P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Call made from Dubai to Ludhiana family
Kidnapping of industrialist’s son
Ajay Banerjee & Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Ludhiana, June 29
Three days after the 22-year-old son of a leading Ludhiana industrialist went missing, the Punjab Police has found that the telephone call informing the family about the kidnapping originated in Dubai.

Senior police officials told The Tribune that the handiwork of any leading underworld group had not been found so far in making the call. Effort were on to establish the identity of the caller. Punjab Police had contacted the international telephone gateway through which all international calls are routed. It had been confirmed the call originated from Dubai, said sources. The family had received the call on their landline phone at home which had no call identification facility. Hence, the origin of the call could not be known immediately after the boy went missing.

The youth, Vikramjit Singh Vicky, had gone out of the family home in Model Town, Ludhiana, on June 27 to the Sarabha Nagar market.

The family members of the youth remained tight-lipped about the developments throughout the day. His father, Mr Rajinder Singh, owner of 
Frontier Bicycles, when contacted over the phone, said he had no clue 
about his son.

He strongly denied that there was any ransom call, although close family sources had been saying that the family was getting ransom calls for Rs 1 crore.

Police officials said the family has not revealed any such demand for ransom. The Director -General of Police, Mr S.S.Virk, said he was hopeful of a breakthrough in the case within the next couple of days and confirmed that the telephone call originated in Dubai.

A special police team constituted for the investigations continued to conduct raids at various parts in the country.

The police is working on a few leads. Officials said they were not working on the abduction theory alone. Senior officials confirmed they were working on the theory that the youth could have gone on his own or eloped with someone. “Nothing can be ruled out at this point of time”, the DGP said.

“Due to operational reasons we cannot divulge any details. Our biggest concern is the safety of the youth. But nothing is ruled out,” said Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon, IG-Zonal, who had constituted a special investigation team to investigate the matter.

“Primarily we are working on the abduction theory only. But other angles have not skipped our attention,” he said.

He said the mobile phone of the youth was switched off and his car was found abandoned yesterday. The car was recovered from the parking lot of Manji Sahib Gurdwara in Alamgir yesterday.

Dowry victim’s bid to end life
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur June 29
Rekha, a dowry victim, today tried to end her life before the SSP office, Gurdaspur. She alleged harassment at the hands of certain police officers. Rekha suddenly became violent today after the inquiry officer told her to go back home as the other party i.e. her husband had not joined the inquiry.

She started abusing cops and levelled allegations of corruption against them while trying to end her life by hitting the things around. It was a hard time for the parents of Rekha. They sat on the floor holding her to prevent her from taking some drastic step.

She kept wailing and levelling allegations against the police and local politicians creating a scene in front of the SSP office. A large number of people gathered at the spot and tried to console the wailing Rekha. She, however, vowed to stay there till she got justice. The parents of Rekha also sat in front of the office while trying to control her.

While taking to The Tribune she alleged that her husband and his family harassed her for dowry following which she filed a complaint with the Dhariwal police. The police though registered a case but no action was allegedly taken against the culprits. Her husband was roaming openly in the area and threatening her and her family of dire consequences. She also levelled allegations against the local MLA, Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur. She alleged that the MLA was shielding the accused family and not allowing the police to take action in the case.

Mr Subhash Chander, father of the girl, alleged that the inquiry officers in the case had been calling them again and again to the police station. They despite being the complainants were being called to the police station where as the accused in the case were being allowed to go Scot-free.

The family insisted on meeting the SSP, who was present in the office today. The SSP, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, when contacted on phone, however, said the police was taking appropriate action in the case.

Rekha, the complainant in the case, had married her husband against the wishes of both families. The parents of her husband had disowned him. She entered into a dispute with her husband and came back to her parents. On her compliant, the police registered a case under the Dowry Act against her husband. However, she wanted to implicate the entire family of in-laws in the case that had been found to be unjustified after inquiry.


DCC chief’s brother, 8 others booked in land scam
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
A brother of District Congress President Joginder Dhingra and eight others have been booked in alleged ‘land scam’. Mr Dhingra has decided to approach the Chief Minister against ‘high handedness’ of the police department .

Mr Dhingra , talking to The Tribune alleged the ‘Girdawaris’ were changed in revenue records on the orders of Sub Divisional Magistrate after going through the revenue records. He alleged his ‘political opponents’ were behind the registration of the case against his brothers with to settle scores with him. The DCC chief said that police had not taken him into confidence before the registration of the case.

However, names of kin of senior Congress leaders were not mentioned in the FIR that would give benefit to the alleged accused persons. The “fishy” deal of a prime property, worth crores by relatives of some senior leaders of the ruling party was published in these columns on May 31.

The land, located near Gagan Theatre, was sold by some relatives of Congress leaders by allegedly getting the revenue records changed in connivance with revenue officials.

The land in question was mortgaged to a bank and nobody who indulged in the deal could produce a proof of its ownership so far.

The beneficiaries of the “shady land deal” also included a former Chairman of Amritsar Cooperative Bank, organising secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and son of a former Municipal Commissioner, who is a confidant of a local MLA and the Chairman of a state corporation.

The disputed land, measuring 5,800 yards, was originally mortgaged to the New Bank of India by a Mumbai-based firm. However, leaders of various parties, having nexus with land sharks, had been eyeing the land.

It is alleged senior Congress leaders succeeded in getting “girdawaris” in the names of their near and dear ones by exploiting revenue loopholes. After changing the “girdawaris,” the land was sold for Rs 3 crore without proving ownership rights.

The “scam” came to light when two, out of eight, beneficiaries tried to sell the land to two different parties. Though the land is worth Rs 10 crore, yet it was sold for less than Rs 3 crore in a hush-hush manner.

The land had been lying vacant for many years since it was mortgaged in the name of the bank. The actual owner of the land in Pawan Nagar, near Gagan Theatre, had taken a huge loan from the bank. Having failed to return the loan, the land became property of the bank.

Since the bank did not bother to take possession of the land, a resident of Putlighar, in connivance with land sharks, tried to grab the property by getting the “girdawaris” in their names.

The persons named in the FIR included Vijay Kumar Dhingra, brother of Mr Dhingra, Vijay Kumar Gora , Sushil Kumar (both brothers), Satwant Rai, Gurcharn Singh Sohal, Daulat Ram, Manjinder Singh, Ram Singh and Manjit Singh. 


Ministers criticise Sukhbir’s stand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
A section of Punjab Ministers have criticised the statement of Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary Sukhbir Badal on the setting up of the project of rural business hubs by Reliance Industries Limited at an investment of Rs 5000 crore. The ministers described these statements as baseless, politically motivated, factually incorrect and highly misleading.

The Local Government Minister, Ch Jagjit Singh, the Irrigation and Power Minister, Mr Lal Singh, the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardul Singh, the Transport Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, the Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, the Revenue Minister, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, the Cooperation Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, and the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today issued a joint statement flaying Mr Badal’s statement.

The statement said Sukhbir Badal was saying all this due to his myopic vision and whimsical approach restricted to petty politics for his personal gains. The ministers said: “Had the Akalis been sincere they would have supported this venture cutting across political lines which would prove to be a milestone in changing the scenario of the traditional agriculture thereby bringing prosperity to the farming community”.

The Ministers also alleged that Sukhbir Badal was seeking personal favours from the Reliance Group and for his ulterior motives was ignoring the public interest. In the statement the Ministers asked Mr Sukhbir Badal to spell out even a single tiny cottage industry that had come up during his father’s tenure as the Chief Minister from 1997 to 2002. The Akalis were distorting and mis-representing the facts.

The Ministers further said the leadership of the SAD, who claims to be the champions of the State’s peasantry, was least concerned about the woes of the farmers. They said the Akalis pushed the state back to the 20th century due to their narrow and self-centric approach instead of taking it into the 21st century.

The Ministers said Badal had launched a disinformation campaign to cover up for his misdeeds.


Hope of compensation for Indians who fought for British army
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
In a red letter day for thousands of Indian soldiers in the British Army, who had fought on the Western Front for England in the World War-II and were incarcerated as prisoner of war by enemy forces in Africa, the British Parliament had finally moved a notice of motion seeking compensation for the soldiers some six decades after the bloody war ended.

The notice of motion passed last month was the result of fervent appeals made over last couple of decades by Ludhiana-based Col Chanan Singh Dhillon, a decorated soldier, who was one of the few hundred surviving Indian soldiers those had made a daring escape from the PoW camps in Africa.

However, while the English soldiers fighting the war got handsome compensation for injuries, causalities in the world war after the Japanese Government paid enough reparation to the British, Indian soldiers didn’t get a penny. Thousands of Indian soldiers were killed or injured.

The Indian Government did not pay anything after Independence saying it was not supposed to pay anything as the soldiers had fought for the British. The Britain Government too looked the other side.

Claiming it to be a matter of right for the Indian soldiers, many of whom like Col Dhillon were incorporated in the Indian Army later and went on to win many a battle and wars for the country were demanding compensation.

Col Dhillon, who has made several trips to England to pursue the issue, finally managed to get it taken up in the British Parliament. The notice of motion moved in the House of Commons by 19 Members of Parliament led mainly by Mr John McDonnel, Mr Rob Marrs, Mr Bob Rusell and others said, “This House calls upon the government to undertake in liaison with the Indian Government an assessment of the plight of surviving members of the British Army recruited from Indian sub-continent, who were taken prisoner of wars on the Western Front in the Second World War with a view to ensuring adequate support and financial assistance to those who served this country at its time of need.”

Col Dhillon said he had to taken up the issue with British MPs after the Ministry of Defence, England, rejected the claims. He had written several letters to the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, about the claim. Mr Blair had forwarded it to the Ministry of Defence. Ms Lyn Hearn from the Corporate Memory (Analysis Branch) of the Defence Ministry declined the claims in a letter written to Col Dhillon.

She said, “The Indian soldiers were not included in the ex gratia payment because the responsibility for the old Indian Army had passed to the new governments of India and Pakistan, when those countries became independent sovereign states in 1947. The Government of India was not a party to the 1951 Peace Treaty but signed a separate agreement with Japan in respect of matters arising from the Second World War”.

“Accordingly, the great majority of those who served in the old Indian Army during the Second World War were not eligible for a payment under the UK’s ex gratia scheme”. This was the general view about the issue accepted in England till the passing of the notice of motion now.

Not willing to be bogged down, Col Dhillon had held that the British Government could not wash their hands of the matter, “Our plea through out has been that the transfer of power to India and Pakistan took place more than two years after the war had ended”.

Talking to The Tribune at his residence in Ludhiana, he said he was in the twilight of his life now but would fight till his last breath like a true soldier to get compensation for the Indian soldiers who had fought so gallantly and enabled the Britain to win the war.


Gurkirat is Dullo’s political adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Punjab Congress chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today appointed young Congress leader Gurkirat Singh as his Political Advisor.

Gurkirat Singh, who is at present Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, is a son of Tej Parkash Singh, an MLA, and grand-son of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

It may be mentioned that Gurkirat Singh was the front runner for the post of President of the Youth Congress, however, the party high-command reportedly rejected his candidature on the premise that all leaders in the forefront belonged to the Sikh community.

The party wanted a person from the Hindu community to lead the Youth Congress so that all sections of society were represented. 


Water level in Bhakra falls by 19 feet
Tribune News Service

Nangal, June 29
The water level of the Bhakra Dam finally reached the balance point today. It’s level decreased 19 feet this month in comparison to the last month. The water level in May-end was 1,588 feet. The discharge of water to the consumer states was increased this month while inflow was low and as a result the water level of the Bhakra Dam today reached to 1569 feet.

The water level in the Bhakra Dam was kept low keeping in view the expected high inflow of water during the rest of the filling period in July, August and September due to rainfall in its catchment’s area (upper hills). Now, the Bhakra Dam has enough space to store water up to 1,680 feet (the optimum level) in the coming months, revealed the BBMB sources.

The sources said the BBMB authorities were worried with the rise in the water level of the Bhakra Dam in May due to the high inflow of water at 36,000 cusecs per day. In the end of May the water level reached 1,588 feet while last year the water level was 1,536 feet on the same day.

As the water level was 52 feet higher than the last year in May so the BBMB authorities had increased the release of water to consumer states, including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, to meet their demand and keep enough space in the dam considering rainfall in the coming three months. Besides, the high discharge of water was used to generate power to help the consumer states to reduce power cuts, the sources added.

The sources said the discharge of water today was 27,000 cusecs to consumer states while inflow was 34,000 cusecs. The Irrigation Department of the BBMB had been monitoring the situation of inflow daily. The discharge of water would be increased if the inflow remained high for many days and the demand also increased.

The sources added that in the coming three months the discharge of water into the Sutlej could not be increased much in the downstream of the Bhakra Dam. 


DGP orders stocktaking of vehicles, manpower
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr S.S. Virk, today ordered the immediate stocktaking of all vehicles in the police force, deployment of manpower and usage of cash. He also ordered that a record should be maintained on the number of policemen posted in a district and how many were drawing salaries.

The DGP told officers at the state-level crime review meeting here today that all details of the stocktaking should be covered. He said there should be details of the exact number of vehicles and what was their present status. Also records should be available on the constabulary, the place of posting of all of them and the position where he or she was actually working. Or if the cop was deployed elsewhere on some job of an official then the record should reflect it. Mr Virk told The Tribune “these were maladies in any force and we have to keep a continuous check”.

He told officers that isolated efforts were being made by certain radical elements who were regrouping to show their presence in the state.

This would need more emphasis, keeping in view the forthcoming general elections in the state, said the DGP, while claiming that the Punjab Police was fully determined and geared up to dismantle the nefarious designs and plans of any such elements.

The DGP said told district police chiefs to sensitise the force in the event of any stray incident of violence carried out by vested interests. The issue of custodial death cases was also raised by the DGP and he said that the guilty should be punished.

Taking a serious view of drug trafficking in Punjab, the DGP asked his officers to nab drug traffickers and confiscate their properties as per the new provisions of the law.

A spokesperson of the Police Department said the DGP had observed that there had been certain cases of robberies and snatchings and the leads in such incidents had to be pursued professionally. Important crime cases must be worked out without any delay, he told the officers.

Mr Virk asked all field officers to personally visit the sub-divisions and police stations to check the progress in crime detection and investigation of cases besides interacting with lower-level police officials to gather specific information. Regular follow-up of court cases and litigation work must be supervised besides cracking down on unscrupulous travel agents.

In order to bring out more improvement in the police functioning at the lower level, the DGP said a plan was being worked out to have a cooperative credit society for the police force. Mr Virk suggested vacancies should be filled and genuine problems and constructive suggestions must be heard by senior officers on a regular basis.


200 state villages at risk from Haryana canal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Residents of about 200 villages in the Patiala, Samana and Dakala Assembly segments are feeling doubly cursed.

They have been fighting for survival against the seasonal floods caused by the Ghaggar and its tributaries for the past many decades due to inadequate measures taken by successive state governments.

The Hansi Butana canal being constructed by the Haryana Government has enhanced the danger to their lives.

Residents of these villages are agitated that instead of taking adequate measures to save them from floods, the Punjab Government has failed to oppose construction of the canal though it will obstruct the natural flow of the Ghaggar and other rivulets and turn thousands of acres into a lake.

Residents have been trying to stop the construction of the canal to save themselves from the floods which the Ghaggar and other rivulets will cause in the area after the water flow is obstructed by 15-foot-high banks of the canal.

Residents of about 20 villages have submitted a representation to Punjab Irrigation Minister Lal Singh, urging him to save them from destruction and devastation.

They have alleged that by opposing the flow of water to Haryana through the Sutlej Yamuna link canal, the Congress government in the state has gained politically.

They have added that the government is now allowing an alternative to Haryana by allowing it to construct the Hansi Butana canal, which will take water from the Bhakra main line, because the Congress is also in power in Haryana.

Haryana had started constructing the canal from Azimgarh village, sharing the boundary with Samana in Patiala district, a few months ago. The canal, about 20 kilometres long, 20 feet deep and 27 feet wide, would run along the Haryana-Punjab boundary.

The villagers said they had been demanding that at least three kilometres of the canal be constructed underground so that the Ghaggar and other rivulets, including the Patiala Nadi, could flow over it.

They added that these measures would not obstruct the flow of water in the Ghaggar and other rivulets.

They said they had been demanding that more siphons be constructed beneath the canal to keep the water of the Ghaggar and other rivulets flowing without interruption.

Akali Dal (Longowal) President Prem Singh Chandumajra alleged that the Hansi Butana canal was being constructed as both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had been ignoring interests of the villagers.


Online power purchase: PSEB signs memo with PGCL
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has signed an agreement with the Power Grid Corporation Limited (PGCL) for setting up national load despatching centres at Delhi and Kolkata for making online purchase of power from other sources during peak demand time.

The agreement was signed by Mr Jyotinder Singh, Chief Engineer, System Operations and Communication, PSEB and Mr N.R. Chanda, Executive Director, PGCL on behalf of their organisations.

After signing the agreement, Mr Chanda said Rs 45 crore would be spent to set up the National Load Despatching Centres at Delhi and Kolkata. He said the PSEB would part with Rs 13 crore for that job while rest of the money would be contributed by other states.

He added main centre would function from Delhi while the Kolkata centre would be kept as back-up support in case of failure of the main centre. He said with the setting up of these centres, the PSEB would be having current data of all states regarding their quantum of generation of electricity, demand and quantum of surplus power. With this data available to the PSEB, it would be able to make online purchase of power during peak demand times.

He said after the national load despatch centre came into existence, it could be connected with the power distribution centres of neighbouring states and hence it can be used to bring electricity from those countries to any part of India.

Mr Jyotinder Singh, said the centre would came into existence by 2008. He said that with the availability of such centre, the PSEB would be able to check whether any state had been making violations of norms laid down for drawing power from the national transmission lines.

He pointed out the PSEB had already been running its despatch load centre at Ablowal village in this district. With all kinds of current data in connection with each sub station available the PSEB management had been finding it easy to keep power supply smooth in the state and to consumers of different categories.

He said with the setting of national load despatch centre, a watch could be kept on all transmission lines. Such centre would make the task of control over voltage and frequency of electricity easy.

Meanwhile, the PSEB had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with KBRL Limited, Basour (Sangrur) for supplying surplus power to the PSEB.


‘Authority of Akal Takht supreme’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, today called upon Sikh masses to defeat nefarious designs of anti-Panthic forces who were out to denigrate and challenge the authority of Akal Takht — the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs .

Addressing a seminar organised by the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta)to mark the 4th centenary of the foundation of Akal Takht, here, Jathedar Vedanti said the ‘ifs and buts’ being raised on the authority of the Akal Takht and criticism of ‘hukmnamas’ by a section of the Sikh masses was the most unfortunate development.

Speaking on the supremacy of the Akal Takht, Mr Baljit Singh Brar, Editor of a Punjabi daily, said there was need to change the system of appointing Jathedar Akal Takht by keeping him out of the purview of the Gurdwara Act. He said the installation of Jathedar Akal Takht should be on the lines of the Pope so that he work throughout his life and could take decisions freely and independently.

Meanwhile, five resolutions were passed on the occasion, including implementation of the ‘hukmnamas’ (edicts), pronounced by the Akal Takht from time to time .

The resolution also called upon the Sikh masses to implement the decision of the SGPC, taken on March 21 for initiating legal action against the editor of a Punjabi daily . Another resolution sought installation of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale in the Sikh museums. It also demanded raising of a memorial in the memory of those killed in the infamous Operation Blue Star.


Forms for revised poll rolls
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
The Postal Department has been involved in the process to prepare revised electoral rolls.

People can collect form No. 6 for the inclusion of name, form No. 8 for correction of particulars on the rolls and form No. 8A for transposition of entry into the rolls.

The forms are available at various post offices, including Head Post Office, Baradari Gardens, Bhupindera State Press, Sheranwala Gate, Jhaurian Bhattian, Ragho Majra, Shahi Samadan, National Institute of Sports (NIS), New Officers Colony, Bahera Road, Gurbax Colony and Dukhniwaran Sahib. 


550 attend NCC camp
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Nearly 550 cadets of the NCC of 5 Punjab Battalion have been attending the annual training camp at Fatehpur Rajputan village. It will run till July 7.

The camp, which is being attended by both boys and girls, has seen participation of candidates from Patiala, Mohali, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.

Lieut-Col N.S. Sidhu, Camp Commandant, said the cadets were being imparted training in drill, weapon, battle tactics, map reading and firing. 


Seminar on Arjan Dev martyrdom

Patiala, June 29
A seminar in connection with the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev was organised by the Punjab Today Foundation here late last night.

Mr Kanwar Manjit Singh, CEO, said in a press note that Dr Rajwant Singh, who had created awareness about Sikh culture in foreign lands, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former President of the SGPC, and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, a senior SAD leader (Badal), delivered lectures in the seminar. TNS


Judicial remand for Bira
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 29
Khalistan Commando Force (Panjwar) deputy chief Kulbir Singh Barrapind, alias Bira, was again produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Mr VK Goel, here today.

Though Bira was sent in judicial remand till July 13 in a criminal case of Tarkhan Majra, he will have to stay in police custody till July 1 as he was in police remand till July 1 in another criminal case of Dhakka Colony, Phillaur.


Punjab likely to witness another bumper cotton crop
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 29
A couple of spells of pre-monsoon showers have brought cheers among the cotton farmers of the Malwa region and if conducive weather conditions prevailed in the next quarter of the year Punjab’s cotton production will cross 20 lakh bales for the second year in succession, feel experts.

Talking to the Tribune, the former president of the North India Cotton Association, Mr Ashok Kapur, said though the area under cotton cultivation had gone up in Punjab the increase had been offset by decline in area in Haryana and Rajasthan.

He said north India’s cotton production was likely to touch 40 lakh bales, out of which Punjab would contribute more then half. Not ruling out higher production, he said favourable weather could make up for the reduced area in neighbouring states. He added that lesser area had produced higher crop in the past too.

As per unofficial figures, the area under cotton in Punjab has gone up from the last year’s figure of 5.57 lakh hectares to 6.2 lakh hectares, while it has declined from 5.8 lakh hectares to 5.6 lakh hectares in Haryana and from 3.5 lakh hectares to 2.4 lakh hectares in Rajasthan. Overall, the area has reduced from 14.87 lakh hectares to 14.2 lakh hectares in north India as compared to last year.

Mr Kapur attributed the significant fall in cotton sowing in Rajasthan to the non-availability of water, as canal network was shut while sowing operation was on in the state. On the prevailing scenario, he said the crop was progressing satisfactorily in Punjab and the pre-monsoon showers in the last couple of days augured well for it. He said Punjab’s farmers had done a lot in buying quality cottonseed and shifting more area under cotton, though much would depend on weather now.

He said while the farmers had become more aware about seeds, the state government had failed to make quality seeds available to them. He said a majority of the farmers had once again shown their inclination towards Bt cotton.

The crop was progressing in a similar fashion last year, but excessive rain in September spoiled the show, he added.


Admn gets act together to tackle floods
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
The district administration has taken precautionary measures to control floods and to meet any eventuality, said Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, after holding a meeting of district officials here yesterday.

The meeting was called to review the arrangements.

She called upon the officials and people to chip in with help in the eventuality of floods.

Giving details of the precautionary steps, she said from July 1 to September, flood-control rooms would start functioning at the district and subdivision levels under the direct control of the Deputy Commissioner and the respective Tehsildars round the clock. She said a special district-level flood-control room had been set up in room No.115 of the district administrative complex with phone No. 01763-233802.

She said in case of floods, boats, tents, tarpaulin, life-saving jackets and other equipment had been arranged in sufficient numbers.

She directed all revenue officers to submit reports within a week about prospective flood-prone areas in the district. She directed the Civil Surgeon to ensure drinking water supply, fresh eatables, cleanliness, vaccination and medicines in case of floods. 


Computerised information kiosk inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 29
The basic spirit behind the Right to Public Information Act is to make the common man realise that he is the master in the democratic set-up and the proper implementation of the Act is the need of the hour for providing a transparent administration and strengthening the democratic set-up.

This was stated by Chief Public Information Commissioner Rajan Kashyap while underlining the importance of the proper implementation of the Act here today.

He was here to inaugurate the computerised information kiosk set up for providing detailed information to the public regarding various departments and other aspects of the district and release the brochure published by the district administration to make the people aware about the Act.

He said the commission had selected Nawanshahr and Mohali districts as model districts for the implementation of the Act in the district and the model would be replicated in other districts.

He added that the commission had received 300 complaints and appeals regarding denial of information, non-availability of timely information and distorted information, of which 60 had been settled.

Mr Kashyap also inaugurated a blood donation camp at Balachaur, about 20 km from here, during which 150 units of blood were collected.


4,500 pirated CDs seized
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 29
The police today arrested two women for smuggling 4.5 kg of opium from Rajasthan. A resident of Sadulshehar, known as a principal narcotics centre on the other side of the inter-state border, was nabbed with 10 gm of smack. A raid led to recovery of 4,500 pirated CDs, including 130 obscene titles.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Arpit Shukla, said this evening that the police had a tip-off that the smugglers were trying to deploy women as couriers to evade vigil at the 14 sensitive points near the Rajasthan border. A party of police commandos and the CIA staff had been alerted.

The staff led by Sub-Inspector Major Singh intercepted two women on a canal bridge during patrolling on the Himmatpura-Bazeedpur Bhoma road. The police seized 4.5 kg of opium and arrested Balbir Kaur (23), wife of Satnam Singh of Hizravan Chotian, Fatehabad (Haryana), and Kamlesh (35), wife of Sat Pal of Guru Nanak Nagri, Malout, under Sections 18/61/85, NDPS Act.

Preliminary interrogation indicated that the women had taken the supply of opium from Chittaurgarh in Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, the Sadar police here nabbed Krishan Kumar, son of Padma Ram of Sadulshehar, and seized 10 gm of smack from him. He was booked under the NDPS Act.

In a major action, the police led by SHO Satish Malhotra carried a raid at a portion of the house owned by Chander Bhan Patwari in the Nanak Nagri locality here.

The tenant, Sudhir Kumar, escaped but his son, Deepu, alias Deepa, was arrested on the seizure of 4,500 CDs. The police registered a case under Sections 420, 292 and 293, IPC, and Sections 51, 52-A, 64, 66 and 68-A of the Copyright Act.


Drugs missing from malkhana Gurbaxpuri

Tarn Taran, June 29
The Khemkaran police has registered a case under Section 409 of the IPC over 1210 intoxicant tablets and capsules going missing from the malkhana.

A naka party of the police station recovered 8102 intoxicant tablets and capsules from Satpal Singh of Bhura Kona village in 2002 and a case under the NDPS Act was registered.

On the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, these was going to be destroyed when Navdeep Singh of the area filed a writ petition suspecting that the tablets and capsules had been reduced.

The high court ordered the SSP to probe into the matter, and the local SP (Detective), who enquired into the matter, detected some foul play.


Stolen truck, car recovered; 1 held
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 29
The police today arrested a vehicle thief and recovered a truck and a car from his possession.

Acting on a tip-off, a police party, led by the in charge of the city police post, Mr Raghbir Singh, arrested Balkar Singh from Damanheri village. A stolen truck was recovered from him.

During interrogation, he confessed to stealing a Maruti car from Ambala. The car was also recovered from him.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Moti Ram, a resident of Rohini in Delhi, on the charge of trying to sell off an Indica car, which he had got financed from the HDFC Bank. He had allegedly prepared a fake registration book of the vehicle to effect the sale.


2 units manufacturing spurious milk unearthed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
The police has unearthed two units involved in manufacture of spurious milk and desi ghee during raids in the district. Culprits were held red-handed while manufacturing spurious milk and desi ghee and raw material used for it was seized.

The police has registered separate cases under sections 420 of the IPC and 7 of the Food Adulteration Act 1954.

Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SSP, said the police had got a tip-off that the owners of Balbir Dairy at Tarkheri and Ambey Majra villages had been manufacturing spurious milk and desi ghee which they supplied in various towns of the state. The police raided the dairy and arrested Balbir Singh.

He told the police that they used to prepare spurious milk and desi ghee by mixing refined oil, castic soda, meetha soda and some other chemicals in milk powder.

The SSP said the dairy of Swarn Singh at Gadhera village in Bassi Pathana subdivision was also raided. It was found that he too manufactured spurious milk by using chemicals and used to supply it to Verka Milk Plant in Mohali. The police has registered a case against him. 


AICTE restores seats of Dera Bassi institute
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 29
Reverting its stand on disallowing admission to Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has restored all its seats as per the previous order.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, today confirmed this to The Tribune. He said that he had received a fresh notification from the council in this regard yesterday. The seats of the college would now be filled through the ongoing counselling at the Government Polytechnic for Women, Jalandhar.

University officials said that the notification came after the council had revisited the campus and found that the faculty and infrastructure had been upgraded as per the norms laid down by it.

They, however, said that no fresh orders of the sort had been passed for the other affiliated college of the university, Shivalik College of Pharmacy, Nangal, which, too, had been debarred from conducting any fresh admissions by the Punjab Government following the AICTE recommendations recently.

No orders have either been passed in favour of Baba Isher Singh Pharmacy College, Kot Ise Khan, Ferozepore, where the seats had been slashed from 60 to 40 and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Polytechnic and Pharmacy College, Patti, where the num
ber came down from 60 to 45, the officials maintained.


Decade after completion, ITI buildings sans courses
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 29
The Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) built by the government at Kanuwan and Mukerian have failed to start courses even 10 years after the completion of the buildings.

People of the area have been bereft of the benefit of technical education though they had donated land for the educational institutes.

The youth of the area still had to go to far-flung areas for obtaining technical training.

The building for starting an ITI at Kanuwan had been constructed during the Beant Singh government in 1996.

About Rs 4.5 crore had been spent on the building, but the government had failed to start courses at the institute. The SAD-BJP government had also failed to start courses at the institute.

The then SAD minister from the area, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, had tried to hand over the building to the Guru Nanak Dev University for running management courses, which was opposed by the Congress.

Protests had been organised to prevent the Guru Nanak Dev University from taking over the institute.

The village panchayat had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, saying it had given land for an ITI.

The Congress government had then decided to hand over buildings of technical institutes to private education trusts which could run courses there.

The Kanuwan and Mukerain ITIs had been handed over to a trust for running ITI courses.

An year after the transfer of the building, the private trust had failed to run ITI courses.

The Director, Technical Education, Mr Narinderjit Singh, said they had been prompt in giving permission for running courses and the process of handing over the remaining about 12 buildings was going on.

The Deputy Director, Technical Education, Ms Daljit Singh, said permission for running courses at the Kanuwan and Mukerian ITIs had been given by the state technical education department.

Education trusts would have to seek permission from the National Council for Vocational Training, which was still awaited, she said.

People of the area had been demanding that the government run the institute itself or hand it over to some educational organisation that could start courses immediately.


ITI employees hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
Hundreds of activists of the ITI Employees Union, Punjab, supported by students from the Patiala and Ludhiana zones, today organised a dharna at the ITI, Bassi Pathana, in support of their demands.

Mr Sunil Dutt Sharma, state president of the union, while addressing the gathering, said various memorandums regarding their demands had been submitted to the government but nothing had been done so far. So they had been forced to organise the dharna.

He said the main demands of the employees included no recruitment of new staff and reducing the posts of instructor by implementing a new scheme of centres of excellency by the government.

He said the Department of Industrial Training had adopted the scheme in six ITIs by dissolving 36 posts of various trades.

He said the new scheme was implemented only to consume Rs 9.6 crore. He said they had already used Rs 440 crore taken from the World Bank in which purchase officers were facing vigilance enquires.

Mr Harvinder Bhardwaj, state general secretary of the union, said private ITIs were working as commercial shops where poor students were exploited and fleeced.

He said these institutions did not have proper building, machinery, hostel, playgrounds and competent staff.

He said such institutions get affiliation by corrupt practices and some high-level officials were facing vigilance enquires in this regard.


GND varsity extends admission date
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
The candidates desirous to seek admission in MA political science (semester system) and postgraduate diploma in printing technology and management of Guru Nanak Dev University could now submit their admission forms for vacant seats up to July 7 without late fee direct to the respective heads of the departments.

The university spokesman said that an entrance test for the vacant seats of MA (political science) would be held on July 10. Similarly, the entrance test for PG diploma in printing technology and management would be conducted on the same day in the Department of Electronics Technology.


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