P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



March on eve of Operation Bluestar anniversary held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 5
The Dal Khalsa and other Sikh radical organisations today took out a march through the streets here on the eve of the 21st anniversary of “Operation Bluestar”.

Carrying saffron flags and provocative “expensive-coloured” placards against government, with pictures of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and of damaged Akal Takht, the activists marched in protest against the Army operation and the government and in memory of those killed in operation in 1984.

The police was deputed in large number including personnel, woman police, DSPs Ashish Kapoor and Naridner Bedi and Station House officer Shalinder Singh in preventive measure as activists marched through streets to culminate the march at the Golden Temple. Traffic was disrupted as march passed through several areas raising slogans in favour of Sant Bhindranwale and against government.

Satnam Singh Paonta a ‘hijacker’ of an Indian Airlines flight and vice-president of Dal said they would continue the struggle for “Khalistan”, while paying tributes to those who died in operation including Sant Bhinderanwale Bhai Amrik Singh, General Shahbeg Singh.

This is the first march after the Army operation that had been allowed in spirit of democracy. The office of the Dal was also decked with life-size posters of Sant Bhindernwale. Intelligence agency sleuths were also seen monitoring the situation .

The working president of the Dal Khalsa, Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami while addressing the march said the wounds of Sikhs had not healed despite successive governments in the state and Congress party’s rule in particular. Ardas would be performed at Akal Takht after conclusion of march. General Secretary of the party Kanwar Pal Singh said the sacrifice of June 1984 would not be allowed to go in vain

Meanwhile SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur has made an appeal to Sikhs to participate in “Ardas Divas” at Akal Takht tomorrow to pay tributes to “Martyrs” of Operation Bluestar.

In a statement here today, she said the Army attack on the orders of Indira Gandhi Government was biggest tragedy for Sikhs and the subsequent propaganda labelling Sikhs as terrorists, extremists and secessionists was mainly to justify the operation. She stated that SGPC was interacting with architects to finalise the design of memorial “Yadgar-e-Shaheedaan” in memory of those killed and that the foundation would be laid shortly.


Pakistan exploited Sikh youths, says Akali leader
Tribune News Service

Satnam Singh Kanda
Satnam Singh Kanda

Amritsar, June 5
Pakistan had exploited the Sikh youths for its vested interests and was never sincere towards the demands of the community. However, Sikh youths who had taken shelter in Pakistan were not aware about the designs of Government of Pakistan.

This significant revelation was made by Mr Satnam Singh Kanda, an Akali leader who had mediated between Pakistan-based top Sikh militants on behalf of central government, especially the then Prime Minister of India during peak of militancy.

Mr Kanda showed an official letter of a senior bureaucrat of the Union government who appreciated his (Mr Kanda’s) efforts for brining peace in Punjab by mediating with Pakistan-based militants on behalf of central government.

The name of Mr Kanda, found mention in the sensational book , ‘Open Secrets: India’s Intelligence Unveiled’, authored by Mr Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former Joint Director , Intelligence Bureau, Government of India.

When entire Akali leadership was behind the bars, Mr Kanda formed a Peace Council with the help of late Mr Samuel, a Christian advocate who was close to the top Sikh leadership of that time. The duo held series of meetings with Mr Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Chander Shekhar and even top bureaucrats of the central government in their efforts to bring normalcy in the strife-torn state. They had succeeded in bringing the top Sikh militants and the senior bureaucrats on the ‘negotiable table’. Mr Dhar has also mentioned the role played by Mr Kanda in his much talked about book.

Mr Kanda who was witness to the ‘negotiations’ held between Mr Dhar and top militants admitted that some of the top terrorists were too demanding and minted money. Mr Dhar, in his book, has unmasked many top Sikh leaders including a former Jathedar, Akal Takht who used to ‘bargain’ with the central government in lieu of brokering peace.

Earlier, Mr M.P. Bhandara, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan had revealed to TNS that the then Pakistan President Gen Zia-ul-Haq had never supported the creation of Khalistan as its map had included territories of Pakistan. Mr Bhandara was Adviser to Gen Haq on Minorities Affairs from 1982 to 1985 (during the peak of militancy in Punjab). During this time a large number of Sikh youths had crossed over to Pakistan. Mr Bhandara had an opportunity to meet a number of militant leaders, including Dal Khalsa Chief Gajinder Singh (whose name figures in India’s most wanted list), some of the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane at that time. Mr Bhandara had also admitted that he used to meet the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane in Kot Lakhpat and other jails as part of his official assignment.


22 Cong MLAs to join SAD: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 5
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and general secretary of the SAD, on Friday claimed that 22 Congress MLAs would join the SAD soon. He dubbed the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, as head of the liquor mafia who was using Ponty Chadha merely as a front.

Lashing out at the Chief Minister at a press conference, Mr Sukhbir Badal said the former was “heading and controlling” the liquor mafia in Punjab and Ponty Chadha was his better-known front. “Since the Chief Minister has personal interests, the Punjab Police was raiding villages along with Ponty’s men and was harassing villagers in the name of looking for illegal liquor,” he said.

Without mentioning any names, Mr Sukhbir Badal said 22 Congress MLAs would soon join the SAD, “As they were fed up with poor governance and the party system within the Congress and outside.”

Asked about the MLAs willing to join the SAD, he retorted,” I cannot open all of my cards right now. But we will keep springing surprises during the next one and a half years. One thing we must say is that we will definitely come to power with people’s mandate. You will see who is going to join the SAD as a number of Congress leaders of Bathinda and Faridkot districts have already joined hands with our party without any preconditions,” said Mr Badal.

Continuing his tirade against the ruling Congress government, he alleged that the Congress was out to gift prime public property to certain people, causing a loss of hundreds of crores to the state. “Prime industrial plots were being converted into commercial and residential ones and were being handed over to a chosen few. As a result of illegal transfer of public property in one or the other way, our industry is shifting to either Himachal Pradesh or Jammu and Kashmir. Allotment of 45 acre of prime government land to a world-renowned IT company has also snowballed into a controversy as it was under instructions from the Chief Minister the company was allowed to use 60 per cent of land for commercial and residential purpose. Can the Chief Minister tell people whether the construction of shopping malls or multiplexes was an IT-related activity? Can he explain it to people as to what made him spend Rs 3 crore on the renovation of his office when coffers were empty and people were being provided with a bare minimum civic amenities?” questioned Mr Sukhbir Badal.

“All this has created unrest in the Congress itself. But Congressmen were not daring to utter a single word because they know that the Maharaja is close to Ms Sonia Gandhi. But we will oppose any move to hand over public property like schools and hospitals to certain selected persons,” Mr Badal said. Mr Badal took a dig at the Vigilance Bureau alleging that despite all of its efforts the vigilance could not prove allegations that the Badal family owned property worth Rs 3500 crore. “Where are those hotels and clubs, which were attributed to us and about which tall claims were made by Capt Amarinder Singh himself?” he asked.

He, however, skirted questions about Operation Bluestar and the controversy surrounding the proposed SGPC move to set up a memorial to those who lost their lives during Operation Bluestar.


Memorial to Jagir Kaur’s daughter to be raised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Criticising the Shiromani Akali Dal on the issue of raising a Minar-e- Shaheedan in memory of those killed during Operation Bluestar at Amritsar, the SAD (Amritsar) has said that the party would raise a similar Minar-e-Ghadaraan to expose those who were responsible for the army action and now wanted to exploit the sentiments of the people for their political gains. Another memorial would also be raised at the dera of SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur in memory of her daughter Harpreet Kaur to inspire women to desist from female foeticide.

Talking to TNS over the phone from the shaheedi conference of the party at Mow Sahib gurdwara near Phillaur, party chief Simranjit Singh Mann said the minar to be constructed by them would act as a ready reckoner of the traitors of the Panth for all times. Now that Mr Parkash Singh Badal has been left with no issue, he has resorted to the time tested device of emerging as a saviour of the Panth.

Lashing out at the faction led by Mr Badal, he said the new brainwave of the Badals was aimed at keeping the flock together which was straying. It has taken Mr Badal 21 years to assuage the hurt sentiments of the masses. This present move is nothing but rank opportunism and the former CM is an acknowledged master of the game, he alleged.

Referring to the memorial at Begowal, he said there was no place for deras in Sikhism. In fact the Gurus had implicitly ordered Sikhs to refrain from having any contact with deradars and those who indulged in female infanticide. Our aim is urge Sikh women to desist from such practises. Our party would also work towards bringing the deras of Sant Tek Singh Dhanaula and Balbir Singh Ghunas under the SGPC control, he revealed.


DAV School student tops Class X exam
Rickshaw-puller’s son ranks 36th
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 5
The holy city created a record of sorts when Raghav Kapur, a student of the local DAV Senior Secondary School stood first in Punjab in the matriculation examination of the Punjab State Education Board. The result of the examination was declared this morning.

It was celebration time today when a large number of parents, students and the principal collected in the school even on a Sunday and ladoos and sweets were distributed to celebrate the achievement. Raghav is the son of a cloth merchant.

Another student of the school, Saurav Bhola, a resident of Nawan Kot, stood sixth in the state. He is the son of Mr Des Raj, Assistant Manager, FCI.

Interestingly, Om Parkash, who scored the 36th position in the state, is the son of a rickshaw-puller, a migrant from Bihar. A philanthropist, Mr V.M. Gupta, had adopted Om Parkash. The school did not charge from him any tuition fee or other charges.

As many as 20 students of this school figured in the list of 37 students who topped in the PSEB examination. Modern High School here had secured eight out of 12 positions in the state last year. The school is nowhere in the reckoning this time.

Talking to The Tribune, Raghav said he was aspiring to become an engineer by joining one of the IIT’s. He said he succeeded because of his proper planning. He completed his syllabus six months before the examination, followed by self-study. He revised the syllabus four months earlier and later concentrated on scoring subjects like mathematics and science.

His parents said their son had been a topper throughout. He was inspired by his grandfather, Mr Jawajaralal, a retired Defence Accounts Officer, with whom he used to share the secrets of his success. Raghav’s younger brother is also a student of the same school. His mother, Ms Dipali, said that her son was a chess champion who had played up to the state level. His hobbies included listening to music.


Only 56 pc candidates clear Class X exams
Tribune News Service

Mandeep Kaur
Mandeep Kaur (2nd)

Lakhwinder Singh
Lakhwinder Singh (2nd)

Anu (3rd)

Mohali, June 5
Raghav Kapoor of Amritsar has topped the Class X examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. Mandeep Kaur of Doaba Public School Dohlaron (Hoshiarpur) and Lakhvinder Singh a private candidate from Gurdaspur are sharing the second position in the state. Anu, a student of DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Ropar is third in the state.

The Class X overall result along with the merit list (top 50 positions) was released by the Board here today. Only 56 per cent of the candidates who appeared in the examination have passed. This year’s pass percentage is 4 per cent less than last year. While 60 per cent of the regular candidates have passed, only 45 per cent of those who appeared as private candidates have passed.

Students from Ludhiana have scored the maximum top positions in the examination. Out of the list of 760 students who have been placed in the top 50 positions in the state over 150 students are from various schools in Ludhiana. More than 70 students from Amritsar have made it to the merit list followed by students from Sangrur and Hoshiarpur.

Government schools in the state have fared abysmally as compared to private schools. Arshdeep Kaur of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Hoshairpur who is 13th in the state is the first merit list position holder from a government school. Only 20 students from government schools in the state have made it to the merit list.

Rohin Kumra also of Doaba Public School Dohlaron (Hoshiarpur) along with Umesh Goyal of S.V. Jain Senior Secondary School, Jagraon, are fourth in the state followed by Aarti of Doaba Public School Dohlaron (Hoshiarpur) who is fifth in the state.

The complete result would be available on site www.indiaresult.com and www.schoolindia.com from June 6 midnight onwards. Results can also be accessed using the SMS facility in mobile phones. The candidate has to type MA, leave a space and type the roll number. The message is to be sent to 1012 by spice users, 234 by Airtel users, and 6666 by BSNL users. The results can be found telephonically. Callers from outside Punjab should call 951611250112. Those from outside Punjab should call 01611250112.

Deepika Pathania of Maharana Pratap Senior Secondary Adarsh Vidyalaya Pathankot, Saurabh Bhola of DAV Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, Aman Sharma of R.S. Model Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana and Neerja Mittal of Navyug Shishu Mandir High School, Moga have been clubbed together for the sixth position.

Varinder Kaur of Sri Guruharkrishan Public Senior Secondary School, Sultanpur Lodhi and Arvind Kumar of GGSSTP High School Noohon, Ropar have been placed seventh. Gagandeep Singh of Baba Isher Singh (Nanaksar) Senior Secondary Public School, Ludhiana, is eighth while Shagun and Sandeep Kaur Sidhu of Dr Gagandeep Rotary Public School Sunam are ninth in the order of merit. Jaswinder Kaur of Sri Harkrishan Sahib Public School, Ludhiana, Nancy Kapila of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha and Latika Gupta of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Ludhiana, are on the 10th position.

Kamlpreet Kaur, a private candidate from Bathinda, Gurdeep Singh Mittal of Khalsa High School Mod Mandi, (Bathinda) and Roopam of MSD Senior Secondary Public School Bathinda are all 11th in the state and toppers of the district. Shweta also of MSD Senior Secondary Public School Bathinda is on the 15th position.

Pallavi a private student of Kapurthala is 12th in the state and second in her district. Puneet Singla of Keshav Vidya Mandir High School, Gidderbaha, is also 12th in the state and first in Muktsar district.

Ruby Bali and Ramandeep Kaur of Doaba Public School Dohlaron (Hoshiarpur) are 14th and 15th in the state. Sakshi a student of Malwa Public School, Nabha, is also 14th in the state and first in the district.

Students of Modern Senior Secondary School Patiala have performed very well. Atul Singla, Navneet Kaur, Alisha Dhawan, Vijkramjit Singh Chavan, Mandeep Jagota, Jayanti Batra of the school are in the top 25 positions in the state.

Neeraj Kler of New saint Soldiers Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar, is first in the district and 17th in the state. Kiran Bala, on the 18th position in the state is first in Ferozepore district. Rajni Sharma of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Fatehgarh Sahib who is 19th in the state is first in the district. Daisy Punn of Bhagwan Mahavir Public School, Banga, is 19th in the state and first in Nawanshahr district. 


Sukhi coming down to base camp
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 5
Parents of Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi today heaved a sigh of relief as they received a one-liner e-mail stating that Sukhi was coming down to the base camp of the Mount Everest.

However, their all efforts to contact her in the past couple of days have proved futile. Sources said the family received the mail from the team leader of Sukhi. According to the mail, the team would descend on Kathmandu tomorrow.

Meanwhile, her family members were still anxious as they argue that they had talked to her over satellite phone even when she was at a height of over 8,000 metres. But now when Sukhi was coming down to the height of 6,400 metres they could neither contact her nor her team members called them up.

They were also apprehensive about Sukhi’s health. The mail didn’t mention anything about the team’s efforts, if any, to contact her family. Sources said her father was nervous to the extent that Whenever mediapersons queried him about her whereabouts, tears roll down his cheeks. Now, the family has appealed the state government to help them establish contact with their daughter.


VIPs jittery on losing their mobiles
Prabhjot Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
When a senior Punjab minister lost his mobile phone with an inbuilt camera at a public rally in Sangrur district some days ago, the police was put on a high alert. Instructions went out that not only the handset be recovered but also its lifter be nabbed.

The minister's interest in finding the man behind the theft than the costly handset was obvious as he probably feared that information stored on the Sim card or memory card of his handset may not be put to any misuse.

The multipurpose handset with an inbuilt camera and a personal organiser is a powerful storehouse of information which no VIP would ever like to lose. But loss or theft of handsets, especially the costlier ones, has been on the rise.

Policemen, however, maintain that thefts as well as people leaving behind their handsets at public places, including restaurants, bars, pubs, buses, trains and shopping centres are common. Generally, handset once lost or left behind is considered gone for ever. Only in select cases, especially of VIPs, they are traced and restored to their rightful owners with the help of cellular phone service companies.

The other day at a VIP wedding in the city, two senior police officers, including a retired officer, lost their mobile phones at a venue which was heavily guarded by personal security officers of VIPs present at the party.

Surveys conducted in different parts of the world reveal that mobile phone users have been heavily dependent upon their handsets not only for their phone and address books but also for recording their confidential deals, personal details and other secrets which normally they would not even share with anyone, including their spouses.

Though the Punjab minister's handset was recovered after it had changed several hands, the police could not find the real "lifter".

Tracking down a stolen or lost handset is not a problem provided it remains in use," says a police officer, maintaining that each set is primarily a wireless set with a proper identification number granted to it. Changing the Sim card or the service provider does not lower chances of its detection.

A couple of months ago, a senior Punjab bureaucrat lost his handset at the reception counter of a State Circuit House. He had left his phone there for charging and when he returned the handset was gone.

The problem is that handsets used by VIPs are very costly and multipurpose - one in all - gadgets. Handsets have now provision for entertainment, showing video clips and playing music.

Increased dependence of VIPs flaunting such costly handsets is revealed even while they are lazing around or travelling. These cosy handsets reconnect them to another space.

For example, instead of starting a conversation with passenger occupying next seat, they start playing games. Others start feeding data or scan the data they had already stored in their PDA or organiser inbuilt in the handset.


Petrol station fire: master plan was not implemented
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, June 5
The fire that broke out at a petrol station at 9.20 p.m. reminded the administration that such incidents posed a threat to the security of the subdivisional town having a population of over 1.35 lakh.

The district administration had bowed to pressures mounted by vested interersts to put the master plan, approved in 1995, in the dustbin. Related files had reportedly been misplaced from the local Municipal Council, which was to go ahead with its implementation, sources said.

Insiders confirm that petrol and diesel outlets are required to have enough space for parking of vehicles, public call office, toilets, potable water for drinking and spacious sheds. It was mandatory for the filling stations to equip the building with improvised fire-fighting equipment and first-aid facility. But some of the outlets could easily be declared technically unfit at the first sight, provided the inspection team is not influenced.

The fire that broke out at the privately owned petrol and diesel filling station on Saturday night was of alarming proportions. Flames were so high that even residents of far-off localities could spot it from their rooftops. Shopkeepers ran Halter skelter without locking their shops.

Even unauthorised liquor-sellers in the Rani Jhansi Market and pub operators rushed to safer places.

The filling station is just 90 feet away from the Old City police station and the Municipal Council office. The employees who were using the municipal complex as bar at that time, too, ran away. The police and the fire brigade were astonished to find that the station had no updated fire-fighting arrangements in controlling the fire by pressing in specified liquid gas.

Initially it was suspected that a smoker had thrown a “beedi” while passing by, but it could not be confirmed. Power supply to the circular road and other areas was shut down to avert a major tragedy. Official sources said the fire broke out when an oil canter was being emptired into tankers.

The 70-minute fire-fighting operation was monitored by SDM Jaskiran Singh and DSP Narinder Pal Singh. The SDM has asked the Executive Magistrate to seal the filling station.

The master plan had desired that all saw mills, sensitive inflammable establishments, truck operators’ union and transport company offices be shifted to the bypass area. Saw mills located outside the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital was termed as a major health hazard. The coucil had endorsed the plan but avoided its implementation.


Rani Mahal set to regain glory
Rajbir Sekhon

Bathinda, June 5
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) authorities have made all arrangements to restore the glory of Rani Mahal here by the end next year.

Razia Sultana, the first woman ruler of India, was imprisoned here in 1240 AD by the then Governor Mohammad Altunia of the local Gobind Fort.

The ASI authorities have started employing special artisans and masons for restoring the original shape of the mahal. A major part of this mahal has been damaged due to its poor upkeep and heavy rain.

Apart from it, the ASI authorities have started releasing money for the conservation work of the Gobind fort, which is one among the protected monuments. A comprehensive estimate for the restoration of this monument was being prepared for the first time by the field staff.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that the pace of the conservation work of the fort, spread over 15 acres in the heart of this town which was losing its grandeur due to the vagaries of weather is smooth.

Presently, the restoration work of those portions of the fort is being carried out which can fall any time or not withstand the another rainy season. The maintenance work of the balcony on the entrance gate is in progress and about three large inner bastions have been restored. The conservation work of the Gurdwara Kila Mubarak, situated adjacent to the Rani Mahal of the fort, has already been completed.

Information revealed that within the past six years, about 25 per cent of the Gobind Fort, which was in a dilapidated condition, had been conserved, while work for conservation of its remaining part would be carried our in the phased manner. Conservation work of inner bastions and walls would be completed within next three years while the outer portion would be regaining its glory after six years.

It is said Raja Dab, an ancestor of celebrated Veena Pal, established the Gobind fort as a military fort during the early Christian era. It had withstood attacks from Sultan Mahmud Ghazni in 1004 AD, who later besieged it and then Mohammad Ghori attacked it in 1189 and occupied it. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the illustrious ruler of this region, recovered its possession 13 months later after a fierce battle in 1911.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhminder Singh Chahal, hailing from this town and now residing in the USA, has also submitted a proposal for carrying out the conservation of this monument by raising funds.


Rush at de-addiction centres
Drive against drugs checks supply

Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 5
With the stepping up of police vigilance on the Punjab border the supply of drugs to this area has declined resulting in a sharp hike in prices of drugs and rush of addicts to de-addiction centres in this region.

Poppy husk, which was earlier available at Rs 250 per kg, is now available at Rs 700 per kg.

Earlier, drugs were supplied from Sirsa to the entire Malwa belt. The Muktsar police has set up a police picket at Kandukheda on the Rajasthan border. Poppy husk smuggling from Haripura, a border village of Rajasthan, was rampant, but now this road has been totally sealed. On the other hand, the supply from Singhpura village of Haryana to Punjab has also been totally cut. Smack was also supplied from this village.

A father-son duo from Tharajwala village in Muktsar, who were admitted to Red Cross De-addiction Centre, Bathinda, said the price of poppy had gone up from Rs 250 to Rs 700 per kg. The 15-bedded centre has a waiting list of 24 patients.

Similarly, there has been a long queue of drug addicts at the Bathinda Civil Hospital. The centre of the hospital that has the capacity of 21 patients is now accommodating 24 patients. Eight patients have been admitted to the medical ward. Dr Nidhi Gupta of the centre said the addicts were not getting poppy husk easily so they were approaching these centres.

In a de-addiction centre at Mansa, 22 addicts have been admitted as against the capacity of 15. Dr Ranjit Singh of the centre said 12 patients were on the waiting list. Doctors at the centre said the drug addicts had been approaching them on their own, which was not the case earlier.

The Muktsar SSP, Mr L.K. Yadav, said they were focusing on cutting the supply line of drugs. He said they had booked most of the notorious smugglers of the district and half of them were behind the bars. He said they were also running three de-addiction centres that had been working continuously since March 14. Nine batches of eight patients each had already been treated. He said they were also involving family members and villagers of drug addicts in de-addiction. He said they had also made a list of the people who underwent treatment so as to supervise them and ensure that they didn’t fall prey to drug menace again.

He said during the de-addiction the patients were provided with TV, magazines, besides yoga sessions in the morning. The SSP said they had opened a centre at Kandukheda also.

The Bathinda SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said they had increased patrolling in the border area and had intensified raids to check the smuggling of drugs.


Sapling plantation drive launched
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 5
To make Fatehgarh Sahib green, a sapling plantation drive has been launched under the “Plant Tree, Save Fatehgarh Sahib” scheme.

All educational, religious and social organisations would be involved in this drive, said Mr Samsher Singh, Chairman of the District Environment Protection Society. He was addressing a function organised to mark World Environment Day at “Shantivan”, Sirhind, today. Saplings were planted by all those present on the occasion.

He said largescale felling of trees had disturbed the ecological balance and rains had been affected. He highlighted the benefits of the trees and urged everyone to join the campaign and to pledge to plant at least one tree in their respective areas and look after that. He said the District Environment Protection Society had donated more than 300 tree guards to the District Forest Department. It had adopted schools, link roads, cremation grounds and other areas, where trees were being planted.

Mr Balbir Singh, District Forest Officer, said all village panchayats had been involved in the drive and all government-sponsored schemes, grants and benefits would be extended to them. He said more than 300 hectares would be covered under the drive in the district. “Though the Forest Department in the district has achieved the target of planting 1.25 lakh of sapling, NGOs are coming forward in large numbers to get more plants and the department is providing these on subsidised rate of 50 paise per sapling under the Farm Forestry Scheme.

Mr Charanjeev Channa, president, MC, Sirhind, Mr Ranjit Singh, chairman Market Committee, Sirhind, Mr Avtar Tiwana, chairman of the Shantivan Cremation Ground Society, Mr Nakesh Jindal, secretary of the District Environment Protection Society, Mr Sashi Bhushan Gupta, a social worker, also spoke.


5 ultrasound machines of private clinics sealed
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 5
Civil Surgeon S.K. Bansal today sealed five ultrasound machines belonging to two private clinics here. Sources said the team first raided Mittal Lab on Basant Singh Road and sealed four ultrasound machines owing to non-maintenance of records. Similarly, one machine of Amrit Hospital located on Amritsar Road has been sealed on the same account. Sources said the records of both the clinics had been seized and they were asked to complete their records within a week, failing which their licences could be cancelled.


Punjabi singer Pardesi honoured
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 5
UK-based Didar Singh Pardesi, popular Punjabi singer, was today honoured by the local Punjabi Kala and Sahit Kendar and monthly Punjabi magazine “Sangeet Darpan”.

The kendar Chairman, Mr H.S. Preet, and the Chief Editor “Sangeet Darpan”, Mr Sandhar, honoured Pardesi with a trophy, a shawl and a citation in recognition of his Punjabi “gayaki”.


Woman strangled by husband

Hoshiarpur, June 5
A newly married woman was murdered allegedly by her drunkard husband in Kahluma village in this district yesterday, the police said today.

The police said Roop Lal, son of Baru Ram of Kahluma village killed his wife, Santosh Kumari, by strangulating her neck with a handkerchief at his house last evening.

Rattan Singh, son of Teja Singh, resident of Karimpur Dhiani, stated in his complaint to the police that he married his daughter, Santosh Kumari, with Roop Lal, son of Baru Ram on February 2, 2005.

Roop Lal was a habitual drunkard and his daughter used to persuade him to give up this bad habit of drinking.

Rattan Singh along with his uncle Mohan Lal and brother Chanan Ram went to Kahluma village to see Santosh Kumari. When they reached her house they saw Santosh Kumari lying on her bed and her neck was tied with handkerchief.

The police has registered a case. — PTI


3 of family among four killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 5
Four persons, including two women and a child, died on the spot while four others were injured, one of them seriously, when an Indica car and a bus of a private transport company met with an accident this morning on the GT road near Chaheru village, 8 km from here.

Those killed included three members of a family: Ritwik (5), Usha Wadera (55) and Vimil Grover (50) besides Pooran, the car driver.

The injured included Ramesh Wadera, Harbhajan Ram, Bhagu Ram and Naseeb Kaur. Mr Wadera has been referred to Ludhiana. He has suffered multiple fractures, said SMO of the Civil Hospital, Dr Subhash Sharma.

The occupants of the car were going from Amritsar to Mathura on a pilgrimage. The car driver tried to save two cyclists, Harbhajan Ram and Bhagu Ram, and swerved sharply. The bus, coming from the opposte direction, and the car collided. The car turned turtle and was badly damaged. The mangled bodies had to be taken out by cutting portions of the car.

There were pilgrims in another accompanying car, too, but they had a miraculous escape.

A ghastly scene prevailed on the spot with blood stains and belongings of the occupants of the car strewn around on the road and the survivors wailing.

Harbhajan Ram and Bhagu Ram, brothers, were pedalling from Paras Rampur village to Saran village to mourn the death of a relative. They suddenly came in front of the car. They were hopspitalised here.

Naseeb Kaur (60) of Bhungrani village was the lone injured bus passenger. The police is investigating.


1 killed, five hurt as car rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 5
One pilgrim died and five others were seriously injured when their car rammed into a tree, near Dasuya, last night. All injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dasuya.

According to Kuldip Brara of Sector 7, Chandigarh, he along with his four relatives was going on a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi by car. At about 8.30 pm when they reached near Dasuya, a bull suddenly appeared on the road. While avoiding it, the driver, Mukesh Sharma, lost control of the vehicle due to which the car rammed into the tree. All occupants of car were seriously injured. They were taken to the Civil Hospital, Dasuya, where Mukesh succumbed to his injuries.


Road blocked in protest against death

Batala, June 5
Following the death of an SGPC activist Balbir Singh, who succumbed to his injuries at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, last night, hundreds of SAD activists led by former cabinet ministers, Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, blocked vehicular traffic on the Fatehgarh Churian-Dera Baba Nanak road to protest against his death.

Kahlon alleged that former sarpanch of Dale Nangal village Harjit Singh, his nephew Harpreet Singh and Balbir Singh were seriously injured with sharp-edged weapons by some armed miscreants while they were working in their dairy at village on May 28. They were admitted to the hospital where Balbir Singh succumbed to his injuries.

He alleged that the police did not take any action against the alleged attackers till June 4. The police came into action after the death of Balbir Singh and rounded up some persons.

SHO Satwant Singh, when contacted, said the police had registered a case against eight persons. — PTI


Case of fraud against singer

Moga, June 5
A case of fraud and cheating was registered against a woman singer of Ludhiana for allegedly duping a man on the pretext of sending him to Britain in 2002, the police said.

Major Singh, a farmer from Tatariwala here, has lodged a complaint that he had paid Rs 7 lakh to a woman singer of Ludhiana, Balwinder Bawa, on the promise of sending his son to the UK in 2002. His son was instead sent to Moscow illegally and was apprehended by the security agencies who put him in jail for a year.

After his son’s return from Moscow, they had been demanding the Rs 7 lakh paid to the singer but in vain, the complainant said.

After conducting a preliminary inquiry, a case was registered against the singer. No arrests have been made in the case. — PTI


2 held with spurious cotton seeds
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 5
Spurious cotton seeds and bio-fertiliser worth about Rs 15 lakh have been recovered near Madoke village.

Two persons have been arrested in this connection.

Sources said following a tip-off, Mehna SHO Jasvir Singh, ASI Darshan Singh and the enforcement team of the Agricultural Department set up a check-post on the Madoke-Daudhar road on Thursday. The police stopped a vehicle on suspicion and recovered the spurious cotton seeds and fertiliser. Those arrested have been identified as Dilbagh Singh of Chakar village and Jagtar Singh of Gholia village. A case has been registered against them under Section 7 of the EC Act and Section 420 of the IPC at Mehna police station.


33 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 5
The police today here seized 33 kg of poppy husk in two different cases.

Twentyfive kg was seized from a Tata Sumo from three persons Pritpal Singh,Prithi Chand,both of Mandhali village and Ranjit Singh of Chak Mander village.

The recovery of poppy husk and arrest of the trio were made during a police naka headed by Lehmber Singh,SHO,Sadar police station.

In the second case, 8 kg poppy husk was seized from Mangaljeet Singh of Manak village at Chaheru.


Teachers hold massive protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 5
Thousands of teachers from 31 teacher unions today took part in a state-level anti-privatisation rally here and announced that they would hold a massive protest rally in Chandigarh on July 26.

Earlier, various teacher bodies decided to organise protest rallies in front of DEO offices on July 7, 8 and 11. To press for their demands they also announced that they would meet MLAs on June 17 and 18 to handover a charter of demands to them.

A large number of teachers from the Doaba and Majha regions also participated in the rally that started from Teachers Home.

The teachers also blocked traffic in front of the bus stand for about 20 minutes. Heavy police force was deployed keeping in mind the number of protesters. The teachers’ unions took strong notice of some other employee organisations chalking out a parallel programme in Jalandhar. Teacher leaders appealed to the organisations to unite on a single platform to fight against the privatisation move of the government. They decided to utilise the ongoing seminars during the summer vacation for organising teachers for their forthcoming agitation. The front made it clear that their stir would continue till the government withdrew its decision of privatisation.

The front leaders alleged that the committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister was working on the agenda of privatisation. They accused Finance Minister Surinder Singla of implementing “anti-people and anti-employees” policies of the World Bank through the government. They said they would not leave any stone unturned to make sure Mr Singla’s defeat if he fights the next Assembly election from Bathinda.


Power to transfer teachers withdrawn from DPIs
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, June 5
The Punjab Government has withdrawn powers to transfer masters and other class III employees from the Director Public Instructions (DPIs) and other officers concerned.

Official sources said today that the government had empowered the Director-General of School Education, who is an IAS officer, to henceforth look after all matters relating the transfers and postings of the Class III staff of upper primary schools in the state.

All JBT and ETT teachers, centre heads and heads of these schools, vocational teachers are covered under the Class III category.

The order regarding empowering the Director-General to order transfers has been issued by Mrs Tejinder Kaur, Principal Secretary of the Department of Education.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |