P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Manmohan rejects concept of free power to farmers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Dr Manmohan Singh outrightly rejected the concept of free power to farmers, the benefit of which was recently given by the Congress Government in Punjab to the farming sector.

In fact, the Prime Minister has not only rejected the idea of free power but declared it as a “populist gimmick”.

Dr Manmohan Singh said: “Populism and populist gimmicks no longer impress people. Hard work does. Promises like free electricity and other promises that cannot be sustained will not fetch results. Actual performance does make a difference”.

Clearly from the expression “fetch results” he meant votes, that will be required by the Congress Government to win the next Assembly elections 15 months from now in Punjab. At the Press conference, the PM said the CMs, who have given free power, had heard what he said in conclave. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, who has also given free power, was also present at the conclave as also at the Press conference.

The Punjab Government has been asserting that it has given free power to farmers to keep the promise made by it in its manifesto during the last Assembly elections. In fact, the state government, which has also the support of the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, on the issue of free power to farmers, has only partially fulfilled its promise with regard to it (free power).

The state government has partially kept the election promise. It has not yet announced any financial relief for farmers who operate their tubewells with diesel sets. The number of such tubewells is nearly two lakh.

Interestingly, the Prime Minister came out strongly against free electricity benefit at the CMs’ conclave, which was called by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress party, to discuss the progress made by the Congress-ruled states with regard to implementing the promises made to the electorate in their manifestoes. There are definite reports that Capt Amarinder Singh has taken permission from Mrs Sonia Gandhi to implement the promise regarding free power. There are also reports that the Congress manifesto for Punjab was also seen by Dr Manmohan Singh, who was closely associated with the election exercise in Punjab in 2002.


BJP tries to gherao Punjab Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Punjab unit of the BJP took out a protest march and held a demonstration against the Union Government. Party activists made an attempt to gherao Punjab Bhavan, where the Congress CMs’ Conclave was in progress. However, the police foiled their attempt. They demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Bihar Governor Buta Singh.

BJP leaders alleged that the Chandigarh police used force to stop party workers gathered at Matka Chowk here. The police allegedly resorted to mild lathi charge to stop the protesters from reaching the venue.

While addressing workers, the president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, said the Congress regime at the Centre was reminding people the days of Emergency. Because of its dictatorial attitude the Union Home Ministry had not taken any action with regard to Bihar. Moreover, the Governor of Bihar had not been directed to resign, said Mr Khanna.

Among those who participated in the march were Prof Brij Lal Rinwa,Mr Vijay Sampla, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Vinod Sharma, Mr Anil Sareen, Mr Balram Dass Tandon, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Master Mohan Lal, Mr Sat Pal Gosian, Mr Arunesh Shakar,Mr Tikshan Sood, Mr Surjit Jayani and Mr Vineet Joshi.


Sonia relishes Punjabi food
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Ms Sonia Gandhi seems to have a great liking for traditional Punjabi food.

She relished 'sarson-ka-sag' and 'makki-ki-roti' most at a lunch hosted by Mr Shamsher Singh Dhullo, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, at Punjab Bhavan here today for her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Chief Ministers.

Mr Dullo had engaged a special team of chefs, who had long back served food to late Rajiv Gandhi, to prepare food for Ms Gandhi and other dignitaries.

And what she relished most was specially prepared "gur" which is often eaten, perhaps for its digestive properties, after 'makki-ki-roti' and 'sarson-ka-sag'. In fact, she was aware of other contents mixed in the "gur".

Apart from VIP guests from Delhi and other states, Capt Amarinder Singh, Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, the Finance Minster, Mr Surinder Singla,the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa were present at the lunch.

The MLAs, Mr Tirlochan Singh Soond, Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, and Rana Gurmit Sodhi were also present besides Mr Parminder Singh, general secretary of the PPCC.


Paddy farmers denied MSP, block traffic
Tribune News Service

Bathinda/Mansa, October 8
Demanding the purchase of paddy and cotton at MSP, hundreds of activists of the BKU Ekta, Kisan Sangharsh Committee, and Punjab Kisan Sabha, under the banner of the Sanjha Kisan Manch today blocked on the Bathinda-Mansa road at Kot Shamir and the Bathinda-Sunam road near Khayala Kalan for about two hours.

Addressing the agitators, the senior state vice-president of BKU Ekta, Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, said though the state government had announced power free of cost for farmers, at the same time it was seeking power dues from them. He demanded Rs 5 lakh each as compensation for the kin of the farmers who had committed suicide.

The district union president, Mr Shingara Singh Mann, said while the Union Government had fixed the price for 30 mm staple cotton in Maharashtra and Gujarat at Rs 1,990, its price had been pegged at Rs 1,835 for Punjab’s farmers. He demanded the same price for the state’s cotton growers.

Addressing the protesters in Mansa, the state organisation secretary of BKU (Ugraha), Mr Hardeep Singh, said on the one hand the farmers were facing hardships and were cultivating crops by borrowing money on interest, on the other hand, the government wasn’t even ready to pay them a reasonable price for their agriculture produce. He said this was why the farmers were committing suicides in the state.

He warned the government that if the “loot of the farmers” was not stopped they would be forced to intensify their agitation.

He alleged that the government was trying to do away with the MSP at the behest of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The union leaders said cotton farmers were being harassed in the markets across the region and their cotton was being openly purchased below the MSP. They rued that the government agencies were making a symbolic purchase and that too at prices below MSP. They alleged that the state government had “anti-farmer” policies.

They said the government allowed firms selling fertilisers, pesticides and diesel to hike prices at their will and “rob the farmers of their hard-earned money”, but when their agricultural produce reached market, they were not paid a fair price for it. They sought Rs 4,200 as MSP for cotton and Rs 800 for paddy. They demanded waiver of debt on farmers, besides 50 per cent subsidy on fertilisers, pesticides and diesel. 


Ranjit Sagar Dam seismographs jammed
Two killed in wall collapse
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, October 8
Two persons were killed due to the earthquake that hit the area today. The quake claimed the life of Arjun Singh, a four-year-old child in Shahpur Jajan village located on Indo-Pak border in Dera Baba Nanak area. Sources said the child was playing in street at the time quake struck. A kucha wall fell on him and he died on the spot. Another person, Arjun Jinnah, a bagger, was also buried under a wall in Batala. He was taken to the Civil Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Meanwhile, the seismographs installed at the Ranjit Sagar Dam failed to function as the battery supporting the seismograph installed at the basement of the dam was out of power. So the officials concerned had missed the chance to gauge the impact of the quake on the dam. The data could have been valuable for studying the impact of quakes on the dam.

The Ranjit Sagar Dam is located in the quake-prone area and consultants to the dam have stressing on bringing up a permanent control room at the dam site to study the seismic changes in the area.

Mr R.L. Ahuja, executive in charge of dam seismographs, said though one of the machines did not function, one at the top recorded the quake intensity. The seismograph at the top of dam recorded the quake intensity as seven.

Many historic and old buildings in the district were also hit by the quake. Cracks appeared in historic wall of Gurdwara Kandh Sahib. The gurdwara is associated with mythical incident in the life of the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev. Cracks also appeared in the over 100-year old building of Dhariwal woolen mill. A wall also collapsed in the Gurdaspur police lines.

As soon as the quake struck, people panicked and ran out of their houses. In many schools, children ran out of buildings resulting in injuries to many. In Shahpur Kandi school, a child jumped from the first floor as soon as quake struck. He sustained injuries and was hospitalised. The school managements declared holiday as the news spread that the quake might hit again.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to the kin of the deceased child. He said all control rooms in the district have activated and the revenue officials have been asked to visit their respective areas to gauge damage to private and public property. The health officials have also been directed to give free treatment to those injured. The emergency type vigil would be maintained in the area for at least three days, he added.

Meanwhile, the railway authorities in the area have issued a red alert. Directions have been issued to all drivers to move trains slowly so that the damage is minimum in case of earthquake.

Phagwara: A worker, engaged in his work on the second floor of a public building, jerked down and was injured, a motorcyclist skidded on the GT road and more than 10 buildings in and around Phagwara developed cracks due to strong tremors that rocked this area. Several heart and blood pressure patients felt traumatised and had to be rushed to hospitals. While some schools declared holiday, others drove their students out of classes.

AMRITSAR: The city here felt rigorous tremors as earthquake hit the region. However, no loss of life was reported till filing of the report. Several tremors followed throughout the day causing panic as people rushed out into the streets.

Several old buildings collapsed, including an abandoned building at Gate Bhagtanwala.

An old chimney tower at Dayal Bagh, Putlighar, collapsed. A three-storey building at Namak Mandi Sattowala bazaar caused damage to surrounding buildings and a tractor-trailer was seen buried under the debris as it caved in due to the impact of earthquake. Happy Model School, located at Chheharta, also reported damages but escaped casualty, as it was a holiday.

Similarly, a wall located near Darbar Sahib beside an old post office, collapsed. A fire also broke out at Amritsar Computer Hut at the Lawrence road as wires struck each other causing short-circuiting that led to fire causing loss of goods. However, the official version denied any connection with the fire.


Rice mill godown collapse in quake
6 students of Faridkot school faint
Tribune News Service

A view of the collapsed godown of a rice mill following an earthquake in Moga
A view of the collapsed godown of a rice mill following an earthquake in Moga on Saturday.
— Photo by Iqbal Singh

Bathinda, October 8
Tremors shook north India today forcing people to move out of their homes. However, no major loss of property and life was reported from anywhere.

In Moga, a building of sheller located on the Gandhi road collapsed, while six students of Baba Farid School, Faridkot, fainted due to earthquake. They were admitted to Brar Nursing Home where their condition was stated to be fine. They were identified as Harvinder Kaur, Harsuneet, Amar, Jasbir, Jyotiharjot and Adeshpal.

Sources said the tremors led to the collapse of godown of Shyam Rice Mill in Moga. Mr Narinder Kumar Kukku, owner of the mill, put the loss at about Rs 5 lakh.

Police officials of the city inspected the godown.

Panic gripped the residents of Bathinda, Mansa, and Muktsar, who also felt earthquake tremors, but no major loss of life and property came to light.


PPCC volunteers to help quake victims in Pak
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Perturbed by the loss of human life in the earthquake that rocked northern parts of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has offered to take an army of voluntary blood donors to Pakistan to help save lives of those left critically injured by the calamity.

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, the president of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said a team of volunteers would also be sent to Jammu and Kashmir.

“We came to know from media reports that there is an acute shortage of blood for the quake victims in Pakistan. Since we are in the process of normalising ties, it becomes the duty of every citizen to extend help to fellow beings on humanitarian grounds,” Mr Dullo said.

The PPCC chief said he would write to the Punjab and the Union Governments to seek permission to go to Pakistan with blood donors. “I shall also be writing to the Pakistan Government for special permission to bring a 2000-strong team of volunteers for donating blood for the critically injured people,” he said.

This step by the PPCC, said its general secretary, Mr Parminder Singh, will not only act as a catalyst for improving relations with Pakistan but also give a fillip to the people-to-people contact programme.

“As neighbours, we must share each other’s concerns and lend a helping hand in distress,” he said.


Earthquake messages
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
No sooner had the effects of the earthquake faded, the mobile services became overactive, but on a different mode. People were not ringing up their relatives or friends to enquire about their safety. Instead, they were busy receiving or forwarding “imaginative” SMSs.

Vigorous exchange of messages continued unabated with ingeniously coined messages throughout the day, unintentionally easing tension to a large extent .

Some of the choicest messages after the scary earthquake were:

“Earth was in vibrating mode and God gave a missed call. Remember this is just a missed call.” ha ha.

Teasing messages followed like “Kyun, Hila Diya Na!” (“See ! shook you na!”)

One which really eased city’s denizens went like this: “Naraz they to bata diya hota! pura north India hilaney ki kia zaroorat thi!” (u could have told if u were angry, what was the need to shake all of north India).

A sentimental one came in the form of “agge jaddon tera khayal aanda si, dil che hulchal hundi si, hun tera jo khayaal aya sarey north India chi bhuchal aya!” (earlier your thoughts brought tremors and now your thoughts brought earthquake to the entire north India).


Relief to kin of victims

Chandigarh, October 8
The Punjab Government has announced a grant of Rs 50,000 each to the family of two earthquake victims in Gurdaspur.

A 24-hour control room has been set up in the Financial Commissioner’s secretariat (Tel 2741762) to monitor reports about the damage caused by the earthquake. — TNS


Widow struggles to get DSP’s gratuity
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Gurdeep Singh
Gurdeep Singh

Harcharanjit Kaur
Harcharanjit Kaur

Patiala, October 8
Harcharanjit Kaur is a tired woman today. After losing her husband while he was still in service, she is now fighting for release of the gratuity amount, which she should have received a long time back.

After surviving the traumatic militancy-infested years in the state and untimely losing her husband, Harcharanjit can barely take the callous attitude of the same department where her husband served faithfully for many years.

Harcharanjit’s problems started when she lost her husband, Gurdeep Singh, Deputy Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala. He died on February 14, 2001. Nine months later, on November 15, 2001, a case was registered against the dead official regarding a recovery of about Rs 2.5 lakh. The jail officials cite the registration of a case against Gurdeep Singh for not releasing the gratuity amount to his wife.

The Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala, Gursharan Singh, in a letter dated April 5, 2005, informed Harcharanjit that the department had written to the Punjab Government to write-off of the recovery amount but the government didn’t agree to it as a case was pending against him. Two other officials, both alive, are also part of the recovery case.

But a month earlier, in a letter to the Inspector-General, Jails, the Punjab Government had clarified that the deceased official couldn’t be held responsible and the said amount of Rs 2,55,006 should be released to his dependents. The letter dated March 23, 2005, clearly states, “It is clarified that Gurdeep Singh died on February 14, 2001, while the initial inquiry was conducted by the Superintendent, Mr Gursharan Singh, on November 11, 2001, after the death of the said official. Two other officials along with the deceased officer are under departmental inquiry. An FIR has been registered. The decision is pending in the case.

“Deceased Gurdeep Singh did not get a chance to defend himself in the case and no decision was taken before the officer’s death, so the deceased couldn’t be held responsible for the amount to be recovered by the department. No action can be taken against Gurdeep Singh. His dependents should get all the pension benefits.”

The letter clearly states that, “The orders passed in this regard on December 8, 2004, should be carried out and necessary steps should be taken so that the deceased dependents get all benefits and they don’t have to face legal complications.”

The letter in the end asks the Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala, to carry out the orders of the Punjab Government immediately in this regard.

Running from pillar to post to get the amount released has left Harcharanjit in precarious health. The stress to keep the kitchen fires burning along with paying the fees of two college-going children has started to take its toll. The files shuttle to and fro between various departments but no concrete action comes from the transit.


Encounter killing: parents get relief after 15 yrs
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 8
After fighting a legal battle for nearly 15 years, a junior commissioned Army officer retired got part payment of Rs 88 lakh death compensation for the killing of his son in a Punjab police encounter.

Bharpur Singh, son of Naib Subedar (retd) Gurdeep Singh, resident of Chahal village of this district was shot dead on December27, 1990, near Khukhrana village on the Moga- Talwandi road.

The Deputy Commissioner Faridkot, Mr Jagpal Singh Sandhu, holding the police guilty recommended help to the agrieved father. all help . Failing to get any response from the state government on the issue, Ms Ajmer Kaur, wife of Mr Gurdeep Singh, and mother of the deceased filed a suit of recovery of damages in the court of a civil judge here.The civil judge on July 25, 2003, ordered the Punjab Government to pay a compensation of Rs 2.50 lakh alongwith 12 percent interest from the date of the registeration of the case to the aggrieved party.

Acting on the court orders, the state government filed an appeal against the decision of the lower court before the District Judge, Mr Mohinder Pal, here. He not only dismissed the appeal but also upheld the decision of the lower court.

Yesterday, while paying Rs 1.88 lakh to the aggrieved family, the state government sought time till the next hearing to clear the balance amount.


Robot to guide visitors at Science City
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 8
Next time you visit Pushpa Gujral Science City, you may be welcomed by a new interactive robot. This colourful, human-size robot will introduce you to the science city, explain about various scientific gadgets put on display and guide you inside its main hall.

The outer structure of the robot designed by the students and faculty of Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani, has already arrived while the chip controlling its functioning, speech and movement is yet to come as it is being modified as per the specifications laid down by the Science City authorities.

During conversation with The Tribune here on Thursday, Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director-General, confirmed that a robot was being planned and it was likely to be positioned somewhere near the entry point of the hall in a month’s time.

He said that various versions of the micro-computer used inside the robot had been discussed with the faculty of the Central Electronics Research Institute, Pilani, who were now programming it according to the needs.

As per the specifications of the Science City authorities, the robot is being programmed in such a way that it works on its own so that it does not require any manual help, except for someone switching it on and off after every half an hour of interval. The cost of the robot after its complete designing is expected to be around Rs 4 lakhs.

The science city authorities have also added new films for its various shows. A new thrilling roller-coaster movie introduced in the simulator has got a very good response from the children, the science city officials revealed. Besides, four new movies have also been added in laser show and three in 3-D cinema for the fascination of the visitors.

Dr Khandpur said that he was planning to develop the Science City taking ideas from the science institutes set up in Sydney and Melbourne where he had recently visited. He was planning to install a plasma sphere based on electrostatic charger that dispelled colourful streaks of light from inside a globe.

A digital planetarium could also be in the offing based on the idea he had conceived from Melbourne science institute.

The Director-General added that the exhibits showing evolution of technologies from those available in the medieval period till today, including mobile phone revolution and nanotechnology, could also be a long-term project.

Dr Khandpur added that the Science City was currently being spruced up keeping in mind the visit of the NRIs from all over the world back to their hometown during the coming winter season.


Khalsa Dal chief enters matrimony
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 8
Shiromani Khalsa Dal chief and Khalistan ideologue Daljit Singh Bittu entered holy matrimony here today.

Speakers on the occasion eulogised Mr Bittu for his sacrifices and long years behind bars. Although SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal did not turn up, his absence was more than made up his detractors who were present in full strength.

Mr Bittu’s family and friends claimed they had been inundated with calls from senior SAD leaders and workers since his release from the Nabha prison on October 6.

The lone exception from the Badal camp was former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh. He blessed the couple and mingled with the guests. Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh also turned up for the occasion.

In his address to a jampacked hall at the Sarabha Nagar gurdwara, SAD (A) chief Simranjit Singh Mann hailed the sacrifices of Mr Bittu. His presence would act as a beacon for the youths today who were being led astray by “vested” interests.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Paramjit Singh Sarna focussed on the “discrimination” against the Sikh youths languishing in prisons for years. The judiciary was biased against the minority community, he alleged.

Mr Bittu tied the knot with Amritpal Kaur at Tahli Sahib Gurdwara in Rattan village at a simple ceremony witnessed by Sant Samaj chief Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi and Damdami Taksal spokesperson Bhai Mohkam Singh.

The widow of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Bibi Sandeep Kaur Kashtiwal also blessed the couple.

Others present on the occasion were Punjab Planning Commission Vice Chairman Sardara Singh Johl, Punjab Public Services Commission member Amarjit Singh Chawla, former MPs Harinder Singh Khalsa and Harbhajan Lakha, Baba Sewa Singh Khadoor Sahib, SAD (A) general secretary Jagmohan Singh, Khalsa Panchayat member Charanjit Singh Channi, Sikh Students Federation (Metha) chief Gurcharan Singh Grewal.


80 pc squatters from Bihar
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 8
The slum-dwellers in Phagwara have land worth Rs 200 crore. This is what the local administration would get if it were to acquire this piece of land in the Industrial area, Santokhpura, Satnampura, Bhagat Singh Nagar, New Dana Mandi and Ankhi Nagar. Presently this land only brings Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per acre to some slum-dwellers, but nothing to the local administration.

It came to light during a survey that the original 7,000 slum inhabitants had started charging rent-between Rs 200-Rs 400-for the jhuggis.

Another aspect that the survey highlighted was that 80 per cent of the slum- dwellers are from Bihar and 20 per cent from Uttar Pradesh. Interestingly, about five per cent of those living in these slums are from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

There are more than a dozen slum colonies in Phagwara, and officials in the administration say, this trend of giving jhuggis on rent is not exclusive to the localities of the above-said slums. “We will survey the whole of Phagwara and then accordingly get rid of encroachments made by the slum-dwellers. Once the administration finds how many slum-dwellers are misusing the government-land by making jhuggis and renting them out, it will then crack a whip on them get the land vacated, and resettle those settled before 1995 in the areas identified, including the proposed 10,000 tenements.”


Gaurav’s murder: Muktsar observes bandh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 8
Following the murder of Gaurav Kumar, grandson of local BJP leader Shanti Swaroop, the city today observed total bandh. Schools, commercial establishments, and the grain market were shut to protest against the killing.

Sources said the police had rounded up some persons on suspicion after Gaurav’s body was found floating in a canal yesterday.

Meanwhile, MP Sukhbir Badal, BJP MLA Sukhpal Singh Nannu, Muktsar MLA Sukhdarshan Singh Marar, and state CPI secretary Comrade Jagroop Singh also attended a condolence meeting here.

The SSP, Mr LK Yadav, said Gaurav’s post-mortem report revealed that he was sodomised and strangled to death.


Demolition of mosque resented
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 8
Hundreds of Muslims, who attended the Friday evening namaz at the Shahi Masjid in the Indira Nagri locality here, condemned the local Municipal Committee for demolishing a 100-year-old mosque located in street 8 of the old-walled city during the sacred month of Ramzan sources said. They demanded that the Executive Officer of the council along with the Assistant Engineer and other officers be placed under suspension. The police should book them for hurting the religious sentiments of the minority community, members of the Intzamia Committee said.

The gathering noted with concern that the Waqf Board, Punjab, had not bothered to look after 45 masjids after Partition. Some of these sacred places were being used as cattle sheds. Those who secured the possession of some such mosques had allegedly sublet a major portion of the same in violation of the lease agreement. The Waqf Board had leased out the mosque complex in street 8-9 of the town for running a Hindi medium school that no more existed. The board neither cancelled the lease nor cared to take back its physical possession. 


Pak delegation visits poet’s village
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
Expressing keen interest in the life history of poet Hasham Shah, a 12-member deputation of the World Punjabi Congress from Lahore, including Mr Kanwal Mushtaq and journalist Zahid Akkasi of monthly ‘Payal’ magazine, visited Jagdev Kalan, native village of the poet, today.

They have come on the invitation of the Hasham Shah Trust. The delegation was shown the memorial library at Hasham Shah College and Public School, which has several awards instituted by Mr Harbhajan Singh Gill, a resident of the UK. Literary awards include honouring folk singers, writers, dramatists, social workers, besides a Tansen award for singers; Shah Mohammed award, Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari award and Sohan Singh Josh award, informed Capt Jarnail Singh Gill, and Capt Surinder Singh Gill, chairman and president of the educational committee respectively. The delegation extended an invitation to the trust to observe the death anniversary of the poet at Tharpal village in Narowal district, Pakistan. The delegation also visited the Mazar of Haji Mohammed Sharief, father of the poet.


PM to examine plea for power plant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has in principal agreed to examine the demand for a nuclear power generation plant in Punjab of 500 mw. Informed sources said in the presence of the president of the Congress, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, took up the issue with Dr Manmohan Singh.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was also present.

Mr Dullo told the Prime Minister that Punjab was facing a serious power crisis and it required to enhance its power generation capacity for development.

This proposal would be discussed at formal meeting, it is learnt.


Charges framed against retd Col
Our Correspondent

Pathankot October 8
In an alleged dowry harassment case Mr R.K. Garg, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, today framed charges against Lieut-Col Anil Kabotra (retd) under Section 498 A of the IPC.

Dr Neeta Kabotra, wife of the officer, working as lecturer in a college here, had alleged that she was married to the officer on July 1, 1990. After five years of marriage, the accused had started abusing her for bringing inadequate dowry. Her parents had been fulfilling the demands of the accused for the sake of her daughter, said the victim.

On October 30, 2002, the officer allegedly kicked the victim out from the house and allegedly demanded Rs 20 lakh for resettlement.

Sources revealed that both the victim and officer had earlier moved the Punjab State Human Rights Commission for redressal of their grievances.

The court observed that there was sufficient material placed on the record to proceed against the accused.


Peg for cops, wait for prisoner
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 8
Punjab Police personnel were found drinking liquor sitting with an undertrial in a dhaba near the district court complex here today.

According to information, an eight-member police party from Hoshiarpur in a prisoner van (PB-07-3001) reached here to produce five undertrials in the court.

When ASI Jasvinder Singh, who was heading the police party, went inside the court for proceedings, two members of the police party left the court premises with an undertrial to have lunch with their two colleagues from the Kapurthala police.

After purchasing a bottle of liquor from a nearby liquor shop, they started having drinks followed by lunch while the undertrial kept on waiting. Mr Jung Bahadur Sharma, SHO, Kotwali, visited the dhaba to inquire into the incident.


Anganwari workers’ march halted

Abohar, October 8
The police today prevented the anganwari workers and helpers from proceeding to Chandigarh to participate in the demonstration to draw attention of the UPA convener Ms Sonia Gandhi.

Ms Kamla Rani, president of the Khuiansarwer block unit of the Anganwari Workers Union, said on the telephone that she found policemen posted at the main entrance to her house at 5 am. — OC


Grant for foundation day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 8
The 8th Maharaja of princely state of Nabha, Mr Hanumant Singh, has announced a grant of Rs 1 crore for the celebrations of 250th year of the foundation of the town.

Giving this information, MLA Nabha, Mr Randip Singh, told that Khemka family is the descendant of the Maharaja Nabha and is running Nabha Foundation Club. It wants to donate this money to three places of worship of all religions and some schools of the town.


Man jailed for kidnap bid
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 8
The District and Sessions Judge of Kapurthala, Mr Shyam Sunder Gupta, has awarded a five-year jail term to a migrant labourer for a bid to kidnap a minor girl after making her unconscious.

The court awarded the jail term and a fine of Rs 2,000 to the convict, Ghanaiya Lal, a resident of Bari Athaniya village in Bihar under Section 363-A of the IPC. In case of non-payment of fine, the imprisonment would be extended by one month.

A 14-year-old girl, Rajwinder Kaur, of Aujla village, in her statement, told the court that she was a student of class VI. On April 17, 2005, she and her elder sister Gurpreet Kaur were returning home after cutting wheat. She went to the fields to ease herself.

In the meantime, her sister went ahead of her. She further told the court that it was around 7 in the evening and Ghanaiya Lal, who was working in the nearby fields, put some cloth on her mouth. After that she became unconscious.

When she regained consciousness, she found herself in a train. Ghanaiya Lal told her that he was taking her to Bihar. When the train was about to halt at Ludhiana railway station, she raised the alarm. The railway police arrested both of them and took them to a nearby police station.

The Judge awarded the punishment after recording the statements of both parties. The accused was in jail as his bail application was rejected by the court. 


Capt-Badal case adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
A local court today adjourned a suit for damages filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal against Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to February 4.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ms Neerja Kulwant Kalson, adjourned the case as Mr Badal, who was present, could not be cross-examined by defence counsel.

Mr Badal had filed a suit for damages amounting to Rs 5 crore against the Chief Minister for lowering the reputation of the Badal family in the public eye.

It may be recalled that in the run up to the Punjab Assembly elections in February, 2002, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), then headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, had launched an advertisement campaign against the Badal family for allegedly amassing huge wealth through corrupt means during his tenure as the Punjab Chief Minister.


Farmers’ protest
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 8
On the call of various farmers organisations, activists of the Kisan Sabha and Bhartiya Kisan Union staged a protest at the grain markets of Garhshankar, Mahilpur and Mukerian of this district today. The dharna was held to show their resentment against the failure of government to provide suitable rates for paddy and cotton.

While addressing at Garhshankar, Mr Bhagat Singh Jhuggian criticised Central and state governments for befooling the farmers. He alleged all the announced benefits to the farmers for the procurement of paddy and cotton had been proved false.


2 cops suspended for torturing old man, son
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
The district police chief, Mr Parmjit Singh Grewal, today suspended two constables on charges of torturing an old shopkeeper and his son in police custody, here, today.

A case has been registered against Harpreet Singh and Gurcharan Singh — both constables — who had allegedly kept the duo in illegal custody, apart from beating them up.

However, Mr Grewal denied that the police constables had urinated on the face of the old shopkeeper. He also denied that they compelled the son to pull the beard of his father Jaswinder Singh, who runs a shop in the periphery of Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran .

The SSP, however, admitted that Jaswinder Singh and his son Maninder Singh (17) were tortured in police custody. He said a case under Sections 323, 342, 295 and 384 of the Indian Penal Code had been registered against the cops. He said a departmental inquiry had also been ordered into the incident and Mr Jatinderpal Singh, DSP, had been deputed as inquiry officer in the case.

He, said the victim had ‘exaggerated’ the case as he had not mentioned any ‘sensational’ charges .

The shopkeeper had alleged that both policemen had entered into a verbal duel over the purchase of a bracelet from his shop a few days ago. The policemen had alleged that the shopkeeper was overcharging. On that day, the policeman returned with a vengeance 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, he was allegedly directed to pull the beard of his father. When Maninder refused to oblige, he was beaten up.

Meanwhile, Raghbir Singh Sonu, on whose complaint a head constable, Lakhwinder Singh, was arrested today alleged that he along with his father were ‘picked up’ from their house by a police Inspector to pressurise him to ‘withdraw’ the complaint.


Woman employee attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 8
A woman employee of the local Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostesses Training Centre here, allegedly made an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide by consuming naphthalene balls, which, irked her family members and supporters, who gheraoed the institute and raised slogans against the management.

On the other hand, Ms Shalinin Pravin, head of the institute, denied all allegations levelled by family members of Assistant Manager Pooja. She said Pooja had been disturbed for a long time and it was possible that she could have taken this step due to some family problem. Mr Jagjit Singh, husband of Pooja, has rebutted the version of Ms Pravin.

Meanwhile, the Jalandhar police has booked both the complainant and the accused even as investigation was on to trace the roots of the case.

Agitated supporters of Pooja alleged that she was sent by the centre head on Thursday to bring newspapers from the market, but, she was rebuked for “being late” following which, Pooja consumed naphthalene balls in her cabin. She was, however, taken by her colleagues and admitted to the New Ruby Hospital here. After regaining consciousness, she told about the incident to her family members. Mr Vibhor Kumar, SHO Division No. 4 is investigating the case.


ASI booked for seeking bribe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
Following a sting operation, an ASI Manjit Singh, was booked for allegedly demanding bribe for filing reply for Ramesh Rani, a resident of Gali Rajputan, who was under judicial custody in a child swapping case.

According to a press note released, Ramesh Rani who was booked under Sections 318, 316 and 304 of the IPC at the Ram Bagh police station. She was arrested and challan submitted in the court on April 2003. Ramesh Rani filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Jaspal Singh, the then SHO of the police station asked ASI Manjit Singh to prepare a reply. However, ASI demanded money from Ramesh Rani to prepare reply in her favor.

A press reporter belonging to an electronic media went in garb of her person at the venue selected by the ASI.

The matter was brought to the notice of the SSP who ordered registration of a case against the accused. A case under Sections 7, 13 (2) under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered at the Civil Line police station here.


2 arrested for manhandling SPO
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 8
Two persons have been arrested for manhandling an SPO on duty at Balongi village, near here, last night. They had allegedly even torn the uniform of the SPO.

According to the police, the arrested persons are Himmat Singh and Kulbir Singh, both residents of Balongi.

Mr Sukhjit Singh Virk, SHO, said SPO Ram Chander and head constable Avtar Singh were posted on Ramlila duty. When they tried to maintain law and order, the accused got annoyed and had a scuffle with the SPO.

A case was registered on the complaint of the SPO.


GND varsity gets quake project
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, October 8
The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, has sanctioned a major research project entitled “Seismo-Tectonic Studies and Health Risk Assessments in the Himalayas with Special Emphasis on Radon and Helium Emission” under its thrust area programme to Guru Nanak Dev University. Initially the DST has sanctioned Rs 70 lakh for this project, a university press note said here today.

Dr Surinder Singh, an eminent scientist and a Senior Professor of Geo-Physics at GND varsity, has been appointed as Principal Investigator of the project. Dr Surinder Singh said this was an interdisciplinary collaborative project on earthquake studies in the field of earth sciences. The other collaborators in the project are Prof Naresh Kochar from the Department of Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr Sunil Dhar from the Postgraduate Department of Geology, Government College, Dharamsala, Mr R.G. Sonkawade from Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi, and Dr B.S. Bajwa, Reader, Department of Physics of GND university.

He said that the Himalayas were tectonically active due to the northward movement of Indian plate and various thrusts and transverse faults showed fast rate of tectonic uplift and subsidence. The frequent occurrence of shallow small magnitude and moderate size earthquakes indicated that the Himalayas were under unusually high stress and strain. He further said that the area to be studied i.e. the north-western Himalayas, particularly the Kangra belt, was wellknown for its high seismal tendencies.

Dr Surinder Singh said that in this project it was proposed to monitor the behaviour of radon, helium, geophysical and hydro geological parameters along the major lineaments and transverse faults in relation to the seismic activity in the north-western Himalayas. The monitoring of these parameters would be used as precursors to the impending earthquakes, he said, adding that about six precursors would be studied simultaneously at four different monitoring stations, three in Himachal Pradesh i.e. Dharamsala, Manali and Dalhousie and the fourth at Amritsar.

In addition, the study would also focus on the environmental radiation monitoring for the assessment of health risk because the excess of radon gas may cause serious diseases like cancer in human beings in the region.


Bhattal’s assurance to college teachers
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 8
Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Higher Education Minister, assured a deputation of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) office-bearers that grievances of private college teachers of Punjab would be redressed shortly. She gave this assurance to PCCTU leadership in a meeting in her office after initiating a dialogue with PCCTU office-bearers.

Disclosing this to The Tribune here on Thursday Prof. R.S. Brar and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary respectively of the PCCTU, informed that Prof. Darbari Lal Punjab Deputy Speaker accompanied the deputation to draw Mrs Bhattal’s attention towards the grievances of thousands of college teachers serving in the government aided but privately managed colleges of Punjab.

Mr M.P. Singh, Secretary Punjab Higher Education Department and, and Mr G.K. Singh Officer On Special duty to Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, were present in the meeting.

The PCCTU leadership raised various demands and urgent issues with Mrs Bhattal which included merger of 50 per cent DA in the basic pay, grant of HRA to rural private college teachers, release of grant-in-aid to B.Ed colleges and implementation of Johl Committee recommendations.

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