, while his wife, mother and daughter were injured. 


Remote village adopted by IMA
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 10
In its bid to make remote parts of Hoshiarpur district disease-free, the Hoshiarpur city branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has adopted Sotala village in Bhunga block of the district.

Dr S.N. Tiwari, president of the IMA branch, said the village had been adopted for one year . He said during the period villagers would be protected against minor and deadly diseases and awareness would be created among them about importance of healthy habits and living.

The IMA, according to Dr Tiwari, had already been distributing free medicines among villagers and was offering them facilities of free tests and detailed medical examinations.


Steps to tackle meningitis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare Department has asked civil surgeons to keep rapid response teams ready for tackling any case of meningitis, said the Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr G.L. Goyal.

He added that the civil surgeons had been directed to establish control rooms at the district headquarters on the lines of the one set up at the state headquarters to monitor the situation.

The authorities concerned in the districts had also been instructed to keep a close liaison with private nursing homes and medical practitioners.


Blood donation camp inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 10
Ms Niti Sareen, secretary, Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, inaugurated two-day blood donation camp, organised by the district administration in collaboration with the local Blood Donors Council at Vishavkarma Mandir here today to mark World Red Cross Day. 

Ms Sareen and Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, jointly flagged off a Maruti van donated to the Blood Donors Council by the District Red Cross Society for carrying out its social service activities. They also inaugurated Kirpal Singh Bhatti Memorial Hall at the Blood Donors Council’ complex.

A cheque for Rs 11000 was given to Maharaj Lal Dass Bhuriwale Charitable Hospital, Malewal and a cheque for Rs 3100 was given to a Jadla-based society for organising eye check-up camp, by the District Red Cross Society. As many as 250 units of blood were collected on the first day.


Rs 1.31 crore released for pension
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 10
The state government has released Rs 1.31 crore for disbursement as pension to old-aged, widower, dependent and handicapped persons during the current financial year.

Mr B.C. Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, said that there were 65,760 beneficiaries in the district, out of which 50,545 were found eligible for old-age pension, 9870 for widow pension and 2,240 dependent children and 3,105 handicapped people would also receive financial help.

Mr Thakur said that under the shagun scheme, 55 cases were identified who would receive Rs 5,100/- each from the Social Security and Welfare Department, Punjab. He said that children belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Backward classes studying in government schools would also receive scholarships from the government.


Parshu Ram Jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 10
Bhagwan Parshu Ram Jayanti was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Sirhind by the Brahmin Sabha. Path of Ramayan and hawan was performed at Shiv Mandir Brahman Majra, Sirhind, and an impressive procession was taken out, which passed through the main bazars of the town. The procession was warmly welcomed by people from every section of society and refreshments were served at various places.

Later, an impressive function was organised in which Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary secretary, presided. He lauded the role of the Brahmin Sabha and paid rich tributes to Lord Parshu Ram. He also honoured children belonging to Brahman Samaj, who excelled in studies, sports, social service and cultural activities.

Mr R.N. Sharma, Mr Sanjeev Sharma, Mr Kuldeep Sharma, president Brahmin Sabha Sirhind, Mr Charanjeev Sharma, president, MC Sirhind, Mr Varinder Rattan, president, District Beopar Mandal, also addressed the gathering.


BKU against disinvestment 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
The Bharatiya Kisan Union today warned against disinvestment of 14 cooperative sugar mills in the state. Union leaders said it was because of the misguided policies of the state government that sugar mills were being made to suffer a cumulative loss of Rs 525 crore during the past five years.

This was probably being done to strengthen the case for disinvestment. A meeting was organised here today under the chairmanship of its working president, Prof Manjit Singh Kadyan. He said, instead of selling these off, the management of these mills must be decentralised. Each mill must be made a functional unit, he said.


Concern over delay in airport upgrading
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
The Punjab Tourism Minister, Mr Jagmohan Kang, yesterday expressed concern about the delay in the upgradation of the Raja Sansi airport which was sanctioned by the union government at an estimated cost of Rs 79.27 crore.

During a visit to the airport, the minister announced that he would take up the issue of the delay with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and urge him to direct the ministry concerned to expedite the renovation and expansion of the airport.

Talking to newspersons, the minister pointed out discrepancies in restricted space for passengers arriving in the holding area.


Insurgency: loan against Punjab Rs 6,179 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
There is a special term loan of Rs 6,179.40 crore against the Punjab Government, which was given to it to combat insurgency. This has been revealed in a statement issued today by the Press Information Bureau on the basis of a reply given by the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr S.S. Palanimanickam, responding to a question asked by Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, Member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab.

The principal amount was Rs 3,772 crore and the accumulated interest Rs 2,407.40 crore till April 1 this year. However, there is a moratorium on the recovery of this loan and interest up to March 31, 2007.


2 Sikh jathas for Pak in June
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 10
The SGPC would sponsor two Sikh jathas comprising 1000 and 500 pilgrims to Pakistan to observe martyrdom of Sri Guru Arjun Dev and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Lahore falling on June 16 and June 29, respectively.

SGPC secretary Dilmegh Singh stated that the first jatha would visit Pakistan from June 7 to 17, while the other from June 20 to 30 .

The pilgrims would also visit Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Panja Sahib and Gurdwara Rori Sahib at Emnabad to pay obeisance before returning to India.


Hepatitis-C: water samples taken
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 10
Following reports of about 80 cases of hepatitis-C in the Malerkotla area, the Health Department has taken about half a dozen water samples from different parts of the town, including Jamal Pura, Quila Rehmatgarh, main tubewells and the adjoining villages.

Dr K.C. Goyal, District Health Officer, confirmed that some samples were taken by health officials.


Ashwini Kumar to attend conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Dr Ashwini Kumar, has been nominated by the party President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to attend a conference of parliamentarians scheduled to be held in Pakistan later this month.

The conference is being sponsored by the South-Asia Free Media Association and will deliberate on critical issues facing the countries in the subcontinent. It is expected to promote people-to-people contacts among SAARC countries.


21 bodies join hands against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, May 10
With a view to building a mass movement against privatisation of the PSEB, government schools, hospitals and ITIs, as many as 21 public organisations under a common platform of Nijikaran Virodhi Mulazam Morcha (Phagwara) will organise a protest march and sit on dharna at Town Hall, here on May 11. This was stated here today by Mr Parbhat Kumar, convener of the morcha, here today.


High Court
PUDA restrained from conducting draw of lots
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 10
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today restrained PUDA from going ahead with the proposed draw of lots for vacant flats in 504 LIG Scheme, Urban Estate, Dugri Road, Phase II, Ludhiana.

This order came on an application filed by the Danga Peerat Welfare Society (Punjab), Ludhiana, seeking restraining of the respondents, including the Punjab Government and PUDA, from conducting draw of lots or making allotment of any flats to persons other than the riot-affected.

In its application, the body representing the riot-affected also sought directions to the respondents not to allot flats and booths earmarked for allotment to riot-affected to any other persons.

During hearing of the application, Senior Advocate H.S. Mattewal, appearing for the applicant body, said the May 8 notice which appeared in some newspapers, informing applicants for the flats about the proposed draw of lots on May 16 showed the mala fide of the respondents as these flats had been earlier earmarked for riot-affected.

He also stated that the notice, coming just days after the High Court directed the Punjab Government to take the final decision on resettlement of riot victims of 1984 within two weeks, showed government’s wrong intentions.

It may be recalled that on May 2, the High Court had directed the Punjab Government to take the final decision on resettlement of riot victims of 1984 within two weeks.

The court had asked counsel for the Punjab Government to intimate the final stand of the government on the issue. The application and the main petition will now come up again on May 19.

Selection irregularities

A senior Professor of Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology has moved the High Court alleging irregularities in the selection of Director of the institute.

The petitioner, Mr Bikram Kishore, has alleged that essential qualifications as prescribed by the AICTE are not being followed and some conditions have been altered deliberately to keep the petitioner and some other professors out of contention.

On Tuesday, a Division Bench of Mr Justice N.K. Sud and Mr Justice Viney Mittal issued notice to the respondents and also ordered that the appointment made, if any, would be subject to outcome of the writ. The case will now come up on July 11.

Mark Bernes’ case

The High Court on Tuesday adjourned the petitions relating to father Mark Bernes to May 16. This followed after counsel for the two parties sought time to explore the possibility of a mutually-agreeable settlement.

During the last hearing, the two parties had stated that they could work towards a compromise. Father Mark had died on February 15 at Amritsar.

The matter came to the High Court after the deceased’s sister, Anne Wakeling, filed the main petition in praying for handing over of his body for reinterment in appropriate manner at the place where he was buried earlier according to Christian rites.

Alleging that the body was putrefying, she had sought a probe by the CBI and action against those involved in vandalizing the grave and illegal act of exhumation of the body. Later, another petition was filed by Diocese of Jalandhar.


Armed men take away “bir”
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 10
Tension prevailed in Sukhchain Nagar on the outskirts of Phagwara when about 40 armed persons stormed the Gurmat Training Centre around midnight last night, thrashed inmates Subhash Kumari and her niece and robbed them of their two golden chains and an earring. They also took away the “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib from the adjoining room after tying sevadar Nihang Sukhwinder Singh Bittu.

On hearing about it, a large number of Sikhs, led by Gurjit Singh Khalsa, Jathedar Rajinder Singh Fauji, Jaspal Singh Grewal and Manjit Singh, got together and staged a dharna on the Phagwara-Banga road and raised slogans, demanding action against the guilty.

They got more agitated when the City police and the Sadar police took their time in deciding the jurisdiction of the Sukhchain Nagar locality.

Finally, a case was registered at the Sadar police station under Sections 448, 511, 427, 295, 148 and 149 of the IPC against nine persons for hurting the religious sentiments of a community by showing disregard to its scripture, armed rioting and assault.

A clash reportedly took place outside the police station around midnight.

The tension subsided when the police informed Sikh leaders that Guru Granth Sahib had been placed at Gurdwara Sukhchain Sahib with maryada.


Two booked for minor’s rape
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 10
Two persons, including a woman, have been booked in the rape case of a minor at Masita village, near here.
According to sources, one of the accused, Chinto, had called her 12-year-old niece to her home for some work on May 4.

When she finished her job her aunt pushed her into a room and locked her. Another accused, Balwinder Singh alias Kala, who was already present in the room, reportedly raped her.

The victim was medically examined in the evening. On the basis of the victim’s statement, a case has been registered against both the accused under Sections 366-A, 120-B, and 176 of the IPC, at Kot Ise Khan police station.

Both the accused have been reportedly arrested, but the police is yet to confirm the same.


Blind sets kiosk on fire
Our Correspondent

Phagwara May 10
A blind man set on fire a kiosk in which a dhaba was being run by Vinod Kumar here last night. The fire engulfed two other kiosks after two gas cylinders in the kiosk caught fire, goods worth Rs 1.5 lakh were destroyed in the fire.

The police has arrested the blind man.

Mr Vinod Kumar today said the blind had a fight with his nephew Arjan Kumar. He said they were sleeping outside the dhaba after closing it around midnight when the accused sprinkled kerosene at the dhaba, setting it on fire which spread after the gas cylinders burst.

Fire engines extinguished the fire and no-body was injured.


2 youths seriously hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 10
Two youths sustained serious injuries when a Tata 407 truck, heading towards Ambala, rammed into the Maruti van in which they were traveling on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway near the local bus stand here today.

According to the police, Mr Harvinder Singh and his relative Mr Ravinder Singh were crossing the highway in the van (CH-03J-6966) when the Tata 407 (PB-12A-8387) rammed into their vehicle, leaving the two seriously injured. Residents of Gulabgarh village said the van occupants were on their way to home after purchasing goods for the marriage of Mr Ravinder Singh.

Passersby and residents of the locality gathered at the place and broke open the window panes and doors of the badly damaged van to extricate the injured.

The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. After giving primary medical assistance, the doctors referred them to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. The police has impounded the vehicles and a case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver of Tata 407.


2 crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 10
Two persons were crushed to death at Shastri Nagar, near Improvement Trust Office, Batala, today by a mini bus.
They have been identified as Jatinder Singh and Som Nath Sharma. The driver of the bus and conductor ran away from the spot. The bus has been impounded. A case has been registered.


Scooter stolen
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 10
Hakam Singh , Sukhdev Singh of Mohi allegedly stole Bajaj Chetak Scooter No PB -10-AH-1767 which was parked by Jagdish Kumar of Jodha in front of a shop.
A case has been registered under Section 378 of the IPC by Sudhar Police on the complaint of Jagdish Kumar.


Registrar of GND varsity reappointed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
Dr R.S. Bawa, a renowned economist and present Registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University has been reappointed for four years.
Dr Bawa, who worked on almost all important positions of the university has been working as Registrar of the university since April 1996.

Dr Bawa had brought many innovative changes in the university examination system, including change in style of question paper and evaluation to improve the performance of the students at national Level Tests. He also brought many improvements in the university administration and computerised the examination system of the university.

An eminent economist, Dr Bawa was president of Indian Economic Association during 2001-2002, a position which had been earlier held by economist like Nobel Laureate Prof Amartya Sen and Dr Manmohan Singh. Dr R.S. Bawa is a life member of the Indian Economic Association, the Indian Econometric Society, Regional Science Association of India and Indian Society of Information Theory and Applications.

He was appointed expert member of the Curriculum Development Committee by the University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) for renewing and updating the curriculum in economics and made significant contribution in formulating the syllabus in 2000-2001.


Students excel

Patiala, May 10
The local Guru Harkrishan Public School attained 100 per cent pass percentage in class VIII examination held by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
Three students of the school were placed in the merit list of the Board while all students passed securing first division.

Nevidita Ganda attained 92.5 per cent marks, Dilpreet Kaur secured 91.6 per cent while Mandeep Kaur secured 90 per cent marks in the exam. Meanwhile, Ravidarshdeep Kaur of Model Senior Secondary School of Punjabi University stood first in the school by securing 90 per cent marks. TNS

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