P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Double murder in Patiala
Jilted lover shoots girl, self
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 2
A double murder rocked the Chief Minister’s home town when a jilted lover brutally murdered a young girl before shooting himself from point-blank range at Badungar township here late today evening.

The incident happened at a secluded spot near 23 no Phatak area. The alleged killer had been identified as Gulab (22), son of a migrant labourer, who had come from Uttar Pradesh just a couple of days ago. Gulab, who works as a whitewash labourer, was already married and was engaged in divorce proceedings with his first wife.

Gulab was having an affair with Preeti (19) who like Gulab, too was a migrant labourer’s daughter.

The incident has sent shock waves in the thickly populated Badungar area and fear gripped the residents as word of the double murder spread. The dead bodies were lying in a pool of blood on the main road of Badungar area.

Mr A.S Rai, SSP, alongwith Mr Mandeep Sidhu, SP (City) and Mr Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, DSP, reached the spot immediately after getting information of the incident. They made arrangements to shift the dead bodies to the Government Rajindra hospital.

As per information gathered by TNS, Gulab called Preeti to the spot on some pretext. After an altercation, he took out his country-made pistol, which he had brought from UP, and shot the girl in the temple from close range. Later, Gulab fatally shot himself in the temple.

Mr Jit Lal, father of the deceased girl, when approached, alleged that Gulab was trying to take the girl forcibly with him and when she resisted, she was shot dead. They were living near each other’s house till a few months ago.

Information revealed that Gulab and Preeti were having an affair and the parents of the latter had objected to this several times in the past. When they failed to convince their daughter to disassociate herself from Gulab, they shifted their place of residence.

However, the deceased girl started living with her maternal grandparents after her parents shifted the residence.

Mr Rai said that a case of murder would be registered in this connection.

A suicide note has been found from the pocket of Gulab, police sources said adding that the police was looking into the matter.


Accused get bail as police fails to present challan
Amit Gangwar suicide case
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 2
The allegations by the family of late Amit Gangwar against the police in his suicide case seem to be coming true, as the police failed to present challan against the accused within the stipulated time period of 60 days, resulting in court granting bail to the nine accused in the case.

Amit Gangwar, a first-year engineering student of the Dr Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT), had allegedly committed suicide after severe ragging by his seniors at the institute. The family of the victim had repeatedly expressed mistrust at the functioning of the police in the matter and demanded that the inquiry be handed over to the CBI. The challans in the case registered on October 12, which were to be presented before the expiry of the stipulated 60-day deadline by October 20, were not presented by the police, resulting in the accused being granted bail on October 24, according to the counsel for the accused Alka Marwaha.

Sources allege that the challans in the case were not presented despite the fact that the District Attorney Legal had checked the same. The reinstatement of the accused is going to come up at the next meeting of the Board of Directors of the institute, according to sources. The issue of whether to reinstate the accused who were earlier expelled from the institute forever will be taken up at the next meeting.

The police had arrested nine students and a girl student, named by late Amit Gangwar in his suicide note in the FIR for allegedly harassing him, leading him to take the extreme step. The police arrested Tanuj Rai, Prasunn Kumar Verma, Rohan Bhandari, Vishwajit, Ankit Srivastava, Sidhartha Kumar, Pramod Hingmang, Naval Malani, Abhijit Biswas on October 20. Namita, the girl named in the FIR, was not arrested.

The General Railway Police (GRP) had to file the challan in the stipulated time period but failed to do so.

According to sources, the GRP authorities had checked the challan and the same had also been checked by the District Attorney (DA) to be presented in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Confirming this, the DA Rajinder Singh Gill said the challans in the case had been checked and verified by them. The police authorities, however, say that the challan could not be presented owing to the demand by the families of the accused to get the suicide note in the case examined once again by the Forensic Department. Confirming this, SP GRP Tulsi Ram said the families of the accused had objected to the forensic report of Amit’s suicide note. Owing to their demand, the note has once again been sent to the Forensic Laboratory for re-examination. The next step in the case would be taken only after the second report comes in, added Mr Tulsi Ram. The Forensic Laboratory had, in its report, confirmed that the handwriting on the note was of Amit Kumar.


Wildlife sanctuary in a state of neglect
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, January 2
Spread over 956 acres of forest land, the Takhani Rehmapur Wildlife Sanctuary, 15 km from here, has become a discarded baby of the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department for the past five years.

The discontinuation of feed by the department has forced the sanctuary inmates to intrude into the fields in the surrounding villages. The scarcity of drinking water inside the sanctuary has also been making the wild animals to stray into the fields located on the peripheral area of their habitat.

The absence of any fence around the sanctuary, ill-equipped employees of the sanctuary, damaged waterholes, defunct deep-bore water tubewells, rusting wireless sets and motor cycle and non-operational fire extinguisher clearly show the sheer negligent behaviour of the authorities towards the upkeep of the sanctuary and preservation of wildlife.

Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1993, the state government has failed to delimit the area. Confusion over its limits has virtually made the employees posted here feel handicapped.

A majority of the sanctuary inmates that intrude into the nearby fields for fodder and water often fell prey to poachers and farmers. Due to the ongoing tug-of-war over the sanctuary area between the Forest and Wildlife Department and five villages — Takhani, Rehmapur, Patiari, Matot and Mehangrowal — villagers often intrude inside the forest area and chop off vegetation for fodder for their cattle.

Villagers often indulge in arguments with the sanctuary employees when stopped from entering inside. Taking the plea that the sanctuary inmates often destroy their crops, the farmers enter the sanctuary area and when stopped they even fight with the employees, complained Wildlife Inspector Mr Tarsem Lal.

A visit by The Tribune team to the sanctuary found that cracks had developed in the waterholes and there was no water in any of them. A submersible pump was missing from its place and an overhead water tank had gathered weed.

A shed constructed for feeding wild animals and birds was in a shambles.

The defunct wireless sets had gathered fungus and the fire extinguishers were outdated, while the motor cycle provided to the employees for patrolling in the forests, was rusting.

Mr R.R. Kakkar, Divisional Forest Officer, Hoshiarpur, admitted that the sanctuary could not be fenced due to financial crunch. The state government had suspended financial grants to the sanctuary that had affected the feeding of animals adversely. He, however, claimed that the sanctuary had a proper earmarked area.

Mr Kakkar said that wild animals stray into surrounding villages in winter and mating seasons, as males chase away the weaker ones from their territory for their dominance during mating seasons.


Rs 500 cr to be spent on rural development
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 2
The Punjab Government will spend Rs 500 crore on the development of villages during 2006 under its programme for the development and welfare in rural areas. This was stated by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, while addressing a gathering at Usman Shahid village and Mehndipur in Dasuya subdivision last evening.

He said to provide potable water in rural and urban areas of state, Rs 1,820 crore would be spent on new water supply schemes and repair of old ones with the financial assistance of the World Bank.

The first instalment of Rs 276 crore would be received by the state from the world Bank in May, 2006.

While inaugurating a round-the-clock electricity supply scheme, he said that arrangements had been made to make 24-hour supply of electricity in Usman Shahid, Mehndipur, Chhangla and Mangat villages in Dasuya subdivision. The 35 remaining villages in the subdivision would be covered under this scheme before March 31, 2006.

He announced Rs 2 lakh for pavement of drains and streets, Rs 50,000 each for pond, a cremation ground and a Christian janjghar and Rs 10,000 for the Mahila Mandal of Usman Shahid and Rs 75,000 for a panchyat ghar and Rs 50,000 for a Dalit dharmshala.

He also announced Rs 1.50 lakh for pavement of streets and drains, Rs 1 lakh for the culvert, Rs 1.20 lakh for elementary school and Rs 10,000 for the development of temple in Chhangla village.


Billboards having Sukhbir’s photo removed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 2
The local Municipal Corporation (MC) has removed billboards carrying the picture of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in this city, allegedly under “political compulsions”.

Mr Ajit Pal Singh Kohli, senior Youth Akali Dal leader, who had got installed the billboards at various points in this city, the hometown of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, alleged that despite requests to the authorities to grant him premission for erecting the billboards after paying the requisite fee, he was denied the same. He said the MC had pulled down the billboards near the local bus stand and the Hira Bagh complex.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, MC, when contacted, said he was not aware if any billboard carrying the picture of Mr Badal had been removed in the city.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner, MC, pointed out that the billboards were removed since no permission was obtained from the MC by the persons concerned.


SAD (Longowal) to launch drive for change of power
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, January 2
Exhorting his party workers to get ready for a struggle, SAD (Longowal) president Prem Singh Chandumajra today said the party would soon launch a drive for change of power in Punjab. He was here to meet his party leaders and workers.

Lashing out at the SAD and the Congress, he accused both the parties of practising “opportunistic politics”.

He alleged that these parties had turned politics, which is a way to serve people, into trade.

He lamented that there were about 40 lakh unemployed youth in the state. He said they had urged the Prime Minister to reduce the age of retirement to 50 years and provide employment avenues to the unemployed population.

He said his party would also launch a drive against drugs, female foeticide and dowry.


Bandh call against demolition of farmers’ houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
All political parties except the Congress have given a call for a bandh at Kashipur town in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttaranchal tomorrow against the demolition of about 200 houses of farmers, mostly Punjabis and Jats, near Kashipur.

Talking on the phone from Kashipur, Mr Gurdev Singh, organising secretary of the Uttaranchal unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said that as many as 250 persons, who had gathered to protest against the demolition of the houses, were injured in the police lathi charge. He said a number of protesters, including Mr Harbhajan Singh Cheema, Akali MLA, and Mr Arvind Pandey, a BJP MLA in the Uttaranchal Assembly, were detained by the police.

He said the police was moving about in the area to round up more people. As many as 400 farmers, who belonged to Punjab, Haryana and certain other states, had bought land from one Mehta family about 30 years ago, he added. Farmers got the deeds of the land, which they had purchased from the Mehta family owning a farm of 1,000 acres, executed.

However, the government authorities concerned filed a case against the Mehta family under the Land Ceiling Act as it had owned land more than the land ceiling limit. The government won the case in the Supreme Court. Now the government is taking possession of the land.

Mr Gurdev Singh said the government should have informed the Supreme Court that at present the land was occupied by farmers, who had purchased it through proper channel from the Mehta family.

He said certain political leaders led by Mr Gurjit Singh Rana, a Member of Parliament from Jalandhar, had met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, yesterday in Delhi to inform him about the impending action against farmers near Kashipur. Mr Rana had a farm in that area. Mr Gurdev Singh said the Prime Minister was given a written representation with a request to stop the Uttaranchal Government from removing 
farmers from the land.

Earlier also, when the Uttaranchal state was carved out from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab farmers had protested against the merger of Udham Singh Nagar district with Uttaranchal. They had apprehension that their land would be taken away by the Uttaranchal Government on various pretexts. Then the NDA government had set up a committee under the leadership of the then Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes.


DGP inaugurates community policing scheme
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 2
The ‘Community Policing Resource Centre’ scheme would help improve the law and order situation in the state, claimed Mr SS Virk, Director-General of Police, Punjab, while inaugurating the scheme at AS College for Boys here today.

He said deployment of community police officers under the scheme in the Khanna police district was a milestone. Mr Virk said that the scheme the brain child of Khanna SSP Naunihal Singh, would be implemented in other parts of the state with help of people-public.

Addressing a gathering at the Playground of the college Mr Virk said 377 community police officers had been deployed in six towns of the Khanna police district including Khanna, Samrala, Payal, Doraha, Machhiwara and Malaud. Two hundred villages of Khanna police district had demanded the deployment of community police officers in their villages. In the district 1800 CPOs would be deployed up to March 31 by organising recruitment camps at the sub-division level.

He said that in the Police Act there was provision of “Thikri Pehras” and chowkidara system in the villages while for the cities there was no such provision. Lauding Mr Naunihal Singh the DGP said by organising a meeting with people, a security committee was formed for every 100 houses and CPOs were deployed in that area. He also appreciated people’s co-operation to the police for this scheme, first of its kind in the country.

Mr Virk said there was shortage of policemen so the police was unable to deploy personnel at every sensitive spot. Recruitment of CPOs was a step to meet that need. He claimed crime had decreased in the areas where the CPOs had been deployed. He said he was considering giving facilities to the CPOs as per the Police Act of 1861. He said their uniform would also be standardised.

SSP Khanna Naunihal Singh said due to increasing cases of crime and theft at night the scheme was launched. The police has been providing training on a par with the policemen to CPOs and the recruitment was being made as per police rules. He claimed that a survey by students of AS College for Girls had shown that 95 per cent people of the city were happy with the scheme and 805 of people from rural areas were also demanding deployment of CPOs.

The CPOs held a parade in association with police beat officers at the function. The cops of Punjab Police Academy Phillaur and PAP Jalandhar presented Band Show, motor cycle show, horse riding show and bhangra show on the occasion.

Earlier the DGP presented computers to policemen at Police Lines, Khanna. The SSP said that 240 computers including 15 laptop computers were given to the policemen of the district today.

Mr Anurag Verma, DC Ludhiana, Mr SM Sharma, ADGP Phillaur, Mr JP Virdi, ADGP Intelligence, Mr Chander Shekhar ADGP Law and Order, Mr Suresh Arora, IG, and Mr Paramjit Singh Gill Officiating DIG, Ludhiana also attended the function.


Cold wave claims two lives
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, January 2
After a gap of about a week, the cold wave again tightened its grip on the region and claimed two lives in the past 24 hours. With this the death toll due to cold has reached nine here.

According to sources, Sahara volunteers came to know about an elderly person lying in critical condition on Malgodam Road last night. The 65-year-old man was rushed to local Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The Kotwali police registered a case and handed over his body to the volunteers after conducting a post-mortem examination.

In a similar incident, a person was found in a serious condition at one of the waiting rooms at the local railway station this morning. He too was declared brought dead at the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital. Sources said he was aged about 50 and was wearing a shirt and a trouser. As he could not be identified, a case was registered under section 174 and his body was handed over to Sahara for establishing his identity.

Two others were found ailing from cold and were admitted to the Civil Hospital. They were identified as Jasmail Singh, who was found on the Power House road, and 40-year-old Satpal Singh.

AMRITSAR: While the first rainfall during the past 10 hours broke three months’ dry spell, it has also brought smiles on the faces of farmers, awaiting a bumper crop of wheat.

Mr Yadwinder Singh Chhina, Chief Agriculture Officer, Agriculture Department, said that the rainfall would be beneficial for all crops, including sugarcane.


Age is no bar for these crime-busters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Their hair may be grey and limbs weaker than yesteryears but there is no dearth of dare and enthusiasm to take on anti-social elements.

Meet 20 persons, aged above 50, who are making a new beginning when most others of their age are quietly preparing to lead a retired life. They are part of 370 Community Police Officers (CPOs) of the Khanna police.

Age is no bar for these crime-busters. They match shoulder to shoulder with several young CPOs to make a unique scheme of community policing a success. Under the scheme, each CPO keeps an eye on a cluster of houses.

The scheme, being run with public participation, has not only offered a good employment opportunities to these 20 persons but also to scores of unemployed youngsters.

The scheme was launched today at Khanna after a trial of three months. The DGP, Mr S.S. Virk, who was also present, said the CPOs foiled many burglaries. He said the scheme would be adopted in other police districts also.

At the function, the focus was on some septuagenarians like Fakira Singh of Malaud village. Fakiria, who suffers from mild osteoporosis, said: “No one can dare to strike in my area.”

Jangir Singh, a watchman, said: “Now after training we feel too confident to take on the criminals.”

Jarnail Singh (50) of Malaud village said the CPO scheme had given a new direction to their life.

For them, the most cherished moment was when they paraded along with other young CPOs.


State Lohri function
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, January 2
The state-level function to celebrate Lohri of girl child would be held here on January 13. Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Social Security Minister, will be the chief guest and Mr R.L. Kalsia, Secretary, Social Security, will preside over the function. Giving this information, Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said the panchayats from all over the state, which have shown encouraging results in curbing female foeticide, would be honoured. The social organisations, actively creating awareness and mobilizing masses against gender discrimination and femicide, would also be honoured.

Besides, the Lohri festival would be organised in the villages to celebrate the birth of girl child, born between January 1 to13 this year. The representatives of the administration and NGOs Coordination Society, Upkar, would visit the houses where the female babies would be born on Lohri. A special survey is being conducted in the district to spot panchayats which have balanced the sex ratio. The panchayats having 950 female babies as against the 1,000 male babies would be given a special development grant of Rs 2.50 lakh and the panchayats having crossed the number of female babies than male ones would be given grant of Rs 3 lakh.


SGPC panel to probe sabzi mandi incident
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, January 2
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), announced the formation of a two-member committee to probe sabzi mandi incident. On the incident of alleged “disrespect” to Guru Granth Sahib in a scuffle between the police, sabzi mandi traders merchants and Municipal Corporation employees a few days back. Mr Avtar Singh, SGPC president, expressed dismay at old sabzi mandi traders had attempted to take the holy book to perform akhand path but were prevented by the police and the MC.

The committee comprises Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura and Mr Jaswinder Singh, both SGPC members.

The SGPC noted that the Sikh Sangat was ‘disturbed’ over the disrespect shown to the holy book.

Meanwhile the Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Union led by its president, Mr Harbans Singh Kamboj, in a fresh complaint to the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said the merchants were only trying to hold a thanksgiving path at the old sabzi mandi when the police and the MC swooped on them. They denied intention to take possession of the mandi land cleared by the MC.

He said fruits and vegetables were not brought to restart business at the disputed site.

The district administration too expressed eagerness to resolve the ‘ticklish’ issue involving disrespect to the holy Granth. The administration decided to form an inquiry committee to probe the incident.


CM releases Markfed calendar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 2
The Punjab Chief Minster, Capt Amarinder Singh, released Markfed and Milkfed calendars for 2006 today. One of the calendars depict Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh. The calendars also has a photo of the Golden Temple.

The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts by the Markfed, Asia’s largest marketing cooperative, for playing a pivotal role in development of state’s economy for the past 52 years. Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Cooperation and Horticulture Minister, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Chairman, Markfed, and Mr S.S. Channi, MD, Markfed, were present on the occasion.

For the release of the Milkfed calendar, Mr Harpartap Singh Majhail, Chairman, and Mr Vikas Pratap, Managing Director, were present. The Chief Minister also lauded the role of Milkfed in raising financial status of farmers in the state.


Terrorism-hit seek relief on par with riot-affected
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, January 2
Victims of terrorism in Punjab have demanded concessions on a par with the 1984 riot victims.

The president of the Punjab Migrant Welfare Committee, Mr Chanranjit Kalia, talking to mediapersons here, said many families in Gurdaspur had to leave their homes and move to cities, moneyless.

The administration kept them in camps there. Though terrorism had been erased from the state, now, its scars remained in the minds of people. Many families had to sell land at throwaway prices due to pressure by terrorists.

While the Union Government was sympathetic towards the plight of the 1984 riot victims, it was “apathetic” to that of terrorist victims in Punjab.

Mr Kalia submitted a memorandum to the SDM, Pathankot, Mr Amarjit Paul, demanding a grant of Rs 7 lakh and a house to each of the families of those killed by terrorists and Rs 1.25 lakh to those injured.

The memorandum said while the state government had given an ex gratia grant of Rs 50000 to the families of its employees killed by terrorists, the Union Government had shown no such gesture.

It demanded ex gratia for these employees too.


Blankets given to poor

Patiala, January 2
The Punjab Today Foundation, an NGO, celebrated New Year by distributing blankets to the homeless and needy living on the roadside pavements.

According to Kanwar Manjit Singh, CEO of the foundation, the members of the foundation, who distributed blankets, were led by former Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra, who is also the chairman of the Organising Committee.

The foundation team distributing 101 blankets near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, the railway station, Mall road, Kali Mata Mandir and slums along the Rajpura road.

Other teams members comprised Mr Ranjit Bhambri, Mr S.J.M. Singh, Dr S.K. Batish, Mr Inderjeet Singh and Mr Surinderjit Singh. — TNS


Amarinder soft on conversions: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Leaders of the BJP’s Punjab unit have accused the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of turning a blind eye to the increasing rate of conversions in the state. This was aimed at capturing the votes of the Christian community, they said.

Mr Vineet Joshi, member of the national executive of the BJP youth wing, and Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the BJP, said, “These days a large number of conversion cases in the Sikhs and Hindus of economic weaker sections are coming up”. Accusing Capt Amarinder Singh of deliberately trying to please Ms Sonia Gandhi, the duo said the state’s demography was in danger.


Seminar on blood donation
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 2
The Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology, Hoshiarpur chapter, yesterday organised a seminar on “Blood donation to promote communal harmony” at Mount Carmel School, Kakkon, under the presidentship of Dr Manjit Kaur, Civil Surgeon.

Mr Chand Singh, Senior Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank, Dr Kuldip Nanda, president, District Congress Committee, Dr Ajay Bagga, Prof Bahadur Singh, both social activists, Father Peter, Principal, Mount Carmel School, Ms Indu Chandel and Maulvi Azhar Hasan addressed the gathering, among others.

Speakers urged the people to make blood donation a way of life to strengthen brotherhood.

A blood donation camp was also organised.


New-born girl child found near rail track
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, January 2
On the first day of New Year, her faint cries fell into the ears to two rag-pickers, Nirmal Singh and Tarsem Lal. They found her wrapped in a piece of cloth and polythene bags lying near the rail track in the Chaki bank railway station area gasping for breath. She is just 10-day-old girl child who has been deserted by her parents.

Her cries got pacified only after she was fed by a kind-hearted couple. For Devi Dass, a labourer residing in the Kucha quarter locality of Pathankot, and Rajni, his wife, it has come as God’s gift on the first day of New Year.

The couple already has four children — three boys and a girl. “We cannot leave such a lovely and small creation of God alone,” Devi Dass said while talking to newsmen. The family has adopted the deserted child. The matter was not reported to the police.


Sugarfed seeks govt funds
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 2
Cane growers of Punjab will get their dues to the tune of Rs 36 crore from Sugarfed in the first quarter of New Year.

They have been agitating against the non-payment of their dues for the year 2002-2003 by 14 cooperative mills.

The cooperative mills at Rakhra, Jagraon and Zira owed Rs 18 crore to the farmers.

Sugarfed, it was learnt, has already requested the Punjab Finance Department through a letter in December, 2005, for a sum of Rs 36 crore to clear the farmers’ dues.

Mr V.K. Singh, Managing Director of Sugarfed, said: “We are expecting early release of money. ”


Protest by railway employees
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 2
Members of the Northern Railway Men’s Union (NRMU) held a protest outside the Railway workshop here today against the alleged anti-labour policies of the government.

The protest was held under the presidentship of Mr Jasmangal Singh. He said despite assurance of six-day bonus by Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, Railway Minister, the Finance Ministry had released four-day bonus. The sixth pay commission, which was to be set up in 2003, has not seen light of the day.


Paper mill workers observe black day

Hoshiarpur, January 2
Workers of the Mukerian Paper Mill, led by their president, Mr Kehar Singh, and Mr Ganga Parshad, observed black day by staging a dharna in front of the office of the SDM, Mukerian, 52 km from here, today in protest against the anti-worker attitude of the mill management.

They criticised Dr Kewal Kirshan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, for remaining a silent spectator in the labour and management dispute. — OC


Man succumbs to injuries

Kharar, January 2
Pritpal Singh, who had got seriously injured in a road accident near Sahora village yesterday, succumbed to his injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, today.

Pritpal Singh was reportedly driving the car which was hit by a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction. Two persons, including a five-year-old child, had died on the spot while seven members of a family were injured. The injured were taken to the local Civil Hospital from where Pritpal and Sukhpal Kaur were referred to the PGI. The family belonging to Dashmesh Nagar, Ropar, was travelling in an Esteem car to Mohali when the accident took place. OC


Inside Babudom
Rupan Deol Bajaj in run for Padma Shri
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
If a recent communication from the Union Ministry of Empowerment to the Punjab Government is any indication, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, who retired as Financial Commissioner, Revenue, on December 31, is in the run for the Padma Shri.

Mrs Bajaj has been recommended for the prestigious national honour in recognition of her 17-year-long legal battle against former Punjab DGP K.P.S. Gill. It is a unique case in which a woman officer single-handedly fought the most “powerful” cop in defence of her honour.

In a communication to the Punjab Government, the Ministry of Empowerment has not only eulogised her determination but also sought corroboration of its recommendation for conferring Padma Shri on her for her “singular act”.

The other day when the Punjab IAS Officers Association organised a farewell party for Mrs Bajaj, it also released its monthly newsletter, Occasional File, carrying a column by a retired bureaucrat, Ms Ravneet Kaur, on how Mrs Bajaj fought the battle.

Her piece not only relives the entire episode that remained a talking point in the Punjab bureaucracy in the 90s but also describes how a single witness is enough to prove the offence. And in this case the witness was none other than the victim herself.

Claiming to be related to both Mrs Bajaj and Mr Gill, Ms Ravneet Kaur says that she “has known Mrs Bajaj for ever it seems”. Tracing how officers changed their stand as Mrs Bajaj decided to fight it out, Ms Ravneet Kaur compliments bureaucrats of Haryana as 16 of them signed a petition demanding action against K.P.S. Gill. Ninetyfive officers from the Government of India also signed.

“The entire Public Relations Department of Punjab went into an overdrive, wining and dining the Press and garnering support for Mr KPS Gill. One journalist even wrote ‘what are a few inches of her bottom in the face of national integrity.’ Many newspapers published editorials against her. Eventually, women journalists protested against the campaign against her,” wrote Ms Ravneet Kaur.

“Mrs Bajaj has been fighting this case with such conviction as she said to me,’ I will never forgive myself if a decision is given in my case that goes against women.’ She did not accept Rs 2 lakh compensation which the court had directed Mr K.P.S. Gill to pay to her. Instead, Mrs Bajaj requested the Supreme Court to give it to any organisation which is helping women to fight similar cases.”


Vigilance nabbed 23 gazetted officers in 2005
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
As many as 296 Punjab Government functionaries, including 23 gazetted officers, were nabbed by the state Vigilance Bureau on a charge of accepting a bribe during 2005.

Also, 102 cases were registered for misuse of official powers in which 33 officers and 182 employees were involved, said the Vigilance chief, Mr A.P. Pandey while issuing a statement.

Among those nabbed were five doctors, four SDOs, two assistant engineers, one district manager, Punjab Agro, three executive engineers and three deputy directors.

In total the bureau registered 411 cases out of which 260 related to persons were nabbed while accepting a bribe.

Mr Pandey said 89 officers were convicted by various courts in cases pertaining to the bureau. Twelve of them were officers and 77 employees. They were awarded imprisonment and also ordered to pay fines ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5.50 lakh.


Two lakh ml of liquor seized, 21 arrested
Our Correspondent

Kangra, January 2
Twentyone persons, including three women allegedly involved in illicit liquor trade were arrested and more than 2 lakh ml of illicit liquor, nearly 20,000 ml of country liquor and 3000 ml of IMFL were seized and two working stills were smashed by the Kangra police during the past 24 hours in different parts of the district during a drive against the illicit liquor trade, the police said here today.

Additional Kangra district police chief said that raids were conducted on 21 places falling under six police stations in the district and 21 persons, including three women, were arrested. He said that under Nurpur police station, 15,000 ml of illicit liquor was seized and three persons were arrested, under Shahpur police station 15,000 ml of illicit liquor and 3,350 country made liquor was seized and five persons were arrested and under Jawali police station 1,65,000 ml of illicit liquor was seized, seven persons were arrested and two working stills smashed by the police.

Under Kangra police station 11,000 ml of country liquor and 2250 ml of illicit liquor was seized and three persons, including a woman, were arrested. Three persons were arrested under Shahpur and Baijnath police station areas.

He said cases under the Excise Act were registered against all the 21 persons involved in the illicit liquor trade.


3 officials arrested for graft
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 2
The Vigilance Bureau arrested three women officials here under the Anti-Corruption Act.

According to information received here, the Ferozepore vigilance team, led by Mr Ashok Kumar, DSP, in a major crackdown took Ms Hardeep Kaur, chairperson, Block Samiti, Ms Jasveer Kaur, Child Development Project Officer, presently posted at Malout, and Ms Kulwant Devi, former Block Primary Education Officer, in custody in connection with cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The action let to panic in the state government offices.

Sources in the department said Ms Rajinder Kaur, a resident of Kundal village, near here, had in her complaint alleged that Ms Jasveer Kaur, earlier posted as CDPO here, had demanded Rs 30,000 as illegal gratification for appointment as an anganwari worker. She too had allegedly demanded Rs 10,000 on behalf of Ms Hardeep Kaur, chairperson of the Panchayat Samiti, to clear the selection.

The complainant claimed that she had to sell gold ornaments to pay bribe to the CDPO in the presence of her relatives. The CDPO and the chairperson had not refunded the amount, she added.

Sources said the Vigilance Bureau had found something substantial in the preliminary investigation and today arrested the chairperson, an active Congress worker, and the CDPO, now stationed at Malout.

Ms Kulwant Devi, former BPEO of Block 1 here, was reportedly arrested on the basis of investigation made into the complaints lodged by two JBT teachers, Ms Janak Rani and Ms Vinod Rani. They had alleged that Ms Kulwant Devi, during her posting as BPEO, had drawn Rs 1.5 lakh from their GPF accounts by forging documents. A departmental inquiry indicated that the BPEO had misappropriated funds released under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Mr Sham Sunder Sharma, who replaced Ms Kulwant Devi as BPEO here, had sent a detailed report to the department in this connection.


Husband, in-laws booked for dowry death
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 2
Following the death of Karamjit Kaur (22), wife of Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Khanal Kalan village (near Dirba), last night, the police today registered a case under Section 304-B of the IPC against Kulwinder Singh, his mother Hamir Kaur, brother Satgur Singh and uncle Dula Singh.

The Dirba police said this evening that Karamjit Kaur, a resident of Namadan village, near Samana, had been married to Kulwinder Singh about a year ago. As per the complaint, lodged with the police, her in-laws had been harassing her for bringing more dowry for the past several months. Due to the demands of her in-laws, and harassment at the hands of her in-laws, Karamjit Kaur allegedly consumed some poisonous substance the previous day. She was taken to a private hospital at Dirba where she died, the police added.


Expulsion of 2 student leaders revoked
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 2
Punjabi University, Patiala, revoked the expulsion of two student leaders of the Department of Law, Chamkaur Singh (LL.B-III) and Gurpreet Singh (LL.B-I) today, said the university Director, Public Relations. Their entry to the university campus had been banned in October during a student agitation.

Chamkaur Singh and Gurpreet had later tendered a written apology for their activities during the agitation. They also said the allegations about caste-based comments against university authorities were politically motivated and false.

The Vice-Chancellor had then constituted a committee to review the disciplinary action taken against the two students. On recommendation of the committee, he revoked the orders of expulsion and ban on their entry on the campus.

In separate letters written to the Chairman, SCST Commission, as well as SSP, Patiala, the students stated that allegations of caste-based comments by some university authorities against Chamkaur Singh were fabricated by Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal, state vice-president of the Students Federation of India.


Ranbaxy unit gets water management award
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 2
The manufacturing plant of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited at Toansa in Ropar has received the National Award for Excellence in Water Management for 2005 for ‘excellent water efficient unit’ and ‘most useful presentation’ by the Confederation of Indian Industries.

As many as 75 medium and large-scale companies from across India had participated in the competition of which 14 companies, including Ranbaxy, emerged as winners and were declared as ‘excellent water efficient units’.

According to Ranbaxy, the company’s world class state of the art production facilities meet the stringent requirements of various international health and regulatory agencies like the US- FDA, TGA-Australia, MCA-UK and WHO among others.

Stating that Ranbaxy has India’s first integrated effluent treatment system, Mr S.K. Bahl, GM (Liaison and Administration), pointed out that the water after treatment at the plant was so clean and pure that aquatic life also thrived.

“This is demonstrated at the fish pond at our plant at Toansa. The treated water is also not discharged outside the plant premises but recycled for manufacturing operations such as utilities cooling tower etc. It is also used for gardening,” he added.

In line with the effluent management scheme installed at Toansa the effluent treatment plant in Mohali has also been upgraded using membrane system and multi-effect evaporation system at a cost of Rs 7 crore, said Mr Naresh Kumar, Vice-President, Chemical Manufacturing.


Bank reviews govt-aided schemes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 2
State Bank of Patiala today organised a meeting of standing committee under the chairmanship of Mr Dharm Pal Gupta, ADC (G), to review the progress of various government-sponsored schemes. Mr Gupta took stock of the schemes and expressed satisfaction over the progress of banks.

In his address, he advised heads of various government departments and representatives to co-ordinate with the banks for disbursement of sanctioned loans within a week. He expressed concern over low formation of self-help groups and called upon Child Development Project Officers, Development Officers Women programme and banks to form as many self-help groups as they can and to achieve the targets allotted to them.

Mr Ashwani Mahajan, AGM NABARD, disclosed that 885 self-help groups have been formed in the district and 704 provided loans by various banks.

Mr S.S. Kharaud, LDM, urged the banks to sanction the cases sponsored under PMRY schemes within 10 days to enable beneficiaries to get the necessary training and to avail of the loan.

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