P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Jathedar Vedanti refuses to step down
SGPC convenes emergency session for May 31
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 24
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has ruled out the possibility of his stepping down as Jathedar Akal Takht as sought by certain Sikh organisations following controversy over “Jo Bole So Nihaal”.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Jathedar Vedanti alleged that the Sikh organisations including Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat were “rootless” bodies and hence did not have any moral right to demand resignation of a Sikh clergy. He claimed that he had not given a “clean chit” to the controversial Hindi film “Jo Bole So Nihal” as claimed by such organisations. He alleged that his name was unnecessarily being dragged into the unsavoury controversy. He clarified that he was not satisfied with the report of the panel constituted by Akal Takht and hence he had directed the SGPC to review the same by constituting yet another committee. Jathedar Vedanti said he was satisfied with the second report of the SGPC panel and supported the demand of immediate withdrawal of the film from theatres.

Jathedar Vedanti has described the twin blasts in two theatres of New Delhi a “most unfortunate incident”. He alleged that the incident might be the handiwork of certain forces which wanted to defame the Sikh community.

Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, has absolved Jathedar Vedanti of the charges for showing any favour to the producer and the director of the film. She said the SGPC had formed the second committee on the direction of Jathedar, Akal Takht, which recommended immediate withdrawal of the film. She said the emergency meeting of SGPC general house had been convened at Teja Singh Samundari Hall here for May 31 to discuss the alleged conspiracies being hatched by the Congress government to defame the SGPC and Sikh institutions. She said the main agenda of the forthcoming meeting would be direct interference of the government in Sikh affairs.

The SGPC chief has also sent a communication to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, for seeking time from him to discuss the current Panthic issues. She said the SGPC would take up the issue of a “ban on turban” in France school and move to form separate gurdwara committee for Haryana Sikh shrines.


Stand-off between temple foundation,
panel intensifies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 24
The standoff between the Durgiana Temple Management Committee and the Durgiana Education Foundation intensified today with the former telling the foundation to hold immediate elections to its body.

The Durgiana Education Foundation manages the affairs of Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Mr Santosh Gupta, foundation president, may resign following the tussle between the two temple bodies. This was communicated through a close family member of Mr Gupta to this correspondent today.

Mr Surinder Arjun officiating president, temple management in a communication addressed to the foundation secretary, Mr Om Parkash Aggarwal, today directed him to held the elections immediately.

“Following the withdrawal of seven members from a total of 13 members, the foundation has become irrelevant and will be operating illegally. Hence it was imperative to hold elections to the foundations that have been pending for the last six years,” he stated. Mr Aggarwal could not be contacted for his version.

Mr Arjun alleged that reports of misuse of funds were received against the foundation. He stated that it was strange that the foundation was not sending balance sheets and accounts to the parent office i.e. Durgiana management as had been the practice. Amount running into lakhs were collected as donations to fill NRI seats in the college.

However, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, former Health Minister, and a prominent member in the foundation lashed out at Mr Arjun and said he had no locus standi to pass direction of withdrawal of representation to seven members of foundation in the capacity of “officiating” president of temple management.

“We would not brook any interference in the independent character of the registered corporate body (foundation) that is managing and running the Ayurvedic college, from a person who does not have any “right” or “authority” to issue such directions”, he added.


Over 100 trees felled
Bid to grab school land
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur May 24
At least 100 eucalyptus trees have been felled illegally from the land of Government Senior Secondary School in Lamini, near Pathankot, by certain local landlords. Sources said the trees had been felled in an effort to grab school land.

When The Tribune team visited the spot the entire wood of the cut trees had been removed from the spot. Only the lower stem and roots of the uprooted trees could be spotted in the ground. Efforts were also being made allegedly by the landlords to bring the land, from which trees were cut, under cultivation.

The sources in the government school who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the total land of the school was about 40 acre. However, such a large area could not be brought under the school boundary. So, some school teachers planted eucalyptus and other trees on the landoutside the school boundary.

However, sometime ago a road was laid in the school land. The road divided the school land into two portions. The school land across the road attracted the land grabbers. They slowly started felling the trees planted on the school land. As of today almost all over 10-year-old eucalyptus and other trees from the school land has been felled and carried away.

Interesting, none of the school authorities objected to or complained against the felling of trees from the school land. The sources also indicated the connivance of the school authorities and local politicians in allowing the land grabbers to fell trees and take control of the government school land. The cost of the felled trees in the open market was said to be about Rs 2 lakh.

The Principal of the school was not available for comments despite repeated efforts to contact him on phone. The attendants at his office told that he was away to Gurdaspur for a meeting with the District Education Officer.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, when contacted, however, assured to look into the matter. He told that the SDM, Pathankot, would be directed to go to the spot to verify the facts.


Fake currency worth Rs 11 lakh seized; 5 held
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 24
Customs officials yesterday arrested three Indians and two Pakistanis and seized a fake currency worth Rs 11 lakh from them. On a tip-off, the Customs officials seized Rs 4.75 lakh that was concealed in four bags at the Attari railway station.

The bags were detained for recovery of customs dues. They belonged to Mohammad Imrat, a resident of Rajasthan, who had arrived on the Samjhauta Express a few days ago.

The notes were in the denomination of Rs 500. The officials also recovered fabrics worth Rs 24,000 along with the currency.

The Commissioner, Mr D.P. Singh, said during investigation Mohammad revealed that Sadiq Hussain had given him the money for payment of custom duty.

He added that Mohammad had admitted that he was supposed to deliver these bags in New Delhi. He said Sadiq Hussain, who was also arrested, admitted that he was supposed to deliver the currency to a person in New Delhi.

Based on the information provided by Sadiq, the Customs officers seized Rs 4.25 lakh from Mehboob. Mehboob during interrogation said a woman in Lahore handed over these bags containing fake currency to him. He added that these notes were supposed to deliver to another woman in New Delhi.

The Additional Commissioner, Mr P.S. Sodhi, said this was the third consignment seized by the Customs during this month. He said that the department had sounded a red alert and were taking extra precautions in view of the huge inflow of fake Indian currency.

All the five accused were produced this evening before a Judicial Magistrate securing their remand.

Mr D.P. Singh said after the stepped-up vigil in view of the arrival of fake Indian currency, the customs officials arrested two members of Pakistani jatha, who were found carrying fake Indian currency to the tune of Rs 2 lakh.


California panel to visit Punjab
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 24
Realising that a large number of non-Americans, mostly from South-East Asia and Mexico, settled in California are unable to afford costly houses, the California State Commission for Agriculture, Worker Health and Housing has decided to urge the California government to partly fund houses for such immigrants.

The commission has also decided to chalk out a mutual exchange of technical know-how between California and Punjab to lower the chemical content of ground water caused by pesticides. Three members of the commission are planning to tour Punjab to hold talks with officials of the agriculture department soon.

This was stated by Mr Nazar Singh Kooner, the first Sikh to be nominated as a member of the California state commission.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone, Mr Kooner, who hails from Kot Gangu Rai village in Ludhiana district, said: “There are two major problems of immigrants in California — costly accommodation and ground water pollution. As far as contamination of ground water is concerned, there is hardly any difference between farmers of Punjab and California as they resort to overdose of pesticides.”

He said the newly constituted 10-member commission would not only educate farmers and farm workers of California, but also ensure proper implementation of the existing guidelines.

“We will talk to the Punjab Agriculture Minister and officers of the agriculture department to find out how both the states could help each other in controlling the chemical content in ground water,” said Mr Kooner.


Bibi’s statements led to blasts, says Khaira
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
In a counter-attack on Akalis and the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, the general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, said today the “provocative” statements made by the SGPC chief on the film issue were mainly responsible for the bomb blasts in two cinema houses in Delhi.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Khaira, who asserted that the PPCC had authorised him to speak on behalf of the party, alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur instigated people to stop the screening of the film and it resulted in the blasts. Her allegation that the Congress was responsible for the blasts were baseless and malicious. The SAD leadership, which failed to achieve anything during NDA rule at the Centre and SAD-BJP rule in Punjab, was looking desperately for issues which it could raise. It created one by starting the film controversy and another by opposing the creation of a separate gurdwara management committee in Haryana.

“Akali leaders and the SGPC chief created a volatile situation by their statements on the film issue”, he said. Within three days of hard-hitting statements on the issue by Bibi Jagir Kaur, the bomb blasts occurred in Delhi.

In a democratic set-up there was always place for protest on any issue, but Bibi Jagir Kaur opted for the confrontational path on the film issue. “ To blame the Congress for the bomb blasts was a most deplorable action on the part of the SAD and Bibi Jagir Kaur”, he added.

Talking about his party’s stand on the film issue, Mr Khaira said that the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, had already stated that the objectionable scenes should be removed from the film. But at the same time the SGPC chief should also think about the code of conduct laid down by her for film artistes. “ With her narrow and communal vision, Bibi Jagir Kaur had virtually eliminated all possibilities for artistes to play Sikh characters and even to glorify the contribution of Sikhs to the freedom struggle and in the post-Independence period”, he said.

Mr Khaira said there was nothing wrong in the setting up of a separate gurdwara management committee by the Haryana Government. “ It is being done on the demand of a majority of the elected members of the SGPC in Haryana”, he added.


Police officials flouting rules for personal favours
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Gangs of criminals are not the only ones giving the Punjab police authorities a headache. Cases of insubordination are fast becoming another cause of worry for the officers.

Even though the rules debar junior police officers from forwarding representations in writing, many constables and head constables are seeking postings and transfers, besides other favours, by submitting applications to senior officers. Worse, most of the representations are not routed through the proper channel.

In fact, some of the officials are getting their pleas forwarded and recommended from their immediate seniors, or from officers posted in other departments, even though the matter was not within their jurisdiction.

Taking a serious view of the matter, Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP) Lalit Bhatia — in charge of the Punjab State Electricity Board’s vigilance headquarters — has reportedly asked the authorities concerned to ensure that applications, not received through the proper channel and in violation of the rules, are not sent to his office.

Sources in the Punjab police headquarters claim that a petition addressed by a head constable, with the 82 Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police, triggered the reaction.

The petition, seeking deputation with the PSEB’s vigilance headquarters, was reportedly forwarded by the office of the Punjab Director-General of Police after being recommended by a sub-inspector. The sources describe the letter as a “violation of the rules and administrative propriety”.

They add that Mr Bhatia has already sent a “strongly worded” communication in this regard to the DGP’s office in Chandigarh. Copies of the letter have been forwarded to the PAP’s Additional DGP and Inspector-General of Police.

Giving details of the letter, the sources say Mr Bhatia has asserted that the controlling officers are apparently not aware of the activities of police personnel under their command.

He has also asked for an explanation as to how an application addressed to the PSEB reached the DGP’s office and how it was entertained. The DGP’s office has not cared to take into consideration the relevant aspects of the matter and the rules.

Recommending strict disciplinary action against the head constable and the sub-inspector, Mr Bhatia has asserted that he should be intimated about the same.

Mr Bhatia, when contacted, admitted that a letter had been written by him but refused to give details. Mr Bhatia added that he had received a number of petitions in a similar manner. “A devious approach in managing transfers and postings will not be tolerated,” he concluded.


Torture case: inquiry holds three policemen guilty
Chander Parkash and Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, May 24
The magisterial inquiry, ordered by the Deputy Commissioner after reports surfaced that a brickkiln labourer was tortured by cops a fortnight ago, has indicted three police officials of the Patiala police.

The inquiry report was submitted to the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, today who confirmed its receipt in his office. He added that departmental proceedings have been initiated against the guilty cops and they could even face dismissal from service.

The SSP disclosed that the inquiry report has found Sharanjit Singh, the then SHO of the Sadar police station who was transferred to the police lines once the case was highlighted in the media, Satnam Singh, chowki incharge of the Sanaur police post, and Bhagwan Singh, ASI, guilty of inflicting torture on 17-year-old Reshma.

While Sharanjit Singh was handed over the transfer orders and was replaced by Mr Manjit Singh Brar as SHO (Sadar), show cause notices were given to both Bhagwan Singh and Satnam Singh.

Reshma was picked up by the local police from a village, falling in Bhunerheri block of this district, a fortnight ago on the plea that the cops wanted to question her in connection with the murder of her elder sister Kamla.

At that time, the SHO, Sharanjit Singh, had pleaded innocence in the case and had even gone on record as saying that Reshma was brought to the police station only for questioning and that the minor was never tortured.

The minor, on her part, had alleged that the cops had applied current on her private parts.

The issue had threatened to snowball into a major controversy and the fact that the torture had occurred in the CM’s Assembly segment only made things worse for the local police.

Some political parties, including the local units of the BJP and the Bahujan Samaj Party, had jumped into the fray and had even organised protest rallies against the police in front of the Rajindera Hospital where Reshma was admitted for treatment.

As things started hotting up, a magisterial inquiry was ordered into the entire incident and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, asked the GA, Ms Poonamdeep Kaur, to conduct the proceedings.


Minister lays foundation stones
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 24
The Punjab Government has embarked upon various schemes for the developmental of urban areas in the state for which Rs 800 crore would be spent during this financial year.

This was stated by Chowdhry Jagjit Singh, Local Government, Labour and Employment Minister, who was here to lay the foundation stone of a sewerage. The minister said under the new proposal drawn by the state government, all class ‘A’ municipal bodies would contribute 30 per cent of the total cost to be incurred on any water supply and sewerage disposal project. Whereas class ‘B’ and ‘C’ would contribute 20 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, towards the total cost of any such project. The rest of the amount would be contributed by the government.

He said all municipal bodies had been instructed to explore the possible ways and means to generate more revenue and at the same time reduce wasteful expenditures, if any. He said the bodies were responsible fore providing basic amenities in their respective areas and the government was providing all sorts of financial assistance out of the Urban Development fund.

Answering to a query regarding the proposal of abolition of octroi in the state, Chowdhry Jagjit Singh said the government was studying the proposal, but first alternative arrangements for generating Rs 700 crore, currently being earned from octroi, had to be worked out.

Earlier, the minister laid the foundation stone of a park to be constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh and inaugurated the building of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Shopping Complex at Zira. He handed over a cheque for Rs 26 lakh to the president, Municipal Council, Zira, and another cheque for Rs 35 lakh to the president, Municipal Committee, Ferozepore City, for developmental projects.

The minister said Rs 155 lakh was required for providing clean potable water supply and Rs 220 lakh for laying sewerage in remaining parts of Ferozepore.

The minister was received here at the PWD guest house by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Bidhi Chand Thakur, and the SSP, Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava.


HIV positive couple admitted in hospital
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
Married for over 10 years they did not have a child. They were leading a good life till a few months back when they came to know that they were HIV positive.

Ram Singh and Sukhwinder Kaur (names changed), hailing from Wada Bhai Ka village of the district today were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.

Ram Singh said he married Sukhwinder 10 years back and did not have their own child. But they had adopted a girl some time back. “She is my brother’s daughter and now is four years old,” said Sukhwinder. Ram Singh, born and brought up in New Delhi, worked as a truck driver with Hemkund Roadways for the past many years.

The couple resided at the Nand Nagar locality in New Delhi. “We had everything but a child. My brother-in-law was kind enough to gift his own child to us,” he said. But, their happiness was short-lived, as one day he returned from work with high fever. Treatment gave temporary relief. Ram Singh was then taken to Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi where he tested HIV positive.

A few days later his wife showed similar symptoms and she too tested HIV positive. He also underwent treatment at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with some financial aid from friends. When they could not afford his treatment, they wrote to Sukhwinder’s father, Arjan Singh (name changed) to take his daughter and son-in-law back. They were brought back to Punjab 15 days back. They were looking for a hospital for affordable treatment.

Meanwhile, they met Mr Vijay Goel of the Sahara Jan Seva Society, Bathinda, who helped them. They are undergoing treatment in the trauma ward of Civil Hospital. The Sahara has borne initial expenses of their treatment and medicines. Last year Mr Goel had adopted a baby girl suffering from AIDS.

Civil Surgeon, Yashpal Singla, said the couple had brought their medical reports from some private hospitals of New Delhi, their samples had been sent for testing to Faridkot for confirmation.


PSEB employees hold protest against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 24
Hundreds of employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), farmers, labourers and their children held a protest rally in front of the Shakti Sadan here today and demanded revocation of the Power Act 2003 and partial privatisation, which, according to them was still going on in the PSEB in one or the other form.

Addressing the rally, organised on a call given by the Joint Struggle Coordination Committee of the employees of the PSEB, Mr Gurdial Singh Bhangal and Mr Dev Raj, both conveners of the committee, alleged that though the Punjab Government had postponed privatisation process of the PSEB for a year, but, the policies of the top board officials depicted that the government had not left its privatisation agenda at all. “On one hand, the government has announced postponement of privatisation, but, on the other, contract system is being implemented in the board. All those employees who are trying to oppose it are being victimised in one or the other way. To protest against this, all employees of the board have decided to observe a two-day strike on June 22 and 23,” said Mr Bhangal and Mr Raj. They said prior to that top board officials would be welcomed with black flags during their field visits from June 1 onwards.

Tarsem Lohia, Harjinder Singh, Nirmal Singh, Pravesh Kumar, Nand Lal, Paramjit Singh, Rameshwar Passiana, Lehmbar Singh Taggar, Kamalpreet Singh Pannu, Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, Harmesh Malri, Vasdev Jamsher and H.S. Minhas, all employees and farmer leaders, also spoke.


Anganwadi workers hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 24
The Angandwadi Workers and Helpers Union today announced that they would expose the corrupt officials of the department.

Addressing a press conference, the state union president, Ms Hargobind Kaur, along with the district chiefs of Bathinda, Sangrur and Muktsar, alleged that some officials of the department were misusing government funds. They said evidence in the case of CDPO Jagtar Kaur was being gathered so that the case may be handed over to the Vigilance. They alleged that the CDPO would indulge in corruption while deploying workers at the training centre, besides charging commission on salaries. They also alleged that the officer’s tour were only restricted to papers.

On the issue of an anganwadi worker being booked, they said that their dharna would continue until the case against Harbans Kaur was withdrawn and she was reinstated.

A delegation of anganwadi workers also met the Deputy Commissioner who assured justice to them after an ongoing probe. The union’s joint secretary, Ms Balraj Kaur, demanded an immediate probe into corruption charges against the CDPO.


No silt in Suketi Khad, says Bhakra board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Apropos the news item headlined “High Court panel satisfied with BBMB’s silt disposal” in these columns on May 16, the name of the applicable Act has been wrongly mentioned as the Forest Conservation Act whereas it should be the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

In a communication to The Tribune, the secretary of the Bhakra Beas Management Board said it had been wrongly quoted that due to less rainfall last year, the flow of water in the Suketi Khad was not strong enough to flush out the silt.

The factual position is that the trial-run during the monsoon period of 2004 was successful. There was no problem of silting. Nor was there any complaint about deterioration of water quality in the Beas as no silt remained in the Suketi Khad. This fact is also substantiated by the final report of the expert committee submitted to the High Court.

The committee has also recommended that the present interim measure of “discharging of silt through Suketi Khad to river Beas” during the monsoon should be continued for another three to five years and problems, if any, arising should be addressed to make this interim measure a long-term measure.


Kaypee flags off fleet of buses
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 24
As many as 240 buses will be included in the fleet of the Punjab Roadways during the current fiscal year. It will comply with the Euro-II norms.

This was stated by Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who flagged off a fleet of 104 buses from depot number 1 of the Punjab Roadways here today. The buses were a part of a fleet of 360 buses for which the Punjab Government had already given its clearance. It was for the first time during past about six years that the Transport Department was introducing buses for its passengers.

Mr Kaypee was accompanied by Mr Parneet Singh, GM, Punjab Roadways Jalandhar, Mr Rakesh Verma, Director Transport, Mr Parbhakar, Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, and Mr Manoj Arora. Addressing the gathering, Mr Kaypee said that the Punjab Roadways was going to replace old buses. “That is why we have decided to replace old buses with new ones in phases. Workshops will also be renovated at a cost of Rs. 70 lakh. Moreover, we have also curbed the menace of plying of private buses illegally,” he said. Mr Kaypee said revenue of the Punjab Roadways would increase with the introduction of new buses.

He said though the new buses were offering more luxurious travel to passengers, they would not be required to pay more than what they were paying earlier. He said if the ongoing talks with Pakistan for free travel between India and Pakistan started, then, the state department would introduce deluxe and super-deluxe buses.


CPM leader Jawandha dead
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 24
Ajit Singh Jawandha (65), a retired principal, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election as the CPM candidate from Sangrur in 1999, died at CMC Hospital, Ludhiana, today. On May 10, he fell into a well and suffered serious injuries on his leg. Due to severe infection, the doctors amputated his leg, but he could not recover.

Ajit Singh Jawandha retired as principal from the Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, Sangrur, in 1998. He started working in the CPM as an active member. He was a district committee member of the party nowadays.

He was cremated at his native Sandaur village, near Malerkotla. His son, Jagdip Singh Jawandha, advocate, lit the pyre. Besides a large number of villagers, his funeral was attended by Mr Chand Singh Chopra, a former MLA; Mr Bant Singh Namol, district secretary of the CPM; Mr Dev Raj Verma, secretary of the Punjab CITU; and Mr Kali Charan Kaushik, district vice-president of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union.

He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.


Veteran Communist leader cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 24
Veteran Communist leader, Avtar Singh Malhotra, who died yesterday, was cremated here today. Leaders of all four Communist parties of Punjab, including the Secretary of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, the Secretary of the CPM, Prof Balwant Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh Layalpuri, Mr Piara Singh Deosi, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Jagjit Singh Anand laid the wreaths. All leaders of various Communists parties frontal organisations besides family members, including his sisters, were present on the occasion.

The CPI national leadership was represented by D. Raja, Secretary, National body of the CPI.


Awareness programme on road safety
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 24
The Red Cross Society in collaboration with the Traffic Police, Patiala, organised an awareness programme at Government Senior Secondary School, Sanaur. The seminar focused on first-aid and road safety.

Mr K.R. Verma, District Training Supervisor, Red Cross, explained that the International Red Cross wanted to educate people, especially youth, on health in order to save human lives.

Mr Paul Singh and Gurjap Singh, traffic experts, explained the reasons and causes of road accidents and urged the people to avoid taking intoxicants during driving and obey traffic rules. Mr Vijay Kanshal, Deputy District Education Officer (DEO), thanked the traffic police for organising the seminar.

Teachers from Sanaur, Bhunerheri and other blocks attended the seminar.


Sale of cut fruit banned
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 24
Prompted by the rise in cases of diarrhoea, the District Magistrate, Mr H.I.S Grewal, today banned the sale of cut fruit, excessive ripened fruit and vegetables and uncovered sweets. Issuing the orders, Mr Grewal, said sweets should be properly covered to ensure hygiene. He also banned the sale of ice and ice cream, unless the water used by is cleared by the competent authority.

Mr Grewal has directed the Civil Surgeon, SMO, and other officials to check the qualities of eatables and other items available in the market and to visit factories involved in the manufacture of various items.


Cinema owners’ appeal admitted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today admitted the petition filed by cinema owners of Punjab, challenging the notice issued by the Excise Department, Punjab, asking them to pay the differential tax for the years 2002-3 and 2003-4.

The petitioners, Naulakha Cinema, Ludhiana and others, have stated that the Chief Minister had announced concessions of 33 per cent in entertainment tax payable by them and the same was also announced by the Finance Minister in the Vidhan Sabha. However, the Excise Department issued notices to them saying since the formal notification in this regard has not been issued, they must pay the differential in tax paid by them.

Advocate Mohan Jain, counsel for the petitioners, told the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain that cinema halls paid the due tax after every fortnight and that they had been depositing the reduced tax for the last two years, which the Excise Department had been accepting. 


Man joins sister’s husband in killing her
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 24
The husband, brother and brother-in-law of a 33-year-old woman joined hands to kill her. The victim, Kulbir Kaur, mother of four, was allegedly murdered by her husband, Bhupinder Singh, her brother- in-law, Avtar Singh, and her brother, Karamjit Singh, at Gharuan village, near here, late last night.

According to the police, the three reportedly first thrashed drunk Kulbir and then strangulated her to death before throwing her body on the busy Kharar-Morinda highway. Kulbir’s body was found by the police this morning.

Terming the murder as “honour killing”, the DSP, Kharar, Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, said the police had managed to nab Avtar Singh. He added that Kulbir Kaur was allegedly involved in flesh trade in Chandigarh which was objected to by her husband and her brother. The police said Kulbir was, however, being encouraged by her father, Pal Singh, to continue with the trade. The police hinted that Pal Singh even operated as her middleman in some cases.

The police said Bhupinder and Karamjit, both small farmers, had been over the years warning Kulbir and asking her to stop “her activities”. Kulbir had been living away from her husband and children at Gharuan village and would only visit them. She was staying with her father in her parental village, Fatehpur, near Gharuan, and would often travel to Chandigarh.

The police said Avtar Singh, who is Bhupinder Singh’s younger brother, was nabbed this morning from the village. He had admitted to the crime and related the entire incident to the police.

“The three planned the murder some days ago. Bhupinder Singh called Kulbir to Gharuan. Kulbir was drunk when Bhupinder took her on his motor cycle to the fields where Karamjit and Avtar were waiting. The three first beat her up mercilessly and then strangulated her. The three placed her body in sitting position on the motor cycle. Bhupinder drove the motor cycle with the body of his wife between him and Karamjit. The two then threw her body on the highway to make the murder look like an accident,” said Mr Sandhu. The duo fled after that, he added.

Kulbir’s body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. Mr Sandhu said there were visible signs of injuries on her body pointing to severe beating that she had received before being murdered.

The three accused have been booked under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC. The police was looking for Bhupinder Singh and Karamjit Singh.


Ranjit Sagar project official arrested
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 24
The Punjab Vigilance sleuths today arrested a superintendent working in the Ranjit Sagar Dam project, Shahpur Kandi, near here, and reportedly recovered a huge cash and jewellery from his house.

The arrested official, according to dam sources, has been identified as Madan Lal Sharma of the Field Mechanical Division of the project. According to informed sources, a Vigilance team raided the house of the officer in the morning and recovered a huge cash and jewellery.

The Vigilance officials are maintaining silence about the recovery affected from the officer but sources said the officer was arrested following a series of complaints of financial irregularities and acquiring property disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The police took the officer to Mohali where, according to sources, a case was registered against the officer.


4 cops booked as murder accused flees
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 24
Four police constables were booked for dereliction of duty as a murder accused they were accompanying fled from the court premises. The sources available here said that Narinder Singh, a resident of Sapri village, was undergoing sentence in the Gurdaspur Central Jail on the charge of murder.

He was brought to the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, by four constables last evening. The constables did not care to handcuff the accused. Due to their negligence the murder accused fled from the court premises. The police authorities have raised nakas to nab the prisoner.


Granthi caught with girl, beaten up

Barnala (Sangrur), May 24
A granthi was beaten up last night by an angry mob after he was caught in a compromising position with a girl in a gurdwara complex.

Identified as Jaswinder Singh, he suffered fracture in his left leg following his bashing and was admitted in a local private nursing home.

The granthi had come in contact with the girl who used to visit the gurdwara where he had been reciting shabad kirtan, according to some locals who bashed him for his acts. — UNI


Schoolteacher kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 24
Three unidentified persons today kidnapped a young schoolteacher from the Mohalla Bhumsi of Maler area here this afternoon.

According to information available, Shysha, daughter of Abdul Majid, a teacher in a local private school situated in Bhumsi Mohalla, was returning home after teaching in the school when three unidentified youths with faces covered with cloth came in a Maruti car and put her into the car.

The matter has been brought to the notice of the police.


Guru Nanak varsity to have
EDUSAT network on campus
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 24
Guru Nanak Dev University is the first university of India to have EDUSAT network on the university campus with 120 interactive terminals (SITs) at receiving stations to be set up at different institutions.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said here today that the Director, Development and Educational Communication Unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ahmedabad, had approved this project of the university.

EDUSAT being installed in this university will have a two-way communication, video and audio, and make virtual classroom a real-life situation, he said. The initial cost of the hub and other equipment for setting up the earth station on the campus 
and for the installation of interactive terminals at remote locations would be Rs 2 crore, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor disclosed that the university planned to set up connectivity via EDUSAT with its affiliated colleges and the associate institutes under the Distance Education Programme from the current session. The university is the first in the northern region to take up the initiative with ISRO for securing uplinking facility with the EDUSAT.

The VC said the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Punjab had evinced interest in setting up this facility in the varsity with ISRO.

He said the university submitted a project to ISRO for setting up an earth station, including hub on at the university campus with downlinking (interactive) facility at 120 receiving locations, including regional campuses in Jalandhar and Gurdaspur, and also at the constituent colleges in Jalandhar and Niari (Gurdaspur district.)

In addition to on-line live lectures, university has also plans to have connectivity with other higher education channels and bodies like AICTE, Consortium of Educational Communication (CEC).

The Vice-Chancellor informed that the full potential of EDUSAT could be envisioned in terms of E-connectivity for information-sharing relating to all aspects of education i.e. access to lectures of world-class experts, sharing of information relating to schemes of the UGC, AICTE, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and other national and world-level bodies and institutions, sports activities, cultural activities, seminars, e-conferences and workshops and on-line examinations.


Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan training
for teachers cut short

Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 24
The state government has decided to cut short training of government school teachers scheduled for 20 days, to 10 days under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Nearly 500 teachers, including women, from elementary and senior secondary government schools have been spending days since May 16, first day of summer vacation, at the Government Senior Secondary Model School for Boys here. Most of them are posted in rural schools. They are served lunch on ground under the trees near the Scouting Hall. Some of them were not satisfied with the quality of the food, for which the government paid Rs 20 each to the contractor. But they looked happy. The teachers were unhappy over the condition of urinals. Toilets for women teachers give out stinking smell. All urinals stink and sans water. The teachers depend on hand operated water pumps which give out salty water unfit for consumption.

The school, with nearly 2000 students has no regular connection from local water works that supplies canal water. Teachers and students have some common problems. The DPI clearly states in a letter that all government, aided and private schools will remain closed from May 15 to June 30 due to summer vacation. But the private schools here claim to be above the law.

Though mercury has crossed 44 degree celsius, thousands of students had to bear the brunt of private schools order. Most of such schools fear closure if the heads of the government schools fairly report that these were located in congested areas and lack basic amenities.

But sources said the proprietors knew how to manage. Some of the schools keep students busy in fancy dress competitions even when more than 500 children had been admitted to nursing homes for not taking health precautions in highly-polluted environment.

Sellers of ice candies, sub standard food material, sweets and throat spoiling material could be seen doing brisk business around private schools here.

The teachers of the government school will be in a position to enjoy summer vacations after May 26 by saying good bye to the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan for time being but the teachers and students in private schools will have to wait till beginning of next month.


Pooja tops BSc-III (IT) exam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 24
The Jalandhar girls got the first three positions in the merit list of B.Sc-III (IT) (+ 3 system) examination held in April by Guru Nanak Dev University.

Pooja Bhagat of Hansraj Mahila Mahavidyala, Jalandhar, topped the merit list by securing 1951 marks out of 2500. Rajinder Kaur from the Lyallpur Khalsa College for Women, Jalandhar, stood second with 1906 marks, while Bavneet Kaur of Hansraj Mahila Mahavidyala, Jalandhar, got the third position with 1901 marks.

The results of this examination were declared here today, which are available on university, website www.gnduonline.org.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said as many as 286 candidates appeared for this examination, of them 240 were declared successful.


Budha Dal school students excel in plus II
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, May 24
Students of Budha Dal Public school excelled in the Class XII examination the result of which was declared yesterday.

In the commerce stream Gunika Kamra, secured 92.2 per cent marks and Harsimran Kaur secured 90.80 per cent marks. Surabhi Sharma too did well by scoring 89.8 per cent marks.

In the science stream, Bela Batt secured 90 per cent marks to secure the first position in the school. She was followed by Divneet Singh, who secured 84.2 per cent marks and Abhishek Tomar, who managed to get 84.2 per cent marks.

Three students of the school, Amrinder Singh, Abhishek Tomar, Abhishek Breja, have also cleared the IIT screening test.

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 |