P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kanshi Ram in Mayawati’s illegal detention: family

Jalandhar, August 31
Launching their blitzkrieg against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, the mother and family members of the BSP founder Kanshi Ram today alleged that he was still in the “illegal detention” of Mayawati and they still had almost negligible access to him.

Meanwhile, Ms Bishan Kaur, Mr Darbara Singh and Mr Harbans Singh, the aged mother and brothers of Mr Kanshi Ram, respectively, have threatened that they would not allow Ms Mayawati to hold her September 21 rally at Ludhiana if she failed to bring Kanshi Ram along and presented him before his followers.

Mr Darbara Singh and Mr Harbans Singh alleged that for them it was a hard fact that their brother was still in “captivity” of Ms Mayawati. “Though courts have fixed meeting timings, but we are not satisfied with the existing arrangement as some body could meet some prisoner at a fixed time, but how a mother could meet her son and share her feelings with him in a similar harsh manner? We are family members, but it is ironical that we are being allowed to meet him just for twice a week,” they observed.

Filling the atmosphere with her emotive outbursts, Ms Bishan Kaur recalled her last meeting with her son.” I remember that Kanshi kept saying that he was feeling to be in a prison and apprehended that he might be eliminated even,” she said. Ms Bishan Kaur and other family members were accompanied by Mr C.L. Chumber, a spokesman of the Kanshi Ram Bachao Sangharsh Committee.

The family members of Mr Kanshi Ram felt that presence of Mr Kanshi Ram in the September 21 rally of the BSP at Ludhiana was a must as he was a son of the soil and the soul of the Dalits. “If Mr Kanshi Ram is not brought along by Mayawati in the rally, we would not allow her to hold the rally at any cost. We are even ready to sacrifice our lives for that and she should remember this during the course of organisation of the event,” threatened Mr Chumber and family members of Mr Kanshi Ram.


Students allege seats being sold for Rs 50,000
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, August 31
Close on the heels of alleged denial of admission to its former students, Khalsa College caught up in another controversy. This time for alleged filling of vacant seats, ignoring the waiting list of students after accepting donation for the college.

Principal, at a meeting of coordinators of entrance tests-2005 held on June 27 decided that vacant seats, after accommodating waiting list students, would be filled only on the recommendation of head of department and candidates subsequently “may be persuaded to pay Rs 50,000 as donation to the college”. The entire donations would be used for the development of the infrastructure of the department concerned, it added.

Some candidates wrote to the DPI, Colleges, demanding a probe in the matter.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal of the college, said the decision was being misinterpreted by some people, who wanted to defame the college. He said not a single admission was made ignoring the waiting list.

However, when asked about the decision about “persuasion to pay Rs 50,000 as donation” he said this was not compulsory. He said students were not compelled to donate. The authorities asked every person to donate for the college so that the glory of the college could be regained by providing facilities, which were deprived due to financial constraints. He said even the authorities urged NRIs in various countries to donate for the college.

Candidates on the other hand alleged that the sale of seats to candidates lower in rank was violation of the rules. They alleged that this malpractice would not only rob the deserving students of their rightful claim but also deny them chance of getting higher education.

They urged the DPI Colleges, to scrutinise the merit lists of various disciplines, besides scrapping of admissions made by charging huge amounts. They demanded that the candidates falling in the waiting lists should be allowed to join these courses. They also sought an audit of the students and college funds.


Mann released from jail after 78 days
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 31
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, was today released from the Ludhiana Central Jail after 78 days of incarceration. Thousands of party workers had gathered outside the jail to receive him in the afternoon. He was taken out in a caravan of cars. He straightway drew to Amritsar where he would be addressing a party rally tomorrow.

While Mr Mann was already granted bail in five cases registered against him at different police stations across the state, the release orders reached the Ludhiana Central Jail only in the afternoon. Accompanied by party leaders, Mr Charan Singh Lohara and Prof Jagmohan Singh, Mr Mann came out of the jail to a rousing reception by workers who were raising slogans in his support.

As Mr Mann came out of the jail there was a stampede of people for some time. He did not make any speech after coming out. The workers led him out. Dressed in white kurta and pyjama, a visibly relaxed Mann walked a short distance waving to the crowds, hugging people and shaking hand with them before getting into the car.

Talking to the Tribune while coming out of the jail, Mr Mann refused to make a straight comment on the stand he had taken for which he was interned. He said: “My stand is the same and it has been reiterated by my lawyer in the court also.”

He said: “I am not like Badal (Mr Parkash Singh Badal) or Amarinder (Capt Amarinder Singh) to back out from what I say and stand for...You ask them whether they are the same people who signed the Amritsar Declaration along with me in front of Akal Takht and submitted a memorandum to the then United Nations Secretary General, Mr Boutrous Boutrous Ghali”. He accused Mr Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh of being liars and hypocrites.

He said he would continue to fight for the freedom of the Sikh nation. He refused to elaborate, but clarified that his lawyer had already elaborated and clarified. He regretted that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had ordered his arrest on the advice of SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Mann suggested that there should be quid pro quo on the part of the Government of India in securing the release of Sarabjit Singh, who is facing death sentence in Pakistan. He suggested that the Government of India could commute the death sentence of Afzal Guru convicted and sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case and Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and, in return, Pakistan could commute the death sentence of Sarbjit Singh.


Gurdwara corridor issue: Punjab Govt writes to PM
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 31
The Punjab Government has written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of providing corridor to the Kartar Sahib gurdwara with his Pakistani counterpart.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, gave this information while talking to The Tribune. He said that the Punjab Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister in this regard. The efforts are being made to include the agenda of providing corridor in the next Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries.

In June this year, in a hope get the corridor to the Kararpur Sahib gurudwara located in Pakistan, just 3 km from Indian border, the devotees had laid the foundation stone of the gate for the proposed path. The entire expenses of bringing up the gate are being borne by the local devotees. Approximately Rs 20 lakh would be spent on the gate.

The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev, had spent 17 years in Kartarpur Sahib. He ploughed his fields till the age of 70 years and set the example before his followers about the importance of labour.

The corridor to the gurudwara was more than 50-year-old demand of the people of Punjab. The people from the Dera Baba Nanak area pay obeisance to the gurudwara from the bundh near the border fencing.

Earlier, the road to the bundh had been constructed by the Punjab Government. In light of the improved Indo-Pak relations, the Prime Minister has been urged to take up the issue with his Pakistani counterpart.


Sindhi on a mission to spread message of
Guru Granth Sahib

Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 31
Renowned Sindhi scholar of Guru Granth Sahib Lachman Chellaram has described the holy book as an epitome of spirituality which brings various communities closer.

Talking to this correspondent here today, Mr Chellaram said Guru Granth Sahib had managed to keep a large number of devotees together on one platform through its message of peace and tranquility for achieving the stability and peace of mind. He had coordinated the translation of the holy book into eight languages, including Sindhi, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and English. He said he got the translation done from the Sahitya Academy.

He said the mission to spread the message of Guru Granth Sahib, started by his father, was being pursued by him. He said everybody had heard about the holy book but very few people were aware of the spiritual treasure contained in it. He said he was trying to unite the world through Guru Granth Sahib which contained the thoughts of spiritualism provided by great saints like Kabir, Bhagat Namdev, Bhagat Ramdas and others.

Described as the pivot in spreading Sikhism in Pakistan among the large Sindhi Sikh community who have become stout devotees. Mr Chellaram said his endeavour was to spread the message of Guru Granth Sahib.

Expressing anguish over the tendency to consume drugs, Mr Chellaram said families were losing the basic fundamentals of life. He said he was attached to Gurbani and had managed to make a large number of people develop the habit of reading Guru Granth Sahib. He urged people to inculcate the habit of understanding the spiritual message of Guru Granth Sahib and spread it across the globe.

Meanwhile, NRI Lalvani brothers Dr Kartar Singh and Mr Joginder Singh along with noted Sindhi scholar Lachman Chellaram were honoured by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the eve of 401 years of installation of Guru Granth Sahib here today.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Kartar Singh Lalwani, who helped in translating Guru Granth Sahib in Marathi, said he had married a Maharashtrian. However, she did not know anything about Sikhism and the holy book and thought it wise to translate it into Marathi.

Mr Dalmegh Singh, Secretary, SGPC, honoured them with siropas and portraits of the Golden Temple. Earlier, they paid obeisance at Harmander Sahib.


NRI family donates Rs 1.25 crore to
Pingalwara complex

Our Correspondent

Bhagat Puran SinghAmritsar, August 31
In a rare gesture to look after the infirm, handicap, destitute and others, an NRI family here today dedicated a new block worth Rs 1.25 crore in memory of their mother Dharam Kaur to Pingalwara.

Talking to newsmen after dedicating the newly constructed block, the eldest of the Lalwani brothers, Mr Joginder Singh from Lagos (Nigeria) said the family had been impressed by the dedication of the president of the All-India Pingalwara Society, Dr Inderjit Kaur.

He said the family was motivated by their sister, Ms Mohini Bawa, who lived in Kapurthala, to contribute for the welfare of the most neglected segment of the society, who had been taken care by Pingalwara, founded by Bhagat Puran Singh.

Mr Joginder Singh said the present complex built, by the family, would house more than 200 patients as he felt that the modern block would provide modern facilities to both indoor and outdoor patients. He said the family was considering to offer its support for the cause and the mission of Bhagat Puran Singh.

He was accompanied by his three brothers, Dr Kartar Singh, Partap Singh and Gulu Lalwani, and their families to dedicate the building. Later, Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the society, welcomed the gesture of the family and said the society and its inmates were grateful to them for their contribution towards the welfare of the most neglected section of society. She offered them Siropas.


Bickering in Phagwara Congress
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 31
Taking advantage of bickering between local MLA Joginder Singh Mann and Improvement Trust Chairman Balbir Raja Sodhi, Ramesh Jordan today staked a claim for Congress ticket from Phagwara for the coming Assembly elections in the state.

Mr Ramesh Jordan, a Congress councillor and trustee of the local Improvement Trust, told The Tribune at the Nagar Council office here today, that he would file his nomination papers as a Congress candidate from Phagwara for the coming Assembly elections.

He said he had served the Congress since his youth days.

According to party sources, Mr Jordan has got the blessings of former Improvement Trust Chairman Harjit Singh Parmar, who has good say in the Congress high command.

“He used to be right-hand man of Mr Mann and had helped him won many elections,” they said.

The Phagwara unit of the Congress, these days, seems to be divided into three groups led by MLA Joginder Singh Mann, Improvement Trust Chairman Balbir Raja Sodhi and Harjit Singh Parmar.

While Mr Mann and Sodhi have announced their candidature as Congress nominees from Phagwara, Mr Parmar has trained guns on councillor Ramesh Jordan. There is still a year and a half to go for the Assembly elections.


Sarabjit’s sister criticised for flaying Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 31
The Congress leadership is contemplating to corner Ms Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, who is awaiting execution of death sentence in Pakistan’s jail.

The immediate fallout of the outburst of Dalbir Kaur against the Congress leadership will be withdrawing of fast at Bhikhiwind by Manjit Singh Karmuwal, a local Congress leader. He has been on fast for the past about one week to press the government of Pakistan to release Sarabjit Singh from the Pakistani jail.

Ms Dalbir Kaur, who was the Congress leader, has recently joined the BJP. She has provoked the Congress by criticising its senior leaders, including Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr J.S. Peter, a senior Congress leader of the Bhikhiwind area, said he would produce “startling documents” to expose Ms Dalbir Kaur in a press conference, proposed to be held here tomorrow.

Mr Harminder Singh Gill, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said it was “most unfortunate” that Ms Dalbir Kaur was taking “political mileage” by speaking against the Congress leaders at the behest of the BJP. He said such statements had hurt the sentiments of the countrymen who had expressed solidarity to secure the release of Sarabjit Singh, rising above party affiliations. He said Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh had made best efforts to highlight the issue of Sarabjit Singh.


Musharraf urged to release Sarabjeet
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
Members of the District Bar Association, Patiala, has urged the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, to grant clemency to Indian national Sarabjeet Singh, who was languishing in the Kot Lakhpat jail of Lahore. Sarabjeet had been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Mr Rakesh Gupta, president of the association, in a press note issued here today, said Sarabjeet Singh had been convicted on the basis of mistaken identity.

He added that the family members of Sarabjeet Singh had failed to establish his real identity during trials as they had been living in extreme poverty.

The association was of the opinion that as Sarabjeet Singh had spent about 15 years in Pakistani jails and had been convicted on the basis of mistaken identity, he should be granted clemency and released.


Pak prisoners write to Manmohan, Pervez
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 31
Pakistani prisoners in Amritsar jail have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf and sought their intervention for their early release. The Pakistani prisoners in their missive have stated that they now prefer death than languishing in the jail.

In all, as many as 67 Pakistani prisoners are lodged in the high-security Central and other jails in India. Some of them have been languishing in the jail even though their sentence has been completed .

The copy of the letter, the contents of which are startling, has been sent to Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Society.

Mr Bhullar said he had received a letter from one Shahbaj from Central Jail, here. He said 12 Pakistani prisoners were now tired of jailed life and were even ready to write a suicide note if the jail authorities hanged them.


Punjab doctors hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Doctors from across Punjab held a rally outside the office of the Director, Health Services, here today to press the authorities to concede five major demands.

They announced that they would hold a statewide rally here in the first week of October.

The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association wants the redesignation of senior medical officers as deputy civil surgeons; the grant of postgraduation allowance to all postgraduates; the payment of conveyance allowance as recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission; the restoration of non-practising allowance; and clearance of the probation period of doctors of the 1998 batch.

The association decided to organise black flag demonstrations at all district and subdivisional headquarters on October 7, said Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, patron, president and general secretary, respectively.

The association presented a memorandum to the Secretary, Health, Mr D.S. Guru.

It was announced that fresh elections would be held to the association. The schedule would be announced next week.

The central body of the association amended the constitution to provide for 33 per cent reservation for women doctors and increased the strength of the district executive from 11 to 15 with five seats for women doctors.

The posts of senior vice-president, vice-president, and joint secretary will be reserved for women doctors. Two seats in the executive body will also be reserved.


78 fresh cases of diarrhoea reported
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 31
The outbreak of diarrhoea has been reported from Behmawa, Fatehpur, Ram Nangal and Siri Pandian villages located in the periphery of Talwara town of Hoshiarpur district yesterday. Hundreds of inhabitants of these villages complained of dysentery and vomiting. A team of doctors from the Primary Health Centre, Hajipur, rushed to these villages and provided necessary medicines to the patients. Two teams of doctors from the Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur, also visited these villages to control the outbreak of the epidemic.

Dr S.K. Sharma, District Health Officer, Hoshiarpur, who is supervising the relief measures, told this correspondent that as many as 427 patients, including ladies and children of the above villages complained of dysentery and vomiting. He said the problem started after the villagers consumed water supplied to these villages from the water supply source of Fatehpur.

Dr Sharma disclosed that after taking necessary precautionary measures, he got the water supply from the reservoir of Fatehpur stopped. The wells of all these villages were chlorinated and about 70,000 chlorine tablets were distributed to the villagers. The water supply to these villages was being provided through water tankers of the forest department. A relief camp was also organised at a school in Fatehpur.

Dr Sharma further disclosed that after providing treatment, all patients were discharged from the camp yesterday. He said 40 fresh cases were reported today from Behmawa and Fatehpur villages, 20 from Ram Nangal village and 18 from Siri Pandian.

He said doctors were working in each of the affected villages to control the outbreak. He informed that after chlorinating the water reservoir of Fatehpur, the water supply would be resumed tomorrow.


Two kids die of dysentery
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 31
Two children of a migrant family died of vomiting and dysentery after being been rushed to Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here, medical team led by Dr K. N. Babbar SMO Khuikhera confirmed today. The condition of the third member was stable, doctors said.

Mr Girish Kumar, who had migrated from Uttar Pradesh and settled at Dhaani Bisheshar Nath on the local bypass as farm worker, had three sons and four daughters. A registered medical practitioner at the small village known for fruit orchards treated Khushboo (3) and her brother Rajan aged eight months only before they were rushed to Civil Hospital on Tuesday. They were continuously vomiting. Both died within a few hours.

CMO Birenderpal Singh asked Dr K.N. Babbar, SMO Khuikhera to visit the village and inspect the house of the victims. The medical team found that a grounded indigenous toilet existed at just ten-feet from the hand pump used for drinking water. Preliminary inquiry indicated that the water had got contaminated. No similar case was identified in other houses of the locality. Residents were advised to take boiled water for next few days. The team distributed chlorine tablets and ORS packets in the village and advised the panchayat to care more for hygienic environment. Dr. Babbar said the victims suffered from septicemia also before the fatal disease.


Grain Market or truck parking lot?
Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
At a time when arrival of paddy is about to start, the local Grain Market has turned into a repairing point

for trucks. Scores of trucks can be seen parked under the shed at the market these days.

The Tribune team today visited the market and found about 50 trucks parked under the shed. While some were waiting for their turn, repair work was being carried out on others. These truckers even call mechanics for getting their vehicles repaired.

A painter had even set his temporary shop under the shed and inscribed his working hours on a wall. The market is in a bad shape with oil strewn on the floor at various points. A harvester combine is also spotted parked inside.

Truckers’ presence in the market have also attracted rehriwallas who are catering to their food requirements. These rehriwallas also park their rehris under the shed, which has added to the mess in the market. A temporary structure has also come up at the market. Just next to this structure, construction material of a building had been unloaded. Stray cattle were also spotted roaming in the market.

Even as the time for paddy’s arrival was approaching fast, no cleanliness work has been started at the market. Roads leading to the market are also in a bad shape.

The Chairman of Market Committee, Mr PK Gupta, said he had written to the district administration five or six days back in this connection. He said truckers had started parking their vehicles at the market after lifting of wheat got over. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, admitted that he had received a letter in this regard, but said the Market Committee needed to pursue the case seriously. He said all help would be provided to get those trucks removed from the market. He said the matter would be sorted out within a week. Regarding roads, the DC said he had already asked the Xen, Mandi Board, to prepare an estimate for the same.


Villagers protest against land acquisition
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 31
Farmers of Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sanghera village staged a protest demonstration near Gate No. 2 of the Courts Complex here yesterday to press the Punjab Government to withdraw notification No. 4 pertaining to acquisition of 376 acres of their land.

The farmers raised slogans against the government and Mr Rajinder Gupta, Managing-Director, Abhishek Industries, as their indefinite fast entered the day.

A nine-member group comprising Mr Bhola Singh, Mr Hari Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Jora Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Sukhvinder Singh, Mr Surjit Singh and Mr Maghar Singh sat on a 24-hour hunger strike.

The rally was addressed, among others, by Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, president, Punjab Khetiwadi Kissan Vikas Front, Mr Ujaggar Singh Bihla CPI leader, Mr Karamjit Singh Billu Congress leader, Mr Bagh Singh Lok Bhalai Party, Mr Khushia Singh, district Sangrur secretary, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, Mr Malkiat Singh, Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, Mr Manohar Lal Sharma Government Teachers Union, and Mr Mela Singh, PSEB Technical Services Employees Union, Barnala.


Memorandum to BBMB Chairman
Tribune News Service

Nangal, August 31
The BBMB Regular Clerical Union, here today demanded that the BBMB authorities should take back its decision of withdrawal of their exemption from departmental accounts exam.

In a memorandum sent to the Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, the president of the union, Mr Avtar Singh Jhangra, said the employees, recruited by the BBMB as clerks at Bhakra Dam, Beas Dam, Talwara, and BSL Project, Sudernagar, felt that all those who had completed 18 years of service on July 7, 1999, were deemed to have been exempted from qualifying from the departmental accounts exam and would automatically be promoted to the post of senior assistant.


Power cuts extended by a month
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
The Punjab State Electricity Board has decided to extend the daily power cuts being enforced in the state till the end of September. People are already reeling under power cuts ranging from eight to 13 hours for different sections for the past few months and this is unwelcome news for all consumers.

The compulsory weekly offs will continue for another month for the general industry while there will be compulsory two days off every week for category II and III consumers. A number of generating units in the state are down, adversely affecting power availability. Two units of Ranjit Sagar Dam were closed so as to maintain water level, leading to generation loss. Punjab is getting only 50 per cent of its share from the Mukerian hydel unit.

Punjab is also getting less from central pool projects, say board officials.


Police inaction alleged in abduction case
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 31
The police inaction in the alleged abduction and release of a boy has raised many eyebrows. Sources here said 13-year-old Jaidev, a resident of Rampura in the Satnampura locality, was allegedly abducted on August 21 from a nearby gurdwara.

The mother of the boy, Nirmala Devi, had lodged a complaint with the police for abduction of her son and threat to his life by cousins. The police had arrested two persons, Mangal Singh and Gurdev, of Lohanam village in Ferozepur district. After interrogation, they were let off as they were ignorant of abduction case as claimed by the police.

Nirmala Devi, while talking to The Tribune, said though her son was released but she resented the inaction of the police for not bringing to book the main accused.

However, DSP Navjot Singh denied all allegations and said there was no truth in it and added it was a case of family feud.


DC comes to kids’ rescue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 31
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, today asked the ADC to initiate appropriate action against a canteen contractor of the District Administrative Complex for employing children in his canteen.

The order came during a surprise check of the complex carried out by the DC here.

The DC said employing children under the age of 14 was illegal and, therefore, he had ordered action against the contractor concerned. He also took strong notice of filth strewn all over the complex and warned that those found messing up with cleanliness would be fined.

He also cautioned some officials missing from their seats to focus on work. He issued them written warnings on the matter.


Tributes paid to Beant Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Led by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Congress leaders paid tributes to former Chief Minister Beant Singh at his samadhi in Sector 42 here today.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, could not attend the function. A spokesperson of the state government said tonight that the Chief Minister was away to Delhi to attend a meeting of the National Integration Council convened by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

An all-religion prayer meeting was organised at the samadhi to observe his death anniversary.

Among those who paid tributes were Mrs Jaswant Kaur, widow of Beant Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, and other Punjab Ministers.

After the function, the leaders moved to Payal village of the slain Chief Minister, for the state-level function.


Plan to instal noise-monitoring devices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
About 350 noise-monitoring devices are to be installed in Punjab.

This was decided at a meeting of the state-level Noise Monitoring Cell held under the chairmanship of Mrs Romilla Dubey, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology and Environment, a spokesperson said tonight. It was also decided to launch a campaign in the state to make people aware of the hazardous effects of noise pollution.


Army team diffuses bomb
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 31
A team of experts from the Army cantonment today arrived here and diffused a mortar bomb seized by the city police yesterday during a search of a three-wheeler which had collected junk material from the military station.

According to sources, since major part of the bomb had been damaged during the routine exercise, so diffusing operation was short-timed but it could have caused casualties had the junk dealer tried to extract metal by hitting the bomb. The city police today released all seven employees of the junk contractor who was taken into custody for interrogation yesterday.


Govt asked to seek Saini’s stand
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 31
The Punjab and Haryana High court today asked the Punjab Government to ascertain the stand of IGP Sumedh Singh Saini, head of the special investigating team (SIT), on the issue of inquiry into the episode of arrest of The Indian Express journalist by SIT.

Mr Saini-led SIT is probing the Naya Gaon minor rape case on orders of the High Court. During resumed hearing of the application filed by the victim’s father, Mr Balkar Singh, and a fresh application moved by the Punjab Government, the Division Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall gave this suggestion.

While Mr Balkar Singh has sought directions to ensure that the SIT is allowed complete freedom in completing the probe into the case, the government is seeking permission to entrust the probe into the journalist’s arrest to Principal Secretary, Home, or to any independent agency like the CBI or a District and Sessions Judge. The government has stated that in view of the circumstances of arrest of the reporter, it was important to de-link the two issues i.e. the rape case and his arrest. It has also stated that the journalist was not involved in the main case.

During the hearing, Punjab Advocate General Rajinder Singh Cheema submitted that the government wanted to allay the apprehensions about possible hindrance in the work of the SIT. He pointed out that there was still two months’ time for the SIT to present the charge-sheet in the court as officially it began its work on July 20, 2005. A challan has to be presented within 90 days of start of investigations.

Referring to the suspension of one of the investigating officers, Inspector Harbans Singh, Station House Officer, Kharar, who was suspended for dereliction of duty, Mr Cheema assured the Bench that the same would not be a hindrance in the completion of investigation as he has been suspended for indiscipline.

Mr Cheema informed the Bench that the cop was suspended as he did not ensure the implementation of the orders of DGP S.S. Virk. Mr Virk had ordered him to arrange the meeting of the arrested journalist with his father and father-in-law. Not only this, the SHO later apparently became unavailable to the DGP.

Mr Cheema assured the Bench that the government was committed not to let anything hamper investigation of the case.

Hearing will now resume tomorrow when Mr Saini’s stand will be known. A number of senior police officers of Ropar, including SP Pritpal Singh, DSP Harpreet Singh and the suspended cop, were present in the court during hearing.

Later, Mr Cheema is learnt to have written to the DGP to seek the stand of Mr Saini in the matter and send the same in written form to him by tomorrow.


Rice millers not to purchase paddy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 31
Rice millers of the district have decided that they will neither purchase paddy during the ensuing paddy season nor they will store the paddy purchased by various government agencies in their premises. They reportedly took this decision in protest against the high handedness of the Food and Civil Supply Departments of the state government and the Central Government towards rice millers. A resolution in this regard was passed unanimously in a meeting of the Rice Millers Association, Fatehgarh Sahib, held here today.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, district president of the association, said the Food and Civil Supply Department of the state government had created confusion among the millers by issuing a letter of recovery cost of used surplus bardana.

He said the Central Government allowed that depreciation on gunny bags left with millers after milling of paddy into rice at 40 per cent of their cost but the state government was charging higher rates.

The state government had issued instructions to district offices to recover the cost of once used surplus bags left with the millers during 1997 to 2001 on the basis of the cost of bags used for custom milling.

He said that these orders were unjustified in the wake of permission granted by the Central Government. He demanded that this letter should be withdrawn.

Later, a memorandum in this regard was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar.


Bollworm detected on non-Bt cotton

Mansa, August 31
Though the cotton crop has been largely pest-free in the Malwa region this year, reports of a likely spotted bollworm attack are pouring in from various pockets of Mansa district. However, agricultural experts have urged the cotton farmers not to panic and spray the recommended pesticides.

Agriculture department officials and Punjab Agricultural University scientists got an indication of a spotted bollworm attack when they went on a round of cotton fields yesterday. The department officials said it was at the initial stage and was heading towards the economic threshold level (ETL). It can damage the cotton crop once it attains that level.

Experts say though the worm could not harm the crop to a large extent, at the same time the farmers need not be complacent. They ruled out the presence of any pests on Bt cotton and said no worms were spotted on any of the Bt cotton varieties.

When contacted, the Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr Amarjit Lal Sharma, said during their surveillance yesterday spotted bollworm was detected on non-Bt varieties of cotton and it was on its way to attain the ETL. — TNS


MC clears expenditure for lights, roads
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 31
Expenditure estimates for over Rs 3.50 crore for various development works to be carried out in the town were cleared at the meeting of the Municipal Council held here today.

The council has decided to spend about Rs 1.35 crore on providing streetlights in many parts of the town while over Rs 2.25 crore were going to be spent on other works which included metalling of roads, premix carpets in certain pockets, construction of drains, CC flooring, construction of boundary walls around cremation grounds etc.

The general house decided to spend Rs 5 lakh on the construction of rooms and repair of the existing council office and another Rs 5 lakh on providing manhole covers. The annual maintenance of all tubewells, including the boundary wall of the Dasehra ground tubewell, would also be done at a cost of Rs 5 lakh while a road in the Anaj Mandi area would be constructed at a cost of Rs 7.44 lakh.

Council officials said the work of providing streetlights in various parts would be done on a priority basis. Other development works would also be done as and when the funds for the same are available.

The house cleared the proposal regarding the purchase of office stationery items at a cost of Rs 70,000 shifting of power cables passing above a water fountain near the sadar octroi naka and employing two drivers for a tractor and a funeral van.

However, the item relating to the taking of development charges at the time of clearing building plans in unauthorised colonies was kept pending.

It is learnt that a municipal councillor, Mr Om Parkash Sharma, boycotted today’s meeting of the council in protest against the failure of the authorities concerned to postpone the meeting. Mr Sharma had reportedly made a request to postpone the meeting as the barsi of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh fell today.


M.P.S. Aulakh fourth DGP to retire this year
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31
Mr M.P.S. Aulakh, an IPS officer of the 1970 batch, became the fourth Director-General of Police of Punjab to retire this year. He was Director-General, Prisons. Though originally from the Gujarat cadre, Mr Aulakh had been essentially an Intelligence man.

During the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, he remained the head of the Intelligence wing. He was elevated as DGP along with the present incumbent, Mr S.S. Virk, Mr Lalit Bhatia, Mr S.C. Jain, and Dr G.S. Aujla early this year. Subsequently, Mr D.R. Bhatti, who also belonged to the 1970 batch, was also promoted as DGP.

Since the beginning of this year, Dr A.A. Siddiqui, Mr R.K. Gupta, Mr D.R. Bhatti and now Mr Aulakh have retired as DGPs. Later this year, Mr S.K. Verma, perhaps one of the seniormost IPS officers in the country, will also retire on attaining superannuation.

Today, a farewell party was organised for both Mr Bhatti and Mr Aulakh at the Gazetted Officers Mess in Sector 1 here. Mr Bhatti, who superannuated on March 31, could not be given a farewell party earlier.

After his retirement, the number of DGPs in the Punjab police has come down to six.

Next in line for promotion as DGP is Mr K.K. Attri of the 1972 batch. And close behind Mr Attri is Mr N.P.S. Aulakh, a younger brother of Mr M.P.S. Aulakh, of the 1972 batch, who is currently on deputation with the Border Security Force.

Mr M.P.S. Aulakh, who took over as DGP, Prisons, early this year, had recommended the setting up of the Punjab Jail Corporation as prisons in the state were in a pitiable condition. The government is yet to take a final view on his suggestion.

Earlier, it was he who had prepared the draft for the new Punjab Police Act. The draft is also pending before the government for approval.

Though the state government is setting up high-security modern prisons in Jalandhar and Nabha, other prisons are in a shambles. Not even a single new vehicle has been purchased by the Prisons Department for more than 15 years now. The jail hospitals are also in bad shape.


Two held with fake certificates
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 31
The Jalandhar police has arrested two persons in connection with fabrication and circulation of fake educational certificates.

According to SSP Ishwar Singh, Harmesh, a resident of Alowal, and Raj Kumar of Haripur, had been arrested and a case registered under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC.

The police claims to have recovered fake certificates from the two. The SSP, in a statement, said the two had confessed that they would fabricate certificates using a computer.

In a similar case, the police arrested one person for duping banks and financial institutions by using fabricated certificates. Gulwinder Singh, a resident of Goindwal Sahib, had been running financial companies in the name of Dilawar Finance and running a racket in its guise, using fake documents.

He had taken Rs 6 lakh from a bank and later manipulated the relevant documents to show that that the same had actually been financed by the Dilawar Finance.


Robbers attack dera
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 31
At least 13 unidentified persons with muffled faces, equipped with arms and sharp-edged weapons, suddenly appeared in Dera Baba Rangila Shah at Panam, about 52 km from here, last midnight.

According to the police, they tied the hands of Baba Surjit Deed Shah, sewadars, Joginder Ram, Mohan Lal, Davinder Kumar and Gurdeep Singh, and Bibi Jagir Kaur, who were sleeping there.

After locking them up in a room, they took away Rs 10,000 from the cash box.

All were in undergarments and conversed in Hindi.


Teachers to hold protest on September 5
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 31
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) has decided to observe Teachers Day on September 5 as protest day in Punjab and Chandigarh and thousands of teachers serving in the privately managed colleges will stage a protest march in Chandigarh to express resentment against the policies and programmes of the led Punjab Government.

Stating this here today Prof R.S. Brar and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary, respectively of the PCCTU informed that this decision was taken at a meeting of the state PCCTU office-bearers held in GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana recently. The private college teachers will assemble in front of DPI (Colleges) Punjab office at Chandigarh, stage a protest march and then organise a protest rally at ‘Matka Chowk’ on September 5.

Prof Brar regretted that a lot of resentment prevails among thousands of college teachers serving in more than 150 private colleges of Punjab. He said the casual approach as well as wrong planning was adversely affecting education in the state so much so that the state was placed 22nd in the country so far as higher education was concerned. He flayed the government’s clandestine intentions of doing away with the concept of parity between government and private college teachers.

Prof Brar while reacting to the latest recruitment ban order for private colleges, made it clear that the decision was against higher education.


Women exhorted to pursue their goals
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 31
An interaction with Manu Pathak, veteran journalist and Special Correspondent with the PTI, was organised by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, today.

Ms Pathak exhorted women to never renounce their profession for belonging to the weaker sex.

Dr Harjinder Walia, Head of the department, said no one could lure a journalist from their goal unless they desired to do so on their own.

Presiding over the functioning, Kulwant Grewal, former Professor, admired the work of Ms Pathak and said her experience would inspire women to pursue their careers with a new vigour.


NCC cadets also from professional colleges
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 31
Taking a cue from southern states, the Punjab Directorate of National Cadet Corps has mooted a proposal to enrol students from professional colleges in its various battalions from the forthcoming session.

Group Commander D.S. Goraya, Jalandhar NCC group, stated this during a prize distribution function of inter-group Thal Sainik Camp held at new cantonment here today. He said a proposal in this regard had been sent to the state government and was likely to be approved soon.

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