P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Surprise was key element of Operation Mouse Trap
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The name of Operation Mouse Trap does not ring a bell. But for veterans of the National Security Guards (NSG) it has gone down into history as the elite force’s longest deployment and most unconventional action that paid rich dividends during anti-terrorist operations in Punjab.

Over 15 years later, a former NSG officer re-called the six-month-long virtually unknown operation undertaken in the hinterland of Punjab which helped eliminate top terrorists, thereby paving the way for peace and normalcy in the state.

“What was unusual about the operation was that we used to reconnoiter the land during day to select appropriate sites and lay ambushes at night, using minimum strength,” Mr Rakesh Chander, who was then an NSG team leader, said. “We operated with almost no intelligence input and were totally dependent on our own surveys,” he added.

After Cabinet approval for deployment of the NSG was accorded in early 1990, three squadrons comprising about 400 commandos underwent intensive training to orient themselves for operations in a rural and built-up environment, night navigation and long range patrolling.

“We used to identify spots for laying ambushes while travelling on vehicles during the day but return to the particular spot on foot only after several days just in case our vehicles had been spotted in the area,” he said. “We kept the team strength minimum to avoid detection,” he added. A 1984-batch CRPF officer, he is now expecting a posting as a Deputy-Inspector General with the Punjab Police.

The NSG was deployed from Amritsar to Asal Uttar and there was an engagement with terrorists every second day. The commandos used to carry out operations only between 6 pm and 6 am. “What was remarkable about Mouse Trap was that we adopted tactics not laid down in the book. Surprise was our key element,” Mr Chander said. Unlike normal operations requiring a show of force and quick surgical strikes, it was a game of patience and stealth.

Like all military operations, this too had its share of surprises and unexpected turns. The most significant was an arduous 48-hour long encounter with six hard core terrorists on whose hide-out an NSG team stumbled upon during a reconnoiter. The terrorists were cleaning their weapons atop a house, when one of them saw NSG vehicles and opened fire.

As commandos took position, the terrorists slithered down and ran into a field. An intense cross-fire started and re-enforcements, including the CRPF, were called-in. Dug up field and water channels provided good cover to the terrorists and finally the cordoned-off field had to be pounded with mortars to neutralise them. “They knew escape was impossible and fought to the end,” Mr Chander said.

Another time, the black-clad stalkers were themselves spotted and fired upon while proceeding to an ambush site. As firing began, police personnel at a nearby post too opened up. CRPF and NSG teams were rushed up and they too began firing and nobody knew who was firing at whom. “Finally through radio co-ordination it emerged that the terrorists had slipped away and were firing at each other,” he said. Though nobody was hurt, one of the NSG vehicles had 24 hits.

Having undertaken operations in Punjab as well as Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Chander was of the opinion that terrorists in Punjab were more hardcore than those in Kashmir. “In Punjab they used to fight back more ferociously, perhaps because most of them were drug addicts and used to operate under intoxication. Kashmiri terrorists also put up a fight, but they break quickly,” he added.


Breast cancer curable if detected early: Dr C.S. Pant
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sunam, February 7
"Though breast cancer is a major killer, it is curable if detected early.Breast cancer is not contagious. It is also not caused by bruising, bumping or touching the breast. But no body knows exactly why breast cancer develops. However some risk factors have been identified in this regard so far".

This was stated by Dr (Col) C. S. Pant, VSM, former President of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, while delivering a Bhagwan Dass Arora Memorial Oration on "Breast cancer – A curable disease" at the ninth Punjab Science Congress, which began at the Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute here today.

Earlier, Dr Pant was honoured with Bhagwan Dass Arora Memorial Oration Award by Dr Ramamurthi Rallapalli, General President of the Indian Science Congress Association, for his professional achievements and contributions in the field of Radiology. Dr Pant was presented with a citation, a medal and a memento on the occasion.

Delivering his oration on breast cancer by showing slides on the screen, Dr Pant said though breast cancer was a disease of the Western countries, it had also spread in India.

He said Indian women delayed examination of the suspected breast cancer on account of various reasons, including fear of the disease, hesitation in checking herself from a male doctor, reported painful test, and fear of radiation risk due to radiological test of the breast. He said now the test was not painful and safe.

Dr Pant said a change in the size and shape of the breast, discharge from the nipple, and a lump or thickening in the breast were the warning signs of breast cancer. He said about 75 per cent of all breast cancers were found in above 50-year-old women while the disease was not common under the age of 30 years.

He said there was a risk of breast cancer among those women whose mother or sister had the disease. Besides this, other risk factors of breast cancer included childless married woman, birth of first child after years, and first menstrual period at an early age/late menopause, he added.

Dr Pant also stated that pain in breast was not an early warning sign of the disease. However, he emphasised on the early diagnosis as breast cancer could be treated best before it spread further.

Dr Pant further said dietary factors, like high fat and high cholestrol diet, also played a role in the breast cancer disease. He also said that thousands of women suffered from the disease every year in India. He also spoke on the methods of breast cancer detection, stages of breast cancer, treatment of the cancer, and steps to check the breast cancer.


Helping prisoners to be independent
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 7
They all have come from different places and are serving sentences for different crimes, but what unites them is their goal to be better human beings once they are out of the prison. The Central Jail authorities and the district administration have extended a helping hand to them by holding literacy and yoga classes, besides training in vocations like bee-keeping and vermiculture.

Talking to The Tribune, 82-year-old Bikar Singh, who was one of the 20 inmates engrossed in literacy class, said when he was jailed he didn’t know how to hold a pen, but now he could read and write anything in Punjabi. He also jotted down the name of his father and mother in a jiffy to make his point.

Similarly, Jagtar Singh and Chhinder Singh said they didn’t know the significance of being educated before coming to the prison. Sarwan Singh of Mehma Sarja village, a frail, old inmate, also set an example by learning Urdu on his own. He also read out an Urdu newspaper fluently before this correspondent. “Initially, an inmate hailing from Romana village helped me out and I continued my endeavour even after he left,” he averred.

The authorities have also kicked off a training programme in bee-keeping and vermiculture with a batch of 30 inmates each. The inmates, whose jail term was nearing completion, were being given preference in the training, as they could take up either of the two streams to eke out their living after getting released. A 45-year-old prisoner, Baldev Singh, from Rameana village in Faridkot said he opted for vermiculture training as he believed that withlittle investment it could generate impressive returns. Satnam Singh of Kotheguru village said at a time when landholdings were on a decline vermiculture could help them earn more.

Mithu Singh of Maluka village chose bee-keeping as he thought agriculture was no more commercially viable for small farmers. “I will also train both my daughters in bee-keeping so that they could stand on their feet,” he added. The Jail Superintendent, Mr L.S. Jakhar, said they had also organised yoga sessions for the inmates that evoked a good response.

Meanwhile, Mr Kuldeep Rai, national-level monitor from the Union Ministry of Rural Development, who was in the city last Friday to review various development projects, also visited the jail. He was all praise for the reforms initiated by the jail authorities in coordination with the administration and said he would recommend to the Central Government that such projects should be taken up in other jails, too.

The ADC (D), Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, said they had also received a proposal from the jail authorities for setting up of a powerloom centre, but the funds required for it were high and they were contemplating a special project for getting it sanctioned. He said they would also extend loan facility to convicts completing their jail term and willing to start their life afresh. “It will ensure that they won’t tread the path of crime after getting released from the prison,” he concluded.


Need to increase trade through Wagah, says Sidhu
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Wagah, February 7
The Wagah border which lately has emerged as major gateway for ‘people-to-people’ contact has yet to be translated into ‘Gate to prosperity’, allowing only four hours for actual clearance of cargo between both countries.

‘Is Beating the Retreat ceremony more important than trade which is actual key to prosperity?’ Why can’t working hours be increased to clear, trucks loaded with more than Rs 50 crore of cargo, stranded across the border’, asked Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, who conducted an Inspection of Wagah joint check post. While Benopal port on Indo-Bangladesh border remains open from six am to 10 pm to clear the cargo then why restricted time for this border post? I will raise this issue in the Lok Sabha, apart from taking up the matter with the Prime Minister.

The increased frequency of VVIPs on the border following peace process has almost spelt doom for cross border trade between India and Afghanistan/Pakistan, resulting in dislocation of cargo since neither India nor Pakistan has enough infrastructure to cope with swelled trade potential.

While the Pakistan government seems to have given the go ahead to acquire more than 50 acres at Wagah to improve its ‘worst infrastructure’, the central government has prepared a plan to construct separate corridors for the movement of goods and people. The plan envisages three outgoing and three incoming gates which would cater to import and export of goods besides providing easy access for the VIPs .

The inspection by local BJP Member of Parliament, Navjot Singh Sidhu left senior officials of Customs high and dry when he described the plan for upgrading the infrastructure as ‘pie in the sky’. He questioned the wisdom of the central government for neglect of the joint check post, which could be harbinger for prosperity in the northern region.

He said 90 per cent of the Indo-Bangladesh business was transacted through Benapole. Giving facts, Mr Sidhu said at present bilateral trade between India and Pakistan was less than one per cent of their composite 200 billion global trade . Shockingly , the smuggling through third country channels including Singapore, Dubai and Afghanistan is five times more amounting to $ 2 billion. As compared to Benapole land port the Wagah port is strategically located in the heart of business hub of Central Asia.

Coming down heavily on the central government for not giving due importance to the state by continuing to use it as doormat by not allowing any Pakistani to visit Punjab. He said it was ridiculous that a Pakistani patient cannot get treatment at Escorts Heart Hospital in Amritsar while he could get the same treatment from the same hospital in New Delhi by travelling another 600 km.

Mr Sidhu said that he would take up with the Prime Minister to set up a high-power survey team for preparing a blue print for this.

The teething problem continues to dog the Indo-Pak trade as the Ministry of Commerce has yet to notify and register for the Wagah Check Post for port of export.


Take peace process to grassroots: Pak delegates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 7
While suggesting institution of a peace award for persons working honestly on peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, a seven-member delegation from Pakistan today unanimously stressed that the peace process should be taken to the grass root level.

The delegation was interacting with scholars and faculty of Guru Nanak Dev University. They discussed issues of free movement across the two Punjabs.

The delegation led by Janab Jalil Hasan Akhtar, president, Punjab Union of Journalists, included Mr Tahir Javed Malik, TV journalist, Mr Omer Farooq Mannan, Chief Editor, Daily Sahafat, Mr Nadeem Mirza, businessman, and writer, Dr Mohammad Umar Khan, industrialist, Mr Khalid Pervez, trader and Mr Muhammad Hafeez Ullah.

Mr Tahir Malik, while laying stress on the role and importance of media in moulding public opinion said Press should serve as a custodian of sovereignty of people.

Mr Jalil Hasan Akhtar, president, Pak-Punjab Union of Journalists and leader of the delegation, said we should respect the each others’ sentiments, instead of wasting money on buying nuclear weapons.

Dr Umar Khan said Pakistan was the most misunderstood country wrongly associated with hardliners.

He said the common Punjabi had greatly suffered, and had been deprived of sharing his common social, cultural and religious heritage on either side of the border.

Welcoming the delegation, the Vice-Chancellor announced that the university would organise an exclusive seminar on Pakistani literature for which he sought the cooperation of Punjabi writers of Pakistan.


Cong dithering on promises: Dayal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 7
Dr Joginder Dayal, member of the CPI’s national executive, addressed a rally of party workers here today. The rally was organised to commemorate 80 years of party’s formation.

He regretted that the Congress was “dithering” on its promises and on the common minimum programme chalked out collectively by UPA members at the national level. He was especially critical of India’s stand in case of Iran recently.

He said other areas of difference were: growing disinvestment in public sector enterprises, foreign direct investment, inflation, scrapping of public distribution system, foreign policies and “bowing” to dictates of the USA.

He gave a call to all Communists to hold nationwide protest from March 1 against the visit of US President George Bush to India.

On party’s future with the Congress in the forthcoming Assembly elections in state, Dr Dayal said the CPI was not a permanent ally of the Congress and the situation could change.

Castigating the Congress, he said its Chief Minister in the state was inaccessible to the legislatures. He also blamed him with shortening of the Assembly sessions leading to piling public complaints. He also criticised the CM’s economic policies. He alleged the Congress was inviting land mafias to gobble agricultural land for commercial and residential purposes while drawing huge commissions in connivance with bureaucrats.

Mr Jagrup Singh, state secretary of the CPI, also criticised the Central Government for its recent stand on Iran.

Mr Amarjit Asal, district secretary, raised the issue of rising prices of flour in the state. Twentythree CPI leaders, including Mr Des Raj, Mr Satya Pal Dang and Ms Vimla Dang, were honoured on the occasion.


Bathinda rally: reports wrong, says Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today took exception to reports in a section of the Press which said that he had left the trader’s rally midway in Bathinda on Sunday. He dismissed the reports as “a bloomer by some over-enthusiastic journalists.”

In a statement here, Mr Dhindsa said that he had to go from the rally before it concluded as he had to attend a function in Phallewal village, near Malerkotla, in honour of the visiting British Columbia (Canada) Minister, Mr Michael D. Jong. He added: “Before leaving, I had an announcement made from the stage. And yet some journalists went ahead and published reports saying that I was ‘understood to have’ left the rally because I was not allowed to address the gathering. This is far from the truth”.

Mr Dhindsa was referring to reports in a section of the Press saying that the Bathinda rally saw serious political differences among the Akalis come to the fore. The reports quoted his departure from the stage as proof of his differences with the party chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He said there was no question of his addressing the traders’ rally because it had been decided beforehand that only representatives of traders would be allowed to speak from the stage. The rally was meant to provide a platform to industrialists traders and other businessmen to vent their anger against the government policies. The views of the SAD were to be articulated only by Mr Badal.

Mr Dhindsa said there was no verification done by the journalists and added “these strong personal and political views, having serious implications for the state polity, have been attributed to me without anyone caring to cross-check the matter with me”. He said the story was incorrect and based on speculation.


Barnala’s wife to revive Istri Akali Dal
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 7
Ms Surjeet Kaur Barnala, former Akali MLA and wife of Tamil Nadu Governor, is all set to revive the Istri Akali Dal wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Talking to The Tribune here today, she criticised party president Parkash Singh Badal for disbanding the wing about two years ago.

She said it was high time that women exercised their role in political spheres with more responsibility.

Advocating the cause of women empowerment, she said the Istri Akali Dal and Youth wing of the SAD was formed by Harchand Singh Longowal with a similar aim.

She has called a meeting of her supporters on February 12 at her Barnala residence.

The step has been welcomed in Akali circles as the loyalists belonging to the Barnala group had been feeling insecure after Mr Surjeet Singh Barnala left active politics to become the Governor of Tamil Nadu.

Though she vehemently denied that her recent visits to her native place from Chennai had anything to do with her re-entry into active politics, people feel these visits have something to do with the next Assembly elections.


Rail traffic blocked for 45 minutes

Phagwara February 7
Rail traffic on Nawanshahr-Jalandhar section remained suspended for more than 45 minutes as men and women blocked rail traffic in protest against the polluted water being released from the JCT Mills here today.

Rresidents of New Model Town and Rattanpura localities stopped the Jalandhar bound 3JRJ Diesel Multiple Unit train near JCT Mills Railway crossing. The demonstrators were protesting against the JCT Mills Management demanding action against mill authorities that could not initiate any steps to stop overflowing of water from the Mills eight tubewells, which blocked the sewerage resulting in pollution in the area.

ASP Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill, Tehsildar Kanwar Narinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar Mulkh Raj tried to pacify the demonstrators but in vain.

A rally was also organised in the middle of Railway lines, which was addressed by ex-Councillor Gurbachan Singh Walia, who threatened to intensify the stir if action against mill authorities not taken by tomorrow.

Later the blockade was lifted on the intervention and assurances of the civil and police officials after 45 minutes.

One infant died and more than 60 fell ill due to gestro-enteritis caused by dirty water in different localities around the mill area. — UNI


Ex-employees denied GIS benefits
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, February 7
Hundreds of government employees have been denied benefits under group insurance scheme (GIS) after retirement.

Many former employees stated that they were eligible for post-superannuation benefits under the GIS that was introduced in 1982, by state government for its employees.

However, they alleged that the neglect on the part of drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) appointed in every government department, including each school or institute under it, to deduct the amount from monthly salary of employees has led to a number of disputes.

Mr B.R. Preenja, general secretary, Punjab Employees Rights Protection and Welfare Union, while raising the issue of the “hapless” former employees, said they were losing a large sum of post-retirement money under the GIS, if the amount is not deposited with interest.

A doctor said he was asked to pay Rs 11,200 in interest due to non-deduction of the amount from his monthly salary by the DDO concerned.

In another case, an employee was ‘penalised’ with interest, as the DDO had deducted only half the amount from her monthly pay over the years.

Cases of former lecturers, teachers and even police personnel have come to light wherein the benefits have been held in abeyance till clearance of dues with interest.


Labourers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 7
Activists of the Punjab Dehaati Mazdoor Sabha, the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha and the Punjab Mazdoor Mukti Morcha staged a protest against the Bant Singh Jhabbar incident here today.

The protesters assembled in front of the Food and Civil Supplies Office here. Holding red flags in their hands, they moved in a procession raising slogans against the state government for alleged exploitation of labourers.

Later, they organised a rally in front of the SDM’s office. They routed a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the SDM’s office.

The memorandum contained a charter of demands, including the arrest of Mr Jaswant Singh, sarpanch, for allegedly conspiring to assault mazdoor Bant Singh. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the aggrieved family of Bant Singh besides a government job for his wife.

Mr Bhagwant Singh Samaon, state secretary of the Punjab Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, said a protest would be staged at Chandigarh on March 3.


Punjab pensioners stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 7
Members of the Punjab Government Pensioners Welfare Association and those belonging to semi-government institutions like the PRTC and PSEB staged a dharna in front of the Mini Secretariat here today.

Mr J.S. Dua, general secretary of the association, stated that their demands were lying pending with the Punjab Government for the past few years and that the government was not taking their demands seriously.

He added that a demand charter containing 25 items had already been submitted to the Punjab Government for consideration, but since their grievances were not being addressed to, they were left with no alternative expect to stage a protest.

Most leaders, while speaking on the occasion, stressed on the main demands like the grant of house rent to pensioners, medical allowance of Rs 500 as promised in the Congress manifesto and a grant of LTC.


Seminar on terrorism

Amritsar, February 7
Folklore Research Academy will organize a two-day seminar on the problem of terrorism in South Asia on February 18. Eminent personalities, including leaders of various political parties, Editors, scholars and thinkers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will participate and present their papers. — OC


High Court
State told to reply to issues raised by Sidhu
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the State of Punjab to file its reply to the issues raised by the BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, in his PIL by February 17. In case no reply is filed by the next date, the Bench said it would be constrained to summon the Chief Secretary, Punjab.

Mr Sidhu has sought directions to the Punjab Government to release Rs 34 crore that it owes to the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, as share of taxes collected from Amritsar. He has alleged that the corporation has been unable to undertake various developmental activities due to paucity of funds. However, the problem, he has stated, can be solved to a large extent if the government pays the money that it owes to the corporation as its share in the taxes collected from residents of the city.

Mr Sidhu has alleged that even though the money is duly reflected in the budget of the corporation, the government is refusing to release the funds. He has also claimed that he served a legal notice to the government in October last year in this regard but no reply came from the government side.

He has alleged that the government action to release the funds was an act of discrimination against the resident of Amritsar.

Today, during resumed hearing, when the counsel for the state government sought more time to file reply, the petitioner’s counsel told the Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Surya Kant that on the last hearing a similar plea had been extended while seeking time.

Hearing will resume on February 17.

Notice issued

The High Court has issued notices to the State of Punjab, Director-General of Police, Punjab, and others, including Mr Kewal Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Majitha, on a plea moved by Mr Hans Raj. In his petition, Mr Hans Raj has levelled serious allegations of fraud, cheating and threats of intimidation and registration of false cases by Mr Kewal Kumar, and his son, Kumar Amit.

Stating that he had been suffering from business losses due to which he wanted to induct some partner in his business - Hans Gas Agency, Amritsar, which had duly been allotted to him by Indian Oil Corporation, the petitioner claimed that in August 2000, Kumar Amit approached him for purchasing the land of the building for Rs 18 Lakh and 49 per cent share in the gas agency for a consideration of Rs 17 lakh.

Claiming that without paying the entire amount, Kumar Amit and his father not only took complete control of the gas agency, but also drove him out of his control in the agency, the petitioner has alleged that instead of paying him Rs 35 lakh as agreed upon, he has been divested of his control, that too for just Rs 12 lakh.

Mr Hans Raj has also claimed that though the written agreement to sell the land had fixed the sale consideration at Rs 18 lakh, the SP managed to get the sale deed executed and registered only for Rs 3.59 lakh.

After hearing the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta issued notice for March 7.


Jai Singh Gill to head power regulatory panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The recently retired Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, is all set to be the new Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC). On the other hand, the state government today cancelled its earlier orders to appoint Mr P.K. Verma, Financial Commissioner, Development, Chairman of the Punjab State Revenue Commission.

Mr Dilsher Singh Kalha, a 1977 batch IAS officer, has been appointed Secretary, Finance, replacing Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, who was elevated as Chief Secretary following the retirement of Mr Gill. Mr Kalha will continue to hold his present charge as Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and the CEO of the Anandpur Sahib Foundation.

On the new Chairman of the PSERC, sources in the government said the search committee had met today and suggested two names. One was of Mr Gill and the other of a Chief Engineer of Uttaranchal.

The state government accepted the name of Mr Gill for the post that has a tenure of five years. Mr R.S. Mann, another former Chief Secretary, has just ended his five-year tenure as Chairman of the PSERC. He had been appointed by the then Shiromani Akali Dal-led government in Punjab in 2001.

The orders to cancel the appointment of Mr Verma as Chairamn of the Revenue Commission were issued as Mr Verma had said that he would prefer working in the government rather than as head of the commission.

His appointment in the commission was for a period of two years. However, in the government he will retire in November this year. Also being Secretary, Agriculture, he heads various high-profile boards and corporations. There is no surety that the commission will continue to function if the Akalis are voted to power.

Also, the Punjab Government has issued orders to appoint Mr Dharam Vir, a 1984 batch IAS officer, Secretary, Punjab State Human Rights Commission. He will relieve Mr R.C. Nayyar of the additional charge.

Mr G.S Sandhu, Principal Secretary, Irrigation, will look after the work of the Principal Secretary, Power, during the leave period of Ms Kusumjit Sidhu.


IT officials inspect nursing home records
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 7
The Income Tax Department today inspected three private nursing homes in the city and seized documents.

Officials continued their search operation for several hours after they learnt that private nursing homes were not submitting income tax returns as per their sources of income.

When contacted, the Joint Commissioner, Income Tax, Mr V.K Singh, said the department had conducted a survey of private nursing homes in the city and seized some documents.


Probe ordered into ammonia gas leak

Phagwara, February 7
Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Sameer Kumar had ordered a magisterial probe into the ammonia gas leakage case here.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) will conduct the probe and present it in two days to the Deputy Commissioner (DC).

Ammonia gas had leaked from Jalota Ice Factory on the Phagwara Banga road on Sunday night, causing panic in the area with people rushing out of their houses owing to suffocation. — PTI


Tinna brothers booked for violence
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, February 7
The police has booked Mr Gaganjeet Singh Tinna, a former district president of the Youth Congress, and his brothers, Gurjit Singh Tinna, Mr Gurdeep Singh Tinna, nephew Gagandeep Singh, brother-in-law Inderjit Singh and a friend, Jeet Singh, under Sections 302, 307, 506, 324, 427, 148, 149, IPC, and 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act in connection with yesterday’s violence that led to the death of Baljit Singh, sarpanch of Danewala Satkosi village and elder brother of the block Congress president Balbir Singh Danewalia. Mr Danewalia, who holds the office of the president of the Truck Operators Union also, had yesterday told reporters in Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here that Mr Sonu Swami, president, Fruit and Vegetable Sellers Association, also accompanied the Tinna brothers during the attack but his name did not figure in the FIR.

Later it after consulting an advocate and a physician. The body of Baljit Singh was taken to Danewala Satkosi village from the Civil Hospital and cremation took place in the evening. A large number of Congress workers, sarpanches and panches of many villages were present.

Meanwhile, the offices of the Truck Operators Union located on the Malout Road have been locked. The police has been deployed there apprehending violence. Some office bearers of the union have gone to safer places. The Tinna brothers alleged irregularities in the functioning of the union and conspired to take its control on Sunday, the sources added.

Mr Gaganjeet Singh Tinna, husband of Congress Councillor Manjit Kaur, who was also injured in the melee, is now under police custody and under treatment at the Civil Hospital, Malout. The police had not confirmed any arrest in the case.


Post office defrauded of Rs 2.6 lakh
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 7
Four persons have been booked for committing a fraud of Rs 2.6 lakh with the Postal Department here. This information was given by the SSP, Dr Jatindra Kumar Jain, here today.

Ram Lubhaya, an employee of the Kotli Surat Mallian post office, used to prepare fake money orders and send the money to his three relatives — Vijay Kumar of Udowal village, Swami Sharma of Ajnala and Sandip Kumar.

In this way, the Postal Department was defrauded of around Rs 2.6 lakh, the SSP added.

A case has been registered.


Rs 3 lakh looted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 7
Two unidentified motorcycle-borne persons looted Rs 3 lakh from a trader from Jandiala Guru at gunpoint, near wholesale market at bus stand here today.

No case was registered till the filing of the report.

According to information, Roshan Lal Jain, the trader, who usually comes to Amritsar for trading. When he entered the shop, the accused put the gun at the head of driver Saba who was inside the vehicle and fled with the bag containing money.


Panjab University introduces
scholarships for college students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Panjab University today introduced scholarships for students studying in its various affiliated colleges. This was decided at the annual meeting of the College Development Council (CDC) held here today.

Over Rs 1.5 lakh would be disbursed annually to poor students who have potential for excellence in academics or sports and for students who were handicapped.

A central placement cell facility, especially for rural colleges, was also established by the university today. An amount of Rs 25000 would be spent annually in organising industry-colleges interface for students of such colleges.

It was also decided that a “college house” be established at the university. The college house would have a seminar hall and rest house facilities for college staff and principals. The CDC members allowed the Dean, CDC to start construction of the house by using the CDC’s savings worth over Rs 70 lakh. The PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, who presided over the council’s meeting today assured the members that foundation stone of the college house would be laid down during the current financial year.

Other than passing the Budget estimates for the year 2006-2007, CDC members gave full support to the expenditure on providing 50 per cent fee concession to wards of college employees for NRI/industry-sponsored seats during their admission to Panjab University. A committee was set up to consider if this facility should be given to the retired employees of colleges. It was also decided that wards of those colleges employees who died before reaching the age of superannuation should also include as qualifying for this concession. Almost Rs 27 lakh had already been spent on this head for the years 2003-2004 and 2004- 2005. Another Rs 14 lakh had been passed by the CDC at its last meeting to be spent on this head for the year 2005-2006.

The CDC also approved a study trip for college principals, college teachers and Dean, CDC, to visit southern parts of the country in the next financial year. Eight principals, five college teachers and Dean, College Development Council, would go on this trip. Those Principals who wished to accompany and were willing to pay for their own expenditure could also go.

The CDC also organised the annual Principal’s Conference of affiliated colleges today. More than 75 Principals from affiliated colleges attended the conference.

Professor K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, presided over the meeting. Addressing principals he exhorted them to support the university in its examination duties. He told the principals to ensure that college teachers realise their responsibilities and not shirk examination-related duties.

Prof B.D. Budhiraja, Dean, College Development Council presented the annual report of the functioning of the CDC in which he highlighted the main achievements of the CDC. Prof Budhiraja said 152 colleges were affiliated to the university out of which 64 colleges were imparting postgraduate level education to the students. He added that 47 affiliated colleges had been accredited by NAAC. He listed the colleges which had received grants under various heads from the University Grants Commission through the year. He added that the venue for the UGC interface with colleges for career-oriented courses had been shifted from Srinagar to Chandigarh and would be held on February 13-14.

Suggestions sent by the Principals pertaining to the conduct of examinations, declaration of results and other difficulties being faced by the colleges were discussed during the conference.


Varsity of Glamorgan explores tie-ups

Amritsar, February 7
The UK-based university of Glamorgan is exploring possibilities of tie up with universities and institutions in the country for exchange of students and faculty.

Ms Barbara Kelhar, international officer said University of Glamorgan of Wales was one of the oldest institutions in UK and offers variety of under and postgraduate courses specialising in computers, electronic engineering, and biotechnology and business studies. She said that more than 20,000 overseas students were pursuing higher education in several fields.

She said especially for the Indian students the university offers scholarship to the extent of £ 2000 for postgraduate courses and £ 1000-1500 for the under-gradate courses.

Ms Kelhar said there was a tremendous potential in India to provide them excellent opportunity to pursue higher studies in an extremely conducive environment. She said that at present the university was in touch with educational institutions in Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra for taking students at present more than 1000 Indian students were studying in the university. — OC


Punjab Science Congress begins
Tribune News Service

Sunam, February 7
The 9th Punjab Science Congress today began with fanfare at Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute here. Dr Ramamurthi Rallapalli, president of the Indian Science Congress Association, inaugurated the Congress lamp. Delegates from various parts of the state are taking part in this congress.

In the inaugural session on behalf of the Punjab Academy of Sciences, Dr Rallapalli awarded fellowships to Dr D.S. Brar, Senior Scientist, Philippines; Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala; Dr Anil Kohli, president of the Dental Council of India; Dr H.S. Sohi, internationally renowned mycologist, Solan; and Dr S.S. Gosal, senior biotechnologist, PAU, Ludhiana. Besides, Dr Rallapalli also honoured Dr (Col) C.S. Pant, former president of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, with Bhagwan Dass Arora Memorial Oration Award. All of them were honoured with medals, citations and mementos.

Dr Vikram Sharma, a Director and trustee of the research institute, announced that post-graduate courses would be started in the college soon. He also thanked the Punjab Academy of Sciences to extend great honour to the college to organise the 9th Punjab Science Congress here. 


Farmers to support jobless teachers’ protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 7
Farmer bodies of the state will also support unemployed ETT teachers’ protest in all district headquarters on February 9.

In a statement released here today, general secretary of the BKU (Ekta) Sukhdev Singh said the decision was reached at a meeting of the Sanjha Kisan Manch in Jalandhar yesterday. He said the government’s proposal to recruit teachers in government schools through panchayats was the “first step towards the privatisation of the schools”, as a result of which right to education would be taken away from children of farmers, farm labourers and rural populace. He said all farmer bodies had been told to participate in the protest.

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