P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dullo for special package for state
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 30
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said he recently met Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and discussed issues relating to Punjab for boosting economy of the state. He sought benefits for industrialists of Punjab on a par with the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal to encourage installation of units.

He was addressing a press conference at PWD Rest House here today. He said that Punjab was a border state and its economy was affected during terrorism. A draft was being framed for getting special package for Punjab. It would be submitted to the Prime Minister very shortly. He said that 60 per cent to 70 per cent reservations would be ensured for Punjabis in industrial sector of state.

Mr Dullo said that he would soon discuss issues relating to various government departments including problem of private government aided schools and colleges, recruitment of doctors and teachers, ongoing tussle between PSEB authorities and employees etc. with the Chief Minister to find solution.

To a question, Mr Dullo said that Congress leaders themselves were responsible for eroding party’s base among in Dalit electorate. They always ignored them. As a result majority of them went in the BSP’s fold. But after becoming BSP chief following the illness of Mr Kanshi Ram, Ms Mayawati had changed the concept of the party. Due to which Dalits were shifting toward the Congress. He wanted the state government to clear backlog of reservation for Schedule Caste by filling all posts in various government departments.

To another question, Mr Dullo said that he had not changed any office-bearer of the DCC’s in state after talking over as president of the PPCC. He would make the Congress as cadre-based party. At least 50 Congress workers would be appointed as cadre-based members in each village of state. They would be given identity cards and publicity material of the party to propagate Congress ideology.

Referring to the arrest of reporter Gautam Dheer, by the Punjab police, Mr Dullo said that it was the most unfortunate episode. The Chief Minister had already ordered a probe against the Special Investigating Team.


Dullo to convene meeting of party MLAs next week

Chandigarh, August 30
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC), Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, will convene a meeting of party MLAs and ministers next week.

Sources close to Mr Dullo said the meeting would be either held on September 6 or 7. The meeting was being called to discuss various measures to strengthen the party in the rural areas. No joint meeting of party MLAs and ministers had been held for long. During the last session of the Punjab Assembly, such meeting was to be held but it was postponed at the last moment.

Sources said that at the MLAs’ and ministers’ meeting, a strategy was also chalked with regard to the next Assembly elections.

Mr Dullo will start visiting various districts from tomorrow. He is scheduled to visit Muktsar and Moga area in the next three days. Tomorrow, a function will be held in the Payal constituency to pay tributes to late Beant Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab. Senior Congress leaders, including Gulam Nabi Azad, are expected to attend the function. — TNS


Punjabi varsity to re-employ retired principals
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The Punjabi University authorities today decided to re-employ principals after retirement and till the age of 65.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Syndicate of the university held under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai. The decision will facilitate some professional colleges including B.Ed colleges, Law colleges and others to have qualified principals.

The meeting in which Punjab Cooperation Minister, Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, M.P. Singh and DPI Colleges, Nisha Sharad participated, decided to add prefix “Punjabi University” with the names of all its regional centres, outside campuses to give these identity with Punjabi University. Several neighbourhood campuses were set up in Malwa region of Punjab by the Punjabi University in the past few years.

Punjabi University authorities said Syndicate decided to set up a centre for Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religious Studies as the University Grant Commission (UGC) had sanctioned grant of Rs 8.20 lakh for this purpose.

Syndicate also decided to give two per cent incentive to the researchers who would bring research projects from various national and international agencies. Syndicate also approved the sale of computer software of Punjabi language to C.D. A.C. for Rs one lakh.

Dr S.P.S. Virdi was appointed Additional Director of the University College of Engineering from September 1, 2005, Prof. Sunder Singh was appointed Joint Director of it.

The Syndicate also approved appointment of Prof. U.C. Singh as Director, Punjabi University Regional Centre for Information Technology and Management, Mohali. It approved retention of Dr Devinder Kaur as librarian on contract for one year after her superannuation.

All appointments made for the university College of Engineering, Yadvindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo, Neighbourhood Campus, Rampura Phul and appointment under Career Advance Scheme were approved by the Syndicate.

Dr Gurcharan Singh, Professor in the Department of Theatre and Television was made professor in charge, repertory of the university. Scholar of Punjabi Dr Harnam Singh Shaan and Dr Prem Singh were awarded fellowship.


Vedanti asked to take action over controversial book
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 30
The newly floated Panthic organisation, Shehbaz Khalsa, today submitted proof of the alleged blasphemous acts controversial book “Guru Gobind Geeta” published by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to the Akal Takht secretariat here and urged the Sikh clergy to take action.

In a petition to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, today, the Shehbaz Khalsa urged Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to summon all those responsible for the publication of the controversial book.

Though Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, Dr Jaspal Singh and Mr Inderpal Singh Khalsa, the then president, general secretary and chairman of the Dharam Parchar Committee (DPC) of the DSGMC, respectively, had given the approval to publish the book in 1996, it was actually published by his successor Avtar Singh Hit, a senior leader of SAD the next year.

However, Mr Sarna said it was the duty of his successor (Mr Hit) and his team who had written foreword of the book and sent it for publication to read it first. He said that the approval was given on the recommendations of the DPC.

The Shehbaz Khalsa also submitted an official letter written by Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Minorities Commission, urging the DSGMC to publish the book, which could not be released for three years due to alleged differences on this matter.

The then DSGMC chief, Mr Mohinder Singh Matharoo had sanctioned a royalty of Rs 1,000 for the author of the book in 1997. Both Mr Hit and Mr Matharoo are senior leaders of the SAD. Mr Hit released the book in 2002 when he was the president of the DSGMC despite controversy.


Bibi flayed for remarks on women’s role
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Representatives of different Sikh organisations, preaching the code of conduct of a Sikh, today criticised the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, for creating a controversy by issuing statements on the participation of women in amrit sanchar, the ceremony to baptise a Sikh.

There was no need to issue such statements as Guru Granth Sahib does not discriminate on the basis of gender, said the representatives while addressing a press conference here today.

Those who addressed the press conference included representatives of Gurmat Gyan Missionary College, Ludhiana, Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Sahibjada Jujhar Singh Gurmat Missionary College, Ropar, Mata Sahib Kaur Gurmat College, Faridabad, Gurmat Prasar Sewa Society, Dashmesh Sewa Society, Gursikh Family Club, International Dharam Sahara Educational Trust, Durmat Sodhak Gurmat Lehar, Nojuan Khalsa Dal, Ranjit Akhara , Gurmat Sidhant Prachrak Jathebandi, Harjinder Singh Dilghir.

They said creating a controversy over the seva, kirtan, participation in amrit sanchar and opposing the Sikh code of conduct were indicative of the double standards being adopted by some organisations. The representatives announced that a series of amrit sanchars would be organised in which women would participate as panj piaras.


SGPC president seeks permission to go to USA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) supremo, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who alongwith many others has been facing trials for the murder of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, today sought permission for going to the USA for a few weeks in connection with the setting up of World Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

In the court of Mr Bhupinder Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, both prosecution and defence put forward their arguments on the application moved by Bibi Jagir Kaur in connection with the permission to visit the USA.

Both prosecution and defence lawyers also put forward their arguments on the statement recorded by an approver before the police in connection with the murder of Harpreet Kaur.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Bhupinder Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, had reserved his orders on the application for tomorrow. Bibi Jagir Kaur will appear in the court tomorrow also.


Sikh groups oppose interlinking of rivers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Various Sikh organisations have opposed the decision of the government to constitute a committee to ascertain the views of the people on interlinking rivers in the country.

Representatives of groups of human rights and independent opinion leaders of Punjab working under the aegis of Punjab Rights Forum (PRF) have written to Mr A.S. Chera, Director, Lok Sabha Secretariat, on this vexed issue. His committee has been entrusted with the task of ascertaining the opinion of people on linking the rivers.

“We believe that the very process of directly seeking the views of the public at large is destructive of the constitutional provisions governing the rivers and is aimed at bypassing the sovereign owners of the rivers, i.e the people of the states through the respective state Assemblies,”asserted Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson, International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), one of the constituents of the PRF. He said the forum was totally opposed to the move.

“The Centre has only a marginal role to play with regard to the river waters. This role is subject to the specific consent of the respective state Assemblies. We are shocked at the way the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself the role to supervise the river water linkage project,” he added.

“The federal character of the Constitution with regard to the states’ powers over rivers was being subverted under the guise of conserving water or making its optimum use. It was a ploy to ascertain the opinion of the public regarding the river linkage ideas, he further said.

Referring to the new found camaraderie between Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, he said it was not in the interest of the state since Haryana had challenged the Termination of River Waters Act in the apex court.

The forum comprises Justice Ajit Singh Bains, chairman, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, Amar Singh Chahal, president, Lawyers for Human Rights International, Surinder Singh Ghariala, chairperson, Khalra Mission Committee, Jaspal Singh Dhillon, chairperson, Human Rights and Democracy Forum, Inderjit Singh Jaijee, convenor, Movement Against State Repression, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Damdami Taksal, Charan Singh Lohara, general secretary, SAD (Amritsar), Prem Singh Chandumajra, president, SAD (Longowal), Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and others.


Another Pak prisoner’s kin fight a lone battle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
While the entire nation is expressing its solidarity with the family of Sarabjit Singh, imprisoned in Pakistan, a Ludhiana-based family of another prisoner is fighting the battle on its own and hoping that their son will return soon.

Bharat Bhushan (28) a graduate and son of a dairy instructor in Aman Nagar here, has undergone three months imprisonment in a Baluchistan jail for illegally crossing the border. Now he is languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

He is one of the 31 prisoners who had undergone imprisonment and 15 of them came back with Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh on April 17 this year. The others belonging to various districts of Punjab, are waiting for the state government to take up their case with the Pakistan government.

Bharat Bhushan’s father, Mr Satpal, has been running from pillar to post and urging NGOs to take up his son’s case.

Sending Bharat to Lebanon in 1996, little had Mr Satpal and his wife, realised that their son would fall into the trap of a travel agent.

His mother Santosh curses the day when she agreed to send her only son abroad. “Let him come home. I will never send him abroad,” she says in a choked voice.

“He was happy in Lebanon till August 2003 when I received a phone call from him that he had been imprisoned in Pakistan. I was shocked and later came to know that he was trying to emigrate further and was caught in Greece. From there he was deported to Turkey, then to Iran and finally to Pakistan. We all are suffering now because of his impulsive act,” said Mr Satpal.

Mr Satpal has sent various pleas to the Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab urging them to take his case. He has also sent some documents from the Regional Passport Office to Pakistan providing the details of the passport but to no avail.


2 Pak prisoners repatriated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 30
Two Pakistani prisoners, lodged in Central Jail, Ambala, in Haryana were repatriated to their home country via the joint checkpost at Wagah here today.

According to information, both the prisoners had served six years each in prison before being repatriated.

Both the Pakistanis were Hindus, Jahid Kumar and Tara Chand, and both belonged to Sialkot. Both had come to meet their relatives in 1999 aboard the Samjhauta Express. Both were arrested after fake currency was seized from them during their stay in Haryana following which the state police had apprehended them.

Incidentally, journalists were barred from covering the two prisoners and had also been disallowed to enter the gate at Wagah and Attari international railway station, which made events seem suspicious.


Vehicle carrying live bomb impounded
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, August 30
The city police this evening took in custody a three-wheeler that carried a large quantity of ammunition including a live MM-84 mortar bomb near the local military station, sources said.

A police patrol party reportedly questioned some youths who were preparing for a bath in the sub-canal on the Hindumalkot road behind a temple.

They revealed that they had accompanied the contractor who had been visiting the military station complex to collect junk every month. During a random search the police reportedly found several bags of bullets, mostly used, and a live MM-84 mortar bomb in the three-wheeler.

Preliminary interrogation reportedly indicated that the contractor had been entering the military station with two persons authorised by the officials to collect junk from the firing range located near the lane adjacent to the Hindumalkot road that linked this area with Sriganganagar also.

It was learnt that other accomplices of the contractor waited on the road and bags of junk were thrown from the firing range wall to this side. The junk included live ammunition, including some material exclusively used by the Army.

In January this year, a small junk dealer and his neighbourer were killed as the dealer was trying to extract metal from a similar unused mortar bomb purchased from unidentified persons who impersonated as Army men and spoke Haryanvi. Preliminary investigations had reportedly indicated that the impersonators had brought the bombs to the dealer on a motor cycle.

Sources said that five boys questioned by the police said they belonged to Sriganganagar and the junk collected from here was to be sold there.


New-born baby sold for a song
Raj Sadosh
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 30
A seven-day-old baby of a physically handicapped woman was sold to a couple to pay the bill of a nursing home, sources said.

Mrs Gurmeet Kaur, wife of Mr Balbir Singh Beera a resident of Bahadurkhera village in this subdivision, in a letter faxed to the Chief Minister, Punjab, today said that the sadar police had refused to register her complaint on the pretext that place of occurrence of crime, if any, was not under its jurisdiction.

She had yesterday told the local police that she had been consulting an unqualified nurse at her village during pregnancy. The nurse reportedly took her to a private nursing home at Malout, to ensure the “safe delivery” on August 11. She gave birth to a male child on August 12 there. The doctor advised her to stay at the nursing home for four days and raised a bill thereafter for Rs 30,000. As she was unable to pay the amount in one instalment, the nurse allegedly prompted her to accompany to the office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate to sign an adoption deed for gifting the baby to a family as she was neither in a position to clear the bill of the nursing home nor would be able to nourish the child. Mrs Gurmeet Kaur alleged that she was threatened when she refused to sign the papers. She was not discharged and the baby was kept in a separate room.

Finally she offered to pay the bill as her husband had collected money from different sources on August 18 but was told by the nursing home authorities that it was required as the baby had been handed over to a needy couple who had cleared all her bills. She requested the authorities to take action against the village nurse (dai) in charge of the nursing home based at Malout and get her baby back. As the “conspiracy” had emanated at Bahadurkhera village in the territory of the subdivisional police she preferred to file a complaint here but not entertained. She had sought financial assistance from the Red Cross Society funds to pay the nursing home expenses also.

A spokesperson for the nursing home said Mrs Gurmeet Kaur was willing to gift away the child to her sister but the latter too could not arrange money for clearing the medical expenses. Meanwhile a needy couple from Bathinda was contacted, they paid the bill and adopted the baby with “oral” consent of the mother. The doctor denied any bargaining. Mrs Gurmeet Kaur has written to the Chief Minister that the baby would be her savior and helping hand as she was disabled.


M.S. Gill seeks more international flights to Amritsar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Making a special mention in the Rajya Sabha, Mr M.S. Gill, today urged the Union Aviation Ministry to connect Amritsar with rest of the world through adequate number of flights. While drawing the attention of the House to the continuing neglect of Amritsar, which is the only city in Punjab having an airport, he said the frequency of internal and international flights from other airports in the country had been increased several fold, but Amritsar had remained ignored.

He said though aircraft of Indian Airlines fly to all other main cities of the country, it had no air service from Delhi to Amritsar on regular basis. Though a large number of Punjabis work in Gulf countries, they were given no concession to fly to their place of work on concessional rates by Indian Airlines. However, the workforce from Kerala and Mumbai was given concession to fly to Gulf countries, he added.

The British Airlines flights to India had been increased from 19 to 40 and there was a proposal to increase these to 86 by the early next year. But all these flights were meant either for South India or to Mumbai and Delhi and not to Amritsar. He said Punjabis had the largest presence in the UK and it was there demand to fly directly to Amritsar from that country. However, they were forced to land in Delhi, he added, in absence of direct flights from the UK.

He said he had repeatedly written to the Prime Minister and to the Aviation Minister to take Punjab’s plight seriously and ensure good number of flights to Amritsar.


Scribes seek probe into Dheer’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The Patiala Journalist Association has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the state police chief, Mr S.S. Virk, to make arrangements for a high level probe into the arrest of Gautam Dheer, a correspondent of an English daily, by Punjab Police.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh Ashq, president of the association, in a press note issued here today, said the guilty officials should be taken to task. He said the association condemned the police action.


Dheer case: BJP chief flays police
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 30
The state BJP president and an MP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, criticised the Punjab police for arresting the Indian Express senior reporter. After attending a Lions Club function here late evening, he said the incident had put a question mark on the functioning of the Punjab police.

He added that the reporter was released on bail after tremendous pressure from the media. The act of the police was an attempt to curb the freedom of the press. The government wants to create terror among the journalists.


SGPC announces celebration of ‘Sampooranta Divas’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
The SGPC today announced that the tercentenary of Guru Granth Sahib’s completion would be celebrated as “Sampooranta Divas” next year. The government has sought the list of approved works for the occasion.

Scores of devotees today thronged Takht Sri Damdama Sahib to celebrate the 299th “Sampooranta Divas”.

A religious programme was organised at Baba Dall Singh Deewan Hall. The senior vice-president of the SGPC, Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, said with today’s function, the SGPC had kicked off a series of religious programmes for the historic event. He also announced a gatka committee to train students of Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College.

Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh said those having faith in Guru Granth Sahib should follow the path shown by the Gurus.

Baba Ram Singh of Damdami Taksal stressed on the need to rid youths of Malwa of drug menace.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari said the government would also celebrate the event on a large scale.


Culprits are more powerful today, says movement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Movement Against State Repression (MASR), today alleged that police excesses have intensified after the induction of Mr S.S. Virk as Director-General of Police. The officers, who were responsible for murder, are even more powerful today than they were a decade ago.

“Militancy ceased to be a factor a decade ago and had faded from the public memory. The return of militancy has been scripted featuring hundreds of arrests, including scores of women described as human bombs. The political benefit of this is obvious and it also makes it difficult to downsize Punjab’s enormous police force. These tactics hark back to the pre-militancy days when mischievous means were used in an attempt to create a communal divide”, alleged Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd) and Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee in a written statement.

Counter-terror groups have been formed. Giving an example they said with great reluctance the police has arrested and jailed Ajit Singh Poohla. “Those who supported Poohla with vehicles, weapons and manpower are accessories to his crimes and should be behind bars for the safety of society. Instead, journalists who speak up against the criminals and their police abettors are hounded. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said they suffer from a militancy era mindset. These are mere words and carry no weight, they said.


Consumer councils in all districts soon
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 30
There is a plan to set up consumer councils in all 17 districts of the state and this will be down in about a week’s time.

This was stated by Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab, Department of Food, Supplies and Consumer Affairs, at a consumer awareness camp organised by the Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum at Henderson Jubillee Senior Secondary School here today.

Dr Gupta said consumer councils would comprise persons belonging to differents spheres. These councils would have to make efforts to sort out most of the complaints at their own level so that the consumer courts were not unnecessarily burdened with large number of cases.

He suggested that the consumer movement should be made into a mass movement but awareness would have to be created for that. Even though the consumer Act was passed in 1986, the consumer movement in Punjab was not as popular as compared to other states, added Dr Gupta.

He said the Punjab Government had not taken benefit from a scheme launched by the Central Government. Under the scheme consumer clubs were to be set up in schools and Punjab had been given an approval to set up 250 such clubs. The message had to start from schools. In fact, students should be made to study about consumer movement as part of the syllabus.

Dr Gupta said a permanent Lok Adalat had been set up in Ludhiana and now there was a plan to set such adalats in other places as well.

Laying stress on the quality of milk, Mr A.S. Mishra, an official of the Verka milk plant, said during tests conducted by the plant, water was found in most of the milk samples, apart from other impurities.

Mr Rupinder Kumar, Joint Director, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Chandigarh, said if consumers were not satisfied with the products purchased by them, they could make complaints to the BIS. But they should ensure that goods purchased by them carried a genuine ISI mark. There were 131 mandatory items which could not be sold in the market without an ISI mark.


Convert focal points into SEZ, say MLAs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 30
Echoing the concerns of local entrepreneurs over the delay to set up the ambitious Prime Minister’s dream project to resurrect the sick industry in the border region of Punjab, local MLAs in a joint statement felt that the government should convert the three focal points and industrial area of Goindwal into special economic zone (SEZ).

Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Parliamentary Secretary and MLA from Batala, said he along with other MLAs from the city including Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma and Dr Raj Kumar, pleaded with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take up the project.

Mr Sekhri said the industries in the border area had been going through a bad phase for the past several decades and the government should convert the focal points, besides rehabilitating the Goindwal industrial area.

He pointed out that the government would be saving crores from purchasing the land as the prices had skyrocketed, besides the focal points had the necessary infrastructure and could be easily identified as SEZs. He said the government was facing a financial crunch and could save a large sum of money by inviting investment from outside.


Panel on medical Act formed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 30
A seven-member authorisation committee for implementation of the Trans-plantation of Human Organs Act 1994 in Sangrur district has been formed by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Husan Lal.

The following have been made members Deputy Commissioner/Additional Deputy Commissioner (Chairman); SSP or his representative not below the rank of SP (member), CMO or his representative not below the rank of SMO (member secretary), Dr Sanjeev Jindal, Surgeon, Civil Hospital, Sangrur; Mr Rajesh Kumar, president of Ambedkar Social Welfare Naujwan Society, Sangrur; Mr Ram Kumar, Lions Club (Greater), Sangrur, and Mahasha Pratigya Pal, a social worker from Dhuri, all members.

Talking to The Tribune here yesterday, Mr Husan Lal said this committee had been formed in the light of a notification issued by the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab.


Soft drink with advance manufacturing month!
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
A number of shops here are selling bottled Campa mango fruit drink which has September 2005 as the manufacturing month.

The soft drink has been manufactured under licence from M/s Campa Beverages Pvt Ltd and is being bottled at SV Cold Drinks Factory, Sudhamazra, Nawanshahr. The bottle carries a caution “Best before four months from manufacture.” This poses a health hazard to people as it would expire in December even though its actual expiry would be in November.

The bottle had two mobile numbers on it. One of these did not exist while the person having the other mobile disconnected the line.

The District Health Officer, Dr Kasturi Lal, said the matter had been brought to his notice. He said the Civil Surgeon had been out of station and he would take strict action against the soft drink dealer on his return tomorrow.


Protest over supply of contaminated water
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 30
Residents of ward no. 26 and 27 staged a protest rally outside the office of the SDM here today in protest against the poor quality of water being supplied in their localities.

The residents alleged that the water being supplied by the Phagwara Nagar Council was contaminated. “This is despite regular complaints to the authorities, who have so far done precious little to check the outbreak of epidemics,” rues a resident of ward no. 26.

Mr Jatinder Singh, another resident of the area, alleged that majority of the residents were suffering from diseases like diarrhoea, jaundice, gastroenteritis and cholera. However, the council and the Health Department had shown an indifferent attitude even as they had given a number of representations to the authorities concerned.

The residents also demanded rollback of the hike in sewerage and water charges.


Development plans for Pathankot proposed
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 30
The Punjab Government has proposed various development schemes for Pathankot, including a bypass to reduce traffic chaos, a model bus stand, development of parks and tubewells for providing potable water to the locals.

An air-conditioned auditorium will be constructed. Land has been identified in this regard and construction work would start soon.

With the increasing demand for potable water six more tubewells have been sanctioned.

This was stated by local MLA and Chairman, PTDC, Ashok Sharma here today while talking to The Tribune. He said special attention has been given on the development of existing parks, including Shimla Park. A tubewell had already been sanctioned for the park at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 lakh, he added.


Rally against bonded labour
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 30
Members of the Dalit Daasta Virodhi Aandolan organised a rally in front of Company Bagh here yesterday in support of their demands and to protest against the alleged tormenting of “bonded labourers” at some places in the state.

The participants, led by Ms Sita Rani, alleged that a senior police officer of Sangrur was protecting his relatives who had been forcing people to work as bonded labourers.

They threatened that the organisation would launch a nation-wide movement if no action was taken against the officer.

NAWANSHAHR: Activists of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Aandolan organised a rally here on Monday to raise its voice against the alleged atrocities on Dalits and the continued system of bonded labour in “connivance” with certain police officials.

They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for submission to the Chief Minister, demanding a probe into the matter.

Their other demands were allotment of residential plots to Dalits, implementation of the reservation policy in the private sector, constitution of a special cell for ensuring proper implementation of the Minimum Wages Act and the Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1996.


Plea to implement Bonded Labour Act
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
The Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan, Punjab, has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to implement the Bonded Labour Act-1976 to eradicate the system of bonded labour in Punjab.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Ms Narinder Pal Kaur a functionary of the andolan, said if the state Congress government see the surveys conducted by various organisations in connection with the plight of Dalit bonded labourers, it would come to know about the real picture and exact number of those Dalit bonded labourers who were living like slaves.

She said though the Congress had promised on the eve of the last Lok Sabha elections that there would be reservation for Scheduled Castes in the private sector, nothing had been done in that connection so far.

She alleged that a senior police official of the Punjab police had been forcing a section of Dalit labourers to work free of cost for their relatives. Even these bonded labourers had been implicated in false criminal cases in Sangrur district.


Peak load restrictions rescheduled

Patiala, August 30
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to reschedule the evening peak load restrictions for large supply consumers falling under all operation zones of the board from September 1 to October 31.

The new timings for consumers falling under all zones, barring the central zone, would be from 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., while for those customers falling under the jurisdiction of the central zone (Ludhiana) will be from 7 p.m. to 20 p.m. — TNS


Ex-servicemen flay stoppage of scholarship to wards
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 30
Ex-servicemen have condemned the Punjab Government for failing to dispense the scholarship for their wards in the state.

The district president of the Rashtriya Raksha Dal, a party of the ex-servicemen, Col Dharam Singh (retd.) told The Tribune that students were not getting scholarship for past six months. Authorities of the Sanik Welfare Department said paucity of funds as the reason for not dispensing scholarships.


Beant Singh’s death anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 30
It was due to his strong will power, administrative skills and commitment towards the society and the nation that Beant Singh handled terrorism with an iron hand and wiped out terrorism from the state, though he had to pay the price by sacrificing his life, said Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, while addressing a function organised to commemorate the death anniversary of the Late Beant Singh, by the Human Rights Wing of the Congress at Sirhind today.


high court
Order stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 30
The High Court on Tuesday stayed the operation of the May 19 order of Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) directing the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to transfer Mr Dalmegh Singh, Secretary, from his post.

During hearing of appeal filed by Mr Dalmegh Singh, challenging the legality of the SGJC, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Tapen Sen also admitted the petition for further hearing.

The SGJC had ordered shifting of Mr Dalmegh Singh during hearing of a complaint filed by Mr Joginder Singh Fauji. In his complaint, Mr Fauji had sought action against Mr Dalmegh Singh and some other employees for allegedly causing loss of six gold spades and silver bowls each during kar seva of the holy tank at the Harmandar Sahib.

The petitioner has stated that the SGJC has no inherent powers to order transfer of an SGPC employee.


Cotton exports looking up
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
With Indian mills having surplus cotton stock and the cotton belt expecting a bumper crop, the cotton export is looking up this year. However, experts say cotton prices in India and its quality vis-a-vis the international market would play a decisive role in boosting exports.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Indian cotton exports are set to witness a rise of 37.5 per cent.

Mr M.S. Brar, OSD (cotton), Markfed, said India already had a carry over stock of 65 lakh bales, while its total consumption was 195 lakh bales. He said the Maharashtra Federation and scores of mills had surplus stock.

He said last year no major exports could take place as there was not much shortage of cotton in any country. The exports would jump this year if the cotton prices were low. He said production losses in other countries would further boost the exports.

At the same time he expressed apprehension about the exports falling short of expectation owing to quality. In India, manual picking, poor ginning practices and transportation take a toll on the quality of cotton. Gujarat and Maharashtra score over Punjab on this count as their ginning quality was good and they were closer to the coast.

The Chairman of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), Mr Subhash Grover, said the exports took place on a daily basis and at present they were clearing the previous stock. Right now the cotton prices in India were higher as compared to international prices and exports would pick up only if the prices went down.

The Chief Commercial Manager of Vardhman, Mr I.J. Dhuria, said if cotton prices remained low, the exports would be higher than last year. Sources said the exports were expected to shoot up from last year’s 12 lakh bales to 20 lakh bales.

Meanwhile, though farmers are optimistic of reaping a rich harvest, cotton experts caution that if the prices remained stagnant holding back exports it would result in a glut, leading to a fall in prices.


DAP samples fail test
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 30
All the 11 samples of the DAP sent to cooperatives societies in the district have failed test. With a ban coming into force on the sale of this DAP, Oswal Company’s stock of 800 metric tonnes of DAP has got stuck.

Following complaints from Khiyaliwala village, the district Agriculture Department had collected 11 samples from eight cooperative societies and Markfed godown. The test revealed that the DAP only had 30 per cent phosphorus instead of 46 per cent, while the nitrogen content was also less by 3 per cent.

Sources said the deficiency of nitrogen and phosphorus in the DAP had a direct impact on production. This DAP was supplied to 64 cooperative societies.

The samples that failed were collected from Ganga, Charnathal, Shekhpura, Virak Kala, Killi Nihal Singh Wala and Naruana villages.

Markfed had ordered 2,300 metric tonnes of DAP in December last but till that time sowing was over. Markfed had supplied 1,400 MT of DAP to cooperative societies some time back. Markfed District Manager M.S. Brar said they had withdrawn the DAP from these societies. He said the DAP firm was ready to take it back. On the other hand, the agriculture department had claimed that only 800 bags of substandard DAP were sold in eight cooperative societies. However, the farmers who had used this DAP were a worried lot fearing adverse impact on their crops.


Farmers flay govt policy, stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 30
Hundreds of farmers under the banner of BKU(Ekta) today organised a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in protest against the government policy towards the farming sector and for not implementing the already conceded demands of the farmers.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, state president of the union criticised the government policy towards the farming community. He rejected the new declaration of the Chief Minister for providing free power to the farmers having less than 5 acres or a motor connection less than 5 KW.

He said the government was befooling the farmers and it was not sincere towards their genuine demands. Instead of saving farmers from falling into debt trap, it was indulging in politics. He said a majority of farmers had motor connections of more than 5 KW and a very few farmers had less than 5 acres. Farmers were continuously facing losses so the facility of free power should be provided to all farmers, he added.

Mr Sidhupur said the government had promised a bonus of Rs 30 on paddy, but only Rs 10 bonus was paid. Now it was promising to charge power bills for six months and pay bonus after six months. The government should waive the power bills of all farmers, he added.

He alleged that the government had failed to pay Rs 63 crore of farmers bill pending towards various sugar mills.


Kisan bodies to hold protests
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 30
Comrade Lehmber Singh Taggar, assistant secretary, All-India Kisan Sabha, and general secretary, Punjab Kisan Sabha (PKS), today said under the “Kheti Bachao-Desh Bachao” slogan, various organisations of farmers and farm workers would hold statewide dharnas and demonstrations on September 13 and block rail and road transport for two hours on September 29.

He said the decision had been taken to protest the anti-farmer policies of the government which were being pursued under the directives of the World Bank and WTO.


Farmers court arrest

Abohar, August 30
Fiftysix farmers courted arrest under the “jail bharo andolan” late last evening at Gharsana in neighbouring Sriganganagar. The arrest preceded a public meeting and protest march through main roads of the border town under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Beopari Sangharsh Samiti. — OC


Contract killer lands in police net
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 30
The police today arrested another supari killer, Massa Singh, alias Massu, a resident of Chhitt village along with countrymade weapon and live cartridges.

While addressing mediapersons here today, the SSP, Dr Jatindra Jain, disclosed that Massa Singh was arrested by a naka party headed by inspector Santokh Singh and recovered a .12 bore countrymade pistol with 5 live cartridges. Dr Jain said he was also involved in the terrorist activities and he confessed that he was involved in the murder of Amarjit Singh, sarpanch of Fatta Kulla village in which case he had been declared a proclaimed offender.

The police party headed by Inspector Kirpal Singh has arrested Surinder Singh, alias Mauji, a resident of Kulla village in another naka and recovered a countrymade pistol and cartridges from his possession. All the above persons were involved in the terrorist activities earlier. It has been reported earlier in The Tribune, the arrested persons along with other ex-terrorists had formed a gang to kill persons by getting supari money. They were also involved in lootings and dacoities in the areas of Punjab. The arrested persons included Nirmal Singh, alias Nimma, and Rajnish Kumar, alias Bobby, were involved in supari killing. The police has registered cases under the Arms Act against the arrested persons.


Four of gang of serial killers arrested
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 30
The district police, Hoshiarpur, arrested four members of a gang of serial killers last night.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Jalandhar Range, stated in a press conference here today that on a tip-off the Hoshiarpur police organised a special nakabandi near Bhungarni village last night. At one of the naka points Sub-Inspector, Angrej Singh, Station House Officer, Mehtiana, apprehended three persons on a scooter. They were identified as Sarbjit Singh of Mehmadpur, Jalandhar district, Taranjit Singh and Kuldip Singh, both of Ajnoha, PS, Mahilpur, in the district. A loaded .38 bore revolver and a countrymade .32 bore revolver with three cartridges were seized from them. He added that Raju of Udhamwal, PS Mahilpur, their accomplice had also been arrested.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill said there were 10 members of this gang who were responsible for 14 crimes in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Nawanshahar and Kapurthala districts. Out of the 10, 5 had already been arrested while one was killed.


2 die in Kharar mishaps
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 30
Two persons, including a six-year-old child, were killed in two separate accidents that took place here since last night.

Vijay Kumar (6) of Jhanjeri village was crushed to death under a speeding truck last night while shopping with his father in a market on the main road.

According to the police, Vijay’s father Jagmal Singh said Vijay was insisting on buying something at a shop on the main road. He relented and took him to a shop where he started running and came before a speeding truck carrying iron rods. He died on the spot.

The truck driver left the truck on the road and ran away.

The police has registered a case under Section 304A of the IPC for causing death due to negligence against the truck driver.

In another incident that took place on the Kharar-Ropar national highway in front of the Sahora police post, a 19-year old lost his life when the motor cycle he was riding hit a stationary truck here this morning. While the victim, Harinder Singh, a resident of Jhingra village, near Kurali, was killed on the spot, his friend Hardeep Singh (22) of Sohali village who was riding pillion was rushed to the PGI.

Sukhvinder Singh, brother of Harvinder Singh, however, alleged that the truck was not stationary and moving in front of Harvinder when it braked suddenly and the two banged into the truck.

A case against the truck driver has been registered.


214 kg poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 30
On a tip-off, the local police, led by Mr Navdeep Singh, SHO, Sadar police station, has seized six bags (214 kg) of poppy husk from a truck and arrested its both occupants.

Giving this information to the mediapersons here today, Mr Kuldip Sharma, DSP, Sangrur, said after getting a tip-off, the SHO along with a police party laid a naka at the bus stand at Kammo Majra Kalan village, about 4 km from here, the previous day. As per the information, the SHO stopped the truck and searched the same. During the search, he found six bags (214 kg) of poppy husk in the truck. On this, he arrested both the occupants of the truck, Amrit Singh, alias Romi, owner of the truck, and Jiwan Singh, alias Jeona, driver of the truck, and residents of Ghabadi village in Ludhiana district, the DSP added.

The DSP said during interrogation both accused confessed that they had brought the poppy husk from Calcutta to sell the same in Punjab.


3 commission agents surrender
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 30
Three out of the four owners of a commission agent firm of Sirhind Mandi, who had run away by allegedly duping scores of farmers, traders, commission agents and private depositors of more than Rs 10 crore, surrendered in the court of Mr D.S. Johal, A.C.J.M, here yesterday. The ACJM today remanded them in police custody till September 3.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, told The Tribune that the four partners of the firm M/s Punjab Traders, Sirhind, and sister concern M/s Sahib Traders, Peerjain, along with their family members had run away by locking their residences after allegedly duping hundreds of depositors and farmers of more than Rs 10 crore. The Sirhind Police had registered a case under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC. He said those who have surrendered were Prem Sagar, his son Yashpal, both residents of Sirhind, and Tarsem Lal, resident of Chanarthal. The fourth partner, Jaswant Singh, is still at large.


PMET results out, parents dissatisfied
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 30
Scores of parents of candidates of pre-medical entrance test (PMET) conducted for the second time by Guru Nanak Dev University expressed dissatisfaction over the results declared after the intervention of the Supreme Court.

The university declared the results for the second time today after re-evaluation of the previous results based on the guidelines provided by the Apex Court.

The parents demanded cancellation of the entire examination as it allegedly still had certain anomalies in the question papers. They alleged that earlier they did not have any question paper and the students filed writ petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court based on the questions they vividly remembered. They said they now had the question papers with them and found more wrong questions.

They claimed that 11 questions, including question Nos. 2, 26, 39, 44, 66, 67, 122, 152, 181, 187 and 193 were wrong as per the books prescribed by the various experts in their institutions. They also expressed doubts over the answers of question Nos. 40, 45, 70, 75, 77 and 164.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university said the results were declared as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court. Moreover, he added, the university had provided question papers last year also.

Meanwhile, Karanjot Kaur of Patiala remained topper while Nishant Gupta of Mansa who was in the first position jointly with her slipped to second position. Ravneet Kaur of Chandigarh also shifted to second position. Dinkar Mittal, who was earlier ranked 21 jumped to tenth rank.


Association’s plea to teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Mr Daljinder Singh, president of the Punjab Government Aided School Managements Association, has urged the teaching staff of aided schools to take classes for the full day on September 3 and celebrate Teacher’s Day on that day.

Mr Daljinder Singh said today that he had made this appeal to teachers because they had decided to observe Teacher’s Day on September 5 as protest day in support of their demands. If they taught for the full day on September 3, students would not suffer any loss.


College honours students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 30
Mr M.P. Singh, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Punjab, said the local Government Mohindra College had been playing a pivotal role in shaping the careers of its students.

Mr M.P. Singh, who was the chief guest at a function organised to honour meritorious students, said the college authorities had been motivating students to make a mark in different fields. He added that the students honoured today also brought honours to the college by their excellent performance in different fields.

Dr D.I.S. Brar, Principal of the college, said in 2004-05 academic session more than 40 students of the college brought laurels to the institution by excelling in various competitive exams. He added that the college had won trophies in sports events in Punjabi University, Patiala, for the past 25 years.

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