P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD sees Cong hand in cinema blasts
Warns Hooda against separate SGPC
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), led by its president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today held a dharna near the DC office complex against the “failures” of the state government. Thousands of activists took part in the dharna.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Badal also issued a warning to Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda not to test the tolerance of Sikhs over the issue of setting up a separate SGPC for Haryana. He said Sikhs would not tolerate the Haryana Government’s control over their gurdwaras. He also exhorted the Haryana Government not to go ahead with the more of setting up a separate SGPC for Haryana, as this step would hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs.

Lashing out at the Amarinder government, Mr Badal alleged that every section of society was unhappy with the government due to its “anti-people” policies. He said there was a power crisis in the state as the government had not installed any power unit to increase power generation during the past three years. The Law and order situation was also deteriorating and women were not safe in Punjab, he added.

Interestingly the Barnala faction was conspicuous by its absence at the dharna. In this regard, Mr Badal said Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA from Dhuri, had gone to Delhi for a medical check-up.

Mr Badal said he would issue a report on the “failures” of the government within a fortnight. With regard to “Jo Bole So Nihaal” film, Mr Badal said he had not seen the film so far, but any non-religious film could not have a religious title. He also opposed other objectionable scenes in the film.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, patron of the SAD, also warned the Haryana Chief Minister against setting up a separate SGPC for Haryana.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD, saw a Congress conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in New Delhi cinema halls during the screening of “Jo Bole So Nihaal”.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of the SAD, alleged that the Centre and the Punjab Government were behind the bomb blasts in the Delhi cinema halls. He demanded an inquiry into the bomb blasts by a Supreme Court or a high court judge to unearth the conspiracy behind these blasts.


Dhuma declared Jathedar of Damdami Taksal
Bhinderanwale no more, declares Taksal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Chowk Mehta, May 25
In a swift development that antagonised a section of the Damdami Taksal, Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma, acting Jathedar, was declared 16th chief of the already fractured taksal here this afternoon.

The “dastarbandi” of Baba Dhuma, was performed in a hush hush manner at Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash here which followed the announcement that Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale was killed on June 6, 1984, during Operation Blue Star. The announcement has come after 21 years of white lie that Sant Bhinderanwale was alive and would return to take over the charge anytime.

The statement of Baba Dhuma has made it clear that his predecessor, Baba Thakur Singh, who died about three months ago and had been telling the Sikh Panth that Sant Bhinderanwale was in ‘chardi kala’ (in high spirits) for the last 21 years. However, Damdami Taksal chief said that Baba Thakur Singh might have concealed the death of Sant Bhinderanwale for the reasons best known to him. Bhai refused to entertain any query from the mediapersons. Instead, he issued a statement in which Baba Thakur Singh was described as great religious leader who took over the command of taksal in the most trying period following the Army operation.

Earlier, Akal Takht and the SGPC had refused to give recognition to Baba Dhuma as Jathedar of Taksal as he had not declared Sant Bhinderanwale as dead. Instead, both Akal Takht and the SGPC had given recognition to Bhai Ram Singh as Jathedar of the parallel taksal who had accepted that Sant Bhinderanwale was killed during the Army operation in 1984. Both the Sikh supreme bodies had already declared Bhinderanwale as “dead” two years ago. The 21-year silence of Damdami Taksal was broken today under pressure from various Sikh organisations, including the Shiromani Khalsa Dal, led by Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu, the Dal Khalsa, the American Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Sikh factions from different countries, the SGPC and Akal Takht.

Bibi Pritam Kaur and Bhai Inderjit Singh, widow and son, respectively, of Sant Bhinderanwale were present when he was declared ‘martyr’ by Baba Dhuma.

Interestingly, the press conference was delayed for more than two hours as they wanted to rope in Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman for Damdami Taksal. However, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Malkit Singh and senior functionaries of the taksal were not taken into confidence before the ‘dastarbandi’ of Bhai Dhuma . So much so Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode , a former Jathedar Akal Takht , who had been opposing any move to declare Sant Bhinderanwale as ‘Shaheed’, Bhai Ajaib Singh Abhinasi and Bhai Ujjal Singh were conspicuous by their absence.

During discussions, Baba Dhuma refused to accept any logic of a section of the taksal who wanted to encash from the legacy of keeping Bhinderanwale “alive”. Earlier, Bhai Rode was instrumental in installing Bhai Dhuma as acting Jathedar of the Taksal but he reportedly turned his back when he (Bhai Dhuma) insisted in declaring Sant Bhinderanwale as ‘dead’.

Bhai Dhuma checkmated his opponents within the taksal by keeping his “dastarbandi” as top secret.

The Damdami Taksal announced that the ‘shaheedi divas’ of Sant Bhinderanwale would be held here on June 12.


Bitta fears re-emergence of militancy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 25
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) criticised efforts and proposals to release Sikh detainees and to abolish blacklists drawn up in foreign countries against Sikh militants, and said the step would encourage militancy in the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, he urged the government to take the Delhi cinema blasts seriously as the ISI and Punjab terrorists taking refuge in Pakistan were looking for opportunities to create a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs .

Coming up strongly against the President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee (DSGMC), Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna for advocating the cause of Davinder Singh Bhuller -facing death sentence for masterminding bomb blasts - and release of Sikh detainees, he said it was time that the government order a CBI inquiry into the foreign funds received by Mr Sarna and his meetings with wanted terrorist Paramjit Singh Panjwar in Pakistan.

Mr Sarna, when contacted, lashed out at Mr Bitta and said he welcomed the inquiry and also demanded a thorough probe into the antecedents of Mr Bitta and the property amassed by him over the years, including real estate.

Meanwhile, the AIATF president called for a ban on radical organisations like Dal Khalsa who were demanding release of detainees .

Mr Bitta said he would speak to Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister for Defence and the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, to deliberate on the repercussions of proposal for release of detainees and would approach the Supreme Court if all other avenues failed.


Inter-state gang of thieves busted, kingpin among 5 held
Goods worth Rs 10 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 25
The Kharar police today arrested five members of an inter-state gang of thieves. The 13-member gang, which included four women, was reportedly involved in over 50 cases of burglaries across the state and Jammu and Kashmir. A huge cache of arms, ammunition and goods worth Rs 10 lakh has been recovered from them.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, said today that Randeep Singh, the kingpin of the gang, had also been arrested. Mr S.P. Singh said a stolen black Santro car with fictitious registration numbers was used for recce and transportation of the gang.

The gang was expert at lock breaking and used various sophisticated tools, including a rechargeable drilling machine, to break locks. The gang predominantly concentrated on looting cash, jewellery and electronics, he added.

“We have recovered a .12-bore gun with 65 cartridges, a .315 countrymade pistol and its cartridges, a .38 countrymade pistol, toy pistols, knives, rods and swords from them,” said the SSP.

The DSP, Mohali, Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu, added that majority of the members of the gang were from Amritsar and the gang had split in Amritsar in September last year. “Randeep re-organised the gang and shifted to Ropar last year. The gang rented an accommodation at Kurali from where they carried out burglaries at Batala, Jalandhar, Nawanshahar and other places. In May this year the gang shifted to Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Kharar,” said Mr Sandhu.

According to the DSP, two days ago three members of the gang tried to break into the residence of Lakhvinder Singh a resident of Model Town Colony, Mundi Kharar. Though they had presumed the house to be empty, Lakhvinder’s teenage children were inside the house and they raised an alarm. The thieves ran away but the two children managed to note down the car number. Mr Lakhvinder Singh came back and reported the incident to the police.

A manhunt for the gang was launched and the car was located at Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar last evening by the Kharar police. The police claimed that five members of the gang were inside the house and tried to flee following the police raid. A car chase followed, but soon the thieves left the car and started running. The police was able to catch up with them.

Among those arrested include Ramandeep Singh, Manmohan Singh Sodhi of Jammu who is Randeep’s brother-in-law, Narinder Kumar of Jammu and Rajesh Kumar of Amritsar. Mukesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, who is Randeep’s brother, and Sanjana, all residents of Amritsar, are still absconding, the police said.

The police has recovered Rs 1 lakh, gold jewellery worth Rs 2.5 lakh, electronic items worth Rs 1.7 lakh. As many as 19 watches and seven mobile phones have also been recovered from them.

While the police presented four of those arrested during the press conference, it said Randeep had been admitted to the hospital in Kharar. “When we were chasing the gang, the residents of area joined in and finally when we caught up with them, the residents thrashed Randeep,” said Mr Sandhu.

The SSP pointed out that the children would be awarded for their alertness.

He added that the police had managed to gather details of the rest of the members of the Randeep Singh gang who had separated from him after the Amritsar split. “These include Banty, Sonia, Neelam, Mohan, Sukhvir Singh, Navdeep Singh, Bharat Bhushan, Simran Kaur and Sonu. Other than Neelam and Sonu all are residents of Amritsar. Neelam and Sonu are a residents of Naraingarh” said Mr S.P. Singh.


Sunil Dutt had strong bond with Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
When sane voices had become silent and no one was ready to hold the hand of Punjabis and Punjab, which was devastated by violence, a man left Mumbai to spread the message of peace, sanity and harmony in Punjab in the late 80s. He was none other than film actor Sunil Dutt, a champion of peace, compassion and love.

In the death of Sunil Dutt, Punjabis have lost one of their great sons who set an example for others to follow.

Whenever, Punjab faced any crisis, Sunil Dutt came running to the state to provide the healing touch. Only two years ago, he visited caste violence-hit Talhan village, near Jalandhar. Feeling highly disturbed over the Dalit-Jat clashes in the village, he had stated that it was an unfortunate and unprecedented phenomenon in Punjab. Sunil Dutt, who had seen Partition, told the residents of Talhan that by resorting to clashes, they were maligning the name of the brave Punjabi community the world over.

Early in 1987, Sunil Dutt walked for 76 days to reach the Golden Temple to spread the message of peace and harmony in the state where violence had almost reached the point of no return. Accompanied by his daughter Priya, he walked about 2,500 km braving scorching heat. The police had told him not to venture on his peace mission to Punjab he ignored the advice.

Peace-loving people and even certain groups of militants gave a rousing reception to him at the Golden Temple. He asked the militants to leave the path of violence and adopt the path of peace. He used to call himself a” soldier of peace”.

As he was born in Khurad village of Jhelum district, now in Pakistan, he used to speak in the Pothohari dialect. He played a lively character in a religious Punjabi film in the 70s. His son, Sanjay Dutt is a close friend of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. Both of them studied together at Sanawar.

Sunil Dutt, who organised many “sadbhavana yatras” across the country, worked all his life to strengthen secularism. He had stated that the matched bloodbath during the Gujarat riots that seen at the time of Partition. “I am myself a victim of Partition. I know how painful it is to lose one’s family and get uprooted”.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and Akali leader Sukhbir Badal have expressed deep grief over Sunil Dutt’s death. In separate statements they said that the country had lost a great patriotic son and a fine human being.


PSEB to procure power from other states
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has made elaborate arrangements to overcome the power crisis being prevalent in the state for the past few days. It has decided to obtain power from Uttaranchal, Power Trading corporation (PTC), Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh under the banking system.

Stating this here today, Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, said that for the past one week, the state had been witnessing a power crisis. He added availability of power from the central sector projects, including the Nathpa Jhakri Project. He attributed it to reduction of water inflow into these projects.

Apart from it, power generation from the Anandpur Sahib and Mukerian hydroelectric projects had also been reduced as water flow into these projects had reduced. Not only this, two units, one each of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) and Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP), were undergoing maintenance, he said, adding that these two units would be put to use by May 31.

Mr Ratra, who held a meeting today with the representatives of two kisan organisations and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to review the power demand during the paddy season, said that the PSEB would ensure adequate power supply, for a minimum of eight hours, to the agriculture sector during the paddy transplanting season. He added that, the temporary connections during the paddy season would be given on a first comefirst serve basis.

Claiming that there had been a significant rise in the demand of power due to a rise in the mercury and early transplanation of paddy, Mr Ratra said that after June 10, the farmers would be given adequate supply of power. He said he had already given directions to the field staff of the distribution wing to monitor the supply and to personally verify the redressal of consumer complaints.

“The PSEB has been making concerted efforts to reduced load on the overloaded transformers to minimise interruptions and to release new power connections. The grievances committee at the circle level will be set up having representatives of the farmers, according to their demand,” said the Chairman. The demand of farmers that load should be split under one family would also be reviewed.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Kisan union (Lakhowal and Rajewal groups) put forward their demands .

Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Secretary, PSEB, Mr Harjit Singh, Mr Hardial Kamboj, Mr H. M. Jain and Mr B.K. Bindal (all members) also attended the meeting.


Liquor shops at bus stands
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
In Punjab, the coexistence of liquor shops and bus stands is apparently the reason behind drunken driving and road mishaps.

Exploiting the weakness of bus drivers and commuters, the authorities concerned have auctioned shops right in the middle of bus stands in places like Ropar. In some other cities, the shops are situated bang opposite or adjoining the bus stands.

The shops encourage drunken driving. The state has lost over 11,000 persons in road accidents since 2000. Over 50,000 have been injured in mishaps since then. In 2003 alone, over 2,700 deaths were reported in road accidents.

The number of deaths was a little lower in 2004. As many as 2,400 persons were killed in mishaps. In at least 15 to 20 per cent of the cases, state-owned transport buses, as well as the ones run by private operators, were involved. In a majority of the cases, the drivers were under the influence of liquor.

The killer vehicles included both regular and mini buses. Sources say that the Sangrur police has already written to the Excise and Taxation Department for the shifting of several “killer liquor shops” away from the highway.

The sources in Punjab’s Excise and Taxation Department admit that the shops cannot be situated on the highways, much less near bus stands, in view of the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement in the traffic regulation and pollution control case. However, they refuse to initiate action.

Financial Commissioner (Taxation) Mukul Joshi says that the shop sites have been approved by the district administration. Commissioner (Excise and Taxation) D.P. Reddy was not available for comments.

Drivers do not have to walk far for picking up their favourite brand in Mohali. For, the liquor shop is situated less than 20 metres from the entrance to the bus stand. Rather, it is bang opposite the bus stand.

Things are hardly different in Kharar and even Jalandhar. In Kurali, drivers often stop the buses in front of the shop situated about 30 metres away from the bus stop.

If you stand there for a few minutes at night, you may find middle-aged drivers jumping off the vehicles even before the buses come to a screeching halt. After a few drinks, they may recklessly pull the buses on road, knocking down cycles and other slow-moving vehicles in the process.

“Another problem closely related to the presence of shops in the vicinity of bus stands is that of drunk travellers. They get off buses and head straight for the shops. After gulping a few drinks, they may stagger right in the path of speeding vehicles”, says Morinda-based businessman and frequent traveller Kulwinder Singh.


Residents buying drinking water; MC denies shortage
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Women queue up for procuring drinking water from a water tanker at Deep Nagar in Bathinda
Women queue up for procuring drinking water from a water tanker at Deep Nagar in Bathinda. — Tribune photo by Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, May 25
Even as the summers have just started, residents of some localities are compelled to buy drinking water due to a water crisis that is worsening with time. However, the municipal council authorities deny that people are buying water due to its insufficiency.

Surprisingly, about one fourth localities in Bathinda don’t even have pipelines for the water supply. The municipal council is catering to these localities with only six tankers, of which four have been hired on contract. Residents of various localities are compelled to buy drinking water at the rate of Rs 25 for 20 litres of water, while some firms are also selling water at lower rates. A couple of companies are cashing in on the water crisis and are selling canal water after “purifying” it in their own way. Mr Baldev Sharma, a resident of Green Avenue Colony, said, “There is nearly no water supply to our colony for the past one week. It was supplied late in the night a couple of times and a majority of the residents had no clue about it. I have been buying drinking water for the past one week.”

The city’s uneven topography has also led to the water crisis in some areas. The worst-affected areas are those around Qila Mubarak as these are located at a height which results into low water pressure in Sidhiawala, Pujawala and a few other localities. The residents of these areas are having sleepless nights, as the municipal council is supplying water to these areas in the wee hours. The municipal council reasons that during those hours no other area is supplied water and it helps in increasing the water pressure. Other areas facing the water crisis are Pratap Nagar, Kartar Basti, Bharat Nagar, Harbans Nagar, Lal Singh Basti, and Parasram Nagar. Sources said the ground water in these areas was also not fit for human consumption.

The sources said the water supply at present was 5.5 MG as against the total demand of 7 MG water. When there is a gap of almost 20 per cent in demand and supply of water at the onset of summers, one can imagine the scenario in the coming days. The sources said the Water and Sewerage Board was already working on a Rs 24-crore Hudco project for water supply in the city. In the next phase of the project, pipelines are to be laid and replaced in various localities.

The sources said the municipal council also planned to take over the water plant of the PSIC Growth Centre on Mansa Road as the plant having a capacity of 1.5 MG could well bridge the demand and supply gap. The sources said after initial hiccups, the PSIC had now agreed in principle to hand over its water plant to the municipal council. The terms and conditions for this plan were yet to be finalised. The municipal council would also lay a 24-inch pipeline for water supply to the city. The project was likely to take over six months and would hardly be of any help this summer.

The Commissioner of the municipal council, Mr Ranjit Singh, admitted that there may be some water crisis in some localities, which was normal during the summers. He denied any knowledge of people buying drinking water in the town. He said there was no drastic shortage of water. Four tankers had been pressed into service and he had also asked the officials concerned to ensure proper chlorination of water.


PUDA forced to postpone flat allocation
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 25
Officials of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) today had to postpone allocation of the remaining MIG category flats in its housing colony in the local Urban Estate owing to an orchestrated and repeated protests by slogan-shouting people belonging to the MIG category.

Supported by Akali leaders, including Mr Gurmukh Singh, Bhai Gurjit Singh Khalsa and Mr Harbel Singh Pahwa, the protesters

gheraoed the officials in Community Hall of Urban Estate, protested before their vehicles and at one stage even locked the main gate of the hall. They alleged irregularities. A heavy police force was deployed and it had to intervene for clearing the way.

However, when contacted,Mr B.S. Bajwa, Estate Officer,PUDA,denied any irregularity. He told this correspondent that allocation of as many as 78 LIG flats was completed peacefully. Even 27 MIG flats were allocated smoothly, he asserted. The allocation of the remaining 105 flats was postponed owing to cetain trouble-makers, he said. About 15 to 20 unauthorised occupants of MIG flats,who had otherwise applied for allocation, insisted on bypassing the seniority list prepared on the basis of first come first serve, disclosed Mr Bajwa. We refused to oblige them and this had evidently annoyed them, remarked Mr Bajwa.

It may be mentioned here that today’s allocation was overseen by Mr Vikas Garg,Additional Chief Administrator,PUDA, and conducted by Mr B.S. Bajwa, Estate Officer, and others.

The PUDA authorities had got vacated and got possession of 150 flats only last week. These flats had been occupied unathorisedly for the past several years. These flats had earlier housed a CRPF camp during the days of terrorism.

The housing colony of PUDA had 416 LIG, 216 MIG and 20 HIG flats.


Major fire on PNFCL campus
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Nangal, May 25
A major fire that broke out in the forest area spread in 83 acres on the Punjab National Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (PNFCL) campus in Nangal yesterday destroyed a large number of trees. Many animals and birds are also feared dead.

The fire was today controlled at 2.30 am with the help of the tenders called from Una, Hoshiarapur, Khanna, Ropar thermal plant, the BBMB and the NFL here. But minor fire at distant places from the plant were being reported this evening and will be brought in control soon, said administrative officials.

An inquiry into the fire incident has been ordered and the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, has been told to file the inquiry report within 30 days.

The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained but it was suspected that the fire could have spread from the jhuggis situated near the PNFCL. Surprisingly, the fire erupted from different places on the PNFCL campus, which also raised doubt about the involvement of anti-social elements in the incident.

A few slum dwellers whose jhuggis were ravaged in the incident, have submitted an application to the ADC (General), Ropar, Mr Surjit Singh, at Nangal this morning.

A visit to the PNFCL revealed that in the absence of fire stations in all the major town, the fire could not be controlled on time. The fire tenders from the distant places took much time to come. Another problem that was faced by the officials to prevent the fire was wild growth of the grass on the roads in the PNFCL.

Lapses in the security of the PNFCL came to light as there were only two security personnel out of 13 deployed by the private agency (Bombay Industrial Security Fire Service). But the in charge of agency, Mr Deepak Kumar, said that he had first noted the fire at about 6.30 pm yesterday and raised the alarm. He said there were seven security personnel present at the time of incident.

It also surfaced that the administration lacks disaster management plan to cope with such incidents.The fire could have engulfed the plant as ammonia is still stored in the plant even after four years of its closure.

Incidentally, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr H.I.S Garewal was away to Delhi to attend a disaster management plan seminar organised by the government.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner(ADC), Mr Sujir Singh, who supervised the fire control at Nangal, said the fire was controlled with support of various wings.

He added that the disaster management plan prepared by experts from Bhopal was inadequate. So the administration has planned to set up committee for disaster management.


DC orders disciplinary action against cops
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 25
The Deputy Commissioner has asked the SSP to initiate disciplinary proceedings against ASI Balwinder Singh and Constable Jora Singh for their role in the rape case of a Dalit girl hailing from Behman Jassa Singh village.

The victim was reportedly raped by Surjeet Singh on May 15. However, the police neither registered a case nor got her medically examined. A couple of days later a delegation of villagers met the DC demanded probe into the matter.

The DC had asked the Talwandi Sabo SDM, Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, to investigate the matter. The SDM’s report corroborated that a rape was indeed committed on the victim by Surjit Singh. However, a compromise was struck between the complainant and Surjit Singh in the presence of ASI Balwinder Singh and Constable Jora Singh, it added.

The report also stated that the police didn’t carry out a proper investigation. No medical examination was conducted on the girl so as to prove her charges against Surjit Singh.

The DC has ordered the SSP to initiate disciplinary proceedings against both the policemen, besides, immediately placing them under suspension. A show cause notice has also been issued to the village panchayat for their role in reaching a compromise.


Fund misuse: 2 forest inspectors suspended
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 25
Even as a criminal case has been registered against Mr Basanta Raj Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, (DFO) Wildlife, Harike Pattan in March 2005 for his alleged involvement in misusing funds by fabricating documents, the state government has failed to take action against him so far.

Interestingly, the state government has placed two wildlife inspectors Iqbal Masih and Rupinder Singh, who were also involved in the financial irregularities along with Mr Basanta Kumar, under suspension.

Mr A. S. Dogra, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, while confirming the involvement of Mr Basanta Kumar in the irregularities said as the state government was the authority he had already written to it in this connection.

Official sources said Mr Basanta Kumar had been managing to evade arrest. Even his official residence had been sealed unofficially by the Vigilance Bureau, Amritsar.

Mr R. P. S. Bajwa, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Amritsar, while talking to TNS pointed out that Mr Basanta Kumar along with two inspectors withdrew more than Rs 13 lakh in the last week of March from the government treasury and distributed the same among themselves by fabricating documents.

He said the two had been taken into custody by the bureau. When their premises were searched, more than Rs 9 lakh were recovered. A case in this connection has been registered.

He said he had written a letter to the state wildlife authorities for ensuring the presence of Mr Basanta Kumar for investigation into the case. He added that the official residence of the official had not been sealed.

Mr Dogra while confirming the fact that he had received a letter from Mr Bajwa pointed out that first Mr Basanta Kumar had taken casual leave for about 10 days and then converted it into earned leave. He added that he did not know whether the leave had been sanctioned by the authorities concerned or not.

Official sources said Mr Basanta Kumar had moved an application for the anticipatory bail in the sessions court, Amritsar, which had been declined.


Pak Punjab Assembly team to visit India
Tribune News Service

Wagah (Amritsar) May 25
A 50-member delegation of Pakistan legislatures, headed by Mr Mohammad Afzal Sahi, Speaker of West Punjab Assembly, will visit India in the last week of June.

On his return from Pakistan, Dr Kewal Krishan, who headed the 28-member delegation of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said the Pakistan delegation would visit Amritsar, Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Ajmer.

Dr Krishan said their main agenda was to promote peace between the two countries. He said the delegation had shared their experiences with their counterparts in Pakistan and tried to remove misgivings.

He said people of Pakistan especially youths, were in favour of continuation of the peace progress initiated by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

He said the people of Pakistan realised that the time had come for the political representatives of both Punjabs to work together to normalise the relations between the two countries.

Giving details of their tour, Dr Kewal Krishan said Mr Mohammad Afzal Sahi, Speaker, Punjab Assembly, received the delegation. They went to Dera Sahab gurdwara to pay obeisance at Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s samadhi. He further said that the Pakistan Government had issued a notification for the maintenance and safety of all the religious places. They also visited Nankana Sahib and Katasraj.


Gateway of Punjab planned at Madhopur
Our Correspondent

Sujanpur (Pathankot), May 25
The government has decided to construct Gateway of Punjab at Madhopur, near Jammu and Kashmir border, falling in the Sujanpur Assembly constituency. This was disclosed by Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri while addressing a gathering at Sujanpur after organising a “khula darbar” today.

He said six acres of land belonging to the Irrigation Department has been identified for this purpose. PUDA has written to the Chief Secretary for acquiring the land and a gate on the pattern of Gateway of India would be constructed.

The minister said PUDA had also acquired 400 acres for the construction of houses for weaker sections of society in Punjab.


PSHRC to rescue of Rajpura girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) on Monday came to the rescue of a married Rajpura girl and asked the police authorities to protect her life and liberty.

A member of the commission, Justice RL Anand, directed the SSP, Hoshiarpur, to take steps to ensure that the life and liberty of the complainant was not jeopardised.

In her complaint, Ms Suman had alleged that Pritam Chand, Chanan Kaur, Harbir Singh and Sukhbir Singh, all residents of Dubhetta in Naya Nangal township in Ropar district, had been harassing her. These persons, who were out on bail, made her life miserable after registration of the FIR.

It was alleged that the Garhshankar DSP, in connivance with the her in-laws, was delaying the filing of the challan even after the lapse of six months.

Meanwhile, counsel for the complainant, Mr Arvind Thakur, warned that if the challan was not filed by police immediately legal act on would be taken against the police officials concerned.


Indefinite fast against PSEB management
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 25
Mr Mohinder Pal Bathinda, president, Punjab Raj Bijli Board Mulajam Sanghrash Committee, started an indefinite fast here on Tuesday to protest against the indifference of the management of the Punjab State Electricity Board towards their demand for jobs for the kin of deceased employees.

Mr Rajesh Batish, senior vice-president of the committee, said Mr Bathinda had taken this step after the PSEB management failed to fulfil its promise of taking necessary action in connection with their demand by May 20.


Jalandhar diocese gives Rs 26-lakh tsunami aid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The diocese of Jalandhar has contributed Rs 26,37,000 for the tsunami victims. The amount was handed over to the Caritas of India — an organisation engaged in relief work in collaboration with the Government of India and other agencies.

In a press note, Bishop of Jalandhar diocese Rev Dr Symphorian Keeprath appreciated the generosity of all those who contributed for the charitable purpose.


Dr Iqbal bereaved

Chandigarh, May 25
Mrs Joginder Kaur (55), sister of Dr Iqbal Singh Ahuja who brought the test-tube baby technology to northern India, died in Ludhiana today.

Mrs Joginder Kaur, who was the headmistress of Government High School, Ludhiana, and a state awardee, will be cremated tomorrow (Thursday) in Ludhiana at 10.30 a.m. She leaves behind a son and a daughter. TNS


Operation theatre opened at dera
Our Correspondent

Jhaloor (Barnala), May 25
The Health Secretary Darbara Singh Guru today laid the foundation stone of a multi-speciality operation atre at Dera Brahm Sagar Bhuriwale. The theatre will be constructed at a cost of Rs 25 lakh and it will be operational in three months. The dera has been organising eye camps for the past couple of years.

Mr Guru Said the operation theatre would be the first of its kind in the district. It would operate under the supervision of the district Blindness Control Society.


Stamp on Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 25
The Central Government will release a commemorative stamp dedicated to quadri-centennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib on June 16 at Manji Sahib Diwan Hall on the premises of Harmander Sahib.

This was stated in a press release by Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, yesterday.



Two injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 25
Two persons were injured, one of them seriously, in an accident involving a motor cycle and a truck on the Rajpura-Patiala highway near here this morning.

According to the police, motor cyclists Vipin Kumar of Vikas Nagar, Rajpura and Sushil Kumar of Bathoni Kalan were hit by a truck.

Passer-by and others assembled at the spot and took the injured to the local Civil Hospital. Vipin Kumar has been referred to the PGI.


high court
Judgement reserved on reversion of cops
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 25
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement on a bunch of petitions challenging the reversion of hundreds of police officials promoted in-situ from their ranks of constable. Hundreds of constables had been promoted under Rule 13.82 of the Punjab Police Rules.

But, the High Court in 1997 said these out-of-turn promotions could not exceed 10 per cent of the total cadre strength. It also ordered reversion of excess officials promoted.

However, the constables had filed a review petition in the High Court, saying that the 10 per cent figure was 10 per cent of the total vacancies and not total cadre strength.

They also asked if the sports quota of 5 per cent for such promotions was an integral part of this quota. They said that in the judgement, the word vacancy should have been used instead of cadre.

But, the High Court Bench dismissed the petitions as withdrawn. It, however, ordered status quo, which was later vacated by another Bench on February 19, 2004.

Still later, the Bench said that all such officials, who had not been reverted back so far, must not be reverted till further orders.

During hearing of fresh petitions, counsel for Punjab Government informed the Bench that the Punjab Government had issued reversion orders of the promoted officers and the same had been communicated to them.

But, in many cases, the reverted officials refused to follow the reversion orders and refused to work on their original posts.

Some other petitioners, whose reversion had been ordered, were those who had been promoted after relaxation of rules by the DGP. These officials had stated that they could not have been reverted as the rules had been relaxed in their favour.

However, counsel for the Punjab Government defended the stands of the government and stated that all orders had been issued following directions of the High Court.

Today, the Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Ms Justice Nirmal Yadav reserved the judgement on the petitions.

Notice issued

The High Court on Wednesday issued notice of motion on a PIL seeking directions to the authorities to check free distribution of kites to schoolchildren in Punjab. These kites carry advertisements of tobacco companies.

The Bench also directed that distribution of such kites would not be allowed till further orders.

The petitioner, Mr Jai Gopal Dhiman, has stated that the free distribution of such kites in front of schools is tantamount to luring of young students take to tobacco products.

After hearing the petitioner’s counsel, the Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain issued notice for August 24.


Spurious cotton seeds worth Rs 25 lakh seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 25
The police has seized spurious cotton seeds worth about Rs 25 from the godown of a local shop located in the Guru Nanakpura locality last night.

Sources said Inspector Surinderpal Singh received a tip-off that Naresh Kumar of Kartar Basti and K. Parsad, Sanjay Kumar and Vijay Kumar, all three from Gujarat, were running a company called Naresh Kumar and Company. The police also came to know that they were selling unauthorised Bt cotton seeds to innocent farmers by befooling them and that they had kept these seeds at a godown in the Guru Nanakpura locality.

The inspector along with Block Agricultural Officer Mithu Singh and Seed Inspector Baljeet Singh, raided the godown and seized 3,560 packets of seeds packed in 39 sacks. They were of Om 3 variety and bore the seal of the Krishna Farmer Cooperative Society, Hyderabad.

The recovered seeds have been sent for testing. However, the accused have absconded. A case has been registered against them under Section 7 of the EC Act, 1956, and Section 420 of the IPC.


Bholath SHO arrested
Tribune News Service

Bholath (Kapurthala), May 25
The district police was arrested Jaimal Singh, SHO, Bholath, after registering a case under Section 13/2/88 of Anti-Corruption Act against him here today.

According to the DSP, Mr Amrik Singh Powar, the police found Rs 12 lakh in a Santro car during routine checking of vehicles at a naka near Ramgarh village on the Kartarpur road last night. The information about the incident was immediately brought to the notice of the DSP who was busy at a meeting with senior police officials at Kapurthala.

On reaching Bholath, the DSP found that the SHO of Bholath police station, Jaimal Singh, released the money and the car (DL-26-V1-6817) with its occupants, Jaspal, an employee of Doraha Agro Food, and driver Shiv without following the legal procedure.

After the preliminary investigation, the district police registered an FIR against the SHO and arrested him.


DAV school bags top positions
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 25
Students of various schools in this district have excelled in Class X CBSE results with DAV school bagging almost all top positions.

Rishabh Garg of DAV Senior Secondary School topped in Patiala city by securing 96 per cent. Other DAV students who have shown good results include Shikha Goel and Priyanshu who got 95.6 per cent. Jaiveer and Arohan bagged the third position by securing 94 per cent. Other students who have got above 90 per cent include Arudeep Walia (93.8 per cent), Geetika Gera (93.4 per cent), Parnav Gupta (92.8 per cent), Puneet Kaur (92.6 per cent), Ramanjeet Singh Anand (92.2 per cent), Harneet (92 per cent),Gaurav Arora (91.2 per cent), Sambli (91.2 per cent), Kushal Seth (91.2 per cent), Sanchit (91 per cent), Palvi Kaushik (90.2 per cent), Shashank (90.2 per cent), Abhishek Goel (90 per cent ).

Budda Dal Public School’s students got above 90 per cent. Madhurbain Singh, stood first by getting 94 per cent while Jaskaran, stood second, with 93 per cent. Simrandeep Singh and Rupam Rana secured 91.4 per cent. Ramandeep Kaur got 91.2 per cent. Both Amrit Kaur Hans and Amritjot Kaur got 90.6 per cent while Nirmalya, Divleen Kaur, Parmveer Singh and Jasmeen got 90 per cent.

Students of Blossoms Senior Secondary School, have also shown excellent results. Rahul Garg topped the school by securing 93.2 per cent while Vishavdeep Kaur secured 92.4 per cent.

Shri Harkishan Public School girls excelled. Gazal Singla bagged the first position by securing 81.2 per cent. Deepinder Kaur and Kirandeep of the school secured 81.2 and 80 per cent marks respectively. Meanwhile, Akal Academy achieved the distinction of getting 100 per cent results.


Farewell function of refresher course cancelled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 25
The valedictory function at end of a UGC refresher course in economics held at Guru Nanak Dev University, Department of Punjab School of Economics, was cancelled at the last minute today due to an unsavoury situation.

The function was cancelled after the professor and head of department of School of Economics, Dr Paramjit Kaur Dhindsa, allegedly refused to sign the award list on plea that she was not shown the list of project reports by the course coordinator, Dr Vikram Chadha.

Dr Dhindsa admitted to The Tribune that valedictory function was cancelled but refuted allegations of not signing the award list. Consequently, participants who had arrived from far-off places, including Haryana, parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to attend the course had to return without the certificates.


Pbi varsity grants fee concession

Patiala, May 25
Punjabi University has decided to grant fee concession up to 50 per cent in tuition fees for students seeking admission to MA on the basis of Sanskirt and Hindi electives in B.A.

The Director (Public Relations), said 50 per cent fee concession would also be given to those students who would be seeking admission to MA (Urdu) and had passed Urdu as an elective subject in BA. OC


School has 100 pc result
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 25
All 99 students of the local Police Public School, who appeared in the Class X examination of the CBSE, have passed.

In a press note issued here today, Mr R.K. Devashwar, Principal of the school, said Shipra Aggrawal had topped with 93.6 per cent marks. She secured 100 out of 100 in mathematics.


B.Com (professional) results

Amritsar, May 25
The results of B.Com (professional) Parts II & III examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University would be declared on May 26 and 27, respectively. The results would also be available on university website, www.gnduonline.org, after 5 p.m. — OC


Students bring laurels to school
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 25
Four students of Le ICE Academy Rajpura, brought laurels to the institution by securing over 90 per cent in the Class X CBSE examinations.

Sakshan topped in the city by securing 94.4 per cent while Abhinav, Noble and Vikas got 92 per cent, 91 per cent and 90.2 per cent marks, respectively.


Made-in-Punjab show a flop, say unit owners
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The Made-in-Punjab show in Canada has flopped. This has been asserted by certain participants in the show from Punjab.

Describing his plight to TNS on the phone from Canada on Monday evening, Mr Dalbir Singh, a Khanna-based small-scale industrial unit owner who participated in the show, said that before leaving for North America he was told that interaction would be arranged with Canada- based businessmen, traders and industrialists but this did not happen. “Organisers misled us “, he said. “ I was told that there were a lot of business possibilities in the case of agricultural implements and tools, etc, but it all proved false”, he added. “ No one turned up for trade-related inquiries from me about my products at the show”, he said.

“The show has virtually wrecked me financially. It has cost me around Rs 2.5 lakh and that is big amount for me”, he added. “ Most of us who participated in the show were small-scale unit owners and we cannot afford to spend so much” said Mr Dalbir Singh.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Pawan Kumar, a Jalandhar-based industrialist. “Each of us paid Canadian $2000 to take part in the show. And then we spent money on our stay in hotels etc. The organisers gave us nothing free of cost. Our passports were taken away and returned only on Monday when we insisted on the return of our documents”, said Mr Pawan Kumar. He said he would stay in Canada for three weeks to explore the market for the sale of his products on his own. “ But I have gained nothing from the show. I got neither an order nor made any booking”, he added.

Mr Pawan Kumar said the show was not publicised in Canada. “From all angles, it was poorly organised”, he said.

Another participant said on condition of anonymity that several VIPs, including Ministers and Bureaucrats turned up at the show only once. “ They remained busy attending political functions and dinners”, he said. In fact, politics dominated the visit of the VIPs. “ It appears that in the name of the show, Ministers and officials had a good outing abroad on government money”, he added.

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