P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Women face lathis to fight drug peddlers
Four chemist shops sealed
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service

“A shopkeeper used to open bottles of cough syrups and sell the contents by the peg. No more of this will be allowed here,” says Subedar Kaka Singh, sarpanch of Roorhki Heeran.

Lutheri (Ropar), August 4
Lutheri, an obscure village in Ropar district, 7 km from Morinda, could well provide a model for protest against growing drug addiction in Punjab.

Though there have been sporadic protests against liquor shops in Punjab villages, this seems to be the first ever organised protest against synthetic drugs retailed through chemist shops.

The unique community initiative that started some 10 days ago with women and village elders coming out in the streets has forced the administration to intervene and four chemist shops in the village have been sealed.

A visit to the village found sarpanch Gurdev Singh adamant that these shops be closed. “Two of these four shops had become notorious for supplying drugs to the entire region. Lutheri had become the Mecca of drug addicts. Even our children and girls have succumbed to these addictions,” he says.

The scene in Lutheri and the neighbouring Roorhki Heeran village is dismal indeed and there have been four deaths due to this malaise in the latter village. Families have been ruined and many women and children turned destitute.

The drugs commonly used in the area are diazepam, cough syrups and morphine injections, which were all available for the asking.

The situation led to the setting up of the Nasha Virodhi Action Committee. Raising slogans such as “Maheena dena band karo, Nashe vechane band karo”, women were not even afraid to suffer police lathi blows during a “chakka jam” on July 27.

Telling the story of her 26-year-old son, Krishna Devi (52) of Roorhki Heeran breaks down, “My son has been taking tablets, syrups and injections for the past five years. He was a good carpenter, but has lost interest in work.”

Barjinder Kaur (30), mother of three children, has been reduced to penury as her mason husband has taken to drugs. “I sometimes bring money from my mother and sometimes have to go to bed hungry,” she sobs.

Subedar Kaka Singh, sarpanch of Roorhki Heeran, says, “My son started taking tablets and capsules in Class XI. Today he is a wasted boy of 22. We even kept him chained at home. The easy availability of drugs in the village has destroyed us.”

Such harrowing tales are to be found from home to home and from village to village in this area. The villagers also say that young boys would come from cities in cars to fetch these drugs in the wholesale at Lutheri.

Commending the initiative of the villagers, Mr Manmohan Sharma, Secretary, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab (VHAP), says, “Only community and societal efforts can check addiction. This is the foremost problem in the state today. The government has failed to do anything and there is little hope from it in near future. We need more movements in the state on the pattern of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

The VHAP convened a meeting at Ludhiana on August 28 of various groups and individuals working in the area of de-addiction to launch a strategic and sustainable campaign. “This can be possible only with complete involvement of the community,” says Sharma.

The loud protest by the community, however, has brought assurances from Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, to the villagers.

Visiting the village gurdwara yesterday and addressing a gathering of people from eight villages, he said, “I pledge by Guru Granth Sahib that soon you will see stern action against the shopkeepers selling restricted drugs.”

The villagers have decided that they will not keep quiet and the action committee has decided to march up to Chamkaur Sahib waving black flags to raise awareness against drugs. “This is how we are going to celebrate Independence Day this time. What we need today is Punjab’s freedom from addiction,” they say.


BJP MP decries CM on special economic zone
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, today lashed out at the Chief Minister of Punjab for trying to scuttle the special economic zone (SEZ) at Amritsar by coming up with excuses of land prices.

Addressing reporters here today, Mr Sidhu recounted the calling-attention motion given by him in the Lok Sabha yesterday seeking specific answers on the setting up of SEZ at Amritsar and also give brief account of the reply provided by Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath. Quoting from reply of the minister, he said the government was still awaiting the acquisition of 1000 hectares of land by the state government and would grant sanction in principle only after the land was acquired.

Mr Sidhu said the government was making a mockery of the promise given by the Prime Minister during his last visit to the city. He said the government must not delay the project, as this would provide employment to thousands of educated and trained youth in the border belt and boost to sagging economy of the city.

He said that he would also take up the issue of the Amritsar-Lahore bus service and Visa facility at Amritsar and Lahore for pilgrims and businessmen.

Expressing resentment and anguish local industrialists once again urged the Punjab government not to scuttle the special economic zone announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his visit in September.

President of the focal point industries association Harwinder Singh said today that the government was coming out with the excuse that the land prices had gone up and the state has expressed helplessness to acquire 1000 acres of land due to prohibitive rates. He pointed out that the government could notify land through legal acquisition process and the rates fixed by the revenue department.

The meeting of the association which discussed the SEZ urged the central government to urge the state to acquire land away from the city where the land prices were not high. The association pointed out that there was a general feeling that the government might dilute the concept of SEZ and was mooting the idea to set up product specified SEZ instead of multipurpose zone as announced by the PM.

Chairman of the CIA Amritsar zone Gunbir Singh said the government was diluting the mandate the Prime Minister for full fledged SEZ.


Plan to demolish 11 old jails in Punjab
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
As against the capacity of 10,000 prisoners, jails in Punjab are housing more than 15000, rendering the concept of comprehensive rehabilitation futile.

No wonder the aspect of congestion in jails hogs major discussion space in the latest Report on Prison Reforms in Punjab, submitted to the state government recently.

Prepared by Adviser, Prisons, Department Punjab, Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, the report has rapped the state government for delays in improvement of jail infrastructure, besides urgently suggesting enhancement of jail capacity to at least 20,000 prisoners.

Speaking exclusively to The Tribune today, Mr Bhatnagar, who single handedly researched the jail scenario in the region in three months, said most jails in Punjab were as old as 100 years and needed to be done away with.

The immediate recommendation pertains to winding up of 11 old jails in the state which have been built in accordance with a design that catered to the needs of the Prisons Department as enunciated in the Prisons Act of 1894.

These jails are located at Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Patiala, Nabha, Malerkotla, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Bathinda and Amritsar, and they serve no purpose as they are crammed beyond capacity and offer no opportunity for dignified habitation of prisoners.

“There are a number of deficiencies in physical and systemic infrastructure of the Prisons Department. Office, industrial, farming and other kinds of equipment is also severely deficient,” the report mentions.

Besides demolition of the above mentioned 11 jails, Adviser, Prison Reforms, Punjab, has also recommended immediate construction of five new jails at identified locations in the state. Budget enhancement has also been suggested as the current provision of Rs 65 crore is not sufficient.

“Half of the money goes into salaries of staff. Per day, the cost of diet per prisoner is at least Rs 15. This leaves the Prisons Department with meager resources, out of which it has to take care of security, administration, health, hygiene and infrastructure,” said Mr Bhatnagar, adding that disposal of old prison properties can provide enough finance to raise new constructions.

“With the population of offenders increasing by the day, we need more and better prisons. We have suggested that new jails be created to make space for 20,000 prisoners. We have, however, called for retention of the Central Jail at Ludhiana, which is also the only women’s jail in the state,” he said.

The new, model jails will come up at Kapurthala, Talwandi Bhai, Bathinda, and Nabha and will accommodate 11,000 prisoners, the rest of prisoners being absorbed in the existing jails. As against the existing design which is least-prisoner friendly, the new jails, it is suggested, should cater to more efficient administration and improved facilities for inmates.

“Meeting place for visitors has to be made decent. For this purpose, we can learn lessons from Malaysia. The pending proposals for construction of barracks and residences for jail staff must be immediately implemented. There is an urgent need for the government to release funds for implementation of these pending proposals, besides of course taking the construction of modern prisons at Nabha and Patiala more seriously,” said Mr Bhatnagar.


Parents allege negligence in 3-yr-old’s death
Residents protest against doctor
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
A three-year-old girl, Muskan, lost her life allegedly due to the negligence of a doctor of a private hospital located in the Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar area on the Sultanwind road here.

Agitated over this the family of the deceased and residents of the area today protested against the doctor and gheraoed his nursing home. They allegedly broke the windowpane of the doctor’s car.

Sukhwinder Kaur, mother of the deceased, informed that Muskan who had fallen from roof of the house was admitted to the hospital with serious head injury. She alleged that the doctor asked them to deposit about Rs 10,000 before starting the treatment. The family, however, deposited Rs 3,000 and promised to deposit the remaining amount soon.

However, the condition of the girl deteriorated around 2 am at night. She said the doctor put them and the girl in his car and took them to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and left them there. Ms Sukhwinder Kaur said they admitted the girl in emergency ward of the government hospital where the doctor declared her brought dead.

The situation became tense in the morning when the residents of the area gheraoed the hospital. The B-division police immediately reached the spot. Mr Amarjit Singh Bajwa, DSP (city), also reached the spot. He said the police could not register a case against the doctor till an inquiry was conducted by the health department to ascertain whether there was any negligence or not on the part of the doctor. He said the body of the girl had been sent for post-mortem examination. He said the doctor was however, being questioned in the case.

Dr Kanwaljit Singh, Civil Surgeon, said he could not take any action until the department got a written complaint.


Couple held for teacher’s murder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 4
The police has arrested newly weds, Navdeep Kaur and her husband Dharamvir Singh of Rajomajra, Sangrur, for the murder of her 60-year-old teacher Shiv Charan Das of Urban Estate, Phase 3, Patiala, today. The murder took place on the night of July 20.

Shiv Charan had been missing from that evening under mysterious circumstances. His son Aman Kumar had reported the matter to the police on July 25. In his report, he had expressed an apprehension that his father had been kidnapped by Navdeep and others. When the police questioned the two, they admitted their crime.

The victim had recently retired as a lecturer from Atma Ram Kumar Sabha School. The accused Navdeep of Rajpura Colony, Patiala, was studying economics from Shiv Charan.

Navdeep has a masters degree in the subject. Navdeep was married to Dharamvir on April 4. Navdeep had good relations with the victim and his family as Shiv Charan treated her like his daughter. Greed seemed to be the motive of the crime. The two hatched a scheme to get money from Shiv Charan. The couple told Shiv Charan that Dharamvir had to show a bank balance of Rs 2 lakh as he wanted to record a music cassette. They asked the retired teacher to deposit the amount in his account so that Dharamvir could show the account as his relative’s. Shiv Charan did the needful and then Navdeep and Dharamvir took him to a hotel in Ludhiana. They also got information about his ATM code number and took the card from him.

Then they fed him juice laced with sedatives. Later, they took him to Doraha, near Ludhiana, and dumped him in the Bhakra canal. The duo had withdrawn about Rs 75,000 from various ATM branches at Ludhiana, Patiala, Bhawanigarh and Rajpura before their arrest. The DSP, Mr Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, gave this information during a press conference here today.

The duo have been booked under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC and sent in two-day police remand.


PPCC to publicise achievements of Amarinder govt
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 4
The Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee would publish a booklet highlighting achievements of the state government in three years of its rule, as well as giving programmes to be initiated by the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government. The government will implement all promises made in the election manifesto, most of which had been fulfilled and remaining would be implemented soon, said Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Punjab Congress chief at Dera Hansali today. He was here to pay obeisance at the dera of Braham Giani Sant Baba Ajit Singh Hansaliwale. He was presented with a siropa by Sant Ajit Singh.

Mr Dullo said demand of the traders regarding abolition of octroi would be fulfilled soon. He said he was mobilising party workers for elections. He denied differences with the Chief Minister. He said that state government had implemented all schemes for the benefits of SC and BC categories. He said that all types of pension, shagun schemes had been started. He praised working of the Chief minister,

He warned that bureaucrats had to respect the party workers and resolve their problems on priority. He said that there was need to rein in the bureaucracy. He said Akalis had been fooling people in the name of Panth and always cheated farmers and most of the SAD(B) ministers had opened commission agent shops. He said that Akalis always helped terrorists and never the terrorist-affected. He called upon party workers to attend to grievances of people and get them redressed, if any officer did not listen they should bring it to his notice.

Mr Dullo was accorded warm reception at Mandi Gobindgarh town, when he entered the district from Khanna on way to Dera Hansali. He stayed at Bhattmajra village at residence of Sadhu Ram, Block Congress president, and was welcomed by DCC president Vaid Hari Krishan, Pt Naresh Sharma, Mr R.N. Sharma, Mr Shamsher Singh, Mr Nakesh Jindal and party workers.


Phagwara reels under power shortage
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 4
Power cuts are back here after a gap of about two weeks. Residents had to bear a power failure for six hours across the town on Wednesday. The situation in several villages is rather worse.

People were more affected due to the increase in humidity. “The humidity is unbearable and power cuts have been making the situation more painful for people,” said Kamal Thakur of New Model Town.

Residents of the town breathed a sigh of relief, as there were no power cuts with the onset of the monsoon till a few weeks ago. But six to seven hours of unscheduled power cuts have revived the agonising days.

Shyam Gupta of Central Town said, “There is no change in the scenario. Power cuts continue to haunt people even after the state has been lashed by incessant rains.”

Ashok Sethi, an industrialist, said, “There has been unscheduled load-shedding and power cuts in several parts of the town. I have a small business of tool cutting but without power supply my work comes to a standstill. I had installed a generator when there were frequent power cuts a few days ago, but now it seems I will have to reinstall the backup.”

However, those dealing in the manufacture and sale of diesel generators and inverters are having a gala business. The Executive Engineer, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, said the power position in the state had been affected due to silt in one of the units at the Nathpa Jhakri Project in Himachal Pradesh where the PSEB had its share of power. He assured the residents of better power supply soon.


Surprise checkings at places of public dealing
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 4
The working and the atmosphere at cinema halls, government offices, government schools and video parlours will be under scrutiny as the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, and two Additional Deputy Commissioners will be conducting surprise checking on a weekly basis at these places of public dealing and movement.

Jalandhar is perhaps the first district of Punjab where such a practice has been initiated by the district administration. Surprise checkings were an essential component of the administration in Punjab till about two decades ago. These were largely shunned during the decade-long militancy in the state when administration officials stopped venturing out in the rural areas for conducting surprise raids.

“Surprise checkings of all places of public dealing like government offices, cinemas, bus stands and schools will be a must from now on in the district. We will ensure that such an exercise is carried out at least once a week,” said the Deputy Commissioner. He started the exercise today by paying surprise visits to the local Government School in the Mithapur locality and the Suvidha Kendra in the District Administrative Complex here.


Drive on rainwater management
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 4
A mass awareness programme on “Rainwater management for groundwater recharge” was organised by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) at Government Polytechnic, Khoonimajra, here today.

A senior scientist of the CGWB, Mr C.P. Srivastava, suggested a ‘pani panchayat’ (water panchayat) for management of village ponds. He stressed the role of panchayats in rainwater management for ground water recharge. The panchayats should educate villagers on importance of water conservation, impart training on mechanism of hand-pump/motors, create “water police” to check wastage of water and include womenfolk as its members.

The Ropar ADC, Mr Surjit Singh, who was the chief guest, appreciated the efforts of the water board in rainwater management for ground water recharge.

He stressed that there was a need to organise more such programmes to educate villagers in order to promote the ongoing campaign. Presenting an overview of groundwater scenario in Punjab, which he said was facing the dual phenomena of rising and falling watertable in different blocks, Regional Director R.N. Singh sought farmers’ help in rainwater management on scientific lines.


Experts: protect environment
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 4
A two-day national conference on energy, environment, ecosystem and sustainable development was organised by the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib. Dr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director, Punjab State Council of Science and Technology, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. The Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, presided over the inauguration ceremony. There were thirtynine participants in all.

Prof Lakhvir Singh , convener of the conference, said the participants were from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chennai, Mumbai , Udaipur, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Dr Tiwana said engineers should take into consideration the ecosystem of our planet while developing new technology. He said the protection of the environment, and conservation of water resources was the need of the hour. In his keynote address, Dr Hira said that development of technology must be in harmony with nature.

Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Prof Jasbir Singh, Prof Harpreet Singh , Prof N.P. Singh , Prof H.S. Nigah , Dr R.K. Gupta , Prof Niraj Bala, Prof Manpreet Arora and Prof Maninder Kaur also spoke.


Bhagat Puran Singh’s death anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 4
Renowned environmentalist and leader of the Chipku movement Sundar Lal Bahuguna today warned that the excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides were causing immense damage not only to the environment but also affecting the health of the people of the country.

Speaking on the occasion of the 13th death anniversary of the founder of Pingalwara Bhagat Puran Singh, Mr Bahuguna said the people should come forward to save the earth, otherwise days were not far when the fertile land would become barren due to the excessive use to chemicals. He urged the people to follow the ideals of Bhagat Puran Singh who was a staunch environmentalist and had left behind literature to maintain the ecological balance.

Earlier, the Chief Administrator of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society distributed 45 tricycles to handicapped persons and opened an exhibition besides organising a free medical check-up camp.


Arjun is chief of Durgiana panel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 4
Mr Surinder Arjun was today unanimously nominated president of the Durgiana Temple Committee till the holding of elections. The executive committee of the Durgiana Temple passed a resolution to this effect.

Mr Arjun, while addressing mediapersons, said he was nominated to the post which fell vacant due to the death of Gopi Chand Bhatia. He said the committee members had assembled to condole the death of Bhatia. Meanwhile, members of the executive felt that the seat should be immediately filled for technical reasons.

Mr Rajesh Bhanot, Mr Devki Nandan Sachdeva, Dr Satyanand, Mr Vaid Kishan Chand, Mr Kishan Gopal Sapra, Mr Tek Chand and Mr Hem Raj Gupta proposed the name of Mr Arjun for the post of president. Mr Surinder Nayyar, Mr Anil Sehgal, Professor Duggal, Mr R.D. Kapoor, Mr Vijay Kumar Prinja, Mr Bal Krishan Anand and others seconded the resolution. All the members approved the resolution.


Sikh clergy to meet at Hazoor Sahib once a year

Amritsar, August 4
In a significant development, Sikh high priests have decided in principle to meet at Takht Hazoor Sahib once a year.

Jathedars of Hazoor Sahib and Patna Sahib have differed with Akal Takht on many Panthic issues. So much so both Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib have not yet implemented the Nanakshahi Calendar, approved by the SGPC and Akal Takht. — TNS


Panel to review working of local bodies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Third Punjab Finance Commission constituted under the Punjab Finance Commission for Panchayats and Municipalities Act, 1994, will review and suggest ways to improve the working of the local bodies. The commission has already invited suggestions and views from all concerned.

A spokesman of the commission said today that it would make assessments to improve the financial position of panchayats, panchayat samitis, zila parishads and municipal corporations and committees, to reduce unproductive expenditure, ensure the effective use of resources, generate more income and minimise their dependence on the government.

The commission would also make recommendations regarding the transfer of grant-in-aid and share of taxes from the state government to those self-government institutions so as to enable the local bodies to provide improved civic amenities.


Bomb hoax creates scare
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 4
A bomb hoax created scare as two identical briefcases were found abandoned in the city this afternoon.

The black briefcases, one of which was found lying in Street No. 9 of the Central Town locality and the other from near Madan Flour Mill on Railway Road, however, contained some documents. The owners of the briefcases were identified, police sources said.

As the news spread that the briefcase bombs were lying in Street No. 9 and near the flour mill, a large number of residents gathered at the spots.


Police launches plantation drive
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 4
The district police would make all-out efforts for making Fatehgarh Sahib a green and pollution free district. All SHOs had been directed to plant as many saplings as possible in their respective police stations, police chowkis and surrounding areas by involving village panchayats, social and other organisations in the drive, said Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, while addressing a van mahotsava-cum-public function organised by Mr Ramandeep Singh, SHO Sirhind, at the Sirhind police station today. The SSP launched vanamahotsava drive of the district police by planting saplings.


State-level I-Day function at Mansa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab Chief Minister will unfurl the National Flag and take the salute at the state-level Independence Day function at Mansa on August 15, it was announced here today.


Details sought on Sansi community
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 4
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Government what steps it was taking to check involvement of members of the Sansi community in criminal activity.

During hearing of a bail plea of an accused in a case under the NDPS Act, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the Punjab Home Secretary to file a detailed affidavit on steps taken, or proposed to be taken, to bring down involvement of the Sansi community in the illegal drug and narcotic trade.

The Bench also asked if any study had been got conducted or was proposed to be got conducted by the Social Welfare Department to find out the reasons behind the involvement of members of Sansi community in criminal activities.

The Judge also asked if there were any instructions issued by the government to deal with a situation where an accused, on seeing a police party, absconds.

Noting that in most cases of the NDPS Act, the police generally takes the stand that the accused is a member of the Sansi community and should not be granted bail, the Bench asked the Home Secretary to file the affidavit by October 3.

Punjab has a large number of Sansi population, with many of them alleged to be involved in criminal activities.


Doaba College to pay Rs 50,000 as relief to student
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 4
The District Consumer Redressal Forum has directed the management of Doaba College to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a local student who had alleged that the college authorities had given a wrong advertisement inviting students for admission in a course.

In his complaint, Rohit Sehgal, a resident of Sant Nagar here, had stated that the college had “adopted unfair practice” by giving a wrong advertisement pertaining to a “three-year degree of BA journalism”. He had lodged his complaint against the college principal, managing director of the college managing committee and Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University while demanding a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

Responding to the complaint, the college authorities had argued that they had not filed any written statement of providing a degree of journalism. They had pointed out that journalism was only one of the subjects offered to the students along with mass communication, computer applications, general Punjabi and general English.

The university authorities had also replied saying that the college had only been granted “provisional permission to offer journalism as a subject and not as a degree in journalism”.

The bench comprising the forum President, Mr M.M. Bhalla, and a member, Mr Surinder Mittal, gave a decision in favour of the student. The court pointed out that the student was studying in the college to complete “BA degree with journalism and mass communication” and will have to study further to get a separate degree of “BA journalism”.

The court said “in this deficiency of service and loss of money and time”, the college is directed to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to the complainant within one month of receiving the judgment.


high court
Assistant AG quits
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 4
Mr Mohinder Singh Joshi, Assistant Advocate-General, Punjab, has resigned from his post. In his letter addressed to the Punjab Home Secretary, Mr Joshi has said that since he has a standing of over 22 years as a lawyer, he deserved to be appointed as Additional Advocate General.

He has added that he was unable to continue as Assistant AG and, if the government does not promote him, his letter should be treated as resignation letter. His letter was today forwarded to the Home Department by the Advocate-General.


Dal Khalsa gen secy, two others released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 4
Dal Khalsa general secretary, Mr Kanwarpal Singh along with two other activists, were released from the Central Jail here yesterday after they were granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday.

Talking to the media persons after his release Mr Kanwarpal Singh said great injustice had been done to Dal Khalsa workers by framing them in false cases and putting them behind bars. He reiterated his stand that their march was peaceful and no fiery speeches or slogans were raised as mentioned in the FIR.

Among those who were released along with Mr Kanwarpal Singh were Mr Amrik Singh Ajnala and Mr Amrik Singh Granthgarh.


Consumer forum moved against soda-making unit
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 4
A local resident has filed a petition in the Consumer Redressal Forum, Gurdaspur, against a local dealer and the Ludhiana-based manufacturer of ‘Club Bisleri Soda’. The resident has complained that he had found a ‘fly’ in a bottle of soda.

The complainant, Saleem Bhatti, has stated before the forum that both the dealer and the manufacturer were responsible for unfair trade practice and deficiency of service in selling “contaminated” soda. He has sought a compensation of Rs 1.50 lakh.

However, the opposite parties have refuted the allegations. The seller said he had not sold the soda to the complainant. He alleged that the complaint was filed just to harass him.

The matter is pending in the court.


Reduce farm costs, Aulakh urges farmers
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 4
Punjab’s farmers were burdened with a huge debt of Rs 20,000 crore and if they didn’t increase their income by reducing agricultural costs and ensuring judicious use of water resources they would be ruined, warned Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, while addressing a seminar on crop diversification here today.

Dr Aulakh said if the farmers were earning handsome amount from paddy then they should also not forget that the deal would prove costly to them. He said while the water table was depleting in the state, the farm sector was being given power by implementing cuts in the industrial sector. He said there were about 11 lakh tubewells in the state, of which 9 lakh were running with electricity. Similarly, there were about 4.5 lakh tractors, whereas not even less than half of them were needed.

Appreciating the move to provide agricultural machinery to farmers through cooperative societies in Moga district, the VC said this model should be implemented in the whole state.

He said the decision to establish Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Moga would go a long way in aiding progressive farmers of the area.

The Director of Extension Education, PAU, Dr S.S. Gill, stressed on the need to divert area under paddy cultivation to other crops.

The Commissioner of Ferozepore Division, Mr K.S. Sidhu, said the diversification was the need of the hour, as water resources were drying up at rapid pace.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said the setting up of a krishi kendra in the district would prove to be a milestone in agricultural development of the area. He said 12 acres would be allotted for the kendra at Luhara village.


Jalandhar SSP directed to present challan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Additional Director General of Police (Crime), Punjab, has directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jalandhar, to present challan against Kartar Singh, NRI, who has been booked in two separate cases by the police.

Mr Charanjit Singh has accused Kartar Singh of demolishing a structure existing on a piece of land that had been bought by him in an auction and later trying to remove the debris and other material from the spot.

Kartar Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh have fought a protracted legal battle for ownership of a land at Jalandhar. When Mr Kartar Singh went to take possession of the land in the company of court-appointed bailiff and police personnel, the complainant objected to the same, saying that the land which had been auctioned was agriculture land, whereas the one in possession of Mr Charanjit Singh had a workshop on it.

In his report, the ADGP (Crime) has concluded that Kartar Singh demolished the structure without getting his possession on the land approved. He has directed that in view of the circumstances, the case be challaned and put to trial before the court.


Six held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 4
Six persons, including a baba claiming to have occult powers were nabbed today by the police here for duping Piara Singh of nearby Khera village of Rs 2 lakh.

Those arrested include Avtar Singh, alias Baba, Bakshish Singh, Balbir Singh, Husan Lal, Ravinder Singh, alias Mangi, of Mao Sahib village and Pala Ram, alias Ghungri of Khera village. A case under Sections 420, 506, 380, 454 of the Indian Penal Code was registered against the six last month.

Police sources said Pala Ram, alias Ghungri, of Khera village went to Piara Singh of the same village. Ghungri told him that he knew a Baba and his followers who had powers to double the money he had with him. Piara Singh told Ghungri that he had Rs 2 lakh with him. On hearing it, Ghungri brought Baba and his followers.

Piara Singh entertained the Baba and his disciples. Then chanting of mantras followed. The Baba put some chemical on currency notes and tied these in a bundle.

Then Piara Singh was asked to go out for paying obeisance at the village shrine for completing the process of doubling the amount. Piara Singh obeyed the Baba. When he returned from the shrine, he found the Baba and disciples had fled with his Rs 2 lakh.

Piara Singh reported the matter of the police. Pala Ram, alias Ghungri, has a shady character and was earlier arrested on May 13 this year with counterfeit currency worth Rs 30,800.


Man crushed to death in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar , August 4
Subhash Abrol, a commission agent and farmer of Panjawa village, was crushed to death by a Tata Sumo vehicle this morning.

Family sources said Abrol (45) left for his village at 5.45 a.m. from his residence here near the Kothi Faiz locality on the Sriganganagar road by motor cycle. Near Sayeedwala village a Tata Sumo vehicle coming from the opposite direction reportedly overtook an oil tanker and hit his motor cycle. The Sumo, packed with passengers, dragged the motorcyclist some 20 ft crushing his legs and causing him head injuries. The driver of the Sumo quickly stepped down from his four-wheeler and escaped in a Punjab Roadways bus that was crossing the danger zone. Other occupants of the Sumo also caught another Abohar-bound bus and fled.

A jeep took the injured man to Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here, but the doctors declared him brought dead. Mr. Kewal Abrol, a former Sarpanch of Panjawa village and younger brother of the victim, rushed in on getting information and assisted the Khuyiansarwer police in the investigations. The body was handed over to the bereaved family after conducting a post-mortem examination at the hospital.


One held for attempt to murder Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 4
The police yesterday arrested Rajesh Sharma, a resident of Moti Bagh in an attempt to murder Mr Ashok Malhotra, a senior Congress leader and ex-councillor.

Mr Malhotra was attacked by three unidentified persons with sharp-edged weapons and was seriously injured when he was opening his shop near the local Civil Hospital on Tuesday.

In his statement before the police Mr Malhotra alleged that Rajesh had been threatening him because of their business rivalry.

After recording the statement of Mr Malhotra police rounded up Rajesh Sharma for investigation after registering a case Under Section 307,506, and 120B and 341 of the IPC.


Youth assaulted, injured
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 4
A youth, Harish Sethi, nephew of Mr S.P. Sethi, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Fine Switchgears and an NGO stalwart, was today assaulted by about a half dozen youths. They also injured and robbed him of Rs 52,000, a gold chain and a wrist watch.

Harish was admitted to the local Civil Hospital. A case has been registered. Mr Ashok Sethi, an uncle of the injured youth, alleged that the ward of a politician was behind the attack.


Application date for NRI seats extended

Amritsar, August 4
Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to accept applications for NRI quota in different courses, including M. Phil till August 10.

Dr Gurnam Singh, Dean, Academic Affairs, said application on plain paper should be submitted directly to the Head of the department concerned till August 10. He said those candidates who had already applied need not apply again.

Dr Gurnam Singh, however, clarified that the decision of extension would apply only to those courses where admission process had not yet been completed. — TNS


Training course for radiographers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Government Medical Colleges in Amritsar and Patiala have introduced a two-year radiographer’s training course. While the college in Patiala will have 11 seats, the one in Amritsar will have 15. Five seats in each college are reserved for Scheduled Castes candidates.

The selected candidates will be paid a stipend of Rs 75 per month and be required to execute a bond to serve the Punjab Government for five years.

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