P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pak Judge, Amarinder laud peace efforts
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, July 22
The “vanmahotsav” function here turned out to be a memorable event as Mr Justice Khalil-Ur-Rahman Ramdey, a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, jointly planted a sapling at Doaba Arya Senior Secondary School today and expressed the hope that the tree of peace and love between India and Pakistan would not wither out.

Mr Justice Ramdey and Captain Amarinder Singh gave a subtle message that preservation of environment was of utmost importance for people of Pakistan and Punjab. They also laid the foundation stone of a multipurpose hall, to be funded and constructed by Justice Ramdey to perpetuate the memory of his father, the late Justice Mohammed Siddiq, who, had been a student of this school from 1919 to 1923 and who used to come here for his studies from his ancestral village Kariyam, near here.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Justice Ramdey, who was emotionally charged and who was accompanied by his brother, Mr Asad-Ur-Rahman, a former MP and a Federal Minister in Pakistan and 30 other family members, objected to being addressed as a guest repeatedly and stressed that since he had come to ‘home’, he should not be treated as a guest.

Lauding the role of the Arya Samaj educational institutions for their untiring work in the field of education, Mr Justice Ramdey said had this school not been set up in the area, his family would not have been able to achieve whatever they had achieved and his father would not have been able to become a Judge.

Talking about the proposed multipurpose hall, for which Captain Amarinder Singh announced a grant of Rs 11 lakh for computers and Justice Ramdey handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh as a first instalment to the CM, Mr Justice Ramdey wished that the hall would stand out as a memorial to improved Indo-Pak relations

“If two brothers had divided their land, then it should not be construed that they had turned into enemies,” he said.

Mr Justice Ramdey said it was heartening to note that the recently initiated ‘people-to-people’ interaction between India and Pakistan had in fact helped a lot towards strengthening of bilateral ties between people of the two countries, who shared a common background and culture. “This process cannot be turned back now,” he said.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by Punjab Forest Minister Hans Raj Josan, Mr Parkash Singh, Parliamentary Secretary, and former minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh, said though the population had increased and pressure on natural resources had multiplied, he was happy to observe that the forest cover in the state had increased from 4 to 8 per cent during the past three years, which, according to him was a big achievement towards maintenance of ecological stability.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who also released two booklets on pests and diseases of trees, said with the Congress governments at the helm of affairs at the Centre and in the state, the relations of India and Pakistan had seen a tremendous improvement. He said the visit of Pakistan Punjab’s CM Chaudhary Parvez Elahi and his visit to Pakistan had given a boost to the peace process and bilateral cultural, social and economic relations.

The CM said computer education was a must for students for enabling them to face the challenges posed by globalisation and to give a thrust to computer education in rural schools, the Punjab Government had initiated computer education in 1300 government schools of Punjab. “We are committed to starting computer education in all schools within a period of four years,” said Captain Amarinder Singh, who also announced a grant of Rs 11 lakh for sprucing up the historical Baradari Garden, Rs 3.52 crore for laying of sewage system, Rs 50 lakh for rural development and Rs 1.21 crore for supply of drinking water in Nawanshahr.

The Chief Minister also announced that the state government would provide more facilities for those who establish industrial units in areas of Ropar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur and modalities for the scheme were being worked out by the Department of Industries.

Mr Swaran Singh, Divisional Commissioner, Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr A. S. Dogra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, were also present.


SGPC writes to PM for release of stamp
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 22
The stand-off between the SGPC and the state government over release of a commemorative postal stamp to mark the 400th year of compilation of Guru Granth Sahib has taken a new turn with SGPC officials writing to the Prime Minister requesting him to release the stamp during his forthcoming visit to Amritsar.

The stamp which was scheduled to be released on June 16 has not been released as the apex Sikh body had been demanding that the stamp be released at Gurudwara Manji Sahib in Amritsar but the state government, on the other hand, had held opposite views by pressuring its release in Chandigarh.

Mr Waryam Singh, secretary, of Dharam Parchar Committee, SGPC, said a letter had been sent to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, asking him to release the stamp in Amritsar where he is scheduled to visit after a month for the inauguration of the National Institute of Guru Granth Sahib at Guru Nanak Dev University. He said the letter had been dispatched some time back and they were expecting the reply in a fortnight.

Mr Harbir Bhanwar, media official of the SGPC, confirmed that the letter had been sent to the PM. He said the state government had been playing with the sentiments of the Sikh sangat by not allowing the function to be held in Amritsar but the committee was adamant that the function be held at a place where the holy scripture was first installed after its compilation by Guru Arjan Dev.

Even the Chairman of the National Minorities Commission (NMC), Mr Tarlochan Singh, had expressed his views on the issue of the venue of the release of the stamp and advised postal department officials and the Ministry of Communication and IT to favour views of the SGPC.

The stamps along with a short literature about the history of the event has been kept under lock and key ever since, awaiting a formal release. No copy of the stamp was available in the philately section of the city’s postal office as officers said the stamps had been duly sealed to avoid any release by mistake.

The stamp with a picture of parkash of Guru Granth Sahib somehow, got released at a post office inadvertently. Mr Daljit Singh Bedi, PRO, SGPC, said he too had received a copy of an envelope bearing the stamp. Even the idea of printing the picture of Guru Granth Sahib in the stamp has seemingly not appealed to the Sikh community as many people have pointed out that the picture could depict Ramsar Gurudwara where the Granth was first installed after compilation or simply a logo of 400th year of compilation. 


Hawara plotted against Bhaniarawala in Burail Jail
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 22
The conspiracy to eliminate Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala of Nurpur Bedi was hatched in Burail Jail in Chandigarh by Jagtar Singh Hawara in 1999 along with an accused, Babbla, who was involved in former MLA Bachiter Singh murder case. Hawara wanted to target Bhaniarawala to gain sympathy of the Sikhs, who had developed hatred against Bhaniarawala after the alleged incident of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

This was revealed to the police by the six accomplices of Hawara namely Amarjit Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Avtar Singh, Dharminder Singh, Amrit Pal Singh and Sukhwinder Singh during their interrogation in the past two days. They were arrested by the Nurpur Bedi police and the CIA staff of Ropar police.

Police sources said Babbla was earlier lodged in the Patiala jail, but was transferred to Burail Jail to appear in an examination for about two months in 1999. During his stay, Babbla shared the incident of burning of birs of Guru Granth Sahib with Hawara and came close to him. As the incident of the burning of a bir of Guru Granth Sahib had also taken place in Rattangrah village in Ropar, Babbla had called his relative Amritpal Singh from same village to get a detailed account of the incident.

Police sources said Amritpal Singh once met Babbla in Burail Jail and alleged that Bhaniarawala was behind the incident of burning of Guru Granth Sahib. Thereafter Babbla had sent messages to Amritpal to met him in jail but he never turned up.

Hawara after his escape from Burail Jail came to Morinda to meet Babbla, but he came to know that Babbla who had been released on parole was absconding. Then he contacted Amritpal Singh and Dharminder. Amritpal Singh, who was doing finance business, also involved his partner Sukhwinder Singh in the conspiracy. Thereafter Gurdeep Singh and Avtar Singh joined them.

Besides Morinda, the several meetings were held in Dhimana village. Avtar Singh hail from same village. After getting information about Bhaniarawala, Hawara also inspected the site where the bomb was later planted. The bomb was planted in the dharmshala building where Bhaniarawala usually used to visit every day till January 9. The bomb was noticed by the follower of Bhaniarawala and they raised the alarm. However, the bomb blasted before its actual time, said police sources.

The six accused arrested in the case were remanded in judicial custody today. Meanwhile, the Nurpur Bedi police took the production warrants of Sant Singh and Dharminder Singh in the case from the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Anandpur Sahib, Mr R.K. Kaundal.


Procurement agencies hire private stores; govt godowns lie unoccupied
Lalit Mohan and BB Dogra

Gurdaspur, July 22
In a surprising exercise, the central and state procurement agencies have been hiring private godowns while government godowns, owned by the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), have been lying unoccupied.

In this district alone, a CWC godown at Pathankot with a covered storage capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes is lying unoccupied. The godown also has uncovered storage capacity of 27,000 metric tonnes that is getting damaged due to non-utilisation. The godown also has the facility of railway loading and a large parking space for vehicles.

The CWC godown has been lying unoccupied despite the fact that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) alone has stored about 60,000 metric tonne stocks in private godowns hired on rent in the district. The FCI has two godowns in Dinanagar, 20-km from Pathankot, one in Gurdaspur and four at Batala.

Besides the FCI, many godowns have been hired by the State Warehousing Corporation, Markfed, PUNSUP and other procurement agencies in the district. The State Warehousing Corporation has hired a private godown right in Pathankot despite the presence of CWC godowns there.

Sources said the storage capacity of all the large godowns of the CWC in Punjab was not being used to the optimum. At Amritsar also, only 26 per cent storage capacity of the CWC godown was being utilised.

The procurement agencies, including the FCI, were not utilising the CWC facility despite an agreement between the two corporations last year. Under the agreement, the FCI had agreed to shift its stocks to the CWC godowns. Interestingly both the CWC and the FCI come under the Union Ministry for Food and Civil Supplies.

The CWC authorities speaking on condition of anonymity alleged that the procurement agencies were deliberately not utilising their storage facilities. The management of foodgrains at the CWC godowns was much better than at private godowns. The weight gain registered at the CWC godowns was the highest. Besides the losses due to decay and pests were the least. The CWC godowns were facing the problem of less occupancy in Punjab only. In Punjab most of the private godowns were owned by influential persons including ministers. The pressure exerted by these persons was forcing the procurement agencies to store their stocks in private godowns by paying hefty rents.

The FCI authorities when contacted maintained that the CWC godowns were not located at ideal places. In addition to that, the rent charged by the CWC was higher than that charged by private godown owners. Due to this, the FCI was not keeping its stocks in the CWC godowns.

The authorities, however, suggested that the solution to the problem lay in the merger of the CWC with the FCI. If both the organisations were merged, the FCI would get the godowns of the CWC free of cost. It would then be viable for them to store their stocks there.

The CWC godowns were bought by the Union Government all over the country in the early eighties by raising a loan from the World Bank. There was an agreement that the FCI would have to pay rent to the CWC irrespective of the fact that the stores were occupied or not. The agreement for Pathankot stores lapsed in 2003. After that the FCI has stopped keeping its stocks here.


All SGPC chiefs exempted fees of NRI students
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
Even as the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) has disqualified beleaguered Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC chief for five years for having failed to recover a huge amount of Rs 2.5 crore from the candidates who had got admission to the SGPC-run medical colleges under the NRI quota, its double amount (more than Rs 5 crore) in form of admission fee had been exempted by her (Bibi Jagir Kaur’s) predecessors in the past, which is likely to raise many an eyebrow in the Panthic circles.

The details of the money exempted to the ‘near and dear ones’ of the senior Akali leaders and SGPC members studying in the SGPC–run medical and dental colleges is startling. Though Bibi Jagir Kaur has been singled out, the fact remains that late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke had also failed to recover the huge amount exempted. In many cases, massive exemptions were given to the wards of VIPs.

As per the official record of Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental Sciences and Research, one Akalkala, daughter of former Akali minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, had paid Rs 3. 15 lakh as security and fee against the NRI seat fee of Rs 13.20 lakh. However, as per the orders of the Chairperson (SGPC chief) she was asked to deposit Rs 75,000 every year. In case of another student, Monaliza Dhaliwal (1992-93 session), the trust vide its resolution dated August 5, 1995, asked her to deposit Rs 38,000 per year. She deposited Rs 1.52 lakh and Rs 1.48 lakh was exempted. Similarly, Gurpreet Singh (1993-94), the SGPC’s trust waived Rs 3.31 lakh as per resolution Number 17 of August 1995. Instead of Rs 1.25 lakh, he was asked to deposit Rs 38,000 every year. The report of the SGPC-run dental college further reads that another student Jaskaran Singh (2000- 2001) was asked to deposit Rs 86,500 per year as per the order of the SGPC chief.

The fee of one Amarpal Singh, son of Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, an Akali MP who had got admission to MBBS, was lowered by the SGPC’s trust as a special case. As per official record, signed by the Principal of the Medical College, on November 26, 1999, the trust had lowered the fee from $ 50,000 to $ 25,000. The trust had given huge exemptions to the wards and relatives of SGPC members, including Mr Jodh Singh, Bibi Tejinder Kaur Setia, Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, the then Senior Vice-President of the SGPC, Mr Zora Singh Mann, an Akali MP and member SGPC, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, a former Akali minister. The fee outstanding against the near and dear ones of Akali leaders and SGPC members runs into crores.

The official record reveals that Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi had waived fee to tune Rs 60 lakh when he was SGPC chief. During the presidentship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, the outstanding amount against the MBBS students was more than Rs 82 lakh. During the presidentship of Tohra, the outstanding amount was a whopping Rs 1.10 crore. The outstanding amount increased to Rs 1.38 crore when Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke took over as acting SGPC chief in 2004. Interestingly, his own relative is one of the defaulters. The trust had exempted the fee of Prabhpreet Singh, son of Dr Gurjit Singh, an employee of the trust.

The Principal’s noting reveals that Hitesh Inder Singh Grewal, son of Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal (a former Akali minister) got admission under the ‘donor category’ in the name of his great grandfather. The official noting said the outstanding amount of Rs 13.10 lakh was yet to be recovered from him. The fee of Rs 14 .17 lakh of Vikramjit Singh, son of Dr Himmat Singh Sachdeva, an employee of the SGPC’s trust, was waived. Tarunjot Kaur was given fee exemption of Rs 21.50 lakh in year 1999, while she paid Rs 11 lakh only. One Sukhjinder Singh was allowed to a refund of Rs 16 lakh.


SGJC verdict boost Sikhs’ morale: SAD (A)
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today lauded the decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) on the SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur and said it would boost the morale of the Sikh community.

Addressing a party rally taken out to demand the immediate release of party president Simranjit Singh Mann and general secretary Gursewak Singh Jawaharke. The SGPC member, Mr Harcharan Singh Burjhari, said instead of resorting to legal recourse the SGPC president should resign on moral grounds. He said being an SGPC member he was aware of corrupt practices prevailing in the committee, but there was nobody to stop it.

Mr Burjhari said Simranjit Singh Mann had raised this issue time and again on the SGPC platform, but with the SAD (B) in majority no inquiry was ordered. He said the SGJC’s action would also help in restraining other corrupt persons holding posts in the SGPC. He said the corruption in the SGPC had come to light long back, but the then CM Parkash Singh Badal helped Bibi.

The party general secretary, Jaskaran Singh Kahanwala, alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur considered committees of colleges as her personal property and took away the rights of genuine candidates by admitting wards of Akali leaders in NRI quota.


Dullo calls meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC), Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has called a meeting of vice-presidents and general secretaries of the party on July 26 here at Punjab Congress Bhavan. Mr Raj Pal Singh, general secretary of the party said the meeting had been called to chalk out various party programmes.

Meanwhile, Mr Dullo said the party would hold conferences on all important occasions in days to come. A conference would be held at Sunam on July 31 to observe the shaheedi divas of Shaheed Udham Singh and then on August 15, and also at Issru to observe shaheedi divas of Karnail Singh Issru.

He said he would spend two days in each district to meet party workers and leaders. Mr Dullo said he would work in complete coordination with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He said the SAD, headed by Mr Badal, had no issue. By terminating all river water agreements, the CM took the wind out of the sails of Mr Badal, he added.


BBMB clarifies on flood in Suketi Khad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has said that it cannot be blamed for the floods caused in Suketi-khad, a tributary of the river Beas. The flooding had occurred on July 15 due to high intensity of rains during monsoons, said a statement of the BBMB.

The flash-flood brought in 33,000 cusecs of water on that day. This flood carried a huge quantity of sediment load comprising mainly clay from the catchment area of the Suketi Khad.

Reacting to a news report “BBMB blamed for flood in Suketi Khad”, which appeared in The Tribune on July 17, the BBMB said it was incorrect to link the floods in the Suketi-khad with the silt thrown by the BBMB following dredging operations.

The BBMB had been carrying out the dredging operations as per the directions of the expert committee, constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board in pursuance of the directions of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

As per the recommendations of the expert committee, the dredging was stopped on September 1, 2004 and was again started on July 1, this year.

BBMB was carrying out dredging and disposing of silt through one dredger which has 20 cusecs of discharge capacity. So, blaming BBMB for flood in Suketi khad is totally uncalled for as the contribution of the dredger is only 20 cusecs in a flood discharge of 33,000 cusecs.

It has also clarified that the depth of Suketi-khad has not decreased. Surveys conducted in the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons show no change and they were monitored by the expert committee.


Martyr cremated with state honour
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 22
Sepoy Satwinder Singh who laid down his life on July 20 in the Poonch Sector in Jammu and Kashmir was cremated at his native village, Jamalpur, near Shahbazpur, with full state honours today.

The jawans of 69th Field Regiment paid tributes to the martyr by reversing arms. The pyre was lit by Mr Balbir Singh, father of the martyr. A two-minute silence was observed on the occasion.

Mr Surinder Kumar, SDM, Patti, Mr Randhir Singh, DSP, Patti, Capt Sushil Tharak of the 69th Field Regiment and a large number of prominent personalities of the area attended the cremation.


Man wanted nephew to give up drugs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Reacting to a news-item “Drugs come in handy for greedy kin” published in these columns on July 1, a Batala resident, Mr Balwinder Singh Kahlon, has described as baseless the allegations of going against the interests of his nephew Sarabjit Singh.

Describing the report as “totally false and baseless”, Mr Kahlon said his reputation had been ruined and sincere efforts lasting over 18 years had been brought to naught. In a communication to The Tribune, Mr Kahlon claimed that he had to undergo “mental torture” due to the publication of the news-item

Going into the background of the matter, he said Sarabjit’s mother died seven days after his birth. When Sarabjit was just three, Mr Kahlon said he took the child along with him first to Amritsar and then to Batala.

He was admitted to renowed schools. After spending some time with his father and grandparents in between, Sarabjit returned to Batala. But he went back to his grandmother after passing Class X examinations and came in contact with drug addicts. Claiming that Sarabjit was now playing into the hands of anti-social elements, Mr Kahlon said they wanted to grab his land and eliminate him.

He added that Sarabjit Singh was admitted to a drug de-addiction centre by him and another relative, and not by his grandmother as reported in the news-item. It was wrongly mentioned in the report that Sarabjit (aged 18 and-a-half) was 12-year-old and his share in ancestral land was four acres, while it was only 10 kanals.

The Tribune Correspondent replies:

The report is based on the case the history of Sarabjit Singh as collected by the psychologist of a drug de-addiction centre. The intention was not to hit any person, but to highlight the problem of drug menace in the area. Though the word “kin” has been used in the story, no one in particular has been accused of inducing the youth to drugs.


37 injured as 2 buses collide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
About 37 persons were injured, four of them critically, when two private buses collided head on near Kailevandar village here today.

Sources said the accident took place when a bus of Bahia Bus Service on its way from Bathinda to Talwandi Sabo collided head on with another private bus belonging to Jalal Bus Service coming from the opposite direction at a blind curve near Kailevandar village. Sources said it was an accident-prone spot and a minor accident took place there yesterday.

Drivers of both buses suffered injuries in the mishap. The driver of the Jalal Bus Service, Naib Singh, is critical. The injured included eight women and a child. Sahara volunteers rushed to the spot on their four ambulances and shifted the injured to Civil Hospital, Bathinda. Doctors were also called from nearby government hospitals to assist in treatment of injured.

The CMO, Mr HS Dhillon, and the SDM, Mr S.K. Singla, were also present in the hospital to ensure proper treatment to the injured. The District Red Cross provided medicines free of cost to the accident victims. Four persons, including a woman, who sustained serious injuries, were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, in the afternoon. Those seriously injured were identified as Baldev Singh, Jaila Singh, Naseeb Kaur, and Naib Singh. They were shifted to Chandigarh in the hospital’s ambulances.

The District Transport Officer, Mr Charandev Singh Mann, also visited the patients and later announced that the department would carry out a check on private buses plying in the district to curb overloading and rash driving. He immediately provided Rs 10,000 to family members of critically injured from Red Cross fund. 


Unique parbhat pheri
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 22
Normally ‘parbhat pheris’ (dawn-time perambulations) are associated with religious occasions. However, residents of municipal wards No 9 and 26 today took out to a unique parbhat pheri.

About 200 residents, including women, today started a protest programme of three-day ‘parbhat pheris’ against the administration, particularly the Nagar Council, Phagwara, in protest against supply of contaminated drinking water, insanitary conditions and lack of storm water drainage.

Mr Jaswinder Singh Patwari and Mr Gurmukh Singh Chana, leaders of Nagar Sudhar Sangharsh Samiti,Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Tibbi, said today’s ‘parbhat pheri’ moved in Ward No 26. With drums and sloganeering, it started from Tibbi Chowk at 4.30 am, passed through the entire ward and concluded at 6 am. Slogans were raised against the flawed functioning of Nagar Council and the administration.

Tomorrow, the ‘parbhat pheri’ will be taken out in Ward No 9, said Patwari and Chana.

On July 26, a demonstration will be held and vehicular traffic will be blocked, added leaders.

It may be mentioned here that residents of these two wards had earlier undertaken a week-long programme of relay hunger strike in Town Hall a few months ago to press for a proper drainage system, cleanliness and supply of pure drinking water.


DCs to check nursing institutions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
To improve the standard of nursing education and to check the mushrooming growth of nursing institutions in the state, the Punjab Government today directed the Deputy Commissioners of all districts to ensure physical verification of all such institutes.

The DCs have been asked to establish if these institutes have their own buildings and have properly tied up with hospitals for practical training of the students.

In a statement here, the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in charge of Medical Education and Research, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said the DCs have been directed to submit a report as early as possible. A decision to allow admissions will be taken after the reports have been reviewed. The institutes had been informed not to admit students without getting a nod from the department.

Mrs Bhattal clarified that this restriction would not apply to the new institutions, who had obtain permission to construct their own building within one year. The verification committee would include one each representative of the DC and Civil Surgeon’s Office. The committee will fill in a prescribed format after physical verification.

The State Government had received complaints that some of the Institutes were lacking inadequate staff and infrastructure.


Rally against police action
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
The Punjab police today came under criticism at a joint rally of the CPI and the CPM. The rally was held in protest against cane charge on CPI activists by the Chheharta police on July 10.

Hundreds of Communists including women, who were assembled descended outside the Chheharta police station from different areas of the district shouted anti-police slogans.

Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, secretary, CPM, Punjab units lambasted the police for its failure in checking the crime.

Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, district secretary, CPI, criticised the police for perpetrating atrocities upon innocent people, especially upon the women and other weaker section of society.

Mr Ratan Singh Randhawa, secretary district committee, condemned the police for its action against the party workers who tried to highlight the plight of the residents of the area. They urged the authorities to register a case against the policemen responsible for the cane charge. 


Employees demand fifth pay panel
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 22
The Punjab State Services Federation has pleaded the case of state employees for granting them various concessions. It has submitted a charter containing 21 demands related to the employees, particularly the constitution of the fifth pay commission and increasing the age of retirement from the existing 58 years to 60, said Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, chairman Punjab Khadi Board, and president of the federation, while addressing a joint convention of employees, farmers and labourers.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Walia said he had a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during which he apprised the latter of the problems being faced by the employees and their demands.

He said the Chief Minister had in principle accepted all major demands of the employees and would make an announcement regarding setting up the fifth pay commission and the increase in the retirement age during a state-level convention to be held soon. Later, addressing the conference, he called upon the unemployed youth not to run after while collar jobs and instead start their own business.


Father, son crushed to death

Barnala, July 22
A father-son duo died on the spot when they were crushed under a train at an unmanned level crossing near Ghunas village in the district last evening.

Their cart, driven by two buffaloes, had stuck in rail track, while the train was approaching them at a high speed. This also resulted in the death of one of the animals, according to eyewitnesses.

The victims, Nachhattar Singh and his son, Buta Singh, were dragged upto 800 metre by the Bathinda-Ambala passenger train.

The police here maintained that the exact cause of the mishap was not known yet. — UNI


Lance Naik cremated with full honours
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
Lance Naik Harjinder Singh, who sacrificed his life while fighting militants in the Suran Kot area of the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir, was cremated with full honors in Sohal village yesterday.

Mr Birpal Singh, SDM, Tarn Taran, Lt-Col Sunil , Mr S.P Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, and Mr Guljar Singh Ranike, MLA,laid wreaths on the body.

Harjinder Singh was married only six months ago.


Strike by chemists against police ‘atrocities’
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 22
Chemists of Khemkaran, Valtoha, Bhikhiwind, Khalra, Amarkot, Algon, Ghariala, Sursin, Chabal, Dialpur, Shahbazpur, and Kairon observed a strike in protest against the police “atrocities” and held a protest rally in front of the office of the SSP here today.

The chemists alleged that their shops were being raided by the police without taking the drug inspector with it. They alleged that false cases, especially by the Valtoha police, were being registered against chemists in the border area.

A four-member deputation met the SSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, and appealed for the withdrawal of the cases registered against the chemists in the border belt. The SSP said that the cases would be investigated again.


Pak intruder shot
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 22
The jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead a Pak intruder who entered the Indian side last night in the Khalra sector. The intruder has not been identified.

The Khalra police on the complaint of Mr Balbhader Singh, Commandant of the 123BN of the BSF, registered a case.


MLA’s car challaned
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 21
The traffic police, headed by its in charge, Mr Sucha Singh, last night not only removed the red light from the car of a Delhi MLA but also challaned it.

It was today learnt that the traffic police, during its naka on the GT Road at Gol Chowk, was checking vehicles. It stopped a Toyota Innova car DL-4C-0732, sporting a red beacon light on it. When asked, the driver told the cops that the car belonged to an MLA of New Delhi. However, the MLA was not travelling in the car at that time. The car was going from Delhi to Amritsar.

The traffic cops got the redlight removed from the car and also challaned it.


Scribes’ panel to take oath today
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 22
A ceremony to install the new team of the Kharar-Kurali-Morinda Union of Journalists, a unit of Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ), will be organised at the Civil Rest House here tomorrow at 7 pm.

Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Sports and Youth Services Welfare Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi will be the chief guest. Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner H.I.S. Grewal and SSP S.P. Singh are among the prominent invitees.

CPUJ district convener Nitin Jain said here today that the journalists had recently formed a union to work for safeguarding the rights of journalists.


Inside Babudom
Punjab holds back promotions of five IPS officers
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab Government, in an apparent bid to curb overstaffing on senior posts, today held back the promotions of five Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, saying there are no vacancies. Only four of the nine officers, who had been short-listed last week, were promoted today.

Now, future promotions will be carried out as and when the vacancies arise, said sources in the government. The five officers who have been left out will remain on the “selected list”, but will get the higher rank only when there is a vacant post. Till now, promotions were based on the batch which determines the seniority of the official. This meant all officers of the same batch used to be promoted in one go.

This had resulted in a top heavy police administration that had at least seven Director Generals of the Police — some of them working on inconsequential or unimportant posts. Also a host of ADGPs, IGs and DIGs, all added up to the administrative costs.

The departmental promotion committee meeting held in the first week of July had cleared the names of nine officers. The same had been approved by the government also. Six 1987 batch IPS officers were listed for promotion from Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to Inspector General (IG). Another three 1978 batch officers were listed for promotion from the IG rank to the rank of the Additional Director General of Police.

In an order issued today the Principal Secretary, Home, Mr A.K. Dubey, promoted four IPS officers. Two officers — Mr Rajan Gupta and Mr P.M Dass — have been promoted from the Inspector General of Police to the Additional Director General of Police. The promotion of Mr H.R. Chaddha has been stalled.

Similarly, the two new IGs are Mr C.S.R. Reddy and Mr M.K. Tewari. The promotions of Mr G.S. Sahota, Mr V.K. Bhawra, Mr Rajpal Meena and Mr G.S. Grewal have been stalled.

Sources said a few days ago objections had been raised by the Finance Department asking why IPS officers were being promoted without any vacancies.

In the past two decades, the Punjab police had become top heavy as promotions of IPS officers had been speeded up during the days of militancy. The same formula for promoting IPS officers was being carried forward even as militancy ended more then 10 years ago. Various bodies like the Bureau of Police Research Development had pointed this out to the Punjab Police. Also, this meant that officials of the Punjab Police enjoyed seniority which was not available to their batch mates working in other state cadres. Like for example in Haryana, 1986 batch officials were expected to be promoted as IGs. In Punjab, 1987 batch officials are IGs.


Heroin worth Rs 5 crore seized

Fazilka, July 22
The BSF recovered heroin worth Rs 5 crore from the border village Jodha Bhaini in Fazilka sector yesterday. According to BSF sources, five packets of heroin (one kilogram each) were recovered from the fields of a farmer identified as Jang Singh of the village. The cost of the packets is said to be about five crore in the international market.

According to sources when Jit Singh, labourer, went to the fields of Jang Singh, he noticed fresh cavity near a tree. When he scratched the land he found five packets of white powder. He immediately informed BSF officials at the Jodha Bhaini post. The BSF officers seized the packets. It is suspected that the heroin was smuggled from Pakistan to India as the packets bear the stamp of Pakistan-Afghanistan Limited.

Mr P.P. Gupta, DIG, Abohar range, told mediapersons today the BSF officers had instructed villagers to remain vigilant about smuggling of narcotics in this area. According to Billu Singh, sarpanch of the village, six residents of Jodha Bhaini village have been taken into custody. He, however, maintained that they were innocent and not involved in the crime. Villagers in a large number gathered and protested the action of the BSF. — OC


2 cops injured in attack by robbers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
A head constable and a constable of a PCR team were seriously injured when some alleged robbers attacked them during patrolling here late last night.

According to information available Head Constable Mahinder Pal and Constable Jasbir of a PCR team, after a tip-off of attempt of robbery, were patrolling the medical enclave area near Mental hospital here. They saw some persons standing there. When they asked the reasons for standing there, the accused attacked them with sharpedged weapons in which the policemen were injured.

The policemen fired with their weapon. However, the accused fled away. The policemen were admitted to a local private hospital where their condition was stated to be stable.

Mr Ashish Kapur, DSP Civil Lines, said that the police had registered a case under Section 307, IPC, at Majitha police chowki.


Xen beaten up by three persons
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 22
Mr Rajinder Pal Narula, Additional Superintending Engineer, PSEB, Bhikhiwind, was beaten up on Thursday by three persons when he was going to Khemkaran subdivision for inspection .

The persons responsible for the assault have been identified as Satnam Singh Manawan, Gurmeet Singh, Sarpanch, Masatgarh, and Pritam Singh of Machhike. A case under Sections 341, 342, 353, 506, 186, IPC, against the accused has been registered.

The police said the accused assaulted Mr Narula when he was going from Bhikhiwind to Khemakran on official duty. The accused stopped him on the way and beat him up. They took him forcibly with them and forced him to sign certain papers for the replacement of a damaged transformer .

The PSEB Engineers Association (Border Zone) held a rally here and condemned the action of the attackers. A deputation of the association met the SSP and demanded stern action against the accused.


Blind murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
The police has succeeded in cracking a blind murder case with the arrest of a friend of the deceased. Interestingly, the wife of the accused had lodged a complaint in this connection.

According to sources, the wife of the accused, Manjeet Kaur, of Bambiha village, stated in her complaint to the SSP that she got married to Gurdeep Singh of Ghumman Kalan village 14 years back. He would often beat her up in an inebriated state.

He parted ways with her about one and-a-half year back. He returned to her about a month back along with a stranger. He reportedly murdered that person in her absence and threw away his body. He allegedly tried to kill her too, as he suspected that she might reveal something about the murder. She somehow managed to escape and return to her parents’ home.

On her complaint, the police arrested Gurdeep and interrogated him. He disclosed that the person he murdered was Jodhpur resident Sadha Ram and he was a road contractor. He had sold off the bicycle of the deceased and kept his mobile phone. Sources said Sadha Ram’s work was in progress near Dhuri and Gurdeep killed him in lure of money. He confessed to having murdered Sadha Ram whose mobile phone has also been recovered from him. He is yet to reveal where he threw his body.


Attack on granthi’s family condemned
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 22
Various organisations at a joint meeting held under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Mulajam Sangharsh Committee today condemned the attack on the family of granthi Karnail Singh by supporters and members of the managing committee of Gurdwara Damdama Sahib here.

In a resolution the committee said that some senior workers of the CPI had joined hands with the miscreants, which was unfortunate.

The committee demanded that the miscreants should be booked under Section 307 IPC and all efforts to save the life of the granthi’s wife, Parkash Kaur, and a relative, Mrs Khanno Bai, should be made.

The leaders regretted that although a civil suit between the granthi and the managing committee was pending in the court, the latter allegedly made a bid to forcibly evict the family of the granthi in his absence.

The police said that four persons, Harnam Singh, Jeet Singh, Nachchatar Singh and Malkit Singh were arrested under Sections 452, 323, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC for forcing entry into the house occupied by the granthi and attacking his wife and a relative. Two others, named in the FIR had escaped. All the four were remanded in judicial custody when the police produced them in the court.


Currency racket busted, 4 held

Fatehgarh, Sahib, July 22
The district police has busted a gang involved in the supply of fake currency as well as in selling smuggled wine by arresting four members of the gang. A Honda City car and fake currency were seized from them.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, He said the police raided a house at Gagarwal village and arrested the four identified as Avtar Singh, Birdevinder Singh alias Bindi, Paramvir Singh alias Pammi, all residents of Gagarwal and Balwinder Singh alias Billa, a resident of Nawanshahr district. OC


MBBS (final) students demand grace marks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 22
Students of MBBS (final) part II, who took examination conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, in May-June this year, have sought the intervention of the state government to prevail upon the university for granting grace marks so that a large number of them with supplementaries, could clear the examination.

A deputation of students and their parents, who met the Punjab Minister for Medical Education and Resarch, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in Chandigarh earlier this week, told her that out of 140 students, who had appeared in the examination, 50 had failed, most of them in medicine and surgery by a few marks. They pleaded that like the BDS students, who were allowed 15 grace marks, the MBBS students should also be given suitable grace marks wherever needed to pass.

Making a strong case for the grant of grace marks, some of the affected students remarked that the very fact that most of the candidates had failed in subjects of medicine or surgery, or both, proved that either the question papers were very tough or the marking was strict. Either of the two factors made a strong case for the grant of grace marks. “If grace marks are denied to us, many of us will have to wait for a minimum period of six months for clearing the examination and commencement of internship,” lamented a student who failed in medicine exam by just 2 marks.

While the Vice-Chancellor of the university Dr J.S. Gujral, could not be contacted, officials of the examination branch of the university told Ludhiana Tribune that a committee of senior medical teachers had been set up, which was scheduled to meet in Chandigarh next Tuesday. “We shall present the detailed result and other necessary information before the committee and a decision will be taken whether grace marks needed to be granted to the MBBS (final) students or not.”


Seminar on women empowerment opens
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 22
A two-day national seminar on “Women empowerment: myth or reality” began at the Christian Institute of Religious Studies (CIRS), Baring Union Christian College, here today.

On the inaugural day, Rev R.M. Chaudhary, Director, CIRS, unfolded the aims and objectives of the seminar. He stated despite the fact that women were outperforming their male counterparts, they did not receive any kind of recognition. They were still subject to physical assault, exploitation and oppression.

The world celebrated International Women's Day every year, but never appreciated the spirit of womanhood. He hoped the delegates would deliberate on the hurdles in the way of actual empowerment of women and evolve an action plan to improve the present state of affairs.

During her keynote address, Prof Rajesh Gill, Department of Sociology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said the actual empowerment of women was a joint mission of both men and women for establishing a healthy and cultured society based on equality, justice and morality. She felt that even today the woman could not take a decision on her own marriage.


GND varsity teachers’ body poll on July 26
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
A straight fight was likely for the forthcoming Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association elections for 2005-06 slated for July 26. Nearly 300 teachers would exercise their franchise to elect six office-bearers and the same number of executive members.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, said that Dr Kashmir Singh, Professor of Law, had been nominated as Returning Officer. Dr Gurjeet Singh, Professor of Law, would hold the election on the University Regional Campus, Jalandhar, while Dr P.S. Sharma, Professor of Foreign Languages, would conduct the elections at Gurdaspur. 


Maiden direct flight from Italy lands in Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
The Air Italy’s first direct flight from Verona to Amritsar landed in at 06.45 a.m. at Rajasansi International Airport here today.

A spokesman of the Air Italy said the weekly flight would connect Punjabis with Italy for the first time. The Boeing 757 with a capacity of 220 passengers landed with 70 passengers.

He said the flight had been started for the convenience of a large number of non-resident Punjabis settled in various parts of Italy who regularly visited their home country around the year.

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