P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Role of Amritsar police under scanner in paper leak case
Case was filed as ‘untraceable’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
The role of the Amritsar police has come under the scanner following the arrest of five culprits by the Chandigarh police on July 2 in connection with the question paper leak scam of the PMET. The case had been filed as ‘untraceable’ after two years of investigations.

The paper leak nexus was first unveiled by the then SP (City), Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh in April 2003 with the arrest of an Akali leader and rice miller of Sirhind, Devinder Singh alias Bhappu, who allegedly enjoyed close links with the CBSE officials. Bhappu has now been arrested by the Chandigarh Police.

Earlier, he was arrested red-handed while dealing with aspiring candidates of the PMT entrance test, scheduled for April 27, 2003 from the premises of Hotel Royal Castle here.

Eyebrows were raised when Amritsar police had filed the case as ‘untraceable’, leading to the release of all the five persons arrested by the then SP Mr Kunwar. He was in the process of examining senior officials of the CBSE when he was transferred.

However, the successor of Mr Kunwar reportedly failed to investigate the case properly. It is learnt that the case was deliberately weakened at the behest of the then district police chief.

When contacted, Mr Kunwar, who is now SSP, Central Jail, said the case was heading in the right direction at the time he was transferred.

Interestingly, Mr Kunwar, who himself had approached the rice miller in civil clothes as a decoy on a tipoff, struck the deal for getting the CBSE paper leaked a day before the entrance test against a payment of Rs 11 lakh in 2003.

The accused had already called a number of candidates in the hotel room and finalised the deals. After his arrest, Bhappu told the SP that he had been involved in this process for the past two years.

The modus operandi of the con man was that he would get the list of aspirants of the PMT entrance test from senior officials of the CBSE. On the basis of this, he would book rooms in prestigious hotels and call the candidates there for striking deals.

The city police had also rounded a person who was running an institute for PMT entrance tests from the hotel premises.

At the time of the arrest of Bhappu, the names of police officials, doctors and politicians were found written in his personal diaries which proved beyond doubt that such a racket was not possible without the help of a well-oiled nexus. The Civil Lines police had registered an FIR under Sections 418, 419, 420 and 120-B of the IPC.

Now, the Chandigarh police have pointed out that Bhappu and the other accused persons, arrested on July 2, used to help students in clearing the PMET tests in connivance with the university authorities. The accused would charge between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 18 lakh and would take the candidates to Delhi to prepare them for the test.

The sources in police department said that had the investigation of the paper leak scam been completed by the Amritsar police in a fair manner after the transfer of Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, a well-oiled nexus would have been unearthed about three years ago.


PMET results declared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, which today declared the results of the Punjab Medical Entrance Test, said that no question booklet was missing. “All question booklets have been accounted for by a committee of senior academicians and no one should have any doubt in this regard”, said Prof S.P. Dhawan, Controller of Examinations of the university.

He said that as soon as reports regarding the paper leak were confirmed, the university handed over the substitute question paper to the Panjab University authorities.

The test in which 9,821 candidates appeared was held at 41 centres. After the test some persons suspected that at some centres the number of question booklets did not match the number of answersheets.

“In fact, this controversy was created by unscrupulous elements to sidetrack the real issue with an eye to protecting the gang involved in the paper leak scandal”, said Professor Dhawan in the statement.

He said tot remove doubt from the public mind in this regard, the Vice-Chancellors of both universities constituted a high-level committee consisting of eminent academicians to re-verify the number of answersheets and question booklets.

The committee was headed by Prof Vir Singh. Its other members were Prof B.S. Sohi, Prof R.K. Wanchoo, Prof B.S. Dua, Dr Subash Kaushal, Dr Avnish, Dr P.L. Garg and Dr P.P.S. Cooner. “The committee found the number of answersheets and question papers in order and nothing was missing”, claimed Prof Dhawan.

He said the results were available on university website (babafariduniv.com).

Mid-day meal: teachers won’t have to cook
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Relief could be in sight for government schoolteachers, who are forced to cook food for schoolchildren apart from doing their main job of teaching them.

The Punjab Government has given an undertaking to the Punjab and Haryana High Court that schoolteachers would not be asked to cook meals in schools. In fact, a senior Punjab Government officer informed the High Court the government had decided to provide cooked meals to schools and all that the teachers would be henceforth required to do is to supervise the distribution of the meals.

The government action follows a petition filed by the government schoolteachers of Punjab, seeking directions for supply of cooked meals to be distributed to the schoolchildren under the mid-day meal programme.

The petitioner — Government Primary Teachers Association, Punjab — had stated that none of the government schools in Punjab has infrastructure for cooking mid-day meals.

The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, 2004, popularly known as Mid-Day Meal Scheme, was launched by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development with the main purpose of giving a thrust to primary education. This was proposed to be done by improving enrollment, attendance and retention, particularly of students belonging to the weaker sections. The scheme was also aimed at improving nutritional status of schoolchildren by providing nutritional support to them.

However, the petition stated, though guidelines make it clear that cooked meals are to be supplied to students without interrupting academic activity, this is not the case. In Punjab, the responsibility for cooking and distributing meals stands delegated to the teachers.

It pointed out that no provision had been made for supply of cooked meal for distribution and only raw material is being supplied to the head teachers and that as per the guidelines the state government had to make provisions for supply of cooked meals through the NGOs, gram panchayats and parent-teachers associations. But, this was not being done.

“The directions if implemented in letter and spirit will reduce learnings in the schools to a mere farce as teachers will be spending at least three hours in preparation, service and washing of utensils for the mid-day meal,” the petition added.

During hearing, advocate Atul Lakhanpal, counsel for the petitioner, had stated that the teachers had also become liable to action by food inspectors if the quality of the food was not up to the mark.


Badal blames Cong for Manji Sahib episode
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Blaming the Congress for recent Manji Sahib episode in Amritsar, former CM and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today alleged that the ruling party was trying to spoil the state’s atmosphere before of the Assembly elections. He was addressing a press conference after addressing a party rally at Goniana Mandi.

Mr Badal alleged that SAD (Amritsar) leaders created an ugly scene on a historic occasion at the “behest of the Congress”. He said if Mr Simranjit Singh Mann was not allowed to address the gathering his party leaders could have protested in a peaceful manner instead of “committing sacrilege” of Guru Granth Sahib. He alleged that the Congress had not learnt from the past and was trying to push the state into a turmoil through parties like the SAD (Amritsar).

He urged people to “foil evil designs of the Congress” and also sought media’s help in exposing it. He alleged that the SAD (Amritsar) was hand-in-glove with the ruling party, which was also “lending financial support to the former”. He termed the Manji Sahib episode as an “attempt of the Congress and the SAD (Amritsar) to damage his party”. The former Chief Minister also didn’t rule out role of central agencies in the entire episode. “Many central agencies are monitoring developments in the state,” he said. Regarding Panthic bodies’ decision to launch a dharm yudh morcha against the SAD, he said all such groups existed only on papers and they had no base in people.

Mr Badal came out with evasive replies on the controversy raised by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj giving clean chit to Chandu, who played key role in Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom. He also avoided media queries on his party’s agenda for the Assembly elections.

On the recently announced package for Vidarbha’s farmers, he lashed out at the state government for not presenting a clear picture of farmers’ suicides before the Centre. At the same time he said the Centre should announce package for debt-ridden farming community of all states and not merely for a single state.

Senior Akali leaders Gurdev Singh Badal, B.S. Bhunder, Sikander Singh Malooka, Manpreet Badal, Sukhbir Badal, MLAs Gura Singh Tungwali, Jagdeep Singh Nakai and H.S. Datewas were also present at the rally. 


Calcutta debunks Badal’s denial
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Even though the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has categorically denied that Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, member of Political Affairs Committee, had played any role in bringing rapprochement with Jathedar Gurcharn Singh Tohra, the fact remains (going by documentary proof) that Mr Calcutta was the main architect of the Tohra-Badal patch up.

Mr Calcutta gave to The Tribune a copy of the historical document (dated June 13, 2006) which is in his handwriting and bears the signatures of Mr Badal and Jathedar Tohra. As per the final draft, both Mr Badal and Jathedar Tohra had agreed to work in tandem by forgetting past bitterness. ‘‘Can Mr Badal say no to the final draft of unity, inked by him’’, questioned Mr Calcutta.

Talking to The Tribune, here today, Mr Calcutta said his colleagues in Akali party used to call him and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a former Akali, as ‘‘Samjhauta Express’’.

He said before the final rapprochement, he had made at least one dozen unsuccessful attempts on the personal request of Mr Badal who was ready to accept all pre-conditions (except appearing before Akal Takht) laid down by Jathedar Tohra. One such attempt was made along with a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal. At one stage, Mr Badal was so ‘‘desperate’’ for patch up that he was ready to accept any condition of Jathedar Tohra in this regard.

In yet another revelation, Mr Calcutta said Prof Manjit Singh, a former Jathedar Akal Takht, had also made ‘‘abortive attempts’’ for Badal-Tohra unity. He also told that it was because of this that Prof Manjit Singh was unceremoniously removed from his post by the then SGPC Chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, who was against the unity move.

Mr Calcutta said he had made several attempts to narrow down differences between the two Akali leaders immediately after the statement of Jathedar Tohra on December 10, 1998 that Mr Badal should appoint working president of SAD .

Giving details, Mr Calcutta said Mr Badal must accept gracefully that a couple of times he had even travelled in private vehicles leaving behind his security, to meet Jathedar Tohra. He described Mr Badal as an ‘‘ungrateful’’ person who had forgotten the efforts made by him.

Mr Calcutta claimed that when he had submitted his resignation as Minister for Education, Mr Badal had called him up and asked him to withdraw the resignation.

Mr Calcutta, who is in the process of drafting a reply to the ‘‘show-cause notice’’ served on him by the Disciplinary Action Committee Chairman, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, said he had made efforts for the sake of the Sikh panth but the ‘‘ungrateful leader’’ had forgotten whatever he had done for him.


Police remand for deported Babbar Khalsa man
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 5
Gurcharan Singh, a Babbar Khalsa terrorist who allegedly was the mastermind of a plot to kill former DGP K.P.S Gill and president of SAD Prakash Singh Badal, was finally deported from Canada yesterday night.

He was brought to the New Delhi airport through a chartered plane by Canada police and was handed over to the Punjab Police.

After being brought to Gurdaspur early morning today, he was produced before the CJM, Gurdaspur , who remanded him to police custody till July 10.

The SSP of Gurdaspur, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, while talking to mediapersons here today told that though no direct case had been registered against Gurcharan Singh, yet his name figured in a plot to assassinate Mr K.P.S Gill and Mr Prakash Singh Badal. The execution of the plot had been foiled by the police with the arrest of three terrorists. The intelligence reports have also kept Gurcharan Singh at number three in the Babbar Khalsa terrorist organisation.

Gurcharan Singh had allegedly masterminded many other terror operations. He was in contact with top Punjab terrorists, including Wadhawa Singh, Paramjit Singh Pajwar and Gurmeet Singh, the self-styled president of Khalistan who is based in the UK.

Gurcharan Singh belonged to Dorangla village of Gurdaspur. The famous Babbar Khalsa terrorist Baldev Singh Dorangla was his maternal uncle. Gurcharan Singh left for England in 1995. Before that he had also worked in Doha, Qatar, in the Middle East. In the UK he came in contact with Gurmeet Singh who influenced him. He worked as ‘raagi’ in various gurdwaras in the UK. Gurmeet Singh also helped him to acquire a British passport. He used to send grant for the families of terrorists in Punjab from the UK.

He also visited Pakistan on British passport and there in alliance with Babbar Khalsa terrorists he masterminded various terrorist operations. He was also in contact with Jagtar Singh Hawara who is now lodged in Burial Jail in Chandigarh.

Pakistan-based intelligence agencies deported Gurcharan Singh to Canada where he sought asylum. His application for asylum was, however, rejected by the Canadian authorities and he was put behind bars. He remained in Canadian jail for about three years before being deported to India.

The police is now planning to extract information regarding the activities of other Punjab terrorists from Gurcharan Singh. A case under Section 25 of the Arms Act and Section 3/4 of the Explosives Act has been registered against him.

The family members of Gurcharan Singh who are residing in Dorangla when contacted, said he was innocent. They alleged that though no case was registered against Gurcharan Singh, yet he was being projected as a terrorist. ‘‘Gurcharan was never involved in any kind of terrorist activity and we would fight his case legally’’, they maintained.

The wife and two children of Gurcharan Singh also live in the village and his children are hoping to see their father after more than a decade. 


BJP chief demands JPC probe into defence leaks
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 5
The Union Government should identify and reconsider diplomatic ties with those nations responsible for indulging in espionage activity in the country to procure secret defence related information, stated BJP President Rajnath Singh while talking to media persons here today.

The BJP chief, who was here to participate in a dharna organised by the BJP-SAD combine against the abrupt rise in inflation, further demanded that a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) should be constituted to look into the issues related to leakage of classified defence documents from the National Security Secretariat and the Navy War Room.

He was accompanied by state President Avinash Rai Khanna, General Secretary Pankaj Arora, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Mr Surjit Jiyani, Mr Sukhpal Nannu, Mr Tikshan Sood, Mr Ashwani Dhingra, Mr Ajay Sodhi besides other senior BJP leaders and party workers.

While expressing his concern about internal and external security matters, Mr Rajnath Singh raised fingers at the integrity of some Congress leaders. He questioned why raids were conducted after four months of registration of the FIR in connection with the Naval War Room leak case.

He demanded the government should reveal the names of the individuals and agencies responsible for the leakage of 7000 pages of classified secret information.

Mr Rajnath Singh said that the rise in inflation was unprecedented notwithstanding the fact that the country was being governed by a team of economists including the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Finance Minister Mr P. Chidambaram and the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia. He demanded that the current online trading of essential commodities should be stopped forthwith to check any further rise in inflation.

He said that if the government was serious about bringing down the prices of petrol and diesel which have escalated to a great extent, it should reduce the specific taxes and customs and excise duties on these petroleum products.

While accusing the Left parties of adopting a double standard, he stated that if the Left was really concerned about the rise in inflation, they should withdraw support from the UPA government immediately.

About the issues related to construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, he said that BJP has not changed tracks regarding this issue, adding that the Ram Mandir would be constructed in Ayodhya when the BJP would get two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha.

About the launch of a new political outfit by firebrand leader Uma Bharti and its effect on BJP’s poll prospects in the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab, he said that Ms Uma Bharti would not be able to dent the prospects of the party to even the minutest extent. He ruled out any possibility of bringing her back to the BJP fold saying that it was not possible now as she has already floated a new party.


Cong high command’s bid to resolve organisational issues
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Congress high command, which has received a number of complaints with regard to the appointment of party office-bearers in certain districts in Punjab, is trying hard to resolve the issue after talking to senior party leaders from the state.

Sources today said that certain leaders from Punjab had approached the party high command, including the President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to complain with regard to the appointment of various leaders on important slots in the party organisation. The sources said that it had been brought to the notice of Mrs Gandhi that certain leaders, who had openly worked against party candidates in the last Assembly elections, had been given important positions while reorganising the party set-up recently.

The sources in the party high command said that recently Mrs Gandhi had also discussed this issue with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who stayed in Delhi for a few days to discuss important issues with regard to the state plan and farmers' debt with the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

There is fierce groupism in the party, especially in districts such as Mohali and Ludhiana and other places. Certain Congress leaders, who have been working with an eye on securing the party ticket in the coming Assembly elections, have objected to the appointment of various leaders to important positions in the party organisation. Complaints had also been made against the appointment of some "light-weight" politicians to important posts.

The sources said the Congress high command could order changes in the organisation in certain districts to smooth ruffled feathers. There are posts of organisational secretary and joint secretary which are yet to be filled.


SAD expels four senior leaders for anti-party activities
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has expelled four of its senior members for six years from the primary membership of the party for their alleged anti-party activities. Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP and senior member of the Disciplinary Committee of the party, said this to the media persons here today.

Naming the expelled members of the district unit of SAD (Rural) including former district general secretary Mr Jarinder Singh Honey (Ramdas), senior vice-president Mr Ranjit Singh (Bhalla Pind), vice-president (Rajasansi) and Mr Subegh Singh, senior vice-president SAD (Urban), Dr Ajnala said that these party workers were projecting themselves and supporting the candidature of Mr Raghbir Singh, Secretary, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) who is aspiring to contest the Assembly elections from Rajasansi without taking the high command’s approval.

Dr Ajnala said that the party has written to the SGPC President, Mr Avtar Singh, to take disciplinary action against its employee, Mr Raghbir Singh.

He said the SGPC should issue clear directions to the management of all the gurdwaras under its control not to allow Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and his supporters to misuse the premises.

He further said that the SAD have taken a very serious note of the missing names from the electoral rolls at the behest of ruling party for its benefit in the ensuing Assembly polls. He said the party has decided to challenge the deletion of names in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


SAD expels Rattan Ajnala
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, member of parliament and president of the district unit of the SAD (Rural), was today expelled from the Presidentship and primary membership of the party for six years.

The retaliatory action came after Dr Ajnala, who is also senior member of the disciplinary committee of the party, today expelled four senior leaders of the party for “anti-party” activities.

Speaking to media here late in the evening, Mr Harvinder Singh Randhawa said when they came to know about the decision of Dr Ajnala, they immediately convened a meeting of delegates of the district unit of the party and unanimously resolved to expel Dr Ajnala from the party.

He said Dr Ajnala was working in a dictatorial manner and was indulging in anti-party activities. So there was no option left but to expel him from the party.

He said in place of Dr Ajnala Mr Ranjit Singh (Bhalla Pind) was elected president of the district unit of the SAD (Rural).

He said Dr Ajnala had acted on his own and had not consulted any senior leaders of the party, including SAD Supremo Parkash Singh Badal.

Commenting on their expulsion, Mr Randhawa said they were not involved in any anti-party activities. He said they always supported the SAD and worked under the leadership of Akali Dal supreme Parkash Singh Badal.


‘PSEB intentionally caused losses to exchequer’
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 5
The Punjab State Electricity Board chose to drop the 10 km line proposal and opt for the 70 km long line to provide 24-hour electricity to a cluster of villages located on the periphery of this sub divisional town, causing a huge loss to the exchequer and putting rural consumers to a lot of inconvenience.

The sensational disclosure was made today at a well attended meeting of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (ekta). Farmers from the villages of Burjmuhar, Gobindgarh, Ruhrianwali, Patti Sadiq, Bhangala, Bahawalbassi, Dhaani Sucha Singh, Alamgarh, Jhurarkhera, Bhagu and Tajapatti were present.

Gurmail Singh, district secretary of the BKU, while presiding over the meeting alleged that only a 10 km long transmission line was needed to be laid to bring Burjmuhar, Gobindgarh and Dhaani villages under the 24-hour electricity guarantee scheme.

But the PSEB officials, in order to exempt the land of an influential person, dropped the original proposal and chose to lay a 70 km line to link these villages to the Rattatibba distribution station. The board had to thus bear the cost of the 60 km additional line only to watch the interests of a person.

The farmers lamented the extraordinary length of the transmission line led to frequent breakdowns besides other faults. The officials had made the life of 20,000 persons besides thousand of cattle a living hell.

Gurmail Singh said the electricity supply position had worsened. People had sleepless nights in the urban and rural areas. Work in all the commercial, industrial and small business houses had come to a standstill. The BKU gave an ultimatum to the government till July 15 to ensure normal power supply. 


Demonstration against price rise
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 5
The Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) combine today held a demonstration in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today, protesting against the failure of UPA Government in checking inflation. Akali-BJP leaders including BJP chief Rajnath Singh and Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal participated in today’s dharna. The BJP president addressing congregation of workers of the SAD and the BJP claimed that the Congress-led UPA government had been unable to check current rise in prices due to which the common man was going through a great deal of ordeal. He said prices of rising of essential commodities were due to erroneous policies of the UPA Government. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had convened a meeting of the Chief Ministers just to befool the nation whereas practically no measures had been taken to check inflation. Left parties were also playing into the hands of the Congress.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Badal said that the Congress government in the state had broken all records of corruption and its ministers were indulging in acts of unethical and immoral practices in the state. He said that as per the reports of the Intelligence agencies, the Akali-BJP combine would win more than 90 seats in the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in the state. He said all development works initiated by the previous Akali-BJP regime in the state had come to a halt. He said, due to anti-poor policies of the Congress, the wealthy were becoming more affluent whereas poor people, farmers and Dalits were passing through great difficulty. He said to facilitate moneyed industrialists in setting up distillery units in the state, the Congress government had waived Excise duty and given tax exemption of Rs 400 crore where as all facilities extended to the common man by the Akali regime had been withdrawn. Mr Badal said the Congress had brought the state to ruins and has befooled people of Punjab. Promises made by the Congress in its election manifesto have turned hollow and false, and government was even running away from its primary responsibilities like providing education and healthcare to the masses.

Mr Badal said the farmers had been neglected by the Congress regime which had led to growing desperation, distrust and harassment amidst them.

He said even Rs 16000 crore Bathinda oil refinery project could not see the light of the day due to Congress failure.

Mr Badal reiterated that there was nothing like democracy in the state today as Punjabis were reeling under rule of abject autocracy and repression.

Local BJP MLA Sukhpal Singh Nannu said that today all segments of society, may it be government employees, farmers, traders, teachers, doctors or it may be Dalits, everyone was fed up with the policies of the Congress government which was pushing the state towards dark days.

Former Irrigation Minister, Janmeja Singh Sekhon said that only a few henchmen of the Mr Amarinder Singh liquor and land mafia were making quick buck whereas the common man had no say at any level of the government hierarchy.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP Lok Sabha, on the plight of farmers in the state, stated that the current rise in inflation, if remained unchecked will break the backbone of the common man especially the farmers of the state.


Protest outside PSEB substation
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 5
Residents of Nada village held a protest today outside the PSEB substation at Mullanpur village against erratic supply of power.

The protesters said the village was not getting adequate power over the past few days which had made their life miserable. The protesters were, however, pacified by PSEB officials.

It is reported that some residents of Mullanpur village had allegedly threatened the PSEB staff on duty on the night of July 3 as they, too, were not getting satisfactory supply of power. They demanded 24-hour supply of power failing which they threatened to set the substation on fire. They said they had given land free of cost for the substation and as such should get uninterrupted supply of power.

The PSEB officials reported the matter to the police and it is learnt that some residents of Mullanpur village had to apologise for threatening the PSEB staff on duty.

Mr Arvind Puri, who is a resident of Mullanpur village and also the chairman of the Youth Welfare Sports and Health Club, said various problems being faced by the residents of the area were brought to the notice of senior officials of the PSEB. Though an assurance was given to mitigate the problem, nothing had been done so far. He said the power distribution in the system was overloaded which adversely affected the supply of power.

Mr Puri said people had to stand in scorching heat to pay their power bills and for other works in the absence of proper arrangements. People had to stand for hours as there was staff shortage and it took a long time to receive bills. There was shortage of technical staff as well.

Mr Gurbachan Singh, SDO, said complaints from residents of the area were attended promptly but faults could not be located properly during the period when power cuts were imposed as no testing could be done. Long power cuts were being imposed throughout the state but position became serious when a fault developed soon after the power cut was lifted leading to a disruption in the supply of power for a longer period. But the people of the area were unable to understand our limitations.


Complainant resents police inaction in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 5
After running from pillar to post for a number of days and finally after the intervention of the Chief Minister’s office Mr Ram Pratap Bishnoi had succeeded in getting an FIR registered under Sections 420, 456, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B on May 18 against a local commission agent who had allegedly duped him of Rs 35 lakh.

But on Monday he faxed another complaint to the Chief Minister ruing that none of the five persons named in the FIR had been arrested so far. They were given sufficient time by the investigation officer to try for anticipatory bail at different levels but could not reportedly succeed, the farmer added.

Mr Bishnoi said he had found gross irregularities in his produce account and balance sheet maintained by the commission agent. He had handed over cash to the commission agent for getting demand drafts made in favour of his relatives settled in Haryana but a huge amount was shown in the books as loan. He had to approach the Chief Minister’s office in Chandigarh because the persons responsible for the alleged fraud had influenced the subdivisional police, he claimed. The office directed the DIG, Ferozepore range, to get the complaint examined by a police officer.

DSP Narinder Pal Singh had remarked that the case was serious but complicated. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Arpit Shukla, sought the opinion of the Assistant District Attorney. An FIR was registered only after processing the complaint in depth.

According to the complainant the ASI who was the investigation officer had so far not procured the relevant record from the Market Committee and local branches of the SBBJ, SBI, OBC and Bank of India.

Preliminary investigation reportedly pointed out serious discrepancies in the record pertaining to the sale of produce by the complainant. Entries in the daybook, cash book ledger, Form-I and Form-J books differed. Mr Bishnoi feared that the delay on the part of the police might give an opportunity to the culprits to tamper with the records.


Scam alleged in shrine’s budget
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
f one were to go by the Budget estimates presented by the Durgiana Management Committee (DMC) for the year 2006-07, there is an alleged scam of over Rs 1.16 lakh.

Stating this Mr Surinder Arjun, former president of DMC, said there was no income during his tenure and the shrine was in loss.

He said there had been no increase in net profit for the last five years but the present DMC projected the net profit for 2006-07 at Rs 20.40 lakh. Mr Arjun said no money had been allocated for the development of the shrine. He further said the way the Budget had been presented there would be more loss.

He questioned how expenditure on the material consumed for Bhog Bhadar could go down while the prices of materials increased.


Ropar thermal plant unit shut down
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
The power crisis in Punjab further aggravated as one unit out of the six of 210 MW capacity of the Ropar thermal plant was shut down yesterday following some technical fault.

With the shutting down of the unit-1, power cuts in the urban and rural areas of the state have got extended to 10 to 14 hours. The unit will require at least four more days to become operational. Due to this shutdown, the state will suffer a loss of 50 lakh units per day.

Sources in the PSEB said the state was facing a shortage of 250 lakh units per day. With the closure of unit-1 in the thermal plant, the power supply in the state has been reduced to 1250 lakh units while power consumption in the state has increased to more than 1500 lakh units per day.

Sources added that in order to reduce the power shortage, the PSEB is getting 500 lakh units from other states. The state gets 430 lakh units from the thermal plant in the state and 333 lakh units from the hydel projects in the state including the Bhakra Beas Management board.

When contacted, the General Manager of the thermal plant, Mr N.K Arora, said that unit-1 would become operational within three days.


PSEB urged to remove transformer
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
A local resident has complained that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have illegally installed transformer poles at his plot and despite repeated reminders, the board management was doing nothing to remove the poles.

In a letter written to the board Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, copies of which have been sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Power Minister and the Chief Secretary, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bedi, a resident of Ghuman colony, Sirhind road, has said the electricity poles of a transformer had been erected near the boundary wall of his plot.

He added that despite the fact that he had brought this unauthorised construction to the notice of the Superintending Engineer of the 66KV station nothing concrete had been done.

Mr Bedi has also alleged that the Junior Engineer concerned “started talking about the expenditure incurred on the installation of the poles and asked for Rs 20,000 for shifting the poles”.

Mr Bedi, in his letter, has also claimed that as per board’s rules, a transformer can be installed at least 10 feet away from the residential area.

However, he added that in his case half of the transformer fell in his plot area and moreover a third pole which had been erected by the board fell entirely in his plot.

Meanwhile, a section of the residents of the Ghuman Nagar, led by the Municipal Councillor, Mr G.S Guri, has claimed that the transformer was supplying electricity to the entire area and the Board authorities had installed it after spending a lot of money.

The residents, who have come together under the banner of Vikas Club, Ghuman Nagar, have warned the board authorities to quickly shift of the transformer. 


Contractors allege denial of tender forms
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Patiala, July 5
A section of civil works contractors today alleged that the local Improvement Trust authorities had not issued tender forms to them for carrying out various development projects despite the fact that they fulfilled all conditions laid down by it in its notice inviting tender published in different newspapers.

These contractors said though they submitted their applications with earnest money in the shape of DAC well in time, they had not been issued the tender forms so far. On the other hand, the Improvement Trust authorities had issued tender forms to another section of contractors.

In a complaint to the state Chief Minister, these contractors alleged that a section of officials of the trust, when asked about the reasons for not issuing tender forms to them, said these would be issued to their favourites only. Their applications were still lying with the Executive Engineer and the SDO of the trust.

The contractors, who have also lodged complaints to the Local Bodies Minister, Punjab, the Director, Local Bodies, the Secretary, Local Bodies and the Deputy Director, Local Bodies, said the trust had floated tenders for the execution of about eight civil projects costing around Rs 1.5 crore.

They alleged that by denying tender forms to a section of contractors, the trust authorities had ignored the process of competitive bidding with an intention to extend benefits to another section of contractors. They said such an action on the part of the trust authorities was against the financial interest of the state.

Mr Atul Sharma, SDO, Improvement Trust, said some of the contractors were not given tender forms as per the decision taken by the Chairman of the trust. He said the Chairman had taken a decision that those contractor, who had already been executing some civil projects of the trust, should not be considered for new projects.

When asked that no such condition was laid down in the notice inviting tender, he said some contractors were not given tender forms due to the fact that they had made inordinate delay in the execution of some projects already given to them.

Mr Sharma did not say anything when asked that by denying the issuance of tender forms to a section of contractors, the trust authorities were violating the principle of competitive bidding.

Mr K.K. Sharma, Chairman of the trust, could not be contacted for comments.

However, the contractors, who have complained to the Chief Minister, said none of them had ever made any delay in the execution of any civil project entrusted to them by the trust.


Corruption in coal import alleged
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
The president of the thermal plant project contractor workers union, Mr R.K. Tiwari, today levelled the allegation of the corruption against a senior official of the thermal plant, Ropar, in the import of the Chinese coal.

He alleged that the coal of poor quality was being imported by the senior official of the PSEB seeking commission and demanded high- level inquiry in the matter.

On the other hand, the General Manager of the thermal plant, Mr N.K Arora, when contacted said that order for the import of the coal was given by an agency and no official of the thermal plant was involved in the import of the coal.

There was a provision of penalty on the coal supplier firm if the quality of the coal was found poor, he added.


IAS officer bereaved
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
Mr Ved Parkash Verma, father of Mr Samir Kumar, Special Secretary, Department of Irrigation, Punjab, died here today.

He was 82 and is survived by his wife, Mrs Krishna Kumari, two sons and a daughter. Dr Sudhir Verma, second son of Mr Ved Parkash Verma, is a Patiala-based heart specialist.

The cremation was held at the Rajpura road cremation ground.


Punjabi play staged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), staged a Punjabi musical play —Sanu Kee — to mark the occasion of the 59th Punjabi Haas Raag Raag, a monthly garden theatre programme at the local Baradari gardens here yesterday. The main actors of the play comprised youngsters drawn from 15 educational institutions.

The play was directed by Pran Sabharwal. Dr D.C. Bansal, former Professor in the Government Rajindra Hospital, was the chief guest.


Dharna staged

Ropar, July 5
A large number of ITI employees from Ropar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar held a dharna at the ITI complex here. They were protesting against the government policy of non-recruitment of staff and decreasing the posts of instructors in ITIs in the state. TNS


Sanjivini healthcare boon for farmers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
More than 41,000 farmers have enrolled themselves in the recently launched Sanjivini health scheme for the members of agriculture cooperative societies in the rural belt by the government. It is a boon for poor and needy patients.

The government has tied up with ICICI-LOMBARD for providing insurance cover to meet expenses of the treatment of serious ailments in premier hospitals of the world.

Coordinator of the scheme Dr Neelkanth Sharma, said they had been flooded with requests from people enrolled under the scheme. He said that the Sanjivini Health Care insurance scheme refer the patients to different hospitals for treatment according to the ailment. He said the insurance company would meet all expenses of the hospital thus giving free facilities to the members of agricultural societies.


SSP for dismissal of erring cops
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 5
In a new turn to the beating of pregnant women case, SSP Gurdaspur P.S. Umranangal, has recommended the dismissal of the accused cops.

The SSP in a proposal sent to the DGP Punjab, has recommended that the three accused cops, including constables Sukhdev Singh and Gurdev Singh and head constable Chanchal Singh be dismissed from service.

It is for the second time that exemplary punishment of dismissal from service would be meted out to cops in the district in the last six months. Earlier, four cops, including an SHO of Batala, was dismissed for allegedly killing a Dalit youth accused of theft in custody.


Application date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Punjab Police today extended the last date of submitting application forms for the recruitment of 412 male constables as operators/messengers/technicians in its computers and telecommunications branch. The last date will be July 20 instead of July 7.


Departmental examinations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Central Committee of Examinations has announced that the next departmental examinations for various services in Punjab will be held from July 17 to 21 at Lajpat Rai Bhavan here.


ADC joins
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
Ms Bhavana Garg joined as the new Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) in place of Mr Surjit Singh here today. Mr Surjit Singh has been transferred to Gurdaspur as ADC. Mr Sukhjit Pal Singh joined as the new Assistant Commissioner and Mr Sanjay Popli as the new SDM.


Constable, two Home Guards held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 5
Head constable Sukhpal Singh and two home guards Chhinderpal Singh and Veer Singh were today arrested for depriving Sukhdev Chand, a resident of Sangwan Chowk, Sirsa, of Rs 65,000 in connivance with two local cheats.

Giving details of the case, DSP Amrik Singh Minhas and SHO, Sadar police station, Mr Bhupinder Singh said that Sukhdev Chand was approached by Baj Singh and Binder Singh, residents of Patrewala village, and offered him gold at cheap rates.

They fixed up the meeting place at Chananakhera Chowk on the Abohar-Malout road on June 22. Sukhdev Chand found the police head constable and two home guards present there with the cheats. They took away the money amounting to Rs 65,000 that he had brought to buy the gold.

Sukhdev went to the Sadar police station and identified Sukhpal Singh, Chhinderpal Singh and Veer Singh who were arrested.

The Patrewala based cheats Binder Singh and Baj Singh have absconded. They had reportedly been indulging in such acts for a long time.


NRIs in police custody
Tribune New Service

Rajpura, July 5
Caught for smuggling over 4kg of heroin on the Rajpura-Ambala highway at Shambhu barrier, near here, on Tuesday night, the Canada-based NRIs — Rajwinder Singh, alias Raja, and Paramjit Kaur — were produced before a Rajpura court today.

The court today remanded Rajwinder Singh, alias Raja, to three day’s police custody while his accomplice, Paramjit Kaur, was sent to judicial custody. The local Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had sought police remand for Raja to identify their other accomplice and links their network with other drug peddlers.

It may be recalled that the duo was arrested by a team of the NCB while they were carrying the contraband in wooden boxes. The woman was to smuggle the drug to Canada alone. 


Man falls into tubewell pit, dies

Barnala, July 5
One person died when he fell into a tubewell pit this morning.

Binder Singh (35), a resident of Rudekekalan village, was working in his fields. He was working near the tubewell pit. He lost balance and fell into the pit of tubewell. A case has been registered under Section CrPc and the body handed over to family after a post-mortem examination. — OC


PMT topper gives credit to mother
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Talwara (Hoshiarpur), July 5
“I am feeling on top of the world”. These are the words of Saurabh Sharma, a student of the BBMB DAV School, Talwara, when asked about his reaction. He has topped the pre-medical exam conducted by the Baba Farid Medical University, scoring 732 marks.

Asked if he expected to top, Saurabh said he just worked hard and left everything else to God. He gave credit for his feat to his parents and teachers of the BBMB DAV Public School.

Saurabh added if he had chosen only one, he would have to give the credit of his success to his mother Sunita Sharma. She being a bio-logy-lecturer in Government Senior Secondary School, Talwara, motivated him to take medical subjects and aim to become a doctor. Asked which college he intended to join, Saurabh said that he had not yet decided on it.

Ms Sunita Sharma, while talking to The Tribune, said that she was in high spirits since she came to know that her son had topped the PMT. Saurabh never took tuitions or coaching. He just relied on teachers at the BBMB DAV Public School and guidance from his parents.

The only coaching classes he ever attended were those organised by the school authorities. He topped in the test in the first attempt, that illustrated that one could do wonders just with good schooling and guidance at home rather than attending expensive coaching classes, she said.

His father, a veterinary doctor in government service at Talwara, Dr Ramesh Kumar, said he was very happy at the feat of his son. He said Saurabh had cleared almost all medical entrance tests in which he appeared. He had cleared the test of the Manipal University and that conducted by the CBSE, stood 18th in the Armed Forces Medical College test and 13th in the test conducted by the CMC in Ludhiana.

The authorities of the BBMB DAV School and the Talwara unit of the BBMB reached the house of Saurabh to congratulate him. The Principal of the school, Mr K.L. Rana, said Saurabh had made their school proud.


PU results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Panjab University has declared the results of BA-I (general) of college candidates and MA-I (Hindi) examinations conducted in April/May 2006. The results will be available on the Panjab University website www.puchd.ac.in tomorrow after 5 p.m.

According to the Controller of Examinations, Panjab University, no result enquiry will be entertained on the telephone.


PU go-ahead to law college at Sidhwan Khurd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The newly-established law college at Sidhwan Khurd, near Ludhiana, Guru Hargobind Institute of Law for Women, was today granted provisional affiliation by Panjab University, Chandigarh, for running law courses. This follows the recommendation by the university’s inspection team which visited the campus recently.

In a communique to the Sri Guru Hargobind Ujagar Hari Trust, Sidhwan Khurd, the Deputy Registrar (Colleges) of Panjab University today informed that the law institute was being allowed to run two courses. These include LLB (three-year course) and BA LLB (Hons) which will be a five-year integrated course. Both the courses will have 80 seats each.

The SGHUH Trust at Sidhwan Khurd is already managing several educational institutes, including a degree college and an education college affiliated to Panjab University. According to the secretary of the trust, Mr Kirpal Singh Bhattal, the Principal and staff members of the newly set up law college are already stationed at Amritsar where counselling is in progress.


Harpartap Ajnala

Chandigarh, July 5
Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala, MLA, has been elected Chairman of the Punjab State Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank. A government statement said Mr Ajnala had been elected by the 17-member Board of Directors. — TNS


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