P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


PSGPC allows nagar kirtan led by Guru Granth Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, June 9
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) today categorically said it would allow nagar kirtan to Pakistan through Wagah led by Guru Granth Sahib only and not by any individual to mark the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev on June 12.

Without naming the SGPC, a written message, faxed by the PSGPC, stated that it invited all Sikh organisations to participate in the nagar kirtan and not any individual Sikh body.

The invitation was extended to the SGPC, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Dashmesh Youth Organisation, Khalra Mission Committee, Sikh Students Federation, Damdami Taksal and SAD (A) and not to a single Sikh body.

It stated that any other organisation, desirous of joining the nagar kirtan could contact the PSGPC at the earliest.

The development has come as a major setback to the SGPC and Shiromani Akali Dal, which wanted to steal the show at a time when the DSGMC had withdrawn from taking out nagar kirtan to Lahore following preponing of the schedule.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, and senior leaders of the party are expected to participate in the nagar kirtan.

Dr Pritpal Singh, president, American Sikh Gurdwara Committee, while talking to The Tribune from Pakistan said no individual should make any effort to take political mileage by participating in the ceremonies. He clarified that Mr Badal would not be allowed to lead the jatha.

Meanwhile, a jatha of 108 Sindhi Sikhs, led by Mr Mahesh Singh, president, Sikh Naujwan Sabha, Sindh, today arrived from the Sindh Province and Karachi to participate in the functions being organised by the SGPC at Tarn Taran on Guru Arjan Dev’s 400th martyrdom anniversary.

They said the jatha wanted to come here on June 1 but the visas were delayed by the Indian Embassy.

Mr Mahesh Singh said the jatha members would visit the Golden Temple, Sikh shrines in Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and New Delhi, etc.

He, however, rued that the jatha members were harassed by the customs officials at Wagah. “The officials wanted to impose customs duty on dry parsad, weighing 10 kg, which they had brought from Pakistan to distribute among devotees on Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom day. It took long time to convince the officials that it was not a commodity for sale.”

Mr Mahesh Singh urged Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, India, and Gen Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, to take appropriate measures so that pilgrims of both countries could visit their shrines in India and Pakistan without any hassle.


Demand for cut in VAT on petro products gets political support
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel has put Punjab’s ruling party, the Congress, on the defensive as two of the major Opposition parties — the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — are in chorus in demanding a cut in value added tax (VAT).

Responding to the suggestion made by the Prime Minister to the states to cut VAT or sales tax on petroleum products to provide relief to the consumers from the recent hike in prices, Maharashtra has taken the lead by making petrol and diesel cheaper, though marginally.

Punjab, however, is in a piquant situation. The hike in petroleum prices in general and diesel in particular has come when the paddy transplantation season is touching its peak. It is during this period that the demand for diesel starts soaring.

Being an election year, it puts the ruling party in a bind as the efforts to win the support of the farming community, which has been traditionally with the SAD, may come to naught on the diesel issue. The power situation in Punjab, too, has been far from satisfactory for the past couple of months.

The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who is just back from reported eye surgery in the USA, fired his first salvo at the Congress, demanding a cut in VAT on diesel and petrol. Intriguingly, Punjab has a lower rate of VAT on diesel. Lowering it further may not be feasible.

Though the state can follow the Maharashtra pattern in reducing VAT on petrol, it won’t give any relief to the strong farming community in the state. With the minimum support price of both wheat and paddy nearly frozen — the special bonus given for wheat this year notwithstanding — farmers would be up in arms as the cost of production would certainly shoot up because of the increase in diesel prices over the years.

Mr Badal was joined by his alliance partner, the BJP, in making the same demand. Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, and Mr Vineet Joshi, National Executive Committee member of the youth wing of the party, wanted the state government to reduce the state-level tax to such an extent that it would bring the petrol and diesel prices to their earlier level.

They said that Punjab levied 27.5 pc VAT on petrol whereas in Chandigarh it was 22 pc. VAT was also lower in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh as well. Even at the national level, the average VAT on petrol was about 20 per cent.

They said that Punjab consumed more than 35 lakh kilolitres of diesel which cost about Rs 700 crore. Out of this, 11 lakh kilolitres of diesel consumption was in the agricultural sector of the state.

Besides the SAD, which started organising protest dharnas at district headquarters from today, the BJP, too, has threatened to launch a statewide agitation to demand a cut in petrol and diesel prices. Both the CPI and the CPM besides several organisations of farmers, including the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), have already denounced the hike in the diesel price and threatened to resort to agitations if it was not withdrawn.


Hike to hit economy hard, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), June 9
Shiromani Akali Dal president Mr Prakash Singh Badal today demanded withdrawal of the hike and Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel in Punjab.

He said, recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel would have the worst impact on Punjab economy.

In an interaction with reporters here today, Mr Badal observed that coupled with 27.5 per cent VAT on petrol and 8.8 per cent on diesel, these two petroleum products were the costliest in Punjab. He pointed out, diesel was widely used in agrarian economy. With shortage of electricity, people were two much dependent on diesel to generate electricity. With prices rising they would suffer the worst, he said.

Mr Badal said he would join the jatha of 200 Sikh pilgrims going to Pakistan on June 12. He refused to entertain questions about the call for boycott of the jatha by former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Parmajit Singh Sarna.


SAD activists protest against price rise

Patiala, June 9
Hundreds of SAD (Badal) activists, led by former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, burnt the effigy of the Central government against the price hike in oil after blocking traffic near the Mini Secretariat here today.

The activists, who first assembled in a religious place, also took out a protest march in the city. Addressing the gathering, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said by effecting the price hike, the Congress led UPA government had exposed its real face of being anti-people. — TNS


Trained graduates stop train, burn CM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 9
Trained graduates (B.Ed.) stopped a train here to express resentment over the failure of the government in giving them jobs. They later blocked traffic near the main bus stand by making a human-chain on the main road. The protesters also burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Representatives of the B.Ed. Berozgar Adhyapak Front from Fazilka, Ferozepore, Bathinda, Malout, Mansa, Muktsar and Jagraon reached the Nehru Park to participate in the rally and protest march organised by the local unit. Mr Harbans Lal Chandolia, Mr Rajesh Doda, Mr Rakesh Gumber, Mr Manohar Lal, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Bathinda, Mr Jagmail Singh Mansa, Mr Narinder Bhandari, Mr Karamjit Singh Tamkot and Mr Jagdev Singh Bhainibagha addressed the rally. The rally resolved to hold a demonstration at Moti Mahal, Patiala on June 15. 
Another protest march will be organised at Chandigarh later.

The bachelors in education, braving scorching heat, started the march carrying an effigy of the Chief Minister from the Nehru Park and banners denouncing the government for anti-youth policies. They reached the college road level crossing through the Sahitya Sadan road and placed the effigy on the rail track blocking traffic for half an hour.

The office-bearers of the front urged the government to fill 35000 vacancies in the Master cadre, clear the backlog, withhold promotions of the ETT teachers to master cadre, close all new colleges of education in the private sector, ensure 1:30 ratio of teachers: student formula and allow 85 per cent direct recruitment in master’s cadre before clearing departmental 
promotions to the ETT teachers.

They alleged the Chief Minister had promoted liquor and land mafia besides big companies for vested interests. The government has not made any sincere effort to give jobs to the unemployed youth for past four years.

The police had made elaborate arrangements and even checked the effigy with metal detectors. The Udyan Abha Toofan Mail was detained for 15 minutes.

The train was running late by more than four and half-hours.

The agitators then proceeded to the main bus stand. They made a human-chain to block traffic for more than 30 minutes, hit the effigy with shoes and finally put it fire.


CM lays stone for project to check Ghaggar fury
Tribune News Service

Khanauri (Sangrur), June 9
The foundation stone for starting work on the Ghaggar project, which was pending with the Central Government for the past 10 years, was laid at RD-460 on the bank of the Ghaggar river by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today. The project has been technically cleared by the Central Water Commission with the consent of co-basin states of Haryana and Rajasthan.

Under the project, construction of embankments and widening of the Ghaggar from Khanauri village to Karrail village (38.63 km) in Sangrur district will be undertaken to increase the capacity of the Ghaggar and save agricultural land and population of at least 26 villages in Sangrur district from floods.

The project will be completed in two phases. In the first phase, from Khanauri to Makror Sahib (20 km), the construction of embankments and widening of the Ghaggar will be executed, while in the second phase, the work will be done from Makror Sahib to Karrail village.

The total cost of the first phase of the project is Rs 73.66 crore, which will be funded by NABARAD under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund. With the completion of the project, about 40,000 acres will be benefitted.

In the first phase, 702 acres will be acquired, for which farmers will be paid Rs 32.44 crore as compensation for land. Besides, Rs 79 lakh will also be given to the farmers as compensation for their tubewells.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion and later talking to media persons, Capt Amarinder Singh said that solution to the Ghaggar problem was his priority. He said though the project was being funded by NABARD, initially Rs 73.66 crore would be spent by the Punjab Government to complete it in a couple of years.

Capt Amarinder Singh handed over five cheques for Rs 1 crore each to Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, for development works in Kutba, Bhattalan, Chullar Kalan, Thikriwala and Dehra village of Sangrur district as these villages had given birth to great martyrs like Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala.

He also laid the foundation stone for coverage of 100 per cent population with a water supply scheme and sewerage system here.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Ms Bhattal, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Government, Mr Lal Singh, Irrigation Minister, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Ms Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala.


CM unveils Capt Kalia’s statue
Tribune News Service

Nangal, June 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said it would take at least six months to decide about the compensation to be granted to the district for separating Mohali from it.

The Zila Bachao Sangharsh Samiti has, meanwhile, planned to restore its agitation. A decision in this regard would be taken tomorrow.

Earlier, interacting with mediapersons after unveiling a statue of a Kargil hero, Capt Amol Kalia, at a park in Naya Nangal here, he said the case to convert Ropar as a division would be looked into by a state-level committee which would take at least six months to submit its report.

He had earlier promised the Zila Bachao Sangharsh Samiti that more area would be added to Ropar and divisional status granted to it to compensate for the loss suffered by it.


SAD invites PM, Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
The SAD has extended an invitation to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to attend functions to be held in the second week of this month at Tarn Taran Sahib in connection with the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev.

Stating this here, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President, said the party had also invited the President and the Prime Minister. Representatives of various political parties had been given invitation in this regard.

He claimed that lakhs of people from across the country and abroad would attend the functions organised by the SGPC.

Mr Badal, who convened a meeting of office-bearers of party units of Ropar, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur to discuss the modalities of the functions, said he had instructed party activists to take about 2,000 women from each Assembly segment for the “istri” conference to be organised at Tarn Taran and 3,000 men from each segment for the main function to be held on June 16.

He said a special nagar kirtan would be taken to Pakistan from Punjab on June 12.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal’s visit to this town seems to have infused zeal among the party rank and file.


An example of honesty
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 9
Mr R.D.Verma, Head Cashier of the State Bank of Patiala, Chuni Kalan branch, has set an example of honesty and earned appreciation for it.

According to information available, Mr Sukhjit Singh of Landran had gone to the bank to deposit cash.

He handed over the cash to Mr Verma and went away.

He was later surprised to receive a phone call from Head Cashier, informing him that he had handed over Rs 1 lakh more than the amount.

Mr Sukhjit Singh said the Head Cashier returned Rs 1 lakh to him and he appreciated the honesty of Mr Verma.


Experts’ plea to check pollution
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 9
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) which is supposed to keep a vigil on the industrial units releasing pollution in the environment need to be more responsible while performing its duty. This is what surfaced at the state-level function organised by the PPCB at Amubja Cement industry to celebrate World Environment Day here.

The function was organised on the campus of the Ambuja cement this afternoon Ambuja cement has been awarded best environment award in the state by the PPCB.

Experts, while addressing the gathering stressed upon the need to save the environment by preventing water pollution, air pollution and cutting of the trees. But the PPCB it appears to be least effective while implementing.

Industrial units situated in the district, right from Nangal to Ropar continued to release waste in the river. The effluents released in the river include ash and chemical.

But surprisingly when the Member Secretary of the PPCB, Mr Malwinder Singh, who attended the function was questioned about the steps being taken to prevent pollution in the Sutlej in the district, he claimed that there was no pollution in the Sutlej in Ropar. The pollution problem arose in Ludhiana where a lot of waste was being dumped in the river.

Mr Malwinder Singh added that the government was constructing water treatment plants in Ludhiana, Phillaur, Jalandhar and Phagwara to solve the problem of water pollution. By 2008, all municipal council would set-up their own water treatment plants.

However, the pollution department seems to be turning a blind eye to the pollution problem in district. The effects of the pollution are clearly visible here as the people living near industrial units along the Sutlej have stopped consuming the river water. Even the fish population is declining.

Besides it, the pollution in the river is proving a major threat to the wetland area which is a natural habitant to 250 species of local and migratory birds. The facts is also supported by the study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology.

While addressing the gathering in the function the Parliamentary Secretary Industry and Commerce, Mr K.P.S Rana, said it was the duty of every individual to prevent pollution. Everyone in society should contribute towards protecting the environment. While the Special Secretary Science Technology and Environment Department, Ms Usha Sharma, said earlier the people had very few needs. Now the needs of the people had increased so that was to increasing the pollution level.


Panchayats urged to rise above politics
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 9
To redress the grievances of people at their doorstep, a lok suvidha camp was organised by the district administration at Chanarthal village in the district on Tuesday.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Parliamentary Secretary, inaugurated the camp. Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, was the presiding officer. Heads of various departments and their staff were present to sort out the problems of the people.

In his address, Mr Sadhu Singh said on the directions of the Chief Minister these camps were organised, which were proving a boon for the people of the area as they need not visit the district headquarters to redress their grievances.

Ms Jaspreet Talwar called upon the panchayats to create awareness among the people at the grassroot level to take benefit of these camps. She said the district administration was committed to redress their grievances and they should take the benefit of all government-sponsored schemes. She urged the panchayats to rise above petty politics for the development of their respective villages.

People came in large number to get their grievances redressed.

In this camp, 19 counters were set up by different departments. Heavy rush was witnessed at the counter of the Social Security Department, where senior citizens and pension-seekers filled their forms in large number. The District Transport Department delivered more than 200 learning driving licences.

The Revenue Department did more than 55 mutations. The Health Department conducted medical check-up of more than 300 persons and issued disability certificates while the Animal Husbandry Department treated animals.


Single-window clearance for power connections
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to set up a special cell to provide single window service at the board’s headquarters here for clearance of applications pertaining to mega projects for the release of power connections.

Disclosing this, Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chairman, said the board had appointed a nodal officer to manage the special cell who would work under the control of the Chief Engineer (Commercial). Mr Ratra added the nodal officer would be handling all matters concerning the mega projects.


Residents’ body meets minister
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
A delegation of the Phulkian Enclave Welfare Association met Urban Development Minister Raghunath Sahay Puri at Urban Estate, Phase-II, and apprised him of the problems being faced by them.

According to a press note signed by Jarnail Singh and Dr A.K. Sethi, president and secretary of the association, respectively, it was brought to the notice of the minister that work on the construction of the community centre had yet to start.

The site for the centre had already been reserved by PUDA and a request was made to the minister to start work immediately.

The minister was also urged to ask the authorities to construct gates that led to various parks in the area.

The residents also pointed out that despite instructions from the court to PUDA to prevent the roads of the colony from being used as thoroughfares, PUDA had not constructed a wall from Dashmesh Nagar to Central jail that would also provide security to residents of Phulkian Enclave.


Suvidha camp to aid of commoners
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, while alleging that the previous SAD-BJP government wasted lot of money by organising Sangat Darshan, today claimed that Suvidha Camps being organised by the present ruling set up had been serving the purpose.

Ms Preneet Kaur, who attended the Suvidha Camp, for about an hour, organised by the local municipal corporation authorities, said Suvidha Camps being organised by the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had been helping the commoners to get their work done at one place in one go. She added that such camps had proved to be a boon for those who were finding it difficult to get their official work done by moving here and there.

Ms Preneet Kaur felt uncomfortable when a reporter sought comments over the fact that interference of New Moti Bagh Palace. private residence of the Chief Minister, had increased in the functioning of almost all government agencies and departments. But she said this was not true and she was of the view that people’s work must be done by the officials concerned on merit.

In the camp, 450 applicants were issued learner driving licenses, 690 applicants were issued new ration cards, 250 applicants were given pension on the ground of old age, and for being widows and handicapped and 70 applicants were given Punjab domicile certificates. As many as 12 mutations were sanctioned in the revenue record, 30 applicants were issued Scheduled Caste category certificates and 35 applicants were issued Backward Class certificates. 


Grants worth Rs 1.38 cr given to panchayats
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 9
All unanimously elected panchayats in the district have been given grants worth Rs 1.38 crore as promised and all BDPOs have been directed to ensure that these grants are utilised properly on development works and utilisation certificates are submitted to the ADC(D) by June 30.

This was stated by Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of district officials at the Bachat Bhavan here today.

She said Rs 7 crore had been received for the construction of 95 km of new link roads and the repair of 130 km of roads in the district.

Taking stock of the working of the Social Security Department and the position of disbursement of pensions, she directed all BDPOs to ensure that pensions sent to panchayats were disbursed among beneficiaries reports must reach the District Social Security Officer by June 15.

She directed BDPO to give shamlat land on lease at the highest rate and complete the process by June 30.

She directed the departments concerned to start construction work for providing drinking water and toilets in anganwari centres.


Foundation stone laid
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 9
Mr Raghunandan Sahay Puri, Urban Development and Housing Minister, laid the foundation stone of a swimming pool and a club house, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 3.75 crore, at the Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar, Urban Estate-III, here today.

Patiala MP Mrs Preneet Kaur and Punjab Cooperatives Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa were also present at the function.

Mr Randhawa, while addressing the gathering, disclosed that the park located near Punjabi University, would be developed as a fitness park at a cost of Rs 20 lakh.


Press Club set up
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 9
Mediapersons of Bassi Pathana in the district have established the Bassi Press Club.

The following were elected office-bearers unanimously. Mr H.S.Gautam and Mr, Ravinder Modgill-patrons, Mr Dinesh Malhotra-president, Mr Swarn Singh Nirdoshi-vice president, Mr Yatinder Modgill- General Secretary, Mr Rajkamal- Secretary and Mr Surinder Sharma-cashier.


HC upholds sentence of Afghan national in heroin smuggling case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 9
Refusing to accept his contention that he had been falsely implicated in the case pertaining to the smuggling of heroin, Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the punishment awarded to Afghanistan national Noor Aga by an Amritsar court.

Aga, who was employed as a crew member with the Afghan national airline, Ariana Afghan Airlines, had been caught red-handed trying to smuggle 1.4 kg of high-quality heroin through the Raja Sansi International Airport near Amritsar on August 1, 1997.

The contraband was worth over Rs 1 crore in the international market and Aga had concealed the same in a specially-prepared false compartment in a box containing grapes. Aga had arrived at Raja Sansi on an Ariana Airlines flight the same day.

When Customs officials posted at Raja Sansi checked his belongings, they discovered the heroin, which had been cleverly hidden in a compartment inside the carton-containing grapes. The seizure was affected in the presence of witnesses and Aga was booked under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Drugs and Substances (NDPS) Act.

On June 7, 2000, a special court at Amritsar had found the Afghan national guilty of the offence and had sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

However, in his appeal against the order of the special court, Aga had questioned the verdict, saying that the court had relied on unsubstantiated chain of events to hold him guilty. His counsel had also stated that there were many discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses and the Customs officials who had caught him.

However, Mr Justice Virender Singh, while upholding the sentence, observed that the prosecution had been able to prove the charges against the appellant and the conscious possession of the contraband had been established. Therefore, his appeal was dismissed.


high court
Punjab appoints 8 new law officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Punjab Government has appointed eight more law officers in the office of Advocate General (AG), Punjab, taking the total beyond 80. The government also re-designated some law officers.

According to available information, Mr Kamaljit Singh and Mr Sukhdeep Singh Brar have been appointed Additional Advocates General. Mr Kamaljit Singh has remained Additional AG earlier also and will remain stationed in New Delhi. Others appointed as law officers include Mr G.C. Gupta, Mr Daldip Singh, Mr Amrik Singh Ramgarh, (all Deputy AGs), Mr Mohan Singh, Mr Satinder Singh Randhawa and Mr Amrit Khanna (all Attached Assistant AGs). Mr Mohan Singh was till sometime back Superintendent in the office of AG.

Among those re-designated are Ms Reeta Kohli (Deputy AG to Senior Deputy AG), Ms Sudeepti Sharma, Ms Poonam Josan, Mr Ashok Singla and Mr Hari Om Verma (all Attached Assistant AGs to Assistant AGs).


Arrest warrants against Narendar Chanchal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The court of Mr Varinder Agarwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, has issued arrest warrants against famous religious song singer Narendar Chanchal as he failed to present himself before the court in a case of violation of the Copyright Act.

The CJM cancelled his bail bonds and asked the authorities to arrest and present him before the court by July 5.

Mr Brij Mohan Bhardwaj of Chitta Katra had filed a legal case against Narendar Chanchal, owners of M/s Times Magnetic India Ltd, including Mr Subash Turani, local Sardar Cassette company owner Gian Singh and Dinesh Cassettes, for using the religious songs written by his father Chaman Bhardwaj, who had given him copyrights before his death.

However, the owners of the company used the songs without his permission violating the Copyrights Act.

The singer had been on bail. On some plea the court had granted him exemption from appearing before court for certain period, which ended earlier this month.


Farmer shot at by moneylender
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 9
A moneylender shot at a debt-ridden farmer hailing from Ablu Kotli village last night. First admitted to the local Civil Hospital, the farmer has now been referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

Sources said victim Sulakhan Singh had been dealing with Parshottam Lal, a moneylender from Jaito Mandi, for the past many years. The moneylender got the farmer’s land mortgaged when debt on the latter increased. He mortgaged seven acres of his land in lieu of a debt of Rs 5 lakh. However, the farmer succeeded in taking possession of his land.

At a panchayat meeting last year, three acres of land was given to the moneylender, while the remaining was retained by the farmer. It was also decided that the instalments of the bank loan availed by the farmer for the land given to the moneylender would be paid by the latter and on full repayment of loan, the land would be mutated in his name.

The sources said the entire episode took an ugly turn last night when Sulakhan Singh and his brother Makhan Singh went to irrigate their field. Parshottam Lal and his aides allegedly fired at the farmer. A gunshot hit on the left side of his chest, the mark of which was clearly visible. The farmer’s family members said they fired in the air eight times before injuring him.

The police has recorded statements in the matter and those involved in the incident are likely to be booked by late evening. The moneylender and his son are absconding.

Meanwhile, state president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Pishora Singh today visited the Civil Hospital to see Sulakhan Singh. The union leaders flayed the incident and alleged that “politically connected” moneylenders were now indulging in such heinous acts to pressure the debt-ridden farmers. 


EO, 3 MC engineers booked for illegal construction
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 9
The Executive Officer (EO) of the Municipal Corporation and three municipal engineers have been booked in a case of unauthorised construction in the vicinity of Bathinda fort. However, much to their solace, they have received support from a section of the ruling party’s leaders.

Sources said the Deputy Commissioner had ordered a probe into the construction of a three-storeyed building at Bank Bazar on February 17. The building was being raised in violation of norms of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The construction was within 300-metre limit of Quila Mubarak, for which the approval of the ASI was mandatory.

The sources said neither the ASI’s nod was sought nor any map was passed by the MC prior to the construction of this building. The building belonged to a BJP leader’s relatives. The SDM investigated the matter and chargesheets were issued to the four officials. In a letter written to the MC, the DC had ordered demolition of this unauthorised building. On the other hand, the MC officials were tight-lipped on the matter.

The sources said the SDM had asked the Kotwali police to book these officials in the first week of April, but nothing was done reportedly under the pressure of a Punjab minister’s aides. However, the police finally registered a case after the SDM recommended the same for the second time. They have now been booked under Sections 420, 217, 218 and 120B of the IPC.

The case has exposed the connivance of the MC officials in the rising unauthorised constructions in the city. Interestingly, a section of Congress leaders came out in support of these officials and sought withdrawal of the case registered against them.

The EO was rounded up by the police last evening, but was let off under “political pressure”, though the Kotwali SHO denied it.


3 killed as train collides with tractor-trailer
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
Three persons were killed and one was critically injured when a passenger train coming from Pathankot to Amritsar collided with a tractor-trailer at the unmanned Gopalpur-Manjhwind level crossing near Kathunangal, 25 km from here, today.

The accident took place at about 10.30 a.m. The deceased were identified as Amandeep Singh of Vegewal, Narinder Singh of Jathuwal and Satnam Singh, while Kuldip Singh of nearby village was critically injured. Amandeep and Narinder Singh died on the spot, while Satnam died on the way to hospital. Kuldip Singh was admitted to the government-run Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here.

The impact of the collision was so strong that the tractor-trailer rolled over about 250 feet away from the spot. The tractor was broken into small pieces. Even the bodies of deceased could not be identified.

According to information, all the victims were labourers and were working near a newly constructed petrol station. The tractor-trailer was crossing the level crossing to bring more earth to the petrol station when the incident took place.

The General Railway Police has registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC.


Two die as train hits tractor at crossing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 9
Two youths were killed when the tractor they were travelling in was hit by a goods train at an unmanned level crossing at Saidewala village today.

Sources said the accident occurred at about 11.15 am when Jagraj Singh and Surjeet Singh, both residents of Ghumankalan village, were on their way to Danewala village.

Sources said Jagraj, who was on the driver’s seat, could not notice the train approaching the level crossing, which resulted in the mishap. The train loaded with coal was on its way to Suratgarh.

The impact of the collision was so strong that the body of Surjeet Singh was cut in parts and the tractor was badly crushed. The train dragged the tractor to a distance of about 200 yards.

Sources in the GRP said Jagraj Singh was a son of Ghumankalan Sarpanch Jarnail Singh, while Surjeet was his neighbour. Jagraj had left home for bringing cattle from his brother’s in-laws at Danewala village.


Lovers stoned to death
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 9
In a tragic incident, a young lover couple was stoned to death by the father and brother of the girl at nearby Bhattian village in Phillaur subdivision today.

According to reports, Sandeep (22) and his beloved Manjit belonged to labour families. They loved each other, but the parents of the girl strongly opposed their relations. On the night of June 8, when Sandeep was not found in his house, his father Madan Lal, along with his family members, went to trace the boy and found that family members of the girl were stoning the couple in the fields.

It was learnt that Kewal Ram saw Sandeep and Manjit on the roof of his house in midnight and when he raised alarm,both jumped from the roof and sustained injuries. Despite being injured, they ran away towards the fields. But Kewal Ram and Kuldip chased them and attacked the couple with bricks and stones and they died soon.

The police has arrested Kewal Ram and Kuldip under Sections 302/34, IPC.


3 killed, 3 hurt in van-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 9
Three persons, including two women, were killed and three others injured seriously when the Qualis van (HP-27-007) in which they were travelling, collided head-on with a truck (HP-58-2489) at Plaha Chack village, near Khuda, on the Jalandhar-Pathankot National Highway, about 45 km from here, this afternoon.

According to police sources, the deceased were identified as Anita Rani, a daughter of Dhani Ram of Bisso Chak (Dasuya), Darshna Devi, wife of Mann Singh of Langah, and the driver of the van, Sanjiv Kumar, a son of Vijay Kumar of Taggar Kalan. The injured, Mann Singh, a son of Kartar Singh, Triya, wife of Balwant Singh, and Darshna, wife of Dhan Ram, were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Tanda, from where they were referred to the Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur, under critical condition.


7 POs held

Batala, June 9
The police has arrested seven proclaimed offenders during raids at different places, ASI Amrik Singh told media persons here today.

They are Pappu Masih of Navin Abadi, Amritsar, Balwinder Singh, alias Mintoo, of Bhagwanpur village, Upkar Kaur of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, Ilias Masih of Suniya village (Batala), Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma, of Putti Rabbi Rania village, Rakesh Kumar of Gandhi Camp, Batala, and Salwinder Masih of Marri Buchian village. — OC


Bus conductor dies in mishap

Kharar, June 9
The conductor of a bus was killed when the bus collided with a car near Sahora village, near here, today.

According to reports, the Punjab Roadways bus was coming from the of Ropar side while the Skoda car was going from Chandigarh when the accident took place.

The SHO , Mr Gobinder Singh, said that the car was probably trying to overtake another vehicle when the collision took place. The bus conductor sustained injuries. He was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. OC


Gang of cattle smugglers busted, 5 held
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 9
Unearthing an interstate gang of cattle smugglers, the police has arrested five persons and recovered 11 cows, including three calves, from their possession late last night.

The accused have been arrested under various provisions of the Cow Slaughter Act and the Cruelty Against Animals Act.

Acting on a complaint of Mr Satish Kumar of the Gau Raksha Dal, Rajpura, a police party led by ASI Pawan Sharma laid a trap at Gagan Chowk and managed to seize a truckload of cows. The police has also seized a Qualis car used in smuggling the animals.

The accused have been identified as Sarian, a truck driver from Samrala, Mohamad Anand Sadiqui and Akhlakh from Delhi, Praful Raheman and Sehnawaz of Nainital.

According to the police, four of the suspects were imposing themselves as mediapersons from a vernacular daily and even having “fake” identity cards. They used to drive the Qualis (UP-22C-5015) ahead of the truck (PB-23-7571) loaded with the animals.

The police said during questioning the accused admitted that they had purchased the cows from Khanna for sale in Uttar Pradesh.


4 held for felling Khair trees
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 9
The police yesterday arrested four persons for illegal felling of Khair trees from the area near Budki rivulet here. The police nabbed the accused while they were taking 10 quintal of Khair wood in a jeep near Bela Chowk.

A case of theft of Khair trees has been registered against Jaspal Singh, Dara Singh, Sukhjinder Singh and Harchand Singh.

They were later remanded in police custody by a local court.


BSc (biotech) results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 9
The results of the BSc (biotechnology) part I examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April, 2006, would be declared on June 10. Dr R.S. Bawa, 
Registrar, said the results would also be available on the university website www.gnduonline.org.


IET opens facilitation centres
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 9
With a view to helping out students seeking admission to Institute of Engineering (IET), Bhaddal, the admission centres are operating in different states of the northern region. Admission forms are available at different information centers at Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala, Nangal, Hoshiarpur, Kangra, Dharamshala, Hamirpur, Mandi (HP), Hardwar, Dehra Dun (Uttranchal). “We have fixed June 16 in the last date for submitting admission forms. Admission is made on the basis of merit in the CET -2006 conducted by PTU Jalandhar, said Dr. V. P. Singh principal of the college here today.

He said that the college had 183 seats, including 13 seats for architecture students. The management seats only be filled considering merit in the Punjab CET, merit in the AIEEE, and marks secured in the qualifying examination with non-medical subjects.


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