P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM firm on free power to small farmers
Mandi Board to foot bill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that he was determined to give free power to small farmers in the state.

He said the issue was being examined at the party level and a decision in this regard would be announced soon. However, till the decision was pending, farmers would continue to get power at subsidised rates.

“It was the promise we made to farmers in our manifesto during the last Assembly elections”, he added. “ I will keep all promises made in the manifesto”, he added.

He said free power would be given only to farmers with small land holdings and not to ones like Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had big land holdings. The PSEB would be duly compensated for providing free power. The Punjab Mandi Board would foot the bill in this regard, he added. “With an increase in the production of foodgrains and vegetables in the state in the past three years, the income of the mandi board from various fees has rise by Rs 220 crore . This money will be paid to the PSEB by the mandi board,” said Capt Amarinder Singh.

If the government decided to give free power to farmers owning land up to 5 acres, about 70 per cent of the over 9 lakh tubewells operated by electricity in the agricultural sector would be covered under the free-power scheme. In case the government decided to give free power to farmers owning land up to 7.5 acres, 84 per cent of such tubewells would be covered.

At present, the PSEB, which provides power at highly subsidised rates to the farm sector, earns a little over Rs 300 crore from farmers. For providing power to this sector, the state government gave about Rs 900 crore as subsidy to the PSEB during the last financial year. According to an official estimate, as the government wanted to give free power to only small farmers, it will require Rs 200 crore, besides the subsidy amount, to fulfil its promise.

Meanwhile, as the power load in the farm sector has gone up, the state government has increased the subsidy for this sector to Rs 1065.10 crore for the current financial year. To provide free power to poor Scheduled Castes families, the government will give Rs 50 crore to the PSEB during the current financial year. Besides, during the financial year the government has also promised to pay Rs 68.25 crore, which was due against it from the amount promised to be paid to the PSEB last year in lieu of subsidised power to the farm sector. The total amount of subsidy to be paid by the state government to the PSEB this year will be Rs 1183. 35 crore.


PSEB to get power from Kerala
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
With a view to overcome power crisis during the paddy plantation season, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has started procuring power from Kerala. Besides, the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) has also assured a supply of 250 mega watt during the season.

While PSEB signed an agreement to the effect with the Kerala State Electricity Board about a fortnight ago, the procurement begins from tonight as the board will begin supply to agricultural consumers for paddy season, sources disclosed.

The PSEB has now decided to impose 24-hour weekly off on industrial users across the state, being supplied power through urban pattern feeders, three-wire categories I and II, from June 10 to July 31. Earlier, it had decided to impose cuts on residential users as well. However, the decision was withdrawn as procurement from Kerala started.

Nearly 150 mega watt of power will come from Kerala whereas the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) has also assured the supply of 250 mega watt till the end of paddy season sources claimed.

The 24-hour weekly off would be imposed on industrial consumers- large supply, medium supply and small power but only those that are being supplied power through urban pattern supply feeders three-wire, categories I and II. This weekly off would not be applicable in case of consumers getting power through four-wire feeders.

The cuts, according to officials, are being imposed in order to ensure eight-hour power supply to agricultural consumers, which will begin from June 10.

While currently, the daily power supply is of 1,067.94 lakh units, the average demand is of around 1,200 lakh units (maximum demand recorded was 1,216 lakh units). “Cuts have to be imposed as the demand is likely to register a major increase during the season,” an official said. According to sources, the board had earlier decided to impose three-hour daily cuts on urban, urban industrial and 24-hour feeders on urban pattern (rural consumers). In case of arc and induction furnace consumers, getting supply from category II and category III feeders, PSEB had decided to make the electricity available only on alternate days, that is three days a week.

“However, the decision was reversed as we would now get power supply from Kerala and PTC has also assured 250 mega watt supply,” the official said.


We’ll act tough against militancy, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
While assuring the people of the state that militancy would not be allowed to stage a comeback in Punjab in any manner, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and others, who talked about the formation of “Khalistan” on June 6 at the Golden Temple, would be arrested and put on trial.

Addressing a press conference here, he said that already cases had been registered against all those who resorted to seditious activity at the Golden Temple and the “police will catch them soon”. Asked about widespread apprehension regarding the return of militancy to the state following the arrest of some Babbar Khalsa militants in Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur in connection with the bomb blasts in Delhi, Capt Amarinder Singh said his government would take a tough stand against such elements so that no one dared resort to such activity. “Moreover, the people of the state are not responsive to such activity at all. There is no support base available to militants in any part of the state”, he added.

There might be some fringe elements here and there but there was no report of any organised network of militants in the state, he added. “ Some of the persons arrested in connection with the bomb blasts appeared to be some sort of mercenary elements. But everything would come out soon as investigation was on”, he added.

Denying any failure on the part of the Punjab intelligence and police in the Jagtar Singh Hawara case, Capt Amarinder Singh said the state police cooperated fully with the Delhi police. “On the basis of arrests made by the Punjab police in Nawanshahr, the Delhi police was able to arrest Hawara and Jaspal Singh”, he said. “The Punjab police is doing its best”, he added.

Lashing out at SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief Jagir Kaur, Capt Amarinder Singh said the two Akali leaders were out to push the state back into the turmoil which devastated it for 20 years starting from 1973. By proposing to build a memorial, “minar-e-shaheedan,” in the Golden Temple complex, Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur were playing with fire.

He said that it was a disgrace that a senior leader like Mr Badal was trying to destabilise Punjab where peace was restored after great efforts. Using hard-hitting language against Mr Badal, the Chief Minister said that he was never in “competitive religious politics” with Mr Badal, but had been “ doing my duty as far as various Sikh centenary celebrations were concerned”.

Regarding his visit to a gurdwara at Dixie in Canada, Capt Amarinder Singh said that no one raised any objectionable slogan or demand in that gurdwara. “I was accompanied by a senior Canadian Minister, Canadian Sikh MPs and officials of the Indian Embassy during the visit to that gurdwara”, he said. What Mr Badal had stated about my visit to that place had no substance, he added.

He said his visit to Canada was successful. A number of NRIs had offered to set up their projects in Punjab.


Delhi Police nabs Hawara’s harbourer
Jupinderjit Singh and Iqbal Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana/Khanna, June 9
The reports that Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh Hawara was hiding near Samrala town all these months while the Punjab Police groped in the dark in his pursuit were strengthened today when a team of policemen, presumably from Delhi whisked away a middle aged woman, who had allegedly harboured the dreaded terrorist.

The whereabouts of the woman, Hardeep Kaur, 35, were, however, not known immediately. According to the police sources Hawara used to stay at her house on Samrala-Machhiwara road often. He used to come on a motor cycle and usually wore white kurta-pyjama. The woman had told her neighbhours that he was her brother-in-law and her husband was serving in the Indian Army. Nobody had, however, seen her husband ever. Police was investigating if Hawara had an affair with the woman.

Officials of Khanna police district have confirmed that they have learnt about the raid by the police of some other state but were not aware about the woman’s whereabouts. Later, the Khanna police also raided her house on Samrala-Machhiwara road besides checking her accounts in two local banks.

The police was trying to locate two persons who had signed as witnesses for opening her bank accounts. Sources also told The Tribune that Delhi Police as well as the local police had raided some houses in and around Samrala. The police has, however, not conducted a raid at Hawara village so far.

The woman was living in a rented house. The house reportedly belongs to a retired official of the irrigation department whose son was also serving in the same department.

The development has put another question mark on the efficiency of the Punjab Police and the work of the Intelligence agencies which had failed to get any clue about the movement of Babbar Khalsa Chief in the state.


BKI ‘outsourcing’ petty criminals: police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Hardcore militant group Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) has apparently started “outsourcing” petty criminals and “first-timers” — at least this is what senior Punjab police officers are insisting.

They claim that the arrest of non-Punjabis, without a criminal background, on the allegation of being involved in the twin blasts that shook the national Capital recently, is testimony to his effect.

Quoting an example, a senior police officer says two “outsiders”, allegedly involved in the blasts, were reportedly offered money in lieu of their services. Nothing else can justify their alleged involvement in the blasts.

Giving details, he says the Babar Khalsa’s top hierarchy is apparently involved only in identifying the targets and providing funds, while the second-rung is drawing up plans and providing explosive material. For carrying out the task in hand, fresh recruits are now being chosen.

The officer adds that besides “outsourcing”, the possibility of the BKI joining hands with other militant outfits or roping in “outsiders” cannot be ruled out at this stage. In any case, Hawara’s arrest is a major setback for the organisation, he agrees.

The officer asserts that the Babbars are otherwise known as the “most radical of all militant outfits in the state” and do not have “outsiders” in their organisation.

BKI chief Jagtar Singh Hawara’s refusal to change his appearance after escaping from Burail jail goes a long way to suggest that the Babbars still believe in their old ideology.

“He preferred to take the risk of being caught after being identified, rather than going in for a complete changeover by trimming his hair and beard, “ the officer says. “It only suggests that they are still emotional about the organisation’s image and cause”.

Meanwhile, sources at the Punjab police headquarters add that until recently funds were flowing in from now-defunct terrorist groups through the hawala channel from Europe and North America.

They claim that preliminary investigations carried out by the Delhi police have reportedly revealed that Hawara had been putting up in a village close to his native place, Hawara Kalan, in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

They add that the Delhi police, interestingly, did not realise for the first few hours that they had laid their hands on Hawara — a much bigger catch than Jaspal Singh, whom they were looking for.

The sources in the Punjab police claim that mobile phones eventually led to the arrest of the accused in the Delhi twin-blast case, including Hawara. Giving details, they say the Delhi police started looking into the record of mobile calls made from the area near the cinema houses three hours before and after the blasts.

They shortlisted the numbers from which calls were repeatedly made. The police officers continued the search even after the sim cards and the mobile phones used by the culprits were disposed of. They did this by tracking down the call receivers. The calls eventually led them to the area in which the accused were present.


DC orders probe into fly ash burns case
Red Cross to bear medical expenses
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
After suffering the pain of burns and the agony of official apathy for more than a week, the three minor Dalit boys of Chehlan village were finally provided treatment today afternoon by the district administration of Fatehgarh Sahib. The district administration intervened in the matter and ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. The administration would also provide compensation to the victims and may direct the mill owners to pay the expenses.

The condition of two of the three children admitted to Civil Hospital in Khanna was pathetic. Doctors attending to them said their feet were badly burnt and it would take several weeks for the wounds to heal properly.

The injuries would not have aggravated to such an extent if the family was not forced to flee the village due to the fear of the panchayat which had allowed the dumping of fly ash in violation of norms.

Ms Jaspreet Kaur Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, told The Tribune that she had directed SDM, Amloh, Mr Sandip Hans, to conduct an inquiry into the incident besides directing the Red Cross to bear the expenses of their treatment.

Activists of the Voice for Human Rights Organisation led by Ms Prabhjot Kaur and Mr Jagjiwan Singh, who had exposed the incident, had met the Deputy Commissioner seeking her intervention in the case.

She said the SDM would look into the details of the incident, including how the fly ash was allowed to be dumped in the village playground. Mr Sandip Hans visited the village today late afternoon. Naib Tehsildar G.S. Michra recorded the statement of Sarpanch, members of gram panchayat, two boys and their parents.

The children admitted to the hospital were — Partap Singh and Pavit Singh, while the third child, Damanpuneet, was with her mother in Khanna. Family members said his condition was not serious. Dr N.P.S. Virk, a dermatologist at the hospital, said the feet of the children were badly burnt.

Ms Talwar said the boys would be treated free of cost and Red Cross would be bearing the expenses of their treatment.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission(PSHRC) had also routed the complaint of the victims to the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The order was given by a Bench comprising Justice N.K. Arora and Justice R.L. Anand.


School board’s shock treatment to 4000 students
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 9
The Punjab School Education Board is in news once again and this time for wrongly publishing the result of over 4,000 students of the class VIII who had appeared in the examination in February this year. The result was declared by the board on May 8.

Sources said that according to the result gazette released by the board, 180 students were declared having failed in the examination when in reality they had cleared the examination. Similarly, nearly 100 students were shown as having passed the class VIII examination even when they stood failed. Marks of nearly 4,000 students were wrongly published.

It is learnt that officials were now busy scrutinising the result and a revised notification in this regard would be issued by the board soon. The blunder of preparing the wrong result, which was detected by the board a few days ago, was committed by a Delhi-based computer firm.

The blunder came to the notice of board officials after a large number of students who were not satisfied with the marks scored in mathematics had applied for a re-check. After re-checking of some answersheets it was found that the marks scored by the students were correctly entered into the award lists prepared in this regard but were wrongly printed by the firm in the number’s list while preparing the result.

When contacted Prof Harbans Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the board, said he was not aware of such a case. He said that in case there were some mistakes in the result, the corrections would be done by the board. A board official had told him that the number of students applying for a re-check of the examination answersheets was almost four times this year as compared to previous years. But he was not told about the reason behind the issue, added Prof Sidhu.

The Chairman said that he would look into the matter and direct board officials to get the answersheets in this regard which were kept at the district headquarters.

He said that while preparing the result of the matriculation examination one of the firms assigned the work had missed one column. In certain cases relating to re-appear, students were not told when the reappear examination would be held.


Vigilance begins probe into PMT paper leak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
In less than 72 hours after PMT examination was cancelled, retired Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Justice Jai Singh Sekhon today disassociated himself from the inquiry.

In a related development, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today clarified that he had stopped Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University for Health Sciences, Dr J.S. Gujral, from initiating probe at a personal level as a vigilance probe into the matter had already been ordered.

He added: “The probe ordered by the Vice-Chancellor stands cancelled as the vigilance has been asked to conduct the inquiry and submit its report within 15 days.’’

Justice Sekhon was earlier asked by the Vice-Chancellor of Faridkot-based Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr Gujral, to fix responsibility and submit report in the matter as early as possible.

The sources in the Punjab Government said Justice Sekhon reportedly told the authorities concerned that he was not in favour of carrying out the probe as inquiry into the matter had been handed over to state Vigilance Bureau by Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Capt Amarinder Singh and Deputy CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

They added that Justice Sekhon’s request had been accepted by the authorities concerned. The development is significant as Justice Sekhon’s disassociation will prevent multiplicity of inquiry reports.

The sources add that under the Commission of Inquiries Act there can be more than one probe into an incident.

It is the prerogative of the government to eventually decide which report to accept.

But rejection of one report and acceptance of other often leads to raising of eyebrows, the sources assert.

Meanwhile, the sources added that the Vigilance Bureau has already initiated a probe into the matter by registering a vigilance inquiry into the matter.


PMT paper leak: police forms SIT
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, June 9
The Faridkot police has formed a special investigating team (SIT) under the DSP, Mr Bakhshish Singh, to probe into the PMT paper leakage.

On the basis of a complaint from Baba Farid University, the police has also registered a case against unknown persons under Sections 420, 479, and 120-B of the IPC at the city police station. The SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui, said the police had visited the university to get acquainted itself with the examination procedure. He said the police was trying to ascertain that at which level the leakage took place. He said the police also met the VC, the Registrar and employees of the computer and binding sections, in this connection.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports said that a few varsity employees had also been rounded up for interrogation in the case.


Mann booked for delivering fiery speeches
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 9
The President of SAD (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and some other party leaders have been booked on the charge of delivering instigating speech during the party’s conference held to pay homage to martyrs of Operation Bluestar in Talwandi Sabo on June 2.

The Talwandi Sabo police has also registered a case against the party general secretary, Mr Charan Singh Luhara, former MP Dhyan Singh Mand, president of party’s youth wing Barinder Singh Mann and Gursewak Singh Jawaharke, under Sections 124 and 153 of the IPC.

Police sources said Mann had delivered an “anti-national speech” during the party’s conference and had also raised slogans of freedom. He had said Sikhs were not free and had urged the gathering to raise the slogan of freedom thrice. The case was registered on the basis of the statement of the Talwandi Sabo SHO, Mr Balbir Singh Grewal. The Amritsar police had already booked these SAD (A) leaders.

On May 31, the Talwandi Sabo police had booked Barinder Singh Mann and Gursewak Singh Jawaharke following a complaint by the manager of Takht Sri Damadama Sahib. Manager Bharpur Singh had alleged that these leaders had attacked him. The SGPC staff and the SAD (A) activists were at loggerheads over holding “akhand path” and the conference at Bhai Dall Singh Deewan Hall of the takht.

On the other hand, Barinder Singh Mann and the party’s SGPC member, Harcharan Singh Burjhari, in a joint statement, flayed the registration of a case against them. They alleged that Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur had got these cases registered against them in connivance with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. They alleged that this action had exposed Mr Badal’s link with the Congress.

ROPAR: The district police has registered a case against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and three others in Anandpur police station for delivering provocative speeches during the “Ghallughara Divas” function held on June 4 in Anandpur Sahib. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) had organised a function to mark “Ghallughara Divas” in Damdami Taksal in Anandpur Sahib. Earlier, the function was scheduled to be held in the gurdwara, but the SGPC did not allow them to hold the function there.

While talking to The Tribune over phone, the DSP, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Jasdev Singh, said a case against Mr Mann and three others including Bhag Singh, Bachchan Singh and Sarbjit Singh, had been registered under Sections 124-A, 153-A, 148 and 149.


Case against Mann at behest of Badal, Cong
Our Correspondent

Phagwara June 9
Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singhwala today asserted that the case of sedition against party’s President and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann had been registered at the behest of SAD (B) president Parkash Singh Badal, SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, Congress and BJP who all were hand in gloves and whose gang-up against SAD (A) President had brought the cat out of bag.

Mr Jaskaran Singh alleged that the registration of a case first against Mr Mann by the Amritsar police and now against Bhai Dhyan Singh Mand, senior vice-president, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, general secretary of the party and Mr Varinder Singh Mann, President, party’s Youth Wing, by Bathinda police today was the outcome of conspiracy of Mr Badal, Bibi, BJP and the Congress party to vitiate this peace.


SGPC seeking government intervention ‘unprecedented’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 9
The SGPC seeking direct intervention of the state and the Central governments for the first time to take action against leaders of rival Akali factions for brandishing unsheathed swords and raising “provocative” slogans in front of Akal Takht on “genocide day” has received flak from the panthic circles.

They alleged that despite a lot of pressure during the heyday of militancy, the then president of the SGPC, Gurcharan Signh Tohra, had never written to the Prime Minister, the President of India, the DGP or the state government to take action on the basis of any happening inside the Golden Temple or the Akal Takht complex.

It is reliably learnt that certain senior SGPC members may raise their voice against the present SGPC chief for seeking intervention of the state government in the “internal affairs” of the Sikh panth. They are also likely to take up the matter with SAD President Parkash Singh Badal. In the past, the SAD and the SGPC had been opposing any police action on the plea that its task force was competent enough to handle any incident inside the Golden Temple complex.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurjatinder Singh Bhikhiwind, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), has alleged that the Badal faction had allegedly connived with the state government to get a case registered against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.


Razia Sultana to head Wakf Board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Mrs Razia Sultana, Congress MLA from Malerkotla, will be appointed the Chairperson of the Punjab Wakf Board, which was disbanded yesterday by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Speaking to mediapersons, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the board would be reconstituted and Mrs Sultana would be made its Chairperson.

He said she would be given full powers to manage the board. “ Mrs Sultana was not treated fairly earlier”, he added. He said that he was told that a woman could not be appointed the Chairperson, but “ I would like to appoint her”.


Doctor misbehaves, Civil Surgeon seeks fitness certificate
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
In a first case of its kind in the state, Dr Yash Pal Singla, Civil Surgeon has asked Dr Darshan Singh, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Rajpura, to get a fitness certificate from the Institute of Mental Health, Amritsar, before joining the duty after the latter allegedly misbehaved with Dr Singla when he carried out a surprise checking of the hospital late last night.

Dr Singla, who recently joined as the Civil Surgeon, raided, Civil Hospital, Rajpura, after 10 p.m. Darshan Singh, who was on duty and was not wearing an apron misbehaved with Dr Singla, who did not disclose his identity first. Dr Darshan Singh kept on misbehaving with Dr Singla even after that.

As per the information gathered by Chandigarh Tribune, Dr Singla had pointed out insanitary condition in the hospital, dirty bed sheets, and air condition of only one room was functioning. In a letter written to the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, Dr Singla had requested him to take disciplinary action against Dr Darshan Singh.

Dr Singla, who had also sought an explanation from Dr P.C. Goyal, Senior Medical Officer of the hospital, for insanitary conditions and other shortcoming in the working of the hospital, alleged that apart from these shortcoming, no notes were put in the files of those patients, who were being treated in the emergency ward.

Dr Singla said Dr Darshan Singh was under the influence of liquor. Dr Darshan Singh, when contacted, said neither he misbehaved with Dr Singla nor he was under the influence of liquor. Dr Darshan Singh added that he would not stop performing his duty on the orders of Dr Singla as he was appointed by the state government and not by Dr Singla. He said Dr Singla pressurised the pharmacist, who was on duty, to write a complaint against him (Dr Darshan Singh) so that Dr Singla could probe into allegations levelled against him.

He said he would challenge the demand of his fitness certificate raised by Dr Singla in front of the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare.

He, however, admitted that he was not wearing an apron when Dr Singla came to the hospital. There was insanitary condition in the hospital and air conditioner of a vacant room was running when Dr Singla visited the hospital.

Dr Singla, when contacted, said he had been raiding hospitals and dispensaries to ensure that people could get medical care without any delay on the part of doctors and others. He added that when he finds a doctor or other employees shirking from duty, he would have to take action against them. He said Dr Darshan Singh had done number of blunders and hence he had written against him to higher authorities. He denied that he had pressurised the pharmacist on the duty to write a complaint against Dr Darshan Singh.


Jassi wins over mediapersons
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 9
Mona Singh alias Jassi’s off-screen intelligence is in no measure less than the character Jasmeet Walia that she portrays onscreen in the popular teleserial ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi’ on Sony Entertainment Channel.

She cooled tempers when media persons fought over camera space by labelling the embarrassment as a ‘‘show of the serial’s popularity’’. It not only calmed them (mediapersons) but brought guffaws, that endeared the small screen’s most celebrated icon.

She was in the city today for a shooting spree of the serial. The shot was canned around her co-star Armaan Suri alias Apoorva Agnihorti, popping a surprise by proposing marriage to Jassi, on the Walia family’s thanksgiving visit to the Golden Temple.

Jassi, daughter of Col Jasbir Singh and Rajinder Kaur, says it was a ‘‘mere stumble’’ into the office of the producer that struck gold for her acting career. But Apoorva, her co-star, finds the film industry a ‘‘ruthless place’’ after his famous screenplay father Gian Dev Agnihotri’s demise.

The star of hit film ‘‘Pardes’’ by Subhash Ghai, Aproova, a BA-Economics, would have preferred to be a pilot than an actor. Criticised for his effeminate hairstyle in the serial, the struggle in his acting career has been long and tough owing to his poor PR (Public Relations), which is construed as ‘arrogance’, he claims.

Jassi, a Pune lass with a B.Com and MBA degree, who would have gladly been a secretary in an MNC if not Jassi, feels her role in Jassi... based on hit Spanish tele-serial ‘Beaty La Fae’, was a step to achieve larger dream — may be even Hollywood!

From modeling for Asian Paints, Liril and LG Electronics to TV’s icon she has already signed feature film ‘Mein To Chala’ by Bobby Pushkaran, producer of latest hit film ‘‘Page-3’’. Being a Punjabi she is open to offers to work in Punjabi films.

However her proudest moment other than compering some top award shows dressed as the ‘dowdy Jassi’, was the memorable September day in 2004 when the Indian Postal Department released commemorative stamps on the serial. The ‘Jassi-Clothesline by famous designer Satya Paul and recently released book ‘Jassi’s seven steps to success’ are other happy occasions for someone who has had a 360-episode successful run on TV for the last two years.

That her voice modulation left much to be desired after a dream profile change-over in the serial was explained, as ‘cinematic liberty’ that is often taken in the make believe world of glamour.


Salesman appointed against norms
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
A section of members of the Panchayat of Fathepur Rajputan village of this district and a section of member of its Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society has urged the chief minister to make arrangements for a high level probe into the appointment of a salesman in the same by the authorities concerned by violating all the norms.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, president of the society, and Mr Lakhwinder Singh, Sarpanch, in a joint press note issued here today alleged that first the official concerned of the cooperative department put the society under suspension and then facilitated the appointment of an ineligible person as its salesman.

They added that the appointment of salesman was done despite the fact that a civil suit and other legal proceedings were going on in the court of Additional Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, in that connection. The additional Registrar had ordered that no appointment of salesman be done during the pendency of the suit.

They alleged that society was suspended by the official concerned without carrying out any inquiry and without issuing any notice in that connection to those who had been managing the affairs of the society.


Police remand for sex scandal accused
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 9
The court of the Duty Magistrate, Mr Rajwinder Singh, remanded six of the accused in the Amritsar sex scandal case to two-day police custody here today.

Those sent in police remand are former Amritsar Mayor Subash Sharma, Ganesh Podar, J.S Kataria, J.S Arora, Madan Lal Vij and Buland Iqbal Singh.

Yesterday, in a major crackdown, the CBI had rounded up all these accused in Amritsar for their allegedly involvement in the “sex-for-favour” scandal that had rocked the holy city in 2003.

All the accused, who were nabbed by the CBI Additional SP, Mr R.R. Sahai, were brought to Chandigarh yesterday and were produced in the court here today.

The names of various politicians and officials figure in the case after an FIR was registered by the CBI on June 3, 2003, under Sections 406, 506, 236 and 120-B, IPC, following a directive issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The other accused, who have been bailed out but were present in the court, were Sarabjit Raju, Gagan Bedi, Parveen Chadha, Sandeep Sippi and Hari Om Dhanuka, proprietor of the Amritsar-based Siti Cable Network.


PSEB sets up control rooms
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
For the convenience of power consumers and proper monitoring of power supply during the current summer and paddy season, the Punjab State Electricity Board has set up control rooms in subdivisions, circle zonal offices and also in the office of member (distribution).

Disclosing this here today, Mr Y.S Ratra, Chairman, PSEB, said complaints could be lodged about frequent interruption in power supply at these control rooms.


MLA killer Bawaria gives police the slip
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 9
Oma Bawaria, an alleged killer of 23 persons, including a Tamil Nadu-based AIDMK MLA, escaped trap of a special team of the Tamil Nadu Police near Phillaur on Wednesday evening but his son-in-law -cum accomplice landed in police custody.

Oma Bawaria, head of a gang of Bawarias, which, allegedly had killed an MLA in Tamil Nadu on January 9 for which his associates Guddu, Lakshman, and Dharam were already arrested, was allegedly wanted in 23 murder cases. The gang, which, had struck at the residence of Tamil Nadu MLA, had fled with household goods of the AIDMK leader in a truck after killing him and a case had been registered by the Tamil Nadu police against him.

As the Tamil Nadu police came to know that Oma was active in the Jalandhar area, it, sent a team of police officials to nab him and a naka was laid near Phillaur on Wednesday evening. As a truck (HR-A-5515) was signalled to stop at the naka, one of two passengers escaped in the dark, while, one was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police officials. The arrested person was identified as Jaildar Singh, a resident of Mehal Kalan village in Sangrur district, who identified the absconding person as Oma Bawaria. Jaildar Singh, also a Bawaria, a son-in-law of Oma Bawaria was involved in criminal activities with him.

The gang, according to SSP Ishwar Singh, was based in Punjab and other northern states, but, it used to strike most of times in the south. Jaildar Singh has confessed that the truck, which, has been impounded by the police, was used in the murder of the Tamil Nadu MLA.

“Though Oma has absconded, but, we are trying to nab with the help of Tamil Nadu police, which, had worked out information about him,” said Mr. Ishwar Singh. Oma Bawaria’s gang was said to be very active after 1995-96 and has allegedly killed 23 persons and robbed them.


Three of family killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 9
Three members of a family were killed in a collision between a car and a private bus on the Pathankot-Gurdaspur road today. Those killed included Harpinder Singh, son of Sulakhan Singh, Kamaljit Kaur, wife of Harpinder, both residents of Dangu Road Pathankot and Harvinder Singh, a resident of Dhariwal. The deceased were all travelling in the car. Two other car passengers — Harvinder Kaur and her three-year-old son Palak Deep Singh, were injured seriously.

According to eyewitnesses the car was trying to over take a vehicle on the said road near Kanwa village. However, on seeing another vehicle coming from the opposite direction the driver of the car applied brakes suddenly. The driver of the private bus that was following the car, however, could not apply the brakes in time and the bus hit the rear of the car.


Two killed as car hits truck
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 9
Two occupants of a Tata Indica car (PB-10AP-7866), were killed on the spot and two others sustained injuries, when the car, in which they were travelling from Malerkotla to Kartarpur, rammed into a truck near Goraya in Phillaur subdivision early today.

The deceased were identified as Abdul Rahim and Shahid Bihari of Malerkotla, who were going to purchase wood from Kartarpur. The injured, Mohammad Anwar and Sukhchain Singh, were admitted to Arora Hospital, Ludhiana, in critical condition. The truck driver sped away after the accident, the police said. The police has registered a case against the truck driver.

The bodies of both the deceased were handed over to the family members after a post-mortem examination.


1 murdered, 3 hurt near Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
Randhir Kumar, a resident of Nabha town, was done to death while his two brothers and mother were seriously injured when they were allegedly attacked by Chamkaur Singh and Bittu Singh, both brothers at Matoda village of the district last night.

Though the police teams have been despatched to nab the accused, who absconded after committing the crime, Sandeep Kumar, Ranjeet Kumar (both brothers of Randhir Kumar) and Sudershna Kumari, their mother, have been struggling for their lives in the local Rajindra Hospital. They were referred to the hospital from Nabha last night.

Police sources said the accused, Chamkaur Singh and Bittu Singh, used to misuse the telephone installed in the house of Randhir located at Matoda village.

A few months ago, the accused tried to fight with members of Randhir family when they objected to the misuse of their telephone. Again, the accused, one of whom was drunkard as per the people of that area, attacked them with a sharp-edged weapon.

Sources said Randhir Kumar, a businessman, had come to his village last night only. The accused attacked him on the chest and stomach. He died within few hours. The others also sustained multiple injuries on their bodies.

A case has been registered at the Bhadson police station under Section 302 of the IPC.


PRTC driver beaten up by private transporters
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 9
A few private transporters allegedly assaulted a Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation driver on the GT Road at the Gagan Chowk here, early this morning.

The incident took place 50 yards from the police post. The cops stationed there instead of restraining transporters turned a blind eye to the clash.

Eyewitnesses revealed that six employees of a local transporter assaulted Mr Amar Dev, driver of a Punjab Roadways bus (PB-12C-9205), enroute to Jagraon from Yamunanagar at about 6.30 am.

A private bus (PB-23B-1389), heading towards Jalandhar from Ambala, also reached the spot and the driver along with some other employees indulged in arguments with the driver of the government bus over passengers. After heated arguments, they dragged the driver out of the bus and beat him up.

Mr Amar Dev sustained injuries and was taken to a local Civil Hospital, Rajpura. The injured alleged that the cops instead of rescuing him slipped away. The Rajpura police has registered a case.


Body found; foul play alleged
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 9
The police last night recovered a partly decomposed body of Balwinder Singh (30) from the fields of Lakhpur village. The police had treated the case as closed.

However, Mrs Rupinder Kaur, widow of Balwinder Singh, alleged foul play behind the case. She said that she apprehended that her husband might have been murdered.

She said that she was married in 1997 to Balwinder of Suni village in Garhshanker area. Her in-laws used to harass her, she alleged. She had two daughters. She started staying with her parents due to the harassment.

When contacted, DSP Lakhwinderpal Singh Khehra said that the viscera of Balwinder had been sent to a Patiala laboratory.


Mystery shrouds cop’s death
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 9
The body of a police constable was found under mysterious circumstances on the Muktsar-Dabwali border early today.

Sources said Constable Amarjit Singh, who was a resident of Bajigar Basti, Faridkot, was posted in Muktsar. His body has been sent for a post-mortem examination to the Civil Hospital.

The exact cause of his death was yet to be ascertained. Rumours of a family dispute and some personal enmity were also doing the rounds.

Meanwhile, reports received here also suggested that the constable was on his way from Dabwali to a relative’s place at Khuia Malkana village. His scooter hit a tree near Sawantkheda village leading to his death.


NCERT fails to correct mistakes in biology books
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 9
The National Council For Education Research and Training (NCERT), in its response to the mistakes pointed out by a local botany teacher in the biology books meant for Class XI, seems to have created more confusion rather than providing a proper clarification.

Answering queries raised by Mr Rajesh Singla, a local botany teacher, NCERT, in its letter (No.F.11-48/2004-Sch.4 dated May 20, 2005), has given an unclear reply leading to more doubts. Disappointed over the reply given by NCERT, Mr Singla said the NCERT books were being followed by medical students throughout the country and most of them relied upon these books while appearing in the competitive exams, where the difference of even one mark could make or mar their career.

He said on page 81 of the book, members of kingdom “Protista” were at one place mentioned as unicellular and on the same page they were also mentioned as being multicellular. He said in its explanation, the NCERT had said, “Some books do mention that “Protista” according to Whittakar system of classification are generally unicellular. However, some “Protista” are multicellular.” He said it had not been mentioned in the book whether it had followed Whittakar system of classification or any other system. He said this reply had created more confusion and problems for teachers as well as students.

Mr Singla further said the classification of fungus member, Mucor, under Phycomycetes was wrong according to the modern system of classification which was being followed everywhere as Zygomycetes, which was another class of fungus. He said NCERT in its reply had stated that Mucor according to Alexopolus belong to Zygomycetes. He said according to Haeckel system, three-kingdom system Mucor belong to Protista while according to very old Linnaeus system, two-kingdom system, Mucor belong to Plantae. He said if NCERT followed some particular system or scientist, then it they should clarify it.

Pointing out another major mistake in the book, Mr Singla said on page 9 of the book, it was published that species “Plantarum,” an important book written by Linnaeus, has information of about 6000 species of plants while in the same book, on page 74, it was written that the book species Palntarum contain about 4,000 species of plants.

He said though the second and reprint edition of the book was printed 2003, yet only a few corrections had been made in it and the same mistakes had been repeated again. After that there was no reprint edition inspite of a number of mistakes and incomplete information in it, he added. Mr Singla demanded a thorough revision of the book.


Lathi-charge on ITI students
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 9
The Ropar police today resorted to a mild lathi-charge on students of ITI who had blocked the Ropar-Nangal road protesting against the privatisation of ITIs in the state and hike in fees. The students, including girls of ITI began their agitation in the morning and blocked the road for several hours.

Initially, boys of the ITI Ropar blocked the road but as the police resorted to lathi-charge and rounded up four of them, girls who were standing along the roads came forward and blocked the road. The president of the Punjab Students Union, Kulwinder Singh Chahal, and some other students sustained injuries.


Students booked for blocking traffic

Kharar, June 9
As many as 38 students of the local ITI were booked by the police on the charge of obstructing public way and wrongful restraint.

Mr Raj Bachan Singh, DSP, said students were booked because they blocked traffic on the Khanpur bridge today in support of their demands. He said the students had blocked the National Highway some days ago were told not to resort to such tactics. They were told to hold their protest in some other way instead of putting the public to inconvenience. But they failed to listen to the advice.

Students have been protesting against the move of the government to privatise ITIs in the state and the drastic fee hike. OC

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