P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



DC takes Mann to Ludhiana jail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, today came to the rescue of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), chief Simranjit Singh Mann, when he was allegedly tortured and was taken to an unknown place for interrogation by Punjab police personnel this evening at 5.30 pm. After getting a communication from Mr Mann, that he feared a threat to life as he was abused and tortured by police personnel while being taken from one place to another for interrogation, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, H.I.S Garewal, reached the spot and took him in his official car from Ropar to Central Jail, Ludhiana.

Talking to The Tribune over phone on the way to Ludhiana along with Mr Mann, the Deputy Commissioner, said that he was taking Mr Mann to the Central Jail, Ludhiana, as he had received a complaint of torture by police personnel. Now I have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Mr Mann said over phone that from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm I was kept in sub-jail, Ropar. Thereafter police personnel were taking me to Central Jail, Ludhiana. When the police reached near Neelon Bridge, a senior police officer allegedly abused me and also hit me. Thereafter, the police brought me back to the Police Lines, Ropar, Mr Mann said.

“It was my luck that the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, had received my complaints and he rescued me. Otherwise I would have been killed. Mr Mann also alleged that he was subjected to inhuman treatment at Ropar Sub-Jail where he was brought from Anandpur Sahib in the morning. “I was interrogated by police personnel of the CIA staff despite the fact that I was in judicial custody. I am a political prisoner and not provided with facilities I deserve, he alleged.”

“I had no food since morning. I was given inhuman treatment and refused to answer any of the questions asked during interrogation,” he added.

Earlier Ropar sub-jail, became centre of activity till Mr Mann remained there. A large number of police personnel were deployed outside the jail to control the workers of Mr Mann. Mr Mann complained of chest pain in the afternoon. Thereafter a team of doctors from the Civil Hospital including Dr J.P.S Sanga, Dr Navtej Singh, spent more than an hour examining Mr Mann. The SAD (Amritsar) workers remained outside the jail since morning seeking media attention by raising slogans. They also made an attempt to stop Mr Mann’s vehicle when he was taken out from the jail in the evening.


Mann getting inhuman treatment, alleges counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor, the legal adviser of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Ranjan Lakhanpal, today claimed that party president Simranjit Singh Mann was being given inhuman treatment.

He claimed that Mr Mann was neither provided dinner, nor breakfast. Even water was not offered to him. Though Mr Mann was sent to judicial custody, he was taken to Ropar’s CIA staff and interrogated by a Deputy Superintendent of Police and other officers.

Mr Lakhanpal asserted that person once remanded to judicial custody could not be taken to the police station and interrogated. As such, the police action was absolutely illegal. It called for legal action against the erring officers. The party’s political secretary, Inderpreet Singh Sandhu, said the party would challenge the police action in the court of law. 


KMC, PHRO support Mann
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 15
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), condemning the arrest of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (A), stated that the demand of Khalistan was not a crime.

Mr Dalbir Singh, patron, KMC, and Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, Deputy Chairman, PHRO, in a joint press release issued here today blamed Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, for pleading the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for the arrest of Sikh leaders. Earlier, they claimed, Mr. Badal had connived with the Central Government against Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in 1984.

They alleged that relatives of Jagtar Singh Hawara of Babbar Khalsa were being harassed since his arrest.


Property fraud: SDM to face probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
The Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, has ordered an inquiry in a multi-crore property fraud case in which an SDM and a Naib Tehsildar of Ludhiana besides an ASI of the Punjab Police have been accused of conniving with certain colonisers in a shady deal in which the registry of 4.63 acres of land in Fatehpur Awana village was allegedly executed by certain Revenue Department officials at about 9 p.m. on May 30, well beyond the office hours.

The officials, however, fled when one of the claimants of the land arrived there along with mediapersons. They left the office with computers on.

The Vigilance inquiry in the land deal having a market value of nearly Rs 5 crore was ordered against SDM M S Jaggi, Naib Tehsildar Paramjit Singh and ASI Balbir Singh by the Chief Director, Vigilance, ADGP A.P. Pandey, on the complaint of Mr Ravinder Singh of Phulanwal village and Mr Neeraj Khosla of Basant Avenue here.

Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, SP-Vigilance, Flying Squad-I, Punjab, has been deputed as the Investigating Officer in the case. He led a team of Vigilance sleuths who examined papers of the land deal at the sub-registrar’s office and also got hold of records pertaining to the deal.

Mr Chhina also recorded the statements of SDM Jaggi and Naib Tehsildar Paramjit Singh. He also recorded the statement of the complainants and examined their claims about the land deal.

Mr Chhina confirmed that an inquiry had been ordered against the SDM and the Tehsildar. He refused to divulge more details, saying the matter was under investigation. Reliable sources said the SDM and the Tehsildar had denied their involvement and termed the charges as baseless. They could not be contacted despite several attempts.

The complainants have alleged in their complaints to the Vigilance Bureau that the SDM had sought Rs 8 lakh from them to help them in the land deal.

Intense drama had taken place in the sub-registrar’s office on May 30 and the incident had hogged headlines. Mr Ravinder Singh claimed that they had purchased the land from the attorney of the owner who is an NRI. The NRI, however, had sold the land to some other persons.

They claimed that there were pending litigations regarding this land, adding that the former owner had come to the Deputy Commissioner’s office along with willing buyers that day. The duo also got to know about it and they reached the Naib Tehsildar’s office along with a lawyer and kept standing there till 5 p.m. The officers had assured them that the sale deed would not be registered.

But later they received the information that sale deed was going on at night and they reached there immediately and called mediapersons. The officials, however, fled from the office leaving their computers on.


Six swimmers electrocuted
Pole falls on high-tension wires
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
At least six persons, including a minor boy and a girl, met with a painful death when they were drowned in the Sidhwan canal near the Dugri bridge after they were electrocuted today. An electric pole fell on high-tension wires going over the canal, causing electrocution. The victims were swimming in the canal to have some respite from the scorching sun when they were caught unawares.

Only the body of an unidentified youth had been retrieved so far while the police claimed that the toll could be as high as 12 if the statements of certain eyewitnesses and others who managed to save themselves were to be believed. The police had got information about six persons while a search for the remaining was on.

The police said it would get to know the exact number when the bodies come up or their parents approached it, may be late at night, when the victims, mainly youth or children, did not reach home. There could be some labourers also who lived alone.

The foundation of the pole had allegedly weakened during a recent storm and continuous soil erosion due to the flow of water. After remaining in a tilted position for over a week, the pole fell on another pole on the canal bank which supported streetlight wires of the municipal corporation, causing electrocution.

DSP R.K. Bakshi who was managing the rescue operation said the incident took place because of the negligence of the PSEB and a case of negligence would be registered. Incidentally, the Irrigation Department had installed a notice along the canal bank banning bathing or swimming in the canal. The ban orders were obviously not implemented in practice.

Harbhajan Singh, who rescued a child and a labourer, said between 10 to 15 persons were in the canal when the electrocution took place. The police said the missing persons included two labourers, Kalla and Jassa, and a 9-year-old girl, Kayee and two other unidentified persons. A child from Lohara village was also reported missing.

Harbhajan Singh said he was standing near the bank when commotion take place in the canal. Those swimming rushed out saying there was current in the canal. The unidentified youth who died had rescued a child and was trying to save another when he, too, fell in the canal and drowned.

There was total commotion at the canal site with all disaster management depending on the police. The officials of the irrigation department and the PSEB had not reached the site till three hours after the incident, which caused a huge delay in cutting off the power supply. The Model Town police also reached the site two hours after the incident. District administration officials reached even later.

No one knew exactly what had happened. The site is a favourite spot for city residents to take a dip in the canal during the summer season. During noon, the number of such people is more than 50 on an average.


Punjab increases power cuts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
The closing of four units of two thermal plants of the state coupled with the increase in the demand of electricity has put the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in a critical situation as it has been left with no other option but to impose unscheduled power cuts in every sector.

The situation has reached at a point where the PSEB authorities have started imposing power cuts of upto 13 hours a day in the rural areas and more than five hours a day in those villages which have been given 24-hour uninterrupted power supply. Not only this, the farmers have not been able to run their tubewell motors due to low voltage of the electricity being supplied to them for eight hours for agriculture purpose every day.

Though the authorities concerned are tight-lipped about the crises being faced by the PSEB, official sources said that the duration of power cuts being imposed now in every sector was much more than the duration of power cuts, which were being imposed in those sectors in the corresponding period last year.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that at present the PSEB authorities had been managing to supply only 1180 lakhs units per day against the demand of 1320 lakhs units. Apart from the closing of four units of Bathinda and Ropar based thermal plants due to technical faults, the PSEB authorities had been failing to get its proper share of electricity from the Nathpa Jahkari and Singrolla Hydro electric projects.

As per information available to TNS the duration of power cuts in important cities was more than three hours yesterday and it has crossed four hours today. Similarly, the duration of power cuts in urban industrial areas was around five hours yesterday and it has also taken a significant jump. This has been happening despite the fact that a section of industries have already been facing power holidays every week.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the PSEB authorities had been contemplating that if the thermal units, which were lying closed due to technical faults, did not start working shortly and if it failed to get its share from Nathpa Jakhri and Singrolla projects, it would be left with no other option but to increase the duration of power cuts.

Two more units, one each of Bathinda and Ropar based thermal plants, were lying closed, one for renovation and other for repair of major fault for the past many months.

The duration of unannounced and unscheduled power cuts, which was increasing day by day, has become a blessing in disguise for those, who are involved in the manufacture of diesel power generator sets and inverters.

For the past two weeks, the sale of generator sets and inverters had started witnessing a significant jump and in some cities, a section of manufacturers had increased the prices of their products.


Kisan Sabha demands withdrawal of hike in power tariff
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 15
Meeting of the state working committee of the CPM-led Punjab Kisan Sabha, with President Rashpal Singh in chair, today adopted a unanimous resolution, criticising 20 per cent hike in power tariff and demanding its withdrawal.

Sabha’s Secretary Lehmber Singh Taggar, releasing the resolution here, declared that to highlight power-related issues, including the back-breaking hike, the Joint Kisan Manch, of which the Sabha was a constituent, would hold dharnas and rallies in front of the offices of the PSEB Executive Engineers on June 20.

The protest programme will culminate in presenting memorandums for the withdrawal of the hike, restoration of free power to farmers, scrapping the decision of corporatisation and privatisation of the PSEB, uninterrupted power to farm sector for minimum 16 hours by installing more transformers, round- the- clock domestic power supply to villagers including those farmers living at their farm houses, release of connections for tubewells, regulation of low voltage and generation of more power.

Mr Taggar alleged that when people of Punjab, especially villagers and farmers, were facing acute power crisis and prolonged power cuts, hike in power tariff had come as last straw on a camel’s back.

Condemning erratic power supply and government’s policy on it, Mr Taggar wondered that government on one hand was saying about its plan to restore free power facility to farmers while on the other hand it was arresting those farmers and disconnecting their power who were struggling for this demand.

Statements were being given for eight-hour power supply to farm sector but it was not being done due to low voltage, flawed transformers and other technical snags, he alleged. To make matter worse, now power tariff had been hiked, he rued.

The meeting supported strike of the PSEB employees on June 22 and 23. Struggle against privatisation of schools, hospitals, ITIs, sugar mills was also supported.

Meeting flayed the move to acquire on cheap rates 300 acre land at Dhaula villages in Sangrur and Chhona in Fatehgarh Sahib districts for Trident Company. In case the company wanted to set up its factory or Plant, it should buy the land from farmers at market prices, demanded the meeting.

The meeting opposed the move of the Union government’s to hike prices of diesel and petrol and warned that in case it was done it would invite orchestrated public protest.

The meeting flayed the arrest of family members of farmer leader Satnam Singh Pannun by the Tarn Taran police and carrying away their household items after breaking locks of the house.

Demanding action against erring police persons, the meeting demanded an end to the reign of repression against Kisan movement.

The meeting said this year membership of the sabha had become over 1.5 lakh, added Mr Taggar.


PSEB withdraws meter checking power from JEs
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 15
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has withdrawn power to check domestic electric meters from the Junior Engineers (JE’s). A circular to this effect has sent by the Director (sales) PSEB, to all the subdivisions.

Earlier, the JE’s were empowered to check all the domestic or non-residential connections up to 500 KW load. However, as per the circular no officer below the rank of Assistant Engineer was empowered to check power connections.

Sources said that the decision to withdraw the power of checking from the JE’s had been taken by the PSEB on the recommendations of the Power Regulatory Commission. The commission had severely criticised the PSEB for ignoring its recommendations.

In addition to that the officers had also been restrained from checking connections after the sun set. In case of dire need, the checking could be conducted only in the presence of at least one male member of the family.

However, the said directions drawn flak from the local wings of the officers and other employees associations of the PSEB. They were of the view that the recent directions would increase the cases of power theft in the state. Already about 40 per cent of the power generated lost either to theft or generation losses.

They alleged that there were about six JEs in a subdivision under one Assistant Engineer. It was practically not feasible for a single officer to check the power theft in an entire subdivision.

In addition to that most of the power theft cases took place in the evening or morning. If the defaulters were assure that nobody would check after the sun set they would openly resort to thefts. The anti-theft drive launched by the PSEB in the recent past had helped PSEB to recover the huge amount of debt. However, the decision would again increase the cases of power thefts in the state.


Withdraw power tariff hike, demands SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today described the steep across-the-board hike in the power tariff as” irrational and heartless” and said that it was “ one more blow to break the back of Punjab’s already suffering populace”.

“This is the biggest single hike in the history of the state. The SAD will oppose this decision tooth and nail,” said Mr Badal in a statement here. He demanded the immediate withdrawal of the hike which came at a time when the power supply situation in the state was the worst ever in its history. While the domestic sector, especially the poor and the rural population would be pushed into a grave crisis, agriculture and industry would also be hit hard by this decision. One could easily understand now why industry had been shifting from the state during the Congress regime, said Mr Badal.

The SAD chief said that while on the one hand the government was imposing an additional burden on the common man, on the other it was spending lavishly on the purchase of limousines and other luxuries for Ministers and the Chief Minister’s aides.

“It is amazing that while we in the SAD-BJP government never felt the need for such a hike even while giving free power to the farm sector, Capt Amarinder Singh imposes it on the people despite abolishing that incentive.

“The said the decision on the hike in the tariff was all the more surprising in the light of the Chief Minister’s daily claims that he had brought the PSEB out of a fiscal crisis. Then why this crippling hike in tariff instead of passing on the benefits of the PSEB’s improved fiscal health to the people?” asked the Akali leader.

Mr Badal said the decision had made a mockery of the Congress manifesto for the 2002 Assembly elections which promised “quality power at lower rates.” The Chief Minister had always pushed for a higher tariff in the name of ‘reforms in the power sector”.

“Capt Amarinder Singh has always erroneously maintained that people did not mind paying more if they were assured of a regular supply of power. On this pretext, he has been putting more and more burden on the people while the quality of supply continues to dip to an abysmal level with cuts lasting 12 to 14 hours in several parts of the state,” he said.

The hike in the case of rural consumers was 20.27 per cent while other sectors would bear half that burden at 10.27 per cent. The decision to abolish 10 per cent rebate for rural domestic consumers was also hard to believe, Mr Badal added.


Police says it has evidence of Hawara’s marriage
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Jagtar Singh Hawara — the alleged assassin of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh — was not just wedded to his mission. The Punjab Police claims it has evidence to establish that Hawara tied the knot with a girl in Sangrur after escaping from Burail Jail here.

Though senior police officers are tight-lipped about the entire affair, the sources in the Punjab Police headquarters further claim that Hawara married a minor on May 11 — almost a month before his arrest by the Delhi Police in connection with twin blasts that shook the national capital recently.

The sources add that Hawara reportedly stayed with the family for few a days after the conclusion of the marriage ceremony, without raising suspicion from any quarters.

They assert that as of now there is no evidence to prove that Hawara’s in-laws, putting up in Sangrur, were aware of his antecedents and credentials, along with so many others who attended the marriage ceremony.

The sources add that the eight-member special investigation team (SIT), constituted by the state’s Director-General of Police S.S. Virk, for looking into Hawara’s escape from the jail and subsequent stay in the state is likely to question his in-laws and their relatives in this regard.

This is not all. SIT members are also expected to question the revellers, attending the marriage ceremony, on the basis of photographs taken during the wedding. “We basically want to find out the name assumed by Hawara to get married. Besides this, we want to extract information about family details Hawara furnished to his would-be in-laws before walking down the altar with the girl,” a senior police officer adds.

As far as the reason behind tying the knot is concerned, the officer says in all probability Hawara wanted to pass off as any other married man leading a normal life.

“There can be another reason,” the officer adds. “Hawara was in the habit of taking help from women companions. The fact that he went to his old associate Hardip Kaur after escape and took the assistance of her relatives is a testimony to this fact,” he concludes.


Police to seek Hawara’s remand for interrogation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
The Punjab Police will seek Jagtar Singh Hawara’s remand for interrogation. Stating this, the Punjab Director General of Police (DGP), Mr S.S. Virk, today pointed out that interfering with the working of the Delhi Police at this stage was not required and that the Punjab Police would step in only when Delhi Police had completed its formalities.

Mr Virk was talking to mediapersons during a state level function organised by the traffic wing of the Punjab Police at the Shivalik Public School here.

Allaying fears that an attempt was being made by militant groups in the state to revive terrorism, Mr Virk pointed out that militant outfits tried to re-organise themselves every three or four years. “We are in the know of such situations and have always met the threat. We are constantly watching the moves that these outfits make. We also have an eye on their supporters based in Pakistan and western countries. But our entire strategy vis-a-vis these outfits cannot be discussed in the public domain,” said Mr Virk, adding that this process of militants trying to re-organise themselves would, however, end within a decade.

“Hawara’s nabbing by the Delhi Police is not an intelligence failure of the Punjab Police but the good luck of the Delhi Police. The important thing is that he has been caught. We are not in a race with the Delhi Police. However we have realised that there are certain gaps within our own intelligence network which need to be plugged and that had already been undertaken.”

When reminded that the Punjab Police had believed that Jagtar Singh Hawara had along with his accomplices crossed over to Pakistan, while he was actually in Punjab all this while, Mr Virk said it was too early to presume that the Punjab Police had come to the wrong conclusions.


Doaba women suffer as husbands slog abroad
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
Thousands of young women of Doaba region, whose husbands are working in foreign countries, are suffering from “Dubai syndrome”, a psychological disorder, which is generated by emotional and physical deprivation, and which is manifested in different symptoms like headache, chest pain, and discomfort in heart, diarrhoea and even numbness of certain parts of body.

In most of cases, these symptoms, however, prove to be false and are generated by acute anxiety and depression, generally caused by emotional and physical deprivation generated by prolonged absence of spouse.

Over 90 per cent of those women, whose husbands were away and who visited different heart care centres with such symptoms, were found to be fit physically but having psychological disorders. Hospitals of Doaba region have been receiving thousands of such patients and a relationship between their physical problems and the absence of their spouses was established in a large number of cases.

Interestingly, most of such women are in the 25-45 age bracket and their husbands had left them almost immediately after marriage. Doctors and heart specialists have named this psychological malady as “Dubai Syndrome”.

“In such cases, women come and complain to us that they are suffering from chest pain, headache or were apprehending paralytic attack. But exhaustive examination in case of young and middle-aged women, whose husbands have been away for quite a long time, normally lead us to “Dubai syndrome”. In fact, this is a psychological disorder that makes body manifest false symptoms and in reality none of these problems exist,” said Dr Vijay Mahajan, a leading consultant physician and cardiologist at the local Tagore Hospital and Heart Care Centre.

Experts feel that physical and psychological deprivation also make certain women to believe that they are suffering from acute chest pain, which was not found to be true on physical examination.

“Actually, this is caused by enhanced responsibilities of family, loneliness and sometimes by a sense of insecurity among women, who sometimes were also found to be facing threat of sexual assault in the absence of their spouses. Since most of such women are incapable of facing flood of responsibilities and threats for a long time and all alone, they are prone to ‘Dubai Syndrome’,” said Dr C.S. Pruthi, another cardiologist and Director of local BBC Heart Care Centre.

“Most of the symptoms are found particularly among those young women whose husbands were settled abroad. A sense of insecurity from this angle also pushes them towards the “Dubai syndrome,” said Dr Balraj Gupta, another heart specialist of the city.

According to Dr Vijay Mahajan, apart from generating a great deal of false pains, depression and anxiety could lead to diarrhoea among such women. “They have lots of money, but generally they are left deprived on other fronts. Greater responsibilities in absence of husbands make things worse for them,” said Dr Mahajan.


Crackdown on SAD (A) activists
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 15
The police swooped on SAD (Amritsar) activists in the early hours today and arrested its state general secretary Gurjatinder Singh Bhikiwind and member Sarabjit Bhuller on the charges of sedition .

Activists of the Dal Khalsa were also reportedly picked up by the local police from different areas. Dr Manjinder Singh Jandi, was allegedly rounded up from his village 10 km from Hoshiarpur, while Amrik Singh was picked up from near Ajnala, Iqbal Singh from his residence near Chowk Mehta and Arjun Singh from Baba Bakala in the district. Raids were also conducted on other hideouts, including on the residence of officiating president of the Dal Khalsa Harcharanjit Singh Dhami in Hoshiarpur. Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Dhami said his house was also raided but he was elsewhere. He said they were being victimised and they had not committed any seditious activity.

The SSP, Mr R.P.S. Brar, admitted that Mr Gurjatinder Bhikiwind was arrested from Bhikiwind while Sarabjit was picked up from the Rose estate, near here. He said the police had obtained their remand till June 17. He denied the arrest of Dal Khalsa activists. However, when the name of Mr Dhami was mentioned the SSP wanted to know his present whereabouts.

Meanwhile the SAD(A) national general secretary,

Mr Ram Singh, today released the copies of the resolutions passed at its Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting in Ludhiana. He condemned the arrests terming them discriminatory. “While Dr Pravin Togadia despite his ‘venomous’ outpourings against minorities goes scot-free. Minorities were being victimised “ he said .

Meanwhile, two brothers Jagjit Singh and Haminder Pal Singh who had enthusiastically posed for photographs in the march on the eve of the anniversary of Operation Bluestar, panicked and sought to disassociate themselves from the marchers after the police raided their residence in Sultanwind today. 


Vinod Khanna supports Advani on Jinnah issue
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 15
Mr Vinod Khanna, BJP MP from Gurdaspur, today came out in support of party president L.K. Advani. While responding to the queries of newsmen on the Jinnah controversy at a press conference held here today, Mr Khanna said Mr Advani had said nothing wrong during his visit to Pakistan.

Mr Advani was a statement and his comments on Mr Jinnah being secular had been given in right context. When asked about the vehement opposition of Mr Advani by the VHP, he said that they were misinterpreting his remarks regarding Jinnah.

Mr Khanna termed the politics over development projects of the area like Pathankot airport and four-laning of the Amritsar-Pathankot highway as unfortunate. He said that he was trying to get the flights from Pathankot airport scheduled from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. However, some of the local Congress leader did not want the project to be completed, fearing that its credit might go to him.

He flayed the claims of the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, that the foundation stone of the four-laning of the Pathankot-Amritsar road was laid without any basis by the NDA government and that there was not such proposal on papers with the Minister of Surface Transport. Almost all the projects for widening and strengthening national highways were initiated by the NDA government.

Mr Khanna was here to provide financial aid to the schools being run in the name of martyrs.


Follow path shown by Pilot: Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
While deciding to instal the statue of late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot in this city for his exemplary contribution for the nation building, a host of Congress leaders today urged the partymen to follow his path to make the country strong enough to meet global challenges.

Various Congress leaders while addressing a function organised in connection with the fifth death anniversary of late Union Minister of Internal Security Rajesh Pilot, said that the nation needed leaders like him at the time when the whole world had been witnessing economic, social and internal security problems.

Before the start of function, hundreds of people who came from far away places, paid floral tributes to Rajesh Pilot. A prayer was also held on this occasion.

Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, who represented the state government at the function and read out the message of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, said that the late leader always raised his voice for the weaker sections of the society.

Mr Nirmal Singh Bhattian, chairman, Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation (Backfinal) organiser of the function, said Pilot was a different kind of leader who believed that by lifting the living standard of the poor section of society, the nation could be made strong. He added that Pilot raised his voice on a number of occasions in the Parliament on the issues connected with the welfare of the downtrodden. He added that Pilot was instrumental in bringing militancy in certain pockets of the country to a complete halt.

Among those, who attended the function was Mr K.K. Sharma, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Mr Prem Gupta, former minister, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, Chairman, PRTC, Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Sanjeev Garg, Vice-Chairman, Punjab Agro, Mr Mewa Singh Sidhu, Vice-Chairman, Punjab Agro Export Corporation, Mr Narinder Singh Korian, Vice-Chairman, PRTC and Mr Jaswinder Singh Jargia, Chairman, DCC (Backward Classes) Cell, Patiala.

A community kitchen was organised after the function for the participants.


Eucalyptus trees perish due to factory waste
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Suranussi (Jalandhar), June 15
Scores of eucalyptus trees belonging to the Railways Department and falling in the Suranussi area along the Jalandhar-Amritsar railway line have perished due to water-logging caused by discharge of waste water from the factories falling in the vicinity.

The factories discharge polluted water from their backyards that eventually flows to the low-lying land by the side of the railway line. Since there is no outlet for the water, water-logged land has sprung up in the area where more than 50 eucalyptus trees owned by the Railways Department have dried up in the recent past.

While trunks of nearly half of these trees have been axed, others were spared perhaps as they stood upright. But no sign of recovery is visible as no leaf growth is taking place on them.

There is another set of as many as 100 more trees, some belonging to the Forest Department and others to the Railways Department, stretching up to 3 km along the railway line that have dried up recently. These lifeless eucalyptus and Indian rosewood trees neither lie in the water-logged land nor have they dehydrated due to shrub burning.

The residents of the area said the phenomenon had occurred ever since some factory owners tried to irrigate the trees using water mixed with chemicals. They said despite a major loss, no officer from the Railways Department, Forest Department or the Pollution Control Board had visited the site.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar, Forest Range Officer, however, said that most of these trees had lived their life and were overage; so they perished. But many trees of the same size and length are green before and after the 3 km stretch, The Tribune team found.

Sources revealed that the Railways Department had deforested part of its green cover in the area but had not planted any new saplings. They also pointed out that the department wanted to plant trees on 1,000 acres of land owned by it. The land was almost without a green cover.

Mr Lakhbir Singh, president of Pehal, an NGO that holds tree-plantation drives, said that discharge of waste water from the factories was posing a threat to vegetation at a number of places. He said inaction by the Pollution Control Board was further aggravating the problem in the area.

The Divisional Manager, Railways of Ferozepur division could not be contacted despite several attempts. The Executive Engineer of the Pollution Control Board, Jalandhar, Mr Sandeep Behl, is away to the US. The SDO, Mr Shiv Kumar, has been shifted to Hoshiarpur. Mr Manohar Lal Chauhan, another SDO, said that a reshuffle was taking place in the department and an officer could visit the site only when someone was appointed for that area.


2,500 persons die on roads every year
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 15
‘‘Over 78 per cent of the total road accidents in Punjab are caused by just 7 per cent of the vehicles.’’ Stating this here today, Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, Traffic, Punjab Police, today added that over 2,500 persons died on Punjab roads every year.

Mr S.K. Sharma was talking about major revamping of the traffic management system in the state at a seminar organised by the Punjab police at Shivalik Public School here. ‘‘Analysis of data on accidents in the state has shown that majority of the accidents are caused by heavy vehicles and so the focus of the traffic wing of the police has been to educate truck and bus drivers,’’ he said.

While there had been a ten-fold increase in vehicular traffic in the past 10 years in Punjab, the complimentary infrastructure had grown only by 2 per cent. ‘‘This has led to extreme congestion on highways and big cities leading to an increase in fatal accidents. Although efforts of the Punjab police to keep the situation under control had also multiplied, a lot needs to be done,’’ said Mr Sharma, adding that traffic management in the state needed to be dealt on priority by the government.

‘‘A large number of proposals have been made by us to the government to improve the situation. One such proposal was to make road safety a part of formal education in schools in order to curb traffic violation among the youth. Though a final decision from the government’s side is till pending, we have decided to add the subject to the timetable in all the private schools in the state. The NGO Saath (Society for Accident Aid and Traffic Help) would be providing the books to the schools,’’ he said.

The traffic wing had also asked the Punjab Government to fix speed limits on state highways. ‘‘Till speed limits are notified for every highway, over-speeding cannot be curtailed. Speed limits are set for individual districts and by municipal bodies but we need a uniform speed limit system throughout Punjab,’’ said Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma added that an exhaustive traffic challan form was also being introduced in the state. ‘‘Also we propose to computerise the challaning system in the major cities of Punjab. Habitual violators get away because we do not have a system of knowing how many times a person had been challaned. Enhanced punishment would be given to such persons,’’ he said.

The traffic wing had also sent a proposal to the government to earmark 50 per cent of the fine collected through challaning of vehicles for the purpose of traffic education, empowering police officials to compound traffic challans and to constitute a state-level Road Safety Council.

‘‘Other than the Road Safety Council, we have been debating on the issue of setting up of neutral reporting centres where all accidents would be reported without any legal hassles. Such centres have worked very well in the USA,’’ he said. reiterating that most of the accidents could be avoided if drivers followed the road safety rules. 


Red lights fail to check traffic chaos
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
Although the Municipal Corporation installed traffic lights at the BMC and Guru Nanak Mission crossings, residents continue to face inconvenience at these two points for over four months because of mismanagement on the part of the Municipal Corporation authorities.

Making tall promises that the traffic flow would be smooth, the Municipal Corporation had demolished these two roundabouts and replaced these with “ultra-modern” traffic-lights at a cost of lakhs of rupees. But the very purpose of installation of traffic lights has virtually got defeated as a smooth flow of traffic was not only seemed to be a distant dream but instead the problem has got aggravated for varied factors.

The major irritant for vehicle drivers as well as pedestrians at these two chowks was absence of zebra lines, electronic timers and frequent malfunctioning of lights — the anomalies which have failed to elicit attention of either the MC or the traffic police authorities. The heavy traffic-flow at these two points has aggravated the situation and commonly seen traffic bottlenecks leave commuters fuming during rush hours.

Though electronic timers were there till a few weeks ago, these were nowhere in sight these days and all one could see is a few wires dangling at certain trafficlight poles.


Boy missing for two years
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 15
Sukhwinder Kumar, son of Mr Joginder Pal, a resident of Mohalla Dev Nagar, here has been missing for the past two years.

According to his mother, her son was unsuccessful in his Class X examination thrice and in disgust he left home on July 10, 2003.

An FIR was lodged with the police on July 14, 2003. Sukhwinder’s photos were also flashed on the Siti cable network twice. But he has not been traced.

“He is mentally sick and his left leg is polio affected.” says his parents.


Trial run of Amritsar-Lahore bus stalled
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
The proposed trial run of the Amritsar-Lahore bus stated for tomorrow has run into rough weather as the Central Government has not cleared the project so far.

Mr Rakesh Verma, Director, Punjab State Transport Corporation, said here today that the date for the trial run was announced tentatively. However, he hoped that the Central Government would soon announce the fresh dates.

After the proposed trial run tomorrow, the Punjab Roadways super deluxe bus service was to run on every Tuesday from Amritsar International Hotel in the heart of the city. It was to cross the Wagah border joint check post and end the 60-km-long journey in the Gumarg area in Lahore. After a night’s halt at Lahore, it was to return to India on Wednesday. The one-way fare for the cross-border journey on the bus was to be Rs 750.

The bus from the other side of the border, belonging to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), was to reach Amritsar on Friday and return the next day after a night’s halt here.

Earlier the Indian delegation, which visited Islamabad, held talks on the bus service between Amritsar and Lahore, and Amritsar and Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.

There is already a bi-weekly bus service, but it has no halt in Amritsar. The Punjab Police is providing foolproof security to the 45-seater bus.


Fraud alleged in allotment of shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A large number of commission agents and foodgrain merchants here today submitted a representation to the secretary of the Punjab Mandi Board alleging fraud in the allotment of shops in the new Grain Market at Mansa.

The commission agents in the representation said that allotments had been made in violation of the rules and regulations of the board.

They urged the secretary to inquire into the matter personally.

They alleged that a number of persons had got shops allotted on the basis of bogus documents.

They said that before giving possession of the shops, the documents of the allottees should be verified.

The allottees should be asked to produce records for verification of the business done by them as commission agents during the past five years or so.


CRPF battalions to grow in number
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
The number of CRPF battalions in the country will be increased from 176 to 205 by next year.

This was stated by Mr D.P. Sinha, Additional Director General of Police, CRPF, who was addressing a gathering after taking salute from a contingent of 871 recruits of 163 battallion at CRPF’s Lidhran camp near here yesterday.

Mr Sinha, who was accompanied by Mr Shamananda Singh, DIG, Chandigarh and Jalandhar range, Mr R.K. Dua, DIG, Jammu range said the enhancement in the number of battalions would be effected by May next year. He said CRPF jawans were being equipped with new combat techniques to enable them to meet the terrorist and insurgency threat.

He said since 163th battalion had been deputed in Jammu and Kashmir, it would be replacing BSF personnel there shortly.

Constables Yogen Ghaley, Dinesh Kumar Meena, Ravi Shankar Meena, Prahlad Kumar Meena, N. Ojit Kumar Singh and Mukesh Kumar Basetiya were adjudged best in different fields during the training.


BSF recruitment rally on June 20
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 15
Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, stated in a press release here today that recruitment of sepoy (GD) in the Border Security Force would be held at the Border Security Force Subsidiary Training Centre at Kharkan on June 20.


SGPC reinstates Harbeant Singh

Amritsar, June 15
In a big setback to loyalists of late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra Mr Harbeant Singh, who was sacked on the charge of getting job on the basis of a fake certificate, was reportedly been reinstated yesterday.

Mr Harbeant Singh was sacked as secretary, SGPC, in 2004 by the then President, SGPC, Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He was penalised to pay Rs 25,000 by the SGPC.

However, he did not appear before the two committees inquiring into the fake degree case. — OC


Rs 1 lakh to kin of duststorm victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the recent dust storm in Mansa, Bhatinda and Ferozepore district of the state. The injured would get Rs 25,000.

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said here today the victims injured in the dust storm would be given free medical treatment. He further said detailed instructions had been issued to the enable the state government to provide relief to the effected persons in the recent storms. 


Jailed farmers continue fast
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
Hundreds of farmers lodged in Central Jail continued their relay fast today and held a protest inside the jail after the authorities didn’t produce them in the court.

Sources said when the farmers held protest, jail inmates lodged in barracks also came out. The resentful farmers made a full round of the jail complex and indulged in sloganeering.

Later, the police decided to take some farmers to Mansa and Phul courts.

Farmer leaders reiterated that their stir would continue till their demands were met. They said though there had been some improvement in arrangements inside the jail due to their protest, still some sick farmers were yet to be provided medicines. They rued lack of cleanliness in the jail.

They alleged that some commission agents along with the police were “harassing” the families of jailed farmers. They accused a commission agent from Budhlada Mandi of indulging in such activities.

Mr Buta Singh Burjgill of the BKU (Ekta) said the farmers lodged in other jails would also launch fast soon. He alleged that the state government was indifferent towards the farmers lodged in jails.


Ex-servicemen sore at govt indifference
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 15
Political leaders when in the Opposition are very sympathetic towards the problems of ex-servicemen bus soon forget about them after getting into power.

This was stated by Capt Dharampal (retd), president of the Ropar unit of the Indian Ex-servicemen League, Punjab and Chandigarh, in a press note here today. He said that Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress, had written to the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to solve the problems of ex-servicemen on a time-bound basis. He regretted that now the UPA government was in power for the past one year but no serious thoughts were given to solve the problems of the ex-servicemen.

The president said that the long-outstanding demand of one rank-one pension should be implemented and the condition of 33 years of service to get full pension for defence personnel should be removed.

Among the other demands made by the league were separate pay commission for defence personnel, induction of retired young soldiers in para military force and special increment to pensioners on the pattern of the state government.


Encroachments removed

Samrala, June 15
A joint team of the local administration has removed all illegal encroachments made by rehri owners on Ludhiana-Chandigarh road today, with the help of the local traffic police as per directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, according to Mr Baldev Singh, SDM.

On account of this action, the bazar appears clean and open.

Mr Chetan Sharma, the executive officer of the local Nagar Council, said this process was long overdue. — OC


Senior officials, clerks found absent from duty
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 15
Senior officials apart from clerks were found absent in various government offices during a surprise check conducted by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, here today.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh later told mediapersons that he went to the offices of the SDM and Tehsil at around 9.30 a.m. and found that the SDM, Mr D.S. Sandhu, Tehsildar, Mr Barjinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Mr Roopinder Singh Bal, were not present. Mr Sucha Singh, sub-divisional clerk, Mr Devinder Singh, licence clerk, Ms Karamjit Kaur, Mr Bhag Singh and Karamjit Singh, all clerks were also found absent from duty.

The MLA said that around 10 a.m. he went to the patwarkhana and found a number of patwaris associated with various villages, including Mr Paramajit Singh of Rasenheri village, Mr Tejinder Singh of Badali, Mr Jasvir Singh of Khanpur, Mr Mohan Singh of Todarmajra, Mr Jasveer Singh of Chandiala were not present on duty.

Later, around 10.15 a.m. Mr Bir Devinder Singh went to the office of the Kharar Market Committee. The secretary of the committee Mr Balbir Singh and both the mandi supervisors, Mr Ranjit Singh and Mr Mandeep Singh, and a clerk, Ms Tarlochan Kaur, were not present in the office. The MLA said that both the mandi supervisors and the clerk had not come to the office for the past two days and neither had they sent any application for leave. No entries were either made by them in the movement register.

The BDPO office was visited by the MLA around 10.45 a.m. Mr Amarbir Singh Sidhu, BDPO, the SDO of the Panchayati Raj Cell and a junior clerk were not found present in the office.

He went to the local Civil Hospital and the ESI hospital around 9 a.m. and found that the doctors and other members of the staff were present at both the hospitals.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said that he would send a report regarding his surprise check to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner for action against officials who were found absent from office.


Isha Dang does Patiala proud
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
Eleven-year-old Isha Dang, a student of 6th class in Our Lady Fatima Convent School, did the city proud by taking part in the Punjabi Cultural Night held at Singapore recently.

The nite was organised by the Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) in collaboration with Punjab Nirtya Academy Patiala. Though Isha was the youngest among the 15 members troupe, her performance received a lot of appreciation.

She danced to the tunes Punjabi song, Rajasthani Holiya, Hindi remix and classical Kathak which was especially admired by the audience present there.


PSSF demands fifth pay panel
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 15
Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, president of the Punjab State Services Federation (PSSF), today asked the Punjab Government to set up Fifth Pay Commission for the state government employees by December-end this year, otherwise the PSSF would start rallies and demonstrations in the state.

Mr Walia was here in connection with a convention of the organisation, organised in the district administrative complex here. Besides Mr Walia several other employee leaders also spoke who urged Mr Walia to bring their grievances and demands into the notice of the Amarinder government. Mr Walia is also Chairman of the Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board.

Mr Walia said the PSSF had submitted a charter of 21 demands of the employees to the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. These demands included setting up of fifth pay commission for the state government employees, implementation of promotional scales after 4, 9 and 14 years of service, filling of vacant posts by promotion or recruitment in various government departments, and regularisation of services of the work-charged and daily wage employees.

The PSSF leader said the Punjab Chief Minister had agreed in principle to the demands, in the charter, but had stated that these could not be implemented at this stage due to poor financial health of the state. He said he had worked for the interests of the employees, whether he was with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) or the Congress party.

Mr Walia also urged the employees to have work culture in offices, as they were public servant and the public expected it from them. He asked the employees to perform their duties with sincerity. He said he was also against corruption in government offices and in high places. He said main cause of leaving the SAD by him was corruption in high offices at that time.

Mr Walia said the PSSF would enrol a large number of employees as its members during its membership drive, which would continue till December this year. He claimed that 70 per cent employees of the state government were with the PSSF, led by him.


Brigadier placed under close arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Brigadier Iqbal Singh, who is being tried by a General Court Martial for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case at Patiala was today placed under close arrest after he tried to “disassociate” himself from the court proceedings and walked out of the court-room in a huff. This happened after he failed to get permission to further cross-examine a witness as he did not furnish the relevant provisions of law under which he could do so.

He was earlier under open arrest and had the liberty to move around. He has now been confined to his premises under guard.

When the prosecution sought permission from the court to produce its next witness, the accused got up and said that he wanted to move an application for permission to further cross-examine Lieut-Col V.P. Sayal (retd), the Judge Advocate, Lieut-Col R.K. Tripathi, advised him to quote the relevant provisions of law under which he could do so. The accused was appraised that he had a right to recall the witness provided he could satisfy the court that something new had come out during the cross-examination earlier.

Prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil said that the accused failed to bring any such instance. He declined to give the reason for recalling the witness and insisted that his application should be decided, failing which he would disassociate from the GCM proceedings.

The prosecution officer, Lieut-Col Sanjay Sitanshu asked the accused to get in touch with his counsel and move a detailed application. To this the accused replied that his counsel was unavailable and that he had advised him to disassociate from the proceedings if his plea was not allowed.

Mr Moudgil argued that this was a deliberate attempt to delay the court proceedings. The court warned the accused about his conduct, but the accused walked off in a huff, saying that the court could do whatever it wanted.

The GCM’s presiding officer, Major-Gen P. Khanna thereafter directed the prosecuting officer to get in touch with the court’s convening authority and to get the accused arrested and produced before the court.

When the court re-assembled, the accused objected to ex-tehelka.com staffer Annirudhha Bahl being produced as a prosecution witness on the grounds that his deposition was hearsay. The accused maintained that the witness was not an eye witness to the sting operation.

The court, however, declined his plea. Annirudhha Bahl’s deposition will continue tomorrow.


Govt staff make parents “sick” to seek transfer
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, 15 June
Parents of thousands of government employees in the state have fallen sick. Not that there is any outbreak of a disease, but this is a major excuse that these employees are coming up in the transfer season.

A large number of women employees have also developed a soft corner for their mothers-in-law and they want to look after them after getting the desired place of posting.

Sources said the last date for inviting applications for transfers in the state was May 15 that had been extended thrice to June 15. Thousands of applications are now lying with the various government departments. The state government had made it clear, especially in Education and Health Departments, that widows, handicapped persons, couple cases, and unmarried women, would be given a priority in transfer cases.

The sources said about 21,000 teachers had applied for transfer, out of which 9,000 were from the secondary wing. Most of these applicants stated that their parents were old and sick and there was nobody to take care of them. They sought their transfer saying that they wanted to serve their parents in the old age.

Similarly, women employees had mentioned about their “sick” in-laws. The sources said 268 employees had applied for transfer in the elementary wing in Bathinda, while the number was more in the secondary wing.

The DEO, Ms Gurbinder Kaur, confirmed that many of the teachers had made the same excuse. A teacher sought his transfer near Bathinda on the same pretext, while his parents reside in a village, which is 50 km away from the city.

Another teacher had applied for transfer to the city stating that his wife was sick despite the fact that she was perfectly okay.

Sources in the Health Department said a majority of applicants had resorted to the same excuse. They said many applicants in the Public Health Department had even enclosed their medical certificates for seeking transfer.


Debt-ridden farmers fear arrest
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
Hundreds of debt-ridden farmers in the cotton belt have gone underground fearing their arrest. Cooperative banks have started pushing the farmers behind bars to increase their recovery rate.

A couple of debt-ridden farmers have been sent to Central Jail, Bathinda. They have been identified as Gurjant Singh of Koyar Singh Wala village and Karamjeet Singh of Alupur village.

Sources said arrest warrants of about 100 farmers had been issued and bank officials plan to nab them.

The sources said many of these farmers had gone underground.

The bank officials were taking advantage of the absence of farmer leaders who had been jailed prior to the Tapa rally. Unlike in the past, this time when bank officials reach a village to arrest farmers, there is no union leader to oppose them as either they are in jail or had gone underground.

Earlier too, six farmers from the cotton belt, who owed payment to banks, had been sent to jail. Sources said the arrests had been in Bathinda and Mansa since yesterday.

Agriculture Development Bank of Bathinda had released arrest warrants of 43 farmers. Similarly, the bank in Rama Mandi had released warrants of 24 farmers, while the one in Talwandi Sabo had issued seven warrant.

The bank in Bathinda had even prepared papers to auction the land of 109 farmers. Sources said the land of about 2,500 farmers in six districts of the cotton belt could be auctioned anytime.

Dozens of farmers from Gatwali, Bangi Deepa and Manwala villages had gone underground fearing arrest. The cooperative banks had also got the arrest warrants of those farmers who had taken loans for non-agricultural work.

Sources said the number of defaulters in the cotton belt had shot up to near 60,000, from whom the banks had to recover about Rs 195 crore. The recovery rate had been reduced to a mere 17 per cent in Mansa.

Sources said teams of bank officials had been frequenting villages daily to arrest the farmers.


Second extension for Raman Bhalla
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15
The term of Mr Raman Bhalla, administrative member, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), has been extended for another year.

In a press note issued by the Director, Public Relation (DPR), Mr R.P Pandev said Mr Bhalla was an efficient administrator and for this reason his tenure was extended for the second time from 25 June, 2005, to 24 June, 2006. But in case during his extended period the board is unbundled then extension given to him would be restricted till the corporatisation of the board.


Acid attack death case: accused held after 6 weeks
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 15
Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Gujran village, near Dirba, who had allegedly poured acid on Sukhwinder Kumar (33), a resident of Sulargharat village, near Dirba, on May 3 last, was arrested by the Dirba police from the bus stand of Tur Banjara village last night.

The police today said Rajinder Kumar was produced in the court of Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate at Sunam today. The court remanded him in police custody for two days. During police remand, a thorough interrogation of the accused would be made to bring the facts on record, the police added.

Rajinder Kumar allegedly poured a bucket of acid on Sukhwinder Kumar when he was closing his shop in the evening on May 3 at Gujran village. After the acid attack, Sukhwinder Kumar, who had suffered 70 to 80 per cent burns, was admitted to the CMC Hospital at Ludhiana where he died on May 6. After hearing about the death of Sukhwinder Kumar, a son of Kamal Chand Mehlanwale, a large number of villagers from Gujran, Sulargharat and other nearby villages gheraoed Sulargharat police station and blocked the national highway. They also threw bricks and stones at the police station, protesting against the alleged failure of the police in arresting the culprit.


Duplicate soft drink bottling plant unearthed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 15
The district police in a raid today unearthed two factories running at a mohalla in Sirhind and engaged in the bottling of duplicate soft drinks of popular brands like Coke, Pepsi, Limca and Fanta.

The police seized 124 crates of soft drinks along with raw material. The police has registered a case and arrested six persons.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said the police had got secret information that a factory in Sirhind was engaged in filling duplicate soft drinks.

The police laid trap and policemen in plain clothes were deputed to purchase the soft drinks. The police raided the factory premises and seized the crates and raw material. The owner of the factory reportedly said they had another factory also.

Three vehicles were also confiscated.

Pritpal Singh, Pankaj Sodhi and Bharat Sodhi, residents of Professor Colony, Sirhind, and Mohinder Singh, Vishal Sodhi and Tejpal Sodhi, residents of cinema road, Sirhind, had been arrested.

A case under Sections 272, 273 and 420, IPC, and 5/7 Provision of the Food Adulteration Act had been registered.


Vigilance arrests ITI instructor
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 15
The Vigilance Bureau today nabbed an ITI instructor when he was allegedly accepting illegal gratification from one of his students.

The Vigilance Bureau team, led by DSP Banarsi Dass, caught ITI plumber trade instructor Balkar Singh when he was trying to take Rs 1,000 from Sunny Goel.

Balkar Singh, against whom a case has been registered, had demanded money with regard to shortage of lectures.


Left wants Pbi varsity VC arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
While stepping up their political campaign against the Punjab Government, Left parties’ (the CPI and the CPM) here today said that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was responsible for disturbing the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

“In a bid to snatch the communal agenda from the SAD leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister is disturbing peace in the state”, said Dr Joginder Dayal and Prof Balwant Singh, who are secretaries of their respective party units in Punjab.

“Mr Badal is also responsible for creating an atmosphere to disrupt peace in the state by those elements who have been indulging in antinational activities”, they said. “The proposal to raise a memorial in the Golden Temple complex, backed by Mr Badal is a step in the direction of opening the old wounds for the healing of which the people of Punjab had paid a heavy price”, they said.

Seeking the arrest of the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University in connection with the Jagtar Singh Hawara case, they said that a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court should be requested to probe why Hawara was not arrested by the Punjab police during his over one-year stay in the state. They said Hawara used to stay in Punjabi University and had links with certain Sikh Students Federation leaders, who were close to the Vice-Chancellor. They said that Capt Amarinder Singh was aware that Hawara was picked up from the university.

Taking serious note of the statements made by Punjab Ministers against them, the Left leaders said that instead of issuing vague statements, they should tell the people what they had done during the past three years for Punjab. “What are their achievements regarding the repair of roads, the filling of vacant posts of teacher, improving the standard of education, promoting industry and ending unemployment?”

The people of the state were not on the agenda of the Ministers. While nearly 30 lakh young persons were unemployed, no recruitment of teachers or doctors had been made in the state in the past three years, Ministers at Cabinet meetings preferred to talk about acquiring Toyota cars worth over Rs 15 lakh each using state funds. The communist leaders asked the Punjab Ministers to make their stand clear immediately regarding the power tariff hike which was announced yesterday.

“It would have been better if the Ministers at their Cabinet meeting yesterday had discussed measures to be taken to provide relief to people hit by the power tariff hike instead of talking about luxury cars”, said Dr Dayal.

They said Capt Amarinder Singh was violating the Common Minimum Programme agreed upon between the Left-parties and the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre. There was rampant corruption in all spheres of government.

Talking about Mr Badal, the Left leaders said that he should not play into the hands of the forces which had wrecked the state in the eighties.


Roll numbers for B.Ed entrance test despatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Panjab University has despatched the roll numbers to all the eligible candidates who have opted Chandigarh as their centre of examination for the B Ed entrance test to be held on June 22.

Those candidates who do not receive their roll numbers by June 18 should collect the duplicate roll number cards from university office (CET cell) on June 20 after completing the pre-requisite requirements listed in para 5 of the B Ed prospectus.

Meanwhile, the roll numbers of all those candidates who have opted for examination centres in different cities of Punjab will be issued by the university staff at the colleges falling in their respective districts on June 17 and 18 from 9 am onwards.

The list of the colleges in Punjab from where the roll numbers can be collected is: DAV College of Education, Abohar, DAV College, Amritsar, DAV College, Bathinda, Govt Barjindra College, Faridkot, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, RSD College, Ferozepur, Govt College, Gurdaspur, DAV College, Hoshiarpur, Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, Hindu Kanya College, Kapurthala, Govt College, Ludhiana, Nehru Memorial College, Mansa, Guru Nanak College, Moga, Govt College Muktsar, R K Arya College Nawanshahr, Govt Mohindra College, Patiala, Govt College Ropar, and Ranbir Govt College, Sangrur. 


AWWA holds camp for kids
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 15
The Golden Arrow AWWA organised a 10-day camp encompassing indoor and outdoor adventure activities to instill a sense of confidence and provide exposure to the wards of defence personnel.

Mrs Omana Sankar, President, AWWA, said besides the adventure activities which form an integral part of the Army life, the camp offered new vistas to enhance the creativity of children.

The participants displayed their potential in screen, glass, oil and fabric painting.

They also learnt the art of making the best out of waste, puppet making, flower making and gift wrapping in the art and craft workshop.

They also learnt nuisances of dramatics, public speaking and creative writing.

Expressing her happiness over the successful completion of the camp, Mrs Sivasankar said the camp provided exposure to over 300 children in various fields of activities and gave them the opportunity to discover their latent talents.

The grand finale of the camp was held here at Ferozepore Club, in which the children displayed the various items made by them during the camp. They presented a cultural programme.

Major-Gen B. Sivasankar, VSM, GOC Golden Arrow Division, complimented the children for their splendid performance during the camp and congratulated AWWA for organising the camp.


Nitin, Deepinder top in BA and BSc
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
Nitin Batra of KRM DAV College, Nakodar, topped the university by getting 2046 out of 2400 marks in the BA (III) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April. Deepinder Kaur of HMV, Jalandhar, bagged the first position in BSc (III) securing 1941 out of 2400 marks.

The results of these examinations were declared here this evening.

According to a provisional merit list released to the Press, Pooja Dhir of the SD College for Women, Sultanpur Lodhi, got the second position by scoring 1994 marks and Sugandha Mishra from the APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, stood third with 1939 marks in BA. Similarly, in BSc, Arati of KRM DAV College, Nakodar, secured the second place by obtaining 1940 marks and Neetu Rakholia of HMV, Jalandhar, remained third with 1921 marks.


UGC NET roll numbers dispatched
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 15
All arrangements for conducting the University Grants Commission national educational test (UGC-NET), scheduled to be held on June 26, were made by Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr R.K. Bedi, local coordinator, said that 10 examination centres had been set up and roll numbers (admission cards) to all eligible candidates sent.

In case any candidate does not receive his/her roll number by June 22, he/she may contact the Coordinator, UGC NET, Administrative Block of the university, from June 23 to 25.


MA (music vocal) results today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
The results of the MA (music vocal), semester II and IV, examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April/May, 2005, would be declared on June 16.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university, said today that these results would be available on university website, www.gnduonline.org, after 5 p.m. on the same evening.


GND varsity waives condition for admission
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
The admission to B.Tech. (urban and regional planning), AICTE-approved programme of Guru Nanak Dev University, would be open to all candidates qualifying the CET-2005 or AIEEE-2005 without any requirement of Punjab domicile, a university press release said, adding that admissions would be made through the PTU, Jalandhar. 


PTU postpones counselling
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
Punjab Technical University has postponed its counselling for the combined entrance test (CET) that was to be held on June 20 in the wake of total re-evaluation of its results.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, said that the exact date of counselling had not yet been decided. He said that it would be held almost a week after the fresh results that were likely to be out by June 20. He said that the re-evaluation of the answersheets was being done and no discrepancy had been found in any paper till date as was claimed by candidates who were dissatisfied with the results.


Tourism plan for Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 15
Considering the potential of rural tourism in this sub- division bordering Rajasthan, Haryana and west Punjab Mr Jagjit Puri, Special Secretary, Tourism, Aviation and Hospitality, said today that a team of experts would visit the area soon to explore avenues to attract domestic and foreign tourists.

He said infrastructural facilities would be provided around Asia’s largest black buck sanctuary located on the both sides of Abohar – Seetogunno Road.

Meanwhile, SDM Jaskiran Singh will suggest plans to develop the site as a centre of tourist attraction. The population of black bucks in the sanctuary area was estimated at 3,000 comprising hundreds of blue bulls, other varieties of deer and rare birds. Basic facilities include motorable roads, potable water and sheds.

Mr Puri was surprised to see that wild life wardens were equipped with outdated weapons and had one old vehicle only. He was told that the local Bishnois, about 25,000 in populations patrolled the sanctuary area using their vehicles and weapons throughout the year.

Mr Puri asked the DSP Mr Narinder Pal Singh to tighten security around the sanctuary.

Mr Puri said preparations would be made so that tourists could enjoy cattle cart or bullock cart rides in the semi desert areas of the subdivision.

Mr Puri was informed that the land of the Mud Fort that reflected the historical importance of centuries-old town at Abha Nagri at Jammu Basti here was cordoned off by the Archaeological Survey of India by displaying boards and barbed wire but people had encroached upon it also. The area could become a tourist spot if protected by the state government.

He promised to examine the feasibility of developing private tourism near historic, mazars of Panj Peers who were considered responsible for the demolition of Abha Nagri when Bhati Rajput kings of Rajasthan ruled here. Such memorials of these times existed only in Ethiopia, he observed.

Land around the mazar area too had been encroached upon by people in connivance with Waqf Board and Custodian officials, local residents alleged.

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