P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Anti-govt protests by SAD
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 8
Numerous activists and workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today held statewide protests against the alleged anti-people policies of the state government.

The party also demanded the reversal of the Central Government’s order to extend tax benefits to industry in the neighbouring states of Punjab which had adversely affected the economy of the state.

The activists here held a protest in front of the district party headquarters. A memorandum was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner to be forwarded to Gen S.F Rodrigues, Punjab Governor.

The memorandum, which was signed by Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP, mentioned that the state had slipped from the 
first to fifth position in the per capita income in the country.

It urged the Central Government to roll back its decision of importing wheat. The others demands included increase in the prices of paddy, bonus for all farmers, including those who had sold their produce to private dealers, call off ban on recruitment and octroi abolition.

Bathinda: The party activists, led by Mr Sikandar Singh Malooka, former minister and president of the district unit of the SAD, staged a dharna near the Mini Secretariat here.

All speakers alleged that there was corruption at every level in the state. The law and order situation was deteriorating day by day as murders, robberies, rapes, snatching and looting incidents were on the rise, they alleged. The leaders also asked the Central Government not to extend tax concessions to the industry in Himachal Pradesh and other states as such concessions had already ruined the industry in Punjab.

Hoshiarpur: Braving the blazing sun as many as 5,000 activists of the SAD from all over the district led by Mr Surider Singh Bhulewal Rathan, district president, staged a dharna near the Mini Secretariat here.

Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, MP, Mr Balbir Singh Miani and Mr Des Rah Dhugga, both MLAs, Mr Jasjit Singh Thiara and Mr Harjinder Singh Dhami were among others who addressed the gathering.

The speakers criticised the Central and state governments for “failure” in controlling the prices of essential commodities.

They alleged that during its four-year regime the Amarinder Singh government did nothing for the development of the state. But keeping in view the forthcoming Assembly elections, the government had started propagating about factitious development, they alleged.

Gurdaspur: The SAD workers here staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in response to the party call. Several SAD leaders, including Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Mr Badh participated in the dharna.

The leaders demanded that the tax holiday granted to industry in the neighbouring states of Punjab should be withdrawn.

They flayed the Chief Minister for not endorsing quota for Punjabi youth in industrial units coming up in Punjab where both Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan had made sure that at least 70 per cent of unskilled labour in industry set up in these states should be from their territorial jurisdiction.

Mr Sekhwan alleged that the Congress government was making false claims and resorting to malicious advertisement campaign to sway the people of the state.

Mr Kahlon alleged that the government had resorted to political vendetta and registered fabricated cases against SAD workers.


Protesters seek release of “innocent youths”
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 8
Terming four youths, now in jail in connection with a case related to the “beating up” of Bant Singh Jhabbar, a Dalit from Jhabbar village, as “innocent”, a number of men and women under the banner of Jhabbar Insaf Pasand Committee today took out a protest march led through the town and staged a dharna near the DC office here raising slogans seeking release of the four “innocent” youths from the jail. The “beating up” of Bant Singh Jhabbar had led to the amputation of two legs and an arm of Bant Singh at a later stage.

These protesters also submitted a memorandum to the administration in favour of their demands, including release of “innocent youths”.

When contacted on the phone, Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, said no body today met him in connection with the release of four youths. He added, however, a number of persons in the form of a deputation today met him in favour of Bant Singh Jhabbar. He also said the members of the deputation claimed that all persons, whose names had figured in the FIR, were actually involved in the case. He said they also demanded the arrest of Sarpanch of the village, a government job for the wife of Bant Singh Jhabbar, and free education for the children of Bant Singh Jhabbar.

In the memorandum, the protesters, who wanted release of four youths, has mentioned that the police and the administration had implicated some innocent persons (Sandip Singh, Didar Singh, Yadwinder Singh and Niranjan Singh) in this case under pressure of some organisations and without holding proper inquiry. They termed it as a “blot” on the democratic system. They alleged that Bant Singh had beaten up severely a youth “Appi” whose motorcycle had hit a pig of Bant Singh.

Later in a fight with some youths on January 5 this year, Bant Singh received injuries. However his two legs and an arm were amputated due to delay in the treatment. They alleged that some organisations linked this incident with fighting between Dalits and rich persons and the rape of Bant Singh’s girl. They claimed four youths had been found innocent, but they had been put behind bars without inquiry.

In the memorandum, they demanded proper inquiry into the Jhabbar kand. They also warned the district administration that if it did not pay attention towards their “genuine” demands then they would be compelled to gherao the Chief Minister and the ministers.


Mohali to be hub of industrial revolution: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
While accusing the Opposition parties of trying to scuttle the mega projects approved by the Empowered Committee, Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the opposition leaders were trying to garner votes in the name of supporting farmers whose lands were being acquired for these projects.

The Chief Minister was addressing media persons at Mohali, after inaugurating the Fashion Technology Park. He accused his bete noire and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Sukhbir Badal of trying to stall the development of the state for their "political gains". Citing a case, he said the Rs 2000 crore expansion plan of Abhishek Group of Companies was being run down by politicians, even as most of the farmers had already accepted the renumeration.

Capt Amarinder Singh said Mohali was going to be the hub of industrial revolution in Northern India in the near future. Most industrial houses from the country and abroad were looking at Mohali as their most favorite destination due to the congenial investment climate coupled with investor-friendly policies.

Referring to the industrial development in the state, Capt Amarinder Singh said 180 mega projects worth Rs 60000 crore had been approved by the empowered committee under his chairmanship and were under the various stages of implementation. He said initially these projects would generate employment potential for 12000 to 13000 persons that were likely to touch 20000 mark with the growth of ancillary units.

As many as 52 eminent companies in the field of Information Technology from India as well abroad have evinced keen interest to set up their industrial units at Moahli. Citing the example of Wipro, the Capt said there was some delay in the allotment of the land to Wipro due to the pending PIL in the court which had been now disposed of and the government would soon allot the requisite land to the Wipro to set up their unit. He said Satyam and Clariant would also soon join the bandwagon as they had already decided to make hefty investments in the IT sector.

Replying to another question on the sanction of environmental clearances to the mega projects, the Chief Minister said he had already written to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Minister of Forests and Environment, Mr A.Raja separately to allow the State Government with the practice of issuing provisional NOCs for all projects of Rs 50 crore and more, but also enhance the limit of Rs 50 crore to at least Rs 250 crore.


Absconding doctor functions as SMO
Was indicted for ‘helping’ heroin smuggler
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, May 8
The ‘absconding’ doctor who has been indicted by a high-level probe, by DIG (Counter-intelligence), B.K.Uppal for tampering with hospital record, to help an international smuggler, still has been working as Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Sarhali, even as his bail application was rejected by the court.

The state government has not placed Dr Lakhbir Singh Randhawa, SMO. Sarhali under suspensions following the registration of an FIR in the second week of last month. Yet he has been discharging his duty.

However, Dr Randhawa alleged that he was victim of ‘official wrangling’. He claimed that being an SMO he could not be considered guilty for tampering with the record since it was the responsibility of an individual doctor who had tried reportedly to help heroin smuggler by tampering with the official record.

He described the inquiry against him as ‘biased’ and ‘ex-parte’ since no police official met him before indicting him.

As per official record the Chhehrta police had busted a gang of nine international smugglers in the first week of March 2005 following the recovery of huge quantity of heroin and other contrabands. While five smugglers were arrested by the police under the NDPS Act, one of the four absconding smugglers, Dilbag Singh had shown himself admitted in Community Health Centre, Sarhali in the ‘back-date’ by tampering with the hospital record .

By taking the advantage of the tampered hospital record, the wife of the smuggler wrote to senior officials that her husband was booked under a fabricated case.

On the basis of the application, two separate inquiries were conducted by S.P. (City), Amritsar, Harmanbir Singh Gill and Mr Baljit Singh Randhawa, S.P. (Headquarter) Majitha. However, following ‘incomplete inquiries’, the police department entrusted the matter to Mr Uppal, DIG (Counter-intelligence) who indicted the doctor for helping the smuggler admitted in the hospital in the back date.

In his report, Mr Uppal had said the smuggler had connived with Dr Randhawa and Dr Bhupinder Singh for admitting him in the hospital by tampering with the record.

However, when contacted Dr Randhawa alleged that one of his junior, Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal who had allegedly contested the SGPC elections against service rules and certain other doctors against whom he (Dr Randhawa) had submitted inquiry reports, had launched ‘vilification campaign’ against him.

To a question, Dr Randhawa claimed that he had met the DGP who had ordered a fresh inquiry by ADGP (Crime), Anil Kaushik. He further said that he had to present himself on duty to release the salary bills and other urgent works for smooth functioning of the department.

On the other hand, Dr Sohal said that he had lodged a complaint to the Civil Surgeon against Dr Randhawa for ‘un-necessarily’ harassing him. He, however, claimed that as per service rules , there was no ban on contesting the SGPC elections.


Bail denied to co-accused in Sekhwan corruption case
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 8
Harjinder Singh, a co-accused in the corruption case against former SAD minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, was denied bail by the Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurdaspur.

Harjinder Singh had surrendered in the court on Friday. He surrendered after the court had started the proceedings to declare him a proclaimed offender. Harjinder Singh had failed to present himself before the court to enable the witnesses against him and former minister to depose before the court.

The council for prosecution alleged that he had fled to delay the proceedings in the case. Twelve prime witnesses in the case were ready to depose. However, as per law they had to depose in the presence of the accused. Harjinder did not present himself before the court to prevent the witnesses from deposing against the former minister.

After this, the court issued non-bailable warrants against Harjinder Singh. Since the police also failed to produce him before the court, the proceedings were started to declare him proclaimed offender. However, just before the next date of hearing in the case Harjinder Singh surrendered before the court. He was remanded into judicial custody till the next date of hearing.

Till date, five prime witnesses have deposed against Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan in the court of Mr JP Mehmi, Additional Sessions-cum- Special Judge Gurdaspur. The witnesses who deposed against Mr Sekhwan include Dr Uppinder Singh, Dr Chetna and Dr Jatinder Singh who were then posted at the government Civil Hospital Kanuwan. The doctors in their statement before the court have admitted that they were ordered to serve in Jathedar Ujjagar Singh Memorial hospital, while their official posting was at Kanuwan civil hospital. The said hospital is allegedly owned by the trust dominated by the family of former minister Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan.

The other two witnesses who have deposed in the court include Mr Harsh Kumar personal assistant to the then Civil Surgeon Gurdaspur and Mr Balraj Chand, the registry clerk.

The personal assistant to the Civil Surgeon had also admitted before the court that government doctors were serving in the private hospital. The registry clerk deposed against the wife on the minister on the charges of evading the stamp duty in the registry of the hospital land.


Patiala boy gets 31st rank
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 8
It is a dream come true for local resident Rohit Gupta who has attained 31st rank in the UPSC Civil Services (mains)-2005 examination, the results of which have been declared today.

At present working as a chip designer with a Noida-based multinational company, he has cleared the examination in the second attempt. Rohit, a resident of Urban Estate, near Punjabi University here, did his schooling from Modern Senior Secondary School, Dukhniwaran Sahib, and his graduation in BE (Electronics) from the IIT, New Delhi.

Rohit, who is the son of Janak Raj Gupta, a professor of economics in Punjabi University, had physics and chemistry as optional subjects in the examination.

Rohit, who could not make it to the list of successful candidates despite clearing mains last year, said hard work and self-confidence always pay. He had taken help from Mr Vinod Sharma, a local coach and Prof Brij pal for the examination.

Yet another Patiala resident who has been successful in the examination is Sugandha Sharma (229th rank). A resident of Upper Mall, Sugandha, who had psychology and geography as her optional subjects, has cleared the examination in her third attempt. She has also cleared the UGC-sponsored NET examination for lecturership.

A beeming Sugandha said: “I got guidance from Mr Vinod Sharma, Director of Vidya Sagar Institute, Patiala, who not only supported me with study material but also motivated me to achieve my goal. Command over both optionals is very important while starting one’s preparation.”

The third local candidate to have tasted the success is Kunal Aggarwal, who at present is working as a probationary officer in the State Bank of India. Kunal, who has got the 113th rank, graduated from the local Government Bikram College and did his BSc (IT) from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka. He did his postgraduation, MA (Sociology), from Himachal Pradesh University. Kunal’s father, Mr Amar Bhushan Aggarwal, is District Employment Officer, Sangrur. Last year Kunal had been selected as Central Intelligence Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Meanwhile, the Patiala-based Mahant Gopal Singh Institute of Competitions and Employment, located in Yadvindera Colony, has claimed that four if its students have made it to the list of successful candidates. According to Mr Brij Pal Singh, Director of the institute, every year two or four students of the institute got through the examination. 


Largest factory of synthetic milk unearthed
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , May 8
The Punjab Dairy Development Department has with the help of the police blown the lid off the largest synthetic milk producing “factory” in the State. A team of department officials along with Sangrur police literally unearthed the factory which was being run from an underground premises in Kothe Taran Taran village in Sehna block.

The synthetic milk factory was producing over 12000 litres of poisonous milk each day supplying it in tanks to a milk plant. According to the Dairy Development Department Director Mr Anil Kaura, factory owner Baljit Singh has been arrested by the police on various charges and has also been booked under sections of the Milk and Milk Products Order of the Government of India under the Essential Commodities Act.

The joint raids were conducted on May 5 following a tip-off to the police. Three tanks full of the synthetic milk were seized from the spot while a further search revealed that the production of synthetic milk was being carried out from an underground premises camouflaged with gunny bags and filth on top. The team recovered sacks of sodium per oxide, caustic soda oil and glucose sugar etc from the spot. “The ingredients of synthetic milk are basically chemical and extremely dangerous for human beings,” said Mr Kaura.

The owner reportedly confessed before the police that he had been producing synthetic milk for a long time now and had been supplying it regularly to a milk plant. The police and the department are still verifying the role played by the milk plant in the racket.

“In case milk plant officials are able to prove that they did not know that the milk was synthetic it can be thought to be a mistake, but there are far greater chances that the milk plant officials are in cohorts with the factory owner. Each milk plant has to check the milk that is supplied to it and a simple test can reveal that the milk is synthetic. Moreover why would anyone sell the milk at such low rates to the milk plant,” pointed out Mr Kaura.

Mr Kaura added that a detailed report of the raid was made available to him today. “This is the largest factory of synthetic milk we have unearthed in the state till now. We had found one earlier which was producing about 300 litres of milk a day. Synthetic milk is unfit for human consumption. It is essential that the general public is aware of the quality of milk that they are consuming.

The Punjab Government is providing free milk testing facilities to the public. Anyone is free to call us at these numbers: 0172- 2700228, 0172-2700055 and ask for the free test facility in their area. Also we invite the public to inform us about any spurious milk producers and suppliers. Our email is: directordairy@rediffmail.com .” said Mr Kaura.


RIL offered land for a song: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Punjab unit of the BJP and various farmers' organisations have reacted strongly against the land proposal to Reliance Industries Limited at Mohali, Goindwal and certain other places by the Punjab Government at a throwaway price.

As many as five MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal have reportedly given legal notice to certain officers of the state government against the sale of the land to the RIL. The MLAs are Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra and Mr Des Raj Dugga.

Mr Badal today alleged that there was a scam running into thousands of crores of rupees in the transfer of a premium land in Mohali and several other places to the RIL by the Capt Amarinder Singh government.

Mr Badal alleged that the Chief Minister and a handful of his confidants were behind the “corrupt deal”, causing a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer. He said the current price of the land measuring 20 acres near the railway station in Mohali was estimated to be over 200 crores but the Chief Minister had “struck a deal with the Reliance” and agreed to sell the land at a low price.

This price was less than the price of a one and-a-half kanal plot in the town. “This is sheer broad daylight loot. The total sell-out to the RIL by way of sale of lands belonging to different departments and corporations in the state would run into thousands of crores. The lands that could be utilised for the development of infrastructure in key areas are going to be sold out at throwaway prices to the RIL,” said the Akali leader.

The president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna and party's Youth Wing leader, Mr Vineet Joshi, alleged that this was mere the tip of the iceberg of corruption in the state.

Various organisations of farmers have also opposed the proposal of the land to the RIL on low prices.


Meeting undecided on land to RIL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
A meeting of senior officers convened by the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, was held here today to take decisions on the offers to be made with regard to the land and other concessions to Reliance Industries Limited( RIL), which is keen to start countrywide sale of fresh vegetables, fruits grown in Punjab besides marketing the milk and other products.

Officers of the Industries Department, the Agriculture Department, the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department, the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and other department were present.

Informed sources said no final decision was taken at the meeting though discussions on various points were held.

Later, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal also met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Certain officers related to the agriculture and other departments also held a meeting with Mr P. K. Verma, Financial Commissioner, Development.


A day of dharnas
Tribune News service

Patiala, May 8
Scorching heat notwithstanding, the Chief Minister’s hometown witnessed a series of dharnas today. Various organisations staged dharnas to register their protest against the anti-people, anti-employees, anti-farmer and anti-labourer policies of the Congress regime.

Normally it is employees of the state government or the PSEB who hold rallies here, but today it was the turn of politicians, farmer unions and members of Class IV employee unions to vent their ire on the Amarinder Singh government.

For the past few weeks, the city has been witnessing a rise in the number of rallies and dharnas by people belonging to different sections of society.

Hundreds of activists of the Punjab Kisan Sabha assembled in front of the PSEB’s head office in the morning and criticised its management for its failure to supply regular power to the farm sector.

The Kisan Sabha leaders, including its state president Rachpal Singh and general secretary Lehmbar Singh Taggar, condemned the PSEB Chairman for not listening to their grievances.

Before marching towards the new Moti Bagh residence of the Chief Minister, they demanded that the PSEB should provide at least 16 hours of electricity per day to the farm sector. They demanded that electricity bills of farmers should also be waived.

In yet another dharna held at Vir Haquiquat Rai Park, women made their presence felt in large numbers. The Class IV Government Employees Union Punjab condemned the privatisation policies of the Congress-led government. The employees also came down heavily on the anti-employee and anti-labourer policies of the government. The employee leaders, led by state president of the union Darshan Singh Lubhana, said the government would have to face the music in the coming Assembly elections because Capt Amarinder Sigh had failed to implement any pro-employee policy leading to resentment among the government staff.

They also alleged that a section of employees were being harassed at the instance of Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla in Bathinda district. They demanded that false cases registered against the employees should be withdrawn immediately.

The union activists later left the venue for YPS chowk, barley 200 meters from the Chief Minister’s residence to hand over a memorandum to the Tehsildar to be forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner.

A large number of activists of SAD, led by former Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, staged a dharna in from of the district administrative complex (DAC). He called upon the people to intensify their struggle to oust Capt Amarinder Singh of power for his corrupt, suppressive and destructive policies.

Addressing the rally, he alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had failed on all fronts and whoever had been raising his voice against his regime, he or she was being implicated in false criminal cases.

A number of former and present MLAs of the party also addressed the gathering.

Controversy mars SAD dharna

Ropar: A dharna, organised by the SAD in protest against the policies of the Congress-led government in the state here, witnessed a controversy when a member of the SGPC levelled allegation against other leaders of the committee that studies in the two SGPC-run schools in the district were hit as their buses were used to ferry party workers from different places to the dharna site.

Addressing the dharna, the SAD patron, Baba Ajit Singh, accompanied by the SAD MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, a former MLA, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, and an SGPC member, Mr Gurinder Singh Gogi, said the Congress government had failed to protect the rights of the people. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in the afternoon.

An SGPC member, Karnail Singh Panjoli, alleged that buses of the two SGPC-run schools, one in Anandpur Sahib and another in Nangal, were used to ferry party workers to the dharna site. He would apprised the Sikh Judicial Commission of the matter.

Another member of the SGPC Gurinder Singh Gogi said Karnail Singh had levelled the allegation to gain political mileage. Holiday had already been declared in the schools whose buses were used to ferry party workers, he added.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The SAD today staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the alleged anti-public policies of the government and its failure to fulfil all election promises.

All factions of the SAD attended the dharna.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, former president of the SGPC, lashed out at the Congress regime in the state. They said it had failed on every front. People from every section of society were annoyed with the government.

The farmers were the worst sufferers as the government had imported sub-standard wheat at the rate of Rs1,200 a quintal. With the Assembly elections coming near, it was befooling the people by giving them grants and waiving their electricity bills. It was now luring traders with promises to withdraw octroi.

Local leaders, including Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, Mr R.S. Cheema, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra and Mr Ranjit Singh Libra, raised many local issues. They said no development works in the town had been initiated in the district. In almost all streets of the town trenches dug up for laying sewerage had been left unfilled causing inconvenience to the people.

They criticised the government for handing over the Education and Health Departments to non-functional department like the Zila Parishad.

Latter, the leaders submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

Mohali: Every section of the society is fed up with the Congress government in the state as it has been adopting anti-people policies and failed to carry out any development, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister and general secretary of the SAD, while addressing a protest rally outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today.

He said the government had failed to attract big industrial units in the state which could have generated employment for the youth. Prices of various commodities had witnessed a sharp rise during the Congress rule and it had become difficult for the common man to make both ends meet.

He said that farmers were not happy with the price hike in MSP of sugarcane produce as it was very low as compared to the current prices of sugar. He said that during the Badal rule sugar was sold at Rs 14 a kg whereas it was available at Rs 23 a kg now.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh even criticised the government for giving a bonus of only Rs 50 on wheat to the farmers. He said the government was purchasing wheat from other countries at a price of Rs 950 per quintal while farmers here were being given only Rs 650 a quintal. Moreover, had the government given the bonus 15 days in advance it would have helped the farmers to some extent but giving it when most of the farmers had sold their produce did not make sense.

He assured the gathering that large-scale development would take place in Punjab if SAD came to power. Unemployed would be given jobs and the state would not be made to suffer from power shortage.

A memorandum was presented to the Deputy Commissioner by SAD leaders.

Among those who spoke on the occasion were Ms Daljit Kaur, former MLA, Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, Mr Ujagar Singh Wadali and Mr Harsukhinder Singh.


11 buffaloes die of rabies
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 8
As many as 11 buffaloes died last week after they were bitten by a rabid dog in Manoli Surat village of Rajpura subdivision of this district.

Information gathered by the Tribune revealed that bitten buffalos were taken to the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) by their owners to ascertain the reasons of their death.

They were told by the authorities concerned that buffalos had died after they were bitten by a rabid dog as their brain tests were found positive for rabies.

Dr Varinder Mohi, Civil Surgeon, Patiala, in a press statement issued here today, said district health authorities swung into action after they came to know that about 36 persons handled the bitten buffalos.

He added that out of these 36 persons, 26 were given anti-rabies vaccine free of cost.

Mr Mohi said Mr Rajiv Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, had allocated Rs 30,000 for this purpose.

He added that a team of doctors was visiting the village daily to find out if anyone was suffering from rabies or not.

He said so far no such case had been detected.


Election of Rajpura MC chief declared null
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 8
Mr Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon,Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Presiding Officer, Election Tribunal, today declared the election of Mr Rajinder Raja, president, Municipal Council, Rajpura, as municipal councillor (MC) null and void.

Mr Dhillon announced this decision while deciding the election petition filed by Mr Dinesh Kumar, who had contested unsuccessfully against Mr Raja in the municipal council elections held about four years ago.

Though Mr Dhillon had declared the election of Mr Raja as MC null and void, he had not declared any other candidate as winner.

After this decision, Mr Raja, who was made president of MC, Rajpura with the active support from New Moti Bagh Palace, private residence of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, would have to resign from the post of presidentship. He said that he would adopt legal channels against the decision given by Mr Dhillon.


Widows given cheques
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 8
The Punjab Government has launched various schemes to uplift those living below poverty line and to provide financial assistance to the widows who have no sources of income. It has constituted a social security fund (Rs450 crore) for this purpose.

This was stated by Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, while addressing a function organised by the District Social Security Department at Bachat Bhavan yesterday. Cheques worth Rs3.80 lakh were distributed among 38 widows under a national family benefit scheme.

The Secretary said the government had started giving regular monthly pensions to 28,813 beneficiaries in the district.

Ms Amrit Bala, District Social Security Officer, said the scheme had been launched in the district. If the bread winner or head of a family had died, his widow, between the age group of 18 and 64 years having yellow card or below poverty line certificate, would be granted Rs 10,000 under the scheme. 


Cold storage chain at airport ready
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 8
With the commissioning of cold storage chain at the Rajasansi International Airport, fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, poultry and meat products and other perishables will now be exported to Europe and Middle East.

The Director (Airport), Mr V.S. Mulekar, told The Tribune that the demand of farmers to set up cold storages had been fulfilled. He said the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation had completed the project within the stipulated time. The airport authority had given a piece of land free of cost for setting up the storages. He said the storages had the capacity to handle approximately 140 tonnes of cargo daily.

Presently, more than 60 weekly flights connecting various destinations across the globe have offered cargo space. There is a potential to make the airport a major cargo hub in the North.

The Director said the Ministry of Finance had issued a notification regarding handing over the custodianship of the cargo complex to the airport authority.


Wheat for poor families cheaper

Jalandhar, May 8
The Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Department has envisaged a plan under which each family below the poverty line and above it would get 35 kg of wheat every month at affordable prices. This was disclosed by Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, while addressing a gathering here today.

He said to provide relief to people of Punjab, his department had decided to give 35 kg of wheat to each family living below the poverty line at a price of Rs 4.36 per kg every month.

The price of the commodity for those families putting up above the poverty line had been fixed at Rs 6.23 per kg. — TNS


100 donate blood on Red Cross Day
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 8
The World Red Cross Day was celebrated with enthusiasm at Bachat Bhavan here today by the District Red Cross Society.

On this occasion, a massive blood donation camp was orgainsed. Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner and chairperson of the District Red Cross Society inaugurated the camp by donating blood. Mrs Hargunjeet Kaur, GA to DC, and Mrs Sawtantar Arora, Secretary, District Red Cross Society, also donated the blood. More than 100 units of blood were donated.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Commissioner called upon the people to serve the needy and downtrodden.

Dr Harcharn Singh, Civil Surgeon, said the district health department would organise an awareness campaign in the district to motivate the people for blood donation.


Army recruitment rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
An Army recruitment rally will be organised at Nabha for candidates from Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts from May 20 to 28. Recruitment will be done for general duty, technical and clerk/store keeper categories.

For soldiers technical category candidates from all over Punjab can take part in the rally.

According to a statement issued here today, candidates for all the above said categories must be of 17 and a half years to 21 years of age and having a minimum height of 170 cm. For clerk/storekeeper the minimum height is 162 cm.


high court
Notice of motion in rape, murder case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for July 20 on a petition filed by the father of a young girl, who was allegedly raped and killed on June 21, 2003.

In 2004, a Division Bench had ordered investigation by the CBI into the case of the girl, who belonged to Hoshiarpur.

While the family had accused the owner of Brilliant Computer Centre, Malpur, Hoshiarpur, and some of his relatives of the crime, the police did not book them.

The chowkidar of the computer centre was arrested by the police for his alleged involvement in the crime.

The family accused the police of foul play. The Bench had given six months' time to the CBI to complete the investigation.

However, now the father of the victim, Mr Manjeet Singh, has again moved the high court, alleging shoddy investigation by the CBI.

The CBI court at Patiala has awarded life sentence to the chowkidar for the crime.

However, the father has prayed that a re-trial be ordered in the matter and the sentence of the chowkidar be increased.

Today, the Division Bench issued notice of motion for July 20 to the respondents.


54 cases settled at Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 8
A Lok Adalat was organised in the District Courts under the chairmanship of District and Session Judge Sabina. Mr J.S.Kular Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr.D.S.Johal, Civil Judge, Senior Division, Mr G.S.Dhillon CJM and Mr Naval Kumar, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, dealt with 95 cases and out of these 54 cases were settled on the spot and compensation to the beneficiaries worth Rs 24,90,433 was awarded.

Justice Sabina highlighted the importance of the Lok Adalats and said all cases related to civil, criminal, bank loans, matrimonial disputes, bouncing of cheques and accidental claims were heard and settled.

She said the district Free Legal Aid Services Committee has nominated certain lawyers on the panel, who would provide free legal aid to those litigants, who could not afford such cases.


Durgiana panel detects fraud by former head
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 8
The Durgiana Managing Committee (DMC) has detected another fraud committed by its former president with the recovery of coupons issued to the public for goldplating work at the temple.

Mr Harish Taneja, Joint Secretary, DMC, in a press note issued here today said Mr Surinder Arjun, former president of the DMC, had got coupons of Rs 100 and Rs 200 denomination printed for the gold plating of the temple.

He said the money received through these coupons was, however, never deposited by Mr Arjun and no account was maintained to show how much money was collected from the people.

A few days ago Mr S.S. Srivastav, district police chief, had marked an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of funds by Mr Arjun, after a delegation of the new managing committee, led by Mr Harnam Dass Arora, along with other office-bearers met the SSP in this regard.

Mr Arjun, however, said the present DMC had no locus standi as they were not the legally elected office-bearers of the committee and had forcibly taken over the management of the committee.

He said they were levelling false allegations against him and were leading a systematic campaign to settle personal scores.


Graft charge against ETO: probe sought
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 8
Mr Som Nath, Manager, Goyal Trading Company, Mandi Gobindgarh, in a complaint along with an affidavit addressed to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala, has sought a probe into the alleged demand of Rs two lakh made by Mr Janak Raj Jindal, ETO, posted at Mandi Gobindgarh for sanctioning a VAT refund paid by the customers of the firm. A photocopy of the complaint and the affidavit was given to this Correspondent by the complainant here today.

Mr Som Nath further stated that he had attached copies of the relevant documents along with his complaint, to prove that his firm which deals in the sale and purchase of retail items of steel goods, had duly filed returns with the office.

The sales were mainly to dealers who send goods out of Punjab against CST @ 2 per cent and claim refund of VAT @ 2 per cent from the Sales Tax Department.

The manager alleged that Mr Jindal called him to his office several times and made a demand of Rs 2 lakh for ITC claim of VAT in services/refund claim of the customers of the firm, and threatened to disallow the same if not given.

All pleadings of the complainant that he had been abiding by the rules of the department and his business was of small scale did not move the ETO.

When contacted on Mobile phone, Mr Jindal refuted all allegations.


Man kills son

Hoshiarpur, May 8
Lakhwinder Singh (37) was stabbed to death by his father Surjit Singh (60) at Rara village this morning.

There was a quarrel between Surjit Singh and his wife. His wife went to her son Lakhwinder Singh.

Surjit Singh went to the house of his son where he also picked up quarrel with Lakhwinder Singh. Surjit Singh assaulted his son with a dagger as a result of which he died on the spot. — OC


Five ex-heads resolve to revive AISSF
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Perturbed over deterioration in the organisational structure and leadership of the All-India Sikh Students' Federation (AISSF), five former presidents have decided to revive the organisation and restore its past glory.

According to Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, a former president, federation has a glorious past and rich traditions. He said, right from the day it was founded in 1944 by Swaroop Singh Kalla, the AISSF had made contribution in various struggles. He said, it was the Azad Punjab Resolution of the AISSF and its follow up that prevented the borders of Pakistan from getting extended till Yamuna at the time of the Partition.

Mr Mann alleged that the Shiromani Akali Dal had once again tried to sabotage this institution by forming the Sikh Students' Organisation of India. He asked what was the need to create another organisation when AISSF was there? He blamed the SAD for creating four separate factions of the AISSF led by different leaders with everyone owing allegiance only to Mr Badal.

Spelling out his agenda, Mr Mann said, five past presidents, including Mr Bharpoor Singh, Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, a former Director of the All- India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Dr Santokh Singh, a former Health and Medical Education Secretary, Madhya Pradesh, and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, had decided to hold a convention in Chandigarh soon, involving responsible and well meaning students drawn from different universities and colleges to chalk out the plan of action.

Besides, Bhai Harbans Lal, a professor in Ohio University, who was president of the AISSF in 1954-55 would also be invited to deliver a special lecture to the delegates.

He said according to the AISSF constitution no member or office-bearer of the federation should be above 25 years of age, no student who has failed in any of the examinations can hold any office of the federation and the members and office-bearers must be regular and accredited students only.

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