P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikh sentiments hurt, says Akali Dal (A)
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, August 8
The district unit of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) at a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, here today criticised the Nanavati Commission Report related to the Anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The report was tabled in Parliament today.

Mr Alloarkh said the report of the Nanavati Commission had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. It also exposed the anti-minority face of the government. He said the party condemned the report as it had exonerated Mr Jagdish Tytler, Union Minister, and Mr Sajjan Kumar, whom the Sikhs considered “main accused” of the 1984 riots.

He said this report had rubbed salt on the wounds of the Sikhs as it had been prepared by ignoring many witnesses, who had identified the culprits. He said the Akali Dal would initiate an agitation to protest against the report and get the erring persons behind the bars.

The meeting was also attended among others by Mr Nirmal Singh Gharachon, SGPC member; Mr Satgur Singh Namol, a youth leader; Mr Hardeep Singh Loha Kherra and Mr Nirbhey Singh, all leaders of the party.

PHAGWARA: Akali Dal (A) general secretary Anoop Singh Minhas today predicted that the Nanawati Commission report, which was tabled in Parliament today, would meet the fate of reports of other commissions as the report had indicted senior Congress leaders for triggering the anti-Sikh carnage in Delhi in November 1984.

In a statement issued here today by Mr Sukhwinder Singh Khalsa and Mr Gurmit Singh, senior party leaders, Mr Minhas asserted that this report would also be consigned to the archives of parliamentary files to gather dust as the Congress agenda was to “protect the culprits”.

In case the Congress was sincere towards the minorities, it should force Jagdish Tytler to step down as minister and register cases against others, demanded Mr Minhas.

For tackling excesses against minorities, the National Commission for Minorities should be given judicial status so that it could also hand down punishment to the culprits. The NCM should not be under the Central Government but an independent body like the judiciary, he contended. It should probe or set probe panels, expose the culprits of anti-minorities riots and slap punishments, added Mr Minhas. 


A shameful shield for killers, rapists: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Coming down heavily on the Congress-led Government at the centre, The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today described the government’s Action Taken Report (ATR) on the Nanavati Commission’s indictment of Congress leaders for organizing and leading the brutal massacre of innocent Sikhs in 1984 as “ a shameful government shield for killers and rapists.”

In a statement, the Akali leader said though the Nanavati Commission report had given enough material to book senior Congress leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, it appeared that the final verdict got influenced by the change in political climate in the country. It was amazing how someone could absolve former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of the charge of instigation despite his unashamed public pronouncement that the massacre of innocent Sikhs was the natural reaction to the felling of a big tree, said Mr Badal.

He asserted that leaders like Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Dharam Das Shastri, among others, should long have been booked under Section 302 for killing innocent Sikhs. Handing out punishment to the guilty men would have brought about a necessary moral and constitutional rectification

Mr Badal said: “August 8 will go down in history as a day of national humiliation, constitutional disgrace and daylight murder of rule of law and human values. The report and the government’s follow up are destined to become a witness to the extent to which the conscience of the nation had been muted.”

No one expected justice from the Congress led-government at the centre but they have exceed all limits and handed out a verdict that virtually paints the victims of 1984 riots as villains,” said the Akali leader.

Mr Badal asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh if his self respect would still allow him to keep clinging to his job by bartering away his conscience in the wake of brazen denial of justice to Sikhs by his party.

Mr Badal took on Congress President Sonia Gandhi, saying “ it was her personal, political and moral responsibility to speak the truth on the subject and as Chairperson of the UPA and ensure that justice was delivered. Mr Badal asked her to break her silence on the most painful phase of the country’s history.

The Akali chief said, for four days in October-November 1984, the national capital was reduced to a theatre of uninhibited killing, looting, rape and arson and the then Union government, including the Prime Minister, just stood there issuing statements. The whole world saw Congress leaders personally leading mobs in butchering men, women and children and outraging the honour of Sikh women on the streets.

Meanwhile the General Secretary of the SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the Nanavati Commission report just proves the allegation of the SAD that the riots were a conspiracy of the Congress. The massacre of innocents was carried out at the behest of the Congress, As no action has been taken against Tytler and Sajjan Kumar this will pose a threat to the unity of the country. He demanded that the Congress party suspend both of them from the party.


Punjab most unsafe place now: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today expressed concern over what he described as an “alarming drift towards gruesome violence, utter lawlessness and the rule of the jungle in Punjab.”

Mr Badal was reacting to the increasing incidents of murder, robbery and dacoity in the state, including the one in Kharar (near Mohali) last night in which three persons were killed and several others injured.

“Over the past nearly four years, Punjab has become the most unsafe place in the country to live in. And the government here has failed miserably in its primary task of providing security of life and property to citizens,” Mr Badal alleged.

The state police had been kept busy over the past four years in targeting the political opponents of the Chief Minister, he added.


Panthic leaders flay Nanavati report
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 8
Panthic leaders today flayed the findings of Nanavati Commission report.

In a statement, Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar Akal Takht, said the report was a cruel joke on the Sikhs who had suffered inhuman treatment during the “anti-Sikh riots” of November, 1984. He said while the Sikh community did not expect any justice from the Congress government, which was responsible for engineering the riots after assassination of Indira Gandhi, the NDA government could not absolve itself for having failed to mitigate the sufferings of the victims in the past. He alleged that Parkash Singh Badal, president Shiromani Akali Dal, and the SGPC had also failed to pursue the cases of riot victims in various cases.

Bhai Mohkam Singh, spokesperson for Damdami Taksal, said the community had lost faith in judiciary and democratic system of the country. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, former Akali minister and SGPC member, dubbed the report “too late, too little”. He said justice delayed was justice denied.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Akal Takht has decided to convene a meeting of the representatives of all Sikh organisations at Akal Takht shortly. 


CPI protests against cops over murder
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
Dr Joginder Dyal, State Secretary, CPI, Punjab, while dubbing Capt Amarinder Singh as the most “incompetent” Chief Minister alleged that the latter had been ignoring the problems of masses and only arranging “comforts” and foreign tours for himself, his Cabinet colleagues and MLAs.

Dr Dyal along with hundreds of activists of the CPI, staged a dharna in front of the local residence of the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Mr Lal Singh. They also observed a 24-hour fast to protest against the alleged favour being extended to three accused involved in the murder of a partyman.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh was an agent of the SAD-BJP combine and was making efforts to bring that alliance again into power through his “misdeeds”.

Every resident of Punjab had been feeling harassed with the kind of administration being given to them by Capt Amarinder Singh as the state had witnessed a huge jump into the incidents pertaining to rapes, dacoity, looting, murders. The law and order situation had gone from bad to worse. People were feeling unsafe as the police was acting at whims and denying justice to the people by wielding “danda” on the innocents, he claimed.

Capt Amarinder Singh had been busy arranging different sorts of comforts and foreign tours for his Cabinet colleagues and party MLAs at the cost of state revenue, he alleged.

Alleging that police was deliberately helping three accused involved in the murder of Kirpal Singh Hadana, a party activist, Dr Dyal said that if the police failed to take action within a few days, the party would launch an agitation throughout the state.

He added that though six persons were involved in the murder of Kirpal Singh Hadana, which took place on the night of June 25, the police had arrested only three out of them.

He pointed out that though the deceased Kirpal Singh Hadana supported Mr Lal Singh in the last Assembly elections, Mr Lal Singh failed to bring justice to the family of victim. He added that Kirpal Singh was gunned down by a section of landlords when he opposed the theft of canal water by them. 


SAD leader joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), today urged the presidents of the district units of the party to mobilise the party rank and file at the grassroots level. He urged them to enroll youth especially college and university students, in the party.

Addressing a meeting of presidents of district units of the party here, Mr Dullo said the party units should be set up in every village within two months.

Apart from it, 11 to 31 member Congress committees should be set up in every ward in all municipal towns to strengthen the party.

Meanwhile, Mr Ram Pal Singh Bargadi, senior leader of the SAD from Faridkot, today joined the Congress along with his supporters.

He was welcomed to the party b, Mr Upender Sharma, senior leader of the Congress, and Mr Dullo.

The general secretary of the party, Mr Parminder Singh, said that many more SAD leaders would quit the party to join the Congress in the days to come.

He said that SAD leaders in the Faridkot belt were angry with Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, because both these leaders believed in “promoting their own kin and give no importance to workers”.


No third alternative in the offing
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 8
After the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, the Congress found another contender for power in the state. Soon after formation of the Punjabi Suba, an Akali-led government was formed under the leadership of Justice Gurnam Singh, Subsequently, the Akalis consolidated their presence and became the main opposition and a party contending for power in its own right. However, the Akalis have preferred to find a combination partner everytime to give themselves a non-communal colour. So far as the programme for governance and development are concerned, there is hardly any difference.

Both the Congress and the Akali Dal tend to depend on the highly politicised bureaucracy and police. Both have been vying for power in a cut-throat competition. It is usually seen that the rise in militancy in Punjab was also because of this competitive politics between the two parties.

There has been a strong talk of having third alterative in Punjab as protagonists of this third alternative feel that Akalis and Congress men of Punjab are badly divided and they are losing their credibility. Lately, the Akali factions and the Lok Bhalai Party have formed some sort of combination.

According to the prevailing political scenario in Punjab, there are about half a dozen Akali factions which are opposed to the main Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

They condemned Mr Badal for the corruption during his tenure and his anti-Panthic agenda and pro-BJP policies. But they exercise marginal influence only in a few pockets of Punjab.

Among them if at all any party can claim political presence, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) with all the failings of its leader, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has stood to the Panthic agenda and has created a place for itself in the Sikh psyche. He was the main force in the Panthic Morcha which contested the SGPC elections.

The Akali Dal (Longowal) led by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and the Akali Dal 1920 led by Mr Ravi Inder Singh have their pockets of influence. The radical Sikh youth led by Daljit Singh Bittu have also set up the Shiromani Khalsa Dal to participate in the democratic process.

For quite sometime, the Sikh voters had been in a dilemma. They had seen the Congress denying them the Punjabi Suba and laying seige to Harmandar Sahib.

But with the coming of Captain Amarinder Singh to power, the peripheral vote among the Sikhs shifted to the Congress.

Both the CPI and CPM have contributed to the national leadership. But at the state level they are marginalised and have become active only after the formation of the UPA Government at the Centre with their support. The two Communist parties also talk of third political force at the national level.

The BJP has received a setback due to the alleged corruption in the SAD-BJP Government and has lost its Hindutva vote bank. However, the party is being spearheaded by Mr Avinash Khanna, a well-intentioned politician.

Despite the fact that Punjab has a sizeable vote bank of Dalists, the Bahujan Samaj Party has not been able to have its foothold in the state due to the factionalism in the party.

Added to all this, major political parties — Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal — have failed to throw a new second rung leadership.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal did try to find suitable young leaders in the 2002 parliamentary elections. But they can hardly project themselves as Akalis or Sikhs.


CM’s village sans civic amenities despite big grants
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh may have released grants worth crores for the development of his ancestral village Mehraj, but the alleged misuse of allotted funds has turned the village into a “living hell”. The state government had sanctioned Rs 6.5 crore for water supply and sewerage project in the village.

According to sources, improper water and sewerage work has not only turned the village roads mucky, but has also claimed the lives of two individuals 20-year-old Bhola Singh of Deepti Kala village and a migrant labourer. Both of them reportedly died after falling into pits dug out on the roads for sewerage project.

Sources said these pits had also caused damage to villagers, their vehicles and livestock. They said many houses had also developed cracks. Chiman Lal of the village complained that leakage in water supply pipes laid in his lane had led to inundation in one of his rooms. Tek Chand of the Kala Patti area of the village also rued that cracks had surfaced on the walls of his home that he built about a year and a half back.

Villagers lamented that the sewerage could not bore the brunt of the season’s second shower and water entered their homes, which they attributed to “some fault” in the sewerage. Others, whose home got damaged, include Jeewan Pal, Balvir Singh, Chand Nambardar, Karnail Singh and Jarnail Singh. Sources said the lack of technical expertise while laying the pipeline had led to this situation. Ram Singh of the village complained that initially it was stated that Scheduled Castes would be given free sewerage connections, but now charges were being demanded from them.

The sources said when water works was checked in the recent past the water pipes got leaked from various points. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, formed a three-member panel, whose report is yet to come out.

They said the water pipes were not connected properly and their depth was also less. Water and sewerage pipes were laid together that may lead to mixing of water in future. An individual involved in repair work said they had plugged water leakage at about 50 points till now and that too in a short distance.

Mr Bhandari said he had already formed a committee to probe into the matter. He said though he was yet to receive the committee’s report, it had come to light that the quality of work was not up to the mark.

He said his immediate concern was to put in place water supply and sewerage project. He had given one more week to water works and sanitation department to set the things right and if they failed he would hand over the works to some other agency, he added.


PMET muddle: HC scraps evaluation by GND varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today scrapped the evaluation of answer-sheets by Guru Nanak Dev University on a petition challenging the results of “second” Punjab Pre-medical entrance test (PMET). The result was declared on July 7. In all, about 1500 candidates had taken the test.

Directing GND varsity Vice-Chancellor to get all answer-sheets re-evaluated on or before August 17 on the basis of answer-keys corrected by an independent agency, a Division Bench of the High Court ruled that the answer-keys were demonstrated to be wrong in at least 17 questions.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Judges added that the paper-setters and authorities involved in the preparation of the keys had demonstrated apathy, besides lack of commitment.

“The GND varsity had the answer-keys re-evaluated by experts drawn from the university itself.... 10 of the 21 answers affirmed by the experts drawn from the varsity have been shown to be incorrect by the experts nominated by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Chairman... We consider it just and appropriate to direct the GND varsity to have their credentials re-evaluated by affording them an opportunity to defend themselves”.

The Judges added: “In case it is concluded that their recommendation was unfair or professionally unacceptable, appropriate action should be taken against them in accordance with the law... There can hardly be any room in a university for a person incompetent in his field of speciality, or for a person not fair and honest in a cause related to the students”.

For the purpose of revising the answer-keys, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal, requested the CBSE Chairman to invite experts.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Bench ruled that “the revised result of the second PMET shall positively be declared by August 19” and said the entire exercise should be completed “within least possible time”.

In their detailed order, the Bench ruled that “8.5 per cent of the total questions posed were found to be wrong... Those whose careers are at stake deserve a credit for each correct answer and no credit should go to anyone for a wrong answer... Even a single correct answer wrongly evaluated would bring down a candidate undeservingly by a number of steps in the merit list”, the Judges observed.

Giving details of the procedure to be adopted, the Judges ruled: “We are of the opinion that the process adopted earlier for 21 disputed questions, should be repeated for the entire 200 questions. We, therefore, request the Chairman of the CBSE to invite the same experts as he had done earlier to carry out the same exercise.... In case, one or more experts are not available, it will be open for the Chairman to substitute the experts”.

The Judges added that “the first step would require the GND varsity to furnish the set of 200 questions posed to the candidates, along with the answer-keys.... the university may nominate one expert for each subject.... likewise, the petitioners shall also have the liberty to nominate one expert in each subject to assist the experts nominated by the CBSE Chairman, if they so desire.... The experts nominated by the CBSE Chairman, the GND varsity and the petitioners shall collectively carry out the exercise. Answers for the revised or corrected answer-keys would be based on the majority view expressed in respect of each question. In case of difference of opinion — when at least three experts do not express the same opinion — the question itself shall be cancelled”.

The Bench asserted that four marks would be given to the candidates if the majority was of the view that there was no correct answer, or there were more than one correct answer, or the question was cancelled or found to be vague.

For preventing the repetition of such incidents, the Judges directed the adoption of a procedure that ensured transparency and fairness. “In our view, the candidates should be allowed to carry with them the question papers....” The answer-keys prepared by the experts should be floated on the internet “so that each candidate could not only evaluate himself, but also ascertain if there was any mistake in the answer-keys”.

Coming down heavily on GND varsity, the Judges ruled: “We are pained to notice that those involved in the process of evaluating the answer-keys in the instant controversy by the GND varsity, on one hand, and experts nominated by CBSE Chairman on the other hand have recorded divergent views.

In our view, it is absolutely unreasonable to pose such questions to candidates who have just qualified the 10 + 2 examination on which specialists of high stature have expressed divergent views”.

For ensuring the handling of job with responsibility, the Judges added that a paper-setter or person involved in finalising the answer-keys should be blacklisted for committing a mistake. An entry should also be recorded in his service record. 


SGPC-run colleges ‘deny’ seat to Tohra ex-secy’s son
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Citing political victimisation, Mr Malvinder Singh Mali, former press secretary to late Akali leader G.S. Tohra, today sent a letter to the Punjab Governor saying his son was denied admission to two SGPC-run engineering colleges under the Sikh minority quota.

Mr Mali said his son, Kanwarpreet Singh Grewal, fulfilled all conditions for admission to SGPC-run Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering, Fatehgarh Sahib, under the “Sikh minority quota”. He said his son had also cleared the eligibility test conducted by the SGPC.

In the letter to the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, who is also the Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Mr Mali alleged that on being asked to give in writing the reason for rejection of his son, the colleges replied: “As on today, Sikh minority quota not fulfilled due to trimmed beard”.

Mr Mali alleged that the candidature of his son was wrongfully rejected as under the quota, no student was allowed to enter examination hall till he/she fulfilled all conditions and gave a declaration in this regard.

Kanwarpreet Singh Grewal had secured 3658 rank in the CET conducted by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.

The coordinator of the test and Principal, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, had sent a list of successful candidates to Registrar, PTU, which figured the name of Kanwarpreet Singh Grewal.

The SGPC representatives present on the occasion refused to confirm the existence of the documents, he alleged.

This, he alleged, was done as they knew that the candidate was the son of former press secretary of Tohra.

They held a meeting and declared that admission could not be granted to the student due to instructions from higher authorities, Mr Mali said.

The matter was brought to the notice of Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of the PTU, who despite agreeing that the candidate was eligible expressed their helplessness in the matter.

Mr Mali has demanded an inquiry into the episode.


SGPC orders probe into fake recruitment case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
Taking cognizance of a report published in these columns yesterday that a clerk had forged the signature of an SGPC secretary to get two persons appointed as ‘sevadars’, the SGPC here today announced that it would hold an inquiry into the allegations.

Mr Harjit Singh, Additional Secretary, SGPC, in a press note issued here today, said the matter had been conveyed to the president of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who is on a tour to southern states. He said she had assured that a free and fair inquiry would be conducted in the case and the guilty would be brought to book.

He claimed that Kulbir Singh, who is accused of faking the signature, was not posted as clerk at the established branch. He said he was working in the printing press of Gurdwara Ramsar.

It may be mentioned that Mr Dalmegh Singh, SGPC secretary, had accepted that during a chance verification it was found that Kulbir Singh had forged his signatures to appoint one Sahib Singh (posted at Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib) and Mohinder Kaur (Darbar Sahib).

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

Earlier, immediately after Operation Bluestar, then acting president of the SGPC, Mr Harinder Singh Tarn Tarni had found that his signatures had been forged to get jobs in the committee.


Women allowed to perform kirtan at Harmandar Sahib
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Taking a historic decision, the SGPC today formally allowed women to perform shabad kirtan at the sanctum sanctorum of Harmandar Sahib. Women have also been allowed to do seva of Palki Sahib and the Parkarma.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of the advisory board held here today. The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, presided.

The decision to allow women to perform kirtan at the sanctum sanctorum would be discussed at the next meeting of the advisory board on religious matters of the SGPC. However, women will have to a adhere to a certain code of conduct while performing these duties.

A spokesman of the SGPC said here that the apex religious body of the Sikhs had never passed a resolution disallowing women from undertaking seva at Harmandar Sahib. Those women who adhered to the rules and regulations made as a part of the code of conduct could approach the SGPC for performing shabad kirtan at Harmandar Sahib.

The spokesman said that the advisory board would draw up a code of conduct regarding inter-caste marriages and inter-religion matters in gurdwaras abroad. A code of conduct would also be framed for carrying the Birs of Guru Granth Sahib abroad.

Meanwhile, the SGPC has set up a committee to examine the thesis written by one Mr Gurdit Singh to obtain the PhD degree about the contribution of Satguru Jagjit Singh to music. 


Historic gurdwara to have museum
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kanuwan (Gurdaspur), August 8
The historic gurdwara commemorating the ‘Chotta Ghalughara’ (mass massacre) of Sikhs at the hands of Mughals in 1846 will have a museum. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD, Culture and Archives, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here yesterday.

He said that many ancient artifacts, bones of persons massacred and pieces of weapons were still being recovered from the area around the Tibri cantonment. Keeping in view the importance of the place the government has decided to construct a museum depicting the scenes of massacre and artifacts recovered from the surrounding areas. The museum will help preserve an important chapter in Sikh history.

Mr Bajwa was here to lay the foundation stone of the road leading from the gurdwara to Chawa village. The road will be constructed at an estimated cost of about Rs 85 lakh. With the construction of this road the gurdwara will be approachable from main Mukerian-Gurdaspur road.

Though the Akalis projected themselves as champions of the Sikh cause, they have till date ignored the important place. According to historians, more than 1,0000 Sikh warriors were massacred by the Mughal army at this place. About 20 years ago, former Akali Chief Minister laid the foundation stone of a bridge to join the gurdwara with the main land. However, no work was carried out. It was only now that the present Congress Government had constructed the bridge and metalled all roads leading to the gurdwara. With improved connectivity the income of the gurdwara has also increased from a mere Rs 5,000 per month to about Rs 1.5 lakh per month, Mr Bajwa said.

He further said the proposal would also be submitted to the government to give heritage status to the gurdwara.

The massacre at the place was carried out on the orders of Yahiya Khan, the then Mughal Governor of Punjab. The Mughal empire weakened and Sikhs took advantage and resorted to guerrilla warfare. A band of Sikh youths entered Lahore and killed those who had been instrumental in awarding punishments to Sikh captives. Yahiya Khan ordered immediate military action. Jaspat Rai, brother of then Diwan of Punjab, Lakhpat Rai, led the offensive against Sikh youth. He was killed in an encounter at Rori Baba Nanak near Lahore.

This led to the beginning of a massive offensive against the Sikhs in April 1846. Yahiya Khan and Lakhpat Rai personally led the offensive. Several skirmishes took place but Sikhs were helpless against artillery. Hundreds of women and children were accompanying them. At last they were surrounded by the Mughal army on the right bank of Beas about 10 miles south of Gurdaspur.

They were outnumbered and massacred in the area adjoining the present site of the gurdwara.


UK Sikhs visit Khadoor Sahib
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 8
A 100-member Sikh jatha from the UK, under the banner of Guru Manyo Granth Khalsa yesterday visited the historic Khadoor Sahib Gurdwara, Angitha Sahib, 20 km from here, besides the museum and other historic places.

Welcomed by Baba Seva Singh Karsevawale with siropas, the jatha was headed by Baba Balwinder Singh Kuraliwale. The jatha will visit Gurdwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi, and complete the pilgrimage with a visit to Sri Hemkund Sahib on August 16.


Funding of free power raises moot questions
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab Government is still groping in the dark when it comes to providing funds for free power to the farming sector in the state. The government will have to pay approximately Rs 430 crore to the PSEB for providing free power to the small and marginal farmers.

In fact, the government is yet to resolve that whether the facility of free power should be straight away extended to farmers holding land holdings up to five acres. Certain senior officers are of the view that there are large number of small farmers who have tubewells but no power connections. They run their tubewells on diesel sets. Such farmers will not get any benefit in case free power is given to their counterparts, they add.

There is another proposal that instead of giving free power, farmers should be given energy bonus on production. By doing so, all farmers even those who have no power connections on tubewells would be covered under the scheme. But no final decision has been taken on this as yet.

It is also being proposed to give assured minimum power to farmers and subsidy on it.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had promised to announce free power to the farmers on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

When contacted, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, said that the government was deliberating on the free power and related issues and was exploring various possibilities to arrange the funds for making payment to the PSEB.

Earlier, it was decided to allocate money from the Rural Development Fund ( RDF) but now various other proposals are also being examined.

Though the government is determined to go ahead with its plans to provide free power, the opposition are blaming the ruling Congress of making such major statements without proper financial planning.

The authorities, meanwhile, assert that no decision has been taken in principle as yet. The Chief Minister at a meeting of the senior officers held at Patiala last week had asked them to work out details regarding the finances required, he added.

In fact, the government would have to first approach the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission on the issue of free power. They would also be required to furnish an undertaking in writing to the Commission that it would give Rs 430 crore to the Board for providing free power. Then the Commission would give further directions to the PSEB in this connection. The Cabinet will also have to endorse this decision too.

As Assembly elections are drawing close, the government is in a tearing hurry to give various sops to people, including farmers and traders, says political analysts. The Congress in its manifesto had promised to give free power to farmers and the Chief Minister is determined to fulfil the same, no matter what the officers say. Earlier, the announcement was to be made on August 15 but the same was deferred to August 20.

There is another proposal to waive off VAT on at least 20 items. The traders have submitted representations in this connection to the government and the officials concerned were processing the same.

The government has also announced to abolish octroi, which is another promise that was listed in the manifesto. The municipal committees get a revenue of Rs 750 crore from the octroi. Obviously, the government would have to pay Rs 750 crore to these committees to compensate them in lieu of the octroi to be abolished.

Interestingly, 90 per cent income from the octroi is spent on giving salaries to the municipal employees. If the government does not pay Rs 750 crore, the employees will not get salaries.


PSEB staff protest against cashiers’ suspension
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
Reacting to the suspension of two cashiers following a robbery incident at the Punjab State Electricity Board office here, the board’s clerical staff of four subdivisions of the city today observed total strike. The strike caused inconvenience to the consumers who had come to various offices to deposit their bills.

Some robbers had struck at one of the board’s offices in the city last week and fled away with Rs 4.5 lakh. The incident occurred when cashiers Balwant Singh and Bal Krishan were about to leave for bank.

The board considering it to be the cashiers’ negligence suspended both of them, which had triggered resentment among the PSEB’s clerical staff. They termed it a “grave injustice” meted out to their colleagues.

The technical staff also came out in their support and participated in the strike. The clerical staff raised slogans against the board and demanded the reinstatement of the cashiers. They also sought proper security arrangements at the cash counters of the board offices. They said the board instead of working out a security plan suspended the cashiers. They warned to continue their stir till the cashiers were reinstated.

About 1,000 consumers could not deposit their bills despite it being the last date. When the clerical staff was protesting against the board these consumers also started raising slogans against it. They were standing in queues since 8 am and when their bills were not accepted till 2 pm they staged a dharna.

They also met the SDO concerned, but to no avail. They were apprehensive of paying penalty, as today was the last date to foot the bill.

Sources said while there were long queues outside the board’s offices in the city, the board officials tried their best to avoid confronting them.

When contacted, the Executive Engineer, Mr M.L. Garg, said the consumers who suffered due to today’s strike would not have to pay the fine.


Poor quality of rice: Siva Prasad repatriated
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Protesters by “client states” of the Food Corporation of India, Punjab, over poor quality of rice being supplied to them, today, resulted in the repatriation of the Senior Regional Manager (SRM), Mr K. Siva Prasad, to his parent state, almost two years prior to completion of his four-year term.

While he is the second SRM to be sent packing in the middle of his tenure, the FCI has also transferred four District Managers of its department to the Regional Office, Chandigarh, for their alleged role in the purchase of poor quality rice. Strict disciplinary action is likely to be initiated against them shortly.

Sources said 300 complaints were received by the FCI, Punjab, from the five rice-buying states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Assam about the poor quality of the grain supplied to them.

It is learnt that the “damage” to the grain dispatched to them was way beyond the “accepted” limits which prompted the government of the respective states to take up the matter. Sources stated that the grain supplied to these states was “below rejection limits” and added that since the rice was bought this year, the poor quality procured could only be attributed to “extraneous considerations”.

Bought from the mandis of Bathinda, Ferozpore, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa, and Ludhiana, this poor quality grain came under four DMs who have been recalled from their respective districts with immediate effect.

Also, Mr Prasad is the second SRM to be asked to report back to the Punjab Government after Mr V.K. Singh who was called back in February, 2003. He had joined as SRM, Punjab FCI, in August, 2001, but was called back after some discrepancies were found in the stock-taking records. Mr Prasad was taken on deputation for four years in April, 2003. 


Health Secy visits hospital
Our Correspondent

Samana, August 8
Mr T.R. Sarangal, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab and Managing Director, Punjab Health System Corporation, paid a surprise visit to Civil Hospital here today.

He took a round of the hospital and interacted with the patients.

While talking to the SMO of the hospital, Mr Sarangal asked for a report on various performances indicators like number of admissions of patients in hospital, OPD bed occupancy rate, surgery, deliveries, radiological investigations and lab investigations.


Striking workers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Mirthal (Gurdaspur), August 8
Workers of the Diamond Agro ghee factory today blocked traffic on the National Highway No. 1 in protest against the non-payment of wages. About 150 workers who have not been paid salaries for the past 5 months initially held a gate rally in front of the factory. Later they moved to the Pathankot-Jalandhar road and blocked traffic. They traffic blockade continued from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

It was only after the assurance from the local police officials who offered to facilitate their meeting with the SDM Pathankot that the labourers lifted their dharna.

The state president of the CITU, Mr Natha Singh, who led today’s protest told to The Tribune that owners of Diamond Agro had stopped production at Mirthal. They had shifted to some place in Haryana. Most of the machinery at the plant had also been shifted to Haryana. They have also applied for permission from the Punjab Government to lock up the 

However, labourers who had not been paid salary since April were uncertain about their future. They had not been paid any retrenchment dues or the pending salary by the owners. The owners of factory were closing down the production from Mirthal just because the subsidy period had lapsed here. They had set up a new unit in Haryana to avail the subsidy offered at that place, he alleged.

The labourers later held a meeting with the Pathankot SDM, Mr Amarjeet Paul and the SP, Mr Manminder Singh. The SDM directed the local Labour Inspector to take action to ensure the payment of salaries to the workers.

Mr Navdeep Saini, president, Diamond Agro Workers Union, threatened to intensify to agitation if the pending salaries of the employees were not paid by August 15th.

No representative of factory management was available for comments.


Punjab Shiv Sena chief dead
Our Correspondent

Phillaur August 8
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), Punjab, Chairman, Mr Surinder Dogra (48), breathed his last after a brief illness in a private hospital of Amritsar today.

Dogra took the command of the Punjab Shiv Sena after the assassination of the party’s North India chief Rama Kant Jalota near Phagwara about 15 years back.

Punjab Shiv Sena vice-president Pawan Parbhakar while condoling the death of Dogra, said this evening that several prominent Hindu leaders attended the funeral of Dogra. He was cremated at the funeral ground of Shri Durgiana Mandir this evening. Dogra was unmarried. 


200 saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 8
NSS volunteers and students of the local Lyallpur Khalsa College have planted nearly 200 saplings of different species on the campus.

The college campus has already about 2,000 trees and plants of 42 different species.

The students planted saplings of pandola, ashoka, bougainvillaea, chandni, maulsari and gulmohar on Friday under the supervision of NSS coordinator Prabh Dyal.


Delay in octroi abolition flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
Traders of the city have flayed the state government for the delay in abolition of octroi.

In a press statement released here today, the Punjab Beopar Mandal chief, Mr M.L. Kapoor, said the Congress had promised them to abolish octroi after coming to power in the state, but nothing had been done even after three and a half years. He said the implementation of VAT in the state had earned an additional Rs 1,000 crore for the government exchequer. Still the government was dilly-dallying the abolition of octroi.


HC stays govt suggestions in DSP case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Taking up a petition claiming attempts by Punjab’s Secretary (Home) Sukh Pal Singh Gill to protect the interest of his police officer brother by implementing a Supreme Court judgement from a later date, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 18 and ruled that recommendations, if any, made by the government in pursuance of DSP’s seniority list be stayed till then.

In their petition challenging the seniority in the DSP cadre, the petitioners, direct recruits Harbaz Singh and Gurpreet Singh, said an apex court judgement was implemented from 1989 instead of 1979 — the year of pronouncement — as Gill’s brother Paramjit Singh would have been affected.

In case the seniority was correctly framed from 1979, it was likely to affect Paramjit Singh’s promotion to the IPS. They added that the vacancies were to be filled in accordance with the quota rules which prescribed that every fifth vacancy would go to a direct recruit. 


Riot victims move SC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
Some 224 anti-Sikh riots victim families who were allotted LIG (Low Income Group) one-room apartments at Ranjit Avenue by the government in 1991 now fear losing their 

Talking to The Tribune today they said the cost of the allotted apartments was Rs 57,300 each and a monthly instalment of Rs 710 for 13 years was worked out. However, as most of the victims lost their houses and commercial establishments in riots, they were left with no resources and thus unable to pay the instalments.

Following this the court issued notices to them to either pay Rs 3.61 lakh, including penalty, or vacate the houses.

The riot victims’ society made an appeal in the apex court today against the decision, informed Mr Harbahajan Singh Lamba, a riot victim from Kanpur.


Memo against police
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 8
A memorandum in connection with the inefficiency of the police was handed over to the SDM, Mr D.S. Sandhu, by the Municipal Council president, Mr Charanjit Singh, and others here today.

Mr Charanjit Singh said incidents of crime of and around Kharar were increasing and the police was doing nothing to control such a situation. People of the area were feeling insecure.

It was brought to the notice of the SDM that the city police station did not have a telephone which led to inconvenience to residents. Complaints of residents remained unheard as police official concerned was not present there most of the time. Representatives of the SAD and the BJP accompanied Mr Charajit Singh, apart from shopkeepers. They appealed to the SDM to bring their problems to the notice of the higher authorities.


Centre to import DAP for Punjab farmers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Union Government will import 50,000 tonnes of DAP fertiliser for Punjab farmers. Indian Potash Limited ( IPL) has been authorised by the Centre to handle the import of the fertiliser, it is learnt.

Punjab needs about 4.90 lakh tonnes of DAP for rabi crops. Of this, 3.50 lakh tonnes will be required for the wheat crop. Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, who deals with the Agriculture Department, said the state government would like to have enough stocks of the fertiliser before mid-September. Agencies such as IFFCO had been approached by the department for buying DAP.

“Our experience shows that certain vested interests start spreading rumours regarding the shortage of DAP before the rabi sowing season. Their aim is to sell DAP in the black market”, said Mr Randhawa.

Asked about the sale of substandard fertilisers by certain influential business houses in Punjab, Mr Randhawa said that he had directed the officials concerned to collect samples of fertilisers, being sold by various agencies, from all districts. “We have got samples analysed and legal action will be taken against all agencies whose fertilisers are found to be substandard”, he said. “The licenses of these agencies will be cancelled”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government has decided to procure 40,000 tonnes of gypsum worth Rs 4 crore. It will be given to farmers at 50 per cent subsidy. The state government will contribute Rs 1 crore for providing the subsidy and an equal amount will be contributed by the Union Government.

Mr Randhawa said that farmers would get a bag containing 50 kg of gypsum for Rs 27.50. Last year the price was Rs 45 per bag. This year farmers would get a benefit of Rs 350 per tonne, he added. PUNSEED had been asked to procure gypsum. Funds to purchase gypsum would be provided from the Rural Development Fund and by the Punjab Mandi Board.


Farmers open gates of three sub canals
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
Farmers of Sriganganagar area yesterday forcibly opened gates of three sub canals at Sadhuwali, 35 km from here, sources said.

A large number of farmers mobbed the Sadhuwali headworks of Bikaner/Gang canal and broke open locks of the main distribution system to allow full flow of water in Y, Z and farm minors (sub canals). Irrigation officials were informed by the field staff on duty but they preferred to avoid a direct confrontation with the farmers who carried lathis and sharp-edged weapons. The incident came close on the heels of the probe into alleged misuse of funds by leaders of the Kisan Mazdoor Beopari Sangharsh Samiti.

The District Collector and Superintendent of Police had recently claimed that they had seized important papers that indicated that the Samiti leaders had not properly maintained accounts of funds collected from farmers and supporters to run an agitation over the canal water issue against the government.

The police had arrested Sant Lekha Singh, convener of the Samiti, and Mr Het Ram Beniwal, former MLA and joint convener.

The Samiti had said that farmers of the border region required 3300 cusecs of water for their fields but the flow in the Bikaner/Gang canal was less than 2500 cusecs.

The Chief Engineer (North) Canals, Hanumangarh, had yesterday said that an SOS message had been flashed to Eastern Canal Division Harike for increasing the supply. The farmers, on learning that supply had not been increased today, marched to Sadhuwali headworks and forcibly broke locks of gates of three subcanals.


Agitating farmers assured more water
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
Farmers who had virtually laid siege to the Jeevandesar headworks of the Bikaner / Gang canal at Sriganganagar yesterday dispersed after 10 hours on getting assurance from the Irrigation authorities for better supply of water.

The officials convinced the farmers to lift the dharna at “Y” and “Z” sub-canal gates in the Sadhuwali headworks on the Abohar – Sriganganagar road, sources said.

The farmers had yesterday broken locks of the gates to release water in the sub-canals.

According to information, the farmers who, cutting across political lines, had seized Jeevandesar headworks on Sunday complained that the Gang Canal Regulatory Committee at a meeting presided by the District Collector had resolved that rotation system would be enforced for judicious distribution of water.

It was reportedly decided that surplus water would be released in different sub-canals (minors) as per the seniority list maintained by the department.

Tension mounted as police force was rushed to the Jeevandesar headworks.

Tehsildar Ranjit Godara and DSP Rajesh Meel negotiated with representatives of the farmers. The Executive Engineer agreed to release 70 cusec water immediately and assured that it would be enhanced to 180 cusec on Monday. The farmers alleged that scarcity of water was much less compared to last year, but officials of the Irrigation Department were unable to manage proper distribution of water. This had led to a confrontation with the state government, they added.

Those who opened gates at “Y” and “Z” minors in Sadhuwali headworks said the Additional District Collector had last month promised the agitating farmers that water would flow in these minors till August 19 and 20, respectively, but the sub-canals were closed on August 5.

This would give a severe blow to the farmers as crop was at its peak.

Their attempts to contact the officials failed, so thus they were left with no other option but to open the gates and get water, farmers said.

Mr Kuldeep Bishnoi, XEN (North) Canals, had several rounds of talks with the farmers at the Sadhuwali headworks. Finally, the department agreed to continue full supply of water.


Revoke nod to commercial cultivation of Bt cotton: KVM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
The Kheti Virasat Mission will approach the genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC) to demand that the approval given so far for the commercial cultivation of Bt cotton be revoked in wake of what it termed “shocking findings” put out by CICR (Central Institute of Cotton Research).

According to Kheti Virasat, the CICR had come out with its findings on the ineffectiveness of Bt cotton on many fronts. As per a statement released here today, the findings reflect the erratic results on ground that have been reported by NGOs and independent agencies right from the first year of commercialisation. Release stated that while thousands of farmers have incurred losses with Bt cotton, the companies and the government continue to promote it aggressively as the solution.


Directive on land deeds
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 8
Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, today directed the deputy commissioners of the state to ensure that all land registration deeds are done on the basis of the “collector rates” fixed by the Punjab Government.

Ms Deol, who was accompanied by Jalandhar Division Commissioner Swaran Singh and Deputy Commissioner Ashok Gupta, was addressing a meeting of revenue officers of districts in the Doaba region of Punjab here today.

She said the officials had been directed to attend their offices on all working days so that people do not have any problem.

She said efforts were afoot to ensure transparency in the working of the Punjab Revenue Department.


Basti tense after woman stripped, beaten
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 8
Fear and tension gripped the Kapoor Basti located in a slum area behind the new Sabzi Mandi here following the alleged beating of a Bihari woman, Indra Wati (45), under whimsical grounds by her neighbour after stripping her naked and tying her hair with a tree on August 6 night. A report said later they also cut her hair.

She was admitted at the local Govt Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital by the Faridkot police the next day with serious injuries.

Most inhabitants of the area were so terrified that they expressed ignorance about any such incident.

However, Mr Samundar, a resident of the basti who was working in the Faridkot Sugar Mills, here, and claims to be the president of the area told some mediapersons at the hospital that the incident had taken place and that he tried his best to resolve the matter amicably but failed.

He regretted the “indifferent attitude of both the district administration and the state government which had initiated no concrete measures for the proper rehabilitation of over 10,000 inhabitants belonging to Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana residing in jhuggis with proper ration cards here for the past more than 20 years under unhygienic conditions.

He said the politicians only visited the basti people during election days and made tall promises for providing all type of civic and other amenities in the basti but never turned up after meeting their political ends.

Demanding a high school in the basti, he also underlined the need for the pavement of streets and drains besides setting up a dispensary on a priority basis.

He sought the cooperation of the police for turning out of the anti-social elements and goons from the basti to create a congenial atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Mr Ram Lal (50) husband of the victim, who is working as a labourer in the FCI charged the assailants with teasing his family under one or the other pretext on a routine basis but he and his wife always ignored the matter to maintain peaceful atmosphere.

It is learnt that the police has registered a criminal case of attempt to murder, kidnapping and assault against the accused

Unconfirmed reports said that the police had arrested two accused and the others were still absconding.


24 copper plates of honour board stolen
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 8
In an unusual case of theft about 24 copper plates of honour board carrying the names of officers who had worked in the construction and commissioning of the plant were stolen from the main office of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar.

The matter came to light on Friday when the Superintending Engineer of the thermal plant noticed that plates were removed from the main offices. He reported the matter to other officers. Surprisingly the copper plates were stolen despite round-the-clock duty of the security personnel on the main office.

Even after the theft was detected, the officials and security personnel concerned kept on asking each other to lodge an FIR. Later, the officials and the Assistant Security officer of the thermal plant jointly lodged the FIR in Ghanauli police station.

Sources said about Rs 2 lakh would be required to make such plates again and place them in proper place. The copper plates have been displayed in the main office since 1987.

The security in the thermal plant is provided by the Punjab Ex-Servicemen Security Corporation. About 190 security personnel were deployed in the thermal plant where the entry without permission is prohibited.

The Chief Security Officer of the thermal plant, Col S.P.S Buttar(retd), when contacted said the matter had been taken up with the police. Those found guilty would be punished as per law.

When contacted the ASI investigating the case said he would submit a report in this regard soon. 


Three held for smuggling liquor
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 8
The police arrested three persons for smuggling liquor at a naka on the Jalandhar road yesterday. According to Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, the driver of a truck (MP-09K-8468) going towards Jalandhar was asked to stop the vehicle at the naka but he tried to escape. The police party chased and intercepted the vehicle.

However, three occupants of the vehicle escaped. He said during a search of the truck, the police seized 13,50 litre of country-made foreign liquor of various brands from a special cabin.

Amrik Singh, truck driver, resident of Kumbra Mohan, Mohali, and Harjinder Singh, resident of the local Mohalla Roop Nagar, were arrested. He said during interrogation they revealed the identification of the three occupants of the truck who had escaped. They were identified as Ravinder Singh, alias Ashok Kumar, Dayal Chand, alias Dayalu, and Shiv Dayal, alias Kaku, all residents of the local Mohalla Bahadurpur.

Amrik Singh told the police that liquor smugglers used to pay Rs 5,000 per trip for carrying the liquor. The special cabin in the truck was got manufactured by the smugglers.

Mr Angra said the police seized 90 litre of rum from a Scorpio (PB-07B-3127) and arrested Deepak Kumar of the local Mohalla Garhi.


Land sold twice, one booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 8
Harinder Singh a resident of Kamalpur village allegedly cheated his neighbour by selling him a piece of land which was previously sold to his own wife and mother.

Mr Gursewak Singh, resident of the same village, in a complaint to the local police alleged that he was sold a piece of land measuring 8 Kanal and 13 marlas on October 19,2004 for Rs 4.32 lakh by Harinder Singh . He further alleged that the accused had already sold the land to his wife and mother on September 6,2004.

Mr Gursewak Singh also alleged that Harinder Singh, who is son of Mr Ajit Singh , hold a fake passport under the name of Rajinder Singh, son of Surjit Singh.


Couple drugged, robbed
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 8
A Phagwara couple was robbed of gold ornaments and cash at a dharamshala in Chintpurni after some persons offered them tea on Sunday.

According to information received, the couple, Mr Lekhraj and his wife Sulakhi, of Valmiki Mohalla, Phagwara, had left for pilgrimage to Mata Chintpurni on Sunday morning. They were staying there in a dharamshala.

Some persons offered them tea at the dharamshala. After taking tea , the couple fell unconscious. The youths decamped with their gold ornaments and cash amounting to about Rs 1,200.

They were admitted to the Civil Hospital at Chintpurni. Later the couple was shifted to a private hospital in Phagwara.


Villagers ransack power grid; 3 booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
Protesting against power shortage in their village, residents of Bhokhra last night ransacked the village’s 33 KV grid. They reportedly manhandled PSEB staff and broke the windowpanes of the board office.

Though the police has registered a case against three persons in this regard, the Employees Federation demanded that those responsible be arrested soon and the security of the board staff be ensured.

Sources said a technical snag developed in a power line last night lead to the shut down of three grids — Bhokhra, Daan Singh Wala, and Kotli. A group of villagers from Bhokhra reached the grid and started enquiring about the reason of power failure.

Irked villagers then allegedly manhandled the board staff and ransacked its office. They snapped telephone lines and overturned a government vehicle.

The police and board officials rushed to the spot. On the basis of the board officials’ statement, Sewa Singh, Kaka Singh, and Dhanna Singh have been booked under Sections 352, 186, and 457 of the IPC.


2 dead, 6 hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
Two persons were killed and six injured in an accident near Phagan Majra village on the Sirhind road here. The injured and the killed were from Bibipur village, near Samana. They were returning from a visit to the Naina Devi shrine. The dead have been identified as Deep Chand (28) and Gurdev Singh (30).

The injured are Charna, Surjeet Singh, Amar Singh, Bandaa, Saima and Sukhwant Singh. The injured have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital.

The accident occurred when they stopped for refreshments at a wayside dhaba near Phagan Majra.

A speeding Tata 709 allegedly rammed into their Mahindra jeep from behind.

The injured have alleged that the police, instead of helping them, harassed them while the other driver was let off.

Relatives and residents of Bibipur villages staged a protest in front of the hospital against police ‘high-handedness.’

The bodies of the deceased were being kept in the hospital mortuary. The protesters demanded immediate handing over of the bodies so that the last rites could be performed.


Research on removal of defective genes
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 8
Scientists are working at removing various defective genes from the human bodies for treating chronic diseases without any medicinal aid.

This was stated by Dr Harinder Singh Balian, Additional Professor, Pharmacology, Government Rajindra Medical College, Patiala, while addressing a seminar on ‘Gene therapy’, organised by the local Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum (SASWF) here last evening.

Dr Balian further said defective genes were mainly responsible for hereditary diseases, like diabetes, and extraordinary features in a person, like extraordinary height. He said every thing about the physical appearance and mental state of a human being was already in the genes.

Dr Balian also said on the study of total characters of the genes, 200 books, containing 1000 pages each, could be authored while a person required 26 years to study the nature of all genes by spending 20 hours daily.

Dr H.S. Bali, SMO, Civil Hospital, Sangrur, expressed the hope that scientists would certainly achieve their goal of treating a person by removing a particular gene, responsible for a particular disease, from the body of the human being. He said if they succeeded in doing so in the near future, it would be a great service, rendered by them, towards the welfare of mankind.

Dr A.S. Mann, president Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum, Sangrur, said people should pay respect to extraordinary tall or dwarf persons and should not laugh at them as their extraordinary heights were due to genetic disorders. He also expressed the hope that such type of educational seminars would help the people in understanding the deficiencies, found among the human beings due to genetic disorders.

Among others who took part in the deliberations of the seminar, included Prof Jagdev Singh Sohi, Prof Malkeet Singh Khatra, Prof Santokh Kaur, Dr Jatinder Kaur, Dr J.S. Somal, Prof Raman, Mr A.P. Singh and Ms Sita. 


Water supply has cut absenteeism in schools: study
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Commissioning of rural water supply schemes in Ropar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur has improved attendance, especially of girl students, in schools besides giving more time to women for both household and farming activities, says a study conducted by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

A team of researchers interviewed 136 beneficiary households, 16 technical officials and as many panchayat members or other opinion makers to assess the benefits of “safe piped drinking water supply to households in rural areas.”

Interestingly, 50 per cent of the total connections for piped water supply were taken by those households with an annual income of Rs 60,000 or more while 30 per cent of connections went to Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections. Only 21 per cent of the beneficiary households had any knowledge of water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, jaundice and cholera.

Poor maintenance of waterwork sites and water standposts, leakages in pipelines and absence of air valves in the rising mains were also noticed during the study.

Another revelation made by the study is that 9 per cent of the households have started dairy activities. Even milk production has gone up in the households which already had milch cattle.

The study also revealed that 50 per cent of rural drinking water schemes could not be completed in time because of delay in either disbursement of funds or administrative approval. In some cases, the contractor took longer than the prescribed time limit.

Since the number of connections given was less than the capacity, the operational and maintenance costs were higher and not covered by the user charges alone. The beneficiaries felt that panchayats were not equipped to operate and maintain the schemes.

The researchers also found that community participation in planning, execution and even sustenance of schemes was negligible. Water management committees were not constituted in any of the 16 schemes. Besides, there was lack of cooperation and inter-sectoral coordination between the Public Health Department on one hand and other departments, including Rural Development, Animal Husbandry, Women and Child Welfare, on the other.

Under the scheme, the monthly user charges have been fixed at Rs 70 a month for a private connection and Rs 10 a month from those taking water from the water standpost.


SGPC education panel revises pay scales
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The SGPC’s committee on education today revised the pay scales of the teaching and non-teaching staff posted in public, elementary and secondary schools run by it.

A spokesman of the SGPC said that the scales of those employees, who were not covered under the 95 per cent aid scheme of the government, had been revised. The new pay scales would be applicable from this month.

The committee which held a meeting here, also decided to give 61 per cent DA to employees working in unaided colleges of the SGPC. It directed all principals of its schools and colleges to plant up to 500 saplings in their respective institutions.

The committee also decided to set up sports wings in its educational institutions. A sum of Rs 50 lakh was allocated for this purpose. Trials would start soon to enrol students in the sports wings.

The panel also approved a grant of Rs 10 lakh for setting up a museum at Babbar Akali Memorial Khalsa College, Garhshankar.


Govt-aided school staff to hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 8
All government-aided schools in Punjab will remain closed on August 10 in protest against the recent government decision to stop grants to these schools. All teachers and other staff members of these schools will take leave and stage a protest in the district headquarters. This was stated by the president of the Aided School Teachers Union, Punjab, Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, in a press note here.

Chandigarh: The action committee of the Punjab State-Aided School Teachers’ and other Employees Union has decided to intensify its agitation against the Punjab Government from August 10.

This was disclosed here on Monday by Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, Adviser of the union. He said on August 10 all teachers and other employees would proceed on a one-day casual leave to hold rallies and demonstrations at all district headquarters.


DAV school Principal ‘suspended’
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 8
The DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, today placed the services of Ms Madhu Sharma, Principal of the local DAV Girls School under suspension.

The DAV College Managing Committee was represented by its general secretary. M.L. Khanna, Director (Colleges and Aided Schools) D.R. Gupta, Mr R.K. Prashar, Educational Adviser, Mr Satish Sharma, Ms P.D. Chowdhry, Ms Kanta Bhola, Dr Vijay Jain and Dr Satnam Kaur. The proceedings of the meeting were also videographed.

However, Ms Sharma refused to accept the orders and continued to occupy the chair. She asserted that the body, which met today, was not authorised to remove her or place her under suspension.

On the other hand, Mr Khanna claimed that as per the registered transfer deed dated December 1,1958, signed between the Arya Samaj College Section and the DAV College Trust and Management Society, the ownership of the movable and immovable properties vested with them and they were the competent authority to constitute the local management committee and take all decisions regarding the functioning of the school.

Mr Khanna said since 2001, when Ms Madhu Sharma was appointed as Principal of the school, the committee had been getting regular complaints regarding her style of working and conduct. He said the strength of the school was over 2,000 girls at the time when she joined as Principal but now, the number had declined to 724 girls only.

Mr Khanna said there had also been complaints regarding financial irregularities made by Ms Sharma in the school funds. He said both the staff of the school and parents were also discontented with her autocratic style and callous attitude of Ms Sharma.

Ms Sharma denied the allegations and stated that the DAV authorities were trying to settle scores with her because her husband, Mr Atul Sharma, who was president of the Arya Samaj, had exposed the unethical ways adopted by the DAV committee, New Delhi, to siphon off huge amount of money. She said the allegations made against her were totally concocted and without any substance.

Meanwhile, the DAV College Managing Committee, in a resolution passed today, appointed Mr Ashok Sharma as the acting Principal of the school and Dr Satnam Kaur as Correspondent.

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