P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dean attacked, hurt
Teachers threaten stir against police inaction
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 26
The Dean, Academic Affairs, Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Gurnam Singh, was seriously injured in an attack by about a dozen unidentified youths, armed with hockey sticks and sharp-edged weapons in front of the university gate when he was walking through the busy market to attend office at 9 am here today. Policemen who were standing nearby remained mute spectators.

Dr Singh was hit with hockey sticks in the head. The assailants who appeared to be 'hired goons' tried to break his knees. He was immediately administered first aid in the university dispensary and given seven stitches on his head.

The incident caused panic on the campus and triggered a protest among the teaching and non -teaching employees.

According to Dr Gurnam Singh, the attackers were waiting for him since 7 am. However, their plans could not materialise because he skipped the regular morning walk. He resides in the shop-cum-flats, opposite the varsity gate alone since his entire family has settled in the USA.

While Dr SP Singh, Vice- Chancellor, claimed that the incident had nothing to do with university politics, the victim said somebody who was unhappy with his decisions as Dean, Academic Affairs, might be behind the attack. The Vice- Chancellor claimed that the incident seemed to be the result of 'mistaken identity'.

However, Dr Gurnam Singh said it was unfortunate that three policemen who remained mute spectators to the incident did not chase the assailants on the pretext that they were on 'VIP duty' despite his repeated requests.

However, Dr Singh said that he had no personal enmity and hence could not identify the attackers. He further said that his 'old enemies' who had clashed with him about a decade ago had nothing to with this incident.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, Dr Davinder Singh and Dr Sharnjit Singh Dhillon, president and secretary of the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers' Association, have strongly condemned the callous attitude of the policemen who did not chase the attackers despite repeated requests by the victim. The emergency meeting of the executive said the attack on Dr Singh in broad daylight was proof enough that the law and order situation in the border district had deteriorated and nobody felt secure these days.

The teachers' association sought immediate arrest of the attackers. The meeting observed that it was not the first incident of its kind. In many earlier incidents of violence on the campus in which many outsiders were involved, no conclusive action was taken by the police and university authorities.

The executive warned that any laxity on the part of the district administration in apprehending the culprits would lead to unrest among the university faculty.

"University teachers in that situation, would be compelled to move on the path of protest", it said.

The police had also failed to arrest the assailants involved in the group clash on the university campus last week in which four persons were injured.


Doctors recruited by ZP feel harassed
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 26
A number of doctors, who had joined on April 24 last as service providers (doctors) in about 75 Subsidiary Health Centres (SHCs) in the rural areas of Sangrur district, are “harassed” and “confused” following verbal orders of the health authorities today preventing them from marking their attendance in the SHCs. Besides, the health authorities also directed the staff of the SHCs not to give the charge of the SHCs to the service providers.

These doctors had joined as service providers after signing agreements (service contract) with the Sangrur Zila Parishad (ZP) to provide health services in the SHCs (rural dispensaries). They marked their attendance at the SHCs on April 24 and April 25 but many of them were reportedly not allowed to mark their attendance today.

Talking to The Tribune today, some doctors said as they had not been allowed by the staff, posted at the SHCs, to mark their attendance, they were roaming in the Zila Parishad’s office to know about their future in the SHCs. They said they would continuously attend their duties at the SHCs to examine the patients and mark their attendance as per the service contract, signed by them with the Zila Parishad.

A doctor also said that many of them had joined the SHCs after leaving their earlier jobs. In these circumstances if they were not allowed to serve at the SHCs as per the service contract, they did not know how they would meet their domestic and other expenditures, he added.

Some doctors were of the view that as the Zila Parishad had accepted their joining reports and they had started performing their duties at the SHCs from April 24, they could not be removed without proper notice or prevented from marking their attendance at the SHCs.

As per the service contract, the service provider (doctor) as well as the ZP can terminate the agreement by giving three month (s) notice in writing. However, the ZP has got the right to terminate the contract on one-month notice to the service provider (doctor) on the basis of unsatisfactory services due to non-attainment of benchmarks or on establishment of the facts that the service provider is not providing services to the masses and his/her behaviour towards the public remained unacceptable.

When The Tribune contacted Dr S. K. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, in this regard, he said on the basis of two messages from the office of the Chief Executive Officer, Zila Parishad, Sangrur-cum-ADC (Development), Sangrur, he had today instructed the Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) concerned not to allow the service providers to mark their attendance at the SHCs. Besides this, the SMOs had also been asked not to give the charge of the SHCs to the service providers, he added.


Provisional clearance to mega projects stopped
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
On the direction from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Punjab Pollution Control Board has stopped giving provisional clearance to the much- talked mega projects which were approved by a high-powered committee headed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Informed sources in the board said the Union Ministry had not only told the board to discontinue provisional environmental clearance but had also sought the list of mega projects to which such approval had been given recently.

In the past few months, the empowered committee had cleared projects worth Rs 57,000 crore. Source said certain persons flooded the office of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests with complaints against the provisional clearance. They also sent copies of complaints to the Punjab Governor, to the President and to other authorities concerned.

The ministry gained information about the mega projects from the advertisements published in newspapers. “We collected details from newspaper advertisements and asked the Punjab Government authorities concerned to inform us about the status of environmental clearance of these projects”, said a senior officer of the Environmental Ministry, who deals with this region.

However, in the state government circles, there is impression that certain state government officials have played a role by informing the Union Environment Ministry to block the grant of provisional clearance. The information regarding the provisional clearance and instructions from the Union Government in this regard is being kept as a secret. Under an extraordinary notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on July 7, 2004, it is mandatory to take environmental clearance from the Union Government authorities concerned for certain categories of projects.

These projects include new townships, industrial townships and estates, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hotel complexes, hospitals, office complexes for 1,000 persons set up with an investment of Rs 50 crore or below.

The notification was issued on the basis of orders passed by the Supreme Court in various writ petitions. All projects which were to come up after the issuance of that notification required environmental clearance. Without clearance, no work on such projects was allowed.

Violating instructions of the Union Government, certain bigwigs of IT industry based at Mohali started raising the projects. They also pressurised the Punjab Government to secure environmental clearance from the Union Government through the Pollution Control Board. The state government secured provisional clearance through bank guarantee and certain other conditions for the owners of the projects.

For getting clearance from the Union Government, certain procedure has to be followed. The board first seeks environmental impact study report from the owners of project. Then public hearings are also held. Objections of people of the area, where project is to come up, are also heard by a committee of senior functionaries of the board at the project site. Then the case is put up the Union Government for environmental clearance.


Aiyar clarifies on devolution of powers to panchayats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today signed a statement with regard to the devolution of powers to panchayats.

Mr Aiyar, who had yesterday criticised the working of panchayati raj institutions in Punjab, clarified while addressing the media today that Punjab was in a position to fulfil the dream of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to hand over powers relating to village-level functions, functionaries and finances to the panchayats. He said this could control the anger, frustration and anxiety of people. He went to add: "I am not concerned about the educational qualifications of sarpanches and do not want a person who is a Phd to run the affairs of a village".

The main purpose of empowering the panchayati raj institutions was to give the power of governance in the hands of people at the grassroots level and eventually to minimise the role of the bureaucrats.

Mr Aiyar said Punjab was well poised to fulfil its resolve to empower the panchayati raj institutions on subjects like school education, health and family welfare, rural water supply, sanitation and social security, women and child development in the next few weeks.

Mr Aiyar was on a two-day visit to the state where he interacted with panchayats and other local body representatives in the districts of Bathinda, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

According to the statement signed by Mr Aiyar and Capt Amarinder Singh the panchayats had been vested with powers and responsibilities as listed in Sections 30, 119 and 180 of the Panchayati Raj Act, which enabled the state to transfer funds, functions and functionaries to PRIs in respect of 29 subjects in line with the 73rd Amendment to the Consitution.

It further stated that the state government had approved the devolution plan in respect of five key departments, and crucial village-level functions of the same had been transferred to the appropriate PRIs.

Also, a project had been initiated for e-governance for panchayats. Mr Aiyar also said he was in favour of banning Khap Panchayats as these were not formed under any provision of the Constitution.


Aiyar for curtailing role of bureaucracy

Jalandhar, April 26
Suggesting less role of bureaucracy in strengthening Panchayati Raj institutions in Punjab, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, today suggested that the state should come up with a comprehensive plan to give more powers to panchyats in the state.

Revealing that he would sign a memorandum of understannding (MoU) with the state government on the above, Mr Aiyar elaborated that preparation of activity map meant demarcation of the responsibilities to panchayats followed by the opening of panchayat sector window in the budgets of departments to be handed over to the panchayats.

While claiming that Punjab was lagging behind as far as strengthening of Panchayati Raj institution in the state, Mr Aiyar lauded the role of the neighbouring Haryana, which has already released its activity map.

He revealed that 11th finance commission had earmarked Rs 64 crore for strengthening of the Panchayati Raj system in the state and the state had already withdrawn the first instalment of Rs 32 crore and second instalment would be withdrawn shortly.


Virus hits muskmelon crop
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, April 26
After suffering losses in potato crop due to frost, farmers have been hit hard by the attack of virus on their muskmelon crop. The disease has damaged most of the crop in nearly 8,000 acres in the district.

A farmer of Brindpur village, Mr Ichcha Singh, said he had sown muskmelon in 300 acres but most of the crop had been affected by the virus.

Mr Surjit Singh of Madho Jhanda village said most of the crop in 50 acres had been damaged. Mr Jagroop Singh Khinda of Banwala village said the crop sown in the first week of February was the worst affected.

However, scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kapurthala, said there was no remedy to revive the plant after the virus attack. It is advisable for the farmers that they uproot the affected plant and burn it.

The disease is spread by vectors (sucking pest), which transmit it to the healthy plants. In addition to the virus, the crop is also affected by downing mildew (yellow spots), said Dr Parminder Singh.

The character of vein of cucurbits is to move downward along with the soil but the veins affected by virus start raising straight upwards, explained Mr Harpreet Singh, an agronomist.

The main reason for the disease is the sowing of same variety at the same spot, said Dr Parminder Singh. Moreover, the farmers grow the crop immediately after the potato crop and other varieties of cucurbits family like cucumber, rendering the muskmelon vulnerable to the disease. The farmers are advised not to stick to the same variety of muskmelon for years.


Marriage brings misery for Dalit’s family
Tribune News Service

Batala, April 26
Marrying a Muslim girl from Srinagar against the wishes of her family has brought misery to the family of Vikramjit Singh, a Dalit youth belonging to the city. His teenaged brother, Kuljinder Singh, was allegedly tortured in illegal police custody, his other brother Ranjeet Singh, who lives in the Srinagar, is missing. The couple has gone underground.

Facing the brunt of cops and the girl’s family is Kamlesh, the mother of Vikramjit Singh. The hapless mother is attending to her youngest son, Kuljinder Singh, at the civil hospital here. Kuljinder had to be admitted to the hospital after being tortured by Srinagar police.

Talking to The Tribune she said after the death of her husband her two sons— Vikramjit Singh and Ranjeet Singh—had moved to Srinagar. They were working there as carpenters.

Vikramjit Singh fell in love with a Muslim girl, Abhita Rehman Sheikh, who lived in his neighbourhood. The girl’s father is a constable. On March 26 this year the couple came to Batala. As the girl was pregnant the boy’s family solemnised their marriage. Apprehending a threat to their lives from the girl’s family the couple moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking protection later they moved to an undisclosed place.

Later, the girl’s mother, father and a cousin came to Vikramjit’s house and asked his family to hand over the girl to them. Kamlesh told the girl’s family that they were not aware of the whereabouts of the couple. However, late in the evening cops from Srinagar barged into their house and assaulted Kamlesh and Kuljinder Singh.

Later, they took 16-year- old, Kuljinder Singh, to Batala City Police Station and kept him in illegal custody. Kuljinder Singh, said he was tortured by the Srinagar police while Punjab police cops present at the station remained mute spectators.

Kuljinder has bruises all over his body. He was released from the police station after the intervention of some local BSP leaders.

However, Kuljinder’s mother is apprehensive about the fate of her other son, Ranjeet Singh, who is working in Srinagar. She alleged that after the cops raided their house they have been trying to contact Ranjeet Singh but have not succeeded so far. She feared that Ranjeet might have been ‘‘eliminated’’ by the Srinagar police ‘‘the Punjab police should try to locate him in Jammu and Kashmir’’, she demanded.

The SSP, Batala, Mr L.K Yadav, said the Srinagar police was looking for Vikramjeet Singh as it had procured an arrest warrant against him from a court in Srinagar. A case under Section 366 of the IPC has been registered against Vikramjit by the Srinagar police.

However, the Srinagar cops did not inform the Punjab Police about the arrest of Vikramjeet’s younger brother and his alleged torture at Batala city police station, he added. A DSP level officer has been directed to inquire into the role of cops who had tortured Kuljinder Singh. A case would be registered against J&K and Punjab police cops if they were found guilty in the inquiry report, he said.


Akali Dal factions inch towards anti-Badal alliance
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
Panthic groups like the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) led by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) led by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, the Shiromani Akali Dal (1920) led by Mr Ravi Inder Singh and the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann are learnt to be inching close to an anti-Badal alliance. They are likely to include former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Paramjit Singh Sarna, the Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. The two left parties also in the “grand alliance”.

There appears to be a consensus growing among these groups that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann could be the best bet against Mr Badal in terms of his Panthic commitments. He reportedly has been motivated to go soft on his radical agenda of Khalistan also. It is learnt that Mr Mann, Mr Jaswant Mann, Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra held a closed-door meeting recently to iron out differences hindering formation of the “grand alliance”. It is for the first time that Mr Chandumajra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh met. Otherwise the two leaders have strong reservations against each other.

Well-placed sources disclosed that to begin with the AISAD led by Mr Jaswant Mann would merge with the SAD Amritsar with Mr Simranjit Singh Mann continuing to be the president and Mr Jaswant Mann general secretary. Mr Gurtej Singh, a former IAS officer, would be the senior vice-president. There would be two vice-presidents from each faction. The idea reportedly had been mooted by Mr Jaswant Mann who enjoys good equation with Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and also Mr Gurtej Singh.

While the Panthic groups have agreed broadly to Mr Mann’s leadership the Lok Bhalai Party and the two Left organisations would also be taken into confidence.


Bhattal keen on quota for Punjabi youth
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 26
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, today supported the stand taken by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo and six MLAs seeking job quota for Punjabi youths in industrial projects likely to be set up in the state.

Addressing mediapersons, she said everyone, including the Chief Minister, was of the view that Punjabi youths should be employed on priority in these projects as unemployment was one of the major problems of the state.

Mr Bhattal had come here to preside over the meeting of the District Planning Board and Grievances Committee.

Answering a query, she said her party had no objection to the Governor's role in sending the cases of 37 MLAs, including the Chief Minister’s, to the Election Commission.

Mr Bhattal said the Congress party and state government would welcome the decision of the Election Commission.

She added that their leader Sonia Gandhi had already set an example in this regard.

She termed the complaint of Capt Kanwaljit, former Finance Minister, as a tool to get cheap popularity and urged the Akalis to have introspection first.

Expressing satisfaction over smooth procurement of wheat, she said the Congress government had taken many decisions in favour of farmers and termed the increase in the MSP as a historical decision.

Addressing the District Planning Board meeting, she informed that Rs 8.83 crore had been earmarked for development projects in the district.

She said Rs 803.77 lakh had been released out of which Rs 206.37 lakh were for meant for beneficiary schemes.

Rs 557.92 lakh would be spent on infrastructure schemes and Rs 27.89 lakh were earmarked for the CM Relief Fund, she added.

The Deputy CM also released Rs 138 lakh to be given to 69 village panchyats in the district. She said all type of pensions in the district had been disbursed.

Ms Bhattal said Fatehgarh Sahib was the only district in the state, which had utilised all funds released by the District Planning and Development Board.

She urged officers as well as politicians to monitor the working of the development projects.

The Deputy CM said she would visit all sites for which funds had been released from the Punjab Nirman Scheme.

She warned that no lapse or corruption would be tolerated at any cost and declared that paucity of funds would not hinder development of this most historical and religious district.

Ms Bhattal also addressed the District Grievances Committee meeting and only four complaints were reported which she sorted it out on the spot.

Addressing the meeting, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, assured the chairperson that all officials of the district were doing their duty honestly.

She said all developmental projects initiated in the district would be completed in the allotted time and quality would be ensured.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon MLA, Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo MLA, Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SSP, Mr Vaid Harikrishan, president, DCC, also addressed the meeting.


Baba Ajit Singh joins SAD

Ropar, April 26
Sant Baba Ajit Singh, former chairman of the Parliamentary Board of the SAD who had separated from the party following his differences, today joined back as patron of the party.

Former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal announced this late in the evening today.

Addressing a press conference at the government tourist complex here, Mr Badal, accompanied by Baba Ajit Singh, said keeping in view the deteriorating situation in the state, he had convinced Baba Ajit Singh to join the party. Baba Ajit Singh’s participation would further strengthen the party, he added. He said they were looking forward to working with him to defeat the Congress in the next Assembly election. — TNS


Rs 8 cr to develop areas around Amritsar, Wagah
Tribune News Service

Wagah, April 26
The Central Government has allocated Rs 8 crore for the comprehensive development plan for the areas of historical importance around Amritsar and Wagah.

This was stated by Ms Ambika Soni, Union Tourism Minister, who led a three-member delegation to Pakistan from the Wagah joint check-post for the premiere of the film “Taj Mahal”. She was received on the international border by Mr Shaukat Ali Bhatti, Agriculture Minister of the Pakistan National Assembly.

Addressing the media before crossing over to Pakistan, Ms Soni said the Central Government had identified 15 places of historical import around Amritsar and Wagah, which include Neem Chameli restaurant, Wagah, Attari Mahal, the Attari railway station, Attari Samadh, Ram Tirath, Sarai Amanat Khan, Ram Bagh, Ram Bagh Gate, Shaheedi Borh (Banyan tree), Khalsa College, Saragadhi Memorial, Gobindgarh Fort and Jallianwala Bagh.

Ms Soni said her ministry was initiating steps so that Pakistan could hold film festival and painting exhibitions of artists of international repute like Chugtai. She further said that in the same way India would also be able to show its old classical movies and organise painting exhibition of artists like Amrita Shergill in Pakistan. She said it would further help in the confidence-building measures initiated by the two neighbouring countries.

On the question of problems being faced by the visitors of viewing beating retreat ceremony due to hindrances between the visitors gallery, she said she would discuss the issue in the meeting to be held here tomorrow with Joint Secretary, Tourism Ministry and State Tourism Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, and officials of the district administration.

Commenting on the visa centre in Amritsar, she said her ministry had written to the Union Home Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs regarding this. She said she was hopeful that the visa centre would be established in the near future as these matters take time.


SGPC chief hospitalised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 26
The SGPC President, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, was admitted to emergency ward of Hero DMC Heart Institute, here today. He was returning from Shahbad when he felt uneasiness. According to Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander, Chief Cardiologist, the heart beat of Mr Makkar was irregular and he was under observation.


2 students drown
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 26
A mishap occurred this evening near the floating restaurant in Sirhind, when three students of the Regional Institute of Management Technology (RIMT), Mandi Gobindgarh, who had gone with their friends for a picnic slipped from the bank of the main Bhakra canal in to the water, one of them was saved by the nearby villagers, while the other two were drowned.

They were identified as Simranjit Singh of Nabha of the BBA course and Parminder Singh from Khanna of the BCA course. The saved student who was identified as Harmanjit Singh from Machiwara was admitted in the Civil Hospital. The police reached the spot and took 10 of their companions into custody for interrogation.

Their companions in their statements have recorded that they were having beer and the three had formed a human chain to get the water from the canal. The last one who went inside the canal lost his balance and slipped. Since they were holding hands, the remaining two also fell in with him. He said as they raised the alarm, the passerby jumped into the canal and saved one of them.


Hardcore Cong man pens book on Sonia
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
For 28-year-old Yusuf Ansari, an alumnus of London School of Economics, his stint as a member of the planning and coordination panel of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) , was motivation enough to write about Ms Sonia Gandhi, “the political entity around whose silence the Congress party and its politics revolves.”

A grandson of Dr M.A. Ansari, a former President of the Indian National Congress, Mr Yusuf Ansari took almost two years to come out with his first book — “Triumph of Will : Sonia Gandhi ”— which was formally released here last evening by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Ansari, who has now moved to his home state of Uttar Pradesh as chairman of the policy and planning committee of the local Pradesh Congress Committee, may soon make a debut in electoral politics.

“I am a candidate for the Congress ticket from Mehmoodpur, the constituency our family has served over the decades,” he says revealing that the idea to write about Ms Sonia Gandhi occurred to him way back in 2000 when he first got into the AICC on its policy planning coordination committee.

A product of Stowe School in England, he graduated in industrial relations from London School of Economics before he decided to return to India and continue further family’s interest in politics. Though one of his cousins is a member of Parliament and another one is a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, but none represent the Congress.

“I am a hardcore Congressman,” he declares maintaining that his stint at the AICC not only provided him an opportunity for interacting not only with Ms Sonia Gandhi, almost once a week, but also sufficient opportunities to rub shoulders with senior leaders of the party.

“To be honest for this book, I had just one one-to-one meeting with Ms Sonia Gandhi where I informed her about my desire to write about her. She immediately constituted a task force to assist me in getting input for the book,” adds Ansari.

About the book, he says, it has been well received. “I am keen that it should be available to general masses in their own language. I hope that it would be soon translated into various Indian languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam. People are keen to know more about her,” feels Ansari.

Comparing the Congress of his grandfather’s time and the Congress of today, he says the book begins with the start of a new, more right wing Congress that had little in common with the Congress of Nehru or his “national consensus”.


Finally, Dalits get power dues
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 26
Finally, eight months after the announcement of free power supply to Dalits in the state, the state government has released electricity charges paid by Dalits since last September.

The state government released Rs 1.85 crore to each subdivional zone of the PSEB to reimburse electricity bills paid by Dalits having consumption of 200 units per month in the state.

Since last September, Dalits had been given only 50 units free and the PSEB had charged them for the remaining units of power consumption.

The government was calculating losses to be suffered by it if free electricity would be provided to all Dalits in the state. The total loss was expected to reach about Rs 10 crore, added the sources.


Gazetted holiday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A deputation from all districts of Punjab, under the aegis of the Punjab Brahman Sabha, Rampura, met the Chief Minister in connection with their demands.

The Chief Minister accepted two of their major demands regarding the declaration of Bhagwan Parshu Ram Jayanti as a gazetted holiday and the setting up of Bhagwan Parshu Ram Chair in one of the state universities.


Dharna against demolition
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
Residents of Mohindra Colony and activists of the Muslim Welfare Association today staged a dharna in protest against the demolition of nine shops in the locality recently.

In a press note issued here, Mr Musa Khan, president, Muslim Welfare Association, said the MC authorities had resorted to selective demolition as it demolished nine shops and ignored four other shops in the same locality as the same were owned by an influential person. He said no notice was issued to the person concerned by the MC authorities before demolishing the shops.


‘Report misleading’

Chandigarh, April 26
The Federation of Arhtiya Associations of Punjab today said the report, “ Traders make a fast buck”, which appeared in The Tribune on Wednesday was misleading as figures in the report were wrong. — TNS


Officials found missing from duty
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, April 26
Faridkot Deputy Commissioner Rakhi Gupta Bhandari today conducted a surprise check at various offices during which the District Transport Officer, General Manager of the District Industry Centre and Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, were missing from their duties.

The DC also found anomalies in attendance registers and movement records. She reached the DTO office at 9.25 am where the official was not found.

Later she checked tehsildar's office where she was told that Clerk Dev Raj had gone to the court, but no entry was made in this regard.

At the District Industry Centre, the General Manager and Senior Assistant Swaran Singh were not present.

At the office of Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, the official was absent, while Superintendent Bhupinder Singh and Clerk Gurdeep Singh were on some tour without any record.


40 complaints redressed under information Act
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 26
No official has been fined for not providing information to the public under the Rights to Information Act( RTI) 2005 so far. Seven months after the RTI was implemented in the state, out of the 170 complaints against officials of various departments received, 40 have been disposed of after the officials supplied information to the complainants, said Mr Rajan Kashyap, State Chief Information Commissioner.

There was a need to spread more awareness about the RTI Act among the general public and the officials also. The complainants express regret over the kind of harassment they faced while seeking information from the government departments. We have received complaints against the Revenue Department, Panchayat's, administration officials, Mr Kashyap added.

After inaugurating a blood donation camp at the DSM factory near Ropar, Mr Kashyap said that where life and liberty of person were concerned, any official, including thepolice, was bound to provide information within 48 hours. Besides it, we can summon records from any court required in the case pending before us. Even person can apply for statistical information from the courts under the RTI Act, he added. He said besides the government, newspapers should write more about RTI Act to spread awareness and act as a watchdog of society. Giving details, Mr Kashyap said the RTI Act covers all Central, State and local government bodies and applies to the Government of Punjab. Any person who does not get information from any department within the stipulated time period under the RTI Act, can file complaint before the RTI Commission in Chandigarh. The office is situated in Sector17, Chandigarh, and we have also appointed information officer for Public.


6 held for immoral trafficking
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
Following a tip-off, the police today arrested a woman running a brothel in one of the localities situated on the outskirts of the town.

In a press note issued here, Mr Parmod Ban, SSP, said apart from Gurmail Kaur, who was running the brothel, three boys and two girls, were also arrested for their alleged indulgence in immoral trafficking.

He said a police party conducted a raid on a house located in Babu Singh Colony and managed to arrest six persons for their involvement in illegal activities. Those arrested had been identified as Lakhbir Singh, Chamkaur Singh, Gurmit Singh, Meeran and Veerpal.

He said the preliminary investigations revealed that Gurmail Kaur used to contact customers for the two girls on phone and used to charge Rs 300 to Rs 500 from them. She used to pay the girls for their illegal act after deducting her commission from the money charged from the customers.


Man hurt in attack seeks protection
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 26
A resident of Landran village has demanded police protection alleging that members of his family feared constant threat to their lives from a group of persons of the village.

The demand was made after Sukhvir Singh was allegedly attacked by some persons last night when he was going back home on a tractor from his fields near Chappar Chiri village. He was injured and admitted to the local Civil Hospital .

It is alleged that they later went to the Civil Hospital to settle scores with Sukhvir Singh. The police had to be called by the hospital authorities to bring the situation under control. In fact, two police personnel had to be posted at the hospital so that Sukhvir Singh was not attacked again .

On the complaint of Gurmeet Singh, his father, the police had registered a case under Sections 341 and 323 of the IPC in this regard.

On April 9, Gurmeet Singh, his two sons and son–in–law were injured by a group of persons in a clash over possession of a disputed piece of land. All four had been taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, where Gurpreet Singh, son–in– law of Mr Gurmeet Singh, succumbed to his injuries.


House of BJP leader burgled
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, April 26
The house of the BJP MP from Hoshiarpur and the state president of the party, Mr Avinash Khanna, located on the Una road was burgled last night. Mr Khanna left for Amritsar last evening at 9 pm.

When Mr Khanna returned home this afternoon, he found his belongings scattered all over the house. Jewellery and other materials worth Rs 2.5 lakh had been stolen. The police was informed about the theft.


MC ex-chief among 4 booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 26
Four persons, including an ex-president and former executive officer of Rampura Phul Municipal Council, have been booked after charges of misappropriation of Rs 8.8 lakh against them were found to be true in a magisterial probe.

It was brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner that Mr Ruldu Ram, a contractor, had been given a payment of Rs 8.8 lakh, but he had not carried out any work. The DC asked the Rampura SDM to investigate.

The probe revealed that a payment of Rs 8,81,887 was made to Mr Ruldu Ram and his office had received neither any resolution in this regard nor any record of the work. The MC staff stated before the SDM that no resolution was recorded in their proceeding book in connection with this payment. They revealed that the payment was made for ‘benami’ work. The SDM held the then MC chief, Mr Charanjeet Singh Jatana, former EO, Mr Bhupinder Singh and accountant Rakesh Kumar responsible for misappropriation of money.


3 of robbers’ gang held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 26
The police has apprehended three members of a gang of robbers, including a former SPO and recovered lethal arms and ammunition from their possession.

The police said the accused had been identified as Gurpreet Singh of Dhand village, Angrej Singh and Sukhdev Singh, alias Billa, both residents of Sangatpura village. Sukhdev had worked as SPO in Jalandhar.

During interrogation Angrej and Gurpreet confessed to have fired at rickshawpuller Tarlok Singh and robbed him on March 17.


Murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
The police today claimed to have solved the murder case of motor operator Karam Singh (52) who was allegedly done to death in the Police Lines last week.

Karam Singh, Head Constable, was found to be stoned to death on April 18 after which the local police swung into action.

Tejinder Singh, a line officer in the Police Lines, had gone to check a motor as the water supply to the residential quarters there had been disrupted. He found Karam Singh lying in a pool of blood with his face, smashed with some heavy object, covered with a quilt and a pillow.

In a press note issued here, the police said it had arrested Dina Nath, a constable in the Home Guards wing, for the murder. Dina Nath had picked up a quarrel with Karam Singh over the payment of water supply bills that led to the murder.

The police used scientific technology, including the use of videography and forensic science experts, to pin down the accused.

An amount of Rs 15,000, which Karam Singh, a native of Himachal Pradesh, had withdrawn from the bank a day before the murder, was also found to missing.

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