P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vedanti’s volte face on ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’
SGPC writes to Censor Board
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
Even as the Jathedar, Akal Takht , Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, made a volte-face on the controversial film , “Jo Bole So Nihal”, and claimed that he had not given any clean chit in this regard , the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has written a strong-worded letter to the Censor Board, ignoring the report of a sub-committee constituted by Mr Vedanti in this regard.

The letter shot off to the Censor Board by the SGPC secretary , Mr Dalmegh Singh ,on behalf of its president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has made the position of Jathedar Vedanti awkward . Many SGPC members have openly criticised Jathedar Vedanti for the haste shown by him in giving a clean chit to the controversial film.

Jathedar Vedanti said his name was being unnecessarily dragged into the controversy and it was unethical on the part of the petitioner to submit his letter in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said Sikh high priests were above the court and hence the petitioner had “stabbed in the back” by submitting the report of the sub-committee, forwarded by him, in the court.

Mr Hardip Singh Mohali , an SGPC member, has expressed surprise over the “hasty step” taken by Jathedar Vedanti . He said it was intriguing that Jathedar Vedanti constituted a committee the next day after receiving the letter on May 4 . The committee visited Mumbai on May 8 and submitted its report the next day, which was submitted in the court the day after. He said while hundreds of petitions were lying unattended with the Akal Takht secretariat, haste was shown in the case of this film.

Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, non-official personal assistant and close relative of Jathedar Vedanti, who was not even a member of the sub-committee, also went to Mumbai to see the movie, which raised much suspicion. Earlier , Mr Sandhu was removed as personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti by the SGPC on bribe charges.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a senior member of the SGPC, while expressing his surprise and shock over the developments, said the case pertained to the SGPC and not to Akal Takht. Mr Calcutta said he had gone to Mumbai to review film “Machis” but he and other members had spent the entire money from their own pockets . In case of “Jo Bole So Nihal” , the air tickets were arranged by the party concerned, which was against ethics .

Meanwhile, the role of Mr Charnjit Singh Chadha , president of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, also came under scanner for reportedly approaching the Jathedar, Akal Takht, in this regard . However, Mr Chadha claimed that he had not sought any favour for the film but simply suggested to him to constitute a permanent committee by taking members from the Chief Khalsa Diwan, the SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee for taking up such cases with the Censor Board in future.

The SGPC, in its letter to the Censor Board, stated that using of sacred slogans like “Jo Bole So Nihal” was bound to incite the sentiments of the Sikh community. The letter says that the SGPC could not allow the use of slogans from holy scriptures, which did not conform, to its maryada.


Sonia authorised to name Punjab Cong chief
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
While the President of the All-India Congress Committee, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, has been authorised by the adoption of a resolution by Punjab Congress delegates, to name the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC), there is a definite move to appoint five new heads of the district units of the party in the state.

Informed party sources said today that all 209 Pradesh Congress Committee delegates in Punjab had requested Mrs Gandhi to name the president of the PPCC. She had also been authorised to select the members of the All-India Congress Committee from Punjab. The sources said that each delegate of the PCC today submitted a copy of the resolution signed by him or her individually in Punjab Congress Bhavan here.

The sources said that Mr Rajpal Singh, spokesman of the PPCC, would personally submit all copies of the resolution signed by the delegates in the party head office in Delhi tomorrow. He would leave for Delhi tonight.

The present president of the PPCC, Mr H.S. Hanspal, is expected to be given another term by Mrs Gandhi. Mr Hanspal has the support of Mrs Ambika Soni, a powerful office-bearer of the All-India Congress Committee. The Punjab Chief Minister,Capt Amarinder Singh, has also extended his support to Mr Hanspal.

Mrs Soni is close to Mrs Gandhi. The sources said that immediately after the bhog ceremony of Sant Ram Singla two weeks ago, Mrs Soni, Mr Hanspal and Capt Amarinder Singh drove together to the New Moti Bagh Palace, the private residence of the Chief Minister in Patiala. They held a closed-door meeting at the palace. At that meeting, Capt Amarinder Singh, according to the sources, assured Mrs Soni that he would extend his support to Mr Hanspal. Later, Capt Amarinder Singh made his stand public on this issue.

The sources said Capt Amarinder Singh had now developed a good political understanding with Mrs Soni. He takes her into confidence before making any major political move in the state, it is learnt.

However, there are reports that Dalit leaders in the Punjab Congress are making discreet efforts to convince the party high command to appoint a Dalit president of the PPCC to have better interaction with 30 per cent Dalit voters, who often support the Congress in the state.


Amritsar girl sixth in UPSC merit list
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 12
Emerging out of the twin personal tragedies, Rachita Bhandari bagged the sixth spot in the All-India Civil Services Examinations among the women candidates conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, the results of which were declared last evening. She was placed sixth on the all-India merit list.

Recounting her traumatic phase she said a month before appearing for the final interview last month she lost her father and elder sister in quick succession. Despite losing her dear ones Ms Bhandari said that it was her tenacity to achieve her ambition to serve in the Indian Foreign Service paid off. It was challenge to face the gruelling 45-minute grilling during the interview which she felt clinched the top spot for her among the women candidates.

The atmosphere at her home was jubilant but somber.

She said that she would continue to pursue her studies especially in international affairs and diplomacy besides her favourite subject economics. She said that her main aim would be to represent the nation and to protect the interest of millions of deprived people at the international fora. Determined to lead from the front she said that she had a vision to see the country among the top nations within next few years.

A postgraduate in commerce from Delhi School of Economics, she said during her school and early college days in the Sri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, she had never thought of opting for civil services but later she realised that it would be ideal profession for her.

Her proud mother Ms Sudha Bhandari, running an ICSE affiliated school, said that Rachita had always been a topper through out her schooling.

Rachita said it was her six-year stay in Delhi which broadened her horizon where she managed to interact with top professors and her colleagues who helped her to achieve her ambition.

It was sheer hardwork and reading habit that helped her to compete in the All India Civil Services test and her burning ambition to join the elite IFS which clincted the merit spot for her.

Recalling the contribution of her father late Mr. Naveen Bhandari, a chartered accountant, she said that he had always encouraged her to excel in her chosen profession. She took to commerce under the influence of her father.


Hoshiarpur boy 25th in UPSC exam
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 12
Dr Ravneet Singh, a local resident, who was selected in Indian Police Service (IPS) last year, has this year achieved the goal of becoming an IAS officer this time. Dr Gill, son of Mr Pritpal Singh, of Vasant Bihar, here has secured 25th rank in All-India Civil Services examination result for which was declared yesterday.


Tenants of govt seed farm colonies
seek compensation

Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 12
Several hundred tenants of government seed farm colonies, including women and children, took out a protest march here today in protest against the acquisition of land without paying any compensation to them. Men marched on feet while women occupied tractor-trailers and other vehicles shouting slogans against the railways and revenue authorities while passing through main roads and the railway complex. The vehicles were equipped with public address systems for which no permission was granted by the civil authorities.

The protesters sat on dharna at the subdivisional complex later and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through SDM Jaskiran Singh.

Those who addressed the rally included Mr Sangat Singh, secretary, CPI, Mr Mann Singh general secretary, Khet Mazdoor Union, Mr Harnam Singh, president, and Mr Gurbux Singh vice-president, Kisan Sabha, Mr Mangat Singh, sarpanch, Mr Darshan Singh former sarpanch, Mr Roshan Singh former sarpanch, Mr Kulwant Keerti, secretary, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, and Mr Ram Singh.

The memorandum stated that hundreds of tenants had been cultivating land of the government seed farm since 1969; some were having possession since the Partition of the country. They had been paying share of the produce to the state government till few years ago. Now a part of the seed farm land had been acquired for laying rail line to link Abohar with Fazilka, the total length of which was 42 km. The tenants had their houses and tube well connection in the acquired land but the authorities had categorically stated that the occupants, without having ownership rights, were not entitled to any part of compensation. This was totally unjustified as the occupants, if uprooted, will have no other source to provide food to their families.

The action committee urged the Chief Minister to sanction substantial compensation, failing which it would not allow any agency to take the possession of the land.


HC notice to govt on BRPs’ recruitment
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur May 12
With the district and Education Department authorities failing to act on complaints of irregularities in the recruitment of block resource persons (BRPs) under the Total Literacy Programme affected candidates have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice of motion to the state government on a petition filed by affected candidates of Babri village in Gurdaspur. In the petition, the petitioners — Indu Bala, Ramanjeet Kaur and Kiran Kundal — all residents of Babri Nangal village, had alleged that the appointments made under the Total Literacy Programme in their village violated the rules and ignored merit.

They have alleged that as per the directions issued by the State Project Director of the Total Literacy Programme, only teachers from the same village could be recruited. In case candidate from the same village was not available, a candidate from an adjoining village could be recruited.

At Babri, village two appointments were made at Shahid Sipahi Arjinder Singh Memorial Elementary School. The petitioners alleged that one of the teachers recruited was Harsimran Kaur who was not a resident of Babri village. She was a resident of Banda Bahadur Colony, Gurdaspur. She was the niece of the Sarpanch and chairman of the Rural Education Development Committee of Babri Nangal.

The other selected candidate was Jyoti Bala, who was much lesser qualified than the petitioners. The petitioners have alleged that no interview or criteria was followed in these recruitments.

The high court, accepting the petition, has issued a notice of motion to the state of Punjab through the Secretary, Education Department, and the State Project Director, Total Literacy Programme, besides others. The authorities have been directed to file a reply in the case on August 12.

Meanwhile, there are many candidates waiting for the authorities to act in the matter. Some of the affected candidates alleged that they did not have the resources to approach the high court.


Murder accused challaned after 2 years
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
More than two years after her son was murdered during a visit to Ludhiana, the Punjab police has finally filed a charge sheet against two of the accused.

But for the Non-Resident Indian, the road was not a smooth one. Initially, the police tried to drop the proceedings against one of the accused for reasons “best known to them”. Things were sorted out only after she met Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP), Mr S.S. Virk.

Acting on her request, he asked the crime wing to ensure the delivery of justice. After receiving directions from the DGP, the police presented a challan against the two accused on May 5.

Ms Tejinder Kaur had packed her bags in a hurry over a fortnight ago after being told by her counsel in India that the police had recommended the discharge of one of the two accused in the case.

After reaching Chandigarh from Rocklin in California, she met an Additional Director-General of Police, involved in the investigation of the case. But he was not too helpful — at least this is what Ms Tejinder Kaur claimed. “Dejected, but not defeated, I approached the DGP after which the ball was set in motion,” she said before leaving for the States.

Giving details of the case, the DGP, when contacted, said: “The records had established that both accused were together at the time of occurrence. Discharge of one would have helped the other at a later stage. So we decided to present the challan against both.”

Hailing from Sekhewal village in Ludhiana district, Ms Tejinder Kaur’s only son, Amandeep Singh, was a US citizen. He, along with her, wife and children, had reached India in 2002. Ms Tejinder Kaur left for the USA after a few days, but he stayed back with his wife and children. He was killed on October 15, 2002, in Ludhiana.

A complaint in the case was registered at the Jodhewal Basti police station in Ludhiana. Some persons were detained in connection with the murder. But they were later released, complained Ms Tejinder Kaur.

Going into the background of the matter, she said her son was poisoned to death. This was proved from the analysis of his viscera. “The intention behind the murder was to grab property worth crores,’’ she asserted. “But now I know they will not be able to get away with it.”


Construction around ammunition depots
dominates civil-military talks

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Constructions in the vicinity of ammunition depots located in Punjab dominated discussions at the Civil-Military Liaison Conference between top officials of Western Command and Punjab Government at Chandimandir today. A committee has been set up to study the issue and recommend appropriate action, it is learnt.

While the Army has been objecting to constructions by civilians within the prohibited zone around the depots on the grounds that it violates statutory and safety regulations, state government officials said it would be impractical to ask the civilian populace to vacate or demolish their houses.

Sources revealed that the committee, comprising the Chief of Staff, 11 Corps, the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Punjab, army and government officers concerned, has been tasked to find a solution to the "highly complex" problem.

Major ammunition depots in Punjab are located at Badhowal (Ludhiana), Wallahwala (Amritsar), Beas, Pathankot and Dappar. Urban and rural growth have resulted in a large number of commercial complexes and residential areas coming up in their vicinity. Such is the situation in Ludhiana and Amritsar that these depots have virtually become a part of the cities.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who attended the conference, agreed to sanction Rs 14 crore for disbursing ex gratia grants to about 275 widows of soldiers. He also announced Rs 1.32 crore for constructing additional accommodation at Sainik School, Kapurthala, and a grant of Rs 96 lakh for renovating the Jagjit Singh Palace which houses the school. The scholarship for students from Punjab studying in Sainik Schools has also been raised from Rs 5,500 to Rs 26,000.

The Army also projected a requirement for about 2.5 acres of additional land for the Army Institute of Law at Mohali. Additional area is required for constructing accommodation for students.

Other issues which came up included inflow of sewerage into the Air Force Station at Pathankot, desilting of canals, canteen-related matters, refund of excise duty owed to cantonment boards by the state government and construction of a by-pass at Patiala.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, Capt Amarinder Singh suggested that the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) take over responsibility of maintaining the vast network of roads in border areas of the state. "Most of these roads are link roads and only about 180 km are under the jurisdiction of the BRO. The state government has little resources to strengthen them to enable movement of tank transporters and heavy vehicles," he said.

Lauding the role of the Army and the cordial civil-military relations, the Chief Minister also appreciated the Army's support in organising the recent Indo-Pak Friendship Games. He also felt that any difference cropping between the Army and the civil administration should be sorted at the earliest.

Earlier, the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S Pattabhiraman, expressed gratitude to the Punjab Government significantly enhancing monetary benefits to gallantry award winners.


Natha Singh Dalam dead; Punjab offices closed today
Tribune News Service

Natha Singh Dalam
Natha Singh Dalam

Chandigarh, May 12
The Punjab Government today said that all its offices, educational institutions, corporations and boards would remain closed tomorrow as a mark of respect to Natha Singh Dalam, a former minister, who died in Mohali today. However, it will not be a public holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and their Cabinet colleagues have expressed grief over the death of Dalam.

His body will be cremated at his native Dalam Nangal village (near Batala) at 12 o’clock.

A veteran Akali leader, Dalam was a minister in the Lachhman Singh government and then in the Barnala and Badal governments.

The president of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said that Natha Singh Dalam was an experienced and hard-working politician. He dedicated all his life to the welfare of the people of Punjab and the country. He had been jailed many a time during Akali morchas. In his death, Punjab had suffered a big loss.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Ranjit Singh Barahmpura, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan have sent their condolences to the Dalam family.


Moneylender’s bid to take over farmer’s land, 6 hurt
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
Six persons were injured when a moneylender and his men clashed with a farmer at Karamgarh Satra village, near here, today.

Sources said the moneylender had come to take possession of the farmer’s land. The sources said the farmer was working on his field when the moneylender reached there along with his men in a convoy of vehicles. The sources said his men were armed and they also had two tractor-trailers loaded with bricks. He asked the farmer to come out of the field, but the farmer didn’t.

He then reportedly fired a gunshot in the air. The farmer, Balvir Singh, alleged that the moneylender also fired at him, but he escaped. On the other hand, the moneylender claimed that when villagers fired at them they retaliated in self-defence.

The sources said the villagers soon gathered at the spot and challenged the moneylender’s men, forcing them to run away.

The farmer’s wife, Gurdev Kaur, said the moneylender appeared out of nowhere and suddenly attacked them. The police reached the spot long after the incident.

Balvir Singh said that the moneylender had got his eight kanals of land near the village bus stand transferred to his name, saying that they would set up a petrol station jointly. Later, he reportedly went back on his word as the land rates had shot up sharply.

On the contrary, the moneylender said he never talked about any petrol station with the farmer who had been selling his agricultural produce to him for the past 10 years.

The farmer sustained injuries in his leg, while the moneylender’s arms were hurt. The farmer’s sons – Resham Singh and Sukhjit Singh — and his wife were injured. An associate of moneylender, Rajinder Pappu, was also injured in the clash. The injured were rushed to the local Civil Hospital where the Bharatiya Kisan Union leaders visited them. They said they would fight for ensuring justice to the farmer.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said the police would register a case against the moneylender and his men. He said after probing into the matter more persons could be booked.


Undertrials bear the brunt of official apathy
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 12
Despite the Supreme Court directions that an undertrial does not lose all his rights when in jail, those appearing in various cases in the Ropar District Courts continue to bear the brunt of official apathy. They are getting inhuman treatment as they are deprived of food till evening and forced to remain in open in the absence of a makeshift jail.

A large number of inmates are brought here from Patiala central jail. They are usually produced in the courts in the afternoon and taken back in the evening. Many a times, they go back to Patiala after 7 pm.

Many of the inmates miss their breakfast as they are being brought from their respective jails at about 8.30 am. As there is no provision of a mid-day meal for undertrials in violation of the jail rules, they remain hungry throughout the day.

The poor undertrials are discriminated against those who belong to high strata. While those belonging to rich strata get meals from their family members but the poor undertrial even did have a chance to have water.

Moreover, due to the lack of makeshift jail, undertrials could easily escape from the police custody. Two cases have been reported earlier when an undertrial escaped from the police custody while he was being produced in the district courts. Even a few months ago, an ASI has also moved an application for a need of the makeshift jail for security reasons. But neither the administration nor the judicial authorities consider it viable to hear the grievances of the undertrials as well as police officials.

“I am desperately waiting for the evening to reach jail in Nabha as I did not have meal since morning. I missed my breakfast as I was brought here from Abhor Central Jail in the morning. There is no provision of mid-day meal for undertrials”, said Amrik Singh (name changed), an undertrial.

“I have no one who listen to my problems. There is no one to serve us meal here. While those having good resources enjoy everything here, but undertrials like me who belong to other states keep on waiting for evening to reach jail to have a meal. The rule should be same for all”, said an undertrial Ram Parshad (name changed).

“I have been in jail for eight years and had everything that I desired while appearing in the court here. But there were a large number of inmates who have been deprived of meals till evening,” said an accused who was recently released on bail and was here to meet his friends who were still in jail”.

An employee in the computer department on behalf of the District and Sessions Judge, said the matter had been taken up with the administration for the arrangement of rooms for the undertrial but we have allotted one small room which have no window. So we have not taken its possession. There was no provision of the mid-day meal for the undertrial here, he added.


Man stabbed in fight over girl
Our Correspondent

Relatives of Sunny Sharma show his blood-stained clothes in Civil Hospital, Rajpura
Relatives of Sunny Sharma show his blood-stained clothes in Civil Hospital, Rajpura, on Thursday morning. — Photo by JS Virdi

Rajpura, May 12
In a straight flick from Bollywood, a teenaged boy sustained serious stab injuries in a fight between two boys over a girl, here today.

Seriously injured Sunny Sharma, a resident of Rajpura, was admitted to the Civil Hospital with deep stab wounds on his back. After getting preliminary medicare, he was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Patiala.

Heated arguments between Sunny Sharma (19) and Lalit Kumar (20) of Nabha, over their relations with a girl from Samana took an ugly turn this morning following which the latter allegedly stabbed the former on his back with a knife.

The police claimed that Sunny Sharma was in love with the girl for the past over three years. Lalit Kumar had also fallen in love with the same girl some months ago. He had been allegedly warning Sunny Sharma to break his relations with the girl or face music.

Yesterday, Sunny Sharma called Lalit Kumar to Rajpura and a meeting was fixed to solve the issue in Jhanda Ground, Rajpura, police revealed. Sunny along with his younger brother Inder Sharma, reached the meeting point where Lalit was already present.

After arguments over the love affair, Lalit Kumar allegedly turned violent and attacked Sunny with a knife on his back, leaving him injured.

Hearing shrieks, residents of the area assembled and caught Lalit Kumar on the spot.

He was later handed over to the police and the injured was rushed to the local civil hospital.

The police has registered a case under Sections 323 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code against Lalit Kumar.


Resort on forest land: minister promises action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Reacting to the luxury resort being developed on ecologically fragile land in alleged violation of the Forest Act near Basali village in Ropar district, the Punjab Forest Minister, Mr Hans Raj Joshan, said a detailed inquiry had been initiated to ascertain the truth as the government had taken a very serious view on the matter.

He said strict action would be taken if any officer of the department was found guilty of ignoring the violations. On being asked as to how the constructions went unnoticed for the past few months, he said an exercise to demarcate the forest land would begin from Monday and it would take some days before the entire picture was clear.

The resort has come under the scanner of the Punjab Forest Department for its alleged violation of the Forest Act. The forest officials state that prime facie the area appears to be a protected forest, a fact being contradicted by the developer of the land, Mr Gurvidner Singh Chopra. He claims that the land on which the construction is taking place was not the forest land.

Sources in the Forest Department said specific khasra numbers had been demarcated as forest land but demarcation would reveal the location of the forest land.


SGPC writes to govt over marriage registration
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 12
Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today urged the Central Government to issue instructions to the authorities concerned to register Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act-1909.

In a communication sent to the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Mr H.R. Bhardwaj, she said the Sikhs had to wage a prolonged struggle for the legislation of the Anand Marriage Act-1909.

She said though this act still was vogue as on date, mostly Sikh marriages were being registered under the Hindu Marriage Act-1955. Hence, instructions should be issued to the authorities concerned and marriage Registrars to register Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act.

Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur has asked the Sikhs living in one country to get their marriages registered under the Anand Marriage Act.


Task force to go into distancing of pipelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Even though one department has been blaming the other for failure to prevent cases of mixing of potable water and sewage in Punjab for years, officials may not be able to pass the buck now. For, a meeting of the task force — scheduled to be held on Friday — is expected to bring officers from different departments face to face.

The high-level task force was recently constituted by the state government for taking steps to prevent the outbreak of meningitis and other diseases in the state.

The Director of Local Bodies, along with the Chief Engineer of the water and sewerage department, besides the health authorities are slated to attend the meeting.

The Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Mr D.S. Guru, is the Chairman, of the task force while the Director, Health and Family Welfare, Dr G.L. Goyal, is the convener. Besides other things, the authorities are expected to discuss the issue of distancing sewer pipes from water supply lines to avoid mixing.

Sources in the Health Department say that the issue has time and again been raised by different officers. But concrete steps were not taken to improve matters due to the shifting of blame from one officer to another.

The sources claim that the issue was taken up two years ago. In fact, a demi-official letter was written by the then Secretary in the Health Department, Mr D.S. Jaspal. Several other letters were subsequently sent to the authorities concerned.

In May, 2004, the need for creating an appropriate distance between the two types of pipelines was reiterated during a high-level meeting held to ensure the prevention of diarrhoea and possible gastroenteritis cases. It was decided to take immediate steps for plugging leakages in pipelines.

But the letters and the meetings failed to evoke the desired response. For, the Local Bodies Department simply asserted that the creation of the required distance between the pipelines, running along roadsides, was not feasible. Giving details, they asserted that in a number of cases roads were not more than 5 ft wide. As such, the issue pertaining to the widening of roads was required to be taken up, they had recommended.


Sirhind Fateh Divas celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 12
Punjab Bairagi Maha Mandal today celebrated the 295th birth anniversary of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as “Sirhind Fateh Divas”. The state-level function was organised at Sirhind. Though the Chief Minister was supposed to preside over the function and Bairagi Maha Mandal had announced “ Punjab Gaurav-2005” award for Chief Minister, but he did not turn up and deputed Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Co-operation to represent him.

The organiser, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, announced that the award would be presented to Chief Minister at his residence.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa appreciated the efforts of Punjab Bairagi Maha Mandal in celebrating the birth anniversary of the great warrior, who took revenge from the Moghuls for bricking alive the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh. He said it was the moral duty of SGPC to celebrate the birth anniversary of Banda Singh Bahadur at Chapar Chiri, where he fought the battle against the Moghuls and killed Sher Mohamad Khan, the ruler of Sirhind. He said Bairagi Maha Mandal and its president Mr K.K. Bawa deserved congratulations as he had been celebrating the occasion and remembring the great warrior. He announced that the state government would provide all possible help to the organisation.

Addressing the gatering, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamantary Secretary appreciated the efforts of Bairagi Maha Mandal in organising the function.


Electricity board management flayed

Kharar, May 12
The Kharar sub unit of the Technical Services Union today condemned the management of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for secretly implementing the contract system before going in for unbundling of the board

Mr Jagdeep Singh, secretary, said the board management was giving work related to transmission lines, installation of meters, bill distribution, meter reading and work related to maintenance on contract. He said the union had decided to participate in the strike to be held at the zonal office in Patiala on May 19 to protest against the moves of the management.

He said PSEB employees had staged a peaceful protest against giving the work of putting new 220 KV lines in Tarn Taran circle on contract. But the authorities concerned suspended some employees and transferred a few of them in order to create a scare among them. The union condemned this attitude of the officials concerned. OC


Hike in sewerage bills to be waived
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 12
Increased amount in sewerage bills will be waived, said Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, Parliamentary Secretary, during a press conference here today.

She said a meeting in this regard was held under the chairmanship of Capt Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh on Tuesday. The Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, was also present along with Ms Dullo. She said it was decided that the amount of the sewerage bills during the past two years would be waived.

The Municipal Council had increased the amount of the sewerage bills to Rs 720 from Rs 120 per annum.


high court
Animal slaughtering: status report sought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 12
Taking suo motu congnisance of a news report published in these columns on May 10 , the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Pathankot, to submit status report to the court on May 18.

The report had talked of how blood flowed in the drains of the localities near the Gandhi Chowk area of Pathankot and people residing in the area were forced to keep their windows closed to escape viewing the gory scenes of animal slaughtering. The reason for all the annoyance was the illegal slaughtering that took place in the meat market of Pathankot located in the hub of the city, the report said, adding that animals are slaughtered here illegally in unhygienic conditions posing a threat to the health of the consumers besides causing nuisance to residents.

Also, severed heads and unused body parts of the animals are kept at the roofs by the owners of the meat shops and decaying animal parts spread an annoying stench in the area, it added.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain has also directed the EO to be present in the court on the next date of hearing.


SC allows plea of Ludhiana medico
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
Acting on an application filed by city-based student Gurnoor Channy, doing her MBBS course from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana, the Supreme Court of India has allowed her to continue studies in the same institute.

In their detailed order, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr P.P. Naolekar, ruled that the application was being disposed of by making absolute the order dated January 25, whereby the applicant was permitted to continue studies in DMCH in Ludhiana.

Her admission to the DMCH, along with other five students, was earlier cancelled by Punjab’s then Secretary (Medical Education) Satish Chandra vide order dated January 14, 2004. The matter went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and thereafter to the Supreme Court.


Man, accomplice held with sister-in-law’s body
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 12
In a bizarre incident, Pritam Singh, elder brother of a German based NRI and a resident of Sadiqpur village, were nabbed by the Shahkot police at Wadala Chowk here today while trying to cremate dead body of his sister-in-law, wife of his NRI brother, with the help of his friend under mysterious circumstances. He had not informed parents of the deceased of her death.

Body of Kiran Bala, wife of German-based NRI Harjit Singh, was recovered from a Qualis car, in which, it was being ferried in and around the city by Pritam Singh and his friend Tarlok Singh, who were reportedly “searching” for a suitable place for its cremation.

Kiran Bala had allegedly consumed poison on Tuesday after being subjected to torture by her in-laws and was subsequently admitted to a private hospital near Lal Rattan cinema here, where she died today.

According to a statement by Vinod Kumar, an uncle of Kiran Bala and a resident of Sarinh village near Nakodar, though Kiran Bala had died, but her father Kedar Nath or any other member of family, were not informed about her death. They had been just told that Kiran Bala was not well. They were, however, stunned when Vinod Kumar, who had gone to the hospital for enquiring about Kiran was told that she had died and her body was taken by her in-laws. After learning about Kiran’s death Vinod Kumar informed the Shahkot police, which swung into action. A police party led by SHO Preetam Singh then nabbed Pritam Singh and Tirlok Singh, who were allegedly roaming about, along with the body.

“They were ‘looking a safe’ cremation ground or a similar place where they could cremate the body stealthily,” said SHO Preetam Singh. He said a case had been registered against Harjit Singh, his father Sohan Singh, his mother Gurbachan Kaur, his brother Pritam Singh and Pritam’s friend Tirlok Singh under Sections 306, 201 and 120-B of the IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by Vinod Kumar.

International airports have been alerted by the police so as to prevent Harjit Singh from fleeing abroad.

Kiran Bala had been married to Harjit Singh about 10 years back and she was allegedly being tormented by her in-laws in absence of her husband who had gone to Germany. The police was also looking into role of the private hospital authorities where Kiran had been admitted as the local police was not informed about her admission or death in stark violation of norms. Harjit Singh, who was here in India, had absconded along with his passport and other travel documents, which, necessitated flash of information to all airports, said the police.


Married woman raped
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 12
A married woman (32) of Ram Singh Wala village was allegedly raped by a person of the nearby Dubli village when she had reportedly gone to the Civil Hospital, Patti, as an attendant with her relative.

The victim in her complaint lodged with the Patti police station alleged that she had gone to the Civil Hospital, with her relative Deep Kaur who was admitted to the hospital. The victim with Charan Singh, another relative of the patient, was also attending the (patient) last night. She said when Charan Singh had gone to bring meal, she was lured by Sahib Singh of nearby village Dubli who took her to his village on his motor cycle and raped her.

Police sources said a case under Sections 376,506, IPC, has been registered against the accused who was absconding after the registration of the case.

Meanwhile, the police has booked four persons under 22,61,85 of the NDPS Act for possessing smack and intoxicants. The accused have been identified as Jassa Singh of jamarai, Amrik Singh of Sheron, Davinder singh and Kuljit Singh (both of Patti) .


Patient dies during operation, doctor booked
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 12
Dr Ashok Kumar, a surgeon and the owner of a private nursing home situated near Housing Board Colony here, has been booked under Section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC by the local police on the complaint of Mr Joga Singh of Kot Khurd village, about 20 km from here. Mr Joga Singh is husband of Charanjit Kaur, who allegedly died on the operation table in the nursing home of Dr Ashok Kumar yesterday.

When contacted over the phone this afternoon, Mr Darshan Singh, in charge, City police station, said the police had registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC against Dr Ashok Kumar and others in the death case of Charanjit Kaur. He said Dr Ashok Kumar could not be arrested so far, as he was still at large.

Sources said Charanjit Kaur was admitted to the nursing home for a gall bladder operation, but she died during operation. The relatives of the deceased reportedly accused the doctor of negligence.


Father, son kill villager
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 12
Sham Singh, a resident of Kalcharani village in this district, died after he was reportedly hit by Baldev Singh and his son when the deceased appeared before the local Executive Engineer (Canal) in connection with a case last evening.

Both the parties had appeared before the official in connection with a dispute pertaining to the sharing of water from a common water resource. Sources said the accused allegedly manhandled Sham Singh, following which he fell unconscious. He was rushed to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

A case has been registered against the accused under Section 304 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Kala Singh, son of the deceased.


Man charged with duping students
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 12
On a complaint of Manjit Singh, owner of PTU Study Centre, Hoshiarpur, the City police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406, and 420 of the IPC against Harmandeep Singh of Deep Academy, Amritsar, for fraudulently taking Rs 2.85 lakh on the pretext of ensuring B.Ed degrees for students of his study centre from the KV College of Education, Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.

The police said Manjit Singh stated that Harmandeep Singh, in connivance with his father-in-law and other relatives, was running Deep Academy at Gurbax Singh Senior Secondary School, Parish Avenue, Guru Ki Bandia Khoo, Amritsar. He came in his contact in November 2003. He posed himself as an authorised agent of the KV College of Education and asked for Rs 25,000 from each students.

Harmandeep Singh said the students did not require to attend classes except for appearing in the examination and for teaching practice. Manjit arranged 19 students for this course, who gave Rs 15,000 each to Harmandeep Singh. He alleged that Rs 2.85 lakh had been given to Harmandeep Singh, who deposited Rs 95,000 in the institution and kept Rs 1.90 lakh with him. After some time, the authorities of the college informed him on the telephone that the names of all his students had been struck off the rolls.


Arya Samaj chief commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 12
Mr Krishan Kumar Saini, president of the local unit of Arya Samaj and P.D. Arya Mahila Senior Secondary School, committed suicide at his house today. He shot himself at his neck with his licenced double-barrel gun in his bedroom at about 3 am.

He had left a suicide note in which he had stated that he was committing suicide at his own and nobody was responsible for his death. The family members came to know about the suicide at 6 am when they went into his bedroom to give him tea. They informed the police. Mr Mander Singh, SP (H), along with Mr Daljit Singh Khakh, SHO, City Police Station, reached the spot and sent the body to Civil Hospital for post-mortem. Mr Saini was 73 and is survived by a son and three daughters.


3 students killed

Ropar, May 12
Three students, two from Tamil Nadu and one from Bhiwani, were killed while four others were seriously injured when a Qualis in which they were travelling collided with a CTU bus near Singh Bhagwantpura village, about 10 km from here. The four injured include a girl from Kerala and two from Tamil Nadu and one from Bhiwani. They were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The mishap took place at about 6.30 pm when the CTU bus smashed into the Qualis from wrongside. They were on their way to Manali. OC


2 die in car-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
Two persons were killed when a car collided with a truck near Goniana Khurd village this evening. Both the car occupants died on the spot.

Sources said an Indica car was on its way from Kot Kapura to Bathinda when it collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. The car was badly damaged. Car driver, Barjesh Kumar of Moga and its owner Akash Kumar of New Delhi died on the spot.

The Sources said the truck driver sped away from the scene, but was later arrested.


Four held in murder case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 12
The railway police today arrested the four youths who allegedly killed a youth, Kulbhushan, and later threw his body on the railway track near Kurali five days ago. The railway police had found the body on May 8.

Those arrested include Munish, Sunil, Sumit and Hani, all residents of Kurali. Giving details about the case the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of the Railway police, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said all the accused were friends of Kulbhushan.


PMT aspirants caught in ‘number game’
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
A discrepancy has come to the notice in the application form for the pre-medical test (PMT) of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

A column in the application form requires the candidates to fill up their prospectus number, which is a six-digit number. But, the OMR (optical mark reader) form has only five spheres to fill up the six-digit number. This has created confusion among thousands of PMT aspirants across the state.

Academic experts say that the university should be careful in these matters, as the future of thousands of students is at stake.

When contacted, the university authorities said zero was prefixed in every prospectus number and the candidates had to omit that zero while filling up the prospectus number. However, the column-wise instructions for filling the OMR application form in Annexure VI of the prospectus doesn’t clarify the same. It merely states – “The candidate is required to enter five digit prospectus number which is given on the cover page of the prospectus.” It seems that the university authorities have left it to the candidates to comprehend that the first zero in the six-digit prospectus number has to be omitted.


Ban on PTA fund lifted
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 12
The state government has withdrawn the ban on the PTA fund in the government schools. The government has also made provisions to check the misuse of the fund.

As per the orders sent to the District Education Officers, the fund would be audited to prevent its misuse and the fund could only be used to recruit teachers. Earlier, the fund was also used to appoint other staff. The government had imposed a ban on the fund after receiving complaints of its misuse in April. Consequently, it became difficult for the schools to pay up their water and power bills.

Now, elections for constituting the PTA would be held every year. It would have seven members, of which four would be from the village, while the remaining three would be from the school, including the school principal who would be the member-secretary of the PTA. The PTA’s president, vice-president and treasurer would be from the village members. The Education Department has also made it clear that the students from Classes VI to VIII would be charged Rs 80 per year, while the students from Classes IX to XII would be charged Rs 100 for the PTA fund. Issuing receipts to the students would be mandatory.

The school would have to seek quotation for any work costing over Rs 1,000. The school principal can spend a maximum of Rs 15,000 from the fund. For expenditure exceeding this limit he would have to seek the DEO’s permission. The DEO could give his consent for spending Rs 30,000 from the fund, exceeding which he would seek the approval of the DPI. The PTA fund can only be used for paying power and telephone bill, which should not be over Rs 1,000, stationery, computer, etc.


Principals asked to address educational
needs of people

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 12
Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, today urged all principals as well as senior faculty of the university to become aware of educational needs of the people of their respective region.

Mr Boparai, while addressing a Conference of Principals of all colleges affiliated to Punjabi University held here, emphasised that if people had come forward to offer their land to Punjabi University for setting up ‘Neighbourhood Campus’ in their areas to start job-oriented courses, it became the moral responsibility of the university to address their apprehensions and concerns about the future of their children.

Mr Boparai presided over the conference in which around 70 principals and senior officials of the university participated. The Punjabi University Registrar, Dr Param Bakhshish Singh, was also present on the occasion.

While sharing his views about the role of university in regional and social context, Mr Boparai presented a review of the functioning of the university during his tenure as Vice-Chancellor.

“Despite the fact that many new colleges have been opened in Punjab the rate of higher education in Punjab is not more than 9 or 10 per cent, while in developed countries it is more than 35 per cent”, he remarked. He added, “Punjabi University is the only university, which has involved itself in community outreach programmes.”

He appealed to the principals to prepare and implement such educational plans, which ensured livelihood of the youth and development of their personality.

The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that by year 2020 approximately 2 crore new jobs were expected to be created in various sections.

Dr Ranjit Singh Ghuman, Dean, College Development Council, while welcoming the guests, said that this year Punjabi University had granted affiliation to 11 new colleges, including four law colleges, five education colleges and two general degree colleges.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, stressed the need to introduce communication skill in English as he felt that rural students were unable to express themselves in the job market.

Dr Sucha Singh Gill, Dean, Faculty of Arts, suggested that the number of students in a section should not be more than 60.

Dr Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator, Examinations, while discussing about the conduct of examinations and the declaration of result, assured the principals of fullest cooperation in the earlier declaration of results. Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti, Principal, T.P.D. Malwa College, Rampuraphul, Dr V.K. Sharma, Principal, Modi College, Patiala, Dr Harjit Kaur, Principal, Akal Degree College, Sangrur, Dr I.S. Tiwana, Principal, Patel Memorial College, Rajpura, Dr Varinder Kaur, Dr Suba Singh and Dr Amar Singh participated in the deliberations.


ITI students boycott classes
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 12
ITI students today boycotted their classes and presented a memorandum to the authorities against the government’s move to privatise ITIs.

Addressing the protestors, Mr Karam Singh, state committee member, Punjab Students Union, and Mr Jatinder Singh Parhar, president, local ITI Union, flayed the statement of the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Rakesh Pandey, that the decision to hike the fees would not be withdrawn. They alleged that the government was running away from its fundamental duty of imparting education. That was why the state had plummeted to 17th place in education from seventh position in the country, they said.

In case the move to privatise ITIs was not dropped and the fee hike not withdrawn, a stiffer struggle would be launched by the joint struggle committee of the students, leaders warned.

Bathinda: Activists of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) on Thursday staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office to protest against the privatisation of Industrial Training Institutes and government schools. Addressing the protesters, student leaders said by privatising these institutes the government was taking away education from poor and downtrodden sections of society. Students from Goniana, Bhokhra, Multania, Chughe, Jhumba, and other villages also took part in the protest.


ITI students hold rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 12
In response to a two-day protest call of by the joint student struggle committee of eight student organisations, students of Government ITI at Sunam today held a rally in protest against the proposed move of the state government to hand over the control of ITIs and hundreds of government schools to the private parties in the state.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, state secretary of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), said here that as per the received reached at the state headquarters of the PRSU here, during the two-day protest call of the student organisations, the students of various ITIs and schools at Rajpura, Barnala, Sunam, Patiala, Sangrur and Lehragaga held rallies and demonstrations against the government’s proposed move to privatise the ITIs and schools, and submitted memorandums to the authorities concerned in this regard.


ITI students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 12
Traffic was blocked by students of the ITI here today in protest against the move of the government to privatise the institutions in the state.

The students blocked traffic for about half an hour near the courts complex on the national highway. The blockade was lifted only after the police persuaded the students not to put the public to inconvenience. The police had to divert the traffic to avoid bottlenecks.

The students also organised a rally in support of their demand and presented a memorandum to the local SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu.

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