P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Breach in canal inundates five villages
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Tatla (Gurdaspur), June 2
The Kasoor branch of the UBD canal (UBDC) breached yesterday, inundating the five villages of Butterkalan, Razada, Rampur, Kotla Mura and Tatla.

The breach in the canal started in the morning. By the time the water could be stopped in the canal the water had inundated the fields and houses of residents in the villages. When The Tribune team visited the site, the breach in the canal had spread to about 50 feet. Irrigation Department officials were busy filling up the breach.

The breach had destroyed the paddy plantations of the farmers in vast stretches. The fields near the breach were filled with silt, causing total damage of crops and tubewell motors. Water had also entered the houses of some residents of Rampur, Butterkalan and Razada villages.

The affected farmers blamed the Irrigation Department for the breach. Mr Mohan, member of the Rampura panchayat alleged that when the water in the canal was stopped for repair works recently, large-scale theft of sand from the riverbed took place. Miners with political and police patronage dug the canal bed for sand, he alleged.

Due to illegal mining, the banks of the canal went weak. When water was released in the canal about a week ago, seepage started at many places that culminated in the breach yesterday.

The Irrigation authorities, however, blamed the farmers for the breach. They alleged that the some farmers might have tried to dig the canal bank to steal water. Tampering with the bank might have caused the breach, they alleged. The Executive Engineer in charge of the canal, Mr B.S. Kataria, said that base of the canal at the place where the breach took place was about 25 feet. Because of stone pitching on the banks, the chances of natural breach were remote.

Embankment strengthening works had been carried out on the canal by the Department of Irrigation recently. In 2000-2001, massive investments were made by the department for remodelling the canal.

The stone pitching works carried on the canal banks are of poor quality as it has collapsed at many places.

The works of remodelling of canal have come for severe indictment from the investigating officials in the UBDC scam. However, many officials indicted in the scam were occupying the same posts and carrying out similar activities that were resulting in such accidents in the canal that was the lifeline of the area.

The affected farmers of the area have demanded compensation for the loss of the crop due to the breach.


Brick-arch bridges develop cracks
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur June 2
About 100-year-old brick- arch bridges are wilting under the pressure of increased traffic. Last evening, one pillar of the vital brick arch bridge on the Gurdaspur-Mukerian road collapsed, paralysing traffic. The pillar collapsed allegedly due to heavy traffic on the road. Due to the damage to the bridge, the heavy vehicle traffic on the road has been suspended.

The water in the Sathiali branch of the UBD canal (UBDC) has been stopped to repair the bridges. This would deprive farmers in the Kanuwan and Dhariwal areas of the much-needed water for irrigating their fields in the next few days.

After the construction of the Mukerian bridge over the Beas, the heavy traffic of the Pathankot-Mukerian road, shifted to the Mukerain-Gurdaspur road to evade the tax imposed by Himachal Pradesh on the vehicles passing through the Damtal area.

Though the Mukerain-Gurdaspur road has been opened for heavy traffic, the bridges on it have not been strengthen for the purpose. Most of the bridges on the road are over 100 years old. The structure comprises bricks that are not fit to sustain the heavy traffic passing over them.

A few months ago, another such bridge on the Gurdaspur-Amritsar road got damaged. The traffic on the road remained paralysed for many days till the repairs were carried out.

Sources in the Department of Irrigation said there were about 33 brick arch bridges on the UBDC which are a part of the national highways in the district. All these bridges are about 100 years old. These bridges, as per the old technology, have been constructed using only bricks in a design of an arch.

The bridges were designed for on foot or cart traffic at the time of the construction. However, now they have become a part of the national highways. With increasing traffic, the bridges are becoming unfit for being a part of the national highways.

No funds were being provided by the government to maintain these bridges. Most of the brick arch bridges in the region have developed plantations on their structures that was further weakening them.

The PWD has sent a proposal to replace the brick arch bridges with RCC bridges to the Union Government. However, the proposal was nowhere near implementation as yet, the sources told.


Ghaggar to be tamed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 2
The Central Water Commission of India has approved the proposal, sent by the Punjab government, for the canalisation, strengthening and raising of bundhs of the Ghaggar river. Due to floods in Ghaggar river, standing crop gets damaged on thousands of acres in 26 villages of the Moonak-Khanauri belt in this district during monsoon almost every alternate year.

Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said as per the proposal, 40 km of Ghaggar river in Punjab area would be covered under this project and Rs 75 crore would be spent on strengthening, canalisation and raising of bundhs in 40 km Ghaggar area in Punjab.

The Deputy Commissioner also disclosed that around this 40 km-long stretch of Ghaggar in Punjab area 1355 acres of land would be acquired and funds for it would be provided by the Government of India. He said with the approval, first phase of Ghaggar’s canalisation, strengthening and raising works had been completed.

The DC added the administration had received Rs 2.15 crore from the government for distributing it as compensation among farmers of 26 villages of the Moonak Khanauri belt, whose crops had been damaged due to floods by Ghaggar during monsoon the previous year. He said compensation would be distributed soon and out of total Rs 4.15 crore compensation, Rs 2 crore had already been distributed among farmers as compensation. He said that the administration had also received Rs 40 lakh from the government for distributing as compensation among the farmers of the district, whose crops were damaged by hailstorm.

The Deputy Commissioner has directed the district officers not to leave their station headquarters without permission. He added flood control rooms would be set up at all subdivisional headquarters. He said these flood control rooms would function round the clock.


Memorial: SGPC, government join issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
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 yesterday, 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”. 


Badungar joins issue with Bhattal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 2
A former SGPC President and member of the Political Affairs Committee of Shiromani Akali Dal, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, today joined issue with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal who yesterday said she had no objection to raising of memorial at the Golden Temple complex if it were in memory of the innocent killed but not in memory of the militants.

Asserting that the memorial would be in the memory of those who had been martyred while defending the Golden Temple complex from those who had invaded and desecrated it in the form of Operation Bluestar in June 1984, Professor Badungar said Mrs Bhattal’s suggestion could be considered only if she took the initiative of dismantling the memorials to slain PM Indira Gandhi who had ordered Operation Bluestar and Rajiv Gandhi who was responsible for the carnage of innocent Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere in the country during the organised attacks on Sikhs in November that year. Mrs Bhattal should also make efforts to get those Congress leaders ousted from the party and get them punished who were responsible for engineering the massacre of Sikhs but were holding high offices now, including ministerial berths, continued Professor Badungar, while talking to select newsmen here.

If Mrs Bhattal did all this, they could review their proposal in the light of her suggestion, he added.


Ragi alleges harassment by SGPC member
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 2
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a blind ragi at a local gurdwara, whose wife had lodged a complaint against Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Baldev Singh levelling allegations of molestation, today accused him of mental harassment for withdrawing the case registered against him.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said within few months he along with his companion Jaimal Singh, had been transferred for five times. He said he was also getting threatening calls from persons close to Baldev Singh, who is also president of the Dhadi Sabha, to withdraw the case which was now pending in a local court.

Bhai Ranjit Singh said in past three or four months he was transferred to Ramdass, Kathunangal, two times at local Chheharta Sahib Gurdwara and now at Baba Budda Sahib, which was causing a lot of inconvenience to him and his family.

He alleged that he was also being threatened to suspend from the service if he did not withdraw the case.

Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, executive member of SAD (A), said the pressure was being increased day by day against the ragi and his family to withdraw the case. He said Jaimal Singh, who is companion of Bhai Ranjit Singh was also being threatened of dire consequences.

But Baldev Singh refuted the allegations and termed the charges baseless and added that the transfers were a routine matter.


PSEB suffers loss on component purchase
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had to suffer a loss of Rs 7 lakh because the Bathinda-based Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Project authorities purchased components at a high rate from a single source “without verifying the market trends”.

The same component was purchased by the Ropar-based Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Project from a Government of India undertaking at almost half the price five months before it was bought by the Bathinda project authorities.

Sources in the PSEB assert that the alleged irregularity in the purchase of “ceramic-lined bends” by the Bathinda project was brought to the foreground after an inquiry was conducted by a three-member committee.

The panel was constituted for looking into alleged dubious “propriety route transactions” or single-source purchases, on the initiative of the PSEB’s internal vigilance wing headed by Punjab’s Director-General of Police Lalit Bhatia.

The sources say that the current case is just the “tip of the iceberg” as the committee is still conducting inquiries into the purchases of 19 other items from a single source. The scam can be to the tune of crores of rupees, the sources say.

Giving details of the case, the sources claim that 20 bends — attached to electrostatic precipitators — were purchased in July, 2001, by the project authorities from a single source at a cost of Rs 67,500 each.

The inquiry has reportedly established that the purchases were made in violation of all norms. The report adds that proper procedure of inviting quotations and opening tenders was not followed in the case.

Going into the background of the matter, the sources say that about 10 such bends were purchased in February the same year by the Ropar-based thermal power project for just Rs 36,000 each from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited — the lowest bidder.

The bends were of better quality as the internal diameter and was comparatively more. In this case, the purchases were made after following the prescribed procedure.

Mr Bhatia, when contacted, refused to divulge details of the case, but added that the vigilance wing would protect the PSEB’s financial interests and credibility.


Measures to ensure uninterrupted power
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 2
For providing uninterrupted power supply and to avoid hardships to the farmers and other consumers during the coming paddy season, several measures have been adopted by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), including setting up of control rooms, proper maintenance of complaint books and suggestion register at sub-divisions and complaint centres.

Disclosing this, Mr. Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, said field officers and supervisors had been strictly instructed to remain at their headquarters to monitor the power supply at their personal level.

Mr. Ratra added that considering the need of the situation, the board had imposed complete ban on general transfers of PSEB employees to enable to remain stationed at their respective areas.

The chairman said grievances committees comprising of representatives of field officers of the PSEB and Kissan Unions, were being constituted for ensuring proper interaction and feed back about supply position and problems faced by the consumers on the regular basis.


Police starts reversion of cops
38 reverted in first phase in Ludhiana Range
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The Punjab police has finally set in motion the reversion of hundreds of cops who were given local ranks at a higher position for a period of six months but were continuing to hold the “superior” ranks for the past several years, allegedly without the periodical review laid down under the Punjab Police Rules.

The Ludhiana Range comprising the police district of Ludhiana, Ropar, Jagraon and Khanna has issued orders of the reversion of 38 cops, including four Inspectors, 8 Sub-Inspectors, 18 Assistant Sub-Inspectors and other ranks. The other police ranges in the state are following the process, highly placed Punjab police sources revealed.

Of those the highest number of 27 reverted cops was in Ropar police district followed by 10 in Ludhiana and one in Jagraon. The orders also specify that the SSPs should revert all the other officials enjoying local ranks who could not be mentioned in the list as the details could be with the district chiefs of the police. With the reversion of all such cops, the number would be more than 100 in Ludhiana Range only.

However, despite the orders several of these cops were not only wearing the superior rank stars but were also functioning as Station House Officers (SHOs) or in charge of police posts in the range. Two such Inspectors were still heading police stations in Ludhiana city.

Interestingly, the police was yet to issue orders of reversion of ORP (own rank and pay) officials who were given out-of-the-way promotions for bravery during terrorism era or later. Under the rules many of them were supposed to be reverted.

A committee set up at the state level, besides others at the range level, had recommended the names of hundreds of cops to be reverted but the orders were not issued till date due to opposition by a strong lobby of the Punjab police, besides political pressure. These committees were constituted by former DGP A.A. Siddiqui.

The reversion orders of local rank cops have been issued by present DGP S.S. Virk. The orders state that the compliance report should be sent within a week. The orders were issued in late April, but the processing work, despite the delay in transit, has delayed it till now.

The local ranks were given by the respective SSPs of various police district. The ranks were subject to scrutiny and review after every six months after which the officials had to be formally given an extension. This was not being followed in practice for the past over a decade.

There were allegations that the ranks were always not given for merit.


KZF militant arrested
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 2
The Pathankot police arrested Atarjit Singh, an alleged militant of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), and handed him over to the Haryana police. Sources available here said that the said terrorist was arrested by the Pathankot police after bomb blasts in Delhi theatres screening “Jo Bole So Nihal” film.

The police here was suspecting his involvement in the bomb blasts. However, nothing came out of the arrest of Atarjit Singh. Besides the Punjab police, Atarjit Singh was also allegedly interrogated by other intelligence agencies to get information regarding the Delhi blasts.

Atarjit Singh was wanted by the Haryana police in a dacoity case. The Haryana police took Atarjit Singh in its custody from the Pathankot police recently.

Atarjit Singh, a resident of the RS Pora area of Jammu, was earlier arrested by the Punjab police on the charge of carrying out a series of bomb blasts in Pathankot and its surrounding areas in 1997. Many people lost their lives in the bomb blasts.


So near, yet so far
Stuck short of Everest, its do or die for her
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 2
Family members of Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi, a local mountaineer on an expedition to the Mount Everest without oxygen, are worried after the news spread that Sukhi got stuck 800 metres short of the peak due to inclement weather conditions. The stubborn mountaineer has reportedly refused to return without completing her expedition.

Sources said a Kathmandu-based agency, which was helping her in her expedition, had appealed her to come back, but she didn’t pay heed. A resident spoke to her over the phone and urged her to return, but she termed it as a “do-or-die” expedition for her. She asked them to persuade the agency to facilitate her way to the peak.

Sukhi’s friend, Paramjit Kaur Pammi, who has accompanied her on many expeditions, received a call from an office-bearer of the agency, who told her about the threat to Sukhi’s life if she didn’t return within 24 hours. A sherpa is also accompanying her.

Sukhi left for the expedition in the first week of April and was supposed to scale the keep on May 31. The International Adventure and Sports Helpline, a local club, had collected Rs 7 lakh for her expedition without any government aid. Her father, Jagat Singh, is a carpenter. Her parents are praying for her well being.


Mann lashes out at Badal on Operation Bluestar
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 2
SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann here today alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had corroborated his role in Operation Bluestar by not allowing his party to hold a function in memory of “martyrs” at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib.

Addressing a gathering amidst heavy police presence and palpable tension, he urged people to unite on one platform to rid the Panth of the likes of Mr Badal and Ms Jagir Kaur. Mann claimed that the then Chief Secretary, PC Alexander, in his book, had stated that Badal, Ravi Inder and Tohra had given their consent to the Union Government to go ahead with Operation Bluestar.

Lashing out at Mr Badal and the SGPC, he said they forced us to hold the conference under trees in the harsh summer. He alleged that the police had been called to prevent them from holding the function at Mr Baba Dall Singh Deewan hall at the behest of Mr Badal. He said his party would hold all its conferences in a peaceful manner.

He alleged that a CID man close to Akali leader Balwinder Singh Bhoondar had given a false report to the SSP, on the basis of which his party leaders were implicated in a “false case” following the scuffle on May 31. He said the SSP should look into the matter and added that his party would take up the matter with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

He alleged that both Mr Badal and the Congress had not left no stone unturned to stop them from holding the programme. Mr Badal first embezzled state government money and was now siphoning off the SGPC funds, as a result of which the committee didn’t have money to pay the staff of Bir Baba Budha, Khadoor Sahib, and Goindwal Sahib gurdwaras, said Mr Mann.

Earlier, the SAD (A) youth wing’s president, Mr Barinder Singh Mann, alleged that the SGPC held a langar on Mr Badal’s birthday, but the committee denied them permission to hold function on the Takht premises.

The son of Beant Singh, one of the assassins of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Sarbjit Singh Khalsa, also addressed the gathering. 


Doctors strike work
Allege manhandling of CMO by health workers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 2
Health services remained paralysed for three hours at 100-bed Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here today as doctors went on strike in protest against alleged manhandling of Dr Resham Singh Atwal by a few multi-purpose health workers.

Sources said that health workers, deployed against various incentive schemes, had brought with them 65 persons for family welfare operations. They objected to charging rupees 30 by the laboratory technician for each blood test and pleaded that all services should be provided free of cost. As tests were delayed due to this controversy, the Health workers became impatient and started raising slogans at the office of Dr G.R. Garg, SMO almost blocking entry of patients to his room.

Dr Resham Singh Atwal, CMO, tried to pacify the agitated workers but he was allegedly manhandled by some of them including Mr Mehnga Singh and Mr Ravinder Kumar. Other doctors came out of their rooms and intervened to avert a clash. Work came to stand still as warring factions marched to the office of Parliamentary Secretary Sunil Jakhar to present their version. Mr Jakhar reportedly disapproved the manhandling of a senior doctor like Dr Atwal who was convener of the SC BC Gazetted and Non-Gazetted Employees Federation also. DSP Narinder Pal Singh was asked to look into the matter.

Meanwhile over 250 patients waited for examination by doctors as none was available in the emergency ward even. A TB patient Om Parkash was brought in official ambulance from Malout in a serious condition but he could not be attended to. Waiting patients requested District Health Officer Dr R.L. Taneja for assistance as he arrived from the district headquarter to get samples of drinking water but he was helpless. Dr Taneja said chlorine contents in the drinking water were not as per specifications. The health workers blamed the hospital staff for today’s happenings and feared fee for tests would discourage family welfare drive.

Dr Rakesh Arora, general secretary, District PCMS Association, condemned the health workers for manhandling Dr Atwal. The association might start an agitation if the culprits were not arrested. It was not within the SMO’s powers to waive fee fixed by the Health Services Corporation for all laboratory tests he said. The doctors later, performed family welfare operations, even after hospital hours.


Sikh Heritage Institution established
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 2
The International Institute of Sikh Heritage was established here today after a decision in that connection was taken at a meeting of intellectuals of city organised in the local Gurmat College. The meeting was held under the patronage of Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, former Jathedar of Akal Takht.

In a press release issued here, Dr Sukhdial Singh, Department of Punjab Historical Studies in Punjabi University, said the institution would work to promote awareness among Sikh about their interests and rights. It would also arrange seminars and conferences to achieve this goal.

In this meeting as many as 25 university teachers participated. Dr Sukhdial Singh of Punjabi University was appointed spokesman for further activities. The next meeting of institution will be held at 10 am on 19th June in Gurmat College.

The eminent personalities who attended the meeting were Principal Suba Singh, Prof Kuldeep Singh Dhir (rtd), Mr. Gurdeep Singh, Prof Himant Singh (rtd), Ajit Singh Bura, Dr Daljit Singh, Dr Sher Singh Kanwal, Dr Balwinder Singh Waraich, Dr Varinder Singh Bhatia and Prof Jasbir Singh.


Eunuchs hold protest in front of CM’s residence
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, June 2
The local police had a tough time thwarting scores of eunuchs from lodging a protest in front of the Chief Minister’s residence here this morning.

Nearly 200 eunuchs made their way to Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence in the morning.

They were protesting against the Police Department’s decision to get them medically examined before giving jobs.

The police’s decision to get eunuchs medically examined followed reports that a number of unemployed youth were getting themselves castrated to avail of job opportunities normally available to eunuchs.

Disappointed with the “unprecedented” decision of the police and fearing denial of jobs to them, the eunuch’s today got together and decided to march towards the New Moti Bagh residence of the Chief Minister.

They came riding scooters, motor cycles and even cars, which ferried them to the YPS chowk, which is just 200 yards from the Chief Minister’s residence.

Morning walkers and early bird office-goers were in for a surprise when they saw eunuchs walk towards the CM’s residence.

Once they reached the main gate to the Moti Bagh palace, they were prevented by the police, requisitioned from different police stations, from going any further.

Later, a memorandum listing their demands was submitted to the Chief Minister’s staff.

Before dispersing, the eunuchs were addressed by their leaders who said there were some notorious elements among the unemployed youth who were trying to “soil their reputation”.

The leaders said such decisions hurt their sentiments and urged their “brothers and sisters” to lodge protests against such unjustified policies.


Cheques given to girl students for cycles
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 2
The state government is committed to provide education to all between the age group of 6 to 14 years under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan and the girl students would be preferred and provided all sort of facilities, said Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary.

He was addressing a gathering organised to distribute cheques worth Rs 19,94,500/- to girl students from 80 schools of class 6th to 8th for purchasing cycles. The cheques were distributed among 1278 girl students.

He said under the scheme the government was providing better infrastructure for the schools. He also called upon the parents to send their children to schools.

He said in the present era women enjoy equal status and were contributing in the development of the society and the country.

He said deteriorating sex ratio was a matter of concern and it was only the women, who could control the menace.

Mr Dev Singh DEO (E), Mr Gurmail Singh DEO (S), Ms Vandana Chawla of Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan also spoke on the occasion.


Action sought against travel agent
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 2
A group of youths allegedly duped by travel agents have met the SSP seeking action against a travel agent. The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, has asked the Sangat police to look into the matter.

This Muktsar-based agent has allegedly duped a number of youths from Bathinda and Faridkot districts, including four youths of Pathrala village who have been duped of lakhs by this travel agent. They reportedly paid him the money through Gurcharan Singh of the same village who is a distant relative of the agent, Saminder Singh alias Pamma, a resident of Lakhmirewala in Muktsar. Saminder had stayed in some foreign countries for a few years. He lured these youths by saying they could lead a luxurious life abroad. He assured them of jobs in a Singapore-based company.

These youths narrated their tale to the SSP and told him that they had arranged this amount by selling their homes. Some had mortgaged their land. Sources said the agent had also kept a tout who would get commission per person.


32 names deleted from SGPC list
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 2
The SGPC took serious note of the unexpected deletion of 32 names in visa list submitted by them for the proposed Sikh jatha to Pakistan on the occasion of observance of martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev .

A jatha comprising nearly 1,000 persons would leave from here on June 8.


High Court
Plea dismissed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
The Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal has dismissed the petition filed by Ms Raveen Pandey, whose services as Principal of the Gurnam Singh Public School, Sangrur, were terminated by the school trust on May 28.

In her petition, Ms Pandey had challenged the termination as being arbitrary and illegal.

It may be recalled that many parents of students of the school, which is affiliated to the CBSE, had opposed the termination of her services. They had demanded revocation of the termination order. A committee was also constituted to oppose the decision of the trust. Ms Pandey was appointed Principal of the school in March 2003.

In this school, about 1800 students have been studying. The school has a name in the area on account of its achievements in different fields. After the removal of the Principal, the Trust Chairman had said that the services of the Principal had been terminated, as she had not possessed the requisite qualifications and experience as per the guidelines laid down by the CBSE.

Dismissing the petition, the Bench said that the petition against the respondent-school, which is a private body, was not maintainable. It, however, gave liberty to her to file a civil suit if she wanted.


The nomination of members of the Punjab Wakf Board by the Punjab Government has been challenged on the ground that notifications nominating them were issued without inviting applications from the general public and without intimating the Muslim community. The appointment of Additional DGP Mohd Izhar Alam as Chief Executive Officer of the board was also done in a similar manner, the petition says.

Filed by Malekotla resident Fardeen Iqbal, the petition terms the appointment of Mr Alam as illegal. He has also stated that though the Wakf Board Act provides that one or not more than two members are to be nominated from among Muslim organisations, the members are not associated with any Muslim organisation.


On day four, farmers block GT road
Tribune News Service

Kathunangal, June 2
Farmers continued their protest by blocking the Amritsar-Pathankot road at Kathunangal, about 15 kms from here, for the fourth consecutive day today. They were protesting against the government for disconnecting the power connections to the tubewells of about a dozen villages.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the Kisan Sangarsh Committee, alleged that even after four days not even a single official had come to listen to their grievances. He said due to disconnection of power for the past eight days, the crops were damaged. He alleged that the electricity board also disconnected the supply to several houses in the villages.

He said the farmers were forced to take this step after the electricity board failed to listen to their grievances. They want the government to immediately restore the power supply to the tubewells otherwise they would intensify their stir and launch a mass movement of farmers of the state against the government. He said the government was not taking action against various government departments in the border districts for not paying bills then why the farmers, who were producing food for the country, were being punished.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, state president of the Kirti Kisan Union, alleged that it was due to government’s anti-farmer policies that they were forced to commit suicide.


Four die on killer road
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Beas, June 2
In a head-on collision between an Indica car and a cooking gas cylinder-loaded truck, four car-born persons died on the spot while one sustained serious injuries, here today. This is the seventh accident in one and a half months on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road. All victims belonged to Amritsar.

Earlier, at least 19 devotees who were on way to Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, were killed and 41 injured in a head-on collision between a Swaraj Mazda and a truck on April 1 here. According to an estimate, at least 50 persons were killed in various road accidents in the past five months on this road.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced the four-laning of the road to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa Panth, but the project failed to take off. Recently, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, the BJP Member of Parliament from Amritsar, had also raised this issue in Parliament.

The accident occurred at 7.30 a.m. today near the Electricity Board office here when a truck, coming from Jalandhar, collided with the Indica. People in the car was going from Amritsar to Ropar in connection with a divorce case. The ill-fated red car was badly smashed in the accident. The car occupants were crushed in the accident and it was difficult to recognise them.

A large number of passersby, including shopkeepers and farmers, reached the site. It was difficult to drag out the bodies from the smashed vehicle. The injured person was admitted in the nearby Dera’s Hospital and later taken to Amritsar’s hospital.

The deceased have been identified as Surinder Kumar Mahajan (57), son of Gyan Chand who had sought VRS from a bank, Ashok Mahajan, son of Satpal, Som Dutt and driver Jagjit Singh Bittu, son of Tulsi Ram, all belonging to Amritsar. The injured person has been identified as Sumit Kumar.


Kidnappers demand Rs 40,000 for woman’s release
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 2
On a complaint of Sohan Singh son of Shankar Singh of Dugri village, the Dasuya police on Tuesday registered a case under Sections 420, 120 B of the IPC against Basant Singh, his son Sansar Singh, wife Joginder Kaur and Baljit Singh, alias Rimpy, all residents of Nagra village, for allegedly taking away his wife Amarjit Kaur, and demanding Rs 40,000 for her release.

According to police sources Sohan Singh, in his complaint, stated that Basant Singh sold Meena a girl from Bengal to him for Rs 10,000 and a gold ring about 14 years ago. He changed her name to Amarjit Kaur and kept her with him as his wife.

On May 26, the accused came to his house and told him that mother of Meena had come from Bengal to see her daughter. She was waiting her daughter at Dasuya railway station. They took him and his wife to the railway station. As soon as they reached near the railway station they threw him out from the vehicle and told him to give Rs 40,000 to get Meena back.

The police has arrested Basant Singh.


Ex-judge in land misuse case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 2
Retired Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court is in the thick of controversy over allegedly carving out a colony here in contravention of the Punjab Apartment of Property Regulation Act.

The Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority [PUDA] had booked him under Section 36 of the Act.

Now, the police department and PUDA authorities are at loggerheads on account of cancellation of the case.

According to information gathered by The Tribune, acting on the complaint of the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA, the local police on December 16, 2002 had booked the retired Chief Justice, at police station Division No. 1 Pathankot. The judge alleged that he had been falsely implicated in the case. Mr A.K. Sharma, Sessions Judge of Gurdaspur had allowed him anticipatory bail.

According to PUDA officials, the retired judge had converted a piece of more than 12 kanals land at Siali road here into residential and commercial property while Mr Raj Kumar, retired Chief Justice, said that the provisions of the Act were not applicable in his case and he has been falsely implicated.


Theft in tehsildar’s office

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 2
A case of theft has been reported in the office of Tehsildar Election, situated at the third floor of District Administrative Complex.

The thieves stole approximately Rs.23000 kept in office chest. Mr Harpal Singh, tehsildar (election) has reported the matter to the DC and the SSP for action.

The tehsildar said when they came to office, the locks of main door and office chest were found broken and the cash kept in the chest was missing. He doubted that it might be the handi work of some office employee. OC


Nephew booked on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 2
A decomposed body, found by the police on May 1 from a deserted well in Madhopur village and declared unidentified, had turned out to be a case of murder, sources said today.

The body had now been identified as that of Mangu of Tutikel, a migrant, from Jharkhand village. Mangu was murdered by his nephew Krishan Mahato of the same village.

The uncle-nephew duo were embroiled in a dispute over two-acre land in their native place. The nephew owed his uncle Rs 3,500 also. Mahato murdered his uncle Mangu on April 18 while in sleep and threw the body in the deserted well after disfiguring the face so that the body could not be identified.

The police, which had earlier treated the case as settled under Section 174 Cr.Pc, had now registered a case under Sections 302 and 201, IPC, against Krishan Mahato for murdering Mangu and destroying evidence, said sources. Raids were being conducted to arrest Mahato.


No resource person for Hindi at SSA camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 2
The five day refresher- course for Hindi teachers of this block, which concluded here last evening, failed to get the services of any subject expert.

These camps are held by the Education Department under the Sarv Shikhya Abhiyan (SSA) to equip teachers with the latest know-how of their subject and its teaching techniques. This course is mandatory for all elementary teachers in the state.

On the very first day of the camp, the teachers raised the point that they were not being taught the latest techniques. A large number of them claimed that they were already aware and experts of the techniques, which were being taught in the camp. Though the authorities concerned gave assurances that a resource person would be arranged during the camp, but no resource person could be arranged during the tenure of the camp and it concluded without any resource person this evening.

One of the teachers said she had cancelled her plan to go on vacation to attend the course. She alleged that lakhs of rupees were being wasted on repeated and useless trainings under the SSA, as no resource person were made available, neither any new technique was taught.

Well-placed sources pleading anonymity said three of the trainees were made to act as resource persons due to the absence of any resource person. Though their attendance was marked as trainees but they were made to act as resource persons. They were even paid the honorarium of the trainees.

Not only this, they were not provided with any help books or latest modules about the teaching techniques. They were left at the mercy of trainess and they had hard time explaining the intricacies of the subject matter.

Most of the teachers dubbed their SSA camp as ‘farce’. One of them pointed out that if anything worthwhile was to be achieved through SSA camps, some genuine resource persons should be appointed.

Major Basant Kumar, District president, Democratic Teacher’s Front, while confirming the absence of resource persons of Hindi said not even a single resource person turned up at the camp.

Mr Inderjit Singh, principal, DIET, who was supposed to provide the resource persons said there had been no lecturer of Hindi in the district, though some postgraduate Hindi teachers among trainees were asked to act as resource persons.

Ms Surinder Kaur Kataria, DEO, Primary could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Punjabi varsity B.Com results
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 2
The result of B.com part II and B.com III examination conducted by Punjabi University in April, would be declared on June 3 and June 4, respectively, said Dr Baldev Singh, Chief Coordinator (Exams). These results would be available on internet at university website, www.universitypunjabi.org on the same day. 

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