P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD to launch people’s stir against Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today declared that his party would launch a people’s movement against “the disastrous misgovernance and misdeeds” of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He was addressing a gathering of SAD workers, who braved heavy rain during a three-hour rally here. Elections in the state are about 18 months away.

The SAD President said that Capt Amarinder Singh had “consistently subjected Punjabis to unheard-of hardships.” He would be confronted with a people’s movement and be taught a lesson on accountability, Mr Badal, a former Chief Minister, added.

The party workers had gathered to protest against the increase in power tariff in Punjab and also the hike in petrol and diesel prices.

Expressing surprise over Capt Amarinder Singh’s statement that he was not answerable to anyone on his visit to Dubai, Mr Badal said “ this is an amazing defence offered by a Chief Minster who had raised the slogan of transparency and accountability in 2002”.

Mr Badal went on to chide the Chief Minister, asking him to get over “the hangover of princely days when kings owed no explanation to anyone.”

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister had evaded the real issues in the Dubai controversy. He must explain to the people he and his security officer accepted private funding for the trip. If his trip was not sanctioned by the Home Ministry, the security official could not have carried a weapon with him.

The Akali leader dared the Chief Minister to produce documents to prove that he had violated no laws and foreign exchange regulations in making the trip.

Senior Akali leaders like the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, senior vice-presidents Gurdev Singh Badal and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and general secretaries Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Kanwaljit Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal also targeted Capt Amarinder Singh.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, a former Finance Minister of Punjab, said” the hike in power tariff was not required at all. The hike in the petrol and diesel prices had already “broken the back” of the common people, was the refrain of the Akali leaders.


Punjab CM to leave for South today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will leave for Hyderabad tomorrow on a four-day visit to the South.

He will be accompanied by senior officers of the Industry and Commerce Departments.

A government spokesman said the Chief Minister would hold meetings with the owners and chief executive 
officers of various companies there.

He would invite them to set up their units in Punjab. From Hyderabad, the Chief Minister would go to Chennai on July 8.


Students demand recheck of PMET answersheets
Move Punjab and Haryana High Court
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, July 5
More students today alleged discrepancies in the marking of PMET-2005 test once again conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University. Parents and students demanded rechecking of the ‘correctness’ of keys provided by the university and sought re-evaluation of answer sheets of pre-medical entrance test. They raised slogans against the university authorities outside the administrative block. Meanwhile, a few students and parents have reportedly moved the high court for re-evaluation of the answer sheets. The ABVP also took notice of the alleged discrepancies. Mr Subash Sharma, state general secretary of the parishad, said the organisation was also moving high court in this regard.

Giving grace marks to all candidates for about seven ‘doubtful’ questions also came under flack by parents who said it effected the ranking of deserving candidates who could be out of the race due to it. They said instead the university should evaluate the remaining questions barring such ‘doubtful’ questions.

They alleged that students were not allowed to note down the serial number of the questions whose answers were wrong. The students demanded re-evaluation of answer sheets with fresh correct keys by subject experts in the presence of government nominee and member of parents body formed. They also demanded to put the results, question papers along with keys of the answer used by the university on the Internet, publish it in newspapers or put it on the notice board. The parents also gave the lists of questions, which according to them had wrong answers.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the other part regarding the correctness of the key only lies with the subject experts. He said the difference of opinion of different students was not tenable on the basis of different books or tutors of coaching centres. He said answer key was got checked by the subject experts in the presence of government observers and only then the result was compiled. No discrepancies had been found in recording of OMRs (Optical Mark Reader) and preparation of results.

He said more than 105 students checked their results within the stipulated period of 72 hours given by the university. He said the students were told to identify their signatures, booklet, answer sheet (OMR), and compare the tabulation and calculation of their answers, total marks and their place on the merit on the computer screen in the presence of parents.

The Vice-Chancellor said the result of PMET along with answer key would be submitted to the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, for counselling to various medical courses on the basis of this test.


Baba Farid varsity VC’s office, home raided
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 5
The Vigilance Bureau today conducted raids on residences and offices of the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Mr J.S. Gujral, and the Deputy Registrar, Mr K.P. Singh.

The Vigilance team led by the SP, Mr Chaman Lal, seized the Vice-Chancellor’s laptop and two CPUs of his office, besides one CPU from his residence. The team has also shifted question papers and answer sheets of PMET conducted by the varsity in a room adjacent to the Deputy Registrar’s office and sealed it.

Earlier, the local police had kept these question papers in his office. However, no important document has been recovered from the residences of both officials. According to sources, the raids started at 11.30 am and continued till 4 pm, after which the Vigilance team headed towards the university. Mr K.P. Singh accompanied the team during raids at his as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

The search operation at the university lasted for about a couple of hours. The sources said the two computers seized from the Vice-Chancellor’s office were used in his presence by computer operators of the university and they were even handling a computer at his home. While talking to The Tribune, the SP said the scrutiny of these computers would begin in Chandigarh from tomorrow. He said a computer expert accompanied them during the raids and he would analyse the data stored in these computers.

When asked about the chances of deletion and manipulation of the data, the SP said the computer expert would also look into that aspect and could detect any such activity. He said the Vigilance Bureau had also sought gazette of PMET results from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and the process of tallying the results with that of one held by Baba Farid University would start soon.

He said candidates whose rank had improved substantially and those who abstained in the second test would also be interrogated. The SP said the team was now working on the theory of leakage of the entire question paper and not merely 88 questions. He said the team was not terming those who had purchased paper as accused and was only seeking information from them. They could not interrogate the Vice-Chancellor due to ill health, while Mr K.P. Singh was not available when the team was in Faridkot. The Deputy Registrar has now been asked to appear before the Vigilance Bureau for interrogation in Chandigarh.


3 denied bail in PMET paper leak case

Moga, July 5
A local court has turned down the bail plea of three accused in the PMET paper leak scam but let off a student who had bought a copy of the question paper.

Dismissing the arguments for the defence, District Sessions Judge Mohinder Pal yesterday rejected the bail applications of Dr Vinod Khanna of Ferozepore, Balwinder Singh who run a coaching centre at Muktsar and Nand Kishore who is an employee of the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.

The court, however, granted bail to Kamaljit Singh, a student who appeared in the June 5 PMET examination though he had purchased a copy of the question paper.

The bail applications of the remaining four accused — all employees of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences — Surinder Kapur (superintendent), Buta Ram (peon), Rakesh Kumar (driver) and Ramesh Kumar (binder) will be taken up tomorrow. — PTI


CMO will be difficult to access by commoners, mediapersons
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Tastefully done up by spending nearly Rs 3 crore, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s office (CMO) in the Punjab Civil Secretariat will not only be difficult to access by commoners, but also by mediapersons. Capt Amarinder Singh is expected to inaugurate the CMO, which was under renovation for the past four months, tomorrow.

In fact, the aura of the renovated CMO is so awesome that it will certainly make “masses”, which otherwise also is a rare sight in the corridors of the Civil Secretariat, to think twice before daring to go near it. “To have a glimpse of People’s Government will become a sort of achievement in days to come”, said a senior official.

“Hallmark of democracies world over is to be develop maximum possible closeness to people, but here is a government that has put a system in place to keep people away from its corridors”, he added.

Security is a must for those who govern in today’s world, but it should not be allowed to enhance the chasm among the ruled and the ruler.” People, in the name of whom governments are formed and run, should have easy access to offices like CMO”, says a Superintendent posted in the Secretariat. “There were times when corridors on all floors of the Secretariat used to be flooded with people, but those days will, perhaps, never come”, he adds with a clear signs of disappointment on his face.

Already, the press room, where mediapersons used to wait to meet senior officials and the Chief Minister, has been shifted to a corner on the second floor. Earlier, it was at a short distance from the Chief Minister’s office room, but now it is located at a far away place. Earlier, there was an easy access to the CM’s office room from the press room, but it will be no more so.

The Chief Minister, his immediate staff, including his Principal Secretary, his media adviser and other senior official attached to his office will now sit in an exclusive zone which obviously will be beyond the reach of even those who consider themselves important cogs in the state machinery.

The entry to the exclusive zone will be strictly regulated with the help of ultra modern devises installed at the office. Press persons will no more be able to keep secret their visits to their sources in the CMO, which is an important element of the profession. Who meets whom will be on record. “Big brothers” will always be there to monitor and record the visits of mediapersons to the exclusive zone. It seems that the free run of the reporters to the CMO, which was quite common earlier, is over now.

Even today, most of the mediapersons, who wanted to go to the CMO, faced a difficulty to get into the exclusive zone. They had to approach to senior official to get into that zone. Earlier, a red card, that was issued to reporters by the administrative wing of the Civil Secretariat, was enough for entry into the CMO. By showing this card at the entrance, one was free to move anywhere in the CMO.

Informed sources said the entry of the reporters in the CMO would be a discretion of the Punjab Public Relations Department. Only those reporters, whose visit will be okayed by the department, will be able to enter the exclusive zone in the CMO.


Hilly terrain being razed for carving illegal colonies
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 5
Carving up illegal colonies by razing hilly terrain at the foothills of Shivalik near Bhadani here poses a serious threat to environment. According to environment experts the environment can be under threat if razing of hilly terrain continued for colonies or for other purposes.

According to sources developers from this town had carved up colonies at Bhadani by razing standing forests and hilly terrain in violation of the Forest Act and Punjab Property and Apartment Regulation Act.

While ecology and environment of the area were being degraded the authorities concerned were ignoring it. Illegal operation of colonisers continued for months but there was none to stop them due to their political influence.

According to District Town Planner Madan Lal Kaushal, ‘the department had not accorded any sanction for carving up colonies at Bhadani’. He said the colonies carved up were illegal.

Sources revealed that colonisers had not left any space for parking or dispensary and other amenities mandatory under rules.

According to locals the colonies are located on the Pathankot-Dalhousie road and politicians and officers had been passing by this road but none bothered to check threat to environment.

Sources revealed that colonisers had not only razed the hills but also destroyed the forest along the hills. The colonisers had reportedly covered a portion of rivulet of Chakki river and converted it to plots, which according to locals is dangerous in case of floods.

ADFO, Rajesh Mahajan said, since none-had complained about illegal activities of the colonisers and being private land the Forest Department had not taken any action against the violators. He assured to took into the matter.


Tarlochan opposes memorial to Bluestar ‘martyrs’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 5
National Minorities Commission Chairman Tarlochan Singh today opposed the construction of the proposed memorial for Bluestar Operation martyrs Minar-e-Shaheedan.

Addressing a press conference at the local Guru Nanak College, he asserted that no such memorial should be built inside the Golden Temple complex. Memorials should be made outside the complex, he argued.

He reminded the SGPC that no memorial had been built inside the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib complex even though the “saka” of Nankana Sahib had occurred in 1921 in which scores of Sikhs were killed.

The Chairman said a new Bill would be tabled in Parliament in the coming session for safeguarding interests of minorities. He claimed that the commission had given its recommendations to the Union Home Minister for a uniform compensation to the minorities in case of riots, adjudication of riots cases in a timeframe, protection of witnesses in these cases and broad-basing its ambit in order to cover the incidence anywhere in the country.

The draft Bill would be discussed with the commission and after its nod, the Bill would be introduced in Parliament, he said. When passed, it would give more teeth in dealing with the cases of riots against the minorities, he claimed.

Mr Tarlochan Singh advised the Chief Minister, Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, and SAD President and the leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Parkash Singh Badal to mend fences at least on the burning problems of Punjab.

On the Imrana issue, he declared that religion should not interfere in cases of normal crime. The law of the land should decide such matters and religion should not be exploited for it, he remarked. He admitted that the turban issue in France was still hanging fire. He was not much hopeful of its solution.

Mr Tarlochan Singh delivered a lecture on the role of NGOs in the upliftment of the society.


Ration money of Kashmiri migrants enhanced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Punjab Council of Ministers today decided to enhance the ration money of Kashmiri migrants living in the state from Rs 460 per month to Rs 2,000 per month. It would entail an additional annual burden of Rs 69 lakh.

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said that a policy was drafted in 1990 to provide assistance to the Kashmiri migrants living in Punjab. It became applicable from May 8, 1990.

The council also decided to implement the Supreme Court’s directions regarding the grant of pay scales to the staff of subordinate courts as recommended by the Shetty Commission with immediate effect.

By another decision, it approved to establish a self-financing “Lovely Professional University” to provide life-long instruction, teaching, education, research and training at all levels in all branches of education, including professional, medical, technical, higher, general education and such other branches and subjects preferably as per the needs of the industry and society in general as may be deemed fit by the university.

The council approved the transfer of 335 sq m of land to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the construction of Mandi House Station at New Delhi.

The council approved the draft ordinance of the Punjab Industrial Facilitation Bill, 2005, for the speedy implementation of industrial projects and to ensure the smooth functioning of the existing industries by providing single-point clearances to the entrepreneurs.

The framing of Absorption of Officers of the Para Military Forces (group A) Services Rules, 2005, to enable officers of para-military forces for permanent absorption in the Punjab Police was also approved. The annual administrative reports of the Economic and Statistical Organisation and of the Local Government Department were also cleared.


Bhattal pays tributes to Baba Maharaj Singh
Tribune News Service

Rabbon Ucchi (Ludhiana), July 5
Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said a life-size statue of Shaheed Baba Maharaj Singh would be installed at a suitable place in the state so that the coming generations could seek inspiration from his patriotic philosophy.

She visited the village and paid tributes to the martyr at a largely-attended shradhanjali samaroh to commemorate his 50th martyrdom day at his native village, 50 km from here.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the freedom struggle launched by Baba Maharaj Singh and other martyrs had culminated into the freedom of the country.

She said following the path shown by him, the non-cooperation movement based on religious principles launched by Satguru Ram Singh that was latter adopted by Mahatama Gandhi persuaded the people for enormous sacrifices.

Ms Bhattal said the state government had decided to develop the villages relating to martyrs and freedom fighters as the model villages and to raise suitable memorials at public places.

She said the government had launched special programmes for the all-round development of the villages, under which funds amounting to more than Rs 1,000 crore were being spent. She said that a crash programme had also been launched for the repair of roads in the state and Rs 450 crore had been allotted to provide pensions under the social welfare schemes.

She also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the completion of the Baba Maharaj Singh Memorial Hall and naming the road from Bija to Kup Kalan as Shaheed Baba Maharaj Singh Marg.

Earlier, Ms Bhattal laid the foundation stone of a gate to be constructed in the memory of former Chief Minister Beant Singh and late Gurmeet Singh Bhari, political secretary of the former, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 5 lakh by Municipal Council at Payal.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA, and Sant Baba Jagjit Singh Harkowal also addressed the gathering. Also present on the occasion were Capt Bhag Singh, Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, secretary, PPCC, Mr Amrik Singh Rauni, Mr Baljit Singh Dhamot, Mr Najar Singh Lapran, president, Block Congress, and Mr T.S. Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal.


Crucial SGPC meeting today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
The crucial meeting of the SGPC executive, proposed to be held at Chandigarh tomorrow, is likely to be stormy even as some of the members would insist on recording their note of dissent, at the time of confirming the minutes of the previous meeting, regarding rejecting of dossier on Harmander Sahib and reinstating the sacked secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh.

At least three Executive members, including Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general-secretary, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Mr Gurminder Singh Shampura had given their note of dissent after circulating of the proceedings of the previous meeting.

These members told Bibi Jagir Kaur that they did not want to be party to the decisions taken in ‘haste’.

The members expressed surprise over the reinstatement of Mr Harbeant Singh as secretary who was sacked during the time of Mr Gurcharn Singh Tohra on the charges of getting job on the basis of ‘fake certificate’.

He was reinstated in a hush-hush manner. Mr Shampura alleged that he was shocked to read the proceedings stating reinstatement of Mr Harbeant Singh despite the fact that the matter did not figure in the meeting he had attended.

The decision to withdraw dossier would also figure during the meeting. Interestingly, there are at least five members in the SGPC Executive who had passed a unanimous resolution to send the dossier to UNESCO during the presidentship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar but they (these five members) were also signatory to the resolution, which had rejected the dossier.

The Sikh circles were shocked to know the ‘approach’ of such members who had failed to apply their own mind while taking the important decisions relating to the entire community.

However, some of the members, including Mr Bhaur, Mr Shampura and Bibi Kiranjot Kaur have come out openly against such decisions. They are of the view that they could face awkward situation in case any Sikh would file a petition in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

Meanwhile, some members are likely to raise their voice against the decision of the SGPC to grant Rs 1.8 crore to Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi (the home district of Bibi Jagir Kaur) for carrying out construction from the Darbar Sahib funds.

The sources in SGPC alleged that such a move was unprecedented, as such huge fund was never dolled out to any Gurdwara from Darbar Sahib funds.

It is learnt that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, is likely to intervene to help in finding an amicable solution to the ongoing controversy.


Banur-Landran road submerged
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
Hundreds of men of the Irrigation and Drainage Department have been pressed into service to strengthen the Banur bund following the overflowing of the Tangori rivulet which has also flooded the Banur-Landran road and brought the vehicular traffic to halt.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the state Irrigation and Drainage Department authorities had started putting polythene bags filled with sand along side the Banur bund to prevent the water from entering the town.

Officials of the department, who had been monitoring the flood-protection measures, said so far the Banur-Landran road had come under 3-foot deep water. If the level of water increased, it might enter Banur town.

They pointed out that the Banur-Landran road had come under knee deep water after the rivulet passing from that area spilled over following the heavy rains in its catchment areas located near Mohali. The flow in the rivulet was about 7,000 cuesec.

Meanwhile, the water in the Ghaggar river, touched the 8-foot level point at the Bhankarpur area in the morning , which was about 4-foot below the danger point.

Mr Amarjit Singh Dullet, Executive Engineer, Drainage Department, said the Ghaggar could handle the flow of water up to 50,000 cuesec and if the flow increased, it might cause floods in certain areas. He added that so far there was no threat of floods due to the Ghaggar in any pocket of this district as the discharge of the Ghaggar was about 18,000 cuesec.


70 caught in rivulet rescued
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
At least 70 persons, including farmers and slum-dwellers, were caught in the “Sirsna-ki-rown” in Kurali when its water level increased due to heavy rain.

They were rescued by police personnel of Kharar, villages and firemen summoned from Mohali. The rescue operation took more than three hours. Tractors, trucks and tractor-trailors of farmers caught in the rivulet were taken out later.

The DSP, Kharar, Mr Raj Bachahan, who headed the rescue operation, said farmers from distant places in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh had reached here last night for the sale and purchase of animals in the market. All persons who were stranded were rescued by 3.30 p.m. The SDM, Kharar, supervised the operation. Many areas of Govindpur village in Ropar were under 3-feet water.


Farmers gherao office of PSEB’s Chief Engineer
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
Activists of the Kisan Sangarsh Committee (KSC), the Bharati Kisan Union and the Punjab Kisan Sabha gheraoed the office of Chief Engineer (Border Zone) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here today.

Mr Kanwal Preet Singh Pannun, Convener, KSC, stated here today that farmers from Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur also participated in the gherao. He informed that earlier they protested outside the local court complex and headed for the Office of Chief Engineer in a procession raising slogans against the authorities.

He said a joint delegation of the farmers’ organisations met the Chief Engineer on June 30 and apprised him of the problems faced by the farmers. He said they had warned the authorities concerned to redress their problems before July 5.

They gave a memorandum of demands to the Chief Engineer to hand it over to the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. They included restoring of water and electricity connections of agitating farmers, free power to poor and Dalits, compulsory 16-hour power supply for farming and 24 hours to domestic users, replacement of out of order transformers, halting of the privatisation process of PSEB, rollback of hike in power charges and problems of farmers from border villages be heard at the earliest.


Farmers gherao  PSEB office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Hundreds of farmers today gheraoed the office of Chief Engineer, PSEB, West Zone, for their demands. Scores of women also participated in the protest.

Farmers from Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Faridkot, and Ferozepore descended on the city for the protest jointly held by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kisan Sangharsh Committee and the Punjab Kisan Sabha. The farmers rued that their grievances fell on deaf ears at the electricity board’s offices.

They demanded that the state government should waive off their power dues on the pattern of Haryana. They warned to intensify their protest if their demands were not met.

BKU leaders said the state government was misleading farmers by issuing statements of giving free power.

They said after increasing the power tariff and diesel rates, the government had started arresting debt-ridden farmers and their arrest warrants were being issued. They alleged that the government was supporting commission agents, which were leading to the rise in attack on farmers.

Addressing the rally, the leaders of other farmer bodies said despite amassing crores of rupees the electricity board was ignoring overloaded transformers and was not replacing burnt transformers. They also came down heavily on those board officials who take bribe for giving temporary connections. They sought end to discrimination in rural and urban power supply and demanded 24-hour power supply to residential and 16-hour power supply to agricultural sector.

They demanded free power supply to the state’s farmers, besides 50 per cent subsidy on diesel. They also sought the reduction of temporary connection fee to Rs 3,000 and immediate connections to general category. They also demanded the release of debt-ridden farmers and withdrawal of cases against agitating farmers.

Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan of the BKU, Rachhpal Singh of the Punjab Kisan Sabha and Surjit Singh Dhamba of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee addressed the protesters.


Rs 126 crore earmarked for development projects
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
Ms Preneet Kaur, Member Parliament, while inaugurating various development projects in the town, said Rs 126 crore would be spent on the project to provide basic amenities to the residents of the city.

After laying the foundation stone of the Rs 4-crore project to cover three-km-long drain near Sheranwala Gate passing through the city, Ms Preneet Kaur said the ample care would be taken to maintain quality of the ongoing projects.

The MP added that with the increase in population, the pressure was on various departments to provide basic amenities to the residents and keeping this in view a sum of Rs 126 crore had been earmarked to give basic facilities like water supply. sewerage, streetlights and other infrastructure in the city. She claimed that this project would be completed in a year’s time.

Meanwhile, Ms Preneet Kaur also laid the foundation stone of another project to shift 168 dairies from the city to Sanuri adda.

The Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, claimed that 50 per cent of the work to provide water supply and sewerage to the 100 colonies outside the municipal limits had already been completed. He said 7000 streetlights had already been installed and the pending work would be completed shortly.


Governor for action plan on child care
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Increasing drug abuse cases among children in Punjab have sent the highest offices of the state thinking. Coupled with the challenge of bringing adolescents back from the verge of drug disaster is the concern that stems from the falling sex ratio.

These and more concerns were at the heart of the Punjab Child Welfare Council meeting which wrapped up on a decisive note today with the Punjab Governor asking for formulation of a state and district level action plan for child care.

He also decided that a state level function would be held at Punjab Raj Bhavan on the occasion of Children’s Day this year.

Presiding over the meeting, Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) directed Director, Health Services, Punjab, to collaborate with the Child Welfare Council in providing health cover to children of the state.

Each member of the council was also asked to enroll five life members to expand the network of the Child Welfare Force.

Further, Secretary, Social Security, Punjab, was told to coordinate the activities of the Child Welfare Councils by strengthening the communication network between state-level Bal Bhavans and district Bal Bhavans.

Asking the members to coordinate their activities with the Rotary and other clubs, he said the effort would help in creating a network to improve the lives of needy children.

Another direction given to the members of the state level body and to social activists was active involvement in child care progammes, particularly for the disadvantaged.

In his opening remarks, the Governor said the problem of childcare was universal in nature and a major effort was required to tackle it.

He said various programmes aiming to uplift children had been made integral part of economic and social development plans. “The approach to this tremendous task, which is growing with the rapid increase in population, needs a holistic view combined, with dedicated endeavours at all levels to ensure the future of the Nation.

On these lines, the Governor stressed the need to identifying the potential of the children, saying that they had a remarkable intelligence and vision.

Government and non-government organizations were also asked to undertake comprehensive and thoughtfully planned programmes for nurturing children’s development.


Sewage-laced water flows in taps
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 5
Reports of sewerage water getting mixed with drinking water in some localities have the city residents worried. At least 12 residents falling sick in Teachers Colony after reportedly consuming the same water has added to their concern.

According to sources, following complaints from a section of the residents, a team of the Municipal Council visited some homes of Teachers Colony to check the quality of water being supplied to them. However, the residents termed the MC action as a “mere formality”.

They alleged that they had received stinking dirty water a number of times in the past three months and had also complained to the authorities concerned, but to no avail. Similar reports have been received from some other areas in the city. The residents have warned the MC of a stir if strict measures were not taken to tackle the problem.

Sources said Sanjeev Kumar, Charanjeet Singh and Baljinder Singh, of Gali No. 1 in Teachers Colony were suffering from jaundice. Swaranjeet Kaur of Gali No. 2 was also down with jaundice for the past couple of months. The sources said 10 other residents of this area were also under treatment. Darshan Singh of the locality said though the MC had collected water samples from some houses, the problem continued. Prominent residents of the area today took an MC team from door to door to corroborate their claim of contaminated water.

The MC EO, Mr Tejinder Singh, said they had checked water samples from various areas, including Teachers Colony, and had not received any complaint from any of the localities. He claimed that the Moga MC was among the first in Punjab to supply pure drinking water to its residents. He expressed unawareness about people suffering from jaundice and said he would himself check water in Teachers Colony tomorrow.


Ex-Home Secy Surjit Singh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
A former Home Secretary of Punjab, Mr Surjit Singh, died here today following a brief illness. He was 64 and is survived by his wife, Mrs Tejinder Kaur, Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab.

Mr Surjit Singh was a 1968 batch IAS officer. His cremation will take place here tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Born in Sanipur village, Fatehgarh Sahib district, he was initially selected for the IPS in 1967 and subsequently in the IAS in 1968. He served as the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, Hoshiarpur and Faridkot and also as Principal Secretary, Home. He retired in June, 2001, after 33 years of service in the IAS.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in his condolence message described Mr Surjit Singh as an able administrator. He said he was an upright, sincere and dedicated bureaucrat who served the state administration in different capacities.


Ban on sale of some medicines

Jalandhar, July 5
Taking serious note of use of some medicines by drug addicts, the district administration today banned sale of some medicines without valid prescriptions.

“After receipt of information that some medicines are being used by drug addicts and youngsters for the purpose of intoxication, which endangers their lives and property and of the society at large, a ban on sale of such medicines has been imposed” Deputy Commissioner A.K. Gupta stated here today.

The banned medicines include Phensedyl, Corex syrup, Codeine Mit’s Lincrus, Lomotil, Lomofen, Sudhinel, Proxyon and Proxytab, he said, adding that if anybody found selling the banned medicines without valid prescription, stern action would be taken against him.

He clarified that even the storage of such medicines without valid licence is also prohibited. — PTI


Probe into illegal constructions
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 5
Mr V.K. Janjua, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, has ordered the registration of a case against the owner and driver of a vehicle for allegedly breaking iron bars and illegally entering the local Affim wali gali for unloading goods on June 30.

In a press note yesterday, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary of the Punjab Human Rights Committee, said a complaint had been lodged with the SSP for immediate action.

He said the PHRC had also lodged complaints against illegal constructions to the MC Commissioner and had demanded the demolition of the structures.

He said the Commissioner had already ordered an inquiry into the illegal constructions in the Affim wali gali in the alleged connivance with some engineers.

He said four persons had got house plans approved by the MC but they had illegally constructed commercial buildings after reportedly bribing some engineers.


Placement camp on July 7
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
The District Employment Department will be organising a placement camp, in collaboration with the private sector, at the Central State Library on July 7 at 10 a.m.

The District Employment Officer, Mr S.K. Multani, said private industries and enterprises would be participating in the camp. He said students aged between 18 to 25 years, having ITI diploma in electric, electronics, fitter and diesel mechanics are eligible to take part in the camp.

He said for the post of security guards only those having Army background would be eligible and added that eligible candidates should come with only original certificates to avail of the opportunity of getting a job


Security beefed up in Pathankot
Our Correspondent

Pathankot July 5
Following attack in Ayodhya in which five militants were killed, the security has been beefed up in and around the town.

Though security agencies have been tightlipped over the additional nakas laid by the police and other security agencies, it is believed it is done to avoid any untoward incident with the pilgrims of Amarnath, as the Pathankot is the only route to enter Jammu and Kashmir. People are being checked at random in the Lakhanpur area and around the vital installations.

Meanwhile, leader of various political parties condemned the incident. Ashok Sharma, local MLA, Master Mohan Lal, Satya Pal Saini, both former Punjab ministers and Ashok Parashar, district BJP president, were among those who condemned the incident.


Neurosurgeon Shahi joins brain hospital
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
Dr Mridul Shahi, MCh, Neurosurgery, has joined Brain Hospital, Patiala as full time Head, Department of Neurosurgery.

The hospital has started handling cases of neurosurgery emergency and neuro trauma. Dr Shahi is interested in cervical disc, Lumbar disc. Intracranial tumours, V.P. Shunts, Haematomas, Peripheral nerve injuries.


Five-day-old abandoned baby found
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 5
Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, SSP, Batala police district told mediapersons here yesterday that the police had recovered a five-day-old girl child, allegedly abandoned by her mother.

The woman whose husband was away to Mumbai for the past about two years, had allegedly developed illicit relations with Puran Singh, who refused to accept the child.

The police has registered a case under Sections 307 and 317, IPC, against the accused.


Youth missing

Phagwara, July 5
A 27-year-old local youth has been missing since June 29 under mysterious circumstances.

According to Sohan Singh of Dadhal mohalla, father of the boy, Taranjit, who was employed in a factory in industrial area, went to the factory as usual in the morning but did not return after that. The police has been informed of the missing youth. — TNS


20 pilgrims hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, July 5
More than 20 pilgrims to Hemkunt Sahib were seriously injured when the canter they were travelling had a head-on collision with another canter on the Rajpura-Patiala bypass near here this afternoon. The injured also include three children and nine women.

The accident occurred when the canter (PB-11X-9704) with over 55 pilgrims on board was heading towards Patiala and another canter (PB-11Y-1450) approaching from the opposite direction collided head on with it.

Following the collision, drivers and cleaners of both the vehicles sitting on the front seats sustained critical injuries. Mr Davinder Singh and Mr Surta Singh, driver and cleaner of the vehicle carrying the pilgrims respectively, and Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Jyoti Singh, driver and cleaner of the other vehicle, were extricated from the badly damaged vehicles.

A majority of the pilgrims belonged to the Kaithal area who were heading to Hemkunt Sahib, this afternoon. The injured pilgrims were taken to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura.

Traffic on the road was also disrupted for over three hours as the police had a long time to procure a crane to remove the damaged vehicles from the site.

After impounding the vehicles, the police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving against Harbhajan Singh, driver of canter (PB-11Y-1450). 


24 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
Twentyfour persons were injured, 10 of them seriously, when a Mahindra jeep and a mini truck collided head on the Morinda-Sirhind road here today. The mishap took place at 8 am. The jeep was coming from Moga and the mini truck from Patiala.

The seriously injured were Kamal, Meru of Patiala, Baldeb, Amarjeet Singh of Moga, Manoj, Vikay, Suraj and Manoj. They were sent to the PGI, Chandigarh.


High court
Ex-minister challenges trial proceedings
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
Former Punjab minister and Shiromani Akali Dal MP Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking stay on the proceedings in an Amritsar court against him in a corruption case. In his petition, Dr Ajnala has challenged the validity of the trial proceedings in the court of Special Judge Archana Puri, claiming that they were without the requisite sanction from the competent authority.

The former minister had been booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on January 19, 2003 on charges that he had accumulated wealth much beyond his known sources of income by indulging in corrupt practices. Later, a challan had been presented in the court of the Special Judge.

The petitioner has stated that the charge-sheet was filed against him even though the Vigilance Bureau had no sanction from the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to prosecute him, which was a mandatory requirement in case of any MP just as Rajya Sabha Chairman’s permission is required in the case of Rajya Sabha MPs.

Citing the example of the cases against former Punjab Chief Ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and also against other MPs and MLAs, including Mr Tota Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Dr Ajnala has pointed out that the proceedings against them were stayed by the Supreme Court on question of sanction.

He has prayed that proceedings against him also be stayed on the same grounds. The petitioner has also challenged the legal validity of the trial on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction.

The offence, if any, took place in Chandigarh as it was here that he held the minister’s office while the trial is going on at Amritsar, he has stated.

Alleging that he has been implicated in false case as he, along with seven other MLAs, had moved the High Court for registration of a criminal case against Punjab Minister Lal Singh and former MP Shamsher Singh Dullo as they had been indicted by the Lok Pal, Dr Ajnala has claimed that the same is the result of vindictive behaviour of the government.

After hearing counsel, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal today issued notice of motion for July 12.


Mann’s bail plea rejected

Amritsar, July 5
A local court today rejected bail plea of SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann and five others in a sedition case filed against them for allegedly making anti-national utterances during a ceremony on the premises of Harmandar Sahib on June 6.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Archana Puri rejected the bail applications moved by the accused who have been under the judicial custody in the case since June 17 last.

Mr Mann was arrested by the Roper police on June 12 in connection with sedition cases filed against him and some of his associates in the district. Later, he was brought to Amritsar on June 17 for production before the court in the case filed at the Kotwali police station.

He was remanded in judicial custody in Ludhiana jail by the court. — UNI


Bt cotton cultivation not a failure: experts
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 5
While describing as totally ill-founded and misleading the reports suggesting Bt cotton cultivation had failed in Punjab, Dr A. S. Sohi and Dr K.S. Brar, both Senior Entomologists from Punjab Agriculture University, claimed that recent rains in the cotton belt would be highly beneficial.

Speaking at a seminar held at CIPHET here by the Directorate of Cotton Development, they said some vested interests might have created a hoax against Bt cotton as sale of insecticides had come down considerably following sowing of Bt cotton.

Maharashtra and Gujarat earlier led with 30,699 and 22,577 acres of Bt cotton-sowing area but now Punjab farmers had done sowing in 60,000 acres and the figure was unofficially quoted at 70,000 acre, they added.

Seventy countries had already made successful trials in Bt cotton. America had put 72 per cent of its area under BT cotton cultivation with South Africa achieving second position in the world.

India otherwise ranked third with 14.2 million bales cotton production, nearly 25 per cent of the total produce globally.

Bt cotton had to be chosen, as 33-41 per cent of the cotton crop was lost due to attack by insects and pests.

Earlier Dr Jasvir Singh, Technical Coordinator, welcomed agriculture development officers who had come from various districts of the state to participate in the programme.

Dr Sohi said during the two-year trial in Punjab, spray of insecticide had not been done even once in villages like Khubban in this subdivision.

Rain washed insecticide sprayed on ordinary cotton but its impact remained intact on Bt cotton, if spray had at all been done once at last stage.

He advised cotton growers to avoid growing bhindi, moong and arhar near the Bt cotton fields as these helped the pests to multiply.

He agreed that there were limitations in Bt cotton farming like high cost of seed, that had to be purchased afresh every year.


Armed thieves injure five, decamp with valuables
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Unidentified armed thieves struck at a house in Maur Mandi and decamped with valuables worth about Rs 1 lakh after injuring five members of a family.

Sources said the thieves scaled a sidewall of house of one Harpal Singh and as the gate to their lobby was open, they entered inside.

They launched a violent attack on his family members with iron rods and sharp-edged weapons.

They thrashed his wife Darshan Kaur, his relative Maninder Singh and his wife Amanpreet Kaur, besides Harpal’s daughter Jimmy.

They took off gold jewellery of Amanpreet who had recently got married, besides mobile phone of Maninder Singh.

Sources said Harpal’s relatives residing right in front of his home heard some cries and reached there, following which the thieves fled away with all the valuables they could lay their hands on.

Harpal and his wife were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, with serious injuries. Darshan Kaur had sustained injuries on her face. The police has registered a case against unidentified thieves and launched a manhunt to nab them.


3 undertrial prisoners flee, 2 re-arrested

Jalandhar, July 5
Three undertrial prisoners today fled from central jail here when they were brought back from the court hearing but two of them were immediately re-arrested.

Incident occurred at 4.30 p.m. when the undertrial prisoners were coming outside of the jail bus and suddenly two undertrials identified as Jaswinder Singh and Balwinder Kumar booked in a theft case by Lambra police made an attempt to flee but chased and over-powered by the cops guarding them, police sources said.

In the melee of chasing and re-arresting the duo another undertrial Sunny booked by Nakodar police for attempt to murder, got a chance and fled, sources said.

Although cops gave him a chase but the accused managed to give the slip to the cops and got success in his mission, sources said adding that a case against Sunny has been registered and efforts were on to nab him.

Till the filing of the report no case was registered against any jail security guard. — PTI


4 held for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 5
Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), told the mediapersons here yesterday that DSP Manohar Lal along with SHO Kirpal Singh arrested four persons, including three women, allegedly on the charges of immoral trafficking.

The police on a tip off raided a building in Master Market near Jassa Singh Ramgarhiya chowk and arrested a couple namely Komal Preet of Sadhpura and Dharampal of Dharampura Colony, in a compromising condition.


Taranjit tops in LL.B entrance test
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Taranjit Kaur Hundal (roll No. 12251) of Jalandhar topped the State Level Law Entrance Test-2005 for admission to LL.B (3-year course) while Shruti Sabberwal (roll No. 22106) of Kapurthala secured first position and opted for 5-year BA LL.B course conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University on July 3.

Dr R. S. Bawa, Registrar, said Patiala girl, Ms Harmeet Kaur (13540) and Jaibir Singh of Patiala district secured second and third position in the test for three-year LL.B course, respectively. Similarly, Mamata Kakkar (22814) of Ludhiana and Gurmehtab Singh (23611) of Patiala stood second and third in the test for five-year BA LL.B (Hons)/ BA LL.B courses, respectively.

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