P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No investment in central pool power project for 20 yrs
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Union Government has not invested a single penny to set up any power project in the Central pool in the past 20 years in Punjab. This has been admitted by the Union Power Minister, Mr P.M. Sayeed, while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr M.S. Gill, Member of the Rajya Sabha, told The Tribune here today that he had asked a question yesterday from Mr Sayeed about whether the Power Ministry had approved any power project in the Central pool for Punjab. " None" was the reply of the Union Power Minister, he added.

Mr Gill said that Mr Sayeed said that even the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had made a mention in this regard.

Mr Gill said he was told by Mr Sayeed that the Union Government had sanctioned 71 power projects worth Rs 1,32,000 crore in the Central pool for various states. But none of these was for Punjab. He said Mr Sayeed agreed with him that states like Punjab, which had made tremendous contribution to the development of the country, required power projects from the central pool. The National Thermal Power Corporation, the National Hydro Power Corporation, Gas Authority of India Limited and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, which were public sector organisations of the Union Government, had made huge investment in various states in the power sector by setting up power projects.

The Punjab Government had been raising funds to set up thermal power projects, which needed huge investment, in the state. The first thermal plant was set up at Bathinda and then another one at Ropar.One more was coming up at Lehra Mohabbat, near Rampura Phul.

Talking about another important issue, Mr Gill said that no attention was being paid to revoking the Disturbed Area Act in Punjab. " I had taken up this issue with the Union Government, including the Union Home Minister, who had promised to look into the matter, but nothing had been done", he added. Punjab was facing a huge social and financial loss because of the Act.

He said several Pakistani traders, who were to participate in the Indo-Pak trade fair in Amritsar, which was inaugurated this morning, could not get visas because of the Act. There was need to give a boost to the economy of Punjab. However, because of the Act, things were not moving in the right direction.

He said Punjab was the most peaceful state at present. " There is no logic in keeping the Act in force in the state now", he added. He urged the Union Government to immediately repeal it.


Project stops generating power
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, December 1
The power generation at the Mukerian hydel project has come to a standstill once again this year due to damage to the point where its canal merges with the Beas. Due to the stoppage of water in the canal, the PSEB is suffering a generation loss of 50 lakh units per day. The board is suffering financial loss of about Rs 1.5 crore per day as it is being forced to buy power at the rate of Rs 3 per unit from other states to compensate for the generation loss at the hydel project.

Sources in the PSEB said at present the water discharge from the Pong Dam was optimum. Had the damage not been caused to the Mukerian canal, they could have generated hydro power at the optimum capacity from the project.

Due to the alleged fault in the design at the tail end of the Mukerian hydel project, the speed of water in it increases before it falls into the Beas. The authorities put stone rakes every years to prevent damage to the canal. However, this year the stone rakes were not put at the tail end of the canal.

The sources said the protection measures were not taken out as the authorities expected that they would be able to release water in the newly constructed portion of the canal. The portion of the canal was constructed especially keeping in view the problem. In addition to that it would have helped the PSEB generate 18 MW power in the stage three of the Mukerain hydel project.

However, when the authorities released water in the new portion of the canal about a month ago for the first time, the aqueduct constructed over the Kali Bein rivulet developed cracks and water started seeping through it. The authorities had to immediately stop water in the canal. The aqueduct was now under repair.


Pakistan MP not allowed to go near border
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), December 1
The security agencies today did not allow Pakistan MP Ms Riffat Kahlon to visit the border outpost to see the Kartar Sahib gurdwara from the Indo-Pakistan border. Ms Riffat was here along with Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to the Dera Baba Nank area.

The authorities told that the Pakistan MP was not allowed to move to the border because as per rules foreigners were not allowed to go to border out post. Mr Randhawa, however, said permission to take Ms Riffat to border came late from BSF authorities. Ms Riffat had to return to Pakistan today evening, so she opted to go back instead of going to border, he said.

Mr Randhawa brought the Pakistan MP to the area to lobby for a corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara located in Pakistan near the border.

Ms Riffat who represents Narowal parliamentary constituency of Pakistan where Kartar Sahib gurdwara is located speaking on the occasion said that people on both sides of the border had cultivate animosity unnecessarily against each other. People from both sides share same culture and tradition. Recent friendly measures taken by governments of both countries had raised hopes and brought people together.

She is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee of Paksitan on Minorities. She also assured people to take up the issue of corridor for the Kartar Sahib gurdwara with the Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

Mr Randhawa lauded efforts of Ms Riffat in upgrading the infrastructure at Kartar Sahib Gurdwara.

She has provided liberal grant from her discretionary quota to upgrade all roads leading to Kartar Sahib gurdwara, he said. Mr Randhawa and Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala later led devotees to the border outpost from where the gurdwara was visible. There devotees performed ‘ardas’ and paid obeisance.

Recently devotees laid the foundation stone of a gate for proposed path to the Kartar Sahib gurdwara in the area.

The stone was laid by saints. Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara is located on the Pakistan side 3 km from the border. First Guru of Sikhs Sri Guru Nanak Dev spent 17 years in Kartarpur. He ploughed fields till the age of 70 at the place setting a example for his followers about the importance of labour.

The corridor to the gurdwara was more than 50-year-old demand of the people of Punjab. People from Dera Baba Nanak area pay obeisance to the gurdwara from the bundh near the border fencing.

Earlier road to the bundh was constructed by the Punjab government.

Mr Randhawa hoped that when the Muzaffarbad-Srinagar bus service can become a reality and the Kargil-Skardu link was being discussed the 3 km corridor to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara from Dera Baba Nanak could also become a reality, he said.


Horse gifted to CM set to enter India
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 1
Surpassing all legal wrangles, “Sunny”, the horse gifted by Mr Pravez Elahi, Chief Minister of Punjab Province (Pakistan) to his Indian counterpart, Captain Amarinder Singh, is all set to march into India shortly as the Prime 
Minister’s Office (PMO) has finally accorded 
one-time nod.

Captain Amarinder Singh had originally been gifted with “Sultan”, a horse of Arabian lineage, during his visit to Pakistan about one-and-half years back. Since Sultan, which was not allowed to cross Wagah, had got maimed, it was replaced with another 4-year-old horse “Sunny”.

“Sunny” too was not allowed to cross over to India through Wagah by the Indian authorities on the grounds that India was a livestock disease-free country unlike Pakistan, which fell in the “disease-prone zone. “

The Indian authorities suspected that since the animal could be suffering from diseases like equine influenza, and it could possibly get spread in India, the animal should not be allowed to enter the country by road.

Finally, the PMO has given its nod to the Agricultural Ministry and, in turn, the ministry has allowed the Punjab Government to import “Sunny” through road, said sources.

“Though the mandatory qurantine period to be spent by the animal in his parent country is about to get completed, “Sunny’s arrival can take another 10-15 days at the most,” said a highly placed official.

According to International laws, any animal had to be quarantined for a month in its own country before export. Similarly, any imported animal had to be quarantined in the country of import for similar period so that it could be ensured that it was disease free.


Pak minister gets warm welcome in ancestral village
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 1
It was emotional home-coming for Mr Zahirudin, PWD minister in Pakistani Punjab. He was greeted with flowers by residents of his ancestral village Dhamrai in Dinanagar area of the district. Old women remembered him as son of Ali Akbar Zaildar and MLA of the area, who was just one-year-old when his parents left the village after partition. They gave him some money as ‘shagun’ a token of goodwill on his first visit to the village following the tradition of the area. The gesture moved the minister, who felt at home interacting with residents of the village.

Mr Zahirudin also visited his paternal home. He collected water in a bottle from the well in his ancestral house as a keepsake. Talking to newsmen the minister said that his parents always used to remember the village. They used to tell him stories of how his grandfather used to hold court in the village to settle dispute. The members of his family represented the Gurdaspur district in joint Punjab Assembly from 1922 to 1946.

Thereafter their family moved to the Shakargarh area of Pakistan due to partition. He contested and won Assembly election for the fist time in 1989.

Mr Zahirudin visited his village along with PWD minister Punjab Pratap Singh Bajwa. Mr Bajwa told newsmen that it was coincidence that the PWD Minister of Pakistani Punjab also belonged to Gurdaspur district.

During his meeting with Mr Zahirudin, he expressed the desire to visit his ancestral village in Dinanagar. He then arranged the visit. Addressing a gathering here the Pakistan’s Minister said that he was happy to visit Gurdaspur district. Friendly measures taken by governments of both countries had brought people together. Positive thinking of the Chief Ministers of both Punjab’s had helped people interact and visit their ancestral villages across the border. This has demolished misconceptions. Now people of both countries want to come closer and governments are also responding to the need.

Mr Bajwa lauded efforts of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in bringing people of both Punjabs closer .

On the occasion, he announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the ancestral village of Mr Zahirudin. He told that the grant would be used to construct a road in the village after the name of the father of the Pakistan’s Minister. The road would be named Ali Akbar Road. The design of the road would be sent by the Pakistan’s Minister and funds provided by the Punjab government.

MLA from Dinanagar Ms Aruna Chowdary and Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur Vivek Pratap Singh were also present on the occasion.


PSEB gets Rs 147 cr in excess in name of Dalits
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
An inflated money claim made by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from the state government in lieu of providing free power up to 50 units to Dalits during the past four years has put the board in the dock.

Sources said the Punjab Government had asked the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, through which the board had been claiming the money, to get the amount adjusted against the subsidy to be provided by the government to the board during the current financial year to give free power to farmers and Dalits.

The sources said that during the past four years, the board had claimed about Rs 200 crore to provide 50 units of power free to Dalits having a connected load of up to 300 watts . The power provided to Dalits during the period was,however, worth only Rs 53 crore. The board claimed Rs 147 crore in excess from the government in the name of Dalits. " Though it was not done deliberately, it was a serious miscalculation by the board authorities," a senior officer of the government said.

The Punjab Power Department authorities had now taken up the issue with the commission. They had asked the commission to direct the board to adjust Rs 147 crore against the amount to be paid by the state government as subsidy during the current financial year. However, the sources said the commission had told the government that it had settled the accounts of the board and the government with regard to the fixing of power tariff, subsidy and other related issues up to 2004-05. It was not possible to open that account again for the adjustment of Rs 147 crore.

But a senior officer of the Power Department told The Tribune today that this argument of the commission was not tenable. The government had cleared the dues of the PSEB for the 2003-04 period this year on the directions of the commission. If the commission could get cleared the dues of the board from the government this year, why could it not ask the board to adjust the money claimed in excess.

When asked on what basis the board had been claiming Rs 50 crore every year from the government to give free power to Dalits, the Power Department officer said that only the commission authorities, which had been scrutinising all claims of annual revenue requirements of the board, could answer this question better. The sources said that it appeared that the board made monetary calculations regarding the free power benefit to Dalits on the basis of their total population in the state.

However, when the actual calculation was made in this regard, it was found that Dalits had been given free power worth Rs 53 crore during the past four years. Even now the board has no exact data of Dalit power connection holders. Owing to this the government was facing difficulty in implementing its decision regarding giving free power up to 200 units to Dalits having a connected load of up to 300 watts. 


“Mischievous” elements blamed for temple controversy"
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 1
Conveying a stern warning to “mischievous elements” trying to disturb peace in the aftermath of a temple row in Housefed Colony, all major political parties today expressed their resolve to maintain communal harmony in the area at a peace panel meeting held here.

A resolution was passed in the meeting in which the parties assured that they would socially boycott such elements. The participants at the meeting flayed attempts of those who tried to gain political mileage by unnecessarily raking up the temple issue, which was a matter between the colony residents.

Later, addressing a press conference, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, and the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev said they would not allow anyone to violate law and order in the district.

The DC clarified that the temple controversy had been sorted out with both parties consenting to give mutually agreeable site for its construction. He said nobody objected to the construction of temple and the colony residents only had differences on its site.

He said the colony’s association members had apologised for the damage to Lord Hanuman’s idol. He said a magisterial probe had already been ordered into alleged police excesses on a VHP activist on November 28.

He said some colony residents had complained yesterday about more land being acquired then specified for the temple construction. Later, the issue was resolved amicably with the earmarking of the land for the temple and representatives of both parties signing on the temple’s map. He said none of the two parties would allow any outsider to intervene in the work of the locality.

The DC said some people were still trying to make it an issue. He said the administration would not let anybody play with people’s sentiments and strictly curb all efforts to disturb Hindu-Sikh unity in the area. He appealed people to discourage anti-social elements and foil their evil designs.

Meanwhile, questions were being raised on the antecedents of VHP activist Sukhpal Singh, whose alleged thrashing by the police on November 28 sparked off a row. Sources said Sukhpal had been booked in five cases on the charges of theft, brawl and forgery. The SSP confirmed the same and said he had been acquitted in three cases after compromise, while two cases were still pending against him.


50 families of Nihang Sikhs join Congress
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, December 1
The Congress got a shot in the arm when about 50 families of Nihang Sikhs belonging to Sur Singh Wala, Baler and Bainka villages in the Patti constituency joined the party at a special function organised here today.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Sardool Singh Bandala, Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala, MLA, and Mr Tejpreet Singh Sandhu, Congress leader from the area, besides other prominent Congress leaders were present on the occasion.

Mr Darshan Singh, leader of the group, talking to media persons said they decided to join the Congress after the CM’s visit to Nanakana Sahib on the occasion of installing of the golden palanquin at Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. He said they were quite impressed with the policies of Capt Amarinder Singh to improve relations with the neighbouring country which would help the Sikh devotees to pay obeisance at the holy shrine. He said every Sikh prayed in his “ardas” to visit the holy shrine and the government was doing a good job.

Speaking on the occasion, Capt Amarinder Singh criticised the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for boycotting the religious procession taken out from New Delhi to Wagah carrying Guru Granth Sahib in a golden palanquin to be installed at Gurdwara Janmasthan Nankana Sahib.


AIDS, TB interlinked, says specialist
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 1
A seminar on “AIDS, TB and drug abuse — Importance of public awareness”, organised at the government senior secondary school at Sheron village near Sunam yesterday ended with students and teachers of the school taking pledge to fight AIDS, TB and drug abuse by creating awareness among masses. Dr Surinder Singla, Chest and TB specialist and In charge, District TB Centre, Sangrur Civil Hospital, administered the pledge.

Dr Singla said problems of AIDS, TB and drug-abuse were inter-linked. HIV virus (that causes AIDS) infected adult persons were very much prone to get infected with TB and other diseases while drug abuse aggravates incidence of HIV, AIDS and TB. He also said one fifth of new TB patients were from India in the world while with more than 52 lakh HIV infected persons, India was number two in the world in having HIV infected persons. South Africa was on number one having maximum number of HIV infected persons, he added.

Dr Singla added out of 52 lakh HIV infected persons in India, more than 20 lakh were infected with TB also. He said awareness was most effective tool to prevent spread of HIV and AIDS. He said safe sex, safe injection and safe blood transfusion were best preventive measures to control spread of HIV and AIDS. He said to control TB, people should take maximum advantage of revised national TB control programme (RNTCP).

Ms Rajinder Kaur, NSS Coordinator, and Ms Anju Rani, Principal of the school, urged students to promote voluntary blood donation to prevent spread of AIDS. Others who participated in the deliberations included Mr Satnam Singh, Mr Baldev Singh, both from Sheron village, Mr Jagroop Singh and Mr Jaswinder Singh, both from District TB Control Society, Sangrur.

Hoshiarpur: To create awareness about HIV, the Health and Family Welfare Department, Hoshiarpur, organised seminars, rallies and exhibitions at various health centres in the district on the occasion of World AIDS Day on Thursday.

Addressing a rally at the local Railway Station, Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, said the HIV could only be controlled through awareness. She said within 24 years, the number of HIV positive persons had increased from 1 crore to 4.3 crore in the world and of which 90 per cent were living in the developing countries. She said 20,444 persons were HIV positive in Punjab. As many as 90 persons in Hoshiarpur district were HIV positive.


Morinda-Chd rail track ready
Our Correspondent

Phillaur December 1
The construction of 27-km-long rail line between Morinda and Chandigarh has been completed and the train service is likely to be introduced in January, 2006.

Stating this, Divisional Railway Manager Dharam Singh, while talking to The Tribune, said here today that Morinda would be connected with the state capital through rail link. When asked about completion of complete 100-km rail track between Ludhiana and Chandigarh, he said it could take time as lands had to be acquired at some places.

Replying a question, the DRM said that Katra, a religious place for Shri Vaishno Devi pilgrims, would be connected with whole of the country through rail links by the end of next year to facilitate the pilgrims.

When asked about doubling of railway line between Jalandhar and Jammu-Tawi, the DRM told that the work was being completed in different phases and now work on the double line between Bhogpur and Bharoli would be completed within next fortnight.

When asked about safety arrangements, the DRM said the Railways had taken several precautionary steps for safety and started using fire-proof coaches in some trains which would be possible for all trains in a phased manner. 


Regulatory exemptions granted to residential projects
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 1
The empowered committee of the Punjab Government has granted regulatory exemptions to various mega residential projects in the state cleared by the committee some days ago.

While it was decided that no fiscal exemptions would be given to these projects, the committee members felt that certain procedural exemptions be allowed, including exemptions from the provisions of the Punjab Apartment Property Regulation Act (PAPRA) 1995.

Confirming that such a decision had been taken, the Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, Mr S.C. Agarwal, pointed out that these exemptions were more in the spirit of “procedural relaxations” than allowing these companies to circumvent rules.

Among other things, these companies do not have to take a developers’ licence from the competent authority-the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA)- before they start colonising the land. However, the Secretary Housing and Urban development, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, stated that these companies would not be allowed to either advertise or start pre-launch booking of plots till certain conditions were fulfilled.

PUDA had recently issued a notice to the Dubai-based company Emaar-MGF for allegedly violating the provisions of this Act when advertisements for pre-launch booking of plots in the Emaar-MGF township in Mohali appeared in newspapers.

“Emaar-MGF has still to go to the empowered committee. However exemption from PAPRA being approved by the committee does not mean that these companies can start advertising and booking their plots from the next day. They would have to buy at least 50 per cent of the total land they have been permitted to colonise. Forty per cent of the rest of the land would have to be betrothed to the coloniser by the owners. Then the outlay/zonal plan would be given a nod by the competent authority following which an exemption order would be passed. Till this stage is reached, the PAPRA would have to be followed,” said Mr K.B. S. Sidhu.

“Other than this, the companies have to pay both the land use conversion fee and the external development charges to the government before the exemption order would be issued to them,” said Mr Sidhu.

The housing companies have, however, not been exempted from provisions of sections 5(9) of the PAPRA 1995. “This section of the Act makes it mandatory for the company to set aside 10 per cent of the houses for the economically weaker sections. This would have to be followed by all the companies,” added Mr Sidhu.

The empowered committee on November 28 approved five projects of residential townships: DLF Universal (Rs 3000 crore), PACL India Ltd. (Rs. 200 crore), Ansal Mittal Township Projects (Rs 205 crore), Taneja Developers (Rs 266.5 crore) and Ansal Township and projects Ltd. (Rs 750.50).


Punjab Govt flayed on 85th amendment
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 1
The members of General Category Employees Federation of the PSEB burnt the effigy of the state government protesting against its decision to implement the 85th amendment in the state here yesterday.

A large number of employees, wearing black robes, gathered at the old bus stand and walked up to the Deputy Commissioners office.

Addressing the gathering V K Gupta, press secretary of the General Category Engineers Forum, said in this case PSEB percentage of posts for reserved category, including, Chief Engineers would rise to 43 per cent and that of Superintending Engineers would rise to 34 per cent from the present limit of 14 per cent with in one year of implementation of the amendment.

He added that the government should seriously reconsider the repercussion of the 85th amendment in the state.


Artificial birds in Sutlej to attract migratory friends
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 1
The state Forest Department has decided to float artificial birds in the Sutlej to attract migratory birds in the Ropar wetland area as per the directions of the Central Government. The idea is to make the migratory birds coming from distant places feel secure with the presence of the artificial birds and stay here for a longer time, revealed officials involved in the project.

The artificial birds would be placed in different groups in the Sutlej next week. The Central Government had given Rs 20,000 to the Forest Department for the manufacturing of these artificial birds. The contract to manufacture the artificial birds was given to a Mohali-based firm, they said.

Migratory birds stop in the wetland area for nesting, wintering, and even for mating. It is necessary to ensure that the birds feel comfortable and safe. The presence of artificials birds in the wetland area will motivate a migratory birds to stay here for a longer time, feel the forest officials. Besides,it has also become important to use artificial birds as the strength of the migratory birds continue to decline every year here, the officials add.

Confirming the decision to The Tribune, the District Forest Officer, Mr S.S. Bhatti, said it was Central Government schemes to use artificial birds to attract migratory bird in the wetland area.

He added that the wetland area here was important for the survival of the migratory birds as these birds got proper habitat here for breeding and nesting. Some of the wetland areas had disappeared. Therefore, the birds were forced to change their paths. By using artificial birds, they would be making an attempt to stop as many birds here as possible.


BJP, SAD (A) workers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Donera (Gurdaspur), December 1
Workers of the BJP and the SAD (Amritsar) today came together in protest against the poor condition of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) road from Dhar to Donera. This portion is an important part of the Pathankot-Dalhousie road.

The entire stretch of the Pathankot-Dalhousie road had been in a bad shape for the past three to four years. Recently the BRO had constructed the stretch from Dhar to Donera. However, within two months most portions the road had scraped off due to the alleged poor material used in its construction.

Hundreds of BJP workers blocked traffic for about 90 minutes at Donera around 11 am today.

While addressing the workers the former BJP minister, Mr Mohan Lal, alleged large scale corruption in the construction of the road. He alleged that the BRO had spent about Rs 5 crore had been on the road. Even after that the condition of the road was very poor. The newly constructed portions of the road had developed craters.

The road was vital for defence purpose and due to this had been handed over to the BRO. The other leaders demanded an inquiry into construction of the road. The protesters also alleged erratic supply of LPG cylinders in the area. They alleged that the agencies were not supplying LPG cylinders in the area to create artificial shortage. The LPG cylinders were being sold on the black market.

Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, when asked about the poor condition of the road, said the Chief Minister had requested the BRO to hand over the road to the state. However, the request was turned down. The BRO was neither improving the state of road on its own nor allowing the state to carry out its improvement.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A), also lamented the poor state of the road. He had directed his workers to join the protest.


Policemen’s petrol, diesel quota increased
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 1
The state government has increased petrol and diesel quota for police personnel.

Besides a proposal of 100 per cent reimbursement of house rent to constables was also sent to the government.

As per old police rules at present only 60 per cent of house rent is paid to the constables, who not have government accommodation said that DIG Ludhiana Range, Parag Jain, here today.

After hearing grievances of policemen of the district in the police lines, at a press conference he said a request had also been made to the government to empower senior police officials and senior medical officers to stop the sale of drugs to children without medical prescription.

He said that only a few drug inspectors were there to check chemist shops.

In view the rise in cases of drug use among children, the police should be given powers to stop the menace.

He said health check-up schemes had been introduced for cops. First it was introduced in Ludhiana where it helped improve working of police personnel.

Now it was introduced in Ropar district, he added.

To improve functioning of the police in the state, 150 new vehicles were purchased which would be sent to direct areas concerned and not to headquarters, he added.


Raising day
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 1
The BSF unit here celebrate its raising day today. The function was presided over by the DIG BSF, Mr V.K. Sharma.

Mr Sharma, while speaking on the occasion, said the BSF was raised to guard the countries borders on December 1, 1965. At the time of raising it had 26 battalions that were drawn from police forces of various states. At present the strength of the BSF has risen to 150 battalions.


Vedanti for boycott of ‘Spokesman’

Amritsar, December 1
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti today gave a call to Sikh sangat to boycott the ‘Spokesman’ newspaper, started by Mr Joginder Singh, who has been excommunicated from the Sikh fold.

In a statement here today, the Jathedar said the Editor of the newspaper had earlier, through his writings, misinterpreted the history, maryada and hukamnamas for which he was excommunicated. — OC


30 ‘birs’ handed over to DSGMC
Our Correspondent

Wagah, December 1
As many as 30 old birs of Guru Granth Sahib from Pakistan were handed over to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, here today.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) had collected the birs from different gurdwaras in Pakistan and placed them at Dera Sahib Gurdwara, Lahore.

A special van brought the old birs to Wagah and handed them over from the Indo-Pak joint check post. Mr Bishan Singh, member, PSGPC, handed over the birs to Bhai Gursharanjit Singh, member, DSGMC.


high court
Life imprisonment upheld
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 1
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice Pritam Pal has upheld the conviction and life imprisonment awarded to Surinder Singh, Resham Singh and Jasmail Singh of village Ferozeshah in Ferozepore district for the murder of one Diwan Chand.

The deceased was working as Chief Pharmacist with the Community Health Centre in the village and was murdered on the intervening night of October 24 and 25, 1997. He was kidnapped and a ransom of Rs 4 lakh was demanded by the abductors. His body had been found from the wheat straw stored in the fields of the accused.

They were convicted for the offence and sentenced to life imprisonment. In their appeal against the judgement, they had challenged the same on grounds of infirmity.

Writing for the Bench, Mr Justice Pritam Pal, while dismissing the appeal, observed that deposition of the medical officer, who had conducted the post mortem and the report of the forensic laboratory had confirmed the weapon used in the murder.

The Judge observed that the contention of the appellants that the trial court had not examined the investigating officer was countered by the fact that the entire investigation had been corroborated beyond a doubt by the statement of other witnesses.

Hence, the Bench dismissed the appeal.

Sentence for gangrape bid

The High Court upheld the life sentence awarded to four persons, including three cops, for having murdered a woman during a failed gang rape attempt.

Dismissing the appeals of the convicted persons — Surjit Singh alias Bagga, Surjit Singh alias Dhanna, Lakhwinder Singh alias Lakha and Daljit Singh alias Dulla, the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice Pritam Pal also passed serious strictures against the investigating officer, Sub-Inspector Swaran Singh, for “trying to help the accused in the initial stages”.

Surjit Singh alias Bagga, Surjit Singh alias Dhanna and Daljit Singh alias Dulla were police officials at the time of the offence. Another person had also been convicted for the offence and awarded life imprisonment. All the accused had also been fined Rs 5,000 each.

As per the prosecution case, on February 21, 1997, the accused tired to rape a woman, Harbans Kaur, mother of two young children. When she resisted, one of them hit her on the head with a brick, leading to her death. The deceased belonged to a family of poor labourers.

However, the initial police FIR did not name any of them and the investigating officer tried to pass of the crime as untraced. It was only after Mohan Singh, the deceased’s son, filed a private complaint before the Illaka Magistrate that the accused were summoned and brought to trial.

On December 6, 2001, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, held the accused guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. In their appeal, they claimed that no offence had been made out against them. Even the post-mortem report was silent on this issue, their counsel said.

However, the Bench noted that the case was a typical example of a case where the investigating officer tried to help the accused in the initial stages.

“Much emphasis has been made by the counsel for the appellants that they were not named in the FIR. We cannot be oblivious of the fact that the complainants were poor labourers, who put their faith in the investigating officer. Little did they know that the investigating officer wanted to help the appellants,” the Bench observed.

It held that there was merit in the appeal and hence dismissed the same.


Woman shot over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 1
According to a report filed with the police here Sushil Kumar (28) of Muthianwali village, 8 km from here allegedly shot dead his mother Remanti Devi (55), today.

According to Dabbu Punia, Remanti Devi had gone to pick cotton from her field. Her daughter Nirmala married to Jaswant Singh of Ganeshgarh village, near Sangria, Sriganganagar (Rajasthan) was also following her. Suddenly her only brother Sushil reached the field on a motorcycle and before she could understand anything he brandished his pistol to the temple of her mother and shot from point blank range. Remanti Devi died on the spot. Brij Lal husband of the deceased was a former sarpanch of village and he owned 30 acres. He died four years back. Since then there was a dispute over land in the family.

Remanti Devi possessed seven acres while the remaining was looked after by her son. Sushil Kumar reportedly wanted possession of the seven acres held by her mother. He allegedly murdered his mother at 9 a.m. today. The police came to know of it after 2 p.m.

When this correspondent visited the site of crime body of Remanti Devi was lying soaked blood near a tubewell in the field. Mr Parmpal Singh DSP who was present at the scene said that a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Sushil Kumar on statement of his sister Nirmala had been registered. Sushil Kumar is reported to be absconding.

The police recovered an empty cartridge of the pistol believed to be of .32 bore. According to villagers present on the site Remanti Devi was God-fearing woman.


Home Guards jawan, 2 others held with opium
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 1
A Home Guards jawan and a son of a retired Army officer were among three persons nabbed by the police for smuggling opium from Rajasthan.

The police claimed that Nishan Singh, son of Niamat Singh, a resident of Dapthuhi village under Valtoha police station in Amritsar district, was arrested under the NDPS Act as he allegedly returned with 500 gm opium from Rajasthan.

A police party nabbed him on the Bishanpura-Bazidpura link road close to the inter-state border this morning. Nishan Singh is posted in the border wing of the Punjab Home Guards at Patti in Amritsar district, the police said.

Another patrol party intercepted Kashmir Singh and Bahadur Singh, residents of Badagaon village of Rajasthan near Kular village here. They allegedly carried 1270 gm and 1320 gm of opium, respectively, with them in separate bags. Mr Kashmir Singh, a son of a retired Captain of the Army, Mr Ujagar Singh, had been working as a driver with the Rajasthan Roadways.

Preliminary interrogation reportedly indicated that all of them had been buying opium from Nagaur district of Rajasthan and selling it in Amritsar district at a premium. The Home Guards jawan normally travelled in uniform to escape checking by the police.


Carcasses of wildcats seized
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 1
Former honorary Wildlife Warden Binny Bajwa has seized carcasses of two wild cats and four rabbits from the poachers last night. Mr Bajwa, while taking to The Tribune, said he was on his way to a marriage party when he spotted some persons carrying killed wild cats and rabbits.

When asked to stop, the poachers fled leaving behind the killed wild cats and rabbits. The cats and rabbit seized from the poachers had bullet injuries. The poachers seemed to have hunted them from the Bet area of the district.

The wild cat was protected under Schedule B of the Wildlife Act. It was helpful to farmers as it keeps the population of rats in control. The killed animals were handed over the wildlife authorities of the district.

About two days ago, another honorary Wildlife Warden had rescued a sambar form getting killed at the hands of stray dogs and villagers.

In winter season, animals stray into plains due to scarcity of water and fog and fall pray to either stray dogs or hunters. The wildlife officials have to increase their vigil in these days to protect these animals.


Five injured as trucks collide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 1
Five persons were injured in a collision involving two trucks near Mundi Kharar last night.

While one truck, laden with apples, was going towards Chandigarh, the other was going towards Kharar when the accident took place. They truck carrying apples overturned leading to traffic blockage.

The injured persons, including the drivers and cleaners of the two vehicles, were taken to the local Civil Hospital.


SGTB Public School’s annual function
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Public School, Tripuri, held its annual day function on the school premises today by organising skits, plays and well choreographed Rajasthani and Punjabi dances.

The Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, was the chief guest. He announced a grant of Rs 25,000 for the upgradation of infrastructure of the school.

To mark the occasion, the Principal of the school, Ms Anu announced fee concession to the only girl child of parents in accordance with the recent CBSE directive.

Cricket player Gurpreet Kaur Attili, who captained the Punjab girls cricket team, was also honoured on the occasion.

The Deputy Commissioner, in his speech, exhorted students to lay equal emphasis on academics and sports and also urged them to work hard if they had to achieve something in life.

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