P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Damdami Taksal to honour Bajwa
He was instrumental in cremating Sant Bhindranwale
Varinder Walia and Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
Damdami Taksal today decided to honour Mr Apar Singh Bajwa, a retired SP, who was instrumental in recognising and cremating the body of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale 21 years ago.

The decision has come as a surprise because Damdami Taksal had been claiming for more than two decades that Sant Bhindranwale is in ‘Chardi Kala’ (in high spirits). Those, who had announced that Sant Bhindranwale was killed in the Army operation during Operation Bluestar had to face the wrath of Damdami Taksal. So much so that the activists of the taksal had made an attempt on Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former SGPC secretary, in the US as he had challenged the claims of Baba Thakur Singh, successor of Sant Bhindranwale, regarding the death of the latter.

While Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesman of Damdami Taksal, has announced that Mr Bajwa would be honoured with the Dewan Todar Mal award for cremating Sant Bhindranwale as per Sikh rites, the retired cop is in a dilemma to receive the award.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bajwa said it was ‘ridiculous’ to accept the truth about the death of Sant Bhindranwale after more than two decades. He said the taksal should have accepted his version earlier. He had identified the body of Sant Bhindranwale on June 6 in the presence of Army officials. He claimed that his verbal explanation was sought by the senior police officers at that time for ensuring cremation as per Sikh rites.

In reply to the explanation, he (Mr Bajwa) had told his seniors that it was his moral duty to show respect to the body. “Even enemy’s body is cremated as per the rites of his faith.” Mr Bajwa claimed that he had told his seniors to accept the fact and tell the Sikh masses that Sant Bhindranwale was cremated as per Sikh rites. On his suggestion, the government had declared that Sant Bhindranwale had been cremated as per Sikh traditions.

Mr Bajwa revealed that Sant Bhindranwale was killed on June 6 along with Bhai Amrik Singh, the then president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation, Maj-Gen Shabeg Singh (retd) and Baba Thara Singh. His body was recognised by his brother, Subedar Major Harcharan Singh Rode (who retired as a captain), the Superintendent of Police and a battery of police and civil officers in the presence of the military.

Meanwhile, Baba Budh Singh, a carpenter by profession, claimed that he was also an eyewitness to the cremation of Sant Bhindranwale on the night of June 6. Recalling the event that took place in the night, he said he posed as a helper at cremation ground of Baba Shaheedan Gurdwara to gain entry. He added that the body of Sant Bhindranwale was drenched in blood and it was cleaned with milk and desi ghee.

He said there were around 250 military men present at the cremation ground. He said he remembered that at that time Mr Apar Singh Bajwa, D.S.P., and Mr Surinder Pal Singh, S.H.O., were present.


Confrontation between SGPC, govt on memorial
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
A direct confrontation has started between the SGPC and the Punjab Government on the issue of raising a memorial in the Golden Temple complex to those who died during Operation Bluestar there in 1984.

While the SGPC is adamant on raising the memorial, the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, taking a categorical stand on the issue here today, said that it was not acceptable to the government that someone should raise a memorial to those who killed innocent people.

Mrs Bhattal said the government would “deal with this issue with firmness”. The Congress had always fought against terrorism and it made a number of sacrifices to restore peace in the state. No one would be allowed to disturb the peace.

Asked about the Congress party’s preparation for the next Assembly elections, Mrs Bhattal said that there was need to do a lot to win in Punjab. Obviously not satisfied with the existing pace of development, Mrs Bhattal said that “revolutionary steps are required to be taken on the development front”. The government had improved the financial situation and had maintained law and order. But there was a need to improve the education system, increase employment opportunities and provide better drinking water facilities.

Having a dig at the bureaucracy, Mrs Bhattal said that it was slow in performing the task of development. “The bureaucracy required to be asked to act fast”, she said. Asked why most Ministers were not attending their offices, Mrs Bhattal said that they remained busy meeting people at their official residences.

Asked to compare the Capt Amarinder Singh and the late Beant Singh, Mrs Bhattal said that it was always difficult to compare the two persons. She said Beant Singh was a great man who restored peace in Punjab. Making a little witty remark, obviously to avoid the matter, she said that the major difference between the two Chief Ministers was that of age. She did not say anything about Capt Amarinder Singh.

On the issue of free power to farmers, Mrs Bhattal said that in her individual capacity she had always supported free power to small and marginal farmers. When her attention was drawn to the statement made against giving free power to any section by the Prime Minister, Mrs Bhattal said: We honour the views of the PM . We will consult the PM before taking any decision regarding free power”.


Admn wants action against anganwadi supplier
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
The district administration has recommended criminal proceedings against the firm supplying eatables to the district’s anganwadi centres, besides departmental action against the Zila Parishad Superintendent, CDPO, Maud, and the anganwadi in charge of Raikhana village.

The administration also held the purchase and quality-control committees of the Zila Parishad responsible for the supply of substandard food products to anganwadis and would recommend action against both panels’ members. Zila Parishad Chairman Bikramjit Singh Bikka and ADC (Development) DPS Kharbanda are among these panel members.

Talking to The Tribune, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari said the firm, JVS Foods Pvt Ltd, Jaipur, failed to supply quality food products. He said the firm was required to supply eatables having shelf life of five months, but they turned rotten in less than three months. The district administration would ask the Bathinda SSP to take legal action against the firm under the EC Act and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. The DC rued that the entire scheme was handled in a very bad manner.

He said JVS Foods was given the contract after a Hoshiarpur-based firm’s laboratory report turned out to be forged. He said the order was placed in January 2005 and the firm supplied 429 quintals of eatables in two instalments. The firm was required to dispatch food products with shelf life of five months with proper markings like batch number, date of manufacturing, not for sale, etc on the packing. He said the officials concerned should have phased out the supply of eatables instead of receiving the whole stock in a gap of 15 days. The firm supplied food products without proper markings and the officials also didn’t verify the same. According to him, they should not have received the stock sans required marking.

Taking about the substandard quality of food products, Mr Bhandari said the quality-control committee didn’t play its role properly, while the panchayat samitis, BDPOs, and CDPOs also failed to keep an eye on the quality of eatables. These officials should have sent the samples of eatables to the DHO for testing from time to time. He admitted that the food products were not stored properly at the anganwadis. He said the Talwandi Sabo SDM also took a couple of samples from the sealed packs, but they, too, failed the test.

Regarding the replacement of rotten eatables from some anganwadi centres, he said the superintendent of Zila Parishad had sent the Assistant Project Officer’s Gypsy on his own and he had recommended action against him to the Director, Rural Development. The superintendent was also a member of the quality-control committee. He would send his report on the matter to the Principal Secretary, Rural Development, and Women and Child Welfare Department. The DC said he would also recommend to the state government to have inter-district comparison of rates of food produces being supplied to anganwadis.

He said to avoid recurrence of such an episode, he would hold weekly meetings with the BDPOs and CDPOs and would seek proper reports from them. There would be a periodical sampling of eatables every 15-20 days. To ensure their proper storage, steel containers would be provided to the anganwadis, besides making sure the supply of eatables with a longer shelf life.


Rana Sodhi case: disputed land transferred in JKSTC’s name
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 1
In the land scam case involving Chief Parliamentary Secretary Punjab, Rana Gumit Singh Sodhi, the land in question has been transferred in the name of the Jammu and Kashmir State Transport Corporation (JKSTC). The Gurdaspur district administration has sent a report regarding the matter to ADGP Anil Kaushik who has been entrusted with the inquiry of the case. The JKSTC had 5 kanals and 19 marlas of land in Pathankot city value of which was estimated to be Rs 6 crore. Though the land was in the control of the JK State Transport Corporation the Punjab government owned it in papers.

Since the JKSTC was not using the land the land mafia set its eyes on it. Recently Pathankot businessman Gurdev Sidhu alleged that Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi took Rs 25 lakh from him for getting him the said land on lease from the JKSTC. However, the deal did not materialises. Mr Gurdev Sidhu allegedly when not returned the money released recorded conversation with Rana Sodhi regarding the underhand deal to media.

It was alleged that land mafia tried to take control of the prime land belonging to the Punjab government by getting a lease from the JKSTC.

After the scam came to light the Punjab government decided to issue an eviction notice to the JKSTC for taking over the land. This prompted the Jammu and Kashmir authorities to stake their claim for the land.

They produced a sale deed signed in 1958 between the Punjab and J&K governments. The land in question according to the sale deed was transferred in name of the JKSTC. However, necessary mutation was not effected in revenue records due to which the Punjab government continued to be the owner of the land in papers.

After Jammu and Kashmir officials produced the original sale deed the SDM, Pathankot levying 10-time penalty effected mutation of the land in favour of the JKSTC on May 3. The JKSTC has now started operations on the land after mutation of land in its favour.

Now as the land has been transferred in the name of the JKSTC the dimension of the case that the Punjab government property was being handed over to land mafia in an underhand deal stands diluted.

The inquiry into the land scam was entrusted to the ADGP who was to submit a report within a month. However, till date no report has been released and the matter was given a quiet burial.


Woman booked on graft charge
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Wife of former Congress MLA, Mahant Nirmal Singh, who at present is general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) was today booked by the Vigilance Bureau here under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

There were allegations that the Vigilance move was weakened by intervention in the case by top brass of the party as well as the state government. There were counter-charges that the raid was politically motivated.

Ms Rajwant Kaur, a clerk in the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Raikot, was booked for taking a bribe of Rs 500. The case was probably the first of its kind in which the Vigilance Officials could not establish the motive of bribe of Rs 500 taken by the accused woman.

It is a rare case that a person booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act and caught red-handed with the bribe amount was not arrested by the Vigilance on the plea that motive of the bribe was not clear !

Ms Rajwant Kaur was allegedly bribe by a man who wanted duplicate copies of a land transfer deal. The bribe money was allegedly found in a notebook of the accused by a Vigilance team headed by DSP Narinder Singh Chhina, as per the FIR. However, a drama took place with the accused woman raising a hue and cry that she had not taken any bribe and the allegations were false.

Sources said phones began ringing and the matter was brought to the notice of senior Vigilance officials by Congress leaders in support of the accused woman. The Vigilance team returned without arresting the accused woman. No case was also registered at that time.

Later in the evening Vigilance officials decided to register a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and hold an inquiry.

SSP Vigilance G.S. Dhillon said the woman was not arrested as the motive of the alleged bribe was not clear. He said the woman would be arrested if found guilty.

The Congress leader and the accused woman could not be contacted , SDM Raikot Prem Chand who was on leave today defended the accused woman. He was not aware that a case was registered and expressed surprise that an ‘innocent’ employee was booked.

He said that a former peon of the office who was transferred out by him seemed to be behind this ‘motivated‘ complaint. He said the woman was probably falsely trapped as anyone can keep money in a notebook at the table of a government employee and get him or her framed.


Custodial deaths of SCs rising: panel
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has pulled up Punjab over the increasing custodial deaths of Scheduled Castes and incidents of crime against Scheduled Caste women.

In the past 11 months eight cases of custodial deaths of scheduled castes have been reported from Barnala, Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Kapurthala and Bathinda districts, the commission has pointed out.

Drawing the attention of the Principal Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab and the Director-General of Police, Punjab, the Commission has directed the state to examine the reasons behind the unlawful behaviour of police personnel and ensure that such incidents were not repeated again.

The Chairman of the Commission, Mr Suraj Bhan, has directed the state to formulate inbuilt checks in the system to prevent such crimes. Allowing of such incidents could result in backlash of the worst kind, interrupting the social fabric.

Mr Tanzin Wangyal, Director of the State Office of the Commission, told the Tribune that the state government had been asked to arrange meetings of the state-level vigilance and monitoring committee at least once in six months and also hold meetings of the District Vigilance Committees once in a quarter. The progress of such meetings should be sent regularly the State Office of the Commission.

In addition, to prevent crime against members of Scheduled Castes by the police in custody, the Chief Secretary has been asked to display the relevant sections of the offence under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, in each police station, police posts and office complex of the Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police in all the districts.

This would sensitise the law enforcing personnel regarding the fundamental rights of the members of the Scheduled Castes, as enshrined in the constitution.


Stop harassing farmers on loans, says M.S. Gill
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
“Stop the maltreatment and arrest of farmers and members of their families for their failure to repay their agricultural loans,” says Dr Manohar Singh Gill, MP and former Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab.

“This coercion of small farmers must stop immediately,” he said maintaining that “never before have such coercive methods, including the use of the police, been used to effect recoveries.”

Reacting to reports of arrests and subsequent protests by small farmers and their families in Abohar during the past few days, Dr Gill maintained that even the British did not resort to such coercive tactics. Dr Gill is the first Congress MP to come out in support of small farmers.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Gill said that he could not resist urging both the Centre and the Punjab Government to desist from using force against small farmers, who had been foolishly pushed into taking loans for tractors and other things.

“Failure to repay loans and apprehension of harassment at the hands of cooperative banks and the police are the factors responsible for the growing number of suicides among farmers. During the last session of Parliament, I had taken up this issue forcefully and advocated the need for setting aside Rs 20,000 crore for meeting the interest component on agricultural loans advanced to small farmers throughout the country.

“It is intriguing why in our country, where big industrial houses have been given Rs 2.5 lakh crore by various financial institutions of which Rs 45,000 crore has been written off, small farmers who are sustaining the economy of states like Punjab should be harassed,” said Dr Gill.


PUDA ‘gift’ for small colonisers
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 1
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, has allowed small colonisers in the state to extend their colonies or develop new ones without their acquiring completion certificates for their present projects.

The notification to this effect dated May 12, 2005, comes as an addition to the January 18, 2005, notification of the department that had allowed senior town planners (STPs) of the state to grant licences to developers who intended to colonise less than 10 acres of land.

Before this, only the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) was competent to grant licences to developers.

According to the January 18 notification, in case a coloniser who had been issued a licence by the senior town planner for a particular project intended to extend his project or undertake another one, he would have to first take the completion certificate from the competent authority (the senior town planner in this case).

The May 12 notification, however, allows the coloniser to extend his current project within the 10-acre limit or apply for a fresh licence for another less than 10 acres colony without the completion certificate from the competent authority.

The move has rendered PUDA virtually useless as the competent authority to issue licences to colonisers. Sources in PUDA stated that under the garb of making the procedures simple, the department had now allowed a coloniser to develop unlimited number of 10- acre colonies simultaneously, thereby diluting government control on their quality.

Even bigger developers who intended to colonise more than 10 acres of land would prefer to get licences from the senior town planners of the area by dividing their entire project into separate 10- acre colonies, they added.

Sources in the town planners office, however, pointed out that PUDA had for the past over two years not issued licences to many private developers leading to the monopoly of just a few developers in the state. This had led to high cost of plots in these colonies.

The move of delegating the powers of the competent authority to the STPs had in fact encouraged developers to create small colonies that would cater to the middle class.


90 have died of AIDS in Punjab so far
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
As many as 90 persons have died of AIDS in Punjab so far while there are 389 full-blown cases of this fatal disease in the state, says Mr D.S. Guru, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare.

Talking about recent deaths of AIDS patients in Tarn Taran tehsil of Amritsar, Mr Guru said that though some deaths had been reported over the past few years in that area, there was no cause for alarm.

Since AIDS was covered under a national programme, all efforts were being made to create public awareness. Clear instructions had been issued to both government and private hospitals not to undertake any transfusion of blood without testing it. At present there were 47 blood banks in Punjab which had licences. Besides blood, another probable cause of the spread of this deadly disease was the repeated use of syringes and needles.

Mr Guru said that Punjab was leading not only in the AIDS control programme but also in other national programmes. The Union Government had now extended the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme to the remaining eight districts of Punjab. Earlier, this programme was in nine districts of the state. Under the 100 per cent centrally sponsored programme, diagnosis, including X-ray and the sputum test, and the treatment of TB patients was covered.

To ensure that three lakh-odd TB patients in the state got their regular dose of medicines, the Directly Observed Treatment Scheme (DOTS), had been introduced. The DOTS volunteers, spread in all villages of the state, personally administered the daily dose of medicine to the identified patients.

In Punjab, he maintained, the number of TB patients under treatment in Civil Hospitals, health centres and dispensaries numbered around 1 per cent of the total population. He said that after diagnosis, the initial effort was to convert infectious cases into non-infectious ones. He said that there was no shortage of TB control officers.

Mr Guru said that the implementation of the Revised Tuberculosis Control Programme was being meticulously monitored as results had started showing.

Another centrally sponsored programme running successfully in Punjab was the control of blindness.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has called a meeting of senior functionaries of the Health and Family Welfare Department tomorrow to decide on the filling of 1300-odd vacancies of medical officer (doctors). Besides, a decision is also likely to be taken on appointing drug inspectors in each of the 17 districts of the state. As of now, Punjab has only five drug inspectors. A decision may also be taken on filling the vacant posts of food inspector in the state.


CPI questions Cong secularism
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 1
The Communist Party of India (CPI) today questioned the secular credentials of the Congress, “which has been competing with the Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC on a religious turf”.

“In spite of being a secular party, the Congress is using religion for political purposes, which is contrary to its principles. Religious politics is a political card of non-secular parties like the Akali Dal and the BJP,” said Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary, CPI, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Dr Dayal, who was on a visit to the holy city, said the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) had organised religious functions, spending huge government funds, on the pretext of holding various centennial celebrations in its bid to beat the Akali Dal and the SGPC on the religious turf. “It is not for the Congress to organise religious functions. It is the work of religious bodies and let them do it. Why was the government spending huge amounts in organising such functions. This amount should be used for the benefit of the public, including farmers and the labour sector?” He said the Congress was answerable to its alliance partners and people who voted the party to power. “It (Congress) must clarify its stand,” he added.

He asked the Shiromani Akali Dal to separate itself from the BJP, which was openly talking about a “Hindu Rashtra”.

The CPI state secretary said judicial commission headed by a sitting Supreme Court Judge should be established for inquiring into the spread of terrorism in Punjab so that responsibility should be fixed on political parties, individuals or foreign countries involved in the phenomenon.


CPI criticises foreign trips of CM, ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said yesterday that the foreign “jaunts” of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his “ army” of Ministers and bureaucrats had proved a huge drain on the state exchequer.

In a statement issued here, Dr Dayal, said there was no fruitful gain to Punjab from the visits of the Chief Minister and others to Canada and other countries. Even some industrialists who participated in the Made-in-Punjab Show in Canada had admitted that it was a failure.

Dr Dayal said while the Chief Minister and others had been going on foreign “jaunts” on the pretext of lobbying for investment in the state, most of the industries in Punjab were shifting to neighbouring states such as Himachal Pradesh. Instead of going abroad, it would have been better if Punjab’s political and bureaucratic set-up had secured the same concessions for the state which had been given to promote industry in Himachal and other hill states.

He said the CPI was observing the current week as a protest week against the “anti-people” policies of the state government.


SAD to ‘expose’ Cong govt
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 31
The SAD will soon released details about corruption practices followed by the Congress government in the state in two different phases. We have collected all documents pertaining to the involvement of Capt Amarinder Singh and his officers, said Mr Sukhbir Badal, MP and SAD general secretary, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said foreign tour of the Chief Minister and other ministers was nothing to do official work but to participate in a function of his colleague. He said Captain Amarinder had spend Rs 3 crore on the renovation of his office at Secretariat, but visited there only a few times.

Talking about the SGPC decision to setup a memorial in the memory of persons who had been killed in the blue star operation, he said The Chief Minister showed dual characters over the problems of the Sikhs, on one hand he had been showing interest to get released Sikhs who had been languishing in various jails on the other hand he had been raising objections over the decision.


Residents consume unstamped meat
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 1
Residents of Jalandhar are exposed to varied diseases as they are forced to consume unstamped meat in the absence of any government-run slaughter house. Though the local Municipal Corporation has been subjecting daily arrival of thousands of animals, meant for slaughter, to octroi, yet the civic body has not done even a bit to regulate meat production.

Jalandhar city has about 350-400 meat shops, where thousands of animals were slaughtered daily without mandatory ante-mortem and postmortem examination by a qualified veterinary surgeon.

Though this unhealthy practice could result in an epidemic any moment, particularly, during summers when chances of spreading of infection among humans from meat products were relatively high, no corrective step has been taken in this direction by the civic body. The MC had abandoned its Sant Nagar slaughter house about 20-25 years back. After shunning its slaughter house, the MC used to regulate meat production and subject meat products to examination at meat shops itself through its officials and veterinary surgeons, but this practice too had been discontinued about 10 years back. This left residents not only exposed to unauthenticated meat products but also at the mercy of either butchers or those running meat shops. The MC had also allegedly shunned its veterinary dispensary in 2002, for which, pet lovers were forced to go to either Punjab veterinary department-run pet clinics, or private pet clinics.

“Meat of unauthenticated origin can be unhealthy to the extent that it could cause infection and disease to consumers. Since you don’t know anything about its quality or storage period, you could certainly fell vulnerable to some disease if you go in for such meat. So we have no alternative but to either stop consuming non-vegetarian food or purchase whatever is handed over to us,” complained a resident.

Residents wondered how the MC could collect octroi, running into lakhs of rupees every month, when it was not providing basic facilities like a slaughter house.

Mr Ved Vyas, Assistant Commissioner of the MC said responsibility of examination of animals is of the health authorities. But enquiries revealed that the health authorities could only check cooked or processed meat products only and not animals meant for slaughtering. Sources also pointed out that the practice of stamping of slaughter animals was also not being carried for absence of deputing of veterinary surgeons for the job by either the MC or the veterinary department.


Turban issue: SGPC chief decries govt’s lack of support
Tribune News Service

Begowal (Kapurthala), June 1
Unhappy over the lack of government support to the turban issue in France, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has initiated direct liaison with the French government in this regard.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC, said that she met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, recently in this regard but was not satisfied with the steps being taken by the Central Government to safeguard interests of Sikhs and their school-going children in France.

The SGPC, she said, therefore decided to have communication with the French government. “We have sent them CDs based on the importance of turban in Sikhism. We have also started a dialogue with them by sending e-mails in this regard. We have received confirmation of receipt of CDs and e-mails from the French government. We have also given them applications for permitting me and a few other members to visit France to present our views more clearly,” said Bibi Jagir Kaur who was at her Begowal dera for the inauguration of a three-day mela here today.

The SGPC chief said that since there had been some problem in communication due to the use of French language in government offices there, the committee was now seeking the help of Dr Roma Singh, working with the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle based at Ludhiana, who is a Ph D in French. While Dr Roma Singh is at present putting up at Canada. The Bibi said that he was now being called back as she wanted to take up the issue at the earliest.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said that even though some members of the executive committee were to visit France on April 24, it could not be possible. “The members were to accompany some French Sikhs but at that time we were not sure of getting in touch with top French authorities. No specific appointment had been fixed and no agenda of the meeting could be sent to the government there prior to the visit which was therefore cancelled,” she said.

Bibi said that the issue had been hanging fire for the past few months as she was busy with Muktsar mela. “Later there were other issues hotting up such as the release of movie ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ and that pertaining to forming of a separate Sikh body for Haryana,” she said.

She said that the SGPC had raised six objections to the film including changing of its title since it was not a religious movie, an error in the ‘jaikara’ as “jo” was not a part of it, raising of the ‘jaikara’ when the protagonist seems drunk, extra-marital affair of an “Amritdhari” character and deletion of a scene in which an “Amritdhari” mother checks five “kakars” of his “Amritdhari” son forcing him to remove his trouser.


Hospitals lack facilities, staff
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
Keeping in view the rise in the accidents on the National Highway-21 passing through the district, health services in government hospitals need improvement, besides strict implementation of the traffic rules.

Every week one major accident takes place here but due to the lack of proper health services in most of the hospitals, seriously injured have to be referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. That valuable time, which can save the injured, is wasted taking him to the PGI.

Besides it being near Anandpur Sahib, it attracts a large number of devotees. But no attention has been paid for the safety of commuters by putting a check to control the speed of the vehicles.

Most of the accidents happened following high speed of trucks and buses as no one cares to follow the speed limit rules on this stretch. Most of the two-wheeler riders killed in the accident in past as they were not wearing helmets, stated a study conducted by the police.

The situation has aggravated as the primary health facilities in the primary hospital is not enough to tackle the seriously injured. All three Civil Hospitals in Ropar, Anandpur Sahib and Mohali lack CT scan facilities.

Even Anandpur Sahib hospital is facing shortage of doctors and other staff. Besides it, there are dispensaries, six primary health centres, six community hospitals, three rural hospitals but these can be helpful for only first aid. The primary hospital in Bharatgarh situated near the highway too lack proper strength of doctors, even primary health centre at Kurali did not have facilities to treat the seriously injured.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar Hospital, Dr Rana Harinder, said the decision regarding improvement in the hospital has to be taken by the state government. Regarding unavailability of the ST scan facility, she said she had sent letter to the Director, Health Services, Punjab, that some agreement should be done with private hospitals so that seriously injured could be sent there.


Dowry victim’s futile quest for justice
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
Ms Balwinder Kaur, a handicapped teacher, has been running from pillar to post to get justice after being subjected to victimisation by her husband and other kin for bringing less dowry but without any success.

Ms Balwinder Kaur, a resident of Bahadurgarh village, had been seeking to get a case registered against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and other family members, who were harassing for bringing inadequate dowry, but the case was registered only against her husband Parwinder Singh, resident of Suller Ghrat village of Sangrur district, at Sadar police station here.

Balwinder, who had also given representations to Capt Amarinder Singh, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the DGP, Punjab Police, said, ‘‘Though I moved an application against my husband and other kin in February 2005, the case was only registered in May 2005 and that too only against my husband despite the fact that I levelled allegations against six persons.’’

She added that she and her parents had to make many rounds to various police officials to get the case registered against the accused. She said that though one police official, who had inquired into her application, had found the persons named by her in that application guilty, but some other police officials had declared five out of total six persons innocent without recording her statement.

She alleged that though the case had been registered against her husband on May 10, the police was not arresting him deliberately to give him time so that he could get a bail in that case.

She said her husband had also made an attempt to kill her on May 2, 2005 but the police did not take any action despite the fact that she had lodged a complaint about the murder bid in police post, Urban Estate, Patiala.

In her representation, she had urged Capt Amarinder Singh and others to make arrangements for her safety as the local police was protecting the accused under pressure from a politician, who had once headed a religious organisation. She said that she had been getting threats to her life from the accused, who had been roaming freely.

Mr Manjeet Singh Brar, SHO, Police Station, Sadar, when contacted, said that police parties had conducted four raids to arrest the accused but could not succeed. He added that even the kin of complainant had been accompanying the raiding team every time.

When asked why all persons against whom the application had been moved by Ms Kaur were not named as accused in the FIR, he said that FIR had been registered on the basis of the report of the inquiry, conducted into the complaint by a senior officer.


Traffic blocked against police inaction
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 1
Residents of Indira Colony here blocked traffic this evening on the Dalhousie road against police inaction in an alleged kidnapping case. The residents alleged that Gulshan Kumar a resident of the colony, was in the habit of investing in the daily lottery scheme.

He lost around Rs 25,000 in the lottery. Two persons allegedly running the lottery stalls to whom he owed the money took him to Sarna about two days ago. Since then Kumar has been missing with his motor cycle.

The residents alleged that the lottery stall owners Karnail Singh and Manjit Singh sold the motor cycle of the missing youth to a J&K police constable posted at Kathua for Rs 20,000. However, the youth had gone missing since then.

The police today arrested Manjit Singh, one of the accused in the case, while the other accused, Karnail Singh, was absconding. It also recovered the motor cycle that was sold by the accused to the J&K police constable.

However, this did not satisfy the residents and relatives of the missing youth. They alleged that the accused had kidnapped the youth. The youth was being kept somewhere in captivity to force him to return the amount he had lost in the lottery. The police was trying to shield the culprits, they added.

The traffic blockade was lifted by the residents on the intervention of senior police officials. The residents threatened to intensify the agitation in case the police failed to arrest the culprits by tomorrow.


Admn has become non-responsive, says
Parliamentary Secy

Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 1
Lambasting the administration at a khula darbar held at the Canal Rest House Complex here today, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, observed that right from a peon to senior officers, the administration had by and large become non-responsive. People were dissatisfied with the present delaying style of functioning in government offices. They ventilated their anguish against elected representatives after failing to get their grievances redressed by administration officials. Such a situation could no longer be tolerated, he warned.

Addressing the gathering at the khula darbar, Mr Jakhar lashed out at those who had described SAD supremo and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as a messiah of farmers.

The Deputy Commissioner turned down a plea by residents of the colonies under the government seed farm for giving compensation against land acquired for construction of a rail line to link Abohar with Fazilka. He made it clear that 343 kanals of land belonged to the state government. The tenants had lost the legal battle in the high court also. The district authorities were under pressure from the Railways to hand over possession of the last stretch as work had already been delayed.


Martyrdom day of Banda Bahadur to be observed
on June 9

Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The All-India Bairagi Mahamandal will observe 289th martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at a function to be organised at Shah Auditorium in New Delhi on June 9. Among other dignitaries, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms Shiela Dikshit, will also attend the function.

Giving this information here today, the national president of mahamandal, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, said the working committee had met in New Delhi last week to finalise all arrangements for the function. Mr Prahlad Singh Sahni, MLA (Delhi), who attended the meeting as the chief guest, said it was a matter of great pride that the function to remember the great martyr, who fought against the tyrannical Mughal rulers, was being organised in his constituency.

Presiding over the meeting, Mr Bawa announced the nomination of Mr Krishan Veer as president of Haryana unit of the mahamandal in view of services being rendered by him to create social and political awareness among the bairagi population of more than 10 lakh in Haryana.

Mr Bawa said a 31-member organising committee, comprising functionaries of the mahamandal from all over the country, had been set up to chalk out detailed programme for the martyrdom day and oversee all arrangements.

Mr Bawa said Baba Banda Bahadur Award would be conferred upon a chosen personality for all round contribution to society during the function. A five-member selection committee, comprising Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Prof Mohinder Singh Cheema, Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Bairagi, Bawa Ravinder Nandi and Mr Pawan Diwan, were in the process of selecting the awardee from among the shortlisted nominees.


‘Check’ sacrilege of Saragarhi memorial
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The Saragarhi Memorial and Etho’s Promotion Forum (SMEP) has urged the Punjab government to check the reported sacrilege of Saragarhi memorial at Ferozpore Cantt and has also demanded immediate demolition of unauthorised construction to restore the sanctity of valiant soldier’s memorial.

The world famous battle of Saragrahi was fought in 1897 by nearly two dozen Sikh soldiers of the Sikh Regiment against thousands of tribesmen belonging to the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), now a part of Pakistan.This battle was reportedly one of the 10 most famous battles of collective bravery recognised by UNESCO.

In a press note, Captain Amarjit Singh Jaijee, Secretary of the SMEP, said that it was unfortunate to witness the sacrilege of the sacred memorial erected as a tribute to the soldiers at Saragrah (Ferozepore Cantt) as in place of lawns an unauthorised premises had been illegally constructed within the Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara.

Though Forum has congratulated the Punjab Government for ordering the locking up of hall and 11 illegaly constructed rooms by taking timely action. It has expressed its resentment over the violation of government orders by a religious sect which illegally organised a function at Saragrahi recently.


PM’s assurance on bus to Nankana Sahib
Our Correspondent

Amritsar,, June 1
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has assured the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, that the government was committed to starting a bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib at the earliest to fulfil the aspirations of Sikh devotees to the shrine.

In a communication to the SGPC President received here today, the Minister of External Affairs Mr K Natwar Singh, while conveying the assurance by the PM, stated that at the technical level meeting in Islamabad on May10 and 11 that discussed the Amritsar-Lahore/Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service, Pakistan agreed to start the service at the earliest.

“The frequency and modalities of this bus service would be decided at another meeting in New Delhi to be held some time in July”, Mr Natwar said.


Tension in Talwandi Sabo
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 1
With the Takh Sri Damdama Sahib management calling the task force from the SGPC, Amritsar, in the wake of the conference of the SAD (Amritsar) to commemorate “martyrs” of Operation Bluestar in Talwandi Sabo tomorrow, the situation has become tense here.

Sources said more than 20 members of the task force reached Damdama Sahib today.

Takht manager Bharpur Singh said the SGPC chief had asked them to deal with the situation strictly in the case of any disorder tomorrow morning. On the other hand, SAD (Amritsar) youth wing’s president Barinder Singh Mann said the SGPC could indulge in a “mischief” to “torpedo” their function as it tried yesterday.

The SSP , Mr Kapil Dev, said they were ready to tackle any situation and a heavy police force had already been deployed. He said a Duty Magistrate had been appointed.


Villagers forced to cancel function
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 1
A huge crowd of Sikhs of about a half dozen villages today forced Sukhdev Singh and Pakhar Singh, followers of the Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan of the self-styled godman Baba Ashutosh of Noormehal, to cancel a religious function of the Noormahlias sect at their residence at Domeli village, 15 km from here.

Led by Mr Paramjit Singh, president, Gurdwara Tham Sahib, Chhevin Patshahi, Domeli, Mr Hardip Singh Domeli, Mr Jaswinder Singh Fauji, Mr Didar Singh, hundreds of Sikhs of Domeli, Bhagana, Bhabiana, Jagjeetpur and Musapur villages gathered outside the residence of Sukhdev Singh and Pakhar Singh and gheraoed the two.

Before tension could swell, DSP Lakhwinderpal Singh Khehra rushed to the village with police force. He prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn. When contacted, Mr Khehra claimed that the matter was settled amicably.

However, it was learnt from sources that the “kirtan mandli” that had come to recite hymns at the DJJS, was taken away by the police to a safer place.


Villagers asked to start night patrolling
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 1
In view of the ongoing lootings, theft and burglary incidents in the district, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, District Magistrate, has issued orders to start night patrolling by the village defence committees to guard towers, transmission lines, substations, transformers, railway lines, government buildings, foodgrain storage complexes, petrol stations, canals, bridges, banks, post offices in their respective village areas.

She has also ordered village panchyats to form patrolling parties on their own and put them on duty.

The orders will remain effective till July 31. The District Magistrate also conferred powers on all SDMs to impose and implement the orders.


Aid for disabled children
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 1
Various aids were distributed among disabled children at a function organised at Khalsa Senior Secondary School here today.

As many as 579 children from Ropar district were given items which included tricycles, wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids, artificial limbs, etc. Camps were organised at various places in the district in January to identify disabled children.

Deputy Commissioner, H.I.S. Garewal was the chief guest of the function, which was organised under the aegis of Sarv Siksha Abhiyan. He distributed the items among children. The children had to wait for three hours in the heat for the chief guest to arrive. The function was presided over by SDM Darshan Singh Sandhu.

Mr Bhag Singh, member SGPC, also spoke on the occasion. He urged teachers to remain dedicated while performing their duties. 


Eye camp

Ropar, June 1
The District Health Department has fixed a target to conduct 7,000 operation free of cost with the help of an NGO in the district this year, said the Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.I.S Garewal, while inaugurating eyes operation camp at the Civil Hospital here today. TNS


Thermal plant unit becomes operational
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
The 210-MW unit 6 of the Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Plant, Ropar, which had been shut for maintenance, became operational today. The unit-6 started functioning two days late then the scheduled time. It was shut for 45 days and could not become operation from May 30 following a default.

The state will have additional power of 50 lakh units, sources say.


Fire in forest area
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
A major fire broke out in the forest area in the semi-Shivalik ranges of Nurpurbedi in the district here ravaging trees and wildlife.

Bhinder Nager, Relmajra, Ghartoliyan, Ashroon and Gharbhag villages suffered damages in the fire.

The fire started last afternoon. Fire engines from Mohali and Ropar Thermal Plant were called to control the fire.


Condolence meeting
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 31
The district Press Club today held a condolence meeting to express grief over the sudden demise of Prem Lata mother of Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, former Deputy Commissioner of the district, and presently Commissioner Corporation, Patiala.

The journalists under the presidentship of Mr Surjeet Singh Sahi condoled the death and observed two minutes silence to pay respect to the departed soul. A resolution expressing sympathy with Mr Ahluwalia and his family was also passed.


high court
Sale of PTDC holiday homes: Status quo ordered
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday ordered status quo in the matter of sale of holiday homes owned by the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) to a UK-based businessman.

Taking up a PIL filed by Mr Kamal Kishore of Kharar, seeking cancellation of the sale of five holiday homes, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta also issued notice of motion to the respondents for July 18.

Making a reference to a news report published in these columns on April 18, the petitioner alleged that these prime properties, situated in various states, had been sold at throwaway prices without any public auction. He has sought re-auction of these properties by way of public auction.

The sale of holiday homes had raised many eyebrows. All the five properties were sold for only Rs 2.5 crore, whereas almost all these properties had been evaluated higher.

Among the properties whose ownership would change hands are 18-room hotel at Panjim and a six-acre beach at a prime location adjoining a five- star hotel, a 12-room hotel at Jaipur, a resort at Mussoorie consisting of 16 independent sets, a three-acre site for a hotel at Manali and a 28-room hotel at Dharamsala.

Replies submitted

The replies of the Punjab Government and the Union of India in the PIL filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann seeking quashing of appointment of Mr S.S. Virk as DGP, Punjab, were submitted on Tuesday.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta then adjourned the matter to July 27.

Mr Mann has challenged the appointment of the Maharashtra cadre IPS officer to the top post in the Punjab Police on the ground that the same was "illegal and unconstitutional".


3 discharged in defamation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Bathinda’s Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) D.R. Arora has ruled that Punjab’s former Minister Sikander Singh Malooka and his family had not been defamed.

In a case against three Bathinda residents, the Judge further ruled that they could not be charged for defamation hence discharged. The Tribune correspondent Chander Parkash had already been discharged in the case by the trial court.

Pronouncing the orders, the ASJ disposed of a petition filed by the three accused against their summoning in the case, along with another petition challenging the earlier order of Mr Parkash’s discharge.

The former minister’s son Gurpreet Singh had earlier accused the three of hatching a conspiracy to defame the family by getting a news-item published in The Tribune.

He had claimed that the three — Jaswant Singh, Harnek Singh and Gurdev Singh — had forwarded a false application to the district administration on August 3, 1988, alleging bungling in the auction of a canal rest house. They had then colluded with Mr Parkash, following which the news-report was carried on August 12, the same year, he had contended.

Challenging the order, the accused had argued that the case for summoning was not made out against them. They too were interested in participating in the auction. As the same had not been held in a fair manner, they had handed over an application to Bathinda’s Deputy Commissioner, the three had claimed.


Arrested burglars’ remand extended
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 1
A local court today extended the police remand of two of the five persons arrested by the Kharar police on May 25. The police had nabbed five members of a notorious inter-state gang of burglars and vehicle thieves. While Ramandeep Singh and Randeep were remanded for two more days, the other three Manmohan Singh Sodhi, Narinder Kumar and Rajesh Kumar were sent to judicial custody.

The gang was reportedly responsible for over 50 burglaries across the state and other states, including Jammu and Kashmir. A huge cache of arms, ammunition and stolen goods worth Rs 10 lakh had been recovered from the gang.

Requesting the extension, the prosecution told the court that Randeep Singh, alias Rinku, alias Vijay, alias Topi, was the kingpin of the gang and had a large amount of the money looted by the gang in Srinagar that was still to be located.


Youth concocts bid-to-murder story
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 1
It could well be called a clip from a Hindi flick.The attempt to murder case by setting a person ablaze has taken a dramatic twist after a police probe.

It turned out to be a typical case of inflicting self-injury in order to vainly blackmail a woman friend into physical relations,well-placed sources told this correspondent today.

It may be recalled that Ninderpal of Begampur village had complained to the police that when he was going to his village on a motor cycle with his friend on the night of May 12, two youths stopped them near Khati village on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road.One of the youths threw some liquid on him, while the other ignited fire and the duo fled. He threw himself on the ground, and rolled to extinguish fire. In the process, he got burn injuries and was hospitalised here but was later shifted to Jalandhar.

The Phagwara police had registered a case under sections 307/34 of the IPC against two persons on the charges of attempt to murder.

However, the police found something fishy in the tale. It investigated the case, questioned the youth and came to know about his love affairs with a young married woman. A top police official also questioned his beloved. The woman told the police that the youth, who was married himself, chased her doggedly. He wanted to have physical relations with her and kept threatening that he would end his life in case she did not relent.

On May 12,the man went to his house of the “beloved”, living in another village, during the day and asked her to accompany him. However, the woman refused to oblige. Frustrated, the youth went back to his house, sprinkled kerosene over himself there, returned drenched in front of the house of the woman and set himself ablaze.

On seeing him engulfed in fire,the woman and her brother ran out to save him and extinguished the fire. While on the one hand the angry youth wanted to end his life in desperation, on the other he also wanted to implicate the woman by coining a story.

It was the second such filmy-style case in this area in which the youth, irked over unrequited love/unsuccessful advances, had inflicted self-punishment in order to coerce his “beloved” to fall in line or to just agonise her.


Poppy smuggler hurt in encounter, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
A poppy husk smuggler got injured in an encounter with the police last night. Out of the three smugglers who escaped after the encounter, two were arrested by the Nehiawala police along with the poppy husk and the car used for smuggling.

Sources said the police arrested the injured smuggler from Balahar Binjhu another smuggler along with the car used in the incident from Harraipur. The sources said the smugglers, Buta Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Baldev Singh, were transporting poppy husk on their Maruti car from Sirsa to Moga.

On a tip-off, the Kotbhai police set up a police post near Bhalaiana and tried to stop the smugglers, but they attacked the police that resulted in an encounter. Baldev Singh got injured in the cross-fire. The smugglers sped away in their car.

Looking at the serious condition of Baldev Singh, hos accomplices dropped him near Balahar Binjhu. The Goniana police got the information about this injured smuggler next morning and rushed him to the Civil Hospital, Goniana from where he was referred to Bathinda.

Later, the Nehiawala police became alert started looking out for the absconding smugglers. The police got a breakthrough today afternoon and arrested Buta Singh, near Harraipur, along with his car and 18 kg of poppy husk, while his accomplice, Gurcharan Singh, managed to flee. The Nehiawala police has booked these smugglers under Sections 15, 61, and 85 of the NDPS Act, while the Kotbhai police has booked them under Section 307 of the IPC.


Plan to loot bank: 4 held with arms
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, June 1
The police today arrested four armed youths while they were allegedly planning to loot a bank.

According to Mr Rachpal Singh, DSP, the arrested youths were identified as Harmeet Singh, alias Preet, son of Pal Singh of Shastri Nagar, Gurpreet Singh, son of Ishar Singh of Janta Nagar Dhuri, Tarsem Singh, son of Karnail Singh of Kaheru, Pardeep son of Surjeet Singh of Sunder Nagar Basti, Sangrur.

The police seized two .12-bore country made pistols and two knifes from them.

DSP Rachpal Singh said Inspector Harjinder Pal Singh received information that some armed youths were hiding in a deserted factory near the SDM’s residence and were planning to loot a bank.

A police party headed by SHO Harjinder Pal Singh raided the premises of the factory and nabbed the four youths while their one accomplice, Rajesh Kumar, son of Ram Sroop of Shivpuri Mohalla Dhuri, escaped.

The DSP said that the police recovered one stolen Maruti car and a stolen motor cycle from their possession. The police has registered a case in this regard.


1 killed as truck union men clash
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, June 1
One person was killed and another was injured in a reported bid to take over the Truck Union here.

Sources said today that the union’s lawyer, Jagdev Singh Rampura, Narinjan Singh Vaid and their armed supporters allegedly attacked the men belonging to the union president Gurdev Singh Sidhu’s group. Bhola Singh of the Sidhu faction was shot dead with a .12 bore rifle, while his aide Tara Singh sustained injuries. The police has arrested Jagdev Singh and Mithu Singh, alias Narinjan Vaid. According to eyewitnesses, Bhola Singh was killed in the presence of SHO Guljar Singh Balawali, following which the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, ordered departmental inquiry against him.

On today’s clash, the Vaid faction said it didn’t fire any gunshot and alleged that Bhola Singh died during firing from the Sidhu group. Sources said the Vaid group had held a secret meeting at Mehraj village and after coming to know about it, the Sidhu group had informed the police about the possible threat. The Baliwal SHO, Mr Guljar Singh, was deployed on the spot after this only. Sources said an altercation took place when Jagdev Singh was addressing the truck operators and soon it turned into a brawl, Truck Union chief Gurdev Singh Sidhu alleged that some other persons involved in the attack didn’t even have a truck. Seven persons have been booked.


Arhtiyas dupe farmers of 10 cr
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 1
Farmers belonging to more than 50 villages around Fatehgarh Sahib have been duped by a commission agent firm of Sirhind Mandi of worth more than Rs 10 crore.

One of the affected farmers, Surjeet Singh of Balahra village, which is the worst affected village, died today due to a heart attack as no other commission agent was ready to have him as customer.

The others duped farmers were facing difficulties as no commission agent was ready to give money to them to meet their daily needs.

A delegation of farmers today met the Deputy Commissioner and presented a memorandum. They said that no commission agent was ready to advance them money to meet their daily needs or to pay loan installments to banks as well as to meet the expenses of planting paddy. They said that if the administration did not intervene immediately more farmers may die or commit suicide. The affected farmers have also written to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and other ministers to take immediate measures.

Releasing copies of letter to the press, they said that hundreds of farmers had been affected by this firm. They said that they had been selling out their produce through this firm for the past many years but the firm partners did not give them any payment of the wheat sold this season. The firm also had duped other farmers, traders and private depositors. The farmers said that all four partners of the firm had escaped along with their family members.

Initially one partner fled and other three partners had lodged an FIR against him alleging he had escaped after taking approximately Rs 50 lakh. Then the remaining three also escaped.

Meanwhile the business had been affected in the town as money worth Rs 10 crore had gone out of circle. The shopkeepers, who had given goods on credit to farmers, were in panic as affected farmers were not in a position to clear debts. The shopkeepers had stopped giving goods on credit to farmers.


SDO caught taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
Karam Chand, SDO, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was today caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from Mr Harbhajan Singh.

In a press note issued here, Mr Amrik Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau (VB), Bathinda Range, said Karam Chand was posted in the Kot Shamir subdivision. He demanded Rs 5,000 in lieu of passing the file of power connection of Mr Harbhajan Singh.

The amount was recovered from a pocket of Karam Chand in the presence of Mr Angrej Singh, SDO, Mr Mukand Singh, SDO, and Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Kingra village falling in Dabwali tehsil.


Two wine shops looted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 1
Though the Deputy Commissioner has issued orders for night patrolling to prevent thefts in the district looters struck late this evening and succeeded in looting two of the three wine shops they targeted.

The looted wine shops are one at Khanpur village near Sirhind town and second at Nandpur Kalour near Bassi Pathana and the third target was a wine shop near Amloh town where the attempt was thwarted by a patrolling police party.

Immediately after the first incident at Khanpur, SSP Varinder Kumar sent SOS message to all SHOs to arrange police patrolling near wine shops. The same looters struck at all three wine shops. They were four in numbers on two motor cycles, covering their faces and the number plates.

At Amloh, the looters had a scuffle with the patrolling party of ASI Sukhbir Singh and an SPO. The looters thrashed both of them and tried to snatch revolver of the ASI, who made a call to another police party. On hearing the message, the looters fled the scene.


Cop held for smuggling poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The Patran police claimed to have arrested one of its own employees on the charges of smuggling poppy husk.

Acting on a prior information, the police nabbed constable Balwinder Singh near Sangra village, late yesterday evening and seized a bag containing 10 kg of poppy husk from his possession.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the constable, who was presently posted at the Patiala police lines.


Demarcation of school land ordered
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 1
The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, has ordered the demarcation of the land of Government Senior Secondary School, Lamini. The order has been issued after the matter of cutting of more than 100 eucalyptus trees was reported.

The Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr Amarjit Paul, said the school Principal denied cutting of trees from the school campus. The school owns about 33 acre of land. Since the land was not covered, it was difficult to ascertain that trees were felled from the school land or from private land.

However, old students and teachers of the school told The Tribune that the felled trees were planted by a philanthropist teacher, Mr Gurdat Gaini, in 1980. They said the cost of the trees would be about Rs 5 lakh.


Dr Jagtar on IFLA panel
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
Dr Jagtar Singh, Head, Department of Library and Information Science, Punjabi University, has been elected member of the Standing Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in the Information Technology (IT) Section for a period of 2005-2009.

The press note, issued by the university states that Dr Jagtar Singh will be helping the IFLA, IT Section, in developing polices, carrying out surveys, projects, preparing guidelines, organising open sessions and workshops at annual world library and information congresses being held at Oslo (2005), Seoul (2006), Durban (2007) and Quebec City (2008).

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