P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pak disallows nagar kirtan to Lahore
SGPC ‘recognises’ PSGPC
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, May 20
The Pakistan Government today categorically denied permission to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to take out nagar kirtan to Lahore by road to mark the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, which falls next month.

On the other hand, the SGPC virtually accorded recognition to the seven-year-old PSGPC by attending its meeting at Lahore.

This is the first visit of any SGPC chief to PSGPC office since its inception on April 15, 1999.

Earlier, a meeting, convened by Lieut-Gen Zulfikar Ali Khan, president, Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board (PEPTB), at its Lahore office showed its inability to make arrangements for the proposed nagar kirtan.

The Pakistan authorities denied the permission even though SGPC president Avtar Singh and DSGMC president Harwinder Singh Sarna agreed in principle to take out a joint nagar kirtan.

However, the Pakistan authorities told the visiting Indian dignitaries that they could bring jatha of pilgrims through trains and that the government was willing to arrange five special trains for the purpose.

Apart from SGPC and DSGMC chiefs, the meeting was attended by UK-based Dal Khalsa leader Manmohan Singh Khalsa, PEPTB chief Lieutenant-General Khan, Home Secretary (West Punjab) Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary (PEPTB) Z.A. Haq, Minister Minorities Bishan Singh and Mastan Singh of the PSGPC.

Interestingly, the SGPC and DSGMC chiefs, who have been at loggerheads, today travelled in the same car from Lahore to Nankana Sahib along with Mr Khalsa.

The SGPC chief told this correspondent from Lahore that he would request Chief Minister (West Punjab) Pervez Elahi to use his capacity to allow joint nagar kirtan to Lahore next month.

Though the SGPC chief asked the Pakistan authorities to allow jatha of Sikh pilgrims to visit the country, they (Pakistan authorities) told him that they could allow only limited jatha.

However, the SGPC and DSGMC chiefs offered to bear all costs for arranging “langar” and “kirtani jathas”.

Mr Sarna and Mr Khalsa said they were hopeful of Pakistan Government agreeing to take out joint nagar kirtan to Lahore.

However, the government there has agreed in principle to release a commemorative stamp on the 400th martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.

Mr Khalsa said the design of the stamp had been finalised.

Meanwhile, the PSGPC chief was honoured by Avtar Singh at its Information Office today.

The PSGPC chief said he was happy that the SGPC had blessed the Pakistan committee though it took undue time to do so.

Earlier on February 1, the SGPC had bestowed “siropa” (robe of honour) on the then PSGPC chief Swaran Singh.

Today’s development assumes significance since a former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had stopped sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan to protest against the formation of the PSGPC.

She had been claiming that the SGPC had the sole right to maintain Sikh shrines in Pakistan as per the Nehru-Lyakat Ali pact and hence the Pakistan’s gurdwara committee be scrapped.

The SGPC had serious objections to the appointment of Lieut-Gen Javed Nasir, a former ISI chief, as the founder-president of the PSGPC.


Mega projects: SAD for special session of House
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to call a special session of the state Assembly to discuss what he described as the "grabbing of land from panchayats" under the garb of development and setting up mega projects and issues related to corruption.

He said the SAD was not against development or the setting up of industrial units. But it was opposed to the manner in which village panchayats were being pressurised to give village common land at nominal rates for setting up mega projects. " It is a big scandal", he said at a press conference held at his residence here.

He said that members of the panchayat of Karala village, near Banur, were called by the Block Development and Panchayat Officer on May 16 and asked to pass a resolution to give 30 acres worth Rs 30 crore to an influential industrial group running a big educational institution in the state. Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that the panchayat was asked to give the land at the rate fixed by the government authorities concerned.

However, panchayat members refused to pass the resolution. Accompanied by residents of their village yesterday, certain members of the panchayat held a demonstration on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway against the government's move to give the land to the management of the industrial group, he said.

Certain members of the panchayat accompanied by a former sarpanch, Mr Kirpal Singh, and others were present at the press conference held by Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Mr Jaswant Singh, a member of the panchayat, said that a lot of land was available for sale in the open market near Karala village. If the industrial house wanted to set up another educational institution, it should buy the land from the open market. "Why is the panchayat being forced to give common land at a price far lower than the market rate?" he asked.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said government machinery was being misused to pressurise panchayats to give land to influential industrialists and the owners of mega projects. He said the SAD would not be a silent spectator to what was happening in the state under the garb of development.

He said concessions worth several hundred crores of rupees had been given to private companies. The government should explain to the people how the state and its people would benefit by the concessions given to these companies for setting up mega projects.

He said a sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court should be appointed to hold an inquiry into the allegations levelled by Congress leaders against their party Ministers in Punjab.


Elevation of Tarn Taran delayed as CM skips darbar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, May 20
The announcement to elevate Tarn Taran and Amritsar as district headquarter and division, respectively, has been delayed as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today skipped the kirtan darbar organised jointly by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) here.

This was first in the series of functions organised by the Sarna brothers.

They (Sarnas) were expecting the Chief Minister to make announcement to elevate Tarn Taran and Amritsar today itself.

It is learnt that Capt Amarinder Singh directly went to Patiala from Delhi where he had gone to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi to lodge a complaint against party leader Jagmeet Singh Brar.

Though a senior functionary of the state government claimed that the Chief Minister could not reach Tarn Taran due to bad weather, it is learnt that he had reached Patiala well in time and could have reached there even by road.

Sources pointed out that Capt Amarinder Singh had already made up his mind not to attend the darbar since Sarna brothers had made “pre-mature” announcements regarding elevation of Tarn Taran as district headquarters.

A section of Congress leaders had raised the demand to elevate Patti as district instead, making the position of the ruling party awkward.

However, sources close to the DSGMC said the cancellation of CM’s function has come as a “blessing in disguise” for the organisers as the rival Akali factions had been alleging that it was a “Congress show”.

Sources close to the Chief Minister, however, said he would announce the elevation of Tarn Taran and Amritsar on June 16 at a function to coincide it with the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.


Indian physicians can be Royal College members
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 20
Family physicians in India can now get a membership of the prestigious Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), London. So can those from five other nations in South Asia which include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune here yesterday, Dr Garth Manning, Medical Director, International Development Programme, RCGP, said all family doctors in South Asia could take the exam from November this year.

He said the RCGP wanted to raise the standard of family medicine internationally and this examination would offer family doctors in a number of countries the opportunity to gain an internationally recognised qualification in family medicine.

This international format examination was already running successfully in several Gulf countries like Oman, Brunei, Kuwait and Dubai. In other countries the programme was in various stages of development.

According to Dr Manning, the examination would take into account the different patterns of disease in the South Asian countries. “There will be a multiple choice question. The examination will be held in November in Delhi and Ludhiana for family practitioners in the northern region”.

Dr Manning said all those successfully appearing in this paper would be eligible to sit in the ‘objective structured clinical examination’ (OSCE) — a clinical examination involving 14 stations, each of 10 minutes duration, to assess the clinical and communication skills of family practitioners.

“The OSCE examination, a sort of simulated test, in which mock patients will be presented before the candidates for diagnosis on the basis of symptoms, will take place in March, 2007, tentatively in Dhaka (Bangladesh), though subsequent clinical examinations may well take place in one or more centres in India.”


IMA unit joins anti-quota protest
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, May 20
Members of district units of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) today joined the ongoing agitation of students and doctors against the proposed reservation in higher educational institutions of the country by striking work at clinics and nursing homes.

At a meeting held under Dr Keshav Sood, IMA unit president, the members condemned the brutality shown by the police on agitating students and doctors in Patna yesterday.

They demanded the scrutiny of the existing system of reservation by a judicial commission.

They said as per statistics, over one lack posts of doctor were lying vacant for want of eligible candidates among reserved classes. They apprehended that the move to increase quota would only add to the problem.

They said caste-based reservations had failed to serve the purpose for which these had been introduced.

They added that reservation should be introduced on economic basis instead of caste or religion.

AMRITSAR: Around 100 resident doctors and medical students left for Chandigarh to participate in a state-level rally at Matka Chowk there to protest against the reservation policy of the Central Government here today.

Junior and resident doctors, and medical students assembled near the OPD of the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital and raised slogans against the Central Government and Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.

Addressing the medicos, Medical Students Association of Government Medical College president Gagandeep Sharma said they would forcefully raise their voice against the reservation policy of the government.


Punjab pensioners threaten stir
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 20
Around three lakh pensioners of various welfare unions have decided to launch a “jail bharo” agitation from June 9 if the state government fails to implement their already accepted demands.

Besides, pensioners have also vowed to throw the ruling Congress out of power in the coming Assembly elections in the state to teach it a lesson if Chief Minister Amarinder Singh does not take any positive step to implement their demands.

Pensioners belonging to various associations have already been staging dharnas, holding rallies and protest marches in the state to lodge their protest against the non-implementation of their demands, which have already been accepted by the state government.

Punjab Pensioners Welfare Association general secretary D.S. Bajaj, while talking with mediapersons here today, said they had been forced to fight against the stubborn attitude of state government in the fag end of their lives.

He said a nine-member committee had been set up to organise the jail bharo agitation from June 9. He added that the state government had not implemented directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court given by it for the benefit of pensioners.

Besides, the state government had also failed to implement assurances for the welfare of pensioners that the party had incorporated in its manifesto in the last Assembly elections.

Also, the Punjab Government had failed to implement seven items of recommendation made by the Fourth Pay Commission in connection with pensioners. He said the Congress government had cheated pensioners on every account.


Harpal Tiwana Award for Dr Harcharan Singh
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Three years after it was constituted to honour the memory of the doyen of Punjabi theatre, the Harpal Tiwana Foundation is ready to deliver on its promises.

Conceptualised with the purpose of embracing and promoting Punjabi art and culture, the foundation has finally formalised its first set of annual awards. While the first Harpal Tiwana Award will go posthumously to Dr Harcharan Singh for his untiring efforts towards the advancement of Punjabi drama and performing arts, the first Dr Vishwanath Tiwari award will go to Dr Satish Verma, Head of the Punjabi Department at Punjabi University Patiala whose contribution to Punjabi language remains unparalleled.

The Vivek Singh Award (instituted in memory of Jagjit Singh's son) will not be presented this year because of non-availability of the ghazal maestro. This award, however, forms part of the series of three annual awards which the foundation announced when it was formed in 2003.

The other two awards will be presented at a grand assembly of litterateurs, thespians, musicians and politicians to be held at Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh on May 22. The awards will be presented by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Also present will be Raj Babbar, who along with Om Puri is a trustee of the foundation.

Having taken the first big step in the desired direction, the caretakers of the Harpal Tiwana Foundation now also plan to lend concrete shape to their other ambitious projects, all of which seek to strengthen Punjabi theatre and language on local, national and international level.

At the heart of the strategy is Manpal Tiwana, the creative director of the foundation and the son of Harpal Tiwana. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, Manpal has a vision for the future. He is well recognised as an actor and an administrator.

Speaking to The Tribune today he said the Foundation was planning to roll its three major projects - the annual festival of Punjabi theatre and folk arts, construction of an auditorium on the lines of Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, a museum and art gallery in the name of Dr Vishwanath Tiwari and an Academy of Performing Arts in memory of Vivek Singh.

Apart from setting up institutions to honour the legacy of Harpal Tiwana and other promoters of Punjabi culture, the foundation is about to institute two scholarships in the Department of Dance and Theatre, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Manpal Tiwana says, "The idea is to generate an audience for Punjabi performing arts. It is to achieve this objective that we have planned to stage the historical play "Sirhind di Diwar" on the occasion of award function on May 22."

"Sirhind di Diwar" is one of the finest historical plays to have been structured for the theatre audience in Punjab. Envisioned by Harpal Tiwana, it won many accolades when it was presented some years ago during the Patiala Heritage Festival. In its present form, the play features Manpal Tiwana in the role of Wazir Khan who changes the course of Sikh history by ordering the persecution of Sahibzadas.


Army fabricates units for chemical warfare
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, May 20
With nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) warfare becoming an inherent part of military doctrine and training, the Army has introduced locally fabricated NBC decontamination units that can be set up right at the frontline.

“One such unit was developed in-house by our own engineers and troops just four months ago. Another was fabricated within a span of 20 days,” Brig Sanjeev Loomba, Brigadier-General Staff, 2 Corps, told The Tribune on the sidelines of Exercise Sanghe Shakti.

As part of the Cold Start doctrine which was validated, the capability to respond to an NBC attack was also tested during the exercise, though the focus was on the chemical element, officers said.

For developing these decontamination units, commercial equipment like motors, control mechanisms, sensors, pipes and nozzles were procured off-the shelf from various places and put together, the Brigadier said. These comprise overhead sprays as well as flexible hand-held nozzles attached to specially outfitted support vehicles.

These units can decontaminate an entire regiment of 45 tanks in about 90 to 120 minutes, The process is three-phase — pre wash, chemical wash and post wash with plain water. Fully mobile, these units can operate anywhere, the only raw material required being adequate water supply.

Though the number of such decontamination units in service is limited, the ultimate aim is to have such units down at the regiment level. At present, these are available at the level of armoured brigades and, officers said, these can also operate further down the echelon as and when required to do.

“We need to be prepared for all eventualities, particularly the threat from chemical weapons” Brig Rajan Bakshi, Commander, 98 Armoured Brigade, said. “It is not only nations that possess chemical weapons, but increasingly terrorist groups too are procuring them,” he added. Such weapons include agents like nerve gas or chemicals that affect the skin or the physiological functions of the body.

For the troops, new lighter NBC protection suits developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have come in. Further, most of the decontamination agents now being used by the Army are indigenous, Brig Bakshi said.

Training for NBC warfare in the services is now a matter of routine and forms an inherent part of training at all levels, “Drills for operating in an NBC environment is part of our standard operating procedures,” the brigade commander said. “Troops regularly practice operating in such environment and carrying out decontamination exercises,” he added.


200 Dalit families protest move to acquire land
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 20
Over 200 Dalit families of four villages of Ropar district today held a protest after the Forest Department initiated a move to take possession of their agricultural land allegedly under political pressure. The villagers said they had been doing farming on about 200 acres in four villages since 1950 and their names were mentioned in the revenue records (girdawari). However, the forest officials without issuing any notice to them started acquiring their agricultural land.

The farmers of Fatepur, Pangala, Chandiyna and Kalu Waltolna villages met the president of the PPCC, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, and asked him to request the Chief Minister to stop the Forest Department from taking possession of their land.

Giving details of the problems being faced by the residents of these villages later in a press conference here, the president of the Sarpanch Union, Ropar, Mr Gurcharan Singh, the vice-president of the block samiti, Ropar, Ms Kamaljit Kaur, and Mr Karam Singh, sarpanch of Pangala village, said farming was the only source of the Dalit families of these four villages and if the Forest Department acquired their land they would be rendered helpless.

Mr Gurcharan Singh said the villagers had been doing farming on the government land since 1950 and the names of the villagers were also mentioned in the revenue records.

Mr Dullo said he had taken up the matter with the Forest Minister, Mr Hans Raj Joshan, and the latter had assured all help the villagers. Mr Joshan told him that due to court orders they had started the demarcation of land to the villages. He would discuss the matter with the Chief Minister also, he added.

The Divisional Forest Officer, Mr S.S Bhatti, said as per the directions of the senior officials we had started demarcation of the villages to find out forestland there. We had no intention to take possession of the agricultural land of the villagers and so far not acquired any agricultural land. He added that he had not received any complaint from the villagers.


Demand to reinstate retrenched workers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 20
The Dhuri police today arrested 100 protesters from the main gate of the KRBL factory, Bhasaur village (near Dhuri). They were demanding re-employment/re-instatement of hundreds of retrenched workers of Oswal Agro Furane Limited, Bhasaur, as the mill, earlier owned by Oswal Agro Furane Limited, is now owned by the management of KRBL Limited. They have been staging a dharna since Thursday in front of the main gate of the factory at Bhasaur in support of their demands.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone this evening, Mr Paramvir Singh Gill, DSP, Dhuri, said the protesters had been arrested as they had been preventing other workers from entering the factory.

Mr Gill said all arrested protesters had today been produced before the Dhuri SDM, who remanded them in judicial custody till May 29.


Anti-terrorism day observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 20
Activists of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress (PPYC) observed the martyrdom day of Rajiv Gandhi as anti-terrorism day here today.

Earlier, the members led by Mr Narinder Kumar Teenu, secretary, PPYC, held a march from Kotwali Chowk to Jallianwala Bagh. Holding swords they raised slogans against terrorism. They then paid floral tributes to the portrait of the late leader.

Officials of the district administration observed the anti-terrorist day at Circuit House yesterday. 


8 hurt as roof collapses
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 20
Eight members of a family were injured when the roof of their house collapsed in Vikas Nagar here last night.

According to sources, the family of Kashmir Singh was sleeping in their rented house when the roof collapsed. The family members raised an alarm following which they were rescued by their neighbours and admitted to a hospital.

Besides Kashmir Singh, the injured included Rita, Mandeep Kaur, Manjinder Kaur, Sukhwinder Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, Baljinder Singh and Jhujhar Singh. They are stated to be out of danger.


Residents protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 20
Residents of Urban Estate (Phase III) yesterday protested against lack of basic amenities in their locality in front of the PUDA office here.

The protesters rued that they were allotted plots in the locality five years back, but PUDA had failed to extend basic amenities to them so far.


Lawyers condemn assault, go on strike
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 20
Lawyers of the District Bar Association today observed strike in protest against the alleged assault on a local advocate, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, by Mr Jasbir Singh, District Welfare Officer, and five of his accomplices last night near Chawla Restaurant, GT Road, Sirhind.

The Bar Council held an emergency meeting and condemned the incident Later, a deputation of lawyers met the SSP and demanded that the case be registered.

Mr Sidhu has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case against the District Welfare Officer and his accomplices under Sections 141, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

While talking to The Tribune at the hospital, Mr Sidhu said last night around 9.30 pm when he along with his brother-in-law Harpreet Singh was leaving the Chawla restaurant after having dinner, Mr Jasbir Singh along with his five accomplices tried to run his car over him.

Mr Sidhu said he escaped narrowly by jumping to one side. He said then Mr Jasbir Singh came out of the car and started abusing and threatening him. He asked his accomplices to teach him a lesson.

Mr Sidhu said when he tried to run to save him, all five, who were under the influence of liquor, caught him, beat him up and sped away in their car. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital. He said there was a litigation between Mr Jasbir Singh and his brother Gurinder Singh and his mother relating to ancestral property, which was pending in a Fatehgarh Sahib court.

Mr Sidhu said he was lawyer of Mr Gurinder Singh. Mr Jasbir Singh had earlier sent him a message not to take the case seriously and warned him not to support his client in police matter.

When contacted, Mr Jasbir Singh, denied the allegations and said he along with his friends was coming from the Sirhind side and Mr Sidhu was standing on the road in a drunken state. He took his car to the other side but Mr Sidhu abused him and stopped his car and a scuffle took place.

People gathered there and separated them. He left the scene and now he came to know that Mr Sidhu got himself admitted to the hospital and got a case registered against him.

When contacted, Mr Sarbjeet Singh Virk, SHO, Sirhind, said a case against District Welfare Officer Jasbir Singh, Kamaljit Singh and others was registered, but no arrest had been made so far.


Man gets life term
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 20
Mr Jaspal Singh Chugh, Additional Sessions Judge (ad hoc), Fast Track Court, Sangrur, today awarded life imprisonment to one Pritpal Singh, a resident of Alamgir, Ludhiana, in a case of kidnapping of a student of MA Part-II, Khalsa College, Ludhiana. Another alleged accused in this case, Sohan Sikander, a singer and resident of Dehlon road, Sahnewal village, near Ludhiana, was acquitted in the case. Four other accused are still proclaimed offenders in the case.

In his order, the judge mentioned that Pritpal Singh was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment under Sections 364-A and 120-B of the IPC. The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the accused. The kidnapping took place on December 17, 2004.


Rs 78 cr for promotion of horticulture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The National Horticulture Mission has given Rs 78 crore to Punjab for promoting horticulture in the state.

This was stated here today by Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Cooperation Minister, Punjab. He said that Rs 18 crore would be spent on providing the cargo facility at Amritsar airport to export vegetables and fruits. The remaining Rs 60 crore would be given to farmers as subsidy on greenhouses and the drip irrigation facility to promote the growing of fruits like kinnow, grapes, musk melon and water melon.

Mr Randhawa said there had been an increase of 5,000 hectares under citrus fruits in Punjab last year. Two fruit- processing factories would be set up at Abohar and Hoshiarpur at a cost of Rs 40 crore each.


4 promotions to IAS conditional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Punjab Government has promoted four Punjab Civil Service officers to the IAS and created a controversy.

A formal notification issued by the Government of India today said the promotion of the four officers was subject to a decision on a petition filed by a woman official against the move.

The government held a meeting of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) on April 28 and sent the minutes of the meeting to the Government of India for a formal notification. As per the notification, Mr Ajeet Singh Pannu, Mr Ashok Kumar Singla, Mr C.S. Talwar and Mr S.K. Sharma have been promoted. After the DPC meeting was held, Ms Nisha Rana filed a plea against the move with the Chandigarh Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

She has claimed that the Punjab Government had diverted one post from the non-PCS quota to the PCS quota to allow the promotion of four PCS officers to the IAS.

Taking note of her plea the Government of India has put a rider on the promotions. Ms Rana, who is at present working as Joint Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, has said the move of the state government is in violation of the IAS (Appointment by Selection) Regulation, 1956. 


Mill owners booked for EPF embezzlement
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur May 20
Hundreds of workers of Mukerian Oswal Paper Mill have been deprived of their hard-earned money in an alleged employee provident fund (EPF) scam. A case has been registered against the owners of the mill for embezzling the funds of the workers.

In the complaint, it has been alleged that Rs 28.59 lakh was deducted from the salaries of employees from August 2000 to 2004. However, the amount was not deposited in the EPF accounts of the workers.

However, the role of the EPF authorities in the scam also raises suspicions. It was only after four years that the EPF authorities have got a case registered against the mill owners.

According to sources here, the alleged embezzlement of provident fund could not have been possible without the connivance of certain officials who were supposed to regularly inspect the mill accounts to ensure the deposition of funds.

The sources here allege that the authorities of the mill not only embezzled the amount they had to contribute to the EPF accounts of the workers but also the amount deducted from the salaries of workers.

The mill has stopped production. Nearly 1000 workers are now left in the lurch. The management of the mill had retrenched nearly 250 workers. But even the retrenched workers have not been paid their dues by the management. Remaining workers have also not been paid their salary since March this year.

The president of the workers' union of the Mukerain paper mill, Mr Kehar Singh, alleged that mill owners were trying to sell the land of the project in violation of the rules. He claimed that there was no reason to close down production in the mill. The area had ample raw material and paper of the mill had enough demand in the marker.

The SDM, Mukerian, said he had brokered an agreement between the workers and management. However, the latter did not keep the commitment. “We have advised the workers to move the court to get their dues”, he said

However, none of the representatives of the mill management was available for comments.


Youth kills father’s murderer

Patiala, May 20
A 25-year-old youth whose father was reportedly murdered by a fellow villager nearly six years ago, took revenge when he murdered the accused while he was out on parole.

Harbans Singh had killed Surinderpal Singh in 2000 with a sharp edged weapon at Shermajra village, near here, after which he was convicted in 2002 and sent to Patiala Central Jail. However, today Harbans Singh visited Shermajra on parole but Surinderpal Singh’s son, Lakhbir Singh, killed Harbans Singh with his licensed revolver this evening.

A case under Section 302, IPC, has been registered. TNS


Old woman stoned to death

Batala, May 20
A 75-year-old woman was stoned to death allegedly by her neighbours in the Mahboobabad locality of the district, the police said today.

Nawaboo was killed and her two relatives, Yunus and Daniel, injured when neighbours threw bricks and stones at them last night, the police said, adding, that the reason behind the violence was not immediately known.

The police has registered a case against the neighbours — Rajpal, his brother Raju, his son Ravi and another relative, Happy. All four are absconding. — PTI


Bodies of 2 newborns recovered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 20
The bodies of two newborn babies were recovered in the city in the past 24 hours. While the body of a newborn baby girl was recovered from a canal near the thermal plant, another body of a baby boy was found from a lavatory at the local Civil Hospital.

Sources said some people rang up Sahara Janseva last evening and informed it about the body of a newborn floating in the canal.

In the other incident, the body of the newborn baby boy has been kept at the hospital’s mortuary. The police has rounded up a couple of safai sevaks in this connection.


Wine contractor, 2 others held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 20
The local police today seized a huge quantity of liquor being smuggled into the town from Chandigarh by a local wine contractor through private vehicles, one with a red light atop.

Police sources said Darshan Kumar, the wine contractor, and his two accomplices, identified as Jaspal Singh and Ram Rattan, had been arrested for indulging in smuggling of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and beer. A case under Sections 419, 420 and 170 of the IPC and Section 61 of the Excise Act had been registered against them.

The sources added that 103 boxes of IMFL, containing 12 bottles each, and 49 boxes of beer, containing 12 bottles each, were seized while the accused were smuggling these in a Mohindra jeep and a Zen, with a red light atop.


2 nabbed for cheating

Kharar, May 20
The police rounded up two persons for cheating here today. Harish and Santosh Kumar were claiming that they would return double the amount that was given to them by people. It is alleged that Harish took Rs 300 from a person at the local bus stand promising to return Rs 600.

However, the police rounded them up. OC

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