P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab Police fails to get custody of Hawara
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 5
The Punjab police could not get custody of main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, in various cases pending against in various districts in the states. The reason is that UT Administration had imposed section 268 of the CrPC on all accused involved in the Beant Singh assassination case including in Hawara. As a result, none of the accused in the case could be taken to other place from Burail Jail, said, a senior official of the Punjab Police associated with the investigating team probing the cases against Hawara in this evening to The Tribune.

Officials of the Punjab police were refused custody of Hawara from Burail Jail, a senior official added.

The senior official said that all cases pending against Hawara in Punjab now would likely to clubbed with the cases pending against him in Chandigarh. The cases pending against Hawara will be transferred to Chandigarh court. Similar thing happen in the Delhi also where all the cases pending against Hawara are clubbed, he added.

He said that the Punjab police would take up the matter with UT Home Secretary to find any solution. As the UT administration keeping in view the sensitivity of the case had already imposed sections 268 CrPC on all accused, he added.

Besides the Ropar police, Patiala, Fathegarh Sahib, Sangrur and police force of various districts required Hawara custody in various cases registered against him for carrying out various activities after his escape from the jail.

Sources said that the official of Ropar police had also gone to Burail Jail to seek Hawara’s custody after procuring his production warrants in the various cases including Bomb blast case recovery of RDX and ammunition from his accomplices but left empty handed after they denied permission to bring Hawara from Burail Jail to the district.


Housemaid found murdered
Residents protest arrest of suspected killers
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 5
Residents of kucha quarters locality organised a dharna outside the division number 2 police station to demand the arrest of the persons responsible for the death of a housemaid.

Rani, a housemaid, was working in the house of Ashok Kumar, a subdivision officer in Public Health. Today the wife of Ashok Kumar, Mrs Veena went out leaving the housemaid alone at home. When she returned home the housemaid was lying unconscious on the sofa.

She took her to a doctor who declared her dead. Mrs Veena delivered the body of housemaid to her parents. The news of the death of housemaid infuriated the residents of the kucha quarters locality. They gheraoed the house where the deceased worked as maid. Timely intervention of the police helped avert untoward incidence.

On the complaint of parents of the deceased police arrested Mrs Veena and registered a case against her. Her husband Mr Ashok Kumar was also booked but he could be arrested till the filing of this report.

From the circumstantial evidence it seemed that the girl was murdered. The hair and clip of the girl were found broken near the site where her body was recovered. It seemed that somebody tried to rape the girl and later due to her resistance strangulated her to death.


List of 11 missing Pak nationals released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, Aug 5
The Punjab Police today released a list and photographs of 11 Pakistani nationals, all of them from Lahore, who had come to India to watch the first India-Pakistan Test match at Mohali in March this year but did not return to their country.

A press note issued by the state police here said these Pakistani nationals had come to India on valid visas to witness the first test match of the Indo-Pakistan friendship series held at Mohali from March 8 to 12. However, after the expiry of their visa term, they did not return to their country (Pakistan) and went ‘missing’ in India.

The note said, “As these missing persons were a threat to the sovereignty and security of the nation, information about their whereabouts could be given to the police immediately.” Any person having information of the ‘missing’ Pakistanis could contact 0183-2228786, 0183-2228185 or 0183-2336024 (all Amritsar numbers).

The note said these ‘missing’ Pakistanis had entered India through the Wagah joint Indo-Pakistan check-post along with other Pakistani nationals who were given visas for watching the cricket match at Mohali. They were taken to Mohali by road along with other cricket fans but after the expiry of their visa period, they failed to report at the Wagah post, the note added.

A case (FIR-35) against the 11 persons was registered at the Gharinda police station (Amritsar district) on March 31 under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act.

The 11 were identified as Tasvez Khan, Mahmood Zahir, Sayeed Khan, Sajad, Mohammed Kazram, Inayat Sameul, Quam Ayub, Ibraham Khan, Mohammed Alam, Walizan Khan and Nawaz Khan.


Pakistan agrees to allow visits by more Sikh jathas
Tribune News Service

Wagah, August 5
The Pakistan Government has agreed in principle to allow more jathas to visit Sikh shrines in that country.

This was stated by Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), who had returned from Pakistan here today. He said a palki (palanquin), made of gold, would be taken to Pakistan in a procession from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi, in November to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Mr Jagjit Singh Kochhar, from Dubai had also crossed over to India along with Mr Sarna.

Mr Sarna said the sarovar (holy tank) of Gurdwara Janamsthan, Nankana Sahib, had been renovated after a gap of 58 years. The Government of Pakistan had allowed Kar Seva at the sarovar, for the first time after the Partition of the country. He said the holy water of five sarovars from different historical gurdwaras of India and Pakistan would be added to the renovated sarovar at the time of its inauguration.

The kar seva of Gurdwara Chunna Mandi, birth place of Guru Ram Dass, founder of Amritsar, was near completion. He said the kar seva of more gurdwaras in Pakistan would be undertaken shortly .

For the first time, the Pakistani High Commission had granted visa to Mahant Karamjit Singh and 61 other Seva Panthis to visit Pakistan. Another jatha of 52 pilgrims would also leave for Pakistan on August 12.

Mr Sarna and Mr Kochhar also visited the ‘samadh’ of Sain Mian Mir in Lahore. They said the relics belonging to the Gurus in the possession of the descendants of Sain Mian Mir were intact.


Primary schools have teachers, no students
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 5
While government schools in other parts of the state are grappling with staff shortage, some primary schools in the district have teachers but no students and a few senior secondary schools have science lecturers despite having no admissions in the science stream.

According to sources, two primary schools of Bathinda block have been shut, but they are still open in the government records. The sources said a teacher had been posted at a school in Kothe Ajmer Singh village, but the school had no students. The teacher was now working at the district education office temporarily.

The sources said the school had two sanctioned posts of teacher. In 2001-02, the school had 15 students, reduced gradually to only three in 2004-05 and this year they, too, left the school. Similarly, no student got admitted in a primary school at Kothe Joganand.

This school, too, had two sanctioned posts of teacher, of which one got himself shifted while the other was sent to Katar Singh Wala village on deputation. The BEO, Ms Pritpal Kaur, said they had written to the DEO and the DPI (Elementary) regarding both these schools.

On the other hand, a government school in Rania village in Talwandi Sabo block had students but no teachers. A teacher was sent there on deputation some time back. The school has 40 students. The block has 14 single-teacher primary schools. Interestingly, there are some schools that don’t even have 20 students on their rolls. A school at Kothe Sapoora Singh has 12 students and two teachers, while another at Kothe Masoor has 17 students and a teacher.

Meanwhile, the state of affairs in the science faculty in some senior secondary schools is akin to primary schools without students. According to the sources, no student has taken admission in the science stream for the past two years at government senior secondary school at Bhucho Mandi, but the school has a biology lecturer who was transferred from Nathana after the closure of the science group there in 2003. Surprisingly, instead of shifting this lecturer, the state government sent a chemistry lecturer to the school. This lecturer has been transferred from an Abohar school, that has about 125 science students, to a school, which has not even a single science student. Now, the school at Bhucho Mandi has two surplus lecturers. The school also had a physics lecturer who was shifted last year. The sources say the biology lecturer was now teaching history.

The sources said out of a total of 74 senior secondary schools in the district, 20 had science stream. Only five schools were doing well in the science group. A school at Mandi Kalan had no science student for the past four years, but it had a chemistry lecturer who now teaches social science to lower classes. A school at Kotfatta village has a biology teacher, but no science student. A biology teacher posted at a girls’ school in Rampura Phul has now been deputed under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan as the school has no student in science group.

The senior secondary school at Bhagta Bhai Ka has 58 science students. A physics lecturer from this school has been transferred to a girls’ school in Goniana Mandi where the number of science students is only 20. The DEO (Secondary) could not be contacted for comments.


Work on Lehra Mohabbat plant behind schedule
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Work on important sections of Stage II of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat, which is under expansion, is behind schedule. The way things are moving at the project, worth Rs 1,700 crore at present, its completion is expected to be delayed by six months.

However, the BHEL authorities, who are executing the project, say that it will be completed in time. They assert that unit III and unit IV of Stage II will be completed by December 31, 2006, and March 31, 2007, respectively, dates which were agreed upon between the PSEB and the BHEL. The units are of 250 MW each.

However, sources in the PSEB told The Tribune that “drum lifting”, which was one of the most important tasks of the project, had been delayed by about two months. There was a remote possibility that this task would be completed by the end of this month. The due date ‘’lift the drum’’ was between June 3 and June 12. The foundation stone of the Stage II was laid by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on February 28.

Mechanical work on the electrostatic precipitator, which was considered another important part of the project, had also not started yet. Work on it was to start by July 13. Only civil works had started on the turbine and condenser sections, two other vital parts of the project. The sources said that mechanical work on the condenser and turbine sections, which was to start on September 1 and October 1, respectively, would be delayed by at least three months. Work on the cooling tower was yet to start in a proper manner and in the case of the chimney, the work was still at the foundation level. Both the cooling tower and chimney were major civil works.

Besides work on the coal handling plant was still at the engineering stage. Work on other parts of the project such as the ash-handling system, cooling water pumps, the de-mineralised water system, air compressors and the setting up of substations was also at the engineering stage, which meant that their specifications and drawings were still being finalised.

Insiders in the PSEB say that the BHEL is overburdened with several other such projects and it has moved only a small section of the staff to execute work on the Lehra Mohabbat plant. The PSEB authorities, too, have not posted a Chief Engineer with independent charge of the project. The Chief Engineer (Operation and Maintenance) of Stage I units holds additional charge of the project.

They say that if the project is delayed by six months, the PSEB will be the biggest loser. The daily loss of power generation will be in the range of Rs 2.5 crore. Besides, if the project is completed by March 31, 2007, the PSEB will be entitled to subsidy from the Union Government and some concession on the interest on the loan arranged by it from the Power Finance Corporation. This subsidy and concession on interest works out to be around Rs 250 crore.

However, Mr K. Ravi Kumar, Director, Power Generation, BHEL, said that the PSEB handed over the project to his organisation on March 31, 2004. “ During the execution of various works, certain changes became necessary. For instance, piling works, which were not envisaged earlier as per the contract and also not carried out in Stage I of this project, are now being executed “, he said. “ Some changes in the engineering designs have to be made because of the change in the seismic zone status from III to IV on the directions of the Punjab Government”, he added. However this normally happened in turnkey contract-based projects.” In spite of all these major constraints, the BHEL and the PSEB are working together to ensure that the units are commissioned as per the agreed schedule”, he added.

Mr K. Ravi Kumar told The Tribune that he had talked to the Chairman and other senior functionaries of the PSEB and was prepared to meet all concerned to satisfy them that the project would be commissioned in time. However, insiders in the PSEB say that the clause in the contract regarding the escalation in the price of various items to be used in the project favours the BHEL. The major gainer on the financial side will be the project executing agency if there is delay in the completion of the project.


Residents to boycott I-Day function
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 5
Residents of Dharamkot mohalla, led by Mr Bira Ram Valjot, municipal councillor, Ward No. 15, today staged a demonstration against the Punjab Government and local Nagar Council for lack of water supply, sewerage and drainage facilities in the locality.

They decided to boycott the Independence Day function on August 15 and observe it as ‘black day’ in case their problem was not solved by then.

They tried to gherao Kapurthala DC Sameer Kumar who had come here today to attend various functions in connection with Van Mahaotsav.

The protesters, including a large number of women, laid a “naka” on the road leading to a women college where the DC was to preside over a function.

The local MLA and Chairman of the Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, who came to attend the function as a chief guest at the college around noon, had to face the ire of the protesters. He was not allowed to enter the gate for about five minutes.

The protesters relented only after SDM Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Nagar Council President Malkiat Singh Ragbotra and EO Jagir Singh Thind came outside to hear their grievances. They made these officials to visit the locality along with their councillor Bira Ram Valjot. City SHO Nirmal Singh also accompanied them.

The council officials said the locality was unauthorised but the SDM assured that cleanliness drive would be launched and the matter would be forwarded to the government. Mr Valjot and a few others later met the DC.


SAD (A) holds protest rally
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 5
Workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (A) under the leadership of Mr Jeet Singh Aloarakh, district president of the SAD(A), today took out a protest march through the town and held a rally in front of the SDM office here against the registration of sedition case against Mr Simrajjit Singh Mann and other leaders of the party.

A memorandum was also submitted to the SDM, Ms Indu Malhotra, for its forwarding to the President of India.


SAD plea to Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal today urged the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to use his constitutional authority to put a moratorium on what it called useless and extravagant foreign trips by Punjab Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and other important persons in view of gross fiscal mismanagement and sorry state of the economy.

The party also asked the Governor to intervene to stop the Punjab Government from purchasing expensive luxury vehicles for Ministers, legislators and bureaucrats.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was leading the state towards a economic calamity, said the party general secretary and MP, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Mr Badal called upon the Governor to exercise his constitutional right first to advise and then to admonish the government for its alleged indulgence in reckless spending.


Jaundice cases continue to pour in
Health Secretary visits Mandi Gobindgarh areas
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
Since the first case of jaundice was reported on June 21 in the most prosperous town of the district, Mandi Gobindgarh, there has been no control over its spread. Even though the town does not have any slum area and has “A” class Municipal Council, having all modern facilities, more than 100 cases of jaundice have been reported there. More cases continue to pour in and the health authorities, in spite of their best efforts are feeling helpless.

Mr T.R. Sarangal, Special Secretary, Health yesterday visited Jaundice-hit areas of Mandi Gobindgarh. He, along with the Civil Surgeon, Fatehgarh Sahib, the SDM, Amloh, and the municipal authorities, made a door-to-door visit in the areas.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Sarangal said the Health Department would provide treatment to all jaundice patients free of cost at hospitals. All Senior Medical Officers had been given powers to purchase the required medicines from the user charges collected by them in their respective hospitals.

He said in Mandi Gobindgarh around 50 patients of Hepatitis-A had been admitted to the Civil Hospital while a large number of patients were getting treatment at private clinics. The health authorities had been making all out efforts to control the disease and instructions were being given to the residents.

Medical teams had been formed, which were keeping a close watch on the situation. Water samples had been taken from the affected areas, said Mr Sarangal.

Later, he convened a meeting of health officials and the local authorities to review the situation. He said human failure was evident in the spread of the disease as the cases were from posh localities and Mandi Gobindgarh was the town which had no slum area. Tullu pumps could be one of the major causes of contamination of water, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Sandip Hans, SDM, Amloh, appealed to the residents of the town to remove their tullu pumps immediately, otherwise the administration would seize them as the installation of those pumps was illegal.

He said municipal officials had detected some private water connections, which might be the cause of contamination of water.

The council was conducting a door-to-door survey to find out the causes of contamination. The council had distributed 40,000 tablets of chlorine, among the residents.

Dr H.P.S. Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, said the samples taken from tubewell No. 13 and 19 and from a public tap, near Pir Baba road, have failed.

He denied the news item published in a newspaper that Narinder Prashar died of jaundice in Mandi Gobindgarh. He had been suffering a chronic disease, liver failure, for the past eight years and was admitted to the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.


Baby milk making firms ‘discourage’ breast feeding
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 5
“Due to lack of awareness among pregnant women and lactating mothers regarding benefits of breast feeding, out of 2.50 crore newborn babies every year in India only one crore get the benefits of exclusive breast feeding though it is a must for the newborns for up to six months.

This was stated by Dr Surinder Singla, Chairman, Legal Cell, Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), while inaugurating a seminar on ‘Breast feeding and family foods: loving and healthy”, organised by the local National Institute of Nursing as part of the ongoing World Breast-Feeding Week (August 1 to August 7) here today.

Dr Singla blamed the baby milk and baby food manufacturing companies for discouraging the habit of breast feeding by giving an impression through advertisements, etc that “artificial milk is equivalent to mother’s milk”. He also asked the health professionals and social organisations to contribute in disseminating the message about the benefits of breast feeding among the masses.

Dr V.K. Ahuja, district coordinator of Breast-Feeding Promotion Network of India, said in his keynote address that even after six months of exclusive breast feeding, breast feeding to the newborns should continue along with complementary family foods like rice, potato, pulses, fruits and curd, etc up to two years of age. This practice protected the children against many diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, diarrhoea, etc. Besides, it also protected mothers of newborns against many diseases like breast cancer, ovarian cancer and post-partum bleeding, etc, he added.

Mr Shiv Arya, Director of the National Institute of Nursing, appealed to the participants to promote and support the practice of breast feeding to have healthy children as they would play a significant role in the progress and development of the country in a big way.

Ms Iqbal Kaur, Principal of the institute, and Ms Gurjeet Kaur, a nursing student, also expressed their views. Some students and teachers of the institute also participated in the deliberations.


Drive to make Fatehgarh Sahib green
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
“Plant trees, save Fatehgarh Sahib” scheme has been launched in the district. More than two lakh saplings will be planted involving educational, religious, and social organisations in this drive, said Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secy. 
He was addressing a vanamhotsav function organised by the District Environment Protection Society in collaboration with the administration here yesterday.

Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, presided.

Addressing the function, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, said the district administration would plant trees in schools, at link roads, cremation ground and other areas. Each student would be involved and be given a plant to look after.

She announced clubs, social organisations and panchayats involved in this drive would be honoured.

Mr P.S. Kaler, Chief Conservator, appreciated the efforts of the District Environment Protection Society. He said more than 300 hectares would be covered under the plantation drive.

Mr Samsher Singh, Chairman, Environment Protection Society, said the society had donated more than 500 tree guards to the department and planted more than one lakh tree.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizen’s Welfare Council, Mr Nakesh Jindal, Secretary of the society, Mr Ranjit Singh, Chairman, Market Committee, Sirhind, Mr Gursatinder Jallah and Mr Gurnam Singh Bhaironpur also spoke.


Kin relieved over Afshan’s acquittal
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 5
Thank God that Afshan Guru has been acquitted by the Supreme Court,” This was the reaction of the woman who opened the door at Afshan’s parental house herein Azeemgarh locality this afternoon, when she was told about the judgement on Parliament attack case. She, however, added that the family had severed ties with Afshan long back “Everyone has to face the outcome of his or her actions,” she said while closing the large iron gate of the house realising that the visitors were media persons. Neighbours told that the woman was Afshan’s brother’s wife. The family did not respond to phone calls and disconnected the landline phone.

Afshan, alias Navjot Sidhu, whose family lives in Azeemgarh locality near college road on the outskirts of this subdivisional town, Gad never visited the locality during the past one and a half decade. She was born in Bathinda and had her education at Ambala Cantt. and New Delhi. Her father, Mr Harcharan Singh Sidhu, retired as Assistant Commercial Superintendent in 1990. She had come close to Shaukat Hasan “Guru” while doing her MA (Sociology) at Delhi University. As she decided to change her religion and marry Shaukat her parents disinherited her. However, the Sidhu family and her acquaintances here were shocked when Navjot was arrested in connection with attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

Some of them had even visited New Delhi to meet her as she was expecting a baby at that time and offered help in engaging lawyers to defend her, sources said. During the past three-and-a-half-years of trials in different courts, her aged parents lived an isolated life as her brother looked after their ancestral farms here. The Sidhu family otherwise had a untarnished record. Her uncle who retired as Headmaster of an eminent Government Senior Secondary School had been a prominent hockey player.


Bajaj tells officers to check evasion of stamp duty
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 5
Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, has asked senior district officers to check theft of stamp duty and mutation fee during registration of deeds in the state. There were complaints and reports about it which needed to the looked into. The menace was impeding development of the state, she said.

Presiding over a meeting of the senior revenue officers of Faridkot and Ferozepore Divisions, comprising six districts of Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Moga, Muktsar and Mansa, here to review revenue positions in all areas, she directed junior officers to follow rules besides registration and stamp duty rates fixed by district collectors to complete the process.

She also asked senior officers to supervise the work of subordinates to check anomalies to ensure early recovery of revenue detected during audit reports and an excess of 3 per cent social security funds fixed by the government.

Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, and Dr Roshan Sankaria Divisonal Commissioners of Ferozepore and Faridkot, respectively, Mr Alok Shekhar, Mr Rahul Bhandari, Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhri, Mr B.C.Thakur and Mr Dalip Kumar Deputy Commissioners of Faridkot, Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepore and Muktsar, respectively attended the meeting. Moga district was represented by its Additional Deputy Commissioner. Later Mrs Bajaj went to Tilla Baba Farid to pay obeisance where she was honoured with a siropa. She also visited Qila Mubarak.


Measures afoot to check encroachments
Tribune News Service

Malikpur (Gurdaspur) August 5
The Punjab Government will hold the district administration responsible for any kind of encroachments on public land. A decision to this effect has been taken on the request of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA).

Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, gave this information while talking to newsmen here today. He was here to preside over a seminar organized by the organization of private developers on better public-private participation in urban development.

The minister further said the government was planning to take tough measures, including demolition of structures raised on encroached public properties against the encroachers.

To facilitate the planned urban development by private participation, the procedure for developing colonies in less than 10 acres was being simplified. The permission for developing a colony in less than 10 acres would now be given at the district-level provided that the developer abides by the PUDA norms.

He said 1600 illegal colonies had been identified in the state. The developers of these colonies had been directed to abide by the norms of PUDA pending which the structures raised in these colonies would be demolished.

While responding to a query regarding the encroachments in the PUDA colony at Pathankot, the minister said that the illegal occupants would be evicted very soon. He ,however, refused to give timeframe for the eviction of the illegal occupants.

The entire PUDA colony on the Pathankot bypass has been encroached upon. The actual allottees who had deposited the down payments for houses in the colony about 20 years ago are fighting a legal battle to get the possession of the houses.PUDA has failed to evict the encroachers from the colony despite orders from the Punjab Human Rights Commission.

Private developers, while speaking on the occasion, alleged that the Department of Local Bodies had appointed underqualified persons on the posts of town planners in many parts of the state. They urged the minister to ensure the appointment of qualified staff at the posts of town planners.


One man, five posts
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 4
One man holding five posts! This is true in case of Dr J.S. Dalal who is holding five posts which are stationed at a distance of about 250 km between Chandigarh and the holy city.

How he is justifying the additional charge of posts from such a distance (He is Principal, medical college, Amritsar too) and Chandigarh (where he is posted as DRME) is a moot point.

The other departments , headed by Dr Dalal include Professor and Head Forensic Medicine, State Medico Legal Adviser, Chandigarh, and lastly Director Principal, Punjab Medical Institute, Jalandhar.

However, Dr Dalal, while talking to TNS, here today said he was holding the additional charges as per the precedent prevailing in the department. He said he was not even claiming allowances of Rs 600 and Rs 1,000 for the posts of Principal ,GMC, and DRME, respectively.

Veteran CPI leader Satyapal Dang in a missive to the state government has questioned the wisdom behind giving five portfolios to one official . He asked whether Dr Dalal would be able to deliver the goods or do justice with the departments he is heading.He also asked whether the state lacked persons of caliber to hold these posts at Amritsar and Chandigarh. Leaders of other political parties alleged that such an arrangement lead to mismanagement in the Health Department .


Man eats broken glass in police custody
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
A man broke and ate glasses of his spectacles in police custody in an alleged suicide attempt after being allegedly tortured and questioned regarding the recent murder of another goldsmith in the city. The victim was as battling for life in CMC hospital here.

Mr Ashok Kumar, an uncle of the victim Varinder Kumar, alleged that his ‘‘innocent’’ nephew was being forced to confess the murder. He was a goldsmith by profession. He broke his spectacles and ate the glass after being fed up with police harassment.

The suspect-turned victim was allegedly in the police custody of local CIA wing since Wednesday and was being questioned regarding the murder case of an aged goldsmith Jaswant Rai found murdered in his house near Division No. 3 two weeks ago.

The police tried its best to cover up the incident and even attempted with the help of CMC doctors to prevent media photographers from taking pictures of the injured victim.

His uncle also alleged that police had detained Varinder Kumar last week for few days also and put under intense questioning. He was released when the police allegedly failed to get a confession from him. However, on Wednesday , the CIA wing-II allegedly picked him.

SP-Detective Gurpreet Singh, who heads both the CIA wings said he was verifying the allegations. 


Sardar Anjum, Shahryar to regale audience
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
The Mehak Cultural Forum, Patiala, in collaboration with the Sufi Foundation India will organise an All-India Mushiara at the Central State Library auditorium here tomorrow at 7 p.m to commemorate the Independence Day.

In all 13 well-known poets from all over the country will present their compositions. They include Dr Sardar Anjum (Panchkula), Prof Shahryar (Aligarh), Prof Wasim Bareilvi (Bareilly), Mumtaz Rashied (Mumbai), Prem Kumar Nazar (Hoshiarpur), Miraz Faizabadi (Lucknow), Prof Azad Gulati (Gurgaon), Hasan Kazami (Noida), Pritpal Singh Betab (Srinagar), Tazdar Amrohi (Mumbai), Shezada Gulrez (Rampur), Malika Naseem (Jaipur)and Dr Nashir Naquvi (Patiala).

Sardar Anjum, recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, is among the region’s best.

Professor Shahryar has regaled audiences and poetry-lovers the world over with his ghazals in films like ‘Umrao Jaan’ and ‘Gaman’.

Professor Waseem Bareilvi, who will be coming directly from the USA, where he had gone to attend another mushiara is a favourite of famous ghazal singer Jagjit Singh.. Jagjit Singh has sung quite a few of his compositions, including ‘Mein chhataa tha ki koi toh bewafah nikle, ushe samjhane ka koi toh rasta nikle’.

The poet in Pritpal Singh Betab will be at the forefront for the evening, putting his administrating duties on the back seat. He is Special Secretary, Industry, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Fayaz Farooqi, SSP, Faridkot, will be another administrator who would show his talent in poetry. He is also the treasurer of the Sufi Foundation India and belongs to Allahabad.

Dr Nashir Naquvi of Punjabi University, Patiala, would showcase local talent.

Earlier 15 poets were to take part in the mushiara but two poets — Munwar Rana from Kolkata, whose forte is ‘ma and beti’, instead of ‘mey and meena’, the staple of most poets, and Qasim Imam from Mumbai — will not be able to come due to torrential rains in their cities, according to organiser of the mushaira Dr Naresh Raj. 


Villagers’ relay fast from Aug 16
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 5
The Ujaara Roko Sangharosh Committee (Anti-Desertion Action Committee) of three villages — Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sanghera — has decided to start relay fast in front of the Barnala SDM’s office from August, 16 to protest against the Punjab Government’s move to acquire more than 350 acres of Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sanghera villages for units of the Trident Group of Industries — Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC).

Mr Bharpur Singh, an affected resident of Fatehgarh Chhanna village said decision of fast from August, 16 was taken at Dhaula village 20 km from here on the call of the action committee of the Zamhoori Kisan Union, the Punjab Khetiwadi Kisan Vikas Front, the Kisan Sabha Punjab and the BKU (Lakhowal) had organised this protest dharna on August, 1 at Dhaula village.

The Trident-PSIDC tie up plans to set up new units here worth Rs 2000 crore including a sugar mill of 12500 tonne capacity, a paper mill of 40 MW Power Plant, sheeting and garmenting at Dhaula (Barnala) and Sanghera (Barnala).

On July, 31 Mr Rajinder Gupta, Managing Director, Abhishek Industries belonging to the Trident Group said there was no truth in farmers allegations as the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur would determine price of the acquired land.

He added land price committee comprised local Member of Parliament, MLAs of the area and the sarpanches of villages concerned.

Mr Gupta said if people, local MP, and MLAs were not in favour of these units here, he would drop the idea. He asserted public co-operation was necessary because these projects would be in public interest.


Ludhiana doctor to chair Asia Pacific Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Dr Kuldip Singh, Professor of Surgery, DMC, Ludhiana, and pioneer laparoscopic surgeon, has been invited to chair the plenary session of the Seventh Asia Pacific Congress of Endoscopic Surgery organised by the Endoscopic Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA) to be held in Hong Kong from August 17 to 19.

The theme of the Congress is "MIS — Navigating laparoscopic surgery into the second decade".

He will also deliver a lecture on "Difficult cholecystectomy — is still there a need to convert to open surgery" and to discuss guidelines and anatomical landmarks to make laparoscopic surgery safe. Dr Kuldip Singh, President Elect of the Indian Association of Gastro Endosurgeons, who has delivered and chaired more than 40 guest lectures at international conferences, says laparoscopic surgery has revolutionsed the surgical field since 1989.


Club function
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
Social organisations play an important role in development of the society and nation. The government alone cannot achieve much without the co-operation of social organisations.

This was stated by Mr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, while addressing the annual installation function of Rotary Club, Sirhind, yesterday.

Mr Aggarwal, Chief Engineer, presided over the ceremony. Mr Subhash Softa was installed president of the club and Dr Mohinder Singla Secretary.


Ropar thermal plant sans head
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 5
One of the most important power projects of Punjab, Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, has been functioning without any head for the past five days. The post of the Chief Engineer has been lying vacant after the retirement of the General Manager of the thermal plant, Mr R.S. Sohal, on July 31.

Sources said it was the first time since the commission of the thermal plant that the post of the Chief Engineer had been lying vacant.

In official circles the names of the two Chief Engineers including the Chief Engineer, North India, at Jalandhar, Mr N.K Arora and the Chief Engineer of the Lehra-Mohabbat thermal plant, Mr V.K. Arora, are doing the rounds for the post.


4000 saplings to be planted

Bathinda, August 5
Bathinda features in a selected group of districts where under a Central government saplings would be planted on 900 acres of land, stated Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari while addressing a gathering at PUDA’s Vanamahotsava here today. Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, said 4,000 saplings would be planted on 527 acres of land falling under the localities of PUDA’s Phase III. Meanwhile, a delegation of residents, comprising mainly women, from the locality met the DC and apprised him of drinking water shortage, poor state of streetlights and sewerage system in their area. The DC asked Mr Bhatti to redress their grievances within 15 days. He also assured them he would himself visit their locality on August 20 and the officials showing negligence would be dealt with strictly. — TNS


Anganwadi workers to hold protest rallies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 5
Intensifying their stir on the issue of rotten eatables’ scam, the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union has announced that they would hold protest rallies in the city on August 15.

The union said they would show black flags to the minister who would unfurl national flag in the city.

Earlier, the union had announced that they would gherao Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on August 12. The union would hold a meeting to draw up plan in this regard on August 7.


Akali MPs’ plea dismissed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed the petition filed by eight Akali MPs from Punjab seeking quashing of the report of the Justice B.S. Nehra Commission of Inquiry into the Punjab Intranet Scam.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and seven other MPs had also prayed for an independent probe into the alleged investment of $ (US) 1 lakh by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh in a Dutch company in violation of foreign exchange regulation laws. They had claimed that the commission went beyond the terms of reference, as its role was to be limited to enquiring into truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations against Raninder and his friends.

On the last hearing, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta had reserved its judgement on the issue of maintainability of the writ.

The Nehra Commission was constituted by the Capt Amarinder Singh government to enquire into the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations about the alleged involvement of Raninder in Hawala transactions and violation of foreign exchange law. This followed newspaper reports about the same.

Today, pronouncing the judgement, the Bench also rejected the demand of the petitioners for investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence or some other independent agency into the alleged hawala transactions.

Declining to comment on the observations made by the Nehra Commission in its report, the Bench held that the petition “at this juncture is misconceived”. It also observed that the “intervention of this court at the present stage is not warranted”.

Dismissing the writ, the Bench noted that it was of the view that allegations, which prompted the government to appoint the commission, are going to be discussed when the report is taken up for consideration.

Ruling against ordering an inquiry by an independent agency, the Bench said it was convinced that “that at the present juncture, parallel investigation by the CBI or the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the discussion on the report of the commission would lead to an avoidable conflict, which may even undermine supremacy of the Legislative Assembly. We are of the opinion that such situations ought to be avoided”.


PMET scam accused granted bail
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted bail to Dr Vinod Khanna, who had been accused of procuring the question paper of PMET-2005, conducted by Baba Farid University, Faridkot, for Rs 50,000 for his son. Dr Khanna is in custody since June 13.

In his petition for grant of bail, Dr Khanna stated that the question paper, that was purported to have been recovered from him on June 13, had already been printed in newspapers following the alleged leakage. He alleged that he had been falsely implicated in the case and booked under sections relating to cheating and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

After hearing his counsel, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel granted bail to him.


Two awarded life term

Sangrur, August 5
A local court has sentenced two persons, who were facing murder charges, to life imprisonment and fined Rs 10,000 to each of them and absolved their four accomplices in the case.

The convicts, Bahadur Singh and Khem Singh, had attacked and murdered Kulwant Singh in Dhandiwal village in the district in a property dispute on June 19, 2002. — UNI


Rs 5 lakh grant for paraplegic centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab Government has approved a grant-in-aid of Rs 5 lakh to the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Mohali, for the year 2005-06.

The centre provides vocational training to paraplegic and tetraplegic service personnel with a view to rehabilitate them and make them self-sufficient after their release from services. During their stay, the inmates are provided free boarding and lodging as well as medicare.


Travel agent held, wife booked
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 5
The Bholath police has arrested Niranjan Singh, a travel agent a resident of Narngpur Village and booked his wife Sukhi and Gurmeet Kaur, a resident of Begowal for duping three persons of Rs 19.5 lakh.

Mr Rattan Singh, Mr Balkar Singh, and Joginder Kaur, residents of Begowal, Bhadaas and Nurpur Lubhana villages lodged a complaint with the police that the accused had promised to send their sons to Spain for which every one of them paid Rs 6.5 lakh each. After receiving the money, the accused put their sons on a flight to Morocco from New Delhi airport on 25.11.2004, alleged the complainants. Since then they had no contacts with their wards. The parents have apprehended that their children were killed by the agents of Niranjan Singh in Morocco.

According to sources, Niranjan Singh sent Amandeep. Lakhwinder Singh and Sonu, through an agent Manjit Singh, a resident of Lakhan Ke Padde under Subhanpur police station. On Thursday last, people from Begowal, Subhanpur and surrounding villages gheraoed the office of Manjit Singh at Kartarpur in his absence. According to information, 35 boys from the Doaba region are missing after leaving the country to the agents, out of which, five are from the Kapurthala district only.


Rs 4.70 lakh stolen from scooter
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 5
Two unidentified youngsters tore apart the cover of dickey of a parked scooter of an employee of a local steel factory from near Nari Niketan, allegedly removed a bag containing Rs 4.70 lakh from it and fled on their scooter after accomplishing their task.

Dinesh, an employee of the Basti area based Vijay Sehgal Steel Industries and a resident of Model House locality, has told the police that he had withdrawn the amount from branch of the HDFC bank, adjoining to the Narendra cinema at 11.15 a.m. and had parked his scooter, containing money, in front of a paint shop near Nari Niketan on Nakodar road at 11.45 a.m.

As he was purchasing some articles, he noticed that one of two youths standing near scooter, had already removed the cover of dickey and was running alongwith bag containing cash.

The police had certain suspicions about the incident and alleged varying statements of Dinesh.


BSF jawan shoots at colleague

Amritsar, August 5
A Border Security Force Jawan of 123 battalion today shot at his companion posted at an outpost of gate number 113 falling in Daoke village in the Atari sector here.

According to information there was minar altercation between Sarvanand and his companion Purba. Agitated Sarvanand shot at Purba, who was admitted to local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in a serious condition where he died in the evening.

Mr A.K. Sarvoli, DIG BSF confirmed the incident and said that a enquiry had been ordered in this regard. — OC


Four killed in car-bus collision
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 5
Four persons, all residents of Patran, died when the car in which they were travelling, rammed into a PRTC bus coming from the opposite direction, 8 km from Samana.

The Maruit (PB 11-7821), coming from Patran, collided with the PRTC bus (PB 11 6756) near Mavi village, 8 km from Samana on the Samana-Patiala road. The dead have been identified as car driver Vinod Kumar, Shanti Devi, Murti Devi and Kamla Devi.


Teachers on mass leave on Aug 10

Moga (Punjab), August 5
Some 10,000 teachers of 484 government-aided schools have decided to go on “mass casual leave” on Wednesday on the issues of pension scheme revival, merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance and the phasing out of grant-in-aid.

Under the banner of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees association, the school teachers joined by about 4,000 retired teachers have decided to go on mass casual leave on Wednesday, its joint secretary G S Chahal said today.

They would stage dharnas, rallies and protest marches at all the district headquarters and submit memoranda to the deputy commissioners of their districts, he said.

The government-aided school teachers were protesting against the “indifferent attitude” of the state government towards their demands regarding revival of the pension scheme, merging of 50 per cent DA the Finance Department’s directive to phase out grant-in-aid in the coming 10 years. PTI

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