P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Power crisis deepens
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 26
The power cuts in Punjab today increased to more than four hours while the demand for power in the state rose to about 1,400 lakh units. The power supply from all sources has been 1,300 lakh units, said the PSEB sources.

The crisis deepened due to the rise in power demand, lesser supply of power from the Naptha Jhakri project and from some others states where flood has damaged hydel projects. Besides, a 110 MW unit in the Bathinda thermal plant had already been closed for the maintenance, the sources added.

A senior official of the PSEB said that the increase in the demand for power had already forced the PSEB to purchase 10 lakh units each from Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal every day.

Power supply from the Ropar, Lehra Mohabat and Bathinda thermal plants was 465 lakh units while hydel projects supplied 468 lakh units.

Power supply from hydel projects was better this year due to a heavy rainfall so far. The BBMB hydel projects are in a much better position this year due to a rise in their water levels. The state is getting 203 lakh units every day from the BBMB and 144 lakh units from Ranjit Sagar Dam. Besides, the state is also getting 408 lakh units from the central grid.

The sources said the power crisis had aggravated in the morning as power supply from the Naptha Jakhri project also remained suspended till 10 am. The state has 28 per cent share in the project.

The Member, Administrative, PSEB, Mr Raman Bhatia, said that the power cuts in the state were imposed as the state was not getting proper power supply from hydel projects including the Naptha Jhakhri project which had been facing a silt problem.


SGJC proposes, High Court disposes
Another order of judicial panel grounded
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC), which is a full partner in the management of gurdwaras, has again proved toothless after the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the removal of Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC President by the SGJC on July 19 due to technical reasons.

While the top Akali leaders of different factions have been sharply divided over the orders passed by the SGJC, the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has virtually launched full-fledged campaign against the order of the commission. Earlier, it was Capt Amarinder Singh who had written a letter against the SGJC president criticising his functioning.

The developments in this regard are considered unfortunate even as the SGJC is a judicial body, which directly and substantially controls the functioning of the gurdwaras. The SGPC and the state government share the expenses of the commission.

The commission consists of three members. The appointment of one of the members entirely depends upon the choice of the state government while the other two are selected from the panel of seven sent by the SGPC. Earlier, the government had been appointing member from the judiciary. A departure from the convention was made in 1960 when Kartar Singh Giani, an Advocate, was appointed as an official member.

The current President of the SGJC, Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, was initially appointed member of the commission in 1989 from the panel of three, sent by the then SGPC chief, Jathedar Gurcharn Singh Tohra.

However, Parkash Singh Badal government resorted to direct interference in the constitution of the SGJC when he rescinded the previous notification, in 1999 thereby removing Mr Patti, Mr Raghbir Singh and Mr Dara Singh. The Badal government had nominated new panel comprising Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa and Mr Ajwant Singh Mann, all advocates. Mr Badal had to remove the previous panel as he feared influx of cases after his tug-of-war with Jathedar Tohra. However, after coming to power, Capt Amarinder Singh government again issued a notification, appointing Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, Mr Ajwant Singh Mann and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa as its members.

However, the first order taken by the new SGJC, headed by Mr Patti was to restrain Mr Dalmegh Singh as the Secretary of the SGPC on the basis of a petition. Mr Dalmegh Singh got the stay orders from high court. In another order, SGJC ordered the SGPC chief to remove Mr Dalmegh Singh from his present post and Bibi Jagir Kaur had publicly challenged that the SGJC had no jurisdiction to pass such orders. She had stated that such administrative matters were the prerogative of the SGPC and not the SGJC.

Many other orders passed by the SGJC, against Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Kashmir Singh Gandiwind, Sucha Singh Langah, Bakshish Singh Dhalowali, Shingara Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Dilbagh Singh and others were also stayed by the high court.


Evolve innovative means, says Montek
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
Stressing on the need to evolve innovative means to tackle major social problems like growing population, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, has advocated effective and active participation of people to check them.

Dr Ahluwalia was here to release a book: “A Billion is Enough”, authored by Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta which suggests innovative and effective ways to stabilise India’s population by 2020-25. The highlight of the incentive-based scheme suggested by Mr Gupta is life-long monthly pension for all couples below the poverty line who adopt methods for population control, education stipend for their children, participation in a nationwide lottery scheme and free medicare for kids up to 16 years of age.

While apologising for being behind schedule on account of his missed flight from New Delhi, Dr Ahluwalia, who was accompanied by his wife and the Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner, Dr Swaran Singh, suggested that innovation was the ultimate solution to all social problems. “We have to think of innovative means and more importantly we have to involve ourselves. State governments, people and NGOs have to experiment. We need innovative work”.

Dr Ahluwalia also indicated that the idea of free power and water was not feasible from the economic point of view.

Dr S.S. Johl, Deputy Chairman of the Punjab Planning Commission, lauded the scheme mooted by Mr Gupta in his book to eradicate problems arising out of population explosion. Expressing his views about problems of farmers, Dr Johl said the only solution was that capital must keep flowing into the agricultural sector for its growth. He also advocated installation of a nuclear power plant in Punjab.

Amritsar: Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Tuesday visited the Golden Temple. He was accompanied by his wife, Dr Isher Kaur.

Dr Ahluwalia refused to speak to the media as he described his visit here as purely religious. Both of them were honoured with a siropa and a photograph of Golden Temple by Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary, SGPC.


5 galleries to come up at Science City soon
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 26
Construction of five new galleries to be set up in the second phase of Pushpa Gujral Science City at a cost of Rs 23 crore is likely to begin in a week’s time.

The plans for setting up “Energy Park”, “Science of Sports” and three other galleries based on biotechnology, evolution and mechanism of home appliances have already been finalised and construction would begin after a formal ceremony.

Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director-General of Science City, said this during a telephonic conversation today. He said that he had sent an invitation in this regard to Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Industrial Training, who was likely to visit in a week’s time.

The Director-General said that the second phase would be completed in two years. He said that experts from Bangalore were likely to design the various exhibits for the Energy Park. He said that the energy gallery would be the first to be readied for use. “It will house huge exhibits that will explain the mechanism of generating solar energy, biomass energy, wind energy and energy via other sources using non-conventional means,” he said.

Dr Khandpur said that biotechnology would be the thrust for the second gallery that would be merged with the existing health gallery. He said it was being felt that the health gallery had a very few exhibits and many more could be added to it such as those explaining the effects of manipulation of genes and various genetic disorders. He said the gallery would also have exhibits based on emerging technologies that were likely to come up in the next 20 years.

Another gallery of interest for science students would be that of evolution. The evolution of mankind would be explained in the form of huge models of living creatures on an island inside water body.

Dr Khandpur added that it had been decided that a distinct gallery be designed for explaining the scientific principles involved in sports.

Science City is also likely have a gallery that would be for the interest of homemakers. A gallery that was likely to be called “How things work” would have exhibits that would explain the functioning of household items like food processor, sewing machine and washing machine.


Dullo against privatisation of education, health
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Taking a clear stand, the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said here today that he was against the privatisation of education, the health sector and profit-making public sector undertakings.

Mr Dullo’s stand is contrary to strong pro-privatisation voices in the Punjab Council of Ministers.

Informed sources said that while addressing a closed-door meeting of the party’s general secretaries and vice-presidents at Punjab Congress Bhavan, Mr Dullo said that in a democratic welfare state there were certain services which had to be provided by the government keeping in mind the interests of the poor sections of society.

Mr Dullo said he would talk to the Chief Minister on the issue of the privatisation of PSUs and the health and education sectors. Later, too, he expressed similar views while talking to a select group of mediapersons.

He said efforts should be made to improve the functioning of the profit-making public sector undertakings and identify the reasons why such units often began operating in the red.

He said he was aware of persons who first created a wedge among top leaders of the party and then played the role of mediator for a patch-up.

Mr Dullo told the general secretaries and vice-presidents that he would not make any change in the existing team of the party office-bearers. Even the presidents of the district units would not be changed. He assigned them the task of setting up party units in each district by the end of next month. All members of the party would be issued identity cards by him, he added.

Most of the speakers, including Mr Rampal Daipy, Mr Brij Lal Goyal and Mr M.M. Singh Cheema, praised Mr Dullo for giving due importance to party workers. They said that both the government and the party should work in tandem to strengthen the hands of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress.

Mr Dullo said that while visiting various districts in September, he would make people aware of the achievements of the government.


Sarna gives oust-Badal call
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, has urged various Panthic and Akali organisations to unite to get rid of the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing a press conference here today, he urged Akali leaders like Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala to come forward to lead the SAD because Mr Badal had failed to do anything good for the Sikhs and Punjab. Mr Sarna said he would extend full support to the Akali leaders who united against Mr Badal.

Owning moral responsibility, Mr Badal should have resigned following the Sikh Judicial Gurdwara Commission’s decision against the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur. “While on the one hand, Mr Badal is directing Akali leaders, whose wards had taken admission in the SGPC-run medical college in Amritsar, to clear the dues of that college, on the other he is criticising the commission regarding its judgement against Bibi Jagir Kaur”, said Mr Sarna.

Akal Takht should summon Mr Badal to ask him why the Panth should bear the expenditure on the education of wards of certain well-off Akali leaders and members of the SGPC. “Can Mr Badal name any poor Sikh or Akali activist whose ward has been given fee concession at that medical college? he asked.

Mr Badal had let down hundreds of Sikh youths who on his (Badal) call joined various Akali agitations and went to jail. Mr Badal ditched them and many of them were now in jails or had gone abroad.” No effort has been made by Mr Badal to bring such youths, who were misled by him, back into the mainstream”, Mr Sarna added.

Children of 70 SGPC members and employees were apostate. “I am ready for a debate on all Panthic and other issues related to the Sikhs with Mr Badal at any place and any time”, he added. Mr Badal had not removed Bibi Jagir Kaur from the presidentship of the SGPC because she could expose the Badal family.

Mr Sarna said the SAD should not support Akali leaders who promoted their families by using Panthic money and institutions.

While Mr Sukhbir Badal was eager to raise the issue regarding Capt Amarinder Singh’s visit to Dubai in Parliament.


Baby given up for dead, kept in storeroom
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
Doctor’s negligence almost cost Gudiya her life. She was given up for dead but after 16 days Gudiya has shown a remarkable ability to survive.

It was a happy day for Vinod Kumar of Lehra Gagga, Sangrur, when his wife, Sonika, conceived after six years of marriage. They had visited various doctors but finally found success at Patiala as Dr Ashi Sarin’s treatment proved fruitful.

Happiness almost turned to despair for the family as Sonika went into labour after only six months of pregnancy. She delivered the baby at 10 p.m. on July 10 at Bindi Nursing Home, where she was referred to by Dr Sarin.

“Dr Sarin told me the baby was dead and asked me to take the body for last rites. It was night and I couldn’t do anything so I asked them to keep the body till morning. They wrapped the body in a white cloth and kept it in a storeroom, ” says Vinod.

However, a different scenario greeted him in the morning.

“When I took the baby in the morning, I found the baby was breathing. She was alive. The doctor had said she was dead. She was wrapped up and presumed dead for more than seven hours.”

The baby was then taken to Healthy Baby Clinic where treatment was started by paediatrician Dr Avinash Gupta.

According to Dr Sarin, the baby weighed 700 gm at birth and had a heartbeat of almost 100 per minute.

According to doctors normally such premature babies have negligible chances of survival. It seems it was assumed to be so by Dr Sarin. Considerable time was lost before expert paediatric help was provided to the baby.

Vinod in an application to the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said that Dr Ashi Sarin didn’t attend to Sonika for over three hours and reached the nursing home only after the delivery and then declared the baby dead.

When contacted, Dr Sarin said, “The baby didn’t cry and was limp and blue. There was only 1 per cent chance of survival. I also attended to the patient myself and delivered the baby.”

Dr Sarin also refutes the charge that the baby was put in the storeroom. “The baby was put on the trolley in the operation theatre, where the nurse tried giving oxygen and other measures. I had told the couple to come in the morning but they reached Patiala in the evening, ” she added.

According to Dr Kiran Tandon of Bindi Nursing Home, Dr Sarin brings her patients to the nursing home and she attends to them herself. Dr Sarin pays for the room and other facilities provided by Dr Tandon’s establishment. Dr Tandon happens to be a former student of Dr Sarin.

Meanwhile, Gudiya now weighs 765 gm but has a long way to go before she can be declared out of danger. Dr Avinash Gupta says she would have to be around 1.5 kg before it could be safely said that she would survive. That would take around two months.

The risk, it seems, has increased for Gudiya as a few hours had passed before she was taken to Dr Gupta.

The SSP has ordered an inquiry into the matter.


Moga Truck Union splits over misuse of funds
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 26
Mired in controversies for the past few years, the Moga Truck Union has finally split following differences between two Congress leaders.

The split came after a row over a piece of land purchased for Rs 52 lakh from the union’s funds. The latest controversy has put District Congress Chief, Ranwinder Singh Pappu, and PPCC general secretary, Jagrup Singh Takhtupura, at loggerheads. Nearly 400 truck operators gathered last evening and chose Pappu as their new chief “relieving” Takhtupura of the charge.

The truck operators of the Pappu faction also met Deputy Commissioner, Mandeep Singh, and urged to him to stop the mutation of the land purchased, besides seeking a probe into the matter.

Mr Pappu today held a press conference and said if Takhtupura and his aides didn’t give an account of the money of truck operators in two days he would bring the matter to the notice of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, and demand action against those who indulged in embezzlement of the union’s funds.

Sources said the issue of misuse of funds was raised time and again in the past and every time “political intervention” suppressed the matter, but with two Congress heavyweights facing each other the scenario is altogether different this time.

On the other hand, Takhtupura denied allegations against him and said the land purchased for Rs 52 lakh was the property of the Truck Union.

He said the election of Pappu as union’s president by some people was “unconstitutional”.


Lathicharge on workers flayed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
The Municipal Workers Union (MWU) criticised the lathicharge on the employees of Honda company and demanded a high-level probe at a meeting here today.

In a press note, Mr Manjit Rishi, secretary, MWU, said a plan had been chalked out to hold a protest rally. He added that in this rally all unions of the Municipal Corporation and the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh would participate.

A rally was held by the employees of various organisations.

Nirmal Singh Daliwal, President ATEK of Punjab unit, said the Gurgaon incident showed that there was no government in Haryana and alleged that the incident was a handiwork of a nexus between the Company management and the local police.

Mr N.K. Goar, secretary, A.I.B.A.E, condemned the incident. Workers of various unions are slated to hold protest rallies in the city tomorrow.


Youth Cong holds Vanamahotasava function
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 26
Mr Parkash Singh, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, while addressing a function organised in connection with the celebration of Vanamahotasava by the district unit of Youth Congress, here today, exhorted the Youth Congress workers to launch an awareness drive against the menace of environment pollution, drug addiction and other social evils.

He said the Youth Congress workers should act like a torch-bearer to mobilise the people against the social evils and make it a mass movement. A large number of workers participated in the ‘Van Mahotasava’ function. As many as 10,000 saplings were distributed among the Youth Congress workers for plantation.

While lauding the achievements of the Congress Government in accelerating the pace of development, providing corruption-free and transparent governance by launching Lok Suvidha Camps schemes for providing the services at the door step of the people, he asked the workers to propagate the achievements up to grassroot level, with a view to giving a befitting reply to the misleading propaganda by the Opposition. He disclosed that the funds amounting to about Rs 5 crore had been sanctioned by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the extension of sewerage and drinking water facilities and a sum of Rs 11 lakh was sanctioned for sprucing up the Baradari Garden here.

Rana Kuldip Singh, District Congress president, Mr Satvir Singh, District Youth Congress president, Mr Chaman Singh Bhanmazara, chairman, Market Committee, Mr Vipin Taneja, general secretary, Punjab Youth Congress, were along others who addressed the gathering.


Yol to have 9 Corps headquarters
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 26
Pathankot has once again lost the battle for army command. Higher authorities of the Army have decided to locate the headquarters of the newly raised command 9 Corps at Yol near Dharamshala in Himachal.

The 9 Corps was raised in April this year to meet the demands of troops stationed in plains. At present, the Corps was a part of the Northern Command. It was initially decided that the headquarters of the 9 Corps would be at Pathankot. However, temporarily the headquarters was set up at Yol near Dharamshala. An area in Mammon Cant in Pathankot was selected for raising the permanent headquarters of the 9 Corps.

Pathankot was considered as an ideal place for the headquarters due to its strategic locations. Pathankot was easily approachable from all the areas commanded by 9 Corps.

However, the sources here said that the Army authorities have now abandoned the idea of setting up the Corps headquarters at Pathankot. Lt. Gen Anup Singh Jamwal, General Officer-Commanding 9 Corps, when contacted, admitted that the headquarters would be brought at Yol. When asked about the reason behind shifting the venue, he said that a proposal to set up the headquarters at Pathankot was there. But Pathankot already had a divisional command. It was not advisable to place a command over another command. So, the decision has been taken to set up the headquarters of 9 Corps at Yol.

The area ranging from Pathankot to Aknoor in Jammu was to be the command area of 9 Corps. From August 15, 9 Corps is to be made a part of Western Command. However, the sources disclosed that both the Northern and Western commands are vying to have control of the Pathankot area.

The 21 Sub Area, the static command looking after the supplies of the Northern Command, is also based at Pathankot. At present, it is part of the 16 Corps that would continue to remain under the Northern Command. The Western Command was pressing for shifting the 21 Sub Area under the command of 9 Corps. If this happens the 21 Sub Area would automatically be a part of the Western Command. The Northern Command would be reduced to operational command with its three Corps working in the Kashmir valley.


Depositing power bills to be easier
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
If you have ever deposited an electricity bill you might be aware of the harassment one has to face by standing in a serpentine queue in the scorching heat of summer. However, the good news is that problem is likely to be solved soon by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities.

The PSEB has decided to install a new state-of-the-art ‘Touch Screen Machines’ for collections of cash payments from the customers in lieu of their electricity bills. These new machines, which are likely to be installed shortly, are customer friendly and it will the get instructions from the touch of customers’ fingers as the name ‘touch screen’ indicates.

The PSEB sources said that that decision to install ‘Touch Screen Machines’ was taken after one such machine installed in Mohali on a trial basis early this year, produced desirable results. The PSEB management was also of the view that these machines would help the board in collection of hard cash in its own premises and it would be able to put an effective check on the system of collecting the payment through bank cheques.

For paying a bill through this machines one has to touch it in order to make it operational Customer will then have to chose sub-divisions in which his or her house or other unit falls and then after feeding the account number one can pay the bill by depositing money into machines. The machine, like an ATM, will also give a receipt of the deposited money.

One will not get any balance if he deposited more money than one was supposed to do. However, the additional amount deposited by the customer will be adjusted in the next bill.

Official sources said that in the first phase one machine each would be installed at Patiala, Bathinda and Pathankot and two machines would be installed in more thickly populated cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. If the system becomes popular with the customers, more such machines would be installed.


PSEB asks police to book BKU leaders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today requested the Station House Officer, Majitha Police Station to file cases against leaders of the Bhartia Kisan Union and others.

In a letter to the SHO the Sub Divisional Officer, Majitha Subdivision No 2 has stated that tubewells of various farmers were running with the 63 KV transformer. He said that these farmers owe thousands towards electricity bills which were pending till yesterday.


2,345 power connections

Ropar, July 26
Under the mass contact programme during the paddy season, total 2,345 temporary connections of power have been given in the Ropar circle. Besides it, instructions have been issued to all Xens and SDOs to carry out checking of unauthorised tubewells to curb the menace of theft of electricity and also to save transformers from any damages, said S.E (Operation circle Ropar), Mr H.S Bains, today.

He said paddy control rooms had been set up at various divisional offices for farmers to lodge their complaints round the clock. TNS


Special teams to check violation of PNDT Act
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 26
To check the evil of female foeticide leading to the skewed sex ratio in Punjab, the government has formed five teams to conduct surprise raids at ultra sound centres indulging in sex determination tests in violation of the PNDT Act.

This was slaked here by Dr SP Jagat, Civil Surgeon cum District Appropriate Authority, Kapurthala at a meeting of the Advisory Committee regarding the PNDT Act of 1994.

These teams don’t inform the Civil Surgeons while conducting such raids, said Dr Jagat.

SMO Dr Yash Mitra, Sub-Divisional Appropriate Authority, asked these owners to submit report of their scanning centres on the third of every month.


Bima yojana to cover adults below poverty line
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Punjab Government today announced that all adults living below the poverty line, both in the rural and urban areas, will be covered under the Janshri Bima Yojana (JBY).

An official spokesperson of the Social Security Department, Punjab, said the JBY covered persons aged between 18 and 60 years.

A sum of Rs 20,000 was given in the case of natural death, Rs 50,000 in the case of death or permanent disability due to an accident and Rs 25,000 in the case of partial disability due to an accident.


Bail for Mann, but with conditions
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
Mr Justice A.K. Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted bail to Akali leader Simranjit Singh Mann in the sedition case registered against him by the Amritsar police.

However, the Judge directed Mr Mann not to make any inflammatory or seditious speeches. He was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court within one week, after which he would be bailed out.

The court ordered that in case Mr Mann did not desist from making inflammatory or seditious speeches, the police would be at liberty to move the competent court for cancellation of his bail.

Mr Mann has been lodged in Ludhiana jail since June 14 on charges that he and his followers raised the demand for Khalistan and raised pro-Khalistan slogans at a rally. His bail application was earlier dismissed by a Ropar court, following which he approached the High Court.

However, Mr Mann’s counsel objected to the charge and denied that his client had made any such speech.


Cop in police custody, charged with kidnapping rape victim
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 26
A Kharar court today remanded a former SHO of the Nayagaon police station in police custody for a day. The Mohali police had arrested the SHO Amarpreet Singh yesterday for allegedly helping the accused in a rape case registered at the police station in 2003.

According to informed sources, the former SHO has been booked on charges of being party to the kidnapping the victim, her parents and her brother, holding them in illegal custody in order to coerce them into reaching a compromise with the accused. The SHO has been booked under sections 218, 344 and 365 of the IPC.

On the intervention of a double Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court investigation started after more than two years of the incident. The High court had on May 31, 2005 passed an order directing the investigations in the case should be completed within three months. In the orders the double Bench observed, “very serious allegations have been made and till now the accused have been able to frustrate all attempts to get at the truth.” The Court directed the Punjab Police, “to go into the matter expeditiously so as to restore the faith of the common man in the system and the capability of the investigating agency to bring to book the culprits, if guilty and take action against any person who is using the process of law to gain unfair advantage till the cloud which has gathered over the present episode is clear.”

The order was passed on a petition filed by the victim and her parents Balkar Singh and Vidya Devi in 2003. Incidentally, Balkar Singh is a constable in the Punjab Police. According to the petition, the persons who raped the victim are Ramkesh, alias Kesha, Gurdhian Singh, Kesar Singh, Rinku and Tari. Out of these, Rinku, Tari, alias Avtar Singh and Kesar were arrested on July 20. Ramkesh and Gurdhian Singh are absconding. Both have a long criminal record and over a dozen cases are pending against the two, including the murder of Pala Singh Nihang, a former sarpanch of village Khuda Ali Sher.

The pregnant victim was taken to the PGI in March 2003 where she delivered a child and following her statement a case was registered at Nayagaon police station and the three booked. The then SHO Nayagaon, Amarpreet Singh was the investigating officer in the case.

Subsequently, the family alleged that after the victim was discharged from the PGI on March 5, 2003 the victim, her younger brother and mother were abducted by the accused from Nayagaon and taken to Mani Majra where one girl Jyoti Sharma was residing. According to the petition, the next day Balkar Singh was also kidnapped by Gurbachan Singh, a resident of village Karoran and others, including Ramkesh, his two brothers Mohinder Singh and Sajan Singh and some women.

The entire family, according to the petition, was kept in Mani Majra for about a month in connivance with the SHO. The accused Gurbachan Singh would keep a vigil on the family. According to the petition, more than 20 FIRs have been registered against the group “headed” by Gurdhian Singh and Gurbachan Singh. The petitioner further stated that the group along with the SHO managed to browbeat the family into giving a false statement before the judicial magistrate.

Informed sources today stated that averments in the petition have been found to be correct. “Examination of the victim has disclosed that the victim was abused by at least nine persons, including the five named in the FIR, over a period of three years prior to March 2003 when she delivered a child”.

A special team of the Punjab Police headed by former SSP, Ferozepur, Mr Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, is investigating the case. SHO Amarpreet Singh was presented before the judicial magistrate, sub-division Kharar, Ms Poonam Ratti, today and remanded to a day in police custody. He would be produced in the court tomorrow


Khalra case: Additional Sessions Judge summoned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
The Additional District Sessions Judge, Mr Bhupinder Singh, has summoned the Additional Sessions Judge of Faridkot, Mr Ravinder Singh, during the hearing in the ongoing Khalra murder case here yesterday.

The judge has been summoned to record his statement, according to a police counsel. Mr Ravinder Singh will appear before the court on August 31. Kuldeep Singh, SPO, had alleged in the court of Mr Ravinder Singh, who was Magistrate at Jalandhar then, that Jaswant Singh Khalra’s wife, Paramjit Kaur, had offered Rs 50,000 to him to lodge a complaint against the police.

Kuldeep Singh backtracked from his statement and denied recording such a statement. The next hearing in the case will take place on August 10. Jaswant Singh Khalra had disappeared in 1998, after being picked up by a police party.


180 challaned for traffic offences
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, July 26
In its week-long drive, the traffic wing of the local police issued 180 challans to offenders under various categories and impounded two motor cycles.

Sources said a majority of the challans were issued for not wearing headgear, not carrying proper documents, not using seat belts, triple riding, wrong parking, use of pressure horns, commercial use of tractor-trailers, etc.

“The main emphasis of the drive was to keep a special check on minors driving vehicles,” said Mr Sucha Singh, traffic in charge.

The educational cell of the traffic police visited many schools, colleges, taxi stands and transport unions and delivered lectures on traffic rules.

“Our next target would be polluting vehicles for which traffic wing personnel would hold a free pollution check-up camp at the local bus stand soon. The police plan to carry out such drives once in month so that people do not flout the rules,” added Mr Sucha Singh.


ASI suspended for dereliction of duty
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 26
An ASI has been suspended for dereliction of duty and some unidentified men have been booked for reportedly misbehaving with a doctor at the Civil Hospital a couple of days back.

According to sources, the ASI posted at Sadar police station, Sukhdev Singh, brought Balkar Singh of Kaniawali village to the Civil Hospital on the July 24 night. Balkar had sustained injuries and some of his aides also accompanied him. Medical Officer Jaidev Singh and pharmacist Gurcharan Singh were on duty. The doctor bandaged Balkar Singh and started making his medico-legal report (MLR). Sources said the men who came with Balkar reportedly asked the doctor to prepare the report so as to pave the way for registration of a case under Section 326 of the IPC.

When the doctor refused to do so, they allegedly threatened him. The sources said when the doctor asked the ASI to act against them, he continued to watch the episode as a mute spectator.

A delegation of the Indian Medical Association, led by Dr Sukhpal Singh, met the SSP, Mr L.K. Yadav, and complained that Dr Jaidev Singh was threatened in the presence of a policeman.

Acting on the complaint, the ASI has been placed under suspension, while unidentified men have been booked for threatening the doctor.


Imposter caught at Regional Passport Office
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
Mr Amarjit Singh, Regional Passport Officer (RPO), today caught hold of an imposter, Harjinder Singh, a resident of Barnala village of Gurdaspur, who allegedly tried to coerce his staff while claiming that he was an ASI of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Harjinder Singh, 35, who has been working as an official of a seed company here, went to the passport office and started pressurising officials and even the security staff in connection with the passport-related work of Surinder Singh of Bhogpur. He also threatened the PA and the personal security officer of the RPO and barged into his office.

The moment Mr Amarjit Singh sensed that he was drunk, he caught hold of him and asked him to reveal his identity. At this, he claimed that he was an ASI with the Vigilance Bureau and requested the RPO to let him go. Mr Amarjit Singh asked him to produce his identity card, but he refused. Mr Amarjit Singh tried to verify his antecedents from Mr Ishwar Chander, DIG, Vigilance Bureau, who told the RPO that the man was not an employee of the VB.

The RPO called the police and handed him over to it.

Interestingly, Harjinder Singh was carrying an identity card, which bore No. ICN-5550, purportedly issued by the SSP’s office in Gurdaspur. The police recovered an amount of about Rs 20,000 from him. Enquiries revealed that he was working as an employee of a seed company.


2 PCR cops held for bribe
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, July 26
A police team headed by SHO Lakhwinder Singh Mall caught two police control room (PCR) constables while accepting bribe from a mini-truck owner here last night.

The mini-truck owner, Swarna Ram of Rurka Kalan village, complained to DSP Navjot Singh that the said PCR men used to ask for bribe frequently.

“He used to carry on “sankranti” day devotees to Baba Teja Singh Radha Soami satsang at Saidpura village, near Baba Bakala, free of cost on religious trips,” says the mini-truck owner.

On June 15 when he was carrying devotees on the religious trip, the PCR men signalled him to stop at Sugar Mill Chowk and challaned his vehicle. The cops realised Rs 1,800 as fine for not possessing proper papers.

Repeating this act on July 16 when he was on his way to religious congregation with devotees, the PCR cops asked him to stop. They demanded Rs 900 as bribe without challaning the vehicle (Tata mini-truck 407 — PB-08 M-9880). He promised to the PCR men to give the money some other day as he was not carrying any amount at that time. They agreed to it and fixed Monday as the day.

Taking serious view of the incident, DSP Navjot Singh deputed SHO Lakhwinder Singh Mall, who laid a trap and caught them red-handed on Banga Road, near the city police station.

The DSP said that a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the cops.


Four of family booked for murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
Four persons of a family including a woman and some unidentified persons have been booked for killing a man and injuring three others over a land dispute.

Sources said Bhola Singh of Deon village had about 24 acres of agricultural land and it was jointly held by heirs for three generations. Bhola’s heirs had built their homes on this land, but one of them, Nachhatar Singh, considered the land on which houses were raised as his share. Sources said Nachhatar’s claim had resulted in tension among Bhola Singh’s heirs. Both the parties had a brawl January over the issue. Nachhatar Singh along with his wife, Charanjit Kaur, his sons Raj Singh and Sohan Singh, and his 10-12 aides, yesterday gathered to take over the possession of land.

They got engaged in a tiff with the other party led by Labh Singh. Preetam Singh, died and three others of Labh Singh camp were injured in the clash between the two parties.

On the basis of Labh Singh’s statement, a case has been registered against Nachhatar Singh, Raj Singh, Sohan Singh, Charanjit Kaur, and 10-12 unidentified men under Sections 302, 324, 323, 452, 148, and 149, of the IPC at Nehiawala police station.

During the clash Sohan Singh, Charanjit Kaur, and Nachhatar Singh, were also injured. In this connection, Labh Singh, Amritpal Singh, Nek Singh, Tek Singh, Malkit Singh, Balwinder Singh, and Sukhraj Singh, have been booked under sections 324, 323, and 148 of the IPC. Raj Singh has been arrested.


3 members of inter-state gang of robbers held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 26
Three residents of Mumbeki and Lalowali villages on the Abohar-Ferozepore road have been arrested at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, by the special task force, official sources said today. The police claimed that they had confessed to robbing many persons by threatening them with pistols in Sriganganagar district, Fazilka and Jalalabad West in Ferozepore district and Dabwali in Sirsa district of Haryana.

Arrested were identified as Ashwani Kumar (24) son of Mohinder Singh, Gurdev Singh (27), son of Malla Singh, residents of Mumbeki village, and Inder Mohan Kamboj (20), son of Bag Chand a resident of Lalowali village. They are learnt to have told police during preliminary investigation that they were members of an inter-state gang operating in Ferozepore district and areas neighbouring Abohar.

The police said that on April 2 the suspects looted a bag containing Rs 1.40 lakh from Surinder Kumar, son of Kashmiri Lal, a resident of LIC Colony, Sriganganagar, by intercepting him when he was on his way back home from a petrol station. On April 23 they forced entry into Mahabir Shopping Centre at 10.30 pm, pulled up the shutter, looted Rs 15,000 in cash, a gold ring and a mobile phone by pointing pistols at the owner. They escaped on their motor cycle after locking the shop.

On May 26, the gang allegedly intercepted Sant Lal while he was carrying a bag from Chhabra Petrol Station, Anoopgarh. The culprits hit his scooter and fled after snatching the bag that contained Rs 93,000. The culprits were remanded in police custody till July 29.

The Sriganganagar police arrested two more residents of Punjab with fake currency. Officials said that Iqbal Singh and German Singh, both residents of Amritsar, reportedly sold their Maruti Zen car to Surinder Singh and wanted to buy his Tata Victor Jeep. While taking the vehicle for test driving, they purchased diesel worth Rs 200 and gave Rs 1,000 currency note to the salesman who refunded Rs 800 to them.

The salesman later found the Rs 1,000 note to be fake and informed the police. A police party arrested them after a short chase. Thirtythree notes of Rs 1,000 denomination and 11 of Rs 500 denomination were recovered from them. 


One held for making fake currency
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 26
The district police claimed to have busted a gang involved in making fake Indian currency notes and selling it to other petty agents by arresting the kingpin of the gang.

The police has seized a computer, printer and a scanner used for preparing fake currency notes. A case under Sections 489 and 420 of the IPC has been registered.

According to SSP, Varinder Kumar, the Khamano police on a tip off, laid a trap to nab the accused and raided a house in Maheshpura village and arrested Jasbir Singh, the king pin of the gang.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused was an NRI who came to India in 2003 from London, but he could not go back as he fell short of money. He then came in contact with Charanjit Singh, alias Tonny, a resident of 52C-Sewak Park, near Uttam Nagar, Delhi, and Kamaljit Singh of Nawanshahr. The SSP said they started the business of preparing fake currency notes and sell it in market directly and through agents. They hired a house at Rohni, Sector 1, Delhi and started operating from there, the SSP added.


DC dons teacher’s cap during surprise checks
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, today turned into a teacher and taught students during surprise checks in government schools and hospitals of the district.

The DC seized guides from the room of the Headmaster and also from students of the government school of Gulabgarh village.

Taking a serious notice of the matter, he asked the DEO (Secondary) that study through guides should not be allowed in schools. He warned of strict action if guides were recovered from any of the schools in future.

Mr Bhandari also checked copies of students, besides having a look at the daily diary of teachers. He interacted with the students and heard their grievances. He asked the DEO to seek explanation from the teachers of Gulabgarh school regarding filling up diary, not checking students’ copies, and carelessness in handling of library books.

The school did not have power supply from July 1, for which the DC pulled up the village Sarpanch.

The DC asked a girl student to solve a problem on the blackboard. When she failed he and the ADC solved it for the students. He got the locks of toilets opened in the school. He also checked food being served to students under the Midday Meal Scheme.

Mr Bhandari inspected village’s dispensary. He asked officials to start the work on waterworks of Gulabgarh and Katarsinghwala villages soon. He also ordered the immediate shifting of the anganwadi centre being run from a dharamshala in Katarsinghwala village due to its dilapidated condition.

The DC said the surprise checks would continue in future and the ADC, SDMs, and department heads would carry on this work. He asked the ADC (Development) to visit both villages after a week and submit a report to him on shortcomings.


Lack of centralised  counselling irks MD, MS aspirants
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 26
Hundreds of candidates seeking admission to postgraduate medical courses of MD and MS in the designated institutions throughout the country are a harassed lot, thanks to the lack of centralised counselling and the persistent indifference on the part of the body entrusted with conducting combined entrance test (CET) and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Information made available to The Tribune revealed that as many as 1624 candidates were declared eligible for admission to PG courses in the June, 2005, all-India CET conducted by the National Board of Examinations (NATBOARD), set up by the Union Ministry of Health and Welfare. But, instead of holding a centralised counselling for allocation of seats in 322 hospitals and other medical institutions, approved by the government of India for PG medical courses, the candidates were asked to apply to all these institutions at their own level.

Some of the affected candidates wondered as to why the NATBOARD could not hold a counselling and allocate seats in these institutions to successful candidates on the basis of merit and preferential choice of cities where these institutions were located.

In a memorandum submitted to the board, copies of which have also been sent to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare and the Medical Council of India, the affected candidates had pointed out that it was not only difficult, but impossible for individual candidates to apply to 322 institutions taking into account the labour and financial involvement of such an exercise.

The candidates have urged the government to intervene and streamline the admission process to PG courses through designated institutions. A centralised counselling for all institutions would not only save the candidates from undue harassment but would also bring the desired transparency in the whole process.


Probe into wheat siphoning off case ordered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
A day after three persons, including two canteen contractors and a watchman of Government Elementary School, Bhargo Camp, were arrested on charges of siphoning off five sacks of wheat meant for distribution among schoolchildren, the District Education Officer (Elementary), Mr Kulbir Saini, marked the inquiry into the alleged scandal here today.

Mr Saini has directed the Deputy DEO, Mr Kala Singh, to investigate the matter. The Deputy DEO had reportedly asked the school authorities to furnish all records pertaining to the arrival and distribution of wheat.

However, since the records had not been maintained upto date, the school authorities failed to submit the details.

The Deputy DEO is likely to take statements of the school employees, teachers and complainants that largely include residents of the area who had nabbed the canteen contractors with five sacks of wheat on Sunday evening.

The police sources revealed that the two canteen contractors had been sent in judicial custody while the watchman, Jog Singh, who was arrested yesterday was presented in the court today.


Nursing students hold protest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
Nursing students of B.Sc.III have started a protest here today for the refund of Rs 15,000 charged for transportation and other facilities during the first year as the college had failed to provide the same.

Government Medical College authorities have restricted them from attending the classes for failing to deposit Rs 40,000 as hostel and tuition fee for two years.

The students were protesting against the arbitrary decision of the college authorities for demanding Rs 40,000. The students said Government Nursing College, Patiala, was not charging any hostel fee from the students, but their college had charged the hostel fee on the first year. In the second year they were asked to deposit tuition fee only and now the authorities were demanding last years’ hostel fee also, they added.

The students said the hostel fee included the transportation charges for transporting them from their hostel in Guru Nanak Dev Medical College to Government Medical College, but in the past two years, the college had failed to make any arrangement and they had to move on their own.


Campus placement from today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Guru Nanak Dev University would hold a two-day joint placement on behalf of L&T Infotech Limited for about 400 students of IT courses of 20 institutions located in Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir from tomorrow.

A university press release issued here today said the selected candidates would receive a package of Rs 2.53 lakh after the specified period of training.

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