P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt houses to Bitta, Hanspal, Barnala against norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Names of at least three prominent politicians figure on the list of persons who have been sanctioned residential places unauthorisedly by the state governments in the city.

The list has come up as a follow-up to the Supreme Court taking exception to unauthorised stay of certain leaders in government houses. Reliable sources said the names on the list include Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, chief of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, Mr Hanspal, a former president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Tamil Nadu. All the houses are located in Sector 7.

The names recommended by the state governments of Punjab and Haryana, under a special quota of the respective states, are sanctioned by the secretary of the House Allotment Committee, who is a senior UT official.


Senior police officer using ‘case property’ vehicle
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, October 25
Can two vehicles in the small Subdivision of Baba Bakala have number plates bearing same number. Answer will be: ‘Certainly not’ as one of these vehicles would be bearing fake number plate!

Both Tata Sumo (white) and a Swaraj Majda tractor have same number plates which carry (PB 17 -7278) ply in this subdivision. The first vehicle, Sumo was reportedly impounded by the police from a smuggler, more than a year ago and is considered a ‘case property’, which could not be used by anyone till the disposal of the case.

Official gunman has been using the Tata Sumo vehicle to ferry children of a senior police officer to school for the last one year. Ms Vibhu Raj, district police chief, admitted that ‘case property’ could not be used. She, however, said that an inquiry would be ordered to probe the case and action be taken on the basis of findings.

The Tribune photographer has clicked pictures of the vehicle and done videography of the Tata Sumo taking children of the police officer from his official residence to school and vice versa .

However, when contacted, the Deputy Superintendent Police, Baba Bakala, denied that the vehicle with fake number plate was being used for personal purposes by any police official . He, however, admitted that the Tata Sumo was ‘hired’ from a taxi stand to drop children of a police officer at school today. He could not give a satisfactory reply as how a ‘taxi’ is being plied in his subdivision with the ‘fake number’.

The tractor with the original number plate belongs to farmer, Diwan Singh (as per record of the SDM’s Office) . The tractor bears engine number (471343 IK 0201936) while its chassis number is 6106003599, it was purchased on February 20, 2003 and registered in the office of the SDM on May 16 in the same year. Inquiries, by The Tribune, however, confirmed that no taxi stand of the Baba Bakala Subdivision had the same number, allotted to a tractor.


Baba Satlani to move court against SGJC, police
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 25
Mr Harpal Singh, legal adviser to Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani, at a press conference here today said that they would move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against Mr Raghubir Singh, secretary, SGPC, Deputy Commissioner, district police chief and Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) for justice.

He said Mr Raghubir Singh (who was appointed receiver by SGJC during the possession of the gurdwara by the SGPC) and his supporters were trying to grab personal property of Baba Satlani.

He alleged that when the baba tried to enter his dera SGPC employees opened fire.

He further said the October 22 incident in which two persons were killed and several injured was the outcome of the failure on part of the district administration in demarcating the boundary of the land belonging to the gurdwara.

Mr Harpal Singh alleged that they without enquiring into the revenue records had started taking possession of the properties of the baba.

He claimed in earlier cases the sessions court, judicial commission and high court had given decision in favour of Baba Mangal Singh of Gurusar Satlani, which was later transferred in name of Baba Gurpinder in 1988.

He claimed that Baba Gurpinder was neither made party in the case nor given any legal notice regarding the case in the judicial commission.


Keen contest likely for SGPC chief’s post
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 25
Annual election of the SGPC chief and other office-bearers is likely to be held on November 22 at Teja Singh Samundari Hall, here.

Apart from Bibi Jagir Kaur who will lobby for her re-election, a faction of the Shiromani Committee and the Shiromani Akali Dal including the Tohra faction have already started campaign in favour of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, a former SGPC chief and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former minister and SGPC secretary.

On the other hand, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Mr Gurpal Singh Gora, senior vice-president SGPC and confidant of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke are also in the race for the post.

However, as usual the SAD chief would be authorised to nominate a person of his choice to head the Shiromani Committee, called Mini Parliament of the Sikhs.

After the re-election of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the first general House had passed a unanimous resolution for extending the term of the president and other office-bearers for two and half years. Though, the resolution had been sent to the central government for making necessary amendments nothing had been done so far.

Mr Badal will have to be extra cautious while nominating the next SGPC president due to the general Assembly elections being due in February 2007. A strong lobby wants Bibi Jagir Kaur removed from the present post as she has been facing certain court cases.

Meanwhile, the SGPC Executive Committee meeting has been scheduled for November 2 in Alamgir gurdwara, Ludhiana. The proposed meeting would urge the UNO to recognise SGPC as an NGO.


Man kills wife for ‘illicit relations’, commits suicide
Four children below 10 orphaned
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 25
A daily-wage worker hailing from Jandawala village killed his wife last night and later committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree leaving four kids.

According to sources, Janta Singh, in his 30s, married Baljit Kaur 10 years ago and both worked as daily-wager workers. Sources said Baljit reportedly was having illicit relations with a village youth for the past four years and everybody knew about the affair. The couple had strained relations over the matter for the past many months and Janta remained tense for most of the time. In a fit of rage, he axed his wife to death last night and fled from the scene. Baljit died on the spot. The panchayat called up the police, which registered a case against Janta under Section 302 of the IPC and launched to nab him.

However, fearing punishment Janta reportedly hanged himself from a tree on the outskirts of the village. A group of farm labourers, who had gone to fields for picking cotton, spotted the body today morning. It was identified to be that of Janta Singh. Mrs Basant Kaur, mother of Janta Singh, held her dither-in-law’s illicit relations responsible for ruining her son’s home. She lost husband and a daughter a few years back. She was staying at her daughter’s home to look after her children and now the onus of Janta’s kids also had fallen on her. The couple leaves Jeewan Kaur (9), Manpreet Singh (7), Honey (6) and Gurpreet Singh (3).

Nehiawala SHO, Mahinder Singh Ghai said both bodies had been sent postmortem examination. He said as the case had legal intricacies experts would be consulted before proceeding further.


Cong raking up dead issues, says Sukhbir
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 25
The Congress regime in Punjab has diluted the atmosphere of goodwill and harmony in the state and is again pushing the state back to dark days of violence, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, said while talking to mediapersons at Chak Suhelewala Village, near Jalalabad, here today.

Mr Badal said the government had no agenda of its own and was trying to rake up old issues just to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.

Attacking the Congress, he alleged that the Amarinder Singh government had failed at all fronts. 


Plea to curb female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 25
A seminar-cum-exhibition on “AIDS and Female Foeticide” was organised at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, in which academicians and students of various engineering colleges from all over the country participated.

Prof M.S. Palanichamy, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Open University, Chennai, inaugurated the exhibition. He said the preference for a male child was reflected in the adoption of methods in this regard and increase in cases of female foeticide. She said the need of the hour was to counter male child preference, introduce role fluidity and ensure gender sensitisation.

Chairman of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), New Delhi, R.S. Nirgar said an awareness programme against AIDS/HIV would be organised in educational institutes which could be helpful in popularising the campaign. He said social prejudices against women could be checked by improving her overall status in society.

Prof K. Balaveera Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, Visvesvaraya University, Belgaum, said the UN in its report released earlier this year had said India’s female ratio between 0-6 years age group had fallen to 896 females per 1,000 males, the lowest ever in a decade for the world’s second most populous nation. He said as per reports more than two million foetus were killed nationwide every year through abortion, simply for being girls. He said the situation was worse in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. He called upon the students to fight against this social evil.

College principal Dilbag Singh Hira said the objective of organising the exhibition was to make society realise the seriousness and social implications of this practice.

Dr N.S. Bawa of Bassi Pathana displayed photographs, charts, posters, datas on AIDS at the college seminar hall.

Prof N.V. Vasani, Vice-Chancellor, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, Prof J.S. Oberio, Prof A.P.S. Sethi and Mr Kirpal Singh Libra also addressed the gathering. 


Panel gets 300 plaints of crime against SCs
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 25
More than 600 complaints, including 300 cases of atrocities on members of Scheduled Caste (SC), have been received by the Punjab State Scheduled Caste Commission from all over the state since its formation in 2004. This was stated by Mr Narjan Singh, Chairman of the commission, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said inquiries were being conducted into most of the cases. The state government had granted Rs 1.15 crore for providing compensation to the atrocity victims, and added that compensation would be provided to a victim only after receiving recommendation from the deputy commissioner. In a rape case of a Scheduled Caste girl 50 per cent compensation would be provided soon after the reporting of the case and the remaining after the registration of an FIR.

To check atrocities on SCs and to provide justice to them it was suggested in the recent meeting of the commission that a district magistrate and SSP should visit the place or area where the atrocious act had been committed, assess loss of life and property and draw a list of victims and their families. The SSP should register an FIR and take effective measures for apprehending the accused and investigation in the FIR should be done by a police officer not below the rank of a DSP. The SSP should deploy police force in the area and take other prevention measures while district sub-divisional executive magistrate should make arrangements for providing immediate relief in cash or in kind or in both to the affected family.

Mr Narjan Singh said majority of the SC persons were not aware about the ongoing schemes of government for their benefit. It was decided to arrange seminars in collaboration with some NGOs for the purpose.

Earlier, members of the commission, including Mr B. R. Banga, Mr Kewal Singh, Ms Neelam Sahota, Mr Rakesh Ahir and Mr Khushi Ram, Director, Social Welfare Department, had a meeting with representatives of various SC organisations. Mr D. K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, was also present at the meeting.


Clear stand on memorials to militants: morcha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Mr Sukhminder Pal Singh, former president of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, said here today that while on the one hand the Punjab Government had held a debate on terrorism, on other memorials to militants were being raised without any check in the state.

He asked why the Congress government in the state was silent about the memorial raised to six militants in Sohian village in Ludhiana district a few days ago. Mr Atinderpal Singh, president of the Akali Dal International, had set up the memorial.

He said destructive forces had become active in the state from the day the Congress government took over. Earlier also the Congress government was responsible for the spread of terrorism. Again it wanted to bring back terrorism to create fear among people to secure votes, he added.


Suspend dealings with NASL, say engineers
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 24
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association in a resolution passed at its annual general meeting held recently demanded suspension of board dealings with the NASL company. More than 1000 engineers attended the meeting

In the resolution, a copy of which was provided to The Tribune, the engineers body has stated that the work to renovate unit number 1 and 2 of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) was given to on company on March 2004. The company was to complete the work in December 2004. However, it took about 18 months, resulting in a generation loss of about nine months.

The unit was made operational with oil firing in July, 2005 and coal firing on October, 2005. The generation loss due to the delay was equal to the total cost of the renovation (Rs 180 crore.)

The delay in renovation work was caused due to inadequate deployment of manpower, delay in supply of critical equipment and lack of coordination between the NASL and its sub-vendors or creditors.

The company took excess time for dismantling. too Damage was caused to high-power rotor during transit. This showed lack of expertise by the company.

In violation of the contract, the company did not replace control and stop valves renovated turbine.

The engineers’ association demanded that compensation be demanded from the company for the generation loss. 


Two jawans killed in blast

Ferozepore, October 25
Two jawans were killed and another was seriously injured when a powerful blast occurred in the complex of the 70 Armoured Division here this evening, official sources said.

While one jawan died on the spot, another succumbed to his injuries in an Army hospital in Ferozepore Cantonment. The seriously wounded was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital.

The blast caused fire in the complex and a fire engine from the town was rushed to extinguish the blaze. The sources did not give any details of the nature of the explosion. — UNI


Work begins on Phase II of Kandi project
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 25
Construction work on Phase II of the prestigious kandi canal project for providing irrigation facilities to barren land in Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr districts has begun.

This 70-km-long canal will be completed within 30 months at a cost of Rs 180 crore.

It would provide irrigation facilities to about 30,000 hectares in 218 villages located in the kandi area.

Mr V. K. Mantrao, Chief Engineer, told this correspondent here yesterday that a 25 km length of this canal was likely to be completed by the end of this financial year for which the government had released Rs 15.75 crore.

Mr B.S. Sidhu, Superintending Engineer, Kandi Canal Circle, Hoshiarpur, said work was being executed with the latest technical know-how with quality control checks.

The first phase of this canal was completed in 1998.


Pull up your socks, DGP tells force
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk, today told his force that complaints of corruption, human rights violations and connivance of police functionaries in cases of escape of criminals from police custody would be viewed very seriously.

The police was also asked to start working to solve cases of untraced murder and other heinous crime in the state and also launch a fresh hunt to nab 7,000-odd proclaimed offenders. The DGP was chairing a meeting of senior officers here to review the law and order situation.

The DGP also told his force that special operations were required against contract killers, organised gangs, kidnappers and migratory tribal gangs. All undetected cases of a heinous nature needed to be investigated under the direct supervision of gazetted officers of the area and the SSP, the DGP said.

The system of reward and punishment would be implemented to strengthen discipline in the force. The DGP also proposed to reward the best investigating officer and investigating team of the state based on promptness and success of investigation. Similarly, to encourage the participation of the public in crime control, it was suggested to reward “crime-free” villages.

Also the DGP targeted the drug mafia and remnant terrorist elements. The security of protected persons and important installations was also discussed. It was emphasised that a periodic review of these security arrangements should be done.

Mr Virk also directed the field officers to activate their local intelligence gathering network.


Health centres without doctors
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 25
Most health centres of the Naushehra Pannuan block have been running without Medical Officers for the past some time.

The health centre at Kairon is being with only a Senior Medical Officer (SMO), while four posts of Medical Officers (MO) are lying vacant.

Similarly, two posts of MO were vacant at the Community Health Centre, Naushehra Pannuan.

There are nine civil dispensaries in the block. Dispensaries at Bahmaniwala, Jaura, Shahabpur, Lalpur, Dhotian, Nandpur and Thathian Mahantan are without MOs.

Though dispensaries at Sarhali Khurd and Sheron have MOs, they are often deputed at the block headquarters, Kairon.

When contacted, Dr S.S. Mahia, SMO, said there was shortage of staff and he was trying his utmost to provide better medical facilities to the residents.


Police implements information Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Punjab police today said it had fully implemented the Right to Information Act, 2005, in all police districts and at the Police Headquarters also.

A spokesperson of the police said Mr Suresh Arora, IG, Headquarters, had been appointed State Public Information Officer. At the district level, all SSPs would perform the duties of Public Information Officers. Assistant Public Information Officers had also been appointed.

Mr Mohd. Izhar Alam, ADGP, Administration, would be the appellate authority at the headquarters in Chandigarh. 


Tribune reporter bereaved
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 25
Mohini Devi, mother of The Tribune’s stringer from Faridkot, Mr Ramesh Gupta, died yesterday. She was 90.

Her mortal remains were consigned to the flames yesterday and her “bhog” would be held on November 4. People from different walks of life mourned her death. 



Mr Prabodh Chandra was a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and not a former Chief Minister of Punjab as was mentioned in a photograph carried in these columns on Tuesday.


high court
Mann’s passport
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 25
The High Court has given two more days' time to the Punjab Government to file its reply to the plea of former MP Simranjit Singh Mann for release of his passport so as to allow him to go to the USA later this month.

When the case came up for further hearing, counsel for the Punjab Government sought some more time to file the reply, following which Mr Justice AK Goel adjourned the matter to October 26.

Mr Mann had surrendered his passport following grant of bail to him in a case of sedition registered by the Ropar police.

In his petition, Mr Mann has claimed that he has been invited to be the chief guest at the annual parade organised in California (USA) by Sikh settlers in the USA and Canada on October 30.


Constable in judicial remand

Kharar, October 25
A local court today remanded Mohali constable Jagir Singh and resident of the town Baljit Singh in judicial remand in a case of cheating registered at Mohali.

Jagir Singh, working in the Phase I police station and Baljit were arrested by the Mohali police two days ago for allegedly trying to help an accused in a cheating case.

Sources said Baljit Singh and Abdul Hussain, a resident of Mumbai, had been booked by the Mohali police following a complaint filed by Pargat Singh, a Kharar resident. The two, both travel agents, had been booked for cheating but none was arrested.

Baljit Singh reportedly “tied up” with Jagir Singh in the police station and demanded Rs 17 lakh from Abdul Hussain on the pretext that this money would be handed over to the complainant to take the case back. Sources added that Hussain paid up the amount to save himself, but the money was never given to the complainant by Baljit and Jagir.

A fresh FIR was lodged against the two and both were arrested. They were presented before a local court today following the end of their two-day police remand. TNS


Inspecting officer held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 25
A team of Vigilance officials, headed by Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, Patiala Range, allegedly caught red-handed Tarlok Singh, Inspecting Officer, Housefed, here today while he was “accepting” a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Mr Kuldip, a resident of Lehragaga.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, said Tarlok Singh was posted at Dhuri, but he had also been holding the additional charge of Lehragaga. Mr Kuldip approached Tarlok Singh for his house loan cheque for Rs 2 lakh, but in turn Tarlok Singh demanded Rs 10,000 from him for releasing the cheque.

Mr Bhullar said when Mr Kuldip failed to receive his loan cheque without greasing the palms of Tarlok Singh, he approached the Vigilance authorities, which laid a trap to catch the officer.


4 held for “preparing” spurious milk
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 25
The Dirba police has arrested four persons for allegedly preparing “spurious milk” from Munshiwala village, near Dirba, 30 km from here. The police also seized eight bags of glucose, 40 litres of “spurious milk” and appliances used in preparing spurious milk. Those arrested were Balbir Singh, Jiwandeep and Mangat Rai. A case has been registered.


69-yr-old teacher honoured
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 25
Ms Sarvshakti Arora (69), at present honorary teacher at Brahma Rishi Mission School here, was honoured with the Pandit Het Ram Memorial Ideal Teacher award at a function held at G D Senior Secondary School.

Mr Virendra Kataria, former MP and Mr Hans Raj Arya, former MLA, presented the award to Ms Arora.

Those present included Mr B L Sikka, former SDM, Mr Prem Nath Vij, former vice-president Municipal Council, Mr Ravi Kant Rinwa, former chairman, Panchayat Samiti, Mr B L Nagpal, president city Congress committee, Mr Vimal Thathai, senior councillor, Dr A R Talwar, former president, Rotary Club, Ms Vidya Chaudhary, chairperson, Mahila Suraksha Samiti, Ms Jamna Devi Chawla, chairperson, Mahila Propkarini Sabha, Mr Gautam Chaudhry, special representative of Parliamentary Secretary Sunil Jakhar and a galaxy of senior academicians, including Dr Harbans Singh Chahal, Mr C P Narang, Mr M Rai Gupta, Ms Meenakshi Bhandari, Mr Vijay Bholusaria and Dr Ravi Kant Sharma.

Mr Kataria said Pt. Het Ram Sharma was the first person to establish a model school in 1958 in the district.

Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, former minister, also joined hundreds of citizens in offering floral tributes to Het Ram Sharma on his fifth death anniversary. Ms Parveen Bhardwaj and Mr Aman Sharma, principal and administrator of G D Senior Secondary School, thanked the visitors and assured that academic competitions would be held on the next anniversary.


Despair grips Rai varsity students
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 25
Gaurav Jasrotia is an orphan. Life was already an ordeal for him. He used to run a PCO to earn for his studies. However, the things took a tragic turn for him when the Supreme Court scrapped the Rai university recognition.

He was studying in the final semester of MBA course at the Gurdaspur-based centre of the Rai University when the Supreme Court decision was announced. Now his career is in jeopardy.

While talking to The Tribune here today he alleged that he had paid fee in lakhs doing hard labour to secure a MBA degree. However, now he was not sure about what to do. The Supreme Court while scrapping the recognition to the Rai University has directed the colleges running its centres to approach the respective state government to prevent injustice with the students.

However, the management of the Gurdaspur-based centre of Rai University has failed to come to their rescue. Gaurav also threatened to commit suicide in case his academic career was not saved.

Like Gaurav there are many other students from poor families who have not only lost a fortune but also precious academic years due to de-recognition of Rai University.

Meanwhile continuing their struggle for justice the student of the Gurdaspur-based Rai university centre today staged a protest in front of the residence of administrative member PSEB Raman Bhalla. They raised slogans against the management of the Rai University and the trustees running its centre.

Refuting the management claims, the student alleged that they had deposited the fee for the fourth semester. However, the management of the college failed to conduct the four semester exams. Instead, they started demanding fee for fifth semester.

They also alleged that the management of the college offered arrange degrees from the IASE University through distance education mode. However, the university has not been authorised by the UGC for carrying courses through the distance education mode.

They also alleged that the students have been made the real victim of the Supreme Court decision. The authorities of both Rai University and its local centers have gobbled up huge fee deposited by them and have started alternative courses or business. Rai university should be made to give compensation to the students for the loss of the academic year, they demanded.


Nursing students block traffic, seek refund of fee
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 25
Girl students of Dr Sham Lal Thapar School of Nursing today blocked traffic in support of their demands.

The students had been staging a dharna in front of the school for the past three days and had submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner yesterday.

The students accused the school authorities of charging excess fee in violation of prescribed norms. They also alleged that the basic amenities at the school were poor. The bathrooms did not have roofs, they added.

They accused Congress leader Malati Thapar of getting her school recognised using her political connections and sought immediate cancellation of the school’s recognition from the Punjab Nurses Registration Council (PNRC), besides a refund of the fee.

The school has announced a 15-day closure.

Mr Tara Singh Sandhu, former DCC president, yesterday accused Dr Malati of cheating the students and tarnishing the party’s image.

On the other hand, Dr Malati Thapar had denied the allegations and said there was no truth in the charges. She said the school principal and warden were very strict and were not allowing the students to go out. She attributed the incident to four senior girls being denied leave by the principal as they would have fallen short of lectures.

About Mr Sandhu’s allegation, she said he had no right to level such charges against her.

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