P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Acquitted Bhullar to get rank of DGP
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
As the Punjab Government has decided not to move the Supreme Court against Mr D.S. Bhullar, a former Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, he is set to be promoted as Director-General of Police with retrospective effect.

Mr Bhullar, since retired, was acquitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a murder case in July, 2003. A District and Sessions Judge of Patiala, in August, 2001, had sentenced him along with three others to life imprisonment in a triple murder case of 1996.

The Punjab Government has decided not to move the Supreme Court to challenge his acquittal by the High Court. The opinion of the Law Department was sought and it was decided that moving the Supreme Court would not be wise as there was nothing in the case against Mr Bhullar.

The case to promote him as Director-General of Police is being considered by the state government. He will be promoted to the rank of DGP on the date he was due for promotion and will also enjoy all service benefits. He will be deemed to have retired as DGP and not as ADGP, said officials.

Senior officials in the Punjab Government say there is nothing unusual in the case as the benefits to be given to Mr Bhullar are in accordance with the All-India Civil Service Rules. Had he been serving, he would have been taken back in service.

Mr Bhullar, a 1964 batch IPS officer, has retired and these benefits will have no bearing on any existing seniority. The issue to promote him had been discussed at a high-level Departmental Promotion Committee meeting in the past. A clarification was sought, which had been given.

Mr Bhullar and the three others were convicted by the Patiala District and Sessions Judge. They were tried for murder and other offences after the bodies of Dr Paramjit Singh Sahota, his cousin Satnam Singh and driver Vikram Chand were found burnt in a car about 60 km from Mohali on September 16, 1996.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice K.C. Gupta and Mr Justice K.S. Garewal, reversed this order of the lower court and ruled: “A few bits here and there, on which the prosecution relies, are not adequate to connect Bhullar with the offence of criminal conspiracy”.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, the Judges had then said: “The appeal filed by Bhullar is accepted. He is acquitted of the charges.” His gunman was also acquitted. However, the High Court had not acquitted Agyapal Singh and Ladwinder Singh.


CM announces sops for Thikriwala
ITI to be set up in memory of martyr
Sushil Goyal and Prem Sharma

Tribune News Service

Thikriwala (Barnala), January 19
Paying rich tributes to as a torch-bearer of the Riyasti Praja Mandal Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala on his 72nd martyrdom day here today, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh announced a bonanza for the Thikriwala village, including the setting up of an ITI in computer technology in his memory at Thikriwala village.

Capt Amarinder Singh along with Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was here in connection with the annual three-day function, organised to commemorate the martyrdom of Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of the country in a Patiala jail 71 years ago. Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon, a vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC); Mr Jasbir Singh, a former Punjab minister; and Mr Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, former Chairman of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation, were also present at the function.

Announcing the sops Capt Amarinder Singh said the proposed ITI in computer technology would be opened here before July. He promised residents of the village that he would come here to inaugurate the ITI. He also presented a cheque for Rs 41 lakh to the village panchayat for the development of the village, besides announcing a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the construction of a stage in the village, where death anniversary of the martyr Thikriwala is held every year.

The Chief Minister announced installation of a life-size statue of Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala on the Thikriwala-Barnala road so that the people of the state could recall his sacrifice.

Capt Amarinder Singh, while responding to the demand of the villagers, with regard to memorial status for the house of the martyr in the village, asked the panchayat that he would extend all monetary help to do the same. He also announced the installation of a tubewell in the village within a week.

Capt Amarinder Singh along with Ms Bhattal, Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon and Mr Surinder Pal Singh Sibia garlanded the life-size statue of the martyr at the Thikriwala chowk here. He also laid the foundation stone for the building of Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala Senior Secondary School for girls here. Capt Amarinder Singh was honoured with “Waris-e-Punjab” title by the village panchayat and descendants of the martyr’s family. Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanaula, who conducted the proceedings at the function, read the “Waris-e-Punjab”citation dedicated to Capt Amarinder Singh.

Though the function was held smoothly one person caused a flutter at the function by raising anti-Amarinder Singh slogan. However, he was overpowered by the police.

Reacting to the demand of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur, that Capt Amarinder Singh should tender an apology to the people for the martyrdom of Thikriwala, he said he was not responsible for the incident (martyrdom of Thikriwala in a Patiala jail during the rule of his grandfather) which took place 10 years before his birth. He questioned Mr Dhindsa why he married his son with the daughter of a Mumbai based “smuggler”, who had close links with underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim? He said Mr Dhindsa should also tell the people about his unaccounted wealth, which he had earned in a short span, as he had not even Rs 500 about 20 years ago.

With regard to district status to Barnala town, Capt Amarinder Singh declined to make any promise. However, he said time will come when the government will think about it. He said houses, covered under a PUDA scheme on Courts chowk and ITI bypass road, would not be demolished.

Paying tributes to the martyr, Ms Bhattal criticised the Shiromani Akali Dal leadership for taking political mileage in the name of “Sikhism” and the martyrs though the Akalis had done nothing for the martyrs and “Sikhism” during their rule.


CM acts on Kurali rail bridge issue
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 19
With a view to solve the problems of Kurali residents, who have been demanding that subway should be remain open after construction of a rail overbridge across National Highway-21 passing through town, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had taken up the matter with the Railway Minister.

The Minister of Animal Husbandry and Tourism, Mr Jagmohan Kang, disclosed this here today.

He said as per the Railway Act there was no provision of a subway under railway overbridge so the Railway Ministry should consider it a special case as after the construction of the bridge, the town was going to be divided into two parts and the locals had to face the problems in commuting.


Jaiswal evades query on Punjab as disturbed area
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 19
Pakistan needs to take more positive steps to improve bilateral relations, Union Minister of State for Home Parkash Jaiswal stated this on his visit to border district here today.

Mr Jaiswal was here to inspect border fencing and take stock of the problems of the Border Security Force.

Mr Jaiswal evaded a reply on the disturbed area tag to Punjab. He, however, said that it could be so but he would look into it. As this issue was raised by BJP Member of Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu in Parliament, he added that he did not want to politicise the matter as the state had already suffered for one and a half decades due to terrorism.

He said the demand of a visa centre here, high fare of Amritsar-Lahore bus and other such problems would be addressed gradually. On the small number of passengers for the Amritsar-Lahore bus, he said the number of passengers would increase with the passage of time and it would also pave the way for reducing the fare and opening of a visa centre.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister seeking arrangements for the Amritsar-Lahore-Nankana Sahib bus and returning of thousands of rare books of Sikh Reference Library seized during Operation Bluestar. Mr Jaiswal said that he would look into the matter.

Mr Jaiswal said poverty and unemployment were behind Naxalite problem in the North East and other parts of the country. The state governments concerned should try to strengthen the infrastructure for the development of the area, initiate land reforms, provide employment, water and electricity to the people. He said the Central government was providing Rs 45 crore per district annually to the states facing insurgency to provide employment under the ‘Rozgar Guarantee Yojana’.

To a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said it had improved considerably in the past 15 years and the state was returning to normalcy. Lakhs of tourists visiting the state, especially during the Amarnath Yatra, was proof of this.

He said the state governments were authorised to speak to Naxalites to bring them into the mainstream. To combat terrorism the Central government was providing 75 per cent of the total cost of the police to the affected states instead of 50 per cent being given in the normal case.


Amritsar-Lahore bus service to start today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
Preparations have been completed for the Dosti Express, first Amritsar-Lahore bus service, that is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow.

This would be the third bus service between India and Pakistan after the resumption of bilateral relations between the two country. Earlier, the two governments had launched ‘Karwan-e-Aman’ from Srinagar to Muzaffrabad and ‘Sada-e-Sarhad’ from New Delhi to Lahore.

While the Karwan-e-Aman was launched by Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister and Ms Sonia Gandhi, Congress President on April 7 last year, the Sada-e-Sarhad started on February 20, 1999, by the then Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Dosti Express is likely to reach in the afternoon. According to sources at the international bus terminal, Amritsar, all preparations have been completed tight security arrangement have been made. They added that Cabinet minister Choudhry Jagjit Singh along with local MLAs were likely to welcome the bus. The bus will return to Pakistan day after tomorrow.

From the Indian side, the first bus will ply on January 24 and will return on January 25. As per information each side will run the bus once a week. The bus from Amritsar to Lahore will ply on every Tuesday and return on Wednesday while the Pakistani bus will ply from Lahore to Amritsar on every Friday and return on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Kumar, a businessman from the Nawankot area has purchased a ticket for Lahore. He will board the bus on February 7. He is the second passenger to buy to a ticket. Mohammad Rizwan Farooq, a businessman from Punjab, became the first passenger to buy ticket for the historic bus service.


Compensation or mockery?
Jupinderjit Singh and Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 19
About 15 months ago when hailstorm severely damaged his paddy crop, Gurbachan Singh of Chhanna village had found some solace in the state government’s assurance of a suitable compensation. But all his hopes have been dashed to ground as he looks in dismay at a cheque for a paltry Rs 13 handed over to him by the government as compensation for the damaged crop. Hoping against hope, he looks skywards praying for mercy from the weather gods in future.

The cheques for meagre compensation amount make a mockery of the farmers’ loss but as per the revenue officials, the farmers are themselves to be blamed for this situation. According to them the compensation is paid as per the revenue records, where in most cases names of several partners of a piece of land are listed over the decades.

Revenue officials claim that a majority of farmers have divided the land verbally for several generations and mutation of records was not carried out. Thus, if the loss is calculated for one acre, it narrows down to compensation amount of a few rupees only in some cases.

The compensation has been paid for the damage caused to crops during a severe hailstorm that lashed the region in October 2004. The state government has delivered cheques for the estimated compensation amount ranging between Rs 13 and Rs 99 to scores of farmers in this block.

Terming the payment as nothing but a cruel joke, most of the farmers have not encashed the ‘account payee’ cheques as they may end up paying much more amount in the form of bank service charges. Some of the farmers were hesitant to encash the payment on the ground that it would necessitate the opening of a bank account for which they would have to deposit a substantial amount from their own pocket.

Still others intend preserving the cheques till the forthcoming Assembly elections, so that they could question the candidates about this humiliation.

‘‘It is ridiculous that the authorities have dared to hand over cheques worth Rs 13 and Rs 15 to members of a class that has been feeding all sections of society, including the revenue authorities. The meager amount they offered us would not be accepted even by beggars,’’ said Gurbachan Singh a social worker and farmer.

Another farmer Jasbir Singh, ridiculed the payment and claimed that a majority of beneficiaries would not deposit their cheques in their respective bank accounts as it would cost them more than the cheque was worth.

‘‘I have wasted three days and a few litres of petrol in getting an account opened at a local bank branch,’’ said Mr Jasbir Singh. 


Threatened by cops, minor girl attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 19
A 14-year-old girl from Jhanduke village has been admitted to the Civil Hospital after she consumed some pesticide on reportedly being threatened by some cops of the Baliawali police station.

Talking to mediapersons, Ms Paramjeet Kaur, girl’s mother, said that her son Harjinder Singh had an altercation with their neighbour Ajaib Singh on January 17 over some matter. On the basis of a complaint from the opposite party, a police party reached their home and enquired about whereabouts of her son. She alleged that the police started misbehaving with her to which her daughter, Rajvinder, objected, but they threatened them that if Harjinder was not produced before them till January 18 morning he would be eliminated. She said her daughter was anxious the whole night due to the police threat. The next day when she was returning from school some guys from the opposite party also reportedly threatened her.

Being under tension, she consumed pesticide on reaching home. She was admitted at Bhucho Mandi before being shifted to the Bathinda Civil Hospital. As per hospital sources, though her condition was stable now, but the pesticide that she had consumed could have proved fatal in a week. Due to this she was kept under observation. She alleged that her husband Gurdeep Singh, who was an Akali Dal member, was “tortured” by the police on the suspicion of harbouring terrorists and he died four years back. She said her father’s demise could have forced Rajvinder to attempt suicide. Meanwhile, the SAD (Amritsar) has come out in the support of the aggrieved family and sought strict action against the police officials involved in the matter and free of cost treatment of the girl. 


No second hearing of suggestions, says delimitation panel chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 19
Justice Kuldip Singh (retd), Chairman, Delimitation Commission, has clarified that there will be no second hearing of objections after the completion of the ongoing process of the public sitting for delimitation of parliamentary and Assembly constituencies of Punjab.

Justice Kuldip Singh, was here to record objections and suggestions of leaders of various political parties, workers and common people of six districts of Jalandhar division.

Responding to queries as to whether objections and suggestions could be recorded after the ongoing process also, he said there would not be any such possibility.

Reacting to objections raised by Mr Harbhajan Singh of Adampur about the plight of Dalits of his constituency, he said. “We all are working towards democracy. Why don’t you put up such questions to candidates when they come to your doorsteps. Why you spare them and MLAs and why you are satisfied by just saying welcome to them?” questioned Justice Kuldip Singh.

Earlier, a large number of political leaders and others objected to the decrease in the number of Assembly constituencies in Jalandhar district. They also alleged that while re-organising Assembly constituencies, problems of rural people were not considered and some constituencies where SC population was dominating had been de-reserved.

Mr Gurdip Singh Bhullar of the SAD recorded his objections about the Noormahal Assembly constituency and suggested that the length of the Assembly constituencies should not be much. Former Punjab minister Umrao Singh suggested that population in each constituency should be kept on an equal basis and there should not be any discrimination on this account.

Former Punjab minister Manoranjan Kalia extended his suggestions about the inclusion of some wards in the Jalandhar (Central) Assembly constituency. Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, MLA, Shahkot, said the Normahal Assembly constituency could be saved if all constituencies should be drawn on an equal basis, particularly, from the area point of view.

Mr Sarbjit Singh Makkar, former Chairman, Improvement Trust, Jalandhar, said justice had not been done to general category population of the rural areas of Jalandhar as most of the constituencies had been reserved. He also objected to the transfer of about 35000 voters from the Kapurthala Constituency to Hoshiarpur. Similarly, Mr. Gurmit Singh Daduwal of the SAD said since the number of reserve constituencies had increased, there was no scope for any general category aspirants to be people’s representative at most of places.

Demanding that the Jalandhar (West) Assembly constituency should be reserved, Mr Shiv Dayal Chugh, district president of the BJP, lamented the hike in number of reserve seats in Jalandhar from four to five.

Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee said since the population of SCs was more in his Jalandhar (South) constituency, it should be retained as a reserved seat. Punjab Revenue Minister Amarjit Samra, local MLA Raj Kumar Gupta, also recorded their suggestions.


Gallantry awards presented
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 19
Lieut-Gen Daljeet Singh, AVSM, VSM, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command, presented gallantry awards to 30 officers, JCOs and jawans at an impressive ceremony organised at Mamdot Hall here today.

The solemn ceremony held here for the first time was organised by the Golden Arrow Division under the aegis of Vajra Corps.

Lieut-Gen Mandhata Singh, YSM, GOC Vajra Corps, Major General Mahavir Singh GOC 7 Div, Brigadier N.S Kapur, Station Commander, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Commissioner, Mr I.P.S Sahota DIG, Mr B.C Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, all Brigade Commanders of the formation and galaxy of other senior civil and Army officials along with their families attended the glittering function today.

One Yudh Sena Medal (YSM), 24 Sena Medals (SM) for gallantry besides five Vishisht Seva Medals (VSM) were awarded on the occasion. Out of these, seven Sena Medals were awarded posthumously. These were received by the next of kin of the martyred soldiers.

Col K. Jawahar Babu (21 Grenadiers) was the lone recipient of the Yudh Seva Medal which was bestowed on him for showing extraordinary courage during counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sena Medals were awarded to Maj Omeesh Singh Rathore (ASC), Maj Bhupal Singh(5/3 Gorkha Rifles), Maj Saket Suman (3 Sikh), Capt Ashish Chaturvedi (13 Armd Regt), Capt Mohit Sharma ( 1 Para, Special Forces), Maj Apurv Bhatnagar ( 1 Jak Rif), Capt Piar Singh (24 Punjab), Capt Vikas Sadotra (AAD), Naib Subedar Dalbir Singh (19 Raj Rifles), Naib Subedar Harbhajan Singh (Arty) Posthumously, Havaldar Maghar Singh (1 Jak Rifles), Havaldar Rajpal Singh (16 Jat), Havaldar Mast Ram (JAK Rifles) Posthumously, Naik Mahavir Prasad(16 Jat), Naik Yograj Singh (1 Para, Special Forces) Posthumously, Sepoy Randheer Singh (Sikh), Sepoy Ashwani Kumar (Punjab) posthumously, Sepoy Ramadip Singh (Sikh), Sepoy Jai Parkash ( Dogra) posthumously, Sepoy Dhanvir Singh ( Sikh LI) P, Paratrooper Khemanand (21 Para SF), Paratrooper Chattar Singh (21 Para SF) and Paratrooper Sudam Singh(21 Para SF).

Brig G.S Malhi( Armoured Corps), Brig K.Ravi Shankar ( AD Corps), Brig Gurinderjit Singh (Sikh) retd., Col Balwinder Singh (Guards), Lt Col Jaiveer Singh (AMC), were awarded Vishist Seva Medals for their distinguished service.

The awardees and their families earlier visited the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala where they paid floral tributes at the samadhi of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The Golden Arrow Division also organised a band concert by the Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre.

Later, Lieut-Gen Daljeet Singh interacted with the awardees and the guests and met widows and families of the soldiers who were awarded gallantry awards posthumously.


Police clueless about PPCC secretary’s whereabouts
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 19
Mystery shrouds whereabouts of Mr Pardeep Malhotra, secretary, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

His family members complained to the Bassi Pathana police that some family friend had made a call at 9.15 pm to Pardeep on his cellphone to meet them at Jyoti Swarup More, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The family members said Mr Pardeep, along with his nephew Kirti alias Jajji, went to Jyoti Swarup More and after that they had neither came back nor their whereabouts were known.

The Bassi Pathana police station in charge informed higher officials and the police started investigations. The news spread like wild fire in the area and people rushed to the residence of Mr Malhotra.

Mr Samsher Singh Dullo, president, PPCC, was also informed about the incident.

Though the district police today remained on heels it could not trace him.

However, Mr N.S. Sekhon, SP(H), also the officiating SSP, told The Tribune that his family members had informed the police in the evening that Mr Pardeep and his nephew had been picked up by the Economic Offences wing of the Chandigarh Police, Sector 17.

He said without informing the district police the Chandigarh Police could not pick up anyone but if they had done it was a serious matter.

He said the police was investigating the matter to know from where actually they had been picked up.


Semen bank inaugurated twice
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 19
This is probably the first time in the state when any Cabinet Minister inaugurated same building twice. It happened today here when the state Minister of Animal Husbandry and Tourism, Mr Jagmohan Kang, inaugurated semen bank. Mr Kang had inaugurated the bank on September 21, 2002.

A larger number of persons, who attended function here, were surprised with the fact that on both side of entrance door of the semen bank two different boards engraved showing the inauguration by the minister on two different occasions. Mr Kang reached here about 12.30 pm.

The action of the Animal Husbandry Department appears to please the minister. But the department has its own reason for re-inauguration of the semen bank. The department officials were of the view that the bank was recently awarded by the ISO-9001-2000 certificate and, therefore, it was inaugurated again.

While addressing the gathering after the inauguration of the bank by Mr Kang, the Director of the department, Mr B.S Sidhu, said the Punjab Government would soon release Rs 50 lakh for the renovation of the semen bank building and its complex.

Mr Kang said for ensuring the better quality semen, the department had got the ISO certificate. Earlier the ISO certificate had been awarded to the Nabha semen bank. The state could now compete in national and international market for supply of semen.


Reserve seats for urban SCs, says Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 19
In its apparent bid to woo the vast chunk of urban Scheduled Caste(SC) voters of Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has favoured reservation of certain Assembly seats for urban SC candidates.

The party is of the view that at least three Assembly segments should be exclusively earmarked for urban SCs.

Since urban SCs, the SAD leadership feels, have a big population in important cities like Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala, they should be given some sort of exclusive representation.

“Representation to urban SCs is the need of the hour in the present scenario, wherein rural and urban people have some sort of peculiar differences and, wherein urban SCs remained ignored to a large extent,” observed Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD (Badal) general secretary who, was here to participate in the public sitting for delimitation of parliamentary and Assembly constituencies of Jalandhar division, headed by Justice Kuldip Singh.

The SAD (Badal) leadership feels that though as many as 34 Assembly constituencies have been reserved for SCs in Punjab, not a single has been earmarked for urban-based SCs, and this was nothing but a sort of “discrimination” against them. The SAD point of view on exclusive SC reservation, insiders feel, could also result in rich dividends to the party in the next Assembly elections.


SAD to expose land mafia
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 19
The General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said here yesterday that when the SAD comes to power in the state it would set up a commission to expose the activities of the land mafia operating in the state.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was talking to mediapersons, alleged that certain Congress ministers and senior officials were involved in purchasing land at throwaway prices from farmers and later selling it at very high rates. He said that SAD had adequate evidence to prove this but all this would be brought before the public at an appropriate time.

He said the Congress MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, had also raised his voice against the land mafia operating in areas around Mohali and Kharar but the government had failed to take any action in this regard.


Shady deal of plot alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
Mr Surinder Arjun, president, Durgiana Temple Committee, has alleged that the management of Shri Lakshmi Narayan Ayurvedic College was selling prime land bought in a “shady” deal.

He claimed that the registry mentioned the plot, located at B.K. Dutt Gate, as having 171 sq yd but in actual it had 143 sq yd. He urged the authorities to enquire into the matter.

When contacted, Mr Santosh Gupta, president of the management committee of the college, accepted that the area of plot was lesser than mentioned in the registry.


Farmers’ bodies favour law on paddy irrigation
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Two breakthroughs have been achieved by the Punjab Farmers Commission headed by Dr G.S. Kalkat after discussions for days with representatives of various farmers’ organisations, including powerful factions of the Bharti Kisan Union.

The first breakthrough is with regard to rationalising the use of subsoil and canal water at the time of transplantation of paddy by framing a law. The second is regarding the passing of a guest control Act to check extravagance at social functions, especially weddings.

The organisations of farmers have give the green light to the commission to get laws framed to regulate the use of water for paddy and restrict the number of guests at weddings. Among the BKU leaders who participated in the meetings were Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr Bhupinder Singh.

The commission has started work on preparing the drafts. Interestingly, it will follow the Pakistan model to regulate the use of water. In Pakistan Punjab, the state government has framed the Nursery Act under which farmers are not allowed to grow paddy nurseries before May 1. The same pattern will be followed in Indian Punjab.

“We are trying to procure a copy of the Nursery Act framed in Pakistan. The features which will be suitable for our state will be included in the draft”, said Mr K.S. Pannu, Secretary of the commission. He said that following brainstorming sessions with the representatives of the farmers there were a consensus that no farmer should be allowed to grow a paddy nursery before May 1 or transplant paddy before June 1.


DC orders action against Sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 19
Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, today directed the Block Development Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Sirhind, to get a case registered against the Sarpanch of Dalo Majra village allegedly for withdrawing pensioner’s money from bank and using it for personal use.

The Deputy Commissioner warned sarpanches against keeping the government money with them.

Earlier, many elderly persons met the Deputy Commissioner and submitted him complaints alleging that sarpanches were not giving them pensions. The Deputy Commissioner directed the District Social Security Officer (DSSO) to investigate the matter.

The elderly persons, hailing from Dalo Majra, Attapur and Naulakha villages, told The Tribune that the government had been sending their pensions regularly to their respective village sarpanches and many of their fellows had got it but the sarpanches of their villages were not disbursing among them.

The villagers of Dalo Majra village also alleged that their sarpanch was not disbursing scholarships and other benefits among the students belonging to SC/BC.

Ms Talwar said the DSSO and the BDPO had brought the matter to her notice that the Sarpanch of Dalo Majra village had withdrawn the government money but had not disbursed it among the beneficiaries.

She said in other case as the quorm of Naulakha Panchayat was not complete, she had directed the person concerned to hand over the charge to the Panchayat Secretary. She said the CDPO should have brought the matter to the notice of higher officers.

Ms Amrit Bala, DSSO, said the CDPOs and BDPOs had been directed to check the record of these villages and make sure that the beneficiaries got their pensions. She said the pensions up to December had been disbursed, but in certain cases sarpanches were creating problems, reportedly because of internal politics. Action would be taken against such sarpanches, she added.


22-year-old done to death
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, January 19
Jaswinder Singh, a 22-year-old youth from Gharama Kalan, near Banur, was allegedly done to death by certain unidentified persons late last night.

The mutilated body of the deceased, who had got engaged recently, was found from near an under-construction marriage palace on the Surajgarh-Gharama Kalan road early morning today. The body bore injury marks, inflicted by sharp-edged weapons, over several parts.

The police said Jaswinder, who worked as a truck mechanic at Rajpura, was reportedly called by certain unidentified persons from his house late last night when he was with his brother. His parents had reportedly gone to Ballopur village in the district in connection with his marriage.

Sources said Jaswinder was reportedly taken inside the marriage palace by the assailants when the watchman, Mr Randhir Singh, heard his shrieks. Mr Randhir Singh said when he was threatened by the assailants he then rushed to Surajgarh and made an announcement regarding the attack on the youth on the public address system of a gurdwara.

After the announcement, people gathered on the spot in the wee hours of today and found the body near the marriage palace. The victim’s body was identified by his younger brother, Mr Charanjit Singh.

Villagers said the deceased did not have any enmity with anybody. In fact, Jaswinder was a non-controversial person having cordial relations with all residents of village and the surrounding areas, Mr Avtar Singh, Gharama Kalan Sarpanch, said.

Meanwhile, senior police officials, including Mr Inder Mohan Singh, SP (D), Mr Manmohan Sharma, DSP, and Paramjit Singh Virk, Banur SHO, visited the spot. The body, whose post mortem was conducted at the local AP Jain Civil Hospital, was handed over to the family.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered.


Criminal case against SP
Our Correspondent

Batala, January 19
A criminal case regarding misappropriation of property has been registered at City police station against the erstwhile SHO, Mr Darshan Kumar Sharma. At present Mr Sharma is serving as Superintendent of Police.

As per the complainant, Mr Vimal Kumar Gupta, advocate, the accused had allegedly recovered three colour television sets from him in 1987.

When he was acquitted by the court in the case, he applied for release of three television sets. But it was reported by the local police that the TV sets were never deposited in the police station.

An inquiry was conducted by the DSP (City), Mr Ashwani Kapur, and after seeking the report from the law officer the SSP ordered registration of a criminal case. The police is yet to arrest the accused. 


Wife held for contract killing
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 19
The mystery behind the murder of Budh Singh (60) of Argowal village has been solved with the efforts of the district police, which has found it a case of contract killing by the victim’s wife.

SSP Lok Nath Angra stated here yesterday that on January 16, Budh Singh, son of Mehar Singh, was found dead in his house in the village. His throat was slit and he had grievous injuries on his temple.

During preliminary enquiries, Gurpreet Kaur, wife of the deceased, said her husband was drunk when he had come from Garhdiwala. After taking the meals he had gone to sleep in his haweli. She found the haweli locked from outside next morning. She got the locks opened and found her husband lying in the pool of blood.

On interrogation, she confessed that she had promised to pay Rs 1 lakh to Ashok Kumar and his brother Ganga Ram, both tenants of Budh Singh in Ludhiana, to kill her husband.


Mobile seized from gangster inside jail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 19
Policemen in the high-security Amritsar Central Jail today seized a mobile phone from Gurpal Singh, alias Palla, a notorious gangster facing seven years’ rigorous imprisonment in a dacoity case. He was also under trial in about 14 cases of snatching, looting dacoity, etc.


Doc in police custody

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 19
Dr Ravinder Kumar Verma, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Bassi Pathana, who was caught red-handed by the district Vigilance Department while taking bribe, was presented in the court of Mr G.S. Dhillon, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Fatehgarh Sahib, today. Dr Verma was remanded in police custody for one day.

Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP, said during the police remand search would be made and his assets’ worth would also be probed. — OC


Elementary schools to be merged with
secondary schools

Varinder Walia and Gurbaxpuri

Amritsar, January 19
The Department of Education has decided to increase the school hours and merge primary schools with middle, high and higher secondary schools in the state.

The circular mentioning this, received by the District Education Officers, (Primary and Secondary) reads, ‘‘It was decided to increase the school time by 45 minutes every day and Saturday would be a full working day’’.

Mr Sohan Lal, DEO, Elementary Education, while confirming the receipt of the letter said the new school timing would be implemented from February 1.

The letter further reads: “It had also been decided to revert to the school timing which were being followed in 1982-1983, prior to the militancy days. The old school hours were from 9 am to 3.45 pm during winters (from October one to March 31). However, during summer months (April 1 to September 30) the hours were from 8 am to 2.25 pm.

It was also decided to increase the duration of a class from 35 minutes to 45 minutes before recess and 45 minutes after recess.

However, there will be no change in the number of periods for Plus I and Plus II classes except in the subject of mathematics where the number of periods per week has been increased from six to nine.

It was also decided that all primary schools located within half a kilometer radius of middle, high and senior secondary schools will be merged with the former (middle, high and secondary, respectively). The Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs ) and heads of schools for such primary schools will be heads of high /senior secondary schools. In case of middle schools the senior most master will be the in charge of administrative and other functions of the schools. The heads concerned of these schools will control all work relating to primary teachers working under them and will also write the annual confidential reports (ACRs) .The record pertaining to such reports will be maintained at the level of DEO (Elementary Education).

Consequent to the merger the surplus teachers, if any, will be shifted to other schools in accordance with the norms already approved and as per instructions issued from time to time. The posts of head teachers /centre head teachers from the merged primary schools will also be shifted to the nearby primary schools.


Shakespeare’s play enacted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
A theatrical performance of Shakespeare’s popular comedy play- A midsummer Nights dream- was put up by the Department of Theatre and Television, Punjabi university at Kala Bhawan here today.

The play directed by an eminent theatre designer Mr. Mahendra Kumar turned out to be a visual spectacle covering wide raging plots, subplots including the characters of lords and ladies, workmen and fairies.

Head of the department Navnindra Behl, who herself is eminent personality in the field of theatre and television, disclosed that the production was an outcome of a one-month workshop with the students about all aspects of theatre, including design, acting, movements and composition.


Teachers’ strike

Amritsar, January 19
Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh Colleges Teachers Union (PCCTU) observed a two-period strike against the indifferent attitude of the state government towards their long-pending demands here today. The union would stage a protest rally at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on January 31.

Prof H.S. Walia, vice-president of the union, said the government had always paid lip service to their demands which included merger of 50 per cent DA with basic pay and implementation of pension scheme of December 1996.

Meanwhile, Baring Union Christian College teaching staff in Batala observed a lightning strike for two periods today and held a protest rally outside the Principal’s office. — OC

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