P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Renovated turbine at Ganguwal damaged
To cause 25 MW loss to Punjab, Haryana, HP
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 25
The power woes of the state seem to be unending. A recently renovated turbine at the Ganguwal powerhouse of the BBMB has been damaged. This will put it out of order for at least one year, reliable sources told The Tribune.

This would mean a permanent loss of 25 MW to the partner states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for at least one year. Already two turbines, one each at Ganguwal and Kotla powerhouses, had been shut down for renovation. This means a generation loss of 75 MW or 18 lakh units per day.

The Ganguwal and Kotla powerhouses of the BBMB are located on the Nangal hydel main line canal. The water has to be released into the canal at its peak time during these days due to paddy sowing, 
which makes generation loss pertinent.

The turbines of the Kotla and Ganguwal powerhouses, which were renovated by BHEL, had been giving trouble since their renovation and up rating. The BBMB spent about Rs 70 crore on the renovation of these turbines. It was proposed that after renovation the generation of the turbines would improve to about 25.2 MW.

However, the generation of renovated turbines never reached the proposed targets. Due to it the generation capacity of the turbines was reset at 24 MW at a board meeting. The PSEB authorities, as members of the board, demanded that BHEL should be penalised for loss in generation.

Besides generation loss, the renovated turbines also kept giving technical problems. Due to problems in the runners of the turbines vibrations in the turbines at the time of operation were more than normal. Due to the vibrations on June 19 a wing of the turbine at the Ganguwal powerhouse was damaged. This damage would keep the machine out of operation for about one year. This would mean generation loss of crores of rupees to the BBMB and the partner states. The other turbines renovated by BHEL at Ganguwal and Kotla were also facing technical problems, the sources said.

The BBMB through a telegram to the Ropar Thermal plant authorities had demanded that the water supply to the plant should be reduced from 750 cusecs to 600 cusecs as per the decision of the board. However, the thermal plant authorities had maintained that if the water supply to the plant were cut they would have to shut two units.

The water drawn from the Bhakra mainline canal is used as coolant for the generation units of the Ropar thermal plant units. If the water supply were cut the cooling of the generating units would be affected leading to their closure. If any thermal plant unit trips it would adversely affect the power situation in the state. 


Work on ‘Garib Rath’ coaches to begin by July end
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, June 25
Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s dream of running ‘Garib Rath’, the common man’s AC train at cheaper fare, will soon start taking a practical shape. The work for manufacturing its coaches will begin at the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) Kapurthala by July end.

The first fully AC ‘Garib Rath’ will be made operational between Delhi and Patna on trial basis in October. If successful, the other three ‘raths’ between Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai (weekly) and Saharsa-Amritsar (bi-weekly) via Barauni, Hajipur, Sonpur, Chhapra and Gorakhpur will be inaugurated.

Talking to The Tribune, the RCF General Manager, Mr Pratap Srivastava, said the work for manufacturing 14 AC sleeper coaches and three power generation cars for first rake of ‘Garib Rath’ would start by July end and would be completed by October.

‘Garib Rath’ AC sleeper coaches will have enhanced passenger carrying capacity of 74 seats per coach as against the usual 64.

Actually two modules of ‘Garib Rath’ coach with 74 and 81 berths capacity were shown to Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav at the time of his visit to RCF on May 28. He gave green signal to the coach with 74 berths, said RCF sources.

Besides the sitting chair car, coaches with 102 seats for the first rake will be manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Perambur. Sitting coaches would cater to relatively shorter distance passengers and thus would have 12 more seats than the existing coaches in other trains, sources added.

RCF GM said order for material required for starting the manufacture of ‘Garib Rath’ coaches had already been given and its manufacture would start as soon as the material was supplied,

Mr Srivastava said special facilities for the physically challenged would be provided in a separate AC compartment of ‘Garib Rath’. In reply to a query, he said the provision of ramp would not be made for the disabled to board and alight the train without any assistance as it might prove risky for them.

However, he said two special seats for disabled and two for their attendants would be provided in the separate compartment, where they would be able to manoeuvre with their wheel chairs. Besides the provision of special toilets would also be made for the physically challenged in the compartment.

Apart from this provision of mobile-charging socket and emergency light would be made in the coaches, he said adding, each coach would be manufactured at the cost of Rs 80 lakh.

‘Garib Rath’ will run at a speed of 130 km per hour at fares 25 per cent lesser than those of the present AC 3-tier fares.


CrPC to be amended for video-conferencing of undertrials
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 25
The Punjab Government has initiated steps to bring an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to introduce the system of video-conferencing for conducting trials of criminals lodged in its jails.

The chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has given formal approval in this connection.

While disclosing this here today, Mr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home, said the Punjab Government would shortly bring a bill or get an ordinance issued in this connection. He said with the introduction of video-conferencing system for the trail of criminals, the undertrial prisoners were not supposed to be produced in the court.

Mr Gupta, who was here to attend a social function, said the government had reached an advanced stage for bringing a bill, “Human Trafficking Bill”, to prevent the human trafficking by unscrupulous travel agents and other persons by luring people on the pretext of getting them overseas employment or something else.

He said in another significant step, the government had initiated steps to waive the monetary limits connected with civil suits of the courts of sessions judges and additional sessions judges to enable them to deal with all types of cases. He added at present, the monetary limit of any civil case was Rs 5 lakh only which was fixed in 1980. He said the necessary permission in this connection had been taken from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Not only this, the state government had taken permission to set up six special courts to deal with the criminal cases pertaining to the corruption matters only. Two such courts had already been set up while the remaining four courts would come up soon.

Mr Gupta disclosed that a disaster management authority had been set up in Punjab and its first meeting would take place this week. He said a proposal had been mooted to raise three special battalions of the Punjab police for disaster management.

He said the Union Home Ministry was also involved in this exercise and approval of the Punjab Cabinet would be taken before proceeding towards raising the battalions.


Special Report
AG’s no to Goonda Act to check music piracy
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Even as senior Punjab Government functionaries, including Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, have been repeatedly asserting that the steps are being taken to ensure that the Goonda Act can be invoked against people indulging in piracy of video and music cassettes and compact discs (CDs), the Advocate-General (AG), Punjab, has already advised against taking such a step.

According to sources, the government sometime ago wrote to the AG, Mr Rajinder Singh Cheema, seeking his opinion on whether Punjab should follow the Tamil Nadu example of invoking a law akin to the infamous Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goonda and Slum Grabbers Act, 1982.

A demand in this regard had been raised by the Indian Music Industry (IMA), which has been claiming to be taking hard hit from music and video pirates.

The IMA had also taken the services of former DGP, Punjab, Mr JF Ribeiro, who had held extensive interactions with senior government officials and ministers in a bid to convince them of the utility of introducing an amendment to the existing preventive detention law in Punjab on the lines of the Goonda Act to check piracy.

However, in his opinion, Mr Cheema has contended that the existing laws, including the Copyrights Act, are adequate to deal with the menace of piracy. He has, however, suggested that the enforcement machinery needs to be toned up to fight piracy.

While pointing out that the problem of piracy in Tamil Nadu, which has a large coastline, has assumed mammoth proportions due to smuggling from sea routes, the AG has added that the possibility of misuse of any law such as the Goonda Act, if enacted, by the police to target innocent citizens from extraneous reasons can't be ruled out.

The opinion was drafted by Additional AG, Punjab, Mr A.S. Grewal.

The opinion also says that enactment of any law to enable the cops from carrying out preventive detention to check piracy is a matter which requires in-depth scrutiny and careful consideration.

"It appears that enactment of such a law primarily to curb piracy shall be a clear case of over-kill," the opinion further adds.


Punjab may adopt IT-policing models
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 25
Following the Karnataka model, the Punjab Police would now consider roping in Information Technology companies establishing base in the state to augment its services. A team of police officers from Punjab were in Bangalore recently and during a series of meetings with the Karnataka DGP studied the IT-policing models which can be implemented in the state.

“In Bangalore IT companies have as part of their community efforts built and made operational hi-tech police stations which are as good as corporate offices. The entire policing system is computerised, the police stations are networked and a large part of this work has been done in collaboration with the IT companies,” said Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, Patiala Range, who headed the team of police officers who visited Bangalore.

With more and more IT giants landing in Mohali, the police here is now arranging a joint meeting with IT heads and discuss the various IT-police collaboration models which have met with substantial success in Bangalore.

Over 250 big and small IT companies have set up base in the Chandigarh-Mohali- Panchkula area and it has been increasingly felt that the traditional policing systems are not keeping in tune with the world of crime.

“It is not just about solving cyber crime. Even routine policing can be made more effective if we have inputs from these companies. Other than this, many companies here feel that their employees deserve better environment in police stations and better services to cater to their problems which need police intervention. If they want better services they are welcome to build these police stations,” said Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, Mohali who was also part of the team.

“And of course, the police there is also very closely involved with IT companies to tackle cyber crime. Beginning with training of police officers, IT companies have also been instrumental in helping solve some tricky cyber crimes,” added Mr Naunihal Singh,

Punjab too had something to offer to the state. Impressed with the success of community policing schemes in Punjab, the Karnataka Police would now consider launching the scheme in their state. The scheme entails the deployment of a force of men, selected from the local population and trained by the police, who would be responsible for providing security cover to the area given to them.

“The Karnataka Police follows some models of community policing but it is very different from what we have started at Mohali. There the police is working in close collaboration with the community in solving crime and also offering better and improved services. There are police-public community centres where regular meetings are held. There the community policing is more in terms of community participation especially in traffic management,” said Mr Sharma.

Mr Naunihal Singh made a presentation to the Karnataka DGP, Mr B.S. Syal, about the community policing model being followed in Punjab. “The scheme had been implemented with substantial success at Khanna where the crime rate had virtually halved following the implementation of the scheme. And since this system is able to function only with the support of the public or the community, it can be easily implemented in areas where other community schemes are functional,” he said.

“When we started implementing this scheme at Khanna, we had to first inculcate a ‘we’ sense among the people. Then we also had to create a network of committees in the residential areas to implement the scheme. All this had to be done here as community schemes are a new idea in Punjab. But southern states already have all sorts of community efforts going on,” added Mr Naunihal Singh.


Patiala MP faces awkward moments at cremation
Case registered against contractor for children's death 

Chander Parkash and Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, June 25
Even as the local police has registered a case against the civil works contractor responsible for undertaking the covering of the Ganda Nullah following the tragedy yesterday when two children drowned in the nullah's gushing waters, Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, faced embarrassing moments when slogans were raised against her and Municipal Corporation authorities at the time of cremation of the two children, which took place at the Rajpura road cremation ground today.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, who visited the house of the bereaved families, while alleging that by announcing a meagre grant to the next of the kin of the deceased, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had rubbed salt on their wounds. He demanded that a case should be registered against the Chief Minister, Mayor and Commissioner of local Municipal Corporation (MC) and that the state government should give Rs 10 lakhs grant to the family of each of the deceased.

Mr Badal said that Capt Amarinder Singh should be booked under section 302 the IPC since he was the Chairman of the Patiala Development Authority which was the agency that undertook the project of covering of the nullah.

Mr Badal announced Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased out of the SGPC funds.

He pointed out that the tragedy, which took place barely 700 meters from the New Moti Bagh Palace, the ancestral home of the Chief Minister, had revealed the apathy of the Chief Minister towards the problems being faced by the people.

The case against the Bangalore-based contractor has been made out at the Kotwali police station under section 304 IPC (death due to negligence).

The Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K Verma, has announced a grant of Rs 50,000 each to the next kin of the two children — Honey (7) and Jitender (10). He has also announced that Ms Poonamdeep Kaur, Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), will hold an inquiry into the sequence of events leading to the incident. She has been asked to submit her report within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Patiala member of Parliament and wife of the Chief Minister, Mrs Preneet Kaur, had to face embarrassing moments at the Rajpura road cremation ground where the mortal remains of the children were consigned to the flames today morning amid heart-rending scenes.

Mrs Preneet Kaur, who was accompanied by the Municipal Corporation (MC) Mayor Mr Vishnu Sharma and a host of local Congress leaders, was not allowed to place wreaths on the children's bodies after the kin of the deceased raised objections to her visit.

Even as tempers ran high, the police diffused the situation by escorting Mrs Preneet Kaur to safety. Slogans were raised by some pro-BJP workers at the cremation ground against the MP and the government.

Ugly scenes were witnessed outside the Top Khana Mor residences of the deceased when supporters of the Congress and BJP nearly broke into a scuffle just after the kin of the deceased returned from the cremation. However, the police disengaged the warring factions. This happened moments after Mrs Preneet Kaur had just left the place.


Youth shot, one injured
Tribune News service

Patiala, June 25
Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Haryana, was shot dead today afternoon by four persons in his brother’s house here near the Sanauri Adda area.

Nearly, 20 murders have taken place in this home district of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in this year so far.

The accused have been identified as Gurmeet Singh, his two sons Harjinder Singh and Charanjit Singh and Satnam Singh. Satnam Singh has already been declared a proclaimed offender in a criminal case pending against him.

Charanjit Singh, one of the accused had also suffered injury in one of his ears. He has been admitted to local Rajindra Hospital.

Mr Balkar Singh, a cousin of deceased, said that Kamaljit Singh had come to house of his brother Ranbir Rana from Ratia village in Sirsa, Haryana. He alleged that accused entered Rana’s house and shot Kamaljit Singh.

Balkar alleged that before entering the house, the accused smashed a car belonging to the victim. They also damaged a school bus. They also stoned Rana’s house.

Balkar added that after Kamaljit was injured seriously in the attack, the accused did not allow anybody to take him to hospital. He said that occupants of the house could only come out when a police party reached at the spot and accused fled away from the scene. He added that due to delay in shifting the injured to hospital, Kamaljit Singh died on the spot.

Balkar said that relations between Gurmeet Singh and Ranbir Rana had soured over an issue reportedly due to the illegal activities of former. He said Rana had advised Gurmeet Singh not to indulge in illegal activities, which he had been doing in a wrestling area of that area where a number of people used to practice.

He alleged that as Rana had been apprehending danger from the accused, he gave a written representation to the police today that Gurmeet Singh and his associates could kill him and hence security should be given to him. Balkar said the police official concerned at city Kotwali told Rana as most of the policemen were busy in VIP duty the matter would be looked into after 2 pm only.

He said that accused had attacked the house of Mr Ranbir Rana around 1.30 pm killing his brother Kamaljit Singh.

Mr Mandeep Singh Sidhu, SP (City), who alongwith other senior police officials, visited the spot and hospital, said that a case had been registered in this connection and matter was under investigation.


Babbar Khalsa man to be deported
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 25
After Kulbir Singh Bira, another Babbar Khalsa terrorist Gurnam Singh, alias Gurcharan Singh, belonging to the Dorangla area in Gurdaspur, is being deported from the US. Security agencies here have completed the formalities for deporting Gurnam Singh.

He was to be brought today. However, due to technical formalities he would now be brought in next two days, highly-placed sources told The Tribune.

Gurnam was active in Gurdaspur district during the days of terrorism in Punjab. He was a close associate of Babbar Khalsa terrorist Baldev Singh Dorangla. After his associates were killed in police encounters Gurnam managed to flee the country. He had been staying in the US since long. The security agencies had been trying to deport him due to criminal cases pending against him.

The Gurdaspur police has started pruning the old files to look for the criminal cases registered against Gurnam. He is likely to face criminal charges in the district after deportation.


Badal urges MLAs, MPs to prepare for elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said he was expecting the Assembly elections in Punjab in November this year. Otherwise, the elections were due to be held in February next year.

Addressing a meeting of party MLAs, MPs and district jathedars, Mr Badal called upon them to prepare for the elections keeping in mind that these would be held in November.

He asked them to organise at least five rallies in each Assembly segment by September.

He said he would address these rallies.

The district jathedars were told to send programmes in this regard.

Mr Badal told party leaders that because of the issue of the office-of-profit, elections could be advanced by the Election Commission of India in Punjab and other states where these were due to be held.

Mr Badal has planned to hold exclusive rallies of Dalits and traders in Malwa, Majha and Doaba.

He has directed MLAs, MPs and district jathedars to hold protest rallies to highlight the prevailing power crisis and soaring prices of essential commodities.

He has also opposed the import of wheat.


Calcutta’s reply to show-cause notice
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25
Manjit Singh Calcutta, member of the Political Affairs Committee of SAD and the SGPC, said here today that he had received a show-cause notice from the party in which three issues had been raised and he had been asked to file a reply within 10 days.

Calcutta had come here to deliver a keynote address on the eve of the commemoration of martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur by the Dal Khalsa organisation at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup Sahib.

He said in the show-cause notice, three points had been raised. First, it had been mentioned that he had indulged in unwanted, false, irresponsible criticism of the party through the media. Second, it had been mentioned that he had hold secret meetings with Congress leaders as reported in the media and he had not given any clarification in the media in this regard and thirdly he had not been attending the meetings of PAC since long.

He said in his reply the first line he had mentioned that he stood by each and every word, which has published in the media. He said he denied any secret meetings with Congress leaders. He said P.S. Sarna, president, DGPC, had telephoned him that the Punjab Government had conceded its demand of giving district status to Taran Tarn on the eve of centenary commemoration of Guru Arjun Dev Ji, so hewas coming to Amritsar and asked him to come to a common place.

Calcutta said he went to that place and B.I.S.Chahal, Adviser to the CM, and Partap Bajwa, minister, was there. He said they had forced him to come to stage as it would be a religious function but he did not agree. Secondly, at Patiala, he had gone to deliver a lecture on life of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and Union Home Minister Jaiswal was already there, so he took me to that function. He said there was nothing wrong in it.

Answering the third explanation, he said he had not been attending the PAC meetings as in those meetings only he raised the issues, whereas other members keep mum and behave like puppets. He said no policies, programmes were discussed and he suggested that being main opposition party we should form a shadow government but no one heeded to his suggestion.

He said that none of the party office-bearer had been given any responsibility, work and there was no spokesman of the party, so what was the use of going there.

Appreciating the efforts of Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, he said the CM celebrated all centenaries, took a bold stand on the water issues, declare to make Guru Gobind Singh Marg. The PM conceded all demands which were raised by the SGPC, when he was the chief secretary of the SGPC. He said he wrote a letter of thanks to the PM in this regard.

He asked that was indulging in corruption by Akali ministers and leaders, grabbing the lands, moral turpitude, committing rapes, selling intoxicants, turning back to Akal Takht Sahib not indiscipline? Those involved in all these allegations issued any notice?

Later addressing the function, he highlighted the role of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in setting up the first Sikh soverign state after taking the revenge of the martyrdom of younger Sahibjadas by Mughals. He said the Sikh history was full of sacrifices and true Sikh should be ready for sacrifice.

Karnail Singh Panjoli, member SGPC, Harcharnjit Singh Dhani, Kanwarpal Singh from Dal Khalsa also addressed.


New PPCC office-bearers’ meeting on June 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has convened a meeting of the newly appointed vice-presidents, general secretaries, presidents of districts units of the party on June 27 at the Punjab Congress Bhavan here.

Mr Raj Pal Singh, General Secretary of the party, said while a joint meeting of all office-bearers would be held in the morning of June 27, a separate exclusive meeting of the district presidents would be held in the afternoon on that day.


Number of paralytics due to stroke on rise
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
Around 1.6 million people get strokes every year while a person dies due to stroke every minute and the number of persons getting paralysis due to stroke was increasing every year.

Dr Ashok Uppal, neurologist, while addressing a gathering during the World Stroke Day celebrations here today, revealed these startling facts. Speaking on the occasion, he said around 4,466 persons get stroke everyday resulting in 1.2 per cent deaths in India due to strokes.

Dr Uppal said there were more paralysis patients in western countries and China in Asia than in India. However, the number of paralysis patients was increasing in our country and also in Punjab every year. He said the most disturbing fact was that about 20-30 per cent of those who suffer strokes became disabled for the whole life and about the same number died.

He said lack of regular exercise, excessive alcohol intake and drug abuse, besides age factor, genetics and racial, blood pressure and diabetes were the main reasons for stroke and paralysis.

Therefore, he added, up to 80 per cent of those prone to stroke could be save themselves with regular exercise, quitting smoking, prevention of excessive alcohol intake and regular and proper monitoring of blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. 


Subsidised ration from July
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 25
The public distribution system (PDS), which has almost been lying dormant in Punjab, is likely to be revived in a way by coming to the rescue of the people from July when they would start getting wheat, pulses, rice and kerosene at highly subsidised prices under the “Antodya food scheme”.

Under the scheme, poor people would be able to get rice, wheat, pulses and kerosene at prices to be subsidised by a whopping 75 per cent. People living below the poverty line (BPL) would be able get a subsidy of up to 50 per cent and people living up the BPL would be getting a subsidy of 35 per cent.

This was disclosed by the Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry.

He said the ambitious scheme would be effective from July.

As many as 14,400 ration depots were working in different parts of Punjab. Each of the ration-card holders, belonging to all sections of society, would start getting 35 kg of wheat, apart from rice, pulses and kerosene at subsidised prices every month from July onwards.


Motor union plans chakka jam on July 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Punjab Motor Union says it will resort to a “chakka jam” on July 1 in the state to protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards the demands of private bus operators.

The union, which held a meeting on Friday, in a statement said that the special road tax on buses should be reduced to Rs 2 per km from Rs 2.69. Besides, exemption from special road tax should be given for four days in a month instead of three. Among those who participated in the meeting were Mr Jagdish Sahni, working president of the union, Mr Ujjagar Singh and Mr R.S. Bajwa.

The union has also sought an increase in the bus fare from 46 paise to 56 paise per km per passenger. It says adda fee, which has become a source of exploitation, should be charged at one place. The union says that now a bus covering about 200 km has to give Rs 250 as adda fee at various bus stands on entry. There are hardly any facilities available at most bus stands.

The union also says that the government should allow interest and penalty-free clearance of arrears of taxes to be paid by private bus operators. The decision to enhance permit fee from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 should be withdrawn.


Police digs out accident victim’s body
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 25
The police today dug out the body of a Muslim woman, who allegedly died in an accident a few days ago, following the complaint of her parents alleging foul play.

The body was buried at the graveyard of Kular Khurd village, 7 km from here. The parents of the deceased have alleged that their daughter had been killed.

The body of the deceased, Manjit Kaur, wife of Soma Khan of the village, was dug out in the presence of Sangrur Tehsildar Gurcharan Singh, DSP Gursharan Singh, SHO Balwinder Singh and the parents of the deceased.

The villagers had earlier opposed the digging out of the grave and had not allowed the police to do the act. The SHO said the police dug out the body after completing all formalities and getting orders in this regard from the authorities concerned. He said the body had been handed over to her parents after the post-mortem examination at the local Civil Hospital. The viscera had been sent to Patiala for the chemical examination, he said.

It is said that Soma Khan along with Manjit Kaur and their daughter were going on a scooter on June 18 when it rammed into the culvert of a drain near the village. The couple fell into the drain and were taken out by some passersby. While Soma surrived, Manjit was found dead.


PSEB lineman electrocuted, assistant injured
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 25
Vidhi Chand, a 57-year-old lineman working with the Punjab State Electricity Board, died of electrocution while working on a fault here today. The assistant lineman working with him in a rush to help him also met with an accident when a speeding car hit him. He is now admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh.

The incident occurred in the afternoon when Vidhi Chand and his assistant lineman Jarnail Singh shut down the electricity supply on the 11 KV Daon- Jhandpur line to repair a fault in the line.

Vidhi Chand was working on the line when the supply started again and he was electrocuted. The impact of the shock was so strong that Vidhi Chand’s body remained stuck to the line long after the impact. It was only removed later with the help of others.

Jarnail Singh, assistant lineman, then rushed on his scooter to get help and to check if someone had started the supply to the line which had caused the accident. On the way to the switch room he was hit by a speeding car and was rushed to the Mohali Civil Hospital from where he was shifted to the GMCH-32.

The PSEB Executive Engineer, Mohali circle, and the SDO have been asked to enquire into the exact cause of the line man’s death. The SDO said the lineman had taken all precautions and switched off the current to the line before taking up repair work.

The switch room had been locked by Vidhi Chand to ensure that no one could gain entry to the room. Investigations are on to find out how the current passed through the line while he was working on it.


Minister visits Ropar Civil Hospital
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 25
The State Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, yesterday conducted a surprise visit to the Civil Hospital, Ropar, to check the stock of medicines. He did not find the storeroom building proper and granted Rs 2 lakh for its maintenance.

Besides the government hospitals and dispensary in Ropar, medicines for the Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur are also supplied from the Civil hospital, Ropar.


Property damaged
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, June 25
Property worth Rs 3 lakh was damaged in a devastating fire at Raikot village last night. It is learnt that the fire broke out at 1 a.m. and destroyed two shops and a godown. Fire engines were called from nearby areas to control the flames after about two hours. Villagers reached the spot and tried to control the fire.


Inside Babudom
IFS officers feel sidelined
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 25
Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers have accused the state government of posting ad hoc promotees to cadre posts in the Department of Forests.

In a complaint submitted the Chief Minister, the IFS Officers’ Association has alleged that most vital cadre posts in the state have been handed over to incompetent ad hoc promotee officers in violation of rules.

IFS officers eligible have been sidelined and posted on non-existent posts though they are better trained.

IFS officers Mewa Singh Chibber, Gnana Prakash, S.P. Singh, Basanta Raj Kumar, D. Rajasekar, Pratima Srivastatva and Shailendra Kaur claim to be without proper posting for the past several years.

There is no post of the level of Deputy Conservator of Forests at the office of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Chandigarh, but the government has been posting senior IFS officers there instead of posting them as Divisional Forest Officers in districts. Six important district-level posts of the IFS cadre have been held by junior ad hoc promotees for the past four years and a half.

Divisional Forest Officers R.R. Kakkar (Hoshiarpur), Karamjit Singh (Patiala), Jasmer Singh (Gurdaspur), Mahavir Singh (Amritsar), Satnam Singh (Ferozepore) and V.C. Chaudary (Jalandhar) are ad hoc promotees.

The Punjab Government has neither obtained permission from the Centre nor consulted the Union Public Service Commission for their continuance beyond six months.

According to the association, forest cover in the state had increased from 1997 to 2001, when IFS officers held vital cadre posts, but had reduced afterwards.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Batala, June 25
The Batala police has busted a gang of vehicles thieves with the arrest of seven of its members. The SSP, Mr L.K. Yadav, while talking to The Tribune, said the seven members of the gang were arrested on a tip-off.

The accused were removing spares of a truck stolen from Baba Bakala near a gurdwara in Waronangal village. The police party got the information and a raid was conducted in which the leader of the gang, Balkar Singh of Balowal village, Sukhdev Singh, Bachan Lal, both residents of Balowal, Major Singh of Torhalkar village, Pal Singh of Sadhiala, Variam Singh of Udho Nangal and Paramjit Singh of Sadhiala village were arrested.

The accused during interrogation admitted that they used to steal vehicles from various parts of the state and disintegrate their spares. The bodies of the vehicles were sold to junk dealers while the spares were sold in the grey market.

Further investigation into the case was still on. The police would also try to locate the dealers to which the vehicle thieves used to sell the spares of stolen vehicles.

A case has been registered against the accused.


Car collides with truck, 4 dead
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 25
Four residents of Bazeedpur Bhoma village in this sub division were burnt alive as the car in which they were going for a pilgrimage caught fire on the Abohar-Bikaner road today.

According to information available, Sushil Poonia and his wife Parveen Kumari along with Jagdish Godara and his wife left the village this morning by an Indica car (PB 10 PG 5660) for pilgrimage to Mukam, believed to be the place of moksha by the 
Bishnoi community. The front tyre of the car reportedly burst near Raziasar village on the highway. It swerved and collided head on with a truck (PB 05 G 9744) coming from the Bikaner side. The car caught fire immediately and none of the occupants could come out.

Eyewitnesses said the driver of the truck and his assistant tried to break the windowpanes of the car but fearing trouble from the locals they fled leaving the truck behind.

They said they heard the noise caused due to bursting of the tyre and than flames rising from the vehicle.

They informed the Raziasar police station. The SP, Mr Ravi Dutt Gaur, the DSP, Mr Devinder Bishnoi, and the SHO, Mr Kuldeep Walia, reached the accident site with a fire engine but to no avail. The metal sticker naming Rolex Car Company, Ludhiana, besides the registration number plate helped the officials to identify the victims. Mr Poonia was posted as an agriculture officer at Sirsa.

His friend Mr Godara was working at the office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate at Sirsa. They had come from Sirsa to proceed on the pilgrimage to Mukam yesterday.

A pall of gloom descended on Bazeedpur Bhoma village as the officials from Raziasar confirmed the deaths. Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, a former minister and vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, Chairman, IFFCO, expressed their condolences to the aggrieved family. 


One killed, 12 hurt in mishap

Pathankot, June 25
One person was killed and 12 others were injured when a private bus coming from Amarnath collided with a truck on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road near Mirthal, 20 km from here, today.

According to police sources, a bus coming from Amarnath and going to Chandigarh, had a head-on collision with a truck coming from the opposite side.

The killed has been identified as Girdhari Lal, truck driver. — OC


Govt colleges face shortage of teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
It is not just government schools in Punjab which are facing a shortage of teachers, government colleges too do not have adequate number of full-time lecturers.

At least three colleges in the rural areas have no more than one full-time lecturer while nine out of the total of 47 colleges do not have a principal.

The state government plans to open four more colleges in the rural areas which will further deplete the existing strength as lecturers working in various colleges will be transferred. Sources in the government said vacancies were not been filled and whatever recruitment was done by the Punjab Public Service Commission had been held up in court cases.

The PPSC had recruited more than 330 lecturers in the past few years.

A delegation of the Punjab Government College Teachers Association met the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and apprised her of the problem.

The association suggested that money should be given through the District Planning Boards and lecturers appointed on a guest lecturer basis.

Meanwhile, according to information available with The Tribune, as against the minimum requirement of eight lecturers, the colleges at Rode, Zira and Sirsar have only one full-time lecturer each.

Similarly, the colleges at Patran, Kala Afghana, Dhudhike and Jandiala have only three full-time lecturers each. The colleges at Sathiala, Patti, Ajnala, Bholath, Sunam, and Pojewal have between four and seven full-time lecturers.


Alumni meet
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
The first alumni meet of the Punjab School of Economics of the Guru Nanak Dev University was held here yesterday. More than 100 former students of the department participated in the meet.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, said that economics affects every field directly or indirectly. He said the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, had guided the destiny of the country by implementing the economic reforms. Dr S.P. Singh announced the creation of a separate website of the Punjab School of Economics. 


Rs 10 lakh for college
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for renovating the building of Hindu College here yesterday.

He made the announcement during the inaugural ceremony of the new session (2006-07) of the college which commenced today.

Mr Satya Pal Mahajan, chairman, Hindu Sabha Educational Society, highlighted the achievements of the college in the fields of academics, sports and extra-curricular activities. 


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