P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD launches drive to seek justice for ’84 victims
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), August 20
Terming the Congress “non-secular” and a party of “terrorists”, Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today launched a countrywide “Sarb Sanjhi Insaf Muhim” (movement for justice) to build a public opinion to put pressure on the Central Government to get the guilty of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 punished at the 20th death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

The rally in the memory of Sant Longowal was organised by the SAD at Shaheed Bhai Diala Ji Public School here, in which thousands of persons from various parts of the state participated.

Non-implementation of Nanavati Commission report, massacre of Sikhs in the 1984 riots, non-implementation of Rajiv-Longowal Accord, and punishment to the guilty for the killing of Sikhs dominated the proceedings.

Apart from Mr Badal, SAD secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Chief Minister of MP Uma Bharti, former Chief Minister of UP Rajnath Singh, former Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, and former Union Minister Shahnawaz Hussain paid floral tributes to the leader.

Mr Badal said as part of the “Sarb Sanjhi Insaf Muhim”, the SAD would organise district-level rallies in the state. First rally in the series would be held at Patiala on September 12 and the second at Moga on September 14. The drive would culminate on November 2 in Delhi, he added.

He said by asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tender apology to the Sikhs for the massacre, the Congress had made him a scapegoat though he was not involved in it. Mr Badal also declared his intentions to put Amarinder Singh behind the bars for his alleged “misdeeds when his party came to power.

Paying tributes to Sant Longowal, Uma Bharti said a mere apology for the massacre was not enough as the Sikhs would not be satisfied till the guilty were punished.

Rajnath Singh said the Congress had not implemented Rajiv-Longowal Accord. He said the NDA would not sit silent till the guilty were punished.

Nitish Kumar said tendering of an apology to the Sikhs by Manmohan Singh had no meaning. He said people wanted justice for the victims.

Shahnawaz Hussain said the politics of riots should be stopped in the country. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said the SAD would not sit silent till the victims of the massacre got justice.

Among others who paid tributes were Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Gurdev Singh Badal, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Tota Singh, Chiranji Lal Garg, all former Punjab ministers; Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Gobind Singh Longowal, Balbir Singh Ghunas, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Malkeet Singh Keetu, Gaganjit Singh Barnala, all MLAs from Sangrur district; Balwinder Singh Bhunder, a senior SAD leader; Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC chief; Parkash Chand Garg, national vice-president of the SAD; Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD; and Baba Tek Singh Dhanaula, SGPC member.

Mr Badal also honoured Supreme Court advocate H.S. Phulka for presenting the case of victims of the Sikh massacre before the Nanavati Commission.


Chandumajra lambasts Cong, SAD

Longowal, August 20
The Congress and SAD (Badal) are equally responsible for ills facing Punjab today, alleged SAD (Longowal) President Prem Singh Chandumajra while addressing his party’s rally to mark the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal here today.

Mr Chandumajra accused the Congress of being “anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh”. He also flayed the previous BJP-led NDA government that “continued with its anti-Sikh policies”.

He said the NDA government came out with a draconian law like POTA and did nothing to mitigate the sufferings of 1984 riot victims. He alleged that the Nanavati Commission had tried to exonerate those involved in 1984 riots.

He sought the constitution of a “Truth Commission” comprising jurists to expose those guilty of killing of Sikhs. He said his party would take out “Insaf Rally” in New Delhi on November 1.

He hailed the Chief Minister’s call for an open debate on the matter and demanded that the discussion be held under three retired judges of Punjab and Haryana HC. He said Badal should not shy away from this debate.

He said the Panth would never forgive Badal, as he sought votes from the Sikhs stating that a commission would be set up to pinpoint those responsible for violence in Punjab, but forgot all promises once he came to power. DGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna and Union Minister of State for HRD M.A. Fatmi were also present. TNS


Rights Forum slams Cong over ’84 riots
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Accusing Rajiv Gandhi of perpetrating the 1984 pogrom against the Sikhs across the country, the Punjab Rights Forum (PRF), a platform of various political, social and human rights bodies, today held a function at a gurdwara in Dugri, to counter the birth anniversary celebrations of the former PM in Punjab.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary and spokesperson for the SAD (Amritsar), said: “If Sonia Gandhi is sincere in assuaging the hurt feelings of the victims, it is only fair that she regrets and apologises on behalf of her husband.”

He said his party would observe November 1 as “Injustice Day” in Delhi and more than five lakh Sikhs would participate.

Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson, IHRO, condemned the Rajiv-Longowal Accord. Mr Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary of the Dal Khalsa, and Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, also spoke.

Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), the Dal Khalsa, the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, the Shiromani Khalsa Dal and the International Human Rights Organisation were present at the protest function.

The convention also criticised Harkishan Singh Surjeet for his comments against Mamata Banerjee.


Congress rally comes a cropper
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Longowal, August 20
With Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo not showing up, the Congress rally at Sant Harchand Singh Longowal’s ancestral village to mark his death anniversary turned out to be a damp squib. The only saving grace was the presence of Longowal’s sister Sham Kaur on the dais.

The rally, which was scheduled to begin at 11 am, got delayed by a couple of hours, as party leaders and workers had to literally sweat it out to amass enough crowd to fill the venue.

People started leaving when Revenue Minister A.S. Samra began his address and a block was empty at the time of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla’s speech.

Addressing the rally, Mr Singla said Sant Longowal, cutting across party lines, came forward to sign an agreement in the interest of the state when none of Punjab’s leaders dared to take such a step.

Coming down heavily on Badal, the Finance Minister said it was Badal who opposed the accord and didn’t allow it to get implemented.

“The same Badal is now observing the death anniversary of Sant Longowal,” he averred. He said some Akali leaders were not happy with the accord and Badal and Tohra even walked out of a party meeting on the issue.

Earlier, interacting with mediapersons, Mr Singla ruled out that there were any differences in the party over holding the function.

When asked about the logic behind the energy bonus for small and marginal farmers, the minister said the state was already finding it difficult to meet the power demands of the agriculture sector and the energy bonus idea had been brought up to prevent big farmers from taking undue advantage of free power scheme of the state government.

He said the government would pay energy bonus to the farmers after every six months. He added that farmers having less than five acres of land and 5 hp motors were eligible for the bonus.

He again held Badal responsible for spreading terrorism in the state. He alleged that Badal attended “bhogs” of terrorists during the days of militancy. He said in 1992 when the SAD boycotted the Assembly elections, BJP leader L.K. Advani had openly stated that the SAD was strengthening terrorism by taking this step.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala also paid tributes to Sant Longowal at Cambowal gurdwara.


Factionalism in Cong comes to the fore
MLA levels charges against Improvement Trust chief
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 20
Factionalism in the Congress came to the fore when local MLA and Chairman of Punjab Agro Foods Limited Joginder Singh Mann challenged the working of the local Improvement Trust Chairman Balbir Raja Sodhi and made serious allegations of corruption against him.

Mr Mann, who had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo, the Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner, the CBI and Vigilance Department, alleged that the Improvement Trust Chairman gave benefits of crores to his close associates, loyalists and trustees.

Mr Mann alleged that an auction was conducted on June 17, 2005 and six properties were allotted to trustee Ravinder Kaur Walia and her relatives out of 11 while the remaining five were allotted to close friends of the Trust Chairman at a throwaway price.

It may be mentioned that Ravinder Kaur Walia was made trustee of the trust only after the auction, said Mr Mann.

Mr Mann alleged that in an earlier auction of properties which was held on December 21 2004, all properties were sold about four times of the reserved price.

Mr Mann further alleged that the trust formulated Scheme No 15 on the land measuring 1.5 acre at a prime location. A sub-committee was formed by the trust to submit its report. The sub-committee reported that all objections against the scheme should be taken according to rules. But the trust Chairman and the trustees overruled it and rejected the proposal of the sub-committee without any reasons and allowed the private party to purchase the property.

Mr Mann alleged that the Punjab Government incurred a loss of about Rs 15 crore in these deals. Mr Mann further demanded a high-level probe into the matter

However, the trust Chairman denied these allegations and said that there was transparency in these auctions and even these were videographed.


Address problem of farmers’ suicides,
M.S. Gill asks Centre

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A member of the Rajya Sabha and former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Mr M.S. Gill, has urged the Union Government to immediately address the problem of suicide by farmers and landless labourers in Punjab.

All concerned had been told that the problem of suicides had turned grave and required to be tackled at the earliest possible. “ I have been reading very disturbing reports regarding suicides in the state and feel deeply concerned,” he said while talking to The Tribune on the phone from Delhi today.

Special mention of the phenomenon of suicides in Punjab was made by him in the Rajya Sabha. “Even while participating in the debate on ‘roti, kapra and makan’ in the Upper House, I referred to the miserable state of the rural economy in the border state,” said Mr Gill.

He said he had gone through a report prepared by the Movement Against State Repression regarding suicides by farmers in two blocks of Sangrur district.The report indicated an alarming situation in the Sangrur belt. However, suicides were not confined to this belt. The phenomenon was statewide, as had been described in the report, said Mr Gill.

Effective steps should be taken by the government immediately to free farmers from the clutches of money lenders, he said. Loans from cooperative banks should be given liberally. “Earlier, Punjab faced a similar problem in the 1920s and 30s and the authorities concerned came out with several legal and other measures to provide relief to the hard-hit farming community”, said Mr Gill. “ If Punjab’s rural economy collapsed, the entire country will be affected. This is what should be kept in mind by all concerned”, he added.

Cautioning the authorities, Mr Gill said that already states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Karnataka and Jharkhand were facing a serious Naxal problem. Punjab, too, had a Naxalite movement three decades ago. It could stage a comeback in Punjab if the crisis continued in the rural economy.

Mr Gill said “it is a problem related to the peasantry, landless labourers and tribesmen that is being wrongly projected as a Naxal problem in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and other states. The fiscal crisis faced by small farmers and landless labourers and their exploitation is the root cause of this problem. Naxalism is, in fact, a manifestation of acute distress among small farmers and landless labourers in those states”.


Drop Secys, Badal advises CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Former Chief Minister and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal today suggested Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to drop all his Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PS) as “they have been appointed in contravention of the law”.

During an informal interaction with reporters here today, Mr Badal said following the landmark decision of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, which led to the Himachal Government dropping the CPS and the PSs, there was no legal standing for them to continue in Punjab or anywhere else in the country. Reiterating his demand for convening a special session of the Assembly to discuss the 1984 riots and their aftermath, he said the government was trying to divert the attention of the public.

Ridiculing the threats of setting up a commission against him to look into the killings during the terrorism era, he said he was ready for any probe provided it was ordered by the Supreme Court of India and conducted by a sitting judge.


Cong leader joins SAD
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
The Congress in the district received a major jolt as one of its senior leaders, Mr Kulwant Singh Narike, joined the SAD in the presence of Capt Kanwaljit Singh at a function here today.

Mr Narike was a long-time Congress supporter and this move is being seen as a setback to the Chief Minister in his home district. Mr Hamir Singh Ghagga, who had shifted camp from the Congress to the SAD a month ago, was also present.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh accepted the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s offer to have a debate on issues related to Punjab. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had challenged Mr Parkash Singh Badal for a debate but he (Capt Amarinder Singh) was not of Mr Badal’s stature to issue such challenges.


Translation: DSGMC chief summoned
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 20
The Sikh clergy on Thursday decided to summon Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, Mr Parhlad Singh Chandok and Mr Avtar Singh Hit, president and former presidents of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) at the next meeting to clarify their positions regarding the “translation scam”.

The translation/transliteration of Gurbani, done by Vemaraju Bhanu Murti, a Telegu-speaking person, who did not understand Punjabi, had glaring discrepancies. The translation and publication of “Gurbani translation” involved a huge budget, which seem to have gone waste.

The alleged scam was highlighted during the sting operation carried out by the Delhi-based Global United Research and Service Institute of Knowledge for Humanity (GURSIKH) organisation, along with Naujwan Khalsa Phulwari (NKP), in March.

In video clips, the translator had confessed that “I can’t understand/read Punjabi … It was grace of the Almighty who made me instrument/medium to accomplish this gigantic task of translating Guru Granth Sahib - the holy book - in different languages”.

However, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, claimed that it was he who had asked Mr Murti to withdraw. He said the DSGMC had also constituted an inquiry committee to take action against those who were involved in assigning translation task to the non-Punjabi speaking person. He claimed that the discrepancies in the translation/ transliteration were first pointed out when he took over as president, DSGMC.

The GURSIKH organisation had alleged that with the involvement of members of the DSGMC, funds worth several lakhs were misappropriated to provide expensive instruments, including computer, photostat machine and other materials. Mr Murti was also honoured with “Siropa” describing him as “panth vidvan”.


Medical camp on Rajiv’s birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 20
Several hundred residents of the slum areas turned up at a medical check-up camp organised by the city Congress Committee in the Rajiv Nagar locality today on the birth anniversary of the late Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation and Horticulture, Punjab, inspecting the camp, paid tributes to the great leader. He recalled Rajiv Gandhi’s contribution of the in drafting the present concept of the Panchayati Raj system.

Mr Jakhar said 70 electricity poles and three new transformers would be installed in Rajiv Nagar. Each house will get potable water.

When the residents drew his attention to the increasing menace of drug addiction in the slum areas, Mr Jakhar assured them that the police would nab suppliers. He also took a notice of spate in thefts in the outer areas.

Dr G.R. Garg, SMO, led a team of the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital in the check-up camp. Medicines were also given to patients. Dr Garg assured Mr Jakhar that economically backward patients would certainly get priority, besides fair treatment at the Civil Hospital.


NOCs to saw mills stopped following SC order
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 20
The growth of the plywood and saw mill industry in the state is likely to come to a halt as the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has decided to stop the issuance of fresh NOCs to new saw mills and plywood and veneer industry.

The step has been taken in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court, wherein, it has been specified that all new units of plywood, saw mills and veneer industry would have to take clearance from a high-powered Central committee. The spirit of the directions, according to the PPCB sources, was that these industries could be potent sources of air and noise pollution.

Meanwhile, the PPCB has initiated an exhaustive exercise to identify such units. A decision pertaining to them would be taken at a later stage, said Mr Harbir Singh, Senior Environmental Engineer of the board and in charge of the Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts.

It is estimated that there are about 3,000 saw mills and about 100 big and small plywood and veneer units in the state.

“We have already got a list of saw mills of Kapurthala and as per the list there were nearly 100 saw mills in the district,” Mr Harbir Singh, said. The compilation of the list in Jalandhar district would get completed within two-three days.

The PPCB was in the process of identifying the units through various government agencies and departments, including, general managers, District Industry Centres and the Punjab Forest Department.

“The PPCB will issue NOCs only to those new units, which obtained a clearance certficiate from the Central committee, specified by the Supreme Court,” he said.


Abandoned baby: blood samples of one more taken

Rajpura, August 20
Blood samples of one more suspect in the abandoned baby boy case were taken at the local Civil Hospital and then sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, for DNA tests.

The suspect, Balbir Singh, alias Rainky, was arrested by the police yesterday and was produced before a court where the judge sent him to three days’ police custody.

To establish the parentage of the abandoned baby, a team of doctors took his blood samples. Balbir Singh was a friend of Tirath Singh, alias Sonu, the main accused, allegedly involved in the case.

The baby boy, Sahil, was found at a causeway on a road that links Madanpur Chalehri village with the busy GT Road in the wee hours of July 10. — OC


Another case filed against Bibi Jagir Kaur

Amritsar, August 20
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission has registered yet another case of misappropriation of gurdwara funds against the SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, along with executive member Tek Singh Dhanola and three other office-bearers.

The case was filed under Section 142 of Sikh Gurdwara Act last evening by Bharpur Singh of Dhanola village in Sangrur district.

The petitioner alleged that the accused violated norms by giving Rs 2.50 lakh from the SGPC funds as aid to Sant Jagat Singh Memorial School, Dhanola, owned by Mahant Tek Singh Dhanola. SGPC secretary Dilmegh Singh, Dharam Parchar secretary Waryam Singh and personal assistant of Bibi Jagir Kaur Harjit Singh were also made respondent in the case which will come for hearing on Monday. — UNI


‘Fake’ SGPC appointments

Amritsar, August 20
Five more appointments of daily wage raagis and sevadars have been detected in the SGPC today. The appointments were made by forging the signatures of SGPC secretary, Mr Dalmegh Singh. The clerk, who forged the signature, has already been placed under suspension. — TNS


Raagis fail to give satisfactory reply

Amritsar, August 20
The raagis and high priests of Harmander Sahib today failed to give satisfactory reply to the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur for opposing performing of kirtan by baptised Sikh women in sanctum sanctorum during the informal meeting held here today.

It is learnt that all raagis and priests failed to submit any historical document or Sikh tenet that advocate gender discrimination. There is no historical proof that prohibits baptised women from performing in Harmander Sahib. — TNS


500 new trolleys for airport

Amritsar, August 20
As many as 500 new passenger trolleys arrived at the Rajasansi international airport, here yesterday. Airport Director VS Mulekar informed that along with trolleys the AAI had also positioned an “ambulift”’ to facilitate easier embarkation and dis-embarkation of sick and physically challenged passengers.

Meanwhile, the chairman of AAI K Ramalingam visited the city to monitor the progress of work related to upgradation and development of the airport. He was accompanied by the Regional Executive Director (North) AAI, Mr VP Aggarwal. — OC


Man electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 20
Subhash Chander, a resident of local Telianwala Mohalla, was electrocuted when he tried to switch off his power motor. When volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva reached the spot, the condition of Chander was critical. He was declared dead at the local Civil Hospital.

The body was handed over to the kin of the deceased after post-mortem examination.

In another incident, body of an unidentified youth was recovered from a water tank in the field of Chughe Kalan village of this district.


Court turns down ex-minister’s plea
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
The Ropar court yesterday dismissed the application moved by the former state Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, to attend the wedding of his friend daughter in Canada.

Mr Thandal had moved the application in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel. A case of allegedly owing assets beyond known sources of income was registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Mr Thandal had pleaded with the court that he be allowed to attend the wedding in Canada. But the Vigilance Bureau opposed plea on the ground that Mr Thandal had recently visited abroad during the Vidhan Sabha trip.


Sheath blight hits paddy
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 20
At a time when farmers are coming to terms with the losses they suffered due to rain in the past months, sheath blight has hit the paddy crop, while tobacco caterpillar and leaf curl virus has attacked all varieties of cotton crop, including Bt, in various villages of the district.

According to sources, paddy in villages of Jhabelwali, Chautra, Buda Gujar, Sarainaga, Bahmanwala, Nanakpura, Madhir, Bhullar, Aspal and Chak Jawaharewala has turned yellow and is on the verge of wilting. Amarjit Singh, a farmer from Jhabelwali, said sheath blight had almost ruined his paddy.

Juginder Singh, Iqbal Singh and Jugraj Singh, all from Chautra, said as the Sem nullah between Kotkapura and Buda Gujar was yet to be cleaned, a breach had led to water- logging in the fields. Stranded water for about a week resulted in sheath blight.

On the other hand, tobacco caterpillar has attacked cotton crop in the area. BKU (Lakhowal) leader Mahinder Singh Lakhewali has sought aid from the state government to save paddy and cotton crops.

The Chief Agricultural Officer, Dr S.S. Kandhari, said due to the sowing of unauthorised varieties, waterlogging and excessive use of urea, reports of paddy crop falling prey to sheath blight had been received from some pockets of the district.

He admitted that cases of tobacco caterpillar and leaf curl virus in cotton crop had also come to light. He said the department was making efforts to sensitise farmers and find ways to tackle the problem.

In Madhir village, tobacco caterpillar has attacked cotton spread over 150 acres. He said the farmers of Madhir had sown RCH 134 variety. Sheath blight in paddy was incurable and it could not be controlled, he said. To save cotton and paddy from various diseases, suitable pesticides were recommended to the farmers.


Dairy farming camp on modern techniques
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 20
The Punjab Animal Husbandry Department will be supplying eight lakh injections containing semen of quality bulls to the Tamil Nadu Government.

This was stated by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Tourism, Punjab, after inaugurating a two-day training camp at Mullanpur Garibdass.

The camp was organised to provide training to farmers, especially women, about the modern techniques that could be used to develop dairy farming. He said campaign was started to train women as work of dairy farming was looked after by women in most areas.

He said bulk milk coolers were being provided to 35 villages at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore to store milk so that it could remain bacteria-free. He thanked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for promoting activities related to animal husbandry in the state.

He said the Chief Minister had got established Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Research University at Ludhiana. The university would be formerly inaugurated by the Chief Minister next month.

The minister held a meeting at Teera village today with local administration, police officials and sarpanches in connection with cases of crime in the area. A scare was prevailing in the area due to an increase in incidents of violence by a gang of criminals.

Mr Kang directed police officials to intensify patrolling in villages and asked sarpanches to cooperate with the police. He said “thikri pehras” should be organised in villages in a planned way.

The minister appealed to the people to get a police verification done of their servants.


Illegal colonies to be regularised: NC chief
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 20
The Phagwara Nagar Council on Friday passed a resolution to regularise the unauthorised colonies after depositing development charges.

This was stated by Nagar Council president Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, while talking to The Tribune after two meetings here yesterday.

“The council will charge Rs 2.80 lakh per acre as development charges for carving out a new residential colony within the NC limits,” said council president.

The council, in its amended building bylaws, passed another resolution that allowed multi-storey building owners to have basement for parking and lift purposes.

Regarding the increase in rent for the City Club, he said, the resolution could not be discussed due to different opinions among councillors.

The meetings were attended by 21 councillors out of 27, who requested Mr Ragbotra to instruct the police to vacate the guest houses of the council.


4 held for carrying parcels without authorisation
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 20
The Railway Protection Force today arrested four agents of different courier services for carrying parcels without proper authorisation, sources said.

The RPF had received complaints from passengers travelling by reserved sleeping coaches that commuters, most of them working for courier services on monthly concession pass, had been blocking entry and exit points of the coaches, thereby putting the passengers to inconvenience.

Jamming of the gates by parcels some time prevented passengers from leaving the compartment as halt of the Udyan Abha Toofan Mail was just 2 to 3 minutes at most of the railway stations.

A team of the RPF today swung into action and arrested Chandagi Ram, Chander Krishan, Suraj Parkash and Rajinder Kumar under Section 145-C of the Railway Act. Eighteen parcels were taken in to custody. These were to be delivered at Abohar and Sriganganagar, police said.


Threat to turn approver, alleges murder accused
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
In a new twist to a murder case of Gurcharan Singh, former Chairman of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, one of the accused, Rashpal Singh, has alleged that the IG (Ferozpore Range), Mr Rajinder Singh, and his brother have pressurised him to become approver in the case.

Mr Rashpal Singh, in a statement to the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) and in a separate complaint to the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, has alleged that he was lured with Rs 20 lakh and a flat, besides assurance to send his brother abroad, if he became approver.

The accused pleaded to the court that he feared threat to life and therefore he should be shifted from the Nabha jail to the Patiala jail.

Mr Rajinder Singh, when contacted, denied the allegation and said he had no connection with the case and he had never met the accused.

The IG’s brother, Surinder Singh, said he had never met Rashpal Singh in the jail and had nothing to do with the case. He said Rashpal Singh had moved the high court to become approver. As per the high court directions, the lower court had allowed him to record his statement, he added.

On the other hand, giving details, the accused allegd that while he was lodged in the Nabha jail, some police officials forcibly got his thumb impression on blank papers. He said he was threatened if he did not become approver and that his family members would also be implicated in false cases.

He also alleged that on August 2, after the hearing of the case, he was taken to a government tourism complex in Ropar and threatened till late evening by police personnel, including a DSP.

Gurcharan Singh had been murdered outside his house in Mohali in 2003. The police had registered a case against three persons, including a former trustee of Bhaddal Engineering College, Bakshish Singh, Rashpal Singh and Satvir Singh. Bakshish Singh and Satvir Singh are also in jail in connection with the case.


Siti cable sex scam; chargesheet filed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly filed a chargesheet against the accused in the infamous Siti Cable sex sleaze scam that rocked the holy city a few years ago.

The investigations in this regard were transferred from the Punjab Police to the CBI by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in May 2003.

Sources said today that the highly placed official of the CBI inquiring the case in the chargesheet (the copy of which is with ‘The Tribune’) stated that the medical examination of the three victim girls conducted in Government Medical College here corroborated the allegations of rape. The girls in their statements recorded had alleged that the accused used to sexually assault them and forcibly supplied them to other persons also.

The accused used to threaten, mentally tortured and extorted money from the cable operators. When they complained to Managing Director of Amritsar Communication Network Pvt Ltd in this regard, he did not take any action as he was in connivance with them, the chargesheet added. Therefore, the cable operators had to cough up thousands of rupees to avoid disconnection of their cable network.


No clue to theft of copper plates
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
Even after 11 days, the police is still clueless about the persons responsible for the theft of about 24 honour board copper plates, carrying the names of officers who had worked for the construction and commissioning of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, from its main office.

A senior official of the thermal plant, on the condition of the anonymity, told The Tribune that the theft of valuable items, which can be sold as scrap, was a continuing phenomenon in the plant. But the matter never came out. Tons of aluminum sheets that are used as a cladding over insulation had been stolen and replaced every year in the plant. Besides, it, the theft of coal and scrap also took place, he added.

Giving details about the thefts that took place in the past thermal plant sources said two trucks loaded with iron scrap were stolen in 1995. The PSEB vigilance initiated an inquiry in the case but found nothing against the persons alleged to be involved in the case. Finally in 2004, all accused got a clean chit from the Vigilance Bureau.

In another case, two coal wagons were detected while being taken outside wihtout permission. But no one was held responsible. Condenser tubes worth lakhs of rupees were also stolen from the thermal plant. But following a strike by the employees the matter was closed, and it did not surface again.

So far not even a single person has been found responsible for any theft that took place in the thermal plant. All incidents have taken place despite the fact that the thermal plant is a prohibited area and no person or vehicle is allowed to enter the premises of the thermal plant without permission. As many as 190 security personnel of the Punjab Ex-Servicemen Security Corporation are deployed in and around the thermal plant.

When contacted the SHO (Sadar), Mr Barinder Singh, said the ASI of Ghanauli police post, was investigating the case.


Wife, in-laws booked for man’s death
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 20
Mr Karnail Singh, a resident of Shergarh village, near Kurukshetra, was found dead in his in-laws’ house in Dirwa village, near Ghanaur, this afternoon.

According to police, Karnail Singh along with his wife Sanjo Devi and two sons had gone to his in-laws’ house two days ago. The couple reportedly had a tiff last night.

The incident came to light after Sanjo Devi informed his father-in-law, Mr Meeha Singh, at Shergarh village this afternoon that Karnail Singh had committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan.

Receiving information, Mr Meeha Singh along with his elder son and other relatives reached the village and found Karnail Singh lying dead on a bed. They subsequently informed the village sarpanch and the police. The police after examining the body took it to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a post-mortem examination.

Meanwhile, in a complaint to the police, Mr Meeha Singh alleged that Karnail Singh was strangled to death after making him drunk by his father-in-law and brothers-in-law.

The police has booked Karnail Singh’s wife Sanjo Devi, her father Mr Mohinder Singh and his two sons Nirmal Singh and Sohan Singh. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered against them. However, no arrest has been made in the case.


Undertrial killed in jail clash

Ludhiana, August 20
One undertrial was killed and several others were injured in a clash that broke out between two groups of inmates of the Central Jail here last night.

The clash took place when the inmates were having dinner and members of the two groups, who had been at loggerheads with each other for some time, began arguing. The groups used utensils and sharp-edged tools as weapons.

Jail sources confirmed that an undertrial, Dharminder, who was booked under the NDPC Act, died in the clash. He was taken to the Civil Hospital in a serious condition but died on the way. — TNS


Doctors blame chemist for foul play
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
Blaming the chemist shop owner, Gurjinder Singh, of playing mischief in instigating the patients to file complaint against two doctors of SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Hospital here, Dr Sartaj and Dr Sherry yesterday filed a complaint against him to the hospital authorities.

The doctors stated that the chemist who had already sold the injection was asked to return the same as it was not required. Following this, the chemist first allegedly manhandled Dr Sartaj and instigated the attendants of the patient to frame the doctors. The shop owner, however, refuted the allegations.

Meanwhile, the Goodwill Athletic Club and the Punjab Youth Forum Club came in support of the doctors.


Newly-wed attempt suicide
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 20
A newly-wed couple allegedly tried to end their lives by consuming some poisonous substance in Dharamgarh village, near here, today.

Sources in the police disclosed that Mr Kala Khan (20), a resident of Dharamgarh village, and Ms Rimpi (19) of Bhatehri-Faridpur village, had reportedly eloped a few days ago and got married against the wish of their family members.

Both families were not in favour of the marriage because they belonged to different religions. The boy is a Muslim, while the girl belongs to a Hindu family, sources disclosed.

After spending some days away from their families, the couple returned to Dharamgarh village and allegedly consumed some poisonous substance at a religious place. Certain children playing nearby noticed the couple struggling for life. They subsequently informed villagers, who took them to the Civil Hospital, Patiala, by the village sarpanch, Mr Dilawar Singh. The condition of the couple is said to be critical.


PTU delays relaunch of tele-education again
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 20
Thousands of students enrolled in distance education courses of Punjab Technical University (PTU), who had been waiting for the relaunch tele-education services at their centre for the last one year, have been left in lurch once again.

The students had been pinning hope that the matter will be resolved at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting of the university convened by Mr Jai Singh Gill, Chief Secretary, in Chandigarh yesterday but the issue has been delayed further. Infact, BOG members have formed a third committee to assess the expenditure that will be involved in the project.

After the failure of a multi-crore tele-education network established by the university in August last year, in a tie up with Mindlogicx, a Bangalore-based IT firm, owners of the learning centres had been demanding relaunch of the services for its students. They had been demanding that the existing infrastructure should be linked with Edusat, a satellite connection that the university had acquired the ISRO, instead of V-Sat connection that the Mindlogicx had provided.

But the matter seems to have been delayed further as a new panel will sit over the issue, make calculations and finally get it approved before some concrete step is taken in this regard.

The VC said that the relaunch would be delayed because the issue required concern over expenses, feasibility of re-fitting of the existing infrastructure with the new satellite linkage, legal aspects over re-use of equipment supplied by the IT firm and any pending payments that were required to be made to the firm.

Earlier, Mr N.S. Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary of the Department of Information Technology, Punjab, had held an inquiry into the system failure and he had been asked to furnish some more information pertaining to payments that had been made to the company, legal aspects relating to the use of the infrastructure installed by the company.

During the meeting, the VC submitted a report on CET counselling, giving a detailed account of hundreds of vacant seats left in various colleges of engineering, pharmacy and architecture in Punjab. The VC also submitted a report on the status of plan for its own building that was to come up on Kapurthala Road.

The BOG members discussed measures to be taken up for the inter-university weightlifting championship that would be organised by the university this year. The members were also informed about the setting up of a Swraj Paul Society for establishment of School of Excellence for Manufacturing and Material Sciences on the university site.


Seminar on disaster management
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 20
R.R. Bawa DAV College for Girls organised a two day national seminar on disaster management. The seminar was sponsored by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.

Prof P.S. Wankhere, Assistant Professor, Centre for Disaster Management, Pune, was the chief guest yesterday and Dr Surinder Singh Parmar, president of the Nuclear Track Society and Dean Science Faculty, Guru Nanak Dev University was the chairperson.

Today, the chairperson was Dr K.S Thind, Head of Department of Physics, GND varsity. Mr R.S Sharma, vice-president of the DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, was the chief guest.

Mr Sharma said the role of non-officials and NGOs was far more important in disaster management.

Dr Thind was of the view that disaster management was least understood by people and managers. Resource persons during the seminar were Mr Naresh Kumar, BBK DAV College, Amritsar, Mr A.K Trivedi, DAV college, Jallandhar, Ms Vineeta Garg, DAV College for Education, Amritsar, Ms Prathna Sawhney, Govt College Amritsar, Mr Daljit Singh, Doaba College, Jalandhar, Mr Harvinder Singh, Govt College Bholath and Ms Sheetal Aggarwal and Ms Manju Diwan from the host college.

Col D.S Cheema, (retd), Director, Department of Professional Studies, DAV College, Chandigarh, stressed the need to sensitise the media.


Gurjant wins declamation contest
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
Gurjant Singh of Government Senior Secondary School, Civil lines, bagged the first prize while Narinder Singh of Government Pheel Khana Public School and Prinkya Sharma of J.S Model School, Nabha, got the second and third prizes, respectively in the declamation competition organised to celebrate the Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas at Polo Ground here today . The winners received prize money of Rs 2500, Rs 1500 and Rs 1000, respectively.

In the painting competition, Rahul Kumar of J.S Model High School, Nabha, won the first prize while Munish Kumar of Dundayal Khalsa Senior Secondary School and Kamaldeep Kaur of Government Pheel Khana School were adjudged second and third, respectively. In the junior painting competition Ranjit Singh of Multipurpose School (Boys) got the first position, Ravinder Kaur of J.S Model High School, Nabha, was second while Charanjit Kumar of Government High School, Patiala Cant was third. The winners were rewarded with Rs 1250, Rs 750 and Rs 250, respectively. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejvir Singh distributed the prizes.


Students hold dharna against Principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
A number of students who were allegedly denied admissions in college today organised a dharna in front of Khalsa College here and raised slogans against the Principal.

The protesting students were not allowed to enter the college and the police was also deployed.

Parampal Singh, leader of the students, alleged that the principal was playing with the careers of the students by not allowing them admission. He said if the police official failed to take any concrete steps they would intensify their stir.

Dr Daljit Singh, principal, said he would not allow ‘outsiders’ to vitiate the environment of the college.


Grant of school for deaf and dumb held up
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 20
The local Mahant Gurbanta Dass School for Deaf and Dumb authorities have been waiting for a grant of Rs 50 lakh, which was announced by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, on January 26, 2005, for creating more facilities and imparting better education to the children.

Though the strength of the school has been increasing with each passing year, the authorities concerned have failed to get the grant, which was announced about seven months ago. Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that parents of special children from all nearby districts prefer sending their wards to this school and out of 170 children, about 116 are residing in the hostel.

The staff employed for teaching and for taking care of these children has come from different parts of the country, but there are no arrangements for their accommodation. Most of them are staying in rented accommodation located far away from the school.

When contacted, Mr Rahul Bhandari, Deputy Commissioner, said a reminder for release of the grant had already been sent and hoped it would be released at the earliest.


Rally, contests mark Urja Divas
Tribune Reporters

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 20
The 61st birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has been celebrated with enthusiasm as “Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas” by the district administration at the local Mata Gujri Senior Secondary School.

A rally was flagged off by Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, in which hundreds of schoolchildren, carrying banners and placards with slogans to save energy as well as to develop non-conventional resources of energy, participated.

The Deputy Commissioner also inaugurated quiz, painting and declamation contests.

KHARAR: The SC/ST cell of the Punjab Youth Congress celebrated Rajiv Gandhi Jayanti here under the leadership of Mr Amrik Singh, president of the state unit of the cell.

A pledge was taken by those present to root out terrorism from the state. The president highlighted the sacrifices made by Rajiv Gandhi for the country.

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