P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bandh in Ropar, Nawanshahr
Protests continue against Gohana incident
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, September 6
A complete bandh was observed here following a call given by the Bharatiya Balmiki Sabha and the BSP against the burning of Dalits’ houses at Gohana. Protesters, headed by the national president of the Bharatiya Balmiki Sabha (BBS), demanded President’s rule in Haryana. They also sought suitable compensation for the victims.

Not satisfied with the CBI inquiry into the Gohana incident, as ordered by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the victims, BBS president Karnail Singh Sahota said the protest would continue. After North India, the focus of the agitation would be shifted to the rest of India.

The Chairman of the Balmiki Punjab Board Central Committee said no Haryana bus would be allowed to ply on Punjab roads unless justice was done to the victim families. Trains would be stopped all over India if suitable action was not taken against the culprits, he said.

Tension prevailed in Ropar since early morning. Strict security arrangements were made all over the city to avoid any untoward incident.

The protest rally that continued for three hours went off peacefully. The protesters raised slogans against the Haryana Chief Minister and the Sonepat MP.

BBS president Sahota, accompanied by BSP district unit president Charanjit Singh Ghai, submitted a memorandum to ADC Surjit Singh Saini. BJP district unit president Vijay Puri also submitted a memorandum to the administration against the Gohana incident.

NAWANSHAHR: Rahon town in the district witnessed a complete bandh on Tuesday on the call given by different Dalit organisations in protest against the Gohana incident. A memorandum was submitted to the SDM, Mr Kulbir Singh, for onward submission to the President urging him to take steps to rehabilitate the affected families.

SANGRUR: The district unit of the BJP on Tuesday urged the President of India to dismiss the Hooda government in Haryana and order a judicial inquiry into the Gohana incident alleging that it had “failed” in preventing the August 31 incident.

BJP activists, led by district president Vasudev Arya, took out a protest march from the party’s local office to the office of the Deputy Commissioner against the burning of houses of Dalits in Gohana. They also held a rally at the district administrative complex here.

They submitted a memorandum to Mr H.S. Pabla, Additional Deputy Commissioner, in this regard to forward the same to the President.

PHAGWARA: The residents of Phagwara in general, businessmen and shopkeepers in particular, heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday when they came to know that the Dalit Sangharsh Committee had withdrawn its call of Phagwara bandh following release of six Dalit activists last night.

In the morning, cautious shopkeepers took some time in assessing the situation and then resumed their usual business activity. The town remained abuzz with its normal hustle and bustle and was free from the hassles and fears entailing a bandh call.

Since the call for the bandh was given three days ago and withdrawn late last night, several private educational institutions remained closed on Tuesday.

BARNALA: Activists of the Balmiki Sabha staged demonstrations in Barnala and Tapa to express resentment against the Gohana incident.

Mr Nageshwar Rao, SSP, Barnala police district, said around 150 activists of the Balmiki Sabha, Barnala, staged a demonstration and blocked traffic at Courts Chowk on Monday. A similar demonstration was also held at Tapa at the Sub-Tehsil office. They blocked traffic at Taajo Ke Kanchain. A memorandum was submitted to the SDM, Barnala, yesterday.

HOSHIARPUR: Mr D.K. Tiwari, DC, Hoshiarpur, convened a meeting of the Peace Committee at mini secretariat here on Tuesday. Leaders of various political parties and government officers participated in the meeting.

The Gohana incident was condemned in the meeting.

Meanwhile, on the call of the Punjab State Balmiki Sabha and other organisations, shopkeepers of Garhdiwala, Dasuya, Hajipur, Talwara, Bulhowal and Shamchaurasi towns of Hoshiarpur district observed peaceful bandh under tight security arrangements on Tuesday.

Balmikis took out a procession in Garhdiwala town and submitted a memorandum to the Naib Tehsildar. A protest march was staged in Dasuya also.

LUDHIANA: The Punjab Beopar Mandal has expressed sympathy with Dalits of Haryana whose houses were burnt at Gohana. The mandal has also sought compensation for shopkeepers whose shops were burnt in Amritsar on Monday.

KAPURTHALA: Uneasy calm prevailed here and no untoward incident was reported here on Monday.

Activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Akali Dal were seen motivating shopkeepers to open the shops, but the victim shopkeepers of yesterday’s rampage took almost four hours to muster support to open their establishments. By afternoon almost all markets in the city were open.

Some schools had declared holiday keeping in view the communal tension in the town.


Joint platform to oppose SAD likely
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 6
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) and a number of other Akali factions are taking an initiative to create a common platform with an objective to oppose the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), during the next Assembly elections to be held in 2007.

More than 12 top leaders of various Akali factions and other parties, including AISAD president Jaswant Singh Maan, MLA Sucha Singh Chottepur, veteran Akali leader Ajaib Singh Sangha, Darshan Singh Issapur, Prem Singh Lalpura, Kuldip Singh Wadala and former MLA Talib Singh Sandhu, are learnt to have been busy examining the possibility of forming a joint platform.

Most of these leaders and some other political figures such as Ravi Inder Singh, Parmjit Singh Sarna, Prem Singh Chandumajra, former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh and Sant Ajit Singh Parivar Vichora are likely to participate and discuss the issue formally in a meeting, to be organised at the Gujjar Khan Complex in Ludhiana on September 9. The meeting, it was learnt, was being organised on the initiative of Parmjit Singh Sarna and Jaswant Singh Maan.

While Prem Singh Chandumajra has already given hints that an effort to form a third front was in progress, other senior Akali leaders said the idea of floating a joint platform was not just being floated to oppose the SAD, but also to “restore the sanctity of the constitution of the original Akali Dal”.

“Yes, we are meeting at Ludhiana on September 9, but what comes out of the meeting cannot be predicted at this stage,” said Jaswant Singh Maan and Ajaib Singh Sangha, a one-time Badal loyalist.

“If a possibility emerges, efforts could be made to include the BSP, the Lok Bhalai Party, and the SAD (Amritsar),” said a senior Akali leader.

The strategy of these leaders could be to float a joint platform on or before December 14, the 85th anniversary of the constitution of Akali Dal.


Free power to farmers CM’s political compulsion: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal today described the Punjab Government’s decision to give the free-power facility to the farm sector as a “convincing victory for the policies of the Akali-BJP combine. But the government’s decision flows purely from its desperation in the face of an imminent resounding defeat in the coming elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and not from any desire to help the beleaguered farming community in the state”.

He said that even after the announcement regarding free power, there was apprehension in people’s minds that the government’s intentions would have to be tested on the ground.

Mr Badal said that while the then Akali-BJP regime had opted for this farm friendly gesture out of conviction and political commitment, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had obviously been driven to agree to this under political compulsions only at the fag end of his tenure. “Why did the Chief Minister have to wait for four years before announcing this decision.?” Mr Badal reminded the people of the state how Capt Amarinder Singh had criticised the Akali government for its policy of free power to farmers as also on an octroi free regime in the state.

Mr Badal also criticised the hike in petrol and diesel prices announced by the Union Government. He said the hike would break the back of the common man who was already reeling from the impact of a crushing rise in the price index.

He asked the Union Government to immediately withdraw the announcement as it would unleash a dangerous inflationary spiral that would strike at the roots of all engines of growth in the country.


Oil price hike to hit farmers, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 6
All political parties should jointly come out against oil price hike to arrest frequent rise in oil prices, stated SAD president Parkash Singh Badal while interacting with reporters at the residence of SAD leader Baljit Singh Bir Behman here today.

Mr Badal termed the latest price hike as burden on farmers and common people of the country. He said it would make difficult for farmers to run agricultural machinery, as they were not in a position to bear any more financial burden. He appealed to all political parties to raise their voice over the Nanavati Commission report and demanded rollback of oil prices. On oil price hike, he said the government was looking at the situation with its own perspective and was not giving a thought to burden on common man. He termed the Centre’s policies as “anti-people” and said all anti-Congress forces should converge on one platform to tackle the situation. He urged the Prime Minister to review all such decisions.

On the Telugu Desam walking out of the NDA, he admitted that it would weaken the alliance and said the NDA should think over the matter.

On Gohana violence and violent incidents in Punjab after it, Mr Badal said while the state was burning, its Chief Minister was “having great time at hills”. He said if the state government was alert such incidents could have been checked. He said the post of Governor had now been mired in controversies and the Centre should keep politicians away from the post. He said the post was not meant for “adjusting” political leaders.

Mr Badal held the Congress responsible for power crisis in the state. He said the state government had not drawnup any policy for fulfilling power demand of the state. He said during the SAD regime the Union government had given sanction to the Shahpur Kandi project, besides allotting funds for it, but the Congress government didn’t start work on it.

Later, Mr Badal disbursed financial aid to Chughe Kalan’s panchayat from MP quota. Party leaders Darshan Singh Kotfatta, Bhola Singh Gillpatti, and Daljit Singh Brar, were also present on the occasion.


Capt has failed on all fronts: Badal
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 6
Guru Granth Sahib World University, being set up by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore, will offer new vistas in the field of higher education in the state for which the entire framework has been chalked out.

A former Chief Minister and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, stated this while addressing a huge congregation of SAD workers at the historic Gurdwara Jamni Sahib, Vajidpur, 10 km from here.

Mr Badal was here to lay the foundation stone of Sahibjada Ajit Singh Public School to be constructed by the SGPC at an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore.

He was accompanied by the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, and a former Minister, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon.

Mr Badal also laid the foundation stone of the Mata Sahib Kaur Khalsa College for Women at Talwandi Bhai, 25 km from here, to be constructed by the SGPC at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5 crore.

Ridiculing the state government’s decision to withdraw the grant-in-aid to government-aided schools and colleges in the state, Mr Badal said due to the “erroneous policies” of the Congress regime, the entire educational set-up had collapsed and the standard of education had declined.

He said the SGPC had taken up the cudgels to establish schools and colleges to impart quality education in various parts of the state.

He said a majority of the educational institutions being established by the SGPC would be constructed in rural segments so that villagers could benefit from these.

Attacking the Congress regime, Mr Badal asserted that the Capt. Amarinder Singh government had failed miserably on all fronts.

Expressing concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, Mr Badal said the state was once again being pushed towards the dark days of fright and violence.

Mr Badal said the Congress government had not kept any of the promises made in its election manifesto and had played with the emotions of Punjabis. Addressing the public, Mr Sekhon said the Congress government had completely destroyed the atmosphere of goodwill and harmony in the state.

In her address, Bibi Jagir Kaur said the days of the Congress government were now numbered in Punjab. She said various developmental works undertaken during the previous Akali-BJP regime had come to a grinding halt. Justifying her decision to allow women to perform kirtan ardas, she said those opposing her decision should study, “rehat maryada” first and then talk to her.

In his address, Mr Zora Singh Mann expressed concern over the plight of farmers in the state.


Nayagaon rape case: DIG to look into role of SPs
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The role of all Superintendents of Police associated with the investigation of the Nayagaon rape case from 2003 till now will be examined by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

Mr Sham Lal Gakhar, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Security, has been attached with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, Inspector-General, with the limited purpose of examining the role of the Superintendents of Police (SPs) posted at Mohali from March 3, 2003, to June 30, 2005.

Meanwhile, Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP, a member of the SIT, has been replaced by Mr Kultar Singh, Commandant, 82nd Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police. An order issued by the Director-General of Police this evening said that Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had been replaced on a request from Mr Saini.

Besides Mr K.V.P. Singh, the other Superintendents of Police who were posted at Mohali between March, 2003, and June, 2005, were Mr H.S. Bhullar and Mr Rakesh Aggarwal. Mr H.S. Bhullar is a son of a former Director-General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar. It was during his tenure that the rape case was reported and registered at a Mohali police station on March 7, 2003.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken a serious view of the Mohali police for not handling the Nayagaon rape case properly. It was at the instance of the high court that SIT headed by Mr Saini was constituted. The SIT was asked to complete its investigations and submit its report within three months.


‘Urgent need’ to instal visual device at airport
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 6
International Airlines have voiced their serious concern over the absence of Runaway Visual Range (RVR) device at the international airport here. The device records visibility for clearance to aircraft’s take-off or landing. They called for urgent installation of the device.

The absence of RVR during winter or foggy season, when visibility is poor, could jeopardize flight schedules, causing loss of lakhs to operating airlines, they complain, it was argued.

Airport Director V.S. Mulekar admitted to having received complaints from operating airlines besides queries from various new airlines about this.

He stated that Airport Authority of Indian (AAI) had taken up issue with Meterological Department and a space had been demarcated near runaway. But he could not explain the delay.

Seven airlines private/national have lodged complaints with the Director, AAI, for urgent steps to set up meterological device before the onset of winter as fogs, known to cover the area for many miles together, would lower visibility levels.

“The probability of delay or cancellation of flight remains high and apprehension lingers about human error”, they said.

As many as 45 flights had been operating weekly coping with passenger rush of three lakh per annum.

Air Deccan, Indian Airlines, Uzbekistan Airlines, Ariana Afghan, Air India, Air Slovakia, Turkmenistan Airlines have expressed concern over the absence of the RVR device that was installed at most international airports.

Malaysian and more Italian airlines were ready to launch their operations shortly. Many other international airlines too have expressed their keenness on this route.


Amritsar airport to have fabricated cold store
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Following the failure of talks between the Airport Authority of India and central and state agencies regarding the establishment of a permanent cold storage facilities for handling export of perishable cargo, at Amritsar, the Punjab Government is now setting up a fabricated cold store and cool chain facilities.

The facility, being provided in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Agriculture and APEDA (Agriculture Export Promotion and Development Authority), will go a long way in promoting the exports of fresh fruits and vegetables from Punjab to other parts of the world.

Giving details, Mr Himmat Singh, Managing Director of Punjab Agri and Export Limited, said the portable and dismantable structure would require only some foundation supports and would have a capacity of 40 tonnes. The estimated cost of this facility will be Rs 65 lakh and the cost will be shared by the Punjab Government, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and APEDA.

The expansion of the airport is already under way and it will enable large cargo aircraft to operate from Amritsar. This coupled with the setting up of cold chain facility will enable the loading of fresh fruits and vegetables even during the summer months. At present, because of lack of infrastructural facilities, trial export consignments were getting damaged.

While the setting up of the cold store would have taken another year and a half, the fabricated cold store would be ready by November.

Already 161 acres have already been handed over to the Airport Authority of India for the expansion of the Amritsar airport. Besides this, the approach road to the airport has been widened. As a result of the measures, industries exporting goods with short shelf-life and fast-moving products will benefit the most. As an ad hoc measure, two refrigerated containers have been stationed at the cargo complex at the airport to facilitate exports.


Passengers irked as flight cancelled
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi (Amritsar), September 6
The International airport witnessed rowdy scenes after the announcement of the cancellation of Air Slovakia flight.

Agitated passengers and escorting relatives/friends manhandled Flight Manager Amarjit soon after the announcement was made.

About 300 ticket holders and those accompanying them for a flight to Bergamo, Italy, had started arriving at about 9 am and waited for the take-off scheduled for 2 pm.

The situation turned tense when angry passengers and others waving tickets mobbed a flight official and started raising slogan against him even as the foreign flight crew of the airlines sat huddled in bus in the parking area.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) rescued the official. However, the passengers broke the cordon and ran after him. The official managed to go inside the International Arrival Lounge building with the help of the CISF and a few persons present in the scene.

For nearly three hours the passengers did not budge and continued to raise slogans, demanding refund. The situation eased only after the airlines issued certificates to each passenger citing that “MP Flywell services, Italy, had defrauded the airlines by not paying operating charges and hence the flight has been cancelled.”


Steps to rein in Punjab police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced steps to curb the Punjab Police, saying anybody violating these direction would be dealt with sternly and claimed “there was no police raj in the state as being projected in some quarters”.

The Chief Minister also released a 14-point list of do’s and dont’s for the police which was like putting old wine in new bottle as most of these directions were taken verbatim from the D.K. Basu judgement of the Supreme Court in 1997. The gist of the D.K. Basu judgement is already known to the cops and is even pasted in the leading police stations.

Today the orders of Punjab say: Except in the case of heinous crimes or matters of grave threat to public persons and properties or disturbance of law and order and threat to national security, the police personnel will arrest a person after obtaining proper warrant of arrest from the court of competent jurisdiction.
In case, the person(s) to be arrested happen to be woman or a child they should not be detained in police stations unless otherwise directed by a court.
Police personnel carrying out and handling the interrogation of the arrested person should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags with their designations.
A police officer carrying out the arrest will prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo will be attested by at least one witness, who may be either a member of the family of the arrested person or a respectable person of the locality. It will contain the time and date of arrest.
A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in police station or interrogation centre or other lock-up, will be entitled to have one friend or relative informed that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular place.
The time, place of arrest and venue of custody must be notified by the police in case a friend or relative of the arrested person lives outside the district or town through the legal aid organisation in the district.
The person arrested must be made aware of this right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest or is detained.
An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which will also disclose the name of the friend of the arrested person who has been informed. It will also have the names of police officials in whose custody the person is. 
The arrested should be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any, present on his/her body must be recorded at that time. 
The arrested should be subject to medical examination every 48 hours of his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by the Director, Health Services, of the state or union territory. 
Copies of all documents, including the memo of arrest, should be sent to the Ilaqa Magistrate for his record.
The arrested person may be permitted to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation.
The information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the arrested person should be communicated by the officer within 12 hours of the arrest to the police control rooms at all districts and state headquarters and it should be displayed on a notice board.


First-ever livestock export to Pak
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, September 6
After having been stranded for several hours at this joint check-post, the first-ever livestock cargo (162 goats and 172 sheep) was exported to Pakistan through the land route here today. A large number of Pakistani mediapersons were awaiting across the border to mark this “historic event”.

The livestock cargo has been sent to Lahore-based importers by the Delhi-based Kashmira Exports, owned by Mr Vinay Jaitley, and Alkarim Export of Mr Mohammad Irfan, respectively.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Jaitly and Mr Kabul Singh Lali of Kashmira Exports said there was a great demand for Indian camels, buffaloes, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat in Pakistan, which would be exported shortly. Talking about the procedural delays, they said efforts should be made to relax rules to ease import and export between both countries.

The animals exported to Pakistan had to face a lot of cruelty as they were stranded at the joint check-post here for a long time. Due to lack of livestock quarantine and veterinary facilities here, the export took at least 10 days. The absence of such infrastructure facilities, which are a must for import and export of livestock, creates hurdles for Punjab-based exporters. With the result, exporters from Delhi stand benefited as they are well-equipped to export meat and livestock.

Pakistan had allowed duty-free import, including fresh vegetables, garlic, potatoes, onion, tomatoes and livestock. Amritsar-based exporters, who are getting numerous queries regarding livestock, are a worried lot as the Customs post at the check-post does not have the required facilities to handle export of livestock.

The consignment of goats and sheep was meant for Lahore-based Alisom Trading Company. He said the goats were brought from Delhi’s Bakar Mandi and all of them were quarantined and tested by veterinary doctors and were cleared on all health checks.

With the opening of the land route ,Pakistan can get cheaper and better quality and timely delivery of Amritsar-manufactured shawls, blankets, dress materials and gold/ silver jewellery.


SAD (Longowal) to hold ‘insaaf march’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 6
To highlight its long-pending demands and major issues concerning Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) has decided to organise an “insaaf march” in New Delhi on October 28.

After holding the march, a delegation of the party will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hand over a charter of demands to him.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of SAD (Longowal), who was accompanied by senior leaders of his party, including Mr Sarbjit Singh Wariana, Jagjit Singh Gaba, Tejinder Singh, Mr. Harpal Singh and Mr Jagroop Singh, said all major problems of Punjab would be highlighted during the march.

Mr Chandumajra said people of Punjab were facing a number of serious problems, including shortage of water, declining water table, unemployment, setback to industry and non-transfer of Punjabi-speaking areas and Chandigarh to Punjab.

He said the need of the hour was to extend adequate compensation to ’84 riot victims and to book culprits as per recommendations of the Nananwati Commission report.

He said his party was holding dialogue with other like-minded parties like the TDP and leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav so as to form a third front based on regional parties. He said SAD (Badal) could also be included in such an arrangement. Similarly, efforts are on to rope in the CPI, CPM, Lok Bhalai Party, SAD (Ravi Inder Singh) in initial rounds of dialogue for the purpose.


Punjab in turmoil, says Kanwaljit
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 6
Punjab is presently in complete turmoil. Dalits, farmers, teachers employees and traders daily come on the roads to protest against the “wrong” policies of Capt Amarinder Singh. SAD(B), being a responsible Opposition party, and representatives of all these sections cannot be a silent spectator and the party has started preparing various agendas to implement if they come to power, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, while talking to the mediapersons here today. He had come to preside over the 104 death anniversary commemoration of Giani Dit Singh, a great Sikh scholar, preacher and social reformer of 19th century.

He said that when the Congress Government was formed, SAD(B) had offered to make consensus to sort out all social, religious, economic and political issues being faced by the state, but instead of accepting the offer, Capt Amarinder Singh adopted the path of confrontation by politicalisation of police and started repression on SAD(B) leaders, workers and sarpanches.

He said that SAD(B) was giving priority to prepare economic agenda, which may be implemented immediately if the party comes to power. Stress would be laid on agricultural sector, economy, infrastructure and unemployment. He said that at present the economic policy of state is to tax the poor and benefit the rich. He said Punjab was the only state which had benefitted the distilleries by giving relief in excise and waived the loans. Similarly, under the urban planning scheme bid colonisers having more than 100 acres have been provided unprecedented benefits.

They purchase the land of farmers on lesser rates and sell on higher rates.

Talking about industrial sector, he said that from the last 3.5 years the government had been claiming to set up big IT units but no investment had been made. Rather industry had shifted to neighbouring states as they offered better concessions.


Giani Dit Singh’s death anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 6
The 104th death anniversary of Giani Dit Singh, a great Sikh scholar, preacher, journalist and social reformer, was observed by Giani Dit Singh Memorial International Society at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP, was the chief guest, whereas Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, presided over the function.

Thousands of people gathered at the auditorium to pay tributes to the great scholar.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa appreciated the great vision of Giani ji. He said, “He was great preacher of Sikhism in 19th century. Giani Dit Singh also worked as a journalist and diligently followed ethics of journalism. His reporting was free and fearless.

Later, while talking to mediapersons, Mr Dhindsa said the Gohana incident as well as the agitations over the incident were all part of a planned conspiracy of the Congress governments.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of SAD (B) also appreciated the efforts and sacrifices of Giani Dit Singh in promoting Sikhism.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, Mr Mehtab Singh, Khushal Singh, Surinder Singh, Mr Harkarmjit Singh and Lal Mistri were also present on the occasion.


Bad roads, defective sewerage bane of Batala residents
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 6
Roads of Batala are in bad shape due to stagnant water from choked sewers.

A recently laid road of the Dharampura Colony in front of the Civil Hospital and other in front of Shani Dev mandir are such examples. There are deep potholes which stink due to sewage and foul smelling which leads to accidents. Sewers are blocked about which officials of the Sewerage Board don’t take any action and the situation worsens during the rainy season.

An epidemic may break out at any time because of the stagnant water. Inhabitants of the area and the passers-by have complained several times to the Municipal and Sewerage Board authorities but without any response. Officials do not bother to have choked sewers cleared and repair of roads is also not attended to.

Damage to roads is due to use of substandard material in laying the roads. Dr R.K. Gupta, Dr Gurpal Singh (ex-medical officer Civil Hospital, Batala) and many other inhabitants of the area expressed resentment against the apathy of Municipal Council, Improvement Trust and Sewerage Board officials.

Condition of sewers is also not different is various parts of the city. Complaints of inhabitants are not redressed promptly. Garbage has been lying in the open for weeks after de-silting of sewers. Machinery used for the cleaning of sewers can be seen in the middle of roads for weeks without a thought that the road is a busy public place for smooth flow of vehicular traffic. Many manhole covers are either broken or stolen and have not been replaced by the sewerage authorities. These can lead to accidents especially at night when streetlight is not working. Condition of the streetlight is far from satisfactory in city areas. Many a time, this helps undesirable persons to commit crime like thefts and eve-teasing.

Mr Lakhbir Singh Lodhi Nangal, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Batala, said today that steps were being taken to repair damaged roads and for the cleaning of the sewers in consultation with the Municipal and Sewerage authorities.

He further added that he had taken up problems of poor sewerage and connected issues with the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab also. He further disclosed that all Improvement Trust colonies had been handed over to Municipal Council Batala for management as it was the responsibility of the Municipal authorities to take care of road and sewers.

However, when contacted, Mr Kashmir Singh, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Batala, told “The Tribune” that repair of roads would be undertaken shortly and the issue of sewerage taken up with the Executive Engineer, Sewerage Board, Gurdaspur.


Residents protest against power cuts
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 6
Residents and BJP workers from about 15 villages around Mamoon cantonment led by the former minister Mr Mohan Lal organized a protest against the unscheduled power cuts yesterday. Hundreds of residents and BJP workers initially carried out a rally raising slogans against the Punjab government. Later, they organised a dharna in front of the office of SDM Pathankot and submitted a memorandum.

Mr Mohan Lal, while talking to newsmen alleged that the rural areas of the district were facing power cuts ranging from 12 to 16 hours. The Punjab government was claiming to provide 24-hour power to all villages in the state.

However, it had failed to deliver even 12-hour power to the rural areas. In the absence of power the water supply schemes had also been hit.

The worst hit are the people of the kandi areas. These areas do not have the natural water sources and are dependent upon the water supply schemes. However, due to the unscheduled power cuts, the villagers of kandi areas had been receiving water for just about an hour a day at public posts.

It is also strange that the government had hiked the water and power charges but had not been able to provide these basic amenities to the people.

Besides power and water, the state has failed to provide doctors in rural dispensaries and teachers in schools being run in remote areas. Most of the dispensaries and schools in the rural areas were lying closed.

Even the staff posted there has been send on deputation to urban areas on directives of the local ruling party leaders.


SAD, BJP workers protest against power cuts
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 6
A procession of workers and leaders of the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), led by Mr Jagdish Sawhney, former BJP MLA, and Captain Balbir Singh Baath, MLA(SAD), Sri Hargibindpur, started from Nehru Gate and it ended at the residence of Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), in protest against the mismanagement and undeclared power cuts of the Electricity Boards.

The protesters raised slogans against the Electricity Board and the state government for meddling in the affairs of the Electricity Board and the long power cuts in urban areas.

The protesters said the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and local MLA, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, had promised un-interrupted power supply to the urban areas, which now is facing eight to 12 hours of power cuts.

They held a dharna in front of the residence of Mr Sat Pal Singh. The procession passed through the main roads of the town.


Amarinder to look into activities of ‘land mafia’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said he would look into the issue of a land mafia active in areas surrounding Chandigarh. “ I will appoint a person to look into the matter,” said the Chief Minister while adding that nobody, if found guilty, would be spared.

The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference here. On having a debate on the Nanavati Commission report, he said: “Why should we hold any debate? The matter has been debated in Parliament, Mr Parkash Singh Badal is raising non-issues.”

On setting up a judicial commission to establish who was behind militancy in Punjab, the Chief Minister said a White Paper had already been presented.

Regarding the incidents of violence in Amritsar and Kapurthala yesterday, Capt Amarinder Singh said it was an emotional response to the incidents in Gohana, Haryana, and nothing more.

On the issue of protest by teachers of aided private schools and colleges, the Chief Minister said the previous government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal had recommended that the 95 per cent grant should be stopped. They present government had rejected that. The teachers were being misled, he claimed.


Police inaction against moneylender alleged
Tribune news Service

Gurdaspur, September 6
Harassed by a moneylender, a couple, of Qadian, Navtej Singh and Rupinder Kaur, allegedly committed suicide on August 23. The suicide note left by them stated they were ending lives, due to harassment at the hands of a local moneylender.

On the complaint of a kin of deceased, the police registered a case under Section 306 of IPC against the accused moneylender. However, despite the registration of the case, the accused has not been arrested till date. The complainants alleged the police was not arresting the accused under the pressure of some ruling party leaders. They have also pointed figure at some police officials.

The SSP, Batala, Mr Jatinder Jain, he had come to know about the non-arrest of the accused only today. The officials concerned had been directed to take suitable action and arrest the accused, he said. Action would also be taken against the officials found not discharging their duties properly, he added.

In the suicide note the couple had stated that they had raised a loan of Rs 3 lakh from a local moneylender by mortgaging their house. The moneylender charged an exorbitant rate of 3 per cent per month interest from them. In the recent past, they returned an amount of Rs 90,000 to the money lender. However, with an intention to take control over their house, he refused to receive the amount. Instead, he started demanding interest at the rate of 5 per cent per month.

Navtej has pleaded in the suicide note that his widow mother should not be ousted from the house. He has accused the moneylender of humiliating and harassing him. This forced them to commit suicide, the note said.

Amandeep, a kin of the deceased couple, said that some moneylenders had let a reign of terror in the Qadian area. They run illegal finance companies.


SGPC chief writes to PM on turban ban
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 6
SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur today wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express her anguish over the ban on wearing of turban in schools in Belgium.

“Terribly upset” over the news, she said the Sikh identity was increasingly under threat the worldover with various countries following each other in imposing a ban on wearing turban and other Sikh symbols.

The SGPC president pointed out that if the trend continued the day was not far when the identity of this religion would be wiped out from countries worldover other than India.


Set up task force to fight terrorism: front
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Mr Harpal Singh Vice-President, All India Anti-Terrorist Front, Punjab, today said that time had come when a special task force should be set up by the democratic countries to fight global terrorism.

In a press note issued here today, he said that terrorism had been spreading its tentacles and it had invaded almost all nook and corners of the world. He said the attack on the World Trade Centre (WTC) in the USA and bomb blasts in London were a strong indication that for the terrorists, no country was out-of-bound area.

He said that to develop a common opinion against terrorism among like-minded countries the All India Anti-Terrorist Front would organise a “Shardhanjali Samaroh” in Delhi on September 10 in memory of those who were killed in the attack on the WTC.

He pointed out that delegates and ambassadors of 40 countries were expected to participate in that function which would be organised by the front under the supervision of its Chairman, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta.


Market for families of PAP jawans
Tribune News Services

Jalandhar, September 6
Nearly 5000 families based in the high security PAP complex will need not go out of the complex to fetch goods of daily use now as the PAP authorities have come up with an ultra-modern shopping complex exclusively meant for families of PAP jawans.

The shopping complex is almost ready and an array of services would be provided from the complex to PAP consumers, who had to cover a distance of about two to three kilometres and come to Jalandhar city for purchasing ration and other essential commodities. In the first phase, nine shops and an open hall, would be rented out to businessmen.

“All essential commodities would be available in the complex, which has been set up on the lines of sector markets in Chandigarh. We are also trying to make arrangements so as to provide vegetables and other consumables and food items on discounted prices as is done in ‘apni mandis’. But this arrangement has not been finalised as yet. The objective is to provide all necessary items to families of jawans at one centralised place. The market is likely to be operational from ‘navratras’,” said Mr Rajan Gupta, ADGP, PAP.

The shopping complex will provide more convenient to family members of jawans, deployed out of the state.


Bus terminal awaits inauguration
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 6
The ultra-modern bus terminal of the holy city, the first of its kind in Asia, has been completed at a huge cost of over Rs 17 crore.

Though the general public has been facing a lot of inconvenience due to traffic hazards at the makeshift bus stand, the newly constructed bus terminal has not been opened so far as the local administration is waiting for a VVIP to inaugurate it. However, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, Chairman, Improvement Trust, while talking to The Tribune, said he was going to meet the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, to finalise the date of inauguration.

Mr Sharma said the bus stand was constructed under the build operate and transfer (BOT) system.

The Chairman said the modern bus terminal was equipped with a water treatment plant. He further said the terminal was also equipped with a rain water harvesting system.

Spread in an area of about 8.5 acres, the site has been planned for optimum utilisation. Sixty buses would be able to enter simultaneously and leave for different destinations.


Panel to amend revenue rules on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
The Punjab government will soon set up a commission to amend the revenue rules.

The step is being taken to mitigate the problems faced by NRIs because of the existing cumbersome procedural and legal framework.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that the Revenue Department had already implemented a policy for the demarcation of land and mutation to dispose of the pending cases of NRIs within a stipulated time.

Capt Amarinder Singh had directed the Home Department to start an NRI helpline programme on various TV channels and radio in Canada, the UK and the USA instead of a police helpline through a Canadian radio.


high court
Permission sought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 6
SGPC Chief Bibi Jagir Kaur has moved the High Court seeking quashing of September 1 order of Special Judge (CBI), Patiala, through which he had dismissed her plea for allowing her to go to the USA. Bibi Jagir Kaur is facing trial in the case relating to mysterious death of her daughter.

In her petition, which came up for hearing on Tuesday, the SGPC chief has stated that she wants to go to the USA to study the top universities there to evolve a pattern of the proposed Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

She has sought setting aside of the Special Judge’s order on the plea that he wrongfully disallowed her request.

After hearing her counsel, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal issued notice of motion to the respondents for September 12.


RI for three in Kapil Saluja murder case
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 6
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr Justice U. S. Gera, today sentenced three persons, Ashwani Mehta, alias Tiddi, president, Beopar Mandal, his younger brother Rajesh Mehta, alias Bittu, and Sat Pal Bajaj, vice-president, Beopar Mandal, to 20- years rigorous imprisonment in connection with the Kapil Saluja murder case.

Congress leader Kapil Saluja was stabbed to death inside the Ferozepore city police station complex on July 12,2000, in the presence of the then SHO, Mr Amritpal Singh.

The police had registered the case against 11 persons, out of which eight were acquitted by the session’s court today. The acquitted persons include Bachittar Singh PA to MP Zora Singh Mann, Pradeep Kumar, Khushwinder Singh, Budh Ram, Surinder Kumar, Anil Kumar, Manoj Kumar and Suresh Tuli.

Kapil Saluja (35), who was stabbed may times, had died on the spot.


Kapurthala SSP shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6
Bowing to public demand, the Punjab Government today shifted the district police chief of Kapurthala, Mr T.P. Singh, to Amritsar as SP (Intelligence). Kapurthala had witnessed incidents of violence yesterday.

The alleged failure of the district administration to control the situation in Kapurthala town had led to the demand for the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner and the district police chief. A number of political leaders, including some from the ruling party, had complained regarding the breakdown of the law and order machinery at Kapurthala to the state government.

The district police chief of Jagraon, Mr Rajiv Ahir, has been posted at Kapurthala in place of Mr T.P. Singh while Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP (City-I), Ludhiana, has been shifted to Jagraon as SSP.

The state government has also ordered the transfer of some other police officers. Mr R.K. Mittal has been posted as DIG (Provisioning). Mr Parampal Singh has been posted as DIG, PAP, Jalandhar. Dr Arun Kumar Oran has been posted as SP, (Counter Intelligence,) Chandigarh. Mr Parveen Kumar Sinha has been posted as S.P. (Telecommunication). Mr Dinesh Pratap Singh and Mr Shive Kumar Verma have been posted as SPs, (CM’s Security).

Mr Paramraj Singh has been posted as SP, CID, Punjab, at Chandigarh. Mr Kashmir Singh Gill has been posted as SP, Special Investigations, and Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa as SP, City-I, Amritsar. Mr Harjit Singh Pannu, has been posted as S.P. ( D), Moga, and Mr Ajmer Singh has been shifted to Faridkot as SP (Headquarter). Mr Balkar Singh has been posted as Zonal SP, (Intelligence), Ferozepore.


Rs 2.39 lakh looted, bank manager shot
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 6
In a broad daylight bank dacoity, dacoits shot dead branch manager and looted Rs 2,39,000 from the cashier of State Bank of Patiala branch at Alampur village located on the Miani-Dasuya road of this district at 1.30 pm today.

On receiving information, Mr Harish Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Detective) (SP), Hoshiarpur, alongwith police force rushed to the spot. Talking to this correspondent, Mr Harish Kumar said two clean-shaven and two Sikh youths came on two motor cycles to the bank at 1.30 pm. While entering the premises, three of them having fire arms, scuffled with Mr Karam Singh, security guard of the bank. They snatched .12 bore gun from him, entered the branch and instructed customers, to stand in a queue adjoining to the wall. When they were snatching cash from the cashier, Mr Surinder Pal, the branch manager, Mr Swarnjit Puri, tried to stop them. For this, they fired at him due to which he died on the spot. After looting, they fled.

The SP said police parties had been despatched in search of the dacoits. Police nakas had also been set up on all the important crossings to nab the culprits. He said computer sketches of the dacoits were being prepared.


Youth crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 6
A Chandigarh youth studying in GGS College of Modern Technology, Kharar, was crushed to death and two other students injured when the motor cycle they were riding was run over by a tractor trolley on the busy Morinda-Kharar highway this afternoon.

The victim Rishi Sharma was driving the motor cycle while his two friends Parminder Singh, a resident of Patiala and Parminder Singh, a resident of Ludhiana were on the pillion.

According to the police, the three had gone to Morinda for some work this morning and were returning to the college when the accident took place near Rurki village. Eyewitnesses told the police that the three were first hit by a car and the three fell down from the motor cycle. A tractor trolley coming from behind ran over them. Rishi died at the spot and his friends, one of whom was critically injured, were rushed to the Kharar Civil Hospital.

Parminder Singh of Patiala was later shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh. The other Parminder Singh is still admitted to the Kharar Civil Hospital and is stable. While both the car that reportedly hit the students and the tractor trolley that ran over them drove away from the spot, the police has registered a case against the drivers.


PO arrested

Phagwara, September 6
A proclaimed offender, Lakhbir Kumar, of Sunra Rajputan village was today arrested by the Sadar police.

He was wanted in two separate cases registered in 2000 and 2002 in connection with the seizure of 46 bags of poppy husk from him.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh Mall, SHO, Sadar police station, Phagwara, confirmed it. — OC


NCC cadets take to para-sailing
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 6
It was a unique experience today for nearly 320 students from various colleges across the region who got an opportunity to sail high in the air on the penultimate day of the ongoing NCC thal sainik camp being organised by the Punjab Directorate.

Cadets from the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh. Haryana and Chandigarh battalions were trained by Lt-Col Sachin Arora, Officer Commander, 1 Punjab Air Squadron, NCC.

The cadets were taken to a distance of almost 400 metres by means of a slow-moving Gypsy to which the strings of the parachute were tied up. Group Cdr D.S. Goraya, Jalandhar NCC Group, and Lt-Col H.S. Chopra of 21 Punjab Battalion, were also present on the occasion.


Students hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 6
The Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) today organised a protest rally to support the students of University College located at Rampura Phul in their protest against the mini bus operators.

Mr Sukwinder Singh, president of the union, said that the mini bus operators of Rampura Phul had been harassing the college students of Rampura Phul. He said protest rallies would be held in schools and colleges in support of the students of Rampura Phul.


Teachers union
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 6
Mr Jaipal Singh of S.C.D. Government College, Ludhiana, and Dr Hardeep Singh of the Government Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala, have been elected president and general secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Government College Teachers Association unanimously.

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