P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to implement 85th Amendment
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In a decision of far-reaching consequences affecting lakhs of government employees in the state, the Punjab Government today decided to implement the 85th Amendment to the Constitution.

The amendment paves the way for faster promotions to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes employees. This will also facilitate a separate promotion roster for SC/ST employees that will be segregated from that of the general category employees. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, announced the decision here. He said a policy would be notified soon.

The announcement comes just as a petition of the Punjab General Category Welfare Federation, challenging the amendment, is to come up before the Supreme Court. The 85th Amendment was carried out during the rule of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre. This was to nullify the Ajit Singh Janjua judgement of the Supreme Court in which a five-judge Constitution Bench of the court ruled that no consequential promotions be given to the SC/ST employees after they join service.

The amendment to the Constitution was made and once again consequential benefits were allowed to SC/ST employees. The matter of enforcing the new amendment had been hanging fire for a long time and has been cleared now probably with an eye on the Assembly elections less than 18 months away. Several Dalit Ministers and MLAs had been lobbying on this issue.

The senior vice-president of the welfare federation, Mr Prabhjit Singh, who had filed the writ to challenge the amendment, said: “If the Punjab Government carries this out several posts like Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary and other middle-level posts will see 100 per cent reservation.” General category employees would never be able to get to that level as SC/ST employees would get faster promotions and block the avenues for others, he said.

Meanwhile, separately, the Chief Minister also announced that the Council of Ministers had approved the enactment of the Punjab Tax on Lotteries Ordinance, 2005. This will ensure that lottery operators would pay Rs 25,000 for each draw. This will boost revenue from this trade to Rs 250 crore per annum from the present Rs 1.40 crore per annum.

Following the expose by The Tribune on the re-use of disposable syringes and empty vials of drugs, Capt Amarinder Singh today asked the Health Minister to examine the matter and check reuse.

The Cabinet also approved two road corridors. The Balachaur-Garshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya and the Patiala-Samana-Patran, at a cost of Rs 123.64 crore and Rs 48.10 crore, respectively, on a build-operate-transfer basis.

Also, the Cabinet approved a policy of setting up special economic zones (SEZs). Taking a dig at cricketer-turned-Parliamentarian, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Chief Minister said, “Ohh munda waise boli janda. He does not know the facts. In Amritsar the cost of land is prohibitive and we have asked the Central Government to help with some assistance. That’s all, and there was no delay on our part”.

The self-financing Lovely Professional University was also approved.

Among other decisions taken today, the Council of Ministers also raised the income limit to distinguish the “creamy layer” among the backward classes. Now persons with an annual income of more than Rs 2.5 lakh will form the “creamy layer”. Earlier, the limit was Rs 1 lakh.

Some equality has been brought between pensioners who retired before January 1, 1996 and those who retired after that date. Pensioners who had retired before that date had demanded that the pension should not be less than 50 per cent of the minimum of the revised pay scale. Likewise, they had also demanded that their family pension in each case should not be less than 30 per cent of such minimum of the revised pay scale. The decision to accept the demands will entail a one-time financial liability of Rs 40.58 crore for the period between January 1, 1996, and March 3, 2005, and a further annual liability of about Rs 5.87 crore.

It has been decided to increase the number of members of the market commitees which are small in size. 


Recycling of syringes: Punjab CM seeks report
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Reacting to a news-item published in these columns regarding the recycling of disposable syringes in the region, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said he had asked the state Health Minister to come out with a detailed proposal regarding proper disposal of the same.

Talking to the media at Punjab Bhavan this morning after attending a Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said the intention behind the move was to prevent the misuse of disposable syringes. Capt Amarinder Singh added that he had also asked for a detailed report regarding the abuse of the syringes in the state.

Even as the Chief Minister called for a detailed report in the matter, a survey of the junk markets in and around Chandigarh today revealed that disposable syringes were still finding their way back to the markets in the region.

The junk dealers said the syringes were indeed being purchased by the manufacturers in Delhi and some other places. Giving details of the modus operandi, they said some of the manufacturers were procuring imported needles from Japan and other countries and packing them, along with the recycled syringes.

A senior doctor at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) said the result of such “nefarious activity” was there for all to see.

He added that the case pertaining to the presence of a dead fly in a syringe was not exactly isolated. The doctor asserted that earlier also he had detected residue in a syringe. “Now when I look back upon it, I realise the syringe must have been recirculated”, the doctor stated.

The President of PCMS, Dr Hardeep Singh the basic problem stemmed from the fact that the tip of the syringe was not been inserted in the cutter, along with the needle, in so many health-care institutes, despite clear-cut rules to his effect.

He added that the disposal of the syringes in a proper manner was the responsibility of the health-care institutes under the relevant rules and they were to be held responsible for any lapse in this regard.


Traders hoodwink sales tax officials
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 27
While sales tax officials kept sitting outside the Pathankot railway station, traders bringing fake goods in the state have been hoodwinking them. The goods that the taxmen were hoping to inspect have been sent back to Delhi by the traders.

Sources at the Pathankot railway station said after the sales tax officials set up a permanent check-post outside the railway station the traders booked the material back to Delhi. The Station Master of Pathankot railway station, Mr Gupta, said the traders booked their material back in the bogey. The railways charged Rs 19000 as freight from them and the material was sent back.

The issue of fake goods being brought to Pathankot came to the fore a few days ago. The octroi contractors of Pathankot had alleged that a large amount of fake (and without bill) goods were coming through the railways with connivance of the local taxmen and railway authorities. The octroi contractors rang up the higher officials of the Excise and Sales Tax Department who sent a team of officials from Gurdaspur and Jalandhar.

The team set up a permanent check-post outside the railway station. They, however, did not go into the railway premises to inspect the material. The traders, smelling trouble, booked their material back to Delhi.

The sources said the taxmen could have applied for permission from railway authorities to inspect the material. However, they preferred standing outside and let the material be booked and sent back. Had the taxmen acted in time, they could have unearthed a racket through which the railways was being used to bring fake goods into the state.

The sources said a transport firm had booked an entire bogey for carrying material from Delhi to Pathankot. The freight of a bogey is Rs 19,000. The railway authorities did not deem it fit to check the kind of material transported in the bogey.

Once at Pathankot the material was unloaded and transported in small consignments to traders’ godowns.

The station Master admitted that generally the material loaded in a bogey hired by transport or trading firms was not checked. The firm had to give a declaration for the kind of material being transported and it was taken to be true. He, however, added that the decision to book the entire bogey was taken by the Chief Commercial Manager and the local authorities had nothing to do with it.

After the episode, the Excise and Sales Tax Department has raised a permanent check-post outside the Pathankot railway station.


Ban on plastic bags in state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Following the example of Himachal Pradesh, the Punjab Government today decided to ban the use of all types of plastic bags in the state.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Council of Ministers presided over by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today.

The Chief Minister later told mediapersons that the ban would come into force after six months. During this period traders could switch over to paper bags. There would be strict enforcement of the ban, he added.

The ban was needed in view the adverse environmental and health implications, including the death of cattle, in the state.

The Council of Ministers also gave its approval to the draft of the Punjab Plastic Carry Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Bill, 2005.

The ban on plastics was working well in Himachal and Uttaranchal. There was no reason why it was not possible to enforce it here, Capt Amarinder Singh said, adding that penalties and other punishment for violating the ban would be declared in the official notification soon.


Ropar police to seek custody of Hawara today
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 27
The police here will seek custody of the main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, from a Chandigarh court tomorrow in different cases against him in the district. Hawara at presents is in the custody of the Chandigarh Police and his police remand will end tomorrow.

Police sources said besides the bomb blast at the Dera of Baba Piara Singh Bhanirewala, Hawara had made three more unsuccessful attempts to eliminate him and had planned two more. The police will present these grounds before the court.

Hawara allegedly masterminded the bomb blast that took place on January 9 to eliminate Baba Piara Singh Bhanirewala at Nurpur Bedi. Hawara had alleged another attempt to kill Bhanirewala by planting a bomb on the bridge on the Landran road. But he had failed to connect wires of the bomb correctly. He also attempted similar unsuccessful move on the Kurali road when Bhanirewala was taken to Ambala court, the sources added.

Besides, Hawara had also planned to eliminate Bhanirewala by sending his accomplice in police and advocate’s dress to his dera at Nurpur Bedi, the sources alleged.

The police here will also include names of the three more persons in the list of those wanted in the bomb blast case at dera of Bhanirewala. The police has arrested five persons in this case so far.

The police today brought Sant Singh a Hawara aide, to the Ropar CIA staff on the production warrant. He was also alleged to be involved in a bomb blast case.

The sources said Hawara, Gurdeep Singh and Bota Singh and Sant Singh planted the bomb at Bhanirewala’s dera on January 9. But the bomb exploded before time and did not hurt anybody.

The police will also seek Hawara’s custody in connection with the recovery of ammunition and explosive including 10 kg RDX, PETN, pistol, hand grenade and other ammunitions from his two alleged aides include Swaran Singh and also Paramjit Singh, police sources added.


Martyrs’ relatives accuse officials of demanding bribe
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Next of kin of several soldiers from Punjab who were killed while deployed on counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir have alleged that officials of the Sainik Welfare Department have been demanding bribes for releasing their due benefits.

While the martyrs’ kin have submitted affidavits to the state government in support of their contentions, officials of the department have in the circumstances associated with the said cases, questioned the legitimacy and purpose of the affidavits.

Jagir Kaur, a resident of Sirbali Kalan village near Amritsar has alleged that to get ex gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh released, she had to pay Rs 2,000 to a resident of the same village who is employed in the department. Her son Hav Gulzar Singh had died in March, 2002, deployed in J&K.

In her affidavit she added when the central government sanctioned an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh, the officials concerned had demanded Rs 20,000, which was required to be paid to people in Chandigarh and another Rs 10,000 which was to be paid to others concerned. Similarly, Sainik Welfare official had allegedly demanded Rs 30,000 from Pal Singh, a resident of Sultanwind Pati, near Amritsar. His son had also died in J&K in March, 2002. His contention is that he was called to the Sainik Welfare office at Amritsar and told by the clerk that it would cost him Rs 30,000 for getting his cheque from Chandigarh. He added that in May this year, the clerk returned Rs 9,000 to him, saying that the amount had been returned by officials at Chandigarh and the balance would be returned later by another person.

Gulzar Singh, a resident of village Gharinda near Amritsar whose son, L/Nk Gurmail Singh had died in September, 2000, said after ex gratia payment was sanctioned, a clerk had demanded Rs 50,000 from him for releasing the cheques. He was told that the money was required to be paid to a senior officer who was to sign the cheque. Finally, a “deal” at Rs 15,000 was struck and the money was paid to the clerk in the presence of a resident of Gurdaspur.

Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd), when contacted, said Jagir Kaur had earlier made a verbal complaint against the said official, but had retracted from it later. When asked to file a written complaint, she did not come forward. He said both Jagir Kaur and Harbans Singh were given their ex gratia payment cheques at a public function in March, 2005, where senior officials of the Punjab Government were also present. Hence the question of demanding bribes for release of payment does not arise, he added. Had they faced problems, they could have brought it to the notice of officers at the function itself, he stated.

Brigadier Jaswal said a departmental inquiry had been ordered on the basis of the affidavit filed by Gulzar Singh, but he has not come forward to give his statement. He said despite officials visiting his village and the department sending registered letters, he had not responded.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government is introducing a system where ex gratia payments would be transferred directly from the state government treasury to the bank account of the recipient. This would do away with the involvement of a number of intermediate departments and staff and possibility of corrupt practices. The government is tying up with a private sector bank for electronic transfer of funds.


Aided school staff to go on mass casual leave
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Rejecting the government’s clarification that it has not taken a “final” decision yet to phase out 95 per cent grant-in-aid to aided schools, the Punjab State Aided Schools Teachers and Other Employees Union today said that it would not withdraw its agitation until it was given a categoric assurance that the grant would be kept intact and all decisions, which were directly and indirectly leading to the phase-out were withdrawn.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, adviser to the union, told The Tribune today that employees of the aided schools would go on mass casual leave on August 10. They would hold rallies and demonstrations at the district headquarters peacefully to protest against the state Finance Department’s directive to phase out the grant-in-aid and other decisions affecting the aided schools and their staff.

Mr Chopra appealed the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to call union leaders for a meeting to resolve all issues relating to the aided schools.

While issuing the clarification that no “final” decision had been taken yet to phase out the 95 per cent grant, the state government, however, admitted in its official statement that its Finance Department had asked “to factor-in the effective fee, including funds, rather than only tuition fee to work out the grant-in-aid of the schools”. The clarification was issued a day after a demonstration was held by teachers and other employees of aided schools here.

Mr Chopra said that he had definite information that the Finance Department had asked the Education Department to review the grant-in-aid scheme with a view to phasing it out over a period of 10 years.

He said that following a meeting with the Additional Secretary, Finance, on June 13, the Director, Education Department, had circulated a letter (memo number 17/16/2005) on June 20 to all District Education Officers (DEOs) on the issue of grant-in-aid.

Through this letter the DEOs were told to collect details of the income of the aided schools from various sources within 15 days for the purpose of “factoring-in” the same while working out the grant-in-aid. This step was clearly aimed at slashing the grant-in-aid. He urged the government to withdraw this circular immediately.

The union asserted that at the Additional Secretary’s meeting, the issue of phasing out of the grant figured prominently. Follow-up action was then started by the Director, Education Department.

Talking about the indirect measures taken to slash the grant, Mr Chopra said that the government was not allowing the aided schools to fill 900 posts of teacher. By doing so, it was able to deduct about Rs 10 crore from the grant. As more and more teachers and other employees were retiring and vacancies were not being allowed to be filled, the government was imposing a cut on the grant accordingly. Such schools had to recruit 3,000 teachers on their own to cope with the situation.

Moreover, the government was keeping pending the merger of 50 per cent DA in the salary of the employees of the aided schools since April 1, 2004. Besides, 3 per cent DA announced on July 3, 2004, and another instalment of 3 per cent DA announced in January, 2005, for government employees had been denied to the staff of the aided schools.


Aided school heads condemn govt decision
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 27
The association of heads of privately managed recognised aided schools today condemned the state government’s decision to phase out 95 per cent grants-in-aid to these schools and also to delink the pay and allowances of their staff from that of their counterparts in government schools.

The association led by Mr J. P. Shoor, Principal, DAV Senior Secondary School, said in a memorandum submitted to Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

In the memorandum, Mr Shoor alleged that step-motherly treatment was being given to the government aided private schools, which would affect a larger number of teachers as well as students. He alleged the government was running away from fulfilling its duties.


Sarpanch, SGPC member among 11 booked for murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
Eleven persons, including a village sarpanch and an SGPC member, have been booked for killing a man while he was on his way back from Talwandi Sabo court yesterday.

According to sources, the deceased, Gurtej Singh, and his two nephews were returning home at Bangi Kalan village on a motor cycle after attending a court hearing over some family dispute in Talwandi Sabo. They spotted a rashly driven jeep coming from the opposite direction on the Bhagi Bandar-Laleana road. The nephews asked him to stop the bike at the roadside, as they thought that the jeep’s driver was inebriated. The jeep stopped near them and its occupants got down. They asked them to run away. While the nephews fled the scene, he could not escape. Sources said they reportedly thrashed Gurtej Singh and took him along with them.

His nephews rushed to the village and informed their relatives. They later found their uncle’s blood-stained body in a field at Kot Bakhtu village. Police was called.

Sources said the victim was an eyewitness in an attempt-to-murder case lodged against the Sarpanch, Sukhjit Singh Banti, Gurtej’s nephews alleged that they had been receiving threats from Banti not to give witness in the case. They feared that since they didn’t give in to the pressure, it led to yesterday’s incident.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Bangi Kalan village owing to the alleged involvement of the Sarpanch who is associated with SAD (Badal) and SGPC member Mohan Singh Bangi in the case. A heavy police force was deployed in the village yesterday. Sources said with the Congress coming out in the support of the victim’s family, the issue had gained a political tinge.

The SHO, Malkit Singh, said the victim’s body had been consigned to flames after a post-mortem examination.

A case has been registered against Sukhjit Singh Banti, Daljit Singh, Gurmail Singh Angrej, Pala Singh, Ram Singh, Harbans Singh, Ginder Singh, Tej Singh, and Mohan Singh Bangi, under Sections 302 and 364 of the IPC.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said one of the accused had been arrested.


Trade facilities lacking at Wagah checkpost
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Wagah, July 27
Remember the day when Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, could not bring the Arabian-bred horse, gifted by his Pakistani counterpart, through this joint checkpost?

Reason: It was lack of livestock quarantine and veterinary facilities here. In the absence of such facilities which are a must for import and export of livestock, Punjab-based exporters may face hurdles.

Pakistan had allowed duty-free import of fresh vegetables, garlic, potatoes, onion, tomatoes and livestock . Amritsar-based exporters, who have been getting numerous queries regarding livestock, are a worried lot as the Customs port of the JCP does not have the required facilities to handle the export of livestock. So much so the Wagah JCP does not have a refrigerator for cargo. The Customs Commissionarate here had already sent detailed proposals for construction of large cargo complex but nothing has been done so far.

Similarly, the situation on the other side of the border in Pakistan is even worse. The Customs of Pakistan has worse infrastructure. In the given situation, it would be difficult to meet the requirements after implementation of SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) from next year.

Mr Rajdip Uppal and Mr Mukesh Sidhwani, Amritsar-based exporters, said they were receiving regular queries from their Pakistani counterparts for livestock. However, they have expressed apprehension about the export in the immediate future due to lack of infrastructure at the JCP.

It is learnt that the price of garlic, which skyrocketed in Pakistan, has now started declining with its export from India in the last couple of days. The first consignment was sent on Monday and now regular supplies of garlic would be sent to meet the growing demand, especially in Lahore.

The Pakistani importers have evinced keen interest in other commodities, including potatoes for which they had already placed orders.

Meanwhile, traders of Amritsar hailed the opening of the land route between India and Pakistan after a gap of five decades for trade. Mr Amrit Lal Jain, President, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said the Amritsar economy would set the much-needed boost. He said earlier most of the trade was carried out through Dubai, which was not economical.

Pakistan can get cheaper, better quality and timely delivery of Amritsar-manufactured shawls, blankets, dress materials and jewellery of Punjabi taste. Moreover, Ludhiana-manufactured hosiery items, cycle parts, and hand tools of Jalandhar can fetch over Rs 1000 crores. Spices can be exported to Pakistan in large quantity. Amritsar can export large quantity of green tea to Afghanistan, which will reach Amritsar in 72 hours.

Pakistan Punjab can export through Lahore crude drugs, rock salt, dry dates, molasses, cotton and cotton fabrics etc to Amritsar and other towns.

With the opening of the Wagah route trade channels could open with Iran, East-European countries and goods can reach in four or five days.

Mr Gunbir Singh of CII, Amritsar Zone said the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had also welcomed the opening of the land route with Pakistan.

Earlier, due to closed land route with Pakistan, a third route was circuitous. Indian items used to be officially imported through Singapore and Dubai; these countries would then re-export to Pakistan. The roundabout route benefited middlemen.

Many in Pakistan fear an economic invasion. They argue that India, if allowed unfettered access, could flood Pakistan markets with goods, with ruinous effect on Pakistan’s indigenous industry. However, the apprehension is misplaced. The fact remains that the element of huge freight by buying goods from Europe, China and other countries by Pakistan is being ignored by vested interests. Trade from India would rather greatly benefit the common man in Pakistan, as the cost of freight would make the goods cheaper.


Passport office staff get tonsured in protest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
To express their protest over the non-fulfilment of their demands, employees of the Regional Passport Office got their heads shaved here today.

Representatives of the All India Passport Employees Association had been holding protests for almost one week outside the office demanding review of their cadres, constitution of a departmental committee to decide promotions of the staff, regularisation of employees working for almost 15 years and transparency in transfer policies.

Mr Hari Om, president of the local unit, and Mr Shamsher Bahadur, secretary, said that they had been following the directions given to them by their central committee. They said that they would continue to hold peaceful protests till their demands were fulfilled.


Scheme to help cancer patients
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 27
The Expert Group on Incurable Diseases constituted by the Punjab government has recommended the introduction of a scheme to provide financial help to poor patients of cancer and other incurable diseases through a medi-claim policy which should be subsidised up to 50 per cent by the government.

The group constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had met yesterday to review the short-term and long-term measures to curb the growing incidence of cancer in some parts of the state.

It was decided by the group that a joint study would be undertaken by the Oswal Institute of Cancer, Ludhiana and Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana to review the studies related to the incidence of cancer and their relation to use of pesticides. The two institutes would also plan further studies in the various regions of Punjab and assess any relation of the use of pesticides to the incidence of cancer. The earlier result linking occurrence of cancer to the use of pesticides is based upon small numbers and thus is limited to make any definite opinion, felt members of the group.

During the course of discussion, the members felt that there was no fear of cancer epidemic in certain parts of the state as projected by the media.


Shortage of essential items in border villages
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 27
Notwithstanding the tall claims of the local administration, villagers residing near Indo-Pakistan border are facing an acute shortage of essential commodities. Several villages of Narot and Bamial blocks of this subdivision have been cut off from the rest of Punjab. While the authorities claimed to have provided all necessary help for the ‘flood affected’ villagers but the ground reality is reportedly entirely different.

According to villagers, fearing flashfloods they are passing sleepless nights. The poor villagers are without fuel, including LPG, kerosene, firewood for the past about two weeks. Romesh Chander, a shopkeeper of Narot, said no one from the government side had bothered to visit the affected villages. He revealed that the villagers were struggling to get food, water and medicines.

Thousands of affected persons fears that due to heavy monsoon in the region and highest water level of the Ranjit Sagar Dam here, the fear of floods is looming large.

The SDM, Mr Amarjit Pal has reportedly deputed a team comprising Mr Yash Pal Sharma to assess the impact of the flooded Ravi and the threat of gushing waters in the vulnerable parts of the border villages.

The situation in Narot was not critical, said former MLA Ram Lal. A few areas were inundated and communication links had broken down, revealed Mr Yash Pal Sharma.

The authorities had, however, declared 25 villages as flood prone areas and had already sounded ‘red alert’ for these villages. They claimed to have set up various rescue centres in case of the floods, said officials of flood control office here.

The only boat provided by the administration was in a bad shape and a mishap could happen any time, said Mr Hazara Singh, spokesperson for an NGO of the border area. A severe power crisis has made things worse in as many as 10 villages and almost all the villages in the affected areas. 


PUDA to construct sports complex
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 27
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) would construct the much-awaited sports complex opposite Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium here.

About 24 acres was given by PUDA to the Punjab Sports Department in 1990s but it failed to construct a sports complex due to dearth of funds. The Chief Secretary of Punjab had recently written to the Sports Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding the government’s decision to return the land to PUDA for making the sports complex a reality.

This decision was discussed during a meeting of the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, with the Chief Administrator of PUDA today. According to the MLA, the construction of the sports complex would be undertaken in a phased manner. An athletics track, a pavilion block, a volley ball court and a lawn tennis court would be made in the first phase.

In another crucial decision, PUDA has decided to construct various government dispensaries and schools in the township. “Till now PUDA was only granting land for these facilities. Now PUDA has agreed to construct these as a part of infrastructure development. These buildings would be constructed by PUDA and handed over to the respective departments.

However, the Departments of Health and Education would have to give an undertaking to PUDA that the buildings constructed would be put to immediate use. “We would start with the construction of a Senior Secondary School on 2.68 acres in Sector 59,” the MLA said.

During the meeting it was also decided that PUDA would lay the sewerage at Kumbra, Sohana and Lakhnaur villages. Funds required for this would, however, be released only after discussions with the PUDA minister. Work on the metalling of the phirni of Kambali village would start shortly the CA, PUDA, said during the meeting.

In order to deal with the shortage of water in sector 71, an underground reservoir of 5 lakh gallon capacity is being constructed to store the water reaching Mohali from the Kajauli water works. “With the beginning of the Phase IV of the Kajauli waterworks in September there would be no shortage of water in the township,” Mr Bir Devinder Singh said.

During the course of the meeting it was felt that private contractors could be deployed for the proper upkeep of green belts and parks in the township. Parking areas at the various market places in the city would also be given a face lift.

PUDA would also construct public toilets in various markets in the city. These would be constructed on BOT basis. Users would pay for use of these toilets. Public toilets that had already been constructed in the areas and transferred to the municipal council would be renovated and run on pay and use basis following the Chandigarh pattern.


Probe ordered into ‘torture of farmer’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
The functioning of the district police has come under cloud following a complaint filed by a Ludhiana-based farmer alleging illegal confinement and third-degree torture by the SHO of Lambran police station.

The farmer, Tejinder Pal Singh (35), was allegedly rounded up after two persons held guilty of stealing a trolley belonging to a Jalandhar-based potato farm owner had given a statement that they had sold off the trolley to him for Rs 60,000. While the incident had occurred last month, Gurpreet Singh of Bilga village and Harpreet Singh of Noormahal were reportedly held this week when they gave such a statement to the police.

The farmer has complained that he was called for an interrogation on Monday. He said he had appeared in the police station on the same day where his hands and feet were allegedly tied up before he was subjected to third-degree torture. The victim has lodged the complaint and blamed the SHO, Mr Didar Singh.

He lodged a complaint with the DIG of Jalandhar Range, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, who marked an inquiry into the matter. The SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, said he had asked the SP City-II, Mr Pawan Rai, to investigate the case and submit a report to him at the earliest. Mr Rai informed that he had taken the version of the complainant and would report the matter to the SSP in a day or two.

Meanwhile, following the complaint Tejinder Pal Singh reportedly underwent a medical check-up at Civil Hospital here last evening.


Seized drugs, narcotics set afire
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 27
Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, Deputy Inspector-General of Jalandhar police range, alongwith Mr Gurmeet Singh, SP (D), Kapurthala, and Mr Harish Kumar, SP (D), Hoshiarpur, have disposed of property seized under NDPS Act in Hoshiarpur district. As many as 101.7 quintals of poppy husk, 5.55 kg charas and 169.55 gm smack was set ablaze in Bohan choe, on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road in the presence of Ms Saroj Wala, Sarpanch of Boothgarh, Master Kesar Singh Dhillon, Mr Navjot Singh Dhillon, residents of Boothgarh, and Mr Sadhu Ram, former Sarpanch of Bohan, this afternoon.

The Central Government has specified certain narcotics and drugs and psychotropic substances which shall, as soon as, may be after their seizure, be disposed of, having regard to their hazardous nature, vulnerability of theft, substitution and constraints of proper storage space. A committee under the chairmanship of Mr Paramjit Singh, DIG, Jalandhar Police Range, was constituted by W/DGP Punjab to dispose of the seized property in Jalandhar range.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP Hoshiarpur, expressed gratitude to W/DIG for taking quick decision on the matter and disposing of the large quantity of narcotic substances which were staked in the malkhanas of various police stations of the district, leaving no space to secure property seized in important cases.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Paramjit Singh said the estimated market price of the property was more than Rs 65 lakh. He said that 1580 quintal poppy husk, 2.50 kg smack, 32 kg charas, 7.50 kg ganja and lakhs of medicinal tablets etc. had been destroyed by setting them ablaze in the Jalandhar police range so far.

He said a number of vehicles, including cars, jeeps, trucks, motorcycles, scooters etc. impounded by the police, were lying at all the police stations in the range, causing storage problems. Permission was being obtained from the courts concerned to dispose them of as early as possible.

Mr Paramjit Singh further said that storage of seized liquor in police stations was also creating problems. It would also be destroyed soon after obtaining permission from the courts.

Mr Paramjit Singh further said that on the special instructions of Mr S.S. Virk, DGP Punjab, special campaign was being launched to trace out untraced cases from the period of 2001 to 2005. There were 111 unsolved serious cases of murder, 52 of kidnapping and abduction, 11 of dacoity, 30 of robberies and 53 of snatching and extortion in the range during this period.


Trains cancelled
Our Correspondent

Phillaur July 27
The Railways today cancelled the Amritsar-bound 2925-Up Pashchim Express, 2903-Up Golden Temple Express, and Firozepore-bound 9023-Up Mumbai-Ferozepore Janta Express, Mumbai-bound 2904-Dn Golden Temple Express, and 2138-Dn Ferozepore-Mumbai Mail due to heavy rains which damaged rail tracks at several places in Maharashtra.

Stating this, railway sources said here today that the Amritsar-bound 1057-Up Dadar Express, and Firozepore-bound 2137-Up Punjab Mail could not leave Mumbai on July 26 night, so these trains would remain cancelled tomorrow on their down line journey towards Mumbai on July 28.


Singla, Gill lock horns over housing schemes
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla and Improvement Trust Chairman Jagroop Singh Gill have locked horns over the cancellation of six housing schemes in the city.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Gill accused the Finance Minister of hampering the development work in Bathinda. He alleged that Mr Singla had not allowed sanction of any scheme. He said he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh.

Sources said both the sides had strained relations over the issue for the past some time. Mr Gill said the trust had a plan to carve out a colony near Lal Singh Basti, but before that the PA to the Finance Minister got Sukhmani Enclave approved from PUDA. He said the land that the trust would have sold at Rs 20,000 per yard was now being sold at double the rate by the private parties.

He alleged that the Finance Minister was taking to privatisation in every field. He further alleged that Mr Singla had made 32 promises with the people of Bathinda, but fulfilled none. He said he wanted to work on the hospital at Paras Ram Nagar, community centre and other development projects, but “Mr Singla was opposing it”.

When contacted, Mr Singla said the Additional Secretary, Local Bodies Department, had probed into the schemes of the trust. The investigation revealed that the trust Chairman had come up with these schemes to benefit his relatives and close associates. The government had suspended the resolutions following the probe. He claimed that he had brought in schemes worth crores.


Admn report shields erring MC
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 27
After struggling for seven years for justice, the fight of Rakesh Talwar, an alleged victim of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s neglect, seems to have come to a naught with the inquiry report submitted by the district administration to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, (PHRC), claiming that he had not received any injury due to an open manhole.

Mr Talwar, a 50-year-old man, had become paralysed on July 7, 1998, when he had fallen in a manhole that was uncovered on a rainy day. He had been fighting to get compensation from the MC unsuccessfully till he was shown a ray of hope by the PHRC after taking cognizance of his case.

But with the report submitted by Ms Amritpal Kaur, SDM (E), quoting the statement of the Superintending Engineer, (O and M cell), that none of the manholes were found opened on the rainy day after a Junior Engineer had surveyed the area, all his hopes had been dashed.

Taking up his case, following highlighting of his plight by a Tribune report, the PHRC had registered a case under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and had directed the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to get an inquiry conducted.

Surprisingly, instead of conducting an independent inquiry into the matter, the district administration submitted a letter by the MC that on May 10, 2000, an Assistant Engineer and an Executive Engineer of the O and M cell had given a report stating on that rainy day, the sewer supervisor posted in the Dhobi Ghat area had inspected the road and found that all manholes were covered soon after the rain. Interestingly, he sustained injuries in 1998 and the report was signed in 2000.

It further said, “All the manholes were covered that day and if the complainant had sustained any injury it could not be caused by an open manhole. The complaint seems to be a fake story concocted out of some malicious designs.”

The submission also said that the complainant was not found to be living at the given address although Mr Talwar had been staying there for the past many years. Mr Talwar had sustained a head injury when he was driving his scooter through a flooded street in the Dhobi Ghat area on a rainy day. He was not able to anticipate an open manhole and his scooter had got stuck in it. He fell on the road and the cover of the manhole had hit his head badly. He had developed an injury in his head and the right side of his body was totally paralysed.


Three mobile phone companies stealing power: MC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 27
The local Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities has initiated a move to launch criminal proceedings against three corporate houses engaged in mobile phone business in the town for their alleged involvement in power theft from the transmission lines which supply electricity to street lights.

Official sources said authorities concerned had decided to launch criminal proceedings against the mobile phone companies when its staff members detected that these companies had been drawing electricity from street lights to light up their glow sings installed at different places in the city for the past few months.

The sources added that due to the illegal connections the street lights were not functioning properly in certain pockets of the town.

When contacted, MC Commissioner S. K. Ahluwalia said three companies that had been indulged in power theft included Nokia, Spice and Tata Indicom.

Mr Ahluwalia said the MC authorities had been paying for the electricity consumed by these companies, adding that he had written to the district police chief for registering of criminal cases against the companies. 


high court
Life term to five murderers upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 27
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice Pritam Pal has upheld the conviction and sentence awarded to five persons for being involved in the gruesome murder of two members of a family and their servant in 1997.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar, had found the five guilty and ordered them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life.

As per the prosecution case, Tarsem Singh, Swaran Singh, Santokh Singh, Sarbjit Singh and Darshan Singh had murdered Mr Harbans Singh, his wife Ms Binder Kaur and their Bihari servant Madan Lal on December 3, 1997, and decamped with the valuables in the house.

The murders were discovered by Mr Kartar Singh, uncle of deceased Binder Kaur.

On the day of the incident, he had gone to the house of the deceased in a village in Jandiala tehsil where he found the bodies. He immediately informed the police. During the course of investigation, the police arrested the accused and recovered the stolen articles from their possession.

During trial, counsel for the accused denied the charges and also questioned the validity of the police claims. The evidence against them was also termed as extra-judicial confessions.

However, the Bench, while upholding the sentence, said though extra-judicial confessions were weak evidence, but in this case they inspired confidence.

“The prosecution has been successful in linking chain of circumstances and also the chain of events, especially regarding evidence of finger prints and foot moulds, which go a long way in proving the guilt of the accused,” the Bench observed.

Writing for the Bench, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill noted that there was infirmity in the judgement of the Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar, and hence the appeals filed by the five stood dismissed.

Khalra case

The High Court on Wednesday dismissed the application filed by Mr Naresh Kumar seeking quashing of the order by the Patiala Additional Sessions Judge, dismissing his request to summon former Punjab DGP K.P.S. Gill and other police officers in the Jaswant Singh Khalra disappearance case.

Mr Justice S.K. Mittal dismissed the application, holding that the applicant had no locus standi as he was neither an accused nor an affected party.


Accused turns approver
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 27
In a new twist to two-year-old murder case of Gurcharan Singh, former chairman of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, Ropar, one of the accused in the case, Rachhpal Singh, wants to become approver in the case.

Gurcharan Singh was stabbed to death by some youths near his house in Phase XI on June 21, 2003. The reason behind the murder was alleged to be a rivalry within the institute’s management. Randhawa allegedly had differences with Gurcharan Singh over the running of the institute.

Beside Rachhpal, Bakshish Singh Randhawa, one of the trustee of the Institute and Satvir were allegedly involved in the murder case.

The arguments on Rachhpal Singh’s plea were heard in the Ropar court after the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High court. The next hearing on Rachhpal Singh’s plea has been fixed for August 1.

Acting on Rachhpal Singh’s application to declare him approver in the case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the court concerned of Ropar where the case was pending that the application filed by Rachhpal Singh shall be considered on merits in the light of the aforesaid judgments of the Apex Court so also the statement of counsel for the state that the prosecution was supporting the application of the Rashpal Singh.


Farmers begin indefinite dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
Activists and members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) under the leadership of Mr Dalbara Singh Chhajla, district finance secretary of the union, today began an indefinite protest dharna in front of the office of the PSEB SDO at Dirba, about 25 km from here.

The farmers have been protesting against the PSEB officials for not replacing a burnt transformer, installed in a field of a farmer in Harigarh village (near Kohrian village), with a new one.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone today, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), said the PSEB officials at Dirba were not ready to replace the burnt transformer with a new one till the farmers deposited power bills of their tubewell motors for the past several months.

Mr Ugrahan said this condition of the PSEB officials was not acceptable to the farmers because replacement of burnt transformer could not be linked with depositing of bills of tubewell motors. So the farmers would not lift their dharna till the burnt transformer was replaced with a new one, he added.

Mr Ugrahan also stated that in today’s dharna, farmers from only five to six villages were participating, but they would intensify their dharna if the burnt transformer was not replaced soon. As part of their intensified struggle, thousands of farmers would take part in the dharna, he added.

The farmers also raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the PSEB authorities.

Among others who also addressed the farmers were Mr Dalwara Singh Chhajla, Mr Nath Singh Ubhian, Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, Mr Jasbir Singh Maidewas and Mr Dilbag Singh Harigarh, all leaders of the farmers. 


Land given on lease for model farm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Punjab Government has decided to transfer 300 acres of the Ladhowal farm located near the Sutlej in Ludhiana district to Bharti Enterprises — a group owned by the Mittals.

The land originally belonged to the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation. It will be handed over to Field Fresh Foods Private Limited, a company promoted by Bharti Enterprises. It will set up a state-of-the-art model farm research and development centre.

The land will be on lease for four years. A clause has been included that the company will set up only prefabricated structures which can be removed when desired, the Chief Minister said here today. 


Punjab plans ‘orange revolution’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
After the green revolution and the white revolution, Punjab is all set for an “orange revolution” now.

The state has decided to go in for an active citrus-fruit programme to grow various varieties of oranges. A formal announcement was made in this regard by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today.

The Managing Director of Punjab Agri Export Corporation, Dr Himmat Singh, said: “We have pre-sold our crops for this year and also the next year. The area under oranges will be 2000 acres to start with. Currently, about 50,000 acres of land is used to produce 3 lakh tonnes of kinnow which was found to be bitter and not easy to peel for use in packaged fruit juices. These farmers will be encouraged to shift to orange cultivation.”

Orange plantation was part of the new crop diversification programme. Close to 70 per cent of the state had ideal conditions for citrus cultivation, he added.

Punjab will make available to its farmers varieties of citrus trees imported from the USA.


Executive Officer suspended
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 27
The services of Mr R.K. Khokhar, Executive Officer(EO) of the local Municipal Council, has been put under suspension by the Local Government with immediate effect.

A departmental inquiry was pending against Mr Khokhar for the past more than three years.

Mr Jagtar Singh, EO, Patti, was given the additional charge of the local Municipal Council today.


Fake SBI Life Insurance agents dupe people
Lalit Mohan and B.B. Dogra
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 27
A large number of customers have been duped allegedly by fake SBI Life Insurance agents at Pathankot. Sources here said that persons posing to be State Bank of India (SBI) Life Insurance agents opened their office on the Dhangu road in Pathankot in a rented shop on January 13.

At the top of the shop they hung an SBI logo to attract customers. They rang up probable customers and called a meeting. Many of the customers taking the agents to be genuine government bank agents took policies and deposited amounts ranging from Rs 7,500 t0 Rs 12,000 as premium with them.

The agents issued receipts to customers bearing signatures of SBI Life Insurance advisers. The customers were shocked when the agents disappeared on June 15.

Mr Krishan Sharma who was duped of Rs 12,000 said he took a policy in the name of his wife. The agents used to frequent the branch of the SBI here due to which no suspicion arose among customers. The office of the agents with SBI logo functioned on the same road at which the SBI bank was also located.

There were 10 persons working in the office, including girls. They used to insist on taking cash from the customers. However, after the agents fled he approached the SBI branch officials to enquire about the matter. The SBI officials declined any knowledge about the matter.

From the way agents frequented the bank and operated their office with an SBI logo it seemed that certain local officials were hand in glove with them, Mr Sharma alleged.

The Chief Manager, SBI, here declined any knowledge about the agents that operated in the area. He said the insurance sector of the bank was dealt with a separate branch at Chandigarh. The local bank did not appoint any agents.

The coordinator for the for Life Insurance scheme of the SBI for Chandigarh zone, Mr Mahajan, also declined any knowledge about the agents appointed by the bank at Pathankot. He, however, assured to look into the matter.

A large number of SBI logos dot shops of the agents appointed by the bank for its insurance sector. The use of bank logos helped the fake agents to dupe the customers.

The sources also pointed to the connivance of the local police in the case. They alleged that the fake agents could have operated openly with a staff of 10 persons for five months in an area the active connivance of police. Earlier also, some fake finance companies had duped the people of lakhs. Those agents had also fled and are still untraced.

Though it has been over a month since the fake agents left the police is yet to register a case.


Inter-state gang of dacoits busted, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
The district police today claimed to have busted a 16-member inter-state gang of dacoits, belonging to Dheha community, by arresting three members of the gang, namely Soma (Shahbad Markanda), Nirmal (Bhadson) and Balwinder (Mandi Gobindgarh). Soma is said to be the leader of this gang.

According to the police here today, on a tip off a police party conducted a raid at the Badrukhan drain, near here, last night. At that time nine members of the gang were making preparations to commit dacoity at a dera. However, the police succeeded in arresting three members of the gang while remaining six members, Wakku, Gitni, Ashok, all from Shahbad Markanda; Ajmer (Bahadurgarh, near Patiala), Darshan (Bhadson) and Lal Chand (Sangrur) fled from the scene.

The police said it had seized two pistols from Soma and Balwinder while investigations into the looted money and other articles during various incidents of dacoity conducted by the gang. The police also said the gang was active for the past about four years in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana and it had committed dacoties at about 15 places. These dacoits had looted various deras in Punjab, including Bijalpur (Bhawanigarh), Patran, Barnala area etc, the police added.

The police also stated that as per the modus operandi of the gang, Ajmer and Lal Chand during day hours visited the deras of sadhus and babas on bicycles for doing recce of the area while during the night hours the gang members looted the dera. A case has been registered against the members of the gang under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC at the Sadar police station here. 


Another ultrasound machine seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
Continuing its crackdown against private clinics indulging in sex determination tests, the Health Department has seized one more ultrasound machine from Maur Mandi.

Addressing a press conference here today, the CMO, Dr H.S. Dhillon, said the department came to know about a woman from Sandoha village who had got sex determination test conducted from a private nursing home.

A team led by the District Family Welfare Officer, Dr Jagjeet Singh, interrogated Ms Sarbjeet Kaur, who already had a five-year-old daughter. She admitted to having undergone the test at Kiran Nursing Home in Maur Mandi about a month back, in which a female foetus was detected. The CMO said Dr Kiran Garg had done her sex determination test, while her husband, Dr Pawan Garg, had terminated her pregnancy. He said they charged her Rs 2,000 for the test and Rs 2,500 for abortion.

He said the team had seized their ultrasound machine and also got custody order for the same. He said that Dr Pawan Garg was a government servant and was posted at Sangrur.

According to Dr Dhillon, action has already been recommended against Dr Kiran Garg under the PNDT Act and against Dr Pawan Garg under the MTP Act.

He said he had written to the SSP to initiate legal action against Dr Pawan Garg. He said departmental action was also on the cards for Dr Garg.

Earlier, too, the department had seized two ultrasound machines from Maur Mandi for conducting sex determination tests.

Dr Dhillon said there were only three ultrasound machines in Maur Mandi and now all of them had been seized.


Dowry death case against husband
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 27
On a complaint of Charanjit Kaur, wife of Gian Singh, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar, Bhogpur, the Hariana police on Monday registered a case under Section 304 B of the IPC against Balbir Kumar, his younger brother Vinodhi, sister-in-law Rajni Devi and elder brother Kuldip Kumar of Shamchaurasi for allegedly killing her daughter Balwinder Kaur for dowry.

According to police sources, Charanjit Kaur in her complaint stated her daughter Balwinder Kaur was married to Balbir Kumar about two years ago.

She alleged that after 15 days of marriage her in-laws demanded Rs 20,000 from Balwinder Kaur. She approached her mother and apprised her of the demand. Charanjit Kaur said she gave Rs 10,000 to them on this assurance that they would not torture her daughter again for dowry.

About seven months ago Balwinder Kaur came to her parents and remained with them for 2 months. Later she went to her in-laws house.

On July 21, 2005, Pamma, younger brother of Balbir Kumar, along with his friend came to her residence at Bhogpur and informed her about the illness of Balwinder Kaur. He said she was admitted to a private hospital at Adampur.

She went to the hospital, where she was told that her daughter had been taken back by her in-laws. She went to Shamchaurasi to meet her daughter where she found her daughter dead. She alleged that after an inquiry she came to know that Balwinder Kaur was poisoned by her in-laws.


Rape case: ex-SHO remanded in custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, July 27
A Kharar court today remanded Amarpreet Singh, former SHO of the Nayagaon police station, in judicial custody till August 5. The Mohali police had arrested the SHO for allegedly helping the accused in a rape case registered at the police station in 2003.

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

A special team of the Punjab Police headed by former SSP Ferozepore, Mr Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, and supervised by the IG special operations Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, was investigating the case. SHO Amarpreet Singh was presented before the Judicial Magistrate Sub-Division Kharar, Ms Poonam Ratti, today and remanded in 14 days, of judicial custody. 


1 killed in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, July 27
One person died and another sustained critical injuries when a car in which they were travelling had a head-on collision with a truck on the Rajpura-Patiala road in Dhindsa village about 8 km from here, this evening. Occupants of the car (Indica - HR-14D-0082), Mr Rajesh Kumar of Sandora village near Jagadhari in Haryana and his driver Mr Jaswinder Singh of Ambala were heading towards Ambala from Patiala when a truck (HR-47-1836), loaded with gravel, coming from the opposite direction collided headon with their car.

A motorcyclist who noticed the accident informed the police, ASI Jeewan Singh and his team then reached the spot and extricated the injured from the mandled remains of the car.

One of the injured, Mr Jaswinder Singh, died on way to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura. While seriously injured Rajesh Kumar was referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 Chandigarh. The truck driver fled from the scene after the mishap. The police has impounded the vehicles and a case of negligent and rash driving has been registered against the truck driver.


3 held for acid attack on JE
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 27
Three persons have been arrested for acid attack on a junior engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board that took place near Panjgirain Kalan village last week.

According to sources, the accused had applied for a temporary motor connection and were running their motor illegally.

The JE, Mr Lal Chand, had reportedly seized their motor, following which they were nursing a grudge against him. 


Mid-day meal scheme loses steam
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
The mid-day meal scheme has come to a halt in about 60 government schools in Bathinda district. While in some schools wheat stock has finished, others are facing fund crunch.

In the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s ancestral Mehraj village, students are not being served cooked meals under the scheme at four centres. In Kothe Maluana village, the scheme didn’t take off after the summer vacations. Similarly, in Kothe Maha Singh, Kothe Talwandi and Kothe Akhria, the scheme has come to a grinding halt. Kotha Guru also had the same story.

Sources said there was no ration at about a dozen schools in Maur area. Children didn’t get mid-day meal in Bhaini Chuhar village after summer vacations, while children in Maisarkhana, Chanarthal, Maur Kalan, Maur Mandi, and Kasaiwada, were also not getting the meals. The scheme also came to an abrupt end in Jaid village two days back, as the self-help group here had not received the ration. Students in about eight schools of Talwandi Sabo block are also awaiting the restart of the scheme.

According to sources, the scheme has also come to a halt in about 22 schools of Bathinda block. These include Sanguana Basti, Dhobiana Basti, and Guru Ki Nagri. The reason behind it was non-supply of wheat and the fund crunch for self-help groups that are running the scheme.

When contacted, the ADC (Development), Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, said there was a temporary hitch in the scheme. He said he had held a meeting with the officials concerned yesterday and everything would be back to normal in a day or two.


Teachers held captive by school management
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 27
Five woman teachers who had been recruited from Manipur to teach English were made captive for protesting against the non-payment of salary by the management of a public school at Hanumangarh.

According to information received today Mr Jaimone Varghese, a senior teacher, said he had been sent to Manipur by the school management to recruit woman teachers for teaching English.

The appointment of woman teachers of the Manipur origin would attract more admissions and develop fluency in the language, the management felt. The teachers were not paid salary for the month of May. As the cheque issued by the management on July could not be encashed for want of sufficient balance in the bank account, the teachers lodged a protest.

Irritated over this the management allegedly put all the five woman teachers from Manipur in a hostel room. They were not allowed to go to the classrooms.

Mr Varghese said he brought the matter to the notice of the DSP Hanumangarh. He asked a constable to accompany Mr Varghese to the school but the Chairman of the school allegedly humiliated both of them. Mr Varghese, accompanied by president of the Hanumangarh Bar Association, met the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police.

They directed the SHO of the police station there to get the teachers freed from illegal detention in the hostel and take action against the management.

A member team of the police accompanied Mr Varghese and got the woman teachers freed. They were brought to the police station, then shifted to a dharamshala. The police has initiated proceedings against the chairman of the school only under Section 151.


248 participate in campus placement

Amritsar, July 27
As many as 248 students of IT courses from 20 institutions located in Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir participated in a joint campus placement conducted by L&T Infotech at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) here today. — OC

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |