P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sukhbir not in fray for CM’s post: Dhindsa
Tribune News service

Patiala, October 17
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general, SAD, said here today that only Mr Parkash Singh Badal would be the SAD candidate for the post of Chief Minster after the next Assembly elections. He said Akali factions were welcome to join the party unconditionally to give a crushing defeat to the ruling Congress.

Mr Dhindsa, a former Union minister, was here to meet the family of slain judge Vijay Singh. Talking to mediapersons, he said Mr Badal had been putting in his best to protect interests of the state and the party would contest next elections under his leadership only.

For the past few months, rumours had been rife that Mr Dhindsa and Mr Badal were not having cordial relations and the change in the party leadership could take place any time.

A section of those who claimed themselves to be the think tank of the Congress government had also been trying to engineer a split in the party with an intention to take advantage of same in the next Assembly elections.

Mr Dhindsa, who met party functionaries in connection with party’s proposed dharna at Delhi on November 4, said the political opponents of SAD were spreading the word that Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal would be the next Chief Minister.

He, however, said if Mr Sukhbir Badal became the Chief Minister on the basis of his mass base, popularity and competence, no one should have objection to it. However, he added, so far Mr Badal had been running the affairs of party more energetically than the young leader.

He said Akali factions were having no importance in Punjab politics and hence these could not cause any damage to SAD in the elections.

But if any of these wanted to join SAD without any condition, doors for the same were open, he added.

He said the party would stage a dharna in Delhi to press the authorities concerned to punish those who had massacred Sikhs during the 1984 riots.


Punjab refuses more water to Chandigarh
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Punjab has refused to give more water to the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Informed sources said today that a decision of the Punjab Government headed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had been conveyed to the UT administration.

Sources said the UT Administration had asked for 40 cusecs of water from the Bhakra Canal in addition to the earlier 120 cusecs that flows to Chandigarh from Kajoli headworks, near Morinda, in Ropar district. In fact, to carry water to Chandigarh from Kajoli, a new pipeline had been added to the existing three pipelines, each having the capacity to carry 9 crore litres of water daily. In all six such pipelines are to be laid in phases.

A new controversy is expected to be kicked off because of Punjab’s refusal to give more water to Chandigarh.

Sources said there was no agreement between Punjab and Chandigarh for the supply of water from the Bhakra canal. Earlier, the state government had given 40 cusecs of water under pressure from the Union Government in the 70s. And later, it was increased to 120 cusecs by adding more pipelines. Around 12.5 per cent share from this water is utilised at Mohali.

Informed sources say Chandigarh has the highest per capita consumption of water. It has a per capita consumption of 342 litres of water, Bathinda 106 litres, Bangalore 123 litres and Ahmedabad 145 litres.

In fact, this issue has already taken a political dimension. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, had issued a warning against giving water to the Union Territory yesterday. He had threatened to make it a big issue. On the other hand, senior BJP leader and former MP, Mr Satpal Jain, has urged the Union Home Ministry to take up the issue of water supply with Capt Amarinder Singh.
Sources said the UT Administration had not given any money to Punjab for the water supply.However, Delhi Government is paying the money to Punjab for the supply of water from the Bhakra canal. In fact, even Punjab charges money from its farmers for supply of canal water to them for irrigation purpose.

Sources said Punjab had been giving water to Chandigarh without taking the Haryana Government into confidence. Haryana has a share in the Bhakra waters. There are a large number of villages in Punjab which have no potable water. They depend on local sources of water which is unfit for consumption and leads to various ailments because of high level of various metals in it.


Punjab Vidhan Sabha to discuss terrorism today
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will once again be face to face with each other as the State Vidhan Sabha is all set to witness a fierce debate on terrorism in Punjab on Tuesday afternoon.

It was on a suggestion of the Chief Minister that the Opposition accepted the offer to debate threadbare as to who all were responsible for the two-decade-long turbulence in the state which cost more than 20,000 lives besides wreaking havoc with social fabric as well as economy of the state.

Because of this debate, two important Bills — Lovely Professional University and Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Bill — may not get enough time for the second time tomorrow as on Friday it was decided to take them separately from the other legislative business because of their sensitivity and importance.

Tomorrow’s afternoon sitting for four and a half hours may not leave enough time for these Bills to be discussed.

Though the Business Advisory Committee has recommended two hours for the debate on terrorism, it is expected to stretch much beyond the limit. According to the programme after the zero hour and call attention motions, debate on terrorism will start. The possibility of the session being extended by another sitting cannot be ruled out.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh is expected to initiate the debate soon after the House takes up the call attention motions on procurement of both paddy and cotton. Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder are expected to join the debate on behalf of the Shiromani Akali while Mr Tikshan Sood (BJP) and Mr Sucha Singh Chhottepur (Independent) may be permitted to present their views on the subject.

For the Opposition, it will be left to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to make the final speech while the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will answer the debate.

In fact, both the Treasury benches and the Opposition have been doing a lot of home work in preparation for the final showdown on an emotive issue that refuses to die down. Earlier, the Speaker had ruled out any discussion on the Nanavati Commission report saying that both Houses of Parliament had already discussed it and the Prime Minister had tendered an apology and informed Parliament about action taken in the matter.

It is for the first time that the issue of terrorism will be discussed on the floor of the state legislature. It is certain that both sides will come fully prepared with documents and quotes.

So much so that some of the books written on terrorism in Punjab, including one by Mr Sarabjit Singh, a former Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar on Operation Black Thunder, was in great demand. Other books, newspaper clips, articles written by politicians, civil servants and academician on Punjab problem, too were being dug out from archives.


Kalkat to ask Centre to raise cotton MSP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
The issue of raising MSP of cotton in Punjab would be taken up at the national level, as input cost had shot up considerably due to large-scale sowing of Bt cotton, stated Dr GS Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Dr Kalkat was on a visit to the area as a part of team headed by National Farmers’ Commission Chairman Dr MS Swaminathan. The team visited a number of grain markets and farms to know about the problems of the farmers. Dr Swaminathan said there were grievances relating to grading, quality and pricing of cotton in the region, but they could be sorted out. Dr Kalkat said they came across cases of discoloured paddy at a couple of places and complaints of paddy not being procured.

He said the cotton belt had witnessed a sudden increase in sowing of Bt varieties this year. He admitted that the farmers were still being paid, based on input cost of J-34 varieties, which were sown long back.

The team visited the farm of Mr Jaswant Singh at Lehra Bega, who had sown different crops like potato, onion, and chilli over 200 to 300 acres of land. Interacting with the team members, he said if the government wanted to promote diversification then these crops, too, should also be brought under MSP scheme. He said the farmers were being supplied power at night, whereas they needed to irrigate their crop during the day. He said these were some of the reasons behind the farmers not willing to go for diversification. He also sought insurance of crops so as to avoid any losses in case of a natural calamity.

Sukhmandar Singh, another farmers, raised a question on the government authorising only Monsanto to sell its cotton seeds at a high rate of Rs 1,600 when better cotton seeds were available in the market at cheaper prices. He said most of the farmers had got spurious cotton seeds and the government should ensure that they get genuine seeds at right prices in future.

A group of farmers said the government agencies were not procuring the farmers’ agricultural produce in time and private buyers were looting them. They said the compensation being given to them for crop damage was based on 25-year-old price index, while input costs had increased manifold. They said the government should stop making a mockery of farmers by sending them cheques of as low as Rs 20, for encashing which they need to open a bank account by paying Rs 500. They demanded that to avert any scam, samples of foodgrains kept in godowns be checked after every six months.

Other members of the team included Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture Department, Mr Atul Sinha, Member Secretary, Dr Y.S. Nanda, Member, Commission, and Dr Major Singh Brar, Joint Director, Agriculture Department.

BARNALA: The team of the National Commission on Farmers also paid a visit to Ghunas and Rasoolpur villages on Monday where it listened to the farmers’ grievances.

At Ghunas village, the team was received by Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, Chief Agriculture Development Officer, Sangrur district, and Dr Dalip Chand Malhi, Agriculture Development Officer, Barnala. Progressive farmers drew the attention of the team towards inadequate power supply being offered to them.

Mr Swaminathan and the team visited Rasoolpur village to see a jhinga fish farm. There Mr Zora Singh Thind, SDM, Barnala, Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, president, Punjab Khetiwadi Kisan Vikas Front, and a progressive farmer from Harigarh, Mr Joginder Singh, apprised the team of various problems being faced by farmers.


Cotton sells above MSP
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
Cotton prices today crossed the MSP of Rs 1,835 in the region with exporters making brisk purchase. However, experts caution that “bubble may burst anytime”, as exporters would not pay any higher and instead adopt wait and watch approach.

Talking to The Tribune, the Chairman of Export Cell of North India Cotton Corporation, Mr Ashok Kapoor, said enthused at the rising cotton prices, a section of farmers and factory owners were holding back their stock expecting to earn more in the coming days, but their move might boomerang, as arrival at present pace would lead to a glut in the market and subsequent decline in prices.

However, a decline in arrival would boost the prices further, but it would not sustain for a long as exporters were already becoming reluctant to make purchase. He said factory owners were making the most of the situation, as they were in thick of things and understood the market better. He said the trend would not last long, as the prices had already reached upper end and exporters could not quote prices as per the expectations of the cotton growers.

Mr Kapoor said another factor contributing to the surge in cotton prices was that it was available only in this part of the country at the moment and the whole demand had to be met from this region.

Other factors playing vital role were improved quality of cotton, good supply line, suitable prices and fresh stock.


Implement crop insurance scheme in Punjab, says BJP Kisan Morcha
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
The Bharatiya Janta Party’s Kisan Cell Punjab unit today asked the Punjab government to implement crop insurance scheme in the state to protect interests of the farmers.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Surjeet Kumar Jyani, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha, said after the implementation of crop insurance scheme in the state, the farmers would not commit suicide as they would get sufficient amount from the insurance of damaged crop due to any disease to the crop or bad weather.

Mr Jyani added several farmers had committed suicide during the regime of Capt Amarinder Singh. He said the government should waive loan of all farmers, who had committed suicide due to inability to repay loan. Besides, the government should also give a job to a member of the family of the deceased farmer, he added.

Mr Jyani also said all farmers should be given MSP of the paddy for their produce and those farmers who had sold their paddy below the MSP should be compensated by the government. He also asked the government to pay compensation to those farmers who had suffered losses due to damage to standing paddy crop this season.

Mr Jyani also said he and some other members of the kisan morcha today visited the local Grain Market to take stock of the paddy procurement and saw filling of procured paddy in partially damaged gunny bags there. He said after that a deputation of the Kisan Morcha, led by him, met the Deputy Commissioner here, and brought this to his notice. He also demanded a Vigilance inquiry into the use of partially damaged bags for filling paddy in the grain markets.


PSEB move on illegal jhuggis suffers setback
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 17
The move by the PSEB to get vacated illegal jhuggis built in the restricted area of the thermal plant here suffered a setback. Even as services of 650 daily wagers were regularised recently on the condition that those staying in jhuggis would vacate these, only less than half of jhuggis have been vacated by so far, while others have expressed their unwillingness to do the needful.

Senior officials of thermal plant on Friday persuaded the leaders of the workers staying in the jhuggis to vacate the place. But even after much efforts, only 230 workers have vacated these.

The employees, whose services have been regularised, had left the jhuggis but the rest of the jhuggis were occupied by the workers employed by the contractor in thermal plant and they did not want to leave the place, said the sources.

At least 700 labourers are still reportedly staying in these jhuggis situated in the various areas of the thermal plant shifting tower, gate No 9, main gate, coal handling plant and also near Dyke-stage one.

The labourers had built jhuggis during the construction of the thermal plant and subsequently some more workers employed with contractors also built jhuggis, said the sources.

Earlier, serious concern was felt over the mushrooming of the illegal jhuggis in the restricted area of the thermal plant by the senior official of the PSEB.

About three years ago, the ADGP (PSEB) had directed the thermal plant authorities to shift the jhuggis to an alternate site, fearing security risk. A report in this regard had also been submitted to the ADGP (Intelligence), Punjab, and the Chairman of the PSEB.

When contacted, senior functionary of the thermal plant said that the matter regarding vacating the jhuggis was pending for the past few years. “Now we have made efforts and those made regular had vacated the restricted area. It will take some time and effort to get the rest of the area vacated,” he added.


USA passes anti-hate crime law
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 17
In a development which can have far reaching implications for the Sikh diaspora, the US House of Representatives has passed the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Hate Crime Prevention Act (LLEEA). The Bill was approved with 223 votes for and 199 against as an amendment to the Children’s Safety Act of 2005.

Welcoming the new law Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) told The Tribune today this law popularly known as LLEEA was intended to strengthen the ability of federal, state and local governments to investigate and prosecute hate crime based on race, ethnic background, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. The Bill will help the state and the local anti-bias efforts by enabling the Justice Department to assist them in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. The Bill will also allow the federal government greater ability to aid the local and state agency efforts in prosecuting, investigating and preventing hate crime.

A number of Sikh organisations like the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF), Sikh coalition and the American chapter of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) have been lobbying for the passage of such a law. “Hate violence is rooted in prejudice and is meant to intimidate entire communities”, said Mirin Kaur, president, SALDEF.

According to Prof Jagmohan Singh, the House Bill had strong bipartisan support and was endorsed by more than 175 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organisations.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said it was surprising that the Indian Government had not done anything to prevent hate crimes against the Sikhs and other minorities. For the past 50 years, ethnic people had been suffering the onslaught of the state but no such law had been passed.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said it was ironical that while progressive democracies were passing such laws, the Indian authorities appeared indifferent to stop hatred filled venomous speeches of leaders like Pravin Togadia.

He disclosed that the Akali Dal (Amritsar) had pointed out to the then Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, in 2003 when the law was introduced in the US House of Representatives. “We had urged the government to bring in similar legislation, but nothing was done by them or by the successive Congress Government,” he said.


‘Kesh’ shorning case: Natwar talks to Malaysian envoy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
Incident of forcible cutting hair of three Sikhs in Malaysia by their employer, was taken up by Minister of External Affairs, K. Natwar Singh with the Malaysian High Commission.

The SGPC in a communication had expressed resentment over the insult meted to Sikhs to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take up case that occurred in July.

One of the aggrieved had reportedly revealed their Malaysia’s employer forcibly cut their hair when they first arrived in that country from India.

He had reported that their employer had forbidden them from wearing a turban and had not paid their dues for four months and confiscated their passports and beat them up when they demanded salaries.

The three were reportedly among the 16 persons brought to Malaysia by a local company to “Erred telecommunication towers”. The three alleged that they were taken to a room and were ‘held down by two men while a third cut their hair.’

The three thereafter quit jobs and complained to the Indian High Commission in Malaysia and Malaysian authorities.

Following this a case was lodged with the Labour Department.

Mr Natwar Singh assured SGPC Bibi Jagir Kaur that the case was being actively pursued with the Malaysian authorities.

However, he admitted that the matter was pending in the court for quiet sometime now.

Citing a reason for this delay, Mr Natwar Singh stated that the accused employer was seeking repeated postponements of the hearings, pleading ill-health.


Pak MPs attend Mohan Singh mela
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 17
A former Pakistani Prime Minister, Ms Benazir Bhutto, would soon return to active politics in Pakistan and spearhead the campaign of Pakistani People’s Party ( PPP) in the general election, revealed a Member of National Assembly, Pakistan, Mr Khalid Iqbal Memon, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Mr Memon, along with three other Assembly members, Ms Shakeela Khanum Rashida, Ms Shameena Khalid Khurki and Ms Tahira Asif was here today to participate in 27th Prof. Mohan Singh International festival being organised here.

In the delegation which reached here today besides Mr Khalid, Ms Shameena Khurki and Ms Shakeela Khanum belong to the PPP whereas Ms Tahira Asif belongs to Pakistan Muslim League (Q). Mr Memon said the PPP had demanded that the general elections in Pakistan should be held next year. He added that Ms Bhutto was aware of all the political developments in Pakistan and took keen interest in running the day-to-day affairs of the party.

He said that the people of Pakistan were keen to improve and friendly ties with India.

About the issue of opening of Hussainiwala-Kasur border, Ms Shameena said that the people of Pakistan wanted more land routes to open for transit and trade. They would raise a demand in Pakistani Assembly to include this issue in talks agenda with India.

Ms Tahira Asif who belonged to the Treasury Bench, said that Pakistan had welcomed and already accepted aid from the Indian Government for quake victims but there were conflicting opinions and some technical problems on the issue to allow Indian troops to cross over the LoC and help quake victims in PoK.

She said that in order to boost the trade with India, several new commodities were being added in the list of goods to be exported and imported with India. She asserted that there had been a great change in the policies of the Pakistani Government towards India. Now, both the countries were on the threshold of embarking on a life-long relationship with each other in the interest of the people of both countries.


Punjab artistes shine in Greek folk festival
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 17
Punjabi folk artistes in colourful traditional folk dresses and colourful turbans were seen for the first time in Lefkas Islands of Greece during the 43rd Lefkas International Festival of folk dances lastmonth. The Punjab artistes were the "cynosure of all eyes.

The performances by members of the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council (PCPC) led by city-based lecturer Mr Davinder Singh Chhina, left a deep impression on thousands of Greek spectators, foreign visitors and more than 1000 folk artistes from around the world, who had attended this festival.

The Mayor of Lefkas ,Mr George Gligoris,termed the PCPC as a remarkable ensemble of the festival and appreciated and commended PCPC on behalf of the cultural centre of the Municipality of Lefkas. PCPC Director Davinder Singh Chhina presented a photograph of Golden Temple to the festival organisers, Mr Kostas Vayenas and Ms Ionna Phillipas, who installed the Golden Temple Photo in the cultural centre of the Municipality of Lefkas.

Mr Kostas told the PCPC folk artists that India had got representation in this world festival after a span of 25 years. Punjab's troupe included international drummer Mr Bansi Lal , Bhangra choreographer Rajpal Singh Raju (Ludhiana), Bikramjit Singh Bikky (Kapurthala) and two female folk artists Manpreet Kaur and Naminder Kaur (students of Govt Senior Secondary School, Chhenewal Kalan, Distt Sangrur).

There were more than 1000 folk artistes, from Costa Rica, France, Italy, Bosnia, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Israel Greece, South Africa , Syria , Bulgaria, Turkey etc, Even the Greek youngsters were so excited to see Punjab's Bhangra, Malrai Gidha and Jhoomer, that Greek students Noda Roohi, Isidora, Denesis joined Punjab troupe on every festival stage in traditional Punjabi (Costumes) folk dresses and performed Punjab's dances, much to the delight of the audience.

Another Punjabi folk artiste from Leftkas Mr Gurcharan Singh also collaborated to produce thrilling and vibrant folk dances of Punjab.

Punjab's International folk artists were a hit with the audience during the folk parades and during performances in the open air theatre.


With pvt education, healthcare, Punjab no welfare state: Dullo
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 17
The Health Department would recruit 1375 doctors, before March 2006, said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, while addressing a press conference here today. He was here to preside over the state-level Maharishi Balmiki Parkash Utsav function organised by the District Administration in collaboration with the Balmiki Sabha Punjab.

Answering a query, he said that there was no controversy between the state Finance Minister and PPCC president Mr Dullo over the working of state Vigilance Department. He said that Mr Dullo was right that agency should be given free hand in investigation. He said that he would talk to FM in this regard.

Answering to another question, he said that a Central team was on a visit to Punjab and after study, it would announce concession for rice mill industry. He also said that the police has got clues in the murder of Vijay Singh a UT Judge murdered in Patiala. He also the said the government had started the process to appoint Lok Pal. He said the government had also earmarked Rs 886 crore for a special component plan.

He also announced to set up Chairs in Punjab and Guru Nanak Dev University on Maharishi Balmiki.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, PPCC, who was also present at the function, said that if the government privatised the health and education departments, how could we call it a welfare state.

He urged the CM to start recruitment in government departments, abolition of octroi, implementation of 85th Amendment, clearing the backlog in promotions, allotment of 5 marla plots to Dalits. He also demanded to provide free sewerage and water supply.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, and MLA, Sirhind and Mr Sadhu Singh Darmsot, Parliamentary Secretary, and MLA, Amloh, demanded funds for the Municipal Councils of Sirhind, Bassi Pathana and Amloh.

The Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 3 crore for Sirhind Municipal Council, Rs 36 lakh for Bassi Pathana and Rs 35 lakh for Amloh council. He also announced Rs 25 lakh for these three councils from his own discretionary funds. He also announced to construct a railway over bridge at Brahman Majra, Sirhind at the cost of Rs 5 crore.

Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, thanked the CM for giving Rs 1 crore for Ramtirath.

Mr Raj Kumar Verka, Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Sadhu Singh, Parliamentary Secretary, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner and Dr Sikandar Singh also addressed. 


Illegal mining poses threat to canal branch
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, October 17
Illegal mining is posing a threat to the Shah canal branch, in the Hajipur area. Illegal miners, allegedly in connivance with local panchayats, are resorting to stone mining dangerously close to the canal branch.

They have already removed earth from over 100m-wide stretch close to the canal.

The practice is weakening the banks of the canal. It is also alleged that the operation is being carried out under political patronage.

Local irrigation officials have been writing to the district administration and other authorities concerned regarding the mining and threat being posed by it in the past.

They have warned that the canal can get damaged in case the mining is allowed to continue. They have also demanded criminal action against those involved in illegal mining. However, no action has been taken by the authorities concerned or the district administration.

When The Tribune team visited the area, the mining was still on.

The panchayats of Dhamian, Kulian Labana and Dagan villages had been accused by the irrigation officials of allowing mining in their common lands.

The sources said the panchayats concerned had not given any information regarding the mining from their common lands to the local Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO).

They had also not been depositing the revenue earned from the mining.

The canal is vital for irrigation in the Kandi area of Mukerian sub-division.

It originates from Pong Dam in Talwara.


Residents concerned over deteriorating law and order
Chander Parkash & Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Despite the fact that more than 96 hours have passed ever since the murder of senior judge Vijay Singh, residents of the city are still gripped by a fear psychosis about the security aspect.

The brutal murder in the high-security area has raised many a question about the safety concerns of the common man.

A cross section of residents interviewed by The Tribune said their main concern was if a person of the rank of an Additional District Session Judge could be so brutally murdered and that too near the Chief Minister’s residence, what would be the fate of the common man who did not have security.

The murder has become the talk of the town and the residents could be seen discussing the issue.

The delay on the part of the police to solve the case has also been adding to the fear of the residents. Mr Partap Inder Singh Phulka, secretary-general, ex-servicemen wing of the SAD, said the murder proved that the law and order in the town was deteriorating.

The BSP, Punjab unit, in a press note, claimed that incidence of murders was on the increase and added that the police had failed to check such incidents. Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth, its secretary, said the police stood as a mute spectator to the deteriorating law and order situation in the town.

Mr Dalip Singh Pandi, a former Akali minister, said the murder was a proof to establish the fact that there was no government existing in the state.


Priest in search of justice
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 17
Sri Chand, a priest of Hanuman Temple of Tillanwali village in the subdivision has been running from pillar to post for about more than three months seeking justice from the police and civil administration. Having failed to get any respite the priest had started an indefinite fast on October 10. Earlier too he had staged a dharna at the village temple for one month.

Sri Chand, his wife and brother have alleged that a resident of a Shahatirwala village took household articles and cash from his shop by threatening his minor son Mukesh Kumar, who had been managing the shop for the past one year. After some time the person handed over gold earrings to his son in a bid to settle the account.

On July 22 Sri Chand lodged a complaint of cheating against the alleged accused at Khui Khera police under the subdivision. Since the police reportedly took no action in this regard, Sri Chand again sent telegraphic complaints and also met the police officials concerned personally, but to no avail. He also filed his complaint in an open darbar before the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Abohar, on August 11, upon which the ADC directed the SHO, Khui Khera police station to take necessary action.

Sri Chand also filed a complaint before the Punjab Human Rights Commission on September 3, which in turn sought a report from the Home Department and Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepore. Despite all these efforts Sri Chand did not get justice. He then sat on a fast in the temple complex on September 10. He has reportedly lost 8 kg in one month.

Ram Piari and Ram Kumar, brother of Sri Chand, have also threatened an indefinite fast.


Judge’s murder: police clueless
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Even after four days the police has failed to make breakthrough into the murder case of Mr Vijay Singh, a senior judicial officer.

The special investigation team (SIT) constituted to solve the case has questioned 100 persons, including some social figures. Raids by the police at different places in connection with the murder have been continuing.

There was no eyewitness to the crime, which took place at 11 p.m. at a place at a stone’s throw from New Moti Bagh residence of Capt Amarinder Singh. “We are working on other things which cannot be disclosed at this stage,” pointed out Mr V.K. Bhawra adding that apart from SIT, senior police functionaries were also on the job.


Govt depts fail to pay power bills
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
Despite good financial health of the state, as per the Chief Minister and ministers of Punjab, the government still seems unable to make funds available to various government departments to pay electricity bills worth lakhs.

As on September 30, electricity bills worth more than Rs 82 lakh were yet to be paid to the Sangrur division of the PSEB by various government departments. These included the district jail, the Punjab Police and the Health Department.

As per information gathered by The Tribune, the Health Department is on the top of the list of defaulters. It has to pay Rs 27 lakh to the PSEB against 13 electricity connections. Out of this, two electricity bills, worth around Rs 22 lakh, are pending towards the Sangrur Civil Hospital. Three bills, worth around Rs 5 lakh, are pending towards the Bhawanigarh SMO.

The Sangrur district jail has to pay three electricity bills worth more than Rs 23 lakh. Electricity bills of about Rs 10 lakh are pending towards the Police Department.

The Public Health Department is also on the list of defaulters as it has yet to pay more than Rs 14 lakh against 20 connections to the PSEB Sangrur division. The electricity bill of the suburban subdivision of the Public Health Department alone is around Rs 5 lakh.

Other government departments and offices that have yet to be pay their electricity bills include Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (Rs 3.85 lakh); Tehsildar Mandir (Rs 2.05 lakh); PWD rest house (32,000).


Foetus found
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Residents of Albela Sarai area, near Lahori Gate, here were shocked to find that a packet that a stray dog was carrying around contained a human foetus. The police of Division No 4 were informed of the happening and they reached the spot to make inquiries. The female foetus was approximately of seven months.

The dog was seen lugging around a bulky packet in the extremely busy market and residential area. After it was shooed away, to everyone’s shock fully formed foetus was found wrapped in cotton wool. The police made inquiries but not much could be ascertained as to where the dog had brought it from.

This comes in the wake of recent raids conducted by the health department against many ultrasound centres to check female foeticide. A few weeks back raids were conducted at Aggarwal ultrasound centre in the Factory Area, here, while two other centres were raided at Samana and Rajpura, respectively. Improper disposal and dumping by many hospitals and nursing homes has also been in the news recently.


From pillar to post to get his weapon back
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 17
Mr Gurmukh Singh Sandhu, a retired college lecturer and a resident of Pandora Mohalla area, has been running from pillar to post to get back his licensed .32 bore revolver, which he had deposited for safe custody with a Garhshanker based arms dealer, Doaba Gun House, in 1987.

While narrating his tale of woes, Mr Sandhu, said he was holding a valid license for keeping the weapon since 1972.

The weapon was kept in safe custody and the rent for the same was paid up to April 23,1991 to the proprietors of Doaba Gun House.

But, when on May 1, 1993, Mr Sandhu approached the dealer for getting his revolver back, he refused.

He alleged that an FIR was registered against the father-son duo under Section 406 of the IPC at Garhshanker.

Various reminders were also submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur and the DSP, Garhshanker, but to no avail.


Valmiki Jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 17
Valmiki Jayanti was celebrated with religious fervour here on Monday. Functions were held at various temples.

The local MLA-cum-Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, was among those who attended the congregations.

Shobha yatras at Hadiabad and Phagwara were taken out. Tableaux highlighting life and teachings of Valmiki were also put up.

On a call of the Bhagwan Valmiki Sevak Sudhar Sabha and the Bhagwan Valmiki Dharam Samaj, deepmala was being done by Valmikis at the rooftops of their houses.


Another farmer commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
Mr Harmeet Singh, (45) a debt-ridden farmer hailing from Singo village, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree last night.

According to sources, the deceased had three four acres of land that he had sold for fighting election of sarpanch and also due to agricultural losses in the past. He was engaged in contract farming this year and had sown cotton over an acre of land. Sources said he had plucked cotton twice, but didn’t get fair price for it. He was upset over his rising debt and poor returns from farming. Unable to bear burden of debt, he took the extreme step last night.

He leaves a wife, a son and a daughter, both of marriageable age. His was handed over to his family members after a post-mortem examination. 


8 of family killed in collision with Army truck
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 17
Eight members of a family, including a three-month-old girl child were killed as the jeep they were travelling in, collided headon with an Army truck in neighbouring Sriganganagar yesterday. The victims were on a pilgrimage. Eight other occupants of the jeep were injured, one of them was in a critical condition.

Fifteen persons of Sahuwala village were going in a jeep (RJ 13 U 0276) yesterday. An Army truck, reportedly trying to overtake a civil truck, hit the jeep headon near a petrol station on the NH-15, killing seven passengers on the spot. The jeep was badly damaged and those injured had to be dragged out from the mangled vehicle. The victims were identified as Kamla Devi, wife of Krishan Lal, Sunita Rani, wife of Mukesh Kumar, Dhapan Bai, Rameshwari Devi, Sushila, wife of Rakesh Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, son of Daulat Ram, Sham Sunder, son of Krishan Lal, Guddi, wife of Ram Kumar and Aarti, the girl infant. The victims belonged to Jaat community.

The bodies were today cremated at Sahuwala village after post-mortem at a Sriganganagar hospital. The district authorities gave immediate relief of Rs 10,000 each for the dead to next of the kin of those killed and Rs 5,000 for treatment of each of the injured. A case was registered against the driver of the Army truck, the police said.


Excise men shoot at smugglers’ car; 1 dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 17
Members of the Sansi community staged a dharna and blocked traffic for about half-anhour at Kurala on Jalandhar-Pathankot road in this district this afternoon following a car accident in which leader, son of Tarsem Lal of Sunny Velly (Himachal Pradesh), died on the spot, which Goldy, son of Mohan Lal of Tanda, was seriously injured.

Members of the Sansi community alleged that some employees of a Excise Contractor along some staff members of the Excise Department were chasing a Maruti car (PB-07-1648) in which Leader and Goldy were travelling. They fired on the tyres of car due to which one of the car tyres of burst. As a result the driver lost control of the car and it rammed into a tree. The sansis were demanding registration of a case against the employees concerned of the Excise Contractor.

On assurance by Mr H.S. Randhawa, DIG, Border Range, who was passing by, they lifted the dharna and blockade.

According to police sources, the Excise Department had organised a naka near Tanda to check the smuggling of liquor in the area. On seeing the naka, Leader and Goldy who were coming Maruti with illicit liquor U-turned the car and speeded up. The naka party then chased the car. Near Kurala the car rammed into a tree after the tyre burst. Leader died on the spot and Goldy was seriously wounded. Leader was first taken to Civil Hospital Tanda from where he was referred to a Jalandhar hospital. He succumbed to his injuries on the way.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said that soon after the accident, on receiving information, the DSP Dasuya had reached the spot. On the assurance of the DSP the sansis had lifted the blockade. Mr Angra further said that after investigation action would be taken against the culprit.


2 BSNL officers booked for SDO’s suicide
Our Correspondent

Pathankot October 17
For the alleged suicide of SDO Gulshan Kumar, working with the BSNL office here the police has booked two senior functionaries of the department for forcing him to commit suicide.

The booked have been identified as DTE vigilance BSNL Bachiter Singh and S.D.O (vigilance) Vijay Kumar Gupta. The victim reportedly committed suicide by consuming poisonous substance on the night of June 21 this year. The officers have been booked under Section 306 of the IPC. No arrest has been made.

The police reportedly recovered a “suicide note” from the deceased. The victim in suicide note has levelled serious allegations against the accused. The accused had allegedly been demanding money to hush up an inquiry against the victim.

Earlier the widow of the victim, Simran, had not blamed any one after the suicide of the victim and the police closed the case under Section 174 of the Cr. P.C.

On the very next day she complained and sought the registration of a case against persons who drove her husband to commit suicide. An inquiry was ordered by the SSP and after the inquiry report a case was registered.


2 die in accident
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
Two persons died after a bus, coming from Bathinda rammed into a tractor-trailer near Chetak park here on the Barnala road today morning. Of the two occupants of tractor, identified as Mohinder Singh and Jeeto, one died on the spot while other succumbed to injuries at local Civil Hospital.

The driver and conductor of the bus received multiple injuries and were rushed to Civil Hospital. One girl passenger of the bus also suffered minor injuries. A case under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Cantonment Police Station.


No arrest so far in ragging case

Jalandhar, October 17
Even after six days of suicide by Amit Sahai, a student of Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) allegedly due to intensive ragging by the senior students, no arrest has been made so far.

Since the suicide note has been sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh to authenticate the handwriting of the deceased, any action against the accused students will be taken only after getting report of the laboratory, said Mr Tulsi Ram, Superintendent of Police, Government Railway Police, here today. — PTI


Many held for burglary
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 17
The police has rounded up a number of persons in connection with the case of burglary that took place here yesterday.

The DSP, Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, visited the house of Mr Sant Singh and talked to members of the family. He even questioned neighbours regarding the incident.

Thieves had decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees from the house of Mr Sant Singh. The family was making preparations for the wedding of a son which was to take place on November 5.


Professional varsity Bill violates SC order: FDO
Tribune News Service

Amritsar , October 17
In a letter to Governor-cum-Chancellor, the Finance and Development Officer (FDO) of Guru Nanak Dev University, today claimed that incorporation of Lovely Professional University Bill 2000, presented in the current session of Punjab Legislative Assembly, was in gross violation of the directives of the apex court.

In a five-page letter, addressed to the Governor, Mr Varinder Pal, FDO, today urged that “Before this Bill becomes an Act, I, as an academic administrator and a conscientious citizen of India, deem it my duty to bring to your notice the alleged irregularity and illegality of the Bill in view of the historic judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India on February 11, 2005, whereby the incorporation and establishment of as many as 117 private Universities created by the state of Chattisgarh was declared null and void”.

Mr Varinder Pal alleged that, “As an insider from the Guru Nanak Dev University, I can vouchsafe that for all courses for which the Lovely Institute sought affiliation from the University, it violated all norms and rules as enshrined in the University Statues for maintaining academic excellence”.

However, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, said that Lovely Institute had not violated any norms, established by the University so far.

The draft of the Lovely Professional University Bill as placed in the state Assembly confers powers upon the trustees of this professional university to appoint chancellor, vice-chancellor and all academic staff without interference from the government. “What sort of academic excellence and the atmosphere of advanced research would be undertaken in this future seat of higher learning can be gauged from the manner in which the Lovely Institutes are being run”, the missive to Governor reads.

Mr Varinder Pal’s letter further reads, “Parliament alone is competent to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India and the legislature of a state may make laws for the whole or any part of the state.” Therefore, for the state Assembly to confer a university of the state of Punjab to have extra territorial jurisdiction would also be ultra vires the Constitution of India.


Manipal team wins inter-varsity quiz
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
The Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, was declared winner, while Kannur University, Kerala, finished runners-up and host Guru Nanak Dev University, Aligarh Muslim University and Devi Ahilya University, Indore, stood bracketed third in the All-India Inter-University National Quiz Contest on the role of youth in combating HIV/AIDS and other health issues, here today.

Jiwaji University, Gwalior, and Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag, were jointly declared fourth.

The quiz was sponsored by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and the National AIDS Control Organisation. Noted quiz master Prof S. Bhatacharia conducted the quiz.

Earlier, 16 teams from four zones took part in the preliminary round of the quiz. Out of these, seven were selected for the final round.

The AIU secretary-general, Dr Dayanand Dongonkar, and Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, were also present on the occasion.

The valedictory function will be held tomorrow and the Dr S.P. Singh will give away prizes to the winners.


Zonal youth fest at Mohindra college
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
The Zonal Youth Festival of Punjabi University, Patiala, began at Government Mohindra College here today. The competitions were divided in three sessions. The focus of the evening competitions was on gidha and group songs.

Students from various colleges of the Patiala zone competed in the disciplines of group shabads, songs, classical dance, on the spot painting and clay modelling.

The results of first day’s competitions:

Group shabad/ bhajan: University campus, Patiala 1, Government College for Girls, Patiala 2.

Geet/Gazal: Khalsa College, Patiala 1, Modi College, Patiala 2.

Classical Dance: University campus, Patiala 1, Government College for Girls, Patiala 2.

On the spot painting: Government Mohindra College, Patiala 1, State College of Education, Patiala 1, University campus, Patiala 2, Khalsa College, Patiala 2.

Rangoli: Government College for Girls, Patiala 1, Khalsa College, Patiala 1, Punjab College of Education, Raipur 2, Sri Guru Harkishan College of Management and Technology, Patiala 2.

Clay modelling: Government College for Girls, Patiala 1, University campus, Patiala 1, Government Mohindra College, Patiala 2, Khalsa College, Patiala 2.

Gidha: Government Physical College, Patiala 1, Government Mohindra College, Patiala 2.


Teachers resent election duty
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 17
The Democratic Teachers Front has alleged that the civil administration is violating the guidelines issued by the Principal Secretary, Education, Punjab.

The district unit of the front held a meeting at Nehru Park here this afternoon. Mr Sushil Dhawan, district president of the organisation, said the civil administration had been restrained by the Principal Secretary from deputing the teaching staff on election work.

However, election officers here had forced teachers to enlist houses during the first phase of revision of electoral rolls last month. Now again, teachers had been directed to go door to door from October 19 to revise the voters’ list.

The front demanded that vacancies in all categories in government schools be filled.


School hours changed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 17
Working hours of all Government primary and senior secondary schools have been changed in Punjab with effect from today.

Stating a spokesperson of the Education Department said here today that all primary schools of the state will open from 9 am to 2 pm and senior secondary schools from 9 am to 3 pm from today.

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