P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No violation of rules in calling meeting, says Hit
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A former President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), Mr Avtar Singh Hit, said today that no rule had been violated in calling a meeting of the general house on December 19 to elect the President of the committee. “We are following the rule book regarding elections”, he asserted.

He said on the phone from Delhi that false propaganda was being indulged in by the group headed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, President of the committee, in this regard. Mr Hit said his group today consulted advocates, who said the general secretary of the committee could call a meeting to elect the President. The committee’s bylaws were clear. These empowered the general secretary to call the meeting.

Mr Hit, a member of the committee, said Mr Sarna was elected last time with the support of members of the Shiromani Akali Dal( SAD), headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Mr Hit, who is the president of the Delhi unit of the SAD, said he had himself signed in support of Mr Sarna to elect him President by replacing Mr Prahlad Singh Chandok. Because of the SAD support, Mr Sarna got 32 votes though he had only 14 members with him in the last elections, Mr Hit asserted. Now Mr Sarna had become a rallying point for anti-Badal forces, he said.

What had now annoyed people was that Mr Sarna had converted this committee into a Congress party branch. Sikhs in Delhi were upset because of this reason, he added. “Now most of the Sikhs in Delhi call it a Congress committee instead of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee”, Mr Hit said.

“We have also decided to approach the Akal Takht Jathedar against Mr Sarna, who had tried to undermine the position of Akal Takht in Pakistan”, he said. “In Mr Sarna’s presence, the President of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave a statement that he would call a Sarbat Khalsa to decide where the golden palki should be placed”, Mr Hit said. “It was the duty of Mr Sarna to tell the President of the Pakistan body that he could not call a Sarbat Khasla as only Akal Takht could do so”, he said. He said Mr Sarna was trying to weaken the great institution of Akal Takht and should be summoned by the Jathedar.

Mr Hit said the election of the President of the committee was mandatory in a period of 365 days. He said the new President should have been elected on November 22. However, this was not done. “We are determined to hold the elections on December 19”, he added. 


Unified Panthic platform in the offing
Aim to form third front against Cong, SAD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
Efforts are afoot to bring leaders of various rival Akali factions on a single platform to form a formidable third front against the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

A five-member committee has been constituted at a meeting held here today to bring like-minded Panthic parties on a common platform. The meeting, presided over by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, president All-India Shiromani Akali Dal, said the proposed unified Panthic platform was being formed to defeat the alleged ‘designs’ of SAD supremo to project his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, as the next Chief Minister. He said the campaign would be launched from Majha region and Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, a veteran Akali leader, would be the convener of the committee.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Baldev Singh Maan, general secretary, SAD (Longowal), Principal Bharpur Singh, Darshan Singh Issapur, Gurmel Singh Shoora and senior leaders of other Akali factions.

Citing the example of Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, who was appointed Adviser of the proposed World Sikh University, Fatehgarh Sahib, despite the fact that he (Dr Ahluwalia) was facing corruption and molestation charges, Mr Mann said Mr Badal was appointing persons of disrepute at various Sikh organisations. He said if alleged corrupt SGPC officials were removed from important places of the committee, the revenue from its huge chunk of land would increase. He said the committee had redeemed fixed deposit of Rs 100 crore but it had not submitted the details about its expenditure.

Ridiculing the Punjab Government, he alleged that it seems that Capt Amarinder Singh was hand in glove with Mr Badal as four years have passed and there was no decision on the corruption cases filed against Mr Badal.


GND varsity, Lahore chamber ink MoU
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Guru Nanak Dev University and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry for establishing bilateral interest, promoting research, training, general activity, mutual interest and concern here today.

The MoU was signed jointly by Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, and Mr Mian Shafqat, President, Lahore Chambers of Commerce & Industry, on the university campus. This is for the first time that such MoU has been signed between an Indian university and Pakistan’s chamber (LCCI).

As per the MoU, the standing committees at the LCCI will have the option to take special invitees from the GNDU faculty and research scholars.

As per short-term training programs, both sides will develop material for training and development programs in the context of both the countries. The short-term training programs will be conducted by both the institutions for human resource development. The MoU will be in force from today and will be effective for three years.


Singla announces relief for school for deaf and dumb
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
Reiterating the state government’s commitment to work for the welfare of the disabled, Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla said the need of the hour was to treat them with equality. He stated this while addressing a function held to mark the World Disabled Day here today.

The Finance Minister said the state government was extending a monthly pension of Rs 200 to the disabled, besides various amenities under The Persons with Disabilities Act-1995.

He said the state government had provided employment opportunities to 7,578 disabled and had also extended the age of retirement for them from 58 to 60. He said 3 per cent of seats in recruitments to various government departments were reserved for physically handicapped, while 1 per cent seats were reserved for blind, deaf and dumb.

He announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh for the local deaf and dumb school, besides 10 prizes of Rs 10,000 each for the winners of various contests at the school to promote competitive spirit among them.

Mr S.R. Laddar, Director, Social Security Department, said the government was also providing free books to blind and scholarship of Rs 200 per month to the disabled for continuing their education. The scholarship amount was Rs 300 for them after Class VIII. He distributed 11 tricycles and artificial limbs to disabled, besides felicitating philanthropists, blood donors, and disabled children.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said 170 disabled students were getting quality education at the deaf and dumb school and hostel facility was also available for 115 students. He said the school would soon have vocational training programme for its students. ADC Gurkirat Kirpal Singh was also present on the occasion.


Congress to be routed in poll: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
The Congress will be routed in the coming Assembly elections in the state, while SAD will return to power with a landslide victory, claimed SAD MP Sukhbir Singh Badal during a meeting with his party leaders here today.

Sukhbir said the Congress leaders’ statement that they would put in all efforts at 60 Assembly seats proved that they had already conceded defeat in the coming elections. He claimed that the Congress would be thrown out of power as people were unhappy with the government.

He alleged that the development works had come to a grinding halt in the Congress regime. Coming down heavily on the state government, he said it was the first state government whose MLAs were accusing their ministers of corruption. “Even the PPCC president has admitted that the corruption has increased in the state,” he added.

Sukhbir alleged that the height of corruption in the state government could be gauged from the fact that a minister was “collecting money for his offspring’s marriage”.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr Baljit Singh Bir Behman, Mr Surinder Gupta and Mr Jaswant Singh Ghumiara. 


Kainth flays Dullo on reservation issue
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
“The recent suggestion of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, PPCC president, regarding voluntary ending the benefit of reservation in government jobs by the prosperous section among the reserved categories, is a clear-cut indication that he has been suffering from shell shock, on account of which he is giving such type of statements”. Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM), said while talking to mediapersons here today.

He said the reservation was not for depriving any class of the society of only benefit , but was only given for the uplift of Dalits, who had been suppressed for the past many centuries. But on account of lack of sincerity by the ruling political parties, only a few of them could be benefited and majority of them were still living in pitiable conditions.

The suggestion of the PPCC president was not feasible. Instead of giving such types of suggestions, Mr Dullo should get implemented 85th Amendment to the Constitution by his ruling party and fill the 27,000 posts lying vacant in various government departments of the state. Though the state Cabinet had taken the decision for the implementation of the 85th Amendment to the Constitution, but the notification in this regard was yet to be made, he said.

He said in the chain of rallies being organised in Punjab for the mobilisation of Dalits, the last rally would be held at Nawanshahar on December 6, where future plan of action of the BSM would be announced. A special campaign would be launched to enroll at least two lakh members in the BSM in state from December 6, 2005 to April 14, 2006.


Govt flayed for delaying four-laning of Wagah road
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Mr Raminder Singh Bularia, member, working committee, Shiromani Akali Dal, today criticised the government for not starting four-laning of road from Jalandhar to Wagah.

In a press note issued here today, he said Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh admitted that the Pakistan Government had completed 60 per cent of the six-laning of the road from Nankana Sahib to Wagah while the government here had miserably failed to even start the four-laning of the Jalandhar-Wagah road despite the fact it had more resources than its neighbouring country. He said if government wanted it could complete the four-laning soon.

Mr Bularia pointed out that why the MLAs of the Congress not pressuring the government to provide land for Special Economic Zone announced by the Prime Minister in his visit to the holy city during quadricentennial celebration of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. He said SAD would continue its campaign till the SEZ was not established in Amritsar.


Dang Secy to SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3
The new president of SGPC, Mr Avtar Singh, has appointed Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang as his private secretary , while Mr Harbeant Singh , secretary Shiromani Committee, would also hold the additional charge of personal assistant. Mr Satbir Singh, an assistant secretary would assist Mr Harbeant Singh to carry out the charge of personal assistant .

Earlier, Mr Harbeant Singh was sacked from the service for getting job on the basis of ‘fake certificate’ during the presidentship of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra . However, he was reinstated by Bibi Jagir Kaur . 


Protest against implementation of 85th Amendment
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 3
On a call given by the General Categories Welfare Federation (GCWF), scores of employees, farmers, students and businessmen belonging to general categories today carried out a protest march and burned the effigy of the state government to lodge their protest against the implementation of the 85th Amendment in the state.

Addressing the agitating activists, Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, state president, GCWF, said the state government had cheated the people belonging to general categories by implementing the 85th Amendment, which was neither any constitutional compulsion of government nor the number of employees of reserve categories was less than their deserving quota.

He said their federation support those 26 per cent poor Dalits of Punjab, who had been living a life of extreme poverty for the past many years but the 85th Amendment would benefit those “super Dalits”, who had already taken the benefits of reservation.

Mr Shyam Lal Sharma, chief organiser of the GCWF, said with he enforcement of 85th amendment, all senior officers at the district and state-level in all departments would be from reserve categories in the coming five years. He said the government was closing all gates of promotion for those belonging to general categories.


CM to open health centre at native village
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), December 3
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will lay the foundation stone of a farmers’ training centre and a sewerage treatment plant, besides inaugurate other development projects at his ancestral village next Monday, the day when SAD will also hold a rally at Badiala village, about 20 km from Mehraj, to mark the 33rd death anniversary of Sant Baba Fateh Singh. The rally will be addressed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. While the SAD organises a rally on the same day every year, the Chief Minister has set the stage for a “show of strength” with his bete noire.

The Chief Minister will arrive at the village at 10.30 in the morning. The foundation stone laying ceremony of a farmers’ training centre, being raised by Punjab National Bank, will be the main function. He will also inaugurate a new Primary Health Centre (PHC), a Gram Sabha Hall and the concretisation work of village streets. At the 30-bed PHC, Dr Ajitpal Singh has been appointed as the SMO. Physician Dr M.R. Gupta, surgeon Dr Manish, paediatrician Dr Anil Singla, gynaecologist Dr Darshan Kaur, three staff nurses and three pharmacists have been posted at the hospital.

The administration and police officials are on their toes to make arrangements for the Chief Minister’s visit. A huge pandal is being erected for the function and roads are being renovated.

The Chief Minister had laid the foundation stones of a hospital, a sewerage and a potable water project, a milk chilling centre, a community hall and a stadium during his last visit to the village on December 17, 2003. He had sanctioned Rs 6.5 crore for water supply and sewerage, Rs 4.5 crore for the concretisation of roads and sewers, Rs 2 crore for the re-construction of hospital and Rs 20 lakh each for sports stadium and milk chilling centre.

Interestingly, poor workmanship marred the water and sewerage project at the Chief Minister’s village and the district administration even suspended an SDO and JE. A committee was also formed to probe into the matter and the entire staff associated with the project was changed. The substandard quality of work coupled with the lack of technical expertise led to leakage in pipeline at various points and villagers complained of cracks surfacing on their walls and their homes being inundated.

Mr Rahul Bhandari, DC, said the water and sewerage project was now functioning normally except for some isolated cases of leakage.


Punjabi scholar honoured
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 3
Mr Harwinder Bhandal, a well-known Punjabi scholar, was honoured with the Prof Didar Memorial award, at its 50th annual celebration by the Literary Sabha, Dasuya-Garhdiwala area in a function at JC DAV College, Dasuya, 40 km from here today.

This literary function was dedicated to the renowned poetess, Amrita Pritam.

Presiding over the function, Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, said literature and art were playing an important role in brining changes in the society for betterment. Writers should oppose social evils through their writings and should make awareness among the younger generation about the ill-effects of intoxication.

Dr K.N. Kaul, Principal, and others briefed about the contribution of Prof. Didar towards Punjabi literature. Master Lal Singh, general secretary of the sabha, highlighted the activities of the Sabha.


Repair roads before elections: minister
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 3
Keeping in view the next Assembly elections, the state government has decided to complete the carpeting of all link roads in the state till March next year. The budget for the various road projects had already been submitted with the departments concerned, said Parliamentary Secretary of Home Affairs, Justice and PWD (B and R), Sadhu Singh Dharamsot. He was here to hear grievances of the Bazigar community of the district.

Addressing press conference here, he said the Congress had promised to the people to power to provide better roads to them. So the party would fulfil the promise so that it could ask the people to vote again for it in the next Assembly elections.

Talking about the neglect of the Bazigar community, he said after the death of former CM Beant Singh, no one cared about the Bazigar community.

So a rally would be organised on December 13 in Patiala to highlight their problems. The CM and PPCC president would attend the rally.


4 BSF jawans hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 3
Four jawans of the BSF were injured, two of them seriously, when a truck by which they were travelling was hit by a Tata canter, sources said.

According to information a truck (JK 01 9602) of the 99 Bn of the BSF was taking some jawans from Rampura village to Sriganganagar. When it was to take a turn at the Alamgarh bypass chowk here this morning a canter (RJ 13 J 3011) hit the rear of the truck. Four jawans received injuries.

All were rushed to the Civil Hospital. Dr Rakesh Arora said Karan Singh and Om Parkash were referred to Sriganganagar for CT scan and MRI as their condition was serious. Two other jawans suffered fractures and were in the emergency ward.

The driver of the canter and his assistant escaped after the accident. The vehicle was transporting newspapers to Sriganganagar. A case had been registered at the police station here, the sources added.


Shiv Sena burns Punjab Police effigy

Tarn Taran, December 3
Shiv Sena activists burnt the effigy of the Punjab Police for its alleged failure to protect the interests of the Hindus in the state.

Mr Ashwani Kumar Kukku, president of the local unit of the Sena, alleged that the police had failed to identify the accused responsible for the theft in a local mandir. He further alleged that the miscreants damaged the idols of a mandir at Dhuna village near Goindwal three days ago but no accused had been arrested yet.


CM opens semen bank
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today announced that paucity of funds would not be allowed to come in the way of embryo transfer technology (ETT) program.

The Chief Minister added that animal husbandry was an important alternate branch in the present perspective. By employing ETT methods, milk production of the progeny could be increased at a much faster rate.

He was here to inaugurate the semen bank of the Animal Husbandry Department which had got ISO 9001-2000 certification.

He added that there was a need to conserve the native “shiwal breed” of cattle. Capt Amarinder Singh stated that during his recent visit to Pakistan he had come to know that they had good “Nilli Ravi” breed of buffaloes while we had some good “Murrah buffaloes.” Hence, he stressed that an exchange program of animals could be of mutual benefit to both countries.

Regarding the bird flu virus prevalent in the state, the Chief Minister said 980 samples of migratory birds and poultry farms around bird sanctuaries and wetlands had been taken and tested negative for bird flu virus. But nevertheless, he added that “we have to maintain constant vigil, since South Asian countries were regularly having sporadic cases of avian influenza.” He announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh for the upkeep of the semen bank and repair of the internal roads.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, the Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, appealed to the Chief Minister to change electricity rates on agriculture pattern for dairy and fishery farmers instead of commercial rates that were being charged presently so that more and more farmers took up these vocations.

Mr Kang said the department would focus on extension and awareness among the rural folks so that they could make optimal use of the programmes and policies of the government.

He further said to motivate dairy farmers to rear good quality animals, the department had earmarked Rs 40 lakh for giving cash incentive to owners of “Murrah” and “Nilli Ravi” breed buffaloes, and already 2,500 such buffaloes had been identified.

Among those present on the occasion were Nabha MLA Randeep Singh, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, D.S. Bains and Director, Animal Husbandry, B.S. Sidhu.


1,000 quintals of cotton destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 3
Fire broke out in a cotton mill at Tapa, about 20 Km from here, yesterday and destroyed about 1,000 quintals of cotton lying in the open on the premises of Aggarwal Cotton & General Mills, Tapa, situated on the Barnala-Bathinda road.

Talking to this reporter on the phone, Mr Vinay Kumar, owner of the mill, said the fire broke out at about 10.30 a.m. The cause of fire was not known so far.

Fire tenders rushed to the spot and controlled the flames within one-and-a-half hours.


DC suspends employee for smoking in office
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Bhandari, yesterday suspended an employee who was found smoking in the office of the District Commander, Home Guards.

The DC instructed various department heads to issue notices to the employees who were absent from duty. He also checked eatables being served in the canteen and destroyed uncovered stuff there. He asked the canteen contractor to provide clean food. He also took notice of records scattered on office tables and directed the official concerned to keep these in order. He inspected bathrooms in the complex and ordered the official concerned to ensure cleanliness. ADC Harjeet Singh accompanied the DC during the surprise check.


Criminal supplying arms to terrorists held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 3
The police has arrested a hardcore criminal reportedly involved in supplying arms and ammunition to terrorists having links with the Babbar Khalsa International.

Sources said the accused was allegedly smuggling weapons from Pakistan through Rajasthan border and from there he was supplying it to terrorist outfits active in different states of the country.

His arrest had come as a major breakthrough for the police, as it would lead to revelation of his other terror links. The SSP confirmed his arrest, but didn’t reveal much on the matter.


Another FIR against Siti Cable MD
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Another FIR was registered against Hari Om Dhanuka, Managing Director of Siti Cable and an accused in the sensational sex scam that rocked the city in 2003, and to three others for allegedly threatening witness Harinder Singh in the case.

Other persons booked are Baldev Sethi, Kiran Kapoor, Sunil Jain, associates of the Dhanuka, under Sections 379, 386, 382 and 34 of the IPC.

However, Dhanuka said an inquiry had been marked into the lodging of the FIR and alleged that the allegations were fake.

He said a notice was sent to Harinder Singh for the payment of an outstanding sum of Rs 2.5 lakh. Following this, Harinder Singh, got registered a false case against him.

Mr Harinder Singh said he had received no such notice.

The FIR was lodged on the report of Mr Rakesh Kaushal, SP (HQ). 


2 held for murdering youth
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 3
Mr Arun Pal Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here yesterday, said the police had succeeded in solving the case of kidnapping of Bhupinder Singh (20) of Aiman village (Balachaur) for ransom by arresting Gagandeep Singh Bedi of Pritam Nagar, Sangrur, and Neeraj Kumar alias Rocky of Bathinda district.

The SSP said the case was solved by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Mr Mukhtiar Singh Dahiya, SP(D). The team got vital clues regarding the identity of the alleged kidnappers through systematic and planned efforts.

Accused, during investigation, had disclosed that he had killed Bhupinder Singh by pushing him into the Ropar canal, said the SSP. Bhupinder Singh was kidnapped on April 5, 2004.


2 held for furnishing false surety bonds
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 3
Timely action by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar, today prevented the rape accused, who had been granted bail by the High Court, to move freely on the basis of false surety bonds. As per the directions of the CJM, Mr J.S Bhinder, the police has arrested two persons, Babir Singh of Chamkaur Sahib and Prem Singh of Sadabarat, for furnishing false surety to get release Umesh Paswan, allegedly involved in a rape case. The two were arrested on the charges of cheating and forgery.

The High Court ordered to release Umesh on November 30. Thereafter, the CJM court ordered that the accused be released on bail on his furnishing personnel bonds of Rs 2 lakh with one surety in the like amount. Consequently, personal bonds and surety bonds were submitted by Balbir Singh of Surtapur village for Rs 2 lakh. Balbir Singh had attached jamabandi for the years 2004-2005 in which he was shown to be the owner of eight kanals 13 marlas of land in the village. The documents were attested by nambardar of village Prem Das.

The CJM sent all records to the SDM, Ropar, for verification. The SDM in his reply said the concerned patwari of the area had not issued jamabandi that was submitted in the court by Balbir Singh. Thereafter, the CJM directed the SHO to register a case against the accused.

They were arrested today under Sections of 420, 467, 468 of the IPC as per the directions of the CJM.


Govt teachers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
On a call given by the Anti-Privatisation Teachers Morcha, government teachers today carried out a flag march in the city.

They were protesting in favour of their demands, including filling of about 35,000 vacant pasts of teacher, regular recruitments, and for providing full grade to the ETT and computer teachers recruited on contract. They also protested against privatisation of the government schools.

The teachers threatened that if the state government failed to pay heed to their genuine demands, they would be forced to intensify their struggle, including a rally at Patiala on January 22 and boycott of annual exams. 


Chetna rally
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 3
A chetna rally was organised in connection with the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan on the World Handicapped Day at Govt. Senior Secondary School here today.

Addressing the rally, Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, emphasised the need for providing respect and cooperation to the handicapped children. He advised the students to follow the traffic rules to avoid mishaps. He instructed all headmasters of schools to organise medical check-up camps for students of their schools and provide treatment to the needy students.

Mr Avtar Singh, District Education Officer (Secondary), Hoshiarpur, and many others also addressed the rally.


Women artists showcase their creativity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
Paintings by ‘We — A group of women artists’ were displayed in the Department of Fine Arts, Kala Bhavan, Punjabi University, here on Tuesday. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, of the University. Many of the works displayed the individuality of the artists.

The works of Sadhna Sangar, Neenu Vij, Aradhna Tondon, Nirmala Singh, Aju Pasricha, Bharti Vandana, Guneeta Chadha, Robinder Bains, Alka Kalra, Asha Sharma, Navpreet Kaur, Darshanjit Kaur, Rozy Varinder Kaur have been displayed. Mixed media, oil on canvas, wash, water colours, acylics, glass work besides other paintings depict nature in all its glory.

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