P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD notice to House Sectt, DD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
In what it described as its “bid to stop the Congress from misusing the official media for dangerously communalising the Punjab atmosphere for political gains through a prejudiced telecast of the militancy debate”, the Shiromani Akali Dal today issued notice to the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat, the Punjab Government, Doordarshan and the Punjab Today channel asking them to “refrain from the selective telecast of the proceedings of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha”.

The notice, signed by five MLAs belonging to the party, stated that the proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha were the property of the House and could not be used by an individual or by an organisation without the prior approval of the House or the Speaker.

The matter, said the notice, involved various rules of business of the House, including Rule 108 under which the proceedings had to be recorded and published under the supervision and guidance of the Speaker. The signatories to the notice were Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Jathedar Tota Singh, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra and Mr Des Raj Dhugga.

Dubbing the government’s “desperate action” as a last-ditch ploy of a frustrated Chief Minister to divert public attention from the failures of his government, the SAD secretary, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said his party would mobilise public opinion against the attempts of the Chief Minister and the Congress to reopen old wounds and inject bitterness and tension into the atmosphere for the promotion of Congress interests.

Alleging that Capt Amarinder Singh, through his minions, had supplied a selective version of the proceedings of the House and would have censored all that was unpalatable to him, the notice warned: “Should you go ahead with the telecast, you will have directly rendered yourself liable for breach of privilege of the House, besides attracting penal action under various provisions of the law. Neither the CM nor his men will be able to do anything about it.”


SAD flays govt, Speaker on telecast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today criticised the Punjab Public Relations Department for allegedly acting as an extension counter for the Congress party’s smear campaign against Punjabis in general and the Sikhs and the SAD in particular through the prejudiced telecast of the Vidhan Sabha debate on militancy in Punjab.

The party also objected to the refusal of the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Dr Kewal Krishan, to intervene effectively to put a stop to the gross misuse of the proceedings of the House for disturbing peace and harmony by dividing people along communal lines.

The SAD’s stand that hundreds of crores of rupees in public money was being squandered on carrying out communal propaganda aimed at putting the blame on the Akalis for the decade-long bloodshed of innocent Punjabis and Sikhs had been vindicated, said the party general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, here today. He was referring to the advertisements of the Public Relations Department on the repeat telecast of the Congress viewpoint on the Vidhan Sabha debate on terrorism on the Jalandhar Kendra of Doordarshan.

“If the Chief Minister was confident about his own performance and the correctness of the stand of the Congress during the bloody days of militancy in Punjab, he should have shown the moral and political courage of arranging a simultaneous telecast of the Opposition’s presentation of the case on the issue as well. Clearly, he does not want the people to know the whole truth and is interested only in selling and spreading canards through this selective exercise. It is obvious that the Congress has a lot to hide and the Chief Minister is helping it do it,” said Mr Sukhbir Badal.

The general secretary further said that the telecast amounted to “an ineffectual demon beating his wings in the void because every Punjabi knew that the bloodshed in Punjab was the outcome of the devious conspiracies of the Congress leaders in its bid to divide the country along communal lines for petty political gains”.

He said documentary evidence was placed on the record of the Vidhan Sabha showing how central agencies, acting at the behest of “nationalist leaders”, organised murder and mayhem through gangs of hired goons in Punjab. The Chief Minster failed to contradict any of these documents during the course of his reply.

Mr Badal also raised questions about the legality and constitutional propriety behind the Speaker’s refusal to intervene. “The proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha as well as the record thereof is the property of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and cannot be used for political purposes. It can certainly not be used without the permission of the House and its Speaker in sponsored programmes.”


Computer shops warned against violating press Act
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 22
The district authorities warned the owners of computer shops here last evening warned that they were not entitled to do printing work as it was in violation of the press Act.

It had been brought to the notice of the district authorities that certain computer operators were printing handbills, posters, invitation cards etc and were giving their addresses on such material also. While reminding them that it was illegal, the administration warned that strict action would be initiated against those who violate the press Act in future.

Sources said that some of the owners of printing presses here had recently made a representation to the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, through the local authorities, complaining that the computer shops were working not only against the financial interests of the complainants but also violated the press Act. The Deputy Commissioner was requested to take action against the offenders as Divali season was in the offing.

Such computer centers were charging less than the prevailing market rates and this hurt the business prospects of the printing presses.

But some local residents, today in a letter to the Home Secretary Punjab, expressed surprise over this act of the administration and claimed that none of the Deputy Commissioners, during the last five years, had taken action against small newspapers being published in the district in violation of the Registrar of Newspapers Act, popularly known as the press Act. Such newspapers were still being published though the Registrar of Newspapers, Ministry of Information; New Delhi had frozen their titles seven years back and asked the District Magistrate to get their publication stopped.

Mr Ramesh Kathuria, a resident of Prem Nagar here, lodged a complaint to the district authorities against illegal publication of a newspaper in 2001. The then SDM Mr Sumer Singh conducted inquiry and sent his report to the Deputy Commissioner. The DC had returned the report with remarks that it was confusing, responsibility must be fixed in clear terms. The new incumbent Mr Darshan Singh Grewal reinvestigated the complaint by summoning the persons concerned and filed the final report with the office of the DC. No action was taken.

A clerk of the M/A branch concerned in the office of the DC had also been arrested red handed for allegedly accepting illegal gratification from an applicant for forwarding the papers for publication of newspapers. The procedure had been made “tough” due to insurgency of terrorism in Punjab.

Copies of the complaints were dispatched to the Home Secretary and Registrar of Newspapers also but none responded, the complainants said. Such newspapers either carried fake print line or names of the printing presses which did not figure in the declarations made before the District Magistrate under the Act, the complainants added.


Frescoes whitewashed

Amritsar, October 22
The frescoes of the Chitta Akhara, near Harmandar Sahib have been given a lick of paint. Intricately carved doors and windows have also been brightened up with green paint.

The two-and-a-half century old udasi cult Akhara had visitors from the Kamla Raheja Vidiyanidi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIAES), Mumbai. The upkeep dismayed them. Anuj Rao and Revathi Nagrajan, both students of the KRVIAES said the paint had damaged the frescoes of Mahant Ganga Dass Viakarni. — TNS


Paddy procurement yet to match last year’s figures
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Late arrival of paddy to various mandis of Punjab this season has resulted in procurement figures showing a marked shortfall as compared to previous years.

While, this year the paddy crop is taking considerably more time than previous years to ripen, the fact that farmers, in view of the initial reluctance of the procurement agencies to buy crop having high moisture content, also waited for some time before harvesting the crop.

"Full-scale harvesting began only after the Union Government announced relaxation in procurement norms," said a government official connected with the farm sector.

The Central Government is learnt to have accepted the Punjab Government’s request to extend the period of relaxation in specifications till the end of the procurement season in the state.

Sources also disclosed that a two-member team sent by the Union Food Ministry to check paddy arriving in the Punjab mandis has also favoured relaxation in out-turn (rice from each quintal of paddy) norms from the present 67 per cent to 64 per cent.

After sampling, the team also found that the demand of Punjab for further relaxation in damage norms from 2 per cent to 4 per cent was justified. The Union Government had earlier relaxed specifications till October 24.

However, despite initial hiccups, the indications are that the final procurement figures will be almost the same, if not more, than the total procurement in the previous years.

Data available with The Tribune shows that as against 113.35 lakh MT paddy procured by various agencies in Punjab till October 20, 2004, only 74.62 lakh MT paddy had been purchased till Thursday evening. Various government-owned procurement agencies had bought 140.44 lakh MT paddy last year.

Data prepared by the Punjab Mandi Board shows that as against 124.18 lakh MT paddy, which had arrived in various mandis last year till October 20, this year only 82.21 lakh MT paddy has been brought for sale, a difference of 34 per cent.

Figures show that last year the agencies had procured over 66.39 lakh MT paddy in Patiala Division, which comprises Patiala, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar districts. This year, the total procurement till Thursday was just above 24.42 lakh MT, a difference of over 41.96 lakh MT.

In Jalandhar Division, consisting of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts, if last year's total paddy procurement was over 28.88 lakh MT, this year agencies have bought only 20.18 lakh MT.

This year's paddy procurement figures for Ferozepore Division stand at 30.01 lakh MT. Last year, farmers of this division, which comprises Ferozepore, Moga, Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa districts had sold over 44.76 lakh MT paddy to various agencies.

But officials are more than sure that the final figures will be much more credible than what it seems right now.

Also, initial reluctance notwithstanding, procurement agencies are now picking up almost the entire paddy stock that is arriving in mandis on a daily basis.

"We are making all-out efforts to buy the entire stock that arrives in the mandis. And now that there is hope that the procurement norms could be relaxed further by the Central Government, we are hoping to see more paddy in mandis," says Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab.

Government sources say that the arrival of paddy in the mandis could continue till November 12. 


Centre wants states to follow Punjab lead in ADR
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Having been fully satisfied with the results by using Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanism to deal with a large number of consumer cases by the Punjab Government, the Central Government has now asked other states to follow suit.

Egged on by the Punjab Legal Services Authority, the Punjab Government has been in the forefront of tackling consumer and other minor disputes through the Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) fora, including Lok Adalats. Sources say that thousands of such cases are being disposed of every year in Lok Adalats.

Even the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been appreciative of the 'Punjab lead" in Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) of labour-related cases.

In a letter addressed to presidents of the state Consumer Commissions, Ms Satwant Reddy, Special Secretary, Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, has expressed satisfaction over the successful usage of the mechanism of LOk Adalats for early disposal of a large number of cases pending in consumer courts. The letter also asks the states to consider adopting similar mechanisms.

Incidentally, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had also suggested major judicial reforms, including changes in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), to promote ADR usage to deal with civil cases.

The SC had also suggested that the Centre and state governments should consider bearing the cost of conciliation and mediation if the cases are resolved through ADR mechanism.

Incidentally, at a meeting held sometime back, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs had instructed the states to improve efficiency of consumer forums.

Among the steps recommended for speedy disposal of consumer cases, the ministry also suggested that the consumer forums could be declared as Lok Adalats by the legal services authorities in the states, thereby making the decision of the consumer forums also non-appealable.


Cops run for cover as protesters pelt stones
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kalanaur (Gurdaspur) October 22
More than 10 protesters and four policemen were injured in a clash that broke out at Kalanaur police station, around 20 km from here, today.

Hundreds of protesters, including members of Left parties, had organised a rally at the Shiv mandir ground this morning. They were demanding the arrest of the mother-in-law of Rajdeep Kaur, a teacher in Agwan village, near Gurdaspur, whose husband had allegedly married for the second time around two weeks ago.

They were accusing her mother-in-law of marrying Rajdeep’s husband for the second time.

After the rally, the protesters tried to approach Kalanaur police station, but were prevented to do so by a police party in the main bazar. A scuffle then broke out between some protesters and policemen.

The policemen lathicharged the protesters, in which many of them sustained injuries.

While a woman protester, Talwinder Kaur, received a fracture in the arm, another protester, Dr Anup Singh, got injuries in the head.

Angered at this, the protesters started pelting the police party with stones. A truck laden with stones came in handy for them as they rained stones on the policemen, who had to run for cover in the police station.

ASI Jagjit Singh and constables Darshan Lal, Nirmal Singh and Sarabjit Singh received injuries in the process.

The protesters then laid siege to the police station and continued to rain stones till 3 pm. Additional force had to be requisitioned from Gurdaspur to bring the situation under control.

The SP (Detective) reached the scene and initiated a dialogue with the protesters, after which a truce was reached. No case was, however, registered against the protesters.

The leaders of protesters accused the police of unnecessarily lathicharging them. They demanded action against the policemen responsible for the lathicharge.

Rajdeep Kaur had married Kulwant Singh of Agwan village, but due to some dispute had been living separately.

Two weeks ago, she caught her husband marrying for the second time. The police later registered a case against her husband.

However, the supporters of Rajdeep demanded a case registered against her mother-in-law. They alleged that she was party to the crime and was present in the second marriage.


Hide and seek near border: 2 Pak boys held

Amritsar, October 22
Playing hide and seek in the bushes along the Radcliffe Line has landed two Pakistani boys into the hands of the Indian security agencies.

Thirteen-year-old Imran Masaih and his eleven year old cousin Mithu Masaih were playing close to the Indo-Pakistan border on Thursday last. Armed with a toy pistol, they were chasing each other when they strayed into the Indian territory and were immediately taken into custody by a Border Security Force (BSF) patrol party in the Ajnala sector.

BSF officials said here today that the two boys were searched and a toy pistol was recovered from their possession. They were then handed over to the Punjab Police and were booked under the Indian Passport Act and under Foreign Nationals Act for illegal entry. A case in this connection was registered at the Ramdass police station.

The children were yesterday produced before a magistrate at Ajnala who ordered that they be sent to a juvenile home in Faridkot. The two children, when questioned by the BSF, claimed that they belonged to Faisalabad and had come to Lahore to earn a living as their parents were very poor.

It was from Lahore they took a trip to the Indo-Pakistan border to have a glimpse of India. The security agencies said they had informed the district administration about the two boys. The administration is likely to takeup the matter with the Pakistan High Commission through the state government. — UNI


Cong, SAD not serious in solving Punjab’s problems
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), said here yesterday that the Congress and the SAD were not serious in solving the issues facing Punjab resolved. He was speaking at a seminar at the Law Auditorium of Panjab University.

He said that several issues such as the transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab and river waters were hanging fire for the past several years. And new issues were adding to this list, he added. Unemployment was emerging as a major problem in Punjab. He said that leaders like Mr Badal had never pleaded Punjab’s case with the Centre honestly and sincerely.

He said that Punjab’s farmers were neck deep in debt. While neighbouring states had been given special benefits and tax concessions for industrial development, Punjab had been deprived of such concessions, he added.


Gurdwara walls razed; tension in cantonment area
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 22
Tension gripped the area as the walls of a shrine on the Sardar Mehnga Singh road in Nikka Singh Colony were razed here this morning by the Army.

While the Army authorities claimed to have cleared the encroached land falling in the cantonment area, Bhai Khushbir Singh, priest of the shrine, said they had constructed the room in 1986 with the permission of the Army.

As per an agreement, the Army had allowed to construct a gate for providing entrance to the shrine. He said they had been organising langars on gurupurbs for the past 22 years with the permission of the defence authorities.

Later, a delegation of the residents met local BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and apprised him of the situation. He assured them that he would take up the matter with the authorities at the Army headquarters in New Delhi.

Mr Surinder Choudhary, local councillor, said he was shocked to learn about the incident and immediately rushed to the site and pacified the agitated residents of the area.


Aero-motor expedition begins
Tribune News Service

Pathankot October 22
The Army today launched Kashmir to Kanyakumari aero-motor expedition. The event is being organised by the Gurj division of the Army. Paratroopers took off from Jammu at 7.15 am and landed at Mamun cantonment at Pathankot around 9.30 am today.

The troopers were received here by Col Pawamani, Commander, Artillery Regiment. About 2,000 spectators were enthralled by accurate landing of the paratroopers. They welcomed them with applause.

The paratroopers taking part in the expedition would organise aero-motor and para jumping shows at Jammu, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Agra, Jhansi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Madurai and Kanyakumari.

A spokesperson of the Army said para-motor flying was introduced as an adventure sport in the Army in early nineties.

This expedition is unique as no one has ever attempted to cover such a long distance in about 35 days. It is likely to end at Kanyakumari in the last week of November.

Two-stroke 312 cc German engines are being used by the paratrooper taking part in the expedition. The engines are battery and hand-operated and made of standard aviation material.

The gliders being used have also been designed specially for the purpose. These can take loads up to 140 kg and maintain a forward speed of 54 kmph.


Mithu’s kin want Jassi’s parents punished
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Kaunke Kalan (Jagraon), October 22
With Sukhwinder Singh, alias Mitthu, the “protagonist” in the much-publicised Jassi murder case, incarcerated in Central Jail, Ludhiana for the past several months as an undertrial in an alleged rape case, his aged mother and brother living in this village say that they will be happy when Mitthu is released from the jail and the Canada-based parents of his wife Jassi are punished. The parents are yet to be brought for trial here due to the tardy extradition process between India and Canada.

While the media had highlighted the case with a special documentary broadcasted by Discovery and National Geographic Channel several times, Mitthu’s family is anguished at journalists for not helping Mitthu in fighting the alleged rape case.

“No one came to enquire about our condition during the past one and a half years when Mitthu was booked in a false rape case”, rued Mitthu’s mother Gurdev Kaur and younger brother Gurvinder Singh, refusing to talk further.

They continue to live next door to the uncle of deceased Jassi, who was the main person opposing their marriage. He was against the marriage between the two citing his higher socio-economic status in the village as compared to Mitthu’s family.

Yesterday’s verdict by a Sangrur court in the case has come as a result of the family members undaunting fight for justice. They have been braving all odds, weathering pressures and attacks and refusing all kinds of lucrative offers to withdraw the case.


Declining sex ratio causes concern
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 22
Increasing trend of female foeticide has resulted in decline in female population in Punjab, said Minister for Social Security and president, Mahila Congress wing of the PPCC, Gurkamal Kaur, while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

Expressing concern at the trend, she said, the Mahila Congress wing had started a campaign to educate women about its ill-effects.

As part of this, first state-level rally of Mahila Congress workers was organised here today in which district and block presidents along with their respective office-bearers and workers took part. Such rallies would be organised in all district headquarters of the state in near future.

She said the Mahila Congress would persuade the government for a complete ban on sex determination tests by ultrasound centres.

She said the state government had introduced many schemes for the benefit of poor women

Later, she addressed the state-level rally of Mahila Congress workers organised by the district unit.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Romesh Dogra; district president, Mahila Congress, Taranjit Sethi; president, District Congress Committee, Kuldeep Nanda; chairman, Market Committee, Sunder Sham Arora and others spoke on the occasion.


Evening studded with virtuosos
Minna Zutshi and Arun Sharma

Kapurthala, October 22
Dark, almost starless night. And a canopy of the seamless sky vying with the royal grandeur of Jagatjit Palace-turned-Sainik-School.

It was a perfect backdrop for the first evening of the 4th Baba Jassa Singh Kapurthala Heritage Festival being organised by the Kapurthala Heritage Trust in association with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

As soon as the inauguration ceremony of lamp lighting by Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) got over, music floated in the air and the audience was transported into a realm where the supremacy of sound reigned.

To begin with, Bhai Awtar Singh’s “shabad kirtan” was divinely inspirational for pop music-weary souls.

Lahore-based Ustad Ghulam Hasan Shaggan of Kapurthala Gharana, with his mesmerising performance that belied his age (77), had magic moments for the audience.

Not many know that Ustad Shaggan has had a unique “music accord” with India. Even as the Indo-Pak ties sagged under the cacophony of whipped-up hate, his music continued its journey unmindful of the borders.

While back home in Kapurthala, the sun had set on Kapurthala Gharana, in Lahore the dying notes of the gharana that traces its history to Mian Tansen were kept alive by this vocalist.

No wonder, the maestro’s amazing voice control coupled with the compelling intensity of his performance was the highlight of the heritage evening.

For Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans, the first day of the heritage festival was an ode to the merging of the self with the Supreme Self through the enduring bond of music.

“Pyar nahi hai sur se jisko” in “Raag Maalkons” followed by soulful rendering of Baba Shah Hussain’s “kaafi”, Sultan Bahu’s “kalaam” and Bulle Shah’s “Rus gayon yaar” kept the audience riveted.

Hans Raj signed off with a power-packed rendition of “Damadam mast kalandar” as the evening drew to a melodic close. Prominent among those who attended the programme were chairman of the Kapurthala Heritage Society Brigadier Sukhjit Singh, Revenue Minister Amarjit Singh Samra, Member of Parliament Rana Gurjit Singh, cultural expert Anita Singh and Kapurthala DC Samir Kumar.


NFL employees to go on strike on Nov 14
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 22
The National Fertilisers Employees Union would resort to a two-day strike on November 14 and 15 and an indefinite strike from November 21 in favour of its ‘justified demands’.

In an application sent to the CGM of NFL’s Bathinda unit, the union president, Mr Naib Singh Brar, said that they had submitted a charter of demands, but the “management didn’t show any interest to redress their grievances and the matter had remained unresolved due to its rigid attitude”. He alleged that the NFL management had been adopting a unilateral attitude in effecting changes in the rules and regulations of the company for the last four years. He accused the management of ignoring the sanctity of coordination committee.

He alleged that workers were put under financial hardships and mental torture. He said the management didn’t hold any discussion with the coordination committee before bringing in changes in the rules and regulations. He charged the management with paying no heed to the appeals of coordination committee in this regard. In such a scenario, the union was left with no other alternative, but to resort to agitation, he added.

Their main demands included, incentives on a par with NFL officers, merger of 50 per cent DA with basic salary, removal of anomalies in promotion policy, abolition of increased school fee, re-start of company’s previous medical policy and recruitment of deceased employee’s dependant.

The union had also sent a copy of their plea to the Union Minister concerned, Bathinda MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, and the NFL Chairman.

The union activists raised slogans in front of the NFL plant and showed black flags as a mark of protest to the company’s CMD who was on a visit to Bathinda unit today. 


Traders resent encroachment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 22
A section of traders has come out against the alleged encroachment of public places by their colleagues at the local Cloth Market.

In a plea to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr Krishan Kumar Megh Raj and his associates alleged that some of their office-bearers were encroaching upon toilets; streets and a cycle stand built at the market, which was in complete violation of Supreme Court orders.

They named four office-bearers for their involvement in the matter. They alleged that one of them had raised a double-storeyed building on toilets. They alleged that the trader

first got a map of the toilet area cleared and constructed a shop on it. Later, he built two more floors on the top of it, they alleged. 


Probe begins into lynching case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 22
On the instructions of Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the district police has started an inquiry into the killing of Ashvani Kumar, alias Vicky, son of Balwinder Singh of Naushera Pattan village, who was beaten to death by a mob for allegedly trying to abduct Raj Kumari, wife of Shamsher of Fatuwal, at pistol point on the evening of October 15, 2005.

Residents of Naushera Pattan led by Sarpanch, Rajwant Kaur staged a demonstration near the PWD Rest House, Mukerian, 52 km from here on Friday. They presented a memorandum to Dr Kewal Krishan, who represents the Mukerian constituency in the Assembly, there.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said that Mr Harish Kumar, SP (D), had been asked to probe the case. 


Ludhiana surgeon on Asian panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Dr Kuldip Singh, Prof of Surgery Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, and pioneer laparoscopic surgeon has been elected representative of India as a Governor for the second time in the Endoscopic Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia Association which held its meeting in Hong Kong recently during ELSA2005.

He is a President elect of the Indian Association of Gastro Endo Surgeons and has delivered more than 40 guest lectures in the international congresses.

He has been invited to the national congress of the Pakistan Surgeons Association in Rawalpindi to deliver a talk on laparoscopic surgery — “What a surgeon is suppose to know”. He will also chair a panel discussion on “how to make Laparoscopic surgery safe” on November 18.


2,463 cases settled at lok adalats
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 22
Compensation was today awarded to the litigants in some accident claim cases while 2,463 cases were solved at a special lok adalats held here in the District Courts. A Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge, Mr Justice Viney Mittal, supervised the functioning of the lok adalats held in Ropar, Kharar and Anandpur Sahib courts.


Poor upkeep of canal hits irrigation
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Madhopur (Gurdaspur), October 22
The people of Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamiyal blocks of Punjab and the Kathua area of Jammu and Kashmir are facing problem in irrigation due to the poor condition of the Kashmir canal. The canal originates from the Madhopur barrage. It carries water from the Ravi to the areas.

The capacity of the canal is 869 cusecs. Out of this 600 cusecs are for Kathua and rest 269 cusecs for the said areas of Punjab. However, due to lack of maintenance for the past 12 years and silt deposition in the Madhopur barrage, the carrying capacity of the canal has been reduced to just around 300 cusec.

Sources said the Jammu and Kashmir Government was to pay for the maintenance of the canal. However, it had not paid anything for carrying out the repair for more than one decade.

The canal passes through a rough hilly terrain. The debris from the hills has choked the canal at many places. A number of siphons have been created over the canal for the passage of rivulets. These have been choked and the debris of the rivulets is now falling into the canal. Due to non-availability of funds, the control gates of the Kashmir canal are also not working properly.

Another major problem being faced is that the area of the Madhopur barrage from where the canal emerges has been silted up. Working head available at the head regulator of the canal is just 2.5 feet. The authorities here have to sometime pump water to maintain supply in the canal.

The irrigation authorities have submitted a proposal to the Punjab Government for the rehabilitation of the Madhopur barrage. However, nothing concrete has been done in the matter.

It was irony that while the Punjab Government is paying a salary worth about Rs 11 crore per month to about 6,000 labourers posted at the Shahpur Kandi dam, no work is being taken from them. The authorities here said that if the government provided for meagre budget to repair the machinery lying at the Shahpur Kandi dam, the labour there could be used for repairing the canal network.


Jail official transferred
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 22
The Deputy Superintendent of Sub-Jail, Ropar, Mr Chander Mohan, was today transferred to Patiala.

The beating up of an inmate, Sharpreet, by jail employees was said to be the cause of the transfer. The ADGP (Jail), Mr Hem Raj Chadha, who had passed the order was not available for comment.

The victim’s father, Gursharn Singh, had lodged a complaint with the authorities that his son had received serious injuries as jail employees gave him inhuman treatment. The IG (Prison), Mr S.K. Dutta, had also inspected the jail and met Sharpreet the same day. Meanwhile, new Deputy Superintendent, Jail, Mr G.S. Srowa, has taken charge.


Ex-employee held for union leader’s murder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 22
With the arrest of Sanjeev Babla, a former worker of a political organisation , the Patiala police has managed to solve the blind murder case of Harjit Singh Samana, a leader of the Patiala Municipal Corporation Employees Union, after more than a year. Babla was arrested today.

The police had suspected Babla’s involvement in the attack and he had been under observation for a while, said the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, here at a press conference today. Babla had admitted his involvement to a close friend Wariyam Singh Chaddha.

Harjeet Singh, president of the Technical Services Union, was attacked on July 8, 2004, while he was riding the pillion on friend Puran Ram’s scooter. Two youths on a motor cycle threw acid on Harjit, who sustained serious injuries on the face, chest and stomach. Puran Ram was also seriously injured but Harjit bore the brunt of the attack. He was admitted to Government Rajindera Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Babla had a grouse against Harjit, who he (Babla) thought was instrumental in getting him terminated from his job. Babla was also an employee with the Municipal Corporation in 1996. Babla tried to get reinstated but his efforts came to a nought. He suspected Harjit’s hand in denial of a job by the corporation. So, he roped in his friend Gurpreet Singh and the two planned the attack.

The two carried acid in a plastic container and Babla, who was riding the pillion, threw the acid on Harjit.

The police is still looking for Gurpreet, who is absconding. Prior to this, there are four cases registered against Babla and two are against Gurpreet, according to Inspector Krishan Kumar Pandhe, who was instrumental in cracking the case.


CPM leader assaulted

Amritsar, October 22
Local CPM leader Tarsem Bholla was injured after he was allegedly attacked by a group of five persons at his residence in the Ram Tallai locality of the city last night.

A police report today said that personal enmity was believed to be the cause of the attack. The attackers, believed to be close to a local Congress leader, have been identified and a case has been registered against them. They are all still at large.

Bholla, a former member of the Municipal Corporation, was admitted to the Civil Hospital. — UNI


8 hurt in clash

Amritsar, October 22
Eight persons, including four women, sustained injuries in a clash between two groups at Jodhsinghwala village in Tarn Taran police district last night.

A police report here said that the clash occurred following a dispute over the sharing of canal waters by two farmers, Charan Singh and Sohan Singh. Families of both the farmers, including women, clashed with each other resulting in injuries to members of both the groups.

The injured were identified as Charan Singh and his wife Balwinder Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Salwinder Kaur, Paramjit Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Baldev Singh and Bhan Singh.

All injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital at Patti. — UNI


Stolen rice seized, thieves held
Tribune Correspondent

Batala, October 22
An export consignment of 23 tonnes of basmati rice has been seized and truck driver and cleaner arrested.

The consignment of M/s New Bharat Rice Mills, Batala, had lodged a complaint with the police on October 12, 2005 that the rice had not reached its destination Kandla Port.

Driver Niranjan and cleaner Jassa, both of Anokot village were arrested by the Batala CIA staff yesterday. During interrogation they confessed to the crime.


286 students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 22
As many as 286 degrees were conferred on graduate and postgraduate students of local Kamla Nehru College for Women at the annual convocation-cum-prize distribution function today.

Guru Nanak Dev University Vice- Chancellor, S.P. Singh was the chief guest at the function. His wife, Ms Jagjit Kaur, was also present.

As many as 175 meritorious students were given away prizes. The College Principal, Ms Kusum Verma, read out annual college report.

The president of the college management committee, Mr I.K. Sardana, presented a vote of thanks. He said the management would undertake an over Rs 10-crore project of Kamla Nehru Senior Secondary School for which land had already been purchased at Chak Hakeem.

The Vice-Chancellor and the Principal conferred degrees.

A cultural programme was held. Prof S.N. Joshi and advocate Miss Kumudh were honoured by the management and the VC for announcing scholarship of Rs 5,100 and Rs 20,000, respectively, for the meritorious and needy students every year.

Professor Joshi also donated rupees 21,000 for the trophies and mementoes presented to the students today. The scholarship of Rs 51,00 would be given in the name of his father Late Joginder Nath Joshi, who had been associated with the college till his death sometime back.


Lecturer suspended
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 22
The Punjab Government has placed under suspension Dr Sarabjit Singh Sandhu, a Lecturer in the Forensic Department of the Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH) here with immediate effect on charges of misbehaving with one of his senior colleague in the institution last month.

The government has taken this decision after getting a report from the management of the college.

According to reports, Dr Sandhu, was also involved in committing some irregularities in performing his official duties in the institution. A three-member panel of experts, led by Dr J.C. Gargi of the college, had found him guilty last month for submitting a false medical report in an inquiry case. Feeling annoyed and humiliation on the report, on September 27 Dr Sandhu had allegedly barged into the office of Dr Gargi and assaulted him (Dr Gargi).

Later, Dr Gargi had complained to the local police, the principal of the college and the state government for initiating action against the erring doctor.


SR college lifts overall trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 22
SR Government College for Women, Amritsar, lifted the Guru Nanak Dev University Government Colleges Overall Zonal Youth Festival Trophy here yesterday.

NJSA Government College, Kapurthala, finished runners-up while Government College, Gurdaspur, came third in the festival.

Minister for Local Bodies Chaudhary Jagjit Singh presided over the valedictory function and gave away the prizes to the winners.

Earlier, Vice-Chancellor S.P. Singh highlighted the achievements of the university in various 

Final results: winners: painting (landscape): SR Government College for Women, Amritsar; painting (still life): NJSA Government College, Kapurthala; collage: SR College for Women.

Sketching: NJSA Government College; Cartooning: SR College.

Clay modelling: SR College; poster making: NJSA Government College.

Flower arrangement (fresh): NJSA Kapurthala; flower arrangement (dry): NJSA, Kapurthala.

Phulkari: NJSA, Kapurthala; rangoli: NJSA, Kapurthala — 1.

Poetical symposium: NJSA Kapurthala; elocution: Government College, Patti; debate: Government College, Gurdaspur.

Fancy dress: SR College, Amritsar; histrionics: SR College; mimicry: SR College; skit: SR College; mime: SR College; one-act play: SR College.

Classical instrumental (percussion): Government College, Gurdaspur; classical instrumental (non-percussion): SR College; classical vocal: SR College; group shabad bhajan: Government Arts and Sports College, Jalandhar; group song (Indian): SR College; vaar singing: SR College — 1

Shabad/bhajan: SR College; geet/gazal: SR College.

Folk orchestra: SR College — 1; giddha: SR College; classical dance: SR College.

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