P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cancel GPAs to expose benami land deals: DGP
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
“If the government is serious in exposing those engaged in ‘benami’ land transactions in the periphery of important towns, including Chandigarh, it should order cancellation of all general powers of attorney (GPAs) and direct the Revenue Department to establish ownership of land in the periphery of important towns,” says the Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk.

Admitting, that besides bureaucrats and politicians other influential persons are involved in the “benami and speculative land transactions”, he says it is a “mammoth problem which needs a thorough free and fair probe.

Mr Virk, who had issued a letter to all district police chiefs immediately after taking over as DGP to identify ‘land mafias’ operating in their respective areas, says that “nothing much came out of that exercise”.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, Inspector-General of Police, Economic Offences, had in a letter to the DGP, demanded that an inquiry into “benami” land transactions in the periphery of Chandigarh should be entrusted with the CBI. Responding to his demand, the Punjab Chief Minister had asked the DGP for a report.

Most bureaucrats, including police officers, and politicians hold ‘benami’ properties, misusing GPAs. “They not only deny the state its legitimate stamp duty, but also violate service rules,” adds Mr Virk.

He says all this is happening because of connivance of middle and lower-rung officials of the Police and Revenue Departments with “land grabbers”, who have been operating as real estate agents, colonisers and developers.

Mr Virk says he has requested the Principal Secretary, Home, Mr A.K. Dube, to insist upon the state government for cancellation of GPAs before any inquiry or probe is held to find out those holding “benami properties”.

“We have to undertake a systematic probe by identifying each and every village with its available land and establishing rightful ownership of each and every inch of it. Otherwise, it is difficult to contain the activities of the land mafia and land grabbers who are becoming powerful and influential day by day,” says Mr Virk.

The problem is more severe in areas where there is a boom in real estate. The periphery of Chandigarh is a gold mine where complaints and cases of land grab are frequent. In most cases, he says, senior bureaucrats and politicians back either the complainant or the aggrieved party.

Police officials admit that besides land grabbing and “benami” transactions, there are various groups who have been cheating innocent people by selling the same piece of land to many buyers on fake and fictitious documents.

They maintain that “benami” transactions and land grabbing is nothing new, but the quantum jump in their incidence is alarming.


Cong rule because of Dalits, says Dullo
Tribune News Service

Talwandi (Ludhiana), September 4
In the wake of incidents of violence reported against the Dalits in some parts of the country, Pradesh Congress Committee President Shamsher Singh Dullo today warned the party and the government against ignoring their (the Dalits’) interests.

He said if the Congress was in power, it was mainly because of the support of the weaker sections of the society, like the Dalits. However, he did not make any specific references to the incidents of recent violence.

Mr Dullo was addressing a function here today organised in the memory of Buta Singh Azad, former convener of the Vimukat Jatis Cell of the All-India Congress Committee.

Mr Dullo and Education Minister Punjab Harnam Dass Johar also laid the foundation stone of a dharamshala to be constructed in the memory of the leader.


Dullo moots mass contact drive
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 4
Virtually giving a strong message that the Congress was all set to take on its rival SAD with a renewed vigour by initiating a state-wide mass contact programme at the grassroots level, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has indicated that the Congress-led state government was also contemplating to extend some relief to urban people in water and sewage bills on the lines of the rural sector.

Meanwhile, Mr Dullo, who was accompanied by a number of senior Congress leaders, including, the PPCC General Secretary, Mr Parminder Singh, gave an indication that though the workers were the soul of the party, there would be no place for sycophancy and indiscipline. At the same time, he asserted that he would be accessible to each and every worker on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh.

Mr Dullo and Mr Parminder Singh also participated in a seminar on the “Reservation in Private Sector” at local Ambedkar Bhavan, organized by the Ambedkar Trust.

Giving a hint that the party had something in store for the urban people too, Mr Dullo said the Punjab Government could extend some sort of relief to them as far bills of water and sewage were concerned. “We are considering the matter and decision to this effect will be taken by the government shortly,” said Mr Dullo.

Mr Dullo and Mr Parminder Singh said the PPCC was all set to initiate a mass contact programme with the help of the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. During the programme grassroots-level workers would be approached and their grievances would be redressed.

Criticising the attack on houses of Dalits in Gohana in Haryana, Mr Dullo said he would write a letter about it to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda.


Balmikis jam traffic
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
Hundreds of Balmikis today staged a protest marchand jammed the traffic on the Sirhind- Chandigarh road at Bassi Pathana town in protest against the Gohana incident. They burnt tyres on the road and raised slogans against the Haryana Government.

Long queues of stranded vehicles were witnessed on the both sides of the road. The passengers had to face great inconvenience. The police, however, controlled the situation and persuaded the leaders to lift jam.


45,000 cases of atrocities on Dalits in one year, says Suraj Bhan
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 4
More than 45,000 cases of atrocities against Dalits and downtrodden have been registered in India, while the actual number of such incidents could be 1 lakh during the past one year alone.

This was disclosed by Mr Suraj Bhan, Chairman of the National SC and ST Commission, who was here today to participate in a seminar organised by the Ambedkar Trust on the subject of reservation in privatisation.

Mr Suraj Bhan, who was accompanied by Mr Vijay Sampla and Chaudhary Swarna Ram, the general secretary and vice-president of the state BJP told mediapersons after the seminar that though about 45,000 cases were registered in the country, but the number of those cases, which were either suppressed or went unnoticed, could easily go up to 1 lakh.

He said though the maximum number of cases of atrocities against Dalits and downtrodden were reported from Andhra, Dalits and downtrodden of Punjab and Haryana were subjected to indifference of the bureaucracy and the police.

Referring to the Gohana incident, Mr Suraj Bhan said the commission probe had established that 55 houses of Dalits were torched in the presence of the police, which did nothing except being a mute spectator to the horror show. He said the DC, the SP and intelligence agencies were aware in advance that a decision to torch houses had been taken by some people. said Mr Suraj Bhan.

Speaking at the seminar at Ambedkar Bhavan, Mr Suraj Bhan said the menace of untouchability could not be eradicated until the country was freed from the caste-based system.

Prof Tulsi Ram of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Dr Ram Lal Jassi and Ms Bhajan Kaur read their papers, while Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Gurvinder Atwal, MLA, Surinder Mahey, Mayor, and Mr Tejinder Bittu, Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, participated in the seminar.

Meanwhile, the commission has summoned the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the rise in a number of cases of atrocities on Dalits in these states.

Suraj Bhan said the raising trend in the cases of atrocities on Dalits was a matter of great concern and he had sent summons to the Chief Secretaries in this connection.


Punjab to widen 13 highways
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Stung by adverse public reaction on the poor condition of roads in the state, the Punjab Government has started a major up-gradation programme to widen and strengthen 13 major state highways. Work on at least two is to start immediately. The rest will be done within this financial year.

The work, expected to be one of the biggest road expansion programmes in the state in the past few years, will be carried out on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis with private parties building the roads and the government putting in a portion of the money.

An official said a small fee or toll be levied on road users. Most roads selected for widening have huge volume of traffic and link important destinations of Punjab. Also, traffic originating from surrounding states uses these roads.

The roads will be widened and safety features, like self-illuminating road signs for better visibility at night, will be installed.

The issue of fixing the amount of toll on the BOT roads is yet to be decided, but the charge will be reasonable keeping in mind the overall economic scenario in the state, said a source.

In some cases, the local traffic may be exempted from payment. Since private parties have opined that the traffic may not be huge on some roads to justify the investment, the government will fund them partly.

Sources said as a first step, works on the Patiala-Samana-Patran road and the Balachaur-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya will be awarded soon. The other 11 roads scheduled for this work are the Hoshiarpur-Tanda road. The section between Tanda-Mehta and Amritsar will also be widened, thus providing for a safe and fast link between Hoshiarpur and Amritsar.

The crucial Kiratpur Sahib-Anandpur Sahib-Nangal-Una road is also on the list of new works. This will provide a speedy link to certain areas of Himachal Pradesh like Dharmsala. Already, the Chandigarh-Ropar-Kiratpur Sahib portion of the National Highway has been approved for four-laning.

The other roads on the plan are the Nakodar-Kapurthala-Kartarpur road, the Moga-Baghapurana-Kotkapura road, the Ferozepore-Fazilka road, the Patiala-Nabha-Malerkotla road, the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road, the Sirhind-Morinda-Ropar road, the Bhawanigarh-Nabha-Gobindgarh road and the Dakha-Raikot-Barnala road.

Along some of these roads, trees have been planted. Now permission to cut these is needed from the Union Environment Ministry. The Punjab Government has forwarded the papers to the Central Government.


Sarabjit: sister writes to Bush, Pope
Rashmi Talwar

Fatehgarh Churian, September 4
Even as fate of prisoner on death row in Pakistan, Sarbjit Singh remains undecided, despite mass appeals for his clemency , his sister Dalbir Kaur wrote to US President George Bush and Pope for use up their good offices to secure release of her innocent brother.

Taking to The Tribune she prayed for her brother’s safe release at St Francis church here and earlier at Mahakali Mata Mandir, Dalbir Kaur said she had conveyed the predicament of her brother to them.

She added that she had also sought audience with British Prime Minister Tony Blair during his forthcoming visit to Simla on September 8. She contended that it was conveyed to her that she could meet President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and PM Dr Manmohan Singh, next week.

She said she sought intervention of world leaders to communicate with Pakistan’s President Gen Pervez Musharraf for clemency to Sarbjit who was caught by Pakistan 15 years back and implicated in bomb blasts as Manjit Singh — a name falsely attributed to him.

Waiting for a letter/photograph from Sarbjit, Dalbir Kaur and Sarbjit’s family reiterated. “We will all commit suicide in front of the media if Pakistan hangs an innocent Indian (Sarbjit),” they announced in unison

Brushing aside allegations of collecting foreign funds on behalf of aggrieved family Dalbir Kaur said she had not received a single paisa from abroad and added that vested interests were trying to sabotage her brother’s release by diverting attention from the focus of Sarbjit and his predicament to ‘false’ allegations on her. The sister said she had applied for visa to Pakistan to see her brother with her own eyes!


Family of Indian in Pak jail jubilant over his likely release
Tribune News Service

Hardeep Singh
Hardeep Singh

Seelon Kalan (Ludhiana), September 4
A family in this village is on cloud nine after a news that their youngest son would be released by the Pakistan government on September 12, after spending two years in jail.

The family, however, is in a fix on how to break the news of the death of the youth’s father, who died of shock at his detention in a Pakistani jail, from where experiences suggested it would be near impossible to return. The youth has been writing letters to his father all this time and had desired to hug him first when he reaches the village.

Hardeep Singh, (25), left his village for Italy for greener pastures two years ago.

His emigration, made possible after selling two trucks, could not bring anything except debt and misery to the family. He could not reach Italy, despite paying Rs 5 lakh to the travel agent and only landed in various jails. Moreover, his father, Charan Singh (50) could not bear the shock and passed away.

“His love for going abroad has left us nowhere. We have lost the head of our family, trucks, the only source of our income are also gone and here we will have to start from a naught,” she said sobbing.

She said that Hardeep, unhappy at his meagre earnings, decided to emigrate to Italy taking, inspiration from many other villagers. In October, 2003, Charan Singh sold his two trucks as the travel agent demanded Rs 5 lakh for the job. All was well till the family received a letter from Hardeep that he was in a Turkey’s jail. Later he was deported to Pakistan where he was sentenced for three months imprisonment.

He served the sentence also but could not return back and was lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail till date. The family received a call from a cop of the area stating that he was arriving on September 12.


Sops announced for families of Pak jail victims
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dadwan (Gurdaspur), September 4
Dadwan village near Dhariwal town of Gurdaspur suddenly hogged limelight today as the Minister for PWD (B&R), Culture and Archives, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, visited the families of the residents of the village who are suffering in Pakistan jails on spying charges.

The minister promised financial help, preference in government jobs and free education for the family members of those who are in Pakistan jails or have come back after serving long sentences there.

As soon as the minister entered the village, weeping women from the family of one Mangi pleaded before him to save them from police harassment. The family members of Mangi who came back in 2002 after serving a sentence of about seven years in Pakistan jail on charges of spying, alleged that the police had been raiding their house almost daily.

They said that Mangi had been booked just because he did not want to work for the Indian intelligence agencies any more. He had now been declared a proclaimed offender. Members of his family alleged that they did not even have flour in their house, whereas Mangi had even been booked for smuggling. Had he been smuggling, our financial condition would not have been so poor, they said. The minister directed the police against harassing the family of Mangi.

Later the minister met the families of David and Sunil, two residents of Dadwan village, who are still in Pakistan jails. Even as both persons are in jail, the police has booked them under various charges and declared them proclaimed offenders. Their family members told Mr Bajwa that the in the absence of their sole bread earners, even the septuagenarian and octogenarian parents of the suspected spies had to work hard as housemaids or rickshawpullers to make both ends meet.

Later while addressing a press conference, Mr Bajwa said that after the matter of Dadwan residents lodged in Pakistan jails came to light, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed him to come to the place. Capt Amarinder Singh would be taking up the case of Dadwan residents, lodged in Pakistan jails, with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, K. Natwar Singh.

A delegation under the Punjab Chief Minister would also visit Pakistan on September 21. The issue of Indian prisoners in Pakistan could also be taken up during the visit in consultation with the Union Foreign Ministry.

He also said that cases of residents of Dadwan, who are still in Pakistan jails or have served sentences in foreign jails, would be forwarded to the government through the Deputy Commissioner. They would be provided financial aid from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund within a month. The government would also consider giving them job on a priority basis.


Belgium bans turban in schools
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
After imposition of a ban by France on wearing turbans in schools, Belgium too has followed suit and banned the religious symbols of the Sikhs in their educational institutes.

Agitated Belgium Sikhs of the Guru Nanak Sikh Society told The Tribune that while France enacted a law, imposing ban on religious symbols in schools, the Belgium schools had also imposed the ban.

They stated that a very few schools allowed Sikh children to support turban in Belgium. “The favourable situation of allowing religious symbols in a few schools there would not sustain for long,” they apprehended.

In an appeal to the SGPC and all Sikh organisations, Belgium Sikhs stated that the issue was not only theirs but was of serious concern to all Sikhs . They urged the Sikh organisations to immediately take notice so that Sikhs there would not suffer the insult.


British Heritage to support production on the Maharaja
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Maharaja Ranjit Singh has long captured the imagination of creative artists across Punjab. But now the inspiration is travelling far and wide.

At least so it seems from the hectic efforts which Mr Tejinder Singh, a non resident Indian from London has been putting in to formalise the outline of a project that he and his team of theatre practitioners dreamt of. He is in India, specifically Punjab, these days to finalise the project that is massive both in scale and scope. At its heart is Maharaja Ranjit Sing — one of the finest emperors who ever walked the soil of India.

Titled “The Last Emperor of India: Maharaja Ranjit Singh”, the docu-drama has managed to rope in reputed institutions like the British Heritage (a society that promotes priceless traditions of communities living in England) and the Victoria Albert Museum.

To be raised at a whopping cost of £ 200,000, the drama aims to invoke in the modern generation a sense of history and respect for those who wrote it.

In an interaction with The Tribune at the Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16 today, Mr Tejinder Singh who has held meetings with Gulshan Grover, Manoj Bajpai, Nirmal Pandey and Sushant Singh for the role of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, said, “As the founder member of Punjabi Theatre Academy in the UK, I have had the opportunity to work on themes that bind continents. We use art to promote an understanding between ethnic communities inhabiting London.

Together with Indians, Pakistanis and Britons, we weave inspiring tales from our countries and present them to youngsters who have never had the opportunity to experience the past. The project on Maharaja Ranjit Singh has a similar objective. We want to talk about true secularism which Maharaja Ranjit Singh preached and practiced. In his 40 years of rule, none was hanged, nor was any faith favoured.”

Although research on the project has been on for a while, Mr Singh and his team have been looking for exclusive profiles of Maharaja Ranjit Singh that might be housed in the Punjab Archives Department.

“We want to run an exhibition of the Maharaja’s photographs and his times as we screen the docu-drama in London. We have got a lot of information on the subject from the Victoria Albert Museum and the British archives, but we want some more from Punjab. For that, we will be meeting some officials in the state government shortly,” Mr Singh said, adding that the production in its final form will have actors of Pakistani as well as British descent.

The idea is to integrate nationalities and tell the tale of a man who celebrated festivals of all communities. Mr Singh will be in Chandigarh for a while to screen talent for his production. After the basic selection of the cast is done, rehearsals will begin at the Watermans Art Centre, located on the Thames river in London.

Till then, the team will be travelling across Punjab to get the feel of the land which Maharaja Ranjit Singh enriched with his enterprise.


SGPC move on kar seva upsets Haryana SAD
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Resentment is brewing among leaders of the Haryana unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal over the decision of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to prevent voluntary bodies (kar seva) from raising their “deras” in the periphery of historic gurdwaras.

The SGPC has issued directions to managers of all historic gurdwaras covered under Section 85 of the Gurdwara Act to initiate action to get their premises vacated after reconstruction work has been finished.

The sources in the SGPC deny any move to “oust various deras engaged in kar seva of historic gurdwaras”, saying that some of these organisations, including those headed by Baba Harbans Singh and Baba Jagtar Singh, have rendered a yeoman service in renovating and reconstructing historic gurdwaras, their community kitchen halls (langar halls),tanks (sarovars) and museum buildings”.

Jathedar Kartar Singh Takkar, member of the working committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who represents the Haryana unit of the SAD, however, maintains that the SGPC has initiated a concerted campaign to oust “deras engaged in kar seva” from historic gurdwaras covered under Section 85 of the Gurdwara Act.

He says work on construction of new building of Sri Guru Hargobind Singh High School in Ambala was entrusted with Baba Jagir Singh. This was done with the consent of the then SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. The SGPC, however, handed over the management of the school to a member, leading to discontinuation of annual government grant of Rs 20 lakh.

Later, the school was handed back to the original management committee at a function.

Jathedar Takkar alleges that on directions of the SGPC chief, cash boxes of “deras doing kar seva at three historic gurdwaras in Ambala” have been removed and they have been asked to vacate the gurdwara premises in seven days.

The SGPC officials, however, have a different story to tell. They maintain that once “kar seva” for reconstruction or renovation of a historic gurdwara is given to one dera or the other, it will not normally move out after finishing the assignment. Instead, the dera will extend its scope of work by offering to construct a new langar hall or sarovar or even a museum.

In some cases, the SGPC officials maintain, “kar seva” has been continuing for more than two decades.

They also maintain that in some cases when “babas doing kar seva” move out of a historic gurdwara, they invariably purchase a piece of land near the historic shrine and raise their own gurdwara there.

The SGPC officials maintain that a similar thing happened in Ambala where the baba engaged in the kar seva of the historic Manji Sahib raised its own gurdwara adjoining the historic shrine. So much so that some of the land belonging to the historic shrine was encroached upon. Since the well belonging to the gurdwara became a part of the new gurdwara premises, water supply to gurdwara Manji Sahib remain disrupted for days.


BSP call for bandh today
Tribune Reporters

Kapurthala, September 4
The Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) called for a bandh here tomorrow in protest against the incident of looting and burning of the houses of Dalits at Gohana in Haryana.

According to a press note of the party, the party will submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner after leading a rally which would be taken out in the main markets and streets of the town.

BATHINDA: Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, president, General Categories Welfare Federation, while criticising the Gohana incident in a press release here on Sunday, alleged that such caste-based incidents had been happening because almost all the political parties supported caste-based divisions.

He said that some political parties, including the BJP and the Akali Dal, which had been ruling on the basis of religion since long, had now started making Dalit cells in their parties, while the Congress had been promoting casteism from the beginning.


Book ex-SSP, rights panel tells DGP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
The Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) today urged the DGP, Punjab, to register a criminal case against Mr Kultar Singh, former SSP, Amritsar, who was indicted in a case in which five members of a family, belonging to the Chowk Moni area in the walled city had committed suicide, for forging documents to get himself cleared from the case.

Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains, chairman of the organisation, in a letter to the DGP alleged that Mr Kultar Singh’s name had figured in the suicide note alleging him of blackmailing the family. There was also evidence of intimacy of the SSP with the deceased family through mobile.

He alleged the senior police official not only destroyed proof but also influenced the witnesses and presented forged documents in form of fabricated demi-official (DO) letter before the inquiry officer in which he ordered to arrest deceased Hardip Singh who had accidentally killed his father. He said he learned that Kultar Singh was exonerated by inquiry officer on the basis of this DO letter.

He said the DO letter had been sent to SP, to the police station B-Division and CIA staff, but its receipt had not been noted down in any receipt register in any office. Moreover, there was not an entry in the dispatch register of the SSP office.

He alleged that as per the evidence he took bribe, and forced the family to commit mass suicide. He presented the forged letter in the official inquiry conducted by senior police officer and get exonerated, Justice Bains added.


Flare-up averted
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 4
Timely intervention by the police saved the situation from taking an ugly turn here last evening when a couple of devotees were prevented from paying obeisance at Mai Began Dharamshala near Mehli Gate.

An NRI, Mr Kalu Ahluwalia, and the family of Mr Munish Bedi had come from Italy and Jalandhar, respectively, for paying obeisance.

The head of the Dharamshala, Mahant Varinder Das had obtained a status quo from the court last year in the wake of a dispute over the site. It was claimed that it belonged to the Bedi community. The devotees alleged that the Mahant refused to let them in for paying obeisance. The Mahant also had a good number of supporters.

A tense drama ensured and eventually, DSP Navjot Singh Mahal reached the spot along with the Naib Tehsildar and Duty Magistrate Mulkh Raj.

The DSP persuaded the Mahant to let the two families pay obeisance and he himself accompanied them inside the shrine with full reverence.

It may be mentioned that a tense situation developed at this site last year also on September 1.


Missing kid reunited with family
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
A few weeks after restoring a missing Andhra boy to his family, the district administration has, this time, helped reuniting a kid hailing from Phulewala village in Moga with his parents.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said they had received a letter from the Holy Cross Social Service Centre, New Delhi, on August 26 mentioning about 5-year-old Arun, who was handed over to them by the New Delhi police on January 18.

Arun identified himself as the son of Gurnam Singh, a vegetable vendor, and Manjeet Kaur, from Phulewala village. He also recalled the names of his elder sisters Sukhwinder and Pamma, besides his brother Krishan.

The Holy Cross sought aid from the district administration in tracing Arun’s parents. Mr Bhandari asked the Rampura Phul SDM, Mr J.P. Singh, to probe into the matter, as the village fell under his sub-division. But investigations drew a blank, as none of the children from the village was reported missing.

The SDM then contacted the SDM of Baghapurana in Moga district, Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu, as his sub-division also had a village with the same name. Arun’s parents were finally traced in Phulewala village of Moga district.

His family members said they had lost him in New Delhi, where they had gone to attend a marriage

The in charge of Holy Cross, Sister Lucy Joseph, and lady constable Kiran had found

Arun at the Ashok Nagar locality of New Delhi.


Row over auction of elephant grass
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 4
A controversy regarding the auction of sarkanda (elephant grass) growing on village common land has erupted at Mullanpur Garibdass village, near PGI, in the Kharar subdivision.

Ownership of over 500 acres of land is in dispute with the panchayat claiming it as the village common land, whereas members of the Choe Reclamation Society in the village claiming that the land belonged to them. The matter in this regard is pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The harvesting of sarkanda was recently given on contract by members of the society. The contractor, Mr Daljit Singh, said he had paid Rs 2 lakh to the society.

While the panchayat today alleged that the society had auctioned the sarkanda produce in contempt of the high court orders of 2003 that had asked status quo to be maintained on the land, the members of the society pointed out that they had done everything in accordance with the orders.

According to Sri Ram, a member of the society, the court had asked that status quo be maintained with regards to possession of the land which was in favour of the society. “We auction this produce each year and have done it this year also,” he added.


Panel members meet riot victims
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
Even after a lapse of 21 years, the victims of anti-Sikh riots of 1984, who were uprooted from their homes, are still fighting to get justice.

The anti-Sikh riots in the aftermath of assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took everything from their life leaving them with uncertain future. Their resentment against the successive governments, political leadership and district administration today came to the fore when a three-member sub-committee formed in wake of the assurances to rehabilitate them given by Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, visited here today.

The committee comprising Mr G.K. Marmaha, Divisional Commissioner, NCT, Delhi, Mr P.J. Pathak, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs and Mr I.B. Karan, Director, Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi, along with Mr Roshan Sarkaria, rehabilitation secretary, Punjab, listened to the grievances of victims.

The riot victims alleged that the policy formulated by the government for their rehabilitation had not been implemented in letter and spirit and great injustice was done with victims. They alleged that they were allotted small houses at a higher rate of interest along with more penalties while the houses had been allotted at a lowest rate of interest in Mohali, Ludhiana, Pathankot, etc.

The victims demanded Rs 5 lakh as financial help to each of the family so that they were able to start their lives afresh. The committee members also visited the houses of victims where about eight to 10 members of family were living in a single room. They appealed to the committee to provide them suitable houses.


Steps to check malaria, dengue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, today claimed that the Health Department had enhanced surveillance on malaria and water-borne diseases like dengue.

Till July 2005 two cases of dengue had been reported throughout the state, one from Chandigarh and the other from Fatehgarh Sahib district, he said.

Mr Dogra claimed that a total of 15 lakh blood slides had been collected and examined for malaria, this year, out of which 602 were found positive. As many as 589 had already been provided treatment. The other 13 were infants or pregnant women, thus needing more care.

An “urban malaria scheme” was being implemented in 13 towns of Punjab to check the breeding of mosquitoes. These towns were Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Pati-ala, Ferozepore, Maler-kotla, Bathinda, Kapur-thala, Rajpura, Nabha, Jagraon, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur. 


Doctors won’t have to return ‘excess payment’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Punjab Government yesterday ordered that doctors who had withdrawn the non-Practising Allowance after the hike in their wages, would not have to refund the NPA that had been termed as “excess payment” by the Finance Department.

The Punjab Government withdrew its earlier order which had asked doctors to refund the NPA.

Doctors had petitioned the government saying after the merger of the DA with the basic pay, a confusion had been created as it was being interpreted wrongly. The interpretation should have been that the merged DA shall be counted before calculating the NPA. The Punjab Government in a notification on August 19 said the DA would not be counted for calculating the NPA and issued orders asking doctors to refund the NAOP which they had drawn so far.


Meeting on credit plan held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
A meeting of the District Consultative Committee and the District Review Committee convened by the State Bank of Patiala was held at Bachat Bhavan here on Friday.

Mr Devinder Pal Singh Walia, Additional Deputy Commissioner, presided over the meeting.

Mr S. S. Kharod, District Manager, told the members that the banks in the district during the first quarter of the current Credit Plan had given loans worth Rs 203.13 crore against the target of Rs 200.63 crore.

Mr Walia reviewed the progress and took stock of the various government-sponsored schemes like Swaran Jayanti Gramin Self-Employment Scheme, SJSRY, SCST Corporation-sponsored Schemes, PMRY Scheme, KVIC, Dairy, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Departments schemes.

Mr Ashwani Mahajan AGM Nabard, said on the interest of the loans provided under dairy, fisheries and poultry farming, 50 per cent subsidy was provided to the beneficiaries.

Mr S.P. Dudeja, Assistant General Manager, RBI, gave detailed information about the schemes.


Keeping purity of Punjabi folk tradition
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Dr Harphool
Dr Harphool

Chandigarh, September 4
Since his school days, Dr Harphool has travelled a long distance as a performing artiste and folk singer. He is one of those who have maintained the purity of Punjabi folk tradition in times when many in the field to sell vulgarity in the guise Punjabi culture.

Sufism has been his first love. He relishes singing Baba Bulle Shah’s kalam the most. He does not sing a marriage parties. His domain remain literary meets, cultural festivals and cultural meets. “I believe that music is a medium for human beings to reach god”, he says.

“Music is like a piece of Bamboo.Those who are civilised make a flute from it to generate a soul-soothing melody and the uncivilised use the same as a stick — obviously a symbol of violence”, says Dr Harphool, who is, perhaps, the first person to translate Shalokas of the Bhagavad Gita in the “rubai” form.

He has an excellent command over Sanskrit as well as Punjabi. A Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from Government Ayurvedic Medical College, Patiala, Dr Harphool, has been a winner of the best actor, best director, best dancer and best singer awards at the North Zone College Cultural Festival during his college days.

Born in Amargarh village near Malerkotla, he started singing in 1965 when he was in school. He later also started performed in dramas. He got training in classical singing from his grandfather Naruta Ram, himself was an accomplished classical folk singer and musician. He produced a telefilm “Naina-de-Vanzare”, based on Punjabi folk legend “Bego- Nar”. He was producer, director, singer, story writer, dialogue writer etc of the telefilm.

His name appears in the Limca Book of Records for performing nine different roles to make the telefilm. He has also written scripts for TV films.

As a folk singer, he has performed in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and America. He is known for his songs such as “Akhian”, “Jammi Na Ne Mai”, “Jawani” and “Tali Te Avo Sis Rakhke”. His latest album “Akhian” has been released by Canadian Arvind Music Company. It has excellent compositions.


104th death anniversary of Giani Dit Singh
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
The Giani Dit Singh Memorial International Society will commemorate the 104th death anniversary of Giani Dit Singh, a Sikh scholar, preacher and social reformer of 19th century, on September 6 in Giani Dit Singh Auditorium at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

According to Mr Mehtab Singh, finance secretary of the society, week-long programmes have been started in and around Nandpur Kalour, the ancestral village of Giani Dit Singh in this connection.

Big congregations were held at gurdwaras of Marwa, Kotla, Kalour and Dadiana villages. In these villages, students of Guru Granth Sahib Vidyalaya recited Gurbani and Giani Sukhchain Singh Kathabachak spoke about aspects of the Sikh philosophy. Principal Khushal Singh, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Harkarmjit Singh, and Mr Lal Mistri paid homage to the Giani Dit Singh.

Mr Mehtab Singh said on September 6 Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP, would preside over the function while Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, would be the guest of honour.


Kang lays stone of temple
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 4
The treasurer of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Baldev Singh Kang, laid the foundation stone of a Hanuman temple at Teor village today.

Stating that the state government had undertaken the long pending task of the preservation and maintenance of buildings of historical significance in the state, Mr Kang pointed out that ancient religious buildings were the first on the government’s preservation list.

He informed the villagers that the government had prepared a plan of action to identify religious structures of historical importance spread all over the state.

He advised the Temple Management Committee to involve the entire village in the construction of the temple.

He also gave a grant of Rs 5,100 to the committee for the construction of the building.


DYFI to hold protest marches
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has decided to organise protest marches at district headquarters in Punjab on September 15 to highlight the problems of the youth.

According to Mr Surinder Khiwa and Mr Asha Nand, president and secretary, respectively of the state committee of Punjab and Chandigarh, the protests would be organised to urge the government to provide free education and employment opportunities to all.

Memorandums would be submitted to the Deputy Commissioners concerned for submission to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Prime Minister.


Farmers to hold protest
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 4
The farmers’ Ujaara Roko Sangharsh Committee (Anti-Desertion Action Committee) of three villages, Fatehgarh Chhanna, Dhaula and Sanghera, has decided to stage an arthi phook mujahara (effigy burning protest) at Courts Chowk here on September 15.

The farmers will burn the effigy of Punjab Government and organise a protest demonstration the same day to lodge their strong protest against the Punjab Government’s move to acquire their 376 acres of land to set up new industrial units.

Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, president, Punjab Khetiwadi Kisan Vikas Front, said action committee had decided to intensify its stir to press the Punjab Government to withdraw its notification No. 4 pertaining to the acquisition of land of the three villages.

Mr Kulrian informed that farmers and action committee activists blocked vehicular traffic on Thursday at Courts Chowk to express their resentment and mark the conclusion of their relay fast action programme near Gate No.2 of Courts Complex which was launched from August 16.

The Punjab Khetiwadi Kisan Vikas Front chief said the action committee had decided to intensify its stir by staging a protest demonstration-cum-arthi phook mujahara on September 15.

The action committee will also submit a memorandum to the SDM, Barnala, urging the government to withdraw notification No.4.


One killed over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 4
Property dispute between two brothers led to the murder of one at Bassi Wazid village here on Saturday.

According to police sources Ms Suman Devi found her husband Rakesh Kumar, an astrologer, dead in a room of her house at Bassi Wazid village yesterday. Ms Devi in her complaint stated that there was a dispute between her husband and her brother-in-law Surinder Kumar over a piece of land. She alleged that Surinder Kumar assaulted her husband thrice with the intension to kill him. She further alleged that on September 1, Surinder, alongwith one Bhola, assaulted her husband with the handle of hand pump. They also pelted stones on him, but failed to harm him.

On the night of the incident, Rakesh Kumar consumed liquor and went to the room of first floor to sleep. He was found dead the next morning. She suspected that Surinder and Bhola strangulated her husband.

The Hariana police has registered a case under Section 302 and 34 of the IPC.


Man shot at after compromise
Tribune News Service

Nangal Shama (Jalandhar), September 4
A resident of Wazir Singh Enclave was seriously injured when a member of one of the two groups, who had just reached a compromise in a case, allegedly opened fire at him from his licenced .32-bore revolver today.

Joginder Singh Dhillon and Mohinder Singh, both neighbours in Professor Colony, had picked up a quarrel as Joginder Singh had put up a gate in front of his house, to which Mohinder Singh had objected to.

As both sides had lodged complaints with the Nangal Shama police post authorities, both parties were called by police officials today. The two parties were learnt to have reached a compromise and had left for their homes.

When they came out of the police post, Rajwinder Raja, a resident of Wazir Singh Colony and a supporter of Mohinder Singh, had a verbal dual with Joginder Singh, who subsequently fired two shots at him. The former was hit in the face. He was admitted to Johl Hospital, where his condition was stated to be serious till 8 p.m.

Joginder Singh has been arrested while three persons accompanying him managed to escape. A case under Section 307 of the IPC and the Arms Act has been registered in this connection.


2 motorcyclists killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 4
In two separate hit-and-run cases, two motorcyclists were killed after they got hit by trucks on Rajpura- Sirhind and the Chandigarh-Rajpura highways, near here, late last night.

Giving details of the accidents, sources in the local police said Satnam Singh (25), a resident of Jai Nagar in Rajpura, was on his way back to home on his motorcycle from Chandigarh. A speeding truck hit his motorcycle from the rear near Pilkhani village, about 3 km from Rajpura. The truck driver reportedly sped away after the accident.

Mr Surinder Singh, cousin of Satnam Singh, who was pillion riding on the motorcycle, escaped with minor injuries. He called the police. The police took them to the local Civil Hospital. Finding the condition of Satnam Singh critical, doctors at the hospital referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh, but Satnam Singh succumbed to his injuries near Zirakpur on way to the PGI.

Satnam Singh had got married last year, his family said.

In a similar incident, Tejinder Singh (38), a resident of Vazidpur village near Banur, lost his life after his motorcycle collided head on with a speeding truck at around 12:30 last night near Ishe Khan village on the Chandigarh-Rajpura highway. Tejinder Singh died on the spot and the truck driver fled, abandoning his truck. The police has impounded the truck.

It took the body to the Civil Hospital for a postmortem.

The sources said the bodies were handed over to the families after the postmortems. Two separate cases of causing death by rash and negligent driving against the two truck drivers have been registered.


2 killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 4
Two persons died after their scooter rammed into a truck parked on the roadside on the Bathinda-Malout road, here last night.

The seriously injured occupants of scooter, identified as Hans Singh and Jodha Singh, both residents of village Deon of this district, were declared dead after they were shifted to local Civil Hospital.

A case against the truck driver has been registered at thermal police station. The dead bodies were handed over to the kin of the deceased after a post-mortem examination.


Student crushed to death

Abohar, September 4
Vijay Pal Godara of Dhingawali village in this subdivision was crushed to death as a mini bus (PB-5-1286) collided with a truck (PB-30A-7939) at the Alamgarh bypass crossing near here on Saturday evening.

The victim had recently taken admission in a private College of Education at Fazilka and was on the way back home.

Eleven passengers of the bus were injured, two of them seriously. — OC


Eyewitness account of varsity official creates ripples
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
Reminiscences of verifiable incidents, authored by a Publication Officer of Guru Nanak Dev University, in which he has unmasked senior professors, has created ripples in academic circles.

The memoirs, spanning over 28 years of his service, were published in a booklet, titled ‘Akhi Dithian, Kujh Khattian, Kujh Mithian’ (eyewitness account sweet and sour incidents).

Author, Sukhwinder Singh Narula is still in service.

However, he dared recollect the incidents in collection of his ‘prose pieces’ which was already part of the ‘fictional folk’ on the university campus.

In one of the fictional piece, Mr Narula stated that an alcoholic senior professor of the University was virtually ‘dumped’ in the mortuary of a hospital of Chandigarh after his consumption of ‘heavy dose’ of liquor, considering him ‘dead’. However, after some time the said professor came to his senses and his friend was frightened to see his ‘ghost’ when he reached his house.

The friend of the professor was planning to attend the ‘cremation’ of the professor.

In yet another piece of prose, Mr Narula wrote that a ‘couple professor’ were caught ‘ red-handed’ many times while attending marriage parties of unknown persons without invitation.

The author ‘exposed’ another professor, ‘infamous pretender’ who could be seen in most of the religious and social functions.

The said professor of the university would change his clothes, best suited for specific functions. If he would participate in a religious function, he would wear ‘Kurta Pyjama’ while he would like to wear jeans while meeting foreign dignitaries.

The booklet, blend of factual accounts, is likely to be formally released next week. The author has not spared the senior officials including a former Registrar who was ‘unpopular’ among the employees during his service.

A professor, who also remained Head of a department had got his hair cut, a few days after his ‘emotional speech’, delivered on the death of Bhagat Puran Singh, founder of Pingalwara ,that he had learnt Sikh way of life from him (Bhagatji).

Though the author has not revealed the names of his character but he has written that the facts were verifiable as he himself was witness to such incidents during his 28 years of service.


CM greets teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today congratulated the teaching fraternity on the occasion of Teachers’ Day and urged them to make all efforts to inculcate good qualities in students.

In a message, he said after the mother, it was the teacher who made an indelible impression on the mind of a child.


Students honoured
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 4
Ms Harbaksh Kaur Hayer, founder chairperson, Bhag Singh Khalsa Mahila College for Women, on today honoured students of Gopi Chand Arya Mahila College (GCAMC) here who had secured more than 70 per cent marks in Panjab University examinations held this year.

Dr Achla Kant, Principal, GCAMC, while welcoming the chief guest, lauded the efforts of Ms Hayer in ensuring quality education to girls in the region. — OC

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |