P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Two more deaths trigger resentment among farmers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The death of two more farmers, Sukhdev Singh of Sialbrah (Bathinda) and Gian Singh of Maranna (Amritsar), after the suicide by Gurdev Singh of Nadala (Kapurthala) in a grain market last week may put the Punjab Government on the defensive as the Sanjha Kisan Manch has reiterated its call to block traffic for two hours in the state tomorrow.

The manch represents three organisations of farmers, including the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), and has substantial following in the Majha and Malwa belts. The two-hour “traffic roko” agitation from noon to 2 pm coincides with the concluding session of the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave in Chandigarh.

Unlike previous agitations by members of the manch, there have been no reports of any police raids or preventive arrests anywhere in the state.

“We are not aware of any preventive arrests being made by the police anywhere this time,” says Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri, a spokesman of the manch, maintaining that “resentment has been brewing among farmers after the reports of the death of Sukhdev Singh and Gian Singh came from Bathinda and Amritsar yesterday.”

Sukhdev Singh was in the state of depression because of his mounting debt. He jumped into a well to end his life at Sialbrah in Bathinda yesterday while Gian Singh, who had been waiting for his paddy to be procured, had a massive heart attack at Harike grain market yesterday.

He said Sukhdev Singh had been complaining of harassment by bank officials following his inability to clear his debt in time.

Three unnatural deaths within a week and at the beginning of a procurement season points to the pressure the Punjab farmers are facing. “Though there is some relaxation in specifications for procurement of paddy, yet things have not changed much on the cotton front.

“While cotton with its staple measuring 28 mm was selling for Rs 1,985 a bale in Gujarat, the same quality was getting only around Rs 1,600 a bale in Punjab.

Both Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and Markfed have made symbolic entry in 27 procurement centres in the cotton belt in the state where the farmers were getting between Rs 150 and Rs 200 less than the MSP of Rs 1, 836,” he said.

Mr Kokri said even after Gurdev Singh committed suicide in protest against tardy procurement of paddy, all his family got was Rs 550 a quintal against the MSP of Rs 600 a quintal. On the other hand, the state agencies were bending backwards to procure paddy of influential people, including the ministers, from their farm houses.

Mr Kokri said the response to the “traffic roko” call was overwhelming and the activists of the manch would block traffic at pre-decided venues throughout the state.


‘Recruitment’ in Bihar, ‘action’ in Punjab
15 of gang held for larceny activities
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
A gang of middle-aged women and men from Bihar are regularly bringing different groups of minor boys to Punjab for committing various crimes. Grooming criminals for future, women members of the gang travel to Punjab with the children while the men stay in Bihar for identifying children for the ‘lucrative’ tour.

This activity has come to light with the arrest of two women, 12 teenagers and children, all from Bihar, besides a local rickshaw-puller.

SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh said the gang members were arrested on their fourth trip to Punjab. This group of children had allegedly been involved in about 400 theft, stealing and snatching cases. The cumulative figure of crime incidents in all trips crosses the thousand mark.

Revealing the modus operandi of the gang, the SP said the gang concentrated on snatching purses, jewellery, cash, mobile phones and other equipment and their main targets were women.

The children and women travelled by rickshaws, hired at Rs 500 for a few hours job. One or two of the children used to commit crime. The booty was passed to others while the children helped in escaping by creating confusion at the place.

The menfolk, who recruit the youngsters, are said to be living a luxurious life in Bihar with cars at their disposal while the women and children take all risks.

Fifteen members of the gang, who were arrested today, include Dilawati Devi, Ram Sati Devi, both over 40, and rickshaw-puller Govinda, alias Gautam. Two women and three rickshaw-pullers managed to escape.

The arrested children were Jatinder (18), Mehreen (17), Parminder (19), Nageshwar (15), Shanni (10), Kamlesh (7), Deepak (10), Ravi (11), Badri (10), Pahari (9) and two other children whose identity could not be confirmed.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said the gang members have confessed to having snatched over 300 mobile phones during their last visit to the city about two months ago.

There were only a few cases registered against the gang members earlier. Some children were arrested but they gave fake identities and jumped bail in Moga, Khanna and Jagraon.

The gang members used to stay near Jagraon bridge but had taken a room on rent in Jawahar Nagar. The police may also take action against the landlord for not informing the police about the tenants.


Amarinder faces queries on SCs’ welfare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at the Congress chief ministers’ conclave, faced some probing questions regarding the welfare of scheduled castes and about the promises made to them in the party election manifesto in last Assembly elections. The state government, the party high command felt, required to do lot more on this front.

The participants at the conclave were virtually rattled by the developments in Bihar today. The proceedings of the conclave had to be suspended a number of times to discuss the developments regarding the Bihar issue, sources said.

Ms Sonia Gandhi, sources said, had an exclusive session with senior Cabinet Ministers and AICC office bearers to chalk out party’s strategy on the issue. Hundreds of mediapersons immediately shifted their focus on Bihar, almost deleting the conclave from their list of priorities. The party’s top brass, including the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, had a tough time facing the media.

Meanwhile, while making the presentation at the conclave, Capt Amarinder Singh said that government would soon abolish the octroi to fulfil its poll promise.

He said the government had already planned to provide potable drinking water to 100 per cent population in 128 municipal towns by March 31, next year with an investment of Rs 189.31 crore. Likewise, 35 towns would be provided with sewerage facilities at a cost of Rs 87.27 crore.

To construct a Ring Road in Ludhiana on the BOT basis, the Union Government had agreed to provide viability gap funding which was to cost Rs 900 crore. The state government would also undertake an elevated road project that will cost of Rs 450 crore for Amritsar city.

Reiterating his firm resolves to ameliorate Scheduled Castes, backward classes and economically weaker sections, the Chief Minister said the government had created a Dedicated Social Security Fund of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular and timely pension to 10,07,386 beneficiaries .

The government had also decided to implement the 85th Constitutional amendment as a fulfilment of the poll promises. The government had decided to give 200 units of power free every month to Dalit families. As many as 226,059 marla residential plots had also been allotted to the Dalits.

The government had reduced the interest rates on farm loans from 14 per cent to 10 per cent and a Kisan Commission had been set up to redress grievances of the farmers, he added.

Some new power projects such as the Shahpur Kandi project (168 MW), Mukerian Hydel project stage-ll (19 MW) and UBDC Stage-lll Power Project (75 MW) had also been taken in hand to tide over the gap between demand and supply, the CM said. 


BJP to gherao Punjab Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Following the Supreme Court verdict on the Bihar Assembly, the Punjab unit of the BJP today announced its decision to gherao Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi along with the chief ministers attending the Congress conclave here tomorrow.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, state BJP chief, has asked his party activists to gherao Punjab Bhavan, the venue of the conclave, at 3 pm tomorrow.

“We will not let any of the delegates to leave the premises till the Prime Minister files the resignation,” he claimed. He also criticised the Congress-led UPA government’s policy on appointing Governors.

He said earlier, in the case of Goa and Jarkhand, the respective Governors had embarrassed the UPA.

Mr Khanna also blamed the Congress for bringing the emergency like situation again in the country. “Our only demand is the resignation of the Prime Minister,” he added.


800 IRB jawans leave for Bihar poll duty
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 7
Mr S. Chatopadhaya, IG, India Reserve Battalion (IRB), last evening flagged off a special train carrying IRB officers and jawans to Bihar from Dhuri Railway station. They will perform security duty in elections in Bihar. The train left the Dhuri Railway station at 8.15 pm.

This train carries seven companies of the IRB, comprising more than 800 jawans, a SP and seven DSPs of the IRBs. Mr Kulchhinder Singh, Commandant of 4th IRB, is leading officers and jawans to Bihar. The train will go to Babooa Road in Bihar via Saharanpur and Lucknow.

Mr R.P. Meena, DIG, IRB, Mr Iqbal Singh Gill, Commandant of 2nd IRB, Mr B.S. Grewal, Commandant of 6th IRB; Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, Commandant of 3rd IRB; and Mr Gurdev Singh, Commandant of 5th IRB were present on the occasion.


Constable found murdered
Youth attacked with swords
Our Correspondent

Banur, October 7
A constable of the Chandigarh Police was found murdered of the roadside here this morning while in a separate incident, a 20-year-old youth was attacked by seven persons with swords and daggers leaving him seriously injured a few kilometres from here.

Giving details of the murder, police sources said the brutally mauled body of 38-year-old Gurdev Singh, a constable in the Chandigarh Police, was found on the Haveli Bassi and Maria village road leading to Kharar at around 7 am. The spot is just about 2 km away from the Banur police station.

The scooter of Gurdev Singh was found parked 20 ft away from the spot. A baton was found the spot. There were several deep wounds on the face of the victim.

The murder came to light when a passerby noticed the body. He identified the victim and informed Baldev Singh, brother of the deceased, who stays in Banur. By the time Baldev Singh reached, the police was present on the spot. The police said no signs of struggle were found at the spot, indicating that Gurdev Singh might have been murdered somewhere else and his body dumped here.

Baldev Singh told the police that he had no knowledge of any rivalry of his brother with anyone. He told the police that Gurdev Singh was posted in the VIP security in the Chandigarh Police and was on duty till 6 pm yesterday. Gurdev Singh reportedly met his brother Gurdial Singh, an Assistant Sub-Inspector in the Chandigarh Police, who was posted at Raj Bhavan for the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave. Gurdev Singh then left for his home in Banur and after that his whereabouts were not known.

Gurdev Singh is survived by his wife and two sons. The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem. The police has registered a case of murder on the basis of a complaint filed by the brother of the deceased.

In another incident, 20-year-old Sukhchain Singh of Nadiali village, near here, was attacked by seven persons with swords and daggers at around 7 am today when he was on his way to Chandigarh on his motor cycle to deliver milk. The assailants, who were in a Maruti van, intercepted him and pushed him off the road with their van before hitting him. An old feud is cited to be the reason behind the attack.

According to the police, Sukhchain Singh was hit by baseball sticks and in a bid to save himself, he took a turn on the road and headed towards Banur. Soon he was intercepted again by the assailants and they pushed him off the road. In the process, Sukhchain fell on the road and was attacked. He received multiple injuries. To his luck, some people saw this and came to his rescue. On seeing the people come the assailants fled the spot.

Sukhchain was taken to a private clinic and was referred to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura. He identified three of the assailants as Devinder Singh and Kulwinder Singh of Nadialai village and Bittu.

The police has registered a case against the assailants. No arrests have been made so far.


Cops force man to pull father’s beard
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, October 7
In a shocking incident, the son of an old shopkeeper was allegedly forced to pull the beard of his father in the local city police station even as the duo was beaten up by policemen. The shopkeeper alleged that he was stripped naked in the police station.

The district police chief, Mr Parmjit Singh Grewal, while ordering a high-level probe into the incident, today said strict action would be taken against the policemen if found guilty. The medical report has reportedly confirmed torture on the old shopkeeper.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, who is running a shop rented out by the SGPC outside the Darbar Sahib complex here, said that a policeman entered into a verbal duel over the purchase of a bracelet from his shop a few days ago. He had alleged that the shopkeeper was overcharging.

On that day, the policeman returned with a vengeance. However, he (the policeman) raided his shop along with more police force and took him to the city police station. When his son Maninder Singh went to the police station to see him (his father), he was directed to pull the beard of his father. When Maninder refused to oblige, he was also beaten up.

The shopkeeper has sent the complaint to the Punjab Human Rights Commission and urged it to take action against the guilty policemen.

Meanwhile, the Patti police today arrested Lakhwinder Singh, a Head Constable, on charges of extortion. The SSP, Mr Grewal, said the Head Constable was booked under various Clauses of the Indian Penal Code.


Inter-state gang of criminals busted, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 7
The police today claimed to have succeeded in busting an inter-state gang of criminals with the arrest of its three members and seizure of arms. In a separate incident, the police has also nabbed a member of an international car lifters’ gang.

According to police sources, Mr Jaspal Singh lodged a complaint with Bareta SHO Buta Singh that three men barged into their home and assaulted him and his wife before decamping with a trunk containing clothes and other items.

The police has registered a case under Section 458 of the IPC and launched a manhunt for thieves who were nabbed from cotton fields at Kahangarh village.

They were identified as Rajinder from Haryana and Pappu and Ramesh Chand from Rajasthan.

The police seized three pistols and 28 live cartridges from their possession. The accused admitted that they had a gang of 14-15 men with whose arrest the police hoped to crack cases of Maur, Mansa, Bhikhi, Budhlada and Bareta.

Police sources said the gang members sneak into Punjab under the pretext of sowing and harvesting crop. The gang had members from Kanpur, Agra, Alwar, and Faridabad, some of whom had made their hideouts in Hisar, Maur and Talwandi and raids were being conducted to nab them.

Highlighting their modus operandi, sources said the gang members reach their target area in the evening. Then they would have their meals before hiding in cotton fields. They strike at their target at around 2 a.m. and decamp with valuables after injuring family members.

In another breakthrough, Boha SHO Bimal Kumar arrested a person with stolen Qualis vehicle at a check post set up near Chalelwala. Sources said the police stopped the vehicle on suspicion. The driver’s interrogation and scrutiny of its papers revealed that it was a stolen vehicle. The police has registered a case against the driver, Mr Kamaljeet Singh, under Section 411 of the IPC.

During investigation, the police recovered another Qaulis and a Tata Sumo from his possession. Kamaljeet admitted that he was a member of an international vehicle lifters’ gang and used to sell stolen vehicles from Jharkhand and Kolkata.

Meanwhile, the police has also arrested a person who robbed a Gobindpura resident of Rs 60,000 in July this year.

The accused has been identified as Natha Singh, while his aide Sandeep Singh is still at large.


Body of BJP leader’s grandson found
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 7
The body of local BJP leader Shanti Swaroop’s 10-year-old grandson Gaurav Kumar, who went missing at about 3 pm on Wednesday, was found floating in a canal near Giljewala village, near here, today.

Police sources said he was probably murdered after kidnapping. It appeared to be a case of strangulation, as his eyes were bulging and tongue was protruded.

Gaurav’s body was badly disfigured and his face was swollen, which pointed towards the possibility of inhalation of some chemical before his murder, they added.

The police suspect it to be a case of sacrifice, as the family has ruled out enmity with anyone. It has also not received any ransom call in the past two days. Gaurav’s body was handed over to his family members after a post-mortem examination. His last rites were performed in the evening.

Meanwhile, to protest against the gruesome killing of Gaurav, trade and social organisations have given a bandh call in the city for tomorrow.

Gaurav was a student of Class V in Shivalik Public School. He returned from school on Wednesday and after taking money from his mother went out to buy some eatables from a shop. After waiting for him for about an hour, his family members started searching for him. When their search did not yield anything till evening, they lodged a complaint with the police.

The police had raided different places to find him. All buses and trains heading out of the city were also checked. 


Governor flayed for pardoning DSPs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) and Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) here today in a joint press note criticised the decision of the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to pardon two DSPs, convicted for excesses and crime committed during militancy period in the state.

Leaders of both organisations described the incident as unheard of in history. They said it was in stark opposition to what the US Government did to its army officials who were involved in inhuman treatment of prisoners in an Abu Gharib prison.

Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), Chairman, PHRO, and Ms Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Chairman, KMC, said DSP, Sawaran Das, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and murder of the brother of a terrorist from Jalandhar when he was posted as an Inspector with the CIA Staff at Hoshiarpur. They said DSP Jaspal Singh was sentenced for kidnapping and causing death to one Amrik Singh.

They said pardon to such police officers had set a wrong precedent and shattered hopes of the common man.

They said the Governor had acted on the directions of the Congress-run Central Government. 


Protesters seek cancellation of life imprisonment
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 7
A large number of men and women belonging to various employees, farmers and trade unions under the leadership of Mr Kanwaljit Khanna, convener of Sanghrash Committee Punjab (Formed to get the life imprisonment awarded to three members of the Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee, namely Manjit Singh Dhaner, Master Prem Kumar and Narayan Dutt, cancelled) and Mr Bhagwant Singh, convener of Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee, today held an impressive protest rally and staged a dharna at the New Grain Market here.

Later, they also took out a protest march through the town, blocked traffic for about 20 minutes at the traffic lights chowk near main bus stand here, and held a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here, demanding cancellation of the life imprisonment, awarded to three members of the “Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee”, namely Manjit Singh Dhaner, Master Prem Kumar and Narayan Dutt, by the Additional Sessions Judge, Barnala, on March 30, 2005 in a case registered against them by the Barnala police.

The case was registered against them in connection with an assault on Dalip Singh, a relative of an alleged accused in the Kiranjit rape and murder case, in the Barnala courts’ complex in 2001. After some days of the assault, Dalip Singh had died in a Ludhiana hospital.

They also submitted a memorandum, enlisting their demand in this regard, to the Assistant Commissioner (General), Sangrur, to forward the same to the Punjab Governor and Punjab Chief Minister. The AC (General) assured the protesters at the dharna site that the administration would forward the memorandum to the Punjab Governor and Punjab Chief Minister for further proceedings.

The speakers at the rally emphasised that they would continue their struggle till all three members of the Kiranjit Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee were released from the jail. Speakers alleged that justice had not been done to Manjit Singh Dhaner, Master Prem Kumar and Narayan Dutt. Mr Bhagwant Singh assured the gathering that if their struggle continued the all three leaders of the people would be released. 


NCW directs CM to look into charges
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 7
Ms Davinder Kaur Aulakh, Chairperson of the Hoshiarpur-based Sri Guru Ram Dass College of Nursing, has got respite as the National Commission for Women (NCW) has directed Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to start a probe against a Punjab Minister and another Hoshiarpur-based Congress leader, who, allegedly were ‘coering’ Ms Aulakh.

The NCW acted following of a story about plight of Ms Aulakh was published in The Tribune.

In a letter to the Chief Minister Capt Ms Girija Vyas Chairperson of the commission has said that he should ensure a fair probe into a complaint by Ms Aulakh to the commission against the Punjab Health Minister and the Chairman of the Market Committee, Hoshiarpur. A copy of the commission’s letter to the Punjab CM is with The Tribune. Ms Vyas has also asked the CM to ensure justice to Ms Aulakh.

Plight of Ms Davinder Kaur Aulakh, who, runs Sri Guru Ram Dass College of Nursing was highlighted by The Tribune.

Ms Aulakh had been alleging that some ‘influential’ persons and leaders from Hoshiarpur were targeting her with the “sole purpose to usurp control of her college.”


Draw of allotment of plots cancelled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
The Amritsar Improvement Trust cancelled the draw of allotment of plots under Mall Mandi Scheme to 1984 riot victims called at its office today. In a press release issued here today, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, Chairman of the trust, said that the auction was cancelled on the request of some participants that they had not brought the required papers with them. He said the next date of auction would be announced later.

Meanwhile, he informed that the Trust gained Rs. 8.51 lakh in auction of debris of its old Office. Multi-story commercial complex and basement parking would be constructed on the vacant land.


Time to take action on cancer menace: experts
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
While the state government is still grappling to zero in on the exact cause of cancer, Kheti Virasat, an NGO, has kicked off a campaign to sensitise farmers of cancer-hit areas on safe use of pesticides. The NGO has come out with a booklet in Punjabi that describes at length about precautions while spraying pesticides.

Talking to The Tribune, the Joint Director of Kheti Virasat, Mr Surinder Singh, lamented the approach of the state government on cancer menace in cotton belt and said there was no time either for any discussion or for constituting a high-powered committee, instead prompt action was the need of the hour. He said by delaying action on the issue the government was allowing the situation to go out of hand. He said the PGI report on the issue had clearly pointed out indiscriminate use of pesticides as one of the reasons of rising incidence of cancer and had recommended an intensive study, but the government neither felt any need to train farmers on pesticide use nor for initiating the latter. He said the government must understand that the life of Punjab’s farmers was at stake and urgent measures were needed to rescue the same.

“Pesticide dealers are misleading farmers to use cocktail of pesticides. Even banned pesticides are openly being sold and sprayed,” he averred. Mr Singh, however, said the indiscriminate use of pesticides could not be reduced gradually, but it had to be done in a phased manner. Talking about his campaign, he said he had been to Mahi Nangal and Jajal villages to distribute literature and interact with farmers so as to make them aware of proper use of pesticides. However, his wish to impart proper training on safe use of pesticides remained unfulfilled due to lack of resources, but he seemed confident of doing it in the coming days.

Dr Devinder Sharma, president, Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, was more vocal on the issue and ridiculed talk of fall in production in their absence. He said if in the 1960s the state’s farmers were worried about six to seven pests, today the figure had shot up to 60-70. He said pests had multiplied due to pesticides and the government should have banned them long back. He said wherever pesticides weren’t used the production was higher and Punnukula village in Khamam district of Andhra Pradesh was one such instance. He said by promoting pesticide use farmers were being pushed into a vicious circle. “Farmers in Punjab are like ‘Abhimanyu’, who was trapped in a ‘chakravyuhu’, and the agriculture scientists should extend a helping hand to bring them out of it,” he added. He said the International Rice Research Institute had come out with a report recently stating that pesticide use on rice was a waste of time and effort. He said countries like Vietnam were producing more rice without pesticides. He said ban on pesticides in the state would solve half the problem and the only thing needed for it was political will. He said the state government could not close its eyes to reality and it was high time it took stringent measures to save the farming community. He gave an instance of former Indonesian President, Mr Suharto, who after a major pest attack on rice in 1987, banned 57 pesticides through a presidential decree. Indonesia’s rice production shot up by 20 per cent two years later. He said as per a WHO report 20,000 people die every year due to pesticide poisoning, but in Punjab it seemed that neither those consuming it nor those who were making them consume were bothered.


Residents protest against PSEB move
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Residents of Hajura Kapura Colony and ward No 4 today protested in favour of their demands in front of mini-secretariat here.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Bhola Singh Maluka said the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was installing 25 meters at a single point in their locality and had put the onus of any damage on them.

He said how could an individual be held responsible if a short circuit in one meter damaged other 24 meters.

The protesters demanded that their meters be installed at their respective homes. Sources said they had resisted the bid of contractor’s staff to install a number of meters at one place, but they again reached their locality today and were forced to leave.

The residents also raised their voice against the MC’s move to recover water charges of the past two years at one go. They said the MC should have charged them on monthly basis and they could not pay a big amount at once.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, assured them to look into the matter. The DC asked the PSEB SE to ensure that meters were installed separately at their homes.


Ranjit Sagar staff hold protest
Our Correspondent

Shahpur Kandi, October 7
Employees of the Ranjit Sagar Dam today staged protest against withdrawal of their allowances by the government. They threatened the government that if the decision was not withdrawn, they would launch an agitation at Chandigarh.

Various union leaders of the employees, while addressing the workers, alleged that the withdrawal of allowances was exploitation of the employees. While the employees of the other power projects in the state, including the Pong and Bhakra Dams, were getting the allowances, the decision against them was arbitrary.

The employees have met the Punjab Housing and Urban Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri at Chandigarh yesterday and scheduled to meet the Finance Minister, Punjab, to plead their case. 


CAs protest shifting of office
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 7
The proposed shifting of the Registrar of Companies office from here to Chandigarh is inviting protests. Taking the lead are the chartered accountants. The Jalandhar branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India rues that the office has been here since the past 50 years and is a convenient for local companies as it was centrally located.

“Now, if the office is shifted, the company’s representatives will have to travel to Chandigarh for filling documents,” complained Mr Ashwini Jindal, secretary of the branch, in a press conference here yesterday. He said representatives of trade and professional organisations would together request the government to reconsider the proposed decision.

Mr Jindal also displayed a request letter issued by Rana Gurjit Singh, local MP, asking the Ministry of Company Affairs to mull over the proposed shifting. 


New pay scales for rural bank staff

Sangrur, October 7
The Ministry of Finance has restored parity in pay scales, dearness allowance, house rent allowance and city compensatory allowance between the staff of the nationalised commercial banks and the regional rural banks (RRB), except Kshetriya Kisan Gramin Bank, Mainpuri, with effect from November 1, 2002.

This decision will benefit around 70,000 employees of 196 RRBs throughout the country, whose gross monthly salary would increase ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2500.

This was conveyed by Mr Pali Ram Bansal, secretary of the All-India Gramin Bank Officers Association.

Mr Bansal urged the Union Government to issue a separate notification, directing the RRBs to pay other allowances at par with the nationalised commercial banks, to avoid any discrimination between the staff of the RRBs and the nationalised commercial banks.

He demanded that the increase in salary should be made effective from October 2005. The arrears should be paid in two installments, one half should be paid immediately and the second half on April 1, 2006. — TNS


Cracker unit blast: 1 more dies
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 7
Another firecracker unit blast victim, Usha (19) resident of Punder village, died at Civil Hospital here today. This is the fourth death in the blast.

The police took away the body for post-mortem, which will be conducted tomorrow.

The victim had suffered 70-80 per cent burn injuries. Earlier, her two sisters and a brother had died in the blast.


Land mutation sanctioned twice
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 7
Gross violation of the rules was reported from the village Chhourian of the Pathankot subdivision in which Revenue officials have sanctioned a mutation twice. The victim has been running from pillar to post to “rectify” the entries in the Revenue record but the original file of mutation was reported missing.

Sources revealed that Jagir Singh, a resident of the village, purchased 7 kanals of land. The NT had sanctioned the mutation No. 510 in the name of the purchaser. Later the victim had reportedly pledged this land with the Canara Bank, Taragarh for Rs one lakh.

Sources revealed subsequently, the mutation with respect the same land was sanctioned by the NT in the name of some other person.

Interestingly, the file of the present mutation has allegedly been misplaced.

Meanwhile the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, has ordered a probe into the matter and summoned the NT concerned and patwari with records of the land. When contacted NT, Salwan, for comments feigned ignorance in the matter.


Brar elected to citizens forum
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, member, district public grievances committee, was elected convener of Citizens Rights Forum, Punjab, here on Thursday. Mr Roshan Lal was elected president.

In a press note issued here, Mr Brar said the newly- formed body would act as a watchdog for the implementation of the Right to Information Act and Consumer Protection Act in the state.


Theatre society honours 3

Patiala, October 7
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, honoured veteran radio singer Ustad Ram Lal, Dr Neelakant Kulsange (Maharashtra), Deputy Director, Song and Drama Division, Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Baljit Singh, Manager in the regional office of the Song and Drama Division, Government of India, Chandigarh. TNS


High Court
Stay on deportation
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 7
The High Court on Friday restrained the government authorities from taking any action against Ms Shahida Parveen, the Malerkotla woman, facing possible deportation to Pakistan on the expiry of her visa and passport on October 10.

During hearing of the petition filed by her father, Faij Mohd, seeking directions to the Government of India, State of Punjab and Foreigners Registration Officer-cum-SSP, Moga, not to deport her from India, the Division Bench headed by Mr Justice N.K. Sud stayed further proceedings against her till further orders.

This means she will not be deported to Pakistan after October 10, the day on which her visa expires.

Born and brought up in Malerkotla (Sangrur) in 1976, Shahida shifted to Pakistan after her marriage in December 1996. In Pakistan, her husband forced her to acquire a Pakistani passport. In March 2000, Shahida came to India to visit her parents and relatives.

However, soon thereafter, her husband gave her “talaak” on phone. He later also sent the talaaknaama to her parent’s house in Malerkotla by post.

Faced with an uncertain future if she went back to Pakistan, Shahida decided to stay back in India and re-married a Moga resident in January 2004. The Department of Home Affairs, Punjab, has extended her stay in India beyond the visa limit of one year at least three times.

However, now, she has been told that she would not be allowed to remain in India beyond the date of expiry of her passport, which expires on October 10. In his petition, Shahida’s father Faij Mohd has stated that his daughter’s latest application to the SSP, Moga, for extension of her stay has been referred to the Department of Home and Justice, Punjab.

The petitioner has further added that the action, if any, on the SSP’s letter dated May 31, had not been communicated to the family. There was every likelihood of her being deported to Pakistan. He has also stated that the threat of deportation was illegal and arbitrary and against the Supreme Court ruling in this regard. The hearing will resume on November 21.


Couple remanded in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 7
Chief Judicial Magistrate Pritam Singh Dhanoa today remanded Palvinder Singh and his Bangladeshi wife Shantuna Das to judicial custody till October 20. The judge ordered the police to bring the accused Shantuna Das in the court tomorrow to get her statement recorded.

The local police arrested Palvinder Singh and his cousin Amarjit Singh on the illegal confinement of a Bangladeshi woman at the house of Amarjit Singh at Bhulana village near Rail Coach Factory here for the last more than one-and-a-half months after she was sold to the family by a resident of Kapurthala.

Shantuna was also arrested under the Foreigners Act for crossing over to India from Bangladesh illegally.

According to police sources, and the statements by Palvinder and his wife it was clear that the money was exchanged for the marriage of Shantuna with Palvinder after the woman reached Kapurthala from West Bengal.

Meanwhile, Basnti and her husband Suchcha Singh accused of receiving Rs 17000 from Palvinder for arranging his marriage with Shantuna have absconded.


Another cop arrested in heroine case

Amritsar, October 7
The Punjab Police today arrested another Jammu and Kashmir police constable, Mohammad Mahroof, in a heroine seizure case after the arrest of two J and K police constables on Wednesday night.

A local court here today remanded the two J and K constables Kamal Kishore and Suraj Prakash in three-day police custody after 700 gm of opium was recovered from them on October five, the third cop was arrested from Reasi in Udhampur district, a Punjab Police spokesman here said.

The two accused constables, who were arrested with the contraband worth Rs 70 lakh in Amritsar, were today produced in the court of a duty magistrate here and remanded in police custody till October 10.

The cops were arrested under the NDPS Act. — UNI


Civic body chief booked in graft case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has booked Mr Sukhmohinder Pal Singh, President, Municipal Committee, Bhawanigarh, Sangrur district, and his associate, Mr Malkit Singh of Bhawanigarh, in a case of bribery.

A spokesperson of the Vigilance Bureau today said that Sarup Singh, an octroi contractor, approached the Vigilance Bureau and alleged that Sukhmohinder Pal Singh was demanding of Rs 50,000 for releasing his security deposited with the MC Bhawanigarh.

The vigilance claimed that a trap was laid out to nab the accused MC President red handed yesterday. 


Five die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 7
While Five persons — Pankaj Bansal, a medical equipment supplier from Chandigarh, his driver Sukhwinder Singh of Quila Bedi Una District (Himachal), Ramji, Dharma Pal of nearby Sanawa village Jasvir Kumar of nearby Kariha village died on the spot and Sukhwinder Kumar of Sanawa village and Jasvir Singh of Mallpur village were injured in a road accident near Mallpur village on Nawanshahr — Jalandhar road at 9.30 p.m. on Thursday.

According to information Pankaj Bansal was returning to Chandigarh from Jalandhar in his Indica Car, which collided with a Matador. The car was badly crushed and Pankaj Bansal and his driver died on the spot.

Another Maruti Van also collided with the Matador and Ramji, Dharampal and Jasvir Kumar were killed due to the collision. The bodies were brought to local Civil Hospital. 


Body found on Railway track
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Body of a youth was found lying on Railway track at Maur Mandi, 45 km from here, today. Sources said the deceased (20) used to sell eatables in trains and got crushed under a train while he was alighting from the Janata Express. Sahara volunteers informed the GRP about the incident. The GRP handed over his body to the volunteers after a post-mortem examination. 


3 hurt in mishaps

Kharar, October 7
Three persons were injured in two accidents, near here, late last night. The first incident took place at Khanpur Chowk and two persons were injured. Both of them could not be identified. As they were critically injured, they have been referred to the PGI.

The second accident took place near Mundi Kharar in which a resident of Mohali, Mr Darshan Singh, was injured when a vehicle hit his scooter. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI. OC


Management journal released
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Swaran Singh Boparai, released a copy of the Indian Management Studies Journal (IMSJ), here recently.

Releasing the journal, the Vice-Chancellor lauded the efforts of the Punjabi University School of Management Studies in bringing out this management journal.

The Head of the Department of Business Management, Dr S.K. Bansal, elaborated on the journal’s contents.

The Dean, Academic Affairs, Dr R. K. Sehgal, faculty members Prof G.S. Batra and Prof A.S. Chawla were also present on the occasion.

The IMSJ is one of the oldest journals brought out by any university department in the region.

Started in 1989, it is a referred journal of the Punjab School of Management Studies of the university.

Dr Bansal said the journal provided a forum for debate and deliberation for academia, policy-makers and practitioners from business and industry.


Banda Bahadur college gets best project award
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 7
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here has been awarded the best B. Tech project award in mechanical engineering and applied branch in Punjab by the Indian Society for Technical Education ( ISTE ) ,New Delhi.

College Principal D.S. Hira said the selection committee constituted by the ISTE recommended the project, “Polishing of brass sheet using magnetic abrasive machining”, as the best project of 2005 in mechanical engineering and allied branch. He said the award comprises a cash prize, medallion and citation and would be awarded at the eighth national convention of the ISTE students to be held at the college on October 21.

Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, congratulated the students and said the department would also honour them at the annual function of the college. 


Scholarships for rural students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, Chairman, Guru Harkrishan College of Management and Technology, met Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, here yesterday and handed over a donation cheque of Rs 51,000 for the Golden Heart Scholarships for rural and poor students of the Yadavindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo.

He further pledged to donate Rs 5 lakh in the next five years for these scholarships.

Giving this information Dr B.S. Mann, Professor in charge of the Resource Mobilisation Department, said Mr Dardi also assured the Vice-Chancellor that the placement cell of the Guru Harkrishan College of Management and Technology would also extend all possible help on the placement of students of the engineering college. 


BSNL to give connections in border villages
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
People residing within a 20-km radius of the Indo-Pakistan border in rural areas can now have access to telephones. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to lay underground cable wires for providing thousands of connections pending with it for a long time.

BSNL, the largest telecommunication service provider in the country, has more than 6,300 connection applications pending in rural areas. Informing this, Mr G.S. Daria, General Manager, Telecom, celebrating the fifth anniversary of BSNL, said this would be an expensive and time-consuming exercise.

The General Manager said 85 new BTS towers were being added to increase coverage as well as the capacity of the mobile communication system.

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