P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Pak participants duped at Sain Mian Mir fest
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The first Sain Mian Mir festival has been embroiled in a controversy even as many businessmen from across the border, who came here to mark the occasion, alleged that organisers had siphoned off huge amount collected for getting them visas.

Out of about 140 Pakistanis, who were granted visas, about 70 persons had crossed over to India on December 4 from the Wagah route.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Brar, International President of the Sain Mian Mir Foundation (SMMF), , admitting the fact that he had also received many complaints from Pakistanis in this regard, said all those office-bearers of the Pakistani chapter of the SMMF would be blacklisted, if found guilty.

He said a committee would be constituted to probe the allegations. Mr Brar, however, claimed that nobody from Indian organisation had collected even a single penny. He said some functions could not be held at Chandigarh, Nakodar and Sudhar as planned by the foundation due to lack of coordination.

Mr Izaz-Ula Naz , Secretary SMMF, Pakistan chapter, refuting the charges said only Rs 1,500 from each participant was collected, including membership of Rs 1,000. However, Anjum Salimi, a renowned poet from Pakistan, admitted that the festival was not organised and the SMMF should have scrutinised the credentials of all those who were sponsored to visit India.

He alleged that Lawrence Bhatti, joint secretary of the SMMF, Pakistan chapter, and his companions might have collected funds by "misguiding" the participants from Pakistan .

Totally shattered over the "ill arrangements" made by the SMMF for their stay, the businessmen from Lahore alleged that they had to cough up Rs 7,000 each to get their visa for India. They alleged that they were disillusioned at the Wagah border when they were left high and dry as they did not know where to go from there. Though they were promised by the group leader , Mr Izaz-Ula- Khan, that all arrangements of boarding and lodging would be made by the SMMF , they were accommodated in one room shabby rest house on Wagah- Lahore road .

Owing to lack of coordination, many participants visited New Delhi , violating the visa restrictions. None of them had attended any functions organised by the SMMF.


Amritsar-Lahore bus returns
Tribune News Service

Wagah, December 12
The Amritsar-Lahore bus which crossed Radcliff Line yesterday, returned here today after the Beating Retreat ceremony.

Mr A.K. Talwar, Secretary, Transport Punjab, told reporters he was satisfied with the trail run of the Indian bus. The Pakistani authorities had made proper security and other arrangements for the Roadways employees at Gulberg.

Mr Talwar said the 10-km stretch on the Wagah-Lahore route was damaged due to which speed of the bus was affected. The Pakistani authorities had assured him that repair of the road would start soon. He added arrangements have been made for the arrival of the Pakistani bus.

The nine passengers who went to Pakistan in the bus, included Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Mr A.K. Talwar, Director Punjab Transport Department, Mr Narinderjit Singh, State’s Transport Commissioner Iqbal Singh Sidhu, two drivers, two Liaison officers and one official of the Punjab Roadways came back.

Trial run of the Pakistani bus is scheduled to be on December 13.


Sikh pilgrims leave for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 12
A 13-member group of pilgrims headed by Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah joint checkpost to pay obeisance at gurdwaras there.

Before crossing over, she said that a visa centre must be opened here to facilitate the smooth flow of pilgrims and travellers. She was accompanied by her daughter, Preneet Kaur.

The troupe included Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, former sports minister and his wife. From the Pakistan side, they were received by Mr Rai Aziz Ullah Khan, Member, National Assembly.


Forest scam: cover-up operation on
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Sarti (Gurdaspur), December 12
Instead of taking an action against the officials involved in the forest scam in Dhar subdivision of the district, the department has started a cover-up operation.

When The Tribune team visited the spot today, the department officials had already removed the destroyed saplings. About a kilometre inside, around 20 labourers were busy clearing lantana under the supervision of block forest officials.

An official tried to stop The Tribune photographer from taking photographs. The Tribune team also spotted two tractor-trailers of the Forest Department carrying plants toward the Donera area where maximum plantation was carried out under a Japan-aided project.

Sources said officials of the department were busy covering up their doing by making new plantations. Some former officials of the department said there was no point in transporting plants from nurseries as neither the farmers nor the department could carry out plantations in this season.

They said the clearing of the jungle was generally carried out from July to September or January to February. Provisions were made under the Japan-aided project for periodic clearing of the areas in which plantation had been done.

However, a visit to these areas indicated that the clearing exercise was undertaken in papers only. A scrutiny of the muster roles could bring to light a number of discrepancies, sources said.

The DFO, Pathankot division, Mr G.S. Sahota, was not available for comments. He did not pick up his mobile phone despite repeated calls.

Despite visits by Vigilance officials to the areas, officials of the Department of Forests were openly carrying out the cover-up operation.

Mr Sunil Kanotra, president of the Shiv Sena at Pathankot, who initially spilled the beans in the case, said only two areas had been maintained properly. Elsewhere, just 10 per cent of the projected plantation was visible, he added.


“Badal, CM hand in glove”
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 12
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, state president of the SAD (Longowal), while talking to mediapersons here today, alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, are hand in glove with each other and are befooling public by issuing statements against each other.

He said their real face had been exposed by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Congress MLA, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, senior SAD leader.

The SAD (Longowal) would provide the third alternative to the people of state. The next course of action in this regard would be announced during the political conference of the party at the Sahidi Jor Mela, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Chandumajra had come to preside over the meeting of party workers for the preparation of the political conference during the mela.

Mr Chandumajra said Mr Bir Devinder had levelled corruption charges against senior party leader. Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Congress MLA, had alleged that Mr Badal and Mr Amarinder had both taken control of the Central Cooperative Bank.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, had alleged that the SAD was adopting Congress culture. He said his party would hold dharnas and rallies at all district headquarters.


Congress changes Lambi rally venue
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 12
In a bid to accommodate crowd and avoid any nuisance in its first electoral rally, the Congress has shifted the venue of the Lambi rally to Baba Maan Singh Stadium, Animal Husbandry Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang stated this while addressing party workers at Muktsar, Malout and Lambi.

Coming down heavily on SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, the minister said he became the Chief Minister thrice, but did nothing for the development of his ancestral district. He alleged that 900 farmers committed suicide during the SAD regime in the state.

He said the Congress would fight the next Assembly elections on the issue of development.

The District Congress Committee President, Mr Gursant Singh Brar, said party workers had been assigned duties in each village for the rally. The party had invited Punjabi singers Gursewak Mann and Satwinder Bitti to entertain the crowd before the party leaders’ arrival.

Earlier, the party was holding a rally on a ground close to the highway and surrounded by plots of Mr Badal’s close aides. An ex-MLA had also raised apprehension of trouble at the rally.

Meanwhile, sarpanches under the banner of the Panchayat Union today announced their plan to show black flags to the Chief Minister and other Congress leaders to protest against the non-fulfilment of their demands. They sought powers at par with the sarpanches of Kerala and Karnataka. They alleged that they were not treated with respect at government offices and their grievances fell on deaf ears. Unemployed ETT teachers had already said they “would not allow” the CM to address the rally.


SAD wins gurdwara committee election
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
The beleaguered Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani suffered a big setback even as only one of his supporters, Fateh Singh could win the local gurdwara committee elections of Hoshiar Nagar, Gurusar Satlani, while his brother Suba Singh failed to win the election.

Earlier, the SGPC had taken the control of Guru Sar Satlani on the intervention of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

Mr Gurwaryam Singh, SDM, was the Returning Officer of Gurusar Satlani and Baserke. The other three members of the gurdwara committee who won the election were Mr Lakhbir Singh, Mr Satnam Singh and Mr Parjit Singh. The local gurdwara committee of border village, Baserke, was captured by the SAD. Most of the other gurdwara local committees in the border district have also been captured by the SAD. Interestingly, the ruling Congress did not interfere in the gurdwara elections this time.


NHPC pegs Shahpur Kandi dam cost at Rs 2,600 crore
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur December 12
The (NHPC) has pegged construction cost of the Shahpur Kandi dam at Rs 2600 crore. This includes taxes. The NHPC submitted the design project report (DPR) to dam officials who now are scrutinizing it from design and cost parameters.

Sources at the dam told that the NHPC had recommended minor changes in the designs created by the Directorates of Department of Irrigation. It has recommended changes in certain slopes. Depth of the dam has also been increased to some extent. Amount of concrete to be used has also been reduced. The Designs of the Irrigation Department had recommended usage of nine lakh cubic metre concrete in the dam.

The Punjab government had hired the NHPC for preparing the DPR six months ago. The corporation was paid over Rs 1 crore for the preparing the report.

Submission of the report has started evoking criticism from the engineers posted at the dam. On condition of anonymity they said that in a DPR submitted by officials of the department a year ago they had pegged the cost of construction of the dam at Rs 1400 crore. This included infrastructure worth Rs 250 crore like colony hospital and heavy machinery that was available with the department.

They allege there was no logic in handing over dam construction work to other agencies when the department had 8000 labourers and officers idle at the project. Moreover, the cost projected by the NHPC was Rs 1200 crore more than what they had proposed. All these workers are being paid salaries worth Rs 10 crore per month.

The labourer unions of the dam have also been sitting on relay fast for more than 80 days to protest against the stoppage of their allowances and the government’s likely move to hand over the work to the NHPC.

They also alleged that the government doubted technical expertise of its engineers. There are five design directorates in the Department of Irrigation. The officials in these directorates are being paid annual salary of Rs 3 crore per annum. The government was wasting the public money by not utilizing the services of engineers on its rolls.

Chief Engineer Shahpur Kandi dam Jagdish Singh said that the report submitted by the NHPC was being scrutinised or cannot be termed as accepted till the government approved it. He refused to give details of the report.

The Shahpur Kandi dam had been a much-delayed hydro project of Punjab. It was part of the design of Ranjit Sagar dam. Main objective of the dam was to stop the water released due to peak hour generation at Ranjit Sagar dam and further release it slowly into the Upper Bari Doab canal (UBDC) system. In the process the dam would also generate 168 MW power that can give a relief to power-starved Punjab.


‘Banner causes flutter’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 12
A banner saying “Sikh Rashtra ki Rajdhani Amritsar; apka swagat hai” in front of the Railway station caused a flutter among several organisations, here today. The banner has been installed by the Dal Khalsa — a radical Sikh organisation.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP state vice-president, criticised the so-called attempt of communalisation by the organisation which recently too raised the ‘Khalistan’ slogan at a rally. She informed SP (City) Kaushtabh Sharma about the banner and its communal ‘leanings’. However, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh secretary-general, Dal Khalsa, defended, the banner and said it was not communal and was to welcome to the gold ‘Palki’ procession that was taken to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a member of the SGPC, said that there was nothing wrong with the banner. He claimed that the Shiromani Akali Dal, the SGPC and Akal Takht had passed resolutions describing Sikhs as having distinct separate identity. He said if the Akhil Bharatiya Parishad could put up a banner at the entry point of New Delhi that reads, “Welcome to Hindu Rashtra, Delhi” why not the Dal Khalsa. He explained meaning of the ‘Sikh Rashtra’ should not be taken in a narrow context but as a translation of the ‘Sikh quam’ or ‘Sikh Panth’, which is used commonly in many contexts.

Meanwhile Mr Surinder Arjun, district Congress general secretary and President of the Durigana Temple Management Committee criticised the organisation and stated that associations that attempted to play with nationalistic sentiments should be dealt with firmly.


Power cuts back in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 12
Keeping in view of power shortage, the PSEB has imposed five to eight hour powers cuts in the rural areas and one to two hour in small cities in the state. The decision to close down unit-1 of 210 MW of thermal plant, Ropar, for annual maintenance was today deferred to avoid further shortage of power.

PSEB sources said the state was facing shortage of power supply of about 80 lakh units per day. The power demand in the state is about 800 lakh units while power supply from all sources is about 720 lakh units. The state has been getting 398 lakh units from the three thermal plants in the state while 107 lakh units from the Bhakra Beas Management Board and the rest of the power from other sources.

At present shortage in power supply surfaced as one unit of 210 MW of Lehran Mohabbat thermal plant has been shut down for maintenance causing a loss of 50 lakh unit per day. The unit-1 of the thermal plant, Ropar, which is scheduled to be closed down on December 15, now be shut down after the closed unit at Lahran Mohabbat will become operational. The closed unit of 210 MW at Lehran Mohabbat is expected to be become operational on December 23, added sources.

In addition to it, the PSEB has been supplying about 35-lakh units to Himachal Pradesh and Chhatisgarh as per the reciprocal arrangement. During the summer, these two states had supplied power to Punjab to overcome the power crisis.

The sources said that 10 units out of 12 units of Mukerrian hydel project did not under go annual maintenance. As a result the fifth unit of the hydel project was under maintenance and likely to become operational soon.


300 patients examined at cancer camp
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 12
As many as 300 persons were examined during a heart and cancer check-up camp organised by the Seth Shanker Dass Daulat Ram Nagpal Charitable Trust. The camp was inaugurated by Dr Deva Priya Marik, Senior Cardiac Surgeon, Hero DMC Heart Institute, Ludhiana. The camp concluded on Sunday. Dr Daljit Singh, Cancer Specialist, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Ludhiana and Dr Krishma Puri, a noted dietician and physician of Ludhiana, along with other doctors examined the patients.

Mr Jagdish Chander Nagpal, a Chandigarh-based industrialist and chairman of the trust, welcomed the doctors, lab technicians, pharmacists and others. He said this was the seventh camp organised by the trust to help the needy. The DMC team conducted ECG and other tests free of cost.

Dr Daljit Singh found that more than 50 patients were suffering from cancer. He said polluted environment and impure drinking water were main causes for the cancer menace in the Malwa region. Excessive spray of insecticides by cotton growers during last five years to combat American Bollworm had created a strong base for spreading such diseases here.


Patiala doctor honoured in Canada
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 12
Renowned Patiala-based homeopathic physician Dr KRS Thind was honoured at an international-level homeopathic conference held recently at Ontario, Toronto by the Homeopathic Medical Educational Centre of Canada.

Dr Thind was honoured by Member Parliament Gurbax Singh Malhi at the conference, which was organised on behalf of the Canadian government. The conference, which was held on the topic of `Homeopathy-the medicine of the 21st century’, attracted as many as 250 delegates from all over the world. Dr Thind presented his paper on leucoderma and the same was widely acknowledged by the delegates.

It may be recalled that last year that Dr Thind was honoured by the House of Commons (Canadian Parliament) with the highest award in the field of homeopathy — the CSF Hahnemann Award’ — making the Patiala doctor the first physician from Indian to receive the honour.


Relief for fire victims
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 12
The district administration today gave a compensation of Rs 50,000 each to the kin of six persons who died in a fire incident while making firecrackers at Sirsadi village three years back.

The Deputy Commissioner said the administration took all measures to check such incidents prior to Divali and it was the duty of every citizen to follow the guidelines and help them in their implementation.


Probe ordered into discrepancy in cotton purchase
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, December 12
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr B.C. Thakur, has constituted an inquiry committee to look into complaints received from a section of farmers regarding alleged discrepancies in the purchase of cotton crop. The inquiry will be conducted by Mr Baldev Singh, DMO, who will submit his report within a week.

Mr Thakur said the administration had amicably resolved the matter pertaining to the agitation spearheaded by the BKU, who were protesting against the indifferent attitude of certain mandi officials during the purchase of narma and cotton crops.

Giving details, he revealed that most of the demands of the protesting BKU members had been considered by the administration and the decision on the same would be taken soon.

He said Mr Maninderjit Singh, secretary, Market Committee, Fazilka, had been given additional charge of Abohar also.

He informed that till date 11,67,467 quintal of narma has been purchased by various procurement agencies. He said the narma crop was being purchased in various grain markets at Rs 2,300 per quintal against its MSP of Rs 1,835 per quintal.


Home Guard jawans abstain from duty
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 12
All Home Guards deployed at Talwara and Hajipur police stations of Hoshiarpur district abstained from duty today in protest against the Punjab Government for not implementing its decision regarding increase in their daily wages from Rs 90 to Rs 150.

According to official sources, there are 19 Home Guards at Talwara and 15 at Hajipur police stations who abstained from duty. They were also demanding all those facilities being enjoyed by their counterparts in the Punjab Police.

District Home Guards Commandant Gurdip Singh said he was not aware about their absence.


Awaiting completion even after a decade
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, December 12
At a time, when the state government is busy talking about infrastructural development, the work on the construction of the Circuit House is hanging in balance for the past 10 years, reportedly due to shortage of funds.

The foundation stone of the Circuit House was laid during the Congress regime way back in 1995, but unfortunately it has become a victim of government apathy as the work on its construction has been held up since 1998. The semi-constructed structure of this Circuit House, now popularly called “Rigid Skeleton” has become a safe haven for unscrupulous elements and drug addicts.

The construction work, which had already been done, has started deteriorating due to lack of upkeep. Wooden doors and window frames have started decaying.

The project was sanctioned by the then Chief Minister Beant Singh during April, 1995, and was supposed to be completed in 10 months’ time. But now even after 10 years, it is far from complete.

According to the information gathered by The Tribune, the initial estimate for this project was Rs 1.20 crore which was revised in 1998 to Rs 1.59 crore. Till date, around Rs 92.57 lakh has already been spent on the construction of this complex located on the national highway at the entrance of the district headquarters.

According to information, despite budgetary allocation for this project, no funds have been released since 1998. Although the basic structure is almost complete, work on facade, plaster, doors and windows and other parts of the building are still unfinished.

The SAD-BJP government in the state, during its tenure, doled out huge money in the name of infrastructural development but this Circuit House never drew their attention. Now, even after the change of guard in the state government, the project is nowhere on government’s agenda.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Bidhi Chand Thakur, said he has already written a DO letter for the release of money for this project.


high court
Plea to check Kali Bein pollution
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 12
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the respondents on a PIL seeking directions to the respondents to initiate steps to check pollution of the Kali Bein. The petitioners, Guru Nanak Universal Brotherhood Society and others, have prayed that untreated sewerage water should be prevented from flowing into the rivulet.

Saying that the sanctity of Kali Bein rivulet is facing the onslaught of modernisation, the petitioners have stated that the rivulet has great sentimental and religious value for the Sikhs.

However, since the past many years, the rivulet is being polluted by sewage being released by various municipal authorities into a canal at 60 different points in Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts. The canal flows into Kali Bein at Sultanpur, thereby polluting it.

The petitioners have also stated that due to the release of the pollutants, the efforts of Baba Balbir Singh and his followers to save and beautify the rivulet are coming to a naught. They have also stated that despite repeated requests to the Punjab Government authorities, including the Punjab Pollution Control Board, to take immediate steps to check the flow of pollutants into the Kali Bein, no action has been taken.

Today, after hearing the counsel for the petitioners, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta issued notice of motion for March 3, 2006.


Notice issued on PIL filed by Faridabad resident
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 12
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for February 23 on a PIL seeking action against some persons for allegedly carving out and developing unauthorised residential colonies in Faridabad district.

The notice was issued by the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta during resumed hearing of the PIL filed by Mr Jaipal Singh, a farmer of Faridabad.

Sometime back, the Bench had asked the Advocate- General, Haryana, to seek instructions from his government as to its stand vis-a-vis allegations in the petition.

In his petition, Mr Jaipal has alleged that some persons, including Mr Ram Singh Gujjar and Mr Raja Ram Bhagat, have been purchasing land and illegally carving out plots for residential premises on agricultural land.

By doing this, the PIL adds, the private respondents are openly flouting the provisions of the Haryana Urban Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975 as well as the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restrictions of Unregulated Development Act, 1963.

It also states that these persons are not getting any permission for change of land use and are, therefore, duping innocent people by selling such plots to them illegally.

In order to buttress his claim, the petitioner has also submitted the jamabandi of the area in question for the 1998-99.

Incidentally, Mr Ram Singh Gujjar is a former MLA of Delhi. The petitioner has also alleged that the colonies being developed by these influential persons don't have any basic amenities.

The petitioner has also claimed that despite representations made by him to the authorities, no action has been initiated to check the nefarious activities of the private respondents.

The petitioner has prayed for summoning of the record of the case and directions to the respondents to initiate action against the private respondents.

He has also prayed that a stay be imposed on such illegal and unauthorised construction and a local commissioner be appointed to visit the spot and submit a report about the illegal activities being done there.

Hearing will resume on February 23, 2006.


Brandy in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 12
A local court today remanded Himmat, alias Brandy, the main accused in the Sukhvinder Singh murder case, to 14 days of judicial custody in the murder case. He was however remanded to a day of police custody for the flesh trade case registered by the Ropar police.


Court allows rice millers’ entry into FCI depot
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 12
Mr Harsh Mehta, Additional Civil Judge here, today allowed the rice-millers entry into the FCI depot here but restricted their right of movement.

A suit was filed by Mr Suresh Bansal and Mr Pankaj Gupta on December 6 against the FCI through the Senior Regional Manager, Punjab Region, and District Manager (DM) Area Manager, FCI, here.

The court observed that without the millers the FCI could not run. Holding that the FCI could not curtail the right to livelihood of the millers and also keeping in view the interests of the nation and smooth functioning of the FCI, the court directed that the entry of the millers into the depot shall be permitted by the FCI.

The court also directed the DM of the FCI to have check over the subordinate staff so that they did not make any illegal demand, from the rice-millers and complaints from the millers, be got booked into by the police if thought proper.

The rice millers were also directed not to create indiscipline while entering the FCI depot and not to show disrespect to the officials working there.

The court also directed the DM that the complaints by the millers would be disposed of on the same day.


Licence of nursing home suspended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
Following a raid conducted by the Senior Medical Officer (SMO)-cum-in charge, CHC, Dera Bassi, Dr Ram Kumar, recently, the District Health Authorities have now sealed the ultrasound machine that was being used for sex determination tests in National Hospital, Dera Bassi, and have also suspended, the licence of the nursing home.

Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, has issued a warning to the ultrasound centres indulging in sex determination tests.

Dr V.S. Mohi, Civil Surgeon, informed the media that this was the sixth ultrasound machine to be sealed.

The licences of all six nursing homes which illegally used the ultrasound machines have now been suspended.

Dr Harinder Rana, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, while appreciating the good work done by the Patiala health authorities said the drive to launch legal action against violators of the PNDT Act 1994 will continue.


Misuse of 46 govt vehicles detected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has found during a surprise check that 46 government vehicles were being misused across the state. The bureau had checked 263 vehicles on Friday.

Vigilance officials today prepared a detailed list of its checking and will shoot off letters to the heads of the departments concerned, naming the officials whose vehicles were being misused. It is up to the departments to take further action.

Sources in the bureau said the check was carried out following complaints of large-scale misuse of government vehicles allocated to officials.

The offenders included officials of nationalised banks, the Punjab State Electricity Board, the PRTC, the Municipal Corporation , Patiala, the Forest Department, the Health Department, the Education Department and the Rural Development wing.


One held for murder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
The police today has solved a murder case with the arrest of a person for killing Kapur Singh of Jogewala village.

Police sources said Kapur Singh was brutally murdered on the night of December 3 at Mirjeana village. A case was registered against unidentified killer at the Talwandi Sabo police station. Investigations revealed that Mangu Ram, a resident of Kaliawali, was a friend of the deceased and he owed some money to him.

During his interrogation, Mangu said he decided to kill him when his daughter disclosed that the latter had molested her. The police had also recovered a motor cycle and the weapon used in the murder from the accused.

In another incident, two persons have been booked for killing Preetam Singh of Tapali village and concealing his body. Sources said the accused had murdered Preetam, who was staying alone, and hid his body in his home before locking it from outside. His nephew Gurnaib Singh on reaching the village got suspicious and reported the matter to the police. The police recovered his body and sent it for a post-mortem examination.

A case has been registered against Gurpreet Singh and Lakhbir Singh at the Rampura Phul police station.


Firing incident: 10 booked
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 12
The Kharar police today booked at least 10 persons, including the president of BJP (Panchayati Raj) Ropar unit, who along with two others were injured during a stampede that followed the firing of gunshots in Ballomajra, near here, yesterday.

According to the police, the shots were fired by a resident of the village during an ongoing fend between two groups regarding ownership of land in the village. Police said the two residents of the village, Mr Gurdeep Singh and Mr Shamsher Singh, who were building a wall around a piece of land near the village pond were stopped by Mr Manjit Singh Kaka, a local BJP leader. Mr Kaka along with eight others were booked under Sections 452, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Two killed in road accident

Batala, December 12
Two persons were killed when an unauthorised vehicle (maruta) rammed into a train near Ghashitpur village on the Amritsar-Pathankot rail section of Ferozepore Division of the Northern Railway today, the police said.

Kulwant Singh and Tara Singh and a buffalo were killed on the spot when the “maruta” rammed into the Amritsar-Pathankot Ravi Express at an unmanned level crossing.

They were residents of Rudowali village and going to Bhuller village to leave the buffalo when the accident took place.

Their bodies were sent to the Civil Hospital here for a post-mortem examination. — PTI


PTU paper leak averted
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
It seems that Punjab Technical University (PTU) has not learnt any lesson from the leakage of BTech and MSc papers in the past. Leakage of data communication paper of degree course in computer science and engineering was averted at the varsity’s examination centre here due to the alertness of an examiner on Saturday.

Sources said when packets were being opened for the semester V paper of system analysis and design on December 10, a copy of data communication’s paper was found in one of the packets.

The data communication paper was scheduled to be held on December 13.

The alert invigilator at the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering kept the paper aside, penned a letter to the PTU Vice-Chancellor attracting his attention to the anomaly and dispatched it along with the paper through Speed Post.

Sources said the paper might have fallen in wrong hands and could have led to leak. Some people involved in paper-leak business in the area were in a tizzy after coming to know the matter being reported to the Vice-Chancellor.

Reports of paper-leak had haunted the varsity in the past too. Papers of semester V of BTech reportedly leaked in December, 2001, and in 2003. The varsity cancelled the paper of structured query language of the final semester of MSc (IT) following reports of its leak. The probe into BTech paper leak had pointed needle of suspicions towards some “insider”.

When contacted, the PTU Registrar, Mr M.S. Grewal, unaware of the fact that this correspondent didn’t have that paper, said, “You please keep the paper with you and match it with the one coming tomorrow. We’ve changed the entire paper after somebody faxed us a copy of it.”

His statement of receiving a fax points to its leak at some other point too. He said a three-member team had been formed to investigate into the matter and anyone found responsible for the anomaly would be taken to task.


Drive launched to educate poor children
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 12
The SOS Children’s Villages of India and Hindustan Lever Limited today launched a unique campaign aimed at educating poor children in schools.

At a function held here, Col. Harinder Singh (retd.), Director of the SOS Village, handed over a cheque for Rs 20,000 each to principals of four school. On the occasion SOS kids welcomed the guests and a cultural programme was also organised.

Speaking on the occasion Col Harinder Singh said it was good that the corporate sector was waking up to its social responsibility and was coming forward with community development initiatives.

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