P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC recognises persons died in Operation Bluestar
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, May 27
The SGPC today decided to recognise persons who had laid down their lives during Operation Bluestar. It has planned to organise “Ardas Divas” at Harmandir Sahib on June 6 and to raise a memorial at Darbar Sahib complex in their memory. These decisions were taken at a special meeting of the SGPC executive committee held here.

Guru Granth Sahib and other articles that were damaged during the operation would be exhibited in the memorial, said SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur.

The meeting, which begun at 12.30pm, continued till 5pm at Gurdwara Shri Keshgarh Sahib.

Members of the executive committee opposed the move of the Haryana Government to create a separate committee. “The government move to create a separate committee to control gurdwaras in Haryana could not stand anywhere as the SGPC has not received any demand from its members,” the SGPC chief told The Tribune.

Only one member, Mr Raghujit Singh Virk, out of the two executive members, representing Haryana attended the meeting.

The SGPC chief said the Congress government in Haryana had been instigating SGPC members to raise the demand for separate committee. She said seven SGPC members, who had won elections against the Akalis, had been playing in the hands of the Congress.

“No state government can interfere in the functioning of the SGPC. Any act of the SGPC could be amended only if it gets the acceptance of the two-third majority of its members. So the demand for the separate committee does not stand legally.”

The executive body also criticised the role of the Centre for not taking necessary action in time to ban the screening of “Jo Bole So Nihal”. Bibi Jagir Kaur alleged that blasts in New Delhi were a conspiracy hatched by the Congress government to put blame on the Sikhs.

She said a delegation of the SGPC members would meet the Prime Minister to discuss various issues, including the ban on wearing turbans in France and problems being faced by Sikhs in Durban.


SGPC chief, gurdwara panel on warpath
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) are seemed to be on the warpath as the former has said that the latter has no authority to direct her in administrative matters.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone today, she said the SGJC should not overstep its authority. Instead, it could take legal action in case of violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925.

The unsavoury situation arose when the SGJC directed the SGPC chief to transfer Mr Dilmegh Singh, Mr Major Singh Rataul and Mr Mohinder Singh from their present postings till the disposal of the cases against them. The order was issued by the three-member panel comprising Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, Mr Amarik Singh Randhawa and Mr Ajwant Singh Mann last week.

The complainant had accused the SGPC officials that they had indulged in the misappropriation of SGPC funds during the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib . Another case was filed against them following missing of gold spades during the ‘kar sewa’ of the holy tank of Golden Temple .

However, Bibi Jagir Kaur claimed that she had not received any directive from the SGJC regarding the transfer of the above three senior functionaries so far. She hastened to add that the administration of the SGPC was her prerogative being president of the ‘mini parliament’ of the Sikhs and hence the SGJC had no reason to intervene.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, confirmed that the matter was taken up at the executive meeting of the Shiromani Committee today and Bibi Jagir Kaur had announced that she was not bound to accept such orders of the SGJC.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, SGPC member, has opined that the SGJC should not interfere in the administrative matters of the SGPC.

However, the SGJC may initiate ‘contempt of court’ in case of non-compliance of the orders.


Theft suspect attempts suicide at police station
SHO, munshi suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 27
Exactly a week after a custodial death at Rampura Phul police station, a theft suspect attempted suicide by consuming a pesticide at Kotfatta police station. The SSP has suspended the SHO and the munshi of the police station for negligence and ordered a departmental inquiry against them.

Deena Singh, a 19-year-old youth of Kotfatta village, was arrested yesterday on the charge of theft. He consumed a pesticide of Hivap brand, which was kept for cleanliness in the jail, at about 9 am today. He was removed to the Civil Hospital, Talwandi Sabo, before being admitted here. It took the doctors a few hours to save his life.

After gaining consciousness, Deena Singh alleged that the police tortured him following his arrest and also showed some injury marks. He said the police arrested him for stealing water pipes and a pulley from a villager’s farm at 11 am yesterday. He alleged that the police pressurised him to name his other accomplices and threatened to implicate him in a false case of carrying poppy husk and firearms.

He said he had committed the theft alone and had no other aides. He was also jailed in a poppy husk case a couple of years ago. Deena Singh alleged that the farmer, from whose field he had stolen goods, had asked the police to thrash him. He charged the police with beating him up. He said getting panicky after the police torture, he consumed the pesticide.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said a case of suicide attempt had been registered against Deena Singh. He said SHO Jagir Singh and the munshi had been suspended for negligence that led to the inmate laying hands on the pesticide. He said cases like these reflect a disturbing trend among criminals as they were trying to create such situations to save themselves. He said the police would have to be cautious and prevent such incidents in the future.


AIDS time bomb ticking in border belt
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Patti, May 27
This border belt is sitting on a ticking AIDS time bomb. However, the Health Department is not well equipped to wage a war against the disease.

While at least 50 persons had died in the past three years in Patti tehsil itself, hundreds have been suffering from HIV due to ignorance. Shockingly, at least 15 deaths were reported from a single village in this subdivision in the recent past. Most of the deceased were truckers or their family members.

Though most of the victims and their family members don’t report AIDS/HIV cases to the health authorities due to social stigma attached to it, the ever-rising incidence has taken an alarming proportions in this belt.

Senior health officers said the truckers who had been frequenting sex workers in Mumbai and Kolkata were mainly responsible for spreading the disease.

Dr Harjit Bharti, Chief Medical Officer, said 29 and 44 HIV cases were reported in 2003 and 2004, respectively, from this area. Sixteen cases were reported till April this year. Similarly, the hepatitis C cases were on the rise in the area.

Sources in the government-run blood bank here said on an average one unit was being discarded due to infection.

According to Dr H.S. Gill, a former Civil Surgeon, at least one per cent population of the border district was reportedly suffering from HIV.

However, Mr Parmjit Singh Grewal, district police chief, Tarn Taran, said only four policemen of the total 1,200 were found HIV positive.

Interestingly, the Jaura village panchayat had passed a resolution last year to prevent the spread of the disease by verifying the health record of bride and bridegroom instead of horoscope.


Tribune impact
Contract staff of AG office to continue
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab Government has decided to extend the contracts of over 40 contractual employees in the office of Punjab Advocate-General (AG).

The Home Department had recently directed the AG to dispense with the services of these employees, most of whom are working since 2000, and outsource their jobs.

The decision to allow these staffers to continue follows the news item published in The Tribune on May 20, wherein the plight of these officials was highlighted.

Punjab AG Harbhagwan Singh confirmed that the Finance Department had accepted his request to allow these officials to continue. “I have been told that they will not be sacked,” the AG said.

Sources say that Principal Secretary (Finance) K.R. Lakhanpal, who was the main force behind the decision to get rid of these employees, has also assured the AG that the services of these employees would not be terminated.

Incidentally, Mr Lakhanpal was in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with the hearing of a contempt case.

On May 16, the Home and Justice Department had written to the AG, telling him to outsource the contractual employees immediately. The letter went on to inform the AG that if the present employees were allowed to continue, the responsibility would his alone.

The order was passed despite the letter written by Punjab AG Harbhagwan Singh, seeking extension in tenure of these officials. In his letter, he had clearly written that the office would not be able to function smoothly without these employees.

The decision of the powers-that-be to sack these employees was had left many senior officers appalled, what with the apparent lack of thinking that went into it.


Punjab favours Pak visa counter for pilgrims in Amritsar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
While Pakistan is keen that its pilgrims intending to visit shrines in India should also have the facility of a bus service like the proposed one between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib for Indian pilgrims, the Punjab Government favours the setting up of a regular visa issuance counter by Pakistan in Amritsar or on the Wagah border.

Informed sources said that the matter regarding the visa counter for pilgrims was raised at the last meeting of Indian and Pakistani officials held in Islamabad on May 10 and 11. It will now be taken up with the Pakistan Government through the Union External Affairs Ministry, it is learnt.

There is a proposal to run two buses from the Indian side. One of these will be from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib and the other from Amritsar to Lahore and back. Both proposals came up for discussion at the last meeting but the modalities are yet to be finalised. It appears that the bus services between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib and Amritsar and Lahore will not be possible before the end of July.

The Punjab Government is not in favour of pilgirms first going to Delhi to seek visas from the Pakistan High Commission and then returning to Amritsar to board the bus for Nankana Sahib or Lahore. This will not only cause a lot of inconvenience to pilgrims but also defeat the objective of running the bus services between the two holy cities. Punjab officers are of the view that the setting up of the visa counter in Amritsar will be the right step for the convenience of pilgrims.

Another issue that has not been settled fully yet relates to the allowing of foreign nationals to travel in the buses from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib and Lahore. There are many NRI Sikhs who hold the passports of the UK, the USA, Canada and other countries. According to the Punjab Government authorities, such NRIs will be keen on travelling by bus to Nankana Sahib and Lahore from Amritsar.

The sources said that at the last meeting the Pakistan Government authorities had agreed on this point but further discussions were required. These issues are expected to be thrashed out at the next meeting, proposed to be held before July 11, between officials of both countries in Delhi.

As far as the bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib is concerned, the Pakistan Government authorities have conveyed to the Indian delegation that it would take some time to create the necessary infrastructure such as sheds for the parking of the bus and arrangements for the stay of the Indian bus crew at Nankana Sahib. Pakistan officials are of the view that there should also be proper arrangements for the stay of pilgrims and others who wish to stay outside the religious places there. As Nankana Sahib is a semi-urban area, the Pakistan Government authorities have started creating facilities for pilgrims there to make it an international tourist centre.

According to the preliminary discussions at the first meeting, on every Tuesday the Indian bus will leave from Amritsar for Lahore and return on Wednesday. The Pakistan bus will depart from Lahore for Amritsar on Friday and return the next day.

However, the frequency of the bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib and back has not been finalised yet. It is also not clear whether the Pakistan Government is also keen on starting a bus from Nankana Sahib for Amritsar. A maximum of 46 passengers, including the security and liaison staff and drivers, will be allowed in the bus from Amritsar to Lahore and back. The Punjab Government has planned to buy three buses, one of which will be a standby vehicle.


After 55 years, govt asks refugee families to pack up
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 27
Seventyfive-year-old Hakim Devi somehow survived the trauma of Partition. But she may not be able to survive another dislocation, that too in the twilight of her life.

Along with 350 Partition-affected families rehabilitated in Rajpura five decades ago, Hakim Devi finds herself in the grip of constant fear — the fear of losing home and hearth all over again!

She is the eldest among the inhabitants of Kasturba Sewa Ashram which, until recently, was under the care of the Punjab Social Welfare Department. The land has now been reclaimed by PEPSU Township Development Board, the original owner, which has asked the resident families to vacate the place. About 65 notices have been served for vacation of the ashram which no longer exists in papers.

The government has done away with the ashram in its records, although its occupants are still receiving water and electricity bills on the same address — “Kasturba Sewa Ashram”. When contacted, Mr Rajinder Raja, member of the PEPSU Township Development Board and President, Municipal Council Rajpura, said that 31 acres of land under occupation of refugee families was “prized land and could not be spared forever.”

“We understand that the families here are poor and we have made recommendations to the Board to rehabilitate them. But we also need the space for official constructions. We have been approached for a possibility to set up a judicial complex on this land. That is why eviction notices have been served,” he said.

Strangely, the notices make no mention of this particular requirement as the reason behind eviction. They are rather vaguely worded and lack a solid legal point. They mention that eviction is being demanded in the interest of the families occupying about 75 tenements in the area. “This construction is unsafe. Any further occupation of this place would be at your own risk,” mention the notices, which have been undersigned by Administrator, PEPSU Township Development Board.

Enquiries conducted in Rajpura, however, confirmed that the houses were not as unsafe as were projected to be. Om Parkash, President of the households inhabiting the ashram said, “We have used our meager incomes to make this place livable. For 55 years we have been living here in the hope that the government would allot us this land someday. But we have had no luck. Till 1970 we used to get Rs 35 per month as ration from the state. But now we don’t even get that. It is painful to witness the state’s apathy. If we are thrown out, where does the government expect us to go?”


India, Pakistan to exchange animals
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, May 27
India and Pakistan have agreed to exchange different species of wild animals.

The Punjab Government will give a lion, a panther, a tiger and a blue bull to Pakistan in exchange for zebra, giraffe, eagle and crocodile from Pakistan.

Giving this information to The Tribune, Punjab Minister of State for Forest Hans Raj Josan said this was decided during his meeting with Dr Ahmad Kahlon, Forest and Wildlife Minister of Pakistan, who will be visiting Punjab next month.

During his week-long tour of Punjab (Pakistan), Mr Josan conducted a special study on the famous Sahiwal breed of cows of Pakistan which give 25 to 35 litres of milk per day. The fat percentage of the milk of these cows is very high.

The Minister said he had conducted this study because of the keen interest shown by Capt Amarinder Singh for rearing these cows in Punjab to improve dairy development.

Mr Josan said there is only 32 per cent area under forest cover in Pakistan Punjab as compared to the 8.1 per cent area under forest cover in Punjab. Punjab intends to increase this forest cover area to 15 per cent by 2015. For this purpose Punjab had secured the help of Japan Bank International Corporation which has sponsored a Rs 450-crore project.

Under this new plantation scheme to be taken by the Forest Development Agencies (FDAs) in five districts of Punjab the area under forest would be enhanced in Muktsar, Bathinda, Sangrur, Moga and Mansa. About Rs 5 crore would be spent in each district by the FDAs with cooperation of Village Forest Committees. Five more districts of Punjab — Ferozepore, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Nawanshahr — have been approved for this project.

Mr Josan said despite the low forest cover area in Pakistan the Chhanga-Manga forest and wildlife sanctuary of Lahore named after the notorious dacoit Chhanga-Manga is a classical forest and sanctuary in itself. This forest has the best quality of sheesham wood (tahli) and is spread in an area of 20,000 acres. It has a wildlife sanctuary in about 500 acres.


Delayed renovation of thermal plant costs PSEB dear
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur May 27
The state is reeling under a power crisis once again. The PSEB is being forced to buy power at hefty rates from outside the state to meet the power demand. Even so most of the towns in the state are suffering power cuts ranging from four to eight hours. The situation is worse in the rural areas.

In this situation, the delayed renovation of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda, is costing the PSEB dear. Highly placed sources told The Tribune that the contract for renovating the two 110 MW units of the Bathinda thermal plant was given to a private company by the PSEB for Rs 200 crore.

According to the agreement, besides renovating, the company was also supposed to increase the generation capacity of the two units by 10 MW each. The company started renovating unit number II of the Bathinda thermal plant more than a year ago. It was supposed to finish the renovation and modernising the unit-II by December 2005.

However, the company has not been able to finish the job even after five months of the dead line. The sources said now the completion of renovation work of the 100 MW unit no. II was being expected by-June end.

This means that the PSEB will have to suffer a generation loss of about 110 MW per hour for six months due to the failure of the company to complete the renovation and modernisation work of the unit number II. The Member (generation) of the PSEB, Mr Jain, when asked on his recent visit to Pathankot about the delay in the completion of the renovation work of the unit no II of the Bathinda thermal plant, had stated that the company would be penalised for the delay in work.

However, the sources said the company could not be penalised. They alleged that the PSEB was suffering a minimum generation loss of about Rs 50 lakh per day due to the delay in the renovation work of the 110 MW unit of the Bathinda thermal plant. Due to the six-month delay, the PSEB will suffer a generation loss of about Rs 90 crore. Besides, the loss caused was multiplying due to the fact that the PSEB was being forced to buy power at hefty rates from outside the state. That much loss cannot be recovered from the contractor as company it amounted to about 50 per cent of the contract amount.

The sources alleged that the PSEB authorities had failed to establish the reliability of the company in carrying massive renovation and upgradation work of the thermal plant. The same company was earlier awarded the renovation and modernisation work at Panipat. However, after the company failed to complete the work for three years, the work at Panipat plant was handed over to the BHEL.


Water level in dams higher than last year’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The water levels in the Bhakra dam and the Pong dam are better than the level during the same period last year. The forecast of rain and also the abundance of snow in the Himalayas promise to fill up the reservoirs.

Today the water level in the Bhakra was 1536 elevation feet as against 1485 elevation feet on the same day last year. Similarly, the level in the Pong dam was 1320 elevation feet today as compared to 1289 elevation feet last year. The Bhakra dam fills up at 1680 elevation feet while the Pong dam fills up at 1390 elevation feet.

The Union Power Minister, Mr P.M. Sayeed, was briefed about the water level in the reservoirs at a review meeting of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) here today. Mr R.V. Shahi, Secretary, Power, Government of India, was also present at the meeting.

The Chairman, Mr Rakesh Nath informed that snowfall in the catchment of the Sutlej river during last winter had also been good as evident from the satellite imageries and the forecast for snowmelt run-off during the period April to June, 2005 was for 17 lakh cusecs days which was almost double of what was available during last summer.

The initial weather forecast based on eight parameters is for a near normal monsoon for the country as a whole. The forecast for the North-West region will be available only in the month of June. The present indications are for good prospects of filling-up of the reservoir at the end of the monsoon and higher availability of water and power from BBMB which is good news for the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The energy generation from BBMB during the period June to September is expected to be about 4600 million units based on dependable inflows which is about 20 per cent higher than generation during the same period last year.

Mr Sayeed expressed satisfaction about the availability of power from BBMB in the ensuing summer season.

He also released a book by Mr R.K. Aggarwal, Former member power, BBMB, on operation, maintenance and refurbishment of hydro plants. This book provides practical guide for hydro plant engineers.


Water crisis hits Siwia village
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 27
Residents of Siwia village have been facing an acute power and water crisis for the last four days. They are forced to consume contaminated water from the local resources.

The village panchayat approached the electricity board officials, but to no avail. The villagers are left with no other option but to fetch potable water on their tractor-trailers and bicycles from the canal. They rued that the groundwater of their village was not fit for human consumption, but in the absence of water supply from the waterworks some people consumed it after boiling, while others fetch water from the canal.

Gurmail Singh of the village said that they had not received a drop of water for the past four days. Makhan Singh said lack of water supply had hit their work. Angrej Singh said they were totally dependent on supply from the waterworks and any problem in it led to resentment among people.

Sarpanch Sukhpal Singh blamed the regular power cuts for the water crisis. He rued that none of the electricity officials gave an apt reply as to when the power supply would be restored. Sources attributed the power crisis in the village to the recent snag at the thermal plant.


Dal (Longowal) organises rally against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) today asked the Amarinder government to table two bills in the next session of the Assembly for enacting laws to regulate the working of private nursing homes as well as the private educational institutions in the state.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, President of the SAD (Longowal), said that, on the one hand, the state government was heading towards privatising government hospitals and educational institutions, on the other, the people were facing the wrath of the private nursing homes and the educational institutions as they were “looting” them by one way or the other in the name of providing special facilities.

Prof Chandumajra was here in connection with his party’s protest rally against the privatisation of several government institutions, including hospitals and schools, by the state government. A large number of activists of the SAD (Longowal), led by Prof Chandumajra, held a protest march through the town and later held a rally outside the DC’s office complex here. The leaders also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, enlisting their demands, opposing privatisation of the government institutions.

In this protest, besides Prof Chandumajra, Mr Baldev Singh Mann, secretary- general of the SAD (L); Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra, president of youth wing of the party; Ms Inderjit Kaur, president, women wing, Mr Sanmukh Singh Mokha, SGPC member; Mr Gurmeet Singh Cheema, newly appointed propaganda secretary of the party; and Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, a senior leader, also participated.

Prof Chandumajra also criticised the SAD, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for boycotting the Parliament session recently, due to which the SAD “failed” in raising the turban issue and Nanawati Commission report issue in Parliament, he added.


Drive against encroachments launched
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 27
The district administration has launched a drive to remove encroachments on government land, including link roads.

In its first step, the district administration authorities led by Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner, started a drive to remove the encroachments from all the link roads in the district.

The 1200-km-long link roads were widened with the help of village panchayats by removing the encroachments.

Now in the next step to remove encroachments from all the kutcha roads, Mr Alok Shekhar, while addressing the media persons, said that almost 80 per cent work in this connection had been completed.

Around 293 kutcha lanes of about 600-km-long in the district had been identified. He said that a number of kutcha lanes had been lying unused for the past about 40 years due to the encroachments on them.


15 councillors boycott meeting
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 27
A piquant situation arose here today when 15 councillors belonging to the Congress and those supported by it boycotted a Nagar Council meeting, revolting against its president Malkiat Singh Ragbotra and reducing him to a minority in the otherwise Congress-controlled council.

Led by veteran Congress councillor Manmohan Sharma, these councillors told mediapersons that they had stayed away from today’s meeting in protest against development work having come to a standstill in the city and the ruling party’s council president Malkiat Singh Ragbotra’s “political honeymoon” with Opposition councillors.

Mr Ragbotra, however, termed these allegations as baseless.

However, the rival camp claimed that Mr Sonkar was not with those who boycotted the meeting. It was learnt that Mr Sonkar had expressed solidarity with the rivals only on the development issue.

Mr Ragbotra, who chaired the meeting, said normal business was transacted as the quorum was complete.

Mr Ragbotra said there was a ban on spending on fresh projects without clearing previous liabilities. The council had liabilities of Rs 1.25 crore, he said, adding that the council was to get over Rs 3 crore as dues from the Excise Department. “We will write to the Director, Local Bodies, to allow us take up fresh projects of development by adjusting our liabilities against our dues,” he said.

Rival camp leaders Manmohan Sharma and Sanjeev Bugga said they had no trust in Mr Ragbotra.


IMA urges doctors to move into rural areas
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
The Indian Medical Association (Punjab unit) has urged its district units to adopt the ‘Aao Gaon Chalen’ scheme to provide health care services in rural areas of the state, which at present are much below the desired levels.

This was stated the newly installed state President of the IMA, Dr R.C. Garg, during the annual state council meeting of the Association held at Nabha, near here, yesterday.

In the meeting, Dr O.P.S. Kande was unanimously elected as the Patron of the state branch of the Association.

According to Dr D.S Bhullar, a state and central representative of the IMA, a number of resolutions were at the meeting and doctors across the state were urged to maintain the noble traditions of the profession.

He also asked doctors to develop better public relations so that the common man living in rural areas could effectively communicate with the medical fraternity.

During the meeting, serious concern was shown with regard to the decreasing sex ratio in the state and views were also expressed by the doctors regarding the increase in incidents of assault on doctors.


PPCB’s run for environment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
To mark the celebrations connected with World Environment Day, a “Run for Environment” was organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) at Baradari Gardens here on Wednesday.

As per the press note issued by Mr Gurdarshan Singh, Public Relations Officer, PPCB, the run got tremendous response as people from all walks of life participated in it holding placards and flags. The run began from the rink hall in Baradari Garden, covered children’s park and ended at the same place.

Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Mr K.K Sharma, Improvement Trust, together flagged off the run.

On the occasion, Er Malvinder Singh, Member Secretary, PPCB addressed the participants.

Comedy artist Mr Rana Ranvir, who is also a secretary of Garden and Environment Society, and Mr Vijay Goyal also participated in it.


high court
Razia Sultana moves another petition
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
Ms Razia Sultana, MLA from Malerkotla, who is also Chairperson of the Punjab Wakf Board, has moved yet another petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging actions of some members of the Board, particularly Punjab Police ADGP Mohammed Izhar Alam. Mr Alam is the official member of the Board.

In her petition, the MLA has stated that these members have been trying to usurp the powers of the Chairperson. She has also challenged the legality of a memo issued by some members on February 16, through which it has been ordered that since she is fighting cases against the Board, no file or official document be handed over to any member. Later, another letter was circulated, telling the staff not to implement any administrative order passed by Ms Sultana.

The petitioner has also stated that she has made representations to the Punjab Government and the Chief Minister on February 27, seeking intervention to check Mr Alam and his associates. She has also claimed that the respondent-members have been regularly holding meetings of the Board in her absence and without informing her.

Seeking quashing of the memos dated February 16 and 21, the petitioner has also sought quashing of the direction that no document or file be passed on to her. She has also sought a restrain on Mr Alam and other members from holding illegal meetings. On the MLA’s petition, the High Court had earlier stayed delegation of powers to run the affairs of the Board to Mr Alam.

The court had also stayed the operation of decisions taken by the members at the meeting held on February 11, where Ms Sultana was not present. She had alleged that she had been locked in her Chandigarh office to prevent her from attending the meeting. In this meeting, many powers were vested in Mr Alam.

Today, after hearing, the case was adjourned to July 4.


Dispossession of land stayed
Legal Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the dispossession of land of villagers in five villages of the state. Their land has being acquired by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for development.

The villages are in Nawanshahr district, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar. During hearing of a bunch of petitions filed by the Bhupinder Singh and scores of other farmers whose land was acquired by PUDA, the Division Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Narang and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla directed PUDA and other respondents not to dispossess them.

The petitioners have challenged the acquisition of their land by PUDA on various grounds. One such ground is that as per an amendment of 1993 to the Constitution of India, the state governments are bound to set up district- level planning committees for panchayats and municipalities. All development works in the panchayat and municipalities are to be cleared by these committees.

Today, counsel for the petitioners told the court that no such committee had been constituted in Punjab by the government and PUDA which is a nodal body, could not be mandated to carry out development works in these areas.

The case was later adjourned.


Liquor recovered from Punjab cop
Police fails to arrest him
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
The failure of the Sadar police to arrest Buta Singh, Head Constable, Punjab police and working as a security guard of a senior judicial officer of this district after recovery of a huge amount of illicit liquor from him yesterday, has raised many eyebrows.

Though the Sadar police station authorities claimed that Buta Singh, who was having a criminal background and has been facing a number of criminal cases, managed to dodge the police party headed by ASI, Hazoor Singh, a cross section of residents of this district, including policemen, alleged that Buta Singh had been managing VVIP treatment from authorities concerned by using his political connections.

What has raised suspicion of people over the functioning of the Sadar police is the fact that yesterday four cases were registered under the Excise Act. In three cases out of a total four, the accused were arrested despite the fact that the quantity of liquor recovered from their possession was not so huge as recovered from Buta Singh.

Official sources said the police party, which raided his premises in Badanpur village of this district, recovered 1600 kg of ‘lahan’ (illicit distilled liquor) and 291 bottles of illicit liquor from a fourwheeler, which the accused was using.

Mr A. S. Rai, SSP, while claiming that neither police officials had been showing any laxity in taking action against Buta Singh nor were they hand in glove with him, said Buta Singh, who had been facing a number of criminal cases and had been placed under suspension in one of the cases, was too clever and had been trying to hoodwink the policemen after committing the crime. He added that Buta Singh was a known smuggler of liquor of that area.

Mr Manjeet Singh Brar, SHO, Sadar police station, Patiala, when contacted, said Buta Singh managed to escape through uneven lanes and bylanes of Badanpur village.

He added that after escaping from the spot, Buta Singh got himself admitted in a Government Rajindra Hospital. Later, he fled from the hospital also. He said after making an inquiry into this particular incident, another criminal case would be registered against him.


Travel agent dupes woman of Rs 4 lakh
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 27
A case of duping Rs 4 lakh in the name of sending abroad has been reported at the Tanda Police Station yesterday.

According to police sources, Balbir Kaur, wife of Sarwan Singh, and a resident of Kehalwan, in her complaint stated that a travel agent, Ravail Kaur, wife of Balwinder Singh, and resident of the same village, along with Surjit Singh, son of Makhan Singh, promised to send her son Baljit Singh to England within a month for which she demanded Rs 8 lakh.

It was decided to pay Rs 4 lakh in advance and the payment of remaining amount would be paid after Baljit Singh reached England. She alleged that she paid Rs 4 lakh along with the passport of her son in presence of Mohinder Singh, son of Ravail Kaur, and Jaswant Singh on July 16, 2003, to the above said accused.

After getting the payment they did not send her son to England. After 5-6 months they returned the passport and Rs 30,000 to her. When she demanded the remaining amount, they first made various excuses and later flatly refused to return the money. She also brought the matter to the notice of the village Panchayat.

The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC in this connection.


Transporter found murdered
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 27
Former transporter Sohan Singh (80) was found murdered at his house at Old Adda Una here this morning. His wife, Harjeet Kaur, was also injured. She was admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to Harjeet Kaur, some unidentified persons killed her husband Sohan Singh and injured her during last night.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC.


Three die in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
Three persons, including two Army men posted at Patiala, died today and four others were injured when the Tata 407 truck, in which they were travelling, dashed against a roadside tree on the Sangrur-Barnala road, near Mastuana Sahib, about 5 km from here. The occupants of the truck were going to Bathinda from Patiala to bring commodities for the military canteen.

As per the information, Naib Subedar Gulab Singh died on the spot while Sepoy Kala Rakesh Subhas succumbed to his injuries on the way to Sangrur Civil Hospital.

Dr Prabhat Kumar, Emergency Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Sangrur, said the five injured — four Army jawans and the driver — were referred to a Patiala hospital. The names of the injured are: Mahesh, Rajesh Kumar, A.K. Azad and Neeraj Mishra. The police has registered a case.


Father, son killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 27
Two persons of a family, including a two-year-old boy, were killed while three sustained serious injuries in an accident this afternoon. The mishap took place when a scooter carrying Sukhwinder Singh, his wife and son, collided with a car coming from the opposite direction near Bam Majra village. Sukhwinder Singh and his son Harpeet Singh died on the spot while his wife Jawant Kaur sustained serious injuries and had been referred to the PGI.


PTU notice leaves MBA aspirants confused
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
Thousands of candidates across the state aspiring to take admission to the MBA and MCA courses in colleges through the MET are a confused lot following a notification issued by Punjab Technical University announcing the date of the entrance examination, which was not to be conducted by it.

Even as Punjabi University was to conduct the examination as per the rotation system being followed in the state, Punjab Technical University had notified through an advertisement in newspapers that the examination would be conducted on May 29. Ever since, the candidates started preparing for the examination, which is still nowhere in sight.

It was only this week that many aspirants realised that it was a “hoax” notice when they started contacting the authorities of the colleges in their vicinity or even on the PTU campus to get a form for appearing in the examination. Even till today, some students were seen coming to the campus to enquire about the same.

Graduates from different streams, including business administration, computer applications, commerce, arts and science, who are through with their previous examination, had started preparing for the entrance test. Deepti, a student from Kapurthala, said she had gone through the notification released by the PTU in a daily last month. She said she had even missed a trip to Mussourie with her friends just to prepare for the examination.

Himmat Singh, another aspirant, said if the university had given any notification regarding the test by mistake, it should have been clarified in the subsequent issue of the same paper. Had any corrigendum appeared in the paper, there would have been no confusion at all, he rued.

What has kept the candidates non-plussed is that it still is not clear which university will hold the test and when. While all other national-level examination such as CAT or MAT have been over for long, nothing is still clear about the state-level examination. The confusion persists as the Punjab Government is yet to notify any university for conducting the test. While Punjabi University is awaiting its copy as per the rotation schedule, the authorities of the PTU also seem to be trying to avail a chance for the same.

As per the directions of the government, each university was to conduct the MET for two consecutive years. Last year, Punjabi University had conducted the examination and it is again its turn this year. However, since a majority of the seats for which the examination is to be conducted fall under the PTU, the university authorities had always wanted that they be allowed to take the test.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, PTU, confirmed that a notification about the date of examination had been issued by it . He admitted that no corrigendum was followed to allay the confusion in the minds of the students. He said things were made clear on the official website of the PTU soon after the notification.

The Registrar said since the test was mandatory for getting admission, it should not matter to them even if it is held on May 29 or a month later. 


GND varsity results
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
The results of B.B.A (II and III) examinations would be declared on May 28 and 29, respectively by Guru Nanak Dev University. The results would be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org, after 5 p.m. on these days.

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