P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vedanti behind bid to grab gurdwara: Dhumma
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, Jathedar, Damdami Taksal, Chowk Mehta, in a press conference here today alleged that the attempt to take forcible possession of Gurdwara Shahid Ganj, was done at the behest of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht.

Rejecting to accept the supremacy of Jathedar Vedanti, he urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to stop him from being biased to a particular group. He clarified that they accept the supremacy of Akal Takht and not of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, as there were several other allegations against him where he worked against the Sikh traditions.

A parallel faction of the taksal led by Baba Ram Singh yesterday had tried to take possession of the gurdwara where a Sikh-Nirankari clash had claimed 13 lives in 1978. However, they left the place when the administration intervened and Damdami Taksal of Baba Dhumma regained the possession of the gurdwara.

While detailing the incident, Baba Harnam said his men got a call from Prithipal Singh, personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, to give the possession of the gurdwara to the parallel faction of the taksal till August 3 and after that Jathedar would resolve the matter. He said Prithipal Singh also called the district administration. He said Jathedar along with his PA used all means to have possession of the gurdwara. He said the SGPC should appoint new Jathedar after taking views of all religious organisations. He also alleged that Bhai Nirbhai Singh, who had been given the charge of the gurdwara by Baba Thakur Singh, former Jathedar of the taksal, had played negative role in the episode by supporting the parallel faction.

Baba Harnam Singh alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, and Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, also played role in breaking up the taksal by playing partisan politics. Mr Harminder Singh Gill, former president of the Sikh Student Federation, who later joined the Congress, also tried to pressurise the administration for giving possession to opposite group, he added. He said a jeep, motor cycle and Rs 20,000 had been missing from the gurdwara after yesterdays incident. However, they had not lodged any complaint in this regard.

Meanwhile, police party led by the DSP had been deputed in and around the gurdwara premises as precautionary measures after the incident.


Dullo to give fortnightly report on party, govt
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Performance and “winnability” will be the two overriding factors while determining the nomination of party candidates in the Assembly elections due to be held in 16 months’ time in Punjab.

Asserting this, the President of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said today that he would observe the performance of party leaders closely and those with outstanding performance would be rewarded.

Talking to TNS here on various issues, Mr Dullo said the brief from Ms Sonia Gandhi to him was to strengthen the party to the level that it could win the next elections in the state. “I have been asked by Ms Gandhi to submit a report regarding the functioning of the party, its leaders and the government to her every fortnight”, he added. “Obviously, those who have given me the job of President of the PPCC would like that I perform to their satisfaction”, he said.

There was no need to appoint any working president of the PPCC. “ As I am capable of working for 20 hours a day, where is the need to appoint a working president?” he asked.

Running the government was the job of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and its party’s job was to take the programmes, policies and work done by the state government to the people, he said. “Capt Amarinder Singh’s government has done a lot but the message in this regard has not reached the people concerned”, he said.

“I will extend full support to the Chief Minister in running the government smoothly and seek his support whenever and wherever necessary”, he added, the reports that he and the Chief Minister would be pulling the party cart in different directions.

He was all for the party’s supremacy over the government. He said party workers played a crucial role in the formation the government, and they should have supremacy over the government. “The party will work as a bridge between the people and the government”, he added.

“We will be giving feedback to the Chief Minister on a regular basis on what people expect from the government and what is required to be done at various levels”, he added. “The Chief Minister and I will be meeting every fortnight to discuss various party and related issues”, he added. He said that education, health and government employees were areas where more attention was needed.

Asked what he expected from the bureaucracy, Mr Dullo said he wanted that it should attend to party workers in a proper manner and give them the respect that was required to be given to any citizen visiting any public office. “We have a good number of officers who have an excellent reputation and perform their duty honestly. But like some politicians, there are officers with poor a reputation and work culture”, he added. “Moreover, there is nothing wrong in it if any officer gives honour or respect to any party worker visiting his or her office for genuine work. I am not encouraging party workers to visit government offices for wrong work”, he added.

He said he would be staying at the party office here for two days every week. “I am getting a room ready and will spend one night at the office”, he added.

Mr Dullo has planned to set up a party unit in each village. At tomorrow’s meeting, general secretaries and vice-presidents of the party will be assigned this task.” Then in September, I will personally meet leaders of the village units by holding their meetings at each block headquarters”, he said.


Bibi moves HC against SGJC order
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Bibi Jagir Kaur today filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the July 19 judgement of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC), removing her from the membership of the SGPC. She has also challenged the order debarring her from contesting the SGPC general election for a five year period.

Bibi was also ordered to pay Rs 2.5 crore to the SGPC on account of the loss suffered by it due to alleged undue favours extended to kin of Akali activists. These kin, the SGJC order says, got admission in the five-year MBBS course in Shri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research managed by an SGPC-backed trust, without paying the entire fee.

In her petition, Bibi Jagir Kaur has stated that the trust which manages the institute is an independent, legal entity and that the SGPC cannot give directions to it.

She has asserted that the decision of the SGJC was without jurisdiction. She has contended that it is arbitrary as it is based on the statement of only one person. She has termed the order as an attempt to tarnish the image of elected representatives of Sikhs.

Giving instances, she has also accused the SGJC of trying to oust Akali Dal activists like her on flimsy grounds.

The SGPC chief has also denied the charge that she waived the fee due from kin of influential Akali leaders. She has maintained that earnest efforts are being made to recover the outstanding amount from the students.

The petition will come up for hearing tomorrow morning.


FIR registered in Rajwinder’s case
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Taking suo-motu congnizance of a Tribune report on the plight of 14-year-old Rajwinder of Mukerian, who was allegedly sold off and then forcibly married to a 32-year-old Bhan Singh, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today marked an inquiry to the Deputy Commissioner of Hoshiarpur. An FIR into the case has also been registered now.

A Full Bench of the commission, headed by its Chairman Justice N.K. Jain, directed the Hoshiarpur DC to carry out a thorough probe into the matter and take necessary action. The commission has also sought a report from the state Home Department in the matter and has sought for the DC’s probe report by August 22, when the commission would again take up the case for further hearing.

Taking serious note of the gravity of allegations in the complaint, the commission today noted: “We call for the report of the state Home Department and also of the DC, Hoshiarpur, under Section 17 (I) of the Protection of Human Rights Act. The SSP, Hoshiarpur, may also take necessary action into the matter.”

Incidentally, two weeks after the traumatised sisters Rajwinder and her elder sister Sukhwinder made several representations to the district police authorities, the Mukerian police is also reported to have registered an FIR in the case finally.

Speaking to The Tribune, Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner D.K. Tewari, said “Immediately after reading the report, I followed up the case with SSP, Hoshiarpur, Mr Lok Nath Angra, who told me that an FIR had been registered against accused Bhan Singh and others in the case.”

The police authorities in Hoshiarpur also said that they would look into the matter of delay in the registration of the FIR and necessary action against the erring officers would be initiated soon.

The FIR has been registered under Sections 4,5,6 of the Child Marriages Restraint Act and under Sections 376/120-B of the IPC, for rape of a minor girl.

Meanwhile, complainants in the case raised apprehensions about the registration of the FIR, alleging “it seems to have been registered in back date”.

The victim’s elder sister, Sukhwinder, said “we have been running from pillar to post to get a case registered. Finally, we had to take legal help from human rights lawyers in Chandigarh. If the police had registered an FIR, they should at least have cared to inform us. We only hope, fairness prevails and the accused are brought to book”.

Back in Chandigarh, where the two sisters are now lodged at a short stay home, Ms Veena Sharma of the Human Rights Law Network, is representing their case in the PSHRC.

She has helped them file a complaint under the Human Rights Act against Bhan Singh, who forcibly married Rajwinder; Bhan Singh’s mother Bimal Kaur, who facilitated the marriage; Rani, Rajwinder’s relative who struck the deal; Des Raj, a municipal councillor of Urmar Tanda in Mukerian, who attended the wedding and pressured Rajwinder’s family to send her back to Bhan Singh.


Railway parcel house has 30 tonnes of goods
Taxmen’s vigil outside railway station
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 25
Taxmen maintained vigil outside the Pathankot railway station for the third day today with none of the traders coming to collect their goods. About 30 tonnes of goods are lying in the parcel house of the railway station.

Goods ferried by trains came to the notice of taxmen after octroi contractors of Pathankot today complained to a minister and other senior officials of the Taxation Department, Punjab on phone about the alleged connivance of the taxation officials had with the traders.

Contractors alleged goods without bills were being brought by trains at Pathankot railway station and no action was being taken by the Taxation Department here. On the complaint the higher authorities deputed Department Officials from Jalandhar and Gurdaspur to check the matter.

Till the filing of this report Taxation Department officials were standing outside the parcel house of the railway station waiting for someone to come and claim the suspected material.

The Taxation Department officials did not move into the parcel house to check the goods. When contacted they said the Taxation Department did not have the authority to check the material lying in the custody of the Railways. They can only check the material once it comes out of the railway station.

If traders do not come to collect goods for five hours the Railways starts charging damages. Since none of the traders came to collect the material till today damages started accumulating on goods. The failure of traders to collect the material also indicated the presence of fake and unbilled material in consignment.

Sources said every week four wagons of goods come to Pathankot from Delhi. A large quantity of goods in these wagons were fake and without bills. Once at Pathankot railway station, a contractor here delivers the goods to the godowns of the traders. The contractor charges Rs 100 per quintal from the traders for the safe delivery of goods at their godowns.

Recently the Food and Civil Supplies Department confiscated 2,600 kg of fake desi ghee from godowns of a Pathankot-based trader. The fake ghee was allegedly brought to Pathankot through the Railways. There were no bills available for the fake ghee.

The Railways’ papers indicated just the number of boxes that were transported through their network. The papers did not indicate the type of material transported in the boxes.

The sources also said traders might re-book their consignments to some other places to evade the waiting taxmen.

The sources said large-scale tax evasion and trading of fake goods was taking place in the area in connivance with the Railways and Taxation officials of the state.


Wagah opened to Indo-Pak trade after
gap of 50 yrs

Varinder Walia and Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 25
Gates of the Wagah Joint Check Post (JCP) were thrown open for Indo-Pakistan trade after a long gap of five decades even as the first ever consignment of garlic was exported to Pakistan by a trader here through the land route.

The Wagah JCP was notified for the Indo-Pakistan trade only a few days ago. Earlier, Indo-Pakistan trade used to be done through Samjhauta Express that plies between Attari (India) and Wagah (Pakistan). The local exporters have been receiving a lot of queries by their Pakistani counter-parts for exporting fresh vegetables and livestock through the JCP.

Today, the JCP was humming with activity while Indian porters carried 757 bags of garlic on their heads for handing over the consignment to their Pakistani counterparts under the supervision of senior Customs officials including Mr P.S. Sodhi and Mr P.S. Bisht, Additional Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner, respectively, a trader said that Amritsar exporters were getting regular queries about onion, potatoes, tomatoes. He claimed that his company had received an order of 250 metric tonnes of potatoes, 500 metric tonnes of garlic and 20,000 sheep from the traders of Lahore and Karachi. Mr Mukesh of Shiv Dutta Mall and Company which exported garlic today claimed that people of Pakistan would be able to get fresh vegetables, grown in Indian Punjab at affordable prices.

Jubilant exporter, Rajdip Uppal described the day as historic one. He said with the opening of Indo-Pakistan trade, residents of Lahore would now be able to eat fresh vegetables, available in Amritsar within two hours after the export.

After Wagah being notified for the Indo-Pakistan trade, the holy city, which used to be international trade hub before Partition would witness lot of business activity in the coming days. Before Partition, the Amritsar — Lahore road used to be the only caravan route for the traditional trade of Indian sub continent for more than five centuries. The traders use to ferry goods from Dhaka to Persia, making Amritsar as the most favoured halting station on the banks of rivers Beas and Ravi.

This development would usher in an era of great economic revival and traders of both countries would get required boost after opening the land route with Pakistan. Till recently, Pakistan allowed transit facility for Afghanistan to export dry fruit to India while prohibiting India to export using its land route. Even humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country, Afghanistan, was not allowed. However, the local traders pin their hopes on the implementation of SAFTA by this year for which Wagah would play a significant role.

Export from India to Pakistan rose from $ 110.48 million in April-November 2003-04 to $ 314.54 million in the same period this year while; imports from Pakistan saw a jump from $ 44.47 million to $ 66.25 million in the current fiscal year. “The commodities where significant growth is registered include, man-made fibre (1145 per cent), plastic and linoleum products (1864 per cent), non-ferrous metals (1311 per cent), rice (other than basmati) (542 per cent), ferro alloys (875 per cent), pulses (759 per cent), meat and meat preparations (521 per cent).

India, in principle, had granted Most Favoured Nation status (which standardises tariff on offer to MFN nations) to Pakistan in 1995-’96; further, it has no list of restricted items of trade with that country. However, Pakistan had not given India MFN status; its restricted list comprises over 600 items, mostly containing metals or chemicals.


SAD to question Capt’s Dubai visit in Parliament
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal will raise the issue of recent visits of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to Dubai without taking prior permission from the Union Ministry and to Dixcy Gurdwara in Canada in the coming session of Parliament. This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, today while talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Jasjit Singh Thiara, former Chairman of the Punjab Tubewell Corporation, at Ahrana village, about 20 km from here.

Mr Badal condemned the UPA government for ignoring Dalits and weaker sections of society. He said it had not prepared any programme for their upliftment. Moreover, the government was ignoring education. He pointed out that 71 per cent students were from the rural areas and there were no teachers in rural schools.

Referring to the various factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal, he said their leaders were only running their shops for political motives without any principle-based politics. He described the SAD (Amritsar) as aimless and SAD 1920 as 420. They had no representative in Parliament and state assembly and he alleged that these factions were offshoots of the Congress.

Commenting on the recent foreign tours of state ministers and MLAs, Mr Badal said crores of rupees were being wasted only to please them. Employees were crying for their salaries and development works had come to a stand still on account of the shortage of funds.

He said by changing the President of the PPCC, the Congress would not come to power again as people of Punjab had fed up from its corrupt rule.

Mr Jasjit Singh Thiara, who was a member of state executive of SAD 1920, joined SAD along with his supporters in the presence of Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, member, Rajya Sabha, Mr Surinder Singh Bhulewal Rathan, president of the district unit of the SAD, Mr Des Raj Dhugga, MLA, Bibi Mohinder Kaur, a former minister, and thousands of party workers and people of the area.


Dhami for probe into financial matters of SGPC
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 25
Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, working president, of the Dal Khalsa, in a press statement issued here today said the recent decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) against the SGPC President was just a tip of the iceberg of the amount of corruption which was rampant in the management of Sikh institutions.

Mr Dhami said the Sikhs could not escape from the blame for this sad state of affairs in their supreme body. He gave a call to Sikh masses to awake and seek accountability of their offerings and ensure that only religious and honest persons were given the responsibility of managing Sikh institutions.

Commenting on Mr Badal’s and Ms Jagir Kaur’s remarks against the SGJC, he said the commission was appointed under the same Gurdwara Act through which the SGPC exists. Moreover, they have started speaking against it only after the decision has gone against them. In 1999, when commission gave rulings against Tohra group, then it was acceptable to Mr Badal.

While hailing the bold decisions of the SGJC, Mr Dhami requested the commission to initiate a thorough inquiry into the financial matters of the SGPC and bring the guilty to the book. The Dal Khalsa would submit a memorandum to the SGJC in this regard soon, he added.


AIDS victim’s HIV+ widow deserted by in-laws
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 25
The life of Amarjit Kaur (name changed), a resident of a village in the Kalanaur area of the district, has become hell. She has contracted HIV from her husband who is now dead. To add to it, her in-laws have beaten and thrown her out of the house. The police has failed to act on the FIR registered by her in the local police station.

Talking to The Tribune in the house of her parents, Amarjit said she was married to a soldier in the Indian Army in December, 2002. Her husband used to remain ill all the time but nobody told her about the nature of his ailment. He used to have persistent fever.

Due to ill-health, her husband left the Army and came home. He was taken to various private hospitals by her in-laws. Though she accompanied her husband to every hospital, nobody told her about his ailment. It was only in 2004, more than a year after marriage, that she came to know from the Military Hospital that her husband was suffering from AIDS.

Later, she was also tested positive for HIV. The virus was passed on to her allegedly by her husband. She is also taking medicine from the Military Hospital and a private hospital, hoping to get cured.

She alleged that had her in-laws or husband told her about his ailment, she might have been saved from getting infected. Her husband died in October, 2004.

Her in-laws, fearing that she might stake a claim for his property, allegedly beat her and threw her out of the house. “When my parents tried for a reconciliation, they were also ill-treated and thrown out of the house,” she said.

Instead of sympathising with her, the in-laws have started accusing her of infecting her husband with the disease.

The in-laws have kept all her belongings. The matter was reported to the Kalanaur police. The police initially failed to register an FIR in the matter. However, later, after pressure from the locals an FIR was registered. It has been about a month since the registration of the FIR, but no action has been taken against the alleged culprits.

Amarjit alleged that the local MLA was protecting the accused in the case. He has allegedly barred the police from taking action against the accused.

“All I want now is that my in-laws should allow me stay in my husband’s house. They should also return my belongings and give me my due share so that I am not dependent on my parents,” she says.

The SP (Detective), Mr Morr, when asked to comment said the police had not acted in the matter as the villagers had told them that they were looking for a compromise between the two parties.


Self-help groups found to be fake
Legal action recommended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
The district administration has recommended legal action against Teja Singh of Kalajhrani village and his aides for forming fake self-help groups to avail themselves of loan and subsidy.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, has written to the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, to book these people under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468, 471, and 120B of the IPC.

The DC said some residents of Kalajhrani had complained to him that Teja Singh and Hardev Singh got their signatures on forms stating that they would be provided loan for raising homes, but they didn’t receive any money for the same. Later, they came to know that both of them had allegedly taken loans on their names.

The ADC (Development), Mr Sucha Singh Mast, investigated the matter and found the allegations to be true. The probe also held Panchayat Secretary Sukhdev Raj responsible for fraud and he had been suspended.

The DC said Teja Singh had formed a fake self-help group by the name of Malwa Rural Beekeeping Society, Kalajhrani, and made his sister-in-law Gurpinder Kaur, illiterate Amarjeet Kaur, and Sumna Singh, an employee at his computer centre, its office-bearers.

The second group was named Chardi Kala Rural Beekeeping Society whose office-bearers were Sumna Singh and Jassa Singh. Form No.23 of Malwa Rural Beekeeping Society was verified by Teja Singh, while that of the Chardi Kala society was done by Panchayat Samiti Member, Sangat Block, Karamjeet Kaur.

These office-bearers were given the right of completing bank documents. They had verified bills of Dhaliwal Bee Farm, Channu village, Muktsar, and also gave their thumb impressions on the firm’s vouchers, but none of them had any idea about the rate of bee boxes and the firm from which they were bought.

Teja Singh was involved in all these manipulations. Deposits of Rs 40,000 in one bank account and Rs 48,000 in another point out that Teja Singh and Hardev Singh had formed these self-groups with the intention to usurp subsidy.

Teja Singh also gave false statement that he had not signed any bank document. He had identified one of the office-bearers on his Form No.23. He also admitted that while depositing instalments of debt, he could sign vouchers, which indicated that he had utilised the loan and was repaying it.

The DC said Kaljhrani Sarpanch Malkit Kaur and Panchayat Samiti member Karamjeet Kaur had been issued notices as to how they verified these self-help groups without a proper inquiry.


Nagar panel rejects compromise formula
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
The Nagar Sudhar Sangharsh Committee,Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Tibbi,Wards No 9 and 26,this evening rejected compromise formula discussed earlier in the tripartite talks held by local SDM Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal with the representatives of the committee, Nagar Council authorities and councillors of the two wards.

Disclosing this, Jaswinder Singh Kanugo, a leader of the committee, however, said that the meeting decided to postpone tomorrow’s programme of traffic blockade.

“We would chalk out the next phase of struggle soon,” he said. “Our struggle would continue till acceptance of our demands about sewerage,sanitation and drainage,” he said.

The meeting rejected the talks because it felt betrayed by Nagar Council, alleged Mr Kanugo. “We learnt in the meeting that the sewerage of a factory had been linked with our areas by the council itself while the council authorities had all along been asking us to lodge a complaint against the factory so that the authorities could initiate action under section 133,” he rued.

The sewerage problem in the area was the creation of the council which had been pretending to be our saviour, added Mr Kanugo.


Anganwadi workers protest outside Singla’s home
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Activists of the Anganwadi Workers Union today protested outside the residence of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla here demanding immediate reinstatement of two anganwadi workers whose work was withdrawn following rotten eatables scam in anganwadis.

The union gave a one-week ultimatum to the state government to concede to their demands.

Addressing the protesters, the state union president, Ms Hargobind Kaur, said if the state government didn’t reinstate two anganwadi workers in question, they would begin an indefinite fast in front of the minister’s residence from August 1. The protesters raised slogans against the district administration and the state government.

A majority of the anganwadi centres of the district remained closed today as a mark of protest. The anganwadi workers took en masse leave to keep the centres closed. The union leaders said they would meet the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, to apprise them of the situation.

The protest came after the state government withdrew work from the anganwadi centre in charges of Mehma Sawai and Nehiawala on the issue of supply of rotten eatables to anganwadis. Sources said the department officials reportedly made efforts to foil their protest. Sources said some supervisors allegedly didn’t allow anganwadi workers to leave on one pretext or the other.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, also talked to a delegation of the union. The DC clarified that this action was taken directly by the department.

However, he assured the delegation of recommending the anganwadi workers’ reinstatement. He also said that anganwadi workers would also be called at the monthly meeting of the department. The union continued its protest after the meeting and it concluded in the afternoon. The union leaders demanded action against the officials involved in rotten eatables’ scam. They also sought removal of the Secretary of the Child Welfare Council, Ms Uma Ratra. Leaders of other employee organisations also addressed the protesters.


BJP against shifting of bus stand
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The city unit of the BJP today while condemning the move of authorities concerned to shift the local bus stand from its present location to the Patiala-Rajpura road said it would cause inconvenience to the residents apart from causing a huge loss to those, who were running their shops in the surrounding areas.

Mr Raman Sharma, District Press Secretary of the BJP, said the party had also urged the Chief Minister to keep a check on it. He said the party was of the view that the present bus stand was equipped with all facilities and located near the railway station hence it should not be shifted.

He said the party had also condemned the local municipal corporation authorities for making it mandatory for those applying for new power connections to take prior approval for the same.


Modern stadium for Kharar
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 25
Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary for Sports and Youth Services Welfare Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi has announced a state-of-the-art sports stadium in Kharar.

The proposed stadium, which will be the first-of-its-kind in Punjab, will be constructed on 5 acres, which the Kharar Municipal Council will provide, while the state government will spend Rs 25 lakh on the project.

Since the Central Government provides equal share in the promotion of sports activities by the state government, Rs 25 lakh will come from the Union Government.

He announced this at the installation ceremony of the Kharar-Kurali-Morinda Union of Journalists, a unit of Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ).


Protest against water shortage
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
Residents of colonies falling in Basti Danish Mandan held a protest against shortage of drinking water supply in their colonies.

The residents of New Raseela Nagar and nearby colonies came out on the roads and raised slogans against the Municipal Corporation authorities. They even went to the zonal office of the corporation where they were assured that the problem would be assessed and rectified at the earliest.


Sanitation plan for Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The district administration has planned to launch a sanitation programme in Patiala district, according to Zila Parishad Chairperson, Gursharan Kaur Randhawa. The plan will cost about Rs 3 crore.

According to the plan, necessary sanitation facilities will be provided to about 10,000 families while 10 sanitation complexes will be built for women. Each complex will cost about Rs 2 lakh. The funds for the project will come from the Centre, the state government and panchayats.


Farmers gherao PSEB office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
Hundreds of activists of the Bharati Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan) gheraoed the office of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Majitha and blocked the entry and exit gates of the office at Kathunangal today.

The farmers were protesting against the failure of the electricity board in replacing or repairing the transformer of Hamza village , which had been damaged for the past two weeks. Mr Rachhpal Singh, president of the farmer organisation, alleged that due to non-repairing of transformer crops of farmers were damaged.


Patwaris to boycott work
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 25
The Revenue Patwar Union has threatened to boycott office work on July 27 to protest against the non-implementation of its demands already accepted in principle.

Mr Om Parkash, district president of the union, who addressed a meeting of the patwaris here, said a dharna would be organised at the subdivisional headquarters on August 5.


Youth asphyxiated
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, July 25
A youth died after inhaling some poisonous gas inside a 20-foot deep well in Rehana Jattan village on Sunday evening.

According to sources, Sukhwinder Singh (30), had gone into the pit to repair the motor of a tubewell where some poisonous gas suffocated him to death.


70 donate blood

Patiala, July 25
In a camp organised by the Dedicated Brothers Group, about 70 members donated blood to bolster the working of Blood Bank at Rajindra Hospital here, according to a press note issued by Gurbakshish Singh Parmar, a member of the group. TNS


HC dismisses Punjab CM brother’s petition
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed the petition filed by the brother of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The petitioner, Mr Malwinder Singh, had challenged the April, 2004 order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) by which it refused to hear the application filed by the petitioner.

Mr Malwinder is fighting a protracted legal battle to make the Income Tax Department refund money paid by him as tax, which he claims was wrongly calculated. The tax was calculated on valuation of Leela Bhawan, Patiala, in 1972-73. He is claiming that 5,079 sq. yards of land, which was not in his possession was added to the property at the time of calculation of tax. The amount involved in the litigation is estimated to be in lakhs.

In his petition, Mr Malwinder Singh had stated that in 1972-73, some portion of the property was sold off, while a portion was left out for parking, green area and other public utility services as per the basic requirement of the Department of Town and Urban Planning. However, the valuation officer, in his calculation, added 5,079 sq yards of land to the property owned by him.

In his appeal before ITAT, the petitioner had claimed that the excess land was added to his wealth even though he was not in possession of the same. He stated that he could not be asked to pay tax for a property that he did not possess.

However, the HC did not find merit in the petition and dismissed it.


Police remand for Hawara’s accomplices
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 25
The Moga police today produced two accomplices of
Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh Hawara in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Arunvir Vashisht in connection with a shootout case. The court sent Sambar Singh, alias Samir of Jagraon, and Joga Das of Sawadi, both of whom were arrested by the Chandigarh police, in two-day police remand.

Sources said the police wanted to interrogate both these accused with regard to an incident in which a cop was shot at near Lopo village in February, resulting in serious injuries to him. The police had then registered a case under Sections 307, 353, 186, 323, and 34 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59, of the Arms Act against unidentified persons at Badhanikalan police station.

The police had been on a lookout for the persons behind this incident for quite some time and had also arrested some men in this connection. But, police failed to get a vitalclue. Sources said the police secured police remand of both these men after it got some definite clues about the incident being linked to Hawara.


Helpers of ‘rapists’ in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 25
A Kharar court today remanded two persons for helping alleged rapists in 14 days of judicial remand after turning down a petition filed by the Mohali police to extend their police remand.

The Mohali police had on Saturday arrested Jyoti Sharma and Babu Lal on changes of helping alleged rapists. The two had allegedly threatened the victim with dire consequences in case she reported the rape to the police. Prosecutor told the court today that .15 bore and .12 bore guns, that the two had allegedly used to scare the victim were yet to be found from them.

Three persons, Kesar Singh, Avtar Singh and Rinku, had been held on July 20 on charges of rape. The incident had occurred in 2003.


Decision to renew firearms licences
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 25
Despite that the ongoing CBI inquiry into the arms licence scandal which rocked this border district few years ago is still far from complete, the state government has decided to renew all those 27,188 firearms licences which are under the CBI scanner.

Mr Rahul Tiwari, ADC revealed that these licences made during the period from September 1, 1998 to February 28, 2001, would be renewed now only after thorough verification of the antecedents of the firearms licence holder by the police.

He said that the step had been taken as several genuine arms licence holders who got their licences issued during this period were having a tough time in getting their arms licences renewed.

Earlier, the state government had put a blanket ban on the renewal of these arms licences as all these licences were under the scrutiny of the CBI sleuths investigating the arms license scandal. It was being presumed that out of these 27,188 arms licences, more than the half of them were issued without proper verification of the antecedents of the licencees as a result of which several criminals and people residing outside the state had managed to get their arms licenses issued from the licensing authority, Ferozepore, on the basis of fake documents.

The racket came to light after the arrest of several hardcore criminals in Delhi and Haryana, who were in possession of fake firearms licences issued by licensing authority, Ferozepore.

Thereafter, the Punjab and Haryana High Court referred the case to the CBI following a writ petition filed by the Congress leaders Dr Mohinder Rinwa and Mr Hans Raj Jossan seeking CBI inquiry into the scam.

The petitioners had prayed that as most of these fake licences were issued under pressure from political bigwigs hailing from the Malwa belt and some senior bureaucrats were also involved, so it would not be possible for the state police to do justice with the investigation.

It is pertinent to mention that over 30,000 firearms licences were issued by the licencing authority, Ferozepore, in a span of over four years from September, 1998 to February, 2001.

The CBI is investigating the case for the last four years and has already interrogated hundreds of persons, including officials, arms dealers, politicians in connection with the case but the status of the inquiry is yet uncertain.


Good response to ‘Suvidha camp’
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 25
The district administration with a view to providing hassle-free services to people organised a ‘Lok Suvidha Camp’ at Kathgarh village, about 35 km, from here, on Saturday.

Mr Parkash Singh, Parliamentary Secretary, inaugurated the camp and Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, presided. People from 58 villages falling under Kathgarh kanugo circle participated.

As many as 24 departments put up their stalls to provide services and to make people aware of various schemes. As many as 350 driving licences, 61 new ration cards, 73 mutations, 7 cases of passport verification, 350 medical certificates, 143 senior citizen certificates, six arms licenses, 50 SC/BC certificates, besides other certificates were issued to the people.

Besides, 509 persons were examined and given medicines at the medical check-up camp. A ‘vanmahotsava’ function was also organised and as many as 6500 saplings were distributed among the people.

Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, heard grievances of the people by organising an open darbar and disposed of as many as 131 complaints.


Rs 4.5 lakh looted from PSEB office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Armed robbers today struck at the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) office on the Bhaagu road and took away about Rs 4.5 lakh cash and cheques worth about Rs 70,000 from the board’s cashiers in broad daylight.

According to sources, two scooter-borne youths with covered faces came to the office at about 2.40 pm and broke open its door. They headed towards cashiers, Bal Mukand and Balwant Singh, who were counting cash before depositing it in the bank. One of them took out his revolver, pointed it at Balwant’s chest and started collecting cash and cheques in a bag. They threatened them not to make any noise, as the office falls under a residential area. The cash counter was already closed and there was nobody in the office except for them. The robbers swiftly carried out the entire operation and fled away with a cash of Rs 4,46,899 and cheques worth Rs 69,750.

Sources said these cash and cheques were received as payment of power bills since Friday. The SDO, Mr Navdeep Singla, said about Rs 50,000 were received on Friday, while the rest was today’s payment. He said the cashiers were about to leave for bank when the robbers struck.

Both the cashiers then rang up the police. Top police officials, including the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, the SP (City), Mr Darshan Kumar, and the SP (D), Mr Ajay Maluja, rushed to the spot.

The police officials talked to one Ankit Kumar who was playing nearby when the robbers arrived at the board office. He had seen both of them, as they had not covered their faces prior to entering the office.

He told that both of them had dark complexion and they came on a scooter with cream colour. Sources said robbers had targeted the same PSEB office two years ago too and looted Rs 5,23,746.

This is the second incident within a month in which cash was taken away from a PSEB office. Earlier, thieves struck at the PSEB office on the Multania road a few days back and decamped with about Rs 2 lakh cash and cheques worth about Rs 20,000.


Sons murder father
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
Hari Singh of Hardaspur village in the district, was murdered by his two sons for allegedly making repeated attempts to outrage the modesty of his daughters-in-law.

The accused after murdering Hari Singh threw his body into the Bhakra main line canal and reported to the police that their father was missing since July 7 when he had gone to purchase a buffalo.

Police sources said Gurdev Singh and Daler Singh, both brothers, murdered their father by mixing poison in his liquor. After Hari Singh died, Gurdev Singh called his father-in-law, Karnail Singh from nearby village and then the three took the body to the canal and threw into it.

To avoid suspicion they pretended to search for their father. They were able to locate the body near Khanauri town. After extricating it they cremated the same without informing the police.

Sources added that the police came to know about the murder through secret information. A case in this connection had been registered under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC.

In another case, the body of a youth was found from the Bhakra main line canal. It bore more than eight stabbing marks. The police was trying to establish its identity.


3 Bangladeshis held near border
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 25
Three Bangladeshi nationals were nabbed by the Border Security Force from Khemkaran sector on Saturday when they were trying to cross over to Pakistan from the Indian side. The police registered a case under various sections of the Indian Passport Act and Foreigners Act.

The accused have been identified as Sajid, Annar and Saifi Mian. Indian currency and a railway ticket has been recovered from them.

Mr Anil Kumar, Assistant Company Commander, BSF, in his complaint to the police said they were trying to cross over to Pakistan in the Khemkaran sector when they were spotted by BSF jawans and nabbed.


13 arrested for gambling
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
The city and sadar police yesterday arrested 13 persons for gambling and recovered Rs 14,000 from them, according to DSP Navjot Singh.

Those arrested included Raj Kumar, Brij Mohan, Rajesh Sharma, Charanjit Singh, Phuman Ram, Jatinder Soni, Amarjit Singh, Inderjit Singh, Sanjiv Puri, Varinder Singh, Ratan Chand, Kashmir Ahmed and Krishan Gopal.

Two booked

The sadar police has booked two persons, Jasbir and Modu, under Sections 307 and 397, IPC, for attempt to murder and robbery.

It was learnt yesterday that Devinder Singh of Kalrian village was to get money from Jasbir Singh of Dheerowal village. Jasbir had borrowed the money. One day Jasbir and Modu went to the house of Devinder Singh and asked him to accompany them to village Ranipur where they promised to return the amount.

The three started on a Hero Honda motor cycle (Pb 10 Q 3042).When they reached Bohani village near Bein rivulet, Devinder was attacked with sharp-edged weapons. He slumped to the ground and Jasbir and Modu robbed him of his motor cycle, Rs 500 in cash and sped away.


Two gangs of vehicle lifters busted
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 25
The Batala Police has succeeded in busting two gangs of thieves and recovered two Maruti cars, 13 scooters, one gas kit, one TV and two mobile phones.

According to Batala police district chief Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain the stolen articles recovered from these two gangs were valued at more than Rs 8 lakh.

The two accused, identified as Dalbir Singh and Rajinder Singh, both real brothers, were running a scooter repair shop at Adda Nasirke village under Civil Lines police station. Another accused Gurudarshan Singh had confessed that he joined the gang of Dalbir Singh a month ago. They used to sell the scooters stolen from Amritsar in Batala. The police parties had been despatched to various areas to nab the other accused Vicky and Happy.

Dr Jain further disclosed that two Maruti cars bearing number PB-02-M-8843 and PB-02-M-8848 were also stolen from Amritsar.


Four held in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 25
Four local residents, including two women, were taken into custody by the police in connection with a dowry case yesterday.

Sources said the action was taken by the in charge of the Women Cell investigating a complaint registered at city police station, Sirsa on July 21. According to information, Rita, daughter of Mr Sham Sunder, a resident of Bansal Colony, Sirsa, was married to Rajiv Kumar, son of Suresh Kumar, at Abohar in 2000. Rita alleged that she was being subjected to harassment for bringing insufficient dowry.

Those taken to Sirsa for interrogation were identified as Rajiv Kumar, his father Suresh Kumar, mother Nirmala Devi and sister-in-law Seema Rani.


Woman dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
A woman, Gurmit Kaur, died while her husband, Baldev Singh, and a child were injured after their scooter was hit by a Hoshiarpur-Ludhiana bus (PB23B5242) on the GT Road at Guru Hargobind Nagar traffic light chowk, here yesterday.

The woman was sitting on the pillion.

The injured were hospitalised here. The bus was impounded and the driver arrested.


Two killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 25
Two labourers were killed and another was injured in a road mishap on the Barnala-Sanghera bypass here last evening.

Mr Bhajan Singh, a resident of Thulewal village, undergoing treatment in the Civil Hospital, said five labourers were going on their bicycles when a Ludhiana-bound private bus coming from Bathinda ran over and killed two cyclists.

The injured Bhajan Singh said the bus overturned after getting out of control. 


Agitating teachers march to Matka Chowk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Hundreds of teachers and other employees here today marched to Matka Chowk from the main bus stand under the banner of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union to urge the Punjab Government to withdraw the directions given to the Education Department to phase out 95 per cent grant- in- aid to their schools.

They had come here from various parts of the state.

They also condemned the state government’s move to de-link their salary and allowances from their counterparts in government schools by changing the relevant law and rules. “The move is directed to do away our pay parity with that of government school teachers and other employees”, said agitated teachers and other employees.

Among those who addressed the participants in the demonstration were, Mr M.L. Chopra, Mr Ramesh Kumar Sharma, Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, all office bearers of the union, and Mr Daljinder Singh, President, and Mr Mohan Lal, Secretary of the Punjab Privately Managed School Managements Association, respectively.

Mr K.K. Sachdeva, Officer on Special Duty in the Chief Minister’s office, received the memorandum from the agitating employees at Makta Chowk. He assured on behalf of the state government that soon a meeting of the office bearers of the union would be called to discuss and resolve the issues stated in the memorandum.

Other issues included the grant of pensionary benefits to teachers and other employees who retired after May 1, 2003, from aided schools. They said deduction of the employer’s share in contributory provident fund had been stopped. This was illegal, they alleged. They also sought the merger of 50 per cent DA in the basic pay with effect from April, 2004, and also merger of 50 per cent DA in the pension of those getting it. Grant of rural area allowance, removal of ban on new appointments, release of arrears were among other demands of the Union. Leaders of the Union said as many as 102 posts of headmaster were vacant in aided schools because the government had not given permission to fill those vacancies.


B. Pharmacy students being made to pay extra fee
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The confusion between the local Government Polytechnic College for Women and Punjab Technical University (PTU) authorities over tuition fee is causing harassment to students of B.Pharmacy.

The students of B. Pharmacy, who were to get promoted to the fifth semester, came in for a rude shock when they were asked to deposit Rs 7,500 as tuition fee by the college authorities despite the fact that they had deposited the same when they got admission in the first semester.

Official sources said what had created confusion was the fact that the college authorities claimed that the students had deposited Rs 7,500 as tuition fee with the PTU when they got admission and the same had not been diverted to the college authorities by the latter. This despite the fact that the PTU was supposed to do the same immediately after charging fee from the students. The PTU authorities claim that it had already diverted the tuition fee of 39 students to the college and now as per its record they did not have any liability in this connection.

Though resentment prevails among students and their parents over the situation, neither the college authorities nor the PTU has done anything to check harassment to students.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the PTU had charged Rs 10,000 from the students when they had joined the course. Of the Rs 10,000 the PTU was supposed to keep Rs 2,500 with it as counselling fee and the rest of the amount (Rs 7,500) was supposed to be diverted to the college concerned.

A senior official of the PTU while claiming that the tuition fee of the students admitted to the Government Polytechnic College for Women, Patiala, in B.Pharmacy, had been diverted to the college authorities, added that if the college authorities would charge the same amount from the students again it would be wrong on their part.

On the other hand, the polytechnic college authorities pointed out that when the PTU would divert the amount, they would return the same to the students concerned.


Abolish octroi, urge industrialists
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Small-Scale Industries Association, Patiala, has urged the state government to abolish octroi by dubbing and create facilities so that the industry grew in the state.

At a meeting held here today speakers said though the octroi had outlived its utility certain vested interests were advocating for its continuation.

They added that this was not true as the octroi had been yielding a little to state revenue and the state government had not abolished it despite the fact that it had imposed new taxes.

They pointed out that the hike of 11 per cent in the electricity charges by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) would break the backbone of the existing industry in the state and lead to the flight of industries to other states.

They alleged that though the state government had been collecting various taxes from industries in different shapes, it had failed to provide basic amenities in the industrial focal points, estates and industrial zones.

Most of the industrial pockets had been lacking in roads, water supply, street lights, efficient sewerage and other disposals.

They said the state government should take care of such things and should make arrangements accordingly so that industries in the state could grow.

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