P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



’84 riot victims: no form issued, clarifies govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Punjab Government today clarified that no prescribed form for seeking compensation for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims had been issued.

Certain political parties are organising camps in various cities for filling forms to seek compensation. The first such camp was held in Mohali yesterday.

The Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, said “no prescribed form has been issued by the Government of India or the Punjab Government regarding relief and compensation to be provided to the 1984 riot victims.”

Reacting to news items published in various newspapers regarding the sale and use of such compensation forms, Mrs Bajaj clarified that this matter was still under consideration of the Shankaran Committee. Once the relief /compensation and its mode of payment were finalised, the prescribed forms along with detailed instructions would be published in newspapers. The forms would also be provided free of cost, she added.

Anybody who wanted to submit his or her representation/demand direct could do so by writing to the Shankaran Committee, c/o The Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh.

Mrs Bajaj said that Dr D.K. Shankaran, Secretary, Border Management, Government of India, accompanied by Mr P.K. Pathak and Mr I.B. Karn, member-secretary of the committee, would visit the colony of the riot vicitims in Mohali on September 29.

A meeting would be convened at 2 p.m. at the Community Centre, Phase XI, Mohali. On this occasion four representatives of the riot victims from each district could put forward their views before the committee. If any committee or association of riot victims was not able to attend the meeting, the government would represent the cases, she added.


Mild punishment to DSGMC leaders likely to boomerang
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 28
The “mild tankhah” (punishment for religious misconduct) awarded to Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Mr Parhlad Singh Chandok and Mr Avtar Singh Hit, both former DSGMC chiefs, by the Sikh clergy is likely to boomerang on panthic leaders, seeking reopening of case pertaining to the “translation scam” of Gurbani.

As to why the clergy let bigwigs of the panth off the hook is self-explanatory from the words of praise showered on Bhanu Murthi, who has translated Gurbani into 17 languages. It was a callous approach of the Sikh leadership who failed to point out “glaring mistakes” in the translation done by a person who does not know Punjabi or Gurmukhi script.

It is learnt that when the DSGMC President produced the record and pictures of various leaders, including the late Jathedar G.S. Tohra, Mr Hit and Mr Chandok, honouring Murthi with siropas, the high priests were left with no option but to absolve all DSGMC leaders by giving them mild punishment.

Though Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, had announced that all DSGMC leaders had tendered “unconditional apology”, the fact remains that Mr Sarna had written that “Murthi had been doing translation of Gurbani for the past 35 years as he had full support of religious and political leaders”. Mr Sarna claimed that Murthi had not done much work during his tenure as DSGMC chief.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, while praising Murthi said: “It is indeed very heartening to know that this great work is now available to the Telgu-speaking people everywhere, thanks to the devoted and scholarly endeavour of Murti. I congratulate and thank him for his outstanding service.”

Jathedar Tohra also praised his work. He wrote: “...We are also doubly happy that this is the first-ever translation of the great work of Sri Guru Arjun Dev into any Indian language. This is also the first-ever successful attempt to transcribe and translate the holy-scripture...”

Taking serious note of the “words of praise” showered by Mr Badal, Mr Tohra and other panthic leaders on Murthi, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar), said the Panth Rattan given to Jathedar Tohra posthumously should be taken back. He said the clergy must undergo introspection for showing leniency to those who were involved in the scam and praising Murthi.


Ex-SSF chief to marry while on parole
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Rattan (Ludhiana), September 28
Daljit Singh Bittu (43), former president, All India Sikh Students Federation, who is undergoing life imprisonment for killing son of a former SSP, is marrying Amrit Kaur (27), a niece of Gurcharan Singh Gamma, who is also lodged in the Nabha high security jail. While Bittu will be out on parole on October 6, Gamma is likely to get parole on October 4.

Bittu, a member of the panthic committee, was credited with guiding the Khalistan movement by Mr K.P.S. Gill, a former DGP. He is the second Khalistani protagonist in the past few months to marry. Earlier, Ranjit Singh Kukki married after spending over 17 years behind bars in the USA and India. Like him, Bittu will also get married while on parole. Meanwhile, residents of this sleepy village are making preparations for the marriage scheduled on October 8. They are visibly excited at the possibility of Gamma’s presence in the marriage. He would be visiting the village after a decade. They are anxiously waiting for the October 4 hearing on the parole application of Gamma. The bride-to-be, Amrit Kaur, has no reservations about the marriage which hinges on the decision of the Supreme Court on appeals of Bittu and Gamma against the life imprisonment awarded by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Amrit Kaur is a student of MA (Punjabi) in Punjabi University, Patiala.

“I can wait for him till the sentence is over,” she said. She was fully aware that her husband could be with her for only 21 days, but she was hopeful that the time was not far when he would be always be there for her and her family. Mr Sukhjinder Singh, father of the girl, said: “Now things have changed, we hope everything would be fine.”

Equally excited are the parents of Bittu, who live in Gurdev Nagar, Ludhiana. Bittu’s parents, Dr Ajit Singh Sidhu and Ms Palwinder Kaur, will meet their son after two decades.


3 held for murder of dera head sevadar
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
The police today arrested three persons for the murder of head sevadar of Tikana Bhai Jagta Ji, while two other accused are still absconding.

Though the police has termed robbery the motive, but it has not ruled out that the murder could be a part of “battle of succession” at the dera. Another fact that came to the fore was terrorist background of all three arrested accused.

Brothers of two of them and father of another were terrorists. Addressing a press conference here today SSP, Kapil Dev, said the accused entered into the room of the deceased on Monday night when one of his aides opened the door to venture out. They tied the other men in the room and snatched keys of an almirah from head sevadar, Baba Gurcharan Singh, who was killed for resisting the bid. They escaped with a digital camera, three mobile phones, and Rs 40,000, on their car that was parked on the dera premises. The accused were identified as Hardarshan Singh of Rama Mandi, Gurjant Singh of Kaliawali in Haryana, Bikramjit Singh of Sangrur, Gulgula of Jalandhar and Jagjit Singh of Talwandi Sabo. After commiting the crime the accused went underground and waited for night time to sneak into Haryana. But, following a tip-off, Nehiawala SHO Mahinder Kumar and SI Dinesh Kumar set up check post near Ablu village and stopped a Maruti car (CH-03E 0290). An eyewitness present there identified three occupants of the car as killers of Baba Gurcharan Singh. The police recovered a 12-bore pistol, five cartridges, a mobile phone, and Rs 5,000 cash from car driver, Jagjeet Singh. A 32 bore country-made pistol, 29 cartridges, two mobiles including a stolen one, and Rs 7,000 in cash was recovered from Hardarshan Singh, while a pistol, four cartridges and Rs 6,000 in cash were seized from Bikramjit Singh.

Similarly, Bikramjeet’s brother Kala Singh was a terrorist and was killed by his associates in a clash. Jagjeet’s father was also a terrorist and he too had been involved in seven criminal cases. Another aspect that came to light was that Hardarshan had stayed at the dera for three months in 2002, but was later shown the door due to some reason.


‘Stinking’ act by MC workers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 28
The Municipal Corporation, Patiala, instead of taking care of areas under its jurisdiction, is trying to branch out in areas out of its purview. When the residents complained about it, corporation workers retaliated by dumping trolleys full of filth, garbage and stinking carcasses of animals at their doorsteps.

The Municipal Corporation, has spent lakhs of rupees to procure garbage bins the size of petrol tanker. Officials of the corporation placed such a bin in Khalsa College Avenue, Patiala, where a girls B.Ed. college has started functioning from this academic year. The bin was placed in an empty plot of land, which belonged to Kanta Verma.

She and other colony residents wrote to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejbir Singh, and Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, to get the bin removed. The area is not under the jurisdiction of the corporation. Colony residents resented the action of the Municiapl Corporation and asked it to be remove the garbage bin and shift it to an area within its jurisdiction.

Workers of the Municipal Corportation along with a Sanitary Inspector went to the colony and threatened the residents that they would dump trolley full of garbage in the colony, which they did in front of the house of one of the residents.

When Birchand Kanwal, another resident of the colony, took up the matter with Mr Ahluwalia and Dr Banga, the health official concerned, he was told that the Class IV employees had refused to follow their orders in the case. When Mr Kanwal said he would take up the matter with acting Director, Local Bodies, the corporation staff today retaliated by dumping a half-eaten, stinking carcass of a calf in front of his house. The stench is intolerable and there were high chances of diseases breaking out in the area.

The residents were at their wits end and wondered why the corporation could not take care of its own areas instead of harassing them.


Tapa observes bandh
Demand to book Tarksheel leaders
Kamlesh Sharma

Tapa (Barnala) , September 28
Tapa observed bandh today following a clash between Hindu organisations and Tarksheel Society leaders. A rally was hold in grain market here to protest against the police which failed to take any action against rationalist leaders. The 32-member Action Committee under the convenership of Mr Trilochan Bansal demanded the registration of the case against all rationalist leaders who organised the Tarksheel festival at Tapa and made comments about Hindu Goddess Sri Jawala Ji.

The Tarksheel Society held a festival at Tapa two days ago. In the festival posters of Hindu Goddess Sri Jawala Ji was displayed with a subscription that lights in the Jawala ji temple was due to gas and there was no miracle in it. Rationalists also made outbursts against Hindu sentiments. This led to tension among Hindus. About 20 social and religious organisations of the area gathered. The clash took place between the festival organisers and social organisations. The police cane-charged to bring normalcy.

The action committee met SSP, Barnala Mr G. Nageshwar Rao and demanded arrest of the festival organisers for hurting religious sentiments. The police reportedly refused to register case against any group as both groups were involved in the clash.

Following the non-registration of a case against Tarksheel leaders Hindu organisations held a rally. A bandh was also observed. The action committee members warned that if no action was taken they would start statewide stir.

SSP, G. Nageshwar Rao said, as both parties were involved in the clash. They are seeking legal opinion before registering a case. He said law and order would be maintained in the district. Mr Rao also added that in future the police would not allow holding of any Tarksheel festival in the district.


Dal Khalsa opposes RSS chief’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Accusing RSS President K.S. Sudarshan of vitiating the political atmosphere, the Dal Khalsa today asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, not to permit him to enter the state. Mr Sudarshan is scheduled to arrive in the state on Thursday on a three-day visit.

The Dal also criticised the five Jathedars for constituting a 13-member panel to deliberate upon the issue of women sevadars and the Sikh rehat maryada. The Jathedars were making an issue out of a non-issue, the Dal alleged, adding that the Sant Samaj should be summoned for rejecting the Nanakshahi calendar and the rehat maryada.

Addressing a press conference, Dal leaders Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib and Kanwar Pal Singh said Mr Sudarshan was unwanted in the state as he had always been “distorting and misrepresenting the unique identity of the Sikh community”.

The leaders also “warned” Mr Sudarshan against carrying on with “his habit of interfering in the internal affairs of the Sikh nation” and “minority bashing”. They also blamed Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his inability to persuade the BJP and the RSS against interfering in the affairs of the Sikh community.

As far as the rehat maryada was concerned, they said it was clear about allowing women to carry on with seva.

As such, a panel was not required to look into the matter. The Jathedars, by constituting the panel, were only washing their hands of the responsibility, they said.


Vedanti’s warning to dera heads
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 28
Warning the intellectuals and dera heads who raise doubts on Guru Granth Sahib, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, said today that nobody would be allowed to tinker with the holy book. The Jathedar was speaking at a seminar on “Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Vishav drishti” held at Khalsa College here to commemorate the quadricentennial anniversary celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

Jathedar Vedanti said explaining the “banis” of Granth Sahib “is not everybody’s cup of tea and added that those who are not capable of it should refrain from doing so”. He said: “Though ‘banis’ are easy to understand, it is difficult to explain.”

Describing Guru Granth Sahib as a living guru and source of peace, he emphasised that efforts should be made by various organisations and intellectuals to make a genuine explanation acceptable to all. Dr J.S.Sabar, chairman, Bhagat Ravidas Chair, Guru Nanak Dev University, described Guru Granth Sahib as a path for peace.

Mr Rajindermohan Singh Chhina said efforts should be made to translate and transliterate Guru Granth Sahib into other languages so that the people of other religions could read and know about the Sikhism. Dr Suba Singh, Principal, Gurmati College, Patiala, and Prof Avtar Singh, Ramgarhia College, Phagwara, were among those who attended the seminar.


Dera disciples stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 28
Hundreds of disciples of Dera Sacha Sauda of the Hoshiarpur unit, including ladies, led by a 25-member committee of Punjab, including Mr Gursharanjit Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh, Mr Chanan Ram and Mr Pargat Singh, staged a protest in main bazars of the town and dharna in front of the mini secretariat, here today, to show resentment against the possible action against the Sirsa dera chief. They marched in protest against the proceedings being initiated in this regard.

Later, they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.


Rain hits MC’s road repair plan
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 28
The repair work on city roads undertaken by the Municipal Corporation seems to have run into rough weather once again as the residents struggle to reach their destination on worsening city roads. With the rain keeping its date with the city, time and again the repair projects being run by the MC were washed away adding to the woes of the public. The city already suffering due to the existing potholes had to cope with waterlogging on Sunday as the rainwater inundated almost all city roads. Water even entered the houses of the people living in the old city area.

The increasing complaints about the bad state of the roads, also means more pressure on the Municipal Corporation to undertake repair projects. The MC authorities on the other hand are suffering from their own set of problems, according to sources. The repair work undertaken on the Ravi Das Chowk and Membro Chowk just two days ago has been washed away in the heavy rain in the city.

The low-lying areas like the old city colonies, Adarsh Nagar, Kapurthala Chowk area, Milap Chowk, Rainik Bazar, Central Town, Jawahar Nagar and the BMC chowk area suffered due to the water logging which further washed away the tar coal carpeting on the roads adding new potholes. As the water covered the city roads and some of the shopkeepers tried to open the manhole covers in the middle of the roads.

The Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr Satwant Singh Johal when contacted said that the cleanliness of the city roads was the top priority of the MC authorities and the repair work was in full swing.


Das cremated with state honours
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 28
The body of P.M. Das, Additional-Director General of Police, Punjab, was consigned to flames with full state and police honours here today. The pyre was lit by his son Shyamantar Das at the Badungar cremation ground, which reverberated with the 21-gun salute by the Punjab Police team.

The avid mountaineer, who scaled many a height was given a tearful adieu. Top police and civil administration officers were present at the cremation. Earlier the officer’s body was taken in a procession from his residence at Rajbaha Road to the cremation ground.

The Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, laid a wreath on behalf of the Punjab Governor, while Ms Perneet Kaur, MP, laid the wreath on the behalf of her husband and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

She also offered condolences to the bereaved family, including the officer’s mother, Ms Shanti Das, wife, Ms Chandana Das, and daughter, Ms Teesta Das.

Other officials and dignitaries present included Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Principal Home secretary, Mr AK Dubey, the DGP, Punjab, Mr SS Virk, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Suresh Kumar, besides a host of other top bureaucrats, Punjab Police officials and politicians.

Mr Virk expressed his grief at the untimely death of the gallant officer and said the Adventure Club, which was started by him and was very close to his heart, would continue to function as before.

The officer was killed in an avalanche while leading a team at Shomuyumu in Sikkim. The avalanche had struck the base camp while the team was on its way back after scaling the peak at a height of 6829 metres. The Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Mr Lal Singh, also visited the grief-stricken family to offer his condolences.

The Patiala MP praised the officer for his honesty and assured the family of all possible help from the government. The antim ardaas and akhand path bhog ceremony will be held at gurdwara Moti Bagh on October 4 at 12 pm.


3 held for murder of dera head sevadar
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
The police today arrested three persons for the murder of head sevadar of Tikana Bhai Jagta Ji, while two other accused are still absconding.

Though the police has termed robbery the motive, but it has not ruled out that the murder could be a part of “battle of succession” at the dera. Another fact that came to the fore was terrorist background of all three arrested accused.

Brothers of two of them and father of another were terrorists. Addressing a press conference here today SSP, Kapil Dev, said the accused entered into the room of the deceased on Monday night when one of his aides opened the door to venture out. They tied the other men in the room and snatched keys of an almirah from head sevadar, Baba Gurcharan Singh, who was killed for resisting the bid. They escaped with a digital camera, three mobile phones, and Rs 40,000, on their car that was parked on the dera premises.

The accused were identified as Hardarshan Singh of Rama Mandi, Gurjant Singh of Kaliawali in Haryana, Bikramjit Singh of Sangrur, Gulgula of Jalandhar and Jagjit Singh of Talwandi Sabo. After commiting the crime the accused went underground and waited for night time to sneak into Haryana. But, following a tip-off, Nehiawala SHO Mahinder Kumar and SI Dinesh Kumar set up check post near Ablu village and stopped a Maruti car (CH-03E 0290). An eyewitness present there identified three occupants of the car as killers of Baba Gurcharan Singh. The police recovered a 12-bore pistol, five cartridges, a mobile phone, and Rs 5,000 cash from car driver, Jagjeet Singh.

A 32 bore country-made pistol, 29 cartridges, two mobiles including a stolen one, and Rs 7,000 in cash was recovered from Hardarshan Singh, while a pistol, four cartridges and Rs 6,000 in cash were seized from Bikramjit Singh.

Similarly, Bikramjeet’s brother Kala Singh was a terrorist and was killed by his associates in a clash. Jagjeet’s father was also a terrorist and he too had been involved in seven criminal cases. Another aspect that came to light was that Hardarshan had stayed at the dera for three months in 2002, but was later shown the door due to some reason.


Mountaineer cop cremated
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 28
Sub-Inspector Inder Kumar, posted at Rahon police station in Nawanshahr district and renowned mountaineer, who died during a mountaineering expedition in Sikkim on Sunday, was cremated with full state honours at his village, Posi, in Hoshiarpur district, today. His 11 year-old son, Nitin, lit the pyre.

A large number of civil and police officials, political and social leaders, including Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy commissioner, Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon, IG, Jalandhar Range, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, DIG, Jalandhar Range, Mr Arun Pal Singh, SSP, Nawanshahr, Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, Mr Kishoe Chand, SP (HQ), Mr Harmandir Singh, SDM, Garhshankar, amd Mr Gurmit Singh Dhugga, DPRO, bid a tearful adieu to Inder Kumar.

Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon and Mr Krishan Kumar promised all help to the family. Mr Harmandir Singh, SDM, gave Rs 5,000 as immediate relief to the family.


Mann flays India’s stand against Iran
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 28
Flaying India’s stand against Iran on the IAEA resolution, SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann today said it could irritate Islamic people and result into terror attack on India on the lines of 7/7 and 9/11.

He was here to participate in a “thanksgiving rally” following the release of party leader Gursewak Singh Jawaharke.

Mr Mann said a new axis of China and Russia was taking shape and Iran and Pakistan might also join it. In such a scenario how the USA could protect the integrity of India? he asked. Mr Mann opposed Canada giving nuclear component to India as he alleged that the latter had earlier used them for military purposes.

On the mild punishment to DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna for engaging Mr Bhanu Murthi for translating Gurbani, Mr Mann said Akal Takht had been weakened, and alleged that it was working as per the wishes of the “wealthy and the powerful”. He alleged that SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and ex-SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra had introduced Mr Murthi to scripture business. He demanded that the “Panth Rattan” conferred on Mr Tohra be withdrawn and Mr Badal punished for his act.


Police shielding Chajjumajra culprits, alleges SAD
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 28
More than a 100 workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) staged a protest against the Kharar police alleging that they were shielding the “real culprits” responsible for the death of three members of the Chajjumajra family.

The three persons were killed and another eight injured by a group of assailants who had attacked their house at Chajjumajra village on August 7. The police had recently arrested nine members of the dreaded Kalandar tribe responsible for the attack. The family of the victims had also identified the killers as having committed the crime.

However, the family had alleged the tribe had been hired by two residents on the insistence of a local property dealer whom the police was trying to shield.

The SAD workers today met the victim’s family at a gurdwara on Landran road and later the workers got out and blocked the road. The police, however, reached the spot and “picked” up the workers bringing the dharna to an end. The workers were later released.


Certificates lost in postal transit
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 28
A glaring example of carelessness of post office has been reported by Mr Kewal Mahajan, Principal, Adarsh Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, here today.

He said 114 students of the school had appeared in the matriculation examination in 2005 and their certificates were duly sent by the department concerned on July 26, 2005, vide parcel No. 187. However, due to carelessness of postman, it had not reached the school. till today, he added.

Many representations to the Post Master, Batala, Gurdaspur and Central Post Master, Ambala and Chandigarh have not yielded any result.

Mr Mahajan said there was some foul play and if no action was taken in this, regard, they would be compelled to gherao officials of the Batala post office.


Honesty still persists
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 28
Mr Rakesh Kochhar, an officer with the JCT Mills, here has proved that honesty still persists in the country.

Mr Kochhar found a handbag containing Rs 1 lakh and some documents near the JCT Mill Colony gate on the night of September 26. He deposited the bag with the security staff at the mills’ gate.

Mr J.C. Sodhi, General Manager, JCT Mills, Phagwara, handed over the bag to its owner after thorough inquiry and identification.


Student hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 28
A school student was critically injured when he was hit by a motor cycle near quila chungi here today.

The neck of the Class VII student, who was going on a bicycle, reportedly got injured by a piece of shattered glass. He was taken to the Civil Hospital from where he had to be referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.


Principal gets reprieve
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 28
The local court today stayed the arrest of Principal of Shivalik Public School. A case of hurting sentiments of the Sikh community was registered against her for issuing a circular of banning students from wearing ‘kirpan’ and heavy ‘kara’. Acting on the anticipatory bail application moved by the Principal, Ms Gurpreet Mathur, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.K Goel, stayed her arrest till September 30, and issued a notice to the state to file reply.

Ms Mathur pleaded in the bail application that she had issued the circular to maintain the discipline in the school and not to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. Moreover, she had amended the circular again where the baptised Sikh students were permitted to wear ‘Kara’ and ‘Kirpan’ and also apologised.


Charges framed against former Akali minister
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 28
The Gurdaspur court today framed charges against senior Akali leader and the former Revenue Minister, Mr Seva Singh Sekhwan, in corruption cases registered in December, 2002.

In a press release issued here today, Mr R P S Bajwa, the SSP vigilance, said that a case under section 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, IPC and 13 (1), (C), (D) (E) R/w, 13(2), Prevention of corruption act 1988 will be filed against the minister for allegedly amassing properties disproportionate to sources of income.

He said that Mr Bakshish Singh, DSP vigilance, personally investigated the case.The accused had deposited huge amounts on his family members’ names in various banks, purchased a palatial house and an ambassador car in Batala, formed a trust on his father’s name and spent a huge amount on it.

The SSP said the Challan was presented in the court of Additional District and Special Judge, Gurdaspur, on March 4, 2005. He said the court framed the charges and fixed October 22 as next date of hearing.


Reduce area under paddy, says VC
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
Reducing area under paddy could ensure better returns to the state farmers besides checking further decline in the state water table, stated the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, while addressing a kisan mela here today.

Dr Aulakh said soyabean and moong could be suitable alternatives to the farmers willing to switch over to other crops. He disclosed that the state government had established the Punjab Farmers Commission that had recommended the purchase of crops like soyabean, moong etc at the minimum support price to promote diversification among the farmers.

He expressed concern over the fast depleting water table as well as the deficiency of micronutrients in the soil. He said no other state had such a close association between the farmers and a university. He urged the farmers to take up cotton cultivation to increase their income.

He said the indiscriminate use of pesticides in the state was polluting the environment. Dr B.S. Dhillon, Director of Research, PAU, exhorted farmers to increase area under PBW-502 variety of wheat. He also called for proper use of inputs in order to have high profits from various crops.

Highlighting the mela theme, “Save water, wave Punjab”, Dr S. S. Gill, Director of Extension Education, PAU, told the farmers to go for the judicious use of water by adopting the crops that require less water.

The Punjab Minister of Revenue and Rehabilitation, Mr Amarjeet Singh Samra, said the state government had earmarked special budget for increasing the electricity production in the state. He said 24-hour domestic power supply in rural areas would soon be ensured throughout the state. He said the farmers whose crop had been damaged in the recent rain would be given due compensation.

Mr Kamaljit Singh Dhaliwal, member, Punjab Naujawan Kisan Sanstha, presented the varsity Vice-Chancellor with a cheque for Rs 1 lakh for instituting an award in memory of his father Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal. The award will be given to a progressive farmer of the state every year. The Vice-Chancellor also felicitated Horla Kalan Sarpanch Mr Manmohan Singh Sandhu for becoming life member of university’s publications.

Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, Director, Regional Station, PAU, proposed a vote of thanks. Scores of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan also participated in the mela.


Shellers’ boycott may affect procurement
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 28
A farmers’ organisation and the Federation of Arhtiya Associations of Punjab have come out in support of the protesting owners of rice shellers, as they feel confrontation may have a detrimental effect on the farmers as well as the purchase process. The Kisan Wing (A) has appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take note of genuine demands of the owners of rice shellers, who have boycotted the paddy procurement in the state. The shelling industry would be affected if the government failed to act in time. The shelling industry had a direct influence on the farmers and the selling of crop, according to wing president Gurdial Singh Virk.

The arhtiya association president, Mr Bal Krishan Singla, has also said if the boycott continues it may create a problem in the mandis. Though official procurement had started but in most mandis rush of paddy arrivals would be after the first week of October. Both organisations, in separate statements, asked the government to take immediate steps to resolve the issue otherwise no institution or agency would be able to control the expected 150 lakh tonne glut of paddy in the mandis. The government should take up the matter with the Centre as the Punjab Government had not taken any effective steps to counter the situation regarding the boycott.

The Kisan Wing has strongly protested against Mr Tarsem Saini, president of the state association of the owners of rice shellers. It has accused Mr Saini of going back on an agreement reached with Food and Supplies Minister Avtar Henry. The statements of Mr Saini regarding substandard paddy produced by the farmers did not hold good as he had yet to say anything regarding the prevalent corruption in the Food Corporation of India, Mr Virk said.

The farmers were the affected party while they were not responsible for the loss sustained by the shelling industry, he added. In any case if the boycott went on for a while, farmers may be the real suffers as the paddy glut would mean selling problems for them in the coming weeks.


Review paddy MSP, demand Brar
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
The minimum support price for paddy in the state was inadequate and the Union Government should review it, said Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

Mr Brar attributed his demand of MSP review to the considerable rise in prices of diesel and fertilizers and to the fact that the farmers were not being given any direct subsidy.

On damage to cotton crop in the recent rainfall, he said he would urge the Union Agriculture Minister to increase the compensation from Rs 1,000 per acre to Rs 5,000 per acre.


Farmers protest against ‘irregularities’ in seed sale
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 28
While thousands of farmers today took the advantage of Punjab Agricultural University’s (PAU) Kisan Mela, some of them were disappointed with the way seeds of wheat’s PBW-502 variety were sold off at one of its counters.

Farmers alleged that the PAU staff sold the seeds in bulk to seed stores and later imposed a limit of one packet each when it came to their turn. Talking to The Tribune, Jarnail Singh, a farmer from Bangi Kalan village, said he was standing in the queue since 8 in the morning and was still not sure whether he would get seeds or not. Mahinder Singh from Kot Bhai village alleged that they had sold off seeds worth over Rs 30,000 to a seed store.

Now, they informed us that they would get one packet each. Magar Singh of Pir Kot village alleged that currency of Rs 5,00 were not being accepted.

Some of the farmers had come from Haryana for purchasing seeds and were disillusioned with the PAU staff’s attitude. Another farmer rued that he was told to come at Faridkot’s Kisan Mela next month for purchasing seeds of wheat.

On the other hand, the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Mr K.S. Aulakh, took a strong notice of the matter at a press conference after the function.

He asked the staff concerned to ensure that the farmers didn’t face any problem at the sale counter.

The Director of PAU’s regional centre, Dr D.S. Brar, denied farmers’ allegations. He said seeds were distributed on priority basis during kisan melas. He said the sale of seeds took place under the supervision of Director, Seeds, PAU, and other staff members from Ludhiana.


Farmers block traffic again
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 28
Panicked by the cloudy weather, the farmers protesting against the slow lifting of the paddy in mandis by government agencies staged a dharna and blocked traffic on the Sultanpur Lodhi road in front of the New Grain Market here this evening.

Though the farmers agreed to suspend their agitation last evening on the assurance of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bhawna Garg, that the government agencies would start procuring the paddy affected nominally due to inclement weather, the farmers lost their patience today and blocked the road by parking their tractor- trailers on the road when the government procurement agencies could lift only 40 per cent of the 50,000 bags of paddy arrived in the market. The remaining 30,000 bags of paddy were lying in the open.

The farmers were also annoyed over the silence of Rana Gurjit Singh, local MP, and Ms Sukhjinder Rana, the local MLA, on the issue.


Cotton procurement begins on October 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Cotton procurement in Punjab starts on October 1 when Markfed and the Cotton Corporation of India enter the mandis for buying the produce at the minimum support price announced by the Central Government.

The state is headed for a bumper crop and the farmers of the state are going to contribute around 22 lakh bales of cotton to the country’s approximate production of 260 lakh bales during the 2005-06 season, the state Cooperation Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, said here yesterday.

“This year the crop is in good health and conditions are favourable to ensure fair average quality cotton”. He said the crop had been affected in 14 villages of Bathinda district during last week’s heavy rain. An assessment was being made. Compensation, if any, would be paid before the next crop was sown, Mr Randhawa added. The Central Government had fixed a price of Rs 1,835 per quintal for the J-34 variety of BT and Rs 1,310 for Bengal desi cotton. In the open market the two varieties were being traded between Rs 1,950 and Rs 2,050 and Rs 1,400 and Rs 1,500, respectively. The Managing Director of Markfed, Mr S.S. Channy, said once the procurement agencies entered the market, the prices in the open market would rise further.

In order to procure export orders for surplus cotton in the state, the matter was being pursued with All-India Cooperative Cotton Federation Limited to take up with the International Cotton Advisory Board for rendering the necessary support, Mr Randhawa said. “Preliminary discussions of the international board are being held in the UK,” he said.


Bids for 2 road projects cleared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The construction of two important road projects has been cleared in Punjab.

The government has approved bids for the Balachaur-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya and Patiala-Samana-Patran road projects. These will cost Rs 170 crore on a built-operate-transfer basis through public-private partnership.

The private companies concerned will be responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of these roads, said Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Minister, here today. Sources, said the government would also be putting in some money as the private players had expressed apprehensions that they might not be able to recover their investment. The private parties would be allowed to levy some kind of toll to recover the money from road users.

Mr Bajwa said the Balachaur-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road, with a length of 105 km, would involve an expenditure of Rs 120 crore. It was to be completed in 24 months. Similarly, the Patiala-Samana-Patran road, having a length of 48.6 km, was proposed to be completed in 18 months at a cost of Rs 50 crore. Works on these projects would begin shortly.

The minister said bids would also be invited from private players for other road projects. These were the Hoshiarpur-Tanda 27.90 km, the Tanda-Amritsar (77.89), the Nakodar-Kapurthala-Kartarpur (48.92 km), the Moga-Baghapurana-Kotkapura (47.70km), the Ferozepore-Fazilka (84.42 km), the Kiratpur Sahib-Anandpur Sahib-Nangal-Una (35.72 km) and the Patiala-Malerkotla (60.19 km).


Income Tax raids on various premises
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 28
The Income Tax authorities conducted raids at various places in the district yesterday.

At Patiala, the IT authorities conducted a raid on the premises of M/s Dwarka Dass Sham Lal, a shop specialising in selling seeds. The raiding party found anomalies in the records of the shop and seized documents which showed that the owners had defaulted in paying tax worth lakhs of rupees. The other shop raided was that of M/s Mangomal Hans Raj and sons at Old Anaj Mandi, Nabha Gate, which also specialised in the selling of seeds. Here too the authorities seized documents following complaints of evasion of income tax worth lakhs of rupees.

At Bhawanigarh, 35 km from here, raids were conducted at the premises of M/s Gurdev Agro Engineering, a firm selling agricultural implements. A sister concern of M/s Gurdev Engineering was also raided at the same place and incriminating documents were taken into possession by the raiding party.

At Anaj Mandi, Rajpura, the premises of M/s Shiv Dayal Dharma Pal were raided and documents were taken into possession by the IT authorities.


Shopkeeper booked for occupying police land
Tribune News Service

Ghagga, September 28
A case of attempt to illegally occupy police land right in front of the Ghagga police station has come to light. Meanwhile, the alleged illegal occupier, Hans Raj, a resident of Ghagga town, has complained to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission against the high-handedness of Punjab Police personnel at Ghagga.

In a complaint to the commission and top police officials, Hans Raj (37) of Ghagga, about 45 km from Patiala, has complained against Jagbir Singh, in charge, Ghagga police station, and ASI Narain Singh of harassment, use of abusive language and illegal confinement.

Hans Raj has alleged that these two broke his shop and took possession of it on September 20. They also took possession of an empty plot of land which was under his possession for the past 15 years, Hans Raj added. On top of that they also used building material purchased by Hans Raj, which was lying on the land, to erect a wall to show the police possession on the land.

Hans Raj alleged that the two had behaved in this fashion because he had not paid heed to their demand for money.

When contacted, the SHO Jagbir Singh said he had never seen Hans Raj in person, so the allegations were false. “In fact, Hans Raj was trying to take advantage of the fact that the police was busy with the municipal elections. The Ghagga police station has four gates, out of which three are closed. Hans Raj was trying to construct a shop in front of that gate. He was never in possession of the said land,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DSP, Samana, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, also alleged that Hans Raj was taking advantage of the police. “A day before the municipal elections in Punjab he tried building another shop, thinking that the police would be too busy to notice the fact. The land was being used by taxi drivers to park their vehicles. They brought the situation to our notice. I was in Ghagga that day as was the SDM. It was also brought to the notice of the Election Officer. If the police can’t protect its own property how can we protect others?”

“Hans Raj was called to the police station to show the papers on which he was claiming ownership. But he failed to produce any. In fact, he agreed to clear the land, but the next day started the whole thing again,” he added.

Hans Raj, in his complaint, further said when he and his wife complained about this high-handedness, the two police officials used abusive language against them. The duo then took him (Hans Raj) to the police station and kept him in confinement for about five hours, besides beating him up. Hans Raj was only let off when other shopkeepers downed shutters in protest.

According to Hans Raj there were about 30 shops adjoining the wall of the Ghagga police station. Only one shop, of Hans Raj, was targeted by the police, who alleged that it was built on the police station land. Hans Raj said he had bought the land from Amrik Singh, son of Ishar Singh, to whom the land originally belonged.

The police finally registered a case against Hans Raj for illegal occupation under Sections 171C, 186, 353, 447 and 506 of the IPC. The police after foiling Hans Raj’s attempt sent the case to the District Attorney for legal opinion.

After that the case was registered, said the SHO.


Commission agent shot at
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 28
Four persons allegedly attacked a commission agent of Guruharsahai, Mr. Satvinder Bhandari, and fired at him from a close range while he was on his way back home from his shop on Monday.

Mr Bhandari was on his way home from his shop, when at around 8 pm four assailants stopped his scooter near the old bus stand in Mandi Guruharsahai and fired at him from a close range.

However, Mr Bhandari escaped unhurt and ran away leaving his scooter behind. The assailants allegedly fired another shot at him but it missed Mr Bhandari.

After hearing the gun shots, people gathered there and the assailants fled.

Mr Bhandari, who is president of the Beopar Mandal, Guruharsahai, is facing criminal charges under Section 307 in a case.

When contacted, Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, said the police was investigating the matter.

He told that as there were contradicting theories about the alleged attack on Mr Bhandari, the police had not yet registered a case.


Doctor held on charge of selling baby
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 28
The police yesterday arrested Dr Shashi, owner of Shashi Nursing Home here, and midwife Madhu Bala on charges of selling a newborn boy. The baby was recovered from the midwife.

The SP (Detective), Mr Harish Kumar, said during investigation Dr Shashi said an unmarried woman was admitted to the nursing home for delivery on September 4 and gave birth to a child. She requested the doctor to keep the child with her and gave it to the needy person. The doctor handed over the child to Madhu Bala, who was working at her nursing home.

The SP said a case under Sections 317 and 372 of the IPC had been registered against Dr Shashi and Madhu Bala.


Two petrol stations looted
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 28
Four unidentified persons today decamped with cash worth Rs 20,000 from two petrol stations situated on the Ropar-Nangal road early morning here today.

In the first incident at about 3 am, four assailants, who came in a car, asked an attendant at Ram Lal and Sons petrol pump in Kiratpur Sahib to fill the fuel for Rs 700. When the attendant asked the assailants for money, they snatched a bag containing Rs 13,000 from him and escaped. After one hour, the same four assailants reached the Reliance petrol pump in Ropar and asked an attendant there to fill fuel for Rs 200. Using the same method, again snatched a bag carrying Rs 7,000 from the attendent and escaped.

Cases have been registered against the accused.


4 hurt in bus-car collision
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 28
Four persons were injured in a collision between a bus and a car near the bus stand here today.

Out of the injured persons three were women who were taken to the local Civil Hospital.

According to information available, the collision took place between a car coming from Ludhiana and the bus which was coming from the Chandigarh side.


Seminar on ‘Public relations and journalism’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 28
“Honesty, grit and determination eventually bear fruit. Standing firm when faced with adversity and being true to one’s conscience go a long way in ensuring success.”

These views were expressed by MC Commissioner and former Director of Public Relations, Punjab, Surinder K. Ahluwalia while addressing students during a seminar on “Public Relations and Journalism” at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University.

He said journalism was losing its credibility as focus was more on scandalising and fabrication of news stories.

He opined that reporters should work for the betterment of society and not indulge in yellow journalism.

He advised students to work towards the shaping of a clean society and stay away from easy money and fame.

Mr Ahluwalia criticised newspapers for indulging in mudslinging and neglecting public interests.

“The role of a Public Relations Officer (PRO) has become even more demanding and versatile,” said Dr H.P.S. Walia, Head of the Department.

Ms Sunita Dhir, Student Dean Welfare, Dr Navjeet Singh Johal, Reader, and Dr Gurmeet Mann were also present.

The seminar concluded with an interactive session.


Computer scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Punjab Government today introduced a new scheme, computer for all, to disseminate knowledge about information technology among children living in villages.

The objective of the scheme is to provide free access to computers to village children. The scheme will initially be launched in 150 villages of Punjab, the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar said here.


Farmers’ panel to review infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Punjab Government has constituted the Punjab State Farmers Commission to examine and review the status of agriculture, allied sectors and rural infrastructure in the state. This was stated by Dr G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers Commission, while addressing an interactive session on agriculture reforms in Punjab organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Punjab State Council in Chandigarh yesterday.

Dr Kalkat said to ensure rapid development in agriculture sector, the state government must focus on diversification and rotation of cash crops and the promotion of allied activities by farmers. The farmers would be able to get high remuneration due to the alternate crops like moong, soyabean, etc and would break the routine wheat — paddy cycle, he added.

The Chairman said the state government should make necessary arrangements for procurement of alternate crops. This would also help in saving power since usage was less for these crops and would help in improving power scenario in the state as also the income of the farmers.

Dr Kalkat also mentioned that to compete at global levels, the farmers should increase the yield as also adopt best techniques available to them. The main problems which, India in general and Punjab in particular, faced were over exploitation of natural resources. For this we needed to conserve water, soil and prevention of pollution.

Another major problem which Punjab was facing in the field of agriculture was that water table receding at the rate of 55 cm/year due to over exploitation. PAU studies indicated that reducing rice area by 25 lakh acres and stabilising it at about 40 lakh acres would bring the ground water balance. These could be overcome by diversification to alternate crops such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, oilseeds, fodder, farm forestry etc.

Dr Kalkat also talked about the initiatives of the Commission which they planned to introduce in Punjab include 250 commercial dairy farms in Patiala district, 250 farms in Batala area for winter hybrid maize following basmati, 250 farmers in Nawanshahr/ Garhshankar block for winter hybrid maize, 100 screen houses to produce vegetables without use of pesticide in Ludhiana/Fatehgarh Sahib/Patiala, Soyabean production over 250 farms each in Batala and Patiala and another 750 farms in rest of the state, collection centres for fruits/vegetables in Patiala, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Poultry processing units in Patiala/Batala.

Mr S.S. Randhawa, General Manager — Enforcement, Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board, spoke about the Punjab APMC Act and the initiatives taken by the board for the development of the agriculture in Punjab.


Bank staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 28
Employees belonging to the All-India Bank Employees Association and the All-India State Bank of Patiala (AISBOP) Employees Federation today held a gate rally in front of the State Bank of Patiala, Sirhind branch. The employees raised slogans against the government.

Addressing the rally, Mr Varinder Takyar, regional secretary of AISBOP Employees Federation said that strike would be observed in all banks of the district on September 29 on the call given by bank associations nationwide.

He said employees associations had been demanding that there should be no privatisation, no merger, no disinvestments and dilution of government’s capital in public sector banks, no sell-out of Indian private banks to foreigners by allowing 74 per cent FDI rather taking over of these banks by public sector banks and speedy recovery of bad loans/NPAs in banks. He urged the government to concede their demands.

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