P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Centre to study demands on airport, thermal plant
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today promised that the Central Government would enable investment in infrastructure in Punjab. As a first step he promised to get examined the demands for a high-speed rail corridor, an international airport and a thermal power station in the state.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the Press Club at a function to mark the silver jubilee of the club here this afternoon.

It was necessary for Punjab to attract foreign and domestic investment so that the growth momentum could be regained. He promised “full assistance” for making Punjab a hub of biotechnology. “ The granary of India can become the knowledge hub of India,” he said.

On the infrastructure front, the Prime Minister said there was a demand for extending the high-speed rail corridor between Delhi and Kolkata up to Amritsar. A feasibility study would be carried out. The proposal for an international airport at a suitable site in the state would be examined. Punjab has been demanding that an international airport should come up at Ladhowal on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar road.

These projects would give a boost to agricultural exports, particularly fruit, flowers and vegetables. On the road front he said the Amritsar-Jalandhar, Amritsar-Pathankot, Kiratpur-Chandigarh and Ambala-Chandigarh roads were being taken up for widening. The Ambala-Jalandhar and Ludhiana-Chandigarh stretches were proposed to be six-laned also.

Punjab, he said, lacked a Government of India-backed thermal power plant. “I will ask the National Thermal Power Corporation to examine the feasibility of a coal-based power plant and if this is viable, we will ensure that this materialises soon .”

Opening up of trade and transport with Pakistan could provide an additional thrust to the economy here. On the PGI, a centrally funded institution, he said: “We will help the PGI set up new medical departments so that it continues to be in the forefront of medical care”.

The Prime Minister went on to question the media about professional codes of conduct. He said with the rapid growth of the media in recent times, qualitative development had not kept pace with quantitative growth. In the race for capturing markets, journalists had been encouraged to cut corners, to take chances, to hit and run. “I believe the time has come for journalists to take stock of how competition has impacted upon quality.”

In his own soft-spoken way, the Prime Minister was critical of how the financial media was dealing with the stock market, moving stories which he said had “no basis in fact.” He went on to add: “Investors gain and lose, markets rise and fall, but what happens to those reporters, analysts and editors who move and make these markets”.

Was the Press Council, the right organisation to address these challenges? Could professional organisations like the Press Club play a role ?

Earlier the President of the Press Club, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, demanded that the Media Commission should be set up to protect the rights of journalists. He also sought suitable amendments to the Journalists Act. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, wished the club well.

The Prime Minister was presented with a memento and conferred the honorary membership of the club.


SGPC to repair Bangladesh gurdwaras
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 24
The two-member committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today reported that four out of nine historical gurdwaras in Bangladesh had disappeared, while condition of the rest was precarious.

The six page report, complied by Mr Waryam Singh and Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwar, Secretary, Dharm Parchar, and Media Advisor of the SGPC, respectively, after visiting Bangladesh, says that the land attached to the gurdwaras had been encroached upon by unscrupulous persons since there was no Sikh living in Bangladesh.

Accepting the report, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, said granthis and required staff would be posted in all historical Gurdwaras in Bangladesh for their proper upkeep. The SGPC has decided to earmark Rs 1 crore to carry out renovation and construction of the gurdwaras there.

She said the SGPC would establish a Sikh Mission in Kolkata within a month to preach Sikhism in West Bengal, Assam, Orissa and other eastern States.

The gurdwaras where staff would be posted included Gurdwara Nanakshahi and Gurdwara Sangat Tola at Dhaka, Sikh temple and Gurdwara Pahartali in Chittagong and Gurdwara Guru Nanak at Mymen Singh.

Earlier, matter of gurdwaras in Bangladesh was also discussed with Mr Q.A.M.A. Rahim, secretary-general of SAARC, during his visit to the Harmandar Sahib, here. Mr Rahim, who is from Bangladesh, had claimed that the gurdwaras in his country were intact.

Most of the gurdwaras in Bangladesh were constructed to commemorate the religious journeys of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur. Guru Tegh Bahadur stayed at this place on his way to Assam. The local followers received him with great affection and built a two-storyed structure for his stay.

Another historical gurdwara, Sangat Tola, is situated in Bangla Bazar, Dhaka, which marks the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur resided and held congregations during his stay in Dhaka. There used to be another memorial dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev in Dhaka and an annual fair was organised here in the month of Chet (March-April).

There is, however, no trace of it now. The site is now covered with residential buildings. Another gurdwara, Nanakshahi Dhaka, was built to commemorate Guru Nanak’s visit, is located close to the University of Dhaka.


Cloth merchant, wife murdered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 24
A 40-year-old cloth merchant Mukesh Arora and his 35-year-old wife Manju Arora were killed with sharp-edged weapons by some unidentified persons at their shop-cum-residence in broad daylight in Model House locality this afternoon.

The ghastly crime has left residents of A-Block of the Model House locality shocked.

Mukesh Arora ran a wholesale cloth outlet — Bombay Cloth House — in the shop, which was on the front part of his house, while his family, comprising Manju Arora and their three children, lived on the rear side of the accommodation.

The killers were feared to have entered the shop from the place, which was partly covered with tainted glass. It could be tainted glass which could have led to delay in the detection of the crime by neighbours, who even did not see anybody entering or coming out of the house.

The body of Mukesh lay in one corner. His hands and feet were tied with cloth and he had apparently been stabbed by assailants repeatedly with some sharp-edged weapon.

Inside the house, the scene was even more heart-rending as Chirag the 10-month-old son of the couple was seen crying bitterly while virtually clinging on to the body of his mother, which was lying in a pool of blood. Seemingly, Manju was also murdered in the same ruthless manner.

While two-and-a-half-year-old Abhi, the other son of the couple, was fast asleep on a bed near the body of his mother, their 15-year-old daughter Pallvi had left the house around 3 pm to attend the birthday party of one of her friends and was not at home at the time of the crime.

The crime was detected at around 5 pm when the maid servant came to the house as usual and found that the couple had been murdered. The assailants were suspected to have decamped with certain unspecified amount of money and jewellery as almirahs were lying open.

Though police officials, led by SSP Ishwar Singh, reached the spot after the detection of the crime, no arrest had been made till late evening.

Pallvi said she had been dropped and helped by her mother to hire a rickshaw so that she could go to the party and everything was alright till 3 pm. Though she has not pointed a finger towards any person so far, her information that a 20-22-year-old unknown youngster had come to her father’s shop on Friday night showing his “intention to buy cloth in bulk” could prove to be of some use to the police.

The parents of Mukesh and his brother are living at some distance in a separate house.


Decoy patients to help curb female foeticide
Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
Concerned over alarming decline in the state's sex ratio, the state government would now resort to informers and decoy patients to curb female foeticide.

They would be rewarded for helping the government to identify those indulging in foeticide. The Union Government has approved this project under the Rural Health Mission and funds worth crores have been allotted for it.

It has been announced under the project that anyone giving a clue about female foeticide would be rewarded Rs 5,000. The individual's name and address would be kept secret. The Secretary of Health Department, Dr Darbara Singh Guru, who was in the district today for a special health check up camp at Lehri village, expressed hope that the project would be of great help in checking female foeticide in the state. He said the entire department had been made aware of the project and they were looking forward to an overwhelming response to it.

He said the Centre had initiated this Rs 75-crore project under the Rural Health Mission, of which Rs 34 crore had already been received. He told, the Cabinet had given its nod to the recruitment of doctors in the state and the process would begin within a month.

He further added the paramedical staff would also be recruited. According to the information available, the Health Department had appealed village gurdwaras to sensitise people against female foeticide. The department had also urged women sarpanches to kick off an awareness drive against female foeticide.

The Director of Health Department, Mr Girdhari Lal Goel, said to check the imbalance in sex ratio Balri Rakhya Yojana had been started, for which Rs 50 lakh had been allotted. He said the couples opting for sterilisation after one girl child would get Rs 500 per month, while those going for it after two daughters would get Rs 700 per month.

In its campaign against female foeticide, the Health Department had 106 suspended licenses of which 69 cases were in court.


Illegal gate not removed despite orders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 24
Despite orders from the Chief Secretary of Punjab, Mr Jai Singh Gill, the district administration has failed to remove the illegal iron gate blocking an old lane in Chheharta township, near here. The gate was reportedly erected by some influential persons.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Asal, district secretary of the CPI, while addressing mediapersons here today said a delegation led by Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, former MLA, would meet the Chief Secretary on September 27 to apprise him of the matter. He said if the matter was not resolved immediately, the residents would be forced to launch an agitation.

Residents of the area, the All-India Sikh Students Federation and veteran CPI leader Satyapal Dang have written a number of letters to the Commissioner, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation and Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar on the issue.

However, despite assurances no step has been taken to remove the illegal structure which has blocked the way to the gurdwara. The federation alleged that the connivance of higher Municipal Corporation authorities had aggravated the problem.

Mr Asal alleged that the persons who had erected the iron gate did not want residents of a particular community to use the street. He warned the administration that if the situation continued like this, a Gohana-like incident could happen here.


Couple ends life due to poverty
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 24
Jagtar Singh (25), a labourer, and his wife Jasbir Kaur (23), allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in their house at Model Town Sheron village, near Sunam, last night. Their marriage was reportedly solemnised about three months ago.

According to the Sunam police this evening, the couple reportedly committed suicide due to poverty. The post-mortem examination was today conducted at Sunam Civil Hospital. The police has initiated the proceedings in this case under Section 174 of the Cr PC.


SP, DSP pay penalty for power theft
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 24
Caught drawing power through a ‘kundi’ connection, SP (H) Mr Lakhwinder Singh has paid a fine of about Rs 12,000 to the Punjab State Electricity Board, besides getting a power meter installed.

The SDM, Mr GPS Sahota, who also had an illegal power connection, has paid the first installment of Rs 6,000 out of his total dues of Rs 38,000.

The board had issued a notice to DSP Mr Hakim Singh to pay up Rs 3,300 as fine and he too has made the payment. A PSEB team had caught the SP (H) and the DSP stealing electricity a couple of days ago. An enforcement team of the board led by Xen Hardeep Singh Sidhu and Karnail Singh had raided the residences of 34 officials in this respect.


Ex-servicemen meet GOC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
Lieut-Gen Pattabhiraman, GOC-in-C, Western Command, today attended an ex-servicemen rally organised at Lakshmi Tara Rathaur Public School, Sialba Majra village, Ropar.

The ex-servicemen discussed their problems with the army commander.

On the occasion, the GOC-in-C laid the foundation stone of an additional block at the school.


Truck union clash: farmers hold rally

Sangrur, September 24
A large number of farmers and employees today held a rally in New Grain Market at Lehragaga, about 40 km from here, in protest against the police for not arresting the alleged killers of Mithoo Singh and Jarnail Singh Ballran. The two were shot during a clash between two groups of the Lehragaga Truck Union at Lehragaga on September 20. The protesters also blocked traffic at the Lehragaga bus stand for some time. — TNS


Police remand for Punjabi singer
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 24
Punjabi singer J.B. Jagtar has been remanded in police custody till September 26 for duping a youth of Rs 1.5 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. The passport of the youth was also taken by the singer.

Giani of Palahi village had complained to the police that his son Jarnail Ram was defrauded by the Punjabi singer.

A case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC, and Section 24 of the Immigration Act was registered against the singer on August 12 last year.


Ex-minister’s case adjourned
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 24
The vigilance case of Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former Revenue Minister of Punjab regarding the opening of a charitable hospital at Sekhwan village was taken up today in the court of Special Judge of Gurdaspur, Mr J.P. Maini, regarding the framing of charges.

The state engaged Special Public Prosecutor Surya Parkash from Chandigarh assisted by Mr C.L. Narang, Additional Public Prosecutor, Gurdaspur, and the accused were represented by Mr S.K. Gupta and Mr Inderjit Sharma, advocates of Gurdaspur.

The points involved were whether sanction for prosecutions being a public servant, was necessary and the territorial jurisdiction of the Gurdaspur court.

The Vigilance Department presented the challan without sanction on the lines of the case of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

The case was adjourned for September 27.


Attempt on social activists: MLA named in FIR
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 24
Mr Surinder Singh Rathore, a BJP MLA, has also been named in the FIR registered in connection with attempt on life of Mr Mahesh Periwal, senior party worker and social activist, at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here.

Official sources confirmed today that Mr Periwal, in his statement recorded after five hours of attempt on his life, had pointed a finger of doubt on Mr Rathore as he had reportedly been receiving threats from the MLA though Mr Periwal had retired from the race for party ticket in Mr Rathore’s favour during last Vidhan Sabha election.

The police registered a case under Sections 307, 452, 120-B and 34 of the IPC including Rathore’s name in the list of suspects.

Two persons, impersonating as journalists, had shot at Mr Periwal on Thursday at 9 pm inside his Vrindavan Vihar colony house.

Sources at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi said this morning that the bullet had been removed from his neck and cosmetic eye was transplanted to make good loss of left eye.

An all-party meeting held at Sriganganagar has given 24-hour ultimatum to the administration to nab all suspects involved in the case.

Cutting across political lines Mr Het Ram Beniwal, former CPM MLA, Mr Prithipal Singh president District Congress Committee, Mr Mahesh Budania president District Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, Mr Raj Kumar Gaur, former chairman Improvement Trust and senior trade leaders assembled on one platform to address the people.

Mr Rathore later drove to the office of the Superintendent of Police and refuted all allegations.

The case has been assigned to the SP, CID, (Crime Branch).


Ghee unit found cheating on weight
Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 24
The flying squad of the Food and Civil Supplies Department today raided the premises of Pioneer Agro, a ghee-making unit located on the Pathankot-Mukerian road.

Sources told The Tribune that the authorities of the unit were found to be packing ghee 200 gm to 300 gm less than that indicated on the packing.

As case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against the owners of the unit. The unit produces the Ishwar brand of vanaspati ghee.

It is the second major raid of the Food and Civil Supplies Department on ghee manufacturers or traders in the area. However the follow-up action has raised many an eyebrow.

Earlier, the Department had confiscated 2600 kg fake Nova desi ghee from the godowns of the Pathankot-based traders. The samples of the ghee were collected by the Department of Health and later found to be adulterated. It has been over a month since the report regarding the adulteration in desi ghee samples reached the office of the civil surgeon.

As per the rules, the Department of Food and Civil Supplies should have destroyed the adulterated ghee to stop its flow into the market. However, the department has taken no action in this regard.

The tardy pace adopted by the department in the case has aroused suspicion. Sources say that the delay might be a ploy to help the accused traders in saving large quantities of the confiscated material.


Undertrial escapes from court premises

Jalandhar, September 24
An undertrial today fled away from the tehsil court complex of Phillaur near here after giving a dodge to the cops guarding him.

The incident occurred in the morning, when an undertrial identified as Abhijit Kumar, resident of Bilga village, was brought to the court premises of Phillaur sub-division where after throwing chilli powder into the eyes of guarding cops, the accused fled away, police sources said.

Recently the undertrial was shifted from the Jalandhar jail to Amritsar. — PTI


Meter-reader arrested for graft
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 24
The State Vigilance Bureau today arrested a meter-reader of PSEB, Harbansh Singh, from Kurali while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,500. He was taking the bribe from a resident for not to disclose overloading of his meter.

Later, he was produced in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, who remanded him in judicial custody.


Talent search function
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 24
Ms Vanita Singh and Mr Jatinder Grover, conveners of the two-day talent search function at DAV College of Education, here said today that Panjab University, by reviving folk based competitions, had done a yeoman job to strengthen bonds of Punjabi youths with their heritage.

Toppers in the competitions held during the talent search function included: Ms Shashi Kiran (cross stitch), Ms Mamta (crochet), Ms Simardeep (bagh), Ms Kusum Kamboj (knitting), Ms Poonam (landscape), Ms Mamta (still life and life drawing), Ms Arundeep (cartooning), Ms Mandeep Kaur (collage), Ms Avinash Kaur (rangoli), Ms Manju (mehndi), Ms Poonam (poetry recitation), Ms Amandeep Kaur (debate), Ms Amandeep and group (traditional songs), Ms Shikha and group (dance), Ms Simrat (best dancer). Ms Mandeep Kaur (best dancer in giddha), Mr Navdeep Dhillon (best dancer in bhangra), Ms Maninder Kaur (shabad bhajan), Ms Shalu (geet), Ms Anita (ghazal), Ms Mandeep Kaur (folk singing), Mr Nirmal Singh (quiz), Ms Palvika (essay), Mr Surinder Kumar (story writing), Ms Amandeep Kaur (poetry), Mr Vishnu Swami and party (skit), Mr Harish (best actor).


Ravinder wins debate contest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 24
Multani Mal Modi College, Patiala, organised a talent hunt competition in music, literature, folk dances, theatre and fine arts here today. Prof R.K. Sehgal, Dean, Academic Affairs, Punjabi University, was the chief guest while the Principal of the college, Dr V.K. Sharma, gave away the prizes. A newly established vocational course of fashion designing was also inaugurated.

Ravinder Kaur won the debate competition while Varinder Kaur finished runner-up. The topic of the debate was “TV channels are adversely affecting our culture”. In the declamation contest, Alisha was first while Chandeep Ahuja and Arshpreet Kaur shared the second position. Vishali Gupta won the on-the-spot painting competition.

The winners of other competitions are:

Poetry recitation: Ravinder Kaur 1, Arshpreet, Kushpreet Singh, Sukhjeet Singh 2.

Quiz: Nikhil Mehta, Ashish Goyal and Ritu 1, Bhanvi Vadhawan, Ankit Modi and Amit Gupta 2.

Rangoli: Mishu Sharma 1, Amandeep, Amita 2.

Mehndi: Shinam 1, Aliza, Avantika 2.

Cartoon making: Ritika, Anchan Bansal 1, Sumeet Kaur 2.

Collage: Harpreet Kaur 1, Gaganbir 2.

Poster making: Gaganbir 1, Damanjeet 2.

Song: Mukul Verma, Kamaldeep 1, Rakesh Kataria, Jaspreet Kaur 2.

Ghazal: Jaspreet Kaur 1, Harvinder Singh 2.

Clay modelling: Navdeep Kaur 1.

Mimicry: Karan Kunal 1, Gurinder 2.


Awareness camp on vermi compost
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 24
The youth foundation, Mianpur, with the financial assistance of Capart Mord, Govt of India, today organised an awareness-cum-training camp on vermi compost at Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, here today.

The camp was attended by nearby 70 farmers of the adjoining areas. Those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Sanjeev Sharma from Kheti Viraszat, Nabha, and Mr Dinesh Kapila, DDM, Nabard.

“The IET-Bhaddal has vermi compost farm, since July, 2003, for recycling of the waste from the college mess.

A demonstration for preparation of compost was given to the farmers.

The youth foundation has identified 60 farmers of five villages who will be adopting for organic farming after forming farmers clubs so as to do away with the conventional chemical manure which has caused extensive damage to the ecology of the Kandi area, said Dr S.S. Wadhwa, Principal of the college. Prof Gurtej Singh Sidhu was the chief guest of the function.


Bandh in inundated grain market
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
Shopkeepers and commission agents at the local grain market, today, downed their shutters in protest against the indifferent attitude of the authorities that caused the market to remain inundated even two days after the downpour.

Arhtiya Association, president, Mr Satish Kumar said there was no space to unload their agricultural produce. The truck unions had encroached whatever little space was there. It was a crucial time for them as paddy had started arriving.

The district president of Punjab Fertilizer Pesticide and Seed Association, Mr Ramesh Garg said waterlogging brought the cotton purchase to a grinding halt. The approach roads to the market were submerged.

Mr Garg said the market committee had a lot of income from commission agents, but they did not spend a penny to improve the condition of potholed roads and filthy market.

The market committee chairman, Mr PK Gupta said motors had been pressed into service to drain out water and things would return to normal tomorrow.

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