P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



FCI ex-Director blames Centre for wheat mess
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Blaming the Union Government for the mess created on the wheat front, Mr Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, a former Director of the Food Corporation of India, said here today that the wheat crisis could take critical turn if no action was immediately taken to set the house in order.

Speaking to mediapersons at the local Press Club, Mr Gidwani, who is also a convener of the action committee for essential commodities and member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said the Union Government should immediately raise the minimum support price( MSP) of wheat to Rs 750 per quintal to procure more wheat for the national pool to meet domestic requirement. He said Rs 50 given as bonus on wheat had failed to serve the purpose.

Criticising the Union Government for dithering on the bonus announcement, Mr Gidwani said had the announcement been made at the beginning of the procurement season in the end of March, the situation on the wheat procurement front would not have not so worse.

He alleged that the Union Government's decision to import 30 lakh tonne of wheat was ill-conceived. Instead of benefiting the farmers abroad, the Union Government should have offered higher price to Indian farmers in wheat- producing states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

He claimed that there was no logic in Mr Sharad Pawar's assertion that domestic wheat proved costly that imported wheat.

Mr Gidwani said the procurement of wheat by multinational companies should be brought under some sort of control and regulation. Otherwise, the situation could take a turn for worse.

He said he was expecting a shortfall of 50 lakh tonnes in the national pool by the end of the procurement season. There was no other way except to raise the minimum support price of wheat to Rs 750 per quintal, he added. It would motivate farmers and others to release the wheat stock, they were holding back, in the open market, he added.

Talking about the rising prices of sugar, Mr Gidwani said because of hoarding of sugar at certain levels an artificial shortage of sugar was being created in the market, causing a rise in its price. He said the forward trading in sugar had created a lot of instability regarding the sugar price in the market.

The government should bring back the dealer license system which was discontinued in 2002. Through the license system, time limit to hold sugar stock for traders should be fixed by the Union Government. No trader should be allowed to hold stipulated stock of sugar beyond a period fixed in the license, he added.

He said at certain places traders had suffered huge losses in forward trading and one traders committed suicide in Satara district of Maharashtra because of the loss suffered by him in sugar trade.


Inside Babudom
Keep us out of political controversies, say bureaucrats
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The bureaucracy in Punjab is divided over the naming of members of the central civil or police service in political controversies.

“As civil servants, we have to go by the orders of the state and cannot be singularly held responsible for actions which may be termed bad by the subsequent governments,” remarked a senior IAS officer, maintaining that the naming of a former Principal Secretary (Mr Ramesh Inder Singh) to the previous Chief Minister (Mr Parkash Singh Badal) in a political controversy was “avoidable.”

“Every civil servant has to carry out the orders of his or her political bosses in accordance with the policies and programmes of the government of that time,” he adds, maintaining that “at times these orders are carried out in the interest of national security, unity and integrity.” Further, no civil servant should join issue with or reply to charges made against him by political bosses.

Bureaucrats are faceless and are supposed to play their role by staying behind the scenes, believes another section of the civil servants, holding that “a handful who identify themselves with political bosses or political parties take the cake as well as become the subject of controversies.”

One section of the officers holds that if Mr Badal named Mr Ramesh Inder Singh as his Principal Secretary, then the present government has acted no differently. It named Mr Ramesh Inder Singh’s colleague in Amritsar, Mr S.S. Virk, as the Director-General of Police.

Both Mr Ramesh Inder Singh and Mr Virk were originally selected in the civil service and allocated to other state cadres. While Mr Ramesh Inder Singh was subsequently allowed to change his cadre from Bengal to Punjab. Mr Virk continues to be in the Maharashtra cadre. In fact, the Punjab Government went to the level of Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to make Mr Virk DGP, argues this group.

Incidentally, many point out that Mr Gian Singh Kahlon, a former Chief Secretary of Punjab, was also from the Bengal cadre and so are Mr Bharat Raj Bajaj and Mr R.N. Gupta.

They feel that the change of cadre was the prerogative of the Union Ministry of Personnel.

Another issue discussed in the corridors of the Civil Secretariat was the conferring of the Padma Shri on certain officers of Punjab. Mr Ramesh Inder Singh was given the Padma Shri in 1996. Incidentally, certain successors of his in Amritsar, too, got the Padma Shri.

“We are faceless and let us remain faceless. We should not be made pawns in political wars,” felt another group of officers which claims to have been “following in the footsteps of our seniors who owed their allegiance only to the state and not political bosses.”


Sukhbir lashes out at CM on Dayal issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhbir Badal, today alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh's act of honouring Lieut -Gen Ranjit Singh Dyal (retd), meant that Capt Amarinder Singh was not only privy to the decision to send the Army into the Golden Temple but he had also backed the decision.

Mr Badal, a former union minister, was addressing a press conference here this morning.

Gen Dyal was the Chief of the Western Army Command and had led the Army into the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had enacted a drama of quitting the Congress following Operation Bluestar. “This was a conspiracy of the Gandhi family to create confusion among the Sikh masses, alleged. It was not without significance that a person who had quit the Congress on such a vital issue was taken back into the party and was also made chief of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee and that too against the wishes of Congressmen of the state, he said.

He also showed photographs of the Chief Minister honouring Gen Dyal with a memento.

Mr Badal also showed a recorded video CD of the Mumbai function to mediapersons.

When pointed out that Gen Dyal was a highly decorated soldier for his acts during the wars with Pakistan, Mr Badal asked: "How many other General's has Capt Amarinder Singh honoured for their role in fighting wars?”

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister should explain that if he had found nothing wrong in honouring Gen Dyal then what was the justification for his quitting the Congress in protest against the Operation Bluestar.


Disqualify all Akalis MLAs : Singla
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Taking a cue from the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court unseating Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla from the Sherpur Assembly constituency, the ruling Congress in Punjab has decided to go on an offensive, demanding that the Election Commission should disqualify all Akali Dal MLAs.

“The Akali MLAs do not represent the will of electors of their constituencies as has been established in Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla case,” says Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla.

Flanked by the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, and the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Mr Singla alleged that the Akalis did selective deletion of voters from electoral rolls on the eve of last Assembly elections in 2002. It was done at a massive scale.

“In one Assembly constituency - Sri Hargobindpur Sahib - as many as 28,000 voters' name were deleted. An election petition challenging the election of Capt Balbir Singh Batth of the Akali Dal is now pending before the Punjab and Haryana Court. There are more than 3,000 affidavits filed by constituents of Sri Hargobindpur who could not cast their votes, alleged Mr Bajwa.

“Soon after we assumed office in Punjab after the 2002 Assembly elections, we received many complaints of voters who were sent back from polling booths following the last-minute deletion of their names from the poll rolls”, he alleged.

The Tribune had then highlighted that many voters could not vote though they carried their photo identity cards as well as voter identity slips issued to them by the polling agents of various political parties.

Based on The Tribune report, the Punjab Government had appointed one-man inquiry commission headed by Principal Secretary R.P.S. Pawar to look into all such complaints and submit his report within a few weeks. The report, however gathered dust in the Punjab Civil Secretariat as no action was taken on it.

Mr Singla argued that the Election Commission was well within its powers to order the disqualification of all those MLAs who knowingly resorted to the “selective deletion of voters known to belong to their opponents

“We have already consulted legal luminaries on the subject and would soon submit a petition to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State. It is high time for all Akali MLAs to step down,” warned Mr Singla.


Bank staff stage-manage robbery to recover vehicle
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 1
A Mohali-based private bank has found a novel method to “recover” a vehicle it had financed to a Kurali transporter who had reportedly not paid his instalments.

Two persons “deployed” by the bank “hired” the said vehicle from the transporter yesterday morning and with the help of some other persons simply waylaid the vehicle on the way to Chandigarh by forcing the driver to hand over the keys to them.

The two were expecting appreciation, however, they were booked by the police in the evening.

According to the DSP Kharar, Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, two persons working for the bank contacted Karanbir Singh to hire a tempo traveller this morning. Posing as customers, they told him that they had to transport some goods to Chandigarh. Since there was no permanent driver available, Karanbir organised a driver.

According to the driver, on the way some other persons in a Maruti car overtook them and forced the vehicle to a halt near Takipur village on the Kurali-Siswan road. The two passengers seemed to know the Maruti car occupants and asked the driver to hand over the keys and leave.

“We registered a case and were able to trace the two to a Chandigarh-based private bank that had financed the vehicle. We found out that vehicle was to be recovered since Kiranbir had reportedly not paid the instalments and the entire drama was stage-managed by the bank people. Further investigations are on. No arrests have been made so far,” Mr Sandhu added.


Mumtaz’s husband writes to jail authorities
Claims innocence, pleads for reunion with family
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
In yet another twist to the Mumtaz case, her Bangladeshi husband Ibrahim has written from Saudi Arabia to the jail authorities here claiming that his Pakistani wife had left Bangladesh along with his three children without informing her in-laws, while he (Ibrahim) was away to Dubai in connection with a job.

“It is wrong that I have deserted Mumtaz and children, while it is a fact that she had left the house without any intimation,” he writes.

Ibrahim claimed that he loved Mumtaz and the children and wanted them back in Bangladesh.

Ibrahim has also sent an old picture of Mumtaz with the three children — Suhail (8), Aisha (6) and Aamna (10) — believed to be taken in a studio around three years ago.

Interestingly, Ibrahim got the letter written in Devnagri script with the help of an Indian friend in Saudi Arabia.

Mumtaz and her children were arrested on January 23 by the Amritsar police for entering India without valid documents as they tried to cross over to Pakistan.

She had alleged that her husband had allegedly deserted them and left for Dubai where he got a job as cook in a hotel.

It has been learned that the jail authorities have sent the letter to the District Courts, Amritsar.

In his letter, Ibrahim pleaded that he was a poor Bangladesh national and hence urged the jail authorities to help him get his family back. He claimed that his family members searched for Mumtaz and children for many days.

The mother and children had gone to a vegetable market when they disappeared.

Ibrahim said one day an Indian, who identified himself as Gora from Bihar, called up his Dubai-based boss on his mobile.

However, when he (Ibrahim) tried to contact Gora to know the wellbeing of his family, the telephone number turned out to be that of a PCO. Ibrahim also posted his address along with business card of his employer as proof of his identity and whereabouts.

However, jail authorities said they were unable to help Ibrahim at this juncture and hence had to send his letter to the court.


Rajnath evades query on quota
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 1
The BJP president, Mr Rajnath Singh, today failed the clarify stand of the party on the contentious issue of increasing reservation in super-specialised courses.

When asked about the stand of the BJP on the issue of reservation in institutes of higher learning raised by Union Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh, Mr Rajnath Singh evaded the query and said first the Congress should clear its policy on reservation. Only then would the BJP make its stand clear.

Mr Rajnath Singh was here as a part of the itinerary of his rath yatra. He also addressed a political rally at the post office crossing in Pathankot last night. About Uma Bharti’s newly floated Bhartiya Janshakti Party, Mr Rajnath Singh said every leader who could not toe the party line had the right to float a new party. However, such parties would not have any effect on the BJP.

Reacting to the killing of the Indian engineer at the hands of Taliban, the BJP president said it was the result of the weak foreign policy of the country. India had lost respect or fear even among the third world countries due to its weak foreign policy.

Earlier, while addressing the political rally last evening, Mr Rajnath Singh accused the UPA government of failing to control inflation. The prices of all essential commodities, including wheat flour, sugar, ghee, pulses and even salt, had increased manifold during the two-year rule of the present government.

The BJP would demand a while paper on the uncontrolled increase in prices of essential commodities in the past two years, he said.

Mr Mohan Lal, former BJP minister and in charge here, while addressing the rally levelled allegations of corruption against local Congress MLA Ashok Sharma. He alleged that rampant corruption prevailed in the Pathankot Improvement Trust. Most of the tenders had been allotted by the trust at full rates which indicated that they were pooled.

Mr H.S. Grewal and Mr Vijay Goel, national secretaries of the party, Mr Vijay Sampla, vice-president of the state BJP, Mr Prashant Arora, organising secretary of the party, Mr Ashwani Sharma, president of the state Yuva Morcha, and Mr Satpal Saini were among the others present on occasion.


BJP executive meeting in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
A three-day conclave of the national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is being held here from May 25. This was revealed by Mr Anil Sareen, secretary of the state unit of the party, here today.

Those expected to attend the meet include former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former party chief Lal Krishan Advani. A meeting of the national office bearers would be held on May 24, he added.


SAD (A) announced to disrupt BJP’s yatra
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), announced to stop the BJP’s “Bharat suraksha yatra” from entering Punjab.

He stated this to media persons here today before holding a meeting of his party men for chalking out a strategy to stop the yatra. He refused to divulge the details of strategy for stopping the yatra but added that it would be peaceful.

Earlier, he held meetings on the topic with his party men at Batala and Gurdaspur today. He said the so-called secular Communist parties and the BSP were silent on the BJP’s yatra.

Mr Ram Singh, general secretary, SAD (A), had handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to be forwarded to Gen S.F Rodrigues, Governor, for stopping the yatra from entering Punjab on April 27.


Third front won’t hit poll prospects: SAD
Tribune News Service

Sherpur (Sangrur), May 1
Former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today said a third front, if it came into existence, would not pose any threat to the poll prospects of the SAD-BJP alliance in the forthcoming Punjab Assembly elections.

He said the Congress was encouraging some parties to form a third front to harm the SAD-BJP alliance in the elections but it was a misunderstanding on the part of the Congress.

Mr Badal was here in connection with an International Labour Day state-level Akali conference, dedicated to the martyrs of Chicago and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Thousands of people, including a large number of women, took part in the conference, which was organised by former minister and National Minorities and Dalit Dal president Gobind Singh Kanjhla.

The speakers paid tributes to the martyrs and Sant Longowal.

Mr Badal said the SAD would constitute a committee to negotiate with other parties, including the BSP, to defeat the Congress.

However, he said the SAD’s relations with the BJP were cordial and there were no differences between the two parties on any issue.

In reply to a question, Mr Badal said the SAD’s poll manifesto would be released two months before the Assembly elections.

He said a committee, headed by SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, was preparing the draft of the manifesto by meeting all sections of society. Mr Badal laid the foundation stone of a multi-purpose technical education school/degree college to be built by the SGPC in the memory of Sant Longowal here.

Mr Kanjhla honoured Mr Badal by presenting him with a “siropa” and a “Sri Sahib”.

He also handed over a bag containing Rs 5 lakh to Mr Badal as party fund.

On High Court’s decision to unseat Mr Kanjhla from the Sherpur Assembly constituency, Mr Badal said they would move the Supreme Court. He expressed hope that Mr Kanjhla would win the case there.

He also lashed out at Amarinder Government for not providing employment to anyone in the state during the past four years.

He also held the Chief Minister responsible for closure of industries and deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Mr Kanjhla expressed hope that he would get justice from the Supreme Court.

Among others who also addressed the gathering were Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Tota Singh, MLAs Gobind Singh Longowal, Gaganjit Singh Barnala and Parminder Singh Dhindsa, SAD national vice-president Parkash Chand Garg and SAD district president Rajinder Singh Kanjhla.


AISSF splinter groups to oppose nepotism
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
In a significant development, which could have far-reaching political consequences, the splinter groups of All-India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) have started uniting to develop a political outfit if SAD (Badal) floated its own student wing.

Representatives of various splinter groups, who held a meeting today, have also decided to go house to house of all the old federation leaders to activate them and for holding consultations with them to work out the future of AISSF in the Sikh politics.

Mr Karnail Singh Peermohomad, a senior leader of AISSF, while talking to TNS said that about five splinter groups attended the today's meeting and representatives of four splinter groups had submitted their resignations to facilitate the unity among the AISSF. He added that exercise was being carried by Mr Bhagwan Singh and Mr Sarbjeet Singh, who were old and senior federation leaders.

He said that need of unity among splinter groups of AISSF arose to cleanse the Panthic parties of corrupt and inapt Sikh leaders. Not only this, the unity was also needed to oppose nepotism in the SAD (Badal).

He pointed out that former union minister and senior SAD (B) leader, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had brought his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa into politics and made him MLA. Another senior leader of same party Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder had been promoting his son Balraj Singh Bhunder into the party.

The SAD (B) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, himself had brought his son Mr Sukhbir Badal into politics and promoted him like any thing. Earlier, the AISSF, which came into existence in 1943, used to provide leaders to Shiromani Akali Dal. This practice was brought to an end by various factions of Akali Dal after the Operation Blue Star in Golden temple in 1984.


Seminar on workers’ rights held
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 1
The CITU and AITUC unions of Amritsar district organised joint rally at Haripura on the Dhapai road to observe May Day here today.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary, state committee of AITUC, said the day was being observed for the past 120 years. He said labour conditions in the country had deteriorated, though it had gained Independence 59 years ago, as the labour laws were not being implemented properly. He demanded the minimum wages of Rs 5,000, Rs 7,500 and Rs 10,000 per month for the labour, technical and highly technical workers in the country, respectively

Meanwhile, in a seminar to create awareness about the legal rights of the workers was held in the District Courts complex. Presiding over the seminar, the District and Sessions Judge, Mr Gurdev Singh, said the labour class was on important constituent of society.

HOSHIARPUR: The Punjab State Karamchari Dal organised a rally in commemoration of the martyrs of Chicago on May Day in front of the Mini Secretariat here on Monday. Mr N. S. Behbalpur, general secretary of the Dal, criticised the Congress government in Punjab for not fulfilling any of its promises made before the last Assembly elections. He said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, did not make any announcement for fulfilling the long-pending demands of government employees at the conference on February 11 held at Patiala.

He demanded restoration of all 50,000 posts in various departments abolished by the state government, adjustment of all the employees of 11 abolished corporations and benefit of 4,9 and 14 years’ service to Class III and IV employees.

Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and Punjab BJP chief, and Mr Des Raj Dhugga, MLA, also addressed  the rally.


“File suits to redress grievances”
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 1
Delivering his lecture on “Public interest suit on the pattern of a PIL” and “Right to Information Act”, at a function, organised by the Sangrur Senior Citizens Bhalai Sanstha at the Banasar Garden here last evening, Mr Ashi Goyal, a local lawyer and general secretary of the Adhivakta (advocate) Parishad, Punjab, told senior citizens that they could file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the form of a suit in a local court to get local level grievances and problems of people redressed, if the administration did not pay heed to the same.

On the occasion, the Sangrur Senior Citizens Bhalai Sanstha also celebrated birthdays of 14 members, born on different dates in April. Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were Mr Sukhdev Singh Jassal, president of the Bhalai Sanstha, Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu, Mr O.P. Arora, Principal B.S. Punia (retd), all senior citizens.

Mr Ashi Goyal further said it was a common perception that a PIL could only be filed in the high court. He said people should know that there was a provision in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) under Section 91 that any two persons could approach a local court in the form of a suit to get public grievances redressed at the local level.

Citing an example of a public interest suit, filed in a local court under Section 91 of the CPC, by two local persons, Mr Goyal said they had filed a suit in October 2005 against the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the Sangrur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), urging the court to direct them to remove and rehabilitate stray wild animals, like dogs and monkeys, from the premises of local Banasar Bagh and keep the place free from all types of stray and wild animals in future. He said this suit was still under consideration of the court.

With regard to the Right to Information Act, Mr Goyal explained various aspects of the Act to senior citizens and told them how they could benefit from it to seek any type of information from any government office, except offices related to national security. He said any person could get information under the Act by submitting an application and depositing Rs 10 as fee with the officer concerned (Public Information Officer of the office concerned). He said the officer concerned was bound to provide information within 30 days.

He further said in case the officer did not provide information within the stipulated period, he would have to pay a penalty of Rs 250 for each day, not exceeding Rs 25,000.

Mr Goyal appealed to senior citizens to come forward to file suits in the civil courts to raise public grievances and problems if the administration remained evasive.


10,000 visas for Sikh pilgrims

Amritsar, May 1
The Central Government has permitted the grant of 10,000 visas to Sikh pilgrims to visit gurdwaras in Pakistan in June to mark the 400th martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev. A communication in this regard was received by the SGPC here today.

According to SGPC assistant secretary Daljit Singh Bedi, out of 10,000, the SGPC had been allowed to send a “jatha” of 6,000 pilgrims, while the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had been allocated a quota of 1,500. The rest of the visas had been allocated to Haryana, other states and Chandigarh. The SGPC has urged interested pilgrims to apply by May 4 through SGPC members. — TNS


Sunam resident drowned in Ravi
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 1
Agile cops and PESCO security personnel rescued 10 members of a family from Sunam from drowning in the Ravi at the site of Shahpur Kandi barrage. However, one member of the family, Paramjit Kaur, was drowned.

The family from Sunam had come to the house of the sister of Paramjit Kaur who was putting up in Shahpur Kandi colony for a social function. After attending the function today afternoon, the family members ventured to the bank of the Ravi nearby. The water in the river at that time was very low as it was not released from the Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Taking the water level to be low the family members ventured to a dry place in the middle of the river. However, the dam authorities started generation and released 5600 cusecs of water suddenly. The sudden rising current of water took the family by surprise. Paramjit Kaur was swept away by the strong current while the other family members tried to remain afloat raising the alarm for help.

Shahpur Kandi policemen reached the spot immediately after receiving information. A team of cops led by SHO Malkeet Singh jumped into the water risking their life and helped pull the stranded family members.


Doctors urged to support health staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The PCMS Association, Punjab, has urged the doctors to extend their full support to agitating health employees of the state.

In a statement, Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa here today alleged that the state government was using repressive measures against the Health Department employees. Hence, it was moral duty of all doctors to stand by employees. He alleged that health employees were lathicharged at Hoshiarpur yesterday in a barbaric manner.

Dr Randhawa said health employees would observe protest day tomorrow and doctors should express solidarity with them by joining the protest. He alleged that the state government authorities had become totally insensitive towards them and was trying to subdue them by using force.

He said the association was dismayed by the fact that the Chief Minister preferred to ignore the recommendations of group of ministers and granted sanction to the controversial proposal of handing over of health services to private hands on contract basis, thereby downgrading the health services in rural areas.


Rs 2-lakh grant for kidney transplantation

Pathankot, May 1
In a gesture to help a poor patient suffering from kidney trouble, the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, gave a cheque for Rs 2 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the transplantation of a kidney to Mr Suresh Kumar at a Khula Darbar held at Sujanpur yesterday. — OC


Paramedical staff dharna today
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 1
After providing necessary treatment, all 32 para-medical employees, including five policemen were discharged from hospital last night. They were injured during police lathi charge and stone pelting while they were forcibly trying, along with other employees, to march towards the residence of Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab. They were admitted to the local civil hospital and discharged last night. Besides, 20 more injured members of para-medical staff were also discharged after providing them first aid.

Meanwhile, city police station Hoshiarpur has registered a case under sections 332, 186, 353, 188, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Mr Sham Lal, Ms Satwant Kaur Johal, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Vanarsi Lal, Mr Inderjit Virdi, Ms Raj Rani, Mr Jagtar Singh and others members of para-medical staff for ripping uniforms of Mr Tarlochan Singh, DSP (H), Balwinder Singh, ASI, Manjot Ram, Head Constable, Ravinder Kumar, Kuljit Singh, Baljit Singh and Parwinder Singh, all constables, pelting stones on the police and for defying section 144 CrPC.

According to a spokesman of the Health Services Bachao Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, members of para-medical staff would stage dharnas at tehsil and block headquarters on May 2, 2006.


78 donate blood

Rajpura, May 1
As many as 78 persons donated blood at a camp organised by the Rajpura Press Club in memory of late journalist Bhola Nath Masoom.

Mr Rajinder Raja, president of the local municipal council, appreciated the gesture of the press club in organising the camp. — TNS


International Ahluwalia Samaj formed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
A society has been established under the name of International Ahluwalia Samaj to promote brotherhood among members of the Ahluwalia community residing in different parts of the country.

The society members also decided that Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, and Mr Parkash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Home Affairs, would be requested to be the patrons of the society.

A meeting in this regard was held in Delhi recently in which members from all states of India were present. Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, former MP, was elected chairman of the society. He was authorised to nominate other members of the society. The society also decided to celebrate the birth centenary of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a national hero and who fought against the tyranny of the mughals. Jassa Singh was the first leader who hoisted the National Flag at the Red Fort in Delhi.

The society members also decided to celebrate the birth and the martyrdom day of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in different parts of the country every year.

The society would also celebrate Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s birthday on May 3 in the Central State Library, Patiala. Mr Parkash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Home Affairs, will be the chief guest on the occasion.


Jan Hit Samiti celebrates annual day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Jan Hit Samiti, a social voluntary organisation, celebrated it annual day function at the Central Library here today by distributing books, copies, uniforms to the poor and needy students.

Old-age pension was also distributed to nearly 150 aged persons and a total of Rs 1.5 lakh was disbursed at the function.

Prominent among those who were present were Mr Vijay Chopra, Chief Editor, Punjab Kesri group of newspapers, Jalandhar.

The samiti, going ahead with its philanthropic gestures, also distributed sewing machines and also extended financial help to people living below the poverty line. The successful functioning of the free sewing machine training centre set up at Bachitar Nagar on plot of land donated by Rasaldar Amar Singh Grewals also discussed.

The samiti also decided to start a free computer education centre at Bachitar Nagar and a free medical dispensary and laboratory.


2 injured in mishaps

Kharar, May 1
Two persons were injured in different accidents around the town today. According to information available, in one accident a 13-year-old girl was injured when she was hit by an autorickshaw while going to school.

She was taken to the local Civil Hospital. She is a resident of Kumbra village.

In another case Gurchain Singh, a resident of Dehkalan village , got injured and was taken to the local Civil Hospital. He was later referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. — OC


PPSC used utmost secrecy in judicial exams
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), the prestigious recruitment agency of state, has been leaving nothing to chance to improve its reputation and resort the faith of people in it as its image was sullied following the detection of “cash- for- job scam” surfaced after its then Chairman, Mr Ravi Sidhu, was arrested by the state Vigilance Bureau for his alleged involvement in the same about four years ago.

Mr B. Purushartah, Secretary, PPSC, talking to TNS said the Punjab Judicial Services (PJS) exams were the second biggest exercise, which had been undertaken by the PPSC after the surfacing of cash- for- job scam. The exams were conducted with a pledge that image of the PPSC would be improved by adopting a foolproof system so that only merit could prevail.

He pointed out that five sets of question papers of each subject of the Punjab Judicial Services exams were got prepared from experts all over India. These sets of question papers were fetched in this town through the postal services and were kept under full security. The question papers were taken out on the day of the examination and these were got printed on the same day.

Almost all members of PPSC and he himself made repeated rounds of the examination centres to detect any sort of malpractice going on but no such incident took place.

He said now the exams were over and factitious numbers were affixed on the answer sheets of about 1900 candidates, who appeared in the exams against the total number of candidates of 2663, who applied for 63 posts of judicial officers. The answer sheets would be evaluated by a group of experts in his room only and the entire exercise would be over shortly.

He said the result of this exam was expected to be out in June. “We have resolved to conduct all exams in a fair manner in future also so that the PPSC could win over the faith of people again as we have succeeded in conducting these exams in a prefect manner”, he pointed out. 


MC to recommend to govt to
roll back sewerage, water tariff

Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 1
At last the Municipal Council (MC) here conceded people’s demand and decided to recommend the Punjab government to withdraw enhanced sewerage and water supply rates from February 2, 2003. Council passed a resolution in this regard on April 28, 2006.

Mr R.P. Dhir, Vice-Chairman of the state BJP legal cell, said this was the victory of people of Hoshiarpur who fought high-handedness of the government compelling the council to correct its mistake.

The government enhanced sewerage and water supply rates through a notification on February 2, 2003, but it was kept in abeyance on December 20, 2004.

Later, the government issued another notification on February 5, 2005 asking all Municipal Corporations and councils in state for enhanced sewerage and water supply charges with retrospective effect.

The Municipal Council here approved the above said notification and started charging bills of sewerage and water supply on enhanced rates along with arrears from February 2, 2003.

Ms Simsi Dhir of Hoshiarpur, filed a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and stay was granted in respect of recovery the enhanced bills and also recovery of arrears. Several petitions were filed and stays granted in the number of cases. The MC stopped charging enhanced bills for some time, but subsequently again started charging bills on enhanced flat rates.


Six booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 1
The Patti police has booked six members of a family in a dowry case. The case has been registered on the complaint of Seema, the victim.

Seema in her complaint alleged that she was married to Amarjit Rai Khanna, a resident of Patti, about eight years back.

She said her husband with the help of other family members started harassing her mentally and physically soon after the marriage.

Recently they asked her to bring Rs 35,000 and a scooter from her parents. The other accused in the case include Krishna (mother -in-law), Sunita (sister-in-law), Dilbag and Annu (the brother and his wife Amarjit respectively) and Rinku (brother-in-law).

The accused have not been arrested so far.


Cash, jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh looted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 1
Cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh were looted from a house in Deep Avenue in broad daylight here today.

The incident took place only 150 metres away from the office of the SSP. However, the police reached the spot after two hours of the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, two miscreants entered the house after breaking the locks of the house with the help of iron rods. They opened the almirah and looted Rs 37,000, a diamond ring and 100 gm of gold ornaments. The police has registered a case.


House burgled
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 1
Burglars struck at a house in Dashmesh Colony and decamped with cash and valuables worth several lakhs here last night.

According to the police, before ransacking the house, the burglars bolted the room in which the house owner, Mr Madan Ahuja and his wife, were sleeping from outside.

The stolen items included gold and silver ornaments, watches, and Rs 80,000. Mr Ahuja also claimed that other valuables received as gifts in the marriage of his son about two months ago, were also taken away.

He named as suspects two painters who had done some work in his house yesterday. However, they were let off by the police after interrogation. A case has been registered.


Army officer enters varsity forcibly
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
A serving Army officer yesterday forcibly entered Guru Nanak Dev University by threatening the security staff and had a scuffle with the Security Officer, Mr S.S. Chhina, here.

The security officer immediately ordered closure of all gates and called the police. The Army officer who had entered the campus in his private car with tainted glasses, was signalled to stop at the gate because such vehicles are banned on the campus, but he refused to do so.

Later, the Army officer was let off after he tendered a written apology at the police station.


GND varsity to hold CET-law
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
The Punjab Government has authorised Guru Nanak Dev University to hold the state-level common entrance test-law (CET-law, 2006-07) for selection of students for admission to the BA and LLB courses for the academic session 2006-07 in the colleges affiliated to the GND University, Punjabi University, and Panjab University.

Stating this, Dr Sukhdev Singh, coordinator, CET-Law, 2006-07, said the date of the test and availability of the prospectus would be announced shortly.


College proposal gets UGC nod
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the proposal of Government Mohindra College to state three new courses- environmental education, functional English and data care management from the coming academic session.

The three courses have been sanctioned by the UGC under it’s scheme- introducing career-oriented programmes at first-degree level.

According to the college Principal D.I S Brar, the college was already successfully running courses in agro service, plant bio-technology and clinical diagnostic techniques for the which the UGC had sanctioned Rs 7 lakh last year.

Mr Brar added that the college also planned to start professional courses in BSc (Bio-technology) and Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Education . The college has already got approval from the Higher Education Department and now has submitted the case to Punjabi University for final approval.

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