P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Australia for greater presence in Punjab
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Australia is keen on emulating the Canadian model, specifically its official presence and investment, in Punjab.

Eyeing with keen interest investment in North India, including Punjab, are some major Australian agro-service sector players. Besides, Australians are keen on being partners in infrastructure development, especially in the aviation sector.

Since the presence of Punjabis in Australia has been growing by 15 to 20 per cent annually, Australia may set up a Consulate in Chandigarh to facilitate better interaction not only with trade and industry, and agro-industry, but also to step up the delivery of services, including Consular services, to families of Punjabis who are now Permanent Residents of that country.

Canada was the first country which responded to the demand of its strong Punjabi community both in Ontario and British Columbia to set up a Consulate in Chandigarh. Though Australia has a collection centre for visa applications here, it may like to take it forward and follow the Canadian example.

Currently, an Australian Vocational Education and Training Mission is in Punjab and Chandigarh scouting for students in hospitality management, culinary arts, business management, accounting, biotechnology, communication, art and design and aviation. Comprising representatives from various universities and college and vocational education institutions, the mission has been overwhelmed by the response.

“Some of the students, especially those in Chandigarh, came well prepared while some others, especially in Punjab, need some counselling before they can enrol in diploma and advanced diploma courses in Australia,” remarked a member of the mission. “We are not doing any on-the-spot admissions, but we will be back in August and September. Punjab is an untapped market.

Meanwhile, Mr Tony Burchill, Australian Trade Commissioner, while talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of an education fair here this afternoon, revealed that Australian companies had started investments in agri-business, mining and infrastructure development in India.

Some major companies, especially of agro-processing, were heading for North India. At present, bilateral trade between India and Australia was worth $ 7 billion which was growing by 15 to 20 per cent annually. Gold and coal were the main items India was importing while exporting textiles to Australia.

“There are several areas where there can be better cooperation and trade between the two countries,” said Mr Burchill, maintaining that “India’s expanding economy, the growing or affluent middle class and an internationally oriented private sector demanding highly skilled workers have catapulted the demand for a better skilled and qualified workforce. This is where Australian universities are coming in and providing Indian students, especially from Punjab and Chandigarh, an opportunity to come and study in Australia. Ever since the relaxation in the visa rules for students, the growth of Indian students in Australia has been phenomenal.”


SDM Moga booked in land scam case
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 20
The police here has booked SDM of Moga Iqbal Singh Sandhu and senior sub editor of a vernacular daily Ashok Plato, a resident of Jalandhar, with seven others in a land scam case registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC on the directions of outgoing Gurdaspur SSP Pramod Ban. The SSP ordered the registration of case after an inquiry into the scam indicted the accused.

The case pertains to 1995 when the accused SDM was posted as tehsildar in Pathankot. As per inquiry report Dhian Singh of Indora village in 1958 donated 70 acres to the SMDRSD college of Pathankot. The land was donated for establishing an educational institute in Indora village. The college authorities, however, did not show any interest in running the educational institute at the donated land. The land kept lying unused till 1995. It came in the notice of the accused who allegedly planned to grab it. They formed an education promoting trust having similar name. Mr Samrinder Sharma who then was working as a lecturer in the college was made the coordinator of the new trust registered allegedly to grab the land. The office-bearers of new trust with similar name got it registered by the then tehsildar. The 70 acres was sold by the new trust members at a registered value of Rs 8.80 lakh.

However, sources here said that the actual value of the land was Rs 80 to Rs 90 lakh as it was located on the main Pathankot-Jalandhar national highway number 1.

The trust was formed just to sell the 70 acres not claimed at that time by the society to which it was originally donated. The kin of the person who had donated the land for the college then filed a case for the cancellation of the registry. They complained to the police the land has been sold and grabbed illegally by the members of trust formed just to sell the land donated to the college.

Mr Samrinder Sharma who then was a lecturer of SMDSRD college later turned into a complainant in the case. The society running the SMDSRD college later also filed a complaint to the police in the matter. The other accused in case the are Mrs Madhu Sharma wife of Ashok Plato, Ms Raj Rani, Kailash Bharadwaj, Sarala Barawaj, Satpal, Arun Prashar all residents of Jalandhar and Jatinder Mohan Dogra a resident of Pathankot.

SDM Moga Iqbal Singh Sandhu when contacted on phone said that he had no knowledge about the case. I do not remember anything about the illegal sale of 70 acres by a fake trust, he said.


Peon held for theft in bank
Rs 38 lakh recovered, probe ordered
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Jatinder Singh, a peon of the Union Bank of India, who was arrested for stealing Rs 38 lakh from the bank in Amritsar on Thursday.
Jatinder Singh, a peon of the Union Bank of India, who was arrested for stealing Rs 38 lakh from the bank in Amritsar on Thursday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, April 20
Arrest of Jatinder Singh, a temporary peon with the Union Bank Of India, near the Golden Temple and recovery of Rs 38 lakh has exposed chinks in the bank’s security.

The bank has ordered a high-level inquiry into the ‘sensational theft’ while keys of two more banks reportedly are found missing from the head office.

The police did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of more employees in the case. The accused is a resident of Nagar Nigam colony and was employed on daily wage basis only three years ago. It is clear both sets of keys were kept in the branch in violation of norms and guidelines thus facilitating opening of the safe and theft of the amount.

Mr I.P.S. Sahota, DIG (Border Range) said the alleged accused had brought the cash to the bank and helped in depositing the money into the strong room. The police had shortlisted eight employees of the bank who are suspected of being involved in cash handling and also knew about the keys being kept inside the bank. During interrogation Jatinder Singh’s conduct and behavior was found to be suspicious and he later confessed his involvement in the crime.

He revealed he had kept the grill door and another window on stairs open to facilitate his entry into the bank after closing. He returned to the bank at 7 pm and went up through the adjacent hotel, jumped inside the building and then to the branch from the doors he had kept open. Giving details, the accused said that he broke locks of the drawers and took out keys and thereafter switched off the alarm system. The safe was then opened after entering the strong room. He took out the cash which he had kept in a black denim bag and left the place along with keys and two sets of keys of other banks’ strong room, leaving Rs 1 crore in the bank’s branch.

The accused kept the money in a relative’s house by misleading them that the packet contained some important documents of the bank. The police is busy recovering other stolen items of the bank.

A high-level team of bank officials from Jalandhar arrived here to take stock of the situation. The team members were astonished to find that a temporary peon could lay hands on both sets of the keys.

Unfazed at the arrest, the accused said that he still was on temporary basis even after three years of service and had no hope of his confirmation . He told the investigating team it was difficult to get a job without bribe and hence he had planned to commit the theft .

The press note issued by the DIG (Border Range) said that the employees and officers who had given vital clues and helped in solving the crime in 24 hours would be rewarded.


School board plays with future of students
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Fate of 33 students of plus two of Government Senior Secondary School, Bhagta Bhai, hangs in the balance, as the Punjab School Education Board reportedly failed to dispatch their roll numbers for re-examination after English paper was cancelled due to large-scale copying. Though the principal of their examination centre went out of his way to make them appear in re-examination today, they still are apprehensive about their future.

Sources said 33 students of science stream, 31 regular and two private, from a Government Senior Secondary School, Bhagta Bhai, today reached their examination centre at Parasram Nagar locality to find neither their roll numbers were received nor their name figured in the cut list. On the other hand, 201 students belonging to other streams had got their roll numbers. Mr Mahinder Pal, a lecturer from their school, then called up the board office to seek direction in their case, but the clerical staff couldn’t get him across to the right person for the same. When he didn’t receive proper response from the board school principal, H.S. Sidhu went out of his way to ensure that the students’ future was not spoiled and made them appear in examination. The principal said they treated it as a “stray case” and dispatched their answer copies in a separate envelope. They had to appear in various competitive examinations and if they were denied this opportunity to appear in examination their future would have been spoiled, he averred.

Talking to The Tribune before examination, Davinder Kumar, a student, lamented: “I’m shocked to know that our roll numbers have not been received. I have to appear in PET examination and such an incident can change the course of my future.” Later, Luvpreet Singh, who plans to appear in NDA entrance, said: “I don’t have words to thank the principal of our examination centre who risked his job to make us appear in the examination.” The regular students said their roll numbers in the earlier examination were 19661-19691. 


Train passengers looted; robbers held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Two of the three robbers, who looted some train passengers at gunpoint near Mansa last evening, have been arrested. The amount they robbed from the passengers has been recovered. Police sources said three youths got into the 342 up Jeend-Bathinda train when it chugged into Bareta station. When the train left for Budhlada at 7.35 pm, they took out a pistol and robbed some passengers of Rs 1,960.

Those looted included Jaglana sarpanch Rajinder Kaur, Hansa Singh, Hari Das and his wife Kusum. The accused, identified as Jarnail Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh, alighted from the train at Narinderpura. When the train reached Mansa, the passengers informed the GRP about the incident.

Police parties were sent to nab the culprits and two of them were caught. However, Kuldeep Singh, armed with a pistol, managed to escape.

Investigations revealed that they were involved in about six robberies registered at different police stations.

A case under Sections 392 and 34 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered.


SGPC, DSGMC to hold separate functions
4th centennial of Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 20
Unmindful of sentiments of Sikh masses, both SGPC and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) seem to be adamant to commemorate the fourth centennial of the martyrdom of fifth Guru Arjan Dev at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, on June 16 separately.

Though the SGPC and the DSGMC have extended an offer to each other to join hands to hold a common function, the SGPC has been insisting that the DSGMC should come to its fold for that event as it represented the Sikh masses. On the other hand, the DSGMC has been insisting that the SGPC should conduct itself as per the programmes laid down by it in that connection.

Both SGPC and DSGMC have been levelling allegations and counter-allegations against each other in connection with the commemoration of the event.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, former president, DSGMC, alleged that though he had offered Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, to join hand with the DSGMC so that a joint function could be held, Mr Avtar Singh was not able to take his own decision as he was working as per the directions being given to him by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Avtar Singh alleged that Mr Sarna was acting as a Congress worker and had been using various Sikh religious occasion for the political promotion of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Sarna said today he held a meeting with Mr Zulifkar Ali, Chairman, Auqaf Board, Pakistan, at Lahore and urged him to arrange visa for 10,000 persons. He added that Mr Ali had expressed the hope that about 5,000 would get visa only for June 16 programme. The DSGMC had also urged him for the opening of Wagha border for 24 hours continuously from June 16 to June 17 so that maximum number of people could visit the holy site.

He added that the DSGMC would meet Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma to make arrangements for pilgrims to travel to Lahore on their own vehicles. He said two international-level seminars would be organised by the DSGMC on the martyrdom introduced by Guru Arjen Dev.

Mr Avtar Singh said the SGPC was taking up the matter with the Pakistan government with the help of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to arrange visa for about 10,000 people to visit Lahore.


Aviation Minister not keeping promises, says M.S.Gill
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Union Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, has not kept the promises he made for upgrading Amritsar international airport as well as introducing more passenger flights from there for the convenience of Punjabis, rues Mr Manohar Singh Gill, MP.

While new international flights have been introduced from Nagpur and Pune, the Civil Aviation Ministry failed to start an Air-India flight from Amritsar to the Middle East in April. Likewise, Mr Gill alleged, Jet Airways had not been able to start its proposed Amritsar-London flight so far. Little had been done to implement other demands conceded by the Ministry, including direct flights from Amritsar to Toronto and Vancouver, some months ago.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Gill, a former Chief Election Commissioner and now a member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab, said that while other cities were being given special treatment, Punjab’s only international airport in Amritsar was being denied its due.

“I have had several meetings both with the Union Civil Aviation Minister and senior officials in the ministry. They made many promises. But now at the end of April, when most of the agreed demands were to be implemented, I find nothing on the ground,” alleged Mr Gill.

“I have nothing against expansion and the introduction of new flights from other states, but at the same time Punjab should be given its due,” he added.

“In December, I had written a letter to the Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, suggesting the removal of some old Army barracks from the precincts of Amritsar airport. The Airport Authority of India had offered not only to relocate these barracks but also undertake their construction and hand these over to the Army.

“The Ministry of Defence has done nothing so far. I am going to raise the issue when Parliament starts its session again next month. I am going to argue why the liberal treatment given to other states should not be extended to Punjab in the aviation sector. Amritsar continues to be badly connected. New flights cannot be introduced because of the lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities,” added Mr Gill.

Many international air carriers were eyeing Amritsar as a potential destination, but because of the lack of the required response from both the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority, progress had been negligible.

Amritsar airport recorded the highest growth (82.5 per cent) in passenger traffic in the country last year. Among various air carriers waiting for permission to introduce international flights from Amritsar is Jet Airways. From May 1, Air-India is going to double the frequency of its Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight to six days a week.


Cops whisk away Daljit Singh Bittu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The Shiromani Khalsa Dal chief and former Khalistan idealogue, Daljit Singh Bittu, was taken away by a Barnala police team from his house in Gurdev Nagar here today evening.

Though the Barnala police officials were tight-lipped over the issue, reliable sources said Daljit Singh had allegedly made an instigating speech at a function in Fatehgarh Channa village yesterday evening.

A number of Congress leaders had taken up the issue with the party high command for immediate police action against him.

Daljit Singh’s family was not informed about the charges.

A senior police official preferring anonymity said the Barnala police had not informed the area police station about the alleged raid.


Reconsider decision on dossier: SGJC
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 20
In a significant development, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today declared that the decision to reject and withdrawal of dossier on the Golden Temple for seeking the world heritage status to Harmander Sahib from Unesco was taken in ''haste'' and hence needed to be re-considered in the larger interest of the Panth.

The SGJC has also asked Shiromani Committee Executive to constitute various sub-committees of experts.

The notice has been sent to the SGPC by the three-member panel comprising Kashmir Singh Patti (president), Amrik Singh Randhawa and Ajwant Singh Mann — both members of the SGJC — on the basis of the petition filed by Dal Khalsa general secretary Kanwarpal Singh and Karnail Singh Panjoli, an independent member, SGPC.

Interestingly, the decision of the SGJC has come exactly one year after the resolution of the Shiromani Committee for rejecting and withdrawing the dossier. Earlier, the SGJC had served a notice on Bibi Jagir Kaur , the then SGPC chief, and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president and former chief of the Shiromani Committee, and 23 other members.

The petitioners had urged to recover Rs 20 lakh with interest from SGPC functionaries, spent on the dossier. The equal amount spent by the Chadda family for completing the dossier should be given back to them. The petitioners sought immediate disqualification of the SGPC functionaries, including Bibi Jagir Kaur. They also urged to stay the resolution, which had rejected the dossier on the Golden Temple with immediate effect.

The petitioners said they were neither for nor against the dossier, yet they urged the SGJC to take action against the entire Executive Committee members of the SGPC for passing and later withdrawing the dossier.


Sikh jatha returns from Pak
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Attari, April 20
A jatha of 4,000 Sikhs today returned from Pakistan with mixed memories at Attari International Railway Station here, as a devotee died of heart attack while a few of them fell ill.

Mr Jagjit Singh Bhullar, an independent member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), told The Tribune for the first time granthis of the SGPC were not allowed to offer ‘Ardas’ at Nankana Sahib. He said the Ardas was offered by granthis of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC). He said it was for the first time that ‘karah parsad’ was offered to devotees after Partition of the country.

Mr Bhullar said many devotees fell ill at Nankana Sahib and no assistance was given by the SGPC to the devotees. He said the body of Lakhbir Singh (62), of Sherpur near Kahnuwan in Batala tehsil, who died of heart attack, was also brought here today. Another person, Mr R.S. Bhatia, also suffered a heart attack and was admitted in intensive care unit of a hospital in Lahore. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) had made elaborate arrangements for the treatment of these persons, he added.

Mr Bhullar alleged the leader and the deputy leader of the SGPC who accompanied the jatha were taken in luxurious cars soon after their arrival at the other side of the border leaving the jatha in the lurch. He demanded that a well-informed senior member of the SGPC should lead the jatha in the future.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, a member of the DSGMC, said that Amrit Sanchar was held at Nankana Sahib and 25 persons were baptised there. He said the DSGMC also distributed dharam prachar samagri to the devotees.

The DSGMC member said Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had also agreed to the proposal made by the PSGPC for allotting a piece of land for the construction of a dharamshala at Nankana Sahib. He said three hotels would soon be coming up at Panja Sahib and a site would also be earmarked for women devotees who could not take dip in the holy sarovar at Panja Sahib.

Mr Bhullar informed that the Pakistan Police rounded up an unidentified woman from Jammu for video filming at Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara. He said the police claimed that the woman was taken in custody as she had not taken permission from the authorities.


Govt violates reservation policy: federation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 20
The Dalit Welfare Federation, Punjab, said yesterday that the Punjab Government had violated its reservation policy by not promoting even a single Scheduled Caste officer to the posts of manager, deputy manager and assistant manager in Punjab State Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank.

In a press note, Mr Amrik Singh, a spokesman for the federation, said they had written to the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes regarding the violation of the reservation policy and urged the authorities to take action against the officials responsible for having violated the policy.


Land acquisition: farmers to block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 20
Eight farmers organisations, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Ekta-Sidhupur), Punjab Kisan Union, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Punjab Kisan Sabha and Kisan Sangharsh Committee, today held an important meeting and announced their agitation programme to compel the state government to scrap the notification, issued regarding acquisition of 376 acres for the Trident Group of Industries in Fatehgarh Chhanna, Sangherra and Dhaula villages near Barnala.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone this evening, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), said the eight farmer organisations unanimously decided to block the traffic for two hours on May 12 at all tehsil headquarters and district headquarters in the state for getting back the acquired land of farmers of the three villages situated near Barnala. He also said that as part of the agitation, big flag marches would be taken out from April 24 to 26 in Dhaula, Sangherra and Fatehgarh Chhanna villages to mobilise the affected farmers and the masses.

Mr Ugrahan further said the organisations had also planned a big demonstration on May 23 at Barnala in protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the state government. He said the organisations would also hold joint meetings on May 2 at all district headquarters to review the preparations and arrangements for the agitation programme. 


NGO for probe into encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Kheti Virasat Mission, an NGO, today reacted sharply to a report in The Tribune on how dried -up beds of choes (seasonal rivulets) in Punjab were being taken over by the rich to built farmhouses.

Terming the new phenomena as “terribly worrisome”, Mr Umendra Dutt, Executive Director of the mission , said all encroachments on the riverbeds of seasonal rivulets were unlawful, illegal and in gross violation of environmental laws. He demanded an judicial inquiry to find out those responsible for allowing this large-scale encroachment of the river beds.

This was a serious environmental offence and punishable under the Drainage Act. These encroachments were affecting the ecology. It is also illegal on the government's part to stop the total flow of any river or rivulet. According to the national water policy, the authorities have to ensure a minimum flow in river or rivulet, Mr Dutt added. 


Brig Grewal dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Brig Gurdip Singh Grewal(retd) died here today after a brief illness. He was suffering from stomach cancer.

Born in December 1935, Brig Gurdip Singh was commissioned in the Indian Army Service Corps in 1956. He graduated from the Staff College, Wellington, in 1967 and was awarded Vashisht Seva Medal( VSM) in 1982 for his outstanding service at Corps Headquarter as Brigadier. He left the Army in 1989 to start research and writing on the Sikh history.

He was a brother-in-law of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) and former Finance Minister.

He worked as General Secretary of the World Sikh Council and also as an adviser to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation. His mortal remains were consigned to flames this evening.

He is survived by his wife, Ms Gurdarshan Grewal, a son, Mr Charandeep Singh Grewal and two daughters, Imandeep and Mandeep, and six grand children.


Tibetan activists’ cycle rally
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 20
A cycle rally by activists of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress reached here to a warm welcome.

The 41-member rally, which started from Dehra Dun on April 14, will culminate at New Delhi on April 25. It is being organised to fight for the rights of the Tibetans living all over the world, Mr Karma Funsoo, leader of the rally, said.


High Court
Poll petition: three examined
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 20
Three witnesses, who had been summoned to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the request of the petitioner challenging the election of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala Assembly constituency in the February 2002 elections, were examined at length by counsel for the petitioner.

They included the nominee of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Punjab, the nominee of the District Electoral Officer (DEO), Patiala, and the nominee of the Secretary to Government, Department of Public Relations, Punjab.

While the nominee of the DEO, Patiala, submitted the election expense vouchers filed by Capt Amarinder, the Department of Public Relations submitted six files and notings regarding the complaints about the controversial role played by Mr B.I.S. Chahal, the present Media Adviser to the Chief Minister. At the time of the election, Mr Chahal was a Joint Director-rank officer with the department and there were allegations that he openly worked to ensure Capt Amarinder’s victory.

During hearing, counsel for the petitioner — Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) activist Harkirat Singh —, also urged the court to summon three more witnesses, whose testimony, he claimed, was crucial to prove that the respondent committed irregularities to clinch the election. However, counsel for the Chief Minister opposed the request.

After hearing counsel, the court adjourned the matter to May 3, when it is likely to decide whether there is any need to summon the three witnesses or not.


Court summons Boparai in defamation case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 20
Ms Jatinder Kaur, Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Patiala, has issued summons to Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, and others in connection with a defamation case filed by Mr Rajesh Kumar, a dismissed university employee, against them.

Mr Kumar, who was working as a junior assistant in the Department of Correspondent Courses, has sought compensation for Rs 20 lakh from them for his prosecution and defamation.

In his plaint, Mr Kumar said he was dismissed from the service on January 4 without conducting an inquiry or following the procedure merely on the basis of newspaper reports.


Wheat procurement yet to gather pace
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 20
The process of procurement of wheat in the Anaj Mandi here is going on at a slow pace because of less number of labourers. Along with this the farmers too are reportedly not selling their yield in the hope of increase in prices in the coming months.

The various procurement agencies have purchased 41, 506 tonnes of wheat so far while last year the procurement of wheat was 50,337 tonnes.

The commission agents and officials of the market committee revealed that many of the labourers from Bihar had not come this year for the cutting, loading and unloading of wheat following panchayat elections there.

Many of the labourers were spotted sitting and taking rest under a shed in the mandi here due to lack of any work when this correspondent visited the mandi yesterday. “ There is no fixed income for us. It depends upon the work of loading and unloading available here,’’ said 18-year-old Ramu from Darbhanga in Bihar.

“Following panchayat elections this time many labourers did not come to work here. I am not educated and my father has a small piece of agricultural land. So I came here for work and hope to earn Rs 2,000 to 3,000 by the end of procurement season. Six more persons from my village are also working in the mandi,” he added.

“We earn about Rs 32 for loading and unloading of wheat. But sometimes there is no work here due less wheat stock, said two labourers Amilesh and Shiv Kumar.

The Chairman of the Market Committee, Ropar, Mr Swatantarpal Kaushal, said we have recorded less wheat procurement this time. The different procurement agencies, including Punjab Agro, Markfed, PUNSUP are purchasing wheat at the rate of Rs 630 per quintal as fixed by the government, he added.


ZP releases list of doctors
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
Mr D.P.S Walia, ADC (D)- cum-Chief Executive, Zila Parishad, yesterday released the selection list of service provider doctors in the district. He said 21 doctors had been selected purely on the basis of merit in a transparent manner after interviewing 147 doctors, who had applied.

The selected doctors, include Dr Divya Ghosla for Jallah village; Dr Manish Mahajan for Loharmajra; Dr Pooja Chugh for Khant; Dr Shart Gupta for Challeri; Dr Amrinder Kaur for Dhanola; Dr Supreet Kaur for Talania; Dr Amandeep Sekhon for Ghumandgarh; Dr Ivreet Kaur for Badwala; Dr Jagjit Singh for Jatana; Dr Avneet Kaur for Dhunda; Dr Sangeetpal for Barwali; Dr Inderpreet Kaur for Barass; Dr Ramneet Kaur for Rupal heri; Dr Maninder Kaur for Rajpur; Dr RupinderKaur for Kharoura; Dr Satbir Singh for Badoshi Kalan; Dr Harpreet Kaur for Jhambala; Dr Amarbir Singh for Randhawa; Dr Amrinder Singh for Jhampur; Dr Mohamd Sazid for Saunda head; and Dr Amardeep Singh for Dhangeheri.

He said the selected doctors had been called to the Zila Parishad office sign the contract on April 21.


ASI booked on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla , April 20
The Malerkotla police yesterday booked ASI Inder Jit Singh , former chowki in charge of Sandaour village, on corruption charges.

A case under Sections 365 , 347, 506, 384 , 120 B and 34 of the IPC has been registered against Inder Jit Singh.

Kulwant Singh, a resident of Bharal village had lodged a complaint with the IG, Patiala, that the ASI had taken a bribe of Rs 30,000 from him by threatening him that he would be booked in a false case if he did not pay him the money.

An inquiry was conducted by the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, who found that ASI Inder Jit Singh had taken bribe from Kulwant Singh. He recommended the registration of a case in this regard.

A case was registered by the Malerkotla police yesterday.


Accused of two murders held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 20
The local police claimed to have solved two blind murder cases following arrest of an accused.

Mr S.S Shrivastava, SSP, here today said the accused, Darshan Singh of Gaggar wala, was held yesterday.

The district police chief said during interrogation the accused confessed that he had killed two persons. The accused told the police that one of his relatives had told him that if he killed and raped 40 persons he would gain powers of the black magic.

Mr Shrivastava said the accused confessed that he had murdered a middle-aged woman after raping her six months ago. Her body was found at the Wallah by-pass. Furthermore, he had killed a migrant labourer about three months ago at the Loharka by-pass. He killed both of them with dagger.


Proclaimed offender held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 20
The Lehragaga police arrested a proclaimed offender (PO), Sukhwinder Singh, alias Bhola, a resident of Gaga village, last night.

In a press note issued here today, the police said Sukhwinder Singh had fled after two persons were killed in the office of the local truck union at Lehragaga on September 20.

Jarnail Singh Ballran, a member of the Block Panchayat Samiti, and Mithoo Singh, a truck operator, were killed at the Lehragaga Truck Union’s office in a group clash.

In another murder case, Mohammad Afroz was arrested by the police yesterday. The shovel, allegedly used in the murder of Bihari labourer Mohammad Zaafar, and clothes of the deceased were recovered on the information provided by the alleged accused, Mohammad Afroz.

The body of Mohammad Zaafar was found from a heap of manure at a local poultry farm on April 10. 


Campus placements at Mata Gujri college

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
More than 13 reputed companies interviewed the final year students of MBA, M.Com. and P.G. diploma courses in insurance business of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Director-Principal of the college, told media persons that the college had been making consistent and continuous efforts for the placement of its final year students and they had succeeded in placing the students in reputed companies with handsome package.

He said efforts were being made to attract different corporate houses for campus interviews. OC


PTU V-C honours students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 20
Mr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, PTU, gave away prizes to students of the Shiv Shankar Institute of Engineering and Technology being run by the Shahid Bhagat Singh Educational Society, Patti, in its annual prize function today.

Prizes were given to 11 B.Tech and 20 pharmacy students. Mr Salwan appreciated the opening of the institute in the border area for providing technical education to rural youths.

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