P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Differences in SAD over NDA’s agenda
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
The uneasy calm in the SAD will be reflected at the meetings of its foremost bodies such as the Political Affairs Committee, the Working Committee and the General Council here tomorrow and on May 18.

After the organisational restructuring of the SAD, these bodies will be meeting for the first time under the chairmanship of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Several important issues will figure at the meetings.

There are serious differences among senior leaders of the SAD over the party leadership’s approach to important political issues. Strongly opposed to the virtual reduction of the party to the level of a “tail carrier” of the BJP, which in tandem with Mr George Fernandes sets the agenda for the NDA ,certain leaders of the SAD will ask Mr Badal to clearly define the party’s policy vis-a-vis the political agenda of the NDA. Senior leaders say that the SAD should maintain its independent identity and political line and not blindly follow the political path laid down the BJP and Mr Fernandes for the NDA.

For instance, certain senior SAD leaders were opposed to the boycott, which was led by the BJP, of Parliament during the Budget session. They fovoured only a symbolic boycott for a day. However, according to sources, Mr Badal insisted that the SAD MPs should follow the line adopted by the BJP. Mr Badal’s decision to boycott Parliament was against the interests of Punjab and the SAD, says a senior Akali leader.

Upset over the boycott decision, a senior Akali MP said that the “people of Punjab have elected us to take up issues concerning the state and not to follow the BJP and Mr Fernandes’ political agenda at the national level”.

Talking to TNS the Akali MP said that the BJP and Mr Fernandes, who was the convener of the NDA, ditched the SAD when its former Ministers were being “harassed and thrown into jail” by the Amarinder Singh government two years ago. “ Except for making certain formal half-hearted statements against Capt Amarinder Singh, the BJP leadership and Mr Fernandes did nothing to defend SAD leaders when the Vigilance Bureau used to parade them in police stations”, said the MP.

In fact, he said, top leaders of the BJP had been spreading the word that SAD leaders were “corrupt” and therefore they did not defend them. Capt Amarinder Singh did not touch any senior leader of the BJP and confined his” campaign against corruption to former Ministers of the SAD”.

“Why should the SAD defend Mr Fernandes, who let the SAD down even on the Udham Singh Nagar issue?”, asks another Akali leader. “Let Mr Fernandes face the music now”. Senior Akali leaders feel that Mr Fernandes has hijacked the NDA and is using it to serve his own political interests.

The silence of the SAD leadership over Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s statement regarding Haryana’s administrative control over the Chandigarh Administration is also likely to come up at the meetings. Mr Badal did not counter the statement given by Mr Hooda.

The issue of the Golden Temple dossier is also expected to figure at the meetings.


Brother of Punjab IG in Thane police net
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
A brother of a Punjab police Inspector-General has landed in the Thane (Maharashtra) police net for allegedly misusing Reliance phones for re-routing international calls, causing a huge loss to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Mr Shiv Sagar of the Thane police station told The Tribune on the telephone that Rakesh Sharma of Chandigarh was arrested on May 10 after his anticipatory bail was rejected by a local court. He was subsequently remanded in police custody in a case registered against him under Sections 420 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 20, 21, 21-A and 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act.

The case was registered on a complaint filed by the legal cell of Reliance.

Thane police officials maintained that besides the Vigilance Cell of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, the Intelligence Bureau and the reliance legal cell had been keeping a close vigil on the alleged illegal routing of international calls by Sharma and his accomplices.

The operations came to light after a cheque for the payment of Reliance phone bills bounced. Since connections had been taken on a fictitious corporate house, the detection of the unpaid bill led the police to Pramod Modi of Gaurav Engineering Works in Thane. His interrogation after arrest helped the Thane police reach Mohali and Chandigarh from where they seized equipment worth Rs 20 lakh which was allegedly used in the illegal international telephone call operations.

While Modi, Sharma and Gurdip Singh owe Reliance a few lakhs of rupees, the DoT has claimed that their alleged illegal operations had caused a whopping loss of Rs 77 lakh to the department.

Rakesh Sharma and his partner Gurdip Singh have been charged with procuring a large number of corporate mobile connections of Reliance from Thane. The sim cards of these were allegedly used for routing international calls to customers in the country as well as allowing customers here to make international calls through internet voice telephony.

Mr Shiv Sagar said that while Gurdip Singh was arrested a couple of months ago, Rakesh Sharma obtained anticipatory bail from a high court. Subsequently, his bail was cancelled.

Rakesh Sharma is a brother of Punjab Inspector-General of Police S.K. Sharma.

In June, 2003, Rakesh Sharma was arrested in Chandigarh on similar charges after a joint team of the Vigilance Cell of Videsh Sanchar Nagam Limited and the Chandigarh police conducted a raid on his Sector 9 business premises. Rakesh Sharma, however, had denied the charges saying that he had valid permission to run a call centre.

The Thane police officials claimed that Rakesh Sharma and Gurdip Singh in connivance with Pramod Modi of Thane had in August last year obtained 75 corporate mobile connections of Reliance. By using the latest technology, including a router, switch boards and other equipment, they were allegedly using sim cards of these Reliance phones for routing and re-routing international calls.


Suspect denies getting murder contract
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May16
The Bhanoki village contract killing conspiracy case got a new twist today when SAD-BJP leaders presented Dharminder Singh at a press conference, who in an affidavit stated that he had neither got any contract either for eliminating Congress leader and a former panch of village, Ram Murti Bhanoki, as had been alleged by the latter in his police complaint.

A case had been registered against an NRI, Akali leader and former sarpanch of Bhanoki village Baldev Singh, his father Piara Singh, a former sarpanch, and brother Sukhdev Singh under Sections 115 and 120-B, IPC, on May 6 in this regard.

Mr Ram Murti had stated in his complaint that the trio had conspired to give a contract for Rs 5-7 lakh to Dharminder and Harinderbir Singh of Bhanoki for eliminating him. While UK-based Baldev Singh had promised to foot half the bill of the contract killing, the other half was promised to be paid by his brother and father, the complainant, had alleged.

At the press conference convened by Punjab BJP unit vice-president Chowdhary Swarna Ram and SAD organising secretary-cum-SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid, Dharminder disclosed that he had a dispute with Sukhdev Singh, brother of Baldev Singh. A court case was going on in this regard he said. “Mr Ram Murti supported me in the case. He also got my signatures on a blank paper on the pretext of effecting a settlement of my dispute with Sukhdev Singh,” he said. My name is being misused in the case, he rued. “How can I come into contact with those persons with whom I have a dispute,” he asked. I have neither got any contract money he added.

Both Chowdhary Swarna Ram and Mr Jarnail Singh Wahid called it a conspiracy of the Congress to tarnish the image of their political opponents.

They have also demanded a CBI probe into Rs 86 lakh shown as expenditure on bitumen/tarcoal used in city. A Congress councillor, Ms Kusam Sharma, had raised this issue publically and had alleged irregularities, they asserted.

They also flayed the attempt to gag press with regard to the attack on the residence of a local journalist, Mr Vikram Jalota, for exposing the alleged malfunctioning of the local Nagar Council.

Jathedar Sarwan Singh Kular, permanent invitee to SAD working committee, and Mr Tejasvi Bhardwaj, Phagwara BJP block president, were also present at the press conference.


Child abducted from Delhi recovered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 16
Priya, the six-month old girl, who was allegedly abducted by an issueless woman from Jahangirpuri, New Delhi, on April 24, was recovered by officials of the Jalandhar and New Delhi police from the local Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Nagar locality. The woman, Shashi, alias Bhawna, had been putting up in a rented accommodation here for the past about 15 days.

Priya was allegedly abducted from her Jahangirpuri residence by Shashi, alias Bhawna, while her mother was away to the market on April 24. Shashi was said to be an acquaintance of the family of Priya as she knew Priya’s mother Alka through a common friend.

Shashi was alleged to be a sex worker who originally hailed from Gurdaspur district and was childless. She abducted the baby and took brought her to Jalandhar.

As the Jahangirpuri police got the wind that Shashi could be in or around Jalandhar and particularly in the Maqsudan area, it established contact with the local police and a joint raid was planned on the directions of SSP Ishwar Singh.

As the Jalandhar and Delhi police teams led by Sub-Inspector Daljit Singh and Sub-Inspector Ranbir Singh, respectively, combed the area for hours, they came across a woman who had come to the locality just about a fortnight ago and had taken a room on rent there.

What gave an emotional twist to the alleged kidnapping episode was that Shashi was making Priya drink milk with the help of a bottle at the moment she was nabbed by the police. She claimed that she had lifted the child just for the reason that she was childless.

Priya has been handed over to her father Satish, while the Jahangirpuri police has left for Delhi along with Shashi who would be produced in the court there.


Rs 35 lakh looted in daylight robbery
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
In a bizarre incident, three unidentified persons looted Rs 35 lakh on pistol-point from the family members of a real estate businessman after entering into his house, located in the thickly populated area in the heart of this city this noon.

The three persons, two of them were having beard and one cleanshaven with yellow head gear, walked into the house of Mr Som Lal Aggarwal this noon when his son, daughter-in-law and one servant was present there. They looted about Rs 35 lakhs and walked away after locking the house from outside.

Fear gripped New Mehar Singh Colony, mostly occupied by the people belonging to the well-off section of society after the incident took place in the broad daylight in the home town of Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Though the incident took place around 12 in the noon, the police was informed about the same at around 3 pm. After getting information, almost all the senior officers of police including SSP, Mr A. S. Rai reached on the spot.

Mr K. Sharma, SP, City, who has been handling the case, when contacted, said that an alert had been sounded in the state after the incident. The descriptions of all the accused as disclosed by the victims had also been flashed. He added that a dog squad had also been pressed into service to track down the culprits.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the accused were aware of the financial status of the family and perhaps knew where the family kept hard cash. The accused struck when only three members of the family, including younger son doing his graduation in law, was in the house.

Mr Rai, when contacted, said that a case had been registered in this connection under section 392 of the IPC and a hunt had been launched. He said that so far it could not be known whether the three accused, who entered into the house, were accompanied by some other persons or not.

Meanwhile, in another case, Mr Darshan Singh Khokhar, a correspondent working with a news channel, alleged that he along with his cameraman had been attacked and subsequently kept in illegal confinement by an official of Bhakra Main Line (BML) department when they went there to cover an event. He alleged that his belongings including his mobile phone, were snatched by him.

Mr Rai, said that as both parties, including Mr Khokhar and official of the BML department, had moved applications to the police authorities, he would have a proper inquiry into the same before taking action in that connection. 


Patiala airbase and Flying Club set for expansion
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
With the Army Aviation Corps poised to get additional helicopters and the civil aviation sector booming, Headquarters Western Command and the Punjab Government are exploring ways to expand the co-existing Army Aviation base and the state-run flying club at Patiala.

According to sources, a committee comprising senior Army officers and representatives of the Punjab Civil Aviation Department has been set up to work out ways and means to expand the two establishments while keeping each other's interests in view.

The Army had projected its requirement for land to expand its Patiala airbase during the Civil Military Liaison Conference held in Chandimandir last week. Sources said Punjab Government officials had maintained at the conference that the state was also considering expansion of the flying club's facilities to cater to the increasing number of private operators.

The Army's airbase, which houses a helicopter squadron, and the flying club are located on opposite sides of the runway. The runway can accommodate small and medium-size aircraft.

"Since there are limitations on the availability of land, the committee will have to see how best the interests of both sides can be accommodated," an officer said.

The Army Aviation Corps (AAC) operates about 60 Chetak and 120 Cheetah helicopters equipping 12 squadrons and a number of independent helicopter flights. The newest AAC squadron is No.201 Army Aviation Squadron based at Nasik, which operates the AAC's latest acquisition, the indigenously manufactured Dhruv helicopter.

According to available information, the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters are expected to continue in service till at least 2012. By this time the AAC is projected to acquire 120 Dhruvs.

The AAC is also evaluating light helicopters to replace the Cheetahs and Chetaks in its service for operations in high altitude areas. Though they are rendering yeoman's service, landing at elevations up to 23,000 feet, design of these aircraft is 40-45 years old.

According to reports, the US- made Bell 407 and the French Eurocopter FENNEC are in competition for the AAC contract. Both the helicopters are scheduled to undergo a second round of trials in Rajasthan and Ladakh in the coming weeks. Similar trails were conducted at Bathinda and Leh in September and December, 2004, respectively.

The Army intends to buy 60 such helicopters off the shelf, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited licence producing another 140. HAL is also modifying and upgrading a large number of Cheetah and arming them for combat missions. The AAC is also reported to have evaluated the Russian Mi-17 and French Super Puma for establishing a medium-lift capability independent from the Air Force.


Pakistani poets arrive
Neeraj Bagga

Wagah, May 16
A 24-member delegation of Pakistani poets and artists led by noted Punjabi poet Ajiz Ullah Naz crossed over to India at the joint check post here today to participate in various ‘mushiaras’.

The ‘Mushiaras’ to be held at Chandigarh, New Delhi and here.

Members of the Sai Mian Mir International Foundation headed by Mr Harbhajan Singh Brar accorded a warm welcome to the visitors.

Naz, talking to this correspondent, said the common culture between India and Pakistan was best reflected in the eating, wearing and music habits of their people. Music and poetry were the twin arts which touched the hearts of the audience, he said.

He said art and artists were loved by their followers irrespective of their religion, cast, creed and colour.

Other famous poets of the troupe are Neelima Nahid Durrani, Akram Sheikh Abid, Rakhshanda, Jahir Amir, Jubaida Haider, Mujamil, Ifat Ali and Samunder Mansoori. Among the noted artists are Imtiyaz Ali Khan, his sons Shahzad Ali and Jahid Ali, Fatima Haider and Tukir Hussain.


Youth convention on June 10
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 16
A youth convention will be organised in Surat in Rajasthan on June 10 under the leadership of Mr Sharad Pawar by the Rashtriyavadi Congress.

This was stated by Mr Harjinder Singh Bhangukhera, president of Ropar unit of the youth wing of the Rashtriyavadi Congress at a meeting held here today.

He said that at the convention youth would be made aware of their rights and also about the social evils prevalent in the society.

He said that the youth should not fall a prey to the tactics of political leaders who were opportunists.

He said that they were only interested in votes during the elections but did not bother about the problems being faced by the youth after winning the elections. He said that no steps were being taken by any political party to create employment opportunities for the youth.


Clean Kanjli wetland: DC
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 16
Irked over the lackadaisical attitude of the departments concerned towards the maintenance of the Kanjli wetland, the Deputy Commissioner called a meeting here this morning, directing his officials to get the waters cleaned.

The DC, Mr Sameer Kumar, visited the wetland early this morning and was shocked to see the treatment being meted out to the area which, he said, could have been promoted as a resort for tourists and residents of neighbouring districts.

As soon as he was back, he summoned a meeting of officials of the departments concerned. The meeting with officials from the Departments of Drainage, Horticulture, Forest and PWD (B & R) and manager of the Kanjli picnic spot at Yojna Bhavan lasted almost an hour. At the meeting, the DC sought an explanation from the officers about the growth of the water hyacinth and stench emanating from the Kali Bein that flows past it.

The DC was apprised of the efforts being made by Baba Seechewal for regularly cleaning the area with the help of his followers but he urged the officials to ensure a regular exercise in the same direction.

He directed them to get the weeds removed either by using digging machines or with the assistance of volunteers or NGOs working in the area.

Mr Kumar told the officials to ensure clean waters within 10 days. Another meeting would be convened in this regard on May 26 at the resort itself and he wanted the area to be cleaned by that time. The DC said the road leading to the wetland be also repaired.

Explaining the cause of rapid growth of weeds, Mr Sabharwal, SDO, Drainage Department, said hyacinth was a major problem as it reappeared every few months.

Mr Davinder Singh Neel, manager of the resort, said a large number of tourists used to frequent the place for site-seeing and boating but the number had fallen low now. It had become difficult to sustain the project. He said the number of migratory birds from Siberia and Russia had also been dwindling in the past few years.

However, a library on environmental studies was being set up at the resort for the benefit of students and nature lovers, he added.


CM’s fleet car hits tractor-trailer, one injured
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 16
A car of the Chief Minister’s security convoy, in which some security men were travelling, reportedly collided with a tractor-trailer near the local Police Lines this evening when a tyre-tube of the car burst suddenly. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Jagsir Singh from Duggan village, reportedly received injuries. No security men were injured. Jagsir Singh was admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

When contacted, Mr Narinder Kaushal, DSP, Sangrur, said Jagsir was all right. The doctor attending Jagsir told the police that he would be discharged after giving initial treatment, as he had no serious injuries.

Jagsir Singh was going to Duggan village, near here, while the CM security car was returning from Bathinda.


Report submitted in bribery case
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 16
The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, has submitted a report to Director Health, Punjab, in connection with allegation of demand of bribe levelled against District Health Officer, Ropar, and some other employees of the department for a date of birth certificate to be issued to a girl of Jhampur village.

It has been learnt that the Civil Surgeon, Dr Rana Harinder, in her report has found that the date of birth certificate to be issued to a girl was tampered. She also stated in her report that one of the employees involved in the case has admitted that he had taken some amount on the behalf of concerned senior official.

The employees also stated that the concerned senior official did not issue a certificate to a girl in demand of more money, she stated in the report.

When contacted, the District Health Officer, Mr N.K Singla, said that he was falsely implicated in the case. He said his statement was not recorded before submitting a report in the case. He said that he had cancelled the date of birth certificate as he had detected some tampering with the certificate and wanted to highlight the issue. The report was submitted when he was on leave, he added.


A bumpy ride fraught with risk
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 16
Bumpy rides, dust, risk of injury, wear and tear of vehicles and increase in travel time. These are the problems people who commute on the road connecting Kartarpur and Kapurthala have been facing for the past six months. One can see piles of gravel all over a 5-km stretch of road leading from the gate of the residence of the Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, towards Kartarpur. The road is strewn with sharp stones as the department concerned has done nothing except undertaken gravel work over the past six months.

A student of Christ King Convent School located on the road suffered injuries, including fracture of the arm, on April 30. The victim, a student of Class IX, fell from her two-wheeler after it struck a big stone.

Another student got four stitches on her forehead recently when she was hit by a stone tossed up by a truck passing in front of the school. A peon of the school was also injured in the same way.

“I escaped injury from a stone flicked by a bus a few days ago while I was going to Kartarpur but it damaged the petrol tank of my motor cycle,” complained Mr Mani Pathak, a resident of Kapurthala.

“It is almost a nightmare for a person riding pillion to travel on this road. The bumpy two-wheeler ride for almost half an hour on this 5 km stretch is unbearable”, says Mr Sandeep Arora, a local businessman.

Mr Manjit Singh, a shopkeeper of Doburji village, regrets the decision to open his shop on the road. “My business has been ruined because dust collects on eatables due to the poor condition of the road”.

Mr Sham Singh, a resident of Fazalpur village, accuses the PWD (B&R) of bad planning. He wonders why the department decided to do gravel work on the road in one go instead of completing the project in parts. Had it repaired the road in parts, people would not have faced traffic problems, he says. Sources say that funds for the re-carpeting of roads are now exhausted. Residents of the area will have to suffer till more funds are released.


Employees protest against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
At the call of the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO), a joint protest dharna started here before the office of the Divisional Commissioner.

Similar dharna were also started today at Jalandhar, Faridkot and Chandigarh. JPMO leaders declared that a week-long day and night dharna would be organised to press for the demands presented to the Punjab Government on February 8, for which a state level rally was held on March 17 in Chandigarh.

Mr Chander Shekhar, state convener, JPMO, said their demands included no privatisation of the Electricity Board, educational institutions and health services, jobs or unemployment allowance to unemployed youth, strengthening of public distribution system, immediate implementation of old-age pension and Ashirvad scheme. Appointment of teachers in government schools, fixation of minimum wage at Rs 5,000 per month also figured among their demands.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari, All-India Employees leader and state convener of the JPMO alleged that the Chief Minister was in favour of the rich people and the ruling class politicians.

Mr Tarsem Jodhan, CITU leader and ex-MLA, branded the Punjab and Central Government as anti-people and expressed his anguish against the Left parties, which are supporting such a government. He called upon the gathering to continue their struggle until the government was forced to accept their demands.

Mr Amarjeet Sodhi, president, TSU, blamed the state government for privatisation of the Electricity Board despite negative experiences everywhere else.

Others, who addressed the dharna, were, Mr Sher Singh Pharwahi, state president Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, Punjab, Ms Piari Devi, state president, Punjab Jankedi Istri Sabha, Mr Sucha Singh and Mr Ved Parkash, state president and general secretary of PSSF, Navtej Dehar and Navdeep Jdhan, president and general secretary, Punjab Students Union, Lal Singh Dhanaula and Karamjit Singh Bhila, State Government Employees leaders, Baldev Singh Latala, Malkiar Singh Wazidke, Puran Chand and Harbhajan Butar of the Jamhuri Kisan Sabha , Balwinder Singh of the Bhagat Singh Naujwan Sabha and Ranjit Singh and Sher Singh of the Electricity Employees.


Protect art of making Rudra veena: Ustad
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Talwara: Makers of the rudra veena are hard to find today. The only surviving maker of the musical instrument, Murari Bapu, is now living in Calcutta. He has also closed down his shop after making 100 veenas because his son has declined to take up the work.

This was stated by Ustad Asad Ali Khan, the rudra veena maestro, while talking to The Tribune recently. He was here to give a performance at the officers’ club of the BBMB.

He said it disheartened him a lot that the Padma Vibhushan was given to a Delhi-based trader in the musical instrument rather than Murari Bapu. Murari Bapu now occasionally make the instrument at his special request.

The making of the rudra veena was a tedious task. Although other musical instruments had a standard size, the veena had to be made according to the body size of the musician who wanted to play it. The Central Government, particularly the Ministry of Culture, should take special care to protect the art of making the rudra veena which was the oldest classical musical instrument of the country.

Ustad Asad Ali Khan lamented that the ministries of culture in various states laid much stress on folk music but neglected classical music. Punjab had a rich heritage of classical music. The Patiala gharana had made an unparalleled contribution to classical music. However, these days hardly any funds were provided by the Punjab Government for the promotion of classical music.

The Punjab Government should give scholarships to students who wanted to learn classical music and send them to maestros for training.

Ustad Asad Ali Khan further said that after retiring from Delhi University he was training some students privately. “It is saddening that more foreigners than Indians are coming to me for learning to play the rudra veena,” he said.

He said it took about 20 years’ practice for a musician to become an expert in the instrument. Owing to this very few students were now opting for it. If the trend continued, the day was not far when Indians would have to go abroad to the relish the music of the rudra veena, he added.


Govt to raise memorial to Ram Singh Pathania
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 16
The Punjab Government would raise a memorial to Shaheed Ram Singh Pathania, hero of the second Anglo Sikh war. The memorial would be raised in Pathankot at a site to be selected by a panel of historians.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD, Cultural Affairs and Archives, stated while addressing a function organised by the Gurdaspur history society at Rama Copra college in Pathankot today. He was at Pathankot to preside over a seminar on shaheed Ram Singh Pathania.

He said the Department of Culture would soon form a policy to honour war heroes. The regional history of Punjab has been ignored both by intellectuals and governments, he said.

Prof Raj Kumar, president of the History Society, Gurdaspur, read a paper on the occasion.


Sikh Nation Organisation to visit France
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
Even as the SGPC has announced to send a high-level eight-member panel to visit France to present a memorandum to the French Education Minister on May 21, the Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO) delegation is scheduled to visit France by month-end on an invitation of the Sikh Community of France.

The SNO delegation includes Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Chief of Punjab Human Rights Body, Dr Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Balwant Singh Tung, retired Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, and Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon, head of the department of Sikh Studies Guru Nanak Dev University.

This was stated by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, President of SNO, here today.

He claimed that sincere and best efforts was made by the organization to make an effective delegation of Sikh Intellectuals. He said the SNO delegation would educate the government of France on the turban and 5’K’s adopted by Khalsa.


‘Stern action if name of film not changed’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
In yet another setback to the beleaguered Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Patna Sahib today threatened to take stern action, if the name of the film, "Jo Bole So Nihal" was not changed.

Earlier, the clean chit given to the film by a panel constituted by Jathedar Vedanti had evoked strong protests among the panthic organisations. It is pertinent to mention here that Jathedar Vedanti had not taken other jathedars into confidence before giving clean chit to the film.

While the SGPC had already constituted another panel which would submit its report by May 19, the statement issued by Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib, has made the position of Jathedar Vedanti awkward.


high court
Censor Board gives clean chit to Hindi film ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 16
The Censor Board has given a clean chit to the Hindi movie 'Jo Bole So Nihal' which is being exhibited across the country these days. The report of the Censor Board in this regard was taken on record by the Punjab and Haryana High Court during hearing of petitions seeking a ban on the movie.

In its report, the board has said that a fresh review of the movie was done and it has been cleared for general viewing with some cuts that were ordered initially.

On the last hearing, the court had directed the Censor Board to have a fresh review of the movie and its title in the light of the objections raised by the petitioners. The Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain had also allowed the release of the movie in theatres if nothing wrong was found with the film.

Three separate petitions were filed in the High Court seeking quashing of the censor certificate issued to the movie on the ground that it shows the Sikh community in bad light and also hurts the religious sentiments of the community.

Nursing students

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that students admitted in various nursing institutes of Punjab after September 30, 2004, the cut-off date for admissions, would not be eligible to sit for the annual exam till they completed the general course of study for the requisite period.

During hearing of the PIL filed by Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar, seeking regulation of private nursing institutes in the state, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta also accepted the report about raids conducted by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on nursing institutes sometime back.

On the last hearing, the petitioner's counsel had requested the Bench to direct the Punjab Government to produce the reports of raids conducted by the Vigilance Bureau on nursing institutes in Punjab sometime back.

The petitioner, Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar, is seeking regulation of private nursing institutes in the state. He has stated that a large number of nursing institutes in Punjab are functioning illegally and irregularly. It was added that no rules and norms were being followed, and that the institutes also lack adequate infrastructure. He has also stated that in many cases the institutes admitted students belatedly.

During hearing today, advocate Charanjit Sharma, counsel for the petitioner, brought to court's notice lack of proper infrastructure in many nursing institutes. He said it would be tantamount to playing with the future of the ordinary people if professionals passing out of such institutes were allowed to practice.


Angora rabbit farm in state of neglect
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

DHAR (GURDASPUR): The angora rabbit farm in Dala village in this area is in a state of neglect.

Although the farm was set up in 1996 to help the people of hilly areas improve their lot, there are hardly any investors in the venture. The farm has failed to draw farmers to rabbit breeding due to the lack of proper promotional measures and the high price of angora rabbits. About 250 angora rabbits were imported from Germany when the farm was started. The number of animals remains the same even after nine years.

The staff on the farm attribute the low number of rabbits to the high mortality rate. They say that in accordance with government directions they are supposed to sell a pair of angora rabbits to the local residents for Rs 900. However, since farmers in the area are poor, hardly anyone purchases the animals.

Sources say that a veterinary pharmacist, five labourers, a watchman and an accountant have been posted on the farm. A post of assistant director has also been created. A house was also built on the farm for this officer. However, the officer has never been stationed at the place.

The government spends about Rs 30 lakh per annum on the maintenance of the farm. However, the total yield is merely 126 kg of angora wool. The price of the wool in the open market is Rs 450 per kg. The total earning of the farm is just Rs 96,700 per annum.

If the government farm cannot earn a profit, how can one expect the local farmers to go in for the business, says the sarpanch of Dala village.

Residents allege that the Department of Animal Husbandry has never cared to run the farm on scientific lines. A veterinary pharmacist is in charge of the farm whereas in the records an officer of the rank of assistant director is supposed to be doing that job

Angora wool farms are running successfully in Himachal.


Tribune Impact
Probe ordered into doc’s absence at hospital
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 16
The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, today marked inquiry into the absence of a doctor at the Civil Hospital, Bharatgarh, on Saturday late night when nine injured in an accident, in which four persons were killed, were brought here for treatment. The Tribune had carried the story on the front page on Sunday with the headline “4 dead, 9 injured in road accident”. It was highlighted in the story that when the villagers and passersby took the injured to the hospital in Bharatgarh no doctor was present there and the ambulance did not have fuel.

The mishap took place when a Tata Sumo carrying 13 persons collided head-on with a truck near Bharatgarh, about 15 km from here, on Saturday night about 11.45 pm.

Giving details, the Civil Surgeon, Dr Rana Harinder, told The Tribune that the inquiry into the case had been marked to Dr A.P Chowdhary. He was expected to file a report within two days.

She said from preliminary investigation it has come to light that there was enough budget to fill fuel in the ambulance.

“I have talked to the officiating in charge of Bharatgarh hospital about the incident. The doctor concerned told me that he had left the hospital at about 10 p.m. as he had to attend the Pulse Polio Drive on Sunday,” she further said.

“The post of the SMO has been lying vacant at the Bharatgarh hospital for one and a half years and there was shortage of two doctors”, she added.


37 lakh children given polio drops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 16
As many as 37 lakh children, below the age of five, in Punjab have been administered drops during the pulse polio campaign launched on Sunday from Amritsar by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Health workers will go from house to house on Tuesday to ensure complete coverage.

Giving details, Director (Health) G.L. Goyal said 16,000 booths were set up all over the state for administering the drops. Over 70,000 Health Department staff and volunteers were on duty.


Jilted lover castrates self
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 16
Believe it or not, a jilted lover has amputated his sexual organ. Astinder Singh (24) of Chak Bilga village in Banga Block, had a love affair with a girl who got married to an NRI. Now a mother of a child, she had recently come to meet her parents.

On seeing her, the lover went into a tizzy and got frustrated at the fresh memories of his unrequited love that he amputated his sexual organ at his residence.

However, after the amputation, the youth coined a story to save his skin from the society. He said while he was returning in his car from Beas two days ago, two youths asked for lift near Old Sabzi Mandi on the Phagwara-Banga road. On getting into the car, the duo drugged him and drove him towards Mananwali village, he said. When he regained consciousness, he found himself lying in a pool of blood with his private part gone, he added.

At this, the Phagwara police swung into action and carried a probe. The whole issue of kidnapping turned out to be a cock and bull story. The youth amputated his organ with a sharp-edged weapon at his own residence, but went to Manawali village to get help of his relatives for getting hospitalised. He was stated to be out of danger. 


3 die under mysterious circumstances
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 16
Panic gripped the town today following the news of the death of three persons in Quila Rehmatgarh, a Muslim-dominated area of Malerkotla, under mysterious circumstances.

According to reports, three persons, 12-year-old girl, Parveen, daughter of Shakoor, Mohd Tuttee, son of Mohd Sangu, and an old lady, died in Quila Rehmatgarh during the past 24 hours. While Parveed died today, the other two persons died yesterday.

Mohd Jameel, son of Rafiq, a resident of Quila Rehmatgarh, who was suffering from hepatitis C for 15 days, told The Tribune here today that they were in panic as about 80 persons in this area were suffering from hepatitis C.


Pension for widows released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 16
Hundreds of old people, widows and physically challenged persons today received their pensions at the local Social Security Office.

The District Social Security Officer, Ms Amrit Bala, told Chandigarh Tribune that there were 28284 beneficiaries in different categories in the district. The department had released an amount of Rs.49,81, 200 as pensions to 24906 beneficiaries. She said only 3378 beneficiaries, whose cases had been recommended this year, would soon receive pensions.

She said during the special audit, 953 ineligible cases were detected, adding that out of those cases approximately 200 beneficiaries had expired and 753 persons were issued notices for recovery. More than Rs 25000 has already been recovered, she added.

She said there were many deserving candidates, whose pensions had been stopped due to the inquiry reports. She said as per the directions of the Director Social Security, their cases were being verified through the CDPOs and after getting the reports, such cases would be sent to the directorate for further action.


Social organisations honour Patiala IG
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
About 15 social organisations of this city today honoured Mr Rajinder Singh, Inspector General (IG), Punjab Police, for excellent services rendered by him in the capacity as IG, Zonal, here in the past few years, by organising a function here.

Mr Ajay Thapar, a senior Congress leader, in a press note issued here, said that the organisations which included Japan Karate Association, Punjab, Patiala Property Dealers Association, Kala Kriti Club, Patiala, Punjab Cycle Polo Association, Punjab National Theatre of Arts (Patiala), Hindu Surasksha Smiti (All-India), Sadhu Samaj (Punjab), Manav Kalayan Parishad and Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association (Patiala), Rajindra Gymkhana Club Executive Committee, Dedicated Brother Group (Punjab) and District Combine Manufacturing Association.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, Patiala, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta (president Congress and chairman PRTC, respectively), Mr K.K. Sharma (Chairman Improvement Trust, Patiala), Mr Anil Mehta (Member SS Board), Mr Kabir Dass (Senior Deputy Mayor), Mr Inderjit Boparai (Deputy Mayor) and many organisation heads, businessmen, advocates, doctors and civil officers attended this function.

Speaking on occasion Mr Ved Prakash Gupta praised the working of IG in Patiala, adding that he was helpful to every complainant. Mr Rajinder Singh, in his address, said that he would always be available for Patiala residents. He also explained the works he did in Patiala for the betterment of public. Mr Ajay Thapar and Mr Teja Singh Sandhu thanked the organisation who came to grace the occasion.


11 kv power line for villages
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 16
An 11 kv power line will be provided from the 66 kv substation at Mullanpur to 11 villages failing under Morinda constituency for uninterrupted supply of power.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Fisheries, Punjab, said that with the laying of the 11 kv lines for villages like Kansal, Nayangaon, Karoran, Choti Karor, Nadha, Tanda, Kane-ka-wara, Masol, Tribune Colony, Dashmesh Colony etc, would notice an improvement in the power position. The project was going to cost Rs 15 lakh.


Drop cases against farmers, protests BKU
Our Correspondent

Nabha, May 16
Owing allegiance farmers to the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) today held a protest at the local railway station. They were protesting against the railway police for registering cases against leaders and activists of the union on September 24, the day they blocked rail traffic throughout the state, demanding increase in paddy MSP and clearance of sugarcane dues.

State unit president of the union Pishora Singh Sidhupur cautioned that if the government failed to drop cases against farmers then the union would be forced to launch a statewide stir from tomorrow.

Mr Balkar Singh Dakonda, general secretary, BKU, said farmers were not afraid of getting jailed. He dared the government to arrest them.

Meanwhile, Mr P.S. Brar, DSP, gave an assurance that in future no farmer would be arrested or harassed by the railway police.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 16
The Jalandhar police has busted a five-member inter-state gang of robbers specialising in looting of transport vehicles loaded with costly commodities.

Four snatched vehicles and weapons have also been recovered from the gang, which, has confessed to having committed a number of robberies in different districts.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said here today that a secret information was received by a police party headed by Inspector Ram Singh of the CIA that a gang of criminals armed with lethal weapons had gathered in an orchard near Talwandi Abda village, and was planning to commit a robbery. Subsequently, a raid conducted by the Mr Jaskirat Singh Chahal, SP (D) yielded the arrest of Harpal Singh Nihang, a resident of Gauspur, near Batala, Darshan Singh, a resident of Giaspur village, near Ludhiana, Nishan Singh, a resident of Udho Nangal village in Amritsar, Yash Pal, a resident of Talwandi Goraya, near Dera Baba Nanak, and Rana Singh, a resident of Daddian Kalan, near Kalanaur.

Two trucks, one Tata 407, one Contessa car, two country made pistols of .12-bore with five cartridges, one cutter, one knife and two swords were recovered from their possession.

The gang had also committed thefts in banks and stolen three tractors from the Dhuri-Malerkotla area. These tractors had been sold by them to Vikram Sharma of Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan. The gang had also stolen Scorpio and Qualis vehicles. Darshan Singh, Nishan Singh and Harpal Singh had been declared as proclaimed offenders in a number of theft cases.


Drug addict kills father
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 16
In a shocking incident, a drug-addict son allegedly killed his 70-year-old father by hitting him with a brick on the head at Nangal Lubana village here yesterday.

Though the incident occurred yesterday morning, the matter came into light late last evening after a neighbourer called up the police to get the matter reported. Tarsem Singh (40), a rickshaw-puller and only son of Rattan Singh, reportedly killed the latter after the duo had a tussle over the issue pertaining to selling of their house.

A case was registered on the complaint of the wife of the accused, Ms Joginder Kaur, who said that her husband did the act in a fit of rage. She said that Tarsem Singh was hooked on drugs and wanted money from his father to buy the same. She said that her husband had already sold her jewellery and other household items to get some money for purchasing drugs. He wanted his father to sell the house as he had exhausted other sources of money to buy drugs.

A case has been registered by the police but no arrest has been made so far as the accused has absconded.


Brar-Jagwant panel sweeps PCCTU poll
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 16
The Prof R.S. Brar-Dr Jagwant Singh led panel of the PCCTU staged a clean sweep in the annual state- level PCCTU elections by cornering the offices of the president, the general secretary, vice-president and the finance secretary. The elections were held at Lyallpur Khalsa College yesterday.

Dr Jagwant Singh, the newly elected general secretary and based at S.D. College, Chandigarh, said Prof R.S. Brar of Khalsa College, Sandaur, Prof H.S. Walia of DAV College, Amritsar, Prof J.R. Prashar of RSD College, Ferozepore, Dr Parminder Singh of Arya College, Ludhiana, Prof P.K. Sharma of GGS College, Sanghera, and Prof V.K. Sareen of the local DAV College have been elected as president, vice-president, finance secretary, respectively.

Prof Kuldeep Singh of GNN College, Doraha, Prof Baldeep Singh of Malwa College, Bondli, near Samrala, Prof K.S Parhar of GNN College, Daroli Kalan, Prof Sham Singh of Khalsa College Gardhiwala, Prof A.K. Dhir of BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, Prof M.S. Komal of GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana, Prof Balbir Singh of Modi College, Dr Kulwant Singh of Khalsa College, Jalandhar, Prof K.S. Randhawa of S.N. College, Qadian, and Prof Surjeet Judge of DAV College Nakodar have been elected to the seven-member state executive committee of the PCCTU.

As many as 486 persons took part in the state PCCTU polls. The general council of the PCCTU has appealed to Capt Amarinder Singh to implement the recommendations of the Johl Committee in letter and spirit.


Refresher course in economics at GND varsity
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
An eminent economist, Dr M.K. Aggarwal, Professor of Economics at Panjab University, Chandigarh, lambasted the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for its dual policies against the developing countries, including India, here today.

He was speaking at a three-week long UGC refresher course in economics at Guru Nanak Dev University.

He said distortions and inequities in the WTO norms, including disparate agricultural subsidies and tariff regime and anti-dumping measures against developing countries' exports, were impinging upon the growth prospects of countries like India.

He said such a discriminatory global order against the developing world has induced and reinforced tendencies towards regionalism, which would only accentuate disequilibrium in the world economy.

The refresher course is being conducted on "India's External Sector Reforms: Progress, Problems and Prospects" under the aegis of Academic Staff College of the university here.

Earlier, Dr Jyoti Bhatt, Adviser, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, and Dr Vikram Chadha, Professor of Economics, PU, addressed the gathering.


BCA(I) result today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16
The result of the BCA (I) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April would be declared tomorrow.

Stating this, Dr R.S. Bawa said that the result would be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org, in the evening.


Confusion over Class X syllabus
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 16
Confusion prevails among the students of Class X of different schools in this region affiliated with the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) over the fact that whether their syllabus has been changed for the current academic session or not.

Though students have been making enquiries from their teachers in this regard, they haven’t got any concrete answer.

A section of the Class X students said the change in their syllabus should be clarified as it was a crucial academic year for them.

They said their counterparts in some schools were given new books, while others were studying the earlier books only.

The students said that though the teachers had been saying that the syllabus had changed, they were being taught the old books.

The principal of one of the private schools said that there had been a change in the syllabus of social science and slight change in the syllabus of mathematics.

She said that revised books were still to be distributed as these were still to arrive in the market.

She said the new books on disaster management had already been distributed in some of the schools.

Meanwhile, the parents of these students said though the students had been given new books, they were of some private publication and not of the NCERT unlike the other books of the CBSE.


Varsity stance has students worried
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 16
Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences last week came out with a clarification on prospectus numbers on PMET forms on May 13, following a report in The Tribune, but, it has again left the PMET aspirants puzzled with another clarification about column No. 6 of the application form.

The PMET forms are available in the market for the past over 10 days but the clarification has put those candidates who have appeared in Class XII exams in a tight spot.

The clarification says. “The candidates, who have appeared in 10+2 examination but whose result is yet to be declared are facing difficulties in filling column No.6 of the OMR application for PMET-2005. Such candidates are advised to leave column No. 6 blank.”

This has left thousands of candidates worried. They were awaiting their Class XII result and were told by the university authorities to fill “no” in column 6, which asks a candidate – “whether passed 10+2”.

The column has two options – “yes” and “no”. The students are apprehensive as to whether the university would accept their forms.


Extension of VC’s term lauded
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 16
The Global Punjab Foundation today lauded Amarinder Singh’s decision to give another full term to S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala.

A meeting of the executive of the foundation under the chairmanship of Harjinder Walia appealed to Punjabis residing in different parts of the world to extend financial assistance to the university. The was being used to provide technical education to rural and poor students.

He appealed the government to start vocational and carrier-oriented courses for rural students. In another resolution, the foundation also termed controversy over feature film “Jo Bole So Nihal” as meaningless.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |