P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Youngsters go berserk, damage vehicles, buildings
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, September 2
Armed with swords, baseball bats, iron rods and sharpedged weapons, groups of youngsters virtually went berserk, pelted stones at some buildings and vehicles during a procession taken out in the city by various organisations to protest against the Gohana incident today.

The entire city gave a look of a cantonment with a heavy police deployment. The youngsters brandished swords and other weapons openly and indulged in stone pelting.

Shopkeepers and owners of other establishments who were forced to down their shutters as protesters marched through different parts of the city sans any action on the part of the police. Police officials tried to control the situation but their efforts largely remained fruitless as protesters were able to damage panes of about a dozen vehicles and a couple of buildings near Lyallpur Khalsa College, level crossing and at BMC Chowk.

The procession, in which workers of the Balmiki Aad Dharam Samaj, the Balmiki Sabha, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the BSP (A), and the Democratic Bharti Samaj Party participated, passed through New Courts, Sehdev Market, Ravi Dass Chowk, GT Road, Basti area and Civil Lines. They handed over a memorandum for the President of India to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta. The procession was led by Mr Pawan Tinu, Mr Vijay Hans, Mr Jiya Lal Nahar, Mr Amrit Khosla, Raj Kumar Mattu, Bishan Sahota, Raj Kumar Sabharwal, Dalits and other leaders.

Keeping in view disturbed law and order situation in the city most of the people preferred to stay home. The situation started drifting towards normalacy in the afternoon.

Phagwara: The administration heaved a sigh of relief today when the demonstration of Dalits as a backlash against Gohana episode, passed off peacefully here this afternoon. Activists of the Dalit Sangharsh Committee took out a protest march from Palahi Gate, staged dharna on the G.T. Road at sugar mill crossing, blocked vehicular traffic and raised slogans against the Haryana Government.

The protesters presented a memorandum to Phagwara SDM Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal and demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the Balmiki families whose houses had been torched in Gohana on August 31. They also demanded the release of Dalit activists who were arrested by the Phagwara police yesterday in connection with torching of a Haryana Roadways bus and withdrawal of all the cases registered in this regard.

Mr Harbhajan Suman, president, Ambedkar Sena, Punjab, who was today appointed convener of the committee for spearheading the struggle. The committee served an ultimatum to the administration that in case the arrested persons were not released before next Tuesday, then the committee would observe a Phagwara bandh on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the protesters held the rally on the G.T. Road. It was addressed by Mr Harbhajan Suman, Ms Surjit Kaur, leader of the Municipal Employees Union, Mr Ramesh Kaul, BSP councillor, and Mr Jaswinder Singh Kanugo, leader of the Revenue Employees Union.

A heavy police force was deployed at all the strategic points in Phagwara, converting the city into a virtual police fortress. Seven battalions of enforcement were requisitioned last evening in wake of torching of a Haryana Roadways bus.

The Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, Mr Sameer Kumar and the SSP, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, camped at Phagwara.

Six Dalit activists, who were arrested yesterday in connection with torching of a Haryana Roadways bus, were today remanded in judicial custody till September 16. They included Jagdeep, Vivek, Sunil, Surinder, Manohar Lal and Kuldip.

Amritsar: The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Department of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday condemned the Gohana incident.

Mr Balbir Singh Babbi and Mr Gurinder Singh Sabi, state president and general secretary of the cell, respectively, in a press note issued here alleged that the whole incident was handiwork of some senior officials of the administration belonging to Opposition in the Haryana who wanted to defame the Congress. He said if the administration failed to provide justice to Dalit families, they would proceed to Haryana in a large jatha and would protest against the administration.

Meanwhile, condemning the incident the Kendria Valmik Mandir Parbandhak Committee demanded a CBI inquiry in the whole episode. The committee also demanded to suspend SSP and DC, besides compensation to the vicitims of the incident.

NAWANSHAHR: Activisits of the district unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Friday took out a protest march from the local BSP office to the office of the Deputy Commissioner to protest against the Gohana incident in Haryana. Mr Hargopal Singh, former MLA and state general secretary of the BSP, Mr Parveen Banga, district BSP president and Zila Parishad member, Dr Nachhatar Pal, state general secretary, and Mr Purshottam Chadda, state secretary, were among others participated in the protest march. They submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner for submission to the President of India.

ABOHAR: Hundreds of citizens, including women and children, on Friday took out a protest march to express resentment over the arson in Balmiki Basti at Gohana in Haryana and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Workers of the Bhartiya Balmiki Dharam Samaj (BBDS), Adi Dharam Samaj and Sweepers Union assembled at the Balmiki temple in Sant Nagar. They marched through main roads of the town carrying banners, placards and an “effigy” of Mr. Hooda. Women led the procession and raised slogans against the Haryana Government. The effigy was set on fire near the municipal general bus stand. They submitted a memorandum to the SDM Mr Jaskiram Singh. They said miscreants responsible for the Gohana incident should be immediately arrested.

HOSHIARPUR: Activists of the BSP led by Mr Sumitter Singh, president of the district unit, and Mr Gurlal Singh Saila, secretary state unit, staged dharna and organised rally in front of mini secretariat here on Friday in protest against the Gohana incident. Later they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, for its forwarding to the President of India.


Cotton MSP: Punjab short-changed
Gujarat, Maharashtra favoured
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Though the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) would start procurement operations when the produce started arriving in the state’s markets next month, Punjab’s cotton growers are facing a serious problem regarding the revision of the minimum support price.

Long ago Punjab farmers had stopped growing medium staple cotton and changed over to long staple cotton. Cotton with a staple length of up to 24mm is called medium staple and that with a staple length of more than 28 mm long staple. However, at the time of the fixing of the minimum support price, the expert committee of the Union Government categorises Punjab cotton as medium staple and fixes its minimum support price below that of long staple cotton. Last year the minimum support price for Punjab cotton was pegged at Rs 1,835 per quintal while the price for the same quality of cotton grown in Gujarat and Maharashtra was fixed at Rs 1,925.

Interestingly, trade circles say that though Punjab cotton is purchased by grading it as medium staple, it is sold to factories and in the international market as long staple cotton at a higher price. Farmers have been making representations to the Union Government to do away with this discrimination in the fixing of the MSP. However, no one has addressed this issue. The previous Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had written to the Centre in this regard but he failed to ensure justice to the farmers.

Informed sources said the present government had also taken up the issue with the Centre. To what extent this government will be successful, remains to be seen. There are strong cotton lobbies in Maharashtra and Gujarat which remain active to keep the price of cotton in northern states lower than that in their states. These lobbies also play a crucial role in determining the timing of the announcement for the export of cotton.

Meanwhile, the sources said that the CCI had given an assurance on entering the Punjab markets after Capt Amarinder Singh took up this issue with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. The presence of the CCI in the markets will at least ensure that the cotton price will not fall below Rs 1,835 per quintal, the MSP fixed for Punjab cotton. However, this year the cotton price is expected to remain above Rs 2,000 per quintal because the crop in Gujarat and Maharashtra has suffered a setback because of heavy rains and floods.

Punjab, which has sown the cotton crop on 5.70 lakh hectares this year, has fixed a target of producing 22.50 lakh bales. However, Capt Amarinder Singh expects the production to go up to 30 lakh bales as the crop is in good health and free from the attack of pests so far.


NRI held for deserting wife
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, September 2
Yet another girl of this town became of victim of an NRI after she was abandoned for demand of dowry just after three days of marriage. The family, unable to bear the stigma, complained to the police following which the ‘groom’, a resident of Donala village in Nangal, was put behind bars.

Daughter of a flourmill owner, who was running a computer centre in the city, came in contact with Balkrishan alias Ballu of Donala village through Internet two-and-a-half months ago. They had telephonic conservations and finally their family members agreed for their marriage, and the ring ceremony was held on August 24.

August 28 was fixed the date of marriage as the groom was to return to Germany.

Narrating the sequence of episode, the girl lamented that Ballu, while accompanying her to Nangal, enquired about passport, if she had as they had to fly to Germany. She claimed that a phone call was made to her parents who subsequently handed over her passport to them.

She alleged her mother-in-law and a sister-in-law took her jewellery as it was not required after she reached home. “When we stopped in a hotel in Ropar on August 28, Ballu asked me that he required Rs 5 lakh for taking her to Germany. He showed me certain photographs of some women known to him and claimed that three of them were his wives in Germany,” alleged the girl.

“The very next day we left for honeymoon and stayed in a hotel in Sector 22, Chandigarh. There, he started demanding money and ill-treating me. I made a phone call to my parents and also disclosed an episode after he forced me to demand money from my parents. “I found him missing along with the language when I woke up at about 5.30 am on August 30,” she claimed.

Family members of the victim were shocked when they saw her at their doorsteps after three days of her marriage. The family later approached the police and a complaint against him and his two sisters was lodged in the Model Town police station.

Taking a serious note of the complaint of the girl, the Hoshiarpur police sent a team to Nangal and arrested the suspect and his family members last evening. The suspects were today produced in a court and were remanded in police custody for two days.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP from Hoshiarpur, today visited the house of the aggrieved family and consoled them.


“Scam” rocks GND varsity project
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 2
Alleged financial irregularities in the purchases made under FIST (Fund for Improvement in S&T infrastructure), relating to the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, rocked Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

The university authorities are worried about the alleged financial irregularities in the wake of the proposed visit of a Central Government team to the city this month.

In a missive to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Kulwant Singh Thind, Head, Department of Physics of the university, has reported that the purchase of various equipment was made by his predecessor, Prof T. S. Gill, in gross violation of the norms laid down by the university and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

The university had been granted Rs 15 lakh by the Central Government for the purchase of the equipment, networking and computation work. Instead of making purchases from the firm approved by the university, the former Head of Physics purchased the equipment from another firm.

However, when contacted, Prof Gill, while confirming that the equipment had been purchased from the firm which was not approved by the university, claimed that he had purchased “superior material” because the approved firm had been unable to supply the same. He said the purchases were made with the consent of the firm approved by the university.

However, Dr S. P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, feigned ignorance about the complaint of financial irregularities, which had been received by his office a couple of days ago.

Copies of the complaint have also been received by the office of Registrar, Dean Academic Affairs, and the Finance and Development Officer of the university.

When asked whether he would order a probe into the matter, the Vice-Chancellor said he would decide only after going through the complaint when he received it.

There is a glaring difference between the rates of the firm approved by the university and those on which the purchases were made. However, the bills were allegedly procured from the approved firm.

A copy of the complaint is with The Tribune. According to it, as per the entries in the stock register a bill pertains to the purchase of diffusion pump with accessories, which is not physically available in any of the laboratories of the university. Some of the equipment purchased are not on the list of 28 items approved by the department of Science and Technology.


Hawara case: 16 not to be charged
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Sixteen persons are to be excluded from the list of those who have been booked by the Punjab police for allegedly harbouring or helping terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara.

Sources in the Punjab police said 60 persons had been booked during the past three months after Hawara was nabbed by the Delhi police in Patiala in June.

The police is also considering the dropping of charges against three persons who were “suspected to be human bombs in the making” or suicide bombers, said the sources. This is yet to be finalised.

The Punjab police had alleged that several persons were linked to Hawara’s network and rounded them up. RDX was recovered from some while others just happened to know Hawara. Some of those to be let off knew Hawara but had not helped him.

A few of them may have offered shelter to Hawara out of fear. There was no concrete evidence against these 16 persons said a senior official.

In the last week of July, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, hauled up police officers for creating an unnecessary scare among people through hype regarding terrorist-related cases, “human bombs” and recoveries.

Recently, the police withdrew its case against Mrs Manjot Kaur in court allowing her to walk free. She had been booked for serious offences like possessing RDX. The police claimed she was arrested in Punjab. Her 10-year-old son claimed his mother was picked from their home in Sector 34 here. He had then called up the Chandigarh police control room in this connection.

The sources said the Chief Minister was aware that certain persons had been detained under the garb of “investigating cases against terrorists.” He had cautioned police officers “not to harass and intimidate anybody.” Following the dressing down from the Chief Minister, the SSPs were forced to change their investigating tactics. They started investigations before registering cases related to terrorist activity.


Villagers lock horns over power line
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
With residents of Manaa village objecting to the passing of the 11 KV 24-hour power supply line to Raike Kalan village via their village, both parties have locked horns over the issue. Though the police said they had reached an agreement, the residents of Raike Kalan denied it.

Sources said power board officials, who were reportedly contemplating police action, had calmed down. Initially the residents of Manaa had objected to the passing of the power line through their village but the situation worsened when they uprooted electricity poles and cut off power cables.

The residents of Raike Kalan staged a dharna on Wednesday and did not allow any bus to go towards Manaa. They also formed a five-member committee.

General secretary of Youth Congress Kulwinder Singh said the villagers had received a compromise call, for which they were called to Manaa. On the other hand, sarpanch Sukhpal Singh said if anybody wanted an agreement, he would have to come to Raike Kalan. The committee members said they would continue the dharna till the residents of Manaa re-installed the uprooted poles. They said they would not allow residents of Manaa to pass through their village.

Meanwhile, BKU leader Baldev Singh, who is leading the residents of Manaa, alleged that the electricity board was installing 11 KV line without the consent of the villagers. He alleged that though the line should have passed over Manaa’s waterworks and fields, the board had taken it over the streets, posing a serious threat to the villagers.

The SDO concerned said they were ready to take the line from the village’s outskirts.

The SHO of the Lambi police station said the issue had been resolved and no case had been registered.

Asked about the dharna, he said the village fell in Bathinda and he could not say anything about it. The sources said the residents of Manaa also met Congress leader Maheshinder Singh Badal and some police officials.

The PSEB SE, Mr BD Bayal, said the Xen had written to the police for initiating action against those who had uprooted the poles.


MC poll: confusion over total wards in Amloh
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 2
With the State Election Commission issuing a notification regarding elections to Municipal Council Amloh and byelection in Ward No.2 and 9 of Sirhind, hectic political activities have started in both towns of the district. Moreover, the district administration has started making arrangements for conducting poll in a free and fair manner.

Confusion prevailed in both towns over the number of wards where elections are to be held. As per the notification, the total number of wards in Amloh town are 12, where as there are 13 wards in the town.

Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM-cum-returning officer, has now written to the ADC(D), who is also Additional District Election Officer, to take up the matter with the State Election Commissioner. The ADC(D) has further taken up the matter with the State Election Commission. The omission of one ward has created confusion among the administration, prospective candidates as well as people.

Similarly, in Sirhind town the State Election Commission has issued a notification to conduct byelections in Ward No 2 and 9 of the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib. But in Ward No. 9 Mr Ashok Kumar Sood, who was disqualified as Municipal Councillor by the Secretary, Local Self Government, had challenged his disqualification in the High Court. The High Court had quashed the disqualification orders and Mr Sood submitted a memorandum to the SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, who is also the returning officer for Sirhind.

Mr Daljit Singh, SDM, said Mr Sood had presented a copy of the High Court order quashing the orders of the Secretary, Local Self Government, removing him from the membership of the council. He said he had written to the State Election Commission for further clarification. The election process in this ward would be started only after getting clarification, he added.

As per the schedule issued by the commission, the last date for filing nominations would be September 8, scrutiny September 9 and the last date for withdrawal would be September 10. The polling would take place on September 18 from 8am to 4pm. The counting of votes would start immediately after the completion of polling at the polling station.


Notices served on lift pump owners
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, September 2
The Irrigation Department has served notices on owners of lift pumps installed at Sirhind Feeder in Gidderbaha and adjoining areas for removing the same. The pumps, with permanent structures, had been drawing water illegally from the canal even after termination of the agreement on March 31, 2004, sources said.

Farmers of the Abohar region termed it eyewash as the department had initiated action at the end of the four-week period given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Some sarpanches of the subdivision had filed a writ petition demanding the removal of the pumps that derived 135 cusecs of water against the interests of farmers here at the tail-end of canals.

The high court had on July 28 directed the department to take action against lift pumps operating on canals in various parts of the state. The court observed that the canal authorities had stated in unequivocal terms that some lift pumps were being operated without sanction. The canal authorities could not shirk their responsibility from enforcing decisions taken under the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act 1873. It contained provisions for taking action against the illegal extraction of water from canal or drains.

The canal authorities, denying the allegations of their connivance with pump operators, had stated that due to shortage of water no permission had been granted after May 31, 2004, for running such pumps. Keeping in view the drought-like conditions in the state, the Irrigation Minister held a meeting with the canal authorities on June 15, 2004, and decided to discontinue with the lift pumps. Accordingly, instructions were issued to the SE, Ferozepore Canal Circle, to supply canal water in cotton sowing area for the next 15 days and later remove all lift pumps alongside Sirhind feeders.

The Pump Operators Association said they had been assured by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that no injustice would be done to them. Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, leader of the SAD in the State Assembly, said on Wednesday that the lift pumps, if removed, would be restored by the SAD if voted to power.


Close-circuit cameras at railway stations
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 2
Close-circuit TV cameras will be soon installed at railway platforms at Chandigarh, Ambala and Saharanpur to strengthen the security arrangement, Mr A. K. Gupta, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala, said during an inspection at Abohar and Sriganganagar railway stations on Wednesday. He ruled out possibility of electrifying rails on the New Delhi – Abohar-Sriganganagar section in the next two decades at least.

Mr Gupta said out of 259 unmanned rail crossings in the rural areas in this division, funds were available only for converting 20 of these in to manned crossings this year. These included Kotha Pucci, Hindumalkot and Panjkosi on the Abohar – Sriganganagar section. Sheds on the platforms at Malout and Gidderbaha railway stations would be extended with a cost of Rs 115 lakh during the current financial year.

There was no proposal to make overbridge on the local college road as it involved heavy contribution from the Local Municipal Council, he said. The citizens had told the department that the council was unable to pay salaries to the staff regularly.

The Additional DRM inspected the bridge that connected localities on both sides of the railway station. It had patches on sidewalls made of iron sheets and damaged stairs. Senior railway officers said the bridge would be renovated. They had also agreed to widen the street linking bridge to Nai Abadi and install streetlights but nothing was done during the last two years, people told Mr Gupta. 


Morcha not to allow MC to lift carcasses
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 2
The Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha yesterday resolved not to allow the municipal contractors to lift the carcass of cows found dead in the city streets. The morcha during a meeting held in ward no. 12 here under mass contact campaign decided that the cows be cremated by the workers of the organisation.

The workers of the morcha alleged that there had been an unusual increase in the number of deaths of stray cattle in the town. Mr Sandeep Rinwa and Mr Bhupinder Snehi, district secretary and block president of the BJP, respectively, regretted that the sub division did not have a gaushala to house the stray cattle.


IMA opposes amendment Bill
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 2
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, has opposed the move of the Union Health Ministry to table the Indian Medical Council(Amendment)Bill, 2005,in Parliament.

A press note issued by Dr Raman K.Aggarwal, Director, Studies, IMA College of General Practitioners, Punjab Faculty, said that if the Bill was passed in Parliament then the Medical Council of India(MCI) would have bureaucratic control which would not be in the interest of medical professionals as it would be affecting the functioning and standards of medical education in the country.

There was an urgent need of coordination between the government and the MCI in order to improve its working rather than bring the proposed amendments in the existing IMC Act, 1956, Dr Aggarwal added.


37 fresh cases of diarrhoea
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 2
Though the epidemic of diarrhoea in Behmawa, Fatehpur, Ram Nangal and Siri Pandaian villages of this district seemed under control, 37 fresh cases from these villages were reported at the relief camp in Fatehpur yesterday. This was stated by Dr S. K. Sharma, District Health Officer. He said medicines had been given to the patietns who had complained of dysentery and vomiting. All had been discharged.

Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, who is monitoring relief operations in the affected villages, said more than 40 health workers had been deputed in the villages.

After the chlorination of the reservoir of Fatehpur, the water supply had been resumed yesterday. She said four teams of doctors were operating in these villages to check the epidemic. 


Punsup staff to go on mass casual leave
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
Members of the Punsup Employees Union, Punjab, have decided to go on mass casual leave and hold a demonstration in front of the Punsup office at Chandigarh on September 23 to lodge their protest against the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned towards their genuine demands.

Mr Vidhu Shekhar Bhardwaj, general secretary of the union, said a decision in this connection was taken at a meeting of the state committee of the union held here today.

Mr Bhardwaj in a press note issued here said the union was agitated over the fact that the authorities concerned had not restored those allowances which were withdrawn by it earlier and subsequently allowed by the board of directors.

Apart from it, the employees were being issued charge-sheets on false and flimsy grounds. These employees could be seen daily at their headquarters office in connection with different inquiries which they had been facing.

He said the union also wanted that the Punsup management should also implement all those long-pending demands which had already been accepted.


Anganwadi workers breach security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
A group of 50-odd women anganwadi workers from Punjab breached the so-called tight security around the Punjab Civil Secretariat here and also north of Madhya Marg, as they reached the main gate of the secretariat.

Normally protesters are not allowed beyond Matka Chowk, 3 km south of the Secretariat. For more than 45 minutes, men of the Central Industrial Security Force, responsible for security inside the Secretariat, grappled with these women.

The Chandigarh Police, responsible for security around the complex, sent its force to arrest the women much later. By then, a commotion had ensued.

The anganwadi workers managed to fool the Chandigarh Police.

They formed small groups of three or four and boarded autorickshaws to reach the roundabout near the Punjab and Haryana High Court. From there, they walked into the Secretariat posing as visitors.


Appeal to Vedanti on seva by women

Chandigarh, September 2
Mr Hardeep Singh, member of the SGPC from Mohali, has urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and the other Sikh high priests to take bold steps to ensure that Sikh women are allowed to do seva in the Golden Temple.

He said there were certain organisations which had established their monopoly over the seva and were now trying to prevent women from performing it. — TNS


Two ASIs, 5 police officials suspended
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 2
In late night checking of various police stations, Senior Superintendent of Police, Batala, Jatinder Jain, suspended two assistant sub-inspectors of Police and five other police officials of different police stations.

Confirming the news, Dr Jain, stated that last night he along with DSP, City, Ashwini Kumar checked police station, Civil Lines, where everything was found in order but while passing through a naka point he found an SPO absent from duty who used to ply a taxi at night. He was immediately transferred to Police Lines.

Thereafter, a decoy witness was sent at midnight with an application to police station, Qila Lal Singh, where Major Singh, nightmoharar, was present. The decoy complainant witness asked the munshi to send force to his village and also offered bribe to him but he refused to accept the illegal gratification, he rather assured the complainant of all police help. Later, the SSP gave a commendation certificate to Major Singh.

While checking police station, city, Batala, ASI Harbhajan Singh, head constables Nirajan Das and Naresh Kumar were suspended on the spot by the SSP for dereliction of duty.


Inside Babudom
Post of DGP (Prisons) goes
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The Punjab Government, in an apparent bid to cut down on a top heavy police administration, today did away with one post of Director-General of Police (Prisons) and decided that an Additional DGP, who is one rank junior to DGP, will work as ADGP, Prisons.

Mr H.R. Chaddha, a 1978 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, working as Inspector-General of Police, Punjab Human Right Commission, has been promoted as ADGP (Prisons). An order issued by the Home Secretary, Mr A.K. Dubey, says the post of DGP (Prisons) has been “downgraded” and the ADGP will hold charge.

It may be recalled, last year it was decided to re-structure the police. Three posts of ADGP were decided to be abolished as and when these fell vacant. Two posts of IGP and five of DIG were to be abolished, it was decided.

The Punjab Government, in a separate order, has allowed the promotion of Mr G.S. Sahota, Deputy Inspector-General, as IGP.

Both promotions of Mr Sahota and Mr Chaddha are with effect from September 1. Also, the Punjab Government affected a minor reshuffle. Mr Sahota will be posted as IG, Punjab Armed Police, replacing Mr M.K. Tewari, who will be the new IG, Punjab Human Rights Commission.

In the last week of July, the Punjab Government had held back the promotions of five Indian Police Service (IPS) officers (Mr Sahota and Mr Chaddha included), saying there were no vacancies.

The promotions have come about after a post fell vacant. Till now, promotions were based on the batch, which determines the seniority of the official. All officers of the same batch were normally promoted in one go.

This resulted in a top heavy police administration that had at least seven DGP — some working on inconsequential or unimportant posts. Also, a host of ADGPs, IGs and DIGs, all added up to the Administrative expense.

In the past two decades, the Punjab Police had become top heavy as promotions of IPS officers were speeded-up during the days of militancy. The same formula for promoting IPS officers was being followed even though the militancy ended more then 10 years ago.

Various bodies, like the Bureau of Police Research Development , had pointed out this to the Punjab Police. Also, this meant officials of the Punjab Police enjoyed seniority which was not available to their batchmates working in other state cadres.


Poor given cheques to build houses
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 2
The district administration today granted 1.5 lakh cheques to poor persons to build houses while hearing the grievances of residents in Morinda sub-division of the district. A total of Rs 50,000 will be given to each needy person in different instalments, said the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Mr H.I.S Garewal, here yesterday.

Taking note of the problems raised by the people, the administration has directed to set up a tubewell for locals in Morinda, he added.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Tourism, who was also the committee to hear the grievances said the officials of the administration had been advised to take up the problems of villagers brought to their notice by the panchayat’s and their local leaders.

On the other problems raised by the villagers about old age pension, Mr Garewal asked the villagers bring these to notice of the administration and assured them that the cases would be solved on priority basis.


Petrol pump workers sham robbery to embezzle Rs 54,000
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 2
Two employees working at a petrol pump at Bhabat village near here, shammed a robbery by four armed persons on gunpoint in a bid to embezzle Rs 54,000 of sale collections. The local police after cracking the canard in cross-questioning arrested both accused on the charges of inflicting voluntary injuries to sham robbery.

A case has been registered against them under Section 394 of the IPC on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Krishan Kumar, owner of the petrol pump.

Giving details of the incident, police sources said, Tarlochan Singh and Bhagwant Singh, both resident of Naina village, near Rajpura, called the pump owner Krishan Kumar at around 5 am today. As per their plan, they told Mr Krishan Kumar that four persons armed with two pistols and two daggers came in a red colour Qualis jeep to the petrol pump and looted Rs 54,000. They further said the robbers injured them before decamping with the cash.

After getting information, Mr Krishan Kumar informed the police.

The DSP and the SHO of the area, besides the in charge of the Focal Point police station petrol pump reached the spot which is barely a kilometre away from the police station. The police questioned both employees along with two other workers at the petrol station.

The other two employees, Kulwant Singh and Prem Bahadur told the police a different story and contended that no robbery had taken place at the petrol pump. This made the police suspicious and it thoroughly interrogated Tarlochan Singh and Bhagwant Singh. The duo later confessed to have stage-managed the crime.

The police further added that as per their plans the accused inflicted injuries on themselves in an attempt to substantiate their claim. They got dressing on their wounds from a private doctor. The police took them to Civil Hospital in Rajpura for a medical examination.


Student shot at in group clash
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
A clash between two groups of students of the Amritsar College of Engineering and Technology, Manawala, about 10 km away from here, today turned violent as a student was shot at and injured.

Mr Harkirat Singh, IT (II) student, received a bullet injury and was hospitalised. As per information available, two group of students clashed on the college premises yesterday also.

Following the incident the college was closed. Till the filing of this report the police had neither registered any case nor arrested any person. The police sources said investigation was going on.


200 quintals of spurious salt confiscated
Tribune News Service

Madhopur (Gurdaspur), September 2
The district health authorities today confiscated around 2,000 bags containing about 200 quintals of spurious iodised salt at Madhopur barrier. It was being transported to Jammu and Kashmir.

The salt was packaged under brand names — Bata, Ashoka, Sewak, Lal Quila, Sagufa, Marble Active Salt, Safal, Lehar and White Gold.

There were no bills for the salt with the persons transporting it. They just had the name of the place from where it was being brought and the destination where it was to be reached.

The packets carried the addresses of firms based in the Phalodi industrial area of Rajasthan. All the confiscated brands are manufactured at certain Phalodi-based firms. The salt was marketed by certain traders of Moga and Amritsar.

About 2,600 kg of spurious Nova desi ghee was confiscated from Pathankot-based traders. As per the norms the department concerned should have destroyed the seizure by now, but it is still lying with it.

Hoshiarpur: Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, has passed orders to take samples of salt in all blocks of the district to check the use of non-iodised salt.


Murder accused held
Our Correspondent

Faridkot. September 2
The police has claimed to have solved a five-month-old murder case of a retired teacher, Harnek Singh of Muktsar town, with the arrest of Nirmal Singh Fauji, a resident of the same area.

Giving details in this regard at a press conference here today, SSP M.F. Farooqui said the deceased allegedly had illicit relations with the wife of the killer. On March 31, the accused along with Jasvir Kaur of the same town invited the teacher at his house and got him drunk. Later, both took him to nearby Wara Daraka village and strangulated him with a rope.

During interrogation Jasvir Kaur, who is also allegedly involved in another murder case, confessed to the crime, the SSP said.

In another case of robbery, the Jaito police has arrested three of the four robbers who attempted to commit a robbery in the house of a doctor in the town.

The accused have been identified as Gurpreet Singh, Bhola Singh, and Jaskaran Singh. The fourth culprit, Malkiat Singh, managed to escape. 


Patwari held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
When Satnam Singh, Patwari (revenue official) of the Hariyau Khurd area of Patran Tehsil left for the house of Mr Mehal Singh to collect bribe money, little did he know that he would be falling into the Vigilance Bureau net.

The moment Satnam Singh collected Rs 10,000 as bribe money from Mr Mehal Singh in lieu of registering the will executed by his deceased brother in connection with 14 acres of land, he was caught by a team of the Vigilance Bureau headed by DSP Banarasi Dass, which had already laid a trap in the house of Mr Mehal Singh.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Patiala, said after getting annoyed with the conduct of Satnam Singh, Mr Mehal Singh, who was making efforts for registering the will of his deceased brother in connection with the transfer of 14 acres of land, approved the Vigilance Bureau.

He said Satnam Singh was demanding Rs 1,000 per acre for transferring land. However, both complainant and accused struck a deal and as per the deal Mr Mehal Singh was supposed to pay Rs 10,000 in advance and rest of the money after his work done by Satnam Singh.

Mr Bhullar pointed out that after Satnam Singh was caught, a search was carried out at his house and the Vigilance Bureau found that the accused had collected huge assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

He said it was found that the accused along with members of his immediate family was owing two residential plots with two shops constructed on one of them in Patran town, a big double-storeyed house in their native village Junpur Duggal and LIC policies worth Rs 5 lakh.

The accused had also purchased a car worth Rs 2.5 lakh recently. The joint account, which the accused was holding with his wife, revealed that a number of entries were there under which the accused had deposited Rs 50,000 in the bank in one go despite the fact that his salary was around Rs 9,000 per month. The accused was having one scooter also.

A case in this connection was registered at Vigilance Bureau police station, Patiala. The accused would be produced in the court tomorrow.


State Award for 14 teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The Punjab Government has selected 14 teachers for the State Award to be presented on September 5, Teachers’ Day. Of these, 10 teachers are from secondary schools and four from elementary schools.

No teacher from private schools has been selected for the award. However, the fact remains that private schools have shown a far better performance than government schools in the state. In most urban areas, private schools are playing a crucial role in imparting education. “The state government should not discriminate against private schools as far as honouring teachers is concerned”, says a retired educationist of Punjab.

Though there are 17 districts in Punjab, the teachers selected for the award are only from eight districts — Ropar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepore, and Hoshiarpur.

The teachers selected are Dr Sarabjit Kaur Sohal, Punjabi lecturer, Government Senior Secondary School, Phase IIIBI, Mohali; Mr Sukhdev Singh, officiating Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Manak Majra, Ludhiana; Mrs Kamaljit Kaur, Principal, Shaheed-e-Azam, Sukhdev Thapar Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, Ludhiana; Mrs Kuljinder Kaur Randhawa, lecturer, English, Government Senior Secondary School, Phase-IIIBI, Mohali; Ms Parkash Kumar, Government Senior Secondary School, Sohana, Ropar; Mrs Surinderjit Kaur, Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Bhucho Kalan, Bathinda; Mr Tara Singh, lecturer, mathematics, Government Senior Secondary School, Palsa, Jalandhar; Mr Dharampal, Hindi master, Government Senior Secondary School, Lohian Khas; Mr Gurbachan Singh, Headmaster, Government High School, Buttar Kalan; and Mrs Mukhwinder Kaur, Principal Senior Kanya Secondary School, Mahan Singh Road, Amritsar.

Elementary schools:

Mr Roop Singh Jassal, Head Teacher, Government Primary School, Mansa Khurad; Mr Omparkash, Head Teacher, Government Primary School, Khilchi Jadid, Ferozepore; Mr Parminder Singh, science master, Government School, Dhada Kalan, Hoshiarpur; and Mr Sukhdev Singh, science master, Government School, Mianwind, Amritsar.


Students allege discrimination by bus operators
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 2
The problems of college students having bus pass continue unabated in this area. The crew of most of the buses either refuse to lift them or drop them at a place far off from their colleges.

In a latest incident, around 12 students of local Guru Nanak College were today taken as far as 15 km away from Phagwara by a PRTC bus. The students had boarded the bus from the bus stand. When they asked the conductor to drop them at a request bus stop on the Phagwara-Banga road near the college, the crew of the bus did not drop the students at their destination. Later, they were dropped at a police naka ahead of Behram, a sub-town of Banga. They were allegedly made to cool their heels for several hours at the naka by the police.

The students alleged that bus crew abused them, but the police personnel at the naka asserted that it was the other way round. 


Education board Chairman authorised to appoint Secy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 2
Members of the governing body of the Punjab School Education Board authorised the Chairman, Prof Harbans Singh Sidhu, to appoint the new Secretary of the board on a temporary basis. The decision was taken at a meeting of the board members held here today.

The post of the Secretary was earlier held by Mr Mohinder Bir Singh, who had come here on deputation.

According to the Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Ordinance, 2005, issued by the Punjab Governor recently, the board shall appoint a person to be its Secretary from a panel prepared and sent by the state government consisting of the officers of the government and the eligible officers of the board. However, no panel had been sent by the government for the meeting held here.

The proposal relating to the 1:1 assistant-clerk ratio was cleared by the board members.

The board members have also authorised the Chairman to select three members of the finance committee. A new teacher welfare fund committee is also to be constituted by Prof Sidhu.

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