P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGJC issues notices to SGPC president, two others
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 3
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) here today issued notices to Mr Avtar Singh, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Mr Dilmegh Singh, secretary, and Bibi Kiranjot Kaur for June 8 into the alleged fishy deal for constructing NRIs’ Serai on a disputed land.

The notices have been issued by the three-member SGJC, headed by Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, to the three respondents on a petition filed by Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, a leader of SAD (A).

Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa alleged that the respondents contemplated to purchase the land from Shishpal Singh. The ownership of the land was in question in the Revenue Department and Municipal Corporation’s record as the land was mysteriously transferred in his name.

He said the respondents were supposed to verify the title and ownership of any land to be purchased by the SGPC, which they had not done.

Mr Sirsa had alleged that as the matter flared up in the media regarding the land deal, Mr Avtar Singh constituted a committee of six members, including the three respondents and Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, advocate, Mr Jaswinder Singh and Mr Gurbachan Singh Karmuwala.

He said the committee was just an eyewash as it had recommended the rate of purchase of the land for Rs 30,000 per sq yard, which was earlier proposed to be bought at Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per sq yard during the tenure of former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur.


CM announces Rs 20 lakh for Punjab Press Club
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 3
Projecting Punjab as a future destination for investors, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has assured people of the state that the state government was doing its all-out efforts to create 16 or 18 lakh jobs for the youth and to corner investment and projects worth Rs 73,000 crore by December this year. He was addressing mediapersons after inaugurating their club here today.

Making an apparent effort to bury the controversy, kicked by alleged grant of land to the Reliance group free of cost, he said the advent of the group in Punjab would be nothing short of a “revolutionary step”, which would change the lot of small and poor farmers.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who has been here since Friday, clarified that no land was being given to the group free of cost.

Supporting the Reliance group’s proposed venture in Punjab, he said, “The controversies are over now. Reliance’s arrival in Punjab would prove a big step towards development of Punjab, where, 22 per cent of population have less than 1.5 acres of land. If their economy is to be improved, they need high value crops. Moreover, the group would be setting up restaurants and cinemas for entertainment of rural people”, said the Chief Minister.

Dr Barjinder Singh Hamdard recalled the journey of vernacular journalism from Lahore to Jalandhar and how the city became a hub of journalistic activities. Mr Satnam Manak, a senior journalist, said the Chief Minister had always stood up for protection of rights of Punjabis.

The Chief Minister also announced a grant of Rs. 20 lakh for the club of journalists.

Mr Avtaar Henry, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, all ministers, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, MLA, Mr Tejinder Bittu, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor, Mr Shital Vij, Managing Editor of “Divya Times”, and Ms Harsimarat Kaur, member of the State Women Commission, were also present.


Pak allows token Nagar Kirtan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 3
Finally, the government of Pakistan has granted permission to Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to take out Nagar Kirtan from Delhi/Amritsar to Lahore and Nankana Sahib to mark 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev which falls next week.

This was disclosed by Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, President, DSGMC and Mr Manmohan Singh Khalsa, a UK-based Dal Khalsa leader while talking to The Tribune on phone yesterday .

Mr Sarna said that communication to allow the Nagar Kirtan was received by DSGMC from Mr Izaz-ul-Haq, Minister Religious Affairs. However, the Dal Khalsa leader said that he had received information regarding token Nagar Kirtan from Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary, Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board .

The SGPC chief, Mr Avtar Singh, while thanking the government of Pakistan for allowing token jatha sought increasing the visas to devotees who could participate in the Nagar Kirtan which would cross over to Pakistan through Wagah on June 13.

However, Mr Sarna urged the Pakistan authorities to allow Nagar Kirtan along with Holy Guru Granth Sahib.

He said without Guru Granth Sahib, it would be considered Jatha and not Nagar Kirtan.

Meanwhile, in a major development, the government of Pakistan has vacated the building of Chandu Di Haveli for observing Martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev.

Mr Manmohan Singh Khalsa said that most of the functions would be held in the haveli while seminar would be organised in Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore, that would be presided over by the Prime Minister, Pakistan.

The gurdwara is situated behind the water tank or Pani Wala Talab near Muhalla Barudkhana in the centre of Lahore City. Chandu's haveli was also situated there.

In A.D. 1606, after the arrest of Guru Arjan, Chandu kept the Guru in one of the dingy cells there. There was a well in this building from where the Guru used to take bath daily. The Guru was tortured by Chandu at this place. He was made to sit on a red hot iron plate and the scorched sand was poured on his head.

The devotees would be accommodated in Gurdwara Dehra Sahib, which is situated opposite the Royal Mosque or Shahi Masjid. The fifth Guru was drowned into the Ravi at this place after torturing him. 


Custodial death: 6 cops get life term
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 3
Mr D.S. Malwai, Additional Sessions Judge, Sangrur, today awarded life imprisonment to the then Sherpur DSP Gurjit Singh, then Sherpur SHO Kulwinder Singh, Sub-Inspector Yudhistar Singh, Head Constable Chamkaur Singh, C II Sohan Singh and Constable Mukhtiar Singh in a custodial death case.

Ravinder Singh (25) of Kala Bula village (near Sherpur) had died while in the custody of the Sherpur police on January 18, 2004.

Yesterday, all the accused were convicted under Sections 143, 364, 342, 302 and 149 of the IPC by the Additional Sessions Judge.

The judge awarded to each accused life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 under Section 302 of the IPC, 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 under Section 364 of the IPC, six months’ imprisonment under Section 342 of the IPC and three months’ imprisonment under Section 143 of the IPC. All these sentences shall run concurrently.

In this case the FIR was registered on January 19, 2004 by the Sherpur police on the statement of Mr Pal Singh, father of the deceased Ravinder Singh and as per his statement a police party, headed by Kulwinder Singh, SHO, Sherpur, on January 18, 2004 took his son Ravinder Singh to Sherpur police station and tortured him which caused his death . Mr Pal Singh had also stated that his son had been tortured on the order of the DSP, due to which he (Ravinder) died in the police custody. 


Farmers asked to adopt Gujarat
model on rainwater harvesting

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Punjab farmers have been asked to adopt the Gujarat model to arrest the declining water table in the state.

The Chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, Mr G.S. Kalkat, has furnished a copy of the pattern followed by farmers in Gujarat to harvest rainwater to the Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab, the Chief Conservator of Soil, Punjab, the Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, the Chief Agriculture Officer, Hoshiarpur, and others concerned. He has asked them to make their contribution in getting the Gujarat model implemented in the state.

Punjab is facing a serious problem of declining subsoil water. An increase in the area under paddy, which is considered a water-guzzling crop, in the past 25 years has worsened this crisis.

In Gujarat, farmers, with the help of the state government, have dug 1.27 lakh small ponds on their farms in just 100 days to harvest rainwater. The ponds have a capacity of 200 cubic metres each. Each farmer can dig two ponds. The ponds are dug by labourers who are paid wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Mr Kalkat has told the officers concerned to get the pond project first implemented in Hoshiarpur district, which is the only district in the state covered under the employment guarantee scheme.

By digging 1.27 lakh ponds, the farmers in Gujarat have created a capacity to collect 2.54 crore cubic metres of water.

The Gujarat Government gives to each labourer 8 kg of foodgrains per day for the digging work. The government has distributed 60,000 tonnes of foodgrains to labourers.It has created a mechanism to review the scheme on a weekly basis.

The subsoil water crisis in Punjab and neighbouring Haryana, and even in Rajasthan, is as serious as in Gujarat.

For the past several years, the Punjab Government has been trying to find a solution to the rapidly declining water table. Recently, the draft of a Bill was prepared to regulate the transplantation of paddy, but the government failed to muster enough courage to get the Bill introduced in the state Assembly. No one had opposed the move because it was in the best interests of the state and its farmers.

By implementing the Gujarat model in the kandi areas of Pathankot, Hoshiarpur and Ropar and also in other parts, the state can replenish its subsoil water.

Mr K.S. Pannu, member-secretary of the farmers' commission, said the water table went down by 32 cm in 1966-72. This increased to 42 cm per year during the 1977-2000 period and to 74 cm in 2004-05.

" In order to save water and sustain agriculture, the use of rainwater for recharging the aquifer has become the utmost necessity in the state", said Mr Pannu.


Society fights for victims of
fraudulent NRI marriages

Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 3
An activist of the Canadian Marriage Victims Fraud Society, Mr Ravinder Pannu, and the chairman of the World Human Rights Protection Council, Mr Ranjan Lakhanpal, have filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding guidelines to be issued from the government in connection with NRI marriages and extradition proceedings be initiated against the NRIs indulging in fraudulent marriages.

Mr Pannu told this correspondent on the phone from Canada that the pathetic condition of the spouses deserted by NRIs and the modus operandi of the NRIs indulging in fraudulent marriages had been highlighted in the PIL. The notices to the Union Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs had been issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of the PIL.

He said besides seeking strict laws in India to check fraudulent NRI marriages, the society had also launched a ‘signature campaign’ to file a petition before Canadian Parliament to press it for amendments in the Immigration Law.

The victims of such fraudulent NRI marriages could contact the society on website: www.fraudmarriage.com and Email: fraudmarriage@hotmail.com.


Exonerated PSEB engineer awaits justice
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 3
A Junior Engineer of the PSEB lost his job and remained in jail for one year following his conviction in a bribery case, for no fault of his.

The Chief Engineer (South), PSEB, Mr A. K. Chopra, in his order in 1977 had mentioned that Jagtar Singh, Junior Engineer posted at Piareana, Ferozeshah, Ferozepore district, had accepted illegal gratification from Mr Jasmail Singh of Bhamba Landa village for fixing a transformer and restoring power connection to his electric motor. The text of the order stated that “prima facie a case under Sections 5(2)47 of the P.C. Act and 161of the IPC is made out against Jagtar Singh, Line Superintendent, and he has been removed from the service.”

Now, after 26 years, the Ferozepore police and the PSEB have found that the complainant, Mr Jasmail Singh, had neither in 1977 nor before and after that had been allotted any electric motor connection.

The turning point in this case unfolding the truth was the testimony of Mr Baj Singh, a consumer clerk with the SDO (PSEB) office, Ferozeshah, in 1993 in the court of Mr Varinder Aggarwal, PCS (Judicial) at Barnala.

Jagtar had been dismissed from the service and convicted on April 6,1978, by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ferozepore. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 300 was imposed on him. He had to undergo imprisonment for one year as the sentence was reduced to one year by the High Court.

Senior PSEB authorities appear to be under a lot of stress because mending things at this stage implies reinstatement of Jagtar with retrospective effect, his due promotion and initiating eye-opening stern action against those who had given false witnesses in the courts, conspiring to implicate Jagtar in a frivolous case of bribery.

Instead of doing justice to Jagtar, the PSEB has been striving to cover up its gaps and contradictions by soft-pedalling on the case. Despite Jagtar’s repeated requests to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Power Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Chairman of the PSEB for justice, the decision on his reinstatement still hangs fire.


New turn in land grab case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 3
The controversy surrounding 27 acres at Jhumba Bhaika village today took a new turn with the first wife of Mr Amarinder Singh, alias Neetu, Ms Amarpreet Rana Sidhu, accusing his “second wife”, Veerpal Kaur, of forcefully trying to usurp a part of her land. She alleged that Veerpal never got married to her husband and she was making “false claims only to grab his property”.

In a statement released here today, Ms Sidhu stated that she got married to Amarinder on October 4, 1981, and gave birth to twins Anit Inder Singh and Guneet Kaur. Anit died in 2000 while Amarinder passed away in 2004. She said she had given her 27 acres on lease to various farmers. Later Veerpal Kaur claimed to be the second wife of her husband and filed a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner seeking a share in his property.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the SDM to probe the matter. The SDM delivered his verdict in her favour, against which Veerpal Kaur appealed in the court of the Deputy Commissioner. In his order delivered last year the Deputy Commissioner gave equal share of Amarinder’s 27 acres to Ms Sidhu, her daughter Guneet and Veerpal’s son Ravatinder.

Ms Sidhu alleged that following the Deputy Commissioner’s verdict Veerpal, along with some armed men, attempted to take possession of her land. She said she had lodged a complaint with the police in this regard.

The police then reportedly arrested five persons while they “were making a bid to take possession of land”. She also accused Veerpal and her accomplices of taking away a tractor, a couple of sowing machines and some other agricultural equipment from her residence. She said she would move the High Court if the administration didn’t ensure that justice is meted to her. 


Women show way to de-addiction
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 3
The endeavour of women from Jodhpur Pakhar village, who have waged a fight against drugs, bore fruit today when 42 drug addicts from their village arrived at the Red Cross Drug De-addiction Centre here.

The women’s association organised a de-addiction camp in the village a couple of days back. Out of the total of 42 drug addicts, 28 were attended to in the OPD, while the remaining 14 were admitted to the centre.

Talking to The Tribune, Lakhwinder Singh, the youngest of them all, said he used to consume 2.5 kg poppy husk in a month. He took to drugs as his father was also an addict. “I have been addicted to poppy husk for the past three years and want to get rid of it for a peaceful family life,” he said.

He admitted that he had frequent tiffs with his wife over his addiction. Makhan Singh (42) lost his land due to drug addiction. He now works a daily-wage earner. He used to consume 4 kg poppy husk in a month, but had now resolved to shun drugs.

Sukhdev Singh (65) and septuagenarian Nachhatar Singh were also among the drug addicts who had decided to say no to drugs for a better tomorrow.

Jagjeevan Ram, who brought these drug addicts to the centre, said around 90 villagers had made up their mind to get de-addicted, of which the first batch comprised 42. He said in over 800 households in the village, each home had one or two drug addicts.


Video parlours flout ban on ‘The Da Vinci Code’
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 3
The ban imposed by the state government on the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’ notwithstanding, the pirated CDs of the controversial movie are selling like a hot cake here.

The Abohar subdivision has a significant position, next to Bathinda, in the piracy business. Those involved in the illegal trade say that the master copy of any CD can be had, against a payment of Rs five to ten thousand, from the Ludhiana market.

The pirated copies are reportedly prepared using high profile electronic gadgets/copiers fit in the residential houses of those running the trade.

Even the members of their families are well-trained in the task. Some of the video parlours display the labels of the super-hit bollywood movies and never say no to an obscene Indian and foreign CDs also.

Many popular Punjabi singers and the video companies, who invested millions in the business, had suffered a big loss due to the unchecked piracy business.

Interestingly, the copyright holders had managed to get frequent raids by the police at some video parlours located in the Sadar Bazaar, Bhagat Singh Chowk, Rani Jhansi Market, Jammu Basti Chowk, Thakur Abadi Road etc but it hardly left any impact.

All arrested got the bail and resumed the business smoothly, sources said.

Any CD can be purchased for Rs 10 to Rs 15. Sources said some persons were also running illegal ‘dara satta’ business under the pretext of one-digit daily lottery counters at the video parlours.

Some were booked under the Gambling Prevention Act but released immediately after they posed for a group photo with the police here.

This was not the first instancing of selling pirated CDs of the banned movies here. Even some cable operators reportedly screened such CDs on their network, the sources added. 


Protest against non-payment of salary
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 3
Workers of the local Co-operative Sugar Mills, Sheron, organized a protest march of seven kilometers yesterday and demonstrated by sitting on the road at Bohri crossing here protesting against the non-payment of their monthly salary for the past five months. The demonstration led to the traffic blockade for hours.

The workers along with their family members came here by marching a distance of seven kilometers from the mills premises.

Mr Harpal Singh, Mr Subash Chander Agnihotri, Mr Gurwant Singh, Mr Surjan Singh, Mr Satwant Ablow, Mr Balwinder Singh and other leaders of the workers while addressing the rally sharply condemned the state government for failing to pay them their monthly salary for the last five months. 


Move to give free power to backward castes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 3
The Punjab Cooperation Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, has said the state government was contemplating to extend the free power facility to members of the backward castes.

Mr Randhawa was speaking at a function at Pipal Mangoli village near here, held in connection with the laying of a foundation stone of a link road and the inauguration of a water works scheme.

Mr Randhawa added that the government was already giving 200 units of free power to the Scheduled Castes and this facility would also be extended to members of the backward castes shortly.

He also added that the state government had approached the Central Government with a proposal to waive off loans to the farmers and said data was being collected in this context and once this was done a request to waive of the loans would be made to the Prime Minister and to the Finance Minister.


Pargat among 44 promoted officiating SPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The Punjab Director of Sports, Mr Pargat Singh, is among 44 police officers who have been promoted as officiating Superintendents of Police.

According to a notification issued by the Punjab Home Department, each officer will be entitled to a special allowance. Their new posting orders will be issued later.

Those promoted are Mr Lashkar Singh, Mr Mahipal Singh Mann, Mr Gurmail Singh, Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Gurmit Singh Randhawa, Mr Sukhbinder Singh, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Mr Narinderpal Kaushal, Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr Ashutosh, Mr Jagtar Singh, Mr Rajinder Kumar, Mr Rachpal Singh, Mr Parambir Singh Gill, Mr Gurjit Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh Khaira, Mr Satpal Joshi, Mr Mangal Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Sukhpal Singh, Mr Bhajan Singh, Mr Satinder Singh, Mr Harmanbir Singh, Mr Ashwani Kapoor, Mr Sukhwant Singh Gill, Mr Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, Mr Naveen Saini, Mr Sukhminder Singh, Mr Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, Mr Surinderjit Singh Mand, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Harpreet Singh, Mr Snehdeep Sharma, Mr Kanwaldeep Singh, Mr Parambir Singh Parmar, Mr Sandeep Goel, Mr Rupinder Singh, Mr Jasdev Singh Sidhu, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr Sandeep Kumar Sharma, Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu and Mr Pargat Singh.


Booked for remarrying without divorce
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 3
In an interesting case, Kulwant Kaur (25) remarried with someone else without seeking divorcee from her first husband. Verowal police has registered a case under Sections 420, 494, 120 B against Kulwant Kaur and eight others, including the father, mother, brothers and the second husband of the girl.

According to information, Kulwant was married to Ninder Singh of Mallhian village near Jandiala Guru about three years back. Difference cropped up between husband and wife and Kulwant started residing with her parents at Rampur village.

Efforts were made for a compromise with the help of panchayat and Kulwant returned to her husband. Due to some serious differences Kulwant again came back to her parents.

Some days back, Kulwant Kaur's father Ajaib Singh, mother Beero, brothers Pargat Singh and Harjit Singh, mediator Satnam Singh Natho and Joga Singh remarried her with Nirvail Singh of Allia village falling under Verowal police station at the gurdwara of Nagoke village.

All nine have been identified as accused and a case registered against them. Ajaib Singh, Beero, Kulwant Kaur and her second husband Nirvail have been arrested while the remaining are absconding.


2 die in road accident
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 3
Two persons, including a woman, were killed while as many were injured when a car and a three wheeler collided near Kathunangal village that falls under the majitha police district today.

The deceased were, Kulwant Kaur and Ranjit Singh, driver of the three wheeler, while Rupi and a woman, who were travelling in the car, sustained injuries.

According to the information, a stationary truck led to the collision. A case has been registered.


Technical entrance test results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training has declared the result of the Joint Entrance Test conducted on May 27 for admission to diploma courses in affiliated institutions located in Punjab and Chandigarh.

The results are available on the board’s website: wwwpunjabteched.com and www.punjabteched.net.

Manvir Singh of Ludhiana, Harkamal Singh of Ajitwal Moga and Mandeep Singh Chabbra of Chandigarh have secured the I, II and III position respectively in JET 2006.


GND University BBA-II result today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 3
The result of BBA II examination of Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University held in April, 2006, would be declared tomorrow.

The result would be available on the university website www.gnduline.org. This was stated by Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, in a press note issued here today.


School kids get traffic tips
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 3
The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy has organised an awareness programme with a view to create awareness among school children about traffic rules and regulation. The traffic education in charge, Mr Ranjit Singh, and Ropar traffic in charge, Mr Rajinder Singh, imparted information to the students how to remain safe while driving or crossing the roads.


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