P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Calcutta questions change in Akal Takht design
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 29
The structure and design of Akal Takht were changed without taking the Sikh Panth into confidence while carrying out ‘kar seva’ by Damdami Taksal after Operation Bluestar. The Taksal owes an explanation to the Sikhs as to why the old structure was not kept intact.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, former SGPC secretary, said Damdami Taksal, considered a Sikh seminary, also owed another explanation: of concealing the death of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale for more than two decades. Was there any force or vested interest that compelled the Taksal for this blatant lie?

Mr Calcutta alleged that the structure of the supreme temporal seat now looked like a Gurdwara whereas the designs of the Takht and gurdwara ought to be different from one another.

Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman of Damdami Taksal, said a part of Akal Takht had been raised as memorial to Sant Bhindranwale in June 1986, but the formal announcement in this regard was not made public. The announcement was withheld as Baba Thakur Singh, the then acting Jathedar of the Taksal, had been claiming that he (Sant Bhindranwale) was in high spirits.

Bhai Mohkam Singh said being a ‘disciplined functionary’ of the Taksal, he did not want to embarrass the acting chief by saying that a Sant Bhindranwale memorial had been raised on the Akal Takht premises.

He urged the SGPC, Akal Takht and other Sikh organisations to collectively give recognition to the memorial, raised two decades ago. He said precious items of the ‘jalou’ could be displayed in this memorial, apart from permanently displaying the portraits of Sikh martyrs.

However, Mr Calcutta said the Taksal had been ‘misguiding’ the Sikh sangat on the death of Sant Bhindranwale even though Akal Takht and the SGPC had already two years earlier admitted to this death. This was why both the supreme Sikh organisations had recognised Bhai Ram Singh as the real Jathedar of Taksal who had endorsed the line of the SGPC and Akal Takht that Sant Bhindranwale had died on June 6, 1984.

On the other hand, the SGPC has taken a strong exception to the statement of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), that his party would demolish the memorial , to be raised in the memory of those killed during Operation Bluestar. The press release, issued by the SGPC, has alleged that Mr Mann wanted to ‘oblige’ the Congress which was responsible for the Army action.


‘Lack of seriousness’ led to supply of substandard eatables
Tribune News Service

Rights panel seeks CBI probe

The Punjab Human Rights Committee has decided to file a write petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

In a press note issued here today, the committee stated that the “real culprits” always went scotfree in such scams and only Class III or IV employees were indicted and they too were let off by the senior officials. The committee stated that the replacement of rotten eatables with fresh ones by some officials in the cover of darkness was enough to prove an “underhand deal” of some corrupt officials with the supplier. The panel had also written to the Prime Minister, the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Punjab Chief Minister, about this scandal.

Bathinda, May 29
Following a report of rotten eatables served to children and expectant mothers at anganwadi centres, it has come to light that the officials concerned ignored the advice of the District Health Officer to get samples of eatables of the lowest bidder tested from a government laboratory before giving contract to the firm.

As per the tender notice issued by the Zila Parishad on November 25 last year, any company bidding for the supply was asked to submit a report from a “reputed laboratory” with one kg as sample of its food product. Sources said District Health Officer Dr Kasturi Lal, had asked the officials concerned to get the sample of the lowest bidder tested at a government laboratory before awarding contract to it.

But, the officials didn’t heed him and gave away contract to JVS Foods, Jaipur. These officials formed a quality control committee, which had no expert to check eatables’ quality. This underlines approach of government officials on the Prime Minister’s Gramodaya Yojana (Nutrition) aimed at providing nutritious food to children in the age group of 0-6 and expectant mothers.

Sources said testing of samples at a government laboratory would have led to proper examination of nutrients.

Sources said after recent expose of rotten eatables served at district’s anganwadi centres the proposed testing would only be physical and not the one aimed at testing nutritional value of the diet. Sources said nutritional value of the food samples should also be assessed to check quality of eatables at anganwadis.

Meanwhile, sources said the naib tehsildar of Maud, in his report, has mentioned tampering with of dates on the packing of eatables kept at anganwadi centres. Sources said the officials who tried to hush up the matter and tried to get rotten eatables placed were in a tizzy, as their move had boomeranged on them. When contacted, Zila Parishad Chairman, Bikramjit Singh Bikka, said the firm had given a report from a private laboratory and they didn’t feel any need for getting their samples tested again.


Govt primary schools without teachers show ‘100 pc results’
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 29
In what may seem to be a unique phenomenon, dozens of rural government primary schools of Doaba have outshined prestigious public schools in results. These schools have achieved 100 per cent results without appointing even a single teacher.

These schools, most of which fall in the backward areas of Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar, have been showing bright results for past three years consecutively.

There are certain other schools, for example Channa Farid Primary School in Sultanpur Lodhi block of Kapurthala district, where a lone teacher has been teaching as many as 80 students single-handedly. Still the school has been showing 92 to 100 per cent results for past three years.

However, the most brilliant achievers are six government primary schools of Balachaur and Mukandpur blocks in Nawanshahr district, which, have no teacher for past three years and which have been coming out with 100 per cent results during these years.

Results of government primary schools at Aima Chahal (34 students), Bhedian (40 students), Thanwala (26 students), Mohan Majra (45 students), Kular (60 students) and Nangal Jattan (36 students) have also been 100 per cent from 2002 to 2005 under similar circumstances. The only exception for students of Aima Chahal and Mohan Majra schools was in 2003 and 2004, when, they secured 60 and 99 per cent results respectively.

The other government primary schools of Jalandhar district which have been showing similar results for the past three years are: Rajewal (Nurmahal) has 69 students, one teacher Shamsabad (86 students, 2 teachers), Fatehpur (87 students, 2 teachers), Farwala (102 students, 2 teachers, Nawanpind Derewal (103 students, 1 teacher), Kang Khurd (81 students, 1 teacher), Jagatpura Panjpheran (123 students, 2 teachers). Similarly, in Kapurthala district, the government primary school at Ahli Kalan has 150 students, 2 teachers, Channa Farid (80 students, 1 teacher), Toti (108 students, 1 teacher), Tibbi (120 students, two temporary teachers), Brahmpur (58 students, one temporary teacher), Uchha (82 students, one teacher), Kalewal (25 students, 1 teacher), Pamman (65 students, two temporary teachers), have shown 100 percent results. Government Elementary School (186 students, 4 teachers) at Hakoomatpur village in Hoshiarpur district achieved 100 per cent results in 2004.

Though government officials were either not available for comment or were not prepared to comment, sources pointed out that in most of the schools or schools without a teacher with one or in two teachers, senior students have been teaching their juniors and all of them were usually promoted to the next class by the education authorities “either as a matter of right or formality” almost without subjecting them to sit in the annual examinations. The reason cited for this practice is the shortage of teachers and their unwillingness to serve in the government schools in the remote areas of Doaba region.


‘Institutions of doubtful credentials’ take students for a ride
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 29
Students in the region are being taken for a ride by certain newly set up institutions claiming their affiliation or recognition with universities overseas, without a valid proof.

Majority of such institutions based in far-off states make tall claims about infrastructure and placements during their presentations and even in the copies of glazed, colourful, costly prospectus which they hand over to the prospective students, many of them are unable to produce copies of affiliation they claim to have sought from some foreign universities or so called “deemed universities” within India.

Since state governments or the Ministry of Human Resource Development money prices MHRD is hardly doing anything to curb proliferation of such institutions, those running these are making money by luring students and offering seats at exorbitant prices.

One such institution, offering, courses in hotel management and tourism, based in Dehra Dun, claiming twin affiliations with a university from the Netherlands and that from a “deemed” university based in Rajasthan, held a written test followed by interviews for city students in a hotel here a few days ago. The institution also claimed recognition from the American Institution of Baking, the USA, for a diploma in baking.

Many students and their parents and siblings reached the hotel after reading an advertisement. A presentation by the institution representatives preceded the written test. Forty nine local candidates got themselves registered for Rs 250, purchased a copy of prospectus for Rs 475 and took the admission form for Rs 725. Most of such candidates and their parents were taken in by the claims of the institution representatives who said that it was eight-year old and had placed all its students in top hotels and tourism firms across India and abroad.

Without ascertaining the authenticity of the institution, the students even agreed to pay Rs 7,500 for admission besides paying Rs 60,000 for annual fees and funds for laboratory, computer centres, library and hostel security.

The representatives of the institution mentioned that similar admission procedure was being followed to enrol students from Chandigarh. He said that 11 other centres had been set up at places like Shimla, New Delhi, Agra, Dehra Dun and Lucknow where tests and interviews would be held.

When this correspondent approached the institution representatives in the hotel, they said that they could not give any details about the same. They said that it was mandatory for anyone to pay Rs 475 to buy a sealed prospectus to get any information or else one could go to Dehra Dun to check its validity. They frankly said that they did not possess any documents to prove their validity, adding that they did not mind any news against them as anything, good or bad, published in newspapers would lend them some kind of publicity in the region.

Meanwhile, the police has started action to probe the alleged irregularities being committed by such institute authorities by holding admissions in an unauthorised manner. The police sources said that it had received information about the admission racket and a high-level probe was being conducted to expose it.


BDPO asked to check illegal registries
Parch forest land row
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Violations rife

Gram panchayats of different villages in the lower Shivaliks have pointed out that despite knowing that change of land use for non-forestry purposes was not allowed, many VIPs and well-connected persons were still purchasing land in the forest area. Ever since the Anangarh project was visualised and then scrapped, a number of influential persons have been on a land-buying spree. In some cases, the nature of land in the “khasra girdwaris” was being changed to agriculture land in connivance with Revenue officials.

Chandigarh, May 29
Following an inquiry conducted by the Revenue Department in the case of diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes in Parch village, near here, the Ropar administration has directed the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) concerned to ensure that no registry of undivided common village land — ‘malkana mustarka’ — was done without the consent of the other right holders of the land.

In common parlance, “malkana mustarka khata” is the common land on which all land owners of a village have a rightful share.

The action comes after the case in which several acres of land, protected under various Sections of the Punjab Land Preservation Act 1900, in the village were “encroached” upon by a close relation of a senior officer in Punjab Government was highlighted in these columns on April 13.

The violator had managed to purchase “malkana mustarka” land from a few of the right holders by way of executing general power of attorney (GPA) and forcibly take possession of land. Similar violations had been noticed in Majrian, Nada and Karoran villages.

Sources revealed that previous Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain had directed the SDM, Kharar, to inquire into the matter.

On her direction, a committee of Revenue and Forest officials was constituted to look into the violation.

The DFO, who was part of the committee, in his reply stated that the Forest Department had taken action against the violator.

The BDPO was also told to identify the common land and ensure that rights of the villagers were protected.

The officers concerned have been asked not to register a GPA when the title of owner of the land was not clear.

It may be mentioned that the land falling under Hadbast No. 349, measuring 2,653 acres, has been declared a closed area under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, including that of adjoining Seonk and Majrian villages.

Documents in possession of Chandigarh Tribune reveal that the land as per the revenue record has been classified as “gair-mumkin-pahar”, “birani” and “gair-mumkin- choe”.

Deputy Commissioner H.I.S. Grewal told Chandigarh Tribune that his priority was first to digitalise the record of the government land like the forest, panchayat and shamlat land so that encroachments could be removed.

He said he had directed the officers of different departments to identify the land by June 10.

On checking of encroachments on common village land, he said steps would be taken in this regard in the second phase.


BSP to have poll pact with like-minded parties
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 29
Mr Narinder Kashyap, general secretary, Bahujan Samaj Party and in charge party’s Punjab affairs, said here yesterday that the BSP would have an electoral alliance during next Assembly elections with other like-minded parties after learning its lessons from past mistakes.

He alleged that atrocities against Dalits in Punjab had increased during the present Congress rule. “We will settle scores for these atrocities after coming to power,” he warned. He said the BSP was supporting the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre only to keep BJP away from power.

Addressing party workers at Guru Nanak Library here, Mr Kashyap did not rule out the possibility of a snap poll. Lok Sabha elections could be held before the Assembly poll and party workers should be ready to ensure the victory of party candidates, he said. He asked for the completion of constituency-wise membership before June 10.

The BSP leader said Mr Mayawati will visit Punjab after June 10. A struggle would be launched against the privatisation of education, health services and power, he declared.

Mr Kashyap said Satnam Singh Kainth and Devi Das Nahar would not be allowed to join the BSP. The two worked for their personal aggrandisement and not for Dalits or the party, he alleged. Mr Kainth had floated the Bhujan Samaj Morcha while Mr Nahar had floated the BSP (Ambedkar) after being ousted from the BSP.

Meanwhile, in a major setback to the BSM, its two senior leaders Harbhajan Khalwara and Kashmir Bhullarai joined the BSP at the function.


Research institute given contract
Bid to check pollution from thermal plant
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 29
With a view to overcome the pollution problem, first time since it’s commission, the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, authorities have started assessment of pollution being released in environment and to find out the methods to prevent it. The authorities have given a contract to independent agency Pollution Control Research Institute (BHEL), Haridwar, to check pollution level being released in air and water from the thermal plant, sources said.

The members of teams of the research institute have collected water samples from the various villages situated around the thermal plant. Besides, a team also checked the smoke released from the chimneys of the six units of the plant, tested the coal being used in the thermal plant in the past few months, the sources added.

The sources said that the research institute would submit its report to the thermal plant authorities with in a month. Thereafter, the thermal authorities will submit a report to the Punjab State Pollution Control Department in the end of September. The report besides giving details of the pollution being released by the thermal plant, will also suggested the methods to improve the conditions to prevent the pollution.

The 1260 MW thermal plant situated in Ghanuli village about 10 km from here, which consume tonnes of coal every day to generate electricity and also releases tonnes of ash. The ash being released from the thermal plant spews out into three different ponds spread in the hundreds of acres of land. As the ash is released through water into the ponds, the water stored in the ponds is said be creating problems for the villages in its surrounding areas.

The ash ponds are spread in a total area of 974 acres. The ash is first released into the ash pond. Thereafter, the water enters into second pond after filtration. Finally, the water is released into the Ghanuli drain that finally releases it into Sutlej.

The sources said that the thermal authorities swung into action to fulfil the conditions being laid down by the Punjab State Pollution Board after the incident of leakage of the ash-mixed water from a ash pond.

A senior functionary, on the conditions of the anonymity, said that the self-assessment from the independent agency would help us to find out the remedial measure. The report from the independent agency will have more credibility.

“Besides, in order to stop the flow of the ash into the nearby villages, we have started planting “Sirkanda” plant in the ash pond. The experiment was successful in some areas. We have also decided to convert the ash pond area into a garden,” the official said.


Roadways suffering ‘loss’ of Rs 100 crore annually
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 29
Punjab Roadways is suffering a huge loss of Rs 100 crore annually allegedly due to plying of buses in an unauthorised manner by private transporters owing allegiance with the ruling party.

While the government is carrying on the move to privatise the roadways showing it to be a non-profit department, roadways employees argue that it could easily become a profit-generating department if the nexus between ministers and private bus operators was checked. They have even alleged that a minister and an MLA owned their private bus companies, which were offering transport services throughout the state without having taken any permit.

The employees said most of these illegal buses were plying on the National Highway No. 1 between Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana, which were the most profitable routes in the state. They said such operators were not taking their buses inside the bus stand and were operating these just outside it, taking away all passengers awaiting a bus near the gates. Many of these buses remained stationed at prominent roundabouts of the city, including the PAP chowk, the Rama Mandi chowk, the Maqsudan chowk and the Reru chowk.

Members of the Punjab Roadways Employees Union Action Committee said the department was suffering a loss of Rs 25 lakh daily due to more than 200 illegal buses plying on these roads.

Mr Gurmel Singh, convener of the committee, said these buses were not just avoiding road tax and passenger tax but were also affecting the income of the roadways buses along which they were moving.

The convener said their estimates were based on the facts established during random surveys that their members had been conducting from time to time with the permission of senior officials of their department. They said recently they had conducted nakas at a few important intersections in Jalandhar and had identified at least 100 buses that were carrying passengers without any permit. These buses had covered a distance of 44,357 km in the past 24 hours, he pointed out. He said that many of these buses running under the political nexus had been stopped at nakas and the authorities were told to challan them but no one came forward to take the step.

Mr Avtar Singh, joint secretary, alleged that many bus operators had taken single permit for two buses and given a photocopy of the permit to the second bus operator. They said there were many others who had permit for some other route and were illegally plying the bus in some other route. He said they had sent complete details of the defaulters with the director of the transport department but to no avail.

Mr Jasbir Singh, District Transport Officer, said his department had challaned many buses being run by private operators during frequent drives carried on in the district. He denied talking any further on the issue.


Fund crunch delays energy project
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 29
It has been an endless wait for hundreds of postgraduate students in the state looking forward to the completion of the Rs 40-crore Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy Project on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road. The work on the project, which began in August 2001, has been stalled for the second time, now due to paucity of funds.

The institute, spread over 75 acres, aims at providing knowhow of bio-energy technologies. Even as the construction of various buildings of the institute has reached the half-way mark, the work has now come to a standstill as funds for the purpose have reportedly exhausted.

While the technical services block is ready, three blocks of the research and development wing are still under construction. Construction of a hostel for trainees, an administrative complex, a water body, a workshop and a sub-station is still on even as a grant of Rs 15 crore has already been spent on the project. The last payment of Rs 1 crore came in March 2004. CPWD officials claim that they have already spent the grant for various works.

With no funds in hand, employees of the CPWD are also being shifted out to other locations as they are left with almost no work to do. Two of the eight assistant engineers have already been sent out. The department has even indicated that in case the funds do not reach in time, all employees will be shifted to new sites.

Complicated architectural designs, shortage of labour, bureaucratic set up coupled with some gap between the planning and execution departments, seem to be some of the factors causing hindrances to the accomplishment of the ambitious project.

While the foundation stone for the project was laid in May 2000 and construction began in August 2001, work is going on at a very slow pace. The then contractor — Uttar Pradesh Rajya Nirman Nigam (UPRN) — was given the deadline of April 2003. However, due to slow progress made by it, the contract was terminated in October 2002, when just 15 per cent of the work had been completed.

After six months, the CPWD handed over the job to Panchkula-based Ankush Engineers and Contractors who were to complete the work within the stipulated period. Unfortunately, this company too could not complete its target in time and it is now being estimated that the project will take another year to get accomplished.

The basic architectural plan of the building has been made in such a way that it controls assimilation of excessive heat that would be radiated during the research projects conducted in the institute. Most of the buildings of the administrative block and technical services centre are being made with curved sloped roofs to deflect UV rays and sunlight. Wind tunnels have also been made in the form of underground pipes, so as to make the temperature constant inside.

The Principal Scientific Adviser, Mr G. L. Meena, said the work was going on slowly, adding that the CPWD still had some part of the last grant, which could be used for construction work.


Snakes all over in this house
Tribune News Service

Captain Suresh Sharma, who manages the city-based Snake Cell, gave the following tips for those who come face-to-face with a snake:
  • Don’t panic. If you are confronted by a snake, remain calm and back away slowly and carefully. Don’t make fast, sudden movements. Snake can’t hear, so noise won’t affect them.
  • When a snake is moving towards you, move to a side by five feet and you are safe. Snakes have no interest in humans, they being not their food.
  • Call Police control for directions to a Snake Cell to remove the snake.
  • Prevent the snake from getting into any obscure area or out of your sight.
  • Put a dark blanket, sack or cloth over snake with the help of a long stick to provide the snake a shelter till help arrives. Never corner a snake in close proximity.
  • If the snake bites, never try to kill the snake.
  • Administer first aid and rush the victim to nearest hospital since first-aid is not a treatment.
  • Killing a snake should be last resort. Snakes do not take revenge. Snake can’t kill a person with its hiss or with its tail.

Kharar, May 29
For the past 24 hours Surinder Pal Singh’s family has been battling snakes who have virtually taken over his house. They are in the porch, inside the drawing room, bathroom, kitchen and even on the curtains. He has killed over two dozen of them since last night and but there seemed to be no end to them.

Surinder Pal lives with his family of three in the newly built Dashmesh Enclave, Mundi Kharar, near here. The family had just heard of residents having seen large snakes in the colony but last night it happened to them.

Surinder Pal’s wife found a small snake first in the bathroom and later in the kitchen. The two were immediately killed with sticks. But within hours their house had over 10 small snakes crawling in various rooms.

Terrorised, the family rushed out of the house and called the fire brigade. Officials of the fire brigade, Mohali, went to the spot last night and discovered that the family had already killed over a dozen snakes.

The snakes were found to be coming from various sewerage openings in the house. The main gutter of the house was opened and a large “breeding colony” of snakes was discovered. Over 50 baby snakes coiled over each other were thriving in the gutter. While a whole bunch was half submerged in the filth many were creeping on the gutter walls.

By the time a big crowd gathered outside the house in Dashmesh Enclave. Neighbours told the fire officers that a large snakes had been seen in the area some days ago but they soon vanished into the wild growth near the choe nearby.

The fire brigade officers offered to wash the snakes out of the gutter but it was felt that this could lead to the snakes getting into other houses. The fire officers came back and the scared family spent the night in a friend’s house.

This morning, Mr Surinder Pal discovered more snakes in the house and some had even crawled up on the curtains. These were also killed with sticks. The fire brigade was called again in this morning to find a solution to the problem.

However, after great amount of discussion the fire officers showed their disability to deal with the problem effectively and left.

The residents called the SDM Kharar for help who sent the tehsildar to the spot. “The tehsildar too came with some police officers but left without being able to tell us what to do. Finally we realised that we would have to find a solution to the problem ourselves,” said a resident of the colony.

Large amounts of a poisonous chemical was thrown in the gutter and sealed. Within minutes, many of these snakes leapt out of the open gutter outside in the street. Many were killed with sticks by the on lookers but many others escaped. This gutter was also later sealed.

As the news of the discovery of a colony of snakes spread, panic spread in the area and by this time other residents of the area, including women of the Enclave were seen moving armed with sticks.


Police Lines sans security
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 29
Though a red alert in the state was sounded on May 22 after the bomb blasts in two Delhi cinemas, the district police still seems to be in slumber as their own families are living without any security cover in the police lines here.

The police lines complex in Kapurthala, which has more than 200 houses, one petrol pump, a gas agency, besides the armoury of the district police, is situated near the Chuharwal octroi post on the outskirts of Kapurthala.

One of the two entrances of the complex is without a gate and no sentry is deputed anywhere. The other end of complex does not even have a boundary wall.

When The Tribune team visited the complex on Friday evening — spending almost half an hour taking photographs of different parts of the complex — they found no security personnel on the entire premises of complex except two guards in front of the armoury.

Mr Shami Kumar, SP (Headquarters), when contacted showed his ignorance about the lack of security in the complex and told this reporter that photography of the police lines was not prohibited and he will review the security arrangements immediately.


Brahmins for quota based on economy
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 29
Delegates from various parts of Punjab, who took part in the Bhagwan Parshu Ram sammelan at the historic Bhagwan Parshu Ram mandir at the nearby Khati village, today adopted a unanimous resolution demanding that the reservation should be economy-based and not caste-based.

Through another resolution, it was demanded that holidays for Bhagwan Parshu Ram Jyanti and Guru Teg Bahadur martyrdom day should be restored forthwith. The Punjab Government was flayed for cancelling these holidays.

The sammelan was organised by the Bhagwan Parshu Ram Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, headed by Mr Ram Lubhaya Sharma, and the Shri Brahaman Sabha, Phagwara, headed by Mr Paras Ram.

The organisers also strongly resented that Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who was to be the chief guest at the sammelan, did not turn up.

However, the organisers fretted and fumed most over those invited Brahmin MLAs who did not turn up at the sammelan.

Meanwhile, Mr Ashok Sharma, Chairman, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, while addressing the sammelan, called upon the Brahmin Samaj to be a formidable force and usher in reforms in samaj.


Dy Speaker turns 2 yrs older in Pak!
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 29
The Deputy Speaker, Prof Darbari Lal’s recent visit to his ancestral village in Pakistan made him older by two years!

His birth certificate presented to him by the district administration of Gujarat (Pakistan) certifies his date of birth as February 4, 1940, while in India it is March 5, 1942.

This was revealed during his first visit to his birthplace Goleki in Pakistan after 57 years.

The Deputy Speaker said the havcli owned by his family, known as Barkat Shah Haveli, was the only “pucca” structure at the village, which they abandoned after Pathans attacked them during the Partition riots.

The Deputy Speaker said he was honoured with the title of “Farzand-e-Gujarat” (son of Gujarat) by village elders—Col Akram Ullah Khan and Navid Aslam— during a ceremony at his village.


Sikh bodies refuse to accept memorial
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 29
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC), the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) and the Gurmat Prachar Sabha (GPS) have refused to accept the memorial to be erected by the SGPC in the memory of Bluestar Operation victims. They resolved to lay the foundation stone of a memorial in the Golden Temple complex on June 6.

In a joint press release issued here today, Mr Harmandeep Singh Sarhali, chairman, KMC, Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, deputy chairman, PHRO, and Mr Joginder Singh Fauji, general secretary, GPS, said that for this a committee had been formed which included wives of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Bhai Amrik Singh and Jaswant Singh Khalra. The other members included the president of the PHRO, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, and Mr Narinder Singh.

They said that the Sikh world would not accept any memorial to be built at the behest of the SAD.


‘Summer Ball-2005’ organised
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 29
“Summer Ball-2005” was organised at Ferozepore Club here amidst lot of cheer and enthusiasm last evening. Mrs Taminder Dhillon was crowned May Queen-2005, whereas May Princess-2005 title was bagged by Ms Chavvi Davar.

Major-General B. Sivasankar, GOC, Golden Arrow Division, who is also the patron of the club, presided over the function and Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Commissioner, Ferozepore Division, was the guest of honour.

In May Queen event, Mrs Tinki Sidhu was adjudged as first runner-up while Mrs Papiha Singh was second runner-up.

In May Princess event, Ms Sumna Rajpurohit and Ms Ishita Ranaday were first and second runners-up, respectively.


Tributes paid to Sardara Singh Oberoi
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 29
Cutting across party lines, hundreds of people attended the bhog and antim ardas for the veteran Akali leader Jathedar Sardara Singh Oberoi, at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, today.

Among those who offered their rich tributes to the departed soul were Mr Tejparkash Singh, former Transport Minister and Local MLA, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former Minister, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Member Parliament, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, Ms Harbans Kaur Sukhana, SGPC member, Mr Raghbir Singh Saharan Majra, member, SGPC.

The speakers hailed him as a dedicated social worker who worked for masses. Being a staunch Akali , he offered his services as In charge, Payal Constituency, for a long period of 16 years.

He was also devoted to the cause of education being the founder member of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, and the executive committee member of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School.


SAD(A) to observe ‘Ghalughara divas’
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 29
President of the SAD(A) Simranjit Singh Mann today announced that the party will observe “Ghalughara divas” at Anandpur Sahib on June 4. While addressing party workers, he said former CM, Parkash Singh Badal, and SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur had not declared Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala as martyr and had no plans to observe the day in all SGPC gurudwaras.

He also criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Badal for raising protest against the denial of visa to Mr Narender Modi. He said Mr Modi was responsible for the killing of innocent Muslims in Gujarat.


101 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
As many as 101 persons donated blood in a camp organised by the Mahindra Health Club of Government Mahindra College, here today.

Mr Tajveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, who inaugurated the camp, lauded the efforts of the college authorities for furthering the noble cause of blood donation.

In a press note issued here today, Dr D.I.S. Brar said college colours would be awarded to the best volunteers of the club.

He admired club president Shavinder Singh for donating blood 48 times.

Dr Brar thanked Mr O.P. Pandhi, Assistant General Manager, State Bank of Patiala, for sponsoring the event.


4 injured as tractor-trailer, truck collide
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 29
Four persons were injured, one of them seriously, in an accident involving a tractor-trailer and a truck on the GT Road in Uksi Sainian village near here this morning.

According to the police, Mr Balbir Singh (30), Mr Sardara Singh (62), Mr Surtan Khan (40) and Mr Jaspal Singh (42), residents of Palsuan village, were travelling on the tractor-trailer loaded with eucalyptus wood on the highway when a truck (HR-38M-5666) rammed into it from behind leaving them injured.

Passers-by assembled on the spot and took the injured to the local Civil Hospital. Seriously injured Balbir Singh was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh. The police has not registered any case against the truck driver as yet.


Self-employment camp held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 29
The District Employment Exchange organised a self-employment camp here today with a view to apprise unemployed youths about various self-employment schemes initiated by government agencies.

More than 150 candidates participated and had an interaction with officers. Mr A.B. Aggarwal, Deputy Director Employment, Patiala Division, presided over.

In his address, he exhorted the youths not to waste time by running after white collar jobs and, set up their own venture by availing loan facilities.

Mr N.S.Multani, District Employment Officer, highlighted the importance of self-help groups and urged the youths to form such groups. He also told them about the overseas employment cell of the state government.

Ms Arvinder Kaur, Employment Officer, Mr Devi Dass, Deputy Director, Dairy, Ms Hardeep Kaur, Fisheries Officer also addressed the candidates.


New technique of sugarcane cultivation
Parmod Bharti

Nawanshahr, May 28
Dr Surinder Pal Gulati, a retired Assistant Cane Commissioner, and Mr Harbant Singh Sangha, a farmer, have developed a new technique of sowing sugarcane by raising a nursery.

According to them, the sugarcane growers can increase their crop yield and minimise the cost by adopting this technique that is even more lucrative than the pit-plantation technique.

Giving details of the technique, they say the nursery is raised by mulching the crop in April/May by using crop residues such as straws of paddy, wheat, sugarcane, etc. These crop residues serve as good organic manure for the soil and make the environment pollution free. Moreover, it also reduces the water requirement of the crop by 50 to 60 per cent. Weeds are managed automatically and earthworms naturally develop in the soil which enhances the soil fertility and keeps the soil free from insects and pests. They say results of the experiments conducted at Sangha Farm, Alowal village, in this district have shown remarkable increase in the crop yield and reduction in expenditure. In this method, the expenditure on irrigation and weeding is reduced. By reducing the water requirement, insect attack is automatically checked.

Moreover, by raising the sugarcane crop through nursery, the expenditure on sowing is reduced as the seed requirement comes down to 15 quintals per acre as compared to 40 quintals per acre in the traditional method of sowing, claim Dr Gulati and Mr Sangha, adding that the cent percent germination is assured if healthy single bud setts are used for raising the nursery. Whereas the germination in three budded setts is 60 per cent in the traditional method of sowing. For growing one acre of sugarcane, a nursery of healthy single bud setts needs to be sown in a five-marla plot in October/November. These germinated sets are transplanted in the field during February/March. By adopting this method of cultivation not only the crop yield is increased but the recovery in crushing in sugar mills is also increased, they say. The results have shown that the farmers reaped rich harvest of about 600 quintals per acre and the sugar mills get better recovery as the sugarcane crop sown by raising the nursery becomes autumn sowing. The results have also shown that the farmers can earn an annual income Rs 32,000 per acre by adopting the sugarcane cultivation through nursery raising as compared to Rs 20,000 per acre in the traditional wheat-paddy crop rotation.

Both stressed the need to encourage sugarcane cultivation by motivating the farmers to adopt the latest techniques and research in this field and to restructure the functioning of 22 existing sugar mills in the state.


6 arrested for feeding porn clips in phones
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, May 29
The police raided five shops last evening and arrested their owners and a mechanic for indulging in feeding porn clips in mobile phones. Five computers, porn CDs, multimedia cards and computer chips were seized. Sources said the owners of these shops were minting money by charging hefty amounts from the customers for feeding pornographic films in their mobiles. Sources said they had been charging Rs 100 to Rs 500 for the job from each customer.

The police had been receiving complaints against them for the past few days. Last evening the police formed five teams and raided these shops simultaneously. The police raided Sharp Computers, Royal Telecom, Golden Telecom, GS Electronics and Bhandari Telecom. Those arrested have been identified as Rakesh Kumar, Karan Kumar, Kulbir Singh, Surinder Singh, Rajiv Bhandari, and Amrik Singh. They have been booked under sections 292, 293, and 420 of the IPC, and Sections 67 and 72 of the IT Act, 2000.

The SSP, Mr MF Farooqui, said the police had also got clues that some girls of the region were being exploited for making blue films and the police was investigating the matter.


Love affair, not abduction?
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 29
The district police recovered a young schoolteacher, Shysha (23), along with her alleged abductor Razak, brother-in-law (jija) of Shysha, from a house at Burail, near Chandigarh, last night. Shysha was allegedly abducted by three persons in a car on May 24 from Malerkotla when she was reportedly returning from school in the afternoon.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said according to preliminary investigations, the duo had a love affair. Shysha had been living with Razak on her own wish from May 24. He said they wanted to tie the nuptial knot. He termed as false allegations that Shysha had been kidnapped, as had been earlier propagated by her family.

Mr Chahal said besides Razak, the two other persons involved were Chand Ram, a friend of Razak, and Rajesh, the driver of the car in which Shysha had been taken away from Malerkotla. He, however, said the probe was on and in case it was found that Shysha had been kidnapped, then legal action would also be initiated against Chand Ram and Rajesh. He said Shysha would be produced in a court tomorrow. The medical examination of Shysha would also he done, he added.

Mr Chahal also presented Razak, a resident of Narwana, before mediapersons. Razak said Shysha had invited him to Malerkotla on May 24 as she wanted to go with him since her parents wanted to marry her against her wishes with a boy at Nabha. On this, he went to Malerkotla on May 24 and Shysha sat in the car on her own wish. He said Shysha had also got an affidavit from Himachal Pradesh, in which she had mentioned that she was marrying Razak on her own wish.

Mr Surjit Singh Grewal, SP (D), Sangrur, said as per preliminary investigations, both had fled to get married, but now Shysha was claiming that Razak had abducted her.


2 held for sacrilege of gurbani
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, May 29
The police has arrested a Gandhi Nagar resident and a pandit for committing sacrilege of “gurbani” following a tip-off from a mason involved in the construction of the former’s house.

Sources said Subhash Chugh had recently started construction of his house. He had called Pandit Puran Chand for “havan” prior to kicking off his work. Puran Chand reportedly suggested him to place a “Gutka” and “Hanuman Chalisa” in the foundation of his home. Chugh followed his directions and did the same.

However, Gurjant Singh, a mason from Bahmanwala, opposed his move, but Chugh didn’t pay heed to him. Gurjant then reported the matter to the city police. The police has arrested Chugh and Puran Chand. They have been booked under Section 295/34 of the IPC.

Earlier, taking strong notice of the incident, Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib had demanded legal action against those indulging in sacrilege of ‘gurbani’.


Main accused in Siti Cable scam arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 29
Sanjeev Kumar, alias Bobby, one of the main accused in the sensational Siti Cable sleaze scam was arrested by the CBI here yesterday.

His name figured in the scam during investigations in 2003. He had been evading arrest since the registration of the case in New Delhi. He had moved an application for an anticipatory bail which was dismissed by the Sessions Judge, Patiala. The appeal against the dismissal order was rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The CBI has taken him to New Delhi for further investigation.


Accused of theft, boy paraded naked
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 29
A shocking case of minor child paraded naked withblackened face by his employers came to light at Mandi Gobindgarh yesterday. They charged him with stealing Rs 3,000. After parading him naked in the area, he was chained and confined in a godown and was tortured.

Residents of the area informed the police, who saved the child from their clutches and admitted him with multiple injuries on his body to the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobind-garh. After conducting medical examination, the police has registered a case under Sections 295, 342, 506, 34, IPC against Sanju and Montey, both owners who managed to flee.

According to information, 15-year-old Super Khan worked in a scrap godown situated in the town. His employers Sanjay and Montey alleged their Rs 3,000 was missing and he had stolen the money.

According to his mother, he expressed ignorance about the money but they beaten him up with iron rods, sticks, belts and kicked him. She said her son fell unconscious but continued to pray to spare him as he had not stolen the money.

She said they removed his clothes and put black oil on his body, and face and paraded him naked in the entire “mohalla.” She said she pleaded with them to spare her son but they continued to torture him.

She said the resident of the area gathered and informed the police. The police immediately reached the spot and recovered him from the godown. He was chained and thrown on heap of junk.

Mr Harbans Singh, SHO, told the Tribune that the police got information that a minor child had been chaired by his employers. He raided the godown and recovered the child. He was chained and his entire body was blackened with black oil. There were injuries on his body. A case has been registered.


Kanganwal bank robbers identified
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 29
Members of a gang of robbers allegedly involved in the looting of Rs 4.06 lakh from the Kanganwal branch of Punjab National Bank, near Malerkotla, on May 18 have been identified.

Giving this information here today, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said the district police had identified the members of the gang. He expressed the hope that they would be nabbed soon.

Mr Chahal said the district police had also identified the thieves, involved in the theft of Rs 5 lakh jewellery from a shop of a jeweller at Dirba some days ago. He said the thieves would be arrested soon. In this theft, the thieves had stolen a heavy safe, in which 700 gm of gold, 10 kg of silver and Rs 50,000 had been kept by the jeweller.


Playing peeping Tom proves fatal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
A man was allegedly murdered by his neighbour when the former could not curb his habit of playing peeping Tom from his roof top.

Salim Khan and Jaswinder Singh were neighbours in Dhamo Majra village on Nabha road and the former was reportedly in the habit of prying into the private lives of Jaswinder Singh and his wife while standing on his roof top.

A few days ago, Jaswinder Singh had warned 17-year-old Salim Khan not to peep into their house from his (Salim’s) roof top. As things did not improve Jaswinder confronted Salim Khan yesterday and strangulated the latter to death.

Salim Khan was rushed to a private hospital from where he was referred to the Rajindera hospital. However, Salim Khan was declared brought dead by the hospital authorities late yesterday night.

In another incident, a Patiala taxi owner was murdered in Haridwar by some unidentified persons. The cabbie, Jasbir Singh, was hired by some people to drive to Haridwar where he was allegedly done to death.


Teenaged girl kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 29
A case has been registered against four persons for kidnapping a teenaged girl of Panjwar village. The girl has been missing for the past about 10 days.

Police sources said here yesterday that the Chabal police had registered the case on Friday. The accused have been identified as Kulwinder Singh of Nijjar village near Rayya and Bikar Singh, Monu and Mannu, all residents of Panjwar village. The father of the victim in a complaint to the police alleged that the accused, Kulwinder Singh, kidnapped his daughter.


Bid to break coop bank’s safe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
Some unidentified persons broke into the compound of the Punjab State Co-operative Bank at Chappad village, near here, today.

The culprits tried to break open the bank’s safe but failed to do so and had to remain contend with small amount which they took away with them.

The police, on getting information about the robbery, immediately pressed its dog squad into action and finger print experts were also called to identify the culprits. An FIR has been registered under Sections 457, 380, IPC.


Workshop on VAT organised
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 29
The Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters (PCSE) organised a workshop on VAT and Problems of industries and trade here yesterday. Speakers at the workshop attended by over 100 industrial units of Jalandhar, Goraya and Ludhiana urged Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla to remove bottlenecks related to VAT. Spareparts of diesel engine pump sets were demanded to be brought under 4% VAT on the pattern of tractor parts.

Mr S.C. Ralhan, Regional Chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council (NR), was the chief guest. Captain Amarinder Singh was thanked for providing relief to exporters and industrialists under VAT regime.

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