P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Panel, not Vedanti, gave clean chit to film: Bhaur
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 14
The SGPC general secretary, Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, held the six-member committee, set up by Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, to review controversial Hindi film “Jo Bole So Nihal”, responsible for the situation which flared up on the release of the film at various cinema halls of the state yesterday.

Talking to mediapersons here this afternoon, Jathedar Bhaur alleged that the committee was supposed to send its recommendations to Jathedar Vedanti, but it leaked out its own report, giving clean chit to the movie and sent its copy to Bhai Amarjit Singh Ludhiana.

Jathedar Bhaur said the committee should have sent its recommendations only to the Akal Takht Jathedar, who take decisions regarding Sikh religious interests.

He said the committee misled the Sikhs as Jathedar Vedanti himself clarified that he never gave any clean chit to the film. Jathedar Vedanti was talking to mediapersons at a nearby village, Hargobind Garh (Bhogpur), after attending the eight death anniversary of Sant Ranjit Singh last evening. Jathedar Vedanti said he had written a detailed letter to the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and cleared his stand and urged her to summon an emergent meeting of Sikh intellectuals for further action to remove objections about the film.

Jathedar Vedanti also told the SGPC chief in his letter that a few Sikh organisations were demanding the change of name of the film.

Jathedar Bhaur alleged that the movie misused a religious title for commercial purpose. He said the negligence of the committee, created a violent situation, which could have been avoided .

He urged the state Government to release all Sikh youths detained while protesting before cinema halls in various parts of the state and withdraw all cases registered against them.


Rajiv-Longowal accord still relevant: Arjun
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
Mr Arjun Singh, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, today said the Punjab accord, signed between the then Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi, and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, a former president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, on July 24, 1985, was still relevant.

Talking to mediapersons after releasing a souvenir on the quadricentennial celebrations of the Guru Granth Sahib at Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Institute of Commerce and Management Studies at Khankot, about 20 km from here, Mr Arjun Singh said: “Good things of the Punjab accord are still relevant”. Mr Arjun Singh was the main architect of the Punjab accord, which was signed to restore peace to the troubled state. The accord had promised transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and completion of the controversial Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal.

The HRD Minister evaded a direct reply on many Sikh youths still languishing in various jails of the country after two decades of signing the Punjab accord. He, however, said he would enquire from the Punjab Chief Minister about the status of the youths still behind bars.

The minister said he held the late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal in high esteem, as he was instrumental in signing of the Punjab accord, which aimed at bringing the disgruntled youth to the mainstream and afforded them an opportunity to take part in the affairs of the country.

On the one-year performance of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, Mr Arjun Singh said the Central Government was working in the right direction by taking all coalition parties into confidence.

On the boycott by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), he said it was a senseless action. He said the NDA probably did not want to play the role of a constructive Opposition. He said NDA leaders had still not reconciled to the defeat they faced in previous elections.

The HRD Minister criticised the previous NDA government on saffronisation of education and said steps were under way to desaffronise it.


Stubble burning destroys Forest Dept plantations
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 14
Thick clouds of black smoke have engulfed the national state highways in Gurdaspur and adjoining areas of Hoshiarpur district. The farmers were resorting to large-scale burning of wheat stubble in the fields. Yesterday due to strong winds fires raging in the fields spread in a vast area and engulfed roadside plantations of the Forest Department in many parts of the district.

The authorities concerned were not taking any steps to prevent the colossal damage to the environment and land being caused due to the stubble burning. Various myths and urgency to re-cultivate the land were basic reasons for the farmers resorting to stubble burning in fields in the said areas.

The farmers claimed that the burning of stubble in fields increased the fertility of the land. Besides, it also destroyed harmful pests left from the last crop in the land, they said.

However, the agriculture experts had a totally different opinion. They said the burning of stubbles killed friendly pests and bacteria that increased the fertility of the land. They also added that due to stubble burning about 38 lakh tonnes of organic carbon, 59,000 tonnes of nitrogen, 2,000 tonnes of phosphorous and 34,000 tonnes potassium had been lost from the cultivable land in Punjab.

The large-scale burning of stubble was also bringing adverse changes in the environment. According to the environmentalists, suspended particles left in the air due to stubble burning were one of the major causes of dense fog that engulfed the state in winters. Besides it caused serious respiratory problems in the people who inhaled it for longer periods. The farmers were the worst affected as they bore the direct adverse impact of stubble burning.

The agriculture authorities too had failed to generate enough awareness among the farmers regarding the ill affects of stubble burning. The zero-tillage machines were introduced by the PAU to desist the farmers from this practice. The government had also offered subsidy on the zero-tillage machines. However, there were a very few takers of the zero-tillage machines.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board authorities were silent about the environmental havoc being caused due to stubble burning. Though a notification of the PPCB banned the burning of husk in industry, nothing was being done about the open burning of stubble in fields.

The environmentalists were of the opinion that the law enforcers should take strict action against the farmers resorting to stubble burning in field. Only then the practice could be curbed. The Agriculture Department authorities should be empowered to penalise the culprits so that the cultivable land was saved from getting barren due to destruction of its nutrients.


Contractors’ men booked as Jakhar intervenes
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 14
Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, had to pull the city police for not taking action against armed staff of local octroi contractors as hundreds of shopkeepers marched to his New Grain Market office this afternoon to express resentment over the highhandedness of the staff.

Earlier, tension prevailed when some employees of octroi contractors allegedly teased a young girl from Kallarkhera village in the presence of her brother Mr Inder Raj as they got down from a mini bus at Municipal General Bus Stand. Mr Inder Raj runs a shop in the market located behind the bus stand. He said the employees, in the absence of regular municipal staff, thoroughly searched their bag and insisted on opening a briefcase though his sister said they had brought some clothes from their house in Kallarkhera. As an employee tried to slap them, shopkeepers rushed to intervene. They had defied instructions issued by the District Magistrate that all private employees of octroi contractors must wear uniform and display identity cards on their shirts.

Sources said employees felt hurt and flashed mobile phone message to their colleagues. A Gypsy carrying armed employees stormed the bus stand and started thrashing shopkeepers. A few persons rushed for safety but others gheraoed octroi employees.

Shopkeepers around the bus stand pulled down their shutters and marched to the city police station. The police officials asked them to lodge a complaint in writing. But the mob was not satisfied with the police response. They marched to the New Grain market office of Mr Jakhar.

Mr Jakhar pulled the police for not taking action against contractors’ men. Satwant Singh, ASI, and other policemen rushed to the civil hospital where erring employees had got themselves admitted to escape police action. The police arrested Chamkaur Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Sahib Singh, Bittu and Pawan from the emergency ward.


SHO transferred in Reshma torture case
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 14
The Station House Officer (SHO) of Sadar Police Station, Mr Sharanjit Singh, has been transferred to the Police lines following his involvement in the alleged torture of a minor girl in police custody on May 7.

The Patiala SSP, Mr A.S Rai, has also issued show cause notices to the Sanaur chowki in charge, Mr Satnam Singh, and the ASI, posted in PS Sadar, Mr Bhagwan Singh, in the same case.

The SSP’s action comes in the wake of the report submitted by the SP (Detective) Mr P.S. Virk who found all the three guilty of torturing the 17-year-old brick kiln labourer Reshma.

Following Mr Sharanjit Singh’s transfer, Mr Manjit Singh Brar, who was earlier working as In charge CIA, Samana, has been posted as the new SHO, PS Sadar.

On May 7, a police party from PS Sadar had reportedly picked up Reshma from Teja Bhatt village, under the jurisdiction of Bhunerheri police post, where she was working as a labourer at a brick kiln owned by Shailendra. The police had picked up the minor girl following the murder of her elder sister Kamlesh.

The issue threatened to snowball into a major controversy, and at the same time an embarrassment for the CM and his wife, Mrs Preneet Kaur, following which the SSP was quick to order an inquiry into the entire incident. The inquiry was conducted by the SP (D) Mr P.S. Virk and DSP (Rural) Mr Bhupinder Singh.

The issue had taken the contours of a political controversy with several social organisations, including the local unit of the BJP, registering their protests by staging a dharna outside Rajindera Hospital where Reshma was admitted after sustaining grievous injuries

Meanwhile, the medical report of Reshma has made it clear that the minor was indeed tortured by the cops. At that time, the SHO Mr Sharanjit Singh, had maintained that Reshma was brought to the police station by a lady constable and that the theory of the girl being tortured held no water.

Meanwhile, the Patiala SSP has asked the District Magistrate to hold an indepth magisterial inquiry into the sequence of events leading to the torture of the minor brick kiln labourer.


YC leader trying to grab hotel: management
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Accusing of a local Youth Congress leader of making efforts to take possession of the local Greens Hotel and Restaurant from them with the help of land mafia, the management of the hotel has urged the Deputy Commissioner to verify the sale deed of the building.

The management of the hotel alleged that though the value of hotel had been assessed to be a around Rs. 3.20 crore by the Deputy Commissioner, yet, it was shown to have been “sold” for Rs 65 lakh, which, in other words, meant that stamp duty of more than Rs. 19 lakh had been evaded in the deal.

Addressing a press conference here today Mr Harcharanjit Singh, a member of the management of the hotel, alleged that though a local court had granted a permanent stay to them, yet, a local Youth Congress leader and others were trying to harass them by using their contacts.

He said though the documentary evidence from court had confirmed that the real owners of the building were Ms Sonia and Ms Sangeet, but, what created mystery was that it was shown as sold by some other person and that too at a price which was strikingly below the current market value.

He said it was surprising that though the harassment caused to the management by the Youth Congress leader was a matter of common knowledge, yet, no Congressman or local minister had come out to condemn his behaviour. “We are not left with any other recourse then to take the case up with Congress leadership,” said Mr, Harcharanjit Singh.


Morcha attacks Cong, Mayawati
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Launching a scathing attack at the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government, the Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM), led by former MP Satnam Singh Kainth, today alleged that the state government was ignoring Dalits, poor and backward classes and its one-point agenda was just to usurp those issues which were traditionally raked up by the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kainth and Mr Ramesh Kumar Chohkan alleged that deprived sections of the society were being ignored by the state government. The government was out to demolish public welfare institutions like schools, hospitals and the Punjab State Electricity Board. “If the government cannot run these institutions, then it should tell people what it could do for people?” questioned Mr Kainth and Mr Chohkan.

The Morcha leaders also attacked the BSP Chief, Ms Mayawati, and BSP MPs for taking Parliament for ride for their vested interests.

“Mayawati and her MPs are talking about themselves and they have never raised any issue concerning Dalits in the Parliament,” said Mr Kainth and Mr Chohkan.


Rahul not to attend youth leadership camp
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, may 14
Amid widespread speculations over attendance by Rahul Gandhi, at the three-day North Zone youth leadership training camp to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Ashok Tanwar, President, Indian Youth Congress, today clarified that the Congress leader would not be attending the function tomorrow.

Addressing a press meet here today Youth Congress President said the focus of the camp would be on addressing concerns of growing unemployment, education, drug addiction and to consolidate he rank and file of the party .

As many as 450 delegates from Haryana, Himachal Pardesh, Punjab, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and union territory of Chandigarh would be attending the camp, including some senior leaders of Congress of these states, he added.


Jathedar flays Bajwa’s action
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa has violated Sikh tenets by getting himself by ‘Pyaras’ during a road inauguration at Jodha Ratna in Ludhiana a couple of days back. This was stated the Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh.

The Jathedar stated that the ‘Panj Pyaras’ led Sri Guru Granth Sahib during ‘nagar kirtans’ and other religious processions. He alleged that Congress leaders were satisfying their ego by indulging in such acts. He said Mr Bajwa that if he did not apologise for violating Sikh tenets, Sri Akal Takht would take stern action against him as per the religious norms.

He said the Sikhs leading him in the form of ‘Panj Pyaras’ would also be questioned. He said the matter would be taken up in the forthcoming meeting of the jathedars of all Takhts.


Disabled youth not given possession of plot
Kamlesh Sharma

Barnala, May 14
Physically handicapped Ashok Kumar is running from pillar to post to take possession of his residential plot allotted to him under a scheme of the Improvement Trust here. But failing to deposit the non-construction fee worth Rs 80,000, the trust has warned him to resume his plot. Ashok Kumar has written to the Chief Minister, Punjab, about his woes.

Though as per the trust laws Ashok Kumar can be exempted from the non-construction fee as mentioned in its resolution.

Ashok Kumar said he had been allotted plot No. 166 a few years ago under the handicapped category.

The trust had asked him to deposit the penalty for not depositing non-construction fee. The total penalty amounted to Rs 80,000. But he could not deposit the amount.

According to the trust laws, the non-construction fee can be charged only after two years of providing road and sewerage facilities. The road and sewerage facilities were provided very late. The trust authorities passed a resolution for waiving the fee. But the resolution was rejected by the Director, Local Bodies Department, Punjab.

Ashok Kumar met the Director and expressed inefficiency to deposit the amount, but to no avail. Recently, he has got a communication from the trust that if he does not deposit the fee within the stipulated period, his plot would be resumed.

Executive Officer of the trust Jawahar Lal admitted that as the road and sewerage facilities were provided quite late, Ashok Kumar’s case could be considered favourably.


Minister to inspect airport project
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 14
The Union Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, will lead a high-power delegation to inspect the terminal building the work of which had remained suspended due to the last-minute changes in its front façade’s design.

The minister has already given consent to resume the work of the airport building in view of the protest by members of the Civil Aviation Parliamentary panel which met in New Delhi on May 11.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Minorities Commission, Dr M.S. Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Union Minister, the Air India Chairman, senior officers of the ministry and the Airport Authority of India are accompanying the minister.

Air India’s tomorrow maiden inaugural flight will connect the holy city with Birmingham en route Toronto. The flight will carry 272 passengers and 13 crew.

The Station Manager Air India, Mr Ashwani Arora, said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would welcome the inaugural flight tomorrow morning. He said the schedule halt at Amritsar would be of 1 hour 30 minutes and would take off for Birmingham at 9.55 am. The Chief Minister accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues would flag off the flight.


MP to take up prisoners’ issue with Pak PM
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 14
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, Chairman of the Mission Release of Indian Prisoners from Pakistan and MP, is going to Pakistan along with a delegation of 25 members of Parliament, to participate in a conference being organised by the South-Asia Free Media Association.

In a press note here today, Mr Khanna said to discuss issues relating to South-Asian countries, their representatives would visit Pakistan. Issues relating to trade, human rights, space security and many others would be discussed.

He said that during the visit he would give top priority to get released the innocent Indian prisoners languishing in Pakistan jails and to promote trade.

He said many Indian youths were still languishing there.

He said, according to his information, 58 Indian youths were still languishing in Pakistan jails. He along with all visiting members of the Indian delegation would meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan to get their released as early as possible.


SC federation holds protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 14
The state unit of the Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees Welfare Federation today held a demonstration in front of local MLA Joginder Singh Mann, Chairman Punjab Agro Foods Corporation, in protest against the non-implementation of the 85th constitutional amendment and non-acceptance of other Dalits-related demands.

Mr Mann, however, was not at his residence at the time of the demonstration.

The protest was led by Mr Harmesh Lal Ghera, state press secretary, Mr Satwant Toora, district president, and Mr Lekh Raj Bhatia, tehsil president, of the federation.

Mr Sanjeev Bugga, senior vice-president, local Nagar Council, received memorandum from the protesters in the absence of Mr Mann.


Human activity destroying fragile ecological balance
Kiran Deep

Ropar, May 14
The district administration needs to take immediate measures to protect the ecological balance of the Ropar wetland and semi-Shivalik hills in the district, as the rare species of mammals, fishes, arthropods, snakes, amphibians and birds in the wetland area and rare species of birds living in the semi-Shivalik hills are facing a continuous threat to their existence.

In the absence of any strategy there is decline in population of rare species following the release of toxic waste in Sutlej and use of the pesticides and other chemicals by farmers. The increasing human activity, such as construction and cutting of the trees, soil erosion are also a threat to their survival.

More than 150 species of the birds and animals are found in the wetland and semi-Shivalik hills. But for the past few years, following increase in the pollution and other activities, birds, including Cormont, Dartr, River Chat, Scarlet Minvets, Tailor birds, Flower Pecker, Small Green Bee Eater (in Shivalik hills), Swallows, Black Drongo, Black winged stilt and Tailor bird, are fighting for survival.

Besides this, birds, including Black Ibis, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Broze-winged-Jacana, Abocet, Sand-Piper, little Ringed Plober, Common Red-Shank, Velvet-Fronted Nut Hatch, Red Wattled Lap Wing, are vanishing at an alarming rate, revealed experts associated with the study of birds.

Cormont, a bird which depends on small fish, is facing extinction as the water of Sutlej is being polluted by industrial waste resulting in decline of fish population.

Scarlet Minivet, which is dependent on insects for food, is also facing a tough time following the use of pesticides by farmers.

Although the district administration has notified the polluting industrial units in the district but little has been done to stop these units from releasing industrial waste into the river. The state pollution department has also proved to be useless for the past many years as the industrial units continue to release waste without any check. TNS


Pulse polio rally

Patiala, May 14
A series of pulse polio rallies were held in this city by school children and teachers today. One rally of Baba Farid School, Bank Colony, was flagged off by the chairman of Zila Parishad.

The rally was sponsored by the management of Dera Sacha Souda Sirsa (Patiala) and Health Department. The Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr S.K. Garg, said such rallies were being arranged in the district for creative awareness so that people could bring their 0-5 year children to the nearest booth tomorrow for polio drops. TNS


Judge calls for speedy disposal of cases
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 14
Mr Justice Varinder Singh, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, today addressed members of the District Bar in District Courts here.

In his address, he expressed concern over the delay in the deliverance of justice. Repeated adjournments, some times by defence lawyers, lead to delay in justice, he regretted. He said that quick justice could be provided only with the cooperation of the Bar and Bench. About 5,000 civil and 2,200 criminal cases were lying pending in the courts of Fatehgarh Sahib, he informed.

Mr Amardeep Singh Dharni, president, District Bar Association, highlighted the problems being faced by the lawyers, particularly regarding the construction of lawyers’ chamber. He also raised the issue of the two-tier system prevailing in judiciary regarding holidays. The roster of holidays for the high court and subordinate courts was separate. He said there should be a uniform system.

Mr Justice Varinder Singh assured the Bar that during the meeting of the Building Committee of the High Court to be held on May 24, he would put forward their demand and hoped that the funds for the construction of chambers would be got sanctioned. Regarding the uniform policy for holidays, he said it was neither feasible nor possible. He said even then he would put forward their suggestion.

Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia, sanctioned a grant of Rs 21,000 to the District Bar Association for crockery and furniture.

Menwhile, Mr Prem Nath, partner Bambra Sewing Machine, Sirhind, made a written complaint to Mr Justice Varinder Singh, alleging that Mr Ranjan Khular, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, had taken a bribe of Rs 10,000 and goods worth Rs 25,000 from him by calling him at his Patiala residence to decide a case in his favour when he was the Judicial Magistrate at Fatehgarh Sahib.

He was later transferred to Kharar but neither returned the money nor decided the case in his favour, he further alleged. He also mentioned that he had written to the Chief Justice Punjab and Haryana High Court with proofs but till today no reply had been received. He alleged that now the supporters of the judge were threatening him to withdraw the complaint.

Case against CM adjourned to Sept 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A local court today adjourned a defamation case filed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh to September 17.

However, both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Badal could not be present in the court on account of their engagements. Seeking personal exemption, the Chief Minister moved an application saying that he was busy in a trade fair in Canada. Mr Badal was to be examined for pre-charge evidence in the case today.

It may be recalled that Mr Badal had filed a defamation suit against the Chief Minister for lowering his reputation in the public eye.

In the run-up to the Punjab Assembly elections in February 2002, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), then headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, had launched an intensive advertisement campaign against the Badal family for amassing huge wealth through corrupt means during his tenure as Chief Minister, it was alleged.


2,600 kg spurious ghee seized
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 14
A case of large-scale transportation of the fake goods through trains has come to the fore. The department of Food and Civil Supplies, Gurdaspur, has confiscated about 200 kg of fake Nova desi ghee being brought from Delhi by train by a Pathankot-based firm, JB Ram and Company.

Interestingly, the railway authorities allowed the traders to carry the fake ghee consignment brought by train from Delhi despite the fact that there was no bill available for it. Sources in the Department of Food and Civil Supplies said traders just had the papers for booking their material for transportation through the railways. The papers did not indicate the kind of material being transported or place from which it had been purchased.

During the subsequent inquiry into the incident the Food and Civil Supplies authorities further confiscated about 2,400 kg fake Nova desi ghee from the Pathankot based stores of JB Ram and Company and Rashitriya Trading Company.

The information regarding the confiscation of fake ghee was provided to the District Health Officer for sampling. However, till the filing of this report the DHO had not collected the samples of fake ghee.

The DHO, Mr Taneja cited holidays as the reason for not taking the samples.

The sources also said that the fake ghee was sealed after information was spilled due to tiff between traders. The original dealer of Nova ghee in his statement to the Food and Civil Supplies Department alleged that he received the product at a cost of Rs 130 per kg. However, the accused traders were selling the same brand at prices below Rs 100. He complained to the company regarding the ambiguity in prices.

The company collected the sample of the ghee being sold at lower prices from the market. In the laboratory tests conducted by the company the product was found to be fake. Instead of the desi ghee the packets labeled as Nova were found to be containing traces of animal fat.


PO arrested after 10 years
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
The Jalandhar police has arrested a proclaimed offender who had been eluding arrest for the past more than 10 years and was owing allegiance to the International Sikh Youth Federation (Rode).

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said Nirmal Singh Nimma, a resident of Khera village of Jalandhar district, had been eluding arrest for the past 10 years though his four accomplices had already been arrested, along with a large quantity of arms and ammunition.

Nirmal Singh, according to Mr Ishwar Singh, was arrested by a police party led by DSP Rajinder Singh, while he was moving in his native village.

An interrogation has revealed that he was enrolled in ranks of the ISYF (Rode) by notorious terrorist Paramjit Singh Dhadi and stayed in a gurdwara at Hazoor Sahib till recently when he chose to return to his village.


Abandoned child dies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
A three-and-a-half-month-old girl, whose mother had reportedly abandoned her about a week ago, died today.

According to sources, the victim’s mother Kuldeep Kaur, had got married to Gurjant Singh, a granthi at a local gurdwara. She gave birth to a premature baby girl on January 18. On May 5, Kuldeep’s sister Rani came to her house at Deep Nagar with her husband. When the baby’s grandparents and the father went out, Kuldeep, her sister Rani, and brother-in-law Pal Singh reportedly decamped with cash and jewellery leaving the baby outside the house. After hearing her cries Mahinder Kaur, a neighbour, called her other family members.

When the girl’s condition deteriorated in the absence of her mother, her grandparents approached the District Secretary of the CPI, Mr Jagjit Singh Joga. The girl was admitted to the local Civil Hospital and a DDR was registered in this connection. She underwent treatment at the hospital till May 10. But today she fell unconscious and doctors declared her dead.

The police has registered a case and handed over the girl’s body to family members after a post-mortem examination.


Canter set ablaze, driver beaten up
Tribune News Service

Goniana Mandi (Bathinda), May 14
Two youths thrashed a canter driver and set ablaze his vehicle loaded with pesticides on the Mall Road here last night. Pesticides worth about Rs 5 lakh were destroyed in the incident.

Injured canter driver Sukhbir Singh said after parking his canter on the roadside, he slept on it. At about 2 am, two youths reached there on another canter and attacked him. He said the assailants beaten him up with iron rods and sticks and set afire his canter.

Residents of the area and the police rushed to the spot. The driver was admitted to the Civil Hospital. Fire tenders from Bathinda controlled the fire. The motive behind the incident was yet to be ascertained. However, SHO Gurdev Singh said the police was investigating the case and it would identify the attackers soon.

Sources said the canter came from the Guru Nanak Dev Tata 407 Union and it was transporting pesticides from Gharda Chemicals, Bhokhra, to Moga and other cities. 


Youth attacked with swords
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Unidentified armed assailants attacked son of a Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation Inspector with swords and injured him seriously at a health club in Kathar township last night.

The incident has created scare among residents of the township.

Ravinder, son of PRTC Inspector Gurmit Singh, was attacked by about six assailants, who stabbed him with swords and left him injured seriously.

His family has not blamed anybody but maintained that Ravinder’s elder brother Sukhwinder had some dispute with some youths and they could have been behind the attack as Sukhwinder had gone abroad some years ago.

Ravinder has been referred to the Civil Hospital here where his condition is stated to be serious.


2 die in mishap
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 14
Two persons were killed and six injured in a car accident at Khaira Dona village, near here, last night.

The victims were returning to Sultanpur Lodhi after having dinner at a restaurant near RCF Hussainpur when their car hit a truck Rajesh, a resident of Ferozepore and Jatinder of Jalandhar died on the spot. Komal, Rajan children of Rajesh, Sahil and Anchal children of deceased Jatinder, and their relatives from Sultanpur Lodhi Gurdit and Sunil have been hospitalised.


Man held for wife’s murder
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 14
The Ruby murder case took a new turn today with the police arresting her husband, Rajesh Kumar, on the charges of murder and misleading it. Vandana, alias Ruby (32), was found murdered at her residence on May 10. Ruby’s husband in a complaint lodged with the police had alleged that some miscreants first murdered Ruby and then decamped with cash and jewellery.

Rajesh also stated that he along with his daughter had gone out for treatment. When they returned, he found his wife lying dead on a bed and cash and some jewellery missing. A case was registered in this connection.

Later, a close friend of Rajesh revealed that the relation of both husband and wife were strained. 


Two students crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Dhilwan (Kapurthala), May 14
Two students were crushed to death by a jeep on the GT road near Gazi Gudana village here today.

Baljeet Kaur (10) and Sandeep Kaur of Shahpur village were on their way to Government School, Gudana, when the jeep hit them resulting in the death of Baljeet Kaur. Sandeep Kaur was admitted to the Beas Dera Radha Swami hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.


Army man hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 14
An Army personnel was injured when two cars collided near Balongi barrier here today.

The injured person, Mr Gurmukhtiar Singh, who is a Lance Naik, sustained a fracture and was taken to the local Civil Hospital.

A Maruti car, belonging to the Lance Naik, and coming from Chandigarh, and a Lancer, belonging to a PCS officer, coming from Mohali reportedly collided at the T-point. Others also sustained minor injuries.


Teachers awarded for creativity
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 14
Twelve teachers of various schools in the district were today awarded prizes for poem, essay and story-writing competitions, organised by Punjabi Tribune, at Swami Shivananda Sarvhitkari Public School in Morinda town of Ropar. A total of 50 teachers took part in the competition.

Ms Gagandeep Kaur won the first prize in poem-writing competition, Kamaljit Kaur in story-writing contest, while Rupinder Kaur in essay-writing competition. Others who won prizes in poem-writing were Amarjit Kaur — second, Sukhjinder Jit Singh Sodhi — third and Atwar Singh — fourth. In the story-writing contest, Amandeep Kaur stood second, Raman Mittal third, while Nand Lal was fourth. In the essay-writing competition, Ganesh Dutt stood second, Kirat Singh third and Seema Bal fourth.

The Editor of Punjabi Tribune, Shingara Singh Bhullar and News Editor Shyam Singh awarded the prizes to the winners.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhullar said the competitions were being organised in various parts of the state to give a chance to teachers to express their creativity and spread awareness about the importance of Punjabi language for the growth of the state. He said the poems, stories and essays of the winners would be published in Punjabi Tribune to motivate the teachers.

Shyam Singh said Punjabi Tribune had decided to promote children as well as teachers who have ability to express themselves. For more than two years, the competition has been organised at various places so that those with talent get the right platform to express themselves. He said writing is a powerful medium to fight the wrongs in society.


Students hold rally against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
Protest rallies against the privatisation of government schools were taken out at Nathana and Buladewala villages today. While the Punjab Students Union held rallies at Buladewala, government school teachers, students and unemployed teachers took out a rally at Nathana.

The protesters also blocked the traffic at Nathana bus stand where the rally culminated after passing through main areas of the village. Addressing the rally, leaders of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Union said the state government had promised to recruit permanent ETT teachers, but were now planning to hand over government schools to the private sector.


B .Ed students face uncertain future
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, May 14
The future of thousands of students in Punjab who are appearing for B Ed entrance examination this year is uncertain. The regional office of the National Council of Teachers Education (NCTE) in Jaipur, has failed to complete its inspection of colleges which had applied to it, seeking recognition for running B Ed courses.

According to the regional Director, NCTE, N.R. Murali 107 colleges from Punjab have applied to the NCTE for affiliation. After getting the NCTE nod, the colleges have to seek affiliation from any of the three universities of Punjab, including Punjabi University, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Nearly 50,000 students from the northern region are expected to appear for B Ed entrance examinations this year. The joint entrance test for BEd in Punjab will be conducted by Panjab University on June 15.The date of counselling is July 12. Unless the NCTE gives its approval, the students will be deprived of admission to these colleges. Moreover, college managements which have spent huge amounts for setting up the required infrastructure will have to suffer huge financial losses

At the previous meeting of the senate, Panjab University, members had pointed out that students of Punjab had to go to Jammu and Kashmir for doing BEd courses. It was also mentioned that a student from Punjab paid about Rs 1 lakh for doing the course outside state causing loss to Punjab exchequer.

Mr N.R. Murali said, “The committee has already completed the first round of processing the applications. We will try to clear all applications within a day or two. Notices have been sent to those colleges whose documents were not complete. Their cases will probably be taken up next year.

“Because of the huge rush of applications during the last date of submission (December, 31,2004) the processing has got delayed”.

He admitted that many colleges would have to suffer financial losses due to delay in granting the affiliation.

When contacted, an official of the NCTE, Delhi, said only the NCTE, Jaipur, can comment on it.

Mr Satinder Dhillon, a senator of the three universities of Punjab, is of the opinion that before rejecting case of any college, the NCTE should conduct an inspection. The universities too should extend the date for granting the affiliation as Punjabi University, Patiala, has fixed May 31 as the last date for granting the affiliation.

The NCTE and universities should come out with a solution for the benefit of the students.

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