P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Who will foot bill of delegation’s Australian tour?
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Who will foot the bill of the two-week-long tour to Australia of the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the Minister of State for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Mr Rakesh Pandey, the Officer on Special Duty with Mrs Bhattal, Mr G.K. Singh, the Director, Technical Education, Mr Narinderjit Singh, and the Director-General of Pushpa Gujral Science City, Mr R.S. Khandpur? This question is being asked in Punjab Government circles.

They have gone to visit various technical institutions in Australia on the invitation of the Technocrats Association of Australia, said to be a non-official body. Official sources say that the state government has not paid the money for tour. The Director, Technical Education, has got an advance of Rs 17 lakh from the account of the Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training. In fact, it is students’ money that is collected by the board for conducting entrance and other tests. There is no provision for money for foreign tours in the current year’s budget of the board. There is also no provision for foreign visits in its constitution, it is learnt.

The board has not authorised the withdrawal of this money so far. The money has been withdrawn on the orders of the Chairperson of the board, Mrs Susheel Mahajan.

Mrs Mahajan said the withdrawal of the money was subject to ex-post facto approval of the Finance Committee as well as the board of Directors. Mrs Mahajan was also made part of the delegation to Australia. “But I declined to accompany it for personal reasons”, she said.

According to precedent, delegation members travel together. However, sources say that all members of this delegation have gone separately. Three officers, including, Mr G.K. Singh and Mr Narinderjit Singh, were the first to go. The sources said that they went via Hongkong and would return via Singapore. Mrs Bhattal went via Auckland and would return via Singapore, it is learnt. Mr Pandey would come back via Europe, the sources added. Though certain officers were only entitled to economy class, they bought air tickets, which had provision to break journey in Singapore and Hongkong, of business class at a very high cost, it is learnt.

Asked about the return of the officers, their respective offices said that they would attend office on Monday. The ministers are also expected to return next week.

The only technical man in the delegation is Mr Khandpur. But his specialisation is also said to be in medical equipment though he has a background of engineering.

How did officers reach the conclusion that Australia has the best institutions of technical education and by introducing the same kind of education in Punjab, the state would benefit? The sources said that at present India had the best technical institutions in the world. Those who passed out from the Indian Institutes of Technology and certain other engineering institutions got the best jobs in the world. Indian engineering degree holders are in demand in countries like Australia. The Indian education system, especially technical education, has attracted the attention of even countries like the USA.

The state government should have sent a delegation of principals and directors of engineering colleges, who had the qualifications to decide “what is required to be copied from Australian institutions”, said a senior officer.


Development works 2 days before elections?
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Goraya (Jalandhar), September 16
In its bid to woo the voters, the ruling Congress party is blatantly violating the modal code of conduct by initiating development works in a majority of the 13 wards just two days ahead of Nagar Panchayat polls being held in Goraya.

Since roads, water supply and sewerage problems have been the key issues in this constituency, sewer pipes and road repair material has been piled up along roadsides to entice the residents for gaining support for elections to be held this Sunday.

In fact, the sewage pipes have been lined up prominently alongside GT Road close to Government Senior Secondary School, Goraya, which houses the polling booth for ward numbers 1 and 2. The residents of ward number 1 falling in Ramgarhia Mohalla, Railway Colony and Mahal Road have said that though they knew that it was all a poll gimmick, they were happy as they felt that things seem to be going in their favour as of now.

Mr Jasvir Kumar Jas, an incumbent councilor and a second time contender from ward number 1, agreed that the pipes had been kept in place last evening but he said that it was just a pending work that had been approved almost six months back.

Road repair material was also seen piled up in ward number 7 from where the incumbent president of Municipal Council, Mr Kamaldeep Singh Bittu, is contesting on a Congress ticket. The part of Rurka Road falling in the ward has small patches that need repair work and supporters of an independent candidate contesting from the ward said that the road repair material had been piled up just two days back to win over the confidence of the people.

To support the Congress candidates from ward numbers 3, 4 and 5 falling all along Bara Pind Road, Mr Bittu has even reportedly given an assurance that the repair of the road would begin by this evening. When contacted, the MC president agreed to this saying that the material for road relaying would reach Bara Pind today so that the work could begin as soon as possible. He said that he had made all out effort to convince the Market Committee authorities to get the work done on priority.

Importantly, even the BSP that has a handsome share of the Dalit vote has aligned with the BJP-Akali alliance and formed a common front to fight against the ruling Congress party. The members of the front have alleged that the candidates from the Congress had been going from door to door taking water supply and sewer bills from the residences of their wards and paying them on their own.

Interestingly, a SAD-BJP-supported couple is contesting the elections from two different wards. While Mr Charan Dass is facing a tough fight against the incumbent MC president in ward number 7, his wife Ms Gurmej Kaur, is busy canvassing in ward number 12.

Mr Vijay Sampla, general secretary, BJP, Punjab, has sent a complaint to the Election Commissioner, Punjab, stating that fake I-cards were being issued from Capital Local Area Bank on the instruction of its CMD, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, who is also an MLA and Minister of NRI Affairs, Punjab. Similarly, he has also lamented that false ration cards had also been prepared in the last 10-15 days on the instructions of Food and Civil Supply Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, to facilitate casting of illegal votes in favour of the ruling party candidates.

Mr Sampla has also complained that Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Shahkot, was also harassing party workers under political pressure, while demanding that polling on ID proofs created in the last month should not be allowed.


Function leads to traffic chaos
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The main Dalhousie road blocked for a function, leading to traffic blockades in Pathankot
The main Dalhousie road blocked for a function, leading to traffic blockades in Pathankot.
— Photo by Jangi

Pathankot, September 16
Traffic chaos prevailed in Pathankot today as some people erected tents on the Dalhousie road. The road is the lifeline of Pathankot as almost the entire traffic passes over it to go to various parts of the city. Some people today blocked one side of the one-way road, leading to traffic jams.

People had to suffer traffic jams for long periods as policemen were not present to tackle the situation.

A private organisation planned a ‘Jagrata’ tomorrow in the area, the arrangements for which led to the chaos.

The traffic was paralysed by the tents erected and tables placed on the main road.

While the people were jostling to get their vehicles past, the organisers were busy peacefully controlling the entire road.

With a number of spacious grounds available in Pathankot for holding programmes, it was hard to imagine that why the organisers chose this congested area.

The local administration seemed to be a mute spectator and did nothing to control the traffic or stop the organisers.

The SDM of Pathankot was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him on phone.

Besides the traffic hazard the religious programme in a busy locality would lead to noise pollution. Ironically, the Pollution Control Board organised a seminar yesterday to make people aware about the ills of noise pollution.


LPG crisis grips Bathinda
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Grappling with an acute LPG crisis for the past 10-15 days, people in the city are forced to purchase an LPG cylinder on black and are paying up to Rs 425 for it. Some are even forced to buy kerosene in the absence of a proper LPG supply.

People who made bookings 10 days back are still awaiting LPG and a section of them has even paid Rs 400 for purchasing a cylinder on black.

Talking to The Tribune, staff of Bathinda Gas Agency, a dealer of HP Gas, said they had 9,000 customers. Earlier they were receiving 17 or 18 loads a month, but in the past one month it had come down to four or five loads. They said they were getting less than 6,000 refills every month even before the crisis began and this figure had now come down to 1,500 making it too difficult for them to cope with the demand.

They said they would clear the bookings made on September 6 tomorrow.

Jagdeep Gas Agency, a dealer of Bharat Gas, has also been receiving less supply for the last few days. Earlier, it used to get a load of 300 cylinders daily and now the same was delivered to them every two days.

Sources said the situation had turned more serious as a large number of taxis had switched over to gas due to the spiralling oil prices. Sources said rising use of domestic LPG among taxi and owners four-wheeler had added to the already increasing LPG demand.

Moreover, increasing power tariff has led to more people opting for gas geysers in their homes. So, now they are utilizing LPG for more than one purpose resulting in a rise in their requirement.

Another factor that worsened the situation was the apprehension of LPG price hike a few days back, which led to panic buying among a section of customers.

Meanwhile, with the LPG shortage not coming to an end, the local residents are growing impatient. “I had booked a cylinder on September 3, but didn’t get it till September 15 and that too I purchased on black for Rs 400,” said an irate Gurinder Singh. “I had to bring out my old stove and purchase kerosene to cook meals. I still don’t know for how long we would have to wait for LPG,” said Kiran Garg, a local housewife.

The District Food and Supplies Controller, Mrs Kulwant Kaur, admitted that there was a shortage of LPG, as the companies had reduced loads. She said she would hold a meeting of gas agency dealers in the coming week to discuss the crisis.

On LPG being sold on black, she said strict action would be taken against those indulging in such activities and added that the department officials had already been told to conduct raids on receiving any complaint.


Upgrade customs clearance facility at Wagah: Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Punjab Government, which is eager to see the smooth movement of goods by truck through Wagah to Pakistan, has urged the Union Government to upgrade various facilities on the border.

The state government wants that the process of clearance of various goods on the Indian side should be quickened to avoid any deterioration in the quality of perishable items such as vegetables, the export of which to Pakistan was started recently.

Sources said the Punjab Government had urged the Centre to fix big x-ray units for the screening of goods. Arrangements should be made for screening the material loaded in heavy vehicles such as trucks to ensure quicker clearance. There have been complaints that because of the delay in the clearance of various perishable goods, their quality deteriorates and in Pakistan the lobby opposed to Indian imports creates controversies regarding quality.

The customs clearance facility is woefully inadequate on the Wagah border. The manual shifting of goods from the Indian side to Pakistan and vice-versa is an arrangement that does not suit the export of goods in bulk from India to Pakistan.

The sources said the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who is to visit Pakistan from December 20 to 22 to inaugurate the Indo-Pak Punjab Games in Lahore, is, at the moment focusing on getting the bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib started by November, when Sikh jathas will visit Nankana Sahib for religious celebrations. His other priority is the movement of goods through Wagah to Pakistan by truck.

The sources said that the issue of the bus service between the two holy cities was with the technical committee at the moment. A team of officials from Pakistan was expected to visit Delhi later this month to hold another round of discussions in this regard.


PoK delegation wants pre-1947 status for J&K
Tribune News Service

Wagah, September 16
Senior leader from the Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK), Mr Munir Hussain Chaudhry , Supreme Head of the All J&K Muslim Conference , who led an eight-member delegation from Pakistan yesterday, made a dramatic statement to unite both the ‘’separated’’ Kashmirs and sought the pre-Partition status for permanent peace in the valley.

Talking to newsmen on their arrival at the Wagah joint check post to participate in the ‘’Intra J&K Heart to Heart’’ talks to be held in Jammu and Delhi this month ,Mr Chaudhry said he had already made an impassioned appeal to the President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to open up all land routes, which had been used during pre-Partition days providing easy assess to people living across the LoC.

Expressing his excitement over the proposed talks with the representatives of Indian Kashmir after a gap of 57 years, Mr Chaudhry said the meeting would provide a great opportunity to help find solution to the vexed Kashmir problem.

The convener of the coordination committee organising the “Heart to Heart Talk,” Prof Bhim Singh, while welcoming the Pakistan delegation, said the two-day meeting would be held at Jammu University on September 16 and 17. He said people from various political parties, members of Parliament, prominent intellectuals and statesmen would participate in the two-day deliberations. He said the next round of talks would be held at New Delhi, which is being organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs in collaboration with the Coordination Committee of J&K Leaders and Intellectuals.


‘Militancy fuelling divorces, drug abuse in valley’
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot September 16
Prolonged militancy has forced negative social changes in the Kashmir valley. The immigrants from rural areas of the valley are the worst-hit.

Mrs Dilafrose a social worker and woman entrepreneur from Srinagar, who is among the 90 nominees for the Nobel prize for peace from India expressed these views to The Tribune here today.

She said that before militancy phenomena of divorce and drug addiction were unheard among Hindu’s of the Kashmir valley. People residing in rural areas were richer as they owned fertile lands and apple orchards. However, after migrating from rural areas due to threat of militants migrants were forced to stay in small tents or one-room shelters.

The women have been forced to marry just for obtaining shelter for themselves and their parents. Many women are also divorcing their husbands just because it is difficult for families of eight to 10 people to sustain themselves in single rooms. The youth, due to unemployment and poverty has taken to drugs.

Though situation in the Kashmir valley was improving the politics was stopping the return of migrants back to the valley. Pakistan and American intelligence agencies do not want peace to return to the area.

Certain agencies that get foreign funds for helping the families of Kashmiri militants are also not doing their job properly. Instead of distributing the grants among the needy families they are raising properties for themselves.

Another social charge that militancy has brought to the Kashmir valley is creation of elite and very poor classes. It was strange that a selected elite class was getting richer and richer while those displaced from their homes have become paupers.

She also urged the government to India to allow multinational companies into the Kashmir valley. Rather than giving subsidies the government should work on innovative schemes to increase employment generation in the valley.

Mrs Dilafrose is running SSM Engineering and Colleges for other technical courses at Srinagar. She is also running charitable school for women and rehabilitation programmes for militancy-hit families in rural areas of the Kashmir valley.

Despite threats and attempts on life from militants she is determined to continue her humanitarian work hoping that peace would return to the area in the valley.


Pbi varsity expels two SFI members
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Continuing with the ongoing protests, students of the Departments of Political Science, Economics and Computer Science of Punjabi University, Patiala, burnt effigies of the university authorities besides raising slogans against the management on the call of the Punjabi University Students Confederation.

In another development, two law students Rajinder Singh of the Punjab Students Union and Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal of the Students Federation of India (SFI) were expelled by the authorities. They had been accused of hooliganism and indiscipline by the authorities and suspended on September 7 and their entry banned in the university campus. An inquiry had been instituted by the Vice-Chancellor as they had allegedly misbehaved with senior teachers.

The students had held a rally demanding the discontinuation of internal assessment for law students, besides other things.

The two students today termed the inquiry as a sham. “We did not attend the first hearing as we thought nothing would come out of it. We attended the second hearing as we thought the authorities may talk about our demands, but it was a sham. They had expelled the four students who went for the inquiry any way, so this was expected of the authorities,” said Rajinder Singh, who was expelled today.

The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, visited various departments today to talk to students. He went to the Departments of Economics, English, Punjabi and Political Science.

“This is for the first time that the Vice-Chancellor has visited the departments. Earlier, he would rarely have time to meet students and now he has found the time because of the on-going protests. He is trying to intimidate the students from taking part in the protests,” said Rajinder.

Addressing the rally, Harvinder Singh Harry of the Students Federation of India accused Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, Dean, Students Welfare, of trying to give a bad name to the students’ protest by saying that students were working for a political agenda. He called Dr Sandhu’s remarks baseless.


Fix date for taking up Nehra report, SAD asks Speaker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and 13 MLAs of his party (SAD) have written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Speaker of the state assembly, Dr Kewal Krishan, to fix the date and time for discussing the findings of the Nehra Commission in the Assembly.

The commission had conducted an inquiry into allegations against Mr Raninder Singh, son of Capt Amarinder Singh, with regard to money laundering.

The Akali MLAs in the letter sought an immediate session of the Assembly to discuss the issue in the light of the observations made by the Punjab and Haryana High Court saying that a judicial view of the allegations against Mr Raninder Singh could be possible only after the report of the commission was discussed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Meanwhile, the state government has decided to convene the session from October 5 to 7. A notice in this regard will be issued on September 21, it is learnt.


Bibi furnishes bank guarantee for Rs 10 lakh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today furnished a bank guarantee of Rs 10 lakh in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Bhupinder Singh, here to complete the formalities for the visit to the USA as directed by Mr Justice S.K. Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday.

The bank guarantee was furnished on behalf of the Akali MLA from Samana, Mr Surjeet Singh Rakhra, according to the defence lawyer, Mr Satnam Singh Kaler. Mr Surinder Singh Nagpal, manager of the Punjab and Sind Bank of Rakhra branch, where Mr Rakhra has a fixed deposit of the same amount, further endorsed the guarantee. He gave an undertaking to the court that the fixed deposit would not be allowed to be encashed till October10.

Bibi Jagir Kaur would be back for the court proceedings fixed for October 1, Mr Kaler said.

The high court had yesterday allowed her to visit the USA for two weeks, starting from September 16, to study the structure of top universities there to set up Shri Guru Granth Sahib World University at Fatehgarh Sahib.

The Patiala court, had earlier, dismissed Bibi’s plea as she is facing a trial in the case relating to the death of her daughter.


SIT acting in strange manner, says Punjab AG
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 16
Punjab Advocate-General Rajinder Singh Cheema today termed as strange the action of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the Naya Gaon rape case in keeping government functionaries, including the DGP and him, away from the progress in the case.

“The whole case is being highjacked. This has never happened before. The SIT is acting under no one,” he said in the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the hearing of a bunch of applications, including one filed by journalist Gautam Dheer, who was arrested sometime ago by the SIT.

The AG stated that he had no inkling of the contents of the SIT report submitted to the high court as he had not seen it. He, however, asserted that though he had not seen the report, the issue of Dheer’s arrest had nothing to do with the main case and hence should be delinked from the rape case.

The Division Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mrs Justice Kiran Anand Lall will decide whether investigation in Dheer’s involvement in the case be taken out of the purview of the SIT and handed over to an agency such as the CBI.

In an application, Dheer claimed that his arrest, allegedly at the behest of IGP Sumedh Singh Saini, head of the SIT, was premeditated and intended to intimidate the media in general and him in particular. He also alleged that Mr Saini was inimical towards him.

Therefore, he prayed that the investigation in the case should be separated from the main case and the same be handed over to the CBI.

Today, Mr Cheema and SIT’s counsel Anupam Gupta again locked horns over the status of the SIT vis-à-vis the Punjab Government.

While the AG wondered if the SIT could, on its own, be party to the ongoing proceedings, Mr Gupta took the stand that the AG could not appear for the government as well as the SIT since he had already moved an application on behalf of the government against the SIT.

The Bench directed the AG to inform it about the FIRs registered in the matter, their dates and names of the accused.

Earlier, the father of the rape victim submitted an affidavit, alleging that the family was still receiving threats from the accused.

The hearing will now resume on September 20.


Villagers up in arms against online lottery stalls
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 16
The residents of Hariyal village here are up in arms against the online lottery stalls opened in their village. The villagers today staged a dharna outside the local police station and demanded permanent closure of the lottery stalls.

They also threatened to block traffic on the Pathankot-Kangra road in case the lottery stalls were not removed. The sarpanch of the village, Mr Pramod Singh, while talking to The Tribune alleged that the people of their village have taken to gambling since the opening of lottery stalls.

The poor labourers were spending their entire daily income on the single digit lotteries.

The villagers rued that the government was promoting gambling in the state by allowing online lottery stalls to open even in the rural area.

It is mandatory for liquor contractors to seek permission from the panchayat for opening vends in the villages. However, the online lottery stall holders do not need any permission of that kind.

Yesterday, the agitated villagers had beaten up an employee of the online lottery stall running in their area. The employees had to be hospitalised.


159 selected for training at Army centre
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 16
Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, today inaugurated a special medical checkup-cum-training camp organised by the District Administration at Mullepur village in Sirhind block under the C-pite scheme of the state Government. The camp was conducted under the supervision of Col Joginder Singh. In this camp 523 youths, who wanted to join the Indian Army were checked up medically. Out of them 159 were selected to get further training at Army training centre Nabha for recruitment.

Addressing the youths Mrs Jaspreet Talwar expressed concern over the increasing trend of drug addiction among the youths as well as in other social evils. She said that youth was an assets of a country and the future of the country depended upon them. She said that the Chief Minister had also expressed concern during a meeting of the Deputy Commissioners meeting and directed them to organise camps so that Punjabi youths may be recruited in Army.

Col Joginder Singh, Director C-PITE scheme, said that in the state five training camps had been started under this scheme and two more were likely to be started. He said that a large number of youths were coming in these camps to get training. He said that in these camps the youths were trained as per the recruitment rules of army. These camps had proved useful for youths and due to the efforts of the Chief Minister the number of Punjabi youths had increased in recruitment. He said that during training they were given free boarding and lodging facility.

Mr Dharmpal Gupta ADC(G), Mr DPS Walia ADC(D), Mr GPS Cheema DDPO Mr Lakhbir Singh, member Zila Parishad, also addressed.


Fitness camp for Army hopefuls
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 16
A medical checkup-cum-physical fitness camp for youths interested in joining the Indian Army, belonging to three blocks of Bassi Pathana, Khera and Khamano, was organised by the district administration yesterday at ITI grounds, Bassi Pathana.

More than 300 youths participated. Mr Dharmpal Gupta, ADC (G), inaugurated the camp. He said that selected candidates would be imparted training at Lalru from September 19.

He said more such camps for the youths of Sirhind block would be organised on September 16 at Mulepur village, where the youths would be given the tips to clear the Army recruitment test.

At a recently concluded meeting of the Deputy Commissioners, the state Chief Minister had expressed concern over the falling number of Punjabi youths in Army recruitment as compared to other states because of their lack of fitness. He had directed to make all out efforts to improve the general health of the youths of the state.

Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, started organising such camps at the block-level and the youths were coming in large number to avail the facility provided by the district administration.


Mangal Dhillon to show ‘Khalsa’ in villages
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 16
Actor and producer Mangal Dhillon today unveiled his plan to hold shows of “Khalsa”, one of his films depicting history of the Sikh religion, in villages across the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said people of the rural Punjab didn’t know much about the Sikh religion due to various reasons. He said lack of knowledge about their religion was taking youths astray and they were falling prey to drug menace and frustration. He sought the help of the district administrations, village panchayats, and youth clubs in holding shows of his films in the villages.

The actor said he had initiated talks with the SGPC and some big firms for sponsoring these shows. He said if the religious organisations could not bear the cost of making such historical films, they should, at least, extend a helping hand in organising their shows so as to sensitise people about their religion at the grassroots level. He added that the first show of his film “Khalsa” would be organised at his native village in Faridkot district.

Talking about his forthcoming projects, Mangal said he was making a film, “Sarvnash”, which is about Punjabi youths taking to drugs, and another film called “Anndaata”, based on the life of today’s farmer.


Protest by Lok Bhalai Party for release of Veerpal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 16
Lok Bhalai Party activists today protested demanding steps for the release of Veerpal Kaur, a girl hailing from Dhurkot Kalan village and who reportedly has been trapped by a travel agent in Singapore, outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today.

Addressing protesters, Lok Bhalai Party president, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, said though the police had taken appropriate action against the travel agent who had duped Veerpal Kaur, the state government was yet to initiate steps to ensure her release. He said he had already established contact with the Ministry of External Affairs, besides sending a missive to the authorities concerned in Singapore. He said the Singapore officials had met Veerpal Kaur and informed him that she was okay. He said he was in touch with the ministry on Veerpal’s issue. Lamenting the indifferent attitude of the successive state governments against unscrupulous travel agents, he said his party’s drive against such agents would continue, as they had duped thousands of Punjabi youths of crores.

Launching a scathing attack on SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Ramoowalia accused Akali leaders of indulging in corrupt practices and misleading people on all issues. He alleged that Akalis didn’t have any programme for the development of the state. He charged SAD leaders with whipping up public sentiments on the issue of 1984 riots. He claimed that when a debate was on in Parliament on the Nanavati Commission report and the PM apologised for 1984 riots none of the Akali MPs were present there. He asked the SAD to why it had deserted issues like the Anandpur Resolution, Punjabi-speaking areas, and Chandigarh, over which they had raised much hue and cry earlier.


Anganwari workers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 16
A large number of female anganwari workers and helpers of this district under the banner of “Anganwari Workers and Helpers Coordination Committee Punjab” yesterday blocked the traffic at traffic lights chowk, near bus stand here, for half an hour. They also took out a protest march and held demonstration in front of the office of the District Education Officer (Primary), and staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in the district administrative complex here.

The protesters, who were led by Ms Surinder Kaur Mander and Ms Karamjit Kaur Bhawanigarh, both leaders of the district coordination committee of the anganwari workers and helpers, raised slogans against the Punjab Government. They were protesting against the opening of nursery schools under the “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” scheme in the government primary schools in the state. They demanded that the scheme of opening of these nursery schools in the government primary schools should immediately be scrapped.


Sukhmani society samagam begins
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 16
The 32nd three-day All-India religious samagam of Sukhmani Sahib Seva societies began here today.

It is the first ever such national samagam hosted by Sri Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society, Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi, Chaura Khuh.

Led by Manjit Singh Khalsa and Ekam Singh, the samagam began with the ceremonial transfer of the bir of Guru Granth Sahib from Chaura Khuh Gurdwara to the site of the samagam in New Dana Mandi on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road. The samagam would conclude with a nagar kirtan on September 18.


Yogi installed at dera
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 16
The managing committee of Dera Baba Mangal Nath Mandir Committee today installed a new ‘nath’ Yogi

Krishan Nath, on the historic seat of the dera.

Earlier, a Ramayana akhand path was performed and hundreds of people from the area participated in the ceremony. Later a shobha yatra was taken out in the town, in which new “nath” of the dera, along with hundreds of nath sadhus, was welcomed by the town residents.

A community kitchen was organised. Mr Satpal Puri, chairman, and Mr Rakesh Mitter, president of the committee, introduced the new nath of the dera and assured him full support in running the dera- cum-temple.


Loans worth Rs 183 cr given
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 16
During the first quarter so far the disbursement of loans in the agriculture sector was Rs 120 crore against the fixed target of Rs 103 crore.

Besides it, loans amounting to Rs 183 crore have been distributed among the needy persons in the district against target of Rs 152 crore, said the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr H.I.S Garewal, at a meeting of the district review committee comprising of senior officials of various banks.


Nayagaon rape accused remanded in custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 16
Satnam Singh, an alleged associate of the accused in the Nayagaon rape case, was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by a Kharar court today. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab police, probing into the rape of a minor girl at Nayagaon three years ago, had arrested Satnam Singh on September 13. He had been remanded to two days’ of police custody and was presented before the court today following the end of his police remand.


Ban on liquor sale
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 16
Keeping in view the general elections of Municipal Council of ward-1 and ward-7 of the Kurali and ward –13 of Anandpur Sahib to be held on September 18, the District Magistrate, Ropar, Mr H.I.S Garewal, has imposed ban on sale of liquor in these areas on September 17 and September 18 between 5 and 7 pm.


Foul play suspected in woman’s death
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 16
A middle-aged woman died under mysterious circumstances here today.

While the in-laws of Supinder Kaur (40), claimed that she died a natural death, family members of the deceased suspected some foul play.

It is reported that when Mrs Karnail Kaur, mother of the deceased, got the information about the death of her daughter she reached Kharar along with other members of the family and the village panchayat. A complaint was made to the police as they suspected some foul play in the death of Supinder Kaur.

The police has recorded the statements of the in-laws and those of the family members of the deceased. The body of Supinder Kaur was sent to the local Civil Hospital for a postmortem examination. The police said further action would be taken only after getting the postmortem report. 


Unaccounted wealth of Rs 4 cr unearthed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
Sleuths of the Income Tax Department unearthed unaccounted wealth of over Rs 4 crore during a raid on the hotelier’s premises on Albert Road here.

According to information, the raiding party had been able to find property papers worth Rs 4 crore in benami names in different parts of the city.

Besides the property documents, the department laid hand on various FDRs worth over Rs 1 crore along with jewellery and cash. The raiding party was drawn from various parts of the state to collect information about the unaccounted wealth accumulated by the family of hotel owner.

Giving details, the IT Department stated that the proprieter, Mr Ram Kumar Arora, and his family had purchased several properties. They sealed a number of bank lockers and recovered FDRs and cash. The department also recovered cash worth over Rs 20 lakh.


Blast in ashram: challan filed
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, September 16
The Ropar police has filed a challan against seven persons for allegedly blasting a bomb in the ashram of Baba Piara Singh Bhanirewala under the Explosive and Criminal Conspiracy Act. The challan was filed in the court of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Anandpur Sahib, Mr R.K Kaundal.

Meanwhile, a challan against two other accused in the case, including the main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case and also in this case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, and his accomplice Gurdeep Singh could not be filed as both of them have not been arrested in the case so far.

The challan was filed under Sections 3/4 of the explosive Act and 120-B of the IPC against Avtar Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Sant Singh, Amarjit Singh, Dharminder Singh, Amritpal Singh and Sukhvir Singh.

The police said Hawara could not be arrested in the case as he was at present lodged in Burail Jail and could not be brought here on production warrants. The UT administration has imposed Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code on all accused involved in the Beant Singh assassination case. As a result, none of the accused in the case can be taken by the police of other states in the cases pending against them in their territory.

Gurdeep Singh, an aide of Hawara, is still at large in the case and the police has procured non-bailable warrants against him for September 30.

Police sources said Gurdeep Singh had proved to be useful for Hawara. Gurdeep Singh had helped Hawara escape from Model Jail, Burail. Gurdeep Singh had also motivated his friends to become members of the Babbar Khalsa International. Gurdeep’s friends had helped Hawara hide explosives and other ammunition at their places and triggered a bomb blast at Bhanirewala ashram.

The bomb exploded before its actual time on January 9 this year and had not caused any lose of human lives.

The SP (Detective), Ropar, Mr Harwaj Singh, said as both Hawara and Gurdeep could not be arrested in the case, a challan could not be filed against them. The supplementary challan against the two could only be filed against them after their arrest in the case.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted, 1 held
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 16
The Phagwara police headed by DSP Navjot Singh Mahal claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of vehicle-lifters and arrested Kulwant Singh of Amritsar, while the other four members of the gang were at large. The gang used to prepare forged documents and sell stolen vehicles in Srinagar.

Kulwant Singh, alias Kanta, a resident of Ajnala in Amritsar district, who was the kingpin, was arrested by the Phagwara police from near Gandma village here today and a country made pistol with two live cartridges was seized from him. He admitted that he was residing in Srinagar and, in association with Ajay Malhotra, alias Nadeem of Jammu, had stolen nearly 20 cars from Jammu.

In another case, the DSP said that the Phagwara police arrested Jatinder Singh, a resident of Ambala Cantonment, and Davinder Singh of Ludhiana during a routine checking near Saprod village today and recovered fake currency worth Rs 1.04 lakh.


Two cops booked on assault charge
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 16
Two policemen have been booked for allegedly creating nuisance at a petrol pump and thrashing its attendants at Lambi on Monday night.

Sources said Head Constable Daljit Singh and Constable Jasbir Singh, both members of a special task force posted at Lambi police station, reached Kameer petrol pump at Lambi by a car on September 12 and 13.

They broke a windowpane of the pump and allegedly thrashed the workers before speeding away.


Baba Farid varsity keeps students on tenterhooks
Rubinder Gill

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
Fate of about 40 BDS third-year students of the Government Dental College, Patiala, hangs in balance as the Baba Farid University of Health Services, Faridkot, has failed to pass a final order on the issue of supplementary examinations despite a court order to do so. The Judge, Mr J.S. Kehar, had directed the university to consider the claim of the students and pass a final order within one month of the receipt of the copy of the order. The order was passed on August 11.

The students are in a fix as they can’t progress to the next level till they clear the general medicine exam. “The university, at least, should clarify so that we can study accordingly. If they award us grace marks we can start studying for our final year, if not, then we have to study for the current subjects as the supplementary exams are in early November. We should have adequate time for that,” says Saurabh, an affected student.

Ten students of Laxmi Bai Dental College also have to take the examination again. Third-year students had alleged that 15-mark questions were outside syllabus in the general medicine subject held in May. The result was declared in July by the university, in which more than 40 students of the college failed to make through. The students sent various petitions to the university, asking for awarding of grace marks in lieu of the outside-syllabus questions regarding hyperthyroidism. Teachers from various colleges had also written to the university authorities, lending credence to the students claim regarding the questions. The university failed to respond to the petitions and about 25 students approached the court.

This year the final-year students had been awarded grace marks by the university on the intervention of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Now the third year students are also demanding the same privilege. If grace marks are awarded quite a number of students would benefit and be promoted to the final year.


CMC told not to obstruct admissions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
The Punjab Government today took to task Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, and its affiliates, Christian Dental College and Christian Nursing College, for refusing to accept the admission forms of students under the quota for government seats. CMC has been advised not to obstruct the process of admissions of rightfully selected candidates.

The Secretary, Medical Education and Research, not only clarified the position of the government to CMC but also said the provisionally selected students could submit their fee in the form of a bank draft drawn in favour of the Principal of the Christian institution concerned to the Registrar, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, till 5 p.m. on September 19.

The university would acknowledge receipt and forward the bank drafts to CMC and also its affiliated dental and nursing colleges. Such students would be registered by the university as bona fide students under the government quota in CMC and its institutions in Ludhiana.

The claim of CMC for treating it as an exception to the due process of admission in the state was wholly misconceived and untenable, the department said. CMC had been told that its reported move of filling the prescribed government quota seats by converting the same to management/ minority quota seats was wrong.


GND varsity to start Edusat course
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
Guru Nanak Dev University will be the first in the country to impart e-education through Edusat Networking. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has already granted permission for the establishment of Edusat Network on the university campus. This was informed by Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, while addressing the meetings of the Senate and Syndicate held here today.

The university will establish a hub, an earth station and a studio and install 120 satellite interactive terminals (SITs) and 30 receive only terminals (ROTs). As per the MoU signed with ISRO, the university will connect its affiliated colleges and associate institutes under the distance education scheme during session 2005-06.

About the placement of students in various multi-national companies, it was informed that 15 multi-national companies had selected 187 students of professional courses of the 2006 batch from all three campuses.


College authorities seek security
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 16
Khalsa College authorities have urged the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP to make adequate security arrangements at the institute to stall any untoward incident in the college due to the prevailing situation in the college.

Taking stock of the present crisis faced by the institute in two meetings consisting of academic council and college staff chaired by Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, here today, the college authorities deliberated on various issues and passed six resolutions.

Those present at the meeting were of the unanimous view that outsiders, who were denied admission, had launched false propaganda against the institution and college authorities.


Riat students on strike
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 16
Students of B.Tech of all branches in Riat Engineering College today went on strike against the decision of the Principal stopping the hockey match yesterday here. The students alleged the Principal had stopped in between the hockey match played between their college and Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, just a few minutes before the match was to end when they were leading. The match was stopped on the objection that outsiders had been included in the team.

Besides it, the students alleged that they would not be allowed to move outside the college during working hours.

The Vice-Chairman of college, Mr Gurvinder Singh, when contacted said the strike had been called off after a meeting with students in the afternoon. The students have some grievances now matter is resolved amicably.


Food joints at petrol stations planned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 16
The Executive Director, Bharat Petroleum, Mr S. Krishnamurti, has said the oil companies have nothing to do with the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products. It was the decision of the Central Government based on the increase in oil prices in the international market, he added.

Addressing mediapersons after inaugurating an “In and Out Convenience” store at the local Dhindsa filling station at the Bhadson road, he said the company had already opened 380 such stores across the country at its petrol stations. The company was set to take this figure to 500 stores before the close of this financial year.


PSIEC staff protest against retrenchment move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Employees of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) and other nearby offices of the PSIEC, held a gate rally in front of Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17, on a call by the PSIEC Staff Association. The rally was held to protest against the proposed retrenchment of 600 employees working for the last 15 to 20 years. The management of PSIEC had forwarded a proposal to the Punjab Government to allow retrenchment of this working force.

According to a press statement issued here today, the file was returned to the Chief Secretary for specific recommendations. In a meeting held on September 5, it was decided to recommend the retrenchment of all employees working on daily wages and wage work charge basis numbering 600. The decision had caused widespread resentment amongst the employees.

The leaders criticised the autocratic functioning of the Managing Director. They alleged that the Chairman and Managing Director were spending lavishly and not releasing the due benefits. And the management was restoring to retrenchment instead of regularising.

The due benefits like regularisation of services, restoration of allowances were withheld on the plea of financial crunch, but the Chief Secretary had been told that the corporation had enough funds to pay the retrenchment compensation.

Mr Gurdip Singh, vice-president, PSSF, also addressed the rally and assured full support.

Mr Dalbir Singh, president and Mr N. Marwari, general secretary, declared that the agitation would be intensified and the future course of agitation would be decided in the next meeting.

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 |