P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Man beaten to death; 16-yr-old missing
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 12
Five days after the gruesome murder of Shivalik Public School student Gaurav, panic spread among the city residents with the disappearance of another boy and the brutal murder of a youth last evening.

The father of 16-year-old Manoj, Mr Om Prakash Yadav, said his son had gone to bring milk at about 7 pm last evening, but didn’t return. He said he had informed the police and the SSP about it at night. He suspected the hand of two youths, who were beaten up at Ram lila near his home a couple of days back, in the disappearance of his son.

He said these youths named Lucky and Gurmit Singh had a tiff with another group of youths during the Ram lila. He said both of them doubted that Manoj knew exactly about those involved in the brawl and they had even threatened him at his home.

Manoj’s family is frightened in the wake of Gaurav’s killing and is of the view that any delay in tracing him may threaten his life.

In another incident, 28-year-old Albert Masih, a resident of Abohar road, was brutally murdered with sharp-edged weapons last evening. Sources said the deceased had gone to drop one of his friends at Rahuriawali village on his scooter. When he didn’t return on time his wife called him up and he said he would be back soon.

When he didn’t return for long she stood on the road waiting for him. She then spotted some persons beating him mercilessly. She identified two of them as Lucky and Jagmeet Singh. However, they fled the spot as people started gathering there.

Albert was taken to a hospital where he was declared brought dead. Albert’s brother, Denis Masih, was also killed in a similar manner last month. Sources said Lucky and Jagmeet were close to the alleged killer of Denis. Albert’s wife alleged that both of them had warned her husband of fighting the case of Denis.

She also alleged that they killed her husband, as they were nursing grudge against him. The police has registered a case against Lucky and Jagmeet under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. Both of them have been arrested.

A post-mortem examination had been conducted on Albert’s body, but his family members did not receive his body stating that they would perform his last rites tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Christian leaders are angry over the Albert’s murder. They said they had demanded the arrest of Preet Nai and Lucky after Denis’ murder, but the “police ignored it, as a result of which Albert lost his life”.

The SSP, Mr L. K. Yadav, said Albert’s murder was the result of rivalry between the two groups and the police had taken preventive action in the matter. He said police parties had been despatched to nab other accused in the case.

He said Preet Nai had already been arrested in connection with the Denis murder case. The SSP also claimed that Manoj had returned home safely.


Marginal farmers need safe exit, says Gill
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 12
The government needs to take away one third of the farmers in the state and provide them with alternative means of livelihood so as to save them from resorting to desperate measures like suicide. This was stated by economist Sucha Singh Gill of Punjabi University here.

Prof Gill said a system should be devised to provide a safe exit to the 33 per cent of the farmers who had below 3 acres. They should be empowered with education, training and employment in public and private sector and engaged in other means of vocation to give them a “safe exit” from the agricultural sector in the state.

Farming for this sector of the marginal farmers is no longer viable, he added.

Prof Gill said the government needed to fulfil three basic needs to make any crop economically viable by introducing crops with minimum support price (MSP) and arranging more storage and processing facilities.

The wheat and rice crops have this advantage and that is why the farmers sow them. The chronically cash-strapped governments are unable to implement any new policies, said Prof Gill.

Research and development to provide new seeds could make existing crops profitable. The diversification of agriculture and contract farming could not succeed because of the failure to provide mechanism to support them, he said.

Akali Dal Longowal leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said the party would hold an “insaaf march” on October 31 to the Prime Minister’s residence and press the Centre for announcing more schemes and funds for the ailing farm sector to save the farmers of the state. He demanded that the agriculture sector be declared a sick industry.

Mr Chandumajra said the party would submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister on various issues besides farming like the water division, transfer of Chandigarh, release of Devinderpal Bhullar, compensation to 1984 riot victims, higher MSP and withdrawal of hike in diesel petrol prices etc.


FCI flying squads to check harassment of farmers
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 12
The FCI has constituted flying squads to inspect the working of FCI officials during procurement drive, and to pay surprise checks at grain markets, depots and other FCI installations.

Mr S.S. Bhatoa, General Manager (Quality Control) FCI said this here yesterday. He stated the FCI wanted to ensure remunerative prices to farmers and supply of quality foodgrains to consumers in the country.

Mr Bhatoa said various squads were touring grain markets all over the state to ensure that farmers were not harassed. He said that officials were also ensuring that purchased stocks were cleared on day to day basis and supply of gunny bags and allied material was also being looked into.

Mr Bhatoa visited grain markets at Talwandi Bhai, Zira, Ferozepore and met farmers, representatives of state agencies.


Paddy procurement slow: Atwal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 12
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal today maintained that the procurement of paddy in Punjab was slow and the relaxations given by the govt in the specifications of paddy were inadequate.

Mr Atwal rued that a farmer of his constituency Gurdev Singh had recently hung himself to death in Nadala mandi due extreme frustration over slow procurement. He argued that the government should have taken the tragedy as a wake up call. Regrettably, the government had not done so,he bemoaned.

Mr Atwal demanded further liberalisation in specifications and speeding up of the procurement process for saving farmers from further harassment.

When his attention was drawn to Mamta Banerjee,President, Trinamool Congress, showing disrespect to the chair by flinging her papers at him in the Lok Sabha some time ago, Mr Atwal said many Trinamool stalwarts had come to him after the incidence and tendered their personal apologies to him.

Answering a question, he said Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and should be transferred to the state.


Kerala farmer spends more than Punjab’s
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
The pioneers of the Green Revolution — Punjab farmers — are today lagging behind despite free power supply and substantial Central support through subsidised fertiliser and minimum support price. The average spending of farm households in Punjab has not be able to keep pace with their counterparts in other states like Kerala and Nagaland, which have adopted cash crops.

“An average farmer family in Punjab is spending merely Rs 828.01 per person in comparison to the highest spending of Rs 900.59 per person in Kerala and Rs 882.93 in Nagaland,” stated the first-ever survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) on behalf of the Central Government across the country.

Significantly, 28 per cent of the farm households in Punjab are spending more than Rs 950 per person, in comparison to 36 per cent farm households in Nagaland, 35 per cent in Kerala and 23 per cent in Haryana.

The growth in average monthly income of the farm households across the country seems to have failed to keep pace with the income growth of rural households depending on non-agricultural activities, mostly undertaken by the upper castes and the Scheduled Castes.

For instance, the average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) at the all-India level in 2003 was Rs 502.83 for farm households as against Rs 554.15 for all rural households.The NSSO approached 51,770 sample farmer households spread over 6,638 villages covering the entire rural area in 2003 for the study.

Reflecting the concerns of the Planning Commission about the slow growth of the agriculture sector, the survey pointed out that at the all-India level, about 4 per cent of farmer households had MPCE less than Rs 225, 8 per cent less than Rs 300 and 15 per cent less than Rs 380.

Despite earning adequate income, the farmers in Punjab and Haryana are, however, not spending adequately on the education of their wards. For instance, the per capita monthly expenditure on education was highest in Nagaland (Rs 77.21); followed by Haryana (Rs 48.01), Punjab (Rs 42.87) and Kerala (Rs. 42.36).

On medical expenses, Punjab farmers are spending Rs 63.04 per person per month in the family, in comparison to highest expenses of farmer households in Kerala (Rs 97.78), followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 48.76), Maharashtra (Rs 47.71) and Haryana (Rs 46.98).

The NSSO has also indicated in another survey that the average outstanding loan per farmer household is the highest in Punjab (Rs 41,576), followed by Kerala (Rs 33,907), Haryana (Rs 26,007), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 23,965) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 23,963). Two-thirds of the state farm families are in debt.

Contrary to the perception of highest consumption of liquor expenses in Punjab, per capita monthly consumption of “pan, tobacco and intoxicants” is highest in Meghalaya (Rs 43.30), followed by Mizoram (Rs 40.53), Arunachal Pradesh (Rs 30.75) and Tripura (Rs 29.96).

The survey also revealed that the sex ratio in farmer population was highest in Himachal Pradesh (1089), followed by Kerala (1048) and Uttaranchal (1014). It was lowest in Assam (849), followed by Punjab (859) and Tripura (870).

Indicating the poor state of agriculture in some states, it indicated that an estimated 22 per cent of the farmer households in Orissa, 11 per cent in Jharkhand, 8 per cent in both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and 6 per cent in Bihar had MPCE less than or equal to Rs 225.


Sikh mission to hire copters to send quake relief
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
“True to Sikh traditions, we will do everything possible to help the victims of the devastating earthquake that rocked North India and Pakistan on October 8. If we have to hire helicopters to reach the victims with relief supplies, we will do it,” says Baba Daljit Singh, founder-president of the International Human Welfare Sikh Mission.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone, the Chicago-based Baba Daljit Singh said that efforts to collect medicines, blankets, woollens, dry food and other items of daily use had already started.

“We will start sending truckloads of relief material to quake-affected areas immediately,” he said, revealing that “some volunteers of the mission are already in various affected areas in Kashmir collecting information on the devastation caused and the relief items needed”.

He said that if need be, community kitchens would also be organised in areas where the number of affected families was large.

“We are in touch with the Jammu and Kashmir Government. In whatever way the government needs us, we will try to extend all possible help as it is the aim of the mission to help those in distress,” Baba Daljit Singh said.

The mission, he said, had followers all over the globe who had already started sending their contributions for the victims.

“If we are allowed by the Government of Pakistan, we may also like to extend help to the quake victims there,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha has appealed to all households in the city to contribute at least one blanket or a sweater for the earthquake victims in Kashmir.

“We have opened a collection centre at the Sector 44-A Aruna Asif Ali Centre,” says Mr Chaman Lal Sharma, president of the sabha, maintaining that reports from Kashmir suggest that victims need woollens and blankets more than anything else because of the cold weather.


Nursing institutes “disobey” High Court order
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
A petitioner on whose PIL the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered that nursing institutes, which do not have the requisite infrastructure, would not make admissions for the 2005-06 academic session, has accused the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC) of "willfully and intentionally" committing contempt of court.

In a letter addressed to the President of the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC), petitioner Jaskaran Singh Brar has demanded that the PNRC supply him certified copies of eligibility performa reports and affidavits submitted by the nursing institutes as also the permission letters issued by the PNRC.

A Division Bench of the High Court had ordered that only those institutes that obtain a certificate from the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC), certifying that they have basic infrastructure as per the government guidelines, can make fresh admissions for the session 2005-06.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice DK Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta had also directed that institutes must fulfil the criteria laid down in various notifications issued by the Punjab Government from time to time.

These include the notification dated March 19, 1984 issued by the Department of Medical Education and Research, Punjab, which laid the eligibility for opening and running a nursing school; guidelines dated May 8, 1998, which laid down norms for issuance of essentiality/no-objection certificates; guidelines relating to minimum requirements necessary for a nursing school to be granted recognition and notification dated July 5, 2004.

Interestingly, as per the notification issued on July 5, 2004, the government had made it clear that no admission would be allowed in rented/hired/leased building for the year 2005-06.

In his letter, Mr Brar has alleged that instead of respecting and implementing the order of the High Court, the PNRC adopted a roundabout method, whereby it asked the institutes to submit eligibility performa reports supported with affidavits by September 17.

Mr Brar has also referred to the statement of Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, President of the Nursing Training Institutes Association, Punjab. In the statement, Mr Walia had accused PNRC officials of taking money from nursing institutes to grant permission to conduct admissions.

Stating that guidelines issued by the government clearly say that institutions are required to construct buildings on the land for which NOC has been granted, Mr Brar has alleged that many institutes have not yet constructed buildings on the land for which the NOC was granted to them.


Trust in Tribune wins contestant Rs 3 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
People can literally bet on the accuracy of The Tribune even when the stakes run into lakhs of rupees.

The confidence in the credibility and accuracy of The Tribune won Mr Pankaj Duggal of Amritsar, a contestant at the Kaun Banega Crorepati-II gameshow, a cool Rs 3.20 lakh. Not just that, had Mr Duggal gone wrong, he could have lost Rs 3 lakh and come down to just Rs 20,000.

Mr Duggal, who was playing KBC-II with Amitabh Bachchan had exhausted all his lifelines when he was asked to name the author of “Tarkash”, a collection of Urdu poetry by Javed Akhtar.

When he chose Akhtar as his option, he was asked by Amitabh as to what made him so confident to stick to that option, particularly when he ran the risk of losing Rs 3 lakh in the gamble had his answer been wrong.

A confident Mr Duggal told Amitabh that he had read it in The Tribune and so it must be the right answer. Awed by his confidence, Amitabh asked him whether The Tribune reported so accurately.

Mr Duggal replied with confidence “yes” and in the process won Rs 3.20 lakh more. He quit the show after the next question and walked away with Rs 6.40 lakh.


Cong creating splinter Akali groups: Badal
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, October 12
The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today alleged that the Congress had been following a two-point agenda to weaken the Akalis.

Addressing a press conference here, he alleged on the one hand, the Congress was creating splinter Akali groups and on the other hand, it was using all low-level tactics to create a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs.

Without naming any Akali leader who had been ousted from the party in the past, Mr Badal declared that these leaders were welcome to the SAD fold if they believed in the policies and programmes of the party.

When his attention was drawn to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s criticism of populist gimmicks like free power, he shot back that the Amarinder government was doling out sops with an eye on the coming Assembly elections. Now the CM was also promising to abolish octroi in order to please voters, he alleged.

Asked to comment on the defiant posture of the Chief Minister versus the PM, Mr Badal quipped that he simply did not want to even mention the name of the Chief Minister.

He said the public issues remained untouched due to the short period of the session. Free and open discussions should be held during the session.

Mr Badal alleged that the two most shameful events had happened for the first time in the country during the regime of the Amarinder government and these were a slur on the face of the state administration.

The first was the rape of a woman in Amritsar by a convict and his accomplices under the guard of policemen while the second was suicide by a farmer in the grain market of Nadala due to the non-procurement of paddy.

Mr Badal declared that his party, along with the BJP, would raise the issue of land-grab case at Nayagaon involving top bureaucrats.

He also denied any differences with RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan. “Except the Congress, I have no difference with anybody,” he quipped.


Vigilance inspections annoy Singla
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 12
About a fortnight after the Vigilance angered the Punjab Minister of State for Technical Education, Mr Rakesh Pandey, by nabbing the Deputy Director, Technical Education, Mr N.S. Bhatia, while reportedly accepting a bribe, it has irked yet another Cabinet minister of the state.

This time it is the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, who is unhappy with the Vigilance carrying out inspections at various institutes in Bathinda and Faridkot districts a few days ago.

Expressing displeasure, the minister has asked the Vigilance SSP, Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, to apprise him of the details of the inspections. He has also asked the Vigilance SSP to explain whose permission was sought before carrying out these inspections. The SSP has said the inspections were carried out consequent to the arrest of Mr Bhatia.

Mr Singla said the inspections had caused harassment to these institutes and carrying out such inspections did not fall under the domain of the Vigilance Department.

The minister expressed surprise that most of the panel members of the inspection teams were Junior Engineers of various departments and there was no technical expert.


Dullo cautions ministers

Jalandhar, October 12
Punjab Congress president Shamsher Singh Dullo today cautioned members of the state Council of Ministers against making statements on the working of the Vigilance Bureau.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Dullo said the bureau should be given free hand to work, and his party and its government were committed to do so.

He said the Congress had come into power in the state with a commitment to eradicate corruption from public life and the vigilance bureau was required to take action against corrupt people; including bureaucrats and politicians.

Mr Dullo was in the town to participate in the Dasehra function.

Mr Dullo revealed that state Congress would be changed into a cadre based party for which the ground work had been initiated.

In every village of the state, at least 25 persons, representing every section like women, youth, old and dalits will be issued a special cards and entrusted with the task of spreading the state Congress achievement.

The special card holders would be given special training and schooling for the poll processes for circulating among the villagers. — UNI, PTI


SGPC Dasehra function fails to draw crowds
Tribune Reporters

Chamkaur Sahib, October 12
Over 25,000 devotees from different parts of Punjab today paid obeisance in various gurdwaras of Chamkaur Sahib on the occasion of Dasehra. The main attraction of the day was a procession led by the Panj Piaras, carried out by the SGPC from Katal Sahib Gurdwara and martial arts performed by nihangs.

Meanwhile, the SGPC in its official function organised on the occasion failed to pull the crowd. The SGPC president and other senior SGPC leaders failed to turn up. The MLA, Chamkaur Sahib, Ms Satwinder Kaur, addressing the gathering criticised the Punjab Government.

The SGPC march, which began about 1.30 pm from Katalgarh Sahib, was led by the Panj Piaras. The procession passed through Gari Sahib, Tari Sahib, Damdama Sahib and Ranjitgarh Sahib.

PHAGWARA: Huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath, were set ablaze this evening.

Thousands of devotees and festival enthusiasts watched the symbols of evil being burnt.

Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Sameer Kumar visited the Hadiabad festival and presented trophies to those who played the role of Lord Rama, Laxman, Hanuman and other characters.

Meanwhile, the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation Chairman Joginder Singh Mann, SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid and former Punjab Minister Chaudhary Swarna Ram, have congratulated people on Dasehra.

HOSHIARPUR: Dasehra festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Shri Ram Lila Ground here. More than one lakh persons thronged the ground to witness the concluding function of the 10-day Dasehra festival. Effigies of Ravana and Kumbhkarna were set afire. Fireworks were also displayed.

Mr Sanjiv Walia, Chairman, Public Anti Corruption Board of India, appealed to the public to help eradicate corruption.

FARIDKOT: Over 20,000 persons from all walks of life, along with senior representatives of various political, social and religious organisations, thronged the local Nehru Stadium to witness the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath.

Students of various educational institutions presented cultural activities. Presiding over the function, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, laid stress on maintaining national integration and communal harmony.

AMRITSAR: Effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkarna were set a fire at various areas here. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, was the chief guest at a function organised by one of his party leaders at Mata Bhadrakali Temple ground.

Mr Badal said Lord Rama was the epitome of truth and administration. He established society on the basis of equality.

SANGRUR: Dasehra was celebrated with enthusiasm and religious fervour at the War Heroes Stadium here. Effigies were burnt amid a gathering of more than 10,000 persons. Colourful fireworks were also displayed.

Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, and Mr Gurtej Singh, SDM, were also present.

Earlier, a procession was taken out through the town.


Swaying towers, sleeping admn
Balraj Mahajan

Batala, October 12
The recent quake has brought to the fore threats posed to life due to mobile phone towers installed on the top of buildings.

It is relevant to ask, in the context of quakes, whether installation of steel and concrete mobile towers on buildings situated in the residential or commercial areas is appropriate or not.

How safe are such structures? Unmindful of the fact that whether building bylaws permit such installations, ordinarily every city has its own maximum height norms stipulated for buildings according to the structure and texture of the soil.

But mobile towers, which are generally more than 100-ft high, are a cause of serious concern and the same can prove dangerous during an earthquake, particularly in the populated areas.

The menace needs to be addressed before it is too late.

In this respect, steps to check such installations should be taken and rectifications made accordingly.

In Batala city, there are about 15 commercial mobile towers which have been installed or are being installed in the residential areas.

The observations during the recent quake were that the towers installed in the buildings were swaying precariously and could have fallen because of the quake.

It is yet to be verified whether these installations have been approved by the Municipal Council, PWD and the district authorities.

However, when The Tribune contacted Mr Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, Chairman Improvement Trust, Batala, he said as per the Local Govt Department, Punjab, they were charging Rs 10, 000 as an installation fee plus Rs 5,000 per year as license fee from the owner of a tower but he did not elaborate whether raising of a tower was within the ambit of building bye-laws and if so, whether the prior permission was sought or not.

A similar reply was given by the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Batala.

When Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, Sub Divisional Magistrate, was contacted about the sanctioned strength of such installations he sought a list of such towers.

However, when the District Magistrate, Mr Vivek Partap Singh, was contacted and asked as to what height of such towers was permissible considering Defence activities and air passage under Defence laws, he replied that Air Force authorities should be approached on the matter.

He further said the Municipal Council authorities should clarify whether they had any instructions from the higher authorities in this respect.


Rs 20 cr for new water supply system
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 12
The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for a new sewerage and water supply system to Kharar. Announcing this here yesterday, the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, said canal water would be supplied to the town.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh was speaking before a gathering of residents after inaugurating a municipal library in the township today. He said the Municipal Council, Kharar, would have to pay 25 per cent of the cost of the new system.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said he would propose to the Punjab Chief Minister that keeping in line with the fasttrack development of Mohali and its peripheral towns of Kharar and Zirakpur, the three towns should be developed as a contiguous unit and built into a metropolitan city.


Four water samples fail test
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 12
Four water samples of gastroenteritis-affected Onkar Nagar have failed. The Health Department had taken the samples in wake of reports of the outbreak of gastroenteritis in the locality.

Two deaths of Bihari children due to suspected gastroenteritis had also been reported from the area.

The samples included those of drinking water being supplied by the municipal council.

The SMO Civil Hospital, Phagwara, Dr Yash Mitra, confirmed the failure of the samples. He, however, claimed that the disease was under control.

The MLA-cum-Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, visited Onkar Nagar and met aggrieved migrant families and condoled the death of four-year-old Ekta Kumari and six-month-old Risha Kumari.

Meanwhile, a blamegame has already started in connection with the causes of the outbreak of the disease. While the health officials said the nagar council should take proper care of supplying potable water, the nagar council authorities passed the buck on to colonisers who had constructed coop-like quarters.

Dr Mitra said Twelve water samples had been taken.


Morcha threat on MC land transfer move
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 12
The state government has not paid about Rs 8 crore to sugar cane growers of Fazilka, Abohar and Jalalabad areas for the past more than three years. This was claimed by Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, president, BJP Kisan Morcha, Punjab, here today.

He alleged that because of anti-farmer policies of the government and vested interests of the politicians in power the sugar mills, which used to run for about more than four months, would now perhaps function only for less than a month due to a shortage of sugar cane.

He said the incidents of suicide by farmers show that the government was not serious towards their cause.

Mr Jyani warned that if the Municipal Council, Fazilka, under political pressure transferred its proposed land at a throwaway price to PUDA for the construction of a mini-secretariat then he would move to the court.

The morcha president said now the farmers had to buy urea fertiliser and cooking gas etc on black market.

He alleged that traders the Congress regime had failed to abolish octroi even as over three years had elapsed since the implementation of VAT.

He said all sections of society were fed up with the present regime. This was evident from the fact that the Matka Chowk of Chandigarh had virtually been converted into a dharna chowk.

Mr Jyani described the claims on development of local MLA as a bundle of lies. He said no regular meetings of the district planning board were held and no funds were released for development. Whatever nominal development had been done that was by selling the municipal land. Most of the funds were squandered in publicity, laying foundation stones and arranging programmes, he alleged.

The people of the area have to pay for drinking water to traders and travel 90 or 120 km to reach their office at district headquarters in Ferozepore. Welfare scheme initiated for the Scheduled Casts, Backward Classes and the poor by the Badal regime had been abandoned terming them burden on the state exchequer.

Contrary to this foreign tours of ministers and MLAs, purchase of luxury cars, misuse of helicopters and renovation of offices and ministers have been going on. He alleged that the local MLA was laying stones on the drains and bridges, which had been constructed during the Badal regime. 


RSS celebrates foundation day
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 12
To mark the 80th foundation day of the RSS, swayam sewaks of the region took out a procession through the city today.

The RSS workers gathered at the grounds of Sain Dass School where “shastra pujan” of swords, rifles, revolvers and wooden canes was performed.

They were addressed by Mr Kishore Kant, regional pracharak of the RSS. He said the motive of all RSS workers should be to associate various groups of society irrespective of their caste and creed. He said till the people of the lower castes were distinguished against, the conversions would continue.

The pracharak said the RSS was not averse to conversion of religion as everyone had the right to worship God in whichever way he wanted to, but the worst part was that the converted people turned rebellious against the followers of their original religion, which was not acceptable.

The procession passed through Mai Hiran Gate, Jyoti Chowk, Rainak Bazaar and Patel Chowk. Prominent BJP leaders, including Mr Shiv Dyal Chugh, Mr Manoranjan Kalia and members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), took part in the march in which the sewaks were carrying swords, rifles, revolvers and canes.


Artistes on cycles with a mission
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 12
Kalindi Nirmal, a 23-year-old girl from Gorakhpur (UP), with her two associates, Ranjeet Bachchan and Bijender Mishra, is on a mission to spread the message of peace and brotherhood across the country.

During their 82,000-km journey on cycles in 19 states, they have so far staged more than 9,000 street plays to promote peace.

The peace mission members reached here after three years and eight months. They were given a warm welcome by Punjab Agro Food Limited Chairman and local MLA Joginder Singh Mann.

They are all artistes of the Bharatiya Yuva Natak Manch Parivar, Gorakhpur. “Plays are the best medium to give a message. In Jhansi, nine students after watching our street plays not only pledged to quit certain social evils, but also promised to work for removal of such evils in their area,” said Kalindi Nirmal.

After presenting street plays in Kargil, Leh and Srinagar, they staged a street play here with a social message. “Kalindi is our inspiration. When we feel tired, she encourages us. We hope that our efforts will bear fruit,” said Ranjit Bachchan, leader of the group.

These three artistes are penning down minutes of their tour in the hope of publishing a book later.

“We have clicked photographs as we want to establish a museum at Gorakhpur where people can view the whole of India under one roof,” said Kalindi.


Punjabi daily to get facelift

Jalandhar, October 12
The Board of Directors of the Sikh Newspapers Limited Jalandhar has decided to implement a Rs 5 crore action plan to give a ‘facelift’ to its Punjabi daily Akali Patrika.

Addressing a joint press conference here today, the company chairman and Akali leader Jaswant Singh Mann and Managing Director Sucha Singh Johal said the paper would get “ a new face” by January 1. This would meet the aspirations of the people of Punjab.

While making efforts for promoting circulation of the paper, the company would resort to healthy means and would not enter into any form of rivalry with other media houses, Mr Mann said. — UNI


Martyr cremated with military honours

Hoshiarpur, October 12
The mortal remains of martyr sepoy Sandip Singh of 9 Para Special Force of the Army, who sacrificed his life in the Srinagar-Kupwara sector in an ambush by terrorists recently, was consigned to flames with full military honours at his native village of Sadharia, near Mukerian, today.

Thousands of persons from adjoining villages, including Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Col R. S. Gill, Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, Mukerian, Mr Arunesh Shakar, former MLA, attended the funeral.

Sandip Singh had joined the Army about two years ago and was the only breadwinner of the family. He is survived by his father and four brothers and sisters. — OC


Fast-track courts to target Akalis: SAD

Jalandhar, October 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal today claimed that the move to set up four fast-track courts in the state for the trial of corruption cases was aimed at targeting its workers.

“The motive of the State government to establish fast-track courts was to target Akali leaders,” SAD MLA Manpreet Badal told reporters here.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recently announced that four special fast-track courts would be installed in state for the speedy trial of corruption cases. — PTI


Two cops suspended for consuming liquor
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, October 12
The two constables who consumed liquor on duty were suspended in Kapurthala by Mr Lok Nath Angra, Senior Superintendent of Police.

The duo Gurnam Singh and Parminder Singh had gone to Kapurthala to produce an undertrial prisoner in a court. Leaving the accused waiting, the two along with some of their friends (cops) in Kapurthala police reportedly purchased a bottle of liquor and consumed it at a dhaba.

They cops offered a cup of tea to an undertrial prisoner in a dacoity case Surjit Singh, a resident of Nawanshahar, and made him sit with handcuffs on till they finished the ‘bottle’. As ASI Jaswinder Singh, heading a team of eight cops from Hoshiarpur to Kapurthala, came out of the courtroom he found Gurnam Singh and Parminder Singh missing from the court premises. A search was conducted following which the cops were found drinking liquor at a dhaba.

The SP, Kapurthala, directed Mr Jangbahadur Singh, Station House Officer, Kapurthala, to inquire into the matter.

The Kapurthala police reportedly has not taken any action against the police personnel who ‘treated their guests’ with liquor on duty.


IT raids: Rs 20 lakh fine imposed
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, October 12
Mr Tajinder Pal Singh, Additional Income Tax Commissioner, conducted survey raid at two business establishments and slapped a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on them.

A team of Income Tax Department raided a Scanning Centre, located along the Phagwara road, and a shop of audio and video equipments in the city. The team found the dealers had not been keeping the accounts of business deals. The department also seized certain unaccounted records from the stocks of these businessmen.

Mr Tajinder Pal Singh claimed that the parties had been causing huge losses to the state exchequer by evading income tax. He said survey raids would also be conducted on business houses and other establishments.


Kashyap is Principal Information Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Punjab Government has appointed Mr Rajan Kashyap, a retired Chief Secretary, Principal Information Commissioner.

He will head the unit that will handle information to be given out under the Right to Information Act.

Earlier, it was being speculated that the present Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, could be the first Information Commissioner.

The Act will empower the common man to seek information from the government on various subjects other than those which deal with national security.


Student’s body found on rail track
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 12
Body of Amit Kumar Sahai, a first year student of the NIT Baba Ambedkar Institute of Engineering, here was found on rail tracks in Bidhipur area, near the institute in the morning. Amit belongs to Bareilly was living in the hostel number one. His father Trivedi Sahai working with the Military Hospital, Bareilly was informed by the Railway police. The body was brought to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem. The examination has denied finding any suicide note

Parents of students of the institute, who called up newspaper offices here, said that their children studying in the institute were terrified after the incident and alleged that the student had committed suicide and had also named 12 senior students who allegedly harassed him, Director of the institute R Sharma was not available for comments.

Mr Triveni Sahai, father of deceased Amit Kumar, has alleged that the college administration was trying to hush up the case and his son had either been murdered or died due to harassment due to ragging. He identified the body of his son at the Civil Hospital.


Boy crushed under speeding bus
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, October 12
A speeding PRTC bus today claimed the life of an 18-year-old boy while two others were seriously injured near Liberty Chowk after the bus collided with their motorcycle, here this afternoon. The bus driver and the conductor reportedly fled from the spot taking advantage of the crowd as onlookers gathered there.

Giving details of the accident, sources in the local police said the accident occurred at around 4.45 pm when a Chandigarh bound PRTC bus (PB-11-U-8168) hit the motor cycle from the rear. The eyewitness said the rashly driven bus hit the motor cycle and making it unstable.

Salamdin Khan of Gandakheri village, pillion rider on the motorcycle, fell on the road and was crushed, under the rear wheels of the bus. The other victims, the owner of the motorcycle 22-year-old Mahesh Kumar of Sheetal Colony in Rajpura and 16-year-old Pardeep Kumar of Gandakheri village sustained serious injuries.

The passengers travelling in the bus alleged that the bus was being driven at a high speed and the driver slid past some vehicles on the way before it ultimately hit the motorcycle. The bus driver was allegedly overtaking a vehicle from the wrong side and hit the motorcycle. The driver even tried to speed away after the accident but Mr Raj Kumar, a driving school instructor, gave a chase and intercepted the bus later. The shocked passengers disembarked from the bus and soon onlookers gathered at the spot. Taking advantage of the rush and chaos the driver and conductor reportedly fled.


Gang of robbers busted, 5 held
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 12
The police has busted a gang of robbers involved in over 10 criminal cases with the arrest of five of its members. Firearms, sharp-edged weapons and two motorcycles have been seized.

The head of the gang, Jagraj Singh, who is allegedly involved in four murder cases, has also been arrested. Police sources said the CIA staff in charge, Mr Tehal Singh, and his team had set up a checkpost near Ghal Kalan village. On a tip off, the CIA staff raided a secluded government quarter where the gang was planning a robbery. The police arrested them and seized two firearms, 12 cartridges, three sharp-edged weapons and two motor cycles.

Those arrested have been identified as Jagraj Singh, Malkit Singh, Gurmit Singh, Surjit Singh and Satnam Singh.

During interrogation, they admitted that they were conspiring to barge into Vedant Nagar tonight and commit a robbery.


10 held for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 12
Dr Jatindera Jain, SSP, Batala, said that a police party headed by DSP Ashwani Kapur and Inspector Kirpal Singh, SHO, P S City Batala raided the house of Puja wife of Rachhpal Singh in Kucha Kot mohalla, Batala and arrested 10 persons for involvement in flesh trade.

The house was being used as a brothel by Balwinder Kaur and her husband Sukhwant Singh of Shukar Pura. The other arrested persons were Sukhwinder Singh of Thakkar Sandhu, Davinder Singh of Thikriwal Goraya, Paramjit Kaur wife of Prem Singh of Batala, Satish Kumar of Gurdaspur, Madhu wife of Kirpal Singh of Gurdaspur, Shamir Abrol of Gurdaspur and Gurminder Singh of Gurdaspur.

A case under Sections 3/4/5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956 was registered.


Man kills brother, arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 12
Balwant Singh of Guru Ki Wadali killed his younger brother Kulwant Singh with a kirpan. The Chheharta police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC. The accused is to be arrested.

Kulwant Singh was admitted to a private hospital in a serious condition. When condition of the deceased deteriorated he was removed to Guru Ram Das Hospital. He died on the way to hospital.

Initially the family did not report the matter to the police. However, later the police took body of the deceased into its possession and registered a murder case against Balwant Singh.

The body was handed over to the family after a postmortem examination.


Beant’s relative found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Jaswant Kaur (72), a close relative of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, was found murdered, while two other women were found in a state of unconsciousness, at her house in Thrike village, near here, around midnight today.

SP (D) Gurpreet Singh, however, ruled it out as a terrorist act and suspected it to be the handiwork of some robbers. The two women, who were also believed to be his relatives, have been shifted to the DMCH. Further details were awaited.


Youth shot at
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 12
Hardeep Kumar a resident of the Bulandpur village was shot at by three youths late last evening. The youth was taken to the Civil Hospital and later admitted in the Oxford Hospital. The police has registered case under Section 307 of the IPC, according to DSP (R) Rajinder Singh. The youth is still unconscious. DSP (R) Rajinder Singh said that the incident took place allegedly due to quarrel among friends.


Govt assures MLA over BDS nominees’ issue
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 12
The Congress MLA and Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Joginder Singh Mann, today took up the issue of 22 MBBS/BDS candidates with the Punjab Medical Education and Research Minister and Deputy CM, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal,Punjab Chief Secretary, Jai Singh Gill and Secretary, Medical Education and Research Sarvesh Kaushal.

Mr Mann was assured by the government that it would stand by the students but would wait for the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Mann took up the issue after a delegation of the students, led by Harpreet Singh of Phagwara met him. He told this correspondent that he, alongwith other students, had appeared in PMT conducted by Baba Farid University of Health and Medical Science, Faridkot. He was allotted a BDS seat in Christian Dental College of CMC, Ludhiana.

He kept going there from September 26 to September 30 only to be told on the last day that the CDC had won a case in the Supreme Court and was not bound to give admission to Punjab government quota seats.

If some seats were left then these candidates could be accommodated the fees would be at Rs 1.70 lakh per annum instead of govt fee of Rs 55,000 disclosed Harpreet.

Mr Harpreet claimed that the Punjab government had assured them that the candidates would definitely be accommodated.


Freshers’ party at engg college
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 12
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), here organised a freshers' party to welcome the first year B.Tech students at Gaini Ditt Singh auditorium of the college.

More than 1000 students participated in the party. They danced amid pulsating lights and peppy music.

Former Punsup Chairman and college Member Secretary Kirpal Singh Libra presided over the function while college Principal D.S. Hira was the chief guest.

Mr Libra emphasised the need for cooperation among students and exhorted them to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Dr Hira said it was the duty of youth to preserve the rich culture and heritage of our country.

Gurbir Singh was declared Mr Fresher and Rajbir Kaur Ms Fresher. Manjeet Kaur Hira gave away the prizes to the winners.

Prof Gurpal Singh , Head of Computer Science Department, Prof Amritbir Singh, Dr Harpreet Singh, Prof I.P.S. Gill, Prof Lakhvir Singh, Prof Rajbahadur Singh, Prof Sandeepal Singh also spoke on the occasion.


Maharaja Aggarsain Chair sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 12
In a resolution adopted by the local Aggarwal Sabha at its meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Lovlesh Kumar Singal the sabha urged the Haryana Government to set up a chair in the name of Maharaja Aggarsain, founder of Aggarwal community, in Kurukshetra University. It asked the government to name the agricultural university at Hisar as Maharaja Aggarsain Agricultural University.

Giving this information here yesterday, Mr Ashi Goyal, office-secretary of the sabha, said that the sabha also asked the government to incorporate a chapter on the life and history of Maharaja Aggarsain in the syllabus books of various classes in its schools. It also sought heritage and holy city status for Agroha town.

Mr Goyal further said that the sabha also urged the Central Government to declare a national holiday on Maharaja Aggarsain Jayanti.

Mr Goyal asked that the sabha also got prepared pure silver coins in the memory of Maharaja Aggarsain and published a directory of local members of the Aggarwal community. He said the coins and the directory were available with the office of the sabha located at Aggarwal Bhavan here.

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