P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mann’s arrest mere drama: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has dismissed the arrest of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann as “a mere drama and part of a well-rehearsed and election-oriented script prepared by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the maverick leader to spoil the hard-earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony.”

He cautioned Punjabis against such “tamashas” being conducted by the ruling party in the run-up to the elections barely 18 months away.

“There unmistakably is a nexus between the two brothers-in-law. The timing of the arrest is also significant as it comes only after Mr Mann had unwittingly spilled the beans about this nexus through his announcement about honouring the Chief Minister,” said Mr Badal in a statement here today. “Capt Amarinder Singh must explain why Mr Mann was not arrested earlier when he was holding press conferences in circuit houses or making inflammatory speeches at Chowk Mehta in the presence of police battalions,” said the Akali chief.

Mr Badal asked the people to contrast the present atmosphere in the state with that prevailing during the tenure of the SAD-BJP government. He said that no one, including Mr Mann, had dared disturb peace and communal harmony in the state during the five year tenure of the SAD government because these elements knew that the government meant business and would deal with them sternly.

“But now, they are in league with the government and get away with most incredible conduct aimed at inflaming communal passions and disturbing peace and amity between brotherly communities in the state in order to shift the people’s focus from the CM’s failures on the governance and development fronts,” he said.

Mr Badal also alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was the brain behind the “Khalistan” slogans raised by Mr Mann at Akal Takht on June 6. This was done in order to give a bad name to a peaceful Akali function in memory of the innocent devotees who died during Operation Bluestar. He dared the Chief Minister to have the whole episode probed by an independent agency.

The Akali leader said that the spurt in secessionist slogans was linked to the Chief Minister’s political frustration and were the result of his resort to desperate measures in an attempt to divert the people’s attention from his failures.

About the role of Mr Mann and the “drama of his arrest”, Mr Badal said that the people of Punjab had always suspected that this “failed officer-turned-failed politician” was a front-man for intelligence agencies during the days of turbulence in the state. Reports of his being flown into Punjab in a BSF plane by the then Governor of Punjab, Mr S.S. Ray, had appeared in papers immediately after his release.


Case at behest of Badal, Jagir Kaur, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 14
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of Akali Dal (Amritsar), who was arrested on charges of sedition from Sangrur today, has accused the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, for getting a case registered against him.

Mr Mann, who was brought from Sangrur by DSP, Kuldeep Sharma, addressed mediapersons while in police custody at the local police station. He alleged that Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur had got a case of sedition registered against him only to run him down. He said that the two of them had made a complaint to the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, against him. He alleged that the Prime Minister then issued orders to register a case against him without giving him a personal hearing. He said that all charges levelled against him were baseless.

Mr Mann justified the speeches made by him saying that it was his fundamental right. Anybody could raise a demand for a separate state in a peaceful manner, he said.

He said that the arrest of the family members of Jagtar Singh Hawara by the police was totally wrong. Why should members of the family be harassed for no fault of theirs.

When some party workers got to know about the arrest of Mr Mann, they gathered near the local bus stand.

Slogans against Bibi Jagir Kaur were raised by party workers when the Sangrur police reached Kharar. Mr Mann was then taken to the local police station where he met party workers and mediapersons. Slogans were also raised by the supporters of Mr Mann at the police station.

Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, said that the local police was not aware that Mr Mann was being brought to Kharar. As he was to be taken to Anandpur Sahib the police officials from Sangrur wanted to hand him over to the Ropar police. Kharar was only a transit point from where he was taken to Anandpur Sahib. The requirement vehicles and escort party was provided by the local police. He said that when he reached the police station, mediapersons and supporters of Mr Mann were already there.


SAD (A) urges Akali factions to unite against Badal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has urged all Akali factions, excluding one headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to come on one platform to defeat the forces of Hindutva, including the Congress, the BJP, the CPI, the CPM and Badals.

A decision to this effect was taken by the SAD (A) leadership at the meeting of its Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) held last evening. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, presided over the meeting.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Mann said the party had taken the decision because of the fact that the leaders of traditional Akali Dal had become opportunists and turncoats. While Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, had joined the Congress, former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had become an agent of the RSS and the BJP.

Not only this, the Left including, CPI and CPM, had always played anti-Sikh role by dubbing them as terrorists and in this way these parties had always joined the forces of the Hindutva.

Mr Mann said the other decision which were taken in the PAC meeting included the erection of a memorial like India Gate within the premises of Darbar Sahib for the 1984 martyrs and not to allow the Badals to raise such a memorial because of the fact that they collaborated with the India state for an army attack on Darbar Sahib and 36 other gurdwaras.

He added that the SAD (Amritsar) had also decided to hold a demonstration at the Halwara Air Force base this week to condemn the joint Indo-France air exercise at the Istrus airbase in France because of the racist policy of the French Government which was not allowing the Sikhs to wear turban. The party would also put pressure on the India Government not to buy fighter planes from France.

While claiming that his party would form government in Punjab in 2007, he said they had decided to launch a ‘gurdwara sudhar lehar’ to free deras from mahants. He added that the party had also demanded a commission should be set up by the Centre to redefine Punjabi-speaking areas in Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh to hand over the same to Punjab, besides Chandigarh. He added that apart from it, the headworks of all rivers of Punjab should be handed over to the state.

Mr Mann alleged that criminal cases against his party workers were registered at the instance of the Badals, who had connived with the ruling Congress party. He added that they used the police to stop the Sikhs from paying homage to the 1984 Sikh martyrs. His party would make people aware of this. Besides, the party would oppose any split in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). He said that the Congress, the CPI and the CPM should not contest the SGPC elections.

He said that the SAD (A) was also of the view that the Left parties were trying to tarnish the image of Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, by alleging that Mr Boparai harboured so-called extremists.


SGPC gen secy on infighting among Akali leaders
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 14
Instead of taking on enemies of the Panth and taking up issues of the community, senior Akali leaders had taken to war of words and internecine feuds among themselves in wake of June 6 ghallughara divas developments. Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, and an Akali leader stated this today. He, did not name any leader. Heated exchanges through media pointed towards the situation becoming a feud among Akali leaders, warned Mr Bhaur.

He reminded Akali leaders that when Sikhs were paying tributes to their martyrs at the 21st anniversary of the Operation Bluestar in front of Akal Takht in the Harmandar Sahib Complex, enemies of the Sikhs were paying tributes at Amritsar the same day to those army men who had killed innocent Sikhs during the Operation. Besides, posters of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were being set ablaze at Patiala by a section opposed to Sikhs, he remarked.

He wondered that Akali leaders had forgotten to take any notice of these provocative anti-Sikh acts but chose to their dirty linen in public.

Mr Bhaur expressed surprise that authorities did not register any case against those who had hurt religious sentiments of the Sikhs by paying tributes to the killers of innocent Sikhs during the Operation. These elements hostile to Sikhs had vitiated atmosphere and threatened peace of Punjab with their acts, he argued.

The Akali leaders should come on one platform for combating these anti-panthic forces and should not fall prey to their gameplan of diverting Akali attention from Panthic issues, said Bhaur.

The ban on Sikhs’ religious symbol turban in France and the issue of wearing sword in Denmark, apostasy, “derawad”, drug menace were major challenges before the Sikhs and senior Akali leaders should address these issues instead of trading charges against one another, advised Mr Bhaur.

Senior Akali leaders should sink their differences for safeguarding interests of the Panth and fighting anti-Panthic forces, added Mr Bhaur.


Stone of gate to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara corridor laid
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak, June 14
In a hope to get a corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara located in Pakistan near the border, devotees today laid the foundation stone of the gate for the proposed path. The stone was laid by saints after performing Ardas near the Indo-Pakistan border.

Expenses of raising the gate will be borne by devotees here. A sum of Rs 20 lakh will be spent on the gate.

The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan is just 1 km from the border. Guru Nanak Dev spent 17 years in Kartarpur Sahib. He ploughed his fields till the age of 70 at the place setting as an example for his followers on importance of labour.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Punjab, and MLA said the corridor to the gurdwara was more than the 50-year-old demand of the people of Punjab. People from the Dera Baba Nanak area pay obeisance to the gurdwara from the bundh near the border fence.

Earlier, a road to the bundh was laid by the Punjab Government. In light of the improved Indo-Pakistan relations he would urge the Punjab Chief Minister to take up the issue of corridor up to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara with his Pakistani counterpart and the Government of India. The Chief Minister has already given a Rs 20 lakh grant for the beautification of the Dera Baba Nanak area.

When the Muzarrarbad-Srinagar bus service can become a reality and the Kargil-Skardu link was being discussed, the 1-km corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara from Dera Baba Nanak could also be built, he said.

He added that the place where memorial to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev had been raised was initially in Pakistan. However, at the time of Partition the Indian Government exchanged the land of the memorial with Pakistan’s government through barter. A similar arrangement can also be made for the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara if the issue was taken up at the Prime Minister’s level.

After the foundation stone was laid, devotees moved to international border and performed Ardas to the image of the gurdwara visible from the place.

Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, a former president of the PPCC, was also present.


Hawara had close links with Hardip Kaur
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
A 14-year-old association led Jagtar Singh Hawara to Hardip Kaur soon after he tunnelled his way out of the Burail jail — at least this is what senior Punjab police officers are claiming.

After conducting preliminary investigations into his escape and subsequent stay in the state, the police is of the opinion that going to Hardip Kaur for shelter was not pre-planned on Hawara’s part.

It was only after he made good his escape that Hawara decided to contact Hardip Kaur, knowing that she would come to his rescue. He was also aware of the fact that being an old acquaintance, no one would think of checking with Hardip Kaur.

She and her relatives are currently in custody on the allegation of providing shelter to Hawara — the alleged assassin of the then Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh. Initially arrested in 1995 in connection with the assassination case, Hawara escaped from the jail with three accomplices in January last year.

Going into the background of the matter, members of the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the state’s Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, say Hawara knew Hardip Kaur much before Beant Singh was killed in a blast outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat on August 31, 1995.

Although Hardip Kaur subsequently got married to an Army man, Hawara was sure that she would lend a helping hand. Sources add that during the 18-month cooling-off period, Hawara kept his home address top secret. Most of the work was carried out on his behalf by Hardip Kaur and relatives.

Hawara was also in contact with his associates in and outside the country on mobile phones. The sources say that most of the calls were made by Hawara to his contacts in Samrala and in the Neelon Kheri area.

He was also in touch with people in Pakistan through Germany. Giving details, the sources say Hawara used to call up his contact in Germany on a mobile phone.

His contact, in turn, would put him through to another person in Pakistan with the help of the conference facility. The sources add that the SIT members are currently working on the list and are likely to arrest more persons on the basis of it.


Police yet to get at Indian’s kidnappers
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 14
There was no breakthrough in the release of Slovak-based Indian youth by extortionists in Slovak Republic. DSP Lakhwinder Pal Singh Khaira stated this here today.

Narinder Singh of Kapurthala district went to Slovak through an agent. He became victim of extortionists, Jagdish of Phagwara and Romi of Nawanshahr there. They made Narinder ring up his cousin Balram Singh of Maqsoodan village through his aunt to pay Rs 1.5 lakh for his release.

Narinder Singh’s relatives reached Glassy Junction near the bus station and handed over Rs 1 lakh to Pankaj, a brother of Jagdish.

The police was also informed which arrested Pankaj, an alleged accomplice of the foreign-based kidnapper. 


NRI’s offer boosts Sukhi’s morale
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 14
The offer of training at one of the mountaineering schools in Austria or Switzerland from a London-based Indian industrialist, Mr Kartar Lalwani, has boosted the morale of Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi.

Talking to The Tribune, Sukhi expressed her gratitude towards Mr Lalwani and said his offer had proved that people across the globe would support her forthcoming expedition to Mount Everest.

However, she made it clear that she would take a final decision consulting members of the International Adventure and Sports Helpline.

Sukhi said though she failed in her first attempt, she had gained a lot of experience that would be of great help in future.


SAD to launch stir against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 14
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will launch a protest against the move of the Punjab Chief Minister to privatise various government departments.

This was stated by Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Member of Parliament from Ropar constituency, while talking to newspersons after laying the foundation stone of a dharamshala for Dalits at Jandpur village, near here, today. He said that the government was on the move to privatise education and health departments, apart from the Punjab State Electricity Board. He said that people of various sections of the society were fed up of the wrong policies of the government and wanted a change.

Mr Libra said that the Congress government was anti-farmer and anti-Dalit. The two sections were feeling more oppressed during the tenure of the present government in Punjab. Lakhs of youths in the state were without employment and the government was doing nothing to crate jobs for them.

He further said that the Congress government had not fulfilled the promises made by the party at the time of elections in the state. No development work was done in villages. He claimed that in case SAD came to power in the state, people, especially Dalits and farmers, would be provided basic facilities.

The village sarpanch, Ms Ranjit Kaur, brought the problems of the village to the notice of Mr Libra and demanded funds for development works in the village.

Mr Libra was honoured by the former sarpanch of the village, Mr Didar Singh, and panchayat members.


Rationale of treating Punjab as ‘disturbed area’ questioned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 14
Member of Parliament Navjot Sidhu today questioned the merit of “disturbed area” status to the state even after more than a decade of peace.

Addressing a press conference here today Mr Sidhu stated that the Centre should either remove the tag of ‘disturbed area’ from the state to usher in free trade and tourists from neighbouring Pakistan or it should allot it (the state) facilities on a par with Jammu and Kashmir to conform to this status.

Expressing displeasure he said visas were rarely granted to visiting Pakistanis to the state due to this status it has led to deadlock in any talks on trade or meeting of international trading partners in the state.

Demanding reciprocal MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status from Pakistan for India the MP favoured easing visa clearance procedure at border city itself. Mr Sidhu raised questions on the ‘lethargy’ of state government to complete the four-laning of the Jalandhar-Amritsar-Attari road.

He took the government to task for not issuing notification on Special Economic Zone (SEZ) even as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh sanctioned it last year.

Accusing the government of whiling away a ‘golden’ opportunity even when it was clear that holy city would soon assume larger proportions in terms of its heritage, he stressed that the time had come to open up to new and changing opportunities.

Pointing to the pace of work on the international airport here he said the prestigious project that could boost potential of the state was merely moving at a snail’s pace.

Refusing to comment on vitiation of environment by some organisations in his constituency by raising separatist slogans during the Operation Bluestar anniversary week he said it was the prerogative of party to take a stand on it.


Kainth flays Maya’s rally
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 14
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha, said the Brahmins’ rally organised by Ms Mayawati, chief of the BSP at Lucknow, on June 9 was a political stunt to please the upper classes of society for her political motive. The distribution of one quintal sacred threads that Brahmins wear in this rally was a part of this stunt only to show her pro-Brahmin attitude to the public.

Mr Kainth was talking to mediapersons here today. He said Ms Mayawati had exploited Dalits for more than 20 years in the name of caste. She always spoke against Brahmins and other upper classes and described them Manuwadis which was totally against the ideology of B.R. Ambedkar.

He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government was anti-Dalit. It had recently appointed 100 advocates on a contract basis, of which the number of Dalits was only two and they were related to a bureaucrat and a top leader of the ruling party. He said 40 per cent population of Punjab comprised Dalits. By ignoring them, no political party could survive in the state.


Residents protest against land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 14
Residents of Green Avenue and Jujhar Singh Nagar today came out against land acquisition by the Improvement Trust under the Ring Road Phase I scheme. They appeared before the Land Acquisition Collector to present their case.

In a complaint sent to the Improvement Trust Chairman and the Deputy Commissioner, the residents of these localities alleged that the trust was going ahead with its plan to take over the land in their localities despite the fact that a case in this connection was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that had given a stay on the land in question.

They said farmers like Angrej Singh had sold their land by carving out a number of plots and houses had come up on the land after passing of maps. The work of water supply, sewerage and roads, had also been done and the lanes of their localities had turned into public streets. But, the owners of adjacent plots were also trying to sell these streets too, they alleged.

The residents said the farmers were taking undue advantage of the fact that the area falling under streets was not in anybody’s name. They alleged that the farmers’ claim on compensation for area falling under streets was illegal and against the verdict of the high court. They demanded that the land acquisition be immediately stopped.

On the other hand, the farmers denied the residents’ allegations and said none of those who had descended on the Improvement Trust office today had the registry of their homes. They accused the residents of raising a hue and cry without any reason. They claimed that the high court had asked the authorities concerned to make the payment due to them.

The Land Acquisition Collector, Ms Amrit Kaur Gill, said the acquisition had been postponed, as they had not got police aid from the administration.

Regarding the claims and allegations of area residents, she said she would go through the details of the matter before commenting on it.


Power panel criticises PSEB functioning
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
As the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission is not “entirely satisfied” as far as compliance with its directives by the state power board is concerned, it has warned the latter that there will be difficulty in increasing the tariff in the case of inadequate compliance.

The commission has observed that the “ objective of turning the utility (Punjab State Electricity Board) into an efficient and commercially viable one is far from achieved”. While the commission has praised the PSEB’s generation wing, it is seemingly not happy with the performance of its transmission and distribution wings.

The commission today directed the PSEB to do away with discrimination against the rural and suburban areas in the supply of power. The commission, after interacting with various organisations, has got the impression that the power board “ does not treat rural areas on a par with urban areas as far as the supply to the domestic sector is concerned”.

The commission has also asked the board to reduce line losses to 22 per cent this year. Such losses are still above 24 per cent. The board had been earlier been told to cut line losses by 1.25 per cent every year. However, the board has failed to achieve the limit fixed.

Now the commission has told the PSEB to fix responsibility in the areas where line losses are above the prescribed limit. In the border belt, lines losses are as high as 40 to 43 per cent against the state average of 24 per cent.

The commission has increased the expenditure limit on employees of the PSEB to Rs 1,475 crore per annum whereas earlier it was kept at Rs 1,275 crore for three years. The PSEB has told the commission that there is a complete ban on fresh recruitment. There are about 12,000 vacant posts in the board at present.

What has surprised all concerned is the increase in the combined average cost of power supply. It has now been pegged at 329.42 paise per unit whereas last year it was 299.17 paise per unit. The 30.25 paise per unit increase in the cost of power supply is said to be very high. The production cost per unit has gone up to 231 paise per unit. It means the PSEB spends about 98 paise on a unit of power to supply it to the consumer. 


PSEB employees burn Chairman’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 14
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today held a protest and burned the effigy of the board Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra. They were protesting against the arrest of the PSEB workers by the Kanuwan police. The workers were arrested by the police while they were protesting against the privatisation policy.

The employees gathered before the 132-KW substation on the Dhangu road and held a rally. While addressing the rally, union leaders condemned the arrest of employees protesting against the privatisation policy. They threatened to intesify their agitation if the cases against the PSEB employees were not withdrawn unconditionally.

The sources available here said that the PSEB authorities had given the work for the erection of electricity poles to the private contractors. The workers’ union of the PSEB organised a protest and did not allow the workers of the private contractors to continue with the work. The local authorities of the PSEB reported the matter to the police which took action against the protesting employees.


Cabinet hikes allowance for physically challenged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
The Council of Ministers its at meeting held here today under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, okayed the enhancement of unemployment allowance to the physically challenged persons.

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said for matriculates the allowance would be Rs 450 per month from existing Rs 300 a month and graduates would get Rs 600 from the existing Rs 400. The allowance for the orthopaedically handicapped persons (matriculates) would be Rs 225 a month from the existing Rs 150 and graduates of the same category would be getting Rs 300 a month from existing Rs 200.

The Council of Ministers also allowed the Department of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development to retain user charges in Punjab Livestock Development Board of Animal Husbandry Department, money collected by way of auction of notified waters in fisheries and registration fee charged from manufacturers in the Dairy Development Department.

The Council of Ministers also placed on the record the appreciation for the initiative taken by Amarinder Singh for leading a high powered delegation to Canada during his recent business trip to persuade industrialists to make investments in the state. In response to the Chief Minister’s invitation, a 21-member delegation comprising eminent industrialists and NRIs would visit Punjab in October this year to explore the avenues in the field of information and biotechnology, infrastructure and housing.

The Council of Ministers also approved the annual administration report of the Department of Sainik Welfare, Punjab, for the years 2002-03 and 2003-04.


Gambling at children's mela
Our Correspondent

Nabha, June 14
The game of gambling is running under different names in a “fun mela” organised in the grounds of cinema hall here by a Hoshiarpur-based party. Though it is meant for children’s entertainment, the elders are also enjoying gambling in the name of some games that too under the nose of the police. A section of people expressed resentment and complained to the media fearing that the open gambling may lure the children towards it.

When some media persons reached the mela site to enquire about these activities, three police jawans disappeared from the spot while another hid himself behind a truck.

Fun mela has turned out to a gamble house where gambling is being held smoothly for the past couple of days. Four stalls have been arranged where in the name of skill games people are lured to take part in gambling tricks and interestingly cops on duty sit just opposite these stalls.

Despite being brought to the knowledge of the DSP, Mr Shamsher Singh Boparai, who expressing his ignorance about these activities promised to direct the Kotwali SHO, Mr Jagjiwan Singh Makha, to raid the gamblers’ den, thing are going on in the same way.

According to locals, policemen took some persons to the police station, but they were let off after a few hours.


SGPC to form panel for conservation of Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 14
In an effort to silence critics who had aired the view that the rejection of dossier for recognition of the Golden Temple as a world heritage site by UNESCO would be a set back to conservation of Harmandir Sahib and other historical buildings in the complex, the SGPC today announced to constitute a committee of conservation experts.

The committee would comprise archaeologists and experts to conserve and undertake preservation of Harmandir Sahib and other buildings in the complex.

The SGPC president would constitute this committee that would comprise retired or serving engineers, architects, archaeologists and others.

The SGPC has offered that experts in the country and abroad, desirous of offering their expertise could contact the SGPC within a month.

In the press release issued here today, the SGPC reiterated that the SGPC was an apex and statutory body of Sikh panth and was competent to conserve and preserve Harmandir Sahib and other buildings in cooperation with the help of Sikh organisations and the sangat.


46 war heroes’ next of kin to get jobs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Next of kin of 46 war heroes belonging to Punjab have been recommended for the grant of employment in Classes I, II and III of the civil services in the state. This was done at a meeting of a high-powered committee chaired by the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, here today.

The Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd), said that after interviewing next of kin (NOK), the committee recommended names for one PCS (Executive) post, three Class I and Class II posts, and 42 Class III posts. Each case was considered on merit.

Brigadier Jaswal added that the state government had already made 293 appointments of NOK on compassionate grounds.

In addition, appointments of NOK had also been made to 129 Class IV posts by the Deputy Commissioners of various districts, who were also the presidents of their respective Zila Sainik Boards.


Tricycles sans parts distributed among disabled
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 14
Even before the district administration could distribute tricycles among the disabled today, one or the other part of these cycles went missing. Tyres of a few of them were also flattened and mechanics were spotted filling air in their tyres.

The district administration distributed these tricycles yesterday under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. These cycles were brought to the city on seven trucks a few days back. When these cycles were unloaded none of it had all its parts intact.

Alimco, a Kanpur-based firm, had manufactured these cycles. A team of mechanics from this company were busy assembling these cycles. They told that mudguards of about 24 cycles were missing. They arranged these mudguards from four different shops of the city. They had filled up air in the tyres of 36 cycles last night, but they found them flattened today morning.

When the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, reached the venue of the function, these mechanics were swiftly assembling the cycles. Bolts and screws of many of the cycles were also missing. Seatbacks of some of the cycles were broken, as they were made of wood. About 30 cycles had no break springs and when disabled youth peddled them they were automatically getting stopped. There was no cycle whose coat of paint had not been spoiled.

The representative of the tricycle firm, Mr Jugal Kishore, said the cycle parts went missing on the way. He admitted that due to non-availability of some parts in Bathinda market, the disabled had to be given incomplete tricycles. These disabled were identified during a camp held in January, 2005, and names of 647 disabled were recommended for tricycles.

Meanwhile, the administration distributed artificial limbs to 201 kids, wheelchairs to 178 kids, tricycles to 188 children, crutches to 46 children, and hearing aid to 58 kids.

When contacted, the DC said he had asked the officials concerned to ensure that things were in order before the function and tricycles distributed to children were in proper shape. 


Farmers begin fast in jail
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 14
The farmers lodged in Central Jail, Bathinda, today began fast in favour of their demands. The farmer leaders have also announced that they would continue their agitation in jail and it would be spread to Ferozepore, Sangrur, and Barnala.

Today a group of 51 farmers sat on fast while tomorrow 100 farmers would replace them. The farmer leaders said their agitation would continue till the government withdrew “false cases” registered against the farmers and release them immediately.

They rued that the police was not revealing the whereabouts of a farmer leader, Ruldu Singh Mansa. They demanded that the commission agent of Tapa Mandi who thrashed a farmer from Dhilwa village be booked.

On the other hand, jail authorities said the farmers didn’t sat on fast formally. They said the farmers were told to hand over a list of those sitting on the fast to them, but they didn’t.


Three-day theatre fest from June 24
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
“Natakwala Patiala”, a non-government organisation (NGO), will organise its 5th three-day Summer Theatre Festival in the memory of “Shri Prem Parkash Singh Ji” a great philosopher, critic and creator of Punjabi language here from June 24 to 26.

In a press note, Mr Rajesh Sharma, a spokesman said that the venue would be open Air Theatre of Language Department near Sheranwala Gate. He added that Modern Hindi classic play “ Court Martial” written by renowned Hindi play writer Swadesh Deepak and directed by Rajesh Sharma would be staged on June 24.

On the second day two plays including one children’s play, Bhartendu Harishchandra’s ‘Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja’ directed by Ms. Kavita Sharma and a social satire ‘Yug Vartara’ written and directed by P.N Shahi would be staged.

The main attraction of the festival would be the staging of renowned playwright Arthur Miller’s `Death of a Salesman” for the first time in Punjabi. ` Ik Supnay Di Maut’, directed by Mr. Rajesh Sharma, would be staged on June 26.


Gymkhana Club adds new features
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, June 14
New features, which were added to Rajindera Gymkhana and Mahindera Club recently, were inaugurated by the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, here yesterday.

The features include a water fall, a lawn tennis court and parking shed for two-wheelers. Apart from this, the expansion of the oval lawn and the administrative complex was also undertaken.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the club. Among those present were the Station Commander, Brig D.S. Grewal, DIG Patiala Range R.P. Meena, Mr Nirmal Bhatian, Chairman, Backfinco, and Mr K.K. Sharma, Chairman, Patiala Improvement Trust.


CM condoles freedom fighter’s death
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 14
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today expressed grief and sorrow over the death of Bibi Jagdish Kaur, sister of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha. She died here yesterday after a prolonged illness. She was 96 and is survived by a son.

In a condolence message the Chief Minister said Bibi Jagdish Kaur had actively participated in the propagation of the cause of free India and the nation had lost a great freedom fighter.


Prosecution witness deposes in Tehelka case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Lieut-Col V.P. Sayal (retd), prosecution witness in the General Court Martial trying Brig Iqbal Singh at Patiala for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case today stated during his cross-examination that the accused had been informed by him about the “dastoor” of M/s West End. The “dastoor”, he said, was to provide wine, girls, money and good accommodation to officers who would be a part of the network created by the firm for pushing their products into the Army.

The witness stated that even after knowing the firm’s “dastoor”, the accused willingly decided to stay in Hotel Park on November 5, 2000, where the sting operation had been carried out by Tehelka.com.

On being questioned by prosecution counsel, Mr Arvind Moudgil, Colonel Sayal admitted that there had been prior planning to call the accused to Hotel Park on November 5 and offer him Rs 50,000 in full view of other persons present there.

He further admitted that he had informed Mathews Samuel, who had carried out the sting operation, that he had delivered Rs 50,000 to the accused. He added that the sole purpose of his arranging the meeting with the accused for to provide information on procurement procedure to the representatives of West End.

Colonel Sayal admitted that he had been paid Rs 1 lakh by tehelka.com and that he had committed an economic offence of not declaring it in his income tax returns.


19 more highway patrol vehicles to be acquired
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The Punjab police has decided to add 19 highway patrol vehicles to the existing fleet of 20.

The addition is expected to go a long way in making highway patrolling more effective, reducing fatal accidents, checking traffic violations, removing traffic jams and helping check crime.

A spokesman of the Punjab police said the vehicle density was very high on two National Highways and 19 State Highways passing through the state. This was putting a lot of pressure on the roads, leading to congestion and accidents.

He said that under a centrally sponsored modernisation of the police force scheme, all highway patrols would be connected on the wireless highway net. It would also connect district PCR vans with the Punjab police control room at the headquarters in Chandigarh.

Besides, the traffic wing was tying up with a mobile company to introduce a common highway traffic helpline Number throughout the state.


General transfers’ date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The Punjab Government has extended the last date for general transfers of officers or officials serving in government departments as well as in public sector undertaking (PSUs) of the state from existing June 15 to 20.

Disclosing this here today, an official spokesman said a notification had already been issued in this regard.


PTU withholds CET results
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 14
Succumbing to the pressure of hundreds of candidates who had alleged discrepancies in the results of common entrance test (CET) conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU), the authorities have decided to withhold the previous results and get these re-checked by a different team of examiners.

The university authorities today announced June 20 as the date of declaration of the revised result. It has also been decided that a fresh team of computer experts would be appointed for paper checking with different software and keys to verify the same.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, said one or two out of a set 50 answer sheets would also be checked manually at random so as to check congruence of the marks allotted by either way. He said that the system would be foolproof.

The decision of the university to re-evaluate the results has brought much relief to hundreds of students who had been crying foul since Saturday last when the results were declared.

Scores of students and their parents continued to make hue and cry on the campus even today as they said that their career was based on the results of the CET. Many more representations from students from different parts of the state were received by the university for getting the results re-evaluated.

Parents said that they had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a stay on counselling that was to begin on June 20 till the result is re-evaluated. Mr Hardeep Singh, a parent from Ludhiana, said that the parents had to resort to the measure in the interest of the future of their wards.

The parents had said that there was a chance of some mismatch of the questions with the answers during computer checking that led to such a big flaw. Some of them had also raised doubt that since there were four different sets of papers with varying sequence of questions, there could have been an inter-change while the answersheets were being fed into the computer for re-evaluation.

While some PTU insiders revealed that the university had found some mistakes during random manual checking, the VC, however, denied that, saying that one or two mismatches in hundreds of papers could not be an indicator of the same. The VC said that he had himself checked scores of papers and hardly found any discrepancy.


Guru Nanak varsity for programmes with Pak varsities: VC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14
Guru Nanak Dev University will enter into an agreement regarding academic exchange programmes with various universities of Pakistan.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, stated this here today while interacting with a four-member senior agriculture scientists delegation from the University of Agriculture, Faislabad, which visited the university on their way back to Pakistan.

The Vice-Chancellor informed the delegation that the varsity had sophisticated laboratories and equipment. He said exchange programmes could be in the field of sciences, applied sciences, biotechnology, life sciences, computer science and engineering, electronics and communication engineering, textile chemistry, sugar and alcohol technology and pharmaceuticals. Teachers and students of both countries could be benefited with these exchange programmes, he added.

Dr Bashir Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pakistan, Faislabad, led the delegation. The other members of the delegation included Dr Abdul Kayum, former Professor of Entomology and Agriculture Adviser to Pakistan Government, Dr Khalid Mustafa, Chairman, Agriculture and Marketing, Dr Mustaj Akhtar Cheema, Protocol Officer to Vice-Chancellor.


Errant teachers to face music
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 14
Teachers posted in government schools, who had virtually adopted singing as their principal evocation, are now in trouble.

According to information the Director Public Instructions (Secondary), Punjab, has in a letter asked the District Education Officers to collect information about teachers employed in government schools in their respective districts all participating in commercially organised cultural functions. The DEOs are required to submit, within 15 days, details about audio, video cassettes, CDs and DVDs recorded by such teachers in the past five years.

Sources in the Department of Education said a large number of government teachers had been participating in programmes telecast by Doordarshan and private TV channels against payment. Some of the teachers had reportedly invested money in recording and marketing of cassettes as silent partners in cassette recording companies also. They have been getting lumpsum amount as well as royalty from the companies songs. The District Education Officers have been warned by the Directorate that they might face disciplinary action if they try to conceal or distort any information related to the probe.


BA, BSc (III) results today

Amritsar, June 14
The results of the BA, BSc (III), MA (dance) Part II and MA (history) second semester examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April would be declared on June 15, said Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, here today.

The results would also be available on the university website www.gnduonline.org on the same evening after 5 pm, he added. — TNS


MBA/MCA counselling
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has postponed the counselling for admission to the MBA/MCA (5-year course) scheduled to be held on June 15.

Dr Kashmir Singh, coordinator of the entrance test, said here today that fresh date for the counselling would be notified later.


CM to open PNB’s farmer centre
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 14
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, would formally dedicate the first of its own kind Punjab National Bank Farmers Training Centre to the people of the state on June 17 here. With the opening of the centre, the farmers, unemployed youth and small scale industrialists would be benefitted, said Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a joint press conference with Mr Harwant Singh, General Manager of the bank.

The land for the centre has been given by the Punjab Government, and constructed by the PNB at Samsher Nagar village by forming Farmers Welfare Trust for training farming community as well as unemployed youth.

Mr Harwant Singh said as the Prime Minister has stressed that the GDP should be 7 percnet with the main stress on the agricultural sector and to double agriculture credit facility with in three years, the PNB has taken the lead and decided to set up farmers training centres all over the country where farmers, agri-businessmen, entrepreneurs, self-help groups, rural men, women and youths would be imparted training and the bank would provide them easy loan.

He said the farmers would be given training about latest technological developments in agriculture and allied activities for increasing production and productivity, educate and motivate farmers for adopting better cultivation, animal husbandry, plant protection, bio-technological storage and marketing practices and they would also be with various schemes offered by the bank.


Petrol stations to remain closed on June 20
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 14
The District Petrol Dealers Association declared that all petrol stations would remain closed on June 20 on the call of All-India Petroleum Federation.

The strike was against the alleged indifferent attitude of the government regarding an increase in the petrol and diesel commission, informed Mr V.S. Chhatwal, district president, in a press note issued here today.

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