P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Withdraw order on Sarnas, panthic leaders ask Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 6
Leaders of various Panthic organisations meet at the residence of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) at his native place Kila Harnam Singh. Prof Darshan Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedars of Akal Takht, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, head, Sant Samaj could not attend the meeting but sent their consent on the decisions taken at the meeting.

The edict by Jathedar, Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti, was discussed by the leaders. Mr Mann urged all leaders to take only that decisions to which they could adhere to. Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra told reporters that the leaders of Panthic organisations had faith and respect for Akal Takht but were worried at the misuse and arbitrary decisions taken at Akal Takht to promote petty political interests of one faction of the SAD. He said all leaders urged Jathedar of Akal Takht to withdraw the “edict” issued against Sarna brothers and others as the “edict” was unprecedented in the annals of Sikh religion.

He said that when Sarna was summoned at Akal Takht on February 10 by all five Jathedars, it was unfortunate that before his appearance, Jathedar Vedanti issued the “edict”.

This decision of the Jathedar has brought bad name to supreme Sikh seat and even created a rift between the five Jathedars, destroying the Sikh principle of “Panch Pardhani”. He said any Sikh, summoned at Akal Takht should appear before Akal Takht not before any individual. And decision about his fate should be taken by all five Jathedars after giving him a chance of clarification.

He said that it is very unfortunate that when an action was required against Bibi Jagir Kaur, Ashutosh, Bhaniaranwala, the SGPC and political leaders who organised Havans, Ramayan Paths, Baba Daljit Singh Chicago, SGPC members who misused Golak of Guru were spared the Jathedar remained silent.

He said the leaders also urged Mr Badal not to interfere in the working of Akal Takht and use its Jathedar for promoting his faction and bringing bad name to the highest temporal seat of Sikhs.

The meeting was attended by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD(A), Mr Daljit Singh Bittu, Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, Mr Rajinder Singh of Khalsa Panchayat, Jagjit Singh Chauhan, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Satnam Singh Behru, Charn Singh Loharan, Advocate Navkiran Singh, Bibi Kirtan Kaur USA, Karnail Singh Panjoli, Gurdeep Singh of SAD1920, Tarsem Singh Chairman Dharm Parchar DSGMC and Iman Singh Mann.


SGPC takes tough stand against ousted Principal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 6
Taking a tough stand against ousted Principal of the Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said here today that an inquiry committee was being constituted to look into “omissions and commissions” by him.

He said he had been placed under suspension after he resorted to indiscipline and misbehaved with SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh.

Mr Makkar said he had learnt that some important files relating to various court cases were missing from the institute and these might have kept in his custody by the Principal. The SGPC president said the committee would look into everything and if it was found that Dr Dhaliwal had resorted to any misconduct or embezzlement, criminal proceedings could also be initiated against him.

Reacting to criticism of the decision by SAD(A) president Simranjit Singh Mann and SAD (Longowal) president Prem Singh Chandumajra, he said they were “criticising for the sake of criticism only”. “Let Mr Mann ask himself what it takes to run an institution and whether one can tolerate indiscipline,” he asked. The opposition leaders were trying to derive political mileage out of it, he added.

He defended Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti for his decision of interim punishment to Sarna brothers. He said, “Akal Takht holds supreme authority among the Sikhs and it is beyond any question.”

He said the way Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna was behaving, it only amounted to an attempt to “undermine the authority” of Akal Takht.

He ridiculed Mr Sarna for “threatening” to bring 20,000 persons to the Golden Temple on February 10 when he would appear before Akal Takht.

Instead of going around the state and mobilising people in his support, Mr Sarna should present his case before Akal Takht, he added. This simply amounted to “bringing in extra judicial pressure” which would not yield any benefit to him, he said.

He said, “If we mobilise thousands of people and demonstrate outside the Supreme Court, will that influence the court’s opinion? In a similar way, Akal Takht is the supreme authority which cannot be influenced by anyone, not even public pressure.”

Mr Makkar said, “Mr Sarna supported by Chief Minister and people from various splinter akali dals was day dreaming and I challenge them to open their account in the state assembly.” He said Mr Sarna was fighting a losing battle and was resorting to desperate ways.

Mr Makkar sought to play down the felicitation of Mr Sarna by various Sikh groups yesterday, maintaining if a few people gathered to greet Mr Sarna that did not mean the entire Sikh community was supporting him.


Panchayati staff to boycott govt plans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Employees of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), will disassociate from themselves the Punjab Nirman Programme being run in villages of the state.

They will also resist the plan to allot land and ploughing rights to bazigars; stop disbursement of pensions, attendance scholarships and registration of births and deaths. Leaders of the Joint Association PRIs Employees announced this at a rally here today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Barike, president Panchayat Union, said the non-cooperation with the government would continue till all pending cases against all gram panchayats and employees were withdrawn and a notification issued to prevent the Vigilance Bureau from taking action against PRIs.

Meanwhile the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh said, it was the job of the vigilance bureau to nab people indulging in corruption.

The Panchayati Raj Institutions had vested powers in the hands of Director Panchayat and Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat, to take disciplinary action against the guilty sarpanches and officials of the Rural Development and Panchayat Department. The officials, can refer the case to the Vigilance Bureau and even
the CBI.


CPM workers hold rally, court arrest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 6
Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPM workers held a rally here today to demand employment, food and land from the government. They later courted arrest near the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

Blocking traffic at the GT road the rally was led by Mr Balwant Singh, state secretary of the CPM. The party would stage similar protests in Patiala — hometown of the CM tomorrow and later in Sangrur to conclude on February 16.

The CPM state secretary told The Tribune that 74,000 acres of land was recovered by the state from big landlords including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family. However only record of 1440 acres was found while the rest of the land was usurped.

He castigated the government stand to alienate farmers by paying them meagrely even as wheat flour was sold at high prices.

He also pointed out the flawed government policy concerning health and education in which 30,000 and 15,000 vacancies existed in the state Health and Education Departments, respectively.

He said while the demand for electricity had climbed up to 1350 lakh units and the production had stood still at 1195 lakh units even as the state had framed no projects for meeting growing requirements.


Need to have better air link between Canada, Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Michael De Jong, Minister of Labour and Citizen’s Services, British Columbia, Canada, today said his government was interested in a bilateral agreement with Punjab for providing workers on “seasonal” basis through the year. Mr Jong was talking to media persons at Panjab University here today.

He added that a similar agreement had been done by his government with Mexico two years ago. Mr Jong pointed out since British Columbia was the breadbasket of Canada, a large number of agriculture-related jobs were available on a seasonal basis in Canada and that is the time when farmers were relatively free here.

“If Punjab could provide the services of their farmers at that time for, let’s say, six months, it would take care of many problems that farmers were facing here,” he said, adding that the employers would provide accommodation and transportation to such seasonal workers,

Responding to a question Mr Jong said the job scenario for both skilled and unskilled workers in British Columbia, specifically Canada, in general was extremely good.

“We have an acute shortage of working population and this shortage is going to become more acute. While we have almost reached our full employment potential internally, majority of our population is ageing. We have two options to take care of the problem. Either we train our own people or draw on the expertise of other countries,” he said.

Mr Jong added that hundreds of thousands of jobs were available in all fields of healthcare and engineering.

“Also we are looking for a collaboration of aerospace engineers who can be trained at the University College of Fraser Valley, British Columbia, to be placed at the Western Canadian Aerospace Development Centre,” he said, adding that there is also a tremendous scope for IT professionals also.

Stating that education in India had to ensure a strategic involvement of the private sector Mr Jong said partnerships with the private sector and industries was being done by them, also in India. He added there was a need for better air links between Punjab and Canada.

“I know of many airline operators in British Columbia who would be only too glad for having more flights to Punjab,” he said.

Later, Mr Jong delivered a special lecture on “Canada - India collaboration in Education and Trade” organised by the ICSSR North- Western Regional Centre and Canadian Centre, PU. Prof. B.S. Ghuman, Coordinator, Canadian Studies Centre, welcomed the guest speaker and other eminent members of the Canadian delegation including Prof. D.J. Sandhu.

President’s Adviser on Strategic Initiatives at the University College of Fraser Valley (UCFV), Canada, Mr Moe Gill, Councillor, City of Abbotsford, Mr Balbinder Rakhra from Philstream, Avtar Gill, Cultural Promoter, Jatinder Singh Sidhu, Member of the Asia Pacific Trade Council Advisory Group and Parry Sahota, a former MLA, British Columbia.


Canadian minister’s assurance to Punjabis
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 6
Mr Michael de Jong, Canadian Minister of Labour and Citizen’s Welfare, today assured that the Canadian Government would ensure security and a bright future for skilled and trained Punjabi youth immigrating to his country through proper channels. The minister disclosed that on behalf of his government, he would take up vital issues with the Chief Minister of Punjab at a meeting scheduled to take place on Monday.

Talking to The Tribune after attending a felicitation function organized by the panchayat of Fallewal village near here today, Mr Jong appreciated the potency and integrity of the Punjabis.

The delegation were felicitated by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA.


BJP threatens stir
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 6
The Panchayati Raj cell of the Punjab unit of the BJP today threatened to stage a protest if the authorities failed to ensure regular availability of revenue officials to the public at the local tehsil offices within 10 days.

The president of the cell, Mr Khushwant Rai Giga, said people were feeling harassed as they were not sure when the officials would be available to redress grievances. He also alleged that certain revenue officials were indulging in corruption.

The BJP leader said the Kharar MLA had earlier carried out a surprise check of the tehsil offices and found certain officials absent from duty. Despite this, the concerned authorities had failed to take effective steps to ensure that the public was not subjected to harassment.


Akali leader joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Shiromani Akali Dal (Dalit wing) leader Gurcharan Singh Dhaliwal from the Malwa region joined the Congress today, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced at a press conference.

Gurcharan Singh’s father, Dhana Singh Gulshan, was an Akali minister in the Union and Punjab Governments. His sister, Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, is an Akali member of the Lok Sabha from Bathinda.


Exempt Punjabi films from entertainment tax: Dara Singh
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 6
Noted film and television actor and Rajya Sabha MP, Dara Singh today asked the Punjab Government to frame a permanent policy to exempt the Punjabi films from entertainment tax. He said this was the need of the hour to promote the Punjabi film industry as production of good Punjabi films had started once again in the recent past.

Dara Singh was talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Satwant Singh Punia, national vice-president of the BJP Kisan Morcha, at Gurdaspura village, near here. Earlier, Mr Dara Singh attended a function, organised in his honour 
by the BJP at Mr Punia’s residence.

Dara Singh is taking part in the shooting of a Punjabi film “Dil Apna Punjabi” which is in progress in the nearby villages of this town. Harbhajan Mann is the hero of this film while Dara Singh is playing the role of Mann’s grandfather.

In reply to a question whether there should be a separate censor board for the TV channels in the country in the wake of semi-nakedness in the songs and serials, Dara Singh said the country was now following the European culture, which was being liked by the new generation. Besides this, the Indian film/TV censor board could not impose censorship on the foreign TV channels. So in these circumstances Indian Film Censor Board could impose restrictions on the only Indian TV channels, he added. He also supported a ban on the smoking in the films and TV serials.

Whether he would like to contest Lok Sabha election from Punjab, Dara Singh replied in negative by saying that he felt that an MP of the Lok Sabha should remain in his constituency, which he could not do due to his engagements and ill-health.

He said he did yoga daily but not any type of physical exercise, as his health did not allow him to do so at the age of 78.

With regard to the BJP, Dara Singh said the BJP should enter the villages in a big way. He advised BJP leaders to go to the villages to enrol members of the party. He said as a member of the BJP, he would also contribute in this direction.


Ammonia gas leak sparks panic
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 6
Panic spread in the area when ammonia gas started leaking last night from Jalota Ice Factory located on the Phagwara-Banga road.

As the pungent smell started causing irritation in the eyes of passers-by somebody informed the police and fire brigade.

The police immediately cordoned off the area. Since it was Sunday bazaars were closed so there were a few people around. Fire fighters struggled for over one and half hour to plug the leak. Since the factory was closed in the night, the owner had to be called from his house.

Eyewitness today disclosed that the valve of a pipe was not properly shut, which led to the leakage. It was shut and the leakage stopped. Fire brigade sources said the leakage stopped around 10 pm last night.

However, the authorities were enquiring into the cause of the leakage.


Traffic blocked against sacking of 51 workers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 6
Hundreds of workers, including women, today blocked vehicular traffic for more than an hour at the bus stand here in protest against the termination of 51 employees by the management of CIPHET (Central Institute for Post-Harvest Engineering Technology). The police remained a mute spectator while bus passengers were stranded.

Hundreds of workers from different trade and farmers unions earlier took out a protest march against the CIPHET management and UPA government. Leaders of the Kisan Mazdoor Mulazim Sangharsh Samiti led the procession and submitted a memorandum to the SDM here. Mr Jaimal Ram, president of the samiti, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Ram Kumar, Mr Khetarpal, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Gurmail Singh Geji, Mr Kulwant Kirti, Mr Rajinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Om Parkash, Mr Bhagwan Singh and Mr Banwari Lal Chopra addressed the rally. They rued that the services of 51 employees at CIPHET were terminated on January 1 without assigning any reason. The management lamented that the Union Government had not accorded sanction for continuing the services of field workers but an advertisement was published in newspapers later for fresh recruitment.

The Punjab Subordinate Services Federation also submitted a memorandum to the SDM.


Stone of de-addiction centre laid
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, February 6
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, and the SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui, laid the foundation stone of a 60-bed de-addiction treatment-cum-rehabilitation centre on the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital premises here today.

The DC said the existing 15-bed de-addiction treatment-cum-rehabilitation centre would be upgraded to a 30-bed hospital and shall be shifted to this new building on the completion of the construction work.

A separate area will be developed for outdoor games such as volleyball, handball, badminton, besides kitchen gardening and modern agricultural practices.

The first phase of the project would be completed at the cost of Rs 20 lakh. The centre would provide treatment and rehabilitation to all types of addicts under the supervision of psychiatrists and yoga therapists.

A separate unit of treatment and rehabilitation services, through integrated system of medicine, would also be made available at the centre, he added. A yoga and naturotherapy section would be developed for permanent rehabilitation of addicts.

Infrastructure planned for the centre includes rooms for medical specialists, psychologists, social and community workers, psychotherapy and group counseling, two special rooms and two general wards for 30 patients, hall for meditation and yoga therapy, vocational training-cum-hobby room, a gymnasium and a library.


Wall at Fazilka pulled down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
On the orders issued this afternoon by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Ferozepore district administration pulled down the wall that was allegedly raised by the Municipal Committee at Fazilka to confine the Muslim families to their houses.

Reports from Fazilka stated that had been pulled down. The wall was raised around the houses in which 150 Muslims engaged in rearing cows and selling milk lived. The Committee had taken the plea that the cows raised by the Muslim families had been making the water dirty at a nearby water purification plant set up by the Committee.

After addressing a Press conference here this afternoon, Capt Amarinder Singh, directed the Deputy Commissioner and also the district police chief of Ferozepore to immediately visit Fazilka to pull down the wall. Expressing his strong displeasure to both the officers on the phone, Capt Amarinder Singh, told them that they should submit a report to him immediately explaining under what circumstance the wall was raised around the premises where Muslim families had been living for the past 18 years.

When the Deputy Commissioner tried to explain that certain MLA was behind raising the wall, Capt Amarinder Singh, said that “tell the MLA that I have ordered to demolish the wall”.

The Chief Minister said that the Haryana Government can’t unilaterally take out distributary from the Bhakra Mainline (BML) Canal.

He said that vast number of villages would be affected in the Punjab area if the proposed distributary with 2,000 cusec water-carrying capacity was drawn from the BML near Samana. The flow of water to villages on the tailend of the BML and in the distributaries linked to it downstream Samana would be affected, he added.

He said that the ETT teachers would be recruited by panchayats. The rules in this regard were being framed. The recruitment process would be completed before April 1, he added. The authorities concerned would be directed to reduce the school timings in case of primary classes to lunch time.

Coming to VAT, Capt Amarinder Singh said: “It was Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who had accepted VAT in the existing form. We continued with VAT because it was a futuristic tax that is accepted all over the world.”

“My Government would abolish octroi soon, give promotional scale to employees on completion four, nine and 14 years of service and clear the two pending installments of bonus on paddy shortly,” Capt Amarinder Singh asserted.

The Punjab State Electricity Board was processing the power connection cases of Dalit families, he added.


Rakesh Chander absorbed in Punjab Police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Mr Rakesh Chander, Deputy Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, has been absorbed into the Punjab Police Cadre. This comes in line with the state government’s policy to absorb officers from the central cadre whose performance had been commendable during anti-terrorist operations.

Having topped in the 1984 batch of Central Reserve Police Force officers, he served six years with the elite National Security Guards and had taken part in several sensitive anti-terrorist operations in Punjab during the days of militancy. His decorations include the President’s Police Medal, UN Peace Medal, Garaj Star besides, three Director-General’s commendations and the Golden Disc for performance in anti-terrorist operations.

Mr Chander has also been a member of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Mozambique and Special Task Force in Kashmir. He has also trained with United States federal law enforcement agencies in Georgia. 


Seed farm colonies becoming narcotics centre
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, February 6
The colonies of tenants in the state government seed farm, which is located on the outskirts of the town, are fast emerging as a major centre for marketing of smack and other narcotics, sources said.

The farm had been developed by the government to assist Punjab Agricultural University in research on grains in 1956. The authorities later allowed members of a community to cultivate the land on a share basis to grow wheat and other crops. However, the tenants refused to vacate the land under cultivation after a decade.

The Leftists, who were partners in the state government run by the SAD, extended support to the tenants’ agitation against eviction. The tenants lost legal battle in the Punjab and Haryana High Court but the government dropped the plan to get 125 acres vacated because of political compulsions.

The colonies later attained the status of separate panchayats under the titles, “kutcha seed farm” and “pucca seed farm” villages.

A perusal of the record maintained by the city police here has revealed that the seed farm colonies have been fast emerging as a hub for illicit liquor distillation. Thousands of cases were registered under the Excise Act involving most of the residents of the colonies.

An education drive launched in the colonies has helped little in brining awareness among the residents who had been booked in hundreds of cases under Sections 324, 324, 326 and 452 of the IPC besides various Sections of the Arms Act.

During the past three years many residents have been booked under the NDPS Act for selling poppy husk. Those put behind the bars included women and teenagers. Catches made during the past few days indicate that they had now taken up smack marketing. Most of the residents consume the drug too.

Earlier, only upper streets of Nai Abadi, located near Azeemgarh, were known for dealing in the narcotics.

According to the police, 20 gm of smack was seized from two residents of one of the colonies on December 10, three persons, including a woman, were arrested on December 22 with 30 gm of smack. Again on January 5 the police arrested Simarjit Kaur and seized 150 gm of smack from her possession. Jarnail Singh was nabbed with 5 gm of smack on January 11 and the police seized 10 gm of the contraband from Gurdeep Singh on January 31.

Nearly 75 per cent of the residents are facing litigations for various criminal offences. The police had seized sharp-edged weapons besides countrymade revolvers in raids carried out in the colonies in the past.

The residents smuggle smack, opium and poppy husk from Rajasthan areas, the sources added.


Labourer’s daughter, minor son missing
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 6
Ram Kumar, a labourer working in a Gudgepur village near Kiratpur Sahib town here has been struggling for the past one and a half months to get back his kidnapped son and daughter. His 14-year-old daughter Maya and eight-year-old son Mukesh were allegedly kidnapped by five labourers working with him on the pretext of getting money in return on December 25 last. Ram Kumar hail from Bihar and came here three months ago for carpeting roads, along with others.

He has been visiting Anandpur Sahib police station to enquire about the case but in vain. As the police even did not register an FIR in the case.

Giving details of the case to The Tribune, Ram Kumar, said that it had become his routine to visit the police station concerned after my son and daughter were kidnapped by other labourers on December 25. But I got no help to trace the kidnappers.

I managed to nab one of the persons who had provided shelter to the kidnappers at his residence in Pinjore. But all my effort were futile, when the person was brought before the police and nothing happened. The police set him free without probing the matter, he added.

He further alleged that this was not the first incident but it has become a routine here to kidnap children for money. No one raises a voice, because of the kidnappers’ link. SHO Anandpur Sahib, Satnam Singh, said that the girl was major and escaped with another labourer she had an affair with.

She had also taken her brother with her as their mother had died two years ago and they were feeling neglected here. We have asked complain Ram Kumar, to produce the certificate in proof of her daughter’s age but he did not produce it, he added. We have not registered an FIR as the girl was major and had the right to marry the person of her choice, he added.


Ban in place, but feeding monkeys goes on
Tribune News Service

Una/Hoshiarpur, February 6
Feeding monkeys by devotees on the Hoshiarpur-Una highway is endangering the environment. The Forest and Wildlife Departments of Punjab and Himachal appear to be mute spectators and seem unable to tackle the situation.

A 15-km stretch of the highway from Chakksadhu in Hoshiarpur to Pandoga village in Una district virtually seems like a feeding zone for monkeys. Polythene bags and bread wrappers are scattered along the road, posing a serious threat to the ecological balance in this border area. Both Punjab and Himachal have imposed a ban on polythene.

Even though feeding monkeys has been banned by the Himachal Government, the forest authorities of Una don’t seem to be enforcing it. Devotees have been violating norms with impunity. Plastic has accumulated in gorges and choes along a 10-km section of the road, adding to the problem of soil erosion.

The Forest and Wildlife Departments of both states have hardly taken any step to control the menace. Neither of them has installed signboards, warning the devotees against feeding monkeys.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bhupinder Singh, a conductor with Punjab Roadways, claimed that the population of monkeys had multiplied in the past 25 years. “I have been travelling on this route for the past 25 years. Their number was hardly 25-30 then, but now the place is teeming with them. They have also become a traffic hazard on this busy road,” he said.

Mr Rajiv Kumar, a devotee of Lord Hanuman, feels that feeding monkeys would bring him good fortune. When told that feeding monkeys not only made them incapable of looking for food, but also the plastic thrown by the devotees in the forest area was aggravating ecological imbalance, he simply replied: “That is the problem of the government, not ours.”

Some monkeys have lost their limbs while trying to grab food from under speeding vehicles.

Roshan Lal, a dhaba owner at Bankhandi village, has installed a wire mesh on windows and the gate to prevent the monkeys from coming in.

Pritam Singh of Pandoga village lamented that the monkeys had been playing havoc with crops in over 25 villages. Villagers have to burst crackers and pass sleepless nights to save their crop. “The population of the monkeys has gone up so much that the authorities seems helpless to tackle the menace,” villagers said.

The Divisional Forest Officer, Una, was unable for comments but Mr R.R. Kakkar, DFO, Hoshiarpur, said since the issue was related to religion, it was hard to solve the problem. He, however, said he would contact his counterpart in Una and evolve a strategy.

Signboards warning the public against feeding monkeys would also be put up along the highway, he added.


ADGP Birdi bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Mr Charan Dass Birdi, 82, father of Additional Director-General Punjab Police (Intelligence), Mr J.P. Birdi, breathed his last at Jalandhar this morning. Apart from Mr J.P. Birdi, his other son is posted as ACP, in Delhi.

He was cremated later in the day. The Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk, was present at the cremation. Senior police officials of the intelligence wing, the ADGP, PAP, Mr Rajan Gupta, the IG Headquarters, Mr Suresh Arora, along with IG Jalandhar, Mr Hardeep Dhillon, besides the Mayor of Jalandhar and the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Jalandhar, were among the mourners.


SAD clarification on ‘langar’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the ‘lagar’ served at the party’s conference for representatives of trade and industry was arranged by the party’s district unit. The party thanked the business community for making the conference a “grand success”.


PSIDC waivers: CM to study files
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Commenting on large scale financial waivers by the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) to the high and mighty in the state, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh today said: “I have gone through media reports in this regard, however, the files pertaining to these cases have not reached me so far, but I will study them thoroughly”.

He added that he would go through the files to understand circumstances made the PSIDC grant these waivers. The Tribune had highlighted today that waivers of more than Rs 40 crore had been granted to industries owned by leading political families.


3 killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, February 6
As many as three persons were killed in two separate road accidents near Rajpura today.

In the first accident, two persons from Jammu and Kashmir were killed when their Scorpio turned turtle after hitting a scooter on the Rajpura-Patiala bypass.

The killed persons had been identified as Nazira and Adil. The injured, who were shifted to the PGI in Chandigarh, have been identified as Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammd Bhushar, Shahina and Mudassar.

In another accident, Mohinder Singh, who was riding pillion on a moped, was killed when the vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer.


high court
Plea to shift Pakistani woman, children to one jail
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 6
A petition in public interest has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the government to shift a Pakistani woman and her three minor children, all of whom are lodged in different jails and juvenile homes in Punjab, to one place.

The petitioner, World Human Rights Protection Council (WHRPC) through its chairman, Mr Ranjan Lakhanpal, has also sought directions to the government to initiate steps to send the woman and her children to Pakistan at the earliest.

Ms Mumtaz, originally hailing from Pakistan, married one Ibrahim some years ago. Three children were born out of the wedlock. About one and a half years ago, Ibrahim, who hailed from Bangladesh, took Mumtaz and his children to his native place in Bangladesh, only to desert them for another woman, with whom he left for Saudi Arabia. He also took along their passport and other documents.

The petitioner says that left with no option, Mumtaz and her minor children managed to somehow reach Amritsar, where they were staying, waiting for an opportunity to cross over to Pakistan.

However, the police caught them on January 26 and booked them under the Foreigners’ Act for staying in India with any permission.

While Mumtaz is presently lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar, her son, Sohail (8) was sent to Juvenile Home, Faridkot. The other two children, 10-year-old Asha and a six-year-old son are at Nari Niketan, Jalandhar.

Saying that it is inhuman to keep minor children away from their mother, the petitioner has prayed that they be kept together at one place.

The PIL also seeks direction to the government to send them back to Pakistan.

Today, the Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Surya Kant directed the counsel for the government to seek instructions about the contentions raised in the petition. Hearing will resume on February 10.


LIC told to pay Rs 50,000
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 6
The District Consumer Forum, here headed by Mr B.C. Gupta, president, Ms Manjit Kaur Valia and Mr Amarjit Singh Jauhar, members on the complaint of Ms Rajwinder Kaur of Malmazara ordered the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to pay Rs 50,000 with compensation of Rs 4,000 and Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses in two months to the complainant.

Ms Rajwinder Kaur had a complained against the LIC that her husband Sukhwinder Singh got himself insured for Rs 50,000, but when he died on September 12, 2004, the insurance company repudiated the claim on the ground that the deceased was suffering from AIDS and he had concealed this fact from the company while getting the policy. The company also examined Dr Naresh Kumar Manocha, BAMS, practising at Adda Chagran, to prove that Dr Naresh Kumar Manocha treated Sukhwinder Singh from February 2 to July 7, 2004.

However, when Dr Manocha was examined by the forum, he admitted that he did not examine Sukhwinder Singh and gave a certificate to the company at the instance of Munish Angrish, an agent of the company.

The forum also recommended to the Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur to initiate action against Dr Naresh Kumar Manocha for issuing bogus certificates to people as he had given a false certificate and did not maintain record.


Rape case: Punjab AG submits guidelines
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 6
The Advocate General (AG), Punjab, Mr R.S. Cheema, today submitted in the court the guidelines regarding exercise of provision under Section 437 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The section deals with grant of bail in case of non-bailable offences.

During resumed hearing of the plea of the Naya Gaon rape victim’s father, Mr Balkar Singh, seeking directions to ensure that the Special Investigating Team (SIT), constituted on the directions of the High Court, to probe the rape case was allowed complete freedom in completing the probe, Mr Cheema handed over a three-page note prepared by him about the circumstances under which bail can be granted to an accused in a non-bailable offence.

Sometime back, the Division Bench headed by Mr Justice Amar Dutt had asked the AG to submit a note about this. After taking the note, the Bench reserved its order in the matter.


CPM leader goes missing in Mansa
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 6
District secretary of the CPM Mrs Amarjit Kaur, has gone missing under mysterious circumstances. A complaint in this connection has also been lodged with the police.

Sources said an unidentified individual came to meet Ms Amarjit Kaur on the evening of February 3 when she and her daughter were at their residence near the Court Complex. Sources said she talked to the person at the gate for a while and picked up her purse before telling her daughter that she would be back in a few minutes. She didn’t return after that. Her husband, Mr Avtar Singh, who is a PRTC employee, was on duty at Budhlada, while her son had gone to the market.

After making all efforts to trace her, her family members have lodged a complaint with the SSP in this connection. They have also ruled out enmity with anyone. A missing advertisement was also placed in some newspapers, but they were yet to receive any response. On the other hand, the police said they were working on various theories, but nothing had come to the fore till now.


Jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 6
Gold jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh belonging to a retired lecturer was stolen while he was travelling in the Delhi-Ferozepur train a couple of days back.

Lecturer Chiman Lal Bansal was on his way to attend a marriage from Budhlada to Bathinda with his son and daughter-in-law when the theft took place.

He said the incident occurred between Budhlada and Mansa. He suspected that some residents of Bagliawali village might have committed the crime. The GRP has registered a case in this connection.


Principal found absent
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 6
The Principal of a government senior secondary school was found absent from his duty during a surprise check conducted by Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari here today.

When the DC reached the school at Kotfatta village, the staff told him that the Principal had accompanied a clerk to the treasury office. He immediately called up the District Treasury Officer who said the clerk came to his office at 11.30 am, but the Principal was not with him.

The DC also found that the attendance of an employee was being marked in a register for the last one month, but his name was not mentioned. DEO (Secondary), Surinder Kaur Kataria, said all principals were asked to be present in the school during study hours. About 50 students were also seen roaming around the school. It was revealed that they were Class II students and in absence of any teacher they were loitering outside.

The DC said the state of cleanliness was the worst in all schools he had visited in the past and the staff was not performing its duties well. He directed the DEO to take strict action against the Principal. He rued that despite exams approaching, teachers were not paying attention towards studies of higher classes. He also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for construction of rooms.


Abolish octroi, urge traders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 6
Sounding the Finance Ministry before the current budget session, traders sent a note to Mr Surinder Singla, state Finance Minister, on abolishing octroi said that the withdrawal of this tax would not affect the development.

Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, said due to VAT and stamp duty the state had earned substantial revenue.

He said the ruling party had never laid a condition for alternative tax when it promised to abolish octroi. However, the state was earning considerable revenue through other levies leaving enough margin to withdraw the octroi.

The state Finance Commission, he said, recommended that 4 per cent of net proceeds from taxes should be given to local bodies for development.

In addition to these, the state could also work out levies on the pattern of the Delhi Government that imposes a toll tax of Rs 50 on taxi and Rs 100, Rs 250, Rs 500 as per the capacity of trucks/goods vehicles. This would generate added income and could substitute for the loss due to withdrawal of octroi.


Ashish is COO, Fortis hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6
Fortis Healthcare Ltd today announced the appointment of Mr. Ashish Bhatia as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Fortis Hospitals at Mohali and Amritsar. Prior to his appointment, Mr Bhatia was Director, Administration, at Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Mr Bhatia, a product of Lawrence School, Sanawar, started his career in the Tea Gardens at Assam and has over 22 years of varied experience. He was Vice President (Marketing), Hero Motors, before he joined Fortis four years ago. 

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