P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bridge sealed to avert Cong-SAD faceoff
Section 144 clamped on Samrala subdivision
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Macchiwara, August 11
Reminiscent of the Naushera Pattan face off between the Congress and the Akalis, a similar situation has developed over the inauguration of the Rahon - Machhiwara bridge on the Sutlej. Going by the ground developments, the Congress is in no mood to let the Akalis claim credit for the completion of this vital link.

A bridge here was one of the long pending demand of the residents of this region since it would greatly reduce distances to Jalandhar, Gurdaspur and other parts of the state. Sanctioned during the Akali regime at a cost of Rs 21. 84 crore, it was completed a couple of months ago and since than the Congress has been taking credit for it.

Reacting to the decision of the Akalis to dedicate the bridge to people on August 13, the government acted swiftly last evening and sealed the bridge. The area has been turned into a virtual police encampment with cops guarding all approaches. So much so that even villagers of the adjoining villages are not being allowed to cross over.

The Ludhiana Range DIG, besides the SSPs of Ludhiana, Khanna and Nawanshahr are camping at the site to prevent any untoward incident. As a precautionary measure, the administration has imposed Section 144 of the Cr P C in Samrala subdivision. However, people have been allowed to attend religious congregations.

The top brass of the Akalis, including SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and NDA convener George Fernandes, are scheduled to attend the bhog of an akhand path organised as thanksgiving gesture on the completion of the project on August 13 noon. Following parleys between the administration and the local Akali leadership, the latter have shifted the venue of the function from Ghumana village adjacent to the bridge to Gurdwara Charan Kanwal Sahib in Macchiwara. However, the situation is still tense.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MLA, said the project was got sanctioned by his father and former Punjab Assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal in 2001. The Nabard-aided project was to be completed in 18 months but was delayed by over two and a half years due to obvious reasons. Now the Congress wanted to claim credit for this project, which was being resented by the people and the party workers, he pointed out.

He said he was surprised to see police cordons on the roads leading to the bridge, which have disrupted all traffic movement. This despite the fact I had assured senior administration and police officers that our workers would not go near the bridge. All we wanted was to express our thanks to the Almighty for the completion of this vital link, he pointed out. He said if people were not allowed to cross the bridge tomorrow they would be forced to give a befitting reply to the government.


’84 riots: protest continues for second day
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 11
The protest against the inability of the Congress government to prosecute these leaders who have been alleged to be involved in ’84 riots in the report continued the second day today. The district BJP unit today submitted a memorandum to the President of India through the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Mr Surjit Singh Saini, for demanding action against the leaders found guilty.

BJP leaders expressed resentment that even after 21 years of the incident, no action had been taken against them. The memorandum was submitted by the president of the district BJP unit, Mr Vijay Puri, accompanied by a large number of party workers.

Meanwhile, 10 Akali Dal workers, booked for burning the effigy of the Prime Minister and raising slogans against the Congress yesterday, were today released on bail. Two SGPC members, Gurinder Singh Gogi and Karanbir Singh Kang, have been granted anticipatory bail by a local court while president of the district Akali Dal Pritam Salomajra, Tejpal Singh of Kurali, Jagdev Singh of Nangal released on bail.


Effigies of Tytler, Bhagat burnt
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, August 11
Rural and urban circles of the district unit of the SAD today burnt an effigy of Congress leaders Jagdish Tytler, H.K.L. Bhagat and Sajjan Kumar for their alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Led by SAD organising secretary and SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid and SAD circle jathedar Gurmukh Singh, the protesters made a bonfire of the effigy on the GT Road at the Gol Chowk disrupting vehicular traffic for some time.

The state vice-president of the BJP and former minister, Mr Swarna Ram, and party’s Phagwara block president Tejasvi Bhardwaj also joined the protest along with some other BJP activists.

The Akali activists started their protest march from local Gurdwara Akalian, passed through various parts of the town and staged a dharna at the Tehsil complex.

KAPURTHALA: Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, president, Progressive Farmers Association, Punjab, and senior Congress leader, has termed the Nanavati Commission Report and subsequent ATR as a cruel joke on the Sikh community. He has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to come forward and take up the issue of the aggrieved families with the Centre.

While talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Khaira said the Nanavati report had disappointed the Sikhs and if the Union Government did not take action against the guilty the community, which had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress, would be forced to look for other political options.


Try Sikhs’ killers in international court: Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 11
The arrested SAD (A) President and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann today demanded that all those who were responsible for November 1984 Sikh carnage and the heads of those commissions, especially Justice Ranganath Mishra and Justice GT Nanavati, who had given clean chit in this connection to slain PM Rajiv Gandhi, late PM Narsimha Rao and late President Giani Zail Singh, should be tried in international court for crime against humanity.

Since Mr Mann is in jail these days facing sedition cases, his counsel Rajinderpal Boparai conveyed Mr Mann’s views to Dr Harjinder Singh Jakhu, SAD (A) General Secretary, who issued a press note here today.

Mr Mann alleged that the then Lt-Governor of Delhi PG Gavai had been made scapegoat by the Nanavati Commission, while those like Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and other senior Congress leaders, who had triggered carnage of Sikhs, had been exonerated. The report had rubbed salt on Sikh wounds, he said.

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Deputy PM and President BJP LK Advani were shedding crocodile tears for Sikhs, he alleged. While these BJP leaders had lionised Indira Gandhi as Durga for the Operation Bluestar and invasion of the Indian army on Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, in June 1984, they had done nothing for punishing the perpetrators of genocide of Sikhs nor given any relief to the victims during the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, he remarked.


Resignations of Tytler, Sajjan a stunt: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Parkash Singh Badal, today described the resignations of Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Jagdish Tytler from their respective posts as “a stage-managed political stunt of the Congress and mere eyewash.”

He reiterated his party’s demand that Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and other Congress leaders named in the Nanavati report should be immediately arrested and cases of murder registered against them.

The Akali leader also demanded that the role and conduct of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the “organised” violence against the Sikhs should be probed by a credible independent agency in the wake of disclosures made by former Delhi Lt-Governor P.G. Gavai.

In a statement here, Mr Badal also questioned the manner in which Tytler and Sajjan Kumar had been allowed to submit their resignations with a false air of moral grievance instead of being sacked, arrested on a charge of murder and dragged to the courts for the law to take its own course.

The Akali leader also took exception to the manner in which Tytler had sent his resignation to Ms Sonia Gandhi with a copy to the Prime Minister, whereas the correct constitutional procedure demanded that it should have been the other way round, if a copy to Ms Gandhi had at all to be sent.” We wonder if the Prime Minister did not consider it a personal, political and constitutional affront that one of his junior colleagues had gone over his head to hand over his resignation which should first have come to the Prime Minister’s desk. What he wanted to prove was something that is already known to everyone in the country; that is, it is not Dr Manmohan Singh but Ms Sonia Gandhi who is calling the shots in the government.”

But the Akali leader saw a poetic justice in Tytler choice of Sonia for handing over his resignation." After all, it was at the behest of her family that Tytler and others had done what they did in 1984. So, perhaps he was reminding Sonia that resignation formed a link in the chain that began in November 84. But his action clearly showed what scant respect the Congress accorded to Dr Manmohan Singh despite his being the chief executive of the country,” said Mr Badal.


Govt relief too little, claim ’84 riot victims
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 11
Various relief and rehabilitation measures taken by the Punjab Government for over 27000 Sikh families who came to the state following the anti-Sikh riots have got caught in the quagmire of changing political leadership.

While some of the relief schemes announced by the then Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala, immediately following the riots, were implemented, many decisions taken by successive governments have remained only on paper. As a result, for the victims, government relief has been either too little or an endless wait.

Out of the 23000 families who registered themselves with the Deputy Commissioners across Punjab, about 12,500 families in Ludhiana, 3,500 at Mohali, 2,500 in Amritsar and 1300 at Pathankot were rehabilitated, claims the Punjab Government. Over a 1000 dependants of the victimised families have been given employment, 700 LIG houses were given free of cost to the women, widowed during the riots and another 2,650 residential plots/houses were given to the migrant families at concessional rates, along with 235 commercial sites and 18 industrial plots.

Further the government claims that subsistence allowance at the rate of Rs 2500 per month is being given to widows of persons killed or 100 per cent disabled, dependant parents of persons killed were also given a subsistence allowance of Rs 2500 per month in case no son is alive and Rs 750 per month in other cases. Orphan children have been given subsistence allowance at the rate of Rs 2500 per month and marriage grant of Rs 10000 is given to dependent daughters/ sisters of the persons killed.

Many of these claims are rubbished by the victims. “Jasbir Kaur’s husband Rajinder Singh was killed during the riots. She had been receiving the subsistence till last year when it stopped,” said Mr Harpal Singh, general secretary, Danga Pirat Parivar Society, Mohali.

“The Barnala government had come up with a comprehensive relief and resettlement plan. But it was implemented only in parts,” pointed out Mr Manohar Singh, general secretary, 1984 Sikh Massacre Affected Welfare Society, Punjab, adding that whatever the Badal government proposed to do for the victims had not been implemented by the current government.

The 2650 houses that the Barnala government gave to the victims at concessional rates cost Rs 33000, recoverable in 25 years at 4.5 per cent interest. The Badal government announced that those who had been given these houses need not pay the interest on the cost of the houses. While this announcement remained just that, it created enough confusion among the victims who stopped paying their dues to the government.

Almost four years after it came into power the Badal government in May, 1999, announced a fresh relief scheme for the 1984 riot victims. “According to this scheme, over 700 LIG and MIG houses were to be given to victims at Ludhiana and Patiala, 400 commercial booths were to be given to victims in Ludhiana and another 200 booths were to be given to victims at Mohali and Patiala. As many as 500 ration depots were to be given to the victims across the state. But all this till today remains a paper scheme,” said Mr Manohar Singh.

Admitting that most of these relief measures had not been implemented by the current political set up, sources in the government added that some piecemeal relief had been given in accordance with the Badal plan.

Now the entire relief and resettlement issue would come up for review during the Cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow.


Amarinder’s unexplained silence on Nanavati report
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Barring two senior Congressmen, all other leaders of the ruling party in Punjab are maintaining an unexplained silence on the Nanavati Commission report and the action taken report.

Two Congressmen, Prof Darbari Lal, who is the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, and Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, have urged the Central Government to take action against the “ guilty”.

Prof Darbari Lal said that justice could only be given to the victims of the anti-Sikh violence by punishing those involved. The violence had been a most shameful chapter.

Mr Khaira said that both reports were documents which lacked any substance and reflected the failure of the political, judicial and administrative set-up to deliver justice. He demanded action against the guilty.

Even after four days of the release of the Nanavati panel report, the Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, headed by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, have failed to take any official stand on the issue.

There has been no official release or comment on both reports from either the government or the Congress when almost all political organisations in the country have strongly criticised the two reports. Already, the Prime Minister has tendered an apology on behalf of the government and the nation on the 1984 riots.

There are reports that Capt Amarinder Singh has talked to the Prime Minister on this issue.

Capt Amarinder Singh may express his opinion on the findings of the Nanavati Commission tomorrow. Sources close to the Chief Minister said his views may come at a function to re-launch the Bathinda refinery tomorrow morning or after a Cabinet meeting in Chandigarh tomorrow evening.

However, what has given satisfaction to Sikhs across the country is that the entire nation has expressed solidarity with them by attacking both reports. Even political leaders of regional parties in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have taken a strong stand against these reports. The Left parties, which dithered on this issue for a day, later pressed the Manmohan Singh government to drop leaders like Jagdish Tytler from the Union Council of Ministers.

“Even the staunchest supporter of Sikhs would not have dreamt of such support from political parties and the media on the issue. The way the media highlighted the issue it was amazing”, said a senior Akali leader.


PSEB facing manpower crisis
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 11
Punjab State Electricity Board, which is among the big organisations of the state, is reeling under a manpower crisis. A large number of posts are falling vacant in management and technical cadres.

To manage a workforce of 80,000 PSEB has a sanctioned strength of 2700 management cadre posts. This includes 2300 posts of electrical engineer, 200 of civil engineer and 100 each for financial and general management disciplines.

However, at present PSEB has a working strength of 1800 electrical engineers leaving a gap of 500 and 150 civil engineers with a shortfall of 50 positions for managing the affairs of the board.

Due to a ban imposed by the Punjab Government on recruitment, no fresh graduates could be recruited since 1998 in the electrical engineering cadre. The situation is worse in civil engineering cadre where there has been no recruitment since 1988.

According to sources, the ratio between managers and workers in PSEB is 1 to 300 that is the least amongst all leading power utilities. Besides, in PSEB the average age of management cadre is between 48 to 50 years. The situation will worse if the Punjab Government raises the retirement age of its employees to 60 under a populist plan under consideration.

There is not a single Assistant Engineer in the civil engineering cadre of PSEB with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. All these positions are manned by diploma holder promotees.

Electrical Assistant Engineers and Assistant Executive Engineers are managing positions at the sub-divisional level and come in direct contact with the public. A majority of these managers are old and under qualified. Out of a working strength of about 400 Assistant Electrical Engineers, less than 10 per cent are directly recruited electrical engineering graduates. The rest have been promoted with 25 per cent AMIE qualified and 65 per cent diploma holders.

Similarly in case of Assistant Executive Engineers, BE qualified engineers are less than 50 per cent and this percentage shall fall steeply in the coming years when they are promoted as senior executive engineers. Even in the most crucial middle management level of senior Executive Engineers, 50 per cent posts have been occupied by AMIE and diploma holder promotees.

As per PSEB rules diploma holders cannot be promoted as Superintending Engineers and Chief Engineers. However, AMIE promotees have risen to 12 positions in this cadre of 170 upper middle and top management slots.

The situation will be alarming in the coming years if recruitment is not carried out. By 2008 hundred per cent Chief Engineers, 80 per cent Superintending Engineers, 40 per cent Senior Executive Engineers, and 20 per cent Assistant Executive Engineers shall retire reducing the total cadre size to 1100, less than 50 per cent of sanctioned strength. Graduate engineers shall be in short supply for promotion as Senior Executive Engineers and Superintending Engineers.

In 1995, the PSEB had appointed a leading consultancy firm James Martin & Co of the USA to implement a business re-engineering plan. This firm had pointed out that human resource development in PSEB was the most neglected area and that PSEB needed a restructuring and human resource consultancy implementation plan on priority. However, till date no steps have been taken to implement the suggestions.

Mr Raman Bhalla, member, administration, PSEB, when contacted admitted that a human source crisis was emerging in the board. He said a plea has been forwarded before the Punjab Government for recruitment of 250 substation attendants and 250 graduate engineers on contract. The case is pending with the Chief Secretary, Punjab.


Controversial stamp on Guru Granth Sahib withdrawn
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, August 11
The commemorative stamp to be released to celebrate 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib has been withdrawn from all head post offices by the Department of Posts across the country. However, the stamps had been sold out without its formal release at some post offices of the southern states.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, while talking to this correspondent, said the SGPC had given the design depicting the dome of Harmander Sahib and years 1604-2004, mentioning the installation and completion of 400 years of the holy book. She said it was highly questionable that stamps were available in the market without their formal release.

The stamp has unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community as it shows Guru Granth Sahib without ‘Rumala’ (a piece of cloth use to cover the holy book). The Akal Takht, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and the National Commission for Minorities had strongly objected its design and sought its cancellation and immediate withdrawal.

Confirming this, Mr K.L. Kalosia, Senior Superintendent of Posts, here, said they received the order for withdrawing the stamps yesterday and dispatched the entire stock the same day.

The Philatelic Bureau in the head Post Office here received the stock of stamps along with the First Day Covers and information sheets in the first week of June. But the stock was not opened and it had been kept in the custody of the Senior Postmaster since the controversy regarding the venue of stamp release function erupted.

Earlier, the release of stamp had run into rough weather as the SGPC and the Punjab Government locked horns over the selection of venue. Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, SGPC, insisted on releasing it at Gurdwara Manji Sahib hall located in the Golden Temple complex on June 16 on the eve of the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.

However, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, wanted it’s release in Chandigarh during a state level function.

Mr H.P. Singh, general secretary, Amritsar Philatelic Club, who has in his possession a sheet comprising 12 stamps, each costing Rs 10, showing holy book without cover without the logo of 400 years of Prakash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib. He said he got this sheet from one of his friends residing in the southern part of the country. He claimed that the stamp was released in some post offices in the country.

Mr H.P. Singh said so far 54 stamps related to Sikhism or showing Sikhs in India had been released. The first stamp on Sikhism was released in 1935 with the picture of Golden Temple on it on the occasion of the silver jubilee of the reign of King George V. Never a controversy has aroused barring this.

Last year, the Sikhs all over the world observed three centenaries, including the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib and 300 years of the martyrdom of Sahibjadas. Bibi Jagir Kaur had written to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to release three commemorative stamps to mark the centenaries. But the government approved the release of two stamps out of which this stamp was the first one.

Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Director, Postal Services, Chandigarh, said she did not know the present status of the case as she was away from office for the past some days. Asked about the design of the stamp she said she did not know much about it but it was for the first time such controversy had risen.


Trucks, buses impounded for refinery function
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
A large number of buses have been impounded prior to Bathinda oil refinery’s re-launch slated for tomorrow.

The government has assigned quotas to its employees to ensure heavy turnout at the refinery’s re-start ceremony.

Following orders from the government, bus operators at the local Rajindra College kept waiting for the leaders whom they had to accompany. A couple of days back government officials had asked the bus operators to reach the college ahead of the function. A queue of buses was witnessed at the college late in the afternoon. About 50 buses had made it to the college till 2.30 pm. The sources said 20 buses had been brought from Rampura alone. Passengers today faced a lot of inconvenience due to shortage of buses on various routes. Sources said the bus operators had also raised their voice in front of the SDM. They were asking why they were called a day in advance. Though the SDM succeeded in calming them down. One vehicle for each small village and two vehicles each for big villages would be sent. Trucks were sent to different villages today. About 130 trucks were sent to Rampura subdivision alone.

Meanwhile, bus operators said they were compelled to send their vehicles for such functions. They said they were already running into losses and they had to burn their fuel for the government function.

The sources said people would be seated blockwise in pandal erected for the function. Government employees had been strictly told that strict notice would be taken of the blocks having lesser crowd. Buses would be sent to ferry people from urban areas, while trucks would be pressed into service for rural populace.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said a state-level function was being organised to mark the refinery’s re-launch and the government was making transport arrangements for it. He denied that nobody was forced to send his vehicle for the function.


PUNSUP charge-sheets 150 employees
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
As many as 150 employees, including field officers, inspectors and managers, have been issued charge sheets by PUNSUP in connection with the damage caused to wheat which was stacked under their supervision after procurement. The Union Government has refused to accept the damaged wheat for the Central pool.

Twenty more employees will be issued charge sheets in the coming days. Preliminary inquiries are being conducted against them.

Talking to The Tribune in this connection, Mr S.S. Ghuman, Managing Director of PUNSUP, said today that a process had been started by him to take strict action against the employees who were not performing their duty properly and causing loss to the organisation.

Employees who were doing their duty honestly, had been promoted, said Mr Ghuman. He said he had ordered the promotions of at least 80 employees, including managers, assistant managers, field officers, inspectors and clerks, in the recent past.

Further action against the charge sheeted employees would be taken after examining their replies.

Mr Ghuman said that for the first time PUNSUP had shown a profit of Rs 57.44 crore since its inception three decades ago. “We have returned a loan of Rs 32.20 crore, which was taken from the Punjab Government in 1987 and 1988”, he added. The accumulated loss of PUNSUP had come down to Rs 438.2 crore from Rs 488.15 crore.

Owing to the deterioration in quality, about 2 lakh tonnes of wheat was not accepted for the Central pool. The wheat was procured by PUNSUP. The stock was purchased before he took charge as Managing Director two years ago. Most of the cases of rejected wheat related to the Ferozepore, Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot areas.


BSP accuses Cong of taking allies for granted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary, Mr Narinder Kashyap, today alleged that the Congress was not taking its allies in the United Progressive Alliance into confidence about important decisions. He said although the BSP was supporting the government from outside, yet that did not mean it had no right to know. He said the issues like provision for providing reservation in the private sector was still pending.

The BSP general secretary ruled out any alliance with the Congress in the state at this stage. He said the party was mobilising its cadres in the state as it had a strong presence in Punjab. He said the party president, Ms Mayawati, would be visiting Ludhiana on August 21 to address a workers’ meeting.


Mayor ‘undertook’ trip to Singapore
Varinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 11
The city Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, tried to confuse people about his secret Singapore jaunt along with three journalists — two belonging to English dailies and one to a prominent news agency — and a senior official of the local municipal corporation, but investigations carried out by The Tribune have revealed that Mr Mahey and others had, in fact, undertaken the foreign trip, which was said to have been designed to “oblige” the journalists.

Mr Mahey and the three journalists had reportedly visited Singapore from July 31 to August 5. Mr Mahey has been denying it and saying that he could undertake “any trip in his personal capacity to look after his own private business and that nobody should have any objections to it.”

Investigations carried out by The Tribune have revealed that the Mayor, MC official, who was said to be close to the Mayor, and three journalists boarded the Singapore Airlines flight No. SQ 447 from Amritsar Airport, which took off at 11 p.m on July 31. After spending six days, they returned by the Singapore Airlines flight No. SQ-448, which landed at Amritsar at 9 pm on August 5.

Two journalists got their passports made “within 24 hours” under the Tatkaal scheme from the local Regional Passport Office in the first and third week of July, while the third one already had his passport. None of the members of the trip had allegedly informed his department about the foreign trip and had put forth flimsy grounds, apparently to avoid detection of the “secret tour”.

In the case of Mayor, leaving India without permission could land him in a trouble as legal experts of the Punjab Local Bodies Department have already opined that any such act was a violation of the Sections 44 and 45 of the Punjab Municipal Act, which defined the obligatory and discretionary functions of the Mayor.

When one of the trip members and a senior functionary of the MC, who was said to have “arranged” the controversial tour, was asked to comment, he rejected the request outrightly by saying that he was not bound to explain about his functions. “You do your work and let us do our work” was his reply.

The Tribune investigations revealed that one journalist was accorded the serial No 47 on the day of the departure to Singapore. Mayor Surinder Mahey travelled on seat No 52-A and two others on seat numbers 59-D and 59-E. Whether one of the journalists boarded the flight from Amritsar on the same day or from some other airport on some other day still remained a mystery.


Uprooting terror needs global efforts: Israel
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 11
Terrorism is now a global menace, which could only be fought by all countries together. India and Israel have been facing terrorism for a long time. So, they can understand each other’s problems in a better way, said the Ambassador of Israel in India, Mr David Danieli, while talking to the Press here late last evening.

Mr Danieli, who was the chief guest of the closing function of Anandpur Sahib Dashmesh Academy, said India and Israel established diplomatic relations on January 29, 1992. Thereafter there had been tremendous improvement in the relationship of both the countries. Now there is high cooperation in various spheres including science, culture and defence, between both the countries.

“There should be no compromise on terrorism as it is a crime against humanity. All countries should join hands to root it out,” he added.

He said, “We have been working on people-to-people basis by organising different programmes. Once the peoples of both countries come close, it would be easy for them to understand each other’s problems in a better way”.

“I have been recently invited to several functions in Punjab and Chandigarh and this shows that now people of both countries are coming close to each other”. he added.


Rs 15 cr project for sewerage, potable water
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 11
The Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board has submitted a Rs 15-crore plan to the state government for improving drinking water supply and sewerage here.

Mr Shukal Kumar, Superintending Engineer of the board, said here today that the state government was interested in ensuring round the clock drinking water supply to consumers in some selected towns, Abohar figured in the list of towns. The government proposed to release Rs 300 crore to the board under specific projects for different cities.

According to the plan under scanner 27 acres would be acquired near the Malookpura sub canal here on the Hanumangarh road for the construction of additional water storage tanks. As the decades-old tanks at the old water works, opposite the municipal general bus stand, had been damaged due to rise in ground water table the same were to be abandoned and restored to the municipal council for commercial use.

However, the chlorinating plant at the old water works would continue to function. The board had already laid cement pipes to connect old and new water works. Raw water would be supplied to the old water works through pipes from the Malookpura sub canal for chlorinating water and its onwards supply to consumers in the old walled town. Localities on other side of the railway line would continue getting drinking water supply from new water works.

On improving the disposal of sewage water, Mr Shukal Kumar said the sewerage needed to be laid to connect Arya Nagar with the Sriganganagar road. The work was lying incomplete due to the non-availability of funds and consent from the railway authorities at Lucknow. If this hurdle was cleared pressure on the gaushala road line could be reduced and the entire system was expected to work smoothly.


Activists seek Bibi Manjot’s release
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 11
Representatives of the Punjab Rights Forum, human rights, political parties and Panthic Associations organised a dharna in front of the district administrative complex today in protest against the alleged registration of a false case against Bibi Manjot Kaur and demanded the arrest of Mr Gurmeet Singh Pinki, CIA Inspector, Sirhind, for “framing” her.

The dharna was organised by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, SGPC member, and hundreds of activists of the forum from the adjoining area took part.

Mr Charn Singh Loharan from the SAD (A), Kanwar Pal Singh, Mr Satnam Singh from Dal Khalsa, Mr D.S. Gill from IHRO, Mr Rajinder Singh from the Khalsa Panchayat and Mr Iman Singh Mann, son of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, alleged that Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh the DGP and the PPCC president had hatched an election-oriented conspiracy.

They demanded the unconditional release of Bibi Manjot Kaur and said action should be taken against Mr Gurmeet Singh Pinky and his team for picking her up from her house in Chandigarh on July 26 and later showing her arrest with explosive from Bassi Pathana.

Meanwhile, Bibi Manjot Kaur was presented in the court of Mr G.S. Dhillon, CJM, who remanded her in judicial custody till August 25.


Anganwari workers hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 11
Members of the Anganwari Workers Union organised a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office here today.

Hundreds of workers and helpers hold the protest dharna in favour of their demands. Addressing the gathering, Ms Harjit Kaur Panjola, district president of the association, said nursery centres for the children between the age group of 3-5 years were being opened in the rural areas under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan (SSA), whereas Anganwari centres were already working in these villages.

She demanded that the nursery centres should be closed as these centers would become parallel institutions and would cause loss to the government-sponsored ICDS Scheme.

She said if the government wanted to provide better facilities under the SSA, an honorarium of Rs 800 should be paid to the workers and Rs 400 to the helpers. She said the government had decided to increase the salary of the workers by Rs 200 and of helpers by Rs 100, but the decision was never implemented.

She also said the workers would not undertake any work related to self-help groups and literacy without pay hike. The union threatened that if their demands were not met, the workers would intensify the stir.

Meanwhile, activists of the Punjab Rights Forum also organised dharna here in protest against the arrest of Bibi Manjot Kaur.


Protest over poor water supply
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 11
Residents of the city who have been facing acute shortage of water for the past week, today blocked the Bela road for more than three hours. The residents said they had met MC officials and councillors a number of times but nothing had happened.

Several local organisations, besides the president of the city unit of the Congress, Dr Swatantar Saini, threatened to go on indefinite fast.

The MC president, Mr Ashok Bahi, said the residents had been facing problems as there was low voltage at water supply sources of certain areas.


Woman, child found HIV positive
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 11
After the caesarean delivery of a girl child at the local Civil Hospital, the hospital authorities found the mother and child to be HIV positive.

Dr G.P.S. Bedi, Senior Medical Officer of the Civil Hospital, told this correspondent here today that the operation theater and its surgical equipment, including gauzes, were chemically treated as per the specifications and was closed for 24 hours. The swab had been sent to Medical College, Amritsar for its examination.

The Senior Medical Officer said the mother along with her newly born baby was still under treatment at the Gynaecological ward of the hospital. He said the husband of the woman had been working in a private factory in Mumbai for the past 15 years.


5,000 saplings planted
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 11
As many as 5,000 saplings were planted in the premises of 162 Bn BSF at Phalianwala this morning. The funds for the saplings were provided by the Punjab National Bank.

Mr H.K. Aggarwal, senior regional manager, PNB, Ferozepore region, was the chief guest and Mr Sham Lal Sharma, Commandant 162-Bn BSF, presided over the function.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr Aggarwal said besides its day-to-day banking business, the bank was serving the social cause of the society. In order to keep the environment clean and green, the Punjab National Bank through its network of more than 4,000 branches was contributing a lot by organising vanamahotsava throughout the country.

Mr Sharma thanked the PNB for its contribution. Mr Sharma also assured full cooperation from the BSF in the PNB’s social endeavor.

Mr S.C. Gupta, senior manager, PNB, Jalalabad, said the local branch had been linked with the core-banking service (CBS) system.


Steps for disposal of bio-medical waste
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 11
The district medical health authority, which had been barred by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) last month may disposing of the bio-medical waste on its own, today finally swung into action. The Senior Medical Officer, Ropar, Dr S.K Gupta, today wrote to a private agency of Mohali to collect bio-medical waste of the civil hospitals of Ropar and Mohali.

The Tribune had carried story today about the PPCB decision not to renew the permission given to these two hospitals to dispose of bio-medical waste on their own after lapses were found in the bio-medical waste disposal system.

Besides, Mr Gupta had submitted an action taken report to Environment Engineer regarding inspection conducted by the PPCB on July 28. In the report, he had said that a warning had been issued to official concerned to be more careful. One person has been assigned extra duty for the purpose. Shredder has been put to use and plastic material is being shredded.

Mr Gupta told The Tribune that instruction have also been issued to manage a general waste container. A request has been made to civic authorities to shift container more frequently.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rana Harinder, when contacted, said that beside the other instruction, the PPCB also directed to dispose of plastic bottles after cutting it into pieces so that are not be reused. The instruction has been issued to officials concerned.


Red Cross drug shop overcharges man!
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
A resident of Ranjit Colony here has complained that a chemist shop running on the premises of the Civil Hospital had overcharged him for medicines.

Mr Gurcharan Singh said the shop was being run under the name of Red Cross Medical Store and he hoped to get medicines at the subsidised rates but allegedly had to pay more than the maximum retail price.

He said he had made a complaint to the Punjab Governor, who is the Chairman of the Red Cross Society in this regard. Copies of the complaint were also sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, and the Secretary, Red Cross Society, Punjab. He regretted that no action had been taken by the authorities concerned against the medical store so far.


SHO to reinvestigate case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 11
Mr Sewa Singh, SHO, Khuikhera, has been asked to re-investigate a case registered by former in charge of the police station against a block president of the Anganwari Workers Union and her family last month. The new incumbent yesterday assured hundreds of workers that investigation would be fair.

Earlier, the workers, most of them women, sat on a dharna outside the police station located on Bodiwala Peetha link road to express resentment for “falsely implicating” Mrs Kamla Devi, block president of the Anganwari Workers Union, her husband, Mr Balwant Rai, and son Sham Sunder in a case on a complaint by Sonu, son of Mr Prithi Ram under various sections of the IPC.


One dies of sunstroke
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 11
At least one person died of sunstroke at a platform of Raman Mandi railway station, 40 km from here, today.

The deceased was identified as a beggar. The body was shifted to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa cremated the body.

In another incident, a diarrhoea patient, who had come from Lucknow, died in the Civil Hospital. The deceased, identified as Kaushlaya Devi, had come to this town with her husband to earn their livelihood.


Non-bailable warrants against six
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 11
The local court yesterday issued non-bailable warrants on six persons including an NRI, in a bid to eliminate father and son near the court complex on the G.T. Road.

It is reported that Monica, daughter of Surinder Mohan Sharma, a resident of Phillaur, was married to Munish Shukla, son of Ashok Shukla of New Model Town here. After marriage, she migrated to England along with her husband.

There she gave birth to two daughters. She came back to India along with her daughters in the year 2002 and started living in Phagwara.

After some time, Munish also returned to India along with his mother. However, the husband started pestering her to bring more dowry and threatened her with dire consequences.

Monica got a case registered against her husband and mother-in-law at the City police station for demanding more dowry and threatening her. They were arrested and later on released on bail.

After getting bail, Munish, on February 9, 2003, got a case registered for forcibly entering his house, trespassing and looting against his father-in-law and some others.

On October 9, 2004, Surinder Mohan Sharma, Munish’s father-in-law, Harinder Mohan, brother-in-law and one Nirmal Josan were going back home after appearing in the local court for the case registered against them. Some Sumo-borne assailants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons in a bid to eliminate them.

The Judge, after hearing the case, issued non-bailable warrants against all the six accused.


High Court
Notice issued
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
The High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for August 28 on a petition filed by a Chandigarh resident, who is presently in custody for her alleged links with dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara.

The petitioner, Ms Manjot Kaur, is seeking direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into the case of her alleged abduction by Punjab police personnel.

In her petition, Ms Manjot Kaur has alleged that the Punjab police has been trying to implicate her in a false case only to prove the point that it is also doing something in the wake of Hawara’s arrest by the Delhi police. She has alleged that though she was “abducted” by a Punjab police party from her Chandigarh house, her arrest was shown to have been effected at Bassi Pathana.

She has also alleged that controversial police official Inspector Gurmit Singh Pinky, who is presently posted as in charge, CIA Staff, Fatehgarh Sahib, was instrumental in her abduction and detention.

Saying that the Chandigarh police had summoned her husband for questioning for his alleged links with Hawara, but he could not respond to the same as he was away from the city on business, the petitioner has alleged that Inspector Pinky, who resides in their neighbourhood, told her family that her husband should come to him and not appear before the Chandigarh police.

After hearing her counsel, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal issued notice for August 28.


Two held in rape cases
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
The district police yesterday claimed to have arrested two persons wanted in two separate rape cases registered at Sadar and Civil Lines police stations here.

According to a press note issued here, Mr R P S Brar, SSP, said the Sadar police arrested Baldev Singh, a resident of Doom village for allegedly raping a girl of Bharat Nagar area here. Mr Jagdish, father of the girl, in his complaint lodged under section 363, 366 IPC on July 22 alleged that her daughter had gone to school but never returned. He said the accused had lured her and took her to Doom in Himachal Pradesh. The SSP said her medical examination was conducted and the relevant section was added to the case against the accused.

The district police said in another case Raj Kumar (45), a resident of Kiran Colony, was arrested for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl. A case was registered here on August 8.


3 SAD leaders held, 50 others booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Punjab police last night arrested three Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders in Ropar district for taking part in the statewide protests on the Nanavati Commission report. Another 50 Akalis have been booked for violating various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The arrested leaders were Pritam Singh Sallomajra, Tejpal Singh Kurali and Jagdev Singh Nangal. They were arrested in different raids conducted around midnight. Raids were also conducted on the houses of many other senior leaders of the SAD by the Ropar police.

The three SAD leaders were today produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ropar, and later released on bail.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, said they were arrested for creating a law and order problem when they blocked roads.

Cases have also been registered against various Akali activists, including the three who were arrested, besides SGPC member Gurinder Singh Gogi, SAD youth wing leader Kiranbir Singh Kang, Harpreet Singh Basant and Jarnail Singh Bharatgarh. The cases were registered under various sections of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has condemned the police action.


Pak intruder killed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
An unidentified Pakistani intruder was shot dead by the BSF jawans late last night.

According to information the accused was trying to sneak into the Indian territory from Pakistani’s Nangal Jiwan Singh village to the Indian Daaokey village. When the BSF 123 battalion challenged him he tried to escape back to Pakistan. The jawans opened fire in which he was killed.


Two more thefts in Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 11
Two more thefts were committed here on Tuesday night, police sources confirmed last evening.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Thakar Abadi, said he woke up in the morning and challenged the thief who was running away with a bag but the latter hurled a long knife at him. Jaswinder had a miraculous escape. He shouted for help but the culprit fled with Rs 8,000 in cash and jewellery stolen from a trunk.

Another theft was committed at a house owned by Mr Satnam Dass, a retired employee of the local post office, in Street 8 of Nai Abadi locality. Mr Satnam Dass and his son were away on an important assignment. His daughter-in-law was away to the house of her relatives. In their absence someone stole 20 tolas of gold ornaments and Kisan Vikas Patras, family sources said.

The Kshatriya Sabha yesterday lashed out at the police for its failure to check the spate of thefts in the town. The police had not been able to find any clue to the theft committed at the house of Mr Kunwer Singh, who had recently retired from the PSEB.

All his savings in terms of cash and jewellery had been stolen on the eve of a marriage in Ram Nagar locality early this month. The family had virtually been ruined, the Sabha said.


One arrested in money snatching case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 11
The district police has arrested Harbakhsh Singh, alias Lakha, a son of Mr Karam Singh of Muradpur, in connection with snatching of Rs 41,500 and a mobile phone from an employee of a cooperative society on pistol point along with his two scooter-borne accomplices on May 18.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, Senior Superintendent of Police, stated here today that the police had recovered the snatched mobile phone and .12-bore pistol along with two live cartridges used while committing the crime. He said that on May 18, Harbakhsh Singh and his two accomplices snatched Rs 41,500 and a mobile phone from an employee of a cooperative society of Purhiran for which a case under Section 392, IPC, and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered at Sadar police station.


Boy crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 11
A Class IX student of Government Senior Secondary School, Old Rajpura, was crushed to death on the Zirakpur-Rajpura road in Jansua village near here late last night.

Resident of Teharkalan village, Gurpreet Singh, was crossing the road at Jansua Adda when a Tata Sumo (PB-11-D-9900), heading towards Patiala, knocked him down. The driver of the vehicle reportedly fled after accident. But was nabbed after a long chase, later.

Shopkeepers and passersby rushed at the spot and took him to the local Civil Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead. The body was today handed over to the family after post-mortem examinations.

According to Mr Baldev Singh, father of the boy, Gurpreet Singh was suffering from fever and went to the market to get medicine.

The police arrested the driver Balbir Singh, a resident of Brara village in Mullanpur. A case of negligent and rash driving has been registered against him.


Patwari held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
The Vigilance Bureau today caught a patwari red-handed while he was accepting Rs 2,500 as bribe at Jaito in Faridkot district. A .32-bore revolver and 13 cartridges have been seized from him.

Sources said the complainant, Narinder Singh, a resident of Bajakhana, had bought two pieces of land and approached the patwari, Mahinder Singh, for mutation. The patwari demanded Rs 3,500 for the job.

The deal was struck for Rs 2,500. Narinder then lodged a complaint in this connection with the Vigilance Bureau. A trap was laid and DSP Baldev Singh today caught him while he was accepting the amount from the complainant. A case has been registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


3 die in accident

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 11
Three persons died on the spot and eight were injured in an accident that took place today near Khanpur village on the G.T. Road.

The truck (No. HR-38DJ-4509) loaded with mango boxes was on its way from Hardwar to Ludhiana its tyre burst near Khanpur. The driver Sazid Ali lost the control and the truck overturned.

Of 12 traders travelling in the truck three died on the spot. SHO Ramandeep Singh along with force pulled out the traders buried under mango boxes. They were rushed to the local Civil Hospital. OC


Private school teachers underpaid
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 11
Mr Narangi Lal (name changed) toiled hard and spent lakhs of rupees to secure his B.Tech degree in computer, engineering. However, he has to remain content with a teaching job with a negligible salary which is not even enough to meet his personal expenditure on tea and snacks.

This is not an isolated case. There are hundreds of poorly-paid teachers in private schools. These underpaid teachers are forced to take tuitions as they find it difficult to manage their bread and butter with the salaries paid by their schools. Apart from their teaching jobs, private school teachers also prepare students for extra-curricular activities and provide extra coaching to weak students. Despite charging heavy fees from students, private schools do not pay much to teachers. When one private school was denied affiliation by the CBSE this year as its teachers were underpaid, the school authorities effected a hike in fees. Though they claimed that they had increased the salary of their teachers, the revised salary was not as per the norms laid down by the CBSE authorities.


Teachers wear black badges
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) today appealed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to solve the problems of the agitating school and college teachers in the larger interest of the students and society. They wore black badges all over the Punjab expressing their solidarity with the Aided School Teachers’ Union.

Prof H.S. Walia, vice president of the PCCTU, while expressing solidarity with the agitating teachers, lambasted the state government for denying the basic rights and amenities to college and schoolteachers and thus vitiating the education atmosphere.

He said school and college teachers along with other employees of the state government would hold a massive rally and protest march in Chandigarh on September 5 (Teachers’ Day).

The aided school and college teachers all over Punjab today observed strike by wearing black badges and organising protest march from the Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, Opposite Kotwali, to Hall Gate.


Seminar on journalists’ role
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 11
A one day seminar on the “Role, Responsibility and Behaviour of Journalists — A Self Introspection” was organised by the Patiala Journalists Association (PJA) at the Department of Journalism , Punjabi University, here today.

It was stressed that journalists should not be biased; must reform society and, above all, they should treat journalism as both an occupation and a mission.

The DPRO, Mr Ujagar Singh, Mr B.S. Sandhu, Director (Public Relations), Punjabi University, Mr N.S Johal, Professor, Department of Journalism, Mr Gurmeet Mann, Professor, Department of Journalism, also spoke on the occasion.


Consignment of potatoes to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
Local traders today dispatched the first consignment of 15 tonnes of potatoes to Pakistan after it offered to import five duty free items, including vegetables and livestock, a month earlier from the Wagah land route.

Mr Rajdeep Uppal, who was first to export various large consignments of garlic during the last fortnight, said that the export of fresh vegetables had opened a new vista in the commercial link with Pakistan which would not only strengthen people-to-people contact but would forge better economic ties with the neighbouring country. Pakistan had allowed the duty free import from India in its bid to check the spiraling prices, especially of vegetables and livestock.


Octroi work auction nets 2.42 cr
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 11
The auction of the octroi collection work fetched Rs 2.42 crore for the Municipal Council here today. The increase in the revenue is about Rs 40 lakh from the last year.

The auction was held in the presence of the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, council president Charanjit Singh and other councillors. The reserve price fixed for octroi collection was Rs 2.35 crore. Last year, the auction had fetched Rs 2.04 crore for the civic body.

Mr Charanjit Singh said the auction was first scheduled to be held in Ludhiana at the office of the Deputy Director on August 3. Nine parties interested in the work had deposited the money required to give a bid, but no auction could be held as all parties wanted the council to reduce the reserve price.

It was then decided to hold the auction at the office of the council here. Seven parties competed in the auction, he added.

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