P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Governor omits inter-state issues from Address
Opposition stages walkout on price rise
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), escorted by the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, arrives at the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh for his Address on the opening day of the Budget session
The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), escorted by the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, arrives at the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh for his Address on the opening day of the Budget session on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 20
Omission of inter-state issues from the Governor’s Address, slogan raising and a walk out by members of the Opposition marked the beginning of the last Budget session of the current Punjab Vidhan Sabha here this afternoon.

Though the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), read out selectively from his 52-page Address, he focused mainly on the achievements of and policies to be pursued by the government during the remaining part of its term. Interestingly, focus was on various development projects which the government wants to undertake and complete in the last year of its term.

The only reference the Governor made to the river water dispute was that the government had spared no efforts to take all possible legal and administrative measures to protect its water rights. “It would continue to do so to ensure that all disputes in this regard are decided in a fair and equitable manner. However, my government would not hesitate to discuss these issues with our neighbouring state for a long-term solution in the overall interest of our citizens,” he added.

The remaining inter-state disputes hike Chandigarh and other territorial claims, including Punjabi-speaking areas, did not find ritual mention in the Address this time.

Within a few minutes of the start of the Governor’s Address, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, also started his “parallel” address before leading a walkout of the combined Opposition. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators left the House raising slogans against the rising prices of essential commodities like ata, pulses and sugar.

Reiterating that the government, in pursuance of its pre-poll promises, followed the path of good governance and transparency administration by ensuring probity in public life and made recruitments on merit, after dismissing those, who entered the state civil services on the strength of money, the Address did not refer even obliquely to the quashing of the appointments of deputy superintendents of police made a couple of years ago.

“My government has exposed corruption in high places. To some extent, it has succeeded in containing corruption and corrupt practices. However, the process of prosecuting corrupt publicmen is yet to be completed with due regard to the legal processes it has to go through to reach its logical end,” said the Governor. It was at this point that Mr Badal started his “parallel” address.

The Governor emphasised how the government had by a variety of measures moved the state away from the path of fiscal deterioration and restored its financial health. These measures, he said, included the right-sizing of the government staffing structures, the rationalisation of deployment of manpower, the revision of floor values of properties for the levy of stamp duty, the revision of special road tax, the levy of user charges on irrigation water, the debt swap scheme and the passing of the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

He held that the community ownership of education and health utilities would not be compromised. Highlighting the achievements in agriculture, he said that prospective policies of the state had boosted agricultural productivity with wheat, paddy and cotton production recording an increase of 3,18 and 96 per cent, respectively, during the past three years.

The General said the government was committed not only to continuing the minimum support price but also ensuring that farmers were paid remunerative prices for their produce. “The state government is committed to adopting a multi-pronged approach to optimise economic returns in agriculture by focussing on resource conservation technologies, rain water harvesting, crop diversification and contract farming.

Talking about the industrial sector, the Governor said because of the pro-growth policies of his government, an investment of Rs 53,000 crore stood committed through mega projects. The state had also cleared 124 mega industrial projects besides deciding to set up nine Special Economic Zones. Direct exports from the state had increased.

The government, he said, was committed to ensuring reliable, adequate and quality power supply to the people at affordable rates. The state would even purchase power to give eight hours of power to farmers during both the kharif and rabi seasons. Free power to farmers, and all Scheduled Castes (200 units each) were other commitments which had been honoured. The government also brought 10,564 villages under urban pattern power supply. The remaining villages would also be covered soon.

The Governor also talked about the setting up of the Revenue Commission and the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission. “The state government is committed to providing health, housing and related benefits to 59,000 below-the-poverty-line SC families,” he added.


Red alert issued on bird flu
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, February 20
Patiala Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh has issued a red alert in the city regarding the bird flue that has engulfed various parts of the country. He has issued instructions to Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr Varinder Singh Mohi, and Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Patiala, to remain vigilant about the bird flu.

According to Dr Mohi, Civil Surgeon, Patiala, various steps have been taken to tackle any outbreak of the flue, which is a viral disease. In this respect, a control room has been established in the office of Civil Surgeon, Patiala, and the telephone nos are 2211619 and 9814700002. A rapid response team has been put on high alert and it has been ordered that no member of the team shall leave the district headquarters without the prior permission of the Civil Surgeon. The rapid response team consists of the district Epidemiologist Dr Ravinder Khaira, Dr Sujata, Pathologist, Dr Tarsem Mahi, Microbiologist, Dr Prince Sodhi, MO and Dr Amrit Pal Singh.

All poultry farms in the district have been identified by the Department of Animal Husbandry. The list of these poultry farms is being supplied to Senior Medical Officer In charge Civil Hospital, PHCs, for keeping a strict watch on the workers working in these farms.

A team headed by District Epidemologist Dr Ravinder Khaira has visited most of the hotels, restaurants dhabas and have asked the owners of these places to properly cook the chicken at a temperature of 70°C or above for 30 minutes because the bird flue viruses are fully killed at this temperature. Isolation wards have been set up in all four Civil Hospitals of Nabha, Dera Bassi, Rajpura and Samana for any suspected case of bird flu and antibiotics and other medicines have been stored in adequate quantity.

To create awareness among the people working in the poultry farms, it is being advised that these workers wear masks and gloves and wash their hands properly with soap, as detergent is effective in killing this virus.

Fatehgarh Sahib

Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, has stated that after conducting preliminary checking of 111 poultry farms in the district and restaurants by officials of the Animal Husbandry Department, not even single case of bird flu has been detected.

She said the Deputy Director and other officials of the Animal Husbandry Department and veterinary doctors had been directed to keep a close watch on the poultry farms and send reports daily to her office. She also appealed to the owners of poultry farms to be on alert.

She said a control room had been made where doctors would be available round the clock.


Drought-like situation in Kandi area
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 20
Farmers of Kandi area in Hoshiarpur district are facing a drought-like situation as a result of which majority of them could not sow wheat crop during the Rabi season. However, some of them who somehow arranged to sow wheat in the hope of rain, have completely lost it now.

Dr Kulbir Singh Deol, Chief Agriculture Officer, Hoshiarpur, told this correspondent here that about 20000 hectares in all four tehsils of the district were entirely dependent on rain. Though seven mini dams and the kandi canal had been constructed for providing irrigation facilities in the barren land but on account of failure of rains, the reservoirs had dried up. He said only 10.5 mm of rainfall had been recorded in January and February, 2006, which was very low even for the sowing of any crop. At least 10 mm of continuous rain was required for this purpose.

Dr Kulbir Singh further said 1,36,199 hectares was being irrigated through tubewells and 8301 hectares through canals in the district. The water level had also gone down considerably on account of which about 12000 submersible tubewells had been installed. Besides, 62230 tubewells, including 32300 electric motors, were functioning to provide irrigation in the district. He said farmers were getting eight hours of power supply for irrigation but even then 5 to 8 per cent well settled farmers had installed their generator sets to meet the shortage of power. Generator sets were also available on rent ranging from Rs 300 to Rs. 500 per hour.

He said around 1.40 lakh hectares was brought under wheat, 438 hectares under grams, 1100 hectares under pulses, 4354 hectares under oilseeds, 2485 hectares under potatoes and 540 hectares under vegetables in the district during current Rabi season.

Ms Sarabjit Kaur, daughter of farmer Amar Singh of Kaharpur village, urged the state government to provide subsidy for the installation of tubewells to small farmers of kandi to save them from starvation.

Mr Vipan Sharma, a farmer of Mehangrowal village, narrated the plight of farmers of kandi area and urged the state government to create new avenues for them. He also demanded a special girdawri and compensation for their damaged crops.


FCI retires 28 quality control officials
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Continuing its “cleansing operations”, the Punjab regional office of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has retired compulsorily 28 quality control officials.

The orders were issued on February 17. Tired of frequent complaints about the poor quality of rice by recipient states, the FCI has also initiated disciplinary proceedings against over 300 quality control officials, some of them even Class I officials. In September last 14 officials were retired compulsorily.

One of these officials, Mr Azad Singh, the then District Manager(QC) of Faridkot district, was dismissed from service along with the forfeiture of gratuity by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director, FCI, last month.

Interestingly, some of these officials who have been dismissed summarily had more than 50 charge sheets against them. The highest number was against Mr B.R.Sharma, Technical Assistant-I, who had been penalised in 36 cases and 24 charge sheets, 11 for major penalty and 13 for minor penalty were still pending. Such expeditious disciplinary proceedings have not been witnessed in the FCI before where hundreds of old cases are still pending.

Naturally, this has evoked a protest from employees, including the Bharatiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh. One of the officials of the FCI stated, on condition of anonymity, that this action of the management was not required as no quality complaint had been received during the current year.

However, the General Manager, FCI, Mr T.C. Gupta, justified the action on the ground that most of the officials so retired allegedly had dubious records and some of them had started accepting poor quality rice as noticed at the Barnala centre by him last week.

In total contrast to the acceptance of bad quality rice during kharif 2004-05 in Punjab, which brought in its wake a record number of complaints about the quality of rice sent to other states, this year the quality of rice is reportedly good, if the fact that no complaint has been received consecutively for fourth months is any indication.

Mr Gupta claimed that this transformation had been possible because of a multi-pronged strategy adopted by the FCI during the current kharif season. While the receipt of rice was stopped at “notorious” centres, notices were issued to 279 millers for blacklisting them. Out of 279 rice millers, more than 150 had given an undertaking to replace rice of poor quality supplied by them last year. Till now rice worth more than Rs 30 crore had been replaced. An additional quantity worth approximately Rs 70 crore was also likely to be replaced soon.

This kind of replacement had not taken place in the FCI earlier.

According to sources, 295 complaints were received regarding poor quality of rice during 1998, 343 during 2000, 107 during 2001, 139 during 2002, 167 during 2003, 131 during 2004 and 474 up to November, 05, in the Punjab region. But no such complaint was received after that.


Villagers sore over Education Dept inaction
Involvement of teacher in molestation case
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
Resentment prevails among residents of Wazidpur Naguawa village in this district against the education department for not taking any action against a teacher allegedly involved in immoral and unethical behaviour. The teacher had allegedly sexually harassed girl students and women staff members. The education department has not taken any action in spite of the fact that the Deputy Commissioner had written a DO letter to Principal Secretary, Education, Ms Tejinder Kaur, 10 days back for taking strict action against the teacher on the basis of an enquiry report of DEO. The report had confirmed unethical, immoral activities as well as harassment of staff and students by the teacher. Residents wonder whom to approach for justice as the department has failed to take any action even after the strong recommendations of Deputy Commissioner and DEO to book him for his immoral activities. The delay in action against him had not only encouraged him to continue with his activities but he is resorting to pressure tactics.

Interestingly, similar complaints were made against him last year with the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, who had withdrawn his DDO powers but the teacher tried to restore his DDO powers by putting political pressure on DPI and he was issued a show-cause notice by DPI for putting political pressure on him.

The students, entire staff, village panchayat, PTA and PASWAC body of the Government Senior Secondary School, Wazidpur Naguawa, jointly complained against a school teacher, alleging that he had been indulging in immoral activities. The Deputy Commissioner had marked an inquiry to DEO(S). He confirmed the allegations after conducting an inquiry and recording the statements of students, staff, the teacher concerned, village panchayat, PTA and PASWAC representatives.

While talking to The Tribune they alleged that Malkiat Singh, lecturer, Economics in the school is habitual of committing immoral acts and several complaints against him have been made to officials concerned from time to time but no action had been taken against him, which encouraged him to carry on his immoral activities.


An evening with Pak writers
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 20
A colourful evening of poets and writers of Punjabi, Urdu and Pothohari, belonging to Progressive Movement of Pakistan was arranged by the School of Punjabi Study of Guru Nanak Dev University, here today, in which the writers presented their writings, aimed at strengthening people-to-people contact.

A delegation of 35 writers of ‘Pen for Peace’, Pakistan Chapter, hailing from Sindh, Balochistan, Multan, Punjab, Murree, Quetta, Peshawar, Sargodha, North West Frontier Province had a stopover at the Guru Nanak Dev University. They would be participating in the first Pak-India Pen for Peace Joint Convention, proposed to be held at Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi from February 21 to 23.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, while welcoming the Pakistani writers emphasized the need to strengthen age-old common bonds. He said people of both the countries should sit together and sort out their problems mutually so that politicians and selfish people could not use them for their vested interests. The Vice-Chancellor said Guru Nanak Dev University had already introduced Pakistani Punjabi literature and one paper in Shahmukhi in the syllabi of MA (Punjabi). He said the university also entered into an MoU with Pakistan Chamber of Commerce for encouraging and promoting academic exchange programme in the area of business and commerce.

Responding to the warm welcome accorded by the university, Janab Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, leader of the delegation said they were very impressed to know that Guru Nanak Dev University had made Pakistani literature a part of the syllabi and one paper had also been introduced in MA (Punjabi) in Shahmukhi script. He assured the varsity authorities that on their return to Pakistan they would urge the Universities of West Punjab also to introduce at least one paper in Gurmukhi script at the graduate and post-graduate level that would help in creating ‘a bridge’ between both the countries.

He recalled that the language used by the first Punjabi newspaper ‘Sajjan’ published from Lahore was very tough which was not easily understood by the common people. He emphasized that the electronic and print media should use simple language.

Mr Mirza alleged that both the governments were playing the game of hegemony but people-to-people contact should continue for making bonds stronger. He said more than 40 per cent people of both the countries were living below the poverty line but both the countries were running after nuclear weapons. Both the countries, he said, were wasting money from the state exchequer on these weapons. He suggested that this money could be spent on improving the living standard of the common people by providing clean water, health, education and other facilities.

Earlier, Prof Harbhajan Singh Bhatia of the School of Punjabi Studies introduced the members of the delegation while Prof Manjitpal Kaur, Head of the department, thanked the Pakistani scholars for visiting the university and for presenting their Qalam.


Pak institute in memory of Hari Singh Nalwa
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 20
The Government of Pakistan Punjab has acceded to the request for establishing a medical institute in the name Hari Singh Nalwa, famous Sikh General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD, Culture and Archives, who was on a visit to Pakistan gave this information while talking to The Tribune. He said the Punjab Government had decided to raise memorials after the famous Sikh warriors in the state. Hari Singh Nalwa was born in the Gujjranwala area of Pakistan.

The matter was taken up with the Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab, Mr Parvez Elahi, on his recent trip. Mr Elahi agreed to raise a medical institute in the name of Hari Singh Nalwa in his native place.

The governments of Indian and Pakistani Punjab would contribute 50 per cent each for raising the proposed institute. After raising the institute, it would be handed over to some NRI to finance its subsidised operations, Mr Bajwa said.

When asked if some memorial would also be raised in Indian Punjab in memory of Hari Singh Nalwa, Mr Bajwa said at present there was no such proposal. Hari Singh Nalwa fought most of the battles in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afganistan. So, it would be appropriate to raise an institute in his memory in Pakistan only.

Mr Bajwa also said that the Pakistan Government had agreed to construct a 23-feet wide road between Nankana Sahib and Sacha Sauda Gurdwara. Pilgrims visiting Nankana Sahib gurdwara in future would also be able to visit the Sacha Sauda gurdwara after construction of the road.


Jalandhar, Amritsar ahead in non-scalpel vasectomy
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Simpler, safer and more effective---non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) is all these, yet low on popularity among men. Despite substantial publicity of the new technique of male sterilisation which takes just about 15 minutes and greater reliability, most men still avoid it like plague.

The experience of doctors performing vasectomy has shown that men believe that women should shoulder the burden of population control, thereby laying the onus of birth control on women on them. While men shy away from any such exercise, the "myths" surrounding vasectomy continue to dissuade men.

In the recently concluded NSV week on February 18, doctors were invariably quizzed about the "side effects" arising from vasectomy. The men are scared that it'll weaken them, leaving no scope for labourious fieldwork post-vasectomy, or lead to loss of potency—the worst of their fears.

In Punjab, there are districts which are doing exceedingly well and there are those where NSV's unpopularity finds reflection in the statistics. Of the 12,861 vasectomies carried out till December, 2005, five of the 17 districts lead in the total tally where NSVs have crossed the 1000 mark.

In this Jalandhar achieves the distinction of being on top, with 1874 vasectomies performed, while Amritsar ranks second with 1764.

Says Dr SP Gupta, Civil Surgeon, Faridkot, where only 161 NSVs have taken place,"Ours is a small district and we have fewer number of medical officers who can perform vasectomy.

While we are encouraging the public to resort to NSV, many addicts in the Malwa belt go in for NSV for the monetary incentive it carries with it. We gave Rs 650 to every male who underwent vasectomy during the NSV week from February 14 to 18. They are given Rs 150 on ordinary days."

In Mansa where 342 vasectomies have been done so far, the District Family Planning Officer, Dr RK Garg, says the numbers might be low perse but they form 20 per cent of the total sterilisation in the district.

"We try to create awareness that the new technique means no cut, no pain and no discomfort. Illiteracy is a stumbling block for us in this backward district. Also, the population has its own pre-conceived notions about everything. It will take a while before we can change this thinking though we are on the job," he maintains.

Patiala, in contrast, has had 1726 NSVs and the number is growing. From women alone "bearing the brunt" of birth control to motivating men to be equal shareholders in the exercise, the turnaround has been the outcome of concerted efforts of publicity to giving it a personal touch.

The Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr Virinder Mohi, explains,"Our success is due to an enterprising team in the district. While Dr Navjot Sidhu and Dr AB Pandhi personally went to rickshaw- pullers and farm labourers to dispel myths about vasectomy, they spent entire days in their dwelling areas, shared meals and explained to them what it entails."

Cassettes and videos of those who had undergone NSV were played in very village while they themselves were roped in as ambassadors to popularise the concept in their pockets of influence.

"In Amritsar, the ball got rolling when the technique was first adopted by the state. The process has picked up because most fears have been set to rest and we have trained staff holding camps at the sub-divisional level against the proposed district-level camps elsewhere in the state. We have had 2200 vasectomies so far," holds Dr Balbir Singh, DFWO, Amritsar.

Officials of the Health Department attribute the "poor performance" of a few districts to late initiation of the programme since not enough trained hands were initially available for performing NSVs.


Sukhi’s brother fears threat to family
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur, February 20
Mr Manjit Singh, elder brother of militant Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, said that there was a constant threat to the life of his family after the statements and disclosures of this brother who had been shown dead in police records, but was actually alive and was living at Jalandhar.

Talking to The Tribune at his residence in Vasant Vihar Colony here today, Mr Manjit Singh thanked the media for tracing his younger brother Sukhi after 13 years. He alleged that leaders like Parkash Singh Badal, and Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, had exploited religious sentiments of Sikhs. On their instigation many Sikh youths had adopted the path of militancy.

Thousands of Sikh youths were killed during militancy period, but children of none of the political leaders had been hurt by the militants.

He supported the rehabilitation of those militants who had helped the Punjab Police during war against terrorism. He said that some of the leaders who had instigated youths to adopt militancy, were now trying to blackmail his family due to fear of exposure.

He said that he was yet to meet Sukhi and had no knowledge about his marriage. His father Sohan Singh, who retired from the Food Corporation of India and suffering from paralysis, had been living with Sukhi since a week.


Panthic bodies seek clarification
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 20
A meeting of representatives of various panthic organisations was held at the Kila Harnam Dass residence of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (A), today.

At the meeting issues related to the Virsa Sambhal World Sikh Sammelan to be held on February 26 at Fatehgarh Sahib were discussed.

Addressing mediapersons after the meeting, Mr Mann said the panthic organisations had discussed in detail about the participation of the panthic organisations in the sammelan. The organisations decided unanimously to seek clarification from the organisers that whether it is a religious affair or a political one.


Dr Ranu clarifies

Chandigarh, February 20
Reacting to the reports in the media on a show-cause notice issued to him, Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu, chairman, Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, has said if he is proved guilty he is ready to face any punishment.

The issue pertains to the fake duplicate certificates of two practitioners of Delhi and Jalandhar issued by the council in 1996. Dr Ranu said he was neither the chairman nor the registrar of the council when the duplicate certificates were issued by the council. He said separate enquiries into the lapse had cleared him.

It was a procedural lapse on the part of the office, which was headed by the then registrar and the chairman. “The council at its meeting in May, 2001, never blamed me”, he added.

“The matter has only been highlighted after nine years just to defame me elections to the Central Homoeopathic Council are going to be held on March 6 at New Delhi”, said Dr Ranu. — TNS


IAF official’s plea on choti
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 20
In a unique case, a “Hindu” Indian Air Force official has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the respondents, including the top brass of the armed forces, not to force him to cut his tuft of hair (choti).

A similar petition, this one having been filed by a Muslim soldier seeking that he be allowed to keep a beard, is also pending in the High Court.

The petitioner, Mr Naresh Kumar, has said that he joined the service in 1987 and since then he has been sporting the tuft of hair. However, last year, on September 7, 2005, his senior officer, Flying Officer M. Singh, issued him a show-cause notice for keeping the tuft of hair. The show cause notice also directed him to cut the hair.

The petitioner is at present posted at 18 Wing, Air Force Station, Pathankot.

Saying that he replied to the show-cause notice the very next day, the petitioner has said that he was issued a fresh show-cause notice a few days later. He replied to this show-cause notice also. However, he is being threatened with dire consequences in order to force him to cut the tuft of hair.

The petitioner has stated that when he joined service, no objection was raised to his keeping the tuft of hair. He has also claimed that the tuft of hair was part of his religious practice.


Farmers’ protest from Feb 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Five farmers’ organisations have decided to start an agitation in Punjab from February 22 to demand that the minimum support price for wheat be fixed at Rs 850 per quintal.

A press note issued by the All India Kirti Kisan Sabha, said the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the All India Kirti Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and the Khetibari Kisan Vikas would join the agitation.

Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, president of the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, said there was resentment among the farmers against the decision of the government to import wheat.

Demonstrations would be organised in front of the offices of the Deputy Commissioners in Patiala, Sangrur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Muktsar on February 22. The next day the protest would be held in Ludhiana, Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur and Bathinda. On February 24, the protest would be organised in Jalandhar, Mansa, Faridkot and Ferozepore.


Gang of fake DTOs busted
Our Correspondent

Pathankot , February 20
Pathankot Sadar police today claimed to have busted a gang of fake DTOs who had been extorting money from the truck drivers and other vehicles plying between Gurdaspur and Pathankot and arrested two of the gang members. Two others are absconding. The gang has been active in the area for more than a 15 days.

Gurdaspur SSP Pramod said while two of the gang members of the fake DTOs — Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Channi Tola village, and Daljit Singh, a resident of Jangal village in the district — have been arrested two of their accomplices Charanjit Singh and Baljit Singh are absconding.

Sources said the Pathankot Sadar police had received several complaints during the last week that such a gang had been operating on the main highway and extorting money from the vehicle drivers to the tune of Rs 500 to Rs 1000. A party led by SHO Mukhwinder Singh arrested the two persons while two of their companions managed to escape.

He said the police is conducting raids on all the possible hideouts of Daljit Singh and Charanjit Singh. The police has registered a case under various sections of the IPC.


Octroi post attacked, 3 hurt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
More than 12 persons allegedly attacked an octroi post at Cheema village, near Sunam, last night. Three persons were allegedly injured in this attack as they were taking dinner at the octroi post at that time. Two of the injured persons are said to be partners in the octroi collection work of Cheema Nagar Panchayat while another one is an employee at the octroi post.

The police told this reporter that more than 12 persons had attacked the octroi post at Cheema village last night when Mr Vinod Kumar, an employee at the octroi post, and Mr Jagtar Singh and Mr Pavittar Singh, partners in the octroi collection work, had been taking their dinner. The alleged attackers severely beat up the octroi men and fractured the limbs of at least one victim.

The police said it had registered a case under Sections 452, 324, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC at Sunam.


Murder weapons recovered
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 20
The police has recovered the weapons used in the killing of three brothers in Takipur village, near here, on February 16.

According to the police, the weapons recovered were a .12 bore rifle and a pistol. While the rifle was registered in the name of Jagjit Singh, one of the suspects, the pistol was unlicenced.

The police had yesterday arrested two more persons in connection with the murder of Ravinder Singh, Balwinder Singh and Kulwant Singh who were shot dead in the village over a piece of land.

The arrested persons were the main suspects — Baljit Singh and Baldeep Singh Kaur — wife of another suspect, Jagjit Singh. Three more persons, Ranjit Singh, Devinder Singh and Ranjeet Kaur, mother of the two arrested persons, are wanted in connection with the killings.

Ropar: The two accused — Baldeep Kaur and Baljit Singh — allegedly involved in the triple murder case of Takkipur village were today remanded in two-day police custody by a local court here.

The wife of the main accused in the case, Baldeep Kaur and his brother, Baljit Singh, were produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate (first class) this afternoon.

The two brothers, Ravinder Singh and Balwinder Singh, were shot dead by the accused in the case in Takkipur village on February 16. While, the third brother of the deceased, Kulwant Singh, was also injured in the incident had later died in PGI.


Minor raped, two arrested

Phagwara, February 20
A 13-year-old schoolgirl was allegedly kidnapped and raped in a village here last night and two persons arrested in this connection, a police official said today.

The girl had gone to the fields in Domeli village to relieve herself when she was allegedly kidnapped by Sanjiv Kumar alias Tinku and his brother Sunil, Phagwara Assistant Superintendent of Police Sukhchain Singh Gill said.

She was then taken to a tubewell room in a farmhouse where Sanjiv Kumar allegedly raped her and the duo later dumped her near her house. — PTI


Immolation by mechanic

Moga, February 20
A 45-year-old scooter mechanic committed suicide by immolating himself at his home here yesterday, the police said today. According to the police, Gulzar Singh poured petrol on himself and then set himself on fire.

He was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his burns. The police said Gulzar was under acute mental depression and his marriage had fallen apart sometime back. — UNI


Rs 40,000 looted from bank
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, February 20
Robbers struck at a cooperative bank branch at Mallan village near Gidderbaha today and decamped with Rs 40,000 cash. SSP, L.K. Yadav, said the police parties had been dispatched to nab the culprits, who were four in number, and the robbers’ sketches were also being prepared with the help from people present in the bank at the time of robbery.


UK team visits GND varsity

Amritsar, February 20
A four-member delegation led by Prof David Humber, Head of the School of Health and Bio-Science of the University of East London (UEL) interacted with Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University here today to explore possibilities of a tie-up on academic and exchange programmes.

Dr S.P. Singh said GND University was a leading institution of the country which had modern infrastructure for different academic programmes. Prof David Humber, leader of the delegation, Dr Olivia Corcoran and Mr Bernard Ryder informed that they were in Punjab to a explore the possibilities of a tie-up with the GND University and had already shortlisted universities for partnerships and participation in higher education.

Prof David said the UEL had over 18,000 students on its rolls and was rated among the top 10 modern universities for research by the Guardian. — TNS

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