P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akali factions ready to accept
Barnala as leader: SAD(L)

Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) and certain rival Akali factions are ready to accept Mr Surjit Singh Barnala as their leader in case he decides to join active politics.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, President, SAD (Longowal), said that Mr Barnala was towering Akali leader with vast experience and hence would be acceptable to all Akali factions except the SAD. At present

Mr Barnala is the Governor of Tamil Nadu. His tenure is likely to conclude soon and rumours are rife about his returning to Akali politics in the state.

Meanwhile various Akali Dal factions are wooing Mr Barnala to assume command of the rival Akali factions to checkmate the Shiromani Akali Dal during the forthcoming general Assembly elections.

Mr Chandumajra said it was the only way to remove all the ills plaguing Akali politics. He said that honest Akali leaders in the SAD were increasingly feeling that their President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had reduced the party to his family affair. The Akali principles of sacrifice and service to humanity had been abandoned by Mr Badal, he added.

Lambasting Mr Badal, Mr Chandumajra said he had failed to play the role of a constructive opponent in the state Assembly. He said Mr Badal did not raise his voice against the “anti-people policies” of the Amarinder Singh government in the Assembly and, in a way, helped the government to implement its plan.

Mr Chandumajra had arrived here to give a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner against the privatisation policies of the present Congress government. He said a democratic government was formed for the welfare of the people. However, Capt Amarinder Singh had forgotten this fact and started selling institutions like hospitals and schools to private entrepreneurs. He said it was the primary duty of the government to provide education and health facilities to the students.

Hitting out at the Amarinder Singh government, the President of SAD (Longowal) said they would not allow the government to privatise other public sector units like sugar mills and the Punjab State Electricity Board.

For this purpose, his party was giving memorandums to the district magistrates of various cities of the state. He said if the government did not relent, they would chalk out the next course of action at their meeting to commemorate the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on August 20.


Delhi cinema blasts a conspiracy: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Describing the bomb blasts in two Delhi cinema houses as a deep- rooted conspiracy to create a divide among the Hindus and the Sikhs, the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the ruling Congress party could be behind such a conspiracy.

Responding to a question asked by a mediaperson, Mr Badal said the “Congress can get such an act performed”. Speaking to the mediapersons after the meeting of the political affairs committee of the party here today, Mr Badal condemned the blasts in strong words.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, Mr Badal said the Congress had been playing games to project the Sikhs as militants. “In the past, the country has paid a heavy price and seen lot of violence because of such policies of the Congress,” he added.

As many as two persons were killed and 50 were hurt in bomb blasts in Delhi’s two cinema houses where the controversial film, “Jo Bole So Nihal” was being screened last night.

“The government should go deep into the matter to expose the conspiracy. Though the Congress has given power to its Sikh leaders but it did not change its policy towards the Sikhs”, he said.

When his attention was drawn towards a statement given a few days ago by the SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, stating that the SGPC knew how to get the screening of film stopped, Mr Badal said the SGPC president had talked about building up the political pressure to stop the film. Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was also present at the press conference, explained that she had talked about an agitation to stop the film and not anything else.

When asked that the director of the film had repeatedly stated that the screening of the film was started only after the clean chit given by the panel set up the Akal Takht, Bibi Jagir Kaur said the Jathedar of the Akal Takht never gave the clean chit.

“The Jathedar after going through the report of the panel had directed us to further examine the issue. In fact, the panel has pointed out certain objectionable scenes in the film,” she added.

The PAC also passed a resolution criticising the Delhi Government for not taking the issue seriously. “If the government had shown its seriousness regarding the controversy about the film and had stopped its screening, the gory incident could have been avoided,” said the PAC resolution, adding that the film should remain off-screen till the objectionable scenes were removed.

The PAC also expressed sympathy with the families of the deceased and those hurt in the blasts. It urged the Delhi Government to give due compensation to the dependents of those killed in the blasts and to provide free treatment to the injured. 


Pak assurance on detained youths: MP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 23
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and BJP chief of the Punjab unit, has said during his recent visit to Pakistan for participating in South Asian Parliament Meet organised by the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), he had taken up the issue relating to the release of Indian youths, languishing in Pakistan jails. He talked to the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Shaukat Aziz, Chief Minister, West Punjab, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Minister of State Interior, Mr Mohmad Wasim Shahjad and Mr Sharif, activist of human rights.

All of them assured him their full cooperation for getting released the Indian prisoners as early as possible. He said according to his information 59 Indian youths, including 17 from Punjab, were languishing in Pakistan jails. He had also met the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan who told him that the process for releasing six youths was in progress. He said the Indian youths were imprisoned in Muchh and Kot Lakhpat jails. As many as 29 prisoners had recently been shifted from Muchh to Kot Lakhpat jail. The process for releasing prisoners was very slow for which lot of time was required.

Mr Khanna, who had visited Pakistan for the first time, was talking to mediapersons at his residence here today, after coming back from the meet.

He said that human traffickers were responsible for the imprisonment of Indian youths who took them to European countries through illegal ways. He had raised this issue in the South Asian Parliament Meet. The delegates had expressed their deep concern over this issue and stressed to constitute a joint forum to deal with such cases.

He pointed out that there were many misunderstandings in the minds of Pakistani nationals, but frequent visits of delegations of both the countries had removed this feeling and had created atmosphere of goodwill between the both sides.

The BJP state chief condemned the dissolution of Bihar Assembly and said a chance should have been given to Mr Nitish Kumar to form the government there.


Durgiana Temple bodies’ split wide open
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 23
The tussle between the Durgiana Temple Management Committee and the Durgiana Educational Foundation, came out in the open with foundation members reacting strongly today to the withdrawal of their representation by officiating Durgiana head yesterday.

Dr D.C. Pandey, Principal of Ayurvedic College, on behalf of the foundation that runs the affairs of Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College, lashed out against Durgiana management committee head Surinder Arjun in a written statement. He said the management had no right to interfere in the affairs of the foundation.

The foundation further said the ‘show-cause’ notice issued to it was unwarranted and uncalled for and, hence, needed no reply, particularly “your threat to initiate strict action”. It urges the temple management to “desist” from using the language as written in the show — cause notice in future”.

A copy of the statement was with The Tribune in which the foundation further claimed that “it was an independent registered corporate body managing and running the ayurvedic college and reports in newspapers of serious allegations, as supporting evidence for initiating action against them, were unsubstantiated”. They said many incriminating news items had been published about the temple management similarly.

Mr Arjun, meanwhile stated that the foundation was “illegal” as it had the normal term of three years but elections of the foundation had been delayed and side-tracked for vested interests for the past six years. This has been done by misleading and violating the norms of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, he alleged.

On issuing show-cause notice to the foundation he stated that the temple management was a parent body that sent seven of its representatives to the 13-member foundation and hence had full right to issue directions.

Yesterday the temple management withdrew the representation of seven of its members from the Durgiana Educational Foundation in view of serious allegations.

Questioning the officiating status of Dr Pandey as Principal of the college after his retirement, Mr Arjun said Dr Pandey had misled the university to continue on the coveted post.


Bereaved parents allege doctor’s negligence
Death of child at Civil Hospital
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 23
Gaurav, alias Raja, a Class II student of a private school, died this morning because of high fever. His parents alleged negligence on the part of doctors treating him.
Shriram, father of the deceased, a resident of the Indira Nagri slum area, said Raja suddenly complained of high fever on Sunday.

A physician of the locality was reportedly reluctant to handle the case. The parents took the boy to a private nursing home on Gaushala Road, but they had insufficient money for his treatment. So they took Gaurav to Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital at 8.30 a.m. today. Shriram alleged that no doctor was available in the emergency ward. Paramedical staff also took lot of time in handling the case. The delay in giving proper treatment proved fatal, he alleged.

Shriram and other relatives said while the hospital start working by 8 a.m. most of doctors were not found in their respective seats by then.

Dr G.R. Garg, SMO, while refuting the allegations, said he himself struggled for 20 minutes to handle this serious case but the parents had already tried to give Gaurav water which was not medically advisable. The boy developed chronic respiratory problem and giving oxygen at this stage was not beneficial.

Agreeing that hundreds of children had been admitted during the last 48 hours in private and civil hospitals with high fever, throat and chest infection, dehydration problems, Dr Garg said the Health Department had already issued an appeal to the people that vegetables should be washed properly before cooking as these had insecticide ad, drinking water should be boiled and cooled in natural way before use.

The children should not be allowed to buy sub-standard eatables and drinks prepared in the market. The department had intensified campaign to check adulterated milk and other products. Samples of drinking water in different localities had also been taken. Those selling cut fruits and rotten vegetables and fruits would be dealt with firmly.

According to information collected by The Tribune, more than 500 children, most of them less than a year old, were under treatment at different nursing homes. Medical experts confirmed that the children suffered from skin infection also besides other water-borne and environmental diseases, reportedly due to insanitation and supply of polluted water for drinking. Sudden variation in temperature and long electricity supply shut down was increasing gravity of the situation, they added.

Some of private nursing homes had no room for new patients. There had been no improvement in general sanitation and disposal of sewerage even though the local MLA expressed his anger at a meeting of senior officers.


Water eruption stalls Mukerian hydel project
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mukerian May 23
Work on the 18 MW hydel power project of the PSEB here is in a jeopardy. The work at the project had come to a standstill due to the eruption of water at the proposed foundation of the power houses in September last year. However, even after about nine months PSEB authorities have failed to stem the flow of water.

According to sources some of the PSEB consultants working on the project have suggested that the site of the power houses should be shifted either up stream or down stream. If the site was shifted the PSEB would have to suffer loss worth Rs 30 crore.

The Chief Engineer, Civil Design and Construction, PSEB, Mr Bhupinder Singh Saberwal, admitted that the work of the project had been hit due to the water eruption from the site where the power houses were to be set up. He told that the PSEB was now consulting the Central Board of Irrigation and Power Engineers in the regard. They have suggested that sinking deep tubewells at the site could solve the problem.

The PSEB would now assess the viability of sinking deep tubewells or shifting the site before moving ahead with any kind of solution.

As per the original design of the project the power houses were to be set up at 220-meter level. However, due to technical reason BHEL, that is to supply turbines for the power houses, demanded that the ground level of power houses should be lowered to 219 meters. The consultants of the project, AHEC Roorkee, however, insisted on further geo-physical and technical investigations in case the level was to be lowered by one metre.

Once a well was created for testing, water started gushing out of it. Tenders were called recently for plugging the flow of water from the area. A company was engaged for the purpose, however, all efforts to plug the flow of water have failed so far.

Experts told The Tribune that it would be difficult to plug the flow of water in the area. The ground water level in the area was at 238 meters. The PSEB authorities, implementing the project, have already gone 20 meters below the ground water level. Now the siphon has been created bringing ground water from the surrounding area into the pit. It would only stop after the ground water in surrounding area recedes.

The project was conceptualised on the Mukerain hydel canal because of two reasons. There was a design fault in the Mukerain hydel canal at the place where it joins the Beas river. Due to excess flow of water in the canal almost every year cracks appeared at the spot where the canal merged with the Beas. The authorities here had to put in stone rakes to control the situation every year. This led to the loss of generation in Mukerain hydel project.

In order to tackle the problem the PSEB authorities decided to build an escape channel and in the process also create an 18 MW powerhouse over it.

The project is, however, likely to be delayed by more than a year due to the problem.


Veteran Communist leader dead
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Avtar Singh Malhotra Chandigarh, May 23
Avtar Singh Malhotra, a veteran comrade, died here this afternoon after a prolonged illness. He was 88. He is survived by his wife, Mrs Gurdev Kaur Malhotra, and son, Dr Shamir Malhotra. Born on April 18, 1917, at Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, Mr Malhotra spent his formative years there.

After passing the MA (English) in first division, which was considered a rare distinction in the 1940s, Mr Malhotra served as lecturer of English in a college at Rawalpindi. He came into contact with the communist movement when he was teaching in the college. He quit his job in 1945 and became the editor of the weekly Jange Azadi.

During partition, he migrated to India and remained in Mumbai for some time. Thereafter he became a wholetimer of the Communist Party and worked to establish party units at Mahendragarh and Ferozepore areas of united Punjab.

He dominated Punjab’s political left for about three decades starting from the 60s. He was elected Secretary of the Communist Party in 1948 and later again he became the Secretary in 1964. He worked along with Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Mr Sat Pal Dang to build the communist movement in this region.

Mr Malhotra contributed a lot to break the back of feudalism in Punjab and struggled hard for getting land ownership rights to” muhajaras” (serfs) in the Malwa belt.

Following division in the party in the late 60s, he remained with the CPI and rebuilt the party from scratch. By 1972, the CPI had emerged as a big political forces in the state, especially in the Malwa belt.

Mr Malhotra, was also a member of the National Executive and national secretariate of the party for a long period.

He had a flair for writing and contributed a lot in newspapers, both in English as well as in Punjabi. He, along with his son and daughter-in-law, stayed in a small two-room flat on the first floor of the CPI office here.

His body will be cremated here tomorrow in the Sector 25 crematorium, according to Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab CPI.


BJP councillor dead
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 23
Mr Satish Narang, a senior BJP councillor, who was hit by motorcyclists outside his house on March 28, breathed his last at a private hospital last night. The cremation took place here this evening.

Mr Narang was admitted to a local private nursing home after the accident. He was referred to Sriganganagar but specialists advised the family to take him to a super-specialty hospital at Ludhiana. Mr Narang had to be operated thrice to remove blood clots from head.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as the body was brought here at 4.30 pm today.

Mr Narang belonged to a family of politicians and social workers. His grand father Buta Ram Narang had defeated Budh Singh Jhamb in first election to the Notified Area Committee formed during the British rule in 1931. His father, Hira Lal Narang, had worked as convener of the Mahabir Dal for decades.

Mr Satish Narang had graduated from the local DAV College. He contested election to the municipal committee in 1979 and recorded victory with heavy margin. Since then he had been contesting elections regularly and could not be defeated even once. He had 26 years career as a councillor. Recently he was elected president of the local Arorvansh Sabha.

Mr Tulsi Ram, president, and senior Congress councillor Mr Vimal Thathai and scores of other Congress workers attended the funeral.

Prof B. L. Rinwa, former state president of the BJP, said the party had lost a sincere and hard working leader.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, said Mr Narang was respected for his political vision and command over issues of public interest. Such workers were rare to come across, he added.


Jhuggis — a threat to thermal plant security
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 23
The restricted area of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) is home to over 500 jhuggis, posing a major threat to the security of the thermal plant where one has to undergo strict security checks before entering.

The jhuggis continue to increase despite the fact that the ADGP (PSEB) had directed the thermal plant authorities to shift the jhuggis to some alternate site outside, fearing security risk three years ago. Understanding the gravity of the situation, a report was also sent to the ADGP (Intelligence), Punjab, and the Chairman of the PSEB.

The thermal plant sources revealed that labourers have built about 400 jhuggis during the construction of the thermal plant few years ago. Subsequently some more workers employed with contractors built huts in the restricted area.

A visit to the thermal plant reveals the sorry state of the security system as not only the labourers employed with contractors have built jhuggis but the labourers of other nearby factories have also been staying here. At least 1,200 labourers are reportedly staying in these jhuggis situated in the various areas of the thermal plant shifting tower, gate 9, main gate, coal handling plant and also near Dyke-stage one. The labourers too face the threat of a dyke breach and fire tragedy. As per records of the thermal plant the ADGP (PSEB) during his visit to the plant on May 2002 pointed out that the jhuggis should be shifted from the main plant area due to security hazards. Thereafter, the then General Manager, Ropar, had constituted a committee which had recommended to provide alternate area to slum dwellers near the cement factory with all basic amenities such as water, electricity, toilets. When contacted the President of the Contractor Worker Union, Mr R.K Tiwari, said that alternate site provided to labourers was not sufficient. Moreover, many of the labourers residing in the jhuggis have completed their 500 days with the Thermal plant but the authorities were not making them permanent. So due to this, the labourers avoided shifting to other place, he added. He also denied the allegation of coal theft and kundi connection by the labourers. Senior officials of the thermal plant when contacted remained tightlipped over the issue. A senior functionary of the thermal plant on the condition of the anonymity revealed that the department concerned of the thermal plant had been issued instruction to shift labourers to alternate site measuring about 3 acres outside the thermal plant. We have promised the labourers to provide the basic amenities such as potable water, toilets, he added. “Our efforts to shift labourers to alternate site did not yield fruitful as the labourers were reluctant.” he added.


Slums sans safe water, sanitation
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, May 23
Slums in Phagwara lack basic civic amenities. These can become a haven for disease-causing germs and bacteria. Conditions around water taps are particularly pathetic as there are no arrangements for the disposal of water from the colonies. Water stagnates here and stinks. Slum dwellers draw drinking water from there and use the same place for bathing and washing of clothes.

Heaps of garbage are strewn outside the colonies but little has been done to improve sanitation. Slum residents throw all garbage at different locations outside slums. The residents are forced to drink water contaminated with garbage, water logging, overflowing gutters and toilets around the taps.

It is learnt that the health authorities have declared water unsafe for drinking.

Despite claims of the local administration to make the township a clean place, nothing has changed and the residents still live in appalling conditions.

A visit to Labour Colony near Industrial Area and Shiv Puri behind the JCT Mills, revealed that people were queued up at taps. Heaps of human excreta and animal dung in stagnant water is a common sight.

Sources say that despite the SDM’s orders to provide safe drinking water, the MC seems to be in no mood to supply it.

It appears the authorities are waiting for the outbreak of some disease.

Officials say that they are drawing up modalities and would soon remove garbage and clear the stagnated water. Officials in the MC said that the main problem is that the MC does not recognise a few of the colonies which are unauthorised.

According to a Labour Colony resident near Industrial Area, Harchand, the problem has been there for the last four months and they have to consume unsafe drinking water.

The condition is worse in Shiv Puri where the garbage is scattered on roadsides and can lead to diseases like cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis, etc. “The conditions are deteriorating and if steps are not taken it might lead to serious consequences,” said Ram Lakhan.


IG for curbing harassment in dowry cases
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 23
The new IG, Ferozepore Range, Mr Rajinder Singh, intends to give some lessons on policing to the DSPs and other police officials. “I would like to guide them just like a teacher with a blackboard on the wall and chalk in my hand,” averred the new IG at a press conference here today.

The IG said the DSPs were an important link between the lower and higher police staff and they should be imparted some on-the-job-training. The IG has also asked the SSPs of all six districts to visit police stations and meet people from different sections of society more often to provide better policing to common people.

To check harassment in dowry cases, the IG said, a dowry case would now be registered only if the police was satisfied with the complaint. He said the police would not register any dowry case blindly without hearing the version of the party against whom the complaint was being lodged. He further stated that an arrest in a dowry case could only be made at SSP-level. He said a dowry case could be withdrawn only with his consent. He told that all these measures were being taken, as in some cases innocent people had to face embarrassment and were even put behind bars. On his plans to curb the inter-state smuggling of drugs, he said he would hold a meeting with the police officials of Haryana and Rajasthan in this regard.

The IG said decline in landholdings and business, marital discords, drug menace, and cases of fraud, had led to the rise in crime. He favoured a positive approach among police personnel to tackle these crimes. Regarding the allegations of torture against the police, the IG said efforts were being made to bring discipline among the police force and if something happens despite instructions those guilty would be dealt with strictly. He said the issue required a comprehensive and multifaceted approach. He admitted that the department was facing staff crunch. He said many posts had been lying vacant due to financial constraints. He advocated the imaginative use of force and said gunmen for private security should be provided from PAP.

On the issue of recovery of unidentified bodies from canals and minors, the IG said proper record of bodies that were consigned to flames due to non-identification should be maintained so that it could be cross checked with the reports of missing persons lodged with the police stations in the neighbouring areas. He said if anybody sought the services of police force for a private function then he would have to pay charges. He said he would ensure optimum utilisation of the police force.

The IG also outlined his plans for the welfare of police personnel and said he would design a mechanism to aid their welfare. He said he would review the cases in which dismissed police personnel had been reinstated.


Fight over compensation amount
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 23
Ms Kiranjit Kaur, a resident of Gill Patti village of this district, is running from pillar to post to get her share of the compensation amount which she was supposed to get after her brother , Kuldeep Singh, a sapper in the Indian Army, was killed by terrorists last year. She is fighting against her own father, Ramji Singh, who has denied her a share in the compensation amount.

According to a press note, Kuldeep Singh was killed in the Kashmir valley by terrorists on August 21, last year. As per the policy of the Centre and the state government, the next of the kin of the deceased are supposed to get the compensation amount, which is about Rs 17,75,000.

Ramji Singh, who was re-married and had two more children from his second wife, wanted the whole compensation amount for himself.

The SDM, Bathinda, sarpanch and panchayat members helped the two parties to reach a compromise but Ramji Singh later backed out from his commitment.

The district administration authorities have again asked the panchayat members of the village to strike a compromise between the two so that the interests of both the parties could be safeguarded. 


Factionalism in Cong to the fore
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 23
With on week left for the appointment of the new Chairman of the Pathankot Improvement Trust (PIT), a race is on between the two warring factions of the Congress here to capture the prestigious post.

The Punjab Government has recently extended the tenure of chairpersons of several trusts, except the Pathankot and Gurdaspur trusts. This has intensified the ongoing factionalism in the Congress circle here.

The front runners are Mr Rajbir Singh, sitting Chairman and Mr Brij Mohan Puri, former Chairman of the trust. Sources revealed that the Congress here is divided into two groups, one headed by Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder and the other headed by Mr Ashwani Kumar, both Rajya Sabha members from Punjab.

Mr Rajbir is reportedly supported by Mr Ashwani Kumar while Mr Puri is supported by Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder. Both candidates claim their nomination to the post on the basis of their previous performance.


Protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur May 23
Farmers led by a former SAD MLA, Mr Kartar Singh Para, today held a rally outside the office of the Improvement Trust, Gurdaspur, against the acquisition of their lands. The farmers sat on a dharna outside the office of the trust and raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

The farmers alleged that they had limited land holding. The land was their only source of livelihood. The Improvement Trust, after acquiring the land would not give them even a part of the actual cost of their land. They threatened to intensify the agitation in case the Improvement Trust went ahead with the acquisition of their land.

The Chairman of the Improvement Trust said in a press release issued here today that the protest was politically motivated. He said that work for the land acquisition in dispute was started in 2000 during the SAD-BJP regime. If the farmers had any grievance regarding the land being acquired they can approach the grievances department of the government, he said.


20 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 23
Twenty persons, including five women, were injured in two accidents here this evening. Sixteen persons were injured when the Tata Sumo in which they were travelling collided head-on with a truck near Thalikalna village, about 10 km from here. They were on their way to Ludhiana after visiting the Baba Balak Nath temple in Himachal Pradesh. 

The injured - Ranjit Singh, Badan Singh, Hukum Singh, Sikander Singh, Malkiat Singh, Sukhinder Singh, Balbir Singh, Rajinder Singh, Buta Singh, Balbir Kaur, Amritpal, Manjit Kaur, Khushi Singh and Kunshpal - hail from Chamnd village in Ludhiana. They have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

In another accident, four persons, including an eight-year-old girl, were injured when the Tata Sumo carrying them rolled down up to 15 feet alongside Sirhind Canal. The injured - Suman, Ritu, Pushpa and Diya - hail from Barnala village.

They were returning from the Naina Devi temple. They have been admitted to the Civil Hospital.


Workshop on AIDS
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
A workshop on HIV/AIDS — train the trainers programme” for nurses and laboratory technicians organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Australia India Council (AIC) opened here today.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the workshop, Mr K.S. Kang, Municipal Commissioner observed that religious institutions could play a big role in advising the people to adopt the rightlife style and help patients to get the proper treatment even if they were infected by the HIV/AIDS. 


Water samples collected
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 23
After the case of five persons suffering from diarrhoea of the same family at Katli village came to light, a team of the doctors today visited the village and distributed medicines among more than 100 residents. One of boys of the abovesaid family had died two days ago at a private hospital. Besides, more than 10 cases of diarrhoea have also been reported to the Civil and private hospital in Ropar.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, said water samples from various water sources of Katli village have been collected in this connection.

She said most of the villagers were getting unpotable water from hand-pumps which were only 15 feet down.


Artificial limbs to be given on May 31

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
Handicapped children between three and 14 years of age, who were identified under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan scheme by the Social Security Department in collaboration with Manufacturing Corporation of India, will get free artificial limbs on May 31.
The children would be given the artificial limbs and other material at Government. High School (Sirhind City) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., District Education Officer (S) said . OC


HC Judge inspects Ropar court
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 23
Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohantee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today inspected the functioning of various courts under the Ropar district court.

Earlier, Justice Mohantee interacted with various officials, including judicial officers, ADC (General), Mr Surjit Singh, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, SDM, G.S Ghuman, and members of the Ropar district Court Bar Association in the canal rest house.


Jalandhar farmers to sell potatoes to Europe
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 23
Farmers from Jalandhar and its satellite towns will soon start cultivating potatoes for selling the crop to European countries by the year end. As many as 50 progressive potato growers from the region are being registered for the purpose under a newly launched project that aims to export 10,000 tonnes of the crop by winter this year.

The Chief Manager of Markfed, Mr H.B.S. Sandhu, said this during an interview with The Tribune here today. He was here to address the potato growers during a seminar held at Agriculture Co-operative Staff Training Institute.

Mr Sandhu said the project would fetch a good price for the farmers as potatoes would reach the European countries at a time when these countries are unable to produce the crop. He said while farmers of this region start harvesting the crop from December onwards, potato growers in European countries end their sale before that time.

Mr Sandhu said while Markfed would be the nodal agency for the project, various other agro-industries like the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Agricultural Producer and Export Development Agency (APEDA) and FoodCert India Pvt Ltd, were also involved with a purpose of imparting training, giving technical know-how and auditing the farming practices of the growers, respectively.

The Chief Manager said the farmers of the region were finding it hard to market their produce but the project would assist them in entering a new arena of trade. He said since the European countries were very strict with the selection of the crop and agricultural practices followed by the farmers, the potato growers would have to meet the EUREPGAP standards by refraining from the use of pesticides and fertilisers for cultivating the crop.

Mr Sandhu said the Markfed and APEDA had joined hands to set up a Rs 7-crore multi-utility cold storage at Dhandari Kalan dry port that will be open by March. He said the storage unit would assist in the export of other crops like cauliflower and litchi to countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan.


Wheat procurement fall short of target
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 23
Wheat procurement in Punjab has fallen short of about three lakh tonnes this year compared with the arrivals of wheat last year. The mandis have received as many as 92.28 lakh tonnes of wheat so far against 94.61 lakh tonnes of the last year. The total wheat production during the last year was 95 lakh tonnes. The authorities of the state food supplies department hope that the total procurement of wheat will be less than 93 lakh tonnes this year. The daily wheat arrivals have dwindled to 8000 tonnes.

The authorities are not in a position to say what are the reasons for the shortfall in wheat production. But the agriculture experts feel that prolonged winter resulted in the late maturity of the wheat crop and resulted in less production.

The border districts of the state have witnessed fall in the wheat production as 55,000 tonnes of wheat was less in Amritsar, 45,000 tonnes in Ferozepur and Gurdaspur has seen the maximum fall of 1.25 lakh tonnes this year.

The agency wise procurement of wheat was as under-Pungrain 10.79 lakh tonnes, markfed 24.30 lakh tonnes, Punsup 19.42 lakh tonnes, Punjab state warehousing corporation 10.37 lakh tonnes and Punjab agro 10.72 lakh tonnes. FCI purchased 14.25 lakh tonnes which was 15.9 per cent of the total wheat procured in the state.

The movement of wheat and rice have been quite fast from Punjab and entire stocks of wheat of last year have been cleared. Even some stocks of fresh wheat purchased this year have also been moved out to deficit states.

In view of the shortfall in wheat production, there is no possibility of export of wheat taking place.


Cop suspended for ‘torturing’ farmer
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 23
The in charge of Bargadi police post, Mr Harpreet Singh, has been suspended for the alleged torture of a farmer belonging to Dhilwan Kalan village.
Sources said the Bargadi post in charge and some other cops stopped Gurmit Singh when he was heading towards his fields on Saturday morning.

They reportedly started thrashing him without any reason. When his father reached the spot and resisted the policemen’s assault, he was also allegedly manhandled.

Gurmit Singh alleged that he was again beaten up at the police post and was released after calling some villagers there. He was then rushed to a government hospital. He said that he had a land dispute with his uncle and Harpreet Singh was one of his uncle’s relatives.

The SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui, said prima facie it was a case of manhandling a person without any reason. He said a departmental inquiry had been initiated against Harpreet Singh.


Gang of women thieves busted, one arrested
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 23
The local police today arrested Chhinder Kaur (45) who is allegedly involved in several incidents of theft in Batala and its adjoining areas. However, her two women accomplices escaped at the time of a raid by the police party.

Dr Jitendra Kumar Jain, chief of Batala police district, told mediapersons here this evening that gold and silver ornaments, besides cash had been taken into possession by the Batala police party headed by Mr Swaran Singh, SHO, Civil Lines, from Chhinder Kaur, wife of Mr Kashmir Singh, a resident of Thickriwal village under Qadian police station.

Dr Jain further said that a group of women, headed by Chhinder Kaur, had been involved in incidents of theft in Batala and its adjoining areas in the past also. Other members of the gang included Ratti, wife of Mr Tarsem Mashi, a resident of Ahmedabad village, police station Sadar Batala, and Biri, wife of Mr Sucha Masih, a resident of Sanghar village, police station Dhariwal.

Mr Swaran Singh SHO, Civil Lines police station, along with his team chased these women on the basis of confirmed information that they were on the run with looted goods in their possession. The police party arrested Chhinder Kaur while the other two managed to escape.

A case has been registered against Chhinder Kaur under Sections 411, 34 of the IPC at the Civil Lines police station here.


Firm dupes farmer, depositors of Rs 10 cr
Four partners on the run
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
A commission agent firm of Sirhind Mandi has duped scores of farmers, traders, commission agents and private depositors of allegedly more than Rs 10 crore. All four partners of the firm have escaped along with their families and locked their residences.

Affected depositors and farmers today complained to the SSP in this regard but to their surprise the SSP told them that three of the four partners had already complained to him against the fourth partner, alleging that he had escaped after taking approximately Rs 50 lakh of the firm. The SSP has deputed the SHO, Sirhind, to investigate.

According to information, the firm, M/s Punjab Traders, Sirhind, and its sister concern M/s Sahib Traders Peerjain have four partners Mr Prem Sagar his son Yashpal and Mr Jaswant Singh, all residents of Sirhind and Mr Tarsem Lal of Chanarthal. They were into the business of commission agents and rice mill since 1983. On May 13 one of the partners of the firm, Jaswant Singh, fled along with his family after locking his house at Dashmesh Colony. The news spread like fire in the area and the depositors started thronging the residence and shops of the other partners.

Sensing trouble the three other partners, Prem Sagar, Yash Pal and Tarsem Lal, lodged a complaint with the SSP, alleging that Jaswant Singh had escaped along with his family since May 13 by taking Rs 48, 98,000, chequebooks, account books and other documents.

Interestingly, just after lodging the complaint the other there along with their families also fled after locking their residences.

Farmers of Kotla Fazil, Balhari Kalan, Manupur, Dheerpur, Kotla Bajwara Nabipur, Sidhupur, Jalbehra, Mehmadpur, Sanipur, Peerjain, Dufehra and so many other villages have yet to get the payments against wheat and paddy sold through this firm. Farmers said they had been getting interest on their deposits @ 2 per cent month and lust for high rate of interest became the cause of more and more people falling in their trap.


Arrested for raping married woman
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 23
Three persons have been arrested for raping a married woman at Aklian village on May 17 night.
Police sources said the victim, in her complaint, stated that she had gone to see her parents at Aklian village where she fell sick.

She alleged that when she had gone to fields on May 17 night, three men grabbed her forcibly and took her to a vacant house nearby and raped her. They set her free at 4 in the morning.

On the basis of her complaint, the police had registered a case against Jagsir Singh, Dharminder Singh and Jagjit Singh, under Sections 376, 341, 323, and 34 of the IPC at Dayalpura police station. All the three accused have been sent to judicial remand till June 6.

Meanwhile, in another case, the Baliawali police has arrested Raja Singh for eloping with a village girl. The girl’s mother, Hardev Kaur, had lodged a complaint in this connection. The police had registered a case against him under Sections 363, 366, 376, and 120-B of the IPC.

The police has also recovered the complainant’s daughter who was found pregnant during a medical examination. She said that she got married with Raja. She has been sent to Nari Niketan, Jalandhar.


Two nabbed for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
In two different cases, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau today nabbed a Deputy Director in the Department of Industries and an Inspector-cum-Salesman of Markfed while they were allegedly accepting and demanding bribe.

A spokesman said Deputy Director Delar Singh, posted at Moga, was nabbed red-handed while demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 2200 from complainant Nar Singh of Ferozepore district for favouring him in an inspection case.

After the search of his house at Moga, Rs 3 lakh was recovered by the team. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the accused. Further investigation was under progress.

In another case, an Inspector-cum-salesman of Markfed Gurcharan Singh was allegedly nabbed red- handed demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 1500 from complainant Gur-baksh Singh, a commission agent.


DSP caught stealing power
No FIR registered
Chander Parkash and Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 23
They are meant to be the custodians of the law. But in this case a senior cop Punjab Police was caught red-handed by the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities for grossly misusing the law while indulging in theft of power at his government house at Patiala.

DSP P.S. Gill, at present posted at Dhuri, 50 km from here, was found to be stealing power at his official residence. An inmate of 50-E, Model town, the DSP was allegedly consuming a load of 12 kv of energy instead of the sanctioned load of 6 kv. A team of the board’s enforcement wing raided his residence this evening and found that the cop was using three air conditioners and many more electrical appliances, the load of which was much above the sanctioned load.

As if this was not enough, Mr Gill was also found to be indulging in yet another crime by directly tapping the meter which, in local parlance, means that the cop was using a ‘kundi connection’ to fulfil his energy needs.

The enforcement wing team, after conducting a preliminary assessment, fined Mr Gill an amount of Rs 31,000. Moreover, the board has also recommended to the authorities concerned the registration of an FIR at the Civil Lines police station. The team immediately disconnected the power supply to the residence of the cop who, while trying to bend the law a bit too much, found himself wrong-footed.

The board management has also written to the Punjab Police to take disciplinary action against the erring official.

Meanwhile, a board spokesman said that the management would be launching a vigorous drive to check cases of energy theft and added that many more cases would come to light in the next few days.

Meanwhile, till the filing of the report, and contrary to the board management’s claims, an FIR was yet to be registered against Mr Gill.


Body of unidentified woman found in forest
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 23
The police has recovered the body of a woman in the Dhar forest today.
Sources available here said that the body was found in a highly decomposed state. The police was informed about the dead body by the locals who first spotted it due to the stench emanating from it.

The head of the deceased was covered with a cloth bag. Police sources said that there was no report of missing woman from the Dhar area. From the circumstantial evidence, it seemed that the woman was murdered and her body thrown in the forest.

The post-mortem on the body was performed at the Civil Hospital, Pathankot. Later it was handed over to the Municipal Council for cremation as an unidentified body.


Bid to abduct girl; 2 injured
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 23
Two members of a family were injured when they tried to rescue a girl from the clutches of three alleged abductors near Mughal Sarai village, near here, today.
According to sources, Ms Gurpal Kaur and her son Mr Jasbir Singh, residents of Mughal Sarai locality, were attacked by Sikandra Singh alias Gabbar, Jarnail Singh, Lala and Popal of the same locality.

The problem started when the abductors tried to abduct Ms Manpreet Kaur’s teenaged daughter in the area this afternoon. The abductors allegedly forced the girl to inhale some intoxicants and made her unconscious. They picked her up and while were carrying to some remote area, her brother Mr Jasbir Singh, suddenly appeared from the opposite direction.

After recognising his sister, Mr Jasbir Singh called for help, following which residents of the area and his mother reached the spot. The abductors allegedly assaulted the two with sharp-edged weapons and escaped from the scene.

The police has registered a case against Sikandra Singh alias Gabbar, Jarnail Singh, Lala and Popal, but no arrest has been made as yet.


Rs 4 lakh looted from bank cashier
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 23
Three scooter-borne armed men today looted Rs 4 lakh in broad daylight from the head cashier of Allahabad Bank at the Manuke village bus stand.
Sources said head cashier Charan Das had brought the amount from the Moga branch of the bank. He had boarded a bus from Moga to Manuke.

The robbers were reportedly following him. As soon as he alighted from the bus, the robbers confronted him and took away the bag containing cash at gunpoint.

The police has sealed the area to nab the culprits. The Bahgapurana police has registered a case of robbery against unidentified robbers.


Deputy Director held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 23
The Vigilance caught the Deputy Director, Factory, Daler Singh, red-handed while accepting bribe from a cold store owner at Dala village, near here today.
Sources said the Deputy Director used to recover monthly payment from the factory owners.

But today his luck ran out of favour as the Vigilance nabbed him when he was taking a bribe of Rs 2,200 from Nar Singh, owner of Gagan Cold Store, at Dala village.

The Vigilance DSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh Sidhu, told that Rs 3 lakh was also recovered from his home. A case has been registered.


14 gamblers, satta operators arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 23
As many as 14 gamblers and satta operators were arrested yesterday and Rs 8500 were seized, according to the police. A joint raid by city and sadar police force headed by SHOs Nirmal Singh and Lehmber Singh was conducted at bus stand, maal godam railway road, area opposite JCT Mill and Hoshiarpur road. A case under Sections 13A-3-67 and Gambling Act has been registered.


Ropar girls top in Class XII exam
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 23
Sheena Jain of the non-medical group and Sarabjot Kaur of the medical group, both Class XII students of Shiwalik Public School, Ropar, have stood first in the CBSE exams held in the district.

Sheena Jain scored 93.4 per cent while Sarbjot Kaur scored 90.2 per cent, said the Principal of the school, Ms Gurpreet Mathur, here this evening. Giving the details, she said Sheena secured 467 marks while Sarabjot Kaur scored 451 marks out of 500. Earlier, Sheena Jain had stood first in Class Xth in the state, she added.

Elated Sheena told Chandigarh Tribune that she wanted to become an engineer.

She has cleared IIt’s preliminary examination and was waiting for mains result. She said it’s time management which helps in scoring good marks instead of how much time you devote.

Besides hard work, teachers and my family contributed a lot for me to get succeed.

“I never attended tuition classes. I have scored as I thoroughly studied the subjects in a planned manner”, she added. Sarabjot Kaur said, “I believe in God and studied hard. I wanted to become a doctor. I have appeared in medical entrance test and waiting for its result to be declared.

Besides hard work, you need good planning to score good marks. My parents and teachers motivated me to achieve success”.

Another student of the school, Sonia Aggarwal, scored 91 per cent marks in commerce.

Sonia said she wants to become a Charted Accountant.


Entrance test dates changed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has changed the dates of entrance tests for some courses as these clashed with the date of the BEd entrance test to be conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh, on June 22. However, there will be no change in time and venue of the tests.

The test for admission to MA (English) has been advanced to June 21, while the test for MSc (mathematics) and MSc (statistics) will be held on June 23.

The tests for MSc (botany), MSc (honours school) in human genetics, MSc (human genetics), MSc (microbiology), MSc (fermentation and microbial technology), MSc (molecular biology and biochemistry) and MSc (zoology) have been rescheduled from June 22 to 24.

The tests for MA (Sanskrit), BPEd and MPEd courses will be conducted on June 27 instead of June 22, according to a university press note.


US Embassy team visits school for space project
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 23
A two-member team from the American Embassy visited the Budha Dal Public School to give a presentation on Mars Rover, a space project.
The team comprised of Mrs Robin D’elo, First Secretary (Cultural Affairs) and Mr Ramesh Jain, Cultural Affairs Manager of the embassy.

A warm welcome was accorded to the guests by the president of the school Baba Udey Singh and the Principal, Mrs Amrit Aujla.

To mark the occasion, a movie, produced by Ms Donna Shirley based on the Mars Rover project, was shown to the students.

While addressing the students, Mrs Robin D’elo spoke on the status of women in India and motivated girl students to regularly take part in aeronautical space research programmes.

The students, on their part, gave a presentation on Space Design Settlements Project which had topics ranging from safe landing on the moon to food and health.


B.Tech course redesigned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Guru Nanak Dev University upgraded its four-year course of B.Tech (sugar technology) to B.Tech (sugar and alcohol technology) from current academic session. This course is being run under the Department of Applied Chemical Sciences and Technology.

Following demands from the industry, the university redesigned the course to sugar and alcohol technology with specialisation in sugar-alcohol-electricity (co-generation).

The university is the only institution having B.Tech (sugar technology) four-year degree course approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in the country.

Mr Harkamaljit Singh, department head, said Plus Two (non-medical) candidates with 50 per cent marks from the Punjab School Education Board or equivalent from any other recognised board could seek admission in this course.

He claimed that many course students have found placements in sugar mills of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and other states and its upgradation would further boost scope of job opportunities.

The admission to this course is on merit based on an all-India entrance test to be conducted by the university on June 24 in physics, chemistry and mathematics of plus two level. Desirous candidates could submit their application forms till June 10.


GND varsity allows for computer science 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Guru Nanak Dev University has allowed students of Shaheed Ram Singh Pathania Memorial College at Niari in Gurdaspur district to take admission to the BA degree course and choose computer science as one of the elective subjects during the academic session of 2005-06.

The college is managed by the university and imparting education at the degree level (BA) to residents of Dhar Kalan block in Gurdaspur district. The admission process for the current academic session has already started. 


GND varsity JET (UG) on June 14
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Guru Nanak Dev University will hold a joint entrance test for admission to undergraduate science courses on June 14. The last date for submission of application forms is June 2.

Prof Sukhdev Singh, Coordinator, JET (UG) Sciences-2005, said the entrance test would be held for admission to B. pharmacy (4-year), BSc (honours achool), 3-year course in botany, chemistry, human genetics, physics and BSc (3-year) in industrial microbiology for 2005-06.


Akhil tops BSc-II (IT) exam
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Akhil Magotra of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, has topped the BSc-II (IT) examination. He has secured 1213 out of 1700 marks, while Rajvir Kaur Sangha of KMV, Jalandhar, got the second position in the merit list by getting 1207 marks. The results were declared here today, which were available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org.
As many as 225 candidates appeared for the examination, of them 164 were declared successful.


Handerson’s CBSE stars

Kharar, May 23
Manik Riar of Handerson Jubilee School in Kharar has topped the school in the CBSE Class XII examination in the medical stream. Jasmine of the same school scored 76 per cent marks while Ishwinder Singh and Shehnaz both got 75 per cent marks. Amandeep Singh Sandhu of the school scored 70.8 per cent marks in the non-medical stream followed by Manpreet and Yogita Sharma. TNS


Phagwara boy tops in PTU exam
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, May 23
Vishal Dhir, a student of the Lovely Institute of Technology, Phagwara, stood first in the first semester of Punjab Technical University’s B.Tech (electronics and telecommunication) course, securing 589 marks out of 650.


Rice millers to support Saini for presidentship
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
The District Rice Millers Association at its meeting held here today decided to support the candidature of Mr Tarsem Saini, president of Punjab Rice Millers Association, in the elections to be held for the post of president of the association for 2005-2007.

All rice millers of Sirhind, Bassi Pathana, Khamano, Amloh, Mandi Gobindgarh and surrounding areas participated in the meeting. Mr Tarsem Saini, also attended the meeting.

In his address he highlighted the achievements of the association during his tenure as the president.

Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, district unit president, Mr Nakesh Jindal secretary, Mr Bahadur Singh, former president, Mr Vijay Verma Chairman, Mr Vinod Kumar and Mr Surjit Singh Sahi also addressed the meeting.

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