P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Takht panel clears ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 11
A committee of eminent experts on Sikh religion formed by the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has given a clean chit to controversial film “Jo Bole So Nihal” even as the outrage against the movie continues, with some organisations determined not to allow its screening at any cost. The committee has instead praised the movie.

Following the committee verdict, whose six members saw the movie at a special show screened in Mumbai, Mr Amarjit Singh, president, Akal Market Association and petitioner against the film, has withdrawn his petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding a ban on the movie.

Jathedar Vedanti has, in a communication to Mr Amarjit Singh, sent him the report of the committee about the movie. Mr Amarjit Singh said the report of the committee was the final word on the controversial movie by Akal Takht and he decided to withdraw his petition despite having some reservations about the movie.

The committee has not only issued a clean chit to the movie but has praised the makers and the hero of the film, Sunny Deol, for a realistic portrayal of a Sikh, besides upholding the true values of Sikhism in the film. The film is being distributed by liquor baron Ponty Chadha.

The committee members who saw the screening of the movie in Hari Kunj, Khar Mumbai, were Mr Gurjit Singh, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Prabinder Singh, Mr Joginder Singh and Mr Prithipal Singh.

The committee has listed eight points after watching the movie. It said that the film was not a religious movie; the hero had firm faith in the Waheguru and overcame all obstacles because of his faith and there was no attempt to hurt the religious feelings of Sikhs in the film.

It said a villain in the film, after assuming the attire of a Sikh, tried to consume tobacco but the mother of the hero slapped him and gave the right message to the viewers about the tenets of Sikhism.

The committee also noted that Sunny Deol, the hero of the movie, insisted on growing his beard and used to tie the turban afresh. He had also employed a Sikh to help him in tying the turban.

The committee has, however, directed the director and the producer of the movie to mention specifically in advertisements and promotions of the movie that it was not a religious film. It has also ordered that no poster or scene should be pasted or carried in the advertisements which did not correspond to the title ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’.


HC tells Censor Board to review ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to review the title of forthcoming Hindi movie Bole So Nihal and other contentious issues in the light of the objections raised by petitioners, who have sought a ban on release of the movie.

Giving this direction to the Censor Board, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain also directed the Censor Board to inform the court about its decision by tomorrow. The Bench said in case nothing wrong was found with the film, its release would not be stopped as per the programme on May 13.

Earlier, in their replies, film producer N.R. Pasichia and liquor baron Ponty Chadha, who has invested money in the movie, stated that a committee appointed by Akal Takht had cleared the movie. The committee, they claimed, had gone to Mumbai to view the movie and had asked the producers to write on the posters of the movie that it was not a religious movie. This suggestion, they stated, had been implemented.

Referring to the role essayed by Sunny Deol in the movie, the respondents stated that he was playing the role of a Sikh and all care had been taken to ensure that Sikh tenets were not ignored.

For this purpose, Sunny even grew a beard and an expert had been taken abroad to tie his turban.

Counsel, however, failed to convince the Bench as to why this title was being used for the movie.

Counsel argued that it was a "jaikara" and was used even by the Army. They also stated that movies such as Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Har Har Mahadev had already been made. Counsel said if Akal Takht had given its approval, there was no reason why anybody should not be satisfied.

The petitioners' counsel said one of the scenes they had an objection to was where the hero, Sunny Deol, has been shown smoking a cigarette, despite being a Sikh man. However, the respondents clarified that the same scene also showed his mother slap the boy.

A fax sent by the Secretary to the Chairperson of the Censor Board, which was produced in the court, also informed the Bench that the CBFC would review the movie.


Sikh bodies call for special screening of ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
A section of Sikh organisations today urged the Central Board of Film Certification and Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting for arranging a special screening of the movie, “Jo Bole So Nihal”, so that a cross-section of the Sikhs from Punjab and other states could watch it and make a decision whether it contained any thing which was against the Sikh religion and its tenets.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, Member, SGPC, in a press note issued here today said a memorandum in this connection was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner.

He alleged that the producer and director of the movie had played with the sentiments of the Sikhs by portraying Sikhs in a bad light.

He said representatives of different Sikh organisations had also demanded that release of the movie should be delayed as tampering with religious sentiments of the Sikhs could ignite Sikh anger, and if that happened the Central and the state government would be responsible for same.

He said they had also urged the Punjab Government to take steps to restrain the distributors from releasing the movie.


Bhattal: panel has nothing to do with school privatisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, says that the committee headed by her with regard to school education has nothing to do with the privatisation of government schools. Obviously, Mrs Bhattal has taken a line different from that of the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister, who have been talking about public-private participation to run those government schools which are not doing well.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Mrs Bhattal said that her committee had been mandated to give its recommendations to improve the standard of education in government schools, streamline their functioning, rationalise the number of teachers and provide adequate equipment and infrastructure in the schools.

The committee had already held two meetings in this connection. The last meeting would be held on the return of the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, from a two-week tour of the USA, Canada and China. “We have almost finalised our work and will submit the report after the last meeting, most probably at the end of this month,” she said.

There is a controversy in political and academic circles with regard to the privatisation of the government schools. The government has made several contradictory statements on the issue of school education leading to a confusing situation.

First, there was talk of giving supervisory control of the government schools to the management committees of government-aided private schools. Then there was a proposal to involve industrial houses, etc, in running those government schools which were not doing well. Mr Surinder Singla had recently stated that the government was spending nearly Rs 2,500 crore on the government schools but the performance of most of these was far from satisfactory. He had proposed public-private participation in running these schools.

Mrs Bhattal said the committee had asked the Education Department authorities to submit to it the performance report of all government schools during the past five years. The department had also been asked to give the number of teachers posted in each school and details of the examination results.

Mrs Bhattal said an encouraging development was that a large number of NRIs in Canada and the USA were prepared to adopt government schools in their respective villages in Punjab. Such NRIs had offered to provide infrastructural and other facilities for the government schools in their villages provided the government put a fully functional system in place in this regard.

“I am of the view that a dedicated fund should be created for schools. NRIs can make contributions to that fund. Local residents who wish to donate for a public cause can also be motivated to contribute to that fund. The day-to-day expenditure of schools can be met from such a fund,” she added.


Illegal mining continues
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Illegal mining being carried out along the Pathankot-Mukerian road
Illegal mining being carried out along the Pathankot-Mukerian road

Gurdaspur, May 11
Illegal mining is continuing along the national highway despite the District Magistrate banning it under Section 144 of the CrPC. The worst-affected area was along the Pathankot-Mukerian road where the road was threatened due to illegal mining. Illegal mining was being carried out just about 5m from the highway.

The District Magistrate-cum-Deputy Commissioner has issued orders for banning the illegal mining along the national highway and important Army and civil installations. However, no action has been taken against illegal mining.

Due to illegal mining, the ground level has gone down by 20 to 30 feet. The PWD authorities, alleged that the illegal mining led to soil erosion that threatened roads. It was also threatening the railway tracks at some places.

Though illegal mining has been continuing since long, it was only once that the police action has been taken. Former SSP Narinder Bhargav acting on the ban orders confiscated the machinery being used by the illegal miners. A case under Section 188 of the CrPC was registered against the culprits.

However, after his transfer illegal mining had started once again. Sources said the political patronage given to illegal miners by some politicians was responsible for the complacent attitude of the officers in the matter.

However, the large-scale illegal mining, was also devastating the ecology of the area. The sources in the drainage department said the bed level of the Chaki river had gone down by about 30 feet.

The public health authorities had also been raising hue and cry about the dropping of the water level of rural water supply schemes. They had written to the authorities concerned that some schemes meant for the Dhar area were on the verge of failure due to illegal mining. In Pathankot city also, the water level had gone down by 30 to 40 feet in the areas along the Chaki river, they added.

Interestingly, the authorities of the Department of Industries, in response to the complaint from Public Health Department, have said the matter needs to referred to the Agriculture Department for research.


CM to flag off Air-India flight to England, Canada
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, will flag off the Air-India flight to England and Canada from Sri Guru Ram Das International Airport on May 15, which is being revived after a gap of 20 years.

The station manager, Air-India, Mr Ashwani Arora, told The Tribune here today that all the arrangements for the launch of the national carrier’s flight had been completed. A team from the Civil Aviation Department, Canada, also visited the airport on a familiarisation tour to get first-hand information about the flight pattern and the passenger profiles here last week.

Mr Arora said that there was a tremendous enthusiasm among the large Punjabi NRI community based in the Doaba region and the inaugural flight was fully booked. Air-India was receiving a number of enquiries for this first-ever direct flight connecting the holy city with Birmingham and Toronto. He said that Air-India had designated Boeing 777 for this route.

Air-India had been operating Balle Balle Birmingham from Rajasansi airport, but due to militancy the flight was discontinued. The re-launch of the flight to Birmingham and also connecting Punjabi-dominated city of Toronto have once again provided the much-needed relief to the Punjabi community settled in Canada and England.


More urea in cattle feed raises milk yield, makes it unsafe
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Unscrupulous manufacturers have been using excessive quantities of urea, an unsafe chemical substance for animal as well as human health, in cattle feed to induce a high yield of milk.

This has come to light following the testing of samples by the Punjab Dairy Development Department to check the contents of cattle feed being manufactured under various brand names in the state. In fact, not only has the excessive use of urea in the feed to enhance the milk yield come to light but the “secret” of the large quantity of the substance in the milk supplied by various cooperative societies to milk processing plants has also been exposed. An excessive quantity of urea in milk harms the human kidneys and intestines.

Certain manufacturers have been using an excessive quantity of urea, up to 3 kg in 1 quintal of feed, to attract farmers to buy their brands. Farmers are told that their brand of feed increased the milk yield. Official sources said that excessive quantity of urea in the feed also damaged the reproductive system of cattle.

Manufacturers are also using limestone powder (LSP) in large quantities in the feed. It is another dangerous substance that affects the health of milch cattle. Sources said that the powder, which was available at 60 paise per kg was used up to 15 per cent in the feed. The prescribed limit is only 1 per cent in the case of both LSP and urea. “Obviously, a manufacturer will make a big profit from cattle feed by mixing 15 kg worth Rs 9 and selling it at Rs 4 to Rs 5 per kg as cattle feed”, said a senior officer of the department.

Mr Dhanbir Singh Bains, Secretary of the department said: “We have taken to task all those manufacturers who were resorting to such illegal practices”.

Mr Bains said that till the end of March this year, 422 samples of cattle feed were collected for examination. The contents of 133 of these were not in accordance with the prescribed limits. Many of them had an excessive quantity of urea and LSP. Police cases had been registered against two manufacturers, one of Batala and the other of Abohar.

The manufacturing licences of four others had been suspended indefinitely. The licences of the remaining guilty manufacturers had been cancelled for periods ranging between five weeks and six months.

The department had also stopped the use of LSP and urea in cattle feed completely. The required quantities of urea and calcium were compensated in the feed with components such as maize, wheat, rice bran and the de-oiled cake of cotton seed. Moreover, high-quality calcium was available in the market which could be used up to the prescribed limit of 1 per cent.


Bishnois protest against limited killing of blue bulls
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The nature-loving and worshipping Bishnoi community settled in millions in the Abohar-Fazilka, Ganganagar-Bikaner and Sirsa-Fatehbad belt, has been hurt deeply by the Punjab Government’s decision to go in for the limited killing of blue bulls, the estimated population of which is 10,312 in the state.

Leaders of the community have protested against the decision. “Come what may, we will not allow the killing of blue bulls,” said Mr Vijay Kumar, a senior functionary of the Akhil Bharatiya Jeev Raksha Bishnoi Sabha, which has its headquarters at Abohar.

“Our president, Mr Hanuman Bishnoi, who is a member of the Punjab Wildlife Advisory Board, has told the Chief Minster-cum- chairman of the board Capt Amarinder Singh that it is a wrong decision and should be withdrawn as the killing of blue bulls can lead to a big reaction from the Bishnoi community,” said Mr Vijay Kumar.

Mr Hanuman Bishnoi, who is angry over the decision, has branded the organisation the “wildlife elimination board”. Members of the community are engaged in a debate on providing human protection to these animals where their population is expected to be depleted. “The human population is also rising rapidly. Will the government also take a decision to reduce it, the way it has decided in the case of the blue bulls?” asked another office-bearer of the sabha.

Mr Hanuman has gone to Khajedi near Jodhpur, in connection with arrangements for a rural fair where all those who are strongly against the killing of wild animals and the cutting of trees meet every year. “ We will raise the issue at the fair,” asserted Mr Vijay Kumar talking to TNS on the phone. He talked about the sacrifices made by the community to save flora and fauna in the past. As many as 363 persons from the Bishnoi community gave their lives while saving wild animals from hunters in the 18th century.

The sabha office-bearers, including its general secretary, Mr Sahib Ram Bishnoi, have rejected the argument that blue bulls cause harm to crops in the Malwa belt, where permits for limited killing are to be issued.

“We have 4,000 black buck and 1,000 blue bulls in 13 villages, including Narainpur, Raipura, Datarwala, and Khairpur, an area which is a notified unfenced sanctuary. These animals move in herds in our crops. Despite such a large concentration of these animals, our per acre yield of wheat and other crops is still higher than that in the Mansa-Bathinda area where certain persons are propagating that wild animals are causing large-scale damage to crops,” said Mr Vijay Kumar, who is also the president of the Ferozepore chapter of the sabha.

The government should educate people so that they learn to live with wild animals as these were “a part of our universe”. Instead of ordering the killing of blue bulls, the government should make arrangements to enlarge the habitat of the animals in the Malwa belt, from where forests had been almost wiped out. Professional hunters, who would get permits to kill blue bulls would not stop after killing a limited number of animals. “Once they get the licence, they will run amok and wipe out the animals completely as no system will be in place to monitor such killings.”


Kanjali villagers get contaminated water
Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Kanjali (Kapurthala), May 11
Thousands of residents of Kanjali and Kokalpur villages are forced to drink contaminated water as the underground water in the area is contaminated till the depth of 250 feet and the Public Health Department has allegedly failed to release potable water even after the completion of the Rs 28.55 lakh project about four months.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) had approved Rs 28.55 lakh for the construction of an overhead service reservoir with 1.5 lakh litre capacity, a tubewell, laying of underground water supply pipes for the residents of the two villages. The work on project was started in November 2002.

Though the panchayat of Kokalpur village had agreed to provide the required land to set up the project, but the authorities concerned had reportedly shifted the site to another corner of Kanjli village. The work on the reservoir and tubewell was completed within stipulated time framework even as the laying of underground water pipes remained incomplete allegedly due to the shifting of the project site.

Alleging the apathy of the Public Health Department authorities regarding the quality of pipes for the supply water, Mr Baaz Singh, Sarpanch of Kokalpur village said: “As soon as the authorities release the water most of the streets where water supply pipes are laid get inundated due to leakage in the pipes,” adding, “water supply to the villagers is impossible till the existing pipes are replaced with those of better quality.”

“The villagers couldn’t get a drop of water under the scheme because whenever the water was released by the authorities after the repair of pipes water started gushing out from some other point and the authorities had to suspend the supply,” said Ms Kulbir Kaur, Sarpanch of Kanjli village corroborating the claim of Mr Baaz Singh.

The village nambardar, Mr Sumitter Singh, is also apprehensive about success of the scheme. “ I am sure that leakages in the pipes are irreparable”, he said.


Farmer killed while digging well
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 11
With ground water level receding every year, farmers belonging to the Malwa belt are flouting the ban imposed on the digging of wells beyond certain limit resulting in more than a dozen deaths till date.

Today Kabul Singh, a farmer; died while digging a well at Lakha Haji village under Mamdot police station today. Kabul Singh, along with his father Desha Singh and brother, Shamgeer Singh was digging a well when a mound of earth fell on him. It took more than three hours to take out his body. Today’s incident is not an isolated case. Several incidents of the similar kind have been reported in the past. Last year, two labourers, Boota Singh and Billu lost their lives while digging a well at Hastiwala village. Beant Singh and Sarinder Singh met the same fate while they were digging a well at Bashiwala village. In Bhatiwala village, Rama and his nephew Inderjit died while digging a well.

According to information, due to depleting water table in the region, farmers who are unable to install submersible pumps due to exorbitant price, resort to digging of wells below the normal level to install the traditional mono block or centrifugal pumps to meet their water requirements.

In this process farmers have to excavate upto over 100 feet deep in the ground. Without any proper equipment at their disposal, at times, these farmers lose their lives as huge chunks of earth fall on them while working inside the well.

Although, the district administration has banned the digging of wells, but farmers continue to defy the same.

The police has also registered a number of cases against the farmers who engage labourers for digging wells but the practice still continues.


Few guards for jail inmates
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Different jails in the state are in bad shape as the number of inmates in them have been increasing on one hand and the strength of guards have been going down drastically on the other.

The situation has reached a point where most of the inmates have started suffering from various diseases due to overcrowding of the barracks in the jails. Not only this, the incidents of escaping of inmates from the police custody have also started increasing.

Mr Manjit Singh Ladhar, Press Secretary, Punjab Jail Guard Association, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune today, said number of inmates in about 25 jails of the state had doubled since 1989 but the strength of jail guards had come down to 1800 from 2380 in that period.

The inadequate staff had been creating problems in carrying out the checking within the jail premises as in most of the jails only one frisking of the inmates was being done against the requirement of three to four when the inmates came back to jail premises after appearing in the court or from any other place. This had become the main reason that intoxicants were being found in the possession of inmates in the jail premises, he added.

Out of 25 jails located in Punjab, three jails were in bad shape while one sub jail located in Bassi was lying closed and the Ropar’s new jail was yet to start functioning. Apart from it, the Faridkot jail was not functioning to its full capacity.

Mr Ladhar said due to inadequate strength of staff, no proper watch was being kept on the inmates in any jail.

The staff, who had been
performing duties for hours together, had been paying a heavy price for the same due to deterioration of their physical health.

He said at a meeting of the Punjab Jail Guard Association held here had urged the government to carry out the recruitment which had not be done since 1992.

The association also demanded that the government should make a significant enhancement in the stitching charges for the uniform to the jail warders and the Superintendents of Jail should be authorised to make local purchases of warder guard kits.


2 cases of meningitis surface in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Two cases of suspected meningitis were reported from this region even as the District Health Authorities made frantic efforts to control the spread of the dreaded disease.

Tinku (14) of Bishan Nagar and Kamla (50) from Baretta, near here, were brought to the Rajindera Hospital after they were diagnosed as suffering from the disease.

Hospital sources revealed that these two were the first cases of meningitis reported from anywhere in Punjab. The Medical Superintendent, Mr Kulbir Kaur, disclosed that all arrangements had been made to check the spread of the disease even as the hospital authorities set up an isolation ward with separate provisions being made for the treatment of infants. The Medical Superintendent said both the patients were suffering from headache and fever and blood culture tests were being conducted to confirm as to whether they were proper cases of meningitis.

CHANDIGARH: One more suspected case from of meningococcal meningitis was admitted in the PGI today. The patient, in his early twenties, belongs to Saha in Haryana. It will take a couple of days for the test reports to confirm the disease. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Meena from Mohali continues to be critical.

PATIALA: The local branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cautioned residents of the city to be vigilant against the outbreak of meningitis, cases of which have been reported in neighbouring areas.

Dr D.S Bhullar, general secretary of the branch, said residents should not panic if there are symptoms of the disease and they should not rush to quacks.

Dr Bhullar added that if there were any symptoms of the disease like high fever, cough, sore throat, skin eruptions, vomiting and headache, the residents should immediately report to the nearest health centre.


DC’s order on encroachments
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 11
Mr S. K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the monthly meeting of the district officials here today directed all Executive Officers of the Municipal Councils, revenue officials and development officers to work in coordination with each other so that encroachments on government land could be removed. He urged officials of departments to send the pending recovery cases of their departments to the revenue officials concerned.

He said that the district administration had launched a campaign for the recovery of loans belonging to various government departments pending towards the defaulters. He also directed the DFSC and the District Health Department to take samples of eatable goods and ensure adulteration-free daily consumable goods.

He called upon the officials to do their duty honestly and serve the people with dedication. He directed the district officials to send the utilisation certificates immediately regarding the utilisation of government grants sanctioned from time to time so that all development projects could be completed in a planned manner.


Mob upsets admn’s plan on land acquisition
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 11
An agitated mob today came in the way of the administration taking possession of land for the construction of Abohar-Fazilka rail link here. Residents of the seed farm colony forced the police to return and removed concrete pillars put up by the authorities, sources said.

According to information, a part of the seed farm owned by the state government, 4 km from town, fell in the boundaries of the proposed rail link. Tenants, most of them belonging to the Rai Sikh community, who had been cultivating the land adjacent to the farm, had raised objections on acquisition of the land without giving them substantial compensation.

Several hundred residents of the colony gathered today as the civil authorities with the police arrangement went to acquire the seed farm area. The protesters started pelting stones but none was hurt.


Teacher killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 11
Seema Singla (41), a physical education teacher in Government High School, Ballian village, near here, was killed when her scooter and a military vehicle collided at Nankana Sahib Chowk here today.

She is survived by her husband, Surinder Singla, a lecturer in the Physics Department, Government Ranbir College, a daughter and a son.

She was cremated at the local cremation ground here this evening after the post-mortem, conducted at the local Civil Hospital.


Radio programme on immigration
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
All India Radio, Patiala, will broadcast a phone-in programme on May 12 on the topic ‘Illegal Immigration and its Bad Effects’. Produced and anchored by Mr Karanveer Karan, it will be aired from 5 pm to 6 pm. Prominent among the participants will be the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada, Mr Brian Dickson, Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh, Mr Arvind Kumar Sharma, and the Patiala SSP, Mr A.S. Rai.


15 hurt as bus overturns
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi, May 11
Fifteen persons injured when the bus they were boarding overturned near here on the Amritsar road today morning.

According to information a private transport company owned bus overturned near Mundi More, 23 km from here, at 7.10 am. The bus was going to Amritsar with nearly 40 passengers on board. An eyewitness said the driver of the bus lost control while making space for a truck coming from Goindwal Sahib side and the bus overturned. An Army convoy on the road rescued the passengers.


Disproportionate assets case of Badal adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
A local court today adjourned a case filed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to August 30.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ms Neerja Kulwant Kalson, adjourned the case after the counsel for the Chief Minister failed to make it in time to the court.

Mr Badal was to be cross-examined today by the counsel for the Chief Minister in a civil case filed by Mr Badal. It may be recalled that Mr Badal had filed a civil suit demanding Rs 5 crore as damages for tarnishing his family’s image during the run to the Punjab Assembly elections in 2002.

During the advertisement campaign before the elections, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee then headed by Capt Amarinder Singh had alleged through advertisements in the print media that Mr Badal and his family had amassed huge wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.


Robbers strike at dera, decamp with valuables
Tribune News Service

Goniana Mandi (Bathinda), May 11
Unidentified armed robbers struck at Dera Baba Tilkara in Balahar Binjhu village last night and decamped with goods and cash worth thousands.

Sources said the robbers manhandled the dera chief, Shukar Mani, and other sewadars before locking them in a room. The sources said the robbers were eight in number and they had two revolvers, besides some sharpedged weapons.

The robbers with covered faces barged into the dera at about 8 p.m. Sewadar Darshan Singh swung into action on spotting them, but they tied him up and locked him in a room. Later, the robbers attacked three other sewadars sleeping in another room and threw them in a nearby field after tying them up.

After controlling all the sewadars, the robbers knocked at the dera chief’s door. When he responded to their door knock they demanded arms from him and warned him that if their demand was not met he would meet the same fate. The dera chief told them that there were no arms at the dera, following which they manhandled him and threw him in a field like others.

The robbers then decamped with Rs 72,000, three mobile phones, costly medicines and literature.

After a couple of hours Darshan Singh managed to untie himself. He freed the dera chief and other sewadars.

The dera chief said that all the robbers were young and a couple of them were wearing khaki trousers. However, the police has registered a case against the unidentified robbers under Sections 382 and 342 of the IPC.


32-yr-old woman stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 11
A 32-year-old woman was brutally murdered allegedly by a Bihari migrant this afternoon following a dispute over the payment of dues. A resident of Saheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Shiv Kumari was reportedly stabbed to death by the accused Karan, who was working as servant at a local gaushala. Later the accused also stabbed himself and was admitted to the PGI.

Shiv Kumari was murdered when she was alone in the house. Her husband is a rickshaw-puller and was away from home and her two sons were in school.

The incident took place around 1 pm when the accused demanded an amount of Rs 8000 as dues from Shiv Kumari and enquired about her husband. When Shiv Kumari showed ignorance about the whereabouts of her husband, the accused took knife from kitchen and stabbed her a number of times and later also stabbed himself.

Meanwhile, the police claimed that the accused, after stabbing the woman, returned to gaushala and stabbed himself. The police has registered a case.


Man kills wife
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Balbir Kaur, a local resident and mother of a son, was allegedly murdered by her husband, Sukhdial Singh alias Sukha, late last night. The accused, who managed to flee after committing the crime, was arrested by the police today.

Police sources said that Sukhdial Singh, who married the victim about ten years ago, was not having cordial relations with his wife. Yesterday night, Sukhdial Singh started quarrelling with his wife and later repeatedly attacked her with a sharp-edged weapon.

Though Balbir Kaur was shifted to a hospital, she was declared brought dead by the doctors here.

A case in this connection has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC.


Double murder: cop ‘helped’ accused escape
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 11
In a new turn to the investigation in a double-murder case of Pathankot, allegations have been levelled against a woman constable posted at Pathankot. Highly placed sources told The Tribune that the accused in the murder case had revealed during the investigation that a woman constable, Ms Madhu Bala, gave them (accused) information about the movements of the police. This helped them in escaping the police net for over two months.

The woman constable had now been transferred to the Police Lines. The SSP, Gurdaspur said that investigation into the matter was still on.

Sarita, wife of an NRI, and her daughter Mehak, were found dead in their rented accommodation in the Shastri Nagar area in March. The bodies were found in a decomposed state.

A “tantrik”, Mintu Kumar, and his associate Kanta, both residents of Kot village in Junjune district of Rajasthan, had been arrested in connection with the case while the other three accused were still absconding. They were arrested by the police after about a two-month chase in different areas of Rajasthan.

In the investigation it was also found that Sarita allegedly had illicit relations with somebody. She contacted the tantrik to control her paramour through witchcraft. The tantrik told her to arrange about Rs 4 lakh for the ritual. She mortgaged her land for the money.

The tantrik reportedly came to her house at night along with Sunny, Sunil and Happy. The accused along with his associates then overpowered her and raped her. Sarita’s daughter entered the room, at the time of rape. They then strangulated both mother and daughter. They also took with them Rs 4 lakh. The amount was yet to be recovered. The accused also took away the mobile set of Sarita, which finally led the police to them.


1 killed as bus rams into stationary truck
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 11
One person was killed and six others sustained injuries when a Delhi Transport Corporation bus rammed to a stationary truck on the GT Road at Shambhoo village near here, early this morning.

Heading towards Katra in Jammu from Delhi, the bus (DL-1PA-2822) rammed into the stationary truck (PB-08D-2933) from behind killed Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Daran village in Adampur of Jalandhar district. Harbhajan Singh, driver of another truck along with some other truckers, was pushing the stranded truck to the roadside when the accident occurred.

Mr Ram Mehar, bus conductor, who was sitting on the front seat, and five other passengers also sustained injuries in the collision. There were about 50 passengers in the bus. The injured after the first aid took other buses to reach their respective destinations.

According to eyewitnesses, the truck had developed a default and the truckers, who had parked their vehicles nearby, were helping push the truck to the roadside.

The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a post-mortem examination. The police has impounded the vehicles. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the bus driver, who reportedly fled after the accident.


Man arrested for killing father
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 11
A man, who killed his father suspecting his illicit relations with his wife, has been arrested. Surprisingly, the accused himself gave the statement and got a murder case registered, mentioning theft as the motive behind his father’s murder.

Sources said the accused, Gurtej Singh of Bhai Rupa village, lodged a complaint with the Dayalpura SHO that on the night of May 5 some thieves killed his father, Karnail Singh, and decamped with their television set and Rs 10,000. On the basis of his statement, a case was registered against the unidentified thieves.

Later, the police investigation in the case revealed that Gurtej Singh himself had killed his father. Gurtej suspected that his wife, Ranjit Kaur, had illicit relations with his father.

He murdered Karnail Singh, concocted the theft story and got a case registered on the basis of his false statement.

A case has been registered against him under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC. The stolen television set and the knife used in the crime have been recovered from his possession. 


Youth accused in ATM racket surrenders
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 11
A youth accused in the ATM racket pertaining to ICICI Bank in which Rs 15 lakh was found deficit surrendered in the court here today.

Robin, an employee with a security firm, appeared before the court and pleaded himself innocent. On April 26, Robin, along with a few other employees working for Security India Private Limited, a company that had been working for the bank for sending money to ATMs in the city, had taken Rs 37 lakh from the bank. Of the total amount Rs 15 lakh was found to be deficit.


Unauthorised petrol station detected
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 11
A flying squad of the Food and Civil Supplies Department has detected an unauthorised petrol station being run at Sidhwan village on the Bhikhiwind-Khalra road in this border area.

Police sources said that a case had been registered against three persons, Davinder Kumar, Umesh Kumar and Ajay Kumar.

Mr Amarjit Singh, DFSO, Amritsar, who led the raiding party, said that the owners of the petrol station failed to produce proper documents.


Steno arrested accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 11
The Vigilance Bureau arrested a steno in the SDM office, Bholath, on the charges of demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 500 today.

According to sources, Harish Singh Arora, a resident of Begowal village, complained to the Vigilance office here that Jaswinder Singh, a steno in the SDM office, was demanding Rs 1,000 for issuing a driving licence for learner. The deal was finalised for Rs 500.


Boparai illegally delegated power, alleges forum
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) today urged the Governor of Punjab to take cognisance of illegal delegation of powers by Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, and direct him (Vice-Chancellor) to undo the illegalities done in the university administration during his tenure.

In a press note issued here, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, president, FEAR, said that the forum noticed that the Vice-Chancellor illegally delegated powers to certain functionaries of lower status than a university professor like the Chief Coordinator (exams.) the Finance officer, the OSD to Registrar, the Deputy Registrar (Registration) and the OSD accounts to reduce his own workload despite the fact that it was categorically stated in the statute that in case of academic nature, the Vice-Chancellor might delegate any of his powers for a specified period to the Dean, Academic Affairs, or any other wholetime officer of the university of the status of a university professor.

Though the work given to the Chief Coordinator (exams) was of academic nature but the Forum said that the re-employed status, which he was enjoying, was not of a university professor as required by the statute and as for as Finance Officer, OSD to Registrar, Deputy Registrar (registration), and OSD ( Accounts) were concerned neither the work given to them was of academic nature nor their status was of a university professor as stipulated. Moreover, both the OSDs were re-employed on a fixed remuneration after their superannuating.

The forum also noted that even in earlier notifications the delegation of powers by the Vice-Chancellor under the statute were illegal to the extent of those functionaries who were not having the status of a university professor and the work was of non-academic nature.

Mr Boparai, while alleging that certain vested interests were trying to malign the image of university, asked to take the official version in this connection from the Director Public Relations, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Mr Baldev Singh Sandhu, Director Public Relations, Punjabi University, said that allegations levelled by Mr Dhillon in the press note against Mr Boparai were baseless and untrue.

Mr Boparai had delegated powers as per the calendar of the university and he had delegated only those powers, which were supposed to be exercised by him ( Mr Boparai) only. He added that Mr Dhillon had been giving misleading information to mediapersons.


Sainik school gets Rs 2.95 lakh from Bihar Govt
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 11
Funding scholarship for its underprivileged students studying in Sainik School Kapurthala, the Bihar Government has sent Rs 2.95 lakh to the school administration.

The money to be distributed among 19 cadets belonging to Bihar was received by the school today. This is the first time that the Bihar government has taken up the cudgels for encouraging its students taking education in sainik schools across the country.

While all 20 sainik schools have 33 per cent seats reserved for students belonging to other states, most Bihar students are coming to Kapurthala. Of the total amount of Rs 10.23 lakh released by the Bihar Government, a major share has come to the Kapurthala campus, though other schools in Kunjpura, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat have also got some share of the scholarship money.

While Rs 15,500 will be distributed among students of three sessions, including 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02, the money for the subsequent sessions is expected after some time.

The grant for scholarship has been given to the students as per the old income slabs followed at that time according to which students whose parents had an annual income of Rs 30,000 were only eligible to avail of the scheme. Though the school has a good strength of students from Bihar, only 19 were found eligible under this criteria and have got nearly Rs 5,000 for a session.

Even as the Central Government had started funding Rs 9600 per student annually for those hailing from the low income group families from the last year onwards, students were still finding it difficult to pay Rs 40,000 annually for fee, mess and hostel charges. 


Govt schools show poor Class VIII results
Tribune News Service

Mansa/Muktsar, May 11
While not even a single student from any government school of Muktsar has featured in the merit list of Class VIII, in some government schools of Mansa 80 to 90 per cent students have failed in the examination.

Sources said the results of even big government schools at the district, tehsil and block headquarters in Mansa had also been disappointing despite having adequate staff and amenities. At Government School for Boys out of the total 76 only 18 candidates have passed, while in the girls school, 99 girls have failed out of the total of 176. As compared to these schools, the results of Chetan Singh Sarvhitakari Vidya Mandir is 100 per cent and 18 of its students also feature in the merit list.

Similarly, 104 out of 136 boys of Government School in Budhlada tehsil have failed, while only 10 students passed out of the total of 134 in the Government School for Girls. In Sardoolgarh’s Government School, 53 out of 89 boys and 39 out of 92 girls have failed in the Class VIII examination. In Bhikhi sub-tehsil, 48 boys out of 68 and 40 girls out of 62 have failed in the local Government School.

In other areas too the government schools have faired poorly. In towns like Boha, Bareta and also in rural areas, the percentage of unsuccessful candidates ranges from 50 to 90.

In Muktsar, while none of the government school students could make it to the merit list, 16 students of SD Senior Secondary School, Malout, bagged meritorious positions. Overall 28 students of the districts made it to the merit list featuring 506 students of the state.

There is also a buzz in the academic circles that the education board’s stringent measures to check cheating in examinations has also contributed to the decline in the number of successful candidates.


Prof alleges misbehaviour by Registrar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
Dr Ranjit Singh Bajwa, professor, Department of School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University has alleged that the university, Registrar, Dr R.S. Bawa, misbehaved with him. He made a complaint to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh here today in this regard.

Demanding action against him, the professor stated that at about 11 a.m. on May 9 when he called up Dr Bawa to congratulate him, the Registrar resorted to verbal abuse and threatened him and said he was a ally of university FDO Varinder Pal Sharma who was against him.

Dr Bawa refuted allegations and said Prof Bajwa had called him up in a drunken state and had used ‘’queer’’ language. He further added that this was a conspiracy to defame him .

Meanwhile Prof Bajwa expressed fear on career prospects of his son who has recently joined the varsity as lecturer in the School of Social Studies due to the ongoing duel in the university and urged the VC to apprise the Governor as Chancellor of the university of the current situation. 


GND varsity to hold classes for PCS exams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold coaching classes for the PCS (Judicial and Executive) examinations and the subordinate services examination for the candidates of the general and SC/ST categories.

Dr P.S. Raikhy, Director, All India Pre-examination Training Centre, said here today that the Centre of Preparation for Competitive Examinations would admit candidates for coaching classes for the PCS (Judicial and Executive examinations), and the eligible candidates could submit their applications by June 10. The SC/ST candidates would be provided free coaching under the UGC scheme, he added.

Dr Raikhy said the general and reserved category candidates could seek admission to coaching classes for the subordinate services examinations being conducted by the All India Services Pre-Examination Training Centre of the university. The candidates could submit their applications on prescribed proforma till June 10.


Importers ignore Maneka’s letter on Aussie wool
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Even as Ms Maneka Gandhi, Member Parliament has written a letter to manufacturers of woolen textiles of the city here, urging them to stop using Australian wool until two abuses of Australian sheep - mulesing (live flaying)/ lamb mutilation and live exports, were ended, the Director, India/South East Asia, a Woolmark Company, has convened an emergency meeting here tomorrow to discuss the issue which involved direct and indirect employment to lakhs of people, here.

According to Dr S. K. Chaudhary, the Director of the company, Mr David Coombes, from Australian Wool and Sheep Industry Task Force, would hold a high-level meeting with the local manufacturers and exporters. Dr Chaudhary claimed that the logic given by Ms Gandhi against the Australian wool was ‘inappropriate’ and based on myths.

The stand taken by PETA and Ms Gandhi had already given sleepless nights to those who had been using Australian wool for a long time, he added.

The top Indian designers had already pledged “not to use Australian merino wool until live exports and mulesing (lamb mutilations) is ended “.In a statement to PETA India, the designers had said they would not use leather or wool, out of concern for animals. India is the third-largest importer of Australian wool.


AirTel to tap 100 towns in Punjab
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
AirTel’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Deepak Gulati plans to make the services more customer friendly to further augment the company's customer base in the region.

About 100 Airtel Relation Centres will be set up across Punjab by the year end with a focus on customer satisfaction. These will be one-stop solutions and will be manned by either franchisees or by Airtel employees at various places.. "There are four planks on which the customer need-centric strategy is based, Mr Deepak Gulati told TNS during an interaction here today. These include the introduction of innovative products and services, reaching out to the customer, providing value for money and establishing a relationship with `brand differentiation.’’

He said emphasis would be on the employees’ training and their orientation, besides automation of hardware at the back end. Don’t be surprised if the pleasant voice at the other end provides you the latest information, even latest details about tariffs, your bills, last payment made and so on,’’ he added. Airtel, will be spending huge sums on upgradation of its software.

The group plans to make a huge investment to provide connectivity to over 100 towns in Punjab within this year so as to achieve the target of providing 100 cent per cent connectivity in the state. For achieving this target, the company has started the process of setting up 300 BTS (Base Transreceiver Stations) in the next few months. With 750 cell sites already in place, the number of these sites would go up to 1000 by the year end.

One thousand more villages would be provided connectivity by the year end. Nearly 5,000 villages in the state already stand covered, said Mr Gulati. Expansion of network in Haryana towns is also going on simultaneously. All key highways , rail routes and hills would get seamless coverage in a short while.

Talking about the emergence of new players in the market, he said `` it has been healthy for the market and we will continue to strive for higher share in the region”.


Glaxo adopts neglected park
Our Correspondent

Nabha, May 11
Residents of the town has a reason to smile. Glaxo-Smithkline has decided to adopt the neglected Maharaja Hira Singh Park.

The Tribune had highlighted its plight many times but the local municipal authorities did nothing. The council then approached local MLA Randeep Singh to talk to Glaxo-Smithkline for this purpose. He took up the issue with the company authorities and company officials acceded to his request.

Talking to mediapersons, he said the company would spend annually more than Rs 10 lakh on this project. He said two more parks on either sides of the town had been delineated and work would start soon.

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