P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Acquisition of land: farmers to court arrest
Tribune News Service

Barnala (Sangrur), May 23
Nine organisations of farmers in the state today announced their action programme against alleged forcible acquisition of land of farmers in various parts of the state, especially in three villages, Dhaula, Sanghera and Fatehgarh Chhanna (near Barnala) for the Trident Group of Industries by the state government, at a joint “Zamin bachao conference”, in the new grain market here. The conference was attended farmers from various parts of the state, including members of 100 families of the farmers whose lands had been acquired in Dhaula, Sangherra and Fatehgarh Chhanna villages, ‘forcibly’.

The action programme, announced by Mr Bhupinder Singh Sambar, state general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha (Sambar), and Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), says if the state government fails to scrap the notification regarding the acquisition of land of three villages near Barnala, and drop the policy of acquiring lands in other parts of the state then the nine farmer organisations will start “jail bharo andolan” from July 10 for two weeks in the state. For this one lakh volunteers will be enrolled by organising conferences at tehsil-level in June. If even then the government did not pay attention towards the peaceful “jail bharo andolan” then a big “satayagrah” will be initiated in the state to compel the state government to give up its “anti-farmer” policies, including acquisition of lands of the farmers.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), asked people that if they were with the farmer organisations then these would not hesitate to demolish the walls, erected around the acquired lands by the Trident Group in Barnala villages. He also warned Trident Group of Industries that it would have to go from Barnala if he did not stop from “snatching” the lands of the farmers forcibly. He also warned Mr Amarinder Singh that he should not dream of regaining power after Assembly elections due to his “anti-farmer” policies.

Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, state secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha (Sambar), asked Mr Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, to make public terms and conditions, regarding giving land to the Reliance Industries in Punjab. He said if these were in favour of the farmers and Punjab, then they would not oppose it. However, he alleged that in the name of industrial development, Mr Amarinder Singh was planning to garner commission by handing over agriculture land to the big industrial houses.

Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, state president of the BKU (Sidhupur), asked the state government not to acquire lands forcibly. If the government really wanted to acquire land for industrial development then it should purchase the lands with the consent of farmers at the market price, in place of depriving them of land forcibly, he added.

Mr Lehmbar Singh Taggar, state general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Sabha (Taggar), said the farmers would prefer death to surrendering their land to government in a forcible manner. He said if the government wanted to give lands to the industrial houses then it should give them barren lands in place of fertile land.

Mr Ruldu Singh Mansa, convener of the Punjab Kisan Union; Mr Raghbir Singh, senior vice-president of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha; Mr Kuldip Singh Grewal and Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon, both leaders of the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha; Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab; and Mr Baljinder Singh, a member of the Zamin Bachao Committee, Barnala were among the speakers.

Later, the protesters marched through the town from the grain market to the railway station, carrying banners and flags, raising slogans against the state government in support of their demands. 


CM: Sonia to decide on action against Brar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said he had left it to Mrs Sonia Gandhi to take action against senior Congress leader Jagmeet Brar , adding that the matter of finalising the offer to Reliance Industries Limited would be decided in a week's time by the Punjab Government. However, there was no question of offering free land to anyone.

Talking to mediapersons here the Chief Minister said he had met Mrs Gandhi and brought out the facts relating to Mr Brar's statements and their impact. He told her: "I leave it to you to take action". He said the meeting lasted more than 20 minutes. When asked about the reaction of Mrs Gandhi to his complaint, Capt Amarinder Singh said: " I am not saying anything more on the subject".

The Chief Minister said there was no change in the proposal on Reliance. The process on how to make the offer to Reliance was on within the government and it was possible that the Mandi Board might choose to even auction the 20 acre plot in Mohali. The issue regarding land of the PSIEC would also be settled, said the Chief Minister, adding that "everything falls within the parameters laid down for mega projects".


Dental association calls for bandh tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
The Indian Dental Association today gave a call for a Punjab bandh on May 25 with the closure of all dental OPDs in private clinics, government hospitals and dental colleges along with suspension of teaching in the dental institutes of Punjab.

Dr Puneet Girdhar, state secretary, Indian Dental Association and PCMS Dental Association stated that protest day would be observed by all the private and government dental surgeons, dental teachers and students of dental institutes of Punjab.

Welcoming the decision of two members of the National Knowledge Commission, Mr Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Mr Andre Beteille, to submit their resignations to the Prime Minister, Mr Girdhar urged Dr Manmohan Singh to set up an independent judicial commission to review the decisions on reservation and let the commission come out with a widely acceptable and amicable solution so that the reservation policies could reach the under-privileged sections of society who genuinely needed and deserved it.

Dr Girdhar appealed to all the dentists to display the information regarding the closure of OPDs outside their establishments in order to avoid any inconvenience to the patients. He requested all the doctors to give extra care to any critically ill patient or any other emergency.

He further said that Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, had envisioned “India 2020” being progressive country touching all heights in technical skills. He said if the quota system could not improve the downtrodden in 60 years that means something was wrong with the system. It was high time to change the system.

Hoshiarpur: The local unit of the All-India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) held a meeting under the presidentship of Mr Kewal Krishan Heer here today. The members criticised the agitation by the students and doctors against the proposed 27 per cent reservation to the OBCs in higher education institutes.

In a press note, Mr Kewal Krishan Heer condemned the political parties for not making any serious efforts during to past to bring Backward Classes on a par with “swarn” communities. As a result, members of these classes could not get the desired results even after 59 years of Independence.


Rs 2.81 lakh looted from bank
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 23
In a bank robbery under broad daylight today, four unidentified armed persons with muffled faces entered the Sandhe Hasham branch of Punjab National Bank situated on the Ferozepore-Zira road, and looted Rs 2,81,279 at gunpoint.

According to Capt K.S. Gill (Retd) Security Officer, PNB, at around 12.20 pm, four turbaned masked youths armed with pistols entered the bank building and threatened the staff members and customers of dire consequences before pushing them into a corner and locking them inside the staff room. There were reportedly four staff members and 12 to 15 customers. The robbers snatched all mobile phones from the bank staff and customers.

The robbers then tried to open the strong room of the bank but failed to do so. They then collected the entire cash from the counter amounting to Rs 2,81,279 placed it in a bag and escaped. It took bank officials about 15 minutes to raise the alarm. Some persons from the neighbourhood after hearing the alarm came to the bank and opened the door of the staff room to release the bank staff and the customers.

Capt Gill said Mr Gurbaksh Singh, the security guard deployed at the bank, was on leave for the past two days. As a precautionary measure, the bank manager, Mr Subhash Chander Chopra, had requested the nearest police chowki to depute constables.

Capt Gill said though the chowki in charge sent two constables yesterday, today no one from the police chowki, turned up when this incident took place.

After getting the news, Mr Ishwar Chander, DIG Ferozepore Range, and Mr Aprit Shukla, SSP, immediately reached the spot. The police sealed the entire area and initiated search operations to nab the robbers. Mr Shukla said the Kulgari chowki in charge, Mr Harpreet Singh, ASI, had been placed under suspension for negligence of duty and police parties had been dispatched to various places in search of the robbers.

Mr Shukla said the gang involved in today’s robbery had been operating in the area for quite some time. He said the same gang was responsible for bank robberies earlier at Muktsar, Malout, Moga and some other places also.


Pak may allow Sikh token nagar kirtan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
After initial hiccups, the Government of Pakistan is likely to give permission to take out a token nagar kirtan from New Delhi to Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, on the eve of 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, which falls next month.

Mr Parvez Elahi, Chief Minister, West Punjab, has assured Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, that he will prevail upon the Central government to allow a small DSGMC jatha to cross over to Wagah.

However, the SGPC chief, who had also gone to Pakistan, could not hold a meeting with Mr Elahi. He, however, said he had urged the PSGPC chief, Mr Bishan Singh, and the authorities of the Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board to allow a token jatha to visit Pakistan through Wagah. He, however, said the SGPC would take the jatha to Wagah and return from there if the Government of Pakistan did not allow entry.

Meanwhile, Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, yesterday embarrassed his predecessor, Bibi Jagir Kaur, by saying that the call to stop sending jathas to Pakistan after formation of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) was a “blunder”. “What have we achieved by boycotting the jathas to Pakistan?” he asked.

The then SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had stopped sending jathas to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the PSGPC on April 15, 1999. She had alleged that the gurdwara committee, headed by a former ISI chief, Lt-Gen Javed Nasir (founder PSGPC chief) was not acceptable to the Sikhs. However, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, the successor of Bibi Jagir Kaur, had restored the jathas to Pakistan .

After a two-day visit to Pakistan, the SGPC chief yesterday gave a statement regarding the performance of the PSGPC. He said he was satisfied to a great extent about the upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan. However, he said more had to be done.

After Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Avtar Singh is the first SGPC chief to visit Pakistan. He said the SGPC was ready to spare ragis and granthis for maintaining maryada in the Pakistan’s gurdwaras.

The SGPC chief, however, was non-committal over the future of ‘palki’ (gold palanquin) taken by the DSGMC in a procession from Delhi to Nankana Sahib. The SGPC chief said the matter would be decided by the Sikh high priests and the PSGPC.

However, it is learnt that the DSGMC president took the SGPC chief to the sanctum sanctorum of Nankana Sahib and asked him: “Where are the bullet marks?”. On this, the SGPC Chief was in a fix since he had been raising the issue that the “old palki” having bullet marks of the “Nankana Sahib tragedy” of 1921 should not be replaced with the golden palki.


Bathinda girl tops Class VIII exams
Our Correspondent

Mohali , May 23
Girls have bagged the top positions in the middle standard examination of the Punjab School Education Board the result of which was declared here today.

Shivani Garg of MSD Senior Secondary Public School, Bathinda, has secured the first position while Avneet Kaur and Chanpreet Kaur of Holy Heart Senior Secondary Convent School, Mangwal, Sangrur, got the second and third positions.

According to a press release issued by the board, 3,85,657 students appeared as regular candidates out of which 2,50,525 passed the examination putting the pass percentage at 64.96.

The result gazette will be available for the public in the board’s text book sales depots at district and tehsil headquarters on May 25 at 4 p.m.The detailed result will be available from midnight between May 25 and May 26 on websites www.indiaresult.com, www.ilfsets.com, www.amarujala.com and result.jagran.com.


Gang of robbers busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
The district police claimed to have busted a gang of dacoits with the arrest of four persons. The fifth member of the gang, however, managed to flee.

The gang was involved in dacoity and lootings in the district. The police has recovered a pistol, four cartridges, two cartridges of 12 bore, iron rods, daggers and other weapons.

The modus operandi of the gang was that they used to get one of their members employed in residences and after getting complete information about the household the employee used to mix intoxicant in food or milk of the landlords in the night. He would then inform other members, who used to strike.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SSP, said Mr Pritpal Singh Virk, SP(D), got a tip-off that some persons armed with weapons were sitting in a deserted building of the Irrigation Department at Ratton headworks in the Khamano area.

The SSP said he immediately constituted parties led by the SP(D), the DSP, Khamano, and the SHO, Khamano. He said when the police parties raided the site all persons sitting there ran away. However, after a chase the police nabbed four of them. The arrested persons were identified as Usman, Jainal, Mohamad Javed and Toeef, while their fifth accomplice, Raju, managed to flee.

Mr Verma said during a preliminary interrogation they revealed that they all were the members of a gang involved in looting and dacoity in Fatehgarh Sahib and surrounding areas. They disclosed that they were planning to loot a bank. Last night, they entered the house of Kuldeep Singh at Bhurare village where Usman was a servant. Usman mixed some intoxicant in the milk but Kuldeep’s family got suspicious and did not take milk. As the gangsters entered the house the family members got up and raised the alarm.

The SSP said they would be presented in court tomorrow.


Inside Babudom
Vigilance gets new faces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Just a month after Mr A.P. Pandey, the then chief of the high-profile Punjab Vigilance Bureau, was shifted out, the Punjab Government today shifted eight middle-rung officers of his team to give a “new look” to the Vigilance Bureau. These officers were with the bureau since long and have been either shifted out or sent to other postings within the bureau.

These include four SP-level officials who have been moved out but not given a fresh posting. The order issued by the Home Secretary, Mr B.C. Gupta, says “their orders will be issued later”. With this, the new chief of the Vigilance Bureau, the softspoken Mohammad Izhar Alam, will get a new team at his disposal. He was made the chief on April 14 when Mr Pandey was transferred.

Besides, the Punjab Government also transferred 10 other officers, including nine DIG-level officials. However, the crucial part of the order is seen as the change in the Vigilance Bureau.

The Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, who is also the Chief Vigilance Officer, and Mr Pandey had a difference of opinion over the registration of a case against a Ludhiana-based PCS officer by the Vigilance Bureau. The Chief Secretary was not happy at the manner in which the PCS official was booked and made his displeasure known to Mr Pandey.

The PCS Officers Association had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister and also the Chief Secretary. The “tiff” had culminated in Mr Pandey’s transfer.

Mr Pandey’s removal had raised eyebrows among senior police officers. He had led the “fight against corruption” announced by Capt Amarinder Singh in 2002 and was seen as the “blue-eyed boy” of the Chief Minister. The bureau had registered cases against senior Akali leaders, including a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

As per today orders affecting a change in the Vigilance Bureau, Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon, DIG, Vigilance, Flying Squad, Chandigarh, has been moved as DIG, Vigilance, Jalandhar. Mr Narinder Pal Singh, Joint Director, (Administration), Vigilance, who has been promoted, replaces him. Mrs Anita Punj is the new Joint Director (Administration), Vigilance. Mr A.K. Mittal, SP, Vigilance, Chandigarh, and Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, SP, Vigilance, Ferozepore, have swapped places.

Mr Mukwinder Singh Chhina, Mr Gurkirpal Singh, Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon and Mr Amrik Singh, all posted as SPs in the Vigilance, have been moved out but not given a new posting. They have been replaced by Mr Lok Nath, Mr H.S. Bhullar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Toor and Mr Satpal Singh Sidhu.

Meanwhile, the other transfers are: Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, following his promotion, has been posted as DIG, Intelligence and Special Task Force, Chandigarh; Mr Kuldeep Singh , following his promotion, has been posted as DIG, Administrtaion; Mr Arun Kumar Oraon, following his promotion, has been posted as DIG, Computers and Telecommunications; Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, following his promotion, goes as DIG, Provisioning; Mr Rajinder Singh Brar, following his promotion, is the new DIG, Investigation; Mr Kultar Singh, following his promotion, is the new DIG, PAP-II; Mr Sanjeev Kalra has been shifted as DIG, Community Policing; Mr R.L. Bhagat has been posted as DIG, IRB-II, Jalandhar, and Mr B.K. Garg has been posted as DIG, Training.

No order has been issued to appoint an ADC to the Governor of Punjab. Mr P.S. Gill, the existing ADC, has been shifted.


SAD, CPM workers join Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
A section of workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the CPM from the Patti Assembly constituency in Punjab joined the Congress in the presence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at a function here today.

Patti is represented in the Punjab Assembly by Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, son-in-law of the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Among those who joined the Congress were Jathedar Bahal Singh Singhpura, a former chairman of the Market Committee, Bhikiwind, and descendant of Nawab Kapur Singh, and Jathedar Malook Singh Boorchand, general secretary, SAD, Patti. From the CPM, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhikiwind, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, joined the Congress. The trio was accompanied by several supporters and sarpanches of villages of that area. As per a list provided at the function, 20 sarpanches, 15 former sarpanches and 36 members of panchayats, along with 69 supporters, joined the Congress.

Mr Bhikiwind had contested the Patti seat on the CPM ticket and claimed that he had polled nearly 12,000 votes while contesting against Mr Kairon.

Jathedar Bahal Singh Singhpura said he had worked with the Akalis for more than 42 years. He ridiculed the ancestors of Mr Badal alleging that “they were gifted about 3,200 acres for siding with Lord Dalhousie against Maharaja Ranjit Singh”.

The show was managed by Mr Harminder Singh Gill, a one-time loyalist of a former SGPC chief, the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and now general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr Gill was at one time also associated with the All-India Sikh Students Federation.


AISAD to merge with Mann’s party
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) would soon merge with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), said Mr Jaswant Singh Mann.

Addressing mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Mann said the name of the party would be decided at the forthcoming meeting and a formal announcement made then. However, he did not clarify on Mr Simranjit Singh Mann's, stand on a separate State for Sikhs.

He said the new party would form a Panthic morcha after affecting alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (1920) of Mr Ravi Inder Singh and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) of Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra.

He said the Panthic morcha would further form a third front with the help of Communist parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

He hoped that the morcha would be able to unseat Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son Mr Sukhbir Badal from the Akali politics.

He said a session of former presidents of the All-India Singh Students Federation (AISSF) would be held after a month in order to remove the evils plaguing the organisation.


BSP holds protest; submits memorandum
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
Activists of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by its state president, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, held a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner office here today.

Addressing party men, national general secretary Narinder Kashyap, said that after observing the 51-month rule of Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the state, it was found that nothing concrete had been done to uplift Dalits in Punjab.

They handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to be submitted to the Governor. The memorandum said that various genuine demands of the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes had not been implemented, which included non-implementation of the 85th Constitutional Amendment with effect from June 17, 1995 and the Mandal commission report. The other demands were providing free electricity to the SC and Backward Classes unconditionally and granting 50 per cent subsidy on paddy to the poor.


DCC president lashes out at BJP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 23
The District Congress Committee (Urban) president, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, has criticised the statement of BJP leader Arun Jaitely in which he had said that the BJP will fight the forthcoming assembly elections against the Congress on the corruption issue.

Mr Gupta, in a press release, said the president of the SAD which was one of the allies of the BJP, was himself facing charges of corruption in the courts. The conduct of BJP ministers during their coalition government in the state had never been spotless and with what face Mr Jaitley was making such claims.

Mr Gupta added that “the Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh should be given credit for making timely payment to the farmers and lifting their produce on time.”


Forest officials’ bid to frame panchayat member
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, May 23
Forest officials picked up a person who had complained against them and tried to frame him in a case while he had gone to serve them summons of the court.

Mr Darshan Singh a panchayat member from Mehengrowal along with court official went to the house of Forest ranger Jagtar Singh yesterday to serve on him summons of court in a case filed by him against the Forest officials. However, while the court official went inside the house to serve the summons a few Forest officials picked him up and took him into the house.

They allegedly beat him up and took him to the city police station. At the police station they complained that Darshan Singh had attacked them with a sharp-edged weapon.

SSP Hoshiarpur R.N. Dhoke directed a DSP to inquire into the matter. The Court official and neighbours of range officer Jagtar Singh told the police that Darshan Singh was unarmed. A few persons picked him up and took him into the house.

The DSP found the complaint lodged by the Forest officials as false.

Mr Darshan Singh has been admitted in the civil hospital Hoshiarpur for treatment. He told The Tribune that Forest officials had assaulted him and he would file a police complaint against them. Beside Jagtar Singh he has identified Kulraj Singh, Paramjit Singh and Kalia all range officers who attacked him.

The SSP said the complaint filed by the Forest officials against Mr Darshan Singh has been found to be false. An inquiry into the case is still on.

A court at Hoshiarpur has summoned six Forest officials in a case filed by Darshan Singh.

Darshan Singh in his complaint to the court had alleged that the village panchayat had authorised him to take care of forest area in the jurisdiction of village land. On April 18, 2004 the Forest officials, including Rashpal Singh, Harvinder Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Satwant Singh all forest guards, Jagtar Singh forester and Ram Lal range officer felled khair trees from the village land without the consent of the village panchayat. After felling they loaded the cut trees in a tractor trailer.

The crime was witnessed by villager Tarsem Lal who tried to stop the accused. However, the accused threatened him.

The complainant also came to know about the theft and informed then sarpanch Dhiwan Chand. He and the sarpanch tried to stop the tractor trailer filled with illegally felled trees, however, the accused took it away. The police was informed about the theft and it took into its possession the tractor trailer loaded with illegally felled trees. However, later the wood was misappropriated causing loss to the panchayat.

No action was taken against the accused. Rather DSP Ms Balwant Kaur misbehaved and threatened the complainant.

The prime witnesses in the case including former sarpanch Dhiwan Chand and Tarsem Lal deposed before the court in favour of the complainant. The complaint also attached the photographs of the tractor trailer loaded with wood and media clippings regarding the incidence as evidence.

Following this court held that prima facie offence punishable under Sections 379, 447, 120-B of the IPC was made out against the said Forest officials.


Rs 2.5 cr to upgrade infrastructure at Wagah
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 23
The Centre has given the go-ahead to revamp infrastructure at the Wagah joint check post and the international Attari Railway station.

Mr B.S. Lali, Union Secretary (Border Management), Government of India stated this at a meeting with high officials of the BSF and district administration at Wagah yesterday. He said the government had approved Rs 2.5 crore for more facilities for tourists and foreigners from both sides of border.

He said in view of the improvement of relations between two countries the government thought it important to modern facilities at the Attari Railway station and at the border.

Mr Lali said the government had plans to provide better civic amenities, including round-the-clock drinking water, toilets, water coolers besides energising a tubewell to meet water needs of tourists. He said the government had earmarked Rs 68 lakh for the project. Attari Railway station would soon be turned into an international destination and had allotted Rs 1.54 crore for the widening of 1.8 km road connecting railway station with the national highway. He said the government planned to provide additional facilities for customs and immigration departments.

Mr Lali directed the BSF and other security agencies to step up vigil against anti-social elements using Indo-Pakistan border for smuggling narcotics.


World Biodiversity Day observed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 23
Kheti Virasat in association with the Lok Kalyan Samiti and the NSS Department of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) observed World Biodiversity Day here yesterday to generate awareness about depleting biodiversity.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Chander Parkash of Kheti Virasat told students and NSS volunteers that India was one of the 12 mega-diversity countries in the world.

Covering 2.4 per cent of the geographical area of the total land, it accounted for 7 to 8 per cent of the reported biodiversity in the world. He said till date 1.75 million species had been described whereas Global Biodiversity Assessment estimated 13 to 14 million such species.This meant that a large number of species lay unexplored .

Dr Adarsh Pal Vig, Department of Environment Sciences , held that habitat destruction, over-exploitation, pollution, introduction of exotic species, epidemics and floods were the reasons for decline in biodiversity.


CEC asked to de-recognise SAD
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 23
Mr Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer of New Delhi, on behalf of Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, has asked the Chief Election Commissioner of India to dispose of the petition of his client filed in 2005 for de-recognising the Shiromani Akali Dal and freezing its election symbol.

Mr Khera had filed a petition against the Shiromani Akali Dal under Section 29-A (5) of the Representation of People's Act, 1952 , in which he had stated that under the chapter on Registration of Political Parties it was clearly stated that a political party shall bear true allegiance to the Constitution of India and by the law established to the principle of secularism in its memorandum or rules and regulations.

Further Section 29-A (7) had a proviso that nobody or association shall be registered as a political party uness its memorandum or rules and regulations conformed to the provisions of Sections 29-A (5).

However, the Shiromani Akali Dal was found violating Sections 29-A (5), by deliberatelyparticipating in the elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) ,which was purely a religious body.

This conduct was against former judgements by the Supreme Court as in the case of S. R. Bommai vs Union of India (1994) and the State of Karnataka vs Praveen Togadia (2004). 


Nursing council staff oppose move to shift office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Employees of the Punjab Nursing Registration Council have opposed the move to shift the office from Mohali to Chandigarh.

Sources said some employees of the council had approached the MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, requesting him to take up the issue with the authorities concerned.

According to the sources, there is a move to shift the office of the council in Sector 40 near the office of the Director Research and Medical Education (DRME).

The employees have conveyed to Mr Bir Devinder Singh that there was no direct link between the council and the office of the DRME. However, the DRME is the president of the council.

With the shifting of the office of the council, not only employees will face problems but money will also have to be spent on furnishing the new office. The council’s source of income is collection of money from nursing students. The employees say that while Haryana has shifted most of its offices from Chandigarh to Panchkula, the Punjab Government should also make a complex of all its offices at Mohali instead of shifting the council’s office to Chandigarh.


Man electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 23
Mandeep Singh (27), a resident of Madwal village, near here, was electrocuted today and his cousin injured allegedly due to the negligence on the part of the staff of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

According to a complaint lodged with the police by Kuldip Singh, deceased’s cousin, they had complained to the PSEB authorities regarding a technical fault in the electric motor of their tubewell on May 18.

Following the complaint, two PSEB employees Satpal and Joginder Singh came to the spot to rectify the fault.The complaint alleged that instead of going up to the overhead transmission cables to set the fault right, the employees asked Mandeep to climb up the stairs to do the job.

Since the transmission lines above the existing cables were allegedly not switched off by the PSEB staff, Mandeep came in contact with the electric current killing him on the spot after Mandeep’s electrocution, the wire fell on Kuldip injuring him.The PSEB employees later allegedly fled. Mandeep is survived by his wife and a two-year-old daughter.

Meanwhile, Kuldip has been shifted to the local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC. 


DEO granted bail in forgery case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 23
Mr K.K. Garg, Sessions Judge, Sangrur, yesterday granted bail to the officiating District Education Officer (Elementary), Sangrur, Parmod Kumar, in a case registered against him and R.K. Enterprises, a local firm, in connection with an alleged bungling in the sale/purchase of computers.

The Sessions Judge also granted bail to Tejdeep Singla of Imaging Computers, Chandigarh, in the case, while he dismissed the bail application of Rahul Garg of R.K. Enterprises, Sangrur.

After an inquiry, a case was registered against Parmod Kumar and a local computer-selling firm, R. K. Enterprises, under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 120-B and 409 of the IPC and 13 (1) C, 13 (2), Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, by the local police on May 12. The DEO and Rahul Garg of R.K. Enterprises were arrested on May 13. Later they were remanded in police custody. A local court on May 18 had sent Parmod Kumar, Rahul Garg and Tejdeep Singla, who was arrested later, in judicial custody for 14 days.


Wireless ‘scam’: HC reserves verdict
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 23
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa today reserved its judgement on the PIL filed by two advocates seeking a comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the alleged embezzlement of about Rs 2.58 crore in the purchase of wireless sets by the Punjab Police.

The petitioners, Mr Ashok Chaudhary and Mr R.K. Kwatra, have told the court that since top officers of the Punjab Police are allegedly involved in the matter, the investigation should be handed over to an independent agency.

They have claimed that the purchases were made, "without technical evaluation of the wireless equipment, from a fraudulent company already blacklisted". This, they asserted, "was endangering not only national security, but also undermining the integrity of the complete police force".

Some time ago the Punjab Government had informed the court that two senior police officers, former Additional Director-General of Police (Computers and Wireless) D.R. Bhatti and former Superintendent of Police (Telecommunications) Malwinder Singh Sidhu, had been charge-sheeted for their alleged involvement in the scam.

However, the two had also filed affidavits in the court, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregularities.

In his affidavit, Mr Bhatti had stated that he was willing to face the consequences if the CBI came to the conclusion that there was any misconduct on his part. He claimed that recommendations were made after examining the final report by ADGP R.K. Gupta. He had also asked the High Court not to permit the Punjab Government to make him and Mr Sidhu scapegoats.

Thereafter, the court had directed the Directorate of Quality Assurance, Bangalore, to examine the wireless sets supplied to the Punjab Police following the tender process. The Directorate was told to submit the inquiry report within six weeks, which it did.

Today, the court reserved its judgement in the matter after hearing counsel for various parties.


high court
Heritage site

Chandigarh, May 23
Despite the High Court's directive to the petitioner and the Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, to sit together and try to work out a settlement regarding the historic heritage site at Aasron village in Nawanshahr, nothing concrete came out.

On the last hearing, the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa, while ordering status quo on the site, which is said to be closely associated with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, had also suggested that the petitioner - the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation through its president Prof Gurbax Singh Shergill - hold a meeting with Swaraj Mazda representative as also the Deputy Commissioner to find a solution.

It is said that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had hoisted his flag and established an artillery post at the site in 1831 before meeting Lord William Bentick on October 26, 1831, on the other side of the Sutlej.

Today, counsel for the foundation claimed that the site was in the danger of being demolished as the Japanese company, Swaraj Mazda, was continuing its demolition drive in the area as part of expansion of its vehicle producing factory.

Thereafter, the Bench directed that the parties sit together again on May 25 to find a solution. Hearing will resume on May 29. 


Sohal to deliver lectures in USA
Tribune New Service

Patiala, May 23
Dr M.S. Sohal, Professor in the Department of Physiotherapy and Sports Sciences, Punjabi University has been invited to deliver lectures at the International Society of Sports Nutrition conference slated to be held at Las Vegas from June 15 to 17.

Mr Sohal will be delivering lectures on the topics of “Role of nutrition in athletic performance and Role of supplementation on the performance of Punjab hockey players”.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |