P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


11th Plan must address food insecurity: experts
Call for gender-sensitive budgeting
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Issues of food insecurity and agrarian crisis set the tone for the regional consultation on Engendering the 11th Five-Year Plan, held in Chandigarh today.

A three-day long civil society initiative, supported by UNDP and UNIFEM, the consultation seeks to address the concerns of people from eight north Indian states and UTs including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Chandigarh.

For those who have seen gender stereotypes and impracticable policies get the better of Plan documents in India, the consultation was a platform for voicing genuine concerns, most of them stemming from food insecurity, alarming malnutrition figures, deepening agrarian crisis and complete absence of livelihood strategies.

Drawing the attention of intelligentsia towards the issue of food security and rural livelihoods was eminent researcher Maithreyi Krishnaraj who put the entire agrarian crisis in perspective for the think tank that has been set up to help Planners work towards a better, healthier and equitable India.

Presently working on the book “Gender, Food Security and Rural Livelihoods” commissioned by the Swaminathan Foundation, Dr Krishnaraj said: “Annual agricultural growth rate has come down to 2 per cent, and where agriculture was contributing 47 per cent to GDP once, it is now contributing less than 25 per cent. The challenge is grave because 63 per cent of our population is still in the primary sector; 80 per cent of women in India are in primary sector.”

Building this argument, the participants in the consultation coordinated by Dr Pam Rajput, said the planners must recognise that women are very much the mainstays of agriculture.

“Percentage of rural households with cultivated land is over 55 per cent and that of landless households is almost 40 per cent. Women are still holding on to land and they can no longer be seen just as family farm workers. Besides being sensitive to women while planning, the government must pay attention to agricultural credit and make it available to farmers trapped in the cycle of debt. Prices must be made fairer; and farmers must be told where they have to go to secure MSP. Most farmers don’t know where procurement agencies are located.”

Another area of concern for experts was food insecurity in India. In 2004 the UN System’s Standing Committee on Nutrition observed: “Overall trends in nutrition outcomes in India over the last few decades has manifested itself as a slight reduction in the numbers of severely malnourished pre school children. At the same time household food security has hardly changed despite reduction in proportion of people below poverty line.”

While debating the issue, experts said it was important to understand that a household is food secure only when it has access to the food needed for a healthy life of all its members — adequate in terms of quality and quantity and culturally acceptable. Apart from Dr Krishnaraj, C.P. Sujaya, former Additional Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh, said there was a need to allocate more funds in the Plan for women’s upliftment, and to make the budgets gender sensitive in true sense.

That women’s sectors are severely neglected is clear from the mid-term appraisal of the Tenth Five Year Plan. A total of 13,780 crore was set aside for Women and Child Development in this Plan; of this, 90 per cent went to ICDS schemes. Of the remaining 10 per cent, only half had been spent by the end of the fourth year of the Plan.

The consultation was inaugurated today by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Punjab Deputy CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also attended the session held at Panjab University.


Anil Ambani one up, gets SEZ in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Mr Anil Ambani, younger brother of Reliance Industries Limited chief Mukesh Ambani, today pipped his brother in setting up a major project in Punjab. While Mr Mukesh Ambani’s ambitious agri-produce marketing project is caught in a political storm, the younger Ambani got approval to set up a 5,000 acre Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Punjab.

Mr Anil Ambani heads the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. His proposal, made by one his companies — Reliance One World — was approved by the Empowered Committee of the Punjab Government headed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

He intends to set up the SEZ in the Mansa-Bathinda area which is considered an industrially backward belt of the state. It is expected to give a big boost to that area. This entails an investment of nearly Rs 5,000 crore. The group has reportedly purchased about 3,500 acres of land from farmers for the project. Officials in the Punjab Government said this would be a multi-product SEZ that would have separate units dealing in food and agricultural produce, the automobile, industry and garments and apparel, among other items. This means it would target all manufacturing segments, said the officials.

By locating the SEZ in Mansa the company intends to cater to Haryana and Rajasthan and also be closer to the National Capital Region when approached via Hisar.

The committee also approved a project of Klauss India Limited, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Klauss Germany, to set up a greenfield facility in Punjab in the free economic zone or on the Kharar-Morinda-Ludhiana road or in an adjoining area for manufacturing combine harvesters and agri machinery components for global sourcing.

The project will provide direct employment to 200 to 300 persons and will be set up on 10 hectares at a total cost of Rs 112.24 crore.

The committee also approved 43 new mega projects — 27 industrial and 16 housing projects — with an investment of Rs 12370.38 crore, thereby generating employment potential for nearly 29,000 persons.

The committee also cleared two industrial parks to be developed by Mesers Intercity Property Promoters and Mesers Senior Builders Ltd. Besides this, six projects for multiplexes promoted by Mohali Infrastructures Ltd, Aeren R. Buildcon Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, Guru Nanak Paper Mills Ltd, Collage Estates Pvt. Ltd, Advance India Projects Ltd, New Delhi, Rayat and Bahra Institutes Pvt Ltd, Also eight projects for hotels will be developed by Mohali Infrastructures Ltd, Ambika Resorts Pvt Ltd, K.C. Land & Finance Ltd, V.M. Hotels & Resorts, Aeren R. Buildcon Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 
Macrame Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, Guru Nanak Paper Mills Ltd. and Advance India Projects Ltd, New Delhi. These projects were also approved at the meeting.

Out of the 16 mega housing projects nine be set up in Mohali, three each in Amritsar and Patiala and one in Ludhiana.


BJP, SAD activists block traffic
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 1
At least 300 activists of BJP and SAD (B) led by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, and BJP chief Punjab, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, MLA, Mr Jang Bahadur Rai, member, SGPC, and Mr Mohinder Pal Mann, BJP leader, carrying black flags, staged march from Gurdatta Mal Park to the office of Sub Divisional Magistrate (Civil) and blocked traffic at Garhshankar, 40 km. from here, today in protest against the alleged harassing and pressurising party of workers by the administration an the behest of leaders of the ruling party. They lifted the blockade and the traffic was resumed after half an hour.

Talking to this correspondent on telephone, Mr Khanna said he personally apologized from the passengers for their inconvenience in the scorching sun and told them that there was no other alternative to lodge their protest against the harassment of BJP and SAD (B) workers to restrict their participation in the party programmes.

He alleged that party workers were forced by the government officers not to participate in his rally organised at Seena village in the Bet area of Garhshankar three days ago. He said by doing so members of the ruling party had tried to crush the voice of public.

He said people had lost their complete faith in the Congress regime due to skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, prevailing corruption in government machinery and atrocities on the weaker section, especially on Dalits.


Farmers seek linkage of MSP with price index
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 1
Hundreds of members and activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) and the BKU (Lakhowal), led by Mr Gurjant Singh Mangwal, district president of the BKU (Rajewal), and Mr Gurdev Singh Amargarh, district president of the BKU (Lakhowal), yesterday staged a dharna in support of their demands in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here.

Almost all speakers criticised the central and state government for their alleged anti-farmer policies. They said that due to the wrong policies of the government, the farmers were committing suicides in different parts of the state. They asked the state government to waive the entire loan, worth thousands of crores, of farmers. They also asked the state government to make arrangements to provide them loans at the rate of 4 per cent interest in future.

The farmer leaders also demanded minimum support price (MSP) of the crops by linking the MSP with the price index. They said the MSP for wheat should be at least Rs 950 per quintal. They also demanded pending bonus of Rs 20 per quintal on the paddy, which had been promised by Capt Amarinder Singh during the previous Assembly elections for the paddy procurement season of the year 2001.

Prominent among others who attended and addressed the dharna included Prof Manjit Singh Kadian, acting president of the BKU (Lakhowal); Mr Bhupinder Singh Maheshri, press secretary of BKU (Lakhowal); Mr Puran Singh Shahkot, general secretary (Finance) of the BKU (Lakhowal); Mr Labh Singh Karrail, Mr Malkit Singh Lakhmirwala and Mr Naranjan Singh Dohla, district vice-president, general secretary and press secretary, respectively of the BKU (Rajewal).


Gurdaspur bypass unused for seven years
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 1
The multi-crore Gurdaspur bypass has been rendered useless due to lack of coordination between the Center Public Works(CPW) and the Railway Department.

The bypass was constructed by the SAD/BJP government. However, even after more than seven years, portion of the bypass connecting the Batala road has not been put to use. The reason is that the Railways has failed to put up a manned or unmanned crossing over the portion of the road. Instead of laying the crossing, it has put iron girders on the road, rendering it useless.

As per rules, before passing the plan of any new road, the PWD authorities have to get a level crossing coming on it approved from the Department of Railway. However, in the present case, the PWD authorities laid the road without getting the level crossing approved.

The CPW has been re-laying and repairing the road even though it is not being used. Lakhs have been spent on the repair of the road.

When The Tribune team visited the spot, some villagers were busy shaving their cattle in front of the girders put by the Railways on the road.

Residents have demanded that the portion of the bypass should be made functional. If it was made functional, it could ease traffic. Presently, all heavy traffic coming from Amritsar has to pass through Gurdaspur, creating chaos in the town. If the bypass is made functional, only local traffic would pass through the town.

The Chief Engineer, National Highways, said the Railways had to appoint a person at the level crossing but since it had not been done, the bypass had been lying unused. The matter had been taken with the authorities concerned and was in the knowledge of the Deputy Commissioner.

The PWD Minister, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, said he would look into the matter. 


Manmohan weak PM: Mann
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
Terming Dr Manmohan Singh as “very weak Prime Minister”, the SAD (Amritsar) president, Mr Simranjeet Singh Mann, yesterday flayed the extension granted to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr B.K. Chaturvedi.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone, Mr Mann said such steps led to “demoralisation and disgruntlement” among all the senior IAS officers. He alleged that on the one hand the PM talked about improving the efficiency of bureaucracy and on the other he had demoralised it in one stroke. He alleged that Dr Singh could not manage bureaucracy and he had no moral authority to give lectures to bureaucracy.

He also came down heavily on the state government for appointing the “junior-most IAS officer” as the Chief Secretary and “planting” an IPS officer from other state as the DGP.


BJP workers urge party chief to oppose quota

Patiala, June 1
Workers of the BJP today urged party president Raj Nath Singh to oppose the congress-led UPA government’s policy of reservation on the basis of caste.

Mr K. K. Sharma, former president, BJP, who presided over a meeting of the workers here, in a press statement said party leadership had been made aware of the fact that if the trend of reservation on caste basis was not checked it would lead to a civil war in the country.

He said the BJP leadership had been advocating the principle of united India and it must also oppose the reservation based on caste.

He said the party workers appreciated the stand of Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu in this issue. — TNS


‘Pashupalika’ runs into land row
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 1
Are an official of the Punjab Veterinary Departnment and some “self-styled animal lovers” allegedly eyeing prime land in the Police Lines here belonging to the Punjab Police Department and the PWD in the name of animal welfare?

The answer seems to be in affirmative if some recent unsavoury developments pertaining to “Pashupalika”, a Punjab Police-run animal rescue welfare centre, which had shot into limelight for its unique nature and functioning, are observed minutely.

The animal centre — first of its kind to be run by any police force in India — was inaugurated by the then Jalandhar police chief, Mr Gaurav Yadav, in 2000 with a dual objective of rendering medical aid to hapless injured and traumatised stray animals and inculcating spirit of kindness towards them among people in general and children in particular.

But, the centre has sunk into the quagmire of politics with a government veterinary official and some other “animal welfare activists” reportedly claiming that the centre was being “funded and run” by a non-government animal welfare organisation, with whom the official is associated, and not by the police.

Not only this, of late, claims were also reportedly made by certain “self-styled” animal welfare activists that nearly four kanals of the prime land worth crores of rupees, on which the centre was set-up by the police, was “provided” by Mr Yadav to the NGO.

Whereas, the fact was that the land was neither allotted nor provided officially or unofficially to the organisation by the then SSP or by any of other senior police officials as it was only within the jurisdiction of the Home Secretary, Punjab, to allot any police land to an individual or NGO. All animal welfare activists, irrespective of their affiliations, were in fact only allowed to volunteer their services and help to suffering animals at “Pashupalika”.

On the other hand, “animal welfare” activists, instead of confining their activities to the piece of land owned by the Punjab Police, expanded their area of operation to another adjoining piece of land, measuring about one acre, allegedly without any proper allotment. That one acre, in fact, belonged to the PWD.

“We were asked by the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, to shift our ‘suffering’ animals on this PWD land as we had no other land with us. We have, however, not been allotted any land by the PWD or the police so far”, clarified the veterinary official and another animal lovers associated with the NGO.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said: “We are going to enquire into the developments”. 


Installation ceremony a dull affair
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The first formal installation ceremony of the Punjab Arts Council turned out to be a lackluster affair.

Organised with a lot of spirit but hardly any skill, the show went on like one of those school functions where bright students are called on stage one by one and warmly rewarded by the chief guest.

“I will make art profitable like industry”

The newly constituted Punjab Arts Council’s chairman Mr Kewal Dhillon is all set to infuse life into the dead body of the council. On the occasion of his installation he promised to make art and culture profitable. “Art is an industry. It needs proper planning and marketing strategies. I plan to set up a recording studio at the Kala Bhavan and promote the immense musical talent that exists in our state.”

Dhilllon will also invite NRIs to invest in cultural promotion of Punjab, besides convincing film maker Yash Chopra to set up base in the region. Another item on his agenda is the formulation of a cultural policy that would enable policy makers to take some direction.

Only today the chief guest was Minister, Culture, Punjab and the rewarded lot featured some of the tallest figures in the world of Punjabi art and literature. The list included presidents of the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Dolly Guleria and Shiv Singh, respectively, Punjabi litterateur Dr Ajmer Singh Aulakh, sculptor AC Sagar, painter R.M. Singh, theatre artist Sahib Singh, author Rama Rattan, and many others who deserved more respect than what came their way on what was supposed to be a historic installation ceremony.

The mismanagement, however, seemed to have roots in the chronic problem of fund crunch which the council has been facing for long. The function was held at the Punjab Kala Bhavan’s semi-functional auditorium.

The only saving grace of the day was General Secretary of the Council Prof Rajpal Singh who bound the audience in the web of his narration, while also apologising profusely for the mess and the heat. The indication to the visiting minister Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa was loud and clear: “The council has no money to groom itself.”

The minister, however, did not oblige the newly constituted council team with any rosy announcements. Without offering financial assistance, he promised all other support, while throwing the ball in the court of Mr Kewal Dhillon, the industrialist-chairman of the council who is now expected to clear the Punjab Arts Council of the financial mess it had landed into.

Save references to the cultural policy for Punjab, Mr Bajwa did not make any other significant statements. He, however, congratulated the team and hoped Mr Dhillon would find the time and the resources to make the Kala Bhavan auditorium functional, and in due course the arts council alive and kicking.


Clean chit to Gaurav raises questions
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 1
The clean chit given by the Himachal Police to Gaurav Kapur, a Jalandhar-based youth who had been arrested for his alleged misdemeanour at the Hamirpur circuit house where Swami Ramdev was staying, has raised questions, with the most important one being that if he was not linked with the Jaish-e-Mohammed, then who had raised the issue and with what motive.

Meanwhile, Mr Sheetal Vij, a local industrialist and organiser of Swami Ramdev's camp here recently, has filed a defamation case against a vernacular paper and has demanded Rs 5 crore as compensation.

The Hamirpur SP has reportedly given a clean chit to Gaurav, saying that investigations do not reveal that he has contacts with a militant organisation. He also denied that Gaurav had been deployed to keep a watch on Swami Ramdev's activities by Mr Vij.

Some people suspect that the entire drama could have been cooked up by Swami Ramdev or his supporters to get him Z-plus security. 


35 water samples from govt schools fail
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 1
Out of 86 water samples collected by the district health authorities during the past three months from various government schools of this district, 35 have failed the purity test.

The health authorities also collected samples from various non-government establishments/institutions during the past three months. Out of 46 samples taken from private institutions, 14 have failed.

The authorities had collected 171 water samples from government and non-government institutions in March, April and May. The results of 37 are yet to come. Eightyfive have passed the test.

According to sources in the Health Department, the samples are sent to the Chandigarh-based State Bacteriological Laboratory. The authorities, however, cannot take action if the water sample of a specific place has failed. They have no power to close the water source or initiate proceedings against the owner or head of the institution on their own.

An officer of the department said they could only bring the matter to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner. Even after finding that the water was unfit for consumption, the water source could not be closed immediately. 


Village women launch anti-drug campaign
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
While the involvement of women in the supply of drugs is on the rise in the region, their counterparts in Jodhpur Pakhar village have kicked off a campaign to sensitise villagers on the ill-effects of drug addiction.

Inspired by their effort, a de-addiction camp was jointly organised by a group of voluntary organisations in the village today. About 150 persons were provided medication.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari said the women had set an example by taking lead in the anti-drug campaign. He lauded them for constituting an anti-drug association and extended an aid of Rs 21,000 to it.

He appealed to the people to adopt their religious traditions and keep away from evils like drug addiction and female foeticide. The DC also announced financial aid for erecting a boundary wall around the village waterworks.

The SSP, Mr Varinder Kumar, said the police was taking measures to check the supply of drugs in the district. He said all police station in charges had been directed to hold meetings with medical shop owners to curb the sale of intoxicating drugs. He said medical stores running on borrowed licences would be shut.

The Yuwak Bhalai Club, Dashmesh Sports Club, United Welfare Club and District Red Cross extended aid to the women’s association in organising the camp.

Talwandi Sabo SDM K.K. Yadav and DSP Jaspal Singh were also present.


IPS officer fails in Hindi test!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Punjab cadre, currently posted in Ludhiana district, has failed his Hindi test. Interestingly, the IPS officer hails from a Hindi-speaking state. However, he has passed his Punjabi test.

According to the results, of the examination held in March, 2006, by the Central Committee of Examination, Punjab, the IPS officer failed in Hindi and passed in 

The civil services, police and judicial service officers are supposed to have at least the basic knowledge of the local and the national languages.

They are also supposed to qualify the test conducted by the state government. The test is invariably of qualifying nature only.


Medicos suspend anti-quota stir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
Junior residents and medical students in the wake of the apex court’s decision decided to suspend the ongoing anti-reservation protest and joined their duties here today.

Mr Gagandeep Sharma, president, Amritsar Medical College Association, in a press statement said that they had full faith in the judiciary and would watch the further proceedings in the coming days. He said the main objective of this agitation was to protest against the policy of political leaders to divide the country on the basis of caste and religion and to make the people aware of their vote bank politics and to initiate public debate on the sensitive issue.


Dullo wants quota for poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Toeing a slightly different line from the one taken by his party, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, said there should be reservation for the wards of poor people belonging to non-reserved categories.

He said there were poor people among the non-reserved categories and they deserved reservation for their wards. There should also be an economic basis for reservation in academic and other institutions, he added.


Punjabi Parbodh exam on June 6
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
The State Languages Department will hold Punjabi Parbodh Vishesh Examination at the department’s head office on June 6.


Life term for killing wife
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
Bhajan Singh, a resident of Ghanua village, was today sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his wife by the District and Sessions Judge, Ms Rekha Mittal. The accused was also fined Rs 5,000 and in case of default in the payment of fine, he will undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months more.

Father of the deceased, Jagdish Singh of Ludhiana lodged a complaint with the police that his daughter, Jasbir Kaur who was married to Bhajan Singh was set on fire by her husband on September 5, 2000. Later she was admitted to the PGI in serious conditions and died there on September 6. The complainant, told the police that Bhajan Singh used to harass his daughter to bring more dowry.


ASI promoted for good performance
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 1
ASI Roshan Lal, deployed with the CIA Staff, Rajpura, has been promoted as a Sub Inspector for his outstanding performance.

Mr Hardish Singh Randhawa, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Patiala Range) honoured him at a formal function organised here yesterday. Besides a number of senior police officials, The in charge of the CIA Staff, Rajpura, Mr Saranjit Singh was also present on the occasion.


10-year-old rescued from kidnapper
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 1
Asif (10), son of Mr Khaleel of Saharanpur, was today rescued by the police here after it had received an information that an elderly person was forcibly taking a minor boy with him in the train.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, said after receiving the information he sent two policemen in plain clothes at the railway station. The police succeeded in locating the kidnapped boy at the railway station, however, his kidnapper escaped.

Asif said he had left his house with a view to roaming here and there. But, when he reached Delhi, the elderly man kidnapped him and forcibly brought him here. He said he had five brothers and sisters and his father was a physically challenged person.

The SSP said the police had arrested Harjinder Singh, resident of Landa village, near Sherpur, who had confessed that he had fabricated a story that four youths had robbed him of his motor cycle and Rs 75,000 near the Kaheru bridge under the Dhuri police station on May 29.

He told the police that he had spent some of the money on purchasing intoxicants and lost the rest of it in “satta”. The police had recovered the motor cycle.


School watchman murdered
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 1
Gurdial Singh (55), son of Gulzara Ram of Hargarh, was killed on the spot when miscreants assaulted him with sharp-edged weapons at Government Senior Secondary School, Piplanwala, here last night. He was a watchman of the school.

According to police sources, some miscreants entered the school premises by scaling its boundary wall and assaulted Gurdial who was on duty. They broke the telephone instrument and took away the key of the lock of the main gate. Later, they fled on his motor cycle (No. PB-07G-7438).

In the morning another watchman of the school, Kundal Lal of Harkowal, found Gurdial murdered.

A case under Section 396 of the IPC has been registered.


Punjabi Tribune scribe attacked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 1
Two persons today attacked Punjabi Tribune scribe of Bhucho Mandi, Parwinder Jaura, near Bhucho Khurd on the Bathinda-Barnala road. Though Jaura got injured in the attack, he sped away from the spot and saved himself.

Sources said Jaura’s car developed some snag when he was on his way from Bhucho Mandi to Bathinda. When the scribe was fixing his vehicle, a Bhucho resident, along with his accomplice, attacked him with sharpedged weapons.

The scribe fled from the scene. He was admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Sources said the same people had attacked Jaura on July 8, 2005, in relation with a news item. The police had registered a case against three persons in this connection.

Mediapersons of the city condemned the attack and took up the matter with SP (D) Ajay Maluja.


Man hacks minor son, daughter to death
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
In a bizarre incident, a migrant rag picker hacked to death his son (5) and daughter (3) to death here today.

The rag-picker, Gopi Chand, is drunkard and had a dispute with his wife.

According to Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (City -II) , the culprit was arrested immediately after the incident. However, his second son, Lalin , (10) saved himself by running away when his sister and brother were being hacked to death. He raised the alarm and told the neighbours about the incident.

The Sadar Police station registered an FIR on the complaint of his neighbour Jang Bahadur . The complainant alleged that the wife of the culprit had deserted him.

Gopi Chand had been living in local Fatehpur Colony for a long time.


Bar association secy booked for rape
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 1
The local police booked the bar association secretary for raping a girl at pistol-point yesterday. Mr Varinder Singh Sandhu, secretary, has been charged under Sections 376, 506, IPC.

A couple, Baljit Kaur and Jaspal Singh, was caught by the local police near the State Bank of India branch for indecent activity. The police registered a case u/s 109. The duo hired Varinder Sandhu as their advocate. They appeared before the court of the SDM, Mr Jora Singh, yesterday.

But after producing his client before the SDM, Mr Varinder Sandhu took Baljit Kaur in his car to a secluded place. As per the statement of Baljit Kaur, Varinder Sandhu allegedly raped Baljit Kaur at pistol-point.

The accused is absconding.


Hawala racket: 2 more arrested
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 1
The Ropar police yesterday arrested two more persons, Sunit Dhawan and Partap Rai, both residents of Ludhiana, in the hawala racket. The two were arrested from Ludhiana by a Ropar police party acting on tip-off by the two accused already arrested by the police. Earlier, the police had arrested a resident of New Delhi, Achit Walia, and Satpal hailing from Pinjore and confiscated Rs 7 lakh, a .303 bore pistol and live cartridges.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, told The Tribune that the hawala racket was busted with the arrest of the two members of a gang led by Balwinder Singh Thakur of Chandigarh involved in 14 criminal cases.

The five members of the gang, including Balwinder Singh Thakur had gathered in Behrampur Jimidrna village SYL canal to divide the money among themselves and were preparing to commit a dacoity. They were in a Maruti car (HR-70-3049).

After getting secret information about their activities, the police party raided the place and arrested the two, Achit Walia and Satpal, while three others, including the gang leader, managed to escape.

The SSP, said after interrogation of the two, it surfaced that they had looted Rs 7 lakh from Sunil Dutt while he was on his way to Jalandhar.

Partap Rai had received an amount of Rs 7 lakh which he handed over to his associate Sunit Dhawan for being sent to thier contact in Jalandhar. Thereafter, Sunit Dhawan and Partap Rai were arrested.

The police has registered a case against the gang members.


Gang involved in bank robbery busted
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 1
The Pathankot police has busted a gang of robbers responsible for a bank robbery in Pathankot, looting cash from the Mukerian paper mill and lottery stalls in Jalandhar.

The SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Param Raj Singh Umrananagal, said that last evening they got the information that a Maruti car had been stolen from a restaurant in Shahpur kandi. Nakas were put up on all the main roads.

SHO Sulakhan Singh had put up a naka on the Pathankot-Madhopur road. He intercepted a maruti car. The person driving the car tried to flee. He was, however, nabbed and later identified as Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Randhawa Colony in Mukerian.

During interrogation Kulwinder Singh said that he had recently bought a carbine and five live cartridges from a person of Gwalior. The weapon had been hidden at Talwara Jattan village.

The accused has admitted having looted Rs 51,500 from the Pathankot-based State Bank of Patiala along with his accomplices Kuldeep Singh of Sadapur village in Boghpur, Manjeet Singh of Mukerian and Parminder Singh of Gardhiwal.

Interestingly, the police earlier also had claimed to have arrested the robbers who allegedly carried a similar robbery.

Kulwinder Singh had also admitted looting a lottery stall in Jalandhar and the Mukerain Sugar mill.

The SSP further said that the investigation into the case was still on and efforts were being made to identify the source from whom the robbers acquired weapons.


Youth shot by kin
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
A criminal case has been registered against Malwinder Singh and his father Tirlok Singh, both local residents, for their alleged involvement in the murder of a youth of Ragho Majra locality, late last night.

The police said Ranjit Singh Anand alias Dimple, who was running an electric goods repair shop, was shot dead at his house last night by two unidentified persons. The accused walked upto the house of the victim and rang the door bell. When the victim opened the door, he was shot at.

Though the victim was rushed to the local Rajindra by residents of locality, he was declared brought dead. The murder of Ranjit Singh generated a wave of fear among the residents of the locality, which is situated about half a kilometre away from New Moti Bagh palace, the private residence of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Mandeep Singh Sidhu, SP, City, said Gursharan Kaur and her husband Baljinder Singh, sister and brother-in-law of the victim respectively, had some property dispute with the accused, Tirlok Singh and Malwinder Singh, father and brother of Baljinder Singh. Gursharan Kaur and Baljinder Singh were ousted from their parental house by their kin Tirlok Singh and Malwinder Singh few months ago and were living separately. However, their dispute over a business premises was still continuing.

Mr Sidhu said a case under Section 302 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act had been registered against them.


“Stepmotherly treatment” to Mass Comm Dept
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 1
While Guru Nanak Dev University GND University has vowed to spend a whopping Rs 50 lakh on imparting education and vocational training to Amritsar Central Jail inmates, the “step-motherly” treatment being meted out by the university authorities towards the Department of Mass Communication at GND University Jalandhar-based regional campus has put a question mark on the functioning of the university.

The “constant injustice” to the department has caused resentment among the faculty members to such a degree that even its Head, Dr Kamlesh Singh Duggal, and certain other teachers have started feeling it to be victims of a “wider conspiracy,”

The latest example of the university alleged indifference towards the department was its decision to shift the responsibility of taking entrance examination for the MA (mass communication) course to the Department of Laws. Journalism department officials, had always been responsible for conducting the test since its inception in 1995. The move of the university has disheartened the teachers and students as well.

“Though the university has the right to shift the responsibility of entrance examination, since such a step is unprecedented, it gives an impression that the university has no faith in their teachers. Any injustice towards teachers will not be tolerated,” said Dr Davinder Singh Johl, president of the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers’ Association.

As if this was not enough, “Cresendo,” a magazine brought out by the Students’ Council, has been subjected to ‘unnecessary’ scrutiny by GND university. Though the Mass Communication Department students had borne all expenses on the magazine, the teachers of the department were asked to explain each and every penny spent on it.

On the contrary, students of the Department of Laws had also brought out a magazine in a similar manner, but no questions were posed to anyone in that department. “ These are the things which create a somewhat uneasy situation for us,” said a senior lecturer of the Mass Communication Department.

The biggest ‘injustice’ with mass communication students by the university authorities was that they were not allowed to undertake a 10-day training from June 19 to 28 at the Film and Television Institute of India at Pune, despite, the fact that an amount of Rs 1 lakh was earmarked in the budget.

According to insiders, it all started in October 2005, when Dr Kamlesh Duggal, Head of Department of Mass Communcation, refused to bow to the “wishes” of a powerful university functionary, to get one of his “very close” ad hoc employees “adjusted” in the department. Interestingly, despite refusal by Dr Duggal, the employee was “blessed” with an extension without any mandatory break in his service.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor was not available for comments.When contacted, Dr Duggal alleged that though the university authorities had the right to shift the responsibility of the entrance test, it was like setting up discouraging precedents.


Non-govt college Principals want
vacant posts to be filled

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Members of the Principals Association of Non-Government Colleges affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, today protested against the Punjab Government for not allowing them to fill various teaching posts lying vacant in the colleges.

They also demanded that grant-in-aid, pension and gratuity be paid to all the employees of the colleges.

The protesting Principals sat on the ground opposite the office of the DPI Colleges in Sector 17 here this morning in what they termed as a "Gandhian" and "educated" way of protest.

The Principals led by Dr Janmit Singh, Principal, D.A.V College, Hoshiarpur, Dr Satinder Dhillon, Principal, Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, Chandigarh, Dr Shashi Jain, Principal, Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, Chandgarh, Dr Hardaljit Singh Gosal, Principal, Govind National College, Narangwal, Dr S.K. Uppal, Principal, D.M. College, Moga, Dr Ranjit Singh Pannu, Principal and Arjun Dass College, Dharamkot, alleged that the Punjab Government was indifferent to even some of the genuine problems being faced by these colleges.

They highlighted that non-government, privately aided colleges were on the verge of closure because the government had not allowed filling the vacant teaching posts, thus hampering the academic atmosphere. The Principals were facing difficulty in selection of teaching staff due to the ban imposed by the Punjab Government. They pointed out that with inadequate number of regular teachers no justification could be given for teaching various subjects. They demanded that the ban on recruitment against aided post of teaching/non-teaching employees be immediately withdrawn and Principals be given the professor grade without any further delay.

They also demanded that grant be given to unaided colleges on annual basis on priority and the retirement age of principals/ lecturers serving in non-government colleges should be enhanced from 60 years to 62 years.

The Principal's association unanimously decided that at least half a dozen principals will sit in such dharnas every fortnight.


Last date for CET forms extended
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 1
Guru Nanak Dev University has extended the date of submission of application forms for common entrance test for law (CET- 2006) till June 10 without late fee.

Stating this, Prof Sukhdev Singh, coordinator of the test, said these forms would be received with late fee of Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 from June 11 to 14 and June 15 to 16, respectively. However, the entrance test would be held as scheduled on June 18 from 10 am to 1 pm, he added.

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