P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SAD leaders demand action against Calcutta
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is planning to take major action against its senior leader, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, party sources have said. Mr Calcutta, who is a member of the Political Affairs Committee, the highest decision making body of the SAD, is likely to face action for his statements against Akal Takht Jathedar, the SGPC and for accepting a position in a body formed by Mr P.S. Sarna to observe the 400th death anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.

It may be mentioned that Mr Calcutta had also reportedly stated in an interview to an English newspaper that the Badal family had hijacked the organisation of the functions to mark the 400th death anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev. This has also been held against him.

The SAD is likely to refer the case to the disciplinary committee of the party and will refrain from taking any action till the functions to mark the death anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who has just returned from the USA, is being pressurised by senior party leaders to take action against Mr Calcutta for his outburst and curb indiscipline.

The SAD also believes that the growing closeness between Mr P.S. Sarna and Mr Calcutta is harmful and the latter has been speaking at the behest of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Badal, on the otherhand, is reluctant to take action against Mr Calcutta lest it would seem that a loyalist of former SGPC chief, late G.S. Tohra, is being targeted. Mr Badal is not keen to send such a signal but the demand, seeking action against Mr Calcutta, has started coming from those people who have been at one time close to Mr Tohra and do not want to send any wrong signals, said a senior leader while taking to the Tribune here tonight.

By taking action against Mr Calcutta a signal would be sent down the line that no indiscipline would be tolerated, said another leader.


Radicals raise Khalistan slogans
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 6
Activists of various radical Sikh organisations raised slogans in favour of Khalistan on Ghallughara divas (genocide day) to mark the 22nd anniversary of Operation Bluestar in front of Akal Takht here today.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, distanced himself from it.

As soon as Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (A), came out from Akal Takht after participating in ardas, radicals started raising slogans for an independent Sikh state and showed pages containing statements in favour of Khalistan and posters displaying damaged Akal Takht in the military operation.

However, Mr Badal accused those who indulged in sloganeering of being agents of the Congress, which was responsible for the infamous Army operation. He said Mr Mann was well aware that Punjab had to suffer greatly because of this.

Mr Mann said though they were not allowed to continue their peaceful struggle to attain independence, they would contest the next elections democratically.

Commenting on the recent judgments and coverage in newspapers, he claimed that judges and the English media had also saffronised. He asked people to raise their hands if they wanted revival of Anandpur Sahib’s resolution of 1973 and for severing of relations with the Congress and the BJP.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, said the real tribute to those killed in the operation would be to protect the Sikh history and culture, and to stop apostasy and addiction among the Sikh youth.

He said the Sikh religion was formed to safeguard human ideals of truth, righteousness and values. He added that for this reason it had to fight against rulers who forgot their duties towards the masses.

Among those present on the occasion were Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC president, and senior Akali leaders, including Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Bikramjit Singh Majithia and Mr Guljar Singh Ranike.


Heritage being axed at Guru Ka Bagh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Guru Ka Bagh, June 6
Hundreds of big trees, having heritage value, have been cut at Guru Ka Bagh in the name of kar seva, causing concern among environmentalists.

Though the gurdwaras are under the direct control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, no function has been planned to mark the 400th martyrdom anniversary of the fifth Sikh Guru. A visit to the site shows stumps of old trees outside the gurdwara premises.

Jathedar Dalip Singh, a former vice-president of the SGPC, said he was shocked to know that the Babas of kar seva wale had cut old trees and the Shiromani committee was turning a blind eye to the issue.

The gurdwara had shot into the limelight before Independence when Sikhs launched a morcha (agitation) against a corrupt mahant. When the British government bowed before the pressure of Akalis, who had launched a peaceful agitation to liberate the Sikh shrine from the corrupt mahant, Mahatma Gandhi had sent a wire congratulating the community with a one-liner: “First decisive battle for India’s freedom won.”

Guru Ka Bagh is 20 km from Amritsar. The mahant finally handed over the shrine to the Shiromani committee. However, later he repudiated a part of the agreement, saying that though he had surrendered the gurdwara to the SGPC, the piece of land known as Guru Ka Bagh attached to it was still his property. He objected to Sikhs cutting down trees on that land for langar.

The police, willing to oblige him, arrested five Sikhs on August 9, 1922, on a charge of trespass. The following day, the arrested Sikhs were hurriedly tried and sentenced to a six-month rigorous imprisonment.

The local people have urged the SGPC to check the depleting forest cover adjoining the historical gurdwaras. They rued that though the orchards on a few acres were intact while shady trees, which were once part of the gurdwara structure, had been cut to widen the “parikarma”. 


Closure of 176 industries ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
To check untreated waste containing highly toxic and hazardous chemicals being discharged in the rivers and canals, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today ordered the closure of more than 176 industrial units that were allegedly violating the pollution control norms.

These units are operating in Jalandhar and Ludhiana and were allegedly dirtying the waters of the Sutlej and also its canals that are source of drinking water supply to Ferozepore, Muktsar, Mansa and parts of Bathinda.

Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, took this decision here today after observing a lack of will and commitment on part of the polluting units regarding control of pollution, a spokesperson said today. The step was taken due to complaints received from the residents where water from River Sutlej is used for drinking purposes through the canal system.

In Jalandhar, the PPCB ordered immediate closure of 35 electroplating and nine bag-tanning units. One tannery in the Leather Complex was also ordered to be closed.

In Ludhiana , the PPCB ordered closure of 130 units, which include 20 dying, 50 electroplating, 42 acid pickling and 18 other miscellaneous units.

The PPCB claimed that by closing these industries around 2100 kilolitre of highly polluted effluents had been prevented from entering the Harike wet land.

The PPCB has initiated action under the provisions of the Water Act, 1974, against units that were intentionally violating the pollution control norms and operating without installing effluent treatment plants. Initially these industries were served notices under Section 33-A of Water Act, 1974 and were given show-cause notices as to why these units may not be closed. As their untreated waste water containing highly toxic and hazardous chemicals was being discharged into the sewer leading to Kali Bein in Jalandhar and Budha Nullah in Ludhiana which join River Sutlej and later this highly toxic wastewater enters Harike wet land.


Cong leaders join BJP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
Six Congress leaders, along with their supporters joined the BJP at a pre-election Parivartan rally organised by Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Mr Sidhu said yesterday that former MLA from Sangrur district Dhanwant Singh Dhuri along with president Truck Union Punjab Parminder Singh Goga also joined the party. He said the Congress party suffered a major setback when Mr Bhupinder Singh Randhawa Secretary PPCC and OSD to a Cabinet Minister joined the BJP along with his supporters.


Illegal quarrying threatens Shah canal
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, June 6
Illegal mining of stones has once again started along the Shah canal near the Mukerian-Hajipur road. Illegal miners are digging stones close to a branch of the Shah canal, thus threatening its structure.

The Shah canal is a major source of irrigation in Mukerian subdivision. With the paddy season starting, water will flow at its brims in the canal. However, banks are being weakened due to illegal mining. If the illegal stone quarrying continues along its banks, the canal may breach.

Earlier also, illegal mining was being carried out in the area. After the matter was highlighted in these columns, the mining was stopped. It was found in the subsequent inquiry that illegal miners had not taken any permission for quarrying stones in the area. They had also not informed the BDO or mining department about quarrying.

According to rule, no mining can be carried out within 300 metres of the public infrastructure of national importance. It includes the roads, bridges and canal. Despite that, the illegal miners were quarrying stones just 10 metres from the canal banks.

The Department of Irrigation authorities claimed that they had issued notice to the illegal miners. Information has also been sent to the district administration and the higher authorities of the department regarding the threat posed by illegal mining to the canals.

It was the duty of the police or the department of mining to stop the illegal mining, they alleged.

In Gurdaspur district also, the illegal mining was continuing in the banned areas like Khadi rivulet. Deep trenches have been dug by JCB machines in the rivulets. When the matter was highlighted, the former general manager, industries, Gurdaspur, issued notices to the PWD and Irrigation Departments imposing a fine of about Rs 30 lakh on them.

It was alleged by the Department of Mines that contractors of the departments had illegally quarried gravel from the rivulet in an area close to the school.However, the fine was never really imposed. Sources said the illegal mining could only be curbed if the rules were implemented strictly by the department of mines.


BSNL ‘surrendered’ to private operators
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
The telecom employees have come out against what they termed "surrendering BSNL to private operators" under which the latter were "utilising the infrastructure of the BSNL without paying a single penny".

Addressing a press conference here today, the district president of National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE), Mr JS Sandhu, alleged that the incumbent Union government was initially trying to divest public sectors at throwaway prices, but with the pressure mounting from the Left Parties and government employees it was now "surrendering profit-making public sector units in a clandestine manner".

He alleged that private operators were being allowed to set up their telephone exchanges in the buildings owned by the BSNL and also to utilize complete infrastructure of BSNL worth billions of rupees without making any payment.

"They are utilizing same buildings, same towers, same underground cables, same lines and wires, which are being used by the BSNL for extending services to its customers," he charged. At times the BSNL even had to spare the infrastructure already being utilized by it.

He alleged that to avoid any organised opposition to the government's policies the employees were being shifted from commercially important stations to other stations in large numbers in the name of manning unmanned telephone exchanges of the BSNL located in rural areas where the private operators were not providing services due to non-profitability.

Under this policy, the GMT/D BSNL Bathinda is going to transfer 46 phone mechanics at present maintaining landlines in Bathinda to other rural exchanges, he claimed.

This despite the fact that phone mechanics were already insufficient for proper maintenance of cables in the city and labourers were regularly deployed for the work in addition to deputing the regular employees on overtime daily, he said.

In an open letter to leaders of all political parties, the federation had appealed them to come forward in national interest.


DD gives Punj Pani awards
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
The Jalandhar Doordarshan Kendra gave the second Punj Pani awards to eminent personalities of the region.

The award for the literature went to Gurdial Singh, theatre Gursharan Singh, music and singing Puran Chand and Pyare Lal Wadali brothers, cine acting Jaspal Bhatti, science, V-C Punjab Technical University (PTU), Dr S.K. Salwan, journalism Gobind Thukral, sports Randhir Singh, education Swarn Singh Virk, music direction Charanjit Ahuja, music Darshan Kumar of T-Series, medicine Dr Naresh Trehan, industry Brij Mohan and Munjal, fine arts Shiv Singh, freedom fighter Ajit Saini, social service Balbir Singh Seechewal.

Additional Director-General Sanjiv Dutta and Director Govardhan Sharma gave the awards.

The stars like Jasbir Jassi, Pammi Bai, Sardool Sikander, Wadali Brothers, Satwinder Bitti enthralled the audience at the show. The show was attended by noted personalities like member PPSC Dr Satwant Singh Mohi, Doordarshan Director Govardhan Sharma, and noted personalities from various fields. 


No news of missing youth
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 6
Gursharan Singh, a 25-year-old youth, has been missing from his residence in Mundi Kharar from June 26, last.

With almost an year gone without any news about him, his parents Baldev Singh, a small shopkeeper at Mundi Kharar, and Amar Kaur are on the verge of losing hope.

According to Mr Jaspal Singh, the youth’s uncle, Gursharan was working with a contractor at Desu Majra when he disappeared.

“He came home for lunch that day and went back to work, but never came back”, recalled Mr Jaspal Singh.

The couple have been trying to gather information from anyone who saw him that day or worked with him, but no one seems to know where he went.

The family had contacted the police, which registered a case but had not been able to help much.

Mr Jaspal singh said the boy was mentally alert and did not have any family related problem.

He said chances of his having left on his own were bleak.

He added that any one who had any information about his nephew should contact Mr Baldev Singh, at 563, Ward 3, Mundi Kharar.


New timings for Sangrur, Mansa courts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The summer timings for courts located in Sangrur and Mansa districts of Punjab have been changed. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued an order in this regard. The court timings in courts in these districts shall be 10 am to 4 pm while office timings shall be 10 am to 5 pm. These timings shall be observed every year. A formal notification has been issued.


Man gets life term for murder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
A resident of Haveli Kalna, Inderjit Singh, 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 5000, in a case of default of fine, he has to undergo three months more rigorous imprisonment.

The accused, Inderjit Singh, had married Surinder Kaur about 17 years ago but the couple did not have any child. Therefore the couple had adopted a girl.

The accused on September 5, 2001 killed his wife with a sharp edged weapon.

The prosecution stated in the court that the accused made an attempt to hide facts from the police by narrating false theory about his wife’s murder.


12 cops suspended in surprise check
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 6
SSP Ram Singh today suspended 12 cops for being absent from duty in a surprise check here. A departmental probe was ordered against them.

Sources said the suspended policemen, included three constables deployed on duty at key locations in the district. The SSP told that no mercy would be shown to those who were negligent towards their duties. He said he would also carry out surprise checks at police stations. Those suspended, included constables Rajbir Singh, Mangal Singh and Mukhtiar Singh. The names of other suspended cops are Satpal Singh deployed at Maalkhana, Paramjeet Singh — district Administrative Complex, Sukhwinder Singh — court complex, Jaswinder Singh — Sessions Judge’s residence, Jasnam Singh — Treasury Department, Buta Singh, Harchand Singh, Darshan Singh and Amrik Singh.



Chandigarh, June 6
Mr Sukhinder Singh Mansahia, aide to the Patiala MP, Ms Preneet Kaur, has been appointed Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. — TNS


Two held for making fake driving licences
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 6
The police has arrested two members of a gang allegedly involved in making fake driving licences by making fake entries in the register of the office of District Transport Officer (DTO) after stealing it from its premises. In a press note issued here today, the police authorities claimed that two members of the gang identified as Bhadar Singh Bhogal and Charanjit Singh, alias Channi, who have been arrested along with Joginderpal, had been carrying out this illegal activity.

Officials concerned of the district transport office, who were aware of the fact that its registers were being stolen and fake entries were being made into the same for preparing the fake driving licences, reportedly did not take any step to check it. The matter was being investigated as it was being suspected that certain officials of the department might be involved in it.

The suspects had given fake driving licences to Mukhtiar Singh of Samana Tehsil, Rajinder Pal Singh of the Ghanaur area, Darshan Singh and Sant Singh, other residents of this area. Nearly 40 entries in the register of the district transport office had been found wrong so far.

Charanjit Singh allegedly used to steal registers from the office. Joginder Pal used to make fake entries in the register. The police authorities said if the involvement of officials of the District Transport Office was proved, a legal action would be taken against them. A case under Sections 420,467,471,419 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against the suspects.


3 of family killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 6
Three members of a family were killed in an accident between scooter and Punjab roadways bus near Malikpur crossing here today.

Witnesses said Balwant Singh, along with his married sister Asha Rani and her two sons Balwinder and Aman, was going to Mukerian from Muradpur village.

The scooter on which they were travelling had head-on collision with a Punjab roadways bus coming from the opposite direction. Balwant Singh, Asha Rani and seven-year old Balwinder died on the spot. The condition of three- year-old Aman, who was shifted to the Civil Hospital, Pathankot, was also stated to be serious.

The bodies of the deceased were handed over to the kin after post- mortem. A pall of gloom spread in the village as the news reached there.

Family members said Balwant Singh was going to drop his sister and her sons to her house. The traffic on the Pathankot-Madhopur road remained blocked for about half-an hour due to the accident. The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus.


Girls get top slots in BA/BSc exams
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
Sumiti Sharma of KRMV College, Nakodar, topped the BA-II exams of Guru Nanak Dev University by securing 662 marks while Jatinder Kaur Judge, KMV, Jalandhar, bagged the first position by getting 658 marks in B.Sc-II exams.

Inu Gupta of DAV College, Amritsar, remained first in B.Sc (Economics)-II with 634 marks out of 800 marks. The university declared the results here today.

As per the merit declared by the university in B.A part-II, first 49 positions were bagged by girls, while in B.Sc part-II, the first 10 slots went to the girls. Similarly, in B.Sc (Economics)-II, all 11 positions were secured by girls.

Pryinka Gupta, a private candidate, remained second with 644 marks in BA-II while Nidhi Mehta, APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, and Parminder Kaur, Kamla Nehru College of Phagwara, stood third by securing 635 marks.

Anni Arora, HMV and Abha Sodhi, Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, were declared second in B.Sc-II exams with 654 marks each. Anupma of Lyallpur Khalsa College stood third by getting 653 marks.

Neeraj Gupta, DAV College, stood second in B.Sc-II (Economics) with 622 marks while Shivani, Shanti Devi Arya Mahila College, Dinanagar, finished third with 619 marks. 


BBA (III) results today

Amritsar, June 6
The results of the BBA (III) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April, 2006, would be declared tomorrow and would be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org, in the evening, stated Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, in a press release issued today. — OC


New compulsory subject
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Panjab University in compliance of a Government of India order will introduce environment education as compulsory subject for first-year undergraduate students. The university syndicate members had approved a proposal to this effect on May 27.

The subject will be incorporated in the syllabus for these classes in all streams from the session 2006-2007.


State goes into overdrive to attract maximum investment
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Even as the Punjab Government prides itself for sanctioning mega projects worth Rs 67,935 crore in the past three years, the actual investment that has come to the state till date is only Rs 6,420 crore.

With the state Assembly elections round the corner, the Industries Department, Punjab, has now gone in an overdrive to ensure that the projects approved by the Empowered Committee for Mega Projects are actually launched in the state. Officials in the Industries Department are actually following up the progress of the projects with the developers, urging them to start the construction and launch its operations soon.

With an objective to use the large-scale investment attracted by his government in the coming Assembly elections, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is now keen that a majority of the approved projects, start their operations before the end of the year.

Sources in the Industries Department, Punjab, informed TNS that investment worth Rs 4800 crore was made in the state. In the past two months, they have been able to get investment worth Rs 1620 crore in the state.

During the past three years, the maximum investment in the state has come in industrial manufacturing sector. The expansion of Trident Industries in Barnala, Khanna Paper Mills at Amritsar, Vardhman Polytechnics, Apollo Fibres (Hoshiarpur), Dumex (Ludhiana), Steel Strips (Lalru), KRBL (Dhuri), Luxmi Overseas, Surya Medicare, besides the IT projects of Quark and Dell, have brought in investment worth Rs 3300 crore.

The development of four industrial parks two in Ludhiana and one each at Mohali and Fatehgarh Sahib has attracted investment worth Rs 1000 crore. About Rs 600 crore have been invested by the promoters of about 100 malls , mainly in Ludhiana and Amritsar, while a whopping Rs 1520 crore have been ploughed in the state by the real estate developers, who have come up with housing schemes all over the state.


Thermal plant workers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
A large number of contract employees, including women workers of the thermal plant, today staged a protest against the General Manager of the thermal plant demanding that the contract system be abolished. They said that they should be given salary and wages same as were given to regular employees as per the guidelines of the Punjab Contractor Advisory Board.

However, the thermal plant authorities said the district court had restrained the employees from taking out a procession and raising slogans within 200 metres of the thermal plant. The employees had violated the court orders by holding a protest in the plant area.

The male employees of the thermal plant, who gathered at the main gate of the plant in the morning, removed their shirts in protest and took out a march from the main gate to the main office of the thermal plant. Later, the employees submitted a memorandum of their demands to the thermal plant authorities.

The president of the Contractual Employees Union, Mr R.K. Tiwari, said the Punjab Contractor Advisory Board had recommended three years ago that the contract system should be abolished and contractual labourer working in the maintenance and house keeping of the plant be absorbed as regular employees.

He said that though they had been highlighting their grievance for the past three years, no one had bothered to implement the recommendations of the Punjab Contractor Advisory Board.

Mr Tiwari threatened to intensify their agitation if their demands were not met.

A senior functionary of the thermal plant said as the employees held the protest in violation of the court orders and the plant authorities would submit all records pertaining to the protest to the court.


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