P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kanshi’s 96-yr-old mother courts arrest
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Kanshi Ram’s 96-year-old mother, Mata Bishen Kaur, today courted arrest along with 50 other supporters of the Kanshi Ram Bachao Sangharsh Samiti after they were prevented from burning an effigy of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati on the eve of her visit to the city tomorrow. Her two sons — Dalbara Singh and Harbans Singh —accompanied her while courting the arrest.

It was a tough time for a the police personnel led by the SP City II, Mr Kuldeep Singh, outside Gurdwara Baba Jeevan Singh on the Tajpur road here. The members of the sangharsh samiti had gathered inside the gurdwara. Mr Harbhajan Lakha, a former MP from Phillaur, and Mr Shingora Ram, former MLA, were also present in the gurdwara.

They had reportedly planned to gather at the gurdwara and then proceed towards the Grain Market, the venue of the tomorrow’s BSP rally. BSP workers, who had information that the members of the sangharsh samiti would burn an effigy of their leader, also started gathering outside the venue. The BSP workers were carrying lathis, apparently to counter the sangharsh samiti members.

Sensing trouble, SP Kuldeep Singh asked his men to guard the gurdwara. The police did not let the sangharsh samiti members to come out. Mr Lakha, who was leading the sangharsh samiti members tried hard with the police to come out and stage a protest on the road. Ultimately, they decided to court arrest.

While Mr Lakha led his supporters into a truck, Mata Bishen Kaur was escorted into a Tata Sumo by some women constables. Her two sons were with her as she got into the car. She said she did not have any resentment towards the police for not allowing her to protest. But she was deeply upset that she was not allowed to meet her son.

She told The Tribune, “I am not sure whether I will see him again as I am not sure about myself.” She said she had seen her son last in May and since then she was not being allowed access to him. She alleged that Ms Mayawati had held her son hostage and he was allegedly administered sedatives so that he did not speak out against her.

When asked why she wanted her son back home in a village where there were scarce medical facilities compared to Delhi, she said, “I would sell my land and take due care of my son...Who is she (Mayawati) to be so concerned about my son?... She is not even our relative.” Although her physical health did not allow her to stand, but she appeared resolved, “I will ensure that my son is handed over to me...I will struggle till the end... Either I die in the process or I get my son back”. 


HC seeks DGP’s opinion on de-linking Dheer’s case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today sought the opinion of the DGP, Punjab, on the issue of de-linking of the case of the Indian Express reporter Gautam Dheer from the Naya Gaon rape case.

The DGP would give his opinion in the light of the circumstances of arrest of Dheer by the Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the Naya Gaon-rape case and his alleged complicity in it.

The resumed hearing in a bunch of applications, including those moved by the Punjab Government and Dheer, seeking de-linking of Dheer’s case from the main case and handing it to the CBI for further investigation, again witnessed frayed tempers.

Punjab Advocate-General Rajinder Singh Cheema and advocate Anupam Gupta, counsel for SIT chief IGP Sumedh Singh Saini, again locked horns over the issue of SIT being represented by Mr Gupta. This made the Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mrs Justice Kiran Anand Lall asking the AG if there was any doubt regarding the government’s control over SIT.

The AG told the Bench that it would be in the fittest of things if it (the Bench) went through the record and other documents relating to SIT’s progress in the rape case and rule if Dheer’s case should be de-linked.

Mr Cheema also sought clarification from the Bench as to whether the AG could speak for the SIT and whether the government could keep a check on the SIT. He stated while the government did not wish to interfere in the functioning of the SIT, accusations regarding the manner of arrest of Dheer forced it to seek de-linking of Dheer’s case from the main case.

Dheer’s counsel Senior Advocate M.L. Sarin supported the contentions of the AG and stated that Dheer’s was a unique case since the accused (Dheer) was himself seeking CBI probe in the case involving him. He also took umbrage at the statement of Mr Gupta questioning the propriety of the AG taking a stand opposed to the SIT.

Mr Gupta iterated sarcastically Mr Saini’s offer to quit the SIT if the High Court so desired. To this, both Mr Cheema and Mr Sarin requested the court to accept the offer and relieve Mr Saini of the charge.

He also accused Mr Cheema of withholding information from the High Court, adding that the AG’s statements were his personal grievances and not that of the DGP.

Pleading the case of the Punjab Government for a separate inquiry into Dheer’s involvement in the case, the AG stated that the propriety and validity of his arrest were highly questionable. He also pointed out that Dheer was not an accused of the main offences.

He also offered to ask the DGP to come to the court to state his stand in the matter. After this, the Bench gave time till Thursday to him to get the opinion of the DGP on the issue of de-linking of Dheer’s case from the main case.

Hearing will now resume on September 22.


Reliance keen to set up agro-processing unit in Punjab: Capt Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Calling for a multi-pronged strategy to impart vocational training to the unemployed youth to enable them to opt for self-employment avenues, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said that big corporate houses were evincing keen interest in Punjab for agricultural as well as industrial ventures.

Inaugurating a pilot project to train retired defence officers as human resource trainers here, the Chief Minister said Punjab had 20 lakh unemployed youth who could be imparted training by these officers to enable them to get gainful employment in the state.

He said the retired defence officers had the requisite caliber and acumen to channel the unbounded energy and untapped potential of the unemployed youth in a constructive manner.

“As such the greatest challenge for the state it seems, therefore, is to mitigate if not totally eliminate, the scourge of unemployment”, he said. He admitted it was not feasible for the State Government to provide government jobs to all.

He said industrialisation was the only answer to mitigate this problem in an effective manner. “Likewise our traditional agriculture will also have to undergo radical changes in the form of diversification of agriculture, multiple cropping pattern, contract farming and agro processing to generate tremendous potential for our unemployed youth”, he said.

Referring to the development in the field of agriculture and industry, Captain Amarinder said the Airtel Group had already started its operation for shipping the fresh fruits and vegetables from Punjab in collaboration with Rothschild of the UK to the Middle East, Canada and the USA. He added that the Reliance Group had evinced keen interest to set up an 
agro-processing unit in the state over a land of 3,000 acres.

Similarly, 60 mega projects at a cost of Rs 17,750 crore have been approved by the high-powered committee on mega projects and more than 50 per cent were operational or in the advanced stage of implementation.

Earlier, making a presentation on the occasion, Dr Gulshan Sharma, Executive Director of the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends, said the country was transiting rapidly into a predominantly service economy. The service industry, he added, already contributed 52 per cent to the nation’s GDP, which is expected to increase to 60 per cent by 2020.

Later, speaking to media persons, Captain Amarinder Singh said the landslide victory of the Congress party in the recent municipal elections was indicative of people’s firm commitment and acknowledgement of the policies and programmes of the State Government, thereby belying tall claims of the SAD-BJP alliance.

Referring to the controversy of giving state-hood to Chandigarh, the Chief Minister said Chandigarh was the capital of Punjab and none else could stake claim to it.

“We have an undisputed right over Chandigarh and it would be transferred to Punjab one day, may be today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Racking up this issue time and again was nothing but sheerly meaningless and redundant”, he said.


Life an ordeal for kin of Kargil heroes
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
Looking after her three children on her own has been an ordeal for Ms Pushpa Devi ever since her husband fell to the enemy bullets during Kargil war exactly six years ago. Even as the Indian Army made sure that she was allotted a gas agency so that she could be on her own, things have not been easy for her as she has been getting death threats every now and then.

Ms Pushpa Devi, who hails from Bhungala village near Mukerian, was here to be honoured for the supreme valour shown by her husband, Havildar Karam Singh, during a function organised by Vajra Corps. Next of kin of 36 Kargil martyrs from Punjab were honoured during the function.

"My children are horrified ever since a young boy working in the agency was murdered last month. There have been at least two incidents of thefts in my godown from where gas cylinders were stolen overnight. Then there have been phone calls from some unknown persons threatening me of dire consequences," she said with tears in her eyes.

She said that she had met Army officials today and brought the matter to their notice.

Distraught, she says, "My husband died while fighting for the nation. Who will provide me security?" Nobody from the side of her parents or in-laws are surviving.

"I cannot even leave my godown like that as people are already eyeing to take it over," she explained even as she did not mention any suspect specifically.

There have been many upheavals for Mr Mehar Singh too after his 22-year-old son Gurmail Singh, serving as sepoy, passed off while defending the Tiger Hill during the Kargil war.

The martyr's 65-year-old father is working as a farm labourer in Gobindgarh to earn his bread. He complains that they had not been alloted any agency or petrol pump as his son was unmarried. "We got some money but the needs have been too many", he narrates his sorrowful story.

One could see tears welled up in the eyes of an Amritsar-based elderly couple, Mr Darshan Singh and Ms Swaran Kaur, as they revealed that their daughter-in-law, who was the beneficiary after their son's martyrdom, was not cooperating either socially or financially.

"We have been rearing a buffalo and selling milk to make both ends meet. Owing to financial compulsions, we are being forced to sell it off. We do not know what to do now. Had our son been alive today, the situation must have not been so adverse", they lament.

Ms Paramjit Kaur of Ropar too has her regrets. Her son was just 13-day-old when her husband Vikram Singh was killed in Kargil war.

"Though the elders in my family have been very supportive, no one will ever be able fill up that void," she said.

The function coincided with a flagging-off ceremony of Army Ordnance Corps from Kargil to Kanyakumari (K2K) vehicle safari organised by Advance Base Ordinance. Lieut-Gen Mandhata Singh, GOC, and Maj Gen B.J. Gupta, Chief of Staff, Vajra Corps, were present on the occasion.


Kargil to Kanyakumari safari in memory of Kargil heroes
Tribune News Service

Army officers welcome Major DP Singh on his arrival in Bathinda on Tuesday.
Army officers welcome Major DP Singh on his arrival in Bathinda on Tuesday. — Photo by Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, September 20
Splinters hit him and he lost his right leg in Kargil war. Six years after the war he again rose to display unmatched gallantry and be part of Army Ordnance Corps Vehicle Safari held to remember Kargil heroes. The safari passed through Bathinda en route to Kanyakumari today.

Major D.P. Singh is one of the 11 members of a “Kargil to Kanyakumari Vehicle Safari” taken out to mark the eighth re-union of Army Ordnance Corps. Major DP Singh recounted that he was deployed on LoC as part of 7 Dogra Regiment during the Kargil war when a shell burst right next to him. Numerous splinters pierced him that later led to gangrene in his right leg. He lost his leg, but not the courage with which he fought the enemy. His indomitable spirit could be gauged from the fact that he himself had been driving his vehicle for the past 15 days. The rally was flagged off from Ambala for Kargil on September 6. The safari also had two women members in Captain Cherri Singh and Captain Rupinder. Narrating her experience, Captain Cherri Singh said she had been in the service for the past five and a half years, but she never had such a thrilling experience. She said they had been driving for the past fortnight through difficult terrain of Himachal Pradesh and J&K. She said they had to take an alternative route, as a bridge was damaged near Manali. They also passed through Dras and Chuman Tang where they halted at a military post. Hailing from Ferozepur, she had been involved in providing logistical support to the Army during Kargil War. The safari, which is being led by Lt Col Sandeep Madan, would cover a 6,100 km in 91 days before culminating at Kanyakumari on October 3. The safari has five officers, five NCOs, and one JCO, on five vehicles. Army officials said that the rally was aimed at remembering the real life heroes of Kargil war, besides spreading the message of “importance of education and environment conservation”. 


No admission without SC orders, says CMC
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 20
The CMC Ludhiana Society, running medical, dental and nursing colleges here has said that it would not admit any candidate sponsored by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) against 25 per cent government quota seats in these institutions unless the Supreme Court allowed the institutions to admit students beyond the time schedule, drawn by the court in the Mridul Dhar case and circulated to regulatory bodies like the MCI, the DCI and state governments.

“Or else, the state government should provide the CMC management with any order from the apex court superseding earlier order so that the vacant government quota seats can be allotted to BFUHS candidates,” asserted Dr John Pramod, Acting Director of Christian Medical College and Hospital, who is also the acting secretary of the CMC Society, in a communication addressed today to the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab.

That the state government itself was not clear about the status of counselling and allotment of government quota seats in medical and dental colleges of the CMC by the BFUHS after the date stipulated by the Supreme Court for this purpose had elapsed, was clear from a letter written by Officiating Registrar of the university to the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab on September 5, 2005. “The CMC, till date, has not received any reply to this letter or a copy of the letter to BFUHS clarifying whether the state government or the university can admit candidates beyond the time schedule.”

Dr Pramod said that in the matter of admissions in violation of SC orders, the CMC, a minority institution, should not be equated with other colleges. “The CMC has taken a stand in the communication to the government that it is the only college in the state of Punjab whose minority status had been clearly upheld by the Supreme Court and till date the institution has complied with all other orders of the court.”

He said as per the recent judgement for minority educational institutions (CA 5041 of 2005), this minority institution would fail to enjoy the rights of the minority as enshrined in Article 30 of Constitution of India, the moment it violated the prevailing law. “It is due to this reason and the need to protect itself that the CMC wants a clear evidence from the government on admissions in violation of the SC orders. On its own part, the institution has all along been following the orders of the apex court in all disputes arising in admissions.”

In his letter to the government, the CMC Director emphasised the need for urgency to sort out the issue as the last date for consequential admissions against vacancies was also approaching and the institution required adequate time to notify the candidates selected for admission. “Any further delay in this matter will eventually result in loss of 25 per cent seats to CMC colleges as no candidate can be admitted after September 30, 2005,” he stated.


Two shot in Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
Two persons were killed and several injured in a clash that took place between two groups of the Lehragaga Truck Union at Lehragaga, about 40 km from here, today. In this clash, bricks, lathis and firearms were used by the groups.

Jarnail Singh Ballran, a member of Block Panchayat Samiti, and Mithoo Singh, a truck operator, were killed.

The two groups were supporting their candidates for the post of president of the truck union in the ensuing elections. One group was led by Mr Satwant Singh, while the other was led by Mr Hakam Singh. Both groups were claiming victory in the elections.

Sources said the supporters of Satwant Singh were today sitting in the union’s office when the supporters of Hakam Singh entered the office complex. It led to the clash. Bricks and lathis were used in the clash. Some rounds of bullets were also fired, which reportedly hit two persons, Jarnail Singh and Mithoo Singh, and killed them. Tension gripped the entire Lehragaga town today.

After receiving the information about the clash, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, visited the site and assured the people that guilty persons would not be spared.

Meanwhile, the SSP has suspended the Lehragaga city in charge Sukh Ram Singh in connection with this violent incident.


Dental college accused of favouritism in admissions
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 20
Tension prevailed in Desh Bhagat Dental College here today as students who had come for counselling accused the college management of ignoring eligible candidates. They also raised the question of the allotment of seats in the management quota.

Sheetal Grover, Jasmine, Mehak Randhawa and Preeti Rajpura said they had bought the college prospectus for Rs 1,400 to apply for the BDS course. They also deposited a fee of Rs 500 as per the advertisement placed in newspapers.

They rued that despite all this, the college did not send any letter to them and they had come for counselling on their own after reading about it in newspapers.

They alleged that the list put up by the college did not have the names of those who had applied for the course. They accused the college of “favouritism”.

The parents of protesting students Kewal Grover, Ranjeet Singh and Lakhanpal said the college management had put a question mark on their children’s future.

They alleged that those featured in the college’s list had submitted their form two days back only.

The college has 100 seats, of which 35 are reserved in management quota.

The college authorities said after the PMET paper leakage from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and announcement of re-exam result by the GND university, Amritsar, the applications forms sent earlier were cancelled and the students were told to apply afresh before September 13. They said those who had submitted their forms till September 13 were called for counselling today.

They said the admissions to management quota would be on the basis of merit.


Working on fake identity for 27 years
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 20
In a startling case of forgery, two persons have been serving on two different posts on the basis of a single certificate for the last 27 years.

As per the documents available with The Tribune, Harbans Singh, a Range Officer in Ferozepore forest division and JBT, having same name, have been working on the basis of same certificates for the last 27 years. The real name of one of the accused was Jaswir Singh S/o Kulwant Singh instead of Harbans Singh.

Mr Bodh Singh Ghuman, a retired division forest officer and leader of the CPM (Pasla), while giving this information, revealed that real Harbans Singh is a resident of Langiana Khurd village in Ferozepore district. He belongs to the reserve category.

In 1977, Harbans Singh got selected for the post of a JBT teacher as well as Forest Guard against reserve posts. He took up the post of JBT teacher. Another youth of the same village, Jaswir Singh, belonging to the Jat community, took advantage of the situation allegedly in connivance with real Harbans Singh.

He joined as Forest Guard and was today working against the post of Range Officer. When the matter came to the fore in 2002, forest workers union reported the matter to the Ferozepore police.

An enquiry was conducted into the complaint by a DSP.

The DSP, in his report, held that it was a case of fake identity. He alleged that the person working in the Department of Forest was actually Jaswir Singh. He had faked identity to get the job in the Department of Forest. On the finding of the DSP, an FIR has been registered against the Range Officer.

The forest worker union has also given a complaint along with documentary proofs in this regard to higher officials of the forest department. However, no action has been taken, Mr Ghuman alleged.

Mr Harbans Singh, Range Officer, Ferozepore, when contacted on phone, however, said the charges against him were baseless. He alleged that certain leaders of the forest workers union were blackmailing him and levelling false allegation. “I have been working in the department for the last 27 years and have been promoted. This indicates that there was nothing substantial in the allegations.”

When asked about DSP report against him, Mr Harbans Singh admitted that the police had indicted him in the inquiry. He, however, added that he has challenged the inquiry report.

Mr Ghuman alleged that despite obvious documentary proofs and police inquiry report, the department was not taking action against the culprit. If the department believed that Range Officer was real Harbans Singh then the action should be taken against the JBT teacher and truth would come out.


Biotech corridor from Dera Bassi to Patiala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Government has decided to declare a biotechnology corridor from Dera Bassi to Patiala. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will lay the foundation stone of the Punjab biotechnology incubator and biotechnology park in Behra village, near Dera Bassi, on September 28.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Capt Amarinder Singh. Giving details of the project, Capt Amarinder Singh said Punjab Technical University would set up a centre of biotechnology for human resource development in the biotechnology corridor.

Land measuring 58.5 acres in Behra village would be transferred to the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology (PSCST) for setting up the biotechnology park and the national institute of biotechnology at a cost of Rs 126 crore.


Second thoughts on sale of sugar mills
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 20
The Punjab Government is having second thoughts over the liquidation of cooperative sugar mills and may not go for the disinvestment of all the mills. The state government wants to run the sugar mills this season and hopes to bring improvement in the financial status. Only two cooperative sugar mills — at Jagraon and Zeera — will be liquidated. Liquidators for the two mills have already been appointed. The cooperative sugar mill at Rakhra will also not be run this season because of heavy losses.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Cooperation, said today that the rise in the prices of sugar last year had helped the sugar mills to meet the losses and sugarcane arrears of the farmers had been cleared and only a small amount was left. The state government was hoping to wipe out all the arrears by November 30.

The Punjab Government had been contemplating to liquidate cooperative sugar mills and sell the same to private companies. The state government even appointed a foreign consultant company which recommended the disinvestment of the sugar mills in January 2004. The state government also set up a core group of officers under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to take action on the report of the foreign consultants.

Regarding Budhewal and Nawanshahr sugar mills, the core group was of the view that the financial position of these two mills was better and there were no cane arrears. However, the core group felt that ultimately even those mills may have to be liquidated and the assets sold in the private sector.

The employees of the sugar mills and the Bharati Kisan Union led by Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal raised their voice against the decision to liquidate the sugar mills. The BKU in collaboration with the employees also staged a massive dharna at Chandigarh against the decision of the state government.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, and Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, general secretary of the Bharati Kisan Union, have maintained that the state government cannot sell the sugar mills because these belong to the Punjab farmers and they are share holders in the same. They allege that the sugar mills have vast tracts of land which is very costly. The state government wanted to hand over the mills and the land to their cronies at throwaway prices and they would not allow this to happen. Mr Lakhowal and Mr Kadian said they were ready to buy all the shares of the government and at Batala they had even issued a cheque worth the shares of the state government.

They alleged that the cooperative sugar mills had undergone huge losses because of the mismanagement and superfluous expenditure incurred by the managements.

The BKU leaders disclosed that the sugar mills had been selling molasses to distilleries at the rate of Rs 75 per quintal whereas the market rate was Rs 600 per quintal and as a result the mills had suffered a loss of Rs 525 crore during the past five years.


Mann keen on Third Front
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
By organising a massive and first “political awareness rally” in the home town of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the SAD (A) leadership today formally launched its efforts to make a front and subsequently to bring it into power in Punjab by keeping both Congress and Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal away from power in the next Assembly elections.

The SAD (A) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, while giving a call to all like-minded parties to come on a common plat form to defeat the Congress and SAD (B) in the next assembly elections also claimed that both Congress and SAD (B) leadership had looted Punjab, its people and its resources.

Mr Mann is the second Akali leader, who managed to organise an impressive rally in the home town of Capt Amarinder Singh today. Earlier, about 10 days ago, Mr Badal put up an impressive show here by collecting a huge gathering at the party rally held here.

“ The people have tested both the Congress-led and Mr Badal-led governments in Punjab. Both have failed to deliver and both indulged in lootings by all means. Now the time has come when a third front should come into existence ,” said Mr Mann.

Not only this, Mr Badal, apart from looting Punjab and its people, also caused a huge harm to Sikh religion and its sacred institutions also for his vested interests. Mr Badal had also caused damage to Akali Dal due to his lust of making his son Mr Sukhvir Badal as Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Mann alleged.


Claims, counter-claims on civic poll results
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The just-concluded elections to two municipal councils and 24 nagar panchayats have become a game of claims and counter-claims between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal. With the elections to the state Assembly less than 16 months away, public posturing counts.

Even as the Congress issued advertisements in leading English dailies and vernacular newspapers claiming to have made a clean sweep in the poll, the SAD has made a counter-claim that both leading parties finished on an equal footing. Actually, with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the SAD claims to be ahead of the Congress.

Since the elections to the local bodies are not contested on party symbols, parties normally claim winners once the poll is over. Actually, the parties back candidates fully and candidates are known for their proximity to the area MLAs and senior party leaders.

The elections to the nagar panchayats and the municipal councils were held on Sunday. In all, 311 seats were contested.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today told reporters that the Congress won 157 seats while the Akalis ended up with 90. The rest of the 64 seats are assumed to have gone to Independents or the BJP. The Chief Minister termed it a victory for his policies.

The SAD has churned out its own calculations which say that it won 128 seats while the Congress got 129. The BJP secured 11 seats. Thus, the SAD-BJP combine had a tally of 139 seats, claims the SAD.

The accuracy of the claims may be known only when the process starts to elect the respective presidents of these councils and nagar panchayats.

A senior Congress leader said Independents would tilt towards the ruling party. An Akali leader claims Independents will favour the SAD, hoping that it comes to power in the state in the next elections.

In the advertisements the spin doctors of the Congress have thanked the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the Punjab Chief Minister and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, for the resounding victory. The Akalis have thanked Mr Sukhbir Badal and his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Sant Samaj, Taksal reject calendar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Chowk Mehta, September 20
The Sant Samaj, headed by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Damdami Taksal, led by Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, and representatives of about 150 Panthic organisations, including two former jathedars of Akal Takht, today rejected the Nanakshahi Calendar approved by both SGPC and Akal Takht.

The resolution rejecting the Nanakshahi Calendar has come as a big setback for the SGPC and Akal Takht even as two outside takhts, including Hazoor Sahib and Patna Sahib, have already been observing and celebrating Sikh gurpurbs as per the traditional Bikrami calendar. The attempt to make the Nanaksahi Calendar — the first Sikh calendar stand severely suffered.

The Sikh conclave, held at the Damdami Taksal here, rejected the proposed move of the SGPC to allow women to participate in the ‘Amrit Sanchar’ ceremonies, seva of carrying ‘Palki” from Akal Takht to Harmander Sahib and vice versa, allowing baptised Sikh women to perform kirtan and the cleaning of sanctum sanctorum of Harmander Sahib.

The Sikh conclave decided to launch ‘chetna march’ from tomorrow with a view to ‘restoring’ the age old Sikh Maryada in Harmander Sahib and Akal Takht. The district-wise jathas would be reaching Akal Takht regularly for 21 days. 


Dams that can’t store water hallmark of Kandi project
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Baloli, Samlah (Ropar), September 20
A look at the dams in Samlah, Baloli and Baruwal villages is enough for even a layman to deduce that there is some major fault with the designing of these structures.

The dams were constructed with an aim to recharge groundwater and store it for use throughout the year. The efforts in this direction seem to have come to naught as the dams had less than 2 feet of water during the monsoon season.

With so much rain, the dams should have been overflowing during this part of the year. Even Kandi Development Project officials admit the lapse, but deny the use of substandard material.

Mr Paramjit Singh, Sub-Divisional Soil Conservation Officer, said they were aware of the problem that had surfaced in the dams in these villages.

“There was some problem and we admit the fault. But we plan to repair the dams after the rainy season,” he said, adding that at some places, the surface of the dam was rocky and uneven through which water seeped.

But a question that stares in the face of the authorities is that the dam was completed before 2004, and yet no repairs were carried out.

Villagers alleged that substandard material was used in the construction and wrong sites were selected for the purpose. Mr Budh Singh, Chairman of the Village Development Committee (VDC), Baruwal, showed a dam which was almost dry despite heavy rains. Water was seeping under the dam and going waste.

In Baloli village, a dam has been washed away. However, the worst case has been reported from Samlah village where two dams had less than 2 feet water. In sharp contrast, the low-lying areas are full of water.

The degree of soil erosion is evident when streams of red muddy water flow on the roads during the rains. It was this water and soil that had to be stopped and used later on.

Under the norms, 30 per cent of the dam structure should be constructed under the ground to prevent leakage. “Either the norms were not followed or poor quality material was used,” said a villager.

Residents of Baruwal village are paying a heavy price for saying no to the alleged corruption during the execution of the project. The moment the members of the VDC began asking questions, the work slowed down before stopping completely.

While the Kandi project officials can claim that in other villages only one section of the villagers were questioning, they cannot do so in this village as the VDC had unitedly opposed the alleged siphoning of funds.

Spearheading the demand for a high-level inquiry into the misappropriation of funds is VDC Chairman Budh Singh. He alleged that an official of the project told him that a certain work had cost Rs 75,000. “We were involved in the execution of the work and the expenditure was less than Rs 50,000.”

But to his utter shock, the official later came with a bill of Rs 2 lakh. “I could not betray the trust of the people by becoming party to corruption”. He refused to sign it after which no development work took place in the village, he claimed.

Since then, he has sent several representations to officials concerned, met them a number of times but no inquiry has been ordered, “Only The Tribune and Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau officials have come to verify the claims about the development of the village,” he said.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Soil Conservation Officer, however, claims that there was no misappropriation of funds. He said water in the dam could be stored only after three years when the pores of the rocky underground surface got filled with silt.

On the stopping of the development work in the village, he claimed that only a small part of the village fell under the Daulwal watershed and works were executed there.



Baba Farid Mela: drama festival, seminar organised
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 20
Baba Sheikh Farid National Punjabi Drama Festival showcased three dramas against various social evils on its inaugural day in the Darabar Ganj complex here last night.

Bhai Randhir Singh Kala Manch, Ludhiana, staged the first play “Zindagi Ki Talash”, which was aimed at sensitising the younger generation of the ill-effects of drugs. The Chandigarh School of Drama was the next with its play, “Haveli”, that narrated the tale of exploitation of Dalits and downtrodden sections of society by upper castes. The Shivam Films of Education, Lehragaga, came up with their play, “Bagawat”, that exposed people who divided society in the name of religion.

On the literary stage, the Sufi Foundation of India today organised a seminar on the life and teachings of Baba Farid at KK Marwah Girls College. Faridkot Division Commissioner Roshan Sankaria presided over the seminar. Prof Brahmjagdish Singh of Government Brijindra College and Dr Mohammad Iqbal from Malerkotla Government College spoke at length on Baba Farid’s philosophy during the seminar. 


Dr D.J. Singh for UK conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Cabinet of National Black Police Association (NBPA), UK, has invited Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director and Dean of Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, for the a keynote address at their annual conference to be held in Cleveland, England, from September 28 to 30.

Dr D.J. Singh will speak on Human Trafficking with special focus on Indo-British perspective. He will be the first Indian to make a keynote speech at the NBPA conference.

The NBPA consists of British police officers of African, African-Caribbean and Asian origin and is an umbrella organisation of 40 British police associations in the UK. The NBPA aims at promoting good race relations and equality of opportunity within the police services and the wider community.

In February this year, Dr D.J. Singh delivered a keynote speech on Forced International Marriages during a British Seminar organised by the University of Central England 
in UK.


Couple adopts abandoned girl
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 20
Nature, at last, showered its blessings on a four-year-old girl, Labhi, who had lost her mother in an accident at the local bus stand two years ago. A couple of Zirakpur, Mr Parvinder Singh Sarna and his wife, Ms Reeta Sarna approached the district administration and social activists of Hoshiarpur after reading woeful plight of the girl in a section of press. In the presence of Devinder Singh sarpanch of Dhagangarh, the couple adopted the child.

It is worth mentioning here that a Home Guard jawan on duty took the deserted girl to his residence after the death of her mother and named her Labhi two years ago.

The said Home Guard jawan died after a year. Nazar Singh, brother of the deceased took the responsibility of the girl. However, due to social and economic restraints, he was unable to look after her. Certain social activists took up this matter with the local administration and highlighted the plight of the girl.


Dehra Dun police raids Phagwara village

Phagwara, September 20
The Dehra Dun police today raided Bahani village near here, the ancestral village of Charanjit Singh Channi, an accused in the bomb blast case at Chandigarh’s ISBT, and arrested Harvinder Singh, alias Dimpa, in connection with recovery of fake currency from his possession.

According to sources, the police had some clue that Punjab terrorists were quite active in Uttaranchal. The police was working on the theory of the presence of Punjab terrorists in Uttaranchal and nabbed Harvinder Singh of Bahani village, who by profession was a milk vendor.

Phagwara DSP Navjot Singh Mahal confirmed the raid by the Dehra Dun police. — TNS


Protest by autorickshaw owners

Amritsar, September 20
Owners of autorickshaw today protested against alleged harassment by district transport officials and the traffic police. A rally was organised which passed through various bazaars, including MM road, Crystal chowk of the city. The association demanded removal of encroachments for the smooth plying of traffic. It also demanded to cancel challans against owners of autorickshaws. — OC


high court
Notice to S.K. Sinha in Father Mark case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to former Home Secretary, Punjab, S.K. Sinha, and Ms Anne Wakeling, sister of Father Mark Barnes, a Jalandhar-based Christian priest, who died sometime back, and Mr Kamal Bakhshi, a former Member, Punjab Subordinate Services Board.

During resumed hearing of two petitions, one filed by Ms Wakeling and the other by the Jalandhar Diocese, the Bench headed by Mr Justice N.K. Sud also stayed the presentation of challan in the case of alleged vandalisation of Father Mark’s grave.

Ms Wakeling has sought handing over of his body for re-interment in an appropriate manner at the place where he was buried earlier.

Alleging that the body was putrefied, she has also sought action against those involved in vandalising the grave and illegal act of exhumation of the body. She also prayed for a comprehensive inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.

On the other hand, the Jalandhar Diocese has sought handing over the body for proper burial in the cemetery set apart for priests of the Diocese. It has also sought action against Mr Sinha, Ms Wakeling and others for having allegedly buried the body in the compound of the Saint Mary’s School.

Today, advocate Puneet Bali, counsel for the Diocese, asserted that the action of the respondents could not have been committed without the full support of the respondents. In fact, Mr Sinha, he added, had been shifted from his post after his role in the entire episode became public.

Order set aside

The High Court on Tuesday set aside an order of Ropar Special Judge, thereby paving way for release of two companies seized by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) on the plea that they were “benami” properties of former Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal. The order was passed by Mr Justice A.K. Goel on the petition filed by Mr Harbans Lal, who had claimed that he owned the two companies — the Anil Cold Store and the Anil Rice Mill.

The VB had seized these two companies in October, 2003, following registration of a corruption case against Mr Badal and members of his family in June, 2003. 


Court moved for Daya Ram’s release
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, September 20
The court of the ACJM here today asked the family from Ferozepore Bangar village in Sonepat district (Haryana) to submit an affidavit with the court by October 3, mentioning withdrawal of their claim of kinship over Daya Ram.

Mr Varinder Aggarwal, ACJM, pronounced this decision after receiving the claim of the family from Jagdishpur village in Sidharthnagar district (UP) that Daya Ram be ordered to discharge from the hospital.

Earlier today, Mr Rajaram and Mr Khaderu Yadav, claiming to be the brother and cousin of Daya Ram, respectively, accompanied by representatives of the UP govt moved an application in the local court for his release. They approached the court armed with a letter from Dr Vidhya Sagar Government Mental Hospital.

Dr B.L. Goyal, Director of the hospital, said he had mentioned in the letter that as per the report of psychiatrists attending to Daya Ram, “he is disturbed, excited and agitated. Hence, he is unfit for travelling.”

He said as Mr Raja Ram and others were insisting for his early discharge, it could be done only after taking a written undertaking (called surety bond) from them.

The Director informed that they would have to mention in the surety bond that they were taking the patient on their responsibility and they would be held responsible for any harm committed by the patient either on himself or anybody else.

Meanwhile a psychiatrist treating Daya Ram said the patient became violent frequently and got agitated. The journey involved over 1300 km of travelling to reach Sidharthnagar, which could make his condition more complicated, he added.


BJP cell plea on languages in courts

Sangrur, September 20
Mr Ashok Bharti, state president of the Legal Cell of the Punjab unit of the BJP, has sought official language status for Punjabi and Hindi languages (along with English) in the courts of Punjab and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Bharti was here to attend the first meeting of the Sangrur district legal cell of the Punjab BJP.

Mr Bharti said official language status to Punjabi and Hindi in the courts was the need of the hour, as most of the clients of the lawyers only understood their mother tongue. — TNS


2 cleaners held for stealing truck
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 20
The local police today claimed to have solved a truck-theft case with the arrest of two truck-cleaners. The police said the accused had stolen the truck loaded with goods worth Rs 1.82 lakh from a workshop in Rajpura, about a week ago.

The police said acting on a secret information, Ramesh Kumar alias Max and Suvinder Kumar, a Jammu resident, were arrested from Delhi on Monday. The police recovered the truck (HR-01-4205) from them and made partial recovery of goods loaded in the truck, as the accused had sold some goods.

The police said Ramesh Kumar, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, was working as a cleaner on the truck while Suvinder was working on other truck. During the night of September 13, they decided to steal the truck parked at a workshop near Gagan Chowk in Rajpura. The truck owner, Mr Bhupinder Singh, had gone somewhere leaving the truck to Ramesh. The next day when Bhupinder found his truck missing, he reported the incident to the police and a case had been registered in this matter.

During investigating, the police came to know that the accused had gone to Ramesh’s native village in UP. A police party went to UP, but by the time they reached there the accused had left the place.

It was on Sunday that the police received information that the accused were trying to sell the truck, along with the goods in Delhi.

This time the police tasted success and managed to lay its hands on the accused from Delhi. 


Students threaten stir, varsity to remain closed today
Protests lose sting as students’ body splits
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
Punjabi University authorities today decided to keep university closed tomorrow following threatening postures of expelled student leaders agitating in support of their demands.

The university authorities decided to close the university for second time in the past one fortnight. Earlier it was closed for one day to avoid unpleasant situation.

Mr B.S. Sandhu, Director, Public Relations, Punjabi University, said that all teaching, research and administrative offices, including university school and library would remain close on September 21. However, interviews and supplementary examinations, already fixed, would be held per schedule.

He added that the authorities took seriously threatening postures of the expelled students leaders, who claimed that they had support of 20 trade unions. He said the authorities were of the view that student leaders were interested in disrupting functioning instead of having a dialogue.

He claimed that no student leader had responded to the offer of debate on the issues connected with the students. Instead, students resorted to a noisy “pipa” march with the support of outsiders on the campus today.

He pointed out that political forces were behind the agitation of students to create a law and order situation on the campus.

Mr Gurpal Singh, a leader of the Punjabi University Students Confederation, said that students held a “pipa” march and a rally on the campus to press the authorities to accept their demands. He added the university authorities contacted students personally to stop them from joining the rally, but did not answer questions posed to them by students.

He said that the confederation had accepted offer of debate by the university authorities and it should be held in the open in front of all students. He said a letter for debate would be sent to the Dean, Student Welfare, Punjabi University.

Meanwhile, the ongoing students’ protests against the Punjabi University authorities took an unexpected turn as differences amongst various student unions came to the fore today.

The Punjab Radical Students’ Union withdrew from the joint front — the Punjabi University Students Confederation — which had taken on the authorities on the issue of internal assessment in the Department of Law and other demands.

The PRSU decided to split ways as it felt that the confederation was trying to bring in issues that did not concern the students and the university.

In a joint statement, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, secretary, and Mr Rakesh Kumar, committee member of the union, said the student unions in the confederation were trying to raise the issue of militancy and derail the protests against the anti-student policies of the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai.

Today’s development gave credence to the university authorities’ claim of outside interference in the university affairs.

According to the two PRSU leaders, the issues which did not concern the student were hurting the student unity. The differences came to the fore as the other unions were adamant on their decision so the Punjab Radical Students Union took the unprecedented step of quitting the confederation.

The two leaders were also at pains to clarify that the union would continue to take part in the ongoing protests and make them a success. They said the union was against the policies of the Vice-Chancellor, who they alleged was acting unreasonably. 


UGC panel reviews work on schemes for minority students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
The five-member UGC sub-committee today reviewed the implementation of various special welfare schemes for the students of the minority communities at the local Guru Nanak Dev University on the first day of the four-day workshop at the varsity.

The workshop will cover the institutions located in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, presided over the inaugural session. While the UGC member, Dr Sharanjit Singh, Deputy Secretary, UGC, Dr A.M. Pathan, Vice-Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, and Dr Mani Jacob, Chancellor, Allahabad Agriculture Institute Deemed University, New Delhi, gave details of various UGC schemes for these categories.

The Vice-Chancellor said that various UGC schemes for these categories should be utilised for specified purpose. He advised the Principals of various colleges to take maximum advantage of UGC schemes to get more development grants for their colleges. He said the university would render all possible help for the organisation of such type of workshops by the UGC in future also.

Dr Sharanjit Singh said that the main purpose of this workshop was to review the coaching programme for entry in to services for minority communities being implemented by universities and colleges for further continuation after the completion of three or four years. He said the other objective was to hold workshop for the coordination of universities and colleges, which had been granted permission to conduct various coaching programmes for the benefit of students of the minority communities and monitor the ongoing programmes of coaching classes for entry in to services for students belonging to these communities.

He said the UGC had huge funds for various schemes, which need to be utilised by colleges under various schemes. He said the UGC would always welcome the genuine proposals and sanction grants accordingly.

Dr A.M. Pathan and Dr Mani Jacob elaborately dwelt upon the schemes of remedial coaching at under graduate and Postgraduate levels for students belonging to the Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribes and minority communities.


Educationist dead
Tribune News Service

Samana, September 20
Eminent educationist and social worker, Sadhu Ram Gopal, breathed his last after a brief illness in the PGI, Chandigarh this morning. His mortal remains were consigned to the flames at a cremation ground at Patran road in the afternoon.

He is survived by his wife, a son, two daughters and grandchildren. He was 74. All schools and markets remained closed in the town today as mark of respect for the departed soul.

A former headmaster from Public High School, Samana, Sadhu Ram had taught several generations of the township and was a well-known figure in the education circles.

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 |