P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Fake recruitment in SGPC detected
Secretary’s signature forged, clerk suspended
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
A case of fake recruitment in the SGPC has been detected with the suspension of a clerk accused of forging the signature of committee’s secretary for issuing appointment letters.

At least two “sewadars” who had gained employment on the basis of fake appointment letters have been removed.

SGPC Secretary Dalmegh Singh said he stumbled upon the fake appointments when somebody from the establishment asked him about the joining of work by the two persons who had gained employment using fake appointment letters on August 1.

He immediately went through the record and found out that his signatures had been forged.

After probing the matter, he found out that Kulbir Singh, a clerk, had forged his signatures.

The two, who have been removed from their respective posts, have been identified as Sahib Singh (posted at Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib) and Mohinder Kaur (Darbar Sahib).

The clerk was working in the office of the PA to the SGPC President.

It is learnt that the record of the establishment branch is being scrutinised after the incident.

It is noteworthy that a number of fake appointments were detected after Operation Bluestar. The then acting President of the SGPC Harinder Singh Tarn Tarni had found out that his signatures had been forged to get jobs in the committee.

A case of getting job on the basis of fake certificate by Harbeant Singh, secretary, is already pending with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Court.

According to sources in the committee, the fresh recruitment of daily wagers had crossed the 500 mark after Bibi Jagir Kaur took over as SGPC chief.

Interestingly, Bibi Jagir Kaur had sacked 324 daily wagers, recruited by her predecessor Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke. Also, 489 daily wagers were sacked at the directive of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

However, Harjit Singh, personal assistant to Bibi Jagir Kaur, expressed ignorance at the number of persons appointed during her last term as SGPC chief.

However, he clarified that the daily wagers were recruited on the basis of “urgent requirements” and that they could be removed anytime.

Regarding the case of Kulbir Singh, he said the accused had earlier been transferred from the important seat following serious allegations against him.

He said Kulbir Singh would be charge-sheeted shortly.

It is yet to be confirmed whether the accused had received bribe for the purpose or had he done it at the behest of some senior official.


Cong to set up panels at village level
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patran, August 6
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Shamsher Singh Dullo has promised to strengthen the working of the party at grass-roots level.

He gave this assurance while speaking at his first rally after taking over as the president of the party at Patran, near Patiala, today.

Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, Malvinder Singh and district party president Hardyal Singh Kamboj were also present.

Mr Dullo said committees would be set up at village level having 31, 21 or 11 members, according to the population. Each unit would be headed by a president.

The committees would help spread awareness about the projects undertaken by the government.

He also assured the party workers of paying attention to their grievances.

Addressing the rally, Preneet Kaur said the four main roads linking the town to the rest of the state, including the Patran-Moonak and Patran-Arno roads, would be strengthened and upgraded.

She said the town would soon become sub-divisional headquarters and all facilities would be provided to the people.

During the rally, Major Singh Sekhon, former president, Notified Area Committee, Ghagga, announced his decision to join the Congress. Factionalism in the party also came to the fore as supporters of Mr Kamboj and Malvinder Singh exchanged slogans in 
the presence of the two leaders.

Talking about free power to marginal farmers, Mr Dullo said they would be given electricity at subsidised rates.

Poor families would also be provided with subsidised electricity for domestic use.

The old-age and other pensions that had been withheld for the past three years would also be disbursed, he added.


Governor can’t intervene in fiscal matters, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
While the ruling Congress will make development its main election plank in the Punjab Assembly poll due to be held in 17 months, the Governor has no powers to intervene in financial matters of the state, said Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, while speaking at a meet-the-Press programme held at the Press Club here today.

Mr Singla said the Akali leader, Mr Sukhbir Badal, who himself moved around in the world’s most expensive vehicles, was making “ silly” statements asking the Governor to intervene in the issue of the purchase of “luxury” cars. He said these would prove to be cheaper than the vehicles being used by Ministers at present.

He said Mr Sukhbir Badal should first ask his father, Mr Parkash Singh, not to travel in a Mercedes car. Moreover, the Badals should not live in bungalows built by spending crores of rupees because these do not conform to social reality in the state, said Mr Singla, attacking the father and son Akali duo. In fact, Mr Singla spent most of the time having potshots at the two Badals. He said the senior Badal had ruined the state’s economy because of lack of the vision and initiative.

Going to the extent of branding the two Badals “top class liars”, Mr Singla said the Bathinda oil refinery project, the reconstruction of which would be inaugurated by the Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Iyer, on August 12, was brought to the state by the Congress government. Even the land was acquired by the Harcharan Singh Brar government. All claims made by the senior Badal that he had brought the project to Punjab were white lies, he added.

He said an announcement regarding free power to farmers would be made on August 20 and octroi would be abolished in due course. The government was firm on doing this, he said, adding that though the people of the state had given the Congress five years to govern, it would fulfil all promises made in the manifesto by the end of this year.

Coming to the issue of development, Mr Singla said: “Our government has put the state on a solid path of development during the past three and a half years. And in the next one and a half years, we will make all roads motorable and set the house in order in the health and education sectors. “ As education is my passion, I want to give a world-class education system to the state.”

The state’s financial condition had improved drastically and it was now a state with surplus money. “We have no dearth of funds for development,” he said, without disclosing how much surplus money he had in his kitty. Mr Singla said Capt Amarinder Singh had brought investments of Rs 20,000 crore to the state’s industrial sector. The world’s top IT companies were setting up shop in Mohali. About 50,000 high-salary jobs would be created in the next three years.

He said Punjab would be a major beneficiary of the Indo-US agreement signed by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for cooperation in the agricultural sector.


Amarinder a great leader, says Singla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, said here today that he fully agreed with the observation made by the Punjab Congress President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, that the late Beant Singh was one of the tallest political figures who, as Chief Minister, brought peace in the state.

But, he said, that besides Beant Singh, another person whose name would be recorded in the history of the state prominently was Capt Amarinder Singh. Capt Amarinder Singh was also a great leader because no parallel could be found to certain decisions taken by him during his three-and -a-half-year rule in the state.

He said that even the Akali leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who portrayed himself as a great benefactor of Punjab, was unable to terminate the river water agreements. It was Capt Amarinder Singh, who dared to terminate these. Capt Amarinder Singh was also trying hard to modernise the state’s economy.


Protesting residents block traffic; lathi-charged
House maid’s murder

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 6
Residents of the kucha quarters locality continued their protest today also demanding the arrest of the persons responsible for the death of a house maid.

Residents initially blocked traffic on Dalhouise road raising slogans against the local police. The police, however, persuaded the protesters to lift their dharna after a short while. The body of the house maid, Rajni, was sent for post-mortem to the Pathankot civil hospital.

Doctors who carried out the post-mortem examination told The Tribune that injury marks which could be result of attempts to strangulate the deceased were observed on the neck and other parts of the body. However, there was no obvious sign to suggest that she had been raped. However, the final conclusion regarding the matter could be taken only after getting the report of the chemical examination of the viscera.

After post-mortem the body was handed over to Rajni’s parents for cremation. Some of the residents of the locality once again blocked the traffic and kept body on the National Highway Number 1. The police had to resort to a mild lathi charge to disperse the protesters who were blocking traffic on the national highway. After the protesters dispersed the police called the municipal councillor of the area and cremated the body of the maid.

The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Promod Bhan, told that the police was in the process of verifying three vital facts in the case. Ms Veena, wife of the main accused in the case, Mr Ashok Kumar, a public health SDO, in her statement to the police had said when she arrived home yesterday the maid was still alive due to which she took her to a private doctor. The statement is being verified from the medical experts and the doctor to whom the girl had been taken.

The whereabouts of Ashok Kumar at the time of murder were also being ascertained.

Besides, the police was also looking for an alleged paramour of the deceased girl who has not been traced since yesterday.

The deceased girl used to work in the house of Ashok Kumar and Veena. Ms Veena had gone out leaving the house maid Rajni alone at home. When she returned Rajni was lying unconscious on the sofa. She took her to a local doctor who declared her dead. Ms Veena then delivered the body of Rajni to her parents. The news of the death of the girl infuriated the residents. They are accusing Ashok Kumar of killing the maid.


PUDA razes waterfall to make way for shops
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 6
The Punjab Urban Development Authority today demolished a landscaped waterfall built by a multi-national company on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, raising many eyebrows.

According to spokesperson for Coca Cola Vijay Sharma, the MNC had reached an agreement with the municipal corporation on building a waterfall at the cost of Rs 25 lakh, besides its maintenance for 20 years.

The demolition was carried out by PUDA to give access to a number of shops at its rear, meant for auction.

Talking with The Tribune, Mr Sharma said the MNC was neither taken into confidence nor informed about the decision to demolish the waterfall.

Mayor Sunil Datti said he too got information of demolition today and that the decision was taken at level of the state Chief Secretary to clear the area for a PUDA scheme.

Meanwhile, citizens of the city expressed resentment over the action that amounted to discouraging MNCs and other major private companies from coming forward and undertaking development and beautification projects in the cash-strapped city.

President of Citizen’s Forum Brij Bedi lashed out at the government for “faulty planning” of the city — which holds holy and border city status.

He said while the government was continuously making excuses for failing to make headway in any major development of the city, it had now gone ahead with the demolition showing scant regard for the effect it would have on MNCs and others who wanted to contribute in development plans.

The spokesperson for the company said they were spending Rs 15,000 per month on the maintenance and upkeep of the waterfall. The company had employed a gardener and a caretaker, besides having installed two water pumps, to keep the area lush green.

The demolition was undertaken under the supervision of PUDA’s Estate Officer Parveen Sabharwal.

The waterfall was built during the tenure of former BJP Mayor Subhash Sharma, close to his residence.

Neither MC Commissioner K.S. Kang nor senior PUDA officials could be contacted for comments.


Home Guard jawan shot by colleague
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 6
A Punjab Home Guard jawan on security duty at GO Mess of the police at Aam Khas Bagh shot dead his colleague by snatching this rifle last night. The Sirhind police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.

The victim, Darbara Singh, was on duty at GO Mess and had been performing the duty for the past seven days.

Last night, his father Sucha Singh and uncle Sikander Singh came to the mess to know why he had not come home for seven days.

While they were talking, Jagroop Singh, another Home Guard jawan posted on guard duty, came there. Darbara Singh urged him to do his duty as his father and uncle had come to take him home.

They had a quarrel over this following which Jagroop Singh snatched a rifle from Darbara Singh and opened fire at him. Darbara Singh died on the spot. After committing the crime, Jagroop Singh fled the spot.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, termed it an unfortunate incident and said efforts were on to arrest Jagroop Singh.


All turbines operate at Pong, Bhakra dams
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Nangal, August 6
After eight years, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) today ran all 10 turbines of the Bhakra Dam and six turbines of the Pong Dam. This was done to get 100 per cent power generation keeping in view increase in water level in both dams, BBMB sources told The Tribune this evening.

The BBMB sources said earlier all turbines of the dams ran round the clock in 1998 when the water level was also high. The need to run all turbines arose today as the outflow of water had increased more than the existing demand following rise in water level in the Bhakra Dam. The outflow of water from the Bhakra Dam was above 38,000 cusecs while the inflow had been 62,038 cusecs. In the Pong Dam the inflow of water was 66,240 cusecs, while the outflow was 18,195 cusecs.

The water level of Bhakra is now, 1,660 feet, which is just 20 feet below the maximum storage capacity, that is 1,680 feet. If the rise in the water level continued for the next four days, the floodgates of the Bhakra Dam would be opened before it reached the maximum storage capacity, the sources added.

The sources said there were four floodgates starting from the height of 1,650 feet would be opened to increase the outflow of water. Besides, water could also be released through eight outlets built in the Bhakra Dam at the height of 1,450 feet and 1,350 feet.

The sources said the water level in the Bhakra Dam today reached 1,660 feet and the Pong Dam 1,365 feet. Accordingly, the outflow of water from the dams had also been increased.

But there was nothing to panic as even when the floodgates would be opened the flow of water would be controlled. The outflow would likely to increase 50,000 cusecs, a senior official of the BBMB said.

The Chief Engineer, power generation (BBMB), Nangal, Mr Amrik Singh, confirmed that all turbines were running today following the rise in water level. As a result, the power generation had increased manifold as comparison to last year, he added.

The power generation at the Bhakra power house was about 320 lakh units today, while at the Pong Dam it was 80 lakh units.


Congress clears way for Narang’s kin in MC byelection
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 6
In an unprecedented move the ruling Congress yesterday offered not to field any candidate if a member from the family of former BJP councillor Satish Narang contested the byelections to Ward Number 30.

The decision taken by the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Sunil Jakhar, after high level consultations, was conveyed to mediapersons on phone by his close associate Mr Gautam Chaudhry yesterday.

He said Mr Jakhar and other senior party workers acknowledged the services rendered by Narang who had died on May 22, 2005 after struggling for life for more than 50 days due to an accident. The byelection process has already started.

“Though the Congress candidate contesting against Narang in 2003 had lost by a small margin of 76 votes in Ward Number 30, yet we would prefer to ensure a smooth sailing for any member of the bereaved family to serve as Councillor for the rest of the period”, Mr Chaudhry said.

Political pundits while appreciating the Congress move, recalled that Boota Ram Narang, grandfather of Satish Narang, had won the first municipal election in 1931 when British government had constituted a Notified Area Committee here. The same was later upgraded as Municipal Committee and functioned as Municipal Council now.

Mr Lal Chand Narang, a member of the same family had served as vice-president of the committee for three decades. Another member Mr Darbari Lal Narang too had been elected a member of the committee. Satish Narang had served as a member of the council, without any break since 1979 when he was elected as a Jan Sangh candidate immediately after finishing college. He served as vice-president and working president of the committee in 1992.

As the Congress won two third majority in the last municipal election Narang was elected leader of the Opposition. He had suffered a head injury when a motor cycle hit him outside his residence on Gaushala Road here in the first week of April this year. Cutting across political lines a large number of Congress workers had also attended his cremation here on May 23. Mr Sunil Jakhar was among the senior political leaders who paid rich tributes to the departed political and social worker and praised this multifaceted personality at a condolence meeting held on May 29.

Ms Suvarsha Narang, wife of Satish Narang, who was to retire as a senior teacher from Government Model Senior Secondary School here shortly, has been under constant pressure from party workers and social activists to contest byelection to fill the vacancy caused due to the demise of her husband.

Mr Bhupinder Snehi, BJP, president of the city unit had said earlier this week that Ms Suvarsha Narang would be requested to file nomination papers for contesting the byelections.

With the Congress resolving to not oppose her way has been completely cleared.


CPI, CPM deviating from ideology, says Pasla
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 6
Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, secretary of the state unit of the CPM (Pasla faction), accused the present leadership of the CPI and the CPM of deviating from the path of Leftists ideology, while talking to media persons here yesterday.

Mr Pasla said “the present leadership has been deceiving the people by extending support to the capitalist economic policies of the Congress-led UPA government just on the pretext of fighting against the communal forces.”

He said blind pursuance of capitalist economic policies, which were not conducive for the developing countries like ours, would repeat ‘Gurgaon episodes’ throughout the country. “The sad part of the story is that the ‘revisionist Left leaders’ have also been supporting the capitalist economic policies and ignoring interests of the common man,” he lamented.

Mr Pasla further said he along with followers of the communist ideology, had initiated efforts to revive the communist movement in the country. A convention would be held at Jalandhar on August 11, in which veteran trade union leaders - Mr Hardan Rai (West Bengal) and Mr V. V. Cherian (Kerala), leaders of Forward Block, MCPI, CPI - ML (Liberation), among others, would participate.

A new political organisation based on the communist ideology would be launched to mobilise the masses against the capitalist economic policies, with a view to safeguard the interests of the common man, he added.


SAD releases list of district (urban) office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 6
Mr Bawa Singh Gumanpura, district (urban) president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, today released the list of its office-bearers and working committee members and circle presidents.

Mr Lakha Singh Gumtala was appointed as patron while Mr Jaswant Singh Khalsa was nominated as secretary general of the district unit (urban). He gave the names of 12 senior vice-presidents, 10 vice-presidents, 13 general secretaries, 13 secretaries, five vice-secretaries, 10 junior vice-presidents, 10 organising secretaries, 11 propaganda secretaries, eight advisers and three legal advisers.

Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, Prof Sarchand Singh, SGPC members, including Jaswinder Singh Advocate, Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, former Deputy Mayor, Mr Raminder Singh Bularia, Dr Dalbir Singh Verka, former MLA, Mr Bikramjit Singh Majithia and Mr Sardool Singh Sham are among those appointed at various posts.

Mr Pardeep Singh Walia, a close confidant of senior Akali leader Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, had lodged A protest over the appointment Mr Bawa Singh as district (urban) president to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, who had refused to change the decision. Mr Pardeep Singh Walia then announced a parallel body and named its members a few days back.

However, Mr Gumanpura said he would complain to the party high command about the activities of Mr Walia who was using the name of Mr Badal by saying that the party president had appointed him president of the district urban unit. He said they would urge Mr Badal to throw him out of the party.


DCC chiefs to meet tomorrow

Chandigarh, August 6
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has called a meeting of the presidents of the district Congress committees at Punjab Congress Bhavan here on August 8 at 11 a.m.

Mr Raj Pal Singh, general secretary, PPCC, said the meeting would discuss the political scenario in the state and the progress made regarding the constitution of village-level committees. — TNS


Sukhbir too was my guest: Kochhar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, August 6
The host of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister’s controversial visit to Dubai, Mr J.S. Kochhar, yesterday claimed that he had sponsored the visit of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, in 1995. Mr Badal stayed at his residence in Dubai.

Talking to The Tribune after coming to India through the Wagah joint check post, along with Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, here, Mr Kochhar produced documentary proof about the visit of Mr Sukhbir Badal to Dubai, sponsored by him.

To a question, Mr Kochhar claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh stayed at his residence and his companions stayed in a hotel.

Mr Kochhar said the visit of Capt Amarinder Singh was not a secret as many Punjabis settled in Dubai, were also present at the dinner, hosted by him. He said Mr Ponty Chadda, is father of his daughter-in-law, was also present at the function.


Seminar highlights benefits of breast feeding
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, August 6
As many as 100 persons, including pregnant women, lactating mothers and doctors, today took a pledge to promote and support exclusive breast feeding for newborns up to six months of age and continuation of breast feeding along with family foods up to two years of age at a seminar on “Recommended feeding practices for newborns and growing children”, organised by the Dhuri unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in collaboration with the Health Department at Civil Hospital at Dhuri, 13 km from here.

Speaking on the occasion Dr V.K. Ahuja, a child specialist from Sangrur, said, “Breast feeding is a fundamental right of every newborn”. Dr Surinder Singla, a chest and TB specialist from Sangrur, said mother’s milk was a natural gift for the newborns as it strengthened the immune system of newborns to protect them from life threatening diseases.

Dr Subhash Jindal, Secretary of Dhuri branch of the IMA, appealed to the pregnant women and lactating mothers to form support groups to disseminate the message regarding exclusive breast feeding for the newborns till the age of six months and continuation of breast feeding with family foods up to two years.

Dr Anup Kad, SMO, Civil Hospital, Dhuri, Dr Vijay Kumar, a child specialist at Dhuri Civil Hospital; Dr Sham Lal and Dr Jagdish Raj also took part in the deliberations.

NAWANSHAHR: Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, State Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Welfare, while presiding over a state-level seminar organised to spread awareness about the importance of breast-feeding, here at KC Palace on Saturday, said the social security department in collaboration with the health department, had chalked out a comprehensive programme for organising more such seminars at the block level in the state.

The state government had earmarked a sum of Rs 41 crore out of which an installment of Rs 11.70 crore had been released for providing nutritious diet to the children at anganwaris, she added.

Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, Director, Social Security Department, also addressed the gathering. An exhibition was also organised on the occasion.


100-member Sikh jatha arrives from UK
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 6
A 100-member jatha on a pilgrimage to Sikh shrines in India under the aegis of the ‘Guru Manyo Khalsa March’ arrived here today in a chartered plane from the UK.

The flight landed at Rajasansi International Airport in the afternoon. Subsequently, the jatha members went to the Golden Temple in specially arranged buses. Panj Piaras (five beloved) led to the pilgrims to the Golden Temple.

The march of the pilgrims would conclude at Hemkunt Sahib. The jatha arrived under the joint leadership of Mr. Gurmail Singh Sahota, Chairman, Akal Radio, London, and Mr Kulwant Singh.

Mr Sahota said the annual pilgrimage had been started last year to commemorate the 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. He said the annual visit would continue till 2008. The jatha members were given siropas and had langar at Guru Ramdas Langar Hall.

Mr Sahota said they would resume their onward journey tomorrow and would pay obeisance at Khadoor Sahib gurdwara. Thereafter, they would proceed to Goindwal Sahib, Paonta sahib and finally visit Hemkunt Sahib.


Villagers decry 18-hr power cuts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 6
Residents of Bambiha and Bahadargarh Jandia villages have decided not to pay their electricity bills until uninterrupted power supply was restored to their villages. Both these villages are facing an 18-hour power cut for the past few days.

According to sources, residents of Bambiha village have paid Rs 20,000 for 24-hour power supply, but the electricity board has not done the needful. The village sarpanch, Ms Sarabjeet Kaur, said the villagers had decided not to pay electricity bills.

The last date for paying the electricity bills was August 4, but till today only about 10 persons had paid their dues. There are almost 400 connections in the village. The villagers are determined to stick to their decision.

The village panchayat said they had taken this step as a last resort. They rued that an elderly person had died in the village due to blistering heat and a number of children had also fell sick due to extreme heat. They said the children find it difficult to attend their school in the absence of power. Villagers said in such a scenario they had to seek solace in the shade of trees in the vicinity of the village.

Similarly, residents of Bahadargarh Jandia village have been making rounds of the PSEB offices for the past one month, but their all pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Sources said Jandia village was facing 18-hour power cuts for the past one month. The village panchayat had made an appeal from the local gurdwara to not to pay electricity bills. Sarpanch Jagdev Singh said about 60 per cent of the village residents had decided not to pay electricity bills.


Seminar turns out to be govt function
Our Correspondent

Sujanpur, August 6
A state-level seminar organised by the Punjab’s regional chapter, Chandigarh here yesterday on ‘public-private partnership in urban development’ proved to be a “government function” on account of a thin attendance from the private sector.

Though the organisers claimed the seminar was a ‘great success’ but when asked from Punjab Housing and Development Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri, he admitted the thin attendance of people from private sector on account of ‘bad weather’ and hidden move of ‘land mafia’.

Mr Puri addressing the gathering revealed that about 1600 illegal colonies in Punjab had been identified. The minister said that only in Manwal village, of Pathankot people had invested crores by buying lands in unplanned illegal colonies.

He said, he had heard the grievances of the colonisers and directed the officers to take suitable action on their (colonisers) problems. According to informed sources only selective media persons were invited for today’s seminar. Almost all officials of district administration and PUDA were present over the occasion.

Public and private participation in urban development is only going to be a mile-stone for planned future growth of our towns and it will also provide a better infrastructure and better living conditions, added Mr Puri.

The officials of the PUDA, revealed that till now 103 licences for 740 acres of land had been granted during this year. Mr M.L. Kaushal, District Town Planner, Mr Ravinder Abbi, General Secretary, PPCC, Mr Naresh Puri, President, Municipal Council Sujanpur, Mr Ashok Juneja Executive Engineer, Irrigation, Mr Balbir Manhans, Chairman of Pathankot Market Committee were among the other dignitaries were present at the seminar.


MP seeks release of prisoners jailed abroad
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 6
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP from Hoshiarpur constituency, has raised the issue of Indian Citizens who are languishing in jails of various countries, in the ongoing session of Parliament.

According to press note by his office here yesterday, Mr Khanna asked the Union Government that why it had not taken any step to get 6730 Indians languishing in jails of various countries released. He also questioned that why it had not made any effort to bring back those Indian prisoners who had completed their period of imprisonment.

He said most of the Indian prisoners who had completed the period of their punishment and were still languishing in jails of foreign countries were mentally derailed or were suffering from serious ailments. Out of these prisoners, majority of them were from Punjab. He urged the Union Government. to seek the release of all those Indian prisoners who had completed the period of their imprisonment.

Mr Khanna also raised the issue of those Indian soldiers who were caught by the Pakistani Army during wars of 1965 and 1971 and were still languishing in Pakistan jails. He further urged the Union Government to also take effective steps to get them released.


5 samples of FCI rice fail test
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 6
Following the revelation of substandard quality rice being sent by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to different states, five out of seven samples of rice collected from different godowns of the district have failed the test. Seven truckloads of rice were sent to Delhi, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh sometime back.

According to sources, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, had formed a three-member committee to probe into the matter. The committee comprised the District Health Officer, the DFC, and the DSP (Talwandi Sabo).

The panel collected seven samples of rice from different godowns in Maur Mandi. One of these samples was kept for testing at Bathinda, while remaining six were sent to Jalandhar. The sample tested at Bathinda had failed. Mr Bhandari again asked the panel to collect the rice samples, following which they took six samples from godowns in Maur Mandi and Rampura Phul.

Sources said officials of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, in whose godowns the FCI stored its rice, had also written to the FCI on March 16 stating that the rice being sent by them to their godowns in Maur Mandi and Rampura Phul were not up to the mark. On the other hand, the quality control wing of the FCI had termed the same rice as okay.

Sources said the permissible limit of damaged rice was 6 per cent, whereas the rice stored by the FCI was damaged up to about 12 per cent.


24-hr power supply for all villages soon
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 6
The state government was committed to the overall development of the state. The state government had provided 24-hour power supply to approximate 10,000 villages and the rest 2000 villages would be provided the uninterrupted supply within months. Then the state would become the first state in the country, where all villages of the state would enjoy 24-hour power supply, said Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, while addressing a gathering today at Kotla Fazal village, after inaugurating the 24-hour power supply in the village.

He said that a special package of Rs 10 crore would be sanctioned for the development of Bassi Pathana town. The Chief Minister would formally announce about this package on a visit to Bassi Pathana soon. He said that the State government had chalked out a comprehensive plan to improve the condition of the roads in the state and it was spending Rs 1300 crore on recarpetting, strengthening and widening of roads. He said that Rs 7 crore would be spent on the construction of the roads in the district.

He lauded the role of social organisations and rural youth clubs in creating awareness among the society against social evils. He said that it was the duty of the youth to wage a war against social evils like dowry, drug menace and female feticide. He said that it was unfortunate that Fatehgarh Sahib had the lowest sex ratio in the country. He urged youth to create awareness among people against this social evil.

He also announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for drains, streets and Bajigar dharmshala and Rs 25,000 for boundary wall of school.

Mr Bahadur Singh, XEN PSEB, Mr Surinder Singh, Sarpanch Dufehra, and Mr Sandeep Verma also addressed.


Enhance border area grant, Punjab asks Centre
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 6
To boost the developmental projects in Ferozepore, Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts, the state government has requested the Union Government to enhance the grant allocated under border area development fund to Rs 50 crore instead of Rs 10.8 crore.

This was stated by Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs, while presiding over a “suvidha camp” organised by the district administration at Mamdot.

Earlier, Mr Sodhi inaugurated the office of the market committee at Mamdot. The office was constructed at a cost of Rs 35 lakh by the Mandi Board. He also laid the foundation stone of the sub-tehsil complex.

Later addressing the gathering, Mr Sodhi said the problems faced by the villagers living along the border would be solved on priority. He said adequate steps would be soon initiated to improve the basic infrastructure, including roads.


Sugarfed staff oppose abolition of posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Sugarfed employees said yesterday that there was a move to give voluntary retirement to 44 employees of their organisation. The posts of Additional Managing Director, the Executive Director( Commercial), Cane Adviser and Technical Adviser were expected to be abolished.

The main objective of Sugarfed was to provide technical knowhow and other assistance in the selection, purchase, installation and maintenance of plant and machinery in cooperative sugarmills. Without technical advisers, the very purpose of setting up Sugarfed would be defeated.

The employees said that many staff members had applied for VRS in September, 2003, due to the fear of its winding up. Now on the basis of those applications, the cases of employees were being decided.


Silver jubilee performance of ‘Faasle’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 6
With its silver jubilee performance at the Punjab Naat Shala here today, the play ‘Faasle made history in Punjabi drama.

The play is about the unvoiced liking of ’Noori’, a snake charmer by profession, for a government-employed doctor posted at the village dispensary.

Writer of the play, Jatinder Brar has aptly dealt with the issues of caste, religion and social status. The play is an apt comment on the conditions in recent times. It is a story of people living in this part of the world where on the one hand, the geographical distance may appear to have shortened due to technological advancements, but on the other hand the gulf between human hearts has widened at a rapid pace.

Director Narinder Sanghi has attempted several novel ways in staging the play. He used technology for creating a realistic effect. Artificial rain, stars and greenery were effectively created on the stage.


Rally held in support of Hiroshima victims

Amritsar, August 6
In solidarity with victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945, schoolchildren and other groups under the banner of the Scientific Awareness Group of Amritsar took out a rally on the streets here today.

Dr Sham Sunder Deepti, district coordinator, and others led the rally carrying banners and placards in a message to world leaders to shun scientific inventions made for destruction. — OC


Paediatrician honoured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
Patiala-based Senior Consultant Paediatrician Dr Harshinder Kaur, was honoured by the International Study Circle, a forum of Economic Studies at a function held at Chandigarh yesterday.

Dr Harshinder Kaur, who works at the Government Rajindera Hospital, was honoured for creating social awareness in the society through her writings in Hindi, Punjabi and English newspapers and by writing books on child health and psychology.


Lawyer seeks copy of instructions on patka
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Dr M.S. Rahi, an advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who had filed a case on the turban issue in the European Commission of Human Rights, Strasbourg, has urged Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to provide him with a copy of the instructions issued by the French Government allowing Sikh students to wear the patka in schools in that country.


Hearing in Mann case on Aug 20
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 6
The Judicial Magistrate, Phillaur, Mrs Jaswinder Kaur, today fixed the next date of hearing as August 20 in a sedition case against Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simaranjit Singh Mann.

Mr Mann did not appear in the court as he was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, due to bad health. Meanwhile, Dr Harjinder Jakhu, national general secretary of the party, had urged the President, Dr A.P.J. Kalam, to intervene to protect human rights of the Sikhs.


Boy deserts girl after marriage
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 6
Tamanna (name changed), a resident of Sappanwali village near here, who had allegedly been deserted by Sanjeev Kumar, son of Sriram of the same village, on February 21, was deserted by the accused at the local railway station last night. The Government Railway Police noticed her sitting alone on a bench. Her questioning led to narration of her tale of woe.

Sources said that her father had died of cardiac arrest on learning that Tamanna had left the house when other members of the family were sleeping. A search was launched with the help of relatives of the accused and the local police, but Tamanna and Sanjiv’s whereabouts could not be known.

She reportedly told the police that she agreed to accompany Sanjeev as he had promised to marry her. They got married at a temple later and visited Sriganganagar, Salasar and Bikaner. Finally they settled in New Delhi where Sanjav forced her to get her pregnancy terminated with the help of a private nurse in the locality. On August 2, Sanjav told her that their parents had agreed to accept their marriage as he had talked to them on the phone. This prompted her to return to Abohar but Sanjav disappeared after leaving her alone at the local railway platform yesterday.

Her brother refused to accept her back in the family when the police contacted him. Her in-laws also expressed their inability to accept her as their daughter-in-law. The village panchayat moved an application before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr Jaskiran Singh. He directed the SMO of Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here to admit Tamanna and examine her for initiating criminal proceedings against Sanjay and his parents.


Two held with fake currency worth Rs 9 lakh
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 6
The police has arrested two persons and recovered fake currency worth about Rs 9 lakh from their possession. Police sources said Samalsar SHO Ajmer Singh, Baghapurana SHO Kirpal Singh and ASI Jaswant Singh stopped a vehicle without a registration number at a check-post yesterday. The occupants of the vehicle were identified as Pala Singh, a resident of Muliawali, Fazilka, and Mahil Singh, a resident of Marad Kalan, Muktsar.

On carrying out a search of their vehicle, the police recovered fake currency worth about Rs 8 lakh of Rs 500 and Rs 100 denomination. The police also seized fake currency notes printed on the single side worth Rs 1 lakh and three printing machines used in preparing currency notes.

Both of them have been booked under Section 489A, B, C, D of the IPC at the Baghapurana police station.

During interrogation, the accused confessed to circulating fake currency in Punjab and Rajasthan.


3 killed as truck hits mobike
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 6
Three persons, including two woman teachers of a private school here were killed when a truck rammed into a motorcycle near railway crossing level in the city here today. One teacher Jeevan Lata died on the spot while another teacher Neelam Sharma died later at the Civil Hospital Ropar. Her brother, Arun Sharma, who was driving the motorcycle, died at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The incident took place at about 7 am when Arun Sharma was driving and his sister Neelam and Jeevan Lata were riding pillion on motorcycle, on way to their school at Kotla, Nihang.

They were hit by the truck coming from the opposite direction. The police has arrested the truck driver, Anil Kumar, for causing death due to rash and negligent driving.


Fee structure troubles dental college students
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
The indecision about the fee structure of medical and dental institutions in the state has left second and third year students of Laxmi Bai Dental College a harassed lot.

The 60 students of the 2003-04 session are facing a difficult time as they have to pay the fee before August 8 and no decision seems to be in sight before that.

At the time of admission the students had paid Rs 1 lakh as tuition fee, Rs 25,000 as development charges, Rs 50,000 as security (to be refunded after the degree) and Rs 45,000 as hostel charges. The total amount shelled out was Rs 2,20,000 for one year.

According to the Majithia Committee recommendations, this particular institute could charge Rs 78,000 as tuition fee, Rs 5,000 as security, no charges as development fund and hostel charges were Rs 12,000 for single room and Rs 20,000 for an airconditioned room.

The students’ excess tuition fee was adjusted for the next session, leaving them to pay Rs 56,000. But apart from the tuition fee, Rs 25,000 that they had paid as development charges and Rs 45,000 security were not refunded, despite different government orders. The money that should have been refunded has not been given back to the students till now.

The management should have refunded the money, but even now it can adjust the development charges and the security amounts for their fee, say students and parents alike.

The fee is too high and the management is asking for more money without adjusting the amounts already paid, they allege.

Instead, the management now has asked these students to pay Rs 12,500 extra as library and lab charges along with Rs 20,000 as surgery charges this year.

The students say the lab conditions are not up to the mark and they are not being provided material for practicals. They already fear harassment at the hands of the management and speak only on the condition of anonymity lest the management targets them individually.

The students are also thinking of talking to students of other private dental institutions in the state to find a solution.

The state government wants the recommendations of the committee to be reconsidered, saying the recommended fee is too high for some institutions and there is a lot of disparity in the fee structure.


Admission to nursing institutes allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Punjab Government has decided to open admission to nursing colleges. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting three days ago.

Earlier the government had disallowed admission to the nursing institutes which did not have proper facilities.

New institutions, which had obtained permission to construct their own buildings within one year, had been exempted. A verification committee was formed and the Deputy Commissioners were entrusted with the task of ensuring physical verification of all institutes in their districts.

The DCs had been asked to establish whether these institutes had their own buildings and had properly tied up with hospitals for practical training of the students. The decision to allow admission was taken after the reports from the DCs were reviewed.

The state government had received complaints that some institutes lacked adequate staff and infrastructure.


150 take part in exhibition
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 6
More than 150 students of DAV Public School, Rajpura, participated in a science exhibition organised in the school premises, here today.

The students of junior group displayed their models based on various topics including organs, soil erosion, air and vegetation at the exhibition while models of senior groups depicted various current problems.

Earlier, Mr Ashok Chhabra, president, Aryasamaj, inaugurated the exhibition.

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