P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM to seek cut in central taxes on petrol, diesel
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who will be leaving for Delhi tomorrow to attend a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states, will urge the Union Government to cut excise and customs duty on petroleum products to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel.

At the meeting, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the President of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Mrs Sonia Gandhi, will discuss the issue of soaring prices of various essential commodities with the Chief Ministers. Rising prices have become a cause of worry for the Congress as it is facing flak from people from various walks of life on the issue. As the Assembly elections are due to be held in Punjab in about six months from now, the ruling party is worried over price rise.

The Central Government's failure to take the required measures in time to check the rising prices can adversely affect it prospects in states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the Assembly elections. The BJP and its political allies such as the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) have already become hyperactive on this issue and have started mobilising public opinion against the Manmohan Singh government and Mrs Sonia Gandhi on the issue of price rise.

In fact, when the Chief Ministers of the Congress- ruled states will be discussing the issue of soaring prices in Delhi, the President of the BJP, Mr Rajnath Singh, will be leading a dharna of his party activists at Ferozepore tomorrow against rising prices. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and other senior Akali leaders will also take part in the dharna. Later, Mr Rajnath Singh will flag off a three-day march,which will pass through various cities and towns of the state, by BJP workers in Ludhiana on the same issue.

One of the main reasons for the rising prices is the steep hike in the prices of petrol and diesel in the past two years. In Punjab, the prevailing price of petrol is in the range of Rs 52 per litre. Of this price, about Rs 23 is taken by the Union Government in the form of excise duty, customs duty and other taxes. If the Union Government slashes its share of taxes, the price of petrol will come down immediately.

The other issue which will be taken up by the Punjab Government is the release of wheat and rice from the central pool for distribution among below-the-poverty line (BPL) families as well as above-the-poverty line (APL) families.There are about 3.5 lakh BPL families and 45 lakh ABL families in the state. The government needs about 1 lakh quintals of wheat per month for BPL families alone. In fact, there is need to revamp the public distribution system( PDS) in the state to make it effective.

Capt Amarinder Singh wants that the Union Government should immediately allocate some stocks of pulses for the PDS in Punjab. Already, he has directed Markfed and Punsup to import pulses as the Union Government has given the green light in this regard. However, the imported stocks will not arrive before mid- August.


Congress’s mass contact programme from July 15
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
With an eye on Assembly elections the Congress will start mass contact programme by organising a ‘rath yatra’ to 117 constituencies of the state from July 15 under the leadership of Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, in charge, Punjab affairs.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, stated this to reporters after electing Mr Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli (Majithia) for the post of president, District Congress Committee (Rural).

Mr Dullo said his party would inform people of the state through ‘rath yatra’ about development made during its five-year rule under Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister. He said the party would also inform masses about development programme of the Congress party. He said the Congress wanted to make the state number one in respect of development.

On infighting in the party Mr Dullo denied it. He said the Congress was a big party and there was no dearth of workers, who wanted to serve the party and the nation.

On recent police atrocities on people, particularly on women Mr Dullo said the police should change its way of functioning. He said senior police officers should monitor the situation and take strict action against those found guilty.

On recent clashes at Manji Sahib Dewan hall between supporters of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the PPCC president said that Akalis had always played with tenets of Sikhism. He said Mr Badal was using the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for political ends. He said the state had suffered due to the wrong policies of the Badal government. He said it was duty of true Sikhs to decide which party was taking interest to solve their problems.

On an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mr Dullo said the BSP had no base in the state. He said its cadres was disillusioned with working style of its president Ms Mayawati, and many people from that party had joined the Congress.


No ticket to tainted leaders: Dullo
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Star campaigners of the Congress during Punjab Assembly elections will be Ms Sonia Gandhi, Mr Rahul Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh, President, Indian National Congress, her MP son and Prime Minister, respectively.

This was disclosed by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, to The Tribune here today.

To a question Mr Dullo said the Congress leaders, who had no base among people would not be given party ticket for the Assembly elections if adverse report was received by the party from workers.

He, however, said prospects of victory would be the main criterion for giving the Congress ticket for the Assembly elections.

To another question, Mr Dullo said the manifesto of the party was being drafted by scholars.

The main agenda of the party would be to restore the ‘number one position’ of the state in the country which it had before the formation of Akali-BJP government . He alleged the Congress government had got empty coffers after previous Assembly elections.

Mr Dullo said he had received complaints from party workers against certain bureaucrats. He warned the bureaucracy to give proper respect to representatives of people failing which action would be taken.

The PPCC president said though the Congress government had made sincere efforts to strengthen ‘people-to-people’ contact by a number of efforts between India and Pakistan yet the next government would definitely promote Indo-Pakistan trade to help in the transformation of the border belt . He said the Congress high command was making sincere efforts for opening a visa centre at Amritsar so that more Punjabis could make use of the Amritsar-Lahore-Nankana Sahib bus service.

Mr Parminder Singh, general secretary, PPCC blaming the Shiromani Akali Dal for exploiting religion for political ends, said it was the endeavour of his party to create peaceful atmosphere. He said his party would seek votes to serve people.


Uma’s party to contest 15 seats in state
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
With a promise to stem the rot in the political system, the newly-floated Bharatiya Janashakti Party of Uma Bharti today announced it would contest the February 2007 Punjab Assembly elections, fielding candidates in at least 15 of the 117 assembly constituencies.

‘‘The party had declared 14 district conveners in Punjab till date and is increasing its base to contest elections in more constituencies,’’the organising secretary in charge of party affairs in the northern region, Mr Vishwanathan, said at a press conference here today.

Mr Pawan Valecha, a former Senator of Panjab University and son of Khushhal Chand Valecha, the first BJP MLA in the Punjab Assembly in the eighties, termed the BJP as a ‘‘finished party’’ in the state, adding that the Congress was the number one enemy.

And with a view to broadening the party’s base and apprise the people about the party’s agenda, the party supremo, Ms Uma Bharti, will visit Punjab and Chandigarh in the last week of July.

Taking about a possible tie-up with other political parties, Mr Vishwanathan did not rule out a political alliance with the Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD).‘‘Talks are in progress with Akali leaders for an alliance with the SAD in Punjab,’’ he said.

The party leader claimed that a large number of BJP workers and leaders were adopting a policy of ‘‘wait and watch" to join the Bharatiya Janshakti and only a few leaders had taken the bold step to actively join it.

The party had decided to field candidates in Ahmedgarh, Abohar, Fazilka, Jalalabad, Ferozepore, Baluana, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Dhuri, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Garhshankar and Kharar Assembly constituencies in the polls scheduled for February 2007, he said.

He said the party would celebrate the 106th birth anniversary of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee by organising a tree plantation drive throughout the state.‘‘We will also start a membership drive in Punjab and Chandigarh on the occasion,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Pawan Velecha has been named the Punjab convener. Mr Satinder Singh (Chandigarh), Mr Ashutosh Vinayak (Ahmedgarh), Mr Ajay Chatrath (Jalandhar), Mr Sitaram Mahajan (Gurdaspur), Mr Jagdeep Khantor (Ferozepore), Mr Satpal Gupta (Sangrur), Mr Gulzar Chauhan (Bathinda), Mr Vijay Sharma (Ludhiana), Mr Praveen Dhanju (Fazilka) and Mr Anil Jyani (Abohar) have been appointed to the governing body of the Punjab unit.


Juvenile held for sodomy, murder of 4-year-old
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 4
With the arrest of a 17-year-old juvenile, the police today claimed to have solved the brutal murder case of a four-year-old boy of Dashmesh Nagar who was strangulated to death after being sodomised.

The accused lived near the house of the deceased. He was arrested from the city this afternoon. The body of Aditya Dhanraj (Bilu), who had been missing since July 1, was taken out from a gutter located in the accused’s house yesterday.

A case under Sections 302 and 377 of the IPC has been registered against the accused at the city police station. He will be produced in the juvenile special court in Ludhiana.

The accused had cleared his class 12 examination this year. He has been assisting his father in running a confectionary shop in the city these days.

The incident took place on July 1. On that day, the accused came home from shop around 1 pm to take lunch. He saw Aditya playing outside his house. The accused’s house was locked at that time. He got the keys from his mother who was at their relative’s house at that time, said the SP (D), Mr Mandar Singh Sandhu, while addressing a press conference at the police headquarters this evening.

He said the accused then took the boy to his house and committed the unnatural act. He got panicked when the child begun crying.

“The accused first hit the boy with a sharp-edged weapon and inflicted several injuries on his body. Later, he strangulated him to death,” the SP(D) added. The accused then dumped the body in a gutter and covered it with bricks. He then went back to his shop,” he added.

Even the parents of the accused could not come to know about the incident. The involvement of the juvenile came to light during the questioning of the family members of the accused who said that he had visited the house around the time when the boy went missing.


NRI offers scholarships to Punjabi students
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
This NRI comes back time and again to lend a helping hand to the needy that in the future may grow up to be the pride of Punjab. A small help at a time when it is most needed - as students without financial resources, has led to over 500 students from Punjab and other North Indian states grow into forces that will work for the improvement of society.

The Sikh Human Development Foundation, Washington's scholarships have kindled many lives, including those of 127 students who have received scholarships during the 2005-6 academic year.

Disclosing this here today, Dr Rajwant Singh, a prominent Sikh leader of Washington and one of the founders of the organisation, said "My organisation is seeking to assist aspiring young needy students who have a desire to pursue higher studies but have meagre resources".

He said, "It is incumbent upon us to share our blessings with others who may have the dreams to go ahead but do not have the means to achieve them. With a contribution of less than a dollar a day, one can change not only one life but the entire generation.

There are many in Punjab who have great minds and sharp skills but they falter due to lack of encouragement and resources or other family needs. Through the SHDF we are giving opportunities to those youngsters as well to those NRIs who want to help students in Punjab. Providing means for higher studies is the best service one can render."

Dr Rajwant Singh is also the Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) and has been working to create awareness about Sikhs in the United States. According to him, "This had to be done to counter the negative effects of 9/11 attacks on Sikhs. There is general lack of understanding about Sikhs and Sikh culture in America."

In order to achieve these goals, he launched a special project 'Sikhs in Harmony', which will organise dialogue with Christians and Jews on behalf of the Sikhs. This project has full-time staff members and volunteers who organise discussions, public meetings and skits creating more awareness about Sikhs. This project is being assisted by individuals enrolled in Yale University and George Washington University. Details are available on his website www.Sikhcouncilusa.org

Awarded the 2nd Bridge Builder's award two weeks ago by the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, Dr Rajwant Singh is very active in inter-faith affairs on behalf of the Sikhs since 1986. The award was given at a reception hosted by Vatican's Ambassador in the US and which was attended by 200 various religious and business leaders in Washington.

Interestingly, Dr Rajwant Singh was the one who arranged the Sikh Heritage Dinner at the Capital Building in Washington to highlight the positive contribution of Sikhs in America. This was attended by over 200 prominent American political leaders and Sikh leaders across America. Senator Hillary Clinton recently held discussions on Sikh issues with prominent Sikhs at Dr Singh's residence in Washington.

Dr Rajwant Singh wants needy students to contact his organisation by logging onto the website and seeking financial assistant. "A small help when required can go a long way to change the destiny of a deserving student".


Badal raps PM for ignoring his home state
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 4
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has rapped the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for “ignoring” his home state Punjab and extending relief packages to other states like Maharashtra.

According to Mr Badal, farmers in the state were burdened with loans crossing Rs 24,000 crores and their economic position was so bad that they had to commit suicides. “Can that be called justice with Punjab?” questioned Mr Badal.

In the same breath, Mr Badal advised the Left parties to withdraw their support to the UPA government over the price hike if they were serious about it.

Mr Badal said that certain MLAs and leaders of his party had informed him that votes of Akali supporters were being deleted from the voter lists during the ongoing voter list revision process by certain officials. “Such officials would be booked for fraud and dereliction of duty when we assume power after the Assembly elections,” threatened Mr Badal, who was accompanied by Mr Daljit Singh Cheema, General Secretary, and other senior Akali leaders.


‘Dharam yudh morcha’ planned against SAD
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
The Sikh conclave held at Gurdwara Toot Sahib here today decided to launch “dharm yudh morcha” against the Shiromani Akali Dal even as it had tendered unconditional and unilateral apology for the clash held at Gurdwara Manji Sahib to mark quadricentennial celebrations of Akal Takht on July 2.

The Sikh conclave, however, sought reviewing of the “unilateral” directive pronounced by the Sikh clergy against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), and five leaders of his party. It alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had successfully used Akal Takht against rival factions though the SGPC and the Badal faction was “squarely responsible” for the sordid incident.

The Sikh conclave was participated by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Dal Khalsa leaders, Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib and Mr Kanwarpal Singh, and Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd), president, Human Rights Organisation, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, and Bhai Mohkam Singh, a spokesman of Damdami Taksal.

The Sikh conclave said the SAD tried to create a wedge between the rival Panthic factions by using the services of Jathedars. They alleged that the partisan role played by the Sikh clergy had evoked strong reaction from all over the Sikh world. They, however, described the clash in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib as the “most unfortunate incident”. The conclave, however, said that giving a “clean chit” to the Badal faction was an unfortunate development.

The Sikh conclave decided to approach the Sikh clergy on July 8 to urge them to summon all the parties which were involved in the sordid clash at Gurdwara Manji Sahib. However, Mr Mann and his leaders, who were pronounced guilty for the acrimonious scenes won’t be part of the delegation that would meet the Sikh High Priests on July 8.

Meanwhile, a Political Affairs Committee member of the SAD, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, said it was unfortunate that the Sikh clergy had given their “final verdict” without giving a chance to the “guilty” to clarify his position.

Mr Harinder Pal Singh, a member of the SGPC from Delhi, belonging to the Badal faction said that after the clash in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, he was feeling ashamed of being member of the Shiromani committee. He asked Mr Badal, Mr Mann and the SGPC chief, Mr Avtar Singh, to tender collective unconditional apology before Akal Takht .

On the other hand, many SGPC members held Mr Mann and his party responsible for the clash and sought the cooperation of the Sikh sangat for their “complete boycott”.


SGPC blamed for Golden Temple clash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 4
The SGPC is responsible for the clash that took place at a function organised in connection with the quadricentennial celebrations of the foundation of Akal Takht inside the Golden Temple complex on Sunday.

This was stated by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the SAD (Longowal), at a press conference here today. He said such an unfortunate incident occurred because Sikh priests acted in a partisan manner. When Mr Simranjeet Singh Mann, president, SAD (Amritsar), was invited to the function why was he not allowed to speak from the stage. Mr Chandumajra said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, had given a political colour to a religious function.

He appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to rise above factionalism and take a decision suitable to the Panth at large. Efforts should be made to prevent such incidents in the future, he added.

He said July 21, when the bhog of akhand path would take places, should be observed as a “paschatap” day.

From July 15 to August 15 seminars were being organised at different places in the state where various issues facing the Panth would be discussed.


Commandos rushed to Ludhiana to check crime wave
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
With the murder of a couple in the morning at Civil Lines and a daylight robbery in Jujhar Nagar today, the city seems to be sizzling more with the series of crimes than the hot weather.

As an immediate measure, the Punjab Government has sent additional forces, requisitioned by the city police, to tackle and help in the detection of crime as a measure to instill confidence among the residents. Six companies of the Commando Force also reached the city in the evening.

ADGP (Law and order) Chander Shekhar was already in the city since yesterday to take stock of the situation. He had come to inspect the police district as a matter of routine but stayed back after the incidents took place.

IG (Jalandhar Zone) Hardeep Singh Dhillon was also in the city to solve the case of kidnapping of Vikramjit Singh, the son of an industrialist, who remains missing for over a week now. Even the DIG (Ludhiana Range) Parag Jain was busy going to the spots where the incidents took place.

Already, there is a talk of the city regaining the dubious distinction of being the crime capital of the state. The recent crime wave has come after a lull of several months.

Today’s incidents were the latest in the wave of crimes which included the unsolved kidnapping of an industrialist’s son last week, robbery of a trader and another robbery in a house in Madhopuri last evening.

While the robbers seem to be robbing at will without the fear of the cops, the police has been found wanting in not only patrolling the roads during the day and night but also in responding in time to the incidents. The police allegedly reached quite late at the jeweller’s shop with inadequate number of men and medical facilities.

Even the red alert was sounded a couple of hours after the incident was reported at 3.30 am and the barricades were put up only by 6:30 am.

SSP A.S. Rai said the incidents could not be termed as a crime wave, “There is no lawlessness. These are the handiwork of different gangs which were targetting specific individuals to loot and for personal enmity as well.”

He exuded confidence that the police would solve the case soon and urged the residents to have confidence in the police. He said the police has intensified vigil in the area.

He said the residents too have to come forward to help the police. There were incidents in crowded areas where the robbers get away despite heavy presence of people on the roads.


Defence points finger at senior officers in GCM
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
An ongoing General Court Martial of two army men at Ferozepore for reported loss of weapons and ammunition has generated a fresh controversy, with the defence alleging that the accused have been implicated to cover up alleged misdeeds of certain senior officers.

A JCO and an NCO from 72 Medium Artillery Regiment are being tried by the GCM, presided over by Colonel S. Chauhan, CO of an infantry battalion, for the loss of a carbine from the regiment premises. They were in charge of the kote. The weapon in question is said to have been recovered a day after the matter was reported to the higher authorities.

“Though the court had summoned the then commanding officer of the unit as a prosecution witness, he was not examined even though he held discussions with the prosecution,” Col S K Aggarwal (retd), the defence counsel said. “He is a crucial witness as he was the one who had dealt with the entire case and his depositions would have been very important,” he added.

Claiming that the entire episode had been stage-managed as a cover-up exercise, he said that the commanding officer is learnt to have written a letter to the Director-General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) a few months ago.

“We would like the letter to be brought on record in the court proceedings as it contains some very serious allegations and would shed useful light on the situation which led to the convening of the court martial,” Colonel Aggarwal said.

He added that there were two intelligence reports on the situation, one written by the field security set-up of 7 Infantry Division and the other by the Western Command intelligence outfit, which were contradictory. “These should also be produced in court,” he said.

It is understood that in his letter, the commanding officer had complained about moral turpitude on the part of certain officers then stationed at Ferozepore and had sought action against them.

He is also believed to have personally met the DGMI at Army Headquarters and briefed him about the matter along with handing him copies of certain documents. No action is learnt to have been initiated on the complaint so far.

It has also come to light that a Colonel whose name figures in the letter has recently been granted premature release from service by waiving off his bond to serve for another three years in lieu of grant of study leave. The said officer, sources revealed, had earlier faced action for illegally collecting money from troops.

The GCM began earlier this year. Colonel Aggarwal has also contended that the promotion of the JCO had become due in February 2005, but why his posting order was not sent by Artillery Records as warranted even before the matter came out in the open remained a mystery.


Panel chief flays leaders for exploiting BCs
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
Mr Kehar Singh, President of Backward Classes Sangarsh Committee Punjab, in a press conference here today strongly criticised leaders of various political parties for exploiting Backward Classes (BC), but did not provide any benefit to them.

He said that even though 27 per cent reservation in government service and in educational institutions had been announced for the BC by the Central Government as well as by the state government, but this decision was never implemented. He demanded strict implementation of this decision immediately.

He strongly condemned the Punjab Government for providing free power supply to the farmers for their tubewells and free power supply up to 200 units to the Schedule Castes. He said that a lot of expenditure was being incurred by the state government for power generation or for its purchase. On account of free power supply, only big and rich farmers were being benefitted. Free power supply to all should be stopped at once.

He also opposed the proposed introduction of a Bill for the waiving of loans of the farmers in the coming session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. This decision would further effect the economy of the state government.


Bank employees decry transfer policy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala held a day-long dharna in front of the bank’s head office to protest against the management’s decision of implementing the policy of redeployment disregarding the 8th bipartite settlement.

In a press statement, Mr N.K. Gaur, general-secretary of the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, demanded cancellation of transfer orders.

Addressing the dharna, which saw employees sitting under a tent pitched just adjacent to the road in front of the head office, Mr N.K. Gaur, said the management had transferred employees from Patiala to outside stations which was in utter violation of banking norms.

He pleaded that since Patiala, in banking norms, was a deficit centre, employees from Patiala could not be transferred to outside stations.

Mr Gaur added that if the bank’s management did not cancel these orders, a hunger strike would be observed on July 11 and the central committee will hold a meeting on July 16 to intensify the agitation.


Mazdoor Union gheraoes DC’s office
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
On a call of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, a large number of labourers, women and children today protested against the police inaction in the sensational case of beating up of a nine-month pregnant woman which had resulted in the killing of her child.

The activists raised slogans against the attitude of the authorities and failure of the police in arresting and registering a case against the accused.

Meanwhile, Awaz-e-Awam, an NGO, which highlighted the case along with the Socio Economic Development Programme and the Kisan Mazdoor Union at a meeting held here today demanded a high-level probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court or by an independent agency like the CBI. They expressed their dissatisfaction over the magisterial probe.


Badal’s convoy jumps lights
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 4
The cavalcade of the SAD supremo jumped traffic lights at Guru Nanak Mission Chowk here at 9.20 p.m.

His gun-totting SPG commandos jumped the red light and sped off towards Nakodar Chowk. Vehicles crossing the road due to the green signal on their side had to come to a screeching halt.

The commandos moved out of their gypsies, gesturing to vehicle users to make way while bradishing their arms.


Mavi’s case sent back to CMO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
The Personnel Department, according to sources, has reservations with regard to give employment to Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, on contract till further orders. A proposal was mooted by the authorities concerned to give employment on contract to Mr Mavi, from July. He was give two years extension in service on attaining superannuation in July, 2004.

Sources said the Person-nel Department had stated that the process to give employment on contract was a long one. Mr Mavi’s case had been sent back to the Chief Minister’s office by the Personnel Department, it is learnt.


Arora appointed BBMB member
Tribune News Service

Anil Arora
Anil Arora

Chandigarh, July 4
The Government of India has appointed Anil Arora as Member Irrigation, Bhakra Beas Management Board. Besides the Chairman, there are two full-time members of the board — one to oversee irrigation related matters and the other for the electricity generation matters.

Mr Arora, a Chief Engineer-rank official of the Haryana Government, was earlier working as Secretary, BBMB. He is a graduate from the Punjab Engineering College and brings with him 37 years of experience in the irrigation sector.


Lovers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
A couple today committed suicide by jumping in front of a train near Jora Phatak here. They took the extreme step allegedly after the parents of the boy objected to their relationship and refused to solemnise their marriage.

The deceased were identified as Deepak (18) and Bobby (27), both residents of government residential flats near Jora Phatak. Bobby used to live with her sister who is an employee in Municipal Corporation office. Mr Vijay Sharma, father of the boy, is also a corporation employee.

The railway police sent the bodies for post-mortem examination.

According to reports, Bobby wrote two separate suicide notes, one for her sister and one for the police. She reportedly held Deepak’s parents responsible for taking this extreme step.

The police has taken the suicide notes into possession and started the investigations.

While Bobby’s sister refused to talk to media persons after the shocking incident, Deepak’s father said his family was not ready for the relationship between the two.

He said he had chided his son and had gone for work.

The police, however, said it had not registered any case and action would be taken only after proper investigations.


Rs 2.27 lakh looted in two incidents
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, July 4
Two unidentified motorcyclist snatched Rs 1.27 lakh from Inderjit Singh, an employee of Pinjrapole Gaushala, while he was going to deposit the money in a bank.

Inderjit Singh in his complaint stated that he was going to deposit the money in Allahabad Bank near Chowk Fuhara, near Golden Temple, here. The police authorities said the matter was under investigation.

Tarn Taran: Three armed persons looted Rs 1 lakh from Parminder Singh of Kot Dharam Chand Kalan village, near Uboke village, on Monday evening when he was going to hand it over to someone.

Police sources said here on Tuesday that Parminder was going on his motor cycle when three armed persons stopped him near Uboke and looted the cash at pistol point. The Chabal police has registered a case.


2 killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 4
Two motor cycle-borne men were killed when their bike collided with a car on the Bathinda-Bajakhana road today.

Both of them sustained serious injuries and died before Sahara volunteers reached the spot. The deceased were identified as Harnek Singh and Darshan Singh.


School-heads in a fix over DEO’s letter
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 4
‘‘Send about 200 students along with some teachers from your school to see a play, ‘Neon Jarr’ to be staged at 7.30 pm on July 6 at War Heroes Stadium, Sangrur. In case, any school fails to send the students, disciplinary proceedings will be initiated against the Head of the school concerned.’’

This warning has been given in an “ati jaroori” (urgent) letter, sent to the principals and headmasters of government senior secondary schools, government high schools, private aided/private recognised/ non-government schools by the District Education Officer (Secondary), Sangrur, a few days ago.

The play, which is against the evil practice of female foeticide, is being staged by the district administration in association with Punjabi University, Patiala. Artistes from the university will perform in the play.

From the issuance of the letter by the DEO (S) to the principals and the headmasters, it seems that the DEO (S) has been assigned the job of collecting thousands of spectators for the play.

However, the letter has put the heads of these institutions in a dilemma it may create problems for the teachers and the students as the play will be staged during evening hours.

In the letter, the DEO (S) has asked the heads of the schools to send as many as 200 students from Classes VIII to XII along with teachers from their respective schools to see the play. From the wording, used in the letter, it seems that a large number of spectators are being collected in a forcible manner to watch the play.

The Principal of a private school told The Tribune that it would be very difficult for the school heads and the teachers to send 200 students to see the play during night hours because if any untoward incident or mishap occurred during the performance or after that then teachers of the respective schools would be held responsible for it. Secondly, it would also be difficult for the teachers to control about 200 students during the staging of the play and later to drop them safely at their respective homes at night.


Thapar institute gets new director
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Prof Abhijit Mukherjee, a renowned civil engineer, has taken over as the new Director of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET).

Prof Mukherjee, before taking up this assignment, was working as a Professor in the Civil Engineering Department in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai.

He has also been associated with the Development Consultants where he designed nuclear power station for the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, and rocket launching stations for the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Prof Mukherjee is also the Principal Investigator of several research projects supported by the National Science Foundation, USA, and the German Aerospace.

He has also been associated with the University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, Germany.


Quark adopts three schools
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kahnuwan (Gurdaspur) July 4
The Quark today adopted three rural schools in the Kahnuwan area. Chairman and CEO of the Quark City F. Fred Ebrahimi visited the area today with PWD Minister Pratap Singh Bajwa, who represents the constituency, and made an announcement in this regard.

Mr F Fred delivered his address in English at Bhaini Mian Khan village while Mr Bajwa translated his speech into Punjabi for villagers. He said their company was earning profits by setting up projects in Punjab. In return the company wanted to invest in social welfare sector. Education is the sector in which the company wants to invest as a social activity.

He said on the recommendation of Mr Bajwa the Quark City company was adopting three rural schools located in Bhaini Mian Khan, Kot Todar Mal and Naushhera Majja Singh villages of the Kanhuwan area. The company would invest from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh in each of these schools. The amount would be spent on developing libraries, modern sports facilities and computer laboratories in the adopted schools.

Besides, poor children of the school who show, promise in education would be awarded scholarships. The company would bear entire expenditure on studies of the students, who go for professional courses.

Mr Fred also said he would keep coming to the school often to help students and school authorities with his experience besides providing the monetary help.

At Bhaini Mian Khan government school Mr Fred selected two children Rubby and Gurmukh Singh from poor families for providing scholarship for education free of cost.

Mr Bajwa said during a chance meeting Mr Fred expressed his desire to invest in social sector. I invited him to visit backward areas of the Kanhuwan area and he accepted it. The children and teachers of the adopted village schools would benefit from the experience and investment of the Quark city company.


DAV managing panel election
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
On the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Deputy Commissioner conducted the election of the DAV College Managing Committee here yesterday.

Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, who was the returning officer, said 39 of the 45 members of the committee participated in the election.

He said Mr Dharambir Kapur, Mr O.P. Chaudhry, Mr Om Parkash Saini, Mr Des Raj Khanna, Mr Pran Nath Sharma, Mr Sarwan Kumar, Mr Vishva Mitter, Mr Sushil Kumar, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Diwan Chand, Mr Baljit Singh, Mr Pawan Kumar Malhotra, Mr Kamal Chaudhry, Mr Devinder Mohan Sharma, Mr Madan Lal Gandhi, Mr Darshan Lal Anand and Mr Chatenya Sharma were elected. He said Mr Rajinder Pal Mehta, Mr Vijay Kumar Chohan and Mr Ved Parkash Sud, who got 19 votes each, were elected through tie.

The elected members would now elect the president of the managing committee.


Counselling dates for JET
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 4
Guru Nanak Dev University will organise counselling for admission to B.Sc. (Hons School) in chemistry, physics, botany, human genetics and B.Sc. industrial microbiology on July 6 and 7 at Guru Nanak Bhawan Auditorium of the university here.

The counselling will be held on the basis of the result of JET(UG) Sciences-2006 conducted by the university on June 14 for these courses.

Candidates appearing for B.V.Sc. test at Guru Angad Dev University to be held on July 7 may appear for counselling at Guru Nanak Dev University on July 6 at 10 a.m.


Student union threatens agitation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
The Punjab Student Union (PSU) today held out a threat of an agitation if the alleged anti-student steps taken by the Punjabi University authorities were not taken back by it.

Mr Dharminder Singh Patran, State Finance Secretary, PSU, in a press note issued here, while alleging that Punjabi university authorities had taken anti-student steps by imposing the certificate-verification fee of Rs 500 per student, said the university authorities had hiked its fee by Rs 1,000 for each course from the coming academic session.

He said that not only this, the Punjabi University authorities had also decided not to give admissions to those students of 10+2 classes, who have failed in one or two subjects.

He added that in other universities, such candidates were being admitted.

He alleged that the Punjabi University authorities had been taking anti-student decisions with the sole aim to privatise and commercialise the education.


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